Monday, 30 April 2012

No post today

My laptop has broken, and I only have just enough time just to post this. Sorry!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Africa Malaria Parasite now immune to the best anti-malarials

Malaria is a big killer, the deadliest being falciparum malaria.

Malaria is a protozoan parasite, and invades red blood cells.

Not only does it digest haemoglobin, but also makes the cells stick to the walls of capillaries, and is especially serious if it affects the brain, obstructing blood flow

And now scientists have discovered a strain which is immune to the best anti-malarials.

The majority and best type of anti malarials are called artemisinin.

Most anti-malarials use several drugs combined to form a more powerful defence.

However scientists have observed mutations in the parasite that gives it a resistive gene against artemether; one of the best drugs for malaria.

A study carried out by a team from St Georges, London found that 11 out of 28 infected patients could not be cured by antemether.

They delved a bit deeper and found that all the parasites shared the common resistive gene.

The strain was found near Thailand and will spread quickly.

India records 1.5m Malaria cases each year, 50%.

Scientists estimate it will reach Colombia in about 6 years.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

10 Things you didn't know 5 minutes ago! (Part 8)

10. Animals can naturally explode

In 2004, gas buildup inside a sperm whale (17m long) caused it to explode in Taiwan.

Obviously, this resulted in blood and guts flying everywhere.

9. The Great Wall of China cannot actually be seen from space

Many people have succumbed to the myth that the Great Wall is visible from outer space. NASA tested this and found that after lower earth orbit the wall blends into its surroundings.

8. Humans use way more than 10% of their brains

This is a huge myth, as it's the focus point for several movies such as Inception.

The fact is that humans use most of their brains, but use different parts for different activities.

For example, if you compare it to a factory, packaging and processing is used to package and process, not for product research.

7. Cutting a worm in half does not result in 2 worms

A common misconception is that worms have 2 brains, but in fact, it's just the two hemispheres broken up into 2 sides of the worm, it's just like our brain, but our 2 halves are side by side, whereas worm's have them in different areas of the body.

Cutting a worm in half does result in 2 moving bodies, but one is actually alive (and also in a great deal of pain) and the other is just twitching from nerves.

6. Ants use slave labour

Biologilists have named this rare species of ant the 'Slavemakers' as they often imprison rival species and force them into petty labour work and stealing their eggs.

5. What causes thunder?

Lightning is the stream of electrons flowing either from cloud to cloud, or cloud to ground.

  1. The air around the lightning is heated to 28,000 degrees celsius (or 50,000 fahrenheit).
  2. As the air around it cools, it produces a partial vacuum around the path of the lightning. 
  3. The nearby air then expands and vibrates producing that sharp crack you're all familiar with.
4. Daddy Long Legs are not extremely venomous

This one's a famous myth and follows that apparently daddy long legs are poisonous but haven't got fangs strong enough to break human flesh.

In fact, there are 3 types of daddy long legs.

The first is called Opilones. These have no venomous glands and so do not pose a threat.

The second is called Cellar Spiders. These do have poisonous glands. Adam Savage from Mythbusters tested this and exposed himself to a Cellar spider bite. He reported to just feeling a burning sensation around the bite which quickly went away.

The third is called Pholcid spiders. These are also not very venomous, and there is no scientific proof to show that their fangs are too short to penetrate human flesh.
Hidden Giant

3. The world's largest organism is in Oregon

It takes form as a fungus, and spreads across 2384 acres.

It's believed to be around 2,400 years old, but may actually be as old as 8,650 years.

2. Lightning can strike the same place twice

Through various speculations, NASA decided it wanted to show everyone how this is done. 

So through a series of very expensive tests, they found not only can lightning strike the same place more than once, it's 45% more likely to than any other spot.

1. Sugar does not cause hyperactivity

When kids say that sugar is making them so hyper, they're lying.

Sugar actually has no positive effect on hyperactivity, it is even thought to have the opposite effect.

Perhaps it's the fact that sugar is a well known accomplice with caffeinated drinks that gives this impression.

