Europe against GMO crops! Please, sign the Avaaz petition!
I already did. It's us who decide, not Monsanto!!!

For you Israel lovers

All I can say is that I'm shocked by the violence Israel unleashed in Gaza and by the way the West reacted to it. Or should I say didn't react at all. Without taking any side in the conflict, though of course you know in which direction I lean on, I must say that the latest news of using a weapon designed to make small collateral damage in a way that would maximize the damage on the civilians is simply cruel. I can't believe that a human signed on the orders to use it!

I mean ok, you have a quarrel with your neighbour, you want to show them who's the boss, you go with tanks, kill some people, show how powerful you are, that makes sense. It's ugly and disgusting, but that is what war is. But to use a weapon that tears the flesh out of people or amputates their lower limbs and they die later from the wounds, that's very very cruel. I mean why? If you want to kill all of the people in a building, simply bomb it to full obliteration. Or is the building more important than the humans inside? Or maybe there are bonus points for spectacular deaths! Ok, I'll stop, because I don't want to get into that mood again. Just read the article.

Doctors Spooked by Israel's Mystery Weapon

By David HamblingJanuary 28, 2009 | 3:46:12 PM

Critics continue to press the case that Israel committed "war crimes" in its war with Hamas, because of the civilian casualties in Gaza. Ironically, many of these wounds may have been caused by a weapon designed to reduce collateral damage. Not that the Israelis admit they have the thing.

The Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME) munitions originated as an offshoot of a bunker-busting program, when it was found that adding tungsten powder to explosives seemed to increase the blast effect over a small area. The powder was acting as micro-shrapnel which only carries for a few feet (compared to hundreds of feet for larger fragments), so the result was dubbed the "focused lethality munition" (FLM) which does massive damage in a small area and nothing outside.

There are a large number of reports from Gaza that suggest this type of weapon has been used, and, unfortunately, caused civilian deaths. There are reports and pictures of victims peppered with small particles, and descriptions which are consistent with very localized blast.

Erik Fosse, a Norwegian doctor working in Gaza says that the weapon "causes the tissue to be torn from the flesh. It looks very different [from a shrapnel injury]. I have seen and treated a lot of different injuries for the last 30 years in different war zones, and this looks completely different."

According to Fosse and his colleague Mads Gilbert, the weapon typically amputates or tears apart lower limbs and patients often do not survive. It's no more illegal than normal blast-and-shrapnel weapons, but it is a mystery.

The only known focused-lethality munition is a version of the GBU-40 Small Diameter Bomb. The weapon has been sold to Israel; Danger Room reported last month that the Israeli Defense Forces were using it in Gaza. But there are two problems. First, the Israelis seem to have bought the original version, not the FLM. And secondly, as Ares reported, Boeing has stated that it has not made any deliveries of the weapon to Tel Aviv, yet.

Ares speculated that the IDF is using weapons supplied by the U.S. Air Force; a spokesman told the site that "we cannot release sensitive information on foreign military sales."

However, Fosse told Britain's Independent newspaper, "all the patients I saw had been hit by bombs fired from unmanned drones. The bomb hit the ground near them and exploded."

It's just possible that Israel is dropping Small Diameter Bombs from drones, but far more likely that this is a small missile with a DIME warhead. Channel 4 News recently aired footage of Human Rights Watch's Marc Garlasco investigating the site of a number of DIME strikes in Gaza. The damage was very localized — confined to one room in one case — suggesting a much smaller weapon.

It is highly likely that Israel has developed its own version of DIME.

But why is such a precise weapon, intended to avoid the risk of collateral damage, causing civilian casualties at all? It takes tactics and procedures, as well as technology. I can only quote Marc Garlasco's original comment to me in 2006:Връзка

"It is unfortunate that these weapons are being developed specifically for use in densely populated areas which may negate the intended effect." source

Iran gets spacebound

I'm not a big fan of the Islamic revolution, well not at all obviously, but I cannot leave this issue uncommented. The first home-made and home-launched Iranian satellite is in space.

