December 30, 2016

Health Roundup: Alzheimer's, man flu, autism+Vitamin D

Statins link to reduced chance of Alzheimer's - major new study

A review of 400,000 patients established that those who took the tablets regularly slashed their chances of succumbing to the condition by between 12 and 15 per cent. Scientists behind the study say the link may be explained by an interplay between cholesterol, which is regulated by the drug, and beta-amyloid, which plays a role in dementia, or that an anti-inflammatory property of statins themselves could be protecting against the disease.

Man flu DOES exist! Viruses want to kill men more than women, study finds

Viruses such as HPV and TB are more likely to kill men than women, study shows. Researchers at Royal Holloway University found the pathogens had adapted to target men and cause less-severe disease in women. They believe it is because women are 'more valuable hosts' to pathogens. Women are more likely to pass the virus on to others such as babies by nursing

Could autism be linked to a lack of vitamin D?

Research reveals women who are deficient in it during pregnancy are more likely to have children who display 'autistic traits'
Lead researcher Professor John McGrath, from the University of Queensland, said this suggested vitamin D supplements could reduce the incidence of autism.  The study, led by researchers from the Queensland Brain Institute, looked at blood samples from more than 4,000 pregnant women and their children.

Women who had low vitamin D levels at 20 weeks' pregnant were more likely to have children displaying autistic traits by the age of six, the study found.  Professor McGrath said: 'This study provides further evidence that low vitamin D is associated with neuro-developmental disorders. 'Just as taking folate in pregnancy has reduced the incidence of spina bifida, the result of this study suggests that prenatal vitamin D supplements may reduce the incidence of autism.'

Homeopathy effective for 0 out of 68 illnesses, study finds

Treatment has 'no discernible convincing effects beyond placebo'

Though placebos can have an astonishing effect.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:15 PM | Permalink

Health Roundup: Beer edition

Don't want to go deaf? Have a pint of Guinness each day: High levels of iron helps to prevent hearing loss, study finds

Around 30 per cent of the world's population are believed to be anaemic - leaving them at risk of losing their ability to hear
A study of more than 300,000 people found a link between iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) and hearing loss. Pennsylvania State University researchers found a lack of the mineral can cause sensorinerual hearing loss - damage to the cochlea or nerve pathways. They also discovered it could also cause conductive hearing loss - problems with the bones in the middle of the ear.

A pint of Guinness each day may help to prevent you from going deaf, new research suggests. The popular beverage contains high levels of iron, which scientists believe helps to ward off hearing loss. In England, post operative patients used to be given Guinness because of its high iron content.  Although Guinness and its parent company, Diageo, make no such claims today, its advertising slogan from the 1920's was 'Guinness is good for you!' But nutritionists warn a pint contains less than three per cent of the iron needed daily.

Previous research suggested it may work as well as a low dose aspirin to prevent heart clots that raise the risk of heart attacks. It is believed antioxidant compounds in the drink, similar to those found in certain fruits and vegetables, are responsible for the health benefits because they slow down the deposit of harmful cholesterol on the artery walls.

How to cook healthy with BEER: Replace oil with ale when cooking it has nearly HALF the calories

Beer has around 75 calories per tablespoon while oil has up to 120 calories. Food fans suggest braising your meat in dark beer or add it to chili, stew or even your homemade burgers to give it a rich, dark flavor.

Toby Amidor, a registered dietician and author, says that beer can be considered a healthier alternative. She goes on to explain that beer can actually boost your health because it is packed with B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus and selenium.  As well as claims from the University of Pennsylvania that with moderation dark ale or stout can protect you from heart attacks, beer can also strengthen your bones because it contains silicon which can help promote growth.

Don’t want a hangover on New Year’s Day? Then you should avoid spirits and just stick to beer, study finds

Hops in beer can lessen the harm done to the liver after a night of heavy drinking. They reduce the production of toxins that occur from alcohol such as spirits. Some of these molecules are believed to cause a headache the following day

Can music change the flavor of beer? Different sounds can transform your tastebuds.

High pitch notes from piano or flute and harmonies enhance the sweetness. Lower pitch tones made by brass instruments makes beer taste more bitter. The highest pitch notes along with some percussion like chimes or clapping can add a hint of sourness to an ale while dissonant notes can make it seem stronger.

