Major biological discovery…inside the Chernobyl reactor?

There has been an exciting new biological discovery inside the tomb of the Chernobyl reactor. Like out of some B-grade sci fi movie, a robot sent into the reactor discovered a thick coat of black slime growing on the walls. Since it is highly radioactive in there, scientists didn’t expect to find anything living, let alone thriving. The robot was instructed to obtain samples of the slime, which it did, and upon examination…the slime was even more amazing than was thought at first glance.

This slime, a collection of several fungi actually, was more than just surviving in a radioactive environment, it was actually using gamma radiation as a food source. Samples of these fungi grew significantly faster when exposed to gamma radiation at 500 times the normal background radiation level. The fungi appear to use melanin, a chemical found in human skin as well, in the same fashion as plants use chlorophyll. That is to say, the melanin molecule gets struck by a gamma ray and its chemistry is altered. This is an amazing discovery, no one had even suspected that something like this was possible. Most other wildlife in the contaminated area is thriving as well.

Aside from its novelty value, this discovery leads to some interesting speculation and potential research. Humans have melanin molecules in their skin cells, does this mean that humans are getting some of their energy from radiation? This also implies there could be organisms living in space where ionizing radiation is plentiful. I’ve always been a big panspermia proponent, the idea that life did not originate on Earth but is actually common in the cosmos. Organisms that can live in space certainly gives more credence to this idea.

Possibly this could also be used to create plants or mushrooms that could grow in space, serving as a food source for space travellers. Maybe these fungi could be modified and used somehow to clean up radiation contaminated environments. There’s quite a few of those, in fact the disposal of radioactive waste is still a huge and unsolved problem. Now the fungi couldn’t actually eat the radioactive isotopes, I’m not saying that, but if they can live in radioactive environments they might be used to somehow scour out or concentrate the radioactive isotopes in such a way as to facilitate their clean up.

Imagine, there’s fallout from a nuclear accident and what do the guys in suits do? They show up, spray mushroom spores over everything, and a few weeks later the mushrooms are harvested and disposed of while the contaminated area is now radiation free. It would certainly be useful, the picture at the top shows the still abandoned town of Priyat, Ukraine. It was built to house the workers at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, and was evacuated within hours of the accident.

An excellent story about the Chernobyl disaster and Pripyat is at the Ghost Town link. Just be aware that, no, Elana didn’t actually ride her motorcycle through the radiation contaminated zone, that was poetic license on her part. (Motorcycle enthusiasts have motorcycled across Europe hoping to duplicate her tour, only to be told by the guards that that motorcycles are not allowed in the contaminated zone.) The pictures and descriptions are accurate though, some of the images are incredibly poignant. Just think, a whole town where the inhabitants fled without warning, leaving all of their possessions behind.

Fortunately the Chernobyl reactor was an old and unsafe design, only one other reactor in the world was built the same way. It was right here in Berkeley, a research reactor built on campus in the fifties. It was sagely decided to quietly shut it down after Chernobyl; while it couldn’t have had an accident on the scale of Chernobyl, the locals were a little concerned anyhow. In fact it was a block away from my favourite burrito place, yikes.


Drive a Toy Car With a Camera Into a Pride of Lions and Watch What Happens

What happens when a couple of wildlife conservationists get bored on the job in Africa and decide to put a camera on a remote control car? You're about to find out:

Image: Chris McLennan Photogra­phy
Lions have vanished from more than 80 percent of their historic range and are extinct in 26 countries, according to Panthera, a wildcat conservation group. Only 20,000 remain in the wild, down from a global population of 200,000 in the 1950s.

The apex predators are threatened by a range of factors, including habitat loss, scarcity of wild prey because of overhunting by humans, and retaliatory poisoning by herders and farmers after lions kill their livestock.

If the situation doesn’t change dramatically, some experts predict that lions could be extinct in the wild in 10 to 20 years.


Canada Approves World's First Genetically Modified Salmon Destined For Consumption In The U.S.

Marco Torres | Prevent Disease

It seems the level of corruption at the hands of politicians and power hungry investors is no different in Canada than anywhere else in the world. Environment Canada has approved the commercial production of GM Atlantic salmon eggs which grow to market-size twice as fast as other farmed salmon. The biotech company responsible, Aquabounty, has revealed that it is no longer asking for approval to grow the fish in the US but plans to produce all of the GM salmon eggs in Canada and then sell “table-ready” GM salmon into the US consumer market. It is an alarming decision that sets Canada up to be the source of global environmental risk, says the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network.

