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Monday 24 December 2012

AYTD's: Qur'an Quote #75

"Verily! (During the worldly life) those who committed crimes used to laugh at those who believed.
And whenever they passed by them, used to wink one to another (in mockery)"

(Surah 83: Al-Mutaffifin (Those Who Deal in Fraud); verses 30-1)

AYTD's: Qur'an Quote #74

"We let them enjoy for a little while, then in the end We shall oblige them to (enter) a great torment."

(Surah 31: Luqman; verse 24)

AYTD's Qur'an Quote #73

"In front of him (every obstinate, arrogant dictator) is Hell, and he will be made to drink boiling, festering water.
He will sip it unwillingly, and he will find a great difficulty to swallow it down his throat , and death will come to him from every side, yet he will not die and in front of him, will be a great torment."

(Surah 14: Ibrahim (Abraham); verses 16-7)

Friday 16 November 2012

Thursday 1 November 2012

"Man, I Feel Like A Woman!" Bisphenol A; The Hormonal Disruptor

What is Bisphenol A?
Bisphenol A (aka BPA) is an organic compound formed by the condensing of acetone with two equivalent amounts of phenol, or carbolic acid. It is colourless, and also without taste nor smell. It was discovered in 1891 by Russian chemist Aleksandr Dianin. One of BPA's earliest uses was in the 1930s when it was used to treat women whom were deficient in estrogen. Many medical fields saw it as an adequate substitute to mimic the female hormone's performance, however it was soon to be superceded by diethylstilbestrol (DES) as a suitable replacement. BPA was also used as a stimulant for physical growth in agricultural animals, most notably cattle and poultry.

Since the 1950s BPA has been largely used as a hardener within the manufacturing of polycarbonate plastics, and found in resins that coat the inside of canned consumable goods. As of 2006, global production of BPA is reported to be in the region of about 3.8 million tonnes, with 66% of it used for polycarbonates, and 30% for epoxy resins. German and American chemical firms Bayer AG and Dow Chemical respectively are two of the largest manufacturers of the substance. Not to be just ingested with food and drink, BPA exposure can occur via breathing in air pollution and dust, and can even be absorbed through the skin. When a material containing BPA is heated, it greatly accelerates the discharge of the compound from its source, this process is known as leaching.

What's so bad about BPA?

Although the material has been used abundantly for decades, concerns over negative side-effects to BPA consumption are much more recent. BPA is an endocrine disruptor, this means that it can "interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife". Mainly because of its strong estrogen-like qualities, various studies show that BPA has integral links to a number of sexual and reproductive dysfunctionalities such as PCOS (PolyCistic Ovarian Syndrome), increased chance of miscarriage, enhanced puberty at a younger than average age, and reduced levels of sperm count. BPA has been regarded by some to be carcinogenic (a key factor in causing cancer) to the breasts and prostrate. Other investigations show connections to a plethora of other problems to arise such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and learning disorders including autism, dyslexia and ADHD. Environmentally, plastics containing BPA pollutes the oceans and seas as marine life feed off these misplaced items.

Canada was first to introduce some sort of ban of BPA in foods, prohibiting its usage in baby bottles in 2008. The EU followed suit declaring to do the same in 2010. It has been reported that various other countries are implementing similar restrictions such as China, Malaysia, South Africa and Argentina. Another article mentions that "Japanese canning industry has replaced its BPA resin can liners."

The U.S. government department of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved of Bisphenol A's usage in consumables in the 1960s. Upon rumblings of possible side effects to BPA-exposure growing to a scale that it couldn't feasibly be ignored, the FDA has reviewed their stance towards how safe it is amidst foods in January 2010 and March 2012. Pretty much re-inforcing its initial viewpoints, the FDA still states that BPA in foodstuffs is safe overall, saying that it's "supporting efforts to replace BPA or minimize BPA levels in other food can linings.", however it did eventually follow in the footsteps of its upper neighbouring nation, by also banning BPA featuring in baby bottles earlier this year.

So, what everyday things have Bisphenol A in them?

In 1998, the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) introduced a code to separate the varying plastic types for recycling purposes. Ranging from 1 to 9 (but excluding 8), BPA is largely associated to class 7, falling under the polycarbonate family of plastic. It's also likely to be found within class 3 (Polyvinyl Chloride, PVC). Although BPA isn't regarded to be found of a sizable quantity within the other classes of plastics, the SPI doesn't rule out the possibility of BPA being in them. Just to realise the prevalence of BPA, it can be found in many things we use, including;

