Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2016 November 13

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Been away since Windows 10 hit computers.

Time to start up again with blogging!

 Bring it

Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2016 January 30

9 Clever Ways To Use Essential Oils In The Garden


9 Clever Ways To Use Essential Oils In The Garden

 

Whether your intent is to repel pests, invite pollinators, or to turn your garden into a relaxing get-away, essential oils can help!  Check out these 9 clever ways to use essential oils in the garden.

1. Repel Insect Pests

There are a wide variety of essential oils which – with consistent use – can be used to repel unwanted insect pests from your garden.

Rosemary oil is a potent repellent for many types of pesky insects including flies, fleas and mosquitoes.  Rosemary is also great for deterring insect larvae like the cabbage looper caterpillar whose voracious appetite for juicy vegetable foliage can easily destroy entire crops of Brassicas, tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, and even some root veggies if left undisturbed.  Peppermint oil is an excellent natural insecticide which works on aphids, squash bugs, white flies, ants, beetles, and fleas, just to name a few.  Peppermint is also the best essential oil for repelling spiders.  Thyme oil works against biting insects like chiggers, ticks, and roaches.  Clove oil is another great deterrent for many flying insects.

To create a broad-spectrum all-natural insect repellent, mix equal parts of rosemary, peppermint, thyme, and clove oils (about 10 drops of each) in a spray bottle filled with water.  Remember to shake well before each use.  Apply anywhere you want to get rid of skittering, creeping, crawling, or flying pests.

For particularly bad infestations, try using Neem oil.  This natural insecticide dissolves the waxy coating of many hard-to-kill garden parasites, dehydrating, and eventually killing them.  Neem oil not only works on adult insects.  It also kills larvae and eggs, making Neem oil a super-effective all-natural method for reducing populations of insect pests.

2. Suppress Fungus

The cause of around 85% of all plant diseases, garden fungus can quickly become a big problem if left untreated.  Parasitic fungi cause damage by poisoning or killing cells, blocking stomata (breathing pores), and stealing nutrients from the plant.  If you’re seeing signs of disease in your garden, chances are pretty good that there is a fungus to blame.  Try some of these essential oils to stop fungal pests from spreading:

9 Clever Ways To Use Essential Oils In The GardenTea Tree oil is one of the few natural remedies with the power to not just prevent fungal growth, but also to kill many species of fungus.  To treat existing fungal growth or as a preventative, mix about one tablespoon of tea tree oil per cup of water in a spray bottle.  Apply directly to infected plants once or twice per week.  Remember to avoid spraying leaves when the weather is very hot and dry as sun-heated tea tree oil can easily burn leaves.

Previously mentioned Neem Oil is as effective against fungal infections on plants as it is for treating insect infestations.

Two organic compounds in Citronella oil – citronellal and linalool – have been proven to inhibit the growth of many species of fungus.  Other essential oils with powerful fungicidal properties include Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, Peppermint, Clove, and Cinnamon oils.  Also effective against garden fungus are oils extracted from plants in the Allium family (Onion, Garlic, etc.)

To create an anti-fungal garden spray using any of these ingredients, add 8 – 10 drops of essential oil into a large glass spray bottle filled with water.  Remember to shake before each use.

3. Stop Slugs and Snails

Cedarwood, Hyssop, and Pine are the best essential oils for keeping gastropods off of your plants.  Mix about a teaspoon of your chosen oil(s) in a spray bottle filled with water.  Apply diluted oil in a ring around plants where slugs and snails like to visit.  Refresh as needed.

4. Discourage Vermin

Mice and other rodents are repulsed by the clean, fresh scent of peppermint.  Douse cotton balls with 1 – 2 drops of Peppermint oil a piece then tuck them into the entrances of mouse holes, squirrel nests, and other rodent burrows to persuade rodent residents to relocate.  Replace as needed.

5. Dissuade Pets

9 Clever Ways To Use Essential Oils In The GardenDid you know that cats hate the smell of Rosemary?  If you can’t seem to keep the neighborhood tomcat from leaving his delightful presents amidst your herbs and veggies, try spraying your mulch with Rosemary oil diluted in water.  Alternately, you can add a few drops of Rosemary oil to a wide, shallow container partially filled with water.  Whisk vigorously to break up oil droplets then drop in strips of cloth or pieces of string.  Allow them to soak long enough to absorb all of the oil.  Tie strings between plants or around the garden perimeter.  Hang cloth strips between garden rows, around plants, or anywhere you know the cat likes to dig.  Refresh as needed.

Black Pepper (or any other pepper, for that matter) essential oil can also be used to deter larger mammals from your garden.  Dogs, in particular, with their sensitive noses will be turned away from the strong odor of pepper oil.  Apply using the same string / cloth method as with Rosemary oil (above).  Just keep in mind that over-use of this essential oil may make your garden less pleasant for humans as well.

6. Treat Bites & Stings

Bites and stings from bees, wasps, ants, and other insects are always a possibility, even for the most careful gardener.  Mix 2 drops of Lavender oil, 2 drops of  Chamomile, and 1 drop of Basil essential oil with one teaspoon of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar.  Apply this remedy to fresh bites and stings with a cotton ball or pad.

Alternately, you can mix the same oils, but substitute Jojoba oil for the ACV.  Cleanse bites and stings with a cotton ball soaked in ACV, dab dry, then applying the soothing oil blend.

7. Attract Pollinators

Essential oils aren’t just for repelling unwanted creatures from your garden.  You can also use certain fragrant oils to attract natural pollinators to your garden.  The scent of Neroli (orange blossom) is an irresistible attractant for bees, as are the essential oils of many small-blossomed flowers such as Lavender, Hyssop, Marjoram, Helichrysum, Basil, Sage, and Rosemary.  Also, try Lavender, Yarrow, Catmint, Fennel, Helichrysum, and Sage essential oils to attract more butterflies to your garden.

8. Enhance the Mood

Perhaps you have a private little nook – a sanctuary filled with growing things where you go to relax after a long and stressful day.  Why not add an essential oil burner and fill it with aromatherapy oils to enhance the calming effects of your secret garden?  Check out these tips for mixing essential oils.

For the best selection of therapeutic-grade aromatherapy essential oils on the internet, we recommend Mountain Rose Herbs!

9. Make Your Own Mosquito Repellent

Probably the most well-known essential oil for repelling mosquitoes and other biting insects is Citronella.  However, if you aren’t a big fan of the scent of this pungent herb, there are plenty of alternatives which can be used to keep these annoying blood-suckers away from your skin.  Either way, just follow these simple instructions to create your own natural mosquito repellent.

Before you begin, you’ll need a small glass spray bottle filled with about 2 ounces of water and 1 ounce of organic witch hazel.  You can also add about 10 drops of jojoba oil which is a natural insect repellent and great skin conditioner.  Once you’ve done this, it’s time to pick out your essential oils.

The “Heavy Hitters” – (Choose one or two.)

Because these oils are very strong, they should be used in smaller amounts than the other ingredients in your mosquito repellent.  Choose one or two from the following six essential oils and add 2 – 4 drops total to the mixture.

Citronella, Lemongrass, Cajeput, Eucalyptus – all great natural insect repellents

Peppermint – also works against ants, flies, lice, and spiders.

Garlic oil – personally tested and confirmed to be very effective.  (Even tiny six-legged vampires hate garlic!)

The “Distance Runners” – (Choose at least one.)

These essential oils have lower levels of volatile organic compounds so they tend to have richer, longer-lasting aromas than the ingredients from the first category.  Keep in mind that this will be the main ingredient – and thus the main scent – in your natural mosquito repellent.  Choose your favorite (or favorites, if you want to use more than one) from the following five oils and add 10 – 15 total drops to the mix.

Clove, Lavender, Tea Tree – all effective natural insect repellents

Pine oil – also works well against fleas and ticks.

Rosemary – keeps flies away in addition to mosquitoes.

The “Harmonizers” – (Choose one, maybe two.)

These oils help to balance out your blend and stabilize the more volatile, strong-smelling ingredients.  Choose one (maybe two) essential oils from the following three oils and add 3 – 6 drops total to top off your homemade mosquito repellent.

Cedarwood – natural insecticide with a fresh piney fragrance.

Sandalwood – somewhat weak protection against mosquitoes, but has an incredible warm and woody aroma.

Patchouli – deters bed bugs, ants, fleas, and lice in addition to mosquitoes.  Very strong, smoky and musky scent.

Always remember to shake well before spraying your all-natural homemade mosquito repellent!

Essential oils have a huge number of uses for health, beauty and around the home, and with the advice of this article, you now know how you can use essential oils in the garden.


forsidakjot_1

Það er mikið um vitleysu um næringu í fjölmiðlum. Eitt versta dæmið er áróðurinn gegn kjötneyslu.

Hér eru 8 fáránleg ósannindi um kjöt og áhrif þess á heilsu.

1. Kjöt rotnar í ristli

Sumir halda því fram að kjöt meltist ekki almennilega og “rotni” í ristlinum.

Þetta er algjört rugl, líklega fundið upp af grænmetisætum til þess að hræða fólk frá því að borða kjöt.

Það sem gerist þegar við borðum kjöt er að það brotnar niður bæði af völdum magasýra og meltingarensíma.

Í smágirninu eru próteinin brotin niður í amínósýrur og fitan er brotin niður í fitusýrur.

Eftir það frásogast þau yfir meltingarvegginn og inn í blóðrásina. Það er ekkert eftir til að “rotna” í ristlinum.

Ef þú vilt vita hvað raunverulega “rotnar” í ristlinum, þá eru það ómeltanleg plöntuefni (trefjar) … úr grænmeti, ávöxtum, korni og belgjurtum.

Meltingarfæri manna hafa ekki nauðsynleg ensím til að brjóta niður trefjar, sem er ástæða þess að þær fara alla leið niður í ristilinn.

Þar gerjast þær (rotna) vegna vingjarnlegu bakteríanna í þörmunum sem breyta þeim í næringarefni og gagnleg efnasambönd á borð við stuttu fitusýruna butyrate (1).

Þetta er það sem heldur vingjarnlegu bakteríunum lifandi og margar rannsóknir sýna að fóðrun þessara baktería sé mjög mikilvæg heilsu (2, 3).

Þannig að … kjöt rotnar ekki í ristlinum. Plöntur gera það …. og það er góður hlutur.

Niðurstaða: Næringarefni í kjöti brotna niður og frásogast löngu áður en þau komast í ristilinn. Hins vegar gerjast plöntutrefjar (“rotna”) í ristli, sem er reyndar gott þar sem þær fæða vingjarnlegu ristilbakteríurnar.

2. Kjöt inniheldur mikið af skaðlegri, mettaðri fitu og kólesteróli

Ein helsta röksemdin gegn kjöti er sú að það hafi tilhneigingu til að vera hátt bæði í mettaðri fitu og kólesteróli.

maður með steik á diski

Þetta er ekki áhyggjuefni þar sem nýjar rannsóknir sýna að hvoru tveggja eruskaðlaus.

Þrátt fyrir að flestir telji kólesteról vera eitthvað sem þarf að óttast, þá er það í raun mjög mikilvæg sameind í líkamanum.

Kólesteról er að finna í öllum frumuhimnum og er notað til að búa til hormón. Lifrin framleiðir mikið magn af því til að tryggja að okkur skorti það aldrei.

Þegar við fáum mikið af kólesteróli úr fæðu þá framleiðir lifrin bara minna í staðinn þannig að heildarmagn í líkamanum breytist lítið (4, 5).

Það er staðreynd að hjá um 70% manna hefur kólesteról í mat óveruleg áhrif á kólesteról í blóði (6).

Hjá hinum 30% finnst væg hækkun á LDL kólesteróli, en HDL (sem er verndandi) hækkar líka (7, 8).

Það sama gildir um mettaða fitu, hún hækkar líka HDL (“góða”) kólesterólið (9, 10).

En jafnvel þegar mettuð fita og/eða kólesteról valda vægri hækkun á LDL þá er það ekki vandamál vegna þess að þau breyta LDL ögnunum úr litlum, þéttum LDL (mjög slæmt) í stórar LDL, sem eru verndandi (11, 12).

Rannsóknir sýna að fólk sem hefur að mestu stórar LDL agnir er í mun minni hættuá hjartasjúkdómum (13, 14).

Þess vegna kemur ekki á óvart að sjá að rannsóknir á hundruðum þúsunda manna sýna að að mettuð fita og kólesteról tengjast ekki aukinni hættu á hjartasjúkdómum (15, 16).

Í raun sýna nokkrar rannsóknir að mettuð fita tengist minni hættu á heilablóðfalli, sem er önnur mjög algeng orsök dauða og örorku (17).

Þegar þessar kenningar eru prófaðar með raunverulegum rannsóknum á mönnum kemur í ljós að þegar fólk sker niður neyslu á mettaðri fitu og neytir “hjartavænna”jurtaolía í staðinn (sem lækka kólesteról) þá aukast líkur á dauða (18).

Niðurstaða: Það er rétt að kjöt hefur tilhneigingu til að vera hátt í mettaðri fitu og kólesteróli, en þetta er ekki áhyggjuefni vegna þess að þessi efni hafa ekki skaðleg áhrif á kólesteról í blóði og valda ekki aukinni hættu á hjartasjúkdómum.

3. Kjöt veldur hjartasjúkdómum og sykursýki 2

kjötÞað er ótrúlegt en satt að kjöti er oft kennt um vestræna sjúkdóma, til dæmis hjartasjúkdóma og sykursýki 2.

Hjartasjúkdómar urðu ekki vandamál fyrr en snemma á 20. öld og sykursýki 2 nokkrum áratugum síðar.

Þessir sjúkdómar eru nýir … en kjöt er ævaforn fæða. Menn og forverar þeirra hafa borðað kjöt í milljónir ára (19).

Að kenna gömlum mat um ný vandamál er fáránlegt.

Sem betur fer höfum við tvær mjög stórar og ítarlegar rannsóknir sem geta fullvissað okkur um hvað rétt er.

Í stórri rannsókn sem birt var árið 2010 höfðu vísindamenn sameinað upplýsingar úr 20 rannsóknum sem tóku til alls 1.218.380 einstaklinga. Þeir fundu engin tengslmilli neyslu óunnins rauðs kjöts og hjartasjúkdóma eða sykursýki 2 (20).

Önnur stór evrópsk rannsókn sem 448.568 einstaklingar tóku þátt í fann engin tengsl milli óunnins rauðs kjöts og þessara sjúkdóma (21).

Hins vegar fundu báðar þessar rannsóknir aukna áhættu fyrir fólk sem át unnarkjötvörur.

Af þessum sökum er mjög mikilvægt að gera greinarmun á milli mismunandi kjötgerða.

Margar rannsóknir sem virðast sýna að “rautt kjöt” sé skaðlegt gera ekki nægilegan greinarmun á milli unnins og óunnins kjöts.

Unnin matvæli eru almennt nokkuð slæm fyrir okkur … það á ekki eingöngu við kjöt.

Niðurstaða: Margar stórar rannsóknir hafa kannað tengsl milli kjötneyslu, hjartasjúkdóma og sykursýki. Það fundust sterk tengsl fyrir unnar kjötvörur, en engin tengsl fyrir óunnið rautt kjöt.

4. Rautt kjöt veldur krabbameini

Grilluð steikAlgengt er að fólk trúi því að kjöt, sérstaklega rautt kjöt, valdi krabbameini.

Hér verða hlutirnir svolítið flóknari.

Það er rétt að unnið kjöt tengist aukinni hættu á krabbameini, sérstaklega krabbameini í ristli (22).

En þegar kemur að óunnu rauðu kjöti þá eru hlutirnir ekki jafn skýrir.

Þó nokkrar rannsóknir bendi til þess að óunnið rautt kjöt geti aukið hættu á krabbameini, þá sýna yfirlitsrannsóknir sem sækja gögn í margar aðrar rannsóknir aðra niðurstöðu.

Tvær yfirlitsrannsóknir, ein sem fór yfir gögn úr 35 rannsóknum og hin úr 25 rannsóknum, komust að því að áhrifin af óunnu rauðu kjöti voru mjög veik fyrir karla og engin fyrir konur (23, 24).

Hins vegar … kemur í ljós að eldunaraðferð kjötsins hefur mikið að segja um áhrif þess á heilsu.

Nokkrar rannsóknir sýna að þegar kjöt er ofeldað þá geta myndast efnasambönd eins og Heterocyclic Amines og Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, sem hafa reynst valda krabbameini í tilraunadýrum (25).

Það eru nokkrar leiðir til að koma í veg fyrir að þetta gerist … eins og að velja mildari eldunaraðferðir og skera burt brennda bita.

Svo svarið er ekki að forðast rautt kjöt, heldur tryggja að það brenni ekki.

Hafðu í huga að ofhitun getur valdið því að skaðleg efnasambönd myndast í mörgum öðrum matvælum. Þetta á ekki eingöngu við um kjöt (26).

Niðurstaða: Tengingin milli óunnins rauðs kjöts og krabbameins er mjög veik hjá körlum og engin hjá konum. Tengingin getur farið eftir því hvernig kjötið er eldað, því ofhitun getur verið krabbameinsvaldandi.

5. Menn eru náttúrulegar grænmetisætur og eru ekki “hannaðir” fyrir kjötneyslu

stelpa sem vill ekki grænmetiSumar grænmetisætur halda því fram að menn séu ekki “hannaðir” til að borða kjöt.

Þeir segja að menn séu náttúrulegar grænmetisætur eins og prímatar, forverar okkar.

Þetta … er hins vegar alrangt. Menn og forverar þeirra hafa borðað kjöt í mjög langan tíma og líkamar okkar eru vel aðlagaðir að kjötneyslu (27, 28).

Meltingarkerfi okkar líkjast yfir höfuð ekki meltingarkerfum grasbíta.

Við höfum stuttan ristil, langt mjógirni og mikið af saltsýru í maga til að hjálpa okkur að brjóta niður dýraprótein (29).

Lengd mismunandi hluta meltingarfæra okkar er einhvers staðar á milli lengdar sem er dæmigerð fyrir bæði kjötætur og grasbíta, sem gefur til kynna að menn séu “hannaðir” fyrir hvoru tveggja (30).

Það er einnig talið að neysla okkar á dýraafurðum hafi ýtt undir þróun heilans sem hefur síðan aðskilið okkur frá öllum öðrum dýrum plánetunnar (31).

Það er best fyrir menn að borða bæði dýr og plöntur. Punktur.

Niðurstaða: Menn eru vel búnir til að nýta þau næringarefni sem finnast í kjöti. Meltingarfæri okkar endurspegla erfðafræðilega aðlögun að hvoru tveggja jurta- og dýraafurðum, þar sem dýraafurðir eru helsta uppspretta hitaeininga.

6. Kjöt er slæmt fyrir beinin

Margir virðast trúa því að prótein sé slæmt fyrir beinin og geti leitt til beinþynningar.

próteinríkur matur

Kenningin er svona … við borðum prótein sem eykur sýruálagið á líkamann, við það færir líkaminn kalk úr beinunum og inn í blóðrásina til að draga úr sýrunni.

Það eru reyndar nokkrar skammtíma rannsóknir sem styðja þetta. Aukið prótein getur leitt til aukins kalsíumtaps úr líkamanum (32).

Hins vegar virðast þessi skammtímaáhrif deyja út vegna þess að langtíma rannsóknir sýna að prótein hefur í raun góð áhrif á beinaheilsu (33).

Það eru yfirgnæfandi vísbendingar um að próteinrík fæða sé tengd við bættan beinþéttleika og minni hættu á beinþynningu og beinbrotum vegna elli (34, 35, 36).

Þetta er frábært dæmi um hvað blind trú á hefðbundna speki í næringu getur leitt tilandstæðrar niðurstöðu við það sem rétt er.

Niðurstaða: Þrátt fyrir að prótein valdi auknu kalsíumtapi til skamms tíma, sýna langtíma rannsóknir að há próteininntaka tengist auknum þéttleika beina og minni hættu á beinþynningu og beinbrotum.

7. Kjöt er óþarft

hráar lærissneiðarÞví er oft haldið fram að kjöt sé óþarft fyrir heilsuna.

Þetta er reyndar að einhverju leyti rétt … flest næringarefni í því er að finna í öðrum matvælum úr jurtaríkinu.

En þó við getum lifað án þess, þýðir það ekki að við ættum að gera það … gæðakjöt inniheldur mörg næringarefni sem eru okkur góð.

Þar með talin eru gæðaprótein, vítamín B12, kreatín, carnosine og ýmis mikilvæg fituleysanleg vítamín, sem grænmetisætur vantar oft.

Náttúrulegur matur eins og kjöt inniheldur miklu meira en bara þessi hefðbundnu vítamín og steinefni sem við þekkjum öll. Það eru bókstaflega þúsundir snefilefna þarna … og sum hver eiga vísindin enn eftir að bera kennsl á.

Staðreyndin er sú að menn þróuðust við kjötneyslu og þróun hannaði líkama okkar með þessi næringarefni í huga. Þau eru ómissandi hluti af gífurlega flóknu líffræðilegu gangverki okkar.

Getum við lifað án kjöts? Vissulega … en við munum ekki ná hámarks heilsu, með nýtingu á öllum þeim gagnlegu næringarefnum sem náttúran hefur veitt okkur.

Þó við getum lifað án kjöts, þá mætti það sama segja um flestar aðrar gerðir matar … þar á meðal grænmeti, ávexti, jurtir, fisk, egg, o.s.frv. Við borðum bara meira af einhverju öðru í staðinn.

Gæðakjöt er nokkuð nálægt því að vera fullkomin fæða fyrir menn. Það inniheldur flest næringarefni sem við þörfnumst.

Það er meira að segja til ein rannsókn þar sem tveir gaurar átu ekkert nema kjöt og innmat í eitt ár og voru við frábæru heilsu (37).

Auðvitað er ekki allt kjöt eins. Besta kjötið kemur af dýrum sem eru alin á grasi og hafa borða þau matvæli sem eru þeim náttúruleg.

Óunnið kjöt af skepnum sem hafa verið aldar við góðar aðstæður (eins og nautakjöt af grasbítum) er næringarríkara (38, 39).

Niðurstaða: Sumir halda því fram að kjöt sé óþarft. Þó það sé rétt að við getum lifað án þess, þá eru samt mörg næringarefni í því sem eru mikilvæg fyrir heilsuna.

8. Kjöt gerir þig feitan

Kjöt er oft talið vera fitandi.

Þetta virðist skynsamleg ályktun því flestar kjötafurðir eru nokkuð fitu- oghitaeiningaríkar.

hollur matur

Hins vegar er kjöt einnig ein besta uppspretta hágæða próteins sem við höfum. Prótein er langbesta næringarefnið þegar kemur að þyngdartapi.

Rannsóknir sýna að próteinríkt fæði getur bætt efnaskipti um allt að 80 til 100 hitaeiningar á dag (40, 41).

Það eru líka til rannsóknir sem sýna að ef þú eykur próteineyslu, þá byrjar þú sjálfkrafa að borða minna af öðrum matvælum í staðinn (42).

Þónokkrar rannsóknir hafa sýnt fram á að með því að auka próteinmagn í fæðu, þá skeri fólk sjálfkrafa niður hitaeininganeyslu um nokkur hundruð hitaeiningar á dag (43).