This is quite a feat for a nation that is experiencing severe isolation and internal absurdity. I must congratulate the Iranian scientists for their quick and obviously quality work, especially in the conditions that their country offered. After all, quite recently we heard about an Iranian doctor who will face charges for conspiracy after he was awarded for his work by the same people. It's hard to work for a country that is so confused about its future and values. But let's hope that tasting the freedom of space, Iran will finally ch0oses the world of freedom. Iranian people deserve to be free to express themselves and to find their happiness. And the religion should be for personal use, not for social abuse. Well, we'll see.

Iran sends first home-built satellite into orbit

February 3rd, 2009

Iran said on Tuesday it has launched its first home-built satellite into orbit, in a move likely to further alarm an international community already at odds with Tehran over its nuclear drive.

"Dear Iranians, your children have put the first indigenous satellite into orbit," a jubilant President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on state television after a launch coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the Islamic revolution.

"With this launch the Islamic Republic of Iran has officially achieved a presence in space."

Iran's Omid (Hope) satellite was sent into space on Monday evening carried by the home-built Safir-2 space rocket, local news agencies reported.

The launch -- which coincides with the anniversary of the 1979 revolution which toppled the Western-backed shah -- comes with Iran still defiantly refusing UN Security Council demands to freeze sensitive nuclear work.

Ahmadinejad said the satellite carried a message of "peace and brotherhood" to the world and dismissed suggestions that Iran's space programme had military goals, saying: "The world rejects such old talk."

"We have a divine view of technology unlike the dominating powers of the world who have Satanic views," he said.

In Addis Ababa, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said the satellite would enable Tehran to receive "environmental data," adding that "the technological capacity of Iran is meant to meet the needs of the country ...

"Iran's satellite activities are solely meant for peace and our military capacity is meant for defensive purposes," he said on the sidelines of an African Union summit.

Ahmadinejad has made scientific development one of the main themes of his presidency, asserting that Iran has reached a peak of progress despite international sanctions and no longer needs help from foreign states.

The state news agency IRNA said the satellite would take orbital measurements and would circle the Earth 15 times every 24 hours.

Iran sent its first Safir-2 into space in August. The rocket is about 22 metres (72 feet) long, with a diameter of 1.25 metres (a little over four feet) and weighs more than 26 tonnes.

The launch of the probe, Kavoshgar (Explorer), was also timed during the anniversary of the Islamic revolution.

Iran has pursued a space programme for several years, and in October 2005 a Russian-made Iranian satellite named Sina-1 was put into orbit by a Russian rocket.

Reza Taghipour, head of the Iranian space agency, said Iran would launch another satellite carrier by the end of the Iranian year on March 20, Fars said. source

A gorgeous creature

Check out this adorable creature. It has actually mirrors instead of lens for eyes. Isn't it cool?! If that's lurking in our own oceans, imagine what we could find on other planets. Isn't it unnerving that we cannot yet fly among the stars? Oh, well...

Scientists Find First Creature With Eyes That Use Both Refractive and Reflective Optics

January 27th, 2009
Scientists Find First Creature With Eyes That Use Both Refractive and Reflective Optics

Florida Atlantic University researcher and member of the Center for Ocean Exploration and Deep-Sea Research at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, Dr. Tamara Frank, was part of an international research team that discovered the first vertebrate with eyes that use mirrors rather than lenses to focus light. Results from this research have been published in the January issue of Current Biology.

The article, titled “A Novel Vertebrate Eye Using Both Refractive and Reflective Optics,” describes the unusual eyes of the spookfish, Dolichopteryx longipes. These eyes are tubular, which are similar in structure to the eyes of many other fish that swim in the ocean’s twilight zone where the background light field is very dim.

“What makes this animal so unusual is that each eye is divided into two parts, one pointing upwards and one pointing downwards, making it look like it has four eyes, and four-eyed fish don’t exist,” said Frank.

