Monarch Butterflies Considered for Endangered Species Status .


Monarch Butterflies Considered for Endangered Species Status

The monarch butterfly, once common across the United States, could soon end up on the Endangered Species List.

 Over the next year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will determine whether the iconic black-and-orange butterflies deserve the federal protections that come with being listed anendangered or threatened species.

By some estimates, the monarch butterflypopulation has declined by 90 percent over the past two decades, from about 1 billion butterflies in the mid-1990s to just 35 million individuals last winter.

That loss is “so staggering that in human-population terms it would be like losing every living person in the United States except those in Florida and Ohio,” Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement.

The Center for Biological Diversity and other advocacy groups, including the Center for Food Safety, had asked the federal government to step in with a legal petition filed in August 2014.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that the petition was worth its consideration, and the agency launched a year-long review into the status of monarch butterflies this week.

Scientists behind the petition say the butterfly’s decline is linked to a rise in genetically engineered crops in the Midwest. Many of these crops are altered to be resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, which kills milkweed, the monarch caterpillar’s only source of food.

The herbicide is so successful that milkweed plants have virtually disappeared in Midwestern corn and soybean fields, and monarch butterflies have effectively lost a Texas-size chunk of their habitat, according to the petition.

SpaceX Will Attempt Tricky Rocket Landing Tuesday


A September launch of the Falcon 9 rocket. Courtesy SpaceX

SpaceX is about to attempt something brand-new in space exploration — a controlled landing of one of its rockets to allow it to be used again. And you can watch it all online here.

At 6:20 a.m. EST Tuesday, SpaceX will launch one of its Falcon 9 rocket ships into space to accomplish the company’s fifth unmanned resupply mission to the International Space Station. While the mission itself is routine, the Falcon 9’s return to Earth will not be. Rather than crash-land into the ocean like most rockets, SpaceX hopes to guide the 14-story-tall, first stage of the Falcon 9 to a soft landing aboard a platform in the Atlantic Ocean.

If SpaceX makes this rocketry trick shot, it’ll be a huge step toward the company’s ultimate goal of making space travel less expensive through the use of reusable rockets. You can watch the historic attempt via the live webcast below starting at 6 a.m. EST (1100 GMT).

Don’t Hold Your Breath

Tomorrow could mark a major milestone in the history of rocketry, but there’s a reason this has never been done before. Safely landing a rocket from space is really, really difficult. Even SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk isn’t overly optimistic about the chances of success on Tuesday. Musk put the chances of a successful landing at less than 50 percent, the New York Timesreports.

After the Falcon 9 launches, the first stage of the rocket will fall away and the second stage will continue to ferry the Dragon cargo capsule packed with 5,000 pounds of food, supplies and lab experiments to the ISS. However, once the first stage of Falcon 9 is disengaged, it will fire its engines and return to Earth. Its target? A 300-foot by 170-foot unmanned, floating platform roughly 200 miles off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida.

In two prior successful cargo missions, the Falcon 9 first stage returned to Earth and slowed down enough to hover above the surface of the ocean before splashing down. During those previous attempts, SpaceX engineers were happy landing the craft within six miles of the projected target. On Tuesday, however, the margin of error is an area of just 33 feet, SpaceX representatives wrote in a Dec. 16 mission update. To make things more difficult, the landing pad will not be anchored (though it will be equipped with position-stabilizing thrusters).

Landing a Rocket

When the Falcon 9 first stage returns to Earth, it will be traveling at a speed of roughly 1 mile per second, which means slowing down is priority number one. To accomplish this, the Falcon 9 engines will relight in a series of three burns: one to adjust the position of the vehicle, a second to slow the Falcon 9’s speed, and a final landing burn to bring the craft to a soft touchdown.

The unmanned landing pad that will be the target on Tuesday. (Credit: SpaceX)

The rocket for launch tomorrow is also fitted with four hypersonic grid fins that move independently to adjust the craft’s roll, pitch and yaw as it approaches the landing target.

Saving Money

The idea to land a rocket on a platform has been around for decades, but this is the first attempt to pull it off. Even if Tuesday’s landing isn’t a success, SpaceX plans to perform more experiments over the dozen or so flights it has scheduled this year.

