In what the Post has deemed “a bizarre case of political correctness run wild,” the Department of Education has submitted a list of 50 forbidden words to companies competing for the chance to revamp New York’s citywide standardized tests. Among the potentially “distracting” topics:
Dinosaurs, for example, call to mind evolution, which might upset fundamentalists; birthdays aren’t celebrated by Jehovah’s Witnesses; and Halloween suggests paganism. Even “dancing’’ is taboo, because some sects object. But the city did make an exception for ballet. [Ed. note: Classy!]
Also banned are references to objectively upsetting things like poverty, divorce, disease, terrorism, and slavery. However, the city also does not want any mention of fun things like celebrities, “excessive” TV-watching…
Archive for March 26th, 2012
Posted by Xeno on March 26, 2012
Posted by Xeno on March 26, 2012
Avalanche experts are helping to study how ice cream’s structure changes when it is stored in a household freezer.
Samples of ice cream have been scanned with an X-ray machine more typically used to study the ice crystals which are key to avalanche formation.
Nestle is hoping to reveal the exact conditions under which ice crystals merge and grow.
When the crystals get big enough they change the texture of ice cream and alter how it feels when it is eaten.
The study of ice crystal formation has been carried out with the help of scientists at the Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research in Davos, Switzerland.
The X-ray tomography machine at the institute is one of the few that can take images of tiny structures at sub-zero temperatures.
“Previously, we could not look inside ice cream without destroying the sample in the process,” said Nestle food scientist Dr Cedric Dubois.
Via the research, summarised in a paper published in the journal Soft Matter, Nestle hopes to find a way to combat the gradual degradation of taste ice cream often suffers. As with many foods, the structure of ice cream is the key to the way it tastes.
Dr Dubois said the research had revealed that the white frost of ice crystals found on ice cream forms as a result of the temperature changes it undergoes as it is transported, sold and stored.
“Most home freezers are set at -18C, but the temperature doesn’t remain constant,” said Dr Dubois. “It fluctuates by a couple of degrees in either direction, which causes parts of the ice cream to melt and then freeze again.”
The way ice cream is stored can change the way it tastes
Time-lapse images of ice crystals only a few microns across were gathered during the study which cycled samples through a small range of temperature changes.
This showed that as water froze out it formed ice crystals that affected the structure of the ice cream and made it chewy. This could also make the dessert icier, hard to scoop, and less pleasurable to eat.
The study has started to reveal the “life cycle” of the crystals and the conditions which trigger some of them to merge, enlarge and significantly alter the texture of the ice cream.
“We already know the growth of ice crystals in ice cream is triggered by a number of different factors,” said Dr Dubois. “If we can identify the main mechanism, we can find better ways to slow it down.” …
Posted by Xeno on March 26, 2012
People should go outside and soak up some sunshine to help increase their vitamin D levels, a charity is urging.
Arthritis Research UK says vitamin D deficiency can cause bone loss, muscle function problems and, in some cases, rickets in children.
The government recommends vitamin D supplements for pregnant women and children aged under five.
But, on sunny days, a few minutes outdoors should achieve the same results, the charity says.
In January the chief medical officer for England said she was concerned that young children and some adults were not getting enough vitamin D.
Figures show that up to a quarter of the population has low levels of vitamin D in their blood and the majority of pregnant women do not take vitamin D supplements. People aged over 65, pregnant and breast-feeding women and children aged six months to five years old are thought to be most at risk. …
Vitamin D is essential to help the body absorb calcium from food. Low levels can result in serious problems with the health of our bones. Alan Silman, medical director of Arthritis Research UK, said the advice was simple: “When the days are sunny, go out for a few minutes and expose your face and arms to the sunshine.” But he also had a warning on overexposure: “Don’t allow your skin to go red, and take care not to burn, particularly in strong sunshine and if you have fair or sensitive skin.
“From June to August just 15 minutes is generally enough time.”
