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Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Two Swedish craters are the first evidence of binary asteroid hitting Earth

swedish Lockne crater

© Unknown

The Swedish Lockne crater, 7.5 km wide and Målingen, about 0.7 km, were caused both by the shock of a double asteroid, an object made up of about 600 m and a smaller 150 m . Both came after the explosion of a massive asteroid collision some 200 km in the main asteroid belt 470 million years ago. So suggests a study published this week in the Reports a research team led by Jens Ormo, the Astrobiology Centre (INTA-CSIC).

"For the first time has been dated with high precision as a pair of craters of this type, both created 458 million years ago and are the only known example land that can no doubt be attributed to the impact of a binary asteroid" highlights Ormo to Sync. "All other potential candidates have ages with double periods of time not to be excluded that are formed separately."

The good condition of Lockne and Målingen, about 16 km away, has enabled very necessary to relate geological evidence.

"The double impact occurred in a shallow sea, and the two objects collided on the same rock stratigraphic setting beneath a water column of 500 meter" Ormo explains. The research highlights the value of such data "as a reference for numerical simulations of these events, and therefore, to assess the potential risks of asteroid impacts in the ocean."

In addition, the shapes of the two craters are consistent with the impact of a fragmented projectile, leading scientists to assume that the binary asteroid belongs to the type called 'rubble pile', formed with various pieces together by gravitational forces. The observations of near-Earth asteroids indicate that about 16% travel in pairs; however, only a few have been identified and controversial pairs associated craters on the surface of our planet.

According to the authors, it is very rare that an impact crater can be associated to a rupture event dated to a specific time in the asteroid belt, and in this case was achieved double sole known example. This, in turn, serve as a reference for analyzing other twin impacts as well as the formation and evolution of binary asteroids in the solar system.

Hysterical Islamophobia: Dad threatens 'sh*tstorm' if daughter's world history class includes Islam

Angry Man

© Shutterstock.com

Angry man yells into phone

An angry father has been banned from a Maryland high school's campus after he made vague but ominous threats against the school because his daughter's history homework mentioned the Islamic faith.

BayNet.com reported that La Plata High School in Charles County, Maryland has issued a No Trespass order after parent Kevin Wood - a former U.S. Marine - called the school and threatened to disrupt classes if his daughter's world history class continued to study the religion and its impact on human history.

Wood reportedly telephoned Vice Principal Shannon Morris last thursday enraged over a homework assignment which dealt with the formation of Middle Eastern empires centuries ago. History teacher Katie O'Malley Simpson said that the history curriculum has never been considered controversial in the past.

"The assignment has been given for years," O'Malley-Simpson said.

La Plata High School Principal Evelyn Arnold issued a "No Trespass" order against Wood after hearing about the contentious call, in which Wood promised to come to the school and disrupt classes if Islam was mentioned any further.

O'Malley-Simpson called the decision to ban Wood from campus "unusual," saying, "We don't file no trespassing charges lightly. We would only do that when we feel someone has threatened the safety of staff and students."

According to Maryland Gazette.net, O'Malley-Simpson said, "We have a lot of students, and safety comes first. We don't allow disruptions at the schools, especially if we're forewarned of them."

Charles County School District Superintendent Kimberly Hill met with Wood and his wife to discuss their concerns on Monday. The couple reportedly asked the school to excuse their daughter from world history class for the duration of the segment studying Islam.

After the meeting, Wood told reporters that his daughter, a junior at La Plata High, should not be forced to study a faith that she "does not believe in."

Morris told the Woods that an alternate curriculum could be created for their daughter, and that any assignments she refused to complete would be given a failing grade.

"I told her straight up 'you could take that Muslim-loving piece of paper and shove it up your white [expletive]," Wood said on Monday. "If [students] can't practice Christianity in school, they should not be allowed to practice Islam in school."

Wood told Superintendent Morris that the school is violating his daughter's "constitutional rights" and threatened to "bring down a shit-storm on them like they've never seen."

Melissa Wood, however, assured reporters that her husband wasn't really threatening the school and that officials are twisting his words and overreacting.

"Nowhere did he ever threaten," she insisted. "And this is where it's gotten totally blown out of proportion."

O'Malley-Simpson said that some classes may offer an alternate assignment for students whose parents complain over subject matter, but not world history.

"It's part of the curriculum," she said, "and it's part of the standards you're supposed to learn."

"This is a world history class," she explained. "We are not teaching religion. Part of those world history studies involves the economics of a region and part of that is the religion which relates to the economy of that part of the world. In the Middle East, Islam is the only religion and it contributes greatly to the economics of the region."

"Religion is a big part of world history," she said.

Charles County Board of Education member Jennifer Abell posted a statement on Facebook explaining that some people are spreading "misinformation" about the No Trespass order.

"The particular unit in question at La Plata High School is on the formation of Middle Eastern empires in which students learned the basic concepts of the Islamic faith and how it, along with politics, culture, economics and geography, contributed to the development of the Middle East," Abell wrote.

She went on, "There is also misinformation about why the school issued a No Trespass Order on a parent. This parent threatened to cause problems that would potentially disrupt La Plata High School this morning. To ensure the safety of students and staff at the school, the school administration placed a No Trespass Order on this parent."

Who will offer Putin's head to the U.S.?


© Unknown

It seems that Russian authorities have found a way towards accommodation with the West. Liberals have become more powerful and are leading the talks.[1] They are ready to make concessions and see no problem in the sacrifice of Novorossiya, and, if necessary, even Russia's own interests. There's just one remaining question: who will remove the Russian president's head and present it on a platter to the USA?

Negotiations between Russia and the West about ending the "sanctions war" and resolving the crisis in Ukraine are moving full speed ahead. This was spoken of in October at the G20 finance ministers' talks in the USA. The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov discussed the subject with Secretary of State John Kerry. The Ukrainian question will be a major subject for many participants at the G20 summit in Australia next month. Although Russian authorities deny they will ask for revocation of the sanctions, talks are underway about this issue. It was precisely for this that Moscow began the dialogue with the West, reduced its criticism of the Kiev regime, allowed the latter's military forces time to regroup by agreeing to the Minsk ceasefire and blocked delivery of ammunition to Novorossiya. And also obliged dependent Donetsk political leaders to accept compromising decisions smacking of one-sided capitulation. Field commanders and the people of the Donbass will never accept these conditions, but the Russian elite is not yet aware of this since it has a poor understanding of what "the people" really amounts to.

Already in August, the EU ambassador in Moscow remarked that the sanctions could be revoked. The Minsk talks showed that Russian authorities had begun bargaining with their Western partners and were ready for concessions. Moscow's goodwill was expressed in its reductions of supplies of weapons to Novorossiya, a purging within its political leadership and a distancing from its military leaders. Moscow is playing no small part in the weakening of the defensive capabilities of the territories in revolt. If talks with the West proceed successfully, then the Russian leadership will "concede": it will permit troops of the Kiev government to begin a new attack, leaving the struggling Novorossiya without support.

The presidential administration and government of Russia are working in agreement, without obvious contradictions. Everything points to a new strengthening of the liberal camp within the regime, and to the acceptance by Vladmir Putin of the liberals' overall plan. And the blame lies with the economic situation, the markets, financial problems and the fears of the elites.

This autumn, world oil prices sank unexpectedly sharply. By mid-October, the price of a barrel of "black gold" fell to US $85. Russia's economic situation worsened swiftly, but no one in the government intends changing course. Although, in effect, precisely that course - long before the economic sanctions pushed Russia to its own economic sanctions - is the fundamental reason for the current difficulties. The governing circles count on the world market and refuse to develop the internal market, which would mean the search for a social compromise (concessions to workers). The reduction of imports in favor of domestic production and a radical change of personnel remain simply topics for conversation. The real work of the government is directed toward conciliation with the West in order to maintain the neoliberal course.

Sanctions imposed by the USA, EU and other governments have proven to be effective. But this is not what undermined our economy, it was, rather, the fear by our elites. Sanctions showed Russia's governing class its financial vulnerability. Still, precisely the fall in raw material prices on the global market was the signal for the elite that further exchange of sanctions was dangerous. The restriction of deliveries of Russian goods to the European market will contradict WTO regulations. But the introduction of such sanctions is very possible in conditions of a fall in demand and a growth of competition. The USA permitted Iranian hydrocarbons to [be shipped to] Europe, and Moscow lowered its tone. It is surrendering its positions and intends bargaining for stability instead. But if the state builds its economic policy on the export of raw materials, it will never be either independent or a really powerful player in international politics.

