January 31, 2017

Compare and contrast

Since Roe v. Wade there have been some 58 million abortions in the United States.  Such a huge number is hard to comprehend, but watching this  video, only 4 ½ minutes long, will give you a far better sense.  58 Bells for the Unborn

Why is it so immensely powerful? As the numbers spin and whirl across the screen, like a kind of demented Dow Jones figure. a bell tolls each time the cumulative abortion count is shown. That alone would be enough to grab your attention.  But in addition, the numbers roll directly under a map of the United States with the states in yellow. State by state “disappears,” representing the ever-mounting numbers of children who have disappeared over time.

Whatever someone’s view is on abortion, this video will help them grasp the immensity of the loss of life which is the real legacy of Roe v. Wade.

 Abortion Impact Us Map

By contrast, the number of Americans killed in all U.S. wars is only 1.1 million according to PBS who made this graphic based on
the latest estimates from the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

 Military-Deaths All Us Wars

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:01 PM | Permalink

January 30, 2017

Health roundup: Growing back teeth, appendix, stem cells, cats + Alzheimers, marijuana studies

End of fillings in sight as scientists find Alzheimer's drug makes teeth grow back

Researchers at King's College London found that the drug Tideglusib stimulates the stem cells contained in the pulp of teeth so that they generate new dentine – the mineralized material under the enamel.....Scientists showed it is possible to soak a small biodegradable sponge with the drug and insert it into a cavity, where it triggers the growth of dentine and repairs the damage within six weeks. The tiny sponges are made out of collagen so they melt away over time, leaving only the repaired tooth.

Appendix Isn't Useless At All: It's A Safe House For Good Bacteria

Long denigrated as vestigial or useless, the appendix now appears to have a reason to be – as a "safe house" for the beneficial bacteria living in the human gut.

Drawing upon a series of observations and experiments, Duke University Medical Center investigators postulate that the beneficial bacteria in the appendix that aid digestion can ride out a bout of diarrhea that completely evacuates the intestines and emerge afterwards to repopulate the gut

Scientists can now grow a beating human heart from stem cells

A team of scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School have used adult skin cells to regenerate functional human heart tissue. The study, published in the journal Circulation Research, detailed that the team took adult skin cells, using a technique called messenger RNA to turn them into pluripotent stem cells, before inducing them to become two different types of cardiac cells.  Then for two weeks they infused the hearts with a nutrient solution, allowing them to develop under the same circumstances a heart would grow inside a human body. After the two week period, the hearts contained well-structured tissue, which appeared similar to that contained in developing human hearts. When shocked with electricity, they started beating.

Could your CAT give you Alzheimer's? Parasite found in feline feces 'increases risk of developing the crippling brain disease'

Scientists claims cats are putting their owners at risk of Alzheimer's.  The focus of investigation is Toxoplasma gondii, a single-cell parasite in cat feces. The parasite has been linked to brain cancer, anxiety and schizophrenia. Now researchers have found the parasite can lead to Alzheimer's disease

About one-third of people worldwide are suspected of having a T. gondii infection, and many more are at risk.  This includes cat owners, who don't wash their hands thoroughly after handling contaminated litter, and pregnant women, who can pass the infection to a child in the womb.  Once infection occurs, the parasite moves to the brain.

When Kale, coconuts, and avocados could be bad for you.

Experts say there’s something metallic lurking in those foods, in our water, and elsewhere that could be making us feel miserable. Anxiety, trouble focusing, exhaustion, and an all around mental funk are familiar symptoms for a lot of people....After some investigation Dr. Kogan — an internist — said she found that copper is increasingly the culprit. “These are wonderful things to have as part of our diet, but if somebody is consuming excess they could certainly be at risk,” she said.  At risk for a condition known as ‘copper toxicity.’  “If you had six cups of coffee and you’re feeling jittery, that’s the feeling to describe copper toxicity,” she explained.

Marijuana DOES cause schizophrenia and triggers heart attacks, experts say in landmark study that slams most of the drug's medical benefits as 'unproven'

In fact, the current lack of scientific information 'poses a public health risk,' said the report, released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.  The report lists nearly 100 conclusions about marijuana and its similarly acting chemical cousins, drawing on studies published since 1999.

It found strong evidence, for example, that marijuana can treat chronic pain in adults and that similar compounds ease nausea from chemotherapy, with varying degrees of evidence for treating muscle stiffness and spasms in multiple sclerosis.  Limited evidence says marijuana or the other compounds can boost appetite in people with HIV or AIDS, and ease symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, the report concluded.

