“Immortality”, or a dramatically increased life span may be just around the corner, and what ever will we do? When medicine reaches a point in the future when our cells will be able to re-produce at a faster rate than decay. Lizards who lose their tails are able to re-grow them, their cells can re-generate, just like our fingernails and hair can.
It doesn’t hurt when we get our hair cut, and it doesn’t hurt when we cut our nails. It would hurt if someone cut off your arm… What if that was not the case?
Muscles in many lizards tails can contract at a point which allows the tail to break off from the rest of the body, if the lizard is threatened, this can allow it to get away if it is caught by the tail, or it can be used to distract prey by leaving severed wiggling tail behind (an odd sight).
For all the history of humanity, no person has re-grown a new arm or leg on their own. If you don’t believe me type in “Man naturally re-growing limb” in on Google.
The crippled person, in this age, thanks to the help of, stem cells, transplants, prosthetic limbs and a combination of other new-age medicines. The body is the most prominent part of the person, given that you accept the three main elements that make a person, a person, being: Mind, Body, and Spirit. The body is also the most confining part of person.
I have talked with many grey haired people. And they all tell me the same thing, “You never stop learning, accept change, and do what you feel is right.” When I talk to these people they hardly brag about how many cars they have, what’s in their bank account, and they’re hardly “Trendy,” are they “Out of the loop?” or have they got it all figured out?
If Time Magazine is right, and man becomes immortal in 2045, then whatever will we do with our time?
If life span was dramatically increased to a measure of over 250 years, time, would cease to exist as we know it.
Childhood would then range anywhere from age 13 up to age 75, adolescence 75-125, and adulthood from 125-200, senior citizens could be 200- 250+ years. These are all approximate guesses as obviously future life span cannot yet be accurately calculated, but you should be able to see some problems emerging.
The world is already overpopulated. If immortality became an option would every person be able to have an immortal child, two, or as many as they want? This could only work if we added more space for humans to populate, because if human population keeps increasing exponentially, and the death rate dissipates, then the planet will soon be sucked dry of all it’s resources.
There may be a difficult decision ahead; will we be fertile mortals, or sterile immortals?
An artist rendering of what Godzilla's anatomy may be like
This is my third article covering the happenings at the Fukushima Nuclear Reactors in Japan; news from the plant has been conflicting. Citizens of Japan and many other nations alike, are wondering if one of the reactors did in fact melt down and if news of it has not been released.
The March 11 the Tohoku Earthquakes disrupted Japan’s nuclear plants, and has since been releasing massive amounts of nuclear waste into both the water and Japanese soil. Greenpeace, an environmental activist group has reported findings of over 50 times the amount of radioactivity in the water (Iodine- 131, Cesium-134, Cesium- 137) than “safe” official limits, these findings have been independently verified by third party lab’s in France and Belgium.
Will we soon see Godzilla rise from the waters off the coast of Japan? Possibly. The cesspool of un-controlled radioactive waste is mixed with the element of life that’s structure is fundamentally altered by radiation. Furthermore, the breeding in the water is probably skyrocketing due to the fact that fishing off of the coast of Japan has ceased. This is increasing the possibility of a “mutant” monster which could quiet possibly be Godzilla, and within the realm of comic books and Revelation both.
There is no evidence that can disprove this “mythical beast” theory, for geneticist do know that these things are within the realm of possibility. In light of recent “Judgment Day” predictions perhaps they are no so far off?
Japanese officials have warned, “People do not bother fishing now. If you caught fish or other marine products in waters near the plant, they wouldn’t sell,” (Breitbart Online).
Perhaps Godzilla is breeding in the waters of Japan as I type, and alas, the movies were right.
Is that Godzilla there in the smoke?
Even if there is no beast from the water anytime soon, do you know about the very real risk of radiation poisoning? And what the worst-case scenario is? It may not be Godzilla but it could cause people to become sterile or have deformities in newborns. Did you know that radiation could get caught up in the rain and pour down on you? Radiation from Japan has already cycled around our atmosphere, now it is in our water, and still the problem is not solved.
I will leave you to decide what the problem is, be it nuclear energy in the first place or poor government regulation? The choice is yours.
How green were the Egyptians? We are about to find out, as seventeen buried pyramids were discovered this week thanks to an infrared satellite survey. The findings include over 1,000 tombs and 3,000 ancient settlements.
It is impossible to tell what the pyramids hold without excavation although this is a very exciting discovery. Excavation of the pyramids has already begun, confirming the accuracy of the infrared pictures. Two of the seventeen pyramids have already been confirmed to exist.
