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Stretchy OLED technology could pave way for new smart fabrics, wearables, even tablets – PCWorld

Posted: February 17, 2017 at 1:12 am

Researchers at Michigan State University have developed a printable OLED circuit within a stretchable material, potentially paving the way for smart fabrics or truly foldable displays.

Chuan Wang, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at MSU, is credited with the development of the OLED fabric, which flexes and stretches. If it can be commercialized, designers could take the techniology in several directions, including phones or tablets whose displays could be stretched, as well as the development of smart fabrics for banners, clothes, or other uses.

Right now, Wang and his team have createdthe elastic material, the circuit, and the organic light-emitting diode, or OLED. The next step is to combine those elements into a working pixel, the foundation for a flexible display. That process will probably take one to two years.

In the meantime, Wang said that he and his team are currently working on actual stretchable OLEDs and displays. We will have another paper out soon on that topic, he said in an email.

Why this matters: Its not really clear whether consumers have embraced curved TVs. But flexible displays are one of those technologies with a large number of potential uses: smartphones, tablets, wearables with a greater degree of flexibility. Of course, this is still in the research stage, and important questions about whether the tech can be manufactured at scale and cost-effectively still need to be answered. Nevertheless, its a cool concept.

MSU engineer Chuan Wang and colleagues have created a stretchable light-emitting material that is produced entirely on an inkjet printer.

In addition to simply being stretchable, Wangs material can be printed with an ordinary inkjet printer, helping to keep manufacturing costs down. Its a composite of several materials fabricated from nanomaterials and organic compounds, MSU said.Thecompounds are dissolved in solution to produce different electronic inks which can be placed inside of an inkjet printer and printed to form the stretchable circuits.

It’s an important development for a display industry that has long chased the idea of curved, bendable, and even foldable displays. Curved televisions and PC monitors are now being sold, but they are nevertheless static shapes; same goes for the curved display on Samsungs Galaxy Edge smartphones. Displays that can actually be bent or deformed while playing back video may be the next step, similar to those demonstrated byJapans Semiconductor Energy Laboratory in 2014.

The drawback of the Japan SELs demonstration, however, was that the display technology could only be moderately reshaped, much like ripples moving through water. Instead, smartphone makers appear to be more interested in next-generation foldable or creaseable displays, which can be radically transformed to save space.

So far, those attemps have had mixed success. In 2010Sony demonstrated a prototypethat could be rolled around a pencil, though it apparently never panned out. Samsungs display business also published a 2011 paper on folding displays. In addition,Samsung as well as Microsoft have published similar patents that call for smartphones built upon displays that could be folded back upon themselves.

MSUs technology appears to be a bit different. According to Wang, Samsungs foldable OLED was still built upon inelastic materials, whereas his teams work isnt. MSU and Wang said that his smart fabric, which is stretchable, could be folded and placed in apocket without breaking. But the display itself could also be stretched if needed, taking the notion of flexible displays in an entirely new direction.

Our reported stretchable ICs are made entirely using elastic materials, therefore they are certainly foldable, Wang said in an email. The strain it can withstand (up to 100 percent) way exceeds the requirement for folding.

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Stretchy OLED technology could pave way for new smart fabrics, wearables, even tablets – PCWorld

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Puzder’s Withdrawal Won’t Slow Creeping Automation – Inverse

Posted: February 15, 2017 at 9:11 pm

Now that Andy Puzder, President Donald Trumps nominee for Labor U.S. Secretary of Labor, has withdrawn himself from the nomination process, America may have delayed the creep of automation, but make no mistake: it is definitely still coming.

While I wont be serving in the administration, I fully support the president and his highly qualified team, Puzder said in a statement on Wednesday, announcing he was stepping down amid a flurry of accusations, including that he was an abusive husband.

However, Puzders love of automation is hardly unique among the modern CEO class, and theres no reason to think that the Trump administrations eventual replacement nominee will differ all that much. As has been pointed out, Trumps incessant tweeting about job losses to immigrants has been accompanied by a notable lack of tweets about losses to automation. A writer at the Harvard Business Review recently dug into precisely what the incentives for that might be.

Its also worth pointing out that nobody on the political spectrum is seriously putting forward real anti-automation legislation, like employment quotas or simple restrictions on technology. Even among progressives, the focus is on dealing with automation, not bringing it to a halt. On the podcast Pod Save America, President Obama said that he thinks American legislators probably have to be more creative about anticipating whats coming down the pike. Automation is relentless and its going to accelerate.