Turning to potential harms, the committee concluded:  Strong evidence links marijuana use to the risk of developing schizophrenia and other causes of psychosis, with the highest risk among the most frequent users.  Some evidence suggests a small increased risk for developing depressive disorders, but there's no evidence either way on whether it affects the course or symptoms of such disorders, or the risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder....Substantial evidence links pot smoking to worse respiratory symptoms and more frequent episodes of chronic bronchitis.

Marijuana is far more damaging to young teenage brains than we thought, a new study claims.

They found adolescents who smoked pot as early as 14 fared far in cognitive tests when they reached 20 - and dropped out of school at a much higher rate than non-smokers.  There has been a surge in teen cannabis smokers in the last few years, with a 2014 report saying about a third of teenagers try the drug before they reach 15.  But scientists warn new research shows that it is far better for their brains if they wait until after they turn 17.

Planned Parenthood Caught Denying Women Prenatal Care: 92 of 97 Abortion Clinics Turned Them Away

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:46 PM | Permalink

Health roundup: Incremental care, healing wounds without scars and burns without skin grafts

The Heroism of Incremental Care by Atul Gawande in The New Yorker

We devote vast resources to intensive, one-off procedures, while starving the kind of steady, intimate care that often helps people more.....

Surgery was a definitive intervention at a critical moment in a person’s life, with a clear, calculable, frequently transformative outcome. Fields like primary-care medicine seemed, by comparison, squishy and uncertain. ...

Observing the care, I began to grasp how the commitment to seeing people over time leads primary-care clinicians to take an approach to problem-solving that is very different from that of doctors, like me, who provide mainly episodic care....  "It's the relationship."
We’d begun collecting the data, developing the computational capacity to decode the patterns, and discovering the treatments that could change them. Seemingly random events were becoming open to prediction and alteration. Our frame of medical consideration could widen to encompass our entire life spans.

There is a lot about the future that remains unpredictable. Nonetheless, the patterns are becoming more susceptible to empiricism—to a science of surveillance, analysis, and iterative correction. The incrementalists are overtaking the rescuers. But the transformation has itself been incremental. So we’re only just starting to notice.

Scientists have figured out how to make wounds heal without scars

"Essentially, we can manipulate wound healing so that it leads to skin regeneration rather than scarring," said one of the team, "The secret is to regenerate hair follicles first. After that, the fat will regenerate in response to the signals from those follicles."

If you've ever wondered why scar tissue looks so different from regular skin, it's because scar tissue doesn't contain any fat cells or hair follicles. ...If hair follicles were induced to grow where a wound was healing, the resulting skin was found to be indistinguishable from pre-existing skin.

On the horizon.  Revolutionary burn treatment uses stem cell spray  Spray heals with little to no scarring

“Burns are absolutely one of the most devastating diseases known to man," said Dr. David N. Herndon, chief of staff and director of research at the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Galveston. When they're over 30 percent of the body they can be lethal. The list of physical and emotional complications from burn wounds goes on and on, and Herndon said with standard care (mesh skin grafting), the pain can last for weeks or even months.
The SkinGun claims to take a postage-size sample of skin and extract the patient's own stem cells, then spray them onto the wound, avoiding skin grafts entirely. Plus, RenovaCare said, this does not have any legal limitations because the stem cells are not manipulated.  “I think this should work, in my mind, without exposing the patients to risk," Herndon said. "(There's) nothing but benefit, so I feel strongly this will be approved."

The company that makes the product is based in Berlin. By Skype, the CEO and president of RenovaCare, Thomas Bold, said the treatment is not yet available in the United States, but it should be.  “Normally, a wound heals from the edges to the middle, and the larger the wound and the longer the process takes, the higher is the risk for inflammation and scarring," Bold said. "What we are doing with our system, we are placing thousands and thousands of little regenerative islands throughout the wound. Those islands, those stem cells, connect to each other and close the wound really faster."

Next steps “Our next steps will be figuring out the efficiency and safety of the product and with the relevant clinical studies, but this we need to discuss and negotiate with the FDA, but these will be our next steps,” Bold said.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:38 PM | Permalink

January 26, 2017

Miscellany #55

The language of 16th-century Irish falconry entered the colloquial English language thanks in part to one amateur falconer: William Shakespeare. Examples: 'Under your thumb', 'wrapped around my little finger', 'hoodwinked' or 'fed-up'
If you plan on visiting Iceland, catching sight of the Northern Lights is chancy, but it's one of the few places in Europe you can see the Milky Way in all its glory, especially at Hotel Rangna in southeast Iceland which boasts of two of the most powerful telescopes in the country in its own observatory open to all guests.

