Tuesday, April 30, 2013

4-year-old rape victim dies in India

Painful! Very painful and shameful indeed.  Remember the story of the 4-year-old girl raped in India?  Reports have it that the girl died today after days in coma at the hospital:
                                                                       (c) nytimes.com
"The girl, the daughter of day laborers, was lured from her home in the town of Ghansor in Madhya Pradesh State on April 17 and found the next day by her parents, bleeding profusely, the police said. 
Her kidnapper seized her after promising to buy her bananas from a nearby shop, a police official said Tuesday.
She had been in a coma since April 18, Ashok Tank, a doctor who cared for her at Care Nagpur Hospital, said in a telephone interview Tuesday. She suffered severe brain injuries and severe injuries to her vagina, he said, and had been on a ventilator.
“Her heart and lungs stopped functioning,” Dr. Tank said. 'It is very inhuman that such a young girl was subjected to sexual abuse.'"
Read more: nytimes.com

Friday, April 26, 2013

Study on Africa's soil reveals significant climate-induced nutrient depletion

"Many of the soils of Africa are severely degraded by erosion and excessive nutrient depletion. This explains the low productivity of African soils, mainly due to lack of plant nutrients, not adequately replenished by artificial fertilizers. On average, African farmers, due to rural poverty, are able to apply only 10% of the nutrients that farmers in the rest of the world return to the soil."
That was a summary of the findings of a study on Africa's soil resources announced today by the European Union.  Presenting the study in a meeting between EU and representatives of the African Union commission, EU commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard, noted that "the soils of Africa have a crucial role in climate change adaptation and mitigation polices and they are the basis for sustainable development and food security."
Fertile and productive soils are key to tackling hunger and are a particular challenge in Africa, where, in many parts, soils are losing nutrients faster than fertilisers can be added
According to the study, 98% of all calories consumed in Africa originate from the soil resources of Africa. "Africa's soils store about 200 gigatonnes of organic carbon - 2.5 times more than contained in the continent's plants. Tropical rainforest soils are not naturally fertile but need a constant supply of organic matter from natural vegetation. Deforestation breaks this cycle."

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Science makes you better morally - study

A study has been published that found thinking about science tends to lead to people being more moral.

According to research published PloS One the researchers tested four scenarios to show whether science made a difference to moral judgements.
The first study used 48 undergraduates, and presented them with a date-rape scenario, where they rated the action on a scale of 1 to 100 on how morally wrong it was (1 being fine, 100 being reprehensible). After answering the question, the group was asked how much they believed in science on a 1 to 7 scale.
This group was also coded for their fields of study - whether what they were studying was a science or not.
The people who studied sciences condemned the act more strongly than those who didn't, as did the people who believed more strongly in science.
The second used 33 undergraduates and the same scenario as the first, but this time they primed the students using a sentence game using scientific and nonscientific words.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Court bans 12-year old girl from Facebook for 1 year

A 12-year-old girl’s life a hit after a judge in her hometown of Brandon, Canada, banned her from Facebook for a full, entire year.
The reason: she'd used the social network to threaten two of her Manitoba area classmates, writing, "You have no idea how bad I want to strangle you two girls!!!! Omg! Yu just wait. Your time will come!"
According to the Winnipeg Free Press, the girl was inspired to write such a curdling threat after she found out that her boyfriend was "cheating" on her with one of the other girls who attended the same elementary school.

One of the girls' mothers found the note and reported it to police, and the offender admitted responsibility.
The judge levied the 12-year-old with a one-year probation order and 50 hours of community service. The order also imposes a one-year ban from Facebook, the place where the 12-year-old spends so much of her time.
Read more:  dailydot.com

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Bearded women: Are they normal?