However much we are told of "Russian imperialism", contemporary Russia is above all a dependent, peripheral country, whose ruling class does not wish to carry out a transformation which would permit genuine independence and influence in the world. Such transformations would inevitably hurt the interests of the contemporary elite, or at least the interests of an important part of it.

The Russian authorities have already made clear to the USA and the EU that they reject any possibility of the popular uprising in eastern Ukraine being victorious throughout the whole of the country. They have blockaded it on the territories occupied by the popular militias. Throughout the summer, the Kremlin's chief political advisor, Vladislav Surkov, worked to defuse the rebellious Donbass. But providing aid to the Kiev regime and subsequent agreement with the West did not succeed. The other side did not accept the counter-plan. In Moscow, they decided that they faced two problems: the excessively principled "Colorados" [Ukrainian slang for the Donbass fighters] and the USA. Within the government, the supporters of the struggle gradually grew weaker. Putin designed an internal compromise whose essence is negotiations and concessions in order to normalize relations with the West.

Sacrificing Novorossiya, relying on European ruling circles and appeasing the USA - such is the current plan of the domestic elites in order to end the conflict. They understand this very well in Brussels and Washington and enter step by step into the negotiation game with Moscow. But while the Russian ruling class strives only to defend its positions and assets in the West, North American and European capital needs to make gains at Russia's expense. This includes not only the full occupation of Ukraine( whilst allowing the formal retention of Crimea by Moscow) but also access to the Russian market, its assets and its raw material resources.

The USA and the EU know that strong governments in Russia are the product of the growth of powerful business and its organization. The presence of a strong guardian and government in the figure of the present state permitted the corporations to more effectively compete and develop. Thus, sanctions are intended to divide Russian capital while talks and concessions weaken the state apparatus that obstructs the ability of the West to agitate among the population for regime change. A long process of bargaining between Moscow and its partners should strengthen even more the positions of the liberal bureaucrats. They are likely to achieve greater importance in the eyes of big business. Then the West will pose the question of removing the arbiter of Russian politics, Vladimir Putin, discredited in the eyes of the "civilized world".

The West demands Putin's head without fail. It is not only a question of the reputation of Western politicians who have branded the Russian President and need to complete the plot of the latest victory over the latest dictator, as has happened earlier. The question of power in Russia also has a practical significance. That is not exactly the way the liberal press describes it. In no way does Putin resemble a lone ruler, making wild decisions. On the contrary, his power is based on compromise, the balance of forces and the building of collective government of the country, for an oligarchic regime by its very nature is incompatible with personal power.

But it is precisely Putin's moderation and his ability to maintain a balance within the elites, to satisfy and tranquillize each, to listen to all and try to respect all interests supporting his leading role, the basis of his "stability", has become his major weakness.

For the US and the EU, it is not only important to stop the process of post-Soviet integration that Moscow has initiated, or to block Russia's territorial, commercial and industrial rebirth. Also vital to the West is to destroy the system of compromises among the major business groups linked to Putin. According to the US and EU, partisans of the "Russian world" and import replacement should no longer be heeded. Power's rhetoric must be purged of such dangerous subjects. The regime in Russia must become more liberal and openly pro-western, and its economics firmly peripheral.

Such is the plan of the liberal revolution. Putin does not have any "cunning plan" with which to counterbalance it and offset the moves by the West. Nor is there planned any "radical change of personnel by the President". A radical change of personnel cannot be executed while leaving all the key figures in their places and strengthening the positions of those players who are obviously opposed to the official line.

An old Russian fairy tale about evil boyars[2] surrounding a good Tsar makes more sense today than during the times of the feudal monarchy. For in fact, the Tsar could not nominate his boyars, who inherited their posts. But in a republic, even in such a strange country resembling Tsardom as in our country, the President nominates and confirms the functionaries. That, however, does not mean that "the republican Tsar" does not have problems with his boyars. It is an enormous problem. For Putin, it is simply impossible to gather a cohesive, loyal and capable team, which confirms that his power is far from being that of a Tsar.

For all that, there is a liberal plot against Putin and the system of power formed around him. And the great misfortune is that, apparently, Putin himself is a participant in it. By refusing to correct the economic policy of 2012-2014, he created the conditions for the development of the "second wave" of the crisis in Russia. The Cabinet of Dmitry Medvedev and the Central Bank headed by Elvira Nabiulina opened the door to the economic slump long before the fall of world petroleum prices. They consolidated still more the peripheral, raw material character of the domestic economy, making it vulnerable to the sanctions by the USA and its partners, and then began making concessions.

The West intends to play a power game in the long negotiations with Moscow. It can apply zeal and rigidity and therefore events will not go exactly as planned. The same happened in Ukraine. However, the USA and the EU understand that Russian liberals are now stronger and will stubbornly search for compromise. Dmitry Medvedev has already declared that a "rebooting of relations" demands a return to "default positions", that is, to normal trade without sanctions. For the sake of that, the ruling class will go for anything, especially if the situation is complicated by economic factors. If a resolution of the issue with Western Europe and the USA requires the presenting of Putin's head, that is how the issue will be resolved.

But Russia is not a banana republic or a small East European country, where one can simply organize a color revolution, gathering several thousand activists of "civil society" on one of the central squares. Only Putin himself can remove Putin's head for the USA - and by no means only through carelessness.

Russian "patriots" dream stubbornly of convincing today's President to imitate Stalin or Ivan The Terrible. The liberal intelligentsias frighten each other and the credulous western public with this idea. And meanwhile, our government each day comes to resemble an entirely different predecessor--Mikhail Gorbachev, also, by the way, a politician who put his stake on compromise.

The maturing prospect of a liberal State Emergency Committee[3] becomes each day more evident. Meanwhile, before the final act, the matter is not yet decided but the drama has already begun. Liberals are carrying out the ritual sacrifice of the victims. They sacrifice the ruble exchange rate and social policies. They sacrifice Novorossiya. They sacrifice the dignity of the country. They sacrifice the possibilities for the development of Russian society. They are even ready to sacrifice that which has protected the system for many years. Still, all that will bear no fruit because only a different course can save Russia from an economic catastrophe.

And let no one be fooled: if the liberal revolution becomes a reality, its authors will quickly learn how correct the thesis "Ukraine is not Russia" really is. Unlike the neighboring country, Russia, with the exception of its capital, will be transformed into one entire Donbass.

Rabble" -

Insurance companies start writing 'Ebola exclusions' into policies


© AFP Photo/Simon Maina

As Ebola spreads further from its current epicenter in West Africa, American and British insurance companies have started to adjust their standard policies for hospitals and other vulnerable businesses to exclude the virus.

According to insurance industry insiders, companies needing to insure business travel to West Africa or to cover losses following a quarantine may now deal with revamped policies that will likely increase in price based on the latest Ebola outbreak, which has killed nearly 5,000 people in West African countries like Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.

"What underwriters are doing at the moment is they're generally providing quotes either excluding or including Ebola - and it's much more expensive if Ebola is included," Gary Flynn, an event cancellation broker at London's Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group Plc, told Reuters.

Ebola has had less impact on liability insurance. For instance, in the US, policies that cover the likes of worker's compensation claims are regulated on the state level. Thus, Ebola exclusions are not likely, according to Reuters.

Property and casualty insurers, though, have more at stake and are taking into account the possibilities of heightened Ebola infections.

ACE Ltd told Reuters that its global casualty unit, used for US companies to insure employees who travel abroad, was excluding Ebola on a "case-by-case basis" while underwriting new policies and renewals for some clients with operations in Africa, since there is a "potentially higher risk exposure."

"Business interruption" may be getting the most attention, according to Tony DeFelice, managing director of Aon Risk Solutions' national casualty practice in the US. Such interruptions include possible loss of employees to illness, or quarantine of an airliner or cruise ship due to a case of suspected Ebola or other sickness.

Special policies are being introduced to adequately address Ebola-era business interruption (BI) claims, as those are only triggered with direct physical damage to property, according to insurance broker Marsh.

"This means that without special provisions - for example, manuscripted wording to broaden coverage - healthcare providers' property insurance and BI policies would likely not be triggered based solely on the presence of Ebola, Marsh said this month.

Meanwhile, Miller Insurance Services LLP and William Gallagher Associates have worked with Lloyd's of London underwriter Ark Syndicate to launch the first product to insure Ebola-stricken hospitals that may incur losses.

Another company, Aon PLC, has created an "Ebola task force to monitor how the virus is or is not spreading in order to help clients prepare for risks.

