April 27, 2017

Miscellany #66

Massive icebergs float down "Iceberg Alley" by seaside town in Newfoundland

 Iceberg Alley

A 'hydrogen halo' surrounds the Milky Way

After combining more than 700,000 wavelength patterns, scientists have discovered that this hydrogen gas engulfs the entire galaxy, accounting for much of its ‘missing’ mass.  This particular state of hydrogen different from most found in the universe.  ‘It’s like peering through a veil.’

 Galaxy Halo

Indonesia's Flores 'hobbits’ may be the earliest human species to have left Africa 1.75 million years ago

Floresiensis Jg Recon Head Cc 3Qtr Lt Sq 0
Homo floresiensis, female. Reconstruction based on LB-1 by John Gurche.

Dubbed ‘hobbits’, Flores Man found in Indonesia were an entirely different species and not a shrunken version of early humans, homo erectus.  The ancient hobbits, homo floresiensis, would have stood at 3.5 foot tall, were found at Liang Bua on the island of Flores in 2003. Researchers at The Australian National University (ANU)  think they were related to a sister species of Homo habilis – one of the earliest known ancestors of modern mankind which lived in Africa 1.75 million years ago

Amateur Skywatchers Spot New Atmospheric Phenomenon and call it 'Steve'.

The Alberta Aurora Chasers Facebook group first spotted the phenomenon last year and called it Steve in a reference to the movie Over the Hedge “in which a character arbitrarily conjures up the name Steve to describe an object he’s not sure about.”

 Steve Proton Arc

Eric Donovan, a Canadian physicist and astronomer who studies aurorae at the University of Calgary used data from the European Space Agency’s Swarm mission which didn't show a proton aurora. Instead, it showed something that had never been observed before: a temperature spike of over 5400 degrees Fahrenheit in a spot about 186 miles above Earth’s surface combined with a gas ribbon over 15 miles wide that was flowing west more slowly than the other gases that surrounded it.

Money Laundering the the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco

takes 10 hours a week and uses buck shot to make even once-rusted copper pennies turn into shimmering bronze coins.  They take coins from a fountain that were so dirty no bank would accept them.  Watch the one-minute video to see how.

The Rise of Slime Videos

 Slime Videos

For Donna Boyd, a 17-year-old from Harrisburg, Virginia, slime is therapeutic. She’s never purchased slime, or made it herself. She just watches hundreds of videos from her five favorite accounts over and over again. “It honestly just makes me happy and de-stresses me,” Donna told me. “I suffer from anxiety, and slime videos help me a lot during panic attacks.” She says she gets lost in them after watching a few, going into a kind of meditative state.

American Gothic Barn in Mt Vernon, Iowa

 American Gothic Barn

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:34 AM | Permalink

April 25, 2017

New medical research and technology: malaria vaccine, at home DNA tests, smart gut pills and more

After Decades of Work, a Malaria Vaccine Is Here

Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi will begin piloting the injectable vaccine next year with young children. The vaccine, which has partial effectiveness, has the potential to save tens of thousands of lives if used with existing measures. The vaccine, developed by pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, will be tested on children five to 17 months old to see whether protective effects shown in clinical trials can hold up under real-life conditions. The vaccine has taken decades of work and hundreds of millions of dollars to develop. Kenya, Ghana, and Malawi were chosen for the vaccine pilot because all have strong prevention and vaccination programs but continue to have high numbers of malaria cases, WHO said.

Scientists uncover the possible cause of Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Scientists may be one step closer to discovering a cure for the debilitating lifelong condition multiple sclerosis (MS). Researchers have shown MS sufferers have high levels of a certain protein in their brain cells, which is virtually nonexistent in healthy people. This protein alters the cells' energy supply, triggering the disabling symptoms.The finding may enable scientists to create protein-targeting treatments for the incurable disease.

Scientists at the Universities of Exeter and Alberta analysed human brain tissue samples.  They discovered high levels of a protein, known as Rab32, in MS patients. Rab32 is thought to cause the part of the brain cell that stores calcium to get too close to the cell's so-called energy supplier. This causes miscommunication within the cell, leading to brain cell damage. Although it is established that MS occurs due to nervous system damage, the cause of this was less clear. 

FDA Approves At-Home DNA Tests For Ten Diseases

The Food and Drug Administration approved the first home DNA tests Thursday that let people find out if they have a genetic risk for certain diseases. The FDA decision allows home DNA test company 23andMe to directly market its gene tests for 10 diseases, including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, celiac disease and some rare blood diseases. “It is important that people understand that genetic risk is just one piece of the bigger puzzle”

Harvard study breakthrough on genetics of parenting behavior across species

Why is it that some species seem to be particularly attentive parents while others leave their young to fend for themselves? For years, scientists have believed one of the major drivers is experience — an animal raised by an attentive parent, the argument goes, is likely to be an attentive parent itself.

A Harvard study is challenging that idea, and breaking new ground by uncovering links between the activity of specific genes and parenting differences across species...the study found not only that different genes may influence behaviors in males and females, but also that the gene for the hormone vasopressin appears to be closely tied to nest-building behavior in parenting mice.

Guts and glory for RMIT smart pills

Researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, have successfully completed phase one human trials of ingestible capsules that have the potential to revolutionize the prevention and diagnosis of gut disorders and diseases. The ingestible smart capsules (the size of a vitamin pill)  journey through and measure gas levels in the gastrointestinal tract. The ingestible technology has demonstrated several thousand -times more sensitivity to gut gases than alternative techniques.