Please leave your comments below!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Sorry no post

There will be no post today as I'm keening out revision tonight :) Sorry!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Eating dinner as a family improves health in later life

Do you have dinner with your family?

'Come and get your dinner!' is a phrase not unknown in family households, particularly american ones.

40% of american food budget is spend on eating out.

Meals out usually tend to be unhealthy, so when a lot of meals are spent eating out, it all adds up.

Researchers surveyed family households how often they dined as a family, and the food they ate.

Results found that those that ate as a family more often consumed healthier meals, not only because they ate out less often, but also that parents were more concious about what they fed their children.

Upon measure BMI rates, children in families who have family meals tended to be in the healthy range more often, and children in families who ate out a lot tended to be overweight frequently.

Hidden effects

Communication is key
Not only is there a dietary impact, but there is also the relationships inside the families and some other aspects.


Conversations during dinner allow discussions of recent topics, and allow the family or unify, it also adds a feeling of belonging. Remember, your family will be with you your who life.

Model manners

Think of it as a test drive or training, you'd rather sort your child's bad habits at a family meal than at a proper meal with their work colleagues.

A long term study of 20 years explored habits which were carried to adulthood.

Families were asked whether or not they ate dinner as a family.

20 years later, these families were asked about their children who are now adults.

The children who ate dinner as a family tended to eat more fruit and vegetables and drank less unhealthy drinks as adults.

Not only does this offer control in food, but also across other areas.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Bringing water into exams may improve grades

Before I start, please see the poll on the right and choose yes or no!

Researchers from East London University and University of Westminster teamed up to deliver a study which suggests students who bring water into the exam achieve higher grades on average.
Clearly, most do not bring water

Dr Chris Pawson, a senior lecturer in the School of Psychology at the University of East London said: " The results imply that the simple act of bringing water into an exam was linked to an improvement in students' grades".

The reason why wasn't broken down in the study, but Dr Pawson speculates that it could be psychological and physiological.

The psychological argument was that having access to water allowed them to think water calmed students down and reduced anxiety, a notorious killer in an exam.

The physiological side offered a direct relationship between hydration and thinking ability.

While both sides are credible, more research must be done.

The study

447 undergraduates were randomly chosen and monitored whether they brought drinks into examinations. They also noted what type of drink.

The study found that first year undergraduates were less likely to take drinks into the exam than their higher year peers.

On results day, the students who took water tended to do better than their classmates who did not bring water.

The study will be continued and additional observations will be taken.

Perhaps water does give you an advantage, or maybe it's the fact sign of preparation that gives you the edge.

But either way, Dr Pawson recommended students bring water, as it will not have a negative effect, if any.

Monday, 23 April 2012

5 Things you eat without knowing

5. Human hair

Duck feathers and human hairs are dissolved to make what's called Cysteine, an ingredient used in dough to make your bread.

This is the cheap option, and since the processed way is quite expensive, most companies opt for the Cysteine.

4. Arsenic

Arsenic is a notorious poison to multicellular life. However it is used as a food additive given to chickens which serves as an antibiotic.

Half the arsenic passes out of the chicken and is then used as a fertiliser to grow your vegetables!

The FDA not only approves this, but also approves the next 3!

3. Ground up bugs

Derived from beetles and other creepy crawlies, the lovely tone of their shells is used as food colouring in our food.

Carmine is the main one, and is extracted by boiling insects in ammonia.

Good job it's only red, ..oh wait is strawberry your favourite flavour?

2. Bug poo

Mostly used to make things shine, this is better known as shellac. Used in furniture polish, wood polish, shiny hard boiled sweets, jelly beans, chocolate, the list goes on.

Listed as 'confectioners glaze' or 'resinous glaze' it's also used to make your apples shiny. Didn't see that one coming did you!

1. Beaver anus glands

Castoreum is used as 'natural flavoring' in food and beverages.

Most commonly used in vanilla and in many raspberry flavoured sweets. It's natural alright!

