Two new species of Chinese spider are positively weeny.


Two new species of spider no bigger than a grain of sand have been discovered, their strange, bulbous bodies hidden from scientists for years under the moist leaf litter of China’s dense forests.

At just 1.01 mm and 0.75 mm long respectively, the newly described speciesTrogloneta yuensis and Mysmena wawuensis aren’t winning any visibility contests. They belong to the little-studied family Mysmenidae, which includes 123 known species of minute orb-weaving spiders spread all across the globe in caves, forests and rainforests, wherever it’s humid and tropical.

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Thanks to their webs, which are about the size of an apricot, Yucheng Lin from China’s Sichuan University and Shuqiang Li from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing found one T. yuensis in the Jinyun Mountain Nature Reserve in Chongqing, and twoM. wawuensis spiders in the Wawu Mountain National Forest Park of Sichuan. Sichuan is the most important place in the world for giant pandas, with 76% of the global population living in its dense and misty forests. Ten giant pandas live in the Wawu Mountain Park, along with red pandas, 30 species of reptiles and these tiny M. wawuensis spiders.

Trogloneta-yuensis

Lin and Li describe the spiders, with their disproportionately large and spherical posteriors, in a recent edition of Zookeys. Considered one of the smallest known species of spider, M. wawuensis has a distinctive black body speckled ever so slightly with yellow, and its golden legs are about a millimetre long. The males are smaller than the females, with bodies just 0.60 mm long. Meanwhile, T. yuensis is almost the opposite – their huge, yellow posteriors patterned with feathery black spots. The males of both species have very large pedipalps, which are the two hairy, arm-like appendages that sit between the foremost pair of legs and act like antennae.

A bulbous body seems to have served these tiny spiders well, and they share the trait with what is considered the smallest spider in the world, Patu digua. This Columbian native is just 0.37 mm long in the females, and the males – none of which have ever been found – are likely to be even tinier.

 

Source: scientificamerican.com

What are the risks of sitting too much?


Researchers have linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns, including obesity and metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels.

Too much sitting also seems to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

One recent study compared adults who spent less than two hours a day in front of the TV or other screen-based entertainment with those who logged more than four hours a day of recreational screen time. Those with greater screen time had:

  • A nearly 50 percent increased risk of death from any cause
  • About a 125 percent increased risk of events associated with cardiovascular disease, such as chest pain (angina) or heart attack

The increased risk was separate from other traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as smoking or high blood pressure.

Sitting in front of the TV isn’t the only concern. Any extended sitting — such as behind a desk at work or behind the wheel — can be harmful. What’s more, spending a few hours a week at the gym or otherwise engaged in moderate or vigorous activity doesn’t seem to significantly offset the risk.

Rather, the solution seems to be less sitting and more moving overall. You might start by simply standing rather than sitting whenever you have the chance.

For example:

  • Stand while talking on the phone or eating lunch.
  • If you work at a desk for long periods of time, try a standing desk — or improvise with a high table or counter.

Better yet, think about ways to walk while you work:

  • Walk laps with your colleagues rather than gathering in a conference room for meetings.
  • Position your work surface above a treadmill — with a computer screen and keyboard on a stand or a specialized treadmill-ready vertical desk — so that you can be in motion throughout the day.

The impact of movement — even leisurely movement — can be profound. For starters, you’ll burn more calories. This might lead to weight loss and increased energy.

Even better, the muscle activity needed for standing and other movement seems to trigger important processes related to the breakdown of fats and sugars within the body. When you sit, these processes stall — and your health risks increase. When you’re standing or actively moving, you kick the processes back into action.

Source: Mayo clinic

8 Ways to Maximize Telomere Length and Increase Life Expectancy.


Research has uncovered that shorter lengths of biological structures called telomeres are linked to mortality as well as many age-related diseases. The good news is that certain nutritional and lifestyle factors are associated with longer telomeres.

