Exoplanet is built like Earth but much, much hotter.


Planet has a similar size and density to our world’s but circles its star in just 8.5 hours.

wo groups of researchers have for the first time succeeded in measuring the mass of an Earth-sized exoplanet — in this case, Kepler-78b, which is only slightly wider than Earth and orbits a star in the constellation Cygnus, 123 parsecs (400 light years) away.

Astronomers are getting better at finding the many small, Earth-sized planets that scatter the Universe outside our Solar System, but finding clues to what they are made of is much harder.

The figures for Kepler-78b are published today in Nature, and show that the planet’s density is similar to that of Earth, suggesting that it also has a similar composition of rock and iron.

That, however, is where the similarities end. Kepler-78b travels in orbit about 40 times closer to its star than Mercury is to the Sun; its year lasts just 8.5 hours; and its surface is thought to reach a scorching 2,300–3,100 Kelvin.

Kepler-78b is one of a recently-discovered class of exoplanets with orbital periods much shorter than one day, says astronomer Francesco Pepe of the University of Geneva in Switzerland, who led one of the teams that calculated the planet’s mass2. “It can be imagined like a lava planet rather than an Earth-like planet,” he says.

It is unclear how Kepler-78b got so close to its star and whether it is falling in further, he adds.

Do the wobble

The mass of an exoplanet is usually calculated on the basis of the ‘wobble’ motion that the orbiting planet’s gravitational pull exerts on its host star — a motion measured as changes in the speed with which the star moves towards or away from Earth by looking at Doppler shifts in the star’s light. The mass of exoplanets the size of Earth is usually hard to estimate because they have a very small influence on their stars. But Kepler-78b — whose size and orbit were first calculated by a team of astronomers in August3 using NASA’s Kepler observatory — is close enough to its star to cause a measurable wobble.

Using data from the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher-North (HARPS-N) spectrograph at the National Galileo Telescope in the Canary Islands, Pepe and his team calculated the planet’s mass at 1.86 times that of the Earth2.

This tallied with results of another team led by astronomer Andrew Howard of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, which put the mass at 1.69 times that of Earth, using data from the High Resolution Eschelle Spectrometer on the Keck 1 Telescope at the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii1.

“This is a very difficult measurement, so someone might be sceptical if only one of us published,” says Howard. The confirmation makes the results “rock solid”, he adds.

Sara Seager, a planetary scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge and member of the Kepler science team, says the results represented “an inevitable march towards other Earths”.

“In this case the new discovery may seem like an incremental step,” says Seager, who was not involved in either of the new studies. ”But astronomers are excited because in terms of mass and size and composition it’s the closest to Earth we have, though the orbit is so much different and the planet so much hotter than Earth.”

Earth-like planets in Earth-like orbits are likely to be abundant within the Universe, but because their stars’ corresponding wobble is tiny, finding their mass will considerably more difficult than it was in Kepler-78b’s case.

But Pepe thinks that HARPS-N could find Earth-sized planets in wider orbits, if they belong to “quieter” systems, in which low activity on the surface of the star makes the planets’ influence easier to detect. “If we are very lucky,” he adds.

Source: Nature.

Why young women are going off the pill and on to contraception voodoo.


‘What young people still need, it seems, is uncompromising education telling them that just because they’ve never been pregnant before doesn’t mean they can’t get pregnant.
Young woman with fingers crossed

I have a twenty something friend in the US who, for purposes of preserving our friendship, I’ll call Mary. As Mary is a human being, she likes to have sex. One thing Mary does not like, however, is contraception. Being on the pill made her “crazy”; getting an IUD felt, she says evocatively, “like having a hair caught in my throat”; and condoms “just don’t feel good. We all know that.” So for the past dozen years (“at least”) Mary has been using an alternative method: she hasn’t been using any contraception at all.

Instead, she has worked out a formula that she calls “amazing” and I call “voodoo”. It involves a combination of relying on various smartphone apps with names like Period Tracker and relying on the guy she is sleeping with (she is not in a long-term relationship) to “behave” – in other words, pull out in the nick of time. That she has not become pregnant since switching to her voodoo system proves, she says, that it works, “although there have been a few plan B [morning-after pill] moments”. Mary is not crazy. She is not even stupid. In fact, she is increasingly typical of her generation.

According to a report from the Guttmacher Institute, more than half of the unintended pregnancies in the US occur among the 10.7% of women who use no contraceptive method at all (and no, downloading Period Tracker does not count as a contraceptive method). This finding comes only a few months after a study carried out by the amazingly named Dr Annie Dude at Duke University. Dr Dude’s findings revealed that 31% of young women in America aged between 15 and 24 had relied on the pull-out method at least once. Unsurprisingly, these women were 7.5% more likely to rely on emergency contraception than others and, even less surprisingly, of those who relied on the pull-out method, 21% had become pregnant. Apparently, these women had never heard the old joke: you know what you call a couple who use the rhythm and pull-out methods? Parents.

