Glyphosate Found in 100% of California Wines Tested.


Before you pop open a bottle of California Merlot, there is something you should know: trace amounts of glyphosate, the primary toxic chemical found in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, have been found in 100% of California wines tested by the national GMO awareness group, Moms Across America.

wine Roundup

The news comes on the heels of a report finding 14 brands of beers tested positive for the likely carcinogen in Germany.

According to Moms Across America founder Zen Honeycutt, who recently penned an article on the findings for EcoWatch, the contamination of conventional wine was 28 times higher than organic wine, with levels ranging from 0.659 parts per billion (ppb) in organic to 18.74 ppb in conventional wine.

The group tested wines from Napa Valley, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties in California. The brand names were not released, but 10 major California wines, all tested at a lab in St. Louis, Missouri, were found to contain glyphosate. In addition to being in Roundup, the poisonous substance is found in 700 other herbicides.

The highest level of glyphosate detected was found in a 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon from a conventional, chemically-farmed vineyard. The lowest was detected in a 2013 Syrah from a biodynamic and organic vineyard that had never been touched by pesticides.

Moms Across America speculated glyphosate’s reach goes well beyond its intended target:

“Because Roundup/glyphosate is not permitted on organic or biodynamic vineyards, the results are unexpected and can only be explained by the drift of chemical sprays from neighboring vineyards.”

In EcoWatch, Honeycutt lists some of the many reasons why Roundup/glyphosate should never be sprayed on crops, including vineyards:

  • Glyphosate-containing herbicides are showing up in irrigation water, and are likely present in manure used as fertilizer from animals fed GM grains and drift from spraying. In addition to wine and beer, glyphosate residues have been detected in many foods and in breast milk.
  • According to wine growers on conventional farms, their family businesses were once able to harvest from their vines for 100 years. Now thanks to chemical farming, vines only last 10-12 years. Glyphosate is a chelator, which strips living things of their vital nutrients and minerals.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has deemed glyphosate a probable carcinogen. Even a small amount of the chemical has been shown to stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells. California Department of Health data shows the cancer rates in Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino counties are 10-20% higher than the national average. Many lawsuits are currently pending against Monsanto concerning the link between non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Roundup.
  • A study of piglets showed a repeated 30% increase in birth defects and stillbirths among pigs whose mothers were exposed to sow feed containing 0.87-1.13 ppm glyphosate in the first 40 days of pregnancy.
  • The co-formulants of Roundup have been found to be up to 1,000 times more toxic than glyphosate itself, and act as hormone disruptors which may cause breast cancer, miscarriages, birth defects, and numerous other health problems.

 

Who will fight the next war?


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 Failures in Iraq and Afghanistan have widened the gulf between most Americans and the armed forces.
 

CRUISING a Walmart in Clayton County, Georgia, with Sergeant Russell Haney of US army recruiting, it would be easy to think most Americans are aching to serve Uncle Sam. Almost every teenager or 20-something he hails, in his cheery Tennessee drawl, amid the mounds of plastic buckets and cut-price tortilla chips, appears tempted by his offer. Lemeanfa, a 19-year-old former football star, says he is halfway sold on it; Dseanna, an 18-year-old shopper, says she is too, provided she won’t have to go to war. Serving in the coffee shop, Archel and Lily, a brother and sister from the US Virgin Islands, listen greedily to the education, training and other benefits the recruiting sergeant reels off. “You don’t want a job, you want a career!” he tells them, as a passer-by thrusts a packet of cookies into his hands, to thank him for his service.

Southern, poorer than the national average, mostly black and with longstanding ties to the army, the inhabitants of Clayton County are among the army’s likeliest recruits. Last year they furnished it with more soldiers than most of the rest of the greater Atlanta area put together. Yet Sergeant’s Haney’s battalion, which is responsible for it, still failed to make its annual recruiting target—and a day out with the unit suggests why.