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Telomeres are the portion of DNA that is joined to the ends of each of the 46 human chromosomes in cells. Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, one of the three Nobel Prize winners of 2009, has found a link between shorter lengths of telomeres and risk of diabetes, some cancers and cardiovascular disease, in addition to depression, dementia and osteoarthritis.

So does this mean we are helpless victims of these biological tyrants in the form of telomeres? No. Although the structures shorten as a person ages, research indicates that abstaining from certain practices and engaging in others may influence the lengths of telomeres. Here are some factors that may slow the shortening process.

1. Lead a healthful lifestyle.

In 2008, scientist evaluated the effect of a healthful lifestyle on telomerase levels. Telomerase is an enzyme that plays a vital role in the maintenance of telomeres. Without adequate levels of this enzyme, telomeres become progressively shorter.

The participants in the study were requested to make several lifestyle changes, including eating a diet plentiful in whole foods, fruits and vegetables but low in refined sugar and fat. Additionally they were to regularly engage in moderate workouts, breathing exercises and relaxation techniques. The healthful lifestyle caused the blood levels of telomerase to increase by 29 percent.

2. Consider calorie restriction.

This practice may lessen the natural telomere shortening process that occurs over the years, says Dr. Theodore S. Piliszek of King’s College School of Medicine of the University of London.

3. Enjoy a glass of non-alcoholic red wine daily.

A 2011 study showed resveratrol, a component of red wine, increased telomerase, which delayed the deterioration of cells. In addition, a 2012 study showed the compound increased the lifespan of mice. A daily glass on non-alcoholic red wine could be helpful.

4. Incorporate plenty of fish into your diet.

In 2010, a study published in JAMA found that individuals with the highest level of dietary omega-3s had the lowest rate of telomere shortening, while those with the least levels had the fastest rate of telomere shortening.

5. Eat dark chocolate.

Some studies suggest that the polyphenols contained in dark chocolate may slow telomere shortening.

6. Drink three cups of tea a day.

A Chinese study in 2009 found that those who drank three cups of tea per day had significantly longer telomeres than those who drank only a small amount. Green tea has a much higher percentage of valuable nutrients called polyphenols than black tea.

7. Abstain from smoking and alcohol consumption.

Shorter telomeres correlate with both of these practices.

8. Deal with stress.

Some research suggests stress accelerates the telomere shortening process. Practices such as massage, exercise and relaxation techniques can help siphon off anxiety.

 

Article Sources:

nutraingredients.com/Research/Tea-drinkers-may-have-younger-biological-age

sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121108141018

sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111123133522

news-medical.net/health/Telomere-Lengthening

orthopedicsportsdoctor.com/2012/03/17/telomeres-resveratrol-and-anti-aging-studies-sports-medicine-physician-richmond-tx

http://extremelongevity.net/2012/06/15/resveratrol-found-to-reduce-senescence-and-activate-telomerase

http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=185234

http://www.antioxidantalley.com/blog/2009/12/30/dark-chocolates-effect-on-dna

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120501134209

Supreme Court Nixes Patenting Human Genes.


The Justices have decided that isolated sequences of human DNA are not eligible for patent protection, but rules that artificial sequences can be patented.

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 The United States Supreme Court has today (June 13) unanimously ruled that isolated human genes cannot be patented, but the Justices also ruled that synthetic DNA sequences—known as complimentary DNA (cDNA)—are eligible for protection. “A naturally occurring DNA segment is a product of nature and not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated,” wrote Justice Clarence Thomas, “but cDNA is patent eligible because it is not naturally occurring.”

The decision throws out patents held by Utah-based Myriad Genetics on 2 genes—BRCA1 andBRCA2—that when mutated cause breast and other types of cancer. Researchers, physicians, and patients who sued Myriad are claiming victory because the ruling means that the company no longer has a monopoly on diagnostic tests based on these two genes. This could result in increased competition, falling costs, and greater access for low-income patients.

