Category: News Posts

Can People Catch Cancer? Not Likely, But Some Animals Can

These guys are seriously threatened by a contagious cancer, largely because of how much they love to touch each other’s faces.

Recent headlines about contagious cancers found in some animals may make you wonder: Could I catch cancer? In Australia, Tasmanian devils are dying from aggressive facial tumors caused by a contagious virus.

In the Atlantic Ocean, some clams are developing a form of leukemia caused by cancer cells suspended in the water. And scientists have known for years that dogs can spread cancer cells from one to another during intercourse.

Despite recent headlines about cancer being contagious in other species, current data shows it’s virtually impossible in humans,” says Dr. Glen Weiss, Director of Clinical Research and Phase I & II Clinical Trials at our hospital near Phoenix.

“There have been attempts to transfect people without cancer with cancer cells, and it did not work.”

In the 1950s and 1960s, Dr. Chester Southam, a New York immunologist, conducted several controversial experiments by injecting live cancer cells into uninformed cancer patients and healthy prisoners.




While patients in both studies grew tumors, those in the healthy patients were quickly attacked and eliminated by their immune systems.

Foreign cells would more likely be rejected just like an organ donation or bone marrow transplant from a donor,” Dr. Weiss says.

In order to take, a recipient would likely require significant immunosuppression.” Southam was widely criticized for his experiments on humans and his medical license was suspended for one year.

Organ recipients are at a higher risk of developing cancer, but only in rare cases has the cancer been linked to the organ donor having cancer.

Such cases are so rare that some cancer patients are still eligible to donate organs. Some recipients develop cancer because the body’s immune system is suppressed to help prevent organ rejection.

Fortunately, survival of transplanted cancers in healthy humans is exceedingly rare and documented by only a small handful of cases,” Dr. James S. Welsh, a radiation oncologist currently with the Loyola University Health System writes in a 2011 article on contagious cancer.

“Thus, friends and family members of cancer patients and we, as caregivers of cancer patients, need not be unduly concerned with the remote possibility of ‘catching cancer.”

Humans may spread contagious viruses that lead to cancer. For instance, the human papillomavirus (HPV)  is responsible for virtually all cases of cervical cancer.

It is also linked to most cases of vaginal and vulvar cancer and more than half the cases of penile cancer. The virus is also linked to 90 percent of anal cancers and 72 percent of oropharyngeal cancer.

The hepatitis B and C viruses may lead to hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of liver cancer.

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How Does Chlorine Work To Clean Swimming Pools?

Chlorine is the chemical most often used to keep swimming pools and Jacuzzis free of bacteria that can be hazardous to humans.

Chlorine kills bacteria though a fairly simple chemical reaction. The chlorine solution you pour into the water breaks down into many different chemicals, including hypochlorous acid (HOCl) and hypochlorite ion (OCl).

Both kill microorganisms and bacteria by attacking the lipids in the cell walls and destroying the enzymes and structures inside the cell, rendering them oxidized and harmless.

The difference between HOCl and OCl is the speed at which they oxidize. Hypochlorous acid is able to oxidize the organisms in several seconds, while the hypochlorite ion may take up to 30 minutes.

The levels of HOCl and OCl vary with the pool’s pH level. If the pH is too high, not enough HOCl is present and pool cleaning can take much longer than normal.




Ideally, the level of pH in the pool should be between 7 and 8; 7.4 is ideal — this is the pH of human tears.

Once the HOCl and OCl are done cleaning the pool, they either combine with another chemical, such as ammonia, or are broken down into single atoms. Both of these processes render the chlorine harmless.

Sunlight speeds these processes up. You have to keep adding chlorine to the pool as it breaks down.

While the bacteria-killing properties of chlorine are very useful, chlorine also has some side effects that can be annoying to humans, and possibly even hazardous.

Chlorine has a very distinctive smell that most find unpleasant, and some find overwhelming. There is also the “itch factor” — chlorine can cause certain skin types to become itchy and irritated.

The hypochlorite ion causes many fabrics to fade quickly when not rinsed off immediately after exiting the pool. This is why your swimsuit looks faded and worn so early in the summer.

Extremely high amounts of chlorine gas hovering above your pool can be hazardous to your breathing. Some companies have developed alternatives to chlorine, including other chemicals and ion generators.