Whats different about the Trump-Puzder approach is not acceptance of the inevitability of automation, but the acceptance of all the negative social consequences that may very well come with it.

Up until Wednesday afternoon, this was the mentality that was about to take control of labor policy for the entire country. Theres no reason to think that wont still happen even if people organize against the next nominee as well.

Protests sprang up at fast food locations, and employees of Puzders own companies have expressed opposition to his nomination.

Puzder sees the labor market as a source of burgers and fries thats it. Hes been an outspoken proponent of immigration in the past, an oddity in Trumps White House, because it imports people who will take the low-paying jobs that keep fast food chains in business. He has not displayed any belief that employers are in any way obligated to provide more to an employee than the market is capable of forcing that employer to provide.

To some, his nomination was a sign that the new White House was serious about implementing conservative economic principles, and strengthening the economy by increasing the breadth of opportunity. To others, this view ignores the history of labor law as having grown the economy by increasing the average workers purchasing power.

It also fails to incorporate any conception of a minimum expectation of comfort for Americans who work full time. After all, banning child labor in 1938 also made labor more expensive, and drove employers to hire fewer people but on the upside, all of the people employed from that point forward were adults.

Puzders companies have been linked to a large number of employee complaints, and theres now a lawsuit in the works, brought by a group of fast food employees.

Photos via Getty Images / Justin Sullivan, Getty Images / Jeff Curry

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Bitcoin’s Price Battles New Resistance in Bid to Breach $1000 – CoinDesk

Posted: February 14, 2017 at 10:55 am

Bitcoin prices continued to fluctuate around $1,000 today, as the global digital currency markets saw technical resistance around this figure.

Overall, bitcoin traded traded above $1,000 for roughly the first eight hours of the day, reaching as much as $1,007 during the session, CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index (BPI) figures reveal.

Prices fell below $1,000 at 08:15 UTC, however, and failed to break through that level for the remainder of the day.

At the time of report, the currency was trading at $998.42, according to the BPI.

According to analysts, traders remain reluctant about placing bets in the market, as concerns linger about further actions from the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the nation’s central bank.

The digital currency has experienced significant volatility in the last several weeks, as the PBOC’s decision to crack down on domestic exchanges has caused these marketplaces to announce a slew of sudden policy changes.

Huobi, OKCoin and BTCC (previously called the ‘Big Three’ exchanges) all announced they wouldimpose consistent fees, cut margin trading and halt or slow deposits and withdrawals denominated in digital currency in recent days.

These continued developments have made some market participants reluctant to trade bitcoin, according to BTC VIX, community moderator for trading group Whale Club. He told CoinDesk:

“I wouldn’t hold any position for more than a few hours because the PBOC will continue to be active and exchanges certainly have more announcements over the next 30 days,” he said.

So far, there’s evidence backing this theory, as traders put in a large number sell orders around the $1,000 price point. This resistance was confirmed by both order book data and the input of market analysts.

Exchanges Bitfinex and Kraken showed the number of sell orders exceeding the number of buy orders close to the $1,000 mark.

Tim Enneking, chairman of Crypto Asset Management, weighed in on this development:

“Bitcoin is definitely encountering technical resistance. $1,000 is a level that is going to take some time to break.”

Petar Zivkovski, COO of leveraged bitcoin trading platform Whaleclub, offered similar input.

“The $1,000 level is indeed a strong psychological resistance. Bitcoin will need to cleanly break above $1,000 (high-volume rise and sustained price action above 1000) to transform that level into price support,” he continued.

Still, he added that there are potential bullish catalysts, citing the March approval of a Bitcoin ETF or positive regulatory news from China as two possible boons.

Blocking football image via Shutterstock

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Europe’s virtual reality sector has grown to nearly 300 companies – VentureBeat

Posted: February 7, 2017 at 10:23 pm

Europes booming virtual reality ecosystem now consists of nearly 300companies, according to the first European Virtual Reality landscape released by The Venture Reality Fund and Frances LucidWeb.

Silicon Valley-based venture firm The Venture Reality Fund tracks investments in the augmented reality and VR markets, but most of the action in the past has focused on U.S. companies. But now the VR Fund has created its first graphic showing the regions growth in the VR ecosystem, its increased investment, and its growing international impact.

