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Boy’s death confirmed as first case of brain-eating amoeba in tap water

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Boy’s death confirmed as first case of brain-eating amoeba in tap water
Researchers have discovered the first confirmed case of someone contracting a deadly brain-eating amoeba known as Naegleria fowleri through tap water. Prior victims were infected after swimming in warm bodies of freshwater.
A study published this month in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases reported that a 5-year-old Louisiana boy did, in fact, pick up the microorganism from tap water, possibly via a Slip n’ Slide. About two weeks later, he perished from an infection known as primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM).
Naegleria fowleri is called the brain-eating amoeba because it can digest neural tissues. Upon entering the body via the nasal passages, N. fowleri penetrates bone between the sinuses and the brain to form an infection, breaking down nerve cells in the process. Ensuing swelling of the brain occurrs, ushering in PAM, which is usually fatal. PAM kills up to eight people per year in the US, usually males with a median age of 12.
The Louisiana boy was taken to a hospital in July 2013 after he acquired a 104-degree Fahrenheit (40° C) fever and complained of a devastating headache, in addition to bouts of vomiting. Doctors later recorded two short “staring episodes,” in which the boy would gaze straight ahead for a few seconds without responding.
The infection, though, could not be identified or halted after several tests and antibiotics. The boy eventually developed seizures, and was declared brain dead. His family took him off life support five days after he entered the New Orleans hospital, according to Newsweek.

His was the first confirmed case to have been triggered by tap or faucet water, and not freshwater immersion, according to study author Jennifer Cope, a medical epidemiologist for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Other cases have been the result of drinking water contaminated via a body of freshwater, such as other cases in Louisiana that have pointed to Hurricane Katrina’s effect on the water supply system. Neti pots, or nasal rinses, have been associated with the microorganism as well, such as one case in the US Virgin Islands.

Louisiana has recently increased efforts to test for the amoeba while advising higher levels chlorine in its water treatment operations. The CDC has an emergency drug called miltefosine to combat PAM cases, though it is not commercially available.
Other studies are probing how N. fowleri becomes infectious.
“This is a free-living amoeba that doesn't have to infect anybody, it's perfectly happy feeding on bacteria,” Francine Marciano-Cabral, a microbiologist at Virginia Commonwealth University who is studying the microorganism, said to Newsweek. “What we want to find out is why in some people is it so pathogenic and deadly and what makes it that way?”

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This temporary tattoo monitors blood sugar

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tattoo Collage
Tiny sensors embedded in the tattoo can detect glucose levels and may even be able to detect blood levels of other compounds, such as alcohol or illegal drugs. (Photo: UC San Diego News Center)
For patients with diabetes, measuring and monitoring blood sugar levels throughout the day is vital for keeping their condition in check. But the finger-prick method of testing blood sugar deters many patients who find the tests too difficult or unpleasant to perform. Now, diabetes patients may have a new noninvasive method for blood sugar monitoring that's as easy as applying a temporary tattoo.
Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego have designed a flexible sensor that can be printed on temporary tattoo paper and applied to the skin to test blood sugar levels. The sensor uses a mild electrical current to measure glucose levels in a person’s body. It's inexpensive, easy-to-use, and best of all, painless.
The tattoo is a series of carefully placed electrodes that measure glucose molecules in the fluid of the skin. It gives off a very mild electrical current that forces sodium ions in the fluid towards the tattoo's electrodes, carrying glucose molecules with them along the way. The sensor built into the tattoo uses this information to measure overall glucose levels.
To test the new device, the research team evaluated seven healthy, non-diabetic patients between the ages of 20 and 40. According to a UC San Diego news release, none of the participants reported feeling any irritation or discomfort from the tattoo, while a few felt some mild tingling within the first 10 seconds of wearing it. To test how well the tattoo was able to pick up changes in glucose levels, researchers asked volunteers to eat a carb-rich meal and drink a soda in the lab. The device performed just as well as the traditional finger prick in detecting the glucose spike from the meal.
With the current prototype, the tattoo must be removed so that glucose levels can be analyzed, but researchers are hoping that this early design will lead to a model that can display numeric glucose levels right on the tattoo. Researchers are also working on embedding Bluetooth capabilities into the tattoo, meaning blood sugar data could be sent directly to a patient's doctor or smartphone. They also envision other uses for the design, such as monitoring prescription drug levels, proteins, metabolites, or even illegal drugs or alcohol levels — all without the dreaded poke from a needle.
This research was published in the journal Analytical Chemistry (pdf).