“I think it’s quite likely, 80 to 90 percent likely, that one of those flights will be able to land and refly,” Musk told the New York Times.

Reusing spacecraft is a key goal for SpaceX. Rockets are multimillion dollar, single-use machines that become fish habitats once they return to Earth and sink to the bottom of the ocean. Reusing pricey rockets could cut the cost of space travel by a hundredfold, according to SpaceX. Eventually SpaceX plans to launch, land and reuse both stages of the Falcon 9 rocket.

Hello Pluto! NASA’s Visit to the Mystery World Begins .


A remarkable spacecraft approaches the solar system’s ninth planet (and yes, it’s a planet)

It’s not exactly top secret, but it is too little known: this month, a small, robot spacecraft—built, launched and guided by a team of over 2,500 Americans—will begin the exploration of far-away Pluto and its five known moons. Lasting from January through July, this epic journey is very much the Everest of planetary exploration.

The last time a spacecraft reached a new planet was during NASA’s exploration of Neptune by Voyager 2 back in 1989. When that happened, the Berlin Wall was still standing, Richard Marx and Milli Vanilli were topping the charts, and the Internet was almost unknown. (And by the way, I did just say Pluto is a planet. It turns out that many planetary scientists, including me, think so. Thanks to New Horizons, you can soon judge for yourself.)

New Horizons already set records when it was launched in 2006 by becoming the fastest spacecraft to leave the Earth—reaching the orbit of the moon in just nine hours, about 10 times more quickly than the Apollo spacecraft did. Now, after traveling for nine straight years at an average speed of 39,000 m.p.h. (59,000 km/h)—equivalent to L.A. to New York in four minutes—it is at last approaching its historic rendezvous. No spacecraft has ever ventured farther—3 billion miles (4.8 billion km)—to reach its primary target.

At its closest approach, New Horizons will pass Pluto at a distance of just 6,000 miles (9,700 km). It will send back images at resolutions so high that if it were flying over New York City at the same altitude, it could count wharves on the Hudson River and ponds in Central Park. It will also take measurements of Pluto’s composition and atmosphere, study its moons, and more.

We know very little about Pluto except that its interior is primarily made of rock, it’s covered in ice and wrapped in an atmosphere made chiefly of nitrogen, like Earth’s. Does it have mountain ranges? Is its surface young or old? Are there polar caps? Might there be liquids on its surface or oceans in its interior? Could there be cloud decks in its atmosphere? Erupting geysers? Does it have more moons yet to be discovered? We don’t know the answers to any of these questions—but we should know all of them soon.

And that matters. In 2003, the National Academy of Sciences ranked visiting the Pluto system at the very top of NASA’s exploration priorities. Why? Because in the 1990s, planetary astronomers discovered a vast structure in our solar system, a previously unknown disk of comets and small planets out beyond Neptune, called the Kuiper Belt. Pluto was the first of many small planets discovered out there, and it is still both the brightest and the largest one known.

The Kuiper Belt is the largest mapped structure in our planetary system, three times as big as all the territory from the sun out to Neptune’s orbit. The comets and small planets that make it up are valuable because they represent the astronomical equivalent of an archeological dig, reaching back to the era of planet formation, 4.6 billion years ago.

Nothing like the exploration that New Horizons is about to undertake has happened in a generation, and nothing like it is planned or even contemplated to happen again. It is likely the last time in our lifetimes that a new planet will be explored. This is more than scientifically important—though it certainly is that. It’s also a reminder of what American technology, culture and daring, on its game, can do.

Age of stars is pinned to their spin


Cluster of stars
The researchers studied a cluster of stars with a known age

Astronomers have proved that they can accurately tell the age of a star from how fast it is spinning.

We know that stars slow down over time, but until recently there was little data to support exact calculations.

For the first time, a US team has now measured the spin speed of stars that are more than one billion years old – and it matches what they predicted.

The finding resolves a long-standing challenge, allowing astronomers to estimate a star’s age to within 10%.

The work was presented in Seattle at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society and also appears in the journal Nature.

Closing a gap

Establishing the age of stars is a central question in astronomy – much like dating fossils is crucial to studying evolution.

This method applies to “cool stars” – suns about the size of our own, or smaller. These are the most common stars in our galaxy and they also last for a long time.

