South Koreans Hunting River Rats As A Source Of Bile For Traditional Medicine

At first I thought it was really gross that people in South Korea were wiping out river rats for food. Then I found out that the rats are being sought for their bile.  With bear bile in the short supply due to the overhunting of bears and new national protections, Koreans are turning to river rats as a source of ursodeoxycholic acid.  Rats have an even greater amount of the acid than bears.

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Pacemaker Data Used To Charge Alleged Arsonist

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

placemaker-implant-heartWe have now another novel example concerning the use of seemingly private data being used against criminal defendants and potentially in the future other members of the public.

A Middletown, Ohio homeowner is accused in the arson of his own home, reportedly causing four hundred thousand dollars in damage and the loss of a personal pet. Arson investigators became suspicious about the cause of the fire from inconsistent statements made along with finding multiple origins of the fire. Police retrieved the recording of the 9-1-1 call the defendant made reporting the conflagration. During this he made mention of having an “artificial heart.” But what probably seemed ordinary for the defendant led to a trove of information used as incriminating data.

His pacemaker telemetry data became a source of incriminating evidence.

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Cost of Solar Power Dropping Globally As “The World’s Cheapest Energy”

earth-screensaver_largeThere is a hopeful report out this week that the cost of solar energy has dropped so dramatically that it is not cheaper than wind power in emerging markets like China and India. Indeed, Popular Mechanics is now calling solar energy the “cheapest energy” option. In Chile, electricity is being produced by solar power for $29.10 per megawatt hour–half the price of power produced by coal. These countries are seeing the benefits in the investment into alternative energy sources in both cost and the environment. The pledge of the Trump Administration to expand drilling and “clean coal” use runs against the trend in other countries.

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Discovery: C02 Can Be Turned Into Ethanol Using Common Materials

220px-oak_ridge_national_laboratory_logo-svgIn a discovery that should have been the lead story on most networks this week, scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee have discovered an incredible chemical reaction that not only turns CO2 into ethanol but does so with few contaminants and using common materials. It could prove a critical means for combatting climate change. For those who resist new pollution curbs, this type of technology is the type of advance that should warrant bipartisan support.

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Study: Tasmanian Devil Milk Found To Kill Drug-Resistant Infections

tasmanian_devil_looney_tunesThere is a fascinating study out this week where scientists at the University of Sydney in Australia have found that Tasmanian devil milk contains a remarkable collection of antimicrobial compounds. These compounds can kill some of the most deadly bacterial and fungal infections known to science including golden staph. While I would not want the job of milking Tasmanian devils down under at the farm, scientists are hopefully isolating these powerful compounds.

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