A U.S. company who has lobbied to commercially produce genetically modified salmon eggs in Canada says it has cleared a major hurdle in its proposal to make the fish available for human consumption, a possibility that has critics worried about the prospect of "frankenfish" escaping and endangering wild Atlantic salmon around the world.

The Environment Canada approval is the first government approval for the company AquaBounty. The company has asked for approval of the GM Atlantic salmon for human consumption in the U.S., based on a plan to produce the GM fish eggs in Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada and ship them to Panama for grow-out and processing.

“We’re devastated that Prince Edward Island is now officially the home of the Frankenfish,” said Leo Broderick of the Prince Edward Island (PEI) group called Islanders Say No to Frankenfish, “We don’t want our Island to be the source of this dangerous living pollution.”

Environment Canada's conclusion is that the eggs are not harmful to the environment or human health when produced in contained facilities.

Yet experts from the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network are strongly opposed indicating the decision sets a precedent that endangers the future of salmon. “We are extremely disappointed and alarmed that our government has approved the production of GM fish eggs. GM salmon egg production in Canada endangers the future of wild Atlantic salmon around the world,” said Lucy Sharratt of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network. “It's simply crazy that the world’s first GM fish eggs are now going to be coming from Canada.”

"This is a concrete environmental risk now that's coming directly from Canada," Sharratt said.

She said Ottawa's decision is a surprise given that federal officials hadn't indicated publicly that a review was underway.

"The announcement is a huge surprise in that even after repeated requests (for information) we were never told that this decision was even being taken."

In an email, Environment Canada said the decision was made by departmental scientists "based on a thorough scientific evaluation of the latest evidence and studies." The department also said that the federal government has effective regulations in place to protect the environment and human health from potentially adverse effects of genetically engineered organisms in Canada.

Stotish said Aquabounty's proposal was subject to a risk assessment conducted by Fisheries and Oceans Canada involving a panel of independent experts in transgenics and fish containment technology.
Aquabounty's plans have drawn opposition from some state lawmakers in the U.S. as well including Alaska, and from environmental groups who fear that the genetically modified fish could escape their onshore farms and put wild populations at risk.

In February, the public response was so strong that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it was extending its comments period on its preliminary assessments of the fish, which found they posed no significant environmental impact.

“This isn’t the international image we want for our beautiful Island,” said Broderick.

Just last week, on November 21, an environmental group in Panama filed a complaint alleging that AquaBounty’s research and development of the GM fish, using eggs sent from PEI, was not in compliance with national and international environmental regulations.

AquaBounty is headquartered in the U.S. but the GM salmon is based on a gene construct patented by two Canadian university professors. The company also has research facilities in Prince Edward Island where it grows GM fish for experimentation and testing. The company recently revealed that it is not actually asking for approval to grow the fish in the US but plans to produce all of the GM salmon eggs on PEI, ship the eggs to Panama for growing out and processing, and then sell “table-ready” GM salmon into the US consumer market.

Just two years ago a Purdue University scientist urged federal officials to decide favorably on allowing genetically engineered salmon into the food supply arguing that not doing so may set back scientific efforts to increase food production. The argument came in direct contradiction to statements made by the same scientist who found that releasing a transgenic fish to the wild could damage native populations even to the point of extinction.

Marcus Sheldon who operates a conventional fish farm in B.C says that genetically modified salmon could accelerate toxicity levels. "That's just not natural," said Sheldon. "Twice the growth is likely twice the toxicity as well if you consider artificially inflated hormonal levels which we don't know the long term effects of."

No One Wants GM Fish

The aquaculture industry does not support the commercialization of GM fish and has stated that there is no market demand. Across North America, grocery stores are now pledging not to use GM seafood.

The first GM Food Animal in the World?

The GM fish was in a race with the GM pig called “Enviropig” to become the first genetically engineered animal in our food system but the campaign led by the Canadian Biotechnology stopped the GM pig in March 2012, making GM salmon the first commercially available animal for human consumption.
Critics have long warned that the process of genetic engineering itself could possibly result in increased allergenicity and AquaBounty’s own data point to this potential in their GM salmon.

