Christmas Trees? Whose idea was that?

Christmas Trees? Whose idea was that?

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Came across an article explaining the history of Christmas trees. It’s something I’ve been wondering about. I mean, who first decided it was a good idea to murder a tree, bring it inside your home, and decorate it, all in the name of our lord and savior Jesus Christ? Find out here!

xmas tree

May Black Friday bless this tree with many gifts

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Discovery of a Missing Link in the Evolutionary Chain

Dr. Brian Choo and his colleagues from the Institute of Vertebrae Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology in Beijing have recently made a discovery that changes the long-held theory that animals with backbones and jaws (osteichthyans) evolved from a cartilaginous shark-like creature. A 419 million-year-old fish fossil with a heavily-armored body, head, and tail was discovered in the Chinese town of Qujing. The osteichthyan group is made up of animals with bony skeletons (fish, humans, and other limbed animals).

The recent discovery of the fish fossil, dubbed Entelognathus primordialis, helps scientists understand more about the early evolutionary phases of creatures with vertebrae. Previously, scientists couldn’t directly link how fish and limbed land-animals evolved from a primarily cartilaginous creature. The discovery of Entelognathus primordialis, a fish with a bony vertebrae and cartilage satisfies this missing link in the early evolutionary chain.

The discovery indicates that the osteichthyan group didn’t independently develop their bony skeletons; rather they simply inherited them from their ancestor, Entelognathus primordialis. The science community has been mostly receptive of the discovery, many scientists mentioned it will take some time to fully let the news sink in, but that the implications are incredible.

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Gall Bladder Disease in a Yaz Lawsuit

The consequences of blood clot formation such as stroke, heart attack or deep vein thrombosis are prominently featured in most articles pertaining to a Yaz lawsuit. This is because initially Bayer Pharmaceuticals only considered these types of injuries in their settlement negotiations. Lately, however, the company has been considering claims for gallbladder disease caused by Yaz. Consequently, there have been more cases coming in.

Gallbladder disease is thought to be brought on by something that has attracted women to the 4th generation oral contraceptive Yaz: release of excess water weight prior to menstruation to alleviate symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). This release is also thought to elevate cholesterol levels in the body, which in turn increases the burden on the gallbladder which catches the bits of cholesterol released into the blood stream. It is also believed that drosperinone affects the gallbladder’s motility.

Studies indicate that the increased risk for gallbladder disease with the use of Yaz is said to be 20% in some women, which is not so bad but still statistically significant. Bayer Healthcare disputes the findings of these studies, referring to studies they conducted which indicate that the purported health risks from the use of Yaz is not clinically significant.

A woman using Yaz who has no family history or previous problems with the gallbladder may not be convinced by such studies. If everything else is eliminated and the use of Yaz is the only significant change in the lifestyle, it would seem to indicate that the adverse studies may have merit. As far as a Yaz lawsuit is concerned, this process of elimination makes a convincing argument, especially since it is one of many that has been brought before the courts in the Southern District of Illinois.

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Zimmerman’s Criminal Defense Attorney Will File Reimbursement for Expenses

A man in Florida who was acquitted of second degree murder may be able to get the state to pay for his defense expenses.

George Zimmerman was charged for the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February 2012. The prosecution claimed it was second-degree murder, arguing Zimmerman was guilty of racial profiling the African-American teenager at the time of the incident. Zimmerman’s criminal defense lawyer claimed the shooting was in self defense. In July 13, the jury found Zimmerman not guilty.

Under Florida law, a defendant who is acquitted is not liable for any costs associated with his defense. Zimmerman’s attorney Mark O’Mara can request the state to reimburse between $200,000 to $300,000 for depositions, expert testimonies and travel expenses. However, the request has to be approved by a judge or clerk of court once the motion is formally filed. According to the criminal defense team representative, the motion will not include attorney fees.

O’Mara expects that they may have to overcome any roadblocks the Judicial Administrative Commission may throw up, but he is not worried. As a criminal defense attorney in Florida, he is familiar with state laws. O’Mara himself has not been paid anything, but said that he kept billing records for this very contingency.

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Bankruptcy Can Make International Divorce Easier

One of the many problems that can lead to an international divorce is financial distress. It is difficult enough to maintain a marriage when people are of different cultures; problems with money can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

According to international divorce lawyers at Holmes, Diggs & Eames, PLLC, dissolving a marriage of people with different citizenships is more complicated than a straightforward divorce of two US citizens. There are the laws of other countries to consider which would affect the validity of such dissolution. That is not to say it is impossible; with the proper experienced legal representation, it can be done.

