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Member since: Tue Nov 9, 2004, 11:55 PM
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Journal Archives

N-plant interviews may come out in early Sept.

Source: Yomiuri Shimbun

The government plans to disclose, as soon as early September, the contents of interviews with Masao Yoshida, the manager of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant at the time of the March 2011 disaster.

Before his death in July 2013, Yoshida submitted a written statement to the government’s Nuclear Incident Investigation and Verification Committee, asking that the interviews not be made public. However, the government decided to disclose them because from May on, some news organizations reported part of the interviews, which were conducted by the government committee.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference Monday that keeping the records secret would actually contradict Yoshida’s intentions, given that several newspapers had carried articles describing only part of the records.

Suga said the government plans to redact some parts of the documents that are related to the rights and financial interests of third parties, as well as national security.

Asahi reports contradict interviews

<snip>

Read more: http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0001533984

U.S. Adds Penalties Amid Resistance by Iran to Inspection of Nuclear Work

Source: New York Times

Amid signs that Iran’s military is resisting efforts to open its nuclear program to deeper inspection, the Obama administration on Friday imposed sanctions on several Iranian organizations, including one run by the reclusive scientist who is widely believed to direct research on building nuclear weapons.

In a statement, the White House said the sanctions were a continuation of its strategy to crack down on groups suspected of seeking to avoid or violate existing sanctions, even as “the United States remains committed” to striking an accord by late November that includes “a long-term, comprehensive solution that provides confidence that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.”

But in the month and a half since the talks were extended, Iran has missed a major deadline to provide information about its nuclear research, declared it will not allow visits to a military site suspected of being part of nuclear component testing, and said it is completing work on far more powerful centrifuges to make nuclear fuel.

<snip>

For the first time, the administration said in public that Iran was at work on a process that seemed aimed at allowing the country to reprocess plutonium, much as North Korea has, to fabricate weapons fuel. But there is no evidence that any of that reprocessing has taken place, and Iran so far is not known to have produced any plutonium — or bought any from North Korea, a pathway American intelligence officials say they are watching for any signs of nuclear-related transactions.

<snip>

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/30/world/middleeast/us-imposes-sanctions-on-iranian-groups.html



Nuclear proliferation is one of the major problems with nuclear energy.
Nuclear energy is dirty, dangerous, expensive, and unnecessary.
The "Nuclear Renaissance" was another bad idea sold to us during the Bush administration.

'Everything I know is a lie': Fans of 'Hello Kitty' stunned to hear she’s not a cat after all

Source: Agence France-Presse

Hello Kitty is not a cat, the company behind Japan’s global icon of cute insisted Thursday, despite an uproar from Internet users who spluttered: “But she’s got whiskers!”

The moon-faced creation that adorns everything from pencil cases to pyjamas the world over is, in fact, human.

“Hello Kitty is a cheerful and happy little girl with a heart of gold,” brand owner Sanrio says on its website.

The shocking revelation came to light when a Hawaii-based academic specialising in the epitome of “kawaii” (“cute” in Japanese) asked Sanrio to fact-check captions for an exhibition she was curating to mark the 40th anniversary of Hello Kitty

Christine Yano, an anthropologist from the University of Hawaii, told the Los Angeles Times that she “was corrected — very firmly” by Sanrio that Kitty was not a cat.

<snip>

Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/08/28/everything-i-know-is-a-lie-fans-of-hello-kitty-stunned-to-hear-shes-not-a-cat-after-all/

Disputed Kurdish oil tanker mysteriously goes dark off Texas coast

Source: Reuters

A tanker near Texas loaded with $100 million of disputed Iraqi Kurdish crude has disappeared from satellite tracking, the latest development in a high stakes game of cat-and-mouse between Baghdad and the Kurds.

The AIS ship tracking system used by the U.S. Coast Guard and Reuters on Thursday showed no known position for the United Kalavrvta, which was carrying 1 million barrels of crude and 95 percent full when it went dark.

Several other tankers carrying disputed crude from Iran or Iraqi Kurdistan have unloaded cargoes after switching off their transponders, which makes their movements hard to track.

