New Study Suggests Our Understanding of Brain Cells Is Flawed, and Here’s Why

Our neurons could be 10 times more active than we thought.

A new study has found evidence that a section of our neurons, called the dendrites, aren’t the passive receivers we’ve always assumed them to be.

Instead, researchers have found that dendrites generate up to 10 times more electrical pulse spikes than parts of our brain cells called the soma, which until now were thought to be the main area to produce these electrical signals.

 If verified, the study could change our understanding of neurons, and how the various parts of the human brain work together.

“Knowing [dendrites] are much more active than the soma fundamentally changes the nature of our understanding of how the brain computes information,” said one of the team, Mayank Mehta, from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

“It may pave the way for understanding and treating neurological disorders, and for developing brain-like computers.”

Dendrites are long, branch-like structures that make up over 90 percent of our neuronal tissue. They’re connected to the soma, which is the part of the neuron that surrounds the nucleus.

Here’s what they look like:


According to traditional thinking, somas generate the electrical pulses, also known as ‘spikes’, that brain cells use to communicate with each other.

Until recently, scientists generally assumed that these somatic spikes activated the dendrites, which then passively passed the currents onto other neurons’ somas – but this had never been directly tested.

Although recent studies of human brain slices had shown that dendrites could generate spikes, it wasn’t known if this happened naturally, and it hadn’t been shown in a live animal model.

As the team explains in a press release:

“It was neither clear that this could happen during natural behaviour, nor how often. Measuring dendrites’ electrical activity during natural behaviour has long been a challenge because they’re so delicate.

In studies with laboratory rats, scientists have found that placing electrodes in the dendrites themselves while the animals were moving actually killed those cells.”

Obviously, this wasn’t an ideal situation, so the UCLA scientists placed the electrodes near the dendrites in rats, instead of on them.

They were able to measure the dendrites’ activity for four days,while the rats performed activities such as moving through a maze.

What’s interesting is that the researchers found many more spikes in dendrites than somas – five times more whilen the rats were sleeping, and up to 10 times more while they were exploring.

This is very different to the established understanding, and could show that our brains have much more ‘computational’ power than we thought.

“A fundamental belief in neuroscience has been that neurons are digital devices. They either generate a spike or not. These results show that the dendrites do not behave purely like a digital device,” said Mehta.

“Dendrites do generate digital, all-or-none spikes, but they also show large analogue fluctuations that are not all or none. This is a major departure from what neuroscientists have believed for about 60 years.”

So how much more processing power do we suddenly have in our brains?

Mehta explains that because dendrites are nearly 100 times larger in volume than somas, the large number of dendritic spikes means we could have over 100 times the processing capacity than we thought.

That’s a pretty big stretch, and more research will be needed before we can confirm exactly how much processing power our brain actually has.

It’s also important to note that this study has only been investigated in rats – we’d still need to investigate if the dendrites are behaving similarly in our own brains as they are in the animal models before we can start confirming any such numbers.

But these findings are an impressive step for the neurological field – and it may one day lead to better ways to treat neurological disorders, and even the basis behind how we learn.

“Our findings indicate that learning may take place when the input neuron is active at the same time that a dendrite is active – and it could be that different parts of dendrites will be active at different times, which would suggest a lot more flexibility in how learning can occur within a single neuron,” said one of the team, Jason Moore.

How to deal with job rejection

man ripping up paper
Rejection can be a chance to hone your approach to job hunting

Technology has made firing off multiple job applications easier – but as well as more opportunities for success, there is also more chance of rejection.

We wanted to know how experts suggest we turn rejection around so that it helps a job search be successful in the long run.

“Don’t take rejection personally,” says Los Angeles-based business coach Joanna Garzilli.

“Often there are a number of factors at play including timing, circumstances, office politics and budgets. Just because someone says no today doesn’t mean it’s a no in the future.”

And job-search expert Alison Doyle says: “The best way to deal with rejection is to consider why you were rejected, and then move on.”

“Start Quote

Alison Doyle

Spending time volunteering will help you feel better about yourself”

Alison Doyle

But analysing rejection is easier said than done. It may be tempting to follow up a rejection email or letter by asking an employer how they reached their decision, but you won’t always get a response.

“Many employers won’t disclose any information to applicants they rejected, because they are concerned about legal issues like discrimination,” says Ms Doyle.

