Archive for June, 2010

Scripps Florida: Addicted rats ‘starved themselves’ rather than give up junk food in study

More surprisingly, the fat rats exhibited the sort of self-destructive behavior associated with human junkies. The rats would eat junk food even if they knew doing so would result in a mild but distinctly uncomfortable electrical shock to their feet.

When Kenny and Johnson replaced the unhealthy food with the healthy diet the rats had been raised on, the animals refused to eat at all.

“They actually voluntarily starved themselves,” Kenny said.

Kenny blames the same culprit that afflicts cocaine addicts: the brain’s dopamine D2 receptor. The brain releases dopamine in response to enjoyable experiences such as eating cheesecake, having sex or snorting cocaine.

But, scientists believe, too much pleasure skews the brain’s reward pathways by overstimulating the D2 receptor and causing it to shut down. For the rats addicted to junk food, Kenny said, the only way to stimulate their pleasure centers was to eat more high-fat, high-calorie food.

“They’re not experiencing rewards the way they should,” Kenny said. “When you experience that, one way of feeling better is to go back to the junk food.”

As part of his research, Kenny used a virus to essentially block healthy rats’ D2 receptors. Those rats quickly developed compulsive eating habits.

Kenny hopes his research might lead to a drug or vaccine to treat overeating. The experiments were supported by a $250,000-a-year grant from the National Institutes of Health and smaller grants from Bank of America and The Margaret Q. Landenberger Research Foundation.

Intriguingly, nearly all the rats given junk food became obese. But despite the fact that Americans are faced with a smorgasbord of easily available junk food, most of us can handle the temptation.

Kenny says that’s because overeating is driven by not just the genetic factors that make us crave junk food but also by social pressures. Humans know junk food is bad for us, and we try to avoid it. But rats don’t find their impulses tempered by clothes that no longer fit or by books by Dr. Oz, TV shows like The Biggest Loser and movies such as Super Size Me.

“The rats don’t suffer from the same social pressures that we do,” Kenny said.

Nutrition experts aren’t surprised by the Scripps researchers’ conclusion that junk food is addictive. In last year’s best-selling book The End of Overeating, former FDA Commissioner David Kessler argued that salty, sugary, fatty food triggers dopamine production.

“Certainly, we see this addictive pattern in humans,” said Sandy Livingston, a licensed nutritionist in Palm Beach Gardens. “They know they shouldn’t overeat, but they do it anyway.”

Livingston hopes research like this helps overeaters better deal with their gluttony by realizing that the behavior is driven not by personal failings but by powerful chemical reactions in the brain.

“A lot of people blame themselves — ‘Why don’t I have any willpower?'” Livingston said. “It’s very hard to rely on willpower, because willpower will lose. If your body wants something enough, you’re always going to lose.”

Jordan Rubin, author of The Maker’s Diet and founder of nutritional supplements firm Garden of Life in West Palm Beach, said he’d like to see more research into exactly which types of food and food additives are addictive. For instance, foods such as beef and avocados are high in fat, but Rubin believes addiction is caused not by fat alone but by fat in combination with other foods, such as white flour or the additive MSG.

“Food can be highly addictive,” Rubin said. “When people describe overeating and weight loss as a battle, this is why.”


Critter of the Month (June): Southern chinch bug

By Terry Brite Delvalle

Latin Name: Blissus insularis Barber.

Common Name: Southern chinch bug.

Hosts: St. Augustine grass.

Damage: Initially, the base of the oldest grass blades turns yellow while everything else is green. Peel the blade back and chinch bugs will be at the base of the plant. The affected patch expands slowly, yellows, and then dies. It is usually circular in shape. Areas that are under stress (dry and/or hot) may be damaged faster.

Description: Immatures (nymphs) and adults feed on fluids at plant base in the thatch layer. Adults are 1/8 to 1/10 of an inch long, have a black body with shiny white wings folded on the back with a triangular-shaped black marking. Young nymphs are reddish-orange with a white band across the back and will darken in color as they mature.

Season: April to October in North Florida; three or more generations per year.

Management: Cultural control includes maintaining a healthy turf. Avoid water stress and mow at the proper height. Limit quick release nitrogen fertilizers to avoid lush turf and thick thatch layer. Beneficial insects like ear wigs, big-eyed bugs, parasitic wasps and spiders feed on chinch bugs. Chemical control options include pyrethroids, neonicotinoids, and carbamates. If problem is not throughout lawn, treat affected area and 5-foot buffer area. Apply no more than 3 applications per year to delay pesticide-resistant populations. Chemical controls will only kill nymphs and adults, not eggs. Lawns with thick thatch layers make treatment difficult. Pest control companies have more effective materials for control.

