All in One Makeup

Scientists have developed camouflage makeup that not only helps soldiers hide from the enemy, but also shields them from the searing heat of bomb blasts – and it’s thinner than a sheet of paper.

The heat-resistant face paint, developed for the US military, has been described as one of the most fundamental changes in thousands of years to camouflage, and could also benefit fire fighters.

The material is tough enough to protect against a thermal blast that can reach 600 degrees Celsius (1,112 degrees Fahrenheit), as hot as a burning cigarette.

 
In the near future, camouflage paint could do a lot more than help soldiers hide from their enemies - it could even protect them from bomb blastsIn the near future, camouflage paint could do a lot more than help soldiers hide from their enemies – it could even protect them from bomb blasts
 
 

‘The thermal blast lasts only two seconds, but it can literally cook the face, hands and other exposed skin,’ said lead scientist Dr Robert Lochhead from The University of Southern Mississippi.

Dr Lochhead and colleagues set out to find a material that soldiers could smear on their faces like suntan lotion yet protects against heat far hotter than the rays that normally reach the skin.

 
Protection: The makeup could help soldiers avoid burns from thermal blastsProtection: The makeup could help soldiers avoid burns from thermal blasts
 

The formulation they discovered lasts far longer than a normal two second blast, generally providing protection for up to 15 second – and 60 seconds in some tests – before its own temperature rises to the point where a mild burn could occur.

The finding raises the possibility that other professions exposed to intense heat, such as fire fighters, could also use a colorless version.

The team had a difficult task in designing the face paint as they could not use traditional makeup ingredients – oil or wax-based face paint – as it can melt on the face and burn the skin when in contact with intense heat.

So instead they turned to non-flammable silicone.

 
Soldiers have used face paint for centuries to help their skin blend in with the natural environment and shield them from enemiesBlend in: Soldiers have used face paint for centuries to shield them from enemies

WHY SOLIDERS ARE AT RISK

Roadside bombs, which have claimed hundreds of lives in Iraq, Afghanistan and other conflicts, produce two blasts.

Firstly, a blast wave at high pressure that spreads out at supersonic speeds and can cause devastating internal injuries.

Secondly, the thermal blast, which follows almost instantaneously and exceeds 600 degrees Celsius.

The new face paint can provide protection against this second blast.

The makeup also had to be waterproof and non-irritating, and, in an extra challenge set by military rules, contain the insect repellent Deet.

‘Deet also is flammable, so when the Department of Defense asked us to incorporate it, we didn’t think we could do it,’ Dr Lochhead said.

Their solution was to encapsulate the Deet in a water-rich material that prevented it catching fire.

The team now plans to test the material on other surfaces to see if it can used to protect clothing, tents and other items from burning.

The study was presented at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society.

Attribution: Mail Online

Joke of the Day

A young woman said to her doctor, ‘You have to help me, I hurt all over.’ ‘What do you mean?’ said the doctor.

The woman touched her right knee with her index finger and yelled,’Ow, that hurts.’

Then she touched her left cheek and again yelled, ‘Ouch! That hurts, too.’

Then she touched her right earlobe. ‘Ow, even THAT hurts.’ The doctor asked the woman, ‘Are you a natural blonde?’ ‘Why yes,’ she said. ‘I thought so,’ said the doctor.

‘You have a sprained finger.’

Odd Coincidence

Quick Hit:

It’s now been confirmed how racist and discriminatory the new Florida voter I.D. law is.

Since a new set of state voting laws went into effect more than a year ago, the number of new Democrats registering in Florida has all but disappeared, according to a Times-Union review.

During the 13 months beginning July 1 the year before elections in 2004 and 2008, registered Democrats increased by an average of 209,425 voters. From 2011 to this year, that number was 11,365.

In Duval County alone there were about 13,000 new Democrats, meaning the rest of the state lost them.

Over that same time, the number of registered Republicans increased by 128,039, topping the average of 103,555 during the past two presidential cycles.

Overall, Democrats still hold a 445,794 statewide registration advantage.

Attribution: Jacksonville Times

New Additions to The Republican Platform

by:  and the Common Constitutionalist

Last week, the tea-party-supporting group Freedom Works declared victory when it saw the platform content – asserting that 11.5 of its 12 proposals had been included. (The platform calls for a tax system that is “flatter,” but not the “flat tax” FreedomWorks and other conservatives wanted.)

The human-life amendment was in the 2008 platform. In the 2012 platform, adopted and released Tuesday, there are many new planks. Here’s a sample:

A call to audit the Federal Reserve

“Audit the Fed” is a rallying cry for Ron Paul supporters and the tea party. As the Fed considers a third round of monetary stimulus, known as “quantitative easing,” the calls for more transparency in Fed decision-making have become part of the larger conversation about how to strengthen the economic recovery without sparking inflation.

