If vaccines are safe, why has the US gov. paid out $3 BILLION to vaccine-injured families?


If vaccines are safe, why has the US gov. paid out $3 BILLION to vaccine-injured families? – NaturalNews.com http://www.naturalnews.com/048819_vaccine_injuries_autism_US_government.html — shared by UC Mini

The Biggest Cause of Anxiety and Depression is Traumatic Life Events


The Biggest Cause of Anxiety and Depression is Traumatic Life Events | Wake Up World http://wakeup-world.com/2016/09/05/the-biggest-cause-of-anxiety-and-depression-is-traumatic-life-events/ — shared by UC Mini

800 Million-Years-Old Woman Found In A Perfect Marble Casket By Russian Scientists


In September 1969, at the village of Rzhavchik Tisulskago in the Kemerovo region, a very strange burial was discovered. During the stripping work at a coal mine in the core coal seam which lies at a depth of over 70 metres, miner Karnaukhov discovered a marble casket of amazingly accurate mechanical manufacture.

At the command area Alexander Alexandrovich Masalygina ordered all work to be stopped immediately.

The casket was brought to the surface and workers began to open it by pecking on the edges of the fossilized putty. Not so much from the blows, but from the effects of solar heat, the putty melted into a clear liquid and flowed.

This was a shock to all who saw it. the coffin was filled to the brim with pink-blue crystal clear liquid.

In it lay a slim, unusually beautiful woman — who looked about thirty, with a fine European features and large, wide-open blue eyes. Her covering was dark brown with a reddish tint to the waist. She had curls, and, resting at her sides, soft white hands with short, neatly cropped nails.

She was dressed in a white lace transparent dress length just below the knee. The short sleeves were embroidered with colorful flowers. Underwear was absent. It seemed that she was not dead, but sleeping.

At her head was a black, rectangular metal box, rounded at one end (something like a cell phone), of approximately 25 to 10 cm in size.

After about ten to fifteen hours, the coffin was open for all to see. The whole village came to see this wonder.

However, in less than 24 hours the mysterious finding was reported in the district centre.

The fire brigade, the military, and militia all confirmed the discovery. By 2 pm that day, a brick-red helicopter landed and the place was declared contagious and onlookers pushed away.

Then the authorities sealed off the place and quarantined all who touched the coffin, even those who had been standing near.


The story is told among the villagers. Few people believe them, however, once you start looking deeper into the story you start noticing strange details.

According To Eyewitnesses, Here Is What Happened:

The coffin was transferred into the helicopter, but the burden was too heavy, so they decided to make it easier by removing the liquid.

After pumping the fluid out of the coffin, the corpse began to blacken right in front of their eyes. So then the liquid was again poured in, and the blackness rapidly disappeared.

Then, after a minute, the cheeks blushed again, and the mortal remains of the corpse returned their lifelike appearance.

The coffin was closed and another helicopter was brought in to transport the remnants of the land putty in cellophane bags.

Five days later, an elderly professor from Novosibirsk came to report on the preliminary results of their laboratory findings. The professor said that this discovery would turn their very understanding of history upside down. When Soviet scientists would published their findings, the scientific world would be plunged into shock.


The age of the burial, according to the professor, was at least 800 million years old! The woman was older than the coal, having been buried as the coal formed around her coffin. Even by the evolutionary dating criteria, this refuted the Darwinian theory of evolution.

So it boils down to these two alternatives:

  1. Either man, the final art-piece of evolution, was on earth earlier than the “coal age” (claimed variously to be 65 to 800 million years ago),
  2. Or coal was not formed as early as 65 to 800 million years ago, but much more recently, during the “recent” age of man.

 

Either Way, The Evolution Theory Is In Trouble.

 


To save the evolution theory, some suggested that she must be an alien, but genetic analysis of the woman’s body showed uniformity of the modern man. ‘Today, we are the same as our ancestors 800 million years ago! No evolution!’

The nature of the fabric from which her dress was made is not amenable to scientific analysis. Also, the equipment to produce such material does not exist today.

It has not been possible to identify the composition and pink-blue liquid, but only some of its components, which include varieties of onions and garlic.

On the metal box, the professor said nothing, except that it was being studied.

The level of civilization in the time of this woman was probably far more advanced than ours.

How Were The Villagers Silenced?

 


Indignation subsided when the Tisulsky area was suddenly surrounded by the military, and the police went from house to house, removing “seditious” members of the population. The place where they found the tomb was carefully dug and filled up with earth.

Despite the efforts of the authorities, among the people in the village were fighters for truth. One of the villagers kept running around, trying to stir up interest. He even wrote a letter to the government Central Committee, but died within a year (according to the official version, from heart failure).

During the same year all six of the original coffin witnesses were allegedly killed in car crashes, one after another silenced forever.

In 1973, on the shores and islands of Lake Berchikul, six kilometers from the discovery site, all summer to late autumn large-scale excavations were conducted in secrecy.

The site was surrounded by soldiers and police. But one guest worker who participated in the excavation and kept quiet for a long time, went to the shopping area, slightly drunk, and said that an ancient cemetery was discovered on the islands.


Since then, village people have been to the dig site and reported that the brick-red helicopter was taking something out.

Also, on the islands and shores of Berchikulya hundreds of carefully dug up and buried underground tombs can be found.

