Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Persian Limes in a grocery store.Image via Wikipedia

Do you know where Limes originated from...

Do you know where Limes originated from?

By Peter Petterson
First published at Qondio:
Did you know that Limes originated in Indonesia and Malaysia, and were first cultivated in South-East Asia and India.
Arab traders scattered the citrus fruit, which finally squeezed its way into Europe during the Crusades.
Finally Spanish colonisers brought the limes to the new world where they flourished.
So when you squeeze some lime juice into your Gin, remember it had a long journey before it arrived at your table.

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Monday, December 27, 2010

A Sufi Dancer in Cairo, EgyptImage via Wikipedia

Ethiopians chewed coffee seeds as far back as 1000 AD...

By Peter Petterson

First published at Qondio:

Did you know that Ethiopians were chewing the seeds and berries of the coffee plant for its stimulant effects a thousand years ago
Nearby Yemen was the first society to cultivate and roast the beans for brewing - Sufi mystics there used it to to enhance their spiritual experience. Coffee was shipped throughout the Arab world from the Yemeni port of Mocha and finally made its way to Europe in the 17th century.

I know too much coffee is often blamed for the hyperactive effects of caffeine - but spiritual effects? Don't know about that; perhaps coffee has lost its spiritualism? Does it also have magical effects; perhaps on the suppliers pockets?

Read here

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

That "spare tyre" could save your life one day...

Stem cell diagram illustrates a human fetus st...Image via WikipediaFrom Britain comes this latest piece of advice:

An extra helping of brandy butter may well prove to be a life saver. Doctors and scientists want to extract stem cells from our excess fat to keep on hand our own personal body repair kit. We're turning vehicular.

Seriously though, our flabbyhips and thighs could help  the future treatment of many illnesses such as heart diseases,arthritis, motor neutron disease and diabetes.

Scientists say the beauty of human body fat it is, unlike embryos,  is in plentiful supply and has does not raise any ethical concerns.

Malcolm Alison, professor of stem cell biological research at Barts and the London School of Medicine  and Dentistry, said recently. "Storing these cells is wothwhile because scientists are showing these are very versatile cells and it is best to use your own cells(for the treatment)."

He said people should store the cells before they become ill, because it could avoid any delay, for acute liver failure for instance, it could be days to grow and extract cells the old way.

Professor Alisonis carrying out research to convert stem cells from body fat into insulin- producing cells to treat diabetes.
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Bhut Jolokia plant in the ground at the prop...Image via Wikipedia

The war on terror is heating up.....

The war on terror is heating up...
By Peter Petterson
First published at Qondio::p
The Indian military has a new weapon against terrorism - the world's hottest chilli. According to several recent news reports, the country has decided to use the bhut jolokia or "ghost chilli" to make tear gas -like hand grenades to immobolise its enemies.
The pungent pepper was confirmed by Guiness World Records in 2006 as the world's spiciest. Its grown in India's northeast for its taste, as a cure for stomach problems and as a way to to fight the heat-cooling the body through sweat and evaporated heat as blood rushes to the face. It has more than 1,000,000 Scoville Heat Units, the measurements of a chilli's spiciness; thats 200 times hotter than the average tabasca sauce - a mere 2500-8000 units.
Real hot stuff in the campaign against terrorism in the sub-continent.
Hot stuff!

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Christmas in the post-War United StatesImage via WikipediaThe Kiwi Riverman Post wishes all our readers the compliments of the season despite natural disasters and inclement weather...

The Kiwi Riverman Post wishes all our readers a most happy Christmas in 2010 and New Year 2011.

It has been a very difficult year around the world politically, economically and socially as well. There have been a number of natural catastrophies, including a massive 7.1 earthquake in New Zealand which caused a lot of damage around Christchurch City and around the surrounding area, but lacked any loss of life, compared to the earthquake of similar size in Haiti which caused hundreds of thousands of deaths, injured  and homeless people. The Christchurch earthquake has been the most expensive natural disaster in history - costing New Zealand NZ$5 billion  in damage and estimated rebuilding.

There was another volcanic eruption in Indonesia which caused severe damage and hundreds of deaths and injuries, and four explosions in a coalmine near Greymouth on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island which initially trapped, and killed 29 miners there; after toxic gases ignited, and continue to burn unabated, and entomb the miners below. There have been other reported disasters around the world but these two are in our part of Asia Pacific and have special significance for our peoples.

Christmas will not be a happy time for many New Zealand families this year. We must also have some sympathy and feeling for the people of Britain and Europe who are enduring arctic-like weather at present which is keeping aircraft on the ground because of the snow-storms and icy conditions..

