Saturday, November 22, 2014
Aw, Shucks!
Lydia Woolever ― Baltimore Magazine

The oyster wave hits Baltimore.

We used to have to wait around for the “R” months to eat a decent oyster. Sure, we had crabs to tide us over in the summertime, but we still have to admit: the wait was long. And hard.

Luckily, those days are over—thanks to refrigeration and the advent of the triploid oyster, which are sterile and thus eliminate the shellfish’s summer spawning season, when their flesh is too weak and watery for market—and now oysters are readily available all year-round.

Maryland’s oyster-farming industry, also known as “aquaculture,” has grown exponentially in recent years, and with it just starting to hit its stride, local oyster-lovers are beginning to reap the rewards right here at home. Farms have been popping up all across the state and now nearly 4,000 acres of them dot our shores of the Chesapeake Bay. These days, their bounties are being shucked from their shells and served up at a growing number of restaurants, bars, street stands, and festivals.

Sammy 05:53 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Baltimore moves higher on murder rate list
Justin Fenton ― Baltimore Sun

Baltimore had the fifth-highest murder rate last year among major U.S. cities — 37.4 per 100,000 people, according to statistics released last week by the FBI.

Cities with higher rates last year were Detroit, New Orleans, Newark, and St. Louis. Both Detroit and New Orleans saw sharp declines.

Data from 2012 showed Baltimore with the sixth-highest murder rate. It moved up a spot in 2013 because the city that had the highest rate the previous year — Flint, Mich. — saw its population dip under 100,000 and fall off the major cities list.

Sammy 05:50 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Could Washington D.C. or Baltimore get Chesapeake “Bay effect” snow?
Jason Samenow ― Washington Post

When frigid air streamed over the relatively warm waters of Lake Erie this week, a “lake effect” snow event for the ages unfolded in the Buffalo area, with up to 88 inches of snow.

This historic event has raised the question whether the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore region could get snow from cold air passing over the Chesapeake Bay.  The answer is no, but “Bay effect” snow can and does sometimes occur in southeast Virginia.  The reason is simple geography.

Sammy 05:48 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Ohio Men Wrongly Convicted of Murder After 39 Years Released
Cynthia McFadden, Erik Ortiz and Elisha Fieldstadt ― NBC News

Two Ohio men wrongly accused of murder experienced freedom for the first time in nearly four decades on Friday morning, but said they don’t harbor bitterness over their unjust imprisonment.

A Cleveland judge on Wednesday had dropped all charges against Ricky Jackson, 57, and Wiley Bridgeman, 60, allowing for the pair’s release.

Jackson was 19 when he was convicted along with Bridgeman and Bridgeman’s brother, Ronnie, in the 1975 shooting death and robbery of Harold Franks, a Cleveland-area money order salesman.

Sammy 05:44 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Soaring generic drug prices draw Senate scrutiny
MATTHEW PERRONE ― WTOP

Some low-cost generic drugs that have helped restrain health care costs for decades are seeing unexpected price spikes of up to 8,000 percent, prompting a backlash from patients, pharmacists and now Washington lawmakers.

A Senate panel met Thursday to scrutinize the recent, unexpected trend among generic medicines, which usually cost 30 to 80 percent less than their branded counterparts.

Experts said there are multiple, often unrelated, forces behind the price hikes, including drug ingredient shortages, industry consolidation and production slowdowns due to manufacturing problems. But the lawmakers convening Thursday’s hearing said the federal government needs to play a bigger role in restraining prices.

Sammy 05:41 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Maryland seeks to deny permit for Conowingo Dam
Southern Maryland News Net

Maryland Department of the Environment has moved to deny a water quality permit for Exelon Corp. to operate the Conowingo Dam — on concerns the dam’s impact on the Chesapeake Bay could undermine state efforts to comply with the Clean Water Act.

“MDE intends to deny the application due to insufficient information provided by the applicant regarding the impacts…on state water quality standards,” said MDE Communications Director Jay Apperson in a press release on Tuesday.

Sammy 08:04 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Rewarding neighborhoods for environmental stewardship
Jesse Yeatman ― The Enterprise

Karen Nutter of St. Mary’s City was on the lookout for ways to make her home more environmentally friendly, especially since it is situated right along the St. Mary’s River.

“You could literally see the water running across the yard into the river” along with sediment, Nutter said.

So last year she and her husband, Jim, jumped at the chance to work with the St. Mary’s River Watershed Association through a cost-sharing program to install a rain garden in their yard. That program is now being expanded to other areas of the county.

