China’s Richest Man Buys 28K Acres of US Wilderness to Preserve It


Co-founder of online shopping giant, Alibaba, Jack Ma, has decided to invest $23 million of his own money in a huge chunk of land in the US Adirondack mountains, known as the Brandon Reserve.  His long term plan: to retire to the region.  His short term plan: stop the logging operations and preserve the country.

Chinese billionaire Jack Ma has just spent a cool $23 million to buy 28,100 acres of land in the Adirondack mountains, hoping to protect it for future generations.

 A spokesman for Mr. Ma told the Wall Street Journal:“This international land purchase reflects Jack’s belief that we all inhabit the same planet and we all breathe the same air, so we are dependent on each other for our collective future.”

Mr. Ma, co-founder of e-commerce site Alibaba, says he plans to spend some time in the reserve in Upstate New York, but the primary reason he decided to purchase the land was to ensure its conservation.

Mr. Ma’s land is located approximately 30 miles northwest of Lake Placid. It boasts woodland, a trout fishery, nine miles of the St. Regis River, two homes, and a barn. He hopes that his purchase will protect this stunning natural treasure from water depletion and destruction by the paper, timber and mining industries. Mr. Ma, who is known for his conservation efforts at home in China, says his first action as the official owner will be to put an end to a current logging operation there.

Watch the video disccuio/ interview.
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That’s great news for the white-tailed deer and other species of wildlife who live in the Adirondacks, and depend on its conservation for their survival.

Lipitor Without a Rx? Pfizer Pushes Ahead With OTC Plans.


Pfizer, the maker of Lipitor, is pushing forward with efforts to sell its drug to patients without a doctor’s prescription, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The company recently launched a 1200-patient study to investigate whether patients could successfully take over-the-counter (OTC)atorvastatin to lower their LDL-cholesterol levels. Patients in the trial, which is currently recruiting at 35 US pharmacies, would get their own blood tests and would make decisions based on those results.

A positive study would determine whether Pfizer will file for regulatory approval of its OTC medication, according to the Journal.

Simvastatin has been available OTC at the 10-mg dose in the UK for nearly 10 years. Merck has gone before the US Food and Drug Administration three times since 2000, but the agency has turned away its drug, lovastatin (Mevacor) 20 mg, each and every time. Merck sought approval of OTC lovastatin in moderate-risk patients and aimed to market its drug to the “motivated health-conscious consumer.”

Like Merck, Pfizer says an OTC Lipitor would close the gap for people at risk of cardiovascular disease but who are not currently taking the lipid-lowering therapy.

Dr Neil Stone (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL), the chair of the American College of Cardiology (ACC)/American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines for the treatment of cholesterol, told the Journal the new guidelines do not support OTC use of statins. In fact, the new guidelines don’t recommend treating to LDL targets any longer but instead recommend a moderate- or high-potency statin based on patient’s 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease.

Given that Pfizer is investigating the feasibility of just a 10-mg dose of Lipitor, undertreatment is a concern. “There’s a chance that a lot of people would take less than needed,” Dr Steven Nissen (Cleveland Clinic, OH) told the Journal.

At one stage, Lipitor was the world’s biggest-selling drug, with sales peaking at $13 billion in 2006, but since the patent expired sales have declined to $2.3 billion in 2012, reports the Journal.

A Smarter Way to Prevent Heart Attacks


Under new guidelines, one third of adults in the U.S. should consider using statins based on their overall health profile, not just their cholesterol number

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The well-established strategy among doctors for reducing cardiovascular disease has been to lower bad cholesterol, or LDL, to specific targets (below 100 or below 70 for people at high risk). No more. New clinical guidelines unveiled Tuesday take a more broad approach to assess a patient’s risk of heart disease and to prescribe twice as many Americans (one third of all adults) cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The cholesterol numbers have been deemed arbitrary and worse predictors of heart risk than doctors originally thought. Now, doctors are being told to dive more deeply into a patient’s background to assess their potential risk for heart attacks and to prescribe cholesterol-lowering statin drugs to high-risk patients. The formula for whether a patient ought to be prescribed a drug will include age, gender, race and factors beyond cholesterol, like whether someone smokes.

Though doctors say the new approach will limit how many people will be put on statins because of their cholesterol number, under the new formula, 33 million Americans — 44 percent of men and 22 percent of women — would meet the requirements to consider taking a statin. The current guidelines only recommend statins for 15 percent of adults.

