August 18, 2017

Health Roundup: Food edition: Watercress, Vit B3, wine, walnuts, peanut allergy, probiotics and magnesium

You are what your grandmother ate

Parents' own prenatal environment has a detectable impact on their children's weight, new research indicates.


Watercress can boost sperm count and reduce stress.

Watercress can dampen the body's response to stress and help fight obesity. Both these are factors blamed for declining sperm count levels, studies show. The superfood has been found to reduce stress-related damage to DNA. The vegetable also has vitamins C and E shown to maintain sperm count levels.

Landmark Vitamin Discovery Could Prevent Miscarriages And Birth Defects

Vitamin B3 could have the potential to prevent miscarriages and birth defects, according to a 12-year study by scientists in Australia....It's the first time that NAD (aka nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) has been linked to congenital abnormalities, identifying a previously unknown cause of birth defects – along with the supplement that might treat the problem... research has shown that up to one third of women in the US have low levels of vitamin B3 during their pregnancy. Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, is usually found in meats and green vegetables, along with condiments such as Vegemite and Marmite....."The most important discovery for pregnant women since folate."

A daily glass of wine helps to protect the heart and can cut the risk of an early death by up to a fifth.

Drinking a glass of wine or a bottle of beer a night could slash your risk of an early death by a fifth.
Moderate drinking – defined as up to seven drinks a week for women and 14 for men – significantly cuts the risk of dying from heart disease and other problems, a study has found. Scientists from the University of Texas and Shandong University in China tracked 333,247 Americans for an average of 8.2 years. Researchers stressed there was a ‘delicate balance’ between the benefits and dangers of alcohol.

Walnuts boost the willpower of dieters

Walnuts reduce food cravings and promote a feeling of fullness, new research from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston suggests. Eating the healthy snack boosts brain activity in the region associated with control which suggests people will have more discipline when faced with unhealthy food.  Study author Dr Christos Mantzoros said, "When participants eat walnuts, [a] part of their brain lights up, and we know that's connected with what they are telling us about feeling less hungry or more full.'

Cure to deadly peanut allergy?

Peanut allergy is the most common cause of anaphylaxis, a deadly allergic reaction, and one of the most common causes of food allergy deaths.  Immunologist and allergist Professor Tang from Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Australia has pioneered a new form of treatment that combines a probiotic with peanut oral immunotherapy, known as PPOIT.  Instead of avoiding the allergen, the treatment is designed to reprogram the immune system response to peanuts and over the longer term develop tolerance. It's thought combining probiotics with the immunotherapy gives the immune system the 'nudge' it needs.

A small clinical trial found two-thirds of children were rid of their allergy after undergoing an experimental immunotherapy treatment. The kids were given a probiotic treatment called lactobacillus rhamnosus, with a peanut protein, once daily for 18 months. Professor Tang said they found 70 per cent of children were able to stomach peanuts without suffering any reactions.  Astonishingly, their desensitisation to peanuts persisted for up to four years after treatment.

Will popping magnesium pills cure your aches and pains?  Are you getting enough Magnesium?

Guidelines suggest we should consume 375mg per day of magnesium, primarily from nuts and seeds, pulses, whole grains and leafy vegetables. Men take in 283mg a day on average, while women get just 226mg, says a UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey, published in February...‘After 40 ‘You are more likely to be overweight, and muscle mass starts to deteriorate. You are also more likely to have other conditions which affect the uptake of magnesium by the body."
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U.S. researchers said the tablets improved mood in depressed patients. Bristol University experts found  that middle-aged people with low levels of magnesium in their blood had an increased risk of bone fractures.... Many clinical studies have shown magnesium deficiency contributes to osteoporosis.

Migraine sufferers get relief from daily magnesium supplements, says Dr Andrew Dowson, a headache specialist and chairman of the Migraine Action Medical Advisory Board. ‘There is definitely evidence that it works as a preventative,’ he said....In a large study published in 2013, researchers found that magnesium intake protected people against the Type 2 diabetes. And magnesium deficiency has been linked to insulin resistance and poor glucose regulation.

A study published in the journal Stroke said it had been found men and women reduced their stroke risk with a higher intake of magnesium. ‘We don’t know exactly why this happens, but one theory is magnesium reduces inflammation in the body,’ says Professor Welch.  Studies also show higher levels of dietary magnesium can help to reduce hypertension and cholesterol levels — both risk factors for stroke....

Eating foods rich in magnesium is linked with a positive impact on heart disease risk factors such as lowering blood pressure.’ Magnesium also plays a role in the heart’s electrical functioning by which it beats, and studies show it can relieve atrial fibrillation, or unusual heart rhythms.

Several studies also suggest the supplements can help you sleep better....‘Magnesium is a relaxer of muscles, so this can help to calm the body,’.... Magnesium deficiency has also been linked to restless leg syndrome,
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:12 PM | Permalink
Categories: Health

A Bout with Gout

The Pain Principle by Theodore Dalrymple

I know that the gratitude will not last, because gratitude can never be a chronic emotion. I will forget the pain within the week and take my painless toe for granted again. But still the episode illustrates the point that suffering is necessary for the full appreciation of life. Without some experience of it, we could hardly be aware that we were enjoying anything; and it is why it is so difficult to imagine heaven, where suffering does not and could not exist. We can all imagine, vividly, a thousand hells, but a single heaven is quite beyond our imagination to conceive. That is why the iconography of hell is varied and fascinating, that of heaven dull and boring.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:47 AM | Permalink
Categories: Rules of Life/Lessons Learned

August 17, 2017

Identity politics can only unravel further what binds us

To be clear, I am unequivocally against every form of division and hatred whether on the left or the right.  I am for what brings us together and lifts us up.

The Liberal Crackup by Mark Lilla

Liberals should reject the divisive, zero-sum politics of identity and find their way back
to a unifying vision of the common good

It is time to admit that American liberalism is in deep crisis: a crisis of imagination and ambition on our side, a crisis of attachment and trust on the side of the wider public....