“That said, it can’t hurt to ask, and if you do get feedback, consider how you can use it enhance your chances in the future.”

If you can’t get feedback, you should spend some time asking yourself what might have gone wrong.

Ms Garzilli says: “Do a self evaluation on what went well, what didn’t and why? This will help you to be well prepared for the next job interview.”


In the relatively anonymous world of online job searching, where the number of applications and rejections can mount up very quickly, it it easy to lose focus on the ultimate goal.

Ms Doyle says: “Do consider how effective your job search is – or isn’t.

“Are you applying for the right jobs? Jobs that are a strong match for your qualifications? If not, you are wasting time because there are so many applicants for each position, only the most qualified candidates will be considered.”

Sheri Bennett
Sheri Bennett has applied for more than 200 jobs but won’t give up

‘Disappointing, disillusioning and discouraging’

Since May, Sheri Bennett, from California, has applied for more than 200 jobs online, but she is still looking for work.

“I have not had many call-backs at all, and a lot of the companies don’t even send a courtesy email that you’ve not been selected,” she says.

“Not even an acknowledgment, not even a thank you for applying. Nothing.”

The former teacher says it can be very “disappointing” and “disillusioning.”

Emotional toll

Ms Bennett, who says she is “discouraged” at times, responds by simply “trying harder.”

Dan Sparks, vice-president of sales at Hire Live, which stages career fairs, says: “There are very qualified candidates out there and sometimes it just takes a little time to find that right position. says .

“Don’t just talk to one company and say, ‘That was it, that’s all I need to do, I already got that job.’ Keep an open mind, don’t be disappointed if they say no or don’t be disappointed if they move forward with somebody else.”

how to get a job now branding

Being out of work for a prolonged period takes its toll emotionally. Relationships suffer, and unsuccessful candidates can find themselves on a downwards spiral into depression.

Ms Doyle says: “One way many job seekers have dealt with lethargy or depression is to not focus all their time and energy on job seeking.

“Spending time volunteering, for example, will help you feel better about yourself. It may also help you make valuable contacts who can help your job search.”

Metabolic acidosis causes cancer, diabetes and premature death.

Cancer, chronic fatigue, diabetes, osteoporosis plus many other degenerative diseases are caused by ‘metabolic acidosis.’ Is your body pH slightly alkaline? If not, this is a serious health condition – that needs to be addressed immediately.

Shocking ‘sick care’ statistics! The top 10 reasons for seeing a doctor include: skin disorders like acne; joint problems; back aches; cholesterol issues; upper respiratory conditions; depression; neurological disorders; hypertension; headaches and diabetes. Do you see a common thread to all these health problems?

Most health-related problems are directly connected to being too acidic. On the next NaturalNews Talk Hour, Jonathan Landsman and Susan Smith Jones, Ph.D. will talk about how to prevent metabolic acidosis and, literally, eliminate the need for (most) doctor appointments.

A wake up call for conventional medicine – most health problems have a simple solution

The typical American diet involves too much animal protein, processed grains – in the form of bread and pasta plus lots of sugar and artificial ingredients. This toxic sludge places stress on the immune system and kidney function. Eventually, as the body becomes more and more acidic, we experience disease and premature death.

It’s such a shame – when you think about it – how easy it would be for doctors to tell people the real cause of their dis-ease. Simply put, eating too many acid forming foods will lower the pH of your bodily fluids and cause a host of serious health problems like de-mineralization of the bones. But I guess that advice would piss off the pharmaceutical industry which profits greatly from the ignorance of the general public – and medical profession.

Tune in to the next NaturalNews Talk Hour and find out how to alkalize your body and prevent disease. Visit: and enter your email address for show details + FREE gifts!

Does your family physician talk about the value of ‘pH balancing’ and emotional wellbeing?

Ideally, the pH of our blood should be around 7.35 – 7.45 or slightly alkaline. This balance is so delicate – believe it or not – when the pH drops below 7.0, you could slip into a coma and die. If your pH is too high, you could experience a life-threatening seizure. Along with a poor diet, previously mentioned, emotional stress and toxicity issues (i.e. heavy metal poisoning) can cause pH imbalances which decrease cellular energy and increase the risk of disease.