“They act as lamp posts, lighting up even the oldest parts of our galaxy,” said senior author Dr Soren Meibom from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Cool stars also host the vast majority of earth-like planets that we have spotted in the distance.

Most properties of a star like ours – like its size, mass, brightness and temperature – stay about the same throughout most of its life.

A young star
It is relatively easy to tell the age of young stars because they have large sunspots

This makes figuring out a star’s age decidedly tricky.

The solution of measuring spin was first proposed in the 1970s and was dubbed “gyrochronology” in 2003.

“A cool star spins very fast when it’s young, but just like a top on a table it gets slower and slower as the star grows older,” Dr Meibom said.

But it is difficult to see a star spinning. Astronomers use sun spots, travelling across the surface, and these only dim its brightness by much less than 1%.

Old stars are particularly problematic, because they have fewer and smaller spots.

Dr Meibom’s team used images from the very sensitive Kepler space telescope, which has been trailing Earth around the Sun since 2009.

They managed to measure spin speeds for 30 stars in a specific cluster known to be 2.5 billion years old.

This cluster, known as NGC 6819, plugs what Dr Meibom called a “four-billion-year gap” in our knowledge of stellar spin.

Half-built clock

Before the Kepler mission, we only had data from very cool stars in very young clusters, all less than 0.6 billion years old and all spinning fairly fast (about once a week).

In 2011, Dr Meibom’s team used Kepler images to report on a different cluster, the one-billion-year-old NGC 6811. Its cool stars spin about once every 10 days.

But beyond that, the only star we knew both age and spin rate for was our own sun – 4.6 billion years old, with a spin period of 26 days.

“The construction of the cool star clock was on hold,” Dr Meibom said.

Now, the clock is looking good. The sun-like stars in the freshly studied cluster sit squarely and satisfyingly in the gap, spinning about every 18 days.

An older star
Older stars, more like our own Sun, are trickier to assess because they have fewer and smaller spots

“These new data show, with real observations, that this is on solid ground,” Dr Meibom told BBC News.

“We can get age as accurately as about 10% from this method.”

He added that this is a big improvement on some other methods for guessing stars’ age, where the margin of error for cool stars can reach 100%.

Ruth Angus, a PhD student researching gyrochronology at the University of Oxford, said the results were “a really big deal” for the field.

“More evidence has been slowly accumulating that lots of stars do seem to follow this pattern, but how reliably stars fall onto this relation is a bit of an unknown,” Ms Angus told the BBC.

“This cluster will certainly help with our understanding of how good gyrochronology is as a method, and how valid it is.

“It shows that these stars are doing what they’re expected to do, and everything’s peachy.”

3 Ways to Minimize Stubborn Face Fat .


Maybe you’ve put on a few pounds “all in your face.” Or maybe you’ve lost weight, but your face hasn’t gotten the memo. What’s behind the round cheeks and chubby chin?

“Generally speaking, when we gain or lose weight, we are not increasing or decreasing the number of fat cells, called adipocytes,” says Stephen S. Park, M.D., F.A.C.S., president of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. “Instead, the cells themselves are enlarging or shrinking. That is why some people will report always having a problem area, regardless of weight. They have more fat cells in that area than other people do.”

What’s more, other born-with-them characteristics, such as your bone structure and the size of structures nestled in your face (like your saliva glands), can make a face look fuller, says Park. And while there’s nothing you can do to change your genetics or spot-reduce fat, there are some ways you can help thin out a ballooning face:

1. Fight Water Retention
“Excess alcohol, sugar, and salt intake are all linked to fuller faces,” says medical weight-loss expert Sue Decotiis, M.D. They can all cause your body’s tissues—including those in your face—to hold onto water. Cut down on your consumption of these face-bloaters, and up your intake of water. When you are dehydrated, your body is more apt to retain any water flowing through it.

2. Treat Any Food Intolerances
People with food allergies or intolerances such as gluten sensitivity and irritable bowel syndrome often complain of fuller faces, she says. Bloating is a common symptom that something’s not right with your digestive process. According to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, it’s unclear why IBS (which affects up to 15 percent of U.S. adults) causes bloating, but gas within the gut appears to have nothing to do with it.

