Big Pharma continues to push statins on the general public, despite an overwhelmingly massive amount ofevidence that the drugs do more harm than good. Buzz headlines such “statins reduce heart disease” and “statins aid bypass surgery” litter the internet. And although statins may help lower “bad” cholesterol, it is immoral to promote the benefits of a drug without noting all the risks.
Anyone looking to make an informed decision about the health advantages/disadvantages of statins would benefit from reading Dr. Frederic J. Vagnini and Dr. Barry Fox’s book The side effects bible. In it, the authors highlight all the damage statins can wreak on the human body point by point. The following is a snippet from the book:
One of the best-researched instances of drug-induced nutrient robbery involves the statin drugs and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). Since their introduction in the late 1980s, the statins have rapidly become the dominant class of drugs used to treat elevated cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia) and are among the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States.
Statins lower CoQ10 and harm the heart
The statin/CoQ10 connection in humans first came to light in 1990, when researchers noted that the blood levels of CoQ10 fell in five patients who were taking lova-statin. By itself, this finding may have passed without much comment, except that all five were also suffering from a potentially fatal disease of the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy). Their heart problems grew worse as their CoQ10 levels fell, but then improved when they were given supplemental CoQ]0 to replace what the statin drug took away. This was the first study with humans to show that: statin drugs could lower CoQ10; the shortfall could harm the heart; and both the deficit and the accompanying heart damage could easily be reversed.
The greater the statin dose, the lower the CoQ10
Three years later, a group of British researchers examined the effects of a different statin drug, simvastatin, on CoQ10. For their study, they compared groups of people who were either taking the drug and eating a special diet, were only eating the special diet, or were doing nothing. Those on simvastatin had significantly lower levels of CoQ10 in their blood. And the greater the drug dosage, the lower the blood levels of CoQ10.
Statins lower CoQ10 in the platelets and the blood
In 1994, a team of Italian researchers gave either simvastatin or simvastatin plus CoQ10 to 34 people with elevated cholesterol levels. Blood samples taken from each group revealed that the statin drug lowered CoQ10 levels in the blood and in the platelets (small cells within the blood that are essential for coagulation). However, the supplemental CoQ10 reversed the CoQ10 deficit in the blood and platelets.
Statins increase LDL oxidation
Finnish doctors examined the effects of lovastatin on CoQ10 and LDL oxidation in 29 men with elevated cholesterol. Lovastatin triggered a significant drop in CoQ10 in the blood. It also triggered increased oxidation of LDL, thus heightening the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases.
Statin drugs harm the heart
In 1999, a team of French researchers compared the effects of simvastatin to a nonstatin drug called fenofibrate. After 12 weeks, they noted that the statin weakened the heart muscle.
The stamp of approval
Many physicians don’t feel a new idea is official until it’s presented in the Journal of the American Medical Association. That happened in 2002, when the journal published the results of a study on simvastatin. Twenty milligrams per day of the statin pushed the blood levels of CoQ10 down by 22 percent.
These and other studies have made it clear that the statin drugs rob the body of CoQ10 – and the greater the dose, the more CoQ10 is lost. This might be acceptable in healthy, relatively young patients whose bodies are still producing good amounts of CoQ10. But for people over the age of 40 whose ability to manufacture CoQ10 is diminished, and for those who already have heart disease and need large doses of CoQ10, the statin drugs can be seriously detrimental. It’s no wonder that several leading researchers have called upon the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to put a warning label on statin drugs, reminding physicians that these medications rob the body of CoQ10, which should be replaced with supplements.
This statin-induced nutrient robbery won’t send you to the hospital right away. Depending on your age and heart health, months or even years may pass before you begin to feel the effects of CoQ10 depletion. But sooner or later, almost everyone taking these drugs will be affectedven those in their 30s and 40s who were put on statin drug therapy because their cholesterol was mildly or marginally elevated. And as the Baby Boomers roll into retirement, we’ll undoubtedly see millions more taking these medications.
Francis Langoba Kelly, spokesman for the Office of National Security, told local radio Friday that tests on a woman who died in the country’s north earlier this month were positive for the virus. Kelly said the country’s level of preparedness is high and there is no cause for concern.
