Thursday, September 30, 2010


wonder girls

look amazing. sound terrible.

Processed Meats Declared Too Dangerous for Human Consumption

The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) has just completed a detailed review of more than 7,000 clinical studies covering links between diet and cancer. Its conclusion is rocking the health world with startling bluntness: Processed meats are too dangerous for human consumption. Consumers should stop buying and eating all processed meat products for the rest of their lives.

Processed meats include bacon, sausage, hot dogs, sandwich meat, packaged ham, pepperoni, salami and virtually all red meat used in frozen prepared meals. They are usually manufactured with a carcinogenic ingredient known as sodium nitrite. This is used as a color fixer by meat companies to turn packaged meats a bright red color so they look fresh. Unfortunately, sodium nitrite also results in the formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines in the human body. And this leads to a sharp increase in cancer risk for those who eat them.

A 2005 University of Hawaii study found that processed meats increase the risk of pancreatic cancer by 67 percent. Another study revealed that every 50 grams of processed meat consumed daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 50 percent. These are alarming numbers. Note that these cancer risks do not come from eating fresh, non-processed meats. They only appear in people who regularly consume processed meat products containing sodium nitrite.

Sodium nitrite appears predominantly in red meat products (you won’t find it in chicken or fish products). Here’s a short list of food items to check carefully for sodium nitrite and monosodium glutamate (MSG), another dangerous additive:

  • Beef jerky
  • Bacon
  • Sausage
  • Hot dogs
  • Sandwich meat
  • Frozen pizza with meat
  • Canned soups with meat
  • Frozen meals with meat
  • Ravioli and meat pasta foods
  • Kid’s meals containing red meat
  • Sandwich meat used at popular restaurants
  • Nearly all red meats sold at public schools, restaurants, hospitals, hotels and theme parks

If sodium nitrite is so dangerous to humans, why do the FDA and USDA continue to allow this cancer-causing chemical to be used? The answer, of course, is that food industry interests now dominate the actions by U.S. government regulators. The USDA, for example, tried to ban sodium nitrite in the late 1970’s but was overridden by the meat industry. It insisted the chemical was safe and accused the USDA of trying to “ban bacon.” Today, the corporations that dominate American food and agricultural interests hold tremendous influence over the FDA and USDA. Consumers are offered no real protection from dangerous chemicals intentionally added to foods, medicines and personal care products.

You can protect yourself and your family from the dangers of processed meats by following a few simple rules:

  1. Always read ingredient labels.
  2. Don’t buy anything made with sodium nitrite or monosodium glutamate.
  3. Don’t eat red meats served by restaurants, schools, hospitals, hotels or other institutions.

And finally, eat more fresh produce with every meal. There is evidence that natural vitamin C found in citrus fruits and exotic berries (like camu camu) helps prevent the formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines, protecting you from the devastating health effects of sodium nitrite in processed meats. The best defense, of course, is to avoid eating processed meats altogether.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

it kills faster than it dries

Survey: Americans don't know much about religion

A new survey of Americans' knowledge of religion found that atheists, agnostics, Jews and Mormons outperformed Protestants and Roman Catholics in answering questions about major religions, while many respondents could not correctly give the most basic tenets of their own faiths.

Forty-five percent of Roman Catholics who participated in the study didn't know that, according to church teaching, the bread and wine used in Holy Communion is not just a symbol, but becomes the body and blood of Christ.

More than half of Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the person who inspired the Protestant Reformation. And about four in 10 Jews did not know that Maimonides, one of the greatest rabbis and intellectuals in history, was Jewish.

The survey released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life aimed to test a broad range of religious knowledge, including understanding of the Bible, core teachings of different faiths and major figures in religious history. The U.S. is one of the most religious countries in the developed world, especially compared to largely secular Western Europe, but faith leaders and educators have long lamented that Americans still know relatively little about religion.