Days ago, the partially full Kamari tanker carrying Kurdish crude disappeared from satellite tracking north of Egypt’s Sinai. It reappeared empty two days later near Israel.

<snip>

Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/08/28/disputed-kurdish-oil-tanker-mysteriously-goes-dark-off-texas-coast/

Do gut bacteria rule our minds? In an ecosystem within us, microbes evolved to sway food choices

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140815192240.htm

Do gut bacteria rule our minds? In an ecosystem within us, microbes evolved to sway food choices
Date: August 15, 2014
Source: University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)

It sounds like science fiction, but it seems that bacteria within us – which outnumber our own cells about 100-fold – may very well be affecting both our cravings and moods to get us to eat what they want, and often are driving us toward obesity.

In an article published this week in the journal BioEssays, researchers from UC San Francisco, Arizona State University and University of New Mexico concluded from a review of the recent scientific literature that microbes influence human eating behavior and dietary choices to favor consumption of the particular nutrients they grow best on, rather than simply passively living off whatever nutrients we choose to send their way.

<snip>

Fortunately, it's a two-way street. We can influence the compatibility of these microscopic, single-celled houseguests by deliberating altering what we ingest, Maley said, with measurable changes in the microbiome within 24 hours of diet change.

<snip>

"Microbes have the capacity to manipulate behavior and mood through altering the neural signals in the vagus nerve, changing taste receptors, producing toxins to make us feel bad, and releasing chemical rewards to make us feel good," said Aktipis, who is currently in the Arizona State University Department of Psychology.

<snip>

The speed with which the microbiome can change may be encouraging to those who seek to improve health by altering microbial populations. This may be accomplished through food and supplement choices, by ingesting specific bacterial species in the form of probiotics, or by killing targeted species with antibiotics. Optimizing the balance of power among bacterial species in our gut might allow us to lead less obese and healthier lives, according to the authors.

<snip>

The authors met and first discussed the ideas in the BioEssays paper at a summer school conference on evolutionary medicine two years ago. Aktipis, who is an evolutionary biologist and a psychologist, was drawn to the opportunity to investigate the complex interaction of the different fitness interests of microbes and their hosts and how those play out in our daily lives. Maley, a computer scientist and evolutionary biologist, had established a career studying how tumor cells arise from normal cells and evolve over time through natural selection within the body as cancer progresses.

In fact, the evolution of tumors and of bacterial communities are linked, points out Aktipis, who said some of the bacteria that normally live within us cause stomach cancer and perhaps other cancers.

<snip>

"Targeting the microbiome could open up possibilities for preventing a variety of disease from obesity and diabetes to cancers of the gastro-intestinal tract. We are only beginning to scratch the surface of the importance of the microbiome for human health," she said.

The co-authors' BioEssays study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society, the Bonnie D. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation and the Institute for Advanced Study, in Berlin.

<snip>


Journal Reference:
Joe Alcock, Carlo C. Maley, C. Athena Aktipis. Is eating behavior manipulated by the gastrointestinal microbiota? Evolutionary pressures and potential mechanisms. BioEssays, 2014; DOI: 10.1002/bies.201400071

Cite This Page:
University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). "Do gut bacteria rule our minds? In an ecosystem within us, microbes evolved to sway food choices." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 August 2014. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140815192240.htm

Integrating the planetary boundaries and global catastrophic risk paradigms

http://sethbaum.com/ac/2014_BRIHN.html

Integrating the planetary boundaries and global catastrophic risk paradigms

A framework for analyzing global threats to humanity and nature, illustrated with the case of the phosphorus biogeochemical cycle.

Baum, Seth D. and Itsuki C. Handoh, 2014. Integrating the planetary boundaries and global catastrophic risk paradigms. Ecological Economics, vol. 107 (November), pages 13-21.

Pre-print: Click here to view a full pre-print of the article (pdf).

