See The First-Ever Video Of The World’s Rarest Whale In The Wild

The Omura’s whale is so rare and little-known that there hasn’t been a single confirmed sighting in the wild by scientists… until now.

Researchers working off the coast of Madagascar have captured the first-ever footage of the elusive Omura’s whales, a species so uncommon that scientists have no idea how many there are in the world.

“Over the years, there have been a small handful of possible sightings of Omura’s whales, but nothing that was confirmed,” Salvatore Cerchio of the New England Aquarium and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution said in a news release. “They appear to occur in remote regions and are difficult to find at sea, because they are small and do not put up a prominent blow.”

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The whales are generally between 33 feet and 38 feet in length. That makes them less than half the size of most blue whales, even though the two are cousins — both belonging to the whale family called rorquals. 

Until now, the only Omura’s whales that have been found were dead whales, and those were initially mistaken for the larger Bryde’s whales until DNA tests revealed them to be a separate species.

Details about the discovery were recently published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

Cerchio, who led the research while at the Wildlife Conservation Society, said that when his team first spotted the whales in 2011, they too initially believed them to be Bryde’s whales.

They, however, soon noticed the unique coloring of the head.

“When we clearly saw that the right jaw was white, and the left jaw was black, we knew that we were on to something very special,” said Cerchio. “The only problem was that Omura’s whales were not supposed to be in this part of the Indian Ocean. Rather, they should be in the West Pacific, near Thailand and the Philippines.”

The researchers were able to collect skin samples from the whales, which confirmed the rare find in 2013.

Along with the video footage,  Cerchio’s team has used photographs to catalog about 25 individual whales, including four mothers with young calves.

They were also able to record whale vocalizations they believe might indicate reproductive behavior.

Cerchio is planning to return to the area to study the whales further and hopes to be able to tag some so that more can be learned about their behavior.

Watch the video. URL:

Use of end tidal co2 level in diagnosis of sepsism

EtCO2 levels, because they correlate with elevated lactate levels, can predict mortality in patients with suspected sepsis.
EtCO2 levels, because they correlate with elevated lactate levels, can predict mortality in patients with suspected sepsis.

Early identification of sepsis provides the best opportunity for aggressive goal-directed therapy that may improve survival. Screening tools, protocols and alert systems have been shown to improve guideline adherence for interventions such as antibiotics and fluid resuscitation. EMS personnel are caring for an increasing number ofseptic patients, and prehospital screening tools for severe sepsis have been developed to improve awareness.1

Most of these screening tools rely on the suspicion of infection, >- 2 systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) criteria, and point-of-care serum lactate levels. However, it’s possible to screen for severe sepsis without these costly devices and potentially time-consuming blood draws.

Capnography, the waveform measurement of exhaled end-tidal carbon dioxide (EtCO2), is a well-known tool in EMS. EtCO2 is a continuous variable determined by basal metabolic rate, cardiac output and ventilation. Thus, abnormal levels may reflect derangement in perfusion, metabolism or gas exchange. Capnography has multiple prehospital applications for confirmation and monitoring of proper endotracheal tube placement, and evaluating return of spontaneous circulation during cardiopulmonary arrest. However, it can be very effective when used on the conscious patient to detect conditions such as septic shock.

The goal of the JEMS Games is to present a fun, challenging and educational experience for emergency medical personnel that results in participants being better prepared for the challenges they encounter in the field. The competition introduces its participants to new technologies and techniques that can be used to manage patients of all levels of criticality.
Severe sepsis is characterized by poor perfusion, leading to a buildup of serum lactate and resulting metabolic acidosis. EtCO2 levels decline in the setting of both poor perfusion and metabolic acidosis. To compensate for metabolic acidosis, patients increase their minute ventilation. This increased respiratory rate “blows off” carbon dioxide and lowers EtCO2. At the same time, poor tissue perfusion decreases the amount of blood flow to the alveoli of the lungs, reducing the amount of carbon dioxide that can be exhaled—the most dramatic demonstration of this process is during cardiac arrest. Therefore, EtCO2 is inversely proportional to lactate: As lactate levels rise in septic patients, EtCO2 levels drop.