Much of the friendly reception for Sergeant Haney he puts down to fine southern manners; in fact, no one in Walmart is likely to enlist. Lemeanfa has a tattoo behind his ear, an immediate disqualifier. Dseanna has a one-year-old baby, and would have to sign away custody of him. Lily’s girlfriend has a toddler she does not want to leave; Archel won’t leave his sister. Even the cookie-giver is less propitious than he seems: he symbolises, Sergeant Haney says ruefully, as he bins his gift, that paying lip-service to the armed forces, as opposed to doing military service, is all most Americans are good for.

n a society given to ostentatious public obeisance to the services—during National Military Appreciation Month, on Military Spouse Day and on countless other such public holidays and occasions—the figures that support this claim are astonishing. In the financial year that ended on September 30th America’s four armed services—army, navy, air force and marines—aimed to recruit 177,000 people, mainly from among the 21m Americans aged 17-21. Yet all struggled, and the army, which accounted for nearly half that target, made its number, at great cost and the eleventh hour, only by cannibalising its store of recruits for the current year. It failed by 2,000 to meet its target of 17,300 recruits for the army reserve, which is becoming more important to national security as the full-time army shrinks from a recent peak of 566,000 to a projected 440,000 by 2019—its lowest level since the second world war. “I find it remarkable,” says the commander of army recruiting, Major-General Jeffrey Snow. “That we have been in two protracted land campaigns and we have an American public that thinks very highly of the military, yet the vast majority has lost touch with it. Less than 1% of Americans are willing and able to serve.”

That is part of a longstanding trend: a growing disconnect between American society and the armed forces that claim to represent it, which has many causes, starting with the ending of the draft in 1973. Ever since, military experience has been steadily fading from American life. In 1990, 40% of young Americans had at least one parent who had served in the forces; by 2014, only 16% had, and the measure continues to fall. Among American leaders, the decline is similarly pronounced. In 1981, 64% of congressmen were veterans; now around 18% are.

Seasonal factors, including a strengthening labour market and negative media coverage of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, have widened the gulf. So have the dismal standards of education and physical fitness that prevail in modern American society. At a time of post-war introspection, these factors raise two big questions. The first concerns America’s ability to hold to account a military sector its leaders feel bound to applaud, but no longer competent to criticise. Andrew Bacevich, a former army officer, academic and longstanding critic of what he terms the militarism of American society, derides that support as “superficial and fraudulent”. Sanctified by politicians and the public, he argues, the army’s top brass have been given too much power and too little scrutiny, with the recent disastrous campaigns, and similarly profligate appropriations, the almost inevitable result. The second question raised by the civil-military disconnect is similarly fundamental: it concerns America’s future ability to mobilise for war.

During the Korean war, around 70% of draft-age American men served in the armed forces; during Vietnam, the unpopularity of the conflict and ease of draft-dodging ensured that only 43% did. These days, even if every young American wanted to join up, less than 30% would be eligible to. Of the starting 21m, around 9.5m would fail a rudimentary academic qualification, either because they had dropped out of high school or, typically, because most young Americans cannot do tricky sums without a calculator. Of the remainder, 7m would be disqualified because they are too fat, or have a criminal record, or tattoos on their hands or faces. According to Sergeant Haney, about half the high-school students in Clayton County are inked somewhere or other; according to his boss, Lieutenant-Colonel Tony Parilli, a bigger problem is simply that “America is obese.”

Spurned by the elite

That leaves 4.5m young Americans eligible to serve, of whom only around 390,000 are minded to, provided they do not get snapped up by a college or private firm instead—as tends to happen to the best of them. Indeed, a favourite mantra of army recruiters, that they are competing with Microsoft and Google, is not really true. With the annual exception of a few hundred sons and daughters of retired officers, America’s elite has long since turned its nose up at military service. Well under 10% of army recruits have a college degree; nearly half belong to an ethnic minority.

The pool of potential recruits is too small to meet America’s, albeit shrunken, military needs; especially, as now, when the unemployment rate dips below 6%. This leaves the army, the least-favoured of the four services, having either to drop its standards or entice those not minded to serve with generous perks. After it failed to meet its recruiting target in 2005, a time of high employment and bad news from Baghdad, it employed both strategies zealously. To sustain what was, by historical standards, only a modest surge in Iraq, around 2% of army recruits were accepted despite having failed to meet academic and other criteria; “We accepted a risk on quality,” grimaces General Snow, an Iraq veteran. Meanwhile the cost of the army’s signing-on bonuses ballooned unsustainably, to $860m in 2008 alone.

That figure has since fallen, as part of a wider effort to peg back the personnel costs that consume around a quarter of the defence budget. Yet the remaining sweeteners are still generous: the army’s pay and allowances have risen by 90% since 2000. In a role-play back at Sergeant Haney’s recruiting station, your correspondent, posing as an aimless school-leaver, asked what the army could offer him. The answer, besides the usual bed, board and medical insurance, included $78,000 in college fees, some of which could be transferred to a close relative; professional training, including for 46 jobs that still offer a fat signing-on bonus; and post-service careers advice. Could the army perhaps also overlook the youthful drugs misdemeanour your correspondent, in character, admitted to? Sergeant Fred Pedro thought it could.

