Wednesday, April 1, 2009

20 Shocking Smoking Facts

Smoking Facts and Tobacco Statistics

1) There are 1.1 billion smokers in the world today, and if current trends continue, that number is expected to increase to 1.6 billion by the year 2025.

2) China is home to 300 million smokers who consume approximately 1.7 trillion cigarettes a year, or 3 million cigarettes a minute.

3) Worldwide, approximately 10 million cigarettes are purchased a minute, 15 billion are sold each day, and upwards of 5 trillion are produced and used on an annual basis.

4) Five trillion cigarette filters weigh approximately 2 billion pounds.

5) It's estimated that trillions of filters, filled with toxic chemicals from tobacco smoke, make their way into our environment as discarded waste yearly.

6) While they may look like white cotton, cigarette filters are made of very thin fibers of a plastic called cellulose acetate. A cigarette filter can take between 18 months and 10 years to decompose.

7) A typical manufactured cigarette contains approximately 8 or 9 milligrams of nicotine, while the nicotine content of a cigar is 100 to 200 milligrams, with some as high as 400 milligrams.

8) There is enough nicotine in four or five cigarettes to kill an average adult if ingested whole. Most smokers take in only one or two milligrams of nicotine per cigarette however, with the remainder being burned off.

9) Ambergris, otherwise known as whale vomit is one of the hundreds of possible additives used in manufactured cigarettes.

10) Benzene is a known cause of acute myeloid leukemia, and cigarette smoke is a major source of benzene exposure. Among U.S. smokers, 90 percent of benzene exposures come from cigarettes.

11) Radioactive lead and polonium are both present in low levels in cigarette smoke.

12) Hydrogen cyanide, one of the toxic byproducts present in cigarette smoke, was used as a genocidal chemical agent during World War II.

13) Secondhand smoke contains more than 50 cancer-causing chemical compounds, 11 of which are known to be Group 1 carcinogens.

14) The smoke from a smoldering cigarette often contains higher concentrations of the toxins found in cigarette smoke than exhaled smoke does.

15) Kids are still picking up smoking at the alarming rate of 3,000 a day in the U.S., and 80,000 to 100,000 a day worldwide.

16) Worldwide, one in five teens age 13 to 15 smoke cigarettes.

17) Approximately one quarter of the youth alive in the Western Pacific Region (East Asia and the Pacific) today will die from tobacco use.

18) Half of all long-term smokers will die a tobacco-related death.

19) Every eight seconds, a human life is lost to tobacco use somewhere in the world. That translates to approximately 5 million deaths annually.

20) Tobacco use is expected to claim one billion lives this century unless serious anti-smoking efforts are made on a global level.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Will The Rivalry Continue?

After drinking my favorite cup of brewed coffee, I hastily grab the mouse to click the link leading to my very much-awaited outcome of the game which I first learned in 1985. My heart was filled with suspense that only a glimpse of the scoreboard seemed sufficient to satisfy my craving to see another victory.

It was 103 - 84 triumph of the Boston Celtics against the Oklahoma City Thunders. I just can't explain what I felt. The win gave my favorite team a win-loss record of 56-19.

Although, the Celts are just running third in the Eastern Conference, I really don't mind about it. What I know is that once all the players get healthy come playoff time, this team will be almost unbeatable! No more homecourt advantage against the Magic, even against the Cavs.

Inspite of being tagged as the underdog, I have a strong sense that they will bring home the bacon again!

Indeed, the impending confrontation of the Celtics and the Lakers in the finals this year can just be regarded as a continuation of their never-ending battle for supremacy in a game called basketball!

Places to See Before They Disappear

Endangered travel destinations around the world

Many of the world's most wondrous and beautiful destinations are in danger of being destroyed by a combination of environmental and social factors: a warming climate, pollution, strained resources, bulging populations, and booming tourist traffic. Below are some popular locations worth visiting before they disappear.

Glaciers, Glacier National Park

United States and Canada

Glacier National Park contains some of the most beautiful, primitive wilderness in the Rocky Mountains. There are more than 200 glacier-fed lakes, high peaks, sheer precipices, large forests, waterfalls, much wildlife, and a great variety of wildflowers. However, temperature fluctuations have caused glacier growth and depletion. Ten thousand years ago, the area of Glacier National Park was covered by ice up to one mile below sea level. The latest warm period has caused the number of glaciers to decrease from 150 in 1850 to 26 today. If current global warming trends continue, there will be no glaciers left in Glacier National Park by 2030.