Previous studies have shown that low EtCO2 levels correlate with elevated lactate levels and predict mortality in patients with suspected sepsis, severe sepsis and septic shock.2,3 In fact, low prehospital EtCO2 levels predict metabolic acidosis and mortality across a wide spectrum of patient complaints.4

In patients with >- 2 SIRS criteria, an EtCO2 measurement of -< 25 mmHg is strongly correlated with lactate levels > 4 mM/L and increased mortality.Capnography is fast, non-invasive and available on many ALS vehicles. An adequate screening for severe sepsis may be provided by utilizing capnography in addition to modified SIRS criteria in the setting of suspected infection. Furthermore, capnography can be monitored to assess the impact of therapies designed to improve perfusion.

The Orange County (Fla.) EMS System, with assistance from our regional hospitals, has developed a Sepsis Alert protocol utilizing low EtCO2 as an equivalent to elevated serum lactate. This has allowed our agency’s discretion to utilize their existing equipment rather than purchase approved lactate monitors. Prospective evaluation of this protocol is currently ongoing.

Female Sex Hormone May Save Injured Soldiers On The Battlefield

Wrong shipment of mice leads to an estrogen breakthrough in trauma survival.

Breakthrough research suggests a female sex hormone may be the key to saving lives on the battlefield, where between 2001 and 2011 more than 80 percent of potentially preventable U.S. war injury deaths resulted from blood loss.

The hormone shows the promise of prolonged survival despite massive loss of blood and could be carried in a small autoinjector for use.

In a landmark step – after 19 years of research by Irshad Chaudry, Ph.D. – UAB has received a$10 million U.S. Department of Defense contract funded by the Combat Casualty Care Research Program, U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, Fort Detrick, MD, to begin testing its potentially life-saving synthetic estrogen for safety in humans. The long path to this breakthrough for Chaudry, who is director of the Center for Surgical Research in the UAB School of Medicine, was prompted by a mistake; in 1997 he and postdoctoral fellow Rene Zellweger, M.D., received the wrong shipment of mice.

Chances like that are a beguiling part of science. Alexander Fleming discovered the penicillin mold through fluke contamination in a Petri dish. Charles Goodyear created vulcanized rubber after accidental stove contact. The hint leading to the first microwave oven began when radar researcher Percy Spencer reached in his pocket and found his chocolate bar had melted.

Chaudry and Zellweger’s spark of serendipity came during study of a serious complication seen in trauma-hemorrhaged patients – the bacterial blood infections that are called sepsis. These infections can strike days, weeks or months after severe trauma and blood loss, causing single or multiple organ failure, long hospital stays and death of patients. “The cost to society is substantial, and the onset of sepsis after trauma is a major, worldwide problem,” Chaudry said.

Chaudry and Zellweger were examining the mechanism by which sepsis produces multiple organ failure and death in a murine model. But when Zellweger received a group of female, not male, mice, he told Chaudry they were unsuitable because female hormone levels vary too much.

Chaudry told Zellweger to use the female mice, and the result was astonishing. All of the female mice resisted sepsis without any treatment.

“I was excited,” Chaudry said, “and he was puzzled.” So they repeated the work with another group of female mice, but this time the untreated septic mice all succumbed to the infection — a seeming paradox.

‘Wasting our time’

“See, we’re wasting our time,” said Zellweger. But the researchers solved the puzzle when they realized that the two groups may have been at different stages of their estrous cycles. By pure chance, the females of the first group had been at the proestrous phase, that moment when estrogen hormones levels are at their peak. In animal models, Chaudry and colleagues soon learned that a dose of the estrogen 17β-estradiol (E2) could protect males and females against septicemia, regardless of the female estrous phase. The estrogen affects the immune system and cardiovascular responses, which typically are profoundly depressed after trauma.

Chaudry and his colleagues next tested E2 for another trauma problem — blood loss. They found that after massive blood loss, and an additional prolonged hypotensive period, followed by intravenous fluid resuscitation, E2 significantly improved heart performance, heart output and liver function. E2 also attenuated an increase in interleukin-6, a pro-inflammatory cytokine.

About this time, in 2005, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, DARPA, announced a vital goal: finding a way to stretch the time that a severely wounded soldier with blood loss could stay alive. This would give the warfighter a better chance of reaching a field hospital for definitive surgical and medical care.