Mariam                                                      (c) dailymail.co.uk
 Growing up in a village many years ago, I used to hear all kinds of tales about women who grow mustache.  We were told that it's a sign that such women are wicked.  Others say it's a sign that the women were men in their previous world (belief in reincarnation is common in Africa, and certainly in where I come from).
I have since discovered that those are very unfounded beliefs and assumptions.  But what will make a woman grow mustache?  I tried finding out myself after reading the story of two women.  The first is 49 year-old German-born Mariam, a mother of a 28-year man.  The second is 37 year-old English woman, Siobhain Fletcher.
Responding to the question - What Causes Women to Grow Mustaches? - ask.com writes "there are several causes of a woman growing a mustache. The first could be related to an hormonal imbalance. Also, polycystic ovarian syndrome is another common cause of women growing mustaches."

Sperm quality higher in men who wear kilts

men in kilt
Men, want to increase your chances of becoming a dad? Then wearing a kilt, without underwear, could do it for you. At least that is the recommendation of a researcher, who writing in the current issue of the Scottish Medical Journal, says although yet to be proven in a scientific trial, judging from the anecdotal literature he reviewed, it is likely that sperm quality is higher in men who wear Scottish kilts (without underwear) compared with men whose reproductive organs are probably kept too warm for healthy sperm production by being tucked away in tight trousers and underpants.
The last few decades have seen a global decline in human sperm counts.  Additionally, there has been a remarkable decline in fertility rates in the industrialized world, to which poor semen quality among men could be an important contributor.
Studies investigating the decline in semen quality have suggested a number of reasons, from living near places with high air pollution, to changes in lifestyle and rising levels of obesity.
Read more: medicalnewstoday.com

Roona Begum: The 'water on the brain' baby

Here is Roona Begum, a baby born in a poor rural community in India. Her condition is called hydrocephalus. Ordinarily, many refer to this as 'water on the brain' According to Medilexicon's medical dictionary: hydrocephalus is "A condition marked by an excessive accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid resulting in dilation of the cerebral ventricles and raised intracranial pressure; may also result in enlargement of the cranium and atrophy of the brain."
"The outlook for a patient with hydrocephalus depends mainly on how quickly the condition is diagnosed and treated, and whether there are any underlying disorders. Treatment for hydrocephalus often involves using a shunt - a thin tube that is implanted in the brain to drain away excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)," writes medicalnewstoday.com.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Boston bombing: If it were Nigeria

The two suspects                    (c) cbsnews.com
 You can't stop Nigerians from talking and yesterday's manhunt in Boston over the bombing on Monday has triggered a social media buzz.  Immediately after Dzhokhar Tsarnaev the 19 year-old suspect was captured, Nigerians went loud on Facebook and twitter.  Almost immediately a new twitter hashtag emerged - #ifitwerenigeria (if it were Nigeria).
Dele Momodu, magazine publisher and columnist in ThisDay, a leading national newspaper, was the first high profile tweet that caught my attention.  "I believe America is seizing this chance to send a powerful message to the tough guys:  You monkey with us, we fix you! Incredible nation", he wrote.
"#IfItWereNigeria Some elders will be shielding the terrorists in their homes and be going to Abuja to negotiate for their amnesty"
Other tweets followed: "The American Police is too much, announced arrest simply on Twitter! the power of social media,"he tweeted.
                    SWAT team                                     (c)foxnews.com
"Finally, they got him. You don't mess up with America. I hope Nigeria can send same message to Boko Haram," Nancy Annan wrote in a Facebook posting.  "Boston terror suspect picked by the police after well co-ordinated manhunt. I hope President Jonathan is watching. You don't pet terrorists," wrote Funmi Macaulay, founder of Nigerians Unite Against Boko Haram in her own posting.
Despite the huge reactions on Facebook, the twitter hashtag #ifitwerenigeria offers the most diverse, insightful, and controversial views by Nigerians comparing US reaction to the Boston terror to the experience in Nigeria.
Tolu Ogunlesi, is a Lagos-based journalist and editor.  "The saddest thing about #ifitwerenigeria," he tweeted, "is that #itisAlwaysNigeria."  "#IfItWereNigeria Some elders will be shielding the terrorists in their homes and be going to Abuja to negotiate for their amnesty", tweeted Omoluabi, another contributor.
Click below and see what some other Nigerians are saying.

