June 8, 2015

Miscellany

Touching organ donation advert "The man and the dog' will leave you in tears
The agency behind the John Lewis Christmas advert has created a piece on organ donation that has left people reaching for their dogs in floods of tears

Via The Browser, The Lost Man
Australia’s greatest cold case. A body is found on a beach near Adelaide in 1948 — a man wearing a suit and tie, perhaps a dancer, probably poisoned. He carries a fragment from the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. When the rest of the book is found, a cipher is written on the back, with the telephone number of a nurse who, called to identify the body, almost faints. Her son is said to resemble the mystery man. What was she hiding?

Climbing the roots of the Banyan Tree  Yes, you can do it, but only in certain places.

From Stories, Etc. Old Ed and a Bucket of Shrimp.  Great story that I hope is true

Terry Teachout on How the Second World War Made America Literate.  Between 1943 and 1947, the U.S. Army and Navy distributed some 123 million newly printed paperback copies of 1,322 different books to American servicemen around the world.

 Desk Safari Giraffe For some fun at the office, play Desk Safari

Aeon video:  Magnetic movie How would the world look if we could see the magnetic fields around us? ‘Hairy and messy’, says a NASA space scientist

You have to see the gifs at the link to understand why the Incredible Octopus Behavior Nearly Caused Scientist To Drown From Laughing

Why did men stop wearing high heels, anyway?  Only rock stars and cowboys wear heels now.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:35 AM | Permalink

June 6, 2015

Practical tips

How to Keep Down Sky-High Hospital Bills: Don’t Pay

When hospitals send invoices with charges that seem to bear no relationship to their costs, a small benefits consulting firm called ELAP Services in Pennsylvania tells its clients (generally medium-sized employers) to just say no….ELAP fights back with lawyers and several arguments: How can hospitals justifiably charge employers and their workers so much more than they accept from Medicare, the government program for seniors? How can hospitals bill $30 for a gauze pad?…ELAP is not merely a medical-bill auditor, like many other companies, combing hospital statements for errors. It sets the reimbursement, telling hospitals what clients will pay. Eventually, “overwhelmingly, the providers just accept the payment” and leave patients alone.

The unconventional but genius ways you can use BABY POWDER

Take it to the beach: There's nothing more annoying than returning from a day on the beach to be covered in hard-to-remove sand. At the end of the day, sprinkle baby powder over your body and it will help the sand fall off without irritating your skin.
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Get a better night's sleep: Do you have trouble falling asleep and end up tossing and turning until the early hours? Sprinkle some baby powder over your sheets before getting in. It will cool things down and help regulate your body temperate, which, in turn, will help you nod off.

Have YOU been peeling avocados all wrong? Never use a spoon.  Expert pros from the American Chemical Society with a new video showing how the get the maximum health benefits and stop guacamole from browning.

30 Hacks That Prove WD-40 Is God's Gift To The World

  • removing graffiti from cars,
  • spraying bird feeder poles so squirrels can't get up,
  • removing chewing gum from hair,
  • stop wasps from building nests and
  • removing decals and stickers easily

Not just for babies! Pedialyte targets adults seeking the perfect hangover cure

Pedialyte, the hydration formula for sick kids, is now targeting adult consumers seeking the perfect hangover cure.
The marketing shift comes after adult use of the drink jumped by 57 per cent since 2012, according to data from the research firm Nielson. Nearly one third of Pedialyte's customers are adults - most of whom are desperately trying come back to life after a night of binge drinking.

The causes of a hangover are complex but dehydration plays a key role and Pedialyte helps to replenish the body with water and electrolytes….Pedialyte's website says that it has the medically recommended balance of sugar and sodium to promote absorption.

Protein IS the secret to staving off hunger pangs: Snacking on nuts and seeds in the afternoon reduces urge for high-fat, high sugar snacks, thus improving the quality of the diet.  Snack on peanut butter, mixed nuts, pumpkin seeds, hard-boiled eggs and Greek yoghurt in the afternoon and ward off obesity.  True for adults, true for teen-agers.  Or hard-boiled eggs .  A commenter on Althouse wrote:

"Ever sit down and eat a bag of Doritos? Cookies? M & Ms? A six pack of beer? Of course you did… But nobody, ever, in the entire history of recorded time, has ever plopped his sorry fat ass down in front of a TV set and scarfed down a dozen hard-boiled eggs. Nobody."

Make Fish Broth in Minutes with Anchovies

Which checkout line should you join?

