A motorist sits precariously on the Maple-Oregon Bridge in Sturgeon Bay after getting stuck on the bridge as it opened Thursday. The motorist safely went on her way after the bridge was lowered. Police are hoping she’ll call to explain how she managed to get stuck in that position.
Door County authorities are trying to figure out how a motorist ended up near the top of the east arm of the Maple-Oregon Bridge across Sturgeon Bay after the arms of the drawbridge were lifted to a 45-degree angle.
Photographs of a car precariously perched in a downward position were circulating via e-mail Friday while authorities tried to find the woman who was driving the car.
“This car was rising, similar to a ride at Great America,” Sturgeon Bay police Capt. Arleigh Porter said.
“Apparently the bridge tender noticed, lowered the bridge and after a short conversation she goes on her way.”
The incident happened about 6 p.m. Thursday, but police didn’t learn about it until after news reporters began calling to confirm the authenticity of the photos, Porter said.
“At first we thought someone was just playing around with Photoshop,” Porter said. “It really is amazing.”
“It appears to be human error,” Porter said.
Police said they were hoping that the motorist will contact them. …
Archive for August 16th, 2009
Posted by Xeno on August 16, 2009
Swine flu jab link to killer nerve disease: Leaked letter reveals concern of neurologists over 25 deaths in America
Posted by Xeno on August 16, 2009
A warning that the new swine flu jab is linked to a deadly nerve disease has been sent by the Government to senior neurologists in a confidential letter.
The letter from the Health Protection Agency, the official body that oversees public health, has been leaked to The Mail on Sunday, leading to demands to know why the information has not been given to the public before the vaccination of millions of people, including children, begins.
It tells the neurologists that they must be alert for an increase in a brain disorder called Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), which could be triggered by the vaccine.
GBS attacks the lining of the nerves, causing paralysis and inability to breathe, and can be fatal.
The letter, sent to about 600 neurologists on July 29, is the first sign that there is concern at the highest levels that the vaccine itself could cause serious complications.
It refers to the use of a similar swine flu vaccine in the United States in 1976 when:
* More people died from the vaccination than from swine flu.
* 500 cases of GBS were detected.
* The vaccine may have increased the risk of contracting GBS by eight times.
* The vaccine was withdrawn after just ten weeks when the link with GBS became clear.
* The US Government was forced to pay out millions of dollars to those affected.
Concerns have already been raised that the new vaccine has not been sufficiently tested and that the effects, especially on children, are unknown.
It is being developed by pharmaceutical companies and will be given to about 13million people during the first wave of immunisation, expected to start in October. …
Related from WRH:
“Now the Washington Post confirms that most of the swine flu vaccines that will be available in the fall, probably in October, will contain thimerosal.
“Thimerosal is about half mercury. It is an antibacterial additive allowing caregivers to administer shots in multi doses. Really, the main benefit is that it’s more cost effective than single dose shots. But mercury is a known neurotoxin, one that pregnant women and children carefully steer clear from when choosing fish meals.”
Thimerosal has been linked to autism, as reported here:
“This new study leaves little doubt there is a direct causal link between mercury exposure from Thimerosal-preserved biological products (vaccines and Rho(D) products) and mercury poisoning diagnosed as an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).”
Up to a third of nurses will say no to the swine flu jab because of concerns over its safety, a poll has found.
Posted by Xeno on August 16, 2009
In her background research of the literature, Dr. Svanborg discovered a piece of evidence from 1995 that lent support to her hypothesis that human milk can protect against cancer. The study showed that the risk of childhood lymphoma is nine times higher in bottle-fed than breast-fed infants. She and her students wondered if there was some connection between the two situations.
Svanborg and her group began to analyze breast milk more thoroughly and eventually discovered that the actual component of breast milk that was killing cancer cells is a protein called alpha-lactalbumin (sometimes called alpha-lac). In January 1999, they finally released results demonstrating that in the acid environment of an infant’s stomach, the normal alpha-lac protein changed shape and transformed into a killer of cancer cells (or other potentially harmful cells, such as pneumonococcus bacteria). Her research group named the altered protein, HAMLET, for Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumor cells. By genetically altering bacterial cells, they were able to mass-produce the factor as is commonly done in the production of human insulin.
