Sunday, November 29, 2009

Naked Mole Rats Might Hold Key To Longevity

Who would have thought that the secrets to long life might exist in the naked, wrinkled body of one of the world's ugliest animals? Probably not many, but current research may be leading seekers of the Fountain of Youth to a strange little beast — the naked mole rat.

The naked mole rat is certainly not one of nature's cuddliest species. These small rodents are hairless, wrinkled, blind and buck-toothed. Stan Braude, Ph.D., lecturer in biology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, however, is attracted to these animals and has been studying them for over 25 years, with about 20 of those years being in the field in Kenya.

Braude is currently working on a new book that will serve as a synthetic review of the past 20 years of research on naked mole rats. While various research has been conducted on naked mole rats in a lab setting, Braude and his students are the only researchers out in the wild with them.

"I make the case [in my book] that if you really want to understand the lab work you also have to know what these animals are doing in the wild," said Braude.

Some of the "hottest" research on naked mole rats today concerns senescence, or aging. Naked mole rats in the lab have reached up to 28 years of age. And it's not just the controlled environments of their captivity that are doing this. Braude has observed mole rats in the wild that are 17 years and older. But these are the breeders. Lab researchers didn't realize that in the wild workers only live two or three years.

"For a rodent of this size, they are ridiculously long-lived," said Braude.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Chinese Girl Will Marry for Surgery Money

In the wide, wacky world of the People’s Republic of China, it would appear, the idea that anything is for sale is getting more and more widespread. Just last month, an impoverished uncle offered his baby niece for sale online.

Now, a 22-year-old student beauty in the city of Dezhou, 200 miles south of Beijing, has vowed to marry anyone willing to part with ¥150,000 (US$22,000) to pay for surgery on her classmate.

The friend, Yue-Mei, was put in a coma by severe brain inflammation. Her parents, who are farmers, were already said to be desperately out of pocket from the ¥4-5,000 ( about US$580-730) a day cost of just keeping their girl in hospital in neighboring Jinan.

Her friend Dandan, seen above, has posted an advertisement on a message board of the popular Chinese portal offering nuptials to any man who could afford the medical costs.

In the post she describes the situation her friend his facing, before going on to describe the proposed bill of fare, i.e. herself.

“I am tender, obedient, understanding and know how to do house chores,” Dadan writes. ”Good appearance, although I am not an especially pretty girl, but I look cute, with good temperament!”

Reaction in China was mixed, with some hailing the girl’s bravery and others denouncing her willingness to sell her body.

Dandan is said to have told reporters she felt she had no other recourse to solve her dilemma. She said Yue-Mei’s family had already been forced to borrow when her brother had kidney disease a few years ago.

“In fact, in the beginning, I only wanted to call for good-hearted people to help Yue-Mei, but no one cared about it,” she said. ”Maybe everyone thought I was a liar. Therefore out of desperation, I had the idea of repaying with my body and pledge to marry.”

For his part, the head doctor at the hospital did not dispute Dandan’s methods, but said Yue-Mei had shown significant improvement and far less money would be needed. He said Yue-Mei had already awoken from her coma and could manage simple movement and dialogue.

Dandan, however, remains unrepentant. She told reporters she was aware that she was facing strong criticism from some people for her decision. “But I will stick to my plan, ” she said, “because there is really no other alternative.”

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Unromantic Truth About Why We Kiss - To Spread Germs!

The kiss may have evolved for reasons that are far more practical - and less alluring - than previously thought.

British scientists believe it was developed to spread germs.

They say that the uniquely human habit allows a bug that is dangerous in pregnancy to be passed from man to woman to give her time to build up immunity.

Cytomegalovirus, which lurks in saliva, normally causes no problems. But it can be extremely dangerous if caught while pregnant and can kill unborn babies or cause birth defects. These can include problems ranging from deafness to cerebral palsy.

Writing in the journal Medical Hypotheses, researcher Dr Colin Hendrie from the University of Leeds said: “Female inoculation with a specific male's cytomegalovirus is most efficiently achieved through mouth-to-mouth contact and saliva exchange, particularly where the flow of saliva is from the male to the typically shorter female.”

Kissing the same person for about six months provides optimum protection, he added. As the relationships progresses and the kisses become more passionate, her immunity builds up.

Previously scientists have claimed that kissing acts as a form of evolutionary quality control, with saliva holding clues to fertility, health and genes.

Further Readings / Source

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What the Inventor of the Flu Shot NOW Thinks of the Vaccine...

President Obama and his top health officials are engaging in a major public relations effort to divert attention away from whether its swine flu vaccine is effective and safe by focusing attention on whether there is enough of it to go around. And the media is cooperating fully.

