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Armadillos Can Carry Leprosy ?

According to a report put out by the New England Journal of Medicine, leprosy has been linked to armadillos. Though leprosy is prevalent in India, researchers have found a link between the disease originating in the United States with armadillos.

The researchers base their results on an examination of 50 Americans with leprosy, their connection with armadillos, and the cases where the infected person never left the United States. Animal borne diseases are called zoonoses. This unusual case of zoonotic leprosy in the United States is not the only case where humans have contracted an animal borne (zoonotic) disease. Here are some other unusual outbreaks of animal borne diseases.


Monkeypox is an animal borne disease that causes nearly the same symptoms as the smallpox virus, such as blisters, fever and sore throat. This disease, which is prevalent in central and west Africa, made its way, via a shipment of African rodents, to the United States in 2003. The infected rodents spread the virus to some prairie dogs, which were later sold to a pet distribution center.

The CDC confirmed 37 cases of monkeypox, but no one died as a result. This exposure to the monkeypox virus in 2003 was the first in U.S history. As a result, scientists in the U.S Department of Agriculture- Wildlife Services initiated an investigation into the possibility that monkeypox could have spread to the surrounding wildlife.


An unusual zoonotic disease emerged in the United States in 1993 call the Hantavirus, causing Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), which causes a person's lungs to fill with fluid. The outbreak occurred in New Mexico, and several surrounding southwestern states.

The strain of virus that causes HPS has recently been identified and has been determined to be carried by certain rodents, like wild mice. The acquisition of the Hantavirus usually occurs when a person makes contact with an infected rodent's urine or droppings. Research shows that the Hantavirus cannot be spread from person to person. In the cases in the southwestern states, 40 percent turned fatal. Aside from spreading awareness, prevention measures are unclear at this time.


Every year in Colorado, during two seasons, people become infected with tularemia, which, according to Jefferson County Public Health, is a bacterial disease found in beavers, rabbits, and other rodents. A person can only get tularemia from an infected animal, as it cannot be passed from person to person.

Symptoms of tularemia include an extremely high fever, swollen lymph nodes, and sores or lesions where the bacteria initially entered through the victim's body. Although cases are reported yearly in Colorado, besides tracking infections among animals and spreading awareness, no preventative methods can be taken. Officials warn seasonal hunters, as they are the most susceptible to contracting tularemia.

The recent findings linking leprosy to armadillos in the Unites States, and these other unique cases of zoonoses, are a reminder to people that animals can carry damaging, and sometimes deadly, diseases. We should stay abreast of the possible diseases that are indigenous to our areas and practice safe, sanitary steps to ensure we do not become infected with animal borne diseases.

From : Ruqaiyya Noor


Here's What a $221 Million Apartment Looks Like !

The most expensive apartment in the United Kingdom sold for £135.4 million, or about $221 million, according to documents at the national Land Registry.
The deal was made in 2007, but the paperwork was only filed last week.
We don't know who actually bought the place, but whoever it is, they're "using lawyers in Ukraine," according to The Guardian.
Here's a quick overview of what we know about the place:

  • It was bought "as an empty shell," in The Guardian's words, with no amenities and nothing on the walls.
  • The buyer has reportedly spent another £60 million, or about $97.6 million, on interior work.
  • It's in the world's most expensive residential development, the One Hyde Park complex in London. This place is the project of Christan and Nick Candy, two brothers who enjoy a certain celebrity in the English real estate world.
  • It includes a movie theater, bulletproof glass, and--as reported by The Daily Telegraph--"a private underground tunnel to the Mandarin Oriental [hotel] next door which gives open access to the five-star facilities and allows a 60-strong army of hotel staff to serve residents in their apartments 24 hours a day."
  • The apartment itself is a three-story penthouse with 25,000 square feet, including a wine cellar.
  • The Real Estalker, a luxury-properties blog, says it's obtained floor plans and some brochure pictures of "a typical 5 bedroom apartment" at One Hyde Park.
  • The pictures are pretty jaw-dropping, and bear in mind that they depict an apartment with 8,500 square feet.
  • "Flat A," as the $221 million penthouse is known, has almost three times as much space.
Alex Eichler/The Atlantic Wire

Lamp Generates it’s Own Energy

The ZEN light promises to free you from plugs and cables.
It’s doesn’t even need an external power supply because it generates its own.
The trick is a sophisticated “magnetic engine” inside the ZEN.
The magnets naturally create enough force to keep the lamp spinning to power a series of LED diodes.
It’s only a concept but the idea is intriguing.

