Cannabis May Have Eased Breast Cancer Symptoms of Siberian Ice Princess
A 2,500-year-old mummy was extracted from the Altai Mountains in Russia in 1993. As it had been encased in permafrost and protected from the elements, the body was in exceptional condition. The mummy was identified as a female who died in her early 20s. Her body was decorated in tattoos that were still visible on her well-preserved skin and she was buried with meat, ornate clothing, and accessories. These clues indicate that she was a woman of importance during her life, leading to her nickname as the “Altai Princess.” She was identified as belonging to the Pazyryk culture.
Over 20 years after her discovery, researchers have found that the ice princess was plagued with metastatic breast cancer and may have used cannabis to self-medicate as a way to relieve the painful symptoms of her condition. The findings were published in the journal Science First Hand.
Recent MRI scans of the Altai Princess revealed that she had a host of maladies throughout her life. She showed signs of osteomyelitis, a bone infection, from her younger years. Increased bone density is an indicator of this illness. Nearer to the time of her death, her bones also showed signs of damage that hint that she fell from a height, such as falling off of a horse. As the Pazyryk people routinely rode horseback, this wasn’t altogether unexpected. However, there was one big surprise: the Altai Princess also had breast cancer which had spread throughout her body.
“During the imaging of mammary glands, we paid attention to their asymmetric structure and the varying asymmetry of the MR signal,” researcher Andrey Letyagin told the Siberian Times. “We are dealing with a primary tumor in the right breast and right axial lymph nodes with metastases.”
Letyagin went on to describe the Altai Princess as emaciated at the time of her death. If she hadn’t been sick, he claims, her societal stature would have ensured that she had adequate food. Her weakened state likely contributed to her falling off of her horse and sustaining those injuries. At her death, her breast cancer had reached Stage 4. The fall, though it fractured her skull and dislocated her right shoulder and hip, did not kill her. The researchers were able to derive that she died 3-5 months later.
The Altai Princess was found buried with cannabis, which she may have used to deal with her immeasurable pain. There is other archeological evidence that the Pazyryk people used cannabis, wine, and opium for analgesic purposes.
“Probably for this sick woman, sniffing cannabis was a forced necessity,” Natalya Polosmak told the Siberian Times. Polosmak led the team of researchers that found the mummy in 1993. “And she was often in altered state of mind. We can suggest that through her could speak the ancestral spirits and gods. Her ecstatic visions in all likelihood allowed her to be considered as some chosen being, necessary and crucial for the benefit of society. She can be seen as the darling of spirits and cherished until her last breath.”
Certain features of the mummy’s burial indicate that the Pazyryk went above and beyond normal burial traditions, even among high-ranking members. This has led the researchers to believe that the Altai Princess may not have been a princess at all. In fact, the evidence suggests that she could have been a shaman; likely the most exalted member of her tribe.
As of now, it’s difficult to know whether her use of cannabis preceded her breast cancer, or whether visions induced by her increased use of the drug to cope with her illness led her kinsman to believe she could communicate with the spirits.
Lockheed Martin's new fusion reactor might change humanity forever
This is an invention that might change civilization as we know it: A compact fusion reactor developed by Skunk Works, the stealth experimental technology division of Lockheed Martin. It’s the size of a jet engine and it can power airplanes, spaceships, and cities. Skunk Works claims it will be operative in 10 years.
Aviation Week had exclusive access to their secret laboratories and talked to Dr. Thomas McGuire, the leader of Skunk Work’s Revolutionary Technology division. And revolutionary it is, indeed: Instead of using the same design that everyone else is using—the Soviet-derived tokamak, a torus in which magnetic fields confine the fusion reaction with a huge energy cost and thus little energy production capabilities—Skunk Works’ Compact Fusion Reactor has a radically different approach to anything people have tried before. Here are the two of them for comparison:
Above: The traditional Soviet tokamak design of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, a gigantic installation being built in France.
Above: The Skunk Works’ new compact fusion reactor design.
