The People of Hawaii Are Facing a Growing and Ominous Threat

How bad could the volcanic activity get on the big island of Hawaii? Are lives at risk? How would people die if the volcano experienced a full and violent eruption?

The USGS has warned previously that boulders the size of refrigerators could be launched from the crater should another eruption take place.

The Kilauea volcano first erupted April 3, sending toxic gases into the Big Island’s atmosphere and eventually leading to more than a dozen cracks opening in the neighborhoods of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens. Even if the volanco does not fully explode people with respiratory issues are already suffering because of the great increase of pollutants in the air.

Nearly 2,000 people were evacuated from the neighborhoods last week. Many more evacuations are being contemplated

At least 35 structures, including two dozen homes, have been destroyed by encroaching molten lava. The lava is spewing out of enormous cracks in the ground, which are increasing by the moment, thus enhancing the danger. The lava has also enveloped homes and cars, by starting massive fires and encasing what was left in molten rock. This is what happend tothe  people at Pompeii.

Most people would think that  shrinking lava table would mean the threat is diminishing. However, the opposite is true.

We see that now is that the level of lava inside the main crater of Kilauea, is falling. this is bad, very bad for the people of Hawaii because as lava levels fall inside the volcano, sea water from the long volcanic tunnels which lead to the ocean, allows the sea water to pour into these open cracks.  When that sea water reaches the main volcanic chamber and contacts the molten hot lava, the water will instantly boil into steam, and that is when very bad things will begin to happen.

Another complicating factors consists of the consideration that as the lava level has fallen, giant rocks, dirt and other debris from the volcano walls has broken off and fallen into the volcanoblocking the main crater.  Subsequently, the steam created from the ocean water flowing-in from lava tubes, could become trapped and build-up pressure.  Staggering levels of pressure will develop and eventally, the steam pressure build-up could cause the volcano to literally explode, hurling all the rocks, dirt and other material miles into the air.

The volcano could then eject “ballistic rocks” of lava up to several feet in diameter, as large as refrigators, stated the USGS.

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Why A Growing Community of Women & Men Are Abstaining From Porn & Masturbation

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They are known as “fapstronauts,” and they are part of a growing community of hundreds of thousands of men and women who are abstaining from masturbation to internet pornography.

Their community is called “NoFap,” and its founder, Alexander Rhodes, is a man on a mission to educate and inspire the world about the damaging effects of masturbating to porn.

What could possibly be wrong with harmless masturbation, you might wonder? Aren’t we meant to enjoy the simple pleasure centres of our bodies?

According to Rhodes, masturbating to porn isn’t harmless at all. In fact, it is a silent epidemic of disastrous proportion.

“The emergence of internet pornography has changed the landscape of sexual development and relationships in a way never-before-seen in human history,” he said during his speech at the Out of the Shadows national press conference. “As a result, countless people are having their sexual tastes shaped by porn producers rather than real, human, experiences. These days, exposure to pornography seems to be a virtual certainty and young men [and women] are therefore automatically ‘opted-in’ to potential addiction, relational difficulty, porn-induced erectile dysfunction, and more,” he continued.

During his speech, Rhodes discusses the idea that porn is a relatively new variable in human evolution, and we are only beginning to see the repercussions of its use arise in the current generation of men and women.

He says exposure to porn is so rampant that it is practically mandatory for children to come into contact with some image or video before puberty. He quotes an Australian study which asked 258 male participants about their exposure to porn. Only one reported they’d never been exposed. Even more concerning, the median age of first exposure was 13 for males and 16 for females.

In this way, Rhodes says, kids are learning about sexuality through porn before their first kiss.

Frequent masturbation to porn is causing erectile dysfunction in a generation of men.

Today, a large community of “fapstronauts” is coming forward to talk about the impact this exposure has had on their lives. They report heavy reliance on porn and masturbation is manifesting in disturbing ways­ — erectile dysfunction (ED) and anorgasmia, the inability to orgasm during partnered sex, being a few of them.

According to a Kinsey report, in 1948 less than 1% of men under 30 had ED. In 2012, Swiss researchers found this number at 30%.

And the effects of watching porn span far beyond the physical, says Rhodes.

“Different studies on porn users are showing associations with sexual dysfunction, brain hypofrontality, desensitization, sensitization to porn cues, increased stress, less motivation, relationship problems, decreased sexual satisfaction, and other life-altering detriments.”
(For an extensive list of research articles on the effects of porn, click here.)

Numerous scientific studies have found that excessive porn use has biological and behavioural ramifications.