According to queuing theory, the best line to join is the 'serpentine line', that one long line in which you are sent to the next available register. Otherwise go left because about 90 per cent of the population is right-handed, and so they tend to naturally head to the right
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:38 AM | Permalink
Categories: Organizing and Practical Tips

Your public servants at work

More on government employees who probably earn more than you and will never be held accountable for the job they do,  When they are good, they are very good, but when they are bad they are horrid.

The TSA’s 95 Percent Failure Rate: Security Theater as Farce

95 percent of explosives and weapons intentionally sent into the TSA apparatus for the purpose of testing its efficacy went undetected. Which is to say, when it comes to detecting bombs and guns, the TSA’s success rate was found to be approximately 5 percent.
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A 2010 Government Accountability (ho, ho!) Office report found that the TSA’s $200 million “SPOT” program — a behavioral-detection system involving 3,000 officers trained to detect terrorists — detected no terrorists, and that it in fact failed to detect at least 16 people later involved in terrorism cases even as they traveled through the very U.S. airports that the program was policing.
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The TSA is incompetent, hostile, abusive, and a den of thieves. Its agents have been charged in a range of crimes, many of them related to looting the passengers they purport to protect but also including drug smuggling and child pornography. The agency is very little more than an employment program swelling the ranks of the American Federation of Government Employees, a sure source of Democratic political donations (more than $5 million in recent years; it is the 29th largest single donor in the country), and a platform for patronage.
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We could do the traveling public a great service — not only in terms of their convenience and the security of their property but also in terms of actual flight security — by adopting a two-step reform. One: Make airlines corporately responsible for the security of their passengers. Two: Put the airlines themselves in charge of screening.

IRS Created “Special Project Team” of “Hundreds of Lawyers” to Hide Information from Congress by Jay Sekulow

According to new congressional bombshell testimony today, the IRS set up a previously unknown “special project team” comprised of “hundreds of attorneys,” including the IRS Chief Counsel (one of only two politically appointed positions at the IRS). The “special project” this team was given?  Concealing information from Congress.

The IRS’s director of privacy, governmental liaison, and disclosure division, Mary Howard, testified that soon after the IRS targeting scandal was revealed, the IRS “amassed hundreds of attorneys to go through the documents [requested by Congress] and redact them.”  Members of Congress have long complained that many of the documents produced by the IRS have been “redacted to the point of absurdity.”

3,700 illegal immigrant ‘Threat Level 1’ criminals released into U.S. by DHS just because they wanted to

Most of the illegal immigrant criminals Homeland Security officials released from custody last year were discretionary, meaning the department could have kept them in detention but chose instead to let them onto the streets as their deportation cases moved through the system, according to new numbers from Congress.

Some of those released were the worst of the worst — more than 3,700 “Threat Level 1” criminals, who are deemed the top priority for deportation, were still released out into the community even as they waited for their immigration cases to be heard.
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So far in fiscal year 2015. Of the 34,002 immigrants put into electronic monitoring, 27,317 have broken the rules a combined 162,322 times.

Part of ICE’s problem is that it doesn’t have enough beds to go out and pick up violators, according to an inspector general’s report released earlier this year.  Agency officials said they would like to be able to hold those who willfully break the rules, but they haven’t requested more beds. Indeed, Mr. Obama’s 2016 budget request actually asked for fewer beds to hold detainees next year, arguing that he wants to put more emphasis on the very alternatives that are being violated.
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In 2013, the agency released 36,007 convicted criminals who were awaiting the outcome of their deportation cases. Those released had amassed 116 homicide convictions, 15,635 drunken driving convictions and 9,187 convictions stemming from what ICE labeled involvement with “dangerous drugs.”

The total dropped to about 30,000 in 2014 — but the seriousness of the offenses increased, with 193 homicide convictions among the detainees and 16,070 drunken driving convictions. There were also 426 sexual assaults and 303 kidnapping convictions, ICE said.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:19 AM | Permalink
Categories: Government

June 4, 2015

Government employees

Via David French and how the government holds its employees accountable

If I seize someone, handcuff them, lock them in a room, and leave them to die, I will suffer severe consequences. I will lose my job, especially if I acted while performing my duties. I will go to jail. I will suffer catastrophic personal financial losses. My name will be broadcast far and wide.

That’s the difference between me and a federal employee.

The DEA agents who arrested Andrew Chong for smoking dope and left him to die got reprimands or suspensions that were shorter than my last tension headache. You and I — the taxpayers — paid Andrew Chong the $4.1 million settlement he secured; the agents did not. They are not named in any of the articles about the incident. They will not go to jail. They will not lose their jobs.