The key to the Skunk Works system is their tube-like design, which allows them to bypass one of the limitations of classic fusion reactor designs, which are very limited in the amount of plasma they can hold, which makes them huge in size—like the gigantic International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor. According to McGuire:
[The traditional tokamak designes] can only hold so much plasma, and we call that the beta limit. [Their plasma ratio is] 5% or so of the confining pressure. […] We should be able to go to 100% or beyond.
This architecture allows it to be 10 times smaller at the same power output of something like the ITER, which is expected to generate 500 MW in the 2020s. This is crucial for the use of fusion in all kind of applications, not only in giant, expensive power plants.
Skunk Works is convinced that their system—which will be the size of a jet engine—will be able to power everything, from spaceships to airplanes to vessels—and of course scale up to a much larger size. At the size of the ITER, it will be able to produce 10 times more energy, McGuire claims:
It’s one of the reasons we think it is feasible for development and future economics. Ten times smaller is the key. But on the physics side, it still has to work, and one of the reasons we think our physics will work is that we’ve been able to make an inherently stable configuration. In our case, it is always in balance. So if you have less pressure, the plasma will be smaller and will always sit in this magnetic well.
The road ahead
But we all know that the road to the dream of clean, unlimited energy is paved with failed inventions. The situation here seems different. First, Lockheed Martin is not a crazy dude working in a garage. It’s one of the world’s largest aerospace and military companies.
McGuire knows that they are just starting now, but he claims the design is sound and they will advance quickly until its final implementation in just a decade:
We would like to get to a prototype in five generations. If we can meet our plan of doing a design-build-test generation every year, that will put us at about five years, and we’ve already shown we can do that in the lab. So it wouldn’t be at full power, like a working concept reactor, but basically just showing that all the physics works.
Five years after that, they expect to have a fully operative model ready to go into full-scale production, capable of generating 100MW—enough to power a large cargo ship or a 80,000-home city—and measure 23 x 42 feet, so you “could put it on a semi-trailer, similar to a small gas turbine, put it on a pad, hook it up and can be running in a few weeks.”
3D Printer Builds Homes From Mud In Impoverished Areas
Nearly one billion people around the globe are homeless or live in substandard housing. In the era of 3D printing, some have addressed this crisis through quickly built concrete buildings. While this method would create a secure dwelling, delivering the raw materials and bulky printer increases the cost significantly, reducing its feasibility. The Italian 3D printing company WASP may have solved this problem by developing an easily-transportable machine that can quickly create dwellings out of mud and natural fibers—materials already available where the houses will be built.
Making houses out of mud is not anything new. In fact, humans have been constructing with mud and fiber binders for over 9,000 years. However, this new technique offers some extreme advantages. Extruding the mud in this manner drastically increases the amount of surface area, making it habitable much sooner than waiting for thick bricks to dry before construction can begin. Additionally, the triangular shapes between the walls make it stronger and capable of bearing more weight than traditional methods, all while using less material. It can make homes that are 10 feet (3 meters) tall, creating a spacious home.
WASP featured a scaled-down version of the project earlier this month at Maker Faire Rome, a huge event showcasing innovative technology from all over the globe. Due to the constraints of space and time, they were not actually able to finish the house on site, but they were able to demonstrate a proof of concept and showcase a palm-sized model.
The printer itself is fairly minimalist in its design. The extruder head is supported by a tripod structure and it is fed a blend of mud and natural fiber, such as wool. This method also allows for the homes to take on attractive, architecturally-interesting shapes; owners can proudly flex their creative muscles.
WASP, which stands for World’s Advanced Saving Project, is committed to providing independent housing to impoverished people all over the world, while blending art and science. While it might seem odd for a company to invest in technology they don’t intend to profit from, this altruistic endeavor is being funded from their commercial sales of 3D printers which work with a variety of materials, from traditional plastic to ceramic which can be glazed and fired in a kiln.
The company claims to have gained inspiration from the potter wasp, which build nests shaped like clay pottery. The wasps blend mud and hair to create sturdy nests that protect their young from the elements.
