World’s Oldest Fire Has Been Burning for 5,500 Years


Nobody is sure how the coal seam beneath the exterior of Australia’s Burning Mountain, also known as Mount Wingen (“fire” in an aboriginal language), originally ignited. But a coal seam 90 feet below the surface been burning for an estimated 5,500 years, making it the longest continuous fire on the planet.

Ancient people actually used heat from rocky vents in the mountain to cook food and make tools. When an Australian settler found the mountain in 1828, he assumed that he’d discovered a volcano.

Today, the smoking mountain and its weird landscape have become a tourist attraction. Australian Traveler describes it: “Smell the acrid sulfur. Feel the heat from the roasting 350-degree surface. Watch the pale grey smoke waft into the air. Look for wedge-tailed eagles soaring on the thermal currents above. Imagine you’re at the beginning of time. Or perhaps the end.”

But as Atlas Obscura notes, there’s a downside: “It has also caused massive ecological damage to the area’s vegetation. The path of the fire has left a barren and rocky trail, with no traces of life.”

 

There actually are many of these underground fires across the planet, They’re a type of low-temperature, flameless combustion called a smoldering fire. They can be ignited by natural events such as lightning, though humans can set them accidentally or intentionally, by burning down forests. Multiple fires, for example, recently have occurred at a coal mine about 700 miles from Burning Mountain, including on in early 2014 that burned for 45 days.

The fires also are a source of greenhouse gas emissions, contributing billions of tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere each year, according to this 2012 blog post by New York Times environmental reporter Andrew Revkin.

Don’t doubt your ability: Abdul Kalam to youngsters .


Former President APJ Abdul Kalam on Saturday asked youngsters never to doubt their ability as he recalled his “doubt and confusion” when then ISRO chairman Satish Dhawan had asked him to make a rocket system to put satellite into orbit in a period of seven years.

“One fine day he said, Kalam you can take the budget you want, the number of people want and anything needed I will get it sanctioned from the cabinet, but you have to do this.

“I was surprised and confused, there were many people senior to me in my establishment. Why me? Will I be able to do it? I was doubtful. You should not be,” the 83-year-old scientist told youngsters who thronged the Diggi Place here to hear his address at the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival.

He gave the mantra, “I dream and I will fly one day.”

“I always dreamt of being a pilot, so I enrolled myself into a course of aeronautical engineering. When I went before the selection panel to become a pilot, there were 10 contestants and 9 seats and I was the one to be dropped.

“I was disheartened that I could not become a pilot but I became the President of India,” Kalam said during a session titled ‘The visionary: Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’.

“When I became the President I told the Air Chief to teach me how to fly and he trained me for six months. I did not become a pilot but I could still fulfil my dream of flying, because I dreamt that I will fly. Dreams transform into thoughts and thoughts result into action,” he said, as the crowd burst into a large round of applause.

Abdul Kalam, ISRO, Satish Dhawan, Jaipur Literature Festival

Kalam  made the youngsters repeat after him and vow to make India and world a better place to live.

“When there is righteousness in the heart there is a beauty in the character…when there is beauty in the character there is already in the home…when there is already in the home there is order in the nation and when there is order in the nation there is peace in the world…,” he said as people repeated after him.

“Take a vow…that whatever you do in life you will always think what I can give. All the trouble starts when we think ‘what I can get’ , that’s where the roots of corruption are,” he said.

Sharing his vision for 2020 and beyond, which are also the titles of his two books — Vision 2020 and Beyond 2020, Kalam said that the five key areas the country needs to focus upon are education, infrastructure, entrepreneurship, health and sustainable development.

“We need to transform our education system too. My suggestion is that 30 per cent of the syllabus in class 9-12 should be reduced and skill-based courses should be introduced in  schools. “So, when a child passes out of class 12, he has two certificates one of his academic credentials and another of his school credential. “Similarly in colleges, there should be a concept of a degree plus diploma in the same fashion,” he said. Kalam said that entrepreneurship is the key to economic development of the country and to fulfilment of VISION 2020 as well. “We need more employment generators and not employment seekers. Our IT sector is doing well, pharmacy is doing well, our agriculture is just excellent. We need more infrastructural development,” he said. – See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/dont-doubt-your-ability-abdul-kalam-to-youngsters/2/#sthash.kazIVMMo.dpuf

 

DNA From Sperm Of Ex Partners Lingers In Female Flies And Influences The Genetics Of Her Offspring


egg and sperm
Study suggests there may be more to genetics than simply one egg and one sperm. 