Have some nuts with your beer.  Snacking On Nuts Can Reduce Risk Of Heart Disease, Cancer

A new study from European researchers in the journal BMC Medicine says eating a handful of nuts a day can cut down on several health risks. Data from more than 800,000 people who ate all kinds of nuts, including hazelnuts, walnuts and peanuts, shows they cut their risk of dying from heart disease by nearly 30 percent and cancer by 15 percent. The risk of premature death was also 22 percent lower for people who ate nuts. “It’s quite a substantial effect for such a small amount of food,” study co-author Dagfinn Aune said.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:50 PM | Permalink

Easy-peasy resolutions for a healthier New Year

Don't eat too much kale or spinach.  How one woman's obsession with spinach and kale smoothies almost caused her to go BLIND after a build-up of a healthy compound clouded her vision

An Asian woman in her 60s was found to have high levels of lutein in her eye. She was taking supplements with her daily smoothies of leafy green vegetables. It caused her to develop crystalised deposits in her eyes - affecting her vision which can trigger age-related macular degeneration - a cause of blindness.  After stopping taking her supplements, her vision improved straight away

The advice to eat a diet rich in fruit and vegetables certainly still stands, but this study serves as an indicator that there can be too much of a good thing when it comes to eye-healthy foods. People should only be taking large doses of added supplements if their eye doctor has detected signs of age-related macular degeneration. Taking more than your body needs can potentially cause more harm than good.'

Don't obsess over a few extra pounds.  Why being chubby could help you live longer...and other fascinating reasons why fat isn't always your enemy, from a book by a top biochemist 

Obesity warnings are well-founded but we should not treat fat like the enemy. Having extremely low body fat can lead to deficiencies in vital vitamins. Researchers found that low body mass index (less than 20) in middle-age is linked to a 34 per cent higher risk for dementia later in life. ... Plump patients may live longer....Embrace extra fat after the menopause.

Take a quick break every hour or so to move around.  Work. Walk 5 Minutes. Work.

Stuck at your work desk? Standing up and walking around for five minutes every hour during the workday could lift your mood, combat lethargy without reducing focus and attention, and even dull hunger pangs, according to an instructive new study. Frequent, brief walking breaks were more effective at improving well-being than a single, longer walk before work.

Time your showers.  Shower in the morning to boost creativity and at night if you want to fall asleep:

Morning showers can help those who are feeling stressed due to work or under pressure to be creative.  Showering helps you relax but also makes you alert, so washing in the morning can stimulate creativity.  Night-time showers are helpful because they regulate body temperature which can help you fall asleep more easily.


Swim in the ocean. 
From soothing your skin to clearing up sinuses, expert reveals the benefits of swimming in the ocean

Historically, doctors would recommend their patients go to the seaside to improve various ills.  Using seawater for medical purposes even has a name: thalassotherapy.

Take care of someone elseGrandparents can enjoy 5 extra years of life if they occasionally care for their grandchildren

Experts assessed survival rates of more than 500 people between 70 and 103. They were split into 2 groups based on if they cared for their grandchildren. Half of those who cared for their young family members were alive 10 years later while around the same amount of those who didn't died within just 5 years.  Providing care to anyone was associated with 3 years of extra life.

Get more sleep.  You'll be happier, healthier and slimmer too.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:49 PM | Permalink

Health roundup: heartburn, 'sugar-free' and Parkinson's

Popular heartburn medications linked to higher risk of stroke

Millions of Americans take proton pump inhibitors to treat acid reflux and heartburn. Known as PPIs, they are among the most prescribed drugs in the United States and are widely available over the counter. The research was conducted in Denmark among a quarter-million patients who suffered from stomach pain and indigestion, and were taking one of four PPIs: Prilosec, Protonix, Prevacid or Nexium.  Overall stroke risk increased 21% among patients who were taking a PPI, according to the study. At the lowest doses, the authors found either no or minimal increased risk of stroke. At the highest doses, they found that stroke risk increased 33% for Prilosec and Prevacid patients, 50% for Nexium patients and 79% for Protonix patients.