In the few other species of deep-sea fish that possess split eyes, the upper eye has a lens, like in the spookfish, for focusing light. However, at these depths, there is so little upwelling light that a lens would attenuate light too much in its efforts to focus the light for the lower eye. Therefore, in other fish, the lower eye doesn’t have a lens, resulting in a blurred image. The spookfish however, manages to focus light in the lower eye without using a lens. Light enters the lower portion of the eye and hits a mirror composed of stacks of crystals. The stacks sit roughly parallel to one another, but their angle changes over the surface of the mirror, giving it an overall concave shape. A computer simulation by research team member Dr. Julian Partridge, Bristol University, United Kingdom, showed that orientation of the plates within the mirror's curved surface is perfect for focusing reflected light onto the fish's retina. This is the first time that this type of focusing mechanism has ever been found in a vertebrate.

Many deep-sea or night active animals (including dogs and cats) use mirrors behind the retina to make their eyes more sensitive to light, hence why their eyes seem to glow when a light shines on them. It has been estimated that this reflecting layer, the tapetum, doubles the sensitivity of the eyes that possess them. With these animals, the mirror sits behind the eye and cannot focus light. In the spookfish, the mirror sits in front of the retina and serves to focus light, providing an image that’s much brighter than a lens could produce. source

Now even the Ads will watch you

Another happy news for the privacy advocates. Now even the ads will watch us. Minority Report, everyone. Don't get me wrong, I'm not horribly happy. I mean, they tell you they don't store the information they record, but how could you be sure? They are not regulated, there are no laws to stop them from doing it. Yes, I'm a bit paranoid, but that's because I'm very sick of all this new ways to watch you. Well, I don't want to be watched. I don't want my every movement to be recorded and observed. I like to pick my nose, to fix my clothes, why should someone, somewhere watch? And why I must be in the odd end-I have my rights of privacy!
What's even more, I don't like targeted ads. Yes, it might make sense in internet, with Adsense, but text links are not intruding. Videos can be blocked by ever flash-blocker. Those ads won't take my attention. But stuff flashing over big screens are other thing. They are annoying. They are made to be spotted by me. They want to sell me something. But guess what? I don't want to buy! If I need something I buy it. But I don't want anyone to sell me stuff. I find this the worst. That everyone should be focused on the exchange of money and goods. Well, there is much more to life. I don't want to buy unneeded goods, I don't want to hear what they want to tell me.

When you watch these ads, the ads check you out

January 30th, 2009 By DINESH RAMDE

(AP) -- Watch an advertisement on a video screen in a mall, health club or grocery store and there's a slim - but growing - chance the ad is watching you too.

Small cameras can now be embedded in the screen or hidden around it, tracking who looks at the screen and for how long. The makers of the tracking systems say the software can determine the viewer's gender, approximate age range and, in some cases, ethnicity - and can change the ads accordingly.

That could mean razor ads for men, cosmetics ads for women and video-game ads for teens.

And even if the ads don't shift based on which people are watching, the technology's ability to determine the viewers' demographics is golden for advertisers who want to know how effectively they're reaching their target audience.

While the technology remains in limited use for now, advertising industry analysts say it is finally beginning to live up to its promise. The manufacturers say their systems can accurately determine gender 85 to 90 percent of the time, while accuracy for the other measures continues to be refined.

Because the tracking industry is still in its infancy, there isn't yet consensus on how to refer to the technology. Some call it face reading, face counting, gaze tracking or, more generally, face-based audience measurement.

Whatever it's called, advertisers are finally ready to try it, said advertising consultant Jack Sullivan, a senior vice president of Starcom USA in Chicago.

Because face tracking might feel reminiscent of Big Brother, manufacturers are racing to offer reassurances. When the systems capture an image of who's watching the screen, a computer instantly analyzes it. The systems' manufacturers insist, however, that nothing is ever stored and no identifying information is ever associated with the pictures. That makes the system less intrusive than a surveillance camera that records what it sees, the developers say.

The companies say their systems have become adept at determining a viewer's gender, but age is trickier: The software can categorize age only in broad ranges - teens, younger to middle-aged folks and seniors. There's moderate demand for ads based on ethnic information, but the companies acknowledge that determining ethnicity is more challenging than figuring out gender and age range.

The system was around 80% correct. That might be as precise as the systems ever get, said Deborah Mitchell, a professor of consumer psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Even the human brain can't always determine gender, age or ethnicity.