"Currently, one of the only methods for diagnosing gut disorders, such as mal-absorption of carbohydrates, irritable bowel syndrome and inflammable bowel disease, is to measure hydrogen concentrations in the breath," Kalantar-zadeh said. "However, breath tests are mired by a lack of sensitivity and specificity and are unable to provide the necessary gold standard for diagnosis."

Co-inventor Dr Kyle Berean said: "Ingestible sensors also offer a reliable diagnostic tool for colon cancer, meaning that people won't have to undergo colonoscopies in future."  Smart pills are harmless and there is no risk of capsule retention," Berean said. An added advantage is that the capsules can be synched with smartphones, meaning results are easily accessible by users and doctors online.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:40 AM | Permalink

Health Roundup - Food Edition

Is your diet good for your gut bacteria?  Probably not as Adam Rutherford found when he had his tested

...the results? To be honest, pretty crap....“You are near bottom of the class. You’re in the lowest 10% of the population for diversity,”....How many of these beneficial bacteria did I have? Zero.

Diversity is one of the keys to a healthy gut, he explained, the idea being that different microbes perform different tasks, and a diverse workforce brings more skills to the table. We contain, on average, around one thousand different species of bacteria inside our guts. And in total: well, it’s difficult to count, but there are trillions. And they are almost all doing useful work for us.
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Fermented foods are especially good for encouraging a healthy microbiome. “People know about live yoghurts, but the next stage up which has five times as many microbes is kefir, a Persian soured milk,” Spector told me. Other fermented foods like miso soup and kimchi (pickled cabbage) are a delicious feast for your internal lodgers.
If that all sounds a bit rich, then garlic, artichokes, bananas and whole grains are also good fibrous fodder.

Drinking beetroot juice has important brain benefits.

Drinking beetroot juice before working out makes older adults’ brains perform more efficiently, a new study by Wake Forest University has found. “It resembles more of a brain of a younger adult than it does an older adult,"
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Beets have a high level of dietary nitrate, which is converted to nitrite and then nitric oxide when consumed, Rejeski said. Nitric oxide increases blood flow in the body, and previous studies have shown it can improve exercise performance in people of varying ages. The study found that combining beetroot juice with exercise delivers more oxygen to the brain and strengthens the somatomotor cortex, which processes information from the muscles.

Gluten-free diets may cause serious health problems

including CANCER due to the high levels of toxic metals found in gluten-free foods. Two major studies from the US reveal that those choosing gluten-free foods have twice as much arsenic in their urine as those who eat gluten. They also have 70 per cent more mercury in their blood and worryingly high levels of other metals such as lead and cadmium. Contamination comes mainly from rice flour, which is used as a substitute in products such as bread, spaghetti and cereals.

Why pasta and bread lower the risk of dementia and cognitive decline. How carbs are good for your brain.

The NBA’s Secret Obsession with Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches

With little fanfare, PB&Js have become a locker room staple for multiple teams in the league for over a decade. ...
One reason for the PB&Js popularity is that calorie-dense foods that are high in fats, sugars, starches, proteins, and salts trigger both dopamine and serotonin releases in humans. Any food that gives rushes of energy and happiness is an obvious boon to professional athletes, and those same foods also lower the body’s heart rate. In other words, PB&Js a unique combination of performance enhancer and comfort food.

Sneaky mind tricks that make us splash out on more food

From scrunchy crisp packets to heavy cutlery in restaurants and French music in the wine aisle, an Oxford psychologist reveals how you're manipulated every time you leave home

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:21 AM | Permalink

Tips You Can Use

Dental pain. Keep a sealed bottle of real vanilla in your first aid kit as a dental pain reliever.

If not sealed it will evaporate over time and if you have ever had tooth pain you'll appreciate the suggestion. Uncap the bottle, remove the seal, hold a tightly wadded paper towel over the opening and turn it upside down for a moment saturating it. Then quickly hold that wad tight against the painful tooth for a full minute. Within 10 seconds the pain will completely disappear.... While eating a hard shell taco an upper molar snapped off at the gum line. I didn't know there was a problem with it beforehand. The pain was instant, overwhelming, and went all the way up into my eye and forehead. If a gun was at hand I might have used it. It was THAT bad. Then I remembered a passage in Foxfire 1 and ran for the vanilla. In a way it saved my life.

Tinnitus relief

If you suffer from tinnitus, or a constant “ringing in your ears,” a simple trick you do with your hands which you can see in the video at the link could offer you some small respite.

Superglue for cracked skin

Our winters out here (Kansas) are cold and somewhat unforgiving and often result in tiny and painful cracked ends of finger and heels. Super glue is terrific when applied. It dries very fast, creates a shield that helps prevent pain, protects, and best of all, allows time to heal because it is protected. Just a bit on the cracked finger or heel provides a good deal of pain relief. Almost any type of super glue will work just fine. Just remember that a very small amount is needed and that amount needs to be targeted right in the cracked finger tip or heel.

Hugo's Amazing Tape - Re-usable tape sticks only to itself

The tape is flexible, reusable, and has the fantastic quality of only sticking to itself. These qualities make it ideal for securing something that you need to wrap and unwrap repeatedly. Hugo’s Amazing Tape is available in rolls of various lengths & widths, allowing the user to cut a length to fit their needs.