When a woman breaks up with a man, she usually wants every remnant of him removed from her life. A new study suggests that, try as she might, there may be one last piece of him that she’s stuck with for good: his DNA. A study from Australia has managed to prove that fly offspring are able to resemble a mother’s previous sexual partner, even when conceived with their father’s sperm.

The idea of telegony, or previous mates influencing a woman’s offspring, has been around for centuries. It was first proposed by the Greek philosopher Aristotle and was accepted as science until the early 1900s when it was disproved and replaced by more modern genetic theory, according to the study’s press release. Unfortunately, the theory was largely used as a fear tactic to prevent women from copulating with different races or lower classes, but the study suggests the theory may have some elements of truth — for flies, at least.

To test the age old theory of telegony, the researchers manipulated male flies to grow to a certain height by changing the amount of nutrients in their diet. They then mated immature females with either large or small males. Later on, the now mature females were again mated with males of various sizes. The subsequent offspring were then studied, and what researchers observed was quite remarkable.

“We found that even though the second male sired the offspring, offspring size was determined by what the mother’s previous mating partner ate as a maggot,” Dr. Angela Crean, led researcher on the project, explained in the press release. “Our new findings take this to a whole new level — showing a male can also transmit some of his acquired features to offspring sired by other males.”

The researchers are not yet sure about why this phenomenon occurs but believe it may be due to molecules in the seminal fluid of the first mate being absorbed by the female’s immature eggs and then influencing the growth of offspring of a later mate. This finding only adds to the already complicated field of genetics. Scientists are only just beginning to grasp the concept that offspring genetics are influenced by non-genetic factors, such as their parent’s diet. “Our new findings take this to a whole new level,” Crean said.

To answer the question that I’m sure is on every one of your minds, no the researchers are not yet sure whether this phenomenon exists in any other species, but testimony of manyexperienced breeders suggests it may be. As for humans, I don’t even want to begin opening that can of worms, but Crean did tell Medical Daily in an email that she’s not ruling out this possibility.

“There is no evidence of such effects in humans, but there has not been any research on this possibility in humans. There is a potential for such effects in mammals,” explained Crean. “For example, there is a lot of foetal DNA in maternal blood during pregnancy, and this could potentially play a role in such effects. There is also evidence in mammals that seminal fluid affects offspring development, so semen from one male could potentially influence the development of eggs fertilized by another male (which is what we think is happening in flies).”

Crean added that due to ethical restraints it would be difficult to conduct a similar experiment on humans.

Update: Direct quotes from Dr. Angela Crean have been recently added.

Source: Crean AJ, Kopps AM, Bonduriansky R. Revisiting telegony: offspring inherit an acquired characteristic of mother’s previous mate. Ecology. 2014.

Drug delivering micro-motors tested in living mice .


They have been prophesied for years in science fiction, and now, for the first time, they’ve been tested inside mice. The nano-robots are coming.

A team of engineers and clinicians has, for the first time, tested the performance of drug-delivering micro-motors inside a living creature.

An artificial micro-motor made from polymers coated in zinc, and carrying gold nanoparticles, was developed by the team and tested inside a mouse with encouraging results, which were described in the journal ACS Nano.

“Most previously reported self-propelled motors rely on non-biocompatible chemical fuels such as hydrogen peroxide,” lead author Wei Gao from the University of California, Berkeley told New Scientist. Importantly, their micro-motor is self-propelled using stomach acid.
“We demonstrated that the acid-driven propulsion in the stomach effectively enhances the binding and retention of the motor, as well as the cargo payload [drugs] on the stomach wall,” the team wrote.

They say the work could “significantly advance” the emerging field of micromotors, and “open the door to in vivo evaluation and clinical applications of these synthetic motors.”

The development of small-scale synthetic motors, or nano-robots, as some people have referred to them, has advanced significantly over the past decade. It is expected that these tiny motors will improve drug delivery and disease diagnosis, and possibly enable nano-surgery.

Various types of synthetic motors, using different propulsion mechanisms, have previously been made to operate inside biological fluids. But the University of California researchers say the performance of these motors has only ever been tested outside of the body.

The believe their zinc-based motors hold “great promise” for use inside the body – particularly for gastric drug delivery – due to several important features. In addition to being self-propelled by stomach acid, they can be loaded up with relatively large payloads of drugs, which they can auonomously release, and when their job is done they simply self-destruct, dissolving in the gastric acid and leaving nothing toxic behind.

The motors are polymer tubes – about 20 micrometres long, or about the width of a human hair – lined with zinc. Inside the stomach, the zinc reacts with gastric acid producing hydrogen bubbles, which propels the motors into the organ’s tissue.

