Friday, June 13, 2008

France blocks online child porn, terrorism, racism

France is joining at least five other countries where Internet service providers block access to child pornography and to content linked to terrorism and racial hatred, the French interior minister said Tuesday.

The agreement will take effect in September. A blacklist will be compiled based on input from Internet users who flag sites containing offensive material, Interior Minister Michel Alliot-Marie said.

All service providers in France have agreed to block offending sites, he said.

"We can no longer tolerate the sexual exploitation of children in the form of child pornography," Alliot-Marie said. "We have come to an agreement: access to child pornography sites will be blocked in France. Other democracies have done it. France could wait no longer."

Offensive sites will be referred to judicial authorities, the minister said.

A similar deal was announced Tuesday in New York, where Verizon, Sprint and Time Warner Cable agreed with New York state officials to block access to child porn.

Britain, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Canada and New Zealand are among other countries that have already implemented similar measures.

The Many Uses of Hydrogen Peroxide-Truth! Fiction! & Unproven!

The Truth:
Hydrogen peroxide's chemical representation is H2O2. It has uses in industry in it's purest form but the product available to most of us over-the-counter is usually only 3% hydrogen peroxide and 97% water. It breaks down quickly when exposed to light so it generally comes in brown bottles that filter out the sun's rays. It is known for its antibacterial qualities. The pure stuff is dangerous if not used correctly. There are also 30%-35% high strength solutions on the commercial market, typically found in health food stores but also sold as a disinfectant.

There has been continuing controversy over using hydrogen peroxide either orally or through injection to treat a variety of internal ailments including arthritis and cancer. Proponents say that the oxygen released by the breakdown of the hydrogen peroxide is medicinal. Opponents say there isn't good evidence of the health benefits and that there are circumstances in which hydrogen peroxide can be dangerous. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved those high strength hydrogen peroxide products for use internally and considers them dangerous. In July, 2006, the FDA issued a warning about the high strength hydrogen peroxides, saying they could lead to serious health risks and even death. A warning from the BC Cancer Agency in Canada said that over a three year period 6 children were seriously poisoned and one died from drinking the high strength hydrogen peroxide. They report one near-fatal case of an adult ingesting high strength hydrogen peroxide.

Let's go through the claims of the eRumor one at a time:
1. Take one capful (the little white cap that comes with the bottle) and
hold in your mouth for 10 minutes daily, then spit it out. (I do it when I
bathe or shower.) No more canker sores and your teeth will be whiter
without expensive pastes. Use it instead of mouthwash-Truth! But Limited Use!

The Merck Manuals recommended diluting the 3% hydrogen peroxide 50 percent with water, but suggest it as a rinse and part of a treatment for trench mouth, for example. The FDA has approved 3% solutions of hydrogen peroxide for use as a mouthwash. Most sources said to use it only for a short time, however, such as part of a treatment of a mouth infection. A report from Well-Connected (written or edited by physicians at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital) recommended against extended use, saying that overuse may actually damage cells and soften tooth surfaces. We were not able to find any authoritative information about hydrogen peroxide and canker sores.

2. Let your toothbrushes soak [in] a cup peroxide to keep them free of germs-Unproven!

We didn't find anything authoritative about soaking toothbrushes in hydrogen peroxide. Because hydrogen peroxide degrades quickly when exposed to light, if you do soak a toothbrush, do it in freshly poured hydrogen peroxide. Just keeping an open cup of the stuff around won't do much good.

3. Clean your counters, table tops with peroxide to kill germs and leave
a fresh smell. Simply put a little on your dishrag when you wipe, or spray
it on the counters-Truth!

4. After rinsing off your wooden cutting board, pour peroxide on it to
kill salmonella and other bacteria-Truth!

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved hydrogen peroxide as a sanitizer.

5. I had fungus on my feet for years - until I sprayed a 50/50 mixture
of peroxide and water on them (especially the toes) every night and let dry-Unproven!

We were not able to find any authoritative source about foot fungus and treatment with hydrogen peroxide. Again, we are assuming she means a 50/50 mixture of water and 3% hydrogen peroxide. An actual 50/50 mixture of pure hydrogen peroxide and water would be too high a concentration to be safe.

For many of us, hydrogen peroxide was one of the first things we put on a cut or a wound, but that is less recommended nowadays. The reason, according to numerous medical sites, is that there is a downside to the hydrogen peroxide as well. It also damages healthy cells that are needed for the wounds to heal and hinders them from getting to the area where the healing needs to take place. The HealthFinder publication of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says don't use hydrogen peroxide on a wound because it interferes with healing. The U.S. Gymnastics team has followed the recommendations of researchers and uses soap and water for cleansing wounds and not hydrogen peroxide. The National Safety Council's First Aid Pocket Guide (1996) says "DO NOT use hydrogen peroxide It does not kill bacteria, and it adversely affects capillary blood flow and wound healing." The Mayo Clinic gives the same advice.

7. Put two capfuls into a douche to prevent yeast infections. I had
chronic yeast infections until I tried this once or twice a week-Disputed!

