Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Poor sleep quality may accelerate cancer growth, study finds -

Poor sleep quality may accelerate cancer growth, study finds - 

Failing to get a good night’s rest may actually have some serious health consequences.

Poor quality of sleep marked by frequent waking can speed cancer growth and increase the disease’s aggressiveness, according to new research.

In a study published in the journal Cancer Research, researchers experimented with genetically engineered mice that had been injected with tumor cells. As the mice slept during the day, a quiet, motorized brush moved through half of the cages every two minutes – forcing some of the mice to wake up and go back to sleep. The other mice were not disturbed as they slept.

After four weeks, the researchers found that the tumors in the mice with fragmented sleep patterns were twice as large as the tumors in the mice who had slept normally.

According to study director Dr. David Gozal, poor sleep can significantly alter the immune system.

"It's not the tumor, it's the immune system," said Gozal, chairman of pediatrics at the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital. "Fragmented sleep changes how the immune system deals with cancer in ways that make the disease more aggressive."


STUDY: Gossiping Has Positive Effect on Society... -

STUDY: Gossiping Has Positive Effect on Society... - 

Coventional wisdom holds that gossip and social exclusion are always malicious, undermining trust and morale in groups. But sharing this kind of "reputational information" could have benefits for society, according to a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Robb Willer, an associate professor of sociology at Stanford University, explored the nature of gossip and ostracism in collaboration with co-authors Matthew Feinberg, a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford, and Michael Schultz from the University of California-Berkeley.
Their research shows that gossip and ostracism can have positive effects, serving as tools by which groups reform bullies, thwart exploitation of "nice people," and encourage cooperation.
"Groups that allow their members to gossip," said Feinberg, "sustain cooperation and deter selfishness better than those that don't. And groups do even better if they can gossip and ostracize untrustworthy members. While both of these behaviors can be misused, our findings suggest that they also serve very important functions for groups and society."
The researchers divided 216 participants into groups, asking them to play a game and make financial choices that would benefit their respective groups.
Researchers commonly use this public-goods exercise to examine social dilemmas because individual participants will benefit the most by selfishly free-riding off everyone else's contributions while contributing nothing themselves.
Before moving on to the next round with an entirely new group, participants could gossip about their prior group members. Future group members then received that information and could decide to exclude -- ostracize -- a suspect participant from the group before deciding to make their next financial choices.


Futuristic Bra Only Opens For 'True Love' -

Futuristic Bra Only Opens For 'True Love' - 

Well, the Japanese have done it again. Apparently this tech-laden bra made by the lingerie company Ravijour will only unhook for “true love.”

The “True Love Tester” bra can’t be masterfully unhooked by some skeevy player who hit on the wearer at a club. No, this bra only comes undone when sensors embedded inside it that are connected wirelessly to a smartphone app detect a particular heart rate (video, safe for work).

According to the Victoria’s Secret-like company that made the bra, Ravijour, a particular heart rate over time indicates “love.” And what do you know, they even have a graph comparing the effects of jogging, shopping, eating spicy food and watching a horror movie with “flirting” and “surprise gift” on a lady’s heart. What better way to acknowledge being “in love” than having your glittery bra fly open?

BuzzFeed’s Rachel Zarrell put the whole thing into a series of awesome GIFs to illustrate the ridiculousness of it all. Ravijour’s slogan is “We do anything for women.” Apparently they do anything to free the girls, too.

Might not want to wear this thing around in public, though. The dude-designed bra cups pop open pretty dramatically.


Russian Bank Halts All Cash Withdrawals -

Russian Bank Halts All Cash Withdrawals - 

It would appear the fears of a global bank run are spreading. From HSBC's limiting large cash withdrawals (for your own good) to Lloyds ATMs going down, Bloomberg reports that 'My Bank' - one of Russia's top 200 lenders by assets - has introduced a complete ban on cash withdrawals until next week. While the Ruble has been losing ground rapidly recently, we suspect few have been expecting bank runs in Russia. Russia sovereign CDS had recently weakned to 4-month wides at 192bps.

