February 5, 2016
Our open borders
In a shocking reversal of policy, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents are being told to release illegal immigrants and no longer order them to appear at deportation hearings, essentially a license to stay in the United States, a key agent testified Thursday.
What's more, the stand down order includes a requirement that the whereabouts of illegals released are not to be tracked. "We might as well abolish our immigration laws altogether," suggested agent Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council.
Testifying on the two-year border surge of immigrant youths, Judd said the policy shift was prompted by Obama administration "embarrassment" that just over half of illegals ordered to appear in court actually do.
Criminal networks with Latin American roots, such as MS-13 and the 18th Street gang, are using the administration's open-door policy at the border to slip in recruits that are causing a huge spike in murder and violence throughout the nation, according to an immigration expert.
Testifying Thursday at a House hearing on the border surge of young Latinos, the expert said, "Established gangs have been able to transfer an unknown number of experienced foot soldiers from Central America to help colonize new criminal territory in the United States."
A resurgence of tropical diseases is occurring in America’s Southwest, presenting troublesome risks for its citizens, as well as physicians unfamiliar with treating them. Several factors contribute to this new phenomenon, including hot and humid climates, an increase in the number of insects carrying tropical diseases, poverty, and the influx of illegal immigrants crossing into the U.S. from parts of Latin America, such as Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
Some of the so-called “tropical” diseases being observed by the medical community include Chagas disease, neurocysticercosis (a parasitic disease that infects the brain), dengue virus, chikungunya virus, river blindness and cutaneous leishmaniasis.
The Yale Problem
A fascinating and important interview with Jonathan Haidt, "Most people are Horrified by What's Going on in the Universities
We had no idea that the universities were about to commit suicide... [W]e get the Missouri fiasco, the Yale fiasco, the Amherst fiasco, the Brown fiasco. You get place after place where protesters are making demands of college presidents, and college presidents roll over and give in.
Look, I graduated from Yale in ’85. Yale is very devoted to social justice. It’s very devoted to affirmative action. Now no place is perfect. But it’s probably among the best places in the country. And to have protesters saying it’s such a thoroughly racist place that it needs a total reformation – they call the protest group ”Next Yale”– they demand “Next Yale”!......, I’ve begun calling it, “the Yale problem,” referring to the way that left-leaning institutions are now cut off from any moral vocabulary that they could use to resist the forces of illiberalism. As far as I’m concerned, “Next Yale” can go find its own “Next Alumni.” I don’t plan to give to Yale ever again, unless it reverses course.
Victim groups dominate
For many years now, there have been six sacred groups. You know, the big three are African-Americans, women and LGBT. ...Latinos, Native Americans, and people with disabilities. So those are the six that have been there for a while. But now we have a seventh–Muslims. Something like 70 or 75 percent of America is now in a protected group.
We're raising our children to be fragile
The big thing that really worries me – the reason why I think things are going to get much, much worse – is that one of the causal factors here is the change in child-rearing that happened in America in the 1980s. With the rise in crime, amplified by the rise of cable TV, we saw much more protective, fearful parenting. Children since the 1980s have been raised very differently–protected as fragile.... children are anti-fragile. Bone is anti-fragile. If you treat it gently, it will get brittle and break. Bone actually needs to get banged around to toughen up. And so do children. I’m not saying they need to be spanked or beaten, but they need to have a lot of unsupervised time, to get in over their heads and get themselves out. And that greatly decreased in the 1980s. Anxiety, fragility and psychological weakness have skyrocketed in the last 15-20 years. So, I think millennials come to college with much thinner skins. And therefore, until that changes, I think we’re going to keep seeing these demands to never hear anything offensive.
...We know from various things we’ve read and posted on our site, that liberal arts colleges – especially the women’s schools – are by far the worst. Nobody should send their child to a women’s school any more. And that’s especially true if you’re progressive. The last thing you want is for your progressive daughter to be raised in this bullying monoculture, and to become a self-righteous bully herself.