Other: Before treating, identify insect. Damage is similar to animal urine, dry spots, scalping, and diseases. Big-eyed bugs are frequently mistaken for chinch bugs. Pesticide applications will kill beneficial insects as well as pests.

Kilroy Was Here

Great history lesson


 If you were in the armed forces, you have seen lots of the Kilroy  signs. This explanation has been around before, but it deserves a review. Hence, I am forwarding it, probably again

 Fascinating story!  Now you know the real story.



Do you remember Kilroy?   This is interesting … I too have often wondered about Kilroy …… now I know.   Great piece of history.

Anyone born in the mid thirties knew Kilroy.  We didn’t know why but we had lapel pins with his nose hanging over the label and the top of his face above his nose with his hands hanging over the label too.  I believe it was orange colored.  No one knew why he was so well known but we all joined in!

Kind of a war story…now we know!  INTERESTING?~~~~



In 1946 the American Transit Association, through its radio program, “Speak to America ,” sponsored a nationwide contest to find the REAL Kilroy, offering a prize of a real trolley car to the person who could prove himself to be the genuine article.

Almost 40 men stepped forward to make that claim, but only James Kilroy from Halifax , Massachusetts , had evidence of his identity.

Kilroy was a 46-year old shipyard worker during the war who worked as a checker at the  Fore River Shipyard in Quincy .  His job was to go around and check on the number of rivets completed.  Riveters were on piecework and got paid by the rivet.

Kilroy would count a block of rivets and put a check mark in semi-waxed lumber chalk, so the rivets wouldn’t be counted twice.  When Kilroy went off duty, the riveters would erase the mark.

Later on, an off-shift inspector would come through and count the rivets a second time, resulting in double pay for the riveters.

One day Kilroy’s boss called him into his office.  The foreman was upset about all the wages being paid to riveters, and asked him to investigate.  It was then he realized what had been going on.

The tight spaces he had to crawl in to check the rivets didn’t lend themselves to lugging around a paint can and brush, so Kilroy decided to stick with the waxy chalk.  He continued to put his checkmark on each job he inspected, but added KILROY WAS HERE
in king-sized letters next to the check, and eventually added the sketch of the chap with the long nose peering over the fence and that became part of the Kilroy message.  Once he did that, the riveters stopped trying to wipe away his marks.

Ordinarily the rivets and chalk marks would have been covered up with paint.  With war on, however, ships were leaving the Quincy Yard so fast that there wasn’t time to paint them.  As a result, Kilroy’s inspection “trademark” was seen by thousands of servicemen
who boarded the troopships the yard produced.   His message apparently rang a bell with the servicemen, because they picked it up and spread it all over  Europe  and the South Pacific.

Before war’s end, “Kilroy” had been here, there, and everywhere on the long hauls to Berlin and Tokyo .

To the troops outbound in those ships, however, he was a complete mystery; all they knew for sure was that some jerk named Kilroy had “been there first.”  As a joke, U.S. servicemen began placing the graffiti wherever they landed, claiming it was already there when they arrived.

Kilroy became the U.S. super-GI who had always “already been” wherever GIs went.  It became a challenge to place the logo in the most unlikely places imaginable (it is said to be atop Mt. Everest , the Statue of Liberty , the underside of lArc De Triomphe, and even scrawled in the dust on the moon.)

As the war went on, the legend grew.  Underwater demolition teams routinely sneaked ashore on Japanese-held islands in the Pacific to map the terrain for coming invasions by U.S. troops (and thus, presumably, were the first GI’s there).  On one occasion, however, they reported seeing enemy troops painting over the Kilroy logo!  In 1945, an outhouse was built for the exclusive use of Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill at the  Potsdam conference.  Its first occupant was Stalin, who emerged and asked his aide (in Russian), “Who is Kilroy?” 

To help prove his authenticity in 1946, James Kilroy brought along officials from the shipyard and some of the riveters.  He won the trolley car, which he gave to his nine children as a Christmas gift and set it up as a playhouse in the Kilroy front yard in Halifax , Massachusetts .



Florida company ready to set “bugs” against oil

Executives of a firm that sells oil-eating bacteria say cleaning water is their business.


A biotechnology company from Sarasota has pitched its oil-eating bacteria compound as nature’s housekeeper for cleanup duty in the Gulf of Mexico.