NOAA caught rewriting US temperature history again

Mike Brakey, an engineering physicist and heat transfer specialist, has caught NOAA revising historic temperature data for Maine–as always, to make the past look cooler and the present warmer by comparison:….."This statement is not based on my opinion, but on facts drawn from NOAA 2013 climate data vs. NOAA 2015 climate data after they re-wrote it.  We need only compare the data. They cooked their own books."

Inspector General, Tax Administration: 6i% of IRS employees who cheated on their taxes were allowed to keep their jobs

WSJ editorial The IRS suggests it can discriminate for 270 days. Judges gasp.

It isn’t every day that judges on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals declare themselves “shocked.” But that happened on Monday when an animated three-judge panel eviscerated the IRS and Justice Department during oral argument in a case alleging the agency delayed the tax-exempt application of a pro-Israel group due to its policy views.

The single largest factor for leaving cited by these top federal employees was the “political environment.” It was blamed as a contributing factor “to a great extent” or “to a very great extent” by 42 percent of those surveyed.

The Republican Congress tells the Securities and Exchange Commission that it can't be investigated for insider trading.

Social Security's Financial Health has been overstated for years say Harvard-Dartmouth researchers.

Nobody can tell us what is in Obama's trade pact.  The extreme secrecy is making members of Congress queasy.

If you want to hear the details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal the Obama administration is hoping to pass, you’ve got to be a member of Congress, and you’ve got to go to classified briefings and leave your staff and cellphone at the door.

If you’re a member who wants to read the text, you’ve got to go to a room in the basement of the Capitol Visitor Center and be handed it one section at a time, watched over as you read, and forced to hand over any notes you make before leaving.

And no matter what, you can’t discuss the details of what you’ve read.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:39 AM | Permalink
Categories: Government

Health Roundup: Cancer edition

Ovarian cancer is very difficult to detect in the early stages because there are so few symptoms, yet ovarian cancer is the 5th most common cancer among women and fewer than 50% survive more than 5 years.New ovarian cancer test diagnoses twice as many cases as previous tests.

In the world's largest ovarian cancer screening trial, the new method correctly diagnosed 86 per cent of women with invasive epithelial ovarian cancer (iEOC). The new technique tracks changing levels of a protein in the blood called CA125 which is linked to ovarian cancer.  It then uses a computer program to interprets the variations, predicting the risk of developing the disease based on factors including age, the original level of the protein and how that changed over time.

Breast Cancer  Cheap osteoporosis drugs could stop breast cancer from spreading to bones.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the UK, with around 50,000 cases a year, and 12,000 deaths. Almost nine in ten deaths occur because disease has spread to the bone.

A study at the Institute of Cancer Research has an identified an enzyme which causes disease to spread to the bone, causing the majority of breast cancer deaths.  The new trials, in mice, identified an enzyme which is triggered by tumours in the breast, causing holes in the bones, which make them susceptible to the spread of disease. Tests found that a cheap class of drugs, already used to prevent osteoporosis, could prevent the changes in the bone, blocking the spread of disease.

The research, conducted at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, found that the enzyme LysYl Oxidase (LOX) released from the primary tumour causes holes in bone and prepares the bone for the future arrival of cancer cells.
Identifying LOX in oestrogen receptor negative (ER negative) breast cancer patients early, could allow doctors to block the enzyme’s activity, preventing bone damage and the spread of tumour cells to the bone (metastasis), halting the progression of the disease.

Prostate Cancer Study finds men with 'untreatable tumors' could be helped by drugs already on hospital shelves

Prostate cancer treatment could be transformed by a landmark study described as the disease’s 'Rosetta Stone'.
The breakthrough in cancer genetics means that many men whose illness was thought untreatable could be given drugs that are already on hospital shelves
. Some patients have already benefited and are alive more than a year on, despite only having been given weeks to live.
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Professor Bono, who led the British team, said: ‘We're describing this study as prostate cancer's Rosetta stone - because of the ability it gives us to decode the complexity of the disease, and to translate the results into personalized treatment plans for patients…..What's hugely encouraging is that many of the key mutations we have identified are ones targeted by existing cancer drugs

Skin Cancer Genetically engineered virus 'cures' patients of skin cancer

Currently most cancers are treated with using invasive chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery, all of which carry the risk of further harm.  In a breakthrough which raises hopes of an end to chemotherapy, a genetically engineered virus has ‘cured’ patients of cancer for the first time