 Icelandic Observatory

How People With Color Blindness See The World 


A woman flew through a tornado in a bathtub and survived  Unharmed, but emotionally shaken.

Worth seeing again.  Bad lip reading of Donald Trump's Inauguration and The Netherlands welcomes Trump in his own words

The Lego Bridge in Germany. 


Spectacular video captures the 'ice waves' breaking on a frozen lake in Russia

Large parts of Lake Baikal in Siberia, Russia, were frozen close to the shoreline. As the ice approached the shore, it came crashing down - just like a real wave.  It is known as 'ice stacking', and happens after warm air moves across the lake. 

The Ice On Lake Baikal Pictured Began To Break Up Into Shards

You can hear the tinkling of the ice shards

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:13 PM | Permalink

January 19, 2017

Real community or 'cultural totalitarianism'

There was a time when all Americans would come together celebrate Inauguration Day  -- even if their political candidate lost -- because it demonstrates over and over again the remarkably peaceful transfer of power given us by the founding fathers.    That day is no more.

Identity Politics: Our Appetite For Destruction

Community is the source of all genuine revolution — actual people working in daily, sweaty concert to achieve a good common to them all.  A man can theorize or post about the need for a worker’s collective, a revitalized downtown, or a parish picnic until his typing fingers grow calloused. Only a living group of people with the will to act can give his ideas flesh. This is hardly a novel claim, but we need reminding. Action does not come from the government, “movements,” or radical ideas. Action comes from us.

An alien visitor to the Western world would assume that we are living in a golden age of community.  The word is so ubiquitous, one trips over it on the way to lunch. Our political leaders address the black community, the Christian community, the gay community, the transgender community, and the farming community with alarming rapidity. We refer to “the Twitter community” or “the Facebook community.” Online writers are encouraged to foster “community” in their comboxes.

If the identity-politician means anything by community, it can’t be much more than “group” or “sample” or “population.” It is the abstract consideration of a diverse people under the sign of some common trait. This would be nothing more than the misuse of a word, except the community-that-means-population is said with the same glow and power as one might refer to a community that lives, loves, and dies together. Identity-politics tries to milk the unity of a neighborhood from the dubious cow of “population.” It’s no wonder the milk goes sour so easily, and the energy of most identity-groups goes into in-fighting about who’s in and who’s out.

Glenn Reynolds: Irrational fear of fellow countrymen is spreading among America's ruling class.

How crazy has the reaction to Trump’s impending presidency gotten? So crazy that Democratic operatives are scared of plumbers...Ned Resnikoff, a “senior editor” at the  liberal website ThinkProgress, wrote on Facebook that he’d called a plumber to fix a clogged drain. The plumber showed up, did the job and left, but Resnikoff was left shaken, though with a functioning drain. Wrote Resnikoff, “He was a perfectly nice guy and a consummate professional. But he was also a middle-aged white man with a Southern accent who seemed unperturbed by this week’s news.” ....When it was all over, Resnikoff reported that he was “rattled” at the thought that a Trump supporter might have been in his home. “I couldn’t shake the sense of potential danger.”

Roger Scruton coined the term “oikophobia” (from the Greed oikos for “home”) to describe the fear of one’s fellow countrymen.

Alexander Maistrovoy calls the The Comedy of Terrors: Western Progressive Thinking Against Nature and Man

After Trump’s win, a huge part of enlightened America was plunged into mourning. Students were crying, teachers canceled lectures to calm them down, “hotlines” started working to help desperate people.  What brought American students to such despair? They are unlikely to be able to explain it, but it’s a very dangerous syndrome of mass insanity. It’s a symptom of the fact that the cultural totalitarianism of the West is far more effective than the Soviet political totalitarianism, and much more deadly and poisonous. It suppressed the will, consciousness and emotions of people — the Soviet party members didn’t achieve that.

