Monthly Archives: May 2013

Scientists Invent Oxygen Particle That If Injected, Allows You To Live Without Breathing

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Scientists Invent Oxygen Particle That If Injected, Allows You To Live Without Breathing

New Medical Discovery

A team of scientists at the Boston Children’s Hospital have invented what is being considered one the greatest medical breakthroughs in recent years. They have designed a microparticle that can be injected into a person’s bloodstream that can quickly oxygenate their blood. This will even work if the ability to breathe has been restricted, or even cut off entirely.

This finding has the potential to save millions of lives every year. The microparticles can keep an object alive for up to 30 min after respiratory failure. This is accomplished through an injection into the patients’ veins. Once injected, the microparticles can oxygenate the blood to near normal levels. This has countless potential uses as it allows life to continue when oxygen is needed but unavailable. For medical personnel, this is just enough time to avoid risking a heart attack or permanent brain injury when oxygen is restricted or cut off to patients.

Dr. John Kheir, who first began the study, works in the Boston Children’s Hospital Department of Cardiology. He found inspiration for the drug in 2006, when he was treating a girl in the ICU who had a severe case of pneumonia. At the time, the girl didn’t have a breathing tube, when at the time she suffered from a pulmonary hemorrhage. This means her lungs had begin to fill up with blood, and she finally went into cardiac arrest. It took doctors about 25 minutes to remove enough blood from her lungs to allow her to breath. Though, the girl’s brain was severely injured due to being deprived of oxygen for that long and she eventually died.

Microparticle Composition

The microparticles used are composed of oxygen gas pocketed in a layer of lipids. A Lipid is a natural molecule that can store energy and act as a part of a cell membrane, they can be made of many things such as wax, vitamins, phospholipids, and in this case fat is the lipid that stores the oxygen.

These microparticles are around two to four micrometers in length and carry about three to four times the oxygen content of our own red blood cells. In the past, researchers had a difficult time succeeding as prior tests caused gas embolism. This meant that the gas molecules would become stuck trying to squeeze through the capillaries. They corrected this issue by packaging them into small deformable particles rather ones where the structure was rigid.

Potential Future Uses

Medical: There is the obvious medical uses where the microparticles can be used to save off death from a restriction in breathing due to inflammation of the lungs, collapsed lungs, and the like. It would be good to have these injections ready in hospitals and ambulances for when the time is needed.

Military: Can you imagine a navy seals capability when they wouldn’t need to surface for air and could stay underwater for over 20 minutes? If a boat was to begin to sink, you could shoot yourself as the boat is going down to ensure you aren’t drowned in the under current of the sinking vessel. How about for toxic gases when a facemask is unavailable. The military could have a number of uses for such a medical advancement.

Private Sector: Really this can be used as a precaution for anything nautical where the potential to drown is a real danger. Deep sea rescue crews could inject themselves prior to making a rescue, underwater welders can use it in case they become stuck or air is lost to their suits. The potential use for anything water related seems extremely worthwhile.

Conclusion

In the end, this is an amazing medical advancement and I cant help but recall the movie the Abyss when they took the pill, their helmets filled with air, and they were told they can breathe the water. Well what if they really couldn’t “breathe” water” but since the urge to breathe is natural, that must take place… even if you’re not breathing air per se. But your body was provided with enough oxygen for a time period by taking a pill. It’s just goes to show that anything, absolutely anything that can be thought up, can potentially one day become reality. Thank you scientists, for reminding me that people and their ingenuity are nothing short of awesome.

The author of this article is Damien S. Wilhelmi, an SEO tactician and SEM strategist. If you enjoyed this article, you can follow me on twitter @JakabokBotch. I am writing on behalf of Wilderness Aware Rafting who offer some of the best Colorado White Water Rafting trips in the state.

The Science of Bike Fitting

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The Science of Bike Fitting

Update: Before you read on I should warn you to take a close look at the date before you take this too seriously.I’ve already expressed my opinion on how important a proper bike fit is.  It’s the best $300 you’ll ever spend to get more comfort and power out of your trusty steed.  Or is it?

