Archive for October, 2014

If you tote a knife as part of your everyday carry, you probably don’t need a limited-edition full-tang damascus steel beast designed for skinning game. On the other hand, pocket knives are easily misplaced. They also break and get confiscated in the name of homeland security. Here’s a small, inexpensive Gerber knife that’ll thrive in any urban wilderness situation, whether you’re opening Amazon boxes or cleaning your nails after hunting down some feisty take-out.

The first thing you’ll notice about the 22-41830 EAB is that it’s tiny. The stainless steel knife measures just under three inches when folded and features a lock blade when extended to its full 5-inch length. If its edge gets dull, simply replace the blade with a common utility blade. These come in packs of 20 and cost eight dollars. There’s a built-in clip that’ll help affix the knife to your pockets too, but EDC minimalists may want to use it to store their cash. And at a few cents under $14 for an entirely new one, it won’t be the end of the world if you accidentally bring it to the airport and the TSA officer decides he wants it for himself.

 

A Tiny Box Cutter You’ll Want to Show Off | WIRED.

ON CREATIVITY

How do people get new ideas?

Presumably, the process of creativity, whatever it is, is essentially the same in all its branches and varieties, so that the evolution of a new art form, a new gadget, a new scientific principle, all involve common factors. We are most interested in the “creation” of a new scientific principle or a new application of an old one, but we can be general here.

One way of investigating the problem is to consider the great ideas of the past and see just how they were generated. Unfortunately, the method of generation is never clear even to the “generators” themselves.

But what if the same earth-shaking idea occurred to two men, simultaneously and independently? Perhaps, the common factors involved would be illuminating. Consider the theory of evolution by natural selection, independently created by Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace.

There is a great deal in common there. Both traveled to far places, observing strange species of plants and animals and the manner in which they varied from place to place. Both were keenly interested in finding an explanation for this, and both failed until each happened to read Malthus’s “Essay on Population.”

Both then saw how the notion of overpopulation and weeding out (which Malthus had applied to human beings) would fit into the doctrine of evolution by natural selection (if applied to species generally).

Obviously, then, what is needed is not only people with a good background in a particular field, but also people capable of making a connection between item 1 and item 2 which might not ordinarily seem connected.

Undoubtedly in the first half of the 19th century, a great many naturalists had studied the manner in which species were differentiated among themselves. A great many people had read Malthus. Perhaps some both studied species and read Malthus. But what you needed was someone who studied species, read Malthus, and had the ability to make a cross-connection.

That is the crucial point that is the rare characteristic that must be found. Once the cross-connection is made, it becomes obvious. Thomas H. Huxley is supposed to have exclaimed after reading On the Origin of Species, “How stupid of me not to have thought of this.”

But why didn’t he think of it? The history of human thought would make it seem that there is difficulty in thinking of an idea even when all the facts are on the table. Making the cross-connection requires a certain daring. It must, for any cross-connection that does not require daring is performed at once by many and develops not as a “new idea,” but as a mere “corollary of an old idea.”

It is only afterward that a new idea seems reasonable. To begin with, it usually seems unreasonable. It seems the height of unreason to suppose the earth was round instead of flat, or that it moved instead of the sun, or that objects required a force to stop them when in motion, instead of a force to keep them moving, and so on.

A person willing to fly in the face of reason, authority, and common sense must be a person of considerable self-assurance. Since he occurs only rarely, he must seem eccentric (in at least that respect) to the rest of us. A person eccentric in one respect is often eccentric in others.

Consequently, the person who is most likely to get new ideas is a person of good background in the field of interest and one who is unconventional in his habits. (To be a crackpot is not, however, enough in itself.)

Once you have the people you want, the next question is: Do you want to bring them together so that they may discuss the problem mutually, or should you inform each of the problem and allow them to work in isolation?

My feeling is that as far as creativity is concerned, isolation is required. The creative person is, in any case, continually working at it. His mind is shuffling his information at all times, even when he is not conscious of it. (The famous example of Kekule working out the structure of benzene in his sleep is well-known.)

The presence of others can only inhibit this process, since creation is embarrassing. For every new good idea you have, there are a hundred, ten thousand foolish ones, which you naturally do not care to display.

Nevertheless, a meeting of such people may be desirable for reasons other than the act of creation itself.

No two people exactly duplicate each other’s mental stores of items. One person may know A and not B, another may know B and not A, and either knowing A and B, both may get the idea—though not necessarily at once or even soon.

Furthermore, the information may not only be of individual items A and B, but even of combinations such as A-B, which in themselves are not significant. However, if one person mentions the unusual combination of A-B and another unusual combination A-C, it may well be that the combination A-B-C, which neither has thought of separately, may yield an answer.

It seems to me then that the purpose of cerebration sessions is not to think up new ideas but to educate the participants in facts and fact-combinations, in theories and vagrant thoughts.

But how to persuade creative people to do so? First and foremost, there must be ease, relaxation, and a general sense of permissiveness. The world in general disapproves of creativity, and to be creative in public is particularly bad. Even to speculate in public is rather worrisome. The individuals must, therefore, have the feeling that the others won’t object.

If a single individual present is unsympathetic to the foolishness that would be bound to go on at such a session, the others would freeze. The unsympathetic individual may be a gold mine of information, but the harm he does will more than compensate for that. It seems necessary to me, then, that all people at a session be willing to sound foolish and listen to others sound foolish.

If a single individual present has a much greater reputation than the others, or is more articulate, or has a distinctly more commanding personality, he may well take over the conference and reduce the rest to little more than passive obedience. The individual may himself be extremely useful, but he might as well be put to work solo, for he is neutralizing the rest.

The optimum number of the group would probably not be very high. I should guess that no more than five would be wanted. A larger group might have a larger total supply of information, but there would be the tension of waiting to speak, which can be very frustrating. It would probably be better to have a number of sessions at which the people attending would vary, rather than one session including them all. (This would involve a certain repetition, but even repetition is not in itself undesirable. It is not what people say at these conferences, but what they inspire in each other later on.)

For best purposes, there should be a feeling of informality. Joviality, the use of first names, joking, relaxed kidding are, I think, of the essence—not in themselves, but because they encourage a willingness to be involved in the folly of creativeness. For this purpose I think a meeting in someone’s home or over a dinner table at some restaurant is perhaps more useful than one in a conference room.

Probably more inhibiting than anything else is a feeling of responsibility. The great ideas of the ages have come from people who weren’t paid to have great ideas, but were paid to be teachers or patent clerks or petty officials, or were not paid at all. The great ideas came as side issues.

To feel guilty because one has not earned one’s salary because one has not had a great idea is the surest way, it seems to me, of making it certain that no great idea will come in the next time either.

Yet your company is conducting this cerebration program on government money. To think of congressmen or the general public hearing about scientists fooling around, boondoggling, telling dirty jokes, perhaps, at government expense, is to break into a cold sweat. In fact, the average scientist has enough public conscience not to want to feel he is doing this even if no one finds out.

I would suggest that members at a cerebration session be given sinecure tasks to do—short reports to write, or summaries of their conclusions, or brief answers to suggested problems—and be paid for that; the payment being the fee that would ordinarily be paid for the cerebration session. The cerebration session would then be officially unpaid-for and that, too, would allow considerable relaxation.

I do not think that cerebration sessions can be left unguided. There must be someone in charge who plays a role equivalent to that of a psychoanalyst. A psychoanalyst, as I understand it, by asking the right questions (and except for that interfering as little as possible), gets the patient himself to discuss his past life in such a way as to elicit new understanding of it in his own eyes.

In the same way, a session-arbiter will have to sit there, stirring up the animals, asking the shrewd question, making the necessary comment, bringing them gently back to the point. Since the arbiter will not know which question is shrewd, which comment necessary, and what the point is, his will not be an easy job.

As for “gadgets” designed to elicit creativity, I think these should arise out of the bull sessions themselves. If thoroughly relaxed, free of responsibility, discussing something of interest, and being by nature unconventional, the participants themselves will create devices to stimulate discussion.

Published with permission of Asimov Holdings.

 

Published for the First Time: a 1959 Essay by Isaac Asimov on Creativity | MIT Technology Review.

A self-proclaimed geek friend once described Silicon Valley as a place where instead of going to the movies to watch a film, everyone takes a seat in the theater and turns around to look at the projector. The Valley is home to cross-disciplinary teams of scientists, engineers, doctors and inventors who wake up every day wondering how they’re going to master the impossible. When they have a prototype they find an equally enterprising storyteller to help them package and translate the benefits. Great things have been invented as a result.

This is also a place that falls in love with outsized expectations and dreams of what could be—sometimes to the detriment of early adopters. This could not be truer than in the area of reproductive medicine. It has been 36 years since the birth of the first in vitro fertilization (IVF) baby. We’ve since been led to believe that science has mastered Mother Nature. This is not true. I know. I am a former patient of three clinics in the Bay area, all of which were happy to sell me services as long as I could pay the bill. I had multiple fresh and frozen embryo transfers. Instead of taking home a baby, I came away with tremendous heartache. And my experience is not unique. Around the world, there are an estimated 1.5 million IVF procedures each year, and 1.2 million fail.

Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos

Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos works in the venture capital and tech sectors. She is also the author of the award-winning book, Silent Sorority. Her work has been featured in The New York Times and Huffington Post.

The very latest whizzy reproductive ‘product’ being marketed and wrapped into lucrative employee benefit packages at companies like Apple and Facebook is egg freezing. Lost in all the cheerleading about empowerment and liberating women from their biological clocks is a more buzz-killing, underreported set of facts, which women and families would benefit tremendously in understanding. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) do not endorse the use of egg freezing to defer childbearing. The ASRM’s decision to lift the ‘experimental’ label from this still young procedure in 2012 only applied to medically indicated needs, such as women with cancer.

Moreover, there is no long-term data tracking the health risks of women who inject hormones and undergo egg retrieval, and no one knows how much of the chemicals used in the freezing process are absorbed by eggs, and whether they are toxic to cell development. Furthermore, even with the new flash freezing process, the most comprehensive data available reveals a 77 percent failure rate of frozen eggs resulting in a live birth in women aged 30, and a 91 percent failure rate in women aged 40.

The Numbers and Risk Profile

Egg freezing is invasive and it comes with serious short- and long-term physical and mental health risks.

To secure any eggs you must first submit to a demanding series of rigorously scheduled blood tests, hormone injections, and ultrasounds conducted over several weeks prior to the actual egg retrievals. During a typical natural cycle, your body will release one egg a month. During the egg freezing process you will inject yourself with a cocktail of powerful hormones—many prescribed off-label – that hyper stimulate your ovaries to produce eggs.

Depending on your age and reproductive health you may only generate a few eggs or you might produce two dozen. (As many as one-third of women who undergo ovarian stimulation suffer from a condition known as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), which in extreme cases, can be life threatening.)

After nine to 13 days of self-injection, usually twice daily, you will submit to the risks of sedation while a doctor collects the eggs by punching a series of holes into your ovaries and applying suction. If you have exceptional egg quality and produce six eggs in one cycle, there will probably be one reasonable attempt at pregnancy. To increase the odds of sufficient viable eggs to fertilize, egg freezing businesses advise at least two cycles. Assuming unlimited financial resources or a generous benefit package you may endure multiple cycles. With each round of powerful hormones and punctured ovaries the risk of complications and long term health consequences increase. Once flash frozen, your eggs are stored indefinitely for an annual fee ranging from $500 to $1,000.

Fast forward many months or even years into the future. You now attempt to get pregnant with your frozen eggs. Hopefully you have sufficient savings, or are still employed by Facebook or Apple, because you must now undergo at least one, but probably multiple rounds of invasive and life-altering in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures.

You must again inject yourself with hormones, this time to prepare your uterus to welcome a potential embryo. You must open your entire emotional, social and professional schedule to daily blood tests, ultra sounds, vaginal probes and other assorted procedures that experienced women have referred to as “humiliating.” I can attest to this.

If your uterus responds to the hormones, the frozen eggs must then be successfully thawed––-no easy task given low thaw survival rates. An egg’s shell hardens when frozen in liquid nitrogen so to attempt in vitro fertilization sperm must be injected directly into the egg with a needle to fertilize the egg through a technique known as ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection).

Again, if all goes well and at least one viable embryo is created in the laboratory, it is then transferred into your uterus. As with naturally occurring conception, the final outcome is in Mother Nature’s hands––-and she is clearly not incentive driven. The vast majority of procedures fail.

The Emotional Toll and Lack of Oversight

The emotional toll associated with family-building failure can be crushing. The scientific fascination with the latest protocol and the marketing of fertility procedures as a lifestyle enhancer the past few decades has unwittingly led to a disregard for the emotional responses of these medical procedures, which creates a different kind of health concern – one involving mental health. Studies have shown that people coping with fertility failures are as distressed as cancer patients. Many others suffer depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

These negatives are conveniently overlooked by those selling services. You will not find failure rates or the harmful impacts highlighted in brochures or on clinic websites. In the U.S. this unregulated industry’s nickname is the Wild, Wild West of American medicine.

