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Old 05-17-2011, 06:52 AM   #2551
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http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-05-...r-thought.html



(PhysOrg.com) -- An international team, of scientists, led by a team at Monash University has found the key to the hydrogen economy could come from a very simple mineral, commonly seen as a black stain on rocks.

Their findings, developed with the assistance of researchers at UC Davis in the USA and using the facilities at the Australian Synchrotron, was published in the journal Nature Chemistry yesterday 15 May 2011.

Professor Leone Spiccia from the School of Chemistry at Monash University said the ultimate goal of researchers in this area is to create a cheap, efficient way to split water, powered by sunlight, which would open up production of hydrogen as a clean fuel, and leading to long-term solutions for our renewable energy crisis.

To achieve this, they have been studying complex catalysts designed to mimic the catalysts plants use to split water with sunlight. But the new study shows that there might be much simpler alternatives to hand.

“The hardest part about turning water into fuel is splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen, but the team at Monash seems to have uncovered the process, developing a water-splitting cell based on a manganese-based catalyst," Professor Spiccia said.

"Birnessite, it turns out, is what does the work. Like other elements in the middle of the Periodic Table, manganese can exist in a number of what chemists call oxidation states. These correspond to the number of oxygen atoms with which a metal atom could be combined," Professor Spiccia said.

"When an electrical voltage is applied to the cell, it splits water into hydrogen and oxygen and when the researchers carefully examined the catalyst as it was working, using advanced spectroscopic methods they found that it had decomposed into a much simpler material called birnessite, well-known to geologists as a black stain on many rocks."

The manganese in the catalyst cycles between two oxidation states. First, the voltage is applied to oxidize from the manganese-II state to manganese-IV state in birnessite. Then in sunlight, birnessite goes back to the manganese-II State.

This cycling process is responsible for the oxidation of water to produce oxygen gas, protons and electrons.

Co-author on the research paper was Dr Rosalie Hocking, Research Fellow in the Australian Centre for Electromaterials Science who explained that what was interesting was the operation of the catalyst, which follows closely natures biogeochemical cycling of manganese in the oceans.

"This may provide important insights into the evolution of Nature’s water splitting catalyst found in all plants which uses manganese centres,” Dr Hocking said.

“Scientists have put huge efforts into making very complicated manganese molecules to copy plants, but it turns out that they convert to a very common material found in the Earth, a material sufficiently robust to survive tough use.”

The reaction has two steps. First, two molecules of water are oxidized to form one molecule of oxygen gas (O2), four positively-charged hydrogen nuclei (protons) and four electrons. Second, the protons and electrons combine to form two molecules of hydrogen gas (H2).

The experimental work was conducted using state-of-the art equipment at three major facilities including the Australian Synchrotron, the Australian National Beam-line Facility in Japan and the Monash Centre for Electron Microscopy, and involved collaboration with Professor Bill Casey, a geochemist at UC Davis.

"The research highlights the insight obtainable from the synchrotron based spectroscopic techniques – without them the important discovery linking common earth materials to water oxidation catalysts would not have been made," Dr Hocking said.

It is hoped the research will ultimately lead to the development of cheaper devices, which produce hydrogen.
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Old 05-17-2011, 06:56 AM   #2552
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http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/20...o-cmb-circles/

Theory of Recycled Universe Called Into Question

In November, cosmologists claimed to see echoes of violent collisions that happened before the Big Bang in the form of circular patterns in the early universe’s relic radiation. But two new analyses of the same data, which are the first papers on the subject to be published in peer-reviewed journals, assert that those circles are nothing special.

“We found there was nothing strange in the [cosmic microwave background] data at all,” said astrophysicist Ingunn Wehus of the University of Oslo, coauthor of a paper published online in the Astrophysical Journal Letters May 9. The difference in their analyses, she says, is “We do it correctly, and they do not.”

The original claim, made in research published on arXiv.org by theoretical physicist Roger Penrose of the University of Oxford in England and Vahe Gurzadyan of the Yerevan Physics Institute and Yerevan State University in Armenia, made a small media splash (and was one of Wired Science’s Top Scientific Breakthroughs of 2010).

Penrose had previously championed the idea that the universe got its start well before the Big Bang, and has been cycling through an endless series of bangs for eons. As evidence for this strange claim, he and Gurzadyan pointed out funny concentric circles in the universe’s baby photos, the cosmic microwave background. The CMB shows a universe that looks more or less the same in every direction, with a nearly uniform temperature of about 3 degrees Kelvin.

