November 23, 2014

Another reason to bring back paper towels

Hand dryers 'splatter' users with bacteria, scientists warn
Leeds University found that airborne germ counts are 27 times higher around jet air dryers in comparison with the air around paper towel dispensers

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:13 AM | Permalink

Disgrace of the NAACP

Deroy Murdock: The silence of the colored people

VOTERS on Election Day chose Tim Scott as South Carolina’s U.S. senator. They also sent Utah’s Mia Love and Texas’ Will Hurd to the U.S. House of Representatives. Thus, the 114th Congress will include three black Republicans. This is a new high-water mark for black Americans.
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NAACP has yet to congratulate, acknowledge, or even attack Scott, Love, and Hurd — now America’s three most powerful elected black Republicans. What you hear is the silence of the Colored People. Despite 10 separate requests for comment on this “advancement of colored people,” I could not squeeze a consonant out of NAACP’s Baltimore headquarters, its Washington, D.C. office, or even its Hollywood bureau.
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What a disgrace.  Agree or disagree with Scott, Love and Hurd, their triumphs are significant.

These are remarkable people but, since they don't tout a leftist agenda, they will be treated as non-people.  So much for tolerance, openness and diversity.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:07 AM | Permalink

"Venomous ignorance" at UCLA

Maetenloch at Ace of Spades writes  There's an slow motion racial Cultural Revolution going on at UCLA. And the administration is backing the student Red Guards. Read the whole thing and weep over the madness.

The Microaggression Farce by Heather MacDonald. The latest campus fad, which sees racism everywhere, will create a new generation of permanent victims.

As student claims of racial and gender mistreatment grow ever more unmoored from reality, campus grown-ups have abdicated their responsibility to cultivate an adult sense of perspective and common sense in their students. Instead, they are creating what tort law calls “eggshell plaintiffs”—preternaturally fragile individuals injured by the slightest collisions with life. The consequences will affect us for years to come.

She reports on the madness at At UCLA  "which trumpets its “social-justice” mission at every opportunity, is a cauldron of simmering racial tensions"

Finally, on November 14, 2013, the class's five "students of color," accompanied by "students of color" from elsewhere at UCLA, as well as by reporters and photographers from the campus newspaper, made their surprise entrance into Rust's class as a "collective statement of Resistance by Graduate Students of Color." The protesters formed a circle around Rust and the remaining five students (one American, two Europeans, and two Asian nationals) and read aloud their "Day of Action Statement." That statement suggests that Rust's modest efforts to help students with their writing faced obstacles too great to overcome.

This is a truly horrifying and one of the most disturbing articles I've read in years. 

Why anyone would want to go to UCLA for an education is beyond me.  Who would ever want to hire them? These graduate students are going to become teachers "who will do their best to transmit their venomous ignorance to the next generation."

John Hinderaker comments "The more I learn about what goes on in our universities, the more I conclude that our civilization has a death wish,"

and "The professor was trying to teach students–graduate students!–to write properly, and they took it as an affront to their racial identity. As though there were some correlation between skin color and literacy. That is a view that used to be called “racist,” but is now apparently de rigueur among liberals.

How did UCLA respond? The administration appointed a Race and Ethnic Relations Committee, and they cut loose the professor who tried to teach his students to write. In American universities, as best I can tell, idiocy reigns supreme."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:57 AM | Permalink

November 21, 2014

"The love that brings new life into the world"

The extraordinary speech Lord  Jonathan Sacks, the former Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, gave at a Vatican conference last week that brought the audience to their feet.

Using dazzling oratory, he offered a magisterial account of the development of marriage from the very start — a sexual act between fish in Scotland — right up to the present day, told by means of seven stories, and ending with a spectacular exegesis of the Genesis account. It is a story with a tragic end: the dismantling of what he calls “the single most humanising institution in history” resulting in a whole new era of poverty and social division. Yet the recovery of that institution offers hope.

It begins:

I want this morning to begin our conversation by one way of telling the story of the most beautiful idea in the history of civilization: the idea of the love that brings new life into the world. There are of course many ways of telling the story, and this is just one. But to me it is a story of seven key moments, each of them surprising and unexpected.  The first, according to a report in the press on 20th October of this year, took place in a lake in Scotland 385 million years ago. It was then, according to this new discovery, that two fish came together to perform the first instance of sexual reproduction
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:34 AM | Permalink

Weekend Miscellany 5

The Modern Supermarket is a Miracle  [M}ost Americans are but a handful of generations removed from subsistence farming. Our forebears watered the crops they planted in tiny plots of land with their own sweat; we stand in air-conditioned bazaars and pick from an endless array of produce—pears from Chile, and chilies from Mexico, and kiwis lovingly cultivated by actual Kiwis—and then complain about the Muzak.

Best video of the week.  On YouTube.  Hilarious Golden Retriever Really Wants To Race But.. First Things First.

Deer found with incredible single antler, a real life unicorn  This roe deer, shot in Slovenia at an advanced age, had a rare antler deformity that caused its two antlers to fuse together in a single, unicorn-like protrusion central bone that was  probably caused by an injury when its antlers first started growing.

 Unicorndeer Skelton

In Quartz We may be close to a world of limitless power from artificial leaves  Formed in 2010, JCAP is a $122 million federally funded initiative based at the California Institute of Technology. Its assignment was to develop a viable artificial photosynthesis device by 2015. The prototype had to be durable, be made from commonly available materials and convert sunlight to fuel at an efficiency of 10%….“Four years ago you would have said this would not be possible,”

Facts That Make You Smile
• Every year, hundreds of new trees are planted because squirrels forget where they bury their nuts.
• Cows get stressed when separated from their best friends.
• Otters hold hands when they sleep so they won't drift away from the group.
• This smiley animal, the size of cat, lives in Australia and is called a quokka.
 Quokka

Beautiful, Terrible Watercolors of a 19th-Century Whale Hunt, Found in a Ship's Logbook.  These watercolors, painted into the pages of the logbook of the ship Hector during a voyage it took between 1842-1845, were made by a seaman named James Moore Ritchie.

Charles Cooke takes a trip to the Canadian oil sands, a "wonder of the world" and reports Whence Keystone Comes  It's utterly fascinating.

Republished, a 1984 article: A Spreadsheet Way of Knowledge  A generation ago, a tool unleashed the power of business modeling — and created the entrepreneurial boom that has transformed our economy. 

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:28 AM | Permalink

Elizabeth Holmes, America's youngest billionaire

America's Youngest Female Billionaire Explains Where Her Transformative Idea Came From

She spent a lot of time with her uncle when she was a kid.  But one day he was diagnosed with skin cancer, and doctors soon realized the cancer had already spread.  That illness "all of a sudden was brain cancer and in his bones," she said. "He didn't live to see his son grow up and I never got to say goodbye."

Elizabeth Holmes uses what happened to her uncle as a way of explaining why she started Theranos, a company valued at $9 billion that's transforming medicine by re-inventing the blood test.

 Elizabeth- Holmes
Holmes says she wants to offer individuals an easier, faster, cheaper way of getting access to their own health information, allowing them to transform their own behavior or to get treatment for serious health conditions earlier, giving them more time to get help.
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"I believe the individual is the answer to the challenges of healthcare but we can't engage the individual in changing outcomes unless the individual has access to the information they need to do so,"
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Theranos has partnered with Walgreens, so that anyone who needs (or just wants) a blood test can walk into a drug store — and not just during working hours. After submitting to a painless fingerprick, Theranos can run over 70 tests on a tiny sample of blood, checking for anything from blood sugar abnormalities to sexually transmitted infections, all for 50-90% cheaper than Medicare reimbursement rates.