Meira prótein hefur líka tilhneigingu til að auka vöðvamassa. Vöðvar brenna hitaeiningum allan sólarhringinn (44).

Að auki skulum við ekki gleyma því að lágkolvetna- og Paleo mataræði, sem hafa tilhneigingu til að vera há í kjöti, leiða til verulega meira þyngdartaps en mataræði sem inniheldur minna af kjöti (45, 46).

Ef eitthvað er þá má segja að því meira sem þú borðar af hágæða kjöti (og minna af öðrum matvælum í staðinn), því auðveldara ætti að vera fyrir þig að léttast.

Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2016 January 18

Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn Are About To Align


Photo credit: Tim the Finn/Shutterstock

This month will see a passing moment where Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn – the five planets visible from Earth by the naked eye – will appear in a line from the horizon to the Moon.

The alignment of these five earthly neighbors will be visible from Wednesday, January 20 to Saturday, February 20.

Dr. Tanya Hill, senior curator at the Melbourne Planetarium, told Australian Geographic that if you don’t catch the allignment this month, you’ll be able to see it again in August of this year, and then again in October 2018.

Dr. Alan Duffy, research fellow at Swinburne University in Melbourne, also spoke to Australian Geographic and gave some advice on how best to see the alignment.

Since Mercury will appear very close to the horizon, find a nice open spot, away from tall buildings or trees. Getting as far away from city lights is also advisable, so each planet’s glow isn’t too drowned out by light pollution.

Venus and Jupiter, however, should be fairly easy to spot and Mars’ distinctive red glow should give itself away. If you can find one of these planets, just hold up your arm so it’s in line with it and the Moon – the rest should fall vaguely in line with your arm.

“There are only a few amazing things in the night sky that can be seen without any equipment,” Dr. Duffy said, adding that this is “something well worth seeing.”

Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2015 December 26

Barbecue bacon meatball


This delicious recipe was posted by Team Traeger. It’s an easy-to-follow recipe that will allow you to create the most amazing, action-packed meatballs ever. The best part is that they are wrapped in bacon!

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • 2 yellow onions
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/4 cup onions, diced
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. spicy ketchup
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 pack of bacon
  • 1 bottle of BBQ sauce

First, preheat your oven to 425 °F.

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Then, cut off the tops and bottoms of the onions and remove the exterior shell. Cut the onion in half and peel the layers apart. Be sure to keep the biggest layers to stuff with meat.

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To prepare the ground beef, toss it with diced onion, parsley, brown sugar, mushroom, condiments, and bread crumbs in a mixing bowl.

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Afterwards, fill the onion layer pieces with the beef mixture.

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Wrap the onion meatballs with bacon. This can typically be done with three slices per ball, but it will vary depending on the size of your ball. Secure the bacon with toothpicks to keep it from unraveling during cooking.

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Put the finished bacon-wrapped meatballs in the oven for 40 minutes. Then cover the balls in BBQ sauce and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

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Now, you can enjoy your delicious BBQ Bacon Meatballs!

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Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2015 December 17

7 Suppressed Inventions That Would Have Changed The World


The world is steeped in poverty with precious little in the way of humanitarian advancement because the ruling elite have suppressed a number of technologies that could have changed the world and created a utopia.

Attempting to bring their innovations to the world at large the brilliant inventors of these technologies were given a hard time by the big boys of the ruling elite’s establishment. Some were murdered for profit…

So without further ado here are some of those technologies. Here are 7 suppressed inventions that would have changed the world, and the circumstances surrounding the inventors.

1. Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) – Wardenclyffe Tower Project – free energy.

“Electric power is everywhere, present in unlimited quantities and can drive the world’s machinery without the need of coal, oil, gas or any other fuels.”Nikola Tesla (1856-1943)

Multi-talented Tesla cut across many disciplinary boundaries. His genius gave rise to a number of world-changing inventions.

One of his most famous experiments /inventions was the Wardenclyffe Tower Project. It was Tesla’s attempt to provide everyone on the globe with free energy through harnessing electricity from the Earth’s ionosphere by means of the towers. Without wires the towers could transmit the harnessed electricity to ground-level areas requiring it…

However, Tesla’s funding was stopped. His equipment and lab was burned down together with the related intellectual property because it posed a threat to undercutting the cost of the conventional electricity grid system. If Tesla’s Wardenclyffe Tower Project had been allowed to flourish and not be destroyed then today we could well be living in a utopia.

Tesla died a poverty-stricken lonely and forgotten man in New York City.

2. Raymond Rife (1888-1971) and his Universal Microscope for curing cancer.

After successfully curing a number of cancer patients the Rockefeller-owned American Medical Association (AMA) later had this work laid to rest by closing down Rife’s set ups and seizing his equipment: Essentially Rife refused to hand over the rights of his work to the AMA because he saw moneyed interests as hidden ulterior motives.  That the cancer machine would not be allowed to the world at large because the AMA and the medical/pharmaceutical establishment don’t want patients’ cured:

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That would mean customers lost and no more revenue… so they have to keep coming up with treatment that only takes care of the symptoms, guaranteeing the cancer returns and thus repeat business…

After years of ensuing court cases with the big boys of the cancer establishment, having had little money, exiled in Mexico to avoid imprisonment in the USA, Rife died of alcoholism.

The pressures of harassment related to the legal battles and constant threat of imprisonment had been too much for him…

3. Wilhelm Reich (1897 – 1957) -Cloud busting and weather control.

Wilhelm Reich built an instrument he called the cloudbuster which successfully induced weather change. It has been used to break many droughts by producing clouds that make rain.

This workable mechanism for making rainclouds for crop irrigation in drought areas was stopped by those ever watchful lackeys for the ruling elite.

Allowing something like this could lead to food abundance and greatly contribute to ending world hunger. However, the controllers don’t want world hunger to end. If this happened it would make it more difficult to control people in what would no longer be third world countries…  Don’t forget, their hidden enslavement agenda…

Consequentially, Wilhelm Reich was hounded by the likes of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) having accused him of fraud and deception with his cloudbuster instrument… His equipment was seized and destroyed.

His last days were spent in prison where it was claimed that he died of a heart attack.

4. Linus Pauling (1901-1994) – ‘Unified Theory’ cure for heart disease.

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Pauling had worked with Matthias Rath and they came up with a unified approach to curing heart disease.

Essentially, they found that heart disease is the result of a long-term vitamin C deficiency. The solution is to treat patients with frequent high doses (e.g. 6g/day) of vitamin C while using the amino acids lysine and proline to remove the atherosclerotic plaque lining the inner walls of the blood vessels that cause a narrowing or blocking of the lumen (space) of the blood vessels which is responsible for restricting blood flow and cardiovascular disease.

However, due to greater interests in corporate profitability and perceived financial threat, this highly successful cheap alternative therapy has not been allowed that much attention.

5. Stanley Meyer (1940-1998) and the car that runs on water.

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Meyer invented a car that ran on water instead of the conventional fossil fuel gasoline. The car was able to travel from New York to Los Angeles on 22 gallons of water!

The engine system was fitted with a fuel cell that was able to split water into its components hydrogen and oxygen. The burnt hydrogen was the fuel source used to generate the necessary energy to power the car…  For a detailed account on how the car works see the video below.

With such energetic sustainability Meyer’s invention could have made a revolutionary contribution to our planet’s environment and economy: If the full specifications of his work had been allowed to be published we’d all be using his technology today.

Meyer turned down the offer of a billion dollars to hand over the rights and patents. For this refusal, it has been said that he was murdered for profit; having died of uranium poisoning he was too much of a financial threat to the ruling elite’s conventional oil industry with its petrochemical derivatives…

6. Harry Hoxey (1901–1974) -The Hoxey remedies for curing cancer.

Developed and handed down from successive generations, Harry Hoxey was able to use a herbal remedy and an externally applied paste to successfully treat cancer. The herbal formula detoxified the body and boosted the immune system, while the external paste got rid of tumours on the outside. From this, 17 private cancer clinics had been established throughout the USA.

In the mid 1950s, a number of doctors reviewed Hoxey’s work and came to the conclusion:

This clinic now has under treatment or observation between four and five thousand cancer patients. It handles approximately ninety patients per day.  Approximately 100 new patients per week come to the clinic seeking relief, and the evidence we have seen indicates that approximately 90 percent of these are terminal cases.

Over the years the clinic has accumulated more than 10,000 case histories, photographic studies and X-ray studies from all over the United States, Canada, Alaska, Mexico, Hawaii, the Central Zone and elsewhere. We find as a fact that the Hoxey Cancer Clinic in Dallas, Texas, is successfully treating pathologically proven cases of cancer, both internal and external, without the use of surgery, radium or X-ray…

Some of those presented before us have been free of  symptoms as long as twenty four years, and the physical evidence indicates that they are all enjoying  exceptional health at this time…We are willing to assist this Clinic in any way possible in bringing this treatment to the American public. We are willing to use it…on our own patients.

The above statement represents the unanimous findings of this Committee. In testimony thereof we hereby attach our signatures.

Sir Edgard Bond M.D., Willard G. Palmer M.D., Hans Kalm M.D, A.C. Timbs M.D., Frederick H. Thurston M.D. D.O., E.E. Loffler M.D., H.B. Mueller M.D., R.C. Bowie M.D., Benjamin F. Bowers M.D., Roy O. Yeats M.D

Having got the news the AMA tried to buy the treatment. Hoxey refused on the grounds that they would not give it to poor people free of charge.

A long legal and political battle enraged with much media interest. Several thousand people testified they had been cured using Hoxey’s work while the AMA refused third party evaluations. In spite of these circumstances favouring Hoxey, and winning his case, the medical fraternity soon branded him a quack or charlatan. He continued his treatment over the years and was arrested about a 100 times! Each arrest he was able make bail and continue.

The fact that no patient would testify against him and the acting District Attorney’s brother was cured by his methods may well have been the reasons for his continual reprieve. Eventually, however, the FDA managed to seize the remedies from the patients’ homes and shut down the clinics. Ironically, Hoxey contracted bladder cancer and had to be operated on since his methods did not work on him.

This story, however, does have a good ending. A former nurse in one of the clinics, Mildred Nelson, took the treatment to Mexico. The clinic, under a different name, still exists to this day and by all accounts is deemed to be a compassionate, caring and most of all successful (80% cure rate, with medical records to prove it) institution. The authorities, the NCI have deliberately looked the other way.

7. The suppression of Nazi flying saucer technology.

The Nazis had developed antigravity flying saucer technology during World War 2. It has been said that a secret base was made in the Antarctic which housed them. Then in the latter part of 1945 these super weapons moved to another military base – the Schwarze Sonne – Black Sun on the dark side of the moon.

Using the saucers on the dark side of the moon when the time was right an Earth invasion was planned but didn’t materialize. During the wartime a number of eyewitness accounts in London, New York and Prague reported these strange looking bell-shaped flying objects having the German military iron cross insignia… travelling at very high speeds.

An engineer named Joseph Andreas Epp claimed he had been involved in the development of the technology during the wartime and that the Schriever-Habermohl project involved some 15 different prototypes.

For details and a fuller account including the Nazi occult connections, an ancient past, ET channelling of the saucer’s anti-gravity technology and the related science see the fascinating video below.

What happened to this technology in the years after WW2?

In reflection

“No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man’s reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable – and we believe they can do it again.” John F. Kennedy, 1963

We have seen an all-too-familiar pattern as in the above inventions 1-6. The inventors are approached by representatives of the ruling elite’s establishments who highly praise their innovations and offer to buy their patents.

However, the inventors feel that something’s not right. That the establishment have ulterior motives usually related to moneyed interests, so they refuse to sell their work and the patents. Then the establishment threatens the inventors with defamation of character, court action or even death… should they refuse to sell their work and hand over the patents.

The answers to the many so-called incurable diseases do exist.

Also there is an infinite abundance of energy for all of us to tap in to.

While we need to take necessary and just actions, instead of giving too much attention to materialism we need to shift our focus on how our thoughts can manifest reality. The kind of reality that we really want that takes us from scarcity to abundance, divided and ruled to united, from war to peace…


12 Plants For Your Bedroom to Help You Sleep

 

There’s nothing worse than tossing and turning all night, before being awoken by the sound of your alarm clock just minutes after you finally manage to nod off! These sleepless nights can take their toll on our energy, productivity, mood and overall quality of life.

One way to ensure a better quality of sleep is to fill your home with beautiful flowers and plants. Not only do they look great and bring vitality and life to your living spaces, but they can have fantastic relaxing and purifying benefits – which in turn can promote a healthy sleeping pattern.

With stress and anxiety causing half of all insomnia issues, it’s a good idea to fill your home and bedroom with a variety of plants that have a calming effect. After all, studies clearly show that spending time in nature reduces stress levels, so why not simply bring nature indoors?

In addition, poor air quality from pollution, odors and molds can impact our breathing, thus making a good night’s sleep seem next to impossible. The good news is there are a variety of plants that can purify the air while you sleep – in fact NASA did a whole study on it!

We’ve compiled this list of 12 great plants to help you sleep better, based on their calming and cleansing effects:

Jasmine

12 Plants For Your Bedroom to Help You Sleep

This exotic plant has a gentle, soothing effect on the body and mind. It has been shown in one study to reduce anxiety levels, leading to a greater quality of sleep.

Not only that, but this research suggests that the positive effects of such a high quality sleep lead you enjoy increased alertness and productivity during the day.

With such beautiful pink or ivory blossoms, there seem to be no downsides to adding a Jasmine bloom to your boudoir!

Lavender

Who doesn’t love the scent of lavender? It’s also probably the most well-known of all plants when it comes to inducing sleep and reducing anxiety levels. Research backs up these claims, with lavender scents shown to slow down heart rate, lower blood pressure and levels of stress.

In one study, the smell of lavender reduced crying in babies, sending them into a deeper sleep; while simultaneously reducing stress in both mother and child – something all new mothers will be happy to hear!

In women, lavender has been shown to increase light sleep, and decrease rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep and the amount of time to wake after first falling asleep, with opposite effects in men.

While there are a host of lavender scented products on the market to help you get a full night’s rest (from scented sleep masks to lavender mattresses) why not go for the most natural and cost effective option – a beautiful lavender plant placed on your nightstand.

 

Snake Plant (Mother-in-Law’s Tongue)

One of the most recommended plants for improving indoor air quality, the Snake Plant is a hardy and easy to care-for plant … always a plus!

What’s great about this plant is that it emits oxygen at night time whilst simultaneously taking in carbon dioxide – something we naturally produce when breathing.  All this leads to a purer quality of air and a better night’s sleep.

The Snake Plant also filters some nasty but common household toxins (namely formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and benzene) from the air.

 

Aloe Vera

12 Plants For Your Bedroom to Help You Sleep

Listed as one of NASA’s top air-improving plants, the fantastic Aloe works much like the Snake Plant – it emits oxygen at night, making for a more restful slumber. It’s also one of the easiest plants to grow and maintain – it tolerates ‘neglect’ well and so doesn’t require frequent watering.

Dubbed the ‘plant of immortality’ by the Egyptians, it reproduces easily so if you buy one you’ll soon have an Aloe plant for all the rooms in your house. You can even pass on the gift of happy sleep to your family and friends! Keep it on your bedroom window as it does need a lot of direct sunlight.

You can also use the gel from the Aloe Vera leaves as a topical treatment for minor cuts and burns, insect bites, dry skin and lots more! It’s simply a must-have plant in every home.

Gardenia

With glossy evergreen leaves and beautifully scented blossoms, Gardenias are a popular plant choice for bedrooms. Studies indicate that keeping one in your room may help you achieve a better quality of sleep, with claims that it may be as effective as Valium in relieving anxiety and promoting sleep.

However, gardenias can be tricky to maintain as they require a lot of attention in order to keep their luscious leaves and delicate flowers. Indoor gardenias should be kept in a bright room, but not placed in direct sunlight. But if you suffer with insomnia or anxiety, investing a little time in one of these beautiful blooms could be a cheap and healthier solution to taking pills!

Spider Plant

12 Plants For Your Bedroom to Help You Sleep

Not to be confused with the Snake Plant, the Spider Plant is also a champion cleanser of air. The NASA tests showed it to remove around 90% of the potentially cancer-causing chemical formaldehyde from the air. Since formaldehyde is found in common household products like adhesives, grout and fillers, it’s a good idea to keep one of these plants around.

In addition to cleansing the air, it will also absorb odors and fumes as well as sustaining oxygen levels in the room, promoting better sleep.

 

Valerian

The Valerian is a perennial flowering plant with sweetly scented pink or white flowers that bloom in the summer.

While the blossoms were used as a perfume in the 16th century, the root has been used as a tea or tincture since ancient times, with Roman physician and philosopher Galen prescribing it for insomnia. Newer research has shown that Galen was right in his prescription of Valerian Root – simply inhaling its scent will help you fall asleep quickly, and will ensure you enjoy a better quality of slumber.

In addition to keeping one on your bedroom window (it needs full sun for 6 hours a day), why not add a few of the petals to your bathwater to help you drift off?

English Ivy

Another one of NASA’s top plants for purifying the air, English Ivy is simple to grow and only needs moderate exposure to sunlight.

Studies have shown that this leaf can improve symptoms of allergies or asthma – which all sufferers know can seriously impact both the quantity and quality of sleep. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology reported that, in a 2005 experiment, English Ivy removed 94% of airborne feces and 78% of airborne mold in just 12 hours! As mold can affect our breathing, it’s definitely a plant to have on hand for a great night’s sleep.

This evergreen vine looks great in an indoor hanging basket, or placed on a ledge where the leaves can trail down. It’s toxic to kids and pets though, so make sure to keep it out of reach!

Peace Lily

12 Plants For Your Bedroom to Help You Sleep

Not just pleasing to the eye, the Peace Lily is another of NASA’s superstar plants, helping to filter out harmful benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde toxins.

The moisture given off by these striking flowers can boost a room’s humidity by up to 5%. This suppresses airborne microbes which can lead to allergies, and also helps relieve those irritating dry noses and throats that keep you awake all night.

A nice shady position (out of the reach of pets and children) and weekly watering is all the Peace Lily needs – that’s not too much to ask in return for a great night’s sleep.

Bamboo Palm

Also known as a Reed Palm, this small plant is a fantastic air purifier. Ditch your chemical-laden air fresheners in favor of a few of these pretty palms and say goodbye to airborne smells and toxins.

Not only will you be able to enjoy your home’s pure, fresh air during the day, but you’ll enjoy a fantastic night’s sleep too.

Given its exotic origins, the Bamboo Palm will bring a tropical, warm feel to your bedroom. It’s fairly easy to care for – just keep the soil moist (but not wet) and place the plant in indirect sunlight.

Gerbera Daisies

These bright and cheerful flowers couldn’t help but put you in a good mood! With pink, orange, yellow and white, they should be a welcome addition to any room – and not just because they look good.

They also release oxygen at night, which helps you breathe easy while you snooze. If you suffer from apnea or allergies, then these daisies are definitely recommended.

A word of warning to the novice gardener – as they are prone to fungal diseases Gerbera Daisies need extra special attention, particularly in relation to watering and light levels.

Golden Pothos

With its marbled, heart-shaped leaves, the Golden Pothos is another exceptional air purifying plant according to NASA.

Those with a busy schedule will particularly welcome this ivy-like vine. Not only will you have a better quality of sleep but you need not worry too much about nurturing it – a couple of hours of morning sun and a little water once a week is all it requires.

It makes a great hanging plant too – which curbs its invasive nature and keeps its mildly toxic leaves out of the reach of pets and children.

When Adding Plants to Your Home:

  • Always check if they are toxic to children and animals to ensure they are suitable for your family.
  • Remember to wipe the leaves every week or so to ensure the plants can effectively do their job – just look at it as the equivalent of changing the filter in your air purifier!
  • Choose a good mix of those that purify the air and those that induce sleep through their scent for optimum results.
  • NASA recommend between 15 and 18 air-purifying plants in an 1800 square foot home, with a few of these in each bedroom.
Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2015 October 31

Why Are So Many People Afraid Of Clowns?


 

October 29, 2015 | by Tom Hale

photo credit: Tom Simpson/Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

 

The clown is a staple for Halloween costumes, horror films and children’s nightmares. The figure of the evil clown has inspired countless characters: Pennywise from "It," The Joker from "Batman," Sideshow Bob, wrestler Doink the Clown, Shawn Crahan from Slipknot, and Twisty from "American Horror Story," to name a few. In fact, when was the last time you even saw a "happy clown" on TV?

Even before the Freddie Kruger’s and Beetlejuice’s of our time, there’s a rich history of clowns hiding a dark soul behind their painted-on grins. In an attempt to explain this strange overlap between the funny and the freaky, there’s a lot of psychology and anthropology about clowns and why they make some people feel pleasure while others experience less enjoyable emotions – mainly uneasiness, panic, or petrified terror.

Of course, there are different levels of being creeped out by clowns. There’s the “weirdly creepy, wouldn’t want to find that peeking through my door at night” fear, right through to the anxiety disorder coulrophobia.

Phobias are a very separate type of fear. In 1920, psychologists John B. Watson and Rosalie Rayner developed an experiment where they conditioned phobias into an emotionally stable child. The experiment is absurdly unethical by today’s standards, however it highlighted an important link between phobias and conditioning.

In classical conditioning, the brain will begin to associate two separate stimuli if they repeatedly coincide. The brain can “learn” to associate a neutral stimulus (like a clown for example) with a negative stimulus (like some form of pain or discomfort) if they are often experienced simultaneously. After this pattern has been ingrained, the neutral stimulus alone can invoke feelings of fear.

This is why people with phobias might appear to have an “irrational fear,” because the neutral stimulus appears totally unrelated to any negative stimulus. A lot of phobias are created in memories from our early childhood, so it’s perhaps no surprise the clown features so prominently in lists of the most common phobias.

“Kids around two or so are very reactive to a familiar body type with an unfamiliar face,” according to Dr. Ronald Doctor, professor of psychology at California State University. Combining a period of your life where you’re susceptible to initiating phobias, sensitive to weird faces and around a lot of clowns does indeed sound like a recipe for disaster.

Image credit: whatchumean/Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

But is it always a conditioned response or is there something about them our minds find intrinsically ominous?

Some fears, such as the fear of spiders, have been explained as an innate evolutionary throwback to avoid the dangers of threatening animals. According to some psychologists and anthropologists, the figure of the clown also triggers some of our universal responses to social stimulus.

Anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss wrote extensively about masks in his study of tribal cultures. A recurring theme was the “freedom” that masks granted the wearer. In his 1982 book, "The Way of the Masks," he wrote: "The facial disguise temporarily eliminates [the face] from social intercourse… The face is the organ by which self and society carry on the largest portion of the communication in which they engage.” In other words, there’s an impression that someone with their face obscured or covered can act without restraint from social convention and doesn’t suffer any consequences for their actions.

Sigmund Freud pondered over an idea called the “uncanny valley” effect. It is the idea of something being very familiar but simultaneously oddly unfamiliar that causes a response of revulsion. While we are attracted by the familiar features, we are repulsed by the unfamiliar, causing a contradictory and unsettling feeling of cognitive dissonance. As a prime example, think of those super-creepy and super-realistic robots.

Speaking to Vulture, Steven Schlozman, a Harvard Medical School psychiatrist, said that a creepy, never-changing grin has this property: “You recognize a smile, your brain registers that smiles are largely good things – and yet you can’t smile all the time, because if you’re smiling all the time, something’s not right… I think that’s similar to clowns, in that we take cues from the way people behave, but if there’s no change in the way they look or the way they act that makes them very scary.”