I have used the tape as a sort of clamp, to secure oddly shaped objects together while glue dries. I have used it to secure small parts within an assembly to prevent them from falling out of place during storage. It is also perfect for securing rolls of gift wrapping paper, and for securing spools of thread, twine, or rope. I’ve also used it on all of my board game and puzzle boxes. Hugo’s Amazing Tape won’t leave sticky residue, and it doesn’t bind, crush, or decay like a rubber band

How to Make Your Burgers Super Juicy - Use an ice cube

According to Master Chef judge Graham Elliot, the secret to super juicy burgers is a plain ol’ ice cube. He explained why to Fox News a while back: “Make your patties, then put your little ice cube in there and then when you grill it, it keeps it moist and keeps it from getting dried out.”
Just fold it into the center of each patty and you’re ready to go. As it cooks, the ice cube melts, distributing much needed moisture through the patty.

How to diffuse a child’s tantrum with one question

When a tantrum starts  ask them the following question, looking into their eyes and in a calm voice: “Is this a big problem, a medium problem, or a small problem?”

Why You Should Buy the Dumbest Appliances You Can Find.  Against the internet of things.

The most vulnerable parts of modern appliances are usually the ones containing computer chips. My wife and I learned that when we fried the brains of a pair of expensive side-by-side convection ovens by self-cleaning them simultaneously. The repairman's advice, after pronouncing the circuit boards too costly to replace: Buy the dumbest appliances you can find.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:51 AM | Permalink

April 22, 2017

Celebrate environmental successes

The environment is cleaner and healthier today than it was 60 years ago, 40 years ago, or even 20 years ago.

Air quality
Data from the Environmental Protection Agency show that, from 1995-2015, levels of every air pollutant it monitors saw steady declines, to the point where they are at or below national standards.
  • Carbon monoxide levels plunged 72% over those years;
  • nitrogen dioxide fell 45%;
  • ozone, 24%;
  • soot, 37%;
  • sulfur dioxide, 73%; and
  • lead declined 93%.
The share of children tested who showed high levels of lead in their blood dropped from close to 8% in 1995 to just 0.5% by 2015.

Water quality
Water quality overall has improved, with once severely polluted lakes, rivers and streams clearing  up.
Per-capita water use has declined 30% since 1975, notes the U.S. Geological Survey.

Soil quality
Vast improvements in farming technology mean farmers use less water and far fewer pesticides to grow more crops.  Improvements in crop yields has let the country reclaim vast acres of forestland. In fact, forest acreage has climbed 6% since 1920, despite the tripling of the U.S. population, according to the Department of Agriculture.

Carbon dioxide emissions
In 2015, CO2 emissions were below where they stood in 1996. That's despite the fact that there are 52 million more people living in the U.S., and despite the fact that the nation's economic output was 61% bigger, after adjusting for inflation. CO2 emission have dropped 9% since 2005, according to EPA data.

Some of the Most Ridiculous Predictions on Earth Day, 1970

“Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” — Harvard biologist George Wald

“We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation.” — Washington University biologist Barry Commoner

“Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.” — New York Times editorial

“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” — Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich

“Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born… [By 1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.” — Paul Ehrlich

“It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” — Denis Hayes, Chief organizer for Earth Day

“In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution… by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half.” — Life magazine

“The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.” — Kenneth Watt
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:04 PM | Permalink

April 20, 2017

Feel-good roundup

3-Year-Old Who Lost An Eye To Cancer Loves Her New One-Eyed Doll

Brynn, 3 years old, lost one eye due to cancer.  Her mother Danielle contacted Jessica Sebastian, a doll-maker, to make a bunny doll with one eye.  At her birthday party, Byrnn opened the special gift to find Sparkle and exclaimed, "She matches me!"

 Brynn 3 One-Eye-Doll

Mystic Lake, a Sony 2017 World Photography Winner

 2017 Sony Mystic Island
© Aleš Krivec, Slovenia, 2nd Place, National Awards, 2017 Sony World Photography Awards

Woman Rehabilitates Husband Even After Doctors Told Her To Let Him Die

In July 2011, Matt was involved in a terrible motorcycle accident on his way to work. He’d struck a vehicle that was parked illegally in a merging lane. A car accident of this nature would have been rough enough, but on a motorcycle, it was far worse...After nine days in the hospital, Matt’s doctors felt that he had been fighting long enough. They recommended he be taken off of life support, and estimated that his chances of survival were a slim 10 percent...Despite the doctors’ advice, Danielle decided she could never give up on her husband. She dedicated herself to his recovery and stayed by his side, day and night. The couple had only just begun their life together, and Danielle was unwilling to give up on the man she loved...Matt was allowed to go back home while he remained on life support. The outlook was bleak, though, as his condition showed no improvement for months. He was not walking or doing much of anything on his own. ..Danielle kept remembering the times they shared and she refused to give up..Amazingly, after a month at home, something changed in Matt—and he began to open his eyes. ..After only three months after regaining consciousness, Matt was walking again! He still needed the assistance of a walker, but could hold a conversation, crack jokes, sing, and enjoy the company of his loved ones. It was a truly phenomenal recovery in every conceivable way.

Stranger Helps Amputee Up The Stairs, Then Returns The Next Day And Builds Him A Ramp

Support team for Maelyn, a 4 year-old soccer player

 Support Team 4Yo

Two Eye Surgeons Have Restored Sight In 4 Million Blind People In The Developing World

Dr. Sanduk Ruit, a Nepalese eye surgeon, met Dr. Geoff Tabin, an American eye surgeon and world-renowned mountain climber, and together they created the Himalayan Cataract Project. Their mission is to completely eradicate preventable and curable blindness in the developing world. Together they have restored eyesight to more than 150,000 patients in 24 countries. Doctors they've trained have restored sight to 4 million more.