'A generation cast aside': Child poverty on rise in world's richest countries

UNICEF report finds erosion of social safety nets has fueled child poverty crisis. (Image courtesy of UNICEF report)

Children remain "the most enduring victims" of the recession in the world's wealthiest nations, where 2.6 million children have fallen below the poverty line since 2008, a new report from UNICEF reveals.

The annual study, Children of the Recession: The impact of the economic crisis on child well-being in rich countries, was released Tuesday in Rome. It finds that in the 41 richest countries at least 76.5 million children live in poverty.

"Many affluent countries have suffered a 'great leap backwards' in terms of household income, and the impact on children will have long-lasting repercussions for them and their communities," said Jeffrey O'Malley, UNICEF's Head of Global Policy and Strategy.

In 23 of the 41 wealthy countries examined, the rate of child poverty has increased since 2008. In some countries, this rise was drastic: Ireland, Croatia, Latvia, Greece, and Iceland saw child poverty climb by more than 50 percent. The report notes that the young are hit harder than the elderly, and among children, the "poorest and most vulnerable... have suffered disproportionately."

The recession has created "a generation cast aside," where unemployment for people aged 15 to 24 has increased in 34 of the 41 countries, the report states.

The United States is no exception. In 2012, 24.2 million children were living in poverty in the U.S., an increase of 1.7 million since the 2008 recession. In 34 out of 50 states, child poverty has risen since 2008.

While the authors claimed the report was not intended as a "comment on austerity," their analysis finds that the decimation of public services has fueled the crisis.

"Extreme child poverty in the United States increased more during the Great Recession than it did in the recession of 1982, suggesting that, for the very poorest, the safety net affords less protection now than it did three decades ago," states the report.

"Governments that bolstered existing public institutions and programmes helped to buffer countless children from the crisis - a strategy that others may consider adopting," the report notes.

Bible too far-fetched even for me, says Pope

Pope Francis

© WaterfordWhispersNews

Following yesterday's announcement that the theories behind both the Big Bang Theory and evolution are real and that God is not a 'magician with a magic wand', Pope Francis has issued a second statement today admitting that there are things in the Bible that even he thinks are pure guff.

The popular Argentinian pontiff, who gained admirers with his more lenient views on gay partnership earlier this year, went on to state that there are some parts of the Bible that even he, as God's representative on Earth, has to admit are pretty out there.

Speaking at his daily pre-mass sermon, Pope Francis shocked listeners by reading passages from both Old and New Testaments while making googly eyes and circling one finger around his temple.

Citing key examples of Catholic dogma such as the immaculate conception and the resurrection of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ™ as being "metaphors, at best", the 266th pope began to giggle as he moved through chapter and verse of the Bible, angering some of the more senior Cardinals who were present.

"Pope Francis may not be feeling that well at the moment, is one possible suggestion as to why he is acting this way," said Cardinal Serge Aguila, one of the Pope's closest aides. "Otherwise there is no way he would be preaching that the Bible isn't 100% accurate. The Pope is a grown man, so why all of a sudden he has started to question the existence of talking snakes and pillars of fire and seas parting and zombie Jesus and the rest of it is beyond me".

"It's important for the Pope to get back on the same page as the 265 popes before him, and continue to stress just how powerful God is, and the punishment that awaits them if they stray from the word of God in the slightest. Otherwise, we'll all be out of a job".

Although the more lenient teachings of Pope Francis have brought many lapsed Catholics back to the flock, many cardinals believe that the church can do without those fair-weather Christians, providing the core group of faithful remain fearful of a God with a magic wand who created the world in 7 days.

Study tracking over 100,000 people finds the more pasteurized milk people drink, the more likely they are to die


© PreventDisease.com

Milk is the only beverage still aggressively pushed on children as a health promoting food when it is the exact opposite - a disease promoting food. Drinking pasteurized milk is not nearly as good for general health or bones as the dairy industry has made it out to be. In fact, this fairy tale of "milk doing a body good" is being exposed more frequently by many independent scientists and researchers who have had just about enough of the propaganda.

According to a large scale study of thousands of Swedish people, cow's milk has a deteriorating effect on health when consumed in the long-term. The research was published in The .

The study, which tracked 61,433 women aged 39 to 74 over 20 years, and 45,339 men of similar age for 11 years, found that the more cow's milk people drank, the more likely they were to die or experience a bone fracture during the study period. The risks were especially pronounced for women, a group advised to drink milk to help avoid bone fractures that result from osteoporosis.

Women who said they drank three or more glasses of milk a day had almost double the chance of dying during the study period as those who reported drinking only one. A glass is defined as a 200 milliliter serving. They also had a 16 percent higher chance of getting a bone fracture anywhere in the body.

Why Does Milk Cause Osteoporosis and Bone Fractures

The dairy industry has been hard at work the last 50 years convincing people that pasteurized dairy products such as milk or cheese increases bioavailable calcium levels. This is totally false. The pasteurization process only creates calcium carbonate, which has absolutely no way of entering the cells without a chelating agent. So what the body does is pull the calcium from the bones and other tissues in order to buffer the calcium carbonate in the blood. This process actually causes osteoporosis.

Pasteurized dairy contains too little magnesium needed at the proper ratio to absorb the calcium. Most would agree that a minimum amount of Cal. to Mag Ratio is 2 to 1 and preferably 1 to 1. So milk, at a Cal/Mag ratio of 10 to 1, has a problem. You may put 1200 mg of dairy calcium in your mouth, but you will be lucky to actually absorb a third of it into your system.

Over 99% of the body's calcium is in the skeleton, where it provides mechanical rigidity. Pasteurized dairy forces a calcium intake lower than normal and the skeleton is used as a reserve to meet needs. Long-term use of skeletal calcium to meet these needs leads to osteoporosis.

Dairy is pushed on Americans from birth yet they have one of the highest risk of osteoporosis in the world. Actually, people from the USA, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Australia, and New Zealand have the highest rates of osteoporosis.

The test for pasteurization is called the negative alpha phosphatase test. When milk has been heated to 165 degrees (higher for UHT milk) and pasteurization is complete, the enzyme phosphatase is 100 percent destroyed. Guess what? This is the enzyme that is critical for the absorption of minerals including calcium! Phosphatase is the third most abundant enzyme in raw milk and those who drink raw milk enjoy increased bone density. Several studies have documented greater bone density and longer bones in animals and humans consuming raw milk compared to pasteurized.

The message that estrogen builds fracture-resistant bones (prevents osteoporosis) has been hammered into women's minds over the past 4 decades by the pharmaceutical industry, selling HRT formulas, such as Premarin and Prempro. Food also raises estrogen levels in a person's body--and dairy foods account for about 60 to 70% of the estrogen that comes from food. The main source of this estrogen is the modern factory farming practice of continuously milking cows throughout pregnancy. As gestation progresses the estrogen content of milk increases from 15 pg/ml to 1000 pg/ml.

The National Dairy Council would like you to believe, "There is no evidence that protein-rich foods such as dairy foods adversely impact calcium balance or bone health." But these same dairy people know this is untrue and they state elsewhere, "Excess dietary protein, particularly purified proteins, increases urinary calcium excretion. This calcium loss could potentially cause negative calcium balance, leading to bone loss and osteoporosis. These effects have been attributed to an increased endogenous acid load created by the metabolism of protein, which requires neutralization by alkaline salts of calcium from bone."

The More Milk You Drink, The More Inflammatory Molecules

The most likely explanation of the negative health effects of milk are the damaging inflammation caused by galactose, a breakdown product of lactose, the main sugar in milk. In a separate group of people, the team found that the more milk that people drink, the more inflammatory molecules were present in their urine.

What's more, women who reported eating a lot of cheese and yogurt had a lower chance of fracturing a bone or dying during the study than women who ate low amounts of the dairy products. This supports the inflammation hypothesis because yogurt and cheese contain much less lactose and galactose than milk.

Cancer Fuel

Of the almost 60 hormones, one is a powerful GROWTH hormone called Insulin- like Growth Factor ONE (IGF-1). By a freak of nature it is identical in cows and humans.

The foods you eat can influence how much IGF-I circulates in the blood. Diets higher in overall calories or in animal proteins tend to boost IGF-I, and there seems to be an especially worrisome role played by milk.