Parkinson's could start in the GUT not the brain:

Scientists at California Institute of Technology find first ever link between the disease and gut microbes.  Studying mice, they managed to treat their symptoms with antibiotics.  The discovery, published today in the journal Cell, could overhaul medical research and treatment of Parkinson's.

Sugar-free products stop us getting slimmer

Researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital said,"We found that aspartame blocks a gut enzyme called intestinal alkaline phosphatase (IAP)," and its beneficial aspects.  IAP is produced in the small intestine. "We previously showed [this enzyme] can prevent obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

DNA linked to sugar cravings also leads to binge drinking, study finds. Is THIS the booze gene?

Beta-Klotho is activated in the brain by a hormone produced in the liver.  Around 60% of the population carry a variation, researchers found. Having the variant made adults drink an extra 0.97g of alcohol each day.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:16 PM | Permalink

December 29, 2016

Miscellany #52

Beautiful photos of Iceland

 Iceland-Rainbow Over Kirkufell

Pantone 2017 Color of the Year: Greenery

 2017 Color Greenery-1

How Millions Of Secret Silk Maps Helped POWs Escape Their Captors in WWII 750 successful escapes.

Imagine it’s 1942, and you’re a member of Britain’s Royal Air Force. In a skirmish above Germany, your plane was shot out of the sky, and since then you’ve been hunkered down in a Prisoner of War camp. Your officers have told you it’s your duty to escape as soon as you can, but you can’t quite figure out how—you’ve got no tools and no spare rations, and you don’t even know where you are.

One day, though, you’re playing Monopoly with your fellow prisoners when you notice a strange seam in the board. You pry it open—and find a secret compartment with a file inside. In other compartments, other surprises: a compass, a wire saw, and a map, printed on luxurious, easily foldable silk and showing you exactly where you are, and where safety is. You’ve received a package from Christopher Clayton Hutton—which means you’re set to go.

The Curious History of the Clothespeg

Although pegs might suggest domestic servitude and toil, they also asserted possession, tidiness and small, quick triumphs.

Garbage can be beautiful, if sorted correctly.  Photos from the Secret Trash Collection in a New York Sanitation Garage.

 Secret Collection Of Furbies-1

This is the Treasures in the Trash collection, created entirely out of objects found by Nelson Molina, a now-retired sanitation worker, who began by decorating his locker. Collected over 30 years, it is a visual explosion, organized by type, color, and size.

The Married Woman Who Kept Her Lover in the Attic Dolly Oesterreich, her "Bat Man," and one of the strangest sex scandals ever.

New #ComboPhoto Mashups from Stephen McMennamy

 Bridge Guitar

She Carefully Glued 13,000 Dark And Shiny Pennies To Create This Awesome Floor

It all started with three $50 bags of pennies from the bank and some Elmer's glue...The finished product! About $130 in pennies, 10 bottles of Elmer's glue, some grout and epoxy to give the floor a shiny finish.

 Floor Of Pennies

Watch a Guy Hit 240 Consecutive Green Lights in New York City

Watch 167 Theremin Nesting Dolls Play Beethoven's 9th Symphony then break into a bluesy boogie-woogie rendition. 

Why Do Blind People Wear Sunglasses? to filter out bright and ultraviolet light, to protect their eyes from physical dangers like low-hanging branches, small objects blown by the wind, open cupboard doors, etc, to hide certain deformities , to signify that they’re blind at a distance and because they make others uncomfortable because they can not maintain eye contact.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:07 PM | Permalink

Health Roundup - Good news

MS breakthrough: Doctors hail the discovery of a 'landmark' drug that alters the immune system

Ocrelizumab reported positive results in the treatment of one form of MS, primary progressive. It works by preventing the body's immune system from malfunctioning.  It was found only 33% of primary progressive patients deteriorated over time. However, 39% suffered from worsening symptoms after taking a placebo drug
The research, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, involved testing on more than 700 patients across Europe and the US.

New antibiotic mined from human gut reverses drug resistance in superbugs

Using DNA sequences, scientists decode new antibiotics used in gut warfare.....The microbes bustling in our bellies may be gold mines for new antibiotic drugs, researchers report this week in Nature Chemical Biology. As proof of gut-bugs’ potential, the authors dug up a new bacteria-busting drug that can reverse resistance in pathogens and help kill off methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria. In mice with lethal MRSA infections, the drug helped cure 100 percent of infections.