When researchers from the Guttmacher Institute asked the women who accidentally became pregnant why they eschewed contraception, answers ranged from the self-deluding (“a perceived invulnerability to pregnancy”) to the predictable (“lack of thought or preparation”, dislike of contraceptive methods) to the absolutely infuriating (“male partner’s objections and fear that pregnancy prevention is an indication of infidelity”).

Another factor I have noticed is that some young women resent having to shoulder the responsibility for contraception. Why, these women ask, and not unreasonably, are they the ones who have to take a hormonal pill every day, or have something stuck up inside them? Let the guy deal with it from now on! It’s a remarkable turnaround since the 1960s and 70s when second-wave feminists argued that a woman’s control over her fertility was a necessary power. Margaret Sanger, before she founded Planned Parenthood in America, wrote in 1920 that a woman who relies on a man for birth control is “exploited, driven and enslaved to his desires”. Some young women today disagree and see having the control as a burdensome, irritatingly one-sided responsibility. One aspect that has undoubtedly played a considerable part in this shift is that many women have experienced negative side-effects from the pill, from making them feel – as Mary says – “crazy” to a loss of libido to a fear of blood clotting.

Talking of men, though, leads to a crucial point that these studies barely touch on: an accidental pregnancy almost certainly requires the involvement of more than one person who is flying contraception-free. It feels a little easy, not to mention predictable, to blame the woman for getting pregnant unintentionally when there is, presumably, a guy in the background who doesn’t like to wear a condom, assumed she was on the pill and, hey, let’s just get this show on the road already, yeah? Young men today have been spoiled in this regard, growing up in an era when all women of childbearing age in the US and the UK have legal access to contraception. These men also have easy access to porn in which they see only condom-free sex. To say that women should be strong and insist that their partner wear a condom if they themselves are not protected against pregnancy is sometimes easier to say in theory and harder in practice, especially if the young woman is inexperienced and feels that she should impress the guy.

Figures released earlier this year indicate a lax attitude towards contraception, especially among young people. According to Public Health England, sexually transmitted infections (STI) rose by 5% between 2011 and 2012, with people under 25 experiencing the highest rates. As Lisa Power from the Terrence Higgins Trust told the Huffington Post, using a phrase similar to the one in the Guttmacher Report: “Everyone knows about STIs but still think it won’t happen to them.”

When discussing US and UK contraceptive issues, those in the UK will always have it somewhat easier, thanks to relatively easy access to free contraception and advice. (Despite what some Republican politicians suggest, Planned Parenthood clinics are hardly ubiquitous in the US.) But what young people in both countries still need, it seems, is uncompromising education telling them that just because they’ve never been pregnant before doesn’t mean they can’t get pregnant; just because they’re not a gay man in the 1970s doesn’t mean they can’t get an STI; and to teach young women to be more assertive with their partners. Because it really can happen to you.

While researching this story, I emailed Mary and asked after Holly, her younger sister and fellow Period Tracker devotee. Her baby’s due this spring.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com

Bat virus clues to origins of Sars.


Researchers have found strong evidence that the Sars virus originated in bats.

Two novel Sars-like coronaviruses were found in Chinese horseshoe bats which are closely related to the pathogen that infects humans.

Chinese horseshoe bat      Dr. Libiao Zhang, Guangdong Entomological Institute/South China Institute of Endangered Animals

Critically, the viruses infect human cells in the same way, binding to a receptor called ACE2.

This suggests coronaviruses could transfer directly from bats to humans, rather than via an intermediate species like civets as was previously thought.

The results are reported in the journal Nature.

According to Gary Crameri, virologist at CSIRO and an author on the paper, this research “is the key to resolving the continued speculation around bats as the origin of the Sars outbreaks”.

This Sars-like coronavirus is around 95% genetically similar to the Sars virus in humans, the research shows. And they say it could be used to develop new vaccines and drugs to combat the pathogen.

Sars
The viruses use the same basic route into human cells as Sars

The Sars outbreak between November 2002 and July 2003 resulted in more than 8,000 worldwide cases and more than 770 deaths. This, along with the ongoing endemic of the Mers-coronavirus demonstrates the threat to humans from novel coronaviruses.

Dr Peter Daszak is the president of the EcoHealth Alliance and an author on the paper published in Nature. He said: “Coronaviruses evolve very rapidly. The ones we are seeing are exquisitely evolved to jump from one species to another, which is quite unusual for a virus. So the big question is why are they emerging now?”