Abstract:

Planetary boundaries (PBs) and global catastrophic risk (GCR) have emerged in recent years as important paradigms for understanding and addressing global threats to humanity and the environment. This article compares the PBs and GCR paradigms and integrates them into a unified PBs-GCR conceptual framework, which we call Boundary Risk for Humanity and Nature (BRIHN). PBs emphasizes global environmental threats, whereas GCR emphasizes threats to human civilization. Both paradigms rate their global threats as top priorities for humanity but lack precision on key aspects of the impacts of the threats. Our integrated BRIHN framework combines elements from both paradigms' treatments of uncertainty and impacts. The BRIHN framework offers PBs a means of handling human impacts and offers GCR a theoretically precise definition of global catastrophe. The BRIHN framework also offers a concise stage for telling a stylized version of the story of humanity and nature co-evolving from the distant past to the present to multiple possible futures. The BRIHN framework is illustrated using the case of disruptions to the global phosphorus biogeochemical cycle.


Non-Technical Summary:

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Three quarters of whites don’t have any non-white friends

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/08/25/three-quarters-of-whites-dont-have-any-non-white-friends/?tid=pm_business_pop

Three quarters of whites don’t have any non-white friends
By Christopher Ingraham August 25

"All my black friends have a bunch of white friends. And all my white friends have one black friend."

That's the memorable punchline of a Chris Rock bit from 2009 on interracial friendships. And according to some recent number-crunching by Robert Jones of the Public Religion Research Institute, there's a good deal of truth to that statement.

Let's consider the average American white American and the average American black American, and let's say, for simplicity's sake, that each of them have 100 friends. If you were to break down their respective friend networks by race, they would look something like this.



<snip>

Going back to Chris Rock's point, the average black person's friend network is 8 percent white, but the average white person's network is only 1 percent black. To put it another way: Blacks have ten times as many black friends as white friends. But white Americans have an astonishing 91 times as many white friends as black friends.

<snip>

In fact, PRRI's data show that a full 75 percent of whites have "entirely white social networks without any minority presence." The same holds true for slightly less than two thirds of black Americans.

<snip>

Russia may carry on ISS project after 2020 - newspaper

Source: Interfax

Russia may carry on the International Space Station (ISS) project after 2020 although the wish to drop out was declared this spring, Izvestia wrote on Monday.

The Russian membership in the ISS project after 2020 is still open for consideration but there is 90% probability the national administration will decide to carry it on, the newspaper quoted a source in the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) as saying.

<snip>

"If we take a look at the relevant section of the federal space program, we will see that the Russian Academy of Sciences is the ISS project customer. Our American partners have said many times they wished to continue the ISS operations after 2020. When they heard our leaders saying that Russia wanted to close down the project in 2020, they fostered the interaction with scientists and made interesting propositions of works in the period after 2020. A yearlong mission of a U.S. astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut to the ISS is scheduled for 2015," the Roscosmos source told Izvestia.

<snip>

"Meanwhile, Roscosmos is not very interested in halting the ISS works right now: the federal space program of 2006-2015 allots 186.6 billion rubles for the station. If we stop building new modules of the station, considerable funds will be written off and some enterprises will have to start massive dismissals," he added.

<snip>

Read more: http://www.interfax.com/newsinf.asp?id=530860

Big change to make it harder for patients to get pain killers like Vicodin

Source: KWGN

There are sweeping changes when it comes to popping the most common painkiller in the country.

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The Drug Enforcement Administration is reclassifying hydrocodone-combination drugs from a Schedule 3 Controlled Substance, to the more restrictive Schedule 2.

<snip>

Starting October 6, doctors can no longer phone in a prescription.

Instead, patients will have to see their doctor to get a new written prescription.

<snip>

Read more: http://kwgn.com/2014/08/22/big-change-to-make-it-harder-for-patients-to-get-pain-killers-like-vicodin/

Dr Ron Levin - 17th Annual International Mars Society Conference



Dr Ron Levin - 17th Annual International Mars Society Conference
The Mars Society
Published on Aug 20, 2014

Presentation made by Dr. Ron Levin, son of Gil Levin, during the 17th Annual International Mars Society Conference held in League City, Texas from Aug. 7-10.

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