Saturday, November 30, 2013

What's with all the Devil Talk?

We return again to the important ideas of God and Satan and the coming season in which faith in the goodness of mankind is renewed.

The Questions:
1                    What is GOD?
2                    What is Satan?

They are both personifications of an identifiable aspect of consciousness and by natural extension to the universal consciousness we have described as the Ubermind that appears to coalesce around humanity at least.  A personification by definition is symbolic but the reality it labels is anything but.

We have a long a deep experience with Godly individuals and we are all confronted by their challenge to bring compassion to the world and benevolence to nature itself.  Just as surely we also have faced those who literally grasp evil and live it.  Some may be excused by external reasons but that never holds true for those who truly walk in evil.  They all had clear choices and again and again turned away and turned events to evil.  We have met and studied these people and it is not pretty.  They are just as real and dedicated as Mother Theresa and Albert Sweitzer.

The depth of such evil must be personified because it cannot be understood in human terms but it can be symbolized.  Thus Hitler as merely evil degrades the depth of his crime, Hitler as Satanic encompasses it all.

I do not understand what it takes to enslave a young boy or girl for sexual needs for years.  Yet calling it Satanic separates the crime from our own hard won humanity and perhaps that is healthy.  Perhaps that we cannot understand is all that separates us from Evil.  Recall that the death squads did understand what they were doing and believed they were doing the right thing.

The judge is right. Society must distance itself from great evil or it might accept it as the Romans accepted slavery and death in the Arena as sport.

What's with all the devil talk?

5:59 p.m. EST November 24, 2013
Thanks to Scalia and C.S. Lewis, Satan is casting a larger shadow on our culture.

The devil has been getting his due. Amid multiple mentions by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and milestone-anniversary re-releases of an iconic book and movie examining the devil's work and wiles, people are talking this fall about a being called Satan.

With the devil casting a larger shadow over the culture, some age-old questions are sparking debate. Who or what is the devil? Is he real? And is Satan still relevant in an increasingly post-Christian and post-modern American culture?

If you answered "no" to those last two questions, C.S. Lewis might say the devil made you do it. A British literary giant who died 50 years ago, Lewis is revered by millions of American Christians for books such as The Chronicles of NarniaMere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters. That last one explores the ways of the devil, and it's the book Scalia mentioned when he stunned his New York magazine interviewer last month with comments that have since gone viral.

After informing journalist Jennifer Senior that he believes in the devil, Scalia said, "You're looking at me as though I'm weird. My God! Are you so out of touch with most of America, most of which believes in the devil? ... Have you read The Screwtape Letters?"

57% of americans believe
Screwtape has been re-released in a special annotated edition this fall to mark the anniversary of the author's death (a death that occurred on the same day as the Kennedy assassination), and a stage adaptation is touring the country. The book imagines a senior demon schooling a neophyte through a series of instructional letters. As the mentor advises, a key to infiltrating people's thoughts, turning them away from God and getting them absorbed with themselves is to convince them of the non-existence of Satan and all he stands for.

The devil must be disappointed, then, by data showing a great many of us are convinced he's real. A survey released in September by the market research firm YouGov finds 57% of Americans believe the devil exists. Other evidence shows that many, many of us are fascinated by Satan, too. Perhaps no cultural work demonstrates that better than the enduring popularity of the devil-possession movieThe Exorcist, which was a box-office sensation when it came out in 1973. New this fall: a special 40th anniversary re-release of The Exorcist for Blu-ray.

As happens with so many conversations about religion in today's polarized culture, renewed talk about the devil reveals some gaping divides and misunderstandings. Consider the response of one well-known atheist to the New York magazine comments by Scalia (who raised the devil again earlier this month during Supreme Court oral arguments about prayer at government meetings, asking, "What about devil worshipers?").

What did Scalia mean?
Hemant Mehta, who goes by the handle "Friendly Atheist" and who generally eschews flame-throwing, could not contain his disgust that a Supreme Court justice would call the devil "a real person," as Scalia did. As Mehta wrote, "Scalia believing in the devil? Not as a metaphor, but as a physical being? Seriously?! It's frightening to me that anyone would believe that."

Scalia, however, probably did not mean what Mehta thought he meant. When serious-minded religious people say they believe the devil is a "real person," they don't mean a physical being that prowls the planet sporting horns and a tail. In the Christian vernacular, "person" can mean an unembodied being that interacts with people and plays a role in the cosmic scheme. In a more liberal theological vein, it could be thought of as a force or pattern.

Secular evil
In this sense, is it really such a stretch to acknowledge the reality of the devil? Even those of us in the growing legions who live and speak in secular ways, and who would never be caught dead saying we "believe in the devil," might admit that a bit of the devil lives and works in us. This we see when we do something cruel and selfish, or when we dehumanize other people on the basis of their belonging to some category different from our own.

