Page 1 of 628   Next›  Last» 

How Your Innocent Smartphone Passes On Your Entire Life To The Secret Service
Holland Created: 30 Jul 2014
Intelligence services collect metadata on the communication of all citizens - Politicians would have us believe that this data doesn’t say all that much. A reader of De Correspondent put this to the test and demonstrated otherwise: metadata reveals a lot more about your life than you think.

Ton Siedsma is nervous. He made the decision weeks ago, but keeps postponing it. It’s the 11th of November, a cold autumn evening. At ten past eight (20:10:48 to be exact), while passing Elst station on the way home, he activates the app. It will track all of his phone’s metadata over the coming week.
Metadata is not the actual content of the communication, but the data about the communication; like the numbers he calls or whatsapps, and where his phone is at a particular moment. Whom he e-mails, the subject of the e-mails and the websites he visits.

Ton won’t be doing anything out of the ordinary. He’ll just lead his normal life.
On weekdays, this means biking from his house in Nijmegen to the station and taking the train to Amsterdam.
On Saturday, he’ll drive his car to Den Bosch and spend the night near Zuiderpark, returning to Nijmegen the next day by public transportation. Later on in the day he’ll have some drinks at a café called St. Anna.

*SNIP* read the entire analysis at the source link below (PDF) ...
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Netzpolitik / Bit of Freedom, Dimitri Tokmetzis, 28 Jul 2014

Cell Towers, Antennas Problematic for Property Buyers
USA Created: 29 Jul 2014
An overwhelming 94 percent of home buyers and renters surveyed by the National Institute for Science, Law & Public Policy (NISLAPP) say they are less interested and would pay less for a property located near a cell tower or antenna.

What's more, of the 1,000 survey respondents, 79 percent said that under no circumstances would they ever purchase or rent a property within a few blocks of a cell tower or antennas, and almost 90 percent said they were concerned about the increasing number of cell towers and antennas in their residential neighborhood.

The survey, “Neighborhood Cell Towers & Antennas—Do They Impact a Property’s Desirability?” also found that properties where a cell tower or group of antennas are placed on top of or attached to a building (condominium high-rise, for instance) is problematic for buyers.

“A study of real estate sales prices would be beneficial at this time in the Unites States to determine what discounts home buyers are currently placing on properties near cell towers and antennas,” says Jim Turner, chair of NISLAPP.

The NISLAPP survey echoes the findings of a study by Sandy Bond of the New Zealand Property Institute and past president of the Pacific Rim Real Estate Society (PRRES). "The Impact of Cell Phone Towers on House Prices in Residential Neighborhoods," which was published in The Appraisal Journal in 2006, found that buyers would pay as much as 20 percent less for a property near a cell tower or antenna.

Source: “Neighborhood Cell Towers & Antennas—Do They Impact a Property’s Desirability?” National Institute for Science, Law & Public Policy (June 2014)
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Daily Real Estate News, 25 Jul 2014

Skolepigers karseforsøg gik verden rundt: Nu har forskere gentaget forsøget
Denmark Created: 27 Jul 2014
Fem piger fra Nordjylland lavede det populære karseforsøg, og nu har forskere gentaget forsøget - Det viser chokerende resultater, og pigerne er stolte af det.

Fem piger på Hjallerup skole i Nordjylland havde aldrig i deres liv drømt om, at deres karseforsøg skulle gå verden rundt. Men det gjorde det.

Forsøget gik i sin tid ud på, at pigerne satte seks bakker karsefrø ind i et rum uden stråling, og seks bakker ind i et andet rum ved siden af to routere, der cirka havde samme type stråling som en almindelig mobil.

Det viste sig, at efter 12 dage med observering, måling og vejning, at karsefrøene ved siden af routeren ikke var vokset, og nogle af karsefrøene endda var døde.

Forsøget fik så meget opmærksomhed, at dr.dk-artiklen om pigernes forsøg pt. ligger på førstepladsen over de historisk mest 'likede' artikler på de sociale medier ifølge forskningsprojektet 'I Like'.