In a worldwide study which was led by the Institute of Cancer Research in the UK, scientists showed that the new treatment allowed some patients with skin cancer to live for more than three years – the benchmark many oncologists use to define a cure. The therapy – called T-VEC - works by infecting and killing cancer cells while also sparking the immune system into action against tumors.  T-VEC is a modified form of herpes virus which multiplies inside cancer cells and bursts them from within. It has been genetically engineered to produce a molecule called GM-CSF, which stimulates the immune system to attack and destroy the tumor. The new therapy has far fewer side effects and does not damage healthy tissue or cells.

The clinical trials, which have been ongoing for more than three years, have been conducted in 64 centres across the UK, US, Canada and South Africa. The results show that 163 patients with stage three and early stage four melanoma who were treated with T-VEC lived for an average of 41 months. That was compared with an average survival of 21.5 months for 66 patients who were given the current best immunotherapy drugs.  And the response was most pronounced in patients with less advanced cancers, underlining the potential benefit as a first-line treatment for metastatic cancers which cannot be surgically removed.

Melanoma New Cancer Drug Combination Shrinks Tumors in 60% of Patients with Advanced Melanoma

Two cancer drugs, when taken in concert, can shrink tumors in nearly 60% of people with advanced-stage melanoma, according to a new study.  The trial, which enrolled 945 patients at 137 sites worldwide, found that treating the cancer with medications ipilimumab and nivolumab stopped its advance for almost a year in more than half of cases, the BBC reports.....While the immune system is generally a potent agent in combatting disease, certain built-in “brakes” keep the body from attacking its own tissue — a loophole that cancers can use to continue growing unchecked. But both medications turn those “brakes” off.

Liquid biopsies. New blood tests, liquid biopsies may transform cancer care

A new type of blood test is starting to transform cancer treatment, sparing some patients the surgical and needle biopsies long needed to guide their care. The tests, called liquid biopsies, capture cancer cells or DNA that tumors shed into the blood, instead of taking tissue from the tumor itself. A lot is still unknown about the value of these tests, but many doctors think they are a big advance that could make personalized medicine possible for far more people.

They give the first noninvasive way to repeatedly sample a cancer so doctors can profile its genes, target drugs to mutations, tell quickly whether treatment is working, and adjust it as the cancer evolves.  Two years ago, these tests were rarely used except in research. Now, several are sold, more than a dozen are in development, and some doctors are using them in routine care.

Chemo brain. Researchers find first evidence cancer treatment can lead to 'chronically wandering mind'

Researchers have found the first clear evidence that 'chemo brain' where patients find it difficult to concentrate after undergoing chemotherapy, is real.  The new research shows that chemotherapy can lead to excessive mind wandering and an inability to concentrate. The negative cognitive effects of the cancer treatment have long been suspected, but the study is the first to explain why patients have difficulty paying attention.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:37 AM | Permalink
Categories: Health

Health roundup: oral edition

Not brushing your teeth can trigger dementia and heart disease: A unique experiment shows how bad dental hygiene wrecks your entire body’s immune system.  For a two-part BBC series on dental health, Dr Van Tulleken put a gum guard on one side of his mouth whenever he brushed his teeth so that side didn't get cleaned.  When he took it off after two weeks, his gums bled a bit and there was pink, blood- spattered spit in his bathroom washbowl. He had developed mild gum disease.

Tests showed that not brushing his teeth for two weeks had damaged Dr Van Tulleken's immune system ...Lab tests using my white blood cells — the soldiers of the immune system — showed they had become less effective at moving towards an infectious invader when it was introduced to them.  Instead of heading straight towards the invader to attack it, the white cells were heading there slowly in random, inefficient ways.  This result indicated that my whole body had become inflamed as a result of an infection in my gums.

Inflammation is the medical term for our body’s reaction to infection — typically seen on the outside of the body as red, swollen tissue....A swathe of recent science has revealed that if you have chronic inflammation, it will seriously affect the rest of your health and your life.  It is strongly linked with the development of illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, stroke and cancer.

Professor Chapple reassured me this inflammation is completely reversible if you induce it for only a couple of weeks.
But if you leave gum disease for significantly longer, you will be doing yourself chronic, irreversible damage. Gum disease isn’t just bad for your teeth, it shortens your life — simple as that. So, looking after your teeth is one of the most important health interventions you can make....Yet, this  crucial connection between the health of your gums and the health of your entire body is relatively neglected by doctors.

