Xenophilia (True Strange Stuff)

Blog of the real Xenophilius Lovegood, a slightly mad scientist

Archive for April 3rd, 2009

CDC: Rocket fuel chemical found in baby formula

Posted by Anonymous on April 3, 2009

Someone told me about 5 years ago that perchlorate is like a toxic elephant in our water wells that this country is, so far, unwilling to admit exists.

Traces of a chemical used in rocket fuel were found in samples of powdered baby formula, and could exceed what’s considered a safe dose for adults if mixed with water also contaminated with the ingredient, a government study has found.

The study by scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked for the chemical, perchlorate, in different brands of powdered baby formula. It was published last month, but the Environmental Working Group issued a press release Thursday drawing attention to it.

The chemical has turned up in several cities’ drinking water supplies. It can occur naturally, but most perchlorate contamination has been tied to defense and aerospace sites.

No tests have ever shown the chemical caused health problems, but scientists have said significant amounts of perchlorate can affect thyroid function. The thyroid helps set the body’s metabolism. Thyroid problems can impact fetal and infant brain development.

However, the extent of the risk is hard to assess. The government requires that formula contain iodine, which counteracts perchlorate’s effects. The size of the infant and how much formula they consume are other factors that can influence risk.

The study itself sheds little light on how dangerous the perchlorate in baby formula is. “This wasn’t a study of health effects,” said Dr. Joshua Schier, one of the authors.

The largest amounts of the chemical were in formulas derived from cow’s milk, the study said.

The researchers would not disclose the brands of formula they studied. Only a few samples were studied, so it’s hard to know if the perchlorate levels would be found in all containers of those brands, a CDC spokesman said.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it was considering setting new limits on the amount of perchlorate that would be acceptable in drinking water. A few states have already set their own limits.

The EPA has checked nearly 4,000 public water supplies serving 10,000 people or more. About 160 of the water systems had detectable levels of perchlorate, and 31 had levels high enough to exceed a new safety level the EPA is considering.

via CDC: Rocket fuel chemical found in baby formula.

They know of a dangerous substance in baby formula, but they won’t tell you which brand(s) contained this substance? Perhaps someone should sue the EPA to get them to release that information. A Google search for EPA perchlorate lawsuit is interesting.

Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental law firm based here, announced in an October 3 press release its intentions to sue the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) if the federal agency’s final determination regarding the rocket-fuel chemical perchlorate is that no national standard is needed. …

The EPA announced on October 3 that it has preliminarily determined not to regulate the perchlorate in drinking water at a national level because there is not a “meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction” through a national drinking water regulation, as WaterTech Online™ reported. Perchlorate is also an ingredient in the manufacture of fireworks.

According to the Earthjustice release, perchlorate has contaminated drinking water in at least 26 states and, quoting the EPA, perchlorate has contaminated the drinking water of 10 million people in the United States. “EPA’s decision represents a victory for the Department of Defense and military contractors, which for years have pressured EPA not to regulate perchlorate and other chemicals associated with weapons manufacturing,” the group said in the release. – ewg.org

Our drinking water is so horribly polluted by the all powerful defense industry, that there is nothing meaningful we can do to improve it?

Live near a dot?


Perchlorate (ClO4), the dissociated anion of perchlorate salts such as ammonium, potassium, and sodium perchlorate, has been recently recognized as a persistent and pervasive contaminant of drinking water supplies in a number of metropolitan areas. Perchlorate is of concern because of uncertainties in the toxicological database available to address the potential human health effects of low-level exposure. – toxsci

All of the studies I could find in a quick Google Scholar Search showed no danger. No effects in humans were seen. That’s good news, right? But I wonder … what nameless scientists and their unavailable studies leads the EPA to conclude that perchlorate “can impair thyroid function, and affect brain and nerve development in infants.”?

Posted in Health, War | Leave a Comment »

Ice-Free Arctic Summers Likely Sooner Than Expected

Posted by Anonymous on April 3, 2009

Mean sea ice thickness models.Summers in the Arctic may be ice-free in as few as 30 years, not at the end of the century as previously expected. The updated forecast is the result of a new analysis of computer models coupled with the most recent summer ice measurements.