The European VR landscape is based on extensive research and information gatheredduring meetings and calls with regional VR ambassadors across Europe. Close to 300 VRstartups were identified and reviewed, of which 116 were selected to be part of the firstrelease of the VR Landscape Europe.

We chose to partner with LucidWeb as they have a strong database of top VR startups inEurope and valuable familiarity with the European ecosystem, says Tipatat Chennavasin, cofounder and general partner at The Venture Reality Fund, in a statement. These landscapes are a visualrepresentation of our commitment to education and growth of the industry.

The research shows that games are the most competitive space, with well-fundedcompanies including CCP Games (Iceland), nDreams (United Kingdom), ResolutionGames (Sweden), and Solfar Studios (Iceland).

And user input technology focused on interactions in VR by brain (BCI), body, eye, feet, and hand has many premium players, such as the Swiss-based company MindMazethat raised $100 million, the largest amount raised in one round by any European VRcompany.

Companies are also creating 360-degree VR capture hardware and software, with two French companies,VideoStitch and Giroptic, at the forefront.

Beyond games, the enterprise is gaining traction, with real estate VR generating significant additionalrevenue for online agencies across Europe. SwedensDiakrit and Dutch-basedTheConstruct are two companies leading the charge.

French companiesHomido andMindMaze and Swedish-based Starbreeze arethe most advanced hardware companies developing a mobile Head Mounted Display(HMD) or tethered HMD.

Companies in VR post-production are developing 3D tools, and leadingAmerican software companies have acquired several of these startups over the past two years: Googleacquired Irish Thrive Audio, Facebook acquired Scotland-based Two Big Ears, andSnapchat acquired London-based Seen/Obvious Engineering.

Health care and fitness companies are utilizing VR for medical training, mentaltreatments (anxiety, Aspergers syndrome), and physical rehabilitation. Spain-based Psious and Amsterdam-based MDlinking are two companies to watch in thiscategory.

More than half of the companies included in the landscape are based in the U.K., France, Germany, and Sweden. Overall, France is taking the lead in VR in continental Europe.

The VR industry is booming and not just in the U.S. or Asia. The old continent has known aslower start, but definitely got up to speed during the past two years, says Leen Segers, cofounder and CEO at LucidWeb, in a statement. The VR gaming segment remains the most competitivespace but is surely challenged by a large number of companies focusing on user input or 3Dtools. We feel very excited for the future as we see local and international investors areclearly investing in these segments, too.

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Europe’s virtual reality sector has grown to nearly 300 companies – VentureBeat

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Environmental Crimes – UNICRI

Posted: November 21, 2016 at 11:15 am

UNICRI considers environmental crime, including its links with other forms of crime, a serious and growing danger for development, global stability and international security.

Since 1991, UNICRI has combated crimes against the environment and related emerging threats through applied research, awareness, and capacity-building initiatives. Today, countering environmental crime is an emerging priority for UNICRI work.

Environmental crimes encompass a broad list of illicit activities, including illegal trade in wildlife; smuggling of ozone-depleting substances (ODS); illicit trade of hazardous waste; illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing; and illegal logging and trade in timber. On one side, environmental crimes are increasingly affecting the quality of air, water and soil, threatening the survival of species and causing uncontrollable disasters. On the other, environmental crimes also impose a security and safety threat to a large number of people and have a significant negative impact on development and rule of law. Despite these issues, environmental crimes often fail to prompt the appropriate governmental response. Often perceived as victimless and incidental crimes, environmental crimes frequently rank low on the law enforcement priority list, and are commonly punished with administrative sanctions, themselves often unclear and low.

The involvement of organized criminal groups acting across borders is one of many factors that have favoured the considerable expansion of environmental crimes in recent years. Led by vast financial gains and facilitated by a low risk of detection and scarce conviction rates, criminal networks and organized criminal groups are becoming increasingly interested in such illicit transnational activities. These phenomena fuel corruption and money-laundering, and undermine the rule of law, ultimately affecting the public twice: first, by putting at risk citizens health and safety; and second, by diverting resources that would otherwise be allocated to services other than crime.

The level of organization needed for these crimes indicates a link with other serious offences, including theft, fraud, corruption, drugs and human trafficking, counterfeiting, firearms smuggling, and money laundering, several of which have been substantiated by investigations. Environmental crimes therefore today represent an emerging form of transnational organized crime requiring more in-depth analysis and better-coordinated responses at national, regional and international levels.