WASP tentatively plans on building the first 3D printed home sometime next year. Though no official plans have been set for location, they are considering Sardinia, an island off the coast of Italy in the Mediterranean Sea. Though this is not the neediest place in the world, it’s situated close to the company. This will help them work out all the kinks in the process before they move on to more remote locations.
Did you know that your phone is capable of detecting high-energy particles from the farthest regions of space? Oh yeah. And now, physicists studying the origin of exotic space particles have developed a new app called CRAYFIS that could turn our global network of smartphones into the world’s largest telescope.
Cosmic rays are ultra-high-energy particles from space that rain down on Earth. When they crash into our atmosphere, the particles break up and fall on us as even smaller particles: electrons, photons, and muons. Even though they were discovered decades ago, cosmic rays are rare and we still don’t know their source. And since they arrive so infrequently, a very large detector — say, a global network of phones — is needed to pinpoint where in the universe they originate.
“Whole square kilometers can be drenched in these particles for a few milliseconds,” says Daniel Whiteson from University of California at Irvine in a news release. “The mystery is nobody knows where these crazy, high-energy particles are coming from or what’s making them so energetic. But they can be captured by technology in smartphones’ cameras.”
The silicon-based, digital sensors in our camera phones aren’t all that different in principle from the particle detectors at CERN. The sensors we carry in our pockets and bags can all detect visible light, Gizmodo explains, turning it into an image on the screen for us to see, and as it turns out, they’re also sensitive to the particles in a cosmic ray shower.
Whiteson’s team conducted tests with radioactive isotopes of radium, cobalt, and cesium, and found that smartphone cameras can easily pick up gamma rays — even when they’re not pointed at the source, Ars Technica reports. Their paper was posted on arXiv last week.
There are already 1.5 billion active smartphones pre-positioned around the world. Just 1,000 active phones within a square kilometer could detect nearly all of the high energy cosmic rays striking the atmosphere above it, Ars Technica explains, despite the low efficiency of each.
Called CRAYFIS for Cosmic Rays Found in Smartphones, the app records when and where the GPS-equipped camera on your phone senses high-energy particles and their levels. The app works like a screensaver reminiscent of SETI@home. So as not to interfere with normal phone usage or drain the battery, the app collects data when your Android or iOS device is connected to a power source and hasn’t been used for several minutes. That means that after you install the app, you don’t really need to actively participate much. Data will be sent to the researchers over wi-fi, and if your phone helped gather data that are ultimately used in a scientific paper, you could be a study author. Or if you prefer, the app can also run in anonymous mode.
According to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), some branches within the San Andreas fault system are locked, meaning that major earthquakes could be coming soon. This could affect millions living in the San Francisco Bay Area, as some of the fault lines are located underneath the heart of the area’s infrastructure. The research was led by James Lienkaemper and the results were published in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.
The study examined aseismic creep, which is a slow steady movement in the Earth’s crust that relieves strain on fault lines as tectonic plates move relative to one another. However, if creep does not occur, the strain from the friction begins to build. The fault is then deemed to be “locked” and stores up that potential energy miles beneath the Earth’s surface. When the pressure becomes too great, it is released in the form of an earthquake. The magnitude of the earthquake is dependent upon how much potential energy is stored in the fault.
"The extent of fault creep, and therefore locking, controls the size and timing of large earthquakes on the Northern San Andreas Fault system," Lienkaemper explained in a press release. “The extent of creep on some fault sections is not yet well determined, making our first priority to study the urban sections of the San Andreas, which is directly beneath millions of Bay Area residents.”
The San Andreas fault system has five main branches that total about 1,250 miles in length in Northern California. The Pacific Plate to the west of the fault is pulling away from the North American Plate to the east at a rate of about 2.5 inches per year. The researchers found that four of the branches—Hayward, Northern Calaveras, Rodgers Creek, and Green Valley—are considered locked and in danger of creating an earthquake. Three of those are also nearing or overdue their historical averages for producing major earthquakes.
"The San Andreas Fault and its two other large branches, the Hayward and Northern Calaveras, have been quiet for decades. This study offers a good reminder to prepare today for the next major earthquake," said Lienkaemper.