Google Maps Has Been Tracking Your Every Move, And There’s A Website To Prove It

Google Maps Has Been Tracking Your Every Move
Remember that scene in Minority Report, where Tom Cruise is on the run from the law, but is unable to avoid detection because everywhere he goes there are constant retina scans feeding his location back to a central database? That’s tomorrow. Today, Google is tracking wherever your smartphone goes, and putting a neat red dot on a map to mark the occasion.
You can find that map here. All you need to do is log in with the same account you use on your phone, and the record of everywhere you’ve been for the last day to month will erupt across your screen like chicken pox.

We all know that no matter what ‘privacy’ settings you may try and implement, our information is all being collected and stored somewhere. That knowledge sits in the back of our minds, and is easy to drown out by shoving in some headphones and watching Adventure Time on repeat until everything stops being 1984.  But it’s a sharp jolt back to reality when you see a two dimensional image marking your daily commute with occasional detours to the cinema or a friend’s house.
Looking at mine, I realised that a) I live my life in a very small radius, and b) there are places on my map that I don’t remember going. One of them I’ve apparently visited three times on different days. Once whilst “Biking” and twice while “Stationary”. All at times I wouldn’t usually be awake. I’m not sure what’s happening on Wood Street in North Melbourne, or why my phone apparently travels there without me, but I’m not going to rule out secret alien conspiracies.
You can also toggle between a traditional map and satellite view

Apparently this record only happens if you have ‘location services’ switched on in your phone; if you do and you’re finding you have no data, then it means that either you don’t exist or you’ve beaten the system. If it’s the latter, please teach me your ways; I know for a fact that I switched my phone’s location detection off, but apparently it somehow got switched back on.
Oh well. Perhaps this month I’ll take some inspiration from the runner who used Nike+ draw dicks — except this time when the dots are joined, they’ll just form a huge, unblinking eye. With occasional side trips to Wood Street.
Get creeped out by logging in here.If you want to turn off location reporting and location history from your Google account and apps, you can follow the official instructions over here.