Scientists have figured out how to help nerve fibers repair themselves

A team of scientist from the German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) began their research with the hypothesis that such a molecular brake naturally exists - something that stops neurons growing when we become adults and our bodies are fully formed.  But finding such a mechanism was like "looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack", according to lead researcher Frank Bradke.  By using a data-crunching approach called bioinformatics - where computers analyze and interpret biological information - the team eventually zeroed in on the gene they were looking for.

They have identified a gene that inhibits fibre regrowth when nerve connections become damaged. This gene, called Cacna2d2, acts as 'molecular brake', but now that we know how to turn the brake off, it could help us to develop treatments for conditions like paralysis and other spinal cord injuries.

Over 60,000 People Every Year Get Adult Stem Cell Treatments, Embryonic Cells Help No One

To date there is no proven success with human embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stem cells are the least likely type of stem cell to help any patients. Their very nature—a tendency to incessant growth—means that they are much more likely to form a tumor than to form healthy tissue, and so embryonic stem cells risk the life and health of those who are injected with them.

Even some embryonic stem cell advocates are beginning to admit failure. The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, charged with spending $3 billion of state taxpayer dollars primarily for embryonic stem cell and human cloning research, has lately been funding mostly grants for non-embryonic stem cell research, hoping that they will have something to show for their expenditures which so far have yielded nothing from embryonic stem cells.
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Adult stem cells remain the gold standard among stem cells when it comes to helping patients. For the latest facts on adult stem cell transplants see lozierinstitute.org.

In the last year, adult stem cells have been shown the potential to re-grow damaged heart muscle and reduce scars in the heart tissue.  They have been used to regrow new windpipes in patients with cancer or other tracheal problems. French scientists showed for the first time that a few adult stem cells from a patient could be used to grow enough red blood cells in the lab for a transfusion. The adult stem cells efficiently produced new cells that survived transfusion back into the patient’s body and functioned normally.

Ebola breakthrough as vaccine trial shows 'historic' 100% success rate

11,300 people died in West Africa's 2013-2016 epidemic of the virus.  New vaccine was found to be 100% successful in 2015 Guinea trial 
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:51 PM | Permalink

December 26, 2016

Christmastime miscellany

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Though we love Christmas for the traditions that it entails, we have forgotten one of the most important traditions. For several centuries people waited until Christmas to celebrate Christmas. And then they celebrated it for twelve days. There was a fast leading up to the feast, and then there were many days of feasting. But in recent years, in spite of official attempts to deflate Christmas altogether, the festival lasts for over a month leading up to the actual feast, and then it vanishes instantly and all evidence of it is erased.

G.K. Chesterton, Charles Dickens, and the Joy of Christmas

In his brief remarks, Chesterton pointed out that there is no substitute for Christmas. No new religion has made a new festival anything like it. No new philosophy has been popular enough to make a popular holiday. The pleasure-seekers with their nightclub life are not happy people. Chesterton says it is unfair to call them Pagans. It is unfair to the Pagans....The modern Pagans are merely atheists; who worship nothing and therefore create nothing. They could not, for instance, even make a substitute for Thanksgiving Day. For half of them are pessimists who say they have nothing to be thankful for; and the other half are atheists who have nobody to thank.”

Christmas: Embattled From the Beginning.  The Saturday essay in the WSJ
For 2,000 years, believers and nonbelievers alike have fought over the meaning and traditions of a repeatedly reinvented holiday

World’s largest Rube Goldberg machine lights up Christmas tree (link to video)
To make the act of switching on the town’s Christmas tree lights even more exiting, Latvian e-commerce company Scandiweb constructed the world’s Largest Rube Goldberg for the people of Riga with a chain reaction that consisted of 412 individual mechanical steps.

Harvesting One Million Christmas Trees over 6 weeks with chains, trucks and helicopters.

 Harvesting Million Xmas Treee

A 2016 Christmas Card: Silent Night by 8 cellists from the Philharmonia Orchestra (London, UK)  filmed in candlelight at St Mary de Castro, Leicester.