To meet the Reagan challenge, we liberals needed to develop an ambitious new vision of America and its future that would again inspire people of every walk of life and in every region of the country to come together as citizens. Instead we got tangled up in the divisive, zero-sum world of identity politics, losing a sense of what binds us together as a nation. What went missing in the Reagan years was the great liberal-democratic We. Little wonder that so few now wish to join us.

There is a mystery at the core of every suicide, and the story of how a once-successful liberal politics of solidarity became a failed liberal politics of “difference” is not a simple one. Perhaps the best place to begin it is with a slogan: The personal is the political.

This phrase was coined by feminists in the 1960s and captured perfectly the mind-set of the New Left at the time. ....This was an innovation on the left. Socialism had no time for individual recognition. Rushing toward the revolution, it divided the world into exploiting capitalists and exploited workers of every background. New Deal liberals were just as indifferent to individual identity; they thought and spoke in terms of equal rights and equal social protections for all. Even the early movements of the 1950s and ’60s to secure the rights of African-Americans, women and gays appealed to our shared humanity and citizenship, not our differences. They drew people together rather than setting them against each other.

How ‘Diversity’ Is Tearing America Apart Rod Dreher

Lilla is exactly right when he says that a foundation based on personal identity “sets up a wall against questions” and that “the more obsessed with personal identity campus liberals become, the less willing they become to engage in reasoned political debate.”
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It is not easy to live in a pluralistic democracy. Left-wing identitarians and those who empower them — I’m especially looking at you, university administrators and corporate managers — are making it much harder. A workplace where people have to be on edge for fear that they will be reported to Human Resources for microaggressing someone by engaging in “lookism” is a place that, sooner or later, is going to blow.

The Poison of Identity Politics  WSJ Editorial

The new identity politics that again seeks to divide Americans by race, ethnicity, gender and even religion. “Diversity” is now the all-purpose justification for these divisions, and the irony is that America is more diverse and tolerant than ever.

The problem is that the identity obsessives want to boil down everything in American life to these categories. In practice this means allocating political power, contracts, jobs and now even salaries in the private economy based on the politics of skin color or gender rather than merit or performance. Down this road lies crude political tribalism, and James Damore’s recent Google dissent is best understood as a cri de coeur that we should aspire to something better. Yet he lost his job merely for raising the issue...Identity politics can destroy democratic trust and consent.

Weimar America by Daniel Greenfield

You can’t legitimize one form of racism without legitimizing all of them. The media may advance this hypocritical position. Obama used the shameful “reverse racism” euphemism that distinguishes between black and white racism. But propaganda and spin don’t change the physics of human nature. Either all racism is bad. Or all racism is acceptable.

Charlottesville is what happens when you normalize racism and street violence. Every normalization of extremism equally normalizes the extremism of the opposite side.  A civil society depends on a consensus. ‘Racism is bad’ is an example of such a consensus. If you normalize black nationalism, you will get more white nationalism. If you normalize leftist street violence against Trump supporters, you will also get more street violence against leftists.
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Compromises are uncomfortable. After the Civil War, the Union was preserved, but Southerners were allowed to honor their cause. It was an uncomfortable compromise, but it helped limit the violence from a conflict that had claimed the lives of 2% of the population. The Taliban campaign by black nationalists to tear down Confederate memorials was a deliberate effort at shattering a compromise that kept civil society working.

Washington Post Editorial Openly Calls for Political Violence

Its title "Charlottesville showed that liberalism can't defeat white supremacy. Only direct action can."
It concludes with, “Start throwing rocks."

Here’s A List Of All The Monuments Liberals Want To Tear Down So Far

including the Jefferson Memorial and Mt. Rushmore.  On Wednesday, a bust of Abraham Lincoln was defaced after someone doused it with a flammable liquid and then set it on fire.

What Do We Say About Decent Men Who Died for a Wicked Cause? Spengler

" Of course they're not going to be stop with a few Confederate generals.
They're just getting started. Pretty soon it will be all statues. Then it'll be movies. Then books. They're on a roll and they're not going to stop until they've turned the entire country into 'Fahrenheit 451', Mao's Cultural Revolution, and '1984' all mashed up together and managed by Google" 

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:06 PM | Permalink
Categories: Civilization - Can We Keep It? | Categories: Culture and Society

August 16, 2017

When there are no words

Some favorites from Foreign Words That Don’t Exist In English

Sobremesa (Spanish)
...that sedated, drowsy, happy conversation that results from full stomachs, a few bottles of wine, and good friends.

Iktsuarpok (Inuit)
You suddenly discover that you have a long-lost brother. After a series of feverish phone calls, he agrees to meet you at your house. You’re so excited that you’re lips are numb and your palms are sweating. Because of your excitement, you keep going outside to see if he’s arrived. That act of going outside is iktsuarpok.

Greng-jai (Thai)
Have you ever asked someone to help you move? You feel bad for asking them and don’t really want them to do it because it will be pain for them. You really don’t want to ask them to help you move, especially since you have a vast weight collection.  That feeling of not wanting to ask is Greng-jai.

Tartle (Scots)
You know that awful feeling you have when you need to introduce someone but can’t remember their name? You mumble and bumble, then finally say something lame like, “Yes, this is my…friend.” Then you feel like a moron. That experience is tartle.  In English, we call this, “Looking like a fool.”

Fremdschämen (German); Myötähäpeä (Finnish)
Meaning something close to “vicarious embarrassment”, this is what you feel when someone makes a complete fool of themselves in front of a large crowd.

Ya’arburnee (Arabic)
Literally translated, “May you bury me,” this intense word is a declaration that you wish to die before someone else because you love them so much and can’t stand to live without them.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:26 AM | Permalink
Categories: New words for emotions and new words

Miscellany #80

In 1956, it took four men and a truck to transport 5MB of memory That's the equivalent of 1 song on an iPod.

