XIAM007

Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

So crime DOES pay: Washington D.C. passes proposal to give residents up to $9,000 in cash not to commit crime -

So crime DOES pay: Washington D.C. passes proposal to give residents up to $9,000 in cash not to commit crime - 



They say crime doesn't pay, but that might not be entirely true in the U.S. capital as lawmakers look for ways to discourage people from becoming repeat offenders.
The D.C. Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a bill that includes a proposal to pay residents a stipend if they don't commit any crimes.
It's based on a program in Richmond, California, that advocates say has contributed to reductions in crime there.

Under the bill, city officials would identify up to 200 people a year who are considered at risk of either committing or becoming victims of violent crime. 
Those people would be directed to participate in behavioral therapy and other programs. If they fulfill those obligations and stay out of trouble, they would be paid.
The bill doesn't specify the value of the stipends, but participants in the California program receive up to $9,000 per year.
Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, a Democrat who wrote the legislation, said it was part of a comprehensive approach to reducing violent crime in the city, which experienced a 54 per cent increase in homicides last year. 
Homicides and violent crime are still down significantly since the 2000s, and even more so since the early 1990s when the District was dubbed the nation's 'murder capital.'
McDuffie argued that spending $9,000 a year in stipends 'pales in comparison' to the cost of someone being victimized, along with the costs of incarcerating the offender.

'I want to prevent violent crime — particularly gun violence — by addressing the root causes and creating opportunities for people, particularly those individuals who are at the highest risks of offending,' McDuffie, a former prosecutor, said in a letter to constituents last week.
Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser has not committed to funding the program, which would cost $4.9 million over four years, including $460,000 a year in stipend payments, according to the District's independent chief financial officer. Without the mayor's support, it would be up to the Council to find money for it through new taxes or cuts to existing programs.
The program would be run independently of the police department, and participants would remain anonymous. Its goal would be to recruit people who are at risk of violence but don't have criminal cases pending.
In Richmond, 79 per cent of 'fellows' participating in the program have not been suspected of involvement in any gun crimes since joining the program, and 84 per cent have not been injured by gunfire, the program's executive director, DeVone Boggan, said in a report to the Council.
Richmond experienced a 77 per cent drop in homicides between 2007, when the program was launched, and 2014, although how much can be specifically attributed to the stipends is unclear.
The proposal in Washington has generated scant debate as lawmakers have focused on other crime-fighting tools included in the bill. Longtime civic activist Dorothy Brizill was the only person to testify against the stipend program at a lengthy hearing last fall, saying it would waste taxpayer dollars.
'These incentive programs don't work,' Brizill said Tuesday. 

Read more - 
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3428670/DC-bill-pay-people-stipends-not-commit-crimes.html

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

First Sexually Transmitted Zika Virus Case Confirmed in Texas -

First Sexually Transmitted Zika Virus Case Confirmed in Texas - 



Health officials confirmed that a man in Texas contracted the Zika virus through sexual transmission in the first case the U.S. has seen on its shores since the virus recently began to sweep across continents at an alarming rate, according to an announcement Tuesday.

Previously, the Zika virus had been spread predominantly via mosquito bites, although researchers had been studying the possibility that it could be spread through sexual intercourse.

The Dallas County Health and Human Services confirmed the U.S. man’s condition after it received a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying that the man had been infected with the virus after engaging in sexual conduct with a person who had just returned from a country where the Zika virus was present, according to the AP. There are currently no reports of the Zika virus being spread via mosquito bites in Dallas or elsewhere in the U.S.

Previously, there had been reports that the Zika virus had been discovered in a man’s semen in Tahiti, and there had also been an earlier report that a researcher from Colorado who had contracted the virus overseas may have spread it to his wife in 2008, the AP noted.

Brazil, especially, has been severely struck by the Zika virus and its links to to cases of microcephaly, in which babies are born with underdeveloped brains and skulls, according to the BBC. Since October 2015, more than 4,000 cases of microcephaly have been diagnosed in Brazil alone with likely links to the pandemic spread of the Zika virus.