New toothbrush technology. Toothbrush that checks your DNA for onset of cancer and Alzheimer's could revolutionise health care  Tiny microchips in toothbrushes could warn us about onset of diseases. Nanopore sequencers analyse DNA as it passes through tiny hole on chip and that decodes it into digital format that can be assessed against genetic markers.

Protect your toothbrush Brush your teeth but never leave your toothbrush in communal bathrooms.  Study discovers toothbrushes in shared bathrooms contain feces other than your own.

A new study held in bathrooms at the Quinnipiac University in Connecticut claims to have found there is a 60 per cent chance your toothbrush is covered in poop.  Even more concerning, the study found people using communal bathrooms with an average of nine people had around an 80 per cent chance that the faeces belonged to another person.

They discovered that these coliforms made contact with toothbrush after spreading through the air as a result of actions such as flushing the toilet. Researcher Lauren Aber said the phenomenon presented a dangerous health risk.
“The main concern is not with the presence of your own fecal matter on your toothbrush, but rather when a toothbrush is contaminated with fecal matter from someone else, which contains bacteria, viruses or parasites that are not part of your normal flora,"

Regularly rinsing your toothbrush with mouthwash, hot water or cold water had no effectiveness in decontamination, nor did toothbrush covers.

Whether you floss before or after brushing your teeth doesn't matter so long as you floss once a day and brush twice.

From WikiHow, How to Brush Your Teeth

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:13 AM | Permalink
Categories: Health

When air traffic controllers are hired on the basis of their skin color, not their competence

If you knew what was happening at the FAA, you'd be a damn sight more concerned about flying.  But most likely you have read nothing about it because the FAA Hiring Scandal Barely Registers with the Media.

The WSJ Affirmative Action Lands in the Air Traffic Control Tower The Obama administration forces the Federal Aviation Administration to move away from merit-based hiring criteria.

When a plane starts its final descent, are the passengers more concerned about the competence or about the skin color of the air-traffic controllers on the ground who will help the pilot land safely? The answer may be obvious to readers, if not to the Obama administration.
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The current policy is to deliberately favor less-qualified applicants over more qualified applicants in the name of obtaining the “right” racial and gender mix among air-traffic controllers. Advocates of “diversity” insist that discounting objective measures of ability and competence is harmless, but history shows that it can be deadly.

Now Hiring of New Air Traffic Controllers is based on Biography, not Skill or Merit. Trouble in the Skies

FOX Business' "Trouble in the Skies," a six month investigation of the FAA’s new hiring practices, uncovered changes that may put the nation’s flying public at risk as well as allegations that the newest air traffic control recruits had access to answers on a key test that helped them gain jobs with the FAA.

Air traffic controllers are the backbone of a system that routes 87,000 flights daily in North America …The agency says it needs to hire 1000 new air traffic controllers a year for the next ten years to replace those it’s losing to retirement.

Old FAA way of recruiting air traffic controllers, one of the highest pressure jobs in the U.S.
The FAA created the CTI (Collegiate Training Initiative) program more than 20 years ago to provide the agency with a reliable source of qualified air traffic control applicants…..until last year, the FAA WEB page advised people that the CTI program was the way to become an air traffic controller.

FAA’s old screening test called the Air Traffic Selection and Training exam, or AT-SAT.  The FAA says the AT-SAT is an eight hour computer based test that measures, “aptitude required for entry-level air traffic control positions.”  Douglas calls it a rigorous measure of cognitive ability.  He said, “There is time speed distance equations that you do in your head, actual control scenarios, games that test your ability to multitask; all skills that are essential to this job.”...“It takes several years of study to acquire the complex skills necessary to become an air traffic controller, or ATC"
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On December 30, 2013 the FAA threw out his AT-SAT score, CTI diploma and recommendations from his CTI program administrators. In fact, the FAA threw out the AT-SAT scores and CTI qualifications  of an estimated 3000 CTI graduates and military veterans who were all previously designated “well qualified” to become air traffic controllers.  The FAA told them all to start over.  But this time, when they applied for a job, their college degrees and previous military experience would mean nothing despite their following FAA procedure and obtaining FAA accredited degrees.

New FAA hiring practices
They would now compete with thousands of people the agency calls “off the street hires”; anyone who wants to, can walk in off the street without any previous training and apply for an air traffic control job

The FAA’s only requirements, to apply, are be a U.S. citizen, have a high school diploma, speak English and pass the FAA’s new BQ, Biographical Questionnaire.  “Candidates were, and still are, allowed to take the test unsupervised, on their own time and on their home computers over a two week period.”