The team applied its zinc-based motor to the stomach of living mice via something called gavage administration, which means they essentially force-fed them through tubes. In order to test the importance of their motor’s propulsion, they administered a control to another set of mice – a similarly constructed micro-motor unable to move in the stomach.

They ensured the mice had fasted overnight, to avoid any unwanted influence of food on the mobility, or performance of their motor.

Two hours after the motors were ingested, the mice were killed and the inside of their stomachs were examined. The zinc-based motors were far more effective at penetrating and staying put inside the thin layer of mucus protecting the stomach tissue.

The researchers suggest this is because the tube-shaped motors are actively propelled, almost like small missiles, and therefore they are more likely to get trapped in the stomach lining – which is the end goal.

The researchers also tested the release of a “cargo” – in this case, gold nanoparticles, which are commonly used as imaging agents and drug carriers.

They said the gold nanoparticle-loaded motors did not affect the propulsion ability. They also found that when loaded onto their zinc-based motor, the retention of gold nanoparticles in the stomach tissue was three times greater than when it was administered orally.

Bradley Nelson at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich told New Scientist that more evidence was needed to prove the design was responsible for the higher retention of gold nanoparticles.

“From the description of the experiments performed, the micromotors move randomly and some appear to diffuse more rapidly into the mucosal lining,” he said. “The mechanism of enhanced diffusion is not yet clear.”

But other have applauded the achievement. “This is really a first-of-a-kind study and a very important one in the micromotors field,” Chemist Tom Mallouk at Pennsylvania State University in the US told New Scientist. ”Importantly, it shows that micromotors can be more effective for the delivery of nanoparticles than passive carriers.“

We can now read papyrus scrolls buried by lava in 79 AD .


A new imaging technique is allowing scientists to read text on ancient rolls of papyrus for the first time in modern history. .

Back in 79 AD, Italy’s Mount Vesuvius erupted, destroying several Roman towns along the Bay of Naples, including Pompeii and Herculaneum, and causing an estimated 16,000 deaths. Famously, the eruption was so fast that it essentially “froze” entire towns in place, coating them in lava in their final moments, where they can still be seen today.

Among the treasures that were buried was a library in the Italian town of Herculaneum, which contained thousands of handwritten, carbonised papyrus scrolls. It was the only rich book collection to survive the eruption.

These lava-coated scrolls were first discovered in 1752, but they’re so fragile that it’s never been possible to read them without destroying them.

The video below shows the incredible non-invasive process, which has been described in Nature Communicationsin action.

Importantly, what they’ve read so far shows that the scrolls contain Greek prose and poetry on Epicurean philosophy by Philodemus, a teacher and philosopher who was born in the first century BC in what is now Jordan.

Epicurus was another Greek philosopher who lived around 300 BC and who promoted pleasure as the main goal of existence, didn’t believe in the afterlife and encouraged study of the natural world. Philodemus was an important interpreter and teacher of Epicurus’s work.

There is now doubt over whether these scrolls were part of Philodemus’s personal collection, or whether they were first century AD copies. But either way, it’s an important discovery. And there are hundreds more scrolls, some in Latin rather than Greek, to read.

“Anybody who focuses on the ancient world is always going to be excited to get even one paragraph, one chapter, more,” Roger Macfarlane, a classicist at Brigham Young University in the US, told the Smithsonian magazine. “The prospect of getting hundreds of books more is staggering.”

Importantly, the technique that allowed researchers to read these ancient scrolls can now be used to unveil the secrets of other fragile texts and documents from throughout history. For example, the biblical texts that scientists recently uncovered in an Egyptian mummy mask.

Just imagine the secrets it could reveal…

Watch the video.URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?x-yt-cl=84503534&feature=player_embedded&v=JlWJ68DJGM0&x-yt-ts=1421914688

Friends know how long you’ll live, study finds.


Young lovers walking down the aisle may dream of long and healthy lives together, but close friends in the wedding party may have a better sense of whether those wishes will come true, suggests new research on personality and longevity.

Newlyweds with guests

Young lovers walking down the aisle may dream of long and healthy lives together, but close friends in the wedding party may have a better sense of whether those wishes will come true, suggests new research on personality and longevity from Washington University in St. Louis.

“You expect your friends to be inclined to see you in a positive manner, but they also are keen observers of the personality traits that could send you to an early grave,” said Joshua Jackson, PhD, assistant professor of psychology in Arts & Sciences.

Published Jan. 12 in an advance online issue of the journal Psychological Science, the study demonstrates that your personality at an early age (20s) can predict how long you will live across 75 years and that close friends are usually better than you at recognizing these traits.

