Category Archives: Science & technology

Creation: Crab Nebula

He counts the number of the stars;
He calls them all by name.
Great is our Lord, and mighty in power;
His understanding is infinite.
-Psalm 147:4-5

Crab NebulaCrab Nebula (Hubble Space Telescope photograph, 2005)

A supernova is a massive star exploding at the end of its life. The explosion creates spectacular glowing debris fields called supernova remnants.

The Crab Nebula is a supernova remnant and pulsar wind nebula in the constellation of Taurus, part of the Perseus Arm of the  Milky Way galaxy. Located at a distance of about 6,500 light-years from Earth, the nebula has a diameter of 11 light years and expands at a rate of about 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) per second.

First recorded by Chinese astronomers in 1054, the Crab Nebula was observed later by English astronomer John Bevis in 1731 and is the first astronomical object identified with a historical supernova explosion.

At the center of the nebula lies the Crab Pulsar, a neutron star 17-19 miles across with a spin rate of 30.2 times per second, which emits pulses of radiation from gamma rays to radio waves.

Crab Nebula supernova remnants

Crab Nebula supernova remnants

To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Chandra X-ray Observatory, NASA released four new images of the Crab Nebula supernova remnants. These supernova remnants are very hot and energetic and glow brightly in X-ray light, which allows Chandra to capture them in exquisite detail.

Chandra, one of NASA’s current “Great Observatories,” along with the Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Space Telescope, is specially designed to detect X-ray emission from hot and energetic regions of the universe.

On July 23, 1999, NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory was launched into space aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia — the largest satellite ever launched by the shutter. Since its deployment 15 years ago, Chandra has helped revolutionize our understanding of the universe through its unrivaled X-ray vision. Orbiting far above Earth’s X-ray absorbing atmosphere at an altitude up to 139,000 km (86,500 mi) allows for Chandra’s long observations unobscured by Earth’s shadow.

With its superb sensitivity and resolution, Chandra has observed objects ranging from the closest planets and comets to the most distant known quasars. It has imaged the remains of exploded stars, or supernova remnants, observed the region around the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, and discovered black holes across the universe. Chandra also has made a major advance in the study of dark matter by tracing the separation of dark matter from normal matter in collisions between galaxy clusters. It also is contributing to research on the nature of dark energy.

Source: NASA.gov

For Chandra images, multimedia and related materials, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/chandra

H/t FOTM’s Igor

~Eowyn

A Can’t Miss .50 Cal Round. Kinda Cool/Scary

What will those folks at DARPA think of next? Watch quick vid, and be amazed.

 ====================================================

Sniper heaven: Pentagon’s self-guided bullets leave enemies nowhere to hide

 

The research arm dedicated to creating breakthrough technology for the Pentagon has shared video of a successful test of self-guided bullets.

The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency conducted a test April 21 with Teledyne Scientific & Imaging. Video posted to YouTube earlier this month shows a round with a ballistic path far from its intended target. As the round makes its way along the errant trajectory it suddenly curves, corrects itself and hits the intended target.

DARPA had a promising prototype for its Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordinance (EXACTO) .50-caliber bullets in 2012, but the new video confirms that the agency has perfected the technology.

“The Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance system seeks to improve sniper effectiveness and enhance troop safety by allowing greater shooter standoff range and reduction in target engagement timelines,” DARPA’s website stated.

The new rounds will make American snipers even more efficient, allowing them to acquire moving targets in any environment. A self-guided bullet makes eliminating a target with one shot more likely, which better safeguards the sniper’s exact location.

~Steve~

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jul/11/sniper-heaven-pentagons-successful-self-guided-bul/#ixzz37N9F8tkt

U.S. running out of more and more prescription drugs

drug shortages box and pillKatherine Eban, “Drug Shortages: The Scary Reality of a World Without Meds,” Reader’s Digest Magazine, June 2014:

Jennifer LaCognata, 40, a booking agent for United Airlines from Safety Harbor, Florida, first suffered an attack of night blindness in early 2011. It took months to properly diagnose her. She was vitamin A deficient, due to a shortened bowel that made her body unable to absorb fat. The good news: The problem was totally fixable with injections of a basic medicine called Aquasol A, made by Hospira, an American generic drug company.

But bad news quickly followed. LaCognata learned that manufacturing challenges had forced Hospira to stop selling the drug, effectively plunging the entire world into a shortage. Without Aquasol A, LaCognata is going blind. United Airlines placed her on unpaid medical leave because she could no longer look at a computer screen. She is forced to wear an eye patch and can see only kaleidoscopic fragments out of one eye. “My kids call me Pirate now,” she says, “instead of Mom.”

LaCognata and her husband canvassed the world for Aquasol A. They contacted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the State Department, and every major eye hospital in America. (They found two vials, but they were expired, so hospitals wouldn’t release them.) The couple wrote and called hospitals and organizations in Israel, China, Canada, and Brazil. LaCognata contacted charities, including the Red Cross and the Helen Keller Foundation, that serve foreign populations prone to vitamin A deficiency, without luck.

A Hospira spokesperson said that the company recognized the “critical need” for Aquasol A and had contracted with a separate manufacturing company to “accelerate the product’s return to market.” But years later, the company has yet to resume its production.

It is listed on Hospira’s website as “out of stock.”

“I can’t believe this could happen in America,” LaCognata says.