“The Arctic is changing faster than anticipated,” said James Overland, an oceanographer at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and co-author of the study, which will appear April 3 in Geophysical Research Letters. “It’s a combination of natural variability, along with warmer air and sea conditions caused by increased greenhouse gases.”

Overland and his co-author, Muyin Wang, a University of Washington research scientist with the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean in Seattle, analyzed projections from six computer models, including three with sophisticated sea ice physics capabilities. That data was then combined with observations of summer sea ice loss in 2007 and 2008.

The area covered by summer sea ice is expected to decline from its current 4.6 million square kilometers (about 2.8 million square miles) to about 1 million square kilometers (about 620,000 square miles) – a loss approximately four-fifths the size of the continental U.S. Much of the sea ice would remain in the area north of Canada and Greenland and decrease between Alaska and Russia in the Pacific Arctic.

“The Arctic is often called the ‘Earth’s refrigerator’ because the sea ice helps cool the planet by reflecting the sun’s radiation back into space,” said Wang. “With less ice, the sun’s warmth is instead absorbed by the open water, contributing to warmer temperatures in the water and the air.”

he area covered by summer sea ice is expected to decline from its current 4.6 million square kilometers (about 2.8 million square miles) to about 1 million square kilometers (about 620,000 square miles) – a loss approximately four-fifths the size of the continental U.S. Much of the sea ice would remain in the area north of Canada and Greenlan

via NOAA – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – Ice-Free Arctic Summers Likely Sooner Than Expected.

Who can say what climate chaos we may face in the next 50 years. Good luck to us.

Posted in Earth | Leave a Comment »

German woman divorces husband for cleaning too much | Oddly Enough | stv News

Posted by Anonymous on April 3, 2009

A German woman has divorced her husband because she was fed up with him cleaning all the time. German media reported the wife got through 15 years of marriage putting up with the man s penchant for doing household chores tidying up and rearranging the furniture. But she ran out of patience when he knocked down and rebuilt a wall at their home when it got dirty Christian Kropp court judge in the central town of Sondershausen said Thursday. “I d never had anyone seek a divorce for this ” he said.

via stv.tv | BERLIN (Reuters)

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Tooth Health: Measure your own pocket depths

Posted by Anonymous on April 3, 2009

I purchased a tool to measure the pocket depths in my teeth, but the tool didn’t come with instructions. So this post will be my notes to myself regarding my do-it-yourself dental exam.

Pocketchek™ Periodontal Measurement ToolPocketchek™ Periodontal Measurement Tool
Finally, take the mystery out of periodontal pockets and the worry of what your next office visit will reveal. But best of all, use Pocketchek™ to track your periodontal progress using Periogen™!

Unlike the steel-tipped tool used by dental professionals, this plastic wonder couldn’t hurt a fly. Graduated in three millimeter increments, pockets in the “green” are 3mm or less and considered healthy by the dental industry. Pockets deeper than that are crying out for Periogen™!

- globaltonic.com

The tool was under $30, and actually, the gradations on mine are a bit different than the picture above:

pocketdepths1A photo next to a ruler, showing the millimeters on my dental tool.

I have friends who work in dental offices, so I got some instruction tonight.

http://www.tomkepic.com/Periodontal_Disease/Perio%20Disease%20Fig%201.jpgThe gums form a cuff or collar around each tooth. Healthy gums are attached well to the tooth, so don’t force your gums away from the tooth with the tool. Gently insert the measuring rod under the gums and see how far down it goes. Be careful not to force the instrument in, don’t hurt yourself. We are measuring in millimeters (also know as “mm”). If it’s a 1, it’s a 1.

Important: The numeral “1″ printed on the ruler in my image above is 1 centimeter (cm) which is 10 mm. You’d have some serious gum disease if you have pockets that deep! 5 mm to 7 mm is bad. 1 mm to 3 mm is normal and means you don’t have gum disease

… assuming that you also don’t have loose, swollen, red, bleeding or tender gums, that you do not have persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth, and that your teeth are not loose or changing position.  Healthy gums should not bleed when probed. Your head should not bleed when you comb your hair. Similarly, your gums should not bleed when you floss or when you use the probe.

To be able to take notes, it will help to understand how dentists refer to your teeth. Each permanent tooth has a number. If you’ve had your wisdom teeth out, you’d be missing #1, #16, #17 and #32.