It is a good offer, especially set against the bad jobs and wage stagnation prevalent among the Americans it is mostly aimed at. That the army is having such trouble selling it is partly testament to the effects on public opinion of its recent wars. In the three decades following America’s withdrawal from Vietnam, in 1973, the army fought a dozen small wars and one big one, the first Gulf war, in which it suffered only a few hundred casualties in total. Even as Americans grew apart from their soldiers, therefore, they were also encouraged to forget that war usually entails killing on both sides.

In that blithe context, America’s 5,366 combat deaths, and tens of thousands of wounded, in Iraq and Afghanistan have come as a terrible shock. Most young Americans associate the army with “coming home broken, physically, mentally and emotionally”, says James Ortiz, director of army marketing. Almost every member of the journalism class at D.M. Therrell High School in Atlanta concurs with that: “I’d maybe join if there’s no other option. But I just don’t like the violence,” shudders 16-year-old Mayowa.

Decades of army advertising that focused largely on the college money and other perks of service probably added to the misapprehension. “Americans do not understand the army, so do not value it,” says Mr Ortiz. A marketing campaign launched last year, Enterprise Army, instead emphasises the high values and good works the army seeks to promulgate. Yet it will take more than this to turn Americans back to a life which many consider incompatible with atomised, sceptical, irreverent modern living. Moreover, it is also likely that, when the army next needs to surge, it will be for a war much bloodier than the recent ones. America’s biggest battlefield advantage in recent decades, its mastery of precision-guided weapons, is fading, as these become widely available even to the bigger militant groups, such as Hamas or Hizbullah.

The result is that America may be unable, within reasonable cost limits and without reinstituting the draft, to raise the much bigger army it might need for such wars. “Could we field the force we would need?” asks Andrew Krepinevich of the Centre for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. Probably not: “The risk is that our desire to ask only those who are willing to fight to do so is pricing us out of some kinds of warfare.”

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Researchers make breakthrough on battery storage


There’s serious demand for longer-lasting batteries.

Better battery storage can advance all sorts of technology from phones to electric cars — but increasing battery life is no easy feat.

Luckily, researchers hailing from the University of California Irvine may have accidentally discovered a solution that could change energy storage forever.

UCI battery gel

Fifth-year pHd student Mya Le Thai stumbled upon the solution when she decided to create an electrolyte made of gel to replace the liquid electrolyte found in some batteries “so it’d be more affordable,” she told Tech Insider. It just so happened that the gel she created can also greatly increase battery life.

Here’s how the solution works: for a long time researchers have sought to use nanowire-based batteries over lithium batteries. That’s because nanowires are more powerful and boast greater energy storage than their lithium counterparts.

Lithium batteries slip in performance over time after being continuously charged (think of your phone: that battery life is great at first and slowly gets worse until it’s a shell of its former self.)

But what has prevented researchers from using nanowires is they are extremely fragile, meaning they can’t be charged repeatedly without breaking. For that reason, electronics makers have stuck with traditional lithium batteries.

But Thai’s gel solution could change that.

gold nanowires

The researchers coated a gold nanowire with Thai’s gel solution and found that the nanowire-based battery cell had far better storage capacity than typical lithium ion batteries.

The gel electrode went through 200,000 charge cycles over three months without losing any capacity or power. For reference, batteries typically die after 5,000 to 7,000 cycles.

The gel solution was published in the American Chemical Society’s Energy Letters.

“For this research right now the plan is to understand the mechanisms of how this gel electrolyte could prolong the cyclibility so well,” Thai said. “The future bigger plan would be to optimize these gel electrolytes to see if it can improve even more.”

What to teach your kids if you want them to be emotionally intelligent.


We all want our kids to be happy and successful, so it makes sense to work backward and figure out how to make that happen.

children kids

Step 1: To be happy and successful, they need to develop great relationships.

Step 2: To develop those relationships, they need adequate emotional intelligence.

Step 3: To develop emotional intelligence, it helps if their mentors (especially their parents) model good behavior in love and partnerships.

At Scary Mommy, my former colleague Leigh Anderson put together one of the best prescriptions I’ve seen on how to teach your kids to do this, and why.