Now that they had produced HAMLET in sufficient quantities for research, it was ready to be tested in animals with tumors and then on human subjects with cancer. The team believed that the substance should not be toxic to animals because it was a naturally occurring protein in breast milk. If found to be useful in cancer treatment, it would represent a great advance over the toxic cancer drugs currently in use with their high risk of negative side effects. -
… If the alpha-lac (HAMLET) factor can kill cancer cells in humans, then it will not be long before the pharmaceutical companies will get involved, but they must be convinced that the work is worth their attention. Often, naturally occurring drug products are labeled “orphan drugs” and are not marketed to the general public. Would this alpha-lac component of human breast milk be treated as such? – buffalo.edu
… Pauline Sakamoto of Mothers’ Milk Bank said they have sold breast milk to 60 cancer patients. “It may not mean that the cancer is cured, but we’re seeing a dramatic change in the quality of life for some of them,” she said. Howard Cohen says it worked for him after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. Instead of traditional treatments, he turned to purchased breast milk that he mixes with fruit and yogurt.
“If you drink it straight, it has a bit of a yucky, oily under taste,” he said.
Some Swedish research says a protein in mother’s milk can kill cancer cells in Petri dishes. “That doesn’t translate to being effective in humans,” Dr. Michelle Qaqundah said. Dr. Qaqundah is the Director of Naturopathic Medicine at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Philadelphia. While there are some natural alternative cancer treatments, she said breast milk has a long way to go.
“There’s a potential for that, but there’s really no way of knowing until we study it in humans,” she said.
Dr. Pamela Berens, with the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, said she is concerned that adult use of donor milk could drain an already limited supply. “Right now we don’t have enough breast milk for our donor milk banks for the premature infants who we have such wonderful data about the benefits,” she said.
Proven benefits or not, Cohen said he is cancer free and plans to keep drinking his special milk. “Initially I was drinking it every day. I cut back to two bottles a week,” he said. A doctor’s prescription is required for donor breast milk. It can cost as much as $3 an ounce and is not covered by insurance for adult use. – cbs3.com
Some evidence from an NIH site:
… alpha-lactalbumin, a principal protein of milk. Alpha-lactalbumin forms the regulatory subunit of the lactose synthase (LS) heterodimer and beta 1,4-galactosyltransferase (beta4Gal-T1) forms the catalytic component. Together, these proteins enable LS to produce lactose by transfering galactose moieties to glucose. As a monomer, alpha-lactalbumin strongly binds calcium and zinc ions and may possess bactericidal or antitumor activity. A folding variant of alpha-lactalbumin, called HAMLET, likely induces apoptosis in tumor and immature cells. – nih.gov
Drug companies have not yet found a way to patent breasts and sell human milk for $3000 per ounce…. but perhaps they are working on it.
Posted by Xeno on August 16, 2009
Update: 1/31/2010: House sold, I’m now living in an apartment. Started getting automated collection calls last week from Green Tree which I did not answer. I sent them an email instead. They responded by calling me and saying their system does not allow them to send email. Well, they did send me email in the past. On the phone Green Tree says they will keep trying to collect even though the CA law is against them. The investor may not send me a 1099 form for up to 11 years, so says the Green Tree rep. They are hoping a law will change so I’ll then be responsible to pay them. They recommend I get a lawyer to send them a cease and desist letter. This would lead to a lawsuit. According to my past attorney, I would win. I am in the process of consulting another attorney now to be sure that a lawsuit is the right thing to do to get this case closed. I haven’t gotten a 1099 form from either the 1st or 2nd yet. I haven’t started doing my taxes. Will let you all know how that goes.
Update: 10/6/2009: I can’t believe it. Green Tree accepted the short payoff of $3,000 for the $60,000 HELOC. Totally unexpected. My B of A short sale is moving forward after all.
Update: 9/26/2009: The short sale, I’m told, could still fall through 4 days before the close of escrow because the 2nd loan was sold to another holder who is not aware that they hold the loan, thus, they can’t acknowledge that they accept the short pay off. Last little trick by the bank?
