Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Rachel Ray

Lemon, Rose-Flavored Tomato Developed

Israeli researchers say they have genetically engineered tomatoes to give hints of lemon and rose aromas that have done well in testing on volunteers.
The transgenic tomato includes a gene from a variety of lemon basil, Ocimum basilicum, that produces an aroma-making enzyme called geraniol synthase, Efraim Lewinsohn of Newe Yaar Research Center and colleagues report.

A panel of 82 people have tested the experimental fruit against unmodified counterparts.

Nearly all of them were able to detect novel aromas, which the testers variously described as "perfume," "rose," "geranium" and "lemongrass."

When put to the taste, the GM tomatoes were preferred by 49 members of the panel, while 29 preferred unmodified tomatoes and four expressed no preference.

The GM tomatoes have only a light red color, though, because they have only half as much lycopene as conventional tomatoes. In addition to conferring a bright blush to tomatoes, lycopene is an antioxidant, a compound credited with health-giving qualities.

Offsetting the low levels of lycopene are higher levels of compounds called volatile terpenoids, which possess antimicroial, pesticidal and antifungal qualities, so the GM tomato may have longer shelf life and need less pesticide to grow, Lewinsohn contends.

The team believes that other crops and flowers that, like tomatoes, produce carotenoids, could also be engineered to change their smell and taste.

The first genetically-modified tomato, the so-called FlavrSavr, hit the US market in 1994. It had a modified gene that was involved in fruit softening, meaning that the tomato could be left to ripen on the vine and have a longer shelf life.

FlavrSavr was eventually withdrawn because of disappointing sales.

Today, no genetically modified tomatoes are being commercially grown in the United States, according to (, a European Commission-backed website for information about GM crops.

Fresh GM tomatoes have never gone in sale in Europe and other markets where there are worries about the environmental and health impact from transgenic food.

The Israeli paper is published online on Sunday by Nature Biotechnology, part of the Nature group of science journals.

Special Thanks to Discovery Channel

The Elderberry Way To Perfect Skin

Forget expensive moisturisers and cosmetic surgery, a compound found in the humble elderberry could give a natural boost to skin.

In the first study of its kind, a team of researchers led by Prof Aedin Cassidy at the University of East Anglia and Dr Paul Kroon at the Institute of Food Research, will explore whether the skin's condition is improved by a compound which gives berries their vibrant colour (called 'anthocyanin').

In a 12-week trial starting in September, post-menopausal women will consume either extracts from elderberries or placebo capsules, and will have their skin's structure and appearance measured with state-of-the-art equipment used by experts in skin science. At the same time, researchers will also test whether the elderberry extract can reduce risk factors for heart disease.

"We already know that a healthy diet can help protect against heart disease and skin damage, and that a mixture of similar food components have been shown to improve the skin's structure. There is also evidence that the active components have anti-inflammatory properties, which may be important in helping people stay healthy," said UEA's Dr Peter Curtis who is leading the project.

"If the results of our study are positive, it may lead to innovations in skin health products and may also give us vital information about diets which promote healthier hearts."

Special Thanks to Science Daily

Mother-of-pearl: Classic Beauty And Remarkable Strength

While the shiny material of pearls and abalone shells has long been prized for its iridescence and aesthetic value in jewelry and decorations, scientists admire mother-of-pearl for other physical properties as well.

Also called nacre ("NAY-ker"), mother-of-pearl is 3,000 times more fracture-resistant than the mineral it is made of, aragonite, says Pupa Gilbert, a physicist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "You can go over it with a truck and not break it - you will crumble the outside [of the shell] but not the [nacre] inside. And we don't understand how it forms - that's why it's so fun to study."

Understanding the mechanism by which nacre forms would be the first step toward harnessing its strength and simplicity, she says. "We don't know how to synthesize materials that are better than the sum of their parts."

Writing in the June 29 issue of Physical Review Letters, Gilbert and her colleagues in the UW-Madison department of physics and School of Veterinary Medicine, the Institute for the Physics of Complex Matter in Switzerland and the UW-Madison Synchrotron Radiation Center, now describe unexpected elements of nacre architecture that may underlie its strength and offer clues into how this remarkable material forms.

Like our bones and teeth, nacre is a biomineral, a combination of organic molecules - made by living organisms - and mineral components that organisms ingest or collect from their environment. The aragonite mineral in nacre is made of calcium carbonate, which marine animals form from elements abundant in seawater.