A Shocking Epidemic

It seems unfathomable in our high-tech medical system, but in 2007, 154 drugs were in shortage, a number that almost tripled to 456 in 2012, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Threatening medical-care options and patients’ lives, drug shortages have occurred in almost every pharmaceutical category. Antibiotics, cancer drugs, anesthesia, pain control, reproductive and gynecological drugs, cardiac medicine, psychiatric drugs, and intravenous-feeding solutions have all been in varying degrees of short supply or not available at all. Recently, nitroglycerin, an emergency room staple used to treat heart attack patients, has been in such severe scarcity that its sole U.S. manufacturer has restricted hospitals to 40 percent of their usual orders. A study published this March in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings attributed more than 15 documented deaths since 2010 to either lack of treatment or the switch to an inferior drug as a result of medication shortages.

Though the FDA has scrambled to alleviate the crisis and physicians have become deft at juggling or substituting treatments, there is no comprehensive solution to this drug-supply breakdown, which has persisted for a complex array of reasons.

The first is all about money. As generic drug prices have dropped, so have manufacturers’ profits. As a result, some manufacturers have failed to invest in infrastructure and quality control. To ensure safety, the FDA has taken regulatory actions that have halted supplies, with sterile injectable drugs, such as pain meds and chemotherapy, dominating the shortage list. (These are the most complex and costly generics to make.) The business model of just-in-time manufacturing—in which companies make drugs as patients need them but do not stockpile extra—leaves no margin for unexpected events.

Noting that there are no shortages of big profit-generators, like Viagra, many practitioners and patients suspect less-than-honorable motives by drugmakers. Some experts suggest that manufacturers may have financial incentive to temporarily stop production of a drug. Medicare reform imposed certain price controls on generic drugs, but, due to a loophole, these controls are lifted if a manufacturer stops making the drug for six months.

Limited manufacturing capacity is an important factor too. Over half the drugs on the FDA shortage list had only one or two manufacturers, according to a report by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. Some blame hospital buying groups, middlemen that purchase drugs and supplies for many of the nation’s hospitals, which have awarded contracts to some manufacturers and not others, thereby suppressing competition and innovation. The result is that for any given drug, there may be only one or two generic manufacturers left to produce it, which can lead to shortages.

Predatory middlemen are making the situation even worse. A congressional investigation led by Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Baltimore Democrat, has found that shady secondary wholesalers buy up drugs in shortage and resell them, often at exorbitant prices. This explains, in part, the haphazard ebb and flow of the shortages that makes them particularly hard to handle: One day the medicine is just gone, but there’s plenty the next.

But as experts debate the cause of the shortages, there is no disagreement over their devastating impact. They’ve turned pharmacists into professional beggars and have forced doctors to change treatment protocols on the fly—in some cases, turning routine care into a roll of the dice. They’ve stopped clinical trials and have led to the suspension of the death penalty in some states that use lethal injection.

Shortages are leading hospitals and patients to get drugs from less regulated and potentially less safe sources, such as drug compounders, specialty pharmacies that mix medications for individual patients. Some compounding pharmacies, which are not subject to regulation as stringent as that for drug manufacturers, have taken advantage of this and started churning out large volumes of drugs. But this can lead to safety issues. Such dangers became vividly clear in 2012, after contaminated steroids from the New England Compounding Center led to an outbreak of meningitis that killed 64 patients. A 2013 report by the Health and Human Services inspector general found that drug shortages have led 68 percent of U.S. hospitals to turn to compounders to make versions of medicine in short supply.

Patients today have to cope not only with being sick or choosing between treatment options but also with the possibility that the drug they need may be available solely from a risky source—or not at all.drug shortages by yearA Scary Reality for Cancer Patients

Those with life-threatening diseases have been hit hardest by shortages, in part because many of their medications have no substitute and their exacting treatment regimens cannot be delayed.

Justine Zirbes, 33, a TV producer in Minneapolis, was seven months pregnant with twins in October 2010 when she learned that her three-year-old, Axel, had leukemia. The distressing news sent her into early labor, and she was confined to bed.

As her son embarked on grueling chemotherapy for a disease that can often be cured if treated—but is almost certainly fatal if not—Zirbes learned that a national shortage of the chemotherapy drug cytarabine would affect his regimen. Doctors offered a drug called clofarabine, which was not standard treatment. Though still pregnant and on bed rest, Zirbes flatly refused. “How is this possible, in this country in 2011, that these lifesaving drugs are not widely available?” Zirbes recalls. “I was beside myself with disbelief.”

Zirbes was justified in her concern. According to a 2012 study in the New England Journal of Medicine, drug substitutions due to shortages led to higher relapse rates among children with an otherwise curable form of lymphoma.

Like Jennifer LaCognata, Zirbes embarked on a quest to find the right medicine. She contacted her senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who took up the cause with proposed legislation. Zirbes produced two news segments on children affected by drug shortages. She worked every connection she had and looked as far away as Europe to find her son’s drug. Ultimately, the day before Axel was due for treatment, the hospital got enough cytarabine to treat him and another child.

Axel was reasonably lucky. Other patients, like Carey Fitzmaurice of Bethesda, Maryland, almost certainly suffered recurrence of their cancer because of drug shortages.

In 2006, Fitzmaurice, 37, was happily married with two young children and a job she loved as a policy analyst at the Environmental Protection Agency, when she learned that she had ovarian cancer and a BRCA1 genetic mutation that had likely caused it.

Over five years, she bravely underwent debilitating treatment, a recurrence of her ovarian cancer, an additional diagnosis of breast cancer, and a radical mastectomy. In the middle of 2011, things finally seemed to be breaking her way. Her breast cancer was in remission, and a chemotherapy drug called Doxil, made by a contractor for the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen, Inc., appeared to be vanquishing a recurrence of the ovarian cancer. But in August 2011, she learned there was not enough Doxil to complete her treatment.