Read more -
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/02/02/first-sexually-transmitted-zika-virus-case-confirmed-in-texas/

Seafood could reduce Alzheimer's risk - older adults who eat at least one portion a week -

Seafood could reduce Alzheimer's risk - older adults who eat at least one portion a week -  



Seafood may play a role in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease , research reveals.

A new study found older adults with a particular risk gene for the disease who ate at least one seafood serving a week showed fewer signs of Alzheimer’s-related brain changes.

But experts were cautious about the findings, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association .

Dr Laura Phipps, of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “This study links moderate seafood consumption with lower levels of Alzheimer’s-related brain changes in elderly people who carry a risk gene for the disease.

“But we must be careful when drawing conclusions about the wider population.”

Read more: Has the elixir of youth been found in a Japanese herbal remedy?

“But we must be careful when drawing conclusions about the wider population.”

She added: “The omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish are an important part of a balanced diet, and previous studies suggest they could play an important role in keeping the brain healthy.

“Current research is underway to investigate the benefits of a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids in those at risk of memory and thinking problems.

“But at this time there is no evidence to suggest fish oil supplements could prevent dementia.

“While higher seafood consumption is linked to greater levels of mercury in the brain, it is encouraging to see that this did not appear to be associated with Alzheimer’s changes in the brain in this study.”

She added: “Dementia risk is a complex mix of age, genetics and lifestyle factors.

“The best current evidence suggests that what’s good for your heart is good for your head and that getting plenty of exercise, eating a healthy balanced diet, not smoking and keeping blood pressure and cholesterol in check could help reduce dementia risk.”

Read more - 
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/seafood-really-brainfood-say-scientists-7295129

Cannabis Vagina Suppositories inserted to 'ease pain' -

Cannabis Vagina Suppositories inserted to 'ease pain' - 



In the latest battle in the war against agonising period pains, suppositories filled with cannabis designed to be inserted into the vagina have hit the US market.

Many women experience period pain - or dysmenorrhoea - as the muscular wall of the womb contracts and presses against neighbouring blood vessels. This cuts off the blood supply to the womb, and causes pain, according to the NHS. 

Similar in shape to tampons, the suppositories are said to deliver the pain-relieving properties of cannabis without making users feel high.

Sold in packs of four for $44 (£30), each FORIA Relief capsule contains 60mg of THC and 10mg of cannabidiol, as well as cocoa butter. 

“Our intention is to share the powerful medicinal properties of this plant while utilizing modern extraction techniques to standardize purity and potency, thereby ensuring a safe and accessible experience for all women,” the FORIA website reads.

The cannabis treatment – which is made using plants grown outdoors in Northern California – interacts with the nerve endings around the uterus, cervix and the ovaries and also blocks mechanisms which cause inflammation.

But does it work? A reviewer for the website Broadly wrote that: “Within 20 minutes, my cramps totally disappeared.”  

She added that while other pain relief methods wore off, “one Foria suppository did its job well into my evening.”

Foria is currently only available in US states where cannabis is legal, including California and Colorado. 

However, women may be put off by the fact that the product is not yet evaluated by the US Food and Drug Administration which regulates medications and is responsible for protecting public health.

Discussing her concerns about such a product, Dr Helen Webberley, of the Oxford Online Pharmacy, told the Huffington Post that all medicines in the US must be passed by the FDA. 

“This capsule has not even been studied yet and it hasn't been passed by the FDA. The assumption is that, as cannabis can cause muscle relaxation, it may help to ease period pains.”

“I would be very worried about women using this product before it has been fully evaluated,” she said. 

Dr Webberley's concerns come after women were warned against using "herbal detox pearls" sold by a separate firm, which are inserted in the vagina. The product is marketed as a treatment for endometriosis, ovarian cysts and thrush.

However, Dr Jen Gunter, a US gynaeologist urged women in a blog post not to use the pearls and said they could cause toxic shock syndrome - a potentially fatal condition. 

Tamieka Atkinson, the owner of Embrace Pangaea, told The Independent at the time that the Embrace Pangae balls are "holistic".

