Monday, September 1, 275760

Random Disclaimer: This blog is GRIMDARK AS FUCK.

Everyone, please sign this petition if you value Internet freedom. Congress claims to have vetoed SOPA due to political pressure, but the Trans-Pacific Partnership is more than willing to take up its mantle and pass it and various SOPA-like legislations (or even worse in many cases) that would utterly change the Internet as we know it. So, if you value the Internet, please, sign this bill and make your voice heard NOW. https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/stop-sopa-policies-trans-pacific-partnership-notice-and-staydown-efforts-and-other-policies/dXMRvNh8


5/29/12 EDIT: I've just created a new blog exclusively for ponies and pony-related news, WITHOUT the stressful news articles on this blog.  It's no Equestria Daily, nor will it ever be, but it's still a pony blog. Feel free to check it out if you please... http://brony-montana.blogspot.com

If you're a brony and a Final Fantasy fan, and you want to play a game that combines ponies with Final Fantasy, I just thought you might like to know that an excellent fan game called Pony Fantasy 6 was released a few days ago.

If you are interested in this game, and would like to give it a try, please follow this link... http://www.pony-fantasy-6.com/

This blog contains some controversial posts concerning certain political issues and depressing news stories. If you find some of the content on my blog too controversial for your liking, or you're simply interested in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, go to http://www.dailymotion.com/MLPFiMVideos... That is my DailyMotion channel that is filled with every episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic so far. If a new epsisode of MLP:FiM comes on, expect to see it on there within a few hours. It might help to take the edge off from hearing or seeing too much stressful stuff (i.e. some of the posts on my blog), and you may walk away with the realization that not ALL things pertaining to My Little Pony suck. In fact, in the case of FiM, it's AWESOME.

BTW, since DailyMotion absolutely ADORES putting ads all over the place, often ruining perfectly good videos by placing ads at the beginning, end, and occasionally, even the MIDDLE of many videos, please consider installing Adblock Plus for maximum pony enjoyment. DailyMotion can be a great deal better and more enjoyable than YouTube, but only if you use Adblock to get around the horribly annoying ads.

If you're interested in MLP:FiM, but you don't want to go to DailyMotion, either because of the annoying random ads or because the videos play slower there than on other sites, there are dozens, if not hundreds of channels on YouTube that have the entire first and second seasons uploaded to their channels, and they're all ad-free, too. I was planning on creating another YouTube channel to upload pony videos to, but it wouldn't allow me to upload videos past 15 minutes unless I gave a mobile phone number, and I don't have a mobile phone, and I'm NOT breaking these videos into parts.

If ponies aren't your thing, I understand. At any rate, I cannot stress enough that there are PLENTY of depressing pieces of news and controversial opinions about certain subjects on here. But if you can get past this disclaimer, you might find that this blog is fairly interesting and informative. I do my best to post interesting articles from various news sources, many of which provide a glimpse into the harsh realities of the world. Some of them may be easily accessed by searching your favorite news site or clicking on CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, etc, whereas some other news stories are less known for various reasons.

Just know what you're getting yourself into before you traverse my blog. There is some HIGHLY depressing stuff on this blog, and I do use plenty of profanity in some of my posts. I am NOT kidding when I say this blog is grimdark as fuck.


BTW, I've noticed a few people have been searching for "Rainbow Dash Attack", basically a ponified version of the popular Adult Swim Flash game "Robot Unicorn Attack". If you want to play "Rainbow Dash Attack", follow the link below.
http://www.comdotgame.com/play/rainbow-dash-attack

If you just want to play the original version, Robot Unicorn Attack, feel free to follow this link...
http://games.adultswim.com/robot-unicorn-attack-twitchy-online-game.html




Friday, December 31, 275666

Spectacular Neon Blue Lava Pours From Indonesia's Kawah Ijen Volcano At Night (PHOTOS

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/16/blue-lava-volcano-photos-kawah-ijen-indonesia-_n_4610337.html


You've heard of "red hot" and "white hot" to describe searing temperatures. But what about "blue hot"?
That's the surreal hue of Indonesia's Kawah Ijen Volcano, which glows with an otherworldly "blue lava" at night. The mountain contains large amounts of pure sulfur, which emits an icy violet color as it burns, turning the rocky slopes into a hot (at least 239 degrees Fahrenheit),highly toxic environment.
Despite the dangers, photographer Olivier Grunewald captured the scene, along with a group of men who toil on the volcano at night, battling noxious gases to mine sulfur from the crater and carry it out by hand.
Miners carry between 176 and 220 pounds of sulfur chunks per trip and sell the pieces for around 2.5 cents per pound. Yahoo reports theyaverage two loads every 24 hours, thereby doubling their salaries amid sulfurous flames that can reach 16 feet high.
The volcano is the subject of a new documentary -- produced by Grunewald and Régis Etienne, the president of Geneva's Society of Volcanology -- released earlier this month. (See the trailer, in French, below)
PHOTOS of Kawah Ijen's blue lava after the break:

Saturday, December 31, 275555

A veritable encyclopedia of important links, including search engines, Pastebins, proxies, alternative news sources, etc.