Please leave your comments below!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Huge water reserve discovered under Africa

Despite accounting for 15% of the world population, Africa remains a largely third world continent and the population lives in poverty.

300 million people do not have access to safe drinking water, and that population continues to grow.

Researchers for UCL (University College of London) have mapped Africa and carried out continent wide analysis and discovered a basin on water (mostly in the Northern region) beneath the surface.

The total capacity of water is about 75m of thickness. When you relate that to the area of the top half of Africa,  the amount of water is huge.

Scientists say that the climate changes which created the Sahara desert pushed the water into the aquifers below, creating a vast resource of water hidden beneath the surface 5000 years ago.

The researchers confirmed this by relating to hydro-geographical maps of the continent.

What are aquifers?

  • Aquifers are a layer of permeable rock underground. 
  • They can hold water and are the basis of wells.
  • Like a giant sponge, they soak of ground water
Ground water is water which has trickled through gravel and soil and becomes deposited beneath the surface.

The catch

However scientists do not recommend drilling as the groundwater is not yet researched and must be tested.

If they give the all-clear, geologists say instead of large scale extraction, small scale sites should be established such as wells, as they are more efficient.

But also, rapid use of these aquifers will result in the deposits being rapidly depleted without any recovery.

However the future is still looking bright, as the UK government are hoping to set up a project to use this resource to aid some of the world's poorest people.

Please leave your comments below!

Friday, 20 April 2012

10 Things you didn't know 5 minutes ago! (Part 7)

10. Earth is the only place we have observed fire

This is because of the fantastic abundance of oxygen, anywhere else there is just simply not enough.

9. The tongue map is wrong

During primary school (or roughly 4th grade for you americans), you learn about the tongue map how different areas of the tongue suit different tastes. This is wrong, the tongue can sense the 5 different tastes all over it, just in different sensitivities.

8. Celery, truffle mushrooms and pork contain androstenone

This compound is aromatic and heavily influences flavour.

50% of people cannot smell it, roughly 15% find it woody and the rest think it smells like urine. Nice.

7. Why you actually set your clock forward in march

Benjamin Franklin created this as a joke. He said that getting people up earlier on brighter mornings saved the number of candles needed to light up the workspace.

This idea started near 1920 and then went viral around the world.

6. According to quantum physics, the shortest time that can exist is 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000001 seconds

This is known as planck's time, or the time taken for light to move a plancks length which is 1.6x10^-35m

To appreciate how small this is, the diameter of a proton is 10^20 times larger than this length.
The dinosaurs know this

5. Each day, 8 billion meteoroids hit the Earth

Meteoroid is the fancy name for meteorite but not yet in Earth, they are so tiny that no one notices them whizzing to the ground.

4. Counting sheep is a baaaaaaa'd idea

Scientists have proven that counting sheep to cure insomnia is ineffective, the subjects got so bored their minds turned to more engaging subjects.

3. How much can your pencil hold?

Scientists estimate the average drawing distance of a pencil is 35 miles long. However no one yet has tested this claim, want to be the first?

2. There can never be such things as vampires

Vampires are supposed to die by sunlight so they appear in the night.

However moonlight is just reflection of the sun, and hence counts as sunlight which means the vampires would burn in the night as well.

1. The diamond planet
I wish.

Astronomers have spotted a planet made entirely of diamond just 4,000 light years away. The scientists estimate the density and amount of carbon results in a complete diamond planet.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

The mother who cannot love or show happiness

Kelly Timson cannot laugh or express strong emotion otherwise she collapses.

She fears her rare illness: cataplexy may have been passed to her son.

Cataplexy is a disease which causes sudden loss of muscle tone, and is triggered by emotions.

Kelly cannot go to the pub with her friends, go to a comedy show or go out by herself without risking an attack.

Her body is immediately paralzyed when she experiences strong emotions such as love, sadness and amusement.

She suffers up to 20 attacks a day and almost died once when she collapsed face down on the sofa.

