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Health and Science

This blog is to store what I consider to be important - or weird - stories about health and science. To read these, you will need the Adobe Reader; you may download it at: Be sure to check out my political blog at: Welcome to my friends from LeftWingRadicals!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Best Overall Science and Health Site

This is, hands down, the best science/health site I've ever seen, and I've been on the Internet since 1984, well before the web.

You can type almost anything into its 'Search' box and find articles on it.

Yes, I know the date is 2006; I did that to keep it at the top of this blog.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Pacific turning acidic

Just more for the anti-global warming crowd to try and rationalize away.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Energy shortages? Already?

I guess the UK hasn't heard BushCo's pronouncements on all the extra energy that there is, and about switchgrass!

Can you say, "Peak Oil"?

I knew you could!!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Arizona drought - and the 'perfect storm'

Rats. I told a friend of mine in New Orleans, for years, about the coming flood.

I still haven't heard from him.

Now, I've been telling people in Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado and Utah about the coming drought (actually, a return to historically normal levels).

I hate when I'm right.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Mars rock hold carbon!

Wowza! A London museum let some scientists crack open a Mars meteorite; ie. a solid rock.

"I think it's too early to say how [the carbonaceous material] got there... the important thing is that people are always arguing with fallen meteorites that this is something that got in there after it fell to Earth.

"I think we can dismiss that. There's no way a solid piece of carbon got inside a meteorite."

Analysis of the interior revealed channels and pores filled with a complex mixture of carbon compounds. Some of this forms a dark, branching - or dendritic - material when seen under the microscope.

"It's really interesting material. We don't exactly know what it means yet, but it's all over the thin sections of the Nakhla material," said co-author Kathie Thomas Keprta, of Lockheed Martin Corporation in Houston, Texas.

Uh. yeah. Too early to say how carbon got inside a solid rock. Maybe when the rock was formed?

Wowza! I wonder what the born-agains will make of this. Carbon, as we know, only comes from the inside of rocks when carbon-based life dies - either inside the rock, or outside and then is swept up and the melted rock swirls around it or as crystals grow around the carbon. This was not a crystal, though.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Avian Flu looks a lot like 1981 Spanish Flu

Well, if the Avian Flu looks like the 1918 flu (though the article doesn't say whether this is a recent evolutionary change for the H5N1 or whether it's had these features all along), then it brings to mind an old saying.

It's like the monkey said when he backed into the fan.

"It won't be long now!"

Here's the CDC chart on bird flu deaths, by year. You'll note that for most countries, the current month of January - if multiplied by 12, the number of cases is running well ahead of 2005.

The CDC has a new publication out "Assessing the Pandemic Threat". Interesting reading.
1. The H5N1 outbreak in 2004: a pandmemic in waiting?
2. Lessons from past pandemics
3. Understanding the outbreaks in poultry
4. Action in the face of an uncertain threat

Tables and Boxes
- Influenza A viruses:sloppy, capricious, and promiscuous
- Investigations of human-to-human transmission
- Human cases, Viet Nam
- Human cases, Thailand
- The origin of pandemic viruses
- The WHO global influenza programme: a network of flu "detectives"
- Previous outbreaks of pathogenic avian influenza worldwide
- Documented human infections with avian influenza viruses
- Non-medical interventions at the national level
- Non-medical interventions at the international level

Monday, January 23, 2006

United States Ranks 28th on Environment, a New Study Says - New York Times

Wow! You really have to give props to Malaysia and Chile; they came in ahead of us in environmental issues om a study by Yale and Columbia.

Obviously, the study is biased against the U.S. because it uses those thingies... what are they?? Oh, yeah. Facts.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Bird Flu Going to East Africa, United Nations Officials Fear - Perfect Mixing Ground

Africa is the perfect place for H5N1 to acquire human-to-human capabililty.

Africa will also be one of the places the disease hits the worst, wherever it starts.
Bird Flu Going to East Africa, United Nations Officials Fear - New York Times

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Air in the West going South

Maybe GWB should tell these people that global warming is an illusion - like evolution - and they shouldn't be wasting their time studying something that isn't real.

'Expert' Witness Sees Evidence in Nature for Intelligent Design

This is rich. A 'scientist' says that there must be 'intelligent design' behind nature because it's just too complex to have derived on its own.

Um... yeah.

So, since he can't understand rocket engines, either, it must be that God designed them, also.

I'm not sure how he explains, to use a current example, drug resistance in the H5N1 flu virus. Why, a virus couldn't just 'acquire' a gene from another virus - that's way too complex, and how would a virus know that it's supposed to acquire that gene? Viruses swap genes with other viruses (and they don't even have to be H5 viruses) to acquire different traits, like how to disguise themselves so as not to be attacked by the immune system. You know - some people might call that 'evolution', but we all know that nothing evolves.

For example, this 'scientist' says that the flagellum on bacteria that drives it is like an 'outboard motor', and he sees a 'rotary motor' attached to a 'drive shaft that pushes a propeller', and that is, to him, 'a purposeful arrangement of parts'.

Well, a virus acquiring a gene to protect it from Tamiflu, when that virus has never been in the presence of Tamiflu, is 'purposeful', is it not?

Some people also believe we never reached the moon.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

What We Cannot Do Ourselves, We Cannot Understand In Others

This is why Republicans can't understand people who have empathy for others.What We Cannot Do Ourselves, We Cannot Understand In Others

Cervical cancer vaccine is 100% effective

My Way News

Seeing Creation and Evolution in Grand Canyon - New York Times

Here's a great example of the evolution/creation debate.

A geologist, who studies rocks, looks at the Grand Canyon and see congruity between what he's learned and what he's seeing.

A creationist, who knows nothing about geology, says that the rocks look the way they do because God created them that way.

It's a good thing that oil exploration geologists aren't creationists, or they wouldn't know where to look for oil unless they thought God just happened to place oil in the same kind of structures - again and again - just for fun.

Geology can explain how the rocks in the canyon folded (heat and pressure over time), and the metamorphosis of the rocks backs up that explanation.

Creationists, I guess, think that God created the rocks all folded up and then morphed them just to have a bit of a go at us; how many people could he sucker into believing that gradual processes did the folding and changing?

God - he's one great kidder!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Oh, no! I'm melting!

Ok, it's not really me that's melting; it's Siberia.


Friday, July 22, 2005

Flu Pandemic - urgent warning

New signs point to pandemic on the way!

Monday, July 04, 2005

More on the coming pandemic

I've been harping on this for quite a while.

If you think that a major pandemic isn't coming, you're fooling yourself. Pandemics usually show up about every 20 years; we're overdue. The difference is that H5N1 is much more lethal than any other pandemic in recorded history, although just how lethal it will be when it acquires the ability to pass *easily* from human to human remains a mystery, and will remain so until the pandemic hits. There have been cases of human to human, but they have always been 'close contact' cases.

However, a new report out says that, in Vietnam, they've seen evidence that human to human transmission is becoming easier. Scientists have also seen H5N1 is pigs, and pigs are the best mixing media for H5H1 to acquire a human gene to enable quick, airborne, human to human transmissibility.

