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December 13, 2015

Bags with brains

From suitcases funded like start-ups to bags that can be tracked from your phone, luggage went high tech in 2015. The BlueSmart, which comes complete with a device-charging battery and digital scale, has a companion app that syncs its GPS location to your phone. The suitcase connects seamlessly via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to your phone. Global coverage is provided in partnership with Telefonica which is Spanish broadband and telecommunications provider. That means as far as you have 3G coverage or better your suitcase would be able to communicate back to your phone so you can track your suitcase anywhere in the world. The Space Case (due out in early 2016) adds a Bluetooth speaker, turning your carry-on into the ultimate mobile entertainment system. Big names are also on the case: Samsonite and Samsung are working on bags that can be tracked anywhere worldwide.

November 30, 2015

Natural flu remedies

As we enter into the flu season, chances are that many people will experience the effects of a cold or flu. Highly contagious, colds are the name we give for over 100 mild viral influenza forms.
There are many natural ways to both prevent and reduce the symptoms of the common cold and raise your immunity during this vulnerable season. If you follow these recommendations, chances are your flu catching ability will be lessened.

Organic Turmeric

An amazing herbal remedy, turmeric is a strong antimicrobial that helps push out out bacterial and viral infections. You can purchase in capsule forms, or you can buy the herb fresh or dried. For a cold-fighting tea, place a ¼ tsp. in hot purified water and drink often. This herbal jewel also helps ease sore throats. For a throat-coat for comfort, place 1/2 tsp. of turmeric in 2 tablespoons of raw honey and let seep down the throat.

Organic Oregano Oil

An extremely potent anti-bacterial and anti-microbial agent that relieves congestion and inflammation. I recommend about 9 drops of organic oregano oil taken internally in a capsule after meals on a full stomach.


 “There has been a plethora of research on (black elderberry), mainly on its anti-viral and anti inflammatory activity,” said Holly Lucile, naturopathic doctor and author of Myth Defying with Dr. Holly. “I actually love this ingredient for prevention and to decrease (cold) duration and severity!”

Other Ways to Fight the Flu

Avoid Milk and dairy, alcohol, coffee, animal meat or products, microwaved food or beverages, sugar, artificial sweeteners, white flour.

October 27, 2015

This common food may trigger painful GOUT attacks!

Courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at
GOUT is a type of arthritis, characterized by acute attacks of sudden burning pain, stiffness, and swelling in a joint.  This condition is caused by an excess type of arthritis, gout is often characterized by acute attacks of sudden burning pain, stiffness, and swelling in a joint.  The condition is caused by an excess of uric acid on the blood, leading to the formation of hard crystals in joints. Tanya Flynn, from the University of Otago (New Zealand), and colleagues analyzed data collected on 2150 New Zealand residents with clinically confirmed gout. Participants were surveyed for their food habits, with 71% reporting that they had one or more to gout food triggers. The researchers then analyzed data collected on 12,722 objects participating in the Atherosclerosis Risk In Communities (ARIC) Study, Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS), and Framingham Heart Study (FHS).  Data analysis revealed that tomato consumption linked to higher levels of uric acid in the blood.  Writing that:  “the positive association between tomato consumption and serum urate levels suggests that the self-reporting of tomatoes as a dietary trigger by people with gout has a biological basis,” the study authors submit that tomatoes may be the fourth most common gout trigger food, after seafood, alcohol, and red meat.
This finding is important because the list of foods gout provoking  attacks is very long and is very difficult to prioritize one food over another. The researchers were careful to explain that the findings do not suggest that tomatoes cause gout attacks, but rather food has the ability to alter uric acid levels which can contribute to them. Therefore, avoiding tomatoes, for a period of time but not necessarily long-term, may be able to help certain patients dodge gout flares.
The researchers were careful to explain that the findings do not suggest that tomatoes cause gout attacks, but rather food has the ability to alter uric acid levels which can contribute to them. Therefore, avoiding tomatoes, for a period of time but not necessarily long-term, may be able to help certain patients dodge gout flares. - See more at:
he researchers were careful to explain that the findings do not suggest that tomatoes cause gout attacks, but rather food has the ability to alter uric acid levels which can contribute to them. Therefore, avoiding tomatoes, for a period of time but not necessarily long-term, may be able to help certain patients dodge gout flares.
- See more at:
he researchers were careful to explain that the findings do not suggest that tomatoes cause gout attacks, but rather food has the ability to alter uric acid levels which can contribute to them. Therefore, avoiding tomatoes, for a period of time but not necessarily long-term, may be able to help certain patients dodge gout flares.
- See more at:
he researchers were careful to explain that the findings do not suggest that tomatoes cause gout attacks, but rather food has the ability to alter uric acid levels which can contribute to them. Therefore, avoiding tomatoes, for a period of time but not necessarily long-term, may be able to help certain patients dodge gout flares.
- See more at:
he researchers were careful to explain that the findings do not suggest that tomatoes cause gout attacks, but rather food has the ability to alter uric acid levels which can contribute to them. Therefore, avoiding tomatoes, for a period of time but not necessarily long-term, may be able to help certain patients dodge gout flares.
- See more at:

October 23, 2015

Hit the sweet spot

500 mL of milk a day hits right balance for little kids

Can there be too much of a good thing when you are talking about little kids and cow's milk? A new study suggests there can.
By imagerymajestic/
           Can there be too much of a good thing when you are talking about little kids and cow’s milk? A new study suggests there can.
The work, by scientists in Toronto, says that children between the ages of two and five should be drinking half a litre (about  17oz)  or approximately two eight-ounce cups of milk a day.
Less than that and kids may not be getting enough vitamin D, the study suggests. But more than that, and the stores of iron in their blood — which are essential for a developing brain — may start to slip below acceptable levels.
The study was led by Dr. Jonathon Maguire, a pediatrician and researcher at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. It is published in this week’s issue of the journal Pediatrics.
“Cow’s milk is a very important staple in our western diet for children. I don’t want to underestimate the importance of cow’s milk,” Maguire said in an interview about the study.
“Our question was really: Well, how much?”
It’s a query pediatricians face all the time, Maguire said. And they haven’t had a good answer to give because experts are divided on the issue.
Some organizations have argued that young children should consume a litre of milk a day to get the vitamin D they need to build strong bones and avoid rickets, a formerly common bone-softening condition. (Milk is fortified with vitamin D.)
But other groups have warned that children’s consumption of cow’s milk should be curtailed because some studies have shown that kids who drink a lot of milk can have low levels of iron in their blood.
Low iron can lead to anemia, where the body produces too few of the red blood cells that transport oxygen throughout the body.
“It looks like in children who have iron deficiency severe enough to cause them ... to have anemia, those children have difficulties with their cognitive development. Over time they’re not quite as bright as other children,” Maguire said.
Iron deficiency in young children isn’t uncommon in Canada. While it’s just a guesstimate — Maguire said recent studies haven’t been done — it is believed between 10 per cent and 20 per cent of young children in Canada may have low iron stores.
Given the confusing advice and the fact that milk consumption by preschoolers seems to involve a trade-off between vitamin D and iron, Maguire and some colleagues decided to try to find the sweet spot.
They enrolled 1,311 healthy Toronto children ages two to five in a study, evaluating samples of their blood for vitamin D and iron stores and gathering information from parents about the amount of milk the kids drank.
The researchers found that about 500 millilitres of milk a day for most children was the right amount to have adequate levels of vitamin D and iron.
There was an exception: during winter, children with dark skin didn’t hit the vitamin D target with 500 mL daily. The study suggests in winter children with dark skin may need a vitamin D supplement as well as the milk.
The researchers also saw this previously reported inverse relationship, where more milk consumed meant higher vitamin D levels but lower iron stores.
What’s behind the puzzling interplay? The director of the nutrition and metabolism research program at B.C. Children’s and Women’s Hospitals said little kids who drink a lot of milk often aren’t eating enough solid foods to get the needed amount of iron. (There is little iron in milk.)
Read the whole story here:

