Thursday, February 23, 2017

Derpy Dog

Someone on Facebook is trying to get this dog adopted.  Here's a photo they chose...

  from: Bored Panda
People are losing their minds over this black chihuahua mix puppy that got caught in an unfortunate moment. Though a series of adorable, more ‘normal’ photos of this pooch later surfaced, they’re all overshadowed by his perfect derp. Haven’t we all been haunted by a bad photo at some point?

Regardless of how derpy he may or may not be, this pup still seems to be a fun and lovable character. 

The original poster of the photo on Reddit claims that someone on Facebook is try to get him adopted, and really, who wouldn’t want to be first in line?

More info: Reddit

OK.  How is the top photo a bad photo? The other photo is OK, but the first one makes me want to go find the little nutball and make him my own.  The second photo is boring.

Taking Out the Trash

Tokushima town becomes global draw with zero-waste strategy

The Japan Times  Kyodo
A small town in western Japan has been attracting foreign visitors after its efforts to reduce waste to zero by 2020 have become widely known via YouTube.

The documentary video, titled “How This Town Produces No Trash,” with English narration and captions, explains how the town of Kamikatsu in Tokushima Prefecture is sorting and recycling waste by 34 designated categories — which have since increased to 45 — and has its own composting system.

In one scene, a local woman skillfully removes the cap and label from a plastic bottle.

The five-minute video has been viewed about 540,000 times since it was posted by YouTube community Seeker Stories in 2015, and the town has received visits from municipalities and environmental organizations in more than 10 countries between last April and January, according to a public-private venture in the town.

Hor Heang, a 22-year-old student at Cambodia’s Royal University of Law and Economics who visited the town in December, said, “We must follow this lead as the waste problem in Cambodia has grown serious with its economic development.”

The town announced in 2003 that by 2020 it will stop generating waste that needs to be incinerated or buried. It now recycles nearly 80 percent of its waste, sharply higher than the national average of about 20 percent, according to the town.

At Hibigaya waste station, Kamikatsu’s sole waste collection depot, several baskets are in place for collecting steel cans, aluminum cans, brown glass bottles, plastic caps and paper packages, among other items.

The station also hosts a shop where the town’s residents can drop off items they no longer use and take home anything they want for free.

“I will be happy if the Kamikatsu model spreads around the world,” said Akira Sakano, 28, who heads the nonprofit organization Zero Waste Academy, which operates the waste collection site.

“We hope to work toward achieving the town’s goal and spreading the movement to other areas at the same time,” she said.

Zero Waste Girl.  This jar hold two years worth of her trash.

How San Francisco Is Becoming A Zero Waste City

The American Town Banning Cell Phones and Wi-Fi

Why You Should Quit. Today.

DNA study lays bare devastating damage caused by smoking

Major investigation into root causes of cancer reveals how tobacco smoke mutates DNA and gives rise to more than a dozen types of tumour

While chemicals in tobacco smoke are known to raise the risk of cancer, the precise molecular mechanisms through which they mutate DNA and give rise to tumours have never been clear. Photograph: Franck Perevel/AP

The Guardian  by Ian Sample 3 November 2016 

The devastating impact of cigarette smoke on the body’s DNA has been laid bare by the first comprehensive study into the damage tobacco inflicts on human cells.

People who smoke a pack of cigarettes each day for a year develop on average 150 extra mutations in every lung cell, and nearly 100 more mutations than usual in each cell of the voice box, researchers found. More still build up in the mouth, bladder, liver and other organs.

While chemicals in tobacco smoke have long been known to raise the risk of at least 17 forms of cancer, the precise molecular mechanisms through which they mutate DNA and give rise to tumours in different tissues have never been clear.

“This is about running down the root cause of cancers,” said David Phillips, a professor of environmental carcinogenesis at King’s College London and a co-author on the study. “By identifying the root causes, we gain the sort of knowledge we need to think more seriously about cancer prevention.”

More than 70 of the 7,000 chemicals found in tobacco smoke are known to cause cancer. Some damage DNA directly, but others ramp up mutations in more subtle ways, often by disrupting the way cells function. The more mutations a cell acquires, the more likely it is to turn cancerous.