Og forsøget har optaget pigernes biologilærer lige siden. Han var selv overrasket over pigernes dramatiske resultater.

- Det er jo egentlig forfærdeligt, at man ikke er mere opmærksom på, hvad stråling kan gøre. Jeg ved ud fra flere forsøg nu, at det kan indikere fare, fortæller Kim Horsevad, biologilærer på Hjallerup Skole.

Han forklarer, at han blev kontaktet af mange udenlandske medier og forskere, efter pigerne stoppede på skolen.

- Det er jo herligt, og jeg er meget taknemmelig for at have været med til at undervise så dygtige elever.

Forsøg i udlandet med samme resultater
Efterfølgende er der foretaget mange lignende forsøg med elektromagnetisk stråling, fortæller biologilæreren.

- Der har været et hvidløgsforsøg i Canada, hvor økologiske hvidløg blev udsat for stråling, og omkring 40 procent af dem opnåede ikke samme kvalitet som dem uden stråling.

- Også lignende forsøg blev lavet i Holland, hvor man såede asketræer i nærheden af vejarbejde, som så havde svært ved at gro, siger han.

Ifølge Kim Horsevad kan han tale længe om forsøg i samme boldgade blandt andet med myrer, bier, bananfluer og planter.

En af dem, som valgte at gennemføre præcis samme forsøg som pigernes, men på et højere videnskabeligt plan, er svenske lektor Olle Johansson fra Karolinska Institutet i Stockholm.

- Vi så på pigernes imponerende resultater, så vi var nogle forskere, der gerne ville påvise endnu bedre studier på dette område. Det var dog svært at få økonomisk støtte til projektet, men det lykkedes dog alligevel, siger Olle Johansson, lektor på afdelingen for neurologi, til Ekstra Bladet.

Stråling påvirker menneske-hjernen
Han forklarer, at forsøget og resultaterne først bliver offentliggjort i en rapport i 2015, men at han allerede nu kan afsløre dramatiske resultater.

- Til vores store overraskelse, så kan vi genkende samme billede som pigernes. Vi var meget omhyggelige og gjorde vores bedste. Vi prøvede at bytte om på karsen med/uden stråling, og strålingen havde en ekstrem effekt på karsen, så snart den blev udsat for det, fortæller forskeren.

Ifølge Olle Johansson, så er han både bekymret, men også skræmt over, hvordan elektromagnetisk stråling kan påvirke naturen, dyr og mennesket i fremtiden.

- Hvad kan resultatet betyde for mennesker?

- For hver dag bliver jeg mere og mere bekymret i takt med, at flere og flere forsøg viser samme resultater. Man har blandt andet lavet forsøg med myrer, som flytter deres æg og hjem, hvis de bliver udsat for stråling, og laver området til et toilet i stedet, men det er jo ikke let for mennesker.

- Uanset hvor man befinder som menneske, så bliver vi udsat for konstant stråling, som er umuligt at bevæge sig væk fra. Ser man på menneskelige studier, så kan stråling påvirke hjernen.

Derfor overrasker det lektoren mest, at folk ikke tager disse forsøg seriøst nok. Her tænker han på blandt andet på politikerne og myndighederne -og ikke forældrene.

- De burde arbejde for befolkningen. Hvor mange gange skal disse forsøg laves før nogle lytter og tror på det?, men ingen gør noget, og det er skræmmende, mener han.

Olle Johansson bedste råd til mennesket er at undgå stråling fra mobil og andet teknisk udstyr om natten.

- Mange studier viser, hvordan stråling påvirker søvnkvaliteten. Det er et stort problem, som man bør tage seriøst.

Pigerne er stolte
Ekstra Bladet har talt med både Lea Nielsen og Mathilde Nielsen, som blandt andet var med til at lave karseforsøget. De er begge overraskede over, at nogle af de dygtigste forskere i verden, på dette området, har gentaget deres eksperiment og lavet lignende forsøg.