Fitzmaurice assumed that she would be able to find some on her own. “I work for the federal government,” she says. “A lot of what I do is help people cut through red tape and find solutions. That’s how I tackled cancer to begin with: find out who the right doctor is, where to get surgery.”

But the shortage of Doxil thwarted her every effort. After four months without the medication, her ovarian cancer returned.

In a recent study from the University of Pennsylvania presented at the 2013 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, 83 percent of oncologists and hematologists said they’ve faced cancer drug shortages, and of those, nearly all said their patients’ treatment had been affected by drug shortages.

At the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center in Columbus, Ohio, Ryan Forrey, associate director for pharmacy and infusion services, says that in 2012, of the 60,000 doses of chemotherapy administered intravenously at his facility, almost 35 percent were affected by shortages. Treatment was interrupted or canceled, patients were switched to alternative drugs, or an alternative supply for the needed drug had to be found. His overwhelmed staff “was forced to beg, borrow, plead to get drugs for patients,” he says.

Now, whenever a patient begins chemotherapy, Forrey’s hospital sequesters the entire treatment regimen, which can be months of medication, to ensure that it is available. But Forrey is not optimistic that the drug shortages will ease.

“Every time I think it can’t get worse, it does get worse,” he says.

drug shortages five drug classesAre Drug Shortages a New Normal?

Shortages are not limited to drugs for cancer or uncommon diseases. Experts fear that scarcity of the heart attack drug nitroglycerin is endangering patients’ lives. Last spring, the most basic of antibiotics, doxycycline, used for everything from acne to Lyme disease, disappeared from pharmacies. Even intravenous saline solution, a hospital staple, has been in short supply, leading some hospitals to ration their use. In fact, almost every U.S. hospital has faced a lack of basic medicine, found an American Hospital Association survey. Many have even hired a full-time staff person specifically to navigate shortages.

Hospitals have developed complex formulas to help ration existing drug supplies—essentially, to determine which patients get medication and which don’t.

“No doctor wants to prioritize,” says Richard Schilsky, MD, chief medical officer of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. “But if you have five patients and only three vials, that’s a very real problem.”

A significant shortage creep is affecting mainstays of reproductive and sexual-health medicine, from anesthetics used in gynecologic surgery to antinausea drugs for pregnancy to antibiotics for sexually transmitted diseases, says Michele Curtis, MD, an ob-gyn in Houston. “I work in the most expensive health-care system in the world, and I am being asked to do it in third world conditions,” she says.

Thirty-seven of the 38 different components used in intravenous nutrition bags have been in fluctuating shortage since spring 2009, which is a serious threat to our country’s youngest and most fragile children. Insufficient zinc, for example, has led to raw blistering sores on the tiny hands of premature infants.

“We have been compromising what we feel is optimal care for close to three years now, and we don’t really see any end in sight,” says Jay M. Mirtallo, immediate past president of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition.

Rolling the Dice

Doctors, patients, and regulators have jury-rigged fixes with their own hazards, using drugs that may have worse side effects or less favorable outcomes or come from unsavory wholesalers or less regulated drugmakers.

The shortages have forced Susan Agrawal, in Chicago, to make difficult decisions as she struggles to keep her nine-year-old daughter, Karuna, alive. Karuna was born with cerebral palsy due to a ruptured umbilical cord. She has since developed an autoimmune disease that causes her organs to fail. She survives by getting her nutrients intravenously and needs bags of liquid nutrition with 14 components, which Agrawal gets from a specialized sterile infusion facility.

Agrawal has had to canvass local pharmacies and drug compounders to find the ingredients that the facility can’t get. In fact, she’s even purchased drug components from a compounding pharmacy that has had repeated run-ins with state regulators for unsanitary conditions. Then she must reconstitute the components, from powder to liquid, at her dining room table, with no guarantee of sterility, and add them to her daughter’s IV bags. “It’s like, ‘Cross your fingers,’ ” she says.

Although Karuna is very sick, the fact that her IV nutrition—which shouldn’t be this complicated—is so fraught may be compromising the quality of life she has left. Agrawal fears that given her daughter’s fragile health and immune system, the shortages “will surely cause her death.”

In a survey of 1,800 health-care practitioners, about 25 percent reported errors due to shortages. Among the 1,000 incidents: a patient who died from an infection that could have been treated had the antibiotic amikacin been available, accidental overdoses of alternative drugs, and prolonged hospitalizations due to side effects from alternative drugs.

A medicine substitution sickened Sharon Brown, who was being treated for stage 2 breast cancer at Ohio State University. She was suffering relatively few side effects from her chemotherapy drug, Taxol, but then in June 2011, her doctors were unable to procure her next dose and switched her to a similar drug, Taxotere.

Two days after her first dose, she suffered a devastating reaction, an uncommon but known side effect: She grew dizzy, broke into a cold sweat, and could not lift her arms over her head. She was so dehydrated that hospital staff could not even draw blood from her veins. For the next two weeks, she needed IV fluids every other day just to treat her dehydration. She was too sick to resume chemotherapy for another month.

Even the FDA has been boxed into a corner. After the cancer drug Doxil became unavailable in late 2011, the FDA made an emergency provision to allow an Indian generic-drug company, Sun Pharma Global, to temporarily export a similar generic drug, Lipodox, which is not approved in the United States. Although patients and doctors applauded the move, Sun Pharma has faced repeated past FDA sanctions for poor quality. (In 2009, U.S. marshals raided its U.S. manufacturing plant and shut down production.)