 1956 5 Mb

Goldfish make ALCOHOL in their cells to survive months without oxygen in icy waters -

They convert lactic acid into ethanol which keeps them alive under frozen lakes ....Research led by the University of Liverpool and Oslo found crucian carp produce between 50 and 100 mg per millilitre in their blood. 'This puts them above the legal drink drive limit in most countries', lead researcher Michael Berenbrink, an evolutionary physiologist at the University of Liverpool.

Italy's tiniest VOLCANO is a four foot high 'flaming fountain'

'The Volcano of Monte Busca', up the slope near Tredozio village, Province of Forli, is barely more than a small pile of rocks on a hill.  Yet, the flame burns day and night, come rain or shine, as a result of natural gases from under the surface.

 Tiniest Volcano

Genius Church Signs That Will Make You Laugh

 Church Sign Apple Terms

Introducing Steve - a Newly Discovered Astronomical Phenomenon

 Large Aurora Steve

Rare Photos of Elvis as a Child and Teenager

 Elvis-Presley-1946

Amazon’s Alexa Can Now Read Audiobooks To Your Dogs While You’re Away
Available titles include "A Dog's Purpose," “Soldier Dogs” and “The Art of Racing in the Rain.”

'Crown Shyness'

A naturally occurring phenomenon where tree tops avoid touching is called 'crown shyness'.  The visual effect of images of crown shyness are akin to the appearance of winding rivers.

  Crown Shyness

Magical Beauty Of Mushrooms Captured By Jill Bliss

Jill Bliss is an artist (and naturalist, educator, farmhand, caretaker, and deckhand) who lives on a small island in the Salish Sea in the Pacific Northwest. In 2012 she sold her house and nearly everything she owned to move to the island and reconnect with nature after a busy career as a designer in New York and San Francisco. Using a wide assortment of the beautifully vibrant wild fungi she finds, Bliss turns them into stunning arrangements and photographs them for a project she calls Nature Medleys.

 Mushrooms-Medley-Jill-Bliss

Jaw-Dropping Long Exposure Photos

 Long Exposure Milky Way
#2 This Long-Exposure of the Milky Way Looks Like Fractal Geometry

 Long Exposure Candlelight Procession Salisbury Cathedral
#27 Long Exposure Photo Of Candle Procession At Salisbury Cathedral

 Long Exposure Train Canadian Rockies
#13 A Long Exposure Photo Of A Train Roaring Through The Canadian Rockies

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:06 AM | Permalink
Categories: Miscellany

August 14, 2017

"Compliment your host, even if you strain the facts to do so."

Here are some selected maxims from “Teepee Etiquette" 

 Big-Teepee-Indianjpg

The Art of Manliness explains that they were published in 1912 as The Book of Woodcraft and Indian Lore.
The author Ernest Thompson Seton said he gathered these maxims on American Indian hospitality  “chiefly from observations of actual practice, but in many cases from formal precept.”

• Always assume that your guest is tired, cold, and hungry.
• Do not trouble your guest with many questions about himself; he will tell you what he wishes you to know.
• Always repay calls of courtesy; do not delay.
• Give your host a little present on leaving; little presents are little courtesies and never give offense.
• Say “Thank you” for every gift, however small.
• Compliment your host, even if you strain the facts to do so.
• In another man’s lodge follow his customs, not your own.
• Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, or even a stranger, if in a lonely place.
• Do not talk to your mother-in-law at any time, or let her talk to you.
• Show respect to all men, but grovel to none.
• Thank the Great Spirit for each meal.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:56 AM | Permalink
Categories: Rules of Life/Lessons Learned

August 13, 2017

Health Roundup: Breakthrough in CF, recovery from vegetative stroke, oxygen therapy and counter-productive drugs

'Breakthrough in treating cystic fibrosis

Vertex Pharmaceuticals scored a major win Tuesday with the release of data from three clinical trials testing three different triple combinations of cystic fibrosis drugs. Patients genetically resistant to all treatments now on the market showed unprecedented gains in lung function on all three experimental therapies - a 10 percentage point improvement, adjusted for placebo, in FEV1, an important measure of lung capacity. ....To put the 10 percentage point improvement in lung function in perspective, Vertex CEO Jeff Leiden points to the company’s first approved cystic fibrosis drug, Kalydeco, which demonstrates similar efficacy. “We have Kalydeco patients that call to tell us that they used to only be able to walk one block, but now they can run several miles, or they couldn’t walk up the stairs to their apartment and now they just run up and down those stairs every day,” he said. “This is life-changing for these patients.”

Vegetative stroke patient, 36, was able to speak and move just 16 DAYS after being given a Parkinson's disease drug

A vegetative stroke patient who was completely unresponsive to what was going on around her, regained complete consciousness just 16 days after being given a Parkinson's disease drug, a case report reveals. The unnamed woman, 36, who was only being kept alive by medical intervention, was able to speak in short sentences after being given the dopamine-boosting drug, known as amantadine. Unable to move, doctors thought her only option was to be admitted to a nursing home, yet the woman, believed to be from Berlin, can now eat and stand.

Experts believe the drug may have pushed the woman, who was diagnosed with unresponsive wakefulness syndrome, 'above the threshold' for recovery. Amantadine is used to treat Parkinson's disease and 'flu. It is thought to increase levels of the 'feel-good' hormone dopamine in the brain which is involved in regulating movement.

Oxygen therapy revives brain of toddler who nearly drowned

In one of the first such confirmed cases, an Arkansas toddler who suffered severe brain injury after nearly drowning has had that brain damage reversed, using a new treatment. The treatment is known as hyperbaric oxygen therapy, or HBOT. It exposes a patient to pure oxygen within the confines of a carefully controlled pressurized chamber. During the therapy, the body gets three times the normal amount of oxygen, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The saga began with every parent's nightmare. Just one day shy of her 2nd birthday, Eden Carlson nearly drowned in the family pool. The little girl was found floating face down, unresponsive. Alive, but just barely.  The initial prognosis, noted Dr. Paul Harch, wasn't good. The little girl's heart had stopped beating.  "It took 100 minutes of CPR at both the house and the emergency room to get a return of circulation," he said. "And when they did, she had lab values that you rarely see in a living human being."  MRI scans revealed significant brain injury. Her brain had started to shrink. She was losing both gray matter -- critical to muscle control, sensory perception and speech -- and white matter, the network of central nervous system wiring that makes up the lion's share of the brain.Over the next two months, Eden progressively lost muscle control as well as her ability to speak, walk and respond properly to commands.