In true Freud style, he believed our reaction to the uncanny was because our "super-ego" makes us feel that deviating from societal norms will lead to a symbolic castration. Although psychologists nowadays come to the more neutral consensus that “uncanny valley” is a mechanism to stop us from mating with “biologically costly” partners, by being able to recognize subtle signs of infertility or ill health.

The fear of clowns is by no means innate. We live in a time when mass media permeates our every pore, so there’s no doubt film and television’s association of the clown with horror has seeped into our culture’s collective conscious. However, there is something that seems to tickle a strange neural network we all have locked away in our brains.

So if you truly want to terrify someone this Halloween, forget the sexy vampire costume and go for the Freudian pit of childhood nightmares: the clown.

Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2015 September 20

6 Amazing Psychological Effects of Non-Sexual Touching


Amazing Psychological Benefits of Non-Sexual Touching

When thinking of our five senses, the four most popular ones come to mind: sight, hearing, smell and taste.

But people don’t often realise how imperative touch can be to us, as humans, and how non-sexual touching at the correct time in the appropriate place can have a strong psychological effect.

1. Money

Crusco & Wetzel (1984) carried out an experiment [1] on the effect touch has when in the natural but controlled environment of a restaurant. In the control group, customers were not touched by the waitress when receiving their change, but in the touch condition, the waitress lightly and briefly touched the customer’s shoulder or hand when returning their change. The results of this experiment were fascinating: the customers in the touch group left a larger tip than those who were not touched at all by their waitress.

2. Help

Experiments have been carried out to prove how lightly touching somebody can improve the chances of them helping the person who touched them. Hornik (1987) found that touching strangers in the street increased the rate of completing street surveys. In a later study by Gueguen (2003), participants were 90% more likely to pick up something an experimenter had dropped, after being touched lightly on the arm.

3. Compliance

Similarly to the way in which touching the arm can get people to help you, it can also be linked to compliance. An experiment carried out by Willis and Hamm (1980) [2] proved how participants were more likely to sign a petition, after being touched lightly on their upper arm. 55% of the control group – who weren’t touched – signed the petition, whereas a staggering 81% of those in the touched group put their names down. This particular study looked at gender and difficulty of request when determining the effect of touch.

Furthermore, those who were touched twice during Vaidis and Halimi-Falkowicz (2008)’s experiment were more likely to complete a survey than those who were only touched once.

4. Aggression

Touch can often also be used to aggravate somebody and whilst taking onboard a number of factors, the appropriate level of touch depends greatly on culture, as well as gender. Dolinski (2010)[4] carried out an experiment in Poland to determine the appropriate levels of physical contact, particularly in relation to male-to-male contact, which was received poorly in the experiment as men didn’t react well to being touched by another male.

5. Flirting

It’s a well-known fact that touching somebody in a particular way can be seen as flirting and, not surprisingly, men show more of an interest in women who touch them than in those who do not. Similarly, women are more likely to give their phone number to a man in the street who has touched them than those who have not. Both studies were carried out by Gueguen (2010) in France.

6. Power

Henley (1973) carried out an experiment by observing professionals in a busy city to determine power relationships and see how they’re affected by and shown through touch. The result wasn’t surprising in that those who were more likely to be the touchers were of a higher status than those who were being touched.

So whilst it isn’t entirely appropriate to go around touching everybody you meet, it can have some benefits if done properly in the correct situations. Bearing in mind every person, as well as each culture, have their own perceptions about what kind of touch is appropriate and what isn’t so always be aware of the other person’s reactions and body-language if you want to subtly try any of the above. Do you feel particularly affected by touch?

Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2015 September 20

50 Surprising Uses For Essential Oils That Will Blow Your Mind


 

50 Surprising Uses For Essential Oils That Will Blow Your Mind

There are seemingly endless choices when it comes to buying essential oils and for every oil, there are at least a dozen uses.  From blends to the basics, here we’ll give you some great ideas for just what to do with that impressive collection growing in your cabinet.

Need some essential oils to add to your collection? Add this 14 bottle essential oil set from Plant Therapy to your collection, or for a more serious selection, try this 32 bottle “Ultimate” set from Eden’s Garden.

Around the House

1. Boost Cleaning Power of natural household cleansers with Orange, Lemon, or Grapefruit oil.

2. Deodorize Your Fridge with Lime, Grapefruit, Bergamont, or Lemongrass after cleaning or added to baking soda box

3. Freshen Trash Bins with Geranium, Grapefruit, or Lemon oil sprinkled into baking soda.  Shake mixture into the bottom of cans and refresh as needed.

4. Deter Flying Insects with Peppermint, Lavender, Citronella, Lemongrass, or Rosemary oil around windows and doors

5. Disinfect Your Dish Sponge with Lemon oil between uses.

6. Freshen Bathrooms with Lemon, Grapefruit, Lavender, Rosemary, or Geranium oil in adiffuser.

7. Eliminate Lingering Food Odor with Clove, Cinnamon, or any citrus oil added to pots of simmering water

8. Infuse Your Shoes with Geranium, Basil, or Lavender oil to keep foot odor at bay.

9. Neutralize Pet Odor with Geranium, Lavender, or Lemon oil.  Mix ten to twenty drops of essential oil in a small spray bottle filled with apple cider vinegar.  Shake well before each use.

10. Refresh Carpets with Geranium, Lavender, Lemon, or Peppermint oil added to baking soda.  Sprinkle mixture into carpet, let sit for at least 15 minutes, then vacuum up.

11. Dissolve Stubborn Substances like wax, oil, chewing gum, or glue with Lemon oil.

12. Scrub Sinks with a mixture of Bergamot and Lime oils diluted in water.

13. Scent Your Vacuum Bag by dousing a cotton ball with your favorite essential oil and dropping it into the vacuum bag or filter.

14. Wash Fruit and preserve its freshness with Grapefruit oil.

15. Repel Spiders and Rodents by spraying Peppermint oil mixed in water around windows and doors.  Douse a cotton ball with Peppermint oil and stuff into corners of windows where spiders may be able to enter.  Use the same method anywhere you think rodents might be able to access your home.

16. Neutralize Paint Odor with 10 ml of Peppermint oil added to a can of fresh paint.

17. Scent Your Bath Towels by sprinkling a dozen or so drops of a favorite oil onto a small piece of terry cloth and toss it in the dryer with clean towels.

18. Remove Mites from Bedding with a few drops of Eucalyptus oil mixed with water and added to the washing machine.

Aromatherapy

19. Add Aroma to Your Fireplace by applying ten or so drops of essential oil to a dry log.  Allow the oil to permeate the wood for at least a couple of days before burning.

20. Transform a Candle by adding a few drops of essential oil to the hot melted wax near the wick after the candle has been burning for a few minutes.

21. Freshen the Air by adding twenty drops of your favorite oil to a small spray bottle filled with water.  Spray as desired and always remember to shake well before each use.

22. Lighten the Mood in a room with Lavender, Rose, Ylang Ylang, Roman Chamomile, or Orange oil added to a diffuser.

23. Relax Your Mind and Body by adding Chamomile, Lavender, Bergamot, or Cedarwood oil to your bath water.

24. Scent Your Whole Home with your favorite essential oil or blend of oils sprinkled onto the new furnace filter each month.

25. Remove Lingering Smoke Odor with Eucalyptus, Rosemary, and Tea Tree diluted in water in a small spray bottle.  Shake before each use

26. Stay Alert while driving or studying by inhaling the scent of any combination of Lavender, Sage, Frankincense, Lemon, Peppermint, Lemongrass, and/or Basil oils.

27. Unwind After a Hard Day by dropping Basil, Grapefruit, or Peppermint oil into a candle-powered oil burner.

28. Invigorate Your Office with Ylang Ylang, Basil, Orange, or Jasmine oil added to adiffuser.

29. Create a Relaxing Environment in your break room or lobby using Chamomile, Lavender, Bergamot, or Cedarwood in a diffuser.

30. Scent Letters and Cards with fragrant essential oils that complement a holiday or special occasion.

31. Liven Up Silk Flowers with a matching floral essential oil.  Mix oil with water in a small spray bottle, shake well, and apply to flowers.  Refresh as needed.

Health and Healing

32. Cure Nausea with Ginger or Nutmeg oil.  Rub a few drops on soles of feet and relax until nausea passes.

33. Soak Sore Feet in Peppermint oil added to an Epsom salt foot bath.

34. Bolster Your Immune System with Oregano oil rubbed on the bottoms of feet.

35. Relieve Menstrual Cramps with one part Clary Sage, Basil, or Rosemary oil mixed with four parts carrier oil.  Massage into abdomen and cover with a warm compress for fifteen minutes.  Repeat as needed.

36. Soothe a Headache by mixing two drops each of Peppermint, Eucalyptus, and Lavender oil per six drops of carrier oil.  Massage into temples, behind ears, on back of neck, across forehead, and under nose for quick relief.

37. Open Your Airways by inhaling the vapor of Eucalyptus and Lavender oils mixed equal parts with a carrier oil.  Rub onto chest before bed for a better night’s sleep.

38. Avoid Germs While Traveling by packing a small spray bottle containing equal parts Cinnamon, Clove, Eucalyptus, Lemon, and Rosemary oils diluted in water.  Shake well before each use.

39. Stop Hair Loss with Burdock Root, Ginger, Hops flower, Lavender, Rosemary, Thyme, or Yarrow oils mixed with a carrier.  For more information, check out the Top 10 Remedies for Thinning Hair.

40. Detoxify Your Body by soaking in a warm Epsom salt bath infused with Rosemary and Juniper oils.

41. Disinfect Cuts and Scrapes with Lavender or Tea Tree oil.  Dilute one-to-one in a carrier oil for those with sensitive skin.

42. Reduce Fever by adding equal parts Sage, Frankincense, and either Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Pine, or Rosemary oil to a bath.  Add the same oils to lukewarm water and sponge onto feverish skin.

43. Relieve Tension by massaging a few drops of Lavender oil under the ear just behind the jaw, into temples, and over stiff neck muscles.

44. Relax Tired Muscles with Eucalyptus, Sage, and Basil oils added to a warm Epsom salt bath.

45. Say “Goodnight” to Insomnia by sprinkling Chamomile and Lavender oils onto your pillow.  Add several drops of both oils to a cotton ball and keep near your head while resting.

46. Loosen Stiff Joints with a couple of drops Wintergreen, Juniper, or Vetiver oil mixed with about a teaspoon of carrier oil. Gently massage into achy joints.

47. Protect Skin from Sunburn by mixing one part Myrrh oil, one part Carrot oil, and two parts Jojoba oil.  Apply liberally for sun protection equivalent to SPF 30.

Aromatherapy for Your Auto

48. Deodorize Upholstery with Geranium, Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, or Ylang Ylang oil in baking soda.  Dust on, let set for a few minutes, then vacuum off.

49. Air Condition-Air Freshen by clipping a cotton ball in front of an air vent and adding a few drops of your favorite oil.

50. Have a Little Fun.  Cut two identical pine trees out of green felt and another out of paperboard.  Glue felt to both sides of paperboard and hang from your rear-view mirror.  Scent with pine oil and refresh as needed.

Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2015 September 6

Brazilian Wasp Venom Kills Cancer Cells, But Not Healthy Cells


Photo credit: Wasp close up. Attila Fodemesi/Shutterstock.

Wasps get their fair share of bad press. They have painful stingers, and they’re not as useful (or cute) to us as bees. However, their time to step in the spotlight may be just around the corner: Their venom has been shown to attack cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone.

The cancer-targeting toxin in the wasp is called MP1 (Polybia-MP1) and until now, how it selectively eliminates cancer cells was unknown. According to new research, it exploits the atypical arrangement of fats, or lipids, in cancer cell membranes. Their abnormal distribution creates weak points where the toxin can interact with the lipids, which ultimately pokes gaping holes in the membrane. These are sufficiently large for essential molecules to start leaking out, like proteins, which the cell cannot function without.

The wasp responsible for producing this toxin is the Polybia paulista. The toxin has so far been tested on model membranes and examined using a broad range of imaging techniques. You can see the team’s research results in the Biophysical Journal.

The wasp, Polybia paulista, which produces the venom containing MP1. Professor Mario Palma/Sao Paulo State University.

"Cancer therapies that attack the lipid composition of the cell membrane would be an entirely new class of anticancer drugs," said Paul Beales from the University of Leeds and co-author of the study. "This could be useful in developing new combination therapies, where multiple drugs are used simultaneously to treat a cancer by attacking different parts of the cancer cells at the same time."

In healthy cell membranes, the inner layer (facing the inside of the cell) is packed with phospholipids, including PS (phosphatidylserine) and PE (phosphatidylethanolamine). However, in cancer cells, PS and PE are located on the outer layer of the cell membrane, facing the opposite way.

To test the different effects of PS and PE’s presence on a cell, the scientists examined how the MP1 interacted with model membranes infused with PE and/or PS. The presence of each phospholipid had a destructive effect on the cells. PS increased the chance of MP1 binding to the membrane by a factor of seven to eight. The presence of PE inflated the size of the holes created by the MP1 by a factor 20 to 30.

"Formed in only seconds, these large pores are big enough to allow critical molecules such as RNA and proteins to easily escape cells," said João Ruggiero Neto from São Paulo State University and co-author of the study. "The dramatic enhancement of the permeabilization induced by the peptide in the presence of PE and the dimensions of the pores in these membranes was surprising."

The next stage for this research is to adjust the amino acid sequence of MP1 to see what gives it its selective properties, and to try and refine them. "Understanding the mechanism of action of this peptide will help in translational studies to further assess the potential for this peptide to be used in medicine," Beales says. "As it has been shown to be selective to cancer cells and non-toxic to normal cells in the lab, this peptide has the potential to be safe, but further work would be required to prove that."


Photo credit: Scientists are searching for collisions between different ‘universe bubbles’ in the cosmic microwave background. Geralt

The existence of parallel universes may seem like something cooked up by science fiction writers, with little relevance to modern theoretical physics. But the idea that we live in a “multiverse” made up of an infinite number of parallel universes has long been considered a scientific possibility – although it is still a matter of vigorous debate among physicists. The race is now on to find a way to test the theory, including searching the sky for signs of collisions with other universes.

It is important to keep in mind that the multiverse view is not actually a theory, it is rather a consequence of our current understanding of theoretical physics. This distinction is crucial. We have not waved our hands and said: “Let there be a multiverse”. Instead the idea that the universe is perhaps one of infinitely many is derived from current theories like quantum mechanics and string theory.

The Many-Worlds Interpretation

You may have heard the thought experiment of Schrödinger’s cat, a spooky animal who lives in a closed box. The act of opening the box allows us to follow one of the possible future histories of our cat, including one in which it is both dead and alive. The reason this seems so impossible is simply because our human intuition is not familiar with it.

But it is entirely possible according to the strange rules of quantum mechanics. The reason that this can happen is that the space of possibilities in quantum mechanics is huge. Mathematically, a quantum mechanical state is a sum (or superposition) of all possible states. In the case of the Schrödinger’s cat, the cat is the superposition of “dead” and “alive” states.

But how do we interpret this to make any practical sense at all? One popular way is to think of all these possibilities as book-keeping devices so that the only “objectively true” cat state is the one we observe. However, one can just as well choose to accept that all these possibilities are true, and that they exist in different universes of a multiverse.

Miaaaaultiverse Robert Couse-Baker/Flickr, CC BY-SA

The String Landscape

String theory is one of our most, if not the most promising avenue to be able to unify quantum mechanics and gravity. This is notoriously hard because gravitational force is so difficult to describe on small scales like those of atoms and subatomic particles – which is the science of quantum mechanics. But string theory, which states that all fundamental particles are made up of one-dimensional strings, can describe all known forces of nature at once: gravity, electromagnetism and the nuclear forces.

However, for string theory to work mathematically, it requires at least ten physical dimensions. Since we can only observe four dimensions: height, width, depth (all spatial) and time (temporal), the extra dimensions of string theory must therefore be hidden somehow if it is to be correct. To be able to use the theory to explain the physical phenomena we see, these extra dimensions have to be “compactified” by being curled up in such a way that they are too small to be seen. Perhaps for each point in our large four dimensions, there exists six extra indistinguishable directions?

A problem, or some would say, a feature, of string theory is that there are many ways of doing this compactification –10500 possibilities is one number usually touted about. Each of these compactifications will result in a universe with different physical laws – such as different masses of electrons and different constants of gravity. However there are also vigorous objections to the methodology of compactification, so the issue is not quite settled.

But given this, the obvious question is: which of these landscape of possibilities do we live in? String theory itself does not provide a mechanism to predict that, which makes it useless as we can’t test it. But fortunately, an idea from our study of early universe cosmology has turned this bug into a feature.

The Early Universe

During the very early universe, before the Big Bang, the universe underwent a period of accelerated expansion called inflation. Inflation was invoked originally to explain why the current observational universe is almost uniform in temperature. However, the theory also predicted a spectrum of temperature fluctuations around this equilibrium which was later confirmed by several spacecraft such as Cosmic Background Explorer, Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe and the PLANCK spacecraft.

While the exact details of the theory are still being hotly debated, inflation is widely accepted by physicists. However, a consequence of this theory is that there must be other parts of the universe that are still accelerating. However, due to the quantum fluctuations of space-time, some parts of the universe never actually reach the end state of inflation. This means that the universe is, at least according to our current understanding, eternally inflating. Some parts can therefore end up becoming other universes, which could become other universes etc. This mechanism generates a infinite number of universes.

By combining this scenario with string theory, there is a possibility that each of these universes possesses a different compactification of the extra dimensions and hence has different physical laws.

The cosmic microwave background. Scoured for gravitational waves and signs of collisions with other universes. NASA / WMAP Science Team/wikimedia

Testing The Theory

The universes predicted by string theory and inflation live in the same physical space (unlike the many universes of quantum mechanics which live in a mathematical space), they can overlap or collide. Indeed, they inevitably must collide, leaving possible signatures in the cosmic sky which we can try to search for.

The exact details of the signatures depends intimately on the models – ranging from cold or hot spots in the cosmic microwave background to anomalous voids in the distribution of galaxies. Nevertheless, since collisions with other universes must occur in a particular direction, a general expectation is that any signatures will break the uniformity of our observable universe.

These signatures are actively being pursued by scientists. Some are looking for it directly through imprints in the cosmic microwave background, the afterglow of the Big Bang. However, no such signatures are yet to be seen. Others are looking for indirect support such as gravitational waves, which are ripples in space-time as massive objects pass through. Such waves could directly prove the existence of inflation, which ultimately strengthens the support for the multiverse theory.

Whether we will ever be able to prove their existence is hard to predict. But given the massive implications of such a finding it should definitely be worth the search.

Eugene Lim is Lecturer in theoretical particle physics & cosmology at King’s College London

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.


Posted on June 6, 2015 by Christy Lee Parker

Remember the days when you could be friends with someone and not necessarily know their every opinion about the hot topic issues? Thanks to social media, those days are no more. If you are Facebook friends, you often know what the other thinks about the “big stories” making their rounds. And when those highly debatable issues come into the spotlight and opinions are voiced, friendships can collide.

Caitlyn Jenner was the hot topic this week. Friends on the left and friends on the right are throwing in their two cents on their social media accounts. Obviously, those on the right tend to hold the less “popular,” less “politically correct” opinion. So, of course, that means the B-word is coming out. Bigotry.

After posting an article that discussed Dr. Paul R. McHugh’s controversial assertion that transgenderism is a “mental disorder” and sex reassignment is “biologically impossible,” I lost some friends, as you can imagine. Considering Dr. McHugh is the former psychiatrist-in-chief at renowned Johns Hopkins Hospital and current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry there, I thought his informed opinion was information worth sharing. Apparently, this was a friendship faux pas, and I lost a couple of “friends.”

Because the article contained factual information from a professional and was in no way an assertion of my opinion, I wasn’t really all that bothered. But then, there comes the threats and that B-word that doesn’t mean what they think it means… and it’s time to clear it up right now.

Happily scrolling my feed as I sip my coffee this morning, I see yet another status threatening the dreaded “unfriend.” I stop and read to see what button is being pushed for this particular Facebook user, and as no surprise, it’s Caitlyn Jenner. I’ll paraphrase here, but the gist is that if you post anything negative about transgender or disagree with Caitlyn being called a hero, you will be deleted.

Okay, no big deal, it’s the user’s prerogative. But then I see it. Yep, the B-word. “I’m deleting anyone who spews ignorant bigotry.” And that’s when I can barely stand the irony.

bigotry

You see, bigotry is intolerance towards those who hold a different opinion. So, the very person threatening to delete others (intolerance) if they say anything they don’t agree with about Caitlyn Jenner (difference of opinion) is the real bigot.

I don’t know when the left decided to try to change the meaning of bigotry to intolerance towards liberal ideology and beliefs, but I’d love for them to know that it doesn’t mean what they think it means. More often than not, when that word slips out of their mouths or off their fingertips as they type a status about “intolerant” conservatives or Christians, they are displaying bigotry in its finest form.

I have one more definition for them.

hipocrisy

If you are entitled to have and share your opinion, why are those who have a different mindset not entitled to do the same? To throw a virtual temper tantrum where you state that you will not tolerate a difference of opinion within your feed is not only bigotry, it’s also hypocrisy when you’re claiming that those on the other side are the intolerant bigots.

If you are so intolerant that you can’t scroll past a post where someone expressed thoughts different from your own, go ahead and delete them. Your publicized rant and the irony isn’t hurting anyone’s feelings. It’s only providing a chuckle for those of us who aren’t bigots and realize what you just did there.

The only disappointment I feel about these situations is that the true bigots are going to have a newsfeed full of agreement with their own thought process. Personally, I like a little diversity. Sometimes, it provides the opportunity to learn something from someone who thinks differently than I do. Yes, a Christian conservative just used the word diversity. It seems the liberal left is getting pretty good at using a lot of words that they don’t actually understand. Let’s help them out and spread the word with this vocabulary lesson for the left.

Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2015 July 12

Dandelion Root Kills Cancer Cells In Lab Tests


A common weed may hold the key to treating, and possibly curing, some types of blood cancers. Dandelion root may become an inexpensive alternative to chemotherapy and radiation — treatments that both come with unpleasant and grueling side effects.

Non-toxic and nutritive, dandelion’s potential is being explored by cancer researchers in Canada, China, and Japan. Its story is a testament to natural medicine’s vast potential in addressing cancer and other afflictions that elude chemical treatment, while also highlighting how the laws governing the practice of medicine and the approval of prescription drugs have narrowed patients’ options when it comes to treating cancer.

Via: Fotofermer | Shutterstock

 

Canadian Researchers Discover Dandelion’s Potential In The Lab

Researchers at the University of Windsor, Canada, were given the go-ahead for clinically testing the effectiveness of dandelion root extract for treating cancer in 30 patients.

The move into the human trial phase comes after lab tests and animal tests found that dandelion root extract was effective in inducing apoptosis, or cell suicide, in tumor cells, while leaving healthy cells alone.

The research, led by biochemistry professor Dr. Siyaram Pandey, will focus on end-stage blood cancers. It will take about one year for the final results to be published. Pandey declined to be interviewed for this article, but he discusses the initial results of the lab research and animal studies in a TEDx talk he gave at the University of Windsor.