But, when it comes to the ‘right’ diet, it can be a bit confusing for the general public. For example, citrus fruits – which are acid by nature – actually have an ‘alkalizing effect’ on the body. In fact, many ‘acidic’ vegetable juices – like, carrot/apple juice – are quite alkalizing in its effect. Conversely, most animal meats are alkaline – before consumption – yet cause lots of acidic residue in the digestive process. Interestingly, when it comes to emotions and lifestyle habits, meditation, prayer, peaceful thoughts, kindness and love are alkalizing. And, quite the opposite effect, being overworked, angry, feeling fearful, jealous or ‘stressed out’ can make you too acidic.

If you’re suffering with any chronic health problem – find a healthcare provider with experience in balancing pH levels and don’t miss the next NaturalNews Talk Hour.

This week’s guest: Susan Smith Jones, MS, Ph.D., world renowned author and health consultant

Find out how to reverse acidity and stop disease with nutrition and supplements – Sun. Dec. 1

Susan Smith Jones, MS, Ph.D. has certainly made extraordinary contributions in the fields of holistic health, anti-aging, optimum nutrition and balanced living. For starters, she taught students, staff and faculty at UCLA how to be healthy and fit for 30 years! Susan is the founder and president of Health Unlimited, a Los Angeles-based consulting firm dedicated to optimal wellness, health education and human potential.

Susan travels internationally as a frequent radio and TV talk show guest and motivational speaker; she’s also the author of over 25 books, including “Recipes for Health Bliss”, “The Healing Power of NatureFoods” and her latest “Walking on Air: Your 30 Day Inside and Out Rejuvenation Makeover”.

Stop metabolic acidosis! Too much acidity causes weight gain, diabetes, free radical damage, premature aging, poor brain function, heart damage and a lack of oxygen to every cell in our body. Find out how to maintain a healthy pH balance and reverse chronic health problems – naturally.

Helmets Still Uncommon Among Children in Bicycle Accidents.

Only 1 in 10 children involved in a bicycle accident was wearing a helmet, a review of emergency department records in Los Angeles County shows.

“We found decreased use among older children, minority groups, and those of lower socioeconomic status,” said Veronica Sullins, MD, from Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California.

Bicycle-related injuries are responsible for more than 250,000 visits to the emergency department and nearly 200 deaths a year. California has the second highest number of cyclist fatalities.

The use of a bicycle helmet reduces head injuries by 63% to 88%, but a small number of children younger than 15 years wear helmets, Dr. Sullins reported.

She presented the research here at the American Academy of Pediatrics 2013 National Conference and Exhibition.

Dr. Sullins and her team reviewed information from the Trauma and Emergency Medicine Information System for patients younger than 18 years. The median age of the children was 13 years, and 64% were male.

The primary end points were the association between helmet use and age, sex, insurance status, and race or ethnicity.

Only 11% Wore Helmets

Of the 1248 children identified, 11% were wearing helmets when their injuries occurred. Of these, 13.8% were younger than 12 years and 9.8% were 12 years or older.

Helmet use was 47% more likely in the younger age group (P < .03), was 10 times more likely in white children than in children from a minority group (P < .0001), and was twice as likely in children covered by private insurance as in those covered by public or no insurance (P < .0001).

There were no differences in any of the primary end points between the helmeted and unhelmeted groups. However, “we should note that of the 9 total deaths, 8 children were not wearing helmets,” Dr. Sullins said.

On multivariable logistic regression analysis, helmet use did not increase the need for emergency surgery, mortality, or length of hospital stay, after adjustment for age, race and ethnicity, and injury severity score.

Only injury severity score increased the risk for all outcomes. For every 1-point increase in injury severity score, length of stay increased by 0.4 days (P < .0001). Private insurance decreased the length of stay.

“Overall, less than 1% of patients died, few required emergency surgery (5.9%), permanent disability was very low (0.5%), but temporary disability was high (65.4%),” she said.

On the basis of the findings, Dr. Sullins and her team recommend that middle schools, high schools, low-income communities, and minority populations in Los Angeles County be targeted for bicycle safety programs.

Targeted Education

“This study picked up some remarkable trends in the difference in helmet use across different socioeconomic groups,” said Tanzid Shams, MD, who leads the concussion and brain injury program at the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. “We need to look more closely at why this disparity exists.”

He told Medscape Medical News that “we want all children to wear helmets. One effective strategy would be to develop targeted campaigns that positively reinforce healthy habits.”

