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June 08, 2012

Not A Joke: NASA holding bake sale to raise funds, awareness

Scientists to hold bake sale for NASA Saturday - Technology & science - Space - Space.com - msnbc.com
Scientists are trading telescopes for aprons this week to sell Milky Way cupcakes, Saturn cake, and chocolate chip Opportunity cookies in an effort to salvage U.S. planetary science projects. The 2013 budget proposal submitted by the Obama administration earlier this year would cut funding for NASA's planetary science projects by about $300 million. While Congress is still deliberating over the federal budget, groups of scientists are planning a series of demonstrations — in the form of bake sales, car washes and other events — for Saturday to plead their case. More space news from msnbc.com Image: Space spiral Imadomar2 via YouTube Middle East UFO linked to Russian missile test A swirling spiral of light seen in the skies over Israel, Syria and other Middle East countries on Thursday night has been linked to a Russian intercontinental ballistic missile test. Are the aliens calling? Send in the robots! Craters serve as a Martian chronicle Scientists to hold bake sale for NASA Saturday Though planet-studying spacecraft usually cost millions, or even billions, of dollars, every penny helps. That's the reasoning behind the Planetary Exploration Car Wash and Bake Sale to be held by University of Central Florida students and professors who hope to sway lawmakers into providing more money for studying the solar system. It is one of nearly 20 planned demonstrations for Saturday at sites across the country, organizers said.

June 07, 2012

Marijuana is probably going to give you cancer

Is marijuana unhealthier than people think?
According to a report issued by the BLF, nearly 9 in 10 people believe that smoking cigarettes is worse than marijuana — but the risk of developing lung cancer is as much as 20 times greater from a cannabis joint than a tobacco cigarette. Researchers contend that smoking one marijuana joint is equivalent to smoking an entire pack of cigarettes. The BLF report contradicts a study from earlier this year claiming that marijuana does not cause lung damage. Back in January of 2012, Stefan Kertesz, an associate professor in the UAB Division of Preventive Medicine, published a study claiming that occasional marijuana use was associated with increases in lung air flow rates and increases in lung capacity. His data showed that even up to moderately high-use levels — one joint a day for seven years — will not decrease air-flow rates or lung volumes. The Kertesz study did not make mention of marijuana as a potential carcinogen. What makes marijuana particularly dangerous, say BLF researchers, is the way that it is smoked. Cigarette users quickly exhale their smoke, whereas cannabis users tend to hold it in for as long as possible to better absorb its THC content. It's this practice of holding smoke in the lungs that significantly exacerbates its carcinogenic effects.

June 06, 2012

Antidepressants in drinking water may contribute to autism

Antidepressants in drinking water may contribute to autism - environment - 06 June 2012 - New Scientist
Low levels of antidepressants and other psychoactive drugs in water supplies can trigger the expression of genes associated with autism – in fish at least. The use of antidepressants has increased dramatically over the past 25 years, says Michael Thomas of Idaho State University in Pocatello. Around 80 per cent of each drug passes straight through the human body without being broken down, and so they are present in waste water. In most communities, water purification systems cannot filter out these pharmaceuticals. "They just fly right through," says Thomas, which means they ultimately find their way into the water supply. The concentration of these drugs in drinking water is very low – at most, they are present at levels 100 times lower than the prescription doses. But since the drugs are specifically designed to act on the nervous system, Thomas hypothesised that even a small dose could affect a developing fetus. Thomas's group created a cocktail of the anti-epileptic drug carbamazepine and two selective serotonin uptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants, fluoxetine and venlafaxine, at this low concentration. They exposed fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) to the drugs for 18 days, then analysed the genes that were being expressed in the fishes' brains. Although the researchers had expected the drugs might activate genes involved in all kinds of neurological disorders, only 324 genes associated with autism in humans appeared to be significantly altered. Most of these genes are involved in early brain development and wiring. . . .

June 02, 2012

46% of Americans think the entire universe is less than 10,000 years old

I don't even have words strong enough to condemn this ignorance. Joe. My. God.: GALLUP POLL: 46% Of Americans Are Young Earth Creationists
Forty-six percent of Americans believe in the creationist view that God created humans in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years. The prevalence of this creationist view of the origin of humans is essentially unchanged from 30 years ago, when Gallup first asked the question. About a third of Americans believe that humans evolved, but with God's guidance; 15% say humans evolved, but that God had no part in the process.