Category Archives: Science & technology

Moon rock given to Holland by astronauts Armstrong & Aldrin is fake

The fake moon rock bequeathed to the Rijksmuseum on the death of former Dutch Prime Minister Willem Drees. (Photo credit HO/AFP/Getty Images)

The fake moon rock bequeathed to the Rijksmuseum on the death of former Dutch Prime Minister Willem Drees. (Photo credit HO/AFP/Getty Images)

The Telegraph reports, Aug. 29, 2009, that a “moon rock” given to former Dutch prime minister Willem Drees by the three Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin “Buzz” Adrin during a global tour following their moon mission in 1969, is a fake.

J. William Middendorf, the former American ambassador to the Netherlands, had made the presentation to Drees. The rock was later donated to Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum by Drees’ estate after his death in 1988.

Curators at Rijksmuseum, where the rock has attracted tens of thousands of visitors each year, discovered that the “lunar rock”, valued at £308,000, was in fact petrified wood, possibly from Arizona.

Researchers at Amsterdam’s Free University were able to tell at a glance that the rock was unlikely to be from the moon, a conclusion that was borne out by tests. Frank Beunk, a geologist involved in the investigation, said, “It’s a nondescript, pretty-much-worthless stone.”

Xandra van Gelder, who oversaw the investigation, said the museum would continue to keep the stone as a curiosity: “It’s a good story, with some questions that are still unanswered. We can laugh about it.”

For his part, former Ambassador Middendorf said, “I do remember that Drees was very interested in the little piece of stone. But that it’s not real, I don’t know anything about that.”

The misidentification of the rock given to Drees raised questions about how well countries have safeguarded their presents from Washington.

NASA gave moon rocks to more than 100 countries following lunar missions in 1969 and the 1970s. Of 135 rocks from the Apollo 17 mission given away to nations or their leaders, only about 25 have been located by CollectSpace.com, a website for space history buffs that has long attempted to compile a list. Of the estimated 134 Apollo 11 rocks, the locations of only fewer than a dozen are known. However, USA Today said that should not be taken to mean the others are lost — just that the records kept at the time are far from complete.

NASA keeps most of the 382 kilograms (842 lbs) gathered by the Apollo missions locked away, giving small samples to researchers and lending a set of larger rocks for exhibitions. Genuine moon rocks, while worthless in mineral terms, can fetch six-figure sums from black-market collectors. In one known legal sale of moon samples, in 1993, moon soil weighing 0.2 grams from an unmanned Russian probe was auctioned at Sotheby’s for $442,500. Apollo 11 gift rocks typically weigh just 0.05 grams, scarcely more than a grain of rice. The Apollo 17 gift rocks weigh about 1.1 grams. Both are encased in plastic globes to protect them and ease viewing.

In the case of the fake moon rock that the Rijksmuseum inherited from Drees’ estate, The Telegraph story in 2009 said “The U. S. Embassy in The Hague is carrying out an investigation into the affair.”

But according to the undated USA Today article, the Amsterdam case appears to be not fraud but the result of poor vetting by the Rijksmuseum. Spokeswoman Xandra van Gelder said the museum checked with NASA after receiving the rock in 1992 from the estate of the late Prime Minister Willem Drees. NASA told the museum, without seeing it, that it was “possible” it was a moon rock. But the rock weighed a whopping 89 grams (3.1 ounces). In addition, its gold-colored cardboard plaque does not describe it as a moon rock.

The U.S. ambassador gave Drees the rock during an Oct. 9, 1969 visit by the Apollo 11 astronauts to the Netherlands. Drees’s grandson, also named Willem, told the AP his grandfather had been out of office for more than a decade and was nearly deaf and blind in 1969, though his mind was still sharp: “My guess is that he did not hear well what was said. He may have formed his own idea about what it was.” The family never thought to question the story before donating the rock, to which they attached neither great importance nor monetary value.

