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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Why hyenas laugh:Part 2

After I wrote my last blog entry I did some more research online concerning the human/scientific explanation for the hyena "laugh". Here is what I found:

1. "Nicholas Mathevon, a biologist at the University of Jean Monnet, in Saint-Etienne, France, who studied captive hyenas, recording their laughs and subjecting them to sophisticated acoustical studies concluded that the hyena "laugh", is a multi-informative signalMathevon found that the laugh tends to occur when subordinate animals are attacked or chased away by dominant hyenas during feeding times and "is mainly emitted when [the animal] is frustrated..."What has puzzled scientists is that the 'laugh' is so loud. Such a loud vocalisation would attract other hyenas, increasing the strength of the pack and thus reducing the animal's food supply further."


"But, it might also draw other predators, such as lions, to steal food.
Perhaps, Mathevon speculated, this means that dominant animals are forced to keep them quiet by allowing them to eat so that larger predators aren't drawn to sounds that signal mealtimes."
 (source: http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/news/2767/spiteful-hyena-laugh-used-attract-predators


2.In the article, "


Hyena laughs and giggles decoded", which you can read by going to the  
following website:
"In the first study to decipher the hyena's so-called "laugh", they have shown that
 the pitch of the giggle reveals a hyena's age.What is more, variations in the
 frequency of notes used when a hyena makes a noise convey information 
about the animal's social rank.spotted hyenas, females dominate, holding 
a higher rank than all other males, whatever their age. Profs Theunissen and
 Mathevon's research suggests that the animals convey this status via their laugh
 or giggle, which they usually make while fighting over food.Previously their sounds
 had been considered a simple gesture of submission, but the new study has allowed 
researchers to identify exactly which individual hyena makes each giggle, and the 
circumstances in which they do so.The information contained within the giggles
 could be especially important for males new to a clan, as they go immediately 
to the bottom of the hierarchy when they arrive.


Getting to know quickly who is who may give these individuals a better chance
 of improving their own status.
Giggles could also allow hyenas to recruit allies, for instance when
one or two hyenas are outnumbered by lions fighting over the same kill."

Of course until we can actually talk with a hyena in common language, these ideas
 mentioned above
are speculation, which means the video at the following link could also be
the reason that hyena's
engage in what we consider to be "laughing behavior" LOL

http://www.medialunchbox.com/Funny-Videos/6.Animals/274.Hyena-Laugh-Fest.html

Why do hyenas laugh?

Have you ever watched a nature show on television which showed hyenas? If you have you might have heard audio of the hyena making what humans would consider to be a "laugh." Watch and listen to this video if you have never heard this "laugh"




Some scientists have developed a theory as to why they believe hyenas engage in this "laughing" behavior.

In the research article:

"What the hyena's laugh tells: Sex, age, dominance and individual signature in the giggling call of Crocuta crocuta" 


these scientists state:

"The range of messages encoded in the hyena's laugh is likely to play a role during social interactions. This call, together with other vocalizations and other sensory channels, should ensure an array of communication signals that support the complex social system of the spotted hyena. Experimental studies are now needed to decipher precisely the communication network of this species"

And here all along I thought these hyena's were laughing at us humans for some of the things we do each day in this world  :)

Andean mummies afflicted with arsenic

Andean mummies reveal arsenic poisoning afflicted people in northern Chile for thousands of years, a hair analysis shows. Apparently this arsenic was naturally occurring in the area of Chile. To read and abstract  research study  which is the basis for this assertion go to:


http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6WH8-4Y34SVP-1/2/f0bcc8fc52a31bfe413f1f347d28b54e?&zone=raall


A USA Today news article concerning this finding can be read at the following link:http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2010/03/andean-mummies-afflicted-with-arsenic-poison/1

NASA releases new image of Saturn's small inner moon Mimas





The highest-resolution-yet temperature map and images of Saturn's icy moon Mimas obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft reveal surprising patterns on the surface of the small moon, including unexpected hot regions that resemble "Pac-Man" eating a dot, and striking bands of light and dark in crater walls.