Dr. Michael Hansen, Senior Scientist at Consumers Union US, says, “The FDA is relying on woefully inadequate data. There is sloppy science, small sample sizes, and questionable practices.” For example, the company used insensitive tests to try and measure the levels of growth hormone in the GM salmon and the levels of IGF-1, a hormone linked to a number of cancers.


Marco Torres is a research specialist, writer and consumer advocate for healthy lifestyles. He holds degrees in Public Health and Environmental Science and is a professional speaker on topics such as disease prevention, environmental toxins and health policy.


NFL Linebacker Quitting Football to Start an Organic Garden

Playing lineman in the NFL is probably one of the most taxing jobs physically on the planet, and it’s
something that John Moffitt has gotten quite used to over the past 2½ years as an offensive guard.

But today, the 319-pound, 27-year-old former Wisconsin Badger is walking away with his health intact, and reportedly has his heart set on living a healthier and more balanced lifestyle.

“I would like to grow my own food for a while, lose a ton of weight, feel great. And spend time with people I love and be happy,” he was quoted as saying in this article.

Moffitt also had reportedly lost his passion for the game and didn’t want to fool his teammates any longer. Denver is considered one of the front-runners, if not the front-runner for the Super Bowl title this year, but Moffitt said that he really didn’t care much about winning it all and had other aspirations.

He also said he had no regrets about playing football and that he has full respect for those who play it, but added that he has plenty of money and didn’t want to risk his health in what he called a “dangerous” sport that is tough on families due to all the travel.

Moffitt has a girlfriend and a 5-year-old daughter in Seattle. He reportedly plans to host a podcast on topics such as philosophy and politics now.

‘So, it’s a smoother transition and I’m still young enough to start a career and my body’s healthy and I’m good. I look at it as a great start to life, you know?’ he said.

NFL Player’s Departure Part of a Growing Trend

While life in the NFL and other professional sports is oftentimes mostly about getting bigger, tougher, and stronger and faster, many players and teams are now approaching things for a more holistic point of view.
Recently, NFL superstars Tony Gonzalez and Arian Foster both revealed that they had gone vegan or are at least mostly vegan, only eating a little meat or fish when they felt they absolutely had to in order to bulk up or if their body seemed to be really craving it.

In addition, many teams have embraced yoga as part of a mind-body-spirit (and flexibility)-focused lifestyle for their players, including the Seattle Seahawks, a team that has recently vaulted near the top of the league.
For many players, the hyper-competitive and intense demands of modern professional sports are now leading them to look to alternative ways to take care of themselves and to reconnect with a more spiritual side (for instance, here’s an amazing longform story from Sports Illustrated about former NBA player Bison Dele’s decision to walk away from even more money to travel the world and play music).

In this case, it’s hard to fault Moffitt for walking away, considering he’s already made almost $2 million during his time in the NFL so far (before taxes).

Going up against monsters in the trenches of an NFL football game is hazardous enough, but perhaps the biggest demand on Moffitt and others is maintaining their hulking, unnatural physiques and weights, which require a ton of maintenance, overindulging on food calories, and absurdly intense workouts year-round that have to be difficult on the heart and other major organs.

Given Moffitt’s noble aspirations for the next phase of his life, it’s hard not to be impressed by his decision to follow his heart. His teammates might be a little disappointed, but Moffitt has the right to do what’s best for himself, ultimately, and his health.

Now, if more people in the working world decide to follow his example (when they feel it’s the right thing to do in their heart, of course), especially on Wall Street and in similar professional areas, we just might be on our way to creating the type of world we want to see.

Source: via

The Top 10 Toxins that are Poisoning Our Kids

Dr. Brent HunterNatural News

From BPA, MSG, pesticides, environmental chemicals, household cleaners, toxins in vaccines and prescription drugs, our children are exposed to a huge amount of toxic chemicals. Toxins are everywhere in our modern society. They are damaging your child’s health and causing disease. How can you get these chemicals out of your children’s bodies and protect them? The first step is to understand where they are coming from. Then you can eliminate them and incorporate a healthy lifestyle that naturally detoxes your child’s body.

