Sunday, August 17, 2025

Cookies



Blogger said I need to post a notice about cookies if theirs doesn't show up, to satisfy European laws. I don't see theirs on my page, maybe because of something to do with my page setup.
So here it is.
Blogger keeps cookies.
I might have apps that keep cookies, I don't know.
I do not personally keep cookies.


Friday, May 01, 2020

Reliable and unreliable media


Links to my posts with links to reliability of various "news" web sites

Media bias chart
http://patriciashannon.blogspot.com/2018/01/media-bias-chart.html

10 Journalism Brands Where You Find Real Facts Rather Than Alternative Facts according to Forbes
http://patriciashannon.blogspot.com/2017/03/10-journalism-brands-where-you-find.html

Snopes' Field Guide to Fake News Sites and Hoax Purveyors
http://patriciashannon.blogspot.com/2016/07/snopes-field-guide-to-fake-news-sites.html

Honest Reporting
http://patriciashannon.blogspot.com/2017/03/honest-reporting.html

If You’re A Liberal, Stop Sharing Links From These Fake News Sites
http://patriciashannon.blogspot.com/2017/03/if-youre-liberal-stop-sharing-links.html

============================================

Fact-checking sites:

https://www.snopes.com/

http://www.politifact.com/

http://factcheck.org/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/

https://www.americanpressinstitute.org/category/fact-checking-project/

Friday, March 15, 2019

Media bias chart


Pretty much fits my observations of the ones I am familiar with.




Thursday, September 20, 2018

Links



http://conversableeconomist.blogspot.com/2018/07/how-coalitional-instincts-make-weird.html
July 30, 2018
How Coalitional Instincts Make Weird Groups and Stupid People
"The primary function that drove the evolution of coalitions is the amplification of the power of its members in conflicts with non-members. This function explains a number of otherwise puzzling phenomena. For example, ancestrally, if you had no coalition you were nakedly at the mercy of everyone else, so the instinct to belong to a coalition has urgency, preexisting and superseding any policy-driven basis for membership. This is why group beliefs are free to be so weird.
to earn membership in a group you must send signals that clearly indicate that you differentially support it, compared to rival groups. Hence, optimal weighting of beliefs and communications in the individual mind will make it feel good to think and express content conforming to and flattering to one’s group’s shared beliefs and to attack and misrepresent rival groups. The more biased away from neutral truth, the better the communication functions to affirm coalitional identity, generating polarization in excess of actual policy disagreements. Communications of practical and functional truths are generally useless as differential signals, because any honest person might say them regardless of coalitional loyalty. In contrast, unusual, exaggerated beliefs—such as supernatural beliefs (e.g., god is three persons but also one person), alarmism, conspiracies, or hyperbolic comparisons—are unlikely to be said except as expressive of identity, because there is no external reality to motivate nonmembers to speak absurdities.
[So our natural tendencies make us easy patsies for those who want to manipulate us to divide us, so that we can't work together for our mutual benefit. ]
Humans want to join coalitional groups, but we can at least consider whether the way a group expresses solidarity is a good fit with who we want to be.
tags: tribes, tribal, tribalism, group , groupthink


Conservative Catholic clergy are blaming Pope Francis for clergy sexual abuse, but it was happening LONG before he became Pope, when the church was much more Conservative, and was being covered up.


http://time.com/5388352/doris-kearns-goodwin-leadership-turbulent-times-trump/
http:// time. com/5388352/doris-kearns-goodwin-leadership-turbulent-times-trump/
Sept. 6, 2018
Yes, these times qualify as turbulent, she says, although she didn’t know how much when she started the book about five years ago. Beyond any specific failures of leadership in its capital, she sees the U.S. as overwhelmed by polarization. The four examples she uses may help citizens recognize good leadership when they see it. But even more, she hopes citizens will remember that greater obstacles have been overcome before.
“It’s like being in war so long, you don’t know what peace is like,” Goodwin says. “We’ve been at each other’s throats so long in Washington. To know and remember what bipartisanship is like, that’s what I want people to see. We had it.”