Consider this hormone to be a "fuel cell" for any cancer... (the medical world says IGF-1 is a key factor in the rapid growth and proliferation of breast, prostate and colon cancers, and we suspect that most likely it will be found to promote ALL cancers). IGF-1 is a normal part of ALL milk... the newborn is SUPPOSED to grow quickly! What makes the 50% of obese American consumers think they need MORE growth? Consumers don't think anything about it because they do not have a clue to the problem... nor do most of our doctors.

Studies funded by the dairy industry show a 10% increase in IGF-1 levels in adolescent girls from one pint daily and the same 10% increase for postmenopausal women from 3 servings per day of nonfat milk or 1% milk.

IGF-1 promotes undesirable growth too--like cancer growth and accelerated aging. IGF-1 is one of the most powerful promoters of cancer growth ever discovered. Overstimulation of growth by IGF-1 leads to premature aging too--and reducing IGF-1 levels is "anti-aging."

A review published by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research in 1997 found that cancer risk paralleled milk consumption in numerous studies.

Pasteurization Masks Low-Quality Milk and Destroy Nutrients and Enzymes

Why do humans still drink milk? Because they think it's safe due to pasteurization. However, heat destroys a great number of bacteria in milk and thus conceals the evidence of dirt, pus and dirty dairy practices. It's cheaper to produce dirty milk and kill the bacteria by heat, than to maintain a clean dairy and keep cows healthy. To combat the increase in pathogens milk goes through 'clarification', 'filtering', 'bactofugation' and two 'deariation' treatments. Each of these treatments uses heat ranging from 100-175 degrees Fahrenheit. Dairies count on many heat treatments to mask their inferior sanitary conditions: milk filled with pus, manure and debris. Consumer Reports found 44% of 125 pasteurized milk samples contained as many as 2200 organisms per cubic centimeter (fecal bacteria, coliforms)

Pasteurization also destroys vitamin C, and damages water soluble B vitamins diminishing the nutrient value of milk. Calcium and other minerals are made unavailable by pasteurization. The Maillard reaction, a chemical reaction between proteins and sugars, occurs at higher heats and causes browning, discoloring the milk.

Milk enzymes, proteins, antibodies as well as beneficial hormones are killed by pasteurization resulting in devitalized 'lifeless' milk. Milk enzymes help digest lactose and both enzymes and milk proteins help to absorb vitamins. Protective enzymes in milk are inactivated, making it more susceptible to spoilage.

Overall, pasteurized milk is not a beverage that can be recommended to either maintain or advance health. It has no significant nutritional value and there is a far greater risk in consuming it than not. There are also plenty of alternatives including coconut milk, nut milks (i.e. almond, cashew), and hemp milk which far exceed conventional cow's milk in terms of nutrition and health promoting properties.


aicr.org (PDF)






Deep undercover: Police officer in UK fathered a child with an activist as part of an investigation

Court settlement raises new questions about ethics of police infiltration

UK Metropolitan Police

© CGP Grey

Metropolitan police officer Bob Lambert’s mission was to work his way into the “intensely furtive, hard-core wing of the animal rights movement.

What are the limits - if any - to undercover policing? At what point is a moral, ethical, or legal threshold crossed when an undercover operative insinuates himself into a targeted group or the lives of its members?

Last Thursday British media reported that the UK's Metropolitan Police would pay £425,000 (about $686,000) in a settlement with a woman, known only as Jacqui, who was conned by a man who fathered her first child, said that he loved her, and then one day disappeared. She knew him as Bob Robinson. His real name, as she would learn 25 years later, was Bob Lambert. He was an operative with the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), a special unit within the British police that infiltrated a host of environmentalist groups to gather intelligence. In several cases the operatives, almost always men, established long-term intimate relationships with women in order to gain access to the world of underground animal rights or environmental activists.

Jacqui's was 22 when she first met Lambert. He was more than ten years older than her, and had already been a member of the Metropolitan police for several years. He went undercover in 1983 not long before he met Jacqui. As Rob Evans and Paul Lewis explain in their book , Lambert's mission was to work his way into the "intensely furtive, hard-core wing of the animal rights movement: the Animal Liberation Front." Having a girlfriend who was already trusted and well connected within activist circles was one of the easiest ways to become a "deep swimmer," a phrase used by members of the SDS to describe spies who completely immersed themselves in the groups they were monitoring. In addition to Jacqui, Lambert is known to have had romantic relationships with three other women during his career as an undercover operative. Seven other women have also filed charges against the Metropolitan police.

The revelation that she shared her life with a man she did not really know has wrecked Jacqui's life. The Guardian reports: "The woman has been receiving psychiatric treatment and has contemplated suicide since she read a newspaper in 2012 and found out the true identity of the man who had fathered her son before abandoning her and the child 24 years previously."

The extent to which such tactics were condoned is unclear. The police have denied that there was ever any formal policy authorizing such behavior, but the history of the SDS remains rather murky. It took the agency years to even acknowledge that Lambert had been a mole; only when it became publicly untenable to continue the denials did the agency move beyond the pro forma response of neither confirming nor denying his role. But clearly there was an informal culture of using relationships with women to gain access to activist circles. An internal police review, known as Operation Herne, found that, "There was informal tacit authority regarding sexual relationships and guidance was offered for officers faced with the prospect of a sexual relationship." Former SDS officer Peter Francis put it more plainly when he told the BBC that sex was "used by almost everybody who was serving in that unit."

To what end? To gain access, of course. In the process of destroying the lives of women like Jacqui, SDS agents may have committed other crimes as well. Lambert in particular has long been suspected of taking part in a bombing of a department store in 1987. Caroline Lucas, an MP for the Green Party, testified before parliament and alleged that Lambert was one of three individuals who took part in the attack. The other two spent several years in jail. Lucas also called for "a far-reaching public inquiry into police infiltrators and informers."

But last week's settlement may have the opposite effect. It heads off a potentially embarrassing lawsuit and essentially puts a lid on the case. As Jacqui told the BBC: "The amount of money [in the settlement] shows there is a cover-up." Indeed. Eveline Lubbers, the author of , a history of corporate and police spying in Europe, says the settlement is yet another way for the police to "evade legal accountability." She notes that none of the police officers or their superiors, who were likely aware of the rampant sexual misconduct, have been prosecuted. "The money means that police abuse of power is not going to court," she wrote to me in an email over the weekend.

A full accounting of the SDS's activities throughout the 80s and 90s would have to include an investigation into the department's use of agents provocateur and incitement of violence, its sharing of intelligence with the private sector, and its role in recruiting activists. Lambert's story is sensational, but it is only one of many. By the 1990s, according to a Special Branch officer quoted by Evans and Lewis, there were more than 100 undercover officers working the ranks of the animal rights movement.

In the post-9/11 world there's little question that undercover policing is alive and well. Look no further than the streets of New York or Detroit. Environmental groups and activists, as we've documented here at , remain targets of an ever-expanding national security state. Last year undercover officers infiltrated a tar sands resistance training camp in Oklahoma. The FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and state and local police routinely share information with the oil and gas industry with little or no public oversight.

Unlike Lambert, though, the stories of most deep swimmers never come to light. And the moral, ethical, and legal questions raised by their conduct are often obscured by the secretive nature of the work itself. When it comes to undercover policing, the rules of the game are almost always made behind closed doors. As Lubbers points out, it's about more than just sexual misconduct.

"It's about disruption of political dissent," she says. "We need to know the extent of the undercover activities. And we need an end to it."

Putin: It's extremely important to counteract any attempts at reviving fascist ideology


© Alexei Nikolsky/TASS

Russian President Vladimir Putin finds it extremely important to combat any attempts to revive fascist ideology and falsify Russian-Ukrainian common history, said a congratulatory message which the Russian head of state sent to veterans of the Great Patriotic War and Ukrainian people on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of country's liberation from fascist invaders.

"In the years of the Great Patriotic War, the power of spirit and unity of our multinational nation, valor and sustaining power of warriors-liberators, guerrillas, resistance movement fighters and workers of the rear was showed in all their grandeur during heavy and bloody battles for Ukraine," the Kremlin press service quoted the president as saying.

"Our grandfathers and fathers together, in common ranks, were fighting courageously and selflessly for the freedom and independence of the Motherland, were defeating the enemy and were bringing a long-awaited victory closer."

"We should preserve carefully remarkable traditions of fraternal friendship and mutual assistance they left. This is extremely important to raise the growing generation with high patriotic values, actively counteract any attempts at reviving fascist ideology, instigation of inter-ethnic strife and falsification of our common history," Putin noted.

The Russian president wished "Ukrainian veterans of the Great Patriotic War good health, well-being and strong spirit and peace and prosperity to all fraternal people of Ukraine."