FAA corruption scandal takes new twist
(video)  FBN’s Adam Shapiro reports that the FAA’s human resources department may have played a role in the agency’s hiring practices controversy.  His investigation revealed complicity between the FAA and diversity groups such as the National Black Coalition of Federal Aviation Employees (NBCFAE)

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:54 AM | Permalink
Categories: Government

June 3, 2015

Health Roundup: Asthma, malaria vaccine, Alzheimer's, anorexia and leaky gut

Asthma Asthma could be cured within five years after drug breakthrough

Asthma could cured within five years after scientists discovered what causes the condition and how to switch it off.
In a breakthrough which could change the lives of Britain’s five million sufferers, researchers at Cardiff University and Kings College London identified which cells cause the airways to narrow when triggered by irritants like pollution.
Crucially, drugs already exist which can deactivate the cells. They are known as calcilytics and are used to treat people with osteoporosis.

The scientists are hopeful that in the future asthmatics take the drug to prevent an attack ever happening and ending the need to constantly carry an inhaler."Our findings are incredibly exciting," said Professor Daniela Riccardi, from Cardiff University School of Biosciences.

Scientists knew that asthma was caused by inflammation in the small tubes which carry air and out of the lungs, but did not know what was triggering it. However experiments on mice and human airway tissue found that calcium sensing receptor (CaSR ) cells - which detect changes in the environment - go into overdrive in asthmatics, triggering airway twitching, inflammation, and narrowing.But when calcilytic drugs are inhaled, it deactivates the cells and stops all symptoms.

Vaccine for Malaria. Malaria vaccine that will prevent millions of young children catching disease could be available within months

The vaccine named RTS,S could be available by October.  Designed for use in children in Africa, it can prevent up to half of cases.  Experts hail 'extraordinary achievement' for British firm  - GlaxoSmithKline - that developed it.  Scientists have worked on the vaccine for more than 20 years – at a cost of more than £330million, but experts say there is a long way to go.

The disease is difficult to treat because the malaria parasite has a complicated life cycle and has learned how to evade the human immune system over hundreds of years.  The latest World Health Organisation figures show that of the 198 million cases in 2013, 584,000 people died. Most victims are children in Africa, where one dies every minute.
Currently, the most effective prevention measure is the use of mosquito nets

Among those who had three doses of RTS,S and a booster shot, the number of clinical cases of malaria – those confirmed by a doctor – was reduced by 36 per cent after four years.  But the protection waned over time, boosters worked less well than the initial dose and the vaccine was not as effective in younger children, a report in The Lancet journal says.

Alzheimer's Alzheimer hope in epilepsy drug:

Brivaracetam, an epilepsy drug used to reduce severity of seizures, was found to completely reverse memory loss in rats suffering from Alzheimer's.  Previous trials on rats and humans found the anti-convulsant drug levetiracetam could slow some Alzheimer's symptoms.  Brivaracetam which is still in clinical development for epilepsy is ten times more potent than levetiracetam.  The study, in the journal Alzheimer's Research & Therapy, reinforces a theory that brain hyperexcitability plays an important role in the disease.

Dr Haakon Nygaard, of the University of British Columbia in Canada who tested the effects of brivaracetam said:
"Now we have many different research groups using anti-epileptic drugs that engage the same target, and all point to a therapeutic effect in both Alzheimer's disease models, and patients with the disease. Both of these drugs are likely to be tested in larger clinical trials in Alzheimer's disease over the next five to 10 years."

Anorexia Scientists claim they have discovered the gene responsible for eating disorders

While the Western 'obsession' with thinness plays a role, scientists believe 50 to 70% of the risk of developing anorexia is genetic. Experiments on mice have located the defective gene

High Blood Pressure Scientists discover how the body regulates blood pressure - and say discovery could slash risk of heart attacks and stroke  Scientists found release of protein ERAP1 lowers blood pressure. ERAP1 breaks down a hormone which causes blood vessels to constrict.  Drugs prompting the natural release of ERAP1 could be developed which wil lower blood pressure and thus lower the risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes

Leaky Gut  The Cure for Brain Diseases Is in Your Gut

Researchers are just now starting to link inflammation in your gut with some of the most deadly and debilitating diseases we have...This is beyond groundbreaking, it is iconoclastic in that it represents a break from the long-held mentality that brain disease must arise in the brain.
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Dr. Christopher B. Forsyth and his team have recently demonstrated significant gut permeability, more commonly referred to as “leaky gut” in Parkinson’s patients. Their research has further revealed that this increase in gut leakiness enhances inflammation as well as the production of a unique protein—alpha-synuclein—both of which are characteristic of this disease.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:34 PM | Permalink
Categories: Health

May 27, 2015

Miscellany

A lovely new stamp for Flannery O'Connor  whose Habit of Being is the greatest collection of letters I have ever read.