Even if we assume that the Drees family story about Prime Minister Willem having misheard what the rock was, why would the Apollo 11 astronauts or Ambassador Middendorf give the prime minister a piece of petrified wood?

That makes no sense.

H/t Barry Soetoro, Esq.

See also “Are the crew members of 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger still alive?” and “Who really are the deadringer brothers of dead Challenger astronauts?

~Éowyn

Find out if your car is recalled for dangerous defective air bag

Takata defective air bags

A few days ago, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced a major recall of defective airbags made by Japanese company Takata for 11 car manufacturers.

About 33.8 million vehicles are being recalled to replace frontal airbags on the driver’s side or passenger’s side, or both. The airbags, made by major parts supplier Takata, were installed in cars from model year 2002 through 2008. Some of those airbags could deploy explosively, and have caused at least 6 deaths and more than 100 injuries.

Nissan explains: “The [air bag] propellant could potentially deteriorate over time due to environmental factors [many years in high humidity conditions], which could lead to over-aggressive combustion in the event of an airbag deployment. This could create excessive internal pressure within the inflator and could cause the inflator housing to rupture.”

If the airbag housing ruptures in a crash, metal shards from the airbag can be sprayed throughout the passenger cabin—a potentially disastrous outcome from a supposedly life-saving device.

Cars affected include automakers Honda, BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Saab, Subaru and Toyota dating back to the 2001 model year.

Automakers are required to send you a recall notice if your vehicle is under recall. But a quick way to find out, without waiting for your automaker’s recall notice, is go to the Transportation Department’s safety recall website https://vinrcl.safercar.gov/vin/vinLookup or click here.

By entering your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), you can find out if your vehicle is subject to the Takata air bag recall or any other safety recalls.

Source: Consumer Reports

~Éowyn

Bill Gates’ foundation funds permanent contraception for Third World

Bill Gates is the multi-billionaire founder of Microsoft, whose net worth is estimated to be a mind-boggling $79.1 billion.

Via his eponymous foundation, Gates is also famous for his philanthropy, a word that the dictionary defines as “the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes.” Gates’ idea of “good causes” is the reduction of the population of the world, in particular of the Third World, by hook or by crook.

In 2014, news came that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is funding the development of a contraceptive microchip that can be remotely controlled to release hormones that can act as abortifacients — drugs that induce abortion — into a woman’s body for up to 16 years.

Not content with that, the Gates Foundation is now funding the development of a permanent contraception.

Bill Gates (l) and Jens "666"Stoltenberg (r)

Bill Gates (l) and Jens “666”Stoltenberg (r)

Note: Jens Stoltenberg is secretary general of NATO. For the “666” allusion, see “Another Candidate for the Beast.”

Lisa Bourne reports for LifeSiteNews, May 15, 2015, that a new sterilization drug for women will likely be developed and promoted worldwide thanks to a large donation from Bill and Melinda Gates.

Last October, the Gates Foundation gave Oregon gynecologist Jeffrey Jensen $5 million in grant money to develop nonsurgical “permanent contraception.”

Jeffrey Jensen

Jeffrey Jensen

Jensen, a gynecologist who’s also a professor at Oregon Health & Science University, said it’s all about putting a stop to unplanned and unwanted pregnancies. “My goal is very simple: to make every pregnancy planned and highly desired,” Jensen said in a report from the Portland Business Journal. He cited a study that he said showed 50 percent of Ugandan women no longer wish to become pregnant, but only two percent have access to “permanent contraception.”

Jensen and his associates have been researching an approach on rhesus monkeys and baboons which uses polidocanol foam, an FDA-approved treatment for varicose veins, which bypasses the cumbersome and lengthy regulatory process. If they are successful the next step will be human trials.

Jensen is working in partnership with Dr. Ov Slayden and Slayden’s team at the Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC), and they have established the Oregon Permanent Contraception Research Center (OPERM).

OPERM will supply grant funding, scientific expertise, a “nonhuman primate animal resource,” lab and procedural infrastructure, and administrative support to chosen investigators for assessing new nonsurgical contraceptive techniques, according to the Oregon University Health and Science website.