"Our product is not a drug by any means, and we make no claims of curing, diagnosing, or treating disease," she said. 

Read more - 
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/women-putting-cannabis-in-their-vaginas-to-ease-period-pain-a6848626.html

Shocking Study — “BPA-free” Plastics No Safer than BPA, Causing a Slew of Debilitating Side Effects -

Shocking Study — “BPA-free” Plastics No Safer than BPA, Causing a Slew of Debilitating Side Effects - 



In 2012, the Food and Drug Administration banned the use of Bisphenol A (BPA) in baby bottles, sippy cups, and infant formula packaging. Manufacturers had already dropped the use of BPA after studies linked it to early puberty and a rise in breast and prostate cancers.

“BPA-free” became all the rage, but even in 2014, there were hints that BPA alternatives were not as safe as presumed. A new study by UCLA researchers is adding to the evidence that BPS—the most common alternative—is most likely no safer than BPA.

“Our findings are frightening and important,” said senior author Nancy Wayne. “Consider it the aquatic version of the canary in the coal mine.“
The study, published in the journal Endocrinology, was “the first to examine the effects of BPA and BPS on key brain cells and genes that control the growth and function of organs involved in reproduction.”

In controlled experiments on zebrafish, both chemicals sped up embryonic development, which led to the fish equivalent of premature birth. The effect was observed even at low levels of BPA or BPS equivalent to polluted river water. Zebrafish are commonly used to study the impact of plastic additives because their transparent embryos allow direct observation of cell growth.

“Exposure to low levels of BPA had a significant impact on the embryos’ development of brain cells that control reproduction, and the genes that control reproduction later in life,” said Wayne. “We saw many of these same effects with BPS found in BPA-free products. BPS is not harmless.”

The researchers also discovered that both BPA and BPS acted through an estrogen system and through a thyroid hormone system.

Wayne told CNN: “Because of thyroid hormone’s important influence on brain development during gestation, our work holds important implications for general embryonic and fetal development, including in humans.”

Over the past 20 years, the U.S. has seen a rise in premature births and early onset of puberty. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals, including BPA and now BPS, are believed to be contributing to these phenomena.

The safety of BPS was beginning to be called into question in 2013 when Texas researchers found that tiny amounts could interfere with the normal functioning of cells. A study in Canada found that BPS caused a higher degree of abnormal effects on neural cell growth than BPA. A rat study found that normal doses of BPS caused heart arrhythmia.

“It’s all pointing in the same direction: BPS is not harmless,” said Wayne. “Consumers should be cautious about the assumption that ‘BPA-free’ means a product is safe.“


Read more: 
http://thefreethoughtproject.com/shocking-study-bpa-free-plastics-safer-bpa-causing-premature-birth/

Monday, 1 February 2016

Fish or just Foul? - 'Mutant' sea creature with a nose, feet, tail and WINGS baffles Caribbean island -

Fish or just Foul? - 'Mutant' sea creature with a nose, feet, tail and WINGS baffles Caribbean island - 




An 'alien fish' caught on a small Caribbean island has left experts baffled, as they struggle to determine its species.
The creature reportedly has 'feet' which allows it to walk across the seabed, a ' perfect human nose', and scales like a fish. 
The sea creature was caught in the port of Windward on the tiny island of Carriacou, a few miles from Grenada.

One islander said 'Everyone crowded round to look - nobody had ever seen anything like it.
'Quite a few people were pretty scared and thought it looked like something out of a sci-fi horror film.'

Veteran fisherman Hope McLawrence, 74, who found himself staring into the eyes of the 'alien' creature when he hauled in his nets, admitted he was astounded and baffled.
The foot-long beast had two feet with toes, no fin, a long bone on its back and 'a perfect human nose immediately above its mouth' according to Mr McLawrence
The 'alien fish' was caught on the island of Carriacou, a few miles from Grenada (stock image)

'I have never discovered anything like this before. The wings and tail looks extremely complicated.'
Mr McLawrence, who has more than fifty years experience in the fishing industry added 'By the look of the creature it cannot swim but apparently walks on the sea bed.
'This has shocked me to a considerable extent since I never thought that a creature like this even existed, much less in the harbour of these shallow, friendly waters.
'This is like a mystery and breathes a chill with this discovery' he added. 
The fish is believed to be a frogfish, an ambush predator that can eat almost anything that will fit into their large mouths. This includes other fish as well as crabs and shrimp.