Rhodes also stresses that he and the NoFap community are in no way ‘sex negative’:

Being skeptical of pornography is not the same thing as being sex negative – there’s a huge difference between pornography and sex. In porn, the viewer is a voyeur, rather than a participant. It is on a screen. It is available in virtually endless amounts and pirated all over porn tube sites without monetary cost. It is always accessible, just a tap or click away. To our brain’s reward system, this can be an especially enticing quick and repeatable path to an orgasm, compared to partnered sex. In fact, many people who are quitting porn are doing so in the pursuit of better sex. Quitting porn is sex positive.

He notes many NoFap community members are there to improve their interpersonal relationships, whether it be for a marriage, a relationship, or single life. For others, it is simply a challenge of willpower — to seize control of your sexuality and turn it into superpowers.

“There are many, many different reasons to join but we’re all on NoFap with one goal – to help each other abstain from PMO (porn/masturbation/orgasm).”

Men And Women Report Incredible Life Shifts After Quitting Porn and Masturbation

Within the many pages of the NoFap forums, whether directly on the NoFap website or within the large and fast-growing Reddit community, it is easy to see the profound shifts taking place for people who’ve succeeded in the NoFap challenge, which consists of setting an intention to abstain from masturbation and watching porn for a certain amount of time and then riding it out.

The NoFap community is growing at a rapid pace.

Participants report diverse and overwhelmingly positive results from their efforts, like increased confidence, reduced anxiety, improved focus and memory, increased concentration, improved social skills, deeper sleeps, enhanced abilities to feel emotions, less brain fog, and even seemingly being more attractive to females.

While some might say these are rather normal powers, fapstronauts say that after years of feeling depressed, scattered. and unmotivated, the onset of these new changes feel as incredible as real ‘ superpowers‘ would.

One user, “borninthenorthwest,” said committing to NoFap altered his attitudes toward sex and women entirely:

My relationship with porn began at the age of 13 with nude Playboy photos of Pamela Anderson and Jenny McCarthy. This was in the days of dial-up Internet, and I was initiated by my childhood best friend at the time. Although this did not seem pornographic, relative to what my peers were beginning to look at, I now see that this was the beginning. It began a cycle where every woman I met was judged by these photogenic standards, and felt no real attraction towards most girls in high school, despite being popular and well-liked for my prowess on the guitar.

He explained his warped attitude toward women posed issues in his sex life.

“None of the girls I met in college could compare to the standards in my own mind. What few girls I was attracted to, I felt incapable of asking out for a date, and often would simply fantasize about them instead.”

He admits he developed an addiction to porn, and at 31 he discovered the NoFap community.

“Since then my relationship with both pornography and far more innocent triggers is vastly different. I no longer use porn at all, and no longer place the celebrity notion of beauty on the pedestal either, and am interested in real life and real people, slowly but surely engaging in reality.”

“Fapstronauts” claim that abstaining from porn and masturbation improves their overall confidence and sex lives.

Here is what a few other fapstronauts had to say.


“Went to a dance last night and asked a bunch of girls to dance. Felt like a boss. A few months ago I would have been sweating and shaking doing that. I would’ve been looking at the floor with my head down like a whipped puppy trying to ask a girl to dance. Stay strong everybody! There’s life after PMO, and it’s awesome af!”


“Today I am walking around with random erections all day long, like a teenager. I am in my 40s, so this feels strange.”


“Life is amazing and it’s only been two weeks! I have found out how much more confident I am in public, and how much more secure I feel about myself.”


“I finished a 300 page book in one sitting today. Before I would fall asleep or procrastinate and play on my phone. Now I can read and actually remember what I read.” 

The Most Important Takeaway

Today, Rhode’s mission is to get the message out to parents so that healthy conversations can start happening at an early age.

Educating children about sexuality and the effects of watching porn is a crucial component in preventing porn addiction and porn related side effects.

“Families need to educate their children about pornography – and they need to do so before the porn producers do, since right now minors are getting hooked on porn long before they are made aware of the potential negative effects.”

And for the ones currently suffering from porn related side effects, he offers that the treatment to these symptoms simply comes down to one thing— removing porn from their lives:

We simply want people to ask themselves the question, how is porn impacting my life and relationships? And if they do not know how porn is impacting them, they can simply take a quick break, changing one variable in a self experiment, to see what impact it might have on their lives and their relationships. Already, thousands have made the personal decision to leave porn in the past, and have gone on to live more fulfilling lives with improved interpersonal relationships. It’s time we think about and openly discuss our heavy usage of pornography. In the meantime more and more people around the world will continue to declare their autonomy and reclaim their sexualities from the porn production companies.