This latest multi-million-dollar Gates grant to prevent women from bearing children is just one in a lengthy list. Support for population control from Bill and Melinda Gates, under the guise of philanthropy, goes back year.

The news of the Gates Foundation’s funding for a permanent contraception has drawn condemnation from pro-lifers who warn of eugenics concerns.

Human Life International’s Stephen Phelan said the Gates Foundation’s obsessive focus on promoting contraception in the third world is based upon a faulty notion of what constitutes authentic ‘development,’ as well as highly suspect data about the actual desire for such contraception. “It is difficult to determine what is more outrageous,” Phelan told LifeSiteNews, “the uncritical and fawning ‘news’ reporting on every new Gates Foundation sterilization development grant even as coercive sterilization campaigns continue around the world, or the fact that the Gates Foundation continues to act as if every problem in the developing world can be solved by sterilizing women.”

Phelan also disputed the oft-cited claims that hundreds of millions of women in developing countries desire artificial birth control: “To simply repeat the claims of population control organizations, including the absolutely baseless claim that what 200 million poor women of color want most is the ability to stop becoming pregnant (where exactly did this statistic originate – let’s see the data) is reckless and irresponsible.”

Phelan also questions why foundations like Bill Gates’ focus their philanthropic efforts on population control when “what these women always say they want most when asked is better basic healthcare, education, opportunity, and just governance.”

See also “Warren Buffet gives $millions for abortions.”

~Éowyn

Someone at Google Maps thinks Obama is a racist, traitor and usurper

My friend Mark S. McGrew alerted me to a FASCINATING phenomenon on Google Maps.

If you go to Google Maps and type in the following words in the search bar, you’ll get the White House as the result each time:

  • racist Washington D. C.
  • traitor Washington D.C.
  • treason Washington D.C.
  • usurper Washington D.C.
  • Muslim nigger Washington D.C.

It is noteworthy that in the case of the search words “traitor Washington, D.C.,” “treason Washington D.C.” and usurper Washington D.C.,” the Supreme Court is below the White House in search results.

Here are screenshots I took of each search result, with the time and date when I took the screenshot in the lower right corner. I painted red rectangles around the search words. I also painted over my personal information.

↓ Click images to enlarge ↓

Google Maps1Google Maps3Google Maps treasonGoogle Maps usurperGoogle Maps muslim

The explanation can’t be that Google Maps has a glitch and shows the White House for any and all “Washington D.C.” searches because I tested it by typing in “dogs Washington D.C.” and “cars Washington D.C.,” but the search results are not the White House, as you can in the screen shots I took below:

Google Maps dogsGoogle Maps cars

Try it yourself before Google Maps discovers the programmer and disables the program: https://www.google.com/maps/

~Éowyn

Sound of trumpets and other eerie noises in sky heard across the world

Over the last few years, like you, I’ve seen reports of eerie loud noises from the sky heard by people for almost a decade in countries across the globe, including:

  • United States
  • Canada
  • Germany
  • Austria
  • Ukraine
  • Belarus

Mail Online recounts some examples:

  • In August 2011, an “extremely loud” sound was recorded in Kiev, Ukraine, which an eyewitness said was heard by people in cities 18-25 miles (30-40 km) away.
  • In Salzburgh, Austria, the noise was magnified across the Eastern Alps.
  • In Montana on Feb. 18, 2012, the strange sounds gave Aaron Taylor “vivid nightmares.” He said, “‘My wife woke me from a dream last night where she says I was screaming like she’s never heard me scream before.”

Governments and scientists have no explanation for the sounds, although University of Oklahoma geoscientist David Deming has written in the Journal of Scientific Exploration about a phenomenon called The Hum – “a mysterious and untraceable sound that is heard in certain locations around the world by two to ten per cent of the population.” He said sources of The Hum could include telephone transmissions and “aircraft operated by the U.S. Navy for the purpose of submarine communications.”

