Sunday, August 17, 2025


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.

Monday, November 04, 2024

The structure of this blog

I have several blog posts that are at the top of my blog for extended periods of time, because I believe they are of continuing usefulness. So when you look at my blog, the fact that the first few are the same doesn't mean I haven't updated the blog recently.

Friday, May 01, 2020

Reliable and unreliable media

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

Media bias chart

10 Journalism Brands Where You Find Real Facts Rather Than Alternative Facts according to Forbes

Snopes' Field Guide to Fake News Sites and Hoax Purveyors

Honest Reporting

If You’re A Liberal, Stop Sharing Links From These Fake News Sites


Fact-checking sites:

Friday, March 15, 2019

Media bias chart

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

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Tax-Aide needs volunteers


Help your neighbors get the (tax) credit they deserve! AARP Foundation is looking for compassionate and friendly individuals to join our volunteer team this upcoming tax season!

The service is free, there is no age limit, and clients do not have to be AARP members.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

By Patricia Marx
Oct. 1, 2018


Gregory Scott Farber described the app he created, SoundPrint, as “Yelp for noise.” The free program allows users to search for and grade restaurants and bars according to their sound level. “Places are getting louder,” Farber, who is forty-two, said. “People tell me, thirty or forty years ago you could go somewhere to eat and expect to have a conversation.”


1.1 Billion Millennials Are at Risk for a Condition Linked to Dementia

Of course, it's not just millennials who are affected. Plenty of older people have damaged hearing from loud music, power tools, etc.

Carrie Madormo

When you think about hearing loss, you probably picture someone in the later years of life. But research suggests that even people under 40 should be wary: The World Health Organization estimates that 1.1 billion millennials worldwide are at risk for hearing loss most likely related to “extensive use of personal listening devices.” Studies show that nearly 50 percent of young adults ages 12 to 35 are cranking the volume in their earbuds to dangerously high decibels.


Worse yet, hearing loss may be linked to dementia. “Research currently shows a relationship between hearing loss and dementia—that is, people diagnosed with dementia have a higher prevalence of hearing loss, and the more severe the hearing loss, the greater the degree of dementia,” says Laurel Christensen, PhD, chief audiology officer at GN Hearing. “While the underlying cause is not completely known, there is enough of a relationship between hearing loss and dementia to warrant the monitoring of one’s hearing sensitivity,” she says.


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Leading researchers call for a ban on widely used insecticides

November 9, 2018
University of California - Davis Health
Public health experts have found there is sufficient evidence that prenatal exposure to widely used insecticides known as organophosphates puts children at risk for neurodevelopmental disorders.

Public health experts have found there is sufficient evidence that prenatal exposure to widely used insecticides known as organophosphates puts children at risk for neurodevelopmental disorders.

In a scientific review and call to action published in PLOS Medicine, the researchers call for immediate government intervention to phase out all organophosphates.

"There is compelling evidence that exposure of pregnant women to very low levels of organophosphate pesticides is associated with lower IQs and difficulties with learning, memory or attention in their children," said lead author Irva Hertz-Picciotto, professor of public health sciences, director of the UC Davis Environmental Health Sciences Center and researcher with the UC Davis MIND Institute.

"Although a single organophosphate -- chlorpyrifos -- has been in the national spotlight, our review implicates the entire class of these compounds," Hertz-Picciotto added.


People can come into contact with these chemicals through the food they eat, the water they drink and the air they breathe. As a result, organophosphate pesticides are detected in the vast majority of U.S. residents, according to Hertz-Picciotto.

While existing limits on organophosphates have reduced exposures, the review authors said this isn't enough. Based on more than 30 epidemiologic studies and scores of experimental studies in animals and cell cultures, they believe the evidence is clear: Exposure to organophosphates before birth, even at levels currently considered safe, is associated with poorer cognitive, behavioral and social development.

"It should be no surprise that studies confirm that these chemicals alter brain development, since they were originally designed to adversely affect the central nervous system," Hertz-Picciotto said.