Nearly 4,000 people died before Sierra Leone was first declared free from transmission Nov. 7. Guinea marked that day on Nov. 29. Liberia had been declared Ebola-free twice before Thursday. Officials warned flare-ups were possible.
Ebola has killed more than 11,300 people, mostly in West Africa, since it emerged at the end of 2013.
Researchers in the US have just made an existing chemotherapy drug way more effective, managing to kill drug-resistant lung cancer cells in the lab using 50 times less of the medication than is currently required.
“That matters because we may eventually be able to treat patients with smaller and more accurate doses of powerful chemotherapy drugs, resulting in more effective treatment with fewer and milder side effects,” explained lead researcher Elena Batrakova, a pharmacologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
What’s really exciting about the result is that it didn’t rely on any new or experimental medications – the researchers were able to kill the drug-resistant cancer using chemotherapy that’s already been tested and is known to work in humans – all they did was make it a whole lot better by figuring out a new way to package and deliver the medication.
That’s important, because chemotherapy is inherently inefficient. Basically it involves toxic medication being pumped into large areas of the body in the hopes of killing off cancer cells… which often works, but also happens to kill off a whole lot of other healthy tissue, resulting in some intense side effects.
For years, scientists have looked into better ways of targeting these drugs so that they only effect tumours and don’t harm any other cells, but most of them have done this by using plastics-based nanoparticles to package the drugs. It’s a good idea in theory, but the body usually recognises these nanoparticles as foreign and attacks, preventing the package from getting where it needs to be.
Instead, the North Carolina team looked for more natural alternatives, and packaged the drugs inside something called an exosome – tiny spheres harvested from a patient’s own white blood cells.
“Exosomes are engineered by nature to be the perfect delivery vehicles,” said Batrakova. “By using exosomes from white blood cells, we wrap the medicine in an invisibility cloak that hides it from the immune system. We don’t know exactly how they do it, but the exosomes swarm the cancer cells, completely bypassing any drug resistance they may have and delivering their payload.”
To test the system out, the researchers took a chemotherapy drug called paclitaxel, which is already used effectively to treat breast, lung, and pancreatic cancers, but with severe side effects, such as hair loss, muscle cramping, and diarrhoea.
The researchers loaded this drug inside exosomes taken from mice, and then set them loose on a petri dish containing multiple-drug-resistant cancer cells. They called their treatment exoPXT, and they found that they needed 50 times less of it to kill the cancer cells than they did when they used commercially available versions of paclitaxel.
The team also tested dye-filled exosomes in mice with drug-resistant lung cancer, and showed that the exosomes were able to thoroughly seek out and mark cancer cells, suggesting the little packages also have potential as highly accurate diagnostic tools.
The next step will be to see if the exosomes can deliver drugs just as well in these mice models and, if all goes to plan in the future, humans. But that’s a big if – unfortunately, many therapies that are effective in the lab and even in mouse models don’t end up working in humans.
Still, it’s a pretty exciting first trial, and it suggests that exosomes could play an important role in the future of diagnosis, as well as treatment. We’re looking forward to seeing what happens next.
The trial took place at a clinic in the city of Rennes in the north of the country. French media say the trial was for a painkiller containing cannabis, although it has not been revealed which pharmaceutical company was behind the testing.
“It’s very rare, because the people who take part are very healthy and the doses are under close control.”
Britain’s GW Pharma, which markets an approved cannabis-derived treatment for spasticity caused by Multiple Sclerosis, said it was not involved in the trial.
All the volunteers were said to have been in good health prior to starting the drug trial.
“In phase 1, it’s very rare, because the people who take part are very healthy and the doses are under close control. On the more advanced trials, when those are on patients with sometimes serious illnesses, and the trial is about contrasting the new product with a reference medicine, there can be deaths”.
The trials, carried out at a specialised private facility, have now been suspended and all those who took part in testing the drug have been called for medical assessment.
Vaccines are a very imperfect science, despite the good intentions of healthcare providers and parents seeking to protect their children from disease. Adverse, life-changing and deadly effects of vaccines are more common than ever. In fact, the US government has had to pay out over $3 billion to vaccine-injured families since 1986.Still think vaccines are safe?
The Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) lists several negative outcomes of vaccines. Many of these side effects are worse than the diseases these vaccines are for! VAERS reports that the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine is “linked to febrile seizures, which are a type of seizure that occurs in infants and young children in association with fever.” While these seizures hold no long-term consequences, they can be a frightening experience.
Worse yet, VAERS reports that a whole slew of vaccines, including MMR, varicella zoster, influenza, hepatitis B, meningococcal and tetanus “are linked to anaphylaxis.” Anaphylaxis shock can lead to sudden death. Many of these cases are under-reported, filed as SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome.
Injection, regardless of vaccine type, is associated with loss of shoulder motion and fainting
The committee that studied these horrific vaccine effects “also found convincing evidence of a causal relationship between injection of vaccine, independent of the antigen involved, and
two types of adverse events, including syncope, or fainting, and deltoid bursitis, or frozen shoulder, characterized by shoulder pain and loss of motion.”
Just the mere act of injecting viruses and sterilizing agents poses severe risks, since the body is not designed receive these vaccine ingredients without first processing them through the normal route of body filters (including the skin, mucous membranes, gastrointestinal tract, kidneys and liver), or at all. It seems that putting these ingredients directly into the blood can easily create an adverse health event. The committee also found that the MMR vaccine often elicits joint pain in both children and adults.
The flu, which can easily be overcome with a strong immune system, is mild compared to some of the adverse effects associated with the flu vaccine. These effects include conjunctivitis, facial swelling and upper respiratory symptoms, including coughing and wheezing.
US Vaccine Court bypasses the true judicial process, protecting vaccine makers while paying off families affected by vaccine-induced autism
What no one completely understands is how the overload of vaccinations in the 21st century is a contributing factor to the rise of autism spectrum diagnoses (which is now a greater problem than the diseases we are trying to fight).
While the autism debate rages on, silently, the US Vaccine Court, established in 1986, has awarded several families large cash settlements after confirming that their child likely did become autistic because of vaccine(s).
This separate kangaroo vaccine court allows the vaccine manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies absolute immunity from true prosecution. The government handles their cases and pays families off with an excise tax collected from the sale of… you guessed it… vaccines. It’s a vicious circle that circumvents the true judicial process. This dishonest system protects the profits of vaccine makers and doesn’t hold them accountable for their harmful products. The excise tax the government uses to pay off families affected by vaccines is garnered by collecting $0.75 for every vaccine dose purchased by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In a true court of law, these adverse effects of vaccines would be put on trial. The vaccines would be investigated as a harm to the public, and the drug makers would be held accountable. Sadly, that’s just not the case, and that’s why so many people believe vaccines are safe today.
Here are three examples (of many recorded) linking vaccine damage to autism and encephalopathy
Here are three examples where the US Vaccine Court awarded compensation to families whose children were harmed by vaccines, resulting in autism or autism symptoms.
“[N]o evidence to overcome the strong probability that the DPT was the most likely cause. … Richelle’s disabilities include autistic-like behavior, hyperactivity, and partially controlled seizures. … The court finds further that all other statutory requirements have been met, and concludes that petitioners are entitled to compensation for injuries sustained as a result of the DPT vaccine administered on July 30, 1979.”
Hannah Poling: MMR vaccine
“Court ruled in favor of compensation due to the significant aggravation of child’s pre-existing mitochondrial disorder based on an MMR vaccine Table presumptive injury of encephalopathy, which eventually manifested as chronic encephalopathy with features of autism spectrum disorder and a complex partial seizure disorder as a sequelae.”
Eric Lassiter: DPT vaccine
“Eric was completely healthy prior to a DPT booster. His is a ‘known case of static encephalopathy after DPT immunization.’ Based on the court’s own findings of fact and the reasons proffered by Dr. Lichtenfeld, the court concludes that Eric, more likely than not, sustained an encephalopathy and that the first manifestation of onset of the injury occurred within the Table time frame.”
This article will teach you how to overcome fear. Fear is something we all face at some level in our life. The things that we fear may differ, the intensity of it may differ, but the fact is we are all fearful of something or the other. It is an uneasy feeling that stops us from doing what we want because it forces us to worry about the consequences.