Male participants seen by their friends as more open and conscientious ended up living longer. Female participants whose friends rated them as high on emotional stability and agreeableness also enjoyed longer lifespans, the study found.

“Our study shows that people are able to observe and rate a friend’s personality accurately enough to predict early mortality decades down the road,” Jackson said. “It suggests that people are able to see important characteristics related to health even when their friends were, for the most part, healthy and many years from death.”

It’s no secret that a person’s personality traits can have an impact on health. Traits such as depression and anger have been linked to an increased risk of various diseases and health concerns, including an early death.

Men who are conscientious are more likely to eat right, stick with an exercise routine and avoid risks, such as driving without a seat belt. Women who are emotionally stable may be better at fighting off anger, anxiety and depression, Jackson suggests.

While other studies have shown that a person’s view of his or her own personality can be helpful in gauging mortality risk, there has been little research on whether a close friend’s personality assessment might also predict the odds of a long life.

To explore this question, Jackson and colleagues analyzed data from a longitudinal study that in the 1930s began following a group of young people in their mid-20s, most of whom were engaged to be married.

The longitudinal study included extensive data on participant personality traits, both self-reported and as reported by close friends, including bridesmaids and groomsmen in the study participants’ wedding parties.

Using information from previous follow-up studies and searches of death certificates, Jackson and colleagues were able to document dates of death for all but a few study participants. Peer ratings of personality were stronger predictors of mortality risk than were self-ratings of personality.

“There are two potential reasons for the superiority of peer ratings over self ratings,” Jackson said.

“First, friends may see something that you miss; they may have some insight that you do not. Second, because people have multiple friends, we are able to average the idiosyncrasies of any one friend to obtain a more reliable assessment of personality. With self reports, people may be biased or miss certain aspects of themselves and we are not able to counteract that because there is only one you, only one self-report.”

The study also revealed some gender differences in self-assessment: Men’s self-ratings of personality traits were somewhat useful in predicting their lifespans, whereas the self-reports of women had little predictive value.

Jackson suggests this gender difference in self-reporting may be a function of the era in which the study began, since societal expectations were different then and fewer women worked outside the home.

Young women seen as highly agreeable and emotionally stable may have increased odds for a long and happy life since their personalities were well suited for the role of a supportive and easy-going wife, which would have been the norm in the 1930s. It is likely that fewer gender differences would arise in more modern samples if we were able to wait 75 years to replicate the study, he said.

“This is one of the longest studies in psychology,” Jackson said. “It shows how important personality is in influencing significant life outcomes like health and demonstrates that information from friends and other observers can play a critical role in understanding a person’s health issues. For example, it suggests that family members and even physician ratings could be used to personalize medical treatments or identify who is at risk for certain health ailments.”

The study is co-authored by James J. Connolly, PhD, and Madeleine M. Leveille, PhD, of Connolly Consulting, Waterford, Connecticut; S. Mason Garrison of the Department of Psychology and Human Development, Vanderbilt University; and Seamus L. Connolly of College of Medicine, Touro University, California.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington University in St. Louis. The original article was written by Gerry Everding. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. J. Jackson, J. J. Connolly, S. M. Garrison, M. M. Leveille, S. L. Connolly. Your Friends Know How Long You Will Live: A 75-Year Study of Peer-Rated Personality Traits. Psychological Science, 2015; DOI:10.1177/0956797614561800

As big as 5 football fields: Massive asteroid to be visible from Earth Monday .


An asteroid the size of five football fields is approaching Earth and is expected to pass by on Monday. It will be visible through strong binoculars – definitely worth a look. The next time such an asteroid comes this close again will be in 2027.

At the closest point to the Earth, asteroid 2004 BL86 will be at a distance of 1.2 million kilometers which – approximately three times the distance from the Earth to the moon. Estimated to be 0.5 km in diameter, it is classified by scientists as potentially dangerous.

A space object is considered “potentially dangerous” if it crosses the Earth’s orbit at a distance of less than 0.05 AU (approximately 19.5 distances from the Earth to the Moon), and if its diameter exceeds 100-150 meters. Objects of this size are large enough to cause unprecedented destruction, or generate a tsunami in case they fall into the ocean.

 

This graphic depicts the passage of asteroid 2004 BL86. (Image credit:NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This graphic depicts the passage of asteroid 2004 BL86. (Image credit:NASA/JPL-Caltech)

However, according to astronomers, there is no threat of the object colliding with our planet this time.

“While it poses no threat to Earth for the foreseeable future, it’s a relatively close approach by a relatively large asteroid, so it provides us a unique opportunity to observe and learn more,” Don Yeomans from NASA’s Near Earth Object Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a statement.

