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Science and Nature News Redux

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  Quote medenaywe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Science and Nature News Redux
    Posted: 30-Sep-2013 at 23:27
NASA's 55 years aniversary!!!Congratulations!Clap
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  Quote medenaywe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Oct-2013 at 08:24
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Oct-2013 at 23:40
Do you become very stressed, and have stress constantly in your life now? Then you'd better take care, as this might just heighten your risks of dementia
 
 

Plentiful Mid-Life Stress Linked to Heightened Risk of Dementia in Late Life

The response to common life events may trigger long lasting physiological changes in the brain, say the authors.

They base their findings on 800 Swedish women whose mental health and well-being was formally tracked over a period of almost 40 years as part of the larger Prospective Population Study of Women in Gothenburg, Sweden, which started in 1968.

The women, who were all born in 1914, 1918, 1922 and 1930, underwent a battery of neuropsychiatric tests and examinations in 1968, when they were in their late 30s, mid 40s, and 50s, and then again in 1974, 1980, 1992, 2000 and 2005.

At their initial assessment, the women were quizzed about the psychological impact on them of 18 common stressors, such as divorce, widowhood, serious illness or death of a child, mental illness or alcoholism in a close family member, personal or partner's unemployment, and poor social support.

How many symptoms of distress, such as irritability, fear, andsleep disturbances, and how often they had experienced these in the preceding five years, were noted at every assessment.

In 1968 one in four of the women had experienced at least one stressful event; a similar proportion (23%) had experienced at least two, while one in five had experienced at least three, and 16% four or more. The most commonly reported stressor was mental illness in a close family member.

During the monitoring period, 425 of the women died (at the average age of 79). Between 1968 and 2006, around one in five (19%, 153) developed dementia, 104 of whom developed Alzheimer's disease.

On average, it took 29 years for dementia to develop, with 78 the average age at which the condition was diagnosed.

The number of stressors reported by the women was associated with longstanding symptoms of distress at all of the time points assessed, irrespective of the year of birth.

And the number of stressors reported in 1968 was associated with a 21% heightened risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and a 15% heightened risk of developing any type of dementia, the analysis showed.

The findings held true even after taking account of factors likely to influence the results, including a family history of mental health problems.

The authors emphasize that further research is needed to confirm the results of their study, and to look at whether stress management and behavioural therapy might help.

But they suggest that "stress may cause a number of physiological reactions in the central nervous, endocrine, immune and cardiovascular systems, " and point to other studies showing that stress can cause structural and functional damage to the brain and promote inflammation.

Furthermore, research has also shown that stress hormones can remain at high levels many years after experiencing a traumatic event.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130930200710.htm


Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 01-Oct-2013 at 23:40
What a handsome figure of a dragon. No wonder I fall madly in love with the Alani Dragon now, the avatar, it's a gorgeous dragon picture.
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  Quote medenaywe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Oct-2013 at 23:46
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  Quote medenaywe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Oct-2013 at 06:54
NASA site is closed:
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  Quote medenaywe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Oct-2013 at 10:06
Angara rocket comes next:(manned)
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Oct-2013 at 23:41

Astronomers Discover Large 'Hot' Cocoon Around a Small Baby Star

 An international research team, led by researcher at the University of Electro-Communication observed an infrared dark cloud G34.43+00.24 MM3 with ALMA and discovered a baby star surrounded by a large hot cloud. This hot cloud is about ten times larger than those found around typical solar-mass baby stars.

Hot molecular clouds around new-born stars are called "Hot Cores" and have temperature of -- 160 degrees Celsius, 100 degrees hotter than normal molecular clouds. The large size of the hot core discovered by ALMA shows that much more energy is emitted from the central baby star than typical solar-mass young stars. This may be due to the higher mass infall rate, or multiplicity of the central baby star. This result indicates a large diversity in the star formation process.

The research findings are presented in the article "ALMA Observations of the IRDC Clump G34.43+00.24 MM3: Hot Core and Molecular Outflows," published in the Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 775, of September 20, 2013.

A large hot molecular cloud around a very young star was discovered by ALMA. This hot cloud is about ten times larger than those found around typical solar-mass baby stars, which indicates that the star formation process has more diversity than ever thought. This result was published in the Astrophysical Journal on September 20th, 2013.

