Ascension Earth 2012
- Say no to puppy mills: "Opt to Adopt" your next canine companion
- 8 Ways to De-Stress Without Leaving Your Chair
- UCSC professor joins NASA team searching for habitable planets
- Japan Plans a Trip to the Moon by 2018
- Team uses DNA to ‘tune’ color of silver clusters
- Dawn Catches A Glimpse Of Ceres' North Pole
- 50 AMAZING Facts to Blow Your Mind! ~ #21
- Why Do We Dream? ~ A BBC Horizon Documentary
- THE SCIENCE OF LOSING WEIGHT
- 10 Everyday Things That Are Bad For You
- 10 Inventions You Shouldn't Live Without
Posted: 24 Apr 2015 06:17 PM PDT
Dogs sold in pet stores often come from overcrowded and inhumane "puppy mills"
When you make a choice to adopt a dog from your local shelter or a rescue group, you are not only saving an animal’s life – you are choosing not to support puppy mills.
What are puppy mills?A puppy mill is a massive breeding operation where hundreds of dogs are kept in overcrowded and often unsanitary conditions without proper veterinary care, food, water or human interaction. Puppies born in puppy mills are often seriously sick, poorly socialized and have hereditary and congenital defects from being bred carelessly.
What is life like in a puppy mill?In a word, grim. Puppy mill dogs do not experience simple pleasures like treats, toys, exercise or basic grooming. A breeding dog might spend her entire life confined to a filthy wire cage, bred over and over again, year after year, without the chance to feel the sun on her face or know a loving human touch. When she is no longer able to produce litters, she will be killed or abandoned.
Health issues: Because of the closed quarters, proximity to other dogs, often unsanitary conditions and lack of health care, puppy mill dogs are at risk of contracting diseases and developing severe physical ailments. Physical conditions and diseases commonly seen in puppy mill dogs include extreme matting, hair loss, open sores, lacerations, eye and ear infections, parasites, mange, heartworm disease, parvovirus and other serious, congenital and hereditary diseases.
Even if a puppy from a pet store doesn’t look sick, they may develop signs of serious congenital diseases later on. Poor breeding practices are commonplace in puppy mills, and puppies can suffer from hidden killers like respiratory diseases, nervous and neurological disorders, congenital heart diseases, autoimmune disorders, and severe spinal and musculoskeletal diseases.
Treatment for these conditions can be costly and heartbreaking.
Behavior: Psychologically, puppy mill dogs may be fearful, timid and stressed from spending their entire lives confined to a cage without human interaction. For many adult dogs from puppy mills, sensory deprivation has severe effects on their socialization and interactions with people and other dogs. Read more about sensory deprivation and remedial socialization for puppy mill dogs in our Spring 2014 Companion
Who buys dogs from puppy mills?Unbeknownst to consumers, many of the pets sold in pet stores, through classified ads and over the Internet come from puppy mills. Sometime puppy mills sell directly to consumers through Web sites designed to give the impression of a reputable breeder. If you decide to a buy a puppy directly from a breeder, don't do so without seeing where the puppies and their parents are raised and housed. Reputable breeders should be glad to show you how well they run their business and care for their animals.
Dogs bred in puppy mills often become sick weeks or months after being sold, leaving the purchaser with an extreme financial and emotional burden.
Make a better choice for the animals by adopting from a shelter or rescue group…and encouraging others to do the same.Puppy mills will continue to flourish until consumers stop buying dogs from pet stores, through classified ads and over the Internet. Don’t buy food, supplies or other items at stores that sell puppies. When you adopt, you use your wallet to say “NO” to puppy mills, and create an opportunity to tell others about your choice.
Read our top five reasons to adopt instead of buy:Adopting saves money. Adoption fees at shelters and rescue groups are typically much less than the cost to purchase a dog, and they often include vaccinations, spay/neuter surgery and even microchip identification.
Variety reigns at the shelter. You’ll find dogs of all sizes, breeds, colors, temperaments and personalities at your local shelter. Want a high-energy ball player to be your activity partner? How about a low-key but lovable lug to share couch potato duties with you? Shelter staff and volunteers can counsel you and your family on the best pet to fit your lifestyle.