Patients say that drugmakers have forced them into unacceptable treatment. Sufferers of Fabry disease, a rare life-threatening enzyme disorder that dangerously slows blood supply, have only the drug Fabrazyme, made by the company Genzyme, to treat their disease. But in 2009, Genzyme was forced to shut down its manufacturing plant in Allston, Massachusetts, after a viral contamination was discovered.

As Genzyme entered into a consent decree with the FDA and struggled to open a new plant, it established a rationing program. Patients would be required to take a reduced dose instead of their whole dose. If they refused, they would be given no medicine and placed at the bottom of the waiting list. A spokesperson for Genzyme says the company imposed this condition after it consulted with a working group that included doctors and patient advocates. However, patients say that the FDA did not study the impact of the diminished dose, and—more shocking—the European Medicines Agency, Europe’s main drug regulator, found that a reduced dose accelerated disease in some patients. (Genzyme spokeswoman Lori Gorski says that during the shortage, the FDA did permit patients to take an alternative drug, Replagal, made by Shire.)

In February 2012, a Pittsburgh patent lawyer, Allen Black, PhD, who had worked as a drug developer, filed a lawsuit against the FDA on behalf of patients affected by drug shortages. Those included patients with Fabry disease as well as Jennifer LaCognata, who needs Aquasol A. The lawsuit alleged that by allowing drug companies to stop making a drug, the FDA effectively allows them to make life-or-death decisions for patients. As Black says, “There’s no appeals process. You get denied a drug? Tough.” The FDA’s response offered little comfort to patients expecting help. In a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, the FDA stated that while it “works with manufacturers to help prevent and mitigate these shortages, the FDA’s authority to address potential and actual drug shortages is limited.” Last November, the court dismissed the case.

For Real Solutions, We Need Big Reform

In July 2012, Congress passed the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, which included provisions originally spearheaded by Justine Zirbes’s senator Amy Klobuchar. The law requires that drugmakers give the FDA early notification of any manufacturing issues or business decisions that may lead to shortages. It requires the FDA to expedite inspections and reviews of manufacturing sites that could help resolve shortages.

There is some evidence that the FDA has been successful in holding back the tide. In 2013, the number of new drugs added to the shortage list was far less than the number added in 2012. But in the first quarter of 2014, active shortages remained close to the highest level ever. The situation, which was the subject of a congressional hearing in February, remains “very critical,” says Erin Fox, director of the University of Utah’s drug information service.

Critics say the FDA’s response is mere window dressing that has done little to change underlying problems. “It’s fine to say that the FDA should have six months’ advance notice,” says Dr. Schilsky. But he views the new legislation as “doing nothing to address the root causes” of the problem.

Meanwhile, doctors and patients have little information about when they can expect shortages to be resolved. Despite planning and promises from drugmakers, “many resolution dates are unknown or unmet,” says Ryan Roux, chief pharmacy officer at the Harris County Hospital District in Texas.

Companies aren’t penalized for drug shortages or incentivized to avoid them, experts say. The only real solution, say a number of health-care professionals, is to require drug manufacturers to stockpile medicine and to ensure that more than one drugmaker produces it. “There needs to be a way to obligate multiple manufacturers to make these lifesaving medications,” says Ohio State’s Forrey.

The FDA would have to require that manufacturers change their just-in-time manufacturing model and set aside reserves of lifesaving drugs, which the FDA has claimed is impossible. But one executive at a pharmacy benefit-management company, who asked to remain anonymous, says the FDA could easily mandate this: “Don’t give me this stuff: ‘We can’t tell the drug companies what to do,’” he says. “Yes, you can; you do it all the time.” The FDA, with all its leverage, “could probably solve 90 percent of the problem.”

Some vital industries, such as technology and defense, encourage what is called second sourcing, in which manufacturers may sublease at least one fifth of production to backup companies to avoid supply-chain disruptions in the event of natural or other disasters. Justine Zirbes, who faced the prospect that her son Axel could have died from leukemia without cytarabine, says that manufacturers who “stop making a lifesaving drug” should be subject to criminal prosecution.

In a separate proceeding, Jennifer LaCognata sued Hospira on the grounds that the company failed to plan for contingencies in its shortage of Aquasol A. Last June, Florida’s 11th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the suit. Her lawyer, Allen Black, then petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to take the case. LaCognata, whose vision continues to deteriorate and who lost her house in a foreclosure proceeding, says she has to remain strong for her kids. “I have to have a very upbeat attitude,” she says, “or it would just consume [me].”

Just recently, her lawyer was staggered to learn from a friend who works for Doctors Without Borders that a version of the vitamin A drug that LaCognata needs is being manufactured in France, sold under the name Nepalm Vitamin A. But with her financial resources depleted, her doctor reluctant to prescribe it, and her need to get a compassionate-use exemption from the FDA (so the drug can get through customs), LaCognata just has to figure out how to obtain it.

Bill Gates funds contraceptive/abortion microchip that’s remote controlled

Melinda and Bill GatesMelinda & Bill Gates

Bill Gates is the multibillionaire 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.”

One of the funding outlets of his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are vaccines for poor people in the Third World. But a Freudian slip that Gates made in a speech at the 2010 TED conference belies the philanthropic purpose of those vaccines.

In his speech, Gates was on the subject of how to reduce global warming by lowering the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) from Earth’s atmosphere. A major way to do that is to reduce the world’s population.