The agency held a competition with a simple and unequivocal criterion – produce a treatment that enables survival at least three hours after significant, almost universally fatal blood loss. Any research programs that passed this first trial then would face a Phase II challenge of six-hour survival. Furthermore, the therapeutic material had to be deliverable in a small volume, for easy future inclusion in a battlefield pack.

Chaudry and his colleagues discovered that E2 could allow survival for three hours without any fluid resuscitation, and long-term survival if fluid resuscitation was provided after 3 hours. The prolonged period of low blood pressure after blood loss significantly affects mitochondrial function, endoplasmic reticulum stress markers and inflammatory cytokine production, but E2 was able to diminish those changes. Low blood pressure reduces the delivery of oxygen to tissues and to the mitochondria, which voraciously consume oxygen to produce energy in the form of ATP. Thus, oxygen deprivation is a burden for tissues and mitochondria under low blood flow conditions.

In the three-hour challenge, Chaudry and his colleagues used E2 that was microencapsulated within cyclodextrin to make it water soluble. For the six-hour challenge, with the help of DARPA, UAB had a synthetic estrogen variant called ethinyl estradiol-3-sulfate, or EE-3-SO4synthetized by a pharmaceutical company. Six-hour survival rates of 50 and 80 percent were seen with EE-3-SO4 in porcine and murine models respectively, even in the absence of fluid resuscitation. These results from a multi-site study led by Chaudry, which were reported in 2014 and 2015, provided the needed proof of principle for initial clinical studies.

Out of 10 initial Surviving Blood Loss programs funded by DARPA, UAB was the only one that met the challenge of six-hour survival after 60 percent blood loss in the absence of fluid resuscitation.

Mechanistic studies

DARPA’s six-hour aim was solely survival, but Chaudry has continued mechanistic studies of how EE-3-SO4 produces beneficial effects. The estrogen appears to interact with the different types of estrogen receptors in all types of tissues in both men and women. Using selective estrogen-receptor antagonists or agonists for the different types of estrogen receptors, Chaudry’s research team continues to look at which type of receptor is important for EE-3-SO4action in different tissues.

Besides improved heart function, EE-3-SO4 appears to dilate blood vessels and speed the movement of fluid from the tissue compartment into the blood compartment (the interstitial fluid of the tissue compartment has about twice the volume compared to the average volume of blood in adult humans). Lowering this resistance to improve blood flow to vital organs hails back to the great challenge to trauma recovery seen by the noted English trauma researcher Harry Berrington “Berry” Stoner, M.D. He wrote that the body’s blood system is like a swamp after trauma, and anything that turns the swamp into a running brook is the answer for treating shock.

Human trials

DARPA was key to finding a company to manufacture pharmaceutical grade EE-3-SO4 under U.S. Food and Drug Administration Good Manufacturing Practice. Also, in preparation for an investigational new drug application to the FDA, some of the pre-clinical animal experiments have had to be done in institutions under FDA Good Laboratory Practice.

UAB has applied for patent protection for EE-3-SO4. Beyond its battlefield potential, one important application could be domestic trauma patients, given that earlier E2 results that have shown reduced mortality and septicemia. Also, EE-3- SO4 may have a third beneficial effect – treatment after traumatic brain injury. In experiments, the estrogen is able to reduce cerebral edema, increase brain blood flow, increase cognitive function and memory, and lessen brain cell death. Thus, EE-3-SO4 may prove to be a triple boon for trauma victims.

Trauma is the leading cause of U.S. deaths for people under 47 years of age, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Because trauma hits all ages of people, it represents 30 percent of all U.S. life-years-lost each year, a far larger loss than cancer, 16 percent of all lost life-years, or heart disease, 12 percent.

“If we can prevent sepsis and multiple organ failure after trauma,” Chaudry said, “insurance companies will gladly reimburse drug costs because there will be great cost benefits and the quality of life will be better.”

“If these study findings translate to the battlefield,” Chaudry wrote in his recent paper last June, “additional time will be available for transport of the wounded to safer locations where standard resuscitation measures can be accomplished.”

