Scientists discovered the French cheese, known for its mould and green veins, has specific anti-inflammatory properties.
It could provide clues to the “French paradox” and explain why people who live in the country enjoy good health despite favouring a diet high in saturated fat.
Using new technology, the researchers found the properties worked their best when the cheese, one of the world’s oldest, ripened.
The properties of the blue cheese, which is aged in caves in the south of France, near Toulouse, were found to work best in acidic environments of the body, such as the lining of the stomach or the skin surface.
Acidification is also a common process accompanying inflammation such as in joints affected by arthritis or special plaque on an artery wall.
French women enjoy the joint-longest life expectancy in Europe, at 85.3 years............Roquefort, which is thought to have been first eaten in about 79AD, is noted for its sharp, tangy, salty flavour and its rich, creamy texture.
Disease-riddled Europeans, carrying tuberculosis across the Atlantic, have
long been blamed for wiping out huge populations of Native Americans.
But new research has found that the deadly bugs which killed millions were
probably spread by seals and sea lions, long before Christopher Columbus
first arrived in the New World in 1492.
A study which looked at tuberculosis strains in bones discovered in Peru found
they were closely linked to those found in sea mammals.
The research shows that tuberculosis is likely to have spread from humans in
Africa to seals and sea lions, who then carried the disease to South America
and transmitted it to Native populations long before Europeans landed on the
"What we found was really surprising. The ancient strains are distinct
from any known human-adapted tuberculosis strain," said Anne Stone,
Professor in Human Evolution at Arizona State University.
"We found that the tuberculosis strains were most closely related to
strains in seals and sea lions.
"Our results show unequivocal evidence of human infection caused by sea
lions and seals in pre-Columbian South America.
“Within the past 2,500 years, the marine animals likely contracted the disease
from an African host species and carried it across the ocean to coastal
people in South America.”...........>
Policing doesn’t even make it into the top 10 most dangerous American professions.
Logging has a fatality rate 11 times higher, at 127.8 per 100,000.
Fishing: 117 per 100,000. Pilot/flight engineer: 53.4 per 100,000. It’s
twice as dangerous to be a truck driver as a cop—at 22.1 per 100,000.
Another point to bear in mind is that not all officer fatalities are homicides.
Out of the 100 deaths in 2013, 31 were shot, 11 were struck by a
vehicle, 2 were stabbed, and 1 died in a “bomb-related incident.” Other
causes of death were: aircraft accident (1), automobile accident (28),
motorcycle accident (4), falling (6), drowning (2), electrocution (1),
and job-related illness (13).
Even assuming that half these deaths were homicides, policing would have a murder rate of 5.55 per 100,000, comparable to the average murder rate of U.S. cities: 5.6 per 100,000. It’s more dangerous to live in Baltimore (35.01 murders per 100,000 residents) than to be a cop in 2014.
Owning a home on US soil
is no longer only an American dream. Increasingly, buyers from China are
snapping up luxury property in America, particularly in high-priced
markets like New York.
Cynthia Liu, 26, is among the Chinese buyers who have decided to invest in upmarket residential real estate here.
Ms Liu grew up in Beijing but now works in Manhattan, where
she recently bought a spacious one-bedroom flat in a high-rise with a
view of the city's famous skyline. She is still unpacking boxes, but
says she is very happy with her new home.............
..........According to the Shanghai research firm Hurun Report, 64% of Chinese
individuals with a net worth of more than £1m are either emigrating or
planning to do so.........>
The Conservatives more than doubled the number of ethnic minority voters
it won at the election as it significantly closed the gap on Labour.
David Cameron secured a million
black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) votes for the first time in the
Tories’ history, according to research by think tank British Future.
An estimated 33 per cent of BAME voters picked the Tories – more than double the 16 per cent who backed the party in 2010.
The increase played a significant part in getting Mr Cameron back into
Number 10 and suggests his modernisation of the Conservatives is
starting to have an impact.
Labour remains the most popular party with 52 per cent of BAME voters
backing them earlier this month. However more Hindus and Sikhs voted for
the Tories than Labour.
Miliband secured 1.6 million ethnic minority votes, while the Tories
reached a million, according to estimates. The Liberal Democrats and
Greens both secured but 150,000 ethnic minority votes, with Ukip even
further behind on 75,000.
Sunder Katwala, Director of British Future, said the
research by pollsters Survation showed the ethnic minority voters were
more "up for grabs" than at previous elections.
said: “While David Cameron clearly took a lot of votes from the Lib Dems
in the election, he also seems to have extended his party's appeal to
ethnic minority voters too.
“Labour remains ahead with
minority voters, but the party may have won too many of its minority
votes in the wrong places electorally – doubling majorities in heartland
urban seats that were already safe but slipping in the southern
“But in places like Watford, Swindon and
Milton Keynes, Conservatives can be increasingly confident of their
appeal to aspirational ethnic minority voters.
“The middle-England 'Mondeo Man' of the 2015 election could well be a British Asian.”
Minibus drivers in a Russian city
have said they'll start observing traffic rules in protest against a
recent fare reduction, it's reported.