Respondents to the survey were asked 32 questions with a range of difficulty, including whether they could name the Islamic holy book and the first book of the Bible, or say what century the Mormon religion was founded. On average, participants in the survey answered correctly overall for half of the survey questions.

Atheists and agnostics scored highest, with an average of 21 correct answers, while Jews and Mormons followed with about 20 accurate responses. Protestants overall averaged 16 correct answers, while Catholics followed with a score of about 15.

Not surprisingly, those who said they attended worship at least once a week and considered religion important in their lives often performed better on the overall survey. However, level of education was the best predictor of religious knowledge. The top-performing groups on the survey still came out ahead even when controlling for how much schooling they had completed.

On questions about Christianity, Mormons scored the highest, with an average of about eight correct answers out of 12, followed by white evangelicals, with an average of just over seven correct answers. Jews, along with atheists and agnostics, knew the most about other faiths, such as Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism. Less than half of Americans know that the Dalai Lama is Buddhist, and less than four in 10 know that Vishnu and Shiva are part of Hinduism.

The study also found that many Americans don't understand constitutional restrictions on religion in public schools. While a majority know that public school teachers cannot lead classes in prayer, less than a quarter know that the U.S. Supreme Court has clearly stated that teachers can read from the Bible as an example of literature.

"Many Americans think the constitutional restrictions on religion in public schools are tighter than they really are," Pew researchers wrote.

The survey of 3,412 people, conducted between May and June of this year, had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, while the margins of error for individual religious groups was higher.

Expedition Strikes Ancient Bedrock Beneath Greenland Ice

After more than a year of drilling through ice in one of the harshest environments on earth, scientists in Greenland hit bedrock more than 8,300 feet (2,530 meters) below the surface of the Arctic island's vast ice sheet last week.

With this milestone, the group of researchers has sampled what it was after all along: very, very old ice. Specifically, ice from 115,000 to 330,000 years ago, a time known as the Eemian interglacial period, when the planet was about 5 degrees Fahrenheit (2.7 degrees Celsius) warmer than it is today.

The ancient ice cores they've brought up from the frozen deeps may offer valuable insights into how the world can change during periods of abrupt warming.

Greenland is covered by an ice sheet thousands of feet thick that built up over millennia as layers of snow and ice formed. The ice cores, cylinder-shaped rods of this ice, give scientists access to all the old, hidden layers, which contain information about atmospheric conditions that existed when they were originally formed, including how warm and moist the air was, and the concentrations of various greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere at the time.

While three previous Greenland ice cores drilled in the past 20 years covered the last ice age and the period of warming to the present, the deeper ice layers, representing the warm Eemian and the period of transition to the ice age were compressed and folded, making them difficult to interpret, said Jim White, U.S. lead investigator for The North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling (NEEM) project, a collaboration helmed by the United States and Denmark, with scientists from 14 different countries.

The Eemian period ice cores should yield a host of information about conditions on Earth during that time of abrupt climate change, giving climate scientists valuable data about possible future conditions as our own climate changes.


The team at NEEM celebrates the final core sample collected at bedrock level. Credit: NEEM Project Office.

After radar measurements taken through the ice sheet from above indicated that the Eemian ice layers below the NEEM site were thicker, more intact and likely contained more accurate and specific information than at other sites, researchers began setting up an extensive state-of-the-art research facility there. The team constructed a large dome, the drilling rig for extracting three-inch- (7.6-centimeter-) diameter ice cores, drilling trenches, laboratories and living quarters, and officially started drilling in June 2009.

Simon Stephenson, Director of the Arctic Sciences Division at NSF, said NEEM's work "is important because the ability to measure gases and dust trapped in the ice at high resolution is likely to provide new insight into how the global climate changes naturally, and will help us constrain climate models used to predict the future."

Stephenson added that the NEEM ice cores will allow scientists to measure conditions in the past with more specificity — down to single years.

