Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Good News From Mary March 18,2009

For Spring Breakers, No Sign of Katrina Fatigue

The staccato banging of dozens of hammers dispelled the morning quiet as college students, lawyers and nurses from Massachusetts clambered about four new houses rapidly taking shape at the hands of Habitat for Humanity and St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church.

Meantime, across town, students from the University of Pennsylvania, Syracuse University and dozens of other colleges painted, laid tile and nailed weatherboards on older homes, pulling them back from ruin. And in nearby St. Bernard Parish, 600 professionals gathered by United Jewish Communities plan to transform a gutted Catholic school into a community center.

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Dream a little dream for better health

If you're like most people, your return to consciousness each morning follows a predictable pattern: You blink awake, still half-trapped in the dream you just had — a high-stakes epic in which you soared over the Grand Canyon or watched as a tsunami engulfed your house. What was THAT about? Within minutes, though, you sweep away the hallucinatory traces like cobwebs, dismissing the dream as just another meaningless, though exciting, sleep-time drama.

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Lightweight metallic glass is strong as steel

As anyone who lives too close to a baseball field knows, glass can be frustratingly fragile.

But a new type of glass, made from opaque titanium and zirconium instead of transparent silicon, is harder and tougher — and weighs less — than stainless steel. The California scientists who developed and tested the opaque glass hope it could one day replace steel and aluminum in a wide variety of products, from golf clubs to airplanes.

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Scientists grow diabetes drug in tobacco plants

Scientists have found a healthy use for tobacco after breeding genetically modified plants containing a medicine that could stop type 1 diabetes.

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Whoopie! Cookie, Pie or Cake, It's Having Its Moment

FOR generations, vacationers in Maine and visitors to Pennsylvania’s Amish country have found a simple black and white snack in restaurants and convenience shops and on nearly every gas station counter: whoopie pies.

Now whoopie pies are migrating across the country, often appearing in the same specialty shops and grocery aisles that recently made room for cupcakes. Last fall, they even cracked the lineup at Magnolia Bakery in Manhattan, which helped turn cupcakes into a national craze thanks to the bakery’s exposure on “Sex and the City.” Under the name “sweetie pies,” heart-shaped whoopie pies showed up in the February catalog from Williams-Sonoma. Baked in Maine with local butter and organic eggs, they sell for $49 a dozen.

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