• Cost of Thai floods rises, crisis not over for Bangkok

    Thailand's budget deficit would be far higher than planned because of the worst flooding in 50 years, the government said on Tuesday, and people in Bangkok were told not to drop their guard even if the immediate danger to the capital had passed. Flooding in the north, northeast and center of the country has killed at least 315 people since July, damaged large areas of farmland and closed huge industrial estates this month. The cabinet approved an increase in the budget deficit to 400 billion baht ($13 billion) for the fiscal year from October 1, up from the initially agreed 350 billion, Industry Minister Wannarat Channukul told reporters. Deputy Prime Minister Kittirat Na Ranong said the government would look at ways to borrow "several hundreds of billions of baht" to fund the recovery effort. He did not go into details. "The cabinet assigned the finance minister and me to issue a law for the big borrowing," he said. >> Read the Full Article
  • Why the Black Death Was the Mother of All Plagues

    Plague germs teased from medieval cadavers in a London cemetery have shed light on why the bacterium that unleashed the Black Death was so lethal and spawned later waves of epidemics. >> Read the Full Article
  • Sense Of Smell Is Physiological, Not Psychological, Study Shows

    Different strokes for different folks? Not necessarily, at least not when it comes to smells: A new research from the Weizmann Institute in Israel shows that odors can be rated on a scale of pleasantness. The findings that were published in Nature Neuroscience Journal reveal a correlation between the response of certain nerves to particular scents and the pleasantness of those scents. Based on this correlation, the researchers could tell by measuring the nerve responses whether a subject found a smell pleasant or unpleasant. >> Read the Full Article
  • Deadly Thai floods close factories, threaten Bangkok

    Nearly 200 factories, including one run by Japanese car maker Honda Motor Co Ltd, closed in the central Thai province of Ayutthaya because of flooding, which could threaten Bangkok this week, officials said on Sunday. About 261 people have died since late July in flood-related incidents, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation said. Some 2.3 million people have been affected in the worst flooding to hit parts of Thailand in 50 years, mainly in the center, north and northeast. The Rojana estate in Ayutthaya province, run by Rojana Industrial Park Pcl, was flooded after a wall of sandbags failed to hold back water overnight. "All 198 factories at Rojana have to be closed because the water is about 5.1 meters high," Industry Minister Wannarat Channukul told Reuters. >> Read the Full Article
  • Workplace pollutants tied to children's asthma risk

    A mother's exposure to airborne pollutants at work during her pregnancy may increase the likelihood that her unborn child will later develop asthma, a Danish study said. The review of registry data on 45,658 seven-year-old children and their mothers found that 18.6 percent of children of mothers who were exposed to low-molecular-weight particles at work during pregnancy developed asthma, compared to 16.1 percent of the general population. "This is the first large-scale study which has shown an association between maternal exposures during work and asthma in children," said study leader Berit Christensen, at the School of Public Health in Denmark, in a statement. For the study, which was presented at the European Respiratory Society's recent annual congress in Amsterdam, Christensen and colleagues used mothers' job titles to estimate their exposure to workplace pollutants, with categories for either low- or high-molecular-weight particles, mixed, farmers, "unclassifiable" and students, as well as a reference group of office workers for comparison. >> Read the Full Article
  • Study: Human Brain Evolved to Predict Smells

    Of all our sensory organs, the sense of smell is often overlooked. While visual, auditory, and tactile perception are important, the olfactory sense also plays a subtle yet meaningful role in our daily lives. The animal brain has an amazing ability to recognize and associate smells entering the nostrils. However, according to a research study at Northwestern University Medicine, the brain is able to predict the smell even before it enters the nostrils. The brain can generate a "predictive template" that leads to expectation of a scent. This amazing ability has played an important role in animal evolution, allowing humans to react faster and more accurately to stimuli in the environment. >> Read the Full Article
  • How many different dust particles are you breathing?

    In any given room, even the most sterile scientific cleanrooms, there are dust particles in the air and coating every surface. If allowed to go uncleaned, the dust will accumulate to eventually cover every surface. But what exactly is the dust in the air and on our tables and shelves? A chemistry research team at the Ohio State University, using a new kind of sensor, has isolated and measured the composition of unique dust particles in their laboratory. >> Read the Full Article
  • How Children Associate Snack Foods with Satisfying Hunger

    Childhood obesity is a major problem in the developed world. An abundance of cheap high-calorie goodies have left its impression in our youths' waistlines. A new study from psychologists at the University of Bristol in the UK analyzes why some children are more at risk at becoming overweight. They found that for those children who have grown familiar with snack foods like candy bars, soft drinks, cookies, and chips learn to associate those foods with the feeling of fullness. Other, more wholesome foods, may then be associated with not being able to satisfy one's hunger. >> Read the Full Article
  • Non-Toxic Beauty: Do You Know What’s In Your Lipstick?

    Adding a touch of lipstick to your outfit will add some color to your face and can even accentuate your smile. However, that glamour comes with a price. The average woman will ingest about 6 lbs of lipstick in her lifetime. That’s a whole lot of unnatural ingredients to process in your body! To help you understand a bit more in what lipstick is made out of, here are some of the harmful ingredients you will come across in the product. >> Read the Full Article
  • Exercise and Arthritis

    Adding another incentive to exercise, scientists at Duke University Medical Center have found that physical activity improves arthritis symptoms - even among obese mice that continue to eat a high-fat diet. The insight suggests that excess weight alone isn't what causes the aches and pains of osteoarthritis, despite the long-held notion that carrying extra pounds strains the joints and leads to the inflammatory condition >> Read the Full Article