You can see in the center of the first picture the very point of the pyramid in the white box. Satellites orbiting 700 km above the earth are able to see meter long objects on the surface of the earth and under the surface to find the dense mud-brick used by the Egyptians in the midst of lighter dirt and sand that has buried it. One of these early settlements, Tanis, was found buried beneath the modern city of San el-Hagar.
The sites found may be just the tip of the iceberg for things to come, like an iceberg that has most of it’s mass in water, in these instances, all of the ancient mass is in the dirt and the more they dig the more can be found. Perhaps even we will find that people have been on this Earth for much longer than we had previously thought.
This will be an interesting dig for all the pyramid lovers and history buffs alike. It is hard to imagine what the father’s fathers of our fathers might have been like, or even how long ago they lived, but they did live and they have left statues that which has passed the test of time.
Iceland’s hard-to-please volcanic chain is at it again! One might think that the 2010 eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull (don’t worry, none of us can pronounce it either) volcano would have set things straight, tectonically speaking. After all, the release of volcanic pressure- in the form of either a full scale eruption or a pitter of ash- is a natural part of a volcano’s life cycle. However, it appears that Eyjafjallajökull’s stint as last year’s flight grounding terror has been taken up by its neighbor, the slightly more phonics-friendly Grimsvötn volcano. Since its recent spatter of ash, or “tephra” as the science gurus call it, has been holding up air traffic throughout Western Europe, its explosive aeronautical effects got me thinking about its environmental repercussions.
Volcanic ash differs in substance depending on its geological makeup, but here’s the general ash low-down. Ash, or tephra, generically consists of a mixture of mineral matter (rocks) and volcanic glass. That’s right! When a volcano blows, bits of glass and rubble just microns in size go zipping on their jolly way, drifting through the atmosphere to disrupt the human flow of things. As it drifts through the air, tephra can find itself laced with any number of sulfurous and fluoride ridden chemical plumes. Yep! The same fluoride that Dentist Dan recommends for enamel strength can simultaneously be public enemy number one when it comes to agriculture.
Grimsvötn Ash Plumes
There’s an odd confusion of identity with tephra and non-volcanic (usually organic) ash. When we learned in middle school that the ash from the fireplace can benefit mom’s veggie garden, the opposite is true when it comes to tephra. While tephra’s inorganic mineral based composition may contain certain nutrients beneficial for plant and animal life, its environmental cons far outweigh its pros. For example, a layer of tephra on a feeding ground or agricultural grassland could very well kill off plant matter due to its high levels of various fluorides. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), this type of tephra poisoning doesn’t stop with plants. If consumed by an unassuming grazer, our generic cow or goat, one shouldn’t be surprised by a spike in livestock deaths since tephra does a wiz-bang job of blocking the GI tract. As unfriendly as tephra can be to animal life, its even more tricky when it interferes with human affairs.
An Eyjafjallajökull Lightening Storm
By now, people the world over have become familiar with the various conundrums caused by tephra, especially those incurred by the aero-community. Caught in the middle of anger and confusion is the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). This organization, responsible for determining air travel safety, is pitted with a difficult job in that it must either give the “go ahead” or red light to travel when such explosive conditions present flight risks. To all of you who are grounded, consider the following as your anger levels escalate.
- Cause critical body damage to plane cabins (imagine hitting a cloud of pebbles at 500 mph).
- Conduct electricity. If you’ve ever seen lightening storms jutting from an eruption, that would be tephra. In essence, tephra creates a hyper conductive electrical blanket in the sky.
- Melt sensory instruments. Wouldn’t want to be flying blind now, would we?
- Block fuselages!
Hopefully you can see that tephra isn’t the fluffy garden fertilizer we would hope it to be. It’s serious stuff. Simply imagine Mt. Rushmore thrown into an industrial sized smoothie blender then blown sky high. This mineral-based blizzard is exactly what muddles to air traffic works of any country faced with an ashy eruption. Aside from the detrimental effects on the respiratory system, infrastructure, and general health of living organisms, one might be a bit more sympathetic toward the ACC for their role in assisting with safety … which of course means sleeping in cots, missing vacation and scrimping by on airport food. The trade off between safety and convenience usually involves such frustrating hassle, but surly it’s better than exploding mid air as you try flying from A to B.
Most people are aware by now that lead is poisonous, however, this was not always known. Lead paint used to be primarily used in house paint, ceramic paints, and even children’s toys before its hazards were made known. Lead is most toxic to children; causing metal learning disabilities from extended exposure to it.