NASA says the Earth has “natural radio emissions” — “a remarkable symphony of strange noises coming from our own planet” which we would hear “if humans had radio antennas instead of ears.  Scientists call them “tweeks,” “whistlers” and “sferics” that “sound like background music from a flamboyant science fiction film, but this is not science fiction. Earth’s natural radio emissions are real and, although we’re mostly unaware of them, they are around us all the time.” For example, lightning can produce eerie-sounding radio. Earthquakes, too, can produce sub-audible sounds, according to seismologist Brian W. Stump from the Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

The most disconcerting of the strange noises is what sounds like the blowing of TRUMPETS or a similar brass musical instrument on May 7, 2015, in Terrace, British Columbia, which can be heard in the beginning of the video below.

Speculations on the Internet about what the eerie sounds really are include the grinding of tectonic plates, atmospheric pressure, noises from trains reacting to railroad tracks and overhead wires, building construction, the U.S. government’s HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program), space aliens, and the apocalypse.

“And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” -Matthew 24:31

But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets…. And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. -Book of Revelation 10:7, 11:15

H/t FOTM’s j.case

Update (May 19, 2015):

Here’s more on the sound of trumpets heard in British Columbia, from WND:

In June 2013, Kimberly Wookey of Terrace, British Columbia, Canada, first caught the sound, and has continued her recordings through May 7 of this year.

Wookey said on YouTube: “On the morning of August 29, 2013 at approximately 7:30am I was awoken by these sounds. I shot out of bed realizing it was the same sounds I had heard before and I ran looking for a camera to try to capture them with. I came out into the living room to find my seven-year-old son awake and scared wondering what was going on. He had said the noises woke him up as well and shook his window. I managed to record three clips showing almost five minutes of these strange sounds. After it was over and I sat down at the computer to upload the video. After checking my Facebook I noticed a lot of locals had heard the same sounds again but this time it was far more widespread. I have no idea what these sounds are but it is pretty strange and I am glad that I was able to catch them this time and share what I heard. The sounds were heard again on Sept 8th at 6:30am so far we have confirmed reports of it being heard from town to the lake, 25km away.”

Update (May 23, 2015):

Strange sound of trumpets in sky is that of ancient biblical shofar?

~Éowyn

Birth control pills shrink women’s brains

Common sense should tell you that a pharmaceutical that stops women from ovulating must be a very powerful drug. So it should not surprise us that studies have shown oral contraceptives or birth control pills put women at enhanced risks for glaucoma and multiple sclerosis.

Now add brain shrinkage to the list.

A new study out of UCLA found that the birth control pill may thin areas in a woman’s brain and affect their functions in regulating emotional reaction and future planning.

Only women using the combination form of oral contraceptives were used in the study – it did not measure women using progesterone-only or other forms of oral contraceptives. The research found that oral contraceptive use was significantly associated with a thinning in two areas of the brain: the lateral orbitofrontal cortex and the posterior cingulate cortex.

The lateral orbitofrontal cortex is involved in emotion regulation and response to rewards, while the posterior cigulate cortex regulates inward-directed thought, such as recalling personal memories or planning for the future.

brain

The research study by Nicole Petersen, Alexandra Touroutoglou, Joseph M. Andreano and Larry Cahill, “Oral contraceptive pill use is associated with localized decreases in cortical thickness,” was published in April 2015 in the journal Human Brain Mapping. Here’s the abstract:

Oral contraceptive pills (OCs), which are used to prevent pregnancy by the majority of women in the United States, contain steroid hormones that may affect the brain’s structure and function. In this investigation, we tested the hypothesis that OC use is associated with differences in brain structure using a hypothesis-driven, surface-based approach. In 90 women, (44 OC users, 46 naturally-cycling women), we compared the cortical thickness of brain regions that participate in the salience network and the default mode network, as well as the volume of subcortical regions in these networks. We found that OC use was associated with significantly lower cortical thickness measurements in the lateral orbitofrontal cortex and the posterior cingulate cortex. These regions are believed to be important for responding to rewards and evaluating internal states/incoming stimuli, respectively. Further investigations are needed to determine if cortical thinning in these regions are associated with behavioral changes, and also to identify whether OC use is causally or only indirectly related to these changes in brain morphology.