Republicans are talking about regulating big tech. I thought they believe we don't need regulation of businesses.


https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/our-planet-ourselves-how-climate-change-results-in-emerging-diseases/
May 1, 2018
How Climate Change Results in Emerging Diseases


From Scientific American May 2018
https://docplayer.net/80912056-American-epidemic-resurgent-outbreaks-of-infectious-diseases-are-sickening-thousands-and-the-causes-are-societal-by-melinda-wenner-moyer.html
There are many causes for these rising infectious tides, but researchers agree that a major driver is the country’s ever worsening income inequality. The disparity between America’s highest and lowest earners exceeds that of virtually every other developed country, and it is still widening. The number of households earning less than $15,000 a year grew by 37  percent between 2000 and 2016. Households earning $150,000 or more increased by exactly the same amount. In poor areas, where almost half the people live below federal poverty levels, populations doubled during this period. People on these bottom rungs of society’s ladder live in crowded, often unclean conditions, have limited health care, must work when sick, have poor nutrition, experience debilitating stress, and are more likely than others to abuse drugs and alcohol—all known infection risk factors
The working poor in urban areas are also uniquely positioned to spread infectious diseases because of their job conditions. More than one million low-income Americans work as food preparers, which pays an average of $13,200 a year. Many of these workers go in even when they are ill. In a 2015 study, researchers at state health departments interviewed 426 restaurant managers around the country and reported that many of the restaurants’ policies regarding working while ill violated U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommendations. Seventy percent of the managers said they had worked while sick—even with a stomach bug—because they felt obligated or worried that they would not get paid otherwise. According to a 2014 report by nonprofit Families and Work Institute, only 52  percent of employers offer paid sick leave, and among those who do, 41 percent offer it only to employees who have worked there for at least a year. “You can just imagine that if people feel they have to work or they won’t get paid for that time, that you’re going to have a lot of sick people at work,” says Jonathan Fielding,
[Also, many people face being fired if they take of when they are sick.]


https://highline.huffingtonpost.com/articles/en/everything-you-know-about-obesity-is-wrong/
Sept. 19, 2018
Since 1980, the obesity rate has doubled in 73 countries and increased in 113 others. And in all that time, no nation has reduced its obesity rate. Not one.
The problem is that in America, like everywhere else, our institutions of public health have become so obsessed with body weight that they have overlooked what is really killing us: our food supply. Diet is the leading cause of death in the United States, responsible for more than five times the fatalities of gun violence and car accidents combined. But it’s not how much we’re eating—Americans actually consume fewer calories now than we did in 2003. It’s what we’re eating.
For more than a decade now, researchers have found that the quality of our food affects disease risk independently of its effect on weight. Fructose, for example, appears to damage insulin sensitivity and liver function more than other sweeteners with the same number of calories. People who eat nuts four times a week have 12 percent lower diabetes incidence and a 13 percent lower mortality rate regardless of their weight. All of our biological systems for regulating energy, hunger and satiety get thrown off by eating foods that are high in sugar, low in fiber and injected with additives. And which now, shockingly, make up 60 percent of the calories we eat.
In 2017, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the expert panel that decides which treatments should be offered for free under Obamacare, found that the decisive factor in obesity care was not the diet patients went on, but how much attention and support they received while they were on it. Participants who got more than 12 sessions with a dietician saw significant reductions in their rates of prediabetes and cardiovascular risk. Those who got less personalized care showed almost no improvement at all.
Still, despite the Task Force’s explicit recommendation of “intensive, multicomponent behavioral counseling” for higher-weight patients, the vast majority of insurance companies and state health care programs define this term to mean just a session or two—exactly the superficial approach that years of research says won’t work. “Health plans refuse to treat this as anything other than a personal problem,” says Chris Gallagher, a policy consultant at the Obesity Action Coalition.
A pilot program in Massachusetts that gave food stamp recipients an extra 30 cents for every $1 they spent on healthy food increased fruit and vegetable consumption by 26 percent. Policies like this are unlikely to affect our weight. They are almost certain, however, to significantly improve our health.


https://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/laurieroberts/2018/09/13/evolution-standards-arizona-diane-douglas-creationism/1291933002/
Sept. 13, 2018
Here is a bit of instruction from a guy Superintendent Diane Douglas tapped to help review Arizona’s standards on how to teach evolution in science class:
The earth is just 6,000 years old and dinosaurs were present on Noah’s Ark. But only the young ones. The adult ones were too big to fit, don’t you know.


https://www.wxyz.com/news/national/employers-can-fire-employees-who-evacuated-for-hurricane-in-north-carolina
Sept. 18, 2018
A woman said she lost her power in Hurricane Florence but was still fired for not showing up for a shift at the restaurant where she worked.
Because North Carolina is an at-will employment state, private-sector employees can be fired for any reason – or no reason at all, according to the state Department of Labor. The exception would be if the employer has an adverse weather policy that employees have signed.
Barring that, however, a company can demand workers show up if the business is open, even if the governor has declared a state of emergency and has asked people to stay off roads, as has been the case with Hurricane Florence.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Shell and Exxon's secret 1980s climate change warnings

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2018/sep/19/shell-and-exxons-secret-1980s-climate-change-warnings

Benjamin Franta
Wed 19 Sep 2018

•••••

In the 1980s, oil companies like Exxon and Shell carried out internal assessments of the carbon dioxide released by fossil fuels, and forecast the planetary consequences of these emissions. In 1982, for example, Exxon predicted that by about 2060, CO2 levels would reach around 560 parts per million – double the preindustrial level – and that this would push the planet’s average temperatures up by about 2°C over then-current levels (and even more compared to pre-industrial levels).