- Det er jo vildt. Vi var selv meget overraskede over forsøget, men endnu mere overrasket over, at det blev så omtalt, fortæller Lea Nielsen, som efter sommerferien skal på Dronninglund Gymnasium.

- Jeg sigter mod at blive dyrlæge, men jeg er ikke sikker. Men jeg har valgt naturvidenskabelige fag på højt niveau, siger hun og afviser ikke, at hun skal lave flere videnskabelige forsøg i fremtiden.

Mathilde Nielsen skal på samme gymnasium efter et år på efterskole.

- Det er vildt, at det kan blive ved, siger hun og forklarer, at selv om de alle fem piger blev spredt fra alle vinde sidste år, så er de løbende blevet kontaktet, når lignende forsøg i udlandet er blevet foretaget.

- Vi er da stolte, for det er stort, at folk eksempelvis i USA taler om vores karseforsøg, griner hun.

Sidste år fik pigerne 5. pladsen for deres karseforsøg i konkurrencen 'Unge Forskere'.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Ekstra Bladet, Lærke Kjær, 27 Jul 2014

1979: Neurophysiologic Effects Of Radiofrequency And Microwave Radiation, by W. Ross ADEY, M.D.
USA Created: 25 Jul 2014
OVER the past five years awareness has been increasing among neurobiologists of ways in which information is processed in brain tissue.

Three lines of recent evidence are sharply at variance with most of what we learned in medical school about information transaction in central nervous tissue.

The first line of evidence indicates that cell-to-cell communication between brain cells probably involves only slow waves in much of these interactions. The second is that brain cells sense electric fields in their own environment and that these fields are far below those electric gradients associated with synaptic processes. Specifically, I shall address the apparent role of the oscillating electric fields in the fluid around cells as an element in transaction of information.

The third line of investigation is even more remote from classical biochemistry and physiology of brain tissue, in that it addresses the virtual certainty that at least some classes of information transaction at the surfaces of brain cells involve nonequilibrium processes. Under that impressive term is subsumed the simple concept that we no longer think of ions massively transferred from one side of a membrane to another in the initial steps of excitation, but rather that there are forms of resonant interaction between ions located at binding sites on membrane charge sites, surface macromolecules, and that they "see" one another at considerable atomic distances. Given these three lines of evidence that may help us understand some aspects of field interactions with brain tissue, what should we look for in central nervous interactions with an impressed electromagnetic field?
First, we should seek a structural substrate in the anatomy of cerebral tissue. Second, we should search for physiological and biochemical effects, and, third, we should seek behavioral correlates.

*SNIP* download the entire paper via the source link below...
Click here to view the source article.
Source: U.S. National Institute of Health National Library of Medicine / PMC, W. Ross ADEY, M.D., Dec 1979

Phone mast work starts before planning permission granted
United Kingdom Created: 24 Jul 2014
A homeowner has spoken out against a mobile phone giant for disregarding planning procedures before installing new antennas.

Mum Rebecca Pitman was astonished when engineers started work on the chimney of the listed Brock Barracks building in West Reading before she had a chance to comment on the planning application.

Vodafone said it believed permission was likely to be granted by planners at Reading Borough Council but the council has ordered the company to cease further works.

Mrs Pitman, who can see the offending items at the bottom of her back garden in Wilson Road, said: “In the barracks I saw these guys with a cherry picker and I asked what they were doing and they said they were replacing the antennas.

“I phoned the council and they have had a planning application but it hasn’t been determined.

“Then I got my letter from the council later that day about the application saying I have until August 4 to give a comment.”

Mrs Pitman said she was told by a planning officer at the council there was nothing it could do about the phone company jumping the gun.

The application from CTIL, a joint venture between Vodafone and O2, is for the removal of the existing three antennas to be replaced with three new antennas on existing mounting brackets painted to match the existing brickwork.