Stars are formed in very cold (-260 degrees Celsius) gas and dust clouds. Infrared Dark Clouds (IRDC) are dense regions of such clouds, and thought that in which clusters of stars are formed. Since most of stars are born as members of star clusters, investigating IRDCs has a crucial role in comprehensive understanding the star formation process.

A baby star is surrounded by the natal gas and dust cloud, and the cloud is warmed up from its center. Temperature of the central part of some, but not all, of such clouds reaches as high as -160 degrees Celsius. Astronomers call those clouds as "hot core" -- it may not be hot on Earth, but is hot enough for a cosmic cloud. Inside hot cores, various molecules, originally trapped in the ice mantle around dust particles, are sublimated. Organic molecules such as methanol (CH3OH), ethyl cyanide (CH3CH2CN), and methyl formate (HCOOCH3) are abundant in hot cores.

International research team, led by Takeshi Sakai at the University of Electro-Communication, Japan, used ALMA to observe an IRDC named G34.43+00.24 MM3 (hereafter MM3) in the constellation Aquila (the Eagle). They discovered a young object from which the methanol molecular line is strongly emitted. A detailed investigation tells them that the temperature of the methanol gas is -140 degrees Celsius. This shows that MM3 harbors a baby star surrounded by a hot core. The size of the hot core is as large as 800 times 300 astronomical units (au, 1 au equals to the mean distance of the Sun and Earth; 150 million km). Typical size of hot cores around low-mass young stars is several tens to hundred of au, therefore the hot core in MM3 is exceptionally large. Sakai says "Thanks to the high sensitivity and spatial resolution, we need only a few hours to discover a previously unknown baby star. This is an important step to understand the star formation process in a cluster forming region."

The team also observed radio emission from carbon sulfide (CS) and silicon monoxide (SiO) to reveal the detailed structure of the molecular outflow from the baby star. The speed of the emanated gas is 28 km/s and the extent is 4,400 au. Based on these values, the team calculates the age of the outflow of only 740 years. Although molecular outflows are common features around protostars, the outflow as young as the one in MM3 is quite rare. In summary, ALMA finds that the protostar in MM3 is very young but has a giant hot core.

Why the hot core in MM3 is so large? In order to warm up the large volume of gas, the baby star should emit much more energy than typical ones. Protostars produce emission by converting the gravitational energy of infalling material to the thermal energy. The large size of the hot core in MM3 is possibly due to the high mass infalling rate than ever thought. The other possibility is that two or more protostars are embedded in the hot core. The research team has not reached the reason with this observation yet. "ALMA's spatial resolution improves much more in the near future," Sakai says, "Then much detail of the infalling material toward the protostar can be revealed, and it helps us answer to the mystery behind the diversity in star formation."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131004090318.htm


Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 04-Oct-2013 at 23:43
What a handsome figure of a dragon. No wonder I fall madly in love with the Alani Dragon now, the avatar, it's a gorgeous dragon picture.
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Oct-2013 at 02:33

Well-Connected Hemispheres of Einstein's Brain May Have Sparked His Brilliance

 
The left and right hemispheres of Albert Einstein's brain were unusually well connected to each other and may have contributed to his brilliance, according to a new study conducted in part by Florida State University evolutionary anthropologist Dean Falk.

"This study, more than any other to date, really gets at the 'inside' of Einstein's brain," Falk said. "It provides new information that helps make sense of what is known about the surface of Einstein's brain."

The study, "The Corpus Callosum of Albert Einstein's Brain: Another Clue to His High Intelligence," was published in the journal Brain. Lead author Weiwei Men of East China Normal University's Department of Physics developed a new technique to conduct the study, which is the first to detail Einstein's corpus callosum, the brain's largest bundle of fibers that connects the two cerebral hemispheres and facilitates interhemispheric communication.

"This technique should be of interest to other researchers who study the brain's all-important internal connectivity," Falk said.

Men's technique measures and color-codes the varying thicknesses of subdivisions of the corpus callosum along its length, where nerves cross from one side of the brain to the other. These thicknesses indicate the number of nerves that cross and therefore how "connected" the two sides of the brain are in particular regions, which facilitate different functions depending on where the fibers cross along the length. For example, movement of the hands is represented toward the front and mental arithmetic along the back.

In particular, this new technique permitted registration and comparison of Einstein's measurements with those of two samples -- one of 15 elderly men and one of 52 men Einstein's age in 1905. During his so-called "miracle year" at 26 years old, Einstein published four articles that contributed substantially to the foundation of modern physics and changed the world's views about space, time, mass and energy.