The tide only started to turn at the two-month mark, when under the guidance of Harch, Eden started undergoing HBOT, the therapy that he describes as the "most misunderstood therapy in the history of science."  One reason hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been met with skepticism is that it's been difficult to explain how this treatment works, he said. But several recent studies involving adult acute injury patients have indicated that even a single session of HBOT can have an immediate impact on the activity of thousands of genes critical to the promotion of tissue recovery, Harch explained. What that means, he said, is that "every time you [have HBOT], we are manipulating gene expression in a beneficial way, inhibiting cell death and inflammation while promoting tissue growth and repair."

And Eden's experience perfectly drives home that point.  He said Eden's mother reported that by the 10th round, her child appeared to be "near normal." "She was able to walk again," said Harch. "Her language development accelerated and ended up improving to the point that it was better than it had been before the accident." And subsequent MRI scans confirmed what Harch suspected: "The shrinkage of her brain had almost completely re-grown," he said.

Chemotherapy could cause cancer to SPREAD and grow back even more aggressive,

The drug is often regarded as the first option for breast cancer patients. But scientists at New York's Albert Einstein College of Medicine have found evidence that this is only a short-term solution - and can be dangerous. While shrinking the tumors, it opens a gateway for tumors to spread.  Cancer becomes almost impossible treat once it spreads to other organs

Lead author Dr George Karagiannis says the findings, should not deter patients from seeking treatment, but suggests we could create a way to better monitor tumor movement in patients undergoing chemotherapy. 'One approach would be to obtain a small amount of tumor tissue after a few doses of preoperative chemotherapy.'

Drugs used to treat osteoporosis could have the opposite effect and make you more prone to fractures

US health officials recommend that patients use bisphosphonates for no more than three to five years.  The study of 50 women aged 65 to 93 found using the drugs long-term can make bones more mineralized and harder. Older women were found to be most at risk of taking the cheap pills, which include Fosamax, Boniva and Reclast. Such pills protect millions of osteoporosis patients from potentially fatal fractures if they are taken daily.  The findings have potential implications for the treatment of osteoporosis which affects some 44 million in the US.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:14 PM | Permalink
Categories: Health

August 11, 2017

Miscellany #79

The shortest time between two points is NOT a straight line

Sampling DNA From a 1,000-Year-Old Illuminated Manuscript

The York Gospels were assembled more than a thousand years ago. Bound in leather, illustrated, and illuminated, the book contains the four gospels of the Bible as well as land records and oaths taken by clergymen who read, rubbed, and kissed its pages over centuries. The Archbishops of York still swear their oaths on this book. The York Gospels are also, quite literally, a bunch of old cow and sheep skins. Skin has DNA, and DNA has its own story to tell.....Every one of these books is a herd of animals.

 York Gospel2

This Newly Discovered Dinosaur, Titanosaur,  Makes T. Rex 'Look Like a Dwarf'

At 76 tons, the plant-eating behemoth was as heavy as a space shuttle.  The dinosaur’s fossils were found in southern Argentina in 2012.

Amazing photos of Trees That Just Won't Give Up

 #1 Enchanted Tree

 #5 Tree Of Life Olympia

8 Amazing Things Uncovered by Melting Glaciers and Ice

Lost Clan Found in Highlands of Italy

"Especially the way you say 'yes'. It's 'si' in Italian and usually, in other dialects, you just change it a bit, like 'shi'," she says. "Here it's 'aye'. They actually switch the accent so it's more 'ayee' than 'aye' but it sounds like the Scottish way." 

 Tartan Baby

Yoda-like bat discovered in 2011

 Yoda Fruit Bat

Scientists have also re-christened it the 'Hamamas tube-nosed fruit bat' after the Papuan word for 'happy'. After extensive research, the bat - discovered in a remote Papua New Guinea rainforest - has been formally registered as a newly identified species. The bat's scientific name, Nyctimene wrightae sp. nov. honors the conservationist Dr Deb Wright who devoted 20 years of her life to conservation in Papua New Guinea.

The move comes after University of York biologist Dr Nancy Irwin's team studied some 3,000 fruit bat specimens in 18 museums around the world. She said: 'Most of the morphological characteristics that separate this bat from other species are associated with a broader, rounder jaw which gives the appearance of a constant smile.

Recreating a 70-year-old photo  "Same brooch, same necklace"

 Queen And Prince  70Yrs Apart

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:25 PM | Permalink
Categories: Miscellany

August 10, 2017

Some useful tips

Snapping a picture inside your hotel room could help protect children across the globe.

The TraffickCam app enables travelers to submit pictures of hotel rooms around the world. The images are matched against a national database used by police to track down where the victims are being trafficked. TraffickCam which now has more than 1.5 million images of hotels across the world is free and available for iPhone, iPads, and Android devices.

Don't worry about whether you left the stove on, Take Photos of Stove Dials Before You Leave for Vacation

You can clean and dry your underwear in just six minutes flat using a SALAD SPINNER

The detergent company Woolite has shared a video showing customers how they can clean and dry their underwear using a salad spinner. To get started, the company recommends filling the salad spinner halfway with warm water before adding a gentle detergent. After placing your underwear or bra inside the kitchen tool, spin for two minutes. Dump the soapy water and refill with clean water to rinse, and then spin again for another two minutes....Others recently revealed on Twitter that they use their salad spinners to hand wash cashmere and silk tops.