Fear exists in the brain as a safety mechanism. Your brain pops what ifs into your head because it thinks that is going to make you doubt yourself and then you will not take risks that it thinks will get you into trouble. Your brain thinks it is doing you a favour by keeping you safe, and to a certain extent it is, by keeping you out of truly dangerous situations.
Some fear is good. It makes you more cautious and proactive if contained in healthy levels. If you are afraid of going into a jungle full of lions and stepping out of the car, it is a legitimate fear. The only time it is not a legitimate fear is when those lions know you well enough to not eat you!
But the problem is 99 percent of the fear we have today is totally in our head. The brain sends us false messages thinking it is helping us but it forces us to stop living our life! Your mind cripples you. You will have to learn to overcome fear if you truly want to live to the fullest with no regrets. You should never look back and say I wish I would have done this or done that but I was too afraid to do it. Learning how to overcome fear is one of the biggest keys to becoming the best version of yourself. Do you want to learn how to overcome fear? Then Read On.
How To Overcome Fear: Step 1) Realize that your thoughts are just thoughts. They do not depict reality, only your perception of reality.
How I perceive a situation is totally different from how you might perceive it. Some people are great at public speaking, others are terrible at it because they are excessively judgemental about the situation. Some people might hear a screeching noise at night and think it’s a ghost and become very scared, others might realize it’s just the stray cats making some noise and go back to sleep. Same situation, two different reactions.
The truth is most of the thoughts in our head are not totally under your control. The brain keeps generating thoughts that may not necessarily mean anything at all. But how you react to those thoughts will play a tremendous role in the development of fears and phobias. For example, if after hearing a screeching noise at night, you develop a habit of ignoring it and sleeping throughout it, the brain will naturally refocus on something else. However, if you worry and resist the thought and stay up all night, the brain will throw that thought at you again and again and again and every time, there is the slightest noise or trigger, you will again be up scared and afraid.
How To Overcome Fear: Step 2) Look at the evidence to the contrary
Now that you know that your reaction or fear does not depict reality, only your perception, start looking at the evidence that goes against your beliefs that drive the fear.
Afraid of traveling in a plane? Study statistics that show how safe plane travel is compared to other forms of travel.
Heard a noise at night, go check the house once completely for your satisfaction and then go back to sleep. If it happens again it could be coming from outside or might just be the mouse.
Now realize that this doesn’t work with everyone. Some people suffer from extreme anxiety which makes it difficult for them simply dismiss their fear by rationalizing. If investigating evidence does not make you feel relieved, then there is something else you need to do. But before that let me tell you what doesn’t work.
How To Overcome Fear: Step 3) Do not think about the situation excessively. It will make it worse.
Excessively thinking about something is called rumination. People are naturally drawn to excessively thinking about something that makes them anxious or depressed .The problem is that rumination doesn’t make things better it actually makes it worse. That’s why I don’t recommend “investigating the evidence” beyond a certain level. If investigating the evidence once or twice makes you feel relieved, fine, if it doesn’t then you need to stop because you are getting into a vicious cycle of thinking, called rumination which studies have confirmed, makes the anxiety or depression WORSE.
People are naturally drawn to ruminate because they want to solve the problem. They want to feel certain and nullify the anxiety. And sometimes it works, but sometimes, it will make your fears worse, because the message you are feeding to the brain is – “Hey that thing is dangerous, please remind me of it again and again and again and please make me fearful to keep me safe.”
How To Overcome Fear: Step 4) Distract yourself.
When something gives you fear, you need to stay in that situation and distract yourself. If you do something you enjoy or something that makes you really busy, that makes the process much much easier and will over a period of time remove the fear.
When I was a doing my undergraduate studies, for a while a studied in a University in America. I stayed in a Dormitory. But during the holidays, almost everyone from the dorm, left to meet their families and it was me alone who stayed in a 7 floor high building. To make matters worse, there were rumours of it being haunted.
For Ten nights I stayed in that building alone, and while I saw no ghost, the dread of encountering one (my perception and thus false fear) worried me. But guess what, I stayed there all ten nights and pretty much killed a lot of my fear. How did i do it?
