nuts for nano

Very, very, very small particles.

You can buy socks infused with silver nanoparticles claiming to reduce bacteria and odor. “But what happens if we buy those socks and we wash them?” Professor Sadik asks. “The nanoparticles end up in our water system.”

Nano-particle bottled waterYou can buy Maternal Water especially for baby and mom in the gestation period, oh so chemical free, but sprinkled with very, very, very tiny particles of silver.

You can buy a chocolate milkshake containing ‘nanosize powder’ with a super-sized claim that very, very, very small particles – 100,000th the size of a single grain of sand – will carry nutrition into your cells.

Why stop there? We’re mass producing tiny particles. Appliances, Automotive, Electronics and Computers, Food and Beverage, Goods for Children, Health and Fitness, Home and Garden.

“We need to understand the chemical transformation of these materials in the ecosystem so we can take action to prevent unnecessary exposure,” Sadik said.

“Some are known toxins; others have properties similar to asbestos. And it’s difficult, if not downright impossible, to monitor them.”

deviant journalism

Mark Morford:

Often do I hear the scintillating words, “Oh sweet Jesus Mark, that column you just wrote about neurotic fundamentalists/the Zen of Obama/divine kinkiness/Canada’s vile oilsands/gay Vatican lust/the need for more awe in the workplace just made my day/blasted coffee through my nose/completely wrecked my fragile relationship with my angry, born-again sister in Florida, and for that I should probably thank you.

log every human

Yo Cadet. What’s that in your hand?

Sophisticated software that can identify people’s faces as well as the specific size, shape or color of an object.

Unsettling? Are you kidding?

To a consumer, the prospect of having every aspect of a shopping trip or hotel stay chronicled may be unsettling and strike some as a major loss of privacy, but it is happening nonetheless

Sing to the tune of ‘Log Every Moment, Own Every Aspect’…

after the earthquake

After the earthquake, by Julie Dermansky‘The whereabouts of the billions donated remains a mystery to me and all those I have met’, reports Julie Dermansky. ‘Many have received no help at all’.

The search and rescue is over. No one is alive under the rubble. Many are in mortal danger.

Their needs are little different than the day after the earthquake. Our first stop was the Miami University Hospital on the airbase. It has grown in size and fuller than ever.

The situation is deplorable in Haiti. The need on the ground. In the tent cities. Need is the first thing. Makeshift shelters offer little.

punks and plutocrats

Paul Krugman:

Some background: we used to have a workable system for avoiding financial crises, resting on a combination of government guarantees and regulation. On one side, bank deposits were insured, preventing a recurrence of the immense bank runs that were a central cause of the Great Depression. On the other side, banks were tightly regulated, so that they didn’t take advantage of government guarantees by running excessive risks.

From 1980 or so onward, however, that system gradually broke down, partly because of bank deregulation, but mainly because of the rise of “shadow banking”: institutions and practices — like financing long-term investments with overnight borrowing — that recreated the risks of old-fashioned banking but weren’t covered either by guarantees or by regulation. The result, by 2007, was a financial system as vulnerable to severe crisis as the system of 1930. And the crisis came.

And you should bear in mind that the biggest bailouts took place under a conservative Republican administration, which claimed to believe deeply in free markets.

Republican jingoism since Ronald Reagan. Tax holidays. Stripped government. Reduced regulation. Supply side and trickle down economics… Free markets. All this purchased with skyrocketing debt.

Piling it on since Ronald Reagan

a new definition of death

What Is So Bad About Dying?

Spiegel: Dr. de Ridder, as an emergency physician, you fight to save lives every day. Which makes it interesting that you, all people, are now calling for a new definition of death in an era of high-tech medicine. Isn’t that a contradiction?

De Ridder: In my field in particular, I see how the limits of life are constantly expanding, without regard for the well-being or will of the patient. In some emergency rooms, half of all admissions now come from nursing homes. If someone who is chronically ill has a heart attack or gets pneumonia there, the most sensible thing to do is to make sure that they don’t suffer, and to refrain from doing anything else. But this is all too rare. Instead, old people, who are dying, are torn out of their familiar surroundings, rushed off to hospital in an ambulance, resuscitated and given artificial respiration. If they’re unlucky, they die in the elevator. These are horrible, undignified situations.

Spiegel: Why does it happen like this?

De Ridder: Dying a simple death is no longer an option in our society, even in places where one might expect to. Hardly anyone dies without an infusion or artificial feeding. For a long time, dying has not been natural.

SPIEGEL: What do you consider “natural death”?

De Ridder: I’m reminded of a woman in her late 80s who was still very vigorous. Her daughter brought her to our emergency room with massive intestinal bleeding. A colonoscopy showed that it was caused by a tumor. The bleeding could only have been stopped with an operation. She didn’t want it. She said that she had lived a full life and now preferred to die rather than embark on an indefinite path of suffering. The daughter agreed, and the woman died that same day. It was a totally plausible decision that no one could object to, particularly as bleeding to death is a gentle way of dying. But the doctors felt snubbed. There were bitter discussions over whether this should even have been allowed to happen.

