Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Karen Silkwood, pictured above, was a chemical technician employed at the Ker-McGee power plant in Crescent Oaklahoma. She became a part of the workers union and headed an investigation of health and safety at the plant. She discovered what she believed to be numerous violations of health regulations, including exposure of workers to contamination, faulty respiratory equipment and improper storage of samples. In the summer of 1974, Silkwood testified to the Atomic Energy Comission about these issues, alleging that safety standards had slipped because of production issues. She also alleged that Kerr-McGee employees handled the fuel rods improperly and that the company falsified inspection records. Sounds good so far, but following this she was mysteriously contaminated with plutonium on 3 consecutive days, each following a decontamination and without knowledge of a source of exposure. She reportedly had documentation of inadequate safety and was planning to give the evidence to a reporter. However, on her way to meet the reporter she was killed in a car accident, where no evidence against the power company was found, and drugs were found in her possession. The Erin Brokovich story is very similar in that a single person compiled evidence against a power (gas and electric) company that was improperly disposing of a waste that was contaminating ground water and afflicting a neighboring community.
The use of nuclear power as an energy source has been a controversy which has surrounded its widespread use in the U.S. for the provision of fuel for civilian purposes. The controversy peaked following the Three Mile Island incident in 1979. Nuclear energy is a sustainable energy source that reduces carbon emissions and increases energy security by decreasing dependence on foreign oil. Nuclear power produces considerably less air pollution, such as greenhouse gases and smog, than the burning of fossil fuel. However, these facts have been obscured and lost amongst the rhetoric and messages offered by the environmentalist movement. By using exploiting the fear many americans possess on the use of nuclear power and the events surrounding Three Mile Island, the environmentalist movement has paved the way for the continued use of inefficient pollution producing alternative sources of energy.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Trichinella spiralis

Is a nematode and the a causative agent of trichinosis. It is sometimes referred to as the "pork worm" due to it being found commonly in pork or rat products that are undercooked. species are the smallest nematode parasite of human.Trichinella spiralis is a parasitic nematode that has a direct life cycle, meaning that it completes all stages of development in one host. The larval forms of T. spinalis are encapsulated as a small cystic structure within the infected host. Human typically become infected when they eat improperly cooked pork or Trichinella infected meat. When a human eats the infected meat, the larvae are released from the nurse cells (due to stomach pH) and migrate to the intestine where they burrow into the intestinal mucosa, mature, and reproduce. Interestingly, juveniles within nurse cells have an anaerobic or facultative anaerobic metabolism but when they become activated adopt an aerobic metabolism characteristics of the adult. Female trichinella worms live for about six weeks and in that time can produce up to 1,500 larvae; where eventually a spent female dies and passes out of the host. The larvae can then gain access to the circulation and migrate around the body of the host. The migration and encystment of larvae can cause fever and pain brought upon by the host inflammatory response. In some cases migration to specific organ tissues can cause myocarditis that can result in death. Treatment usually requires an -azole pharmaceutical, such as mebendazole. It is present worldwide. Most common in parts of Europe and the United States.

Wuchereria Bancrofti

Red: endemic, Pink: unknown, Green: unaffected

Is a nematode and one source of lymphatic filariasis.Infective larvae are transmitted by infected biting arthropods during a blood meal. The larvae migrate to the appropriate site of the host's body, where they develop into microfilariae-producing adults. The adults dwell in various human tissues where they can live for several years. The agents of lymphatic filariasis reside in lymphatic vessels and lymph nodes.The female worms produce microfilariae which circulate in the blood The microfilariae infect biting arthropods (mosquitoes for the agents of lymphatic filariasis). Inside the arthropod, the microfilariae develop in 1 to 2 weeks into infective filariform (third-stage) larvae. During a subsequent blood meal by the insect, the larvae infect the vertebrate host. They migrate to the appropriate site of the host's body, where they develop into adults. Wuchereria bancrofti is encountered in tropical areas worldwide. W. bancrofti largely affects areas across the broad equatorial belt.

Naegleria fowleri

A) Computed tomographic scan: note the right fronto-basal collection (arrow) with a midline shift right to left. B) Brain histology: three large clusters of amebic vegetative forms are seen (H-E stain, x 250). Inset: Positive indirect immunofluorescent analysis on tissue section with anti– Naegleria fowleri serum.

A free living unicellular eukaryote protist. Typically found in warm fresh water sources such as rivers, lakes, and ponds. The life cycle includes three forms: Flagellate, trophozoite (infectious and reproductive stage), and cyst. Naegleria infects people by entering the body through the nose. Generally, this occurs when people use warm freshwater for activities like swimming or diving. The ameba travels up the nose to the brain and spinal cord where it destroys the brain tissue. Infections do not occur as a result of drinking contaminated water.Naegleria fowleri is found around the world. In the United States, it has caused infections in 15 southern tier states (AR, AZ, CA, FL, GA, LA, MO, MS, NC, NM, NV, OK, SC, TX, and VA). The ameba grows best in warm or hot water.Several drugs are effective against Naegleria in the laboratory. However, their effectiveness is unclear since almost all infections have been fatal even when people were treated.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Science and Public Policy Institute

"SPPI’s authoritative Monthly CO2 Report for July 2009 announces the publication of a major paper by Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT, demonstrating by direct measurement that outgoing long-wave radiation is escaping to space far faster than the UN predicts, showing that the UN has exaggerated global warming 6-fold.Report, page 3."


Discovery Channel's "The Universe: Secrets of the Sun"

Easy to understand over-view of sun spots/solar flares/cosmic radiation


Medieval Global Temperature Optimum (MGTO) and Little Ice Age (LIA)

The MGTO was a a period of climatic history occurring from roughly 700-1300 AD. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), temperatures during this period (especially in the North Atlantic) were higher than they are today. This period was followed by the LIA from roughly (1560-1830) in which climate temperatures were lower than they are today. Sunspot activity/data has correlated with the LIA which has posed questions as to the validity of greenhouse effects on recent temperature/climate changes.

The Hockey Stick Graph

The hockey stick graph is a depiction of temperature measurements from 1000-2000 AD. The measurements used before 1900 were from "tree rings" and thereafter were "surface temperature readings." Both completely different/unequal/incongruent measurements highlighted an increase in northern hemisphere temperatures and neglected the existenc of the Global Warm Period and the Little Ice Age. The research paper this graph was included in was widely accepted without criticism (at first) including acceptance by the IPCC.

Effects of Little Ice Age on European Society

    1. Growing season shortened by 15-20% which may have led to famines in areas.

    2. Rising costs of agricultural products

    3. Grain, if stored in cool, damp conditions, may develop a fungus known as ergot blight and also may ferment just enough to produce a drug similar to LSD.

    4. The Black Death (Bubonic Plague) was hastened by malnutrition all over Europe.

    5. In England, the effect of starvation and the poor condition of the country encouraged men to enlist during the War of the Roses (1455-1485.) As tillable land was converted to other uses such as sheep rearing, the landlords who organized the conversions became the focus of many hostilities.