What Really Happens When You Take Antibiotics?

antibiotics_infographic-503x1024Antibiotics: One of the most prescribed drug in the modern world! The evidence that proves how harmful this practice can be has been available for a while now. Taking routine course of antibiotics and moreover pouring them into our food has been leading to serious and dangerous side effects, which greatly affect everybody’s health and well being. There are instances when antibiotics can save lives, so they have their place. But switching from specific, well determined and occasional use to a broad use and even worse, to a  ”preventive” measure, in humans and animals, is totally insane and looks like extermination.

Below you have strong evidence which confirms my statements:

Antibiotics As Prescription Drugs

People became so uncomfortable these days whenever they have a sniffle or infection. They all want it to go away, right away, at any cost! Immediate relief for a life of damaged health.

But common infection doesn’t equal antibiotics!  Our body simply doesn’t work like that.

The whole length of our digestive tract is coated with a bacterial layer providing a natural barrier against invaders, undigested food, toxins and parasites. If this “coating” (mucosal barrier) gets damaged, well….you get the picture! These beneficial bacteria protecting the gut wall also work against invasive pathogenic micro-organisms by producing antibiotic-like substances, anti-fungal volatiles, anti-viral substances. They engage the immune system to respond appropriately to invaders. Our healthy indigenous flora has a good ability to neutralise toxic substances from our food and environment, inactivate histamine and chelate heavy metals and other poisons. Again, this is all possible IF the “barrier” is intact…Without a well functioning gut flora, the gut wall not only becomes unprotected, but also malnourished.

The variety of functions and the essential role of an intact mucosal barrier, a healthy gut flora, make this the root of our health. We simply can not thrive without a healthy digestive system.

What is the clinical reality these days? A vast majority of people have a damaged gut flora and a major culprit to this is: ANTIBIOTICS!

Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride offers a well researched summary of the most common disastrous health effects which directly involve antibiotics :

  • destroy beneficial bacteria in the human body, not only in the gut but in other organs and tissues
  • they change bacteria, viruses and fungi from benign to pathogenic, giving them an ability to invade tissues and cause disease
  • they make bacteria resistant to antibiotics, so the industry has to work on more and more powerful new antibiotics to attack these new changed bacteria. A good example is tuberculosis, where wide use of antibiotics has created new varieties of the Mycobacterium Tuberculosis resistant to all existing antibiotics
  • they have  a direct damaging effect on the immune system, making us more vulnerable to infections, which leads to a vicious cycle of more antibiotics and more infections

Since babies are born with a sterile gut flora, the mother esentially “downloads” her gut health / flora into the baby through breastfeeding. No wonder why digestive problems are usually shown to get worse with each generation, considering the mother’s poor gut health and bottle feeding.

Penicillins and other antibiotics with “-cillin” at the end of their name have a damaging effect on tow major groups of our resident bacteria: Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria. This group of antibiotics allow bacteria normally found only in the bowel to travel to the intestines, which predisposes the person to development of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and other digestive disorders.

Tetracyclines and other “-cyclines” have a particular toxic effect on the gut wall by altering protein structure in the mucous membranes, making it vulnerable to invasion by pathogenic microbes and alerting the immune system to attack the changed proteins, starting an auto-immune reaction in the body against its own gut. They also stimulate the growth of pathogenic Candida, Staphylococci and Clostridia.

Aminoglycosides (Gentamycin, Kanamycin, Erythromicin) have a devastating effect on beneficial bacteria such as physiological E.coli and Enterococci. A prolonged course of treatment with these type of antibiotics can completely eliminate such beneficial bacteria from the digestive system, leaving it open to invasion by pathogenic species of E.coli and other microbes.

Antibiotics In Food

The problem of antibiotics overuse actually grew to proportions because it comes not only from prescription drugs, but from conventional food everywhere as well! This way, we are exposed indirectly to antibiotics since we are born and their negative effects are real.