The surgeons perfected a small-incision cataract surgery, which takes just minutes and costs about $20. Their focus was originally in the Himalayas, but they have been so successful they renamed their group CureBlindness.org. They've operated in two dozen countries, including North Korea and Ethiopia.

Dr. Tabin points out, they are doing more than restoring sight. "You know, once someone goes blind in a developing world, their life expectancy is about one-third that of age and health matched peers. And also in the developing world, it takes, often, a person out of the work force, or a child out of school, to care for the blind person. So when we restore sight to a blind person, we're freeing up their family and restoring their life."

Marine dad drill instructor surprised by tea party his 4-year-old daughter planned just for him

 Marine-Dad-Tea-Party-Surprise

Hero UPS driver rescues family from burning house with a garden hose

UPS driver Paul Pereira had a special delivery for a family whose lives he likely saved when he saw their porch was on fire and rushed to douse the flames and get them to safety.

On Monday, Pereira was making his last delivery of the day in his UPS truck when he noted tall orange flames leaping around the white wraparound porch of Brian and Tracy Lavender and their children in Haverhill, Massachusetts reported WCVB. While bystanders on the street lingered videotaping the scene, the deliveryman leapt into action, asking someone to get a hose.....After putting out the flames, he banged on the door to see if anyone was inside the burning house. Lavender said his wife and children were inside the home but they didn't realize it was on fire and thought the smell of smoke was from a neighbor barbecuing.

Nebraska town arranges wedding and graduation ceremony for the children of beloved cancer-stricken doctor,

Dr Dan Harrahill, 52, a father-of-four from St Paul, Nebraska, was told he would not survive long enough to attend his teenage son's high school graduation or his daughter's summer wedding on March 23.  Within hours of hearing about his bleak prognosis, the town's residents arranged for both events to take place the next day.  The family doctor died eight days later after watching both from his wheelchair in the chapel of the CHI Health St. Francis, the hospital where he was being treated.

 Dr.Dan Harrahill Daughter's Wedding

Wounded vet with prosthetic leg carries woman over the finish line at the Boston Marathon
Retired Army Staff Sgt. Earl Granville, a veteran, made hearts stop at the Boston Marathon after he was seen carrying a woman over the finish line as she held an American flag. In the summer of 2008, Granville and his unit were on patrol in Zormat, Afghanistan, when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb. Granville sustained injuries that required doctors to amputate over half of his left leg.

 Earl Granville Boston Marathon

The woman he was carrying was his running guide, Andi Piscopo. They’re part of the Achilles Freedom Team, a group of wounded warriors who have become marathoners.  In an interview with CBS Boston

“Maybe around mile 10 I just started cramping and cramping and cramping,” said Granville. But he wouldn’t stop. “I said, looks like we’re walking, Andi.”

9 bruising hours later

“It was literally just a spur of the moment. Just about 50 feet from the finish line I just said to Andi, let me buddy carry you, and I picked her up and we crossed the finish line together, and that was that,” Earl Granville explained...

Despite the pain he was in, he broke into a run for the last few minutes of his marathon. “The energy of Boston, they say Boston Strong, man it’s that energy. It keeps you going. I had tears coming down my face. It was unbelievable,” Granville said, adding that “You just got to keep going, and that’s it.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:57 PM | Permalink

The many reasons why Millennials are shunning sex

Millennials Are Having Way Less Sex Than Their Parents
More young adults born in the 1980s and 1990s are choosing not to have sex, according to the results of a new study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior....recent research, and some from the CDC, all points in this direction: that young adults these days have fewer sexual partners and are starting to have sex later.

One explanation from the study author Jean Twenge

Millennials and the generation after them have grown up with a strong emphasis on safety. “That may potentially impact their sexual behavior, if they’ve gotten the message that you can get sick or even die from sex.”

They're on to something given the recent survey that found  Close to Half of American Adults Infected With HPV

More than 42 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 59 are infected with genital human papillomavirus, according to the first survey to look at the prevalence of the virus in the adult population. 

The report, published on Thursday by the National Center for Health Statistics, also found that certain high-risk strains of the virus infected 25.1 percent of men and 20.4 percent of women. These strains account for approximately 31,000 cases of cancer each year, other studies have shown. HPV is a ubiquitous virus, the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. About 40 strains of the virus are sexually transmitted, and virtually all sexually active individuals are exposed to it by their early 20s.  Two vaccines are effective in preventing sexually transmitted HPV infection, and researchers said the new data lend urgency to the drive to have adolescents vaccinated.

In Why It’s Terrible News That Millennials Are Having Less Sex Lutheran pastor Hans Fiene writes

The two biggest factors seem to be the copious amounts of pornography that millennials, in particular millennial men, have grown up consuming, and the widespread use of socially isolating social networking.  Pornography and social media are disincentivizing young people from pursuing real romantic relationships.
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Pornography destroys the dance and ritual of marriage....The Internet prevents us from developing relationships.
For young men, porn convinces them that real women aren’t worth pursuing, while social media convinces them that not pursuing real women is perfectly normal. ...We begin the mating dance by following our animalistic urges. But, during the tango, we become human as we discover what it means to love and serve and belong to each other.

‘There isn’t really anything magical about it’: Why more millennials are avoiding sex by Tara Bahrampour

Noah Patterson, 18, likes to sit in front of several screens simultaneously: a work project, a YouTube clip, a video game. To shut it all down for a date or even a one-night stand seems like a waste. “For an average date, you’re going to spend at least two hours, and in that two hours I won’t be doing something I enjoy,” he said.