10 ways Obama has silenced American media, from intimidation to surveillance


© www.tpnn.com

After US President Barack Obama entered office in 2009 pledging transparency and open government, it was a refreshing wind of change from the locked-down Bush years. The reality, however, has fallen dramatically short of the promise.

10. White House seizes phone records of Associated Press reporters

During a two-month period in 2012, the US Justice Department seized telephone records from some 100 journalists at AP offices in New York, Washington and Connecticut without providing any explanation. The government waited until May 2013 to inform the global news agency of the unprecedented surveillance, which naturally sparked a wave of consternation and not a little apprehension throughout the media world. There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of The Associated Press and its reporters," AP Chief Executive Gary Pruitt said in a letter addressed to former Attorney General Eric Holder.

© AFP Photo / Jean Ayissi

9. Emmy-award winning reporter accuses government of bugging her laptop

In her book, former CBS anchor Sharyl Attkisson says she was informed that one of the US government's intelligence agencies "discovered my Skype account handle, stole the password, activated the audio, and made heavy use of it, presumably as a listening tool." Further inspection of the laptop revealed classified US documents that were "buried deep" in her computer. The reason for the "plant," according to her unidentified source, "was probably to accuse you of having classified documents if they ever needed to do that at some point."

Brains & artistry behind my 2013 Emmy for Outstanding Investigative Journalism:Producer Kim Skeen,Editor Nancy Wyatt. http://ift.tt/1fpqT9o

- Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson) October 12, 2013

8. News correspondent's emails monitored

In May 2013, Fox News correspondent James Rosen was accused under the Espionage Act of possibly being a "co-conspirator" in the 2009 release of classified information on North Korea's nuclear plans based on interviews with his Washington source. It was revealed that the US government monitored Rosen's emails, a clandestine activity that would seem to have little in common with the spirit of a free press. The charges came at a very peculiar time. Republican Senator Marco Rubio reminded that Rosen had been aggressively reporting on the 2012 Benghazi tragedy, which saw the US ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens killed during a massive protest. "The sort of reporting by James Rosen detailed in the report is the same sort of reporting that helped Mr. Rosen aggressively pursue questions about the Administration's handling of Benghazi." Was not-so-subtle pressure being exerted on Rosen to back off on Benghazi?

© AFP Photo

Libyans wave their new national flag as they celebrate the 1st anniversary marking the start of the uprising against Moamer Kadhafi in Freedom Square in the eastern city of Benghazi on February 17, 2012

7. Obama's 'Insider Threat Program'

Following a wave of whistleblowing activities inside government agencies, an "Insider Threat Program" is being organized inside government agencies that "require all federal employees to help prevent unauthorized disclosures of information by monitoring the behavior of their colleagues," according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. In this atmosphere, instead of treating the disease of rampant intrusiveness of the sort revealed last year by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the government hopes to merely hide the symptoms of its abusive powers. Since 2009, seven government employees, including Snowden, have been subjects of felony criminal prosecutions under the 1917 Espionage Act, accused of leaking classified information to the media. AP's Washington Bureau Chief Sally Buzbee said some government employees have allegedly been told they could lose their jobs for talking to reporters, adding, "day-to-day intimidation of sources is also extremely chilling."

6. Obama, the stage-managed president

Editors of The Associated Press condemned the White House's latest novelty in the field of photojournalism of handing out press release-style pictures taken by his own staff photographers. These official photographs do little to capture history and are "little more than propaganda," according to AP director of photography Santiago Lyon. Past presidential administrations were less restrictive about taking photographs, putting into doubt once again Obama's claim that he aims for "the most transparent administration" in White House history.

5. Censorship

In July, 40 news organizations reminded President Obama in a letter that any attempt to control what the public is allowed to see and hear is a form of "censorship." The candid communication provided a picture of the increasingly repressive atmosphere US journalists must contend with when attempting to provide coverage on stories connected to the government: "Journalists are reporting that most federal agencies prohibit their employees from communicating with the press unless the bosses have public relations staffers sitting in on the conversations. Contact is often blocked completely: Reporters seeking interviews are expected to seek permission, often providing questions in advance. Delays can stretch for days, longer than most deadlines allow. Public affairs officers might send their own written responses of slick non-answers." Meanwhile, the reported in September that members of the White House press-pool have complained that Obama media officials demand changes to their stories before they are disseminated to the public, allowing the White House to put a positive spin on stories.

4. Bye-bye military embeds

As the Obama administration has opened its latest military offensive, this time against the Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS] in Iraq and Syria, only a few photographs are trickling out of the war zone. Gone are the days when journalists were embedded in the military, documenting conflicts side-by-side soldiers as the action was happening. "News organizations can't shoot photos or video of bombers as they take off - there are no embeds. In fact, the administration won't even say what country the S. bombers fly from," complained AP's Washington Bureau Chief Sally Buzbee.

3. Guantanamo Bay information blackout

Despite early campaign promises to close down the infamous Guantanamo Bay detention center, the facility is not only still open but the Obama administration is keeping the public in the dark as the military tribunal against some 175 alleged terrorists enters its closing stages. Photo and video coverage is outright forbidden. This is strange considering that even the Nuremburg hearings against Nazi leaders - who killed far more people than Al-Qaeda - permitted the media a front-row seat at the international hearings. It is also a very unfortunate and telling footnote to the American claim that it wants to spread democracy around the world.

© Reuters / Deborah Gembara

Detainees participate in an early morning prayer session at Camp IV at the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base

2. Investigation against reporter James Risen

Following the publication of James Risen's 2006 book, ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling was hit with felony charges for allegedly revealing classified information involving Iran's nuclear program. Department of Justice lawyer Robert A. Parker, arguing that the Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist should be forced to testify in the trial of Sterling, said there's "no [reporter's] privilege in the first place." In June, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal from Risen, who now faces imprisonment for refusing to identify his source. "We can only hope now that the government will not seek to have him held in contempt for doing nothing more than reporting the news and keeping his promises," his lawyer, Joel Kurtzberg, told the .

1. Hunting season for whistleblowers

The Obama administration has filed seven cases under the Espionage Act, the latest one against former NSA contractor Edward Snowden this June. Before Barack Obama was sworn into office in 2009, there had been only three cases of the government using the Espionage Act to prosecute government officials for blowing the whistle on questionable activities. "There's no question that this has a chilling effect," Mark Mazzetti, who covers national security issues for the , told the . "People who have talked in the past are less willing to talk now."


Edward Snowden poses for a photo during an interview at an undisclosed location in December 2013 in Moscow, Russia.

500 year old map points to a very ancient human civilization

ancient map

If conventional wisdom on the history of the human race is correct, then human civilization is not old enough, nor was it advanced enough, to account for many of the mysterious monolithic and archeological sites around the world. Places like Gobekli Tepe in Turkey, the Bosnian Pyramids, and Adam's Calendar in South Africa, beg the same question: if human civilization is supposedly not old enough to have created all of these sites, then who, or what, had the capacity to create so many elaborate structures around the globe?

It is clear that our understanding of our own history is incomplete, and there is plenty of credible evidence pointing to the existence of intelligent and civilized cultures on Earth long before the first human cultures emerged from the Middle East around 4000BC. The Admiral Piri Reis world map of 1513 is part of the emerging more complete story of our history, one that challenges mainstream thinking in big ways.

Mapmaking is a complex and civilized task, thought to have emerged around 1000BC with the Babylonian clay tablets. Antarctica was officially first sighted by a Russian expedition in 1820 and is entirely covered in ice caps thought to have formed around 34-45 million years ago. Antarctica, therefore, should not be seen on any map prior to 1820, and all sighted maps of Antarctica should contain the polar ice caps, which are supposedly millions of years old.

A world map made by Ottoman cartographer and military admiral, Piri Reis, casts some doubt on what we think we know about ancient civilization.

The Piri Reis map, which focuses on Western Africa, the East Coast of South America, and the North Coast of Antarctica, features the details of a coastline that many historians and geologists believe represents Queen Maud Land, that is, Antarctica. Remarkably, as represented in this map, the frigid continent was not covered in ice caps, but, rather, with dense vegetation. How could a map drawn in 1513 feature a continent that wasn't discovered until 1820? And if the continent had in fact been discovered by one of the civilizations known to have emerged after 4000BC, why were the ice caps not on the map?