In Boston manhunt, online detectives flourish

                                                                                     (c) cnn.com
The intensive manhunt for the bombers behind the deadly Boston Marathon attacks didn't take place only on the streets with professional police officers and SWAT teams. In an era of digital interactivity, it also unfolded around the country from laptops and desk chairs filled with regular folks.
Fueled by Twitter, online forums like Reddit and 4Chan, smartphones and relays of police scanners, thousands of people played armchair detective as police searched for men who turned out to be suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, ethnic Chechen brothers who had immigrated from southern Russia years ago.
It's certainly not vigilantism, but it's not standard policing, either. It's something in the middle, perhaps something new - the law-enforcement equivalent of citizen journalism.
But as amateur online sleuths began identifying possible culprits, caught in the virtual manhunt were people who were wrongly accused or placed under suspicion by crowdsourcing. It showed the damage that digital investigators can cause and raised a relevant question: In the social-media generation, what does law enforcement unleash when, by implication, it deputizes the public for help?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Boston terror suspect told friends to "stay safe" on twitter 2hrs after bombing

Two hours after the Boston Marathon bombing, suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev tweeted, “Ain't no love in the heart of the city, stay safe people” – and a day later said he was “stress-free,” nbcnews.com has reported.
The Twitter account (handle: @J_tsar), which borrowed heavily from song lyrics by the likes of Eminem and Jay-Z,  has not been active since Wednesday, when Tsarnaev retweeted a post by a Muslim scholar: “Attitude can take away your beauty no matter how good looking you are or it could enhance your beauty, making you adorable.”
But who is Dzhokhar Tsarvaev?
Tsarnaev is a 19-year-old reportedly from Kyrgyzstan who has been living, for the past 10 years, in the United States. 
According to information provided on his page of a Russian social networking site, the wanted 19-year-old suspect notes he went to primary school in Makhachkala, capital of Dagestan, a province in Russia that borders Chechnya, and lists his languages as English, Russian and Chechen.  He also identified his priorities as 'career' and 'money'.  School mates at high school in Cambridge, describe him as quiet and hardworking.
Police hunt for him continues in Watertown, Massachusetts where he is believed to be hiding.

Bombing suspects "were self-radicalised"

Father of the two Boston bombing suspects believes his sons may have been radicalized in the United States.
He told AP, "my son is a true angel".  CBN News correspondent, Beth Knobel, who spoke to the father in Russia, told colleagues in CBS morning show 'CBS This Morning' father said they were very good kids.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

"They picked the wrong city", Obama praises Boston's resolve, response to attack

President Barack Obama told a memorial service for the Boston bombing victims that "we will find" whoever carried out the attack that killed three people as investigators search for two men seen on a video of the scene shortly before the blasts.
Obama said Americans would not be intimidated by the twin blasts, which also injured 176 people in a crowd of thousands at the finish line of the world-famous marathon on Monday.
"If they sought to intimidate us, to terrorize us, to shake us from those values ... that define us as Americans, it should be pretty clear by now that they picked the wrong city to do it to. Not here in Boston," Obama said at the memorial on Thursday. While investigators have made no arrests yet, Obama said of the perpetrator or perpetrators of the attack, "We will find you and you will face justice."

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What is ricin and why does it kill?

US authorities today confirmed that the poison ricin was found in envelopes sent to President Obama and Roger Wicker, a senator from the state of Mississippi.  But what is ricin?
"Ricin is a natural, highly toxic compound that is one of the byproducts of processing castor beans.