October 13, 2015

Could a breast cancer drug wipe out MRSA in hospitals? Tamoxifen can help the body trap and kill bacteria

The breast cancer drug tamoxifen boosts the immune system, and was shown to be effective against Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, in lab experiments, according to researchers at the University of California San Diego.
The study's senior author, Professor Victor Nizet, said: 'The threat of multidrug - resistant bacterial pathogens is growing, yet the pipeline of new antibiotics is drying up.
'We need to open the medicine cabinet and take a closer look at the potential infection-fighting properties of other drugs that we already know are safe for patients.

For patients with estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer ( or ER+), tamoxifen blocks the receptors, helping make other treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation more effective. Researchers focused, however, on the drug's 'off-target effect' on the production of a type fatty molecule called ceramide that enhances the ability of white blood cells called neutrophils to engulf and defeat bacteria.
In the lab, researchers found that neutrophils treated with tamoxifen produced three times more neutrophil extracellular traps, or NETs, a group of proteins, enzymes and peptides neutrophils use to kill bacteria.
The researchers treated mice with tamoxifen to test its ability to boost the immune system. After exposing the rodents to MRSA, another dosage of tamoxifen was given and the mice were monitored for five days. Although none of the control mice live more than a day, about 35 percent of the mice treated with tamoxifen survived for five days. Five times fewer MRSA were found in peritoneal fluid taken from the mice's abdomens.
However, the researchers said that while tamoxifen was effective against MRSA in this study, the outcome may vary with other bacteria.
Several bacterial species have evolved methods for evading NET capture, they said.
Second, in the absence of infection, too many NETs could be harmful.
Some studies have linked excessive NET production to inflammatory disease, such as vasculitis and bronchial asthma, they added.
But lets not forget about  some of Tamoxifen   rather nasty side-effects. Preventing  MRSA from spreading in hospitals in a first place is where the fight again it should be focused on. 

Please check out  another great  posting on this blog  about MRSA here : Measles and 6 Other Nasty Diseases You Should Worry About Catching While Traveling

October 08, 2015

Ever wonder how your mortgage payment is applied?

 Image courtesy of Savatore Vuono at
Ever wonder how your mortgage payment is applied? For each mortgage payment you make, the money is first used to pay the interest on your mortgage loan.
The remaining portion of your payment is then used to reduce the principal, which is the amount that you borrowed from the lender.
In the first years of the mortgage, most of the payment normally goes toward the interest costs. As the mortgage balance decreases over time, more of each payment goes towards paying off the principal.
To reduce your interest costs, some techniques are to increase your monthly payments, make lump sum payments, make accelerated payments (i.e. bi-weekly), or decrease your amortization period.

September 18, 2015

Measles and 6 Other Nasty Diseases You Should Worry About Catching While Traveling

Measles at amusement parks, remnants of bubonic plague and anthrax on subways, a new mosquito-borne illness – you might think these are nasty diseases you can catch traveling to third-world countries and far-flung places like India or Africa. But the truth is, this is all happening in the U.S. Here are the diseases, viruses, infections, and more you should worry about catching during domestic travel – and how to prevent them.
1. Measles

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at
The scoop: Though the disease was long considered eradicated in the U.S., you have to be hiding under a rock not to know about the recent outbreak, which started at California amusement parks. The disease quickly spread across 14 states with more than 100 people infected. That’s because measles is one of the most contagious diseases out there – and it can live on surfaces and hang around in the air for about two hours, says Dr. Holly Philips, a general internist in New York City and CBS news medical contributor.
How to prevent it when traveling: All it takes is one contagious person on a flight or train to expose everyone. To stay safe, Philips says make sure your MMR vaccines are up to date – if you get the two recommended shots, it’s about 97 percent effective. (Check with your doctor or the CDC’s website for guidelines on getting vaccinated.)
Other than that, prevention is similar to any other respiratory illness. “I like to tell everyone, keep your hands below your neck at all times,” says Philips. That’s because a common way to get such a contagious disease is touching a contaminated surface and then touching your nose or mouth. “No touching your face – if you have to wipe your nose, do it with a tissue. The less your bring your hands to your face, the more protected you are,” says Philips. Frequent hand washing can also help.

