Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Liberal Joke

McCain on Iran
John McCain made a major speech last week asking the world's leading corporations to stop investing in Iran. That will be followed by an even bigger speech asking them to stop investing in Barack Obama...

Obama: The Fights: Let's Face It, He Wins 'Em

“…during a Senate vote Wednesday, Obama dragged Lieberman by the hand to a far corner of the Senate chamber and engaged in what appeared to reporters in the gallery as an intense, three-minute conversation.

While it was unclear what the two were discussing, the body language suggested that Obama was trying to convince Lieberman of something and his stance appeared slightly intimidating.

Using forceful, but not angry, hand gestures, Obama literally backed up Lieberman against the wall, leaned in very close at times, and appeared to be trying to dominate the conversation, as the two talked over each other in a few instances..."

On wing-nut blab jockey Mike Gallagher’s radio show today, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX), who is currently facing charges of money laundering and conspiracy to launder money, launched a fringe attack on Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) by claiming that he is a Marxist. “I have said publicly, and I will again, that unless he proves me wrong, he is a Marxist,” DeLay declared.
Gallagher couldn’t agree more, saying “That’s what he is”…

From a Commenter named “Hunter” on Daily Kos:
“Unless he proves me wrong, Tom Delay lures children into his van with candy, gasses them to death with bug spray, and uses their powdered bones as an aphrodisiac when making love to all the animals at the San Antonio Sea World.”

A Few Obama-Positive Quotes

“I face this challenge...with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people. Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth. This was the moment - this was time - when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves and our highest ideals.”[Senator Barack Obama]

"[Dr. King’s] appeal was rooted in the larger context of nonviolence. His stated purpose was always to redeem the soul of America… To see Dr. King and his colleagues as anything less than modern founders of democracy - even as racial healers and reconcilers - is to diminish them under the spell of myth. Dr. King said the movement would liberate not only segregated black people but also the white South. Surely this is true."
[Taylor Branch, “The Last Wish of Martin Luther King”]

"Americans are going to have to choose between the Obama and McCain.
It's a choice between the Hillary-defeater or the Wal-Mart greeter."

Gold Nanoparticles Go Couture

Marino wool is about to go high-fashion.

By adding nanoparticles made of pure gold and silver to fine Marino wool, researchers in New Zealand have created a rainbow of unexpected colors intended for high-end, couture fashion designers.

They unveiled the first scarf dyed with gold nanoparticles last week at the Nano Science and Technology Institute convention in Boston.

"We want to create a fashion icon, like Louis Vutton or Gucci, where the logo will speak for itself," said James Johnston, the lead researcher from Victoria University in New Zealand.

"You could say that you are clothed in pure gold or silver," said Johnston.

The dyed wool is not gold or silver in color, however. When dyed with gold nanoparticles, wool, or just about any other fabric for that matter, ranges from purple to yellow and everything in between.

Silver nanoparticles create bright yellows, greens and oranges.

The researchers can even combine and mix colors to create new ones. Varying the amount of gold or silver nanoparticles determines the shade's intensity.

The color of the wool depends on the type of precious metal used, the size of the nanoparticles, and in some cases, their shape.

Spherical gold nanoparticles about 10 nanometers across create a red wine color. As their size increases to 100 nanometers, the color turns red, then purple, blue, and finishes off in various shades of gray.

"Silver nanoparticles are a bit trickier," said Johnston.

Sizes and shapes determine the color of silver nanoparticles, which can be spheres, triangles, round plates or even prisms. They can be shades of green, yellow or orange.

Besides the cachet that comes with clothing yourself in precious metal, Johnston also claims that the process is environmentally friendly, an advantage over traditional dyes.

The wool is also fade-free, handles abrasion well and eliminates static electricity, said Johnston. The gold nanoparticles never wash out.

Besides, "it's very soft and has a nice appearance with a subtle color," he added.

Precious-metal nanoparticles are not new. Gold nanoparticles have been used unwittingly for centuries in red stained-glass windows and are being explored for their potential medical benefits.

Over the last decade, silver nanoparticles have been added to everything from socks to teddy bears for their antibacterial properties, despite recent findings that suggest their leakage into water systems.

Precious-metal-dyed wool isn't for the everyday buyer, and a gold- or silver-dyed wool sweater will be at least several times more expensive than the average wool sweater. Johnston estimates that a scarf made of the wool, which was displayed at the conference "hot off the loom," will cost between $200 and $300.

"It's the difference between a BMW and a Toyota," said Johnston.

While Johnston won't mention which specific fashion designers he is in talks with, he hopes that the first precious metal dyed garments will appear in a year or so.

"This is very interesting research," said Kevin Conley, a nanotechnology researcher at Forsyth Technical Community College who attended Johnston's presentation but was not involved in the work.

