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Di seguito tutti gli interventi pubblicati sul sito, in ordine cronologico.
 
 

 O echipa de cercetatori francezi de la Institutul Pasteur a demonstrat faptul ca numeroase zone ale creierului sunt capabile sa produca noi neuroni cu ajutorul celulelor gliale. Celulele gliale au fost descoperite in 1891 de medicul spaniol Santiago Ramon Y Cajal. Acest cercetator deosebit de prolific a pus in evidenta caracterul celular al neuronilor. Studiile sale, recompensate cu Premiul Nobel pentru Medicina in 1906, au scos in evidenta existenta celulelor gliale, de 9 ori mai numeroase decat neuronii, care joaca un rol important in transmisia influxului nervos si care, contrar neuronilor, sunt capabile sa se reproduca. Proportia dintre celulele gliale si neuroni a dat nastere, in urma unei erori jurnalistice, ideii care s-a infiltrat in opinia publica, conform careia oamenii folosesc doar 10% din creier.

Functiile celulelor gliale sunt putin cunoscute. Li se atribuie rolul organizarii conexiunilor neuronale, adica, facultatii neuronilor de a produce noi sinapse. In acest sens s-a demonstrat recent ca practica intensiva a jocului la micile mamifere duce la o crestere a numarului celulelor gliale in raport cu subiectii care nu practica acest „sport”. Cat priveste fiintele umane, e de semnalat faptul ca creierul lui Einstein avea un numar anormal de mare de celule gliale la nivelul lobilor parietali.

Prabusirea unei dogme

 Cercetatorii (neurobiologi) erau convinsi ca neuronii creierului uman sunt capabili sa se multiplice. Pana in 2003, cand o echipa de cercetatori francezi a descoperit faptul ca unele categorii de celule gliale se puteau transforma in neuroni capabili sa se insereze in tesutul neuronal existent. In 2004, aceeasi echipa, in colaborare cu specialisti germani, a demonstrat ca o molecula secretata de bulbul olfactiv (tenascina) are facultatea de a atrage neuronii imaturi, care se transforma in veritabili neuroni.

Dispozitive de regenerare

O noua etapa in descifrarea activitatii cerebrale a fost astfel parcursa. Aceeasi echipa de cercetatori a mai demonstrat faptul ca celulele suse (stem) gliale se repartizeaza nu doar in zona de formare ci si de-a lungul unui tunel prin care migreaza noii neuroni si in bulbul olfactiv. Demonstratia a fost facuta utilizandu-se un marcator fluorescent vehiculat de un vector viral capabil sa vizeze celulele gliale. Transformarea acestora in neuroni era intensificata in urma unei leziuni care ducea la pierderea simturilor olfactive, o dovada clara a capacitatii de autoreparare a creierului. Deturnandu-se neuronii nou formati din zona lor germinativa spre regiunile lezate, constituie o strategie terapeutica extraordinara si o speranta pentru tratarea unor patologii neurodegenerative ale sistemului nervos central.

Brate miscate prin puterea gandului

In urma realizarii unei conexiuni artificiale intre creier si mana, o maimuta macac afectata de o paralizie temporara a unui brat, a reusit intr-un timp foarte scurt sa-si reia miscarea bratului. Pentru a conferi mobilitate unui brat paralizat in urma sectiunii unei legaturi nervoase sau dupa un soc care a atins coloana vertebrala, se poate imagina o noua conexiune intre zona motrice a creierului (legata de maduva spinarii) si muschi, asa cum un electrician ar instala un nou fir electric. Deocamdata medicii sunt departe de a realiza aceasta minune. Primele incercari in acest sens au fost insa facute. Acum e posibil, de pilda, sa se detecteze semnalul care parcurge o legatura nervoasa sau care parvine din activitatea neuronilor creierului.

Unele experimente realizate au avut ca scop controlul unor proteze sau a calculatorului prin forta gandului. Pe acest drum extrem de dificil s-a inscris cu succes o echipa de cercetatori americani de la Universitatea din Washington care a pus la punct un dispozitiv ce conecteaza prin intermediul calculatorului, cortexul motor al creierului de muschii mainii. Realizata in cazul a doua maimute cu un brat temporar paralizat (sub anestezie locala), experienta le-a permis, dupa mai multe incercari, ca muschii mainii sa fie comandati de creier.

Electrozii au fost bransati pe neuroni izolati din cortexul maimutelor care nu aveau functia de a comanda muschii! Pentru a verifica functionarea acestora, cercetatorii au cuplat sistemul la un monitor. Prin semnalele trimise de electrozi, detectate de calculator, a fost posibila deplasarea cursorului pe ecran. Experimentul a fost transformat intr-un joc in care maimutele trebuiau sa dirijeze cursorul spre un patrat, reusita fiind recompensata cu dulciuri.