There's an old saying that when you speak of the devil, he is bound to appear. In that case, he has been showing up a lot lately. But, come to think of it, when hasn't he?

Tom Krattenmaker is a Portland-based writer specializing in religion in public life and a member of USA TODAY's Board of Contributors. He is author of the book The Evangelicals You Don't Know.

New Analysis sees Promise in Focus Fusion

Theoretical models are been refined on the Focus Fusion protocol and there is clearly increasing confidence that continued scaling will produce progressively superior results.  Rather important is that the design protocol appears to produce improving results with increasing scale and power inputs while inherently stable.  This has been inverse to the experience with Tokomak designs.

Of course we may soon discover otherwise but I do think optimism is justified.  As mentioned the technology is about one year away from achieving breakeven with proper funding.  For the impatient, that has been the missing ingredient although I must say, scarcity also drives innovation and plenty of rethinking.  Yet sooner or later you must cut metal and those tungsten electrodes cannot be faked.

This is continuing good news.

New analysis sees promise in Focus Fusion

Posted by Derek Shannon /  Trackback /  November 04, 2013 / in News
Italian physicist analyses Focus Fusion, sees promise

This story is part of LPP's November 4th, 2013 newsletter, available in PDF format here.  Join the discussion at the Focus Fusion Society here.

In a third independent analysis of the prospects for pB11 (hydrogen-boron) fusion with the plasma focus device, University of Genoa researcher Andrea Di Vita reports in the European Journal of Physics that ignition of the fuel should be possible, if there is substantial reflection of x-ray energy back into the plasmoid. Earlier, separate analyses by LPP researchers and Iranian researchers in the Journal of Fusion Energy had concluded that ignition and net energy production would be possible even with no reflection of x-rays. Also, in agreement with LPP work, Di Vita concluded that the injection of angular momentum into the plasma (for example by an externally-applied axial magnetic field, as in FF-1) should aid in achieving ignition.

Di Vita’s report makes clear the reason for the somewhat differing conclusions, although all three analyses agree that pB11 with a plasma focus (what LPP has termed “Focus Fusion”) is a promising line of approach to fusion energy. As Di Vita emphasizes, his analysis is based on certain “empirical scaling laws” that he has derived from the literature. As Di Vita writes, “Admittedly, the relevance of available scaling laws to our problem is questionable, to say the least. First of all, they are just rule-of thumb descriptions...”  These rules-of-thumb scaling laws differ significantly from the theoretically-derived scaling laws used by LPP, laws which have been significantly confirmed by experiment. For example, Di Vita’s scaling laws do not predict the observed I5 scaling of fusion yield, where I is peak current, while the LPP scaling laws do. Similarly, Di Vita’s calculations predict a constant current in the plasmoid or hot spots of about 0.4 MA, while the LPP believes its calculations and theory more accurately predict increasing plasmoid current with increasing peak current.

Following a friendly exchange on different models with LPP’s Lerner, Di Vita offered to predict the results of FF-1’s upcoming experiments with tungsten electrodes. Stay tuned for the exciting outcome!
- See more at:

Microphone Neck Tattoo

There is a lot of merit to this approach.  We may even be able to communicate directly with several animals while we are at it.  After all creatures do almost sub vocalize and make a decent range of noise.  Thus establishing a natural usable language should not be difficult at all.  From that it is a clear road to basic communication while eliminating the inherent barrier to profoundly separate acoustic regimes.

Both dogs and dolphins should work out well and we can expect to be surprised with a lot of the rest.

I hardly expect conversations as we understand them but do expect information sharing to become eminently practical.  This will become extraordinarily useful as we continue to establish a practical form of Paradise on Earth and the full restoration of individual biomes that have been damaged.

Motorola wants to patent a NECK TATTOO that doubles up as a microphone to make calls clearer in noisy places

Tattoo picks up sounds caused by changes in throat muscles when talking
It sends these sounds wirelessly to a smartphone using Bluetooth or NFC
Google-owned Motorola also claims it could be fitted to animals
The technology could make it easier to hear callers in noisy places 
The firm has also said it is working on tattoos to replace passwords

PUBLISHED: 13:40 GMT, 8 November 2013 | UPDATED: 14:53 GMT, 8 November 2013

Forget Google Glass, smartwatches and even the biohacker who inserted a microchip under his skin, Motorola is hoping to trump them all with its microphone tattoo.

According to a patent filed by the Google-owned phone maker, the tattoo would be placed onto a person’s throat and pick sounds created by their voice.

If the user is making a phone call, the tattoo would then send these sounds wirelessly to the smartphone and the caller. 