Beginning at the 1:03 mark in the video below, Gates said:

“The world today has 6.8 billion people. That’s headed up to about 9 billion. Now if we do a REALLY great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health service, we could lower that by perhaps 10 to 15 percent.”

You heard it. Gates was championing vaccines as a way to lower the world’s population.

Since when do vaccines, which immunize us against diseases, curb reproduction and in so doing reduce the rate of population growth?

Gates’ latest initiative is even more sinister.

Ben Johnson reports for LifeSiteNews, July 8, 2014, 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.

The chip, which measures 20 x 20 x 7 millimeters (0.79 x 0.79 x 0.28 inches), can be implanted under the skin of a woman’s buttocks, upper arm, or abdomen in 30 minutes. The device contains a 16-year reservoir of the drug levonorgestrel, releasing 30 micrograms a day – but the dosage can be altered by remote control, as well.

Gates microchipThe technology was originally intended, and tested, to release osteoporosis medication in elderly women, but Dr. Robert Langer of MIT changed his focus to contraception after a personal discussion with Bill Gates. Gavin Corley, a biomedical engineer, told the BBC the technology could be used to achieve contraceptive targets in the developing world, indicating “a humanitarian application as opposed to satisfying a first-world need.”

The announcement comes as the Gates Foundation is spearheading an international, multi-billion-dollar push for expanding birth control in the developing world, bringing charges from pro-life and political that they are engaged in global population control.

There are at least 4 reasons to object to the Gates contraceptive microchip:

1. The chip isn’t just a contraceptive; it is also an abortifacient

Numerous studies have indicated that levonorgestrel, the hormone used both by this chip and the morning after pill, has a strong anti-implantation effect, meaning it acts in part by preventing a newly-conceived embryo from implanting in the uterus. One study found the hormone only has an “effectiveness rate” of 49% when blocking ovulation alone.

At a minimum, the contraceptive microchip that acts as an abortifacient puts the lie to Melinda Gates’ recent denial that the Gates Foundation “has decided not to fund abortion” as part of its efforts. The Catholic Church is opposed to both artificial contraceptives and abortion; the latter is an “intrinsic,” i.e., non-negotiable, evil. But Melinda professes to be Roman Catholic.

2. The hormones in the microchip can negatively affect women’s health

Fr. Shenan Boquet, president of Human Life International, warns that “Administration of dangerous hormonal contraceptive drugs, whether through new technologies or traditional oral methods, should not be considered a boon for women’s health, as the serious risks of these drugs are better known every day. Our concerns are only heightened when we see reporters promoting this effort of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation without mention of the harm done to women by other versions of these drugs, as if this only promises good health and empowerment for women. This isn’t reporting; it’s propaganda, and it is especially dangerous given the risks involved.”

3. PRIVACY CONCERNS

Civil libertarians worry about how hackers – and rogue government agencies – could exploit that technology. John Whitehead, a constitutional attorney and founder of The Rutherford Institute, warns: “Whatever that chip transmits will go into a government file. The chip may actually know when you’re having sex. So, there will be no privacy, no.”

4. HackERS

One source of privacy violation is hackers.

A remote-controlled computer chip potentially leaves the patient’s health at the mercy of anyone with sufficient computer skills. Dr. Robert Farra of MIT said the subcutaneous computer chip must be given “secure encryption” so that “someone across the room cannot re-program your implant.” To date, that security has not been developed.

In April, Wired magazine reported on a two-year effort led by Scott Erven that successfully hacked hospitals’ drug-infusion pumps, allowing them to alter the amount of morphine administered to patients; accessed defibrilators, creating unnecessary shocks or preventing life-saving shocks to restart a patient’s heart; refrigeration units that house blood, changing the temperature and potentially allowing the blood supply to spoil; viewed X-rays; and had the ability to change patients’ online medical records.

Another is government. Whitehead extensively researched the extent of government surveillance for his new book, A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State.

Whitehead warns about the potential for abuse and violations of the Fourth Amendment: “Here’s what I’ve learned about government – whatever technology we have, theirs is much greater. The FBI is collecting a huge DNA database now.” The Supreme Court upheld widespread DNA collection in its 2013 Maryland v. King decision. “I’m afraid the chip could be activated in some harmful way,” such as a future eugenics program. “It could basically bar certain people from having children.” But instead of protecting citizens’ liberties, “Congress has given us no guidelines” about invasive forms of technology. Whitehead believes that is because Congress is “funded by the same groups that are providing the technology.”

Pre-clinical testing of the new microchip begins next year. Langer’s development team at MicroCHIPS Inc., based in Lexington, Massachusetts, hopes to introduce the product by 2018, pending approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Fr. Boquet warns, “The Gates Foundation and its partners are likely to continue this assault on women’s health until a sustained world-wide backlash ensues.”

~Eowyn

Epic Fails. And Then Some.

Who needs U-Haul?

Who needs U-Haul?

download (2)

 

Umm, that's not what I had in mind.

Umm, that’s not what I had in mind.

download (9)

Stupid is as stupid does.

Stupid is as stupid does.

Finally a sensible solution.  :)

Finally a sensible solution. :)

With friends like these....

With friends like these….

Ooo, That'll leave a mark.

Ooo, That’ll leave a mark.

Ahh, That was refreshing!

Ahh, That was refreshing!

~Steve~                                       H/T Joseph

http://www.theburningplatform.com/2014/07/05/saturday-fail/

One More Nail In The Coffin Of Global Warming!