This lack of oversight has emboldened the more entrepreneurial doctors and service providers and led to mixed messages. While the ASRM’s practice committee advised that “there was still not enough known about the egg freezing procedure’s safety, efficacy, cost-effectiveness, and emotional risks” and cautioned against the widespread use because it may “give women false hope and encourage women to delay childbearing,” the ASRM annual meeting, held this week in Honolulu, included this session: Fertility Preservation Patients: How to Re-engineer your Practice to Accommodate Them. It was conducted not by an M.D., but by someone with an MBA.

When it comes to reproductive medicine it is buyer beware.

This meeting boasted the slogan: “Surfing the Waves of Change in Reproductive Medicine,” with a program cover showing a silhouette of a lone woman surfing big waves. The subliminal message suggesting that reproductive medicine is fun and carefree could not be further from the truth, as my own experience exemplifies. After my IVF trials failed, none of the clinics bothered to follow up to find out how I was doing, not even after the loss of alpha pregnancies. They were too busy selling to the next consumer — complete with collateral boasting pictures of women cradling babies. The unrelenting focus on commercial returns means there are no consumer protections in place for the customers buying these expensive services. When it comes to reproductive medicine it is buyer beware.

There is big money to be made in selling dreams of parenthood. A report by Allied Analytics LLP estimates that the net worth of the IVF market at the end of 2012 was US $9.3 billion, a figure that is estimated to increase to $21.6 billion by 2020.

Commercial clinics have become cash cows. In an article on reproductive technology, a business journalist and former egg donor reported that universities with medical school programs often host reproductive endocrinology departments that make enough money from IVF treatments to fund entire schools within the university. Generally, fertility doctors are among the highest-paid employees at private universities.

Yet if pay for performance (as in live births) were the metric by which they were paid there would be much smaller pools of capital available.

The Bottom Line

Today service providers and clinics cavalierly market egg freezing to fertile women without fully understanding or communicating the risks. Though I am neither for nor against egg freezing as an idea, I believe strongly that women must be fully informed about reproductive medicine before setting their hopes on it. Facebook and Apple and all companies would do well by their employees to hold fertility vendors to the highest possible standards and not inadvertently put worker’s physical and mental health in jeopardy. Unlike smartphones or apps that can be recalled or re-engineered should they fail, egg freezing and IVF are high-risk processes with life changing consequences. And this science, particularly where egg freezing is concerned, is still in its infancy.

The Sobering Facts About Egg Freezing That Nobody’s Talking About | WIRED.

New research suggests the herpes simplex virus could increase the risk of Alzheimer’s.

 

The finding could help researchers develop new treatments to help slow down, or even completely prevent, the degenerative disease, Umea University reported.

 

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common condition of its types, and a number of studies have been pointing towards the idea that it is linked with infections such as the herpes virus; herpes is extremely common in many populations.

 

Share This Story

 

Once infected with herpes simplex the body is never flushed of the invader, but carries it forever. After it is contracted, herpes can be reactivated and cause mouth ulcers; the researchers  believe when the immune system is weakened later in life it can spread to the brain. This phenomenon could explain the mysterious link between herpes simplex and Alzheimer’s.

 

The correlation between the two conditions has now been further confirmed through two large epidemiological studies.The first study looked at 3,432 participants who were followed for an average of 11.3 years. The conclusions suggested reactivated herpes infections came with a doubled risk of developing Alzheimer’s compared with those who did not have the virus.

 

Another study looked at 360 people with Alzheimer’s disease and an equal number of controls. These patients had donated samples to the Medical Biobank at Umeå University. The samples were taken at an average of 9.6 years before the initial diagnosis. This second study also confirmed an approximate doubled risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease linked to the herpes simplex virus.

 

“Something which makes this hypothesis very interesting is that now herpes infection can in principle be treated with antiviral agents. Therefore within a few years we hope to be able to start studies in which we will also try treating patients to prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Hugo Lövheim, associate professor at the Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Geriatric Medicine, Umeå University, who is one of the researchers behind the study.

 

The findings were published in a recent edition of the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia.
Read more: http://www.hngn.com/articles/47070/20141024/cold-sores-could-double-alzheimers-risk.htm#ixzz3H6dNncFR

Cold Sores Could Double Alzheimer’s Risk : Health : Headlines & Global News.

Bullshit headline is typical of mass media.  Your not dead until your brain is not able to be brought back and that is several hours.

Life after death is real, British scientists confirm – The Times of India.

Can we preserve an entire person?

In world first, ‘dead’ hearts transplanted into living patients – The Times of India.

Did ancient Easter Islanders have friends from afar? Yes, say scientists. (+video) – CSMonitor.com.

Elongated Skulls Of Paracas – Who Were These Mysterious People? MessageToEagle.com.

 

American Indians, Neanderthals and Denisovans: Insights from PCA Views.

 

Aging too quickly? Put down the soda : LIFE : Tech Times.

Major Drop In Solar Activity Predicted: Landscheidt Minimum is upon us and a mini-ice age is imminent

The stunning announcement made at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society exceeded the expectations from the advance publicity!

The results of new studies were announced today (June 14) at the annual meeting of the solar physics division of the American Astronomical Society, which is being held this week at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. 

The results of three separate studies seem to show that even as the current sunspot cycle (SC24) moves toward the solar maximum, the sun could be heading into a more-dormant period, with activity during the next 11-year sunspot cycle (SC25) greatly reduced or even eliminated.

The indicators have been  growing for some time that we are in for a a new solar minimum – the Landscheidt minimum – which could be similar to the Dalton Minimum and may even approach the Maunder Minimum. This could mean a cooling period for the earth of 20 – 30 years or for as long as 60 – 70 years. In any event the signs will be unambiguous and inescapable within a decade.

It is reasonable to assume that climatic conditions over the next 20 – 30 years will resemble those prevailing between 1790 and 1820. But SC24 has a way to go yet and it could be that solar activity for SC24 and 25 will be even lower than during the Dalton minimum and perhaps closer to the Spörer minimum but perhaps not as deep as the Maunder minimum.

But in either case the solar activity to come following the Modern maximum may well resemble the 500 years of decline in solar activity which followed the Medieval maximum.

Solar activity events recorded in radiocarbon. Present period is on left. Values since 1950 not shown: Wikipedia

The three papers are: 

  1. “Large-Scale Zonal Flows During the Solar Minimum — Where Is Cycle 25?” by Frank Hill, R. Howe, R. Komm, J. Christensen-Dalsgaard, T.P. Larson, J. Schou & M. J. Thompson.
  2. “A Decade of Diminishing Sunspot Vigor” by W. C. Livingston, M. Penn & L. Svalgard.
  3. “Whither Goes Cycle 24? A View from the Fe XIV Corona” by R. C. Altrock.

 Spacedaily reports:

Major Drop In Solar Activity Predicted

As the current sunspot cycle, Cycle 24, begins to ramp up toward maximum, independent studies of the solar interior, visible surface, and the corona indicate that the next 11-year solar sunspot cycle, Cycle 25, will be greatly reduced or may not happen at all.

“This is highly unusual and unexpected,” Dr. Frank Hill, associate director of the NSO’s Solar Synoptic Network, said of the results. “But the fact that three completely different views of the Sun point in the same direction is a powerful indicator that the sunspot cycle may be going into hibernation.”

Hill is the lead author on one of three papers on these results being presented this week. Using data from the Global Oscillation Network Group (GONG) of six observing stations around the world, the team translates surface pulsations caused by sound reverberating through the Sun into models of the internal structure.

One of their discoveries is an east-west zonal wind flow inside the Sun, called the torsional oscillation, which starts at mid-latitudes and migrates towards the equator. The latitude of this wind stream matches the new spot formation in each cycle, and successfully predicted the late onset of the current Cycle 24.

“We expected to see the start of the zonal flow for Cycle 25 by now,” Hill explained, “but we see no sign of it. This indicates that the start of Cycle 25 may be delayed to 2021 or 2022, or may not happen at all.”

In the second paper, Matt Penn and William Livingston see a long-term weakening trend in the strength of sunspots, and predict that by Cycle 25 magnetic fields erupting on the Sun will be so weak that few if any sunspots will be formed. Spots are formed when intense magnetic flux tubes erupt from the interior and keep cooled gas from circulating back to the interior.

For typical sunspots this magnetism has a strength of 2,500 to 3,500 gauss (Earth’s magnetic field is less than 1 gauss at the surface); the field must reach at least 1,500 gauss to form a dark spot.

Using more than 13 years of sunspot data collected at the McMath-Pierce Telescope at Kitt Peak in Arizona, Penn and Livingston observed that the average field strength declined about 50 gauss per year during Cycle 23 and now in Cycle 24.

They also observed that spot temperatures have risen exactly as expected for such changes in the magnetic field. If the trend continues, the field strength will drop below the 1,500 gauss threshold and spots will largely disappear as the magnetic field is no longer strong enough to overcome convective forces on the solar surface.

Moving outward, Richard Altrock, manager of the Air Force’s coronal research program at NSO’s Sunspot, NM, facilities has observed a slowing of the “rush to the poles,” the rapid poleward march of magnetic activity observed in the Sun’s faint corona. Altrock used four decades of observations with NSO’s 40-cm (16-inch) coronagraphic telescope at Sunspot.

“A key thing to understand is that those wonderful, delicate coronal features are actually powerful, robust magnetic structures rooted in the interior of the Sun,” Altrock explained. “Changes we see in the corona reflect changes deep inside the Sun.”

Altrock used a photometer to map iron heated to 2 million degrees C (3.6 million F). Stripped of half of its electrons, it is easily concentrated by magnetism rising from the Sun. In a well-known pattern, new solar activity emerges first at about 70 degrees latitude at the start of a cycle, then towards the equator as the cycle ages. At the same time, the new magnetic fields push remnants of the older cycle as far as 85 degrees poleward.

“In cycles 21 through 23, solar maximum occurred when this rush appeared at an average latitude of 76 degrees,” Altrock said.

“Cycle 24 started out late and slow and may not be strong enough to create a rush to the poles, indicating we’ll see a very weak solar maximum in 2013, if at all. If the rush to the poles fails to complete, this creates a tremendous dilemma for the theorists, as it would mean that Cycle 23’s magnetic field will not completely disappear from the polar regions (the rush to the poles accomplishes this feat). No one knows what the Sun will do in that case.”

All three of these lines of research to point to the familiar sunspot cycle shutting down for a while. “If we are right,” Hill concluded, “this could be the last solar maximum we’ll see for a few decades. That would affect everything from space exploration to Earth’s climate.”

That last may be the understatement of the century!!!

A photo of a sunspot taken in May 2010, with Earth shown to scale. The image has been colorized for  aesthetic reasons. This image with 0.1 arcsecond resolution from the Swedish 1-m Solar  Telescope represents the limit of what is currently possible in te

A photo of a sunspot taken in May 2010, with Earth shown to scale.This image with 0.1 arcsecond resolution from the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope represents the limit of what is currently possible in terms of spatial resolution. CREDIT: The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, V.M.J. Henriques (sunspot), NASA Apollo 17 (Earth)

 

Major Drop In Solar Activity Predicted: Landscheidt Minimum is upon us and a mini-ice age is imminent | The k2p blog.

Frank Hill: Future sunspot drop, but no new ice age

Frank Hill told EarthSky that — while his team did suggest a drop in solar activity beginning around 2019 — they did not suggest Earth would cool as a result.
:
:

Frank Hill is an astronomer at the U.S. National Solar Observatory. In June, 2011, Hill and colleagues announced their conclusions that sunspot activity might be headed for a dramatic drop in activity, beginning around the year 2019. The sun normally follows a cycle of activity lasting about 11 years. The current cycle, Cycle 24, is now around its peak. Frank Hill and colleagues are looking toward the next cycle — Cycle 25. Based on data showing decades-long trends, they are suggesting Cycle 25’s peak might be delayed or that it might not have a typical peak in activity at all. Hill spoke more about his sunspot studies with EarthSky’s Jorge Salazar.

Are you familiar with media reports that have gotten this story wrong?

Yes, actually. It seems to me that a lot of reports have come out and said that we have predicted a new ice age. That is making the leap from low sunspot activity to cooling. We did not predict a little ice age.

What we predicted is something that the sun will be doing, not what the Earth’s climate will be doing. That has been the major inaccuracy that I have seen in the media at this point.

You studied jet streams below the surface of the sun. What were your main findings?

For 16 years, we’ve been observing the inside of the sun using a technique called helioseismology. The sun is filled with sound waves — acoustic waves — that penetrate and travel all the way throughout the sun. They are visible when they strike the surface of the sun from the inside, making the surface move up and down.

Using this data, we can infer the motions of the gas inside the sun.

The solar disk, showing a moderate number of spots. Image Credit: NASA

And we have found that there is a jet stream, which had been observed previously on the surface in 1981, that is very tightly timed to the solar cycle.

This jet stream typically first appears at a high latitude on the sun, near the solar poles, approximately 10 to 12 years before the start of the solar cycle. It then moves first toward the poles, and then another branch appears. It moves towards the equator. We should be seeing the poleward branch of this flow for Cycle 25. That’s the next cycle of sunspots after the the one that we are in, which is Cycle 24. We should have seen that flow back in 2008, and we still have not seen it. And so this leads us to believe that that there is something different about Cycle 25 than we have previously seen.