But some spots are hotter or colder than others. These fluctuations, which ultimately led to the clumps of matter that make up galaxies and other cosmic structures today, are not as random as they look, Penrose and Gurzadyan claimed. Making a statistical search of the CMB revealed concentric circles where the tiny temperature variations between one spot and its neighbors are smaller than average.

Those circles are sure signs of pre-Big Bang activity, Penrose says. He suggests they were generated by collisions between supermassive black holes in an earlier eon, which gave off an intense burst of energy. The burst would radiate outward in a uniform sphere of gravitational waves, which would leave circles on the CMB when they entered the epoch we live in.

“Because they claimed this, they got a lot of media attention. Everybody was talking about this,” Wehus said. “It just seemed strange that nobody else had noticed this before. It’s a very simple thing to check. Since nobody else had checked it, we just decided to do it.”

Wehus and University of Oslo physicist Hans Eriksen redid Penrose’s analysis of data from NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), which spent nine years mapping the glow of the first atoms to release their radiation 380,000 years after the Big Bang. Another independent group led by Adam Moss of the University of British Columbia made a similar analysis, and published their results in the Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics April 26.

To their surprise, both groups actually saw the same circles that Penrose did. The circles are really there.

But then the skeptical researchers built thousands of random simulations of the CMB, built up from the principles of the commonly accepted standard model of cosmology. The circles showed up there too, in the same numbers.

“In our case we found that the rings are in all the simulations, so they’re just a feature of the standard model,” Wehus said. “It’s not a signature of new physics.”

Moss and colleagues even found concentric equilateral triangles in the CMB, a feature for which Penrose’s cyclic cosmology has no explanation.

“There is nothing special about the presence of low-variance circles on the sky,” Moss concludes. “If there are signals of extraordinarily early times buried in the CMB, they have not yet been found, and we will have to keep looking.”

Penrose and Gurzadyan compared their results to simulations, too, but Wehus and Moss claim they set their simulations to the wrong baseline. Wehus and Moss assumed that the average variations in the CMB were set by the laws of the standard model of cosmology; Penrose’s original paper apparently used white noise. Even an updated version of the paper, posted to arXiv on April 29, failed to hit the mark, Wehus says.

“Some way or another they screwed up their simulations,” Wehus said. “They used wrong simulations.”

This doesn’t necessarily mean the cyclic universe theory is wrong, she adds.

“We are not knocking down the idea of Penrose, of there being a cyclic universe,” she said. “We’re just saying there’s no evidence for it.”

Penrose is sticking to his story. In the most recent paper, he looks for concentric sets of three or more circles in both the WMAP data and a simulated sky. The patterns and colors for the simulated sky look random, he says, but the patterns on the actual sky do not.

“Such a pattern is consistent with [a cyclic cosmology], but hard to square with the standard inflationary view of the origin of the temperature variations,” Penrose wrote to Wired.com in an e-mail. “I think that Eriksen and Werhus may have read that part of our paper rather hastily … evidently not having understood what we were doing.”

“I suppose there may well be further argument about all this — which is to be expected, of course — and maybe we have missed something important,” he added. “But it seems to me that here is something to be taken very seriously.”

Image: 1) A map of concentric rings on the actual sky, as measured by WMAP. 2) A map of concentric rings on a simulated sky. arXiv/V.G. Gurzadyan and R. Penrose
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Old 05-17-2011, 07:11 AM   #2553
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http://www.dangerousminds.net/commen...ah_birds_1965/

Neil Young and Rick James’ garage band The Mynah Birds, 1965



In 1965, a year before hooking up with the musicians that would form Buffalo Springfield, Neil Young had a brief stint in a Canadian rock group called The Mynah Birds fronted by Rick James (yes THAT Rick James). At this point in James career he was known as Ricky James Matthew and did a stellar imitation of Mick Jagger. The Mynah Birds had a raw exciting sound that hinted at The Stones, Them, and various American garage bands. The Mynah Birds nailed a deal with Motown Records (the first white band to do so) and recorded 16 tracks in Detroit. But things turned bad.

In his Young biography, “Shakey,” Jimmy McDonough describes the scene:

The Mynah Birds—in black leather jackets, yellow turtlenecks and boots—had quite a surreal scene going. The band was financed by John Craig Eaton of the Eaton’s department-store dynasty. Legend has it he poured money into the band, establishing a bottomless account for the band’s equipment needs.

Those lucky enough to see any of the band’s few gigs say they were electrifying. ‘Neil would stop playing lead, do a harp solo, throw the harmonica way up in the air and Ricky would catch it and continue the solo.’