OK Friends a few days ago I did a post saying NOAA was busted on Global Warming HERE

There was some controversy surrounding the new data . After a few days many others recreated and verified this data. Well now we have NOAA quietly reinstating July 1936 as the hottest month on record. Umm it was July 2012 but now they have mysteriously changed it to 1936. No notice, no explanation. Further proof that their data sets were fudged all along and now they are busted.

——————————————————————————————-

NOAA Reinstates July 1936 As The Hottest Month On Record

Michael Bastasch                      12:58 PM 06/30/2014

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, criticized for manipulating temperature records to create a warming trend, has now been caught warming the past and cooling the present.

July 2012 became the hottest month on record in the U.S. during a summer that was declared “too hot to handle” by NASA scientists. That summer more than half the country was experiencing drought and wildfires had scorched more than 1.3 million acres of land, according to NASA.

According to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in 2012, the “average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during July was 77.6°F, 3.3°F above the 20th century average, marking the warmest July and all-time warmest month on record for the nation in a period of record that dates back to 1895.”

“The previous warmest July for the nation was July 1936, when the average U.S. temperature was 77.4°F,” NOAA said in 2012.

This statement by NOAA was still available on their website when checked by The Daily Caller News Foundation. But when meteorologist and climate blogger Anthony Watts went to check the NOAA data on Sunday he found that the science agency had quietly reinstated July 1936 as the hottest month on record in the U.S.

“Two years ago during the scorching summer of 2012, July 1936 lost its place on the leaderboard and July 2012 became the hottest month on record in the United States,” Watts wrote. “Now, as if by magic, and according to NOAA’s own data, July 1936 is now the hottest month on record again. The past, present, and future all seems to be ‘adjustable’ in NOAA’s world.”

Watts had data from NOAA’s “Climate at a Glance” plots from 2012, which shows that July 2012 was the hottest month on record at 77.6 degrees Fahrenheit. July 1936 is only at 77.4 degrees Fahrenheit. [Annotations in the graph are from Watts].

noaa_usavg_temps_july_focuson_1936_from_20121

Temperature graph by Anthony Watts at http://wattsupwiththat.com/

Watts ran the same data plot again on Sunday and found that NOAA inserted a new number in for July 1936. The average temperature for July 1936 was made slightly higher than July 2012, meaning, once again, July 1936 is the hottest year on record. [Annotations in the graph are from Watts]

 Rest Of Story Here

~Steve~

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2014/06/30/noaa-quietly-reinstates-july-1936-as-the-hottest-month-on-record/#ixzz36DfcejCC

Global Warming Scandal!! One Big Lie. Here Is The Proof.

 OK Folks according to this article NOAA’s US Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) has been “adjusting” its record by replacing real temperatures with data “fabricated” by computer models.  This should prove once and for all that Global warming is a Hoax. I say should because somehow I have this bad feeling even a pesky thing like this fact might not make a difference in the rabbit hole we live in these days. 

———————————————————————————————–

The scandal of fiddled global warming data

The US has actually been cooling since the Thirties, the hottest decade on record

4:04PM BST 21 Jun 2014

When future generations try to understand how the world got carried away around the end of the 20th century by the panic over global warming, few things will amaze them more than the part played in stoking up the scare by the fiddling of official temperature data. There was already much evidence of this seven years ago, when I was writing my history of the scare, The Real Global Warming Disaster. But now another damning example has been uncovered by Steven Goddard’s US blog Real Science, showing how shamelessly manipulated has been one of the world’s most influential climate records, the graph of US surface temperature records published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Goddard shows how, in recent years, NOAA’s US Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) has been “adjusting” its record by replacing real temperatures with data “fabricated” by computer models. The effect of this has been to downgrade earlier temperatures and to exaggerate those from recent decades, to give the impression that the Earth has been warming up much more than is justified by the actual data. In several posts headed “Data tampering at USHCN/GISS”, Goddard compares the currently published temperature graphs with those based only on temperatures measured at the time. These show that the US has actually been cooling since the Thirties, the hottest decade on record; whereas the latest graph, nearly half of it based on “fabricated” data, shows it to have been warming at a rate equivalent to more than 3 degrees centigrade per century.

When I first began examining the global-warming scare, I found nothing more puzzling than the way officially approved scientists kept on being shown to have finagled their data, as in that ludicrous “hockey stick” graph, pretending to prove that the world had suddenly become much hotter than at any time in 1,000 years. Any theory needing to rely so consistently on fudging the evidence, I concluded, must be looked on not as science at all, but as simply a rather alarming case study in the aberrations of group psychology.

~Steve~

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/10916086/The-scandal-of-fiddled-global-warming-data.html

Want a fast $60? Just cough up a sample of breath, saliva and blood

no way

Drivers can earn $60 with roadside blood test, breath check

Seattle Times: Government-hired survey teams will soon ask hundreds of Washington state motorists to answer questions and provide samples of breath, saliva and bloodall to give safety and police agencies a clearer sense of how many people drive impaired.

The roadside surveys are voluntary, and participants will be paid up to $60, under the federally funded project this summer.

National officials are collaborating with the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, which is hurrying to gather data before retail marijuana gains a foothold. That way, officials have a baseline from which to measure any safety effects of legalization, said commission spokeswoman Jonna VanDyk.

The roadside surveys began Friday and will continue over the weekend in Spokane and Yakima counties, followed by Kitsap and Whatcom counties later this month, and probably King and Snohomish counties, she said.

The study contractors plan to survey 150 drivers in five locations per county, for a total 4,500 participants.

