Wednesday, June 21, 2006

"Cyropreservation" A Reality?

(Science Daily)

The latest research on water - still one of the least understood of all liquids despite a century of intensive study – seems to support the possibility that cells, tissues and even the entire human body could be cyropreserved without formation of damaging ice crystals, according to University of Helsinki researcher Anatoli Bogdan, Ph.D.

He conducted the study, scheduled for the July 6 issue of the ACS Journal of Physical Chemistry B, one of 34 peer-review journals published by the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

In medicine, cryopreservation involves preserving organs and tissues for transplantation or other uses. Only certain kinds of cells and tissues, including sperm and embryos, currently can be frozen and successfully rewarmed. A major problem hindering wider use of cyropreservation is formation of ice crystals, which damage cell structures.

Cyropreservation may be most familiar, however, as the controversial idea that humans, stricken with incurable diseases, might be frozen and then revived years or decades later when cures are available.

Bogdan's experiments involved a form of water termed "glassy water," or low-density amorphous ice (LDA), which is produced by slowly supercooling diluted aqueous droplets. LDA melts into highly viscous water (HVW). Bogdan reports that HVW is not a new form of water, as some scientists believed.

"That HVW is not a new form of water (i.e., normal and glassy water are thermodynamically connected) may have some interesting practical implications in cryobiology, medicine, and cryonics." Bogdan said.

"It may seem fantastic, but the fact that in aqueous solution, [the] water component can be slowly supercooled to the glassy state and warmed back without the crystallization implies that, in principle, if the suitable cyroprotectant is created, cells in plants and living matter could withstand a large supercooling and survive," Bogdan explained. In present cyropreservation, the cells being preserved are often damaged due to freezing of water either on cooling or subsequent warming to room temperature.

"Damage of the cells occurs due to the extra-cellular and intra-cellular ice formation which leads to dehydration and separation into the ice and concentrated unfrozen solution. If we could, by slow cooling/warming, supercool and then warm the cells without the crystallization of water then the cells would be undamaged."

The American Chemical Society -- the world's largest scientific society -- is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Tarantula Mailed With Resignation!

LONDON (AP) -- A man admitted Wednesday to delivering a package containing a tarantula to a female co-worker on the same day he handed in his resignation.

Mahlon Hector pleaded guilty in Leicester Magistrates' Court to delivering a rare Mexican red-kneed tarantula in a box addressed to the colleague at a branch of the Marks & Spencer store in Leicester. At the same time, he handed store bosses his resignation.

The intended recipient, Susan Griffin, was not hurt.

Hector, 22, is to be sentenced later on the charge of sending a letter or other article conveying a threat on March 28. He did not reveal his motive in court.

When workers at the store discovered the tarantula, they alerted the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which took it away.

"It was a daft idea. They are not the most dangerous spider, but it could be fatal if it is given to someone who has an allergic reaction to it," a spokesman for the society said. "The woman who received it must have been terrified."

The Mexican red-kneed tarantula is commonly used in movies because of its scary appearance.

With a leg span measuring up to 10 inches, it has a hairy dark brown body and reddish-orange leg joints. Each leg ends with two claws, which are used for climbing trees.

It is said to bite rarely, but flicks its hairs at victims.

It is the only tarantula listed as rare by the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species.

Monday, June 12, 2006

They Don't Make Bears Like They Used To.

A black bear got more than it bargained for after straying into a family garden in the US state of New Jersey.

(BBC News)

The unwelcome intruder was forced up a tree - twice - by the family pet, a tabby cat called Jack.

The terrified bear was only able to make its escape when owner Donna Dickey called the hissing cat into the house.

Ms Dickey said Jack liked to keep a close watch on his territory and often chased away small animals, but one of this size was a first.

"We used to joke, 'Jack's on duty', never knowing he'd go after a bear," Donna Dickey told local newspaper The Star-Ledger.

"He doesn't want anybody in his yard," she added.

The bear was first spotted in the tree by neighbours who thought the 15lb (7kg) cat was just looking up at it.

They then realised the bear was afraid of the cat.

After some 15 minutes, the bear descended, but was chased up another tree, before finally making its escape when Jack was called indoors.

Bear sightings are not unusual in the area of West Milford in New Jersey, which experts say is one of the state's most bear-populated areas.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Violent Prayer Combats Satan on 6/6/6!

Dutch evangelical Christians are to hold a round-the-clock prayer vigil to ward off the forces of evil on Tuesday - the so-called Devil's Day.


They believe that the sixth day of the sixth month of 2006 has great significance for evil-doers and Satanists who revere the number 666.

In a bid to counteract the forces of evil, more than 2,000 Dutch Christians will hold "a violent day of worship".

They will be joined by Christians in 23 other countries, organisers say.

The reference to 666 is taken from the Biblical book of Revelation, which talks about the events leading to the end of the world.

Revelation 13:18 states: "If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666."

Omen launch

Behind the initiative is a Dutch evangelical organisation called Ambassadors Ministries.

Mathijs Piet, one of the organisers, told the BBC news website that the prayer marathon was to officially start at 1800 on Monday with a prayer rally in Jerusalem.

"666 is the number of the Devil and we know that on this date, Satanists will try and do many things, so we Christians try and do the opposite," Mr Piet said.

"We know the Devil hates it when we worship God."

Organisers expect at least 2,000 Dutch evangelicals to take part in the mass prayer vigil across the Netherlands.

They are not the only ones to note the significance of the date.

Film company 20th Century Fox has chosen the same date to launch its remake of the 1976 horror classic The Omen, in which a man comes to realise his son is the Antichrist.

The fear of the number 666 is known as hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia.