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November 18, 2009

Have we hit peak uranium?

Peak Uranium? Our nuclear future might be shorter than we thought | Blog | Futurismic
… the most worrying problem is the misconception that uranium is plentiful. The world’s nuclear plants today eat through some 65,000 tons of uranium each year. Of this, the mining industry supplies about 40,000 tons. The rest comes from secondary sources such as civilian and military stockpiles, reprocessed fuel and re-enriched uranium. “But without access to the military stocks, the civilian western uranium stocks will be exhausted by 2013, concludes Dittmar. It’s not clear how the shortfall can be made up since nobody seems to know where the mining industry can look for more. That means countries that rely on uranium imports such as Japan and many western countries will face uranium shortages, possibly as soon as 2013. Far from being the secure source of energy that many governments are basing their future energy needs on, nuclear power looks decidedly rickety. But what of new technologies such as fission breeder reactors which generate fuel and nuclear fusion? Dittmar is pessimistic about fission breeders. “Their huge construction costs, their poor safety records and their inefficient performance give little reason to believe that they will ever become commercially significant,” he says.

November 17, 2009

German scientists develop female libido drug

Limp reception for female 'libido drug' - health - 17 November 2009 - New Scientist It's not hormone based, but rather affects seratonin levels in the brain like an anti-depressant. And unlike viagra it must be taken once a day, every day, for it have any effect.
A drug that boosts women's libido may have come a step closer after apparently successful trials. Inevitably dubbed a "female Viagra", such drugs are objects of desire for the pharmaceutical industry, which sees them as a potential gold mine. However, flibanserin's effects are modest, and the results have reignited the debate over whether "hypoactive sexual desire disorder", which the drug claims to treat, is a real medical condition or a variation of normal human behaviour. HSDD, defined as the persistent and distressing lack of sexual desire, is recognised as a form of female sexual dysfunction by clinicians, researchers and the drugs industry, but some doctors and therapists question it. Flibanserin's manufacturer, German firm Boehringer Ingelheim, reported this week that women with HSDD taking the drug increased the average number of times they had "satisfying sexual experiences" from 2.8 to 4.5 times a month.

November 09, 2009

Long-term neti pot use will mess you up

Long-Term Neti Pot Use May Backfire
Nov. 9, 2009 -- Long-term use of a neti pot to clear stuffy noses and blocked nasal passages may actually encourage more sinus problems rather than keep them away. A new study shows people who used nasal saline irrigation for a year and then discontinued use the following year had 62% fewer cases of sinusitis in the year that they didn't use the device. Neti pots have become increasingly popular in recent years for the treatment of sinus infections and other forms of sinus disease. The pots deliver a stream of sterile saline solution to the nasal passages to loosen and clear nasal congestion. Researchers say despite the common use of nasal saline irrigation to treat sinusitis, there has been little scientific research to confirm its effectiveness. Sinusitis is an inflammation or infection of the sinuses and nasal passages that can cause headache or pressure in the eyes, nose, and cheek area as well as nasal congestion, cough, and fever.
*via Jeff Lester*

November 06, 2009

German scientists find that babies pick up their mother's accents in the womb

BBC NEWS | Health | Babies 'cry in mother's tongue'
German researchers say babies begin to pick up the nuances of their parents' accents while still in the womb. The researchers studied the cries of 60 healthy babies born to families speaking French and German. The French newborns cried with a rising "accent" while the German babies' cries had a falling inflection. Writing in the journal Current Biology, they say the babies are probably trying to form a bond with their mothers by imitating them.

November 05, 2009

Mass extinction blamed on eruptions of molten coal

Mass extinction blamed on fiery fountains of coal - environment - 05 November 2009 - New Scientist
FOSSIL fuels have a new crime to live down. A frenzy of hydrocarbon burning at the end of the Permian period may have led to the most devastating mass extinction Earth has ever seen, as explosive encounters between magma and coal released more carbon dioxide in the course of a few years than in all of human history. Around 250 million years ago, the so-called "Great Dying" saw 70 per cent of species wiped out on land and 95 per cent in the oceans. A clue to what may have triggered this disaster lies in solidified magma from this time, which is widespread in an area of Siberia where coal is also abundant. . . . "You're basically going to have something like a fire fountain every few kilometres or so over this vast moonscape that's erupting, with flares going high into the air and columns of smoke and fly ash," says Sleep. The ground would be "covered with coal tar and coal fragments and pieces of basalt", he adds.