Soviet totalitarianism not only failed to suppress basic instincts, but did not even try to do this. A man seeing a girl subjected to sexual harassment would stand up for her if he could. A situation similar to the one that happened in Cologne last year was unthinkable in Moscow or St. Petersburg.  It was absolutely unthinkable that political officials in the USSR would justify rapists and accuse their victims on the grounds of immodesty. It was inconceivable that the Politburo members would welcome the mockery of their own children and protect rapists, as happens regularly in Western Europe.  I can’t imagine that a Soviet court would justify the rape of a child, as was the case in Austria; or care about the future of migrants who mocked and raped a child, as happened in Sweden. Authorities in Sweden decided not to deport Afghan migrants who committed a gang rape of a boy, because it was not safe in Afghanistan.
No one dared to reject the great culture because it was created by “Dead White European Males” (DWEM).  None of the Soviet Communists would have said what  George Ciccariello-Maher, an associate professor of political science at Drexel University in Philadelphia, said: “All I Want for Christmas is White Genocide.”  Nobody could think of replacing the picture of Shakespeare with the picture of Audre Lorde, an African American writer, civil rights activist and self-described “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” as students at the University of Pennsylvania did.
The Soviet regime was atheist and suppressed religion. Well!  However, it suppressed all religions, without exception. It didn’t mock Judaism and Christianity while at same time glorifying one single religion — Islam.  It didn’t ban the study of Voltaire, Holbach and David Hume because they had despised and rejected Islam as a primitive, patriarchal and aggressive religion. No one invited a crowd of strong, aggressive, sexually unsatisfied migrants to the country only because they were Muslims.

The Church suffered from persecution in the Soviet Union. But nevertheless, it remained the Church, not Sodom and Gomorrah. Priests and rabbis didn’t walk hand in hand, didn’t call for homosexual marriages, and didn’t elect a lesbian pastor or rabbi just because of her sexual preferences.
Cultural totalitarianism succeeded much more. It turned people into sterile zombies, brainwashed them, perverted the minds of men and women, and subdued the intellectuals who have responsibility for the future of their people.

I feel sorry for those young people who cried after Trump’s  win. But I am even more sorry for the nations whose progressive students will eventually become the elite of their societies. I am afraid we will return to the Middle Ages with a quasi-religious cult, where a “progressive” Inquisition will rule.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:19 PM | Permalink

Miscellany #54

Salve Regina: The modern version of an ancient hymn dedicated to Mary

 Friar Gabriel

Friar Gabriel is no ordinary man: not only is he skilled in Gregorian chant, he also performs all of his own stunts on the skateboard.

My favorite gifs of the week: Dolphins surfing,    Cactus bloomingUrban skiing  Populating a lake with fish from a plane  Cleaning snow off a roof 

He was soothing his crying baby at 2 AM when he looked out the window and saw these.

 Light-Pillars Timothy
Light Pillars / Credit: Timothy Joseph Elzinga 2017

Why Are Bananas Berries, But Strawberries Aren't?

Your cure for the blues  A15 minute cure that really works.

Feel the mascot's frustration in this local commercial

He looks like a handsome cowboy but he's really an historical linguist    Just listen to hear how beautiful medieval Norse sounds when spoken by Dr. Jackson Crawford. 

 Jackson Crawford Wyoming Linguist

The Amazing Lavender Labyrinth in West Michigan 

 Lavendar Labyrinth

French cyclist Robert Marchand still breaking records at 105. 

 105 Cyclist Award

Extraordinary images by Russian photographer Kristina Makeeva  who spent 3 Days Walking On Frozen Baikal, The Deepest And Oldest Lake On Earth.


The National Park Service Protects Its $40 million Investment in Growing Grass on the National Mall.  Every day 30,000 people walk over the national front lawn.  On Inauguration Day, some 800,000 to 1,000,000 are expected.

The technology to protect turf is a relatively recent invention, too. For the inauguration, contractors are bringing in special panels, 16 square feet each, to cover up the grass. To the human eye, they look white, but they’re actually translucent, which allows light to reach the grass and keep it healthy. The bottoms of the panels are honeycombed with small, square cells that protect the grass crowns from being crushed and act like mini greenhouses.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:25 PM | Permalink

January 13, 2017

Life Pro Tips

When purchasing products with warranties, set an alarm in your calendar for 1 month before it ends. .If there are any defects, make use of the warranty

When you meet someone in a wheelchair don't bend over, kneel, or stoop to greet them. Stand normally and look them in the eye.

When leaving a important voicemail give your name and number at the beginning and end of the message. They then won't have to go through the whole voicemail to get your number again. They'll appreciate you saving them time.

Organize your clothes based on what activity you're doing, not by type of clothing... e.g. one drawer for casual wear, one drawer for workout clothes, one drawer or section of the closet for going out clothes, and one for work clothes. This makes your outfit options readily available and saves time when selecting clothing every day, which is usually based on activity.

When you sign up for anything online, put the websites name as your middle name. That way when you receive spam/advert emails, you will know who sold your info.

When lending a pen or marker hand it over without the cap, you are much more likely to get it back

Before checking in at the airport, take a photograph of your luggage. A picture is worth a thousand words if your bags get lost!

Keep your gas tank at least halfway full in the winter.  Condensation can form in the empty part of your gas tank. In the winter that condensation can freeze, collect into icy blockages in your fuel lines and create problems with starting your car.