"Other moons usually grab the spotlight, but it turns out Mimas is more bizarre than we thought it was," said Linda Spilker, Cassini project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "It has certainly given us some new puzzles."

Cassini collected the data on Feb. 13, during its closest flyby of the moon, which is marked by an enormous scar called Herschel Crater and resembles the Death Star from "Star Wars."

Scientists working with the composite infrared spectrometer, which mapped Mimas' temperatures, expected smoothly varying temperatures peaking in the early afternoon near the equator. Instead, the warmest region was in the morning, along one edge of the moon's disk, making a sharply defined Pac-Man shape, with temperatures around 92 Kelvin (minus 294 degrees Fahrenheit). The rest of the moon was much colder, around 77 Kelvin (minus 320 degrees Fahrenheit). A smaller warm spot - the dot in Pac-Man's mouth - showed up around Herschel, with a temperature around 84 Kelvin (minus 310 degrees Fahrenheit).

The warm spot around Herschel makes sense because tall crater walls (about 5 kilometers, or 3 miles, high) can trap heat inside the crater. But scientists were completely baffled by the sharp, V-shaped pattern.

"We suspect the temperatures are revealing differences in texture on the surface," said John Spencer, a Cassini composite infrared spectrometer team member based at Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo. "It's maybe something like the difference between old, dense snow and freshly fallen powder."



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The image was photographed by the Cassini spacecraft using the The Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) .See: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/overview/ and http://cassini-huygens.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/instruments-cassini-cirs.cfm for more information.
Source of document:http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2010-103
Source of image: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/?IDNumber=PIA12867





Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Scientists devise method to prove fibromyalgia exists

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Sept. 3,2008 (UPI) -- "U.S. scientists say they can distinguish fibromyalgia patients from those without the painful muscle and ligament condition by taking measurements during sleep."


To read the findings of these scientists click on the following link:
http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2008/09/03/Sleep-linked-to-fibromyalgia/UPI-98731220496160/


Research findings regarding this blog post  can be viewed at:  http://www.sleep-journal.com/article/S1389-9457%2807%2900445-5/abstract



8 Wonders of the Solar System

Artist Ron Miller takes us on a journey to eight of the most breathtaking views that await explorers of our solar system at the following website:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=8-wonders

Another reason for ending scientific and medical research using non-human subjects

According to a new scientific study which you can read about at http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100330/full/news.2010.158.html ,


"Published animal trials overestimate by about 30% the likelihood that a treatment works because negative results often go unpublished.This is a surprisingly strong bias, says the study's lead author, Malcolm Macleod, a neurologist at the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences at the University of Edinburgh, UK."


"Macleod and his collaborators turned to a stroke database called the Collaborative Approach to Meta Analysis and Review of Animal Data from Experimental Stroke (CAMARADES). An international team established the database in 2004 in response to poor translation of animal findings to clinical trials. Macleod's team combed through 525 studies, which encompassed 1,359 experiments testing a total of 16 different stroke treatments."


"The team first estimated the magnitude of publication basis. A given treatment would be expected to result in a balanced range of effect sizes, but they found that the literature included many reports of a large effect, but few reports of a small effect. The team then calculated the number of missing studies and came up with an estimate of the 'true' effect of the treatment. In addition to the large overestimate of treatment's efficacy, Macleod and his team found that as many as 16% of experiments remain unpublished."


" A little more than a third of highly cited animal research is reproduced later in human trials2, and although about 500 treatments have been reported as effective in animal models of stroke, only aspirin and early thrombolysis with tissue plasminogen activator work in humans3. The lack of negative results in the literature may explain why so few drugs tested in animals are effective in humans.Not reporting the negative results of animal trials is unethical says Macleod, because it squanders animals and leads to premature human trials. "If the research is not published, it doesn't contribute to our knowledge of human disease," he says."


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If only one third of all animal research is reproduced later in human trials, this obviously means that in 2/3's of the time experimental animals have been used and abused needlessly!    If science and medicine was exclusively using humans as test subjects in their studies and research and  it was revealed that only one third of the time this research was being reproduced in the general population,there would be a public outcry and scientists would be prevented from using human subjects in their testing! This new research clearly indicates that  some aspects of science, ,medicine and medical researche are out of control,  are misguided, and are amoral or valueless! 