If you are struggling with porn addiction, or are simply curious about what others are reporting from abstaining from masturbation, join the NoFap communities through their website or on Reddit. NoFap offers many resources as well as a global support network to help you transition away from the addictive influence of porn.

Do you have something to say about the effects of watching porn? Share with us on Facebook!


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From Pixels To Plate: The 3D Printed Food Industry Is Growing

By Fattima Mahdi Truth Theory

As the world’s population rapidly approaches 8 billion, modern food production methods are in need of a transformation to keep up, and 3D food printing technology may be the answer.

Conventional 3D printers can do just about anything. They create 3D objects from metals, plastics and a whole heap of other raw materials. The concept of 3D food printing follows the same process, the only difference is that foodstuffs like pasta, vegetables and meat are loaded into food-safe capsules. The capsules can be sold as a together or separately, and the recipes are preprogrammed, with most of the dishes ready to eat straight from the printer.

3D printers give users complete control over consistency and texture, the ease and precision with which the food can be produced could revolutionise how we source and create our food. The printers can also help to make food production more sustainable, combat malnutrition in the developing world and aid people with illnesses. “People shrug off this technology and say it’s just for fun,” says Kjeld van Bommel, a research scientist at TNO, a Dutch research institution working on food printing technologies.” But fun is a huge part of food”. 3D printed food in attractive shapes and colours can get children with autism and other illnesses that affects their diet eat better on a psychological and nutritional level.

“We have to produce as much food in the next 40 years as we have in the last 8,000,” Jason Clay, Senior Vice President for Market Transformation at the World Wildlife Fund, said. “We need to find a way to do this more sustainably. The biggest threat to the planet is to continue producing food in a business-as-usual fashion”.

“Food printing could allow consumers to print food with customized nutritional content, optimized based on biometric and genomic data,” Columbia Professor Hod Lipson, told The New York Times. “So instead of eating a slice of yesterday’s bread from the supermarket, you’d eat something baked just for you on demand. This may be the missing link between nutrition and personal medicine, and the food that’s on your table.” “Food printers are not meant to replace conventional cooking—they won’t solve all of our nutritional needs, nor cook everything we should eat. But they will produce an infinite variety of customized fresh, nutritional foods on demand, transforming digital recipes and basic ingredients supplied in frozen cartridges into healthy dishes that can supplement our daily intake,” says Lipson.

It is important to note that despite the recent advancements in 3D food printing, there are still many obstacles to overcome. For one, the ingredients used in the capsules have to be converted to paste before being programmed, so the printing process is time-consuming. “Printing in food materials is a lot more difficult from an engineering point of view than plastic or metals,” Lipson said. “They interact with each other in very complex ways.”

Find out more about 3D Food Printers below:

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And the fastest growing bank asset in 2017 was… SUBPRIME!

Simon Black–They say that goldfish have the shortest memory in the Animal Kingdom… something like 3-seconds.

But it turns out this isn’t actually true.

Researchers at the Israeli Technion Institute of Technology conducted an experiment in 2009 proving that even the tiniest fish could be trained to recall certain sounds after as long as FIVE MONTHS.

According to another study from the University of Chicago, Dolphins ostensibly have the best memories in the Animal Kingdom, and in an experiment were able to recall a distinct whistle after 20 YEARS.

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Then there are bankers… financius dumbassus, a curious species not fully related to the Animal Kingdom, somewhat descended from protozoa, who display truly bizarre behavior when it comes to memory function.

Case in point: Throughout the mid-2000s, bankers engaged in woefully short-sighted, self-destructive behavior by loaning their depositors’ money to risky borrowers who put no money down to buy overpriced houses.

These loans called ‘subprime mortgages’. And before long, some even more self-destructive bankers began packing thousands of these subprime mortgages together into gigantic bonds, which bankers would trade among themselves.

Everybody in the financial system was in on it.

The mortgage brokers raked in huge fees for closing individual loans.

The investment bankers made money packaging the loans into subprime bonds.

And the ratings agencies (like S&P and Moody’s) made money slapping pristine “AAA” ratings on these bonds, essentially promising the world that they were RISK FREE.

Looking back they obviously weren’t risk free.

Banks were making risky loans to borrowers who had a history of not paying their debts based on the premise that home prices only increase in value.