You can watch her TEDMED talk at the link.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:03 AM | Permalink

November 20, 2014

Practical tips to fix a cough, counteract the effects of sitting, learning which supplements work

Instant Cough Fix

Quarter a fresh lemon, sprinkle it with lots of black pepper and salt, and suck on it for quick relief. Black pepper stimulates circulation and mucus flow…salt and lemon are natural germ fighters. This works best for coughs due to colds, not dry coughs from smoking or irritants.

The 3 Best Ways to Tie a Winter Scarf from Business Insider,

Stunning graphic that shows which supplements work

In an effort to distinguish the snake oil products from the ones that actually have scientific support, data journalist and designer David McCandless, author of the recent book "Knowledge is Beautiful," created this infographic to help show which supplements have shown promising results when researched and which aren't worth the plastic bottle they're sold in.

Counteracting the consequences  of sitting all day

1. Remember to stand once an hour.  2. Get about 30 minutes of moderate activity per day.

We usually tell people moderate activity is equivalent to a brisk walk. This would include yard work or cleaning your house — anything that gets you moving counts. You don't have to do what people think of as exercise.  You can even break it up during the day into ten minute segments.
 How Sitting Wrecks Your Body

Make it even easier: 
Set an Hourly Standing Alarm to Remind You to Stand.  Turn those Crappy Commercials into an Excuse to Get Up

Fix Your Posture at Your Desk with Two Simple Body Adjustments

Get into proper posture by extending your arms to the sides and then rotating your palms upward. This rolls your shoulders back and then you can bend your elbows to type at the keyboard or hold your phone up in front of your face.

When you're sitting, pull in your abs to about 20 percent of full strength. Sitting should be an active activity, apparently.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:45 AM | Permalink

Standing up to the Feminist Bullies of #shirtstorm

I'm pleased so many people, so many women are getting sick and tired of feminist bullies and finally standing up to them.

London Mayor Boris Johnson - An astrophysicist who deserves our applause has been pilloried in his moment of triumph

The other day the brilliant space scientist Dr Matt Taylor was asked to give a report on the progress of Philae, the astonishing little landing craft that has travelled, in all, four billion miles to become the first representative of humanity to visit the surface of a comet. Dr Taylor leant forwards. He started to speak. Then his voice went husky, and it became painfully obvious to viewers that he was actually crying. And of course he has many very good reasons to feel emotional. The London-born astrophysicist has been part of a mind-blowing success.
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I watched that clip of Dr Taylor’s apology – at the moment of his supreme professional triumph – and I felt the red mist come down. It was like something from the show trials of Stalin, or from the sobbing testimony of the enemies of Kim Il-sung, before they were taken away and shot. It was like a scene from Mao’s cultural revolution when weeping intellectuals were forced to confess their crimes against the people.
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Yes, I suppose some might say that his Hawaii shirt was a bit garish, a bit of an eyeful. But the man is not a priest, for heaven’s sake. He is a space scientist with a fine collection of tattoos, and if you are an extrovert space scientist, that is the kind of shirt that you are allowed to wear.

Hypocrisy, Smoke and Mirrors #Shirtstorm  The story in tweets

Let's look at some of the hypocrisy as well as smoke and mirror tactics we've been seeing throughout #Shirtstorm that has become too common in our modern online world. This is not true feminism, which should really be called "equalism" or "humanism" to retain it's true meaning.


Can Science Survive a Garish Shirt?

It’s one thing to say that Taylor would have been better served wearing a tie, even a clip-on, on his big day; it’s another to accuse him of a dastardly betrayal of women in science. Any young woman interested in science who will be deterred from pursuing her dream because of one garish shirt worn by one scientist who was practically unknown the day before yesterday needs bucking up. Thank heavens Marie Curie wasn’t so delicate, or she never would have won one Nobel Prize, let alone two.

The overreaction to Taylor’s shirt doesn’t just implicitly send the message that women are helplessly vulnerable to the smallest of unintended slights; it makes feminists look witlessly censorious and absurdly humorless, not that they ever seem to care.

In the Guardian Feminism is in danger of becoming toxic  by Julie Bindel

 Feminism-Guy-Doesn't Agree

Real Genius: Feminism Leaves Science in the Dirt

Matt Taylor is everything we’re told science shouldn’t be about or look like. Cigar chomping, greased hair, tattooed, bowling shirt wearing badass. He just didn’t land a robot on a comet, he throat punched science’s preconceived notions of what a rocket engineer is supposed to look like. He came off as a real life Chris Knight cracking whip smart comebacks against his corrupt professor Hathaway and his socially awkward, sexually frustrated, minion Kent and loving every single minute of it.  How could progressive feminist journalists not go after him?
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The upside in all of this is that there was real push back for once against this ghoulish, leftist cult of intolerance and it far extended the reach of internet subcultures. Actual members of the web news media stood up..This was a big bang moment where perhaps feminists in media realize they are not above criticism nor is the lynch mob they send and the progressive past time of grievance hunting is coming to an exhaustive end, simply because they are running out of people to defend them. his was a big bang moment where perhaps feminists in media realize they are not above criticism nor is the lynch mob they send and the progressive past time of grievance hunting is coming to an exhaustive end, simply because they are running out of people to defend them. Matt Taylor, after working with a team that spent several years obsessing and caring on something, and celebrating an accomplishment no one in the history of human kind had ever done, had his head in the stars.

During his apology his head was bowed to the dirt.

In Time magazine How to Turn a Cool Moment Into a #ShirtStorm by Cathy Young via Insty

Taylor’s shirt may not have been in great taste. But the outcry against it is the latest, most blatant example of feminism turning into its own caricature: a Sisterhood of the Perpetually Aggrieved, far more interested in shaming and bashing men for petty offenses than in celebrating female achievement.
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Sadly, the brouhaha over Taylor’s shirt overshadowed not only his accomplishments but also those of his female teammates, including one of the project’s lead researchers, Kathrin Allweg of the University of Bern in Switzerland. More spotlight on Allweg, Grady, Alexander and the other remarkable women of the Rosetta project would have been a true inspiration to girls thinking of a career in science. The message of ShirtStorm, meanwhile, is that aspiring female scientists can be undone by some sexy pictures on a shirt—and that women’s presence in science requires men to walk on eggshells, curb any goofy humor that may offend the sensitive and be cowed into repentance for any misstep.

Thanks for ruining a cool feminist moment for us, bullies.

Mollie Hemingway It’s Time To Push Back Against Feminist Bullies  The attacks on scientist Matt Taylor are crazy. Enough already.