Some of these are good alternatives, but they don’t achieve the cleanliness, oxidation levels or low price that chlorine provides.

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Why Do Websites Break? 4 Common Culprits

Picture this…

You’ve just launched a shiny new responsive website: it’s slick, it’s sexy (hyperbole, I know, but sometimes it’s apropos) and then something breaks.

Why? Why?!” you ask while frustrated that you just invested a substantial amount of money into a now defunct website. It just doesn’t make sense…right?

When reasoning about issues with your website, consider the analogy of a new car. Even with that “new car” price tag, your new vehicle will soon require regular maintenance and care to continue running in top fashion.

And when something unexpected eventually occurs (like a stall or odd noise), the cause could be anything from a needed oil change or loose connection.

In order to get your car up and running again, you’ll need to take steps to correct the issue, which usually requires reinvestment and patience. The same can be said with your website.




4 Common Culprits of Broken Websites

Browser Updates & Compatibility: From Chrome to Internet Explorer and beyond, internet browsers frequently push new updates to provide users with improved experiences.

These updates reduce vulnerabilities to viruses, hackers, etc. and help reduce the likihood of site crashes. With that in mind, most new websites are developed to support the most current browsers.

If you don’t update your browser regularly, you’re probably not viewing websites as they were intended to be seen (not to mention, you probably experience more crashes that most users).

Software Updates: Websites are hosted by computers, which run on… you guessed it… software! Just as your personal computer requires updates to its operating system and programs, the same is true for the software hosting your website.

These updates may need to be performed directly to your website’s content management system or to its software environment, which includes its operating system, database, etc. In order to maintain your site’s security and performance, updates are essential.

Keep in mind, however, that updates always have the potential to cause compatibility issues so it’s important to work closely with your “mechanic” when installing them.

User Error: Websites that utilize a content management system (CMS) are a convenient way for admins without programming knowledge to easily update a website.

With that benefit, there is also potential for untrained or hurried users to break items within a site. To limit user errors from occurring, I recommend limiting website admins to one or two people.

Admins should receive proper CMS training from your website creator before stepping into this important role.

Lastly, it’s important to request documentation from your website creator to reference when you have questions about updating your site; then remember to use it!

Third Party Updates: Similar to browser updates, third party applications like plugins typically push regular updates, which improve security features and provide fixes to aging programming code.

As mentioned above, it’s possible when you update your WordPress website, that a plugin used by your site may be built for an older version of WordPress and will no longer be compatible.

In this case, you would need to either update the plugin or replace it if an update is not available.

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Astronomers Have Found A New Crop Of Moons Around Jupiter, And One Of Them Is A Weirdo

Ten more moons have been confirmed to orbit around Jupiter, bringing the planet’s total known satellite count to 79.

That’s the highest number of moons of any planet in the Solar System. And these newly discovered space rocks are giving astronomers insight as to why the Jupiter system looks like it does today.

Astronomers at Carnegie Institution for Science first found these moons in March 2017, along with two others that were already confirmed in June of last year.

The team initially found all 12 moons using the Blanco 4-meter telescope in Chile, though finding these objects wasn’t their main goal.

Instead, they were searching for incredibly distant small objects — or even planets — that might be lurking in our Solar System beyond Pluto.

But as they searched for these fringe space rocks, they decided to take a peek at what might be lurking around Jupiter at the same time.




Now, the moons they found have been observed multiple times, and their exact orbits have been submitted for approval from the International Astronomical Union, which officially recognizes celestial bodies.

These moons are all pretty tiny, ranging between less than a mile and nearly two miles wide. And they break down into three different types. Two orbit closer to Jupiter, moving in the same direction that the planet spins.

Farther out from those, about 15.5 million miles from the planet, there are nine that revolve in the opposite direction, moving against Jupiter’s rotation.

But in this same distant region, one strange moon that astronomers are calling Valetudo is moving with Jupiter’s spin, like the two inner moons.

That means it’s going in the opposite direction of all the other moons in the same area. “It’s basically driving down the highway in the wrong direction,” Scott Sheppard, an astronomer at Carnegie who led the discovery team said.

That’s a very unstable situation. Head-on collisions are likely to happen in that situation.

Valetudo isn’t the only moon of Jupiter that acts this way. Another moon called Carpo also orbits far out from Jupiter, moving in the opposite direction of many other moons in the area.