It’s not that he doesn’t like women. “I enjoy their companionship, but it’s not a significant part of life,” said Patterson, a Web designer in Bellingham, Wash. He has never had sex, although he likes porn. “I’d rather be watching YouTube videos and making money.” Sex, he said, is “not going to be something people ask you for on your résumé.”
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Millennials have been called the most cautious generation — the first to grow up with car seats and bike helmets, the first not allowed to walk to school or go to the playground alone.  The sense of caution sometimes manifests itself as a heightened awareness of emotional pitfalls. For example, some young people speak disparagingly of the messy emotional state love and lust can engender, referring to it as “catching feelings.”

Mitchell Aron in Laura Kipnis, Rape Culture, and the Disappearance of Sex sides with Northwestern professor Kipnis whose recent book Unwanted Advances examines the "rape culture" hysteria on college campuses and the extraordinary claim that 25% of women will be victims of sexual assault while in college.

A number of critics have dissected the flawed methodology on which this astronomical number is based, and noted that if true, it would mean that American college campuses are as, if not more dangerous than cultures that truly turn a blind eye to rape, such as Afghanistan or the Congo, where 48 women are raped every hour. I think most casual observers would have to be at least somewhat skeptical about the veracity of these claims; if actually true, would any parent with common-sense send their daughters to any institution in which she has a one-in-four chance of being raped?

...this same statistic used to prop up rape culture assertions is passed around as absolute truth in academia, without the slightest whiff of self-awareness and with complete credulity. The last time I was at an academic conference, the words “rape culture” were bandied about as if they were gospel and everyone in attendance accepted them as unquestioning truth. Either everyone believed or was too afraid to speak out.
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As an NYC- based psychotherapist specializing in sexuality issues, I was not too surprised....I immediately thought of my clients, three young men who each separately had told me earlier in the year that they were terrified of casually hooking up due to fears of false rape accusations and confusion regarding policies such as affirmative consent.....

One client believed that the current climate on his campus was so toxic between the sexes, that he was already suspiciously viewed as a potential predator, and so he didn’t stand a chance to have a fair shot if things turned sour and a false accusation was leveled upon him. In other words, he felt disempowered, and fully responsible for anything that happened, including the choices of his partner, ranging from the amount of alcohol she decided to drink to whether she later decided to change her mind, even after the fact.....

Is it possible that all sexual risk is now completely shifted onto men?...Rape is a very serious accusation, one that ruins lives. By conflating regrets with sexual violence, and treating the punishment for regretful sex the same as the punishment for sexual violence, the net effect is a chilling of casual sexual interactions, especially amongst young people. And so, why is anyone surprised? And why doesn’t the media want to talk about it?....

Third-wave feminism, as evidenced by the relentless promotion of rape culture discourse, and turning a blind eye to its repercussions, isn’t really aiming for shared power, but rather a monopoly on power—sexual power, to be specific. And in the case of gender relations, sexual power allows for the dictation of all gender relations.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:18 PM | Permalink

Roundup of medical research and technology:

Restoring the sense of touchSolar-Powered Graphene Skin Enables Prosthetics to Feel

Several products are in development, including this haptic system at Case Western Reserve University, which would enable upper-limb prosthetic users to, say, pluck a grape off a stem or pull a potato chip out of a bag. It sounds simple, but such tasks are virtually impossible without a sense of touch and pressure.

Now, a team at the University of Glasgow that previously developed a flexible ‘electronic skin’ capable of making sensitive pressure measurements, has figured out how to power their skin with sunlight. That renewable energy could be used to power an array of sensors to add feeling to an artificial limb, the authors describe this month in Advanced Functional Materials.


Organs on chips technology
The FDA just struck a deal that could replace animal testing with a tiny chip

On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration inked a collaborative research and development agreement with Emulate, a company that makes "organs-on-chips" technology.  The hope is that instead of testing new drugs or supplements on animals, researchers can use Emulate's chips. Each chip is about the size of a human thumb, and contains tiny channels filled with living human cells that imitate the functions of different organs.
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To start, the collaboration between the FDA and Emulate will focus on the company's Liver-Chips, which are meant to show how an animal's liver might react to a certain drug. The liver is where most drugs get broken down on their way out of the body.

Cancer-detecting CHEWING GUM to replace blood tests:

A biotech company has created a chewing gum that detects cancer. Volatile organic compounds, unique to each type of cancer, are produced in the body. The gum traps the compounds, which will then be analyzed for different cancers. It could mean the end of blood tests, urine samples and biopsies. The gum absorbs what are called 'volatiles' in a person's saliva as they chew it - chemical compounds which are released by certain forms of cancer.  After it has been chewed for 15 minutes, the product is then analyzed to determine whether or not it contains these specific chemicals. So far, scientists at the Alabama-based firm Volatile Analysis have developed different types of gum can detect pancreatic cancer, lung cancer and breast cancer

Synthetic Blood Is About To Go Through Human Trials

There have been decades of failure in making a usable blood substitute but now, scientists from the universities of Bristol, Cambridge, and Oxford have isolated and manipulated stem cells in labs to produce red blood cells.

Their goal is to make red cells for patients with complex blood types because it can be hard for them to find donors. In the future, lab-grown blood could revolutionize medical care by providing a far reaching solution to keeping people in need supplied with blood regardless of type or donor.