UNICRI has been actively involved in the field of environmental crime and justice research and training since 1991, issuing various publications on the topic. The first research projects were aimed at environmental law, especially exploring the limits and potentials of applying criminal law in crimes related to environment. In June 1998, UNICRI organised in Rome a seminar on International Environmental Conventions and the Administration of Criminal Law. Since then, UNICRI has focused on the involvement of organized criminal groups in environmental crime.

UNICRI also has built a strong international network of experts from major international organisations active in the field, including international and national NGOs as well as well-known researchers from academia.

To increase awareness of the threat of environmental crime, UNICRI contributed to the organization of a conference in Rome in December 2011 entitled Illicit Trafficking in Waste: A Global Emergency, with the participation of the Ministry of the Environment of Italy, parliamentarians, international partners such as the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), and stakeholders involved in countering trafficking in and dumping of toxic waste. To enhance understanding of the dynamics of environmental crime, the Institute is currently implementing a research and data collection project in the domain of environmental crime, with a specific focus on the dumping of illegal waste and hazardous materials, including e-waste, and its relation with organized crime. The research methodology follows the one applied by the Institute with success in other fields related to organised crime (such as counterfeiting, for example), and can be utilised to investigate different areas of environmental crime in the future.

In partnership with several research institutes, civil society organizations, and municipalities, UNICRI has launched a process for consultation at the international level on the involvement of organized crime in environmental crime, with a view to identifying a set of recommendations for more effective policies and action at the national, regional and international levels. To that end, the Institute, in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme, has organized an international conference in Italy on 29 and 30 October 2012.

In preparation for the Conference, the Institute has carried out preliminary in-depth data collection and analysis of cases involving trafficking in and dumping of toxic and e-waste.

In parallel, UNICRI has elaborated a number of applied-research project proposals covering different aspects of environmental crime aimed at shedding light on aspects not yet fully explored by the international community, including the intersection between counterfeiting and waste management or transnational environmental crime and corruption. In addition, another set of proposed activities looks at environmental crime from a multi-sectorial perspective, targeted at exploring the dimension and scope of environmental crime in Europe as well as proposing a set of tools and instruments to assess and monitor environmental crime across the region.

UNICRI International Conference on Environmental Crime – Convening key IGOs, NGOs, major LEAs, academia and scholars (October 2012, Rome – Italy).

Research – Data collection and mapping of illicit trafficking cases of waste, analysis of international legislation and relevant application, and identification of risk factors linked to organized crime.

Outreach activities Conferences, capacity building for law enforcement, awareness workshops, and seminars for general public.

Publications: Environmental Crime Bibliography

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Genetic Engineering and GM Crops – Pocket K | ISAAA.org

Posted: November 10, 2016 at 5:32 pm

Over the last 50 years, the field of genetic engineering has developed rapidly due to the greater understanding of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) as the chemical double helix code from which genes are made. The term genetic engineering is used to describe the process by which the genetic makeup of an organism can be altered using recombinant DNA technology. This involves the use of laboratory tools to insert, alter, or cut out pieces of DNA that contain one or more genes of interest.

Developing plant varieties expressing good agronomic characteristics is the ultimate goal of plant breeders. With conventional plant breeding, however, there is little or no guarantee of obtaining any particular gene combination from the millions of crosses generated. Undesirable genes can be transferred along with desirable genes; or, while one desirable gene is gained, another is lost because the genes of both parents are mixed together and re-assorted more or less randomly in the offspring. These problems limit the improvements that plant breeders can achieve.

In contrast, genetic engineering allows the direct transfer of one or just a few genes of interest, between either closely or distantly related organisms to obtain the desired agronomic trait (Figure 1). Not all genetic engineering techniques involve inserting DNA from other organisms. Plants may also be modified by removing or switching off their own particular genes.

Source: Agricultural Biotechnology (A Lot More than Just GM Crops). http://www.isaaa.org/resources/publications/agricultural_biotechnology/download/.

Genes are molecules of DNA that code for distinct traits or characteristics. For instance, a particular gene sequence is responsible for the color of a flower or a plants ability to fight a disease or thrive in extreme environment.