Spiegel: But don’t doctors see themselves as guardians of human life?

De Ridder: The mandate to heal is primary, of course. But the mandate to allow someone to die well is equally important in terms of ethics. In reality, however, the chain of resuscitation and treatment often takes on a life of its own. The person who is supposed to benefit from it, with his or her individual ideas about living and dying, is no longer relevant.

water we can use

The Earth is truly a blue planet; 70% of its surface is covered with water.

Unfortunately 97.5% of that is salt water, unusable for humans. Fresh water accounts for the other 2.5%, however, about two thirds of that is locked up in glaciers and in the icy poles.

That leaves humans and every other living creature on land only about 1% of all the water on Earth to use.

The cubic miles of water on Earth:

— Oceans, Seas, and Bays – 321 million
— Glaciers, permanent snow – 5.8 million
— Groundwater – 5.6 million
— Lakes – 42,320
— Atmosphere – 3,095
— Swamps – 2,752
— Rivers – 509
— Biological Water – 269

David A Gabel:

When looking at these numbers, what really pops out is the enormous stores of groundwater available. 5.6 million cubic miles is a staggering sum, even when compared to the immensity of the oceans.

gradually more acidic

Ocean acidification is caused when the CO2 emitted by human activity, mainly burning fossil fuels, dissolves into the oceans.

It is happening independently of, but in combination with, global warming.

These changes are taking place at rates as much as 100 times faster than the last tens of millions of years. Ocean acidification could represent an equal – or perhaps even greater threat – to the biology of our planet than global warming… “We are seeing signs of its impact even in the deep oceans”, said Dr Eva Calvo, Marine Science Institute.

shuffling around priests

To sue the Pope“This is a tipping point,” Jeff Anderson said. He’s found the documents he hopes to use in a federal lawsuit against the Vatican itself.

The files show that a Vatican office led by the pope, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, halted a church trial against a Wisconsin priest accused of molesting some 200 boys.

“I came to the stark realization that the problems were really endemic to the clerical culture, and all the problems we are having in the U.S. led back to Rome.”

Since 1983, Anderson and the five other attorneys at his downtown St. Paul firm have sued thousands of Catholic priests, bishops, and dioceses over allegations of sexual abuse by priests and other church leaders.

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests asserts, “Jeff doesn’t get sole credit, and he wouldn’t claim it, but he was among the very first to see the magnitude of this cover-up and is still among the most dedicated to its undoing.”

to damage a virus

Stop a virus before it can enter a cell, an exciting breakthrough against the flu, HIV, Ebola, hepatitis C, West Nile, Rift Valley fever, and yellow fever.

Viruses are famous for their ability to adapt, but not if we break them first.

3-D Flu VirusTo date, antiviral agents only interfere with the virus after it has entered the cell. Now comes the long-sought molecule that will prevent these viruses from attaching to our cells.

Damage the viral envelope, the shell that protects a virus. Human cells can rapidly repair their membrane, but viruses can’t.

How to prevent the fusion of the virus particle with the host cell? The immunobiology lab of Ben Lee at UCLA · Searching our immune system functions · Screening 30,000 molecules · Sealed hazmat suits · Internal oxygen supplies  · Membrane Fusion · The Attachment Molecule.

hooked on junk food

Processed food is everywhere you turn. Worldwide. And now there’s something new to consider. Cheeseburgers and milk shakes may alter the brain as much as hard drugs.

As heroin or cocaine users need to up their intake to get high, junk food also becomes addictive by altering dopamine receptors.

Like many pleasurable behaviors—including sex and drug use—eating can trigger the release of dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter in the brain.

This internal chemical reward, in turn, increases the likelihood that the associated action will eventually become habitual through positive reinforcement conditioning.

“The products have become much more processed and manufactured and therefore energy-dense, and they have worked out what things to add like sugar, salt and fat and a whole bunch of other chemicals to make it tasty.

“The brain’s reward pathways are over-stimulated. As a result the reward pathways become hypo-functional, they just don’t work as well, ” says obesity expert Professor Boyd Swinburn.

The one-two punch might be the neural effects of combining sugars and fats.

The Department of Molecular Therapeutics at Scripps is analyzing many of the food items widely available today:

They found, for example, that animals binge-eating fats and animals binge-eating sugars experience different physiological effects. They affect the brain in very different ways.

“This energy-dense stuff is very new to us as a species. It’s probably corrupting brain circuitry.”

abuse is now endemic

The world’s most dangerous drug:

It’s perhaps the biggest threat to the nation’s mental wellbeing, yet it’s freely available on every street – for pennies.

The dealers claim it expands the mind and bolsters the intellect: users experience an initial rush of emotion (often euphoria or rage), followed by what they believe is a state of enhanced awareness. Tragically this “awareness” is a delusion. As they grow increasingly detached from reality, heavy users often exhibit impaired decision-making abilities, becoming paranoid, agitated and quick to anger. In extreme cases they’ve even been known to form mobs and attack people.

Technically it’s called “a newspaper”…

In its purest form, a newspaper consists of a collection of facts which, in controlled circumstances, can actively improve knowledge. Unfortunately, facts are expensive.