Venice, Italy

With as many as 40 floods per year between March and September, Venice is slowly sinking at an estimated rate of 2.5 inches every 10 ten years. Venice, a city of beauty and charm, was built as a collection of 118 separate islands, relying entirely on a canal system of about 150 canals, mostly very narrow, crossed by some 400 bridges. A severe flood in December 2008 brought renewed attention to Venice's vulnerable state and imminent fate as an underwater city.

The Dead Sea

Border between Israel and the West Bank (W) and Jordan (E)

Known as one of the saltiest water bodies in the world and the lowest dry point on earth, the Dead Sea is fed by the Jordan River and a number of small streams. Because it is located in a very hot and dry region, the Dead Sea loses much water through evaporation, causing its level to fluctuate during the year. However, inflow to the Dead Sea has been greatly reduced by the increased use of the Jordan River by Israelis, Palestinians, and Jordanians, who have growing populations and increased agricultural needs, resulting in falling water levels. Currently, the Dead Sea recedes about three feet each year.

Mexico City, Mexico

In the past 100 years, Mexico City has sunk more than 30 feet. The original city was built on the site of a former lake—the Aztecs built the city on a series of aquatic platforms, but when the Spanish conquered the city, they drained the lake, causing it to sink. As the city population ballooned and the demand for water increased in the 20th century, the government began pumping much of the city's supply out of the underground aquifer that once fed the lake, causing the city to sink further. No practical plan has been made for the future to provide the 22 million inhabitants of Mexico City with the water they need without destroying the city.

Taj Mahal

Agra, Uttar Pradesh state, India

A mausoleum in northern India on the Yamuna River, the Taj Mahal is considered one of the most beautiful buildings in the world and the finest example of the late style of Indian Islamic architecture. The Mughal emperor Shah Jahan ordered it built after the death of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The building, which was completed between 1632 and 1638, is visited by three to four million tourists each year. The crowds and air pollution, however, have caused irreversible damage to the building's fa├žade, prompting tourism officials to consider closing the historic site to the public.

Pyramids of Giza

Giza, Egypt

One of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Pyramids of Giza, located outside modern Cairo, consist of three magnificent royal tombs guarded by a Sphinx. The Pyramids have been a heavily trafficked sightseeing area for centuries, but the pollution and magnitude of visitors has taken its toll on the ancient structures, which are not protected by Egyptian officials. Although camel and horseback tours are now banned from the site, the structures are still difficult to see through the crowds and vendors.

Little Green Street

London, United Kingdom

Located in the center of London, Little Green Street, is one of only a few surviving streets from Georgian England. Lined with about a dozen 18th century homes, Little Green Street only stretches a city block in length, but has survived the Blitz in World War II and three centuries of construction. As a perfect example of Regency London, it has been featured in poetry, photo shoots, and music videos, but today it is threatened by construction. Although an attempt to acquire the property failed in 2008, developers' appeals continue, and the threat of Little Green Street's destruction looms ahead.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Global Warming Fast Facts

1. Average temperatures have climbed 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degree Celsius) around the world since 1880, much of this in recent decades, according to NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

2. Arctic ice is rapidly disappearing, and the region may have its first completely ice-free summer by 2040 or earlier. Polar bears and indigenous cultures are already suffering from the sea-ice loss.

3. Glaciers and mountain snows are rapidly melting—for example, Montana's Glacier National Park now has only 27 glaciers, versus 150 in 1910. In the Northern Hemisphere, thaws also come a week earlier in spring and freezes begin a week later.

Celts' chances of winning Banner #18

Boston Celtics has just won over the Oklahoma City Thunders 103-84. Definitely, they survived another one at the Garden without Kevin Garnett. Celtic opponents are scratching and clawing to get into the playoffs, for better seedings, or to improve prospects for next season.

Pierce (27 points) gave a virtuoso offensive performance, Eddie House (16 points) hit three treys in the third quarter, Mikki Moore (12 points, 11 rebounds) delivered his first Celtic double-double, and Stephon Marbury added seven assists.

The Celts are now 56-19 with 7 games left in the regular season. Currently, they are the third-seeded team in the East and is set to face the Philadelphia in the first round of the playoffs. The Cavs leads the pack with 60-13 best record both in the east and the league, followed by the Magic with 54-18.

So, what is the Celts' chances of winning a repeat title? I think it's really a good sign here amidst of being actually the underdog... again. Remember, it will be very hard to beat the Celts four times in seven games. Believe me, they are a lot better team now than last year.

Their next game against the Bobcats is surely another tune-up game for the post season games. I can't wait to see Bill Walker, Mikki Moore and Stephon Marbury give their full potential come playoff time.