And when home prices started to fall, the entire apparatus collapsed in late 2008.

You’d think that the entire financius dumbassus species would have learned from this experience.

But you would be wrong.

And that’s because financius dumbassus has an incredibly short memory.

Not even a decade after these loans nearly brought down the entire global economy, SUBPRIME IS BACK.

In fact it’s one of the fastest growing investments among banks in the United States.

Over the last twelve months the subprime volume among US banks doubled, and it’s already on pace to double again this year.

Bottom line– financius dumbassus is once again back to its old ways… making risky loans to borrowers with pitiful credit.

What could possibly go wrong?

Leave it to financius dumbassus to try the same thing again and expect a different result. It’s textbook insanity.

Of course, they don’t call it ‘subprime’ anymore. Now it’s called “non-QM”, meaning “non qualified mortgage.”

But it’s exactly the same thing– borrowers who don’t qualify for a conventional loan because of their pitiful credit and inability to make a down payment.

It’s as if they think they’ll be able to avoid the same consequences simply by changing the name. It’s genius!

As a friendly reminder, financius dumbassus isn’t making these suprime/non-QM loans with its own money.

Oh no. They’re making these loans with their depositors’ money. YOUR money.

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After Multiple States Resisted, Feds Propose Bill To Legalize Growing Hemp—NATIONALLY


The many Americans who have called out the federal government for waging a war on hemp and improperly classifying it as a dangerous substance have found an unlikely ally in a senator who still believes marijuana should be illegal.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that he will introduce the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, which seeks to remove hemp from the federal government’s controlled substances list and to legalize it as an agriculture commodity. A press release from the senator claimed that the bill seeks to:

“The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 will help Kentucky enhance its position as the leading state on hemp production. It builds upon the success we have seen through the hemp pilot programs by allowing states to be the primary regulators of hemp if the U.S. Department of Agriculture approves their implementation plan. This legislation also will remove the federal barriers in place that have stifled the industry, which will help expand the domestic production of hemp. It will also give hemp researchers the chance to apply for competitive federal grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture—allowing them to continue their impressive work with the support of federal research dollars.” 

When McConnell introduces the legislation, he will have the support of a bipartisan group of senators that includes fellow Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. McConnell noted that hemp has played a significant role in Kentucky’s agricultural heritage, and he believes it will help shape the future.

McConnell also credited Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles and his predecessor, Jamie Comer, as the “real champions for the research and development of industrial hemp” whose work in Kentucky has “become a nationwide example for the right way to cultivate hemp.”

Quarles said he believes the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 will allow the agricultural industry to “harness the economic viability of this crop and presents the best opportunity to put hemp on a path to commercialization.”

Here in Kentucky, we have built the best Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program in the country and have established a model for how other states can do the same with buy-in from growers, processors, and law enforcement,” Quarles said.

The press release noted that McConnell has openly supported the legalization of hemp since 2014 when he pushed for the federal government to legalize hemp pilot programs.

However, McConnell does not support the legalization of the cannabis plant. While he has said that he may support reclassifying cannabis because he acknowledges that it is not as dangerous as heroin, he has maintained that he believes legalizing cannabis would mean that the government admits defeat in the War on Drugs. 

“I’m against legalizing marijuana,” McConnell said. “Certainly it’s not in the same category as heroin, but I think to begin … to sort of send the message that we’re giving up, you know, that this is just the way it’s going to be, then one thing leads to another and pretty soon … you completely transform your society in a way that I think certainly most Kentuckians would not agree with.”  

Hemp is the product of a variety of the cannabis plant, and although it is non-psychoactive, it is still treated as a drug in the United States. However, hemp has the potential to be used in more than 25,000 products, including fibers, textiles, paper and construction and insulation materials—which may explain why the federal government seems intent on keeping it from the public.

As The Free Thought Project reported earlier this month, Alaska became the latest state to fight back against the government’s “War on Nature” after its state legislature passed a bill to legalize the production of industrial hemp.

Alaska Republican Sen. Shelley Hughes told Alaska Public Media that she introduced the bill more than a year ago after she was approached by local farmers who wanted to grow hemp to use for feed and bedding for livestock and to clean up oil spills.

It was time to remove hemp from the marijuana statutesThere’s no psychoactive impact from hemp. If you were to smoke acres and acres and acres of hemp, all you would get would be a sore throat and a cough,” Hughes said.

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A growing stink – bothered by fragrance?



“More and more, I walk into homes, stores and businesses and am greeted with an immediate blast of perfumed air. . . . And what is added scent but a chemical? Why breathe that in constantly?”