Read more -
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3426511/Mutant-fish-nose-feet-tail-WINGS-baffles-Caribbean-island.html

OMG: NAACP leader uses F-word to apologize for using T-word after N-word meeting

OMG: NAACP leader uses F-word to apologize for using T-word after N-word meeting




The NAACP’s mission of political correctness and equality careened off the rails this week when a local president complimented a TV reporters breasts during an interview.

Don Harris, the president of the Maricopa County Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, had just finished an event at Tempe Union High School District to discuss an incident at the school in which several girls wore black t-shirts bearing the letters “N-I-*-*-E-R” on them.

The outrage was instantaneous.

“The six students in question pulled ranks to spell out NI**ER on their own, smiling gleefully to pose for an Instagram picture. Their punishment was 5-days suspension,” a petition demanding their expulsion reads, EAGnews reports.

“This hurtful use of a racial slur is a complete disregard for the dignity of the black community in Arizona and across the nation and the punishment does not fit the total ignorance and cruelty of the crime.”

Harris was on hand to accept apologizes and demand action.

But after the meeting, while participants were speaking with the media, he was caught on camera saying Channel 12 reporter Monique Griego had “nice tits.”

“I can’t believe that someone in his position would not understand how inappropriate that comment was at the time that he made it,” says Ray Stern, a reporter for the Phoenix New Times, who was talking to Griego at the time.

“Here’s the leader of the NAACP talking about the N-word and then making this comment, that was more inappropriate than I could even believe,” he tells ABC 15.

The news station reports Harris doesn’t believe Griego heard him at the time and says he feels like he let down the NAACP. He calls his comment “ugly” and says it just slipped out “guy to guy.”

After the reaction, Harris now says he feels “down in the dumps.”

The New Times contacted Harris after that incident and reports the NAACP leader said, “I apologize if anyone was offended. I could have said nothing . . . I’m really f*cking sorry.”

He argued that the meeting was over when he complimented the reporter’s rack and then really blew a gasket (edited for a family audience):

“I’m going to slash my wrists,” he spews. “Better yet, I’m going to throw myself out of a f*cking window, except I’m on the first floor . . . I’m one of the best g*dd*mned people in the state.”

People criticized him when he first took over the NAACP chief post from the Reverend Oscar Tillman, who retired in 2014 after 22 years in the position, he says, because “I was the wrong flavor.

“They’ve seen me now, they’ve seen what I’ve done. I’ve given up my law practice. I’m down here six, seven days a week. That’s what my commitment is. I support NOW, the women’s organization — g*dd*mn! — are you sh*tting me? Are you going to write this up?”

Griego didn’t comment on the situation but Harris insists he wants to apologize face-to-face. (Of course he does.)

Last June, when white NAACP leader Rachel Dolezal was exposed for pretending to be black, Harris appeared on CNN and claimed “credibility” is one of the most important assets the organization has.

“This is a race-based organization — the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. And being a race-based organization, when you have a leader in any capacity, you’ve got to have credibility.

“Once you lose that credibility, the efficacy of your leadership fails,” Harris said.

There are now calls for Harris’s resignation and at least one minister seeking his ouster blames not Harris’s sexism, but his “white privilege.”

“Don can be a bit of a character, but I think he’s also a well-to-do, older, white male and he exhibited some of the signs of what we’ve called ‘white privilege,’ Rev. Jarrett Maupin says, according to KTAR. “He should know better than anyone, as the NAACP, to do what he did.”