Drivers in the Siberian city
of Omsk are unhappy about a cut in the bus fare from 22 roubles ($0.40;
26p) down to 18, and as a result have decided to stop bending the rules
for the convenience of passengers, the Lenta news website reports.
Russian minibus drivers are notorious for their unwillingness to
observe traffic laws, often letting passengers off wherever they like,
rather than at recognised bus stops. The local Omskinform news agency
says that a sign has appeared inside the minibuses stating: "Since the
passenger fares are 18 roubles again, passengers will be put down ONLY
at official bus stops." The fare cut was ordered by a local court, which
said a previous increase had been unjustified.
But in a city where police say about one in 10 road collisions
involve minibuses, the "protest" doesn't seem to have upset many
people. "I totally approve of the drivers' behaviour, but I would like
them to observe the rules at other times as well - not only in protest,"
says one person on the VKontakte social network. "Only in Omsk can minibus drivers follow rules as a protest," writes a Twitter user.
And another person thinks it's clear what should happen next: "Let's
lower the fares to 16 roubles, then minibuses will observe the rest of
the rules in revenge!"
Officials in western Canada are
urging people not to flush their pet goldfish down the toilet because
they're surviving and multiplying at an alarming rate.
officers in the province of Alberta say they've found goldfish the size
of dinner plates in the region's storm ponds. Forty of the fish were
pulled from a single pond in the north of the province earlier this
year, the CBC News website reports.
"That's really scary because it means they're reproducing in the wild,
they are getting quite large and they are surviving the winters that far
north," says Kate Wilson from Alberta's environment department.
Goldfish are considered an invasive species in Canada, and the
government is worried they could upset fragile local ecosystems.
a result, it has launched a campaign warning people of the trouble
flushed pets can cause - even if they have already gone to the big
goldfish pond in the sky. "Even if the fish are dead, they could have
diseases or parasites that could be introduced, especially if the water
treatment system is not top notch," Ms Wilson tells Fort McMurray Today.
The campaign will also target pet stores and markets, as well as groups
that engage in "mercy releases", where captive animals are set free in
the belief it will create spiritual "good karma", CBC News says.
has good form when it comes to banishing non-native species. For
decades the region has proudly declared itself "rat-free", meaning it
has no resident rat population. Occasional infestations do occur, but
the government recently set up a rat hotline for residents to report any rodent sightings.
(PS, when oversized goldfish established themselves in my local canal people came from 200 miles away to catch them)
For years visitors to the Royal Observatory have stood on the stainless steel Greenwich Meridian Line believing they are located exactly between east and west and at the centre of world time.
But anyone curious enough to check their positioning using GPS might
have spotted an unfortunate discrepancy …it’s not actually at 0 degrees
The Prime Meridian, the
imaginary line which runs from the North Pole to the South Pole, is
actually 334 feet to the east, cutting unceremoniously through a
footpath, not far from a rubbish bin.
Now scientists have explained how the error occurred. Earth-bound
astronomers who calculated the original line did not take into account
distortions caused by gravity when aiming their telescopes at the
so-called ‘clock stars’. However satellites for global positioning
systems make minute adjustments for the effect. So when GPS was switched
on in 1984, the real prime meridian was revealed.
“With the advances in technology, the change in the Prime Meridian was
inevitable,” said Ken Siedelmann, an astronomer at the University of
Virginia and co-author of the study published in the Journal of Geodesy.
“Perhaps a new marker should be installed in the Greenwich Park for the new Prime Meridian.".............>
When visitors to the Royal Observatory, Greenwich stand astride the Meridian, they are often perplexed to discover that their GPS does not give their longitude as zero. Likewise, users of Google Earth are sometimes surprised to see that the Meridian as marked, appears to pass around 100 m to the east of where they expected.
The explanation for these apparent anomalies is rooted in the history of longitude determinations, the assumed shape of the Earth and the way in which maps have been historically constructed.
When the Royal Observatory was founded back in 1675, it was widely believed that the Earth was spherical. This notion was challenged by Newton with the publication of the third volume of his Principia in 1687 in which he hypothesized that the Earth was an oblate spheroid, also known as an ellipsoid, the shape generated by spinning an ellipse on its minor axis. He estimated the equatorial diameter would differ from the polar by about 1 part in 230. The parameters of the ellipsoid have since been refined, but the ellipsoid is not a perfect fit either.
From the earliest of times, it was a priority for astronomers to get an accurate determination of the difference in longitude between the observatory at Greenwich and ones elsewhere. In the case of the Paris Observatory, there had been at least 18 different determinations by the 1920s. The first attempt to accurately fix the relative longitude of an American observatory, that of Harvard Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, took place in the 1840s when nearly four hundred chronometers were transported back and forth across the Atlantic. From the 1860s onwards, following the laying of the first transatlantic cable, the time difference, and hence longitude difference between the two observatories, was determined with even greater precision by telegraphic means. It was through this single connection that the longitude (relative to Greenwich) of all other places in the United States was originally determined.