Later that decade, in 1988, an internal report by Shell projected similar effects but also found that CO2 could double even earlier, by 2030. Privately, these companies did not dispute the links between their products, global warming, and ecological calamity. On the contrary, their research confirmed the connections.

Shell’s assessment foresaw a one-meter sea-level rise, and noted that warming could also fuel disintegration of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, resulting in a worldwide rise in sea level of “five to six meters.” That would be enough to inundate entire low-lying countries.

•••••

For its part, Exxon warned of “potentially catastrophic events that must be considered.” Like Shell’s experts, Exxon’s scientists predicted devastating sea-level rise, and warned that the American Midwest and other parts of the world could become desert-like. Looking on the bright side, the company expressed its confidence that “this problem is not as significant to mankind as a nuclear holocaust or world famine.”
Sign up to the Green Light email to get the planet's most important stories
Read more

The documents make for frightening reading. And the effect is all the more chilling in view of the oil giants’ refusal to warn the public about the damage that their own researchers predicted. Shell’s report, marked “confidential,” was first disclosed by a Dutch news organization earlier this year. Exxon’s study was not intended for external distribution, either; it was leaked in 2015.

Nor did the companies ever take responsibility for their products. In Shell’s study, the firm argued that the “main burden” of addressing climate change rests not with the energy industry, but with governments and consumers. That argument might have made sense if oil executives, including those from Exxon and Shell, had not later lied about climate change and actively prevented governments from enacting clean-energy policies.

•••••

Despite scientific uncertainties, the bottom line was this: oil firms recognized that their products added CO2 to the atmosphere, understood that this would lead to warming, and calculated the likely consequences. And then they chose to accept those risks on our behalf, at our expense, and without our knowledge.

•••••

Links



https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/sep/19/hurricane-harvey-workers-rights-texas
Sept. 19, 2018
A year after Hurricane Harvey, some cleanup workers are still unpaid
According to a survey conducted last year by the University of Illinois at Chicago, approximately 75% of all day laborers have reported wage theft. Even worse, 61% of day laborers said that they received no respiratory devices to protect themselves against the many molds and bacterias that workers face on the job, and 85% of day laborers say they received no health and safety training.
The organizing is also starting to have a serious effect on the way wage theft law is enforced in Houston.
Last week, for the first time, the Harris county district attorney office, working closely with the center, filed a criminal theft of services charge against a homeowner, Sonny D Nicholas, who refused to pay a group of workers more than $2,300 for work done on his home.
If convicted, Nicholas could face up to a year in jail.


https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/nov/24/houston-texas-hurricane-harvey-rebuilding-immigrant-rights
Nov. 24, 2017
Already, battle lines are being drawn between a vision of equitable reconstruction being driven by worker’s rights groups and their allies in the Houston government and a free market vision championed by the Trump administration and their Republican allies in the Texas state government.
“Black workers were primarily excluded from rebuilding efforts and had to fight their way in while immigrants workers, while included, suffered extraordinary exploitation” said Saket Soni, executive director of the National Guestworkers Alliance, who headed the New Orleans Workers’ Center after Katrina.


I notice that in general, the people who say that what Kavanaugh did in high school shouldn't be held against him are otherwise in favor of charging children who commit crimes as adults, and the reverse. If there is a God that pays attention to what humans do, we must provide a continuous source of laughs.

Links



https://www.npr.org/2018/09/18/648722358/supreme-court-orders-disclosure-for-dark-money-as-new-report-unveils-some-donors
Sept. 18, 2018
The Supreme Court on Tuesday insisted that many donations to predominantly conservative political nonprofit groups — what's often called dark money — be disclosed, seven weeks ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.
The ruling closes, at least for now, a loophole that has allowed wealthy donors to finance aggressive ads while staying anonymous. Crafted by the Federal Election Commission nearly 40 years ago, the loophole flourished after the 2010 Citizens United ruling.
The court set aside an order issued by Chief Justice John Roberts on Saturday.


https://finance.yahoo.com/news/1-7-million-chickens-drown-175600464.html
Sept. 18, 2018
About 1.7 million chickens have been killed in flooding from Florence as rising North Carolina rivers swamped at least 60 farm buildings where the animals were being raised for market, according to a major poultry producer.


