Wednesday, June 5, 2013

This Kid Rocks: Mary Mikels of Daniels Middle School in Raleigh

Sometimes in life it's easy to overlook how lucky we are, and take for granted the simple things in life that some of us are lucky enough to have.

Last week I met a girl with an amazing talent and dose of perspective.

Before shooting this story I wondered, "What is about music that moves us?" Then I met Mary Mikels.

"I would say that music has been the most, one of the most important things of my life," says Mary.

Mary is 16 years old and is the youngest of four children. She's the only child in the family who was born blind.

"She went to Duke at two weeks where she underwent Cleft lip surgery, and under anesthesia, they were able to confirm there was nothing under her eye lids, not even optic nerves." Mary's mother Juana Mikels said.

And so began Mary's journey, one shaped by music she could only hear, and eventually play.

She got up on stage earlier this year during a singing competition for students in Wake County and won first place for the middle school division, including a $100 prize.

Mary donated the money to a foundation that trains guide dogs for children who are blind or visually impaired

Although she is blind, Mary doesn't take special classes at Daniels Middle School in Raleigh.

"I see it is a blessing," Mary says about being blind.  "What matters to a blind person is the inside of a person, not how they look," she added.

So maybe in the end, it's not the music that moves us, but rather the musician.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Marine algae show resilience to carbon dioxide emissions

A type of marine algae could become bigger as increasing carbon dioxide emissions are absorbed by the oceans, according to research led by scientists based at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS).

The study, published this month in PLoS ONE, investigated how a strain of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi might respond if all fossil fuels are burned by the year 2100 – predicted to drive up atmospheric CO2 levels to over four times the present day. Specimens grown under this high CO2 scenario were compared with specimens grown under present day CO2 levels.

Coccolithophores are microscopic algae that form the base of marine food chains. They secrete calcite shells which eventually sink to the seafloor and form sediments, drawing down and locking away carbon in rocks. Because of their calcitic shells, some species have been shown to be sensitive to ocean acidification, which occurs when increasing amounts of atmospheric CO2 are absorbed by the ocean, increasing seawater acidity.

But these findings suggest that not all coccolithophore species respond to ocean acidification in the same way.

“Contrary to many studies, we see that this species of coccolithophore gets bigger and possesses more calcite under worst-case scenario CO2 levels for the year 2100,” says Dr Bethan Jones, lead author and former researcher at University of Southampton Ocean and Earth Science, which is based at NOCS. “They do not simply dissolve away under high CO2 and elevated acidity.”

However, the researchers also observed that cells grew more slowly under the high CO2 scenario, which could be a sign of stress.

The researchers also tested for changes in protein abundance – using a technique developed by the collaborating institutes – as well as other biochemical characteristics. They detected very few differences between the two scenarios, indicating that apart from growth, this strain of coccolithophore does not seem to be particularly affected by ocean acidification.

Co-author Professor Iglesias-Rodriguez, formerly at University of Southampton Ocean and Earth Science, says: “This study suggests that this strain of Emiliania huxleyi possesses some resilience to tolerate future CO2 scenarios, although the observed decline in growth rate may be an overriding factor affecting the success of this ecotype in future oceans. This is because if other species are able to grow faster under high CO2, they may ‘outgrow’ this type of coccolithophore.

“Given that chalk production by calcifiers is the largest carbon reservoir on Earth – locking away atmospheric CO2 in ocean sediments – understanding how coccolithophores respond to climate change is a first step in developing models to predict their fate under climate pressure such as ocean acidification.”

The team used a technique called ‘shotgun proteomics’, optimised for marine microbiological research at the University of Southampton’s Centre for Proteomic Research, to detect changes in proteins under the different CO2 scenarios.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Red rocks Rupp as Cards pull off win #1

It's a rare sight alright - Red rockin' Rupp Arena. Thousands of Cardinal faithful poured into the Lexington Civic Center for pre-game festivities Thursday afternoon.

Louisville fans being able to drive to the Cards first NCAA game is pleasing to the Top Card, University of Louisville President Dr. James Ramsey.

"So far, all I've seen is red," said Ramsey, "and we are so we're excited."