At wildlife markets in China other animals and humans come into close proximity with bats, creating an ideal environment for the virus to jump between species. Also, those hunting in or living near bat caves have a significant risk of infection from such viruses, which are excreted in bat faeces.

Understanding the origins of infectious diseases like Sars could help scientists tackle future infectious viruses before they emerge, through knowing where they are likely to arise and which families of virus we are most vulnerable to, and taking action to prevent initial infection.

Dr Daszak said it would cost “about $1.5bn to discover all the viruses in mammals. I think that would be a great investment because once you have done it, you can develop vaccines and get ready with test kits to find the first stage of emergence and stop it.”

Deficits caused by workweek sleep loss not totally recouped by sleeping in on the weekends


In many modern societies, adults often sacrifice sleep during the workweek to make time for other demands, then snooze longer on the weekends to recoup that lost sleep. Research has shown that even a few days of lost sleep can have adverse effects, including increased daytime sleepiness, worsened daytime performance, an increase in molecules that are a sign of inflammation in the body, and impaired blood sugar regulation. These last two could be partially responsible for why sleeping less negatively affects health in other ways and shortens the lifespan. Though many people believe they can make up sleep lost during the workweek by sleeping more on the weekend, it’s unknown whether this “recovery” sleep can adequately reverse these adverse effects.

To help answer this question, researchers led by Alexandros N. Vgontzas of the Penn State University College of Medicine, placed 30 volunteers on a sleep schedule that mimicked a sleep-restricted workweek followed by a weekend with extra recovery sleep. At various points along this schedule, the researchers assessed the volunteers’ health and performance using a variety of different tests.

The researchers found that the volunteers’ sleepiness increased significantly after sleep restriction, but returned to baseline after recovery sleep. Levels of a molecule in blood that’s a marker for the amount of inflammation present in the body increased significantly during sleep restriction, but returned to normal after recovery. Levels of a hormone that’s a marker of stress didn’t change during sleep restriction, but were significantly lower after recovery. However, the volunteers’ measures on a performance test that assessed their ability to pay attention deteriorated significantly after sleep restriction and did not improve after recovery. This last result suggests that recovery sleep over just a single weekend may not reverse all the effects of sleep lost during the workweek.

The study is entitled “The Effects of Recovery Sleep After One Workweek of Mild Sleep Restriction on Interleukin-6 and Cortisol Secretion and Daytime Sleepiness and Performance.” * It appears in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, published by the American Physiological Society.

Methodology

The researchers recruited 30 healthy adults who were normal sleepers and put them on a 13-day schedule that involved spending nights in a sleep lab. For the first four nights, the subjects were allowed to sleep for 8 hours, setting a baseline for a healthy, normal amount of sleep. For the next six nights, the researchers woke the subjects up 2 hours earlier. For the following three nights, the subjects were allowed to sleep for 10 hours. The researchers monitored the volunteers’ brain waves during these sleep sessions. At three points during the 13-day schedule, the volunteers spent whole days at the lab taking part in various tests: after the 4 days of baseline sleep, after 5 days of restricted sleep, and after 2 days of recovery sleep. On these days, the subjects had catheters inserted into their arms, and the researchers sampled blood every hour, testing it for levels of interleukin-6 (a marker of inflammation) and cortisol (a hormone secreted during stress). They also participated in a test of how quickly they fell asleep when allowed to nap several times during those days (an objective measure of sleepiness) and filled out questionnaires to assess how sleepy they felt (a subjective measure of sleepiness). To assess their performance, they participated in a test in which they were asked to press a button whenever a dot appeared on a screen, which measured how well they were able to pay attention.

Results

Not surprisingly, the researchers found that after 5 days of restricted sleep, the subjects were significantly sleepier on both objective and subjective tests compared to baseline levels. Their interleukin-6 levels increased sharply during restricted sleep, though their cortisol levels remained the same. Their performance on the attention test deteriorated. After 2 days of recovery sleep, both objective and subjective tests showed that the volunteers were less sleepy. Their interleukin-6 levels reduced, and their cortisol levels decreased significantly compared to baseline, possibly suggesting that the volunteers were sleep deprived before the study started. Notably, their performance on the attention test didn’t improve after recovery sleep.

Importance of the Findings

Though many indicators of health and well being improved after recovery sleep, these findings suggest that extra sleep may not fix all the deficits caused by lost sleep during the workweek.