“An oncologist introduced me to dandelion root extract,” he says in the video. She had patients who’d had multiple rounds of chemotherapy and refused any more. “She expected they would come back in an ambulance. Contrary to that, they came back on their own,” with very low blood counts of cancer, and they said they were drinking dandelion tea.

“We dug out the dandelion root and just ground it in a home blender with water, made the extract, filtered it, tried to put it in the same Petri dishes where we grow the leukemia cells, and frankly speaking I was not expecting any activity because it was so diluted,” he says. Yet cancer cells started dying, and more importantly, the healthy cells were fine.

His discovery could scientifically validate folk medicine’s long use of dandelion for cancer.

To understand how cancer treatment works, we must first understand what cancer is — damaged cells. Bacteria can be targeted by drugs like penicillin, leaving healthy cells alone, because they are structured differently than the body’s cells.

Cancer cells, however, are our own cells. The problem with traditional cancer therapy is, whatever we design to kill a cancer cell targets healthy cells too, Pandey says. “That’s why we have side effects.”

Cancer starts when a cell’s DNA, its blueprint, gets damaged, which can be caused by radiation, chemotoxins, or a replication error.

There are three safeguard mechanisms when cells get damaged. First, cells try to repair the damage. If there’s too much damage, they are dysfunctional, Pandey says, “and they think, ‘I might become cancerous, good idea, die.’ That is a built-in process to keep getting rid of bad cells in the body.” This cell-suicide is called apoptosis. If neither repair nor apoptosis work, damaged cells go into senescence and stop dividing.

If these three safeguards fail and cells with a damaged blueprint keep dividing, they become a cancerous tumor.

Unfortunately, the current treatments available — radiation and chemical therapy — also cause DNA damage and thus, can make healthy cells cancerous.

In the Petri dishes Pandey and his team found that dandelion caused cancer cells to commit apoptosis while leaving healthy cells alone. They tested the extract on blood drawn from a leukemia patient and on lab rats.

With his published research and support from patients’ anecdotal evidence, Health Canada, the Federal department responsible for governing medicine and health care in Canada, approved Pandey to study dandelion in a human trial. It’s the first natural extract approved for clinical trial for cancer in Canada.

Photo: dried dandelion root. Via: Barna Tanko | Shutterstock.

Photo: Dried dandelion root.

Dandelion Has A Long History Of Use As A Cancer Treatment

Dandelion’s botanical name, Taraxacum officinale, speaks to its use as a medicine — Taraxacum comes from the Greek and means “inflammation curative” and officinale is a common designation for medicinal plants. Its use predates written records.

It’s mentioned in ancient Chinese and Greek materia medica as a liver tonic, digestive stimulant, and diuretic. The entire plant is edible and the leaves have been eaten throughout its vast growing range.

It’s been used traditionally as a blood purifier, liver support, and tonic in traditional Western and Eastern herbalism. Dandelion contains numerous compounds that have been shown to be anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and antioxidant.

As a food, it’s very high in vitamin A, potassium, magnesium, and a number of other vitamins and minerals.

“Dandelion is one of those awesome little herbs that we use both in Western and Eastern herbology,” herbalist and acupuncturist Sarah Thompson tells Reset.Me. “Traditional Chinese medicine has used it for thousands of years clinically for dampness and heat — lymphatic conditions — in terms of cancer, things like lymph nodes of the neck and groin (the enlargement of which is one of the telltale signs of lymphoma).”

She says the empirical evidence and traditional Chinese medical theory points to dandelion root being most effective for blood cancer — leukemia — and lymphatic cancer, as well as skin cancer.

In a warning echoed by Pandey during his talk, Thompson cautioned against hunting for a single magic compound in dandelion to extract and concentrate for cancer treatment. While that process may work in the case of, say, extracting CBD from marijuana to treat epilepsy, Pandey warns that dandelion’s compounds have a synergy that make it effective against cancer.

Professionals who use it medicinally — herbalists — have to be very careful about how they administer this ubiquitous plant to clients.

“Legally in the United States, acupuncturists and herbalists are not allowed to treat cancer,” Thompson says. “We can treat the effects of chemotherapy and other side effects of cancer treatments, but legally we are not allowed to treat any form of tumor.”

Photo: Foraged edible dandelion flowers and greens. Via: Elena Elisseeva | Shutterstock.

Photo: Foraged edible dandelion flowers and greens.

Herbalists Aren’t Allowed To Treat Cancer In America

Demetria Clark tells Reset.Me that life gave her no choice but to practice herbalism since childhood, and her career has never left that trajectory. She studied under some of the most eminent modern herbalists in the country, started her practice in 1993, and opened her own school in 1998. She’s written four books and taught at numerous universities and hospitals.

Talking about dandelion’s effectiveness against cancer, she’s cautious about her words, prefacing her thoughts with a disclaimer. “I wouldn’t treat someone’s cancer,” she says. “I offer supportive therapy that works with a patient’s treatment protocol.”

Although she’s never lost a client to cancer, she’s very careful about attributing any success to dandelion, or even herbs. She loses touch with clients, after all. And they’re often on traditional treatments — as an herbalist, she just helps “support” or treat side effects.

“I’ve seen dandelion be beneficial in different kinds of cancers affecting lymph function and cervical cancer. The problem is, when you get down to beneficial, you don’t always know what was the one hammer that sunk the nail in the wood,” she says.

“Could it be that it has tons of vitamin A and C? A decent amount of vitamin K, or B6 and B12? And calcium, magnesium and potassium? Or was it chemotherapy? Was it radiation?” she says. “I don’t want to be misleading or inaccurate.”

There’s enough empirical evidence, and enough is known about the plant’s chemical structure, to safely say dandelion enhances the immune system and supports the liver and kidneys with no toxicity and a high amount of nutrition. “I like using it because it’s really safe. I feel safe suggesting it for children, mothers, and when you’re pregnant,” Clark says.

“And it’s plentiful — it’s found almost everywhere. It could be an incredible solution [to cancer] that’s very inexpensive and accessible,” and doesn’t cause side effects.

Clark often works with cancer patients and she understands the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatment: mouth sores, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, muscle soreness and weakness, skin integrity issues, kidney and urinary tract infections, swollen hands and feet. Dandelion has no side effects and she uses it to address those issues.

“It’s a natural diuretic, and very soothing on kidneys, bladder and urinary tract. It assists in appetite stimulation” and promotes bile production, “getting digestive juices going.” By supporting the liver, it helps the body detoxify. “You can add dandelion leaves into smoothies or other kinds of cool things, which also help mouth sores and nausea and vomiting,” Clark says.

“It’s one of those herbs that’s looking right at you. When it comes to health and well-being, we’ve forgotten the KISS principle — keep it simple, silly. We’ve decided that the most radical and involved treatment is the best course of action, instead of saying, ‘What’s in our environment?’”

Americans spend billions of dollars each year eradicating this potential cancer cure from fields and lawns. “There’s an industry made to eradicate dandelion, and there are commercials where it’s hitting someone on the head, and I’m laughing — they’re actually hitting them with the cure!”

Photo: Dandelion tea —a medical storm in a tea cup. Via: LianeM | Shutterstock.

Photo: Dandelion tea — a medical storm in a tea cup.

Allopathic medicine and herbalism don’t need to be in conflict, but allopathic medicine has much more money and power behind it. Dandelion won’t likely get millions of dollars in backing for cancer research if there’s no way to extract a single compound, concentrate and patent it.

If Pandey’s hypothesis is correct — that dandelion’s compounds work together in synergy — it would take non-profit driven institutions to fund the research dandelion needs to enter the mainstream as a cancer treatment. Dandelion is ubiquitous, abundant, cheap, and nontoxic.

Magic bullets don’t usually exist. Rarely does one single compound, medicine, or plant work for everyone. But given dandelion’s nutritional value, medicinal properties, and safety, it’s a plant that nearly anyone can take for prevention, and one with a lot of promise for fighting cancer.

Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2015 June 29

Æðislegar sætkartöflu uppskriftir


Æðislegar sætkartöflu uppskriftir

15 mínútna sætkartafla

  • Sæt kartafla
  • Smjör
  • Salt og pipar
  • graslaukur
  • sýrður rjómi
  • Parmesan ostur ( ef þið viljið gera þær extra góðar)
  1. Byrjið á því að taka sætkartöfluna og stinga í hana á nokkrum stöðum með gafli.
  2. Setjið hana inn í örbylgjuofn í 6-7 mínútur. Gott er að snúa henni á 2 mínútna fresti.
  3. Þegar þið takið hana úr örbylgjunni skuluð þið skera hana í tvennt og skera í hana litla kassa án þess að skera alveg í gegn, svo kartaflan haldist saman.
  4. Takið smá smjög og setjið á milli, stráið salt, pipar og parmesan osti yfir.
  5. Grillið kartöflurnar í 6-12 mínútur, fer eftir því hversu stökkar þið vijið hafa þær. Muna að fylgjast vel með þeim.
  6. Til að toppa þær er gott að setja smá sýrðan rjóma og graslauk ofan á.

 

Fylltar sætkartöflur

  • 2 sætkartöflur
  • 2 matskeiðar smjör
  • 2 matskeiðar eplamauk
  • 2 matskeiðar hlynsíróp
  • 1/4 bolli pekan hnetur skornar smátt
  • 1/4 bolli þurrkuð trönuber
  • 1/4 bolli smátt skorinn epli
  • 1/2 teskeið kanill
  • smá salt
  • ólífuolía
  1. Hitið ofninn
  2. Skolið og afhýðið 3/4 af kartöflunum, skiljið botninn eftir.
  3. Skerið hana í þunnar sneiðar en þó ekki alveg í gegn (sjá mynd)
  4. Nuddið ólífuolíu á kartöflurnar.
  5. setjið olíu á botinn á eldföstumóti eða bökunarpappír, setjið kartöflurnar í mótið.
  6. Setjið restina af hráefnunum í skál og hrærið saman.
  7. Setjið fyllinguna í kartöfluna og reyndið að ýta henni á milli sneiða.
  8. Setjið restina síðan ofan á kartöflurnar.
  9. Setjið álpappír efir eldfastamótið og bakið í 40 mínútur
  10. Takið álpappírinn af  eftir 40 mínútur og bakið í 10-15 mínútur til viðbótar. Passið að fylgjast vel með þeim svo fyllinginn brenni ekki.
  11. Leyfið kartöflunni að kólna í 5 mínútur áður en þær eru bornar fram.

 

Sætkartöflur með feta

  • 2 sætkartöflur
  • 56g feta ostur
  • 28g svartar ólífur
  • 25g sólþurkkaðir tómatar í olíu.
  • 1/4 bolli smátt skorinn steinselja
  • 1/2 teskeið þurrkað eða 2 teskeiðar ferskt oregano
  • 1 matskeið extra virgin olífuolía
  • Salt og pipar
  1. Hitið ofninn.
  2. Stingið í sætkartöflurnar nokkrum sinnum með gafffli.
  3. Setjið kartöflurnar í miðjan ofninn og bakið í gegn, eða í 45-60 mínútur, fer eftir stærð.
  4. Takið þær úr ofninum og leyfið þeim að kólna nógu mikið til að geta meðhöndlað þær.
  5. Á meðan kartöfurnar eru að bakast skuluð þið búa til fyllinguna.
  6. Blandið saman öllum hráefnum í skál og hrærið saman.
  7. Skerið kartöflurnar niður fyrir miðju. setjið fyllinguna inn í og blandið saman við kartöfluna.

Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2015 June 14

Cilantro serrano marinated pork chops


Cilantro Serrano Marinated Pork Chops

Don’t you just love recipes that require minimal prep time, made from scratch and are delicious? This is one of those recipes. The only bad part about this dish is that I wish I would have prepared a double batch. After blending a few fresh ingredients to prepare what could be used as a marinade or a sauce, just a few hours for marinating time and dinner is done in a few minutes. If you are not a fan of cilantro, try using some different fresh herbs, such as parsley, oregano or basil. You are going to want to prepare extra pork chops because the next day after they had a chance to chill, they were even more flavorful!
Yields 4 to 6 servings

For Cilantro-Serrano Sauce:
1/2 cup(packed) cilantro stems
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2-3 serranos, sliced. Add one pepper first, then taste before adding any more.
Juice of 1 large lime
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1/2 cup avocado oil or a light olive oil
Salt to taste

For the chops:
6 bone-in pork chops, about 2 pounds
Salt and pepper
Oil for grilling

In my experience, I have found that the bone in pork chops are more flavorful.

In my experience, I have found that the bone in pork chops are more flavorful.

Not only for pork, but this marinade would be delicious for chicken breast, wings, shrimp and fish.

Not only for pork, but this marinade would be delicious for chicken breast, wings, shrimp and fish.

Directions:

1. Season the pork lightly with salt and pepper on both sides. Place in a dish or in a heavy plastic storage bag. Pour half of the cilantro-serrano sauce over the pork chops and coat evenly. Seal or cover and marinate in refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours.

2. When ready, remove chops from refrigerator 30 to 40 minutes before cooking. Preheat stove top grill pan to medium/high heat for 5 minutes.When hot, drizzle pan with oil and place pork chops on hot pan. Cook for 4 minutes per side. If thicker, than 1/2 an inch you may have to cook for another 2 minutes per side. The ideal internal temperature for a moist pork chop is 145ºF. At least that has been my experience. Remove from heat onto plate. Cover loosely and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve with extra sauce.

This marinade can also be used as is for a sauce or dip for fresh vegetables.

This marinade can also be used as is for a sauce or dip for fresh vegetables.
Cilantro Serrano Marinated Pork Chops

Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2015 June 13

Loaded Potato Soup


Loaded Potato Soup

Photo by Christine Chen

When looking for a hearty, comforting dish to satisfy your hunger pangs, this savory combination of potatoes, cream and bacon is a sure-fire pleaser. You would never guess that this warm-your-bones dish begins with a can of store-bought soup and can be prepared in under 20 minutes.

Easy

Total Time: 20 minutes

Servings: 2

Ingredients:
1 can cream of potato soup
¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 russet potato, diced
2 slices bacon, chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Directions:
1. Fry bacon in saucepan until crisp. Remove and let cool on paper towel for 5 minutes.
2. Discard bacon fat from saucepan.
3. Wash and peel potato. Dice into small, bite-sized pieces.
4. Cook potato in saucepan until brown, about 10 minutes.
5. Add potato soup and cook over medium heat for about 6 minutes.
6. Ladle soup into two serving bowls and sprinkle with cheese, bacon and scallions.


NEW YORK | By Sebastien Malo

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio fulfilled a campaign promise on Thursday by announcing a ban on serving food and drinks in polystyrene foam containers, a measure hailed by environmentalists but long opposed by the food service industry.

The measure, first proposed in February 2013 by de Blasio’s predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, will stop restaurants, coffee shops and food carts in the nation’s largest city from using single-serve containers made of expanded polystrene beginning on July 1.

"These products cause real environmental harm and have no place in New York City," de Blasio said in a statement.

The announcement came after a one-year consultation period included in a bill enacted at the end of 2013, giving opponents an opportunity to prove to the city’s sanitation commissioner that an existing Brooklyn facility could effectively recycle the material.

The city won’t take expanded polystyrene as part of its regular recycling program because of difficulties in processing the material. It collected 28,500 tons of waste in the fiscal year 2014, according to municipal data.

"Restaurant owners and food vendors here will transition to more environmentally friendly food and beverage containers, just as they have in more than 100 jurisdictions around the country where similar bans have already been adopted," said Eric Goldstein of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The city will start fining violators of the ban after a six-month grace period ending in January 2016. Administration officials have not yet determined a fine schedule, a spokesman said.

Switching from plastic foam cups and containers can increase costs by 20 to 50 percent, said Christopher Hickey, a spokesman for the New York State Restaurant Association.

Hickey does not believe the additional expense will affect prices on the menu.

Still, with some 5,000 members in New York City, the group worked to include a provision in the law that allows operations with a gross income of less than $500,000 to seek a waiver and continue using plastic foam.

Andrew Rigie, head of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, with more than 1,600 member restaurants in the city, suggested some operators might opt for a price hike.

"Restaurants will have decide if they are able to afford the increased costs, but I imagine some may unfortunately have to raise their prices," Rigie said.

(Reporting by Sebastien Malo; Editing by Frank McGurty, Barbara Goldberg and Eric Beech)


 

June 11, 2015 | by Josh L Davis

Photo credit: Phalinn Ooi / Flickr CC BY 2.0

An analysis of over a million people spanning two decades has revealed that while the month in which you’re born might not affect your behavior or personality, it could have an impact on your health. A new study, published in the Journal of American Medical Informatics Association, shows that the risk of developing certain diseases might be influenced by the season in which you entered this world.

However, Nicolas Tatonetti, the study’s lead author, does stress: “It’s important not to get overly nervous about these results because even though we found significant associations the overall disease risk is not that great. The risk related to birth month is relatively minor when compared to more influential variables like diet and exercise.” So don’t get too worked up about this data; maybe go eat an apple.

The researchers, from Columbia University, looked at the relationship between birth month and disease risk for 1.7 million people who had been admitted to the New York-Presbyterian Hospital between 1985 and 2013. By comparing over 1,600 illnesses to when in the year the patients were born, they found 55 diseases that could be correlated.

The statistical relationship between birth month and disease incidence. Credit: Dr. Nick Tatonetti / Columbia University Medical Center

39 of these diseases were already thought to have a potential link to a person’s season of birth, but this new research uncovered a further 16 associations that nobody had noticed. These included nine different types of heart disease. For example, if you were born in March, you might have a greater risk of congestive heart failure.

Among other risks, the likelihood of developing asthma is greater in babies born in July and October, whereas the risk of ADHD peaks for children born in November. This is apparently consistent with previous data, which has shown similar results. The data suggests that around 1 in every 675 incidents of ADHD can be related to being born in New York in November.      

The location and time of year are important. Apparently, similar studies from Denmark have shown that the same diseases peak not at the same month as they do in New York, but at the time of year at which sunlight levels are similar. The researchers plan on investigating this further by extending the study to different parts of the United States and even looking at data from different countries.

No one’s quite sure what exactly might be at work here. It’s possibly related to the environmental factors to which babies are exposed at birth, but, by working out what causes these variations, the scientists hope to figure out a way to close the gaps.


By Dr. Mercola

A new generation of insect larvae is eating the roots of genetically engineered corn intended to be resistant to such pests. The failure of Monsanto’s genetically modified Bt corn could be the most serious threat ever to a genetically modified crop in the U.S.

And the economic impact could be huge. Billions of dollars are at stake, as Bt corn accounts for 65 percent of all corn grown in the US.

The strain of corn, engineered to kill the larvae of beetles, such as the corn rootworm, contains a gene copied from an insect-killing bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt.

But even though a scientific advisory panel warned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the threat of insects developing resistance was high, Monsanto argued that the steps necessary to prevent such an occurrence — which would have entailed less of the corn being planted — were an unnecessary precaution, and the EPA naively agreed.

According to a recent NPR report:

"The scientists who called for caution now are saying ‘I told you so,’ because there are signs that a new strain of resistant rootworms is emerging…[A] committee of experts at the EPA is now recommending that biotech companies put into action, for the first time, a ‘remedial action plan’ aimed at stopping the spread of such resistant insects…

The EPA’s experts also are suggesting that the agency reconsider its approval of a new kind of rootworm-killing corn, which Monsanto calls SmartStax. This new version of Bt corn includes two different Bt genes that are supposed to kill the rootworm in different ways. This should help prevent resistance from emerging, and the EPA is allowing farmers to plant it on up to 95 percent of their corn acres. But if one of those genes is already compromised… such a high percentage of Bt corn could rapidly produce insects that are resistant to the second one, too."

There can be little doubt that genetically engineered crops are the most dangerous aspect of modern agriculture. Not only are we seeing rapid emergence of super-weeds resistant to glyphosate, courtesy of Roundup Ready crops, we now also have evidence of emerging Bt-resistant insects. Add to that the emergence of a brand new organism capable of producing disease and infertility in both plants and animals, and a wide variety of evidence showing harm to human health, and the only reasonable expectation one can glean is that humanity as a whole is being seriously threatened by this foolhardy technology.

Bt Corn — A Most Dangerous Failure

Monsanto’s genetically modified "Bt corn" has been equipped with a gene from soil bacteria called Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), which produces the Bt-toxin. It’s a pesticide that breaks open the stomach of certain insects and kills them.

This pesticide-producing corn entered the food supply in the late 1990’s, and over the past decade, the horror stories have started piling up. And the problem with Bt crops go far beyond the creation of Bt-resistant insects.

Monsanto and the EPA swore that the genetically engineered corn would only harm insects. The Bt-toxin produced inside the plant would be completely destroyed in the human digestive system and would not have any impact at all on consumers, they claimed. Alas, they’ve been proven wrong on that account as well, because not only is Bt corn producing resistant "super-pests," researchers have also found that the Bt-toxin can indeed wreak havoc on human health.

Bt-Toxin Now Found in Many People’s Blood!

Last year, doctors at Sherbrooke University Hospital in Quebec found Bt-toxin in the blood of:

  • 93 percent of pregnant women tested
  • 80 percent of umbilical blood in their babies, and
  • 67 percent of non-pregnant women

The study authors speculate that the Bt-toxin was likely consumed in the normal diet of the Canadian middle class—which makes sense when you consider that genetically engineered corn is present in the vast majority of all processed foods and drinks in the form of high fructose corn syrup. They also suggest that the toxin may have come from eating meat from animals fed Bt corn, which most livestock raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFO, or so-called "factory farms") are.

These shocking results raise the frightening possibility that eating Bt corn might actually turn your intestinal flora into a sort of "living pesticide factory"… essentially manufacturing Bt-toxin from within your digestive system on a continuing basis.

If this hypothesis is correct, is it then also possible that the Bt-toxin might damage the integrity of your digestive tract in the same way it damages insects? Remember, the toxin actually ruptures the stomach of insects, causing them to die. The biotech industry has insisted that the Bt-toxin doesn’t bind or interact with the intestinal walls of mammals (which would include humans). But again, there are peer-reviewed published research showing that Bt-toxin does bind with mouse small intestines and with intestinal tissue from rhesus monkeys.

Bt-Toxin Linked to Allergies, Auto-Immune Disease, and More

If Bt genes are indeed capable of colonizing the bacteria living in the human digestive tract, scientists believe it could reasonably result in:

  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Food allergies
  • Childhood learning disorders

And lo and behold, all of these health problems are indeed on the rise… The discovery of Bt-toxin in human blood is not proof positive of this link, but it certainly raises a warning flag. And there’s plenty of other evidence showing that the Bt-toxin produced in GM corn and cotton plants is toxic to humans and mammals and triggers immune system responses. For example, in government-sponsored research in Italy, mice fed Monsanto’s Bt corn showed a wide range of immune responses, such as:

  • Elevated IgE and IgG antibodies, which are typically associated with allergies and infections
  • An increase in cytokines, which are associated with allergic and inflammatory responses. The specific cytokines (interleukins) that were found to be elevated are also higher in humans who suffer from a wide range of disorders, from arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, to MS and cancer
  • Elevated T cells (gamma delta), which are increased in people with asthma, and in children with food allergies, juvenile arthritis, and connective tissue diseases.