Designer: Andrej Čverha of HANGAR Design Forge




The Most Creative Stools in the World !

Check out these amazing stools, from a tooth stool to crystal stools and even snake and puzzle stools!


The Tooth Stool
This best seller designed by Philippe Starck, was originally created for the Saint Martin's Lane Hotel in London.

Snake Bar Stool Concept
Designer Svilen Gamolov has announced his Snake Bar Stool concept. The stool is radically designed and resembles a hissing snake ready to strike at the challenge with a vicious and fatal poisonous bite.
Crystal Stools
Stools made entirely of Val-Saint-Lambert Crystals!
3 Idiots Stools
The funny stool used in the Indian Movie 3 Idiots.
iTamtam M1 iPod Docking Stool
Introduced by Branex Design, a French base company at the CES 2010 in Las Vegas. Most iPod docks look great on a desk, nightstand or countertop. The iTamtam dock sits on the floor, and you sit on the dock. Odd, right? Inspired by a line of stools featured at the MoMA, the iTamtams are docks, stools and speaker systems all in one sleek package.

Hand Stool
With this hand stool, the quirkiness and coolness is pretty handy. This stool in the shape of hand is made in hard-wearing ABS plastic. It could be used as a center piece in your living room or maybe even in your garden.

Bottle Top Bar Stool
The Bottle Top Bar Stool presents itself as the obvious choice for comfortably placing your posterior! With an ABS plastic seat top shaped like a bottle cap, the Bottle Top Bar Stool certainly lives up to its name! Providing perfect comfort at your bar, this unique bar stool is great for domestic placement at your home bar, or in your kitchen.

Puzzle Stool
Easiest jigsaw puzzle in the world or genius seating arrangement? The Jigsaw Puzzle Stool by VivaTerra is as much of an enigma as you want it to be. Crafted from sustainably produced, plantation-grown sheesham wood, the stool can be enjoyed on its own or linked with one or more of its brethren to form a bench or a mini-table.

Acrylic Stool / Magazine Rack
Designed by Karim Rashid (Born in Cairo, raised in Canada), he brings an inventive duality and a global sophistication to his Magino Stool and Magazine Holder. When the slots in the legs are employed to store magazines and other print material, the stool holds the publications with ease.

Headstand Stool
The stool "headstand" is based upon the principal of a skipjack and offers dynamic seating. Headstand turns the common ludo-pawn upside down in a surprising manner due to an unusual balance point.

Spring Stool
At ICFF 2010 in New York, the Belgian manufacturer Wildspirit exhibited the Spring Stool, designed by Dutch designer Erik Jansen.

Portable Stool
This creative stool was designed for everyone who likes traveling. It's made out of cardboard but it can easily hold a person up to 90Kg. It's very easy to fold and carry around. No glues and such chemicals are used to set up the stool. Take it anywhere, suitable to be used in concerts, camps, street, etc.

Splash Stool

How Dinosaurs Got So Huge

Among dinosaurs, the biggest of the big is Argentinosaurus. This long-necked, puny-headed creature is a member of a group of giants called sauropods. This particular extinct creature measured as much as 140 feet (43 meters) long and weighed up to 90 tons (82 metric tons).

Beyond inspiring awe, a creature of these proportions inspires all sorts of questions: Why and how did these dinosaurs, which started out relatively small, become so big? How did they feed and maintain their large bodies? A new exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City explores the mysteries surrounding their enormity.

The exhibit is dominated by a model of Mamenchisaurus, a smaller relative to Argentinosaurus. The skin is peeled back on half of the model to allow a peek into the animal's physiology. On the left side of the abdomen, projected images show body processes, such as the path of fresh air into the lungs and a birdlike system of air-storage sacs.