[This article includes a slide show of the effects of the storm, esp. flooding:]
https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/2018-09-17-florence-flooding-north-south-carolina?cm_ven=wu_videos
Sept. 18, 2018
Hurricane Florence, now a post-tropical cyclone, resumed its second week of impacts with much of the same – flooding that cut off entire towns, water rescues in parts of the Carolinas that have been inundated, and more tragedy.
The storm is responsible for at least 35 deaths – 27 in North Carolina, six in South Carolina and two in Virginia.
Don't use map apps: Because of the aggressive flooding, road closures are a fluid situation, and navigation apps are having trouble keeping up. Therefore, officials have warned drivers to not use the apps, as they could lead travelers into flooded or closed roads.
The worst for many may still be coming. Rivers including the Little Pee Dee, the Waccamaw, the Great Pee Dee, the Lumber, and the Black are expected to reach or exceed flood levels this week.


https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/sep/18/epa-methane-pollution-rule-rolled-back-health-warning
Sept. 18, 2018
The Trump administration is rolling back Obama-era standards to limit planet-warming methane pollution from oil and gas operations on federal lands.
Environmental advocates said retracting the regulation would contribute to global warming and cause more smog-forming pollution that can cause heart and lung illnesses.


https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/18/brett-kavanaugh-us-supreme-court-patriarchy
Sept. 18, 2018
I hate to state the obvious, but apparently it needs to be done. Just because someone has never sexually assaulted you, it doesn’t mean they’ve never sexually assaulted someone else. Just because someone has been nice to you, it doesn’t mean they’ve acted the same way with everyone else in their life.
As more and more stories of supposedly good guys acting badly come out, it is getting harder pretend that sexual assault is something only monsters do.


https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/sep/18/air-pollution-causes-jump-in-dementia-risk-study-suggests
Sept. 18, 2018
People over 50 in areas with the highest levels of nitrogen oxide in the air showed a 40% greater risk of developing dementia than those with the least NOx pollution, according to the research, based on data from London.
The observational study, published in the BMJ Open journal on Wednesday, cannot establish that air pollution was a direct cause of the dementia cases. However, the authors said the link between higher pollution and higher levels of dementia diagnosis could not be explained by other factors known to raise risks of the disease.
Air pollution has already been linked with cardiovascular and respiratory disease
Frank Kelly, professor of environmental health at King’s College London and one of the authors of the paper, told the Guardian: “The study outcome suggests a linkage [between air pollution and dementia] but cannot inform on the cause. However, I believe that we now have sufficient knowledge to add air pollution to the list of risk factors for dementia. Our calculations suggest that it elevates risk by 7%, so [that would suggest] approximately 60,000 of the total 850,000 dementia cases in the UK, in mathematical terms.”
A ground-breaking study from China recently found a “huge” reduction in intelligence associated with breathing dirty air, equivalent to losing a year’s education.
The paper’s authors said a link between poor air quality and dementia could begin early in life. They wrote: “Traffic related air pollution has been [linked to] poorer cognitive development in young children, and continued significant exposure may produce neuroinflammation and altered brain innate immune responses in early adulthood.”


https://www.voterstudygroup.org/publications/2016-elections/the-five-types-trump-voters
June 2017
The Five Types of Trump Voters


The way we treat other people helps to create a world where others treat us that way.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Links


[Please read the whole article, which I saw in the print edition.]
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/09/13/poverty-lies-path-hurricane-florence-eastern-nc/1287899002/
Sept. 13, 2018
'No money, no job': Poverty forces people in path of Hurricane Florence to ride out storm


https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/17/health/disinfectants-baby-gut-microbiota-bmi-study/index.html
Sept. 17, 2018
Multi-surface cleaners and other commonly used household disinfectants could be making children overweight by altering the bacteria found in their guts, a new study published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal suggests.
Infants living in households where antimicrobial disinfectants are used at least weekly were twice as likely to have higher levels of the bacteria Lachnospiraceae at ages 3 to 4 months than children whose homes did not frequently use disinfectants, the Canadian researchers found. When those children with higher levels of Lachnospiraceae were 3 years old, their body mass index (BMI) was higher than children who do not live in homes that frequently use disinfectants, the study also showed.
The bacteria Lachnospiraceae are "a normal component of our gut microbiota," Anita Kozyrskyj, senior author of the study and a University of Alberta pediatrics professor, said in a CMAJ podcast.
However, she explained that it is known "from animal studies that higher levels of Lachnospiraceae have been associated with higher body fat and insulin resistance."