Adopted animals often have a head start on obedience training.Don’t be surprised to see shelter or rescue animals “sit” on command or walk politely on a leash. Many of them were once family pets who received obedience training and know how to behave in a home. Also, volunteers often spend time working on basic commands and “manners” to help them make a quicker transition into a new home.
Adopting supports your community. By giving a home to a shelter or rescue animal, you save a life and create space for another needy animal, helping to reduce the number of unwanted and homeless animals in your community.
Raise awareness. Puppy mills will continue to flourish until consumers stop buying dogs from pet stores, through classified ads and over the Internet. When you adopt, you use your wallet to say “no way” to puppy mills, and create an opportunity to tell others about your choice.
Posted: 24 Apr 2015 06:10 PM PDT
Excerpt from huffingtonpost.com
There is definitely a time for action. Like when you wake up at 3 a.m. and hear water pouring out from somewhere in your house after you've just returned home from a winter vacation and it turns out that your frozen pipes are bursting (not that I'm speaking from actual experience, or anything). In that moment of stress, it's probably not the best time to sit and meditate on your dilemma.
Don't just sit there, do something! Happily for me, my husband leapt out of bed, ran through the basement (naked, mind you) and shut off all water in the house until he could isolate the offending pipe. The amygdala, the part of the brain that identifies danger and then activates the body for fight or flight, is quite good at reacting to potential danger. A little too good, you might say.
For many of us, the stressors of high-paced, nonstop modern living chronically stimulate our amygdala, thus keeping our bodies in a state we call stress. We become so locked into high alert that we remain stressed out even though no danger actually lurks around the corner. While a single stress response can be critical, chronic stress is a health hazard.
Often our well-meaning leisure activities, our attempts to lower our stress levels -- such as going on vacation, going to a yoga class, engaging in our hobbies, or even having a massage -- fail to keep our stress levels down. Why? Because, 1. we get stressed just trying to fit these activities into our busy lives (and paying for them) and 2. the moments of relaxation we might experience often don't carry over into our day to day living.
So, how can you truly restore yourself, simply and effectively, every day? Don't just do something, sit there. Right there, in your chair. After all, it's the small moments of peace through your day that make a big difference to your stress level. In my book, Shortcuts to Inner Peace, I offer a compendium of effective relaxation techniques. Read on to learn eight of them. Whether it's in your desk chair or your recliner, just sit, relax, and restore.
The first four practices you can do with your eyes open while the last four practices can be done with your eyes shut. You may find setting a timer for 1-5 minutes helpful.
1. Daydream by gazing out your window -- I know that your teachers told you to stop staring out the window and focus on your work. But now your objective is to let your work go for a few minutes. Start with a long exhale and then let your gaze wander. Notice what's happening in the outside world. Just notice. Feel how your body relaxes as you redirect your mind away from stressful thoughts. Especially fun is to imagine a feel good fantasy -- romantic, heroic, or otherwise. Daydreaming is not only relaxing, but it can actually help boost your creativity.
2. Investigate a small object, looking for details -- It's remarkable how you can look at the same objects every day but actually not see a thing. Take a moment to look at something within reach and really notice the details. Explore the color nuances, the textures, the shadows, the design. Discover the hidden aspects of your stapler, your favorite pen, the picture on the wall, the shell in your desk drawer. Notice how your mind redirects as you go on an adventure into the micro-landscapes around you.
3. Tap on your body from the feet up -- Use your knuckles to gently tap your way up your body. Focus your attention on the sensations. Start with your feet and move up your calves to your thighs. Tap along your torso and up each arm. Use your finger tips to gently tap your face. When you redirect your attention toward physical sensations, you may notice that your thoughts subside. Energy medicine considers tapping an important way to help relieve stress and revitalize your energy.
4. Doodle -- Put pen to paper and let yourself meander. Doodling is another way to jumpstart your creative side. Give your left brain a rest and let your right brain wake up. When we move our attention away from goal-directed activity during doodling, our "attention system" is relaxed. So give your left brain a break, stimulate creative juices and have fun!
5. Close your eyes and Listen -- Listen to the sounds around you. Isolate your sense of hearing, letting yourself notice and label each sound that you hear: "dog barking, car honking, copy machine, colleagues gossiping, rain pounding, etc." Slow the spiral of stressful thinking by bringing yourself fully into the present moment. Mindful listening clears the mind and has the effect of rebooting your system.
