Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Earthquake rocks Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania!

Here in Pittsburgh, the earthquake visibly shook me today as I sat at a small table on the seventh floor of an office building downtown. It has been more than 25 years since I can remember feeling the effects of an earthquake.

In spite of today's activities, I believe I was lucky that things weren't worse than they could have been and think I should share the following portion of an article from Yahoo!News as an explanation:

MINERAL, Va. (AP) — Tens of millions of people from Georgia to Canada were jolted Tuesday by the strongest earthquake to strike the East Coast since World War II. Three weeks before the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, office workers poured out of New York skyscrapers and the Pentagon, relieved it was nothing more sinister than an act of nature.

There were no known deaths or serious injuries, but cracks appeared in the National Cathedral, and three capstones broke off its tower. Windows shattered and grocery stores were wrecked in Virginia, where the quake was centered. The White House and Capitol were partly evacuated.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake registered magnitude 5.8. By West Coast standards, that is mild. But the East Coast is not accustomed to earthquakes at all, and this one unsettled some of the nation's biggest population centers.

In New York and Washington, people said their thoughts were of an explosion or terrorist attack. In some cases, workers in Washington mentioned the tremors in phone calls to colleagues in New York, and seconds later, the shaking reached there, too.

"We thought it was a bomb at first because everyone has 9/11 on the brain and that it's so close to September and the 10th anniversary," said Cathy McDonald, who works in an IRS office in downtown Washington.

Hundreds of people spilled out of the federal courthouse blocks from ground zero, workers in the Empire State Building rushed into the streets, some having descended dozens of flights of stairs.
"I thought we'd been hit by an airplane," said one worker, Marty Wiesner.

Adrian Ollivierre, an accountant who was in his office on the 60th floor when the shaking began, said: "I thought I was having maybe a heart attack, and I saw everybody running. I think what it is, is the paranoia that happens from 9/11, and that's why I'm still out here — because, I'm sorry, I'm not playing with my life."

The quake was felt as far north as Toronto, as far west as Indiana and Kentucky and as far south as Atlanta and Savannah, Ga. It was also felt on Martha's Vineyard of Massachusetts, where President Barack Obama, who is vacationing there, was getting ready to tee off in a round of golf.

The White House said there were no reports of major damage to the nation's infrastructure, including airports and nuclear facilities. Two nuclear reactors at the North Anna Power Station in Virginia were automatically taken off line by safety systems, said Roger Hannah, a spokesman for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The plant is in the same county as the quake's epicenter, about 80 miles southwest of Washington and 40 miles northwest of Richmond, Va.

The Park Service closed all monuments and memorials on the National Mall, and ceiling tiles fell at Reagan National Airport outside Washington. Many nonessential workers in Washington were sent home for the day.

The Capitol was reopened by late afternoon for people to retrieve their things.

At the Pentagon, a low rumbling built until the building itself was shaking, and people ran into the corridors of the complex. The shaking continued, to shouts of "Evacuate! Evacuate!" The main damage to the building, the largest single workspace for the federal government, came from a broken water pipe.

To read the article in its entirety, click here.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

How-to reduce your risk of prostate cancer.

As a man approaching 45, I can't help to wonder about cancer and ways to possibly lessen my chances of being a statistic one day.

While reading a booklet a few days ago, I stumbled across some helpful tips for possibly reducing the risk of developing prostate cancer and wanted to share them.

Prostate cancer is cancer that starts in the prostate gland. The prostate is a small, walnut-sized structure that makes up part of a man's reproductive system. It wraps around the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body. More than 198,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed annually.

Prostate cancer is the third most common cause of death from cancer in men of all ages and is the most common cause of death from cancer in men over age 75. Prostate cancer is rarely found in men younger than 40.

Some ways to reduce your risk are as follows:

  • Limit the amount of animal fat in your diet.
  • Eat one or more servings daily of tomatoes or tomato-based foods, such as tomato juice and spaghetti sauce. Tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene, which may protect the prostate from cancer. Other food sources contain lycopene, but tomatoes are the best source.
  • Talk to your doctor about screening tests, especially if you are at high-risk -- African-Americans and men with a close relative who had prostate cancer at a young age.

Men who eat fewer than five servings a day of meat, milk, cheese, etc. have a lower risk of prostate cancer. A great deal of scientific research has been conducted to identify the properties of animal fat responsible for the increase in prostate cancer risk. One explanation is that animal fat might affect different hormone levels and increase the risk of cancer.