Dependenta de droguri

Mecanismele cerebrale ale dependentei nu sunt, probabil, cele stiute. Recentele studii ale unui specialist francez (Jean-Paul Tassin) repun in discutie aceasta problema. Este vorba de o noua viziune care permite reconsiderarea procesului de dependenta de tutun, alcool, droguri, jocuri de noroc etc. In 1998, in urma studiilor a doi cercetatori italieni, s-a ajuns la concluzia ca toate drogurile provoaca eliberarea de dopamina intr-o regiune a creierului denumita nucleu acumbens. Dependenta era pusa pe seama faptului ca circuitul cerebral asa zis „al recompensei”, care gestioneaza satisfacerea nevoilor noastre vitale, e total perturbat de eliberarea masiva a mesagerului ei principal, dopamina. In acest caz, creierul nostru considera drogul ca fiind esential in satisfacerea nevoilor.

Echipa de cercetatori francezi propune o alta teorie care ar putea revolutiona acest domeniu permitand totodata sa rezolve „fragilitatea” modelului „oficial” al dopaminei. Tassin considera ca toate drogurile – alcool, morfina, amfetamine, cocaina etc. – distrug legatura intre cei doi neurotransmitatori, noradrenalina si serotonina, doua molecule care se gasesc din abundenta in cortex si in sistemul limbic, perturband activitatea acestora, ceea ce face ca orice emotie traita de toxicoman sa fie foarte puternica. Cand noradrenalina se epuizeaza in urma nevoii de drog, moralul toxicomanului se prabuseste iar interesul social dispare.

Dependenta apare in momentul in care se produce o decuplare intre acesti doi neurotransmitatori. Decuplat, sistemul nu mai poate asigura controlul emotiilor, provocand o hiperemotivitate care il impinge pe subiect spre drog.

DORIN MARAN - magazin.ro

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Overview of the theory

One theory of the origin of AIDS is that it developed from contaminated vaccines used in the world's first mass immunisation for polio. There are a number of reasons why this theory is plausible enough to be worthy of further investigation.

  • The location coincides dramatically. The earliest known cases of AIDS occurred in central Africa, in the same regions where Koprowski's polio vaccine was given to over a million people in 1957-1960.
  • The timing coincides. There is no documented case of HIV infection or AIDS before 1959. Centuries of the slave trade and European exploitation of Africa exposed Africans and others to all other diseases then known; it is implausible that HIV could have been present and spreading in Africa without being recognised.
  • Polio vaccines are grown (cultured) on monkey kidneys which could have been contaminated by SIVs. Polio vaccines could not be screened for SIV contamination before 1985.
  • Another monkey virus, SV-40, is known to have been passed to humans through polio vaccines. A specific pool of Koprowski's vaccine was later shown to have been contaminated by an unknown virus.
  • In order for a virus to infect a different species, it is helpful to reduce the resistance of the new host's immune system. Koprowski's polio vaccine was given to many children less than one month old, before their immune systems were fully developed. Indeed, in one trial, infants were given 15 times the standard dose in order to ensure effective immunisation.

If this theory is correct, it has serious ethical, health and policy implications. In particular, it points to the danger of interspecies transfer of material through vaccinations, organ transplants, etc., which could lead to new variants of AIDS as well as other new diseases. As well, studying the theory may lead to insights about responding to AIDS and preventing new diseases.

On several occasions, critics have claimed that the theory has been refuted. The Wistar Committee in 1992 said the death of a British sailor in 1959, whose tissues later tested positive for HIV, made the theory implausible. However, several years later, more sensitive tests showed no HIV in the tissues.

In 2001, reports were published that polio vaccine samples held in Philadelphia from the 1950s showed no immunodeficiency viruses. This was trumpeted as a refutation of the theory. Edward Hooper later produced evidence that US-produced vaccines had been amplified in Africa using chimpanzees as a substrate, thus showing the theory could be correct.

Scientists have spent a lot of effort trying to refute the polio-vaccine theory of the origin of AIDS, but very little trying to refute the conventional view, that blood from an SIV-infected chimpanzee got into humans via hunting or eating. There is very little direct evidence to support the conventional view, which explains neither the timing nor the location of the origin.

Scientific journals have been reluctant to publish articles about the polio-vaccine theory. For example, Nature has received substantial submissions about the theory from at least six scholars but has not published any of them. Opponents of the theory have used defamation threats and legal actions to discourage publication. The result is that editorial prerogative and legal action have given the false impression that critics of the theory have been unanswered.

To help rectify this situation, key documents presenting the theory and commenting on it are provided here. Also given is a list of publications about the theory. This material is provided by Brian Martin who as a social scientist has been following the origins debate since 1991. It is part of a page on suppression of dissent. Comments and additional contributions are welcome.

 

Some key publications about the theory
(in reverse chronological order) 

 

BOOKS

Edward Hooper, The River: A Journey Back to the Source of HIV and AIDS (Harmondsworth: Penguin; Boston: Little, Brown, 1999; revised edition, Penguin, 2000). This is an enormous but highly readable scientific blockbuster, providing the most detailed examination of the polio vaccine theory yet available, including many new findings. It has generated widespread discussion and debate and has established the polio-vaccine theory of the origin of AIDS as by far the strongest contender to the cut-hunter orthodoxy.