The attacks are completely unpredictable, she says "sometimes they can last for a few seconds, and even up to an hour"

They can happen anywhere too, as she said "One time I was working at a doughnut kiosk, and while I was pouring the coffee machine, I was paralysed while standing, I couldn't move"

Her symptoms began at the age of 16, when she noticed she fell asleep a lot.

Her condition worsened over the upcoming years and started to suffer from total paralysis and memory loss.

She says: "one time I was at the doctors desk and collapsed, hitting my head on her desk before she knew what was happening".

Kelly hopes that soon more advanced medication can be given to her and she'll be able to look after her son.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Tumour baby swims back to life

Rosanna Ogden was just 6 weeks old when she had open heart surgery.

She had a disease; rhabdomyoma, a benign tumour so rare that only 3 cases have been present in the UK.

Parents Nick and Sanam were told the chances of her survival was slim.

The doctor then suggested that physical activity could help her recover, what they did not know was that she had a natural talent for water.

Only 10 weeks after the operation, her mother took her to the local swimming pool for classes, and where her fellow toddlers cried, she excelled.

Now, the 'little mermaid' can swim without armbands at the age of two.

In march, she qualified to be the youngest person ever to swim for the British heart foundation. She raised over $1000!

What may be even more amazing is that she could swim before learning to walk.

Her coach Mary Parkinson added: "She's like a little fish, she swims fantastically for her age".

What does the future hold?

Coach Ben Hamlett responds: "The Olympic Gold"

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Man turns gay after suffering from stroke

Chris Birch, 27 was a heterosexual, rugby enthusiast banker who was due to marry his girlfriend. But after a freak accident, he suddenly found himself attracted to men rather than women.

Birch was on a hill with his mates, trying to impress them by doing back-flips.

However he fell down a grassy hill, broke his neck and suffered a stroke.

What is a stroke?

A stroke is when oxygen is cut off from the brain, without oxygen, brain cells (any cell for that matter) die and the brain is forced to make new connections. And this is where new traits can emerge.

This artery stopped supplying
oxygen for a short while
Birch spent a week in a coma and shortly after was dismissed from hospital.

However one day when he was watching TV, he saw a handsome male actor and had a strange feeling of desire for him.

He said: "I felt my stomach flutter and the same feeling I used to have for pretty girls came across me."

This isn't the first time major personalities have changed due to a stroke.

Two years ago, a British man suffered a stroke and woke up to realise he was a very good painter.

To help him make sense of the situation, Birch visited a neurologist who proposed the stroke may have 'opened an area in the brain previously unused.'

Past to present

Birch stopped playing sport, quit his banking job and broke up with his fiancĂ©e.

He said he suddenly 'hated his old life' and opted for a healthier lifestyle and a job as a hairdresser. Chris now lives with his 19 year old boyfriend.

Leave your comments below!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

5 extremely painful ways to be killed by an animal

5. Eaten alive

We'll start with the obvious one..

Tigers, wolves, wild dogs, coyotes: All these animals usually hunt in packs, and the way it can kill efficiently is by one pinning you down while the others gut you at their leisure!

Painful? I think so. Unluckily for you, they can't simply break your spine, they aren't strong enough.

So for larger animals they tend to just bring them down and start devouring you while your screaming for your life.

4. Constriction

The anaconda can squeeze at at the pressure of 6kg per square cm. This effectively means overall force of 4000kg on you.

Horses weight roughly 500kg, so picture 8 horses squishing you and you can imagine how it would feel.

However luckily for you! You won't die of asphyxiation, your ribs are more likely to give way and you'll die from cardiac arrest instead yay!

But while you're dying, the anaconda will then swallow you whole.

3. Gutted by the Cassowary

The Cassowary is basically a huge bird, native to Australia.

It's a vegetarian so if it attacks you, you know you've done something wrong!

They way they usually get you is first by a flying kick. Normally you would die from that, but in the case you don't, you'll have ruptured organs and they will then proceed to eviscerate you with their half foot long claws.

These birds are so dangerous that they are considered the most dangerous animals in kept in zoos.