3. Your Hormones Are Surging
If your face swells during “that time of the month,” you may benefit from talking to your gyno about steadying your hormones. Right before your period strikes, your body experiences a spike in the hormone progesterone, which is to thank for most PMS symptoms, including facial swelling, says Decotiis. If you’re also experiencing hot flashes and your periods are irregular, you may be entering into perimenopause, which leads up to menopause and can last for years. Think that’s an older woman’s problem? Think again. In some women, perimenopause starts as early as their mid-thirties.

Is Breakfast the Most Important Meal for Weight Loss?


Eat eggs; don’t eat eggs. Put margarine on your toast — no, use butter. Wait, don’t have toast at all.

Nutrition studies come out at a furious pace, with enough conflicting advice to make a consumer’s head spin. Now, add to the mix new studies that question the conventional wisdom that eating breakfast helps you lose weight.

Two studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found no difference in weight or related factors between those who eat breakfast and those who do not, eliciting headlines such as “Stop Breakfast Shaming” and “Is Breakfast Overrated?” What should you make of these new findings?

What the new studies say

In one of the studies, researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham examined eating habits among nearly 300 participants. They randomly assigned one group to eat breakfast, one group not to eat breakfast, and another to maintain their current eating habits. Then they weighed participants after a 16-week period.

The result: There was no significant difference in weight loss among the groups.

“My goal with my patients is to help an individual sustain a food plan for the rest of their lives, not just six weeks.”

Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD

Wellness Institute

In another study, conducted at the University of Bath, 33 lean subjects were assigned to either eat or skip breakfast. Six weeks later, there was no significant difference in metabolic rate and other related factors, including overeating throughout the day.  People who skipped breakfast were, however, more likely to be lethargic and less active in the morning.

Still, nutrition experts encourage caution in interpreting these results. If you’re among the approximately half of Americans concerned about your weight, don’t wipe breakfast off your to-do list just yet, saysKristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD, a registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.

Think long-term

The new studies are interesting conversation starters, Ms. Kirkpatrick says, and they raise important questions about what works and what does not work. But they also come with some limitations.

For example, results from the study of lean participants may not apply to those who struggle with their weight, since eating habits, metabolism and other factors in these populations might differ. What’s more, both studies feature a relatively small number of participants, which limits their universal applicability.

By comparison, the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) is the largest prospective investigation of long-term successful weight loss maintenance. And in that registry, Kirkpatrick points out, more than 70 percent of people who have lost weight and kept it off include eating breakfast among their daily habits.

“I work with a lot of people who have success losing weight; unfortunately, they have less success keeping it off,” she says. Individual success varies from person to person, so often it’s a matter of finding what works best for you — then sticking with it. She also recognizes that some people simply don’t have much appetite in the morning, which plays a part in breakfast preferences.

“If you skip breakfast and you’re having success, keep going,” Ms. Kirkpatrick says. “But my goal with my patients is to help an individual sustain a food plan for the rest of their lives, not just six weeks. And if you look at the NWCR data, it does indicate that if you eat breakfast, it can help.”

Eat the right food

Ms. Kirkpatrick also notes the studies did not dictate what people ate for breakfast.

For example, when people eat breakfast cereals loaded with white flour and sugar, which burn off quickly and leave you wanting more, weight loss is unlikely. She always suggests that her patients trying to lose weight eat a lean protein, such as eggs, with breakfast. It cuts down on cravings later in the day and helps them avoid consuming too many calories. Breakfast also presents a good opportunity to squeeze in aserving of fruits or vegetables, which Americans tend not to get enough of.

It’s crucial to tailor your meal plans to your needs, says Roxanne Sukol, MD, who has a special interest in diabetes and obesity at Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute.

If you have diabetes, for instance, eating a meal high in nutritious fats and lean protein in the morning can help modulate blood sugar for the rest of the day. And if you normally do eat breakfast, don’t avoid it to try to compensate for a bowl of ice cream or some other indulgence the night before. Getting your dietary routine and blood sugar off track in the morning can set you up for issues later in the day.

Do what works for you

Sukol’s rules of thumb boil down to common sense: Don’t fixate only on the latest studies. Keep your food choices simple. Eat real food that your great-grandparents would recognize, and not too much of it, no matter the meal.

“Trust your gut,” she says. “If you’re healthy, you’re at a good weight, your energy is good, you’re doing it right. If any of those things are not true, something’s wrong, and you may want to look at what you’re having for breakfast.”