The River is available in a CD-ROM edition: see http://www.aidsorigins.com/content/view/206/28/

Omar Bagasra, HIV and Molecular Immunity: Prospects for the AIDS Vaccine (Natick, MA: Biotechniques Books, 1999). This technical scientific book presents a new theory of molecular immunity for the origin and history of HIV-1, which, it is argued, most likely derived from polio vaccinations in Africa.
Kiley R. Prilliman reviews the book in the prestigious journal Cell. Julian Cribb has provided insightful comments on the book for nonspecialists. The author, Omar Bagasra, can be contacted at omarb@sc.rr.com. The book is available from Eaton Publishing, 154 East Central Street, Natick MA 01760, USA, phone 508-653 6272, fax 508-653 2706.

Julian Cribb, The White Death (Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1996). An engaging book focussing on both the polio-vaccine-AIDS theory and its reception by the scientific community. Full text available.

 

ARTICLES

Edward Hooper has his own website, http://www.aidsorigins.com/. See it for his latest contributions. March 2008: two articles on Michael Worobey's research.

Brian Martin, "Contested testimony in scientific disputes: the case of the origins of AIDS", The Skeptic, Vol. 13, No. 3, 2007, pp. 52-58.

Christian Biasco has written a predoctoral thesis analysing the origin-of-AIDS controversy: The origin of AIDS: an hermeneutical analysis of the scientific publications. University of Geneva, July 2006. He has also written a play about the origin of AIDS titled The Seeds of Doom. You can read the text of the play in Italian and English and see the play in Italian with subtitles.

Edward Hooper, commentaries, February-August 2006

New material about the origin of AIDS published in November 2005 in Narrow Roads of Gene Land: The Collected Papers of W. D. Hamilton, Volume 3: Last Words, edited by Mark Ridley, Oxford University Press.

Brian Martin, "The Politics of a Scientific Meeting: the Origin-of-AIDS Debate at the Royal Society", Politics and the Life Sciences, Vol. 20, No. 2, September 2001, pp. 119-130 [published 2005]. Also available in pdf.

Edward Hooper, commentaries, October-November 2004

 

April 2004: Is the contaminated polio vaccine theory refuted?

Yes: Michael Worobey et al., "Contaminated polio vaccine theory refuted", Nature, Vol. 428, 22 April 2004, p. 820. 
No: a reply by Edward Hooper, "Contaminated polio vaccine theory not refuted", April 2004. 
Worobey et al. supplementary information and map. Hooper's comments. 
Hooper gives further comments, and a short version of further comments.

Edward Hooper, "The dirty side of the origin-of-AIDS debate": a series of commentaries, February-March 2004.

 Stanley A. Plotkin, "Chimpanzees and journalists" (editorial), Vaccine, Vol. 22, 2004, pp. 1829-1830. Introduction to Osterrieth's article.

Paul Osterrieth, "Oral polio vaccine: fact versus fiction", Vaccine, Vol. 22, 2004, pp. 1831-1835. Denial of Hooper's claims about production of polio vaccine in Africa.


Lincei meeting papers
Origin of HIV and Emerging Persistent Viruses,
Rome, 28-29 September 2001
Published as Atti dei Convegni Lincei, 2003, Vol. 187, ISBN 88-218-0885-8

Maria Luisa Bozzi, "Truth and science: Bill Hamilton's legacy", pp. 21-26.

Edward Hooper, "Dephlogistication, Imperial Display, Apes, Angels, and the Return of Monsieur Émile Zola", pp. 27-230. This massive paper is a response to criticisms of The River, plus new evidence.

Mikkel H. Schierup and Roald Forsberg, "Recombination and phylogenetic analysis of HIV-1" (in pdf), pp. 231-245.

R A Weiss, "Concluding remarks: emerging persistent infections, family heirlooms and new acquisitions" (in pdf), pp. 305-314.


 

Brian Martin, Investigating the origin of AIDS: some ethical dimensions, Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol. 29, No. 4, August 2003, pp. 253-256.

Edward Hooper, "The Story of a Man-Made Disease", April 2003. A shortened version appeared in the London Review of Books, followed by a series of letters to the editor.

Edward Hooper deals with "Opposition to the OPV theory"

Robin Weiss, "Reflections on the origin of human immunodeficiency viruses", AIDS & Hepatitis Digest, January 2002. Critical commentary on the polio-vaccine theory. Robin Weiss can be contacted at <r.weiss@ucl.ac.uk>.


Royal Society Discussion Meeting (and subsequent events)
Origins of HIV and the AIDS Epidemic, London, 11-12 September 2000
Papers, press releases, media stories and responses



Stanley A. Plotkin, 
"CHAT oral polio vaccine was not the source of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Group M for humans", Clinical Infectious Diseases, Vol. 32, 2001, pp. 1068-1984. A detailed rebuttal of the claims in Edward Hooper's The River. This is almost the same paper as published in the Royal Society meeting proceedings.

