Love is Like Oxygen

Scientists have discovered a new way of administering oxygen to the blood which could allow people to stay alive without breathing.

The amazing breakthrough could change medical science by eliminating the need to keep patients breathing during complex operations.

The procedure, which works by injecting oxygen molecules enclosed in fatty molecules directly into the bloodstream, could grant people an extra 30 minutes of life when they cannot breathe.

John Kheir, of the Boston Children’s Hospital, was inspired to begin his groundbreaking research after he experienced a patient’s tragic death, according to ScienceDaily.

He was operating on a young girl whose pneumonia led to fatal brain damage after doctors were unable to place her on a breathing apparatus in time to save her.

In response, Dr Kheir started working on the idea of bypassing the pulmonary system and inserting oxygen directly into the blood.

Early experiments showed that the intervention could in theory be very successful, he said: ‘We drew each other’s blood, mixed it in a test tube with the microparticles, and watched blue blood turn immediately red, right before our eyes.’

However, injecting pure oxygen into the bloodstream in gas form failed miserably when it was attempted 100 years ago, as it formed dangerous bubbles in the veins.

Much of Dr Kheir’s research therefore involved finding a substance which could enclose the oxygen and allow it to be suspended in a liquid for injection into the body.

He found that using fatty molecules called lipids was the best way to retain oxygen after using sound waves to trap the two substances together into particles so small they can only be seen with the help of a microscope.

The particles were then made up into a liquid which is very heavily oxygenated – carrying ‘three to four times the oxygen content of our own red blood cells’, according to Dr Kheir.

When the liquid solution was injected into animals with abnormally low levels of blood oxygen, their blood returned to normal within seconds.

And when it was administered to animals which were entirely unable to breathe, they remained alive for 15 minutes and were at lower risk of health complications.

When used on humans, the oxygen could probably last for up to 30 minutes, though injecting it for any longer could damage the patient’s blood.

‘This is a short-term oxygen substitute – a way to safely inject oxygen gas to support patients during a critical few minutes,’ Dr Kheir said.

He added that he thought the technique could become routine for doctors and parademics dealing with emergency situations.

‘Eventually, this could be stored in syringes on every code cart in a hospital, ambulance or transport helicopter to help stabilise patients who are having difficulty breathing,’ he said

Attirbution: Mail Online, Science Daily

Island Reemerges

Not so long ago, many islands rose above the brackish waters of the Chesapeake Bay near Virginia.

But these small islands, part of an estuary on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, began to vanish, thanks to the forces of geology according to NASA.

The very crust under Chesapeake Bay is sinking. Made of clay and silt, the islands erode quickly, and many have disappeared altogether.

But, thanks to the U.S. military, Poplar Island, is being reclaimed from the depths in a restoration project which has seen the island grow from just ten acres at its lowest, to more than 1,100 acres today.

Poplar Island offered a predator-free haven for nesting water birds and turtles, as well as other larger islands, which supported fishing communities along with wildlife.

In the 1800s, the island had an area just over 1,000 acres and held a small town of about 100 people.

By the 1990s, the island was nearly gone, containing a mere 10 acres of land.

In 1998, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers began to restore Poplar Island. The project serves two purposes: it restores lost habitat to birds and turtles, and it provides a use for material dredged from Baltimore Harbor and Chesapeake Bay shipping lanes. 

Engineers built dikes around sections of the island and have been gradually filling in the center with dredged silt. By 2006, the island had regained the shape it held in the 1800s.

As each cell is filled with new soil, the Army Corp of Engineers plants vegetation.

Poplar Island now has an area of 1,140 acres and may continue to expand by another 500 acres before the restoration is completed in 2027.

Upon completion, Poplar Island will be half wetlands and half uplands covered by forest. The restoration project is expected to cost $667 million, says the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.
Attribution: UK Daily Mail

World’s Oldest Handbag

Excavators have unearthed what they believe to be the world’s oldest handbag, a Stone Age purse dated between 2,500 and 2,200 BC which is decorated in over 100 canine teeth.

The incredible discovery – the first of its kind – was made in a grave which forms part of an ancient burial ground on a 250-acre excavation site near Leipzig, Germany.

More than 100 tightly packed dog teeth were found inside the grave on the site at Profen, and Susanne Friederich, the archaeologist who managed the dig, believes they originally formed the decorative outer flap of a Stone Age handbag.

Ms Friedrich, of the Sachsen-Anhalt State Archaeology and Preservation Office, said: ‘Over the years the leather or fabric disappeared, and all that’s left is the teeth.