For each tooth, we will do six measurements.

To explain this better, I thought I would need to learn a few dental terms. After reading definitions for terms like “lingual”, “mesial”, “distal”, “occlusal” and “buccal”, “apical”, “coronal”, “incisal”, “labial”, I realized I needed a diagram, or better yet, a video! Here are two simple videos which explain the names dentists use for tooth surfaces.

My friend in the dental business let me know that you should take six measurements per tooth. Here is a sample perio chart showing where those six measurements are made.


What is suppuration? It is the formation of discharge or pus.

Here is a link to a blank periodontal chart (pdf) you can print out and use for your own measurements.

Okay, got it? Take six measurements for each tooth: right, middle, left on the front, then left, middle, right on the back of the tooth (lingual).

The point of my doing this is that I was told I need a deep cleaning because I have tarter. A tooth of mine broke and I saw the tarter on it. Now I’m using a product called Periogen to try to disolve the tarter without needing the deep cleaning. That’s why I’m going through all of this, because I hate getting those 12 shots that much… not to mention the cost.

Posted in Health | 2 Comments »

“Superkid,” 3, Moves Furniture, Weights

Posted by Anonymous on April 3, 2009

need to add title hereA three-year-old Michigan boy is super-strong.

He can move furniture, hold five-pound weights, and do sit-ups with ease.

But Liam Hoekstra, of Roosevelt Park, appears to have a rare genetic condition — one that presents special challenges to him and his parents, Early Show Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton said Thursday.

Ironically, learning more about it could lead to treatments for other muscle afflictions, researchers say.

Liam likely has a condition called myostatin-related muscle hypertrophy, which means his body has very little fat and enlarged muscle fibers that make him really strong, Ashton says.

The first human case was documented in 2000 in a German boy.

As a toddler, Liam had very defined muscles, but now he doesn’t look much different from any other normal child his age. He’s actually a bit smaller, but much stronger, Ashton points out.

It was first believed that since the heart is a muscle, it could be affected by this condition. But we know now that’s not the case, she says.

Because of his fast metabolism, Liam needs to eats constantly, as many as six meals a day to avoid a caloric deficit.

And, Ashton has been told, because he’s so strong — he falls, for instance, without getting hurt — Liam’s not learning the appropriate fear judgment of a child testing his or her limits.

But scientists actually hope to figure out how to mimic his condition, she adds, to help treat people suffering from muscle-wasting diseases such as cancer, heart failure and HIV:

To see the The Early Show segment on Liam, click here

via “Superkid,” 3, Moves Furniture, Weights – CBS News.

Posted in Biology, Strange | Leave a Comment »

Twin twitchers: Conn. pet shop has 2-nosed bunny

Posted by Anonymous on April 3, 2009

Iris Bergeron, an employee of Purr-Fect Pets in Milford, Conn. holds a bunny It’s no April Fools joke. The baby bunny really does have two noses. A Connecticut pet shop worker found the nosey bunny in a delivery of 6-week-old dwarf rabbits that arrived at the Milford store last week. Both noses have two nostrils. The owner of the Purr-Fect Pets shop says he’s never seen anything like it in 25 years in the business. He says the bunny eats, drinks and hops around like the rest of the litter.

Beardsley Zoo director Gregg Dancho says the deformity could be the result of too much inbreeding or the parents’ exposure to pesticides or poisons.

Store workers have begun a naming contest with Cyrano de Bergerac and Deuce among the contenders so far.

via Twin twitchers: Conn. pet shop has 2-nosed bunny.

Posted in Biology, Strange | Leave a Comment »

Dark matter: Physicists may have found telltale

Posted by Anonymous on April 3, 2009

Dark matter: Physicists may have found telltale European astronomers said on Wednesday that an anomalous energy signal detected by an orbiting satellite could be a telltale of the enigmatic substance known as dark matter.

The researchers, in a study appearing in the British journal Nature, say the hunch is that they picked up a signature of this strange phenomenon, but more work is needed.

Some years ago, astrophysicists calculating the amount of matter in the Universe arrived at the startling discovery that ordinary material — atoms — comprises perhaps as little as five percent of the stuff in the cosmos.