She spoke with Carrie Cole, a Gottman Institute trained therapist, about “how to have a good relationship with your partner and how to model one for your kids.”

Shutterstock
1. Teach them to ‘turn toward’
Relationships are dynamic. They’re made up of an uncountable number of small interactions. Julie and John Gottman, a husband and wife team of psychologists who are experts in this area, describe these interactions as “micro-behaviors” and “bids for attention.”

We “bid for attention” with the people we care about by doing things — starting conversations, for example — in the hope they’ll demonstrate interest and warmth. Catching those bids, and showing you value the relationship, requires active listening and empathy.

For example, you might tell your spouse, or another person you care about, “I learned something really cool today.” You hope that he or she will “turn toward” you by replying with something like, “Oh? Tell me about it,” as opposed to shutting you down: “Can’t you see I’m busy?!!!”

So, model this behavior in your relationships, and teach your kids to “turn toward” when the people they care about bid for their attention.

2. Teach them to politely turn down bids for attention
Of course, if we had to “turn toward” every time someone we cared about bid for our attention, we’d never get anything done. Perhaps even a majority of the time, you have to find a way to refrain from “turning toward,” in a way that shows you still value your relationship.

My wife is a master at this — of necessity — otherwise she could spend her entire life listening to me dissect political races, place the names of character actors in movies, and tell her arguably funny stories about things that happened in college.

It’s really a matter of demonstrating interest in what the people you care about have to say, while making clear the practical limits on your time and attention. In her essay, Leigh offers a simple example — turning down her child’s bid for attention simply by saying, “I can’t listen to your story right now, but I can after lunch.”

So when you can’t spend the time you might like responding to a bid for attention, at least turn it down politely — never dismissively.

Kevin Frayer/Getty Images
3. Teach them to ‘be overwhelmed without freaking out’
Negative situations are often made worse by allowing your negative emotions to metastasize. So, the goal is to maintain control of your emotions even when you’re not in control of the situation.

In the military, we call this “maintaining your bearing.” However, it’s especially important when stressful situations involve the health or feelings of the people you care about most.

As Leigh wrote: “Learning to be under stress without taking it out on your nearest and dearest is a valuable relationship skill.”

I find it helps to think of a quote from author H.G. Wells, and remember that “the crisis of today is the joke of tomorrow.”

4. Teach them to ‘make repairs’
One of the most important things I’ve learned from the many articles I’ve read (and written) about developing good life habits is this: It’s okay that you’ll fall short.

You will, I will, your kids will. Everybody makes mistakes — and everybody sometimes hurts the people they love. The key thing you want to model for your kids, however, is how to react when you’ve screwed up.

As Leigh wrote of her conversation with Carrie: “The secret… is in the ‘repair’ — apologizing when you’re irritable or dismissive of someone’s overture. Apologizing or otherwise making amends goes a long way toward telling the other person that you do care about his needs.”

Rick Scuteri/AP
5. Teach them to appreciate others out loud
We talk a lot about learning to be thankful, but I think this is an important difference — learning to say out loud that you’re grateful, and to specific people (namely, the ones you care most about).

I’m horrible at compliments, although I’m learning. That’s important as a father, because I want to model appreciating others in a vocal way.

Once again, Leigh put it well: “In small moments, catch someone doing something well or right. It’s helpful for kids to hear their parents saying that. You’re saying, ‘We have a culture of appreciation in our home. This is what we do. We let one another know what we appreciate about one another.'”

6. Teach them that contempt is verboten
The opposite of love isn’t hate; it’s apathy. Contempt is its near cousin. It rears its ugly head in relationships, to the point that the Gottmans think of it as the early warning sign for a marital relationship that is likely to fail.

We all get angry at the people we care about. Sometimes they do things that we don’t know how to put up with. However, the important thing is to show kids that it never overwhelms the underlying love.

As Leigh quoted Carrie in her article: “Emotional abuse is contempt… If a child grows up in a home like that — [for example], if the father puts down the mother, the boys will think this is acceptable behavior. And girls think this is acceptable to be treated like this. If you can’t turn around the contempt, the relationship is in serious trouble.”
7. Teach them not to tell mean jokes
Oh, they can — and should — tell jokes. However, mean jokes are often simply thinly veiled vessels for contempt — and we’ve already seen that contempt is the sign of a dead relationship.

Leigh describes a husband and wife in one of Carrie’s counseling sessions, where the wife began a sentence by saying, “I was thinking… ” and the husband interrupted with a laugh: “Oh honey, don’t think!”