[Ah yes, those wonderful rich people, making money by hurting children.]
https://offspring.lifehacker.com/infant-walkers-are-still-bad-1829115769
Sept. 17, 2018
Infant walkers, those wheeled contraptions that give babies who can’t yet walk the sudden ability to walk, are bad. This has been long established. But parents keep using them and so pediatricians are renewing the call for a ban.


https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/09/17/648710859/childhood-trauma-and-its-lifelong-health-effects-more-prevalent-among-minorities
Sept. 17, 2018
When researchers first discovered a link in the late 1990s between childhood adversity and chronic health problems later in life, the real revelation was how common those experiences were across all socioeconomic groups.
But the first major study to focus on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) was limited to a single healthcare system in San Diego. Now a new study — the largest nationally representative study to date on ACEs — confirms that these experiences are universal, yet highlights some disparities among socioeconomic groups. People with low-income and educational attainment, people of color and people who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual had significantly higher chance of having experienced adversity in childhood.


http://www.portlight.org/
Donate to help hurricane victims who are disabled.


https://www.soundprint.co/
LIKE YELP, BUT FOR NOISE
Tired of trying to have a connected conversation over the thick layers of noise, background music, and dense variety of groups in conversation?
SoundPrint allows you to rate and review places based on their sound levels. This way you can plan your next meeting, date, or family outing around a great place to eat to hear and connect with each other.


https://www.aarp.org/politics-society/government-elections/info-2018/drug-prices-midterm-elections.html
Sept. 2018
The average retail price of a prescription drug taken to treat a chronic condition has reached $13,000 per year. That’s more than three times what it was when the landmark drug legislation was passed, and it’s about four-fifths of the average annual Social Security retirement benefit. How much a Medicare beneficiary has to pay out of pocket for that medication can vary greatly, depending on what drug plan he or she has. 


https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/08/01/republicans-block-money-election-security/884438002/
June 16, 2017
President Trump says he’s received tens of millions of dollars in income from the golf courses and resorts whose profile he boosted during frequent visits since taking office, according to filings released Friday by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.
Properties that Trump frequently visited as president saw the largest boost in income.


https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/17/amazon-warehouse-bernie-sanders
Sept. 17, 2018
I worked undercover as an order picker at one of the company’s warehouses for three weeks in 2016, in the small Staffordshire town of Rugeley in the United Kingdom. I took the job as part of the research for my book, Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low Wage Britain.
Before I started the job I had a relatively positive view of Amazon - admittedly derived from my use of the company’s website as a consumer. When I set out to write my book I was simply looking at low-paid, precarious work. I ended up working at Amazon by accident: my search for a low-paid job merely coincided with a recruitment drive on Amazon’s part.
Yet what I found while working for Amazon shocked me. I had done warehouse work previously when I was younger, along with a range of other poorly paid, manual jobs. In other words, my shock at the way workers were treated by Amazon was not a product of some wet-behind-the-ears naivety: I fully expected warehouse work to be tough. Yet what I witnessed at Amazon went far beyond that. This was a workplace environment in which decency, respect and dignity were absent.


https://www.yahoo.com/news/organizations-around-country-flock-rescue-123924487.html
Sept. 17, 2018
While Florence forced humans to evacuate or seek shelter last week, the storm's impacts required the rescue of hundreds of animals. Dozens of organizations, teams and families from around the country came to the rescue throughout the weekend, providing temporary homes and transportation to safer shelters.


https://www.yahoo.com/news/trial-murder-honduran-environmental-activist-delayed-194707609.html
Sept. 17, 2018
Honduras' supreme court indefinitely suspended the start of a trial Monday of eight men charged in the 2016 killing of prize-winning Honduran indigenous and environmental rights activist Berta Caceres.
Caceres was shot to death inside her home in La Esperanza in western Honduras on March 2, 2016, one year after winning the Goldman Environmental Prize for her leadership against a dam project.
Two of the accused worked at one time for Desarrollos Energeticos SA, the company behind the hydroelectric project that Caceres and her group Copinh had battled against for years. Caceres had reported death threats from both of them.
Another defendant was an active-duty military member, supporting assertions by Caceres' family that there was collusion between the company and state security forces.
Roberto David Castillo Mejia, who was executive president of DESA when Caceres was killed, was arrested last March in the killing, though he is not part of the suspended trial. Prosecutors allege he was in charge of handling logistics for the killing. The company said Castillo and its other employees were "totally unconnected" to the murder.
Last year, a team of lawyers published a report after studying the case. They said it was a carefully planned effort and "there is evidence to link high-level state and non-state officials to the murder."