According to the patent submitted by Motorola, an electronic tattoo, illustration pictured, could be used to read fluctuations of muscle or tissue in the throat and register what the wearer was saying. The tattoos would then send these sounds wirelessly over Bluetooth or NFC to a smartphone

The tattoo’s built-in microphone would pick up the sounds made by a person’s voice by reading vibrations and fluctuations of muscle or tissue from their voicebox.

If the user is making a phone call, the tattoo would then send these sounds wirelessly to the smartphone, and the caller.

Motorola said the tattoo would either contain a battery that ‘may or may not be rechargeable’, or alternatively, could be powered by an NFC or Bluetooth charging device.

The patent added: ‘it is contemplated  the electronic tattoo can also be applied to an animal.’ 

The patent is called ‘Coupling an electronic skin tattoo to a mobile communication device’ and was originally filed in May last year.

Throughout the patent, Motorola calls the device ‘electronic tattoo 110’ and said it would ‘comprise audio circuitry that enables reception of acoustic signals from a person's throat’.

Put simply, the tattoo’s built-in microphone could pick up the sounds made by a person’s voice by reading vibrations and fluctuations of muscle or tissue from their voicebox.

It continues that the tattoo would either contain a battery that ‘may or may not be rechargeable’, or alternatively, could be powered by an NFC or Bluetooth charging device.

The patent addedsaid: ‘it is contemplated that the electronic tattoo 110 can also be applied to an animal as well.’

Motorola is set to release its new Moto G handset on 13 November, a leaked image of the phone is pictured, and some analysts believe the software may be updated to work with devices such as the neck tattoo. A release date for the tattoo has not been announced

Explaining the reason behind the plans, Motorola said: 'Mobile communication devices are often operated in noisy environments.

'Large stadiums, busy streets, restaurants, and emergency situations can be extremely loud and include varying frequencies of acoustic noise. 
'Communication can reasonably be improved and even enhanced with a method and system for reducing the acoustic noise in such environments and contexts.'

Motorola is set to release its new Moto G handset on 13 November and some analysts believe the software may be updated to work with devices such as the neck tattoo, yet a release date for the tattoo has not been announced. 

As with all patents, the submission doesn't guarantee the technology will ever be available. 

Motorola announced in May this year it was looking to replace traditional passwords with electronic tattoos or authentication pills that people swallow.

The neck tattoo isn't the first time Motorola has discussed the wearable technology. Motorola's senior vice president of advance research Regina Dugan, showed off an electronic tattoo at the D11 conference in May, pictured, designed as an alternative to traditional passwords

Speaking at the D11 conference, Motorola's senior vice president of advance research Regina Dugan showed off a tattoo, developed by Massachusetts-based engineering firm MC10, that contains flexible electronic circuits attached to the wearer's skin.

She claimed these circuits, which also contain antennae and built-in sensors, could be adapted to work with mobile phones and tablets.

The mobile devices could then be used to confirm the owner's identity and log them in to accounts automatically.

This would prevent thieves and other people from being able to access a phone, or individual apps on the device, if it is stolen or lost.

Another password-alternative presented by Motorola at the Wall Street Journal's D11 conference was the 'vitamin authentication pill'. It contains a computer chip that creates an 18-bit signal when swallowed. Motorola is testing whether this signal can 'talk' to mobile phones and be used to authenticate a wearer's identity

Another idea presented during the keynote talk at the Wall Street Journal conference was a swallowable pill.

The Proteus Digital Health pill has already been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and was given European regulatory approval in 2010.

It contains a computer chip that can be powered like a battery using the acid in the wearer's stomach.

Once swallowed the 'vitamin authentication pill' creates an 18-bit ECG-like signal inside the wearer's body that can be picked up by mobile devices and authentication hardware outside. 

This could be used verify the wearer is the correct owner of the device or account.
Read more:

Jaguar Obsession

Just when you think you cannot be surprised we get something like this.  Jaguars are interested in Calvin Klein’s Obsession for Men.  That makes it effective to inducing sufficient dwell to trigger the cameras.

This idea needs to be followed up with in terms of many other critters.  The right odor is likely to give any creature pause.  We only need to recall the sudden whiff of lilac.  Now imagine it out of season.  You surely get the point.  Our own surprise brings us to a halt in a way almost little else will without threatening us.

I think that we have identified a valuable line of inquiry

You’ll Never Guess How Biologists Lure Jaguars To Camera Traps

By Jason G. Goldman | October 10, 2013 |  

Field biologists are increasingly turning to camera traps to collect data. The set-up is really simple: when an animal passes in front of a camera, an infrared sensor becomes activated, and the camera silently snaps a photo. Sometimes – especially for camera traps designed to detect nocturnal species – an infrared flash, invisible to most mammals and birds, is used.