“Two nights of extended recovery sleep may not be sufficient to overcome behavioral alertness deficits resulting from mild sleep restriction,” the authors write. “This may have important implications for people with safety-critical professions, such as health-care workers, as well as transportation system employees (drivers, pilots, etc.).”

The authors also suggest that even though these results provide some insight on the health effects of a single week of sleep loss and recovery, reliving the cycle over and over again may have more significant health effects that this study wouldn’t show.

“The long-term effects of a repeated sleep restriction/sleep recovery weekly cycle in human remains unknown,” they write.

5 Clever Ways to Become More Self Confident.


“You are as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fears; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.” ~ Samuel Ullman

Have you noticed how almost every social gathering you attend has someone who stands out from the rest of the group? That person is comfortable and self-assured, making each person he or she speaks to feel equally at ease. You may have sighed to yourself, wishing you were blessed with their DNA.

Here’s a secret that may make you feel better right away. Self-confidence is in your brain, not your genes. Those people you’ve admired recognized that fact and formulated a smart game plan to develop that sense of assurance, just as they would with any goal they wanted to accomplish.

You can get a head start on your own game plan and avoid the trial-and-error that comes with learning any new skill. Use these tips for the framework and you’re well on your way to having the self-confidence that others will admire.

1. Be sure to look the part

Physical appearance is always going to provide the first impression. It’s difficult to exude confidence when slumped shoulders and crossed arms indicate the opposite. People will form an opinion based on your body language before you even get to say a word.

Mom knew best when she told you to stand up straight. That simple detail shows that you’re not afraid to be yourself. Walk through a room at a moderate pace, looking ahead rather than at the floor. Allow your hands and arms to rest comfortably at your side. Excessive fidgeting is a red flag for insecurity.

2. “Fake it till you make it

To paraphrase a popular saying, confident is as confident does. Don’t wait until your brain has fully processed the message. If you act with ease and self-assurance, your inside will eventually catch up and synchronize with your outside.

Be sure to look people in the eye, offer a firm handshake and speak in a well-modulated tone. No matter how nervous you may feel, these actions will cause people to react positively, which in turn will boost your confidence.

“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.” ~ Lao Tzu

3. Understand that everyone is insecure

Shy, timid people often feel they’re the only ones struggling with lack of confidence. This mistaken idea that they’re “different” then feeds upon itself, making it even more difficult for them to come out of their shell.

The truth is that nearly everyone has insecurities of one form or another. Recognizing that fact goes a long way toward easing your own issues. Knowing that you’re on equal ground with others creates a feeling of freedom, allowing you to interact with them more easily.

“Smile, for everyone lacks self-confidence and more than any other one thing a smile reassures them.” ~ Andre Maurois

4. Use fear to your advantage

Don’t let fear derail your growing self-confidence. Just as an experienced athlete gets butterflies before a big game, confident people can still get a pit in their stomach when entering a party. Rather than backing out, they use it as motivation to sharpen and refine their skills.

Next time you feel anxious or scared, don’t think of it as a negative. Consider it a sign that you’re still learning and growing. As long as you’re feeling fear you’ll have an incentive to continue developing your skill.

“The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear and get a record of successful experiences behind you.” ~ William Jennings Bryan

5. Practice really does make perfect

Remember how you thought that the self-confident people you met were born with it? That’s because they’ve practiced so often that they’ve internalized these traits, making them seem natural.

Going back to the sports metaphor, consider the concept of “muscle memory”. Athletes practice so often that their bodies automatically remember how to respond in a certain situation. You can use the same idea to train your brain to react with the appropriate signals. Take every possible opportunity to interact with others, practicing what you’ve already learned and gaining knowledge for the future.

These ideas provide a solid foundation for you to build and strengthen your sense of self-confidence. Before long, that person in the room everyone wants to know will be you!

In society generally, do you think there are more problems caused by overconfidence or underconfidence?

 

How to Be Happy: The 10-Day Happiness Challenge.


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

Since so many of us are looking for happiness, wanting to share it with those we love and care about, I came up with this idea of a 10 Day Happiness Challenge. I trust that by committing to these practices and by doing more of the things that bring meaning and joy into our lives, we will all start appreciating ourselves and our lives a lot more and as a result we will become happier.

So here it is, your 10 Day Happiness Challenge. Enjoy.

P.S. Just so you know, I will embark on this challenge as well. I will be doing what you are doing and experiencing what you are experiencing and together we will make this world a brighter and happier place. Let’s begin.

Day 1: Give a smile to every person you meet

I love walking on the streets with a big smile on my face, but you know what I love even more? To share my smiles with total strangers. The look on their faces once they accept “my gift” is priceless.