 Silentnight 8 Cellists

Discover What 3 Classic Paintings Secretly Say About The Meaning Of Christmas

like“The Adoration of the Shepherds” by Philippe de Champaigne (1602-1674),

 Nativity


Alison Kraus and Yo-Yo Ma - The Wexford Carol on YouTube

The ‘magic of the global marketplace’ and the ‘miracle of global manufacturing’: Christmas 1964 vs. today


6 Christmas Dates You Should Not Forget

Look at all that we’d miss out on if we shut down our Christmas on December 26 along with the secular world!

General Patton's Christmas Card distributed to 250,000 troops under his command in 1944

During the holiday season of 1944, Gen. Patton’s Third Army was bogged down in their advance against the Germans. According to WND, Patton was bogged down as he was trying to reach Bastogne, a town in southern Belgium that held by 15,000 American troops but encircled by over 50,000 Nazi soldiers bearing down on it. Unfortunately, due to the weather, Gen. Patton didn’t have the air cover he needed to relieve the 15,000 brave American troops holding off the Germans. That’s when he decided to rely on the power of prayer.

Patton had Chaplain Fr. James O’Neill compose a card to be distributed to each one of the 250,000 troops under his command in the Third Army, and had all of the men pray this simple prayer:

 General Patton's 1944 Xmas Card  click to enlarge
And it worked. The next day, the weather cleared, Patton’s Third Army made its way into Bastogne to relieve the 101st Airborne, stymie the Nazis, and … well, you know the rest.

From A Bunch of Hilarious Christmas Posts That You Can’t Help But Laugh At

Funny-Christmas-Tree In A Cage

10 UK Christmas Traditions That Confuse Americans like Crackers for one.

German town forced to evacuate on Christmas (2015)

Thousands of people in the southern German city of Augsburg have left Christmas presents and decorations behind, forced to evacuate while authorities disarm a large World War II aerial bomb.

The bomb was uncovered last week during construction work in the city’s historic central district. Police say Christmas Day is the best time to defuse it because there is less traffic and it is more likely people can stay with relatives. Some 32,000 homes with 54,000 residents are in the evacuation zone.

The Piano Guys sing Angels We Have Heard on High with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and over 1000 angels.

The Origins of a Christmas Carol: The Real ‘Winter Wonderland’ by a  jingle-writer dying from tuberculosis in a sanatorium who was inspired by children playing in the snow outside his window and remembering his own childhood.

Funny Historical Letters to Santa

 Santa Letter Percy From Wv 1907

The True Story of Pain and Hope behind "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day".

30 million tune into the BBC's Christmas Eve broadcast of Nine Lessons And Carols From King’s College, Cambridge. Few know the ethereal carol service was inspired by the horror of the trenches.

Christmas in Aleppo: Worshippers cram into Saint Elias Cathedral that was almost destroyed by rocket fire for the first time in 5 years.

 Aleppo Christmas 2016

How Jimmy Stewart Became George Bailey

After two years of subsisting largely on ice cream and peanut butter, he had only just begun to eat real food and keep it down. He had the shakes and at times flew into rages, and his sleep was interrupted by images of bombers burning in the sky and men tumbling to earth.

“It’s a Wonderful Life” was Stewart’s first picture after almost five years away, including 20 months on the front lines. As a squadron commander of B-24 heavy bombers, he flew his first combat mission to Germany on Dec. 13, 1943. He commanded 12 missions in his first two months and was almost shot down twice. The experience unnerved him enough that he spent time at the “flak farm,” where fliers went to decompress after seeing too much combat.

Where Did the Wise Men Come From?  Dwight Longnecker argues that they came from the Kingdom of Sheba (present day Yemen)

The three gifts of the magi indicate an origin in Sheba since the kingdom was known firstly for its vast wealth from the gold mines of Africa, secondly, the Boswellia tree–from which the gum that is used to make frankincense is tapped–is native only to the Arabian peninsula and Somalia. Thirdly, the commiphora tree–from which the resin to make myrrh is derived–also grows only in the Arabian peninsula.