The photographs generated from camera traps can then provide researchers with far more data than they would be able to collect themselves with more traditional field observations. Often, this allows them to generate photographic evidence of a species’ natural behaviors without the confounding effects of direct human observation. It allows them to collect data continuously, throughout the day and night. And a camera trap can help researchers collect evidence of rare species or rare behaviors, as was demonstrated last week when a camera trap captured a golden eagle preying upon a sika deer. Or they could help researchers come face-to-face with an animal that might otherwise be dangerous or harmful. An array of camera traps is also more cost efficient than paying an army of field assistants to observe animal behavio or to conduct a census.

Camera traps are also far less invasive than most other forms of wildlife data collection, since critters don’t need to be trapped and released. And their presence is far less stressful for most animals compared with human observation.

Take the jaguar. The third largest cat in the world after tigers and lions, jaguars (Panthera onca) are nocturnal, solitary cats. Females’ territories can range from twenty-five to forty square kilometers, and males can roam areas twice as large. Due to primarily to habitat loss and to conflict with farmers, jaguar populations are declining; they’re considered “near threatened” by the IUCN. Oh, and a mature jaguar’s jaws are capable of biting down with two thousand pounds of force, the strongest of any cat. It subdues its prey in an ambush attack by biting down on the skull, its massive teeth puncturing the brain adjacent to each ear.

Put together, this makes jaguars well suited for camera trap research. Still, human observers can do things like change the direction they’re looking. Cameras generally can’t. So biologists like Miguel Ordeñana try to hedge their bets and optimize the probability that an animal of interest will come by and trigger the camera’s shutter.

Ordeñana is a biologist with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. He’s an expert on camera traps, and when he’s not using them to understand the mountain lions who make their homes in the mountains of Los Angeles, he conducts field research on jaguars in Nicaragua.

And the best way to convince a jaguar to trigger a camera trap? Calvin Klein Obsession for Men. Seriously.

According to Ordeñana, a Bronx Zoo researcher once tried a bunch of different scents and discovered that jaguars really liked the Calvin Klein cologne. A researcher might spray some of the cologne on a tree branch that sits within the camera’s field of view.

What’s so special about this particular scent mixture? “It has civetone and it has vanilla extract,” he says. Civetone is a chemical compound derived from the scent glands of civets, smallish nocturnal cats native to the Asian and African tropics, and it’s one of the world’s oldest perfume ingredients. “What we think is that the civetone resembles some sort of territorial marking to the jaguar, and so it responds by rubbing its own scent on it,” he explained to me. And the vanilla might set off the cats’ curiosity response. No matter which compound is responsible for jaguars’ interest – or both – the key is that the scent gets them to stick around long enough to activate the camera’s shutter.

The molecular formula for civetone is C17-H30-O

I asked Miguel if he avoids wearing Calvin Klein Obsession for Men while doing field work in Nicaragua. “I don’t really care, because the chances of me running into a jaguar are so slim.”

Which, after all, is why he uses the camera traps in the first place.

Still, you probably wouldn’t want to wear the cologne and then take a nap, alone, at night, in the jungle. Then again, you probably wouldn’t want to do that anyway.

A jaguar captured by one of Miguel Ordenana's camera traps on January 7, 2013. Click photos to enlarge.

Update: It’s worth pointing out that most modern perfume makers use synthetic versions of civetone, extracted from palm oil, so that they don’t have to harass actual civets…

Friday, November 29, 2013

Comet ISON Lives

We still do not know how much but it appears we can count on a mass of debris at least and presumably a large dust cloud unless the magnetic field somehow stripped it all away.  However that is not the pattern for comets unless close in is a limiting factor.

We still got an intriguing show going in with a lot to think about.

Now we will see what the aftermath can produce for show and tell.

UPDATE: Comet ISON lives!

By Nicole Mortillaro  Global News

Video: Timelapse shows Comet ISON may have survived orbit around sun

TORONTO – It’s been one heck of a roller coaster ride.

As astronomers, both professional and amateur, tuned in to astronomy sites and blogs around the world on Thursday, it looked like the sun had killed Comet ISON.

However, much to the surprise of astronomers on Thursday — including those at NASA — around 4 p.m., EST images from NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) showed that something had survived the trip.

ISON, discovered in September 2012, had been touted as becoming the “comet of the century,” when it was calculated that it would pass very close to the sun, possibly creating a brilliant tail.

However, as it headed towards the sun, ISON wasn’t as brilliant as astronomers had hoped.

VIDEO: Comet ISON comes out the other side

Though significantly dimmer and a lot less organized than the comet looked going towards the sun, it had become evident that part of the comet has remained intact.

VIDEO: Global’s Jennifer Palisoc reports on ISON’s trip around the sun
There was the possibility, of course, that ISON is just was just its death throes.

Initially there was some speculation that what had come out the other side was just dust from the comet being torn apart. But as the hours passed, it became increasingly evident that what remained — though much smaller — was more than just dust.

Images and video clearly showed that some part of ISON remained and had brightened since its emergence.

