New evidence that dark chocolate cures all the world’s problems

The “chocolate cure” for emotional stress is getting new support from a clinical trial published online in ACS’ Journal of Proteome Research. It found that eating about an ounce and a half of dark chocolate a day for two weeks reduced levels of stress hormones in the bodies of people feeling highly stressed. Everyone’s favorite treat also partially corrected other stress-related biochemical imbalances.

Sunil Kochhar and colleagues note growing scientific evidence that antioxidants and other beneficial substances in dark chocolate may reduce risk factors for heart disease and other physical conditions. Studies also suggest that chocolate may ease emotional stress.

Until now, however, there was little evidence from research in humans on exactly how chocolate might have those stress-busting effects.

In the study, scientists identified reductions in stress hormones and other stress-related biochemical changes in volunteers who rated themselves as highly stressed and ate dark chocolate for two weeks. “The study provides strong evidence that a daily consumption of 40 grams [1.4 ounces] during a period of 2 weeks is sufficient to modify the metabolism of healthy human volunteers,” the scientists say.

Phew! I can always use another excuse. And I happen to prefer dark chocolate.

U.S. deports Luis Miguel Salvador Aguila Dominguez = Lou Dobbs

Acting on anonymous tips from within the Hispanic-American community, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials on Wednesday deported Luis Miguel Salvador Aguila Dominguez, who for the last 48 years had been living illegally in the United States under the name Lou Dobbs.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, federal agents stormed the undocumented immigrant’s home in an evening raid just hours after the 64-year-old newscaster suddenly announced that he was resigning from CNN, and immediately placed him on an Aeromexico flight departing from Newark Liberty Airport.

“Mr. Dominguez did not come quietly, but in the end he came,” said Sam Whitlock of the U.S. Border Patrol, who was injured during the arrest. “He pulled a knife on me, like they will, and swore a bunch in Spanish and spit on us when we finally managed to grab him by the serape and throw him against a wall. But the important thing is that he’s now back where he belongs…”

This is a battle for the soul of our country,” Agent Jared Burns, 23, said as he helped the 17 Dominguez children board the bus that would take them to a detention facility where their legal status will eventually be determined. “Today is a proud day for any true American.”

Har!

This qualifies for more than an “OOPS!”

On Wednesday, a man drove a Bugatti Veyron into a lagoon in Texas after avoiding a low-flying pelican.

According to The Galveston County Daily News, the driver was checking out real estate in La Marque, Tex., when the pelican swooped into view:

The man jerked the wheel, dropped his cellphone and the car’s front tire left the frontage road and entered a muddy patch, which foiled his attempt to maneuver away from the lagoon…

The man was uninjured, physically, though after drowning the Veyron, which is priced at around $2 million, his ego might be a little damaged.

I’d be hard-pressed to feel sorry for someone dunking his $2million car in a salt-water lagoon. Distracted by a fracking pelican. And trying to pick up his cell phone.

Kickback revealed for Kurdistan branch of the Oil Patch Boys

Peter W. Galbraith, an influential former American ambassador, is a powerful voice on Iraq who helped shape the views of policy makers like Joseph R. Biden Jr. and John Kerry. In the summer of 2005, he was also an adviser to the Kurdish regional government as Iraq wrote its Constitution — tough and sensitive talks not least because of issues like how Iraq would divide its vast oil wealth.

Now Mr. Galbraith, 58, son of the renowned economist John Kenneth Galbraith, stands to earn perhaps a hundred million or more dollars as a result of his closeness to the Kurds, his relations with a Norwegian oil company and constitutional provisions he helped the Kurds extract.

In the constitutional negotiations, he helped the Kurds ram through provisions that gave their region — rather than the central Baghdad government — sole authority over many of their internal affairs, including clauses that he maintains will give the Kurds virtually complete control over all new oil finds on their territory…

So it came as a shock to many – Har! – last month when a group of Norwegian investigative journalists at the newspaper Dagens Naeringsliv began publishing documents linking Mr. Galbraith to a specific Norwegian oil company with major contracts in Iraq.

Interviews by The New York Times with more than a dozen current and former government and business officials in Norway, France, Iraq, the United States and elsewhere, along with legal records and other documents, reveal in considerable detail that he received rights to an enormous stake in at least one of Kurdistan’s oil fields in the spring of 2004.