Alternative Search Engines
 
001 http://www.mamma.com
002 https://blekko.com/
003 https://startpage.com/
004 https://ixquick.com
005 https://duckduckgo.com/
006 http://www.alltheweb.com
007 http://www.gigablast.com/
008 http://www.proxysearchengine.tk
009 http://74.125.47.132  (google)
010 http://gibiru.com/
011 http://filetram.com/  (file search)
012 http://www.worldcat.org/  (library search engine)
013 http://www.monstercrawler.com
014 http://searchalot.com
015 http://www.searchcanvas.com/
016 http://web.search.ch
017 http://mamma75.mamma.com
018 http://search.freecause.com/
019 http://www.general-files.com/  (file search)
020 http://www.ebook3000.com/ (free books)
021 http://www.sqfile.com  (file search)
022 http://www.zoozle.org/ (file search)
023 http://translate.google.com/
024 http://www.robtex.com/
025 http://95.154.230.253 (hide my ass)

Thursday, December 30, 99999

Saturday, March 6, 99999

A wealth of information about the Deep Web Part 2 (More information, slightly less disturbing shit, 56K WARNING)

http://www.businessinsider.com/tor-silk-road-deep-web-2013-3?op=1

The average person is only aware of a fraction of the Internet.

There is more content out there than any conventional browser can access. These sites are termed
"Deep Web" or "Undernet." They exist outside the scope of Google, Facebook, and your RSS reader. It's the digital equivalent of a thriving city that's been domed over and cordoned off.



These sites are locked down so tightly that you need a special browser to access them. It's called the Tor browser, and it offers you an entirely new way of connecting to the Internet.

Where conventional web browsers like Chrome and Firefox make no effort to conceal your location
or identity, Tor is built upon the idea of preserving anonymity as aggressively as possible.

What is Tor?

Tor, originally an acronym for "The Onion Router," is an anonymity network designed to keep your identity and location completely secure as you browse the web. When you use the Tor browser (a free download), volunteer servers around the world route your internet traffic from server to server before finally delivering you your content. On top of this evasive routing, data is encrypted a number of times as it travels to you.

Exploring the Deep Web

Michael Bergman of BrightPlanet puts it succinctly: "Searching on the Internet today can be compared to dragging a net across the surface of the ocean. While a great deal may be caught in the net, there is still a wealth of information that is deep, and therefore, missed."

Using the Tor browser unlocks the door to a whole weird and wild world you never would have guessed existed online. Where Google helps you find the needle, Tor lets you "explore the haystack."

There is lots of promise in Tor's value – people use it to protect their communications, to research
sensitive topics, and to access information they might otherwise not have access to (if a country is behind a firewall, for example). By guaranteeing such a high level of anonymity, Tor lends itself well to information freedom activists, libertarians, and those who simply want to take their Internet safety to the extreme.

But with such anonymizing power made available for free, some less-than-legal (and even downright malicious) operations claim to operate successfully.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

2004: Hamas Founder/Terrorist Sheikh Ahmed Yassin dies in Israeli bombing (EXTREMELY GRAPHIC)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/1457559/Arab-shouts-of-revenge-filled-the-air.html