Make cheeseburgers the right way.  You Are Cheesing Your Cheeseburgers All Wrong And I Can't Stand It Anymore

Build a Luxury DIY Pool Using Only A Dumpster

 Dumpster-Pool

For Easier Dog Baths, Just Shower With Your Pet

He’s happy to just stand in the bathtub and let me shampoo him as long as I’m doing it too. He’ll even stand in the shower after I get out and wait for me to come towel him off before he takes off running. It was a refreshing change, and something I regret not trying earlier.

How to Make a Cat Maze

 Cat-Maze

Concealed Key Storage Using only a pill bottle

 Pill-Bottles-Concealed-Key

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:48 AM | Permalink
Categories: Organizing and Practical Tips

August 9, 2017

Astonishing advances in medical technology

Groundbreaking skin patch the size of a penny can regrow organs, restore brain function, and heal wounds by injecting genetic code into the damaged area

 Tissue Nanotransfection

The technology, known as Tissue Nanotransfection (TNT), uses a nanochip the size of a penny, which is placed on the skin for a second and then removed. In that time, the chip injects genetic code into skin cells, turning them into any type of cell needed to restore wounded blood vessels. And a new study reveals its effects can be seen within days. The researchers at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center restored brain function to mice after strokes and rescued badly injured legs on mice in just three weeks with a single touch of this device. ...
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'What's even more exciting is that it not only works on the skin, but on any type of tissue,' Sen said. In fact, researchers were able to grow brain cells on the skin surface of a mouse, harvest them, then inject them into the mouse's injured brain.  Just a few weeks after having a stroke, brain function in the mouse was restored, and it was healed. Because the technique uses a patient's own cells and does not rely on medication, researchers expect it to be approved for human trials within a year.

This miracle medical chip could one day heal almost anything

The future implications for such a device are limitless, though some examples include reprogramming brain cells in Alzheimer’s or stroke patients, regenerating limbs or helping injured soldiers or car crash victims at the scene.

“This technology does not require a laboratory or hospital and can actually be executed in the field,” said Chandan Sen, the director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine and Cell-Based Therapies. “It’s less than 100 grams to carry and will have a long shelf life.” The technology is currently waiting for FDA approval, but Sen expects the device to enter human trial within the year.

Cutting edge procedure uses your own cells to repair cartilage

It's called MACI, which is a procedure that repairs damaged cartilage using a person’s own cartilage cells. Doctors say cartilage is harvested from the patient and sent to a lab in Massachusetts. It's then soaked into a patch and applied to the damaged area.

"You stimulate the cells in the right environment and they make cartilage around themselves. It's kind of like they make a cushion around themselves,” Dr. Zak Knutson said. "The cells start to stick 24 hours to the bone. Once they stick, then we're good because then we start motion and a little bit of weight-bearing to stimulate them to grow and make cartilage around them.”

Mind-controlled hearing aids filter out background noise by tracking the wearer's brain activity

Scientists have created a hearing aid that is controlled by the mind, new research reveals. The technology filters out background noise, allowing the wearer to focus on just one conversation, a study found. Such a hearing aid works by monitoring the user's brain activity to determine who they are conversing with and amplifying that voice, the research adds. Current hearing aids can filter out background noise but are unable to determine specifically who the wearer is listening to.

Researchers from Columbia University in New York are behind the technology, which picks up several speakers before separating them into individual voices thus combining speech engineering and auditory decoding.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:12 AM | Permalink
Categories: Health | Categories: Technology

August 8, 2017

"Long passwords that contain four words are much harder to break than shorter ones with a mix of letters, characters and numbers"

The man who came up with the safe password rules admits he was WRONG

Bill Burr's 'bible' on password security was written in 2003 while he worked for the US Government.  His guidance was to change passwords often, use numbers, include non-alphabetic symbols and try capital letters and change passwords every 90 days. He says he now 'regrets' his advice as passwords that use these guidelines are often easier to hack.

'It just drives people bananas and they don't pick good passwords no matter what you do,' he said.
'Through 20 years of effort, we've successfully trained everyone to use passwords that are hard for humans to remember, but easy for computers to guess',

Experts now believe long passwords that contain perhaps four words are much harder to break than shorter ones with a mix of letters, characters and numbers. Cartoonist Randall Munroe found it would take 550 years to crack 'correcthorsebatterystaple' where as the password 'Tr0ub4dor&3' - which was previously considered strong by Mr Burr's calculations - could be hacked in three days.

There's a Simple New Way to Find Out if Hackers Already Have Your Password

When massive data breaches happen to the companies we actually trust with our online credentials, our usernames and passwords can become totally exposed – but luckily, there's now a simple way to find out if you've been compromised

Troy Hunt is an Australian security researcher and the man behind Have I Been Pwned (HIBP), a website that lets people check if their email addresses and usernames have been involved in some of the biggest data breaches ever – involving companies like Myspace, LinkedIn, Adobe, Dropbox (and sadly hundreds more)....He has created a new tool called Pwned Passwords that does the same kind of thing, but this time it lets you enter just your passwords to see if they've been leaked in any of the aforementioned hacks.

There's a staggering 320 million leaked passwords stored in this database...none of the passwords here are stored alongside the email addresses or usernames that they pair with....Hunt explains  "It goes without saying but don't enter a password you currently use into any third-party service like this! I don't explicitly log them and I'm a trustworthy guy but yeah, don't."

Your 'Anonymous' Browsing Data Isn't Actually Anonymous

It requires an astonishingly small amount of browsing information to identify an individual out of an anonymous dataset of 3 million people. Since everyone's browsing habits are unique, it only takes about 10 website visits to create a "fingerprint" for an individual based on which websites they are visiting and when.....

the most worrisome part of collecting browsing data is that it is legal and relatively cheap to obtain. After contacting over 100 data brokers, Eckert said that the quoted prices she received for a month's worth of browsing data ranged from 10,000 to 500,000 euros—chump change in the world of politics...Even companies like Web of Trust, whose business model is built on safe and anonymous web browsing, are liable to unintentionally expose users browsing habits.

The Company That Knows Everything About You Is Now Punishing Thoughtcrimes

Google, which is worth $498 billion and employs more than 60,000 people worldwide, was not big enough in the end for the triggering perspective of a single engineer.