Please, get your flu shot when they become available. Even a flu shot not targeted at the H5N1 will help - a little; maybe just enough to keep you alive.

PS. If you're sick (with any cold/flu/etc) and you know it and you come around me, you should really bring some pretty big people to protect you, because I am NOT going to be a happy camper. However, my attitude about that has been in place since the late 70's, when I was running a large company and would fire anyone who came to work sick. And yes, I gave them extra paid days off, on the company's tab, to ensure that they didn't come in. In the end, the company saved a LOT of money and saved a lot of production time that would have been lost. McGraw-Hill took some convincing, but - at least in my plant of 250 people - they listened.

I'm betting good money that they don't have that policy in place anymore.

The Claim: Never Swim After Eating - New York Times

Well, it turns out that it is only about 99% hooey, although it's hard to say how much of that 1% is related to eating before swimming.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Report Says Space Program Is Lacking Money and Focus

I really should devote an entire new blog just to projects that Bush mandates and then fails to fund.

His 'trip to Mars' BS is just another in a long, long, long list of things he puts before the people so that he sounds all presidential, but then he - I guess - forgets to fund, or adequately fund, them.

It's just the same ole, same ole.

Trust for America's Health Fantasy Report

This is going in my politcal and health blogs because it has both political and health ramifications.

The report says that in the coming pandemic, we can expect about 500,000 fatalities. Wow! Really! That many?

Oh, wait, though! In 1918, 645,000 died in the U.S. from the Spanish Flu. The Spanish Flu had an overall death rate of .5% of the population, with would mean, if it struck now, that 1.5 million Americans could be expected to die. Hm... something's off here.

Given that the H5N1 flu has a MUCH higher fatality rate, it would not be unexpected that 1 or 2% of the population die, which would be 3 to 6 million, though I think it would be a lot higher. Also, given that investigators recently found that the TamiFlu vaccine was useless because Chinese farmers had been using a version for a couple of years, this letting the virus 'evolve' (for those believers in Creationism, just ignore the 'evolve' remark; God MADE the virus more resistant so as to hurt us.), we are virtually without protection.

So, how does this Trust for America's Health come up with the 1/2 million number? Apparently, Tarot card reading or tea leaves or some such nonsense, because they're obviously not using real facts.

In the next day or so, I'm going to research their board and staff members and find out just how closely they're tied to the Bush anti-science people; my guess is closer than a Bush is tied to his mommy. (ok, maybe not THAT closely, but close nonetheless.)

Please check back.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

'Plastic Oil' Could Improve Fuel Economy In Cars, Chemists Say

Just one more thing that Bush is not doing to help save the planet.

Is there ANYTHING he WILL do? For instance, he could support biodiesel fuel. The IRS has finally gotten around to giving tax credits for a bit of the cycle of biodiesel, but if you read the IRS requirements from the website, you will find them to be lengthy, complicated, onerous and seemingly designed to discourage biodiesel manufacture and use.

If you want to read what could be done with biodiesel - not to mention the new 'plastic oil', look at the health effects of biodiesel and look at the number of gallons per year being used. The fact of the matter is that almost all of the biodiesel available is due to one man, though that has changed with Willie Nelson jumping in on the act.

Since biodiesel is made from vegetable oil and plastic oil is made from recycled plastic, they would drive down the price of oil, so you can understand why Bush would not want to see that.

On my political blog, for instance, you find that ExxonMobile had a LOT to do with Bush rejecting Kyoto. Bush is a frigging idiot, so he needs industry flacks to draw things out in crayon, with nice pictures, to help him understand why global warming needs - still - more study. Check my political blog, soon, for a list of Bush's statements about how he's SO frigging committed to the environment, but things still need more study. 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005. Apparently, there are more studies yet to be done. The pictures of shrinking glaciers, the number and strength of hurricanes, the sea salinity changes, the ocean conveyor shutting down, the droughts here and abroad - none of those seem to indicate to this dunce that there is a PROBLEM!

I'm just glad I had no biological children, though I raised - for a time - stepchildren that I wouldn't have missed for the world. However, it's sad to see what world we're leaving them.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Bush's editor of climate reports resigns: why?

Bush's non-science science editor has resigned. I'm shocked! Why, it was just yesterday that the President's apologist (Scott) said that review of such reports was 'standard'. If what Philip Cooney did was 'standard', then why - in the world - would he resign?

It couldn't be that Bush was bullshitting us, but the facts caught up with him, could it?


Bush sits like a chicken in his roost while bird flu stalks the world

You have to understand that if the Chinese are alarmed, then we should be hitting the ole panic button. When SARS came along, they treated it like just another cold. This time, they are worried, and they are doing something about it.

Meanwhile - er.. this is a hard question to ask, but someone has to do it... is Bush on vacation? Cause if he is, then history would tend to say that we're about to get nailed.

More Mad Cow

I've been saying that the government is not doing a good job protecting us from prion diseases; mad cow is just one of the diseases that they are not protecting us from. So, here comes another Mad Cow case, but since the government PROHIBITS ranchers from testing all of their cattle (it's actually against the law), we don't really know how many there are. The whole thing about CWD (chronic wasting disease) among deer and elk is another issue that we're not being told the truth on, but I'll save that for a later date.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Who needs science? Not U.S.

It's hard to take science seriously when you believe that the earth is only 6,000 years old and that evolution is only a 'theory' (sort of like The Pythagorean Theorem is only a 'theory').

Statistics show that students are, less and less, taking up science as a career; in the South, that's in large part because they are shamed by their peers for being blasphemous because - you know - science leads to thinking evolution might be real, and because studying things like the stars is pointless because, as the Bible say, during the Tribulation, the stars will fall from the sky. Since these same people believe that the Tribulation is due 'real soon now', mostly thanks to lots of ministries 'proving' the signs are coming together, why study stars that are all going to be down here on Earth soon, anyway?

There's also the point about studying stars is pointless because science assumes that they are older than 6,000 years. There is obviously a big disconnect between the stars being 6,000 years old and studying any science that says that they are billions of years old. It's just hearesy.

So, while the 'reality-based' community (Bush's spokeswoman's term) laments what the article calls 'decimating science', most people don't care. Frankly, NASA should try to understand what Eve threw away when she bit into the fruit; what was the world like in the Garden of Eden? What fruit, exactly, is the 'fruit of knowledge'? Can you make use a juicer and make a tasty drink with that fruit?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

The Better Educated A Woman Is, The Better She Sleeps At Night

While a study comes to the conclusion noted above, another study notes that better educated men have MORE trouble sleeping.

You may wonder what this is doing in the Politics section; good question.

Here's my quandry: the people I know are generally more educated and, as a rule, are much more likely to be:
1) troubled by what BushCo and the Religious Right are doing to this country
2) more likely to have suffered unemployment - or be worried about that prospect, due to off-shoring (aided by the tax credits that Bush has given companies that off-shore)

So, I can understand men having more trouble sleeping, but I'm at a lost as to why women have less trouble sleeping. I don't think that the women are any less knowledgeable than the men, nor are they less involved in what's going on (in fact, in most cases, they are more involved), nor do they have less of a conscience about what's going on (again, generally, they are more concerned).

