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Brain demons at work while you sleep.

On April 15, renowned physician and holistic doctor, David Brownstein, took the exam to renew his board certification with the American Academy of Family Practice (AAFP). The experience he endured spurred him to decide that he would not likely renew his certification again, according to a blog post he wrote, titled “Family Practice Exam: Drugs, Drugs, and More Drugs.”

The re-certification process consisted of taking a seven-hour exam entirely focused on pharmaceutical drugs and the interactions between them, he said, with no questions about diet or nutrition.

“If this is what it takes to be board-certified by the [AAFP], I say ‘Fugetaboutit,'” he wrote. “I will not suffer through this nonsense again.”

@ NATURAL NEWS

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Atomic Saturday

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Footsteps crunch across shards of glass and cameras chirp as a group of visitors pushes its way through an evacuated school inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Yellowed school books still sit on the desks, Soviet propaganda hangs on the walls and there are several gas masks dangling about. Mobile phone screens glow in the half-light. Time is kept by the ticking of Geiger counters, the hideous heartbeat of gamma rays.

“It’s quite morbid here,” says Alex, from Munich. The well-dressed 20-something takes a few selfies, smiling coolly in front of the backdrop of ruins. “I like offbeat experiences,” he says. Alex works for an online portal and enjoys traveling to exotic places: to the Nyiragongo volcano in Congo, for example, or to the mountain gorillas in Rwanda. He has also taken a weightless flight with an Airbus and joined a tour through North Korea.

Alex is in Chernobyl with a few friends from school and, as a specialist in strange destinations, the trip was his idea. Chernobyl is a powerful brand name: It has become a post-apocalyptical product, simple to consume.

@ SPIEGEL

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Atomic Saturday

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Footsteps crunch across shards of glass and cameras chirp as a group of visitors pushes its way through an evacuated school inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Yellowed school books still sit on the desks, Soviet propaganda hangs on the walls and there are several gas masks dangling about. Mobile phone screens glow in the half-light. Time is kept by the ticking of Geiger counters, the hideous heartbeat of gamma rays.

“It’s quite morbid here,” says Alex, from Munich. The well-dressed 20-something takes a few selfies, smiling coolly in front of the backdrop of ruins. “I like offbeat experiences,” he says. Alex works for an online portal and enjoys traveling to exotic places: to the Nyiragongo volcano in Congo, for example, or to the mountain gorillas in Rwanda. He has also taken a weightless flight with an Airbus and joined a tour through North Korea.

Alex is in Chernobyl with a few friends from school and, as a specialist in strange destinations, the trip was his idea. Chernobyl is a powerful brand name: It has become a post-apocalyptical product, simple to consume.

@ SPIEGEL

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PHRYday PhunnEEZ

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Bird Brain Thursday

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Corvids, the family of birds that includes crows and ravens, give a whole new meaning to the term “bird brain.”

They show the same level of self-regulation when faced with potential rewards as chimps do, according to a study published last week in the journal Royal Society Open Science — suggesting that these birds may be just as clever as chimps, despite having smaller brains.

Scientists have long known that brain size alone is not a measure of intelligence, and the international team of researchers behind this new study argues that intelligence may be related to the brain’s structure and how many neurons it has.

“Absolute brain size is not the whole story,” Can Kabadayi, a doctoral student in cognitive science at Lund University in Sweden and lead author of the study, says in a video (above) that the university released on Tuesday.

The researchers conducted the common “cylinder test” — which has been used previously to test the intelligence of various primate species — with five common ravens, 10 Eurasian jackdaws and 10 New Caledonian crows.

The experiment involved placing food in a clear tube and measuring birds’ intelligence by looking at whether they gave in to the impulse to retrieve it as soon as they saw it or reached around the side of the tube to access the treat.

@ HUFFPO

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Windy Wednesday

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A bladeless wind energy convertor inspired by the sailing boats of Ancient Carthage is set to breeze past traditional turbines in terms of efficiency, according to its Tunisian developers.

A Tunisian start-up has taken inspiration from the sailing boats of Ancient Carthage to develop a bladeless, non-rotating wind energy convertor that is more efficient than traditional turbines as well as safer and quieter, according to the developers.

Tunis-based Saphon Energy says the aerodynamic bowl-shaped sail on its turbine is capable of capturing twice as much wind energy over the same swept area as a conventional turbine.

The designers, led by 37-year-old engineer Anis Aouini, looked to the old technology of sailing boats, as well as the movements of birds and fish for their design. They were inspired by the sailors of the ancient civilisation of Carthage, located close to the present-day Tunisian capital.

The bladeless design uses a non-rotational sail-shaped body combined with a wind converter that follows a figure of eight pattern in the air.

All wind turbines are subject to the Betz limit of capturing 59 percent of the energy from wind, but its developers say the Saphonian is quite capable of surpassing this limit because it is bladeless, making it far more efficient than traditional turbines.

@ REUTERS</b

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Tuesday Therapy

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There are few areas where there is more bipartisan support than the need to provide adequate health care for the country’s veterans. While many of us opposed the war in Iraq and other recent military adventures, we still recognize the need to provide medical services for the people who put their lives at risk.

This is why it is especially annoying to see right-wing groups invent scandals around the Veteran Administration’s (VA) hospitals in order to advance an agenda of privatizing the system. If there was a real reason to believe that our veterans would be better cared for under a privatized system, then it would be reasonable to support the transition.

But this is the opposite of the reality. All the evidence suggests that a privatized system would make worse any problems veterans now face in getting care — and it is likely to cost more money.

To back up a step, we actually have a great deal of evidence on the quality of care provided by the VA system. In an outstanding book, The Best Care Anywhere, Washington Monthly editor Phillip Longman documents how the VA’s system of integrative care outperforms the models used by private insurers. The key point was that the VA system effectively tracks patients through their various contacts with doctors and other health care professionals.

This reduces the likelihood that they will get unneeded treatment, but more importantly, ensures that the patient’s doctors are aware of the other treatments their patient is receiving. A major problem for patients seeing multiple doctors is that none of them may have full knowledge of the set of conditions afflicting the patient or the drugs they might be taking. By keeping a central system and having a general practitioner assigned to oversee the patient’s care, the VA system minimizes this source of mistakes. In fact, this model is so successful that most providers have tried to move in the same direction in recent years.

@ TRUTHOUT

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