Crews will not block or slow traffic, officials say. Drivers at a stoplight would encounter civilians wearing orange vests, with signs saying “Paid Voluntary Survey,” then be asked if they wish to participate.

Other National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) studies have caused controversy elsewhere — including a lawsuit in Pennsylvania — where drivers said they felt compelled by police to stop and participate. The NHTSA program in Washington state will be run by the same contractors, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, but has been designed with extra safeguards, such as keeping police off the front line.

Any biological samples will be destroyed when the findings are published, the state says. Names and license numbers won’t be recorded, and therefore the samples won’t be archived or cross-checked by government agencies, VanDyk said.

The state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union was consulted and says the program respects Washington state’s constitution and culture.

“In other parts of the country, they used law-enforcement officers either as an actual roadblock, or waving people over, which would have raised our hackles,” said Doug Klunder, privacy counsel for the ACLU in Seattle.

State officials have likened the scene to a carwash where fundraisers beckon people to pull over, Klunder said.

Last fall, police in Fort Worth, Texas apologized and removed themselves from a NHTSA roadside study after people said a police presence made them feel compelled to participate, a news report there said.

General traffic roadblocks were found unconstitutional in Washington state in a 1986 Supreme Court case, City of Seattle v. Mesiani, on grounds they violate Article I, Section 7, which says: “No person shall be disturbed in his private affairs, or his home invaded, without authority of law.”

NHTSA conducted roadside surveys in various states in 1973, 1986, 1996 and 2007, and is covering the cost for this month’s Washington study. It will be conducted by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, which VanDyk said has done 30 studies in other states.

Preliminary findings are expected this fall, with a follow-up survey in early 2015 to gauge the impact of marijuana sales, said program manager Shelly Baldwin.

“It’s really hard to predict how this data will be used downstream,” VanDyk said. The findings might help local police decide how much time to spend on DUI patrol, for instance, she said. “As a state, we’ve committed ourselves to reducing fatal collisions,” she said.

Given experience in California, she’s confident the surveys will include an accurate cross-section of drivers, even people who’ve been drinking, because they are enticed by the $60 stipend for the 20-minute survey. She said a survey there found 1 percent of drivers who participated were legally drunk, and 14 percent had some drug in their system, most commonly marijuana.

Questioners will carry detectors that pick up alcohol in the air and will alert the team if someone has roughly 0.05% blood alcohol content. Those would activate even before somebody blows into a breath-testing device, has their mouth swabbed or gives a blood sample. Klunder said the detectors that sense alcohol in the air cause some concern, but one could argue that merely agreeing to take the survey is a form of consent.

“That is probably the most coming-to-the-edge part of that, in my mind,” Klunder said. “But still it’s limited, and how they use it is limited.”

The state threshold for driving under the influence is 0.08%, but research has found that reaction times decline before that level. If somebody blows between 0.05 and 0.08, the team would urge the driver to give the keys to a sober person, or accept a cab or motel room. Failing that, a police officer would explain the same options, said VanDyk. The police officer serves a second role, to protect the survey teams, which will sometimes work at night or in tough neighborhoods, she said.

The survey is meant to check for some 75 substances, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

Marijuana’s effects on driving are considered more difficult to predict than alcohol. “Traces of marijuana can be detected in blood samples several weeks after chronic users stop ingestion,” an NHTSA report acknowledges.

Alison Holcomb, author of Washington’s legal pot law and an ACLU lawyer, said collision studies are needed, and not just roadside surveys, to get a clear picture of how recreational marijuana affects or doesn’t affect traffic safety. Generally speaking, alcohol can lead to more aggression, while marijuana impairment leads to slower speeds and reactions, she said.

Surveys in other states have found good news — the proportion of drivers over 0.08 has gradually dropped from 7.5 percent in 1973 to 2.2 percent in 2007, NHTSA reported.

Washington state has been striving to reduce road deaths through its “Target Zero” program, and is making steady progress. Traffic fatalities here have declined from 825 in 1990 to 444 in 2012, according to federal tables. Still, an average 232 people a year die in the state because of impaired driving.

DCG

“Anti-aging” hormones actually may shorten life

You can’t fool Mother Nature.

If you’re taking or getting injections of human growth hormone (HGH), as many Hollyweirdos (Suzanne Somers, Sylvester Stallone, Nick Nolte, Alana Stewart) are reported to do, you really should read this.

By engaging in supposedly anti-aging hormone-replacement “therapy,” in your foolhardy quest for eternal youth and eternal life, you are actually shortening your life.

~Eowyn

HGH decline with ageChristopher Wanjek writes for LifeScience.com, March 28, 2014:

Call it anti-anti-aging therapy. It turns out that injections of growth hormone — a staple of anti-aging, hormone-replacement therapy — may have the opposite effect as intended, thwarting a person’s quest to live to an advanced age.

In an ongoing study of very old people, those in their 90s with naturally low levels of human growth hormone appear to have a far better chance of living into their 100s compared with people who have above-average levels of the hormone.

In other words, juicing yourself up with growth hormones as an anti-aging strategy might backfire, undermining the body’s natural defenses against the diseases of old age, according to researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

Their study appears in the April issue of the journal Aging Cell.

The billion-dollar anti-aging hormone-therapy industry is based on a simple premise: Levels of various hormones decrease significantly as adults hit middle age; so replenishing youthful levels of those hormones should make graying adults look and feel younger. The primary hormones administered through anti-aging clinics are human growth hormone (HGH), which prompts the body to make another hormone called insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), a precursor of estrogen and testosterone.

