Xeno's Daily Strange News Awards Blog

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Posted in Blog | 27 Comments

Blog Restored!

Last night at about 11:20 PM this blog went completely off line and a message appeared telling me and everyone else that xenophilius.wordpress.com was suspended due to their belief that I had violated the terms of service or advertising policy.

This was just a mistake by WordPress and the blog is now restored. I remained fairly calm and within four hours activated my back up blog xeno-lovegood.blogspot.com.
Unfortunately, I lost a night’s sleep.

Lessons learned:

1) Exporting the entire blog results in a file far larger than than 15 MB limit that can be imported by WordPress into a new blog.

2) Imports from WordPress to Blogspot are really lacking. Only 1 MB at a time can be imported, using a site that converts the exported WordPress .xml files to the Blogspot format, and there are many errors that happen during the process.

3) You people are awesome. Thanks for the email of support and extra points to those who found my back up blog right away by going to www.Xenophilia.com and following the link there to my new blog.

Sleepily yours,

Xeno

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Women's study finds longevity means getting just enough sleep

Scott Lafee – University of California — San Diego

A new study, derived from novel sleep research conducted by University of California, San Diego researchers 14 years earlier, suggests that the secret to a long life may come with just enough sleep. Less than five hours a night is probably not enough; eight hours is probably too much.

A team of scientists, headed by Daniel F. Kripke, MD, professor emeritus of psychiatry at UC San Diego School of Medicine, revisited original research conducted between 1995 and 1999. In that earlier study, part of the Women’s Health Initiative, Kripke and colleagues had monitored 459 women living in San Diego (ranging in age from 50 to 81) to determine if sleep duration could be associated with mortality.

Fourteen years later, they returned to see who was still alive and well. …

“The surprise was that when sleep was measured objectively, the best survival was observed among women who slept 5 to 6.5 hours,” Kripke said. “Women who slept less than five hours a night or more than 6.5 hours were less likely to be alive at the 14-year follow-up.”

The findings are published online in the journal Sleep Medicine.

Kripke said the study should allay some people’s fears that they’re not getting enough sleep. “This means that women who sleep as little as five to six-and-a-half hours have nothing to worry about since that amount of sleep is evidently consistent with excellent survival. That is actually about the average measured sleep duration for San Diego women.”

Researchers uncovered other interesting findings as well.  … among older women, obstructive sleep apnea (pauses in breathing during sleep) did not predict increased mortality risk.

via Women’s study finds longevity means getting just enough sleep.

6.5 is probably my average. How many years to we have to wait to find out how long men should be sleeping?

Posted in Health | 1 Comment

Faith in God associated with improved survival after liver transplantation

Dawn Peters – Wiley-Blackwell

Italian researchers report that liver transplant candidates who have a strong religious connection have better post-transplant survival. This study also finds that religiosity—regardless of cause of death—prolongs the life span of individuals who underwent liver transplantation. Full findings are now available online and in the October issue of Liver Transplantation. a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD).

Much of the medical profession today is focused on the delivery of services, rather than whole patient care which not only takes into account physical well-being, but psychological, social, and spiritual aspects as well. Although there is a lack of interest in religion by the medical community, the authors point out that 90% of the world’s population today is involved in some form of religion or spiritual pursuit. Prior studies have demonstrated that r

eligiosity allows individuals to better cope with illness, and may even influence disease progression. Furthermore, a report by McCullough et al. that included a meta-analysis of 42 studies (surveying roughly 126,000 people) found active religious involvement increased the odds of being alive at follow-up by 26%.

“Our study tested the hypothesis that religiosity—seeking God’s help, having faith in God, trusting in God, trying to discern God’s will even in the disease—improves survival of patients with end-stage liver disease who underwent liver transplantation,” explains Franco Bonaguidi, D.Psych., and lead author of the study. …

via Faith in God associated with improved survival after liver transplantation.

Which god is most useful for surviving a liver transplant?  I’d guess it would be Imsety. According to one site,  “Imsety was the god that guarded the liver canopic jar.”  Imsety is the Egyptian god of protecting the liver. He typically did this protection for dead people, but I’m thinking he’s got plenty of experience, and living livers would be even easier for him to protect.