Now the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is getting a wiff of the toxic fumes. The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), is proposing a bill that would ban the production of lead bullets, lead shot, and lead sinkers. The CBD is citing the Toxic Substance Control Act to bring validity to their bill, yet those in support of the Second Amendment are saying that the EPA does not have the authority to ban the production of lead-based hunting products.
First, what is the Toxic Substance Control Act? The Toxic Substance Control Act was initiated in 1976 by the EPA to record, report, and test for certain chemicals and mixtures that may hazardous to the environment. The EPA already regulates lead-based paint, by placing restrictions and regulations concerning when and how the paint can be used. Given that the dangers of lead based paint are known, you would think that it would be banned, but it’s not. It is regulated. There are stringent standards that homebuilders and product manufacturers must follow if they are using lead-based paint.
The endangered condor, victim of the lead bullet.
Second, what is the Second Amendment? The Second Amendment protects the right of the American people to hold and bear arms (weapons).
The Center for Biological Diversity has claimed that consuming lead bullets in Arizona caused the deaths of three condors found last January. By eating lead bullets the bird’s digestive systems shut down causing them to starve to death. The condor is endangered, yet since 1997 their have been 18 condor deaths in California due to lead poisoning and 15 others in Arizona who met the same fate “Biting the bullet,”
Condors are scavengers; they ingest bullets accidentally by consuming bullet-ridden corpses. Fish are also killed by lead found in sinkers when the fish unintentionally ingests them.
The CBD is calling for an amendment to the Toxic Substance Control Act that would implement a full ban on lead-based bullets, shots, and sinkers.
Hunters are using the Second Amendment to protect their buckshot, claiming their right to bare arms includes the right to choose what bullets they use. Furthermore, hunters know that lead bullets are much cheaper than non-lead competitors. Hunters are in an uproar at the idea of being forced to spend almost double the cost of lead bullets, on non-lead bullets.
The CBD is contesting the hunter’s complaints with the condor. The condor is an un-intended victim of their hunting activities. The endangered condor would be able to re-coup it’s population if lead-bullets were banned.
So what do you think is of more value in this situation? The hunter’s rights or the condor’s lives?
Piezoelectricity is the electrical charge that can accumulate in certain materials. It is this type of electricity that is stored in our bones, DNA, and cork. I will now discuss a design to put piezoelectric energy to good use, in a mouse.
You probably don’t think about it when you’re doing it, but as you move your mouse, and even as you click in the keys you are putting energy into that object. When I clicked the “.” Key to end my last sentence my energy did not actually go into making that “.” Appear on the screen; rather, my energy set that into motion by the click but the energy itself was lost. What if we did not have to lose energy with every motion, what if we could collect it all. I have already written an article about Energy Generating Fabric that stores up kinetic energy from walking or doing other regular activities that can later to be used to charge a ipod, cell phone, or other small device.
A mouse covered with cork can create a significant amount of friction as it is moved and clicked upon, furthermore it can store the energy in piezoelectricity, making the sole power source of the mouse the mouse itself, otherwise known as “the elements within,”.
The “Corky” energy generating mouse works in a similar fashion as the fabric, banking energy off of the movements you make, with the mouse. The friction of the cork mouse rubbing against the table, or even itself when you click it generates electricity that is stored inside of the cork casing. Even the scroll wheel generates power as it is turned, rubbing against the cork.
To make matters even better, Corky is made using 100% recycled materials and its cork is biodegradable. What’s better than no charge (electrical) and no waste!
PB and J Otter aren’t doing their “Noodle Dance”, but Texas legislature is. I wanna be able to swim around in murky ponds and stick my bare hand into slimy crevasses and hope that I get lucky, who’s going to stop me? The Texas Parks and Wildlife commission that’s who, they’re on the beach as I emerge with my catch they are ready to issue me a hefty $500 fine.
I have never actually been “Noodling” in the traditional sense; I have taken a dive for some smaller specimen but nothing like 60-pound catfish that can be found in Texas waters. Hand fishing is illegal in Texas, and noodlers (those who partake in catching fish with their hands) are in an uproar.
How is noodling done? It starts by checking out the situation. Telltale signs of catfish presence are characteristic holes with entrances cleared of debris. It is a noodler’s job to dive underwater and stick his (or her) hand into the underwater hole hoping for a bite. That’s right, the hand is the bait, when bitten, noodlers shove their fist down a catfish’s throat or grasps onto its lower jaw. Its fight time, a noodlers has but a few crucial seconds to jump on that fish like a wrestler going for the pin, a noodler will wrap his legs and feet around the tail immobilizing it while the noodlers companions pull him and the prized catch out of the water.