‘They’re all pointing in the same direction, so it looks a lot like a modern handbag flap.

‘It’s the first time we can show direct evidence of a bag like this.’

The dig is just one phase of an enormous excavation project being undertaken before the Profen site is turned into an open-pit coal mine, due to take place in 2015.

So far the team has uncovered evidence of Stone and Bronze Age settlements, including more than 300 graves, hundreds of stone tools, spear points, ceramic vessels, bone buttons and an amber necklace.

There have also been thousands of finds from later periods, including the 50BC grave of a woman who was buried with half a kilogram of gold jewelry.

While the dog-tooth handbag is extremely rare, canine teeth are actually a fairly common find in Stone Age burial sites in northern and central Europe, Friederich told the National Geographic.

In fact, so many teeth have been excavated from graves around the region that it suggests dogs were as much livestock to Stone Age man as they were pets – the handbag’s decorative panel alone required the teeth of dozens of animals.

Most commonly, dog teeth were used as hair ormaments and in necklaces for both men and women.

In other Stone Age burial sites, dog and wolf teeth – as well as shells – have been uncovered in patterns suggesting corpses were covered with studded blankets, the material of which has long since disintegrated.

‘It seems to have been very fashionable at the time,’ said Harald Staueble, senior archaeologist at Germany’s Saxon State Archaeology Office.

‘Not everyone was buried with such nice things—just the really special graves.’

Attribution: Mail Online, Archaeology.org

Terabit Internet

If you want ultra-fast wireless internet, just get light to do the twist.

The wireless and fibre-optic links that make up the internet use electromagnetic waves to carry data as a series of pulses at a specific frequency. It is possible to increase the amount of data transmitted at a given frequency by twisting light beams in different ways. Each beam has a different angular momentum and acts as an independent channel in a larger, composite, beam.

Now Jian Wang, Alan Willner and colleagues at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles have used the twisting technique to transmit over a terabit of data per second. By comparison home WiFi routers typically run at around 50 megabits per second.

Because there are many ways to twist light, the team was able to combine beams with eight different types of twist, each carrying its own independent sequence of pulses.

Willner says the technique could be used between satellites in space, or over shorter distances on Earth. “It’s another dimension by which you can transmit data.”

Right now, it works only in free-space as current fibre-optic technology distorts twisted light.

Attribution: New Scientist

Somethings Eating at Me

While millions of people wonder if their money is safe in a bank, one woman was faced with her money disappearing altogether.

The culprit? Hordes of hungry termites.

The Taiwanese woman’s safe might well have been blast and fire proof, but it could not protect her money from the insects.

The tiny creatures somehow got into her safe and munched their way through $51,000.00 in cash.

She had spent eight years saving the money so she could study abroad.

She turned to Taiwan’s Investigation Bureau to help her exchange her bundles of damaged notes for new ones after she found the piles of cash she stored in her safe had been eaten by the termites.

However, forensic experts only managed to piece together a quarter of the notes from the piles of shredded paper.

 The woman, identified only by her surname Chen, who graduated from a Taipei university last year, was originally going to spend the money to study aboard, according to the Chinese-language Apple Daily.

It took her eight years of hard work to come up with the money which she stored at a safe in her house. This April, Chen found that termites had eaten most of the piles of cash in the safe.

She later sought out the Investigation Bureau for help after a bank refused to honor the bills.

They were sent to the bureau’s forensic unit for further examination. They will be honored based on the number of bills the experts succeed in restoring.

The bureau urged people to put their money in banks to avoid similar incidents from happening again.

Attribution: Daily Mail, China Post

Fast Frozen

It is a question which has perplexed the world’s greatest scientific minds and even eluded great thinkers like Aristotle.

But now scientists have become so infuriated about the mystery of why hot water freezes faster than cold, that they have put up a cash reward to find the answer.

The Royal Society of Chemistry has offered $1500.00 for a member of the public to come up with a convincing explanation for the phenomenon, which has mystified humankind.

The scientific problem, which has become known as the Mpemba effect, has also defeated Francis Bacon and René Descartes.

 The problem got its modern name in 1968, when Tanzanian student Erasto Mpemba posed the question to professors visiting his school.

Mr Mpemba, who had been studying the problem for five years, had asked Professor Denis Osborne, of Dar es Salaam University: ‘If you take two similar containers with equal volumes of water, one at 35C and the other at 100C, and put them in a refrigerator, the one that started at 100C freezes first. Why?’

The professor was unable to answer and published a paper on the problem the following year, calling it the ‘Mpemba Effect’.