Accurate climate models based in part on the data collected at NEEM could play an important role in helping human civilization adapt to a changing climate. During the Eemian period, for example, the Greenland ice sheet was much smaller, and global sea levels were about 15 feet (4.5 meters) higher than they are today, a height that would swamp many major cities around the world.

Now that drilling is complete, scientists will continue to study the core samples and analyze other data they have collected.

Glacier ice loss less than once thought, study suggests

New estimates of ice melt from Earth's glaciers, made during a study tracking how water is transported across Earth's surface, find that the amount of ice lost to the seas is smaller than scientists previously thought. The new study also finds that Earth's center of mass is actually shifting.
Using new methods, the study researchers calculated new estimates of ice loss in Greenlandand Antarctica that are significantly smaller than previous estimates.
The new estimates reflect the role that post-glacial rebound was found to play in current ice loss in Greenland and Antarctica. Post-glacial rebound is the response of the solid Earth to the retreat of glaciers. After the weight of ice from the land surface was removed as glaciers retreated at the end of the last Ice Age, the land under the ice rose and continues to slowly rise.
The team, made up of researchers from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and the Netherlands Institute for Space Research also found that the shift of water mass around the globe, combined with post-glacial rebound, is shifting Earth's surface relative to its center by 0.035 inches (0.88 millimeters) a year toward the North Pole.
"The motion of the center moving upward is not going to affect life on earth. The motion is only less than one millimeter a year, so it won't have any impact on life, but if it were something like one centimeter, then there would be a huge amount of changes," said Xiaoping Wu of the JPL.
To calculate the changes, scientists combined gravity data from the NASA/German Aerospace Center Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites with measurements of global surface movements from GPS and a JPL-developed model that estimates the mass of Earth's ocean above any point on the ocean floor.
Wu thinks the shift of Earth's surface is due primarily to the melted Laurentide ice sheet, which blanketed most of Canada and a part of the northern United States during the last Ice Age tens of thousands of years ago. "The new estimate of shift is much larger than previous model estimates of 0.019 inches (0.48 millimeters) per year," Wu said.
Previous models used estimates of the movement of mass at Earth's surface and were calculated by correcting the data using a post-glacial rebound model. In addition, the estimates of post-glacial rebound have also been estimated using a hydrological model. These are not as precise as the new method, and contain unknown and potentially large errors that can throw off estimates.
"We went a step forward to solve for both of these at the same time, previous studies collect data and fix it using different models, and we weren’t fixing anything for any model," Wu told OurAmazingPlanet. "Models aren’t as accurate as modern geodetic data. We want to improve these models by using more than one type of data and being more specific."
"The Earth system is so complex that measuring and understanding it requires scientists to combine observations from as many satellites and ground-based measurements as possible," said study team member Michael Watkins of JPL. "With each new study like this one, we learn more and more about how to conduct future studies and interpret their data. The more data and different types of data we collect, the better we'll be able to answer fundamental questions about how our planet works."

Saturday, September 25, 2010

big star-thirteen

Won't you let me walk you home from school
Won't you let me meet you at the pool
Maybe Friday I can
get tickets for the dance
and I'll take you
Won't you tell your dad, "Get off my back"
Tell him what we said 'bout 'Paint It Black'
Rock 'n Roll is here to stay
Come inside where it's okay
And I'll shake you.
Won't you tell me what you're thinking of
Would you be an outlaw for my love
If it's so, well, let me know
If it's "no", well, I can go
I won't make you

Thursday, September 23, 2010

bootleg vinyl

File this under cool stuff that you'd NEVER even considered trying at home.

Materials Needed: word panels, glass plate, window seal, silicone, 1 record.

Using the wooden strips, make a box around the glass plate. Seal off the edges using the window cement. Make sure everything is air tight.

Place your record inside the box making sure that the portion to be copied is facing upward. Squeeze in some window cement to mark where the hole in the record is.

Mix the silicone
(Smooth On OOMOO 30 or OOMOO 25) for about 3 minutes before pouring in to the mold.

