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Hidden City tackles the 'complicated' CHOP expansion

Hidden City takes an in-depth look at CHOP's expansion to the eastern banks of the Schuylkill.

Doug Carney, CHOP’s senior vice president of facilities, said his hopes were that CHOP would continue to “be attractive to the world-class researchers we compete for.”
Carney’s invocation of “world-class,” however, left an opening for those in the audience unhappy with CHOP’s plan for a 23-story, half-a-million-square-foot tower right next to the low-rise neighborhoods of Graduate Hospital and the Devil’s Pocket, which would bring 1,000 CHOP researchers to the site each day. (Note that this is not going to be a place for patient care, as with CHOP’s complex across the river, but an office building for research.) “Is it world-class,” a follow-up questioner asked the CHOP team, “to drive 76 then take a ramp into a parking garage?”

It doesn’t seem that CHOP’s institutional ambitions and the city’s ideal planning needs will coalesce. But CHOP, which is currently undertaking a remarkable amount of expansion, has goodwill on its side -- it is, after all, devoted to the care of children -- as well as, frankly, considerable leverage to do what it wants. The Graduate Hospital Area project serves as a good insight into CHOP’s role in the city and illustrates the influence it wields.

Original source: Hidden City Philadelphia
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Inventing the Future: Researchers at Monell tackle the roots of obesity

Monell Chemical Senses Center, a nonprofit research organization in University City, is at the forefront of research into how eating habits during pregnancy and infancy impact obesity.

The Monell researchers have identified several sensitive periods for taste preference development. One is before three and a half months of age, which makes what the mother eats while pregnant and breast-feeding so important. “It’s our fundamental belief that during evolution, we as humans are exposed to flavors both in utero and via mother’s milk that are signals of things that will be in our diets as we grow up and learn about what flavors are acceptable based on those experiences,” said Gary Beauchamp, the director of the Monell Center. “Infants exposed to a variety of flavors in infancy are more willing to accept a variety of flavors, including flavors that are associated with various vegetables and so forth and that might lead to a more healthy eating style later on.”

Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

Mighty Writers moves into Hawthorne Hall on Lancaster Avenue

Curbed Philly reports on an exciting development: Mighty Writers is moving into Hawthorne Hall on Lancaster Avenue.

While Hawthorne Hall patiently awaits its anchor tenant, a surge of youthful creativity is bursting forth just a few doors down.

On the western edge of the building cluster is the former home of Truelight Missionary Baptist Church, where its once-abandoned pews have been replaced with collaborative workspaces, a small performance area, and the seasoned influential voice of Annette John-Hall, Director of Mighty Writers West Philadelphia campus at 3861 Lancaster Avenue.

Founded in 2009 by former Philadelphia Weekly editor Tim Whitaker, Mighty Writers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that offers SAT prep courses, homework help, mentorships, and writing workshops to Philadelphia students between the ages of 7-17. The volunteer-rich organization has been a tremendous benefactor of academic growth in the wake of massive budget cuts to Philadelphia schools in recent years.

Original source: Curbed Philly
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Penn doctors examine the black-white divide in breast cancer outcomes

For years, scientists and doctors have puzzled over the disparity in outcomes between white and black breast cancer sufferers. A team at the University of Pennsylvania recently published a report on the subject.

The findings were striking. Over all, white women with breast cancer lived three years longer than black women. Of the women studied, nearly 70 percent of white women lived at least five years after diagnosis, while 56 percent of black women were still alive five years later. The difference is not explained by more aggressive cancers among black women. Instead, the researchers found a troubling pattern in which black women were less likely to receive a diagnosis when their cancer was at an early stage and most curable. In addition, a significant number of black women also receive lower-quality cancer care after diagnosis, although those differences do not explain the survival gap.

Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

Jose Garces' Distrito named one of the best Mexican spots in U.S.

Travel & Leisure names Jose Garces' Distrito, the West Philly taco-and-margarita mecca, one of the best Mexican restaurants in the country.

Television celebrity chefs and quality Mexican food aren’t necessarily a match made en el cielo, but in the case of Food Network’s Chicago-born Ecuadorian Iron Chef Jose Garces’ Distrito, the connection pays off. The somewhat gaudy, pink, loud, huge restaurant is dedicated to the cuisine of Mexico City and serves nachos, ceviches,huaraches, tamales, enchiladas, and moles that Philadelphians recognize as not necessarily authentic, but some of the most satisfying versions on the East Coast regardless.

Original source: Travel & Leisure 
Read the complete list here.

Eater's Top 25 Burgers list features Philly favorites

The national food blog Eater -- which also has a local chapter, Eater Philly -- recently released a list of the "25 Hottest Burgers in America Right Now." Hickory Lane and Spot Gourmet (a food truck!) made the cut. This description of Hickory Lane's entry has us drooling.

Former Rouge chef Matt Zagorski is cooking really nice food at this Fairmount Avenue restaurant. But the burger, as critic Craig Laban will tell you, is the way to go: "10 ounces of custom-ground brisket, filet, and deckle, seared to a cast-iron crisp and then snugged in the embrace of a brioche bun between delicate folds of bibb lettuce and a molten lid of tangy Cabot cheddar. It’s hard to imagine a burger this tasty as a burden. Then again, it’s so good that it’s also become clear: No change of scenery or molecular tricks will ever let Zagorski truly escape. The power of his patty is simply the best reason to visit Hickory Lane."

Original source: Eater
Read the full list here.

Local researchers examine impact of fracking on health

The University of Pennsylvania's Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology is leading the effort to assess the health risks of natural gas extraction. They are heading up a national coalition of institutions set to analyze and map the risks of fracking.