As a comet passes through our solar system, the sun’s heat and solar wind causes frozen material to turn into gases in a process called sublimation, creating the tails of comets that we see.

The closer a comet gets to the sun, the more heat, thus more sublimation.

ISON’s tail stretched almost 8 million kilometres into space as it made its closest approach on Thursday.

But sun-grazing comets such as ISON run the risk of being torn apart by the sun’s intense gravity.

And that’s just what astronomers had thought had happened.

As ISON made its closest approach at 1:45 p.m. EST, it had lost its nucleus, or core. Many surmised that this signalled the end of the comet. Hope of its survival dwindled.

New images of ISON don’t show a distinctive nucleus, so it’s likely that it is merely a fragment of the two-kilometre wide comet that had approached the sun.

Astronomers around the world will continue to monitor the progress of ISON to see if it regains its brightness, though it’s likely that it will become dimmer or just fade from view entirely.

But if it continues to brighten, it will be visible in the early morning hours near the horizon within the next couple of days.

Stay tuned. Who knows what surprises await us with this mysterious and persistent comet.
© Shaw Medi

Lethality of Roundup Extended

It turns out to be a subtle worsening of disease tendencies which is naturally difficult to perceive  or particularly isolate.  The pathways are described in the paper and though it may not change regulation yet, it is profoundly important.

We are coming to understand that the organic protocol will become the necessary system as we are going forward.  We have already proven real superiority in productivity and sheer economics are now driving the conversion.

The problems that we have encountered with Roundup are real and have always been somewhat below the radar.  I personally am satisfied that it is the likely reason for the collapse of amphibian populations. The GMO protocol is now shoving it above the radar as long term effects emerge from way higher dosages.  The worse problem is that once committed, corporations refuse to ever back off and spend heavily on essentially falsifying the science thereafter.

All fully capitalized organic approach ends all that.

Lethality of Roundup ‘Weedkiller’ Extends Beyond Plants To Humans, Study Suggests

April 26, 2013 |
Sayer Ji,

A shocking new study finds that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide, “…may be the most biologically disruptive chemical in our environment,” capable of contributing to a wide range of fatal human diseases.

A new report published in the journal Entropy links the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide known as glyphosate with a wide range of fatal diseases.[i]

Glyphosate is the world’s most popular herbicide and is designed to kill all but genetically modified “Roundup Ready” plants, such as GM corn, soy, beet, cottonseed and canola.  Over 180 million pounds of the chemical are now applied to US soils each year,[ii] and while agrichemical manufacturers and government regulators have considered it ‘relatively safe,’ an expanding body of biomedical research indicates that it may cause over 30 distinct adverse health effects in exposed populations at far lower concentrations than used in agricultural applications.

The new report, authored by Stephanie Seneff, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Anthony Samsel, a retired science consultant from Arthur D. Little, Inc., brings to the forefront concerns voiced by an outspoken minority that Roundup and related glyphosate herbicide formulations are contributing to diseases as far-ranging as inflammatory bowel disease, anorexia, cystic fibrosis, cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and infertility.   In fact, the authors propose that glyphosate, contrary to being essentially nontoxic, “…may be the most biologically disruptive chemical in our environment.”

The researchers identified the inhibition and/or disruption of cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes as a hitherto overlooked mechanism of toxicity associated with glyphosate exposure in mammals.

CYP enzymes are essential for detoxifying xenobiotic chemicals from the body. Glyphosate therefore enhances the damaging effects of other food borne chemical residues and environmental toxins.  The researchers also showed how interference with CYP enzymes acts synergistically with disruption of the biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids by gut bacteria (e.g. tryptophan), as well as impairment in serum sulfate transport, a critical biological system for cellular detoxification (e.g. transulfuration pathway which detoxifies metals).

These effect, according to the researchers, can contribute to causing or worsening “…most of the diseases and conditions associated with a Western diet which include gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.”

This new report may help to explain why over 30 adverse health effects associated with Roundup herbicide exposure have been identified in the peer-reviewed and published literature so far. The full report in PDF form can be obtained here. Please help us spread this information, as well as our Roundup Toxicity Research and GMO Research pages, by sharing them with other concerned individuals and groups.

About the Author
Sayer Ji is an internationally recognized author, researcher, lecturer, and advisory board member of the National Health Federation.

He founded in 2008 in order to provide the world an open access, evidence-based resource supporting natural and integrative modalities. It is recognized as the world’s largest and most widely referenced health resource of its kind.

Roundup, An Herbicide, Could Be Linked To Parkinson's, Cancer And Other Health Issues, Study Shows
Reuters  |  Posted: 04/25/2013 1:49 pm EDT

April 25 (Reuters) - Heavy use of the world's most popular herbicide, Roundup, could be linked to a range of health problems and diseases, including Parkinson's, infertility and cancers, according to a new study.