Rats fed another of Monsanto’s Bt corn varieties called MON 863, also experienced an activation of their immune systems, showing higher numbers of basophils, lymphocytes, and white blood cells. These can indicate possible allergies, infections, toxins, and various disease states including cancer. There were also signs of liver and kidney toxicity.

Topical versus Internal Toxins

Farmers have used Bt-toxin from soil bacteria as a natural pesticide for years, and biotech companies have therefore claimed that Bt-toxin has a "history of safe use in agriculture." But there’s a huge difference between spraying it on plants, where it biodegrades in sunlight and can be carefully washed off, and genetically altering the plant to produce it internally.

Bt crops have the Bt-toxin gene built-in, so the toxin cannot be washed off. You simply cannot avoid consuming it. Furthermore, the plant-produced version of the poison is thousands of times more concentrated than the spray.

There are also peer-reviewed studies showing that natural Bt-toxin from soil bacteria is not a safe pesticide either:

Do You Know what You’re Eating?

Did you know that two years ago, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) called on all physicians to prescribe diets without genetically modified (GM) foods to all patients?

They sure did, although few doctors seem to have gotten the memo. They also called for a moratorium on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), long-term independent studies, and labeling, stating:

"Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food, including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. …There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation…"

I couldn’t agree more. Avoiding genetically engineered foods should be at the top of everyone’s list—at least if you want a decent shot at optimal health.

The simplest way to avoid genetically engineered (GE) foods is to buy whole, certified organic foods. By definition, foods that are certified organic must never intentionally use GE ingredients, and must be produced without artificial pesticides or fertilizers. Animals must also be reared without the routine use of antibiotics, growth promoters or other drugs. Additionally, grass-fed beef will not have been fed GE corn feed.

You can also avoid genetically modified (GM) ingredients in processed foods, if you know what to look for. There are currently eight genetically modified food crops on the market:

Soy
Sugar from sugar beets

Corn
Hawaiian papaya

Cottonseed (used in vegetable cooking oils)
Some varieties of zucchini

Canola (canola oil)
Crookneck squash

This means you should avoid products with corn, soy, canola, and any of their derivatives listed as an ingredient, unless it’s labeled USDA 100% Organic. As of late last year, this also includes sweet corn, as Monsanto introduced a brand new genetically engineered sweet corn called Seminis®, which contains not just one but TWO types of Bt-toxin, PLUS the Roundup Ready gene for weed control! So besides containing the insecticide, their toxic Roundup herbicide will also accumulate in the kernels.

For a helpful, straightforward guide to shopping Non-GMO, see the Non-GMO Shopping Guide, created by the Institute for Responsible Technology.

Why We MUST Insist on Mandatory Labeling of GM Foods

Mandatory labeling may be the only way to stop the proliferation of GM foods in the U.S. Monsanto and other biotech companies spend huge amounts of money lobbying the US government each year to ensure favorable legislation. In the first quarter of 2011 alone, Monsanto spent $1.4 million on lobbying the federal government — a drop from a year earlier, when they spent $2.5 million during the same quarter.

Their efforts of persuasion are also made infinitely easier by the fact that an ever growing list of former Monsanto employees are now in positions of power within the federal government.

Proof Positive that GMO Labeling WILL Change the Food Industry

Many don’t fully appreciate the strategy of seeking to have genetically engineered foods labeled in California. The belief is that large companies would refuse to have dual labeling; one for California and another for the rest of the country. It would be very expensive and a logistical nightmare. So rather than have two labels, they would simply not carry the product, especially if the new label would be the equivalent of a skull and crossbones. This is why we are so committed to this initiative as victory here will likely eliminate genetically engineered foods from the US.

Powerful confirmation of this belief occurred in early 2012 when both Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo Inc. chose to alter one of their soda ingredients as a result of California’s labeling requirements for carcinogensii:

"Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc. are changing the way they make the caramel coloring used in their sodas as a result of a California law that mandates drinks containing a certain level of carcinogens bear a cancer warning label. The companies said the changes will be expanded nationally to streamline their manufacturing processes. They’ve already been made for drinks sold in California."

This is a PERFECT example of the national impact a California GMO labeling mandate can, and no doubt WILL, have. While California is the only state requiring the label to state that the product contains the offending ingredient, these companies are switching their formula for the entire US market, rather than have two different labels. According to USA Today:

"A representative for Coca-Cola, Diana Garza Ciarlante, said the company directed its caramel suppliers to modify their manufacturing processes to reduce the levels of the chemical 4-methylimidazole, which can be formed during the cooking process and as a result may be found in trace amounts in many foods. "While we believe that there is no public health risk that justifies any such change, we did ask our caramel suppliers to take this step so that our products would not be subject to the requirement of a scientifically unfounded warning," Garza-Giarlante said in an email."

Educational Sources

To learn more about GM foods, I highly recommend the following films and lectures:

What Are GMOs?

GMOs are a product of genetic engineering, meaning their genetic makeup has been altered to induce a variety of “unique” traits to crops, such as making them drought-resistant or giving them “more nutrients.” GMO proponents claim that genetic engineering is “safe and beneficial,” and that it advances the agricultural industry. They also say that GMOs help ensure the global food supply and sustainability. But is there any truth to these claims? I believe not. For years, I’ve stated the belief that GMOs pose one of the greatest threats to life on the planet. Genetic engineering is NOT the safe and beneficial technology that it is touted to be.

Help Support GMO Labeling

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)—Monsanto’s Evil Twin—is pulling out all the stops to keep you in the dark about what’s in your food. For nearly two decades, Monsanto and corporate agribusiness have exercised near-dictatorial control over American agriculture. For example, Monsanto has made many claims that glyphosate in Roundup is harmless to animals and humans. However, recently the World Health Organization (WHO) had their research team test glyphosate and have labeled it a probable carcinogen.

Public opinion around the biotech industry’s contamination of our food supply and destruction of our environment has reached the tipping point. We’re fighting back. That’s why I was the first to push for GMO labeling. I donated a significant sum to the first ballot initiative in California in 2012, which inspired others to donate to the campaign as well. We technically "lost the vote, but we are winning the war, as these labeling initiatives have raised a considerable amount of public awareness.

The insanity has gone far enough, which is why I encourage you to boycott every single product owned by members of the GMA, including natural and organic brands. More than 80 percent of our support comes from individual consumers like you, who understand that real change comes from the grassroots.

Recently, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan) has reintroduced a bill (HR 1599) that would preempt states’ rights to enact GMO labeling laws. This bill would create a federal government program to oversee guidelines for voluntary labeling of products that do not contain GMOs. It would specifically prohibit Congress or individual states from requiring mandatory labeling of GMO foods or ingredients. It would also allow food manufacturers to use the word "natural" on products that contain GMOs.


FIONA MACDONALD

29 MAY 2015

Scientists have found a mechanism that might help them stop breast cancer from spreading to the bones – a breakthrough that could improve survival rates of thousands of patients each year. And even more excitingly, they’ve also found an existing drug that can stop the metastasis from happening in mice.

The team found that before a tumour spreads, it releases an enzyme that starts breaking down bone tissue and forming holes, essentially preparing them for the arrival of the cancer cells. They now hope that by blocking this enzyme, known as LysYl Oxidase or LOX, they might be able to stop the disease progression in certain patients.

Publishing in Nature, the researchers explain that the results could help the almost 12,000 people in the UK, 40,000 in the US, and 3,000 in Australia who die from breast cancer each year. The majority of these deaths occur after the disease has spread to other parts of the body, a process known as metastasis – and in roughly 85 percent of these cases, the bone is the first site that breast cancer attacks.

“We are really excited about our results that show breast cancer tumours send out signals to destroy the bone before cancer cells get there in order to prepare the bone for the cancer cells’ arrival," one of the lead researchers, Alison Gartland, from the University of Sheffield in the UK, said in a press release.

“This is important progress in the fight against breast cancer metastasis and these findings could lead to new treatments to stop secondary breast tumours growing in the bone, increasing the chances of survival for thousands of patients."

The researchers also showed that, in mice, a class of drugs called bisphosphonates, which are used to treat bone mass loss in osteoporosis patients, was able to prevent the holes forming in the bones and stop the spread of breast cancer.

The discovery only applies to the roughly one-third of patients that have oestrogen receptor negative (ER negative) breast cancer, which is particularly hard for doctors to treat. But the research will help scientists understand more about how other cancers prepare to spread around the body.

“The next step is to find out exactly how the tumour secreted LOX interacts with bone cells to be able to develop new drugs to stop the formation of the bone lesions and cancer metastasis," said Gartland. The research could also lead to new treatments for debilitating bone conditions.

“The reality of living with secondary breast cancer in the bone is a stark one, which leaves many women with bone pain and fractures that need extensive surgery just when they need to be making the most of the time they have left with friends and family," said Katherine Woods from the Breast Cancer Campaign that partly funded the research.


27 MAY 2015

A modified version of the herpes virus has been used to treat skin cancer patients, and one in four have responded positively to the treatment, remaining in remission at least six months afterwards.

The results come from a clinical trial in the UK involving more than 400 patients with aggressive melanoma, who signed up to be treated through virotherapy – a technique that uses altered viruses to attack specific pathogens such as cancer cells. "This is the big promise of this treatment. It’s the first time a virotherapy has been shown to be successful in a phase 3 trial," lead researcher Kevin Harrington, from the Institute of Cancer Research London, told Hannah Devlin at The Guardian.

The herpes-based drug, named Talimogene Laherparepvec (T-VEC), has proven so effective, Harrington and his team hope to see it on the market by 2016. A successful phase 3 trial means the only remaining hurdle for it to be sold commercially in the US and Europe by pharmaceuticals company, Amgen, is to get approval from the FDA and the European Medicines Agency.

The drug is administered once every two weeks for up to 18 months, and while participants in the trial received flu-like side effects after the first few injections, this was far preferable to the side effects that come with chemotherapy drugs.

According to the study, published in The Journal of Clinical Oncology, of the 436 patients with inoperable melanoma, 16.3 percent of them were still in remission six months after the treatment, compared to 2.1 percent in the control group, who were treated using immunotherapy, which boosts a patient’s immune response to the cancer.

Of those who took the T-VEC drug, 10 percent of the patients were in ‘complete remission’, having showed no signs of the cancer following the treatment, and during the trial, the T-VEC group lived an average of 41 months, while the control group lived an average of 21.5 months, showing a significant increase in the survival rate.

This is pretty incredible, because each of the patients, whether they’d had a relapsed or metastatic form of  the cancer, were too far along to respond to conventional treatments, says Devlin at The Guardian. But the drug worked on a quarter of them, even if the cancer had spread to various other organs in the body. "They had disease that ranged from dozens to hundreds of deposits of melanoma on a limb all the way to patients where cancer had spread to the lungs and liver," Harrington told her.

Harrington, who has been developing the treatment for over 10 years, has been trying it out across a range of different cancer types, and found that melanoma responded the most positively to it. The team figured out how to harness its amazing capacity for replication by removing two genes that made it impossible for it to multiply inside healthy cells, but it still had its run of things inside the cancerous melanoma cells.

"Meanwhile, T-VEC has also been modified to produce a molecule called GM-CSF, which serves as a red flag waved at the immune system," Rachel Feltman reports for The Washington Post. "So in addition to the destructive power of the T-VEC cells themselves, the therapy summons the immune system right to where it’s needed – the tumour."

The team will continue to test out the drug on other forms of cancer through clinical trials, and are keenly awaiting the decision of the European and American drug regulatory boards. If approved, they say the treatment will be made widely available to patients by 2016.

Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2015 May 24

10 Beneficial Spider Species in the USA


featured image

When we talk about microorganisms and insects in the garden, it is quite easy to overlook one type of animal that is not actually an insect. Belonging to the biological classification of arachnids, spiders are predatory creatures that have an important role in controlling populations of pest insects on the permaculture plot. Utilizing either webs to capture prey, or simply striking on the ground or in plants, spiders all have some form of venom with which to kill their prey. All spiders will, once they have made a kill, use enzymes to break down and liquefy the prey in order to consume it. Most spiders will take almost any other insect that happens to come across their path so they will inevitably predate some other beneficial species, but their role in keeping pest populations down should not be underestimated, and permaculture gardeners should view spider sightings on their plot as a good sign indeed.

Every country, bar Antarctica, has its own indigenous arachnids, as well as other species that have been introduced from elsewhere. Here are some of the more common ones that permaculturists in the USA may come across.

Whitebanded Crab Spider
Crab spiders are ambush predators, with the whitebanded among the most common varieties. They tend to sit in the centre of flowers, waiting for insects to come to the bloom to feed on the nectar. Then they strike, seizing the victim in their front two pairs of legs and injecting them with venom. The females of the species are able to change their body coloring between white and yellow to camouflage themselves against the flower. Adult males are much smaller than the females.

Grass Spiders
There are 13 species of grass spider in the U.S., and all of them look similar and exhibit the same behaviors. Grass spiders are members of the funnel weaving family, creating sheets of silk webbing that stretch between the branches of vegetation and lead to a small retreat at the base. The grass spider’s web is not sticky; the spider is alerted to the vibrations of an insect on the web and rushes out to catch it. Grass spiders have brown and grey markings and can be identified by their three rows of eyes – two on the top, four in the middle and two on the bottom –

Carolina Wolf Spider
Wolf spiders are among the most abundant spider species in U.S. gardens and fields. The Carolina is the largest, with adult females growing up to 35 millimeters in body length. They have brown and white markings on the top half of their body, while the underside is solid black. They do not make web; instead during the day they lurk in their burrows waiting for unsuspecting insects to wander past, while at night they go out to actively hunt.

Orchard Orb Weaver
Orchard Orb Weavers have striking coloration, with white, green, and gold markings on their elongated abdomen. Like other orb weavers it spins a circular web that is positioned horizontally, with the spider hanging beneath it. They build their webs on small trees and low-lying shrubs, and feed predominantly on flying insects.

Hacklemesh Weaver
The Hacklemesh Weaver is actually indigenous to Europe, but through global trading it has established itself in other parts of the world, including China and the U.S. A relative of funnel web species such as the grass spiders, the Hacklemesh differs in that it prefers to spin its web on logs, in crevices and in deep leaf litter, rather than up on vegetation. It has a reddish-brown colour and eight eyes arranged in a kind of ‘smiley’ pattern on the front of the head.

Black Widow
Arguably the spider with the most daunting name, the Black Widow actually gets its moniker from the habit of the female to eat the male directly after mating. The males are small and brown, but the females are identifiable from the crimson spot on their bellies. This species hides in crevices by day, and then comes out at night to hang upside down in its web and catch flying insects like moths.

Ant Mimic Spider
The clue is in the name of this spider species. The Ant Mimic not only has a body shape that looks like an ant’s, it comports itself in an ant-like manner as well, holding its first pair of legs aloft as it moves so that they resemble antennae. This behavior is not, as first might be suspected, so that the spider can prey on ants; rather it is to protected itself from predation, as many ants are not preyed upon due to their pungent taste. Instead the Ant Mimic Spider eats small insects like aphids.

Tan Jumping Spider
Jumping spiders can leap up to forty times their own body length. They are also distinctive for their jerky movement when moving across the ground. The Tan species has grey and black mottling on its legs and body, with a scallop-like design on the abdomen. It hunts bugs and other small insects by patrolling vertical surfaces such as walls and fences, before pouncing on their victims.

Woodlouse Hunter
Native to Europe, this spider is now found in most temperate countries across the globe. It has an orangey-red coloration, with the body darker than the legs. It uses its long legs to grab prey and turn it over, revealing the soft underside into which the spider can sink its fangs. It does not make a web; rather it runs down its woodlouse prey.

Six-Spotted Fishing Spider
If you have a pond on your permaculture plot, you might see this species sprawled out motionless on the water, with its distinctive white

beneficial spider species

stripes down each side of its body, waiting for aquatic insects to inadvertently come within reach. They also eat tadpoles and, on occasion, small fish. If disturbed, the spider will run across the water to reach shelter in the bank. The spider is also known to dive almost 20 centimeters under the surface to catch prey.

If you are looking to increase the number of spiders on your site, there are a number of things you can do that will create an environment the animals want to colonize. Mulching, particularly with straw, leaf litter and prunings provides the spiders with protection from predators (such as birds) and from strong weather conditions, as well as humidity. A good range of shrubs and plants that will provide sites for web building and nest making are attractive to spiders, while you could also utilize plant species that attract insects the spiders will prey on.

Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2015 May 14

First Warm-Blooded Fish Found


by Stephanie Pappas, Live Science Contributor   |   May 14, 2015 02:02pm ET

 

(Southwest Fisheries Science Center biologist Nick Wegner holds a captured opah, the first-ever warm-blooded fish.
Credit: NOAA Fisheries, Southwest Fisheries Science Center)

The car-tire-size opah is striking enough thanks to its rotund, silver body. But now, researchers have discovered something surprising about this deep-sea dweller: It’s got warm blood.

That makes the opah (Lampris guttatus) the first warm-blooded fish every discovered. Most fish are exotherms, meaning they require heat from the environment to stay toasty. The opah, as an endotherm, keeps its own temperature elevated even as it dives to chilly depths of 1,300 feet (396 meters) in temperate and tropical oceans around the world.

"Increased temperature speeds up physiological processes within the body," study leader Nicholas Wegner, a biologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries’ Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, California, told Live Science. "As a result, the muscles can contract faster, the temporal resolution of the eye is increased, and neurological transmissions are sped up. This results in faster swimming speeds, better vision and faster response times."

The result, Wegner said, is a fast-swimming fish with an advantage for hunting slow, cold-blooded prey. [See Photos of the Gigantic Warm-Blooded Opah (Moonfish)]

Undersea moon

The opah, also known as the moonfish, has relatively small red fins decorating its large, round body, which can grow up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) long. These fins, which flap rapidly as the fish swims, turn out to be important in generating body heat for the opah.

"The opah appears to produce the majority of its heat by constantly flapping its pectoral fins which are used in continuous swimming," Wegner said.

Researchers first suspected that something might be strange about the opah after analyzing a sample of the fish’s gill tissue. According to the new study, published today (May 14) in the journal Science, the blood vessels in the tissue are set up so that the vessels carrying cool, oxygenated blood from the gills to the body are in contact with the vessels carrying warm, deoxygenated blood from the body to the gills. As a result, the outgoing blood warms up the incoming blood, a process called counter-current heat exchange.

"There has never been anything like this seen in a fish’s gills before," Wegner said in a statement. "This is a cool innovation by these animals that gives them a competitive edge. The concept of counter-current heat exchange was invented in fish long before [humans] thought of it."

To confirm that these special gills helped the opah stay toasty, the researchers tagged a number of moonfish with temperature monitors and tracked the fish as they dove. The fish spend most of their time at least 150 feet (45 m) below the ocean surface. No matter how deep they dive, however, their body temperature stays about 9 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius) warmer than the surrounding water. Fat deposits around the gills and muscles help insulate the fish, the researchers found.

Built for speed

Warm blood gives deep-sea fish a boost, according to Wegner. The opah’s muscles and nervous system likely function faster than an equivalent fish with cold blood. Other deep-diving fish, such as tuna and some sharks can shunt blood to certain body parts to keep them warm during deep dives. But these fish have to swim up out of the depths frequently to prevent their organs from shutting down.

In contrast, the opah can stay deep for long periods of time.

"Nature has a way of surprising us with clever strategies where you least expect them," Wegner said in a statement. "It’s hard to stay warm when you’re surrounded by cold water, but the opah has figured it out."

Next, Wegner told Live Science, he and his colleagues want to study Lampris immaculatus, the opah’s southern cousin. This fish, the southern opah, lives in colder waters than the northern opah, so it would be harder to keep warm, Wegner said — but even more beneficial.


Tracey Lien and Paresh Dave, Los Angeles Times on Apr 28, 2015

Published in Science & Technology News

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Science fiction writer David Brin calls it "a tsunami of lights" — a future where tiny cameras are everywhere, lighting up everything we do, and even predicting what we’ll do next.

Unlike George Orwell’s novel "1984," where only Big Brother controlled the cameras, in 2015, cheap, mobile technology has turned everyone into a watcher.

A snowboarder with a GoPro can post a YouTube video of a friend’s 540-degree McTwist in the halfpipe. But also — as happened recently — a Penn State fraternity can upload Facebook photos of partially naked, sleeping college women.

A San Jose homeowner cowers behind a locked door while she watches an intruder stroll through her home on a surveillance video. A man launches a drone to spy on his neighbor tanning by her pool. Pet owners monitor their dogs.

With each technological advance, more of our lives — from the humdrum to the hyper-dramatic — is being caught on camera.

That includes the police, whose actions can be recorded by anyone with a camera. In South Carolina, a cellphone video showed a police officer firing eight shots at a fleeing man’s back. In San Bernardino County, news helicopters captured video deputies punching and kicking a man as he lay face-down on the ground with his hands behind his back.

"Painting a picture that cameras are everywhere and anywhere is pretty provocative," said Ryan Martin, a technology analyst at 451 Research, but it can also present opportunities to increase accountability and improve safety.

There are 245 million surveillance cameras installed worldwide, according to research firm IHS, and the number increases by 15 percent a year.

Surveillance technologies are evolving in fascinating ways. Google researchers are developing a camera small enough to fit on a contact lens.

That may be years off, but other cutting-edge ideas are hitting the market now.

ParaShoot is selling a $199 HD camera that’s light enough to wear on a necklace or stick to a wall or car dashboard.

Bounce Imaging, is manufacturing a throwable camera shaped like a ball, with police departments as the target customer. The omni-directional cameras can literally take pictures on the fly and instantly transmit pictures to a smartphone.

"You can throw a security camera into it and as it flies through the air it’s taking pictures," said Bounce chief executive Francisco Aguilar. It’s like "a bunch of security cameras facing all directions in the room."

It’s the size of a softball, but the company is working on shrinking it to golf-ball dimensions. The ball can also be mounted inconspicuously atop a pole for 360-degree surveillance.

A company called Axiom is making body cameras for police. In the near future, says general manager Marcus Womack,videos could be instantly uploaded to the Internet over Wi-Fi or cellular networks for live streaming.

The camera is the easy part, he said. "It’s dependent on mobile networks being able to support the streaming media."

As surveillance spreads, huge volumes of video data are growing beyond the ability of humans to sift through it all. Technologists are turning to artificial intelligence to take over the grunt work.

"We have systems that are capable of doing a lot of thinking based on images," said Manuela Veloso, computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University. Programs could comb through vast databases at lightning speed, or even work in real time using algorithms that are "on the lookout for specific events … a person falling, people running."

Programs can already track balls, pick out landmarks and recognize when two machines collide, Veloso said. The next steps are training computers to recognize more specific anomalies.

The Defense Department is developing video-monitoring technology called Mind’s Eye to predict crime before it happens.

China is using face-recognition technology to identify dissidents as part of its Gold Shield Internet monitoring and censorship program.

It’s not just governments that are collecting rich stores of data. Facebook uses face-recognition technology to identify users’ friends in photos.

"Evolutionarily, we’re primed for it," said Kevin Kelly, author of the book "What Technology Wants." "For most of human history, we’ve been covering each other. It’s only in recent history we’ve developed a heightened sense of privacy."

But, he adds, social norms guided behavior in the less-private past. Norms for the cameras-everywhere era haven’t been developed — nor are there well-thought-out legal structures that would keep inevitable abuse in check.