Call upon alumni
“The Yale Problem,” is a much more existential threat to the whole system. ...Most people are horrified by what’s going on. ...If we can find an easy way to organize alumni and get them to put their donations in escrow, or otherwise stop giving to schools that don’t commit to free speech and free inquiry, we may begin to see schools move away from illiberalism and return to their traditional role as institutions organized to pursue truth.
February 4, 2016
Health roundup: Fats and garlic for your heart, Statins, new uses for old drugs and more
Study author Dr Dariush Mozaffarian, of the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, said: ‘Worldwide, policymakers are focused on reducing saturated fats. ‘Yet, we found there would be a much bigger impact on heart disease deaths if the priority was to increase the consumption of polyunsaturated fats as a replacement for saturated fats and refined carbohydrates, as well as to reduce trans fats.’
Polyunsaturated fats help reduce bad cholesterol levels in the blood. That, in turn, can lower the risks of heart disease and stroke. Furthermore, oils that are rich in polyunsaturated fats provide essential fats that the body needs – including long chain fatty acids. Polyunsaturated fats can be found in foods including soybeans, corn and sunflower oils, tofu, nuts and seeds. They are also contained it fatty fishes, such as salmon, mackerel, herring and trout.
The study sought to estimate the number of annual deaths related to various patterns of fat consumption.
The team of scientists used 2010 data from 186 countries....eating too little healthy omega-6 polyunsaturated fats accounted for 10.3 per cent of total global heart disease deaths.... excess consumption of trans fats accounted for 7.7 per cent of global heart disease deaths.
Aged garlic extract reduces dangerous plaque buildup in arteries, according to the study from Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. That helps prevent the progression of heart disease – which is the leading cause of death worldwide.
The study involved 55 patients between the ages of 40 and 75, each of whom were diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. The participants were screened at the beginning of the study to measure their total coronary plaque volume as was their dense calcium, non-calcified plaque and low-attenuation plaque using cardiac computed tomography angiography (CCTA), an imaging technology that measures deposits and build up in arteries.
One year later, a follow-up screening was conducted. The study determined those who had taken aged garlic extract had slowed the total plaque accumulation by 80 per cent. Furthermore, they reduced soft plaque and demonstrated regression for low-attenuation plaque.
The findings fall in line with a study last year from the University of Missouri. That study revealed garlic offers the brain protection against aging and disease.It also suggested garlic could even prevent age-related neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
Antidepressant use doubles the risk of suicide in under 18s and the risks to adults may have been seriously underestimated, researchers find after an analysis of 70 trials of the most common antidepressants - involving more than 18,000 people.
Like mother, like daughter: 'Emotional' brain circuit is passed down through the female line and may be a factor in depression
It has been long suspected that mothers can 'pass on' depression to their daughters. Researchers believe the wiring in the brain structure, known as the corticolimbic system, may be an inherited factor contributing to risk, or resistance to depression being passed on.
132,000 cases of the often-fatal melanoma occur globally every year. Those under diagnosed with melanoma began using sunbeds at about 16 and used them more frequently than older women. All but 2 of 63 diagnosed with melanoma under 30 reported tanning indoors
70% of patients at emergency department with heart palpitations had consumed an energy drink - 36% in the last 24 hours.
Healthy patients taking the heart drug statins have a significantly higher risk of new diabetes and a very high risk of serious diabetic complications, a study has found.
The research, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine in May 2015, tracked individuals in a database for almost ten years. It discovered statin users had a higher incidence of diabetes and also weight gain.
Patients using the drugs were also more likely than the others to develop diabetes with complications including eye, nerve and kidney damage.
An estimated 20 million people worldwide suffer with dry age-related macular degeneration - known as dry AMD - a disease which causes blurred vision and eventually blindness. Known as the ‘Alzheimer’s of the eye’ because of the way it robs elderly people of their sight, the condition affects a quarter of British over-60s. Until now there have been very few treatments for the condition, but experts have discovered that statins - a cheap cholesterol drug already taken by millions - may provide a solution....