When a Washington Post reader wrote the comments above and implored me to write an article about how to avoid scented products, I was an easy sell. I find artificially perfumed products so distracting that I have trouble concentrating in their presence. I can’t stand to have certain brands of dryer sheets in my house, even in an unopened box in the basement. And I confess that I once sneaked an air freshener out of an Uber and tossed it in the trash!

A growing stink

Despite negative reactions from some consumers, scented products seem to be gaining popularity. For example, plastic garbage bags never used to be scented, but an industry blog says that many now are and that “the market is a fiercely competitive one, so the battle to win the noses of consumers is on.”

As manufacturers make more of their products smell, consumers are putting up more of a stink. Dozens of blogs rail against scented products, including one called “Fragrance Free Living” and another called “Think Before You Stink.” These bloggers call fragrance “the new secondhand smoke.” They’re not crazy. The Environmental Protection Agency says indoor air pollution is real, partly because of fragrances, and that our homes and offices “can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities.”

Health effects

The people who suffer the most from fragrances are those with multiple chemical sensitivity, or MCS. “Fragrances rank high among the chemical exposures I find problematic,” said Alison Johnson, who has MCS and founded the Chemical Sensitivity Foundation. “One thing that alarms me is that in the last few years, the phone calls and emails I’m receiving are now predominantly from people in a panic because exposure to fragrances in the workplace is making it impossible for them to keep a job.” Johnson produced an educational video and is lobbying lawmakers to mandate fragrance-free workplaces.

But artificial fragrances aren’t just a problem for certain groups. More than a third of Americans surveyed reported experiencing health problems when exposed to them, according to a study by Anne Steinemann of the University of Melbourne. “All fragranced products that I tested . . . emitted chemicals classified as hazardous air pollutants,” Steinemann said in an email. “You may not realize you’re being affected until it’s too late.”

The Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety lists the following possible symptoms of exposure to fragrances: “headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, weakness, insomnia, numbness, upper respiratory symptoms, shortness of breath, skin irritation, malaise, confusion and difficulty with concentration.”

Labeling confusion

If you’re allergic to nuts or sensitive to gluten, you usually can read the ingredients on a food package and steer clear. By contrast, fragrances have long been considered trade secrets, so the federal government doesn’t require manufacturers to print what’s in them. The Food and Drug Administration requires manufacturers to list the ingredients in personal-care products, but they are allowed to just state “fragrance” as an ingredient, rather than spelling out what chemicals are in the fragrance.

Federal regulations for household cleaning products are even looser. Manufacturers are not required to list any of these products’ ingredients. A few big companies have begun disclosing their ingredients voluntarily, including SC Johnson, Clorox and Reckitt Benckiser, maker of Lysol. Two states, California and New York, recently took matters into their own hands, passing laws requiring manufacturers to divulge the ingredients in their cleaning products.

Here’s another confusing labeling issue involving fragrances: The terms “unscented” and “fragrance-free” sound the same but are totally different. Unscented means that a product doesn’t have a detectable odor – but it does not mean that it contains no artificial scents. Manufacturers are allowed to use artificial scents in “unscented” products if they are there to cover up the smell of other ingredients.

By contrast, “fragrance-free” is the label to look for if you are bothered by chemical fragrances, as it means no artificial smells have been added to a product. You can double-check this claim, if there are ingredients listed, by looking for the words “perfume,” “parfum” or “fragrance” on the list.

Resources for consumers

Here are some resources for finding fragrance-free products.

EPA Safer Choice-certified products: The EPA scrutinizes product ingredients for safety and certifies those that meet its criteria. When you search the Safer Choice database, you can check a box to look for fragrance-free products only. I found 860 when I looked. You can also look for the Safer Choice label on products at the store. Those that have no chemical scents are marked “fragrance free” in the upper left-hand corner of the label.

Environmental Working Group guides: The EWG provides easy-to-use online databases where you can search for what it deems healthy cleaners and healthy personal-care products. You can then check those products’ ingredients, if provided, to see whether “fragrance” or “perfume” is listed.

New York state’s asthma-friendly guide: Because people with asthma suffer more than most from exposure to chemicals and fragrances, New York created a list of green cleaning products for them that could be useful to you, too. If you type “fragrance free” into the keyword box, the site returns a page full of options.

DIY cleaning product recipes: Women’s Voices for the Earth has been working for better cleaning-product disclosures. Meanwhile, the group provides several recipes to make your own cleaning products. Note: The essential oils used as fragrance are considered more natural but still bother some people. If they bother you, skip them!