If you ask me, we are way too serious. Of course we all have “grown up problems” and we all have a lot of things on our minds, but that doesn’t mean we should stop enjoying life. Life is short, we might as well enjoy it as much as we can, and smiling will help us do just that.

On this day, your “job” is to wear a smile on your lips at all times and to share your smile with everyone you come in contact with. Trust me, you will be a lot happier if you do.

“Nobody needs a smile so much as the one who has none to give. So get used to smiling heart-warming smiles, and you will spread sunshine in a sometimes dreary world.” ~ Lawrence G. Lovasik

Day 2 – Return to ONEness

There are days when I have moments of intense clarity, moments when I can look at everyone around me and realize that we are all ONE, connected to one another. In those moments, I feel so much acceptance, love and compassion towards everything and everyone and I feel like hugging the entire planet :)

If you go on the Moon and from there you look down on planet Earth, I am sure that this concept of Oneness will make a lot more sense to you. Of course, there is no need to go on the Moon, you can experience it all here on this planet.

We are all in this together. This is our home, both mine and yours, and no matter how cheesy it may sound, we are all one big family, all connected, all ONE.

On this day, you will practice tolerance, love and acceptance towards everyone you come in contact with. By doing so, chances are that you will experience the ONEness, the connection between each and every one of us.

“We are one, after all, you and I, together we suffer, together exist and forever will recreate each other.” ~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Day 3: Practice forgiveness

Forgiveness is such a powerful thing, for it can heal our hearts, making room for love to enter, allowing us to go back to our real and authentic Self, giving us permission to re-connect with one another at a deeper level. We forgive not because we are weak, not because we are naive, not because we want to be hurt again, but because we are strong enough to understand that the more we hold on to grudges and resentments, the more we pollute our minds, our hearts and our lives.

On this day, see if you can practice forgiveness, not only towards those who might have harmed you but also towards yourself, for the things you might have done, consciously or unconsciously, to hurt or harm, not only yourself but those around you as well.

Let go of anger, bitterness, hate or resentment as much as you can. Allow love to govern your mind, your heart and your life and allow peace to come to surface once again.

“He that cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself; for every man has need to be forgiven.” ~ Thomas Fuller

Day 4: Let go of pointless drama, toxic relationships, thoughts and behaviors

We hold on to so many things that cause us a great deal of stress, anxiety and unhappiness, and instead of detaching and letting them all go, we cling on to them. For some strange reason, we believe that our happiness will come from holding on to toxic thoughts, things, people, experiences when in fact it will only come from letting go of them.

“Letting go doesn’t mean that you don’t care about someone anymore. It’s just realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself.” ― Deborah Reber

On this day, you will work on letting go of all the pointless drama, toxic relationships, thoughts and behaviors that are present in your life. On this day you will learn to shift your focus from the bad on to the good.

Day 5:  A complaint free day

I used to complain A LOT about every little thing that was happening to me and all around me. I was so busy pointing out all the things that were going wrong in my life that I couldn’t see the many things that were going right. I was really good at pointing the maaaany things I didn’t like that I forgot about the things i did like.

Complaining not only ruins everybody else’s day, it ruins the complainer’s day, too. The more we complain, the more unhappy we get.” Dennis Prager

On this day, you will give up the need to complain about the many things – people, situations, events that make you unhappy, sad and depressed, and instead, you will focus on the things that make you feel good, on the things that are right with the world. You will go 24 hours without complaining, because you deserve it! :)

Day 6: Embrace an attitude of gratitude and appreciation

I love the feeling I get every time I start to acknowledge the good that is already present in my life.  We get so busy with our problems and so preoccupied with the many things that are missing from our lives that we forget to express our gratitude and appreciation for the many wonderful, people and things that we already present in our lives.

On this day, you will embrace an attitude of gratitude and appreciation and you will say an honest “thank you” for all the beautiful experiences, things and people that are making your life a lot more meaningful and joyful.

“Gratitude is the key to happiness. When gratitude is practiced regularly and from the heart, it leads to a richer, fuller and more complete life… It is impossible to bring more abundance into your life if you are feeling ungrateful about what you already have. Why? Because the thoughts and feelings you emit as you feel ungrateful are negative emotions and they will attract more of those feelings and events into your life.” ~ Vishen Lakhiani

Day 7: Practice Self love and acceptance

If you ask me, not too many people know how to be their own best friend. We  are pretty good at being our own worst enemy but not so good at being our own best friend. The most important relationship you will ever have is the one with your beautiful and magnificent self and that is why you need to learn how to love and accept yourself fully.

On this day, you will act in kind and loving ways towards yourself and you will treat yourself just as you will treat your own best friend. On this day, you will work on building the relationship you have with yourself and you will give yourself permission to be whoever you want to be without placing any harsh labels or judgements on yourself. On this day you will treat yourself with much love and acceptance.

