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Nearly all multivitamins contain dangerous levels of lead

The Thin Green Line : Vitamin lead?
File this in the can't win for trying department: Multivitamins may be bad for your health. A new study by Consumer Lab found that many multivitamins contain potentially dangerous levels of lead, and many did not contain the vitamins and minerals their labels proclaim. Lead is especially dangerous to fetuses and small children, which is seriously bad news for pregnant women who take fistfuls of prenatal vitamins in hopes of a healthy baby. Almost no vitamins were found to be free of lead, according to the Sacramento Bee (the study results are by subscription only). Indeed, lead-free may be an impossible goal because fruits and vegetables absorb lead from soil and water.
The article includes tips on how to find lead-free vitamins. If you live in California, as we're the only state to regulate and test vitamins. Take that, Idaho!

July 12, 2009

Sperm Travels Faster Toward Attractive Females

Sperm Travels Faster Toward Attractive Females: Discovery News
July 8, 2009 -- Females may be outwardly choosy when selecting sexual partners -- accepting or shunning mates in very public ways -- but males may get the last say in this battle of the sexes. New research found that males can adjust the speed and effectiveness of their sperm by allocating more or less seminal fluid to copulations. The determining factor is whether the male finds the female attractive. The study, conducted on red junglefowl, a director ancestor of chickens, adds to the growing body of evidence that males throughout many promiscuous species in the animal kingdom, including humans, can mate with many females, but chances of fertilization are greater when the female is deemed to be attractive.

July 09, 2009

Fox host: Finns and Swedes have “pure genes…pure society,” but Americans marry “other species”

July 08, 2009

Monkeys Illustrate that Time is Nature's Way of Keeping Everything from Happening at Once

BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Monkeys recognise 'bad...

July 05, 2009

"In truth, we are all intersex"

Review: Sex in shades of grey - opinion - 05 July 2009 - New Scientist
The standard model of human development is built on 46 chromosomes, including two that determine sex: XX for female, XY for male. But, as Callahan points out, not everyone ends up 46XX or 46XY. Variations in sperm or egg, in the mixing of cells from mother and father and in the cell division that follows can all stir the genetic soup into alternative outcomes. The possibilities, Callahan writes, "are as grand and as varietal as the fragrances of flowers: 45X; 47XXX; 48XXXX; 49XXXXX; 47XYY; 47XXY; 48XXXY; 49XXXXY; and 49XXXYY." These variations are familiar to geneticists - the first on the list, for instance, is known as Turner's syndrome - but the general public is still stuck in a black and white, XX/XY world. Much of Callahan's book is spent exploring our understanding of intersexuality, from the physicians of ancient Greece to today's neuroendocrinologists. He also weaves in the stories of people who live in the stretch between the classic male and female endpoints. "Truthfully, I think the most important thing I would like people to understand about me is that I am a person," Kailana, who is hermaphrodite, tells him in a diatribe of anger, grief and courage.

July 03, 2009

Mark Morford: Your immanent apocalyptic death

If it's not one god damned thing, it's another. Your imminent apocalyptic death / It's just around the corner. Any minute now. No, really
Ha. Turns out even our most potent wonderdrug is proving less and less effective at blocking and preventing influenza's clever variants, as nature proves, once again, increasingly effective at defying every pathetic attempt to keep her darker tendencies in check. Go figure. No matter. It will soon all become moot anyway. When the supervolcano erupts. Did you hear? It's quite possible. Right there, under Mount St. Helens up in Washington state, scientists think they can see a true, epic monster of an eruption brewing, one far more intense than the classic 1980 model, a perfect storm of gasses and pressure and molten magma, all of it the size of, well, a mountain. Times ten. And so you think, well gosh, thank goodness I don't live up in Washington state! I shall live far away and watch the pretty eruption, should it happen, on YouTube someday! How cute you are. Did you miss the noun? It's not just a volcano. It's a supervolcano. The eruption zone potentially spans from St. Helens over to Mount Rainier and Mount Adams ... upwards of 75 miles, total. If this region blows, they say it would be the equivalent of the blast that formed Yellowstone National Park a half a million years ago. The spew would block out the sun, worldwide. It would drop the temperature of the planet. For days. Maybe longer. Does it matter? It's the sun. The sun is sort of important.