Or whether you’re having it at all.

Colds and Flu Prevention – FDA Advice


Viral infections can happen at any time, but they’re more common during winter. It is spread by sneezing, talking and touching contaminated surfaces.

 
Colds and the flu share some signs, the flu can lead to more serious symptoms, including fever, headache, chills, dry cough, body aches and fatigue. Most respiratory viruses clear up within a few days, some can lead to dangerous complications, particularly for smokers. Influenza can also cause nausea and vomiting among young children. Signs of complications are a cough that interrupts sleep, persistent, high fever, chest pain, or shortness of breath. Unlike colds, the flu comes on suddenly and lasts more than a few days.
The best way to protect from the flu is to get vaccinated every year, the FDA said. Flu viruses are constantly changing so the vaccines must be updated annually. The flu vaccine is available as an injection or a nasal spray. Flu season peaks between December and February. So it’s best to get the flu vaccine in October, getting it later can still help to protect from the virus. Vaccination is especially important for those at greater risk for flu-related complications, including seniors, pregnant women and children younger than 5 years, people with chronic health conditions, health care providers and caregivers for young children and the elderly.

There is no vaccine for colds. But measures to prevent the spread of viruses include

Washing hands frequently, Use soap and water when possible. If necessary, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid exposure to infected people. Eat a healthy well-balanced diet. Get enough sleep. Exercise regularly. Ease stress.

For Cold, the FDA recommends gargling with salt water to relieve a sore throat and using a cool-mist humidifier to relieve congestion.
Use a tissue to cover the mouth when coughing or sneezing.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can be dehydrating.

Call your doctor early on to get treatment advice, if have certain health issues, don’t give over-the-counter medication to children without talking to a pediatrician, the FDA advises.

Wishing a Cold free Winter season for you and family.
SOURCE: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, news release, Dec. 23, 2014.

Could an ‘imaginary meal’ pill solve the obesity crisis?


  • Pill tricks the body into thinking it has consumed large number of calories
  • Called fexaramine, it mimics the effects and satiety of eating a big meal
  • Allows dieters to continue to enjoy fatty foods without putting on weight
  • At least 2.8m people die each year as a result of being overweight or obese

Dieter's dream: The pill would allow people to enjoy their favourite fatty foods without putting on weight

A drug dubbed an ‘imaginary meal in a pill’ is being developed by scientists.

 

The pill tricks the body into thinking it has consumed a large amount of calories – as if you have just eaten a substantial meal.

The dieter’s dream, it would allow them to continue to enjoy fatty foods without putting on weight.

The drug, which tricks the body into believing it has eaten, also cuts cholesterol and keeps blood sugar levels under control.

Researcher Ronald Evans said: ‘This pill is like an imaginary meal.

‘It sends out the same signals that normally happen when you eat a lot of food, so the body starts clearing out space to store it.

‘But there are no calories and no change in appetite.’

British doctors described the US breakthrough as potentially of great importance – but cautioned that much more work needs to be done.

The research comes amid growing concern that the world is losing the battle against obesity.

Obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally, with at least 2.8 million people dying each year as a result of being overweight or obese, according to the World Health Organisation.

It warns 44 per cent of the diabetes burden, 23 per cent of the heart disease burden and between 7 per cent and 41 per cent of the burden of certain cancers are attributable to people being overweight or obese.

And with just one diet drug on the market, growing numbers of people are restoring to going under the surgeon’s knife.

The excitement surrounds a new medicine called fexaramine.

Given to obese mice fed fatty food, it stopped them from piling on the pounds.

Fat was burnt off, levels of artery-clogging cholesterol fell and blood sugar levels were better controlled.

The drug also sped up metabolism and turned harmful white fat that wobbles around the waist into healthy brown fat.

If the drug worked as well in people, it might mean could keep their weight under control while eating just as much as usual.

They may even be able to keep trim while feasting on chips, cakes and other fatty foods.

Professor Evans, of the Salk Institute in California, said that fexaramine works by making the body believe it has eaten a big meal.

When the drug hits the stomach, it kick-starts digestion.

Fexaramine also spurs the body into burning off fat to create space to store the incoming nutrients.