The sun’s UV levels are not yet strong enough over the UK for our bodies alone to make enough vitamin D. He said: “In less sunny months, we recommend that people top up the vitamin D in their diet by eating more oily fish such as salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel, pilchards and sardines, and foods ‘fortified’ with vitamin D, such as breakfast cereals and some margarines.” …
What are healthy levels of Vitamin D?
Because vitamin D can come from sun, food, and supplements, the best measure of one’s vitamin D status is blood levels of a form known as 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Levels are described in either nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) or nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL), where 1 nmol/L = 0.4 ng/mL.
In general, levels below 30 nmol/L (12 ng/mL) are too low for bone or overall health, and levels above 125 nmol/L (50 ng/mL) are probably too high. Levels of 50 nmol/L or above (20 ng/mL or above) are sufficient for most people.
By these measures, some Americans are vitamin D deficient and almost no one has levels that are too high. In general, young people have higher blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D than older people and males have higher levels than females. By race, non-Hispanic blacks tend to have the lowest levels and non-Hispanic whites the highest. The majority of Americans have blood levels lower than 75 nmol/L (30 ng/mL). – nih.gov
Another source says:
The current daily recommended allowance varies with age from 200 to 600 international units (IU), a standard set by the Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences in 1997. Randomized trials have since found that individuals receiving 800 IU per day had a lower risk of osteoporosis fractures, while 400 IU per day did not show this benefit. Most experts now believe 1,000 to 2,000 IU per day from all sources—sun, diet, supplements—may be what we need for optimum health.
The body is smart: It makes no more vitamin D than it needs. But a total intake greater than 2,000 IU per day has generally not been recommended. This upper limit, imposed for safety’s sake, is probably very conservative. Recent evidence suggests that even doses upwards of 10,000 IU a day aren’t toxic, though such high intakes are not recommended. …
Q: What are the best sources of vitamin D?
A: The sun is the most potent source. When the sun’s ultraviolet rays hit the skin, the skin makes the vitamin, which is rapidly absorbed in the blood and can be stored for several months, mostly in the blood and fat tissue. This is why it’s hard to figure out how much supplemental vitamin D people might need. …harvard.edu
Q: How many IU’s of vitamin D does an average person’s body make from being in the sun for 30 minutes on a non-cloudy day? A: 30 minutes of full-body exposure to the summer sun at noon without sunscreen will triggers the release of about 20,000 IU into the bloodstream, most of which is stored according to a Harvard nutrition department web site (2007).
If you spend a fair amount of time outdoors, you probably don’t need a vitamin D supplement. A light-skinned person living in Boston who takes walks in the summer with the face, neck, and arms exposed for 15 minutes gets enough. … Someone dark-skinned would, with the same exposure, generate about half or less as much vitamin D. – harvard.edu
I had a blood test which showed low Vitamin D levels (under 30 ng/mL) and I’m having another test to confirm the first one. If I’m still low, I’ll try supplements when there is no sunlight. My overall goal is being sick less. I had a sore throat on Friday, took a few 2,000 IU capsules of vitamin D over the weekend and the sore throat went away instead of turning into a flu as it has in the past.
Posted by Xeno on March 26, 2012
Writing in Nature, the researchers said the variant of the IFITM3 gene was much more common in people hospitalized for flu than in the general population.
It controls a malformed protein, which makes cells more susceptible to viral infection.
Experts said those with the flaw could be given the flu jab, like other at-risk groups.
Researchers removed the gene from mice. They found that when they developed flu, their symptoms were much worse than those seen in mice with the gene.
Evidence from genetic databases covering thousands of people showed the flawed version of the gene is presentin around one in 400 people.
The scientists, who came from the UK and US, then sequenced the IFITM3 genes of 53 patients who were in hospital with flu.
Three were found to have the variant – a rate of one in 20.