Even if she smiled or chuckled, you can imagine how hurtful her husband’s joke was — and how it hurt their relationship — all because of his lack of emotional intelligence.

Leigh wrote about two other lessons as well — teaching kids to have relationships across generations, and working with you to establish their values and culture at home. However, I think these seven are the most apt.

What do you think? What other lessons are important to teach kids in order for them to develop emotional intelligence and healthy relationships? Let us know in the comments below, and check out the free e-book: “How to Raise Successful Kids: Advice From a Stanford Dean, a Navy SEAL, and Mark Zuckerberg’s Dad (Among Others).”

The time-travelling brain.


What would it be like to only live in the moment? Or to relive the past over and over again? Dr Karl explores the extreme range of memory.

Without memories, it would be hard to remember who we are.

But there are at least three people living now (that we know of) who cannot recall any memories of their individual past lives. Each is a healthy, high-functioning adult.

One (AA, retirement specialist) is married, one (CC, with a PhD) is in a relationship, and one (BB) is single. Their memory gaps are not due to trauma nor degenerative diseases — they’ve always been that way. The condition is called severely deficient autobiographical memory (SDAM).

It’s not that they have no memory at all. They can learn, and remember, the history of World War II, the fall of the Berlin Wall, or the death of Princess Diana. But they cannot lay down those memories that integrate what they feel, with time and location details, in a movie-like fashion.

You and I can remember how delightful the ocean felt on our last holiday when we dived into it. We can retrieve and relive the feelings of the warmth and the saltiness of the moment. But these three with SDAM cannot.

AA can remember that she recently walked onto the stage to sing an old English folk song. But she has no idea how she felt on stage. She quickly forgets arguments and cannot hold a grudge — because she can’t remember what caused it. She can’t remember any books she’s read or movies she’s seen — each re-reading or re-watching is effectively her first experience of it, each and every time.

Photo of girl holding photo of girl

Certain parts of the brain are critical for us to lay down memories so we can ‘time travel’ into our past to relive it — and perhaps to understand ourselves better.

These regions include the left medial prefrontal cortex (mental projections of one’s self back through time) and the right precuneus (visual memory).

The three people with SDAM have reduced brain activity in these regions.

Some of us who ruminate on the past a lot might think it would be weirdly liberating to be living only in the here and now — in a state of easy-going eternal mindfulness.

But the rest of us probably love all our little golden memories, even if they are inaccurate and hazy — and wouldn’t want to give them up for the world.

Reliving the past over and over and over …

But as a complete contrast, there are some people who can remember most days of their lives as though they happened just a month ago. They have HSAM (highly superior autobiographical memory).

If you ask them what happened on June-the-something, 15 years ago, they’ll tell you it was a Wednesday, and that the day started off sunny, but there was a storm in the afternoon. On the way home, the train got delayed because a tree had fallen across the railway tracks. And sure enough, the public record agrees with their private recollection.

The first person with HSAM emailed a psychologist in the year 2000. Today, some 50 more people with this quirk of memory have been documented.

As compared to you and me, they have the same recall for events and personal experiences up to about a month ago. But then, as the months and years and decades roll by, their memories stay fairly constant, whereas ours relentlessly fade away.

Often, their HSAM began around the age of 11.

In most cases, they have a strong tendency to obsessive behaviours. They might keep a very detailed diary, or just before they go to sleep, they might pick a day at random and try to remember what happened on that day in successive years. They are more likely to fantasise about events that relate to themselves.

They are slightly better than the rest of us when tested for recall of visual objects, and associating names with faces.

But in other aspects of their lives, they are completely average. They might have five keys on their key ring, but not be able to say what each key is for.

Surprisingly, they are also slightly more prone to false memory. For example, in a specific test for false memory, they might remember seeing footage of a real news event — for which no footage at all exists.

I wonder what happens after an argument. Sure, they can forgive, but what about forget?

7 emergency surgeries you dont want to have to get


Just seven types of procedures account for about 80 percent of all hospital admissions, deaths, complications, and costs attributed to emergency general surgeries across the country, according to new research published in JAMA Surgery.

Each year, more than 3 million patients in the U.S. are admitted to hospitals for emergency general surgeries — a group that includes the highest risk and most acutely ill patients.