Scientists at Harvard Medical School in the US found that high-dose treatment with the statin Lipitor cleared away fatty deposits behind the retina, leading to visual improvement in ten patients with dry AMD. They hope that future larger trials will show that the drug has the potential to halt progression and even reverse the disease in some cases.
Scientists say artesunate could be effective for the estimated 40,000 Britons who are diagnosed with the disease every year. ..Artesunate is derived from the leaves of sweet wormwood, an aromatic herb used to treat fever for more than 2,000 years. Chinese scientist Tu Youyou was awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Medicine for her discovery that the herb could be used to treat malaria.
Early trials show that bowel-cancer patients who took the drug for two weeks before surgery were six times less likely to have a recurrence of the disease compared to those who took a placebo. Patients taking the drug did not suffer any side effects, giving hope that the pill could provide a safe, affordable treatment....Only one patient taking artesunate had a recurrence of cancer after three-and- a-half years, compared to six in the placebo group. Now the treatment is being rolled out in a larger UK trial involving 140 patients.
One of the most commonly recognized symptoms of autism is problems with social interaction and communication including difficulty understanding and being aware of other people's emotions and feelings as well as problems taking part in, or starting, conversations
But a new study used a common drug taken for high blood pressure pill helped to improve the both verbal and non verbal conversational skills. Researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia gave 20 volunteers either a 40-milligram dose of propranolol or a placebo pill....It found the total communication scores were significantly greater when the individual took propranolol compared to the placebo.
'Though more research is needed to study its effects after more than one dose, these preliminary results show a potential benefit of propranolol to improve the conversational and nonverbal skills of individuals with autism,' associate professor Dr David Beversdorf.
February 3, 2016
By changing less than one-quarter of the makeup of standard concrete, a researcher from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has developed a way to melt ice and snow from the ground up.The seemingly ordinary concrete can conduct enough electricity to clear pathways and even create shields against industrial espionage, but is safe to the touch.
The first test of that theory came shortly afterward when the ragtag Dutch fleet was frozen into the Amsterdam harbor, making the Dutch unable to confront the Spanish ships head-on. Taking that advantage, Spanish troops began marching across the ice to attack the ships first, and then they planned to head to the coastline on foot.
But as they marched gingerly across the frozen ice, they were confronted by a horrifying apparition. Wave after wave of Dutch soldiers flew across the surface of the ice with incredible speed, flitting into range just long enough to fire a musket before retreating again behind walls of ice and frozen snow. The Spanish soldiers had never seen anything like it: “It was a thing never heard of before today,” the Spanish Duke of Alva recounted with grudging admiration, “to see a body of musketeers fighting like that on a frozen sea.
23 Delicious Mad Men Era Dishes America Shouldn’t Have Given Up On. Beef Wellington for sure. Chicken Kiev, Waldorf Salad, Apple Cake, Chicken a la King
January 31, 2016
A Few Practical Tips
To stay motivated on a diet, Take a photo of yourself every week: Full body snaps motivate slimmers because they can actually SEE the results
2. Transfer in the South
... Most major airlines use a “hub and spoke” model, where they direct traffic to a central “hub” and then send flights out to the “spokes.” For many travelers, this means you will have at least one layover. Even non-traditional airlines such as JetBlue and Southwest will have you make at least one stop. So why pick a layover in the South? Because it is winter time and you don't want to be delayed by the snow.
12. Download Your Airline's App
Many airlines now have their own apps for smart phones, which provide multiple benefits. Not only can you see the status of your flight, but you can also see alternatives flights. You may be able to check in through your phone, use the phone as your boarding pass, and in some cases airlines will let you access certain Internet content during the flight through their app.
10. Orajel will stop mosquito bites from itching immediately.
16. Unshrink a sweater with baby shampoo.
26. Use toothpaste to take the scratches out of DVDs and CDs.
If you are forever misplacing your keys, your wallet or your luggage, invest in some Tiles.
The Good-Luck Charm That Solved a Public-Health Problem Warding off anemia with small iron fish. Using a cast iron skillet also works.
Keep or toss? 77 Expiration Dates That You Should Know. A handy keep-or-toss guide from Real Simple.