If inhaled, injected or ingested, less than a pinpoint of ricin can kill a person within 36 to 48 hours due to the failure of the respiratory and circulatory systems. There is no known cure.
One molecule of ricin will kill a cell it enters," writes CNN.
The Centre for Desease Control (CDC) says "ricin is a poison found naturally in castor beans."  CDC explains that "if castor beans are chewed and swallowed, the released ricin can cause injury."

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A third of black South African women obese - study

Almost one third of black South African women are obese, the SA Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) says.

"Coloured, white, and Indian women follow closely, with around a quarter being obese," the institute's South Africa Survey shows.
In contrast, 18 percent of all white men are obese, followed by nine percent of Indian, eight percent of coloured, and six percent of black men.
The figures were obtained from the SA Medical Research Council.
"Obesity is linked to a number of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes mellitus and heart disease, both of which are among the top 10 causes of death in South Africa."
The figures are based on Body Mass Index (BMI), calculated using a person's weight and height.
A person is obese if their BMI exceeds 30.
The SAIRR commented: "According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) obesity was previously associated with high-income countries, but is gaining prevalence in low- and middle-income countries."
In October 2011 Compass Group Southern Africa, a food services company, placed South Africa third in the world in obesity rankings, after the United States and Great Britain.

Pregnant woman murdered in honor killing

It is horrible that the so called honour killing still happens in our world of today.
What is honorable about slicing the throat of any fellow human being?
According to AP, the police in Jordan today found the burned body of a pregnant woman whose throat had been slit and belly cut open showing her four-month-old foetus, in an apparent "honour killing".
"The belly of the woman, who was in her twenties, was cut open and we could see her four-month-old unborn child..."

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The newest, fastest fat buster

It's not exercise; it is not diet. It's a fruit.  Scientists are excited about it.  No fake. Experts say it is real and it is thrilling how it works.  It helps blocks the formation of fat.  Some scientists have called it 'the revolutionary fat buster'.  What is it?  It's called Garcinia Cambogia.
Dr. Julie Chen, a California internist with a fellowship and training in Integrative medicine recommends it for weight management, cholesterol, and issues associated with metabolic syndrome. "What I love about this product is that it is one of the least expensive to use, and it's been shown in studies to increase weight loss two to three times the amount people would lose with diet and exercise."
Check it out in details HERE

Go braless for better breasts, says expert

A 15-year French study has concluded that bras provide no long-term benefits for breasts –– and might actually increase sagginess.
Professor Jean-Denis Rouillon, a professor at the University of Franche-Comte in Besancon, examined and measured more than 300 women's breasts when they were 18 and 35, taking into account how wearing bras affected them.
"Medically, physiologically, anatomically, the breast does not benefit from being deprived of gravity," Professor Rouillon told wesbite France Info.
"Bra manufacturers do promote that bras can reduce long-term sagging, but there is no evidence to prove that"
He found that the nipples of women who didn't wear bras lifted and that wearing a bra from puberty meant the breasts did not develop strength, which could accelerate sagging.
But Dr Deirdre McGhee, a sports physiotherapist and researcher from Breast Research Australia at the University of Wollongong, told ninemsn that only studying women up to the age of 35 is pointless.
"It's only from 35 on that the skin decreases in its elasticity and the breasts tend to sag more after that because the skin is the primary support of the breast," she said.

Friday, April 12, 2013

12 year-old Ethiopian girl saved from abductors by lions

A 12-year-old girl who was abducted and beaten by men trying to force her into a marriage was found being guarded by three lions who apparently had chased off her captors, a policeman said Tuesday.
The girl, missing for a week, had been taken by seven men who wanted to force her to marry one of them, said Sgt. Wondimu Wedajo, speaking by telephone from the provincial capital of Bita Genet, about 350 miles southwest of Addis Ababa.
“If the lions had not come to her rescue, then it could have been much worse. Often these young girls are raped and severely beaten to force them to accept the marriage”
She was beaten repeatedly before she was found June 9 by police and relatives on the outskirts of Bita Genet, Wondimu said. She had been guarded by the lions for about half a day, he said.
“They stood guard until we found her and then they just left her like a gift and went back into the forest,” Wondimu said.