To save costs and drive up sales, unscrupulous dealers often “cut” the basic contents with cheaper material, such as wild opinion, bullshit, empty hysteria, reheated press releases, advertorial padding and photographs of Lady Gaga with her bum hanging out.

The hapless user has little or no concept of the toxicity of the end product: they digest the contents in good faith, only to pay the price later…

life in this life

What does all this research about your body adapting to circumstances tell us? You are what you do all day. What does all this research about brain plasticity and rewiring tell us? You are what you do all day.

You are what you do all day.
That probably scares the shit out of a lot of people.
And it should.

waving his holy, er, smoke

With 3000 cases of abuse reported to them between 2000 and 2010, the Church’s doctrinal office elected to proceed with church trials for less than 10%.

Matt Taibbi rightfully rants, “…if someone molested my child and was allowed back in the priesthood, I’d be reaching for an axe.”

So this monster who was known to the highest authorities in the church to be a monster was allowed to die an active priest who was allowed to work with children for 24 years even after he was exposed, until the end of his life.

They’ll use any means necessary to keep their market share and if they have to lie and cheat and deflect and point fingers to keep the racket going, they’ll do it, just like any other sleazeball company.

But I think it’s time we started considering that what the church is is even worse than that. It’s possible we should start wondering if the church is also a criminal organization that in this country, anyway, should be broken up using RICO statutes.

my party, right or wrong

Republicans believe that President Obama:

  • Is a socialist (67%)
  • Wants to take away Americans’ right to own guns (61%)
  • Is a Muslim (57%)
  • Wants to turn over the USA to a one world government (51%); and
  • Has done many things that are unconstitutional (55%).

Also large numbers of Republicans believe that President Obama:

  • Resents America’s heritage (47%)
  • Does what Wall Street and the bankers tell him (40%)
  • Was not born in the United States, not eligible to be president (45%)
  • Is the “domestic enemy Constitution speaks of (45%)
  • Is a racist (42%)
  • Will use economic collapse or terror to take dictatorial powers (41%)
  • Is doing many of the things that Hitler did (38%).

Fully 24% of Republicans believe that “he may be the Anti-Christ” and 22% believe “he wants the terrorists to win.” Source: Harris Poll Interactive

Wingnuts ! What do we know, what will we do?

Wingnut QuizTake The Wingnut Quiz !

The author of Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe Is Hijacking America, John Avlon responds, “Wingnuts are hijacking our politics. This poll should wake-up all Americans about the costs of using fear and hate to pump up hyper-partisanship.

“Wingnuts always forget – patriotism is more important than partisanship.”

And what about organizing Wingnuts?
Secrets of the Tea Party: The Troubling History of Tea Party Leader Dick Armey

In the spring of 2009, groups calling themselves TEA, or Taxed Enough Already, were planning rallies to protest wasteful government spending. By the time Tax Day rolled around, over 300 protests were under way in all 50 states. More than 100,000 people took to the streets, gathered in parks and city centers with signs, slogans and costumes evoking America’s revolutionary past.

Diic Armey, organizer of the Tea PartThey marched on Washington, organized by the man behind the Tea Party. From the base of the Capitol, Dick Armey addressed the crowd with his wife Susan by his side. They were there together, he said, for the future of their grandchildren.

FreedomWorks chairman, former House Majority Leader and retired lobbyist extraordinaire.

Dick Armey is their de facto leader.

old age rejuvenator

Yes, ladies and gentleman, gravity is a horrible natural force for our poor bodies to endure, so allow me to introduce what they’ve known for years at NASA. A few moments counteracting gravity using the Old Age Rejuvenator Centrifuge will reverse the action of gravity! Come one and all. Get that spry as a whirling bucket feeling. Be centrifused today!

The Old Age Rejuvenator

a new phase of history

Yes, it’s human activity. Stunning population growth, sprawling megacities and fossil fuels have changed the planet

impact of mankindWired’s Brandon Keim: “From diverting a third of Earth’s available fresh water to planting and grazing two-fifths of its land surface, humankind has fiddled with the knobs of the Holocene, that 10,000-year period of climate stability that birthed civilization.”

We enter a new geologic time, an age of mankind’s making.

ring of promise

Here’s a short Sufi tale, a timely reminder on the treasure of marriage, no, on the honor of knowing each other:

to be cared forA lover came to the dwelling of the Beloved and asked to be admitted. “Who is there?” the Beloved asked. “I am here,” the lover answered. The Beloved refused to admit the lover.

After wandering in grief and longing for years, the lover returned to the Beloved and begged to be admitted. “Who is there?” The lover responded, “You alone are there.”

The door opened.

optic nerve speed, republished

Speed of optic nerveNew research from Penn’s School of Medicine has opened up a clearer understanding of how the human eye communicates with the brain.

While earlier studies on vision have focused on what kind of information is sent from eye to brain, the Penn team instead wondered how fast and how much of that information is transmitted.

By studying an intact retina, the team found “spikes” of electrical impulses to the retina transmit data at 10 million bits per second—a speed that rivals computer connections of 10 to 100 million bits per second.