Farm animals and poultry are routinely given antibiotics, so all the products made out of these (meat, milk, eggs) will also provide us with a constant supply of antibiotics AND antibiotic resistant bacteria, developed by the animals in their bodies, together with the toxins these bacteria produce.

Many large producers of meat and poultry feed antibiotics to their healthy food animals simply to offset the effects of overcrowding and poor sanitation, as well as to promote faster growth. Every year, nearly 30 million pounds of antibiotics are sold for use in food animals. In fact, up to 70 percent of all antibiotics sold in the United States go to healthy food animals.

Farmed fish and shellfish have antibiotics added, as well as a lot of fruits, vegetables and grains, legumes and nuts, which are sprayed with antibiotics to control disease.

Anti-bacterial Cleaners

Germs do not cause disease! Nature never surrounded her children with enemies. It is the individual himself who makes disease possible in his own body because of poor living habits… Do mosquitoes make the water stagnant; or does stagnant water attract the mosquitoes? We should all be taught that germs are friends and scavengers attracted by disease, rather than enemies causing disease… As their internal environment is, so will be the attraction for any specific micro-organism… The germ theory and vaccination are kept going by commercialism. Dr. Robert R. Gross

Modern times brought along the common belief that everything has to be disinfected and sterilized. But it’s been proven by numerous studies that constant use of conventional sanitizers and antibacterial soaps is also killing the beneficial bacteria existent on our hands, that is meant to actually protect ourselves from disease. In other words, resistant bacteria – “superbugs” – will develop, and a former common cold will morph into a much more virulent and harder to treat infection.

Facts Of Antibiotic Overuse And Solutions To An Imminent Global Danger

Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recently announced the new CDC statistics on the advance of the highly drug-resistant bacteria known as CRE (carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae). The reports are frightening:

  • Healthcare institutions in 42 states have now identified at least one case of CRE.
  • The occurrence of this resistance in the overall family of bacteria has risen at least four-fold over 10 years.
  • In the CDC’s surveillance networks, 4.6 percent of hospitals and 17.8 percent of long-term care facilities diagnosed this bug in the first half of 2012.

The U.K.’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies released a report in which she calls resistance a “catastrophic threat” which poses a national security risk as serious as terrorism. She warns that unless resistance is curbed, “We will find ourselves in a health system not dissimilar to the early 19th century” in which organ transplants, cancer chemotherapy, joint replacements and even minor surgeries become life-threatening.

In March 2012, researchers published a report drawing a link between bacteria on chicken and antibiotic-resistant urinary tract infections (UTIs). They compared E. coli samples from animals in processing plants to the strain of E. coli that causes urinary tract infections and found chicken to be the source of the bacteria. Last summer, the story gained major traction with the release of a related study by some of the same researchers who found that retail chickens had very high levels of antibiotic-resistant E. coli; about 85 percent of UTI infections came from this E. Coli strain.

Another published study from Germany concluded that methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) is rarely found in pigs that are raised without antibiotics. Similarly, the farmers who live and work with these pigs were less likely to have the strain of MRSA commonly associated with livestock than farmers who worked with pigs who were regularly administered antibiotics. As one of the most notorious multidrug-resistant superbugs, MRSA is responsible for an estimated 19,000 deaths and 360,000 hospitalizations each year in the United States alone.

In September 2012, researchers at Stanford University concluded that consumers eating meat and poultry raised without antibiotics are 33 percent less likely to contract antibiotic-resistant infections than those who eat products raised conventionally.

Considering all this, how can YOU actively participate in the change of these serious events?

…STOP taking antibiotics with the first infection, rely on NATURAL, effective, safe and powerful antibiotics with NO side effects. My favorites are raw propolis, grapefruit seed extract, oregano oil, echinacea, Manuka honey.When you really need to take a course of antibiotics, always follow with a course of probiotics, to counteract the negative effects and maintain a healthy gut flora.

…buy and eat only ORGANIC meat, eggs and dairy or at least which hasn’t had antibiotics added (you can find this on many product labels now)

…stay clean using natural, green cleaners for your body and house, and avoid anti-bacterial soaps, as well as harsh, toxic chemicals. The Cleanwell sanitizers for example are absolutely fantastic and extremely effective, they come in many sizes, smell good and last a long time.

…live a healthy life, eat whole food and take responsibility of your own precious health, so you don’t end up in hospitals and long-term care facilities, which are the most exposed to never ending disease.










Does Tar Sand Oil Increase the Risk of Pipeline Spills?



Recent pipeline spills may have been caused by the combination of aging infrastructure and new types of oil

An oil flood through an Arkansas subdivision on March 29 is just the most recent example of pipeline problems in the U.S. In recent weeks, months and years diesel has leaked from a pipeline into wetlands near Salt Lake City; oil has spilled into the Yellowstone River in Montana; and about 20,000 barrels of oil have spewed into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. The question: Is the problem the pipelines themselves or what they carry?

The answer may be an unfortunate combination of the two. Certainly, the infrastructure has issues. The U.S. is crisscrossed by more than four million kilometers of such pipelines, many decades old. These pipelines spring hundreds of leaks every year, most small. The pipelines can fail for reasons ranging from a backhoe inadvertently striking one to the slow but steady weakening from corrosion. “It’s not a matter of if, but when,” says Susan Connolly, a resident of Marshall, Mich., right near where the Kalamazoo River spill occurred in 2010 as a result of external corrosion.

Critics charge that pipelines carrying diluted bitumen, or “dilbit”—a heavy oil extracted from tar sands mined in northern Alberta—pose a special risk because, compared with more conventional crude, they must operate at higher temperatures, which have been linked to increased corrosion. These pipelines also have to flow at higher pressures that may contribute to rupture as well. Environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) notes that pipelines in the upper Midwest that routinely carry oil from tar sands have spilled 3.6 times more oil per pipeline mile than the U.S. average. The Arkansas and Kalamazoo accidents both involved dilbit.

The chemistry of the tar sands oil could contribute to corrosion as well. In processing, the tar sands are boiled to separate the bitumen from the surrounding sand and water, and then mixed with diluent—light hydrocarbons produced along with natural gas—to make the oil less viscous and able to flow. But even so, the resulting dilbit is among the lowest in hydrogen as well as the most viscous, sulfurous and acidic form of oil produced today.

Some think the Arkansas spill could have resulted from just this combination of aged infrastructure and added stress from dilbit, although an exact cause has yet to be determined. The breached Pegasus Pipeline involved in the Arkansas incident can carry nearly 100,000 barrels of oil per day from Illinois to Texas. Originally constructed in the 1940s to bring Texas crude oil up to Illinois, it had been reversed in recent years to stream dilbit. The operator, ExxonMobil, retrofitted the 50-centimeter tube to compensate for the demands of pushing tar sand oil through in the opposite direction, but the higher temperatures and pressures may nonetheless have contributed to the rupture or sped up preexisting corrosion, suggest critics such as NRDC’s Anthony Swift.

A study from the Alberta government, however, casts doubt on the notion that dilbit is worse for pipelines than any other oil is. It found that dilbit is not corrosive at pipeline temperatures of as much as 65 degrees Celsius, although it is highly corrosive at refinery temperatures above 100 degrees C. Nor is the fine sand that remains in some of the dilbit eroding pipelines, though it does form sludges that must be cleaned. The higher temperature operation may even kill off the bacteria that help to corrode pipelines carrying other types of oil. “There is no evidence that dilbit causes more failure than conventional oil,” geologist John Zhou of the provincial government research firm Alberta Innovates said during an interview in November on a trip to the tar sands; Zhou helped prepare the Canadian province’s analysis of dilbit. The U.S. National Academies is currently studying the issue.

The good news for residents of Arkansas is that a dilbit spill on land may prove easier to clean than one in water. Thanks to its more viscous nature, Zhou says, “it’s not going to move very far on a spill”—as long as it does not get into waterways, as occurred in Michigan. Regardless, the sour smell of dilbit is likely to remain in the air of Mayflower, Ark., until all the diluent evaporates. “Before you get into town, you can already smell the oil,” says Glen Hooks of the Sierra Club Arkansas, who visited the spill site. “There is no reason to trust oil companies when they say pipelines are safe when there’s been spill after spill after spill.”