I kept myself busy with things. When you are busy laughing and having fun and distracting yourself, your mind refocuses. That artificial dread created in your mind goes into the background and the fear gradually subsides. At the end of those ten nights, I overcame most of my fear and it hardly bothers me any more. I will admit that I was scared at first but after the first couple of days I was hardly thinking about it any more.
How To Overcome Fear: Step 5) Do not practice avoidance. It doesn’t work.
If you avoid what you fear, a false message gets sent to your brain that the thing you are avoiding is harmful or will get you into a lot of trouble. So when you avoid it for a bit, you feel safe, but the moment it comes into the picture again, your brain sends you an even bigger fear message. You have two options at that time, either you face it and gradually let the fear subside or avoid it yet again and then have the fear rise even more thus continuing a vicious cycle until which you become extremely scared of facing it. This vicious cycle avoiding behaviour plays a big role in the development of phobias. Avoidance makes you feel safe temporarily but a hugely destructive behaviour in the long run. So no matter how cliche it sounds, the only way to beat fear is to face the fear, stay with it as long as possible and as often as possible until the fear gradually subsides on its own and your brain reprograms itself.
How To Overcome Fear: Step 6) Face the Fear.
Face the fear to overcome the fear. This is the only way to beat fear. This is common sense that has been passed on to us since centuries and Modern Science confirms this fact. In psychology, this process is called an Exposure and Response Prevention. You see our brain learns patterns whether positive or negative. How quickly one does it depends from person to person. When you face a fear, the first things that happens is that your brain is going to freak out, thinking you are doing something dangerous. You will have to learn to ignore those false messages and stay with that fear. You should NOT avoid the fear because then it is only going to make that false fear grow and GET EVEN Worse. It will make tackling that fear even harder the next time. So ignore those false messages and stay with the fear and face the discomfort. When your brain realizes over time, that facing the fear is not dangerous, over a period of time those heightened feelings of anxiety will go down and down and down and you will emerge victorious because you refused to give in!
Now this sounds good in theory but sometimes it is hard to face a fear that terrifies you in one go. Some people get too overwhelmed, abandon the exposure midway therefore reinforcing the negative avoidance patterns which make things worse. So a solution to this is Gradual Desensitization
How To Overcome Fear: Step 7) Practice Gradual Desensitization
What is gradual desensitization? It means taking a gentle approach to eroding your fear over time instead of taking an aggressive head on approach to beat it in a shorter time. Different things work for different people but some people are not able to tolerate an aggressive approach. So something else needs to be tried.
How this works is simple. You identify something that you are afraid of, let’s say you are afraid of public speaking but someday you wish to speak in front of thousands of people. How do you tackle it. Can you do it over night if it is a morbid fear? Probably but it is going to shake you tremendously. So the gradual desensitization approach is this. You first get people you trust and those that don’t make fun of you, like your family to listen to you talk and be your first audience. You practice the entire speech in front of them a couple of times, then you invite a few other people you trust and speak in front of them. Then you start speaking in front of larger and larger groups like 10 people, 20 people, 30 people and so on and you become more and more comfortable and build your way up to huge groups. Then one fine day you decide to speak to a massive event of over a thousand people, and you realize that apart from a mild nervousness, it does not bother you at all, because your brain has gotten used to it!You just conquered a previously massive fear through a series of achievable steps
How To Overcome Fear: Step 8) Seek the help of someone you trust.
The help of someone you trust is paramount when it comes to overcoming fears, whether it is through gradual desensitization, just like family members helped in the overcoming public speaking example I gave previously. However some fears are such you just to have face them head on. Apart from the knowledge that your fear is unreal and trusting yourself that everything will be all right, you have no other option but to face it. For example if you are afraid of flying, there are no two ways about it. You will have to step in an air plane and take a trip to overcome it. What helps tremendously here is the support of people who you trust that then instil the trust that everything will be alright.
When you are with someone you trust, you become much more capable to deal with the fear and may be able to overcome it better using this approach. However, do not depend on them as a crutch. It is very easy to fall into the pattern of always depending on them to make you feel safe. It’s ok to seek their help in the beginning, but don’t get into excessive reassurance seeking mode, at some point you will have to let go and face it all on your own at some point and the sooner it is the better.