While advertisers like the face-tracking technology, another privacy advocate, Harley Geiger, questions whether it should be used on consumers without their knowledge. Geiger, staff counsel for the Center for Democracy & Technology in Washington, D.C., said advertisers should be telling consumers what details about them are being collected and for what purpose. source

Check out this so not-cool list I found in NewScientist!
So, US water obviously contains an interesting list of pharmaceutical compounds that are there for no apparent reason. However, notice that most of those contaminants are actually tranquillisers. There are two ways that those chemicals may get into the water- either as by product of humans /and then we must ask ourselves how many people exactly drink such drugs to produce such a massive pollution/ or intentionally. I wonder why would anyone put tranquillisers in the water! Ok, it's pretty obvious. The worst is that both cases are troubling.
Also, notice the antibiotics in the water. And then tell me, why they claim that bacteria mutate because of over-use and abuse of antibiotics when you find this in the water!
And yes, don't forget how one does placebo-puts a very low quantities of a drug in a solution and drinks it. So, imagine what those drugs would do to you if there is a placebo effect. Or if for some reason, you body cannot deal with those substances. Ugly!

Top 11 compounds in US drinking water

A comprehensive survey of the drinking water for more than 28 million Americans has detected the widespread but low-level presence of pharmaceuticals and hormonally active chemicals.

Shane Snyder and colleagues at the Southern Nevada Water Authority in Las Vegas screened tap water from 19 US water utilities for 51 different compounds. The surveys were carried out between 2006 and 2007.

The 11 most frequently detected compounds - all found at extremely low concentrations - were:

Atenolol, a beta-blocker used to treat cardiovascular disease

Atrazine, an organic herbicide banned in the European Union, but still used in the US, which has been implicated in the decline of fish stocks and in changes in animal behaviour

Carbamazepine, a mood-stabilising drug used to treat bipolar disorder, amongst other things

Estrone, an oestrogen hormone secreted by the ovaries and blamed for causing gender-bending changes in fish

Gemfibrozil, an anti-cholesterol drug

Meprobamate, a tranquiliser widely used in psychiatric treatment

Naproxen, a painkiller and anti-inflammatory linked to increases in asthma incidence

Phenytoin, an anticonvulsant that has been used to treat epilepsy

Sulfamethoxazole, an antibiotic used against the Streptococcus bacteria, which is responsible for tonsillitis and other diseases

TCEP, a reducing agent used in molecular biology

Trimethoprim, another antibiotic

The concentrations of pharmaceuticals in drinking water were millions of times lower than in a medical dose, and Snyder emphasises that they pose no public health threat. He cautions, though, that "if a person has a unique health condition, or is concerned about particular contaminants in public water systems, I strongly recommend they consult their physician".

While the US government regulates the levels of pathogens in US drinking water, there are no rules for pharmaceuticals and other compounds, apart from one: the herbicide atrazine. The atrazine levels measured by Snyder and colleagues were well within federal limits.

Snyder says water utilities could make drinking water purer. But the costs of "extreme purification" - far beyond what is needed for safety alone - are huge in terms of increased energy usage and carbon footprint. Ultra-pure water might not even be safe, adds Snyder.source

A little victory in the war for privacy, but much more has to be done. For example, all the laws that allow different services (like CIA, FBI, FSB or whatever) to monitor the internet use of people without criminal charges or investigation on them, should be removed. This is particularly painful for me, because in Bulgaria, a new law is being prepared that would allow the police to monitor people and store the data for them without any good reason. And that's very dangerous when you consider what could be done on journalists or even like industrial espionage.

Microsoft Offers to Reduce Search Data in Europe

December 8, 2008

Microsoft offered Monday to abide by a European privacy panel’s request that it reduce the length of time it kept records of Web searches if its rivals, Yahoo and Google, did the same.

Google and Yahoo, in separate statements, said that for now they were unwilling to change their policies.

Microsoft said it made the offer in a letter to the Article 29 Working Party, a European Commission advisory panel made up of data protection commissioners from each of its 27 member countries. In April, the panel recommended that search engines keep search records no longer than six months before making the data untraceable.

