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December 06, 2012

Nightmare: Bedbugs are spreading through library books

Bedbugs Hitch a Ride on Library Books - NYTimes.com
That’s because bedbugs have discovered a new way to hitchhike in and out of beds: library books. It turns out that tiny bedbugs and their eggs can hide in the spines of hardcover books. The bugs crawl out at night to feed, find a new home in a headboard, and soon readers are enjoying not only plot twists but post-bite welts. As libraries are scrambling to deal with the problem, so are some book borrowers. Not wanting to spread the misery, considerate patrons sometimes call ahead to discuss with librarians how best to return lent materials from their bedbug-infested homes. Usually, a meeting is arranged so the patron can hand off the offending books or DVDs in Ziploc bags to an employee outside the library. John Furman, the owner of Boot-a-Pest, a team of bedbug exterminators based on Long Island, said he has had hundreds of clients buy a portable heater called PackTite to kill bedbug life, baking any used or borrowed book as a preventive measure before taking it to bed. But others have stopped borrowing books altogether. Each month, Angelica McAdoo, a jewelry designer, and her children used to bring home a stack of books from the Los Angeles Central Library — until Mrs. McAdoo heard that the library had had a bedbug scare in September. She had already battled bedbugs in her two-bedroom apartment in East Hollywood and hired an exterminator, who sprayed the perimeter of her bookshelves with pesticide, among other precautions.

December 04, 2012

It's official, Asperger's Syndrome no longer exists

A lot of people are upset about this. Asperger's was seen, by some, as less stigmatized than autism spectrum disorder. It was a badge of pride. But all research has pointed to Asperger's just being a variety of autism, somewhere on the spectrum. On the bright side, this should enable a lot of people to access funding and help they couldn't before. It's official: 'Asperger's syndrome' is no longer a thing
We've seen this coming for the past two years, but the American Psychiatric Association has finally made it official: The upcoming DSM-V — the so-called bible of psychiatry — will no longer be including Asperger's syndrome as an official diagnosis. Instead, it will be subsumed within the broader definition of "autism spectrum disorder." The change is being met with mixed reactions, but some Aspies, like psychology student Joshua Muggleton, say it's an important adjustment whose time has come. Opponents worry that the absence of Asperger's will exclude some people from being properly diagnosed. Others fear that they won't get the treatments, funding, and services that are required. Even Muggleton, who now welcomes the change, was resistant at first. He worried that its absence would impose a big and unwanted change to his identity. But looking at the issue more closely, he decided to set his personal views aside and investigate how it is that we classify Asperger's syndrome.

November 30, 2012

Gatorade sued for putting flame retardants, endocrine disrupters in its drinks

Petition Claims Ingredient In Gatorade Is A Flame Retardant, Unsafe For Consumption – The Consumerist
PepsiCo, which owns Gatorade, has been using the stuff “on an interim basis” as of February 2012. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration lists BVO as an ingredient that is safe to use in fruity beverages but only in “amounts not to exceed five parts per million.” The company says in a statement that its use of BVO is all on the up-and-up: “We take consumer safety and product integrity seriously, and we can assure you that Gatorade is safe. As standard practice we constantly evaluate our formulas and ingredients to ensure they comply with federal regulations and meet the high quality standards our consumers and athletes expect.” One professor of the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine told the Chicago Tribune that BVO hasn’t always been deemed so safe, and more research should be done on the substance. “Bromine does bind to fat in the body and stay there, it is an endocrine disruptor, and the fact is many people drink excessive amounts of soda,” the assistant professor said. “So the bromine ingestion is far higher than the ‘safe’ dose contained in one drink.” Other experts warn that while one kind of brominated vegetable oil could be used as a flame retardant, it could be a wholly different type that’s used in drinks.

November 28, 2012

Coral reefs will be extinct in our lifetime

Between bleaching, mysterious fungi, tourism, fishing and global warming we can expect coral reefs to be gone within 50 years. In Hawaii, a coral reef infection has biologists alarmed - latimes.com
HANALEI, Hawaii — When compiling a list of places that may be described as paradise, Hanalei Bay on the rugged north shore of the island of Kauai surely qualifies. The perfect crescent bay, rimmed by palm trees, emerald cliffs and stretches of white sand, has always had a dreamy kind of appeal. It was on these shores that sailors in the movie "South Pacific" sang of the exotic but unattainable "Bali Ha'i." The problem is what lies below the surface of the area's shimmering blue waters. Since June, a mysterious milky growth has been spreading rapidly across the coral reefs in Hanalei and the surrounding bays of the north shore — so rapidly that biologist Terry Lilley, who has been documenting the phenomenon, says it now affects 5% of all the coral in Hanalei Bay and up to 40% of the coral in nearby Anini Bay. Other areas are "just as bad, if not worse," he said.