Most accurate maps show only a small part of the Earth’s surface. Before the space age, when choosing an ellipsoid to represent the shape of the Earth, it was the practice to pick one whose surface had a good alignment with reality over the area of the map. In the UK for example, the maps produced by the Ordnance Survey were (and still are) based on the ‘Airy Ellipsoid’ – an ellipsoid defined by the seventh Astronomer Royal George Airy in 1830. The chosen ellipsoids differed slightly in centre position and orientation as well as in size and shape. The advent of satellite technology enabled ellipsoids to be defined for the first time with their centre coincident with the Earth’s centre of mass.
Some relevant ellipsoids and their dates of adoption (from Wikipedia)
Reference ellipsoid name
Equatorial radius (m)
Polar radius (m)
NAD 27 (1927)
In the late 1950s (under the auspices of the US Navy), the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) of the Johns Hopkins University began the development of what was to become the world's first operational satellite navigation system. Known as Transit, it worked by making use of the Doppler effect, the same effect that makes a siren carried by a moving vehicle change in pitch as it passes. The surveyed longitude of the Laboratory's site in Maryland, as measured in the North American Datum (NAD27), became its assumed longitude in the first World Datum, the APL datum. It was this pragmatic adoption of the longitude coordinate on one ellipsoid as the assumed value on another that has caused the apparent shift not only in the position of the Meridian, but also of all other locations.
The size of the shift remained unknown until the summer of 1969, when an opportunity arose to measure it. A satellite receiver was set up on a platform above the roof over the Airy Transit Circle at Greenwich. The results showed that fixes resulting from the use of the satellite navigation system should have their longitude values shifted by 5.64" if the Greenwich (Geodetic) Meridian was to have its longitude as zero in this system. Although an academic paper on this subject was published in 1971, it appears to have been largely forgotten about until the mid noughties. The offset (since refined) also applies to the WGS84 datum used by current GPS systems. WGS84 was adopted as the global standard for air navigation on 1 January 1998 and soon afterwards by hydrographers for use on electronic and nautical charts.
Until the advent of GPS, local datums were only ever used in a local context. Although usually inappropriate to do so, it is possible with GPS to set a receiver to get a latitude and longitude fix anywhere in the world in any of the different datums. The precise latitude and longitude of a place will vary with the particular coordinate system or datum that is used. Paradoxically, as we have already seen, this also applies to the Airy Transit Circle, whose longitude by definition one might reasonably expect to be zero. The difference between the co-ordinates on different datums also varies from place to place. Most datums agree with each other to within half a kilometre or so. The most commonly used in the UK are OSGB36 & WGS84.
At the time of the International Meridian Conference in 1884, the concepts of continental drift and plate tectonics did not exit. The first evidence of plate movement came in the mid 1950’s as the space age was about to begin. The Earth’s tectonic plates move relative to one another at about the same rate at which human finger nails grow – not much on a day to day basis, but a substantial amount over a period of decades and centuries. With the introduction of satellite technology, came the ability to create a more accurate global datum, and with it the necessity to define a reference meridian that, whilst being derived from the Airy Transit Circle, would also take into account the effects of plate movement and variations in the way that the Earth was spinning. The International Terrestrial Reference Frame (ITRF), which defines the International Meridian and poles, is based on the combination of sets of station coordinates and velocities derived from a variety of different types of observations: Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR), and Lunar Laser Ranging (LLR). Data from Global Positioning System (GPS) was introduced in 1991 and from Doppler Orbitography and Radio-positioning Integrated by Satellite (DORIS) in 1994. The International Reference Meridian and Poles and, hence the WGS84 datum, are stationary with respect to the average motion of the Earth’s crustal plates. As a consequence, all individual locations are in motion relative to them. In the UK WGS84 latitudes and longitudes are changing at about 2.5 cm per year in a north-easterly direction. In 1989, the International Reference Meridian passed an estimated 102.478 m to the east of the Airy Transit Circle at Greenwich.
The Moon will turn a rusty hue in the early hours of Monday and may seem larger in the sky.
The event is caused by a total lunar eclipse coinciding with another astronomical event called a supermoon.
It's the second total lunar eclipse this year, but the first since 2008 where the whole eclipse will be visible from the UK.
The entire eclipse will be visible from eastern North America, South America, West Africa and western Europe.
in the western half of North America, the rest of Europe and Africa,
the Middle East and South Asia will see a partial one.
UK, observers will see the Moon pass through the Earth's shadow in the
early hours of Monday morning. In North and South America the eclipse
will be seen on Sunday evening.
The last time a total lunar eclipse
was visible in its entirety from the UK was 2008; the next time one will
be visible after this is in 2019
The supermoon, where Earth's satellite
is near its minimum distance from our planet, means that the Moon will
appear 7-8% larger in the sky.
The moon may look rust-coloured during
a total lunar eclipse - giving rise to its nickname Blood Moon. This is
because the Earth's atmosphere scatters blue light more strongly than
red light, and it is this red light that reaches lunar surface
During the eclipse, the Moon lies in front of the stars of the constellation Pisces.............>