Posted in Religion, Survival | 1 Comment

Tea leaves identified using neural networks

( SINC – FECYT – Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology )

A team of chemists from the University of Seville (US) has managed to distinguish between different kinds of tea leaves on the basis of their mineral content and by using artificial neural networks. This technique makes it possible to differentiate between the five main varieties of tea – white, green black, Oolong and red tea.

“This method makes it possible to clearly differentiate between the five types of tea – something that is often not easy to do by eye alone – by using analysis of the leaves’ mineral content and then mathematically processing these data”, José Marcos Jurado, co-author of the study and a researcher at the US, tells SINC.

The technique makes it possible to distinguish between the five main tea varieties (white, green, black, Oolong and red) using chemometrics, a branch of chemistry that uses mathematics to extract useful information from data obtained in the laboratory.

Firstly, the concentrations of the chemical elements in the leaves were determined using ‘inductively-coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy’, which showed the most abundant elements to be calcium, magnesium, potassium, aluminium, phosphorus and sulphur. …

Once the mineral content of the leaves was established, probabilistic neural networks were used to find out which type of tea a sample belonged to. These networks are “mathematical algorithms that mimic the behaviour of the neurons in the human nervous system in order to process the information”, the expert explains.

This generates a model that receives an input signal (chemical data) and produces an output one, making it possible to predict the type of tea in the sample with a probability of 97%. …

via Tea leaves identified using neural networks.

Why not just ask a botanist? Oh, because all the varieties come from the same plant.

There are at least six varieties of tea: white, yellow, green, oolong, black, and pu-erh[5] of which the most commonly found on the market are white, green, oolong, and black. All teas are made from the same species of plant, though different varieties may be used, and the leaves are processed differently, and, in the case of fine white tea, grown differently. – wiki

Green tea is tea made solely with the leaves of Camellia sinensis that have undergone minimal oxidation during processing.  – wiki

White tea () is a tea made with buds, and, in some cases, young leaves which are sun dried or dried by steaming. Like green tea, white tea is not oxidized. – wiki

Yellow tea … usually implies a special tea processed similarly to green tea, but with a slower drying phase, where the damp tea leaves are allowed to sit and yellow.  – wiki

Oolong … is a traditional Chinese tea (Camellia sinensis) somewhere between green and black in oxidation. It ranges from 10% to 70% oxidation. – wiki

Black tea is a variety of tea that is more oxidized than the oolong, green, and white varieties… Black tea is generally stronger in flavor and contains more caffeine than the less oxidized teas. – wiki

What is oxidation, you ask?  The wize geek has a nice answer:

Oxidation is defined as the interaction between oxygen molecules and all the different substances they may contact, from metal to living tissue. Technically, however, with the discovery of electrons, oxidation came to be more precisely defined as the loss of at least one electron when two or more substances interact. Those substances may or may not include oxygen. (Incidentally, the opposite of oxidation is reduction — the addition of at least one electron when substances come into contact with each other.) Sometimes oxidation is not such a bad thing, as in the formation of super-durable anodized aluminum. Other times, oxidation can be destructive, such as the rusting of an automobile or the spoiling of fresh fruit.

We often used the words oxidation and rust interchangeably, but not all materials which interact with oxygen molecules actually disintegrate into rust. In the case of iron, the oxygen creates a slow burning process, which results in the brittle brown substance we call rust. When oxidation occurs in copper, on the other hand, the result is a greenish coating called copper oxide. The metal itself is not weakened by oxidation, but the surface develops a patina after years of exposure to air and water. – wizegeek

Posted in Technology | 1 Comment

Turning waste heat into power

Image: A “forest” of molecules holds the promise of turning waste heat into electricity. UA physicists discovered that because of quantum effects, electron waves traveling along the backbone of each molecule interfere with each other, leading to the buildup of a voltage between the hot and cold electrodes (the golden structures on the bottom and top).

( Daniel Stolte, University of Arizona )

“What do a car engine, a power plant, a factory and a solar panel have in common? They all generate heat – a lot of which is wasted.

