November 18, 2017
It's Past Time we enjoyed some unmixed GOOD news. (Come on, you know you need it!) Three reasons to celebrate-- and with Thanksgiving a few days away!
Number one. For all of us:
The hole in the ozone layer is, at last, healing!
After GROWING from 1985 (and being checked by scientists every year), the hole reached 10.9 million square miles in size in 2015. (For comparison...Russia's area is 6.7 million square miles.)
Its rate of growth is slowing, and researchers for the journal Science think that if the trend continues, with the hole not growing till later in the year, that it could be GONE by around 2050.
The ozone layer blocks around 97% of the total radiation received by the earth. It acts as a blanket, and keeps the atmosphere cool.
Of course our favorite mammalian species (that would be us) is responsible for making the hole in the first place. Man-made CFCs. CFCs are refrigerants, propellants, and solvents. Useful, handy, and persistent-- they can remain in the atmosphere for as long as 50-100 years-- they form clouds, and the next thing you know, there goes your ozone.
Volcanoes do the same thing. I personally wrote a very strongly worded letter to the five active volcanoes closest to me.
Oh, yeah, and ixnay on those solvents, propellants, and refrigerants until further notice.
No other planet has sent us an invitation to live there. And none of the close ones look very habitable.
Don't mess this up.
Remember Baretta? Mod Squad? T,J. Hooker? Starsky and Hutch?
Remember how BADLY they portrayed heroin addiction? And the hell of kicking the habit? Why anybody in his/her right mind would even use heroin even ONCE is pretty baffling. Any time I have to wrap a rubber rope around a body part and make it REALLY tight and then heat something up in a dirty metal spoon, that's when I pretty much lose interest.
BUT...as they say, don't judge others; their tastes may not be the same as yours.
So anyway, scientists at the Scripps Research Institute tried tackling the problem of heroin addiction by creating antibodies that block the rush of euphoria before it can get to the brain.
A vaccine they developed works in rhesus monkeys, and its effect lasts for up to eight months. It doesn't work against other opioids, and human trials still lie ahead.
But, so far, huzzah!
(THEN I suggest that the same scientists get cracking on that pink frosting with colored flecks that comes on the tops of certain donuts. Block THAT rush, and you can name your own price! Let's face it; there's a lot more money in the pockets of donut addicts than in the pockets of spindly, sweaty, desperate heroin addicts. And you could probably dispense the serum in little ketchup-type packets. Anything that looks like fast food would probably work.)
(PLUG YOUR EARS-- that roar you hear is every donut addict in your vicinity screaming “NOOOOOOOOO!”)
NOT to be outdone, scientists at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Australia have developed a probiotic treatment. Called “lactobacillus rhamnosis” and delivered to kids with a peanut allergy, along with a peanut protein, once a day for 18 months, it keeps 70 percent of the kids from having ANY bad reaction.
70 percent! Woo hoo!
Peanut allergies are one of the most common of deadly allergic reactions. The impact can be so powerful that a victim can react to aerosolized micro-drops of peanut oil floating around in the air. Somebody fries something in the back of your plane, and hours later, YOU get aboard, and....UH OH.
(Something you can't even see or smell can close off your airway, and you can't even tell people around you what you think is happening. And then you pass out.)
But now we have a solution.
Best of all, the probiotic treatment can let these kids enjoy peanut products for up to four years!
And THESE trials worked on HUMANS, so the treatment should be available to allergy sufferers fairly soon!
Truly, a gift to humanity.
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