; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Just the Facts?: Starbucks Uses Dried BUGS! -- Wife Beating Instructions -- Smarter Than Einstein

Starbucks reveals popular drink contains crushed BUGS!

Have you ever wondered how Starbucks makes their Strawberry Frappuccinos look so vibrantly pink?
The pink hue is thanks to crushed up insects, according to new information provided by the coffee chain giant.

In a statement released by Starbucks, the company has revealed that they use cochineal extract, which is the ground-up bodies of insects, as a dye for the popular rose-coloured beverage.

Bugs from mainly Mexico and South America are dried out before they are ground and used in the milky-based Frappuccino drink.

As stomach-turning as it may sound, the ingredient is in fact harmless. Commonly used to help liven up the dull hues of jams, meats, cheese, baked goods, alcoholic drinks and more, cochineal extract has been used as a colouring agent in food and drinks for centuries.

It has been deemed safe by the United States’ Food and Drug Administration.

‘At Starbucks, we strive to carry products that meet a variety of dietary lifestyles and needs,’ the statement read. ‘While the strawberry base isn’t a vegan product, it helps us move away from artificial dyes.’

But the all-natural matter is not entirely free of health risks.

The World Health Organisation has found that cochineal extract may cause asthma in some people. Others may see an allergic reaction.

Vegan fans may not be happy with its inclusion either. ThisDishIsVegetarian.com, an animal rights and eco-friendly news site, labels the extract non-vegan. - dailymail


Scientist anticipates human trials for tumor-killing drug

After more than a decade of research, Stanford University biologist Irving Weissman believes his tumor-killing drug is ready for human trials.

Speaking to reporter Sarah C. P. Williams for Science Magazine, a publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Weissman said numerous tests have showed that his experimental drug either killed or shrank the cancerous growths implanted into mice.

The drug was tested on a variety of different cancers, including bladder, brain, liver, breast, colon, ovary and prostate growths. In all cases, it succeeded in dramatic reduction or total eradication of the cancer.

It works by tricking cancer cells into shutting down production of a specific protein that camouflages the disease from the host’s immune system. The CD47 protein, Weissman said, was discovered in blood cancers, but research has found that it also exists in virtually every other type of human cancer as well.

That’s the weak spot, he believes.

While it seems to give hope for a breakthrough in its present state, Weissman’s research will have to face a new set of challenges in humans, where cancer has grown organically instead of via implant.

That represents a very different environment where tumors may have additional defenses against immune system attack and unforeseen side effects could emerge, sources told Science Magazine.


Book tells Muslim men how to beat and control their wives

A local bookstore has “sold out” of a controversial marriage guide that advises Muslim men on how to beat their wives.

The 160-page book, published by Idara Impex in New Delhi, India, is written by Hazrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi, who’s described in the book’s foreword as a “prolific writer on almost every topic of Islamic learning.”

The store’s manager, who didn’t give his name, said the book had been sold out for some time, and the store’s owner, whom the manager identified as Shamim Ahmad, refused to comment for the story.

It wasn’t clear whether the shop has ordered more copies of the book, but it’s available at online Islamic bookstores and even through eBay.

In the book’s opening pages, it is written that “it might be necessary to restrain her with strength or even to threaten her.”

Later, its author advises that “the husband should treat the wife with kindness and love, even if she tends to be stupid and slow sometimes.”

Page 45 contains the rights of the husband, which include his wife’s inability to leave “his house without his permission,” and that his wife must “fulfil his desires” and “not allow herself to be untidy ... but should beautify herself for him ... ”

In terms of physical punishment, the book advises that a husband may scold her, “beat by hand or stick,” withhold money from her or “pull (her) by the ears,” but should “refrain from beating her excessively.”

Moderate Muslim voice Tarek Fatah says the shopkeeper should be charged for selling such a book.