When the sun has sunspots on it, the sun is a little bit brighter than when there are not. So if there’s a lack of sunspots, then the sun is a little bit dimmer. By a little bit, I mean one tenth of one percent. It’s a very small fraction.

What does this all mean?

It could mean a range of things. It could mean that the next sunspot cycle, after the current one, could be delayed by two to five years, at least, and perhaps longer.

Frozen Thames, circa 1677. Artist unknown. Wikimedia Commons.

Or at the other extreme, it could mean that there are no sunspots appearing at all for an extended period of time. We could be entering a situation similar to the Maunder Minimum, which was a period of 70 years or so, from 1645 to 1715 — where very few visible sunspots were observed. [Editor’s Note: The Maunder Minimum — a period of decreased activity on the sun — is often said to correlate roughly in time to what is sometimes called the Little Ice Age, a period of unusually cold weather in northern Europe, during which people were said to ice skate on the Thames.]

The Maunder Minimum has been connected to the Little Ice Age, anecdotally. However, there are some indications that the connection with the Little Ice Age might not be as strong as some people claim. It probably depends on how you define Little Ice Age.

But in some measures you can say that the Little Ice Age is thought to have occurred 100-300 years before the Maunder Minimum itself. So while part of it coincided with the Maunder Minimum, not all of it did.

So it’s not clear that there really was a cause and effect. It’s definitely a very gray area, and of course we don’t have very good data on it because it happened so long ago.

What do you expect to happen now, with activity on the sun?

In 2013, we expect to see a maximum of the current solar cycle, which is Cycle 24. The next solar cycle, Cycle 25, should start about 2019 or 2020. What we are claiming is that it may not start in 2019 or 2020. It might be delayed until 2025 — or even longer. We can’t tell yet.

Close-up on a sunspot. Image Credit: NASA

The evidence is this. The jet stream flow that we are observing inside the sun — as well as with helioseismology — is very tightly correlated with the timing of the solar cycle. For instance, you might have heard of the long, deep minimum that we just emerged from — between Cycles 23 and 24. That minimum was approximately 1.5 years longer than we normally experience. We found that the jet stream inside the sun — which we call the torsional oscillation and which migrates from high to low latitudes on the sun — was migrating at a much slower rate than it had in the past. It took about 1.5 years longer to reach the latitude at which sunspots begin to appear.

And that made us realize that observing this phenomenon could provide a clock, a future predictor of what will be happening for the overall solar cycle itself.

Listen to the 8-minute and 90-second EarthSky interviews with Frank Hill on the predicted decrease in solar activity — and inaccurate media reports that it means a period of cooling for Earth — at top of page.

Frank Hill: Future sunspot drop, but no new ice age | Space | EarthSky.

How Not to Be Broke—10 Powerful Books to Learn about Money Management.

10 Influential Business Books You Need To Read To Be Successful.

20 Poisons To Your Happiness

1. Your jealousy can ruin any relationship.

 

Your better off dealing with jealousy head on when it rears its ugly head. Most people don’t want to admit when they have been bitten by the green-eyed monster but it can happen from time to time. There are people who exude jealousy to the point that it ruins relationships. It usually stems from feelings of inadequacy, and those are the things that a person must take a hard look at in order to salvage their relationships. A happy person is one who is free from jealousy and it shows in healthy relationships.

 

2. Your desire for superficial things in life can poison happiness.

 

It is often said that the happiest people are those who do more for others, rather than themselves. If your the type of person that pursues the superficial things of life: wealth, cars, name brand clothes, etc. then it is safe to say that you are poisoning your own happiness in life. The desire of the perfunctory will only lead to more dissatisfaction because our brain is hard-wired at a threshold for such things; it’s called hedonistic adaptation. Living a life of modesty will bring you more happiness in the long run.

 

3. Your grudge-holding will destroy your happiness.

 

I once knew a man who held a grudge against his father for leaving the family. His grudge festered within him like a cancer and destroyed any hope of his living life to the fullest. The Stoic philosophers believed that some things are out of our control, so in short, they aren’t worth worrying over or trying to fix. Happiness comes from moving forward in your life and letting go of grudges that would hold you back.

 

4. Your regrets in life will destroy your peace.

 

Your life most certainly will be filled with regrets from time to time; I call them mistakes. Mistakes are only there to teach you that a certain path has ended and so it is time to try another. There’s no use in looking back in regret, because you cannot change the past. Simply move forward and try another road. You will most certainly be happier for it.

 

5. Your dependence on others will hinder happiness.

 

If you are dependent person or to use another phrase, codependent on another person for your happiness, you will undoubtedly be waiting a very long time for a happy life. Happiness will never come to you from another person, it can only come from within yourself. You can find happiness with someone within a relationship, but that cannot be trusted for your own happiness, because at some point in time, that person will let you down. Looking within is the only way to true joy.

 

6. Your need to fix other people will ruin your happiness.

 

This ties into co-dependence as well. If you feel the need to “fix” others, then you will never be focused on your own well-being and happiness. When your focus shifts away from the self, you will always find something that needs to be fixed in others in order to make you feel happy. The only person you can control is you; so why not focus on self-actualization for long-term happiness.

 

7. Your fear can hold a person back from experiencing true happiness.

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson said “Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world.” It can stem from many places, but you will only experience true happiness when you release your fears and simply do the thing your are afraid of doing.

 

8. Your selfishness is a poison to your happiness.

 

If your a selfish person, it means you always want things your way and others’  needs and opinions are often discarded in the process. Most people do not want to be in relationship with a selfish person and if this describes you, you may just find yourself alone and unhappy if it is not changed. Take a good look at yourself and examine areas of your life that have fallen prey to selfishness and make the necessary changes; you may find happiness was waiting for you all along.

 

9. Your happiness will wane when you set unreasonably high expectations of others.

 

Your need for everyone to meet your standards in life is an unreasonable expectation that most people will never be able to attain; therefore, you will most always be disappointed in people and thus unhappy in life. All people have their own personality type which will prevent them from ever being able to live up to what you expect of them. They cannot do it. When you let go of the expectation of others to perform to your standards, you will find that they, as well as yourself, will be much more elated. A free person is a happy person.

 

10. Your self-righteous attitude will halt your happiness.

 

If your a self-righteous person it means that you feel you can do no wrong, and that other people are always in the wrong. I used to attend church and always felt this type of attitude amongst the people, which in turn made for a lot of unhappiness in many of the people’s relationships. It is impossible to be perfect all of the time, so why not do drop your self-righteousness and experience true happiness. Not only will your relationships flourish but you will be a much more relaxed individual.

 

11. Your living in the past will hinder happiness.

 

If your living in the past, it means that you are unhappy with the present. Your happiness is a current state of mind and if your life is not making you happy, then maybe it is time to examine your situation and makes some changes for the better. Maybe you need a new career goal? Maybe it’s time to finish a project you’ve been putting off? Whatever the case, moving forward in life will help you feel that you are living in the “now.”

 

12. Your dishonesty can dampen happiness.

 

If you are a dishonest person, chances are you have alienated yourself from others. Often times, people who are dishonest gain the reputation as someone who cannot be trusted; therefore, they are seen as an unfaithful friend and partner. Alienating yourself through dishonesty will surely lead to unhappiness and isolation.

 

13. Your substance use alters states of happiness.

 

Some may disagree but even if you use substances for temporary states of “happiness” it will be short-lived and once the high wears off, your feelings of unhappiness will be there, staring you in the face. Even for those who use chocolate and caffeine as means of escape, must admit that the euphoria is short-lived.

 

14. Your pessimism leads to perpetual moods of unhappiness.

 

It is thought that if you are the type of person that always has the pessimistic attitude it can lead to a life of unhappiness. In a sense, your words and thoughts have power to them and if you constantly use “negative talk” it’s like sending negative vibes out into the world. Thus, unhappiness appears to follow you around like a virus that won’t go away. The medicine for pessimism is to become aware of your negativity and work to change your thoughts and words for the better. Read, exercise, take up a hobby, whatever you need to feel better about yourself is worth a try.

 

15. Your prejudice of other people can make you unhappy with yourself.

 

You would think that if someone is prejudiced against a group of people, it means they are unhappy with that group but quite the opposite is true. A prejudiced person is often an unhappy person, spewing their unhappiness onto a “scapegoat” group of people. Prejudiced people look for instances in which to unleash their fury onto others. They think it will somehow make them feel better, but it won’t. If you find that you are prejudiced (and we do all have certain prejudices), it may be time to sit down and really take stock in yourself and confront these issues head on; you will be glad you did.

 

16. Your self-doubt can lead to feelings of unhappiness.

 

If you doubt yourself consistently, it would stand to reason that it will lead you to feelings of unhappiness. A self-doubter may engage in negative self-talk which leads to deeper and deeper feelings of unhappiness. It’s a vicious cycle that needs to be addressed with a close friend or counselor who may be able to help you through these feelings. Maybe finding a positive outlet in which to volunteer your time can boost your self-worth as well, and take your mind off yourself for a change.

 

17. Your unhappiness can stem from unchecked mental health.

 

If you suffer from anxiety or depression, it isn’t hard to figure that unhappiness follows. What causes these mental imbalances? Often the society we engage in daily is enough to send anyone into states of unhappiness by way of anxiety and other mental illnesses. Sometimes there are more serious issues at hand but unhappiness is robbed all the same. Take time and talk with someone in whom you trust who can help you sort through life’s mishaps. When in doubt seek professional help.

 

18. Your pet can help ward off happiness poisons.

 

Pets are a wonderful way to boost your happiness. If you are someone who doesn’t like or doesn’t want a pet, think about volunteering at a place with animals or some other outlet in order to introduce yourself to the appropriate ways to interact with pets. It has been found that when petting an animal, a person’s mood automatically lifts.

 

19. Your ability to volunteer your time to the needy can help you become happier.

 

Giving your time to those in need will help cure the unhappiness in your life. Sometimes seeing those less fortunate than yourself helps put things in perspective.

 

20. Your stress can prevent happiness in your life.

 

Stress is not only unhealthy for your physical well-being but emotional as well. If you are the type of person who has constant stress in your life, it may be time to make drastic changes. Take inventory of your life and get rid of the unnecessary. Living a life of simplicity can sometimes be just the thing you need to prevent stress and improve your happiness.

 

I hope you find these insights to be of use in your life. If you find that your happiness is being poisoned, maybe one of these tips is the culprit. In any case, seek happiness from within. Meditate, read, pray, exercise, whatever you need to improve yourself, and happiness is sure to follow.

 

 

 

 

 

20 Poisons To Your Happiness.

“Love is really all that matters for humans to be happy”.

via Happiness Hack: 10 Ways To Be Happier, Backed By Science.

“I didn’t get 10 seconds into the store when I was told ‘I would not fit anything’ and that I wasn’t allowed to try anything on because ‘I would stretch the clothes out.'” She added that many of her viewers have had similar experiences at Brandy Melville shops. Paytas declined an interview request for “legal reasons.”

via Teens Love Brandy Melville, A Fashion Brand That Sells Only One Tiny Size.

 

Consent does not have to be a resounding “yes” either, it may be given by a head nod or by reciprocating an advance.

Consent cannot be given if at least one person is intoxicated, inebriated, asleep or unconscious. So blow my breathalyzer before you blow me ok honey?

Otherwise every man is a rapist.

via ‘Yes Means Yes’ Sexual Consent Policy Coming to New Hampshire? Lawmaker Files Bill Draft : News : University Herald.

Unable to Meet the Deductible or the Doctor – NYTimes.com.

Report: Hitler was on crystal meth

Report: Hitler was on crystal meth.

Latest Slew of Underground Sex Clubs Have Nothing To Do With Good Sex | New York Observer.

 

Paris’s ‘Tree’ Art Installation Provokes Uproar – WSJ – WSJ.

 

Well at one time the french and Americans were friends with each other.

Paris’s ‘Tree’ Art Installation Provokes Uproar – WSJ – WSJ.

Automated Investment Services Company Wealthfront Now Manages Over $538M In Assets, Up 450 Percent Over The Past Year | TechCrunch.

Lassie and Timmy; Scooby Doo and Shaggy; Baxter and Ron Burgundy; Bubba and James Wathen.

You may not have heard of that last duo yet, but when it comes to the bond between a man and his dog, it’s the realest of the bunch.

After James was hospitalized more than a month ago in Kentucky, staff were puzzled when his condition dramatically worsened and he quit eating. That’s when they realized the 73-year-old just missed his dog, a one-eyed chihuahua named Bubba, who’d been turned over to the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter, WKYT reported.

sick man reunited with dog

James and Bubba, together again.

Turns out Bubba was missing James, too.

The dog quit eating a week ago, which is very strange,” Mary-Ann Smyth, the president of the animal shelter, told Today.com. “The dog didn’t know where James was and James didn’t know where the dog was and believe it or not, they both stopped eating at about the same time.”

Once they realized how harmful the separation was to both man and dog, and despite a hospital rule barring animal visits, staffers at Kentucky’s Baptist Health Corbin tracked down Bubba to reunite him with James.

sick man reunited with dog

Bubba, the one-eyed chihuahua.