As it turns out there’s mounting evidence that all these complex hi-tech bike fitting methodologies are completely unnecessary for most of us.  A study that just came out of the Biomechanics and Ergonomics Research Laboratory at M.I.T. found another technique of doing a bike fit is 98% as accurate as computer and camera motion analysis fit techniques.  Sure, if you want to blow $300 on some quack making your bike fit that’s up to you. However, there’s a proven new method that you can do yourself and it’ll cost you $ZERO.

A bike fit has three basic parameters: correct saddle height, correct saddle-to-stem distance, and correct fore and aft saddle position.  Research overseen by Dr. Kristophe de Timze at M.I.T found with 700 test subjects that key upper to lower body proportions are perfectly suited for bike fit approximations.  Extremely accurate approximations they found.

Dr. Timze’s findings about some fascinating biomechanical connections and symmetries are difficult to understand so I won’t go into the nitty gritty details.  I’ll just cut to the chase and go through what I understand to be the process.

Saddle-to-Stem Distance

Simply start by taking your elbow and lean it against the front of your saddle.  Your middle finger should be touching the middle of your steer tube exactly. This measurement will determine the precise position of your saddle relative to the stem.

Saddle Height

Once your seat to stem distance has been established you can now raise your saddle height.  Put your armpit on the saddle and make sure your middle finger is exactly touching the top of the bottom bracket.  Femur and forearm proportions have been found not to vary between test subjects therefore this is an extremely accurate measurement technique.

Stem Height and Length

Stem height and length has a direct correlation with the fore and aft saddle position.  There is a slight amount of room to play with this measurement however because it has a lot to do with your flexibility.   However, it’s been found that there’s a fundamental connection between torso rotation and finger size.

For PRO positioning, determine stem length use the 3 finger rule.  From the top of the headtube to the top of the steertube there should be 3 fingers of space.  No more, no less.  For women retaining water at times of the month this measurement may be reduced to two fingers.  For old men, commuters, and touring cyclists the 4 finger rule (and in extreme cases the 5 finger rule) is used.

Your stem length isn’t adjustable but this is something that should be checked carefully when buying your bike. Reach your thumb so that it’s at 90 degrees to your index finger.  Your middle finger should reach exactly to the end of your stem when your thumb is anchored to the middle of the steertube section.

There you have it.  It doesn’t take one of those custom fit studios to do a perfect bike fit.  It’s just another upsell for greedy bikeshops to make you believe you need a new bike or new parts to make you fit onto that bike they just sold you.  Don’t let them fool you…

Two Men Get a Glimpse Into What Childbirth Feels Like [Video]

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Two Men Get a Glimpse Into What Childbirth Feels Like [Video]

By Devan McGuinness | January 19th, 2013 at 1:16 pm

“Before I experienced my first labor pains, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I had heard how much it hurt and the idea of all that happens didn’t sound like it was going to be a walk in the park. I have a very high pain tolerance so how it was going to feel to me — I wasn’t sure.

Then, I went into labor for the first time and understood. It’s a whole new type of pain that I had not experienced. Even after dealing with 7 kidney stones during that pregnancy, the pains of contractions and back labor were intense in comparison. It’s a pain that I can’t really describe or compare to much else — because it’s a pain with a great purpose, it is something I would go through again.”

2 Dutch television hosts got curious about what the pains would feel like so — for their tv show, they put themselves to the test. According to The Huffington Post, “the two men used electro-stimulations to simulate contractions so they could experience the distress for themselves.” The two men lasted through 2 hours of contractions (which is far shorter than my 14 hour labors), but the video is priceless.”

Clever Tunnel System Makes Chickens Do The Gardening (Video)

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Sami Grover
Living / Green Food
September 20, 2011

Image credit: Ecofilms Australia

We’ve already seen how one farmer trains her chickens to eat slugs, and the internet is full of examples of chicken tractors—portable coops that can be moved to allow hens to till, fertilize, and weed a plot while providing pest control in the process. (see also this overview of chicken tractors at Planet Green.) But one Australian permaculturist has taken this idea to the next level—designing an intricate system of “chook tunnels” that let him funnel his ladies into any part of his garden. The amount of work that these creatures can do is actually quite amazing.