The researchers say these findings now need to be replicated in bigger studies. And they add it is probably only part of the genetic jigsaw that determines a person’s response to flu.
Professor Paul Kellam of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, who co-led the research, said: “At the moment, if someone is in a more vulnerable group because of co-morbidity [another health problem], they would be offered the flu vaccine.
It vindicates our conviction that there is something unusual about these patients”
End Quote Professor Peter Openshaw, Imperial College London
“This is the idea here.”
But he said having this variant would not make any difference to how people were treated.
Prof Kellam added: “Our research is important for people who have this variant as we predict their immune defenses could be weakened to some virus infections.
“Ultimately as we learn more about the genetics of susceptibility to viruses, then people can take informed precautions, such as vaccination to prevent infection.”
Professor Peter Openshaw, director of the Centre for Respiratory Infection at Imperial College London, said: “This new discovery is the first clue from our detailed study of the devastating effects of flu in hospitalised patients.
Sir Mark Walport, director of the Wellcome Trust, said: “During the recent swine flu pandemic, many people found it remarkable that the same virus could provoke only mild symptoms in most people, while, more rarely, threatening the lives of others.
“This discovery points to a piece of the explanation: genetic variations affect the way in which different people respond to infection.
“This important research adds to a growing scientific understanding that genetic factors affect the course of disease in more than one way. Genetic variations in a virus can increase its virulence, but genetic variations in that virus’s host – us – matter greatly as well.” …
Posted by Xeno on March 26, 2012
Ray Grasse uncovers a new eye-witness account of a crashed vehicle and dead bodies near Roswell …
… is it possible the now-famous incident at the Roswell Air Force Base in July of 1947, where witnesses claimed to have encountered the wreckage of one or more crashed UFO’s in the New Mexico desert, was followed just a few months later by a similar incident? …
His name was Irwin Fortman, though the nickname by which I (and everyone else) came to know him was “Tiny.” He ran a hardware story in Culver City, California, and struck me as being a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy with a thick New York accent that belied his upbringing. One thing was obvious: he didn’t want publicity, nor any financial compensation for his story. He simply wanted a sympathetic listener to hear his tale and record it for posterity. I gave him assurances I wouldn’t go public with any detail of his account while he was still alive, and if I did, it would only be with his permission.
We had four conversations all together, all of them conducted by phone. He hadn’t followed developments in the UFO field beyond what appeared in the daily newspapers, so was pleasantly surprised to learn there had already been a fair amount of discussion about the Roswell incident in recent years, with several witnesses coming forward who also claimed knowledge of the event. In fact, the first of my conversations with him took place shortly before the now-famous episode of TV’s Unsolved Mysteries which catapulted the Roswell incident into worldwide attention during the fall of 1989. I told him about the upcoming show, which he eagerly watched; but when we spoke about it afterwards, he seemed vaguely disturbed about some of its details.
In particular, the timing of the famed July incident didn’t jibe with his own. That’s because he arrived at the base in the fall of 1947 and was emphatic about the fact that his experience occurred in the dead of winter, not in the middle of summer. Before long, it was clear to me he was describing a distinctly different event from the more famous one generally spoken about.
After hearing his account in full, I decided to get in touch with well-known researcher Stanton Friedman, who was featured on the Unsolved Mysteries TV show, to get his opinion and perhaps even put these two figures in touch with one another. After talking it over with both of them, Stanton eventually met with Tiny at his home in California and later said he was impressed by his story and by his sincerity. But he chose to hold off on publishing anything about it until he could obtain more evidence or a corroborating witness, since he hadn’t heard before about a “second” Roswell event and wanted to be cautious about going pubic with information before it could be validated. What he could verify, though, based on the 1947 Roswell yearbook, was that Tiny was indeed stationed at the base the year he said he was, and that by itself was significant.
