Thursday, September 18, 2014

A village of just 1,000 residents in Switzerland has been forced to raise taxes because an African refugee and her seven children cost the local authority £40,000 in benefits every month

Hagenbuch, in the Swiss canton of Zurich, is understood to be spending close to a third of its total annual budget on the family after they arrived from Eritrea in East Africa three years ago. The massive benefits bill covers day-to-day living expenses such as groceries and cleaning costs, as well as paying for four of the woman's children to be housed in an orphanage and even bills for general entertainment - such as guided tours of local attractions and entry fees for the zoo. The Eritrean woman and her family arrived in Hagenbuch three years ago in possession of a visa allowing her to stay in Switzerland for five years, with the option to extend her stay beyond that date. It is not known if the family had lived elsewhere in Switzerland before moving to the quiet village. Solely to cover the cost of the family's massive benefits bill, the local authority is now planning to raise taxes in the village by a shocking 5%. "I don't know where to turn. I think we have no other choice but to raise taxes," Mayor Therese Schlaepfer said. She added that local residents were justifiably outraged by the spiraling costs of caring for the family, who require a team of social workers to spend six hours a day, six days a week on them alone. When the woman and her family arrived in Hagenbuch three years ago, the municipal government immediately agreed to cover the full cost of their rent and £1,700 a month in living expenses. A short time later the woman sought further financial help, claiming she had become overwhelmed by family commitments and was now struggling to look after all seven of her children. This resulted in four of them being sent to an orphanage - with the local authority paying out £6,000 for each child every month - a total cost of £24,000.

Scientists have found a genetic connection between modern Europeans and Native Americans

It has long been believed that modern Europeans descended from indigenous hunters and Middle Eastern farmers. But a new study suggests all Europeans today have DNA from a third mystery group: Ancient North Eurasians. This group appears to have contributed DNA to present-day Europeans, as well as to the people who travelled across the Bering Strait into the Americas more than 15,000 years ago. The study is based on analysis of ancient DNA which has shifted scientists' ideas of how groups of people migrated across the globe thousands of years ago. It also revealed that ancient Middle Eastern farmers and their European descendants can trace much of their ancestry to a previously unknown, even older lineage called the Basal Eurasians. By comparing nine ancient genomes to those of modern humans, researchers have shown that previously unrecognised groups contributed to the genetic mix in Europe. Northern Europeans have more indigenous hunter DNA, while southern Europeans have more DNA from the Middle East. All Europeans also have DNA from Northern Eurasians. The new group arrived in Europe sometime after the introduction of agriculture, which means the major movements of people into Europe was later than previously thought. Every modern day European has DNA from early European farmers who brought agriculture to Europe, the indigenous hunter-gatherers who were in Europe prior to 8,000 years ago, and these ancient north Eurasians.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Has the N.S.A. been routinely passing along the private communications of Americans to a large and very secretive Israeli military organization known as Unit 8200?

Another example of Jewish power in the United States.

A new study says that a review of all known cases when chimpanzees or bonobos in Africa killed members of their own species shows that violence is a natural part of chimp behavior and not the result of actions by humans that push chimp aggression to lethal attacks

The researchers say that their analysis supports the idea that warlike violence in chimps is a natural behavior that evolved because it can provide more resources or territory to the killers, at little risk. While the study ostensibly is about chimpanzees, it is also the latest salvo in a long and profound argument about the nature of violence in people, as chimpanzees are humans’ closest relatives in the animal world. In studying chimp violence, “We’re trying to make inferences about human evolution,” said Michael L. Wilson, an anthropologist at the University of Minnesota and a co-author and organizer of the study. Male chimps are more likely to kill than females. Killing chimps in other groups is more common than killings within groups. And chimps tend to attack when they have overwhelming odds on their side. Lurking behind the discussion of chimps is a long-running dispute over whether chimp behavior offers insights about human behavior, as well as an even deeper and older philosophical dispute over whether violence and war are natural for human beings.

A black woman convicted of the starvation and torture death of her girlfriend's 9-year-old son has been executed

Lisa Coleman, 38, received a lethal injection after the Supreme Court rejected a last-day appeal to spare her. She was pronounced dead 12 minutes after Texas Department of Criminal officials began administering a lethal dose of pentobarbital. Coleman became the ninth convicted killer and second woman to receive lethal injection in Texas in 2014. Nationally, she's the 15th woman executed since the Supreme Court in 1976 allowed the death penalty to resume. During that same time, nearly 1,400 men have been put to death. Coleman was condemned for the death of Davontae Williams, whose emaciated body was found in July 2004 at the North Texas apartment Coleman shared with his mother, Marcella Williams. Paramedics who found him dead said that they were shocked to learn his age. He weighed 36 pounds, about half that of a normal 9-year-old. A pediatrician later would testify that he had more than 250 distinct injuries, including burns from cigarettes or cigars and scars from ligatures, and that a lack of food made him stop growing. "There was not an inch on his body that not been bruised or scarred or injured," said Dixie Bersano, one of Coleman's trial prosecutors. The boy's mother is serving a life sentence.