11 Tactics Used By The Mainstream Media to Manufacture Consent For The Oligarchy

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

11 Tactics Used by the Mainstream Media to Manufacture Consent for the Oligarchy

The mainstream media is aging and collapsing under the weight of its own hubris and arrogance. Now entirely formulaic in presentation and predictable in substance, the ‘major’ outlets of news, which are monopolized under only a small handful of corporations, serve the purpose of misleading the public on important issues and manufacturing consent for government and the oligarchs.
The public is still largely numb to this reality, and in a wicked catch-22 for modern man, many people are still addicted to the very media that serves as the primary weapon of social control against them. The tide is turning, however, and to help break the spell we bring you this comprehensive list of 11 tactics used against the public by the mainstream media to coerce consensus, divide, conquer, ridicule and stifle truthful or meaningful conversation about the state of our world.
1. Lying by Omission – What is not on the nightly news?
This is the most important question to ask when consuming mainstream media.
The average hour long broadcast consists of 48 minutes or less of actual news programming, minus, of course, the chit-chatting, the expensive motion graphics and the bumpers, highlights and story recaps. With a formula like this, full of pomp and grandstanding, the impression given is that if does not make it on the nightly news, the it is not of significance. The most obvious way in which the mainstream media manufactures consent for policy makers and advertisers is by omitting from the news reel those stories and perspectives which may compromise the broadcasters agenda, whatever that may be.
2. Controlling the Debate – Who is arguing, and for what cause?
News programs are businesses just like anything else, and as such news executives keep a go-to list of  contacts to fulfill any necessary role in a program or segment. If the government needs credibility, they roll out an ex-president and remind you that he has ‘gravitas.’ If the military industrial complex needs a voice, then they roll out a familiar think-tanker to interject in a debate with a common-sense perspective in favor of national security. If something is too complicated for public consumption, then they open the rolodex to the ‘experts’ page and shuffle some know-it-all in front of the camera.
The media is laden with groomed pundits, so-called opinion leaders, and commentators, and each one has a definite reputation, each one resonates with a specific target audience, and each one fills a predictable role in a conversation. Program guests are very well vetted, and news is a science, a very lucrative science that excels in giving the impression of a diversity in ideas while keeping the debate sequestered in a very well constructed box. The characters in this box make all the difference.
3. Selecting the Right Anchors, Casters and Presenters – Our lives have been pegged to the dollar, and as such, a ‘good job’ is valued above many genuine virtues. People like to keep their jobs, as do news anchors and news casters, and since news is, again, a business, the voices and faces on news programs are hired to perform a role, a job description, a task. They are not employed to pursue morally driven journalism for the benefit of society. If they perform as they are required, they advance and gain more exposure. If they rock the boat, there are a thousand other hungry job-seekers chomping at the bit to replace them and do exactly they are hired to do. News anchoring is a job like anything else, and those at the forefront are the best at playing the role.
4. Scripting and Synchronizing News – One of the creepier and more blatant efforts to homogenize thought and manufacture consent is to script the news at high level, then distribute these scripts to many different locales and anchors to read verbatim, while they feign authenticity.
This is partially a result of the business decision to save money by employing as few actual news gatherers as possible, but is also a key part of the strategy to achieve conformity amongst people of different backgrounds and interests. The government has also been known to interject itself into the chain of command for selecting which news scripts are to be disseminated to the public. This is the most fundamental characteristic of propaganda, and is rather embarrassing to witness once you realize just how disingenuous your local news presenters are and just how easily duped most people are.
5. Politicizing Everything – Language is the greatest weapon of social control, and with mainstream media, powerfully debilitating language is pushed into every corner of our consciousness. Conservative vs. Liberal. Democrat vs. Republican. Right-winger vs. Left-winger. Good vs. Bad. Left vs. Right. Right vs. Wrong. White vs. Black.
And so on. Ad nauseam.
The truth is that ideas and opinions are as vastly different as grains of sand on a beach, yet the media intentionally frames every issue in terms of a phoney left-right paradigm that has been constructed to pigeon hole complex ideas and interests into a cheapened thought prison. No unorthodox idea or point of view can reach critical mass because everything is automatically framed in a ‘with us or against us’ mindset, turning people against each other for no reason other than to appeal to our desire to be on the winning team.
The mainstream media is the chief party responsible for creating the constructs of ‘left’ and ‘right,’ which have been tightly integrated into our social consciousness as a means of achieving divisiveness and disagreement among the populace. This is the chief tactic of divide and conquer, and when people are compelled on any issue to ‘pick a team’ and fight the rivalry to it’s bitter end, many opportunities for true progress are lost and the populace is easily goaded into a position favorable to the elite.
6. Using the Language of Separation and Labels – Sometime in the 1990’s, the mainstream mediastopped referring to people as ‘people’ or even as ‘citizens’ and began calling everyone ‘consumers.’ Once again, language is important to shaping reality, and as ‘consumers’ our role in the affairs of business and state are reduced to hapless bystanders whose job it is to choose and reject, not interject and affect.
We’ve all heard the label ‘conspiracy theorist,’ which is the most popular label used when an idea or story is unfavorable to the mainstream media and the interests that back them up. You are a ‘conspiracy theorist’ if you ask questions, assimilate facts in a logical manner, or pursue justice outside of the main flow of public discourse on a popular issue.
This type of language is also part of the process of politicizing everything, and by also labeling people in accordance with their country of origin, religion, skin color, economic class, or whatever else, more wedges of division are driven into the populace, deflating our inherent power in numbers.
7. Asking the Wrong Questions – Press access to ‘important’ people in our society is tightly regulated, and the powers that be don’t like to be confronted with unexpected and hard questions. For this, the mainstream media dutifully uses its access to people in high places to ask softball, trivial, nonsensical, ignorant questions about irrelevant and superfluous issues.
Independent media is winning the long race against corporate/fascist propagandized media because people are naturally inclined to resonate with common sense and truth, which is not at all what corporate mainline media is involved with. White house correspondents shouldn’t waste our time and insult our intelligence by asking a war time president about his pet dog or a recent golfing trip. But they do, all the time.
8. Closing the Book Too Soon – Moving an important or complicated issue from the front page as quickly as possible is a common strategy to remove touchy subjects from the public conversation. Sadly, our national attention span is at an all time low, mostly because we’ve been trained to move from issue to issue with lightening speed, never soaking up any one thing for too long. With such a short term memory, it is easy to protect a politician, forget a genocide, ignore the long-term effects of a bank bailout, and so on, just by moving onto to something new.
Once the media has signaled that a story has been resolved or adequately discussed, then any after thought, individual investigation, or further inquiry is labeled as extremist and ignored.
9. Triviality and Distraction – With all of the important decisions being made daily by powerful people, decisions that genuinely affect quality of life for many people, the news outlets are steadfastly devoted to engaging in gossip, entertainment, murders and acts of violence, car accidents, disasters and other pablum. The body politic is kept confused by celebrity happenings, endless sports contests and other such pageantry, and the media uses these many forms of distractions to fill time and brain space so that important issues are seen as a drag or as a downer, and never given proper reflection.
This is so ubiquitous in our society nowadays that there really is no escape.
10. Outright Lying – When all else fails, just lie, make it up as you go along, sell your air time to the highest bidder, and never look back. In the internet age, people are pretty keen on fact checking, rebutting, arguing, and gathering stats, and there are enough facts available to prove any side to any story. In fact, this has become an art form for major media, and the ability to gather facts in accordance with an agenda is a profitable skill for the mainstream media.
Lying has always worked, and the bigger the lie, the more likely it is to be believed.
11. Bonus – Eye Candy and Mind Melting – This one is a bonus and part of the new era of network news. Rather than employ virtuous gumshoes and hardcore reporters of truth, mainstream media instead invests in graphic artists to make each frame of the broadcast an over-designed motion collage of brain-melting info overload. Staying focused on what the anchor or guest is actually saying is impossible. By design, the news is presented in a mad shotgun blast of competing signals, and your attention is split in ten directions with tickers, bubbles, stock footage, gyrating lights and special effects.
The point here is to exhaust the mind with over-stimulation so that the brain cannot function methodically and cannot process an issue beyond the shallow surface. This is also known as hypnotism, or mind-control.


