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comedycentral:

Click here for more of Jon Stewart’s coverage of the recent House Committee on Science, Space and Technology hearing.

Source: comedycentral

pewresearch:

Debate over inequality highlights sharp partisan divisions on the issue
Eating disorders are NOT weight dependent. From anorexia to orthorexia, binge-eating to pica. It doesn’t matter. It’s your relationship with food and consuming the vital nutrients you need to keep alive. Anorexia is a way of slowly getting rid of yourself, binge-eating and overeating can be a way of blocking out the negativity with a barrier of food. It’s a loss of control as a result of an attempt to grab control. Those supporting sufferers shouldn’t concentrate on weight, or size, but on the way the sufferer reacts to food and eating. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the numbers matter one God-Damn bit. They don’t. You need to stop using the numbers to show yourself that the voices are lying to you; actually, you just need to stop caring whether they’re lying or not.
My Therapist, on “the voices are trying to convince me I’m fat”. (via untanglingamy)

Source: untanglingamy

futurejournalismproject:

Conservatives, Liberals and the News

A new Pew Research study exploring US political polarization neatly captures what’s long been known: political partisans occupy filter bubbles with their own distinct set of news sources.

Some takeaways. "Consistent" conservatives:

  • Are tightly clustered around a single news source, far more than any other group in the survey, with 47% citing Fox News as their main source for news about government and politics.
  • Express greater distrust than trust of 24 of the 36 news sources measured in the survey. At the same time, fully 88% of consistent conservatives trust Fox News.
  • Are, when on Facebook, more likely than those in other ideological groups to hear political opinions that are in line with their own views.
  • Are more likely to have friends who share their own political views. Two-thirds (66%) say most of their close friends share their views on government and politics.

On the side of the spectrum, "consistent" liberals:

  • Are less unified in their media loyalty; they rely on a greater range of news outlets, including some – like NPR and the New York Times– that others use far less.
  • Express more trust than distrust of 28 of the 36 news outlets in the survey. NPR, PBS and the BBC are the most trusted news sources for consistent liberals.
  • Are more likely than those in other ideological groups to block or “defriend” someone on a social network – as well as to end a personal friendship – because of politics.
  • Are more likely to follow issue-based groups, rather than political parties or candidates, in their Facebook feeds.

Is there any common ground? Just a bit. Both consistent conservatives and consistent liberals follow governmental and political news more closely than other groups.

Pew identifies five ideological groups in the study: consistent liberals, mostly liberals, mixed, mostly conservatives and consistent conservatives. While those in the ideological middle expose themselves to the widest variety of information sources, they do not focus on politics as often as partisan news consumers which Pew reports is about 20% of the country.

Pew Research, Political Polarization & Media Habits.

Image: Primary news sources for liberals and conservatives, via Pew (PDF)

Source: futurejournalismproject

sandandglass:

Bryan Stevenson on The Daily Show.

Source: sandandglass

Nigeria Is Officially Ebola-Free After Containing Virus

blackspinelli:

brownglucose:

Awesome!

I read that Senegal has also been declared Ebola free. This makes me so happy.

Source: brownglucose

theaatproject:

Scientists Find Way To Reuse Cigarette Ash As A Water Filter
Among the long, long list of reasons why we shouldn’t smoke lies cigarette ash: it’s a fairly unsavory chemical cocktail that also happens to be a major eyesore around any popular smoking spot. But thanks to a team of chemists, we could use that same cocktail of horrific chemical to make water clean. Go science!
Specifically, a group of scientists led by Jiaxing Li of the Chinese Academy of Sciences found that coating cigarette ash in aluminium oxide makes for a highly effective filter for removing arsenic from water. Specifically, in tests they found that it stripped 96 per cent of arsenic from contaminated groundwater, meaning it meets the standards imposed by the World Health Organization for arsenic filters.

theaatproject:

Scientists Find Way To Reuse Cigarette Ash As A Water Filter

Among the long, long list of reasons why we shouldn’t smoke lies cigarette ash: it’s a fairly unsavory chemical cocktail that also happens to be a major eyesore around any popular smoking spot. But thanks to a team of chemists, we could use that same cocktail of horrific chemical to make water clean. Go science!