How To Overcome Fear: Step 9) If nothing else works, be willing to face the consequences of being wrong. Replace What Ifs with So What.
Sometimes the fear is so deeply engrained, no matter how false or unrealistic it may seem that the only way to truly face and overcome it is to be willing to face the consequences of being wrong and then distracting yourself.
If you have a fear of flying, and there is no one to help you and all the research about how safe flying really is doesn’t help you, the only option you have is to say whatever happens, happens, I am not going to stop living my life . You will have to replace the what ifs with So what. You will have to tell yourself that you embrace the risk because the fear for your life is not letting you live your life! It maybe painful at first to be accepting of the consequences, so you can acknowledge it briefly and then distract yourself doing activities that keep you in the situation but slowly erode the fear on its own. Over time you will realize that the truth is that there are no realistic consequences at all.
How To Overcome Fear: Step 10) Once you overcome the fear, do not avoid it again. Keep exposing yourself to it.
Remember that overcoming a fear is like a habit you need to maintain, it is not enough to expose yourself once to a fear and think that it is enough. You need to keep doing it. Even after the fear is mostly gone, the moment the situation provokes the slightest anxiety, go and face it .yet again. Do not avoid it because the moment you avoid it you are again telling the brain that this thing is dangerous, it is going to start reforming old patterns even if they are milder this time, but the risk remains nevertheless. So keep re exposing yourself to these fears and de sensitize yourself as much as possible and keep it that way.
I hope this article has given you great tips on how to overcome fear. Your life is yours, it is that of your soul, not even that of your brain. Your biggest enemies can exist inside your head, your fears. Don’t let them master you, Instead become the master of your own mind. Beat the enemies inside your head and every time they rear their ugly head, face them and beat them for good again. You can live and enjoy your life to the fullest, if you have the courage to do so . Good luck!
There’s no practical reason why a 40-watt laser shotgun should exist. But it’s not illegal, or—with the appropriate vision and know-how—even that difficult to build. So this past June, DIY laser whiz Drake Anthony, then a college junior, decided to give it a go.
Rather than craft a laser gun composed of a single, highly powerful beam, Anthony’s creation combines eight parallel 5-watt lasers. A lens focuses the beams to produce a concentrated blast of photons—just as a shotgun’s choke does for pellets.
Clearing time from his schedule at Southern Illinois University, the math-physics-chemistry triple major worked nearly nonstop for 48 hours, stripping wires, soldering parts, and smoothing out bugs, taking breaks only to eat and sleep. His efforts paid off. Anthony emerged from his marathon with a weapon capable of setting paper on fire, melting Ping-Pong balls, and burning wood.
“It’s something I wanted to build just because I could,” he says. “It’s very, very strong and extremely dangerous, but once I realized it was possible to make it, I had to try.”
Anthony—better known to his 155,000 YouTube followers by his username, styropyro—has been hacking lasers since he was 12 years old. Now 23, the 40-watt shotgun is only his latest creation—and the most powerful to date—in a list of more than 100 homemade lasers. Many of those DIY projects are chronicled on his YouTube channel, which contains around 150 demonstrations, and step-by-step instructions for making devices ranging from a laser lightsaber to a laser lava lamp. Some videos have received millions of views, including the 40-watt laser shotgun, which racked up more than 5 million clicks in just a week.
Anthony, who grew up in the tiny town of Goodfield, Illinois, can’t remember a time when he wasn’t interested in science, especially all things chemistry- and pyrotechnics-related. But it wasn’t until junior high that he first learned about lasers and the way those amplified beams of light can set things on fire—even with just a few watts. Just as a magnifying glass does with sunlight, lasers precisely focus monochromatic, synchronized light waves into a small spot, resulting in a high-energy density. As the laser’s concentrated light is absorbed into the material, it is converted into heat, enough of which will cause a fire.
Eager to move beyond bland textbook explanations, the young experimentalist ordered a green laser pointer online. As soon as it arrived, he ripped it apart—and promptly broke it. “But then I bought another one and modified it so it was stronger,” he says. “And that one didn’t break.”
“As I was breaking things and putting parts back together, I was learning from experience.”