While executives of Osprey Biotechnics have received no response from BP, the company appears to have a new ally:Gov. Charlie Crist.

Crist visited the company Thursday afternoon, and after a 40-minute meeting with executives to learn more about their bioremediation agent called Munox, he said he was “very impressed.”

Developed in 1985, Munox has a track record of devouring and degrading hydrocarbons in oil to clean up contaminated soil and groundwater sites, while leaving behind small amounts of harmless carbon dioxide and water, company officials said.

“Petroleum remediation is our every day business,” said Victoria Finley, vice president of business development for Osprey Biotechnics. “We did not grab widgets out of the closet, dust them off and say we can clean the Gulf.”

The bacteria compound is made from naturally occurring microbes that are isolated from the environment. They are fermented. Water and a proprietary list of natural ingredients are added to make the concentrated liquid compound, which can be applied by spraying like a farmer would fertilizer.

But getting Munox before cleanup decisionmakers has been a struggle. BP and the federal government’s Unified Command have received thousands of pitches from individuals and businesses who all think they have the solution to protecting the coast and getting rid of the crude oil — from companies making booms from human hair to Kevin Costner and his water-cleaning centrifuges.

Several other companies have touted their own proprietary hungry bacteria, including one called BAAD Bugs.

The bacteria compound produced by Indiana-based Bioremediation Inc. was demonstrated last week at an oiled wildlife response class last week near Key West.

BAAD Bugs appeared to work as well as the Dawn detergent on a dead bird, with the benefits of not leaving behind hazardous material. But there are no studies on how the product could affect live birds.

Before Crist will promote Munox to the decisionmakers for use on the massive oil spill, he wants input from Mike Sole, Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection and a scientist.

“I’m not a scientist,” Crist said.

Sole was expected to hold a conference call with Osprey Biotechnics.

CRITERIAIn 2003, Munox met stringent criteria for human and environmental health to be included in the federal agency’s Design for the Environment Program as a bioremediation product.


But to be used in the cleanup on open water, Munox must be on the EPA’s emergency management list. At one point it was, but was removed after the company let the listing “lapse.” Finley said they are in the process of having it put back on.

CAUTIONCompany officials have said a 55-gallon drum of Munox would clean about one acre of oiled land or 36.5 square miles of open water but have declined to estimate a cost.

 Several scientists have expressed caution in using commercial bioremediation products because of the potential to do more damage to the environment.

“There are hundreds of companies out there that say they got something that eats like crazy,” said Joe Lepo, a bioremediation expert at the University of West Florida in Pensacola, who was hired by the Environmental Protection Agency in the mid-1990s to study commercial biodegradiation agents.

“In a nutshell, nothing works on the open ocean in bioremdiation,” Lepo said. “There is just too much chaos and dilution of the product out there.”

Grace Gagliano of the Bradenton Herald contributed to this report.

Read more:

A Holiday (Inn) at Indian Rocks Beach

We had worked hard all week so it was time to take a break. We decided that it must be some place new to us. We had work in Indian Rocks Beach so we chose the Holiday Inn Harborside.          Key West Style – Sun Coast Location


We both chose our own Villa Suite’s, I chose a room that was away from the bars (Jimmy Iguana’s at the south end and Brewmasters at the north end) and where the damned sun would not shine in my face at some early hour.

Brandon chose the opposite. We stayed for two days and will definitely go back again. The staff was wonderful and always smiling. The bar tenders where generous pourers and fun to talk to. The people who we met were interesting and everyone had a cool story to tell about their vacation here in Florida. The stories ranged from a couple having the best time of their life as they travelled Florida to a group from NY that had come down here to go deep-sea fishing and ended up with a drunken boat captain that kept running aground (going out and coming in) and fist fighting with is first mate.

I had planned to get more pictures than this but you know how things can get when you’re having fun!

This place was huge, the picture is blurry because I tripped over one of the putt putt  greens as I was taking a picture.  Sorry 🙂

The whole time we were there I snapped only one picture of the room and that was from the second floor balcony/bedroom where you could watch the sun set on the Gulf of Mexico. It was very nice.


This is a stock photo and room description from their website, nice pad!