Brian Emsley, media relations manager at the Royal Society of Chemistry, wrote in the Guardian that the winner of the $1500.00 prize will need to ‘make a convincing case and employ some creative thinking’.

Many standard physical effects are said to contribute to the phenomenon, although no single one has been conclusively proved as the cause.

Theories put forward based on evaporation, convection and supercooling have all been put forward, but as yet the question still remains unanswered.

Members of the public have until July 30 to submit their entries.

They will be pitted against worldwide postgraduate scientists, who, sponsored by the Royal Society of Chemistry, will be tackling the same problem.
 

Attribution: Daily Mail

Are We Running Out?

China’s rare earth reserves account for approximately 23 percent of the world’s total – but are being excessively exploited, the Chinese government claims.

Although 23 per cent doesn’t appear to be a high percentage for one nation to possess, China supplies over 90 percent of rare earth products on the global market.

We need the raw materials – chemicals such as yttrium, which is used in TVs, or lanthanum, used for camera lenses – for the modern tools we use everyday.

There is a risk that if China starts reducing its output, we may see spiralling prices for our modern accessories – or even simply be able to produce them in the first place.

According to the white paper titled ‘Situation and Policies of China’s Rare Earth Industry’, the country has ‘paid a big price’ for problems in its rare earth industry like excessive exploitation, environmental damages, unhealthy industrial structure, under-rated prices and rampant smuggling.

The white paper said China has seen declining rare earth reserves in major mining areas, with the reserve-extraction ratio of ion-absorption rare earth mines in southern provinces slumping to 15 from 50 two decades ago.

In North China’s Baotou city, only one-third of the original volume of rare earth resources is still available in the main mining areas, it added.

Meanwhile, outdated production processes and techniques have severely damaged the environment. The paper noted that excessive mining has resulted in landslides and pollution emergencies and even major disasters in some places.

The industry is also plagued by over-capacity in low-end product manufacturing and the fact that prices of rare earth products fail to reflect their value and scarcity despite a gradual rise since the second half of 2010, according to the white paper.

Rising demand for rare earth products has fueled smuggling, with the volume of rare earth products imported from China calculated by foreign customs reaching 1.2 times the export volume counted by the Chinese customs in 2011, added the white paper.

China is the world’s largest producer of rare earths, a group of 17 metals vital for manufacturing products ranging from smart phones, wind turbines, electric car batteries to missiles.

 SO WHAT ARE RARE EARTH MATERIALS?

Rare Earth materials, as there name implies, are found on Earth. They may not necessarily be rare, but they can be tough to harvest as they can be spread throughout the earth’s crust.

This is a list of rare earth materials, many of which are mined and sold in China.

  • Scandium – used for aerospace components, and an additive in Mercury lamps
  • Yttrium – used in TVs, high-temperature superconductors, and microwave filters
  • Lanthanum used for battery-electrodes, camera lenses, and in the oil industry
  • Cerium – used as polishing powder, yellow colors in glass and ceramics, self-cleaning ovens, and the flints in lighters
  • Praseodymium – used for certain magnets, lasers, carbon arc lighting, and as a colorant in glasses and enamels
  • Neodymium – used in magnets, lasers, violet colors in glass and ceramics, and ceramic capacitors
  • Promethium – used in nuclear batteries
  • Samarium – used in lasers, neutron capture, masers
  • Europium – used in lasers and mercury lamps
  • Gadolinium – used in lasers, X-ray tubes, computer memories, neutron capture, and MRI machines
  • Terbium – used in fluorescent lamps
  • Dysprosium – used in magnets and lasers
  • Holmium – used in lasers
  • Erbium – used in lasers
  • Thulium – used in some X-ray machines
  • Ytterbium – used in infrared lasers and chemical research
  • Lutetium – used in PET Scan detectors and high refractive index glass

Attribution: Mail Online

Where’s Pulaski?

DNA tests on bones exhumed from a monument to Brig. Gen. Casimir Pulaski failed to prove the remains are those of the Revolutionary War hero killed in a 1779 battle to retake Savannah from the British.

But a report on the investigation into Pulaski’s disputed burial says historical records and skeletal injuries make a case that the remains are those of the Polish nobleman.

“While the strong circumstantial evidence does suggest that the remains are Casimir Pulaski, the inability to obtain a DNA match leads to no viable conclusion,” says the report.

Dr. James C. Metts Jr., the Chatham County, Georgia coroner, hoped DNA testing of the remains exhumed in 1996 would settle the question of whether Pulaski was buried at sea or placed in an unmarked grave.