The research team's findings show that Einstein had more extensive connections between certain parts of his cerebral hemispheres compared to both younger and older control groups.

The research of Einstein's corpus callosum was initiated by Men, who requested the high-resolution photographs that Falk and other researchers published in 2012 of the inside surfaces of the two halves of Einstein's brain. In addition to Men, the current research team included Falk, who served as second author; Tao Sun of the Washington University School of Medicine; and, from East China Normal University's Department of Physics, Weibo Chen, Jianqi Li, Dazhi Yin, Lili Zang and Mingxia Fan.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131004104754.htm


Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 08-Oct-2013 at 02:34
What a handsome figure of a dragon. No wonder I fall madly in love with the Alani Dragon now, the avatar, it's a gorgeous dragon picture.
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Oct-2013 at 22:41
Watch out if you become depressed, or you feel depressed, or have a memory that is confused now and again, as one could set off the other
 
 

How Depression Blurs Memories

 
To pinpoint why depression messes with memory, researchers took a page from Sesame Street's book.

The show's popular game "One of these things is not like the others" helps young viewers learn to differentiate things that are similar -- a process known as "pattern separation."

A new Brigham Young University study concludes that this same skill fades in adults in proportion to the severity of their symptoms of depression. The more depressed someone feels, the harder it is for them to distinguish similar experiences they've had.

If you've ever forgotten where you parked the car, you know the feeling (though it doesn't mean you have depression).

"That's really the novel aspect of this study -- that we are looking at a very specific aspect of memory," said Brock Kirwan, a psychology and neuroscience professor at BYU.

Depression has been generally linked to poor memory for a long time. To find out why, Kirwan and his former grad student D.J. Shelton put people through a computer-aided memory test. The participants viewed a series of objects on the screen. For each one, they responded whether they had seen the object before on the test (old), seen something like it (similar), or not seen anything like it (new).

With old and new items, participants with depression did just fine. They often got it wrong, however, when looking at objects that were similar to something they had seen previously. The most common incorrect answer was that they had seen the object before.

"They don't have amnesia," Kirwan said. "They are just missing the details."

This can be a challenge in a number of everyday situations, such as trying to remember which friends and family members you've told about something personal -- and which ones are still in the dark.

The findings also give an important clue about what is happening in the brain that might explain this.

"There are two areas in your brain where you grow new brain cells," Kirwan said. "One is the hippocampus, which is involved in memory. It turns out that this growth is decreased in cases of depression."

Because of this study, we know a little more about what these new brain cells are for: helping us see and remember new experiences. The study appears in the journal Behavioral Brain Research.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131003132237.htm


Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 08-Oct-2013 at 22:42
What a handsome figure of a dragon. No wonder I fall madly in love with the Alani Dragon now, the avatar, it's a gorgeous dragon picture.
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Oct-2013 at 06:48

A Slow, Loving, 'Affective' Touch May Be Key to a Healthy Sense of Self

A loving touch, characterized by a slow caress or stroke -- often an instinctive gesture from a mother to a child -- may increase the brain's ability to construct a sense of body ownership and, in turn, play a part in creating and sustaining a healthy sense of self.
 
A loving touch, characterized by a slow caress or stroke -- often an instinctive gesture from a mother to a child or between partners in romantic relationships -- may increase the brain's ability to construct a sense of body ownership and, in turn, play a part in creating and sustaining a healthy sense of self.

These findings come from a new study published online in Frontiers of Psychology, led by Neuropsychoanalysis Centre Director Dr. Aikaterini (Katerina) Fotopoulou, University College London, and NPSA grantee Dr. Paul Mark Jenkinson of the Department of Psychology, University of Hertfordshire in the UK.

The study, of 52 healthy adults, used a common experimental technique known as the rubber hand illusion, in which participants' brains are tricked into believing that a strategically placed rubber hand is their own. As they watch the rubber hand being stroked in synchrony with their own, they begin to think that the fake hand belongs to them. This technique demonstrates the changeable nature of the brain's perception of the body.

Affective touch, characterised by slow speed tactile stimulation of the skin (between 1 and 10cm per second) has been previously correlated with pleasant emotion and has also been seen to improve symptoms of anxiety and other emotional symptoms in certain groups of adults and infants. Dr. Fotopoulou's team wanted to test whether affective touch would affect the brain's understanding of the body and body ownership.