Japan Is Obsessed with Kentucky Fried Chicken on Christmas  Thanks to the successful Kentucky for Christmas! marketing campaign in 1974, 

These days, KFC records its highest sales volume each year on Christmas eve. Back office staff, presidents and execs come out to help move the lines along. Fried chicken and Christmas have become synonymous:

An incredible Christmas story from WWII

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:18 PM | Permalink

December 22, 2016

Health Roundup - sniff test Alzheimer's, aluminum, saunas, aging

A simple 'sniff test' is accurate in diagnosing Alzheimer's early on

The sense of smell is known to decline sharply in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.  Experts believe this is because the build-up of toxic clumps in the brain - the signature hallmark of dementia - affects the memory region. Asking people at risk to try and identify a range of odors could provide an accurate early diagnosis, a new study found.  The 5-minute test could also be used to detect mild cognitive impairment - the pre-cursor to the debilitating disease, it suggested.

The 5-minute test could also be used to detect mild cognitive impairment - the pre-cursor to the debilitating disease, it suggested. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania asked 728 elderly people to detect 16 different odors using the Sniffin' Sticks test - which was developed in Germany and available to buy online.

Saunas Help Your Brain, Says Deeply Finnish Study

Published in Age and Ageing and highlighted by the New York Times’ Well blog, the study tracked 2,315 healthy guys between the ages of 42 and 60 over the course of about 20 years.

After controlling for lots of things — age, alcohol, smoking, diabetes, resting heart rate, body mass index, and the like — the analysis found that the dudes who bathed in saunas four to seven times a week had a 65 percent lower risk of Alzheimer’s and a 66 percent lower risk of dementia compared to those who went just once a week.

Aluminum DOES cause Alzheimer's: Expert says new findings confirm the metal plays a role in the devastating brain disease

A link between aluminium and Alzheimer's disease has long existed.But many scientists says there is not enough evidence to blame the metal, used by thousands for everyday purposes to cook and store food.

However, Professor Chris Exley, from Keele University, says his latest research confirms it does indeed play a role in cognitive decline.  Alzheimer’s disease has a much earlier age of onset, for example, fifties or early sixties, in individuals who have been exposed to unusually high levels of aluminium in their everyday lives. We now show that some of the highest levels of aluminium ever measured in human brain tissue are found in individuals who have died with a diagnosis of familial Alzheimer’s disease.

Scientists reverse aging in mammals and predict human trials within 10 years

Using a new technique which takes adult cells back to their embryonic form, US researchers at the Salk Institute in California, showed it was possible to reverse aging in mice, allowing the animals to not only look younger, but live for 30 per cent longer.
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Dr Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, a professor in Salk's Gene Expression Laboratory. “With careful modulation, aging might be reversed. Obviously, mice are not humans and we know it will be much more complex to rejuvenate a person. But this study shows that aging is a very dynamic and plastic process, and therefore will be more amenable to therapeutic interventions than what we previously thought."
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The breakthrough could also help people stay healthier for longer.  The aging population means that the risk of developing age-related diseases, such as dementia, cancer and heart disease also rises. But if the body could be kept younger for longer then it could prevent many deadly diseases for decades.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:45 PM | Permalink

Secrets to Raising a Good Kid

The 6 Secrets To Raising A Good Kid According To Experts At Harvard

According to human development experts at Harvard University there are 6 or 7 main "guideposts to raising caring, respectful, and ethical children"-

1. Teach children to control their emotions

2. Talk to them about taking responsibility for their actions

3. Teach your children to be compassionate and help the weak

4. Teach your children to be grateful

5. Instill your family values in them and show them what constitutes good behavior

6. Spend more time together

7. Be a good role model and mentor
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:19 PM | Permalink

The consequences of bad education

U.S. Kids Keep Getting Dumber; Ranked 31st Of 35 Developed Nations In Math and 24th in reading literacy.

One-third (32 percent) of millennials believed that more people were killed under George W. Bush than under Joseph Stalin.

Seventy-five percent don’t know that communist governments have murdered more than 100 million people. “It is because of such widespread ignorance about communism that we formed the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, which is dedicated to telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth,” said Lee Edwards, a distinguished fellow in conservative thought at The Heritage Foundation and co-founder of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, an organization that seeks to “memorialize, educate, and document the grim history of communism around the world.”

Staggering ignorance of Students" "They're 100% Convinced that Slavery is a Uniquely American Invention.

