Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Here's some exciting news: Harvard researcher Ronald A. DePhinho has discovered a way to reverse age degeneration in mice, opening the door to the possibility of a similar process working on humans.
The breakthrough revolves around the enzyme telomerase, which adds DNA sequence repeats at the end of chromosomes. Here's what they did with the mice:
We wanted to know: If you could flip the telomerase switch on and restore telomeres in animals with entrenched age-related disease, what would happen? Would it slow down aging, stabilize it, or even reverse it?If the effects are similar in humans, this could be a cure for diseases such as Alzheimer's as well as a way to look sexy when you're 80.
It was akin to a Ponce de León [the Spanish explorer looking for the Fountain of Youth] effect. When we flipped the telomerase switch on and looked a month later, the brains had largely returned to normal.
One of the most amazing changes was in the animals' testes, which were essentially barren as aging caused the death and elimination of sperm cells. When we restored telomerase, the testes produced new sperm cells, and the animals' fecundity was improved - their mates gave birth to larger litters.
It was a bitterly cold and snowy day in Scotland today, but no one doubts the Scots can take whatever the weather hurls at them. The pictures we've seen show Scots clearing fields of white snow under brilliantly blue skies in a blue-and-white landscape reminiscent of their flag, which celebrates St Andrew and the nerve of the Scots.
In 1320 Scots issued the Declaration of Arbroath. Stating that Scotland had converted to Christianity through the inspiration of St. Andrew, they passionately affirmed their love of liberty -
It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.
St Andrew - his Greek name means manhood and valour - was Christ's first apostle and the brother of Peter. He is said to have preached in Asia Minor, Scythia, Russia and Greece and to have been martyred on an X-shaped cross. it is believed that his relics were brought to St Andrews early in the 8th century.
During a 9th century battle, the Scots saw a cloud shaped like a saltire – an X-shaped cross – in the blue sky, and declared that St Andrew was watching over them. They won the battle.
For centuries the Scots have stood shoulder to shoulder to defend freedom - their own freedom, the freedom of fellow Brits and the freedom of men and women around the world.
Their valour is legendary. Their scientific achievements, innovative ideas and enterprise have helped to overcome disease and make life happier and more comfortable for millions.
Well, that’s a relief.
Sticks and powder of cinnamon
Cinnamon Can Replace Harmful Chemicals Used to Create Nanoparticles
ScienceDaily (Nov. 29, 2010) — Gold nanoparticles, tiny pieces of gold so small that they can't be seen by the naked eye, are used in electronics, healthcare products and as pharmaceuticals to fight cancer. Despite their positive uses, the process to make the nanoparticles requires dangerous and extremely toxic chemicals. While the nanotechnology industry is expected to produce large quantities of nanoparticles in the near future, researchers have been worried about the environmental impact of the global nanotechnological revolution.
Now, a study by a University of Missouri research team, led by MU scientist Kattesh Katti, curators' professor of radiology and physics in the School of Medicine and the College of Arts and Science, senior research scientist at the University of Missouri Research Reactor and director of the Cancer Nanotechnology Platform, has found a method that could replace nearly all of the toxic chemicals required to make gold nanoparticles. The missing ingredient can be found in nearly every kitchen's spice cabinet -- cinnamon.
The usual method of creating gold nanoparticles utilizes harmful chemicals and acids that are not environmentally safe and contain toxic impurities. In the MU study, Katti and researchers Raghuraman Kannan, the Michael J and Sharon R. Bukstein Distinguished Faculty Scholar in Cancer Research, assistant professor of radiology and director of the Nanoparticle Production Core Facility; and Nripen Chanda, a research associate scientist, mixed gold salts with cinnamon and stirred the mixture in water to synthesize gold nanoparticles. The new process uses no electricity and utilizes no toxic agents.
Think about what this Dem Senator is saying. Paying people to not to work creates jobs. George Orwell is smiling.
Sherrod Brown: Tax Cuts Don't Create Jobs, Unemployment Benefits Do
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said on MSNBC: "There is no real history illustrating that these tax cuts for the rich result in jobs. It's extending unemployment benefits that creates economic activity that creates jobs.”
You know authoritarian dhimmitude has gotten out of hand when Austrians aren't even allowed to yodel lest it "offend" Muslim colonists.
An Austrian has been fined for yodelling while mowing his lawn, according to a report.
The Kronen Zeitung newspaper claims Helmut G. was told by a court in Graz, Styria, that his yodelling offended his next-door Muslim neighbours.
Herr G. says he was not making fun of the Muslim call to prayer, but yodeling because that's what Austrians do when they're in a good mood. The judge fixed his good mood by fining him €800, apparently agreeing with the Muslims that absolutely everything is all about them.