This article is Part 1 of 2 addressing the issue of toxicity in our children and what to do to detox them. It is not necessarily easy to rid your kid’s bodies of years of these stored toxins but it is possible. In part 2, we will discuss specific strategies and tips for detoxing.

Toxins and Childhood Health

The problem of toxic exposure has only increased year by year. My readers of more advanced years will remember a time when children were generally healthy and active. Today, however, there are more children who are sick and taking prescription drugs than there are healthy children. Certainly, there are many factors that contribute to this but the extreme exposure to toxins is a huge factor that you can control.

Nearly 12 million children in the United States under age 18 suffer from one or more learning, developmental, or behavioral disabilities.(1) We have seen ridiculous increases in the incidence of autism, ADHD and cancer in children. Consider these facts:

  • Autism rates were 1 in 150 in 2000. By 2008, the rate had increased to 1 in 88.(2)
  • From 2001 to 2010, the rate of ADHD diagnosis increased 25%.(3)
  • Cancer is now the leading cause of death by disease in children under age 15.(4)

My Experience with Toxicity in my Own Child

When my son was born, the doctors felt that my wife had an infection in the birth canal. If that were the case, it could be transferred to my son during delivery and cause harm to him. However, the only way to confirm the infection is a bacterial culture that takes three days to grow. As a result, my son was placed on ‘precautionary’, heavy doses of three different I.V. antibiotics for three days.

Well, three days later, the cultures came back negative – my son never had a bacterial infection at all. However, the three days of heavy antibiotics were not without effect. As a result of the antibiotics, my son is profoundly deaf. There is nothing I can do to restore his hearing. However, the experience that we gained over the last five years dealing with his deafness have been amazing. In fact, my wife and I write about those experiences at this blog: Seeing Life Differently.

Additionally, the antibiotics wreaked major havoc on his digestion system. It took at least three months to detox him from the antibiotics and restore his normal digestive functions. He endured a lot of discomfort and pain for three months all due to three days of antibiotic treatment.

He is now one of the healthiest, non-toxic kids I know. Since that incident at birth, he has never had need of any prescription drugs, including antibiotics.

He attends the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind - a public school serving Deaf and Blind children in all of Florida. Many of the children at this wonderful school live in dorms Monday through Friday. The school has a great medical clinic/health center right on campus.

On registration day, all the parents have to also check in with the health center. It was amazing to me how many of the parents - nearly all - checked in prescription drugs for their children’s chronic health conditions! Toxicity from prescription drugs alone is a huge problem for our children.

It seemed like we waited forever in the line for the health center. We simply had to let them know that he has no drugs, remind them of his vaccine exemption, and sign a health services form.

I thank God everyday for my child’s great health. It is not that he has great genes. It is that we have formed a lifestyle for him that produces great health. This is no easy task as a parent, for sure. But it is possible, even for picky eaters like my son and every other five year old kid!

Children and Toxins

The fact is that children are exposed the same chemical toxins as adults. However, children are more vulnerable to toxins than adults for several reasons.

  • Their bodies are still growing
  • Pound for pound children drink more water/juices, eat more food and breathe more air than the average adult which increases their exposure to toxins
  • The typical child receives 50+ toxin-laden vaccines before age 6(5)

Here are the top 10 toxins that our children are exposed to regularly:

Mercury Fillings. The mercury in these fillings is slowly leached into your kid’s body everyday which causes long term neurological damage. This mercury exposure is made even worse by the other sources your child is exposed to from vaccines and other drugs.

Toxins in Vaccines. Vaccines are not as safe as you may have been led to believe. I do not intend to discuss the validity of vaccines in this post. I would refer you to NVIC and for a full discussion of this important issue. However, please do educate yourself fully before deciding which vaccines and how many vaccines to give to your child. Regardless of your vaccine decision, they are filled with toxic chemicals that damage your child’s health and cause disease. Here are just some of the common vaccine ingredients – posted on the CDC website(6) - that may shock you:

Formaldehyde – also used to preserve dead things

Mercury (thimerosal), especially in flu vaccines

Aluminum – highly associated with alzheimer’s disease

GMO yeast

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

Antibiotics (neomycin, streptomycin)

Human cells from aborted fetal tissue

Cells from pig and horse blood

Monkey kidney cells

Calf serum protein

Chicken embryo cells

Egg Protein extracts

Soy Protein extracts

Ammonium Sulfate

Prescription Drugs. I discussed the problem with antibiotics that my child experienced. That was only scratching the surface. Prescription drugs are all toxic and inherently dangerous. ADHD drugs are especially dangerous and toxic. They belong to a class of drugs called amphetamines and are similar to street drugs like meth and speed. No parent would even consider handing their child meth. However, when a doctor gives you a prescription for a legal version of the same thing, unfortunately, most parents don’t even think twice about giving it to their kids every day. Even worse, more and more kids are being prescribed antidepressant drugs as well with devastating effects.