Clearly these people knew that if they reported negative results, their research 
might come under scrutiny and their use of non-human life forms would be seriously opposed by more members of the general population.Not only that, their research funding might be cut off or severely reduced, but the  companies  and institutions they are working for would come under fire. If  these scientists are deliberately reporting an  overestimate of a treatment's efficacy, then we have to ask ourselves.....Why this is so, and why they are permitted to engage in such damgerous behavior when both human and non-human lives are at stake!!!










Exercise and fibromyalgia

I found a very good article concerning the need for people with fibromyalgia to exercise. This article is at the http://healthblog.ctv.ca/post/Exercise-can-actually-relieve-some-of-the-pain-of-fibromyalgia.aspx, and was written by
Dr. Marla Shapiro, MDCM CCFP MHSc FRCP(C) FCFP, is a family physician and the Health and Medical Contributor for CTV's Canada AM as well as the editor of Parents Canada magazine, launched in March 2007.


Here are some parts of her article:


"According to the Canadian Arthritis Society, between 2% and 6% of all Canadians are affected" (by fibromyalgia)."
As the Arthritis Society points out, while there is no cure for fibromyalgia, the  goal of treatment is to help in the management of pain and other symptoms." 



"While the treatment of fibromyalgia includes medication, wet heat and adjustments to lifestyle, exercise can be very helpful in managing the symptoms. It is easy to see how a vicious cycle of fatigue and lack of exercise happens. Decreased activity then causes the muscles to weaken, making future activity more difficult. "

"In this week's Arthritis Research & Therapy journal is a new study looking at patients with this diagnosis and increasing their lifestyle physical activity so that they accumulate at least 30 minutes throughout the day. The types of activity are moderate intensity, such as more walking, doing yard work or gardening, using the stairs, household activities such as vacuuming or cleaning out a closet, laundry and finally, sports activity, such as swimming."

"In this study, one group was given counselling and support about fibromyalgia and the other group was educated not only on the disease but given support to gradually increase their moderate activity, so that they were breathing heavily during the activity but not so heavily that they could not hold a conversation."

"At the end of the study, the group that was doing the lifestyle physical activity reported that they had less perceived functional deficits and most importantly, less pain.This is encouraging that by breaking the cycle of pain and being sedentary, exercise is a powerful tool to help improve the quality of life for those with fibromyalgia."


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As you may or may not know, this blog writer has fibromyalgia, and I use a Nordic track cross country ski trainer to get my exercise and I also walk after I have been on the ski trainer. Because the skis of the Nordic track are on rubber wheels, exercise is of a low-impact nature.Cross country skiing is one of the best exercises you can do for fitness and weight control. I hope that if you have fibromyalgia and you are reading this, that you take the time each day or several times a week to exercise, doing something have found enjoyable. The other benefit of exercising is that it causes your body to release natural pain killers called endorpins  (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endorphin and http://www.road-to-health.com/64/What_are_Endorphins_.html for basic information concerning endorphins).

Musician plays the violin as surgeons operate on his brain







"Concert master Roger Frisch (pictured above) has played his violin in a lot of exciting places, from Carnegie Hall to Shanghai. But the oddest place he's likely ever played was while lying on an operating table as neurosurgeons inserted probes into his brain."



"Frisch, a concert master with the Minnesota Orchestra, underwent brain surgery in a bid to stop painful tremors that had been plaguing his bowing hand and threatening his career.
Frisch says he developed the tremors two years ago, after arriving in China for a series of concerts.
"I noticed, I started playing, and I had a funny shake in my hand, which I'd never noticed before," he told CTV's Canada AM Tuesday from Minneapolis. "Of course, I just sort of chalked it up to the international trip. But that was the beginning of a very long and painful era where the tremor continued to get worse."
In June 2009, doctors diagnosed Frisch with something called "essential tremors," a degenerative neurological condition that occurs when sections of the brain that control movement start sending abnormal signals.
The condition most often affects hand movements, so that simple tasks such as drinking a glass of water eventually become difficult. For Frisch, the tremors were generally mild, but his right hand would shake uncontrollably when he held his bow up to his violin."