Paralyzed man moves his legs and STANDS for the first time

A man paralyzed from the waist down has moved his legs for the first time after doctors inserted an electrode sending an electrical current to the spinal cord. The electrode is connected to a computer-controlled device under the skin in the 28-year-old patient's abdomen. The electrical stimulation on his spinal cord, along with intense physical therapy, enabled him to move his legs, stand and make step-like motions for the first time in three years.....Mayo Clinic researchers, who tested the pioneering treatment, say these results offer further evidence that a combination of this technology and rehabilitation may help patients with spinal cord injuries regain control. 'We're really excited, because our results went beyond our expectations,' says neurosurgeon Kendall Lee, principal investigator and director of Mayo Clinic's Neural Engineering Laboratory.

A blind man sobs as he sees his wife for the first time in decades - after having his TOOTH inserted into his eye

A blind man who had his sight restored earlier this year in an incredible procedure using one of his own teeth said the best part was being able to see his wife again, "Gorgeous"

The amazing procedure saw a lens inserted into one of his teeth, which was extracted and then placed into his cheek so tissue would grow around it, enabling its own blood supply...After three months surgeons removed the tooth and inserted it into Mr Ings' old cornea. Skin was then removed from his mouth and placed over the new cornea to seal it. An opening was made to allow the new lens to work. It was the first time the surgery, called osteo-odonto kerato-prosthesis, has been performed in Australia. Mr Ing damaged his right eye in a childhood accident, and gradually lost vision in the other over the past 16 years because of the herpes simplex virus.

Chinese doctors grow a new ear on a man's ARM and transplant it to his head

Mr Ji, whose age is unknown, lost his right ear in a traffic accident in 2015.  He yearned to have the organ back because he no longer 'felt complete'. A plastic surgeon took cartilage from the patient's ribs to build an artificial ear that was modeled with the help of 3D-printing technology. It was then attached to his forearm under a piece of expanded skin. There it was allowed to grow for several months until experts deemed it ready for the transplant.  Once fully grown, it was finally transplanted from his arm to his head.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:45 AM | Permalink

April 14, 2017

Miscellany #65

The desert comes to life: Colorful wildflowers carpet the sands of California after extreme rainfall.

 Blooming Desert

Graphene-based sieve turns seawater into drinking water, BBC

A UK-based team of researchers has created a graphene-based sieve capable of removing salt from seawater.
The sought-after development could aid the millions of people without ready access to clean drinking water.

With a change of perspective, a very familiar icon can look very different. Sylke Scholz, a photographer based in Dresden, Germany, took this amazing photo.  Can you guess what it is?

 Lookingup Eiffeltower

Flower power! 'Old Cornish Red'

Britain's widest single stemmed rhododendron, measuring 30ft high and 40ft wide was planted 120 years ago by Victorian explorer Frederick Du Cane Godman.

 Old Cornish Rhod

Incredible moment stunned military buffs discovered five gold bars worth £2million hidden inside an Iraqi tank ...

bought for £30,000 on eBay was captured on camera.Nick Mead and Todd Chamberlain expected to find rusty guns when they investigated the diesel container of a tank they had just bought for £30,000 on ebay. Mr Mead, who runs Tanks-a-Lot in Helmdon, Northamptonshire, filmed their search and was left gobsmacked when instead of artillery his mechanic pulled out a stash of glistening bullion.

Why your shoelaces won't stay tied.

Oliver O’Reilly, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley,  and his colleagues, used high-speed cameras to discover...that poor knot takes a tremendous amount of force when your foot strikes the ground—sometimes as much as seven times the force of gravity which deforms the shape of the knot. At the same time, the flapping motion of the shoelaces as your foot swings adds additional forces. Those forces combined take your laces from tied to untied with ease.

Bulb River reaches full bloom in early May.

 Bulb-River-Linda-Calmes-Jones-Photo

The wind blowing through 35,000 bright purplish-blue grape hyacinths creates the illusion of a true river on the grounds of Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich, Massachusetts. Like any river, the Bulb River is bordered by “eddies,” in this case made up of 1,500 bright yellow daffodils to compliment the lovely purple-blue flow. They are arranged at intervals on both sides of the river, which flows down a gentle hill and winds around the trees and bushes that populate the grounds.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:01 PM | Permalink

April 8, 2017

Love and Marriage - Advice from the 19th century

Anna Mussman gives us  20 Things Nineteenth-Century Advice Gurus Knew About Love That We’ve Forgotten

1. Romance Is About Finding Someone to Love for Life
2. Loving Feelings are Not Enough
3. Communicate Your Interest, But Don’t Be Creepy
4. Sit Up Straight
5. Bring Flowers
6. A Word on Getting Engaged
7. Skip the Triumphal Chains
8. Watch Out for Too Much Control
9. Build a Happy Marriage
10. Wives, No ‘My Way or the Highway’
11. Husbands, Listen to Your Wives
12. Wives, Don’t Whine About Your Husbands to Others
13. Husband, Don’t Come Home Grumpy
14. Wives, Put on Some Makeup for Him
15. Husbands, Buy Flowers (or Dark Chocolate)
16. Pay Off Your Credit Cards Every Month
17. Learn How to Manage a House
18. Go to Church Together
19. Learn Things Together
20. Make Love..