MSG in foods and personal care products. MSG is everywhere. It is very toxic and results in many health problems. Read How to Avoid Being Secretly Poisoned by MSG to learn more about this important issue.

Toxins in processed foods and fast foods. Have you thought about the amount of synthetic chemicals, preservatives, nitrates and artificial colors and flavors in the hot dog that you give your child for lunch? These chemicals are used in all processed and fast foods and are a constant source of toxicity.

Toxins in Laundry products. These products may smell nice, however, the chemicals that create that fragrance are cancer-causing toxins. They are absorbed by your clothing and then absorbed through your skin and into your body.

Toxins in shampoo and personal care products (soap, deodorant, toothpaste, etc). Have you read the back of your shampoo or body wash bottle lately? Chances are that you will not recognize 99% of the ingredients. Neither will your body when they are absorbed through your skin.

Toxins in household cleaning products. Window cleaners state on the bottle that they are harmful or fatal if swallowed. Bleach will certainly cause grave danger if ingested. Though we don’t drink them, these chemicals are absorbed into our bodies by inhalation or through our skin.

Pesticides in the home, food, and environment. We use pesticides in the home that get into our bodies by inhalation or accidental skin exposure. We consume produce and meat that contain ridiculous levels of pesticides.

Soda pop. Both – depending on where you live – soda (and) pop contain high amounts of phosphoric acid which literally dissolves your child’s teeth and leads to softening of the bones as well. Not to mention the high fructose corn syrup causing toxicity, obesity and diabetes.

If you stop to think about all of these items, it becomes abundantly clear that our children (and you) are toxic! What can you do? How do you get rid of these toxins? We will discuss that in part 2 of this series. Look for it tomorrow.

The information in this article and the next (part 2) have been presented as a result of a question from a Wellness Achiever Newsletter subscriber. Be sure to subscribe for the latest updates from Wellness Achiever. You will also periodically have the opportunity to ask your questions about health and wellness and have them answered here. Visit and you will see a box near the top, right side of this article to enter your email address.

Question: What surprises you most about these statistics on childhood diseases? What about the sources of toxicity? You can leave your comment below.


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"Hacked" Potatoes Can Create Electricity

by Jonathan Kalan

Mashed, boiled, baked or fried? You probably have a preference for your potatoes. Haim Rabinowitch, however, likes his spuds “hacked”.

Image: Thinkstock
For the past few years, researcher Rabinowitch and colleagues have been pushing the idea of “potato power” to deliver energy to people cutoff from electricity grids. Hook up a spud to a couple of cheap metal plates, wires and LED bulbs, they argue, and it could provide lighting to remote towns and villages around the world.

They’ve also discovered a simple but ingenious trick to make potatoes particularly good at producing energy. “A single potato can power enough LED lamps for a room for 40 days,” claims Rabinowitch, who is based at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The idea may seem absurd, yet it is rooted in sound science. Still, Rabinowitch and his team have discovered that actually launching potato power in the real world is much more complex than it first appears.

While Rabinowitch and team have found a way to make potatoes produce more power than usual, the basic principles are taught in high school science classes, to demonstrate how batteries work.

To make a battery from organic material, all you need is two metals – an anode, which is the negative electrode, such as zinc, and a cathode, the positively charged electrode, such as copper. The acid inside the potato forms a chemical reaction with the zinc and copper, and when the electrons flow from one material to another, energy is released.

This was discovered by Luigi Galvani in 1780 when he connected two metals to the legs of a frog, causing its muscles to twitch. But you can put many materials between these two electrodes to get the same effect. Alexander Volta, around the time of Galvani, used saltwater-soaked paper. Others have made “earth batteries” using two metal plates and a pile of dirt, or a bucket of water.