Billi Goldberg and Raphael B. Stricker, "Bridging the gap: human diploid cell strains and the origin of AIDS",Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 204, 2000, pp. 497-503. The hypothesis that polio vaccine produced using human cells was responsible for AIDS.

Brian Martin, "Political refutation of a scientific theory: the case of polio vaccines and the origin of AIDS", Health Care Analysis, Vol. 6, 1998, pp. 175-179. How legal action and editorial decisions mean that the published record gives the misleading impression that the polio-vaccine-AIDS theory has been refuted.

Brian Martin, "Sticking a needle into science: the case of polio vaccines and the origin of AIDS", Social Studies of Science, Vol. 26, No. 2, May 1996, pp. 245-276. A personal account of how the author as a social scientist intervened in the debate over the polio-vaccine-AIDS theory.

Blaine F. Elswood and Raphael B. Stricker, "Polio vaccines and the origins of AIDS", Medical Hypotheses, vol. 42, 1994, pp. 347-354 and Correspondence, vol. 44, 1995, p. 226. This is the first major paper in the scientific literature presenting the theory. Blaine Elswood can be contacted at Blaine.Elswood@snow.edu.

W. D. Hamilton, unpublished letter to Science, 27 January 1994. Hamilton attempted to publish a letter inScience responding to Koprowski's 1992 letter. Included here is both the letter itself and Hamilton's correspondence with Science.

Brian Martin, "Polio vaccines and the origin of AIDS: the career of a threatening idea", Townsend Letter for Doctors, #126, January 1994, pp. 97-100. An account of the theory and its implications.

Rolling Stone, "'Origin of AIDS' update", 9 December 1993, p. 39. Publication of this "Clarification" was part of the settlement of Koprowski's defamation action against Rolling Stone and Tom Curtis.

Brian Martin, "Peer review and the origin of AIDS -- a case study in rejected ideas", BioScience, vol. 43, no. 9, October 1993, pp. 624-627. An account of the theory and the response to it.

B. F. Elswood and R. B. Stricker, "Polio vaccines and the origin of AIDS", Research in Virology, vol. 144, 1993, pp. 175-177. A letter to the editor presenting the theory plus a critical reply from the editorial board. Blaine Elswood can be contacted at Blaine.Elswood@snow.edu.

Louis Pascal, "Preliminary notes concerning shortcomings of a correspondence by Y. Ohta, et al.", 8 May 1993 (previously unpublished). A critique of a scientific paper cited by Koprowski and by Basilico et al. in the case against the polio-vaccine theory.

Tom Curtis, unpublished letter to Science, 30 September 1992. This letter rejected by Science was a response to Koprowski's letter in Science attacking the polio-vaccine theory.

Claudio Basilico et al., Report from the AIDS/Poliovirus Advisory Committee, 18 September 1992. Stimulated by Curtis's article in Rolling Stone, the Wistar Institute set up an independent committee to examine the theory. This is its report, which was never formally published.

Hilary Koprowski, "AIDS and the polio vaccine" (letter), Science, vol. 257, 21 August 1992, pp. 1024, 1026-1027; correction, 11 September 1992, p. 1463. This is a reply to Tom Curtis's article in Rolling Stone and is one of the few published critiques of the theory.

Raanan Gillon, "A startling 19,000-word thesis on the origin of AIDS: should the JME have published it?",Journal of Medical Ethics, vol. 18, 1992, pp. 3-4. The editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics summarises Pascal's argument, explains why JME rejected it, and notes its importance and availability.

Tom Curtis, "The origin of AIDS", Rolling Stone, Issue 626, 19 March 1992, pp. 54-59, 61, 106, 108. This article gave the theory its first wide visibility. Based on a version of the theory developed independently by Blaine Elswood, it was investigated and reported on by Tom Curtis. Tom Curtis can be contacted at tcurtis@utmb.edu.

Louis Pascal, "What happens when science goes bad", Science and Technology Analysis Working Paper #9, University of Wollongong, December 1991. This was the first major published account of the theory. Hard copies are available free from Brian Martin, bmartin@uow.edu.au, on request. Please include your postal address.

Source: uow.edu.au

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Per le rivolte vale una regola comune a pressoché tutte le attività umane: il tempo necessario per portare a conclusione un’operazione diminuisce man mano che questa viene ripetuta, seguendo con una buona approssimazione una “legge di potenza”. A trovare la relazione matematica è stato un gruppo di fisici dell’Università di Miami, guidato da Neil Johnson. In tempi caldi come quelli che stiamo vivendo, la possibilità di comprendere le dinamiche delle sommosse e degli episodi di violenza fin dai primissimi scontri sta a cuore a diversi governi, e sul tema si sono cimentati molti gruppi di ricerca in tutto il mondo (vedi Galileo, La legge matematica della guerra). Ultimo quello di Johnson, che ha pubblicato i suoi risultati su Science.