I chalk it up to women being more advanced than men, and they are able to just say, at bedtime, "Well, I can't do anything about the world situation before morning, so I'm just going to get some sleep." Whereas, perhaps, men keep fretting about things they can't change while they are asleep. It just goes to point out, I think, the innate wisdom of women.

Pesky, unneeded regulators - it's enough to give you a heart attack

Yeah, I guess this just proves the Republican mantra that regulation stifles industry.

Just think how many more defib units that Guidant could have sold if not for the pesky regulators? Their stockholders will now suffer because of - you know - the regulators. The company did what companies should do - keep selling. Those whiners that cried about their loved ones dying just need to get over it; the loved ones were old and defective and it was time for them to go. Deal with it.

You may contact Guidant here:

I did, and I left them this encouraging message:

It's a shame that those pesky regulators brought all of this stuff up about your defib units. Now the stockholders will pay the price for the interference of the government.

Frankly, the more units you sold did the economy good 2 ways: more money in circulation and it got rid of people that consume an inordinate amount of this country's medical resources.

Frankly, after someone buys a defib unit, the chances of them buying another are slim, so - as Gov. Dick Lamm said so long ago, they 'have a duty to die'; you were just helping them along.

Is that such a bad thing?

Tell their families to quit whining and enjoy the dividends on your stock - should they own any. Liberals and do-gooders always step in to ruin a good thing.

Vaccine Curbs Shingles Cases and Severity

Vaccine Curbs Shingles Cases and Severity - New York Times

Monday, May 30, 2005

More junk 'greenhouse' science - according to the Right

The Right has a 'scientist' on Fox that puts out a column called 'Junk Science', and I will detail this person in a future article, though for now, it's enough to know that he was a 'scientist' that helped to tobacco industry 'prove' that cigarettes didn't harm people, but I'm sure he would call this article 'junk science'.

In this article, from that bastion of fake science, the University of Oregon, comes a study that says that the contrast between the rainy and dry seasons will become even more pronounced than it is now.

The mistake that environmentalists make is that they keep talking about the greenhouse effect as if it is 'coming', and not here now.

What this article points out is that the greeenhouse effect has been here for a while, but it will become much worse, specifically in the difference between wet and dry seasons.

The article doesn't go into a lot of detail; face it, people nowadays are mostly like Bush; don't know, don't care, so going into detail just wastes time and newspaper space that could be better spent on cartoons and fashion news.

However, you can pay for the full article here:

The bottom line: get out your umbrella.

Plastic emasculates male babies

Oh, sure; now they tell us - like they never suspected a thing.

However, it does help explain Republicans and why they are so insecure about their masculinity. (sorry, just HAD to get that in! )

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Thermohaline shutting down

My friends have said - for a long time - that I have the Chicken Little syndrome: The sky is falling! The sky is falling! However, though most people ignored it, the Pentagon came out with a well-researched report that said that the scenario already underway is a dire one, and they were so concerned that they actually produced a report on it (PDF file link).

I have been going on and on about the thermohaline circulation (the ocean conveyor - picture) that brings warm water into the North Atlantic and keeps Europe warm. Should this conveyor shut down (the concept behind "The Day After Tomorrow" movie), Europe would plunge into an ice age, since it's on the same latitude as Nova Scotia. We are already seeing some of the effects (link).

I have been saying, for months, that the NOAA watch on the current has been remarking that it has been 'strikingly weak' (link). Additionally, if the Northern Atlantic has more fresh water, and the equator gets saltier, that would also work to stop the thermohaline circulation, and both of those things have happened (link). There are two main events that have taken place in the North Atlantic that contributed to this; one was Lake Ellsmere breaking out and releasing billions of gallons of fresh water into the North Atlantic (link), and the other is the ongoing flood of water coming from rivers in Russia that are draining off the increasing melt.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

WHO to warn on changing avian flu

"Something Wicked This Way Comes"

No, it's not the circus act in the movie, nor is it Jason Robards warning us; in some ways, it's worse.

I really fail to understand why governments are not hitting - well, not the panic button, but the "we've really, really, really got to pay attention to this NOW! button.

Maybe Georgie has had word from God that the flu, like his vision on AIDS, will only strike those who should die anyway.

For the rest of us, I would encourage everyone, who is able, to get a flu shot. While it may not prevent this particular variety of flu, it may be able to lessen the effects. For example, last year the flu shot turned out not to cover the specific flu that was going around, but the flu shot still prompted the body to produce antibodies that were able to moderate the effects of the flu.

Good luck to us all.

One note, though: if you're a Republican that hates the UN and world bodies 'interfering' in our lives, please pay no attention to this, and please do NOT take any flu vaccine that comes through UN/WHO auspices - that would just be encouraging those busy-bodies, don't cha know? (link to definition for the benefit of Republicans)

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Breast Cancer - Low fat diets

Interesting article on how a low fat diet can benefit breast cancer remission.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Bee parasite

I've been trying to tell people about this looming problem for several years, but since it wasn't an emergency, no one cared. Well, it's about to hit the 'emergency' stage.

While most people think that something that wipes out 50% of bees is no big deal - so we have a little less honey? - they don't understand that bees are required to pollinate $15 billion dollars worth of agricultural products a year, like most fruit and nuts. The last time I looked, fruits and nuts should form a goodly portion of your daily diet; think scurvy, for one.

What can you do? Write your lawmakers - at all levels - and demand accelerated government programs to find solutions to the mite problem.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Vitamin D aids lung cancer operations

Taking vitamin D prior to surgery can increase your survival rate.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Prisoners 'aware' in executions; they suffer excruciating pain.

While right-wing-nuts will probably think this is a 'good' thing, the fact is that what civil libertarians have been saying for a long time is true: a lot of prisoners who are killed by lethal injection suffer tremendous pain before dying. What's not talked about is that the prisons and federal and state officials have known this, and they enjoy it. Why else would they not monitor executions to make sure that concentrations of the anesthetic are sufficient to render the prisoner unconscious? Because they then give the prisoner a paralyzing drug, when the last drug is given - the one that tortures them literally to death - they cannot move, blink, moan - nothing. And the everyone involved just loves the fact that they get to torture these people to death.

Chemical Present In Clear Plastics Can Impair Learning And Cause Disease

Another example of how our government is doing the job on us that we feared the Russians would want to do: hurt us at a very basic level. And you probably thought that all of those cancer cases that the US is paying people for (finally) that were caused by nuke testing outside of Las Vegas and by labs like Hanford were all that our government had done to try and kill us off. Silly you.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

MSNBC - Want better sex? Head to the grocery store

MSNBC - Want better sex? Head to the grocery store

Water Crisis - China this time

Besides the oil crisis, water is the other major crisis - that people are aware of (more on that in other posts - search on keyword 'crisis')

This is really only the beginning. Search back through this blog for the water crisis currently affecting the US, and other water problems around the world. If you think the past in an indication of the future, you're in for a rude awakening. Also take a look at the fish problems in the ocean. (keywords 'fish, ocean')

Countries are already having wars over water, and Israel is more likely to attack Syria over water than over weapons.