Pour in the mixture. Start from one corner and let it fill-up the mold to about half a centimeter. Make sure it’s even. Let it dry for 6 hours.

Peel off the silicone from the cast. Cut off the excess using a cutter.

Pour the liquid plastic on top of the silicone cast.

Make sure that nothing spills over the round form. You can also brush off any air bubbles that might occur.

Carefully loosen the plate from the silicone form. Using a drill press, bore a hole through the center of the plate. You can use the silicone form as a template to make more copies.

There you have it. Your very own pirated record!

triceratops relatives!

Fossils of two new species of horned dinosaurs closely related to the Triceratops have been discovered in southern Utah, scientists revealed Wednesday.

The discovery of the new plant-eating species, which are believed to have areas known today as the western United States during the Late Cretaceous Period, was announced Wednesday in the online open-access journal PLoS ONE, produced by the Public Library of Science.

The bigger of the two new dinosaurs, with a skull about 7 feet long, is Utahceratops gettyi, whose name combines the state of origin with ceratops, Greek for “horned face.” The second part of the name honors Mike Getty, paleontology collections manager at the Utah Museum of Natural History and the discoverer of this animal.

With 31 skull "ornamentations," including 15 horns, Kosmoceratops richardsoni takes its name from the Latin word for "ornate." Its horns - located over the nose, atop each eye, at the tip of each cheek bone, and ten across the rear margin of the bony frill—make it the most ornate-headed dinosaur known. The latter part of the name honors Scott Richardson, the volunteer who discovered two skulls of this animal.

The newly discovered dinosaurs were inhabitants of the “lost continent” of Laramidia, the western portion of North America that formed when a shallow sea flooded the central region, isolating the eastern and western portions of the continent for millions of years during the Late Cretaceous Period.

Utahceratops and Kosmoceratops are the two latest species to be unearthed in Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, which is proving to be a "treasure trove" for palenotologists in the new millenium, Mark Loewenof the Utah Museum of Natural History said.

Most of the dinosaurs that fill the North America's museums come from Alberta, Canada, but with most of the region thoroughly picked over, more and more new discoveries are coming out of southern North America.

"Every dinosaur we're finding is related to others we've already seen but a completely new species," said Loewen, a paleontologist who participated in the study. "We have to change our views on why they were living in the same time slice, but completely different from those living in Canada."

pearl and the beard

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

true prep

The ORIGINAL how to be a prep book: The Official Preppy Handbook by Lisa Birnbach.

Now 30+ years later, she has a sequal: True Prep.

True Prep is an attempt to update that peculiar northeastern monied tribe for the 21st century.

how odd.

most-stolen cars

Top 10 Most-Stolen Cars In 2009

1. Honda Accord ('94)

2. Honda Civic ('95)

3. Toyota Camry ('91)

4. Ford F-150 Pickup ('97)

5. Dodge Ram Pickup ('04)

6. Dodge Caravan ('00)

7. Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size) ('94)

8. Acura Integra ('94)

9. Ford Explorer ('02)

10. Toyota Corolla ('09)

gold diggers

A lot has changed since 1849. For one: California has been admitted to the Union. Dust has settled from the scurry to settle and the frontier has, more or less, been tamed.

But out in the Golden State, as photographer Sarina Finkelstein recently discovered, living relics of 1849 have slipped through the cracks of society: "They are the new wave of gold prospectors," she writes, "150 years since the original Gold Rush, united by a passionate and desperate search for gold to support them until the job market improves."

"Something clicked," she wrote in an email — not referring to her shutter. In general, the New York-based photographer is drawn to subcultures on the fringes of society; so after reading a newspaper article about modern-day prospectors, Finkelstein knew she had found a story.

In the midst of a nation-wide recession, her series, "The New '49ers," captures one way of coping with tough times. "These gold prospectors," Finkelstein writes, "have fled a global economy based largely on abstract forces in order to develop a measure of self-reliance, as modern-day pioneers on a search for something concrete."