Super spuds

Potatoes are often the preferred vegetable of choice for teaching high school science students these principles. Yet to the surprise of Rabinowitch, no one had scientifically studied spuds as an energy source. So in 2010, he decided to give it a try, along with PhD student Alex Goldberg, and Boris Rubinsky of the University of California, Berkeley.

“We looked at 20 different types of potatoes,” explains Goldberg, “and we looked at their internal resistance, which allows us to understand how much energy was lost by heat.”

They found that by simply boiling the potatoes for eight minutes, it broke down the organic tissues inside the potatoes, reducing resistance and allowing for freer movement of electrons– thus producing more energy. They also increased the energy output by slicing the potato into four or five pieces, each sandwiched by a copper and zinc plate, to make a series. “We found we could improve the output 10 times, which made it interesting economically, because the cost of energy drops down,” says Goldberg.

“It’s low voltage energy,” says Rabinowitch, “but enough to construct a battery that could charge mobile phones or laptops in places where there is no grid, no power connection.”

Their cost analyses suggested that a single boiled potato battery with zinc and copper electrodes generates portable energy at an estimated $9 per kilowatt hour, which is 50-fold cheaper than a typical 1.5 volt AA alkaline cell or D cell battery, which can cost $49–84 per kilowatt hour. It’s also an estimated six times cheaper than standard kerosene lamps used in the developing world.

Which raises an important question – why isn’t the potato battery already a roaring success?

In 2010, the world produced a staggering 324,181,889 tonnes of potatoes. They are the world’s number one non-grain crop, in 130 countries, and a hefty source of starch for billions around the world. They are cheap, store easily, and last for a long time.

With 1.2 billion people in the world lacking access to electricity, a simple potato could be the answer– or so the researchers thought. “We thought organisations would be interested,” says Rabinowitch. “We thought politicians in India would give them out with their names inscribed on them. They cost less than a dollar.”

Yet three years on since their experiment, why haven’t governments, companies or organisations embraced potato batteries? “The simple answer is they don’t even know about it,” reasons Rabinowitch. But it may be more complicated than that.

First, there’s the issue of using a food for energy. Olivier Dubois, senior natural resources officer at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), says that using food for energy – like sugar cane for biofuels – must avoid depleting food stocks and competing with farmers.

“You first need to look at: are there enough potatoes to eat? Then, are we not competing with farmers making income from selling potatoes?” he explains. “So if eating potatoes is covered, selling potatoes is covered, and there’s some potatoes left, then yes, it can work”

In a country like Kenya, the potato is the second most important food for families after maize. Smallholder farmers produced around 10 million tonnes of potatoes this year, yet around 10-20% were lost in post-harvest waste due to lack of access to markets, poor storage conditions, and other issues, according to Elmar Schulte–Geldermann, potato science leader for sub–Saharan Africa at the International Potato Center in Nairobi, Kenya. The potatoes that don’t make it to the market could easily be turned into batteries.

Pithy answer

Yet in Sri Lanka, for instance, the locally available potatoes are rare and expensive. So a team of scientists at the University of Kelaniya recently decided to try the experiment with something more widely available, and free – plantain piths (stems).

Physicist KD Jayasuriya and his team found that the boiling technique produced a similar efficiency increase for plantains – and the best battery performance was obtained by chopping the plantain pith after boiling.
With the boiled piths, they found they could power a single LED for more than 500 hours, provided it is prevented from drying out. “I think the potato has slightly better current, but the plantain pith is free, it’s something we throw away,” says Jayasuriya.

Despite all this, some are sceptical of the feasibility of potato power. “In reality, the potato battery is essentially like a regular battery you’d buy at the store,” says Derek Lovley at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. “It’s just using a different matrix.” While the potato helps to prevent energy being lost to heat, it is not the source of the energy – that’s actually extracted via the corrosion of the zinc. “It’s sacrificial – the metal is degrading over time,” says Lovley. This means you’d have to replace the zinc – and of course the potato or plantain pith – over time.

Still, zinc is quite cheap in most developing countries. And Jayasuriya argues that it could still be more cost effective than a kerosene lamp. A zinc electrode that lasts about five months would cost about the same as a litre of kerosene, which fuels the average family home in Sri Lanka for two days. You could also use other electrodes, like magnesium or iron.