Microsoft’s MSN Live Search currently retains search data for 18 months. Yahoo keeps data for 13 months and Google for 9 months.

The advisory panel was to meet Tuesday and Wednesday, but its members are postponing a decision on whether to take any action against the companies until at least February, when the companies are to make presentations before the panel.

John Vassallo, a lawyer for Microsoft, said Microsoft was not willing to act alone because doing so would create a commercial disadvantage.

Search engine practices are one area in which advanced Web technology is coming into conflict with stricter European privacy rules. German and Swiss officials have also expressed concerns about Google’s Street View map technology, which puts photographs of streetscapes on the Web without the consent of property owners, violating privacy laws in those countries.

In the debate about data retention, the Internet companies have said that records of past searches help them enhance the performance of their search engines. Privacy advocates say the companies are also using the data to compile behavioral profiles on users, which are then used to target advertising, the main source of revenue. source

Yahoo Limits Retention of Search Data

December 17, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO — Yahoo said Wednesday that it would limit to 90 days the time it holds some personally identifiable information related to searches to address growing concerns from privacy advocates, policy makers and government regulators.

Yahoo’s new data retention policy is the most restrictive among major search engines in the United States and will most likely put pressure on rivals like Google and Microsoft to shorten the time they keep information about their users.

It comes at a time when some privacy advocates are planning a renewed push for legislation that would regulate the data retention and online advertising practices of Internet companies, which they say has a stronger chance of passing with a new Congress and president in Washington.

Previously, Yahoo kept search logs for 13 months. In September, Google began to strip out some personally identifiable information related to searches after 9 months. Microsoft keeps the information for 18 months.

But it is not clear that stronger privacy protections will persuade consumers to switch to a different search engine.

Under the new policy, Yahoo will delete the last eight bits of the Internet Protocol, or I.P., address associated with a search query after 90 days. Yahoo will also hide cookie data related to each search log and strip out any personally identifiable information, like a name, phone number, address or Social Security number, from the query itself.

Yahoo also said that its new policy would extend to other types of data it collected, like page views, page clicks, ad views and ad clicks.

Privacy advocates said that the new policy was a step in the right direction and credited the change to pressure from European regulators. But they said that Yahoo’s method of scrambling I.P. addresses by deleting their last eight bits was inadequate to guarantee privacy.

Google declined to comment directly on Yahoo’s new policy but said it was “continually evaluating” how to balance the services it offered with the privacy of its users. Google had said previously that discarding personally identifiable data sooner than nine months would undermine the quality of its search engine and other services. source

The war continues

Ok, I got seriously pissed off reading this. I won't even comment it, because it doesn't need any commenting. So, they don't have a problem telling us who killed who today, but humanitarian movies are way too partial for them. This is disgusting and I'm very ashamed for BBC- a program that I often listen on the radio and sometimes even watch. They should have known better.
And for those of you who would object- spare me the nonsense and go **** yourself. I'm not saying they have no right to do it, but that they shouldn't have done it. That's not what a good person would do-it's no about journalism in the case, this is a video provided by third party with a very clear goal. A good journalist will go himself in Gaza and see what happens. But won't stop a humanitarian video aimed to gather donations for people in need. Oh, I'm so pissed.

BBC Assailed for Refusing to Carry Gaza Appeal

January 26, 2009

LONDON — In more than 80 years as a publicly financed broadcaster with an audience of millions at home and around the world, the BBC has rarely been buffeted as severely as it has in recent days over its decision not to broadcast a television appeal by aid agencies for victims of Israel’s recent military actions in Gaza.

Demonstrators conducted a sit-in at BBC headquarters on Monday to protest the broadcaster’s refusal to carry a video appeal for relief aid for Gazans.

BBC executives made the decision late last week and defiantly reaffirmed it on Monday, citing their concern with protecting the corporation’s impartiality in the Arab-Israeli dispute.

The dispute stirs high passions here, and the BBC, like other news organizations, has struggled uneasily for years to strike a balance, even as some critics claim it has tilted heavily toward Israel and others claim it has favored the Palestinians.