https://www.acsh.org/news/2018/09/14/parents-stop-kids-need-tommy-john-surgeries-says-tommy-john-13412
Sept. 14, 2018
Parents, Stop Kids' Need for Tommy John Surgeries, Says Tommy John
the former Major League pitcher has an urgent message for parents.
Spare your still-developing teen the potential of a lifetime of pain and discomfort: Stop the focus on a single sport.
John is speaking up because he's alarmed by the number of teen athletes – not only pitchers, but youngsters in other sports – who are undergoing major surgery in ever-increasing numbers. While pitchers are playing baseball nearly year-round and therefore overworking their elbows at too young an age, John is just as concerned about far too many soccer players having to undergo reconstructive knee surgery for similar reasons. Their joints are not yet fully formed and the constant strain from dedicated, 11-month/year participation and travel teams frequently lead to ligament tears and painful ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) operations.
"This is about more than just baseball and elbows. It’s about the way we are raising our children," writes the 75-year-old former lefthander, who won the majority of his 288 big-league games after his revolutionary surgery in 1974. "The nation’s youth-sports industry is a $15 billion business — and more and more, that business pushes children to make decisions early about which sport they want to play, and then to pursue that sport to the exclusion of all others," writes John, in an essay published in this month's AARP Bulletin. "And kids’ bodies are paying the price."


https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-05994-1
Aug. 16, 2018
Mothers with high levels of the pesticide DDT in their blood during pregnancy are more likely to bear children who develop autism, according to a study of blood samples from more than one million pregnant women in Finland.
Several countries have banned the pesticide DDT over concerns about its effects on the environment.Credit: Popperfoto/Getty
Mothers with high levels of the pesticide DDT in their blood during pregnancy are more likely to bear children who develop autism, according to a study of blood samples from more than one million pregnant women in Finland.
The World Health Organization estimates that globally, one in 160 children has autism. Any case of autism is likely due to a number of factors, including genetics and other environmental exposures.
Although the authors stress that the findings do not prove that autism is caused by DDT — whose use has been banned in many countries for decades over concerns about its effects on wildlife— it is the first such association using a direct measure of exposure to the pesticide. Researchers who investigate links between environment and disease say that further studies are needed to determine the mechanism, if any, by which DDT exposure could trigger autism.
The study, published on 16 August in the American Journal of Psychiatry1, also examined mothers’ exposure to another set of chemicals known as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and found no association between these substances and autism. That finding deepens questions about whether or how DDT might be linked to autism.
DDT — which is still sometimes used in Africa to control mosquito populations — lingers in soil and water for decades, accumulating in plants and the animals that consume them. PCBs, which used to be common in building materials and electronics, tend to accumulate to high concentrations in certain fish.
Brown cautions that although there seems to be a link between autism and DDT exposure, the overall risk of having a child with the disorder is low — even among women with high DDT levels. His group plans to look at other organic chemicals in the Finnish database to determine whether they might affect fetuses by interacting with DDT.


https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/01/the-power-of-negativity/546560/
January/February 2018
Despite America’s reputation for optimism, nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults are pessimistic about the country’s future. [1] This may not be all bad, though. Decades of research have found that positive thinking isn’t always so positive. In some cases, pessimists fare better than those with a sunnier disposition.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Links



https://www.newsweek.com/ted-cruz-beto-orourke-texas-election-midterms-letters-1123146
Sept. 16, 2018
Ted Cruz’s Texas Senatorial campaign has sent hundreds of thousands of mailers seeking donations that are meant to look like official county summons, a high-ranking campaign official confirmed to Newsweek.
The brown envelopes read “SUMMONS ENCLOSED- OPEN IMMEDIATELY” in large black letters, and have a return address of “official county summons.”
While the letter inside the envelope is a donation form for the Cruz campaign, there is some fear that certain voters may be confused by the mailer and think that they are required by law to pay a fee.


https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/kidney-transplant-social-share/
Nobody is paying for ailing children's organ transplants or life-saving surgeries based on how often a social media post is shared.
This item is just another iteration of a long-running online hoax/scam entreating users to share posts and photographs under the false premise that doing so will help to secure an organ transplant or money for surgery needed by a desperately ill child.
Even if no money actually changes hands in connection with these posts, the sharing of them indirectly assists scammers by driving followers, shares, and likes to their social media pages, creating popular platforms from which they can launch other fraudulent schemes.


https://www.newsweek.com/seth-klarman-republican-donations-trump-1122937
Sept. 16, 2018
For years, one of the Republican Party’s biggest supporters has been Seth Klarman, the billionaire chief executive and portfolio manager of Boston’s private investment firm, Baupost Group, which Klarman founded in 1982.
His political support has since changed as Klarman is now donating to Democratic initiatives, according to the New York Times’ analysis of Klarman’s Federal Election Commission filings, set to be released on September 20.
Klarman told the Times his generosity towards Democrats—although he doesn’t identify as one—was his way of ensuring a “check on Donald Trump’s runaway presidency.”