January 29, 2016
Airglow from Lake to Sky, Astronomy Picture of the Day, photographer Dave Lane on January 28, 2016
Why would the sky look like a giant fan? Airglow. The featured intermittent green glow appeared to rise from a lake through the arch of our Milky Way Galaxy, as captured last summer next to Bryce Canyon in Utah, USA. The unusual pattern was created by atmospheric gravity waves, ripples of alternating air pressure that can grow with height as the air thins, in this case about 90 kilometers up. Unlike auroras powered by collisions with energetic charged particles and seen at high latitudes, airglow is due to chemiluminescence, the production of light in a chemical reaction. More typically seen near the horizon, airglow keeps the night sky from ever being completely dark.
Beauty Is Physics’ Secret Weapon by Steve Paulson
Frank Wilczek, a professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, ... won the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics ...is not just a leading theoretical physicist but a student of philosophy and admirer of poet William Blake and Renaissance Italian architect Filippo Brunelleschi. ....
"It matters to me a lot whether the world is beautiful. It’s also a practical question for physicists, engineers, and designers. At the frontiers of physics, we’re dealing with realms of the very small and the very large and the very strange. Everyday experience is not a good guide and experiments can be difficult and expensive. So the source of intuition is not so much from everyday experience or from a massive accumulation of facts, but from feelings about what would give the laws of nature more inner coherence and harmony. My work has been guided by trying to make the laws more beautiful....Take the fact that the laws are eternal. That doesn’t sound like symmetry, but it is because the laws don’t change as the universe ages. So we have a change without change."
College student builds 'stained glass' igloo with blocks of colored ice and smallish front door. Mitch Fitch, 18, got the idea from his mother and built the igloo in front of his dorm at St. John's University in Minnesota.
The Tree Farm in a land where there are no trees.
Now the great spaces of Sutherland and Caithness have become famous for their silence, their seclusion, their isolation. One’s eye may roam for miles all around, unfettered, over empty lands where once there were trees, and then there were people, and now there is nothing.
Babel Tower: A Kinetic Mirrored Ziggurat Reflects the Surrounding Iranian Landscape See it move at the link.
January 23, 2016
Five Remedies Against Sadness from St Thomas Aquinas
5 Remedies Against Sadness "Saint Thomas Aquinas suggests five remedies against sadness that have proven surprisingly effective."
1. The first remedy is granting ourselves something we like. It’s as though the famous theologian had already intuited seven centuries ago that “chocolate is an antidepressant.” This might seem a bit materialistic, but no one would deny that a tough day can end well with a good beer....
2. The second remedy is weeping....Weeping is the soul’s way to release a sorrow that can become paralyzing....
3. The third remedy is sharing our sorrow with a friend.....
4. The fourth remedy against sadness is contemplating the truth. Contemplating ...the splendor of truth in nature or a work of art or music, can be an effective balm against sadness. .....
5. The fifth remedy is bathing and sleeping. ...... The theologian says that a wonderful remedy against sadness is bathing and sleeping. It’s a deeply Christian viewpoint that in order to alleviate a spiritual malady one will sometimes have to resort to a bodily remedy. Ever since God became Man, and therefore took on a body, the separation between matter and spirit has been overcome in this world of ours.
January 22, 2016
You've experience the emotion, now learn the word that precisely describes it.
Tiffany Watt Smith has been an emotions expert in London for years. She has written a book - The Book of Human Emotion - to highlight unique ones and the words that describe them. Some come from other languages, others she probably made up. But, if you love words, these are lovely. I just wish I could remember them all.
Rage against the machines: TECHNOSTRESS:
The Greek philosopher Aristotle observed that we’re more likely to fly into a violent rage when slighted by someone we perceive to be inferior to us. ...It may be precisely why computers and other electronic devices rouse such murderous reactions. They are supposed to be making our lives easier, these willful electronic slaves of ours. But mostly it feels as if they’re in charge, forcing us to negotiate with them, cooperate, read their manuals …
Time is running out: TORSCHLUSSPANIK
Torschlusspanik describes the agitated, fretful feeling we get when we notice time is running out.