Something To Consider!

 


All of this sounds so very strange, and hard to believe. However, if you go in Kemerovo, to the village of Rzhavchik Tisulskago, and ask people about the “Tisulsky Princess” they’ll all confirm this story. Or at least they’ll say that they’ve heard of it.

If you search the internet you won’t find a credible debunk of this story, or a solid fact that it is false. If you find something, please let us know.

The Darwinism and the whole evolution theory have already too many ‘plot holes’. Of course, “evolution” is undeniably true if it means simply that existing species can change in minor ways over time, or that many species living today did not exist in the past. But Darwin’s claim that all species are modified descendants of a common ancestor.

If Darwinian theory were true, “we should be able to find some cases of speciation in the fossil record, with one line of descent dividing into two or more. And we should be able to find new species forming in the wild.” (source)

So taking all in consideration, human species might have been here on earth A LOT LONGER than we have previously believed.

Maybe we’ve even evolved on a different planet, like Mars, and migrated here due to unknown reasons.

Our history might be A LOT more deeper than we could have ever imagined.

If the story of the “Tisulsky Princess” is correct in even the slightest way, than it would be either a proof of aliens, time travel, or the GREATEST debunker of the Darwinian theory there is.

 

Paris climate change talks: what doctors need to know


What is happening?

This year’s UN climate summit is the culmination of 20 years of intense talks to reach a new agreement to tackle global warming. It will be judged a success if the 196 countries going to Paris next week deliver a new, legally binding treaty committing all countries to reduce, or to cap, their greenhouse gas emissions. If it also manages to get them to increase their ambition enough to hold global temperatures to a maximum increase of 2°C by 2030 it will be seen as a historic deal likely to set the world on a clean energy path. Expectations are high because the climate situation seems to be worsening.

http://www.bmj.com/content/351/bmj.h6316/infographic

Compare voting systems to improve them


Research is needed on how groups make choices in real situations, write Guruprasad Madhavan, Charles Phelps and Rino Rappuoli.

Citizens cast votes in a second-round primary of the 2017 French presidential election.

For the second time since 2000 and at least the fourth in the history of the United States, the winner of the presidential election did not win the popular vote. The framers of the US Constitution established the electoral-college system deliberately. To prevent a few large states from dominating outcomes, they blunted the voting power of people within them.

In the French presidential race, by contrast, the winner always receives a majority of the votes cast. If neither of the two top vote recipients from a first-round election receives a majority, voters choose between the two candidates in a final ‘run-off’ election. But such methods can lead to a winner who may not be the most preferred candidate overall, depending on how voters pick candidates in the preliminary round.

Which is the best voting system? It depends on the circumstances. The study of choices by groups — social-choice theory — seeks to understand how different rules affect outcomes, and how well those rules perform against dozens of criteria. But there have been few practical and systematic studies — especially head-to-head comparisons of different rules and how they influence collective decisions, from governments to scientific societies.

Poor understanding

Voting, weighting, ranking, scoring and grading mechanisms are poorly understood by most people who apply them. The biases and limitations of each method are underappreciated. We pick a good wine with the help of our social network, sommeliers, magazine reviews, point scales and star ratings. But each person weighs attributes differently, leading to different scores for the same wines. Similar issues arise at every level of society, from choosing houses to picking spouses. Science, too, faces collective-choice challenges. Which country should host the proposed International Linear Collider, for instance? Which space missions should NASA undertake? Which medications, foods and consumer goods should be approved?

Bad group decisions harm research, the economy and society. For example, the way in which honorific and professional societies shortlist candidates for elections preserves the current membership structure rather than diversifying it. Voting rules can aid or discourage public participation — the cornerstone of a democratic process. Some voting methods favour centrists, others extremes.

Improving collective decision-making requires a new type of research: direct comparisons of various voting rules in different settings. Some of this can be done using computer simulations. Much will be learned by testing how decisions are made in real situations.

Picking winners

Even in this age of machine learning and social media we rely on a handful of basic choice mechanisms. A group may want to select one winner, such as for Pope, or pick the top few of many candidates, for say, a city council or a corporate board. Students are graded to evaluate excellence; apps, hotels, films and cars are rated by users to provide information to consumers.

The United Nations General Assembly: collective decision-making in action.

All mechanisms have two key features: what type of voter input they use (say, affirmation, or letter or numeric grades) and how those inputs are aggregated (mostly totals, averages or medians). Some methods are more expressive than others. With, say, five candidates, first-past-the-post voters have only six different options or ‘words’ to use, including a blank ballot. A ‘rank order list’ (wherein voters rank options in a numerical order of preference) has 120 different arrangements for the same five candidates. A system with six grades (such as the standard academic A, B, C, D, E, F) provides more than 7,776 combinations.

In the latest US election, the inability of voters to choose between two seemingly unpopular presidential candidates — Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump — may have lowered turnout to less than 60% of eligible voters, and less than in 2008 or 2004 (other factors may have also contributed to the reduced vote totals). Neither of the two major candidates received 17 million votes in the primary elections out of a total of 232 million eligible voters. Thus, only about 7% of eligible voters determined the final candidate slate.

Weighing up methods

Social-choice theorists evaluate selection methods using dozens of criteria. For example, ‘join consistency’ requires that an election result is unchanged if two or more districts are merged. As the differing winner of the popular vote in the 2016 US election shows, the US presidential-election system fails this test, as do many other voting systems.