Body is paraded through the streets in coffin draped in Hamas flag, writes Toby Harnden in Gaza City
On the edge of the killing zone where Sheikh Ahmed Yassin met his end, tiny scraps of flesh still clung to the jasmine leaves. Blood and gore were spattered on a whitewashed house opposite.
The scene was reminiscent of the dozens of suicide bombings that the Hamas founder had ordered. In the centre of the road, Palestinian children examined the strike mark, no bigger than a cricket ball, from the Israeli air force missile that killed him.
It is doubtful whether the ailing fundamentalist even heard the whoosh behind him as death approached. Partially deaf, blind in one eye and paralysed from the neck down, he was 100 yards from the mosque he had just left after attending pre-dawn prayers.
The missile, like the two that followed it, had fragmented, spraying thousands of shards of metal across the street, killing eight in all. A pocked wall bore a graffito with Yassin's name highlighted in red and black.
Usama Abdel Al, 37, one of the first to arrive at the scene, said as he saw the twisted wheelchair in the dust: "He was torn to pieces. The right side of his head and everything below the shoulders was gone. I saw his face. It was expressionless.
"I will never forget him. His death will leave a gap. There will be a psychological effect, but this will not end Hamas or stop them.
"We loved him, but afterwards will come another, and if they kill him too then there will be another after that."
Yassin, wearing his customary Islamist white skullcap and wheeled by a bodyguard, had been halfway back to his modest home in Gaza's Talateen Street when the Apache helicopter fired its weapons.
Six hours after his death, what remained of his body was paraded through the streets in a closed plywood coffin draped in a green Hamas flag. Tens of thousands of supporters streamed through the city mourning his passing. "Who is your leader?" a Hamas official screamed from a megaphone. "Sheikh Ahmed Yassin," the crowd chanted.
"Who is your prophet?" The same response roared out, the dead leader's surname echoing back three times before fading.
Hundreds of young men and youths wearing black hoods and camouflage fatigues and carrying AK47s and rocket-propelled grenades, marched alongside the coffin. Shouts of revenge filled the air.
The huge cortege passed a poster depicting Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian Authority leader, whom Yassin viewed as an appeaser, waving for victory in front of Jerusalem's al Aqsa mosque.
Another hoarding glorified Yehia Ayash, the Hamas bomber known as "the Engineer" killed in an Israeli assassination nine years earlier.
"They will never succeed in wiping out Hamas," a woman called Umm Bilal promised, only her darting eyes visible from beneath a white Muslim hijab. "All martyrs go to God and God is the one who provides victory."
But the mood seemed like one of defeat rather than victory as Yassin's body was lowered into the ground to be marked by two breeze blocks, one at the head and one at the foot of his grave.
Crammed into the slums of the refugee camps where conditions rank among the worst in the world, humiliation and impotence have become a way of life.
Whether Hamas supporters or not, they turned out to honour Yassin as a Palestinian, a religious man, a beloved icon of resistance to a hated occupation who had been liquidated at the press of a button.
Although the Israelis could have killed him at any time, there was the knowledge among some at the graveside that someone in their midst was a betrayer.
Ariel Sharon, the hardline Israeli prime minister, had wanted to avoid the political collateral damage of killing large numbers of innocents when hitting Yassin and had ordered that only an attack of "pinpoint precision" should be carried out.
"One day we will know who snitched," said Eran Lerman, a former colonel in Israeli military intelligence. "It's not often that an operation like this can be done without killing a whole crowd.
"It was highly specific intelligence and the timing was partly down to opportunity."
Mr Sharon had also decided that if he was going to dismantle all Jewish settlements in Gaza, as he has announced, then Hamas should not be able to claim that it had driven him to do so by suicide bombings.
Military success in what Israel sees as an all-out war was, therefore, imperative to ensure that Gaza does not become seen as "another Lebanon", where withdrawal is interpreted by Hizbollah as a sign of Jewish weakness.
Yassin had been "marked for death", as Zeev Boim, the Israeli deputy defence minister, put it in January, and failing to follow through on that threat, officials calculated, might undermine deterrence in the future. In the short term, however, those who sanctioned the attack knew that it would provoke a bloody backlash. On that, if little else, both sides could agree.
"The sheikh was a martyr and a fighter for the sake of God," said Moam Dalo, 12, kneeling in the earth next to Yassin's grave. "We have to resist them and do attacks against them." He was asked: "What kind of attacks?" He replied without a flicker of hesitation: "Martyr attacks in Israel."

Research shows that bacteria survive longer in contact lens cleaning solution than thought

http://www.sciencecodex.com/research_shows_that_bacteria_survive_longer_in_contact_lens_cleaning_solution_than_thought-131957