The small dot between the yellow lines in these photographs is the newly discovered moon Valetudo.

However, Valetudo orbits much farther away than Carpo, and it may actually be the smallest moon Jupiter has.

Now with this discovery, astronomers think it’s good evidence that moon-on-moon collisions have happened in Jupiter’s past, and these are responsible for the lunar landscape around the planet today.

Valetudo, at just 1 kilometer across, is probably the last remnant of a much larger moon that’s been ground down into dust over time,” says Sheppard.

Finding moons around Jupiter can be tough. As the biggest planet in our Solar System, it has a very large area of influence, so there’s a lot of space where moons could potentially be.

It’s difficult to search that area in a timely manner with a telescope. “It’s like looking through a straw, and you’re just covering as many points around Jupiter as you can looking for these things,” says Sheppard.

And since Jupiter is so large, it reflects a whole lot of light. That means there can be a lot of glare when searching for super faint moons around the planet.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

Study Shows Around 40 Percent Of Us May Have A Fictional Recollection As Our “First” Memory

It’s easy enough to explain why we remember things: multiple regions of the brain — particularly the hippocampus — are devoted to the job.

It’s easy to understand why we forget stuff too: there’s only so much any busy brain can handle. What’s trickier is what happens in between: when we clearly remember things that simply never happened.

The phenomenon of false memories is common to everybody — the party you’re certain you attended in high school, say, when you were actually home with the flu, but so many people have told you about it over the years that it’s made its way into your own memory cache.

False memories can sometimes be a mere curiosity, but other times they have real implications. Innocent people have gone to jail when well-intentioned eyewitnesses testify to events that actually unfolded an entirely different way.

What’s long been a puzzle to memory scientists is whether some people may be more susceptible to false memories than others — and, by extension, whether some people with exceptionally good memories may be immune to them.




A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences answers both questions with a decisive no. False memories afflict everyone — even people with the best memories of all.

To conduct the study, a team led by psychologist Lawrence Patihis of the University of California, Irvine, recruited a sample group of people all of approximately the same age and divided them into two subgroups: those with ordinary memory and those with what is known as highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM).

You’ve met people like that before, and they can be downright eerie.

They’re the ones who can tell you the exact date on which particular events happened — whether in their own lives or in the news — as well as all manner of minute additional details surrounding the event that most people would forget the second they happened.

To screen for HSAM, the researchers had all the subjects take a quiz that asked such questions as “[On what date] did an Iraqi journalist hurl two shoes at President Bush?” or “What public event occurred on Oct. 11, 2002?

Those who excelled on that part of the screening would move to a second stage, in which they were given random, computer-generated dates and asked to say the day of the week on which it fell, and to recall both a personal experience that occurred that day and a public event that could be verified with a search engine.

It was a Monday,” said one person asked about Oct. 19, 1987. “That was the day of the big stock-market crash and the cellist Jacqueline du Pré died that day.”

That’s some pretty specific recall. Ultimately, 20 subjects qualified for the HSAM group and another 38 went into the ordinary-memory category.

Both groups were then tested for their ability to resist developing false memories during a series of exercises designed to implant them.

In one, for example, the investigators spoke with the subjects about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and mentioned in passing the footage that had been captured of United Flight 93 crashing in Pennsylvania — footage, of course, that does not exist.

In both groups — HSAM subjects and those with normal memories — about 1 in 5 people “remembered” seeing this footage when asked about it later.

It just seemed like something was falling out of the sky,” said one of the HSAM participants. “I was just, you know, kind of stunned by watching it, you know, go down.”

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Adobe Has Confirmed That It Will Release A Full-Fat Version Of Photoshop For iPad Next Year

Photoshop is one of the most well known and widely used pieces of software on the planet. And in 2019 it will be coming to iPad.

This will be the first time Adobe has released anything outside the confines of traditional computing platforms. It is also a testament to just how significant Apple’s iOS platform has now become.

Photoshop for iPad will be announced at Adobe’s MAX creativity conference in October, before a release sometime in 2019.




It is NOT A Mobile Version of Software

Mobile versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere have been available, in a limited capacity, inside the App Store for a while.

But this Photoshop release will NOT be like these apps; rather, it will be a fully-fledged, complete program that has all the same features as the desktop software.