In the last week alone, we saw the social media outrage machine (with assists from friendly journalists, of course) force Time to apologize for including “feminist” in a cheeky poll of which words should be “banned” from overuse or misuse. (It had won the poll by a wide margin before the thought police cracked down and forced its removal.) Bloggers and writers at The Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the New York Review of Books all called on Time to renounce the inclusion of “feminist” in the poll.
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That’s it. Enough already. Enough. Enough. Enough. Whether we want to or not, we have to deal with our feminist bullying problem.
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Feminist bullies are so invested in the false idea that women are oppressed that they’re giving all women a bad reputation. Women, contrary to the image perpetuated by feminist bullies, are not weak. We are strong. We can handle all sorts of things and do so every day. We live full lives with complex and meaningful relationships and we have many professional and personal accomplishments. Women and girls are able to navigate life quite well, thank you very much, and it’s actually easier when women aren’t constantly talking about how supposedly oppressed we are. We’re not. I mean, sure, everyone in life has troubles. None of those troubles, for the vast majority of women, include “seeing a dude wear a shirt while discussing how he just landed a spaceship on a literal freaking comet.”
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It’s not just women who are hurt by feminist bullies. Everyone is. That’s because human relationships are harmed in the toxic outrage culture. The very perpetuation of humanity relies on men and women getting along well. People who stoke resentment and anger between the sexes, or create false claims about women’s oppression, are making it more difficult for happy, healthy, human relationships to flourish.

And just the waste of time we’ve all had to expend on this is also bad for society. No offense (or be offended, I don’t care) but people with gender studies degrees don’t land spacecraft on flying comets. They frequently detract from same with endless pointless conversations about imagined grievances.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:26 AM | Permalink

November 19, 2014

Snapshot: Measuring prosperity around the globe

The Legatum Institute annually ranks 142 countries in a Prosperity Index.  They define prosperity as a combination of wealth and wellbeing,  those aspects of prosperity that typical gross domestic product measurements don’t include, such as entrepreneurship and opportunity, education, and social capital.

According to its 2014 rankings, the United States ranks  as #10 overall

17th in economy,  The U.S. rose seven places from 2013

11th in entrepreneurship and opportunity, More prosperous societies promote better and more equal access to opportunity

12th in governance,

11th in education,  Quality and equality of education matter for democracy

1st in health  There is a proven link between health and economic growth

31st in safety and security, Around the world women feel less safe today than at any point in the last eight years

21st in personal freedom, Economic freedom can help stimulate demand for other freedoms

7th in social capital Countries that have strong familial bonds, charitable intent and high levels of trust are also the wealthiest

Compared to last year, the US rose one place to 10th overall, rose seven places on the Economy sub-index, to 17th, and declined five places on the Personal Freedom sub-index, to 21st.  Under Obama, U.S. personal freedom ranking slips below France
In 2009 the U.S. was ranked 9th in personal freedom.  Since then it has fallen to 21st with France, Germany, Uruguay, Costa Rica, the U.K. and Portugal passing the US

Another survey found The world's favorite country is no longer the U.S., but Germany, according to the Anholt-Gfk Nations Brand Index, which measures the image of 50 leading nations. which compiles the results of 20,125 interviews with people in 20 countries.

"Germany appears to have benefited not only from the sports prowess it displayed … at the FIFA World Cup championship, but also by solidifying its perceived leadership in Europe through a robust economy and steady political stewardship," said Simon Anholt, who created the index in 2005.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:50 PM | Permalink

November 15, 2014

They're calling it a #shirtstorm

One of Humankind’s Greatest Achievements of the Decade overshadowed by Hawaiian Shirt Via Instapundit

The offending shirt which was made for the scientist by a female friend, has received outrage from several outlets, most notably the Verge, for depicting leotard wearing women, and forced Taylor to make a very public apology where he choked back tears. What should be the greatest day of his life has now been tarnished by the wide variety of hate and harassment he has received over wearing the offending item. Harassers made one of the most brilliant men in science cry for his choice of clothing. It would be almost comical if it wasn’t so horrifying.

Via Instapundit who writes in USA Today, 1 small shirt for a man, 1 giant leap backward for women

they took one of the great achievements of human history -- landing a probe from Earth on a comet hundreds of millions of miles away -- and made it all about the clothes.
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Whatever feminists say, their true priorities are revealed in what they do, and what they do is, mostly, man-bashing and special pleading.

And who comments elsewhere

just 23 percent of American women and 20 percent of us overall ‘identify as feminists, even though most are in favor of gender equality.’ A tendency to pivot toward humorless disgust in virtually any situation can’t be helping the numbers.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:04 PM | Permalink

Weekend Miscellany 4: Tattooed monk, comets, crickets, angels, tuna, wolves and murder for lobster

The tattoo artist who became a Benedictine monk .  Brother Andre Love is now curator of Mount Angel Abbey's art collection.

Six years ago, Mount Angel Abbey's serene hilltop campus shook, as leather-clad Bobby Love rolled in on his motorcycle. Love removed his helmet revealing pierced ears and a mop of dreadlocks. With tattoos on his hands, arms and neck, he looked like an extra on "Sons of Anarchy" not a someone attending a retreat for those who might become Catholic monks…….

Above the neckline of his black hood, his neck tattoos remain. His hands are marked with a spiderweb, women's faces, an alpha and omega, and "HOLD FAST" on his knuckles. A red heart marks his palm. His name is Love after all…….

Looking back at his story, Love sees that his uncompromising passion for art led him into spiritual desolation, but ultimately, it led him to drive his motorcycle to a discernment retreat at Mount Angel Abbey. His one word explanation for how this happened is "God."

Broken sleep  People once woke up halfway through the night to think, write or make love. What have we lost by sleeping straight through?

Modern, electrical illumination revolutionized the night and, in turn, sleep. Prior to Edison, says the Virginia Tech historian A Roger Ekirch, author of At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past (2005), sleep had been divided into two distinct segments, separated by a period of night-waking that lasted between one and several hours. The pattern was called segmented sleep.

How to Make a Schadenfreude Pie  Dark. Rich. And oh so bittersweet.

National Geographic uses tintypes to illustrate Children of Civil War Veterans Still Walk Among Us, 150 Years After the War  The still living sons and daughters of the blue and gray

 Tintypes Children Of Civilwar

Astonishing.  The "tropic cascade" in Yellowstone National Park when, after an absence of 70 years, wolves were  re-introduced into the park.  They brought back all sorts of new life and even changed rivers.  How Wolves Change Rivers

Listen to This: Comet's Eerie 'Song' Captured by Rosetta Spacecraft.  Strange, echoed clopping sound produced by "oscillations in the magnetic field in the comet's environment,"

In the Wall Street Journal Taming the Wild Tuna  Farming tuna has never been successful until now. 

With a decades long global consumption boom depleting natural fish populations of all kinds, demand is increasingly being met by farm-grown seafood. In 2012, farmed fish accounted for a record 42.2% of global output, compared with 13.4% in 1990 and 25.7% in 2000. A full 56% of global shrimp consumption now comes from farms, mostly in Southeast Asia and China. Oysters are started in hatcheries and then seeded in ocean beds. Atlantic salmon farming, which only started in earnest in the mid-1980s, now accounts for 99% of world-wide production—so much so that it has drawn criticism for polluting local water systems and spreading diseases to wild fish.

Until recently, the Pacific bluefin tuna defied this sort of domestication. The bluefin can weigh as much as 900 pounds and barrels through the seas at up to 30 miles an hour. Over a month, it may roam thousands of miles of the Pacific. The massive creature is also moody, easily disturbed by light, noise or subtle changes in the water temperature. It hurtles through the water in a straight line, making it prone to fatal collisions in captivity.

A case of 'murder for lobster'  The bizarre fishermen's feud that has allegedly left one man dead and three arrested

Toshiba’s high-tech grow rooms are churning out lettuce that never needs washing
Why plant lettuce in a clean room? The obvious answer: Because it’s clean. Everything is tightly controlled, including air pressure, temperature, lighting, bacteria, and dust. The result is a crop that doesn’t need pesticides, doesn’t have bugs, and doesn’t need washing.