But Mrs Pitman said they do not match.

She said: “The ones they had on there previously, although I could see them, were quite well camouflaged in the brick colour.

“The new ones are darker and are less discreet.”

Jane Frapwell, of Vodafone UK, said: “An application was submitted to the council to change the antennas on our existing site at Brock Barracks.

“The new antennas are same length but slightly narrower.

“We applied to make these changes six weeks ago and whilst planning permission has not yet been formally granted, as this change will not affect the appearance of the site, our understanding is that it is likely to be granted.”

But council spokeswoman Anna Fowler said: “Mobile phone antennas have been located in Brock Barracks for several years.

“Recently, the council received planning applications from Vodafone to replace the existing three antennas with three upgrades of a similar size.

“Although these applications are still under consideration, it appears that one or more of these antennas have already been installed by either Vodafone or CTIL.

“The council has spoken to Vodafone’s agent and has asked them not to undertake any further works until we have thoroughly assessed the current applications.”

Mrs Pitman was among a group of neighbours who campaigned against more phone masts being installed on Brock Barracks in 2010, with the support of Reading West MP Alok Sharma and nearby Wilson Primary School.

She said: “It’s a listed building. They should never have been allowed to put them on that chimney in the first place.”
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Get Reading, David Millward, 24 Jul 2014

BREAKTHROUGH: EHS acknowledged as an occupational disease in Germany!
Germany Created: 23 Jul 2014
Court rejects Governments "no proof" rubbish claims and accept testimony of independent scientists Von-Klitzing and Hecht.


EHS of a former German Army Radar-mechanic acknowledged as occupational disease by the court of appeal for administrative litigation in German state Schleswig-Holstein (Schleswig-Holsteinisches Oberverwaltungsgericht)
3 LB 21/11, September 13, 2012

The plaintiff worked for the German army (Bundeswehr) from 1970 to 1992 as a mechanic for Radar systems. While working he was exposed to ionizing and non-ionizing radiation. Since 1973 the plaintiff suffered from inflammation, infectious diseases and palpitations. From 1976 he also suffered from agitation, sleep disorders, fatigue, lack of concentration and extreme forgetfulness, extreme headaches, disorder of the immune system, food allergies and other allergic symptoms, non-functioning eyesight, sweats, exhaustion until mid 90ies.

The plaintiff was diagnosed with EHS and treated in two clinics in 1993. In 1994 the Federal Republic of Germany as his employer rejected to acknowledge his illness as an occupational disease claiming there is no proof that his symptoms are caused by the exposure. In 1994, the plaintiff was pensioned off.

The plaintiff filed a law-suit against the Federal Republic as his former employer to the court for administrative litigation in Schleswig to get this acknowledgement. He gave the court several reports of experts who examined his or other Radar-Mechanics conditions. As the court granted the plaintiff´s suit the defendant filed an appeal to the higher court, arguing that committees and experts- the WHO, the ICNIRP and the German committee for the protection of radiation (Strahlenschutzkommission – SSK) are of the opinion that EMF-exposure below standards does not cause any physical harm.

The plaintiff sent the court Prof. em. Prof. Dr. Dr. med. Karl Hecht´s study from 2001 on „Effects of EMF“ as well as a report by medicine physicist Dr. rer nat Lebrecht von Klitzing on the biological effects of pulsed high frequency waves below standards as well as a synopsis by Prof. Hecht from 2005 that explained that the majority of personnel exposed to radiation suffered from the symptoms of what is called the „microwave syndrom“. The court appointed another expert who reported in 2005 and 2006 that the plaintiff´s symptoms are not caused by ionizing or non-ionizing radiation or a combination of both. After hearing several other expert witnesses – among them Prof. em. Prof. Dr. Dr. Karl Hecht and Dr. rer. nat. Lebrecht von Klitzing – the court appointed another expert and – after another hearing – obliged the defendant to acknowledge the plaintiffs request in a verdict from August 20th, 2008.