The mishap also highlights some of the concerns around the building of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline, which could carry 830,000 barrels per day of dilbit or other tar sands products 2,700 kilometers from Alberta to Texas. That pipeline would incorporate the latest technologies, such as epoxy coatings and electrical current to reduce corrosion. Yet, even brand-new pipelines can spring a leak: TransCanada’s Keystone I Pipeline, which began carrying dilbit from Alberta to the U.S. Midwest in 2010, has already suffered 14 different leaks.

Source: http://www.scientificamerican.com

Rapid pediatric weight gain beneficial in low-income countries .

Previous studies have suggested that rapid weight gain during the first 2 years of life is associated with an increased risk for obesity and insulin resistance later in life. However, a new study with an emphasis on countries with low or middle income suggests that higher birth weight and early growth during the first 2 years of life led to improvements in height and levels of education.

“Our results challenge several programs in countries of low and middle income. … Traditional school feeding programs that increase BMI with little effect on height might be doing more harm than good in terms of future health,” researcher Linda S. Adair, PhD, of the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said in a press release.

The researchers collected data for 8,362 patients from five prospective birth cohort studies from Brazil, Guatemala, India, the Philippines and South Africa who had at least one adult outcome of interest.

They wrote that a higher birth weight was consistently related to an adult BMI of >25 kg/m2 (OR=1.28; 95% CI, 1.21-1.35) and a reduced tendency for short adult stature (OR=0.49; 95% CI, 0.44-0.54) and of not completing secondary school (OR=0.82; 95% CI, 0.78-0.87).

Additional data indicate that faster linear growth at age 2 years (OR=0.23; 95% CI, 0.20-0.52) and mid-childhood (OR=0.39; 95% CI, 0.36-0.43) was associated with a reduced risk for short adult stature and of not completing secondary school at age 2 years (OR=0.74; 95% CI, 0.67-0.78) and mid-childhood (OR=0.87; 95% CI, 0.83-0.92).

However, faster linear growth increased the likelihood for children being overweight at age 2 years (OR=1.24; 95% CI, 1.17-1.31) and mid-childhood (OR=1.12; 95% CI, 1.06-1.18), in addition to elevated BP at age 2 years (OR=1.12; 95% CI, 1.06-1.19) and mid-childhood (OR=1.07; 95% CI, 1.01-1.13), researchers wrote.

Moreover, faster relative weight gain was associated with an increased risk for adult overweight status at age 2 years (OR=1.51; 95% CI, 1.43-1.60) and mid-childhood (OR=1.76; 95% CI, 1.69-1.91), in addition to elevated BP at age 2 years (OR=1.07; 95% CI, 1.01-1.13) and mid-childhood (OR=1.22; 95% CI, 1.15-1.30), they wrote.

Linear growth and relative weight gain were not linked to dysglycemia. However, higher birth weight was related to a decreased risk for the disorder (OR=0.89; 95% CI, 0.81-0.98), according to data.

In an accompanying commentary, Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, MBBS, PhD, of the division of women and child health at Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan, wrote that aside from study limitations, Adair and colleagues’ findings have clear implications.

“As shown by an analysis of evidence-based interventions, a focus on improvements in nutrition in pregnancy and linear growth in the first 2 years of life could lead to substantial reductions in stunting and improved survival,” Bhutta wrote.

According to Bhutta, there should be well-designed prospective studies with appropriate interventions and follow-up, including elements of child development, education, employment and earnings, as outcomes.

For more information:

Adair LS. Lancet. 2013;doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(13)60103-8.

Bhutta ZA. Lancet. 2013;doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(13)60716-3.

Source: http://www.healio.com

Model predicted final menses.

Researchers at UCLA have developed a model to estimate the timing of a woman’s final menstrual period. According to researchers, the model has the potential to help physicians and patients determine when the menopausal transition is complete and estimate bone loss.