Prior to the study, lead researcher Dr. Joaquim M. Havens, director of Emergency Surgical Services at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, said he noticed that patients who were coming in with serious medical problems requiring unplanned emergency surgery were not faring as well as he thought they should.

“When you look at surgeries done emergently and surgeries done electively, the outcomes are so different,” he told CBS News. “It really challenged me to look deeper into what was going on.”

Havens and a team of researchers analyzed a government database of more than 420,000 patients who underwent emergency general surgery between 2008 and 2011. Heart-related procedures and surgery resulting from traumatic events like car crashes were not included in the analysis.

The researchers ranked procedures by total burden, taking into account frequency, complications, mortality rates, and financial costs. In the end, they found seven operations that collectively accounted for 80 percent of procedures, 80 percent of deaths, 79 percent of complications, and 80 percent of inpatient costs nationwide.

Click through to see which seven surgeries topped the list. URL:http://www.cbsnews.com/media/7-emergency-general-surgeries-deaths-complications-costs/?linkId=24073698

On World Asthma Day today, here’s how you could fight the condition by altering your lifestyle in 6 ways


Asthma can be controlled with lifestyle changes and necessary medication.

Photo: ReutersPhoto:

Have you ever noticed any of your family members suffering from an allergy, cough, or wheezing while doing any physical activity? This happens when the windpipe that brings air out and into your lungs shrinks while doing physical activities, leading to asthma. Changing one’s lifestyle has proved to be an effective way of reducing the risk of asthma attacks.

Therefore, managing your lifestyle successfully might not eliminate your need for medication in the short run, but will definitely reduce the intensity of attacks and help your body respond to the medicines effectively.

First let’s understand the common causes of asthma. We contacted Dr Mohammad Shoub, MD Chest Physician, Apollo Clinic, New Delhi, and he listed out these reasons that could cause asthma in the first place, apart from genetic reasons.

  1. Allergens like house dust mites, animal dander, pollen and cockroach droppings.
  2. Irritants like of tobacco smoke, pollution, strong odours or fumes.
  3. Emotional anxiety and stress may also increase asthma symptoms and trigger an attack.
  4. Viral and bacterial infections such as the common cold and sinusitis.
  5. Exposure to cold, dry air or weather changes.
  6. Acid reflux, with or without heartburn.

Dr Shoub added, “Asthma can be easily controlled by changing your lifestyle. Here are 6 major alterations that you can benefit you.”

Try to analyse and avoid your triggers: For many of the asthma patients one of the major reasons could be allergy. For others it can be something else such as exercise or exposure to cold, dry air. In this case your doctor might help you to identify your trigger and guide you to avoid it as much as possible.

Try to have dairy-free food: Many people have food hypersensitivity that sets off your immune process, which in turn causes inflammation. When this inflammation affects the airways it can cause an asthma attack. During this time, keep dairy products off your limits.  If you see an improvement, talk to your doctor about continuing on a dairy-free diet. You may ask your doctor if any of these foods can be triggering your asthma–Eggs, soy, wheat, shellfish, and sulphite additives  used in food processing and preparation.

Try out some probiotics: Supplements containing live bacteria can boost the immune system, making it less likely to set off an inflammatory response. Look for a supplement that provides at least 10 billion units per day like lactobacillus.

Pop some vitamins: There are several vitamins that support your immune system and help control inflammation that are important, for people with asthma. They include Vitamins C, D, and E. Most people already get enough C and E in their daily diet, but Vitamin D deficiency is quite common. For this consult your doctor to perform a simple blood test to check your Vitamin D level and recommend an appropriate dosage of the same, accordingly.

Always keep your nasal passage clear: In most of the cases where the nasal passage is choked, it becomes difficult to breathe and it strains your airways. Use a saline spray to clear your nasal passages. This will reduce strain on your airways by helping you breathe easier.

Quit smoking: Cigarette smoking can aggravate your asthma and increase the frequency and severity of asthma attacks. Quitting early can benefit your treatment plan.

Running for beginners: Top 10 tips to get you going.


Buddying up with a friend can be a great way to stay motivated when you start running.

It is that time of the year again when you want to flaunt your toned bod in your best of dresses. Summers are here and running is one of the simplest yet most rewarding sports you can go for this season. Having troubles getting started with the regime? We bring you the top ten tips that will help you start running on a regular basis.

Ultra-marathon runner Ann Johansson shares her top 10 tips on how to get started, stay motivated, and most of all, enjoy your run.