“All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful.”

-Flannery-Oconnor-Usps-Stamp-20150526-001

How the Little Free Library project launched a global trend.  Tiny Libraries

Tiny libraries in converted phone booths, purpose-built kiosks, experimental art installations, quirky handmade boxes—and even one refrigerator—are springing up on street corners around the world at a rapid rate. These miniature lending libraries lead the communal book revolution, bringing reading material to the masses at a level that far exceeds their size.

Fashion Inspired By Nature: Russian Artist Compares Famous Dresses And Landscapes

 Nature+Fashion2
 Fashion+Nature

Travel advice Russians are given before traveling to the U.S.>

7.When invited on a picnic  - ""As a rule, the invitation will be only on a weekend, and you don’t have to prepare for something extravagant. Everything is the same as ours, only with far less booze. Bring something sporty—ball, badminton, Americans are certainly fervent fans of these things.” "
17. Don't call people ugly. "At the table is better to avoid talking about politics and religion, as the United States is a country of Puritan values. In the straight-line American culture there is a taboo forbidding calling out the physical defects of another person. This is probably due to the constant desire of Americans to always be in great shape and look young."

What's on the other side of the ocean?

 The-Other-Side-Of-The-Ocean Click to enlarge.  It's Spain and Japan where I am.

Cows on the Beach in South Africa

 Cows-Beach
Nguni cattle take daily walks untended to the beach in the sweltering afternoons. The locals believe the cows like the salty water because it helps keep away the parasites; plus, they seem to like cooling their heels. But all that beef on the beach isn’t a new phenomenon: apparently, shipwrecked sailors first talked about these cow-dotted beaches back in the 16th century.

This video is eerie and mesmerizing.  Watch Art of Ancient Greek Vases Come to Life with 21st Century Animation

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:00 AM | Permalink
Categories: Art | Categories: Books

May 25, 2015

"Honor sacrifice by tending to the tree of liberty"

 Eagle Gravestone
photo by Frank Glick at Ft Snelling National Cemetery

"The blood of our warriors — spilled for liberty — has granted us a nation greater than we deserve."

David French on Memorial Day  "Be thankful for the world we have — and remember those who helped us create and defend it."

It’s one thing to read in the history books of barely trained militia staring down British regulars from the top of Breed’s Hill, or of the horrible slaughter on Burnside’s Bridge at Antietam, or to watch movie depictions of Omaha Beach or even combat footage from Fallujah. It’s another thing entirely to stand in silent attention as a friend — a brother you’d just talked to hours before — is loaded onto a Blackhawk helicopter to begin his “hero flight” home.
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To say that we can’t repay our debt to these warriors is not to say that we shouldn’t be good stewards of the fruits of their sacrifice. Indeed, the knowledge that all of our lives and opportunities are to some degree blood-bought should sanctify them for even our most secular citizens. Honor sacrifice by tending to the tree of liberty, by building something in your own turn that is worth defending.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/418789/nation-greater-we-deserve-david-french
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:17 PM | Permalink
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Miscellany
Practical tips
Your public servants at work
Government employees
Health Roundup: Cancer edition
Health roundup: oral edition
When air traffic controllers are hired on the basis of their skin color, not their competence
Health Roundup: Asthma, malaria vaccine, Alzheimer's, anorexia and leaky gut
Miscellany
"Honor sacrifice by tending to the tree of liberty"
The 0.3% Consensus
Cancer charity fraud
Untranslatable Words
Amazing story
"Health, safety and security…have replaced faith, hope and charity as virtues"
Miscellany
How to Build a Human
Smart kid
"First, there is indifference. Second, there is emotional anger. Third, there is force".
Miscellany
Iran is running out of water
Making chocolate even better
"A lively exchange of one idea"
Practical tips of the week
"For the sexual revolutionaries, it’s the state against the church"
We are not protected against the 'electromagnetic-pulse barbarians of the 21st century'
Religious roots of common words
Iraqi Catholic Nun Denied Entry into U.S. She wants to speak of plight of Christians persecuted by ISIS
A CARD that unlocks your phone
Palate Cleanser
David Simon, creator of The Wire, blames O'Malley for Baltimore's Anguish
"[T]he Sexual Revolution..is many times more terrible than the supposed patriarchy it supplanted"
Baltimore "Keep voting for the same thing, keep getting the same thing."
Treating patients at home
"We spy on each other"
Too much technology is making it hard for children to read facial expressions
Miscellany
Adolf Hitler,“Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”
Why I support the death penalty for convicted terrorists
Health roundup: Depression, Alzheimer's, MS, Cancer, Genetic Treatments and Vaccinations
Some practical tips you can use
Celebrating Earth Day with Michael Crichton
More on the Wisconsin John Doe investigations and Trust in Government
The 20th century Genocides Even Our Government Is Afraid to Recognize
This is a safe time for kids to play outside and unsupervised
Killing Birds
"Is this America?" The John Doe investigations in Wisconsin
"Seventy is the new Fifty"
Edible passwords
California drought a man-made disaster
Quotes of Note