“The Court struck down a major barrier to patient care and medical innovation,” Sandra Park, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union Women’s Rights Project, told USA Today. “Myriad did not invent the BRCA genes and should not control them. Because of this ruling, patients will have greater access to genetic testing, and scientists can engage in research on these genes without fear of being sued.”

Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, added: “The decision represents a victory for all those eagerly awaiting more individualized, gene-based approaches to medical care. The right to control exclusively the use of a patient’s genes could have made it more difficult to access new tests and treatments.”

The decision is also something of a compromise, however, because it allows biotech companies to patent artificial DNA sequences. Myriad and other companies had argued that a ruling against gene patenting would undermine billions of dollars of investment from the biotech industry and impede medical progress. With this ruling, they still have ways to profit from their research.

Source: http://www.the-scientist.com

 

 

Can You Help With A Dying Cancer Patient’s Wish?


Universal Angelic View

AngelicView: This is my friend, Bobby. Many of you may know him from his videos, “The Truth is Viral”. His wife is in end-stage cancer. 😦 He is making a plea to Kid Rock (of which I’m not sure of all the details). Posting for him and his wife, may their days together be forever remembered with love. 🙂

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Five ways to stop the NSA from spying on you.


If recent reports are to be believed, the National Security Agency has broad powers to capture private information about Americans. They know who we’re calling, they have access to our Gmail messages and AOL Instant Messenger chats, and it’s a safe bet that they have other interception capabilities that haven’t been publicly disclosed. Indeed, most mainstream communications technologies are vulnerable to government eavesdropping.

But all is not lost! The NSA’s spying powers are vast, but there are still ways to thwart the agency’s snooping. Here are five of them.

 

1. Browse anonymously with Tor

tor-logo

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been photographed with a Tor sticker on his laptop. Tor lets you use the Internet without revealing your IP address or other identifying information. The distributed network works by bouncing your traffic among several randomly selected proxy computers before sending it on to its real destination. Web sites will think you’re coming from whichever node your traffic happens to bounce off of last, which might be on the other side of the world.

Tor is easy to use. You can download the Tor Browser Bundle, a version of the Firefox browser that automatically connects to the Tor network for anonymous web browsing.

 

2. Keep your chats private with OTR

If you use a conventional instant messaging service like those offered by Google, AOL, Yahoo or Microsoft, logs of your chats may be accessible to the NSA through the PRISM program. But a chat extension called OTR (for “off the record”) offers “end-to-end” encryption. The server only sees the encrypted version of your conversations, thwarting eavesdropping.

To use OTR, both you and the person you’re chatting with need to use instant messaging software that supports it. I use a Mac OS X client called Adium, which works with Google, AOL, Microsoft and Yahoo’s chat networks, among others. Windows and Linux users can use Pidgin. OTR works as an extension to conventional instant messaging networks, seamlessly adding privacy to the IM networks you already use. You can configure Adium or Pidgin so that if a person you’re chatting with is also running an OTR-capable client, it will automatically encrypt the conversation.

 

3. Make secure calls with Silent Circle

The conventional telephone network is vulnerable to government wiretapping. And many Internet-based telephony applications, including Skype, are thought to be vulnerable to interception as well.

But an Internet telephony application called Silent Circle is believed to be impervious to wiretapping, even by the NSA. Like OTR, it offers “end-to-end” encryption, meaning that the company running the service never has access to your unencrypted calls and can’t turn them over to the feds. The client software is open source, and Chris Soghoian, the chief technologist of the American Civil Liberties Union, says it has been independently audited to ensure that it doesn’t contain any “back doors.”

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4. Make secure calls with Redphone

Redphone is another application that makes phone calls with end-to-end encryption. Interestingly, it was developed with financial support from U.S. taxpayers courtesy of the Open Technology Fund.