LISTEN: Man records crickets, discovers angels and humans singing to God

Composer Jim Wilson has recorded the sound of crickets and then slowed down the recording, revealing something so amazing. The crickets sound like they are singing the most angelic chorus in perfect harmony. Though it sounds like human voices, everything you hear in the recording is the crickets themselves.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:35 PM | Permalink

November 13, 2014

IBM and Google Vie for your DNA

IBM's Watson Wants to Examine Your DNA

With the help of Pathway Genomics, consumers might one day be able to "Ask Watson" for insights into their health.
IBM's Watson Group today announced an undisclosed investment in Pathway Genomics to create the first cognitive consumer app based on a user's genetic makeup.

Citing research on genomic medicine, IBM said the bioinformatics market is expected to grow to $12.86 billion by 2020. Few consumers, however, have access to or can benefit from personalized wellness-related recommendations tailored to their individual needs. Which is where IBM and Pathway Genomics come in.

By leveraging the natural language processing and cognitive capabilities of Watson, consumers will be able to "Ask Watson" for insights, based on their own genes, wearable data, and other wellness information, like emotional, physical, and social well being.

"The medical industry is undergoing a dramatic and systemic change, putting the consumer more in charge of their own health care," Michael Nova, chief medical officer at Pathway Genomics and member of the Watson Advisory Board, said in a statement. "Giving the consumers access to a powerful tool built upon cognitive learning and Watson will make the change even more transformative."

Your DNA falls into the realm of "the world's information," and it seems that Google is making a play to organize that, too.

For a spit of saliva and $2,500, your genetic test results are securely delivered to your computer screen with your genetic likelihood for 18 medical conditions, from Alzheimer's to rheumatoid arthritis to several types of cancer. Navigenics aims to boost disease prevention by providing customers reports on their DNA that they can share with their doctors. The company addresses privacy concerns by encrypting customer identities, and screens only for conditions it deems to have scientifically sound genetic studies. The company also offers genetic counseling.
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in 2007 Google invested at least $4.4 million in a genetic screening company, 23andMe, that was started by Anne Wojcicki, the wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin, and her business partner.
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Interestingly, Navigenics and 23andMe don't consider themselves competitors. Navigenics' DuRoss says "23andMe has taken the approach of providing you a fun, social, and ancestral look at your DNA," adding that her company "has taken the view that science, clinical utility, and the ability to do something about your health is of paramount importance."

MIT Technology Review Google Wants Your DNA too. For $25 a year, Google will keep a copy of any genome in the cloud. 

Google is approaching hospitals and universities with a new pitch. Have genomes? Store them with us….The idea is to create “cancer genome clouds” where scientists can share information and quickly run virtual experiments as easily as a Web search, says Sheila Reynolds, a research scientist at the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle. “Not everyone has the ability to download a petabyte of data, or has the computing power to work on it,” she says.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:58 PM | Permalink

Health Roundup: MRSA breakthrough, Vit D and asthma, curing leukemia with HIV, reversing Type I diabetes and more

Scientists develop antibiotic-free drug for MRSA  Scientists have developed the first effective alternative to antibiotics in what is being described as a major development in the battle against superbugs.  A patient trial showed the drug was effective at eradicating the MRSA superbug. Scientists say it is unlikely the infection could develop resistance against the new treatment which is already available as a cream for skin infections.

The new treatment attacks infections in an entirely different way from conventional drugs and exclusively targets the Staphylococcus bacteria responsible for MRSA and leaves other microbes unaffected.  The treatment relies on naturally occurring viruses that attack bacteria using enzymes called endolysins. It uses a “designer” endolysin, Staphefekt, which the scientists engineered to latch on to the surface of bacteria cells and destroy them.

Conventional antibiotics target the inside of the cell to work, and part of the reason they are becoming less effective is that certain strains of bacteria, such as MRSA, have evolved impenetrable membranes. However, endolysins target basic building blocks on the outside of bacterial cells that are unlikely to change as infections genetically mutate over time.

Vitamin D Deficiency Aggravates Asthma  For the study, Dr. Confino-Cohen and her team of researchers measured the vitamin D levels of 307,900 patients between 2008 and 2012, taking into account key predictors of asthma, such as smoking and obesity. Of the roughly 21,000 patients with physician-diagnosed asthma, those with a vitamin D deficiency were 25% more likely than other asthmatics to have experienced at least 1 acute attack in the recent past and were at a higher risk for an asthma attack. -

Have researchers found a way to REVERSE type 1 diabetes? Common heart drug found to work in mice and set for human trial  A common blood pressure drug could be the key to reversing diabetes, researchers have said. Called verapamil, it is widely diagnosed to treat blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and migraines. Researchers were stunned to find that in mice, it completely reversed the effects of the disease.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham has now been given a three-year, $2.1 million grant to begin human trials of the drug.  ...Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile diabetes.  Only 5% of people with diabetes have this form of the disease, when the body does not produce insulin.

5 ways to reduce the risk of breast cancer  New research has shown that 15 minutes of exercise every day could cut the risk of developing breast cancer.

Doctors cure father, 30, of leukemia by injecting him with HIV in experimental trial  Marshall Jensen was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2012 and has spent the last two years searching for an effective treatment
He found a solution at Penn Medicine, where he was accepted into a trial to receive an experimental new gene therapy
The treatment involved implanting white blood cells with deactivated HIV and injecting them back in the body to fight off cancer . Of the 30 patients involved in the trial, 23 are still alive and 19 are in remission - like Jensen

The drug that could give elderly people the immune system of a 20-year-old and dramatically reduce deaths from flu
Once injected with the new chemical, the elderly and vulnerable will have a much for effective immune system, British scientists say.  The compound, called spermidine, has been shown to have a significant impact in tests on mice - and scientists have already patented it as a potential treatment for humans….The research, published yesterday in the journal eLife, showed that the compound restores the immune system’s inbuilt ‘memory’ enabling it to mount a more powerful protective response following vaccination.
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Scientists think vaccines lose effectiveness in older people because as we age, our immune system loses its ‘memory’.
It becomes less effective at recognizing infections, including those we have had in the past and those we have been vaccinated against….A key factor is that the white blood cells that coordinate the response to an infection – called T cells – lose the ability to form a ‘memory’ of the infection….By targeting this process with spermidine, the scientists managed to restore immune memory, boosting the effectiveness of a vaccine….Spermidine works by enhancing a normal cellular process called autophagy, where parts of the cell that have become defective or damaged are broken down and destroyed within cells.
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Daniel Puleston, who co-authored the research, said of the drug: ‘It’s the equivalent of a 90 year old responding to a vaccine better than a 20 year old'"….. However, we expect it to be at least five to ten years before a drug reaches the clinic.’

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:35 PM | Permalink

There is no 'longevity gene'

Richard Overton, the oldest living US veteran credits whiskey, cigars, saying active and 'staying out of trouble' for his long life of 108.

Scientists scour the genomes of people who live past 110

Scientists studying these "supercentenarians" said on Wednesday they sequenced the genomes of 17 people ages 110 to 116 to try to determine whether they possess genetic traits that may account for their membership in this exclusive club that worldwide includes only about 75 individuals, nearly all women.
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The study did not identify a common genetic characteristic in them, and the findings underscored the idea that living to extreme old age may involve lots of factors, the researchers said.