Anthony was hooked. He began placing bids for broken laser pointers and DVD burners on eBay, which he would dismantle. Like Dr. Frankenstein, he cobbled the disparate parts together to fashion a stronger, more potent creation. “I didn’t know any real physics at the time, and a lot of it was just screwing around,” he says. “But as I was breaking things and putting parts back together, I was learning from experience.”
Anthony posted his first laser video in 2007, a “really simple, really quick” clip of a green laser pointer that he used to pop a few balloons. What began as a desire to share his creations with a few fellow laser enthusiasts soon became much more. “I had no expectation of getting a lot of views,” he says. “I thought there would just be a niche market of people who thought the videos were interesting.”
To his surprise, Anthony steadily attracted a following of devoted subscribers, and some of his videos—including a how-to explanation of a laser he built almost entirely from old computer parts, and a comparison of the pros and cons of blue and green lasers—proved to be wildly popular. The attention eventually landed him a deal with YouTube.
Warning: Anthony’s laser projects can be very dangerous. So don’t try this at home—you’ll scorch your eye out.
While the YouTube channel helps him pay his college bills, Anthony says he’s not in it for the money. For him, it’s all about the love of tinkering. “Lasers are really just one of many scientific hobbies I have,” he says. “If I didn’t do projects like these, I’d be miserable—it’s just the way I am.”
Setting things on fire with homemade lasers is not his life’s mission, however—research is. The lasers have assisted him in that pursuit too; he credits the videos for helping him score a job in a physical chemistry lab at his university, where he uses lasers to try to make MRI instruments more sensitive. Now that he’s a senior, Anthony is debating what to do for his life’s work. He does want it to have direct application for helping people. That, and it has to be crazy. “Like, ridiculous, high energy—just crazy!” he says. “So there’s a good chance that lasers might be involved.”
The evidence for a new geological epoch which marks the impact of human activity on Earth is now overwhelming according to a recent paper by an international group of geoscientists. The Anthropocene, which is argued to start in the mid-20th Century, is marked by the spread of materials such as aluminium, concrete, plastic, fly ash and fallout from nuclear testing across the planet, coincident with elevated greenhouse gas emissions and unprecedented trans-global species invasions.
An international group of scientists is studying whether human activity has driven Earth into a new geological epoch — the Anthropocene. They ask: to what extent are human actions recorded as measurable signals in geological strata, and is the Anthropocene world markedly different from the stable Holocene Epoch of the last 11,700 years that allowed human civilization to develop?
The Holocene Epoch has been a time during which human societies advanced by gradually domesticating the land to increase food production, built urban settlements and became proficient at developing the water, mineral and energy resources of the planet. The proposed Anthropocene Epoch, however, is marked as a time of rapid environmental change brought on by the impact of a surge in human population and increased consumption during the ‘Great Acceleration’ of the mid-20th century.
Dr Colin Waters of the British Geological Survey said: “Humans have long affected the environment, but recently there has been a rapid global spread of novel materials including aluminium, concrete and plastics, which are leaving their mark in sediments. Fossil-fuel combustion has dispersed fly ash particles worldwide, pretty well coincident with the peak distribution of the ‘bomb spike’ of radionuclides generated by atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons.” “All of this shows that there is an underlying reality to the Anthropocene concept,” commented Jan Zalasiewicz of the University of Leicester, a co-author and working group Chair.
The study, co-authored by 24 members of the Anthropocene Working Group, shows that humans have changed the Earth system sufficiently to produce a range of signals in sediments and ice, and these are sufficiently distinctive to justify recognition of an Anthropocene Epoch in the Geological Time Scale. In 2016 the Anthropocene Working Group will gather more evidence on the Anthropocene, which will help inform recommendations on whether this new time unit should be formalized and, if so, how it might be defined and characterized.
A number of UK members of the group have contributed to this study, Colin Waters (lead author and Secretary of the group) and Michael Ellis, both from the British Geological Survey, Jan Zalasiewicz, Mark Williams and Matt Edgeworth from Leicester University and Colin Summerhayes from Cambridge University have provided significant input to this study and maintain the UK’s strong involvement in research into the Anthropocene concept.