The peer-reviewed report, published last week in the scientific journal Entropy, said evidence indicates that residues of "glyphosate," the chief ingredient in Roundup weed killer, which is sprayed over millions of acres of crops, has been found in food.

Those residues enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment to disrupt normal body functions and induce disease, according to the report, authored by Stephanie Seneff, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Anthony Samsel, a retired science consultant from Arthur D. Little, Inc. Samsel is a former private environmental government contractor as well as a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

"Negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body," the study says.

We "have hit upon something very important that needs to be taken seriously and further investigated," Seneff said.

Environmentalists, consumer groups and plant scientists from several countries have warned that heavy use of glyphosate is causing problems for plants, people and animals.

The EPA is conducting a standard registration review of glyphosate and has set a deadline of 2015 for determining if glyphosate use should be limited. The study is among many comments submitted to the agency.

Monsanto is the developer of both Roundup herbicide and a suite of crops that are genetically altered to withstand being sprayed with the Roundup weed killer.

These biotech crops, including corn, soybeans, canola and sugarbeets, are planted on millions of acres in the United States annually. Farmers like them because they can spray Roundup weed killer directly on the crops to kill weeds in the fields without harming the crops.

Roundup is also popularly used on lawns, gardens and golf courses.

Monsanto and other leading industry experts have said for years that glyphosate is proven safe, and has a less damaging impact on the environment than other commonly used chemicals.

Jerry Steiner, Monsanto's executive vice president of sustainability, reiterated that in a recent interview when questioned about the study.

"We are very confident in the long track record that glyphosate has. It has been very, very extensively studied," he said.

Of the more than two dozen top herbicides on the market, glyphosate is the most popular. In 2007, as much as 185 million pounds of glyphosate was used by U.S. farmers, double the amount used six years ago, according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data.

Head Transplants?

This is basic research that means to discover all the necessary methods required to achieve a head transplant.  It is obvious that all such protocols become immediately applicable throughout the body for many other problems.
So while I never expect to see such a transplant seriously entertained as a surgical option, what we learn will be fully deployed.  Better, just establishing proper nerve repair as a common procedure it worth it alone.

Most serious injuries produce limiting nerve damage that goes untreated until the present and would be beneficial to eliminate.

The project for the first head transplant in man is code-named HEAVEN/GEMINI (Head Anastomosis Venture with Cord Fusion.

The technical hurdles have now been cleared thanks to cell engineering. As described in his paper, the keystone to successful spinal cord linkage is the possibility to fuse the severed axons in the cord by exploiting the power of membrane fusogens/sealants. Agents exist that can reconstitute the membranes of a cut axon and animal data have accrued since 1999 that restoration of axonal function is possible. One such molecule is poly-ethylene glycol (PEG), a widely used molecule with many applications from industrial manufacturing to medicine, including as an excipient in many pharmaceutical products. Another is chitosan, a polysaccharide used in medicine and other fields. 

HEAVEN capitalizes on a minimally traumatic cut of the spinal cord using an ultra-sharp blade (very different from what occurs in the setting of clinical spinal cord injury, where gross, extensive damage and scarring is observed) followed within minutes by chemofusion (GEMINI). The surgery is performed under conditions of deep hypothermia for maximal protection of the neural tissue. Moreover, and equally important, the motoneuronal pools contained in the cord grey matter remain largely untouched and can be engaged by spinal cord stimulation, a technique that has recently shown itself capable of restoring at least some motor control in spinal injured subjects. 

* a head of a monkey was transplanted in the 1970s but the spinal cord could not be repaired at the time
In 2000, guinea pigs had spinal cords surgically cut and then protected with PEG chemical (like what is proposed here) and they had over 90% of spinal nerve transmission restored with a lot of mobility and function restored

Over the last 30 years, scientists have worked to chemically encourage regrowth. Two chemicals, chondroitinase and FGF, show strong signs of doing exactly that--in rats, at least. Independently, over the past three decades, each chemical has shown some promise in restoring simple but crucial rat motor processes, like breathing, even with entirely severed spinal cords.

Two surgeons in the field figured that a combination of the chemicals might enhance the regrowth even more. The surgeons, from Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic, began by entirely severing the spinal cords of 15 rats to ensure no independent, natural regrowth. That shut off the rats' bladder control (a nervous system process that is especially important in rats, since they urinate often and to mark their territory). The researchers then injected the two growth-stimulating chemicals into both sides of the severance, and reinforced the gap in the cord with steel wiring and surgical thread.

The indications for HEAVEN would be far-reaching (including non-brain cancer), but, given the dearth of donors, a select group of gravely ill individuals would be the target. This would include for instance people with some kinds of muscular dystrophies, which prove eventually lethal and a source of major suffering. 