On appeal, the highest federal court in administrative matters (Bundesverwaltungsgericht) declared that the decision violated federal law as the court had not taken enough efforts to research the facts. The court of appeal than appointed a third expert who stated that it was possible to proof the causation of the plaintiff´s exposure and his disease. The court ruled again in favor of the plaintiff and also ruled that another appeal is not permitted. The defendant´s complaint against this to the highest federal court was not successful. In consequence, the acknowledgement is now legally binding.

+++++

Note that the Court rejected the Gov expert opinion including the reliance on ICNIRP & the WHO and their claim that... there is no proof of biological harms and instead accepted Prof. Hecht and Prof. Von-Klitzing testimony.


THIS IS HUGE! I hope it brings you some hope!

+++++

N.B. Just note the big legal difference between Germany (EHS = occupational disease) and Sweden (EHS = functional impairment [with it’s symptoms classified as an occupationally-related symptom-based diagnosis (code ICD-10) by the Nordic Council of Ministers since 2000. DIVS: 2000:839; ISBN: 92-893-0559-2 http://www.nordclass.uu.se/verksam/yrke_s.htm ]).


Best regards
Yours
Olle

(Olle Johansson, associate professor
The Experimental Dermatology Unit
Department of Neuroscience
Karolinska Institute
171 77 Stockholm
Sweden)
Source: Prof. Olle Johanssen, via email, 23 Jul 2014

Canada Considers Input on Wi Fi Safety, Wireless Health Concerns
Canada Created: 22 Jul 2014
The open window for public input on wireless radiation and RF safety in Canada has closed, but the debate about possible negative health impacts from using wireless devices rages on.

Health Canada closed its consultation and comment period last week. Having noted a significant stakeholder interest in RF safety, the government agency encouraged interested parties to provide commentary and make suggestions about Wi-Fi safety, wireless device usage and related health concerns.

Health Canada says it will finalize and publish a revised Safety Code 6, its set of guidelines and suggestions for the safe use of electromagnetic devices, this fall.

That’s the good news.

But others say bad news is also contained in the government’s announcement: the call for input clearly stated that only feedback of a scientific nature will be considered as Health Canada looks at Safety Code 6.

Important information and input could be missed in that case, such as that offered by Toronto’s City Council, which has encouraged Health Canada to “revise Safety Code 6 so that it meets international best practices, in consultation with the public and appropriate experts”.

It could also mean that information provided by wireless device manufacturers is ignored – many user manuals and product spec sheet do contain recommendations for device use with suggested minimum distances between the body and the device.

Or the information presented by health and safety organizations with a mandate to properly train workers should they encounter RF as part of their job duties. That surely includes those who work on and around communications towers and transmission facilities, but RF can be encountered by many other workers, including roofers, HVAC professionals, window washers, heavy equipment operators, landscapers, plumbers, and manufacturing personnel.

Perhaps input from careful manufacturers, city councillors, worker/trainers or even regional school boards is not the kind of scientific input the government agency is looking for, yet regulators are still wary of changes to the regulations or to devices themselves, no matter the motivation – industry representatives have said that, in order to bring Code 6 up to some higher standard, consumer costs related to cellphone usage and mobile device purchases could go up.

In any event, Health Canada did receive input from over twenty specialists, as tabled in a press conference they held prior to the consultation’s closing date.

The event was coordinated by Citizens for Safe Technology, C4ST, a not for profit advocacy group pushing for greater awareness of wireless related health hazards, and more stringent government rules and regulations regarding wireless use and deployment.

Frank Clegg, a former head of Microsoft Canada, leads the group, which he says has made submissions to Health Canada as well as tabling information at the public event.

(Clegg’s term at Microsoft was more than ten years ago, at a time when wireless devices were not as ubiquitous as today. Nevertheless, some find it ironic at best that a former tech leader is now taking an ‘anti-tech’ position.