Sammy 08:01 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
UMD UAS Test Site Receives FAA Approval to Fly
Southern Maryland News Net

The University of Maryland (UMD) Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Test Site, located in California, MD, today received a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly the Talon 240, designed and manufactured by UAV Solutions, Inc. of Jessup, MD. This authorization resulted from the first use of UMD’s airworthiness process, the only known university airworthiness process that is modeled after the U.S. Navy’s rigorous standards for ensuring the safety and reliability of its manned and unmanned aircraft.

“This flight authorization is significant because it builds on the existing relationship between the University of Maryland and the Navy, and applies our mutually disciplined research approaches to the cutting edge of civil and commercial unmanned aviation,” said Dr. Darryll Pines, Farvardin Professor and Dean of the UMD A. James Clark School of Engineering.

Sammy 07:59 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Feds accuse telemarketing operators of scamming consumers
Patricia Sabatini ― Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Federal regulators have temporarily halted two massive telemarketing operations that they say conned more than $120 million from consumers by convincing them to spend money to fix bogus computer problems.

Using a variety of company names including Vast Tech Support, Boost Software and OMG Tech Help, the alleged scammers used “tricky online advertisements” and other means to persuade people to download software that always found a preset number of viruses or other problems on their computers, according to lawsuits filed by the Federal Trade Commission.

Sammy 07:58 AM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
NSA chief warns Chinese cyber attacks could shut U.S. infrastructure
Patricia Zengerle ― REUTERS

China and “probably one or two” other countries have the ability to invade and possibly shut down computer systems of U.S. power utilities, aviation networks and financial companies, Admiral Mike Rogers, the director of the U.S. National Security Agency, said on Thursday.

Testifying to the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee on cyber threats, Rogers said digital attackers have been able to penetrate such systems and perform “reconnaissance” missions to determine how the networks are put together.

“What concerns us is that access, that capability, can be used by nation-states, groups or individuals to take down that capability,” he said.

Sammy 07:56 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Any new U.S. Internet rules must withstand lawsuits: FCC chief
Marina Lopes ― REUTERS

U.S. regulators expect Internet service providers to sue the government over any changes in the way they are regulated and must reevaluate any proposals to make sure they stand up in court, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler said at a meeting on Friday.

Last week U.S. President Barack Obama said Internet service providers should be regulated more like public utilities to make sure they grant equal access to all content providers. This touched off intense protests from cable television and telecommunications companies and Republican lawmakers.

“Let’s make sure that we understand what is going on here. The big dogs are going to sue regardless of what comes out,” Wheeler said.

Sammy 07:54 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Senators challenge N.Y. Fed’s bank oversight
Paul Davidson ― USA TODAY

In a sharply contentious Senate hearing, New York Federal Reserve Bank chief William Dudley on Friday denied lawmakers’ claims that it’s too cozy with the banks it regulates and fosters a culture that squelches dissent.

Dudley’s testimony comes after a series of reports about reserve bank employees failing to head off excessive bank risk-taking, not aggressively challenging banks’ questionable transactions and leaking confidential information to a Goldman Sachs employee who formerly worked at the New York Fed.

Sammy 07:50 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Reports: Obama expands mission in Afghanistan
Jessica Estepa ― USA TODAY

President Obama has approved the expansion of the U.S. military’s role in Afghanistan next year, according to media reports.

Under a classified order signed in recent weeks by the president, U.S. forces will be able to carry out missions against militant groups, such as the Taliban, that are threatening troops or the Afghan government, according to the New York Times. The Times first reported the authorization on Friday night.

Further, U.S. jets, drones and bombers can support Afghan troops on combat missions, the Times reported.

Sammy 07:48 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Stunning new image of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa
Michael Winter ― USA TODAY

Another day, another stunning image from deep in our solar system.

Reprocessing images from the late 1990s, NASA on Friday released a sumptuous color image of Jupiter’s icy moon, Europa, which the space agency has called a “very likely place ... to look for evidence of life” as we know it on Earth.

Sammy 07:46 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
A look at how FDA-approved robotic leg braces work
JULIE WATSON ― WTOP

Marine Capt. Derek Herrera, who was paralyzed by a sniper’s bullet two years ago in southern Afghanistan, is walking again thanks to a set of robotic leg braces known as the ReWalk system. Herrera is the first in the United States to own the device that was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Several competing products are being used and tested at U.S. rehabilitation hospitals.

The following is a look at how the ReWalk system works:

Sammy 07:43 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
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