A Possible Head Transplant Scenario is Described

What follows is a possible scenario in order to give the reader a feel for the whole endeavor.

Donor is a brain dead patient, matched for height and build, immunotype and screened for absence of active systemic and brain disorders. If timing allows, an autotransfusion protocol with D's blood can be enacted for reinfusion after anastomosis.

The procedure is conducted in a specially designed operating suite that would be large enough to accommodate equipment for two surgeries conducted simultaneously by two separate surgical teams.

The anesthesiological management and preparation is outlined elsewhere. Both R and D are intubated and ventilated through a tracheotomy. Heads are locked in rigid pin fixation. Leads for electrocardiography (ECG), EEG (e.g., Neurotrac), transcranial measurement of oxygen saturation and external defibrillation pads are placed. Temperature probes are positioned in tympanum, nasopharynx, bladder, and rectum. A radial artery cannula is inserted for hemodynamic monitoring. R's head, neck, and one groin are prepped and draped if ACHP is elected. A 25G temperature probe may be positioned into R's brain (deep in the white matter), but, as highlighted, a TM thermistor should do.

Antibiotic coverage is provided throughout the procedure and thereafter as needed.

Before PH, barbiturate or propofol loading is carried out in R to obtain burst suppression pattern. Once cooling begins, the infusion is kept constant. On arrest, the infusion is discontinued in R, and started in D. An infusion of lidocaine is also started, given the neuroprotective potential. Organ explantation in R is possible by a third surgical team.

R's head is subjected to PH (ca 10°C), while D's body will only receive spinal hypothermia; this does not alter body temperature. This also avoids any ischemic damage to D's major organs. R lies supine during induction of PH, then is placed in the standard neurosurgical sitting position, whereas D is kept upright throughout. The sitting position facilitates the surgical maneuvers of the two surgical teams. In particular, a custom-made turning stand acting as a crane is used for shifting R's head onto D's neck. R's head, previously fixed in a Mayfield three-pin fixation ring, will literally hang from the stand during transference, joined by long Velcro straps. The suspending apparatus will allow surgeons to reconnect the head in comfort.

The two teams, working in concert, would make deep incisions around each patient's neck, carefully separating all the anatomical structures (at C5/6 level forward below the cricoid) to expose the carotid and vertebral arteries, jugular veins and spine. All muscles in both R and D would be color-coded with markers to facilitate later linkage. Besides the axial incisions, three other cuts are envisioned, both for later spinal stabilization and access to the carotids, trachea and esophagus (R's thyroid gland is left in situ): Two along the anterior margin of the sternocleidomastoids plus one standard midline cervical incision.

Under the operating microscope, the cords in both subjects are clean-cut simultaneously as the last step before separation. Some slack must be allowed for, thus allowing further severance in order to fashion a strain-free fusion and side-step the natural retraction of the two segments away from the transection plane. White matter is particularly resistant to many of the factors associated with secondary injury processes in the central nervous system (CNS) such as oxygen and glucose deprivation and this is a safeguard to local manipulation.

Once R's head is separated, it is transferred onto D's body to the tubes that would connect it to D's circulation, whose head had been removed. The two cord stumps are accosted, length-adjusted and fused within 1-2 minutes: The proximal and distal cord segments must not be accosted too tightly to avoid further damage and not too loose to stop fusion. A chitosan-PEG glue, as described, will effect the fusion. Simultaneously, PEG or a derivative is infused into D's blood-stream over 15′-30′. A few loose sutures are applied around the joined cord, threading the arachnoid, in order to reinforce the link. A second IV injection of PEG or derivative may be administered within 4-6 hours of the initial injection.

The bony separation can be achieved transsomatically (i.e., C5 or C6 bodies are cut in two) or through the intervertebral spaces. In both R and D, after appropriate laminectomies, a durotomy, both on the axial and posterior sagittal planes, would follow, exposing the cords. In D, the cord only has been previously cooled. If need be, pressure in D is maintained with volume expansion and appropriate drugs.

The vascular anastomosis for the cephalosomatic preparation is easily accomplished by employing bicarotid-carotid and bijugular-jugular silastic loop cannulae. Subsequently, the vessel tubes would be removed one by one, and the surgeons would sew the arteries and veins of the transplanted head together with those of the new body. Importantly, during head transference, the main vessels are tip-clamped to avoid air embolism and a later no-reflow phenomenon in small vessels. Upon linkage, D's flow will immediately start to rewarm R's head. The previously exposed vertebral arteries will also be reconstructed.

The dura is sewn in a watertight fashion. Stabilization would follow the principles employed for teardrop fractures, anterior followed by posterior stabilization with a mix of wires/cables, lateral mass screws and rods, clamps and so forth, depending on cadaveric rehearsals.