The debate has divided historians since the bones were removed from the grave at a ruined plantation and moved in 1854 to Savannah’s Monterey Square, where the 54-foot Pulaski monument was erected a year later.

“To our great frustration, we were unable to solve the mystery,” said Chuck Powell, administrator of the investigative committee led by Metts. “The final report, other than giving more complete information, will probably not change in its conclusions.”

Metts submitted the draft to Savannah officials in November. The city released the findings after the AP requested a copy.

Known as the father of the American cavalry, Pulaski came to America in 1777. He was mortally wounded during the October 1779 siege of Savannah.

Examinations of the skull and bones seemed to match what’s known of Pulaski’s age, height and facial features. A healed fracture to the right hand fits an injury Pulaski once described in a letter. A bone tumor on the forehead fits a wound he suffered fighting the Russians in Poland.

But without more solid proof, it’s difficult to debunk Pulaski’s burial at sea. Two officers who served under Pulaski wrote accounts of his watery grave. One of them, his aide-de-camp, said he witnessed the burial.

Investigators had hoped to match DNA from the bones to two of Pulaski’s deceased relatives in Poland. In one case, the test was inconclusive. In the other, the woman’s remains failed to yield enough DNA to examine.

Attribution: AP

Robo – Patrol

by:

The United States is not the only country with a border problem. Israel also has a problem with their border, but theirs has to do with neighbors who want nothing more than to wipe them off the face of the earth.

Israel’s borders with Egypt, Lebanon and especially the Gaza Strip are the most dangerous. The intruders across these borders are not after Israeli jobs, their welfare, or their way of life like those crossing the US border from Mexico.

Their intruders are terrorists who want toblow them up and kill them all . Instead of Mexican drug cartels, they are dealing with Hamas and Hezbollah.

The terrorists often watch the Israeli border patrol to learn their habits and routines. They use that information to kill the border patrol and infiltrate the tiny nation.

In an effort to help secure their borders while also protecting their border patrol agents, the Israeli Army Engineering Corps (pronouned core, not corpse) are developing robots to use for patrolling the borders. Working with various private companies, they are creating robots that will have the ability to detect anyone crossing the border and if necessary to shoot at them. They will be controlled by someone back at a command station who will be able to monitor the robot.

As I was reading about them, I couldn’t help but wonder if the US could use the same type of robots to patrol our borders. Instead of placing good men like Brian Terry along the US/Mexican border to be slain with weapons our government provided to our enemies, we should use robots instead. If the robots are equipped with motion sensors, infrared heat detection and ways to stun, detain and/or shoot if necessary, they could be more effective than human agents. They could patrol our borders day or night, rain or shine.

If word got out that we had robots patrolling our borders with instructions to detain or shoot intruders, I strongly suspect the number of people trying to enter our country illegally would drastically drop. That would also lead to more jobs for Americans and fewer government dollars being wasted on illegals.

Arsenal Explosion

Just as Antietam would prove the costliest day in military dead, an Arsenal explosion would produce the largest civilian death tally in the Civil War.

Throughout the Union and Confederacy on Sept. 18, 1862, front-page news was the Battle of Antietam, but not in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Around 2 p.m. on September 17, 1862, a series of powerful explosions ripped through the U.S. Army Arsenal in Allegheny, Pennsylvania. Residents of Allegheny and nearby Pittsburgh, many of whom had become aware of a major battle taking place that day at Antietam Creek in Maryland, believed this was a Confederate invasion.

But the explosion was not from a Confederate attack.

By 1862 the U.S. Army regularly employed women and young girls to make cartridges at a number of arsenals situ­ated in urban areas in the North. They were dubbed the “Noble Union Girls”.

The roof of the Arsenal building where young women and girls worked assembling cartridges had collapsed, and flames enveloped its remains. Powerful blasts caused by exploding barrels of gunpowder had blown out the windows and doors of surrounding buildings.

One large structure, known as the laboratory, “was laid in ruins — having been heaved up by the force of the explosion and then fallen in fragments, after which it caught fire and was consumed.”

Witness J.R. Frick had been delivering different types of powder to the various workrooms in the laboratory where armaments were assembled that afternoon. “I saw a fire [in the] powder on the ground between the wheels of the wagon and the [laboratory] porch,” he said, according to the Sept. 20 edition of the Pittsburgh Gazette. “The powder in the roadway … evidently ignited from the fore wheel of my wagon. …”

He also said he recalled seeing several barrels of powder that had been left uncovered.