The sharing of DNA among living forms is well documented as a natural phenomenon. For thousands of years, genes have moved from one organism to another. For example, Agrobacterium tumefaciens, a soil bacterium known as natures own genetic engineer, has the natural ability to genetically engineer plants. It causes crown gall disease in a wide range of broad-leaved plants, such as apple, pear, peach, cherry, almond, raspberry, and roses. The disease gains its name from the large tumor-like swellings (galls) that typically occur at the crown of the plant, just above soil level. Basically, the bacterium transfers part of its DNA to the plant, and this DNA integrates into the plants genome, causing the production of tumors and associated changes in plant metabolism.

Genetic engineering techniques are used only when all other techniques have been exhausted, i.e. when the trait to be introduced is not present in the germplasm of the crop; the trait is very difficult to improve by conventional breeding methods; and when it will take a very long time to introduce and/or improve such trait in the crop by conventional breeding methods (see Figure 2). Crops developed through genetic engineering are commonly known as transgenic crops or genetically modified (GM) crops.

Modern plant breeding is a multi-disciplinary and coordinated process where a large number of tools and elements of conventional breeding techniques, bioinformatics, molecular genetics, molecular biology, and genetic engineering are utilized and integrated.

Figure 2: Modern Plant Breeding

Source: DANIDA, 2002.

Although there are many diverse and complex techniques involved in genetic engineering, its basic principles are reasonably simple. There are five major steps in the development of a genetically engineered crop. But for every step, it is very important to know the biochemical and physiological mechanisms of action, regulation of gene expression, and safety of the gene and the gene product to be utilized. Even before a genetically engineered crop is made available for commercial use, it has to pass through rigorous safety and risk assessment procedures.

The first step is the extraction of DNA from the organism known to have the trait of interest. The second step is gene cloning, which will isolate the gene of interest from the entire extracted DNA, followed by mass-production of the cloned gene in a host cell. Once it is cloned, the gene of interest is designed and packaged so that it can be controlled and properly expressed once inside the host plant. The modified gene will then be mass-produced in a host cell in order to make thousands of copies. When the gene package is ready, it can then be introduced into the cells of the plant being modified through a process called transformation. The most common methods used to introduce the gene package into plant cells include biolistic transformation (using a gene gun) or Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. Once the inserted gene is stable, inherited, and expressed in subsequent generations, then the plant is considered a transgenic. Backcross breeding is the final step in the genetic engineering process, where the transgenic crop is crossed with a variety that possesses important agronomic traits, and selected in order to obtain high quality plants that express the inserted gene in a desired manner.

The length of time in developing transgenic plant depends upon the gene, crop species, available resources, and regulatory approval. It may take 6-15 years before a new transgenic hybrid is ready for commercial release.

Transgenic crops have been planted in different countries for twenty years, starting from 1996 to 2015. About 179.7 million hectares was planted in 2015 to transgenic crops with high market value, such as herbicide tolerant soybean, maize, cotton, and canola; insect resistant maize, cotton, potato, and rice; and virus resistant squash and papaya. With genetic engineering, more than one trait can be incorporated or stacked into a plant. Transgenic crops with combined traits are also available commercially. These include herbicide tolerant and insect resistant maize, soybean and cotton.

To date, commercial GM crops have delivered benefits in crop production, but there are also a number of products in the pipeline which will make more direct contributions to food quality, environmental benefits, pharmaceutical production, and non-food crops. Examples of these products include: rice with higher levels of iron and beta-carotene (an important micronutrient which is converted to vitamin A in the body); long life banana that ripens faster on the tree and can therefore be harvested earlier; tomatoes with high levels of flavonols, which are powerful antioxidants; arsenic-tolerant plants; edible vaccines from fruit and vegetables; and low lignin trees for paper making.

*August 2016

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Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)

Posted: September 22, 2016 at 7:51 pm

Complementary and Alternative Cancer Treatment What is Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)?

Complementary and alternative cancer treatments are often lumped together. But to a cancer specialist, there is a big difference. Complementary therapy is used in addition to mainstream medical treatment. Alternative therapy is used instead of proven treatment. Another term you may hear is integrative medicine. This means combining CAM and standard care to try to treat cancer in a way that involves your body, mind and spirit. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) includes:

Complementary medicine is a group of diagnostic and therapeutic disciplines that are used together with conventional medicine. An example of a complementary therapy is using aromatherapy to help lessen a patient’s discomfort following surgery.