“The governing bodies for sports such as skateboarding and BMX can really get behind a campaign that encourages wearing helmets anytime one is riding a bicycle. I believe that a consistent message from role models can be highly effective,” said Dr. Shams.

He noted that in addition to emphasizing the value of helmets to parents, pediatricians should stress the importance of a proper fit.

“Very frequently, I see a child wearing a helmet that is loosely dangling off the head. When purchasing a bicycle helmet, one-size-fits-all may not be the best approach. The key is to go for a snug fit that does not constrict circulation or vision,” he explained.

“Several helmet manufacturers offer adjustable inner harnesses that allow for fit adjustments as the head of the child grows,” Dr. Shams said. “This feature is a good investment in terms of protecting the child from potential head trauma.”

Los Angeles may become largest GMO-free area in the US.

 Los Angeles City Councilmen Paul Koretz and Mitch O’Farrell introduced Friday a motion to curb growth proliferation of GMO seeds and plants within the city. The councilmen said the proposal aims to protect local gardens and city-grown food from future contamination from GMO seeds. The motion would not impact the sale of food containing GMO ingredients, however.

GMO seeds are mostly used only by large-scale farming operations, of which none exists in Los Angeles city.

“The pending ordinance would be symbolic more than anything else, but we do feel it’s an important step to have the second-largest city in the nation declare itself as against genetically modified seeds,” said head of Learning Garden and Seed Library of LA David King, who assisted in creating the motion.

King told The Huffington Post that if GMO seeds begin to be marketed to smaller farmers, the ban would be in place to protect home-grown food.

O’Farrell said suspicions that powerful new pesticides – incorporated into plant DNA via genetic engineering – have devastated worldwide honeybee populations by 40 to 50 percent in 2012 is the“canary in the coal mine” for GMOs. California’s almond crop, which supplies 80 percent of US almonds, has fallen on tough times given almonds rely so much on bees.

“A growing number of problems are being traced to GMOs,” Koretz said in a statement. He cited examples like “the evolution of ‘superbug’ insects which are growing immune to the pesticides engineered within GMO crops” and “‘seed drift’ (for example the recent finding of GMO-pollinated wheat growing in an Oregon farmer’s field).”

Some smaller US localities have banned the cultivation of GMOs, but LA would be by far the biggest US city to do so.

Genetic engineering on plants, for example, occurs when a gene from another plant species, bacterium or virus is inserted into the organism’s DNA.

An international group of over 90 scientists, academics and physicians released a statement early this week saying there is no scientific consensus on the safety of GMOs for humans, as proponents likeMonsanto attest, and that any GMO cultivation should take internationally-approved precautions.

“The claim that it does exist is misleading and misrepresents the currently available scientific evidence and the broad diversity of opinion among scientists on this issue,” the statement said.
“Moreover, the claim encourages a climate of complacency that could lead to a lack of regulatory and scientific rigour and appropriate caution, potentially endangering the health of humans, animals, and the environment.”

A public effort to require all GMO foods and seeds to be labeled as such throughout the entire state of California failed a year ago. Opponents of Proposition 37 – like Monsanto and Kraft – helped donate around $46 million to the cause against labeling. Supporters of labeling raised just over $9 million in that defeat.
Voters in Washington State will consider a labeling requirement next month. Opponents of Initiative 522 – led by questionable fundraising tactics by industry trade group Grocery Manufacturers Association – have pumped $17 million into the effort to defeat labeling. Supporters have raised over $5 million.

A lawsuit filed by the state against the GMA claimed that the group violated campaign disclosure laws, and forced it to reveal donors to its “Defense of Brands Strategic Account.”

Out of the 34 companies who doled out over $7.2 million into the initiative the top three were PepsiCo, which contributed $1.6 million, and Nestle USA, Inc. and The Coca-Cola Co., which spent over $1 million each.


Karplus, Levitt, Warshel win Nobel chemistry prize.

Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt and Arieh Warshel won this year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry on Wednesday for laying the foundation for the computer models used to understand and predict chemical processes.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said their research in the 1970s has helped scientists develop programs that unveil chemical processes such as the purification of exhaust fumes or the photosynthesis in green leaves. “The work of Karplus, Levitt and Warshel is ground-breaking in that they managed to make Newton’s classical physics work side-by-side with the fundamentally different quantum physics,” the academy said. “Previously, chemists had to choose to use either/or.” Karplus, a U.S. and Austrian citizen, is affiliated with the University of Strasbourg, France, and Harvard University. The academy said Levitt is a British, U.S., and Israeli citizen and a professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Warshel is a U.S. and Israeli citizen affiliated with the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Warshel told a news conference in Stockholm by telephone that he was “extremely happy” to be awakened in the middle of the night in Los Angeles to find out he had won the prize and looks forward to collecting the award in the Swedish capital in December. “In short what we developed is a way which requires computers to look, to take the structure of the protein and then to eventually understand how exactly it does what it does,” Warshel said. Earlier this week, three Americans won the Nobel Prize in medicine for discoveries about how key substances are moved around within cells and the physics award went to British and Belgian scientists whose theories help explain how matter formed after the Big Bang. The Noble Committee Prize Announcement The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2013 to Martin Karplus (Université de Strasbourg, France and Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA), Michael Levitt (Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA), and Arieh Warshel (University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA) “for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems” The computer—your Virgil in the world of atoms Chemists used to create models of molecules using plastic balls and sticks. Today, the modelling is carried out in computers. In the 1970s, Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt and Arieh Warshel laid the foundation for the powerful programs that are used to understand and predict chemical processes. Computer models mirroring real life have become crucial for most advances made in chemistry today. Chemical reactions occur at lightning speed. In a fraction of a millisecond, electrons jump from one atomic nucleus to the other. Classical chemistry has a hard time keeping up; it is virtually impossible to experimentally map every little step in a chemical process. Aided by the methods now awarded with the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, scientists let computers unveil chemical processes, such as a catalyst’s purification of exhaust fumes or the photosynthesis in green leaves. The work of Karplus, Levitt and Warshel is ground-breaking in that they managed to make Newton’s classical physics work side-by-side with the fundamentally different quantum physics. Previously, chemists had to choose to use either or. The strength of classical physics was that calculations were simple and could be used to model really large molecules. Its weakness, it offered no way to simulate chemical reactions. For that purpose, chemists instead had to use quantum physics. But such calculations required enormous computing power and could therefore only be carried out for small molecules. This year’s Nobel Laureates in chemistry took the best from both worlds and devised methods that use both classical and quantum physics. For instance, in simulations of how a drug couples to its target protein in the body, the computer performs quantum theoretical calculations on those atoms in the target protein that interact with the drug. The rest of the large protein is simulated using less demanding classical physics. Today the computer is just as important a tool for chemists as the test tube. Simulations are so realistic that they predict the outcome of traditional experiments.


Outcomes similar with different low-osmolar iodinated contrast agents.

Among patients undergoing coronary angiography or percutaneous coronary interventions with low-osmolar contrast media (LOCM), adverse outcomes are uncommon, with no advantage apparent between different agents.

That finding comes from a retrospective look at data on more than 100,000 patients, reported in theAmerican Journal of Cardiology online March 22 by Dr. James K. Min, with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, and colleagues.

“In contrast to previous studies that compared LOCM to iso-osmolar contrast media, our study directly compared alternate LOCM for differences in clinical outcomes,” the authors point out.

They note that previous reports have suggested that iohexol may be associated with increased rates of contrast-induced nephropathy (CIN) compared to an iso-osmolar contrast medium, whereas this has not been reported with other LOCM such as ioversol and iopamidol.

To determine if there is any difference between LOCMs, the team looked at outcomes in patients exposed to iohexol (n = 20,136), iopamidol (n = 21,539), or ioversol (n = 66,319) during invasive coronary procedures.

Propensity scoring generated 19,482 matched pairs of patients exposed to iohexol versus ioversol, and 10,204 pairs exposed to iohexol versus iopamidol.

The researchers found no significant difference between the iohexol-ioversol pairs in rates of new inpatient hemodialysis (relative risk 0.72; p = 0.05), inpatient mortality (RR 0.90; p = 0.42), or 30-day readmission for CIN (RR 0.81; p = 0.52).

Outcomes were also similar between the matched iohexol-iopamidol patients in terms of inpatient hemodialysis (RR 1.18; p = 0.45), inpatient mortality (RR 1.09; p = 0.60), or 30-day CIN readmission (RR 1.11; p = 0.82).

“Encouragingly, in this large dataset, even before matching, rates of in-hospital hemodialysis and mortality and 30-day readmission rates for CIN were low for all patients, irrespective of contrast medium used,” Dr. Min and colleagues comment.