The rest, they believe, comes from the “dark” sector: matter and energy that appear to be pervasive but whose nature remains a puzzle.

Dark matter, which believes to account for 23 percent of the Universe, has been detected only indirectly, through the gravitational pull it exerts on visible matter.

What it is has ignited huge debate, including the hypothesis that dark matter is a new dimension of the Universe.

Another theory is that dark matter must be a new particle, or particles, that interact so weakly with ordinary matter that it does not produce light-emitting reactions. WIMPS (Weakly Interacting Massive Particles) are among the candidates for this.

via Dark matter: Physicists may have found telltale.

Posted in Physics, Space | Leave a Comment »

Polygamous Indonesia politicians may lose female votes

Posted by Anonymous on April 3, 2009

Polygamous Indonesia politicians may lose female votesPolygamy is turning into an election issue among some women voters in officially secular, predominantly Muslim Indonesia, after a feminist group listed several Islamist politicians alleged to have more than one wife.

The list could potentially hurt the election chances of politicians from the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), an Islamist party positioning itself as a potential ally or coalition partner for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ahead of the April 9 parliamentary elections and July 8 presidential poll.

Indonesia allows polygamy but a man can only get court approval to take a second wife if his first wife agrees, or if she is disabled or cannot have children.

via Polygamous Indonesia politicians may lose female votes | Oddly Enough | stv News.

Posted in Politics, Strange | Leave a Comment »

Jupiter’s stormy Great Red Spot is shrinking – CNN.com

Posted by Anonymous on April 3, 2009

NASA's Cassini spacecraft photographed Jupiter and its Great Red Spot, seen center near the equator, in 2000.Everything about Jupiter is super-sized, including its colorful, turbulent atmosphere. But there’s fresh evidence that one of the planet’s most recognizable features, the Great Red Spot, is shrinking.

he spot, which is actually an ancient monster storm that measures about three Earths across, lost 15 percent of its diameter between 1996 and 2006, scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have found.

It shrank by about 1 kilometer (about 0.6 miles) a day during that time period, said Xylar Asay-Davis, a postdoctoral researcher who was part of the study.

Astronomers have observed for years that the clouds of the Great Red Spot have been waning, but this newest research focused on the motion of the storm — a much more reliable way to measure its size, Asay-Davis said.

He and fellow Berkeley researchers Philip Marcus, Imke de Pater, Michael Wong and Sushil Shetty developed software that tracked the movement of the spot’s cloud patterns over long periods of time.

“It’s not just the motion of the spot as a whole object. Within it, it has a very complicated swirl to it — sort of a thin ring on the outside and then a sort of quiet area in the center — and that shape of it has been changing over time,” Asay-Davis said.

“What we actually look at is where the winds are the strongest in the vortex. It’s the ring where they’re the strongest, and that ring has been shrinking over time.”

via Jupiter’s stormy Great Red Spot is shrinking – CNN.com.

Posted in Space | Leave a Comment »

Man Coughs Up Nail Stuck In His Nose

Posted by Anonymous on April 3, 2009

Going to the doctor does not’t get any weirder than this.

Prax Sanchez went to a hospital for an MRI. “When I went to lay down on the MRI machine, I had a real pain on my right side under my eye,” said Sanchez.

Doctors asked him if he had any kind of metal in his face, perhaps from past procedures, but Sanchez said he wasn’t aware of anything. A short time later, Sanchez coughed up the unimaginable. A nail over an inch long.

“I never had any idea there was any metal in my face,” said Sanchez.

It turns out, Sanchez had an X-Ray done prior to the MRI. When doctors took another look at those X-Rays, they found that a nail was indeed stuck up his nasal cavity. According to doctors, the magnetic force from the MRI dislodged the nail causing Sanchez to cough it up later.

Sanchez’ family doctor, Jamieson Kennedy, determined the nail was up his nose for 30 years. “Once it’s in the nasal cavity like that, a little membrane forms around it,” said Kennedy

To this day Sanchez has no idea how that nail made it up his nose.

via Man Coughs Up Nail Stuck In His Nose / Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Southern Colorado, Breaking News, News, Weather, School Closings, Traffic from KKTV 11 News.

Posted in Strange | 1 Comment »


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