“We pulled out all the stops and found the dog,” Kimberly Probus, the chief nursing officer at the hospital, told WYKT.

Last Saturday, the two were finally reunited, and both have made “a complete turnaround,” Smyth told Today.com.

He was so sad at first. We had him wrapped in a baby blanket and he was shivering,” Smyth recalled of the reunion. “The minute we got about 20 steps from this guy’s room — I kid you not — his little head went up. His eyes got real bright and he was like a different dog.”

“When Bubba was handed to James he started to cry and then Bubba started to snuggle James,” the animal shelter added in a Facebook post, “it makes you realize that animals are not just pets they are loved ones.”

In an update posted to Facebook on Tuesday, the shelter wrote, “Both [Bubba and James] are so happy to see each other and both seem to be doing better! The power of love can go a long way!”

Sick Man Makes ‘Complete Turnaround’ After Hospital Reunites Him With Cherished Dog.

The problem with that analysis is that it indicates why those striving to achieve higher incomes and wealth in the future may have more problems. However, it does not explain how many of those who have had their educations, successful careers, or their own businesses for decades, have seen their previous wealth stagnate, decline, or even disappear, while the rich have gotten so dramatically richer.

via Janet Yellen Is Wrong About The Cause Of Wealth Inequality. – Forbes.

Mosaic Is The First Company To Get It Right | Home Solar Advice.

To fight growing inequality, Fed Chair Yellen outlines “building blocks of opportunity” | Fox Business.

Ebola in the U.S.: 1,000 people under some level of watch – LA Times.

Summit County Ebola quarantine update at 11:30 a.m. (live coverage) | cleveland.com.

WASHINGTON — FBI Director James Comey warned in stark terms Thursday against the push by technology companies to encrypt smartphone data and operating systems, arguing that murder cases could be stalled, suspects could walk free and justice could be thwarted by a locked phone or an encrypted hard drive.

Privacy advocates and technology experts called the concerns exaggerated and little more than recycled arguments the government has raised against encryption since the early 1990s.

Likening encrypted data to a safe that cannot be cracked or a closet door that won’t open, Comey said the move by tech companies to protect user communications in the name of privacy is certain to impede a wide range of criminal investigations. New legislation to allow law enforcement to intercept communications is needed at a time of advancing technology and new forms of communication, he said.

“We have the legal authority to intercept and access communications from information pursuant to court order, but we often lack the technical ability to do so,” Comey said in a Brookings Institution speech.

Comey cited particular cases in which he said access to cell phone data aided in a criminal investigation. But in a question-and-answer session after the speech, he said he could not cite particular instances in which someone was rescued from danger who wouldn’t have been had law enforcement been blocked from that information.

“Rescuing someone before they’re harmed? Someone in the trunk of a car or something?” Comey asked. “I don’t think I know yet.”

But, he added, “Logic tells me there are going to be cases just like that.”

The speech, which echoes concerns he and others in law enforcement have previously made, comes soon after announcements by Apple and Google that their new operating systems will be encrypted, or protected with coding by default. Law enforcement officials could still intercept conversations but might not be able to access call data, contacts, photos and email stored on the phone.

While the companies’ actions are understandable, Comey said, “the place they are leading us is one we shouldn’t go to without careful thought and debate.”

“Encryption isn’t just a technical feature. It’s a marketing pitch. But it will have very serious consequences for law enforcement and national security agencies at every level,” Comey said.

The government’s concerns may also center in part on the use of Apple’s iMessage platform, which offers end-to-end encrypted text messages that supersede traditional SMS messages. That kind of encryption likely provides access to those messages on users’ iPhones, of which Apple has sold more than 240 million since 2013.

He acknowledged a rise in public mistrust of government in the year since former National Security Agency systems analyst revealed NSA secret intelligence collection programs. But he said the public was wrong to believe that law enforcement can access any and all communications with the flip of a switch.

“It may be true in the movies or on TV. It is simply not the case in real life,” he said.

Comey also said the FBI was committed to a “front-door” approach, through court orders and under strict oversight, to intercepting communications. Privacy advocates have long been concerned that that development would create an opening for hackers to exploit. The American Civil Liberties Union noted that federal law protects the right of companies to add encryption with no backdoors and said the companies should be credited for being “unwilling to weaken security for everyone.”

“Whether you call it a ‘front door’ or a ‘back door,’ weakening the security of a system to enable law enforcement access also opens that door to foreign governments and criminals,” said Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project.

Matthew Green, a cryptology professor at Johns Hopkins University, said the debate over personal encryption isn’t new: Back in the 1990s, when personal computers were a novelty, he said most consumers weren’t even aware of encryption. When a form of email encryption called PGP was released, he said, there was a fear that criminals would use it.

“These technologies exist” for consumers to protect their privacy, he said, “and it’s very hard to do anything about it.”

The Center for Democracy and Technology said in a statement that law enforcement already has ways to obtain the electronic data it needs.

“Encryption of our personal devices and communications enhances the security of our most private information,” the center said.

 

FBI director: Cellphone encryption has “very serious consequences” | Star Tribune.

Pennsylvania man, now 20, charged with sexual assault of 6-year-old girl when he was only 11 | Star Tribune.

Obama administration sides with Ala. girl attacked while used as bait in school sex sting | Star Tribune.

Passenger arrested for sex assault during Hawaii-Japan flight; plane returned to Honolulu | Star Tribune.

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — A top-secret space plane landed Friday at an Air Force base on the Southern California coast.

The plane spent nearly two years circling Earth on a classified mission. Known as the X-37B, it resembles a mini space shuttle.

It safely touched down at 9:24 a.m. Friday, officials at Vandenberg Air Force Base said.

Just what the plane was doing during its 674 days in orbit has been the subject of sometimes spectacular speculation.

Several experts have theorized it carried a payload of spy gear in its cargo bay. Other theories sound straight out of a James Bond film, including that the spacecraft would be able to capture the satellites of other nations or shadow China’s space lab.

In a written release announcing the return of the craft, the Air Force only said it had been conducting “on-orbit experiments.”

The X-37B program has been an orphan of sorts, bouncing since its inception in 1999 between several federal agencies, NASA among them. It now resides under the Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office.

The plane that landed Friday is one of two built by Boeing. This is the program’s third mission, and began in December 2012.

The plane stands 9 1/2 feet tall and is just over 29 feet long, with a wingspan under 15 feet. It weighs 11,000 pounds and has solar panels that unfurl to charge its batteries once in orbit.

The Air Force said it plans to launch the fourth X-37B mission from Cape Canaveral, Florida, next year.

Air Force says its top-secret space plane has landed at base in Southern California | Star Tribune.

Here’s what’s scary about the Dallas health-care worker infected with Ebola: she knew she was treating an Ebola patient.

That’s not supposed to happen. We’ve been told that Ebola can be stopped using modern medical protocols. An American health-care worker who is part of a team that knows it’s treating an Ebola patient is supposed to be able to protect herself. So what happened?

READ MORE: 18 things you should know about Ebola

The simple answer is that the Ebola treatment protocols are complicated. It helps to look at this Centers for Disease Control and Prevention checklist. These are the instructions the federal agency gives caregivers for how to take off the protective gear that workers wear when treating patients with deadly diseases, like Ebola.

It is 21 items long. There are full sections on the gloves, and the gowns, and the face mask —each with multiple steps. Imagine trying to keep all this in mind while also trying to treat a patient:

ppe removal

(CDC)

There are “ifs” and “thens” and asterisks to better define terms. There’s a big caveat at the bottom about what to do if the checklist fails and hands get contaminated, but nothing about other body parts.

gloves

(CDC)

Then, there’s a whole other page outlining an alternative way to remove the gear, with no clear preference expressed for when which method ought to be used.

ppe2

(CDC)

CDC director Tom Frieden has stressed how important it is for health care workers to follow government protocols like these. During a press conference on Sunday, he also acknowledged that it can be difficult.

“The care of Ebola can be done safely but it’s hard to do it safely,” Frieden said in his Sunday press conference. “Even an innocent slip-up can result in contamination.”

Forty-nine slides, but still not enough detail

This summer, the CDC produced a PowerPoint detailing how to put on and take off Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE. It has 49 slides.

gloves2

(CDC)

“Change gloves as needed,” captions to this slide, meant to be read by a CDC official using the PowerPoint in a training, instruct. “If gloves become torn or heavily soiled and additional patient care tasks must be performed, then change the gloves before starting the next task.”

What counts as “as needed” or “heavily soiled”? Health care workers have to decide. A separate slide makes this point more blatantly, while discussing the use of personal respirators.

respirators

(CDC)

“YOU are responsible for fit checking your respirator before use to make sure it has a proper seal,” the caption to that slide reads. The CDC does not officially recommend respirators for Ebola, since it is not airborne, but Frieden said that the hospitals treating Ebola patients have been using them anyway.

These presentations are summaries of a longer, more official set of guidance, the 2007 Guidelines for Isolation Precautions: Preventing Transmission of Infectious Agents in Healthcare Settings.

This 225-page document (145 pages without footnotes) is arguably the United States’ most comprehensive guide to wearing protective health care equipment. One section, on page 52, talks about the challenges of finding the right mask:

Since procedure/isolation masks are not regulated by the FDA, there may be more variability in quality and performance than with  surgical masks. Masks come in various shapes (e.g., molded and non-molded), sizes, filtration efficiency, and method of attachment (e.g., ties, elastic, ear loops). Healthcare facilities may find that different types of masks are needed to meet individual healthcare personnel needs.

How does a hospital choose the right mask after reading that paragraph?

Protocols can be followed. But it takes work.

Three hospitals have treated Ebola patients without a health care worker becoming infected. Those three facilities — Emory University, University of Nebraska and the National Institute of Health — all have specialized biocontamination units. These are the places where workers who contracted Ebola in Africa were sent specifically because these hospitals have spent years running drills and preparing for patients with contagious and deadly diseases. They are facilities we built for these exact situations.

Most hospital workers don’t have that kind of background. Digesting lengthy guidelines and implementing them during high-adrenaline and high-stakes situations is incredibly difficult. Here’s how the New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn describes the challenge:

Hospital officials say that she was observing safety protocols, like wearing recommended protective gear. CDC Director Tom Frieden said that some kind of breach in those protocols must have occurred. The two statements might sound contradictory, but they may not be. The safety procedures are complicated and, particularly if you’re tired, it’s easy to make a mistake.

“Look, even in a regular, garden variety operating room, there’s a charge nurse watching to make sure no one has broken sterile technique, like scratching their nose or wiping their brow or touching something, and that is damned hard to do,” says Howard Markel, a professor at the University of Michigan Medical School and author of When Germs Travel. “Now multiply this scrutiny a million fold because it’s Ebola and you get an idea how tough it is to maintain the protocol.”

The CDC has recognized the importance of not just having protocols, but making them easy to use. “One of the things that’s important is that we have practical solutions,” Frieden said in a Monday press conference. “We’re looking at the ways to do this most safely and easily.”

Protocols can be incredibly powerful and important documents in healthcare. Atul Gawande has written extensively about the importance of checklists, and how a simple set of guidelines can go a long way. In one experiment he writes about, intensive care units who followed checklists decreased infections rates by one third in just three months.

“It’s true of cardiac care, stroke treatment, H.I.V. treatment, and surgery of all kinds,” Gawande writes. “It’s also true of diagnosis, whether one is trying to identify cancer or infection or a heart attack. All have steps that are worth putting on a checklist and testing in routine care.”

It is undeniably good that the CDC has a checklist for how to put on the protective gear needed to treat Ebola patients. It’s less good, however, that the protocol is difficult to follow and leaves space for human decisionmaking — and thus space for dangerous human error.

Card 6 of 12 Launch cards

For every four cases of Ebola we know of, there might be six that we don’t

While official estimates suggest there are already more than 8,000 cases of Ebola this year, the real number is likely much, much higher. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that the actual number of Ebola cases is roughly 2.5 times higher than the reported figures — so for every four Ebola cases we know of, there could be six that we don’t.

The CDC isn’t alone in this. “There is widespread under-reporting of new cases,” warns the World Health Organization. The WHO has continually said that even its current dire numbers don’t reflect the full reality. The estimated 8,000-plus Ebola cases in West Africa could just be the tip of the iceberg.

ebola

Health workers sterilize the house and prepare a body for burial in Lango village, Kenema, Sierra Leone. (Photo courtesy of Andalou Agency)

To understand how an Ebola case could be missed, you need to understand what it takes to actually find and count a case.

Often times, potential cases are communicated through dedicated hot-lines, which citizens can call in to report on themselves or their neighbors. Health workers or doctors can call in cases, too. These reports are forwarded to local surveillance response teams.

All these cases need to be followed up on and verified to be counted. To do that, a team of two to four investigators is dispatched to hunt for the suspected Ebola victim.

Tracking down Ebola cases is difficult in places where the roads and communication infrastructure are poor.

Actually tracking these people down isn’t straightforward, especially in areas where the roads and communication infrastructure are poor. Investigators can spend days chasing a rumor.