2. Chikungunya

The scoop: Chikungunya is a virus carried and transmitted by mosquitos, which causes symptoms including fever and excruciating joint pain that can last for months. Though the disease has been mostly a tropical one (found in Africa, Asia, India, and most recently Central and South America as well as the Caribbean), there have been about a dozen cases contracted locally in Florida reported in the last year. There were also more than 4000 locally transmitted cases in 2014 Puerto Rico and nearly 250 such cases in the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to Peter Hotez, director of the National School of Tropical Medicine, it is possible chikungunya could soon become even more widely and regularly spread in the U.S.
How to prevent it while traveling: There is currently no vaccine for chikungunya (or any antiviral therapy), so the only way to prevent getting it is to avoid mosquito bites. To that end, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends using insect repellents containing DEET (at least 20 percent), picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus, among others. Covering exposed skin by wearing long sleeves and long pants is also a good idea. Plus, it’s important to note that the mosquitos that carry this virus tend to bite during the daytime

3. Influenza

The Scoop: Many people think the flu is as simple as the common cold and blow off their annual shots. But the illness is can be spread from an infected person to others up to six feet away – the equivalent of about three rows on airplane – and it can be deadly. According to the CDC, each year in the U.S. more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from seasonal flu-related complications and deaths can vary, anywhere from 3,000 to nearly 50,000. 
This year the circulating flu virus (called H3N2) is particularly troublesome for two reasons: 1. It’s a nastier version of the virus than usual, says Philips, and 2. The vaccine offered wasn’t meant for this strain. Symptoms are similar to a cold – fever, a stuffy nose, sore throat, or congestion – but the hallmark is achiness, “feeling like you’ve been run over by a truck,” says Philips.
How to prevent it while traveling: First, get a flu shot at least a week before you hit the road. Even though this year’s vaccine (spring 2015) is not a match for the season’s flu, it does work about 30 percent of the time, and it can also make you less sick and for a shorter period of time.
Also since the flu is so common and so contagious (on average 5 to 20 percent of the population gets the flu each year, says the CDC), make sure to live by the golden rules of not touching your face and washing your hands. Plus it’s a good idea to bring alcohol-based wipes for surfaces, says Philips.
If you if you think you have been exposed to the flu or you’re in the early stages of the illness, your doctor can prescribe you anti-viral medications like Tamaflu or Relenza. “But the catch is you have to take them within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms for them to be effective,” explains Philips.Related: Is it flu or norovirus?

4. Lyme Disease

The scoop: This disease, transmitted by certain types of deer ticks, is predominantly a problem in the Northeast, some mid-Atlantic states, and northern California from late spring to early fall. Symptoms include achiness, and often a tell-tale “bulls-eye” or “ring” rash. Usually the disease takes a couple of weeks to heal with antibiotics, says Philips, but there are cases of chronic disease progressing to cause heart, nervous system, or neurological issues.
How to prevent it while traveling: Whenever you spend time outdoors in areas where these ticks thrive, the CDC advises using an insect repellent with 20 to 30 percent DEET. However since experts have differing opinions on whether repellent actually deters ticks, says Philips, it’s also a good idea to wear long sleeves and long pants to help prevent them from latching on. When hiking, also stay to the center of trails to avoided particularly bushy or high grass areas.
When you get home from a day in the woods, try to hop in the shower within two hours. But before you do, perform a full-body tick check with a mirror, since ticks that remain on your skin for 24 hours can transmit the disease. “Ticks can be as tiny as a freckle,” warns Philips, so you have to look carefully. “They like folds of the body, so pay special attention to arm pits, the back of your hairline, and your groin area. But they can be anywhere.” Should you spot a tick, remove it with tweezers under a bright light to ensure you get the whole thing. Dispose of a live tick by submersing it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers. There is a risk that portion of the tick may remain attached to the skin which may lead to an infection.If you unsure how to remove tick(s)t visit a doctor .