"So two months ago, he asked Mayo Clinic neurosurgeons to perform the surgery in which a long, thin electrical probe was inserted into his thalamus, the portion of the brain responsible for causing tremors.
In order for surgeons to know where precisely to place the probe, they needed to see Frisch's brain in action. So his surgeon, Dr. Kendall Lee, suggested Frisch stay awake during the surgery and play his violin while they operated."

"Ahead of the surgery, the Mayo team had its engineering division create a special violin bow for the surgery so that surgeons could see how the small tremors affected the slight hand movements in Frisch's bowing.
"There was a wireless device that was attached to the bow of the violin that had what's called an accelerometer. And so we could see his tremor, as well as hear his violin," Dr. Lee explained from Rochester, Minn.
"Then we could turn on the electrode stimulation and see how it was affecting his violin playing."

To read the remainder of this article go to:

Source:http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20100330/violin_100330/20100330?hub=Health

You can also see a video and audio news article concerning this surgery by going to the source listed  above.
Source of image: http://www.minnesotaorchestra.org/music/artist_detail.cfm?id_artist=44151910

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A sad week in the world of chess:Elena Tairova and Vassily Smyslov pass away





























Photographer:Eugene Atarov Source of image:http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=4438


This week has been a trying one for me, due to problems relating to my blog and due to the passing away of two elite Chess players.  


Woman Grandmaster/Men's International Master Elena Tairova, (pictured above) born on August 28 1991, has died at the  the very young age of  18.  According to the link
http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=6210 , "Elena became a WGM at just 14 years of age, and a full IM the following year. She won a succession of European and World girls’ junior titles, and in 2006 was the Russian women’s under-20 champion."  My condolences go to her family, and friends.








Source of image: http://www.rookhouse.com/events/ussr-world1984.html


Just now I have learned of another death in the Chess World.  Former World Chess Champion Grandmaster Vassily Smyslov (pictured above on the right about to play GM  Ljubomir Ljubojevoc 
at the 1984 USSR versus The World match) ) died today at age 89. Grandmaster Smyslov won the World Chess Championship from GM Botvinnik in 1957. My condolences go to his family and his friends. Ironically, I was playing through some of Grandmaster Smyslov's games this week, and wondering what his health was like. You can read a tribute to Grandmaster Smyslov by clicking on the following link:


http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=6219 You can read a detailed account of Grandmaster Smyslov's
career by going to
http://www.chess.co.uk/twic/chessnews/obituaries/vasily-smyslov-1921-2010


Here is one of Elena Tairov's best games:







And here is  one of Vassily Smyslov's best games. In this game Vassily Smyslov sacrifices his queen against Grandmaster Botvinnik in their 1954 World Championship match!

Once again people with chronic pain are shown to be vulnerable to pharmaceutical companies




Pfizer to pay $142M for drug fraud

Sales of drug total $300M annually in Canada


Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has been ordered to pay $142 million US in damages for fraudulently marketing gabapentin, an anti-seizure drug marketed under the name Neurontin.
A federal jury in Boston ruled Thursday that Pfizer fraudulently marketed the drug and promoted it for unapproved uses. The jury sided with California-based Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, the first to try a gabapentin case against Pfizer.
Data revealed in a string of U.S. lawsuits indicates the drug was promoted by the drug company as a treatment for for pain, migraines and bipolar disorder — even though it wasn't effective in treating these conditions and was actually toxic in certain cases, according to the Therapautics Initiative, an independent drug research group at the University of British Columbia.
The trials forced the company to release all of its studies on the drug, including the ones it kept hidden.
A new analysis of those unpublished trials by the Therapeutics Initiative suggests that gabapentin works for one out of every six or eight people who use it, at best. The review also concluded that one in eight people had an adverse reaction to the drug.
"The much larger majority of people will not get any benefit and many of them will have chronic neurotoxicity or poisoning of the brain," said Dr. Tom Perry of the Therapeutics Initiative.