The Prime Minister of Thailand says that tourists in his country who wear bikinis are not safe unless they are ugly

He said this after the murder of two British tourists in his country. One more reason to avoid Third World countries. And another reason to prevent people from Third World countries migrating to First World nations such as Britain and the United States.

Biden offends his Jewish masters

Joe Biden got himself in trouble with his Jewish masters over the use of the word "shylocks" to describe greedy lenders who take advantage of US troops. Jewish groups immediately took offense and Biden has apologized for his "poor choice of words."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A large meta-analysis that included 87,040 individuals has identified 23 new genetic variants for prostate cancer susceptibility, bringing the total number of common genetic variants linked to prostate cancer to 100

Together, these 100 genetic variants may explain 33% of inherited risk for prostate cancer in European men, and there is hope that they may eventually be useful in a screening test. The new findings come from a huge global research effort led by scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research in London, the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, and the University of Southern California. "The research emphasizes the importance of common genetic variation in the etiology of prostate cancer, and the importance of large-scale international genetics consortia," co–principal investigator Christopher Haiman, ScD, professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, said. For the meta-analysis, data were combined from genome-wide association studies in individuals across several populations, which included European (34,379 case patients and 33,164 control individuals), African (5327 case patients and 5136 control individuals), Japanese (2563 case patients and 4391 control individuals), and Latino (1034 case patients and 1046 control individuals) ancestries. The part of the meta-analysis that focused on studies conducted in people with European ancestry identified 15 variants. Although no risk variants were identified in ancestry-specific analyses across the African, Japanese, or Latino ancestries, 7 new variants were identified across the multi-ethnic ancestries, and 1 was identified from an early-onset analysis in men younger than 55 years. Of the 23 variants, 12 risk variants may appear to have functional significance and have the potential to be targeted for therapeutic intervention. The researchers estimated that together, 100 genetic variants that are now known may explain 33% of inherited risk for prostate cancer in European men. In addition, the 10% of men at highest risk are close to 3 times more likely to develop prostate cancer compared with the average individual; the top 1% are approximately 6 times more likely to develop the disease. The 100 genetic variants correlate with risk for prostate cancer in European men. "Since Caucasians in the United States are generally of European descent, these genetic variants can be used to determine risk for prostate cancer in Caucasian Americans. However, different genetic variants are expected for African Americans and Latinos, and these may not overlap with the genetic variants for European men," Dr. Park said.

Researchers have found evidence that genetic factors may contribute to the development of language during infancy

Scientists from the Medical Research Council (MRC) Integrative Epidemiology Unit at the University of Bristol worked with colleagues around the world to discover a significant link between genetic changes near the ROBO2 gene and the number of words spoken by children in the early stages of language development. Children produce words at about 10 to 15 months of age and our range of vocabulary expands as we grow - from around 50 words at 15 to 18 months, 200 words at 18 to 30 months, 14,000 words at six-years-old and then over 50,000 words by the time we leave secondary school. The researchers found the genetic link during the ages of 15 to 18 months when toddlers typically communicate with single words only before their linguistic skills advance to two-word combinations and more complex grammatical structures. The results shed further light on a specific genetic region on chromosome 3, which has been previously implicated in dyslexia and speech-related disorders. The ROBO2 gene contains the instructions for making the ROBO2 protein. This protein directs chemicals in brain cells and other neuronal cell formations that may help infants to develop language but also to produce sounds. The ROBO2 protein also closely interacts with other ROBO proteins that have previously been linked to problems with reading and the storage of speech sounds. Dr Beate St Pourcain, who jointly led the research with Professor Davey Smith at the MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit, said: "This research helps us to better understand the genetic factors which may be involved in the early language development in healthy children, particularly at a time when children speak with single words only, and strengthens the link between ROBO proteins and a variety of linguistic skills in humans." Dr Claire Haworth, one of the lead authors, based at the University of Warwick, commented: "In this study we found that results using DNA confirm those we get from twin studies about the importance of genetic influences for language development. This is good news as it means that current DNA-based investigations can be used to detect most of the genetic factors that contribute to these early language skills."