News is a commodity just like everything else these days, and although many still believe the point of news is to inform, it is important to accept the hard truth that the purpose of the news is really just to sell something, be it a product, an idea, a candidate, a public image, a war, or whatever. For this, the mainstream media is focused on first deciding which issues are to be discussed in the public forum, then by using a bagful of tricks to shape people’s perceptions of an issue, the media divides us and pits us against each other while leading us into consent for an underlying and hidden agenda.

Source: Waking Times

Epigenetics: Environmental effects influence how genes are turned on or off.

Monday, January 19, 2015


The term epigenetics refers to heritable changes in gene expression (active versus inactive genes) that does not involve changes to the underlying DNA sequence; a change in phenotype without a change in genotype.

Epigenetic change is a regular and natural occurrence but can also be influenced by several factors including age, the environment/lifestyle, and disease state. Epigenetic modifications can manifest as commonly as the manner in which cells terminally differentiate to end up as skin cells, liver cells, brain cells, etc. Or, epigenetic change can have more damaging effects that can result in diseases like cancer.

At least three systems including DNA methylation, histone modification and non-coding RNA (ncRNA)-associated gene silencing are currently considered to initiate and sustain epigenetic change. New and ongoing research is continuously uncovering the role of epigenetics in a variety of human disorders and fatal diseases.

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