Each year in the UK, bacterial infections cause around 6,000 cases of a severe eye condition known as microbial keratitis – an inflammation and ulceration of the cornea that can lead to loss of vision. The use of contact lenses has been identified as a particular risk factor for microbial keratitis. New research, presented today at the Society for General Microbiology Annual Conference in Liverpool, shows that a bacterial strain associated with more severe infections shows enhanced resistance to a common contact lens disinfectant solution.
Researchers from The University of Liverpool and The Royal Liverpool University NHS Trust tested different strains of the keratitis-causing bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa for their ability to survive in a commonly used contact lens cleaning solution. The team compared nine clinical strains of P. aeruginosa, taken from hospital patients in the UK, with P. aeruginosa strain 9027, the standard strain used by lens solution manufacturers.
The results showed that the majority of clinical strains tested were killed within 10 minutes of being immersed in the contact lens solution, comparable with the standard reference strain. However, one clinical isolate, P. aeruginosa strain 39016 – associated with a more severe case of keratitis with a prolonged healing time – was able to survive for over four hours, much longer than the reference strain.
There are more than 3 million people in the UK using contact lenses. This work suggests that clinically-relevant isolates with enhanced resistance should be included when testing the efficacy of contact lens cleaning solutions to ensure that the procedures are sufficiently robust to kill all P. aeruginosa strains.
Professor Craig Winstanley, who led the research, says: "Microbial keratitis can be devastating for a patient – it is important that the risk of developing this condition is reduced in contact lens wearers by improving contact lens disinfectant solutions."
The research group plan to investigate further isolates to find out how widespread the enhanced bacterial resistance is and to better understand the mechanisms underlying it. This will potentially help in the design of more effective disinfectant procedures.

Key milestone for brown fat research with a ground-breaking MRI scan

http://www.sciencecodex.com/key_milestone_for_brown_fat_research_with_a_groundbreaking_mri_scan-131962

The first MRI scan to show 'brown fat' in a living adult could prove to be an essential step towards a new wave of therapies to aid the fight against diabetes and obesity.
Researchers from Warwick Medical School and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust used a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) based method to identify and confirm the presence of brown adipose tissue in a living adult.
Brown fat has become a hot topic for scientists due its ability to use energy and burn calories, helping to keep weight in check. Understanding the brown fat tissue and how it can be used to such ends is of growing interest in the search to help people suffering from obesity or at a high risk of developing diabetes.
Dr Thomas Barber, from the Department of Metabolic and Vascular Health at Warwick Medical School, explained, "This is an exciting area of study that requires further research and discovery. The potential is there for us to develop safe and effective ways of activating this brown fat to promote weight loss and increase energy expenditure – but we need more data to be able to get to that point."
"This particular proof of concept is key, as it allows us to pursue MRI techniques in future assessments and gather this required information."
This is a digitally-enhanced axial MRI of the upper chest (as if viewed from the feet). Areas of potential brown fat are shown in green.
(Photo Credit: University of Warwick, UHCW)
The study, published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, outlines the benefits of using MRI scans over the existing method of positron emission tomography (PET). Whilst PET does show brown fat activity, it is subject to a number of limitations including the challenge of signal variability from a changing environmental temperature.
Unlike the PET data which only displays activity, the MRI can show brown fat content whether active or not – providing a detailed insight into where it can be found in the adult body. This information could prove vital in the creation of future therapies that seek to activate deposits of brown fat.
Dr Barber added, "The MRI allows us to distinguish between the brown fat, and the more well-known white fat that people associate with weight gain, due to the different water to fat ratio of the two tissue types. We can use the scans to highlight what we term 'regions of interest' that can help us to build a picture of where the brown fat is located."
With the proof of concept now completed, the next step is to further validate this technique across a larger group of adults.

Study finds adverse respiratory outcomes for older people with COPD taking benzodiazepines

http://www.sciencecodex.com/study_finds_adverse_respiratory_outcomes_for_older_people_with_copd_taking_benzodiazepines-131963

TORONTO, April 17, 2014—A group of drugs commonly prescribed for insomnia, anxiety and breathing issues "significantly increase the risk" that older people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, need to visit a doctor or Emergency Department for respiratory reasons, new research has found.
Benzodiazepines, such as Ativan or Xanax, may actually contribute to respiratory problems, such as depressing breathing ability and pneumonia, in these patients, said Dr. Nicholas Vozoris, a respirologist at St. Michael's Hospital.
Dr. Vozoris said the findings are significant, given that 5 to 10 per cent of the Canadian population has COPD (also known as emphysema), which is mainly caused by smoking. His previous research has shown that 30 per cent of older Canadians with COPD are prescribed benzodiazepines.
His new research was published online today in the European Respiratory Journal. Dr. Vozoris said he believes this is the first study to look at clinical outcomes of COPD patients prescribed these drugs. He used databases at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Studies to identify older adults in Ontario who had been diagnosed with COPD, as well as prescription, health insurance and hospitalization records.
A group of drugs commonly prescribed for insomnia, anxiety and breathing issues "significantly increase the risk" that older people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease need to visit a doctor or ED, according to new research by Dr. Nicholas Vozoris of St. Michael's Hospital.
(Photo Credit: Courtesy of St. Michael's Hospital)
He found that COPD patients who had been newly prescribed a benzodiazepine were at 45 per cent increased risk of having an exacerbation of respiratory symptoms requiring outpatient treatment. They were at 92 per cent greater risk of needing to visit an Emergency Department for COPD or pneumonia. There was an elevated, but not statistically significant, risk of also being hospitalized for respiratory reasons.
He said the findings were consistent even after taking into account the severity of the person's illness – i.e. they were true for people with less advanced and more advanced COPD.
"Physicians, when prescribing these pills, need to be careful, use caution and monitor the patients for respiratory side effects," said Dr. Vozoris. "Patients also need to watch for respiratory-related symptoms."

