Some elementary science textbooks contain subtle errors which pose barriers to students' understanding. "Static Electricity" is one subject which is rife with errors. Since the errors in textbooks seem to act like "viruses" which can "infect" our minds , I hope that the following discussion will act as a sort of "antivirus." (grin!) It should help those who read this webpage, and with luck my article might utilize some of the same rumor-dynamics as the viruses. These ideas might take off and spread through the elementary education population, and "immunize" large numbers of people against these particular misconceptions. So, please feel free to print this out and pass it to everyone you know! Don't miss OTHER ARTICLES





    Rising inflation keeps urban poor struggling in China

    CHINA’S poor are struggling because of rising inflation and medium income earners are precluded from up-market consumption, according to a research body under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

    The conclusions came in an annual report conducted by the Sociology Research Institution which analyzes and predicts China’s social developments, China.com reported yesterday.

    The report found 10 percent of low income families in urban areas had per capita incomes 38.3 percent of the national average while 10 percent of the rural poor had per capita incomes just 33 percent of the national average.

    Almost half the incomes of poor families went on food and medical costs took another 15 percent, the report said.

    Lives of the impoverished, mostly farmers, the unemployed and laid-off workers, became even harder with last year’s rising inflation.

    China’s consumer price index, the main gauge of inflation, climbed 6.9 percent in November, marking the fourth consecutive month when the index rose more than six percent. The price rises have already affected ordinary people, according to a previous report by Xinhua news agency.

    The rocketing CPI was caused mainly by food prices which comprise about a third of the index.

    “Controlling food prices and maintaining their stability are extremely important foundations for our social stability,” said Li Peiyuan, director of the sociology institution.

    Medium income earners were found to lack the purchasing power for up-market products priced above 10,000 yuan (US$1,369.86), the report said, without defining “medium” incomes.

    Products for basic living are still the mainstream for the household expenditure for the medium income group although it pays close attention to price fluctuations for up-market goods such as houses and cars, the paper said.

    According to the report, the per capita disposable income in urban areas rose 13 percent in 2007, surpassing the forecast gross domestic product growth of 11.4 percent last year.

    The per capita disposable income in rural areas may have reached eight percent last year, the fastest growth in 11 years, the paper noted.

    The paper also revealed that the disposable income of urban high income earners was almost 2.26 times the national average.

    The rich pursue a high quality lifestyle, spending a great deal of their income on overseas travel, luxury hotels, golf and up-market imported products, the paper said.

    The report also revealed that even with a growing skills shortage, university students were having a harder time finding job. Around one million of the nearly five million graduates last year didn’t find a job.


    Penn study finds hyperbaric oxygen treatments mobilize stem cells

    Recovery of injured and diseased tissue the ultimate goal


    According to a study to be published in the American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulation Physiology, a typical course of hyperbaric oxygen treatments increases by eight-fold the number of stem cells circulating in a patient’s body. Stem cells, also called progenitor cells are crucial to injury repair. The study currently appears on-line and is scheduled for publication in the April 2006 edition of the American Journal. Stem cells exist in the bone marrow of human beings and animals and are capable of changing their nature to become part of many different organs and tissues. In response to injury, these cells move from the bone marrow to the injured sites, where they differentiate into cells that assist in the healing process. The movement, or mobilization, of stem cells can be triggered by a variety of stimuli – including pharmaceutical agents and hyperbaric oxygen treatments. Where as drugs are associated with a host of side effects, hyperbaric oxygen treatments carry a significantly lower risk of such effects.

    “This is the safest way clinically to increase stem cell circulation, far safer than any of the pharmaceutical options,” said Stephen Thom, MD, Ph.D., Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and lead author of the study. “This study provides information on the fundamental mechanisms for hyperbaric oxygen and offers a new theoretical therapeutic option for mobilizing stem cells.”

    “We reproduced the observations from humans in animals in order to identify the mechanism for the hyperbaric oxygen effect,” added Thom. “We found that hyperbaric oxygen mobilizes stem/progenitor cells because it increases synthesis of a molecule called nitric oxide in the bone marrow. This synthesis is thought to trigger enzymes that mediate stem/progenitor cell release.”

    Hopefully, future study of hyperbaric oxygen’s role in mobilizing stem cells will provide a wide array of treatments for combating injury and disease.


    This article is available on the web at: http://ajpheart.physiology.org/cgi/reprint/00888.2005

    PENN Medicine is a $2.7 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

    Penn’s School of Medicine is ranked #2 in the nation for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #4 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent ranking of top research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

    Penn Health System comprises: its flagship hospital, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, consistently rated one of the nation’s “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s first hospital; Presbyterian Medical Center; a faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multispecialty satellite facilities; and home health care and hospice.