The ‘rank reversal rule’ states that the ranking of any two candidates, A and B, should not change if C enters or leaves the race1. A notable violation is from 2000, when Green Party candidate Ralph Nader captured a few per cent of the vote in Florida, giving the election to George W. Bush (over Al Gore). Gore would have won either if Nader was not in the race or if Florida had used a run-off election. But a run-off approach can also lead to rank reversal.

Some of these criteria conflict — meeting one guarantees failing another or they confound the electorate’s intention. Many situations invite strategic voting, wherein blocs of voters can alter the outcome by voting for someone other than their true preference. In a run-off ballotage, voters preferring one candidate may elevate a weaker opponent into the final round, assuring the victory of their favourite.

Voting systems that sum or average the points assigned to candidates — such as the rank-order ballots used in Australian elections — exacerbate these risks. Major Australian political parties hand out strategies so voters may game such opportunities.

Yet there have been few attempts to compare different methods for reaching a group decision. Voting methods can be tested in real elections by getting voters to fill out two types of ballot — an official one using established voting rules and a test ballot with alternative ways for voters to express themselves. One can then ask the voters which method they found easiest to use, which they understood, trusted and possibly preferred to use in future.

“Voting methods can be tested in real elections by getting voters to fill out two types of ballot.”

Such comparisons in wider political contexts are rare. In one example, members of the Society for Social Choice and Welfare were asked to rank three candidates for their president as well as voting for one using the official voting rule. Later analysis revealed that the different voting rules elected different candidates2, 3.

In a larger experiment, voters from several districts in the 2007 French presidential election were asked by researchers Michel Balinski and Rida Laraki to fill out a separate ballot in which they graded each candidate. The researchers tested the time needed to vote (about one minute per ballot), preferences (voters found this ‘majority judgement’ system easy to use and appreciated the increased vocabulary), and how the official vote, majority judgement and other outcomes compared4.

The real French presidential election results showed two finalists, who ranked second and third in the polls, in a run-off against each other. The test system would have selected the candidates most preferred in the polls. The difference was not a defect of polling accuracy but rather the result of widespread strategic voting in the first round that was widely discussed before election day in the French media4.

We — an engineer, an economist and a biologist — have confronted similar issues in our own work. We developed a decision-support tool for public officials, corporate executives and donors to prioritize potential vaccines for research-and-development investment5, 6, 7.

Our software assigns a weight to each of a list of vaccine candidates based on a range of factors, from cost-effectiveness to target population and disease characteristics. The final scores are based on the attributes that a decision-maker values most in domains such as health, economic, demographic, business, operations and policy. And, like most such aids, it is written for individuals, not groups. Almost all its users have asked us for guidance on how to create prioritized lists by combining individual preferences in, say, an advisory committee.

To learn more about how groups use our software, we carried out a trial (see ‘Prioritization pilot’). We compared some common voting methods to see whether the resulting recommendations differed (they did) and which approach people preferred. Our participants found it easier and more expressive of their views to evaluate the merits of the options using letter grades rather than numerical ranks. Although this is but one example, and not definitive, more such experiments would help to guide groups in other scenarios.

Prioritization pilot

At the end of a four-week vaccinology course at Institut Pasteur in Paris in 2016, we asked the 26 participants to rank three hypothetical rotavirus vaccine candidates for development using our software tool, SMART Vaccines. The participants included research scientists, clinicians, doctoral students and programme directors and managers in governments and corporations. We divided them into two groups: one to simulate a health ministry; the other a finance ministry.

We asked each group to select and rank the five attributes most relevant to them, such as cost effectiveness or quality life years gained, from a longer list. The health group shortlisted seven and converged on five through discussion. The finance group winnowed 14 down to five by voting. Both groups ranked their five in importance using two methods: the Borda count, which sums points awarded by each member8; and majority judgement, which uses the median of categorical grades — such as A, B, C, D, E, F — awarded to the options4. These ranks were fed into software to calculate scores between zero and 100 — zero representing an ineffective vaccine candidate and a 100 representing a perfect one.

Both groups agreed on the top priority for the vaccine candidates (cases prevented) but differed on which other attributes of the medicines were most important to them. Each group scored the candidates differently, meaning that they would prioritize different ones for development.

Asked which method they preferred, all participants said that majority judgement was easier: it was simpler to assign letter grades than numbers and it tolerated ties. Ranking says nothing about the quality of the choices. For example, four candidates might be graded A, A, D, F and yet ranked 1, 2, 3, 4.

Table

Group Attributes selected as most important Priority (Borda ranking) Priority (majority judgment grading)
Simulated health ministry Cases prevented per year 1 1
Quality-adjusted life-years gained 2 3
Cost-effectiveness 3 2
Fits into existing immunization schedules 4 4
Benefits socioeconomically disadvantaged 5 5
Simulated finance ministry Cases prevented per year 1 1
Cost-effectiveness 2 2
Net direct savings of vaccine use per year(in millions) 3 3
Availability of alternative public-health measures 4 5
Benefits socio-economically disadvantaged 5 4

Field trials

We cannot help groups and society to choose better selection mechanisms by continuing to study which voting systems pass or fail theoretical criteria. Social-choice research needs to include human factors such as ease and preference of use, and effects on voter participation — a key element in any democratic society. First, it should focus on practical ways to assess the performance and impact of various mechanisms under different conditions.