I put the recordings and the story aside for some 20 years, and didn’t give it much more thought until another well-known researcher in the field, Anthony Bragalia, heard through the grapevine about my story and contacted me for more details. It was because of him and his subsequent research that I learned, sadly, Tiny died not long after my last conversation with him in the early 90s. It was also through Anthony that I was able to obtain a copy of Fortman’s photo in the 1947 Roswell yearbook, shown here.
What follows is a transcript of two of the four talks I had with Tiny in late 1989 and early 1990. I very much wanted to record the first two of our conversations but chose not to out of respect since he hadn’t yet granted me formal permission to do so. …
This is a composite of those last two talks, and I’ve pooled material from both into those sections where it seemed relevant. Because of the age and condition of the tapes from which this interview was transcribed, some moments are inaudible and I’ve marked those accordingly. (My thanks here to Anthony Bragalia and his associate Tom Carey, by the way, for producing a cleaner version of these recordings from which I drew much of this transcript.)
Interview with Irwin Fortman:
RG: First of all, let me begin by asking you to describe what took place on the night this all came down, starting with how you were approached by the lead officer?
IF: Well, it seems like we’d just gone to sleep, and then—boom! We had been out late, you know, and they woke myself up and this other guy, and a couple other guys in the barracks, told us to get dressed and meet us in the surgeon’s–what they called their “pre-op room,” away from everything else, basically. And they had coffee for us and they sat there and started talking to us, you know, just enough to wake us up and make sure we were mentally, that we didn’t run the ambulance off the road or things like that, you know.
RG: So this was pretty late at night?
IF: Oh yeah, they woke us up out of a sound sleep. To me it felt like 2 o’clock in the morning.
RG: And at this point they weren’t acting like anything was out of the ordinary?
IF: No. Until we got in the ambulance and—you know that gate, the north gate? When we hit that, he was waiting there for us. And then they told us: “You are to keep your mouth shut! (inaudible) You don’t repeat (inaudible)!”
And then after that, after we’d picked the bodies and the pieces there, we got back and then they really gave it to us, I mean they laid down the law. (Author’s note: in an earlier conversation Tiny related how the officer in charge said something to the effect that, “If you breathe a word of this to anyone, they’ll be picking your bones out of the desert, along with the bones of all your family members, too.”)
RG: I’m curious, here you were, 17 or 18 years old and…
IF: 18, yeah I wasn’t 19 yet.
RG: …it had to have been a startling experience. What was your reaction upon arriving at the site?
IF: When I saw the things?
IF: I was so completely stunned, and I was half-asleep, and it was ice cold out, I remember this, and we looked down and saw these things and I said to myself—it just didn’t register to me. And then all of the sudden I realized what we had seen and I just couldn’t believe it, you know, like it was not happening. And yet it was happening, like it was a dream. You know, how often do you see things like that?
RG: What did you think these things were once it finally dawned on you? Did you automatically assume that they must be from somewhere else?
IF: Definitely. I don’t know what it was, they looked oriental-type, but you know, they were very small. And I knew that the Japanese weren’t that small. And I couldn’t think of any other countries, maybe Bali or something, you know, maybe they were very small there, but…
RG: But the heads were very large?
IF: Very large, sort of like…Well, they were completely out of proportion to the body. You know what I mean? I mean, to a point where it was like, if your head was about one and a half times what it is now, that’s about how big it was.
RG: And was there anything unusual about the features?
IF: (Pause) No hair on the head.
RG: How about the eyes, nose or mouth?
IF: (Long pause) I saw nostrils…but as for a nose itself? If there was, it was very, very small. And the lips — wait a second, I don’t know if it had lips, but I saw teeth, at least I think I did. Ears? Jeez, if there were, they were very, very small. I don’t remember about ears.
RG: What about the color of the skin?
IF: Ahh….yellow-like, but a very pale yellow. It looked very parchment-like, a lot of wrinkles.
RG: And you said something about how one of the bodies didn’t have a helmet, but there was one complete body?
IF: Yes, that was the one we picked up.