Read more - 
http://www.theamericanmirror.com/omg-naacp-leader-uses-f-word-to-apologize-for-using-t-word-after-n-word-meeting/

Friday, 29 January 2016

Sleep deprivation could lead to diabetes -

Sleep deprivation could lead to diabetes - 



Our sleep deprived lives could lead to a rise in getting diabetes, according to a new study. 

The study, published in Diabetes Care and conducted by the University of Chicago, found that not sleeping well can increase your risk of developing diabetes, particularly affecting people who work long hours.

People who are tired will eat more because they want to get energy from somewhere. "This could mean consuming sugar or other foods that can spike blood sugar levels,“ Dr Maarouf, the diabetes education director of the Stark Diabetes Center at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, told WebMD. 

She explains: “I really push people to eat properly throughout the day and get their blood sugars under control so they sleep better at night. If you get your blood sugar under control, you will get a good night sleep and wake up feeling fabulous with lots of energy.”

Author of the study, Dr Josiane Broussard, an assistant research professor at the department of Integrative Physiology at the University of Colorado, said:  "In this short-term study, we found that two long nights spent catching up on lost sleep can reverse the negative metabolic effects of four consecutive nights of restricted sleep."

Diabetes occurs when your body doesn’t produce enough insulin. A lack of sleep can lead to insulin resistance, which means your body finds it harder to break down sugars. As well as leading to weight gain, when you’re tired, there’s insulin resistance, which means the body can’t break glucose down into energy. If you’re tired and insulin can’t do its job properly, then sugar levels can build to such a point that the insulin could harm the eyes, kidneys, nerves, and heart. 

However, the study is encouraging, says Dr Broussard: "It shows that young, healthy people who sporadically fail to get sufficient sleep during the work week can reduce their diabetes risk if they catch up on sleep during the weekend."

The University of Chicago study recommends sleeping two nights of extended sleep, or more than 8.5 hours to lower the risk of diabetes. 

Read more - 
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/sleep-deprivation-could-lead-to-diabetes-study-finds-a6842011.html

Dogs may have evolved to handle our bad tempers - they limit their eye contact with angry humans -

Dogs may have evolved to handle our bad tempers - they limit their eye contact with angry humans - 



Man’s best friend has a clear strategy for dealing with angry owners — look away.

New research shows that dogs limit their eye contact with angry humans, even as they tend to stare down upset canines. The scientists suggest this may be an attempt to appease humans, that evolved as dogs were domesticated and benefited from avoiding conflicts with humans.

To conduct the tests the University of Helsinki researchers trained 31 dogs to rest in front of a video screen. Facial photos — showing threatening, pleasant and neutral expressions — were displayed on the screen for 1.5 seconds. Nearby cameras tracked the dogs’ eye movements.

Dogs in the study looked most at the eyes of humans and other dogs to sense their emotions. When dogs looked at expressions of angry canines, they lingered more on the mouth, perhaps to interpret the threatening expressions. And when looking at angry humans they tended to avert their gaze. Dogs may have learned to detect threat signs from humans and respond in an appeasing manner, according to researcher Sanni Somppi. Avoiding conflicts may have helped dogs — which are the most popular pet in the United States — develop better bonds with humans.

The researchers also note that dogs scan faces holistically to sense how people are feeling, instead of focusing on a given feature. They suggest this indicates that dogs aren’t sensing emotions from a single feature, but piecing together information from all facial features just as humans do.

Read more - 
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2016/01/29/dogs-may-have-evolved-to-handle-our-bad-tempers/

6 Cities in Michigan have EVEN HIGHER LEVELS OF LEAD than Flint -

6 Cities in Michigan have EVEN HIGHER LEVELS OF LEAD than Flint - 



As the nation rightly focuses on Flint’s ongoing water crisis, other cities in the state of Michigan face even higher levels of lead contamination. The alarming pervasiveness of potentially toxic drinking water extends across the United States.

The Detroit News reports that “Elevated blood-lead levels are seen in a higher percentage of children in parts of Grand Rapids, Jackson, Detroit, Saginaw, Muskegon, Holland and several other cities, proof that the scourge of lead has not been eradicated despite decades of public health campaigns and hundreds of millions of dollars spent to find and eliminate it.”