Field-testing different selection methods in parallel with real voting situations should determine, for example, how often they produce different results and how much voters understand each approach, as well as what the potential consequences are. Such information can help groups to pick which rule would be best for them. Computer simulations could be used to analyse distributions of public preferences, and also situations in which conflicting voting problems actually occur.

Two good places to start in science, engineering and public health are: peer-review panels that prioritize research proposals for funding decisions; and professional societies choosing members and officers. Testing in other organizations — from corporate boards to religious congregations and performance awards in sports, literature, arts, and films — would broaden understanding of the human factors at play.

We urge government agencies and philanthropic organizations to fund such practical research. Learning more about choice mechanisms will have widespread social and economic benefits, from better presidents to better science.

Clothing Industry Is the Second Largest Polluter in the World


Few shopping decisions are of no consequence these days. The foods you buy certainly have an enormous impact on your health and the environment, but so do the clothes you buy, wear and wash.

Clothing Industry

Story at-a-glance

  • The garment industry has an enormous impact on your health and the environment, from pesticide and heavy water usage to toxic dyes and the carbon footprint of shipping
  • Many laundry detergents contain toxic chemicals that contribute to water pollution. Microfibers are also released from your clothes during washing, contributing to declining water quality and destruction of wildlife
  • Fabric softeners and dryer sheets are also loaded with hazardous ingredients that are best avoided to protect indoor air quality and prevent environmental pollution

According to clothing designer Eileen Fisher, who was honored for her environmental work at the 2015 Riverkeeper’s Annual Fishermen’s Ball,1,2 “The clothing industry is the second largest polluter in the world … second only to oil.”

Keeping your clothes clean also has a dirty downside. Many laundry detergents contain toxic chemicals that contribute to water pollution and can pose a hazard to people with chemical sensitivities.

Dry cleaning is also notorious for the toxic chemicals involved, which can off-gas for days afterward. Microfibers are also released from your clothes during washing, contributing to declining water quality and destruction of wildlife.

The Price for Disposable ‘Fast Fashion’ Is Steep

As reported by Ecowatch:3

“Fashion is a complicated business involving long and varied supply chains of production, raw material, textile manufacture, clothing construction, shipping, retail, use and ultimately disposal of the garment.

While Fisher’s assessment that fashion is the second largest polluter is likely impossible to know, what is certain is that the fashion carbon footprint is tremendous …

A general assessment must take into account not only obvious pollutants — the pesticides used in cotton farming, the toxic dyes used in manufacturing and the great amount of waste discarded clothing creates — but also the extravagant amount of natural resources used in extraction, farming, harvesting, processing, manufacturing and shipping.

While cotton, especially organic cotton, might seem like a smart choice, it can still take more than 5,000 gallons of water to manufacture just a T-shirt and a pair of jeans.

Synthetic, man-made fibers, while not as water-intensive, often have issues with manufacturing pollution and sustainability. And across all textiles, the manufacturing and dyeing of fabrics is chemically intensive.”

Environmental Impacts of Cheap Clothing

Inexpensive clothing has become so common today, it’s not unusual for people to have closets overflowing with clothes they never wear, or to throw away clothes worn only once or twice.

But the low price tag is deceptive. Upon further scrutiny, each item of clothing exacts a significant toll on the environment, and on human health across the globe.

In some areas, cotton has led to severe ecological devastation. Ecowatch mentions Uzbekistan, the sixth leading producer of cotton, where irrigation for cotton plantations have led to the depletion of water in the Aral Sea and the subsequent failure of fisheries in the area.

In a mere 50 years, the water level in the Aral Sea has diminished to where it is now less than 10 percent of its former level. Fertilizers and pesticides pollute what little water remains, and the dry, exposed lakebeds have created “a public health crisis,” as winds carry and spread the contaminated sand far and wide.

Organic cotton, which is more sustainable, accounts for a mere 1 percent of the cotton grown across the globe. Great benefits could come from expanding the organic cotton industry.

However, while free of pesticides and many other harmful chemicals, organic cotton still requires a lot of water, and organic cotton fabrics may still be dyed with potentially hazardous chemicals.

Each year, an estimated half a trillion gallons of fresh water is also used in the process of dyeing textiles, putting added strain on declining fresh water supplies.

Add to that the carbon footprint associated with shipping — from field to various manufacturing facilities where the fabrics and final items are made, onward to retail stores across the globe — and the end result is still far from ideal.

The entire supply chain needs to be cleaned up, but organic cotton is still a big step in the right direction, considering the serious harm being done by pesticides.

Toxic Garment Dyes Wreak Havoc

Textile dyeing facilities tend to be located in developing countries where regulations are lax and labor costs are low. Untreated or minimally treated wastewater is typically discharged into nearby rivers, from where it spreads into seas and oceans, traveling across the globe with the currents.

An estimated 40 percent of textile chemicals are discharged by China.4 According to Ecowatch, Indonesia is also struggling with the chemical fallout of the garment industry. The Citarum River is now one of the most heavily polluted rivers in the world, thanks to the congregation of hundreds of textile factories along its shorelines.

