Saturday, November 28, 2009


On thin ice
Late in April 2009, astronauts aboard the international space station observed a strange circular area of thinned ice in the southern end of Lake Baikal in southern Siberia. While the origin of the circle is unknown, the peculiar pattern suggests upwelling in the lake’s water column.


Hell in paradise
Plumes of smoke rise from two forest fires that burned out of control on the Spanish Canary island of La Palma, as seen by the European Space Agency's Envisat satellite on Aug. 1.

The west coast of Africa is visible at bottom right.

Where there's smoke ...
Plumes of smoke stream from wildfires in Southern California, including the Station Fire in the Angeles National Forest, as seen on Aug. 30 by NASA's Terra satellite.


Albinos in East Africa fear for lives after killings
10,000 displaced or in hiding due to demand for body parts, Red Cross says

Mary Owido sits with her children at their home in western Kenyan town of Ahero. Owido, who lacks pigment that gives color to skin, eyes and hair, says she is "afraid of going out alone."
NAIROBI, Kenya - The mistaken belief that albino body parts have magical powers has driven thousands of Africa's albinos into hiding, fearful of losing their lives and limbs to unscrupulous dealers who can make up to $75,000 selling a complete dismembered set.
Mary Owido, who lacks pigment that gives color to skin, eyes and hair, says she is only comfortable when at work or at home with her husband and children.
"Wherever I go people start talking about me, saying that my legs and hands can fetch a fortune in Tanzania," said Owido, 36, a mother of six. "This kind of talk scares me. I am afraid of going out alone."
Since 2007, 44 albinos have been killed in Tanzania and 14 others have been slain in Burundi, sparking widespread fear among albinos in East Africa.
At least 10,000 have been displaced or gone into hiding since the killings began, according to a report released this week by the International Federation for the Red Cross and Crescent societies.
Boy, 10, beheadedEast Africa's latest albino murder happened in Tanzania's Mwanza region in late October, when albino hunters beheaded 10-year-old Gasper Elikana and chopped off his leg, the report said. The killing left Elikana's father, who tried to defend his son, seriously injured.
Albinism is a hereditary condition, but occurs only when both parents have albinism genes. All six of Owido's children have normal skin color.

With natural healers believing their body parts to be very valuable, some African albinos are under constant threat of kidnapping. NBC's Martin Fletcher reports from Tanzania.
Nightly NewsAfrican albinos endure insults, discrimination and segregation throughout their lives. They also have a high risk of contracting skin cancer in a region where many jobs are outdoors.
Owido, a high school teacher in the western Kenyan town of Ahero, says she was forced to transfer from a better teaching job on the Kenya-Tanzania border town of Isebania in 2008 after an albino girl she knew was murdered and her body parts chopped off.
The surge in the use of albino body parts as good luck charms is a result of "a kind of marketing exercise by witch doctors," the International Federation for the Red Cross and Crescent societies said.
The report says the market for albino parts exists mainly in Tanzania, where a complete set of body parts — including all limbs, genitals, ears, tongue and nose — can sell for $75,000. Wealthy buyers use the parts as talismans to bring them wealth and good fortune.
"Albinism is one of the most unfortunate vulnerabilities," said International Federation for the Red Cross and Crescent societies Secretary General Bekele Geleta. "And it needs to be addressed immediately at an international level."
The chairman of the Albino Association of Kenya, Isaac Mwaura, called the murders deplorable but said the killings have given albinos a platform to raise awareness.
Many fathers in denialAlmost 90 percent of albinos living in the region were raised by single mothers, Mwaura said, because the fathers believed their wives were having affairs with white men.
"When I was born my father said his family tree doesn't have such children and left us," Mwaura said.
Some African communities believe that albinos are harbingers of disaster, while others mistakenly think albinos are mentally retarded and discourage their parents from taking them to school, saying it's a waste of money, he said.
Due to a lack of education, many albinos are illiterate and are forced into menial jobs, exposing them to the sun and skin cancer, he said. Those who manage to finish school face discrimination in the work place and are never considered for promotions.
"People are very blind to albinism but it is very visible. Now that we have this issue in Tanzania is when people have started to talk about albinism," Mwaura said. "Before there was a studious silence."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