The team adapted the 'rubber hand' technique to incorporate four different types of touch, including a synchronized and asynchronized, slow, affective touch and a faster neutral touch, again in synchronous and asynchronous patterns. Participants were also asked to complete a standardized 'embodiment' questionnaire, to measure their subjective experience during the experiment.

The results confirmed previous findings that slow, light touch is perceived as being more pleasant than fast touch. More importantly, the study demonstrated that slow tactile stimulation made participants more likely to believe that the rubber hand was their own, compared with the faster neutral touch.

The perception of affective touch in the brain is one of a number of interoceptive signals that help us monitor homeostasis. This study provides new evidence to support the existing idea that interoceptive signals, such as affective touch, play an important role in how the brain learns to construct a mental picture and an understanding of the body, which ultimately helps to create a coherent sense of self.

Decreased sensitivity to and awareness of interoceptive signals, such as affective touch, have been linked to body image problems, unexplained pain, anorexia nervosa and bulimia.

"As affective touch is typically received from a loved one, these findings further highlight how close relationships involve behaviors that may play a crucial role in the construction of a sense of self," said Laura Crucianelli, the researcher who carried out the study.

"The next step for our team," concluded Dr. Katerina Fotopoulou, "is to examine whether being deprived of social signals, such as affective touch from a parent during early development, may also lead to abnormalities in the formation of a healthy body image and a healthy sense of self, for example in patients with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa."

Boosting interoceptive awareness and an individual's sense of body ownership could be key to developing future treatments for some of these conditions, and the sensation of 'affective touch' could play an important role.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131008132904.htm


Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 10-Oct-2013 at 06:53
What a handsome figure of a dragon. No wonder I fall madly in love with the Alani Dragon now, the avatar, it's a gorgeous dragon picture.
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Oct-2013 at 23:36

Elephants Know What It Means to Point to Something, No Training Required

When people want to direct the attention of others, they naturally do so by pointing, starting from a very young age. Now, researchers reporting in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, on October 10 have shown that elephants spontaneously get the gist of human pointing and can use it as a cue for finding food. That's all the more impressive given that many great apes fail to understand pointing when it's done for them by human caretakers, the researchers say.

"By showing that African elephants spontaneously understand human pointing, without any training to do so, we have shown that the ability to understand pointing is not uniquely human but has also evolved in a lineage of animal very remote from the primates," says Richard Byrne of the University of St Andrews, noting that elephants are part of an ancient African radiation of animals, including the hyrax, golden mole, aardvark, and manatee. "What elephants share with humans is that they live in an elaborate and complex network in which support, empathy, and help for others are critical for survival. It may be only in such a society that the ability to follow pointing has adaptive value, or, more generally, elephant society may have selected for an ability to understand when others are trying to communicate with them, and they are thus able to work out what pointing is about when they see it."

Byrne and study first author Anna Smet were studying elephants whose "day job" is taking tourists on elephant-back rides near Victoria Falls, in southern Africa. The animals were trained to follow certain vocal commands, but they weren't accustomed to pointing.

"Of course, we always hoped that our elephants would be able to learn to follow human pointing, or we'd not have carried out the experiments," Smet says. "What really surprised us is that they did not apparently need to learn anything. Their understanding was as good on the first trial as the last, and we could find no sign of learning over the experiment."

Elephants that were more experienced with humans, or those born in captivity, were no better than less-experienced, wild-born individuals when it came to following pointing gestures. Byrne and Smet say it is possible that elephants may do something akin to pointing as a means of communicating with each other, using their long trunk. Elephants do regularly make prominent trunk gestures, but it remains to be seen whether those motions act in elephant society as "points."

The findings help to explain how it is that humans have been able to rely on wild-caught elephants as work animals, for logging, transport, or war, for thousands of years. Elephants have a natural capacity to interact with humans even though -- unlike horses, dogs, and camels -- they have never been bred or domesticated for that role. Elephants seem to understand us humans in a way most other animals don't.