Over the past year or so, she has traveled to three isolated communities across California, and recently pitched the story to the London Telegraph's Sunday Magazine, Seven. But she continues to work on the project. "One could say I came down with my own case of gold fever," she admits.

For Finkelstein and prospectors alike, the obsession is not necessarily with getting rich on gold — although there would be no objections to that; the obsession is with self-reliance, with pioneering, with off-the-grid adventure. The prospectors, she explains, "are not media-addicted Smartphone-carrying Bluetooth-wearing need-to-be-in-constant-contact types." It sounds idyllic, but that makes them hard to find.

I often have to pass my messages from person to person until I get connected to who I want to photograph. Or I get a rough idea of someone's location and just have to go hunting (i.e. "He's around mile marker 24, climb over where the guardrail is a little less shiny, follow the creek...").

It's an odd juxtaposition: the very real existence of modern-day miners next to California's kitschy souvenir shops that celebrate gold rush history — as if it's just that: history. While the rush for gold may be over, prospecting is, apparently, still one means of survival for a small subculture in a struggling economy. Is it a sustainable way of living? "I don't think I'll be giving up my camera anytime soon," Finkelstein concluded.

80 whales

September 22, 2010
Conservation officials say at least 40 out of 80 pilot whales that stranded themselves on a remote northern New Zealand beach have died, and more whales are joining them on the beach.
About 50 more have been spotted just offshore from Spirits Bay beach in Northland, the northernmost tip of New Zealand.
The pilot whales were discovered by authorities Wednesday morning. Twenty-five of them were dead by the time workers from the Conservation Department arrived on the scene; several more had to be euthanized because of injuries from being tossed around in rough seas along the rocky coastline.
Because of the heavy seas, officials have decided to try to truck the heavy whales to a safer beach about an hour south for refloating. Volunteers from several whale rescue organizations, as well as the local Maori community, have turned out to help. The rescue effort is expected to last throughout the night as gale-force winds and heavy swells pound the area.
It's the second recent mass beaching in the region. Just last month, 60 whales stranded themselves on a nearby beach; only nine were successfully returned to the sea.
New Zealand has one of the world's highest rates of whale strandings, mainly during their migrations to and from Antarctic waters, one of which begins around September.