Reuters / NASA

It is very rare that such a huge space body comes this close to Earth. The next time an asteroid might be passing by will be in 2027, when 1999 AN10 flies past Earth. As for 2004 BL86 itself, it can be monitored from Earth for another 200 years.

Astronomers strongly recommend trying to catch this unique opportunity to spot an asteroid in the sky. It will be possible on January 26 between 11:07 pm and 11:52 pm ET (04:07 and 04:52 GMT).

It will be best seen in the Americas, Europe, and Africa. Amateur astronomers will be able to observe it with small telescopes and even strong binoculars.

“I may grab my favorite binoculars and give it a shot myself,” Yeomans said in the statement. “Asteroids are something special. Not only did asteroids provide Earth with the building blocks of life and much of its water, but in the future, they will become valuable resources for mineral ores and other vital natural resources.”

READ MORE: Asteroids brought water to Earth – Rosetta space probe finds

Numerous observatories all over the world will use this opportunity to learn something new about 2004 BL86. NASA’s Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California, and the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico will try to procure scientific data and radar-generated images of the asteroid while it is in its closest position to the Earth.

“When we get our radar data back the day after the flyby, we will have the first detailed images,” radar astronomer Lance Benne said. “At present, we know almost nothing about the asteroid, so there are bound to be surprises.”

2004 BL86 was discovered on January 30, 2004, by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR), responsible for the majority of asteroid discoveries from 1998 until 2005, when it was overtaken by the Catalina Sky Survey (CSS). The asteroid orbits the Sun every 1.84 years.

Relaxing Yoga Poses To Do On The Bed Before Sleeping.


Relaxing Yoga Poses To Do On The Bed Before Sleeping.

Start tomorrow today

An evening routine is a great way to set yourself up to experience an awesome tomorrow. A relaxing bath, a yummy glass of warm, spiced milk or maybe even some journaling are a few actions that could make the morning great. Another great choice is yoga, right there in your bed.

Asanas to do before going to Sleep:

Here are a few asanas that you can do before going to sleep that may help you rest better.

1. Jathara Parivartanasana

Jathara Parivartanasana

Jathara means stomach; Parivartanasana means turning or rolling about. If you come to my classes, it is no surprise that I love this pose. Of all the poses, I think this pose and its variations are responsible for keeping me flexible. I always practice this pose before going to sleep and have for the past 20 something years. Ease into it if it is your first time exploring this pose.

Steps:
1. Lie on your back with your legs extended.
2. Draw your knees up into your chest one at a time and wrap your arms around your legs, hugging them. Rock side to side to massage the back.
3. Continue holding onto your right knee with both hands and extend your left leg all the way out onto the bed.
4. With your left hand on the right knee, draw the right knee across the left side of the body towards the bed. Keep both shoulders down and extend the left arm straight away from the body.
5. Hold for a few breaths or until the back releases, (or relax and enjoy for a few minutes). Inhale, bring both knees and head back to center, and repeat on the other side.

Modifications and Props:
• Use a blanket under the knee if you feel you need some support (so your knee isn’t just hanging there).

Variations:
• Take both knees to the left and hold the right knee down with the left hand. Release your back. Hold for a few breaths and come back to center. Repeat on the other side.

Benefits:
• Stretches the spine and shoulders
• Improves digestion and circulation
Strengthens the lower back
• Relieves lower backache, neck pain, and sciatica
• Opens the hips and chest

Contraindications: (or reasons not to do this pose)
• High or low blood pressure
• Diarrhea
• Headache
• Menstruation
• High blood pressure

2. Thread the Needle Pose

Thread the Needle Pose

I have really tight shoulders from biking, especially the rhomboids (muscles between the shoulder blades). This pose helps to stretch them so that prāna can have a head start in healing this tricky part of the back.

Steps:
1. Start in table position.
2. Weave the left arm under the right and place straight away from the body, as you twist through the lumbar and thoracic spine, place the shoulder on the floor.
3. Lift right arm up towards the ceiling and intensify the stretch.
4. Keep the majority of the weight on the shoulder to create the traction for the stretch.
5. Repeat other side.

Modifications and props:
• Place a blanket on the bed and place the shoulder on it if padding is needed.
• Can be made into a balance by lifting the leg on the same side as the arm that is lifted.

Benefits:
• Stretches shoulders and posterior rotator cuffs
• Stretches oblique
• Strengthens legs

Contraindications:
• Neck injuries
• Upper back injuries
• Migraines
• Pregnancy

3. Supta Virasana

Supta Virasana

Supta means lying down, vira means hero. I always say that “no pain, no gain” is such a washed up theory. You shouldn’t have to experience pain in order to manifest what you need. That is silly. This pose, however, shoots holes in my theory if the legs and back are not ready for it. So one of the best places to try it out is on your bed, where the mattress can give space when the muscles and tendons do not. Use blankets and pillows for comfort.