Regarding my blog

Due to problems with a new template I was going to use for my blog, I have had to stop using the template which some of you may have already seen being used recently on my blog. I have had to revert to another  template which I hope once again makes all of my pages readable.Thank you for your patience and sorry for the inconvenience.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Space Photos of the Week: Spring Auroras, Starlets, More

To see some kewl photos about space and astronomy click on the following National Geographic society link:

Space Photos of the Week: Spring Auroras, Starlets, More

First Amphibious Insects Found in Hawaii


Several new caterpillar species are equally at home on land or underwater, making them the first truly amphibious insects  scientists say. To read about this scientific discovery please click on the following link:

Endangered whale birth photos taken near Navy site

Scientists photograph endangered right whale giving birth near proposed Navy Training Site

Endangered whale birth photos taken near Navy site

SAVANNAH, Ga. — "Biologists conducting a survey for the U.S. military said Tuesday they photographed an endangered right whale giving birth near a proposed Navy training range offshore of Georgia and Florida.
The news caused waves of excitement among researchers and conservationists. Experts said it was only the second time right whales have been documented giving birth in the wild. And environmentalists opposed to the Navy’s plans said the sighting bolsters their argument that submarine warfare training in the area would pose a threat to the rare species."
“We can not have undersea warfare training taking place in that area where mother whales are going to give birth to their calves,” said Sharon Young, marine issues field director for the Humane Society, which sued the Navy in January over the training range.

"The Navy said Tuesday the whale birth was at least 10 miles outside the boundary of its planned Undersea Warfare Training Range.“From what we would be doing on the range, there would be no significant impact to the right whales,” said Jene Nissen, the range’s program director and a retired Navy commander."

"Monica Zani, a right whale researcher at the Boston aquarium, said the whale birth McLellan’s team photographed occurred well outside the established calving grounds for right whales, about 20 miles off the coast. She said it’s not clear whether a birth that far out was a fluke."


"In January, the Southern Environmental Law Center filed suit against the Navy in federal court on behalf of the Humane Society and other conservation groups. The lawsuit argues the Navy approved construction of the range without first completing studies to determine if it would pose threats to right whales and other rare species."

"The Navy’s studies on potential impacts to marine life are expected to be complete by 2014, the earliest the range would open."

Source: http://blog.taragana.com/science/2010/03/23/scientists-photograph-endangered-right-whale-giving-birth-near-proposed-navy-training-site-8962/

Here is  a video about the Right Whale species, in which Dr. Michael Moore talks about the Right Whale, his experiences with them, and the problems that our human species has caused to these animals:
source of video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhrAin8jUkw





Here is  a short video which shows right whale behavior in its habitat:



Thanks to Tab0203 for posting this  last video at Youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVX84qRrCSA

Photos of the Mother right whale with her baby can be viewed by going to the following website:
http://www.southernenvironment.org/multimedia/photos/right%20whale%20baby

The US Navy can always move the proposed UnderSea Warfare Training range somewhere else, so that these beautiful living animals can live free from stress from human activity!

Hubble telescope survey indicates the universe is expanding

"An international team of astronomers has confirmed that the expansion of the universe is accelerating after looking at new data from the largest-ever survey conducted by the Hubble Space Telescope. The results of the research will appear in Astronomy and Astrophysics."

"Researchers studied more than 446,000 galaxies to map the matter distribution and the expansion history of the universe. They were able to observe precisely how dark matter evolved in the universe and to reconstruct a three-dimensional map of the dark matter and use this to test Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity."



"Our results confirmed that there is an unknown source of energy in the universe which is causing the cosmic expansion to speed up, stretching the dark matter further apart exactly as predicted by Einstein's theory," says University of British Columbia astronomer Ludovic Van Waerbeke.

"Einstein's theory of general relativity predicts that space and time is a soft geometrical structure of which the shape and evolution are entirely determined by the matter within it. Scientists posit that the universe is composed of dark matter and normal matter with a third constituent called "dark energy," which over the past two billion years has been the force behind the accelerated expansion of the universe."