Neuroscientists have found that a gene mutation that arose more than half a million years ago may be key to humans' unique ability to produce and understand speech

Researchers from MIT and several European universities have shown that the human version of a gene called Foxp2 makes it easier to transform new experiences into routine procedures. When they engineered mice to express humanized Foxp2, the mice learned to run a maze much more quickly than normal mice. The findings suggest that Foxp2 may help humans with a key component of learning language - transforming experiences, such as hearing the word "glass" when we are shown a glass of water, into a nearly automatic association of that word with objects that look and function like glasses, says Ann Graybiel, an MIT Institute Professor, member of MIT's McGovern Institute for Brain Research, and a senior author of the study. "This really is an important brick in the wall saying that the form of the gene that allowed us to speak may have something to do with a special kind of learning, which takes us from having to make conscious associations in order to act to a nearly automatic-pilot way of acting based on the cues around us," Graybiel says. This study "provides new ways to think about the evolution of Foxp2 function in the brain," says Genevieve Konopka, an assistant professor of neuroscience at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center who was not involved in the research. "It suggests that human Foxp2 facilitates learning that has been conducive for the emergence of speech and language in humans. The observed differences in dopamine levels and long-term depression in a region-specific manner are also striking and begin to provide mechanistic details of how the molecular evolution of one gene might lead to alterations in behavior."

The amazing variety of human faces - far greater than that of most other animals - is the result of evolutionary pressure to make each of us unique and easily recognizable, according to a new study by University of California, Berkeley, scientists

Our highly visual social interactions are almost certainly the driver of this evolutionary trend, said behavioral ecologist Michael J. Sheehan, a postdoctoral fellow in UC Berkeley's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. Many animals use smell or vocalization to identify individuals, making distinctive facial features unimportant, especially for animals that roam after dark, he said. But humans are different. "Humans are phenomenally good at recognizing faces; there is a part of the brain specialized for that," Sheehan said. "The idea that social interaction may have facilitated or led to selection for us to be individually recognizable implies that human social structure has driven the evolution of how we look," said coauthor Michael Nachman, a population geneticist, professor of integrative biology and director of the UC Berkeley Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. In the study, Sheehan said, "we asked, 'Are traits such as distance between the eyes or width of the nose variable just by chance, or has there been evolutionary selection to be more variable than they would be otherwise; more distinctive and more unique?'" As predicted, the researchers found that facial traits are much more variable than other bodily traits, such as the length of the hand, and that facial traits are independent of other facial traits, unlike most body measures. People with longer arms, for example, typically have longer legs, while people with wider noses or widely spaced eyes don't have longer noses. Both findings suggest that facial variation has been enhanced through evolution. Finally, they compared the genomes of people from around the world and found more genetic variation in the genomic regions that control facial characteristics than in other areas of the genome, a sign that variation is evolutionarily advantageous. "All three predictions were met: facial traits are more variable and less correlated than other traits, and the genes that underlie them show higher levels of variation," Nachman said. "Lots of regions of the genome contribute to facial features, so you would expect the genetic variation to be subtle, and it is. But it is consistent and statistically significant. Genetic variation tends to be weeded out by natural selection in the case of traits that are essential to survival," Nachman said. "Here it is the opposite; selection is maintaining variation. All of this is consistent with the idea that there has been selection for variation to facilitate recognition of individuals." They also compared the human genomes with recently sequenced genomes of Neanderthals and Denisovans and found similar genetic variation, which indicates that the facial variation in modern humans must have originated prior to the split between these different lineages.

Muscle mass is a better predictor of longevity than is BMI

Researchers analyzed BMI and muscle mass data from more than 3,600 seniors in a long-term study. And they tracked which seniors had died, a decade later. Turns out that BMI wasn't much good at predicting chance of death. But muscle mass was: more muscle meant better odds of survival.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The African continent, which had 1.2 billion people in 2013, will have 2.3 billion in 2050, and 4.2 billion by century’s end

Patrick J. Buchanan writes about the disintegration of Europe.

A new study reveals that people find the smell of others with similar political opinions to be attractive, suggesting that one of the reasons why so many spouses share similar political views is because they were initially and subconsciously attracted to each other's body odor

During the study, 146 participants rated the attractiveness of the body odor of unknown strong liberals and strong conservatives, without ever seeing the individuals whose smells they were evaluating. "People could not predict the political ideology of others by smell if you asked them, but they differentially found the smell of those who aligned with them more attractive. So I believe smell conveys important information about long-term affinity in political ideology that becomes incorporated into a key component of subconscious attraction," said Dr. Rose McDermott, lead author of the study.

According to the United Nations, Sweden received the most asylum applications per person in the world from 2009 through 2013

Sweden expects more than 90,000 asylum seekers in 2014, a huge number in a country of only 10 million people. The share of Swedes born abroad was 16% in 2013 compared with 11% in 2000.