Though a mere 5 percent of abalone nacre is organic, this small fraction somehow lays enough foundation for the mineral components to assemble spontaneously, Gilbert says.

"Ninety-five percent of the mass of this biomineral is self-assembled, while only 5 percent is actively formed by the organism," she says. "It is one of the most efficient mechanisms you can think of."

To gain insight into this self-assembly process, Gilbert and graduate student Rebecca Metzler examined the structure of abalone nacre using synchrotron radiation - light emitted by electrons speeding around a curved track.

When used to examine a cross-section of an abalone shell, previously seen to resemble a brick wall with layers of organic "mortar" separating individual crystalline "bricks," the polarized light from the synchrotron revealed that the nacre wall was not uniform.

Instead, the wall contained distinct clumps of bricks, each an irregular column of crystals with identical composition but a crystal orientation different than neighboring columns.

Since orientation affects how crystals emit electrons, "some of the columns of bricks appear white and others appear black and more appear gray, depending on their crystal orientation," Gilbert explains.

The overall effect resembles a camouflage pattern, each roughly columnar cluster a slightly different shade.

She suggests that this mosaic architecture of nacre, with numerous non-aligned crystals, could lead to a stronger material by preventing the formation of natural cleavage planes - like those that form the facets of a cut diamond - where a single crystal can easily break. "It is intuitive that a poly-crystal is mechanically stronger than a single crystal, so perhaps that is an advantage for the animal," Gilbert says.

With this new information about nacre structure and the help of UW-Madison theoretical physicist Susan Coppersmith, the group turned to modeling to try to understand how such a structure could form.

"By looking at the final result and comparing it to the result of different growth models, you get insight into what the actual mechanism of the growth is," Coppersmith says.

The group developed a model that suggests that the animal creates the organic "mortar" layers first, peppered with randomly distributed crystal nucleation, or seeding, sites.

From their observations, they predict that mineral crystals start growing inside the shell and extend horizontally until they contact another growing crystal and vertically until they hit the overlying mortar. If that crystal contacts another of the scattered crystal formation sites on the next tier up, it should trigger growth of a new crystal with the same crystal orientation, gradually building a rough column of irregular width.

With further experiments, the researchers hope to test and refine their model as well as examine other biominerals, such as human teeth and the nacre of other species such as pearl oysters, mussels, or nautiluses, to improve their understanding of biomineral formation and assembly.

"If you understand how it forms, you could think of reproducing it, producing a synthetic material that's inspired by nature - a so-called 'biomimetic' material," Gilbert explains. "If we learn how to harness the mechanism of formation, then we could, for example, produce cars that absorb all the energy at the impact point but do not fracture.

"But from my point of view, it's most interesting because of the fundamental mechanisms of how it forms - these natural self-assembly mechanisms we are only just beginning to understand."

This work is funded by grants from the UW-Madison Graduate School and the National Science Foundation.

Special Thanks to Science Daily

Chinese Villagers Eat Dino Bones

Villagers in central China dug up a ton of dinosaur bones and boiled them in soup or ground them into powder for traditional medicine, believing they were from flying dragons and had healing powers.

Until last year, the fossils were being sold in Henan province as "dragon bones" at about 4 yuan (50 cents) per kilogram (2.2 pounds), scientist Dong Zhiming said Wednesday.

Dong, a professor with the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said when the villagers found out the bones were from dinosaurs they donated 440 pounds to him and his colleagues for research.

"They had believed that the 'dragon bones' were from the dragons flying in the sky," he said.

The calcium-rich bones were sometimes boiled with other ingredients and fed to children as a treatment for dizziness and leg cramps. Other times they were ground up and made into a paste that was applied directly to fractures and other injuries, he said.

The practice had been going on for at least two decades, he said.

Dong was among a team of scientists who recently excavated in Henan's Ruyang County an 60-foot-long plant-eating dinosaur, which lived 85 million to 100 million years ago. Local officials held a news conference Tuesday, showing off the find to the public for the first time.

Another two dinosaur fossils were being excavated in the area, which is rich in fossilized dinosaur eggs, Dong said.

Special Thank to Discovery

Organic tomatoes have more antioxidants

Is organic food healthier for you, after all? A 10-year study comparing organic tomatoes with those grown conventionally suggests that it may be. It's the kind of evidence that pro-organic groups have been desperate to dig up, as most studies have suggested otherwise.

According to the new findings, levels of the flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol were found to be on average 79 and 97 per cent higher, respectively, in organic tomatoes. Flavonoids such as these are known antioxidants and have been linked to reduced rates of cardiovascular disease, some forms of cancer and dementia, says Alyson Mitchell, a food chemist who led the research at the University of California, Davis.

Differences in soil quality, irrigation practices and the handling of harvested produce have made direct comparisons difficult in the past, says Mitchell. So in this study, due to be published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the researchers used data from a long-term project in which standardised farming techniques are used to reveal trends in crop productivity.

Mitchell's team say the finding can be explained by the availability of nitrogen. Flavonoids are produced as a defence mechanism that can be triggered by nutrient deficiency. The inorganic nitrogen in conventional fertiliser is easily available to plants and so, the team suggests, the lower levels of flavonoids are probably caused by overfertilisation.

Previous research has found no differences between organic and conventional crops such as wheat or carrots. Meanwhile a study proclaiming that organic milk had higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids failed to convince the UK's Food Standards Agency (FSA), which pointed out that these short-chained fatty acids do not have the health-promoting benefits offered by long-chained omega-3 oils.

This latest study does not prove that a healthy diet must be organic. The evidence of health benefits for flavonoids is conflicting, says Peter Bramley at Royal Holloway, University of London. And even if such benefits exist, higher flavonoid levels do not necessarily make organic food healthier, says John Krebs, former chair of the FSA and now at the University of Oxford. "This depends on the relevance of the differences to the human body," he says. "Tomato ketchup has higher levels of lycopene than either organic or conventional tomatoes. So if you wanted lots of lycopene you should eat ketchup."

Special Thanks to New Scientist

MadTv Laguna Bi-Otch

10 Deadliest Snakes in the World

Name : Western Brown Snake - Pseudonaja Nuchalis
Size : To 1.5M
Distribution : Most Of Australia Except Extreme SW And Se
Habitat : From Forests To Grasslands , Gravelly Plains And Deserts
Food : Small Mammals And Reptiles
Breeding : Egg-Laying
Appearance : Narrow Black Head And Black Neck Or Many Narrow Dark Crossbars , Colors Light Brown To Black Or May Have A Series Of Lighter Bands Around The Body

Name : Death Adder - Acanthophis Antarcticus
Size : To 40-50Cm
Distribution : Most Of Australia Except Central Desert Region
Habitat : Dry , Rocky , Or Scrubby Places
Food : Small Mammals , Birds And Reptiles , It Uses The Tip Of Its Tail To Lure The Prey To Within Striking Distance
Breeding : Live-Bearing
Appearance : Broad , Triangular Head , Short Tail , Colors Grey To Brown Or Red , It Has A Number Of Irregular Cross bands Over The Body

Name : Black Tiger Snake - Notechis Ater
Size : To 1.2M
Distribution : Australia : Tasmania , Islands In The Bass Strait
Habitat : Rocky Places , Dunes , Beaches , Tussock Grass
Food : Small Mammals , Frogs , Seabird Chicks
Breeding : Live-Bearing
Appearance : Large Body , Usually Black Sometimes Has Traces Of Lighter Cross bands , When Alarmed It May Spread Its Neck

Name : Tiger Snake - Notechis Scutatus
Size : To 1.2M
Distribution : Australia : The Eastern Side Of Australia
Habitat : Forests , Open Grasslands
Food : Frogs
Breeding : Live-Bearing , Usually 30 At Onetime
Appearance : It Can Be Olive Or Even Reddish And Usually Has A Series Of Lighter Cross bands , It Flattens Its Neck When It Is Angry

Name : Sea Kraits - Laticauda Colubrina
Size : To 2M
Distribution : NE Australia
Habitat : A Marine Species
Food : Fish , Eels
Breeding : Egg
Appearance : Wide Head , Some Species With Bands

05. And 04.
Name : Mainland & Eastern Tiger Snake
Size : To 2M
Distribution : Australia
Habitat : Forests , Open Grasslands
Food : Small Mammals , Birds
Breeding : Live-Bearing
Appearance : These 2 Tiger Snake Species Are World's Most Venomous Tiger Snakes

Name : Taipan - Oxyuranus Scutellatus
Size : To 2M
Distribution : NE And Extreme North Australia , New Guinea
Habitat : Forests , Open Woodlands
Food : Small Mammals
Breeding : Egg-Laying
Appearance : Lightly Keeled Scales , Light Or Dark Brown Fading To A Paler Shade On The Sides And Underside . Head Is Usually Lighter In Color

Name : King Brown Snake - Pseudechis Australis
Size : To 2M
Distribution : Whole Australia
Habitat : Forests To Deserts
Food : Frogs , Small Mammals
Breeding : Live-Bearing
Appearance : Dark Reddish To Brown Colors , The Colors Become Paler On The Sides And Undersides

01. World's Venomous Snake
Name : Inland Taipan Or Fierce Snake - Oxyuranus Microlepidotus
Size : To 2M
Distribution : Central Australia
Habitat : Dry Plains And Grasslands
Food : Frogs , Small Mammals
Breeding : Egg-Laying
Appearance : Brown Or Olive Colors , Black Markings On The Head Or Uniformly Black Head

Anatole France

"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread."
Anatole France

One of the most famous quotes of Anatole France (the pen-name of Jacques Anatole Francois Thibault, 1844-1924), winner of the 1921 Nobel Prize for Literature and supporter of the French Communist Party (he was French). It is from the tragic love story The Red Lily (Le Lys Rouge), 1894, chapter 7.
As one person has put it, allowing the stealing of bread is hardly fair for the baker - and it wouldn't be much of a society, with everyone running around sleeping under bridges, begging, and stealing. However, faced with the limited options available to the poor, hungry, and unemployed, breaking existing laws may be only way to survive.

It is the laws that need to be changed - laws that were written to protect the wealthy and the powerful, but defended by working class soldiers and police officers. While stealing bread doesn't make for a successful society, other currently illegal actions may be necessary in the formation of a just society. Strikes, for example, were once illegal. However, through the tireless work of generations of workers, strikes are now part of the legal framework - though limited in many situations (for example, governments can force striking workers back to work in certain instances, under the same conditions they were striking against).

If laws are supposed to provide for the greater good of the society, those laws, which when applied, work against it must be ignored and abolished. This is difficult, however, when the wealthy have a far greater influence on the politics of the country than everyone else.

The Red Lily is apparently in the public domain. Its full text can be found at the following places:

The context of the quote is below:

Nowadays it is a duty for a poor peasant to be a soldier. He is exiled from his house, the roof of which smokes in the silence of night; from the fat prairies where the oxen graze; from the fields and the paternal woods. He is taught how to kill men; he is threatened, insulted, put in prison and told that it is an honor; and, if he does not care for that sort of honor, he is fusilladed. He obeys because he is terrorized, and is of all domestic animals the gentlest and most docile. We are warlike in France, and we are citizens. Another reason to be proud, this being a citizen! For the poor it consists in sustaining and preserving the wealthy in their power and their laziness. The poor must work for this, in presence of the majestic quality of the law which prohibits the wealthy as well as the poor from sleeping under the bridges, from begging in the streets, and from stealing bread.

Green tea for long life?

People who drink at least a pint of green tea each day have a lower risk of death, a Japanese study shows.

The lower overall death risk among green tea drinkers appears to be due to a lower risk of death from heart disease. The benefit of green tea is especially pronounced in women, find Shinichi Kuriyama, MD, PhD, Tohoku University School of Public Policy in Sendai, Japan, and colleagues.

Green tea is a very popular drink in Japan. But some people drink more than others do. Women who drink five or more 3.4-ounce cups of green tea every day cut their risk of heart disease by 31% compared with women who drink one or fewer 3.4-ounce cups. Men who drink this much green tea cut their heart disease risk by 22%.

“”Green tea may prolong your life through reducing heart disease and stroke,”" Kuriyama tells WebMD. “”Our findings might explain the differences in mortality profile between Japan and the United States. The Japanese age-adjusted rate of mortality due to (heart disease and stroke) is about 30% lower than that of the United States.”"

The findings appear in the Sept. 13 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.

—Green tea: might Americans benefit?

Kuriyama’s study is based on data collected since 1994 among more than 40,000 healthy Japanese people aged 40 to 79. More than 86% of the study participants remained in the study for 11 years. Participants filled out detailed questionnaires about their daily diets and health.

The study was conducted with meticulous care. But Kuriyama is quick to point out that this kind of study can’t prove green tea has any beneficial effect. Proof comes only from a clinical trial in which some people get green tea and others do not. The Kuriyama study shows only that there is a link between green tea and lower death risk — not that green tea causes lower death risk.

Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, director of the cardiovascular nutrition research program at Tufts University’s Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, is underwhelmed by the Kuriyama study.

