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We Are Making Ebola Outbreaks Worse By Cutting Down Forests


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Mother Jones

We Are Making Ebola Outbreaks Worse By Cutting Down Forests

Epidemiologists explain how human activity helps spread the deadly virus in West Africa.

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How Blue Eyes Originated!


 

Close-up of a blue-eyed koala

Close-up of a blue-eyed koala (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

https://youtu.be/zPN6AGdGV0g

 

How Blue eyes Originated

 

http://aworldchaos.wordpress.com/2013/05/03/how-blue-eyes-originated/#more-19788

PicMonkey Collage

Everyone with blue eyes alive today – from Angelina Jolie to Wayne Rooney – can trace their ancestry back to one person who probably lived about 10,000 years ago in the Black Sea region, a study has found. Scientists studying the genetics of eye colour have discovered that more than 99.5 per cent of blue-eyed people who volunteered to have their DNA analysed have the same tiny mutation in the gene that determines the colour of the Iris.

This indicates that the mutation originated in just one person who became the ancestor of all subsequent people in the world with blue eyes, according to a study by Professor Hans Eiberg and colleagues at the University of Copenhagen.

The scientists are not sure when the mutation occurred but other evidence suggested it probably arose about 10,000 years ago when there was a rapid expansion of the human population in Europe as a result of the spread of agriculture from the Middle East.

“The mutations responsible for blue eye colour most likely originate from the north-west part of the Black Sea region, where the great agricultural migration of the northern part of Europe took place in the Neolithic periods about 6,000 to 10,000 years ago,” the researchers report in the journal Human Genetics.

Professor Eiberg said that brown is the “default” colour for human eyes which results from a build-up of the dark skin pigment, melanin. However, in northern Europe a mutation arose in a gene known as OCA2 that disrupted melanin production in the iris and caused the eye colour to become blue.

“Originally, we all had brown eyes,” said Professor Eiberg. “But a genetic mutation affecting the OCA2 gene in our chromosomes resulted in the creation of a ‘switch’ which literally turned off the ability to produce brown eyes.”

Variations in the colour of people’s eyes can be explained by the amount of melanin in the iris, but blue-eyed individuals only have a small degree of variation in the amount of melanin in their eyes, he said.

“From this we can conclude that all blue-eyed individuals are linked to the same ancestor. They have all inherited the same switch at exactly the same spot in their DNA,” said Professor Eiberg.

Men and women with blue eyes have almost exactly the same genetic sequence in the part of the DNA responsible for eye colour. However, brown-eyed people, by contrast, have a considerable amount of individual variation in that area of DNA.

Professor Eiberg said he has analysed the DNA of about 800 people with blue eyes, ranging from fair-skinned, blond-haired Scandinavians to dark-skinned, blue-eyed people living in Turkey and Jordan.

“All of them, apart from possibly one exception, had exactly the same DNA sequence in the region of the OCA2 gene. This to me indicates very strongly that there must have been a single, common ancestor of all these people,” he said.

It is not known why blue eyes spread among the population of northern Europe and southern Russia. Explanations include the suggestions that the blue eye colour either offered some advantage in the long hours of daylight in the summer, or short hours of daylight in winter, or that the trait was deemed attractive and therefore advantageous in terms of sexual selection.

Source The Independent

Mortality Increase From Alzheimer´s Disease in U.S. within last 10 Years


Talesfromthelou’s Blog – copied:

Mortality Increase From Alzheimer’s Disease in the United States within the last 10 Years. Data for 2000 and 2010

Fascinating data from the Center for Disease Control.  A generation ago we could not even spell Alzheimer’s. It now looks like we are facing an avalanche of seniors losing their minds, and their lives, in later years.  You better believe that I will be looking for all preventative methods and cures for this dreaded degeneration of the brain.  I have seen what it does and it has no dignity. Lou

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States

NCHS Data Briefs Update.

In 2010, Alzheimer’s disease was the underlying cause for a total of 83,494 deaths and was classified as a contributing cause for an additional 26,488 deaths. Mortality from Alzheimer’s disease has steadily increased during the last 30 years. Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and the fifth leading cause for people aged 65 years and over. An estimated 5.4 million persons in the United States have Alzheimer’s disease. The cost of health care for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia was estimated to be 200 billion dollars in 2012, including 140 billion dollars in costs to Medicare and Medicaid and is expected to reach 1.1 trillion dollars in 2050.

Alzheimer’s disease mortality varies by age, sex, race, Hispanic origin, and geographic area. This report presents mortality data on Alzheimer’s disease based on data from the National Vital Statistics System from 2000 through 2010, the most recent year for which detailed data are available.

Key findings

Data from the National Vital Statistics System

  • The age-adjusted death rate from Alzheimer’s disease increased by 39 percent from 2000 through 2010 in the United States.
  • Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and is the fifth leading cause among people aged 65 years and over. People aged 85 years and over have a 5.4 times greater risk of dying from Alzheimer’s disease than people aged 75–84 years.
  • The risk of dying from Alzheimer’s disease is 26 percent higher among the non-Hispanic white population than among the non-Hispanic black population, whereas the Hispanic population has a 30 percent lower risk than the non-Hispanic white population.
  • In 2010, among all states and the District of Columbia, 31 states showed death rates from Alzheimer’s disease that were above the national rate (25.1).