2. Death by rape

Ever wondered what it's like to be brutally raped by a fish? The Candiru from the Amazon can tell you how much pain their victims are in for.

These guys are relatives of the catfish, but they're more like evil cousins.

If you ask someone from the Amazon what their most feared animal is, it's not the Piranha or the deadly spiders, it's the Candiru!

They like to prey on fish, swimming into their gills and eating them from inside out.

But often they happen to find people swimming in rivers. People have an opening in their body that looks warm, and the Candiru like to swim into these places.

But wait, it gets worse, as soon as you leave the water, the fish dies. Now you have a rotting dead fish quite a long way up your behind (or for girls in front), and in the middle of the Amazon there is no hospital to save you.

1. Siafu attack

This particular species of ant known as driver ants, or siafu ants hang powerful stingers. However usually they don't use their stings, they rely on their even more powerful jaws.

These ants hunt in colonies, often up to 50,000,000 at a time, so if you see a massive army of ants moving towards you, run away.

Actually, you won't need to run away because luckily, they travel extremely slow, moving at roughly 20 metres an hour.

But if they do reach you, they will enter every orifice of your body; mouth, ears, nose, eyes and will devour you from the inside.

These ants are small too, so expect them to enter your most private areas.

Friday, 13 April 2012

10 Things you didn't know 5 minutes ago! (Part 6)

10. The human body produces 10,000 gallons, or 43500 litres of saliva in a lifetime

That's about the volume of a fuel tanker truck.

Saliva is used for different purposes in different animals, in humans it's used digestion, and contains the enzyme amylase.

Some birds use it as glue to build nests, snakes use toxic saliva to kill prey, and some arthropods (spiders and caterpillars) use it to create thread.

9. When bounced on a hard surface, a steel ball will bounce higher than a rubber ball

This is because when gravitational potential energy converts to kinetic, the rubber ball loses energy when it's deformed as it hits the floor.

The steel one doesn't however and bounces right back up again.

8. You can fossilize lightning

It's called Fulgurite.

It happens when the temperature of lightning is so hot (1800 celsius) it melts the silica in sand and fuses all the grains together.

Fulgarite are natural occuring glass hollow tubes.

okay maybe they are a bit off in
colour.. and size...
7. If you put Saturn on water, it would float

The density of Saturn is 0.687gcm^3 whereas water is 0.998 gcm^3.

However seeing as Saturn has a cross sectional area of (1.14x10^16)m^2, you would need a very large basin of water to experiment this on..

6. Light is 30,000 years old

I know what you're thinking 'hey, it takes 8 minutes for light to reach us!'

Well it does, but it takes an additional 30,000 years for it to pass through the dense atoms from the core.
All the energy produced by fusion must travel through the many layers of the sun to reach us.

5. Plastic bags are better for the enviroment than paper bags

The process to recycle and manufacture paper bags costs more in energy consumption than plastic bags. So essentially you are burning more fossil fuels.

Also they both end up in landfill, under the pressure and airtightness of the landfill, they usually degrade at the same rate anyway.

4. Using a shell to hear the sea

I hope you don't believe this works, but the sound you hear is actually the blood in your veins, you can do this with any cup shaped object.

The reason you don't hear the characteristic pulse sound is because blood flows at a constant low pressure in your veins.

3. Gorillas sleep in nests

Male gorillas tend to sleep on the ground, whereas female gorillas sleep in nests.

They make these out of foliage and branches collected from nearby trees.
I'm hungry already..

It's a miracle they can fit on them really..

2. There is no blood in your steak

All the blood in steaks in removed in the manufacturing process.

That red colour is actually myoglobin, a protein similar to haemoglobin.

Myoglobin is only released during muscle injury. (when the cow is being chopped up)

1. cold welding

If two metals in space touch, they will be stuck together in the vacuum of space. However this doesn't happen as the tools come from earth and have an oxidised layer protecting it.

The only actual cases of this being proved is experiments designed to show it happens.

Did you learn something? Add your comments below!