This is - unfortunately - the best of times.Original Link

Friday, March 18, 2005

Many who pledge abstinence at risk for STDs

What a surprise! Yet ANOTHER study that says that abstinence-only sex education does more harm that good. What a shocker!

However, one thing is certain; you can use facts to convince faith-based people. They know what they believe, and facts just confuse things.

New Treatment Offers Hope for Depression

No Stopping Global Warming, Studies Predict

And who is doing ANYTHING about planning for the near-term future? Global warming isn't coming; it's here, and it's just going to get worse.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Gene study of mutant AIDS virus shows drug-resistant, vicious foe

First, they found a man who had an apparently new strain of HIV that killed him off dramatically quicker than the old HIV (link), but then they sort of pooh-poohed it (link).

Now, they are no longer pooh-poohing it (click the link in the title). Nature is pissed.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Nanobacteria - you ain't seen nothing yet.

Nanobacteria are implicated in kidney stones and heart disease and who knows what else. They are recently discovered 'things' that replicate. And we're going to bring back samples from outer space that could contain nanobacteria that are completely foreign to human organisms? Now THAT'S stupid.Nanobacteria -- The New Thing In Heart Disease

Think the bird flu is dangerous? They don't even know what to make of this.

A man-made flu, based on the 1918 pandemic flu, may have escaped from the lab and ended up in Korean pigs (think: North Korea biowar experiments). If this has happened, the medical community doesn't have a clue has to how bad this might be, but they know it is VERY bad news.Wired News: Pigs Hold Clues to Man-Made Flu

A Billion Bird Flu Human Fatalities?

Look at the author's credentials under 'PATENTS'. This isn't some weirdo website.

Bird flu cluster may signal the change we've been waiting for.

I've been saying, though I was far from the first, and certainly not basing it on any medical expertise on my part, but just on reading the news, that the bird flu is coming - and sooner than most people think; you know, people like Bush.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Experts weigh super-volcano risks

I've been telling people about this for years; perhaps this will get their attention. Yellowstone has a history of an eruption about every 600,000 years; it's been 640,000 years since the last one. The article doesn't mention the uplift of Yellowstone that's currently going on, nor about the 1,000 foot tall 'bulge' in the bottom of Yellowstone lake, both very worrisome signs.

As the article says, it's not a matter of 'if', just 'when'.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Police puzzled, others see mysterious Bali temple signs as divine warning by Sebastien Blanc: another form of crop circles??

If you read this carefully, you will find that there was a power cut to the affected villages, and the dogs all started howling, the night that the signs appeared. You will also note that hundreds of temples are affected, and yet no one has ever been seen leaving the signs.

I'm going to do some research on this, looking for similar markings around the world, combined with similar power/dog events.

Think we're ready for a bio-disaster? Think we'd help each other out? Think again.

'Bird flu threat' from feathers: oh, just ducky!

Monday, February 28, 2005

Enduring and Painful, Pertussis Leaps Back

Who woulda thunk? A disease that, I'm pretty sure, most of us had thought of as conquered, is back - with a vengence.

9,784 cases in 2003, then 18,957 cases in 2004. The worst thing is that the FDA has yet to approve a vaccination for adults, unlike Europe, which has had one for years. Think your childhood vaccination protects you? Think again.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Two New Viruses Reported Belonging to AIDS Family

Nature seems determined to thin the human herd. Two new viruses, related to the HIV virus, but they have no idea what they will do to humans, if anything.

The thing is, these viruses are retroviruses, which means the change all by themselves, and one of them, HTLV-4, is unlike anything ever found in humans.

It's going to be an interesting year.y

Friday, February 25, 2005

As The World Turns, It Drags Space And Time

For those of you who are interested, an article about how 'gravity' causes spacetime to be 'dragged' around objects, sort of like spinning a basketball in a puddle of oil

Of course, if Newton were right, and objects 'attracted' one another, this would never happen.As The World Turns, It Drags Space And Time

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Britain freezes in cold spell, hundreds of schools shut

As predicted, England, and Europe, are experiencing more dramatic weather. The Gulf Stream (part of the ocean conveyor that keeps Europe warmer than it should be) is still, as the website that monitors it says, "strikingly weak". Click on the link in the left sidebar that relates to the Gulf Stream, and you will notice that, as it starts to cross the North Atlantic, that it peters out into a maze of almost non-existent currents. I've been watching this chart for a couple of years, and never before about 4 months ago, has it stayed on 'strikingly weak'.

Back in April, 2004, NASA was remarking about the slowdown in the ocean conveyor. For months now, it's been the same refrain, and for months now, I've noted that with the large influx of fresh water that resulted from Lake Ellsmere draining into the North Atlantic and with the warming of the North Atlantic

Now, couple this is a cooling of the Southern oceans and a reduction in their salinity (link), and what you get is a reduction in the energy available to power to ocean conveyor.

It works this way normally: As water warms in the Southern ocean, it rises as it heads toward the North Atlantic. Because the salinity of the two areas is about the same, it rises smoothly (relatively), thus drawing more water with it. As it rounds Florida, heading North (the Gulf Stream), it starts dumping heat, since it is now closer to the surface and a lot warmer than the surrounding water. This salt water column, then cools off as it crosses south of Greenland, and as it now flows past Europe, it dumps the last of its heat and drops. This drop of so many billions of gallons of water acts as a 'pull' to all of that water behind it, and pushes the water in front of it. As it sinks to the ocean bottom and heads south, it carries nutrients and waste down. In the Southern ocean, even though it's at the bottom of the ocean, it starts picking up heat and starts rising, picking up more heat. And the cycle starts again.

However, if the Southern ocean is cooler, it doesn't pick up as much heat, so the water doesn't rise as fast or as powerfully. When the current finally gets to the coast of the U.S., off of Maine, it is not as warm is it previously was, so it doesn't have as much heat to give off. This leaves the northern hempishpere, and in particular, Europe, cooler, since the prevailing winds aren't picking up as much heat to distribute over Europe.

Now, couple this with the fact that the North Atlantic has more fresh water, and thus a lower salinity, and even though the water cools while going around Greenland, the fresh water is not as heavy as salt water, so it doesn't since as fast. (link to salinity article)So, like a train of a slight hill, vs. a train on a steep hill, it doesn't get going as fast downhill, and this reduces the speed of the current. As the current is reduced, and the water stays away from the bottom, as it gets to the Southern hemisphere, it is warmer than before, and this coupled with the cooler ocean, means that it doesn't warm as much - as a percentage of original temperature, so it won't rise as fast, nor will it rise as far, because it is close to the surface.

Eventually, the roller-coaster track of the current becomes level, thus ending the conveyor. This means that no warm water flows North (or very little) and Europe is subject to the might of the cold blasts from the Arctic.

This is what we are already seeing.

The conveyor, even though you don't hear much about it, is coming to a stop, and it is doing so in a time frame that scientists thought could never be.

Can you say, "Brrrr!"

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Tick-Tock: The clock is running on the H5N1 avian flu.



The 'authorities' are saying millions, but my science contacts in viral medicine are saying hundreds of millions to billions.