Deaths from viral hepatitis surpasses HIV/AIDS as preventable cause of deaths in Australia

http://www.sciencecodex.com/deaths_from_viral_hepatitis_surpasses_hivaids_as_preventable_cause_of_deaths_in_australia-131974

The analysis was conducted by Dr Benjamin Cowie and Ms Jennifer MacLachlan from the University of Melbourne and Melbourne Health, and was presented at The International Liver Congress in London earlier this month.
"Liver cancer is the fastest increasing cause of cancer deaths in Australia, increasing each year by 5 per cent, so by more than seventy people each year. In 2014 there was an estimated number of deaths of around 1,500 from liver cancer. The predominant cause is chronic viral Hepatitis," Dr Cowie said.
Hepatitis refers to the inflammation of the liver. Chronic infection with the blood-borne viruses Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C can result in scarring of the liver (cirrhosis) or potentially liver cancer at a later stage – however these risks can be reduced through access to effective care and treatment.
Dr Cowie said additional resources were needed to prevent and treat Hepatitis B and C in order to address these imbalances in major preventable causes of human death.
"The release of the GBD 2010 results provides a unique opportunity to set global and local priorities for health, and address previous imbalances in addressing the major causes of preventable causes of human death, among which hepatitis B and C must clearly be counted."
"The Commonwealth Government has recently committed to funding initiatives to improve access to testing and treatment for people from priority populations living with hepatitis B in Australia, which is a great step forward," he said.
"The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) estimated around 1.3 million people lost their lives to viral Hepatitis since 1990, which is comparable to the respective burdens of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria," Dr Cowie concluded.

In sex-reversed cave insects, females have the penises

http://www.sciencecodex.com/in_sexreversed_cave_insects_females_have_the_penises-131976

Researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on April 17 have discovered little-known cave insects with rather novel sex lives. The Brazilian insects, which represent four distinct but related species in the genus Neotrogla, are the first example of an animal with sex-reversed genitalia.
"Although sex-role reversal has been identified in several different animals, Neotrogla is the only example in which the intromittent organ is also reversed," says Kazunori Yoshizawa from Hokkaido University in Japan.
During copulation, which lasts an impressive 40 to 70 hours, female insects insert an elaborate, penis-like organ into males' much-reduced, vagina-like opening. The researchers speculate that the insects' sex organs and sex-role reversal may have been driven over evolutionary time by the resource-poor cave environment in which the bugs live. Males of the genus provide females with nutritious seminal gifts in addition to sperm, making it advantageous for females to mate at a higher rate.
This shows the female penis of N. aurora.
(Photo Credit: Current Biology, Yoshizawa et al.)
At first, Rodrigo Ferreira from the Federal University of Lavras in Brazil was focused on a description of species in the cave environment where Neotrogla lives. He sent specimens off to insect specialist Charles Lienhard in Geneva, who recognized them as a new genus. Lienhard also discovered the females' very impressive penis-like organs.
Yoshizawa joined the team to take a closer look. To learn more, the researchers observed the mating behavior of all four species to find that the penis-like structure, termed the gynosome, is inserted into males and used to receive generous capsules of nourishment and sperm. Once inside a male, the membranous part of the female gynosome inflates and numerous spines internally anchor the two insects together.
These are the terminal abdomens in copula, lateral.
(Photo Credit: Current Biology, Yoshizawa et al.)
In one instance, when the researchers attempted to pull a male and female apart, the male's abdomen was ripped from the thorax without breaking the genital coupling. In other words, it appears that females can hold males very tightly indeed.
The findings pave the way for interesting studies in these insects to learn what makes them so special. Neotrogla offers new opportunities to test ideas about sexual selection, conflict between the sexes, and the evolution of novelty, the researchers say.
"It will be important to unveil why, among many sex-role-reversed animals, only Neotroglaevolved the elaborated female penis," says Yoshitaka Kamimura from Keio University in Japan. For that, the researchers will look into studies of behavior, physiology, and more. First on the list, they say, is to establish a healthy population of the insects in the lab.
These are Neotrogla curvata in copula.
(Photo Credit: Current Biology, Yoshizawa et al.)
Source: Cell Press