En el momento de su fallecimiento, Karin se encontraba rodeada de doce personas, todos ellos miembros del equipo de cardiología: Médicos, técnicos y enfermeras comprobaron cómo todos los esfuerzos para intentar reavivarla eran inútiles.
El profesor Peter Valentín, director del Departamento de Divulgación Didáctica del hospital también estaba en el quirófano.
En aquella ocasión su tarea consistía en manejar una cámara de fotos.
Es muy frecuente que, durante las intervenciones, se fotografíe o se filme la labor de los cirujanos; esto se utiliza luego para la divulgación científica, los archivos médicos y, sobre todo, para las clases universitarias en la facultad de Medicina.
También fue el profesor Valentín quien, pocos días después, tras recoger el carrete en el laboratorio y ver las copias, no pudo contener su sorpresa. Una de las fotografías enseñaba, con toda claridad, cómo una forma humana, difusa y transparente, se elevaba hacia el techo con los brazos abiertos. Era la foto de un espíritu y además, ¡estaba saliendo del cuerpo de la fallecida!
El Papa Juan Pablo II tiene una copia y los investigadores del Vaticano la están analizando.
Su primera reacción fue pensar que alguien le había gastado una broma; sin duda los del laboratorio fotográfico con un montaje sorprendente.
De manera que llevó la copia a otro laboratorio para que uno de sus expertos descubriera si se trataba o no de un truco.
El segundo laboratorio tambien revelo la misma imagen!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Flames rise from the scene after the car bomb was detonated in a Peshawar market on Wednesday.
Pakistani volunteers rush an injured child to a hospital after the attack in Peshawar.

Two men are seen crying at the scene of the bomb attack in Peshawar on Wednesday.

Men carry bodies of victims to ambulances at the scene of the car bomb explosion in Peshawar. The government blamed militants seeking to avenge a major offensive launched this month against al-Qaida and Taliban in their stronghold close to the Afghan border.

Two women who were injured in the attack flee the scene.

A Pakistani police officer makes his way through wreckage after an explosion in Peshawar, Pakistan. The government blamed Islamic militants for the attack.

Injured victims rush for help after a powerful bomb ripped through a busy market in Peshawar on Wednesday. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was visiting Pakistan when the attack occurred and pledged American support for the fight against terrorism.

People rush injured victims to hospitals after a car bomb tore through a busy market in Peshawar, Pakistan on Wednesday, Oct. 28. At least 91 people were killed and more than 200 injured. Many of the victims were women and children.

Deadly blast
An injured man looks on in shock as people rush injured victims to hospitals, at the scene of a powerful car-bomb blast in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Oct. 28. The attack at a market in the northwestern city killed more than 100 people and turned shops selling wedding dresses, toys and jewelry into a mass of burning debris and bodies.


1st place: Water flea
This eerily beautiful image of a water flea with its bright green "crown of thorns" takes the top prize in the 2009 Olympus BioScapes competition. The exoskeletal crown helps protect the flea against predators. This image, created by University of Albrecht zoologist Jan Michels, reveals not only the exoskeleton but also interior detail - right down to the nuclei within its cells, seen as tiny, glowing blue dots.

2nd place: Plant cell nucleus
This second-place image from Berkeley's Chung-Ju Rachel Wang shows a ladderlike protein structure inside the nucleus of a corn plant cell. The structure, known as a synaptonemal complex, forms between pairing chromosomes during cell division. This may be the first-ever high-resolution 3-D image of this complex ever captured with light microscopy. The two parallel axes of this complex, which run the length of each chromosome, are seen as two threads spaced as little as 100 nanometers apart and twisting around each other in a helix.