Sweden braces for record freeze
Stockholm is forecast to experience its coldest seasonal temperatures for over 100 years this week as winter weather takes hold of the country, according to the Swedish Meteorological Institute (SMHI).
Temperatures across the country are expected to drop to record lows for the first week of December, with the exception of the far north, with averages coming in 7-10 degrees Celsius below normal.
Stockholm registered -11 degrees Celsius at the weekend, the coldest November temperature since 1965 and the mercury is set to plunge further on Wednesday and Thursday, dropping as low as -15.
"It is far below average temperatures, which usually oscillate around zero at this time of the year," said Alexandra Ohlsson, a meteorologist with SMHI.
Senate rejects earmark ban...
8 Republicans defect...
HOT MIC: Senator on lame-duck session: 'It's all rigged'...
VIDEO: GOP Rep Blasts Dem: 'This is why the People have Thrown You Out!'
Laptops, $37K in concert tickets stolen from Rep. Conyers gov't car...
Taken on Bahnhofstrasse here in Zürich. Wanted to capture the beautiful Christmas lights the city has put up but unfortunately there were many many people today as it was the "erste advent" and there was a parade.
I was at the Formosan Aboriginal Cultural Village walking around the Koi Cherry Blossom pond when I saw a food dispensing machine. I noticed the koi went totally nuts when anyone just held their hand over the pond (pretending to drop food), so I asked my sister to drop some food pellets in while I shot.
The shadow uses light from a desk lamp about 1 foot above the Bible and the arch from the pages made the heart shape.
In remarks from the Old Executive Office Building on the heels of a meeting with Congressional leaders, President Obama announced that he has dispatched Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and OMB Director Jack Lew to lead negotiations with both parties on a potential tax cut compromise.
AP Photo/Gregory BullThe $1 trillion stimulus spending was supposed to buy a renewed American infrastructure. Where, exactly, is this occurring?
That $1 Trillion in Stimulus Funds -- Where Did It Go? A few weeks ago, TMQ noted that New York state's comptroller -- the person whose job is to guard the public purse -- had pleaded guilty to corruption. Last week, the Virginia secretary of finance, that state's equivalent of a comptroller, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for embezzling public funds.
Meanwhile, in Prince George's County, Md., a suburb of Washington, D.C., the former school superintendent is in prison for taking kickbacks and the county executive was just arrested for corruption. The accusation against the county executive has not yet been heard in court, but it is pretty hard to imagine what the innocent explanation is for his telling his wife to flush checks down the toilet and hide $80,000 in cash in her underwear as FBI agents approached the house.
All that "stimulus" funny money the federal government has been pumping out -- more than $1 trillion between the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations -- how come we don't see the promised road construction, public transit improvements and school upgrades the stimulus funds supposedly were going to finance? Maybe because the money's being stolen. Government suddenly puts $1 trillion into a pot, with no accountability. There's no chance it will be stolen, is there?
At the least, much of the TARP and stimulus spending -- for which a Republican and a Democratic White House share blame -- has become no more than handouts to special-interest groups. Over the summer, Obama approved a $10 billion special giveaway to prevent what he said would be layoffs of teachers in public schools. That sounds important. But how has the money actually been used? Loudoun County, Va., spent nearly $5 million of its share to give schoolteachers extra paid vacation days. Money is being added to the crushing national debt so members of politically connected interest groups can receive cash for doing nothing. Meanwhile, the new roads, repaired bridges and upgraded schools the $1 trillion in stimulus spending was supposed to underwrite -- where are they?
Courtesy of Library of Congress Tammany Hall could only envy the amounts being stolen from government today.
Wasteful Spending on Bodyguards Watch: Some of the stimulus money is being poured down the drain to provide state and local government officials with bodyguards whose role is to make the officials seem important while allowing them to double-park, cut in lines and speed through stoplights. Here, Michigan's independent Mackinac Center for Public Policy reports that although the city of Detroit has severe budget problems, it spent $1.35 million last year so the mayor and his wife could enjoy round-the-clock security details. Spouses of senators and Supreme Court justices don't have bodyguards. Why does a mayor's wife? The 2009 stimulus bill included $170 million, added to the federal deficit, for Detroit city government. Supposedly, this money was to revive the city of Detroit. How much has been spent to let political insiders act like pashas?
Murder! Intrigue! Astronomers?
When Danish and Czech scientists exhumed the remains of the astronomer Tycho Brahe in Prague this month, they dug up much more than some bones and hairs. They found something that has eluded astronomers for thousands of years: a story with major box-office potential.