Of course many vegans will object to the idea of animals being used as “slave labor”, but a system like this does go a large way toward answering the accusations of inefficiency so often leveled against animal husbandry. As soon as we stop thinking about chickens, or any other domesticated creature for that matter, as meat or egg production “machines”, but rather as a productive, integrated member of a broader ecosystem, the efficiency equation starts to look a little different.

From processing weeds and food scraps into eggs and fertilizer, to replacing the need for human and/or mechanized labor in tilling, this really is yet another example of farming with animals the right way.

Monsanto

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Monsanto’s Dirty Dozen

When you take a moment to reflect on the history of product development at Monsanto, what do you find? Here are twelve products that Monsanto has brought to market. See if you can spot the pattern…

 

Saccharin

#1 – Saccharin

Did you know Monsanto got started because of an artificial sweetener? John Francisco Queeny founded Monsanto Chemical Works in St. Louis, Missouri with the goal of producing saccharin for Coca-Cola. In stark contrast to its sweet beginnings, studies performed during the early 1970s,* including a study by the National Cancer Institute in 1980, showed that saccharin caused cancer in test rats and mice.

After mounting pressure from consumers, the Calorie Control Council, and manufacturers of artificial sweeteners and diet sodas, along with additional studies (several conducted by the sugar and sweetener industry) that reported flaws in the 1970s studies, saccharin was delisted from the NIH’s Carcinogen List. A variety of letters from scientists advised against delisting; the official document includes the following wording to this day: “although it is impossible to absolutely conclude that it poses no threat to human health, sodium saccharin is not reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen under conditions of general usage as an artificial sweetener.” (*Read the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s History of Saccharin here.)

PCBs

#2 – PCBs

During the early 1920s, Monsanto began expanding their chemical production into polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to produce coolant fluids for electrical transformers, capacitors, and electric motors. Fifty years later, toxicity tests began reporting serious health effects from PCBs in laboratory rats exposed to the chemical.

After another decade of studies, the truth could no longer be contained: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a report citing PCBs as the cause of cancer in animals, with additional evidence that they can cause cancer in humans. Additional peer-reviewed health studies showed a causal link between exposure to PCBs and non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, a frequently fatal form of cancer.

In 1979, the United States Congress recognized PCBs as a significant environmental toxin and persistent organic pollutant, and banned its production in the U.S.  By then Monsanto already had manufacturing plants abroad, so they weren’t entirely stopped until the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants banned PCBs globally in 2001.

And that’s when Monsanto’s duplicity was uncovered: internal company memos from 1956 surfaced, proving that Monsanto had known about dangers of PCBs from early on.

In 2003, Monsanto paid out over $600 million to residents of Anniston, Alabama, who experienced severe health problems including liver disease, neurological disorders and cancer after being exposed to PCBs — more than double the payoff that was awarded in the case against Pacific Gas & Electric made famous by the movie “Erin Brockovich.”

And yet the damage persists: nearly 30 years after PCBs have been banned from the U.S., they are still showing up in the blood of pregnant women, as reported in a 2011 study by the University of California San Francisco.

polystyrene-749803

#3 – Polystyrene

In 1941, Monsanto began focusing on plastics and synthetic polystyrene, which is still widely used in food packaging and ranked 5th in the EPA’s 1980s listing of chemicals whose production generates the most total hazardous waste.

#4 – Atom bomb and nuclear weapons

Shortly after acquiring Thomas and Hochwalt Laboratories, Monsanto turned this division into their Central Research Department. Between 1943 to 1945, this department coordinated key production efforts of the Manhattan Project—including plutonium purification and production and, as part of the Manhattan Project’s Dayton Project, techniques to refine chemicals used as triggers for atomic weapons (an era of U.S. history that sadly included the deadliest industrial accident).

DDT is good for me old ad

#5 – DDT

In 1944, Monsanto became one of the first manufacturers of the insecticide DDT to combat malaria-transmitting mosquitoes. Despite decades of Monsanto propaganda insisting that DDT was safe, the true effects of DDT’s toxicity were at last confirmed through outside research and in 1972, DDT was banned throughout the U.S.