The government hopes to support dissidents in repressive regimes overseas. But the only way to build a communications application that people will trust is to make it impervious to snooping by any government, including ours. So like Silent Circle, the Redphone client software is open source and has been independently audited to make sure there are no back doors.

 

5. Remove your cellphone battery to thwart tracking

The NSA phone records program revealed by the Guardian last week not only collects information about what phone numbers we call, it also collects data about the location of the nearest cellphone tower when we make calls. That gives the NSA the ability to determine your location every time you make a phone call — and maybe in between calls too.

Unfortunately, Soghoian says there’s no technical fix for this kind of surveillance. “The laws of physics will not let you hide your location from the phone company,” he says. The phone company needs to know where you are in order to reach you when you receive a phone call.

So if you don’t want the NSA to know where you’ve been, you only have one option: You need to turn off your cell phone. Or if you’re feeling extra paranoid, take out the battery or leave your phone at home.

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You probably can’t hide metadata

Soghoian says that a similar point applies to your phone calling records. Encryption technology can prevent the government from intercepting the contents of voice communications. But it’s much harder to hide information about your calling patterns. And information about who you’ve called can be as revealing as the contents of the calls themselves.

“If you’re calling an abortion clinic or a phone sex hotline or a suicide counselor, what you say is basically the same as who you’re saying it to,” Soghoian argues.

Unfortunately, there’s no easy technological fix for this problem. Even obtaining a phone not specifically tied to your identity may not help, as it may be possible to identify you from your calling patterns.

This problem tripped up Paula Broadwell, who was outed last year as having an extra-marital relationship with Gen. David Petraeus. She had been sending e-mails from an anonymous Gmail account, and she had even been smart enough to avoid logging in from home.

But the FBI identified her anyway. Broadwell logged into the account from several different hotels. The FBI obtained lists of who had checked into those hotels on the relevant dates and looked for common names. Broadwell was the only one who had checked into all of the hotels.

So it’s fairly easy to protect the contents of your communications from government spying. But there’s no easy technological fix to prevent the government from finding out who you’re communicating with.

 

Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com

 

 

Chocolate for Breakfast and 6 Other Simple Ways to Be Happier Each Day.


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Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. ~Dalai Lama

You’re not alone in your search for it. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of websites dedicated to it. Authors have written thousands of books about it.  Television has had a plethora of talk shows for it. And literally billions of dollars are spent every year in search of it. The funny thing is that there are some simple ways to find it each day.

Happiness is an elusive thing for many people.  The problem with finding happiness is that we look so hard for it sometimes we don’t it’s right under our noses.

What would happen if we began to take joy in little, meaningful activities each and every day?  And what if some of those things just happened to help us feel a little healthier too?

Here is a list of really simple things you can enjoy in some capacity that will make your day and your life a lot happier.  When we stop taking them for granted and appreciate each moment, good things begin to happen.

1.  Chocolate for Breakfast

Sounds amazing doesn’t it? I eat a few pieces of dark chocolate every single day during breakfast. Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants, which are a very good thing.  They help diffuse free radicals (bad), which have been linked to cancer and other diseases.  The cocoa in dark chocolate can also stimulate blood flow and ease blood pressure. All that is great, but it also stimulates my happy senses when I taste that rich, creamy flavor.  It really gets my day off to a good start.

2.  Coffee in the morning

What a great way to start the day.

The toasty aromas that waft through my house every morning are somehow comforting.  And when I drink a good cup of joe, I savor each sip. Coffee not only helps me wake up in the morning, it helps spark my happiness.  It’s just one more, good thing to appreciate to start the day.

3.  Afternoon tea

Along the same lines as coffee, a great cup of tea in the afternoon is a soothing way to transition into the latter part of the day.  It has less caffeine than coffee, and also has some amazing health benefits.  Green tea is extremely high in antioxidants and some research suggests that the elements in green tea may help knock out bacteria that can cause heart disease.

Sounds like something you can feel good about drinking.