It’s “Amadeus” meets “Da Vinci Code” meets “Hamlet,” featuring a deadly struggle for the secret of the universe between Tycho, the swashbuckling Danish nobleman with a gold-and-silver prosthetic nose, and the not-yet-famous Johannes Kepler, his frail, jealous German assistant. The story also includes an international hit man, hired after a Danish prince becomes king and suspects Brahe of sleeping with his mother (and maybe being his father!).
For comic relief, there’s a beer-drinking pet elk wandering around Tycho’s castle, as well as a jester named Jepp, a dwarf who sits under Tycho’s table and is believed to be clairvoyant.
AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile are pushing for a new standard for mobile payments -- relying on just a wave of your cell phone.
Are you ready to give up cash, and maybe even give up your credit cards? I'm not, but there are plenty of companies -- from Google to AT&T -- that think we will.
The idea has been around for more than 20 years but has never come to fruition, because the basic technological tools weren't readily available. Now they are. They're called smartphones.
In one sense, such technology is overkill. Many of us can already wave a credit card at the gas pump or Quickie Mart and have a sale immediately rung up on the register. Credit card companies call it contactless payment. But contactless payments use a one-way system where your credit card info is simply passed from the card to the scanner. You don't receive, say, any information about what you purchased or about what your current balance is on the card itself.
Smartphones could give shoppers that important information, plus a digital receipt. And stores could incorporate electronic coupons on the spot ("You've just saved $1 on kitty litter, sir!"). Others could include their loyalty cards in a digital form that resides on your phone. It would certainly be more convenient; I can't tell you how many times I've forgotten that darn discount card for the hardware store.
THOUGHTS ON THE POLITICS OF WIKILEAKS, from Pejman Yousefzadeh. “In addition to their being no big lies, there are also no surprises–at least, no surprises for anyone paying attention to foreign affairs. Anyone really surprised by the fact that in private, Arab leaders are just as worried about a nuclear Iran as is Israel? Anyone really surprised that Nicolas Sarkozy has been said to have an authoritarian streak, that Silvio Berlusconi is too much of a party animal for his (and his country’s) own good, that democracy is dead in Russia, and that the Chinese are sick of the antics of the North Koreans?
POLITICAL HACKS VOTE AGAINST BAN ON HACKDOM: “Republican Sens. Bob Bennett (UT), Thad Cochran (MS), Susan Collins (ME), Jim Inhofe (OK), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Richard Shelby (AL), and George Voinovich (OH) all just voted against an amendment in the Senate that would have banned Congressional earmarks.”
I have been pretty hard on Muslims. But I must say, the recent planned attacks by home grown Moslems in Portland, Dallas and NY could have only been thwarted with the help of American Moslems. As soon as a Muslim becomes an American, like the lady below, I say “Welcome Aboard”.
“Common sense should prevail, not political correctness.”
PJ O'Rourke: whoopsie!
Never one to keep his mouth shut, PJ O’Rourke’s knack for seeing the funny side of things has made him one of the world’s most controversial and celebrated humorists. His latest book is an attack on big government – but no subject is really safe from his wit.
More than 50 years ago, the little boy who would become America’s most famous Right-wing humorist sat across from his grandmother in the cafeteria of Chicago’s Natural History Museum and asked her to explain the difference between Republicans and Democrats. She said: “Democrats rent.”
Little Patrick Jake O’Rourke didn’t want to rent when he grew up. He wanted to own. “But,” drawls the sexagenarian satirist in the laconic accent familiar from the British Airways adverts he made in the Nineties, “then there were girls.” His boyish, blue eyes glitter as he recalls how his determination to get on to the property ladder was overtaken temporarily by his desire to jump on to the opposite sex.
“My life would have gone along perfectly well, politically speaking,” he writes in his new book, Don’t Vote! It Just Encourages the Bastards, “if it hadn’t been for girls”.
The United States and Britain signed preliminary peace articles in Paris, ending the Revolutionary War.
Author Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in Florida, Mo.
British statesman Winston Churchill was born at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire.
Launched in May of 1977, the HMS Invincible was once the pride of the British Royal Navy's light aircraft carrier group, even seeing action in the Falklands war. Decommissioned in 2005, she's now for sale. Buy it now! [eDisposals]
Wikileaks seem to show more common sense and the need for hard headed adults to make decisions. See below
Lee Smith reviews the stolen diplomatic cables disseminated by Julian Assange. Smith likens the cables to the Pentagon Papers, with a difference. The difference, according to Smith, is that while the Pentagon Papers substantially vindicated the American left, the Wikileaks cable dump vindicates the right. Here are the eight examples that Smith deems the most obvious from the documents that have so far appeared online:
1. While the Israelis are deeply concerned about Iran's march toward a nuclear program, it is in fact the Arabs who are begging the United States to "take out" Iranian installations through military force, with one United Arab Emirates official even proposing a ground invasion. Calling Iran "evil," King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia repeatedly urged the United States to "cut off the head of the snake" by attacking Iranian nuclear installations.