This industry traces its roots to a 1990 New England Journal of Medicine study, in which 12 men over age 60 were given shots of growth hormone. The men experienced a modest increase in muscle mass and bone density, and a decline in body fat. To some entrepreneurs, that meant “anti-aging,” and they have repackaged the study that way ever since. 

But the treatment came with side effects and myriad unknowns. First, author Dr. Daniel Rudman remained adamant until his death that his study had no implications for anti-aging. In 2003, the NEJM published an editorial lashing out at the anti-aging industry for citing Rudman’s study so prominently in their advertising. “If people are induced to buy a ‘human growth hormone releaser’ on the basis of research published in the Journal, they are being misled,” the editorial stated.

Administering HGH is illegal unless the patient has low levels of the hormone; however, this diagnosis is subjective, which enables some clinics to prescribe the treatment to those who don’t need it.

Body smarter than thought

Studies have since shown that using HGH, estrogen and other hormones can lead to cancer, cardiovascular disease, joint problems and other ailments. Now the new study finds that low IGF-1 levels might be a benefit, a predictor of exceptionally long life.

In the new study, researchers followed 184 men and women in their mid-90s for up to 11 years. Strikingly, the chance of living through the length of the study depended mostly on the participants’ blood levels of IGF-1. Every 1-nanogram per milliliter decrease in IGF-1 translated into about one more week of life.

The lower IGF-1 levels were particularly beneficial for cancer survivors. Three years after entering the study, 75% of participants who had previously had cancer and also low IGF-1 levels were still living, whereas only about 25% of participants with past cancer and higher IGF-1 were alive.

“In light of insufficient scientific evidence [that] HGH in older adults offers long-term anti-aging benefits, and with studies indicating that low growth hormone levels may actually protect the elderly from aging diseases … the risks of using HGH as an anti-aging strategy outweigh the potential benefits,” said Dr. Sofiya Milman, lead author of the new study and an assistant professor of endocrinology at Albert Einstein.

Previously, this research group, led by Dr. Nir Barzilai, director of the school’s Institute for Aging Research, found that many centenarians have a mutation that keeps their IGF-1 levels naturally below average. Moreover, mice can live significantly longer — and ward off cancer — when they are resistant to the effects of growth hormone.

The new study coincides with another recent study in the journal Cell Metabolism, which suggested a benefit of lower IGF-1 levels for middle-age adults. That study found that people ages 50 to 65 who consumed large amounts of animal protein had high IGF-1 levels, a four-fold increase in cancer death risk and a 75% increase in overall mortality over the 18-year study period.

Dr. Andrzej Bartke, an expert on hormonal and genetic influences of aging at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, said he was impressed by the new study, calling it “interesting, important and timely.” However, the relationship between growth hormone, IGF-1, life expectancy and disease is “very complex,” Bartke said. Some previous studies have shown that low IGF-1 levels are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, he said. Bartke noted that the participants in the new study with low IGF-1 also had low blood sugar levels, which is counterintuitive based on early studies, and may be yet another factor to help explain their longevity.

The Endocrine Society, a professional medical organization, maintains that growth hormone therapy offers benefits in body composition, exercise capacity, skeletal integrity and quality-of-life measures, and is most likely to benefit those patients who have more severe HGH deficiency.

Growth hormone administration causes ‘melting’ of fat and tightening of skin, so one may look better,” Milman told Live Science. “It may be beneficial for maintaining a ‘Hollywood kind of longevity’ but would not serve the public good, in general, as an anti-aging strategy.

If you use gmail, beware of this bogus email from Google

computer virusI use gmail and regularly get emails purportedly from Google, warning me that my account’s been hacked and must click on a link to verify my account. Blah. Blah. Blah.

I *never* click on the link, because such emails are scams. Scroll down to end of this post for signs of a fake email from your server.

Here’s a warning from computer maven Kim Komando about the latest and very dangerous gmail scam:

There’s a dangerous new threat that’s trying to steal your Google password. If you fall for it, hackers will have full access to your Gmail account, YouTube account, Google+ account, Google Search History and any other Google services you use.

From there, they can break try to break into other similar accounts, like Facebook, or pretend to be you to trick your friends and family into giving away important information. So, you definitely don’t want to fall for this one.

The threat arrives in the form of an email, supposedly from Google. The subject line varies, but it’s some form of “Mail Notice” or “Lookout Notice.”

The body of the email says this:

GOOGLE MAIL NOTICE

This is a reminder that your email account will be locked out in 24hours

Due to not being able to increase your Email storage Quota

Go to the INSTANT INCREASE to increase your Email storage automatically. INSTANT INCREASE

Sincerely Gmail Team,

Copyright ©2014 Gmail. All rights reserved.

In the real email, the words “Instant increase” are linked. If you click the link, you’ll end up on a page that looks like the Google login page.

However, if you put in your username and password, they’ll be sent right to the hackers behind the email. Then they have full access to your Google account.

One thing that makes this message especially dangerous is the link itself. It’s designed to bypass Chrome and Firefox’s normal checks for phishing links, so you won’t get a warning.

How you know the email is fake

  • The Spelling and/or grammar isn’t up to the standards of Google, one of the most profitable companies in history.
  • There’s no Google logo and the From address says “Gmail,” but isn’t a Google domain name (i.e. there’s no “google.com” in it).
  • Google will never ask you to click a link in an email. It will tell you to go to Google.com to sign in and where to go to fix your account settings. This is true of any major company.

H/t FOTM’s CSM

~Eowyn