The heart pounds, the nape of the neck prickles, as the deadline approaches. Yet, we’re stuck, bewildered by choices and terrified we’re about to make the wrong one. Life, and all its abundant opportunities, is passing us by.....Literally translated from the German as ‘gate-closing-panic’, Torschlusspanik was coined in the Middle Ages. Seeing a rampaging army approach, and knowing that the castle gates were about to close, travellers and shepherds flung their belongings aside and stampeded across the drawbridge to safety.
Antsy anticipation: IKTSUARPOK:
When visitors are due to arrive, a fidgety feeling sprouts up. We might keep glancing out of the window. Or pause mid-sentence, thinking we’ve heard the sound of a car. Among the Inuit this antsy anticipation, causing them to scan the frozen Arctic plains for approaching sleds, is called iktsuarpok (pronounced eet-so-ahr-pohk).
Feeling cozy with friends: GEZELLIGHEID:
It’s no surprise that so many of northern Europe’s languages have a particular word for feeling cosy (from the Gaelic còsag, a small hole you can creep into). It’s when the rain is mizzling and the damp rises from the canals that we yearn for the feeling the Dutch call gezelligheid...Derived from the word for ‘friend’, gezelligheid describes both physical circumstances – being snug in a warm and homely place surrounded by good friends (it’s impossible to be gezelligheid alone) – and an emotional state of feeling ‘held’ and comforted.
The excitement of sailing with the wind: HWYL
Literally the word for a boat sail, hywl is a wonderfully onomatopoeic Welsh word (pronounced who-eel) that means exuberance or excitement, as if clipping along on a gust of wind. Used to describe flashes of inspiration, a singer’s gusto or raised spirits at parties, hwyl is also the word for goodbye:
Hywl fawr – Go with the wind in your sails.
The empty, slightly diminished feeling after visitors leave: AWUMBUK
There is an emptiness after visitors depart. The walls echo. The space which felt so cramped while they were here now seems weirdly large. And though there is often relief, we can also be left with a muffled feeling – as if a fog has descended and everything seems rather pointless
Hyperchondriacs on the web develop: CYBERCHONDRIA: Anxiety about ‘symptoms’ of an ‘illness’ fueled by internet ‘research
With eight of his comrades left to the fate of a nightmare island, the future president escaped a similar end because he bailed out of his plane further from the island’s shores than the other crews, and despite a bleeding head injury, managed to climb on to an inflated raft. His co-pilot’s parachute did not open. Japanese boats set out to capture Bush but several American fighter planes circled protectively overhead, driving them back with heavy fire. Bleeding, vomiting and weeping with fear, George H. W. Bush’s ordeal went on for many hours until the giant black hull of the USS Finback submarine suddenly surfaced right in front of his raft. Having escaped just the clutches of death, he said to his rescuers, “Happy to be aboard”.
Car manufacturers got in on it a long time ago. Virtual vehicles are easier to light and keep clean, and don’t reflect camera crews, which is why most car ads haven’t featured real cars for years.
Dion DiMucci recalls how a basement party in the Bronx in 1960 inspired ‘Runaround Sue’ .
I then came up with background vocal harmony parts and had everyone sing them over and over. It went like this [Dion sings]: “Hape-hape, bum-da hey-di hey-di hape-hape.” With this going on, I made up a melody and lyrics about Ellen. People were dancing, drinking beer and having fun. When I left the party that night, I couldn’t let go of that riff and melody.
In France, pleasure, or “plaisir,” is not a dirty word. It’s not considered hedonistic to pursue pleasure. Perhaps a better translation of the word is “enjoyment” or even “delight.” Pleasure, in fact, takes the weight of a moral value, because according to the French, pleasure serves as a compass guiding people in their actions. And parents begin teaching their children from very early childhood in a process called the education of taste, or “l’éducation du gout.”
One of the most surprising things that French mothers shared with me in my research was their belief that stimulating children’s appetites for a wide variety of life’s pleasures can actually deter them from becoming addicted to drugs!