Interestingly enough, hydrogen peroxide is naturally produced in the vagina to deal with bacteria. There is conflicting opinion among the experts, however, about whether douching with hydrogen peroxide is helpful or harmful and even some voices that doubt whether douching is necessary at all under normal circumstances.

8. Fill a spray bottle with a 50/50 mixture of peroxide and water and
keep it in every bathroom to disinfect without harming your septic system
like bleach or most other disinfectants will-But be sure you put the mixture into a bottle that filters out sunlight. Also, it appears that hydrogen peroxide does not harm septic systems. Again, this is probably a mixture of 50% water with the other half being 3% or 30% strengths of hydrogen peroxide.

9. Tilt your head back and spray into nostrils with your 50/50 mixture
whenever you have a cold, plugged sinus. It will bubble and help to kill
the bacteria. Hold for a few minutes then blow your nose into a tissue-Undetermined!

We couldn't find much about this in terms of research. Again, if you choose to do it, this is probably referring to a mixture of 3% hydrogen peroxide with water.

10. If you have a terrible toothache and can not get to a dentist right
away, put a capful of 3% peroxide into your mouth and hold it for ten
minutes several times a day. The pain will lessen greatly-

11. And of course, if you like a natural look to your hair, spray the
50/50 solution on your wet hair after a shower and comb it through. You
will not have the peroxide burnt blonde hair like the hair dye packages, but more natural highlights if your hair is a light brown, faddish, or dirty blonde.
It also lightens gradually so it's not a drastic change-Truth!

One of the classic uses of hydrogen peroxide is to bleach hair. The concentrations are between 3% and 6%. This suggestion to dilute with water probably applies to those solutions.

12. Put half a bottle of peroxide in your bath to help rid boils,
fungus, or other skin infections-Undetermined!

The half a bottle probably refers to a 3% solution.

13. You can also add a cup of peroxide instead of bleach to a load of
whites in your laundry to whiten them. If there is blood on clothing, pour
directly on the soiled spot. Let it sit for a minute, then rub it and
rinse with cold water. Repeat if necessary-Truth! But Careful!

The effectiveness of this method is a matter of experimentation, but the principle is sound. Some of the so called "oxygen" bleaches contain hydrogen peroxide.

Be careful about the suggestion to use it on spots. Hydrogen peroxide is a bleach!

14 This list didn't have it, but I use peroxide to clean my mirrors;
there is no smearing, which is why I love it so much for this-Unproven!

The original hydrogen peroxide eRumor did not include this. Some of these were added by people along the way.

15. Gargle with hydrogen peroxide, put drops in the ear and nose to end
colds, flu, chronic sinustis (including polyps], and infections.

A repeat of some previous information.

16. Use as a vegetable wash or soak to kill bacteria and neutralize

We don't know about the chemicals, but there are several credible references about the use of hydrogen peroxide on fruits or vegetables. Research published by the Journal of Food and Science in 2003 showed effective results of using hydrogen peroxide to decontaminate apples and melons that were infected with strains of E.coli.

17. Disinfect your dishwasher or refrigerator-Undetermined!

18. Use it on trees and plants as a natural fungicide, insecticide, and
as a weed killer-Undetermined!

We found no research on the use of hydrogen peroxide as an insecticide, fungicide, or weed killer.

19. Clean with hydrogen peroxide when your house becomes a biohazard
after its invaded by toxic mold, such as those with water damage-Truth!

In a publication about "Healthy Homes," the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) listed hydrogen peroxide as among the substances that can be used against mold, but also said there had not been enough research to recommend its use. It is not known what molds hydrogen peroxide is most effective against or what the human health hazards may be from using it so extensively. Also, since hydrogen peroxide is a bleach, be careful where you use it in terms of preserving the colors in your home.

Fifty years without an accident, but slide is taken down just in case...

For half a century youngsters have enjoyed the 10ft slide in the playground, with no more serious mishap than the occasional bruise or grazed knee.

Many of the parents bringing their children had themselves played on the towering steel structure years ago.

The tradition has, however, been brought to an abrupt halt by that modern scourge, health and safety.

The slide was fenced off last summer while investigations into a nearby collapsed drain were carried out. It has now been dismantled amid concerns that it could cause serious injury.

A spokesman for Birmingham Botanical Gardens admitted yesterday that parents had complained about the decision – but confirmed that the slide will not be coming back.

Instead, officials plan to install a safer replacement with higher sides, when a suitable model has been identified for the playground in Edgbaston, a stone’s throw from the city centre. Local Conservative councillor James Hutchings said: ‘It’s completely mad the way we are being run ragged by the health-and-safety mafia.

‘Children are not going to learn how to judge risks - or how to have fun - if challenging play equipment such as this is denied them.

‘If there hadn’t been an accident in 50 years then the chances are there’s not much wrong with this slide.’

Rachael McKelvey, 35, from Edgbas-ton, often used to take her daughter Jade to the playground. She said: ‘Jade’s a teenager, but she used to love playing on that slide.

‘The new slide will probably be like ones you see in pub gardens and playgrounds all over the place. At least the original had some character.’

Linda Keen, spokesman for the gardens, said the slide was installed in 1958 and confirmed there had been no serious mishaps - or even complaints made about it. ‘It is quite high but it’s very sturdy and there has never been a danger of a child falling off. A few parents have contacted me and told me that they are disappointed the slide has been removed.’