There's another entry in the blog about the H5N1 causing symptoms that look nothing like flu and don't involve the respiratory tract; however, it kills at the 76% rate, anyway.

Good thing GWB cut (reduced) the funding for the CDC for the first time since.. oh... 1946. Guess we don't need no stinkin' science! Just think how much room that will leave for rich people who will, of course, be the first (maybe only) ones to receive any vaccine, assuming they can produce one when H5N1 picks up a good human transmission gene. It's not "IF", it's only "WHEN", and the 'when' is not that far in your future. Viral scientists say we may have dodged the bullet for this go-around, but they aren't saying that we absolutely did; flu season isn't over.

One of the key ways that an flu (and they are all avian in origin) mutates into a human-transmissible form is to mix with a human gene in an animal that can carry both infections, and the main animal that does this is the pig. Thus, this article is of great concern.

(it's on my blog, also, but back a ways. Get the date from the article an you will find it at about the same date on my blog, though I have the original article, and not this quoting of it.)

A little history.

The Spanish flu, in 1918, killed - depending on who is quoting the figure, between 15 and 50 million people, but the generally accepted number is 50 million. If you know your WW I history, you'll know that this flu was the real reason that WW I came to a halt; they simply ran out of people to fight the war. Isn't it interesting that the Armistice with Germany was signed in November of 1918?

In 1918, the world population was 1.8 billion, as of 2-20-2005, the world population is roughly 6.5 billion. Now, if you ramp up the deaths mathematically, you get, based on 40 billion in 1918, 144 million dead. Now, let's take a look at another statistic: the death rate from the Spanish Flu was... are you ready? 2.5% Keep that little number in mind. 2.5%. And it was enough to take 10 years off of the average life span of people in this country for several years.

Now, the accepted death rate, in humans, for the H5N1 flu is 76%. So, if we ramp the 144 million up mathematically, we get 4,392,000,000. That's 4.4 billion.

The fact that we have vaccines now is somewhat of a modifying factor; however, when H5N1 mixes with the human gene that will turn it into a readily transmissible virus, what we think the vaccine will be may not work. Additionally, getting it made takes months, then there is the distribution problem. By the time we get one made and ready to be distributed, it could all be over.

The next fact to consider is that, in 1918, we didn't have the population mixing that we have now. People travel, every day, all over the world. Additionally, lots and lots of them do this either in packed planes or in packed trains, so the transmission rate in those environments is much, much higher. Planes, especially, with their dry air, lend themselves to a majority of people on each aircraft becoming carriers themselves.

The population density in 1918 was also not what it is now. Consequently, if one village - or small town in America - got sick, everyone might either be dead or non-contagious before anyone mixed with someone from elsewhere; that is no longer the case, except in remote parts of the world.

I don't think the 1918 figures ramp up mathematically, I think they ramp geometrically. At first, this looks like everyone on the planet might be dead, but when H5N1 finally becomes human-transmissible, viral scientists don't think the kill rate will be 76% anymore. While it could conceivably go up, it will probably go down; maybe to 50%. Added to that is the situation wherein, once governments are aware that H5N1 is going to have a much bigger impact that predicted, they will shut down aircraft and train transportation (not to mention subways and cruise ships).

It will make the financial impact of 9/11, which was rather large, seem miniscule in comparison.

So why write about all of this? Because, as mentioned above, Bush has reduced the CDC budget. (link) Not only should it not be reduced, it should be increased dramatically, and funding of surveillance programs here and overseas should be ramped up, since the earlier the alarm bells go off, the earlier that vaccine production can start. Lastly, the U.S., like almost all foreign countries, needs to spread out the vaccine manufacturer's it buys from, and it needs to give money to these manufacturers to allow them to expand both facility-wise and research-wise. Some might argue that giving money to French companies - and other companies - isn't what we should be doing, but if this flu is allowed to propagate without companies being able to respond, the money we saved by not funding the research, the monitoring programs, the facility expansions, will pale in comparison to the economic damage this virus could wreak upon the world, not to mention the U.S. And however much we mitigate the damage here, if the world goes down (ie. China) then we all go down.

Global warming is, after H5N1, the most dire problem the world has. Terrorism isn't even in the same league. At least one can fight the flu and global warming, whereas you can't really fight a method of attack. No country in the world has EVER beaten terrorism, without wiping out the entire population from whence the terrorists (or freedom fighters) originated. The only way that terrorism has ever been handled successfully, is by negotiation. Just look at Israel, Spain, South America, etc. etc.

At least we can do something about H5N1, but it will take the people in this country realizing that this is not some 'future' event that may, or may not, happen. They will also need to realize that even if, by some miracle, we kept it out of this country (we couldn't keep SARS out, and it was a MUCH smaller infection problem), the economic consequences will ruin us as it ruins the rest of the world.

So, please take time to write your city, county, state and federal representatives (or lackeys, if you head a large corporation) and ask that they get about the business of preparing us (and the world) to detect it (when, not if, it comes) and be able to respond with appropriate countermeasures.

If we start now, it may not be too late. Then again, we could already be the walking dead, we just don't know it yet.

Can you say, "Ah choo!"?

PS. Oh, yes. With, say, 10% fewer people in the US (and THAT is being generous, since I'm not using the 76% figure), land values WILL - not may - go down. Food prices will go way up. Stocks - don't even ask about stocks, because the stock market is controlled by a bunch of sheep, and once anything happens that's bad, regardless of whether or not it *should* affect the stock market, it goes south - in a hurry. However, it will be a great time to buy! My advice is to sell once the CDC announces the alert (unless you own stock in a company that produces the H5N1 vaccine), and then buy back into your stocks in about 1 month.

An interesting note on the H5N1: the current anti-viral products out there are ineffective against H5N1: from: - H5N1 has demonstrated resistance to amantadine and rimantadine, and ribavirin was ineffective as well. In the absence of a proven effective treatment, supportive care may be the best treatment option. ** that means that the best they can do for you is give you fluids and aspirin.

Lastly, as the article here shows, there is still a new virus, H7N7, that most people haven't even heard about yet, that, itself, is waiting to pounce on us, much like a tiger on a small mouse.

If you're interested in what the H and N thingies mean, you can check out this PDF document here.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

String Theory: is that all there is?

Everything you ever wanted to know about string theory.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Brightest Galactic Flash Ever Detected Hits Earth

Imagine a star exploding in the sky and appearing as bright as a full moon. Now imagine that it's, say, Jupiter that does that. It would have to be a pretty big bang to appear so bright when Jupiter is 724 million miles from earth. Now imagine that the star that blew up is 50,000 light years away; that's 300,000,000,000,000,000 miles away. (300 quadrillion miles) In the Gamma ray band, that's how bright it appeared, and it was strong enough to disrupt our upper atmosphere a bit.
The article says that if it had been witin 60 trillion miles of us, it could have caused a mass extinction on earth.
Now, THAT'S a big bang!

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Air Pollution Damages Babies in Womb -Study

This is no surprise to anyone who follows science, though I'm sure Bush will say that it needs more 'study' - his favorite way of not doing anything. This report just makes the news about mercury from chlorine plants and coal-fired plants harming the unborn just that much more important; not that anything will be done. Bush has put off doing anything for 12 years.