Tests by Greenpeace reveal the river water contains alarming amounts of lead, mercury, arsenic, nonylphenol (an endocrine-disrupting chemical) and many other toxic chemicals — all of which are dumped by textile manufacturers straight into the river without even the most basic of chemical filtration or treatments.

The final clothing items also contain nonylphenol, and it can take several washes before it’s all washed out. This means the chemical is also entering your local sewer system.

Nonylphenol is considered so hazardous that many European Union (EU) members have banned its use in the garment industry. It’s not even allowed in imported textile goods. The U.S. has no such restrictions, however.

Each year, Americans buy an astounding 22 billion items of clothing, and only 2 percent of these items are made in the U.S. Transportation alone, since each item has been shipped numerous times from country to country by the time it ends up in a retail store, creates an enormous amount of air pollution.

The Dirty Side of Clean Clothes

Once you’ve purchased a piece of clothing, you come to the next area of concern: washing the item. Not only do most laundry detergents contain harmful chemicals, but the garment itself may be contributing to the problem of toxic pollution by releasing chemicals and fibers.

Flame-retardant chemicals are found in many garments, for example. Virtually any garment promising to be stain or water resistant also contains hazardous chemicals.

Worn against bare skin, such items could be a source of toxic exposure, but even in the best case scenario, these items contribute to water pollution when washed. Flame retardants do not break down into safer chemicals in the environment.

They may travel great distances from the point of origin, accumulate in people and animals in the food chain and have long-term toxic effects.5

Exposure to these chemicals at a critical point in development may damage your reproductive system, and cause deficits in learning,6 memory, motor skills and behavior. Some have also been identified as carcinogenic.7

Phthalates are another chemical hazard. While not typically associated with clothing, a recent pilot study found that cotton and polyester fabrics pick up both flame-retardant chemicals and plasticizers such as phthalates from indoor air.8

Phthalates are chemicals used to make plastics more pliable. They leach out from the plastics as the product ages, and are toxic to you and the environment. 9

Phthalates have carcinogenic effects and affect reproduction10 and development.11 When clothing carrying the chemicals is washed, the chemicals enter wastewater and are released into the environment.12

Microfibers are another common water contaminant that originate in our laundry rooms. Each washing of a synthetic fleece jacket releases 1.7 grams of microfibers. The older the jacket, the more microfibers are released.13 Tests reveal acrylic fibers release the most microparticles.14

Up to 40 percent of these microfibers leave the wastewater treatment plant and end up in the surrounding lakes, rivers and oceans. To address the problem, scientists are now calling for appliance companies to investigate the effectiveness of adding filters to catch the microfibers.15

A recent study from the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) directly linked plastics and man-made fibers to the pollution in fish.16 Microfibers, which are more prevalent than microbeads (found in face scrubs and similar items), are particularly dangerous as the fibers are easily consumed by fish and other wildlife, accumulating in the gut and concentrating in the bodies of other animals higher up the food chain.

Textile fibers are found in both marine and freshwater fish. When Abigail Barrows, chief investigator for Global Microplastics Initiative, sampled over 2,000 marine and freshwater fish, 90 percent had microfiber debris in their bodies. High concentrations of acrylic and polyester fibers are also found in beach sediment near waste water treatment plants.17

Making matters worse, these microscopic plastic fibers soak up toxins like a sponge, concentrating PCBs, pesticides and oil in ever higher amounts as you move up the food chain.

Different types of machines may release different amounts of fibers and chemicals from your clothes, poisoning wastewater runoff and clogging the water supply with hormone disrupting chemicals and plastics. Research found that top loading machines released about 530 percent more microfibers than front loading models.18

The Toxic Impact of Laundry Detergents

Laundry detergents also pollute rivers and lakes, contributing to algae overgrowth and fish die-offs. Surfactants and phosphates (the latter of which is used to soften the water and suspend dirt) are among the most destructive pollutants.

According to a previous report by Mother Earth News,19 sodium nitrilotriacetate (NTA, an organic nitrogen compound), and organic polyelectrolytes could be used as substitutes for phosphates. Both are believed to be biodegradable, and overall would pose far less of a risk to the environment. Enzyme “pre-soak” stain removers may be among the worst, as they contain about two-thirds phosphate.

Still, even biodegradable detergents can be problematic when used in massive quantities by hundreds of millions of people. As noted by water treatment solution company Lenntech:20

“Detergents can have poisonous effects in all types of aquatic life if they are present in sufficient quantities, and this includes the biodegradable detergents. All detergents destroy the external mucus layers that protect the fish from bacteria and parasites; plus they can cause severe damage to the gills.

Most fish will die when detergent concentrations approach 15 parts per million [ppm]. Detergent concentrations as low as 5 ppm will kill fish eggs. Surfactant detergents are implicated in decreasing the breeding ability of aquatic organisms.