The three-week Israeli campaign in Gaza that ended nine days ago had already elicited a fresh barrage of complaints about BBC bias, for and against Israel. But the decision to block the aid appeal had the effect of magnifying the protests, and their virulence.

The decision has met with angry criticism from Church of England archbishops, editorial writers and senior British government ministers, as well as sit-ins at the BBC’s London headquarters and its broadcast center in Glasgow.

News planning sessions at the BBC have featured heated exchanges among editors and reporters, and BBC officials said Monday that they had received more than 11,000 complaints in the past three days.

A strong undercurrent in many of the protests has been that the BBC gave in to pressure from Israel or Jewish groups, which the BBC has vehemently denied.

A more common view has been that BBC executives, already wary because of a recent series of embarrassments unrelated to Middle East coverage, became so averse to controversy that they made an awkward extension of the concept of impartiality to a purely humanitarian issue.

But the BBC’s director general, Mark Thompson, denied Monday to reporters that he had been subjected to “arm-twisting” by pro-Israeli groups and said that the corporation had a duty to cover the Gaza dispute in a “balanced, objective way.”

The three-minute video, which was shown on several other channels in Britain on Monday night, was prepared by the Disasters Emergency Committee, an organization representing 11 relief agencies. Among them are many of Britain’s best-known charities, including the Red Cross, Oxfam, Save the Children, Help the Aged, Christian Aid and World Vision.

The committee has said the money it raises will buy food, medical supplies, tents, blankets and other necessities for those suffering in Gaza in the wake of the Israeli offensive and the military actions of Hamas, the militant Palestinian group that governs Gaza.

It asked broadcasters to show the appeal as a public service.

The BBC does not accept advertising but has shown humanitarian appeals on other issues, including the conflicts in Rwanda, Congo and Darfur. But to broadcast the appeal for aid to Gaza, BBC executives said, might compromise the impartiality of its Middle East coverage.

Some of the sharpest criticism of the BBC’s decision on the Gaza appeal came from within its own ranks, from unions representing its newsroom staff and from retired editors and reporters.

The BBC was joined in its refusal to carry the appeal by Sky News, an independent broadcaster with a widely watched news channel. But three other broadcasters — the publicly owned Channel 4 and two private broadcasters, ITV and Channel 5 — accepted the appeal. As shown on Monday night, the video focused heavily on the plight of Palestinian children — small boys and girls wounded and sobbing, being rushed into hospital emergency wards and, at one point, a parent clutching a tiny white shroud. Other scenes were of apartment blocks collapsed into piles of twisted steel and rubble.

“The children of Gaza are suffering,” the narrator said. “Many are struggling to survive, homeless or in need of food and water.”

Then, as if answering the view that the video amounted to anti-Israeli propaganda, he said: “Today, this is not about the rights and wrongs of the conflict. These people simply need your help.” source

Ladies only-a must read

Two very important articles I'm happy to present you. Please, ladies, read them, because it's important for your health and happiness.

In brief, woman was made for sex and without sex, we're simply not happy and healthy. Men, I know you're reading this, make sure you give your lady what she needs. It's not that hard! And I'm sure it won't be too unpleasant for you. :)

And yeah, I must say that I am convinced both articles are true enough, that's why I'm posting them.

Well, I hope they are wrong that some women don't have a G spot,but that requires a more difficult study. If you're one of those women, do a little experiment. Try imagining very hard something very exciting without touching yourself. When you're horny enough, try to find your G spot. Maybe it will be there?Hopefully!
I refuse to accept that some women might not have a G spot, because that's so limiting. It's simply way too unfair, right?

Ecstasy over G spot therapy

Emmanuele Jannini at the University of L'Aquila in Italy discovered clear anatomical differences between women who claim to have vaginal orgasms - triggered by stimulation of the front vaginal wall without any simultaneous stimulation of the clitoris - and those that don't. Apparently, the key is that women who orgasm during penetrative sex have a thicker area of tissue in the region between the vagina and urethra, meaning a simple scan could separate out the lucky "haves" from the "have-nots".