Although the study only measured brain structure, the findings suggest that there could be possible effects on behavior.

Nicole Petersen

According to Catholic World Report, May 15, 2015, Dr. Nicole Petersen, a neuroscientist at UCLA and the study’s lead author, noted that “Some women experience negative emotional side effects from taking oral contraceptive pills, although the scientific findings investigating that have been mixed. So it’s possible that this change in the lateral orbitofrontal cortex may be related to the emotional changes that some women experience when using birth control pills.

Larry Cahill

Since the UCLA study is one of the first of its kind in measuring effects of the birth control pill on brain structure, it’s difficult for scientists to draw any definite conclusions at this point. But Dr. Larry Cahill, a professor of neurobiology and behavior at the University of California-Irvine and a co-author of the study, said he’s amazed at the lack of research considering how long the pill has been on the market: “You might think after 50 years and hundreds of millions of women taking various incarnations of the pill, there would be a large and cohesive and impressive body of evidence on it, but there’s next to nothing. I honestly find that amazing.”

Although Cahill cautioned against a panic or alarm because of the recent study, he said it raises further questions for research that are important to the millions of women who use oral contraceptives every day. For example, follow-up studies are needed to determine whether the thinning effect is permanent, or whether it just occurs if a woman is currently using the pill.

In April 2011, Cahill and three other researchers found that the emotional memory of women using hormonal contraception was more similar to that of men than of women. Combined with the evidence of the most recent study, Cahill said one group that might benefit from the pill’s possible impact on emotional memory could be women in combat or other traumatic situations. If using hormonal contraception, these women could be potentially less likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder than naturally cycling women in similar situations, though more research is needed.

Dr. Cahill said these studies are part of a growing body of research on sex differences in the brain, which is challenging the long-held assumption that men and women are mostly biologically the same, save for their reproductive organs: “We’re all blinded by our assumptions, and there’s simply been an assumption…that any differences between (men and women) occur in the bikini zone and that’s it. And now we’re realizing, well, no. There’s sex differences all over the place. It’s important that we stop assuming that women are just men with pesky hormones.”

Cahill also said that he and his fellow researchers, by challenging established assumptions (otherwise called “prejudice”), have experienced “road blocks” in trying to publish their findings, because they are often dismissed as being “alarmist.” However, he believes that as a scientist, it’s important to continue to study the potentially good, bad or neutral effects of a medication that millions of women use for large portions of their life. He said:

“If I’m a woman on the pill, or I know a woman who’s on the pill…or I have a daughter who wants to go on the pill, you want to operate from knowledge, not from complete lack of knowledge. That was the goal, to explore what the pill might be doing just as we’ve been doing for 3 or 4 years.”

See also:

~Éowyn

UTI, most common bacterial infection, increasingly resistant to oral antibiotics

You’ve all heard of “superbugs,” bacteria that are resistant to most, if not all, of medical science’s antibiotics. See, for example:

Bacteria are evolving beyond our antibiotics because of our profligate, over-prescription, and indiscriminate use of antibiotics, especially by the corporate meat industry’s dumping of antibiotics (and hormones too) into the feed of factory farm animals.

Here’s another sign that our antibiotics are losing their ability to combat infections.

Urinary tract infections, the most common bacterial infections in the United States, increasingly are resistant to oral antibiotics.

symptoms of UTI

Rita Rubin writes for WebMD Health News, April 29, 2015, that doctors are running out of oral antibiotics to treat such urinary tract infections (UTI), which account for nearly 10 million annual visits to doctors’ offices or hospital emergency departments.