“You surrender to a lot of things which are not worthy of you. I wish you would surrender to your radiance … your integrity … your beautiful human grace.” – Yogi Bhajan

Day 8: Practice random acts of kindness

What if, on this day, you practice giving without expecting anything in return. What if on this day you allow yourself to feel the wonderful joy that comes from doing a good for someone without expecting anything in return.

It can be anything… calling a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in a while, giving free hugs (I looove hugs), paying for the person behind you in a drive-thru or at a coffee shop, leaving money in a public place for someone to find, or maybe sending a card or flowers to a person that might be going through a hard time. It can be an expensive gift that you give, it can be money or maybe just a love note that you leave on someone’s desk. It doesn’t really matter how big or small your gift is as long as you give it from the heart.

Giving is receiving, it really is, and the more we give to others, the more that we will receive ourselves.

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” ~ Lao Tzu

Day 9: Lighten your material load

I used to be so bad at giving away things I no longer needed. I remember when I came back from U.S., I was in shock when I saw that my sister gave away all my things to “the poor people”. Because she assumed that I no longer needed them, she gave them all away.

Even though I didn’t want to admit it at that time, the truth of the matter is that she was right. I really didn’t need those things anymore but I just couldn’t give them away. I was so attached to every single thing I had and I couldn’t understand how can people give away their things. It felt like such a weird concept to me. Not sure who was weirder, me or the concept :)

I thought I was the one owning the stuff when in fact the stuff was owning me. Well, things changed, I changed and I am happy to say that I now know how to let go of the things I no longer use and I do it with ease.

When you give away things you no longer use, or need, you make room in your life for better things to come your way. You take out the old and you allow the new to enter. Lightening your material load can be a real therapeutical experience.

On this day, make time to go through your house, your closets, your basement, etc. and take out all the clothes, shoes, bags, books, and any other stuff you no longer need or use. Give it all away and see how much better, lighter and happier you will feel.

“The more you have, the more you are occupied, the less you give. But the less you have the more free you are. Poverty for us is a freedom. It is not mortification, a penance. It is joyful freedom. There is no television here, no this, no that. But we are perfectly happy.” ~ Mother Theresa

Day 10: Awareness Day

A few years ago I came to the realization that one day I will die (yes, it took me quite some time to realize that one day I will die). I saw in my mind’s eye this image… It was me on the death bed, looking back at my life with regrets, many regrets about the many things I didn’t had the courage to do.

That image really scared me! As a result, on the same day, I made a commitment to myself to start living life fully and to make the rest of my life the best of my life. To stop running away from my fears and from life and to start living. In those moments the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt made more sense to me than ever: “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.”

On this day I want you to use your imagination, to see how your life would look like if you continue living your life the way you are living right now. When you will be on your death bed ready to leave this world, looking back at your life would you be happy with what you see, would you have any regrets?

I don’t want this exercise to scare you but rather to give you the push you need to start living life fully.To use one fear (fear of living with regrets) against another fear (fear of doing the things your heart desires) and in the end to get the push you need to start living life fully. If you don’t do the things you fear doing and if you don’t follow your heart, chances are that you will live a life full of regrets…

“Remembering that you are going to die one day is the best way to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. Follow your heart.” ~ Steve Jobs

You see, happiness is not so hard to achieve.

By giving yourself permission to practice these things for 10 days, not only will you become a lot happier, but you will also become more disciplined and focus on building other new positive habits in different areas of your life.  If you tell your mind you want to try something for 10 days, it will most likely be willing to co-operate. 10 days doesn’t feel like a very long time.

After you have completed your 10 days, your conscious mind will have the choice of stopping or carrying on with these healthy and positive practices… or at least that’s what it thinks. Your neural pathways have formed already and chances are that you will continue with the new healthy habits. You have seen the benefits along the way and your unconscious mind will want to continue if it has been beneficial. After the 10 days, you can pick some of your favorite things from this list and continue for 11 more days, to make it a total of 21 days… Your 21 day happiness challenge. Use your imagination and just have fun with it :)

8 Best Foods to Eat For Healthy Teeth


There are far more than eight foods for healthy teeth, but I’ve found these to work especially well to prevent and even reverse tooth decay and gum disease in the long-term.


1. Butter Oil
Butter Oil, is a key ingredient to re-enameling teeth because it contains certain fats and activating substances that help bond the nutrients in the body to the bones. The butter must be organic from cows or goats eating rapidly growing green grasses.