Links




https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/31/politics/w-samuel-patten-plea-russia-ukraine/index.html
Aug. 31, 2018
Washington lobbyist W. Samuel Patten pleaded guilty Friday to acting as an unregistered foreign lobbyist, and admitted to lying to the Senate Intelligence Committee and funneling a Ukrainian oligarch's money to Donald Trump's Presidential Inaugural Committee.


https://qz.com/1391530/bpa-free-plastics-may-not-be-safer-than-regular-plastics-a-new-study-finds/
Sept. 15, 2018
A new study, published in the journal Current Biology, concluded that common alternatives to BPA caused harmful effects in mice, notably in their reproductive cells. The findings add to the mounting body of evidence that these alternatives carry their own health risks. As Science noted, if further research on animals and humans continues to support these findings, it could derail efforts to reassure the many consumers already nervous about the plastics in their food and drink containers that there are safe options to choose from.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-09/cp-bri090618.php


https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/sep/16/air-pollution-particles-found-in-mothers-placentas
Sept. 16, 2018
Scientists have found the first evidence that particles of air pollution travel through pregnant women’s lungs and lodge in their placentas.
Toxic air is already strongly linked to harm in foetuses but how the damage is done is unknown. The new study, involving mothers living in London, UK, revealed sooty particles in the placentas of each of their babies and researchers say it is quite possible the particles entered the foetuses too.
“It is a worrying problem – there is a massive association between air pollution a mother breathes in and the effect it has on the foetus,” said Dr Lisa Miyashita, at Queen Mary University of London, one of the research team. “It is always good if possible to take less polluted routes if you are pregnant – or indeed if you are not pregnant. I avoid busy roads when I walk to the station.”
A series of previous studies have shown that air pollution significantly increases the risk of premature birth and of low birth weight, leading to lifelong damage to health.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-09/elf-fet091318.php


https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-09/esoc-ebp091118.php
Public Release: 12-Sep-2018
Elevated blood pressure is linked to increased risk of aortic valve disease
European Society of Cardiology


https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-09/s-hdl091018.php
Public Release: 13-Sep-2018
Heat-related deaths likely to increase significantly as global temperatures rise, warn researchers
Models show that the implementation of the Paris Agreement is critical to avoid a large increase in temperature-related deaths


https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-09/ason-cep090618.php
Public Release: 13-Sep-2018
Certain environmental pollutants may contribute to poor kidney health
American Society of Nephrology
Certain highly pervasive environmental pollutants may have a variety of negative effects on kidney health, according to an analysis of all relevant studies published on this topic to date. The findings, which appear in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN), point to the need for additional research to clarify and address these effects.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large group of manufactured non-biodegradable compounds used in industrial processes and consumer products, and they are everywhere in the environment. Humans are exposed to PFAS through contaminated soil, food, water, soil, and air. Recently, they have been detected on military bases, where they are used in aqueous fire-fighting foams, as well as in public water supplies from industrial contamination and in agricultural and crop products.


https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-09/w-adl091318.php
Public Release: 13-Sep-2018
Adhering to an anti-inflammatory diet was associated with lower risks of dying from any cause, dying from cardiovascular causes, and dying from cancer in a recent Journal of Internal Medicine study.
In the study of 68,273 Swedish men and women aged 45 to 83 years who were followed for 16 years, participants who most closely followed an anti-inflammatory diet had an 18% lower risk of all-cause mortality, a 20% lower risk of cardiovascular mortality, and a 13% lower risk of cancer mortality, when compared with those who followed the diet to a lesser degree. Smokers who followed the diet experienced even greater benefits when compared with smokers who did not follow the diet.
Anti-inflammatory foods consist of fruits and vegetables, tea, coffee, whole grain bread, breakfast cereal, low-fat cheese, olive oil and canola oil, nuts, chocolate, and moderate amounts of red wine and beer. Pro-inflammatory foods include unprocessed and processed red meat, organ meats, chips, and soft-drink beverages.
"Our dose-response analysis showed that even partial adherence to the anti-inflammatory diet may provide a health benefit," said lead author Dr. Joanna Kaluza, an associate professor at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences, in Poland.


https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-09/gumc-pum091118.php
Public Release: 14-Sep-2018
Use of probiotics is linked to reduced need for antibiotic treatment in infants and children, according to a review of studies that probed the benefits of probiotics, say researchers in the U.S., England and the Netherlands.
Their study, supported in part by the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics and published in the European Journal of Public Health, found that when the results from twelve studies were pooled together, infants and children were 29% percent less likely to have been prescribed antibiotics if they received probiotics as a daily health supplement. When the analysis was repeated with only the highest quality studies, this percentage increased to 53%.