Where are those born-agains who scream about killing the unborn? Is just getting them born the important thing, but in what condition they are born unimportant? It would seem so. Since air pollution - and mercury pollution - cross geographic boundaries around rich neighborhoods, apparently these people don't even care if it's their own kids or grandkids that are being permanently harmed.

So, when these people face their brain-damaged kids in the coming years, and say, "I love you", I guess what they are really saying is: I love you, but not as much as money.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Global warming changes are here now

It has always been amazing to me that Republicans - and some ignorant Democrats - question global warming. The nay-sayers argue that there isn't any evidence that man is causing it; they say that 1) global warming might not be happening at all or 2) that global warming now is just part of a natural cycle of Earth, but that we will be able to adjust.

They miss - perhaps on purpose - the point that CO2 is the major contributor to global warming (assuming one accepts that it's happening), and that regardless of whether we started it or it is part of Earth's natural cycle, our increasing the CO2 in the atmosphere is contributing to the warming. They ignore the fact that, even if this warming is part of a natural cycle, if we cut back on CO2 emissions, we could at least mitigate the warming.

Since the end of the 1700's, we have increased the CO2 levels in the atmosphere from 280ppm to 370ppm. This level is higher than any time in the past 160,000 years (link)

There is no arguing that CO2 levels have been high during each of the Earth's warming periods in the past, and low during ice ages, so the relationship of CO2 level to global warming is indisputable.

As noted in the article that was linked to just above, just to stabilize CO2 emissions at today's level would require a 60% reduction in emissions. Even so, levels in the upper atmosphere would continue rising for some years, and effects would continue to grow for the next 50 years. And that's if we cut emissions 60% today. That is not going to happen.

As you may have noticed, over the past 10 years (at least), the maximum temperature increase predicted has kept going up, and the time in which that increase would occur has shortened. It is no longer IF we will feel the effects, it is only a question of how bad they will be. In fact, we are feeling the effects now. Glaciers all over the world are melting; some are already gone. Ice at both poles is thinning and breaking up, just witness the B15 iceberg, which is 2500 sq. miles.

What's really amazing to me is that when the Pentagon came out with it's own report on global warming, people (in general) dismissed it. (summary : full report) The report, if you bother to read it, is nothing short of a doomsday scenario that WILL happen; no maybes here. One of the major threats in the report is that the ocean conveyor, which, in our part of the world is known as the Gulf Stream, will slow down or stop; this will (and currently already has) have ever-increasing effects. If you follow one website that I do (link), it has a link to Gulf Stream velocities by week. Over the past year, the link, which changes text to reflect the state of the Gulf Stream, has taken more and more to saying, "strikingly weak". In fact, for the past several months, it has not said anything else.

Also, if you read the news about England, you have noticed that they are getting cooler and that they have been having more storms, and those storms are more violent, and in the past 2 years, this has become the standard.

Climate change is here. The drought in the West, storms over Europe in the winter, blistering heat over Europe in the summer, drought in Australia, etc. etc.

Within the next couple of years, people are going to wake up to what's happening, and that awakening is likely to come in the form of gunshots as countries, and people within those countries, battle of water and food resources.

But until then, Bush will continue to suggest more 'studies', the petroleum industry will continue to propagandize against global warming, just as they are in England. Recently, there was a news article about a group put together by U.S. oil and gas companies to specifically go to England to try and distort the global warming issue enough so as to confuse people and reduce pressure on the respective U.S. companies. Nothing like good ole propaganda.

It seems that some people are more interested in immediate money than they are in the long-term state of the world. As with the coal-fired power plants in the U.S. that convinced Bush to ignore mercury regulation and thus trade immediate profits for the health of our children, these heartless sons of bitches are basically condeming millions - maybe billions - of people to a slow, nasty death.

But then again: they are conservatives and lack any type of compassion. This is what made Bush's first run at the White House so strange; he had to actually come out and say that HIS would be conservatism, but WITH compassion. Umm.... sure.

UK Guardian: How we put the heat on nature 1/30/2005

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Got health insurance? Think you're really insured?

Got health insurance? Think it protects you? Most people are one illness away from bankruptcy.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Vietnam bird flu deaths increase

It's not canaries; it's people. However, it's the same warning sign. That light is not the end of the tunnel; it's the train.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Myopia fix coming to US

An implantable lens, which is easily removeable, can fix myopia in 20 to 30 minutes. Easier than LASIK and safer, since it's reversible.

Click here to locate a flu shot dispensing center near you

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Study Finds Mad Cow Proteins in All Parts of the Animal

As I've been telling people, the prions that cause Mad Cow disease can be in any part of the cow (or deer or moose, etc). So, here's an article that says just that.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Bird flu kills woman in Vietnam - Breaking News -

Like the monkey said after he had backed into a fan, "It won't be long now!."

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Shellfish Increasing Harbingers Of Dangerous Microbes

Friends of mine have long wondered at my reluctance to eat any type of shellfish. I think this might help them understand, if only just a bit.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Betterhumans > Eye Injection Stops Vision Loss

Betterhumans > Eye Injection Stops Vision Loss

Woman, 67, having twins - to emotionally use and abuse

Talk about selfish. This woman is having twins - at 67, and so, will leave their upbringing to someone else. One has to wonder just how self-centered a person has to be to do something like this: have children when you are old enough to be their grandparent, then leave them within a few years (abandon them is actually the correct term).

Sunday, December 19, 2004

ABC News: Drug Maker Withheld Paxil Study Data

Why... what a shocker! A drug manufacturer hiding the fact that the drug can harm people? No!

They knew as far back as 1997 that the drug was dangerous, but with GWB in the White House, they felt confident enough that in 2001 they issued a statement about how great this drug is. (not mentioning how profitable, but the article has a link to the business plan)

Of course, all the FDA has done is had the company put warnings on the bottle. So what if no amount of warnings is going to prevent teenagers from commiting suicide or anyone taking it having withdrawal symptoms when they quit.

Doctors are, by and large, complete idiots. I knew back in the early 90's that SSRI's cause withdrawal, and I'm not a doctor, I just used to work in a drug crisis center. When a friend called me about her mom, who has just quit another SSRI, becoming suicidal because she felt 'crazy', I suggested that her mom contact the doc and go back on the SSRI, with a gradual reduction plan over 6 months. Things worked out great. But the fact is, most doctors did, and still do, say, "Well, you don't need this anymore.", so they cold-turkey you, or - more likely - you lose your job and your insurance and are forced into withdrawal because you can't afford the doctor visits and the drugs. There is no one to watch out for those thousands and thousands of people who suffer - or die - because of that scenario.

Certainly not the heartless Bush Bunch.

ABC News: Doctors Debate the Safety of Celebrex

Here's a news flash: another COX-2 drug increases the risk of heart attacks, like one could not draw that inference from the Vioxx case.

And now they say that the doctors are 'debating' it. The only thing they're debating is how badly it will hurt the maker.

If you don't think that this drug is coming off of the market - and soon - then you've got a really different view of this - not that you are definitely wrong; who knows? But history would indicate that this is just a stall to reap more money, but that the drug, like Vioxx, will disappear.