We can only hope the New Year will see some improvement in the weather and fortunes of all involved.

So happy Christmas and New Year again.

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Helen ClarkImage via WikipediaWikiLeaks - New Zealand, the United States of America, the Iraq War and credibility...

Some more Wikileaks revelations: Was Fonterra the reason New Zealand sent troops to Iraq - troops for butter?

Leaks suggest that former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark - the current Number Three at the United Nations - changed her previous decision not to send troops to Iraq, because it was feared NZ would miss out on lucrative Oil for Food contracts.

The claim was made in an extraordinary cable labelling New Zealanders as either "first worlders" - pro-American - or "other worlders" - anyone anti-American or pro- New Zealand's nuclear -free legislation.

The cable revealed that embassy staff were briefed on Iraq by senior defence officials, who are not named and whose information is noted as being strictly protected.

"Senior MOD officials claimed it wasn't until Finance Minister, Michael Cullen, pointed out in a later Cabinet meeting that New Zealand's absence from Iraq might cost NZ dairy conglomerate Fonterra the lucrative dairy supply contract it enjoyed under the Oil for Food program, that PM Clark  found a face-saving compromise and sent combat engineers in a non-combat role to Basra, where they were embedded with the British forces.

Be that as it may, New Zealand's original decision not to send troops to Iraq was because the Iraq War was not a UN sanctioned military action. Later it was proven there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, one of the reasons for the US and its Coalition Of The Willing gave for being in Iraq.

I guess there is more to be written about New Zealand's decision, as there is about America's late involvement in two world wars, both of which had New Zealand involvement in day one of each.

It has been said also that the US had no interest at all in discussing a free trade agreement with New Zealand, but seemed annoyed that NZ was able to arrange one with China and other Asian countries.

And during that period even some American officials were uncertain whether NZ was a friendly nation or an ally. I thought the latter had been written in blood during  two world wars, and the Korean and Vietenam wars. This created some distrust of the US by NZ officials and people alike. This continues today with those with longer memories. Conflicting comments by Hillary Clinton causes some uncertainty too. Perhaps it is a very good thing that Barack Obama won the last presidential election, not her! I personally can distinguish between the American system and the friendly, generous  and genuine American people.

Just what other revelations are there for WikiLeaks to surprise us with?

Footnote to this post:  The claims made in leaked cables have been described by former NZ PM Helen Clark, as a load of rubbish! They didn't happen; it was the fantasy of American diplomats during the Bush era who had their own agendas!

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Four people dead in Australian Floods...

A fourth person has died as the flood crisis worsens across Australia, with at least four states and territories on high alert for thunderstorms and heavy rain.
Farmers have watched their livelihoods swallowed by the deluge and thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes, with the tragedy of the situation compounded by yet another death.
Today, the body of a man, aged in his 50s, was found in a car that had been driven into Denison Creek at Oxford Downs in central Queensland a few days earlier.
Witnesses said the driver passed other cars that were stopped on the roadside waiting for the floodwaters to subside.
It's the third flood-related death in Queensland.
On Saturday night, an elderly man whose utility was swept off a flooded causeway in central Queensland was found dead, 35 kilometres south of Rockhampton.
The man, identified as Alan Kane, went missing on Friday night at Bajool.
A 55-year-old woman died last week when her car was swept off a flooded roadway near Dysart, northwest of Rockhampton.
Tragedy has also stuck in the central west of NSW, with the discovery of a woman's body today afternoon in waters about 500 metres from her abandoned vehicle in Goonumbla, northwest of Parkes.
NSW remains in the grip of flooding with 30 areas now declared natural disaster zones after Queanbeyan was hit by a deluge yesterday night.
About 100 houses and businesses were evacuated and 10 people were rescued by boat in what is being described as a one-in-20-year event.
Battle-weary emergency crews in Wagga Wagga are continuing their vigil in the regional city.
The Murrumbidgee River is expected to peak at 9.7m sometime tomorrow, potentially putting even more of North Wagga under water.
Aerial scans today of the nearby towns of Tarcutta and Tumut showed the impact of massive deluges overnight, with farms and homes inundated causing the closure of the Hume Highway near Tarcutta Creek.
The weather bureau is predicting the rain band that wreaked havoc in Queanbeyan will move north.
Authorities are worried it will pose problems for areas such as Coonamble in northwestern NSW.
Further south, towns in northeast Victoria remain on flood alert as the Ovens, King and Broken rivers are expected to peak tomorrow, although rain has eased across the state.
Myrtleford, Wangaratta and Benalla in the northeast are also on rural flood alerts into tomorrow.
The SES says a key focus for emergency teams is also the town of Harrow in the state's west where the Glenelg River is forecast to peak tomorrow.
About 10 property owners have been warned of potential flooding.
The largest rainfall recorded was 158mm at Mongans Bridge, outside Mansfield, and 145mm in Mt Buller.
"We've had extensive rural flood in northeastern Victorian and there are a small number of properties that may be inundated or isolated over the next couple of days," SES spokeswoman Jilly Charlwood said.
It's lucky no lives were lost in South Australia's floods, with many communities having as little as 15 minutes' notice of the looming disaster.
"This was one of the most significant weather events in this state for a lot of years," said SES assistant chief officer Matthew Maywald.
"People were lucky they didn't lose their lives.
"A number of people chose to drive through floodwaters and there were a number of rescues."
Maywald said in most cases the worst of the water and storm damage occurred over a 15-minute time frame.
"In a lot of cases it had happened and was flowing out before it was even reportable," he said.
Meanwhile in Queensland, residents of Rockhampton have been sandbagging homes in preparation for a 7.8m flood peak expected early next week.
The Bureau of Meteorology predicts the Fitzroy River will reach seven metres over the weekend and peak at 7.8m on Monday or Tuesday.
The flood could cut off some homes for a wee