Even better, Jannini now has evidence that women who have this thicker tissue can be "taught" to have vaginal orgasms. Ultrasound scans on 30 women uncovered G spots in just eight of them and when these women were asked if they had vaginal orgasms during sex, only five of them said yes. However, when the remaining three were shown their G spots on the scan and given advice on how to stimulate it, two of them subsequently "discovered" the joy of vaginal orgasms. "This demonstrated, although in a small sample, the use of [vaginal ultrasound] in teaching the vaginal orgasm," Jannini says.

Sadly, none of the have-nots had vaginal orgasms either before or after the scans, so they'll just have to make do with the old-fashioned clitoral kind. The results were presented at the Italian Society of Andrology and Sexual Medicine in Rome in November.

Jannini is now investigating whether hirsute women are more likely to have G spots since they have higher levels of testosterone and both the clitoris and the G spot are thought to respond to the hormone.

The burning question is whether women with a small G spot can "grow" it with practice. Jannini is optimistic. "I fully agree that the use makes the organ." So perhaps the only way to make the most of your G spot, if you have one, is to get practising. source

Postmenopausal women's loss of sexual desire affects health, quality of life

January 21st, 2009 in Medicine & Health / Health

Women with low levels of sexual desire, often as a result of menopause, are more likely to be depressed and to suffer physical symptoms such as back pain and memory problems than women who report higher levels of desire, according to a new study by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals.

The study found that women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) reported poorer health status and worse health-related quality of life than women without the disorder. For example, those with the disorder were more than twice as likely to report health issues including back pain, fatigue and memory problems. Researchers say the study shows that women with the disorder have a degree of physical and mental impairment comparable to chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, osteoarthritis and asthma.

"Our research shows that HSDD is a significant and clinically relevant problem, and not a normal or inevitable part of the aging process," said Andrea K. Biddle, Ph.D., associate professor of health policy and management at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Hypoactive sexual desire disorder is defined as the persistent lack of sexual desire causing marked stress or interpersonal difficulties. Studies have shown that between nine percent and 26 percent of women in the United States suffer from it, depending on the woman's current age and menopausal status.

Surgically menopausal women (women who underwent menopause by having their ovaries removed) were slightly more likely to have the disorder than women who underwent menopause naturally. source

Xmas special...another one

An interesting article I stumbled upon. In short, it's about a confirmation of virgin birth in sharks. It looks like that phenomenon is much more common than thought and sharks are probably the biggest animal that have been confirmed to do it.
You'll read the article yourself, what is important that it offers interesting perspective to a question about Christianity that people often ask. I'm not going to defend any religion, it's not the point. The point is that virgin birth happens in Nature, obviously often enough to be detected. Could it happen among humans too? We're billions now, but people usually don't genetically test their offspring always, that's why it's hard to have a clear idea whether it's possible or impossible in humans. It would be good to have all the newborns tested, for many purposes, mostly scientific, but I guess that would never happen. First, it's bad for privacy and second, it's bad for fathers. It clearly can ruin their lives.

DNA test proves it -- baby shark has no father

RICHMOND, Virginia (AP) -- Scientists have confirmed the second case of a "virgin birth" in a shark.
In a study reported Friday in the Journal of Fish Biology, scientists said DNA testing proved that a pup carried by a female blacktip shark in a Virginia aquarium contained no genetic material from a male.

The first documented case of asexual reproduction, or parthenogenesis, among sharks involved a pup born to a hammerhead at an Omaha, Nebraska, zoo.

The medical mystery began 16 months ago after the death of Tidbit, a blacktip shark that had lived for eight years at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center in Virginia Beach. No male blacktip sharks were present during her eight years.

In May 2007, the 5-foot, 94-pound shark died after it was given a sedative before undergoing a yearly checkup. The 10-inch shark pup was found during a necropsy, surprising aquarium officials. They initially thought the embryonic pup was either the product of a virgin birth or a cross between the blacktip and a male of another shark species -- which has never been documented, Chapman said.

Virgin birth has been proven in some bony fish, amphibians, reptiles and birds, and has been suspected among sharks in the wild.