But don’t try that at home, especially if your home is in Texas because you would be breaking the law. All of the effort that goes into these fish verses man battles goes un-recognized by Texas legislature banning hand fishing.
While fishing with poles, nets and other technology is aloud, to literally grab a fish by the throat (gills or jaw) is illegal. The Native Americans practiced this way of fishing long before they taught the settlers how to do it, who in turn have passed the knowledge on generation to generation. In many ways, noodling is tradition.
Tradition for whom? You may ask; imagining a toothless naked hillbilly wading into the water with a trucker hat and beer can in hand.
Who would want to swim around in the dark murk at the bottom of ponds and lakes plunging their fist into holes? Noodlers that’s who! And the mental image you may have conjured up for your imaginary noodler may or may not be correct, the problem I have with the noodling ban is the limitation of civil rights to those who have been using this alternative-fishing methods for decades.
If these noodlers are disrupting the environment of Texas, which actually has a flourishing and mostly unthreatened catfish population, then what are golfers doing?
That would take alot of noodle power to get out of the water.
Golf takes huge plots of land away from nature to create an artificial environment all its own. Golf courses often take over small ponds or even lakes and transform them into ball traps, and scenic features for club members. Is this pristine land management good for the environment? Where are all the critters that used to inhabit the forest, which used to come to the pond for a drink? To single out a relatively small group of people who go about a usual way of getting their food seems ridiculous. The claims against noodlers are that of unregulated fishing, unsportsmanlike methods, and endangerment for the eggs left behind in the newly abandoned waterhole.
There exist a social standard that noodlers are seemingly beneath. Legislation will protect socially accepted activities that may put environments and species at risk for the betterment of the society as a whole; golf courses fit the socially acceptable category and noodling does not. Commercial fishing puts fish populations at more risk than the small percentage who noodle.
On the whole, noodling is not a problem; the noodling ban is a problem for noodlers who simply wish to fulfill a tradition and hobby that has been passed down to them. Noodling does not appeal to a large amount of people (wonder why?), but for those who it does; they love it and wanna keep at it.
Texas noodler Brady Knowlton is pushing a new legislation to legalize hand fishing in Texas. He believes it is his right as a Texan to “Shove his bare hand into the mouth of a 60-pound catfish and yank it out of the river,” (The Wall Street Journal).
The most substantial claim against noodling is that it is unfair to the catfish that are snuck up on in their burrows. So it looks like it comes down to rights, who has more right to the water the catfish or the man? Looks like they will have to battle it out, oh wait, they already are. I think that taking down a catfish using wrestling moves underwater is a pretty fair fight, and certainly a lot harder than dipping a worm into the water.
But anti-noodlers say that baited hooks give the catfish the choice to bite or not. Where noodlers bombard the catfish in their holes and give them no “choice” whether to be eaten or not to be eaten.
Noodlers are risking life and limb to fulfill their hobby. In many ways they are more dedicated to fishing than their pole bearing counterparts. Shoving their hands into underwater holes is not a guarantee that a catfish is in that hole there could be some other predator in the hole that could take a real bite out of a noodlers hand.
So “Brady hold my beer, I’m going in”
What to you think about the legal, and physical battles going on between fish and man?
“I’m cured of HIV. I had HIV but I don’t anymore,” - Timothy Brown
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is an epidemic striking poverty stricken areas with a tremendously high mortality rate through all ages, and even the most industrial nations are defenseless against the virus. HIV is the virus that develops into the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS); AIDS is a disease and HIV is the virus causes the disease once it is contracted.
HIV and AIDS have previously been incurable. “I’m cured of HIV. I had HIV but I don’t anymore,” Timothy Brown, a German living in San Francisco is the first person ever to have been HIV positive, then, HIV negative. It is important to note that Mr. Brown was not cured of AIDS because he did not yet have AIDS. HIV will manifest itself into AIDS over time, but thanks to the medical treatment Timothy got he is now at no risk for contracting AIDS anytime soon.
1% of Caucasians are immune to HIV and AIDS. The immunity is thought to be a genetic feature of those who survived the Great Plague.
In 1995 Timothy Brown had HIV and Leukemia, in 2007 while living in Germany he was contacted by scientist who told him he qualified for an experimental procedure involving stem cells and bone marrow transplants. Since Mr. Brown agreed to the experimental research he has not had to take his cocktail of drugs that suppress HIV, and now he is HIV free.
The process was done by taking bone marrow from an HIV immune person, and manipulating the white blood cells to dominate white blood cells in the recipient. “So they’re no longer infected, or infectable, no longer infectable by HIV, and those white cells become the whole immune system of that individual, you’ve got essentially a functional cure,” Dr. Jay Levy is the co-discoverer of the HIV virus and is optimistic for the cure.