Via Bloomberg,

Lender has introduced complete ban on cash withdrawals until end of week, news agency reports, citing unidentified person in call center.

Bank spokeswoman declined to comment by phone

My Bank is top 200 lender by assets: Prime

NOTE: Central bank has revoked about 30 banking licenses since July 1 when Elvira Nabiullina succeeded Sergei Ignatiev as governor, compared with three in the firt half of the year
Interestingly, Russia's biggest lender Sberbank has seen a 8.7% rise in deposits in December... it seems the Russian's are realizing that bank deposits are nothing more than risky loans to highly levered entities...

Matt Drudge Issues Warning: “Have An Exit Plan” - 

His web site may consist of just a single page, but Matt Drudge is arguably the most influential media personality in the world. Garnering nearly one billion readers monthly, the Drudge Report is able to literally shift public sentiment, making it an essential read for D.C. insiders, Wall Street professionals, and anyone who wants to stay on top of the latest global issues.
If Matt Drudge headlines a story its viral spread to millions of readers in near real-time is guaranteed.
With his established connections to critical spheres of influence that include everything from politics and government to finance and entertainment, when Drudge speaks, people listen.
Over the weekend, as noted by Steve Quayle and Susan Duclos, the self made media behemoth took to his Twitter account with a simple warning consisting of just four words… Have an Exit Plan


Drudge included no other details with his Tweet.
The warning, while cryptic, may be the result of direct insider information. Considering he once nearly brought down the Clinton administration by revealing the President’s indiscretions with a White House intern, one could make the case that if anyone has legitimate sources pouring in from across the world it’s Matt Drudge.

Could his warning be for stock market investors regarding foreknowledge of an imminent collapse of financial markets in the United States, China and Europe?
Or has Drudge’s access to insiders in key positions given him the ability to connect the dots for an event that may occur in the near future? Few may recall, but just three weeks ahead of the September 11th attacks, Drudge headlined warnings of possible strikes on US-based targets, so there may well be a credible insider source for his most recent warning as well.
In recent years the mogul has expanded his news distribution service to  include alternative news powerhouses like Alex Jones’ Infowars, which researches and analyzes key events and happenings globally. As of late, Drudge has made it a point to link to a variety of topics at Infowars that include the militarization of America’s domestic policing apparatus, Constitutional transgression at the highest levels of our government, and other insider reports often ignored by the mainstream media. While establishment news media shuns the rapidly growing alternative media, a warning to “have an exit plan” is one that the alternative news sphere has consistently suggested, while often being laughed at in mainstream circles.
Given Drudge’s massive following, reach, and credibility, perhaps we shouldn’t be laughing any more.
Something has spooked Matt Drudge and he’s not alone. Last year one of America’s leading talk show hosts, Mark Levin, warned that the U.S. government has beensimulating the collapse of our financial system and society with the potential for widespread violence. There are countless such examples of highly influential media personalities who are issuing similar warnings.
Within the realm of the alternative media, the last several years have yielded incredible insights into the inner workings of the U.S. government, political system and economic machinations. Everything from manipulations of our monetary system to the sometimes unbelievable expansion of the American police state has been extensively studied and reported by thousands of independent journalists, broadcasters and bloggers operating outside of the mainstream establishment’s sphere of influence.
There have been insider reports indicating that a crisis of unprecedented magnitude is coming to the United States. Contrarian economists, who are almost completely ignored by mainstream media, have warned of dire consequences to the continued operation of our systems of commerce, including our domestic food distribution networks. And though it has not been reported on the alphabet news channels, the U.S. military has been actively war gaming collapse scenarios and engaging in highlysuspicious exercises across U.S. metropolitan areas.
While Matt Drudge’s latest comments could be referring to anything, given the types of stories he’s covered in recent years we could make the case that he is referring to worst-case scenarios.
His exit plan warning may encompass any number of potential scenarios such as a coming shock to financial markets, evacuating major cities in an emergency, preparing for the destruction of our currency, or having a way to get out of the United States in the event of a Soviet-style purge.
Whatever the case, Matt Drudge understands that his views and comments are followed by hundreds of millions of people worldwide, thus we are confident that he would not publicly issue such a warning unless he has access to credible information that supports his claims.
That being said, we urge readers to remain vigilant. And, in the off chance that some terrible event is in our near future, we strongly suggest having a preparedness plan that includes emergency food storage, barter supplies, medicines, precious metals, and astrategic relocation plan in case you are forced to evacuate your current residence.