Dioxin_chart

This chart illustrates how much dioxin an average American consumes per day

#6 – Dioxin

In 1945, Monsanto began promoting the use of chemical pesticides in agriculture with the manufacture of the herbicide 2,4,5-T (one of the precursors to Agent Orange), containing dioxin. Dioxins are a group of chemically-related compounds that since become known as one of the “Dirty Dozen” — persistent environmental pollutants that accumulate in the food chain, mainly in the fatty tissue of animals. In the decades since it was first developed, Monsanto has been accused of covering up or failing to report dioxin contamination in a wide range of its products.

Anh Trang Nhan Hoi Anh Orphanage #7 – Agent Orange

During the early 1960s, Monsanto was one of the two primary manufacturers of Agent Orange, an herbicide / defoliant used for chemical warfare during the Vietnam War. Except Monsanto’s formula had dioxin levels many times higher than the Agent Orange produced by Dow Chemicals, the other manufacturer (which is why Monsanto was the key defendant in the lawsuit brought by Vietnam War veterans in the United States).

(Pictured at left, Anh and Trang Nhan, with their father, when they first arrived at the Hoi An Orphanage; below are the same brothers shortly before Trang’s death. Source: Kianh Foundation Newsletter, Dec. 2011)

Agent orange boys orphanageAs a result of the use of Agent Orange, Vietnam estimates that over 400,000 people were killed or maimed, 500,000 children were born with birth defects, and up to 1 million people were disabled or suffered from health problems—not to mention the far-reaching impact it had on the health of over 3 million American troops and their offspring.

agent-orange-children-at-tudu-hospital-in-ho-chi-minh-city Internal Monsanto memos show that Monsanto knew of the problems of dioxin contamination of Agent Orange when it sold it to the U.S. government for use in Vietnam. Despite the widespread health impact, Monsanto and Dow were allowed to appeal for and receive financial protection from the U.S. government against veterans seeking compensation for their exposure to Agent Orange.

In 2012, a long 50 years after Agent Orange was deployed, the clean-up effort has finally begun. Yet the legacy of Agent Orange, and successive generations of body deformitieswill remain in orphanages throughout VietNam for decades to come.

(Think that can’t happen here? Two crops were recently genetically engineered to withstand a weedkiller made with one of the major components of Agent Orange, 2,4-D, in order to combat “super weeds” that evolved due to the excessive use of RoundUp.)

8 – Petroleum-Based Fertilizer

In 1955, Monsanto began manufacturing petroleum-based fertilizer after purchasing a major oil refinery. Petroleum-based fertilizers can kill beneficial soil micro-organisms, sterilizing the soil and creating a dependence, like an addiction, to the synthetic replacements. Not the best addiction to have, considering the rising cost and dwindling supply of oil…

roundup-ready-crops

#9 – RoundUp

During the early 1970s, Monsanto founded their Agricultural Chemicals division with a focus on herbicides, and one herbicide in particular: RoundUp (glyphosate). Because of its ability to eradicate weeds literally overnight, RoundUp was quickly adopted by farmers. Its use increased even more when Monsanto introduced “RoundUp Ready” (glyphosate-resistant) crops, enabling farmers to saturate the entire field with weedkiller without killing the crops.

While glyphosate has been approved by regulatory bodies worldwide and is widely used, concerns about its effects on humans and the environment persist. RoundUp has been found in samples of groundwater, as well as soil, and even in streams and air throughout the Midwest U.S., and increasingly in food. It has been linked to butterfly mortality, and the proliferation of superweeds. Studies in rats have shown consistently negative health impacts ranging from tumors, altered organ function, and infertility, to cancer and premature death. Reference the above “GMO Risks” page which includes countless references to support these statements.

#10 – Aspartame (NutraSweet / Equal)

An accidental discovery during research on gastrointestinal hormones resulted in a uniquely sweet chemical: aspartame. During the clinical trials conducted on 7 infant monkeys as part of aspartame’s application for FDA approval, 1 monkey died and 5 other monkeys had grand mal seizures—yet somehow aspartame was still approved by the FDA in 1974. In 1985, Monsanto acquired the company responsible for aspartame’s manufacture (G.D. Searle) and began marketing the product as NutraSweet. Twenty years later, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a report listing 94 health issues caused by aspartame. (Watch a quick video here.)

rbgh cows

#11 – Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH)

This genetically modified hormone was developed by Monsanto to be injected into dairy cows to produce more milk. Cows subjected to rBGH suffer excruciating pain due to swollen udders and mastitis, and the pus from the resulting infection enters the milk supply requiring the use of additional antibiotics. rBGH milk has been linked to breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer in humans.