Specifically, a group of scientists led by Jiaxing Li of the Chinese Academy of Sciences found that coating cigarette ash in aluminium oxide makes for a highly effective filter for removing arsenic from water. Specifically, in tests they found that it stripped 96 per cent of arsenic from contaminated groundwater, meaning it meets the standards imposed by the World Health Organization for arsenic filters.

Source: theaatproject

veganmovement2012:

There is no such thing as a meat, cheese, milk, egg-eating environmentalist.
Excerpt from Adaptt.org

Meat-eating environmentalist = Oxymoron

Animal Agriculture and Environmental Destruction

Many people who fancy themselves to be environmentalists are fond of demonizing the automobile industry, calling it the number one agent of global pollution. (Just look at some of the literature emanating from such “mainstream” organizations as Environment California and the Sierra Club.) However, when it comes to environmental destruction, animal agriculture is the elephant in the room that no one wants to acknowledge, confront, or talk about. Animal-based agriculture is the number one cause of deforestation, air pollution, and water pollution. Therefore, those people who still incorporate meat, eggs, or dairy products in their diet cannot claim to be environmentalists.

Here is a summary of how the production of meat, eggs, and dairy products takes a staggering toll on the ecosystem:

Water Pollution

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the runoff from factory farms pollutes our rivers and lakes more than all other industries combined. In the U.S. alone, animals raised for food produce 130 times more excrement than the entire human population—86,000 pounds per second. A typical pig factory farm generates as much raw waste as a city of 50,000 people. Chicken, pig, and cow excrement have polluted over 35,000 miles of rivers in at least 22 states and contaminated groundwater in at least 17 states.

What’s more, chicken, pig, turkey and cow excrement comprise the sole source of all the recent E. Coli, salmonella and listeria outbreaks in which spinach, tomatoes, peanuts, jalapeño peppers, cantaloupe and other plant products have been implicated. E. Coli, salmonella and listeria have only one source: SHIT (human or animal)! Since spinach, peanuts, jalapeños, cantaloupe and tomatoes don’t shit, spinach, peanuts, jalapeños, cantaloupe and tomatoes cannot be blamed for this problem. E. Coli, salmonella and listeria found their way to the plants because people who enslave animals for meat, dairy or eggs contaminate the waterways by dumping nearly 2.7 trillion pounds of manure into America’s lakes, rivers and streams annually. Contaminated water eventually ends up on some of the crops as run-off, passing E. Coli, salmonella and listeria to the consumer. Also, more frighteningly, there are many times when farmers literally spray tons of RAW animal shit directly on the crops. Make no mistake: ALL E. Coli, salmonella and listeria incidents occur because of animal agriculture. Meat, dairy and egg-eaters want to eat billions of land animals. So ConAgra, Smithfield, Tyson, Perdue, etc. MASS PRODUCE billions of land animals far in excess of the numbers that would occur if these animals were left to their own reproductive devices and inclinations. Billions of land animals produce trillions of pounds of excrement.

Chemical Pollution

The majority of pesticide intake comes from animal products because the meat, dairy and egg industries douse billions of animals with chemicals to kill flies and mosquitoes that spread diseases from animal to animal. These chemicals seep through the pores, where they’re permanently stored in the animals’ flesh. Only a small percentage of pesticide intake comes from plant-based foods. But the majority of that residue can be washed away pretty easily. You also have the option of purchasing organic plant foods, which solves the chemical problem altogether. While you might be able to buy some chemical-free animal products (which is pretty hard to do because animal feed is rarely organic), there are still four issues that can never be overcome: slaughterhouse cruelty; the commodification and enslavement of animals; the deleterious effects of consuming animal protein, casein, cholesterol, saturated fats and trans fatty acids; and the environmental destruction and world hunger caused by animal-based agriculture. The government also allows crops set aside as animal feed to be sprayed with 2 to 20 times the amount of chemicals used on crops set aside for human consumption!