Update 9/10/2009: GREAT NEWS! A large CPA firm (which will charge me about $400 to do my taxes for 2009) has done some research and determined that, in my case, I will not owe any additional California taxes due to my short sale, nor will I have capital gains because I’ve lived here for several years and because mine is a non-recourse debt. I was told that even with California not conforming to the Federal Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 in the year of my short sale (2009), the 121 exclusion (up to $250,000 for a single person) would apply.
Really? I sent the CPA this link (http://www.ftb.ca.gov/professionals/taxnews/2009/July/Article_9.shtml) and he is double checking. I need to be certain about this!
Answer: The CPA says, regarding the information at the above link, nothing there contradicts his certainty that while California does not conform to the Federal Mortgage Debt Act after Jan 2009, California does still conform to section 121. I’ll owe no additional CA taxes or Federal taxes due to my short sale!
I’ll only have the hit to my credit (see below and comments posted.)
Also, since I have not been paying interest this year, I reduced by withholdings to zero so more will be taken from my paycheck for taxes.
**** PREVIOUS POST BELOW ****
I may not correctly have understood the tax consequences of a “short sale” of the home I purchased years ago for $300K. (100% financing, first: $240K pay option ARM + second: $60K HELOC) I’ve learned that when/if I get approval for my short sale for $170K I will definitely get a 1099 form from the investor. No problem .. I thought: The Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 would protect me from owing federal taxes, right? However, the same is not true in 2009 of California taxes.
Governor Schwartzenegger signed S.B. 1055, California partial conformity legislation for mortgage debt forgiveness, on September 25. The law is intended to make California law closer to federal legislation enacted in the Mortgage Foregiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007. … California would allow the exclusion for 2007 and 2008. The federal exclusion is also allowed for 2009 through 2012. – shortsale
I will be potentially taxed by the state as if I made an extra $130,000 in 2009. Of course, this is complete bs. Where is my $130,000? I don’t see it. I don’t have it. It doesn’t exist. Debt cancellation income is not a gain when you walk away with nothing. I have been ripped off, and now it seems the gouging will continue for years?
My mind always considers the worst options. I think it is a defense mechanism. If I revolt and refuse to pay my California taxes, will they throw me in prison? Will I need to hide from the law for years in a cave in the woods and eat bugs? Humor is my other defense mechanism.
Not paying may not even be an option. In addition to the 8% pay cut due to budget problems this year, I may have my wages garnished by the state to pay the huge taxes I’ll owe from some invisible gain that was not a real gain. It makes no sense. The bank ripped me off by taking advantage of my lack of understanding of the Interest Only Pay Option Adjustable Rate Morgage loan.
It was a scam. Those people should be in jail. My credit should be fixed. I should owe nothing. I’ve already lost three years of interest only payments. How can I OWE money for getting ripped off by a predatory lender?
Some sites are posting wrong info about the CA tax consequences for 2009. I need to find out for certain. A foreclosure may actually be the better option. I have an appointment with a tax attorney this Tuesday. Questions I want nailed down:
- Am I exposed to a deficiency judgment to the first lender after a foreclosure, short sale or deed in lieu?
- Am I exposed to a deficiency judgment to the second lender (HELOC) after a foreclosure, short sale or deed in lieu?
- Is my loan a non-recourse loan according to the law?
- To what degree am I protected by the Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007?
- Will I owe federal taxes on either Cancellation of Debt or Capital Gains? How much?
- WIll I owe state taxes? How much?
- How will my credit be damaged by a foreclosure as compared to a short sale and how can I mitigate the damage?
- Can the attorney negotiate with the bank to report the sale “paid as agreed” to the credit reporting agencies rather than “account closed, not paid in full.”?
- Should I try a fourth loan modification even though the lender won’t reduce the principle and I’ve already been told I don’t qualify?
- How can I utilize the full force of California anti–deficiency protections?
- Can I sue for predatory lending and get my credit fixed?
- Should I request the lender produce proof of ownership of the loans?