Another warm welcome for fans was being greeted at the alumni pep rally by two of the greatest Cards of all time - Hall of Fame Coach Denny Crum and Dr. Dunkenstein himself, Darrell Griffith. Both legends are big fans of this current group of number 1 seeded Cards.

"I love this year's team," Griffith said, "They've been consistent all year long and they've played great ball. They play great ball even when everybody isn't on the same page."

"I think they're playing as well as anyone and if they can just maintain that then they have a chance to win it," Crum said.

Fans are thrilled to be able to watch the Cards so close to home and they didn't mind playing at the home of the Cats.

"Red in blue country is just amazing," said Louisville fan Terri Webber, "we just can't wait to win."

Others fans like Nick Belker are already dreaming of the road ahead.

"I've got confirmation all the way through to the Final Four," said Belker about game tickets. "It's a win-win all the way."

Huge lines of red clad fans waited for the gates to open. They were determined not to be the first number 1 seed to lose to a number 16 seed.  Fans we found from Henderson, Kentucky hid their nerves well.

"I'm not worried," said Rex Minton about the first NCAA game. His friend chimed in laughing, "He was worried, he was nervous."

5-year-old Ayden Noland had nerves of steel about game one for his number one seeded Cards. He was ready cut down the tape to get in and he's ready to cut down some nets. When we asked him if the Cardinal birds were going to win, Ayden replied, "Yeah."

Young Ayden was right. Louisville coasted to 79-48 win over North Carolina A&T to crowds of cheering fans.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Echo Uganda rocks Lyman

Gideon Ampiere led a group of Lyman Memorial High School students in a dance on the stage in the school auditorium. With rattles on his legs, he produced music with every movement. The students - freshmen and sophomores - laughed and stomped. Behind them, their classmates kept a beat on traditional East African drums -Embuutu and Empuunyi. Others played along on Ensaasi - shakers made from large, rounded gourds. During the course of one school period, the energetic Ampiere introduced the students to about a dozen different traditional instruments, numerous songs and dances, and a handful of different languages.

Ampiere brought along two members of his group, Echo Uganda, for his Feb. 14 visit to the school. Scotland resident Chris Demorit and Willimantic resident Dave Magnuson provided backup on a number of instruments, including the Adungu, a bow harp resembling a sailing vessel. Magnuson said he’d always been a world music fan. He met Ampiere about nine years ago, shortly after the Uganda native arrived in the United States. “Someone said I had to meet this crazy guy from Uganda,” said Magnuson with a chuckle. Ampiere, whose grandfather was a music teacher, is currently a Storrs resident with a master of arts degree in ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University and a bachelors of arts from the University of Connecticut, according to his bio.

Echo Uganda, comprised of a core group of eight musicians and occasional guest artists, endeavors to share the instruments, music and dances of East Africa with audiences of all ages. The group has been to Lyman before, as part of the school’s efforts to promote diversity. Social studies teacher Kevin Brodie and English teacher Liza Escott head up the Diversity Committee at Lyman, and Escott is the diversity coordinator for the school. Last year, the pair booked Echo Uganda for the older Lyman students. An evaluation, conducted to help guide future diversity programming, identified the program as a hit with the kids. “They unanimously said, ‘Absolutely, have them back again,’” said Escott. So this year the group appeared for the younger students.

They clearly enjoyed the program, as Ampiere hopped off the stage to lead students in a dance in the audience, then back onto the stage to play the Ennanga, a Ugandan wooden zither, and the kalimba, a thumb piano. From time to time he would produce a string of narrative in Swahili, Luganda or Lukiga - all languages, he explained, spoken in parts of East Africa in addition to English.

When the bell rang, and students reluctantly filed out, one young woman remained behind. Katherine, a sophomore, called Ampiere over as he packed up with his band mates. “That was really awesome,” she said. “It really made my day.” Katherine said that, in a small town like Lebanon, there aren’t many opportunities to experience other cultures. “I just really enjoyed this,” she said. “Really, it made my month.”

See this December ReminderNews article for more about Lyman’s diversity programming: Laila Lalami, a Moroccan-American author and a professor from California, will speak at the school in March. A diversity fair is scheduled for the end of April.