Unfortunately, everything screeched to a halt when James was busted in the studio for being AWOL from the navy. “We thought he was Canadian,” said Palmer. “Even though there are no Negroes in Canada.” A single, “It’s My Time,” was allegedly pulled the day of release, and the album recordings were shelved and remain unreleased to this day.”

Here’s a couple of raunchy hard-rocking tracks from the never officially released Motown Mynah Birds’ sessions. The musicians are Young and future Buffalo Springfield member Bruce Palmer and Goldy McJohn and Nick St. Nicholas who would later establish Steppenwolf with John Kay.



******VIDS @ source
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Old 05-17-2011, 07:41 AM   #2554
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http://www.engadget.com/2011/05/17/m...-90-percent-o/

Mizzou Professor says nantenna solar sheet soaks up 90 percent of the sun's rays, puts sunscreen to shame

Photovoltaics suffer from gross inefficiency, despite incremental improvements in their power producing capabilities. According to research by a team led by a University of Missouri professor, however, newly developed nantenna-equipped solar sheets can reap more than 90 percent of the sun's bounty -- which is more than double the efficiency of existing solar technologies. Apparently, some "special high-speed electrical circuitry" is the secret sauce behind the solar breakthrough. Of course, the flexible film is currently a flight of fancy and won't be generating juice for the public anytime soon. The professor and his pals still need capital for commercialization, but they believe a product will be ready within five years. Take your time, guys, it's not like global warming's getting worse.

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Old 05-17-2011, 07:43 AM   #2555
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http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Gizma...3/ors6RcDjIgk/



If you want to get a child interested in the sciences, just let them loose with a microscope. Proper stage microscopes can be pricey, however, and are somewhat tricky for youngsters to use. Fortunately, there are options like the Zoomy Handheld Digital Microscope – it's a simple device that plugs into the USB port of a PC or Mac, then feeds through illuminated, magnified images of whatever it's placed over... Continue Reading Zoomy lets kids take digital photos of microscopic details
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Old 05-17-2011, 07:44 AM   #2556
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http://www.kurzweilai.net/a-virtual-...neath-the-skin



A handheld device with an attached pico-projector can be used to help patients “see” their injuries, thanks to a project led by Amy Karlson, of Microsoft Research’s Computational User Experiences Group in Redmond, Washington.

The new tool, AnatOnMe, projects a virtual image of broken bone, tendons, and nerves on a patient’s skin, taken from stock images. Tests have shown AnatOnMe encourages patients to stick to their physical therapy regimens, by providing them with a vivid reminder of their condition beneath the skin.

“People are notoriously bad at sticking to their physical therapy regimens,” says Karlson. Between 30 and 50 percent of patients do not comply with recommended therapies after an injury, generating longer healing times and sometimes aggravating the injury.

Instead of using a complicated autocorrection system that tries to match up the image precisely with the surface of the patient’s skin, the projection works simply by lining it up with the eye of the viewer.
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Old 05-17-2011, 07:45 AM   #2557
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http://seedmagazine.com/content/arti...nd_the_brain/#

Many of Buddhism’s core tenets significantly overlap with findings from modern neurology and neuroscience. So how did Buddhism come close to getting the brain right?
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Old 05-17-2011, 08:09 AM   #2558
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http://dailyinfographic.com/1-dropou...ds-infographic

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Old 05-17-2011, 08:11 AM   #2559
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Old 05-17-2011, 08:23 AM   #2560
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Old 05-17-2011, 09:59 AM   #2561
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In a financial world ruled by ________, we will continue to be hit with “sudden” crises as a result of __________.

>

You can fill in the blanks with whatever you want, and it always works!
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Old 05-17-2011, 10:28 AM   #2562
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Old 05-17-2011, 11:23 AM   #2563
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Old 05-19-2011, 08:06 AM   #2564
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Old 05-19-2011, 08:53 AM   #2565
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Translation Machine To Make Human-Dolphin Conversations Possible


http://www.disinfo.com/2011/05/trans...ions-possible/





What secrets of the sea have dolphins been waiting to tell us? We may soon find out (hopefully not just tuna jokes). New Scientist reports:

A diver carrying a computer that tries to recognize dolphin sounds and generate responses in real time will soon attempt to communicate with wild dolphins off the coast of Florida. If the bid is successful, it will be a big step towards two-way communication between humans and dolphins.

Since the 1960s, captive dolphins have been communicating via pictures and sounds. In the 1990s, Louis Herman of the Kewalo Basin Marine Mammal Laboratory in Honolulu, Hawaii, found that bottlenose dolphins can keep track of over 100 different words. They can also respond appropriately to commands in which the same words appear in a different order, understanding the difference between “bring the surfboard to the man” and “bring the man to the surfboard”, for example.