Radiation therapy for cervical cancer increases risk for colorectal cancer

http://www.sciencecodex.com/radiation_therapy_for_cervical_cancer_increases_risk_for_colorectal_cancer-131967

Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston are the first to recommend that young women treated with radiation for cervical cancer should begin colorectal cancer screening earlier than traditionally recommended.
The UTMB researchers, finding a high incidence of secondary colorectal cancers among cervical cancer survivors treated with radiation, offer new recommendations that the younger women in this group begin colorectal cancer screening about eight years after their initial cervical cancer diagnosis instead of waiting until age 50. The study is now online in the journal Medical Oncology.
An estimated 18 percent of malignancies in the United States are secondary cancers that develop in cancer survivors. Previous studies have indicated that cervical cancer survivors treated with radiation have an increased risk for second primary malignancies, yet no preventive recommendations have been established.
The UTMB study analyzed 64,507 cervical cancer cases collected from 1973-2009 by the National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results program. Among cervical cancer survivors studied, colon, rectum and anus tumors were found to be two to four times more frequent in the group treated with radiation than in the group not treated with radiation. A breakdown of the findings include:
  • More than half (52.6 percent) the cervical cancer patients studied received radiation treatment. Colon cancer among those treated with radiation began appearing at significantly higher rates approximately eight years later.
  • After eight years, the risk for developing colon cancer was double for women who received radiation compared to those who had not.
  • Their risk of rectal cancer quadrupled after 15 years.
  • After 35 years, women who had received cervical cancer radiation therapy were three to four times more likely to have developed colorectal cancers than women who had not.
"We are confident from our study that it is time to consider new colorectal cancer screening strategies for cervical cancer survivors," said UTMB's Dr. Ana M. Rodriguez, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology and lead author of the study.
"As more people are surviving their cancer diagnosis, we need to learn more about the outcomes 10, 20, 30, even 40 years later and how to take care of their long-term medical needs."

Scientists find new way to fight malaria drug resistance

http://www.sciencecodex.com/scientists_find_new_way_to_fight_malaria_drug_resistance-131972
An anti-malarial treatment that lost its status as the leading weapon against the deadly disease could be given a new lease of life, with new research indicating it simply needs to be administered differently.
The findings could revive the use of the cheap anti-malarial drug chloroquine in treating and preventing the mosquito-bourne disease, which claims the lives of more than half a million people each year around the world.
The parasite that causes malaria has developed resistance to chloroquine, but research carried out at the Australian National University (ANU) and Germany's University of Heidelberg has shown that the parasite protein that causes resistance has an Achilles' heel.
"We studied diverse versions of this protein and in all cases found that it is limited in its capacity to remove the drug from the parasite," said malaria researcher Dr Rowena Martin, from the ANU Research School of Biology.
"This means malaria could once again be treated with chloroquine if it is administered twice-daily, rather than just once a day".
Once hailed as a wonder drug, chloroquine is still used in developing nations in the South Pacific, Africa, Asia and South America, but has been withdrawn from use in many developed countries.
Dr Martin and her colleagues also revealed how the protein may have developed resistance to chloroquine.
"We found that the protein gains the ability to move chloroquine out of the parasite through one of two evolutionary pathways, but that this process is rigid – one wrong turn and the protein is rendered useless," she said.
"This indicates that the protein is under conflicting pressures, which is a weakness that could be exploited in future antimalarial strategies."
Dr Martin said the findings, published in the latest Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, could be used to help millions of people in developing nations who are at risk of catching malaria.
She said that there is also potential to apply the findings to several chloroquine-like drugs that are also becoming less effective as the malaria parasite builds up resistance.
Dr Martin, however, does not recommend taking large doses of chloroquine.
"The key is to increase the frequency of chloroquine administration, for example by taking a standard dose in the morning and another at night. If you take too much all at once it can kill you," she cautions.