Detail-tunisiajasminerevolution

Secondo gli studiosi, le tempistiche degli attacchi più cruenti e delle controffensive tra due opposte fazioni seguono uno schema ben preciso, che può essere previsto a tavolino, a partire dal tempo intercorso tra i primi due attacchi. I ricercatori si sono basati sui dati storici degli eventi avvenuti durante le guerre in Iraq e in Afghanistan e sull'analisi di 3.143 atti terroristici avvenuti tra il 1968 e il 2008. Analizzando l’intensificarsi degli atti di violenza, il gruppo ha constatato che per le operazioni di rivolta è facile osservare un aumento delle perdite di vite umane man mano che le due forze in opposizione si scontrano e affilano le proprie armi.

“Quello che ci dicono i dati – ha spiegato Johnson – è che ci troviamo di fronte a una situazione simile a quella nota in biologia evolutiva come ‘della Regina Rossa’”. Secondo questa ipotesi, ispirata dal secondo capitolo di Alice nel Paese delle Meraviglie, per quanto una fazione si sforzi di avere la meglio sull’altra, l’abilità di reagire dell’avversario porta tendenzialmente a un nulla di fatto. Così, parallelamente all’aumentare delle capacità dei ribelli nell’organizzare azioni violente, si osserva una simile abilità delle forze contrarie a prevenire e ridurre l’esito di tali azioni.

Per gli autori, la scoperta dovrebbe permettere di prevedere come evolveranno le rivolte sulla base del tempo intercorso tra i primi due attacchi. La relazione, infatti, sembra essere immutabile: “È un po’ come per il traffico nelle ore di punta - ha spiegato Johnson - per la maggior parte delle persone c’è un solo orario possibile a cui accompagnare i figli a scuola e andare al lavoro”. Sulla carta i conti tornano, e lo studio potrebbe servire alle organizzazioni internazionali come strumento di previsione dei conflitti armati.

Fonte: galileonet.it - Riferimento: DOI: 10.1126/science.1205068

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A new kind of sensor could warn emergency workers when carbon filters in the respirators they wear to avoid inhaling toxic fumes have become dangerously saturated.

In a recent issue of the journal Advanced Materials, a team of researchers from the University of California, San Diego and Tyco Electronics describe how they made the carbon nanostructures and demonstrate their potential use as microsensors for volatile organic compounds.

IMAGE: Porous photonic crystal microsensor particles on the ends of optical fibers can detect organic pollutants.

First responders protect themselves from such vapors, whose composition is often unknown, by breathing through a canister filled with activated charcoal – a gas mask. Airborne toxins stick to the carbon in the filter, trapping the dangerous materials.

As the filters become saturated, chemicals will begin to pass through. The respirator can then do more harm than good by providing an illusion of safety. But there is no easy way to determine when the filter is spent. Current safety protocols base the timing of filter changes on how long the user has worn the mask.

"The new sensors would provide a more accurate reading of how much material the carbon in the filters has actually absorbed," said team leader Michael Sailor, professor of chemistry and biochemistry and bioengineering at UC San Diego. "Because these carbon nanofibers have the same chemical properties as the activated charcoal used in respirators, they have a similar ability to absorb organic pollutants."

Sailor's team assembled the nanofibers into repeating structures called photonic crystals that reflect specific wavelengths, or colors, of light. The wing scales of the Morpho butterfly, which give the insect its brilliant iridescent coloration, are natural examples of this kind of structure.

Caption: Repeating bands of greater density give this bundle of carbon nanofiber photonic crystals a characteristic color. When the porous fibers absorb chemicals, they change color, making the material a sensitive optical sensor for chemical vapors.

Credit: Timothy Kelly, UCSD Chemistry and Biochemistry

The sensors are an iridescent color too, rather than black like ordinary carbon. That color changes when the fibers absorb toxins – a visible indication of their capacity for absorbing additional chemicals.

The agency that certifies respirators in the U.S., the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, has long sought such a sensor but the design requirements for a tiny, sensitive, inexpensive device that requires little power, have proved difficult to meet.

The materials that the team fabricated are very thin – less than half the width of a human hair. Sailor's group has previously placed similar photonic sensors on the tips of optical fibers less than a millimeter across and shown that they can be inserted into respirator cartridges. And the crystals are sensitive enough to detect chemicals such as toluene at concentrations as low as one part per million.

Source: EurekAlert

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Casa de moda Hugo Boss a fabricat uniforme pentru membrii Partidului National Socialist, lucru care a salvat compania de la faliment, potrivit Realitatea TV.

Hugo Boss si BMW isi cer scuze ca au lucrat cu nazistii

Companiile germane Hugo Boss si BMW isi cer scuze pentru ca au colaborat cu nazistii. Supranumit "croitorul lui Hitler", patronul Hugo Boss, Ferdinand, a folosit muncitori cu forta, in timpul celui de-al Doilea Razboi Mondial. Casa de moda a fabricat uniforme pentru membrii Partidului National Socialist, lucru care a salvat compania de la faliment.