"It has to be symmetrical," Kelly said. "In the sense that when someone is watching you, you have to be able to watch them too. Who is watching? Who is being held accountable?"

Brin, the sci-fi writer, shares Kelly’s concerns. In 1989, the police in his novel "Earth" were required to wear cameras, while citizens wore cameras on their shoulders, to keep each other honest. His 1993 nonfiction book, "The Transparent Society," presaged the tensions of a cameras-everywhere culture.

He offers the same advice now as he did then: Individuals under surveillance need to know what the government is collecting and why; they need to be able to watch back. "We should be focusing on systems of super-accountability," he said. "What they see doesn’t matter. It’s what they can do to us because there’s no way to verify what they know and don’t know."

One example: recent court decisions upholding the right of people to record their encounters with law enforcement.

People like Kelly and Brin have no fundamental problem with any of it, partly because people need protection against bad guys, partly because they know the technology is impossible to stop.

But people are so enthralled by what Brin calls "weapons of mass distraction" — their devices, their social networks, their cool apps, their video delights — that they won’t do their part to maintain information symmetry.

For those who are creeped out by a cameras-everywhere society, Brin noted that Gutenberg’s movable type and Galileo’s telescopes provoked great anxiety in their time.

"Every generation," he said, "has been challenged by augmentations of vision, memory and power."

(c)2015 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at http://www.latimes.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC


Carbon-neutral diesel is now a reality.

German car manufacturer Audi has reportedly invented a carbon-neutral diesel fuel, made solely from water, carbon dioxide and renewable energy sources. And the crystal clear ‘e-diesel’ is already being used to power the Audi A8 owned by the country’s Federal Minister of Education and Research, Johanna Wanka.

The creation of the fuel is a huge step forward for sustainable transport, but the fact that it’s being backed by an automotive giant is even more exciting. Audi has now set up a pilot plant in Dresden, Germany, operated by clean tech company Sunfire, which will pump out 160 litres of the synthetic diesel every day in the coming months.

Their base product, which they’re calling ‘blue crude’ is created using a three-step process. The first step involves harvesting renewable energy from sources such as wind, solar and hydropower. They then use this energy to split water into oxygen and pure hydrogen, using a process known as reversible electrolysis.

This hydrogen is then mixed with carbon monoxide (CO), which is created from carbon dioxide (CO2) that’s been harvested from the atmosphere. The two react at high temperatures and under pressure, resulting in the production of the long-chain hydrocarbon compounds that make up the blue crude.

Once it’s been refined, the resulting e-diesel can be mixed in with our current diesel fuel, or used on its own to power cars in a more sustainable way.

audi-e-diesel-0Audi

Sunfire analyses have shown that the synthetic fuel is not only more environmentally friendly, but also has superior combustion when compared to fossil fuels. The overall energy efficiency of the e-diesel is 70 percent, they report.

"The engine runs quieter and fewer pollutants are being created," said Sunfire Chief Technology Officer Christian von Olshausen in a press release.

Of course, with the initial factory only pumping out around 160 litres each day, the fuel isn’t going to have a huge impact on the market just yet. But Audi and Sunfire now want to build a bigger factory, and anticipate that once production is scaled up, the e-diesel will sell to the public for between 1 and 1.50 Euros per litre, dependent on the cost of renewable electricity.

With traditional diesel currently on the market for upwards of 1.50 Euros per litre in Germany, this would make the fuel extremely competitive, and perfectly positioned to made sustainable travel accessible to everyone. "If we get the first sales order, we will be ready to commercialise our technology", said von Olshausen.

Just imagine being able to tear around the countryside in an Audi sportscar, and not having to feel guilty for all the CO2 emissions you’re producing. We can’t wait.

Find out more about how the fuel is made in the Sunfire link below:

https://youtu.be/55Edq_Irstk

Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2015 April 13

7 incredible benefits of sleeping naked


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If you find sleeping naked strange or a taboo, you probably either haven’t yet tried it or you just don’t know that it has some positive effects on the human body. Want to know more about these surprising, yet helpful qualities of sleeping with no clothes on? Well, read along to find out.

Controls cortisol levels

One of the most important benefits of sleeping naked and letting your body cool properly at night is that it helps maintain healthy cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone which is related to stress. High levels of cortisol lead to numerous concerning conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, different types of disorders and imbalances, weak immune system and increased appetite. The cortisol levels in the body are usually lowest when you are sleeping deeply (normally between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m.). But after that period of time, they start to rise in order to prepare the body for the day and to leave you feeling more fresh and well-slept when you wake up in the morning. The problems occur when the body doesn’t get the proper sleep it needs to recharge. When you are under-slept, in the morning your cortisol levels are unusually high and this can lead to several discomforts at first (for example, increased appetite). It is highly possible that you will have strong cravings for sugary and foods. Also, you will be more prone to over-eat. Want to get rid of that belly fat? You may find the solution in sleeping naked and getting a proper night sleep.

Deeper and better sleep

As we know, our body temperature plays a big role when it comes to the quality of our sleep. It was proven by a study in Australia that some types of insomnia can actually be caused by poor body temperature adjustment during sleep. A different research also showed that you can reach deeper levels of sleep when your body temperature is regulating properly while in bed. Another study held by Dutch scientists made an experiment in which the partakers were given thermosuits to put on which would lower the skin temperature without affecting the overall core temperature of the body. The results showed that the participants experienced a pleasant, undisturbed and deeper sleep.

What we can sum up from all these studies is that being too warm in bed at night can lower the quality of your sleep. So  why not try throwing the pj’s and warm blankets away for a night and sense the difference yourself.

Better quality of the sexual life

Sleeping naked stimulates different types of hormones which are good for the body and another one of them is oxytocin. This is the “love hormone” which is released when experiencing orgasms, sexual desires, also stress. It helps fight depression and also it contributes for gut health and a healthy blood pressure. Maybe it is needless to say that sleeping naked with your partner can light the flame and increase your sexual desires which can improve your sexual life as a whole.

Increases anti-aging hormone levels

Believe it or not, sleeping naked can actually help you look younger for longer. As we stated, it is really important to let your body cool during sleep but what is more that you can do is to keep the temperature of your bedroom lower than 70˚F (21˚C). The warmer the air is while you sleep, the more you suppress the release of the anti-aging hormones (melatonin and growth hormones). When it is dark while you sleep, melatonin is being released into your body and this slightly contributes to the cooling of the body. Also, when the temperature of your body is lower, this stimulates the release of the growth hormones which benefits your skin. The journal “Sleep” wrote about a study which found that sleep itself stimulates the release of the growth hormones.

Overall body health

As it was already mentioned above, high skin temperature while sleeping can suppress the release of growth hormones which are responsible for a healthy body functioning and good skin.

The University of Warwick proved by a study that sleeping less than six hours a night can lead to many unhealthy conditions like diabetes and heart problems. Weight gain is also related to sleep deprivation. The release of the stress hormone, cortisol, is stimulated when  you are not getting enough sleep and this triggers hunger hormones as well. This way, the levels of insulin also increase. Moreover, the hormones which are responsible for fat-burning and the control of the appetite increase.

Reduces risk of yeast infections

Yeast infections are common and can be easily cured with proper nutrition and an  immune system boost. However, sleeping naked can even lower the  risk of getting them because yeast grows in warm and moist conditions. By having no clothes on while you sleep, you give your body the opportunity to cool down and stay dry all night long which prevents yeast from growing and spreading.

Confidence boost

By sleeping naked you start to feel more and more comfortable in your own skin. This gives you an amazing confidence boost which will definitely make you feel more happy. Also, by gaining more confidence you will want to check yourself in the mirror more often and that can encourage you to look your best all the time.

Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2015 April 6

The best cosmic events coming up in 2015


Mark your calendars!

Last week, we were lucky enough to experience a solar eclipse, a supermoon, and a Spring equinox, all at once. Well, when I say ‘experience’, I mean most of us got to watch it online, because the only people who could actually see it were sitting on boats off the coast of the Faroe Islands, and then the Svalbard archipelago.

But that event is just a fraction of the awesomeness we’re going to get in our skies this year, with blood moons, meteor showers, and exceptional planet viewings on the ticket for 2015. Mark your calendars accordingly.

April 4 – Total Lunar Eclipse/Blood Moon. The Moon will past over Earth’s dark shadow, or umbra, and take on a dark, and eerie red colour. Totality – when you can see the entire circle of the Moon before it’s covered up by shadow again – will last just 9 minutes, which is the shortest duration for a total lunar eclipse since 13 October 1856. It will be visible in most areas of North America, South America, eastern Asia, and Australia.

April 22, 23 – Lyrids Meteor Shower. You’ll have the opportunity to see about 20 meteors per hour when this annual shower hits its peak on the evening of April 22 in the northern hemisphere. According to seasky.org, the first quarter Moon will set shortly after midnight, which will leave the night sky dark enough to make this a great meteor-viewing opportunity.

May 5 and 6 – The Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower. If you miss the Lyrids one, don’t worry – this one will likely be even more impressive. This annual shower is capable of producing up to 60 meteors per hour. While this one will be more visible to southern hemisphere people, folks in the northern hemisphere might catch a glimpse of it in the wee hours of May 5 and 6.

May 7 – Mercury hits its greatest eastern elongation. This means it’ll be positioned 21.2 degrees from the Sun, which makes this the best time of the entire year to view our greyish neighbour, says seasky.org, because "it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the evening sky." They say to look for it low in the western sky just after sunset if you’re in the northern hemisphere.

June 6 – Venus hits its greatest eastern elongation. More of a Venus type of person? We get it, who doesn’t want to spot this bright white, gaseous minx of a planet? On June 6, it will reach its greatest eastern elongation of 45.4 degrees from the Sun, at which point it’ll be at its highest point above the horizon in the night sky just after sunset.

August 12 – Perseid Meteor Shower. "The Perseid meteor shower is usually considered to be among the best of the annual meteor displays thanks to its high rates," says seasky.org. "Lucky observers can sometimes see up to 90 meteors an hour during the shower." Count. Us. In.

August 29 – Full Moon/Supermoon. And we’ve come full circle, because just like last week, we’ve got another supermoon. This occurs when the Moon moves into a position that’s on the opposite side of Earth to the Sun, which means its face will be fully lit-up, while also making its closest approach to Earth, making it appear larger and brighter. According to seaskyorg, this particular supermoon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Sturgeon Moon because all the extra light made sturgeon fishing a whole lot easier. View this one at 18:35 UTC.

September 28 – Total Lunar Eclipse. In case you missed the April 4 event, this one has got you covered. 

October 20 – The Orionids Meteor Shower. The shower will occur throughout October, but on the night of October 21 and the morning of October 22, it will hit its peak, often delivering around 20 meteors per hour. It’s made up of the dust trails left behind by comet Halley.

October 28 – Three-Planet Conjunction. This rare event sees Venus, Mars, and Jupiter form a triangle in the early morning sky. If you’re in the northern hemisphere, look to the east, says seasky.org, just before sunrise.

December 25 – Full Moon. What a way to spend Christmas, with a big, bright Moon in the sky to celebrate.

Source: seasky.org

Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2015 April 2


speed bump

Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2015 March 20

Your Phone and Computer use Before bed is Killing You


Your Phone and Computer use Before bed is Killing You

“Sleep is the chain that ties health and our bodies together.”
-Griff Niblack

A couple of centuries ago people didn’t know anything about artificial light.  Burning candles and going to bed with the sunset was the way of life. The sun was the main source of lighting, and people spent their evenings in darkness. We, on the other hand, take pride in having convenient technology that allows to stay up as late as we want. In fact,  the amount of artificial light in the world has tripled since 1970.  However, depression, insomnia, the use of prescription sleeping pills, anti-depressants and caffeine has skyrocketed. Is that a coincidence? I don’t think so. According to statistics, 95 % of American people use different types of electronics prior going to bed. Whether it’s watching TV, working on the computer or checking your phone, these activities cause sleep disruption and insomnia which lead to much bigger health problems.

Your phone and computer use before bed is killing you

Melatonin Suppression

Research has proven that nighttime exposure to artificial light suppresses the production of melatonin. Melatonin is the main hormone secreted by the pineal gland which controls sleep and wake cycles. In order to stimulate the production of  melatonin by the pineal gland, we need darkness. This vital hormone maintains the circadian rhythm of our body.  Our bodies function optimally when we are exposed to natural darkness on an internal 24-hour clock.  A recent study found that  people whose circadian 24-hour is interrupted by artificial light are more likely to get cancer. Natural darkness increases melatonin and  protects cells from damage.  Melatonin suppression has been linked to cancer, impaired immune systems, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity and heart disease. (source) You need to make sure you are producing enough melatonin because it is a powerful antioxidant which has positive effects on the immune system and the aging process.

What You Can Do

Here some ways to reduce your exposure to artificial lights:

  • Use dim red lights for night lights. Red light has the least power to disrupt circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin.
  • Spending a lot of time in the bright light during the day will help you sleep great at night.
  • If you must use your computer in the evening, download the free program f.lux. It adjusts the brightness and color temperature of your computer’s display according to the time of day.
  • Do not look at bright screens two to three hours before bed.
  • Purchase a pair of Uvex Skyper orange tint glasses. They are super cheap, around $10 on Amazon but they block the blue light emitted from all your electronics.

Uvex S1933X Skyper Safety Eyewear, Black Frame, SCT-Orange UV Extreme Anti-Fog Lens

Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2015 March 17

Scorpio Astrology October 23 – November 21


Scorpio Strength Keywords:

– Loyal
– Passionate
– Resourceful
– Observant
– Dynamic

Scorpio Weakness Keywords:

– Jealous
– Obsessive
– Suspicious
– Manipulative
– Unyielding

Scorpio and Independence:

Scorpios are fiercely independent. They are able to accomplish anything they put their mind to and they won’t give up. They are perfectly suited to being on their own. They are not social butterflies like some other zodiac signs and some actually prefer to live on their own that way there is never any issue of who controls what at home, they like to be in control.

Scorpio and Friendship:

Relationships with Scorpio are always complicated, just like the person, their relationships are a series of extremes, they can even be downright moody for no apparent reason. Scorpios are known for their possessiveness and jealousy but on the other hand, they are extremely loyal. Scorpios have an excellent memory and combined with an inability to let things go, they can hold a grudge against someone who did them harm forever, in fact a Scorpio rarely if never forgives and forgets. They will even go as far as get vengeance on the person. On the other hand, they will always remember a kind gesture forever and repay it. Any kind selfless gesture done to a Scorpio will gain trust and respect which is extremely important to them in any relationship, either romantic or not. The best advice is to be honest with a Scorpio friend and in return, you will gain an amazing friend you will never forget and who will be loyal to you and never make false promises. Their truthful and shocking sense of humor if different than that of any other zodiac sign and the Scorpio makes an amazing, powerful interesting friend that can be trusted.

Scorpio and Business:

Scorpios make excellent doctors, surgeons, scientists and leaders, they are perfectly suited to any form of business that makes a difference in the world, greatly impacts people and society and a most importantly, Scorpio has to be in a power position, this is why these careers are suited to the Scorpio, they all demand one person in supreme control giving orders and leading a unit of people/practices. In business, Scorpios tend to easily gather wealth, they make very wise business decisions and they are very conservative about spending their money. Scorpios are known for making money and hiding it, they will not announce it due to to fear that others will take the same route and becoming a possible competitor, or worse try to use the Scorpio to their advantage to use them for their money.

Scorpio and Temperament:

Scorpios are extremely ambitious, persistent and determined which is shown through a power hungry, controlling attitude. Not in a stubborn sense however, because a Scorpio will work for what they want and control will justified reasons. This is obvious to any onlooker. A Scorpio never gives up, they are so determined to reach their goal. The key to this success is their flexibility. They are able to re-survey a situation and take a different approach if necessary. This makes them very adaptable and versatile. Scorpios are fierce competitors, combined with their powers of observation and their excellent memory, they will recall facts and when necessary, bring them to the table at the time of need. They will win justly, with proper facts and arguments to support their thoughts and opinions. Scorpios are excellent at restoring order to a chaotic situation and they are just as capable of manipulating for their own greed and benefit. The un-evolved Scorpio is a very dangerous person because they use their powers to benefit only them and step on other people in order to satisfy their own greed.

Scorpio Deep Inside:

Scorpio is the most misunderstood of all astrology signs. They are all about intensity and contradictions. They like to be aware of a situation and always know what’s going on, figuring this out with their probing mind, on the other hand, they are interested in the occult, the paranormal, conspiracy theories and other types of similar unknown mysteries. They are very capable of hiding their true feelings and motivations, they often have ulterior motives or a hidden agenda.
Scorpios are all about control, they need to be in control at all times. To be out of control is very threatening, even dangerous to the Scorpio’s psyche, when they control, they feel safe.
Scorpios are very emotional, their emotions are intensified, both good emotions and bad. Negative emotions of jealousy and resentment are hallmarks of this turbulent astrology sign. On the other side, Scorpios are well known for their forceful and powerful drive to succeed and their amazing dedication. Scorpios are constantly trying to understand their emotions through finding a deeper purpose in life.
Scorpios are very intuitive, but not as in a psychic sense, more as intuitive into the human mind, they have a great understanding of the mystery and the power of the human mind.
Scorpios have a fear of failure which they keep hidden extremely well, should their confrontation not be successful, or their career fail, they will simply use their adaptive skill to quickly move and and leave the bad experience behind. Do not ever expect them to fess up or share their tale with anyone however because this shows signs of weakness and Scorpio always wins, they are always the self-proclaimed best! One of the reasons they seem like they always accomplish their goals is because they set tangible short-term goals that they know they can accomplish, they know what they are capable of and this is what they go for.
Scorpios are very weary about trusting anyone, a person needs to gain their trust and this gets built up over time and once all the ‘trust tests’ have been passed, Scorpio loves deeply and intensely. Underneath the cool exterior, energies and emotions are constantly flowing but the Scorpio deals with this be channeling this into useful activities, hobbies, relationships or a career. This is never apparent to the outside observer but knowing this fact explains why Scorpios are so passionate about whatever it is that they are undertaking. Scorpios have powerful instincts and they trust their own gut feeling which is another reason why a Scorpio seldom fails.
The ongoing lesson in life for those born under the Scorpio zodiac signs, is to channel their powerful energy into positive goals and not succumbing to the darker forces in life such as manipulation and greed, they will then have great success in their life and have a clean, happy conscience and a circle of friends they can trust and hold dear to them.

Scorpio in a Nutshell:

Scorpio is the astrology sign of extremes and intensity. Scorpios are very deep, intense people, there is always more then meets the eye. They present a cool, detached and unemotional air to the world yet lying underneath is tremendous power, extreme strength, intense passion and a strong will and a persistent drive. Scorpios have a very penetrative mind, do not be surprised if they ask questions, they are trying to delve deeper and figure things out and survey the situation. They always want to know why, where and any other possible detail they can possibly know. Scorpio’s are very weary of the games that other people try to play and they are very aware of it. Scorpios tend to dominate and control anyone that lets them, or anyone that they find weak. The person that a Scorpio respects and holds close to them is treated with amazing kindness, loyalty and generosity. On the outside, a Scorpio has great secretiveness and mystery. This magnetically draws people to them. They are known to be controlling and too ambitious but only because they need control for this makes them feel safe.

What it’s Like to Date a Scorpio Woman:

Scorpio woman is very emotional, very demanding and very demonstrative. She is full of flair and intrigue, a fascinating woman that the strong A-type personality male will adore, for she presents the right amount of challenge with the right amount of rewards. The Scorpio woman is the ultimate seductive, flirtatious woman. She won’t give a man her heart very easily because she is weary of trusting another person. The man will have to go through a series of ‘mental testes’ in order for the relationship to get solid and close. She may not show it, but she wants a close committed relationship. Ion order for this, the man has to be trusted, has to be affectionate and never try to control her. She is very possessive but the Scorpio woman is so full of mystery, sensuality and passion that most men do not mind being possessed by her.

What it’s Like to Date a Scorpio Man:

TheScorpio male is unlike any other man of any other astrology sign. He is so unique that a seperate section is needed to explain about dating theScorpio man. Unlike most other zodiac signs, what it’s like to date a Scorpio woman is very similar to dating a Scorpio man. The main difference is that instead of presenting a powerful feminine force like the woman, the Scorpio man presents a strong masculine, sexual force. The Scorpio man is easy to seduce and take home for the night, it is much harder to form a real relationship with him. The Scorpio man is very sensitive and feels lonely and unfulfilled, but he will never let a woman know this. Behind closed doors, be sensitive and affectionate to him appeal to his emotions only if you want a close relationship with him do not attempt to lead him on because he will see this and never forgive you. Toying with a Scorpio male is an unwise move. He will be jealous and possessive and will never allow a woman to control him. Let him take the lead because the Scorpio male is truly a fascinating person, you can never go wrong when he is planning the night! Scorpio men are very moody and their moods change like a pendulum on a clock. Stand by his side in these times and it will pass. Do not nag on him for he has a hard enough time understanding his own emotions. Scorpio men make excellent protectors and you will always feel safe under his radiating, passionate and energetic power.

How to Attract Scorpio:

Never be fake with a Scorpio, they can see it a mile away. Be genuine with your comments and listen to them attentively, (they always have something interesting to say so this is never a problem!) Do not try to hide things from them or tease them, they always have to know what is going on. Remember, they are the only ones that are allowed to tease and present the mystery and intrigue! They like frankness and honesty, speak your mind they will respect that. Scorpios are interested in almost all activities, so finding something to do should never be a problem. They are unpredictable and could change course of the date mid-way though so take these last minute changes with a smile and try something different. They like people who are not afraid to ditch a plan and try another. In conversation, do not tell them that their opinions are wrong or shoot them down, they are too proud for this and even if it is a joke, they might not take it with the humor that you meant. Never try to control them but do not be the damsel in distress either, they like strong, real people with driving ambitious personality like theirs.

Scorpio Erogenous Zone:

The genitals are everybody’s erogenous zone but since the Scorpio is the most sexually charged of all zodiac signs, the genitals are extremely sensitive and will ignite a passionate fire that cannot be extinguished. Stroke and caress these areas lightly. There is no wrong way to stimulate this area, but be gentle.

Sex With Scorpio:

Sex with Scorpio is a total emotional and physical experience with passion and intensity. They have amazing stamina and can last all night long, round after round. Scorpio is the zodiac sign that is the most likely to act out a sexual fantasy. Most people will talk about it but the Scorpio will do it, they will fully throw themselves into the role. Do not suggest a fantasy to a Scorpio unless you plan to do it! Most Scorpios are direct and forceful and they seem to be an expert at what they do. They continue to seduce you even as the act continues. A thrilling experience not for the faint of heart!

Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2015 March 17

How Spices Work Like Medicine


shutterstock_230510470

I’m one of those cooks that combines whatever I find in the fridge or pantry without a plan. I’ll throw spices and foods together like a mad scientist, kind of how I did in Organic Chemistry in 1987 (hoping I wouldn’t blow up the lab). Recently, I went to my first cooking class, “Secrets of Indian Cuisine” at Sur La Table.
Focusing was difficult since I was distracted by the incredible aroma of the garlic, onion and seasonings which were simmering in the pot. Our chef taught us how to create the most amazing Chicken Tikka Masala I’ve ever tasted! In between bites and moans, I asked why his tasted so much better than the restaurant version. He said, “The secret is the spice you use.” He did not use the powdered spices you get from a regular grocery store. His were fresh and he turned both the cumin and coriander seeds into powder using a little electric coffee grinder.