Steps:
1. Start in Virasana (Hero’s pose).
2. Exhale and lean back onto your hands, then your forearms and elbows.
3. Once you are on your elbows, place your hands on the back of the pelvis and release your lower back and upper buttocks by spreading the flesh down toward the tailbone.
4. Then finish reclining, either onto the bed or the support of blankets or bolsters. Take both arms out to the side.
5. Stay in this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Gradually extend your stay to 5 minutes. To come out of the pose, inhale and press your forearms against the bed, exhale and bring your chin towards your chest and come onto your hands back into Virasana. As you come up, lead with your sternum, not your head or chin.

Modifications and Propping:
• If you’re not able to recline fully on the bed, set a bolster or one or more folded blankets behind yourself to fully support your spine and head.
• Use as much height as you need to make the position reasonably comfortable.
• To help release the groins, lay some weight across the creases of the top thighs where they join the front pelvis.
• Start with a 10-pound sandbag and gradually over time increase the weight to 30 pounds or so.

Variations:
• Before doing Supta Virasana you can start with its halfway variation, Supta Ardha Virasana (Ardha means half). To sit in Ardha Virasana, draw just your right leg back into Virasana. You can keep your left knee bent with the foot on the floor, or straighten your left leg by pushing out through the heel. Then recline as described above, either onto a support or the bed. Come out as recommended for Supta Virasana, then repeat with the left leg back.

Benefits:
• Stretches the abdomen, thighs, and deep hip flexors (psoas), knees, and ankles
• Strengthens the arches
• Relieves tired legs
• Improves digestion
• Helps relieve the symptoms of menstrual pain

Contraindications:
• Serious back problems
• Knee issues
• Ankle problems
• Avoid this pose unless you have the assistance of an experienced instructor.

4. Viparita Karani

Viparita Karani

Viparita means turned around, reversed, inverted; karani means doing, making, action. This is every body’s favorite pose. It is not only good for relaxation, but I could write an entire blog on the benefits this pose has when it comes to your lymphatic (immune) system. Proper propping is a must here. Go for the joy, bliss and just ahhh factor.

Steps:
1. Take two folded blankets placing the raw edges against a wall. Sit with your right side against the wall or headboard and your back against the blankets. Exhale, and with one smooth movement, and swing your legs up onto the wall or headboard as your bottom comes up onto the blankets and your shoulders and head slide down onto the bed.
2. Your sitting bones don’t need to be right against the wall, but they can be “dipping” down into the space between the support and the wall or headboard.
3. Lift and release the base of your skull away from the back of your neck and soften your throat. Open your shoulder blades away from the spine and release your hands and arms out to your sides, palms up.
4. Keep your legs relatively firm, just enough to hold them vertically in place. Release the heads of the thigh bones and the weight of your belly deeply into your torso, toward the back of the pelvis. Soften your eyes and turn them down to look into your heart.
5. Stay in this pose anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. To come out of the pose, slide the legs down the wall (headboard), bend the knees and slowly sit up.

Variations:
• If you have enough wall space, you can slide your legs apart into a wide “V” to stretch your inner thighs and groins.
• You also can bend your knees, touch the soles of your feet together, and slide the outer edges of your feet down the wall, bringing your heels toward the pelvis.
• Then you can push your hands against the top inner thighs to stretch the groins.
• Remember, however, never push on your knees to open the groins.

Benefits:
• Anxiety
• Arthritis
Digestive problems
• Headache
• High and low blood pressure
• Insomnia
• Migraine
• Mild depression
• Respiratory ailments
• Urinary disorders
• Varicose veins
• Menstrual cramps (performing pose during menstruation)
• Premenstrual syndrome
• Menopause
• Relieves tired or cramped legs and feet
• Gently stretches the back legs, front torso, and the back of the neck
• Relieves mild backache
• Calms the mind
• Helps drain lymphatic system

Contraindications
• During menstruation
• Serious eye problems
• Glaucoma
• Serious neck problems
• Serious back problems

5. Savasana

Savasana

Sava means corpse (Corpse Pose). This is a great way to balance your prāna before you move to your favorite sleep position.

