Space salad: ISS astronauts to eat first cosmic lettuce

The astronauts on board of the International Space Station (ISS) are set to try the first-ever space-grown food. Red romaine lettuce grown at the Veggie plant system at the final frontier is on the menu.

The lettuce has already been tested for microbiological safety, and will be cleaned with citric acid sanitizers.

It’s not clear how the salad will be prepared: it could be a kind of space salad, or accompany the usual dehydrated space meal.

Half of the harvest is to be sent to Earth for examination.

The Veggie technology will be important on long-haul flights in the future: not only does it provide fresh vegetables, but also has a psychological means of de-stressing for astronauts who take great pleasure in gardening.

“There is evidence that supports fresh foods, such as tomatoes, blueberries and red lettuce, are a good source of antioxidants. Having fresh food like these available in space could have a positive impact on people’s moods and also could provide some protection against radiation in space,” Dr. Ray Wheeler, the project’s lead researcher, said, as quoted in NASA’s press release.

Last but not least: the breakthrough technology could help agricultural facilities with artificial light, and in places where water is scarce, like the Middle East.

The mission started in May, when the plant roots were first watered. These were transferred to Earth after 33 days of growing in space.

Another batch of seeds was planted in July, after being kept at the ISS for over a year.

The Veggie plant growth system was developed by Orbital Technologies Corp (Orbitec) in Madison, Wisconsin, and delivered to the ISS in April 2014.

It consists of red and blue lights that are more efficient in stimulating plant growth.

Green LEDs were added, too, to make plants green in color, and not purple as they would be if only red and blue LEDs had been used.

“Blue and red wavelengths are the minimum needed to get good plant growth,” Wheeler said in the NASA statement.

And while their US colleagues eat the first space salad, two Russian crew members – Expedition 44 Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Mikhail Kornienko – will don their space suits and set out for a six-hour spacewalk.

The main aim of the walk will be to rig new equipment on the Russian segment of the ISS, and take pictures outside the station. The team will also clean the illuminators of the Zvezda service module.

Padalka, 57, has spent over 800 days in space, more than anyone in history.

Watch the video. URL:

Five planets to align in spectacular celestial show

Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will all appear together in the night sky for the first time since 2005

A telescope

Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will all appear together in the night sky this month Photo: AP

Five planets will be visible in the night sky this week in a rare astronomical alignment which has not happened for more than a decade.

Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will all appear together for the first time since 2005.

The alignment will be visible in Britain just before dawn from January 20, but astronomers say the best view is likely to be on the morning of February 5.

“There will be a dance of the planets.It will be well worth getting up for.”
Dr Robert Massey, Royal Astronomical Society

The planets will from a diagonal line from the Moon to the horizon and with clear skies and good eyesight, should be visible with the naked eye.

Dr Robert Massey of the Royal Astronomical Society said spotting Mercury would be a challenge as it will be close to the horizon, but the other planets should be easy to see in before dawn.

“There will be a dance of the planets, and now is the time to get out and have a look,” said Dr Massey. “It will be well worth getting up for.

“People will struggle to see Mercury, it will probably just look like a star but if we get good weather we should be able to see Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter well. But people should have a shot at seeing them altogether.

“Venus will be very obvious in the south east and Saturn will be a little bit higher up to the right. Further over at due south, you’ll see Mars and way beyond in the south east will be Jupiter.

“They won’t be in an exact straight line, because you virtually never get that in astronomy. They will be more scattered.”

Conjunction of Mars, Jupiter and Venus seen in Newcastle upon Tyne

The five planets will be strung out in the night sky together, with Venus appearing the brightest  

Mercury will appear just three degrees above the horizon – the equivalent of three thumb widths with an outstretched arm – so will be the trickiest planet to spot.

The best time to see the alignment is around 6.45am in the morning, just before dawn. It is best to try and see Venus and then look for the rest of the planets.

Four of the five have already been visible in the early morning sky in recent weeks, but Mercury will join them for the first time on Wednesday.

Dr Massey added: “If you have binoculars you will be able to see Jupiter’s moons and the red tinge of Mars. You probably won’t be able to see Saturn’s rings but it will have a funny shape because of the rings which you should be able to pick out.

Jupiter and Venus will appear side by side over the next two nights, according to astronomers.

The planets rarely come together because of their differeing orbits

“If you are using binoculars it’s important not to look towards the sun when it rises.”

The stars Antares and Spica will also be visible in the same patch of sky. Uranus and Neptune are the only two planets that will not be on show.

And if you fail to catch the alignment this month, it will be happen again in August of this year although the late days of summer are likely to make it even more difficult to see in Britain. After that, the five planets will not be seen together again until October 2018.