Clegg is sensitive to the charge: “I do regret, quite truthfully, the ‘push’ we made back then to get the technology into schools. I know more now than I did then,” he acknowledges.)

He’s learned from many physicians, researchers and scientists over the years, and more than a dozen of the doctors who joined him at the press confernce are speialists in the field of environmental medicine, including a past President of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, and the group includes professors of medicine from the Universities of Toronto, British Columbia, Ottawa and McMaster.

The doctors do cite scientific evidence they say now points to the probability that low level microwave radiation from cell phones, Wi-Fi and cell towers can cause a range of health problems, including infertility and cancer.

The doctors are encouraged by reports of on-going international studies, and supported by international experts in biology and microwave radiation who agree that Health Canada must update its safety guidelines in order to better protect Canadians, and especially children.

“Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 is based on an obsolete account and analysis of Radiofrequency Radiation research,” said Dr. David Carpenter MD, PhD, Director, Department of Public Health, State University of New York, Albany. It has “disregarded or minimized certain recent studies” he added, about “detrimental biological and health effects in humans that occur at radiation levels far below the existing Safety Code 6 Guideline”.

But the assembled Health Canada panel that looked at the code concluded its published limits “are science-based and … designed to avoid all known hazards of radiofrequency radiation,” said panel chair Paul Demers, director of the Occupational Cancer Research Centre in Toronto.

However, the panel has noted (even as controversy swirls around its mandate and membership) that Health Canada should look more closely at research into whether radiofrequency waves from wireless devices such as smartphones are linked to cancer.

“That certainly is one of the areas that has arisen as a concern,” Demers said.

Safety Code 6, also referred to as Limits of Human Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Energy in the Frequency Range from 3 kHz to 300 GHz, contains Health Canada guidelines and limits for safe human exposure to radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic fields (EMF).

Health Canada has said its 2014 proposed revisions will make Canada a global leader in putting in place conservative science-based limits.

Of course, true science is not a popularity contest, according to noted physician, researcher, author and academic W.Ross Adey. MD. Back in 1979 – 1979! – he authored a paper entitled ‘Neurophysiologic Effects of Radiofrequency and Microwave Radiation’.

His work certainly showed some impacts from low frequency radiation on brain function, biological states and cognitive behaviours, although interestingly enough, it seems he could see both negative consequences and potential therapeutic value.

Either way, with no cellphones to use, he neverthless could hear the future calling, and he warned of its arrival: “Future research may indicate that long-term human exposure to these particular low-frequency characteristics should be avoided or carefully controlled.”

Clegg says his group is not waiting for that future, or for the new Code 6.

He has asked the Minister responsible for a direct meeting with his group well in advance of the expected fall release, and he hopes to receive a reply within a few weeks.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Whats Your Tech, Lee Rickwood, 21 Jul 2014

Why children absorb more microwave radiation than adults: The consequences
USA Created: 19 Jul 2014
Highlights: Children absorb more microwave radiation (MWR) than adults. MWR is a Class 2B (possible) carcinogen. The fetus is in greater danger than children from exposure to MWR.The legal exposure limits have remained unchanged for decades. Cellphone manuals warnings and the 20 cm rule for tablets/laptops violate the “normal operating position” regulation.

Abstract:

Computer simulation using MRI scans of children is the only possible way to determine the microwave radiation (MWR) absorbed in specific tissues in children. Children absorb more MWR than adults because their brain tissues are more absorbent, their skulls are thinner and their relative size is smaller. MWR from wireless devices has been declared a possible human carcinogen. Children are at greater risk than adults when exposed to any carcinogen. Because the average latency time between first exposure and diagnosis of a tumor can be decades, tumors induced in children may not be diagnosed until well into adulthood. The fetus is particularly vulnerable to MWR. MWR exposure can result in degeneration of the protective myelin sheath that surrounds brain neurons. MWR-emitting toys are being sold for use by young infants and toddlers. Digital dementia has been reported in school age children. A case study has shown when cellphones are placed in teenage girls’ bras multiple primary breast cancer develop beneath where the phones are placed. MWR exposure limits have remained unchanged for 19 years. All manufacturers of smartphones have warnings which describe the minimum distance at which phone must be kept away from users in order to not exceed the present legal limits for exposure to MWR. The exposure limit for laptop computers and tablets is set when devices are tested 20 cm away from the body. Belgium, France, India and other technologically sophisticated governments are passing laws and/or issuing warnings about children's use of wireless devices.