The medicine doesn’t pass into the bloodstream and circulate round the body but stays in the stomach, which should cut the risk of side-effects.

New pill causes weight loss without typical side effects

The drug, called fexaramine, also sped up metabolism and turned harmful white fat that wobbles around the waist into healthy brown fat, which helps weight loss 

The drug, called fexaramine, also sped up metabolism and turned harmful white fat that wobbles around the waist into healthy brown fat, which helps weight loss

The difficulty in formulating a safe diet drug means that just one prescription-strength diet pill, Xenical, is on sale in the UK.

It prevents fat being absorbed from food comes with unpleasant side-effects, such as an upset stomach.

Other diet drugs have been pulled from sale over fears they damaged the heart and caused serious psychiatric problems

HOW DOES THE PILL WORK?

The drug, which tricks the body into believing it has eaten, also cuts cholesterol and keeps blood sugar levels under control.

Researcher Ronald Evans said: ‘This pill is like an imaginary meal.

‘It sends out the same signals that normally happen when you eat a lot of food, so the body starts clearing out space to store it. But there are no calories and no change in appetite.’

Professor Evans, of the Salk Institute in California, said that fexaramine works by making the body believe it has eaten a big meal.

When the drug hits the stomach, it kick-starts digestion.

Fexaramine also spurs the body into burning off fat to create space to store the incoming nutrients.

The medicine doesn’t pass into the bloodstream and circulate round the body but stays in the stomach, which should cut the risk of side-effects.

Professor Evans, who hopes to start testing the drug on people soon, envisages it being used as part of a package that includes diet and exercise advice.

However, the need to show the medicine is safe as well as effective means it is still around several years away from the market.

Professor Nick Finer, of University College London, said that work is ‘potentially of great importance’ to understanding the basic science of obesity.

He added: ‘In the long-term it also offers a new approach to potential treatment of human obesity. Mice however are not human and much work is still needed to see if the effects of fexaramine are the same in humans and to establish its safety.’

Dr Matthew Capehorn, clinical director of the National Obesity Forum, said that a new medicine would be welcome in the battle against obesity.

But he questioned what would happen when someone came off the pills.

He said: ‘It is relatively easy to get weight off initially but difficult to keep it off.

‘Unless you address the underlying emotional issues people will always drift back to their bad habits.’

The research is published in the journal Nature Medicine.

 

How To Flush Nicotine Out Of Your Body Naturally?


When you smoke a cigarette, nicotine circulating in the bloodstream gives a kind of high. On an average 6-8 hours is how long the nicotine from a single cigarette lasts. Most of that nicotine will get eliminated in the urine. 48-72 hours is how long it can take for most of the stored nicotine to be metabolized and leave your body. 20-30 days is how long the nicotine by-product cotinine can continue to circulate in the bloodstream.

Vitamin C is the best known substance for removing nicotine from the bloodstream. It increases metabolism and creates white blood cells. Fruits and vegetables help your body flush nicotine – they’re good for your health, they contain water and they make cigarettes taste less appealing.

In fact, research shows that if you eat more fruit and vegetables, you may have an easier time staying tobacco-free for longer. A study, which was published online by University of Buffalo public health researchers, authors from UB’s School of Public Health and Health professions surveyed 1,000 smokers aged 25 and older from across the nation. Fourteen months after the survey, the authors followed up with the respondents to see if they stayed tobacco-free during the previous month.

What they found was that those who consumed the most fruit and vegetables were 3 times more likely to abstain from tobacco for at least 30 days than those consuming small amounts of fruit and vegetables. In addition, those consuming more fruit and vegetables smoked less often per day, waited longer before having their first daily cigarette, and scored better on a nicotine-dependent test.

Increased consumption of fruit and vegetables help people to quit smoking due to the following reasons:

 Less nicotine dependence.
 High fiber content makes people feel fuller – since smokers sometimes confuse hunger with smoking urges.
 Unlike meats, alcohol, and caffeinated beverages, fruit and vegetables don’t enhance and may even worsen the taste of tobacco.
 Engaging in a healthier lifestyle could consciously and subconsciously cause smokers to further shift out of an unhealthy lifestyle involving smoking.

Foods To Flush Out Nicotine

1. Water

Nicotine dehydrates the body, so drink water to rehydrate. Keeping up a good supply helps your body sweat the nicotine out of your body.