"Elephants are cognitively much more like us than has been realized, making them able to understand our characteristic way of indicating things in the environment by pointing," Byrne says. "This means that pointing is not a uniquely human part of the language system."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131010124559.htm


Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 11-Oct-2013 at 23:39
What a handsome figure of a dragon. No wonder I fall madly in love with the Alani Dragon now, the avatar, it's a gorgeous dragon picture.
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  Quote medenaywe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Oct-2013 at 01:02
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  Quote medenaywe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Oct-2013 at 23:46

3D metal printer is ready!Your space house can be built on PC soon:Wink(choose the model and press the button!)

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  Quote medenaywe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Oct-2013 at 02:18
"Today I am writing to simply say:Welcome back.Thank You for Your service"Clap
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  Quote medenaywe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Oct-2013 at 02:22
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  Quote medenaywe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Oct-2013 at 16:22
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  Quote medenaywe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Oct-2013 at 16:26
Launch of Sirius-6FM comes next:
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Oct-2013 at 22:46
After reading this you might feel extremely stress if you fine it impossible to sleep nowDead


Brain May Flush out Toxins During Sleep; Sleep Clears Brain of Molecules Associated With Neurodegeneration: Study

A good night's rest may literally clear the mind. Using mice, researchers showed for the first time that the space between brain cells may increase during sleep, allowing the brain to flush out toxins that build up during waking hours. These results suggest a new role for sleep in health and disease. The study was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the NIH.

"Sleep changes the cellular structure of the brain. It appears to be a completely different state," said Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc., co-director of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, and a leader of the study.

For centuries, scientists and philosophers have wondered why people sleep and how it affects the brain. Only recently have scientists shown that sleep is important for storing memories. In this study, Dr. Nedergaard and her colleagues unexpectedly found that sleep may be also be the period when the brain cleanses itself of toxic molecules.

Their results, published in Science, show that during sleep a plumbing system called the glymphatic system may open, letting fluid flow rapidly through the brain. Dr. Nedergaard's lab recently discovered the glymphatic system helps control the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), a clear liquid surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

"It's as if Dr. Nedergaard and her colleagues have uncovered a network of hidden caves and these exciting results highlight the potential importance of the network in normal brain function," said Roderick Corriveau, Ph.D., a program director at NINDS.

Initially the researchers studied the system by injecting dye into the CSF of mice and watching it flow through their brains while simultaneously monitoring electrical brain activity. The dye flowed rapidly when the mice were unconscious, either asleep or anesthetized. In contrast, the dye barely flowed when the same mice were awake.

"We were surprised by how little flow there was into the brain when the mice were awake," said Dr. Nedergaard. "It suggested that the space between brain cells changed greatly between conscious and unconscious states."

To test this idea, the researchers used electrodes inserted into the brain to directly measure the space between brain cells. They found that the space inside the brains increased by 60 percent when the mice were asleep or anesthetized.

"These are some dramatic changes in extracellular space," said Charles Nicholson, Ph.D., a professor at New York University's Langone Medical Center and an expert in measuring the dynamics of brain fluid flow and how it influences nerve cell communication.

Certain brain cells, called glia, control flow through the glymphatic system by shrinking or swelling. Noradrenaline is an arousing hormone that is also known to control cell volume. Similar to using anesthesia, treating awake mice with drugs that block noradrenaline induced unconsciousness and increased brain fluid flow and the space between cells, further supporting the link between the glymphatic system and consciousness.

Previous studies suggest that toxic molecules involved in neurodegenerative disorders accumulate in the space between brain cells. In this study, the researchers tested whether the glymphatic system controls this by injecting mice with labeled beta-amyloid, a protein associated with Alzheimer's disease, and measuring how long it lasted in their brains when they were asleep or awake. Beta-amyloid disappeared faster in mice brains when the mice were asleep, suggesting sleep normally clears toxic molecules from the brain.

"These results may have broad implications for multiple neurological disorders," said Jim Koenig, Ph.D., a program director at NINDS. "This means the cells regulating the glymphatic system may be new targets for treating a range of disorders."

The results may also highlight the importance of sleep.

"We need sleep. It cleans up the brain," said Dr. Nedergaard.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131017144636.htm



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 19-Oct-2013 at 22:47
What a handsome figure of a dragon. No wonder I fall madly in love with the Alani Dragon now, the avatar, it's a gorgeous dragon picture.
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  Quote medenaywe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Oct-2013 at 03:44
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  Quote medenaywe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Oct-2013 at 03:08
Another "virtual" picture,prothetic aid for our X-box on the top of the Head:
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