Remember, Vioxx went through the same, "Well, let's evaluate this.", long after it was already obvious that it was a killer.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

BBC NEWS | Health | Ten odours 'help spot dementia'

Who knew that memory is measured in smell? Well, I guess I've said in the past my memory was weak, though I'm not sure - because, sometimes, my memory is weak. It's an interesting concept, though.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

This is how Bush does 'science'

The researchers in this country hid the fact that the drug that Bush as pushing for Africans with Aids was actually a pretty dangerous drug.

Now comes this article, giving some substance and detail to just how Bush does 'science'. It may not be good science, but it's good profit for the drug company.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Study linking soda drinking in kids with liver damage

I never understood why parents fed kids drinks with lots of sugar (a setup for diabetes) and caffeine, but this study links soda drinks and liver damage.

Puff in; IQ out. Puff in; IQ out

Interesting. A study that tracked people from age 11 that shows that smoking reduces your intellect. Well... duh!

Laptops cause fertility problems. Don't tell Republicans, OK?

Sunday, December 05, 2004

New car smell linked to cancer

Pollutant 'damages bone marrow'

New report shows 1 in a million parts of benzene harms the bone marrow. That is WAY below the U.S. maximum allowed. Naturally.

ABC News: Study: First Impressions Really Matter

ABC News: Study: First Impressions Really Matter

Drought is actually the norm in the West

You think there's a drought in the West? You ain't seen nothin' yet!

Friday, December 03, 2004

BBC: Red meat link to arthritis risk

Maybe the reason dinosaurs died it is that they were all finally paralyzed by arthritis! ;).

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Paralyzed woman walks again after stem cell therapy

Don't you just HATE it when stem cells heal someone? I know, I know, conservatives think that the disabled should stay that way unless God chooses to heal them, but - you know - God wouldn't have given us the knowledge to use stem cells unless it was supposed to be that way. (assuming you think God does all of this stuff) My conservative friends think the mentally and physically disabled should just be left to starve to death unless their families can support them. It seems we've heard all of that before. Wasn't it back in the 30's or something??

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Ground 'Moves' as Cane Toads Invade Australia Park - * funny twist to this, also

It turns out that government workers is OZ aren't any brighter than their counterparts in America. They imported baby cane toads from Hawaii in 1935 to stop the spread to two foreign beetles (no, not VWs); the problem was that the beetles could just... you know... fly away! So now, these toads, some as big a dinner plate and who (at least, the females) lay 35,000 eggs a year, have become somewhat of a problem.

Now, who woulda thought that a toad couldn't catch an bug that could fly??

Pennsylvania School District Retreats from Evolution - and backwards toward the dark, we retreat

In yet another sign that religion is experiencing a revival, and intellect and thoughtfulness are on the wane, a school district is endorsing 'intelligent design', saying it's not really creationism. We have 2 problems here. One, a school district in the 21st century is retreating to the Medieval times, and 2) people believe that 'intelligent design' is a valid cover story for creationism.

The real joke, of course, has always been that humans ever had the audacity to even imagine that they knew the real, underlying truth to how reality works, and the proof of that is that almost everyone still believes in Newtonian gravity. If you want to read how 'gravity' really works, just Google 'gravity newton einstein field effect'.

The point is: if Einstein admitted that even he couldn't picture how gravity works in the universe, even though his math described it. And, the proof that he was right is in the fact that time runs slower near a mass - and that was proven in - I think - 1925.

1500 years ago, EVERYONE knew the Earth was the center of the univers. 500 years ago, EVERYONE believed the Earth was flat. Today, people believe that Bush has a brain and a heart. Go figure.

Friday, November 19, 2004

U.S. Reports Possible Case of Mad Cow

I've been saying for several years that we have mad cow, but that the government is not doing enough testing. You will remember back to a couple of months ago when a farmer was fined for testing all of his cattle. No, there was nothing else to it; he just wanted to test all of his cattle, and the government came down on him for it. Strange but true; read about that here.

The USDA is *still* not testing a significant percentage of the cattle, though they are testing all 'downer' cattle; at least, that's a start.

FDA Is Flexing Less Muscle; Have to Protect Those Corporate Contributors

RE: the previous post, here's your proof that Bush puts protecting his contributors ahead of protecting your health.

FDA Officer Suggests Strict Curbs on 5 Drugs - only under questioning by a Senator

It's not surprise that there are drugs, other than Vioxx, which should be taken off of the market, but it took direct questioning by a Senator to bring that little fact out in the open; Bush wouldn't want to hurt a major contributing industry's bottom line by having the FDA do anything until absolutely required to. Yet, the Bush administration has been taking the legal stance than consumers can't sue drug manufacturers for injuries because the drugs were FDA-approved. Yeah.. some protection FDA scrutiny is. I feel safer already. Realistically, though, you can't expect a beady-eyed chimp to watch over a war, evil-doers, tax refunds to the rich and deregulation of mining, forestry and oil, and the FDA at the same time, can you?

Ovarian Cancer Does Have Early Warning Signs, Mayo Clinic And Olmsted Medical Center Find

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Researchers Find Effective Treatment For Unusual Fever Syndrome Caused By Cold Exposure

It turns out, that for a small number of people, being cold can make then ill.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Yahoo! News - Melting Swiss Glaciers Threaten Alps - Scientist

The people who says global warming isn't real - you know, like DUHbya, are as unconnected with reality as people who believe that we never landed on the moon.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Singapore will not promote condom use publicly to fight AIDS: report

Singapore isn't going to go on a publicity blitz to encourage condom use, even though it's HIV-infected population is doubling every 2 years, because it might offend the conservatives in the society. That would seem to indicate that they are trying to make sure that conservatives keep getting infected. Hmm... could we do that here??

Friday, November 12, 2004

DHEA Cuts Abdominal Fat in Elderly

Bush protects us from Bextra - or at least, the bad news about Bextra

A researcher was booted from an FDA meeting concerning Bextra because - sin of sins - he had publicly expressed doubts about it. Just because he did a peer-reviewed study that showed it was no different from Vioxx, and therefore was the most qualified person to speak, seemed liked no reason to have him be at the meeting. Bush: redefining science. Pretty soon, anything that's wrong with you will be due to evil spirits and an unGodly lifestyle.

Are we seeing the emergence of a new disease? Hong Kong has 19 ill

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

First Time in the US: Devastating Soy Rust Found in Louisiana

This is the kind of thing that would be much easier, and more undetectable, for the terrorists to do.

(Extremely Selfish) Mom Celebrates Birth of Twins at Age 56

This is nothing but rank egoism. Every sentence about the kids starts with the word "I".

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Bush lies about science - again; claims link between abortion and breast cancer.