Detergents also add another problem for aquatic life by lowering the surface tension of the water. Organic chemicals such as pesticides and phenols are then much more easily absorbed by the fish. A detergent concentration of only 2 ppm can cause fish to absorb double the amount of chemicals they would normally absorb …”

Fabric Softeners Are Also Loaded With Harmful Chemicals

According to the “Guide to Less Toxic Products”21 by the Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia, fabric softeners often contain quaternary ammonium compounds, or “quats,” and imidazolidinyl, both of which are known to release formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde can cause joint pain, depression, headaches, chronic pain and a variety of other symptoms. Studies suggest formaldehyde can damage your DNA and may even lead to cancer. For about 5 percent of people, quats are an extreme sensitizer that can cause a variety of asthma-like symptoms, and even respiratory arrest.22

Fabric softeners also contain carcinogenic coal-tar dyes, ammonia and very strong fragrances. A single fragrance can be made up of literally hundreds of chemicals, none of which have to be disclosed or tested for safety. Most are derived from petroleum products, which means high potential for human toxicity. Fragrances are one of the leading causes of allergic reactions.

Why You’re Best Off Skipping the Dryer Sheets

Next, you probably put your clothes in the dryer, which has its own ramifications for your health and environment. First, dryer exhaust contains carbon monoxide,23 an odorless gas posing well-known health dangers, depending on the concentration in which it’s inhaled. Consider this if your child’s bedroom window is close to your dryer vent.

Scented dryer sheets are commonplace as well, and as your clothing dries, toxic vapors are released into your house, thereby compromising your indoor air quality — and out into the neighborhood.

Anne Steinemann, Ph.D., professor of civil and environmental engineering and public affairs at the University of Washington, has done a large amount of research into what chemicals are released by laundry products, air fresheners, cleaners, lotions and other fragranced consumer products. In one study,24 in which she evaluated dryer vent emissions from 25 common brands of scented laundry products, she showed that:

More than 600 VOCs (volatile organic compounds) were emitted, and none of these chemicals were listed on any of the 25 product labels. However, clues to the presence of these VOCs include label listings such as “biodegradable surfactants,” “softeners” or “perfume.”

Two of the VOCs are considered by the EPA to be carcinogenic (acetaldehyde and benzene) and unsafe at ANY exposure level.

Seven of the VOCs are classified as “hazardous air pollutants.”

The highest concentration of emitted VOCs was acetaldehyde, acetone and ethanol.

Alternatives That Make Sense

It is safer, less expensive and kinder to the planet to shift to less toxic laundry products. Seeking out clothing made from organic fabrics made according to sustainable practices also needs to become more the norm than the occasional exception. Yes, such garments are more expensive (right now), but they also tend to last longer with proper care. And at the end of the day, we all need to start paying attention to the larger picture.

In this case, “fast fashion” is taking too great a toll on the environment and, ultimately, human health — including your own — even if you don’t happen to live near a garment or textile factory spewing toxins right into a local water source. Conscious consumerism needs to be high on our agenda as we move forward, because the world is getting more toxic with each passing day.

There’s definitely something to be said for the minimalist trend where you own fewer but higher quality items made in a sustainable way that you can wear for many years to come. Here are some tips and suggestions for cleaning up your laundry and developing a more sustainable wardrobe:

Opt for organic cotton, organic hemp and/or wool items, ideally colored with nontoxic, natural dyes when possible. While this will not solve all of the environmental problems related to the garment industry, it’s a huge step in the right direction.

In lieu of toxic detergents, opt for unscented, nontoxic alternatives. Soap nuts, for example, do a fine job of cleaning items that are not heavily soiled. Castille soap or Arm and Hammer Washing Soda are other DIY alternatives.

Fabric softeners are typically unnecessary, but if you feel you need it, try this DIY recipe from the Kid Feed blog:25

“In a recycled gallon-sized vinegar jug, add 2 cups baking soda and 2 cups distilled white vinegar. When mixture finishes foaming, add 4 cups of hot water and essential oils (optional) to desired strength. (Try using 20 drops each of lavender and lemon.) Shake before each use, and add about 1 cup for large loads in the rinse cycle.”

Dry your clothes naturally on indoor or outdoor drying racks.

If using a dryer, skip the dryer sheets. To prevent static cling, use wool dryer balls or a wad of aluminum foil instead, or simply remove your clothes from the dryer before they’re completely dry. The remaining moisture helps prevent static cling. Let your clothes dry fully on a drying rack. Another trick is to launder natural and synthetic fabrics separately, as synthetics cause most of the static problems.

White rhinos smell faeces to communicate​​​​​​​


White rhinos can learn about each other by sniffing their faeces.

Many mammals communicate through smells in their urine. To see whether faeces have a similar role, Courtney Marneweck at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, and her colleagues analysed odours from the faeces of more than 100 wild white rhinos (Ceratotherium simum) in South Africa.

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They found distinct odour profiles associated with animals of different sexes, ages and states. For example, levels of the chemical 2,3-dimethylundecane distinguished males from females; nonane defined whether a male was territorial; and 2,6-dimethylundecane indicated whether a female was in a reproductive state. Territorial males that were exposed to artificial versions of these compounds responded accordingly, such as acting threatened when presented with odours from another territorial male.

Should you let your dog lick your face?


big white dog licking woman on the face

Do you find it sweet or gross when a dog does this?

You love your dog so much, it’s only natural to let him lick you. And if it happens that he zeroes in on your lips, what’s the big deal? After all, you’ve heard that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s.

Except it’s not true. You’ve seen the things your dog eats. It’s no wonder dogs have their fair share of oral bacteria, making them no better than us when it comes to the microbial situation in their mouths. So you may want to think twice before putting your face so close to your four-legged buddy.