When getting repairs on your car, ask the mechanic to let you take pictures of the problem for your records.

If an indoor cat gets outside and lost, put their litter box outside. They can smell it from up to a mile away and find their way home.

One 18 inch pizza is more pizza than two 12 inch pizzas.  Sometimes it's better value to order a large instead of two mediums.

When someone (esp. a child) shows you something they've made never say 'What is it?' say 'Tell me more about this.'

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:57 AM | Permalink

January 12, 2017

Miscellany #53

Little Kids and Their Big Dogs  Russian Photographer Andy Seliverstoff


"The state of endless joy and mutual confidence – that has become the main idea of the series."

 Little-Girl-Big-Dog Andy Seliverstoff

Barns Are Painted Red Because of the Physics of Dying Stars

Grandad Uses Instagram To Share His Life’s Story With The Grandson He Might Not See Growing Up


Across the USA by Train for Just $213
Traveling coast-to-coast across the United States by train is one of the world’s greatest travel experiences. Amazingly, it’s also one of the world’s greatest travel bargains — the 3,400-mile trip can cost as little as $213.

After watching over 50 TED talks, these are the insights that have stuck with me most

Your Shower Is Lame, Your Dishwasher Doesn’t Work, and Your Clothes are Dirty

The English “alphabet song”, also known as “The A.B.C.”, is based on a tune by Mozart
This same tune is also used as the basis for such children’s songs as Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star and Baa, Baa, Black Sheep.

You Can Now Buy Snow White’s Cottage For $952,000 on 7.5 acres of land in Olalla, Washington.

 Snow White's House

'Firefall' lights up Yosemite: Sunset reflects off waterfall making it glow golden in rare phenomenon

 Firefall Yosemitejpg

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:49 PM | Permalink

January 4, 2017

The Mesentery or the human organ you never heard of

It's official: A brand-new human organ has been classified

Researchers have classified a brand-new organ inside our bodies, one that's been hiding in plain sight in our digestive system this whole time. Although we now know about the structure of this new organ, its function is still poorly understood, and studying it could be the key to better understanding and treatment of abdominal and digestive disease.

Known as the mesentery, the new organ is found in our digestive systems, and was long thought to be made up of fragmented, separate structures. But recent research has shown that it's actually one, continuous organ. The evidence for the organ's reclassification is now published in The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology.

So what is the mesentery? It's a double fold of peritoneum — the lining of the abdominal cavity — that attaches our intestine to the wall of our abdomen, and keeps everything locked in place.

One of the earliest descriptions of the mesentery was made by Leonardo da Vinci, and for centuries it was generally ignored as a type of insignificant attachment. Over the past century, doctors who studied the mesentery assumed it was a fragmented structure made of separate sections, which made it pretty unimportant.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:41 AM | Permalink

Health roundup Cancer edition

Rub-on cream for skin cancer nearly as effective as surgery, five year trial shows

More than eight in 10 patients found that the cream imiquimod kept their basal cell carcinoma (BCC) at bay for five years, compared with 98 per cent of those who had their tumour removed. Researchers from the University of Nottingham say although rates are not as good as surgery, some people may still prefer a less invasive approach, particularly if the cancer is on a sensitive area such as the face.The cream works by boosting the body’s immune response so it can fight the cancer itself.

Simple blood test could show lung cancer 5 YEARS before the disease even appears on medical scans.

Antibodies are produced by the immune system during the early stages of lung cancer, a study at the University of Dundee which examined 12,000 adults at high risk of lung cancer.

If you were a smoker or lung cancer runs in your family, it's good news that a simple blood test can detect lung cancer at its earliest stages when you have the best hope for treating it successfully.

New Brain Cells Help Fight Cancer

A man with deadly brain cancer that had spread to his spine saw his tumors shrink and, for a time, completely vanish after a novel therapy to help his immune system attack his disease, another first in this promising field. Grady was the first person to get the treatment dripped through a tube into a space in the brain where spinal fluid is made, sending it down the path the cancer traveled to his spine. He had "a remarkable response" that opens the door to wider testing, said Dr. Behnam Badie, neurosurgery chief at City of Hope, a cancer center in Duarte, California, where Grady was treated.

Breast cancer cells start spreading to other parts of the body long before a tumor is even detected

It had been thought that it is when cancer is at its most advanced or at 'stage 4' or 'invasive' that it is at the greatest risk of it spreading. The new findings show breast cancer spreads at 'stage 0' - before a tumor has been found and cancer has been diagnosed. Experts say the findings highlight the seriousness of very early stages of cancer

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:29 AM | Permalink