And for the first time the treatment is focusing on strokes, not just heart attacks. ”We’re trying to focus the most appropriate therapy to prevent heart attack and stroke…in a wide range of patients,” said Neil J. Stone, professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and head of the panel that wrote the cholesterol guidelines.

In the U.S., 600,000 people per year die from heart disease (accounting for about one in four deaths).

Radioactive Bluefin Tuna Caught Off California Coast.


Every bluefin tuna tested in the waters off California has shown to be contaminated with radiation that originated in Fukushima. Every single one.

Over a year ago, in May of 2012, the Wall Street Journal reported on a Stanford University study. Daniel Madigan, a marine ecologist who led the study, was quoted as saying, “The tuna packaged it up (the radiation) and brought it across the world’s largest ocean. We were definitely surprised to see it at all and even more surprised to see it in every one we measured.”

Another member of the study group, Marine biologist Nicholas Fisher at Stony Brook University in New York State reported, “We found that absolutely every one of them had comparable concentrations of cesium 134 and cesium 137.”

bluefin-tuna

That was over a year ago. The fish that were tested had relatively little exposure to the radioactive waste being dumped into the ocean following the nuclear melt-through that occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in March of 2011. Since that time, the flow of radioactive contaminants dumping into the ocean has continued unabated. Fish arriving at this juncture have been swimming in contaminants for all of their lives.

Radioactive cesium doesn’t sink to the sea floor, so fish swim through it and ingest it through their gills or by eating organisms that have already ingested it. It is a compound that does occur naturally in nature, however, the levels of cesium found in the tuna in 2012 had levels 3 percent higher than is usual. Measurements for this year haven’t been made available, or at least none that I have been able to find. I went looking for the effects of ingesting cesium. This is what I found:

When contact with radioactive cesium occurs, which is highly unlikely, a person can experience cell damage due to radiation of the cesium particles. Due to this, effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and bleeding may occur. When the exposure lasts a long time, people may even lose consciousness. Coma or even death may then follow. How serious the effects are depends upon the resistance of individual persons and the duration of exposure and the concentration a person is exposed to.

The half life of cesium 134 is 2.0652 years. For cesium 137, the half life is 30.17 years.

The Fukushima disaster is an ongoing battle with no signs that humans are gaining the upper hand. The only good news to come out of Japan has later been proven to be false and was nothing more than attempts by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) to mislead the public and lull them into a sense of security while the company searched vainly for ways to contain the accident. This incident makes Three Mile Island and Chernobyl pale in comparison. Those were nuclear meltdowns. A nuclear melt-through poses a much more serious problem and is one that modern technology doesn’t have the tools to address. Two and a half years later and the contaminants are still flowing into the ocean and will continue to for the foreseeable future.

The FDA assures us that our food supply is safe, that the levels of radiation found in fish samples are within safe limits for consumption. But one has to question if this is true and, if it is true now, will it remain true? Is this, like the statements issued from TEPCO, another attempt to quell a public backlash in the face of an unprecedented event that, as yet, has no solution and no end in sight?

FUKUSHIMA: RADIOACTIVE CESIUM LEVELS JUMP 9,000 PERCENT IN JUST THREE DAYS, NOBODY KNOWS WHY.


 Some of the highest levels of ionizing radiation yet detected since the disaster first occurred were recently recorded at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility in Japan, according to shocking new reports. The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which runs the crippled nuclear plant, says levels of radioactive cesium in a water well were 9,000 percent higher on July 8, 2013, than they were three days earlier, and nobody knows why this is the case.

The Asahi Shimbun reports that TEPCO observed the spike after testing water in a well on the seaward side of Fukushima’s No. 2 reactor. According to readings taken, radioactive cesium levels registered at an astounding 27,000 becquerels per liter (Bq/l), which is the highest ever since March 11, 2011, when the tsunami and earthquake first struck the plant. At this point, the cause of the spike is still unknown.

“It is unclear whether the radioactive water is leaking into the sea,” said a TEPCO official, following the discovery. “After gathering needed data, we will conduct analyses.”

As you may recall, radioactive water from the No. 2 well was found to have been leaking about a month after the disaster struck in April 2011. At that time, about 9,000 Bq/l of cesium-134 and 18,000 Bq/l of cesium-137 were detected in water samples. These amounts are 150 and 200 times higher, respectively, than the maximum level legally permitted.