5. Norovirus

The scoop: Norovirus is really a group of viruses, which are basically food poisoning, explains Philips. It spreads by contact (with contaminated food, surfaces, or people) and causes symptoms such as abdominal cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea. Cruise ships are infamous for norovirus outbreaks: In fact over 90 percent of diarrheal disease outbreaks on cruises are caused by norovirus according to the CDC, because the bug easily spreads in close living quarters, shared dining areas, and the large number of passengers.
How to prevent it when traveling: Wash your hands frequently, only eat fruits and vegetables that have been washed thoroughly, and stay away from uncooked and undercooked food (the virus can survive temperatures up to 140 degrees), especially shellfish.
Related: Is it the flu or norovirus ? How to tell the difference

The scoop: MRSA (technically, methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus) is a drug-resistant staph infection that can be life threatening. It’s spread through contact with an infected person or a contaminated surface. It’s pretty rare, but the bacteria has been found on airplane tray tables, according to University of Arizona microbiology professor Charles Gerba, who is also known as “Dr. Germ.” Other studies show MRSA can live up to a week on airplane seat-back pockets. But the biggest concern for MRSA is if you’re doing an sort of relief work or volunteerism that has you in a medical or healthcare setting, says Philips.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a MRSA skin infection looks “like a boil, pimple or spider bite,” that may be red, swelling, painful, and puss-filled or oozing. 
How to prevent it while traveling: MRSA enters the body through injured skin, so always keep any open wounds covered, says Philips. And never share personal hygiene items like towels, razors, or ointment.

7. Fresh-water bacterial diseases

The scoop: There are many forms of bacteria that thrive in the kinds of freshwater popular with travelers and vacations (think lakes, springs, waterfalls, pools, hot tubs, etc.). The most common is shigella, says to Philips, which causes symptoms like bloody diarrhea, cramping and fever. Another bacteria that can make you ill is Leptospira, which is most common in tropical areas like Hawaii and causes flu-like symptoms.
How to prevent it while traveling: Avoid swimming if you have any open wounds, do not submerge your head underwater, and don’t drink from freshwater sources without treating them first. Plus, heed any signs warning of or reports detailing outbreaks in certain bodies of water.

8. Zika 

The latest addition to this list. See our coverage on Zika here Latest on Zika

September 17, 2015

Ashley Madison Scandal: Science Reveals 2 Main Reasons People Cheat

Photo by t0zz. Cutesy of
In the wake of last month’s Ashley Madison hack,
which saw the personal information of 37 million members released on the internet, scientists have sought to understand why people cheat on their partners.According to researchers, there are two main causes that lead people to cheat are boredom and the need for emotional support.The first reason happens when people are bored and not  particularly happy with their sex lives, Pepper Schwartz, professor of sociology at the
University of Washington told Live Science.
“They've been in a relationship for a long time, and they long for the excitement of something new,” she said.Usually, these people aren’t actively looking for an affair, but will take advantage of meeting a crush at a conference, workplace or reunion.This is reflected on Ashley Madison, the site’s chief science officer has said.Most women who joined the site said they weren’t unhappy with their partner and didn’t want a divorce, but were looking for more romantic passion in their lives. The second category covers people who are in unhappy relationships.See the whole article here:
Ashley Madison Scandal: Science Reveals 2 Main Reasons People Cheat

August 28, 2015

Data mining from Ashley Madison hack

Photo by hywards
Photo by hywards downloaded from
According to the Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy, nearly 50 percent of married women and 60 percent of married men will have an extramarital affair at some point in their marriage. When you consider that these statistics are nearly double what they were a short 10 years ago, clearly this is beyond an issue; it is now commonplace. When you search the web for "Ashley Madison hack" or any other  variations you will see hundreds and hundreds of news lines. There are many web pages where you can find out about the chronology of the events. The members information leaked and it is out there forever. Somebody already created a map of the member's locations. There is enormous amount of information which would be sorted out and analyzed  based on various criteria.  We read the reports aiming to determine how many females were real and fake based on the various assumptions (Gizmodo). There are many researches which could be done in terms of finding the  preferences and kinks members may have based on age , country or city if you wish. We are not talking about finding and exposing the real people but anonymous analysis of the data. How many times the researchers could have access to such a big volumes of data? The easy answer is thru another hack like this one. These are just a few thoughts which our team wanted to share with you. We published before information on other aspects of privacy data mining here.