2. Raisins
Naturally sweet, raisins don’t contain sucrose, or table sugar. Sugar helps bacteria stick to the tooth surface, letting them produce plaque. Raisins are also a source of phytochemicals, which may kill cavity-causing plaque bacteria. Some compounds in raisins also affect the growth of bacteria associated with gum disease.

3. High Vitamin Cod Liver Oil
This marvelous golden oil contains large amounts of elongated omega-3 fatty acids, preformed vitamin A and the sunlight vitamin D, essential nutrients that are hard to obtain in sufficient amounts in the modern diet. Samples may also naturally contain small amounts of the important bone- and blood-maintainer vitamin K. In numerous studies, the elongated omega-3 fats found in cod liver oil have been shown to improve brain function, memory, stress response, immune response, allergies, asthma, learning and behavioral disorders, including bipolar syndrome and manic-depression.

4. Tea
Compounds called polyphenols, found in black and green teas, slow the growth of bacteria associated with cavities and gum disease. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago found that people who rinsed their mouths with black tea for one minute, 10 times a day, had less plaque buildup on their teeth than people who rinsed their mouths with water. What’s more, the size and stickness of their plaque was reduced. Tea undermines the ability of some bacteria to clump together with other bacteria, the researchers said.

5. Coconut Oil
The human body converts the lauric acid found in coconut oil into an amazing monoglyceride called monolaurin which is only found in abundance in one other liquid–breast milk. It has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoa properties. Lauric acid is a powerful virus and gram-negative bacteria destroyer, and coconut oil contains the most lauric acid of any substance on earth. It is able to attack the bacteria that cause tooth decay.

6. Crunchy Veggies
It takes serious chewing to break down foods such as carrots, apples and cucumbers. But all that crunching isn’t in vain. Chewing disturbs dental plaque, and serve as a cleansing mechanism. So instead of remaining in your mouth and settling on teeth, bacteria get cleared away.

7. Vitamin-rich Foods
Foods containing calcium such raw (unpasteurized) organic hard cheese, almonds and leafy greens — and foods high in phosphorous — such as eggs and wild fish — can help keep tooth enamel strong and healthy, according to the American Dental Association. Acidic foods and beverages may cause tiny lesions on tooth enamel and calcium or phosphate help redeposit minerals back into those lesions.

8. Cranberries
Cranberries contain polyphenols (just as tea does), which may keep plaque from sticking to teeth, thus lowering the risk of cavities, according to a study published in the journal Caries Research. A caveat: Because the fruit is so tart, many cranberry products have added sugar, which may affect any potential benefits for teeth, so make eat raw unsweetened cranberries or even blend frozen unsweetened cranberries into a smoothie.

John Summerly is nutritionist, herbologist, and homeopathic practitioner. He is a leader in the natural health community and consults athletes, executives and most of all parents of children on the benefits of complementary therapies for health and prevention.

Source: realfarmacy.com via Prevent Disease

 

How Coconut Oil May Rescue The Brain From Alzheimer’s Disease.


A promising new study soon to be published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease titled, “Coconut Oil Attenuates the Effects of Amyloid-β on Cortical Neurons In Vitro.“[i]  The study lends fresh experimental support to an accumulating body of anecdotal reports that coconut oil may alleviate and/or regress cognitive deficits associated with aging and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s.


Medical researchers from the Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, NL, Canada, undertook a pilot study to investigate the effects of coconut oil supplementation directly on cortical neurons treated with amyloid-β () peptide in vitro.  Aβ peptide is the main component of certain deposits found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease believed to contribute to the disease.

The researchers noted that a recent clinical trial, which we reported on in our article MCT Fats Found in Coconut Oil Boost Brain Function in Only One Dose, reported significant improvements in Alzheimer’s disease patients after 45 and 90 days of treatment with medium chain triglycerides from coconut oil.  They pointed out that this trial led to the marketing of the FDA-approved ‘medical food’ caprylidene (trade name Axona), but that the public has shown greater interest in coconut oil itself as a potential therapy, owing to its far greater affordability and availability.

The researchers sought to test the hypothesis that coconut oil is beneficial for neurodegenerative conditions using a cell model.  Live rat neurons were exposed to various combinations of Aβ peptide and coconut oil, with the result that Aβ peptide reduced survival of neurons and coconut protected against this Aβ-induced reduction in survival time.  The researchers noted that coconut treated Aβ cultured neurons appeared “healthier,” and that coconut oil “rescued” Aβ-treated neurons from mitochondrial damage caused by their toxicity.  The researchers observed coconut oil preventing Aβ-induced changes in mitochondrial size and circularity. These findings have great significance, as mitochondria function is often compromised in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients.