"Our hope was that we would find a longevity gene," Kim said. "We were pretty disappointed."
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Kim said the 17 supercentenarians did not report obvious health habits that explain their longevity. As a group, he said, they did not have especially healthy eating or exercise habits.  "About half of them were smokers," Kim added.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:14 PM | Permalink

The Ongoing Demise of Britain

This is what the Islamization of a Western country looks like.

Support of ISIS.  Dan Greenfield writes  "One in seven young British adults has 'warm feelings" about the murderous ISIS and  80% of London Muslims Support ISIS

No-go areas.  Top U.K. Anglican Bishop Nazir-Ali who was born in Pakistan warned years ago that Islamic extremists have created "no-go" areas across Britain where it is too dangerous for non-Muslims to enter…. people of a different race or faith face physical attack if they live or work in communities dominated by a strict Muslim ideology…. he blames its [the government's]  "novel philosophy of multiculturalism" for allowing society to become deeply divided, and accuses ministers of lacking a "moral and spiritual vision".

"Community justice". Murders and rapes going unreported in no-go zones for police as minority communities launch own justice systems.  Honor killings, genital mutilations, domestic violence and sexual abuse of children go unreported. 

Critics of Sharia law deemed"extremists".  London Telegraph. Sharia law or gay marriage critics would be branded ‘extremists’ under Tory plans,

Anyone who criticises Sharia law or gay marriage could be branded an “extremist” under sweeping new powers planned by the Conservatives to combat terrorism, an alliance of leading atheists and Christians fear.  Theresa May, the Home Secretary, unveiled plans last month for so-called Extremism Disruption Orders, which would allow judges to ban people deemed extremists from broadcasting, protesting in certain places or even posting messages on Facebook or Twitter without permission.

-Cameron-1

"It is mainstream Britain which needs to integrate more with the Muslim way of life, not the other way around," David Cameron in What I Learned from My Stay with a Muslim Family, 2007.  He changed his mind in 2011.  He said multiculturalism has failed and Muslims must embrace mainstream values of freedom of speech and religion and equality under the law. But then proposes Extreme Disruption Orders in 2014.

Political Correctness or Living in a False Reality.  UK  Child Exploitation is Now the 'Norm"  Robert Spencer .
The UK’s Guardian reported Wednesday that “sexual exploitation of vulnerable children has become the social norm in some parts of Greater Manchester,” and the denial and obfuscation about what is really causing this problem is thicker than ever….

It was in Rochdale that a group of Muslims were involved in a large-scale sex trafficking ring involving young non-Muslim girls. Coffey is right: there is already abundant evidence that it was not an isolated case, as 1,400 British non-Muslim children were gang-raped and brutalized by Muslims in the British city of Rotherham alone, and there are numerous other documented cases in Britain of Muslim sex trafficking and rape gangs, of which the victims were non-Muslim girls.

Why has this been happening, and on such a massive scale? According to the Guardian, it’s all because social workers and others in positions of authority just don’t like troubled young people….In reality, social workers are not prejudiced against vulnerable teenagers; they’ve dedicated their lives to aiding people such as vulnerable teenagers. No, what social workers, in the U.S. as well as in Britain, are prejudiced against is being called “racist.”

And what were the ethnic origins of those perpetrators? Wednesday’s Guardian report doesn’t mention it (which in itself is telling), but 75%, and probably more (since it is so politically unacceptable to report such things) of these rape and sexual exploitation gangs are “Asian,” which is British Newspeak for “Muslim.” Despite the continuing horror of these revelations, the British continue to take all this with equanimity, for to resist it would be “racist” and “Islamophobic.”
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Stealth Sharia.  Muslim fundamentalists patrol East London streets to enforce Sharia Law.  Clarissa Ward, a 60 Minutes correspondent, interviewed their leader who said, “Ultimately, I want to see every single woman in this country covered from head to toe.  want to the see the hand of the thief cut. I want to see adulterers stoned to death. I want to see sharia law in Europe, and I want to see it in America, as well. I believe our patrols are a means to an end.”

Muslim parents tell daughter they would “cut her head off” if she went to British authorities over forced marriage

Will sharia conquer the United Kingdom by stealth? asks Robert Spencer and points out 10 signs of Britain's Impending Demise

6. Libyan soldier blames Brits for sex attacks by Libyan cadets in UK: “They didn’t tell us…what’s the difference between right and wrong here.”

About 300 Libyan army cadets who were training in Britain have just been sent home after allegations that they had committed multiple rapes and sexual assaults of non-Muslim girls in the neighborhoods near their barracks.

Radicalized Brits Britain will face costs of Islamic extremism for 'many years', says Cressida Dick, Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner .  Former MI6 director of global counter-terrorism Richard Barrett: "You don't know which ones are coming back… quite severely radicalized" 'Not possible' to monitor all UK Syria fighters returning home

Four Muslims Arrested for Plotting to Behead Queen Elizabeth

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:22 PM | Permalink

November 11, 2014

No words on this Veterans Day

 A Sacrifice Veterans Day

via American Digest

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:26 PM | Permalink

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red - Extraordinary Memorial

This may be the most extraordinary memorial I've ever seen.  A single red ceramic poppy for every British and Commonwealth soldier who died in the 'war to end all wars'  was planted in the moat surrounding the Tower of London to commemorate their lives and the 100th anniversary of World War I. 

Including one for my great uncle Jack Paterson. Jack, a Canadian, a member of the Cameron Highlanders, 9th Brigade, 43rd Battalion, was killed in France in 1916.    When I learned that Clifford Holliday, who fought alongside of him in the Cameron Highlanders, died at the great age of 105 in May, 2004, I began to grasp that the loss of life was also the loss of length of life that would otherwise have been lived.  Lost in the mud and the constant shelling ever fearful of mustard gas attacks.  John McCrae, another Canadian wrote:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


A sea of sacrifice; a flood of blood has drawn some 5 million visitors. 

The last of the poppies is planted this morning as thousands flocked to Tower of London to see the final ceramic flower put in place by 13-year-old cadet and  the nation fell silent to remember Britain's war dead

From the first ceramic poppy to the last: How the field of flowers at the Tower of London grew over four incredible months to create an unforgettable memorial

 1St Poppy

It began as a parched grass field but was turned into one of the most spectacular installations in memory - these photos show the gradual process by which 888,246 poppies transformed the Tower of London.

The site was cleared for work on the installation to begin four months ago and once completed, it went on to fill the tower's 16-acre moat and attract millions of visitors.
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The artwork – the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red – has proved so popular, with an estimated four million visitors, that there have been calls to keep the poppies at the Tower until the end of the year.
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Each poppy - which represents the life of one British or colonial soldier - was made by hand and took around three days to create.

 2Poppy Bloodsweptlands,Seasofred

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When Paul Cummins decided to create 888,246 poppies in what has now become one of the most significant pieces of artwork in British history, he knew it would be no easy task….Mr Cummins felt so overwhelmed with the sheer scale of his task that he had to draft in emergency help from two other ceramic factories to ensure the work was finished by today - Armistice Day.
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After being personally asked for help by Mr Cummins, two factories in the Midlands pulled out all the stops in a bid to produce 500,000 poppies in just four months, ensuring there were enough flowers to fill the 16-acre dry moat.
Today, Harry Foster, from Johnson Tiles, Stoke-on-Trent, told how his team of unsung heroes have made nearly 400,000 poppies since July, working around the clock through nights and weekends to ensure the project was completed.