The aim is to bring academic discipline to the unresolved national debate, which pits an industry that denies any link between fracking and environmental contamination against those who assert that fracking poisons air and water with natural and man-made chemicals that can cause cancer, birth defects and other illnesses.

“There is an enormous amount of rhetoric on both sides,” said Trevor M. Penning, head of the Penn toxicology center and the driving force behind the Environmental Health Sciences Core Center Hydrofracking Working Group. “We felt that because we are situated in Pennsylvania, we had a duty to get on top of what was known and what was not known.”

Original source: The New York Times
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CHOP's innovative treatment for Leukemia shows tremendous promise

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) used a disabled form the AIDS virus to treat a young girl's leukemia. The results have been remarkable for 7-year-old Emma Whitehead and her family, and constitute a major breakthrough in the treatment of cancer. Doctors hope the new treatment, developed at the University of Pennsylvania, will eventually replace bone-marrow transplantation.

The treatment very nearly killed her. But she emerged from it cancer-free, and about seven months later is still in complete remission. She is the first child and one of the first humans ever in whom new techniques have achieved a long-sought goal — giving a patient’s own immune system the lasting ability to fight cancer.
Original Source: The New York Times
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Wharton study: Entrepreneurship yields happiness, even sans success

A study by the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School indicates entrepreneurship and happiness go together like peanut butter and jelly, even if one's startup isn't crushing it, reports The Street.
In general, the study contradicted the old saying that money cannot buy happiness; the more money someone earned, the happier they tended to be. The older respondents also tended to be happier than the younger ones.
Original source: The Street
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Second annual Vendy Awards honor best Philly food trucks on Saturday

Zagat checks in on the Philly food truck scene, including Saturday's second annual Philadelphia Vendy Awards.
After sifting through nominations, organizers have determined the 12 contenders for best food truck in Philly, judged by both a panel of food industry pro and festival attendees. The savory options at The Lot in West Philly on that late July Saturday will come from Delicias, The Foo Truck, King of Falafel, Lil Dan’s Gourmet, The Smoke Truck, Tacos Don Memo, Vernalicious and Yumtown. On the sweet side, enjoy desserts from Lil’ Pop Shop, Little Baby’s Ice Cream, Sugar Philly and Sweet Box. To eat your fill of all that goodness and make your food truck vote count, snag a ticket for $55 to the 3-7 PM event here (bonus: the price of admission does include beer).
Original source: Zagat
Read the full story here.

Women draft their way to the front of craft brewing

The Washington Post profiles prominent ladies of the craft brew scene, including Rosemarie Certo of Dock Street Brewing Co. iN West Philadelphia.
Certo’s interest in beer started when she began making beer at home because she wasn’t happy with what was available domestically at the time. She started Dock Street in 1985 and remembers in the early days going to make a sales pitch to a distributor and being the only woman in a room of more than 50. “I remember not being bothered by it,” she recalls.
Original source: Washington Post
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Tweet to win two tickets to Phorum 2012, a $600 value

Phorum 2012, the inaugural technology conference for business and IT executives that will explore cloud computing, is giving away a pair of tickets for its March 28 event at World Cafe Live.

To win, all you have to do is tell us – in 140 characters – what possibilities you see for cloud computing in your business.  Just write to us on Twitter @PhorumPhilly. Our panel of industry leading judges will choose the 2 they find most creative and compelling.

You can submit entries from March 12th at 12 noon to March 19th at 12 noon. We’ll only accept one entry per Twitter handle, and the ticket is nontransferable.  It has no cash value and you’re on your own for transportation.

Original source: Phorum 2012
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The buck strolls on Baltimore Ave. in University City

Baltimore Ave.'s Dollar Stroll in University City makes MonkeyDish's list of 50 great ideas among national restaurant innovations.
Each Stroll has attracted over a thousand patrons who don’t mind waiting in line to sample the familiar at shops such as Milk & Honey Market, which specializes in local cheese, produce and their own urban honey, and far-away cuisines at Desi Chaat House and Vientiane Cafe.

Original source: MonkeyDish
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Cement job: Drexel materials scientists aim to reduce carbon under foot

Drexel University materials scientists Alexander Moseson and Michel Barsoum have created a low-tech, low-energy cement they hope will reduce carbon output as developing countries build more sidewalks, roads and housing.

Potential demand for lower-carbon building materials has sparked a race to replace Portland cement featuring a handful of manufacturers and scientists. Some claim to sequester carbon within the cement itself. Others use alternative fuels. Still others tap unconventional feedstocks, such as magnesium silicate, that require lower kiln temperatures.

Moseson and Barsoum are trying the latter, mixing recycled iron slag or fly ash with readily available limestone. "We literally used a bag of garden lime from Home Depot," Moseson said. Instead of a coal-fired kiln, they use a bucket with a spoon at room temperature.

Original source: Daily Climate
Read the full story here.

National expansion coming soon for Storably's peer-to-peer parking and storage marketplace

Young Upstarts takes a peek at Philadelphia's Storably, launched in September by Wharton graduates and on the verge of bringing its platform -- likened to Airbnb for storage -- to other markets.

The founders started working in a basement from May this year, putting together mockups and building the site with an off-shore development team. However, the quality wasn’t quite what they expected. Kowitt and Gupta then hired a full-time VP of Engineering, Nick Shiftan, who rebuilt the site from scratch. They later brought on Brendan Lowry as a community manager. The site was formally launched in Philadelphia on September 21, and the startup intends to expand nationally soon.

Original source: Young Upstarts
Read the full story here.

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