2. It is not just Israeli leaders who believe Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is reminiscent of Hitler; U.S. officials think so too, as do Arab leaders, who use the Hitler analogy to warn against the dangers of appeasing Iran.
3. North Korea, an isolated country that enjoys substantial diplomatic and economic backing from China, is supplying Iran with advanced ballistic missile systems that would allow an Iranian nuclear warhead to hit Tel Aviv--or Moscow--with a substantial degree of accuracy. Taken in concert with the North Korean-built nuclear reactor in Syria, it would appear that North Korea--acting with the knowledge and perhaps direct encouragement of China--is playing a significant and deliberate role in the proliferation of nuclear equipment and ballistic delivery systems in the Middle East.
4. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not a model Middle Eastern leader who has found the right admixture of religious enthusiasm and democracy, as U.S. government officials often like to suggest in public, but "an exceptionally dangerous" Islamist. U.S. diplomats have concluded that Erdogan's anti-Israel rhetoric is not premised on domestic Turkish electioneering or larger geo-strategic concerns but rather on a personal, visceral hatred of Israel.
5. Tehran has used the cover of the ostensibly independent Iranian Red Crescent--a member of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, whose pledge of neutrality allows it access to war zones--to smuggle weapons and members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Qods Force into Lebanon during the 2006 Hezbollah-Israel war, and into Iraq, to fight against U.S. soldiers.
6. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his intelligence chief Omar Suleiman are more worried about Hamas than about Israel and are staunchly opposed to the expansion of Iranian influence in the region.
7. The Amir of Qatar is a dubious ally, who plays Washington and Tehran off each other. "The Amir closed the meeting by offering that based on 30 years of experience with the Iranians, they will give you 100 words. Trust only one of the 100."
8. America's Arab allies do not believe that the Barack Obama Administration can separate Syria from Iran through any foreseeable combination of carrots and sticks. According to one cable, the UAE's Sheik Mohamed Bin Zayed "showed no confidence that Syria could be separated from the Iranian camp" and quoted him directly as saying "If you want my opinion ... I think not." He advised that Syria would continue hedging on key regional issues (Iran, support for Hezbollah, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process) for the foreseeable future.
Smith separately elaborates one point that we have made many times and that deserves to be italicized for emphasis:
What comes through most strongly from the Wikileaks documents...is that U.S. Middle East policy is premised on a web of self-justifying fictions that are flatly contradicted by the assessments of American diplomats and allies in the region. Starting with Bush's second term and continuing through the Obama Administration, Washington has ignored the strong and repeated pleas of its regional allies--from Jerusalem to Riyadh--to stop the Iranian nuclear program.
Most prospective studies have shown that moderate drinkers tend to have about 30% lower risk of developing late onset diabetes than do non-drinkers, and moderate drinkers also tend to be at lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome
Moderate Alcohol Consumption Lowers the Risk of Metabolic Diseases, Study Suggests
ScienceDaily (Nov. 29, 2010) — With the emergence of an epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes (DM) throughout the world, the association of lifestyle habits that may affect the risk of metabolic diseases is especially important. Most prospective studies have shown that moderate drinkers tend to have about 30% lower risk of developing late onset diabetes than do non-drinkers, and moderate drinkers also tend to be at lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome (MS).
A cross-sectional analysis of 6172 subjects age 35 -75 in Switzerland related varying levels of alcohol intake to the presence of DM, MS, and an index of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR).
Alcohol consumption was categorized as non-drinkers (0), low-risk (1-13 drinks a week), medium-to-high-risk (14-34) and very-high-risk (= 35) drinkers. 73% of participants consumed alcohol, 16% were medium-to-high-risk drinkers and 2% very-high risk drinkers.
In multivariate analysis, the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome, diabetes and mean HOMA-IR decreased with low-risk drinking and increased with high-risk drinking. Adjusted prevalence of the metabolic syndrome was 24% in non-drinkers, 19% in low-risk, 20% in medium-to-high-risk and 29% in very-high-risk drinkers. Adjusted prevalence of diabetes was 6.0% in non-drinkers, 3.6% in low-risk, 3.8% in medium-to-high-risk and 6.7% in very-high-risk drinkers. These relationships did not differ according to beverage types.
Moderate drinkers also had the lowest weight, tryglycerides, and blood pressure. All drinkers had higher HDL-cholesterol values (that is 'good cholesterol) than did non-drinkers.