US Army develops ‘Combat Gum’ to fight soldiers’ cavities in field -

US Army develops ‘Combat Gum’ to fight soldiers’ cavities in field - 

Deployed? Don’t worry about the missed dentist appointment. The Army has discovered – and over the course of seven years, fine-tuned — a gum that helps the soldier in the field fight plaque, cut cavities and clean teeth.
America spends more than $100 billion a year on dental services, and the military said it can help lower what taxpayers pay for troops and families in this regard with its cost-cutting creation, The Army Times reported. But first and foremost, the peppermint-flavored gum, called Combat Gum, is aimed at keeping troops healthy and their mouths happy in combat and field-training situations.

“Oral health is essential to warriors on the battlefield and could potentially save the military countless hours and dollars in dental health,” said Col. Robert Hale, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and commander of the Army Institute of Surgical Research, in the Army Times report.
The gum doesn’t replace brushing or flossing, Col. Hale said. But it fights plaque and periodontal disease, and it’s currently being distributed to high-risk troops and those heading to the field with the instructions to chew for 20 minutes after each main meal. The aim is to make the gum available to all troops in the Army and eventually on an over-the-counter basis, Col. Hale said.
The gum currently costs about $2 a piece, but it’s ultimately expected to save the military millions of dollars in dental care over the years, the Army Times said. It was developed primarily by Kai Leung, a microbiologist for the dental and trauma research detachment, after he studied bacteria colonies akin to those that multiply in the mouth.
The military reports that more than 10 percent of disease-related injuries that lead to evacuation of soldiers is due to dental emergencies.


Denver County Fair to hold a Joint-rolling contest... -

Denver County Fair to hold a Joint-rolling contest... - 

Pot at the county fair? Why not?

Colorado's Denver County is adding cannabis-themed contests to its 2014 summer fair. It's the first time pot plants will stand alongside tomato plants and homemade jam in competition for a blue ribbon.

There won't actually be any marijuana at the fairgrounds. The judging will be done off-site, with photos showing the winning entries. And a live joint-rolling contest will be done with oregano, not pot.

But county fair organizers say the marijuana categories will add a fun twist on Denver's already-quirky county fair, which includes a drag queen pageant, tattoo competitions and a contest for homemade robots.

Denver County didn't have a county fair until 2011. Organizers wanted an urban, hip element alongside traditional fair favorites like a Ferris wheel and cotton candy.

Read more: - 

Toddlers love selfies -

Toddlers love selfies - 

Every so often, Brandi Koskie finds dozens of photos of her 3-year-old daughter, Paisley, on her iPhone — but they aren't ones Koskie has taken.

"There'll be 90 pictures, sideways, of the corner of her eye, her eyebrow," said Koskie, who lives in Wichita, Kan. "She's just tapping her way right into my phone."

The hidden photos, all shot by Paisley, illustrate a phenomenon familiar to many parents in today's tech-savvy world: Toddlers love selfies. Observant entrepreneurs have caught on to these image-obsessed tots, marketing special apps that make taking photos super-easy for little fingers. You can even buy a pillow with a smartphone pocket so toddlers can take selfies during a diaper change.