Location of Eta twins in galaxies M51, M101, NGC 6946, and M83. Individual Image Credits: M51: NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA); M101:NASA/ESA/K. Kuntz (JHU), F. Bresolin (U. Hawaii), J. Trauger (Jet Propulsion Lab), J. Mould (NOAO), Y.-H. Chu (U. Illinois, Urbana), Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope/ J.-C. Cuillandre/Coelum/, Jacoby, B. Bohannan, and M. Hanna/ NOAO/AURA/NSF; NGC 6946: NASA/ESA/STScI/R. Gendler/Subaru Telescope (NAOJ); M83: NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
Credit: NASA, ESA and R. Khan (GSFC and ORAU)
Eta Carinae, the most luminous and massive stellar system within 10,000 light-years, is best known for an enormous eruption seen in the mid-19th century that hurled an amount of material at least 10 times the sun’s mass into space. This expanding veil of gas and dust, which still shrouds Eta Carinae, makes it the only object of its kind known in our galaxy. Now a study using archival data from NASA’s Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes has found five similar objects in other galaxies for the first time.
“The most massive stars are always rare, but they have tremendous impact on the chemical and physical evolution of their host galaxy,” said lead scientist Rubab Khan, a postdoctoral researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. These stars produce and distribute large amounts of the chemical elements vital to life and eventually explode as supernovae.
Located about 7,500 light-years away in the southern constellation of Carina, Eta Carinae outshines our sun by 5 million times. The binary system consists of two massive stars in a tight 5.5-year orbit. Astronomers estimate that the more massive star has about 90 times the sun’s mass, while the smaller companion may exceed 30 solar masses.
As one of the nearest laboratories for studying high-mass stars, Eta Carinae has been a unique, important astronomical touchstone since its eruption in the 1840s. To understand why the eruption occurred and how it relates to the evolution of massive stars, astronomers needed additional examples. Catching rare stars during the short-lived aftermath of a major outburst approaches needle-in-a-haystack levels of difficulty, and nothing matching Eta Carinae had been found prior to Khan’s study.
“We knew others were out there,” said co-investigator Krzysztof Stanek, a professor of astronomy at Ohio State University in Columbus. “It was really a matter of figuring out what to look for and of being persistent.”
Working with Scott Adams and Christopher Kochanek at Ohio State and George Sonneborn at Goddard, Khan developed a kind of optical and infrared fingerprint for identifying possible Eta Carinae twins, or “Eta twins” for short.
Dust forms in gas ejected by a massive star. This dust dims the star’s ultraviolet and visible light, but it absorbs and reradiates this energy as heat at longer, mid-infrared wavelengths. “With Spitzer we see a steady increase in brightness starting at around 3 microns and peaking between 8 and 24 microns,” explained Khan. “By comparing this emission to the dimming we see in Hubble’s optical images, we could determine how much dust was present and compare it to the amount we see around Eta Carinae.”
An initial survey of seven galaxies from 2012 to 2014 didn’t turn up any Eta twins, underscoring their rarity. It did, however, identify a class of less massive and less luminous stars of scientific interest, demonstrating the search was sensitive enough to find Eta Carinae-like stars had they been present.
In a follow-on survey in 2015, the team found two candidate Eta twins in the galaxy M83, located 15 million light-years away, and one each in NGC 6946, M101, and M51, located between 18 million and 26 million light-years away. These five objects mimic the optical and infrared properties of Eta Carinae, indicating that each very likely contains a high-mass star buried in five to 10 solar masses of gas and dust. Further study will let astronomers more precisely determine their physical properties. The findings were published in the Dec. 20 edition of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), set to launch in late 2018, carries an instrument ideally suited for further study of these stars. The Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) has 10 times the angular resolution of instruments aboard Spitzer and is most sensitive at the wavelengths where Eta twins shine brightest. “Combined with JWST’s larger primary mirror, MIRI will enable astronomers to better study these rare stellar laboratories and to find additional sources in this fascinating phase of stellar evolution,” said Sonneborn, NASA’s project scientist for JWST operations. It will take JWST observations to confirm the Eta twins as true relatives of Eta Carinae.
The Spitzer Space Telescope is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena conducts science operations.