Likewise, the so-called “golden-hour” after injury for needed fluid resuscitation may be prolonged to six hours if a small volume of E2 is administered shortly after injury in patients at the scene of an accident in rural areas where transportation to a Level 1 trauma center takes more than an hour.

Chaudry’s 19-year study of the effect of estrogen began at the Shock and Trauma laboratories, Michigan State University, and at the Center for Surgical Research at Brown University School of Medicine. Chaudry moved to UAB in 2000. He has had many collaborators since his initial 1997 paper with Zellweger and other colleagues in the journal Critical Care Medicine.

The Netherlands Will Become the First Country to Pave Its Roads with Recycled Plastic

The Netherlands Will Become the First Country to Pave Its Roads with Recycled Plastic

Dutch engineers and designers have become known for their innovative ideas during the recent years. From the self-healing concrete to the world’s first solar bike path, their creations always offer us a unique combination of ingenuity and eco-friendliness. Now, Dutch construction company VolkerWessels plans to pave the roads with recycled plastic bottles instead of asphalt. If everything goes smoothly and the PlasticRoad project is finally implemented, the Dutch city of Rotterdam will see roads with the surface made of recycled plastic already in three years.

It’s a good way to replace asphalt with a more ‘green’ alternative, considering how harmful this material is to the environment. In fact, every ton of produced asphalt emits 27 kilograms of CO2 into the atmosphere, which makes the total of 1.45 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide a year. Asphalt is also one of the main factors to cause urban heat island effect because of its property to absorb and retain heat. On the other hand, there is another critical problem with tons of plastic trash which are overloading both the land and the ocean.

Thus, using recycled plastic instead of asphalt to pave the roads could help lessen the environmental footprint. But it’s not the only benefit – it would also make the road surface more durable and, as a result, reduce road maintenance costs. According to VolkerWessels, this eco-friendly road surface is able to withstand a great range of temperatures – between -40C and 80C. At the same time, the plastic roads would be light and hollow, which means that there would be some extra space for pipes and cables.

Road construction would also become faster and less costly as there would be no need for on-site construction activities which require numerous staff and long-hour work. Instead, sections of the recycled plastic surface could be manufactured in a factory and then transported to the site. This would make it possible to prevent the pollution caused by roadworks and minimize the transportation of raw materials, which would contribute to reducing the environmental impacts as well.

Despite that the project is still on paper, the company is very optimistic about the future prospects. Rolf Mars of VolkerWessels said that the plastic roads could have a great potential for becoming a platform for the introduction of some other innovations, such as heated roads or ultra-quiet surfaces. In fact, Rotterdam is famous for supporting similar sustainable developments initiatives, so the city officials have already shown their interest in the implementation of the PlasticRoad project.

“Rotterdam is a very innovative city and has embraced the idea,” Mars told the Guardian. “It fits very well within its sustainability policy and it has said it is keen to work on a pilot.”


This Flexible Sensor Sticks To Your Skin And Measures Your Blood Flow.


The device sticks on the skin like a temporary tattoo; the metal part at the end connects it to a computer cable

The blood coursing through your arteries and veins bring necessary nutrients to organs throughout the body as well as take waste away. But conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, and certain types of inflammation can limit blood flow to various parts of the body and lead to permanent damage that is often hard to catch early on. Now a team led by researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has developed a flexible electronic sensor that can measure blood flow on top of the skin or, can possibly be implanted onto the tissues themselves, according to a study published todayin Science Advances.

The devices are made from a thin array of metallic wires that are oriented around a central sensor and map blood flow as well as pick up on the slight temperature increase that each pulse of blood brings. They are coated in a thin layer of silicone, so they are flexible and can stick to the skin like temporary tattoos. For now, the devices need to be attached to a computer using a thin cable, but could someday connect wirelessly via Bluetooth, as doother flexible electronics from the same lab. Those devices, which have been tested in the lab, are also capable of measuring blood flow, however this new device could be the most promising one to one day make it to the clinical setting.

A 3D rendering of the device monitoring flow in a blood vessel below the skin. The inset graph on the left is a map of the blood flow; the graph on the right shows changes in flow over time.