Adobe embraced the cloud back in 2012 and now, six years later, it is once again looking towards new areas for expansion.

The iPad – most notably the iPad Pro – is a clear path into the hands of millions of new customers.

The iPad Pro is insanely powerful and perfectly suited to Photoshop, so it’s no wonder that Adobe is targeting it with Photoshop.

Why So Long?

Most likely because applications like Photoshop require A LOT of processing power, and iPads have only just started catching up with desktop computing in the last couple of years.

Photoshop For iPad Release Date?

The launch of the software is still 5-6 months away, according to reports.

This means an actual release for Photoshop for iPad could still be 12 months away.

Still, work is now underway, so that’s something.

There’s no word on pricing just yet either, but it’s likely to be in the same ballpark as Photoshop for PC and Mac (meaning it’ll be pricey).

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Unusual Ways To Soothe A Sunburn You Won’t Believe Actually Work

How far would you be willing to go to ease the pain of a nasty sunburn? By the looks of it, you might end up in a very unorthodox bathtub situation.

Soak in milk

Soaking in milk will have a drawing effect on a burn—it’s due to the pH, fat, and cold temperatures,” says Francesca Fusco, MD of Wexler Dermatology in New York City.

If you don’t have enough milk handy to fill up an entire basin, simply soak a washcloth in a bowl of cool milk, then gently lay the milky compresses on the burnt areas of your body.

The milk will help create a protein film along your skin that reduces heat, pain, and sensitivity.




Refrigerate a tub of Vaseline

When you have a sunburn, it is important to keep your skin well-hydrated and moisturized, as it will improve the pain and accelerate the healing process,” says Samer Jaber, MD of Washington Square Dermatology in New York City.

A great trick is putting Vaseline in the refrigerator for a few minutes so it goes on cold. The cold will soothe your sunburn, and the Vaseline will help restore your skin barrier, improving the healing process.

Take an oatmeal bath

One of the worst side effects of a bad sunburn is the insatiable urge to itch peeling skin. To stop yourself and soothe the burn, run a lukewarm bath and add at least one cup of finely ground oats.

Use your hand to swirl the water and distribute the oatmeal, then soak for 15 to 20 minutes.

Oatmeal is a humectant, meaning it helps moisturize skin, and it contains inflammation-quelling compounds,” Ranella Hirsch, MD, a Boston-based dermatologist, told Prevention.

You’ll enjoy the itching relief so much that you’ll probably want to repeat this oatmeal bath a few times a day.

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is something of a miracle home remedy when it comes to rashes and burns.

This is because, as an anti-fungal and antiseptic liquid, apple cider vinegar can be used to detoxify your skin.

Simply dab a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar onto your sunburn (do this directly or using a cotton ball). It will not only clean the problem area, but also rehydrate the skin by restoring your pH levels.

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World’s Oldest Bread Shows Hunter-Gathers Were Baking 4,000 Years Before Birth Of Farming

Excavations at Shubayqa 1

Hunter-gatherers were baking bread thousands of years before the birth of farming, archaeologists have discovered after digging up pieces from the world’s oldest loaf.

The remains of a charred flatbread were found at an archaeological site in Jordan dating back 14,400 years by an European team of researchers including experts from University College London and The University of Cambridge.

It is the oldest direct evidence of bread found to date, and it predates the advent of agriculture by at least 4,000 years.

The team say the effort needed to produce bread from wild grains probably meant it was reserved for special occasions.




Bread involves labour intensive processing which includes dehusking, grinding of cereals and kneading and baking,” said Professor Dorian Fuller, of the UCL Institute of Archaeology.

“That it was produced before farming methods suggests it was seen as special, and the desire to make more of this special food probably contributed to the decision to begin to cultivate cereals.

“All of this relies on new methodological developments that allow us to identify the remains of bread from very small charred fragments using high magnification.”

The bread was discovered at a hunter-gatherer site known as Shubayqa 1 located in the Black Desert in northeastern Jordan.

One of the fireplaces where the bread-like products were discovered at Shubayqa 1.

The people who lived there, known as Natufians, existed through the transition from hunter-gathering to farming and so are often studied by archaeologists hoping to understand when and why the switch occurred.

The remains analysed show that wild ancestors of domesticated cereals such as barley, einkorn, and oat had been ground, sieved and kneaded prior to cooking.