Ancient sea-levels give new clues on ice ages

http://www.sciencecodex.com/ancient_sealevels_give_new_clues_on_ice_ages-131973

International researchers, led by the Australian National University (ANU), have developed a new way to determine sea-level changes and deep-sea temperature variability over the past 5.3 million years.
The findings will help scientists better understand the climate surrounding ice ages over the past two million years, and could help determine the relationship between carbon dioxide levels, global temperatures and sea levels.
The team from ANU, the University of Southampton (UoS) and the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) in the United Kingdom, examined oxygen isotope levels in fossils of microscopic plankton recovered from the Mediterranean Sea, dating back as far as 5.3 million years.
"This is the first step for reconstructions from the Mediterranean records," says lead researcher Eelco Rohling from the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences.
Professor Rohling said the team focused on the flow of water through Strait of Gibraltar, which was particularly sensitive to sea-level changes.
"As continental ice sheets grew during the ice ages, flow through the Strait of Gibraltar was reduced, causing measurable changes in oxygen isotope ratios in Mediterranean waters, which became preserved in the shells of the ancient plankton," he said.
Co-author Gavin Foster from UoS said the research for the first time found long-term trends in cooling and continental ice-volume build-up cycles over the past 5.3 Million years were not the same.
"In fact, for temperature the major step toward the ice ages of the past two million years was a cooling event at 2.7 million years ago," he said.
"But for ice-volume, the crucial step was the development of the first intense ice age at around 2.15 million years ago. Before our results, these were thought to have occurred together at about 2.5 million years ago." Professor Rohling said the findings will help scientists better understand the nature of ice ages and development of coastal sediment.
"The observed decoupling of temperature and ice-volume changes provides crucial new information for our understanding of how the ice ages came about," he said.
"However, there are wider implications. For example, a more refined sea-level record over millions of years is commercially interesting because it allows a better understanding of coastal sediment sequences that are relevant to the petroleum industry.
"Our record is also of interest to climate policy developments, because it opens the door to detailed comparisons between past atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, global temperatures, and sea levels, which has enormous value to long-term future climate projections."
The findings have been published in the latest on-line edition of Nature.

Deaths from viral hepatitis surpasses HIV/AIDS as preventable cause of deaths in Australia

http://www.sciencecodex.com/deaths_from_viral_hepatitis_surpasses_hivaids_as_preventable_cause_of_deaths_in_australia-131974

The analysis was conducted by Dr Benjamin Cowie and Ms Jennifer MacLachlan from the University of Melbourne and Melbourne Health, and was presented at The International Liver Congress in London earlier this month.
"Liver cancer is the fastest increasing cause of cancer deaths in Australia, increasing each year by 5 per cent, so by more than seventy people each year. In 2014 there was an estimated number of deaths of around 1,500 from liver cancer. The predominant cause is chronic viral Hepatitis," Dr Cowie said.
Hepatitis refers to the inflammation of the liver. Chronic infection with the blood-borne viruses Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C can result in scarring of the liver (cirrhosis) or potentially liver cancer at a later stage – however these risks can be reduced through access to effective care and treatment.
Dr Cowie said additional resources were needed to prevent and treat Hepatitis B and C in order to address these imbalances in major preventable causes of human death.
"The release of the GBD 2010 results provides a unique opportunity to set global and local priorities for health, and address previous imbalances in addressing the major causes of preventable causes of human death, among which hepatitis B and C must clearly be counted."
"The Commonwealth Government has recently committed to funding initiatives to improve access to testing and treatment for people from priority populations living with hepatitis B in Australia, which is a great step forward," he said.
"The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) estimated around 1.3 million people lost their lives to viral Hepatitis since 1990, which is comparable to the respective burdens of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria," Dr Cowie concluded.

IU cognitive scientists use 'I spy' to show spoken language helps direct children's eyes

http://www.sciencecodex.com/iu_cognitive_scientists_use_i_spy_to_show_spoken_language_helps_direct_childrens_eyes-131968