Africa’s rhinos are losing the poaching battle

Rhinos                                                  (c) goafrica.about.com
Five days after the rhino was gunned down, its carcass had been picked apart by scavengers, while the poachers who killed the threatened animal had probably taken its valuable horn over the South African border into Mozambique.
All that was left of its calf was a skull swarming with flies and a few other bones collected by crime-scene investigators at South Africa’s Kruger National Park for DNA tests that may one day be used to link the poachers to the stolen horns.
South Africa is on track to lose more than 800 rhinos this year to poachers. Most of them come over the border from Mozambique and sell the horn to international crime syndicates to feed rapidly rising demand in southeast Asia
South Africa, home to almost all rhinos on the continent, has deployed its military, diplomats and police to protect the animals from legions of poachers. But that has not been enough to put rhinos on the brink of species decline, whereby more of the animals are being killed than are being born each year.
"We are fighting a counterinsurgency now. The war is escalating. It is more aggressive and there is more firepower," said Johan Jooste, a retired army major-general tasked with militarising the Kruger’s park rangers.

Moderate drinking may increase breast cancer survival rates - study

                                                          (c) ghanacelebrities.com
Drinking alcohol in moderation may not worsen a woman's odds of surviving breast cancer, a new study finds. In fact, alcohol may even help.
Alcohol is believed to increase estrogen production in pre-and post-menopausal women, which can increase breast cancer risk. However, the study published April 8 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology showed that consuming alcohol had no affect on the person's survival rate. What's more, women who were moderate drinkers before and after their diagnosis were shown to have a significant boost in survival.
"Our findings should be reassuring to women who have breast cancer because their past experience consuming alcohol will not impact their survival after diagnosis," Polly Newcomb, a member of the Public Health Sciences Division and head of the Cancer Prevention Program at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, said in a press release.

Read more here

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Fitness experts dispel common exercise myths

Several often-cited fitness "facts" are really myths, according to experts on exercise.
For example, stretching before exercise doesn't actually reduce the risk of injury, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) said in a Feb. 14 news release, after examining research conducted over the past decade. However, stretching can help prevent injuries at other times, such as after a workout.
Running is actually better than walking for those who want to burn more calories. Although walking is a great physical activity, the experts stressed, running requires 40 percent more energy.
"Static stretching," where you extend a muscle group to its maximum and hold it for up to 30 seconds -- for example, a static leg stretch -- doesn't boost exercise performance, ACE cautioned. On the contrary, static stretching before a workout can have a negative effect on explosive activities, such as sprinting and jumping, and on maximal strength production.

Porn bad for the brain, bad for women

Jacques Rousseau’s article in the Mail & Guardian (March 22-27 2013) titled “The naked truth about porn on television” cannot go unchallenged. Rousseau is the chairperson of the Free Society Institute and defends the viewing of pornography on television. His intervention in the recent debate about whether we should allow pornography on television is clearly uninformed and stems from a liberal perspective that pornography is a form of speech or expression.
“ … there may be a correlation between porn and sexual violence, just as there may be a correlation between hours spent on church pews and lower backache”
Rousseau argues that “porn becomes a big problem only if it automatically causes harm”. According to him there may be a correlation between harm and pornography, but we cannot show causation. As he puts it “ … there may be a correlation between porn and sexual violence, just as there may be a correlation between hours spent on church pews and lower backache”. He also chastises those who think it is an issue of morality (like the ACDP). Indeed it is not only a moral issue and often feminists who criticise pornography end up in the same category as conservative church leaders, but for very different reasons.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Largest private yacht in the world launched

Sorry Roman. You've been eclipsed.  A new yacht launched Friday by Lürssen, the German luxury boatbuilder, is now the largest motor yacht in the world. It's name is Azzam, and at 590 feet long, it has officially bumped Roman Abramovich's yacht – the 536-foot Eclipse – from its number one ranking.
Lürssen won't comment on the ownership. But industry sources say the owner is likely the royal family of Abu Dhabi.