1. Set a goal
When you start running it’s not about the distance or speed, it’s about just enjoying your run. Do not expect that your first — or even second — run will be amazing, but if you give yourself realistic expectations and goals, such as run to that next tree, after a few runs you will soon realize that running is pretty magical.

 

2. Set long term/stretch goals
These stretch goals could be to sign up for a 5km, 10km, or half-marathon race, and are a great motivator to keep running even on days when you’d rather be at home.

Having stretch goals will help build your stamina.

3. Slow down
When you first go out running it is so easy to go all out and run fast but overdoing it in the process, and instead of feeling great you feel dejected and discouraged. Do not even think of pace when you first start off, instead run in a pace you can hold a conversation– this ensures that you are building your aerobic endurance.

 

4. Buddy up
Find a friend that would like to run as well — it helps you stay on track and is a great way to catch up. Or join a local running club to meet like-minded people who have similar passions and goals.

5. Music
Create a playlist with music that you love and that inspires you to run.

6. Invest in some new kit
As a running reward, and to fuel excitement for training, why not treat yourself to some new kit. Buying a new pair of trainers or outfit encourages you to want to train and test out your new pieces as soon as you can.

Buy new trainers and you will certainly want to flaunt those.

7. Technology
If you naturally are a bit of a data junkie invest in a sports watch that can record your miles, pace, heart rate so that you can see how you progress over time and with each run.

8. Try new terrain and routes
Try new routes around your neighbourhood and expand your running routes to add variety. Also try trail running, which is very different from road as there is more varied terrain with rugged up and downs.

9. Read
There are great running magazines and online blogs that can provide you with endless support, help and advice. Anything from cross training, to race updates and reviews, to stretches, to how to avoid injury.

10. And lastly…
Running is one of the simplest forms of exercise, but when you first start out it can feel hard and difficult. But stick with it and you soon will enjoy the freedom of running and its mental as well as physical effects. Running clears the mind, helps you think better, puts you in a better mood, and when you return home you will always be glad that you went on the run!

Sweden wants to become the first fossil fuel-free country in the world – how will it work?


In the recent Swedish budget, the government announced an ambitious plan to invest in renewables and green energy.

The Prime Minister of Sweden, Stefan Löfven, has announced that his country will work towards becoming “one of the first fossil fuel-free welfare states in the world,” in a speech to the UN General Assembly.

The Nordic countries already lead the world in renewable energy, with Sweden generating around two-thirds of its electricity through renewable sources.

On one unusually windy day this July, Denmark produced 140 per cent of its electricity needs through wind power alone, exporting the rest of the energy to its neighbours, Germany, Sweden and Norway (one of the biggest oil producers in the world).

And almost 100 per cent of Iceland’s electricity comes from renewable sources, due to its investment in hydropower and geothermal energy production.

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Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven announces his climate plans at the UN General Assembly

However, making the jump to eradicating fossil fuels entirely in Sweden is a much more difficult task altogether. How will Sweden, an industrialised, developed country of 10 million people, manage to stop using fossil fuels in the next few decades?

In Sweden’s autumn budget, announced in September, the government announced it would allocate 4.5 billion kronor (£356 million) next year to green infastructure – funding things like more solar panels and wind turbines, as well as cleaner public transport and a smarter energy grid and energy storage system.

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50 million kronor (£4 million) annually will be spent on research into electricity storage, and 1 billion (£80 million) will be poured into upgrading residential buildings to make them more energy-efficient.

Beyond Sweden’s borders, more money will be invested in green projects overseas, with 500 million kronor annually being invested in creating green infastructure in developing countries, which the government hopes will send an “important signal” to the West ahead of the UN climate change conference in Paris this December.

Sweden currently has a coalition government, lead by the left-leaning Social Democrats, who have dominated Swedish politics since the 1920s.

The other partner in the coalition is the Green Party, who were born out of the anti-nuclear power movement of the 1980s.

Several of Sweden’s nuclear power stations are set for early closure, partly because they are old and unprofitable, but partly to speed the push towards renewables.

Sweden’s recent budget policies, along with a more long-standing commitment to green energy, stands in stark contrast to the position of the UK government – which, following the last General Election, announced it would scrap renewable energy subsidies, encourage the development of fracking, and implement general cuts to funding for renewable technology.

In a speech to the Swedish Parliament in which he announced these green policies, Löfven said: “Children should grow up in a toxin-free environment – the precautionary principle, the removal of dangerous substances and the idea that the polluter should pay are the basis of our politics.”