But potato advocates must surmount another problem before their idea catches on: consumer perception of potatoes. Compared with modern technologies like solar power, potatoes are perhaps less desirable as an energy source.

Gaurav Manchanda, founder of One Degree Solar, which sells micro-solar home systems in Kenya, says people buy their products for more reasons than efficiency and price. “These are all consumers at the end of the day. They need to see the value in it, not only in terms of performance, but status,” he explains. Basically, some people might not want to show off their potato battery to impress a neighbor.

Still, it cannot be denied that the potato battery idea works, and it appears cheap. Advocates of potato power will no doubt continue to keep chipping away.

Article sources:

What This Man Found In A Bag Of Mulch Will Blow Your Mind. What He Did With It Will Melt Your Heart.

A Florida man opened a new bag of mulch and, to his surprise, he found a baby squirrel inside.  We found the man on Reddit, where he is known by the handle “Nadtacular,” but now the Internet is starting to know him because of his compassion.  The baby squirrel appeared to be only days old when he found it.  It was so young, he initially mistook it for a mouse or rat.  But he decided to take care of it, and lucky for us, document his its development.
When he cut open the bag, this little guy fell out…

To keep it alive, he had to force feed the little fellow…

But after 2 weeks, he was eating like a champ…

By week 3, this is how he’d look after a satisfying meal…

Somewhere between weeks 4 and 5 his eyes finally opened…

By the 5th week, he was fully aware…

And getting playful…

It seemed this growing boy was always hungry…

“C’mon, just one more blueberry…”

He loves to bask in the sunlight…

As you can see from the photographs, a bond developed between the man and the squirrel, which he named “Zip.”  There is no definitive answer to how baby Zip found its way into the bag of mulch, but it’s safe to say Zip appears to be enjoying his new home.  It’s also safe to say that this man’s selfless act has restored our hope in humanity.  Way to go!

Sources: &

Bees Have Been Trained To Sniff Out Cancer in Humans

Images: Susana Soares
Portuguese designer Susana Soares has developed a device for detecting cancer and other serious diseases using trained bees. The bees are placed in a glass chamber into which the patient exhales; the bees fly into a smaller secondary chamber if they detect cancer.

Scientists have found that honey bees - Apis mellifera - have an extraordinary sense of smell that is more acute than that of a sniffer dog and can detect airborne molecules in the parts-per-trillion range.

Bees can be trained to detect specific chemical odours, including the biomarkers associated with diseases such as tuberculosis, lung, skin and pancreatic cancer.


Poisons You Didn’t Know You Were Eating

Sawdust in Everything

Extra fiber. You see it in large friendly letters on cereal boxes, orange juice cartons, everything, but you probably wouldn’t touch the box if you saw the word “sawdust.” From crackers to cocoa mix, cellulose (a.k.a. wood pulp) is used as filler in everyday foods. While the FDA deems wood pulp safe for consumption, the USDA limits cellulose to 3.5% of the total food mass. Maybe it’s time to go on that paleo diet.

Apple Seeds

An apple a day keeps the doctor away — unless you eat the seeds. Apple seeds (along with cherry, peach, and apricot pits) contain amygdalin, a compound of cyanide and sugar. Luckily, the human body is able to handle small doses of cyanide, so you won’t be keel over after crunching on a Granny Smith. Still, it’s probably best not to snack on a bowlful of seeds.

Cancer-Causing Artificial Colorings

Rainbow cake, neon popsicles, fruit punches and macaroni and cheese — they’re fun to eat because partly because they have such fun colors. But does that fun outweigh the risk of thyroid, adrenal, bladder, kidney, or brain cancer? Artificial dyes such as blue 1, red 3 and yellow 6 have been linked with all five of those cancers. Correlation doesn’t equal causality, but you might want to think again before slurping down that next blue raspberry slushie. (It’s better than the olden days: originally food was colored with natural compounds that included dangerous toxins like mercury, copper, or arsenic.)

Contaminated Bottled Water

Drinking water is one of the best things you can do for your health — but not all water is safe. While municipal tap water is tested and inspected on a regular basis, bottled water is only examined at the source on a monthly basis, Business Insider reports. After being checked once en masse, bottled water tampered with or partially opened may leave you exposed to a host of terrible substances like mold, kerosene, bacteria, glass particles, and even fecal matter.