But communication in most of these early experiments was one-way, says Denise Herzing, founder of the Wild Dolphin Project in Jupiter, Florida. “They create a system and expect the dolphins to learn it, and they do, but the dolphins are not empowered to use the system to request things from the humans,” she says.

Since 1998, Herzing and colleagues have been attempting two-way communication with dolphins, first using rudimentary artificial sounds, then by getting them to associate the sounds with four large icons on an underwater “keyboard”.

By pointing their bodies at the different symbols, the dolphins could make requests – to play with a piece of seaweed or ride the bow wave of the divers’ boat, for example. The system managed to get the dolphins’ attention, Herzing says, but wasn’t “dolphin-friendly” enough to be successful.

Herzing is now collaborating with Thad Starner, an artificial intelligence researcher at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, on a project named Cetacean Hearing and Telemetry (CHAT). They want to work with dolphins to “co-create” a language that uses features of sounds that wild dolphins communicate with naturally.

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Old 05-19-2011, 09:54 AM   #2566
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http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/dyt/~3/kqbt44YSm3I/






http://machoarts.com/friday-photogra...ration-6-macro
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Old 05-19-2011, 10:02 AM   #2567
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http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bigth...1wcNWFp8/38490

World's Smallest 3-D Printer Unveiled
from Big Think by Big Think Editors
1 person liked this - you
What's the Latest Development? Is your Ikea desk missing a screw? Have you lost one of your earrings? Are all your forks dirty? Print another one! These are only a few of the possible applications of three-dimensional printing. Until now, 3-D printers have relied on casting techniques to produces ...
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Old 05-19-2011, 10:08 AM   #2568
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http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/dyt/~3/xAzeLTrJsog/

http://www.shockblast.net/paul-dex-photography/



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Old 05-19-2011, 10:12 AM   #2569
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http://www.kurzweilai.net/that-gut-f...y-and-behavior

‘That gut feeling’: how stomach bacteria impact brain chemistry and behavior
from KurzweilAI

Experiments with mice have determined that behavior and brain chemistry varies depending on the type of bacteria in the gut, report Stephen Collins at McMaster University and Premysl Bercik at the Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute.

Working with healthy adult mice, the researchers showed that disrupting the normal bacterial content of the gut with antibiotics produced changes in behavior; the mice became either anxious or less cautious. This change was accompanied by an increase in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which has been linked to depression and anxiety.

When oral antibiotics were discontinued, bacteria in the gut returned to normal, “accompanied by restoration of normal behavior and brain chemistry,” Collins said.

The findings are important because several common types of gastrointestinal disease, including irritable bowel syndrome, are frequently associated with anxiety or depression. In addition there has been speculation that some psychiatric disorders, such as late onset autism, may be associated with an abnormal bacterial content in the gut.

Bercik suggested that these results lay the foundation for investigating the therapeutic potential of probiotic bacteria and their products in the treatment of behavioral disorders, particularly those associated with gastrointestinal conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.

The research appears in the online edition of the journal Gastroenterology.

Gut bacteria and stress

Another recent study with mice has also demonstrated a connection between gut bacteria in the digestive system and stress response.

Researchers at Ohio State University showed that gut bacterial colonies in mice decrease and immune biomarkers increase in response to stress. They ran a series of experiments using an aggressive mouse as a stressor for docile mice.

At the end of the stress experiments, blood samples and material from inside each animal’s intestine were taken from stressed animals along with samples from a control group. The blood samples were analyzed to detect the levels of two immune biomarkers used to gauge stress: a cell-signalling cytokine molecule and a protein called MCP-1 that summons macrophages, or scavenger cells, to the site of an infection.

The intestinal samples were used to determine the relative proportion of at least 30 types of bacteria residing there.

Compared to the control mice, the stressed animals showed two marked differences: the proportion of one important type of bacteria in the gut (Bacteroides) fell by 20 to 25 percent while another type (Clostridium) increased a similar amount. Also, levels of the two biomarkers jumped 10-fold in the stressed mice, compared to controls.

The researchers concluded that exposure to social stressors “significantly affect gut bacterial populations” while increasing circulating cytokines that regulate inflammatory responses.