 Goolag

I've switched to DuckDuckGo as my default search engine.  It doesn't store my personal info or track me or follow me with ads.

 Duckduckgo

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:35 PM | Permalink
Categories: Identity and Security

Antiibiotics: Closthioamide, superbugs, and vaccines

Vaccines are part of the solution to the emerging crisis of antibiotic resistance

Preventing infections in the first place will also reduce the need for antibiotics. That’s where vaccines come in as an important part of the solution.  Vaccines have a unique quality among health interventions by benefiting both the individuals who are vaccinated and the larger community.

Vaccines that prevent bacterial diseases such as pneumococcal infections, bacterial meningitis, or pneumonia reduce antibiotic use by directly preventing these types of bacterial infections, for which antibiotics are the recommended treatment. Vaccines against viral diseases can reduce antibiotic use by preventing the occurrence of influenza and other viral infections that are commonly lumped together as “the flu,” which are often mistreated with antibiotics.

New antibiotic has potential to transform 'arms race' against resistant diseases - including super-gonorrhea

A new antibiotic has been found in the ‘arms race’ against incurable superbugs. While still at least five years away from being available to patients, closthioamide cured 98 per cent of gonorrhea samples taken from British patients.  The antibiotic, only discovered seven years ago, has also been found to tackle hospital superbug MRSA and deadly E.coli and could go on to be tested against other bacteria, including drug-resistant TB.
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Closthioamide was a lucky discovery by researchers trying to stimulate harmless bacteria to provide useful treatments. When they added ordinary soil to the bacteria, they came up with the antibiotic – a type of drug never seen before. It is thought to work by blocking the action of certain enzymes that maintain DNA inside bacterial cells.

You SHOULDN'T always take full course of antibiotics: Experts now say taking drugs after you feel well may encourage risk of superbugs

The report from ten specialists in infectious diseases from Oxford University and Brighton and Sussex Medical School said the current advice is not backed up by evidence. Instead, they say there is evidence that stopping antibiotics sooner is a safe and effective way to reduce overuse of the drugs....In hospitals, patients are often treated with antibiotics only until tests show they have recovered from infection. The authors said more trials were needed to establish what advice should be given to patients about how long to take the drugs.

Professor Martin Llewelyn, the report’s lead author, said: ‘Historically, antibiotic courses were set by precedent, driven by fear of under-treatment, with less concern about overuse… Completing the course goes against one of the most fundamental and widespread medication beliefs people have, which is that we should take as little medication as necessary.’

But Professor Stokes-Lampard said: ‘Recommended courses of antibiotics are not random – they are tailored to individual conditions and, in many cases, courses are quite short. ‘We are concerned about the concept of patients stopping taking their medication midway through a course once they “feel better”, because improvement in symptoms does not necessarily mean the infection has been completely eradicated.’

Don't jump the gun.  Why You Probably Should Still Take Your Full Course of Antibiotics

The advice needs to be clear. No one wants to take medication unnecessarily, but sometimes feeling better doesn't mean you are better....More research and clinical trials (as also noted in the BMJ article) are required in order to fully understand and adjust the lengths of antibiotic courses, but, in my opinion as a microbiologist, the risks of taking an insufficient course significantly outweigh the benefits.

You Still Have to Finish Your Antibiotics, But Ask These Questions First

  1. Do I really need antibiotics for this? I always ask this question, and you’d be surprised how often the answer is something like “This could you either way, actually. Would you like a paper prescription that you can get filled in a few days if you’re not feeling better?”
  2. Could we do a short course of antibiotics? Sometimes this is an option.
  3. It’s been a few days and I’m feeling better. Could I stop taking the antibiotics? Again, it depends on the specifics, but sometimes the answer will be yes.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:14 PM | Permalink
Categories: Health

Reconsidering the wisdom of memorization and liberal arts degrees

Children Have Amazing Powers of Memorization… So Why Aren’t Schools Using Them?

We’ve flipped things around these days, shunning the memorization of facts and instead asking young children to reason and draw conclusions based on their own limited experience and feelings.
Isn't time we capitalized on the Poll-Parrot stage and filled the minds of young children with rhythmic facts and knowledge upon which they can draw and philosophize on in later years?

“The Poll-Parrot stage is the one in which learning by heart is easy and, on the whole, pleasurable; whereas reasoning is difficult and, on the whole, little relished. At this age, one readily memorizes the shapes and appearances of things; one likes to recite the number-plates of cars; one rejoices in the chanting of rhymes and the rumble and thunder of unintelligible polysyllables; one enjoys the mere accumulation of things.”

The problem, Sayers notes, is that many schools no longer capitalize on this Poll-Parrot stage, losing valuable opportunities to lay a firm foundation of facts for future learning. Sayers suggests that the following six subjects be diligently taught to young children while they still possess a great capacity for memorization through rhyming:
Latin
Foreign languages
English
History
Geography
Math

Why Genuine Liberal Arts Degrees Are A Perfect Fit For Today’s Uncertain Economy

Its purpose, as it is today, is “to develop well-rounded individuals with general knowledge of a wide range of subjects and with mastery of a range of transferable skills.” In today’s rapidly changing, innovative economy, the value of such a personally empowering education should not need defending.
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Russell Kirk argues that a liberal arts education is not intended to prepare students for jobs. He explains its purpose is to develop the individual in mind and moral character. He emphasizes that cultivating these areas sets an individual free from the material aims of the state. The fruits of a liberal arts education also set individuals free materially by preparing them for life rather than specific jobs, which are vulnerable to societal changes and innovation.
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Recent graduates are unprepared to enter the workforce because they lack soft skills. According to the managers surveyed, new hires are “lacking in critical thinking and problem-solving skills (60 percent) and attention to detail (56 percent) as well as writing proficiency (44 percent) and public speaking (39 percent).” These are exactly the dynamic, transferable skills that a liberal arts education is supposed to develop.
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Our institutions of higher education are failing to deliver on their promise to provide a true liberal arts education....The liberal arts degree is not irrelevant or outdated, just hard to find.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:44 PM | Permalink
Categories: Education

"His music fulfills a deep human need that has nothing to do with fashion"

My favorite contemporary composer is the Estonian Arvo Part, composer of classical and sacred music
Pärt grew up, was educated and began his career behind the Iron Curtain and many of his early works were banned by Soviet censors.  "He had reached a position of complete despair in which the composition of music appeared to be the most futile of gestures, and he lacked the musical faith and willpower to write even a single note."  For years he did not write but immersed himself in early music, reinvestigating the roots of Western music, studying plainsong, Gregorian chant and polyphony in the European Renaissance. 