If you deliberately plan on being less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you'll be unhappy for the rest of your life. -Abraham Maslow

Growth in wisdom may be exactly measured by decrease in bitterness. -Friedrich Nietzsche

How wonderful is it that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world? -Anne Frank

Calendar
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Links
Marriage
Marriage Movement a grass-roots movement to strengthen marriage, it’s civil and intellectual with good links
Parenting
Independent Means Joline Godfrey on raising financially fit and good kids
Spiritual Parenting Mimi Doe on raising kind, honorable children connected to their spirit
American Baby Preconception, Adoption, Pregnancy, Baby, Toddlers and Kids and lots of ads
Blogging Baby Covering what they think is interesting
Daddy Types for new dads
Dad Talk news for serious parents
Dot Moms all sorts
Dooce rhymes with juice
Testosterhome stay at home writer with four young sons
raising grandchildren when parents can’t
Halley’s Comment Halley Suitt is a writer, editor, mom and all-purpose provocateur from Boston, as well as the blog czarina at Worthwhile
Divorce
emergency divorce blog for women
Divorce Transitions Information and support community
Widowed
Widows Resource Help for widows as they solve financial and legal problems despite their grief
Career
Worthwhile Work with purpose, passion and profit
Occupational Adventure - On having a career that lights your fire
Wealth
Womens’ Wall Street Because it’s your money: Tools, columns and ask Jane Dough Motley Fool To educate, amuse and enrich
Transitions
William Bridges Transitions are the inner work we do to come to terms with change. Personal and corporate transitions, he understands them better than anyone and how to make the most of change
The Paper Room my friend Sydney Rice’s Choices for career and life enrichment
Home and Moving
This Old House - Homeowner know-how
Monthly Home Maintenance Checklists
Moving Lady - Transform relocation into a creative life transition
Retirement
What retirement? boomer approaches retirement
Health
ACOR Association of Cancer Online Resources. Lots of links, many online support groups
After Abortion Life after abortion: news, opinion, personal experience, resources
Health Facts and Fears From the American Council on Science and Health
Your Disease Risk From Harvard, rate your personal risk for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and osteoporosis and get personalized tips for prevention
Your Health Record Maintaining a Treasure Chest
Nutrition Navigator Rating nutrition sites
Medline Plus Your first stop in any Internet health search. NIH’s National Library of Medicine. 650 topics
HealthWeb Linking you to the Best in Health Information
Dr. Green An online pediatrician, with a daily dose, daily chats and over 5000 pages of info
Living with Illness
Tumor diary living with brain cancer
I will survive living with breast cancer
Cancer Blog

Aging and Caregiving
As Time Goes By - What it’s really like to get older
Aging Solutions Aging parents and elder care, good checklists, resources, elder care 101, independent living and more
Benefits Checkup Over 55? From the National Council on Aging, a free service to find what benefits you may be entitled to
What’s It All About
Integral Naked Stimulating, provocative and spiritual
Pause Living without a Net
Lifestylism Creating the life you want
You already know this stuff
Zaadz Do what you do best…better
Experience Designer how do you learn the things you value most
Foundation for a Better Life good news
Beliefnet Everyone believes in something
Miscellaneous
Surprise Gifts The best gift ideas on the Web. Great categories
Cool Tools Kevin Kelly’s on all sorts of tools that work
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