Phrases like “mutual good will and forebearance” tend not to be part of our modern lexicon when we talk about romantic love. Rather than forebear, at least extensively, we tend to leave. This makes it hard for true love to grow. Love is not primarily a feeling. It is a commitment. It is action. It is forgiving and sacrificing. If we hope to experience the tremendous joy of true love in our own lives, we ought to pay attention to our forbearers. They definitely knew something that our popular culture has forgotten.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:14 AM | Permalink

April 5, 2017

Miscellany #64

Circular Tunnel of Books in Zhen Yuan, China, the bookstore Yangzhou Zhongshug

 Tunnel-Like Book Entrance China

A grand optical illusion that you only see once you’ve set foot inside. Its lobby is a cavernous tunnel that most notably features striking black mirrored flooring. Together, the reflective ground and curved shelving creates the feeling that you’ve stepped into a perfectly circular room, making you question which way is up. Luckily, there’s help in finding the path forward. The shelves are split by a lightning bolt-shaped gap in the ceiling that leads you into the rest of the store.

Compare that to this photograph of the Stuggart Library entitled "Paradise is a Library"

 Sony Winners 2017 Paradise Library
© Luis Pina, Portugal, 2nd Place, National Awards, 2017 Sony World Photography Awards

How To Irritate Europeans In Just One Sentence

In a contest to find Canada's equivalent of "as American as apple pie", the winning entry was "as Canadian as possible under the circumstances."

The domestic terrorist Ted Kaczynski, known as the 'Unabomber', was a Harvard graduate who submitted his current information to the Alumni Association in 2012 and listed his eight life sentences as "awards" and his current occupation as "prisoner."

A “grammar vigilante” sneaks around at night fixing an infuriatingly common error on public signs.

A BBC video shows an anonymous “grammar vigilante” roaming the streets of Bristol, in the UK, adding apostrophes where they’re missing and covering unnecessary ones. He’s been moonlighting for 13 years, according to the story, and carries a long stick—the “Apostrophiser”—to help him reach improperly punctuated signs. The stealthy stickler does what every English grammar defender wishes they could. In the video, the grammar vigilante denies it's a crime, "It's more of a crime to have the apostrophes wrong in the first place."

Another Sony 2017 winner, Mathilda

 2017 Sony Matilda
© Alexander Vinogradov, Russian Federation, 1st Place, Open, Portraits (Open), 2017 Sony World Photography Awards

Lady Deborah Moody, the Dangerous Woman Who Started a Colonial Town

Deborah set up a town on the southwestern tip of Long Island, becoming the first woman to charter land in the New World.  Gravesend, as it was called, was located in what is today Brooklyn.

Chile Is a Ridiculously Long Country – Europe & US Size Comparison

A Visual Guide to Vantablack, the Darkest Substance Ever Made   See videos at link to understand how black

Vantablack® is a super-black coating that holds the world record as the darkest man-made substance. ...Vantablack is not a black paint, pigment or fabric, but is instead a functionalized ‘forest’ of millions upon millions of incredibly small tubes made of carbon nanotubes. ....

It's so dark because light energy striking the Vantablack surface enters the space between the nanotubes and is rapidly absorbed as it ‘bounces’ from tube to tube and simply cannot escape as the tubes are so long in relation to their diameter and the space between them. The near total lack of reflectance creates an almost perfect black surface. To understand this effect, try to visualize walking through a forest in which the trees are around 3km tall (that is almost 2 miles tall) instead of the usual 10 to 20 metres (30-65 ft). It’s easy to imagine just how little light, if any, would reach you.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:58 PM | Permalink

You can forget solar roadways

Idaho’s $4.3 Million Solar Road Generates Enough Power To Run ONE Microwave

An expensive solar road project in Idaho can’t even power a microwave most days, according to the project’s energy data.

The Solar FREAKIN’ Roadways project generated an average of 0.62 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per day since it began publicly posting power data in late March. To put that in perspective, the average microwave or blow drier consumes about 1 kWh per day....

The panels have been under-performing their expectations due to design flaws, but even if they had worked perfectly they’d have only powered a single water fountain and the lights in a nearby restroom.

Solar FREAKIN’ Roadways has been in development for 6.5 years and received a total of $4.3 million in funding to generate 90 cents worth of electricity.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:11 PM | Permalink

"Americans must be suffering from an awful lot of pain."

Existing political proposals, Republican or Democratic, for solving the problem are based in economics.  The problem runs much deeper Damon Linker writes in The spiritual agony behind America's opioid crisis

One might even call them spiritual.  Imagine, for a moment, that addiction is a response to spiritual agony. Then consider the role of substance abuse in our lives.

A 2015 study showed that 32 million Americans (one out of every seven adults) struggled with a serious alcohol problem during the previous year — and that nearly a third of all Americans will exhibit signs of an alcohol-use disorder at some point in their lives. That's an astonishingly high rate of alcohol abuse....As of the end of 2015, the rate of fatal opioid overdoses was more than five times higher than [the crack epidemic] — 10.3 per 100,000. ...

Then there are prescription medications for depression and anxiety. The United States leads the world in per capita consumption of these drugs, with roughly 11 percent of the population over the age of 12 using them.....

What is clear is that the United States is filled with people pursuing various forms of relief from various forms of profound unhappiness, discontent, malaise, agitation, and emotional and/or physical pain....

Americans must be suffering from an awful lot of pain.

"The more often we’ve heard in this century about white privilege, the more often white people have dropped dead in despair, writes Steve Sailer in White Privilege, White Death.

The charts below shows how bad it is.

From Death Rates Rise for Wide Swath of White Adults, Study Finds in the WSJ

Increases in ‘deaths of despair’—from drugs, alcohol-related liver diseases and suicide

 White Deaths


 Death Rates Despair Comparison

 Death Opiods2000-2016

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:33 PM | Permalink

Tips and hacks

The best airplane life hacks

If you use a neck pillow while traveling you're probably using it incorrectly... Look again at all those people wearing the neck pillows. Where do they have the opening? They have a thick side on the back of their neck, pushing them forward towards the open gap in the neck pillow…the exact place their head is going to fall....With the neck pillows, you really should have it open to the back. The back of your head is supported by the seat back. Your chin against the pillow will keep you upright and let you sleep easier.