July 24, 2015

Google Maps now shows you everywhere you've been

Image property of Google
Google on announced a feature called Your Timeline that shows you everywhere you've been on a map, tracking it by time and date. The company is rolling out the feature gradually, first on the Web and for phones running Google's Android operating system.

The company said: The new feature is useful for remembering the places you've been, like a fun bar you visited or the road trips you've taken. Your Timeline is private and visible only to you; and you control the locations you choose to keep. This means you can easily delete a day or your full history at any time. You can edit any place that appears in Your Timeline, including removing a specific location or giving a frequented spot a private name like -- Mom’s House or My Favorite Running Spot. This spot will then appear right in Google Maps when you’re logged in. The new feature reminds us how much information is collected from us with or without our knowledge. Sometimes it is the price we pay to be able to access some of the apps in the either Google or Microsoft or Apple stores. Privacy advocates keep warning us that we receive everything at a price - our privacy. We will be happy to hear what do you thing about this new feature.

June 05, 2015

Can you turn your USB pen in Google Drive for PC.

Any external USB storage drive, be it a pen drive or a hard drive, is used primarily for that reason - storage.  Based on our recent tests it is still not possible to sync all or portion of your GoogleDrive content to a flash drive .During our test we formatted a flash drive in NTFS file system and redirected the local GoogleDrive to the new location - USB stick.We used NTFS because the setup process required that . For this test we  disconnected our local account on the local computer by getting into GoogleDrive preferences and hit Disconnect Account (fig1).Then we exited the application. When Google drive was restarted we selected the new location thru the advance setup when at step 4 of the new setup (Fig2) .

By hitting that  button a new menu appeared which allowed us to pick up the new location (Fig3). The sync started and files stared to appear in the local drive initially but then it  did not advance anymore...We were able to see few files coming and actually being saved to the new location but the progress times out quickly. We repeated the process few times by stopping the process (GoogleDrive ) and restarting it.We were able to get more and more files on the flash drive synced It did not matter if we relocated the Google Drive location from internal hard drive to the flash drive or we started setting up local copy of GoogleDrive from scratch. This scenario is exactly the same when you use external hard drive or another location on your drive. In that case everything works. All of your files and folders will be synced.The reason we started with the non  working case is to let the reader know that something which one could think is easy to achieve is not actually working yet to the best of hour knowledge. Feel free to use this tutorial when you want to move your files to another location by your choice. The default location for now is under your user account when you use windows. We did the tests under Windows 7.
Let us know if you found way to successfully sync your GoogleDrive to a flash drive directly. There is "PortableApps Suite" which claims to be able to do that but we haven't tested it. Our test was to try to use Google Drive on an stick without additional help.

April 30, 2015

600,000 cases of cancer 'may have been avoided' | Irish Examiner

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at
More than four in 10 cancers could be avoided if people made changes to their lifestyle, according to Cancer Research UK. Life style changes such as smoking cessation , balanced diet and weight management would have prevented 600,000 cases of various cancers.
Smoking accounted for more than 314,000 cases in the past five years, the charity said.
A further 145,000 cancers might have been averted if more people ate a balanced diet low in red and processed meat and salt, and high in vegetables, fruit, and fibre.
Maintaining a healthy weight could have prevented around 88,000 cases, while tens of thousands of cancers were linked to excess alcohol, failing to protect the skin from sun, and lack of exercise. Read the whole article here:
600,000 cases of cancer 'may have been avoided' | Irish Examiner

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