Water Use

Raising animals for food consumes nearly half the water used in the United States. Since no one needs to eat an animal in order to survive (except those living in icy and desert settings—see the ETHICS, LAWS and TRADITIONS section), that means fifty percent of all the water in America is wasted on animal-based agriculture. It takes an estimated 800 to 2,500 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef, but only 25 gallons to produce a pound of wheat. Maintaining a carnivorous diet for a single person requires 4,200 gallons of water per day. A vegan diet for a single person requires only 300 gallons of water per day.

Land Use

Of all agricultural land in the U.S., nearly 80 percent is used to raise animals for food. More than 260 million acres of U.S. forest have been cleared to create cropland to grow grain for animal feed, and about 85 percent of the seven billion tons of topsoil lost in the U.S. each year has been directly attributed to the enslavement of cows. It takes twenty times more land to sate the appetites of meat, dairy and egg-eaters than vegans: those who eat animal products require roughly 3.25 acres of land per person per year to feed themselves, whereas vegans require only 1/6 of an acre per person per year.

Rainforest Depletion

About 214,000 acres of rainforest, comprising an area greater than that of New York City, are destroyed every day. Some of this is for cows to graze, while some of it is to grow crops for animal feed. More than 2.9 million acres of rainforest were destroyed in the 2004-2005 crop season in order to grow crops that feed chickens and other animals in factory farms.

For every pound of hamburger produced in rainforest countries, approximately 220 square feet of rainforest are cleared to grow the required feed. Through this clearing approximately 2,600 pounds of living matter will in the best of circumstances be displaced, or destroyed altogether. This living matter includes roughly 20 to 30 different plant species, over 100 insect species, and dozens of birds, mammals and reptiles. What is more, along with the biomass found in coral reefs, rainforest vegetation is said to be one of the most promising sources of heretofore-undiscovered chemical compounds for treating many diseases that were once thought to be intractable. These resources are simply laid to waste when rainforest is cleared. Even worse, unlike coniferous forest land, tropical rainforest can never be replaced once it has been cleared.

Energy Use

The meat, egg, and dairy industries are heavy consumers of fossil-fuel resources. Raising animals for food requires more than one-third of all the raw materials and fossil fuels used in the United States. The best flesh-food enterprise returns a paltry 34.5 percent of the invested fossil-fuel energy as food energy, measured in terms of caloric expenditure. In contrast, the poorest crop enterprise returns a whopping 328 percent. In other words, the least-efficient plant-based food is nearly ten times as energy-efficient as the most-efficient flesh food!

Air Pollution

Whether you’re a hardcore liberal who believes that humans are responsible for global warming, or a staunch conservative who believes that the warming of the earth is a natural cycle, I think we can all agree that intentionally emitting nitrous oxide, methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere can be classified as pollution. And pollution has the potential to sicken the earth and its inhabitants. Liberals and conservatives alike must understand that the feces of all animals in the meat, dairy and egg industries emit nitrous oxide and methane, two highly noxious pollutants. Plus, when it comes to carbon dioxide, few people recognize the devastating impact that destroying rainforest to grow crops for animal feed can have on the environment. For example, it’s becoming increasingly well-known that burning one gallon of gasoline in an internal-combustion engine releases about 19 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. But clearing and burning enough rainforest to produce just one hamburger releases 165 pounds of carbon dioxide. Veganism, as always, is the best, most efficient way to help the environment. After all, there is no such thing as a meat, cheese, milk, egg-eating environmentalist.

Source: veganmovement2012

mindblowingscience:

Major breakthrough could help detoxify pollutants

Scientists at The University of Manchester hope a major breakthrough could lead to more effective methods for detoxifying dangerous pollutants like PCBs and dioxins. The result is a culmination of 15 years of research and has been published in Nature. It details how certain organisms manage to lower the toxicity of pollutants.

The team at the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology were investigating how some natural organisms manage to lower the level of toxicity and shorten the life span of several notorious pollutants.