Condo Villas (1,200 sq. feet)

Immerse yourself in the laid back elegance of one of our huge, two story Villas located only a few steps from the breathtaking sights, scents, and sounds of Indian Rocks Beach. Our Villas feature stunning, Key West styled decor, a large separate dining area, wall to wall sliding glass doors, and an oversized in-room Jacuzzi hot tub. The master bedroom has a king sized bed and is located on the second floor. Enjoy all the amenities that make for a memorable and satisfying stay, including: a queen sleeper sofa, dishwasher, stove, refrigerator, coffee maker, dishware, cable-ready TV, ceiling fans, hair dryers, and data-port phones with voicemail.

clearwater beach restaurants

Here are a few more stock photos…

restaurants clearwater beachclearwater charter fishing






hotels Clearwater Beach Florid

Subbie’s in the House

Actually, there were subterranean termites in the bathroom, but I am getting ahead of the story….

We received a telephone call for help about swarming termites in a bedroom.

The closet of our new customers daughter had a massive swarm and it was obvious to us where it was probably coming from since the bathroom was located on the other side of the girls closet.

At times like this, there is usually a water leak somewhere in the bathroom. We probed the floor trim in the bathroom with our professional termite probing tool otherwise known as a screwdriver. The baseboard’s were gone, even the gentlest touch of our probing tool crushed the termite eaten wood.

As luck would have it, the new customer was planning on completely gutting the bathroom in a few, what a break for us!

We spot treated the closet for the time being and then the rest of the exterior. We really needed to get in the bathroom but we could wait until the tubs, sink, toilet and walls were completely removed.

When we came back, this is what we faced…..

  Mudtubes were everywhere. Mudtubes are how subterranean termite travel once they have left the ground.

Check out the damage, all the way to the ceiling!

It turns out that the shower pan had been leaking, this provided a source of moisture for the little buggers.

We got’em  –  Bugmen 1  Subterranean Termite  0

Do you have termite problems?   Call Us now 727-866-6759

Cockroaches Share ‘Recommendations’ of Best Food Sources, Research Finds

ScienceDaily (June 7, 2010) — Ever wondered how cockroaches seem to know the best place to grab a meal? New research at Queen Mary, University of London suggests that, just like humans, they share their local knowledge of the best food sources and follow ‘recommendations’ from others.

It is often striking how little we know about our closest neighbour. Until now, it was assumed that cockroaches forage on their own to find food and water. However, this work shows how groups of the insects seem to make a collective choice about the best food source, explaining why we so commonly find them feeding en masse in the kitchen late at night.

Dr Mathieu Lihoreau from Queen Mary’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, explained the potential impact of his research, saying: “Cockroaches cost the UK economy millions of pounds in wasted food and perishable products. Better understanding of how they seek out our food would allow us to develop better pest control measures, which are frequently ineffective and involve the use of insecticides that can have health side-effects.”

Ever wondered how cockroaches seem to know the best place to grab a meal? New research at Queen Mary, University of London suggests that, just like humans, they share their local knowledge of the best food sources and follow ‘recommendations’ from others. (Credit: Image courtesy of Queen Mary, University of London)

This study, published in the Springer journal Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, is the first demonstration that groups of cockroaches can forage for food collectively, rather than independently, relying on their individual experience.

In the experiment, hungry cockroaches (Blattella germanica) were released into an arena where they could choose between one of two piles of food. Lihoreau noted that, rather than choosing one randomly and splitting into two groups as would be expected if they were acting independently, the majority of the cockroaches fed solely on one piece of food until it was all gone. By following individual insects, it also emerged that the more of cockroaches there were on one piece of food, the longer each one would stay to feed. Through simple snowball effect then, most of the cockroaches accumulate on one source.

Once identified, a man-made ‘foraging pheromone’ could be used to improve pest control, making insecticide gels more effective or be used to create an insecticide-free trap. Lihoreau explains; “These observations coupled with simulations of a mathematical model indicate that cockroaches communicate through close contact when they are already on the food source. This is in contrast with the honeybees’ waggle dance or ants’ chemical trails, which are sophisticated messages that guide followers over a long distance. Although we think they signal to other cockroaches using a ‘foraging pheromone’, we haven’t yet identified it; potential candidates include chemicals in cockroach saliva, and cuticular hydrocarbons, which cover the insects’ bodies.”

This work doesn’t only provide the first evidence that these insects search for food collectively, but it also gives a simple explanation for it that could potentially apply to a wide array of animals, including humans. “We should definitively pay more attention to cockroaches and other simple ‘societies’ as they provide researchers with a good models for co-operation and emergent properties of social life, that we could extrapolate to more sophisticated societies, like ours,” says Lihoreau.

Roaches eating dinner

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