Cat priveste producatorul BMW, acesta a utilizat 50.000 muncitori, cu forta. Cateva mii dintre acestia proveneau din lagarele de concentrare. Pana acum, proprietarul BMW a fost discret in privinta acestui subiect, insa acum a decis sa-si infrunte trecutul, scrie presa germana.

Sursa: bzi.ro

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While many people may assume the answer to that provocative and unsettling question is zero, the creators of a new Web site want to demonstrate how forced labor, especially overseas, is tantamount to slavery.

A nonprofit group, with funding from the State Department, will unveil the new site, www.slaveryfootprint.org, on Thursday in an effort to show that forced laborers are tied to all kinds of everyday products, from electronics and jewelry to the shirt on your back.

Ideally, they hope to get consumers engaged enough in the issue to do something about it, primarily hoping people demand that companies carefully audit supply chains to ensure, as best as they can determine, that no “slave labor” was used to manufacture its products.

“What we are trying to do is make it so it’s not just someone else’s business, it’s everyone’s business,” said Luis CdeBaca, ambassador at large for the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. “There’s a horror about it when they figure out what is going on.”

The slavery footprint is a twist on the more commonly known carbon footprint, and the new site tries to point out areas of a consumer’s life where the organization believes slavery is most likely used to manufacture products.

Slavery Footprint defines a slave as “anyone who is forced to work without pay, being economically exploited and is unable to walk away.” The State Department estimates that there are 27 million slaves globally. The Web site steers users through a set of prompts, where they can define where they live, the type of dwelling they live in, how many children they have, how many cars they use, what they eat and what types of things they have bought.

Sprinkled throughout are grim notations about slave labor and human trafficking, like this one: “In China, soccer ball manufacturers work up to 21 hours in a day, for a month straight. Even the toughest American coaches wouldn’t ask that from their squads.”

Or this claim: “Every day tens of thousands of American women buy makeup. Every day tens of thousands of Indian children mine mica, which is the little sparkles in the makeup.”

The site also asks users how many times they have paid for sex. While there is no way to answer, the site notes that people who pay for sex contribute to the demand for sexual trafficking.

Although the Web site had a few kinks before its official introduction, it informed me that I had 76 slaves working on my behalf, well above the average of 55.

The site was created by the Fair Trade Fund, a California-based nonprofit group that uses media to promote advocacy on issues, particularly human slavery. Among its projects are “Call + Response,” a documentary on the slave trade, and chainstorereaction.com, a Web site that encourages consumers to send electronic letters to companies challenging them to define their policies on human trafficking.

The companies’ responses, or lack thereof, are posted on the Web site.

Based on the movie and the Web site, the State Department sought out the Fair Trade Fund to create the Slavery Footprint site and provided it with a $200,000 grant.

Justin Dillon, 42, the organization’s chief executive, said the Slavery Footprint site did not make specific companies its targets. Instead, it shows consumers which products they use are most likely to involve forced labor.

He said a mobile application would allow consumers to find information on products at the point of purchase, and send companies electronic letters asking about their policies on slave labor. Those letters will also be sent to all of the consumers’ Facebook friends, in the hopes of applying consumer pressure for changes in practices. “Really the goal is to amplify the conversation between the consumer and the producer,” Mr. Dillon said. “Our torches and pitchforks are out for the slave traders, not the multinationals.”

Ideally, he said companies would hire third-party auditors to determine if their supply chains were employing slave labor.

The Slavery Footprint application is being started nearly a year after California passed a law that requires companies with global sales in excess of $100 million who do business in the state to disclose what efforts they have made to eliminate forced labor from their supply chains.

Some business groups opposed the measure, saying it unfairly tagged companies for “failing” on an issue they were powerless to change.

On Wednesday, a spokesman for the United States Chamber of Commerce said he would not comment because officials at the organization had not yet seen the Slavery Footprint Web site. Mr. CdeBaca said the new grant recognized the need to encourage consumers to put pressure on the marketplace.

“Without some kind of demand, the traffickers wouldn’t be rushing to meet that through coercion and threats,” he said.

Source: finance.yahoo.com

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By Admin (from 26/09/2011 @ 08:00:34, in ro - TV Network, read 1112 times)

 In periplul sau prin vechiul imperiu incas, conchistadorul si cronicarul Pedro Cieza de Leon descopera in spatiul sacru din cetatea Tihuanaco, monumente, temple si piramide impresionante. Tihuanaco e situat la sud-est de lacul Titicaca, la 3870 metri altitudine, in jurul caruia se intind pajisti populate de lame. La estul sitului se inalta un lant muntos, cel mai semet si impozant varf fiind Illimani, extrem de fertil, venerat si in zilele noastre. La o distanta relativ apropiata se afla vaile tropicale (yunga) unde se cultiva, printre altele, coca.