Professor David Leys explains the research: “We already know that some of the most toxic pollutants contain halogen atoms and that most biological systems simply don’t know how to deal with these molecules. However, there are some organisms that can remove these halogen atoms using vitamin B12. Our research has identified that they use vitamin B12 in a very different way to how we currently understand it.”

He continues: “Detailing how this novel process of detoxification works means that we are now in a position to look at replicating it. We hope that ultimately new ways of combating some of the world’s biggest toxins can now be developed more quickly and efficiently.”

It’s taken Professor Leys 15 years of research to reach this breakthrough, made possible by a dedicated European Research Council (ERC) grant. The main difficulty has been in growing enough of the natural organisms to be able to study how they detoxify the pollutants. The team at the MIB were finally able to obtain key proteins through genetic modification of other, faster growing organisms. They then used X-ray crystallography to study in 3D how halogen removal is achieved.

The main drive behind this research has been to look at ways of combatting the dozens of very harmful molecules that have been released into the environment. Many have been directly expelled by pollutants or from burning household waste. As the concentration of these molecules has increased over time their presence poses more of a threat to the environment and humanity. Some measures have already been taken to limit the production of pollutants, for example PCBs were banned in the United States in the 1970s and worldwide in 2001.

Professor Leys says: “As well as combatting the toxicity and longevity of pollutants we’re also confident that our findings can help to develop a better method for screening environmental or food samples.”

Journal Reference:

  1. Karl A. P. Payne, Carolina P. Quezada, Karl Fisher, Mark S. Dunstan, Fraser A. Collins, Hanno Sjuts, Colin Levy, Sam Hay, Stephen E. J. Rigby & David Leys.Reductive dehalogenase structure suggests a mechanism for B12-dependent dehalogenationNature, October 2014 DOI: 10.1038/nature13901

Source: sciencedaily.com

s-c-i-guy:

Scientists restore hearing in noise-deafened mice, pointing way to new therapies

Scientists have restored the hearing of mice partly deafened by noise, using advanced tools to boost the production of a key protein in their ears.

By demonstrating the importance of the protein, called NT3, in maintaining communication between the ears and brain, these new findings pave the way for research in humans that could improve treatment of hearing loss caused by and normal aging.

In a new paper in the online journal eLife, the team from the University of Michigan Medical School’s Kresge Hearing Research Institute and Harvard University report the results of their work to understand NT3’s role in the , and the impact of increased NT3 production on hearing after a noise exposure.

Their work also illustrates the key role of cells that have traditionally been seen as the “supporting actors” of the ear-brain connection. Called , they form a physical base for the hearing system’s “stars”: the in the ear that interact directly with the nerves that carry sound signals to the brain. This new research identifies the critical role of these supporting cells along with the NT3 molecules that they produce.

NT3 is crucial to the body’s ability to form and maintain connections between hair cells and , the researchers demonstrate. This special type of connection, called a ribbon synapse, allows extra-rapid communication of signals that travel back and forth across tiny gaps between the two types of cells.

"It has become apparent that due to damaged ribbon synapses is a very common and challenging problem, whether it’s due to noise or normal aging,” says Gabriel Corfas, Ph.D., who led the team and directs the U-M institute. “We began this work 15 years ago to answer very basic questions about the inner ear, and now we have been able to restore hearing after partial deafening with noise, a common problem for people. It’s very exciting.”

Image: This microscope image of tissue from deep inside a normal mouse ear shows how ribbon synapses (red) form the connections between the hair cells of the inner ear (blue) and the tips of nerve cells (green) that connect to the brain.