Many people are watching their words when talking about this new discovery because it has not yet been replicated. Until the HIV ridding process is repeated in clinical trials this incident can, and will, be chalked up as a fluke by those in scientific and medical communities.
Dr. Paul Volberding has been studding aids for the last 30 years, he gives these words of wise caution to those who may be getting their hopes up “The Berlin Patient (Timothy Brown) is a fascinating story, it’s not one that can be generalized” Meaning Mr. Browns situation was unique, having both Leukemia and HIV, it is impossible to say whether each of these ailments had an effect on the other, there are also individual biological differences that may have made Brown more prone to adapt to the cure than others. Just like how 1% of Caucasians are immune to HIV, we do not know if Brown is in a 1% of which this cure can cure.
Optimism is the word I would use for this situation, this is good news, and I personally hope Browns cure is THE CURE.
If Browns cure is indeed THE CURE, it will go through trials, it will have to be approved by the FDA, and then finally it will be marketed and commercially sold. At this point there will be more of a need to help in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Those who need the cure most (sub-Saharan Africa) will be most inaccessible to it. Brown’s curing is one step, one blow against the HIV epidemic, and we are optimistic for the future. Those in need, however, will need, and it will be up to the people in more fortunate situations to help the less-fortunate, ill, and impaired.
It has been three years since Timothy Brown tested positive for HIV; he is the first person to have been recorded as “cured” of HIV.
Brad Pitt is putting his name on the line for his new movie, The Tree of Life, also starring Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain. The Tree of Life has been described as “a visual poem about love, life, death, evolution and erupting volcanoes,” (Dailey Mail).
At the Cannes film festival the movie ended with boos, but Brad Pitt is not backing down his support of the movie that was only created due to the star-power Pitt could bring to it. “Real strong scripts go by the wayside and don’t get made and we wanted to make sure this one did and so I jumped in.” Pitt said about the movie. I have not seen the movie yet the trailers and press releases paint it out to be a nightly emotional, symbolic, and natural.
The movies poor initial response means nothing more than that the film is controversial, I am not discouraged in seeing it and in fact I am very exited about seeing what all the fuss is about.
The story apparently follows a child “Jack” from adolescence to adulthood. Brad Pitt plays the role of a stern father. Sean Penn plays Jack’s adult portrayal; Jessica Chastain plays Jack’s mother. I found the best synopsis of The Tree of Life on Wikipedia (really):
“It is described as a 1950s period piece. The first official description of the film emerged from foreign sales agent Summit Entertainment‘s official website on September 21, 2008, in the form of a thematic summary of the film, describing it as “the tale of a Texas boy’s journey from the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as a ‘lost soul in the modern world’, and his quest to regain meaning in life.
An official synopsis was later released at the 2010 American Film Market:
We trace the evolution of an eleven-year-old boy in the Midwest, Jack, one of three brothers. At first all seems marvelous to the child. He sees as his mother does with the eyes of his soul. She represents the way of love and mercy, where the father tries to teach his son the world’s way of putting oneself first. Each parent contends for his allegiance, and Jack must reconcile their claims. The picture darkens as he has his first glimpses of sickness, suffering and death. The world, once a thing of glory, becomes a labyrinth.
From this story is that of adult Jack, a lost soul in a modern world, seeking to discover amid the changing scenes of time that which does not change: the eternal scheme of which we are a part. When he sees all that has gone into our world’s preparation, each thing appears a miracle—precious, incomparable. Jack, with his new understanding, is able to forgive his father and take his first steps on the path of life.”
At this point your probably thinking one of two things, either “seems a little too deep and metaphorical for me,” or “I guess I’m going to have to see it to figure it out,”
Brad Pitt is seemingly taking the latter stance: “You know when you have a favorite song and you see the band telling what its about, explaining the lyrics, and you are immediately disappointed and you can’t listen to that song anymore?”
That quote was given by Brad in defense of the absent movie director, Terrence Malick, during the press conference after Cannes festival premier. Brad Pitt was at the press conference defending his name and his movie after it’s immediate response was a bust. The press took the absence of Malick as a sign of disrespect but Brad again came to his aid stating “an artist should not have to be a salesman”. The same could be said for Mr. Pitt, however, Brad seems to be managing just fine with his wife Angelina Jolie supporting him at the Cannes film festival.
Mail Online supported The Tree of Life, “The film’s not a flop by any means. It’s a visual sensation”.