Emerging from his self-imposed creative exile, he found his own musical language with a love of every note at its heart

the result sounds as if it had existed all along, music of the "little bells", the so-called "tintinnabuli", which you hear for the first time in this two-and-a-half minute piano miniature, Für Alina. This little piece is the seed from which the rest of Pärt's musical life has grown.... The power of the "tintinnabulation" he discovered comes from its combination of ascetic rigor and the apparent simplicity of its materials...That austerity of process makes Pärt's tintinnabulation a new use of tonality, even a new kind of tonality, and it explains why his music sounds simultaneously ancient and modern...

 Arvo Part

The "founding father of minimalism" Steve Reich said of him,"I love his music, and I love the fact that he is such a brave, talented man. He became involved in the Russian Orthodox church at a time when that was dangerous, and for the last 20 years he has written religious music for ensembles that might have existed in the middle ages. He's completely out of step with the zeitgeist and yet he's enormously popular, which is so inspiring. His music fulfills a deep human need that has nothing to do with fashion."

Pärt has received honorary degrees around the world, been inducted into the French Legion of Honor, appointed a member of the Pontifical Council for Culture and won numerous prizes and distinctions including a Grammy in 2014.  For the past five years, Pärt has been the most performed living composer in the world.

In 2014, he received an honorary doctorate from St Vladimir’s Seminar and his short address "From my musical diaries" was captured on video. Joseph Pearce wrote, "It’s rare indeed for a speech to bring me to the verge of tears. This marvelous short address by the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt is simply breathtaking. It’s well worth seven minutes of anyone’s time."  "From my musical diaries" 

....These unexpected words were said by a little girl. I remember exactly…it was July 25th, 1976. I was sitting in the monastery’s yard, on a bench in the shadow of the bushes with my notebook.

‘What are you doing? What are you writing there’, the girl who was around ten asked me.
‘I am trying to write music, but it is not turning out well’, I said. And then the unexpected words from her, Have you thanked God for this failure already?’

The most sensitive musical instrument is the human soul. The next is the human voice. One must purify the soul until it begins to sound.....We shouldn’t’ grieve because of writing little and poorly, but because we pray little and poorly, and lukewarmly, and live in the wrong way. The criterion must be everywhere and only humility.

Music is my friend, ever-understanding. Compassionate. Forgiving. It’s a comforter, the handkerchief for drying my tears of sadness, the source of my tears of joy. My liberation and flight. But also, a painful thorn in my flesh and soul, that which makes me sober and teaches humility.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:01 PM | Permalink
Categories: Art

Miscellany #78

Bald Eagle Stuck In Ocean Saved By Lobstermen (video)

Lobsterman John Chipman and his stern-man Kevin Meaney spotted a bald eagle swimming in the ocean. While bald eagles in the wild are able to swim for small periods of time, the lobstermen realized that the bird was struggling to stay afloat. The majestic bird was on the surface of the water using its large wings to propel itself forward.

 Baldeagle Saved Lobsterman

Light My Fire at 50 - Fascinating interview of Ray Manzarek about its creation and the Bach inspired intro.

Popular beer is renamed to honor priests

A Cardiff pub that turned away seven Catholic priests after they thought they were on a stag do has renamed a local beer after them to say sorry....“The Thirsty Priests” is a “rich, warming ale with a clean, rewarding finish”  It even has its own witty slogan  --- “saving souls and satisfying thirsts”.

 Thirsty Priests

The airplane that drew an airplane in the sky.

Boeing Test team draws in the sky during 18 hour endurance test.

 Boening Makes Map

The Ex-Anarchist Construction Worker Who Became a World-Renowned Scientist

Despite a late start in his field, Kerry Knudsen might know more about lichens than anyone alive today. "They have no use except their own beauty and life"

 Kerry-Knudsen

American Digest has the video The Lichenologist: His Whole Life Is an Acid Flashback

"As beautiful to me as seeing the redwoods"...."Not a plant, not a moss, not even a mushroom, lichens are a fungus in a symbiotic relationship with an algae....The algae is captured when the fungus is young and is kept alive within the fungus....The fungus literally grows a garden within itself...."I enjoy just seeing this...the intense feeling of reality, of just being here."

X-ray decks: the lost bone music of the Soviet Union

You can get the sense that what is being played is no ordinary vintage record: indeed, on the platter, instead of a vinyl, is the X-Ray of some guy’s skull, cut in the shape of a disc.....
From 1946 to 1964, he found, people in Soviet Russia had been using X-rays as makeshift records to listen to the music they loved. The reason for that was that most of that music was forbidden....
---
When it came to choosing the recording material, Coates says, discarded X-rays were an obvious choice. “ X-ray film is soft enough to be recorded on, but strong enough to hold the groove,” he explains. “It was also very easy to find: Russian hospitals had to get rid of their X-rays within one year because they were flammable, back then.”

 X-Ray Record Bones Coates Pic

A Man of Science Confronts Demonic Possession

Dr. Richard Gallagher, an Ivy League-educated, board-certified psychiatrist who teaches at Columbia University and New York Medical College. ...has become something else: the go-to guy for a sprawling network of exorcists in the United States. For the past 25 years, he has helped clergy distinguish between mental illness and what he calls "the real thing." He estimates that he's seen more cases of possession than any other physician in the world.  He says demonic possession is real. He's seen the evidence: victims suddenly speaking perfect Latin; sacred objects flying off shelves; people displaying "hidden knowledge" or secrets about people that they could not have possibly have known....