The paradoxes presented by the map were of little significance to the world until Charles Hapgood, a history professor from New Hampshire, USA, claimed that the information in the Piri Reis map supported a different view of geology and ancient history. Hapgood believed that the map verified his global geological theory, which explains how portions of Antarctica could have remained ice-free until 4000BC.

Hapgood's presentation is so convincing that even famed theoretical physicist and philosopher Albert Einstein wrote the following supportive forward to a book that Hapgood wrote in 1953:

"His idea is original, of great simplicity, and - if it continues to prove itself - of great importance to everything that is related to the history of the Earth's surface." -Albert Einstein

Piri Reis map

Unquestionably not a hoax, the map is certifiably authentic, but the information on the map is of mysterious origin. Piri Reis himself notes that the map was drawn from information sourced from other, older maps, charts and logs, many of which, Hapgood suggests, may have been copied and transcribed repeatedly since before the destruction of the Library of Alexandria in Egypt, which wiped out the literature of antiquity and vast cultural knowledge.

This hypothesis opens the door to the possibility that some forgotten ancient civilization had the capacity to voyage to the Antarctic, charting the earth, with the technology to make maps, sometime before the ice caps formed. A significant departure from our present understanding of our history.

The absence of the ice caps in the Piri Reis map is peculiar, and in 1960 Hapgood brought his theories on this to the attention of the United States Air Force. Hapgood asked, among other things, if the shape of the continent, as it appeared on the Piri Reis map, was at all similar to the shape of the continent under the ice, as revealed by recent Air Force testing of seismic data on the continent. Their answer was astonishing:

"...the geographical detail shown in the lower part of the map agrees very remarkably with the results of the seismic profile made across the top of the ice-cap by the Swedish-British Antarctic Expedition of 1949.

This indicates the coastline had been mapped before it was covered by the ice-cap.

The ice-cap in this region is now about a mile thick.

We have no idea how the data on this map can be reconciled with the supposed state of geographical knowledge in 1513.

Harold Z. Ohlmeyer

Lt. Colonel, USAF


[Fingerprints of the Gods]

If Hapgood's theory has merit, as even Einstein believed, then there was a period of time from around 13000BC to 6000BC when Antarctica was located more closely to the equator and was more tropical in climate, much like parts of South America. This was caused by a sudden shift of the earth's entire lithosphere, he theorized, simultaneously moving all of the continents into their present position, a much different view than the widely accepted explanation offered the plate tectonics theory.

If Antarctica had indeed been further North then than it presently is, and was not covered in ice only as recently as 6000BC, then who was around back then that could have mapped it, long before any known civilizations? And who could have done so long before the advent of the marine chronometer in the 18th century, which finally solved the problem of accurately tracking longitude on the high seas?

Had the entire Earth already been mapped by 4000BC, by a civilization that has been forgotten, as analysis of the Piri Reis map and the theories of Charles Hapgood suggest?

- Hancock, Graham. . 1995, Crown Trade Paperbacks.

- http://ift.tt/1rmQjXw

To reap the brain benefits of physical activity, just get moving

Everyone knows that exercise makes you feel more mentally alert at any age. But do you need to follow a specific training program to improve your cognitive function? Science has shown that the important thing is to just get moving. It's that simple.

Everyone knows that exercise makes you feel more mentally alert at any age. But do you need to follow a specific training program to improve your cognitive function? Science has shown that the important thing is to just get moving. It's that simple. In fact, this was the finding of a study conducted at the Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal (IUGM), an institution affiliated with Université de Montréal, by Dr. Nicolas Berryman, PhD, Exercise Physiologist, under the supervision of Dr. Louis Bherer, PhD, and Dr. Laurent Bosquet, PhD, that was published in the journal AGE (American Aging Association) in October.

The study compared the effects of different training methods on the cognitive functions of people aged 62 to 84 years. Two groups were assigned a high-intensity aerobic and strength-training program, whereas the third group performed tasks that targeted gross motor activities (coordination, balance, ball games, locomotive tasks, and flexibility). While the aerobics and strength-training were the only exercises that led to physical fitness improvements after 10 weeks (in terms of body composition, VO2 max, and maximum strength), all three groups showed equivalent improvement in cognitive performance.

The subjects in the third group performed activities that can easily be done at home, which is excellent news for sedentary people who can't see themselves suddenly going to a gym to work out. To improve your cognitive health, you can simply start by doing any activity you like.

"Our study targeted executive functions, or the functions that allow us to continue reacting effectively to a changing environment. We use these functions to plan, organize, develop strategies, pay attention to and remember details, and manage time and space," explained Dr. Louis Bherer, PhD.

"For a long time, it was believed that only aerobic exercise could improve executive functions. More recently, science has shown that strength-training also leads to positive results. Our new findings suggest that structured activities that aim to improve gross motor skills can also improve executive functions, which decline as we age. I would like seniors to remember that they have the power to improve their physical and cognitive health at any age and that they have many avenues to reach this goal," concluded Dr. Nicolas Berryman, PhD.

Journal Reference:

Nicolas Berryman, Louis Bherer, Sylvie Nadeau, Séléna Lauzière, Lora Lehr, Florian Bobeuf, Maxime Lussier, Marie Jeanne Kergoat, Thien Tuong Minh Vu, Laurent Bosquet. ''Multiple roads lead to Rome: combined high-intensity aerobic and strength training vs. gross motor activities leads to equivalent improvement in executive functions in a cohort of healthy older adults''. AGE, 2014; 36 (5) DOI: 10.1007/s11357-014-9710-8

Parasite-schizophrenia connection: One-fifth of schizophrenia cases may involve the parasite T. gondii

© University of Pennsylvania

The parasite T. gondii has been shown to alter behavior in rodents. Smith's study supports a link to schizophrenia in humans.

Many factors, both genetic and environmental, have been blamed for increasing the risk of a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Some, such as a family history of schizophrenia, are widely accepted. Others, such as infection with , a parasite transmitted by soil, undercooked meat and cat feces, are still viewed with skepticism.

A new study by Gary Smith, professor of population biology and epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine, used epidemiological modeling methods to determine the proportion of schizophrenia cases that may be attributable to infection. The work, published in the journal , suggests that about one-fifth of cases may involve the parasite.

"Infection with Toxoplasma is very common, so, even if only a small percentage of people suffer adverse consequences, we could be talking about problems that affect thousands and thousands of people," Smith said.

In the United States, just over a fifth of the population is infected with . The vast majority aren't aware of it. But there are some populations that need to be concerned. For example, if a woman becomes infected for the first time during pregnancy, her fetus can die or suffer serious developmental problems. People with HIV or other diseases that weaken the immune system are susceptible to a complication of infection called toxoplasmic encephalitis, which can be deadly.

Though the medical community has long believed that most healthy people suffer no adverse effects from a T. gondii infection, recent studies have found evidence of worrisome impacts, including an association with schizophrenia because the parasite is found in in the brain as well as in muscles. Other work has shown that some antipsychotic drugs can stop the parasite from reproducing. In addition, field and laboratory studies in mice, rats and people have shown that infection with T. gondii triggers changes in behavior and personality.

To further investigate this connection, Smith sought to calculate the population attributable fraction, or PAF, a metric epidemiologists use to determine how important a risk factor might be. In this case, Smith explained that the PAF is "the proportion of schizophrenia diagnoses that would not occur in a population if infections were not present."

The usual method of calculating the PAF was not well suited to examining the link between schizophrenia and , because some of the variables are constantly in flux. For example, the proportion of people infected by increases with age. Using a standard epidemiological modeling format, but taking into account all of the age-related changes in the relevant factors, Smith found the average PAF during an average lifetime to be 21.4 percent.

"In other words, we ask, if you could stop infections with this parasite, how many cases could you prevent?" Smith said. "Over a lifetime, we found that you could prevent one-fifth of all cases. That, to me, is significant."

Smith noted that in some countries, the prevalence of infection is much higher than in the U.S., and these countries also have a higher incidence of schizophrenia.

People with schizophrenia have greatly reduced life expectancies, and many are unable to work. Family members may also leave the workforce to care for relatives with the disease. For these reasons and others, schizophrenia acts as a large drain on the economy, responsible for $50 to $60 billion in health-care expenditures in the U.S. each year.

"By finding out how important a factor infection is, this work might inform our attitude to researching the subject," Smith said. "Instead of ridiculing the idea of a connection between and schizophrenia because it seems so extraordinary, we can sit down and consider the evidence. Perhaps then we might be persuaded to look for more ways to reduce the number of people infected with Toxoplasma."