 Cetatea Tihuanaco ce se intinde pe o suprafata de 10 kilometri patrati, avea in perioada sa de inflorire intre 30 si 60 de mii de locuitori devenind un mare centru ceremonial. O incinta sacra din piatra – Kalasasaya – in care se afla monoliti dispusi la intervale regulate, delimiteaza un spatiu sacru, prevazut cu numeroase temple. Remarcabile sunt piramida Akapana, monolitii Ponce si Bennet (dupa numele celor care i-au descoperit) si celebra Poarta a Soarelui.

Akapana e o piramida cu 7 terase, in fiecare unghi regasindu-se un monolit construit in acelasi stil cu cei din Kalasasaya. In varful piramidei se afla o curte in jurul careia sunt dispuse mici locuinte despre a caror utilizare nu se stie nimic. Mai jos de Akapana se afla un templu semi-subteran, ce contrasteaza cu piramida. In zidurile sale se afla inserate capete antropomorfe cu ochi patrati, de o expresivitate inspaimantatoare. Caracteristica cea mai remarcabila a piramidei o constituie sistemul de canalizare care traverseaza interiorul acesteia, prin care se scurgea apa de pe o terasa pe alta producand un efect de fantana. In cetate se afla un al doilea centru situat la o distanta de 1 kilometru, denumit Puma Punku. Aici se regasesc aceleasi elemente arhitecturale si aceeasi calitate a taierii blocurilor de piatra.

Poarta Soarelui e, incontestabil, monumentul cel mai impresionant din Tihuanaco. E taiata intr-un singur bloc de piatra, in varful caruia se afla un lintou decorat cu sculpturi in jurul unui personaj central care tine in fiecare mana un sceptru. Efigia zeului e inconjurata de o multime de „servitori” inaripati, pe jumatate inclinati spre el. Aceasta iconografie a fost comparata cu alte reprezentari arheologice dupa ce s-a cautat in documentele istorice si etnologice corespondentele stilistice si simbolice. Au fost astfel identificati zeul central, Tunupa, confundat cu Viracocha, varianta incasa.

Printre elementele semnificative se pot cita sceptrul care se termina printr-un sarpe bicefal, coroana si colierul, care reprezinta razele Soarelui. Legenda spune ca primii oameni traiau intr-o lume a tenebrelor pana cand marele creator Kon Tici Viracocha a zamislit Soarele si Ziua, Luna si stelele. Apoi a transformat oamenii in pietre pentru a-i pedepsi pentru faptul ca l-au batjocorit. Din aceste pietre a creat, insufletindu-le, o noua umanitate compusa din mai multe populatii. Imaginea acestui zeu a fost modificata de incasi care au incercat sa legitimeze originea lor solara facand apel la credintele seculare ale popoarelor de pe inaltele platouri.

Autor: DORIN MARAN - magazin.ro

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By Admin (from 25/09/2011 @ 14:00:14, in it - Osservatorio Globale, read 1532 times)

Osservando il cielo, può capitare di vedere strane formazioni nuvolose con un buco al centro. Sono le cosiddette hole punch clouds, oggetto di studio sin dagli anni Quaranta e fonte di leggende per chi vi leggeva un segnale extraterrestre. Poi, un anno fa, una ricerca ha svelato il mistero: sono gli aerei che, volando attraverso le nubi, le scavano letteralmente. E ora sappiamo anche che da quei tunnel possono scatenarsi tempeste di pioggia e neve. Come e perché lo spiega su Science un gruppo di ricerca coordinato da Andrew Heymsfield del National Center for Atmospheric Research (Usa), che ha approfondito il fenomeno svelandone ogni dettaglio.

Detail-tunnel nuvole

Quando un aereo passa attraverso una nuvola modifica la pressione e abbassa la temperatura dell’aria anche di 20-30°C. In questo modo, promuove la condensazione delle gocce d’acqua in cristalli di ghiaccio, fenomeno che dà luogo ai caratteristici fori.

Man mano, i cristalli attirano altra gocce d’acqua e i buchi si ingrandiscono sempre più: è un processo che può durare oltre un’ora arrivando a creare tunnel lunghi anche cento chilometri. Quando infine i cristalli di ghiaccio diventano troppo pesanti, precipitano sotto forma di pioggia o neve.

Heymsfield  e colleghi sono giunti a queste conclusioni analizzando 20 immagini satellitari di hole punch clouds raccolte il 29 gennaio del 2007 nei cieli del Texas. Spulciando negli archivi della U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, i ricercatori hanno quindi ricostruito il traffico aereo della giornata e, usando un modello meteorologico per studiare formazione e l’evoluzione delle nubi, hanno scoperto che molti degli aerei in volo quel giorno avrebbero potuto bucare le nuvole scatenando le precipitazioni poi verificatesi.

Le conseguenze, a quanto pare, sono solo locali, perché il fenomeno non sembra influenzare il clima globale; come è noto, però, può aumentare le precipitazione sugli aeroporti in particolari condizioni meteorologiche.