"I think this will put a smile on people's faces and help advance nanotechnology," said Conley.

Special Thanks to Discovery

115-Year-Old's Brain Was Sharp Until the End

A Dutch woman who was the oldest person in the world when she died at age 115 in 2005 appeared sharp right up to the end, joking that pickled herring was the secret to her longevity.

Scientists say that Henrikje van Andel-Schipper's mind was probably as good as it seemed: a post-mortem analysis of her brain revealed few signs of Alzheimer's or other diseases commonly associated with a decline in mental ability in old age.

That came as something of a surprise, said Gert Holstege, a professor at Groningen University, whose findings will be published in the August edition of Neurobiology of Aging.

"Everybody was thinking that when you have a brain over 100 years, you have a lot of problems," he said in a telephone interview on Friday.

He cited a common hardening of arteries and the build up of proteins associated with Alzheimer's disease as examples.

"This is the first (extremely old) brain that did not have these problems."

Van Andel was the oldest living person in the world at the time of her death in 2005 in the Dutch city of Hoogeveen, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

In 1972, the then 82-year-old Van Andel called the University of Groningen in order to donate her body to science. She called again at age 111 because she worried she might no longer be of interest. At that time Holstege began to interview her, testing her cognitive abilities at ages 112 and 113. Though she had problems with her eyesight, she was alert and performing better than the average 60- to 75-year-old.

Dr. Murali Doraiswamy of the Center for Aging at Duke University, not associated with the study, said it is unusual and valuable.

In the first place there are few "super-centenarians" -- people 110 and older -- alive at any one time, a slim proportion of the world's population and a scant number even compared to those who reach 100 years.

As a result, he said, there are few chances to study brains as old as hers.

"It's very rare to be able to do not only a post-mortem, but also be able to have tested her two, three years before she died," said Doraiswamy.

"For a scientist, getting the opportunity to study someone like that is like winning the lottery."

Doraiswamy, an Alzheimer's expert, said that the proportion of brains with some buildup of proteins associated with the disease increases with age. As a result, experts theorize anybody who lives long enough will get them eventually.

When Van Andel died, the director of the elderly home where she was living declined to give a cause of death, pointing to her extremely advanced years.

Holstege said she died of cancer.

"She died from stomach cancer, and you and I can also die from stomach cancer," he said, adding that her case demonstrates that very old people die of diseases, not simply old age.

"It is very important to treat the elderly as normal people, as if they are 50 or 60."

He noted that Van Andel was operated on at age 100 for breast cancer and survived 15 more years.

When she was born in 1890, she weighed only 3.5 pounds, and her mother expected her to die in infancy. Van Andel's husband died in 1959. She had no children.

Longevity was in her genes, as all her siblings lived past 70, and her mother died at the age of 100.

Asked what advice she would give to people who want to live a long time, she once quipped: "Keep breathing."

Special Thanks to Discovery

Tree Grown From 2,000-Year-Old Seed

Just over three years old and about four-feet tall, Methuselah is growing well. "It's lovely," Dr. Sarah Sallon said of the date palm, whose parents may have provided food for the besieged Jews at Masada some 2,000 years ago.

The little tree was sprouted in 2005 from a seed recovered from Masada, where rebelling Jews committed suicide rather than surrender to Roman attackers.

Radiocarbon dating of seed fragments clinging to its root, as well as other seeds found with it that didn't sprout, indicate they were about 2,000 years old -- the oldest seed known to have been sprouted and grown.

Sallon, director of the Louis L. Borick Natural Medicine Research Center at Hadassah Medical Organization in Israel, updates the saga of Methuselah in Friday's edition of the journal Science.

One thing they don't know yet is whether it's a boy or girl. Date palms differ by sex, but experts can't tell the difference until the tree is six or seven years old, Sallon said.

She hopes there's a chance to use it to restore the extinct Judean date palm, once prized not only for its fruit but also for medicinal uses.

The researchers have had a look at the plant's
DNA, however, and found it shares just over half its genes with modern date cultivars.

"Part of our project is to preserve ancient knowledge of how plants were used," Sallon said in a telephone interview. "To domesticate them so we have a ready source of raw material."

Her Middle Eastern Medicinal Plant Project is working to conserve and reintroduce plants to the region where they once lived.

"Many species are endangered and becoming extinct. Raising the dead is very difficult, so it's better to preserve them before they become extinct," she said.

The oldest documented seed to be grown previously was a 1,300-year-old lotus, Sallon said.

Pink Grapefruit Juice Most Nutritious

Pink grapefruit juice provides more nutrients per calorie than any other 100 percent fruit juice, according to a new study that analyzed several juices commonly found in major U.S. markets.