But toddlers aren't the only ones taking photos nonstop. It's not unusual for doting parents to snap thousands of digital photos by the time their child is 2. Today's toddlers think nothing of finding their own biopic stored in a device barely bigger than a deck of cards.

While the barrage of images may keep distant grandparents happy, it's not yet clear how such a steady diet of self-affirming navel-gazing will affect members of the first truly "smartphone generation." Tot-centric snapshots can help build a healthy self-image and boost childhood memories when handled correctly, but shooting too many photos or videos and playing them back instantly for a demanding toddler could backfire, said Deborah Best, a professor of cognitive developmental psychology at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The instant gratification that smartphones provide today's toddlers is "going to be hard to overcome," she said. "They like things immediately, and they like it short and quick. It's going to have an impact on kids' ability to wait for gratification. I can't see that it won't."

Julie Young, a Boston-based behavioral analyst, has seen that firsthand. She was recently helping her 3-year-old son record a short birthday video for his cousin on her iPhone when he stopped mid-sentence, lunged for her phone and shouted, "Mom, can I see it?"

"It's caught on the end of the video. He couldn't even wait to get the last sentence out," said Young, who has two sons. "The second the phone comes out, they stop, they look and they attack."

Now Young and her husband make their sons wait to look at a new video or photo until after dinner or until the other parent comes home, when everyone can watch together. They are careful to sit with their kids when looking at photos and have adopted the phrase "practice patience" as a family mantra.

It's natural for toddlers to be fascinated with their own image (think mirrors), and that interest plays an important developmental role as they develop a sense of self, child development experts say. Watching a video again and again can also help move events from short- to long-term memory, Best said.

But like any other fun thing kids get obsessed with, too much of it can be bad. Parents should make sure some photos show the child with other family members or friends. Parents can also sit with kids and narrate the photo or video as if it were a bedtime story.

"When we read a book to a child, it's the same thing we do with these photos," Best said.

Koskie has noticed that cuddling in bed on a lazy Saturday morning and swiping through digital photos is one of Paisley's favorite activities, and it seems to encourage her to ask about her place in the world. They look at photos and videos together on the iPad going back to Paisley's birth and "she'll start to ask questions: 'When I was a little tiny baby did I do this? Did I do that?'"

Paisley and the iPad are almost the same age: She was born two weeks after it came out. "That's a base-level, foundation technology for her," said Koskie, who handles marketing and content strategy for the email app EvoMail. "Someday it's all going to come back to bite me or she's going to come back and say, 'Wow, there's this whole encyclopedia of my whole life.' We're very plugged in, for better or for worse."

Still, parents who remember the days before iPhones wonder if their children will ever really understand the power of a cherished photograph. Jason Michael, a 32-year-old father of two in Denver, has taken so many photos of his 11-month-old son and 4-year-old stepdaughter (about 4,000) that his iPhone's memory has filled up three times. His stepdaughter takes plenty of selfies and loves to film herself singing favorite songs, then watches the videos again and again.

Michael worries that all that visual noise may keep them from treasuring that one special image that can evoke memories decades later. For him, it's a photo of himself as an 8-month-old baby lying on a pink blanket decorated with a rabbit eating a carrot. He remembers the photo so vividly that he asked his mother for the blanket when his son was born.

"I know everything about that photo. But there are 20,000 photos of my kids, so will it have that same emotional impact for them?" Michael said.

"It sounds a little cheesy, I guess, but you look at the photos and it's so rich and there's so much you remember about it," he said. "Now, all they have to do is swipe their hand to the left and it's gone and there's a new picture."


Flatulent cows start fire at dairy farm... -

Flatulent cows start fire at dairy farm... - 

Methane gas from 90 flatulent cows exploded in a German farm shed on Monday, damaging the roof and injuring one of the animals, police said.

High levels of the gas had built up in the structure in the central German town of Rasdorf, then "a static electric charge caused the gas to explode with flashes of flames," the force said in a statement.

One cow was treated for burns, a police spokesman added.

Read more -