“After matching,” they conclude, “we could not identify any significant differences in adverse events for patients who underwent ICA and/or PCI with different LOCM.”


Source: Am J Cardiol 


Billionaire Elon Musk unveils futuristic “Hyperloop” transport.

 California billionaire Elon Musk took the wraps off his vision of a futuristic “Hyperloop” transport system on Monday, proposing to build a solar-powered network of crash-proof capsules that would whisk people from San Francisco to Los Angeles in half an hour.

In a blog post, Musk, the chief executive of electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc described in detail a system that, if successful, would do nothing short of revolutionizing intercity transportation. But first the plan would have to overcome questions about its safety and financing.


The Hyperloop, which Musk previously described as a cross between a Concorde, rail gun and air-hockey table, would cost an estimated $6 billion to build and construction would take 7 to 10 years. Eventually, according to the plan, it would jettison more than 7 million people a year along one of the U.S. West Coast‘s busiest traffic corridors.

As many as 28 passengers could ride in each pod and the system could even transport vehicles through a low-pressure steel tube at up to 800 miles (1,287 km) per hour, according to the 57-page design plan.

Musk, who in the past has hinted at the hopes of building such a system, proposed the Hyperloop as an alternative to a $68 billion high-speed rail project that’s a major priority of California Governor Jerry Brown. It would be safer, faster, less expensive and more convenient, Musk said in the blog post.

But not everyone is convinced the project is a good idea.

Jim Powell, a co-inventor of the bullet train and director of Maglev 2000, which develops high-speed transport systems using magnetic levitation, said the system would be highly vulnerable to a terrorist attack or accident.

“The biggest overall problem is the idea of the low pressure tube from a terrorist standpoint,” he told Reuters after taking an initial look at Musk’s specifications. “All a terrorist driving along the highway has to do is pull over, toss a net of explosives at it, and then everyone in the tube dies,” he said.

Musk said that since the tube will be low- but not zero-pressure, standard air pumps could easily overcome an air leak. He also said the transport pods could handle variable air densities.

Musk may also have neglected to factor in a few costs. Powell said that since an extensive monitoring system would be needed to keep track of the tube’s pressure, the cost of the project could double Musk’s estimate, coming closer to $12 billion.

Hyperloop, detailed:


Musk, who made his name as a PayPal founding member before going on to start SpaceX and Tesla, envisions capsules departing every 30 seconds at peak times and traversing the roughly 400 miles between Los Angeles and San Francisco along an elevated tube erected along the I-5 interstate highway.

The capsules ride an air cushion blasted from “skis” beneath, propelled via a magnetic linear accelerator.

The expected half-hour travel time for Hyperloop passengers compares with current travel times of an hour and 15 minutes by jet, about 5 and a half hours by car, as well as about 2 hours and 40 minutes via California’s planned high-speed rail.

Other major questions remain, notably whether the California state government will ever approve the massive project, and whether any private companies are willing to step in and build it. The design remains theoretical and has yet to be tested in the field.

Musk has said he is too busy running electric car company Tesla and rocket manufacturer SpaceX to build the Hyperloop himself. He said the design plans were open-source, meaning others can build on them.

On Monday, however, he told reporters on a conference call he could kick off the project.

“I’ve come around a little bit on my thinking here,” he said. “Maybe I could do the beginning bit… and then hand it over to somebody else.”

He said he would be willing to put some of his personal fortune toward the project but stressed that building the Hyperloop was a low priority for him as he continues to focus primarily on SpaceX and Tesla.

He also asked the public for help to improve the design. Corporations have resorted in the past to public assistance on their products. In 2009, Netflix Inc awarded a cash prize to a team that succeeded in improving by 10 percent the accuracy of its system for movie recommendations.


Source: Yahoo news








“Corkscrew” Light Could Turbocharge the Internet

Twisty beams of light could boost the traffic-carrying capacity of the Internet, effectively adding new levels to the information superhighway, suggests research published today in Science.

Internet traffic is growing exponentially and researchers have sought ways to squeeze ever more information into the fiber-optic cables that carry it. One successful method used over the last 20 years essentially added more traffic lanes, using different colors, or wavelengths, for different signals. But to compensate for the added lanes, each one had to be made narrower. So, just as in a real highway, the spacing could get only so tight before the streams of data began to jumble together.