- Should I ask BofA to prove that B of A or Countrywide made the proper lending disclosures?
If anyone else has been 1099′ed by B of A in California in 2009 after a short sale, I’d love to hear what happened for you. If you are in the same boat or just curious, stay tuned as the story unfolds.
Acceptance letter or short sale from B of A dated 8/25/ 2009:
“BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP and/or its Investors and/or insurers have agreed to accept a short payoff involving the above referenced property and the referenced account(s). … BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP and/or its investors may persue a deficiency judgement for the difference in the payment received and the total balanced due, unless agreed otherwise or prohibited by law, if the short sale cloases on the loan refernced above. “
They attorney who reviewed my loan documents says Cal Code Civ Proc 580b (2007) prohibits them from going after a deficiency judgment.
“No deficiency judgment shall lie in any event after a sale of real property or an estate for years therein for failure of the purchaser to complete his or her contract of sale, or under a deed of trust, or mortgage given to the vendor to secure payment of the balance of the purchase price of that real property or estate for years therein, or under a deed of trust or mortgage on a dwelling for not more than four families given to a lender to secure repayment of a loan which was in fact used to pay all or part of the purchase price of that dwelling occupied, entirely or in part, by the purchaser.
Where both a chattel mortgage and a deed of trust or mortgage have been given to secure payment of the balance of the combined purchase price of both real and personal property, no deficiency judgment shall lie at any time under any one thereof if no deficiency judgment would lie under the deed of trust or mortgage on the real property or estate for years therein. “
Posted by Xeno on August 16, 2009
Dr. Jacques Galipeau of the Jewish General Hospital Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research and McGill University.
A new experimental treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS) completely reverses the devastating autoimmune disorder in mice, and might work exactly the same way in humans, say researchers at the Jewish General Hospital Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research and McGill University in Montreal. //
MS is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s own immune response attacks the central nervous system, almost as if the body had become allergic to itself, leading to progressive physical and cognitive disability.
The new treatment, appropriately named GIFT15, puts MS into remission by suppressing the immune response. This means it might also be effective against other autoimmune disorders like Crohn’s disease, lupus and arthritis, the researchers said, and could theoretically also control immune responses in organ transplant patients. Moreover, unlike earlier immune-supppressing therapies which rely on chemical pharamaceuticals, this approach is a personalized form of cellular therapy which utilizes the body’s own cells to suppress immunity in a much more targeted way.
GIFT15 was discovered by a team led by Dr. Jacques Galipeau of the JGH Lady Davis Institute and McGill’s Faculty of Medicine. The results were published August 9 in the prestigious journal Nature Medicine.
GIFT15 is composed of two proteins, GSM-CSF and interleukin-15, fused together artificially in the lab. Under normal circumstances, the individual proteins usually act to stimulate the immune system, but in their fused form, the equation reverses itself.
“You know those mythical animals that have the head of an eagle and the body of a lion? They’re called chimeras. In a lyrical sense, that’s what we’ve created,” said Galipeau, a world-renowned expert in cell regeneration affiliated with the Segal Cancer Centre at the Jewish General and McGill’s Centre for Translational Research. “GIFT15 is a new protein hormone composed of two distinct proteins, and when they’re stuck together they lead to a completely unexpected biological effect.”
This effect, explained Galipeau, converts B-cells — a common form of white blood cell normally involved in immune response — into powerful immune-suppressive cells. Unlike their better-known cousins, T-cells, naturally-occurring immune-suppressing B-cells are almost unknown in nature and the notion of using them to control immunity is very new.
“GIFT15 can take your normal, run-of-the-mill B-cells and convert them — in a Superman or Jekyll -Hyde sort of way — into these super-powerful B-regulatory cells,” Galipeau explained. “We can do that in a petri dish. We took normal B-cells from mice, and sprinkled GIFT15 on them, which led to this Jekyll and Hyde effect.
“And when we gave them back intravenously to mice ill with multiple sclerosis, the disease went away.”
MS must be caught in its earliest stages, Galipeau cautioned, and clinical studies are needed to test the treatment’s efficacy and safety in humans. No significant side-effects showed up in the mice, he said, and the treatment was fully effective with a single dose.