The reason why some people can smoke for years without getting cancer, while others develop the disease, is down to the way mutations arise. When a person smokes, the chemicals they inhale create mutations at random points in the genome. Many of these changes will be harmless, but others not so benign. The more smoke a person is exposed to, the greater the chance that the accumulating mutations will hit specific spots in the DNA that turn cells cancerous.

 “You can really think of it as playing Russian roulette,” said Ludmil Alexandrov, a theoretical biologist at Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico and the first author of the study. “You can miss the right genes. But if you smoke you still play the game. It’s a very strong message for people not to start smoking. If you smoke even a little bit you’ll erode the genetic material of most of the cells in your body.” Smoking is the most preventable cause of cancer in the world and accounts for more than 1 in 4 UK cancer deaths.

With researchers at the Wellcome Trust’s Sanger Institute near Cambridge and others, Alexandrov analysed the DNA of more than 5,000 cancers. The team then turned to pattern recognition software to tease apart the various mutational signatures found in tumours from smokers versus non-smokers. To find the signatures - the patterns of mutations present in cancer cells - researchers performed the genetic equivalent of recording the chatter at a party and then extracting individual conversations from the hubbub.

The scientists spotted more than 20 mutational signatures in 13 types of cancer linked to tobacco smoking. But only five of these were more common in smokers’ tumours. One pattern of mutations, dubbed signature four, was found to be a major driver for lung cancer. It is thought to be caused by benzopyrene, a chemical found in tobacco smoke.

More intriguing was how tobacco caused mutations in tissues that are not directly exposed to smoke, such as the bladder, kidneys and pancreas. The study found that chemicals from tobacco smoke found their way to different organs and tissues and then sped up the molecular clocks in the cells. This ramped up the natural rate at which mutations built up in the tissues.

“We knew there was direct damage from smoking in the lungs. What we didn’t expect was to see smoking speed up the molecular clocks inside cells,” said Alexandrov, whose study appears in the journal Science. “In bladder cancer, the only thing that causes the extra mutations in smokers is the speeding up of the clock, and that will be very dependent on the intensity of smoking. For every pack of cigarettes you smoke per year, you accumulate 18 mutations in all of your bladder cells,” he added.

Scientists hope that by understanding how the individual ingredients of tobacco smoke raise the risk of various cancers, they can develop new ways to prevent the disease. The same techniques used in the latest study will now be used to tease apart how alcohol, obesity and other factors also increase a person’s cancer risk.

“There is a message here for people who are occasional or social smokers who think it doesn’t do anything,” said Alexandrov. “If you smoke four to five packs of cigarettes in your lifetime it doesn’t sound that much, but you still get several mutations in every cell in your lungs and these are permanent, they do not go away. There are a lot of things that do revert back when you stop smoking, and this shouldn’t discourage people from giving up, but the specific mutations in the lung cells are like scars. If you stop smoking, they’ll still be there.”

Sirius Business

Denmark's Navy Dogsled Team Is Serious  January 17, 2012  Claire O'Neill

And they're called Sirius — as in "the Dog Star," the brightest one in the night sky.

To shoot a story in National Geographic's January issue, Fritz Hoffmann took a Danish military cargo flight to Station Nord, in the far northeast corner of Greenland; he camped in a tent overnight at about 25 degrees below zero; worst of all, he had to wear wool underwear. And he had about two days to get what he needed.

All photos Fritz Hoffmann/National Geographic 
It's just about the most intense-sounding photo assignment, but it still pales in comparison with what the Danish military dogsled patrol goes through.

Sirius is an elite navy unit — perhaps comparable to our Navy SEALs — the only military dogsled unit of its kind in the world. It's been around 
since World War II, and to this day remains one of the most competitive military positions: For each rotation, there are only six two-man units, with about a dozen dogs to each unit. And it really is just men. According to National Geographic, no women have applied yet.

Over the phone, Hoffmann explains that he was interested in the relationship between man and animal — how they seem to have a rhythm and understanding with survival at the core. But capturing that is no easy feat.

To get some of the action shots, he dangled his camera from a long pole in front of the dogs. In other cases, he whizzed around on the back seat of a snowmobile. Throughout it all, he writes on his website, a big struggle was simply preventing his nose from sticking to the camera screen.

"It was cold," Hoffmann sums up with a chuckle. For this kind of work — both on photo assignment or on patrol — you just can't complain much more than that. Learn more about Sirius in the article. Or check out the diary of Jesper Olsen, one of the two men featured in the article.