4.  Exercise

You see it on all kinds of lists.  And here it is again.

Exercise makes you feel better for a number of reasons.  It gets your heart pumping, endorphins get cracking, and you just feel good about yourself for doing something healthy for your body.

On top of that, try going outside.  Being outside is natural for humans.  The fresh air and sunshine can do wonders for your happiness.

Why do you think people get cranky if they’re stuck inside for too long?  We are just happier when we’re outside.

5.  Fruit Smoothie

Satisfy your sweet tooth.  Get lots of vitamins and minerals.  And feel good about doing something healthy for your body.

It’s almost too good to be true.  My smoothie recipe calls for a few cups of almond milk, a little vegetable protein powder (strawberry flavor), frozen strawberries, blueberries, and one fresh banana.

Makes me happy just thinking about it.

6.  Stop and smell the roses

I know this can sound a little cheesy, but trust me it works.

One of the most memorable sensory perceptions we humans have is the sense of smell.  Giving yourself a few moments with some sweet smelling flowers is a natural way to of relaxing the mind and making you feel happier, even if you’re just stopping by the florist in the grocery store for a few moments.

7.  A hot bath

This one really speaks for itself.

I take a relaxing, hot bath almost every weekend.  The hot water soothes muscles and calms the mind.  Taking a hot bath is a great way to ease into your very own little happy place. It can be easy to focus on the difficulties life can throw at you.  Instead, try finding little things you can enjoy each day that will boost your happiness level just a tad.  Before you know it, you will be soaring.

Source: Purpose fairy

Confessions of a Perfectly Imperfect Life – Healing My Heart, Body and Soul.


PUFERY

One of the most valuable and powerful lessons I have learned from life is that nothing is ours to keep – not our friends and family, not our lovers, not our material possessions, not our youth and vitality, not our struggles (which is great news) or successes, and not even our lives.

We are all given a body and we are all given one life to live, and what we do with this body and this life it all depends on us.

Things, people, experience, they all come and go. Everything changes, nothing remains the same and the more we resist this truth, the more complicated our lives will get.

It’s not easy to give up attachment and it surreally wasn’t easy for me to accept the fact that the relationship I once had with my boyfriend (we have been together since 2003) was over.

I went to Bali with the intention to relax, de-stress and write. While I was there, after 3 days of experiencing intense bliss and relaxation, on the 4th day I began feeling very angry, drained and unhappy. My whole body began to hurt and I had a very hard time keeping a positive mindset. I was all over the place.

Later on I discovered that all of those negative emotions and all the pain I was feeling in my body was the result of my own ignorance. Because I didn’t want to deal with the pain of our break up, I decided to pretend I was okay, suppressing and hiding my real feelings, not giving myself permission to heal my ”broken heart”.

While being there, not only did I had to deal with the horrible pain I was feeling in my body, but I also had to accept the fact that I never really gotten over the break up. I had to give myself permission to heal my broken heart and also face some of my darkest childhood memories, memories that kept coming to the surface while working on my book.

Every time I would sit down to write, some new painful memories would come to surface. Even though at first I got scared and terrified, the more I continued to write and the more I allowed those memories to come to the surface, without trying to judge or suppress them, the less scared and ashamed I began to feel.

I won’t go too much into details (I’ll share many of these things in my book) but what I can tell you for sure is that my childhood was far from being a happy one. In fact, I don’t even know if I ever had a childhood.

My father, who died when I was 12 years old, was a very sad and aggressive man, a person whom I learned to fear but not to love. I never really understand why he was so violent and why he treated his own family so badly.

He used to come home drunk all the time and he used to hit everything and everyone he encountered. It didn’t really matter if you were just a little kid, it didn’t really matter if you were bleeding, screaming and crying your eyes out. He wouldn’t stop hitting until he got tired and he rarely seemed to get tired…

He didn’t seem to care about anyone but himself and I remember how, in all my childhood years, I used to perceive him as being a monster, not a father. I was afraid and horrified by him and I couldn’t understand why wouldn’t he go away and leave us alone, why wouldn’t he allow me and my siblings to go outside and play like the rest of the kids.