And somewhat related, Duke Pesta on the left’s choke-hold on higher education - and its consequences who says:
"I started giving quizzes to my juniors and seniors. I gave them a ten-question American history test… just to see where they are. The vast majority of my students - I’m talking nine out of ten, in every single class, for seven consecutive years – they have no idea that slavery existed anywhere in the world before the United States. Moses, Pharaoh, they know none of it. They’re 100% convinced that slavery is a uniquely American invention… How do you give an adequate view of history and culture to kids when that’s what they think of their own country – that America invented slavery? That’s all they know."

The history of slavery spans nearly every culture, nationality and religion from ancient times to the present day (human trafficking).  In 2005, I posted about Slavery, what you didn't know.Slavery, what you didn't know

What Politicians Mean When They Ask for More Education Spending

They need the money to pay for irresponsible pension promises politicians made to teachers’ unions and justified to the public with shoddy accounting...The vast majority of taxpayer contributions into teachers’ pension plans are now used to pay down pension debt owed for past service rather than to pay for new benefits earned by today’s teachers. As

Look what's happened to once prosperous Venezuela with the largest oil reserves in the world since they first voted in Hugo Chavez.

From 'Socialist Utopia' To 'Silence Of The Lambs' - Venezuela's Overcrowded Prisons Devolve Into Cannibalism

Once a flagship socialist nation, Venezuela has now devolved into complete chaos as declining oil revenue has resulted in economic ruin, massive inflation, food shortages and spikes in violent crime.  The increasing criminal activity has led to massive overcrowding of Venezuelan jails where felons have been forced to live in squalid conditions.

According to the Independent, one such overcrowded facility was Táchira Detention Center where 350 inmates were housed despite the facility's capacity for only 120 people.  Earlier this month, the adverse living conditions, including insufficient rations for inmates, at the facility resulted in riots that devolved into complete chaos as numerous visitors were taken hostage and 2 inmates were "stabbed, hanged to bleed, and then fed to the detainees."

Juan Carlos Herrara told local media his son, Juan Carlos Herrera Jr, was stabbed, hanged, dismembered and then eaten at the Táchira Detention Center.

 Cannabilism Venezuela

Venezuela's "Death Spiral"

For many Venezuelans, by every economic, social and political measure, their nation is unravelling at breakneck speed....Today, a once comfortable middle-class Venezuelan father is scrambling desperately to find his family's next meal -- sometimes hunting through garbage for salvageable food. The unfortunate 75% majority of Venezuelans already suffering extreme poverty are reportedly verging on starvation.....

A dozen eggs was last reported to cost $150, and the International Monetary Fund "predicts that inflation in Venezuela will hit 720% this year. That might be an optimistic assessment, according to some local economic analysts, who expect the rate to reach as high as 1,200%."

Venezuela's crime rate is one of the highest in the world. Called the world's most homicidal nation, Venezuela has more than street crime, thuggery and murder. Drug cartels, black marketeers, narcoterrorists, white collar criminals and money launderers are unfortunate hallmarks of the Chavez/Maduro legacy.

Hugo Chavez, elected President in 1998, 2000, 2006 and 2012, described himself as a Marxist and brought the "Bolivarian revolution" and socialism to Venezuela died in 2013 with a family fortune of $2 billion

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:09 PM | Permalink

December 11, 2016

Miscellany #51

Rogue Beaver Apprehended After Trashing Store That Sells Fake Christmas Trees

Anonymouse Opened Up Stores For Mice In Sweden

 Little-Mouse-Shop-Sweden

 Context Little-Mouse-Shop-Sweden

Bullets from the Battle of Gallipoli

 Gallipoli Bullets

The Best Military Tricks to Make Your Daily Life Easier like how to keep your dress shirt tucked in and waterproof gadgets using two condoms.

Here Are the Real Boundaries of American Metropolises, Decided by an Algorithm
How is the U.S. actually split geographically?

 Real Boundaries American Cities click to enlarge

In Defense of Fahrenheit
A lot of scientific thought went into developing the United States' stubbornly-held temperature system.  For example Fahrenheit is a more precise scale than Celsius.

Two women sue groom after getting hit in the head by drone at wedding

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:31 PM | Permalink

December 10, 2016

Health Roundup - Good News

U.S. Dementia Rates Are Dropping Even as Population Ages

Dementia is actually on the wane. And when people do get dementia, they get it at older and older ages....The new study found that the dementia rate in Americans 65 and older fell by 24 percent over 12 years, to 8.8 percent in 2012 from 11.6 percent in 2000. That trend is “statistically significant and impressive.”