“We need a better way to answer women’s questions about when to expect the final menstrual period,” researcher Gail A. Greendale, MD, from UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, said in a press release. “If further research bears out our approach, it could be the first step to developing Web-based calculators and other tools women can use to estimate where they are in the menopause transition and how far away their final period is.”

Greendale and colleagues included 554 women from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN). They designed the probability of meeting specific landmarks: 2 years before, 1 year before and the final menstrual period (FMP).

“For example, some researchers have proposed that an intervention begun 1 or 2 years before the final menstrual period would greatly decrease future fracture risk by preventing the very rapid bone loss that occurs in the few years before and few years after the final menses,” Greendale said. “But before ideas such as this can be tested, we need to accurately predict where a woman is in her timeline to menopause.”

Therefore, the researchers assessed the probability of being in restricted intervals: 1 to 2 years before FMP, 2 years before FMP and FMP, or 1 year before FMP and FMP. Additionally, the markers that best predicted having crossed each landmark were determined, with the ideal markers defined as the greatest area under the receiver-operator curve (AUC).

Researchers wrote that the final models included the current estradiol and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), age, the stage of menopause transition, race/ethnicity and whether serum was collected during the early follicular phase.

Data indicate the AUC of final models predicted the probability of a woman having crossed 2 years before (0.902), 1 year before (0.926) and the FMP (0.945), researchers wrote. If they identified women as having crossed the 2 years before the FMP landmark when predicted probability extended beyond 0.3, the sensitivity was 85% and specificity 77%, they added.

Despite limitations, Greendale and colleagues conclude that the clinical practice implementation of their model is conceivable. However, further studies are warranted to determine validation of these findings.

Source: http://www.healio.com

Over Half a Million U.S. Children Have Risky Blood Lead Levels.


Nearly 3% of U.S. children aged 1 to 5 years have elevated blood lead levels, according to new NHANES data reported in MMWR.

In 2010, an estimated 535,000 children in this age group had BLLs at or above the CDC’s recommended threshold of 5 μg/dL. Overall, the mean BLL in those aged 1 to 5 was 1.3 μg/dL. Mean levels were highest among black children, those aged 1 to 2, those enrolled in Medicaid, and those living in poverty.

Noting the success of prevention efforts over the past 40 years, especially among the groups with the highest BLLs, MMWR‘s editors conclude: “Given the continued disparity in BLLs, resources should be targeted to those areas where children are most at risk.”

Source: MMWR

What Will Comet ISON Do?


Now that comet Pan-STARRS has started to move on after a showy appearance in the twilight skies, it’s time to turn our attention to the next comet that could turn out to be a show-stopper: C/2012 S1 (ISON), generally just called ISON.

The comet was discovered in September 2012 by the Russian observatory called International Scientific Optical Network—ISON—using only a 40 centimeter (16”) telescope. Like most comets, it’s a chunk of ice and rock a few kilometers across. As it nears the Sun the ice will turn directly into a gas, and it will shed dust to form a tail. As the dust and gas around it expand and reflect sunlight, the comet will get brighter, though exactly how bright is hard to say.

The basic stuff you want to know is this:

  • Its orbit is nearly a perfect parabola, meaning this is probably its first ever pass into the inner solar system.
  • It’s a Sun-grazer, meaning it’ll dip really close to the Sun before heading back out again.
  • It’s been pretty active, blowing out lots of material despite being over 700 million kilometers from the Sun.
  • That means it may get much brighter as it gets closer, and some estimates put it as easily outshining Venus! But it’s hard to predict.
  • We are in no danger from this comet, which never gets closer than about 60 million kilometers from Earth, but we may pass through its debris early next year, sparking a cool meteor shower.

So here’s the scoop.

Its orbit is nearly a perfect parabola, meaning this is probably its first ever pass into the inner solar system.