RG: And that one didn’t have a helmet on?
IF: No, it didn’t have a helmet on.
RG: What was your reaction to that, when you saw that?
IF: The only thing I can think of is that someone who helped me – I‘m not sure if that was Tommy – said, “He must have taken his helmet off and come (kneeling?) out of whatever it was, the device.” Because everybody else, their heads were in the helmets. Well, I didn’t actually see that but I assumed the heads were in the helmets, you know. The whole bodies were shattered, in pieces.
But this one that we picked up, he was completely whole. Now, we didn’t take his clothes off, so we didn’t know if he was torn up inside — that they wouldn’t let us do. They just said, “Put ‘em in the bags.” We didn’t even put them the bags into the big plane that they took them off on, the transport planes.
RG: What did you say to me a few weeks ago about the suits on these beings, that there was a fabric?
IF: There was a fabric, but it was like aluminum, something. It wasn’t something I had ever seen before. I’ve seen something like this lately, you know like a metal type fabric they’re showing that the women wear…
RG: On commercials or in fashion shows?
RG: And was it one-piece outfits? Do you remember any seams, or anything like that, or zippers?
IF: I don’t remember, that I don’t remember.
RG: Do you remember if the hands and the feet were enclosed? Or were they exposed? Do you remember anything about the hands and the feet at all?
IF: The feet had some kind of shoes on, something. The hands? They weren’t shaped like ours.
RG: In terms of the shape, or the number of digits? Or both?
IF: Both. Now, the only thing I could think of when I saw it was, you know, that cold air and everything else from lying there, it got (inaudible ) up or something. They just didn’t look human.
RG: And how many fingers? Do you remember?
IF: That I don’t remember.
RG: Do you think there were more, or less than a human has?
IF: (Pause) It seemed like less than we have…
RG: And when you say they weren’t shaped like humans, do you remember if they were larger or smaller than humans?
IF: Smaller, (but) they were proportionate to the bodies. In other words, they weren’t large hands, large feet. The feet itself were in a heavy shoe, like a boot. It seemed like it…wasn’t a leather boot, it was like a cloth boot.
RG: And I think you said the eyes were closed…?
RG: But you could still see the shape of the eyes…?
IF: It looked like a little old oriental (unintelligible)
RG: How heavy were the bodies?
IF: Hmm… In those days I was stronger than an ox…
RG: But they were light, though, right?
IF: Oh yeah, they were light – 70-80 pounds, if they were that much. We both picked it up, but to me it felt like, uh, less than 100 pounds, like a sack of potatoes, you know?
RG: And yours was the only complete body on top of that, right?
IF: Right, but these guys were throwing, I think they were trying to throw, you know, what they felt was one complete body…pieces. I don’t think they just indiscriminately threw heads or (arms or) other things… They could have, but I thought they were trying to keep what they felt belonged to each other. How they did, I don’t know. They spent more time looking for things like that than we did. We just went over and got the…they just pointed out what they wanted us to do, you know.
RG: And you were there how long? Was it five minutes, or a half hour?
IF: I would say 15 to 20 minutes. And the reason it took us that long is because we had to wait for the officers, the ones who were running the show, to show up. …
p.s. I heard back from Stanton Friedman this morning, who mentioned that he finally tracked down the “corroborating witness” he hoped to find during the years following his talk with Tiny–the aforementioned “Tommy” referred to throughout this interview–only to discover that he had died during the interim, unfortunately. So, back to the drawing board…
Roswell has to be one of the strangest true stories ever. There seem to have been more UFO crashes than most people realize. Here’s another second Roswell from onlysecrecy.com:
Decorated World War II and Korean War veteran Robert B. Willingham, 82, discloses his strange 1955 encounter in a new book titled “The Other Roswell: UFO Crash on the Texas-Mexico border,” written by UFO researchers Noe Torres and Ruben Uriarte. The book is available on Amazon.com and at the publisher’s Web site, roswellbooks.com.