If Youtube were a country, it'd be the third largest after China, India

What does 1 billion monthly YouTube users signify? It means that nearly one out of every two people on the Internet worldwide goes to YouTube.
That's a serious amount of people.
Google's video hosting service announced today that for the first time, it's driving these colossal numbers -- more than a billion unique users on the site, every month.
"If YouTube were a country, we'd be the third largest in the world after China and India," YouTube wrote in a blog post recently. "Our monthly viewership is the equivalent of roughly 10 Super Bowl audiences."
Not bad for a company that's just eight years old. It's not only viewers who are prodigiously using the service, but content creators are also creating videos at a growing rate. According to YouTube, thousands of channels have been created and every single one of the Ad Age top 100 brands have run advertising campaigns on the site.

Read more: news.cnet.com

Saturday, April 6, 2013

DNA test more accurate than pap smear for cervical cancer

A new study shows a woman's DNA may predict her risk of cervical cancer better than a repeat pap smear.
Women who have an abnormal pap smear are typically called back for a repeat test to see if cells are clearly or mildly irregular. But researchers at the Scientific Institute of Public Health found that a DNA based test more accurately identified women with pre-cancer than a repeat smear.

The brain scan that reads dreams

Human brain          (c) salon.com

Scientists have come a step closer to reading dreams after discovering how to predict the images in the heads of napping volunteers.
Using a brain scanner, Japanese researchers were able to identify broad topics of what was being seen in the dreams with 60 percent accuracy.
After gathering around 200 dream reports from each subject, the data was used to develop a computer program to recognise the brain activity associated with different types of dream image.
The experiment involved three volunteers sleeping in a functional magnetic resonance imaging machine. After gathering around 200 dream reports from each subject, the data was used to develop a computer program to recognise the brain activity associated with different types of dream image.

Found: antibody ‘roadmap’ to Aids vaccine

Scientists on a quest for an antibody-based Aids vaccine said on Wednesday they found promising clues in the uncommonly “robust” natural immune response of a patient in Africa.
Studying blood samples over a three-year period after the person was infected, researchers were witness to a microscopic battle between the virus and antibodies - both evolving as they sought to gain the upper hand.
For the first time, scientists were able to follow the full chain of events leading to the patient naturally producing broadly neutralising antibodies (BnAbs) - so called because they attack different strains of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes Aids.
Read more here

Monday, April 1, 2013

NYC's rat sterilization experiment

If rats had their own civil-rights lobby, it might be scurrying through Times Square right now, holding up teeny signs like, "Bureaucrats Out Of My Duplex Uterus."
That's because New York City is poised to slam down on the rodents with a revolutionary, biology-altering pilot experiment to shrink their natural populations. As you might've read in the Wall Street Journal, workers from an Arizona research company are conducting surveillance on rats in the subway system's garbage rooms. Soon enough, they plan to deploy bait stations loaded with chemicals that will neutralize the reproductive systems of female rats.
The next litter the ladies give birth to might be reduced by half. The following one could only involve two or three pups. After that, the mothers might not be able to conceive during any cycle in their lifetime. They'll be permanently shut out from experiencing the joy of raising (and occasionally eating) a squirming, squeaking mess of ratlets.
Should the world be outraged at this attempt to force-sterilize the rat horde of New York? And should New Yorkers be worried about this mysterious chemical that withers ovaries like sun-blasted grapes on the vine? The answer seems to be "nope" and "hardly," at least in this early stage. In fact, eating this anti-reproductive juice could be the best thing to happen to rats since New Yorkers invented and started dropping 99-cent pizza. Here's why.

Read more: The Atlantic