Playing harmonicas helps people with limited lung capacity breathe easier

The COPD Foundation helped 25 treatment centers offer weekly classes as part of its new Harmonicas for Health initiative? All that breathing in and out strengthens the diaphragm, allowing the patients in the program to breathe deeper. The harmonica players also say they experience reduced anxiety, a renewed sense of purpose, a decrease in social isolation and just plain old fun .

The Many Benefits of Choir Singing When You’re Older  It's a way to improve memory, reduce stress and make breathing easier

Using Ecstasy to treat PTSD: ‘I felt like my soul snapped back into place’ said Jessi Appleton after three sessions. 

Appleton, 32, was treated in Boulder, Colorado, in a study arranged and funded by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), an organization that has long pursued a strategy of supporting rigorous scientific research into otherwise illegal drugs. On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave the treatment an important boost, when agency officials met with officials from MAPS to start clearing the way for one or more large-scale research studies.

Man 'cured' of prostate cancer after doctors shock tumor to death with testosterone

Professor Sam Denmeade, from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, US, who led the study, said: ""Our goal is to shock the cancer cells by exposing them rapidly to very high followed by very low levels of testosterone in the blood. The results are unexpected and exciting. ...The treatment is revolutionary because testosterone is generally assumed to fuel prostate cancer.

Tasmanian devil's milk can KILL the most deadly drug-resistant bacteria known - including golden staph

The Tasmanian devil, the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world is the size of a small dog and can be found only on the Australian island state of Tasmania.  Biologist Emma Peel was inspired by the fact that under-developed Tasmanian Devils don't get sick in the pouch.

Sydney University researchers found that the milk of the Tasmanian Devil has been shown to kill some of the most deadly bacterial and fungal infections, including golden staph.  This is due to the peptides contained in the milk having six naturally occurring anti-microbes which researches have set about replicating.  'We showed that these devil peptides kill multi-drug resistant bacteria, which is really cool,' Ms Peel told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:29 PM | Permalink

December 1, 2016

Miscellany #50

Fifty shades of white: Artist captures beautiful images of albinos against light backgrounds to reveal 'their beautiful tones'

Yulia Taits, 38, from Moscow, captured the images of models and says she did not need to use Photoshop for any of them.

Ms Tait, who now lives in Israel, said: 'Their unique beauty hypnotizes me. This beauty is so pure and amazing for me, as if it was taken from fantasies and fairytale legends. ...'I’m excited to prove that white is not just one color! It has many tints, shades and beautiful tones."

 Albino Aldi

Lost poem by Anne Frank unearthed: She wrote the eight lines of advice when she was only 12, in a book belonging to Christiane 'Cri-cri' Van Maarsen, the younger sister of her best friend Jacqueline, only months before the family went into hiding from the Nazis. 

If you did not finish your work properly,
And lost precious time,
Then once again take up your task
And try harder than before.
If others have reproached you
For what you have done wrong,
Then be sure to amend your mistake.
That is the best memory one can make.

Migrants Burn Down German Refugee Center After Camp Runs Out of Nutella and Gummy Bears

Rakotzbrücke Devil's Bridge

This jaw-dropping 19th-century bridge uses its reflection to form a perfect circle.  Commissioned in 1860 by the knight of the local town, the thin arch stretching over the waters of the Rakotzsee is roughly built out of varied local stone. Like many similarly precarious spans across Europe, the Rakotzbrücke is known as a “devil’s bridge,” due to the colloquialism that such bridges were so dangerous or miraculous that they must have been built by Satan.

 Devil's Bridge

‘Suicide bomber’ squirrel hospitalizes Chicago politician who spoke out against squirrels

The Factory of Fakes In the New Yorker - How a workshop uses digital technology to craft perfect copies of imperiled art.

Explore the stories behind the 100 most influential images of all time put together by Time magazine and an international team of curators

15 Reflections That Mess With Your Head

 #2 Starry Night In A Puddle
#2  Reflection in a Puddle Where The Gravel Looks Like A Starry Night Sky

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:38 PM | Permalink