However, one can do without the added stress of financial problems. In most cases, filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can smooth the way for an international divorce, and make it a more relaxed process that it would otherwise be. An article on the website of Ryan J. Ruehle Attorney at Law, LLC, discusses the importance of determining one’s eligibility for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which requires a means test for people of a certain income level. An international divorce may mean a significant shift because it may reduce the disposable income available to both parties in a marriage.

Filing for bankruptcy would certainly take care of the financial aspects of a divorce proceeding because disclosure of assets and liabilities, net income and other relevant documents would be part and parcel of the process. It would encourage transparency that would certainly help make the divorce process much less stressful.

It is possible that declaring bankruptcy may pave the way to reconciliation due to the removal of a major stress in the marriage as well as requiring the cooperation of both parties in filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Conversely, an international divorce may render bankruptcy moot. It all depends on circumstances. At any rate, there is no question that filing for bankruptcy, an international divorce or both would go much better with the right legal representation, so the choice of lawyers should depend on the declared specialization and track record for success.

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Effects of Propane Explosions and Other Explosion Accidents on the Human Body

Blast injuries are what the effects of propane explosions and other explosion accidents on the human body are called. This is because an explosion is essentially a blast, not unlike a bomb. The most severe blast injuries are not primarily due to fire or debris as most people think, although those certainly leaves their marks on the human body as well. The biggest and most immediate threat from an explosion is pressure.

When a home propane tank, pipeline or tanker explodes, it is usually due to the rapid buildup of pressure beyond the capacity of a confined space, usually because there was a source of ignition. The energy released is due to the sudden expansion of molecules as it escapes confinement, and it can produce a radiating blast wave with speeds between 3 and 9 km per second. According to the Explosion Victim Resource Center website, people not even in the immediate vicinity of the blast may well become victims as well depending on the force of the explosion.

The nearer a person is to the blast wave, the higher the concussive force. Immediately after the compression, the air is sucked back into the vacuum produced by the blast, causing a depressurization effect. This rapid change in pressure can wreak havoc on a person’s body, especially those parts filled with air such as the lungs, stomach and ears. Brain injury is also likely if a person is thrown first this way and that. If the force is strong enough, just the pressure change can kill a person. In some cases, it results in ruptured ear drums and internal hemorrhaging which would need medical attention. If the explosion is the result of some type of negligence, an article in the Sheboygan Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® website points out that one would need medical records to make a personal injury claim anyway, so that is hitting two birds with one stone.

All these traumas to the human body will not necessarily result in death, although it is not something one within the blast radius simply walks away from. The human body is highly resilient, and provided medical attention is received in a timely manner and the blast is about 1 pound per square inch (psi), complete recovery is possible. However, it will probably take considerable time and cost to put things to rights. In the meantime, a personal injury lawyer should be retained if the accident is due to negligence of a third party to offset pecuniary and non-pecuniary losses sustained by the victims of an explosion.

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Medical Attention is Necessary for Suspected Brain Injuries

According to the website of the Sampson Law Firm, more than a million people in the US involved in physically traumatic accidents sustain brain injuries. Although car accidents are the most obvious proximate cause of brain injuries, it can also be due to slips and falls in malls, amusement park rides such as roller coasters, or as a result of a physical altercation. People who have brain injuries may not even know it, especially in closed head injuries because unless you are in a car accident or similar event, the tendency is to simply shake it off and not seek medical attention. This can be a serious mistake because if left untreated, some brain injuries can lead to death.

Perhaps the most common and often easily dismissed type of brain injury is a concussion. Most people know to keep a person who had been knocked on the head awake for at least 24 hours to see if they lose consciousness. Only then do they seek medical help. However, some brain injuries can bring on post-traumatic seizures which may lead to epilepsy, and the administration of anti-convulsant medication immediately following trauma to the head can prevent this and the subsequent medical complications. The costs of going to the emergency room for any significant head trauma will be well worth it.

If the incident that resulted in brain injuries was due to the negligence or recklessness of another person, the trauma victim may actually recoup all emergency medical costs and subsequent treatments. As an article on The Law Offices of Vic Feazell, P.C., in Austin website points out, actual medical bills for serious brain injuries can be prohibitive, not to mention the loss of income and other effects of sustaining a debilitating condition. It is not right that a victim should have to pay for these costs without assistance. With experienced and aggressive legal representation, compensation for brain injuries sustained in a preventable traumatic event may be possible.

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Medical Malpractice: Adding Salt to Personal Injury

The reason most people go to a doctor, hospital or other health care professionals and facilities is because there is something wrong with them. It could be physical, mental or psychological. The idea is for them to get better. Medical malpractice is the antithesis of this primary goal; people go home worse and definitely poorer than when they got there, if they go home at all.