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John Stillwell, AFP/Getty Images

Prince William's wedding won't allow for a bank holiday and no Obama invitations...

Word coming from St. James Palace is that President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are not on the guest list for Prince William and Kate Middleton's April 2011 wedding.

Palace sources reason that because Prince William is not the direct heir to the throne his wedding is not considered a "state affair" though the government has declared the wedding a bank holiday.

The couple's selection of Westminster Abbey as their wedding ceremony venue limits the guest list to 2,000 guests and the couple would prefer to invite charity workers and ordinary citizens rather than foreign dignitaries.

The Daily Mail reports that a handful of heads of state are likely to make the list including France's President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni.

At Prince Charles and Princess Diana's 1981 wedding President and Mrs. Reagan were invited but only the First Lady attended.

The decision to keep the wedding guest list open to non-VIPS is an example of Prince William's desire to hold the first ever "people's wedding" by inviting the public who have worked with his 21 charities.

More on the Royal Wedding:
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Sunday, December 12, 2010

VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - JANUARY 08:  Pope Bene...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeLeaked cables prove Vatican's cover-ups of child abuse by Catholic priests...

A recent  international newspaper report claimed that American diplomatic cables indicated the Vatican felt  "offended" that Ireland failed to respect Holy See sovereignty when  asking high ranking churchmen to answer questions about sex abuse to an Irish sex abuse commission. Part of a cover up, perhaps?

That the Holy See has tried to use its diplomatic- immunity status to try to thwart the Irish fact finding probe has long known. But WikiLeaks cables allegedly published by Britain's Guardian newspaper contain delicate, behind the scenes diplomatic assessments. Interesting to say the least.

The Vatican press office declined to comment on the cables, but decried the leaks as a matter of "extreme seriousness". The cables or their contents I wonder?

The US ambassador to the Holy See also condemned the leaks and said the Vatican and America co-operate in promoting universal values.

There is much more to the report, but I would like to briefly comment on the so-called universal values: Just what values did they discuss?

I would strongly suggest that the Vatican, and America by its association, should be eternally condemned for trying to hide evidence of child rape and sexual assault by Roman Catholic priests in a number of countries over many decades.

The Church had many priests transfered to other parishes, and sometimes other countries, and prevented in many cases  local authorities from obtaining evidence against paedophile priests.

Ireland wanted to be seen as being supportive of the independent  probe into child abuse cover-ups in the Dublin Archdiocese, but Rome  officials didn't want to intervene in the probe's efforts to get information.

To do so was viewed by the Vatican as an affront to their sovereignty - never mind an offront to human decency!
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Thursday, December 09, 2010


Same-sex couples may soon be able to have their own genetic children (Image: See-ming Lee ...
Same-sex couples may soon be able to have their own genetic children (Image: See-ming Lee via Flickr)

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In what could be the first step towards same-sex couples having their own genetic children, reproductive scientists have produced male and female mice from two fathers using stem cell technology. The achievement of two-father offspring in a species of mammal could also be a step toward preserving endangered species, improving livestock breeds, and advancing human assisted reproductive technology (ART).

A team of reproductive scientists in Texas, led by Dr. Richard R. Berhringer at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, manipulated fibroblasts - a type of cell that are the most common cells of connective tissue in animals - from a male (XY) mouse fetus to produce an induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell line. About one percent of iPS cell colonies grown from this XY cell line spontaneously lost the Y chromosome, resulting in XO cells.