Fantastic! But you know… the death rate is still 100%. Medical science has been, so far, a complete failure. In the whole history of medicine, not a single person has been saved from eventual death. Advancements like this, however, give me hope that we are on the right track!
Posted by Xeno on August 16, 2009
If humans ever create a lunar base, one of the biggest challenges will be figuring out how to breathe. Transporting oxygen to the moon is extremely expensive, so for the past several years NASA has been looking into other possibilities. One idea is extracting oxygen from moon rock.
Recently, Derek Fray, a materials chemist from the University of Cambridge, and his colleagues have built a reactor that uses oxides in Moon rocks as the cathode in an electrochemical process to produce oxygen.
The design is based on a process that the researchers invented in 2000 that produces carbon dioxide. In this design, the scientists pass a current between the cathode and an anode made of carbon, with both electrodes sitting in an electrolyte solution of molten calcium chloride, a common salt. The current removes oxygen atoms from the cathode, which are then ionized and dissolve in the molten salt. The negatively charged oxygen is attracted to the carbon anode, where it erodes the anode and produces carbon dioxide.
To produce oxygen rather than carbon dioxide, the researchers made an unreactive anode using a mixture of calcium titanate and calcium ruthenate instead of the carbon. Because this anode barely erodes, the reaction between the oxygen ions and anode produces oxygen.
Based on experiments with a simulated lunar rock developed by NASA, the researchers calculate that three one-meter-tall reactors could generate one tonne of oxygen per year on the Moon. Each tonne of oxygen would require three tonnes of rock to produce. Fray noted that three reactors would require about 4.5 kilowatts of power, which could be supplied by solar panels or possibly a small nuclear reactor on the Moon. The researchers are also working with the European Space Agency on developing an even larger reactor that could be operated remotely.
As a recent story in Nature News reports, other researchers are also developing methods for oxygen extraction. For instance, Donald Sadoway at MIT is working on a high-temperature technique called molten salt electrolysis. Here, the Moon rock is molten and acts as the electrolyte itself. Sadoway’s reactor could even be built out of the rubble on the Moon’s surface called regolith.
NASA and the ESA are strongly encouraging this type of research. In 2008, NASA boosted its $250,000 prize to $1 million for the first team to demonstrate a method to extract five kilograms of oxygen in eight hours from simulated Moon rock. So far, the prize remains unclaimed.
Posted by Xeno on August 16, 2009
“Imagine you’re a water molecule in a glass of ice water, and you’re floating right on the boundary of the ice and the water,” proposes Emory University physicist Eric Weeks. “So how do you know if you’re a solid or a liquid?”
Weeks’ lab recently captured the first images of what’s actually happening in this fuzzy area of the crystal/liquid interface. The lab’s data, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), make the waves between the two states of matter visible for the first time.
“The theory that surface waves move along the crystal/liquid boundary – the intrinsic interface – dates back to 1965 and is well established,” says Weeks, associate professor of physics. “What we’ve done is found a way to take a picture of the intrinsic interface, measure it, and show how it fluctuates over time.”
The visual evidence shows that the fuzzy region between the two states is extremely narrow, Weeks says. “The transition from completely organized to completely disorganized goes very quickly, spatially.”
Modeling states of matter
Weeks’ lab uses tiny plastic balls, each about the size of a cell nucleus, to model states of matter. Samples of these colloids can be fine-tuned into liquid or crystal states by changing the concentrations of the particles suspended in a solution.
“Water molecules are too small too study while they are fluctuating,” Weeks explains. “We used the plastic spheres to resize an experiment to a scale that we could observe. You lose some of the detail when you do this, but you hope it’s not the critical detail.”
The experiment took a great deal of trial and error, says Jessica Hernández-Guzmán, a graduate student in physics and the lead author of the PNAS article. “I was looking for that transition,” she says. “I knew what the colloids looked like in a crystal state, and I knew what they looked like as a liquid, but I didn’t know what they looked like in-between. When I finally saw (the transition), I felt like I had won the lottery.”