The Hayward branch is about 40% locked and has a 30% chance of producing a magnitude 6.8 (M 6.8) earthquake within the next 30 years. The average length of time between major earthquakes along this fault is 160 years, and it has been 146 years since the last big one struck. However, that is just an average based on historical and geological records.
The other branches are also poised to unleash devastating earthquakes. The Northern Calaveras fault could create a M 6.8 earthquake, just like Hayward. Rodgers Creek (90% locked) and Green Valley faults each have enough locked energy to cause M 7.1 earthquakes. These three are at or near their historical recurrence averages, though it is difficult to predict exactly when they will strike.
This is something you simply cannot be negligent about. And that pretty much sums up this Texas hospital’s handling of Ebola. Outrageous.
US health officials are seeking 132 people who flew on a plane with a Texas nurse on the day before she came down with symptoms of Ebola.
The second person infected in the US, Amber Vinson, 29, fell ill on Tuesday.
Both she and nurse Nina Pham, 26, had treated Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan, who died a week ago in Dallas.
A nurses’ union has said those treating Duncan were not given full protection and had parts of their skin exposed.
More than 70 healthcare workers who may have come in contact with him at the hospital are being monitored for symptoms, the hospital’s director has said.
Meanwhile, the UN’s Ebola mission chief says the world is falling behind in the race to contain the virus, which has killed more than 4,000 in West Africa.
On Wednesday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it wanted to interview the passengers on Frontier Airlines flight 1143 from Cleveland, Ohio, to Dallas, Texas on 13 October.
It said it was taking the measure “because of the proximity in time between the evening flight and first report of illness the following morning”.
The BBC’s Alastair Leithead visited the National Biocontainment Training Centre in Galveston, Texas to try on a bio-hazard suit
Both Ms Vinson and Ms Pham treated Duncan early in his stay at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas when he had “extensive production of body fluids”, said CDC director Tom Frieden.
A national nurse union told reporters on Wednesday the health workers treating Duncan had not been properly protected and called for all health workers treating Ebola patients to receive full protective suits and training from hospitals.
Union director RoseAnn DeMoro said staff treated him for days without the necessary protective gear, and hazardous waste was allowed to pile up to the ceiling.
Dallas officials tape off the apartment of the second nurse who tested positive for Ebola
The CDC has appointed a “site manager” in Dallas to standardise the protective equipment and supervise the method of putting it off and on.
Ms Vinson flew to Cleveland on 10 October, even though she was being monitored for signs of Ebola and therefore should not have flown on a commercial aeroplane, Dr Frieden said.
When Ms Vinson returned from Ohio, she was not showing symptoms of the disease, the crew has told CDC investigators.
Health experts say people who are not showing symptoms are not contagious.
On the morning of 14 October, Ms Vinson came down with a fever and was isolated within 90 minutes. Her diagnosis was announced early on Wednesday.
One of the ill women is to be transferred to Emory University hospital in Atlanta, which oversaw the recovery of two US aid workers who had caught the disease in Africa.
Mr Duncan, who was the first person to be diagnosed in the US with Ebola, started showing symptoms of the disease just days after he arrived in Texas from Liberia, where he contracted it.
An initial set of 48 people who were in contact with him before he was admitted to hospital are nearing the end of the window in which they could develop an Ebola infection.
Ebola patients treated outside West Africa*
*In all but three cases the patient was infected with Ebola while in West Africa. Infection outside Africa has been restricted to health workers in Madrid and in Dallas. DR Congo has also reported a separate outbreak of an unrelated strain of Ebola.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says 4,447 people have died from the outbreak, mainly in West Africa.
Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea have been hardest hit by the outbreak, which began in December 2013 but was confirmed in March.
The White House has announced President Barack Obama will convene a meeting of his cabinet over the US response to Ebola later on Wednesday, cancelling a political trip.
Health officials have repeatedly warned more Ebola cases could be diagnosed in the US.