The pucker-inducing pink drink just edged out orange juice, which also ranked high, but soundly beat white grapefruit, pineapple, prune, grape and apple juices, which rated in that order, with non-citrus juices like apple falling behind high vitamin C content varieties.

Author Gail Rampersaud, a researcher at the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida, told Discovery News that pink grapefruit juice "is an excellent source of vitamin C," providing an entire day’s recommended amount in a single 8-ounce glass.

"It also provides potassium, folate, thiamin and magnesium, as well as certain carotenoids that can be converted into vitamin A in the body," she added. "Pigmented grapefruit juices, such as pink or ruby, also contain lycopene, a carotenoid that gives pigmented grapefruit its rich color."

Carotenoids are color-giving substances found in orange and yellow fruits and vegetables. They are also present in dark green leafy veggies. Prior studies suggest these compounds may help to prevent cancer and other diseases.

For the recent research, Rampersaud focused only on common 100 percent fruit juices. This left out tomato juice, which is primarily marketed as a vegetable juice, and cranberry juice, which most often is sold as cranberry juice "cocktail," with less than 30 percent actual cranberry juice or within a blend of other juices.

Pomegranate, blueberry, cherry and other rich juices also usually come in blends, so they were eliminated for the same reason.

She used six different methods to calculate each juice’s nutrient density, which is defined as either nutrients provided per calorie or the ratio of the amount of a nutrient in foods to the energy provided by these same foods.

One method, for example, involved calculating the average recommended daily value amount for certain known nutrients based on 2,000 kilocalories, or units used to express the energy-producing potential of food. Nutrients included proteins, fats, sugars, numerous vitamins and minerals and other components.

Findings are published in the current issue of the Journal of Food Science.

Rampersaud explained that citrus juices ranked high "because they generally have higher amounts of a wider variety of nutrients compared to the other juices included in the analysis, coupled with the fact that the citrus juices are lower in calories."

In recent years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has urged consumers to focus on nutrient dense foods and beverages to avoid excess calorie intake.

Adam Drewnowski, director of the Center for Public Health Nutrition at the University of Washington, has conducted several related studies.

He told Discovery News that Rampersaud did "a very impressive job."

Drewnowski added, however, that current nutrient density methodologies do not allow for inclusion of phytochemicals and antioxidants, which are substances that, like carotenoids, may also end health benefits.

Earlier studies have found that very dark juices like pomegranate and blueberry, even in blends, provide high amounts of these compounds.

A food to wash down with all of that juice might be spinach, which Drwenowski said is "the most nutrient dense food," along with broccoli and red peppers, which also provide substantial nutritional bang per calorie buck.

Special Thanks to Discovery

Beijing 2008: An Epic Quest with Cute Mascots

Beijing 2008 Summer Olympic Games is less than 60 days to go (54 to be exact), I am so stoked about getting to go to China to enjoy the sensational event. I've decorate my desktop with these lovely the mascots of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing; The Fuwa.

The cute Fuwa group consists of five members according to the traditional five elements: Beibei, Jingjing, Huanhuan, Yingying, and Nini. Each of the five names is designed to look like a plausible name for a small child, while also achieving a more complex task: when the first syllable of each name is put together, it sounds nearly identical to the phrase “北京欢迎你”, Běijīng huānyíng nǐ which means “Beijing welcomes you”.

Chinese Wedding Interupted...By Sichuan Quake

EXTRAORDINARY photographs claiming to show a wedding in progress during the Chinese earthquake in Sichuan province have emerged as more survivor miracle stories are revealed.

Instead of poring over an album of cherished memories, this bride and groom have a collection of chilling reminders of how lucky they are to be alive.

The photo shoot was taking place at the decrepit Church of the Annunciation, a 100-year-old building that was a popular spot for wedding pictures in recent years. The church was built under the direction of French priests outside the city of Pengzhou, and had been damaged long ago by landslides.

The death toll from the earthquake, which measured 7.9 on the Richter scale, is now put at more than 65,000 and more than 20,000 are still missing.

The Scariest Anti-Smoking Campaign in Brazil

HEALTH authorities in Brazil are renowned for their strong anti-smoking campaign stand with Shocking images showing the dangers of cigarette smoking, including a fetus lying in an ashtray, have emerged in the latest anti-smoking campaign.

The Health Minister in Brazil, José Gomes Temporão launched a new anti-smoking campaign on May 28th. This 10 pictures are part of the Brazilian Health Department’s new anti-smoking drive that show the health risk involved with tobacco use. Images include a family at the bedside of a gravely sick man and a man suffering from impotence.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), in Brazil 17.2 per cent of 13- to 15-year-olds and 16.2 per cent of adults smoke.

WHO says about 9 per cent of boys and 10 per cent of girls aged 12 to 17 smoked cigarettes. The organisation estimates there are more than one billion smokers worldwide.