Ref.: Bailey MT et al., Exposure to a social stressor alters the structure of the intestinal microbiota: implications for stressor-induced immunomodulation, Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 2011
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Old 05-19-2011, 11:07 AM   #2570
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For Ody and his calls for an economic chuck norris:

http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2011/05...of-leadership/

The “Vacuum” of Financial Leadership
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Old 05-19-2011, 11:08 AM   #2571
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Old 05-19-2011, 12:11 PM   #2572
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alkemical View Post
http://www.kurzweilai.net/that-gut-f...y-and-behavior

‘That gut feeling’: how stomach bacteria impact brain chemistry and behavior
from KurzweilAI

Experiments with mice have determined that behavior and brain chemistry varies depending on the type of bacteria in the gut, report Stephen Collins at McMaster University and Premysl Bercik at the Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute.

Working with healthy adult mice, the researchers showed that disrupting the normal bacterial content of the gut with antibiotics produced changes in behavior; the mice became either anxious or less cautious. This change was accompanied by an increase in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which has been linked to depression and anxiety.

When oral antibiotics were discontinued, bacteria in the gut returned to normal, “accompanied by restoration of normal behavior and brain chemistry,” Collins said.

The findings are important because several common types of gastrointestinal disease, including irritable bowel syndrome, are frequently associated with anxiety or depression. In addition there has been speculation that some psychiatric disorders, such as late onset autism, may be associated with an abnormal bacterial content in the gut.

Bercik suggested that these results lay the foundation for investigating the therapeutic potential of probiotic bacteria and their products in the treatment of behavioral disorders, particularly those associated with gastrointestinal conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.

The research appears in the online edition of the journal Gastroenterology.

Gut bacteria and stress

Another recent study with mice has also demonstrated a connection between gut bacteria in the digestive system and stress response.

Researchers at Ohio State University showed that gut bacterial colonies in mice decrease and immune biomarkers increase in response to stress. They ran a series of experiments using an aggressive mouse as a stressor for docile mice.

At the end of the stress experiments, blood samples and material from inside each animal’s intestine were taken from stressed animals along with samples from a control group. The blood samples were analyzed to detect the levels of two immune biomarkers used to gauge stress: a cell-signalling cytokine molecule and a protein called MCP-1 that summons macrophages, or scavenger cells, to the site of an infection.

The intestinal samples were used to determine the relative proportion of at least 30 types of bacteria residing there.

Compared to the control mice, the stressed animals showed two marked differences: the proportion of one important type of bacteria in the gut (Bacteroides) fell by 20 to 25 percent while another type (Clostridium) increased a similar amount. Also, levels of the two biomarkers jumped 10-fold in the stressed mice, compared to controls.

The researchers concluded that exposure to social stressors “significantly affect gut bacterial populations” while increasing circulating cytokines that regulate inflammatory responses.

Ref.: Bailey MT et al., Exposure to a social stressor alters the structure of the intestinal microbiota: implications for stressor-induced immunomodulation, Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 2011
My girlfriend does research on something very related to this, they are looking at vaginal microbiota in healthy and disease states as well as intestinal, but instead of just looking at the presence or absence or abundance of bacteria they are looking at the genetic expression of each bacteria as well.

Ultimately the presence of a certain strain of bacteria is not as important as what that strain is doing, especially in the vaginal setting certain genes being expressed may be related to menstrual cycles and low fertility which could potentially lead to new forms of treatment that are much milder than antibiotics.

This is a really booming area of research, there are even clinical trials now looking at the benefit of administering beneficial cultures during administration of antibiotics to prevent a collapse of the microbiota and the problems that can lead to and prevent recurrence after antibiotics is stopped.
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Old 05-20-2011, 07:30 AM   #2573
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I've had this idea that if the light wave length changes, it would change the "clock speed" of our brain:

http://www.realitysandwich.com/2012_..._consciousness
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Old 05-20-2011, 07:36 AM   #2574
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http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/image/1105/3000_CC_BY-NC.jpg

you are here
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Old 05-20-2011, 07:46 AM   #2575
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http://technoccult.net/archives/2011...tive-currency/

Second Life Founder Launches New Alternative Currency
from Renegade Futurist by Klint Finley


CoffeeandPower utilizes a virtual currency. Users who sign up and give their cellphone numbers so they can receive SMS updates are automatically seeded with C$20 to get started. C$ is exchanged when goods are bought and sold. More can be purchased (at an exchange rate of US$0.75 for C$1) and users will be able to “cash out” as well. As many of the transactions on the site might be quite small, the virtual currency will help minimize transaction fees for every exchange. In other words, you can earn from C$ and then buy things on from other users without any fees.

Second, CoffeeandPower really emphasizes the community around this marketplace. That’s not a surprise when you think of Philip Rosedale’s work in creating the virtual world Second Life and its online community and economy. Users will be able to chat with each other, both in a public timeline and in private messaging and video chat.
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