In other developments:
Liberia’s transport minister has gone into quarantine after her driver died from Ebola
Ghana is to lodge a complaint with authorities in the Czech Republic after a video showed a Ghanaian student not infected with Ebola being carted around an airport on a trolley by people in protective gear - while his face is covered with a black plastic bag
The World Health Organization (WHO) warns the infection rate could reach 5,000 to 10,000 new cases a week in two months if efforts are not stepped up
The WHO says it will declare the end of the outbreak in Senegal at the end of this week (17 October) and in Nigeria next week (20 October), if no new cases are detected before then.
France has joined the US, Canada and the UK in instituting Ebola screening at airports
Cumulative deaths up to 12 October
Note: figures are occasionally revised down as suspect or probable cases are found to be unrelated to Ebola. The sharp increase in Sierra Leone in early October is a result of retrospective analysis of hospital records
Wanted to say a quick hello and see how you guys and girls are doing :)
I underestimated how little I’d be posting on tumblr once I got this job, but it really means a lot that somehow, I’ve gained almost 500 followers over the last three months of barely posting much. In addition, I’m back to not using a laptop or computer and just posting from my phone. But I thank those of you who are still following me, and I thank those who have just recently decided to follow me. You’re awesome :)
Teen Girls Who Fled Austria To Join ISIS Now Pregnant, Desperately Want To Come Home
The two young Austrian girls that abandoned their families to join ISIS say they made a mistake and want to come home.
Samra Kesinovic, 17, and her friend Sabina Selimovic, 15 were conned by Muslim clerics at a local mosque. They were led to believe their European lifestyle was evil. Clerics told them that the only way to know true peace was to travel to Syria and take part in the holy war.
In April, the teen girls packed their bags, abandoned their families and headed out. They left the following note,
Don’t look for us. We will serve Allah, and we will die for him.
Samra and Sabina are believed to be married to Chechen fighters, pregnant, and living in the ISIS controlled city of Ragga in Northern Syria, Central European News reports.
Since leaving their home city of Vienna, the teens have become “poster girls” for the Islamic State.
The teens social media accounts show them happily enjoying their new life as ISIS terrorists. The smiling girls are pictured wearing Muslim garb while flanked by armed ISIS fighters. Some photos display the girls themselves carrying weapons.
However, Austrian police say the teens social media accounts have been hijacked by ISIS terrorists. Many of the images are fake. According to the Vienna Times, a security services insider in Austria said,
It is clear that whoever is operating their pages it probably is not the girls, and that they are being used for propaganda.
The Austrian newspaper Oesterreich says the girls have recently established communication with their parents.
To no one’s surprise, the Western born teens have become disillusioned with their new oppressive lifestyle and the brutality of ISIS. They regret their decision to leave Austria and desperately want to come home.
Unfortunately, a spokesman for the Austrian Interior Ministry, Karl-Heinz Grundboeck, has said their change of heart may be too late.
The main problem is about people coming back to Austria. Once they leave it is almost impossible.
This new battery charges to 70% in two minutes, and lasts for 20 years
Researchers have developed a groundbreaking new lithium ion battery that charges super quickly and lasts 10 times longer than today’s batteries. It’ll be on the market within two years.
Sick of waiting an hour for your phone to charge before you leave the house? Researchers at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have come up with the best solution yet - a lithium ion battery that charges to 70 percent in just two minutes.
Even better, it also lasts for 20 years, and will reportedly be available to the public within two years.
Rechargeable lithium ion batteries are already common in our mobile phones, tablets and laptops - but most only last around 500 recharge cycles, which is around two to three years of typical use. And at the moment batteries take around two hours to fully charge.
The new battery drastically improves this process, and will allow you to charge your phone while you look for your keys on the way out the door. It would also help make electric vehicles a more viable alternative to fossil-fuel-powered cars, by reducing battery replacement costs and allowing drivers to recharge their cars in minutes.
“Electric cars will be able to increase their range dramatically, with just five minutes of charging, which is on par with the time needed to pump petrol for current cars,” said Professor Chen Xiaodong who led the study, in a press release. “Equally important, we can now drastically cut down the toxic waste generated by disposed batteries, since our batteries last 10 times longer than the current generation of lithium-ion batteries.”
