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Hot Links: Death by bagpipe, The world’s largest pearl, Possible cure for melanoma, and The future of desalination

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The Daily Catch - published on 08/24/16

Give a man a link and he reads for a moment, but teach a man to link and he may link back to you! We’ve got a great line up today:

Death by bagpipe: Man’s lung illness linked to mold in instrument – (Usatoday.com)

Now this is a new one. Mold grew in the dark moist innards of this man’s bagpipes and they slowly poisoned him for years:

“It sounds like a Monty Python skit or an Agatha Christie story gone wrong,” said William Schaffner, a professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville. The technical name for the man’s lung disease is hypersensitivity pneumonitis, which occurs when the immune system tries to fight off a foreign invader, such as mold or yeast. The ensuing inflammation ends up scarring the lung, making it harder for patients to breathe, said study coauthor Jenny King, a pulmonology resident at University Hospital in South Manchester. The bagpiper suffered for seven years with symptoms of dry cough, shortness of breath and weakness. The illness left him able to walk no more than about 65 feet, according to the study, although he had previously been able to walk more than six miles.

Fisherman kept possibly world’s largest pearl worth $135m for 10 years under his bed – (Straitstimes.com)

Here’s a story out of the Philippines of a man who really didn’t know the value of what he had. This is why all countries need a version of Antiques Roadshow:

The gem measuring around 30cm wide and 67cm long is heavier and larger than the current record holder Pearl of Lao Tzu, also known as the Pearl of Allah, by over five times. It was revealed to the public on Monday (Aug 22) after the fisherman showed it to a local tourism officer in city of Puerto Princesca on Palawan Island in western Philippines. He had not been aware of the massive pearl’s value and kept it for a decade as a good luck charm, until a fire forced him to move out of his wooden shack. According to the Daily Mail, tourism officer Aileen Cynthia Amurao said the pearl, found off the coast of Palawan, had been formed inside a giant clam.

Tel Aviv University study may lead to melanoma cure – (timesofisrael.com)

Researchers at Tel Aviv University may have come across a cure for melanoma (the most deadly skin cancer) by examining the under layer of skin during the formation:

The researchers began by examining pathology samples taken from melanoma patients. “We looked at samples of early melanoma, before the invasive stage,” Levy said. “To our surprise we found changes in the morphology of the dermis — the inner layer of the skin — that had never before been reported. Our next task was to find out what these changes were, and how they related to melanoma.” “We found that even before the cancer itself invades the dermis, it sends out tiny vesicles containing molecules of microRNA,” Levy said. “These induce the morphological changes in the dermis in preparation for receiving and transporting the cancer cells. It then became clear to us that by blocking the vesicles, we might be able to stop the disease altogether.”

Solar-powered Pipe desalinizes 1.5 billion gallons of drinking water for California – (inhabitat.com)

One of the finalists of the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition has submitted a giant desalination unit that would rest just off shore and produce billions of gallons of water to drought-ridden areas:

“Above, solar panels provide power to pump seawater through an electromagnetic filtration process below the pool deck, quietly providing the salt bath with its healing water and the city with clean drinking water,” the design team writes in their brief. “The Pipe represents a change in the future of water.” According to Khalil Engineers, their design, a long gleaming thing visible from Santa Monica Pier, is capable of generating 10,000 MWh each year, which will in turn produce 4.5 billion liters (or 1.5 billion gallons) of drinking water. Given the current drought throughout California, and the dearth of water in general, a variety of urban micro generators such as this can complement utility-scale energy generation.
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