With the investment going into green energy and the no-nonsense positon of the government on polluters, Sweden is aiming to set an example to other countries at the upcoming UN conference.

Forensic technique developed by Brisbane researcher helps identify missing soldiers


A forensic technique developed by a Queensland researcher is being used to identify the remains of American soldiers from the Korean War, speeding up the rate of identification and returning the fallen to their families.

University of Queensland forensic anthropologist Carl Stephan, who also is creating Australia’s first skeleton library, developed the chest radiograph comparison analysis technique during a five-year fellowship at the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency in Hawaii from 2008-2013.

He now serves as a consultant to the agency.

In the US, the government makes that unofficial promise to everybody that you will be returned home.

Dr Carl Stephan, forensic anthropologist

The technique uses chest radiographs to identify remains that cannot be identified using DNA, because of the embalming process the bones were put through during original examinations in the mid-1950s.

Dental x-rays were not uniformly taken until the start of the Vietnam War, but most Korean War soldiers had chest radiographs to screen for tuberculosis.

“Before these guys joined the military they were taken to recruiting stations, and there were reports of doctors having to take lunch breaks just to let the x-ray machine cool down over lunch,” Dr Stephan said.

“They were photographing 500-700 people a day. And so the Department of Defense had all those records.

“My task [during the fellowship] was to develop some sort of method to use those radiographs to identify those individuals.”

Restoring damaged radiographs the first step

It was a big challenge because of the number of radiographs on file, and because they were not the same quality as x-rays today.

Most of the films were small — about 10cm by 12.5cm. And about a third of them needed to be restored.

“Even though the quality is a little less, you can still see all the shapes of the cortical bone, which is the thick bone on the outside,” Dr Stephan said.

“Because people use their arms in different ways, and they’ve got different genetics, the bones have a different shape between individuals.

“So we look for that shape, and if it’s the same, we can say with a good deal of confidence it’s a match to that person; and if they’re different, then we keep on looking.”

Disinterment ceremony at National Memorial Cemetery

Historical search narrows field

Identification starts with historical research.

More than 850 unknown soldiers were buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii, after the United Nations and communist forces exchanged the remains of war dead in what became known as Operation Glory.

A man in a white lab coat looks closely as small x-rays on a horizontal lightbox.

“They start with an idea about the losses and where these skeletons were found, and they try to match them up as much as they can with this historical search,” Dr Stephan said.

“Then when they get to having some degree of confidence … [there’s an] exhumation, the bones will go to the lab and we’ll start looking at it.

“We’ll have a shortlist … it varies from case to case. In some cases it might be four to five guys, other times it might be 250.

“And after you go through that first cut when you’re looking at the bones, if you don’t find it’s any of those individuals, then that’s where we go out to use the computer automated search algorithm.

“We’ll see if we get any hits on these that might be the potential matches and go and look at them.”

Technique has applications outside war dead

Dr Stephan said there were always multiple lines of evidence used to identify an individual, including the historical data, a biological profile such as age, ancestry and stature, plus dental records.

The chest radiograph technique has also been used to identify remains from World War II, and in criminal cases.

There is a chance it could be used to identify Australian remains, if it turns out there are some Australian individuals buried in the National Memorial Cemetery.

“They do have some of the Australians’ chest radiographs on file, so comparisons could be made against them,” Dr Stephan said.

He said Australian authorities tended to go out to retrieve remains if someone came across them, but in terms of going out to specifically search, it did not happen to the same extent as it did in the US.

“In the US, the government makes that unofficial promise to everybody that you will be returned home,” he said.

“It’s an admirable ideal. They have 300 employees around the clock, full time, each year, working on this. It’s a massive operation.”

Soldier returned home after more than 60 years

One of the soldiers identified using Dr Stephan’s technique was buried in his hometown last month.

A black and white head and shoulders photo of a United States soldier.

Army Private First Class Aubrey D. Vaughn, of South Carolina, was part of a team overrun by Chinese communist forces in North Korea in 1951.

After the battle, the 20-year-old was reported missing in action. It was later reported he died while in captivity at a prisoner of war camp.

Vaughn’s remains were exhumed from the National Memorial Cemetery on May 18, 2015 and were identified using chest radiograph comparison analysis, anthropological analysis, circumstantial evidence and dental records.

His remains were returned to his family for burial with full military honours on April 12.

More than 7,800 American military personnel remain unaccounted for following the Korean War.