Lightweight, wireless devices could be a big improvement on those currently used at healthcare facilities, which are bulky and uncomfortable, and sometimes even produce inaccurate readings. When the researchers tested their device on the surface of the skin of a few participants in the lab, they found that the readings were just as accurate and sensitive as the bulkier ones, showing where and how fast the blood was flowing. And since the devices are so easy and inexpensive to manufacture, they lend themselves well to large-scale distribution.

The researchers have not yet tested the sensors abilities when implanted below the skin as the devices would need to be totally wireless in order for that to make probable sense. But the scientists hope that future iterations of the stretchy, flexible device could be used directly on internal organs to diagnose and monitor various medical conditions that may alter blood flow.

An infrared image of the device on a volunteer’s arm

Ayahuasca: This Amazonian Brew May Be the Most Powerful Antidepressant Ever Discovered



Recent studies show that this Amazonian healing elixir has the power to alleviate feelings of depression in just a few hours, with lasting positive changes.

After centuries of being labeled as primitive, traditional medicines are slowly making a comeback, especially in academia. The more research that’s conducted on traditional remedies, the more scientists must bow to the wisdom of our ancestors, as well as contemporary indigenous healers who are carrying these traditions forward. One of the most powerful traditional remedies isayahuasca.

Ayahuasca is a psychoactive healing elixir from the Amazon rainforest, a bitter tea consumed during healing ceremonies by native peoples of Peru, Brazil, Columbia and Ecuador. Ayahuasca is the only combinatory vision-inducing agent in the world. Like a tea, ayahuasca is made by brewing a combination of bark from the Banisteriopsis caapi vine (aka “the vine of the soul”) and leaves from Psychotria viridus (aka chakruna).

Shamans describe it as a sacred plant medicine that “opens a portal to the spirit world.” Portal or not, the healing properties of ayahuasca are undeniable. There are thousands of anecdotal reports of people having been healed from physical and mental disorders by taking ayahuasca—including some for whom death seemed near. The cases of post-ayahuasca cancer remission are too numerous to ignore, and the psychological benefits seem equally impressive. However, quality clinical studies are scarce.[i]

In a 2015 study led by neuroscientists at the University of São Paulo, Brazil, even one dose of ayahuasca was found to have powerful and immediate antidepressant effects. The study involved six volunteers with depression that was unresponsive to at least one antidepressant drug. The volunteers were administered the tea, then monitored in a quiet room and evaluated with standard clinical questionnaires to track their depression symptoms. The treatment was well tolerated, except for half of the participants vomiting (a common side effect). The psychedelic effects of ayahuasca wear off in about five hours.

Statistically significant improvements in depression symptoms were seen in just two to three hours, which is particularly notable when you consider conventional antidepressants typically take weeks to work. Even more impressive was that the benefits were sustained over the next 21 days. Further trials are underway, including a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study about ayahuasca’s benefits for depression, involving 80 patients.

The way Ayahuasca[ii] promotes psychedelic insights has long perplexed Western scientists. Ayahuasca is said to “help put into order the body, mind and spirit with the past, present and future.”[iii] During healing ceremonies, ayahuasca users commonly report emotionally charged visions, memories, and revelations about themselves and their lives, personalities and behaviors. The visions are not random—they typically center on emotionally charged and traumatic experiences, providing users the opportunity to re-experience those events in a more insightful way. Shamans say the elixir will give you whatever answers you seek.

Ayahuasca’s psychoactive properties are generally believed to be related to its serotonergiceffects. Psychotria viridis is rich in DMT (N,N Dimethyl Tryptamine), the most potent vision-inducing agent known to man.  DMT is not only found in hundreds of plants around the world but is alsomanufactured by your own body. But thanks to the enzyme MAO (monoamine oxidase), you aren’t tripped out all day, every day. The other ingredient in ayahuasca, Banisteriopsis caapi, contains a group of compounds called harmala alkaloids, which are MAO inhibitors (MAOI). These allow the DMT to stimulate unbridled activity in your brain by preventing the breakdown of serotonin and other neurotransmitters.