He admitted the work had been 'relentless' but added it had been a 'great source of pride' seeing the almost-finished crimson sea of poppies - and knowing some 4million people had managed to see the work.

 3Poppy

To see how much Britain has changed, you only have to read how an Army veteran, 70 was assaulted as  he walked to cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday by gang of thugs who stole his regimental beret and medals

George Gill, 70, had been walking through a park on his way to the service in Keighley, West Yorkshire, when he was attacked by a gang of Asian [Pakistani muslim] youths he said had grabbed his beret 'like a pack of dogs would a piece of meat'.

The gang then ran off laughing, leaving Mr Gill with cuts to his lip, but the courageous former soldier dusted himself off and continued to the cenotaph to pay his respects before reporting the mugging to police.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:38 PM | Permalink

What we are learning about marijuana

Smoking cannabis every day 'warps your brain and shrinks grey matter', scientists warn

Smoking cannabis every day warps key structures of the brain, a scientific study suggests.  Regular use of the drug seems to shrink the brain’s ‘grey matter’ - the cells that crunch information - according to head scans of heavy drug users.

The wiring of the brain – the ‘white matter’ that connects different parts - grows to compensate for the loss of the vital cells, scientists found.  But eventually that also breaks down, impairing a drug users’ ability to use and react to information.

The brain scan study is one of the first to investigate the drug’s long-term neurological impact in living people.  The findings add to a growing weight of evidence that suggests cannabis is more harmful than legalization campaigners would have us believe.

It comes after a review of 20 years of cannabis research, published last month by a professor at King’s College London, revealed that one in six teenagers who use cannabis become dependent on the drug, as do one in 10 adults.

Examining brain scans, the scientists found that chronic marijuana users - who smoked an average of three times a day - had smaller average volumes of grey matter in the orbitofrontal cortex, the part of the brain involved in mental processing and decision making.

The cannabis users were also seen to have more ‘white matter’ - the connections between cells which affect how the brain learns and functions.  The researchers suspect that those extra connections are forged as the brain tries to compensate for the lack of crucial grey matter.  But even those extra connections were seen to break up within six to eight years under prolonged cannabis abuse, they found.

The team studied MRI scans of the brains of 48 adult cannabis users aged 20 to 36 who were compared with a group of 62 non-users.  That review also suggested that cannabis use in teenagers doubles the risk of developing psychotic disorders including schizophrenia.

The authors of the new study, from the universities of Texas and New Mexico, warn that people who take the drug in heavy quantities for prolonged periods are likely to suffer damaging effects.

The orbitofrontal cortex region of the brain, where the biggest differences in cannabis users’ brains was seen, is strongly linked to empathy - the ability to sense other people’s feelings.  Neuroscientists believe damage to the orbitofrontal cortex may underpin many cases of personality disorder and psychopathy.

The researchers found that the effect differed markedly depending on the age they started smoking and the number of years they continued to abuse the drug.
The earlier someone started smoking cannabis, the greater the structural change to the brain and the larger the growth in white matter connections.

But after six to eight years of continually taking cannabis the increases in structural wiring declined, they found.
The scientists said that because their study represented a simple snapshot of users’ brains, and did not monitor them over time, they could not be certain that the damage was directly caused by the drug.
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A definitive 20-year study into the effects of long-term cannabis use has demolished the argument that the drug is safe.  Cannabis is highly addictive, causes mental health problems and opens the door to hard drugs, the study found.

The paper by Professor Wayne Hall, a drugs advisor to the World Health Organization, builds a compelling case against those who deny the devastation cannabis wreaks on the brain.

Professor Hall found:
• One in six teenagers who regularly smoke the drug become dependent on it
Cannabis doubles the risk of developing psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia
• Cannabis users do worse at school. Heavy use in adolescence appears to impair intellectual development
• One in ten adults who regularly smoke the drug become dependent on it and those who use it are more likely to go on to use harder drugs
• Driving after smoking cannabis doubles the risk of a car crash, a risk which increases substantially if the driver has also had a drink
• Smoking it while pregnant reduces the baby's birth weight
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:38 AM | Permalink

November 10, 2014

The Berlin Wall - 1948-1989

As World War II came to a close, the Allied Powers agreed to split the defeated nation into  occupied zones, the eastern part to the Soviet Union, the western part to the US and Great Britain.  The city of Berlin, 100 miles into the eastern part of the zone was likewise split into east and west.  In 1948 the Soviet Union blocked all traffic into west Berlin, essentially creating a blockade.  President Truman responded with The Berlin Airlift "Operation Vittles" to deliver food, fuel and other goods to the west Berliners for almost a year until the blockade was lifted.

When John Kennedy was President, the Berlin Wall was constructed to stop people from fleeing the communist East.  He didn't challenge them directly, but in a visit to Berlin in 1963, he gave one of his most memorable speeches, "Let Them Come to Berlin".

"There are many people in the world who really don't understand, or say they don't, what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world. Let them come to Berlin. There are some who say that communism is the wave of the future. Let them come to Berlin. And there are some who say in Europe and elsewhere we can work with the Communists. Let them come to Berlin. And there are even a few who say that it is true that communism is an evil system, but it permits us to make economic progress. Lass'sie nach Berlin kommen. Let them come to Berlin."

When Ronald Reagan first saw the Wall in 1978, when he told his aide Peter Hannaford: “We’ve got to find a way to knock this thing down.”

After he became president, he returned in 1982 and enraged the Soviets by taking a couple of ceremonial steps across a painted borderline. Then, in 1987, he overruled his own State Department by giving a momentous speech in which he implored the Soviet general secretary directly: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

Officials tried over and over to have the section removed, judging that it was too provocative and theatrical. White House officials believed the language would embarrass Gorbachev. A June 2, 1987, memo from a National Security Council aide called the speech “mediocre” and said it represented a “lost opportunity.” The edited draft that was attached to this memo had the entire “tear down this wall” section crossed out.

But Reagan insisted on leaving his sock-it-to-’em lines in, and they proved a hit with the many thousands of people who heard it — they cheered for a full 20 seconds.

What had been unthinkable became thinkable and then possible.    Two and a half years later, the wall was completely swept away.

Below is a six minute documentary on The Fall of the Berlin Wall by Carsten Cumbrowski, born in East Berlin in 1974

 

I was transfixed 25 years ago when I watched television and saw East Germans begin to tear down the Berlin Hall. 
For Christmas that year, I wept when I opened up a present and found I was holding a chunk of that wall.

Mark Steyn on The Will to Fell

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It did not fall, of course. It was felled. It was felled by ordinary East German men and women who decided they were not willing to spend the rest of their lives in a large prison pretending to be a nation.

On the other side of the wall - the free side - far too many westerners were indifferent to the suffering of the east….The presidents and prime ministers of the free world had decided that the unfree world was not a prison ruled by a murderous ideology that had to be defeated but merely an alternative lifestyle that had to be accommodated…detente…..

When a free man enjoying the blessings of a free society promotes an equivalence between real democracy and a sham, he's colluding in the great lie being perpetrated by the prison state.

There were three key figures who stood against the détente fetishists, and in large part against the disposition of western electorates. Their names were Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II - all heroes in Eastern Europe to this day, yet, as Richard Fernandez notes, all absent from the coverage of today's observances.

Video, John Fund relates how he met a 14-year-old  East German student in East Berlin and maintained a correspondence with her for five years.  On the day of the fall, he received a phone call  "John, This is Monika…I'm Over the Wall"

.