At the same time, levels of other harmful forms of radiation, including strontium, have remained oddly consistent, which has many officials scratching their heads. According to the most recent data, radioactive strontium levels remained mostly steady around 890,000 Bq/l both before and after the CESIUM spike.

“We do not know why only cesium levels have risen,” added the TEPCO official.

Radioactive tritium levels are also spiking dramatically, say officials

Besides cesium, radioactive tritium has also been detected in significantly higher amounts near the No. 2 well. According to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), tritium levels in groundwater near the reactor have jumped 17-fold since December, and are continuing to rise with each passing day. Since May, tritium levels have increased a staggering 20 percent.

“[T]he tritium level that TEPCO measured on July 5 in one of its coastal monitoring wells near reactor No. 2 is ten times above Japan’s safety standard of 60,000 becquerels per liter, and rising,” writes Phred Dvorak for the WSJ. “That’s the highest such level the company has recorded since the incident.”

What this all suggests, of course, is that the FUKUSHIMA disaster is far from over, and may only be in the early stages of unleashing massive environmental destruction. Despite the fact that more than two years have passed since the disaster’s onset, the situation appears to be intensifying with no end in sight, which could lead to much more serious problems in the future.

Meanwhile, as much as 93 billion becquerels of RADIOACTIVE substances are believed to still be pouring into the Pacific Ocean every single day as a result of the Fukushima disaster. Reports from back in March indicate that, since the disaster, a total of 16.1 trillion becquerels of just cesium-137 are believed to have leaked into seawater.

“Once again, TEPCO release the bad news in a drip, drip, drip mode,” wrote one commenter on an ENENews.com report on the issue. “These destroyed nuclear reactors are going to pop and sputter for thousands of years to come. Changes in the configuration of residual melted fuel remaining in and around the plants will create ongoing criticalities, with changing cooling water and groundwater flows.”

Source: http://rawforbeauty.com

Radioactive Levels at Fukushima Jump 9000% in 3 Days.


Some of the highest levels of ionizing radiation yet detected since the disaster first occurred were recently recorded at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility in Japan, according to shocking new reports. The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which runs the crippled nuclear plant, says levels of radioactive cesium in a water well were 9,000 percent higher on July 8, 2013, than they were three days earlier, and nobody knows why this is the case.

fuki
The Asahi Shimbun reports that TEPCO observed the spike after testing water in a well on the seaward side of Fukushima’s No. 2 reactor. According to readings taken, radioactive cesium levels registered at an astounding 27,000 becquerels per liter (Bq/l), which is the highest ever since March 11, 2011, when the tsunami and earthquake first struck the plant. At this point, the cause of the spike is still unknown.

“It is unclear whether the radioactive water is leaking into the sea,” said a TEPCO official, following the discovery. “After gathering needed data, we will conduct analyses.”

As you may recall, radioactive water from the No. 2 well was found to have been leaking about a month after the disaster struck in April 2011. At that time, about 9,000 Bq/l of cesium-134 and 18,000 Bq/l of cesium-137 were detected in water samples. These amounts are 150 and 200 times higher, respectively, than the maximum level legally permitted.

At the same time, levels of other harmful forms of radiation, including strontium, have remained oddly consistent, which has many officials scratching their heads. According to the most recent data, radioactive strontium levels remained mostly steady around 890,000 Bq/l both before and after the cesium spike.

“We do not know why only cesium levels have risen,” added the TEPCO official.
Radioactive tritium levels are also spiking dramatically, say officials

Besides cesium, radioactive tritium has also been detected in significantly higher amounts near the No. 2 well. According to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), tritium levels in groundwater near the reactor have jumped 17-fold since December, and are continuing to rise with each passing day. Since May, tritium levels have increased a staggering 20 percent.

“[T]he tritium level that TEPCO measured on July 5 in one of its coastal monitoring wells near reactor No. 2 is ten times above Japan’s safety standard of 60,000 becquerels per liter, and rising,” writes Phred Dvorak for the WSJ. “That’s the highest such level the company has recorded since the incident.”

What this all suggests, of course, is that the Fukushima disaster is far from over, and may only be in the early stages of unleashing massive environmental destruction. Despite the fact that more than two years have passed since the disaster’s onset, the situation appears to be intensifying with no end in sight, which could lead to much more serious problems in the future.