Keywords: dementia, National Vital Statistics System, death rate, aging

Alzheimer’s disease mortality increased compared with selected major causes of death.

Figure 1 is a bar chart showing percent change in age-adjusted death rates for the selected causes of death between 2000 and 2010.

Full article:

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db116.htm

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A giant iceberg has been blamed for the death of an estimated 150,000 penguins in Antarctica.


A giant iceberg has killed 150,000 penguins, say scientistsWe all love penguins, so this is sad news (Picture: Getty)

A giant iceberg has been blamed for the death of an estimated 150,000 penguins in Antarctica.

The animals have died over the last five years after the giant slab of ice – which is the size of Rome – lodged near their home.

It means penguins have to walk 60km, or 37 miles, to get food from the sea.

Research by the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales in Australia found the once 160,000-strong colony of Adelie penguins has dwindled to just 10,000.

….

http://metro.co.uk/2016/02/13/a-giant-iceberg-has-killed-150000-penguins-say-scientists-5679887/

​Native American burial ground, village site destroyed for luxury California homes


Source: ​Native American burial ground, village site destroyed for luxury California homes

 

California condor.(AFP Photo / David McNew)

A 4,500-year-old Native American burial ground and village site was found in California, but the contents were eventually destroyed, reburied, and paved over for construction of multimillion-dollar homes, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Archaeologists say the 300-foot-long Coast Miwok site held 600 human burials as well as tools, rare hunting materials, musical instruments, game pieces, ritualistic stone objects, animal remains, the largest collection of bear bones found in a prehistoric site in the Bay Area, and even a ceremonial condor burial that suggested the bird was kept as a pet. The remnants were quietly examined and categorized but ultimately decimated and reburied at an undisclosed location, scientists say, ahead of construction on a $55 million home development in Larkspur, California.

“This was a site of considerable archaeological value,” said Dwight Simons, a consulting archaeologist who assessed bones at the site. “My estimate of bones and fragments in the entire site was easily over a million, and probably more than that. It was staggering.”

Several archaeologists familiar with the site said it was the “largest, best-preserved, most ethnologically rich American Indian site found in the Bay Area in at least a century,” The Chronicle wrote. Yet the carbon-dated record in the soil of the site is now long gone.

“It should have been protected,” said Jelmer Eerkens, a professor of archaeology at UC Davis who had visited the site. “The developers have the right to develop their land, but at least the information contained in the site should have been protected and samples should have been saved so that they could be studied in the future.”

Who is responsible and who had the right to claim the site’s contents, though, are in high dispute. The developers say supposed tribal descendants of the Miwok did not want to grounds to be studied or picked apart. Archaeologists say the developer demanded the scientists studying the grounds operate with a nondisclosure agreement, therefore keeping the contents of and plans for the site under wraps until it was too late to protest the development’s progression.

Larkspur Land 8 Owner LLC, the developer of the site, followed state rules in bringing in archaeologists and Native American monitors to study the remains before building began, they told The Chronicle.

For a year and a half, Holman & Associates Archaeological Consultants was hired to analyze the site. Members of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria – designated the most likely descendants of the indigenous people – joined the researchers. They decided the findings should be removed and reburied.

“The philosophy of the tribe in general is that we would like to protect our cultural resources and leave them as is,” said Nick Tipon, of the Sacred Sites Protection Committee of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria. “The notion that these cultural artifacts belong to the public is a colonial view.”

The developer, the city’s planning officials, and the archaeology consulting firm all put the decision on the shoulders of the tribal leaders.

“We coordinated the entire time with the tribe and the archaeological team to make sure it was a collaborative effort and that things were handled in accordance with the tribe’s wishes,” said Brian Olin, an official with a company associated with the development.

Cultural sites are often asked to be protected by American Indians, while archaeologists want to collect and preserve the artifacts. California and federal law attempts to balance the two concerns.

Nevertheless, the chairman for the 1,300-member tribe said it was nobody’s business what they wanted to do with the site.

“Our policy is that those things belong to us, end of story,” said Greg Sarris. “Let us worry about our own preservation. If we determine that they are sacred objects, we will rebury them because in our tradition many of those artifacts, be they beads, charm stones or whatever, go with the person who died. … How would Jewish or Christian people feel if we wanted to dig up skeletal remains in a cemetery and study them? Nobody has that right.”

Archaeologists maintain that something could have been done to preserve the shell mound. They say the developers’ secrecy in the process – possibly to avoid alarming prospective residents that their house rests on top of a Native burial ground – and prohibition against radiocarbon dating and DNA testing did not allow for confirmation of a genetic link to Graton Rancheria tribe members.

“In my 40 years as a professional archaeologist, I’ve never heard of an archaeological site quite like this one,” E. Breck Parkman, the senior archaeologist for the California State Parks, told The Chronicle. “A ceremonial condor burial, for example, is unheard of in California. This was obviously a very important place during prehistory.”

The site will include 42 senior housing units, eight senior cottage homes, six affordable-housing townhouses, and 29 single-family homes, The Chronicle reported. They are expected to sell for $1.9 million to $2.5 million starting this fall….

https://www.rt.com/usa/154704-native-burial-ground-destroy/

 

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