The study was supported by the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

Journal Reference:

Gary Smith. ''Estimating the population attributable fraction for schizophrenia when Toxoplasma gondii is assumed absent in human populations''. , 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2014.10.009

Cyclone Nilofar targeting India's Gujarat State, Southern Pakistan

After becoming impressively strong on Tuesday, Cyclone Nilofar has begun to weaken. Nilofar is expected to head towards southeastern Pakistan and northwestern India, with landfall likely on Saturday.

On Tuesday afternoon, Nilofar intensified to the equivalent of a hurricane with estimated wind speeds of 130 mph, according to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center, about 650 miles south-southwest of Karachi, Pakistan. Nilofar underwent rapid intensification, and became the third strongest tropical cyclone of record in the Arabian Sea.

Only Gonu in 2007 (Cat. 5; 165 mph winds) and Phet in 2010 (Cat. 4; 145 mph winds) were stronger Arabian Sea tropical cyclones in the historical record, according to Masters.

By Wednesday afternoon (local time), winds have weakened to the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane, with wind speeds of 115 mph. Incidentally, the term "hurricane" is not used in this case.

Nilofar is now tracking toward the north under the steering influence of an upper-level high pressure system centered over southern India.

By later Wednesday (local time), Nilofar will curl sharply northeast and accelerate, as upper-level jet stream winds grab hold of the cyclone. On this track, Nilofar will remain well east of the Arabian Peninsula.

These jet stream winds will impart increasing vertical wind shear, and drier air may also work into the cyclone. Both of these factors are expected to weaken Nilofar significantly by the time it makes landfall somewhere along the coast of India's Gujarat state or extreme southeast Pakistan Saturday, local time. At the time of landfall, Nilofar is expected to be the strength of a low-grade tropical storm, if not weaker.

The (IMD) -- the agency responsible for tropical cyclone advisories in the northern Indian Ocean, including the Arabian Sea -- has issued a yellow message cyclone alert for the northern coast of India's Gujarat state.

The IMD warned of "damage to thatched roofs and huts" near the landfall location of Nilofar Saturday and urged fishermen along and off the Gujarat coast to return to port. Coastal hut dwellers were urged to move to safer location.

The warned of isolated heavy rainfall and strong, gusty winds in the Lower Sindh including Karachi, and coastal areas of Balochistan from Wednesday night into Saturday morning.

Karachi, one of the world's most populous megacities (2014 population estimate: 23.5 million), only averages about 7.9 inches of rain each year. Depending on the track of Nilofar, over one inch of total rainfall is possible, which could trigger flash flooding.

The image below of global tropical cyclone tracks indicates that Arabian Sea tropical cyclones are not as unusual as they sound.

Each year, an average of 1-2 tropical cyclones form in the Arabian Sea, according to .

These cyclones are most likely to form in two periods: from May - June and October - November. The mid-late summer period is typically not favorable, thanks to increased wind shear from the wet phase of the Asian monsoon.

In June 2007, , making landfall in Oman, then in southern Iran.

Gonu claimed 100 lives in Oman, Iran and the United Arab Emirates and was responsible for $4 billion in damage, according to .

Almost exactly three years later, Cyclone Phet alarmingly intensified to a equivalent cyclone, before weakening to a Category 1 storm upon making landfall on the eastern tip of Oman, east of the capital city of Muscat.

In May 1999, Cyclone ARB 01 slammed into Pakistan near Karachi as a strong equivalent storm, killing at least 700 in Pakistan. This was the strongest tropical cyclone on record to hit Pakistan.

In the limited historical record, however, strong cyclones in the Arabian Sea are more rare than other basins, due to the proximity of dry air from the Arabian Desert, the aforementioned increased wind shear during the wet phase of the Asian monsoon, and the basin's overall small size.

More than 100 believed dead in Sri Lanka landslide after heavy monsoon rain

© REUTERS/Stringer

Rescue teams from the Sri Lankan military engage in rescue operation work at the site of a landslide at the Koslanda tea plantation in Badulla October 29, 2014.

A landslide in hilly south-central Sri Lanka is believed to have killed more than 100 people on Wednesday as it buried scores of houses, a government minister said, and the toll is likely to rise.

The landslide hit a village in the tea-growing area of Sri Lanka after days of heavy monsoon rain, with more than 300 people listed as missing.

"More than 100 people are believed to have died," Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera told Reuters from the disaster site in the village of Haldummulla, 190 km (120 miles) inland from the capital, Colombo.

"We have suspended the rescue operations because of darkness and inclement weather. There is also a threat of further landslides."

[embedded content]

Children who left for school in the morning returned to find their clay and cement houses had been buried. Nearly 300 children were gathered at a nearby school as night fell amid further landslide threats.

The Disaster Management Centre said 10 bodies had been found so far, at least 300 people were missing and 150 houses buried in the village, which lies south of a popular national park.

Amaraweera said the landslide was at least 3 km (2 miles) long. Villagers had been advised in 2005 and 2012 to move away because of the threat of landslides, but many did not heed the warning, he said.

© Reuters/Stringer

Villagers engage in search and rescue to uncover survivors and dead bodies from the site of landslide at the Koslanda tea plantation in Badulla October 29, 2014.

"I was under the rubble and some people took me out ... my mother and aunt have died," a woman who was being treated for injuries told media.

There have been a number of landslides since the start of heavy rains in mid-September resulting in damage to roads, but there had been no casualties until Wednesday.

Some roads in the central districts of Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, and Badulla were blocked on Wednesday due to landslides, limiting public transport.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa tweeted that military heavy machinery had been deployed to speed up search and rescue operations.

The people living in the affected hilly area are mostly of Indian Tamil origin, descendants of workers brought to Sri Lanka from South India under British rule as cheap labour to work on tea, rubber and coffee plantations.

Dead humpback whale found on Kapiti Coast, New Zealand

© David Haxton

Iwi perform a karakia by the dead humpback whale on Waikanae Beach.

A 10 metre-long humpback whale has washed up dead on Waikanae Beach early this morning.

Department of Conservation spokeswoman Jane Dobson said they received reports of the stranding, south of Waikanae Boat Club, around 6.30am.

"It's been confirmed that it's a humpback whale, approximately 10 metres long and estimated to be about 25 to 30 tonne.

"Senior ranger Brent Tandy has said that its smaller size suggests it's not fully mature."

Ms Dobson said it was unknown how the whale had died, but it appeared to have been dead for some time.

"It's a little bit smelly and it's not in the nicest condition."

Although there had been no other recent sightings of humpback in the area, it was common for them to be migrating back along the West Coast, Ms Dobson said.

Doc staff were currently with the whale and it was due to be buried further along the Kapiti Coast early tomorrow morning with the help of local iwi Te Atiawa Ki Whakarongotai, she said.

A sample of the whale's blubber would be sent to Auckland University for analysis.

"They've decided that they'll send off a sample but they're not going to do an autopsy for this one."

Exactly 110 years ago, on October 29, 1904, a 16 metre wright whale valued at £300 to £400 washed up on Waikanae Beach, discovered by Wi Parata.

Diplomacy on the human level: Ukrainians and Novorussians sit down and talk


Alexey Mozgovoi.

Something fantastically interesting has happened in Novorussia: two senior Novorussian commanders, Igor Bezler and Alexei Mozgovoi have attempted to communicate with those Ukrainians who are on the other side.

Though I am not sure about the exact dates of the events (all I have is the dates of the posting on YouTube), this apparently began when Igor Bezler agreed to be interviewed by three TV crews at the same time: a Russian one, a Novorussian one, and a Ukrainian one. The big news here was, of course, that a Ukrainian journalist was given access to the city of Gorlovka, currently surrounded by Ukrainian forces, and that she got to speak with the local people, including combatants and then that she was given access to Bezler himself. Since all the journalists were more or less openly accusing each other of "filtering the truth" all parties agreed that the full recording, unedited, would be made available on YouTube. Now please keep in mind that in Banderastan, Russian journalists are blacklisted, Russian TV stations banned, and that the people in the junta controlled Ukraine are told that the other side are terrorists and Russian soldiers. Oh, and the Ukrainian media is the most disgusting, sold out, subservient, propagandistic you can imagine. And then suddenly, at least one Ukrainian TV crew agrees to show the face of one of the most feared Novorussian commanders and he gets to speak his mind.