2. Nettle

This herb is loaded with iron and is a useful disinfectant and great at fighting infection.

3. Vegetables

Eat celery, along with such vegetables as zucchinis, egg-plants, beans, and even cucumbers, which affect cigarette taste. Eating a lot of these vegetables can decrease nicotine dependence. Do not eat a lot of sweet vegetable, that are high in sugar, because excessive amounts of glucose activate the areas of the brain responsible for pleasure and satisfaction. Thus, glucose can stimulate cravings.

4. Pine needle tea

This tea has been traditionally used to disinfect the mouth and throat, but can also be a helpful aid in lung health.

5. Oranges

Contains high levels of vitamin C to replace vitamin C in your body that smoking reduces. Eating orangesboosts your metabolism to flush nicotine faster and reduces stress.

6. Kiwi fruit

Kiwi helps you eliminate nicotine from the body and replenish Vitamins A, C and E that smoking reduces.

7. Carrot juice

Carrot juice has vitamins A, B, C, K that help eliminate nicotine from the body. Nicotine also damages your skin, and carrot juice is high in vitamins that are good for the skin.

8. Broccoli

Contains high levels of vitamins B5 and C. Replenish vitamin C by eating broccoli and keep your metabolism high. Broccoli contains a substance that protects lungs from toxin-related damage.

9. Spinach

Rich in vitamins and folic acid, so it’s good for your body and especially good in making tobacco taste bad.

New Solar Technology Transforms Smartphones and Windows into Eco-Friendly Energy Sources .


With all the hazardous health and environmental aspects of our current energy sources — likenuclear, coal, petroleum and natural gas — innovative and nontoxic alternatives are in high demand. Regrettably, even “green technology” has serious drawbacks, where windmills and solar farms decimate bird life, while dams for hydroelectricity disrupt waterway ecosystems. In an attempt to find a better solution, we’re often faced with significant (and destructive) consequences. And yet, a glimmer of hope is on the horizon with a state-of-the-art material developed at Michigan State University (MSU).

Luminescent solar concentrators are nothing new in the realm of solar energy. Focusing the sun’s rays onto a compact area, the effect is similar to using a magnifying glass for generating heat and fire. The technology doesn’t come without problems, however. Solar concentrators tend to be unattractive monstrosities that pose a threat to local bird wildlife. Efforts have been made to merge the concentrators with standard windows, but the end result compromised the transparency and color of the glass. In response, the quest for a completely clear material began.

transparent solar 300x199 New Solar Technology Transforms Smartphones and Windows into Eco Friendly Energy Sources

Affordable and non-intrusive

According to Richard Lunt of MSU’s College of Engineering, his team has developed a truly transparent luminescent solar concentrator that “can be used on buildings, cell phones and any other device that has a clear surface.” The key word here is transparent.

In the past, solar cells placed around luminescent plastic-like materials yielded products that were inefficient and highly colored. As Lunt pointed out in a recent press release, “No one wants to sit behind colored glass. It makes for a very colorfulenvironment, like working in a disco. We take an approach where we actually make the luminescent active layer itself transparent.”

The solar harvesting system uses specialized organic molecules that absorb invisible wavelengths of sunlight. Once these molecules pick up ultraviolet and near-infrared light, they “glow” at an infrared wavelength. This “glowing” light is guided to the border of the material where it’s converted into power by slender rows of photovoltaic solar cells.

“Because the materials do not absorb or emit light in the visible spectrum, they look exceptionally transparent to the human eye,” Lunt said.

Even though development is still in its early stages, the potential to scale production for commercial applications with an affordable price point looks promising. Lunt also notes that the material needs more work on its energy-producing capacity. Currently, the solar conversion efficiency is close to 1 percent, but the team aims to reach beyond 5 percent when fully optimized.

Despite the hurdles that need to be overcome, Lunt believes that the material “opens a lot of area to deploy solar energy in a non-intrusive way. It can be used on tall buildings with lots of windows or any kind of mobile device that demands high aesthetic quality like a phone or e-reader. Ultimately we want to make solar harvesting surfaces that you do not even know are there.”

Article Sources:

http://themindunleashed.org

http://msutoday.msu.edu

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com