The 20th anniversary was marked with painted dominos along the former route of the Wall and Lech Walesa pushed the first

 Berlinwall 20Th Dominos-1

This year to mark the 25th anniversary on the Fall, a Wall of Light - 8000 glowing balloons recreated the route of the Wall.  These glowing orbs are part of the Lichtgrenze or lightborder art project.

 8000 Luftballons-1

Marc Bauder, who designed the art installation with his brother, Christopher Bauder, said: 'We wanted to counter this ominous, heavy structure with something light."

At dusk on Sunday night, the white balloons were released one by one to symbolize the breaching of the wall by crowds of protestors.  At a massive open air party at the Brandenburg Gates, the Berlin Orchestra played Beethoven's Nine Symphony, "Ode to Joy".

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:22 PM | Permalink

The "Stupid" Virus explains a lot

Virus that 'makes humans more stupid' discovered

A virus that infects human brains and makes us more stupid has been discovered, according to scientists in the US.  The algae virus, never before observed in healthy people, was found to affect cognitive functions including visual processing and spatial awareness.

Scientists at Johns Hopkins Medical School and the University of Nebraska stumbled upon the discovery when they were undertaking an unrelated study into throat microbes.

Found: The viral infection that makes nearly HALF of us more stupid (and it lasts for YEARS)

Nearly half of us could be infected with a virus which makes us more stupid, scientists have found.  The startling discovery suggests that millions may be carrying a long-lasting infection which dulls the brain.  Scientists found the virus living in the throats of 44 per cent of patients tested in a small US study.

Those who were carrying the infection performed worse in intelligence tests, even when education and age were taken into account.  The virus - called chlorovirus ATCV-1 - was previously only known to appear in green algae in freshwater lakes.
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The research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that the ATCV-1 virus alters the genes in the brain.

The team found the virus in throat swabs from 40 out of 92 volunteers, and discovered those with the virus performed measurably worse in cognitive testing.  They then confirmed their findings in tests on mice. Giving the virus to mice resulted in a decrease in recognition memory and other brain functions, they found.

Tests showed the virus had broken through the barrier between blood and tissue, altering the activity of genes in the brains of the mice.  The genes affected including those producing dopamine - a vital hormone which influences memory, spatial awareness, emotion and pleasure.

Instead it could be that humans have long carried the virus, but it had not previously been looked for by doctors. Study author Professor Robert Yolken, of Johns Hopkins medical school, said the millions of viruses living in the human body are being investigated by experts for the first time.
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Professor James Van Etten, a biologist from the University of Nebraska who first identified the virus in algae 30 years ago, said: ‘There’s more and more studies showing that microorganisms in your body have a bigger influence than anything anyone would have predicted, and this could be something along those lines.’
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:16 PM | Permalink

The Habits of Unhappy People

Ryan McKenzie's experience informs his  22 Habits of Unhappy People

This isn't a guide to try and fix people who are clinically depressed, but a series of things I have learned over my life that have shaped the way I look at life and the world.  It is my experience that the more positive habits you have in your life, the more emotional happiness you will experience.  Instead of telling you things you should do to increase your emotional satisfaction, I’ve created a list of bad habits you should try to correct.  Not only will they make you happier, they will also make you a better person.
Chronic Complaining
Retail Therapy
Binge Drinking
Worrying About the Future
Waiting for the Future
Lack of Hobbies
Eating Poorly
Talking Poorly of Others
Holding Grudges
Stop Learning
Not Following Through
Hating Your Job
Loneliness (How you choose to socialize)
Letting Negative Thoughts Enter Your Mind
Jumping to Conclusions
Magnification
Minimization
Self Labeling
Not Having a Goal
Worrying About What Others Think
Letting Strangers Affect Your Mood
Wanting More Money
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:52 AM | Permalink

No medicine approved for potentially fatal Chagas, the "kissing bug disease" affecting 300,000 Americans

'Kissing bug' disease (Chagas) infects OVER 300,000 people in the US…most of whom don't know they have the parasite referred to as 'the new AIDS'

Over 300,000 Americans have already been infected with the potentially fatal 'kissing bug disease' called Chagas but U.S. healthcare workers lack of knowledge about the illness is letting many cases of the parasite unnoticed. Some doctors are calling it the 'new AIDS' because of the way it develops.

Researchers who gathered on Tuesday at the annual American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene meeting in New Orleans said that if caught early the disease can be cured however sometimes the disease can be asymptomatic and there is a dearth in medication for the condition.

The CDC reports that the initial symptoms of the disease caused by a parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi, which is spread through the feces of kissing bugs includes fever, fatigue, body aches, rash, diarrhea and vomiting. One of the first visual signs can be a skin lesion or a purplish swelling of the lid of one eye.

 Swelling Eyelid Chagas

The disease can develop in the body causing eventual heart failure and other deadly complications that by the time they are realized cannot be helped with medicine. Chagas is being called the new AIDS because of its asymptomatic beginnings that can turn to a fatal end if the disease progresses.

'We were astonished to not only find such a high rate of individuals testing positive for Chagas in their blood, but also high rates of heart disease that appear to be Chagas-related,' said Nolan Garcia, an epidemiologist at the Baylor College of Medicine.

The CDC has said that they believe most of the people infected with Chagas got the parasite in Mexico or South America before coming to the U.S.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:41 AM | Permalink

November 8, 2014

Do You Really Want a Smart TV?

One lawyer took the time to read the 46 page privacy notice that came with his smart TV and this is what he said.

I’m Terrified of My New TV: Why I’m Scared to Turn This Thing On — And You’d Be, Too
Michael Price

I am now the owner of a new “smart” TV, which promises to deliver streaming multimedia content, games, apps, social media, and Internet browsing. Oh, and TV too.
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The amount of data this thing collects is staggering. It logs where, when, how, and for how long you use the TV. It sets tracking cookies and beacons designed to detect “when you have viewed particular content or a particular email message.” It records “the apps you use, the websites you visit, and how you interact with content.” It ignores “do-not-track” requests as a considered matter of policy.

It also has a built-in camera — with facial recognition. The purpose is to provide “gesture control” for the TV and enable you to log in to a personalized account using your face…..

More troubling is the microphone. The TV boasts a “voice recognition” feature that allows viewers to control the screen with voice commands. But the service comes with a rather ominous warning: “Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party.” Got that? Don’t say personal or sensitive stuff in front of the TV.

You may not be watching, but the telescreen is listening.
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According to retired General David Petraeus, former head of the CIA, Internet-enabled “smart” devices can be exploited to reveal a wealth of personal data. “Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvester,” he reportedly told a venture capital firm in 2012. “We’ll spy on you through your dishwasher” read one headline. Indeed, as the “Internet of Things” matures, household appliances and physical objects will become more networked. Your ceiling lights, thermostat, and washing machine — even your socks — may be wired to interact online. The FBI will not have to bug your living room; you will do it yourself.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:50 AM | Permalink

Do Not Use Default Passwords

Peeping into 73,000 unsecured security cameras thanks to default passwords.. A site linked to 73,011 unsecured security camera locations in 256 countries to illustrate the dangers of using default passwords.

Security cameras are supposed to offer security, not provide surveillance footage for anyone to view. Businesses may be fine with that, but cameras that are not truly locked down in homes invite privacy invasions.

