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by Nomad on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 02:15:05 PM EST
Clearing earthquake camps in Haiti is not pretty - The Washington Post

International aid worker Emmett Fitz­gerald has to get 20,000 very poor people squatting in front of the National Palace to pack up their tarps and tin, their plastic buckets and soiled mats -- to empty the most notorious camp in Haiti and go home.

The hard part: What home?

There is not enough money, there is not enough time to build the cities of tomorrow in Haiti today. So the 4,641 families that have been living for the past two years in the Champ de Mars park in downtown Port-au-Prince will be given $500 to return to the kind of desperate housing they lived in before the earthquake.

In Haiti, that is considered good news.

"We're not talking about a house. We're talking about renting a room, space on the floor, with a roof, access to water, a communal kitchen, maybe a toilet," Fitzgerald said. As program coordinator for the International Organization for Migration, he is working alongside the Haitian government to clear the Champ de Mars camp, with a $20 million grant from the Canadian government.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 05:05:15 PM EST
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BBC News - Body clock 'alters' immune system

The time of the day could be an important factor in the risk of getting an infection, according to researchers in the US.

They showed how a protein in the immune system was affected by changes in the chemistry of the body through the day.

The findings, published in the journal Immunity, showed the time of an infection changed its severity.

An expert said drugs were likely to take advantage of the body clock in the near future.

Plants, animals and even bacteria go through a daily 24-hour routine, known as a circadian rhythm. Jet lag is what happens when the body gets out of sync with its surroundings after crossing time zones.

It has been known that there are variations in the immune system throughout the day. Researchers are now drilling down into the details.

The immune system needs to detect an infection before it can begin to fight it off. Researchers at Yale University School of Medicine were investigating one of the proteins involved in the detection process - Toll-like receptor nine (TLR9), which can spot DNA from bacteria and viruses.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 05:06:50 PM EST
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Genome Sequencing's Affordable, and Frightful, Future - Businessweek

"Here it is," I thought. "Mortality in an e-mail." It had been almost four months since I walked into a lab at a Harvard research facility, rolled up my sleeve, and gave a vial of blood to have my genome sequenced.

Now my deciphered genome was complete. It appeared to be a good report. For one thing, I didn't see the word "Alzheimer's"--not that dementia runs in my family. I saw a variant linked to slightly higher-than-normal risk of macular degeneration. No surprise; about 10 percent of Americans develop this condition, and my mother has it. There was a variant linked to higher risk of schizophrenia, which I'm probably too old to develop. But then my eyes wandered back to the top of the report and an unfamiliar series of letters and numbers: JAK2-V617F. The JAK2 gene variant was classified as "well-established pathogenic," meaning harmful. It appears frequently in people with rare, "cancer-like" blood diseases. Although most are treatable, this wasn't the best news. My wife, Judi, and I agreed we would have to look into this further before starting to worry.

Genome sequencing will become more widely used as the cost drops to $1,000 in coming months, manufacturers and researchers say. Navigenics, 23andMe, and other companies that offer test kits for home use and post results on a secure site have been scanning the genome for individual markers of ancestry and health risks for years. These companies, whose services are branded as "recreational" and cost anywhere from $100 to thousands of dollars, have taken criticism for lacking precision and overstating the weight of their findings. Now whole genome sequencing, which provides a far more detailed view of an individual's protein-making machinery, is becoming affordable enough to become a routine diagnostic tool--on par, price-wise, with an MRI--as well as a way to find out how much Neanderthal DNA one has, or whether one is likely to go bald. (At age 53, I no longer need confirmation on that last count.) Google (GOOG) and Amazon.com (AMZN) are both investing in technologies to manage the information tidal wave expected from powerful new sequencers. But while the ever-growing library of the human genome will prove an invaluable reference to science--not to mention marketers--it's still unclear how individuals will react to having their genetic fortunes read.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 05:06:53 PM EST
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Gattaca

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 05:19:18 PM EST
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How did a man buried in this frozen car for two months come out of it alive? - Europe - World - The Independent

Swedish doctors and survival experts were calling it the "case of a lifetime" yesterday after an emaciated and near-speechless 44-year-old man was dragged from an icebound car, claiming he had been inside the vehicle for two months.

The man, identified as Peter Skyllberg, was discovered on Friday by a group of snowmobile drivers. They spotted his snow-covered car parked at the end of a track in a forest near the town of Umea, about 260km north of Stockholm in Sweden's frozen north, where temperatures hit -30C.

After brushing off a 2ft-thick crust of snow covering the vehicle, they were shocked to see a man curled up in a ball on the back seat, wrapped in a sleeping bag. Photographs of the inside of the car published yesterday showed the dashboard and driving seat coated with frost and ice.

Ebbe Nyberg, one of a team of policemen called to the scene, said: "He was in a very poor state. He said he had been there for a very long time and survived on a little snow."

Police said they believed his account.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 05:06:58 PM EST
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The Italian mummies preserved in mercury for almost 200 years | Mail Online

These remarkable Italian mummies have been preserved almost perfectly 200 years ago for medical demonstrations.

Giovan Battista Rini stripped away the skin to show the muscles, airways and blood vessels inside the heads.

Academics have now discovered the specimens were injected with arsenic and mercury - or dipped in chemical baths to preserve them for research.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 05:07:02 PM EST
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Looks like a Commedia del'Arte mask.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Feb 21st, 2012 at 05:50:02 AM EST
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