Why do dogs lick?

You may think your dog is doing this out of love, but there are a number of reasons dogs lick their owners, other dogs and even themselves, according to the American Kennel Club.

They like the way you taste. Dogs find something yummy about your sweaty, salty skin. That unique taste is also comforting because it comes from someone they love.

They’re rewarded for doing it. What did you do the last time your dog licked you? Likely you gave him attention by petting him or saying something to him, which offered positive reinforcement, encouraging him to do it again. And, as the AKC points out, licking also releases endorphins (the “feel good” hormones), which increases the benefit of doing it.

To show submission. Puppies will lick their mother’s mouth as a sign of subordination. Similarly, a dog will lick another dog (or a person) that they feel is superior to them.

For medical or behavioral reasons. A dog might lick a certain spot on his body because of allergies or other medical problems. But a dog that obsessively licks himself, a person or even an item may have anxiety or a disorder that may benefit from a consultation with a behaviorist.

To lick or not to lick

dog licks the cheek of a baby Because babies’ immune systems are still developing, it’s a good idea to keep dogs from licking them on the face, say experts.

Your dog’s mouth and intestines harbor all sorts of bacteria and parasites. Some of these are zoonotic, meaning they can be transmitted to people and can cause disease, says veterinarian Ken Tudor of PetMD. Some common bacteria that can be transmitted this way include salmonella, E. coli, clostridium and campylobacter, which can be found in a dog’s intestines.

Because pets lick their bottoms, these bacteria can eventually end up in a dog’s mouth and then possibly be transferred to people with a lick.

If you’re healthy, a few dog licks likely won’t make you sick, most experts appear to agree.

“When dog saliva touches intact human skin, especially in a healthy person, it is extremely unlikely to cause any problems, as there will be very little absorption through the skin,” Dr. Leni K. Kaplan at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine told the New York Times.

But because disease-carrying saliva can be absorbed more readily through the membranes in a person’s mouth, eyes and nose, Kaplan suggests it’s best to avoid letting your dog lick those parts of your face. It’s rare that illnesses are spread that way, but it’s still a wise precaution.

After all, it’s not just the bacteria you need to worry about.

Before you kiss a dog, or let a dog lick your face, “you have to think of where their nose has been,” veterinarian Clark Fobian, immediate past president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, tells WebMD. “Has it been inside a dead opossum on the side of the road, or the posterior of another dog, or in the litter box?”

Fobian points out that you shouldn’t think kissing your dog on his nose or the top of his head is much safer than on the mouth. If your dog has an infection, germs can travel all over his body through scratching, he says. And because dogs are constantly licking, whatever is on their mouth typically will end up on their skin, and vice versa.

If you have a compromised immune system — for example if you’re on chemotherapy or have diabetes — you should definitely avoid the up-close-and-personal doggy mouth to mouth, Dr. Shelley Rankin, associate professor of microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, tells VetStreet. The same rule applies for pregnant women, babies, the elderly and anyone (like teenagers with acne) who have open sores on their faces.

“Anywhere the skin is broken, there’s potentially a risk,” Rankin says.

Playing it safe

dog turning away from a woman in park If you get near a dog’s face and he turns away, he may be telling you he’s stressed you’re so close.

To limit your chances of pet-related microbial issues, it’s smart to take common sense health measures to keep you and your dog healthy. Here are some tips from the Companion Animal Parasite Council:

  • Make sure your dog has regular heartworm, flea and tick control.
  • Have your dog checked for parasites regularly and have puppies on a deworming program.
  • Clean up immediately after your pet while on walks and in the yard.
  • Wash your hands after cleaning up after your pet.

And use caution when sticking your face in front of any dog. Not all dogs want you that close and can show their stress by leaning or looking away or licking their lips. If you don’t catch and respect those signs, a dog can eventually snap at you, veterinarian Melissa Bain, assistant professor at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, tells WebMD.

It’s just like trying to kiss a person who doesn’t want to be kissed. “We respect people who are like that; we should also respect dogs who are like that,” Bain says.

crystals

Could theoretical time crystals actually exist?

They sound like some fanciful fiction, the stuff of fairy tales, or some Jim Henson-inspired concoction: time crystals. But it turns out that these intuition-defying entities could actually exist, according to a new study released in the journal Physical Review Letters.

Time crystals were an idea first proposed by Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek in 2012. They began as mere mathematical curiosities, hypothetical objects that extend the idea of a crystal beyond the three dimensions of space and into the fourth dimension of time. Now new research by Wilczek answers some of the criticisms that have been leveled at his idea. More intriguingly, though, the research leaves open the possibility that time crystals could actually exist, reports Phys.org.

The main argument against the existence of time crystals relates to one of their more bizarre characteristics, which is that they seem capable of achieving everlasting movement by periodically moving and then returning to an original state over and over again. This would seem to indicate that they violate a fundamental symmetry in physics, known as “time-translation symmetry.”

Time-translation symmetry is a version of one of the fundamental symmetries of space-time, which essentially states that the laws of physics are the same everywhere and at all times. Wilczek and colleagues think they can get around an underlying violation of this principle by making a crucial distinction between “explicit symmetry breaking” and “spontaneous symmetry breaking.”