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- In a new study, Indiana University cognitive scientists Catarina Vales and Linda Smith demonstrate that children spot objects more quickly when prompted by words than if they are only prompted by images.
Language, the study suggests, is transformative: More so than images, spoken language taps into children's cognitive system, enhancing their ability to learn and to navigate cluttered environments. As such the study, published last week in the journalDevelopmental Science, opens up new avenues for research into the way language might shape the course of developmental disabilities such as ADHD, difficulties with school, and other attention-related problems.
In the experiment, children played a series of "I spy" games, widely used to study attention and memory in adults. Asked to look for one image in a crowded scene on a computer screen, the children were shown a picture of the object they needed to find -- a bed, for example, hidden in a group of couches.
"If the name of the target object was also said, the children were much faster at finding it and less distracted by the other objects in the scene," said Vales, a graduate student in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.
"What we've shown is that in 3-year-old children, words activate memories that then rapidly deploy attention and lead children to find the relevant object in a cluttered array," said Smith, Chancellor's Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. "Words call up an idea that is more robust than an image and to which we more rapidly respond. Words have a way of calling up what you know that filters the environment for you."
The study, she said , "is the first clear demonstration of the impact of words on the way children navigate the visual world and is a first step toward understanding the way language influences visual attention, raising new testable hypotheses about the process."
Vales said the use of language can change how people inspect the world around them.
A 3-year-old participant searches for objects on a screen with and without a spoken word preceding her search.
(Photo Credit: Indiana University)
"We also know that language will change the way people perform in a lot of different laboratory tasks," she said. "And if you have a child with ADHD who has a hard time focusing, one of the things parents are told to do is to use words to walk the child through what she needs to do. So there is this notion that words change cognition. The question is 'how?'"
Vales said their research results "begin to tell us precisely how words help, the kinds of cognitive processes words tap into to change how children behave. For instance, the difference between search times, with and without naming the target object, indicate a key role for a kind of brief visual memory known as working memory, that helps us remember what we just saw as we look to something new. Words put ideas in working memory faster than images."
For this reason, language may play an important role in a number of developmental disabilities.
"Limitations in working memory have been implicated in almost every developmental disability, especially those concerned with language, reading and negative outcomes in school," Smith said. "These results also suggest the culprit for these difficulties may be language in addition to working memory.
"This study changes the causal arrow a little bit. People have thought that children have difficulty with language because they don't have enough working memory to learn language. This turns it around because it suggests that language may also make working memory more effective."
How does this matter to child development?
"Children learn in the real world, and the real world is a cluttered place," Smith said. "If you don't know where to look, chances are you don't learn anything. The words you know are a driving force behind attention. People have not thought about it as important or pervasive, but once children acquire language, it changes everything about their cognitive system."
"Our results suggest that language has huge effects, not just on talking, but on attention -- which can determine how children learn, how much they learn and how well they learn," Vales said.

IU cognitive scientists use 'I spy' to show spoken language helps direct children's eyes

http://www.sciencecodex.com/iu_cognitive_scientists_use_i_spy_to_show_spoken_language_helps_direct_childrens_eyes-131968

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- In a new study, Indiana University cognitive scientists Catarina Vales and Linda Smith demonstrate that children spot objects more quickly when prompted by words than if they are only prompted by images.
Language, the study suggests, is transformative: More so than images, spoken language taps into children's cognitive system, enhancing their ability to learn and to navigate cluttered environments. As such the study, published last week in the journalDevelopmental Science, opens up new avenues for research into the way language might shape the course of developmental disabilities such as ADHD, difficulties with school, and other attention-related problems.
In the experiment, children played a series of "I spy" games, widely used to study attention and memory in adults. Asked to look for one image in a crowded scene on a computer screen, the children were shown a picture of the object they needed to find -- a bed, for example, hidden in a group of couches.
"If the name of the target object was also said, the children were much faster at finding it and less distracted by the other objects in the scene," said Vales, a graduate student in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.
"What we've shown is that in 3-year-old children, words activate memories that then rapidly deploy attention and lead children to find the relevant object in a cluttered array," said Smith, Chancellor's Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. "Words call up an idea that is more robust than an image and to which we more rapidly respond. Words have a way of calling up what you know that filters the environment for you."
The study, she said , "is the first clear demonstration of the impact of words on the way children navigate the visual world and is a first step toward understanding the way language influences visual attention, raising new testable hypotheses about the process."
Vales said the use of language can change how people inspect the world around them.
A 3-year-old participant searches for objects on a screen with and without a spoken word preceding her search.
(Photo Credit: Indiana University)
"We also know that language will change the way people perform in a lot of different laboratory tasks," she said. "And if you have a child with ADHD who has a hard time focusing, one of the things parents are told to do is to use words to walk the child through what she needs to do. So there is this notion that words change cognition. The question is 'how?'"
Vales said their research results "begin to tell us precisely how words help, the kinds of cognitive processes words tap into to change how children behave. For instance, the difference between search times, with and without naming the target object, indicate a key role for a kind of brief visual memory known as working memory, that helps us remember what we just saw as we look to something new. Words put ideas in working memory faster than images."
For this reason, language may play an important role in a number of developmental disabilities.
"Limitations in working memory have been implicated in almost every developmental disability, especially those concerned with language, reading and negative outcomes in school," Smith said. "These results also suggest the culprit for these difficulties may be language in addition to working memory.
"This study changes the causal arrow a little bit. People have thought that children have difficulty with language because they don't have enough working memory to learn language. This turns it around because it suggests that language may also make working memory more effective."
How does this matter to child development?
"Children learn in the real world, and the real world is a cluttered place," Smith said. "If you don't know where to look, chances are you don't learn anything. The words you know are a driving force behind attention. People have not thought about it as important or pervasive, but once children acquire language, it changes everything about their cognitive system."
"Our results suggest that language has huge effects, not just on talking, but on attention -- which can determine how children learn, how much they learn and how well they learn," Vales said.