He would often lock us in the house, keeping us from going out to play and not allowing us to go to school for weeks. Even though the first 12 years of my life were a nightmare, I never really hated him. I feared him but I never really hated him. As years went by, I did my best to forget about all the things he did to me and my family, trying to live my life as if nothing ever happened but I guess the quality of my life was affected by all those past experiences.

Being there in Bali, all alone with my thoughts and pain, working on healing my heart and writing on my book, all these dark memories and many others came to surface but I had to learn how to make peace with them all…

Even though at first I was in shock, after a while I began to feel very light, peaceful and content. I realized that if I managed to get over all those traumatic experiences, and if I managed not to go crazy after all those years of intense violence and traumatic experiences, I will surreally be able to get over my heartbreak.

Oh my, you really have a lot of issues, don’t you?

Just kidding. Don’t take me serious. I am just messing with you, but you know what?

If you managed not to go crazy after all those years of intense pain, violence and drama, you will be able to handle this break up with so much ease.

You already have so much experience in dealing with all kind of crazy situations and I am sure you will find the strength to deal with this one as well.

It will be piece of cake for you…

I guess no matter how many challenges you face in your life, you will never be happy to face some new ones, or at least that’s how I felt…

The ego says, I shouldn’t have to suffer, and that thought makes you suffer so much more. Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance. ~Eckhart Tolle

In those moments I had to choose between running away from the root cause of my pain and living in denial (inflicting more pain upon myself) or facing the ugly truth – accept the fact that our relationship with Alex was over, experience the pain that came from that and allow the healing process to take place naturally.

Even though I was still feeling pain in my body and even though my thoughts were still very chaotic, underneath it all, I was able to feel a deep sense of stillness and tranquility.

So what if you two will no longer be a couple? Does that mean you should no longer care about him? Of course not.

Who says that you can only love a person if that person is physically next to you?

Who says that you should stop loving someone just because at one point you both decided to go separate ways?

This is nonsense. 

Love if you feel like loving and if you don’t, just don’t.

Why complicate things?

Just let go of all the resistance and you will be fine… 

Do what feels right for you.

It made so much sense…

I guess I don’t have to stop loving him…

I will allow my heart to feel whatever it wants to feel without any restrictions or limitations. I will train my mind to stay present in the now…

The whole time I spent in Bali I did my best to do just that, to train my mind to be present in the now and to allow my heart to feel whatever it wanted to feel.

Whenever I felt my mind drifting away, trying to dictate and control what my heart was feeling, daydreaming about the past or creating horrible scenarios about the future, I would immediately focus on my breathing. With both hands on my heart, I would repeat to myself:

Everything is all right. 

You are perfectly fine, you always have been and you always will be.

Just come back.

Focus on what is in front of you. 

Stay in the present moment and you will be fine.

So what if the memories we have about our past are not very colorful and happy? The past is the past and there is nothing we can do to change it. Many of our troubles arise from this inability to be present in the now. When the mind is busy thinking about the past or the future, there is no room left for the present moment, no room left for life.

Let go of your attachment to your past, to the many ideas you have about how life should be, and decide to enjoy and appreciate life for what is. Trust more and doubt less. Make the best of everything and stop throwing it all away by living in fear and regret.  Trust that Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment. ~Echkart Tolle

My heart will heal in time, I will be fine and so will my past wounds. No matter how many times I will fall down and no matter how many “horrible” things will happen to me, I will not allow myself to be defined by them. I will continue to create my life from a place of infinite choices and infinite possibilities- the present moment, not from a place of limitations – the past. By doing so, I will continue to keep on walking, keep on growing and keep on doing the things I love doing, sharing my work and my love with those around me.

Source: Purpose fairy