Study of two tribes sheds light on role of Western-influenced diet in blood pressure

Public Release: 14-Nov-2018

Tribe with no Western dietary influences had no increase in blood pressure with advancing age, while neighboring tribe with modest exposure to Western diet, including processed foods, did have an increase

Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health


Parents shouldn't worry if their infant doesn't sleep through the night by a year old

Public Release: 14-Nov-2018
Study of close to 400 infants found no association between interrupted sleep and later developmental problems
McGill University

New parents often expect their baby to start sleeping through the night by around six months of age. Indeed, they often receive messages from paediatricians and others about the importance of early sleep consolidation. But authors of a study in the December 2018 issue of Pediatrics found that a large percentage of healthy babies don't reach that milestone by six months of age, or even at a year old. The McGill-led research team also examined whether infants who didn't sleep for six or eight consecutive hours were more likely to have problems with psychomotor and mental development, and found no association. The researchers also found no correlation between infants waking up at night and their mothers' postnatal mood.


Bias-based bullying does more harm, is harder to protect against

Public Release: 14-Nov-2018
North Carolina State University

A new study finds that bias-based bullying does more harm to students than generalized bullying, particularly for students who are targeted because of multiple identities, such as race and gender. What's more, the study finds that efforts to mitigate these harms are less effective against bias-based bullying.

"Bias-based bullying is when children are bullied because of some aspect of their social identity, whether that's race, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability or sexual orientation," says Kelly Lynn Mulvey, an assistant professor of psychology at North Carolina State University and corresponding author of a paper on the work. "Multiple bias-based bullying is when children are targeted because of two or more aspects of their social identity. These both differ from generalized bullying, in which kids are targeted because of things like their academic interests, being the new kid at school or their fashion choices."


"We found that victims of multiple bias-based bullying had the worst outcomes in three areas: fear of being harmed, school avoidance, and negative effects on their physical, psychological and academic well-being," Mulvey says. "Victims of one type of bias-based bullying fared second worst. Victims of generalized bullying still suffered adverse outcomes, but to a lesser extent than the other two groups."


How exercise could help fight drug addiction

Public Release: 14-Nov-2018
American Chemical Society

The siren call of addictive drugs can be hard to resist, and returning to the environment where drugs were previously taken can make resistance that much harder. However, addicts who exercise appear to be less vulnerable to the impact of these environmental cues. Now, research with mice suggests that exercise might strengthen a drug user's resolve by altering the production of peptides in the brain, according to a study in the journal ACS Omega.


tags: drug abuse, drug use

Certain diabetes drugs linked to increased risk of lower limb amputation

Public Release: 14-Nov-2018
Findings expand on current knowledge regarding safety of SGLT2 inhibitors

Although the absolute risk increase is small, the findings expand on current knowledge and quantify the risk of serious adverse events potentially linked to this group of drugs, say the researchers.

SGLT2 inhibitors are increasingly popular drugs for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. They lower blood glucose levels by increasing glucose loss through the kidneys, but concerns have been raised regarding their safety.

For instance, some studies have suggested that their use may be associated with serious complications, including lower limb amputation, bone fracture, diabetic ketoacidosis, acute kidney injury, serious urinary tract infections, blood clots (venous thromboembolism) and acute pancreatitis.


use of SGLT2 inhibitors was associated with a two-fold increased risk of both lower limb amputation (2.7 vs 1.1 events per 1000 person years) and diabetic ketoacidosis (1.3 vs 0.6 events per 1000 person years), compared with GLP1 receptor agonists.

But there was no significant risk increase for bone fracture, acute kidney injury, serious urinary tract infection, venous thromboembolism or acute pancreatitis.

Findings remained consistent after further analyses to test the strength of the results.


Difficult-to-treat bowel cancers respond in first study of new drug combination

Public Release: 14-Nov-2018
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation

Dublin, Ireland: Early results from a phase I trial in a small group of patients with advanced cancer using two drugs (nivolumab and pixatimod) that stimulate the immune system report that patients with bowel cancer may benefit from the combination.


He said that the data suggested that a population of colorectal cancer patients, considered to be microsatellite stable (MSS), received benefit from the drug combination. MSS patients, unlike microsatellite unstable patients, have tumours bearing fewer signals that alert the immune system to the cancer. This is thought to be a major reason why checkpoint inhibitors, such as nivolumab, have been unsuccessful in treating MSS colorectal cancer (CRC).

"No patients with microsatellite stable colorectal cancers have been reported to respond to monotherapy with immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy," he said. "However, in this study of a new drug combination, we observed clinical benefit in four out of five MSS CRC patients enrolled, including two demonstrating a reduction in the tumour burden."