That’s happening as the bacteria causing them become more resistant to the medicines used to treat them. Antibiotic resistance in general is on the rise worldwide, but one especially troubling example is the rise in resistant strains of E coli, the bacteria that cause more than 80% of UTIs.

In some cases, doctors have had to resort to older, less-effective antibiotics. In other cases, they’ve had to put a catheter into patients’ arms to give antibiotics through a vein, because no medications taken by mouth worked. Sometimes doctors have had to ask the FDA for permission to use a medicine that the agency has not yet approved.

“Bacteria are smarter than humans,” says Lilian Abbo, MD, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Miami. “When you challenge bacteria with an antibiotic, maybe the first time the bacteria will say, ‘Oops, we’ve never seen this,’ and the antibiotic will kill them.”

But familiarity with antibiotics breeds contempt in bacteria, which can develop ways to make them ineffective. Resistance can even spread among bacteria, enabling them to fend off antibiotics they’d never previously been exposed to.

Sometimes, doctors must try two, three, or even four antibiotics to vanquish stubborn UTIs, Abbo says. As an infectious disease specialist, she sees patients who keep getting UTIs. Those fourth-line medications are often “broad-spectrum” antibiotics, meaning they also wipe out the good bacteria in the gut that help with digestion and your immune system.

“We’re basically using a grenade to kill a mosquito,” Abbo says. “The mosquito became resistant to all the repellents and keeps biting you.”

One study of E. coli taken from urine samples of U.S. patients found that the greatest increases in resistance between 2000 and 2010 were for the antibiotics Cipro (3% to 17%) and Bactrim (18% to 24%). (Bactrim is also called Sulfatrim and Septra).

A third of women will get a UTI that needs to be treated with an antibiotic by age 24. Half of all women get at least one UTI in their lifetime. If you’re one of them, you’re familiar with the symptoms — the painful peeing and the frequent, urgent feeling that you have to go to the bathroom. Untreated, UTIs can lead to a kidney infection that could cause serious or permanent damage.

Because of safety concerns, pregnant women have even more limited choices when it comes to treating UTIs, which are common during pregnancy. Along with kidney infections, UTIs can also cause preterm labor. At the same time, some antibiotics prescribed for the infections could hurt the unborn baby, says Catherine Eppes, MD, MPH, an obstetrician-gynecologist at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

In a paper published in March in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Eppes and colleague Steven Clark, MD, described a 31-year-old patient who was 12 weeks pregnant and having fever, nausea, and pain due to a UTI.

She’d been treated 2 weeks earlier for another UTI with Macrobid, a commonly prescribed older antibiotic. This time, she was hospitalized and prescribed Rocephin. On the third day, tests showed that her infection was resistant to that antibiotic. She was switched to one given through a vein. After 2 days in the hospital, she was discharged but had to keep getting the antibiotic by IV for 12 more days at home.

“We seem to be getting more and more women admitted to our hospital service with these infections,” Eppes says. “Antibiotic resistance, especially in UTIs, is definitely an emerging and important issue.”

In some cases, no antibiotic is effective against postmenopausal women’s symptoms, because they don’t actually have a UTI. “Such women come back in time and time again with those symptoms,” suggesting that their symptoms are due to age-related hormonal changes, not an infection, says Thomas Hooton, MD, He’s a University of Miami infectious disease doctor who specializes in treating people who keep getting UTIs.

One thing contributing to antibiotic resistance in the treatment of UTIs is that some people with no symptoms are getting prescriptions, Hooton says.

For example, healthy women typically provide urine samples at checkups so the doctor can look to see whether the samples have protein or sugar, either of which could be signs of underlying problems. Sometimes, though, white cells, a sign of inflammation, turn up in the test results, and doctors go ahead and prescribe an antibiotic, Hooton says, even though having bacteria in the urine without any symptoms isn’t a disease, but the doctors mistakenly think that symptoms will arise if the apparent infection isn’t quashed. In people without symptoms, antibiotics are appropriate only for pregnant women whose urine suggests they might have a UTI, Hooton says.

~Éowyn