6. Close your eyes and imagine yourself on a fantastic vacation -- Take a moment and travel back in time to a wonderful trip. Or picture a fabulous destination that you've always wanted to visit. Use details to imagine the temperature, the sights, the sounds, the smells. Replay a favorite place, detail by detail. Notice how your body responds to pleasant, relaxing thoughts, almost as if you are actually there. Take a deep breath. Consider this your "Calgon take me away!" moment.
7. Close your eyes and breathe -- Your breath is like a portable spa. It's so obvious, so ever-present, and yet we rarely think to harness its potent powers. While there are many breathing exercises to consider, I personally suggest the 4-7-8 breath, an ancient breathing pattern taught by Dr. Andrew Weil. Breathe in for the count of 4, hold your breath to the count of 7, and exhale your breath, breathing out through your mouth as if breathing through a straw, to the count of 8. The pairing of an exhale that is twice as long as the inhale is especially relaxing.
8. Close your eyes and scan your body -- Start with the top of your head and "scan" down, slowly checking in with your body. As you scan, imagine warmth spreading from the top of your head, down your neck, over your shoulders, down your arms, down your torso, down your legs, and moving out through your feet. Notice a sense of inner awareness. For example, even with your eyes closed, you are aware of your hands and feet; you can feel an aliveness within them. Allow your attention to move from "thinking" to "sensation." Use these moments to re-connect with your body and release any tension within. The body scan is a classic relaxation technique.
There is a time and place for action and reaction, but there's also a place for the pleasure of stillness. You may not be able to get to the yoga mat, your barbells, or your sneakers. But you can take a moment to lean back and relax into the peacefulness of just sitting there.
Follow Ashley Davis Bush, LCSW on Twitter: twitter.com/AshleyDavisBush
Posted: 24 Apr 2015 06:05 PM PDT
Excerpt from contracostatimes.com
SANTA CRUZ -- The search for planets that can support life is taking place at UC Santa Cruz, in Jonathan Fortney's astronomy and astrophyics lab.
Posted: 24 Apr 2015 06:01 PM PDT
The lander will use information from Japan’s moon-orbiting satellite to stick the landing
Excerpt from smithsonianmag.com
The moon has seen many spacecraft by now. The former Soviet Union, the U.S. and most recently, China have all touched down on the surface of our satellite. Now, Japan plans to be the next in line for lunar exploration. They recently announced a plan to launch a probe in 2018.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), divulged the plan to an expert panel, including members of the cabinet and the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry on Monday.
"This is an initial step and a lot of procedures are still ahead before the plan is formally approved," a JAXA spokesperson told reporters.
Japan hopes to be able to accomplish the feat better and for less money than the three nations who have already landed on the lunar surface, reports Yomiuri Shimbun for The Japan News. The newest moon lander will have the advantage of the latest technology and experience, especially when compared to landings in the 1960s, but that doesn’t mean Japan is taking it easy.
Other moon probes have landed within several kilometers of the target site, but the so-called "SLIM" probe would aim to land within 100 meters (approximately 328 feet) of its target. Shimbun reports that the mission will photograph the moon’s surface as it descends and then access data gathered by the Kaguya lunar orbiter, also known as SELENE, launched in 2007, to make adjustments. Then the probe will come in for a soft landing — something that is notoriously difficult to achieve.
The panel tjat announced the mission estimated that development costs would be somewhere between ¥10 billion to ¥15 billion (about $84 million to $130 million), Shimbun writes.
Rae Botsford End reports for Space Flight Insider:
Yet the lunar mission is not set in stone. “This is an initial step and a lot of procedures are still ahead before the plan is formally approved,” said a JAXA official.
If it occurs, the mission will use a probe called Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM), and it will likely be carried aboard JAXA’s solid-fuel Epsilon rocket, a design that has only seen one launch to date. Its maiden flight in September 2013 brought the SPRINT-A satellite, later called Hisaki, to orbit. Epsilon is a smaller and less expensive follow-on to the retired M-V (or Mu-5) rocket.
The probe’s mission will be far more serious that Japanese beverage manufacturer Otsuka’s plan to send a powdered sports drink to the moon. SLIM will test soft-landing techniques that could be used by manned lunar missions in the future.