“”This is association, not causation,”" Lichtenstein tells WebMD. “”The Japanese are so different from us in terms of diet and lifestyle. The data — at this point — do not support the hypothesis that adding green tea to your diet will significantly reduce your risk of heart disease or stroke. But stay tuned.”"

Kuriyama points to a Dutch study that suggests Westerners may benefit from green tea. That’s also the opinion of green tea researcher Tsung O. Cheng, MD, of George Washington University Medical Center.

“”I would think that the effect of green tea is worldwide,”" Cheng tells WebMD. “”There is no reason why it should be beneficial in the Eastern world and not in the West. I hope that Westerners will begin to drink more green tea, too. A person would drink two or more 8-ounce cups per day for maximum benefit.”"

—More benefits for women?

Why do women seem to get more of a benefit from green tea than men do?

Kuriyama and colleagues note that the men in their study smoked more cigarettes than women did. And smokers, overall, got less of a benefit from green tea than nonsmokers.

But Cheng says it’s related to estrogen. Green tea studies consistently show a greater effect for women than for men, he says. He suggests that green tea’s active ingredients may interact with the female sex hormone estrogen to boost a heart-protective effect.

—Green tea: no effect on cancer

Kuriyama and colleagues found no evidence that green tea protects against cancer death.

Kuriyama says that was a surprise to him, as “”abundant”" evidence from animal and test-tube studies suggests that green tea ingredients fight cancer.

But he notes that the current findings are in line with other, smaller studies that find green tea has no effect on several specific kinds of cancer.

—Green tea warnings

While it’s yet to be proved that green tea really will protect you against early death, there’s a lot of evidence that green tea is safe — with two major exceptions.

Cheng warns that green tea contains vitamin K. Vitamin K affects blood clotting. People taking the blood-thinning drug Coumadin, he says, should not start drinking more green tea.

And Kuriyama warns against drinking your green tea piping hot.

“”Drinking green tea at high temperature may be associated with increased risk of esophageal cancer,”" he says. “”Therefore, I recommend that green tea should be consumed at moderate or low temperature.”"

What’s the bottom line? For Lichtenstein, the message is to go ahead and drink green tea if you like it. But to prevent heart disease and stroke, what really works is a healthy diet and daily exercise.

Neither Kuriyama nor Cheng would disagree with that. But they both recommend green tea, too.

“”I personally drink two to three cups of green tea per day,”" Kuriyama says. “”On the basis of our study results, I would like to recommend the drinking of green tea to my friends and my family because our findings are the best evidence at present.”"

Cheng says green tea is much better for you than oolong tea or black tea, which lose some healthy properties during fermentation. But that’s not why he drinks it.

“”I drink two cups a day because I like it,”" Cheng says.

Special Thanks to Tehran Times

Mint Tea

1 rounded teaspoon green tea
5 teaspoons sugar (granulated)
12-14 large fresh mint leaves
1 cup water
1 sprig of mint per glass to be served
Mix tea and sugar. Crush mint leaves in water. Bring to boil. Pour over tea and sugar. Let steep for 5 minutes. Place small sprig of mint in two thick 4-ounce juice glasses. Strain tea into glasses. Drink while hot.

The man I watched make this tea in Lebanon used one of the small brass coffeemakers so common in the Middle East. He boiled the mint leaves, tea and sugar over his charcoal fire. Then he strained this over the sprigs of mint in the glass. I also watched a man do it this way in Morocco, so if you want to be authentic, rather than take an American shortcut, that is the method to use.

Strange Fruit by Abel Meeropol

Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black body swinging in the Southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant South,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh,
And the sudden smell of burning flesh!

Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for a tree to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.

Basically this poem is about the Southern lynching mobs in the South of the US before and after the end of slavery. You see these bigots were responsible for the poverty of millions of blacks during that time and after that making it so that african-americans in most cases couldn't have the same advantages as white peopl(eg. Segregation) and even today we give them the right to spread les and hate and poison the minds of our youth. I speak of course about the Ku Klux Klan who under the First ammendment are allowed to do this. I think we should ratify the constitution so as to make hate-speech and hate-groups like this illegal. Now, Republicans(Ann Coulter) like to say that the Democratic party's legacy will be opposing desegregation. however the current democratic party ( which is mostly in the North) would have opposed segregation. The party at that time was mostly situated in the South they were called Dixiecrats. Get it? Dixie-crats. So actually what is now the Republicans in the South were opposed to desegragation. And lets not forget that desegregation occured under a Democratic President(Lyndon B. Johnson).