The scientists who studied the Virginia and Nebraska sharks said the newly formed pups acquired one set of chromosomes when the mother's chromosomes split during egg development, then united anew.

The scientists said their findings offer "intriguing questions" about how frequently automictic parthenogenesis occurs in the wild.

The DNA fingerprinting techniques used by the scientists are identical to those used in human paternity testing. source

Drugs for better brain

Another interesting article on an issue I like to comment. How do you feel about "smart drugs"? Because I'm certainly uncomfortable with them. I mean, hard work and discipline is one of the little things that you can develop no matter of that who you are. And if anyone can beat you on exam score because they are on drugs and you're not, that certainly creates a pressure for you to start taking the same drugs just to level with the competition.
If you think about it, that's the ultimate gold mine for pharmacy companies (for which few of the people in the article admit they are lobbying for)- a drug that everyone will have to take just to be able to compete with the rest! A drug that you can't stop unless you don't want to lose your job. A drug that probably will damage your brain, but nobody will pay attention- they will simply want more and more of it. Well, no surprise I have problems with that idea.
Yes, I agree we should be able to boost our brain when in desperate need, but no, I don't think we should do that on regular basis. If this new chemicals provide such a better performance, we must think how to encode their production in our DNA and not to rely on external production. Or the drugs should be free for everyone. Otherwise, some people will get VERY rich and all of the rest will be very screwed. I don't exactly like this.
Scientists: Drugs to boost brain power should be legal for wider use

NEW YORK — Healthy people should have the right to boost their brains with pills, like those prescribed for hyperactive kids or memory-impaired older folks, several scientists contend in a provocative commentary.

College students are already illegally taking prescription stimulants like Ritalin to help them study, and demand for such drugs is likely to grow elsewhere, they say.

"We should welcome new methods of improving our brain function," and doing it with pills is no more morally objectionable than eating right or getting a good night's sleep, these experts wrote in an opinion piece published online Sunday by the journal Nature.

As more effective brain-boosting pills are developed, demand for them is likely to grow among middle-aged people who want youthful memory powers and multitasking workers who need to keep track of multiple demands, said one commentary author, brain scientist Martha Farah of the University of Pennsylvania.

"Almost everybody is going to want to use it," said Farah.

The seven authors, from the United States and Britain, include ethics experts and the editor-in-chief of Nature as well as scientists. They developed their case at a seminar funded by Nature and Rockefeller University in New York. Two authors said they consult for pharmaceutical companies; Farah said she had no such financial ties.

The commentary cites a 2001 survey of about 11,000 American college students that found 4% had used prescription stimulants illegally in the prior year. But at some colleges, the figure was as high as 25%.

"It's a felony, but it's being done," said Farah.

The stimulants Adderall and Ritalin are prescribed mainly for people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but they can help other people focus their attention and handle information in their heads, the commentary says.

Another drug called Provigil is approved for sleep disorders but is also prescribed for healthy people who need to stay alert when sleep-deprived, the commentary says. Lab studies show it can also perk up the brains of well-rested people. And some drugs developed for Alzheimer's disease also provide a modest memory boost, it says.

Ritalin is made by Switzerland-based Novartis AG, but the drug is also available generically. Adderall is made by U.K.-based Shire PLC and Montvale, N.J.-based Barr Pharmaceuticals Inc., and some formulations are also available generically. Provigil is made by Cephalon Inc. of Frazer, Pa.

While supporting the concept that healthy adults should be able to use brain-boosting drugs, the authors called for:

• More research into the use, benefits and risks of such drugs. Much is unknown about the current medications, such as the risk of dependency when used for this purpose, the commentary said.

• Policies to guard against people being coerced into taking them.

• Steps to keep the benefits from making socio-economic inequalities worse.

• Action by doctors, educators and others to develop policies on the use of such drugs by healthy people.

• Legislative action to allow drug companies to market the drugs to healthy people if they meet regulatory standards for safety and effectiveness.

Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said she agreed with the commentary that the nonprescribed use of brain-boosting drugs must be studied.

But she said she was concerned that wider use of stimulants could lead more people to become addicted to them. That's what happened decades ago when they were widely prescribed for a variety of disorders, she said.

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