Alcohol ads with pro-drinking comments on Facebook boost desire to drink

Public Release: 14-Nov-2018
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs
Alcohol advertisements on social media sites such as Facebook can increase young adults' desire to drink if the ads contain pro-drinking comments from users. That's according to new research in the current issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Social media users who view alcohol ads are also more likely to "Like" or "Share" an ad when it has pro-drinking comments, the new study shows.

"There is more information on social media than just a post or a message. We are exposed to how other users respond to a post, and it is those responses that can influence your desire to drink," says Dr. Jonathan Noel, the study's lead author. "Our findings suggest that comments left by other social media users may either reinforce or negate the message from a post."

With hundreds of corporate-sponsored alcohol ads on social media sites (with millions of Likes and Shares), plus millions of views of alcohol ads on YouTube, alcohol companies have expanded platforms to reach young consumers. The new study suggests that the industry needs to improve the voluntary self-regulatory system that governs its advertising, possibly by limiting or banning comments on social media advertising.
But the very purpose of alcohol ads is to encourage people to drink.


tags: drug use, drug abuse

Wishes help keep pediatric patients out of the hospital

Public Release: 13-Nov-2018
Nationwide Children's Hospital


As a member of the Medical Advisory Council of Make-A-Wish America, Anup Patel, MD, section chief of Neurology at Nationwide Children's Hospital, anecdotally could attest that wishes like Cimone's positively affected the patients he saw in the Complex Epilepsy Clinic at Nationwide Children's. As a clinician, he sought evidence to support his hypothesis that these experiences provided children with progressive, life-threatening, or critical illnesses more than hope - that in fact, they had a clinical benefit.

Whatever a child has wished for - a puppy, seeing snow for the first time or to meet their favorite celebrity - a recent study led by Nationwide Children's demonstrates that experiences, or "wishes," granted to pediatric patients can actually reduce health care utilization. In the retrospective study published online by Pediatric Research, patients granted a wish were 2.5 times more likely to have fewer unplanned hospital admissions and 1.9 times more likely not to have to use the emergency department. This led to a decline in cost of care even after accounting for the average cost of the wish.

"My patients have about a one to three percent chance of ever becoming seizure-free. Not every patient of mine who gets a wish is going to come back seizure-free, but they are going to improve," said Dr. Patel. "Their quality of life is going to be better and that might have an indirect impact on their seizures. They may have fewer seizures as a result, or be more likely to take their medications. Moreover, we are able to give them something they would not otherwise get: a break from their illness."


Autism behaviors show unique brain network fingerprints in infants

Public Release: 13-Nov-2018
A study in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging examines the neural signatures of restricted and repetitive behaviors in infancy

A new study has identified unique functional brain networks associated with characteristic behaviors of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in 12- and 24-month old children at risk for developing ASD.


Climate change damaging male fertility in insects

Public Release: 13-Nov-2018
University of East Anglia

Climate change could pose a threat to male fertility - according to new research from the University of East Anglia.

New findings published today in the journal Nature Communications reveal that heatwaves damage sperm in insects - with negative impacts for fertility across generations.

The research team say that male infertility during heatwaves could help to explain why climate change is having such an impact on species populations, including climate-related extinctions in recent years.


Heatwaves caused damage across generations

"Two concerning results were the impact of successive heatwaves on males, and the impacts of heatwaves on future generations," said Sales.

"When males were exposed to two heatwave events 10 days apart, their offspring production was less than 1 per cent of the control group. Insects in nature are likely to experience multiple heatwave events, which could become a problem for population productivity if male reproduction cannot adapt or recover."

The research also shows that offspring sired by heatwaved dads - or their sperm - live shorter lives - by a couple of months.

And the reproductive performance of sons produced by dads - or sperm - exposed to heatwave conditions was also impacted. Sons were found to be less able to fertilise a series of potential mates, and produced less offspring.


U.S. military in 'crisis,' could lose a war to Russia and China, report warns

So what do republicans do - cut taxes, resulting in less money available for defense.

Of course, we hope we never have an all-out war with Russia or China, but looking at history, we cannot be assured it will never happen.

By Alex Johnson
Nov. 14, 2018

The United States faces a "crisis of national security" because its historic military supremacy has eroded drastically, leaving it likely unable to fight more than a single war at a time, according to a congressionally chartered report released Wednesday.