But the next event was even more amazing. Alexei Mozgovoi agreed to a videoconference with not only Ukrainian journalists, but with actual field commanders of the Ukrainian military. To see Mozgovoi and the Ukrainians speak directly to each other was absolutely amazing. And here I have to apologize. I will not ask our translators to translate and subtitle the full thing. First, there were not one, but two such videoconferences. Then, we are talking about three long videos, see for yourself:

Bezler interview: Published on Oct 21, 2014 (length: 2 hours 17 min)

[embedded content]

First videoconference of Mozgovoi: Published on Oct 22, 2014 (length: 1 hour 20 mins)

[embedded content]

Second videoconference of Mozgovoi: Published Oct 28, 2014 (length:1 hour 51 mins)

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I do hope that somebody somewhere will translate it all, but this is way too big a load for me to ask any of our volunteers.

Also, these are very complex videos. There are discussions, some short moments of yelling and interrupting, there is cross-talk and there are even two songs. This is complex, very emotional stuff, very hard to convey in a translated text. Besides, who will have the time to sit through it all?

No, what I propose is to share with you the elements which struck me so much.

But first I need to clarify an important point: while the original idea apparently had been to have combatants talking to combatants, the Ukrainian side only had a few commanders and a few activists. The Novorussian side was composed of actual soldiers. Apparently, the Ukrainian side did not feel comfortable putting their foot-soldiers on the spot.

First and foremost, . Both sides agreed that this war was useless and only benefited the enemies of the Ukraine. Both sides expressed contempt, disgust and even hatred for the politicians in power and the oligarchs who rule over Banderastan today. Both sides also agree that Yanukovich was a scumbag and that the Maidan protests were absolutely legitimate but that the original protests had been hijacked by enemies of the Ukraine. Both sides also agreed that this war had to be stopped. Now, please keep in mind that Ukrainian Nazis were, of course, not invited. These were mainly regular Ukrainian military speaking to Novorussian military and Ukrainian activists speaking to Mozgovoi. There were also some real disagreements.

The Ukrainian position was this (paraphrase - not real quote): "the Maidan was legitimate and correct but you - the Novorussians - took up arms and you thereby created a crisis which the illegitimate junta used and which prevented us from defending our political goals. We don't want our country to further break up and what you are doing is exactly that. Also, we know that the Russian "Polite Armed Men in Green" are fighting on your side and many of you are not representing true Ukrainian interests, but Russian interests. Stop fighting and join the political process to clean our country from the crazies".

To which Mozgovoi replied (paraphrase - not real quote): "we did not choose to fight, you came to our land and you are killing our people. If you really want to clean Kiev from the Nazi scum, then don't stand between us and Kiev and let us pass - we will take care of them no problem. You are taking orders from Nazis and oligarchs and you are doing nothing to stop them from killing our people. If we were to lay down our arms, we would all be massacred.

One interesting thing was that when the Ukrainians accused the Novorussians of doing Russia's bidding, Mozgovoi replied that the Ukrainians were pawns of the CIA and, amazingly, the Ukrainians pretty much agreed that the CIA was running the show. As for Mozgovoi, he did not deny that Russia was helping.

Both sides were expressing frustration that they could not unite their forces and jointly get rid of the oligarchs and Nazis.

During the Bezler interview, there was one amazing moment was when the Ukrainian crew asked Bezler if he spoke Ukrainian, to which he replied that 'yes'. Unconvinced, the Ukrainian crew asked him if he could recite a poem by the famous poet Taras Shevchenko. Then, to everybody's surprise, Bezler recited the poem "to the Poles" in which Sevchenko describes how happy the Cossaks were,

Until in the name of Christ

The ксьондзи (Latin Priests) came and set afire

To our quiet paradise. And spilled

A huge sea of tears and blood,

And killed and crucified orphans

In the Name of Christ

The heads of Cossacks then dropped

Like trampled grass,

The Ukraine cried, and moaned!

And the head after head

Fell to the ground. As if enraged,

A priest furious tongue

Screamed: «Te Deum! Hallelujah! .. "

And this is how my Polish friend and brother!

Evil priests and rich men

Separated us from each other

When we could have lived together happy

[nb: this is my own translation, I could not find this poem in English anywhere; as any Russian, I mostly understand Ukrainian, but I can easily misunderstand a word or expression so, caveat emptor, and don't take this translation to the bank! The Saker]

It was quite amazing to see how well Bezler spoke Ukrainian and how he used this opportunity to remind his Ukrainian counterparts how already in the past they were used and manipulated by Russia- and Orthodoxy-hating westerners, and he did so using verses of their own national hero!

In another rather surreal moment, a Novorussian solider took out a guitar and sang a song about the war. The Ukrainians were clearly moved, although they were also disturbed by the fact that the song repeatedly said that these were "Russians fighting Russians". This issue came up several again later in the conversation. From the Novorussian point of view, the Ukrainians were also part of the "Russian cultural realm" (as opposed to state or nationality) albeit with a different accent and a different history. The Ukrainians insisted that they were a different nationality, albeit one with strong ties to the "Russian cultural realm".

During both the Bezler and Mozgovoi interviews the issue of prisoners was raised. Both sides reported that their men were mistreated and even tortured while in captivity. Interestingly, during the Bezler interview there were two Ukrainian officials present, one human right activist and another who was representing the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense for the topic of POWs. They both readily admitted that Bezler treated the Ukrainian prisoners not as prisoners at all, but as guests: they were free to walk around, they ate and slept with Bezler's men, they were treated with kindness and hospitality. In once instance he even fed them red caviar! But the very same Bezler openly admitted that "we take no prisoners from the Nazi death squads" confirming what I have said many times: the Russian kindness and generosity towards Ukrainian POWs only extends to regular army units - captured death squad members are immediately executed.

There are hundred of small moments and exchanges which I wish I could convey to you, but that would take too much space and time. What I will say is that it was quite amazing to see enemies talking to each other in a very friendly manner. I was also amazed at how readily the Ukrainians agreed that the Ukraine must rid herself from the Nazis and the oligarchs. In various occasions people on both sides said "let's do that together!". Others were more dubious. Frankly, I am extremely impressed by the courage and decency of many of the Ukrainians in these interviews who, while standing their ground on the issue of the territorial integrity of the Ukraine, quite openly said how much they hated the Nazis and the oligarchs. I sure hope that God will protect these men for their courage.

Both Bezler and Mozgovoi looked very, very good. The latter especially surprised me by explicitly stating that his goal was regime change in Kiev and not just the separation of Novorussia which he clearly sees as a only temporary solution and as a necessary self-defense measure. Clearly, both Bezler and Mozgovoi are first and foremost anti-Nazis and both of them see that there is not "Novorussian solution". Mozgovoi explicitly stated that he thinks that both sides could live together if the Ukrainians got rid of their Nazis and oligarchs.

While I have always said that the only possible stable solution of the crisis is a de-nazification of the Ukraine and a conversion of the current Banderastan into a "mentally sane" Ukraine, I am not naive and I also see that this might take a decade or more. However, seeing how Mozgovoi and his Ukrainian counterparts agreed on the need to de-nazify and de-oligarchise (is that English?) I see that there is hope because the bottom line is this: both sides have much more in common than what separates them!

Again, these were regular Ukrainians, not crazed Nazi death-squad members, I understand that. And the two sides do disagree on fundamental issues. I see that too. But I also see that there is a basis, a minimum in common, to negotiate. This does not have to be a war of extermination.

The Ukraine as we knew her is dead. Now we have Crimea and Novorussia which are gone forever, and a rump-Ukraine I call "Banderastan" which is occupied by the US CIA, Ukie Nazis and oligarchs. My hope is that just as the Ukrainian civil war turned into a war for the self-determination and liberation of Novorussia, so will the war for self-determination and liberation of Novorussia turn into a war for the liberation of Banderastan from its US/Nazi/oligarchic occupiers. If that happens and if a new Ukraine eventually emerges, then I have no doubt that the people of the Ukraine will agree that each region should have the right of self-determination ranging from cultural right to full separation. Only then will we really find out which regions want to stay and which ones want to leave forever.

In the meantime, I am very positively impressed by the Novorussian field commanders. Bezler and Mozgovoi of course, but also Givi, Motorola, Zakharchenko, Kononov and the others are all strong figures capable of both fighting and talking. Strelkov, alas, is still more or less in political no man's land and I am very concerned about his proximity with the blogger el-Murid who is clearly a "gateway" to the "hurray-patriots" and "Putin bashers" which are being used by the Empire to try to discredit Putin. Still, the political infighting amongst Novorussian leaders continues and there is still no clear leader. Hopefully, the upcoming elections will help to solve this issue.

The Saker