- Plastic baby bottles and toddler "sippy" juice cups
- Plastic drinks bottles (water, juice, and soft drinks etc.)
- Lining in food cans (tinned vegetables, fish, soups etc.)
- Lining in drinks cans (soft drinks, alcoholic beverages)
- Ready meals in plastic trays
- Plastic food containers (e.g. tupperware; they say safe levels of BPA are in their products)
- Thermal paper from store receipts (e.g. supermarkets, department stores)
- Toilet paper (thermal paper is often recycled to make it)
- Eyewear (it can be present within either or both the plastic used for the lens and the frame), safety goggles
- Compact Discs
- Kids toys (e.g. plastic dolls, plastic ducks for the bath)
- Housings for cellphones, SLR cameras, electrical razors, hairdryers, steam irons, mixers, computers, monitors, TVs, copiers, printers, telephones, microwaves, coffee makers
- Dental sealants/bondings, dental fillings
- Various medical instruments, and packaging for them (e.g. blood oxygenators, dialysers, respirators, syringe tops etc.)
- Blenders/blitzers and food processors
- Sheets for roofing, conservatory glazing, glazing for bus shelters
- Motorbike and cycle helmets
- Mouthpieces for musical instruments (i.e. clarinet, recorder, saxophone etc.)
- Powdered coatings for steel furniture (both domestic and office); also coatings of pipes and fixtures and fittings
- Suitcase shells
- Plugs, sockets and switches
- Automotive bumpers, radiator grills, and dashboards; also waterbourne primer for vehicles
- Printed circuit boards, and electrical components (e.g. transformers, inductors etc.)
- Paper and board varnish, incl. food packaging

Quite an extensive number of items are listed huh? A much more fuller catalogue of examples are given in this PDF made by the European Information Centre on Bisphenol A.

What can I do to reduce my exposure to BPA?
The main thing is to avoid eating out of plastic containers as much as you can. It'd be near-impossible to stop doing so completely, but for example if you drink out of glass bottles instead of plastic, or eat fresh, frozen or dried foods instead of the canned variety, you'd decrease your exposure to BPA. The same goes for cooking food in non-plastic materials - use glass, metals and porcelain where possible. As mentioned earlier, heating up plastics drastically quickens the leaching of BPA out from it into your food. Although there is no official icon or logo, so far, more and more products are displaying themselves as "BPA-free" which definitely makes things easier in one's choice to purchase or not. If you don't need a receipt from a shop for the things you've just bought, don't take it! You're reducing your BPA interaction there too. Below are a few sources that detail what you could do to reduce your intake of BPA:

- "Know Your Plastic Food Containers"
- "Is BPA Making You Fat?" (from Healthy Bitch Daily)
- "17 Surprising Sources of BPA and How to Avoid Them" (from EcoSalon)
- "Are baby bottles toxic? : Bisphenol A"
- eHow Directory on BPA

Friday 26 October 2012

Eid al-Adha 2012

Many thanks to International Business Times for the great description regarding the celebration of Eid;

Eid al-Adha 2012

Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-Adha, the Muslim festival of sacrifice, which began on Thursday evening and continues until the end of the Hajj pilgrimage.

The festival starts on the 10th day of the last Islamic month on the calendar, Dhu al-Hijjah, this year landing on Thursday or Friday, depending on the region.

Eid al-Adha commemorates Muslim God Ibrahim’s sacrifice of his only son, Ishmael, to Allah as an act of obedience. Allah spared Ishmael after seeing Abraham's devotion and instead gave him a sheep to kill, according to stories in the Bible’s Old Testament and the Torah.

The three-day festival also marks the end of Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia to Prophet Muhammad's birthplace. Muslims typically make the pilgrimage once in their lifetimes.

On the Eid, many Muslims celebrate and pay tribute to Allah, who gave mercy to Ibrahim, going to a mosque for morning prayers followed by slaughtering animals. Much of the meat is given away to others as a symbol of Muslim’s willingness to give up on behalf of Allah’s command. The sacrificed animal is cut in thirds, with one third eaten in a celebratory dinner by family, one third offered to friends, and the remaining portion donated to those less fortunate.

Eid Mubarak to all partaking in this great event; all thanks and praises are to / for Allah; the only One of His kind, Creator of all.

Wednesday 24 October 2012

Everything Everything - "Cough Cough"

Everything Everything - Cough Cough

Song meaning, provided by band singer/guitarist Jonathan Higgs;

“The song is about greed and wealth and I wanted a symbol for that, so I chose crude oil,” Jon Everything explains. “I wanted us covered in it, consuming it, setting it on fire, everything. I was inspired by the riots last summer, hearing stories from those who were on both sides, and watching it from my window. And I saw a video of some Japanese Taiko drummers a few years ago and I was struck by the intensity and simplicity of those massive drums.

“As our first song back in two years I chose a monochrome look, to keep things more bold and focused compared to our multicoloured past. I used a few clips from the riots, as well as a load of homemade footage of treacle and oil I filmed on my phone, and cut-out words to get the DIY look I was after. The video is supposed to get across the anger and frustration of the riots, as well as the confusion and sense of having no purpose or future.”

Wednesday 17 October 2012

AYTD's Qur'an Quote #72

"Whether you reveal anything or conceal it, verily, Allah is Ever All-Knower of everything."

(Surah 33: Al-Ahzab (The Confederates) ; verse 54)

AYTD's Qur'an Quote #71

"Whosoever desires the life of the world and its glitter; to them We shall pay in full (the wages of) their deeds therein, and they will have no diminution therein.
They are those for whom there is nothing in the Hereafter but Fire; and vain are the deeds they did therein. And of no effect is that which they used to do."