The Republican Party will “work to advance substantive legislation” that brings transparency and accountability to the Federal Reserve, the platform says. The first step is through “an annual audit of the Federal Reserve’s activities.”

Romney has said that he would replace Ben Bernanke as Fed chairman, but hasn’t floated replacements, nor commented on the monetary policy planks of the platform.

A return to the gold standard?

Alongside “Audit the Fed,” this is another long-standing proposal by Congressman Paul on monetary policy. In fact, the platform does not contain the phrase “gold standard.” It refers to a commission established shortly after the inauguration of President Reagan in 1981 to “consider the feasibility of a metallic basis for US currency.”

The panel advised against such a move. “Now, three decades later, as we face the task of cleaning up the wreckage of the current administration’s policies, we propose a similar commission to investigate possible ways to set a fixed value for the dollar,” the platform says.

Protecting access to ammunition

In the wake of recent shooting rampages, calls have increased for legislation to ban high-capacity gun magazines, which allow dozens of bullets to be loaded at a time. In contrast with the 2008 Republican platform, the 2012 document stakes a position on access to ammunition.

“We oppose legislation that is intended to restrict our Second Amendment rights by limiting the capacity of clips or magazines or otherwise restoring the ill-considered Clinton gun ban,” the platform states.

The Clinton-era ban on assault weapons, enacted in 1994, included a ban on “large capacity ammunition feeding devices.” The law expired in 2004.

Reinventing Medicare and Medicaid

The Romney-Ryan proposal to reform the twin federal health-care entitlements for seniors, the poor, and the disabled is now in black and white in the 2012 platform.

“The first step is to move the two programs away from their current unsustainable defined-benefit entitlement model to a fiscally sound defined-contribution model,” the platform says. “This is the only way to limit costs and restore consumer choice for patients and introduce competition.”

Medicare moves to a “premium-support” model, a voucher-like system in which seniors use their government subsidy to purchase private health insurance or traditional Medicare. Medicaid becomes a block-grant program, in which the federal government gives a defined amount to each state, which then uses the money as it sees fit toward insuring the poor and disabled.

The platform also hints at an increase in the eligibility age for Medicare, currently 65.

“Without disadvantaging retirees or those nearing retirement, the age [of] eligibility for Medicare must be made more realistic in terms of today’s longer life span,” it says.

No more “leaks for political purposes”

In some places, the platform reads like a primal scream against the Obama administration. Exhibit A is the killing of Osama bin Laden, a huge, undisputed victory for the president that Republicans have been trying to diminish. Bin Laden is not mentioned explicitly in the platform, but information leaks surrounding the operation that left him dead have given Republicans the hook they need.

“The current administration’s leaks of classified information have imperiled intelligence assets which are vital to American security,” the platform states.

Let’s not stand up and cheer our, at least, partial victory just yet. After all, these are just words on paper and are easily manipulated and disregarded after the election, but it appears to be a step in the right direction.

Even if the election goes our way, we all know the work has just started. Those who pledge the reforms must be held to account.

More Advances in Cancer Research

A chemical found in green tea has been used to treat two types of skin cancer, scientists say.

The extract is too weak to make an impact when consumed in tea. However, when applied to cancer cells in the lab it made two-thirds of tumors shrink or disappear.

Scientists at the universities of Strathclyde and Glasgow, who carried out the research, found the extract, known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg), had no side-effects on other cells or tissue.

They created a cell with EGCg and transferrin, a protein that naturally targets and latches on to the surface of cancer cells, and applied it to tumors.

Tests were done on two types of skin cancer: epidermoid carcinoma which forms scales on the surface of the skin and melanoma which often develops in people who have moles on their skin.

In both studies, 40 per cent of tumors vanished, while 30 per cent of tumors in carcinoma cases and 20 per cent in melanoma cases shrank. A further 10 per cent of melanoma tumors were stabilized, so did not grow or shrink.

Anti-cancer properties of EGCg were established in earlier laboratory tests elsewhere. Scientists at other universities around the world have experimented with it to treat prostate cancer and leukemia.

Lead researcher Dr Christine Dufes, from the University of Strathclyde, said: ‘These are very encouraging results which we hope could pave the way for new and effective cancer treatments.

‘When we used our method, the green tea extract reduced the size of many of the tumors every day, in some cases removing them altogether. By contrast, the extract had no effect at all when it was delivered by other means, as every one of these tumors continued to grow.

‘This research could open doors to new treatments for what is still one of the biggest killer diseases in many countries.’