Fonte: galileonet.it - Riferimento: DOI: 10.1126/science.1202851 - Credit immagine: Science/AAAS

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The truth is, it doesn't. The one-way mirror and its smaller cousin, the mirrored sunglass lens, rely on lighting imbalances for efficacy. If the cops behind the one-way mirror were as brightly lit as the interrogation room, the suspect would be able to see them just fine.

Microphone in a soundbooth

But materials that genuinely discriminate between the direction of light or sound might be possible, according to a new study. That could make for true one-way mirrors or for directional soundproofing—imagine, for instance, a wall through which sound can enter but not escape

Stefano Lepri of the Italian National Research Council and Giulio Casati of the University of Insubria in Italy and the National University of Singapore have worked out the theoretical groundwork for materials that transmit waves in an asymmetric way, which they report in the April 22 issue of Physical Review Letters.

Their proposal relies on the use of nonlinear materials, in which the response of the material depends on the attributes of the wave passing through it. "When you introduce nonlinear interactions and forces, many of the intuitions we have are no longer valid," Lepri told Physical Review Focus, an American Physical Society publication that highlights studies from affiliated journals and explains them to a wider audience. "We can use this nonlinear interaction to break this fundamental result of reciprocity theory," which demands that all waves get the same transmission treatment regardless of the direction from which they arrive.

By stacking layers of nonlinear materials along with ordinary linear layers in an asymmetric fashion, the researchers have calculated, a wave would be able to pass through in one direction but would almost completely bounce off when it arrives from the other direction. The one-way bias isn't universal, however—the researchers note that each particular implementation would have a sweet spot of wave amplitudes and frequencies for which it would work best.

So far, the finding is based only on numerical simulations rather than laboratory experiments. But if those simulations prove to be a good approximation of real materials, the researchers report, the "results may open the way to novel strategies to control and optimize wave propagation and to design devices for sound or light rectification."

Source: Scientific American

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By Admin (from 25/09/2011 @ 08:00:21, in ro - TV Network, read 1081 times)

 La 20 de kilometri sud de lacul Titicaca se afla situl arheologic Tihuanaco (Bolivia), pe un platou inalt de 3.800 metri. Aceasta cetate importanta din istoria civilizatiei audine preincase a fost un mare centru de ceremonial in care era celebrat zeul creator Kon Tici Viracocha. Spre mijlocul secolului al XVI-lea, conchistadorul si cronicarul Pedro Cieza de Leon a parcurs vechiul imperiu incas, cucerit de spanioli, de la nord spre sud. Dupa un sejur la Cuzco, capitala suveranilor decazuti din Peru, pleaca spre Collasuyo, oras locuit de seniorii ce vorbeau limba aymara si care au rezistat multa vreme atacurilor incasilor inainte de a fi supusi.

De la primii exploratori, la datarile moderne

Dupa ce a trecut „frontiera” dintre aceste doua lumi la Ayaviri, a descoperit la Pukara monoliti antropomorfi impozanti. Locurile in care altadata se afla o mare populatie erau insa abandonate. Calatorul a descoperit la sud de lacul Titicaca, in Tihuanaco, monumente despre care nici un document nu amintea. A remarcat colina ridicata „cu mainile oamenilor”, zidurile de sustinere, monolitii cu forme aspre. Cum au reusit vechii locuitori sa transporte si sa taie enormele blocuri din piatra care nu se gaseau prin imprejurimi?... Indienii l-au informat ca aceste constructii erau mai vechi decat incasii si ca originile lor se pierdeau in noaptea timpului.

Tihuanaco nu e atat de vechi precum spuneau cronicarii. Acum, pe baza motivelor iconografice si a datarilor moderne, se apreciaza faptul ca cetatea a fost construita intre anii 500 si 800 d.Ch. Prin anul 1000, aceasta civilizatie a disparut, din motive necunoscute. O perioada e caracterizata prin expansiunea politica, ideologica si economica a unei civilizatii in care unul dintre poli este Tihuanaco (Bolivia) iar celalalt este Wari, in Valea Ayacucho (Peru). Influenta acestui „imperiu” (un termen exagerat) se va face simtita pe toata coasta Pacificului, pana in Chile si chiar pe inaltele platouri din Muntii Cordilieri.

Cei doi poli ai „imperiului”

 In pofida relatiei apropiate datorate in special similitudinilor artistice (remarcabile), Tihuanaco si Wari au fost doua centre distincte care si-au dezvoltat propriile particularitati. Textilele, de pilda, atat de importante in istoria popoarelor andine, au atins in Peru o complexitate si o frumusete inegalabile. O astfel de expansiune n-ar fi fost posibila decat in conditii economice prospere, implicand o putere ierarhizata si centralizata si resurse suficiente. Au fost puse la punct tehnici complexe pentru a imbunatati randamentul agriculturii, au fost amenajate terase, canale de irigatie. Belsugul recoltelor si inmultirea caravanelor au dus la o importanta crestere demografica si la schimburi comerciale cu alte grupuri etnice.

Autor: DORIN MARAN - magazin.ro

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