People hoping to catch a glimpse of the alignment should choose an open spot, away from tall buildings and city lights to avoid light pollution.

Guess who says homosexual blood is so filthy that it can’t even be donated to save lives? Obama’s FDA, headed by former Monsanto VP

In another example of prioritizing politics over science, the FDA continues to insist that lifesaving blood donations cannot be accepted from sexually active gay men.

The FDA’s policy “ignores the modern science of HIV-testing technology while perpetuating the stereotype that all gay and bisexual men are inherently dangerous,” said Kelsey Louie, chief executive officer of the group GMHC.

A more science-based approach, critics say, would be to individually screen donors for high-risk behaviors, as is done in some other countries. This would guarantee the safety of the blood supply without needlessly excluding large numbers of donors.

But science-blind policies are no surprise from the FDA, which is notorious for making decisions dictated more by political and financial interests. The agency is well known, for example, for having a “revolving door” with drug and biotechnology companies (such as Monsanto), undercutting its ability to effectively regulate products from those industries.

The science behind the bans

On December 21, the FDA overturned a 30-year policy of banning all gay men from donating blood. But the new policy still bans men from donating blood for a full year after their last sexual encounter with another man. This is meant to prevent HIV transmission through donated blood, even though nearly 90 percent of gay men in the United States are HIV-negative.

Furthermore, all donated blood is screened for HIV, which can be detected nine days after infection. In that light, a 12-month waiting period is unnecessarily strict.

According to the FDA, the shift from a permanent to a 12-month ban is based on studies conducted during Australia’s similar policy switch. But the agency admits that it did not look at any data for shorter waiting periods, such as the 30-day period recommended by critics such as Daniel Bruner, senior policy director at Whitman-Walker Health.

More effective than banning all gay men from donating, would be to screen all potential blood donors for risky behaviors – including unprotected sex and IV drug use – as is done in South Africa and Italy.

“It is ridiculous and counter to the public health that a married gay man in a monogamous relationship can’t give blood, but a promiscuous straight man who has had hundreds of opposite sex partners in the last year can,” said congressman Jared Polis.

Resistance to such a change may come, in part, from the fact that South Africa and Italy use specially trained personnel to screen blood donors. The United States, in contrast, uses much cheaper, unskilled labor – often untrained blood technicians or even automated computer systems. A more targeted screening program would probably be much more costly.

Life-saving blood kept out of national supply

But what are the health consequences of refusing to adopt this more nuanced blood donor screening system?

According to a 2010 study conducted by researchers from the University of California-Los Angeles, shifting from a lifetime ban to a 12-month ban would be expected to add about 317,000 pints of blood per year to the U.S. supply. Removing the 12-month ban would add nearly as much – another 298,000 pints per year.


The fact that the FDA had been keeping so much usable blood out of the national supply spurred 18 senators to write to the agency in 2010, charging that “healthy blood donors are turned away every day due to an antiquated policy and our blood supply is not necessarily any safer for it.”

“While many gay and bisexual men will be eligible to donate their blood and help save lives under [the new] 12-month deferral, countless more will continue to be banned solely on the basis of their sexual orientation and without medical or scientific reasoning,” said the National Gay Blood Drive.

Roundup herbicide linked to celiac disease and gluten intolerance, new study suggests

A new study has found that the world’s best-selling herbicide is linked to the global rise of celiac disease, gluten intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome.

According to the U.S. peer-reviewed study, the details of which were published by Dr. Anthony Samsel and Dr. Stephanie Seneff, the rise in disease has coincided with the increased use of glyphosate (Roundup) herbicide.

Roundup herbicide

The paper has been published in the Journal of Interdisciplinary Toxicology.

The researchers say that, based on their findings, one in 20 people in North America and Western Europe now suffer from celiac disease, which is essentially gluten intolerance.

“Gluten intolerance is a growing epidemic in the U.S. and, increasingly, worldwide,” said the researchers in their paper.

“All of the known biological effects of glyphosate — cytochrome P450 inhibition, disruption of synthesis of aromatic amino acids, chelation of transition metals, and antibacterial action — contribute to the pathology of celiac disease,” the paper states.

Widespread planting of Roundup Ready genetically modified crops has made Monsanto’s Roundup the number-one selling herbicide. But, according to this latest study, its increased use has come at a price.

As described by Sustainable Pulse:

Celiac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. People who have celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten is found mainly in foods but may also be found in everyday products such as medicines, vitamins, and lip balms.

When people with the condition eat foods that contain gluten, their immune systems respond by destroying or damaging villi — the small, fiber-like protrusions that line the small intestine. Normally, villi allow food nutrients to be absorbed through the walls of the small intestine into the bloodstream, but without healthy villi, celiac sufferers can become malnourished, regardless of the amount of food they ingest.

