Inside the Business of Selling Human Body Parts
|4:06:28 PM, Wednesday, February 23, 2011|
"Is the human body sacred? Or is it a commodity ready to be chopped up and exposed to the forces of supply and demand? The answer is a matter of perspective. Our own body is a temple. But when we need a spare part, suddenly we’re surprisingly open to a transaction. To a person looking for a kidney, a scientist trying to learn anatomy, a beauty parlor customer looking for the perfect ‘do, there’s no substitute for a piece of someone else.
The problem is, demand for replacement flesh grossly outstrips supply. In the US and like-minded countries, it’s illegal to sell body parts—they can be taken only from those who filled out a donor card before they died or who are willing to give up an organ out of sheer benevolence. This means there isn’t enough tissue to go around. So, as with any outlawed or heavily regulated resource, a bustling underground trade has formed.
Sometimes the market in body parts is exploitive: Desperate people are paid tiny sums for huge donations. Other times it is ghoulish: Pieces are stolen from the recently dead. And every so often, the resource grab is lethal—people are simply killed for their organs. Welcome to the red market..."
Dark Side of the Lens
|3:26:15 PM, Wednesday, February 23, 2011|
-- Brilliant. Amazing. Brilliant. Watch it.
Dan Balan and Vera Brezhnev - Petal's Tears
|2:40:31 AM, Wednesday, February 23, 2011|
Ant Harm: Can Genetic Weapons Roll Back the Expansion of Argentine Ant Supercolonies?
|2:26:46 AM, Wednesday, February 23, 2011|
“In 1907 Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) arrived in Los Angeles via a cargo ship. Within just a few years of their arrival the six-legged stowaways formed a single, massive colony—known as a supercolony—that stretched through California from south of the Mexico border to San Francisco.
A liberal spraying of pesticides in the past century has done nothing to diminish the ants' numbers—L. humile infestations are the most common cause of pest control calls in southern California. The Argentine ant's takeover of coastal California is marked by small shifts in the local, native ecosystem. Populations of the coast horned lizard (Phrynosoma coronatum) have declined sharply in recent years due to the displacement of native ants the lizard depends on for food. Citrus farmers have required increasing quantities of pesticides to cope with rising numbers of aphids, scale insects and other pests that the Argentines actively protect in exchange for the sweet honeydew they produce.
In an effort to better understand and help combat the ants, a group of researchers led by Neil Tsutsui at the University of California, Berkeley, sequenced the genome of L. humile. The results were published January 31 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"An increasingly large number of research groups are focusing on Argentine ants because of their agricultural problems," Tsutsui says. "One of our main goals was just to provide a large resource for the community of scientists that study Argentine ant biology…””
The Piece of Paper That Fooled Hitler
|2:23:09 AM, Wednesday, February 23, 2011|
“It was an audacious double-cross that fooled the Nazis and shortened World War II. Now a document, here published for the first time, reveals the crucial role played by Britain's code-breaking experts in the 1944 invasion of France.
All the ingredients of a gripping spy thriller are there - intrigue, espionage, lies and black propaganda.
An elaborate British wartime plot succeeded in convincing Hitler that the Allies were about to stage the bulk of the D-Day landings in Pas de Calais rather than on the Normandy coast - a diversion that proved crucial in guaranteeing the invasion's success.
An intercepted memo - which has only now come to light - picked up by British agents and decoded by experts at Bletchley Park - the decryption centre depicted in the film Enigma - revealed that German intelligence had fallen for the ruse.
The crucial message was sent after the D-Day landings had started, but let the Allies know the Germans had bought into their deception and believed the main invasion would be near Calais.
It was an insight that saved countless Allied lives and arguably hastened the end of the war.
Now archivists at the site of the code-breaking centre hope that a new project to digitise and put online millions of documents, using equipment donated by electronics company Hewlett-Packard, will uncover further glimpses into its extraordinary past.
Behind the story of this crucial message and its global impact lies Juan Pujol Garcia, an unassuming-looking Spanish businessman who was, in fact, one of the war's most effective double agents.
The Nazis believed Pujol, whom they code named Alaric Arabel, was one of their prize assets, running a network of spies in the UK and feeding crucial information to Berlin via his handler in Madrid…”
Custom Motorcycle Engineer Shinya Kimura
|6:09:58 PM, Tuesday, February 22, 2011|
-- A short film about custom motorcycle engineer Shinya Kimura at Chabott Engineering. A superb film about a guy that builds some really amazing pieces of machinery.
Example - Kickstarts (Afrojack Remix)
|2:42:27 PM, Tuesday, February 22, 2011|
Astronomy Picture of the Day: Gibbous Europa
|2:08:40 AM, Tuesday, February 22, 2011|
"Although the phase of this moon might appear familiar, the moon itself might not. In fact, this gibbous phase shows part of Jupiter's moon Europa. The robot spacecraft Galileo captured this image mosaic during its mission orbiting Jupiter from 1995 - 2003. Visible are plains of bright ice, cracks that run to the horizon, and dark patches that likely contain both ice and dirt. Raised terrain is particularly apparent near the terminator, where it casts shadows. Europa is nearly the same size as Earth's Moon, but much smoother, showing few highlands or large impact craters. Evidence and images from the Galileo spacecraft, indicated that liquid oceans might exist below the icy surface. To test speculation that these seas hold life, NASA and ESA have started preliminary development of the Europa Jupiter System Mission, a spacecraft proposed for launch around 2020 that would further explore Jupiter and in particular Europa. If the surface ice is thin enough, a future mission might drop hydrobots to burrow into the oceans and search for life."