“If a symmetry is broken explicitly, then the laws of nature do not have the symmetry anymore; spontaneous symmetry breaking means that the laws of nature have a symmetry, but nature chooses a state that doesn’t,” explained co-author Dominic Else.

If time crystals merely break spontaneous symmetry, they wouldn’t be the first entities known to do so in nature. For instance, symmetry is mysteriously broken in magnets, which spontaneously “choose” which pole is north and which pole is south. This doesn’t break any symmetries that exist in the laws of physics themselves, it merely represents an example of the laws of physics not specifying what ought to happen.

Regular crystals actually spontaneously break symmetry too, though the symmetries they violate are all spatial in nature, not extending to the dimension of time. The spontaneous breaking of time-translation symmetry has never been observed before, but if it’s ever observed, it seems like time crystals should be the place to look.

To prove that this was possible, the researchers ran simulations that allowed for the spontaneous breaking of time-translation symmetry without violating any other fundamental laws of physics, such as the laws of thermodynamics.

So time crystals ought to be able to exist in nature. They’re not mathematically impossible, at least. The next step will be to try and actually create one, which Wilczek’s team is already beginning to imagine. They have envisioned an experiment involving a large system of trapped atoms, trapped ions, or superconducting qubits — the equivalent of computer bits, but for a quantum computer — to fabricate a time crystal.

If they’re successful, it will be a mind-blowing breakthrough, to say the least. We can only hope they don’t accidentally open a door to another time dimension in the meantime, spilling out Demogorgons or some other once-fictional entities from our nightmares. That’s just the risk of working on the cutting edge of theoretical physics.

7 reasons you will never forget your dog


Good old dog

The passing of a pet leaves a hole in your heart — and your life.

It’s been three years, but it was only a few weeks ago that I was able to pull my old dog’s bed out of storage and look at it without crying. Otis wasn’t just my dog; he was my friend, my workout partner, my first baby and my stalwart protector. In our 14 years together, Otis was there for me through the birth of both of my daughters, five moves, one tarantula infestation and countless bad haircuts, which he endured without skipping a beat.

It’s no wonder his death left a giant black lab-sized hole in my heart. Anyone who has ever lost a longtime pet knows this feeling, and many also understand completely that the loss of a pet can be as hard as the loss of a close friend or family member. Here’s why you’ll never forget a loyal dog:

1. You may be closer to your dog than you are to some members of your family.

A 1988 study published in the Journal of Mental Health Counseling asked dog owners to create a family diagram placing all their family members and pets in a circle whose proximity to them represented the strength and closeness of their relationships. Not surprisingly, the participants tended to put their dogs as close as or even closer than family members. In 38 percent of the cases, the dog was closest of all.

2. You dog’s world revolves around you and your happiness.

If there’s one thing that your dog loves even more than chew toys, cheeseburgers and chasing squirrels, it’s you. His world literally revolves around you, and he will do anything at all to make you happy. There’s no other being in the world that will give you as much nonjudgmental love as a dog will.

3. Your pet is your stress reliever.

A study published in Frontiers in Psychology found that contact with pets can help to reduce stress by lowering levels of stress hormones, calming the heart rate, and even elevating feelings of happiness. Losing a pet is like losing a friend, counselor and yoga-instructor all in one.

Happy old dog

All it takes is a quick scratch to make your dog’s day.

4. Pets appreciate your every effort, no matter how small.

At the end of the average day, I will have cooked, cleaned, run errands, worked, shuffled kids from school to after-school activities and home again, paid bills, worked some more, rotated laundry, and organized a playdate , a fundraiser or a closet all without anyone in my household even noticing. Yet my two current dogs (Henry and Honey) are seemingly overjoyed by any effort I make — no matter how small — to keep them fed or happy. It’s easy to feel like a superhero when you see the love in your dog’s eyes reflected back at you.

5. Your dog understands you.

Honey, my energetic running partner, knows well before I reach for my shoes whether or not it’s time to get ready for a run. Henry knows when it’s time to play and when it’s time to dog pile on the sofa for popcorn and a movie. And it’s not just your mood that dogs understand. New research shows that your dog probably understands much of what you say — and even the tone of voice you use to say it.

6. Dogs are loyal to the bitter end.

For all of the good days we had, my boy and I had our struggles, too. Yet Otis never judged me for the days that I forgot to feed him (or myself,) or when I walked around the house like a zombie while caring for a new baby. He didn’t object to squeezing into the middle console of a two-seater truck when we moved across the country. He forgave me for all of those missed walks and harsh words when I struggled to juggle the demanding tasks of caring for a growing family.

Yet, when I needed him, he was there, without fail. It was Otis who sat by my side as I rocked a colicky baby through countless sleepless nights. When the Twin Towers crumbled to the ground, I wept silently into his collar. When a close friend lost her son to cancer, Otis walked with me around and around the block as I struggled to understand the meaning of life.

7. Even if your dog is no longer with you, he wants to comfort you.

Your dog would never want you to be sad — even if your sadness is caused by his loss.

Animation student Shai Getzoff captured this sentiment perfectly in his short film “6 Feet.”

“I based this story on my beloved dog who passed away last April,” Getzoff commented in the film notes. “She spent 15 and a half wonderful years with me and my family. After she passed away, it took a while getting used to life without her. It felt like she was always around, when in reality she wasn’t really there any more. This, for me, is a way to say goodbye.”

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