The research is published in the medical journal Nanomedicine.
Attribution: Nanomedicine, Daily Mail

Bring Back the Flip Phone

A Pennsylvania man accidentally called 911 in the midst of a drug deal, allowing dispatchers to listen in on the entire transaction and send police to arrest him.

Officers arrived to find Justin Kryzanowski, 24, with pockets full of drugs, syringes and paraphernalia — as well as the phone, the line still open to 911.

The phone call recorded everything, police say, including Kryzanowski’s own arrest at his home in Scranton.

 
Drug deal‘Good stuff on there,’ David Hahn, the Emergency Services Director in Lakawana County said. ‘I mean, these guys aren’t brain surgeons, if you know what I mean.’

‘You can even hear the police knocking at the door.’

The Scranton Times-Tribune reports that dispatchers tracked the phone call to a car near Kryzanowski’s home, where he was making a drug deal with a man called Rick.

‘Rick’ wasn’t in the car when officers arrived, but they found Kryzanowski with several syringes full of Suboxone, a medication used to treat narcotics addiction, according to a police report.

He was also carrying a pair of brass knuckles, police say.

Pill bottles littered Kryzanowski’s apartment, as well.

He is charged with is charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and prohibited offensive weapons.

Kryzanowski told officers he took the drugs that ‘Rick’ gave him when they were in the car together.

The cell phone in his pocket matched the phone number that had dialed 911.

Attribution: Mail Online

Brotherhood Taking Total Control of Egypt

Has anyone, anyone at all, gone back and asked the wizards of smart what they make of their sacred “Arab Spring” now?

I’ve been publishing a lot of articles regarding the middle east and in particular, Egypt. There’s a reason for it. Egypt has always been a major player in the middle east. As Egypt goes, so goes the region, so goes Israel and so goes our vital interests in that part of the world. It’s not just Iran and certainly not Syria folks.

While the world persists in looking for signs of pragmatism in the Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi is quietly taking over all the power bases in the country.

Having gotten rid of the army old guard, he replaced them with his own men – officers belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood or known sympathizers. Then he turned his attention to the media, replacing 50 editors working for the government’s extensive and influential press empire – including Al- Ahram, Al-Akhbar, Al-Gomhuria. He is now busy appointing new governors to the 27 regions of the country.

Hosni Mubarak used to choose retired generals he could depend on for these sensitive posts; Morsi is hand picking party faithful. At the same time upper echelons in government ministries and economic and cultural organizations are methodically being replaced. The Muslim Brotherhood is fast assuming total control. For many observers, the deployment of army units in Sinai is more about proclaiming Egyptian sovereignty in the face of Israel than actually fighting Islamic terrorism.

Drafting the new constitution is their next objective. Brothers and Salafis make up an absolute majority in the Constituent Assembly. Liberal and secular forces are boycotting its sessions, and the Supreme Constitutional Court is examining a request to have it dissolved since it does not conform to the constitution because of its overly Islamic composition; a decision is expected in September.

The assembly, however, is not waiting. According to various leaks, it is putting the final touch to a constitution where all laws have to conform to the Shariah and special committees will supervise the media and forbid any criticism of Islam and of the Prophet. In the wings, is the creation of a Committee of Islamic Sages supervising the law-making process and in effect voiding of substance the parliament elected by the people, though it is not clear yet if, when and how it will work. What is clear is that a parliament made of flesh and blood individuals is against the very nature of the Shariah, where all laws are based on the Koran and the hadiths. This is a far cry from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Morsi has been careful to speak about creating “a civil society”; it is now obvious that what he meant was a society not ruled by the army, and not a secular society. Indeed he had promised to appoint a woman and a Copt as vice presidents, but chose Mohamed Maki, a Sunni known for his sympathy for the Brotherhood and incidentally or not, the brother of the new minister of justice, Prof. Ahmed Maki, known for his independent stands and opposition to Mubarak, but who had carefully concealed his support for the Brothers.

It is worth stressing that the Brotherhood is still operating under conditions of utmost secrecy, as it had been doing during the decades of persecution. How it is getting its funds, who are its members and how they are recruited is not known, nor is its decision-making process. The movement has no legal existence since Gamal Abdel Nasser officially disbanded it in 1954.

That state of affairs was not changed while the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces ruled the country, since apparently the movement did not apply for recognition, fearing perhaps it would have to reveal some of its secrets. Now that it has created its own political party, that the members of that party make up nearly 50 percent of the parliament and that one of their own has been elected president, can the movement remain in the shadows?

Morsi did announce that he was resigning from the Brotherhood, but there is no doubt that he will remain true to the tenets and the commands of its leaders. This is making people increasingly uneasy. They had other expectations of the revolution.