Objects orbit the Sun in different kinds of paths. A closed path like a circle or ellipse means the object will orbit the Sun essentially forever—think planet or asteroid. Comets, though, tend to have very elongated orbits. There are probably trillions of icy chunks orbiting the Sun way out past Neptune, hundreds of billions of kilometers out. They spend vast amounts of time out there, and sometimes, slooowwwlllllyyyy start to drop toward the Sun, speeding up as they fall in.

Comet orbits typically are incredibly elongated ellipses, so long they start to look more like parabolae. Mathematically, a parabola is what you get if the comet drops literally from infinity, but starting a couple of hundred billion kilometers out is close enough. ISON may in fact have an even more extreme type of orbit called hyperbolic, which means it may have gotten a bit of an extra kick from a planet like Jupiter, giving it a scosh more energy. If this is the case, it will pass through the inner solar system with so much velocity it will never come back. Ever. It’ll travel out into interstellar space, and wander the galaxy.

So that’s pretty cool. This also means the comet is a virgin, so to speak. That makes it more interesting, astronomically: Every time a comet gets near the Sun it dies a little bit, losing gas and dust to space. If this is ISON’s first pass, that means it has a full quiver of material to shed, so it could be pretty bright.

Not only that, on Nov. 28, when it reaches perihelion (its closest point to the Sun) it’ll practically skim the star’s surface at a distance of only 1.2 million km (700,000 miles), about three times the distance of the Moon from the Earth, for comparison. That’s amazingly close! From that distance the Sun will be nearly 100 times bigger than we see it from the Earth. For the comet, it’ll be like sticking its head in a 5000 degree oven.

It’ll probably survive—the close encounter will last a few days, not long enough to totally vaporize the comet—and at closest approach will be traveling at something like 600 kilometers per second. That’s well over a million miles per hour. If that doesn’t hurt your brain, think of it this way: That’s 0.2 percent the speed of light. Yowza.

For a brief time, that close to the Sun, it’ll blaze brightly, reflecting that dazzling light. But it doesn’t have to be close to be bright…

In January of 2013 NASA’s Swift satellite used its Ultraviolet and Optical Telescope (UVOT) to take a look at ISON. Frozen water in the comet is already turning into gas due to sunlight, and when it gets hit by solar UV the water breaks down into atomic hydrogen and hydroxyl (OH)*. Hydroxyl itself will then emit UV light, which Swift can see and use to estimate the amount of water in the comet.

Observations indicate that the comet is shedding about one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of water every second! That may sound like a lot, but a comet can have a lot of water. Estimates give the size of the comet as about three kilometers across, a bit smallish, but it still could have trillions of kilos of water inside. It’s good for a while.

It’s also blowing out a lot of dust, far more than water: about a ton per second. Mind you, at the time Swift was looking the comet was farther from the Sun than Jupiter! It’s cold out there, so the fact the comet is doing this at all is hinting at a pretty dynamic time coming soon.

That means it may get much brighter as it gets closer, and some estimates put it as easily outshining Venus! But it’s hard to predict.

Predicting how bright a comet will get is really hard. Sometimes they fizzle. That can happen if it slows blowing out material, for example. Comet Kohoutek in the 1970s is the poster child for this, never getting as bright as hoped.

ISON will get very close to the Sun, so it will certainly get bright then, but it’ll be so close it’ll be hard to see. In 2007 I saw comet McNaught at noon! But it was so close to the Sun it was really hard to do. Maybe we’ll get lucky this time, and ISON will do well. I’ve seen estimates that actually predict it could get as bright as the full Moon, but again you have to take those with a pretty good dose of NaCl.

One way or another it should start getting easy to see in small telescopes over the summer, and hopefully be naked-eye visible by fall.

We are in no danger from this comet, which never gets closer than about 60 million kilometers from Earth, but we may pass through its debris early next year, sparking a cool meteor shower.

It bugs me to have to say it, but given the fear-mongering I see all the time online, it behooves me to say clearly that this comet poses no threat to Earth. It never gets very close to us, and its orbit is nearly perpendicular to ours.