Complementary medicine is usually not taught or used in Western medical schools or hospitals. Complementary medicine includes a large number of practices and systems of health care that, for a variety of cultural, social, economic, or scientific reasons, have not been adopted by mainstream Western medicine.

Complementary medicine is different from alternative medicine. Whereas complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine, alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine. An example of an alternative therapy is using a special diet to treat cancer instead of undergoing surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy that has been recommended by a physician.

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) can include the following:

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The Differences Between Utilitarianism & Ethical Egoism

Posted: June 7, 2016 at 7:44 pm

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Consequentialism is a moral theory that states that the consequences of one’s actions are the basis for any morality or judgment toward that action. Both utilitarianism and ethical egoism are theories within consequentialism that focus on the outcome of conduct as the primary motivation of that action and any critique of whether or not that conduct is ethical. The major difference between utilitarianism and ethical egoism is where those acts are directed.

Utilitarianism focuses on the idea of the greater good. Essentially, this ethical theory intends to maximize good for the the most people. The moral worth of any action is judged by how much good results for all sentient beings. While some individuals may suffer from these actions, utilitarianism holds that the conduct may still be ethical if it does more good for a greater number of people than it harms.

Ethical egoism, also known simply as egoism, holds that moral conduct ought to be judged through self-interest. Egoism states that the good consequences for the individual agent outweigh the consequences placed upon others. In egoism, actions could be considered ethical for the individual if the one taking the action is benefited, while any benefit or detriment to the welfare of others is a side effect and not as important as the consequences for the individual.

The primary differences between these two theories, keeping in mind that there are numerous sub-theories within each branch of thought, is the value placed between the individual and others. In utilitarianism, the most ethical action may be that which harms the individual agent but maximizes the positive impact for the most people overall, essentially placing the emphasis on the whole as opposed to the individual. In egoism, the individual has a greater value than others, thus it is ethical to act in one’s own self-interest even if it may potentially harm others.

Utilitarianism seeks to maximize good by minimizing harm to all while egoism seeks to maximize good by keeping the individual happy. In utilitarianism, actions must be judged on the amount of people (or beings) that benefit from the action as opposed to how many the same action may potentially harm. Proponents argue that utilitarianism results in a greater sum of benefit to its harm, based upon outcome and not intention. However, critics of utilitarianism argue that following the interest of the greater good may result in tremendous harm to a large number of individuals.

Meanwhile, egoists argue that acting in self-interest can result in position action because the individual knows best how to benefit his own self, and if everyone were to act in the interest of others, then the general welfare of all would decrease as they are never working for their own good. Egoists trust that others will act in their own interests, thus making it unnecessary to take action solely for their benefit.

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Psoriasis Pictures – Psoriasis Symptoms, Treatment, Cures

Posted: October 17, 2015 at 10:41 pm

There is no substitute for visiting a doctor or dermatologist for help in getting a diagnosis and receiving treatment advice for psoriasis. However, because there are a large number of treatments which are considered effective, some of which are quite simple and inexpensive, many individuals can also find success in treating their psoriasis on their own. How? By informing themselves about the variety of available treatments and then treating themselves through a careful trial-and-error approach. Though there is still no simple cure for all psoriasis, many can find relief and partial or even total clearing of their skin by exploring available treatment options.

In this section describing the treatment of psoriasis, we will briefly review only some of the more popular and effective treatments, some of which involve using prescription or over-the-counter drugs and others which are more natural. However, before describing these treatments lets briefly review what causes psoriasis.

Psoriasis is commonly understood to be a disorder of the immune system, and is called an auto-immune disorder. In psoriasis ones own immune system, and in particular, ones T-helper cells, mistakenly attacks ones own skin cells. Most psoriasis treatments focus on addressing this immune response, either by suppressing the immune system, by removing the source or a link of the immune response, or by treating the symptoms on the skin. Ok, now lets get on to a brief review of some of the more common treatments.

Biologics- Biologics are a new class of drugs for treating more severe cases of psoriasis, and include Amevive, Enbrel, Humira, Remicade, and now Stelara, among others. Amevive works by blocking the T-cell immune response, and Enbrel, Humira, and Remicade work by blocking another key factor in the immune response, which is called TNF-alpha. Stelara, the most recent to be approved, works by blocking the activation of some of the interleukin chains in the immune response. The biologics have given hope to many with moderate to severe psoriasis who were not previously helped by other treatments, however biologics also have a higher risk of sometimes serious side effects, such as infections. Other drawbacks are that the biologics usually have to be administered by injection or infusion, do not work for everybody, are very expensive, and the symptoms of psoriasis usually return after treatment ends.

