Welcome to Sott.net
Sat, 13 Feb 2016
The World for People who Think

Science & Technology


Pesticide resistance: Widely used chemicals no longer effective against bedbugs

© Virginia Tech
It turns out, the insecticides used to kill bedbugs don't even scratch the surface, a study by Virginia Tech and New Mexico State University found
One of the most widely used commercial chemicals to kill bedbugs are not effective because the pesky insects have built up a tolerance to them, according to a team of researchers from Virginia Tech and New Mexico State University.

Millions of dollars have been spent on insecticides to kill the bugs that have wreaked havoc on everything from hotels in New York City to homes in Los Angeles. But this is the first study to show that overuse of certain insecticides has led to an increased resistance to the compounds, making them much less effective than advertised.

"While we all want a powerful tool to fight bed bug infestations, what we are using as a chemical intervention is not working as effectively it was designed and, in turn, people are spending a lot of money on products that aren't working," said Troy Anderson, an assistant professor of entomology in the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Comment: USDA silencing scientists on pesticide research

Bizarro Earth

Scientists create an 'ocean observatory' atop an underwater mountain range off Northwest US

© University of Washington
The Juan de Fuca tectonic plate in the NE Pacific is now "wired to the Internet"
Volcanic eruptions at the bottom of the sea are at the heart of how the Earth works, yet we know surprisingly little about them.

But now, thanks to a network of seafloor sensors connected to the internet, scientists are starting to get a glimpse of the fundamental processes that shape our planet.

This "ocean observatory" is situated atop an underwater mountain range off the coast from Oregon and Washington, and can measure everything from the rumbles of deep-sea earthquakes to the chemical burps of volcanic vents. And it just went online this month, The New York Times reported.

About 70% of the volcanism on Earth occurs underwater, yet it's traditionally been hard to study, said Deborah Kelley, the University of Washington scientist who directs the US part of the observatory (Canada directs the other part).

Now, for the first time, "we can see how a volcano lives and breathes and impacts our planet," Kelley told Business Insider, adding "It's basically the internet on the seafloor."

Comment: Data buoy warning of "event" off coast of Oregon could be precursor to devastating earthquake - Mainstream media immediately downplays event


Debunking the debunkers: Architect vs viral blacksmith video on steel melting in the Twin Towers

In the words of Trenton Tye (aka The Blacksmith), why don't these dumb things die?

Below: AE911Truth's original response to Tye's video, from December 18, 2015

Comment: If you haven't seen Tye's video, here it is:


Largest solar system ever discovered: Planet orbits star 1 trillion km away

© NASA / Reid Wiseman
A new study discovered that a planet previously thought to be a loner actually orbits a star 1 trillion kilometers away from it. It takes it a million Earth years to orbit its sun, making it the largest solar system found to date.

The giant gas planet - identified only as 2MASS J2126−8140 by scientists - lies 100 light years away from Earth. It's around 12 to 15 times the mass of Jupiter, the largest planet in our Solar System.


Pollutants from your septic system can make their way into your water well

Recent news about tainted water in Flint, Michigan, and other parts of the country have called into question the safety of the nation's drinking water supply. Adding to this, a new study finds that pollutants from household wastewater—pharmaceuticals and consumer product chemicals—can make their way into people's private wells, and that backyard septic systems are likely to blame. The findings reinforce growing concerns about the health risks posed by unregulated chemicals in drinking water.

In tests of water samples from private wells on Cape Cod, researchers at Silent Spring Institute found 27 unregulated contaminants, including a dozen different pharmaceuticals, a variety of chemicals used in non-stick coatings, flame retardants, and an artificial sweetener. The study appears online Wednesday, January 27 in the journal Science of the Total Environment.

Approximately 44 million Americans get their drinking water from private wells. Unlike public wells, private wells are not federally regulated; responsibility for ensuring the safety and quality of the water falls on individual homeowners. Because private wells tend to be shallower than public wells and are less frequently monitored, they are also more susceptible to contamination from local land use activities such as farming, residential development, and landfills. Contamination of private wells is an ongoing public health issue in many parts of the U.S., including the Midwest and California.


Toxic algae from the island of Guam may hint to a treatment for dementia

Cyanobacteria produce the BMAA toxin and cause blue-green blooms of algae
Scientists say they now have good evidence in animals that exposure to a toxin from algae can trigger dementia-like changes in the brain.

If the US team is right, they may have found a new route towards treating and preventing neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's .

Their work, in the Proceedings B journal, lends weight to a scientific theory experts have been chasing for decades.

The story began in the 1950s on a small Pacific Island called Guam.

Arrow Down

Coming next - Genetically modified behaviors?

© Cell.com
Physics simulation of 5 megabases of DNA forming loops and domains.
Quebec - The new theory for germline guidelines is based on IVF screening practices, and it's pretty damn confronting. Forget Frankenstein; this is a whole new order of difficulty with a lot of new dangers.