How to keep bananas fresh, spread hard butter, and make perfect pasta -

Food hacks: Fry your pasta, microwave your lemons, freeze your onions, soften your butter, keep your bananas fresh with plastic wrap and more.

The VERY clever uses for old tea bags

1. Add flavor to your pasta  2. Condition hair  3. Beat bad breath  4. Make floors shine  5. Beating odours  6. Degrease dishes  7. Soothe irritated skin  8. Beat bee stings  9. Help plants grow  10. Make windows and mirrors shine

Keep your bagged lettuce fresher longer.  When you get open, open the bag and tuck in a paper towel.

100-Year-Old Life Hacks That Are Still Useful Today

 Tip Extract Splinter

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:25 AM | Permalink

What do cucumbers and olives have in common with blueberries?

Tomatoes, winter squash, avocados, cucumbers, peppers, eggplants, corn, olives, pumpkins, pea pods and zucchini are ALL FRUITS. 

What’s the Difference Between Fruits and Vegetables?

Botanically, fruits and vegetables are classified depending on which part of the plant they come from. A fruit develops from the flower of a plant, while the other parts of the plant are categorized as vegetables.  Fruits contain seeds, while vegetables can consist of roots, stems and leaves.

From a culinary perspective, fruits and vegetables are classified based on taste. Fruits generally have a sweet or tart flavor and can be used in desserts, snacks or juices.Vegetables have a more mild or savory taste and are usually eaten as part of a side dish or main course.

Than again, you can classify them by color

 Fruitveggiecolorwheel

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:08 AM | Permalink

April 4, 2017

The moment she knew she was in love

When You Know It’s Love: A Slice of Bacon, and a Dancer’s Revelation

How do you know when you are in love? No 1-800-line psychic will tell you. No notice sent by registered mail. Not even a ping from your iPhone. But there are a million ways of figuring it out, and we’ve asked some people when they knew. Here is one way:

When you’re a vegetarian and you suddenly want to eat bacon.

Rebecca Krohn, 35, a principal dancer of the New York City Ballet, was performing in “The Nutcracker” when she started dating a fellow dancer, Adam Hendrickson, 36. “You’re dancing in eight shows a week, and your body is incredibly depleted,” she said. Every night after the production that holiday season in 1999, she and Mr. Hendrickson would go to a diner to eat. A vegetarian of five years at the time, she sat across from him feeling an extreme level of exhaustion. He handed her a piece of bacon off his plate.

“You need the protein,” he said. “You’re going to feel so much better.”

She hesitated, but she could see how concerned he was. He knew her body was depleted, and he understood firsthand the mental and physical demands of being a dancer. She took the bacon.

“It seems silly now,” she said. “But it meant so much to me. As an athlete, you need so much protein, and I just wasn’t taking care of myself.” They married in 2011.

 Knowinglove Dancer Bacon

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:58 PM | Permalink

April 1, 2017

Preparing for Ticks

Prepare for a Bad Summer for Ticks (WSJ)
Mild winters and big deer and mice populations mean more ticks and higher rates of Lyme disease diagnoses

Symptoms can include a ring-like rash, along with flulike symptoms, muscle and joint aches and swollen lymph nodes. It is usually diagnosed based on symptoms or a blood test. It is treated with antibiotics. Longer-term infections can cause more serious symptoms, including arthritis, severe muscle pain and headaches, heart palpitations, brain inflammation and nerve pain. Diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease is controversial with many differences of opinion between patient groups and doctors.
--
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are more than 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease a year, about triple the rate from two decades ago. Most cases are centered in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic region and Upper Midwest states, such as Minnesota and Wisconsin.

On average 10 to 30% of deer nymphal ticks are infected with Lyme disease...Ticks typically feed on humans for three to five days, said Jorge Parada, a medical director of infection prevention and control at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois. A tick that latches on for only a few hours is unlikely to transmit infection. For Lyme disease to be transmitted, a tick usually has to be attached for 24 to 48 hours, said Dr. Parada, though for some other diseases it is less time. Thus, “the importance of doing tick checks.”

Best Advice You're Probably Going to Get a Tick This Summer. Good Luck.

Try to grab the tick near the skin and pull it out from there. Don’t have the fortitude to execute such a precise maneuver with tweezers? The Tick Twister and Tick Key make the job almost foolproof....

You certainly can pick up a tick from the woods, but you’re also likely to find them in parks and backyards. Ticks bury themselves in damp soil or leaf litter, and climb up on grass or brush to wait for their prey. You can make your yard less of a tick haven by keeping your grass short, removing any rotten leaves or similar debris, and get rid of brush piles where mice like to live. 

When you go to tick-prone areas, wear shoes that you’ve thoroughly sprayed with permethrin. This is an insecticide that is very safe for humans but stops ticks from crawling up your legs. Treat your favorite hiking boots, socks, and pants with the stuff; consider it for the shoes you use for yard work, too. To finish the job, spritz on a DEET-based spray whenever you head out to the backyard or park. It’s also safe when used properly, even for kids, and it will repel mosquitoes as well as ticks.

When you plan to work outside or walk in the wood, you're best of wearing long sleeves and long pants.  Since the little buggers like to climb up your leg, tuck your pants inside your socks.  When you're done shower well.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:47 PM | Permalink