However, the Earth will pass through the path of the comet a few weeks after the comet goes by, and since it’s shedding material we may get plow through some debris. This happens all the time with comets, and we call those events meteor showers. Given this comet is new, we may get a nice shower. Or, we very simply may not. Time will tell.

Interestingly, Mars will get a closer pass from ISON. On Oct. 1, 2013, the comet will pass roughly 10 million km (six million miles) from Mars. That’s far enough that the gravity of the planet won’t do much, and still pretty much guarantees Mars won’t see any impacts from the debris cloud.

But it’ll be a nice warm-up for 2014, when the comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Springs) will pass a few tens of thousands of kilometers from the planet! I suspect JPL engineers will use the near pass of ISON to test systems on the spaceprobes orbiting (and on) Mars now, getting observations of ISON as it blows past. That will help them understand better what to do when Siding Springs passes. I still wo

I’ll note that ISON has a weirdish orbit, coming in from north of the Earth’s orbital plane, dipping briefly south, then popping back up north. That means those of us above the equator will have a pretty good view. I expect we’ll be getting lots of amazing pictures of it, and I’m hoping to be one of the folks taking them.

But that’s months from now. I just wanted to give you a heads-up now, since you’ll be hearing a lot more about this celestial visitor in the months to come. As time goes on I’ll have more info, including more detailed star charts so you can see it yourself (like the one above), and instructions on how to safely view it (I add the adverb since it will be brightest when it’s close to the Sun, so observing has to be done with care).

So stay tuned. There may be lots more to come(t).

watch the video of it’s path on youtube.URL : http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=40wICUY5VmU

Source: http://www.slate.com/blogs

Blood-Based Prenatal Genetic Tests Greeted with Skepticism.


Newer prenatal tests for genetic abnormalities, touted by some as alternatives to amniocentesis, are getting wider use and presenting familiar problems.

Four companies have entered the market, selling products that range in price from $800 to almost $3000, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The tests (or “screenings,” as one national genetics group would like to call them) use fetal DNA from the mother’s blood rather than relying on amniocentesis.

The tests’ accuracy has been established in clinical trials, but in real-world practice “the numbers usually tend to be not quite as good,” according to one expert. False-positives could lead to unneeded abortions, and false-negatives may become apparent only much later in the pregnancy.

“Positive results should be confirmed with invasive testing,” according to one company official. Another says, “it is important to understand [the new tests] don’t replace invasive tests yet.”

Source:Wall Street Journal story

How to Recover From an Interview Disaster.


130128-Post-Interview-Damage-Control-275x275It’s easy to get rattled by a high-stakes job interview—and so, it’s also not uncommon to experience a certain head-smacking moment right after you walk out the door. You know what I mean: You suddenly realize an answer you gave was completely off the mark, or that you entirely forgot to include a key piece of information about yourself, like that you’ve had an internship in the field you’re trying to switch into.

So how can you recover when you think you’ve blown your chances of landing that new gig? Post-interview damage control is a tricky process—you don’t want to destroy whatever polished, poised confidence you did manage to exude during the interview, or point out a flaw your interviewer just might have missed.

If you think some post-interview damage control is in order, it’s important to plan carefully and really think it through before you go contacting your interviewer in a frenzy. But if you’re going to do it, follow these four steps to make sure you’re approaching your blunder with grace.

Step 1: Don’t Over Analyze

It’s perfectly normal to mentally rehash every detail of an interview immediately after that final handshake: Did you remember to smile? Ask questions at the end? Did you really convey that you’ve been working on your delegation skills, or did you come across as a total control freak?

As you think more and more about each question and answer, there’s a good chance you’ll start dwelling on small mistakes you think you made—like how your voice slightly wavered when you talked about your weaknesses, or that you were too vague about your five-year goals.

In most cases, you can rest assured that these are slip-ups you don’t need to address—because they’re much more obvious to you than to anyone else, and probably didn’t have a significant impact on your interviewer. Plus, they’re mistakes that will look much worse when highlighted to your interviewer the next day than if you just let them go.