Trachea, esophagus, the vagi, and the phrenic nerves are reconnected, these latter with a similar approach to the cord. All muscles are joined appropriately using the markers. The skin is sewn by plastic surgeons for maximal cosmetic results.

R is then brought to the intensive care unit (ICU) where he/she will be kept sedated for 3 days, with a cervical collar in place. Appropriate physiotherapy will be instituted during follow-up until maximal recovery is achieved.

More Background and History of head transplants and spinal cord repairs

There have been many studies on spinal cord repair, but many have the repair performed after waiting for one week. It would be far easier to repair if the repair is done right away and separation and reattachment is done in a careful surgical way.

In 2000, there was immediate recovery from spinal cord injury through molecular repair of nerve membranes with polyethylene glycol. (10 pages) Immediate and full (over 90%) recovery from a severed spinal cord was performed in adult guinea pigs with the application of one of the chemicals proposed in the human head transplant project.

A brief application of the hydrophilic polymer polyethylene glycol (PEG) swiftly repairs nerve membrane damage associated with severe spinal cord injury in adult guinea pigs. A 2 min application of PEG to a standardized compression injury to the cord immediately reversed the loss of nerve impulse conduction through the injury in all treated animals while nerve impulse conduction remained absent in all sham-treated guinea pigs. Physiological recovery was associated with a significant recovery of a quantifiable spinal cord dependent behavior in only PEG-treated animals. The application of PEG could be delayed for approximately 8 h without adversely affecting physiological and behavioral recovery which continued to improve for up to 1 month after PEG treatment.

Stem cell injections help repair damage and restore function.

The early-stage neural stem cells grew new axonal connections across the injury and re-established significant mobility, something that hasn't been done before, Tuszynski said. Both rat and human neural stem cell transplants restored function.

The stem cells improved mobility on a 21-point scale, from 1.5 after spinal cords were severed to 7 after the treatment. The rats were treated a week after the injury, a "clinically relevant" model for human therapy.

Rats with spinal cord injuries and severe paralysis are now walking (and running) thanks to researchers at EPFL. Published in the June 1, 2012 issue of Science, the results show that a severed section of the spinal cord can make a comeback when its own innate intelligence and regenerative capacity is awakened. 

On March 14, 1970, a group of scientists from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in 
Cleveland, Ohio, led by Robert J. White, a neurosurgeon and a professor of neurological surgery who was inspired by the work of Vladimir Demikhov, performed a highly controversial operation to transplant the head of one monkey onto another's body. The procedure was a success to some extent, with the animal being able to smell, taste, hear, and see the world around it. The operation involved cauterizing arteries and veins carefully while the head was being severed to prevent hypovolemia. Because the nerves were left entirely intact, connecting the brain to a blood supply kept it chemically alive. The animal survived for some time after the operation, even at times attempting to bite some of the staff.

Other head transplants were also conducted recently in Japan in rats. Unlike the head transplants performed by Dr. White, however, these head transplants involved grafting one rat's head onto the body of another rat that kept its head. Thus, the rat ended up with two heads. The scientists said that the key to successful head transplants was to use low temperatures.

Effective repair of traumatically injured spinal cord by nanoscale block copolymer micelles (Nature Nanotechnology, 2009) These experiments treated the damage after about ten minutes and were able to get a lot of movement back in most cases. The damage was a crushing of the spinal cord, so the transplant procedure would have better results because it would be a careful separation of the spinal cord under cold conditions with immediate application of the protectant chemicals.

Spinal cord injury results in immediate disruption of neuronal membranes, followed by extensive secondary neurodegenerative processes. A key approach for repairing injured spinal cord is to seal the damaged membranes at an early stage. Here, we show that axonal membranes injured by compression can be effectively repaired using self-assembled monomethoxy poly(ethylene glycol)-poly(D,L-lactic acid) di-block copolymer micelles. Injured spinal tissue incubated with micelles (60 nm diameter) showed rapid restoration of compound action potential and reduced calcium influx into axons for micelle concentrations much lower than the concentrations of polyethylene glycol, a known sealing agent for early-stage spinal cord injury. Intravenously injected micelles effectively recovered locomotor function and reduced the volume and inflammatory response of the lesion in injured rats, without any adverse effects. Our results show that copolymer micelles can interrupt the spread of primary spinal cord injury damage with minimal toxicity.

Improvement in the locomotor function in the micelle-treated group was evident by a more rapid increase of BBB scores in the first 14 days and continuation of improvement over the following two weeks. Specifically, at 28 days post-injury, the BBB scores were 12.5 + or minus 3.1. From a clinical perspective, an animal with a BBB score equal to or less than 11 lacks hindlimb and forelimb coordination, whereas a score of 12 to 13 corresponds to occasional to frequent forelimb and hindlimb coordination. Reaching a BBB score of 12 is significant in that it is a sign of axonal transduction through the lesion site