Opposition to an Islamic regime is growing, though it is far from being united. The three small liberal parties that had had very little success in the parliamentary elections have now set up a new front, The Third Way, to fight the Brotherhood’s takeover. Hamdeen Sabahi, leader of the nationalistic Karama (Dignity) Party, who had garnered 18% of the votes in the first round of the presidential election, has launched “The Popular Current” promoting the old Nasserist pan-Arab ideology.

Some of the nongovernmental media are vocal in their criticism of Morsi, though it can be costly: Private television station Al- Pharaein – “the Pharaohs” – was shut down after it called to get rid of Morsi; its owner, Tawfik Okasha, well known for his hostility to the Brothers (and to Israel) and who called for a massive demonstration this Friday, was put under house arrest, as was the editor of the daily Al-Dostour that had criticized the president. The editors of two other dailies – Al-Fajer and Saut el-Umma – were questioned. Other papers such as Al-Akhbar stopped publishing opinion pieces from their regular collaborators known for their opposition to the Brothers; well-known publicists left their page blank in a gesture of solidarity for their colleagues.

Morsi knows that his takeover will strengthen the opposition. He has not forgotten that he barely mustered 25% of the votes in the first round of the presidential election – down from the nearly 50% who voted for his party’s candidates in the parliamentary elections. He also knows that the people are no longer afraid to take to the streets to protest – and that it is now said that a new dictatorship is replacing the old – the only difference being that the new ruler has a beard….

However, for now he is devoting all his energy to his fight with the judiciary, long known for its independent stands. The Supreme Constitutional Court is being asked to rule the Brotherhood Movement illegal, and therefore to proclaim that the Liberty and Justice party it created – and which won 50% of the seats in the parliament – is illegal as well, and therefore to invalidate the election of Morsi, candidate of a movement and a party that are both illegal. Morsi sent his new justice minister to browbeat the court, but the judges refused to back down. The president is now working to limit the prerogatives of the court in the new constitution and will start “retiring” senior justices appointed by Mubarak.

Friday’s demonstration will be the first real test for the Brotherhood. It is taking no chances and security forces will be deployed around its institutions throughout the country. A cleric at Al-Azhar issued a fatwa calling for the killing of whoever protests against the rule of the Brotherhood; the resulting uproar was such that he was disavowed by some of the leaders of the movement. However, whatever happens Friday will not deter them from their goal – a thoroughly Islamist Egypt.

Attribution: ZVI MAZEL (former ambassador to Egypt), Jerusalem Post

They’re Just Doodles

If you think the following images are photos, think again. They are in fact probably the world’s most intricate doodles.

It may be hard to believe but the pictures below are created using standard ballpoint pens bought from places like Staples, eBay, Amazon and, the artist says, any good office supply store.

They’re drawn by Portugal-based attorney Samuel Silva, who describes his art as a hobby. However, this is no ordinary hobby – sometimes he works on a piece for up to 50 hours.

Silva has drawn images of wildlife, recreated masterpieces like Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring and copied iconic photos so accurately they’re almost indistinguishable from the original.

For his Redhead Girl, based on a photograph by Russian photographer Kristina Taraina, the 29-year-old attorney used six different colored ballpoint pens which took some 30 hours to finish.

To create such vibrant colors, Silva ‘cross hatches’ in layers to give off the illusion of additional hues and depth

For Silva, ballpoint pens are just one of the many mediums he is attempting to master. However, he writes on his DeviantArt page: ‘I’m just a lawyer, art is just a hobby for me, although it takes from five to 50 hours to finish each drawing.’

Silva, who started sketching when he was two, said: ‘I started developing my own style of ballpoint pen drawing back when I was in school, in simple classroom sketches in the back of my exercise books.

‘I never imagined there were so many brilliantly masterful ballpoint artists out there. Ballpoint pen is not my only medium, it’s just the one I’m currently trying to master.

‘At this point in my life I’m proficient with chalk, pencil, color pencil, pastels, oils and acrylics. Maybe one day I’ll create an account just to share those.

‘I’m just glad to be here, I want to learn a lot, see a lot, and enjoy to its fullest what other fellow artists have to share.’

‘It takes me forever to do my works. The only thing that makes me keep going is my love for what I do and the ambition to go further and further.

‘Ballpoint pens are as underestimated as they are a powerful medium.’

Speaking about his picture of a Sumatran tiger, which took around 20 hours to finish, Silva said: ‘I always wanted to draw a tiger, I love felines and decided to draw my first tiger ever, I hope you like it.

‘This one is wild, that’s why I love it. Big felines are not meant for zoos.’

Enjoy:

Silva’s first drawing

Attribution: Daily Mail