The breakthrough came after the scientists replaced the traditional graphite that makes up the anode (the negative pole of the battery) in lithium-ion batteries with a new gel material made from titanium dioxide nanotubes that they created themselves.
These nanotubes are a thousand times thinner than a human hair, and they speed up the rate at which electrons and ions can transfer in and out of the batteries, allowing for super-fast charging. They also allow more energy to be packed into the batteries. This means that the battery can now offer 10,000 charging cycles, instead of the usual 500.
Even better, the new batteries will be relatively cheap, as titanium dioxide is inexpensive and already readily available in soil. The team has published details on how they formed the titanium dioxide gel in Advanced Materials, and have already had the technology licensed to eventually produce the devices. They expect they’ll be on the market within two years.
Flight MH370: New search images reveal seabed details
The team looking for missing flight MH370 has released detailed images of the seabed - revealing features such as extinct volcanoes and 1,400-metre depressions for the first time.
The collection of data from one of the most secret parts of the world is a by-product of the search.
Until now there were better maps of Mars than of this bit of the sea floor.
The Malaysian Airlines plane vanished without trace on 8 March with 239 people on board.
Twenty-six countries have helped look for the Boeing 777, but nothing has ever been found.
The aircraft was flying from the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, to Beijing.
There are also depressions on the seabed, some as deep as 1,400 metres
The maps will be used to guide search vehicles close to the seabed
The new maps reveal the “priority” search area in the southern Indian Ocean
The team at the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), which is leading the hunt for the plane, is using sonar to map the new “priority” search area, at the bottom of the Southern Indian Ocean.
After that they will deploy two or three deep-sea vehicles to begin the painstaking, inch-by-inch seabed search for wreckage.
The “priority” area is based on the only piece of hard evidence investigators have, which is a series of brief, electronic “hellos” between the Boeing and a satellite.
It is the equivalent of your mobile phone buzzing next to a loud speaker because it is checking in with a ground station, even when you are not making a call.
But those “hellos” don’t give an exact location, just a very rough idea, so the smaller, “priority” area is still 60,000 sq km (23,200 sq miles) - an area roughly the size of Croatia.
Relatives of the passengers aboard MH370 are still searching for answers
However, the data is not designed to pick up the aircraft, as the resolution is too coarse. Simon Boxall from the National Oceanography Centre says that despite this, it does provide a detailed look at the seabed.
"Those ‘bumps’ on the sea floor in the flat, featureless plains to the south of Broken Ridge are each bigger than Ben Nevis.
"Five kilometres (3 miles) across and typically rising 1.5km (0.9 miles) from the sea floor. The terrain of the area around Broken Ridge makes the European Alps look like foothills," he said.
Making sonar maps is vital to ensure the team does not crash its deep-water vehicles into ridges and volcanoes. The equipment is pulled along the sea floor by a 10km armoured cable.
Snagging that cable could damage the kit, or even cut it free, so the maps help them avoid any obstructions.
The deep sea search vehicles have sonar that can pick out odd lumps, cameras that can double check if that lump is wreckage or just a rock and an electronic nose that can smell aviation fuel in the water, even if it is heavily diluted.
The operation to find flight MH370 is the most complex search in history. They may find clues within months. Or they may never find the aircraft.
So instead of buying a new phone this weekend, I bought a garden. I have a balcony with amazing sunlight, and I’ve wanted to grow my own vegetables and fruit for a while. I’ll take a picture later but this is what I got:
A dwarf orange tree, cilantro, oregano, sweet basil, mint, thyme, and parsley plants. I bought this pot of succulents that hangs from the wall outside, two jasmine plants, petunias, a tall shrub called Miami pink(lol) and a large pot full of these beautiful orange Mum flowers. That’s another funny one that I got for a reason. Oh and a purple orchid for inside. I have organic soil that im using too. I’ll be working on this for the rest of the day I think! I’ve never gardened before and I know I can just google, but if anyone has some gardening tips, throw them my way!