These health teams also work under constant stress and uncertainty. During this outbreak, they’ve faced violence, angry crowds, and blockaded roads. They can’t wear protective gear because they’ll scare off locals.

When they finally locate an Ebola victim, he or she may not always be lucid enough to talk or even still alive. So the investigators need to interview friends, family or community members to determine whether it’s Ebola that struck — always keeping a distance.

If this chase appears to have led to an Ebola patient, the health team notifies a dispatcher to have that person transported by ambulance to a nearby clinic or Ebola treatment center for testing and isolation.

If the person is already dead, they notify a burial team, which arrives in full personal protective gear. They put the body in a body bag, decontaminate the house, swab the corpse for Ebola testing, and transport the body to the morgue.

But confirming the cause of death doesn’t always happen. There have been reports that mass graves hold uncounted Ebola cases. With limited resources, too, saving people who are alive tends to take precedent over managing and testing dead bodies.

Reported cases are then communicated to the ministry of health in the country. These reports are combined with counts from NGOs and other aid organizations working in the region. The numbers come in three forms: lab-test confirmed cases, suspected cases, and probable cases. The WHO classifies a suspected case as an illness in any person, dead or alive, who had Ebola-like symptoms. A probable case is any person who had symptoms and contact with a confirmed or probable case.

The ministry of health compiles and crunches this information and sends it to the WHO country office. They then report that to the WHO’s regional Africa office in Brazzaville, Congo and that message is passed along to Geneva, home to WHO’s headquarters.

“At each step along the way the case can fall out of the pool of ‘counteds.'”

To get to this point, Dr. David Fisman, an infectious disease modeler working on Ebola, summed up: “A person needs to have recognized symptoms, seek care, be correctly diagnosed, get lab testing — if they’re going to be a confirmed case — have the clerical and bureaucratic apparatus actually transmit that information to the people doing surveillance. At each step along the way the case can fall out of the pool of ‘counteds.'”

How does an American nurse contract Ebola? With directions like these. – Vox.

I’m one of the lucky ones: I’m married to my soul mate.

The first time I ever saw Nige, my heart caught in my throat and my stomach dropped faster than you can say “love at first sight.” I was captivated, awed and knocked sideways by the depth of my attraction to him.

We met during a life-changing workshop. He was an assistant, I was participating. Having clawed my way to life over the previous two year from an disorder that ravaged my soul and filled me with shame, I had learned to practice radical honesty — especially when I didn’t want to.

“Secrets keep you sick,” my mentors said. I didn’t want to be sick, so I went against all my instincts and told Nige and the group members in the therapeutic community he was co-leading of my attraction.

There was never an agenda for me other than to feel better.

Somehow, my honesty made way for love to enter. Four years after that first moment, we went on a date. Eight years after that first encounter — almost to the day — we got married.

My commitment to honesty means that I share the secrets and dark thoughts that would otherwise quietly eat away at my sense of self-trust and integrity.

Today, my secret is this: I love my husband, but I often want to cheat.

Recently, I met K while walking the dog. We just… clicked. The conversation flowed easily, we shared doggy jokes and I walked home a little taller, a little bit excited. I checked in with myself: Do I fancy this man? The answer was a resounding ‘No.’ I wasn’t physically attracted to him.

Yet, I was happy when we bumped into each other on the field from time to time. I lingered longer than I normally would. He seemed kind of troubled, unclear about his life. His dissatisfaction with the world, his relationship and himself leaked out through seemingly innocuous comments. No, I wasn’t attracted.

Then, one day, we spent two hours together. The evening was chilly. Normally I would have gone home, but I didn’t. Neither did he. We just… stayed. Talked, joked, hung out.

2014-09-30-sunongrass.jpg

A fellow dog walker asked us if we were married. Alarm bells went off. I thought of Nige and a quiet guilt nagged at me. This had become a secret.

Over the following days, I obsessed over K, wondering whether I’d see him. I was confused — I wasn’t attracted to this man physically, yet I was getting off on the idea that he liked me.

Here’s what I don’t want you to know: I started walking Molly past his house, hoping to “accidentally” bump into him.

I “coincidentally” walked the dog at the time he walked his — 6 p.m.. I felt disappointed each time I didn’t see him.

I thought about him a lot. At work, on the way to work, on the way home, at home, in the morning, while walking, while spending time with Nige.

His name even came to mind while my husband and I were having sex. I mentally ejected him from my thoughts — I wasn’t even attracted to him, and I had never fantasized about anyone else while being intimate with Nige.

The cumulative impact of these behaviors — these secrets — on my sense of integrity was indubitable.

I felt guilty and ashamed of myself.

I also felt scared: Taking the next step felt so… easy. So close. I knew that I could up the ante just a little bit and find myself in deep waters.

It frightened me that my hunger for a cheap thrill had the power to overshadow the vows I took on March 16, 2012. To throw away the trust, intimacy and love that we’d worked so hard to build felt unnervingly easy, so easy to throw away.

Part of me was actively fuelling the obsession. Part of me wanted to cheat.

What was happening in my marriage, that this might be sparked?

Little things. A courageous conversation or two was needed, but it was nothing drastic — honestly.

What was happening in me, that this might be sparked?

Ah. Here is where the juice was.

I was afraid of love. I know it might look like I was looking for love, but I was really following what A Course in Miracles describes as “the ego’s dictate”: seek and do not find.

What drove this attraction, as it has done many others before, was a hidden belief that love is dangerous. That if I fully dive into my love for my husband, it will engulf me, swallow me whole. There’ll be no “me” left. Just like when I was a young girl and my mum’s alcoholism drowned the whole family in her sorrows.

What drove this attraction was the possibility that I might be deeply, unwaveringly loveable. That it might actually be possible to be in love, on purpose and successful.

What drove this attraction was a subconscious drive, handed down through generations of women in my family, to sabotage happiness and push love away. I’m one of the lucky ones, married to my soul mate. This cannot possibly last. I must create trouble at base camp.

The work I live by and teach reminds me daily that I have a choice about who I want to be in the middle of my struggle. Deny what is happening inside of me, and I set myself up for a fall.

Tell the truth, and I make way for love.

So I shared it with Nige. All of it. It was hard. I felt swamped with shame. But I did it anyway. I probably saved my marriage in the process, and I’ll do it again if I have to.

I want to cheat on my husband some days.

But I want to know him, and to be known by him, more than I want to prove my fears right.

And that, my friends, is why I tell the truth.

I Love My Husband, But Here’s Why I Want to Cheat | Elloa Atkinson.

[This post has been updated with a revised version of the Ragone Plot by Alan Fletcher.]

We may be on the verge of a revolution in power generation. Again.

A paper published by an independent group of scientists details the results of a new test of Andrea Rossi’s latest version of his company’s E-Cat technology and the conclusions are, to say the least, intriguing (though “incredible” would be rather more accurate).

Andrea Rossi E-CAT = ROSSI COLD FUSION
Andrea Rossi

Back in 2011, here in Network World, I wrote Cheap power: An overnight revolution, my first article about an Italian inventor, Andrea Rossi, and his E-Cat device. The E-Cat was a machine that was claimed to generate more power than was put into it by a process that was, at that time, generally called “cold fusion.”

Just to give you some history on the topic, cold fusion was the name given to a process became the center of a “huge brouhaha in 1989 when two established scientists, Martin Fleischmann, one of the world’s leading electrochemists, and Stanley Pons, also a respected electrochemist, claimed to have observed cold fusion in a table-top experiment.”

Featured Resource
Presented by Scribe Software

Data integration is often underestimated and poorly implemented, taking time and resources. Yet it

Learn More

The idea behind cold fusion is to create a nuclear reaction at room temperature (or thereabouts) which would “fuse” atoms together and release more energy than was required to cause the fusion. While there have been endless experiments in labs around the world at a cost of  billions of dollars with “hot fusion”,  a fusion method that heats atoms to stellar temperatures and at a cost of billions of dollars, no one has been able to demonstrate a net gain in energy from this approach (that said, lots of interesting and useful science has come out of the work).

The problem with Pons and Fleischmann’s claimed discovery was that no one could duplicate it and despite subsequent research to something of the order of $44 million no further progress was achieved … at least, until Andrea Rossi.

When I first wrote about Rossi he was about to conduct a demonstration of a 1MW E-Cat generator. The actual demonstration on October 28, 2011, was intriguing but hardly scientific and plagued with technical problems (including only outputting 0.5MW) which lead those who argued (mostly from scientific principles) that cold fusion wasn’t possible to cry “foul” while most of the believers argued that while skepticism was warranted, it appeared that Rossi was on to something important.

Since then most of the observers of the “cold fusion” field have dropped the term in favor of “Low Energy Nuclear Reaction” or LENR to decouple whatever the phenomenon is from the older and much more contentious term.

As for Rossi, the three ring circus surrounding him has continued over the intervening months. Part of the problem is that Rossi has had what can be fairly  called a checkered history with prior ventures that resulted in court cases and accusations of fraud. This  created a credibility problem for both Rossi and his various companies.

Moreover, Rossi has also made claims, predictions, and announcements that have had no discernible basis in reality. Thus, every announcement and demonstration by Rossi over the last three years has been surrounded by a whirl of claims, counterclaims, and accusations of fraud along with endless theorizing in the alternative energy community (greetings, Vortex-L).

Then, in May, 2013, a team of scientists published a paper, Indication of anomalous heat energy production in a reactor device, that detailed an independent test conducted in March that year by a group of serious academics and respected scientists. The paper concluded:

… if we consider the whole volume of the reactor core and the most conservative figures on energy production, we still get a value of (7.93 ± 0.8) 10^2 MJ/Liter that is one order of magnitude higher than any conventional source.

You might want to reread that last claim: “energy production … one order of magnitude higher than any conventional source”! That was a pretty astounding claim and placed the reaction way up in the same territory as Plutonium-238! Here’s what that looks like compared to other energy sources:

Ragone Plot Alan Fletcher
[Updated] Ragone plot

Of course the paper ignited a whole new furore with the disbelievers arguing that the test setup was rigged and or that the measurement methodology was flawed (there was even a suggestion that Rossi had hidden a laser in the ceiling and that was the source of heating of the test reactor).

Since that test, little had happened … at least, until yesterday.

Yesterday a new paper was published on a Swedish blog titled Observation of abundant heat production from a reactor device and of isotopic changes in the fuel. The paper was authored by Giuseppe Levi (Bologna University, Bologna, Italy), Evelyn Foschi (Bologna, Italy), Bo Höistad, Roland Pettersson and Lars Tegnér (Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden), and Hanno Essén (Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden); all members of the previous test team. Their conclusion?

The measured energy balance between input and output heat yielded a COP factor of about 3.2 and 3.6 for the 1260 ºC and 1400 ºC runs, respectively. The total net energy obtained during the 32 days run was about 1.5 MWh. This amount of energy is far more than can be obtained from any known chemical sources in the small reactor volume.

Wow.

E-Cat operating during the test. (Multiple)
E-Cat operating during the test.

The reactor was:

… an alumina cylinder, 2 cm in diameter and 20 cm in length, ending on both sides with two cylindrical alumina blocks (4 cm in diameter, 4 cm in length), non-detachable from the body of the reactor … Three braided high-temperature grade Inconel cables exit from each of the two caps: these are the resistors wound in parallel non-overlapping coils inside the reactor. A thermocouple probe, inserted into one of the caps, allows the control system to manage power supply to the resistors by measuring the internal temperature of the reactor. The hole for the thermocouple probe is also the only access point for the fuel charge. The thermocouple probe cable is inserted in an alumina cement cylinder, which acts as a bushing and perfectly fits the hole, about 4 mm in diameter. When charging the reactor, the bushing is pulled out, and the charge is inserted. After the thermocouple probe has been lodged back in place, the bushing is sealed and secured with alumina cement. To extract the charge, pliers are used to open the seal.”

To run the reactor the apparatus is electrically heated using a waveform that is managed by a control box that the experimenters weren’t allowed to examine. Even so, they were allowed to take electrical measurements before and after the control box.

E-Cat test electrical wiring diagram
E-Cat test electrical wiring diagram

The reactor “charge” mentioned above was powdered nickel along with other unspecified and proprietary materials. We’ll come back what happens to the charge in the reactor … first, here’s the test setup:

E-Cat test setup (Multiple)
Experiment setup for the measurements.

The authors go into great detail as to how they performed their measurements, how they modeled the system, and what they discovered (though they don’t mention checking for lasers in the ceiling).

E-Cat Net power production (Multiple)
E-Cat Net power production trend throughout the test.

After the 32 day run a sample of the “ash” in the reactor was analyzed and compared to an analysis of the “charge”. The charge was found to have “significant quantities of Li, Al, Fe and H in addition to Ni [and] large amounts of C and O.”  What was significant was that the charge had a normal distribution of isotopes; the ash did not. Moreover, the team did not detect and radiation during or after the test:

This result is remarkable since it shows that the burning process in E-Cat indeed changes the fuel at the nuclear level, i.e. nuclear reactions have taken place. It is notable, but maybe only a coincidence, that also in Astrophysics a 7Li depletion is observed.