Large sauropods needed more air and more food than smaller creatures. A young adult Mamenchisaurus, for example, needed to consume 100,000 calories a day to maintain itself. This nutrition came from leaves and other plant material they snipped and stripped before gulping their meal down.

The long neck — for Mamenchisaurus it was 30 feet (9 meters) — made their enormous body size workable, allowing them to the reach to feed themselves efficiently. Sauropods used their necks to reach food without moving their more lumbering bodies. And in turn, the long neck — itself very light — was possible because of the dinosaur's small head, with the largest of sauropod brains weighing only 4 ounces (113 grams) as compared with the 48-ounce (1.4 kilograms) human brain.

The sauropod habit of gulping down its dinner is also crucial, according to P. Martin Sander, a co-curator of the exhibit and professor of vertebrate paleontology at the University of Bonn.

"Chewing limits body size," Sander said, explaining that animals that rely on chewing, like many mammals, depend on big molars and muscles to grind up their food to make nutrients available. As an animal gets larger, it needs progressively more energy, and eventually this cumbersome system can't provide it with enough calories.

Sauropods, meanwhile, had teeth, but they did not chew. The earliest sauropods had spoon-shaped teeth that made for a powerful bite, and later, some evolved pencil-tip-shaped teeth that functioned like rakes, stripping away leaves and needles from trees.

Another factor has kept mammals from reaching sauropod size: reproduction. Sauropods could lay 150 eggs in a year, making them more capable of bouncing back from a given catastrophe than mammals, which invest much more in fewer offspring. This means sauropods could exist at a much lower density in a given area than mammals without being wiped out, according to Sander. Lower density living makes larger body size possible because each individual has access to more resources.

"It's pretty clear what the limiting factors are in body size, that's what we've learned from studying dinosaurs," he said.

Even sauropods did not reach the theoretical maximum for size for land animals, which has been estimated at 150 to 200 tons, Sander said.

Baby sauropods did not start out large. They emerged from eggs smaller than a soccer ball and grew at astonishing rates of up to 12 pounds (5.4 kg) per day, according to Michael Novacek, a senior vice president at the museum. This rapid growth rate implies a high rate of metabolism, and therefore, warm- bloodedness, for at least a period during the sauropods' life span, according to Novacek.

There is no question that sauropods were successful: They walked the Earth for 140 million years.

Activists save Chinese dogs from cooking pot

BEIJING (AFP) – Hundreds of dogs being trucked to Chinese restaurants were spared a culinary fate after about 200 animal lovers mobilised to stop them ending up on dinner tables, state-run media said Monday.

A truck crammed with the dogs was forced to stop Friday on a highway in eastern Beijing by a motorist who swerved his car in front of the truck and then used his microblog to alert animal-rights activists, reports said.

The dogs, many apparently stolen from their owners, were being transported from the central Chinese province of Henan to restaurants in Jilin province in the northeast, the China Daily said. It said 430 dogs were rescued, while the Global Times put the number at 520.

Eventually, about 200 animal lovers and activists gathered around the truck in eastern Beijing and after a 15-hour standoff that jammed traffic the dogs were freed early Saturday when an animal-protection group purchased them for 115,000 yuan ($17,600), the Global Times said.

The interception of the dogs was the latest bold action by pet-lovers in China, where growing awareness of animal rights is colliding with centuries-old culinary practices.

There have been regular reports in recent years of citizens attempting to block trucks carrying hundreds or even thousands of cats to meat markets in southern China, where cat meat is particularly popular.

The China Daily quoted activists saying many of the dogs still had collars with bells and name tags, indicating they had been stolen from their owners and that the trucking company transported a load of dogs to Jilin each week.

The consumption of dog and cat meat, both of which are believed to promote bodily warmth and are thus popular in winter, remains widespread in China despite a surge in popularity as pets.

However, earlier press reports have said authorities were looking into drafting a law that could outlaw the practice.

The reports on the dog rescue suggested the truck company was unlikely to face legal action as it had all the necessary permits to transport the animals.

The healthy dogs were to be made available for adoption in one month while the sick ones, suffering variously from dehydration and infectious diseases, were sent to pet hospitals in Beijing.