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Monday, 31 October 2016

11 BIZARRE SOURCES FOR ALTERNATIVE ENERGY


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11 Bizarre Sources for Alternative Energy
By Dnews,
Seeker, 20 October 2016.

Most people would agree that fossil fuels simply need to go. They’re the cause of pollution, wars and climate change. Scientists have been researching alternative energy solutions like wind and solar power, and hydrogen fuel for cars, for years. But while some automakers - like Toyota and Honda - are bringing hydrogen-fueled cars to market, wind and solar are still more expensive than oil and coal and may not be the best solution for all places or uses. For example, some medical devices that are implanted in a human body could benefit from super tiny batteries that last decades.

So scientists continue the quest for abundant, cheap and efficient energy by investigating lesser-known sources, ones that may seem a little unusual, even ridiculous, unrealistic and, in some cases, morbid. “I think in order to solve the impending energy needs we might have to go a bit beyond,” said Bobby Sumpter, a senior research scientist of computational theoretical chemistry at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Here are 11 of the more unusual sources that go above and beyond the norm. Who knows - one day, you may use sugar to power your laptop, bacteria to run your car or dead bodies to heat a building.

1. Body Heat

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Credit: Katy Walters/Wikimedia Commons

Stretching the imagination when it comes to energy could get us closer to generating energy the way nature does: free and efficient. In London, Mayor Boris Johnson announced that excess heat from the subway tunnels and an electric substation would be funneled into British homes.

2. Sugar

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Credit: 955169/Pixabay

Traditionally, putting sugar into a gas tank is a prank that can ruin a car’s engine. But someday, it could be a great way to fuel a vehicle. “We should not dismiss ideas, we should let people pursue ideas of unusual things,” Diego del Castillo Negrete, a senior research scientist in the Fusion Energy Division at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory said. Researchers and chemists at Virginia Tech are developing a way to convert sugar into hydrogen, which can be used in a fuel cell, providing a cheaper, cleaner, pollutant-free and odorless drive. The scientists combine plant sugars, water and 13 powerful enzymes in a reactor, converting the concoction into hydrogen and trace amounts of carbon dioxide.

The hydrogen could be captured and pumped through a fuel cell to produce energy. Their process delivers three times more hydrogen than traditional methods, which translates into cost savings. Unfortunately, it might be another decade before consumers can actually dump sugar into their gas tanks. What seems more realistic in the short term is using the same technology to create long-lasting sugar-based batteries for laptops, cell phones and other electronics.

3. Solar Wind

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One hundred billion times more power than humanity currently needs is available right now, out in space. It comes through solar wind, a stream of energized, charged particles flowing outward from the sun. Brooks Harrop, a physicist at Washington State University in Pullman and Dirk Schulze-Makuch of Washington State’s School of Earth and Environmental Science, think they can capture these particles with a satellite that orbits the sun the same distance Earth does.

Their so-called Dyson-Harrop satellite would have a long copper wire charged by on-board batteries in order to produce a magnetic field perfect for snagging the electrons in the solar wind. The energy from the electrons would be beamed from the satellite via a infrared laser to Earth, since the infrared spectrum would not be affected by the planet’s atmosphere. This Dyson-Harrop satellite holds a few technical problems that researchers are currently trying to fix. It has no protection from space debris, and some of the power could be lost as it’s beamed through Earth’s atmosphere. Plus, finding a way to aim the laser beam across millions of miles of space is no small task. What seems more realistic is to use this satellite in order to power nearby space missions.

4. Feces and Urine

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Credit: Horst64/Pixabay

Most people think that feces and urine should be disposed of immediately. But feces contains methane, a colorless, odorless gas that could be used in the same way as natural gas. At least two solutions - one in Cambridge, Massachusetts, called Park Spark and one in San Francisco run by Norcal Waste - is focused on converting dog poo into methane.

In both solutions, dog walkers are provided biodegradable bags, which after they’re filled, are placed into a large container called a digester. Inside, microorganisms process the poo, giving off methane as a byproduct. The methane can be used to power lights. In Pennsylvania, a dairy farm is looking to cow manure for energy. Six hundred cows that produce 18,000 gallons of manure daily are helping the farm save US$60,000 a year. The waste is used to produce electricity, bedding, fertilizer and heating fuel. And Hewlett-Packard recently released a study explaining how a dairy farmer could make money by leasing land to Internet server companies, who could power computers with the methane. Human waste is just as good. In Bristol, UK a VW Beetle car is powered by methane captured from a raw sewage treatment plant. Engineers from Wessex Water estimate the waste from 70 homes can generate enough gas to make the car run for 10,000 miles. And let’s not forget urine. At the Heriot-Watt University's School of Engineering and Physical Sciences in Edinburgh, scientists are looking for a way to make world's first urine-powered fuel cells. It could be a viable way for astronauts or military personnel, for instance, to produce power on the go. Urea is an accessible, non-toxic, organic chemical compound rich in nitrogen. So yes, humans are constantly carrying around a chemical compound that can produce electricity.

5. People: Dead or Alive

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Credit: Judgefloro/Wikimedia Commons

The next time you’re standing in a crowded subway in the middle of summer, don’t sweat it. The heat your body produces can warm an entire building, complete with offices, apartments and shops. At least that’s what's happening in Stockholm and Paris. Jernhuset, a state owned property administration company is putting together a plan to capture body heat from train commuters traveling through Stockholm’s Central Station. The heat will warm water running through pipes, which will then be pumped through the building’s ventilation system.

Paris Habitat, owner of a low-income housing project in Paris, will also use body heat to warm 17 apartments in a building, which is directly above a metro station near Pompidou Center. On a more morbid and less sweaty note, a crematorium in the United Kingdom is using gasses released from the cremation process to heat a crematorium. The energy in cremated bodies is already being captured when it has to pass through filters to remove the mercury in the deceased’s fillings. Instead of letting the energy escape, pipes are used to pump it through the building.

6. Vibrations

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Credit: Energy Floors

Go out and party; it may help the environment. Club Watt in Rotterdam, Netherlands is using floor vibrations from people walking and dancing to power its light show. The vibrations are captured by “piezoelectric” materials that produce an electric change when put under stress. The U.S. Army is also looking at piezoelectric technology for energy. They put the material in soldier’s boots in order to charge radios and other portable devices. Although this is an interesting renewable energy with great potential, it’s not cheap. Club Watt spent US$257,000 on this first generation 270-square-foot floor, more money than it can recoup. But the floor will be reprogrammed to improve output in the future. Your dance moves really can be electric.

7. Sludge

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Credit: SuSanA Secretariat/Wikimedia Commons

California municipalities alone produce 700,000 metric tons of dried sludge annually, which has the potential to generate 10 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per day. The University of Nevada, Reno, is drying sludge to make it burnable for a gasification process, which turns it into electricity. A team of researchers at the university built the processing machine as a way of producing low cost and energy efficient technology. The machine turns gooey sludge into powder by using relatively low temperatures in a fluidized bed of sand and salts to produce the biomass fuel.

The waste-to-energy technology is designed to be on site which means companies can save on trucking costs, disposal fees, and electricity. Although the research is still ongoing, estimates show that a full-scale system can potentially generate 25,000 kilowatt-hours per day to help power reclamation facilities.

8. Jellyfish

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Credit: PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay

Jellyfish that glow in the dark contain the raw ingredients for a new kind of fuel cell. Their glow is produced by green fluorescent protein, referred to as GFP. A team at The Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, placed a drop of GFP onto aluminum electrodes and then exposed that to ultraviolet light. The protein released electrons, which travel a circuit to produce electricity. The same proteins have been used to make a biological fuel cell, which makes electricity without an external light source. Instead of an external light source, a mixture of chemicals such as magnesium and luciferase enzymes, which are found in fireflies, were used to produce electricity from the device. These fuel cells can be used on small, nano devices such as those that could be implanted in a person to diagnose or treat disease.

9. Exploding Lakes

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Credit: Jack Lockwood/Wikimedia Commons

There are three known "exploding lakes," in the world, so called because they contain huge reservoirs of methane and carbon dioxide trapped in the depths by differences in water temperature and density. If temperatures should change and the lake turns, these gases would immediately fizz to the surface like a shaken bottle of soda, killing the millions of people and animals living nearby. In fact, such an event happened on Aug. 15, 1984, when Cameroon's Lake Nyos [pictured above] unleashed a huge cloud of concentrated carbon dioxide, instantly suffocating hundreds of people and animals. In Rwanda, Lake Kivu is such a place. But the government has built a power plant that sucks up the noxious gases from the lake to power three large generators, which produce 3.6 megawatts of electricity. The government hopes that in the next couple of years, the plant could be producing enough power for one-third of the country.

10. Bacteria

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Credit: WikiImages/Pixabay

Billions of bacteria live out in the wild, and like any living organism, they have a survival strategy for when there is a limited food supply. E. coli bacteria store fuel in the form of fatty acids that resembles polyester. That same fatty acid is needed for the production of biodiesel fuel. So, researchers are looking to genetically modify E. coli microorganisms to overproduce those polyester-like acids. The scientists removed enzymes from the bacteria to boost fatty acid production, and then dehydrated the fatty acid to get rid of the oxygen, which made turned it into a type of diesel fuel. The same bacteria that can make us sick can also help save people money and the environment, by providing fuel for transportation.

11. Carbon Nanotubes

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Credit: Arnero/Wikimedia Commons

Carbon nanotubes are hollow tubes of carbon atoms that have a range of potential uses, from armor-like fabrics to elevators that could lift cargo between Earth and the moon. Recently, scientists from MIT have a found a way to use carbon nanotubes to collect 100 times more solar energy than a regular photovoltaic cell. The nanotubes could work as antenna to capture and funnel sunlight onto solar arrays. This means that instead of having an entire rooftop covered in solar panels, a person may need just a small space.

Related Articles:

Top image credit: PeteLinforth/Pixabay.

[Source: Seeker. Edited. Some images and links added.]

8 OF THE OLDEST FORESTS IN THE WORLD


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8 of the oldest forests in the world
By Melissa Breyer,
Treehugger, 28 October 2016.

Trees have the thing we covet most and will never have - mind-boggling longevity! With trees dating as far back as Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids, these majestic old forests are living shrines to the ancient past. The forests below play home to some of the oldest living things on the planet, some dating back almost 5,000 years. Respect to the trees, they win.

1. Tongass National Forest: Alaska

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Credit: Mark Brennan

At a whopping 16.8 million acres, this temperate rain forest, pictured above, is almost as big as Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts combined! This qualifies Tongass as the largest national forest in America, as well as largest intact coastal temperate rain forest in the world.

Parts of the forest are estimated to be thousands of years old, with many living trees over 800 years old. National Geographic describes Tongass as an "exceptionally rich ecosystem that holds more organic matter - more biomass - per acre than any other, including tropical jungles. And that's not counting the equally lush forests of seaweed added to Tongass shores whenever the tide goes out."

As Tongass represents nearly a third of all old-growth temperate rainforests remaining on the planet, it also plays home to a staggering array of fish and wildlife, including all five species of Pacific salmon, grizzly bears, wolves, Sitka black-tailed deer, Northern Goshawks, and marbled Murrelets.

2. Waipoua Forest: New Zealand

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Like many a forest that lived more-or-less unmolested for ages by the people who lived in harmony with the land, Waipoua Forest began its adventures in exploitation with the arrival of European settlers in the 19th century. Young kauri trees - the mainstay of this North Island wilderness, were toppled in the thousands to make ship masts and spars. In 1952, Waipoua and the nearby forests of Mataraua and Waima, were declared sanctuaries and now the forests can continue doing what they've been doing for millennia.

But fortunately, many of the ancient kauri trees survived the tools of mankind! The area is rich with rare New Zealand flora and fauna, and especially the kauri, a coniferous tree with incredible longevity. The oldest of the bunch, pictured above, is called Tāne Mahuta for "Lord of the Forest." This noble grandaddy is over 150 feet tall and is estimated to be 2,300 years old.

3. Daintree Rainforest: Australia

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Credit: through5eyes

The Daintree Rainforest encompasses an area of approximately 1,200 square kilometres and represents the single largest block of tropical rainforest in Australia. This incredible forest is estimated to be 180 million years old; tens of millions of years older than the Amazon Rainforest. And as one would expect given its seniority, it is a wildly active habitat, providing shelter for thousands of species of birds and other wildlife including 30 percent of Australia’s frog, reptile and marsupial species, 65 percent of the country’s bat and butterfly species as well as 18 percent of all bird species - not to mention 12,000 insect species.


The area is part of the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Site, more about which you can see in the video above.

4. Yakushima Forest: Japan

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Credit: Σ64

Yakushima is a primeval temperate rainforest extending from the center of the round and mountainous Yakushima Island. In 1993 the area was registered as a World Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO, which describes the island ecosystem of Yakushima as unique in the Northern Hemisphere’s temperate area, "with successive vertical plant distributions extending from coastal vegetation with subtropical elements, up through a montane temperate rainforest to a high moor and a cold-temperate bamboo grassland at the central peaks."

Among all of the forest's amazing features, however, the Yakusugi trees (Japanese cedar) stand out from the crowd. They've been living in the forests for around 7,000 years, with some living specimens dating back thousands of years. With its misty, mossy, magical vibe, is it any wonder that this was the inspiration for Studio Ghibli's animated film Princess Mononoke, directed by Hayao Miyazaki? In fact, such a muse is this swath of forest that 17th Century Edo-era royalty recreated it in gardens on the mainland. An admirable and justifiable indulgence.

5. Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest: California

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While the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest might not look like your typical fairytale forest with towering trees and misty dappled sunlight, it nonetheless takes the cake. Here in the highlands next to Sequoia National Forest at 10,000 feet in elevation live some of the oldest living trees on Earth, including the most ancient tree of all, Methuselah - a venerable deity (in this treehugger's eyes) that is estimated to be 4,841 years old. This tree has been alive since the first Egyptian pyramids were being built, can you imagine? Characterized by their gnarly twisted forms, they defy the imagination.

While the exact location of Methuselah is kept secret for protection - maybe it's pictured above, who knows - the tree's ancient brethren are all around. Living history at its more historic.

6. Białowieża Forest: Poland and Belarus

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This World Heritage Site that hugs the borders of Poland and Belarus is Europe’s last old-growth forest and plays home to trees that are thousands of years old straddles the borders of Poland and Belarus. The Białowieża Forest is only about 580 square miles, but is remarkable in so many ways. As a complex of lowland forests, it typifies the classic idea of a forest; as well, it has exceptional conservation significance due to the scale of its old growth forests, which include extensive undisturbed areas where natural processes are on-going, notes UNESCO. And picture this, it boasts 59 mammal species, over 250 bird, 13 amphibian, seven reptile and over 12,000 invertebrate species.

But the frosting on the forest cake here is the incredible home it plays to the European Bison. Brought almost to the extinction with just a few members remaining, Poland liberated a few from zoos and brought them to the forest. Now roughly around 1,000 of them live in the forest.

7. Tarkine Forest: Tasmania, Australia

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Credit: Seeboundy

Tarkine, a breathtaking (or breath-giving, actually) tract of temperate rainforest, is Australia’s largest single rainforest wilderness and the second largest in the world - it is a very significant place on the planet. Some liken seeing it to a glimpse of Earth 300 million years ago. It contains mountain ranges, river and cave systems, buttongrass moorlands, and coastline complete with sandy beaches, grassy woodlands and coastal heath. Among the many notable living things, the 3,000-year-old Huon Pines stand out - they are second oldest living trees in the world.


Tragically, more than three-quarters of Australia’s rainforests have been permanently destroyed, which is why groups are working so diligently to protect Tarkine from mining and logging, which persist in this pristine wilderness. Save the Tarkine is one such group, a video about the majestic wilderness and its threats can be viewed above.

8. Kakamega Forest: Kenya, Africa

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Credit: Matthias Bohnen

While just a hair under 90 square miles, Kenya's Kakamega Forest is all that remains of one of the largest old-growth forests on the globe. By some accounts, half of the forest has been lost in the last 40 years alone, thanks to the dismal combination of human development, war and overuse of resources. Even so, what does remain is magical and includes a wide diversity of plants and animals. It's still home to 300 species of birds, the a number of monkeys and stunning 700-year-old fig trees.


Top image: Tongass National Forest, Alaska. Credit: Zarxos/Wikimedia Commons.

[Source: Treehugger. Edited. Some images and links added.]

INFOGRAPHIC: 10 YEARS OF USING A CELL PHONE


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A telephone is necessary, both for safety and connection. But in a short time, our phone habits have morphed from the head tilt of cradling a wall phone handset to the forward slouch of hunching over our smartphones. The following infographic by Ooma shows how smartphone ownership brings with it an array of scientifically proven psychological and physical effects that increase over time and with intensity of usage.

http://ooma.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/10-years-of-using-a-cellphone-IG.png

Infographic Sources:
1.
Technology Device Ownership: 2015
2. Most U.S. Smartphone Owners Check Phone at Least Hourly
3. 6 facts about Americans and their smartphones
4. Dealing With Devices: The Parent-Teen Dynamic
5. The Best (and Worst) of Mobile Connectivity
6. How Many Photographs of You Are Out There In the World?
7. Overexposed? Camera Phones Could Be Washing Out Our Memories
8. Humans have shorter attention span than goldfish, thanks to smartphones
9. The Cell Phone, Constant Connection and Time Scarcity in Australia
10. Excess Cell Phone Usage Reduces Happiness
11. Why We're All Addicted to Texts, Twitter and Google
12. The biggest phobia in the world? 'Nomophobia' - the fear of being without your mobile - affects 66 per cent of us
13. Digital Eye Strain
14. International Women’s day special - Smartphone usage among females
15. Text Neck: Is Smartphone Use Causing Your Neck Pain?
16. Text Message Statistics
17. Is your smartphone a pain? How to prevent it from causing your hands to suffer
18. Your iPhone Is Ruining Your Posture - and Your Mood
19. Headache Triggers and Tips
20. NSC releases latest injury and fatality statistics and trends
21. "Phantom vibration syndrome" common in cellphone users
22. How has wireless technology changed how you live your life

[Source: Ooma.]

Sunday, 30 October 2016

10 HORRIFYING TALES OF FLESH-EATING DISEASES


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10 Horrifying Tales Of Flesh-Eating Diseases
By Abraham Rinquist,
Listverse, 27 October 2016.

The idea of being devoured alive by an unseen nemesis is the most terrifying thing imaginable. Not only do these diseases cause fevers, nausea, and excruciating pain; they disfigure their victims, sometimes beyond recognition. With all victims have to deal with, death can seem a blessing.

10. Bairnsdale Ulcer

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Photo credit: George Amofah

Bairnsdale ulcer is terrorizing Australia. It begins as a mosquito bite and soon spreads to gaping wounds that devour flesh, fat, tendons, nerves, and even bone. Epidemiologists believe it spreads to humans via mosquitoes on possums. They are uncertain whether the possums are the cause or just another victim. The disease incubates slowly, often emerging four months after the initial bite. The elbow, back, calf, and ankle are the most common areas targeted.

Bairnsdale ulcer has been known for decades. However, in the past three years, the number of cases in Australia has doubled. This year, Victoria has had 45 cases alone. Fortunately, a quick and effective test is available. If caught early, ulcers are easily treated. If not, it can lead to extreme pain and possibly amputation.

9. Missouri’s Mucormycosis Outbreak

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Photo credit: CDC

In 2011, a tornado ravaged Joplin, Missouri. The high winds carried more than destructive power. After the storm, several individuals were diagnosed with a rare and deadly flesh-eating fungal infection. Mucormycosis fungus is most commonly found in wood and soil and is a key component in the cycle of decay. The virulent fungus infects the walls of blood vessels. Filaments form, resulting in clots. The clots block blood flow, leading to necrosis of the flesh and even a coating of mold.

Known as a “lid-lifter,” the fungus grows so fast in lab environments it will literally lift the lid off a Petri dish. It grows just as fast in humans, eating into tissue and even bone. Only 74 cases of this disease had ever been recorded. 13 people in Joplin had the disease. Five died. The only treatment is powerful antifungal drugs and debridement, where dead flesh is sliced away.

8. Diseased Deer

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Photo credit: John Kucharski

After being eradicated for nearly 30 years, screwworm flies have return to the Florida Keys. Its victim: the endangered key deer. The deer currently have a population between 1,300 and 1,500. So far, 102 animals have been euthanized after developing untreatable infections. Screwworms lay eggs in broken skin, and their maggots feed on living flesh. All but seven of the infected deer have been bucks. With open wounds from fighting over females, they are more susceptible to infection.

Federal officials began to sterilize male flies on Big Pine and No Name Key, the worst affected areas. The strategy worked in the 1950s and 1960s, leading to an eradication of the disease in Florida. Biologists and volunteers have begun to feed the key deer food laced with doramectin, a powerful anti-parasitic drug.

7. Aleppo Evil

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Photo credit: DBaba/Wikimedia

Cutaneous leishmaniasis is a disfiguring disease spread by sand flies. Known as “Aleppo Evil,” the disease has been endemic to Syria for centuries. Horrible open sores emerge around the bite site. The disease can be deadly if left untreated or if it destroys the mucus membranes.

Once contained in Syria, the disease broke out in refugee camps in Lebanon in 2012. The disease is now found in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and even southern Europe. The Kurdish Red Crescent reported that ISIS spread the disease by dumping festering bodies in the streets. The School of Tropic Medicines has refuted this primitive biological warfare claim. Sand flies feed on the living, not rotting corpses. The rise is due to a collapsed health care system.

6. Eczema Herpeticum

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Photo credit: pcds.org.uk

Owen Richards, seven, developed eczema when he was just six weeks old. It began as redness on his cheek and soon spread to his legs and stomach. The condition worsened, leaving the boy covered in weeping, bloody sores. The eczema grew so bad that his family could not even hug him. The scratching and bleeding fits made even simple tasks like going to the bathroom and dressing an exercise in agony. Painful cysts developed under his fingernails.

In 2013, Owen was hospitalized with eczema herpeticum, a rare flesh-eating bacterial infection. It began looking like chicken pox, but within 24 hours, the flesh-eating disease began to devour his face. It looked like he suffered from burns. Owen was initially placed on intravenous antiviral drugs. However, fearing the impact of harsh treatment on the young boy, his mother soon explored herbal alternatives. Shulan Tang, a professor of Chinese medicine in Manchester, prescribed an herbal mixture. Within four weeks, Owen was healthy enough to run, play, and even attend school.

5. Alabama Rot

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Photo credit: mirror.co.uk

Alabama Rot, also known as cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy, was first spotted among greyhounds in the United States. The disease causes festering skin lesions and can lead to kidney failure if untreated. Dog owners are becoming terrified to take their pets anywhere.

The first case in the UK appeared in 2012. Since 2014, a full-blown outbreak has begun across all breeds and ages, with at least 78 cases since 2012. Lesions typically appear around the face, abdomen, and legs. These are followed by nausea, fatigue, high fever, and eventual renal failure. The origins of the disease are unknown. There is no evidence of virus, fungus, bacteria, or toxins. Some suspect that a rare form of E. coli bacteria might be the culprit.

4. Necrotic Spider Bites

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Brown recluse bites are rare. They are not aggressive and lack the ability to pierce clothing. Bites usually only occur when the arachnids are accidentally trapped against the skin. Even without treatment, most bites heal within three weeks. However, in some cases the venom destroys the surrounding tissue.

In 2013, Jeff Hanneman, the guitarist from shred-metal band Slayer, died of liver failure. Nearly every news outlet reported that he died from complications of necrotizing fasciitis he received from a spider bite in 2010. It took several operations to remove the dead tissue. He was even placed in a medically induced coma and had to learn to walk again. A coroner ruled alcohol-induced cirrhosis was the culprit. It is likely that this liver disease preceded the spider bite.

3. Sepsis’s Second Act

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Photo credit: Daily Echo

In 2012, John Middleditch thought he had the flu. A purple rash spread across his body. His limbs turned black and filled with fluid. Multiple internal organs failed. The diagnosis was sepsis. His forearms and both legs were amputated. Against the odds, the quadruple amputee survived. Doctors fitted him with prosthetic limbs, and Midleditch was even back at his beloved gardening.

Four years later, the disease struck again. Within weeks, Middleditch was dead.

44,000 people die of sepsis each year in the UK alone. It is more common than heart attacks and kills more people per year than cancer. Also known as “blood poisoning,” the condition is almost always triggered by another common infection. The body overreacts, and the immune system devours tissue and organs.

2. Buruli Ulcer

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Photo credit: Okechukwu Chukwuekezie

Buruli ulcer is spreading across West Africa. So far, this flesh-eating disease has infected 40,000 people. It leaves its victims with festering wounds and swollen ulcers. In extreme cases, amputation is needed. Experts are uncertain how the disease spreads. Most suspect contact with an opening in the skin.

A huge number of West African cases go unreported because of illiteracy, poverty, and reliance on traditional healing techniques. Many sufferers believe they are under the influence of witchcraft. The World Health Organization reports that a vaccine offers short term defense against the bacteria that causes the disease, Mycobacterium ulcerans. Long-term vaccines and effective diagnosis techniques are in the works.

1. Chesapeake Killer

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On September 11, 2016, Michael Funk was cleaning crab pots in the Chesapeake Bay. Four days later, he was dead. A flesh-eating bacteria known as Vibrio vulnificus devoured him alive. He soon fell ill with ferocious pain in his legs and was hospitalized. A doctor removed dead tissue, but the disease spread to his bloodstream. There was nothing anyone could do.

Vibrio bacteria thrive in warm, coastal waters with low salinity. There are 85,000 cases per year in the United States. Eating tainted crabs and fish is the most common mode of infection. Funk contracted his infection through a cut in his leg. There may be pressure from the tourist industry to downplay the significance of these flare-ups.

Top image: Necrotizing fasciitis, the flesh-eating disease. Credit: Piotr Smuszkiewicz, Iwona Trojanowska and Hanna Tomczak/Wikimedia Commons.

[Source: Listverse. Edited. Top image added.]

INFOGRAPHIC: THE WORLD'S MOST UNBELEAFABLE PLANTS


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There are plants you can grow in your backyard - some beautiful, others tasty. But there are plants that take things to crazy extremes, like those that trap and digest their prey and others that smell like corpse. This infographic by The Greenhouse People focuses on the latter - the awe inspiring plants that nature has to offer but ones that you surely would not want to have in your garden.

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VIDEO: HOW COLOR BLIND PEOPLE SEE THE WORLD


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Have you ever had an argument with a friend about the color of a particular object? Just imagine that your favorite red jacket suddenly is, according to your crazy friend, a green one! Don’t worry, take a deep breath…probably he’s just simply color blind…or maybe you are color blind? It’s perfectly possible. It turns out that one out of every ten people on earth is color blind, and most of them do not even know it! How is that possible? It is actually quite simple. We cannot even imagine how people with eye disorders experience life. So in the video below by #Mind Warehouse, we will try to understand how a color blind person sees the world and to explain the causes of color blindness.


Top gif image created from the video.

[Source: #Mind Warehouse via YouTube.]