#12 – Genetically Modified Crops / GMOs

In the early 1990s, Monsanto began gene-splicing corn, cotton, soy, and canola with DNA from a foreign source to achieve one of two traits: an internally-generated pesticide, or an internal resistance to Monsanto’s weedkiller RoundUp. Despite decades of promises that genetically engineered crops would feed the world with more nutrients, drought resistance, or yield, the majority of Monsanto’s profits are from seeds that are engineered to tolerate Monsanto’s RoundUp—an ever-rising, dual income stream as weeds continue to evolve resistance to RoundUp.

Most sobering however, is that the world is once again buying into Monsanto’s “safe” claims.

Just like the early days of PCBs, DDT, Agent Orange, Monsanto has successfully fooled the general public and regulatory agencies into believing that RoundUp, and the genetically modified crops that help sell RoundUp, are “safe.”

Except Monsanto has learned a thing or two in the past 100+ years of defending its dirty products: these days, when a new study proving the negative health or environmental impacts of GMOs emerges, Monsanto attacks the study and its scientist(s) by flooding the media with counter claims from “independent” organizations, scientists, industry associations, blogs, sponsored social media, and articles by “private” public relations firms—frequently founded, funded and maintained by Monsanto.

Unfortunately, few of us take the time to trace the members, founders, and relationships of these seemingly valid sources back to their little Monsanto secret. (Read more on this page.)

Fooling the FDA required a slightly different approach: click on the below chart compiled by Millions Against Monsanto to see how many former Monsanto VPs and legal counsel are now holding positions with the FDA. And don’t forget Clarence Thomas, former Monsanto attorney who is now a Supreme Court Justice, ruling in favor of Monsanto in every case brought before him.

Monsanto FDA

A Baker’s Dozen: #13 – Terminator Seeds

In the late 1990s, Monsanto developed the technology to produce sterile grains unable to germinate. These “Terminator Seeds” would force farmers to buy new seeds from Monsanto year after year, rather than save and reuse the seeds from their harvest as they’ve been doing throughout centuries. Fortunately this technology never came to market. Instead, Monsanto chose to require farmers to sign a contract agreeing that they will not save or sell seeds from year to year, which forces them to buy new seeds and preempts the need for a “terminator gene.” Lucky for us… since the terminator seeds were capable of cross-pollination and could have contaminated local non-sterile crops.

What’s the Result of our Monsanto Legacy?

Between 75% to 80% of the processed food you consume every day has GMOs inside, and residues of Monsanto’s RoundUp herbicide outside. But it’s not just processed food—fresh fruit and vegetables are next: genetically engineered sweet corn is already being sold at your local grocer, with apples and a host of other “natural” produce currently in field trials.

How is it that Monsanto is allowed to manipulate our food after such a dark product history? How is it they are allowed to cause such detrimental impact to our environment and our health?

According to the Organic Consumers Association, “There is a direct correlation between our genetically engineered food supply and the $2 trillion the U.S. spends annually on medical care, namely an epidemic of diet-related chronic diseases.

Instead of healthy fruits, vegetables, grains, and grass-fed animal products, U.S. factory farms and food processors produce a glut of genetically engineered junk foods that generate heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer—backed by farm subsidies—while organic farmers receive no such subsidies.

Monsanto’s history reflects a consistent pattern of toxic chemicals, lawsuits, and manipulated science. Is this the kind of company we want controlling our world’s food supply?

P.S. Monsanto’s not alone. Other companies in the “Big Six” include Pioneer Hi-Bred International (a subsidiary of DuPont), Syngenta AGDow Agrosciences (a subsidiary of Dow Chemical, BASF (which is primarily a chemical company that is rapidly expanding their biotechnology division, and Bayer Cropscience (a subsidiary of Bayer). View a complete list of companies doing genetic engineering on this website.

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