One wonders when they're going to start sacrificing chickens to protect the troops. Despite many international studies showing no abortion/breast cancer link, Bush pushes that lie. Nothing is below this man.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

She's got an arm up on the other women

Well, she's almost got a leg up on other women. Link

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

General Mikhail Kalashnikov decides to invent something else

This is interesting. The inventory of the most widely used - by far - weapon in war, the AK-47 and it's cousins, has decided to turn his hand to making vodka. Well, there you go. Nothing like stocking up, and loading up, on vodka before you load up the 'ole AK-47 for a little target practice. Perhaps that weiner dog next door, um? Or your mother-in-law! Hey, no dang cop is gonna take YOUR gun! If that cop would only quit swaying and weaving, back and forth, back and forth, you'd pop him a good one!: "General Mikhail Kalashnikov"

Sunday, October 31, 2004

ABC News: U.S. Short at Least 500,000 Poll Workers

Who would have thought, with registrations running at an all-time high and interest in this election higher than any in recent memory, that we would need more poll workers? Apparently, not one politician or bureaucratic hack. 1/2 a million short. Well... duh!

Russian Expert Says Flu Epidemic May Kill Over One Billion This Year; WHO convenes emergency meeting

I've been saying for a year that this was coming in the next year or two, and while one Russian scientist does not constitute a consensus on just WHEN one is coming, I think it's interesting that WHO (remember, though, it's part of that organization that GWB hates so much) is convening a rather hasty summit. Perhaps the people who disdain the UN would rather just go this alone, also, rather than all countries co-operating to develop a vaccine for the H5N1 avian flu and manufacture it. Sure, we could do it all alone, assuming the profit was there to encourage our companies to bother to protect us. Isn't it nice to think that Pfizer and the rest's patriotism pretty much depends on the % profit they make? Much like Cheney and Halliburton, actually. They're good Americans as long as they get ample rewards to be good Americans. Otherwise, as Cheney so succinctly pointed out, we can go fuck ourselves.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Mad Cow or Chronic Wasting Disease or Scrappie or other prion diseases making headway while we sit, doing almost nothing

I've noticed a trend: yes, Mad Cow or CWD or scrappie or any of the other prion diseases becoming more common, yes, but that's not the trend I've noticed. I've been saying for years that the Chronic Wasting Disease that infects deer, elk and moose in this country is but yet another wake-up call for people, just like the AIDS virus was in monkeys.

The trend I've noticed is a repeat of the AIDS crisis: the governments keep telling us that there is nothing to worry about. Yet, the US government has investigated a cluster of CJ (brain wasting) in humans in the Northeast and found 'no problem' Ten people in one area, when the infection rate of CJ, an infection that we know nothing about, is supposedly less than 1 in a million, is just a bit much to look at and then say, "No problem."

The governments said that about global warming, yet there is a major report out that was a collaboration of eight nations, that says that not only is global warming real, but that it's already here, in a big way, and that it has come on much, much faster than anyone would have anticipated. Take, for instance, the ocean conveyor that the Gulf Stream is part of. I've been watching the Gulf Stream reports for a year, and for the past 6 months, the Gulf Stream strength has been described by the agency that monitors it, as 'strikingly weak'. The Movie "The Day After Tomorrow" was about the exaggerated effects of the ocean conveyor stopping, but they were only exaggerated, not imaginary. The problem is is that we are already past the point of no return on the ocean conveyor, but people still have their heads in the sand.

Politicians won't do anything major about these problems for 3 reasons: 1) it would panic the people if they were told the truth about what's coming and 2) it would cost a lot of money to reduce the coming problems - if we could and 3) the politicians would lose their job in a 'kill the messenger' move by the people.

So, we return to the Mad Cow/CWD problem. While the government has said, "No problem there for humans", a report from the AP in 2002, discusses 3 men who, as friends, at wild game together in the 1980's, only to die in the 1990's. However, it was enough of a problem for the CDC to investigate, though they did not come to any CWD-connected conclusion.

Yet, on October 27, 2004, the Rocky Mountain News, one of the 2 Denver papers, reported that the fear of CWD is waning.

People must not be paying attention. Take a look at the chart from the National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center that runs through 2003: here. Like the AIDS crisis, it has started out slowly, but in just 6 years, the number of diagnosed cases has more than tripled. Remember, these are just the diagnosed cases. CWD/CJD/or whatever, can look an awful lot like Alzheimer's, so I would imagine that there are quite a few undiagnosed cases out there, and you can be the undiagosed have also tripled in the past 6 years.

This is, I believe, one of the major crisis of our time - long term, though the coming flu epidemic - perhaps as early as this year, is calculated to kill more than a billion people. In the long run, AIDS and CWD/CJD/whatever will kill far more.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Scientists Reveal Significant Behavioral Impacts Of Early Life Stress, Study Therapies

I've said this since I worked at Inlet Drug Crisis Center in the early 70's in Houston. I think they will also find that 'in the womb' experiences are more influential than have been realized, because the neurotransmitters from the mother cross the placental barrier, so the baby actually feels what the mother feels, but has no idea why. Studies have show that babies of mothers who didn't want them act different from the moment they are born.

Perhaps we'll get away from this 'blame the victim' stuff and start dealing with what is really happening.

If the link above does not work, the original article may still be here.

Anesthesia Can Dim Patients' Minds

I've often said that my 2 neurosurgeries have caused a decline in mental functioning (no laughing from the peanut gallery, please!)

So, I don't think it's just the elderly that have to be concerned; I think it's everyone.

If the link above does not work, the original article might be here.

Monday, October 25, 2004

'Brain' In A Dish Acts As Autopilot, Living Computer

Perhaps this could help Bush!

If the link above does not work, the original article might be here.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Older father schizophrenia link

Just another reason that old men shouldn't try to act younger or pronounce their manhood by having (more) kids.

If the link fails, the original article may be here.

Friday, October 22, 2004

World Living Beyond Its Environmental Means

It's not really news that we're living high on the hog, nor should it be news that the earth cannot sustain even this level, much less the billions more expected soon. This is the best of times; remember it well.

If link above fails, the original document may be here.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Yahoo! News - Some Supplements Can Damage Eyes

Eyes going bad? Trouble focusing? Object near to you harder to focus on? Trouble picking up visual clues? It turns out that some herbal remedies can adversely affect the eyes. The original article was in the American Journal of Ophthalmology, October 2004.


Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Passive smoking turns out to be worse than thought

Passive smoking, in a major study of all the studies done on this subject, turns out to be worse than was ever thought.

To quote:
Breathing in secondhand smoke massively increases the risk of lung cancer and heart disease, an official report by medical scientists shows.
Ministers have sat on the results for months amid fears it will fuel calls for a ban on smoking in public places, claim campaigners.
(being from England, they have Ministers instead of Administration members)

Original article is here.

Talk about your long life span! 180,000 to 430,000 years!

Fungus from a deep-sea sediment core that is hundreds of thousands of years old can grow when placed in culture, scientists have discovered.
Indian researchers say the fungi come from sediments that are between 180,000 and 430,000 years old.

Then there are the bacteria from a salt cave in Utah that are over 250,000 years old that came to life and reproduced. (here)

The original article is here.

2nd original article here.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Biologists Hunt for Snakehead in Chicago

It seems that the frankenfish, as it's called, has established itself in America. I wish they could find the person responsible for this! This fish will change the lakes and rivers of America forever, so go fishing now, while there's still time, if you like that sort of thing.

Original article here