Steps:
1. From a seated position, roll down one vertebrae at a time, flex the knees as you roll down. Once your back is on the bed, straighten the legs. Allow the legs to open naturally. Lightly lift your buttocks off the bed by pushing down with your hands and lengthen through the lumbar spine. Lower the buttocks back to the bed.
2. Dorsi flex the right foot and lengthen the leg. Plantar flex the foot and hold for a couple of seconds. Then relax muscles in the leg, the ankle, and toes. Do the same for the left leg. Allow the calf and inner thigh to release. Leg may turn outwards naturally.
3. Lengthen the arms above your head for a long stretch, and then take them towards the ceiling as you open up your back, allowing the shoulder blades to stretch away from the spine. Bring the hands down by your sides with the palms facing the ceiling. Spread the fingers and then relax the shoulders and hands.
4. Bringing the chin to the chest, stretch the neck. Then lay the head back to the bed. Relax the jaw and soften the tongue off the top of the mouth.
5. Taking long deep breaths, allow the body to release any tension that remains in the body.
6. Stay in Savasana for 5-15 minutes. When you are ready to come out of the pose, take a couple of deep breaths, wiggle toes and fingers, and when ready, roll to the right side for a couple of breaths. By pressing the left hand into the bed, slowly push yourself up to seated position.

Modifications and propping:
• You can use a folded blanket or towel under the neck for comfort. You can also use an eye cover to help with relaxation.
• If it hurts your lower back to keep legs straight, you can place a folded blanket or bolster under the knees.
• If it hurts legs to allow them to turn outward, you can use a strap around the feet to keep the hips turned forward.

I think you will enjoy your “before you go to bed” poses so much that upon waking, you will want to do a few more asana to transition into the day centered and balanced. Watch for my next article on Yoga Asanas to do in Bed when you Wake up.

The State of Global Poverty by Kaushik Basu.


The economic geography of the world is changing. The eurozone faces the specter of another round of stagnation; Japan has slipped into recession; and the United States, despite relatively strong performance in the latter part of 2014, has raised concerns worldwide with its exit from quantitative easing. Meanwhile, emerging economies have continued to perform well. India and Indonesia are growing at more than 5% per year; Malaysia at 6%; and China by more than 7%.
The scale of the global change can be seen when purchasing power parity (PPP) – a measure of the total amount of goods and services that a dollar can buy in each country – is taken into account. According to the figures for 2011, released last year, India is now the world’s third largest economy in terms of PPP-adjusted GDP, ahead of Germany and Japan. The data also revealed that China would overtake the US as the world’s largest economy in PPP terms sometime in 2014 – a shift that, according to our estimates, occurred on October 10th.

Despite this progress, a large proportion of people in developing countries remain desperately poor. Globally, the poverty line is defined as a daily income of $1.25, adjusted for PPP – a line that many criticize as shockingly low. But what is truly shocking is that nearly one billion people – including more than 80% of the populations of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Liberia, and Burundi – live below it.
One reason global poverty has been so intractable is that it remains largely out of sight for those who are not living it, safely somebody else’s problem. The fact that most participants in discussions about global poverty – the readers of this commentary included – know few, if any, people who live below the poverty line is an indication of the extent of the world’s economic segregation. If poverty were communicable, its incidence would be far lower by now.
Fortunately, a chorus of voices, not just from civil-society groups, but also from international organizations, has given rise to a global movement to end poverty. There is now a growing consensus that global poverty is not just a problem of the poor. Though moral outrage is important, it is not enough when it comes to crafting policy. Policymakers need data and, equally important, the ability to analyze it.
The first task is to distinguish between what is feasible and what is not. For example, some have proposed including the provision of employment for all adults in the Millennium Development Goals’ successor framework, which is to be unveiled this year. This is an impossible target. All economies of any reasonable size will have some unemployment. In fact, a limited amount of unemployment can help to promote development. To declare “employment” a right is to divest the word “right” of its meaning.
Next, there must be recognition that economies are complex and interconnected. Consider, for example, a government policy in which subsidies, funded with newly printed money, are handed out to residents of 1,000 villages. This will not necessarily be a boon for the economy as a whole. Injecting money might improve the living standards in the villages receiving the funds, but doing so may well drive up the cost of food throughout the country, causing residents of non-subsidized villages to fall into poverty. The macroeconomic impact of micro-interventions is an important reason why poverty has persisted, despite well-meaning interventions to combat it.
Another reason poverty endures is persistent – and, in many places, widening – inequality. The current level of global inequality is unconscionable. In 2013, the World Bank, where I am Chief Economist, helped bring the term “shared prosperity” into everyday discourse by declaring, for the first time, that every society should make progress toward this goal its mission. To be sure, there will always be a certain amount of inequality in the world; in fact, as with unemployment, a limited amount is desirable as a driver of competition and growth. But the deep and pervasive inequality that exists today can only be condemned.
According to some back-of-the-envelope calculations, the wealth of the world’s 50 richest people totals $1.5 trillion, equivalent to 175% of Indonesia’s GDP, or a little more than Japan’s foreign-exchange reserves. If one assumes that this wealth yields 8% per year, the annual income of the world’s 50 wealthiest people is close to the total income of the poorest one billion – in other words, those living below the poverty line.
This is a collective failure. As 2015 begins, we must consider policies and interventions to curb such extreme inequality. We must do this not only out of a sense of justice, but also because, in a world afflicted with such extreme disparities, its poorest residents lose their voice, even when they have the right to vote. Extreme inequality is, ultimately, an assault on democracy.