Ecuadorean Villagers May Hold Secret to Longevity
|12:55:37 AM, Tuesday, February 22, 2011|
“People living in remote villages in Ecuador have a mutation that some biologists say may throw light on human longevity and ways to increase it.
The villagers are very small, generally less than three and a half feet tall, and have a rare condition known as Laron syndrome or Laron-type dwarfism. They are probably the descendants of conversos, Sephardic Jews from Spain and Portugal who were forced to convert to Christianity in the 1490s but were nonetheless persecuted in the Inquisition. They are also almost completely free of two age-related diseases,cancer and diabetes.
A group of 99 villagers with Laron syndrome has been studied for 24 years by Dr. Jaime Guevara-Aguirre, an Ecuadorean physician and diabetes specialist. He discovered them when traveling on horseback to a roadless mountain village. Most such villages are inhabited by Indians, but these were Europeans, with Spanish surnames typical of conversos.
As Dr. Guevara-Aguirre accumulated health data on his patients, he noticed a remarkable pattern: though cancer was frequent among people who did not have the Laron mutation, those who did have it almost never got cancer. And they never developed diabetes, even though many were obese, which often brings on the condition.
“I discovered the population in 1987,” Dr. Guevara-Aguirre said in an interview from Ecuador. “In 1994, I noticed these patients were not having cancer, compared with their relatives. People told me they are too few people to make any assumption. People said, ‘You have to wait 10 years,’ so I waited. No one believed me until I got to Valter Longo in 2005.”
Valter D. Longo, a researcher on aging at the University of Southern California, saw the patients as providing an opportunity to explore in people the genetic mutations that researchers had found could make laboratory animals live much longer than usual…”
Dusty The Klepto Cat
|12:05:18 AM, Tuesday, February 22, 2011|
-- There's a kitty out on the streets... Stealin' your things... Klepto cat!... Where is he at? Ohhhhh...! I might have posted something about this cat previously, but this is awesome.
Australian News Show Discussing a Long Stabby Thing
|11:42:50 PM, Monday, February 21, 2011|
Tuning In Space Noise For Sounds Of Life
|7:29:28 PM, Monday, February 21, 2011|
“Earlier this month, NASA's Kepler Mission announced it had found 54 planets orbiting stars in so-called "habitable zones" in our galaxy, where the climate could be suitable for liquid water.
After the planets were found, NASA alerted the SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) of their locations. The institute's scientists started listening to those planets, and while they haven't heard any intelligent life yet, there's plenty of other noise to be heard in space.
Sounds You Can't Hear
SETI chief Jill Tarter says the Institute is not listening for the kind of sound you hear with your ears.
"What we're doing is using sensors that are sensitive to electromagnetic radiation," she says.
Electromagnetic radiation — like the energy in your microwave or from your reading lamp — is just another name for energy that travels in wave form. Radio signals are also a form of wave energy. So when SETI "listens" to the cosmos, the institute is actually receiving electromagnetic radiation.
"And then, just the way your radio does, that energy can be used to make audible sound," Tarter says…”
-- Follow link for audio!!!
Aerosmith - Pink
|4:33:20 AM, Monday, February 21, 2011|
Romance by Ruslan Lobanov
|4:29:57 AM, Monday, February 21, 2011|
Darpa’s New Recruits: You, Your Grandpa and Your Dog
|4:06:17 AM, Monday, February 21, 2011|
“Perhaps you think you’re too fat, too old or too busy to help fight America’s wars. Perhaps you’re not even a human being. The Pentagon’s way-out research arm begs to differ. The military can use your talents — whether you stand or four legs or on two.
Right now, only 1 percent or so of America’s population contributes to the country’s defense (and offense). In its new budget, Darpa announces a $25 million effort to build tools that’ll rope in the other 99 percent. (Doesn’t exactly explain how. But think crowd-sourcing, plus a touch of machine learning to pair peeps up.) The program is called “Unconventional Warfighters,” and the idea is to tap three pools of potential contributors.
First, Darpa is looking to plug in “futurists, inventors, hobbyists and tinkerers who approach military problems from an unconventional perspective.” Then, the agency would like to call upon “military Veterans, including disabled Veterans, who have deep knowledge of the missions and the operational environment.” Lastly, Darpa wants those veterans’ pets.
“Animals are another class of potential contributors,” the agency explains in its budget. “This is not a new idea, as animals possessing special abilities such as dogs and dolphins have been used before to perform military tasks such as mine detection. The new aspect to be examined under Unconventional Warfighters is the potential for creating new sensor, processing, communication and actuator systems specially adapted to enable animals to execute tasks beyond their natural capabilities.”
No, I’m not sure what that means, either.
But get past the giggle factor, and there’s a strong core to Darpa’s program. There are hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of people in this country who are willing to offers their skills and their time to help respond to a disaster or a political crisis — think the Haiti earthquake, or the Middle Eastern revolt. It stands to reason there are a good number of folks who are willing to contribute to national security, too. But the American system doesn’t have a good way of allowing those people to plug in, unless they’re able to join the ranks of the uniformed military or the contractor corps. “Unconventional Warfighters” is a possible way around that…”
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