Increasing numbers of scientists and doctors are issuing harsh criticisms of the government’s plan to vaccinate virtually the entire U.S. population with a poorly tested vaccine that is not only ineffective against swine flu, but could cripple and even kill many more people than it helps.

The CDC’s public relations campaign has been running “scare” ads that portray swine flu as a full-blown “pandemic” responsible for snuffing out countless lives. But scientists and health officials throughout the world have called the governments claims unjustified and deliberately misleading.

Source/Further Reading

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hidden Dangers Of Waterfall

Three UTAR undergraduates drowned after they were swept away by sudden gush of water while swimming at the Batu Berangkai Waterfalls, Kampar, on Nov 1st, 2009.

The dead were James Khor, aged 20, Shy Gin, aged 19 and Ghim Chnieh, also aged 20.

The sudden gush of water phenomenon at waterfalls are fairly common and the main cause victims drowned. Therefore, this video exposes the 'sudden gush of water' phenomenon. It is hope that the more people are aware of this hidden danger, more lifes could be saved.

Special thanks to Bobby Henderson, (, who were holidaying in Mag-Aso Waterfalls in Bohol, Philippines when he witnessed the sudden gush of water after a downpour and managed to take some invaluable photos along the way.

Please help to spread this video. You may just save some lifes.

Read the news as reported by The Star here

Being a video enthusiasist, I've made a video meant to educate the general public on the hidden dangers of waterfalls, the sudden gush of water phenomenon ever so common to waterfalls. So that if ever they decide to pay waterfalls a visit, and swim in the river, they'll be more aware. But try not to swim. The sudden gush of water lived up to its name, the wild water suddenly gushes from the fall, the only warning sign being the sudden loud roar of water. By then, it may be a little too late.

OK, enough ramblings from me, lets watch the video and learn something from it. BTW, please share the video with your friends. Email the video link to your friends...Thanks a million.


I've done a little research on this 'sudden gush of water' phenomenon at waterfalls and here are some news items with sad/tragic endings.

1. Waterfall outing turns tragic


SETIU: What was supposed to be a fun trip to a waterfall here by a group of teenagers, took a tragic twist when two of them drowned after they were swept away by strong currents on Friday evening.

The victims, Zulfikar Azam, 12, and Amirul Alif Musa, 13, both from Felda Chalok Barat , were with nine friends at the Lata Payong Forest Reserve waterfall, when a sudden gush of water washed them away.

The others managed to cling on to the rocks but Zulfikar and Amirul were swept
News Link

2. 'Mini tsunami' at Terengganu waterfall kills 3, injures 7
Wed, May 07, 2008
The New Paper

IT was supposed to be a relaxing outing for the swimmers at Sekayu Waterfalls, but disaster struck when a strong gush of water swept them away.

Three people, including a woman, drowned in the freak accident which the police had called a 'mini tsunami'.

Seven others suffered light injuries, the New Straits Times reported.

Assistant Superintendent Shamsudin Yaacob, the acting district police chief, said the victims were swimming at the popular recreational spot in Terengganu when the accident happened on Thursday afternoon.

It is believed that the sudden gush of water was caused by rain further uphill a few days ago.

One of the survivors, Mr Azil Hizal, said he was in the water for barely five minutes when a huge wave struck him.

'I panicked, but managed to recite a quick prayer. I grabbed my son, Eizzedin, and placed him on my shoulder and held the hand of my wife, Nor Azliana and brought them to safety.

'I saw my brother-in-law (Mokhtaza) try to rescue his two siblings (Sakina and Noraina Najmi), but he failed to hold onto Sakina, who was swept away by the strong currents.'

Besides Ms Sakina Mustaffa, 25, the two who died were Tuan Basri Tuan Yusof, 23, and Mr Mohd Shukri Mamat, 27.

The survivors - five from Ms Sakina's family and two men - were given outpatient treatment at the hospital here.

Ms Sakina's body was the first to be found, an hour after the 1.40pm incident. It was recovered from the banks of Sungai Sekayu about 2km from the scene of the incident.

The other two bodies were recovered in the evening.

Mr Shamsudin has asked visitors to the waterfalls to be careful during the rainy season as such phenomenon tends to occur.
News Link

Update 2.

Here, I've found two videos. One video is the waterfall at its usual state, serene and beautiful, and the other, after a heavy downpour, when the fall were at its most dangerous state. And you will be surprised. Especially when the onslaught of water came suddenly. Allow me to clarify that this phenomenon is not limited to Mag-Aso falls only but literally all waterfalls. It so happen that there are ready made videos out there exposing the 'sudden gush of water' phenomenon, and I'm simply putting two and two together so that the general public is aware of the hidden dangers and take the necessary precautions.

Video 1. Waterfall at its usual state.

Video 2. When the sudden gush of water appeared. Notice how fierce the water became...

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