 

Avocado Health Benefits: The World’s Most Perfect Food?


Did you know that the avocado has been called the world’s most perfect food and has many health benefits?

It has achieved this distinction because many nutritionists claim it not only contains everything a person needs to survive — but it has also been found to contribute to the prevention and control of Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other health conditions.

The avocado (Persea gratissima or P. americana) originated in Puebla, Mexico and its earliest use dates back to 10,000 years B.C. Since AD 900, the avocado tree has been cultivated and grown in Central and South America. In the 19th century, the avocado made its entry into California, and has since become a very successful commercial crop. Ninety-five percent (95%) of U.S. avocados are gown in Southern California.

The avocado, also called the alligator pear, is a high-fiber, sodium- and cholesterol-free food that provides nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, is rich in healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (such as omega-3 fatty acids), vitamins A, C, D, E, K and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and folate) — as well as potassium.

Foods naturally rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as avocados, are widely acknowledged as the secret to a healthy heart, a brilliant brain and eagle eyes.

Dr. Daniel G. Amen, a clinical neuroscientist, psychiatrist, brain-imaging expert and author of the New York Times bestseller Change Your Brain, Change Your Life counts avocados as one of the top brain-healthy foods that can help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease.

That’s not only because of the avocado’s health benefits omega-3 fatty acid content but also its…

Vitamin E content — An international journal called Alzheimer’s Disease and Associated Disorders, reported its findings from years of clinical trials — high doses of Vitamin E can neutralize free radicals and the buildup of proteins to reverse the memory loss in Alzheimer’s patients; reverse symptoms of Alzheimer’s in the early stages and retard the progression of the disease;

Folate content — helps to prevent the formation of tangled nerve fibers associated with Alzheimer’s.

The virtues and benefits of the avocado are too numerous to mention.

But Here Are Just a Few More Avocado Health Benefits That Its Nutritional Profile Provides:

  • Monounsaturated Fats — These types of fats help control triglycerides in the bloodstream, lower blood cholesterol and control diabetes.
  • Folate — This water-soluble B vitamin promotes healthy cell and tissue development. According to the National Institute of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements, “This is especially important during periods of rapid cell division and growth such as infancy and pregnancy. Folate is also essential for metabolism of homocysteine and helps maintain normal levels of this amino acid.”
  • Lutein — This is a carotenoid (a natural pigment) that protects against cataracts and certain types of cancer, and reduces the risk of macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in adults 65 years of age and older. Avocados contain 3 or more times as much lutein as found in other common vegetables and fruits.
  • Oleic acid and Potassium — Both of these nutrients also help in lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of high blood pressure.

You can add these avocado benefits to your diet in many ways:

1) The easiest way is to cut the avocado in half and sprinkle it with herbal seasoning or maple syrup.
2) Chop the avocado and add it to a salad, or use it as a topping or side garnish for soup.
3) Mash an avocado and spread it on bread or a bagel (in place of butter or cream cheese).
4) Cut an avocado in half and fill the little hollow (left after you remove the pit) with your favorite healthy topping such as herbed rice or couscous.
5) Make an avocado dressing or the crowd-pleasing guacamole dip to add flavor to raw or steamed vegetables. You can easily find many avocado recipes online.

bleeding

Blended with fruit, avocados make a rich and delicious snack, side dish or dessert — and produces highly-nutritious baby food which delivers “good fat” for baby’s brain and physical development.

Before you indulge in avocados to your heart’s content, however, remember that they have lots of calories because of their fat content. According to WebMD, “A medium-sized avocado contains 30 grams of fat, as much as a quarter-pound burger”.

That’s why diet experts have long urged Americans to go easy on avocados in favor of less fatty fruits and vegetables. But now nutritionists are taking another look.

They’re finding that most of the fat in an avocado is monounsaturated — the “good” kind that actually lowers cholesterol levels. Thanks to this new understanding, the U.S. government recently revised its official nutrition guidelines to urge Americans to eat more avocados.

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