3rd place: Microbial sex
This is a sequence of stills taken from a movie titled "Sexual Attraction in Spyrogyra." The movie, produced by the University of Melbourne's Jeremy Pickett-Heaps, depicts sexual reproduction in simple algae captured in time-lapse video over two hours. One cell becomes quite amoeboid as it squeezes through the narrow fertilization tube that the partner cells have just built between them. The movie won third place in the 2009 Olympus BioScapes contest.

4th place: Freshwater algae
The University of Washington's Charles Krebs used phase contrast microscopy to create this 100x image of freshwater algae (Haematococcus pluvialis). The species is known for its ability to synthesize a red pigment known as astaxanthin, which has powerful antioxidant properties. This picture won fourth place in the 2009 Olympus BioScapes competition.

5th place: Poisoned algae
This image, created by Skidmore College biologist David Domozych, shows one-celled Penium algae that are breaking apart after treatment with a microtubule poison known as oryzalin. The picture won fifth place in the 2009 Olympus BioScapes contest.

6th place: Man o' War tentacle
Notorious for its painful, powerful sting, the Portuguese Man o' War has a gas-filled floating chamber that supports tentacles with stinging cells. Here you can see the pink batteries of stinging cells and a delicate muscular band that is responsible for the high contractibility of the tentacles. The image by the University of Sao Paulo's Alvaro Migotto won sixth place in the 2009 Olympus BioScapes contest.

7th place: Brainbow
Long, slender nerve fibers known as axons cover the tail of a 3-day-old larval zebrafish in this "Brainbow" image, created using confocal microscopy. In the Brainbow technique, cells randomly pick up combinations of red, yellow and cyan fluorescent proteins so that they each glow in a particular color. This provides a way to distinguish between neighboring cells in the nervous system and follow their pathways. The image by Harvard's Albert Pan won seventh place in the Olympus BioScapes contest.

8th place: Uncommon flower
Heiti Paves, a researcher at Estonia's Tallinn University of Technology, used confocal microscopy to capture this uncommon image of a single Arabidopsis thaliana flower. Arabidopsis thaliana, also known as thale cress, is a common model organism in plant biology and genetics. The picture won eighth place in the 2009 Olympus BioScapes contest.

Ninth place: Salmon embryos
Haruki Fujimake of Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts captured this colorful closeup of Atlantic salmon embryos from Bryant Pond, Maine. The image won ninth place in the 2009 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition.

10th place: Neurons
The 2009 Olympus BioScapes Imaging Competition showcases microscopic photos and movies of life science subjects. This image by Gist Croft and Mackenzie Weygandt of Columbia University and Project ALS won 10th place in the contest. It shows motor neurons affected by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. To create these neurons, skin cells were taken from an 83-year-old ALS patient and reprogrammed to become induced pluripotent stem cells. Those cells were then transformed into neurons. Studying such neurons will help scientists combat ALS.


Manual labor
A man works at an aluminum factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Nov. 16. About 45 workers are employed at the factory and most of them work for 12 hours a day. The daily wage is about $1.70 for men and $1.40 for women.

Circle of yellow
Taxis line up to get their tanks filled on a viaduct in Chongqing municipality, China, on Nov. 17. Central and eastern Chinese provinces face the worst natural gas shortage in years.

Smoky protest
A Palestinian protester covers his head with a plastic bag to avoid tear gas during a protest against Israel's separation barrier outside the West Bank village of Bilin, near Ramallah, on Nov. 13. Israel says the barrier is necessary for security while Palestinians call it a land grab.

North vs. South
Policemen try to wrestle away a North Korean flag from activists attempting to burn it during a rally to welcome U.S. President Barack Obama and to denounce the North, near the U.S. embassy in Seoul, South Korea, on Nov.19. Obama was in South Korea for talks with President Lee Myung-bak on trade and the North's nulcear program.

Junk food
Cattle search for food in a garbage dump in Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia, on Nov. 16.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


The killer of children..the polio virus

Line of students waiting to be vaccinated in 1955

Rancho Los Amigos Hospital in California, Polio Clinic, Iron Lung Room








Puerto Rico



Central America




Adults were also infected and spent years in "iron lungs"

In the 50's many children died all over the world



Polio attacks mostly children