There were lots of businesses, stores, malls, warehouses and parking lots, but I was horrified by the sheer number of baby cribs, bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens; all of those were within homes where people should be safest, but were awaiting some creeper to turn the “security surveillance footage” meant for protection into an invasion of privacy.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:44 AM | Permalink

November 6, 2014

Feeling sad or lonely? Listening to sad songs can lift your spirits

Who hasn't listened to sad music when feeling lonely or distressed?  Turns out that's a good thing.

Melancholy tunes lift our moods

Music and brain researchers at the Free University of Berlin surveyed 700 people around the globe and discovered that listening to sad music can actually lead to beneficial emotional effects.

‘Music-evoked sadness can be appreciated not only as an aesthetic, abstract reward, but [it] also plays a role in well-being, by providing consolation as well as regulating negative moods and emotions.’

The study says that sad music stirs up a mixture of complex and ‘partially positive’ emotions, including nostalgia, peacefulness, tenderness, transcendence, and wonder.

Results show four different rewards of music-evoked sadness: reward of imagination, emotion regulation, empathy, and no “real-life” implications,’ the study says.  Surprisingly, nostalgia rather than sadness is the most frequent emotion evoked by sad music.

Nostalgia was the most common emotion experienced by listeners in Europe and the US, while people in Asia mostly reported feeling a peace.

‘The average number of emotions that participants reported to have experienced in response to sad music was above three,’ the researchers wrote in the study.

They believe that listening to sad music improves people’s well-being and helps people vent negative emotions when they are feeling distressed.

The experts also say that sad music has pleasurable effects and can stimulate people to express their emotions. Participants in the study revealed that most of the sad songs they listen to are slow in tempo.

Some of the most popular titles chosen included Beethoven’s Midnight Sonata, Ah Bing’s Moon Reflected in the Second Spring and Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:05 AM | Permalink

November 5, 2014

"Today is epic. I got my life back. I can hear nearly normally for the first time in decades" "

If you know of anyone with profound hearing loss, this is a must-read piece.

Anthony Watts at Watts Up With That in a very personal and moving note writes How I got my life back – my hearing has been restored to near-normal

[H]earing loss is a terrible social isolation. People that are blind actually do better socially than people with severe hearing loss.  And many people who have severe hearing loss such as myself get symptoms that further exacerbates the social isolation. Much of my life over the past 40 years has been a great deal of social isolation. But it has gotten worse lately as my hearing deteriorated further in 2008 and it was about that time that I discovered that blogging opened a whole new world for me and allowed me to form friendships with people around the world something I’ve never experienced before. Even though I was no longer on television, blogging became my social outlet while my hearing suffered further.
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I credit my wife for giving me the “giant kick in the ass” that led to the transformation that I experienced a week ago in Minneapolis Minnesota at a company called Starkey laboratories and their hearing foundation which serves people worldwide. Without her, I would have given up on myself.

He credits the Center of Excellence at the Starkey Laboratories "where miracles are performed every day by a staff of caring and talented people that exist nowhere else in the world."

The walls are lined with photographs, autographs, and letters from heads of state, celebrities, astronauts, the Pope, and even a letter from Mother Teresa thanking the man that formed this company and the miracle that it produces for restoring their hearing. That  man’s name is Bill Austin….There are also dozens of photographs, no make that hundreds, of children around the world that have been helped by this man and the foundation he has started to spread goodness and the American initiative throughout the world.

Bill wasn’t in that day, he was off in Afghanistan fitting children who had their hearing damaged by the ravages of war with new hearing aids to help them in their own social isolations.

In very short order and with customization right on the spot, his hearing approached the normal level.  He was able to converse with a bartender, listen to a waiter explain the specials, carry on a conversation on an airplane and on his cellphone.   

So he posted on Facebook, "Today is epic.  I got my life back.  I can hear nearly normally for the first time in decades"

And to my amazement dozens and then hundreds of accolades and comment started pouring in while I was sitting there at the bar. I began to cry and tears were streaming down my face. I was so happy and I couldn’t stop it because the weight and pain of the last 40 years were suddenly lifted from me. It truly was epic.

There were two people sitting at the end corner of the bar who looked at me and asked with concern, “Sir, are you okay?”  I proceeded to tell them what happened and I had a glorious conversation with two people who I had never met and I understood every word. They were thrilled for me.

And so am I.    And my hat goes off to Bill Austin, the man that made the company that "spread goodness and the American initiative throughout the world."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:11 PM | Permalink

November 1, 2014

Weekend Miscellany 3

Genocidal Napoleon was as barbaric as Hitler, historian claims

The Number That Explains Hong Kong’s Upheaval by David Feith
Off-color and packed with meaning, ‘689’ is a guide to the city’s present and future.

How an Oil Engineer Developed Autotune

Amazing Timelapse: Braces Straightening Teeth

10 Japanese Travel Tips for Visiting America

The Chemistry of the Colors of Blood.  There are four, red, blue, green and purple

Where trophy deer are bred to grow hyperreal racks.  Antler Farm 

“It’s not healthy for some of these deer to be carrying rocking chairs on top of their head,….experienced hunters say it’s easy to see that some of these deer have trouble keeping their heads up, with all the weight they’re carrying.

Wonderful Photographs from Mexico's Day of the Dead in Atlas Obscura

In Mexico, Day of Dead is more of a spiritual and religious festival,…the focus is on the altars and the millions, if not billions, of marigolds used to decorate them. The scent of the flowers is said to lure back the dead to visit Earth for this annual reunion with the living.

 Mexico Dayofdead
Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:31 PM | Permalink

Hilarious. Conservative video gets most votes by far in left-wing contest

Moveon and Mayday, two left wing groups,  sponsored a video contest for the best  ad about the “the crisis of big money in our politics”

When Phil Karpen of the conservative group American Commitment submitted a video about the biggest donor in America Tom Steyer , the progressive climate alarmist who got rich over cheap foreign coal, it won 15 times as many votes as the second-place competitor.  So they changed the rules and allowed an extra day of voting.

MoveOn.Org Changes Its Contest Rules After Conservative Group’s Video Takes Commanding Lead
“Pretty funny that liberal groups who pretend to hate money in politics are driven to panic and willing to embarrass themselves with a last-minute rules change to forestall the possibility that a submission about by far the biggest donor in America might win their contest,” American Commitment’s Phil Kerpen told The Daily Caller. “Steyer has spent $42M+ this year, more than the top 31 Republican donors combined.  But he’s a liberal, so they love him.”

MoveOn.Org Refuses To Honor Conservative’s Victory In Its Video Contest [

But on Monday, MoveOn named an environmentalist video called “This Is Your Country,” produced by MAYDAY.us as the contest winner, despite the fact that it only received 99 votes.  MAYDAY, of course, co-sponsored the contest itself.

“The leaders of ‘pro-democracy’ groups chose a video that got 99 votes over a video that got 7,590 votes — because the latter was about liberal Tom Steyer and the former was against fossil fuels,” Kerpen said. “It speaks for itself.”

So let's at least give Karpen's video, The Biggest Hypocrite,  the People's Choice award.

Powerline:  Moveon and Mayday explain:  When we say 'money' we mean conservative money!

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:55 AM | Permalink

Quote of the week - Bill Clinton

“I believe that in ways large and small, peaceful and sometimes violent, that the biggest threat to the future of our children and grandchildren is the poison of identity politics that preaches that our differences are far more important than our common humanity,”

Former President Bill Clinton before Human Rights Campaign annual dinner

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:30 AM | Permalink