The study is Open Access via the source link below...
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Journal of Microscopy and Ultrastructure, Devra Davis et al, 15 Jul 2014

Meet the electric life forms that live on pure energy
USA Created: 18 Jul 2014
Unlike any other life on Earth, these extraordinary bacteria use energy in its purest form – they eat and breathe electrons – and they are everywhere.

STICK an electrode in the ground, pump electrons down it, and they will come: living cells that eat electricity. We have known bacteria to survive on a variety of energy sources, but none as weird as this. Think of Frankenstein's monster, brought to life by galvanic energy, except these "electric bacteria" are very real and are popping up all over the place.

Unlike any other living thing on Earth, electric bacteria use energy in its purest form – naked electricity in the shape of electrons harvested from rocks and metals. We already knew about two types, Shewanella and Geobacter. Now, biologists are showing that they can entice many more out of rocks and marine mud by tempting them with a bit of electrical juice. Experiments growing bacteria on battery electrodes demonstrate that these novel, mind-boggling forms of life are essentially eating and excreting electricity.

That should not come as a complete surprise, says Kenneth Nealson at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. We know that life, when you boil it right down, is a flow of electrons: "You eat sugars that have excess electrons, and you breathe in oxygen that willingly takes them." Our cells break down the sugars, and the electrons flow through them in a complex set of chemical reactions until they are passed on to electron-hungry oxygen.

In the process, cells make ATP, a molecule that acts as an energy storage unit for almost all living things. Moving electrons around is a key part of making ATP. "Life's very clever," says Nealson. "It figures out how to suck electrons out of everything we eat and keep them under control." In most living things, the body packages the electrons up into molecules that can safely carry them through the cells until they are dumped on to oxygen.

"That's the way we make all our energy and it's the same for every organism on this planet," says Nealson. "Electrons must flow in order for energy to be gained. This is why when someone suffocates another person they are dead within minutes. You have stopped the supply of oxygen, so the electrons can no longer flow."

The discovery of electric bacteria shows that some very basic forms of life can do away with sugary middlemen and handle the energy in its purest form – electrons, harvested from the surface of minerals. "It is truly foreign, you know," says Nealson. "In a sense, alien."

Nealson's team is one of a handful that is now growing these bacteria directly on electrodes, keeping them alive with electricity and nothing else – neither sugars nor any other kind of nutrient. The highly dangerous equivalent in humans, he says, would be for us to power up by shoving our fingers in a DC electrical socket.

To grow these bacteria, the team collects sediment from the seabed, brings it back to the lab, and inserts electrodes into it.

First they measure the natural voltage across the sediment, before applying a slightly different one. A slightly higher voltage offers an excess of electrons; a slightly lower voltage means the electrode will readily accept electrons from anything willing to pass them off. Bugs in the sediments can either "eat" electrons from the higher voltage, or "breathe" electrons on to the lower-voltage electrode, generating a current. That current is picked up by the researchers as a signal of the type of life they have captured.

"Basically, the idea is to take sediment, stick electrodes inside and then ask 'OK, who likes this?'," says Nealson.
Shocking breath

At the Goldschmidt geoscience conference in Sacramento, California, last month, Shiue-lin Li of Nealson's lab presented results of experiments growing electricity breathers in sediment collected from Santa Catalina harbour in California. Yamini Jangir, also from the University of Southern California, presented separate experiments which grew electricity breathers collected from a well in Death Valley in the Mojave Desert in California.