These XO iPS cells were injected into blastocysts from donor female mice before being transplanted into surrogate mothers, which gave birth to female XO/XX chimeras having one X chromosome from the original male mouse fibroblast.

The female chimeras, carrying oocytes - which are immature ovum or egg cells - derived from the XO cells, were mated with normal male mice. Some of the offspring were male and female mice that had genetic contributions from two fathers
The technique, which is described in a study posted on Wednesday at the online site of the journal Biology of Reproduction, could be applied to livestock breeding to combine desirable genetic traits from two males without having to outcross to females with diverse traits
The scientists also point out that this "new form of mammalian reproduction" could also be valuable for preserving species when no females remain as it would be possible for one male to produce both oocytes and sperm for self-fertilization to generate male and female progeny.

They add that, in the future, it may also be possible to generate human oocytes from male iPS cell in vitro. Used in conjunction with in vitro fertilization, this would eliminate the need for female XO/XX chimeras, although a surrogate mother would still be needed to carry the two-father pregnancy to term.

Additionally, using a variation of the iPS technique, the researchers say, "it may be possible to generate sperm from a female donor and produce viable male and female progeny with two mothers."
However, the authors caution that the generation of human iPS cells still requires significant refinements prior to their use for therapeutic purposes, so there's still some time to explore the moral and ethical questions such technology will no doubt raise.

Acknowledgements: Gizmag.com


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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...Image via CrunchBase   Facebook Bullies Charged After being tracked down by their victim...

(Dec. 8 2010) -- When 18-year-old Ally Pfeiffer found a Facebook profile impersonating her and replacing her photograph with a picture of a cow to mock her weight, she cried.

Then, though, the Connecticut teen fought back, found the IP address for the bogus page and helped police trace the cruel behavior back to Sarah Johnson and Jeff Martone, her former classmates at a Bristol, Conn., high school. And now, Johnson and Martone, both freshmen at the University of Connecticut, have been charged with criminal impersonation and second-degree harassment.

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Pfeiffer said she's speaking out about her experience because she hopes it will prevent other young people from going through the pain she did. "If I help one teen or if I make one bully think twice before doing something I would feel 100 percent better," she said in an interview with NBC's "Today" show this morning.
Both Martone, 19, and Johnson, 18, have admitted to creating the fake Facebook profile, which listed Pfeiffer's "likes" as "being fat," "whales," "Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream" and "not running." Pfeiffer said she and Johnson were close friends in high school. "When I first saw the page, I was completely devastated. I didn't know who had done it at this point and was questioning why they chose me, why they'd say those things about me," she told WFSB.com.

But Pfeiffer, a freshman at the University of Hartford, said she didn't want to let the cyberbullying ruin her life. "Some of my friends would have hung themselves over this," she told the Bristol Press. "So I'm just glad that [Martone and Johnson] got a stable person trying to take a positive approach to dealing with it rather than someone who could have taken different action."

Cyberbullying has gained increased scrutiny since the death of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi earlier this year, who killed himself after his classmates allegedly posted a video of him having sex with another man.

Jeremy Weingast, Martone's attorney, said his client is sorry for the pain he caused. "Jeffrey is very remorseful and sorry for the entire incident and apologizes to Ally," he said in a statement.

Johnson and Martone were released on $2,500 bond and are scheduled to face a court hearing Dec. 23. Both charges are misdemeanors.

Acknowledgements: 2010 AOL Inc. AOL New

Read here
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Saturday, December 04, 2010

GREYMOUTH, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 30: A genera...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Pike River mine one of the most difficult mine safety expert has dealt with...

The Pike River mine is one of the most difficult an Australian mine safety expert has dealt with.
Efforts are continuing to retrieve the bodies of 29 men killed after a series of explosions in the coal mine, about 50km from Greymouth. The first was on November 19.
David Cliff, an Associate Professor at the University of Queensland, is advising on the Pike River operation which is relying on a jet-propelled machine brought in from Australia to extinguish the fire before rescuers can enter the mine.
Operation of the machine - the Gorniczy Agregat Gasniczy (GAG) - will continue throughout the weekend, as will monitoring of gas levels and temperatures.
Tasman district area commander Superintendent Gary Knowles said Prof Cliff had been back at the mine site today.
"He's described the mine as one of the most challenging he's had to deal with in terms of the terrain, isolation and access," Mr Knowles said.
Once the fire is put out, the GAG machine will blow nitrogen down the shaft to try and cool the mine down.
"Clearly the fire must be extinguished before the next steps can happen in making the mine safe to enter," he said.
Acnowledgements: :**:- NZPA

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