Eerily charming abandoned wrecks

 Wreck-Ss-Ayrfield
SS Ayrfield, Homebush Bay, Sydney, Australia

Rare white lion quintuplets born in Czech zoo (video)

 Family-Lions

An Iceberg Flipped Over, and Its Underside Is Breathtaking

In the case of this jewel-like iceberg, the ice is probably very old. In glaciers, years of compression force out air pockets and gradually make the ice denser,... "The ice absorbs a small amount of red light, leaving a bluish tint in the reflected light, which is what we see.” In addition, minerals and organic matter may have seeped into the underwater part of the iceberg over time, creating its vivid green-blue color.

 Alex Cornell Antarctica-1

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:16 AM | Permalink
Categories: Miscellany

Parenting roundup: Structure, transgender ideology, pornography, binge drinking, 6 hours

Kids need structure more than warmth from their parents

Children need both affection and structure in order to develop into secure, happy adults. But if parents can only provide one, it should be structure, said Lisa Damour, a psychologist who specializes in adolescent girls, and the author of Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions Into Adulthood. ....

“They can get warmth from their teachers, from their friends’ parents, but they can only get structure from parents."....“Being a teenager feels like you’re out of control and you’re surrounded by people who are out of control,” she said. “You don’t want parents to be out of control.”
--
Some of her advice on how to raise teens:
Frame rules around safety. Kids are more apt to follow guidelines if they understand the rules’ purpose is to keep them safe. Insisting they obey for reasons of morality or hierarchy (eg “because I’m your father!”) is more likely to backfire.
Don’t underestimate the power of apologizing. It tells teenagers they’re respected, and it helps builds trust.
Stress is normal part of growing up, and it helps teens grow and become resilient. It becomes a problem when they have no downtime, or opportunities to relax.
Technology should be introduced to kids as late as possible, and be kept out of their bedrooms. Videogames, social media and the internet demand their attention—which makes technology the enemy of the sleep which is critical for teens’ health. “You may lose the battle, but I’d rather you lose the battle with a 17-year old than a 13-year old.”

I’m a Pediatrician. How Transgender Ideology Has Infiltrated My Field and Produced Large-Scale Child Abuse.

These professionals are using the myth that people are born transgender to justify engaging in massive, uncontrolled, and unconsented experimentation on children who have a psychological condition that would otherwise resolve after puberty in the vast majority of cases.

Today’s institutions that promote transition affirmation are pushing children to impersonate the opposite sex, sending many of them down the path of puberty blockers, sterilization, the removal of healthy body parts, and untold psychological damage. These harms constitute nothing less than institutionalized child abuse.

Pornography has changed the landscape of adolescence beyond all recognition

Sometimes you hear a story that is so awful that it refuses to leave your mind, no matter how fervently you beg it to go away.  I was told one such story recently by a family doctor. ....

Take that female insecurity, warp and magnify it in the internet Hall of Mirrors, add a longing to be “fit” and popular, then stir into an ubiquitous porn culture and you have a hellish recipe for sad, abused girls. It explains why more than four in 10 girls between the ages of 13 and 17 in England say they have been coerced into sex acts....

However embarrassing it may be, we need to educate and embolden our daughters to fight back against pornography, which is warping the behavior of boys who are supposed to be their lovers, not their abusers. Anything that hurts and humiliates you is never OK. I suggest that future sex education classes begin with this joke: “I asked my wife to try anal sex. ‘Sure,’ she said: ‘You first.’”
PS: I just texted my own teenager for her view. She texted back: “A lot of truth to this. I think dubious consent is the greatest problem of my generation.

Binge drinking teenagers ‘damaging brain development’

US study points to genetic changes making teenagers more prone to alcoholism and anxiety in later life. The study, published in the journal Neurobiology of Disease, found evidence that binge drinking effectively changed the shape of the DNA in the animals’ brains at a crucial stage of their development.

Six hours a week 'family time' to tame a teenager

It doesn't matter how much time you spend with your children when they're young - but six hours a week of "family time" could keep teenagers from going off the rails, new research suggests.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:47 AM | Permalink
Categories: Parenting

August 7, 2017

"I cannot be the only man who feels less at home in the world than his father did."

For the past forty-odd years as a journalist and writer, I have felt myself part of, and complicit in, an increasingly unreal world, in which the means of my existence are generated by others, while I simply comment and observe... I have felt myself drifting away not merely from the concrete world of my father, but actually from reality itself....

Deep down, the divides exposed by Brexit and Trump are between those who are handcuffed to the tangible and those who have grown up thinking that the virtual is the only reality.....

More than forty years ago, when I departed the Irish education system, I thought nothing of the fact that I was coming away without a tradable craft. Had I considered this at all, I would probably have regarded it as close to a virtue...I now sense what I lacked: my father’s capacity to integrate his view of reality with the objects he manipulated with his hands. In him, the processes of thinking and doing were fully integrated; in me they were separated. His view of politics and economics was rooted firmly in his sense of how a door frame should be mortised together, how a valve should be ground, how a tree should be pruned. ....

The thinking of my father and uncles was true because it was trained by reality itself. It derived from their physical engagement with the world rather than arriving as a series of signals they had learned to receive. For them, fixing things was compatible with a modest ambition to adhere to the laws of reality, not to set themselves above it, and so their judgments tended to be balanced, aphoristic, and persuasive. But they worked together with other men because they knew that shared wisdom was more reliable than the ego.....

I cannot be the only man who feels less at home in the world than his father did.  Perhaps this is the deepest meaning of Trump’s election: the back answer of the dispirited men of America who still want to build and fix things but have gotten on the wrong side of a cultural wrecking ball. 

Back to Work by John Waters

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:46 AM | Permalink
Categories: Integrating Mind, Body, Spirit | Categories: Meaning, Passion and Purpose
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Miscellany #78
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