Over at the University of Minnesota in St Paul, Daniel Bond and his colleagues have published experiments showing that they could grow a type of bacteria that harvested electrons from an iron electrode (mBio, doi.org/tqg). That research, says Jangir's supervisor Moh El-Naggar, may be the most convincing example we have so far of electricity eaters grown on a supply of electrons with no added food.

But Nealson says there is much more to come. His PhD student Annette Rowe has identified up to eight different kinds of bacteria that consume electricity. Those results are being submitted for publication.

Nealson is particularly excited that Rowe has found so many types of electric bacteria, all very different to one another, and none of them anything like Shewanella or Geobacter. "This is huge. What it means is that there's a whole part of the microbial world that we don't know about."

Discovering this hidden biosphere is precisely why Jangir and El-Naggar want to cultivate electric bacteria. "We're using electrodes to mimic their interactions," says El-Naggar. "Culturing the 'unculturables', if you will." The researchers plan to install a battery inside a gold mine in South Dakota to see what they can find living down there.

NASA is also interested in things that live deep underground because such organisms often survive on very little energy and they may suggest modes of life in other parts of the solar system.

Electric bacteria could have practical uses here on Earth, however, such as creating biomachines that do useful things like clean up sewage or contaminated groundwater while drawing their own power from their surroundings. Nealson calls them self-powered useful devices, or SPUDs.

Practicality aside, another exciting prospect is to use electric bacteria to probe fundamental questions about life, such as what is the bare minimum of energy needed to maintain life.

For that we need the next stage of experiments, says Yuri Gorby, a microbiologist at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York: bacteria should be grown not on a single electrode but between two. These bacteria would effectively eat electrons from one electrode, use them as a source of energy, and discard them on to the other electrode.

Gorby believes bacterial cells that both eat and breathe electrons will soon be discovered. "An electric bacterium grown between two electrodes could maintain itself virtually forever," says Gorby. "If nothing is going to eat it or destroy it then, theoretically, we should be able to maintain that organism indefinitely."

It may also be possible to vary the voltage applied to the electrodes, putting the energetic squeeze on cells to the point at which they are just doing the absolute minimum to stay alive. In this state, the cells may not be able to reproduce or grow, but they would still be able to run repairs on cell machinery. "For them, the work that energy does would be maintaining life – maintaining viability," says Gorby.

How much juice do you need to keep a living electric bacterium going? Answer that question, and you've answered one of the most fundamental existential questions there is.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: New Scientist, Catherine Brahic, 16 Jul 2014

Do Interruptions Affect Quality of Work?
USA Created: 18 Jul 2014
Objective: The aim of this study was to determine if interruptions affect the quality of work - (short answer: YES!).

Background:
Interruptions are commonplace at home and in the office. Previous research in this area has traditionally involved time and errors as the primary measures of disruption. Little is known about the effect interruptions have on quality of work.

Method:
Fifty-four students outlined and wrote three essays using a within-subjects design. During Condition 1, interruptions occurred while participants were outlining. During Condition 2, interruptions occurred while they were writing. No interruptions occurred in Condition 3.

Results:
Quality of work was significantly reduced in both interruption conditions when compared to the non-interruption condition. The number of words produced was significantly reduced when participants were interrupted while writing the essay but not when outlining the essay.

Conclusion:
This research represents a crucial first step in understanding the effect interruptions have on quality of work. Our research suggests that interruptions negatively impact quality of work during a complex, creative writing task. Since interruptions are such a prevalent part of daily life, more research needs to be conducted to determine what other tasks are negatively impacted. Moreover, the underlying mechanism(s) causing these decrements needs to be identified. Finally, strategies and systems need to be designed and put in place to help counteract the decline in quality of work caused by interruptions.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Sage Journals / Human Factors, Foroughi et al.,22 Apr 2014

 Page 1 of 628   Next›  Last»