Meanwhile, as much as 93 billion becquerels of radioactive substances are believed to still be pouring into the Pacific Ocean every single day as a result of the Fukushima disaster. Reports from back in March indicate that, since the disaster, a total of 16.1 trillion becquerels of just cesium-137 are believed to have leaked into seawater.

“Once again, TEPCO release the bad news in a drip, drip, drip mode,” wrote one commenter on an ENENews.com report on the issue. “These destroyed nuclear reactors are going to pop and sputter for thousands of years to come. Changes in the configuration of residual melted fuel remaining in and around the plants will create ongoing criticalities, with changing cooling water and groundwater flows.”

Sources: Raw For Beauty

Blood-Based Prenatal Genetic Tests Greeted with Skepticism.


 

Newer prenatal tests for genetic abnormalities, touted by some as alternatives to amniocentesis, are getting wider use and presenting familiar problems.

Four companies have entered the market, selling products that range in price from $800 to almost $3000, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The tests (or “screenings,” as one national genetics group would like to call them) use fetal DNA from the mother’s blood rather than relying on amniocentesis.

The tests’ accuracy has been established in clinical trials, but in real-world practice “the numbers usually tend to be not quite as good,” according to one expert. False-positives could lead to unneeded abortions, and false-negatives may become apparent only much later in the pregnancy.

“Positive results should be confirmed with invasive testing,” according to one company official. Another says, “it is important to understand [the new tests] don’t replace invasive tests yet.”

Source:Wall Street Journal story

Facebook plans mobile phone takeover


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A Facebook homescreen and ‘launcher’ for a range of Android phones is likely to be launched on Thursday.

April 4th

The company’s ‘new home on Android’ will put “Facebook first”, sourcestold the Wall Street Journal. It is widely expected to centre around a new Facebook homescreen that will turn the social network’s Android app into a core smartphone component.

Software leaked to Android Police appears to show that while HTC is expected to unveil a mid-range ‘Facebook phone’ on Thursday night in California, the new features will also be available to Samsung phones as well as to those running standard Android. With Samsung increasingly dominant among Android manufacturers, such an approach would give Facebook access to a far greater market than if it simply limited its new services to a single device.

The world’s largest social network has been attempting to improve its performance on smaller screens, which now make up 23 per cent of its revenues.

Analysts have expressed continued concerns, however, that more users are migrating to mobile phones in particular, and that Facebook will struggle to make money from those people.

Although Facebook has worked with HTC before, on the ChaCha phone, it has not previously met with enormous success. The new device will reportedly feature a dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM with a 4.3-inch screen. This, combined with the fact it will run Android 4.1.2 “Jelly Bean” and HTC Sense 4.5, reinforces suggestions that Facebook does not see hardware as key for its success on mobile. It will also feature 5-megapixel rear camera and a 1.6-megapixel front camera.

On the earning calls for its most recent results, Zuckerberg said “We’re not going to build a phone”, but emphasised that it was easy to integrate with Android because of its open architecture.

Although Facebook has a deal with Microsoft to use the Bing search engine, Facebook Home also includes the option to use other search engines such as Google.

Writing on Seeking Alpha, Kyle Spencer applauded Facebook’s “better late than never” move.

“A vertically integrated, horizontally deployed Facebook ‘mini-ecosystem’ will move the needle on user engagement and therefore advertising revenues more effectively than if Facebook attempted to introduce it’s own proprietary phone/OS into a crowded field against better funded competitors,” he said. “Tactically, it’s a brilliant move.”

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk

Multidrug-Resistant TB a Concern Along U.S.-Mexico Border.


 

The Wall Street Journal tracks the increase in tuberculosis cases along the U.S.-Mexico border and highlights concerns about the possibility of a drug-resistant TB outbreak.

The MDR-TB rates are still quite low compared to other nations — Mexico had 467 MDR-TB cases in 2011, and the U.S. had 124. Nearly half of the U.S. cases were in California and Texas. In San Diego, the overall TB rate is about twice the national average. Meanwhile, Los Angeles is currently trying to control its worst TB outbreak in a decade.

The article details the challenges presented by a relatively porous border, nonadherence to treatment, reduced funding, and drug-related violence.

Source: Wall Street Journal