According to the researchers, “The rationale for using coconut oil as a potential AD [Alzheimer’s Disease] therapy is related to the possibility that it could be metabolized to ketone bodies that would provide an alternative energy source for neurons, and thus compensate for mitochondrial dysfunction.”  The researchers proposed that ketone bodies formed as a byproduct of coconut oil metabolism may offset Aβ-induced impairment of mitochondrial function and thus energy metabolism.  Considering that the medium chain triglyceride found in coconut known as caprylic acid does cross the blood-brain barrier, and has recently been found to have anti-convulsant, in addition to, ketogenic effects, coconut oil likely does have a neuroprotective effect.

 

Continue reading at greenmedinfo.com

Chinese Boy with Ability to See in the Dark Stuns Medics.


A young Chinese boy who was born with beaming blue eyes has stunned medics with his ability to see in pitch black darkness.
Nong Yousui from Dahua, China has eyes that reflect neon green when light is shined on them. Doctors have studied Nong’s amazing eyesight since his dad took him to hospital concerned over his bright blue eyes. “They told me he would grow out of it and that his eyes would stop glowing and turn black like most Chinese people but they never did”, his Dad said.

Nong enjoys playing outside with his schoolmates but experiences discomfort when in bright sunlight, however can see completely clearly in pure darkness. To test his abilities, a Chinese journalist prepared a set of questionnaires which he was able to finish while sitting in a pitch black room. The tests show Nong can read and write perfectly without any light and can see as clearly as most people do during the day.

According to the World Record Academy (the leading international organization which certify world records), Nong has even set the world record for the first human who can see in the dark. In animals, night vision is made possible by the existence of a thin layer of cells, called the tapetum lucidum. And like a Siamese cat, Nong’s sky-blue eyes flash neon green when illuminated by a flashlight.

Nong’s night vision has sparked interest around the world by vision scientists, evolutionary biologists, and genetic engineers. And this is good news for science as we may eventually be able to use genetic technologies to deliberately create such a condition ourselves.

A new and growing generation of extraordinary and gifted children are springing up across our planet.

Source: whydontyoutrythis.com

Gimball: A crash-happy flying robot.


Gimball bumps into and ricochets off of obstacles, rather than avoiding them. This 34 centimeter in diameter spherical flying robot buzzes around the most unpredictable, chaotic environments, without the need for fragile detection sensors. This resiliency to injury, inspired by insects, is what sets it apart from other flying robots. Gimball is protected by a spherical, elastic cage which enables it to absorb and rebound from shocks. It keeps its balance using a gyroscopic stabilization system. When tested in the forests above Lausanne, Switzerland, it performed brilliantly, careening from tree trunk to tree trunk but staying on course. It will be presented in public at the IREX conference in Tokyo, Japan from November 5-9, 2013.

Powered by twin propellers and steered by fins, Gimball can stay on course despite its numerous collisions. This feat was a formidable challenge for EPFL PhD student Adrien Briod. “The idea was for the robot’s body to stay balanced after a collision, so that it can keep to its trajectory,” he explains. “Its predecessors, which weren’t stabilized, tended to take off in random directions after impact.” With colleague Przemyslaw Mariusz Kornatowski, Briod developed the gyroscopic  consisting of a double carbon-fiber ring that keeps the robot oriented vertically, while the cage absorbs as it rotates.

Going sensor-free: insect-inspired design

Most robots navigate using a complex network of sensors, which allow them to avoid obstacles by reconstructing the environment around them. It’s an inconvenient method, says Briod. “The sensors are heavy and fragile. And they can’t operate in certain conditions, for example if the environment is full of smoke.”

Gimball’s robustness lies in its technological simplicity, says Briod. “Flying insects handle collisions quite well. For them, shocks aren’t really accidents, because they’re designed to bounce back from them. This is the direction we decided to take in our research.”

The flying  is prepared to deal with the most difficult terrain out there. “Our objective was exactly that – to be able to operate where other robots can’t go, such as a building that has collapsed in an earthquake. The on-board camera can provide valuable information to emergency personnel.” The scientist had an opportunity to test his prototype in a Swiss pine forest. Fitted out with just a compass and an altitude sensor, Gimball demonstrated its ability to maintain its course over several hundred meters despite colliding with several tree trunks along the way.

Gimball is the latest in a long line of colliding robots developed in the laboratory of EPFL professor Dario Floreano. But its stabilization system, spherical shape and ultralight weight – barely 370 grams – demonstrate the potential of the concept better than ever before. “The mechanics must also be intelligent, since complex obstacle avoidance systems are not sufficient,” says Briod. Even so, he insists, “we’re not yet ready to compete with our model. Insects are still superior.”