Health care professionals have a higher standard of care than most professions. This is because they literally hold the life of their patients in their hands. When health care professionals breach their duty of care through unprofessional, reckless or negligent acts, they should be held liable. When a doctor or other medical professional makes an error so heinous no other doctor in his or her right mind can see a good reason for it, he has not practiced medicine, but instead has performed an unforgivable crime against medicine’s name. Injuring a patient runs counter to everything an honorable medical professional stands for.

The potential for personal injury in a medical malpractice case is very high. While it is widely understood that there are risks involved in any kind of medical treatment or surgical procedure, there are limits to what may be considered as acceptable risks. When any harm or injury to the patient is unnecessary and preventable while undergoing medical treatment, this is not acceptable. According to San Diego-based personal injury law firm Ritter & Associates, the health care professional or facility should be held liable for all expenses accruing from the effects of medical malpractice.

Unfortunately, most health care professionals and facilities are underwritten by insurance companies for medical malpractice, and the people who represent these insurance companies are highly adept at finding ways and means to deny paying even a perfectly valid personal injury claim. With this in mind, it is clearly difficult to file a claim on your own, especially if you want to win your case. In medical malpractice in particular, you will really have to find a personal injury lawyer in your area who is experienced in handling medical malpractice cases and dealing with insurance companies. Their knowledge and experience in handling these matters equips them with an ability to squeeze as much as possible out of penny-pinching insurance providers.

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Number of Drunk Driving Accidents is Decreasing

Things are looking up for sober driving advocates in the US. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 9,878 fatalities in drunk driving accidents. This translates to one death every 53 minutes. And yet this grim statistic is actually an improvement over the previous year, when 10,228 people died. Compared to 1991 when 15,827 deaths due to drunk driving accidents occurred, the reduction was 35% nationwide.

The downward trend of fatalities in drunk driving accidents reflects an overall downward trend in car crash fatalities overall. In 2011, 32,367 died compared to 10 years previously in 2001 when 42,196 fatalities occurred. This improvement is considered to be due to widespread information campaigns and prevention efforts by both civilian and government entities, as well as personal injury law firms. An article on the website of Hull & Zimmerman, P.C. points out that drunk driving accidents have long-term effects on victims and their families, and that negligent drivers are liable for pecuniary damages.

Not that there are no consequences to drunk drivers even when they are not held civilly liable. Drunk driving is considered a criminal offense in the US, and when a death occurs, the penalties can be severe. According to the website of Cape Cod criminal defense lawyer James Powderly, Massachusetts has stringent drunk driving laws, and the penalties for a driver convicted of drunk driving are getting harsher every year. This includes fines, jail time and license suspension or revocation. Rigorous legal representation will is needed to prevent a conviction for the wrongfully accused. Drunk driving accidents are by definition negligent acts, and therefore have civil and criminal consequences. However, things are not always as they seem.

It is a good thing that there seems to be a downward trend for drunk driving accidents. Drunk driving accidents have a negative impact on all concerned, but especially if a driver is wrongfully held criminally and civilly liable. Sometimes an accident is just that; an accident.

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Liability for Road Defects

Roads along highways and city areas in the US are generally well maintained, so most drivers take it for granted that it is safe to travel at reasonable speeds and only need to look out for other motorists. Highways and city roads are public property and are generally the responsibility and under the control of one or more government agencies. It is therefore likely that if there are road defects, a vehicle would sustain damage at the very least. As pointed out in the website of Disparti Law Group in Chicago, such road defects can also lead to serious personal injury. Fortunately, Illinois is a state where it is possible to file a claim against a government entity for personal injury or property damage. There are conditions that need to be fulfilled, however.

First, the plaintiff has to establish that the road was public property and under the control of the government, and that he or she was the permitted and intended user of the public road or highway. In most cases, that is easy enough to establish; most roads and highways are open for use to all licensed motorists. In the unlikely scenario that the plaintiff was not allowed on a certain public road i.e. restricted access road then the agency in control cannot be held liable for any damage or injury.

Secondly, the plaintiff has to show that the responsible agency knew, or should have known, of the road defect and failed to remedy the situation within a reasonable period of time. Actual and constructive knowledge may be presumed when the defect is so conspicuous, or has been there for such a long period of time. A large pothole, for example, does not appear overnight; the failure of the responsible agency to do something about it could be construed as negligence. A large crack on the road caused by an earthquake does not render the agency liable unless it is allowed to remain as is for a long time without even warning signs posted to alert motorists.

It should also be noted that tort liability of government agencies in Illinois is limited to actual damages. However, it is not as easy as it sounds. Suing the government is always a tricky situation, and you may just be wasting your time. Get legal representation experienced in handling tort claims against a government agency for a better chance of success.

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