With China’s fifth lunar probe set for launch in 2017, a lunar lander from India in the works, and all the previous landings, the moon could soon seem downright crowded.
Posted: 24 Apr 2015 05:46 PM PDT
Excerpt from futurity.org
Scientists are working to create nanoscale silver clusters with unique fluorescent properties, which are important for a variety of sensing applications including biomedical imaging.
In recent experiments, the researchers positioned silver clusters at programmed sites on a nanoscale breadboard, a construction base for prototyping of photonics and electronics. “Our ‘breadboard’ is a DNA nanotube with spaces programmed 7 nanometers apart,” says lead author Stacy Copp, a graduate student in the physics department at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
“Due to the strong interactions between DNA and metal atoms, it’s quite challenging to design DNA breadboards that keep their desired structure when these new interactions are introduced,” says Beth Gwinn, a professor in the physics department.
“Stacy’s work has shown that not only can the breadboard keep its shape when silver clusters are present, it can also position arrays of many hundreds of clusters containing identical numbers of silver atoms—a remarkable degree of control that is promising for realizing new types of nanoscale photonics.”
The results of this novel form of DNA nanotechnology address the difficulty of achieving uniform particle sizes and shapes. “In order to make photonic arrays using a self-assembly process, you have to be able to program the positions of the clusters you are putting on the array,” Copp explains. “This paper is the first demonstration of this for silver clusters.”
Tuning the colorThe colors of the clusters are largely determined by the DNA sequence that wraps around them and controls their size. To create a positionable silver cluster with DNA-programmed color, the researchers engineered a piece of DNA with two parts: one that wraps around the cluster and the other that attaches to the DNA nanotube. “Sticking out of the nanotube are short DNA strands that act as docking stations for the silver clusters’ host strands,” Copp explains.
The research group’s team of graduate and undergraduate researchers is able to tune the silver clusters to fluoresce in a wide range of colors, from blue-green all the way to the infrared—an important achievement because tissues have windows of high transparency in the infrared. According to Copp, biologists are always looking for better dye molecules or other infrared-emitting objects to use for imaging through a tissue.
“People are already using similar silver cluster technologies to sense mercury ions, small pieces of DNA that are important for human diseases, and a number of other biochemical molecules,” Copp says. “But there’s a lot more you can learn by putting the silver clusters on a breadboard instead of doing experiments in a test tube. You get more information if you can see an array of different molecules all at the same time.”
Silver and DNAThe modular design presented in this research means that its step-by-step process can be easily generalized to silver clusters of different sizes and to many types of DNA scaffolds. The paper walks readers through the process of creating the DNA that stabilizes silver clusters. This newly outlined protocol offers investigators a new degree of control and flexibility in the rapidly expanding field of nanophotonics.
“It’s challenging because we don’t really understand the interactions between silver and DNA just by itself,” Copp says. “So part of what I’ve been doing is using big datasets to create a bank of working sequences that we’ve published so other scientists can use them. We want to give researchers tools to design these types of structures intelligently instead of just having to guess.”
The paper’s acknowledgements include a dedication to “those students who lost their lives in the Isla Vista tragedy and to the courage of the first responders, whose selfless actions saved many lives.”
The research appears in ACS Nano.
Posted: 24 Apr 2015 05:42 PM PDT
Excerpt from popsci.com
The spacecraft is finally leaving the asteroid's dark side. Let the science begin!
Out in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, Ceres is the largest unexplored rock in our solar system. The Dawn mission arrived in Ceres' orbit back in March, but we have yet to see any great close-ups of the asteroid. That’s because the spacecraft’s trajectory brought it swinging around Ceres’ dark side for a little while. It's still out there in the dark, but it's getting closer to the light. That’s why the asteroid looks crescent-shaped in the latest and greatest images from Dawn, shown above.
The photos above were snapped on April 10th from a distance of 21,000 miles. By April 23rd, the spacecraft will enter its first science orbit at a height of 8,400 miles. That's when the Dawn will start collecting all of the really juicy data. The spacecraft will begin searching for water vapor from Ceres’ possible atmosphere and ice volcanoes, as well as sending back images of the asteroid’s surface in gorgeous, unprecedented detail.
Posted: 24 Apr 2015 05:34 PM PDT
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