In a society where accountability is virtually non-existent, it's also a very high-risk issue. The ability to edit genes and deal with genetic disorders with genetic screening is either a horror story in progress or a major achievement depending on your point of view. Just about everybody has pointed out that an arbitrary determination of genetic makeup is untrustworthy by definition.

Big money will be in play, and that money usually wants to make a lot more of itself. Greed reproduces itself, too.

Given the environment of truly irrational pricing and other depraved evil spirits/scumbags in medical industries, why should these guys be allowed to participate, and make more money, editing the human race?

Not to detract from this whole new horizon of fascinating science in any way — the basic process of editing genes in IVF is supposed to manage some truly hideous, crippling, genetic conditions. Fair enough, you'd think. It's a practical way of managing a lot of otherwise catastrophic medical conditions.

Inheritable germline genetic modifications, however, raise big issues and potentially big problems. Germline is defined by Google as "a series of germ cells each descended or developed from earlier cells in the series, regarded as continuing through successive generations of an organism." Add to this new tech related to genetic modifications, which has literally exploded in the last decade or so since the Human Genome Project, and the whole issue of gene editing gets very tricky, very quickly.

That means that germline edits are permanent and will be carried on in new generations. In human terms, that could mean "selecting or de-selecting" things like human traits, according to researchers at the Centre of Genomics and Policy at McGill University in Quebec.

Umm.... Turning human behaviors on and off? Sounds like a reliable way of causing multiple disasters, doesn't it? Some human behaviors may deserve to be turned off, but who do you trust with this ability? Big Pharma? Big Medicine? Big Politics? The usual insufferable pig-ignorant/do nothing/hate everybody "elites" of every generation? Would you trust a society which wouldn't do well in comparison with a dunghill for rational behavior of its own?

Imagine inheritable behaviors and other characteristics based on the whims of some claque of ideologically and/or money-driven people whose technical knowledge will be superseded in hours or days and whose view of humanity is as rational as a politician's understanding of ethics and accountability.

The inevitable result would be the "genetic fashions" of the day vs real human needs and rights. This would be the culture of gene editing if it doesn't have guidelines and those guidelines can't be enforced. The need for guidelines isn't in question. The question is whether those guidelines can work at all. There are real dangers in this scenario.


Technology overpowering us: People keep going to this home searching for their lost cellphones — and nobody knows why

© Jhaan Elker/The Washington Post
Christina Lee and Michael Saba live in an Atlanta house where several strangers come accusing them of having stolen their phones. Strangely, the phones are never there, and it's because missing-phone apps are mysteriously routing to this home.
For months now, angry strangers have been showing up at Christina Lee and Michael Saba's front door with a curious demand: "Give me back my stolen phone!"

Sometimes, families will show up; other times, it's groups of friends or a random person with a police officer in tow, according to Fusion. Despite using different service providers, everyone who bangs on their door has been led to the suburban Atlanta home by a phone-tracking app.

The problem — as the couple desperately tries to explain visitors — is that the missing phones aren't at the house and never have been.

They are not, in fact, thieves. Saba is an engineer; Lee is a journalist.

The pair doesn't understand why exactly, but both Android and iPhone users on various networks are being directed to their house by phone-tracking apps.

Comment: Another small but important sign of how the pace of technology seems to outstrip the foresight and resources required to employ technology wisely.


Study finds genes that influence cognitive skills are associated with diseases such as Alzheimer's and schizophrenia

© National Human Genome Research Institute / Reuters
People with better health are more likely to have higher levels of intelligence, according to a new study which found that genes associated with diseases such as Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, and autism also affect cognitive functions.

The study, conducted by an international team led by the University of Edinburgh, analyzed data from around 100,000 people listed in the UK Biobank. The Biobank contains genetic data, and health and cognitive variables from more than 500,000 participants recruited between 2006 and 2010.

The team's mission was to investigate whether illness causes a loss of cognitive functioning, or if existing cognitive impairment symbolizes a higher risk of health problems, or if the same cause is responsible for both.

The cognitive level of the 100,000 people was assessed through mental test data - including reaction time, memory, and verbal-numerical reasoning - and compared with 22 health indicators and the results of their genome.


The kaleidoscopic microbiome of your mouth

© Mark Welch et al, 2016, PNAS
Magenta Corynebacterium filaments and green Streptococcus spheres.
The study of the human microbiome—the booming and much-hyped quest to understand the microbes that share our bodies—began in the mouth. Specifically, it began with dental plaque.

In 1683, Antony van Leeuwenhoek, the first human ever to see bacteria, became the first human ever to see his own bacteria. Untrained as a scholar but insatiably curious, he removed some of the thick plaque at the bottom of his teeth and examined it with his own hand-crafted microscopes. He saw multitudes of living things, "very prettily a-moving", from spheres that spun like a top to rods that darted through water like fish. Enthralled, he soon started collecting plaque from the local citizenry and finding similar microbes within.