(Surah 11: Hud (Prophet Hood) ; verse 15-6)

AYTD's Qur'an Quote #70

"O You who believe! Shall I guide you to a commerce that will save you from a painful torment.
That you believe in Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad pbuh), and that you strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allah with your wealth and your lives, that will be better for you, if you but know!
(If you do so) He will forgive you your sins, and admit you into Gardens under which rivers flow, and pleasant dwelling in Gardens of 'Adn - Eternity ['Adn (Edn) Paradise], that is indeed the great success."

(Surah 61: As-Saff (The Row or the Rank) ; verses 10-2)

Peekaboo; Eye See YOU!! - Jeyn Roberts - "Dark Inside #2; Rage Within"


"Aries, Clementine, Mason and Michael have survived the first wave of the apocalypse that wiped out most of the world's population, and turned many of the rest into murderous Baggers. Now, they're hiding out in an abandoned house in Vancouver with a ragtag group of surviving teens, and trying to figure out their next move.

Aries is trying to lead, but it's hard to be a leader when there are no easy answers, and every move feels wrong. Clementine is desperate to find her brother Heath, but it's impossible to know where he'd be, even if he is still alive. Michael is still haunted by the memories of his actions during his harrowing struggle to survive. And Mason is struggling with something far worse: the fear that he may be a danger to his friends.

As the Baggers begin to create a new world order, Aries, Clementine, Mason and Michael will have to trust and rely on each other in order to survive."

Thursday 27 September 2012

The World: Through A Lens - U.S., Israel & Canada No-Show At Ahmedinejad UN Speech

UN 67th General Assembly General Debate
26 September 1012
(meet takes place from 25 September-1 October 2012)
UN Headquarters, New York, U.S.

 “Adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations by peaceful means” - This the official theme for the latest gathering of the World's political leaders, as speeches are made and resolution propositions are up for negotiation at the Rockerfeller-financed headquarters in New York, U.S.A.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad delivered his statement to his counterparts, although the United States and Israel failed to make an appearance at all on the 26th September's proceedings, stating their reason being that their respective representatives were observing the holy Jewish day of Yom Kippur. The Canadian delegates were a bit more ballsy; "We will not sit silently in our chairs and listen to Iran's hateful, anti-Western, anti-Semitic views. If anything, today's address only reinforces our decision earlier this month to suspend diplomatic relations with Iran," said Rick Roth, a spokesman for Foreign Affairs.

Keeping in line with the General Debate's theme; Ahmedinejad's speech mentioned the words peace, love and justice 12, 13 and 15 times respectively. His address was overall more relaxed than his previous efforts, where he gave a vigorous stance on Iran having the right to defend itself via acquiring nuclear weapons if it so wishes to do so (as have many other countries throughout the world); something the U.S. and its allies are staunchly opposed to.

Sources: Russia Today, The Telegraph, and CNews.

Thursday 20 September 2012

Gerald Celente - "Trends In The News"

Socioeconomic forecaster Gerald Celente brings forth Trends In The News, a series that analyses current affairs across the planet which in turn creates situations where the reactions to such are already predicted. By studying differing areas from politics to financial markets, Celente is able to accurately predict events to happen, like he did with the "Panic of '08" financial crisis, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the 1997 Asian currency crisis.

Below are three of the latest episodes of Trends In The News, in which Celente discusses the 2012 U.S. Presidential race, the ever-increasing chaos ensuing in The Middle East, and financial execs getting away with stealing truly vast amounts of money from clients.

Trends In The News (17 Sept. 2012)

Trends In The News (14 Sept. 2012)

Trends In The News (9 Sept. 2012)

Thursday 13 September 2012

Peekaboo; Eye See YOU!! - Rachel Hartman - "Seraphina"


Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

Seraphina, name meaning;
Feminine form of the Late Latin name Seraphinus, derived from the biblical word seraphim which was Hebrew in origin and meant "fiery ones". The seraphim were an order of angels, described by Isaiah in the Bible as having six wings each. This was the name of a 13th-century Italian saint who made clothes for the poor. As an English name, it has never been common.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

The World: Through A Lens - 9/11 Remembered, In 2012

 September 11, 2012

Ground Zero,
New York, USA

Yesterday marked the eleventh-year anniversary of the 2001 World Trade Center attacks in New York, and the simultaneous "plane crash" at the HQ of the U.S.' Department of Defense, The Pentagon, in Virginia.

"Even the darkest day gives way to a brighter dawn" - part of the address by current U.S. President Barry Soetoro (aka Barack Obama) given to the family and friends of those that perished, at the site where the Two Tower's once dominated the downtown Manhattan skyline. The script that was prepared for the Kenyan-born Head of State to read aloud remembers the almost 3,000 people that unwittingly relinquished their lives so that the New World Order pursues their goal of a one-world government. The puppet leader of the Democrats gave a sterling performance as many of the audience in attendance wept achingly, longing to see their departed ones in the flesh again.

Credit: Daily Mail Online.