As it turns out, Mr. Galbraith received the rights after he helped negotiate a potentially lucrative contract that allowed the Norwegian oil company DNO to drill for oil in the promising Dohuk region of Kurdistan, the interviews and documents show…

Some officials say that his financial ties could raise serious questions about the integrity of the constitutional negotiations themselves. “The idea that an oil company was participating in the drafting of the Iraqi Constitution leaves me speechless,” said Feisal Amin al-Istrabadi, a principal drafter of the law that governed Iraq after the United States ceded control to an Iraqi government on June 28, 2004.

In effect, he said, the company “has a representative in the room, drafting.”

Isn’t that the traditional American way of doing business conducting sensitive government negotiations?

Teenager saved from jail by Facebook post

Where’s my pancakes, read Rodney Bradford’s Facebook page, in a message typed on Saturday, Oct. 17, at 11:49 a.m., from a computer in his father’s apartment in Harlem.

At the time, the sentence, written in indecipherable street slang, was just another navel-gazing, cryptic Facebook status update — words that were gobbledygook to anyone besides Mr. Bradford.

But when Mr. Bradford, a skinny, short 19-year-old resident of the Farragut Houses, was arrested the next day as a suspect in a robbery, the words took on a level of importance that no one in their wildest dreams — least of all Mr. Bradford — could have imagined. They became his alibi.

His defense lawyer, Robert Reuland, told a Brooklyn assistant district attorney, Lindsay Gerdes, about the Facebook entry, which was made at the time of the robbery. The district attorney subpoenaed Facebook to verify that the status update had actually been typed from a computer located at 71 West 118th Street in Harlem, as Mr. Bradford said. When that was confirmed, the charges were dropped.

“This is the first case that I’m aware of in which a Facebook update has been used as alibi evidence,” said John Browning, a lawyer and member of the Dallas Bar Association who studies social networking and the law. “We are going to see more of that because of how prevalent social networking has become…”

Mr. Bradford, who has stayed in Harlem with his father since that case was dismissed, said he is thinking about hanging around with a different crowd and going back to school to become an electrician. Meanwhile, his friends have taken to calling him the “Facebook Kid.”

As for those pancakes: “I used to really like them,” Mr. Bradford said. “Now I love ‘em.”

Of course, some semi-geek-literate gangbanger will now try to game the system and build an alibi in advance.

AK-47 inventor Kalashnikov turns 90


A toast! (Just as long as he doesn’t say, “You’re toast!”)

Mikhail Kalashnikov, the man who invented the AK-47 turned 90 on Tuesday….

At the Kremlin in a ceremony which honored his work, Kalashnikov received the award Hero of the Russian Federation. President Medvedev stated, “You’ve invented not only the famous Kalashnikov machine gun itself but also a national brand which every Russian, every citizen of our country is proud of”….

The name AK-47 came from the words Avtomat Kalashnikova and the model year, 1947. Kalashnikov invented the initial prototype of the AK-47 in the hospital during World War II when he was recovering from injuries sustained in battle. He was a Sergeant in the Soviet Army at the time, and invented it in response to the comment that Russian soldiers were using rifles to stand against German soldiers who has automatic weapons….

[Kalashnikov] stated at one time, “I created a weapon to defend the fatherland’s borders. It’s not my fault that it was sometimes used where it shouldn’t have been. This is the fault of politicians.”

Still the most durable all-rounder military assault rifle ever designed. The critter survives every kind of weather, climate and abuse – and keeps on ticking. Inexpensive to produce – which is why so many knock-offs. Lasts forever.

Works very well – even in the hands of the mentally and socially disturbed.

Villagers pray to rare turtle – convinced it is a deity


Wait till his big brother shows up and saves his butt!

Hundreds of poor Hindu villagers in eastern India have refused to hand over a rare turtle to authorities, saying it is an incarnation of God.

Villagers chanting hymns and carrying garlands, bowls of rice and fruits are pouring in from remote villages to a temple in Kendrapara, a coastal district in eastern Orissa state.

Policemen have struggled to control the gathering and have failed to persuade the villagers to give up the sea turtle…

The turtle is protected in India and anyone found keeping one without permission can be jailed for a year or more and fined.

But adamant villagers have refused to give up the reptile, saying the turtle bears holy symbols on its back and is an incarnation of Lord Jagannath, a popular Hindu deity.

“Lord Jagannath has visited our village in the form of a turtle. We will not allow anybody to take the turtle away,” said Ramesh Mishra, a priest of the temple.

If the sum of their attention finally kills the poor turtle, they’ll swear he’s gone on to a better life.