This is the most convincing data so far to support Rossi’s claims and, assuming that all is as it appears, we can start to ponder a future where transportation costs are trivial, every house, business, data center, you name it has it’s own power and heat generation system, every power company becomes obsolete, every third world nation gets to play with the big boys economically, and Andrea Rossi becomes the richest person in history by orders of magnitude.

This is very much a “watch this space” event … stay tuned.

In the mean time, what’s your call? You’ve read the paper? What’s the future look like to you?

[mg]

 

 

 

 

Insider Shootout: Best security tools for small business

 

Editors’ Picks

 

Join the discussion

 

33 Comments

1 day ago
Don Sprague
There seems to be almost panic from those who criticize Rossi and his e-cat. Could it be that they are employed by or paid by companies in or tied to energy related business? I am convinced that they have much to loose should Rossi prevail and take significant share from the existing producers of energy. The team that tested the e-cat are serious men of science, with impressive credentials who have much to loose if they are wrong. It’s highly unlikely that they are far off in their evaluation.

Isn’t it strange that someone like Krivit would have us believe he is qualified to challenge the scientists who did the tests on Rossi’s e-cat?. I sense a huckster who has gone so far out on a limb in his criticism of Rossi, that he has to somehow convince someone- otherwise his reputation will crash an he will loose subscribers to this site. Obviously, Mr Krivit is in fear of Mr Rossi and his achievements.

1 day ago
Antonello Gargiulo
Mary Yugo writes everywhere and replies also to Nobel Prize Winner on Nature http://www.nature.co­m/news/seven-days-3-­9-october-2014-1.160­87 She seems the debunker Sylvie Coyaud who earns stalking LENR.

1 day ago
Antonello Gargiulo
I think that Mary Yugo is a debunker. In Italy we have writers who have similar behaviour. Mary Yugo writes everywhere like a passionate trolls stalking every article about Rossi.

4 days ago
Jim Brown
The real question is, does the energy creation device weigh less than a Duck?

4 days ago
Jakob Stagg
Let’s pretend it is real. The existing energy companies will never allow any interference with their revenue stream. Energy will only get more expensive. That is the only outcome allowed.

5 days ago
Phaeton Rudegar

The critics have spoken. By popular acclaim Rossi LENR E- Cat turns nuclear physics on it’s head!

“We agree that what is reported is amazing. . . something that would set the entire nuclear physics on its head. This goes against all the accumulated nuclear physics knowledge collected over the last 100 years. . . rewrite the textbooks, we believe . . . thoroughly investigate.”

Steph­an Pomp, Professor, Uppsala University
Göran Ericsson, Professor, Uppsala University
Peter Ekström, Professor Emeritus, University of Lund
Ane Håkansson, Professor, Uppsala University

3 days ago
David Palmer
The power of selective quoting.  This is from a google translate of a critical editorial by Pomp et al., and the ‘…’ parts are important.  (As the Bible says “Thou shalt .. commit adultery”, or in this case “Thou shalt … bear false witness”)

Here are the more complete quotes from the editorial:

­”We agree that what is reported is amazing. ­But we believe that it is surprising is that the authors and Elforsk are so naive that they uncritically swallow something that would set the entire nuclear physics on its head”
­­”But rather than rewrite the textbooks, we believe that you first have to thoroughly investigate if there are other, simpler explanations.”

­”Therefore, one can suspect that Rossi did not hesitate to provide the testing with researchers manipulated the material.”

5 days ago
Mark Gibbs
FYI, people … there is no censorship in this forum; just keep it polite and on point, please.

6 days ago
Mary Yugo
In the event there is no censorship, I’d like to chide Mr. Gibbs for still being gullible after so many years and so many broken promises and schedules on the part of Rossi!

As someone else pointed out, this is the same exact inadequate test that was done before.  Once again, the input power was not limited and properly measured and the “dummy” (blank, control) run was not at all like the actual power run.  This leaves all manner of ways to cheat, most obviously through a wiring trick like this one:

https://www.youtub­e.com/watch?v=ovGXDD­vc3ck

Worse yet, while he pretended not to participate, Rossi was heavily and personally involved at crucial times.  He was handling the device when it was started, switched from dummy run to power run and when the ash was removed!  How is that an independent test?   And Levi, Rossi’s long time close friend ran the whole thing!  What a joke!

Rossi created an environmental disaster with Petroldragon and then most probably cheated the DOD out of $9 million due to his contract about claimed high efficiency thermoelectric devices.   There is nothing to suggest that any such device was ever delivered or tested and there is evidence that what Rossi delivered were surplus defective parts from a San Diego company, made in Russia!

It is absolutely astounding that anyone still trusts this man and allows him to be present when his device is tested.

Those wishing to review Mr. Rossi’s extensive criminal history (he is a convicted felon in Italy) can do so at leisure here:

http://newenergyti­mes.com/v2/sr/RossiE­Cat/Rossis-Italian-F­inancial-and-Environ­mental-Criminal-Hist­ory.shtml

6 days ago
Barry Simon
Still bashing after all these years. Rossi went to jail over taxes. How would you like the IRS to look into your taxes George. You resound criticism like a republican who just found out Obama discovered Cold Fusion. Hope your getting paid well because the tipping point has occurred and, hate it if you will the Ecat is about to change the world. Haters will have to find a new angle.

3 days ago
Barry Simon
So your basically saying Rossi’s a con so Darden at Industrial Heat is a con and Giuseppe Levi (Bologna University, Bologna, Italy), Evelyn Foschi (Bologna, Italy), Bo Höistad, Roland Pettersson and Lars Tegnér (Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden), and Hanno Essén (Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, there all cons with the idea of getting really rich so they can take the $ and run where nobody would recognize them???

Let’s see who should we believe Mary Yugo who posts as multiple personalities on cold fusion sites, always sending people to Krivits web site where one can subscribe for $$$ or Brian Josephson, British physicist and Nobel laureate (1973 prize for physics). Oh wait he’s probably part of the scam as well.

6 days ago
Mary Yugo
Is this forum response section censored?

6 days ago
eCatSite
I cordially welcome back to the believers fold Mr. Gibbs.  After showing some intestinal and intellectual fortitude by bringing this story to the mainstream media far ahead of the curve, at some point you inexplicably lost your way.  At some point you even led the lynch mob when it was suggested that not only a “shady character” like Rossi was working on LENR, but even NASA was working on LENR.  Of course you have never really addressed the US Navy’s 20+ year history of developing LENR, but that is a subject for another article.

It is unfortunate that upon your return to the believer camp Forbes threw you under the bus and let you go for your LENR-related stories, but having to pay a price for being rationale and allowing the evidence to lead  you simply serves as an appropriate welcome to the club.  Your honorary tin hat is in the mail.  Perhaps a Pulitzer Price or other fancy journalism award is in your future for bringing this story to the masses  if you can keep your eye on the prize and not be distracted by the huddles masses of naysayers and flat-earthers.

6 days ago
Pathoskeptic
I would have liked to take this as a good read.

Sorry, no expected amusement factor detected. My bad.

5 days ago
Mark Gibbs
No, I am not a believer … at least, not yet. This paper is intriguing and is, as far as I can figure, some of the best evidence that Rossi is on to something. That said, it’s still early days in terms of evidence.

6 days ago
HenryKBarton
I hope LENR succeeds, but if not, there is also the aneutronic fusion reactor that can be a promising option to power our future energy needs.. http://youtu.be/u8n7­j5k-_G8

7 days ago
mayloveheal
http://www.elforsk.s­e/LENR-Matrapport-pu­blicerad/

“Measurements on LENR reactor reported – energy release and isotopes
Yesterday, astounding results from month-long measurements on a so-called “energy catalyser” were reported. The report, written by researchers from Uppsala University, KTH and the University of Bologna, describes a release of heat that cannot be explained by chemical reactions alone. Isotope changes in the analysed fuel instead indicate that nuclear reactions might have occurred at low temperatures. It implies that we may be facing a new way to extract nuclear energy possibly without ionizing radiation and radioactive waste. The discovery could potentially become very important for the world’s energy supply.
The central part of the reactor is a narrow cylinder that is two decimetre long. In the experiments, the reactor operated at temperatures up to about 1 400 degrees Celsius. A net energy release of 1 500 kWh was observed. The thermal energy output was three to four times the electrical energy input. The reactor was filled with 1 gram hydrogen-loaded nickel powder and some additives.
In recent years, Elforsk has followed the development of what has come to be called LENR – Low Energy Nuclear Reactions. Elforsk has published an overview summary of LENR. Elforsk has co-funded the work described in the report in addition to earlier measurements that showed an anomalous excess of energy.
If it is possible to safely operate and control these reactions that are now believed to be nuclear reactions, we may see a fundamental transformation of our energy system. Electricity and heat could then be produced with relatively simple components, facilitating a decentralization of energy supply that could be both inexpensive and part of a solution for global climate change.
More research is needed to understand and explain. Let us engage researchers in trying to validate and then explaining how it works.
Magnus Olofsson, CEO Elforsk – Swedish Electrical Utilities’ R & D Company”

7 days ago
Pathoskeptic
I have no idea why Olofsson wants to believe this E-Cat story. But hey, it is a good idea to investigate further. Still, I am not so sure if they like what they are about to find out.

7 days ago
Pathoskeptic
A good read for everybody (sans the True Believers, who cannot be reasoned with)

http://stephanpom­p.blogspot.se/2014/1­0/the-cat-is-dead.ht­ml

6 days ago
Barry Simon
You’re right, believers shoud try to be as reasonable and open minded as pathoskeptics.

6 days ago
Pathoskeptic
My thoughts. exactly.

Way to go, Barry!

3 days ago
Barry Simon
Patho, you sometimes make some insightful comments. It’s not to late to come back from the Dark Side.

7 days ago
Pathoskeptic
It is a real mystery, why people do not see behind Rossi’s scam. The new test was done by the exactly same people than before, with Mr Rossi pulling the strings. And the claims of nuclear transmutations in the report are pure nonsense, as Stephan Pomp has already shown.

7 days ago
Roger Bird
Mark Gibbs, I am so happy to see you again.  I am so glad that you are up and running.

7 days ago
masonainsworth .
The Elforsk CEO, Magnus Oloffsson, has moved forward with a LENR Research Initiative as a response to the experimental results. His perspective was reported today in NyTekNik as well as the Elforsk website.

LINK>> http://www.nyteknik.­se/asikter/debatt/ar­ticle3854541.ece

LINK>> http://www.elforsk.s­e/LENR-Matrapport-pu­blicerad/

Elforsk is the R&D arm of the Scandinavian energy industry and represents a host of firms with revenues topping $100B/year and with a service area covering much of Europe. Elforsk provided funding for this extensive testing of the E-Cat.

7 days ago
Barry Simon
Mark, good to see an open mind, Thanks for the article. Rossi said the next step they are working on is commercialization, supposedly, already in progress..

7 days ago
Jed Rothwell
You wrote: “The problem with Pons and Fleischmann’s claimed discovery was that no one could duplicate it . . .”

 
That is incorrect. Cold fusion was replicated in over 200 major laboratories such as Los Alamos, China Lake and BARC. Many experiments produced definitive evidence including heat ranging from 50 to 100 W with no input power, and tritium in some cases at millions of times background. There replications were published in hundreds of mainstream, peer-reviewed journals. You can read some of them at LENR.org.
 
I believe you are aware of these facts. It troubles me that you deny what the mainstream scientific literature says.
 
 

7 days ago
Christopher Calder
We need Low Energy Nuclear Reaction and low cost forms of hot fusion as being developed by Lockheed Martin to survive.  What we don’t need is more biofuels, windmills, and solar schemes which are far too costly and create many more problems than they solve.  The renewable energy hoax is a government  mandated scam, and government does not know best.  The free market should decide what energy we use, not politicians who are ignorant of science and economics, and who lack common sense.  Politicians live in a world of hype and symbolism over substance.  Google *The Renewable Energy Disaster* for the scientific and humanitarian arguments against Barack Obama’s deadly and disastrous energy ideas.

7 days ago
Ian Walker
Hi all

It is the end of the fossil fuel age.

This is the reason oil prices have been falling like a stone.

Kind Regards walker

7 days ago
Roger Bird
Beware that the prices will go back up when brokers discover that it will take some time for the E-Cat and cousins to take over the market.

7 days ago
alain_co
the problem is that it will block investment in fracking, non conventional oil, offshore…

anyway the current produced will want to sell their oil in a decade before it have no value…
hard to predict the result.

6 days ago
Mark Fisher

Oil is
dropping because a new European recession is perceived as immanent.