Our eyes widened as he passed around his freshly ground spice with the same store-bought version. The color was completely different. One whiff and his point was made! I decided it’s worth the extra 5 minutes to use spices his way. Indian spices are some of the healthiest on the planet and can act as an aphrodisiac, antibacterial, immune booster, respiratory aid and digestive tonic. I recommend these:

Garam masala- This is not one spice, it’s a blend which differs regionally. It usually contains cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, peppercorns, bay leaf and mace (not the kind of mace you spray in a mugger’s face, this “mace” is a waxy red coating off a nutmeg seed.) Garam masala can help you with digestion and respiratory conditions.

Nutmeg- It contains myristicin which inhibits an enzyme in the brain that contributes to memory loss. Eugenol, isolated from cloves contains an antiviral that is so strong it can kill the virus associated with shingles and herpes cold sores. Garam masala is used as a finishing spice, not intended to be heated.

Curry- This contains a blend of spices, including turmeric known for it’s anti-cancer benefits and ability to reduce inflammation. Curry blends may cause diarrhea in sensitive people. In case you have ever experienced an Indian food reaction, curry is the ‘laxative.’
Coriander- It’s from the seeds of the cilantro plant but it tastes nothing like cilantro. Lightly toast them to extract more flavor. This spice reduces insulin and blood sugar and one study suggests it binds heavy metals such as lead.

Green cardamom seed- During cooking class, I gently popped open the seeds in a mortar and pestle by tapping them, and then simmered both the seeds and outer shells in oil. Cardamom is rich in minerals, especially potassium so it’s medicinal action on the body is to reduce blood pressure and control blood clot formation. Chewing the seeds helps with bad breath. What a difference compared to the store-bought powdered type. This spice is used in chai tea. There’s also a black cardamom seed which has more of a smokey flavor.

Cumin seed- This is rich in iron in case you have anemia. Cumin is the seed of a small parsley plant. It helps you secrete bile acids and pancreatic enzymes and that helps you break down your food. It also has anti-diabetic actions like the sulfonylurea medicines. Chewing and eating slowly can also help you break down food more efficiently. Cumin contains pyrazines, which are strong antioxidants. Cumin spice improves the action of enzymes in your liver so that you can detoxify better, and this will also help with constipation.

Fenugreek- You can buy the seeds and crush them. They have estrogenic properties so some women use them to control hot flashes, or to induce breast milk production. Older folks can benefit from the cholesterol lowering properties of fenugreek. In a 2011 edition of “International Journal of Experimental Pathology” lab animals fed a diet laced with fenugreek enjoyed reduced cholesterol by 42 percent and fewer gallstones by 75 percent.  Fenugreek also reduced oxidation of lipids in the liver by up to 22 percent.

Ghee- This type of butter originated in India. It’s butter that has been slowly melted to separate the milk solids from the golden liquid on the surface. It’s simmered slowly until the milk solids start to brown, so the resulting butter has a nutty, caramel-like flavor and aroma. You can make this at home or buy it an Indian specialty grocery store.

Basmati rice- It’s a long-grain rice native to India. You can buy this at any grocery store or specialty market. He soaked his grains for a few hours then poured off the water and cooked it like you would regular rice. This makes it easier to digest.

Here’s the recipe that I’ve adapted which originally came from Sur La Table. I highly recommend their cooking classes. They’re fun, and inspiring.

Tikka Masala sauce
4 tbsp ghee
1 small yellow onions, sliced
2 tea minced garlic
2 tea minced ginger
1/2 cup tomato paste
12 green cardamom pods
1 tea crushed red chile flakes
4 tea ground turmeric
2 tea ground coriander

2 tea ground cumin

1 can (28 ounce) crushed peeled tomatoes
2 cups heavy whipping cream

2 tea garam masala
Sea salt to taste
1 tbsp lemon juice (to taste)

Directions: Place ghee into a large saucepan over medium heat. When ghee is melted, add the onion and cook until tender about 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook another minute longer. Stir in the tomato paste, chili flakes, cardamom pods and seeds (which you gently break apart in a mortar and pestle). Cook and stir frequently until the tomato paste darkens in color, about 5 minutes. Add remaining spices until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes to your sauce and bring everything to a boil while stirring. Then reduce heat to simmer, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Stir in the cream and simmer gently, about 15 more minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and lemon juice as you wish.  This is your sauce. Some of you will just pour this over plain chicken and eat it, but the REAL way to make Chicken Tikka Masala is to use this sauce and pour it over chicken that has been marinated.  Here’s the recipe to marinate your chicken.

Chicken Marinade
You can do this the night before, or even a few hours in advance.

Mix together the following to cover your chicken:
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tbsp minced real ginger (not powdered)
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 tea ground cumin

1/4 tea freshly ground mace
1/4 tea freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 tea ground green cardamom

1/4 tea chile powder
1/4 tea turmeric powder
3 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
Add the 6 skinless boneless chicken thighs to marinate

Directions: Time to cook your marinated chicken. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Position the rack in the center. Arrange your chicken on a cooking sheet, or even better put it on top of a wire rack on the cookie sheet. Arrange it all on a single layer and cook thoroughly until it has begun to brown. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes.
To serve:
Place cooked rice on the plate and place your chicken on the plate. Cover with Tikka Masala sauce and serve immediately.

About the author

About Suzy Cohen

Suzy Cohen, America’s Pharmacist has been a licensed pharmacist for 25 years and is a functional medicine practitioner for the last 15. She devotes time to educating people about the benefits of natural vitamins, herbs and minerals. In addition to writing a syndicated health column, “Dear Pharmacist,” which circulates to 20 million readers each week, Suzy Cohen is the author of many different books on natural health. You may have seen her on The Dr. OZ Show (6 different appearances), The View, The Doctors, Good Morning America Health and hundreds of morning shows. www.suzycohen.com

 

Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2015 March 16

Study: When kids are narcissists, parents are to blame


Deborah Netburn, Los Angeles Times

If you don’t want to raise a narcissistic brat, consider taking a hard look at your parenting style.

A new study found that parents who believe their kids are better, more special and deserve more than other kids can pass that point of view on to their children, creating young narcissists who feel superior to others, and entitled to privileges.

"Loving your child is healthy and good, but thinking your child is better than other children can lead to narcissism, and there is nothing healthy about narcissism," said Brad Bushman, a professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University.

Bushman is the co-author of a new paper that found a direct correlation between parents who overvalue their children and children who are narcissistic.

The study, published Monday in PNAS, is the first to look at the origins of narcissism.

"People are not just born narcissists and there is nothing you can do about it," Bushman said. "Our research shows that the way parents treat their children can predict how narcissistic their kids are."

To be clear, narcissism is not a disorder that people do or do not have. Rather, it is a spectrum on which adults and kids from the general population gradually differ from one another, explained Eddie Brummelman, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands and the first author of the study.

"Most children score around the midpoint of the narcissism continuum, with some scoring very low, and some children scoring very high," he said. "In its extreme form, narcissism can sometimes develop into Narcissistic Personality Disorder in adulthood."

For the study, the researchers conducted interviews with 565 children ages 7-12 and their parents every six months over an 18-month period.

Bushman said they chose that age range because the first signs of narcissistic tendencies begin to emerge around age 8.

"Before that every kid is a narcissist," he said. "If you go into a classroom of 5-year-olds and ask who here is good at math they will all raise their hand. It isn’t until about age 8 that they start to compare themselves with others."

Every six months of the 18-month study period the children were asked to rate their response to 10 items on the Childhood Narcissism Scale from 0-3, with 0 being "not at all true" and 3 being "completely true."

The statements included "Kids like me deserve something extra," and "I am a great example for other kids to follow."

It also included the sinister question, "I am very good at making other people believe what I want them to believe."

For the parents, the researchers used the parental overvaluation scale, which includes statements like "My child deserves special treatment," and "I would find it disappointing if my child was just a ‘regular’ child."

The researchers also had the kids take a self-esteem test, and the parents were asked to take a parental warmth test.

The researchers found that the more parents overvalued their kids, the more narcissistic the kids’ responses became six months later.

They also found that parental warmth was associated with high self-esteem in kids, but that parental over evaluation was not associated with high self-esteem.

"When children are seen by their parents as being more special and more entitled than other children, they may internalize the view that they are superior individuals, a view that is at the core of narcissism," the researchers conclude in the paper.

They add: "When children are treated by their parents with affection and appreciation, they may internalize the view that they are valuable individuals, a view that is at the core of self-esteem."

So, according to the research, loving your kid and thinking he or she is awesome is a good thing, but thinking your kid is more awesome than other kids can lead to trouble down the road, Brummelman said.

Keith Campbell, a professor of psychology at the University of Georgia who was not involved in the study, praised the research.

"I think that looking at the age group is really interesting," he said. "These findings are consistent with theory and other research on narcissism and parenting, so I think there is good evidence that parenting can cause narcissism."

However, he added that there is also good evidence that genetic factors play an important role in the development of narcissism as well.

The researchers agree.

"It probably does have to do with genetics too," Bushman said.

And here’s one more thing to consider: A person doesn’t have to stay a narcissist forever.

"Although narcissism is often seen as a deeply ingrained personality trait, it can certainly change," Brummelman said. "When you are narcissistic at one time in life, you’re not destined to (be) narcissistic decades later."

(c)2015 Los Angeles Times

Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2015 March 11

Coffee: What Just 2 Cups Per Day Is Doing To Your Liver Hot


 

 

The health effects of coffee are quite controversial.

Depending on who you ask, it is either a super healthy beverage or incredibly harmful.

But despite what you may have heard, there are actually plenty of good things to be said about coffee.

For example, it is high in antioxidants and linked to a reduced risk of many diseases.

However… it also contains caffeine, a stimulant that can cause problems in some people and disrupt sleep.

This article takes a detailed look at coffee and its health effects, examining both the pros and cons.

Coffee Contains Some Essential Nutrients and is Extremely High in Antioxidants

Coffee is more than just dark brown water… many of the nutrients in the coffee beans do make it into the drink.

A typical 8oz (240 ml) cup of coffee contains (1):

  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 11% of the RDA.
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): 6% of the RDA.
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 2% of the RDA.
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 2% of the RDA.
  • Folate: 1% of the RDA.
  • Manganese: 3% of the RDA.
  • Potassium: 3% of the RDA.
  • Magnesium: 2% of the RDA.
  • Phosphorus: 1% of the RDA.

This may not seem like a lot, but try multiplying with 3, 4, or however many cups you drink per day. It can add up to a significant portion of your daily nutrient intake.

But where coffee really shines is in its high content of antioxidants.

The average person who eats a typical Western diet actually gets more antioxidants from coffee than fruits and vegetables… combined (2, 3).

Bottom Line: Coffee contains a small amount of some vitamins and minerals, which add up if you drink many cups per day. It is also high in antioxidants.

Coffee Contains Caffeine, A Stimulant That Can Enhance Brain Function and Boost Metabolism

Caffeine is the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world (4).

Tired Man Drinking Morning Coffee

Soft drinks, tea and chocolate all contain caffeine, but coffee is the biggest source.

The caffeine content of a single cup can range from 30-300 mg, but the average cup is somewhere around 90-100 mg.

Caffeine is a known stimulant. In the brain, it blocks the function of an inhibitory neurotransmitter (brain hormone) called Adenosine.

By blocking adenosine, caffeine actually increases activity in the brain and the release of other neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and dopamine. This reduces tiredness and makes us feel more alert (5, 6).

There are numerous studies showing that caffeine can lead to a short-term boost in brain function… including improved mood, reaction time, vigilance and general cognitive function (7, 8).

Caffeine can also boost metabolism (calories burned) by 3-11% and even increase exercise performance by 11-12%, on average (9, 10, 11, 12).

However… some of these effects are likely to be short-term. If you drink coffee every day, then you will build a tolerance to it and the effects will be less powerful (13).

There are also some downsides to caffeine, which I’ll get to in a bit.

Bottom Line: The main active compound in coffee is the stimulant caffeine. It can cause a short-term boost in energy levels, brain function, metabolic rate and exercise performance.

Coffee May Help Protect Your Brain in Old Age, Leading to Reduced Risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

Coffee Beans

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease and a leading cause of dementia.

Studies have shown that coffee drinkers have up to a 65% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (14, 15, 16).

Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disease and caused by the death of dopamine-generating neurons in the brain.

Coffee drinkers have a 32-60% lower risk of Parkinson’s disease. The more coffee people drink, the lower the risk (17, 18, 19, 20).

Bottom Line: Several studies show that coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease in old age.

Coffee Drinkers Have a Much Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Cup of Coffee

Type 2 diabetes is characterized by elevated blood sugars due to resistance to the effects of insulin.

This is a very common disease… it has increased 10-fold in a few decades and now afflicts over 300 million people.

Interestingly, coffee drinkers appear to have a significantly reduced risk of developing this disease, some studies showing that coffee drinkers are up to 23-67% less likely to become diabetic (21, 22, 23, 24).

In one large review study that looked at 18 studies with 457,922 individuals, each daily cup of coffee was linked to a 7% reduced risk of type 2 diabetes (25).

Bottom Line: Numerous studies have shown that coffee drinkers have a significantly lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Coffee Drinkers Have a Lower Risk of Liver Diseases

The liver is an incredibly important organ that has hundreds of different functions in the body.

Elderly Couple Outside Drinking Coffee

It is very sensitive to modern insults like excess alcohol and fructose intake.

The end stage of liver damage is called Cirrhosis, and involves most of the liver being replaced with scar tissue.

Coffee drinkers have up to an 84% lower risk of developing cirrhosis, with the strongest effect for those who drink 4 or more cups per day (26, 27, 28).

Liver cancer is also common… it is the second leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Coffee drinkers have up to a 40% lower risk of liver cancer (29, 30).

Bottom Line: Coffee drinkers have a significantly lower risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer. The more coffee they drink, the lower the risk.

People Who Drink Coffee Are at a Much Lower Risk of Depression and Suicide

Waitress Holding a Cup of Coffee

Depression is an incredibly common problem.

It is the world’s most common mental disorder and leads to a significantly reduced quality of life.

In one Harvard study from 2011, people who drank the most coffee had a 20% lower risk of becoming depressed (31).

In one review of 3 studies, people who drank 4 or more cups of coffee per day were 53% less likely to commit suicide (32).

Bottom Line: Studies have shown that people who drink coffee have a lower risk of becoming depressed and are significantly less likely to commit suicide.

Some Studies Show That Coffee Drinkers Live Longer

Given that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of many common, deadly diseases (and suicide), it makes sense that coffee could help you live longer.

There is actually some good evidence to support this.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2012 looked at the habits of 402,260 individuals between 50 and 71 years of age (33).

In this study, people who drank coffee had a much lower risk of dying over the 12-13 year study period:

Freedman, et al - Coffee and Risk of Death

The sweet spot seems to be at 4-5 cups per day, with men having a 12% reduced risk and women a 16% reduced risk.

You can read more about it in this article on how coffee can make you live longer.

Bottom Line: Some studies have shown that coffee drinkers live longer, which makes perfect sense given that they have a lower risk of many diseases. The strongest effect is seen for 4-5 cups per day.

Caffeine Can Cause Anxiety and Disrupt Sleep

Young Brunette Holding a Cup of Coffee

It wouldn’t be right to only talk about the good stuff without mentioning the bad.

The truth is… there are some important negative aspects to coffee as well (although this depends on the individual).

Consuming too much caffeine can lead to jitteriness, anxiety, heart palpitations and may even exacerbate panic attacks (34).

If you are sensitive to caffeine and tend to become overstimulated, then perhaps you shouldn’t be drinking coffee.

Another unwanted side effect is that it can disrupt sleep (35). If coffee reduces the quality of your sleep, then try avoiding coffee late in the day, such as after 2pm.

Caffeine can also have some diuretic and blood pressure raising effects, but this usually goes away with regular use. However, an increase in blood pressure of 1-2 mm/Hg may persist (36, 37, 38).

Bottom Line: Caffeine can have various negative effects, such as causing anxiety and disrupting sleep, but this depends greatly on the individual.

Caffeine is Addictive and Missing a Few Cups Can Lead to Withdrawal

Coffee Maker

One issue with caffeine, is that it can lead to addiction in many people.

When people consume caffeine regularly, they become tolerant to it. It either stops working as it used to, or a larger dose is needed to get the same effects (39).

When people abstain from caffeine, they get withdrawal symptoms like headache, tiredness, brain fog and irritability. This can last for a few days (40, 41).

Tolerance and withdrawal are the hallmarks of physical addiction.

A lot of people (understandably) don’t like the idea of being literally dependant on a chemical substance in order to function properly.

Bottom Line: Caffeine is an addictive substance. It can lead to tolerance and well documented withdrawal symptoms like headache, tiredness and irritability.

Editors note: Click here to Find a Local Farmer

The Difference Between Regular and Decaf

Cup of Coffee And Coffee Beans

Some people opt for decaffeinated coffee instead of regular.

The way decaffeinated coffee is usually made, is by rinsing the coffee beans with solvent chemicals.

Each time this is done, some percentage of the caffeine dissolves in the solvent and this process is repeated until most of the caffeine has been removed.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that even decaffeinated coffee does containsome caffeine, just much less than regular coffee.

Unfortunately, not all of the health benefits of regular coffee apply to decaffeinated coffee. For example, some studies show no reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s or liver diseases for people who drink decaffeinated coffee.

Bottom Line: Decaffeinated coffee is made by extracting caffeine from the coffee beans using solvents. Decaf does not have all of the same health benefits as regular coffee.

Things to Keep in Mind in Order to Maximize The Health Benefits

Man Drinking a Cup of Coffee

There are some things you can do in order to maximize the beneficial health effects you get from coffee.

The most important is to NOT add anything unhealthy to it. This includes sugar and any sort of artificial, chemical-laden creamer.

Another important thing is to brew coffee with a paper filter. Unfiltered coffee (such as Turkish or French press) contains cafestol, a substance that can increase cholesterol levels (42, 43).

Also keep in mind that some of the coffee drinks at places like Starbucks can contain hundreds of calories and a whole bunch of sugar. These drinks are NOT healthy.

There are some more tips in this article on 8 ways to make your coffee super healthy.

Bottom Line: It is important not to put sugar or a chemical-laden creamer in your coffee. Brewing with a paper filter can get rid of a cholesterol-raising compound called Cafestol.

Should You be Drinking Coffee?

Woman Drinking Coffee, Smiling

There are some people who would definitely want to avoid or severely limit coffee consumption, especially pregnant women.

People with anxiety issues, high blood pressure or insomnia might also want to try limiting coffee for a while to see if it helps.

There is also some evidence that people who metabolize caffeine slowly have an increased risk of heart attacks from drinking coffee (44).

All that being said… it does seem clear that for the average person, coffee can have important beneficial effects on health.

If you don’t already drink coffee, then I don’t think these benefits are a compelling reason to start doing it. There are downsides as well.

But if you already drink coffee and you enjoy it, then the benefits appear to faroutweigh the negatives.

I personally drink coffee, every day… about 4-5 cups (sometimes more). My health has never been better.

Take Home Message

It’s important to keep in mind that many of the studies in the article are observational studies, which can not prove that coffee caused the beneficial effects.

But given that the effects are strong and consistent among studies, it is a fairly strong indicator that coffee does in fact play a role.

Despite having been demonized in the past, the evidence points to coffee being very healthy… at least for the majority of people.

If anything, coffee belongs in the same category as healthy beverages like green tea.

Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2015 February 23

New Virus Kills One Man In USA


February 23, 2015 | by Justine Alford

Photo credit: Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH / Shutterstock

Last year, a man living in the United States died shortly after being exposed to ticks. At the time, scientists couldn’t identify any of the usual culprits of tick-borne illnesses in his blood, such as the bacterium that causes Rocky Mountain spotted fever. However, their search did reveal a virus that didn’t appear to match any known viruses, which prompted further investigation into the unusual case. Now, after several months of analysis of the isolated pathogen, scientists have finally managed to identify the novel species of virus, which appears to belong to the same family of viruses to which the influenza viruses belong. The findings have been published in Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The patient was a previously healthy man in his 50s living in Bourbon County, Kansas. He had been doing some work outdoors in late spring last year which exposed him to the ticks. A few days before becoming ill with diarrhea and weakness, he found several tick bites on his body and one swollen tick still on his shoulder. His symptoms worsened and he developed a fever, chills and a lack of appetite, which prompted him to seek medical attention.

Because of his apparent exposure to arthropod parasites, the man was prescribed antibiotics for his presumed tick-borne illness and sent home, but the next day his level of consciousness began to deteriorate, so he was admitted to the hospital. Alongside a slight fever, the man had an increased heart rate and blood pressure, but nothing seemed to stand out as unusual. Further tests, however, revealed that his white blood cell and platelet (clotting cells) counts were down.

Over the next few days, his condition deteriorated further despite antibiotic therapy and tests were negative for all the common tick-borne bacterial pathogens, such as Borrelia which causes Lyme disease. The man then experienced multi-organ failure and consequently died 11 days after first becoming ill.

Scientists continued to scour his blood for the potential cause, which led them to an unknown virus that was later identified as a member of the Thogotovirus genus, which belongs to the same family as all three influenza viruses, the Orthomyxoviridae. The virus was named Bourbon virus because of the area the infected man came from.

Although other thogotoviruses are associated with ticks, only two of those previously identified have been known to infect humans, and these have only been found in a handful of individuals in Europe, Asia and Africa. What is interesting is that these two viruses caused brain inflammation in patients, such as encephalitis, not decreases in blood cells. The Kansas man’s symptoms were actually more similar to those found in patients with ehrlichiosis, a rare tick-borne bacterial illness also found in the United States.

Although this is the first known case of Bourbon virus, that doesn’t necessarily mean the virus hasn’t been around for long. Epidemiologist Erin Staples points out to USA Today that it is perfectly possible many people have been infected, but that the virus usually only causes a very mild illness. Now that we have sophisticated diagnostic and surveillance techniques, it is possible more cases may be identified in the future.

Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2015 February 21

How to Make Chocolate Bars with Coconut Oil


How to Make Chocolate Bars with Coconut Oil

I love chocolate. Fortunately, for all the chocolate lovers out there, studies have proven that dark chocolate is really good for you. It is loaded with antioxidants and has many health benefits, including lowering cholesterol and blood sugar. Dark chocolate has magnesium, which helps relax the nervous system and muscles; build teeth and bones. Dark chocolate also contains copper, which is needed for  metabolic functions in the body.

 

Making your own chocolate is not hard at all.  Simply mix cocoa powder with coconut oil (here) , vanilla, salt & sugar together, and  you can create a chocolate bar that is both healthy and delicious!

 

Coconut Oil Chocolate: The Best Metabolism-Boosting Snack

  • 3/4 cup  Coconut Oil
  • 6 tablespoons raw cacao
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • dash of salt

Melt oil if needed. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour into molds, about 1 tablespoon each. An ice cube tray works well. Place in the fridge or freezer. Sets up in about 10-15 minutes.

Coconut oil is one of the most powerful metabolism-boosting foods on the planet. I raised my body temperature (and my metabolic rate) by a full degree in less than a week, simply by eating coconut oil! It’s pretty amazing stuff.