Of course, if you’re certain that you completely flubbed an answer, or left out some vital information about yourself, proceed to step two: Figure out if there’s anything you can do.

Step 2: Determine Your Plan of Action

I’ll be honest: Damage control can be risky. Some interviewers will appreciate the extra elaboration on a question you think you botched, but to others, it will simply draw more attention to your mistake.

So, it’s important to pinpoint if the errors from your interview are important enough to bring up again—and if bringing them up is going to help you. To determine if it’s actually worth doing damage control, you should ask yourself a couple questions:

1. Was it a Make-or-Break Mistake?

Will your mistake (or lack of information) make a significant impact on the interviewer’s perception of you?

Maybe you had a great answer planned out about how your past experience would make you a perfect fit for a business analyst position, but you forgot to mention you also have an interest in social media and would love to help expand the company’s online presence. Is this an essential piece of information that may affect the interviewer’s ultimate decision? Probably not.

On the other hand, if you’re interviewing for a position in another state and completely forgot to mention that you’re OK with relocating, your interviewer was probably left questioning. The same would go for a situation where your level of experience is in question, and you failed to mention a relevant internship you completed. That could ultimately affect the interviewer’s decision, and damage control is probably worth the risk.

2. Can You Recover By Sharing Additional (Concise) Info?

One of the key elements of damage control is being able to recover in a concise manner. If you can convey additional information in a few sentences to clear things up—perfect! You’re good to go. If your explanation would require pages of writing or a lengthy phone call, your chances of success fall dramatically. Hiring managers don’t have time to read a two-page essay, especially after they just set aside time in their day to speak with you in person.

Also, if your recovery sounds mostly like an apology, rather than providing concrete new information (“I know I didn’t smile as much as I should have, I was nervous—but I really enjoyed meeting you!” or “I can’t believe I messed up the multiplication on that problem!”)—just skip it. If you aren’t giving your interviewer new information about you as a candidate, addressing the mistake isn’t likely to help you.

If, after considering these questions, you determine you have a short—but absolutely essential—piece of information to share, move on to your plan of action.

Step 3: Fix It Gracefully

The smoothest way to approach an interview blunder is a short comment (not an apology) in your thank you note. Your follow-up email should only be a paragraph or two, so you don’t have much room to explain yourself. That’s why, as we determined above, that you should bring up only the most influential and important mistakes and omissions.

After you thank your interviewer for her time, transition into your additional information: “Since we were talking about my social media experience, I should also mention that as part of my internship at Smith Media, I wrote weekly blog posts and initiated a campaign to boost the company’s Facebook followers to over 3,000. This experience, along with the rest of my background, would really allow me to shine as your new Social Media Specialist.”

This casual note explains further details that you forgot to mention—but doesn’t outwardly admit to a mistake, as it would if you started with, “I’m so sorry, but I completely forgot to mention one of my internships!”

Another good option is to recruit your references to help you recover. As soon as you leave the interview, contact your references and give them an update. They should already be familiar with the position that you’re applying for, so you can simply encourage them to mention specific information. For example, if you think you didn’t emphasize your customer service experience enough, ask your former boss to point out specific examples of when you went above and beyond to make a client happy.

Step 4: Learn From It

The most valuable damage control you can perform is to learn from your blunder and prepare well for your next interview.

What was the core cause of your mistake? Did you get nervous and fumble over your answers? Consider enlisting a friend or career counselor to conduct a few practice interviews with you. The more comfortable you become answering interview questions, the less nervous you’ll be when you’re in the real thing.

Maybe you just forgot to mention relevant experience or bring up a certain point that you wanted to bring up. These signs point to a lack of preparation, so before you head into the interview, try writing out a few bullet points of accomplishments and other specific points you want to address. Keep these tucked in your notepad, so that before that final handshake, you can glance down and make sure you covered absolutely everything.

I know—messing up an interview sucks. But before you start explaining yourself, realize it’s probably not as bad as you think. And, despite the blunders, if you’re the right fit for the position, the hiring manager will know.

Source: http://www.thedailymuse.com