“I wouldn’t say it’s hate, but it is inciting men to hit women,” said Fatah, who identified the book’s author as a prominent Islamic scholar. “This is new to you, but the Muslim community knows that this is widespread, that a woman can be beaten. Muslim leaders will deny this, but... ”

Male dominance over women has been making headlines for some time, with the recent lengthy trial and conviction of the Shafia family.

Mohammad Shafia, 59, his second wife, Tooba Yahya, 42, and their son, Hamed, 21, were each convicted in January on four counts of first-degree murder in what was characterized as an honour killing of four female family members as punishment for disobedience. They were handed life sentences with no chance of parole for 25 years.

Shafia’s three daughters and his first wife were found drowned in a car at the bottom of the Rideau Canal in Kingston, Ont., in June 2009.

Eric Brazau says he was flipping through the marriage guide while in the bookstore around a month ago.

Brazau bought it out of curiosity but was taken aback when he found dozens of chapters and passages giving Muslim husbands advice on controlling, restraining, scolding and beating their wives.

“At first, I thought that it is incredible that this kind of thing can be found in Canada,” said Brazau. “And then I thought, radical Islam is not coming to Canada, it is already here.” - torontosun

A Gift for Muslim Couple


Russian serial-killer cannibal ate victims' livers

An alleged serial killer who practiced cannibalism has been arrested in Central Russia. The detainee has confessed to at least six murders, but the number of victims could be higher. Reports say the accused wanted to impress his girlfriend.

Twenty-four-year-old Aleksandr Bychkov was initially arrested in Russia’s Penza Region on suspicion of involvement in a hardware store robbery. However, while being questioned Bychkov suddenly began telling police about corpses he had buried in a ravine near his home.

According to the police spokesperson, investigators found the remains of six people. They were “recovered from the ground and sent for examination.”

The examination revealed that Bychkov had chopped his victims into pieces. He then cut out their livers and ate them.

"The facts of cannibalism in some episodes did take place," a high-ranking source from law enforcement body in the region confirmed to Izvestia newspaper.

Reports emerge Bychkov had been trying to impress his girlfriend by killing and eating people – or it least to pluck up some courage to see her.

“She blanked me. She said I’m spineless, and I am a lone wolf. I’ll prove it. She doesn’t know and I cannot tell her anything,” Bychkov reportedly wrote in his diary, as online tabloid LifeNews quotes him.

According to the tabloid, Bychkov has already told police of a grave with a seventh body. Law enforcers suspect he may have been involved in more murders, since quite a number of people went missing in the region between 2009 and 2011.

“The suspect identified the photographs of people shown to him. In addition, he pledged involvement in other similar cases,” said the official spokesperson of investigation committee, as cited by Izvestia.

Law enforcers have been concealing information about these crimes in an effort to avoid community panic. The local police chief even tried to calm citizens by publishing a newspaper article in which he claimed groundless rumors spread quickly in such a small city. He claimed the investigation had not confirmed that murders had occurred.

Meanwhile, in 2011 the court sentenced disabled man Aleksandr Guplov for these crimes. It is now evident he was most likely wrongfully convicted. - RT


Genius smarter than Albert Einstein wants to quit cleaning windows

When he came to, he had suddenly become a maths whizzkid - but, despite his skills with numbers, the 39-year-old can’t get a well-paid job.

Steve, 39, said: 'I fell off some monkey bars when I was five and a couple of days later something changed in me and I was able to work out huge arithmetic sums.

'For the past year I've been working as a window cleaner but I would love somebody to take me on and give me a chance to show what I can do with figures.'

With an IQ of 180, he can figure out sums running into millions but can only find work polishing windows in Warminster, Wiltshire.

His vast intelligence makes him smarter than Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking and Countdown's Carol Vorderman.

He also knows exactly how much his shopping is going to total before he gets to the till and is easily able to keep track of how much money his girlfriend spends.

Mr Borlase, who has represented England as a pool player, said: ‘I did apply to go on Countdown as the new Carol Vorderman but they said I was no good as the male viewers like looking at a shapely figure.’ - metro