"The data from our study are consistent with these predictions and show no deviation from Einstein's theories," says Van Waerbeke.



Source: http://www.scientificblogging.com/


Link to Astronomy and Astrophysics website where you can read the  manuscript, "Evidence for the accelerated expansion of the Universe from weak lensing tomography with COSMOS" You need to have a program which can read pdf files on your computer: http://www.spacetelescope.org/news/science_paper/heic1005_sciencepaper.pdf


Here is a very informative video  created by staff of Penn State University, which explains in a simplified fashion (for people such as myself), the idea that the universe is expanding: source: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-9184911144462039267#

Thursday, March 25, 2010

HoneyBee Colony Collapse Disorder finally understood?

Please click on the cartoon to enlarge it  for viewing
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David Gutierrez
Natural News
Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

"A combination of toxic chemicals and pathogens are probably to blame for colony collapse disorder in honeybees, according to a study conducted by researchers at Washington State University."

"Researchers conducted careful studies to uncover contributors to the disorder, in which seemingly healthy bees simply vanish from a hive, leaving the queen and a handful of newly hatched adults behind."

“One of the first things we looked at was the pesticide levels in the wax of older honeycombs,”
researcher Steve Sheppard said.

"The researchers acquired used hives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, finding that they had “fairly high levels of pesticide residue.” When bees were raised in these hives, they had “significantly reduced longevity,” the researchers said."

"Prior research by scientists from Pennsylvania State University found unprecedentedly high levels of two pesticides in every sample of honeycomb or foundation wax tested, as well as lower levels of 70 other pesticides."

"The pesticides found in the highest concentrations were fluvalinate and coumaphos, used to eradicate the bee pest varroa mites, which have themselves been suggested as a cause of colony collapse."

“We do not know that these chemicals have anything to do with colony collapse disorder, but they are definitely stressors in the home and in the food sources,” said Penn State researcher Maryann Frazier. “Pesticides alone have not shown they are the cause of [colony collapse disorder]. We believe that it is a combination of a variety of factors, possibly including mites, viruses and pesticides.”

"The Washington State researchers uncovered another potential cause, which likely interacts with chemicals to contribute to colony collapse: the pathogen Nosema ceranae, which entered the United States around 1997 and has since spread to bee hives across the country. The pathogen attacks bees’ ability to process food and makes them more susceptible to chemicals and other infections."

“What it basically does is it causes bees to get immune-deficiency disorder,” said beekeeper  Mark Pitcher of Babe’s Honey. “So it’s actually causing the bees to almost get a version of HIV.”

Source: http://www.prisonplanet.com/honeybee-colony-collapse-disorder-finally-explained-too-many-chemicals.html

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I took an entomology course at the University of Alberta in Edmonton in the 1980's and at that time I remember my professor telling us that Entomologists had tried to develop new ways of controlling insect pests, using less toxic chemicals, and by using known predatory insects to kill pest insects. I also remember him telling us that the main problem in using pesticides is that insects develop resistance to these chemicals very quickly, because insects breed so quickly and so often in a short period of time. And now not only do these chemicals have a shorter period of use due to their inefficiency over time, but now they seem to be implicated as a main factor in Colony Collapse Disorder. In the case of bees, if those in the bee industry stop using known pesticides as part of their daily interaction with bees, this may reduce the likelihood that their bee hives develop Colony Collapse Disorder, however,as stated above, then the real problem will be to find a way to control the bee pest varroa mites,which have been implicated as one of the "causes" of Colony Collapse Disorder. Talk about a huge dilemma for bees and for science!! In the best case scenario, if scientists could find some predatory insect or for that matter any kind of living matter which could be used to control the varroa mite,then this problem with Colony Collapse Disorder might be solved. However, how long will this take to accomplish, when a solution is needed today? What is really problematic about the varroa mite is that "up to 85% of the mites in a colony are in capped brood cells and not visually detectable." (source:http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/apiculture/factsheets/222_vardetect.htm )

Fortunately, honey bees themselves are part of the solution to CCD. "Varroa sensitive hygiene (VSH) is a behavioral trait of honey bees (Apis mellifera) in which bees detect and remove bee pupae that are infested by the parasitic mite Varroa destructor. V. destructor is considered to be the most dangerous pest problem for honey bees worldwide. VSH activity results in significant resistance to the mites."

