Monday, December 29, 2008

CIA befriending Afghan Warlords with Viagra

Viagra is helping combat terrorism. The CIA is offering the drug to Afghan warlords to entice them to share information that helps combat terrorism. Through the exchange the CIA is also building relationships with these fickle leaders and winning their support.

The CIA has been selective when handing out the drug and only provides it to older leaders. Agents make sure to explain the drug and possible side effects. Afghan leaders are so pleased with Viagra they exchange information for more pills. Aside from Viagra, the CIA also offers dental care, visas, toys, and medicine to build relationships with these difficult clan leaders. If bribery will make the world a safer place than so be it.

Originally published by the BBC.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Nuclear Energy Getting Cleaner

Check out this video from the BBC about how the National Nuclear Laboratory has found ways to make nuclear energy cleaner. If scientists can continue making nuclear energy safer, it may be a more realistic way to generate the power the world needs.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Good News Girls: Intelligence Affects Reproductivity

Those worried about having smart children should be encouraged - a recent study showed a correlation between a man's intelligence and his sperm quality. Men who scored higher on intelligence tests tended to have more mobile sperm. Their sperm count also tended to be higher.  

The study, conducted by the UK's Institute of Psychiatry, indicates the genes that dictate intelligence have other biological effects. Although lifestyle does impact intelligence, the study shows people with more robust genes tend to also be smarter. 

So ladies - your intelligent guy may be more likely to produce smart offspring. Consider this as you journey out this fine Saturday night. 

Originally reported by the BBC.  

Thursday, December 11, 2008

New Drug Raises Immune System Response to HIV

If only there was a way to raise the body's immune system's response to HIV, giving it the ability to fight off the virus. That wish may become reality - a group of scientists believe a drug they have tested on monkeys could help humans fight HIV and halt the illness's progression in carriers.  

When infected monkeys were given one treatment of the new drug they lived twice as long. The drug triggered their immune system's response to the virus. The problem with current antiretroviral drugs is that they must be taken over and over, which results in drug resistance from the body. The new drug works so well that just a few treatments could result in the body fighting of the virus completely. 

This new HIV drug is a long way from entering the market, but scientist agree their research is promising. 

Originally reported by the BBC. Picture from SPL.   

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

English Fluency Increasing for US Hispanics

The US Census found that hispanics are becoming more fluent in English. This is good news when you consider miscommunications and the educational system. According to the report, fluency depends upon region and Los Angeles County, which has a high percentage of hispanic residents, saw a decrease in the number of Spanish speakers that have trouble with English. We're talking about a drop from 21 percent in 2000 to 19.6 percent in 2005-07.  

Despite some of the cultural implications - homogenization of cultures, for instance - this news means fewer communication misunderstandings and the ability to share ideas. It also means Spanish speakers can get better jobs and receive better educations. 

Originally reported by US Today

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Measles Deaths Down Worldwide

Between 2000 and 2007 worldwide deaths from measles dropped by 74 percent. The number of reported deaths decreased from 750,000 to 197,000, according to U.S. and U.N. officials. 

In eastern Mediterranean countries measles deaths decreased by 90 percent, the result of increased awareness and vaccination campaigns in hard-to-reach regions. According to officials, more then twice the number of children were vaccinated in 2007 as in 2006. Clearly, the vaccination outreach worked and showed the power of public health efforts. 

Originally reported by the United Press International.    

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Bombs Away - Go Away That Is

At a conference in Oslo, Norway more than 100 countries have come together to sign a treaty banning the use of cluster bombs. The treaty creators consider this a major humanitarian breakthrough. 

Cluster bombs, first developed during World War II, propel a number of small bomblets that can cover a large area and stop advancing forces. The bombs are effective - too effective because they often leave an area covered in landmines long after a battle and many civilians have been killed by the leftover bomblets. For this reason cluster bombs have been consider immoral. 

Despite the absence of the United States, China, and Russia, many countries have chosen to destroy or not use their cluster bombs. Hopefully pressure from these countries will convince the United States to follow rank.  

Originally reported by the BBC

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Jet Lag Be Gone

Jet Lag, one of the most annoying things about international travel, may be a thing of the past. A new "time-bending" drug has been developed that helps people reset their sleep patterns and overcome the bedraggled feeling associated with jet lag. 

The drug, Tasimelteon, shifts the body's natural flow of the sleep hormone melatonin. The drug allows people to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, aiding the process of overcoming jet lag. If additional clinical trials go smoothly, Taismelteon could be on the market in the next few years. In recent clinical trials the drug showed major promise because it's not addictive like other sleep aids. 

Originally reported by the BBC