It says tobacco use kills 5.4 million people a year - an average of one person every six seconds - and accounts for one in 10 adult deaths worldwide.

For more see link here: Scary Anti-Smoking Ads

Inca Sacrifice Victims "Fattened Up" Before Death

Children selected for Inca ritual sacrifice were "fattened up" with high-protein diets in the months leading up to their deaths, a new study has found.

Researcher Andrew Wilson and his team conducted DNA and chemical tests of hair samples taken from four child mummies found in the Andes mountains in the 1990s.

By studying the ratios of chemicals present in the hair, the team helped show how victims were prepared for death as far as a year in advance, sent on grueling highland journeys, and drugged before the sacrificial ceremonies.

"The findings offer insights into the preparatory stages leading to Inca ritual killing, as represented by the unique capacocha rite," the report reads, referring to the Inca tradition of mountaintop child sacrifice.

Hair logs a chemical record of what an individual consumes, and the information can stay intact in archaeological remains, the study authors point out.

"It is chilling that the children themselves, through their own tissue, give us graphic details and evidence that they were not killed on a whim but were part of a complex process for which they were selected some considerable time before," said Wilson, a lecturer in archaeological sciences at the University of Bradford in Britain.

The study appears online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and was funded by the U.K. charity the Wellcome Trust.

"Fattened Up" and Drugged

One extremely well preserved mummy—a 15-year-old girl known as "La Doncella" or the "Llullaillaco Maiden"—appears to have been selected for sacrifice a year in advance, Wilson said.

She and two of the other mummies in the new study were discovered in 1999 by a National Geographic Society expedition led by anthropologist Johan Reinhard. (The National Geographic Society owns National Geographic News.)

Tests show the Maiden—whose hair was 9.8 inches (25 centimeters) long, representing more than two years' worth of growth—was raised mostly on a protein-poor "peasant diet" rich in potatoes.

"But 12 months before her death, her diet becomes protein rich," Wilson said, adding that she was likely fed "elite" food such as maize and llama meat.

"We can equate a change in diet of this magnitude with a change in her status, one that occurred as part of her final demise."

But the term "fattening up" is used as an illustration, not necessarily a direct reference to weight gain, he said.

"The tissue on the Maiden's forearm is plump, for example," he said. "This is an illustration that these individuals were in good health and condition."

What's more, the chemical evidence shows another shift several months before death, indicating that the children were forced on a grueling pilgrimage.

The route likely went from Cusco, Peru—the Inca capital—to high-altitude mountain shrines, where the children were drugged and then killed or left to die, Wilson added.

The Maiden, for example, was fed fermented maize beer and chewed coca leaves before her death.

Last Months of Life

"This work gives a very interesting and intimate picture of the last months before the deaths of the individuals involved in the capacocha ceremonies," said Kelly J. Knudson, a bioarchaeologist at Arizona State University.

Sonia Guillén, a Peruvian archaeologist, said the study was interesting and helps confirm much of what is known about this type of sacrifice.

"One key question is how these children differed from others in terms of diet," she said.

Other capacocha victims have been found, and other studies have looked at isotopic signatures in order to measure seasonal variations in diet, study leader Wilson said.

But none "has linked to such a graphic piece of evidence that would suggest a diet shift of this magnitude that could be equated with change in status."

Study co-author Timothy Taylor, also from the University of Bradford, said in a written statement that "the treatment of such peasant children may have served to instill fear and exert social control over remote mountain areas newly incorporated into the empire."

Superheroes in Their Retirement Age

A superhero (also known as a super hero) is a fictional character “of unprecedented physical prowess dedicated to acts of derring-do in the public interest.”

Since the debut of the prototypal superhero Superman in 1938, stories of superheroes — ranging from brief episodic adventures to continuing years-long sagas — have dominated American comic books and crossed over into other media.

Every superhero has got their glorious moment, as time pass by they too will getting old. Have you ever wonder where would these superheros look like in their retirement age?

Scientists From Around the Globe Join ABC News in a Forum on Surviving the Century

Are we living in the last century of our civilization? Is it possible that all of our technology, knowledge and wealth cannot save us from ourselves? Could our society actually be heading towards collapse?

A dramatic preview of an unprecedented ABC News event called "Earth 2100."According to many of the world's top scientists, the answer is yes, unless we take action now.

This September, in Earth 2100, a dramatic ABC News 2-hour broadcast, the greatest minds across the globe will join together in a countdown to the year 2100 to tell us what we must do to survive the next century … And what may happen if we don't.

The time to act is now, says Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute.

"The 21st century is going to be the century which determine[s] whether we live or die as a sustainable species," Gleick said. "As populations grow, as our use of resources grows, I think we get closer and closer to that edge."

Special Thanks to ABC