"Bees with the trait were initially bred by the USDA Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics and Physiology Laboratory in Baton Rouge, LA from colonies in which mite populations grew only slowly.The factor causing slow mite population growth was found to be heritable. The rate of mite population growth was found to be correlated with the reproductive rates of mites, resulting in naming the factor “suppressed mite reproduction” (SMR). It was subsequently discovered that the factor is founded on hygienic activity of adult bees, so SMR was renamed VSH. VSH activity results in an abnormally large proportion of any mites remaining in a colony to have low reproductive success. The specifics of how hygienic bees detect mite infested brood currently are unknown.
Bees bred to have high levels of VSH tend to keep mite populations below thresholds recommended for treatment with pesticides.Queens from such VSH breeding sources can be allowed to mate freely with non-VSH drones, and the resulting hybrid colonies from these outcrosses will retain lower and variable but generally still useful resistance to V. destructor while retaining desirable beekeeping traits such as honey production."
(source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varroa_sensitive_hygiene

"Agriculture Research Service scientists at the agency’s Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics and Physiology Research Unit in Baton Rouge, LA have developed honey bees with a high expression of this VSH trait. The VSH is a specific trait and form of hive hygiene that not all honeybees possess. The VSH developed bees show an aggressive pursuit of Varroa in the hive.
The Bees form groups and chew through an mite infested cell cap, lift out the infected brood and eject them from the broodnest.
This hygiene destroys the mite’s frail offspring preventing the reproductive output of the mites and preventing the usual Varroa mite hive takeover!
The team at ARS conducted field trials using 40 colonies with varying levels of VSH bees contained in each colony. The mite population growth was significantly lower in the VSH and hybrid colonies than in the colonies without VSH developed bees." (source:http://www.honeybeekeeping.co.uk/cms/beekeeping-news/varroa-sensitive-hygiene-vsh-honeybees/

Let us hope that bees can be bred so they they all soon possess this VSH trait. Alot of the food we now eat depends on this happening in the near future!! "Honey bees play a critical role in agriculture. The most important role honey bees play is actually not honey production, but pollination. The value of crops that require pollination by honey bees, in the United States alone, is estimated to be around $24 billion each year and commercial bee pollination was valued around $10 billion annually. There is also a trend to consume more bee-pollinated crops (such as fruits and vegetables), making honey bees more and more important in agriculture.Honey bees also produce honey and beeswax, which are valued at $285 million in US annually. Besides that bees also produce pollen, propolis, royal jelly, and bee venom that are playing increasing roles in health food and alternative medicine. Bee stings are routinely used for treatment of arthritis, multiple sclerosis and other auto-immune diseases." (source: http://www.cyberbee.net/research.shtml )

Source of illustration http://www.leladowling.com/

Mysteries of Deep Space: Black Holes

"The anomalous black holes are concentrated areas of mass so immense, that the mammoth force of gravity denies anything within a certain area around it from passing. This area is called the event horizon of a black hole."

"We have given black holes their name because light inside the event horizon can never be seen by mankind, or any outside observer. We believe that black holes in space are created by the collapse of a red super giant star. As these stars reach the end of their lives, an imbalance of inward and outward pressure forces the star to collapse."

"Information on black holes is limited, though numerous schools of theory exist. We know black holes exist not because we can see them, but because of the impact they have on the space around them."

Source: http://www.space.com/blackholes/


I hope you enjoy the following interesting and informative video which discusses black holes:
source of video :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rw5trKz_kdc&feature=PlayList&p=424C66E23EA5DC21&index=0


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hammerhead sharks lose fight at UN meeting thanks to Asians and Politicians!!


















 "A U.S.-backed proposal to protect the heavily fished hammerhead sharks was narrowly rejected Tuesday over concerns by Asia nations that regulating the booming trade in shark fins could hurt poor nations.