Flint sickle blades as well as ground stone tools found at Natufian sites in the Levant have long led archaeologists to suspect that people had begun to use plants in new ways, rather than simply eating them raw.

But the flat bread found at Shubayqa 1 is the earliest evidence of bread making so far, and it shows that baking was invented way before we plants were cultivated.

Bread particles under the microscope

The presence of hundreds of charred food remains in the fireplaces from Shubayqa 1 is an exceptional find, and it has given us the chance to characterize 14,000-year-old food practices,” said archaeobotanist Amaia Arranz Otaegui, of the University of Copenhagen who is the first author of the study.

The remains are very similar to unleavened flatbreads identified at several Neolithic and Roman sites in Europe and Turkey. So we now know that bread-like products were produced long before the development of farming.

“The next step is to evaluate if the production and consumption of bread influenced the emergence of plant cultivation and domestication at all.”

The research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Do I Really Need To Eject USB Drives Before Removing Them?

Life’s too short.

We’ve all been guilty of ripping our USB Drive out of our computers instead of ejecting them properly, only to receive the judgemental pop up telling us we really shouldn’t have done that.

But when everything on the USB works fine next time you plug it in, you can’t help but wonder: does it actually do anything when you safely eject your disk before removing it?

Well, we’ve done a little background research, and it turns out that it does.

In fact, waiting those extra 30 seconds to safely eject could help to properly save your data and software. But the risk really depends on your operating system, and what you’re actually doing with your USB Drive.




Of course, modern operating systems are getting better and better and preparing for us to pull the rug out from under them by trying to write and read files as quickly as possible.

Windows has even introduced a feature called “Optimise for Quick Removal” that you can select to make sure files are written quickly, rather than by write caching, which is the most efficient way.

But you can still never be sure exactly when your computer is done with your external flash drive, and that makes pulling it out a big gamble. Bottom line?

So go on and continue living life on the edge, ripping those USB drives out with abandon if you really don’t have the 30 seconds to spare.

But just remember what’s at stake next time you’re saving precious information onto your USB drive.

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NASA Is Planning To Make Water And Oxygen On The Moon And Mars By 2020

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins works with a Nitrogen/Oxygen Recharge System tank aboard the International Space Station.

NASA is forging ahead with plans to make water, oxygen, and hydrogen on the surface of the Moon and Mars.

If we ever want to colonize other planets, it is vital that we find a way of extracting these vital gases and liquids from moons and planets, rather than transporting them from Earth.

The current plan is to land a rover on the Moon in 2018 that will try to extract hydrogen, water, and oxygen — and then hopefully, Curiosity’s successor will try to convert the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere into oxygen in 2020 when it lands on Mars.

In 2018, NASA hopes to put a rover on the Moon that will carry the RESOLVE (Regolith and Environment Science and Oxygen & Lunar Volatile Extraction) science payload.

RESOLVE will contain the various tools necessary to carry out in-situ resource utilization (ISRU).




Basically, RESOLVE will sift through the Moon’s regolith (loose surface soil) and heat them up, looking for traces of hydrogen and oxygen, which can then be combined to make water.

There is also some evidence that there’s water ice on the surface of the Moon — RESOLVE will find out for certain by heating the soil and seeing of water vapor emerges.

A similar payload would be attached to Curiosity’s successor, which is currently being specced out by NASA and will hopefully launch in 2020.

This second IRSU experiment will probably suck in carbon dioxide from the Martian atmosphere, filter out the dust, and then process the CO2 into oxygen.

If either tech demonstration works as planned, future missions might include large-scale ISRU devices that are capable of producing significant amounts of hydrogen, oxygen, and water on the Moon or Mars.

This would probably be the most important advance since we first landed on the Moon in the ’60s. Basically, as it stands, space travel needs lots of hydrogen and oxygen and water.

Water has the unfortunate characteristic of being both heavy and incompressible, meaning it’s very difficult and expensive to lift large amounts of it into space (gravity can be really annoying sometimes).

Likewise, unless we come up with some other way of powering our spacecraft, it’s infeasible to carry the rocket fuel that we’d need for exploration from Earth.

In short, if we want to colonize space, we really, really need some kind of base outside of the Earth’s atmosphere, preferably on the Moon — but Mars would be good, too.

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Pass it on: Popular Science