Coal Tar- An old and common form of treatment used to control mild cases of psoriasis, coal toar is used in shampoos and creams. Though coal tar can reduce itching and inflammation for some people, it is only moderately effective, is messy, can irritate the skin and in high concentrations can be toxic and possibly carcinogenic.

Coconut Oil- Coconut oil has been receiving more attention recently as a treatment for psoriasis sufferers, both as a dietary supplement and as a skin ointment. Coconut oil contains high levels of lauric acid, which is known to help destroy candida in the intestinal tract, thereby healing one of the possible underlying causes of psoriasis. Coconut oil has also been shown to reduce inflammation, both when taken as a nutritional supplement or when applied to the skin.

Cyclosporin- Cyclosporin is an immunosuppressant and is effective at reducing psoriatic symptoms because it reduces and suppresses the immune system For the same reason, however, cyclosporin comes with a higher risk of side-effects and is usually only prescribed for more severe cases of psoriasis.

Diet Modification- Modifying ones diet can often be the most effective form of controlling psoriasis. Why? There is increasing evidence that byproducts from food may be the triggers for the immune response which causes psoriasis. Some researchers have proposed that leaky gut syndrome (also called intestinal hyperpermeability) may be responsible for the leaking of food-based agents from the intestinal tract into the bloodstream. Thus, diet modification may help by not only removing the food triggers from ones system, but also by helping to heal ones intestinal tract, perhaps by combatting an overgrowth of candida, which is one possible cause of leaky gut syndrome. Those that are serious about controlling their psoriasis and that want to do so with minimal cost and risk of side-effects from medications should explore the research available on controlling psoriasis through modifying ones diet. Some common food triggers include dairy products, highly acidic foods, fermented foods, alcohol, sugars, nuts, wheat, gluten, nightshades, and many others; however, it is important to recognize that different people may have different food triggers- one needs to experiment for oneself. Also, in addition to removing certain items, many have benefitted from adding other items to their diet, such as cocounut oil, fish oil and other omega 3s, folic acid, zinc, antioxidants, Vitamin D and probiotics.

Dithralin (Anthralin) Dithralin is a synthetic form of an extract from the bark of the South American araroba tree. It is often quite effective, and works by blocking cell proliferation. It often takes a while to start working and can stain and irritate the skin. Dovonex and other Vitamin D analogues- Dovonex, the brand name for calcipotriene, is the most well known and widely used form of the Vitamin D analogues which are used to treat psoriasis. Others are Vectical and tacalcitol. Dovonex is a synthetic form of Vitamin D3, and works by inhibiting skin cell growth and proliferation. Many people report good results with Dovonex, and the known side effects are minimal, however, it can take a number of weeks before seeing results and some people report minimal clearing. Recently, the Vitamin D analogues have also sometimes been formulated to include hydrocortisone.

Methotrexate- Like cyclosporin, methotrexate is a systemic medication with more potentially serious side effects, but which can also offer relief for more serious cases of psoriasis as well as severe cases of psoriatic arthritis. Methotrexate works by inhibiting cell growth, and was originally approved for use as a chemotherapeutic treatment for cancer. The most serious potential side-effect of taking methotrexate is liver damage, and its use must be monitored by medical professionals.

Moisturizers- There are many forms of moisturizers used to treat psoriasis, which are helpful because they not only can soothe the skin and reduce itching, but because they can also help remove the top layer of scales, allowing other agents to more easily reach and treat the underlying skin cells. Oatmeal baths, salicyclic acid, epsom salt baths, saltwater bathing, and a variety of oils are just a few of many moisturizing treatments. Some moisturizers, such as coconut oil and ocean or salt water, may also work by reducing inflammation as well as merely lifting scales and soothing skin.

Omega 3s (Fish Oil)- Dietary supplements such as fish oil containing Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce inflammation and some studies and people report good results.

Phototherapy, Sunlight- There are a number of different forms of phototherapy used to control psoriasis, which work by reducing skin cell growth. Though often effective, with phototherapy symptoms get worse before they get better, and the potential for overexposure brings with it a carcinogenic risk, hence the importance of medical oversight when choosing phototherapy.