Imaging studies reveal that ayahuasca hyperactivates frontal brain regions, specifically the medial frontal and anterior cingulate cortices responsible for somatic awareness and emotion. Ayahuasca triggers a large release of glutamate, which causes neural firing all along the frontal cortex. The elixir also activates parahippocampal areas involved in processing memory and emotion, including the amygdala. The insula is also activated, which is where feeling states are generated and is thought to act as a bridge between our emotional impulses and decision-making capacity. This may be what allows subjects to “travel” through their past experiences with an awareness of thoughts, emotions and memories that are difficult to access in ordinary mental states.

Your brain’s neocortex is also involved in anticipatory and planning behavior and abstract reasoning, so its activation may help explain the complex and meaningful cognitive experiences that take place during and after the consumption of ayahuasca.

Ayahuasca impacts dysfunctional cognitive-behavioral patterns. Powerful or traumatic events create imprints on the brain that are reinforced every time we encounter a similar situation. Repeated events reinforce these pathways, building up something like “emotional scar tissue,” which can lead to dysfunctional emotional responses and problematic behaviors throughout one’s lifetime. Ayahuasca appears to help users override these entrenched neurological patterns, allowing new connections to be made. Users report emerging with fresh perspectives on past experiences, which may explain many of ayahuasca’s healing benefits for depression, anxiety and PTSD, substance abuse and other problems. An interesting video about Ayahuasca research is available here.

Longer-term studies show ayahuasca positively impacts mood, reasoning and decision-making with minimal adverse effects. Ayahuasca has been shown to be non-addictive when used long-term by healthy individuals in supportive settings. There is no evidence of neurotoxicity—ritualized long-term users even scored better on certain cognitive tests than control groups.

Due to the intensity of the visions, ayahuasca should not be taken alone. Its therapeutic potential and safety are contingent upon how the experience is facilitated, monitored and integrated. However, with proper support, even a single dose of ayahuasca seems to offer potentially deep therapeutic benefits.

Scientists get first glimpse of conductivity that could break size barriers for memory

Scientists get first glimpse of conductivity that could break size barriers for memory
An illustration of electrically conductive areas (blue) along the boundaries of tiny magnetic regions, or domains, in chunky grains of a material that normally doesn’t conduct electricity. This type of conductivity was postulated decades ago and now has been directly imaged for the first time by a team of Stanford and SLAC researchers. 

Scientists from Stanford University and the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have made the first direct images showing that electrical currents can flow along the boundaries between tiny magnetic regions of a material that normally doesn’t conduct electricity. The results could have major implications for magnetic memory storage.

“This can provide a more straightforward way to use magnetic material as memory,” said Eric Yue Ma, a graduate student in the laboratory of Zhi-Xun Shen, the SLAC and Stanford professor who led the research. “Today you need to convert magnetic information into electrical information when reading magnetic memory, usually via multiple layers of different . But if you have both types of information within the material itself, you can skip that step.”

The team has filed a provisional patent on the concept of using this phenomenon to make new types of sensors and very stable, high-density memory storage that can potentially go beyond the size limitations of current technologies. They report the results of their study today in the journal Science.

Unconventional Times Two

The material they studied, which was synthesized by researchers at the University of Tokyo and the RIKEN research institution in Japan, is relatively new – a combination of neodymium, iridium and oxygen. It’s magnetic, but not in the conventional sense. Although it consists of microscopic regions, or “domains,” where the spins of electrons line up and generate tiny magnetic fields, in this case the fields all cancel each other out. So the material as a whole has zero magnetism and would not stick to your fridge.

The material doesn’t conduct electricity, either, in a conventional way. But theorists have postulated and argued since the 1950s that this type of material, known as a magnetic insulator, might conduct electrical current along the boundaries between its magnetic domains.

Scientists get first glimpse of conductivity that could break size barriers for memory
Stanford postdoctoral researcher Yongtao Cui, left, and graduate student Eric Yue Ma with the microwave impedance microscopy (MIM) instrument used in the study. 

Shen’s group used a technique they invented to directly image those boundaries and show they are electrically conductive – as if they were thin ribbons of aluminum foil snaking through an insulating slab of glass. The technique is called microwave impedance microscopy, or MIM. It sends microwaves down through the tip of a probe that is in direct contact with the material, and collects the microwave signals that are reflected back. This allows them to measure the electrical resistance of the material – how well it conducts electricity – in areas as small as 100 nanometers, or billionths of a meter. Shen recently received one of the top grants in quantum materials research from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to develop the next generation of MIM.