Non-perfumed magazines: If you’re subscribed to a magazine with perfume inserts that bother you, contact the publisher. Most large publishers have programs in place to send you magazines without the scented pages.

About the author

Elisabeth Leamy hosts the podcast “Easy Money.” She is a 13-time Emmy winner and a 25-year consumer advocate for programs such as Good Morning America. Connect with her at Follow @ElisabethLeamy

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Russia expels British diplomats amid growing tension after former spy poisoning

The move is latest in a growing feud between Russia and the United Kingdom after the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter — with Prime Minister Theresa May saying there is “no alternative conclusion” than Russia being responsible.

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Scientists Are Growing Sheep Embryos Containing Human Cells

By Fattima Mahdi Truth Theory

In 2017, a team of scientists made a controversial breakthrough, they experimented with pig embryos and injected it with human cells. The embryos were not allowed to develop past 28 days of age but it did move scientists one step closer to growing human organs for medical transplants. Today, a team of scientists from Stanford University have chosen to merge human stem cells with sheep embryos. The research hasn’t officially been published, but the experiment was announced at the 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting which took place over the weekend. The scientists chose sheep because the animal’s organs – specifically the heart and lungs – are similar to ours. It’s important to note that the contribution of human cells is very small. “About one in 10,000 cells in these sheep embryos are human,” said Dr Pablo Ross from the University of California, Davis, who is part of the team working towards growing human organs in other species. “For a pig we typically transfer 50 embryos to one recipient,” he said. “With the sheep we transfer four embryos to one recipient.”

As it stands, the team are only allowed to let the embryos develop for 28 days, however, Dr Hiro Nakauchi of Stanford University, who is part of the team, said a longer experiment, perhaps up to 70 days, could garner better results. Of course, there are some ethical concerns, which Ross also echoed. “If our results indicate that the human cells all go to the brain of the animal, then we may never carry this forward,” he said. However, he also agreed that, “all of these approaches are controversial, and none of them are perfect, but they offer hope to people who are dying on a daily basis.”

“Even today the best matched organs, except if they come from identical twins, don’t last very long because with time the immune system continuously is attacking them,” Ross says. “We need to explore all possible alternatives to provide organs to ailing people.”

“Of course, the ultimate goal of chimeric research is to learn whether we can use stem-cell and gene-editing technologies to generate genetically-matched human tissues and organs, and we are very optimistic that continued work will lead to eventual success,” said Salk Professor Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte”

Though the experiments are controversial, they could help bridge the gap between supply and demand for organ transplants.

Image Credit1: pojvistaimage / 123RF Stock Photo

Image Credit2: Pixabay

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Not just meat: MycoWorks is growing leather in a lab – from mushrooms

fungai leather


Apart from Modern Meadow, a company that grows leather in the lab, another start-up is giving leather makers a run for their money. MycoWorks is using fungi to produce leather substitutes, through a process that’s cheaper and faster.

MycoWorks’ chief technical officer Phil Ross has been collecting and growing mushrooms since the 1980s. He discovered the vast possibilities resulting from manipulating the growing conditions of the mushroom mycelium-the spiderweb-like fibers that extend through soil or decaying matter to gather nutrients. “Fungi are very sensitive; they will change their growth in relationship to how they’re being poked and things like that,” Ross says. “You put it in a cup, it would take the shape of a cup.”

The mushrooms were grown and fed with mostly agricultural waste such as corn cobs and sawdust while altering conditions such as humidity, light exposure, exchange of gases, and temperature in an effort to coax the fungi to grow in different ways, textures, and with varying durability. They even grew the material hard enough to be used as a chair.

The company is currently using Ganoderma lucidum, also known as the reishi mushroom (commonly found in Asian remedies and teas) because it has been proven safe for human skin and consumption.

Faster, Cheaper, Environment-Friendly

While it would take around two years for an actual cow mature enough to cultivate leather, mushroom leather only takes two weeks. In terms of resources needed, it also takes very little to grow the fungi as opposed to the space, food, and everything else needed to get products from livestock. Other animal products are also being replaced by lab grown materials, even meat is being grown from plant materials.

Apart from this, mushroom leather is highly sustainable without similar environmental hazards as those involved in processes employed by tanneries-which involve discarding highly polluted wastewater, as well as solid wastes and gases.

Ross is hopeful that the material will become a staple in other industries and adapted for products beyond leather, including wood and plastic substitutes.

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