Retinoids Topical retinoids such as Tazorac come in creams and gels, and are a synthetic form of Vitamin A. Tazorac is the brand name for Tazoratene, and is also used to treat acne. Skin irritation is one side-effect, and it often takes 2-12 weeks to see results.

Topical Corticosteroids- The most common form of treatment. Topical steroids such as hydrocortisone are used in a variety of forms and applied to the skin. They work by reducing the inflammatory reaction. Topical steroids will usually provide temporary relief and reduce inflammation, scaling and itching, however, they do not address the underlying source of the symptoms, and because of side effects are usually only recommended for temporary use.

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Psoriasis Pictures – Psoriasis Symptoms, Treatment, Cures

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Libertarianism in the United States – Wikipedia, the free …

Posted: August 3, 2015 at 1:40 pm

Libertarianism in the United States is a movement promoting individual liberty and minimized government.[1][2] The Libertarian Party, asserts the following to be core beliefs of libertarianism:

Libertarians support maximum liberty in both personal and economic matters. They advocate a much smaller government; one that is limited to protecting individuals from coercion and violence. Libertarians tend to embrace individual responsibility, oppose government bureaucracy and taxes, promote private charity, tolerate diverse lifestyles, support the free market, and defend civil liberties.[3][4]

Through 20 polls on this topic spanning 13 years, Gallup found that voters who are libertarian on the political spectrum ranged from 17%- 23% of the US electorate.[5] This includes members of the Republican Party (especially Libertarian Republicans), Democratic Party, Libertarian Party, and Independents.

In the 1950s many with classical liberal beliefs in the United States began to describe themselves as “libertarian.”[6] Academics as well as proponents of the free market perspectives note that free-market libertarianism has spread beyond the U.S. since the 1970s via think tanks and political parties[7][8] and that libertarianism is increasingly viewed worldwide as a free market position.[9][10] However, libertarian socialist intellectuals Noam Chomsky, Colin Ward, and others argue that the term “libertarianism” is considered a synonym for social anarchism by the international community and that the United States is unique in widely associating it with free market ideology.[11][12][13]

Arizona United States Senator Barry Goldwater’s libertarian-oriented challenge to authority had a major impact on the libertarian movement,[14] through his book The Conscience of a Conservative and his run for president in 1964.[15] Goldwater’s speech writer, Karl Hess, became a leading libertarian writer and activist.[16]

The Vietnam War split the uneasy alliance between growing numbers of self-identified libertarians, anarchist libertarians, and more traditional conservatives who believed in limiting liberty to uphold moral virtues. Libertarians opposed to the war joined the draft resistance and peace movements and organizations such as Students for a Democratic Society. They began founding their own publications, like Murray Rothbard’s The Libertarian Forum[17][18] and organizations like the Radical Libertarian Alliance.[19]

The split was aggravated at the 1969 Young Americans for Freedom convention, when more than 300 libertarians organized to take control of the organization from conservatives. The burning of a draft card in protest to a conservative proposal against draft resistance sparked physical confrontations among convention attendees, a walkout by a large number of libertarians, the creation of libertarian organizations like the Society for Individual Liberty, and efforts to recruit potential libertarians from conservative organizations.[20] The split was finalized in 1971 when conservative leader William F. Buckley, Jr., in a 1971 New York Times article, attempted to divorce libertarianism from the freedom movement. He wrote: “The ideological licentiousness that rages through America today makes anarchy attractive to the simple-minded. Even to the ingeniously simple-minded.”[21]

In 1971, David Nolan and a few friends formed the Libertarian Party.[22] Attracting former Democrats, Republicans and independents, it has run a presidential candidate every election year since 1972. Over the years, dozens of libertarian political parties have been formed worldwide. Educational organizations like the Center for Libertarian Studies and the Cato Institute were formed in the 1970s, and others have been created since then.[23]

Philosophical libertarianism gained a significant measure of recognition in academia with the publication of Harvard University professor Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia in 1974. The book won a National Book Award in 1975.[24] According to libertarian essayist Roy Childs, “Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia single-handedly established the legitimacy of libertarianism as a political theory in the world of academia.”[25]

Texas congressman Ron Paul’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns for the Republican Party presidential nomination were largely libertarian. Paul is affiliated with the libertarian-leaning Republican Liberty Caucus and founded the Campaign for Liberty, a libertarian-leaning membership and lobbying organization.

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Libertarianism in the United States – Wikipedia, the free …

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