Tom Strickland, the U.S. Assistant Interior Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks, said regional fisheries bodies have done nothing to regulate the trade in endangered scalloped hammerhead, great hammerhead as well as the threatened smooth hammerhead, and their numbers have dropped by as much as 85 percent.

"The greatest threat to the hammerhead is from harvest for the international fin trade and the fin of the species is among highly valued of the trade," Strickland said. Shark fin soup is a much prized delicacy in China.

The measure was only narrowly rejected, failing by five votes to take the necessary two-thirds of the 175-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species to pass.
The tiny Pacific nation of Palau, which last year created the first ever shark sanctuary, joined the Americans in introducing the proposal. It called on countries to protect the species so they can be fished well into the future.

"We must preserve for our children these amazing species," said Palau's Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment & Tourism Harry R. Fritz, adding that his country supports the protection of other shark species as well.

Japan, which successfully campaigned against an export ban on Atlantic bluefin tuna and regulations on the coral trade, led the opposition to the shark proposal. It argued that better enforcement, not trade restrictions was the answer. It also complained it would be difficult to differentiate the hammerheads from other species and would deprive poor fishing nations of much needed income.
They were joined by other countries dependent on the trade, including Singapore and Indonesia which catches the most sharks."

Conservationists were outrage and disappointed by the ruling, since it came after a string of defeats on marine species including a proposal last week on a shark conservation plan. Japan and China led efforts to kill that proposal, as well.

Fishermen, both industrial and small-scale and many operating illegally, slice off the fins and throw the carcasses back in the ocean and there are as many as 2.7 million hammerheads are caught annually


The great and the scalloped hammerhead are listed on the World Conservation Union's (IUCN) 2008 Red List as endangered, whereas the smalleye hammerhead is listed as vulnerable. The status given to these sharks is as a result of over-fishing and demand for their fins, an expensive delicacy. Among others, scientists expressed their concern about the plight of the scalloped hammerhead at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Boston. The young swim mostly in shallow waters along shores all over the world to avoid predators.(source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hammerhead_shark )


"Millions of sharks are killed each year to support the global fin trade, while a significant percentage of the world's sharks are threatened or near threatened with extinction," said Palau's Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment, and  Tourism Harry R. Fritz, adding that his country supports the protection of other shark species as well."







"Today is a huge loss for the oceans. This is a case of politics prevailing over science," Oceana's Fisheries Campaign Manager Elizabeth Griffin said. "The world failed to stand up today to protect some of the ocean's top predators."
Jupp Baron Kerckerinck zur Borg, president of the Shark Research Institute based in Millbrook, N.Y., acknowledged he was "very disappointed and frustrated right now."
"Japan has been voting the shark proposals down because they are catching them, Singapore voted them down because they make money selling the fins and China makes money because they eat them," he said. "How can we win?"
"The Pew Environmental Group said the sharks are especially vulnerable to overfishing because they are slow growing and have low reproductive rates. Fishermen, both industrial and small-scale and many operating illegally, slice off the fins and throw the carcasses back in the ocean."

Please visit this website and watch the following video:










One billion people rely on fish as an important source of protein. - WWF An international group of ecologists and economists warned that the world will run out of seafood by 2048 - Washington Post.


source of videos:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxacxShp3LY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzzl1vQC7IQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMDYO_4eWbE


Please tell others about these videos so they get the message! If the Asians and the
Politicians will not listen to Scientists, then it is up us to get this obscene behavior of the 
Asians to be ended once and for all!! Stop buying products made in Asia, and tell all those 
you care about in this world to do so also!!! Only if you stop buying products from Asia 
will the Asians get a message and think about their obscene behavior regarding 
overfishing and over-consumption of fish!!

Visit GM Alexandra Kosteniuk's Women's Chess Blog:Please click on the image below:

Visit GM Alexandra Kosteniuk's Women's Chess Blog:Please click on the image below:
Chess needs more women and girl participants and administrators!

Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed



Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia



A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed



Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein



The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi



The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller



Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns



Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama



Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -



Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being



The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.