Of over 7,000 children tested in the Highland Park and Hamtramck areas of Detroit in 2014, 13.5 percent tested positive for lead. Among four zip codes in Grand Rapids, one in ten children had lead in their blood. In Adrian and south-central Michigan, more than 12 percent of 640 children tested had positive results.

These overall numbers are higher than Flint’s, where Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha found lead in up to 6.3 percent of children in the highest-risk areas;while The Guardian reported Dr. Hanna-Attisha has also said the rate is as high at 15 percent in certain “hot spots,” the size of those samples was not listed. Even so, the overall figures across Michigan are lower than in previous years. In 2012, children tested across Michigan had lead in their blood at a rate of 4.5 percent, about five times less than the rate ten years prior, which reached an alarming 25 percent. In spite of the decrease in recent years, however, thousands of children in Michigan are still affected.

“In 2013, that level sank to 3.9 percent and fell again to 3.5 percent in 2014. But that is still 5,053 children under age 6 who tested positive in 2014,” theDetroit News explained. “Each had lead levels above 5 micrograms per deciliter. (Though no amount is considered safe, 5 micrograms is the threshold that experts say constitutes a ‘much higher’ level than most children.)” One Detroit zip code had a rate of 20.8 percent of children who tested positive in 2014, and 20.3 percent the following year.

The outrage in Flint is especially warranted because of the pronounced effects of lead on children. Lead, a known toxin, is associated with bothphysical and mental ailments, and according to one Detroit teacher, has harmed the cognitive abilities of students.

Kieya Morrison, a veteran kindergarten teacher, who now teaches preschool, described a recent student known to have elevated levels of blood in her system. The girl experienced difficulties grasping simple cognitive tasks, like differentiating between a triangle and a square. “She had cognitive problems. She had trouble processing things,” Morrison said. “She could not retain any of the information.” The University of Michigan recently found a link between lead in children and lower academic test scores.

Michigan’s lead problem “…is still an issue. It’s not going away,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

In fact, lead levels are elevated across the United States. Anti-Media reported this week on Sebring, Ohio, where a similar lead crisis spawned official cover-ups. For years, discoveries of lead in public water supplies have made headlines, even if these finding were not national news. In 2008, the Los Angeles school district’s water supply was found to have levels of lead hundreds of times higher than the allowable. In 2015, officials could not guarantee they had adequately purified the water. In another example, in 2010, New York City tested 222 older homes known to have lead pipes, and found 14 percent had lead levels higher than the allowable limit.

Vox noted that in 2014, “Nine counties nationwide told the CDC that 10 percent or more of their lead poisoning tests came back positive. Four of them are in Louisiana, two in Alabama, and the rest scattered across West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, and Oklahoma.”

The problem extends beyond anecdotal cases or any specific region. As Huffington Post reports, millions of lead pipes — like the ones that contaminated the water in Flint — are still in service across the United States:

“There are roughly 7.3 million lead service lines in the U.S., according to an estimate by the Environmental Protection Agency, down from 10.5 million in 1988. Service lines are the pipes connecting water mains to people’s houses. They’re mostly found in the Midwest and Northeast.”

Jerry Paulson, emeritus professor of pediatrics and environmental health at George Washington University, told the Detroit News how common the problem is:

“This is a situation that has the potential to occur in however many places around the country there are lead pipes,“ he explained. “Unless and until those pipes are removed, those communities are at some degree of risk.”

Paul Haan of the Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan, an organization that works to eliminate household hazards to improve children’s health, warns that the levels of lead in Michigan children’s blood continue to rise, citing weekly statewide reports from pediatricians. In spite of his efforts to help reduce contaminants, he pointed out a dismal flaw in the process:

“The problem is,” he said, “we’re still using kids as lead detectors.”

Read more - 
http://www.blacklistednews.com/6_Cities_in_Michigan_Have_Even_Higher_Levels_of_Lead_than_Flint/48569/0/38/38/Y/M.html