In the last few years, different groups of researchers have tried to encode information in the shape of light beams to ease congestion, using a property of light called orbital angular momentum. Currently, a straight beam of light is used to transmit Internet signals, but certain filters can twist it so that it corkscrews around with varying degrees of curliness as it travels.

Previous experiments using this effect have found that differently shaped light beams tend to jumble together after less than a meter.

Now, a team of researchers from Boston University in Massachusetts and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles has found a way to keep the different light beam shapes separated for a record 1.1 kilometers.

The researchers designed and built a 1.1-kilometer-long glass cable, the cross section of which had a varying index of refraction — a measure that describes how fast light can travel in a particular medium. They then sent both twisty and straight beams of light down the cable.

The team found that the light output matched the input — light beams of each shape were not getting muddled together. The varying index of refraction apparently affected each light shape uniquely, so that different shapes moved at different speeds down the cable. “That meant that I could keep them separated,” says Siddharth Ramachandran, an electrical engineer and leader of the Boston University team.

Improving infrastructure
The work published today used clockwise and anticlockwise versions of twisted light with a specific curliness, but Ramachandran says that the team has since done other research that suggests that about ten different beam shapes can be used to convey information.

That is exciting because each shape could potentially act as an entirely new level of traffic on the information superhighway. On each level, streams of data could be further divided into narrow lanes of color, maximizing flow. “We showed a new degree of freedom in which we could transmit information,” says Ramachandran.

Translating the work from the lab to the real world will take time, however, in part because current Internet cables carry only straight beams of light. A more immediate goal, says Ramachandran, might be to install cables that are capable of carrying twisty light on the short distances between servers on giant ‘server farms’, used by large Web companies such as Facebook.

Miles Padgett, an optical physicist at the University of Glasgow, UK, is impressed with the work and is optimistic about its potential. “One day, more bandwidth will mean we can all Skype at the same time,” he says.



0pt;ba� on�&� X1� ertical-align:baseline’>I was irrationally attached to the thought of dying while diving! Perhaps a little melodramatic, but I had terrible childhood memories of badly run swimming lessons and almost drowning as a toddler from falling in a pool. This created an instinctive fight for survival whenever my head went under water. However, the deeper part of me knew that the “I might die” excuse was nonsense, because people dive every day around the world, and with an instructor by my side I would be very safe.


4. Do I believe I have the strength and courage to do it?

It was all too easy pretending that I wasn’t brave enough, that I wouldn’t be able to physically control myself and decisions in the water because of fear. The hilarious thing was that I was strutting around in every other area of my life with self-belief and incredible determination. Yet, here I was playing weak and meek regarding diving. I realised that “not being brave enough” was a lame excuse.

5. Do I think mastering this would help me in other areas of my life?

I had always convinced myself that you should stay away from what you fear, and stick to what you know and trust. However, when I got really honest with myself, I realised that my life was a safe little box that I was staying very comfortably within. Unless I started to do things differently, I wouldn’t grow as a person and I wouldn’t know what more I was capable of. I realised that when fear roars at you, it’s time to step up and face it, because that is the exact spot where life begins… at the end of your comfort zone.

Ditching Excuses to Start Living

Having challenged all of my own excuses and seeing how hollow they were, I finally did it! It took all my courage and will power to complete the diving certification and while it was the most fear striking experience of my entire life, it was also the most exhilarating and freeing. I believe there is nothing in this life now that I cannot achieve, having faced my biggest fear. I no longer allow excuses to cover up opportunities for growth. If I did it in the face of a fear this big, you can too.

Source: Purpose Fairy


Is your bottled water polluted with addictive chemicals?


Does your Bottled Water Contain Nicotine?

How about Pharmaceuticals?


Research published last year determined that commercial bottled water in Spain had over 50 pharmaceutically-active chemicals in it, as well as the highly addictive drug nicotine. Is your (or your children’s) bottled water polluted ?

It looks like it very well may be. And we’re not talking about nicotine-supplemented water meant to help wean smokers off of nicotine. We’re talking the kind of bottled water people drink to avoid the pollutants found in municipal drinking water supplies.

Researchers from the School of Public Health, Immunology and Medical Microbiology of Spain’s Rey Juan Carlos University analyzed ten brand of commercially available bottled waters.

The researchers were surprised to learn that the bottled water contained 58 active pharmaceuticals, and five of the ten brands contained significant amounts of nicotine.