Beetles in Frappuccinos

Last year, Starbucks came under fire from angry, caffeinated vegans who found out that the mega coffee chain colors their pink-hued Strawberry Frappuccinos with crushed up cochineal beetles, according to CBS News. At least they’re all natural. The company is not alone in their coloring practices. The beetles are used to dye many food products from yogurt to toaster pastries and have been used throughout history to dye fabrics in Central America.

Poison Potatoes

If you have a green potato in your kitchen, sadly you haven’t won a prize. (Unless the prize you’ve been wanting is poison.) Green on a potato is an indication of a concentration of solanine, a toxin that causes nausea, headaches, neurological issues and, in rare cases, death. Rule of thumb for potatoes: if it’s green, it’s mean.

Toxic Metals in Lipstick

Researchers have found that along with that vibrant hue, lipstick may contain dangerously high toxic levels of metals like lead, chromium (a carcinogen), and aluminum in some lip products. These results were found in all levels of lipsticks and glosses from $6-24. Researchers say that these substances can damage the brain, nerves and kidneys, and are linked to multiple cancers. “Just finding these metals isn’t the issue; it’s the levels that matter,” said the study’s principal researcher. “Some of the toxic metals are occurring at levels that could possibly have an effect in the long term.”

Mercury in Fish

It’s not just tuna anymore: mercury is on the rise in all varieties of fish around the globe. Some scientists believe that just a small amount of the toxic metal, which is deemed safe by the government, can pose a threat to brain development or cause other health problems. The danger is especially high for pregnant women and children. The safest bets are cod, salmon, shrimp, and sardines.

Kidney Beans

Beans, beans the magical fruit, the more you eat the more… likely you are to get sick from high levels of phytohemagglutinin (PHA), a toxin that causes vomiting and diarrhea. Just five raw or undercooked kidney or cannellini beans can be bad news.

In the 1970s, there was an outbreak of kidney bean poisoning when hundreds of Brits used their new slow cookers to make beans and toast, a popular breakfast. Simmering kidney beans on low actually increases their toxicity. Luckily, after being boiled for just 10 minutes, the chance of poisoning is almost zero.

Chemicals in Packaging

Keeping food and drinks fresh used to be a bit of a gamble — goatskin sacks were quite popular back in the day but apparently left a musty aftertaste. Then science developed tin cans and plastic and the world changed — for the better, it seemed. Now, BPA (Bisphenol A), which is used in clear plastic bottles and as food can liners, has been linked with reproductive abnormalities, prostate cancers, diabetes, and heart disease.

Though the use of the chemical has been restricted by Canada and some U.S. states, Consumer Reports found evidence of the chemical even in cans that were labeled BPA-free.

Rat Fur and Insects

According to many scientists, one of the best things we can do for our ecosystem is to eat bugs instead of meat. Even if you think you could never stomach a creepy crawler, chances are, you’re already eating a lot of them and don’t know it. As dictated by the FDA, food and drink manufacturers are allowed a certain amount of bugs and rodent hair in their products.

Peanut butter is allowed to contain one rodent hair per 100 grams. Pasta can have 225 bug parts per 225 grams of pasta. Canned mushrooms should probably be avoided at all costs. Only if there are more than 20 maggots per 100 grams of mushrooms will the FDA take notice.

Fungus Free — At a Price

In many ways, modern farming has been a boon to humanity. Production is up and incidences of famine are down. But the use of fertilizers, pesticides, and fungicides come at a price. In order to keep the fruit growing healthily, farmers spray apples with fungicides such as diphenylamine and thiabendazole. The former can cause long-term damage to your kidney, liver, and bladder, while the latter has been linked to nervous system damage. A recent study found that nearly 80% of all conventionally grown apples had traces of these pesticides on them, even after washing. Unless you’re buying organic, chances are you’re eating these poisons.

Sodium Fluoride in Toothpaste

Fluoride is good for your teeth, there’s no denying that. But a study found that just 5mg of fluoride ingestion can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea in children. If Junior gets a hold of the whole tube, it could be very bad news. Ingesting large amounts of sodium fluoride can cause muscular weakness and paralysis which is why it’s also a main ingredient in rat and cockroach poison. Wash that mouth.