“This physics is interesting and had been thought to exist, but it remained elusive for the last 60 years,” Shen said. “Now it’s been seen directly in this experiment.”

A Beautiful Technique

Leon Balents, a professor of physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara who was not involved in the study, said the results were impressive.

“It’s a beautiful experimental technique, to be able to make these measurements, and the technique could be applied to a huge range of materials,” he said. “It’s remarkable how large the magnetic domains are. That’s great news; it means we can isolate a single domain and measure its properties. And now that they have a handle on being able to locate the domains, they can use those techniques to attack further questions.

Scientists get first glimpse of conductivity that could break size barriers for memory
This image of a magnetic material taken with MIM shows that the bulk of the material is electrically insulating (dark blue regions) and the boundaries between magnetic domains are electrically conductive (white solid lines). 

“While this is a fundamental physics study,” he said, “in the long term people are thinking toward many different types of applications.”

Future Devices and Studies

In a provisional U.S. patent application filed by Stanford and RIKEN, the inventors suggest that manipulating the arrangement of the in these materials could offer a way to store information. Changing the number of domains within a small area by applying heat or strain, for instance, could make it dramatically more insulating or conductive. These two sharply contrasting states could be directly read as ones and zeroes and used to store and retrieve information. The resulting memory devices should be more stable than today’s FLASH memory, “potentially holding data practically permanently,” the inventors wrote. More importantly, such devices can potentially be scaled down below the fundamental size limits for FLASH set by semiconductor physics to make the memories of the future.

Scientists get first glimpse of conductivity that could break size barriers for memory
This microwave impedance microscopy (MIM) instrument was used to image tiny ribbons of electrical conductivity between magnetic regions, or domains, of a type of material known as a magnetic insulator. Invented in the laboratory of Stanford and SLAC Professor Zhi-Xun Shen, it allowed scientists to directly see these conductive areas for the first time. 

Although the material studied here could harbor domain boundary conductivity only at extremely cold temperatures, the team pointed out that other scientists have recently reported signs of similar properties in a material that could work at a much warmer temperature of minus 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Shen’s group is working to improve the resolution of their MIM technique for studies of these and other materials with potential for creating entirely new types of devices.

Scientists get first glimpse of conductivity that could break size barriers for memory
Scientists were able to make direct images of electrically conductive boundaries between a material’s magnetic regions, or domains, using a technique called microwave impedance microscopy (MIM). The device sends microwaves down through the tip of a probe that is in direct contact with the material, and collects the microwave signals that are reflected back. 

Ozone hole gets bigger, Earth to bear more UV damage

The 2015 Antarctic ozone hole area was larger and formed later than in recent years, scientists from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have said.

The Antarctic ozone hole forms and expands during the Southern Hemisphere spring (August and September) because of the high levels of chemically active forms of chlorine and bromine in the stratosphere. Image Courtesy Twitter.

The ozone hole is a severe depletion of the ozone layer above Antarctica that was first detected in the 1980s.

The Antarctic ozone hole forms and expands during the Southern Hemisphere spring (August and September) because of the high levels of chemically active forms of chlorine and bromine in the stratosphere.

Earlier this month, on October 2, the ozone hole expanded to its peak of 28.2 million sq kms — an area larger than the continent of North America. Throughout October, the hole remained large and set many area daily records.

Unusually cold temperature and weak dynamics in the Antarctic stratosphere this year resulted in this larger ozone hole, scientists said.

In comparison, last year the ozone hole peaked at 24.1 million sq kms on September 11. Compared to the 1991-2014 period, the 2015 ozone hole average area was the fourth largest.

“During September we typically see a rapid ozone decline, ending with about 95 percent depletion in that layer by October 1. This year the depletion held on an extra two weeks resulting in nearly 100 percent depletion by October 15,” said Bryan Johnson, a researcher at NOAA laboratory in Boulder, Colorado.

The ozone layer helps shield the Earth from potentially harmful ultraviolet radiation that can cause skin cancer, cataracts and suppress immune systems, as well as damage plants.

The large size of this year’s ozone hole will likely result in increases of harmful ultraviolet rays at the Earth’s surface, particularly in Antarctica and the Southern Hemisphere in the coming months.

Thanks to the montreal protocol on substances that deplete the Ozone layer, atmospheric levels of these ozone depleting compounds are slowly declining. The ozone hole is expected to recover back to 1980 levels in approximately 2070. – See more at:

Human DNA found in hot dogs… 10% of veggie dogs made with meat… but private genomics lab censors brand names to appease food industry

A private food testing lab called Clear Food is ramping up with a project it says will publicly post scores for foods based on whether the food composition matches the label. Sadly, this lab wants to be a “friend” of the food industry and won’t be testing for GMOs, pesticides or anything not listed on the label. They’re not even releasing the brand names of the hot dogs contaminated with human DNA!


In its first big announcement, the lab tested hundreds of hot dogs and veggie dogs and found some very disturbing things.

For starters, it found human DNA in hot dogs. “Two percent of all samples were found to have traces of human DNA in them. Veggie dogs were the worst off, accounting for 67 percent of the hygiene issues and two-thirds of the human DNA found,” reports Yahoo News.

The fact that human DNA is being found in hot dogs might mean Bob fell into the meat grinder again. More likely, however, it just means that people working on these food lines aren’t wearing beard nets or gloves. It’s interesting that most of the problems were found in veggie dogs, which are positioned as being healthier than meat-based hot dogs. Apparently, veggie dogs aren’t 100% vegetarian because they also contain some human parts.

According to the Clear Food report, 10% of vegetarian hot dogs contained meat. Sadly, Clear Food refuses to name which brands were contaminated!

The problem with Clear Food

As the lab director of the Natural News Forensic Food Lab, I’m always excited when I see more private labs cropping up and getting into the business of testing food. But Clear Labs seems to have already surrendered to the food industry and won’t be testing for GMOs.

Clear Food “does not want to alienate industry,” reports Food Quality News.

“…we don’t want to alienate industry,” said Mahni Ghorashi, co-founder of Clear Labs. “We are not a consumer watchdog organization.” So they’re not even naming which brands were contaminated. Wow… they censor their own science to protect the worst offenders! How can they call themselves “Clear” when they won’t even tell consumers which brands were contaminated?

That’s too bad, because it means this company is going to be giving high scores to all sorts of toxic, genetically modified foods made with hydrogenated oils, cancer-causing sodium nitrite and HFCS. Sadly, this means a high “Clear Food” score will mislead consumers into thinking a food item is healthy, nutritious or even non-GMO when it’s actually made from toxic ingredients that cause cancer, obesity and diabetes.

The entire Clear Food system only rates whether food composition matches the food label. That’s it. And since GMOs aren’t labeled, they won’t even be testing for GMOs.

Too bad. They could have been empowering consumers, but now they’re likely to end up as just another industry lapdog that grants misleading high scores to processed food loaded with GMOs.

Natural News Forensic Food Lab undergoing massive expansion

If you’re looking for a watchdog science laboratory that’s conducting consumer watchdog testing of foods, we’ve got a massive expansion of our own Forensic Food Lab under way.

With the addition of an entire organic chemistry section, we’ll soon be testing foods for pesticides, herbicides and other contaminants. We’re also adding an ion chromatograph instrument to test iodine, fluoride, chlorine and other halogens!

And yes, we are probably going to alienate the big food giants. That’s our job, to protect the interests of the public, not to be polite to the food giants that are poisoning everybody. We answer to YOU, our readers, not the influence of Big Ag.

Too many lab people are neutered panzies who are afraid to use science to really tell the full truth about what’s in foods. They try to be nice, polite and friendly all the time, which means they don’t have the balls to conduct real science in the public interest. Real food science takes courage, because the truth about what’s in the foods you’re eating is most definitely something the food industry doesn’t want publicly known.

Maybe that’s why my friends are now calling me the “Donald Trump of the food industry.” I’m the guy who tells the truth… even when it’s not popular among industry giants. And yet, at the same time, telling the truth is wildly popular among food consumers, which is why we continue to gain readers.