The nicotine content of these five brands ranged from 7 nanograms per liter to 15 ng/L. The researchers admitted that these levels were low. However, they added:

Despite the low nicotine concentration measured, the presence of this compound in bottled water still raises concern. Health risk assessment researchers have postulated that the risk to adult healthy humans from oral intake of nicotine at low levels is negligible. However, no studies have been conducted to assess the human health risk of vulnerable populations such as pregnant women and newborns. This population is the target of advertising on the purity and quality characteristics of bottled mineral water.

While this is the first study to document bottled waters containing these chemicals, there are other studies, even newer, confirming identifiable concentrations of nicotine, pharmaceuticals and pesticide chemicals in municipal drinking water.

In the UK for example, the British Geological Survey analyzed and tested ground water and drinking watersupplies and also found nicotine along with caffeine and a variety of pharmaceuticals – such as carbamazepine and triclosan.

And many bottled waters are merely municipal tap water, sometimes run through a filtration unit. However, these filtration systems are typically designed to remove macro-pollutants such as lead and arsenic, but they may not filter out micropollutants such as pharmaceuticals and nicotine.

Studies finding pharmaceuticals in drinking water began to be published in the last decade. These were no fluke, however. And newer studies are confirming a growing problem among the world’s drinking water supplies.

For example, this year research from the Czech Republic’s Department of Water Hygiene at the National Institute of Public Health collected samples from 92 drinking water supplies, feeding half of Czech population.

They found the highest levels of pharmaceuticals to be ibuprofen, carbamazepine, naproxen, and diclofenac. These concentrations ranged from 0.5 to 20.7 nanograms per liter.

Another recent study – from Serbia’s University of Novi Sad Medical School – found trace levels of several antibiotics among their drinking water supplies.

Most municipal water treatment facilities do not filter out pharmaceuticals or other microtoxin metabolites from pesticides and other chemicals. New oxidation-driven systems are being tested, but these are not online in most municipalities. Micro-filtration units are also a possibility.

A study last year from Germany’s Free University Berlin found that the psychoactive drugs primidone and phenobarbital were found in drinking water supplies. Oxazepam and others were found in wastewater streams – likely soon to be in the drinking water supplies.

Another study from Spain – this from the Pharmacy Department of the University of Valencia – found numerous pharmaceuticals among the region’s ground water and drinking water supplies. They found 94% of the sediment and 80% of farming soils were polluted with carbamazepine, acetaminophen and others. They also found much of the drinking water supplies, pharmaceuticals were present at levels as high as 112 nanograms per liter. Soils contained lower concentrations, 15 nanograms per liter.

The researchers also pointed out high levels of fluoroquinolones and ibuprofen are threatening fish and otherwise contaminating the environment.

Meanwhile, last fall Polish researchers found the presence of beta-blockers and beta-agonists among their waterways.

And researchers from Australia’s University of Queensland studied waterways and water supplies close by hospitals. They found 57 different pharmaceuticals among these waterways, including many antibiotics – which entered into the system from hospitals and residential areas alike.

Researchers from the Netherlands found 12 pharmaceuticals in the drinking water supplies, as well as seven transformation products (metabolites that form other toxins).

Swedish researchers tested four waterways in the Montreal, Canada region between 2007 and 2009. They found significant levels of caffeine and a number of pharmaceuticals drugs – including carbamazepine, naproxen, gemfibrozil, and trimethoprim. They also found progesterone, estrone, and estradiol, along with the herbicide triazine – with atrazine, deethylatrazine, deisopropylatrazine, simazine, and cyanazine.

Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey’s California Water Science Center analyzed ground water supplies that feed numerous drinking water systems throughout California. They found pharmaceuticals affecting two to three percent of the 1231 ground water systems tested. However, in this study only 14 pharmaceutical compounds were tested for, out of hundreds possible. And out of these 14 tested, seven were found in concentrations that were equal or greater to detection limits. These seven included acetaminophen, caffeine, carbamazepine, the highly addictive codeine, the caffeine metabolite p-xanthine, and the antibiotics sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim. The samples also contained various pesticides, VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and others.

The research found that ground water supplies in the Los Angeles area were much more likely to contain pharmaceuticals, and contain higher levels of them.

It should be noted that several brands of commercial bottled waters (and many other foods and beverages containing water) are packaged in the Los Angeles area.