“Coconut oil is renowned for its ability to assist with metabolic rate and body heat, but any source of coconut will do. The medium-chain saturated fatty acids seem to be the active warming ingredient. Coconut is of course very calorie dense with a low water content, and cooking foods in oil of any kind increases the calorie to water ratio [to create a warming effect from your foods].”

 

Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2015 February 16

Giant African land snails have invaded Cuba


Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2015 February 15

Mighty Mites


Picture of a predatory soil mite magnified hundreds of times

Mighty Mites

They hide in your bed and breed on your face. They’re smaller than the period at the end of this sentence.

By Rob Dunn

Photographs by Martin Oeggerli

Several years ago I made a bet about face mites, animals that live in hair follicles. They are so small that a dozen of them could dance on the head of a pin. They are more likely, though, to dance on your face, which they do at night when they mate, before crawling back into your follicles by day to eat. In those caves mother mites give birth to a few relatively large mite-shaped eggs. The eggs hatch, and then, like all mites, the babies go through molts in which they shed their external skeleton and emerge slightly larger. Once they’re full size, their entire adult life lasts only a few weeks. Death comes at the precise moment when the mites, lacking an anus, fill up with feces, die, and decompose on your head.

Currently two species of face mites are known; at least one of them appear to be present on all adult humans. My bet was that even a modest sampling of adults would turn up more species of these mites, ones that are totally new to science.

Biologists often make bets; they call them predictions to sound fancier. My bet was based on an understanding of the tendencies of evolution and of humans. Evolution tends to engender its greatest richness in small forms. Humans, on the other hand, tend to ignore small things. Aquatic mites, for example, live in most lakes, ponds, and even puddles, often in densities of hundreds or thousands per cubic meter. They can even be found in drinking water, yet few people have ever heard of aquatic mites, including, until recently, me. And I study tiny things for a living.

Mites also live in dust, where they have found unwelcome fame by eating the bits of dead skin that trail behind us everyplace we go. Our shadows of shed life sustain multitudes.

Some of the real monsters of the mite world live in soil, where one can find predatory mites armed with a medieval arsenal of mouthparts. Some have jaws with sharklike teeth; others bear smooth blades that snap together with tremendous force; still others stab with sharp and deadly sabers. These beasts stalk the tunnels of worms and the tiny holes between grains of sand.

Other mites live in rain forest canopies, on leaves and in the soil that accumulates in the nooks and crannies where branches meet trunks, and in the cups of epiphytic plants.

Even some of our food is mity. The flavor of Mimolette cheese comes from their tunneling, eating, excreting, and coupling. In fact, it’s no exaggeration to say that mites alter the world. They can make soil turn over faster or slower, decomposition speed up or slow down, crops grow sick or healthy. Their little limbs punch far above their weight.

Just how many species of mites exist in the world today is not well understood. Probably at least a million, but no one knows enough to say with confidence, nor will anyone know for decades. Museum collections are filled with mite species no one has yet had a chance to study. Some undoubtedly offer fascinating evolutionary stories. Others eat herbivorous insects and could benefit agriculture or medicine. Still others may be vectors for deadly pathogens.

Another reason for my bet: Mites are specialists that occupy every conceivable niche, including the trachea of bees, the shafts of feathers, the anuses of turtles, the stink glands of bugs, the digestive systems of sea urchins, the lungs of snakes, the fat of pigeons, the eyeballs of fruit bats, the fur around vampire bat penises. Living in these habitats necessitates special hairs, chemicals, foot pads, mouthparts, and tricks. It also requires a way to get from one patch of good habitat to the next.

Some mites ride from flower to flower in the nostrils of hummingbirds. When the bird hovers at a flower, the mite sniffs the blossom to see if it’s the right kind for finding a mate among the petals. If it is, the mite runs down the bird’s beak at speeds that are, in terms of body lengths traveled, some of the fastest on Earth.

Other mites hitch rides on the backs of beetles or ants; some fly in the ears of moths. One species of mite hangs on to the hind foot of the army ant Eciton dulcius, and its hind legs serve as surrogates for the ant’s own claw. Others float through the clouds or on loops of silk that they produce and unfurl into the wind.

All of this is to say that if one can imagine a habitat, however narrow, mites are there, even if that habitat is hard to reach on legs just microns long and a tenth the thickness of a human hair.

Yet the marvels of mite transport pale in comparison with the idiosyncrasies of mite reproduction. Some clone themselves. Others eat their mothers. Others mate with their sisters while still inside their mothers and then, during birth, kill their mothers. In the nostrils of hummingbirds and the ears of moths lurk Greek tragedies of small, strange lives.

The habitats that offer mites the most advantages are bodies, whether of mammals, birds, insects, or any other creature larger than a mite. Bodies are the buffet bus of life, providing food and transportation. Mites that live on bodies are specially adapted to hold fast to their host, even when it runs, swims, or flies.

Most bird species host more than one specialized mite found nowhere else. One species of parakeet has 25 different species of mites living on its body and in its feathers, each in a different microhabitat. Rabbits host several species of mites, mice as many as six. Even seals have their own mites.

Given such diversity and specialization, it’s easy to imagine that a roomful of people (think of all the habitats!) would be fertile ground for discovering mites—and for making good on my bet. For a long time this was just a conversation starter at slow parties. But recently some collaborators and I gathered a group of folks and asked them to sample their own skin. After some swabbing, poking, and DNA sequencing, we found mites on every adult we sampled, including one species new to science that seems to live mainly on people of Asian descent. Think of it: A mite that probably lives on millions of humans, maybe even billions, and yet it was totally unknown until that moment. I was thrilled.

How did mite systematists—scientists who name new species—respond? A few were excited; the rest shrugged. They knew that my bet for mite diversity was an easy one, a fact of life they witness every time they examine a scoop of soil, peer into moss, or swab a friend. In fact, one need look no farther than the mites pictured in this article, most of which are unnamed species. In all likelihood they will long remain that way, mysteries in plain view, like most of life.

Photograph by Martin Oeggerli

Heavily armored scutacarid mites hitch rides on larger arthropods (including other mites) in their search for food, tumbling off when they arrive at a source of fresh fungi and other microbes.
Scutacaridae, 629 x

 

Photograph by Martin Oeggerli

Supersize foot pads enable feather mites to hold fast to their avian hosts. This species trails sensory hairs, used for navigating and finding mates.
Alleustathia sp., 194 x

 

Photograph by Martin Oeggerli

Rabbit ear mites chew on their unwitting host. The rabbit scratches, its ear oozes, and the mite feasts on the fluid.
Psoroptes Cuniculi, 428 x

 

Photograph by Martin Oeggerli

Box mites retract their limbs and snap shut when threatened.
Atropacarus Striculus, 262 x

 

 

Photograph by Martin Oeggerli

Frontipoda is a predatory mite that lives in small ponds and feeds on larval midges. A relative of spiders and scorpions, it has eight legs, as do most mites, although some have fewer limbs.

 

Photograph by Martin Oeggerli

Gamasellus is a blind predator that uses sensory hairs on its front legs to locate prey and large, toothed pincers to capture them. It then injects a deadly cocktail into its victim.

Photograph by Martin Oeggerli

Mites of the genus Schwiebea are found in many places, from soil and tree cavities to mushrooms, decaying wood, and swimming pools.

 

Photograph by Martin Oeggerli

The eating end of an oribatid soil mite is equipped with “more tools than a Swiss army knife,” says photographer Martin Oeggerli. They include short pincerlike appendages and tiny limbs for handling food.
Hermanniella sp., 1,500 x

 

Photograph by Martin Oeggerli

Scientists are discovering that mites are exquisitely adapted to nature’s every niche. Case in point: Colorful beads of water-repellent wax ensure that a moss mite stays dry in its damp world.
Eobrachychthonius sp., 996 x

Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2015 February 8

A few things that could strengthen your relationship


You Speak Your Mind
Relationships thrive when couples can express themselves freely and honestly. That means no topic is off-limits, and you both feel heard. Consistent communication is vital to building a lasting life together.

You Have Your Own Space
Just because you’re in love doesn’t mean you have to spend every moment together. Taking time to pursue your own interests and friendships keeps your relationship fresh and gives you both the opportunity to grow as individuals—even while you’re growing as a couple.

You Fight
Disagreements are normal, so if you aren’t fighting, chances are you’re holding back. But when people in healthy relationships fight, they fight productively and fairly. That means avoiding name-calling or put-downs. It also means striving to understand your partner instead of trying to score points. And when you’re wrong? You apologize.

You Like Yourself And Your Partner
Chances are your relationship won’t suddenly get better if you win the lottery, have a baby, or move into your dream house. So don’t base your partnership on the hope that it will change. You recognize that neither of you is perfect, and you accept and value each other for who you are right now—not who you might become.

You Make Decisions Jointly
You don’t call all the shots. Neither does your partner. From what movie to see to how many children to have, you make decisions together and listen to each other’s concerns and desires. Sure, this may mean you see Transformers on Saturday night. But on Sunday night, it’s your turn.

You Find Joy
Healthy relationships are full of laughter and fun. This doesn’t mean you’re giddy every hour of the day—or that she doesn’t drive you up the wall sometimes—but it does mean that your life together is mostly happy in sometimes simple ways. (Making dinner, laughing at the same things, finishing each others’ sentences…)

You Find Balance
Sometimes your partner needs to work longer hours while you play chauffeur and chief cook. Or you must devote time to an elderly parent while your spouse tackles the chores. That’s life. What matters is that, in the long run, your trade-offs seem fair.

You Treat Each Other With Kindness
Nothing is more important than treating the person you love with care, consideration, empathy, and appreciation. If you find yourself showing more respect to people you hardly know than you show your partner, take a step back and revisit your priorities.

You Trust Each Other
Healthy relationships are built on trust and a commitment to communication without reservations or secrets.

You Let Things Go
Your partner will annoy you. You will annoy him or her, too. You will say things you don’t mean. You will behave inconsiderately. The important thing is how you deal with all this. So he forgot to pick up milk for the second time? Tell him you’re disappointed, of course—then let it go.

You Are Intimate
Sex is an important part of healthy relationships, but it’s only one part, and it’s different than intimacy, which is less about physical satisfaction than about bonding, friendship, and familiarity. If you’re in a healthy relationship, you’ll feel connected—in and out of bed.

Your Relationship Is Your Safe Place
Your relationship should be a safety net—a stable place to come home to at the end of the day. That doesn’t mean you don’t fight—it just means that when things are hard, you’d rather see your partner than commiserate with coworkers at Happy Hour.

You Talk To Your Partner, Not To Other People
When you have issues and concerns, you share them with your partner, not your Facebook friends. You can use pals as a sounding board, of course, but not as a crutch to avoid hard conversations with your significant other.

You Say The Magic Words
“I love you”, “Thank you,” and “I’m sorry.”


Jan 29, 2015 Mark Roth, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

PITTSBURGH — When surveys like the one this week by the Pew Research Center show major disagreements between scientists and the public on such issues as global warming and genetically modified foods, there is usually a lot of hand-wringing that Americans seem to be so scientifically illiterate.

But Yale Law School professor Daniel Kahan said his research shows that isn’t true.

Kahan is a member of the Cultural Cognition Project, which his website describes as a group that uses "empirical methods to examine the impact of group values on perceptions of risk."

And he has found that when people are deeply divided over issues like climate change or natural gas fracking or evolution, it’s not because they are scientifically ignorant. In fact, he has found that the more knowledgeable such people are about science, the more polarized they tend to be on hot-button issues.

Still, the Pew report released Thursday showed sizable differences between the 2,002 American adults who were surveyed last year and the 3,748 scientists who belong to the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

More than 8 of out 10 scientists believe humans are the main cause of climate change; that animals should be used in research; that it is safe to eat genetically modified food; and that humans have evolved over time. The public’s support for those views ranges from 37 percent on genetically modified foods to 65 percent on human evolution.

Why such a gap?

The first thing to recognize, Kahan said, is that the split only shows up on a limited number of controversial issues in America.

Most of the time, he said, people accept the scientific consensus, whether it’s the value of pasteurized milk, the benefits of fluoridated water or the necessity of medical X-rays. And when some people protest fluoridation or pasteurized milk, he added, they are seen by most people as fringe believers.

Still, some feel the public still doesn’t grasp exactly how science works.

John Radzilowicz, director of professional development for ASSET STEM Education in Pittsburgh, which trains science teachers, believes "the public doesn’t have an understanding of the nature of science. They don’t understand that science produces results that are reliable, but tentative, and that then plays into a whole bunch of other factors."

That uncertainty about how scientists think can be further distorted by lobbyists and special interest groups, he said. "On global warming, for instance, you’ve got these huge efforts being made by the fossil fuel industry" to influence people’s views. "They know people don’t understand how science works, and they can play on that."

There are two theories on why the scientists in the Pew survey had such different views than the public.

One is that scientists as a group tend to be politically liberal, and their views are likely to reflect those biases.

J. Brian Balta, a visiting geology professor at the University of Pittsburgh, said that may explain why the scientists in the Pew survey were more likely to oppose offshore oil drilling than the public.

"Scientists are a select group of people, generally employed and highly educated ones. Those demographics also align somewhat with a certain political party in this country, so it’s not surprising that offshore drilling might be an issue that scientists are less likely to support than the average person."

The other possibility, said Kahan, is that scientists simply have a better idea who the experts are in certain fields, and will then pay attention to their views.

Non-scientists who are loyal to a particular political party or religious group won’t know the experts as well, so "they credit the views that scientists have only when they fit with what their affinity group believes."

Despite their divergent views, the public told Pew researchers that they strongly support scientists and the work they do, and a strong majority favors federal investment in research.

As a result, said Lee Rainie, co-author of the Pew report, scientific leaders in America "believe that rather than retreating from a place where the public is not in agreement with them, they need to build on the good will people have toward science in general to talk more with people to make their case."

(c)2015 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


February 6, 2015 | by Justine Alford

Photo credit: dade72, via Shutterstock.

We already know that New York City’s subways are hardly the beacon of cleanliness. After all, they’re frequented by 1.7 billion people each year who drag in their grubby hands and dirty boots. But after swabbing all those seats, railings and turnstiles, scientists have discovered an urban ecosystem that’s more diverse than you could imagine. More than 15,000 different species were detected in this busy underground world, almost half of which were bacteria. The team even discovered traces of the bacteria that cause bubonic plague and anthrax.

Far from just wanting to gross out germaphobes, the brains behind the new study hope that regularly monitoring the microscopic wildlife here will help scientists find new ways to track disease outbreaks. Furthermore, the information could help researchers detect bioterrorism attacks and fight the ever-growing problem of antimicrobial resistance.

The immense study, which has been published in Cell Systems and described in The Wall Street Journal, was conducted by scientists at Weill Cornell Medical College who had the laborious task of sampling New York’s 466 open subway stations, alongside one closed station. As you can probably imagine, this wasn’t the most pleasant task at times. As eloquently described in WSJ:

“The Cornell scientists and student volunteers gamely dodged rats and gingerly worked around discarded pregnancy tests, used condoms, puddles of vomit and rotting food to swab surfaces in every subway station.”

In total, 1,457 samples were collected across NYC, obtained from turnstiles, benches, kiosks and garbage cans. The genetic material in the samples was then sequenced and sorted by a supercomputer, and the results were compared with genome databases of the known inhabitants of Earth, including bacteria, viruses, plants and animals.

15,152 different organisms were detected from the fragments of DNA, almost half of which did not match any known species, highlighting how little we know about the microbial world around us. Of those that could be assigned to a particular organism, around half were bacterial DNA sequences. More than 550 different species of bacteria were identified from the samples, and although most were not harmful, 67 of these are associated with disease. However, these potential pathogens were found at such low levels that they were unlikely to be able to cause illness.

Interestingly, in South Ferry Station, which has been closed since 2012 after it was flooded, the scientists found bacteria that had only previously been isolated in Antarctica. Three different stations also yielded DNA from the bacterium that causes the plague, Yersinia pestis. This probably came from rats, which are known carriers of the bug.

The results even told a story of what New Yorkers like to fill their bellies with. Alongside identifying bacteria associated with the production of mozzarella cheese, they found lots of DNA from chickpeas, which could indicate a taste for falafels and hummus, and also cucumbers.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the wonderful diversity of DNA that the researchers found, The Wall Street Journal has published a cool interactive map that lets you look at the discoveries in each different area. It’s pretty interesting, but it may leave your skin crawling.

Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2015 February 3

“Winter Anxiety”


Vetrarkvíði

by Victor Bonilla Jr.

clip_image002

The natural phenomenon „Vetrarkvíði“ has received public attention this autumn. Below is a quick summary and pictures explaining this special natural wonder which superstition claims to be the forbearer of a harsh winter.

On an early autumn dawn spider-lings climb up onto a perch, point their ends up in the air and release a strand of silk which catches the air and off they go. For most of the spiderlings this is their first journey and they have traveled for possibly no more than a meter or so while others have traveled for several kilometers.

As the sun rises, the adult spiders prowl their territories, hunt and lay down their web at the same time the spider-lings land and also lay down their own web.

The low sun then illuminates the dew covered glittering sheet of silk which appears as a silver blanket. This blanket may cover large stretches of land but best seen on an even surface such as a newly mown lawn as was visible on September 26, 2006 on the lawn around „Borgir“ the science building in Akureyri.

This common „anomaly“ is considered a harbinger of a harsh winter. In many countries such as Iceland, the silver blanket which appears overnight, made by unseen entities, is supposed to signify a harsh winter season.

This delicate silver blanket reflects the golden sun rays and give it a beautiful and yet supernatural aura. An aura which in reality is just the work of a hardy little black spider possibly Erigone atra. They are efficient little hunters that quickly scamper away when they feel our thunderous vibrations. Efficient and quick enough that a hectare of meadow may contain close to a million of them but „supernatural“ enough to amaze us with this extraordinary early autumn morning view.

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Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2015 January 29

Wireless charging system on cusp of commercialization


Jeff Gelles, The Philadelphia Inquirer

PHILADELPHIA — Imagine a world where you don’t have to plug in your smartphone, tablet or laptop, or even lay it on one of the Duracell charging mats that Starbucks is rolling out nationwide. Instead, your refrigerator sends them power from across the room via a WiFi-like radio signal.

Now, forget that for a while — though it might happen someday.

Energous Corp., a Silicon Valley startup, won awards in Las Vegas at the recent International Consumer Electronics Show for its WattUp system of "wire-free charging of multiple devices at up to 15 feet." At least one other company, Texas’ DK Tek Innovations, made similar claims at the show.

Both efforts are still in the development phase, part of a global race for what is expected to be a multibillion-dollar market.

But a different kind of wireless charging at a distance, less likely to stir safety concerns and face regulatory friction, finally seems on the cusp of commercialization.

WiTricity Corp., of Watertown, Mass., hasn’t drawn quite as much buzz as Energous, which went public last year. It has, however, been quietly pursuing a wire-free concept described eight years ago by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and has announced partnerships with major manufacturers such as Toyota and Intel.

WiTricity says its technology — which does not rely on radio waves to transmit power — has been shown to transfer electricity with little loss to a device nearly a foot away, even through solid materials such as a garage floor or kitchen countertop. Longer distances are possible, too.

Wireless charging is one of those technologies that always seems to be on the horizon. Nearly three years ago, a former chief executive predicted that WiTricity’s system would be in consumer products by the end of 2012. That didn’t quite happen, though the company did offer product developers an iPhone 5 charging system last year.

WiTricity and the wireless-energy industry continue to make strides. WiTricity vice president Kaynam Hedayat said he expects Intel products using the company’s system "to hit the market by the middle of this year."

Toyota is expected to offer wireless charging by fall 2016 on its plug-in Prius hybrid. And WiTricity is working with Thoratec Corp. to develop a heart pump that will work without wires running into a patient’s abdomen.

How does WiTricity’s system — called "magnetic resonance wireless power transfer" — work? Hedayat likens it to the curious phenomenon, occasionally seen as a gag in a movie or commercial, where an opera singer breaks a glass by hitting a high-pitched sound.

"She can do that by generating voice at the same frequency the wine glass resonates at," Hedayat says. A similar kind of resonance can be used to transfer power from one magnetic field to another, he says, without generating electromagnetic waves like those sent by radio or Wi-Fi devices.

The "secret sauce," as Hedayat puts it, is that both the source and the target device are equipped with magnetic resonators — coils with electronics — tuned to resonate at the same frequency.

Hedayat says WiTricity already has 94 patents, with more than 200 others pending. And he touts the technology’s advantages over induction charging, which often requires a device to be in the exact right position on a mat, as well as radio-frequency transmission, which he says suffers from inefficiency and "is very limited by human safety factors."

With WiTricity, he says, a user will simply have to park a car over the source, or lay mobile devices on a counter.

"You don’t have to think about it," he says.

Is wireless charging finally ready for prime time? If so, this is another kind of cord consumers will happily cut.

(c)2015 The Philadelphia Inquirer

Visit The Philadelphia Inquirer at http://www.philly.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC


 

Dec 26, 2014 Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times

Astronomers searching the sky with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have discovered an odd little dwarf galaxy in our very own backyard — a mere 7 million light years away.

The findings, described in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, add a new member to the more than 50 galaxies in our Local Group (part of the Laniakea supercluster), which includes Andromeda and our own Milky Way.

While only just recently discovered using Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys, the galaxy known as KKs3 has been around a long while. Astronomers led by Igor Karachentsev of the Special Astrophysical Observatory in Karachai-Cherkessia, Russia, showed that some 74 percent of KKs3’s star mass was formed in the universe’s early years, at least 12 billion years ago. Most of the tiny galaxy’s stars are old and dim, making it a fascinating fossil that could help astronomers understand what ancient galactic environments looked like.

Carrying just 23 million solar masses’ worth of star-stuff, KKs3 holds just one ten-thousandth of the stellar mass of the Milky Way. As a dwarf spheroidal galaxy, it lacks any distinctive spiral arms.

The dwarf spheroidal galaxies that are found near massive galaxies are typically poor in gas and dust, because they’ve been stripped out by the gravitational pull of their much more massive neighbors (such as the Andromeda galaxy).

But KKs3 is far away from the thieving gravitational tug of a neighboring galaxy — and yet, for some reason, it also seems to be missing hydrogen gas. KKs3, in that way, is a much rarer breed, called an isolated dwarf spheroidal galaxy.

These isolated dwarf spheroidal galaxies are really hard to find, in part because they’re missing those telltale nebulae full of hydrogen gas that could have helped feed star formation. In fact, the only other one found in the Local Group, KKR 25, was found by the same research group way back in 1999.

KKs3 seems to have an interesting life history that could shed light on the strange processes that formed it. Though most of its stars are 12 billion years old or older, there appear to have been two smaller periods of star-formation around 5 billion years ago and even more recently, around 2 billion years ago or less.

Given that these isolated dwarf spheroidal galaxies are so hard to find, there could be many more of these fascinating galactic fossils just hanging out in the darkness of our own intergalactic neighborhood, just waiting to be found, the authors wrote.

"Since the detection of such objects is difficult, the number of them within (32.6 million light years) may be considerable," the study authors wrote.

Future space telescopes, including NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope set for launch in 2018, could help hunt down more of these mysterious objects in the heavens.

(c)2014 Los Angeles Times

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