Echo Uganda provides programming that can be tailored to a variety of ages, group sizes, and other parameters. For more information go to  Upcoming shows include: a Friday, March 8, appearance at UConn’s International Women’s Day, and a Saturday, March 9, Camp Horizons Benefit at Mystic Aquarium.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Colgate Optic White Beauty Bar Rocks The Golden Globes

During the Colgate Optic White Beauty Bar at the Nine Zero One Salon in West Hollywood January 11 & 12, all the celebs got to take part in tremendous hair services, spray tans, massages and so much more! Check it out!

During the Golden Globes, the celebs get to go to some pretty awesome gift suites and pre show events. Count the Colgate Optic White Beauty Bar as one of the best!

Celebs the likes of Kyle Richards, Shenae Grimes and so much more were on hand to get tons of awesome services like Nails by Kiss, Massages by Bio Oil, Gifts by Schick Hydro Silk Razors, Pita and Hummas Snacks by Sabra, Shoes by Koolaburra, Jeans by Mavi, and All hair care services and product by Joico Hair Care.
Some other fun happenings that happened during the event were…

Ashley Tisdale chatting with salon stylists about hot boys on Instagram – She also noted that her followers barrage her on occasion.

Kyle Richards treating her daughters to Joico hair care products, particularly the Joico Power Spray.

Shenae Grimes admiring her fiancĂ©, playing the Joico pinwheel and chatting about how she’s still obsessed with her engagement ring.

Krysten Ritter looking poised and turning heads while getting her hair styled at Colgate’s Beauty bar with Joico’s Power Spray

Karina Smirnoff chatting about filming her movie in NYC while getting her nails done with Kiss Nail products

Adrienne Maloof talking about her new hair care deal, trying to keep it under wraps but saying how much she secretly love Joico hair care products.

Tiffany Hines talking about her obsession with Haute Betts Jewelry while getting her hair curled by a Joico stylist.

Joico also treated their guests to mini purse Power Spray’s to keep with them on the go and also gave all guests K PAK color therapy shampoos and conditioners.

So HollywoodLifers, How are you getting ready for the Golden Globes? Sound off below!

Monday, December 10, 2012

UNC Women's Basketball Fall To Wichita

The Northern Colorado Women's Basketball team stayed with Wichita State through the first 27 minutes of the game, but the Shockers closed on a 20-4 run to defeat the visiting Bears 51-35 in front of a near-capacity crowd for Schoolhouse Rocks with the Shocks Game.

The crowd of 10,307 – made up of primarily school-aged children – is the second-largest crowd to ever witness a Northern Colorado women's basketball game. The largest was 10,687 at Oklahoma in 2006.

The Bears (2-5) welcomed sophomore center Stephanie Lee back to the lineup after missing the previous four games with an injury, and she promptly led the team in scoring nine points. Both senior forward Lauren Oosdyke and junior guard D'shara Strange led the game with eight rebounds each.

Each of the five starters had two assists as the Bears had 11 assists on 14 made baskets, but turnovers once again proved to be the team's bugaboo as they had 22 miscues – including six in a three-minute stretch after the team fought back from an eight-point deficit to knot the score at 31-31.

Junior forward Kim Lockridge snapped an 11-point scoring streak for the Shockers (4-5) with a layup at the 8:32 mark to bring the Bears back within nine, 42-33, but Wichita State scored nine of the final 11 in the game for the 51-35 point win.

No player in the game scored in double figures as Wichita State was led by Jazimen Gordan and Jessica Diamond with nine each. Alie Decker led with six rebounds and nine of the 11 Shockers who played tallied at least one steal – as the team had 13. Wichita State also turned the ball over just nine times in the game.

For the sixth time in seven games this season, the Bears out-rebounded the competition, grabbing 39 compared to 33 for the Shockers. Both teams struggled in shooting as WSU shot .339 for the game and NC shot .326.

The Bears now take a week off from competition for final examinations, returning to action on Dec. 16 at Texas Tech. Opening tip is scheduled for 1 pm Mountain.