“It’s one of the most amazing UFO stories I have ever heard,” said Uriarte, a 25-year veteran UFO investigator and director of the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) in Northern California. “Rarely do you have such a highly credible eyewitness to an event of this magnitude come forward with information that is guarded so closely by various intelligence agencies.”
Willingham, who lives near Wichita Falls, was one of America’s earliest jet aviators, during the time when the military was transitioning away from propeller-driven planes. It was also a time when UFO sightings had become commonplace throughout the United States, especially in and around top-secret military bases.
“He was flying as part of a group of F-86 fighter jets that were escorting a B-47 bomber across West Texas,” said Noe Torres, a lecturer, researcher, and member of the MUFON chapter in Texas. “It was a Cold War simulation designed to follow the route that bombers would take to reach Russia in the event of a nuclear war.”
A radio message warned Willingham and the others about a fast-moving UFO that was approaching Texas from the northwestern U.S. “Suddenly it came into their view, looking like an intensely bright light – like a bright star seen through a telescope,” Torres said. “It blazed across the sky past them, and everyone in all the planes saw it. But, because of the location of Willingham’s jet, he was in the best position to see what happened after the object flew by.”
Willingham estimated that the object was traveling at 2,000 miles per hour, and he saw it make a sudden 90-degree turn, without slowing down. As the UFO streaked toward the Texas-Mexico border, Willingham received permission to break from the formation and pursue the object in his F-86 fighter. Following the object’s vapor trail, Willingham followed it down to near Del Rio, Texas, where he saw it suddenly begin to wobble and descend rapidly.
As the pilot watched in stunned silence, the UFO plunged toward the Rio Grande River, plowing into the ground just south of Langtry, Texas and digging out a 300-yard long furrow before finally coming to rest alongside a sandy hill. Uriarte said, “Willingham had heard a lot of discussion about UFOs, and now suddenly, he had one down on the ground. As he flew over the awesome scene, he decided that he was going to switch planes and return there as quickly as possibly to look at the thing up close.”
The aviator returned to the scene of the crash a few hours later, according to Uriarte. “They landed the small plane right alongside the crashed UFO and noticed that a large number of Mexican soldiers had already taken control of the crash site. They had cordoned off the area and would not allow Willingham or Perkins to approach the main part of the wreckage. However, what they were able to see and look at was so amazing that it forever changed their lives.”
Before being forced to leave the area by the Mexican military, Willingham picked up a chunk of strange metal debris that was about the size of a man’s hand. He later tried to burn it, cut it, and otherwise deform it, but he was not able to. “It was a piece of something not of this world,” Uriarte said.
Torres and Uriarte are active members of the UFO research community with many years of experience investigating UFO cases in the Southwestern U.S. and Northern Mexico. Their research has appeared on the History Channel’s UFO Hunters and UFO Files TV shows. Their first book, Mexico’s Roswell: The Chihuahua UFO Crash, published in 2007, received wide critical acclaim and was the basis for a February 2008 episode of UFO Hunters, in which the authors appeared. The authors have appeared frequently on UFO-related TV and radio shows and have spoken at many conferences and events.
There was also supposedly a second crash site around July 1947, one different than the famous Roswell UFO crash site found by rancher Mac Brazel.
Barney Barnett who had died years earlier. Friends said he had on numerous occasions described the crash of a flying saucer and the recovery of alien corpses in the Socorro area, about 150 miles (240 km) west of the Foster ranch. He and a group of archaeologists who happened to be in the vicinity had stumbled upon an alien craft and its occupants on the morning of July 3, only to be led away by military personnel. Further accounts suggested that these aliens and their craft were shipped to Edwards Air Force Base (known then as Muroc Army Air Field) in California. The book suggested that either there were two crafts that crashed, or debris from the vehicle Barnett had described had landed on the Foster ranch after an explosion. – wiki