raptorex vs. t-rex

It's good to be king, just askTyrannosaurus Rex.
The "Tyrant Lizard King" stood about 13 feet tall, was 42 feet long and crushed the bones of other dinosaurs — including its brethren— with a 3,000 pounds of force bite.
But even the king has to start somewhere, and the latest discoveries suggest theking started out small.
"Tyrannosaurs were more like wolves for most of their history," says paleontologistStephen Brusatte of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. "Not the lion, not the apex predator."
In a review in the current Science journal, Brusatte and colleagues sum up the remarkable run of tyrannosaur discoveries, five in the last year, about a dozen in the last decade, which have transformed our picture of the iconic creature of the Age of Dinosaurs.
Only last September, a team led by Paul Sereno of theUniversity of Chicago unveiled Raptorex, some 125 million years old, an 8 foot-long tyrannosaur about 1% (maybe 143 pounds) of the size of a full-grown T. Rex. Despite the size difference, Raptorex possessed the tiny hands, long legs and solid skull of its larger descendants.
Even smaller was Dilong, a waist-high, 5-foot-long tyrannosaur reported in the journal Nature in 2004, that ran around China more than 128 million years ago. Dilong, like other tyrannosaurs, showed evidence of filamentary "protofeathers" covering its hide, suggesting they were brightly-colored beasts. (Tyrannosaurs belonged to the "therapod" family thought ancestral to modern-day birds, and such protofeathers intrigue scientists studying the origins of flight.)
Unlike T. Rex, which reigned from about 85 to 65 million years ago and likely lumbered about at a 25 mph top speed, the ancestral tyrannosaurs were likely the "Jackals of the Jurassic," in the words of paleontologist Thomas Holtz of the University of Maryland. Raptorex and other tyrannosaurids likely lived in fear of larger beasts like Giganotosaurus, the large (as the name implies, rivaling T. Rex for size), big-eyed and fleet top predators for much of the time that dinosaurs roamed the Earth.
Still, those smaller tyrannosaurs were still likely no fun for other creatures, as the evidence suggests they were "gregarious," the review says, perhaps running down prey in packs like wolves.
"Most tyrannosaurs were between the size of a labrador and an ostrich for most of their history," Brusatte says. "Tyrannosaurus Rex was really an aberrant tyrannosaur, with its size. And they really don't appear until the end of things for dinosaurs."
So how did T. Rex end up king of the hill?
"Another 5 or 10 more fossils may tell us that story," Brusatte says. Most likely, some undocumented extinction event about 90 million years ago wiped out the top predator class of Allosaurids in North America and Asia. Tyrannosaurs filling the rung one below them on the carnivore ladder evolved into T. Rex to fill the empty top predator niche.
The finds of the last decade also show that Tyrannosaurus Rex's underwent big physical changes over a lifetime, growing from fleet-footed, skinny juveniles like their ancestors to thick-skulled heavyweights in adulthood (sounds familiar.) In the past, some juvenile T. Rex fossils were actually mistaken for entirely new species.
Given their gregariousness, T. Rex juveniles may have operated as the hounds of their packs, running down prey for the adults to finish off, or steal from them.
"Our understanding of tyrannosaurs is tremendously improved over the last decade," Brusatte concludes. "People love tyrannosaurs, but scientists certainly do too, as I think all these discoveries attests."

polymer porn

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

oh, moses

The parting of the waters described in the book of Exodus that enabled Moses and the Israelites to escape the pharaoh's army is possible, computer simulations run by researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University of Colorado at Boulder show.

To test the theory that the biblical account may have depicted actual events, the researchers studied maps of the region, archaeological records and satellite measurements to find a topographical feature where such an event might have been possible. They settled on an area south of the Mediterranean Sea where some oceanographers say a branch of the Nile River drained into what was called the Lake of Tanis, a coastal lagoon 3,000 years ago.

The computer model shows a 63 mph east wind blowing across the area and its 6-feet-deep waters for 12 hours. In the scenario, the wind pushed back the waters into both the lake and the channel of the river, exposing a mud flat 2 to 2.5 miles long and 3 miles wide for four hours. As the winds died down, the waters quickly flowed back in and in theory would have drowned anyone on the mud flat.

“The simulations match fairly closely with the account in Exodus,” said Carl Drews of NCAR, the lead author of the study published in the online journal PLoS ONE. (Read the full study)

“The parting of the waters can be understood through fluid dynamics. The wind moves the water in a way that’s in accordance with physical laws, creating a safe passage with water on two sides and then abruptly allowing the water to rush back in.”

YouTube: Parting the waters, Part 1: The physics of a land bridge

Parting the waters, Part 2: Carl Drews on wind setdown research
The biblical account of Exodus has Moses and his followers trapped by the pharaoh forces against a body of water, which has been translated to both the Red Sea and the Sea of Reeds. In the account, a strong wind comes up after night falls and parts the waters behind the Israelites. Moses leads them into the breach but when the pharaoh army pursues them at daybreak, the gap disappears and the army is lost.

Previous research has focused on areas of the Red Sea near the modern-day Suez Canal where the biblical miracle may have been possible. The NCAR/CU team said their research shows those scenarios unlikely. They ran a series of 14 computer simulations to pinpoint the area where the parting of the waters was most likely.

“People have always been fascinated by this Exodus story, wondering if it comes from historical facts,” Drews says. “What this study shows is that the description of the waters parting indeed has a basis in physical laws."

Drews conducted the Exodus research as part of a larger project on how winds can affect water depths.