Radiation level exceeds 10x legal limit at beach where nuclear industry dumps waste and children play .


While we sing our hymns behind closed walls, while we pray for our sick at altars that are really just stages, while we feign our spirituality in buildings so closed off from the rest of the world, while we continue to praise our God and wait for his coming, we turn a deaf ear to our role in shaping ourselves and the future. We have abandoned our harmonic relationship with the earth and each other. Children continue to suffer all across the land, while we continue to pump industrial poisons into the veins of the earth. Pesticides, heavy metals and radioactive waste lead the way, destroying our world. We, the divine people, have become so detached from the simple medicine of plants and minerals, so separated from the sun’s rhythm and the inner music of healing intuition beating within us all.

Sanctuaries, filled with prayer requests for illness, are void of discernment, divinity or higher calling of healing intuition. Everyone follows along, not challenging the status quo — a consumerist machine that continues to pollute our earth, our air and our water in search of unsustainable energy and missiles.

As a congregation, we are oblivious to the causes of our health detriment, with cancer rates traversing from being nearly nonexistent a hundred years ago to now affecting nearly one of every two people in the 21st century. As we pray for intervention, we neglect our duty, our responsibility, our sovereignty in discerning the causes and making the necessary proactive changes to the world within us and around us. We have to change how we produce our food, how we treat the earth and one another, how we produce our energy and how we look at war. The cancers, the spiritual anguish, and the suppression of the mind continue as we lie to ourselves about what we are doing to our world. In the lies, we submit to white-coat authority and a system of numbers that tell us when we should be drugged — a protocol that doesn’t improve our quality of life — a method that only adds anguish to our years.

The walls must fall, and honesty and courage must sweep the consciousness of the people. Recognition of what we are doing to the land, of what we are doing to ourselves, must blaze through the hearts of a generation. We must relinquish our desire for control and power. The awakening of hearts is rising, to change the path that we are on and to treat one another and the earth with love and respect. It must sink into our existence and purpose. We must take action — no longer waiting on the second coming of a savior.

All human beings are connected. What we do to others, we do to ourselves. The more we wait behind walls and glorify our fleeting fame and possessions, the more we beckon the destruction of our spirit and the sickness of our people. There’s more to life than accumulating things. We are one and can communicate beyond words. We are energy and can connect in ways that empower our future. Our religions get in the way, separating men, destroying faith that can move mountains. I’ve seen it. We must look beyond. How can we make this world a better place? We can start with ourselves, by coming to peace with ourselves in a non-judgmental state of existence.

And we must get real. We are poisoning ourselves at every angle, from the mercury to the lead, all the way to the radioactive waste breaking down in our oceans. We are poisoning our future. What good is nuclear energy if it is destroying the human race? We have nowhere to dump this waste. We cannot hide from the monster we’ve created. We mount our defense with chemical weapons but, who are we really fighting as the radioactive particles return to our very own beaches? Beaches are meant to be a place of natural peace. We are our own worst enemy. This isn’t about a country. This is about a planet.

Filling the oceans with radioactive waste

Humans used to dump nuclear waste into the sea, but this practice was banned in 1993 by a worldwide agreement. Still, we skirt our own rules, lying to ourselves. Nuclear waste is still dumped into the sea, except now we build many kilometers’ worth of underwater pipe to allow the radioactive effluent to flow indirectly into the sea. The radioactive waste is dumped in secret, not directly, but through pipes that are out of sight, out of mind. Why are we doing this to our planet? Why are we lying to ourselves?

Now, waters at the beaches of Normandy are testing 10 times beyond the legal limit which world leaders set for radioactive plutonium levels. These beaches are where children play. This is where our future exists, our serenity, but we are destroying our very own DNA, the very makeup of our children, calling on cancer to ravage our future, calling forth the demons that destroy our mind, body and spirit.

Radioactive plutonium levels exceed the legal limit 10-fold

Here are the findings at the Normandy beach near the French reprocessing plan in La Hague:

There’s a tremendous amount of tritium being measured there, five times more than previously reported by nuclear plant operator Areva. A second disposal pipe for nuclear waste from North England is responsible for elevated levels of plutonium dust. The plutonium returns from the sea, drying out as dust on the beaches. The operators at Sellafield admit to pumping more than 500 kg of plutonium into the sea in recent decades — an amount that needs to be continuously removed from the beach by a small excavator. In recent soil samples, the plutonium has measurably surpassed the legal limit 10-fold. Molecular biologists report that the radioactive substances stay in the food chain for many years. Some worms can harbor the radioactivity at 2,000 to 3,000 times higher than their environment, which is passed on through the food chain, destroying the reproductive ability of other animals.