The fire from the loose powder spread to one of the open barrels, Mr. Frick said. When it blew up, “the action of the air cast me out of the wagon against the palings of the fence,” but he was unburned and uninjured by debris.

Eyewitnesses described a ghastly scene. Terrified girls ran screaming from the building with their clothes on fire, their faces blackened and unrecognizable. Some jumped from the windows, while panic-stricken workers trampled others under foot. Many of the witnesses tried to help the victims, who pleaded with onlookers to tear the burning clothes from their bodies. Mary Jane Black was just returning to her post after picking up her pay when she heard screams and, turning in the direction of the sound, saw “two girls behind me; they were on fire; their faces were burning and blood running from them. I pulled the clothes off one of them; while I was doing this, the other one ran up and begged me to cover her.”

Onlookers discovered remains riddled by shells, cartridges and Mini balls. Bodies as well as stray limbs, bones and scraps of clothing were found hundreds of feet from the explosion—on the streets, in the Allegheny River and suspended in the trees that lined the arsenal grounds. Newspaper reporters searched for words to describe the pitiful remains of the victims:

“In some places [bodies] lay in heaps, and burnt as rapidly as pine wood, until the flames were extinguished by the firemen. In other places nothing could be seen but the whitened and consuming bones, the intensity of the heat having consumed every particle of flesh. The steel bands remaining from the hoop skirts of the unfortunate girls marked the place where many of them had perished.”

More than a year later, it was confirmed that 78 people, mostly women and young girls, had actually died in the accident. The remains of most were never identified, but the majority of the victims were young.

Before many of the fallen could be identified—and before anyone could be sure how many had actually died—townspeople turned out to bury the victims at a cer­emony held in front of what was described as a “large deep pit” holding the remains of some of the fallen women. The Rev. Richard Lea, whose church was close to the arsenal, pleaded with them to forget the grim disaster scene and instead remember how they had come together in an effort to help the “Noble Union Girls.”

The decision to hire women at arsenals had been based on a matter-of-fact assessment of labor needs. In Indianapolis, for example, an observer visiting a factory noted with approval the arrival of women at that facility in June 1861:

“[N]inety blushing young virgins and elderly matrons are constantly employed, making Colt’s revolver cartridges, common musket, rifled musket, Mini, Enfield, ball and buckshot cartridges. It is a beautiful and patriotic sight to see the young and tender happy in the bloody work. They laugh and chat gaily…as they roll up the balls and fix the fatal charge intended to let daylight through some man’s heart.”

The Army’s decision to open munitions work to women was based on commonly held assumptions that girls and women were more obedient than men. The workers who did this kind of labor were often young, and, unlike the women who sought nursing appointments, armory workers were more motivated by wage earning than idealism. The work was simple and repetitive, but it required extreme care. Cartridge-formers placed lead balls in paper tubes, filled the tubes with gunpowder, then tied up the loose ends. Colonel Thomas B. Brown of the arsenal in Washington, D.C., where 20 women would die in a July 1864 fire, referred to the process as “choking cartridges.” Spilled gunpowder was carefully swept from workbenches and floors several times a day. Workers wore special slippers or moccasins, and movement in and out of the rooms containing gunpowder was severely restricted.

Although the U.S. Army Ordnance Department issued strict rules regarding the safe handling of gunpowder and other explosive materials, unofficial experimentation was common on arsenal grounds. Investigations at both the Allegheny and Watertown arsenals revealed that some of the men had been conducting unauthorized experiments with gunpowder. And at Watertown those experiments were conducted in close proximity to the cylinder room.

Three men were charged with being grossly negligent in the explosion, including Arsenal Commander John Symington, who went on sick leave and retired the following summer. He died before the war’s end, his sterling 45-year military career, like the Arsenal, blown to pieces.

Symington’s subordinate, Lt. John Edie, would die a decade later, in a government-run insane asylum.

Also charged was the Arsenal’s laboratory superintendent, Alexander McBride. McBride’s own daughter, 15-year-old Kate, was among those killed. McBride’s sworn testimony was heartbreaking. He had to try to take control of the mayhem. All that hadn’t blown up or burned needed to be guarded. He ran around throwing buckets of water on burning screaming people. All the while, he was a father desperately concerned for his daughter.
Alexander McBride lived a life of seclusion after the explosion.

But, in the late 1890s he met with 300 former employees to sign a petition demanding that Congress award $30,000 to be split among victims and families. Nearly 40 years had passed without compensation.

Regardless, Congress did not oblige. By that time money was needed to finance the Spanish-American War.

Attribution: Post Gazette, History.net