University of Arizona physicists have discovered a new way of harvesting waste heat and turning it into electrical power.

Using a theoretical model of a so-called molecular thermoelectric device, the technology holds great promise for making cars, power plants, factories and solar panels more efficient, to name a few possible applications. In addition, more efficient thermoelectric materials would make ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, obsolete.

The research group led by Charles Stafford, associate professor of physics, published its findings in the September issue of the scientific journal, ACS Nano.

“Thermoelectricity makes it possible to cleanly convert heat directly into electrical energy in a device with no moving parts,” said lead author Justin Bergfield, a doctoral candidate in the UA College of Optical Sciences.

“Our colleagues in the field tell us they are pretty confident that the devices we have designed on the computer can be built with the characteristics that we see in our simulations.”

“We anticipate the thermoelectric voltage using our design to be about 100 times larger than what others have achieved in the lab,” Stafford added.

Catching the energy lost through waste heat has been on the wish list of engineers for a long time but, so far, a concept for replacing existing devices that is both more efficient and economically competitive has been lacking.

Unlike existing heat-conversion devices such as refrigerators and steam turbines, the devices of Bergfield and Stafford require no mechanics and no ozone-depleting chemicals. Instead, a rubber-like polymer sandwiched between two metals acting as electrodes can do the trick.

Car or factory exhaust pipes could be coated with the material, less than 1 millionth of an inch thick, to harvest energy otherwise lost as heat and generate electricity. …

via Turning waste heat into power.

If we are now in the Internet age, the next age could be the nano-age.

In its broadest definition, “nanotechnology” refers to the construction and use of structures and devices that range in size from one to 100 nanometers, a nanometer being one billionth of a meter. How small is this? A dot one nanometer in diameter would be approximately 100,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. A typical virus measures 100 nanometers across. Nanometer-sized features on a computer chip would be about a thousand times smaller than the micrometer-sized features on today’s chips. This would mean that all the information stored in the Library of Congress could be contained in a computer the size of a sugar cube. By today’s standards, that’s a supercomputer that can fit in the palm of your hand.

The arrival of the nano-age will mean that humans can process matter on a molecular scale; that is, we will be able to build things atom by atom or molecule by molecule.

When construction takes place at the molecular level, there is virtually no limit to the shape and size of the objects and devices you can make. The nano-age is coming, but how soon this technology arrives will depend upon scientific research.

via Eureka Alert

Posted in Alt Energy | Leave a comment

Ghosts in the windows

These ghostly shapes—actually, just condensation—were watching CoServ Electric member Esther Radican as she walked into work.

via Texas Co-op Power Magazine – Texas Stories: Focus on Texas: EEEEK! – An Online Community for Members of Texas Electric Cooperatives.

Posted in Strange | Leave a comment

'Feds Radiating Americans' With Scanners, According to Alex Jones' Prison Planet: Is It True?

Steven HofferSteven HofferAre scanners being employed at roadway checkpoints to “radiate Americans” with dangerous X-rays designed to peer inside their vehicles? Yes, according to Alex Jones conspiratorial website Prison Planet, and this time, the mainstream media agrees, at least in part.

In his most recent Google Trends coup, Alex Jones encouraged users to repeatedly search the phrase “feds radiating Americans,” to draw attention to Prison Planet reporter Paul Joseph Watson’s new article. … Just a few weeks prior, Forbes reported on the same phenomenon in-depth, without the overt, anti-immigrant stance and political bias. As senior reporter Andy Greenberg wrote:

American Science & Engineering, a company based in Billerica, Mass., has sold U.S. and foreign government agencies more than 500 backscatter X-ray scanners mounted in vans that can be driven past neighboring vehicles or cargo containers to snoop into their contents…

The DHS didn’t respond to requests for comment on exactly which of its agencies use the ZBVs [Z Backscatter Vans]. The New York Police Department confirmed that it uses the technology but wouldn’t divulge specifics.

via ‘Feds Radiating Americans’ With Scanners, According to Alex Jones’ Prison Planet: Is It True?.

Posted in Radiation, Strange, Technology | 2 Comments