https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-09/f-whm091018.php
Public Release: 14-Sep-2018
We have more than enough calories, but what about other nutrients?
"There are two main issues with how we currently talk about food systems," says Hannah Ritchie from the University of Edinburgh, who led the study. "The first is that we focus our measure of food security in terms of calories (energy), when micronutrient malnutrition ('hidden hunger') affects more than ~2 billion people across the world."


https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-09/uom-bei091318.php
Public Release: 13-Sep-2018
BPA exposure in US-approved levels may alter insulin response in non-diabetic adults
University of Missouri-Columbia


https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-09/uoic-dfr091318.php
Public Release: 13-Sep-2018
Dietary fiber reduces brain inflammation during aging
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences


https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-09/elf-pui091318.php
Public Release: 16-Sep-2018
Paracetamol, also known as acetaminophen or APAP. use in infancy is linked to increased risk of asthma in some teenagers
Specific variants in the GST genes seem to play a role in greater susceptibility to lung problems
European Lung Foundation

Links



https://www.businessinsider.com/paul-manafort-plea-deal-mueller-guilty-2018-9

Paul Manafort pleaded guilty on Friday to one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice and one count of conspiracy against the US.


https://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-delivery-drivers-reveal-claims-of-disturbing-work-conditions-2018-8
Sept. 11, 2018
Business Insider spoke with 31 current or recently employed drivers about what it's like to deliver packages for Amazon.
Some drivers described a variety of alleged abuses, including lack of overtime pay, missing wages, intimidation, and favoritism.
Many of these drivers also described a physically demanding work environment in which, under strict time constraints, they felt pressured to drive at dangerously high speeds, blow stop signs, and urinate in bottles on their trucks.


https://www.businessinsider.com/bob-woodward-mueller-something-on-trump-2018-9
Sept. 14, 2018
Veteran reporter Bob Woodward on Friday told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt he looked "hard" for evidence of collusion between President Donald Trump and Russia but didn't find anything.
But he still thinks the special counsel Robert Mueller has "something" on the president.


https://www.bartleby.com/73/1736.html
H. L. Mencken - There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
often paraphrased as
https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/h_l_mencken_129796
For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.


https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/09/12/why-growth-cant-be-green/
Sept. 12, 2018
Warnings about ecological breakdown have become ubiquitous. Over the past few years, major newspapers, including the Guardian and the New York Times, have carried alarming stories on soil depletion, deforestation, and the collapse of fish stocks and insect populations. These crises are being driven by global economic growth, and its accompanying consumption, which is destroying the Earth’s biosphere and blowing past key planetary boundaries that scientists say must be respected to avoid triggering collapse.
Many policymakers have responded by pushing for what has come to be called “green growth.”
For reference, a sustainable level of resource use is about 50 billion metric tons per year—a boundary we breached back in 2000.
The team then reran the model to see what would happen if every nation on Earth immediately adopted best practice in efficient resource use (an extremely optimistic assumption). The results improved; resource consumption would hit only 93 billion metric tons [instead of 180 billion metric tons] by 2050. But that is still a lot more than we’re consuming today. Burning through all those resources could hardly be described as absolute decoupling or green growth.
It sounds like an elegant solution to an otherwise catastrophic problem. There’s just one hitch: New evidence suggests that green growth isn’t the panacea everyone has been hoping for. In fact, it isn’t even possible.
Study after study shows the same thing. Scientists are beginning to realize that there are physical limits to how efficiently we can use resources. Sure, we might be able to produce cars and iPhones and skyscrapers more efficiently, but we can’t produce them out of thin air. We might shift the economy to services such as education and yoga, but even universities and workout studios require material inputs.
We might shift the economy to services such as education and yoga, but even universities and workout studios require material inputs.
Once we reach the limits of efficiency, pursuing any degree of economic growth drives resource use back up.


https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/09/16/647415462/study-a-daily-baby-aspirin-has-no-benefit-for-healthy-older-people
Sept. 16, 2018
Results released Sunday from a major study of low-dose aspirin contain a disappointing answer for older, otherwise healthy people.
"We found there was no discernible benefit of aspirin on prolonging independent, healthy life for the elderly," says Anne Murray, a geriatrician and epidemiologist at Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis, who helped lead the study.
There is still strong evidence that a daily baby aspirin can reduce the risk that many people who have already suffered a heart attack or stroke will suffer another attack.
And there is some evidence that daily low-dose aspirin may help people younger than 70 who have at least a 10 percent risk of having a heart attack avoid a heart attack or stroke, according to the latest recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.