She said the decision was taken after a health-and-safety audit commissioned by the gardens from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents raised concerns over the slide’s safety last year.

Rospa pointed out that the slide did not meet standards introduced in 1999 to regulate playground equipment, but admitted that these regulations did not cover existing equipment.

Mrs Keen said that work to replace the drainage system, which has stood under the gardens since they opened in 1832, would soon begin.

‘As part of that work we had to bore down below the slide, meaning that it had to be moved in any case. Sadly it will not be returning. Instead we are currently deciding what to replace it with.

‘There will still be a slide there but this time it will be combined with something like a treehouse as well. It was an agonising decision to take down the slide but the last thing we want to happen is an accident now that safety fears have been flagged up.’

The gardens’ chief executive James Wheeler added: ‘We are still fully committed to investing in our playground.

‘More than £25,000 has been spent on it already and we are constantly striving to find ways of entertaining our younger visitors.’

The 15-acre gardens were designed by J.C. Loudon, a leading horticultural journalist. They include the original bandstand plus four glasshouses whose displays include a tropical rainforest.

Vegan girl, 12, 'has spine of 80-year-old'

Degenerative bone condition thought to be a result of strict diet

A girl of 12 brought up by her parents on a strict vegan diet has been admitted to hospital with a degenerative bone condition said to have left her with the spine of an 80-year-old.

Doctors are under pressure to report the couple, from Glasgow, to police and social workers amid concerns her health and welfare may have been neglected in pursuit of their beliefs.

The youngster, fed on a strict meat- and dairy-free diet from birth, is being treated at the city’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children. She is said to have a severe form of rickets and to have suffered a number of fractured bones. The condition is caused by a lack of vitamin D, which is needed to absorb calcium and is found in liver, oily fish and dairy produce.

Dr Faisal Ahmed, the consultant treating the child, said he believed the dangers of forcing children to follow a strict vegan diet needed to be highlighted. “Something like this needs publicity,” he said. However, he refused to blame the parents, who are understood to be well-known figures in Glasgow’s vegan community: “We shouldn’t name and shame \. Mum feels guilty about the whole thing and feels bad about it.”

Jonathan Sher, head of policy at Children in Scotland, said: “If the consequence of parental behaviour is physical, mental or emotional harm to a child, then the child protection system should become involved.” Bill Aitken, justice spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives, added: “If the youngster is coming to clinical harm, something must be done.”

In 2001, British vegans Hazmik and Garabet Manuelyan, from Staines, were sentenced to three years’ community rehabilitation after they admitted starving daughter Arenai, 10 months, to death. She had been fed nothing but breast milk, raw fruit, vegetables and nuts.

Veganism is becoming increasingly popular due to concerns about animal welfare. There are 250,000 adherents in the UK and the Vegan Society publishes a guide, Feeding Your Vegan Infant With Confidence. A spokesman said: “I would suggest that it is not the vegan diet itself \ but the parents.”

Professor Tom Sanders, head of nutrition and dietetics at King’s College London, warned that while most vegan parents give their children vitamin and mineral supplements, there was a core of hardliners putting their children’s health at risk.

He said: “Some of them think we’re still monkeys that can live on fruit and nuts.”

Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS board declined to comment. A spokesman for Glasgow city council said the matter had not been referred to its social work department.

Environmentally Friendly Bombs Planned

New explosives could be more powerful and safer to handle than TNT and other conventional explosives and would also be more environmentally friendly.

TNT, RDX and other explosives commonly used in military and industrial applications often generate toxic gases upon detonation that pollute the environment. Moreover, the explosives themselves are toxic and can find their way into the environment due to incomplete detonation and as unexploded ordnance. They are also extremely dangerous to handle, as they are highly sensitive to physical shock, such as hard impacts and electric sparks.

To make safer, more environmentally friendly explosives, scientists in Germany turned to a recently explored class of materials called tetrazoles. These derive most of their explosive energy from nitrogen instead of carbon as TNT and others do.

Tiny bombs were made from two promising tetrazoles with the alphabet-soup names of HBT and G2ZT. These materials proved less apt to explode accidentally than conventional explosives.

After the bombs were detonated in the laboratory, G2ZT also proved as powerful than TNT, and HBT more powerful than TNT and comparable to RDX, said researcher Thomas Klapötke, a chemist at the University of Munich in Germany.

In initial experiments, G2ZT and HBT produced fewer toxic byproducts than common explosives. Still, they did generate some dangerous hydrogen cyanide gas. But mixing these compounds with oxidizers not only avoids making hydrogen cyanide, but also improved performance, Klapötke said.

These compounds have great potential, "especially for large caliber naval and tank guns," Klapötke added.

Klapötke and his colleague Carles Miró Sabate are scheduled to detail their findings in the June 24 issue of the journal Chemistry of Materials.

The research was financially supported by the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich, the Fonds der Chemischen Industrie, the European Research Office of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, the U.S. Army's Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, and the Bundeswehr Research Institute for Materials, Explosives, Fuels and Lubricants