Credit: Corfas lab - University of Michigan

read more

Source: medicalxpress.com

we-are-star-stuff:


Why Do Your Pupils Get Larger When You’re On Drugs?
Normally, our pupils dilate in response to changing light; as it gets darker, our pupils get larger. But they expand in size for other reasons as well, including when we’re sexually aroused and when we’re performing complex cognitive tasks. But it’s also known that certain medications — including illicit drugs — can cause pupils to get larger. Here’s why.
Pupil dilation, what’s also referred to as mydriasis, happens when one of two muscle groups become activated, namely the iris sphincter (yes, that’s what it’s called) and the iris dilator. The sphincter response is triggered by the parasympathetic nervous system (what regulates our autonomic bodily processes when we’re at rest), and the dilator by the sympathetic nervous symptom (what controls physiological responses requiring a quick response — like fight-or-flight).
Needless to say, psychotropic drugs can have a profound effect on both of these systems.
Depending on the type of drug taken, therefore, either muscle group can become engaged. Essentially, if a drug can trigger a parasympathetic or sympathetic response, there’s a good chance that it will also impact on pupil dilation. Specifically, mydriasis can be caused by stimulants and any drug that influences the adrenal glands — what can trigger certain parasympathetic responses.
For example, drugs like MDMA, ecstasy, cocaine, amphetamines, and some antidepressants (like SSRIs) can increase serotonin levels in the brain — a crucial neurotransmitter that regulates mood, including feelings of happiness and well-being. Serotonin agonizes to the 5-HT2A receptors in the brain — what has the downstream effect of triggering the mydriasis response, and in some cases, psychedelic episodes.
Consequently, mydriasis also occurs in people who take serotonin-inducing psychedelics like LSD, mescaline, and psilocybin.
Drugs that trigger the release of dopamine, a related neurotransmitter, can also induce mydriasis. Marijuana is a good example. Dopamine cause pupils to dilate by exciting the adrenergic receptors, what in turn increases adrenaline (which the autonomic nervous system is sensitive to).
It’s important to remember that not all drugs will produce the same degree of pupil dilation. For example, MDMA will have a much more profound effect on pupil dilation than, say, an antidepressant.
And interestingly, other drugs, like opiates, cause the opposite effect — pupil contraction, or what’s known as miosis.
[Continue Reading→]

we-are-star-stuff:

Why Do Your Pupils Get Larger When You’re On Drugs?

Normally, our pupils dilate in response to changing light; as it gets darker, our pupils get larger. But they expand in size for other reasons as well, including when we’re sexually aroused and when we’re performing complex cognitive tasks. But it’s also known that certain medications — including illicit drugs — can cause pupils to get larger. Here’s why.

Pupil dilation, what’s also referred to as mydriasis, happens when one of two muscle groups become activated, namely the iris sphincter (yes, that’s what it’s called) and the iris dilator. The sphincter response is triggered by the parasympathetic nervous system (what regulates our autonomic bodily processes when we’re at rest), and the dilator by the sympathetic nervous symptom (what controls physiological responses requiring a quick response — like fight-or-flight).

Needless to say, psychotropic drugs can have a profound effect on both of these systems.

Depending on the type of drug taken, therefore, either muscle group can become engaged. Essentially, if a drug can trigger a parasympathetic or sympathetic response, there’s a good chance that it will also impact on pupil dilation. Specifically, mydriasis can be caused by stimulants and any drug that influences the adrenal glands — what can trigger certain parasympathetic responses.

For example, drugs like MDMA, ecstasy, cocaine, amphetamines, and some antidepressants (like SSRIs) can increase serotonin levels in the brain — a crucial neurotransmitter that regulates mood, including feelings of happiness and well-being. Serotonin agonizes to the 5-HT2A receptors in the brain — what has the downstream effect of triggering the mydriasis response, and in some cases, psychedelic episodes.

Consequently, mydriasis also occurs in people who take serotonin-inducing psychedelics like LSD, mescaline, and psilocybin.

Drugs that trigger the release of dopamine, a related neurotransmitter, can also induce mydriasis. Marijuana is a good example. Dopamine cause pupils to dilate by exciting the adrenergic receptors, what in turn increases adrenaline (which the autonomic nervous system is sensitive to).

It’s important to remember that not all drugs will produce the same degree of pupil dilation. For example, MDMA will have a much more profound effect on pupil dilation than, say, an antidepressant.

And interestingly, other drugs, like opiates, cause the opposite effect — pupil contraction, or what’s known as miosis.

[Continue Reading→]

Source: we-are-star-stuff