6 days ago
Jonathan Álvarez

OK you can explain as you do. See video http://money.c­nn.com/video/investi­ng/2014/09/25/why-th­eres-no-isis-oil-sho­ck.cnnmoney/

Or you can also see the strange and more direct correlation with the ECAT showed under:
http://www.s­ifferkoll.se/sifferk­oll/?p=394
http://www.siffe­rkoll.se/sifferkoll/­?p=397
http://www.siffe­rkoll.se/sifferkoll/­?p=401
And 5 Year LME Nickel Warehouse Stocks Level (around begin LENR device)
http://www.­kitconet.com/charts/­metals/base/lme-ware­house-nickel-5y-Larg­e.gif
Besides, there are some decision about OIL
http://www.huff­ingtonpost.com/2014/­09/21/rockefellers-f­ossil-fuels-climate-­change_n_5859042.htm­l
http://articles.­economictimes.indiat­imes.com/2014-10-02/­news/54560340_1_opec­-petroleum-exporting­-countries-price-war­
http://uk.reuter­s.com/article/2014/1­0/01/russia-cenbank-­oil-idUKL6N0RW1G5201­41001
And the tradicional
http://­oilprice.com/Finance­/investing-and-tradi­ng-reports/Why-Are-t­he-Big-Financial-Ins­titutions-Selling-Oi­l-BIG.html
Strange!
However, the predictions are quite estable

http://www.­eia.gov/forecasts/st­eo/

Could ultra-cheap, clean energy be just around the corner?.

ZergNet

The Man Who Dropped ‘S’ From His Name & Received Job Offers – ZergNet.

When you’re taking some solo time to get in touch with your body, it’s pretty much a judgment-free zone. You can do whatever, say whatever, and think whatever you want—nobody here to please but yourself! But just like your mind can wander when you’re in bed with a partner, it’s pretty much impossible to turn your brain off when you’re getting busy with yourself. Really, who hasn’t had the following thoughts while they were getting off?

1. “Oohh yeah…see, why is this so hard for other people to understand?” It’s not like your clitoris is on an undercover mission—it’s right there. Well, to be fair, you probably know this layout a little better than your partner. But still.

 

2. “Wait, did I lock the door?” Whatever, you probably did. It’s not like your rooommate ever comes home this early…but what if she does? How embarrassing would that be? Okay, you should get up and check. It’ll only take two seconds.

 

3. “Okay, this isn’t really working. Where’s my vibrator?” I mean, your hand is great and all, but it doesn’t have six different settings and pleasure beads…whatever those are. Now, where did you put it?

 

4. “Welp, porn it is!” You can only replay that same hot scene with your ex in your head so many times. Plus, you’ve seen his new Facebook photo, and…well…he does not look the same. Looks like you’re firing up the laptop. Internet, don’t fail us now!

 

5. “Eew no, that is definitely not hot.” Help! How did I click my way into this terrifying section?! ABORT ABORT!

 

6. “Mmm… now that is a celebrity fantasy I can work with.” Back to old school fantasizing. Hmm…wonder if Jesse Williams will be in the Magic Mike sequel? That’s in the works, right? (Answer: YES.)

 

7. “WHO is texting me right now?!” You are this close to an orgasm and now your phone decides to blow up. Ugh. Rookie mistake—should have set that baby to vibrate.

 

8. “YES! MAN, I am good.” Is there some sort of medal for this? If not, there should be…

 

9. “I definitely deserve another round.” Why? Because you can.

All gifs courtesy of giphy.com 

More from Women’s Health:
21 Ways to Have More Fun with Masturbation
The Best Masturbation Tips Ever
10 Ways to Have Better, Stronger Orgasms

 

9 Thoughts Every Woman Has While Masturbating | Women’s Health Magazine.

If you’ve been with enough guys in your lifetime (however many that may be) you might think you know your way around a penis. But the truth is, whether you’ve been with one or 10, you probably know a lot less about them than you thought. So to enlighten you on all things member-related, we’ve rounded up some of the most fascinating facts about penises. Enjoy!

Physical Health and Penis Health Go Hand-in-Hand
If your guy has been having a hard time keeping it up lately, take a look at his lifestyle. Has his sleep schedule been thrown off or has he put on some weight? Men who are heavier tend to have lower testosterone levels, which can contribute to erectile dysfunction. Meanwhile, not getting enough sleep or exercise can also screw with his erections. Check out these five factors that can make his penis work better.

Boners Are Not Made of Bone
FYI, there is no bone surrounding his hard on. Instead, it’s caused by fibrous tissues that carry blood to the area and make it erect. And those crazy stories you hear about guys breaking their penis? It’s actually caused by a fracture on the outermost penile tissue, according to urologist Harry Fisch, M.D., author of The New Naked: the Ultimate Sex Education for Grown-Ups. In fact, he says if it goes untreated, the guy can end up with scar tissue in the area and a condition called Peyronie’s disease, which leaves the penis bent or curved when erect.

Size Does Matter…To Men
According to Fisch’s book, the average man’s penis is 3 inches long when flaccid and anywhere between 4.5 to 6.5 inches long when erect. Sounds about right. Yet recent research found that many men stress out about their penis size—regardless of how big they are.

He Might Actually Be Able to Make it Grow
A group of men in Italy dissatisfied with their manhood tried out a method called “Traction,” which used a penile extender that stretched out their appendage for several hours a day for four months (ow, right?!). The men who participated saw a growth of 0.59 inches to 0.98 inches (about 1.5 to 2.5 centimeters). A less painful way to make him bigger? A study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that during oral sex, men reported larger penis measurements compared to other methods of arousal.

Circumcision Doesn’t Change Much for You
Sure, there’s a little more there than you’re used to working with, but experts say sex with an uncircumcised guy will feel pretty much the same. As for his sensation, some reports have said that uncut guys are even more sensitive below the belt. For more, check out four things you should know about circumcised guys.

Semen Is Low in Calories
In fact, it’s actually composed of citric acid, amino acids, fructose, enzymes, and water, according to Fisch. Plus, a teaspoonful only has 36 calories!

His Shoes Tell You Nothing About His Penis
Sorry to break it to you, but just because a guy has a size 13 shoe, that doesn’t mean he’s packing down there. Foot size and penis size are totally unrelated. The fact is, studies have not found a predictor that tells you if a man will be big or not.

It’s More Flexible Than You Think
A 2002 study from the University of Stanford analyzed couples having sex under an MRI (seriously). They found that the penis curves into a boomerang shape when the man is inside the woman during the missionary position. How bizarre is that?!

Cigarettes Can Stunt His Penis
Not only does research show that smoking screws with libido, but one study found that cigarettes can even lead to weaker erections. Fisch says this is because smoking constricts the blood vessels, making blood flow to his manhood way more challenging. The result: a less than stellar erection.

Package Size May Vary By State
If a man’s penis size matters to you, then you may want to take a trip to North Dakota. According to data from Condomania.com, guys in North Dakota are buying the largest-sized condoms, while men in Mississippi are buying the smallest ones.

It’s Basically Like a Big Clitoris
Believe it: When boys and girls are in the womb, our genitalia aren’t all that different until the male sex hormones kick in, says Fisch. That’s why the clitoris and the penis actually share very similar nerve endings.

The Surrounding Areas Can Be Just As Sensitive
The penis may seem like the end-all-be-all of his orgasm, but there are some outlying areas that are hidden hot spots, too. For instance, the male G-Spot is located on their prostate, while the perineum—the skin located in between the anus and the scrotum—is another major erogenous zone.

Some of Them May… Surprise You
You’ve probably heard about—or witnessed—the difference between growers and show-ers. But interestingly, a guy’s size when flaccid really doesn’t predict what he’ll look like when erect. “The flaccid penis has nothing to do with size. It’s just about blood flow when it is erect,” explains Fisch. In fact, a study in the Journal of Sex Research found that smaller flaccid penises saw much greater increases in size when erect than larger flaccid penises. So yes, growers exist, and they just might shock you.

13 Crucial Facts About His Penis | Women’s Health Magazine.

Albert Einstein was unemployed.

1/17

Einstein spent his first two years out of the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School without a full-time job, in large part because the professors whose classes he cut refused to recommend him for teaching posts.

Though Einstein’s degree was for teaching physics and math, his first job came when his friend Marcel Grossmann hooked him up with a clerking job at the Swiss patent office in 1902.

Einstein’s father died shortly afterward, thinking that his son was a failure.

 

What 17 Successful People Did Their First Year Out Of College.

 

 

 

What Happens If You Don’t Get Enough Sleep – Business Insider.

The Richest YouTube Stars – Business Insider.

Medscape, a subsidiary of the medical information website WebMD, has released its 2014 Physician Compensation Report. The data in the report come from more than 24,000 doctors in 25 specialties, who responded to Medscape’s annual survey with information on their compensation for 2013.

 

The infographic below shows the average earnings for each surveyed specialty. Orthopedists were the highest earners:

In an explanation of their findings, Medscape notes that: “As in the past, those who perform procedures have the highest incomes compared with those who manage chronic illnesses.” Some primary care practices saw a slight increase in earnings, “which could reflect early changes in reimbursement resulting from the Affordable Care Act.”

Earnings also vary by region. Average physician income ranges from $239,000 in the Northeast to $258,000 in the Great Lakes area. Certain regions of the country may have to pay more to attract doctors, so physician salaries often reflect the level of competition more than the cost of living. Doctors in rural areas actually tend to earn more.

The Medscape survey also found that doctors are about evenly split on whether they think they are compensated fairly, though that varies somewhat by specialty. Dermatologists were the most likely to say their compensation was fair; plastic surgeons were the least likely.

While dermatologists earn $308,000 and plastic surgeons earn $321,000, 65% of dermatologists are satisfied with their careers, compared to just 37% of plastic surgeons. And only about one in four dermatologists spends more than 40 hours a week seeing patients, compared to more than half of plastic surgeons.

That suggests that the demands and joys of the job shape how much compensation seems “fair” more than just the salary itself.

In fact, doctors with some of the lowest earnings were the most likely to say they would choose medicine as a career if they had to do it all over again. Almost 70% of physicians in internal medicine, HIV/Infectious Disease, and family medicine would choose medicine all over again, compared to just 44% of orthopedists.

Overall, just 10% of all surveyed doctors said “making good money” was the most rewarding part of the job.

For the complete findings and more analysis, head over to Medscape »

How Much Salary Does A Doctor Make? – Business Insider.

 

A row of Google self-driving cars are shown outside the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif. For the first time, California’s Department of Motor Vehicles knows how many self-driving cars are traveling on the state’s public roads. The agency is issuing permits, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014 that let three companies test 29 vehicles on highways and in neighborhoods. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

Computer-driven cars have been testing their skills on California roads for more than four years – but until now, the Department of Motor Vehicles wasn’t sure just how many were rolling around.

That changed Tuesday, when the agency issued testing permits that allowed three companies to dispatch 29 vehicles onto freeways and into neighborhoods – with a human behind the wheel in case the onboard computers make a bad decision. The German automaker Audi was first in the state to receive a self-driving car permit and already has plans to test drive an autonomous A7 around the Bay Area, according to the Los Angeles Times.

These may be the cars of the future, but for now they represent a tiny fraction of California’s approximately 32 million registered vehicles.

Google’s souped-up Lexus SUVs are the biggest fleet, with 25 vehicles. Mercedes and Volkswagen have two vehicles each, said Bernard Soriano, the DMV official overseeing the state’s “autonomous vehicle” regulation-writing process. A “handful” of other companies are applying for permits, he said.
The permits formally regulate testing that already was underway. Google alone is closing in on 1 million miles. The technology giant has bet heavily on the vehicles, which navigate using sophisticated sensors and detailed maps.

Finally, government rules are catching up.

In 2012, the California Legislature directed the DMV to regulate the emerging technology. Rules that the agency first proposed in January went into effect Tuesday. Among them:

– Test drivers must have a sparkling driving record, complete a training regimen and enroll in a program that informs their employer if they get in an accident or are busted for driving under the influence off hours.

– Companies must report to the state how many times their vehicles unexpectedly disengage from self-driving mode, whether due to a failure of the technology or because the human driver takes over in an emergency. They also must have insurance or other coverage to pay for property or personal injury claims of up to $5 million.

California passed its law after Nevada and Florida and before Michigan. The federal government has not acted, and national regulations appear to be years away.

It’s impossible to know the total number of self-driving cars being tested on public roads because, unlike California and Nevada, Michigan does not require special permits to test self-driving cars on public roads.

Toyota, Chrysler, Ford and General Motors are “all running around here with some form of autonomous vehicle,” said James Fackler, assistant administrator for the Michigan Department of State, which registers motor vehicles. Carmakers do not need a permit – manufacturer’s license plates are enough, and those plates can also be used on future models or other kinds of experimental cars.

Nevada has issued several test vehicle licenses to Google, VW and the auto supplier Continental, according to its Department of Motor Vehicles.

In Florida, only Audi has tested self-driving technology and it is not ongoing, according to a spokesman for the state’s motor vehicles department.

With California’s testing rules in effect, the DMV is drafting regulations that will govern self-driving cars once they are ready for the general public.
 

Audi Self-Driving Car Gets First Permit In California.

You may soon be a Google search away from immediate access to professional medical advice. The search engine giant is testing a new feature that urges people Googling illnesses or symptoms to jump on a video call with a medical professional.

The finding was reported on Friday by Reddit user jasonahoule. When he typed “knee pain” into his Chrome app, a Google pop-up explaining the temporarily free video chat feature appeared atop his search results:

“Based on your search query, we think you are trying to understand a medical condition. Here you can find health care providers who you can visit with over video chat. All visit costs are covered by Google during this limited trial.”

google doctor

A screenshot of Reddit user jasonahoule’s phone.

In an emailed statement to The Huffington Post, Google confirmed that it is testing out the search feature.

“When you’re searching for basic health information — from conditions like insomnia or food poisoning — our goal is provide you with the most helpful information available,” a Google spokesperson told The Huffington Post. “We’re trying this new feature to see if it’s useful to people.”

Doctors using this service are able to prescribe medicine at their discretion, Google said. The company does not coordinate insurance coverage but patients can apply for reimbursements. All payments are made through Google Wallet.

To clarify, people have been able to connect to medical professionals using Google video chat since last November with the launch of Google Helpouts, a service that connects Google users to professionals of various sorts for a fee. What’s new here is that the feature now appears in Google Search for some people.

While the service is currently free for those who see it, you should expect that to change if it becomes a permanent feature. In Google Helpouts, professionals can decide what they wish to charge.

If permanently implemented by Google, the feature could stop some from diagnosing their own illnesses using only Internet research. A survey by Pew Research Center last year found that 35 percent of U.S. adults have gone online to self-diagnose a medical condition. And while 41 percent said that a medical professional eventually confirmed the diagnosis, 18 percent said a professional did not agree, and 35 percent did not seek a professional opinion at all.

This story has been updated with additional information from Google on the service.

Google Tests Out Feature To Protect You From Sketchy Online Diagnoses.

How to Successfully Kickstart Your Crowdfunding Campaign

Get your project rolling with Kickstarter

 

 

 

Kickstarter logo from their Facebook page
Facebook/Kickstarter

Over time, countless entrepreneurs have had their endeavors thwarted by their inability to secure proper funding. In recent years crowdfunding, the practice of funding a project by a large number of people, usually on the Internet, has soared in popularity. Of those, Kickstarter may be the most globally recognizable. With a global traffic rank in the top 600, Kickstarter has become a verb in some circles when it comes to funding a project–much like Google is for Internet searches.

Since their launch in 2009, Kickstarter has had over $1.3 billion in pledges from more than 7 million backers-successfully raising funds for 70,377 projects to date. Those successful backers can expect certain levels of perks for their donations. Some will receive a personal thank you letter from the project manager, or apparel that they helped produce. Kickstarter tries to provide a certain level of beneficial return from donating.

However, with a success rate of 41 percent any campaign has to know how to appeal to the right investors. That’s because, unlike some other major crowdfunding sites, Kickstarter is all or nothing. If a project falls short by even a penny all the pledged money returns to its backers. One of those looking to fund their project this way is Vince Chu and his made in America athletic apparel line, Yesler.

Yesler’s campaign launched September 9 with an intended goal of $18,000 to fund the first round of manufacturing and labor costs. With a handful of days left in their campaign, Yesler is already close to achieving their goal. Chu, an entrepreneur launching his first apparel line, chose Kickstarter for the same reason many others have done: feedback. With crowdfunding platforms, a project can receive active feedback from the community. Even if a project succeeds, any weak points can be adjusted before production begins. In their quest to bring more American athletic apparel production stateside, Yesler takes their backers’ opinions, all 259 to date, to heart. “Our mission is to outfit you with exceptional gear that tells something about what you stand for and connects you with the best in American craftsmanship,” Chu states.

How Can You Succeed
For fashion and apparel lines, crowdfunding is tougher than other industries. A highly subjective field, fashion projects had just a 29 percent success rate on Kickstarter as of last year. For Dr. Gia Fruscione she understood the risks after a thorough planning of her campaign in advance. She used crowdfunding to help the bottom line when it came to manufacturing her second product under her DLVR Maternity line, and the advertising boost Kickstarter provides you. DLVR’s custom post-natal support, ActivEmbrace, campaign exceeded its target goal of $6,000 through a combination of backers, some with large, connected social media followings. Their well-produced, informative video pitch didn’t hurt catching potential backers’ eyes either.

But a sleek video isn’t necessary. When Katie Sue Nicklos and Reilly Starr launched their Naked Sports Gear campaign in the spring of 2012, they filmed their pitch on Katie Sue’s cell phone. Like DLVR Maternity, they relied on friends and family to initially fund their $10,000 goal, of which half came in just the first four days of the campaign. “Crowd Sourcing is a common thing to do now. When we did it, I knew very few people who were doing it as well,” recalls Nicklos. “I think you can only ask one time for money from your friends, and it should be worthwhile.”

But to succeed a product needs a hook–usually something that can help the buyer. Whether it be helping new mothers recover, avoiding tan lines or athletic wear with a revitalized purpose, the product has to fill the buyer’s need. Backers need to be pulled in, and there are for these three campaigns. Another appeal the three startups share is their made in America manufacturing. Aside from Naked Sports’ two materials initially coming overseas, all work and materials are sourced from inside the United States. “It makes sense to stay here and support the people I work with [New York City’s Garment District]. It’s pretty lucky. I know some people aren’t situated to do that,” says Nicklos.

For Naked Sports, co-founder Reilly Starr is considered a master of social media marketing-something that complimented Nicklos’ extensive design background. For ActivEmbrace support Dr. Fruscione, she cites the essential things to remember. “Two words to take away from it are ‘plan’ and ‘persistence,'” she recalls. That includes a detailed storyboard of the process. Furthermore, the Kickstarter community itself can be your largest asset. As Chu explained towards the launch of Yesler’s campaign, “There’s this camaraderie in the community. It’s growing.”

Where Do We Go From Here?
When launching, one of the first figures to look for is 20 percent. According to Kickstarter’s stats, 80 percent of projects that hit 20 percent go on to succeed. Your odds also increase by launching with a sub-$10,000 goal, but that shouldn’t be a blueprint for everyone. “Most successfully funded projects raise less than $10,000, but a growing number have reached six and even seven figures,” notes Kickstarter stats. In fact, the first campaign to successfully raise over $1,000,000 came in 2012 for the iPhone Elevation Dock.

For ActivEmbrace, persistence hasn’t let up since the campaign-with Dr. Fruscione travelling the country to every viable event she can get to. Her persistence has landed her a growing number of retail partners and other ventures so far. For Naked Sports’, business has been steady while feedback has helped them decide on their next line of gear that they are diligently working on while working other jobs. “Naked is our baby,” Nicklos explains.

For Yesler, the outcome looks optimistic, but uncertain for now. As they approached their launch Chu explained what he thought of crowdfunding’s future. “My gut tells me you’ll see more of this happening.”

How to Successfully Kickstart Your Crowdfunding Campaign.

For many full-time employed adults, the weekly grind is feeling more like six days, rather than five. They aren’t wrong. That’s because a recent Gallup poll indicated half of America’s full-time staffers are working more than 40 hours per week, with four in ten stating they work 50 hours or more. Only 8 percent polled reported to work less than the supposed national average of 40 hours.

When International Business Times suggested the work week seems like it’s dragging on longer than usual, they weren’t kidding. The average American is now working an average of 47 hours per week, essentially working six days per week.

In comparison, the nation with the shortest work week, the Netherlands, averages 29 hours per week with an average income of $47,000, notes CNN Money. Full-time Americans roughly averaged $40,000 in 2013 according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics breakout.

Several factors shape the American schedule. Hourly workers only earn when they are on the clock, so they have obvious intentions to stay longer. What makes this puzzling is that hourly employees average 44 hours worked per week.

Yet, salaried employees tend to average five hours longer. What has become the norm for many salaried employees, 25 percent of the Gallup poll claimed to work more than 60 hours in the week. This may come from companies knowing they don’t have to pay overtime to their salaried workforce. From the perspective of the employee, America’s hard-working image could almost be seen as a badge of honor to some of the marathon workers out there.

When looking at countries with the least hours worked in a week, factors like four-day work weeks, extended paternity leaves and government mandated work-life balance measures stand out.

The Dutch also put an emphasis on working mothers. The importance of family is evident when 86 percent of working mothers in the Netherlands put in 34 hours or less a week at their vocations. Another factor changing in some countries like Ireland (34 hours per week, a 10-hour decline in the past 30 years), is the sharp drop off in full-time farmers, an industry notorious for one of the longest work days. Other countries rounding out the top five were Denmark, Norway and Germany with 33-35 hours each.

In most of these countries you will find other benefits like paid vacations and work-sharing programs, a concept that soared in popularity during Germany’s recession. In America, companies are beginning to pay employees to take vacations so they will leave the office. It’s hard to tell if this is a growing American problem or if it is too far engrained into American psyches that this is the work-life balance we mostly accept. Even though there are less employed full-time than in 2007, the non-stop work mentality has not wavered much in the United States.

The Average U.S. Work Week Is Nearly 6 Days.

Developing your communication skills will lead to success

By Hannah Morgan

Whether you are an aspiring leader or in a support role, developing your communication skills can impact your success. First, let’s take a look at the complexities of communication. It’s more than the words you use. It’s how and when you choose to share information. It’s your body language and the tone and quality of your voice.

These are things you should consider as you strive to improve your interactions with others:

Know the outcome. Before you begin planning what you will say in an upcoming meeting, consider what you want the outcome of your communication to be. What actions do you want others to take? How will you move people? That’s the term used in Daniel Pink’s “To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others.” Pink contends that we are all in sales today. “Whether we’re employees pitching colleagues on a new idea, entrepreneurs enticing funders to invest or parents and teachers cajoling children to study, we spend our days trying to move others.”

Build a reputation. In the workplace, other people’s perceptions of you don’t form based on a single encounter. But never forget how valuable a good first impression is! In order to gain respect and be seen as a trusted authority, eager team member or dedicated employee, you will need to build your reputation over time. Every interaction — from how you greet your co-workers in the morning to how you summarize a status update in an email — contributes to how people view you.

Avoid flaunting power and intellect. Compelling communicators don’t strong-arm people into paying attention or dazzle listeners by showing off how much they know. Leave your ego at the door when speaking to people. Establish an even playing field, and place yourself at the same level with your listeners. Avoid a condescending tone of voice and terminology your audience will not immediately understand. While you may be the smartest, most knowledgeable person on a particular topic, wait for the invitation to share your expertise.

Be confident. A wimpy response isn’t going to gain the recognition or support you desire. Confidence is queen when it comes to effective communication. Use strong action verbs, avoid filler words, such as “um”‘ or “‘ah,” look people in the eye and sit or stand up straight when called on to speak.

Show awareness of others. Shoving your great ideas or accomplishments down throats of listeners isn’t going to work. Building relationships is part of the communication process and is key to your success in conveying your message. When you deeply understand how your audience thinks and feels and what is important to them, you can use that information to craft a message that will resonate with your listeners. Your message should imply concern for others. As the saying goes, “walk a mile in their shoes” to understand what’s important to the people you are communicating with.

Consider timing. There is a time and a place for everything. When you are aware of the events or emotional state of those you are communicating with, you can improve the timing of your message. Appropriate timing means you have taken the person and occasion into consideration and know when to share your message.

Master the art of listening. The most adept communicators are experts at listening and reading between the lines. Mastering the art of listening isn’t easy. You will most likely feel tempted to share your own insights, opinions or assumptions while listening to someone. Avoid commentary or interjecting. Instead, ask open ended follow-up questions. This provides evidence that you are hearing and listening to the person. It shows your respect for the person speaking and for the information they are sharing. Practicing good listening skills will help you gain the respect of those you encounter.

Earn respect and trust. Earning respect and trust from your colleagues, managers and customers doesn’t happen automatically. Your title and role don’t give you any special privileges. If you work hard to exceed expectations and deliver with integrity, you are on your way to establishing the right to be trusted. Consistently repeat these steps to earn the right to be heard.

All these things probably sound familiar. You’ve read them before. What you really want is concrete help in improving your communication. There are thousands of books on the topic of communication. These self-help books can arm you with more insight and tools to improve your understanding of the intricacies of communication, but there is nothing as powerful as practicing what you learn.

Here’s how to develop your communication skills:

Learn from mentors. Enlist help from managers or leaders you respect. These mentors can provide constructive feedback and real-time coaching.

Watch TED Talks. Learn how to present by watching innovative thinkers featured in TED Talks. In 18 minutes or less, these videos capture presentations of great communicators. Since 2006, TED has been hosting conferences and events centered around science, technology, business, culture, art and design to share – as TED puts it – “Ideas Worth Spreading.”

Join Toastmasters International. Join a Toastmasters club, and build your skills in a “learn-by-doing” meeting. Toastmasters International has been around 90 years helping members improve their communication, public speaking and leadership skills.

Attend a Dale Carnegie program. Go to one of Dale Carnegie’s well-known leadership development programs, which are based on his legendary book, “How to Win Friends & Influence People.” According to the Dale Carnegie Training website, these programs teach you how to: “strengthen interpersonal relationships, manage stress and handle fast-changing workplace conditions.” The description continues: “You’ll develop more effective communication skills and be better equipped to perform as a persuasive communicator, problem-solver and focused leader. And you’ll develop a take-charge attitude initiated with confidence and enthusiasm.”

Hannah Morgan writes and speaks on career topics and job search trends on her blog Career Sherpa. She co-authored “Social Networking for Business Success,” and has developed and delivered programs to help job seekers understand how to look for work better.

Master This One Skill And It Will Take You Far.