The report concludes that the Defense Department isn't financially or strategically set up to wage two wars at once and could even lose a war against China or Russia individually.

"The U.S. military could suffer unacceptably high casualties and loss of major capital assets in its next conflict," it said.


"the United States has significantly weakened its own defense due to political dysfunction and decisions made by both Republicans as well as Democrats," he wrote, citing defense budget cuts in recent years, "with pronounced detrimental effects on the size, modernization, and readiness of the military."

President Donald Trump last week asked the Defense Department to cut $16 billion more next year from its budget, which currently is at $716 billion — a further 2¼ percent reduction.


Climate change is making hurricanes even more destructive, research finds

Statistics have shown that hurricanes are getting more destructive.

Oliver Milman
Wed 14 Nov 2018 13.00 EST
Last modified on Wed 14 Nov 2018 13.02 EST

Climate change worsened the most destructive hurricanes of recent years, including Katrina, Irma and Maria, by intensifying rainfall by as much as 10%, new research has found.

High-resolution climate simulations of 15 tropical cyclones in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans found that warming in the ocean and atmosphere increased rainfall by between 5% and 10%, although wind speeds remained largely unchanged.

This situation is set to worsen under future anticipated warming, however. Researchers found that if little is done to constrain greenhouse gas emissions and the world warms by 3C to 4C this century then hurricane rainfall could increase by a third, while wind speeds would be boosted by as much as 25 knots [28 mpg].


The findings suggest that enormously destructive storms have already been bolstered by climate change and similar events in the future are on course to be cataclysmic.

In a world where temperatures were 3C warmer on average, Hurricane Katrina, which resulted in nearly 2,000 deaths when levees breached near New Orleans in 2005, would’ve been even worse, with around 25% more rainfall. Cyclone Yasi, which hit Australia in 2011, would have had around a third more rain, while the deluge during Gafilo, a huge storm that killed more than 300 people in Madagascar in 2004, would have been 40% more intense.


Hurricanes, or cyclones as they are known in the Pacific region, draw their strength from warmth in the upper layers of the ocean, while their rainfall is influenced by the amount of moisture in the atmosphere. Climate change, driven by human activity, is creating more favorable conditions for stronger hurricanes, with recent research finding that storms are intensifying more rapidly than they were 30 years ago.


tags: severe weather, extreme weather

Diesel pollution stunts children’s lung growth, London study shows

Damian Carrington Environment editor
Wed 14 Nov 2018

Pollution from diesel vehicles is stunting the growth of children’s lungs, leaving them damaged for life, a major study has found.

The research, conducted with more than 2,000 school children in London, is the first such study in a city where diesel pollution is a significant factor, and has implications for cities around the world. It also showed that charges to deter polluting trucks from entering the city did reduce air pollution a little but did not reduce the harm to children’s lungs.

The World Health Organization classifies air pollution, which causes 7 million early deaths every year, a global public health emergency. Ninety per cent of children around the world breathe unsafe air. Growing children are especially vulnerable to toxic air and previous research has linked it to low birth weights, cot deaths, obesity and mental health problems.


The Ecological Crisis is a Political Crisis

I suggest reading the whole article.

By Kevin MacKay, originally published by MAHB
September 25, 2018


Stopping the destructive effects of industrial, capitalist civilization has now become the defining challenge of our age. If we don’t radically change our society’s course within the next 30 years, then a deep collapse and protracted Dark Age are all but assured. In order to confront this challenge, we need to understand what is causing civilization’s crisis, and most importantly, how the crisis can be resolved. At stake is nothing less than a viable future on this planet.


The tendency for societies to collapse under excessive energy demands is an important insight. However, what Tainter and Diamond failed to appreciate is how oligarchy is an even more fundamental cause of civilization collapse.

Oligarchic control compromises a society’s ability to make correct decisions in the face of existential threats. This explains a seeming paradox in which past civilizations have collapsed despite possessing the cultural and technological know-how needed to resolve their crises. The problem wasn’t that they didn’t understand the source of the threat or the way to avert it. The problem was that societal elites benefitted from the system’s dysfunctions and, prevented available solutions.


A 2014 study by American political scientists Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page revealed that the great majority of political decisions made in the United States reflect the interests of elites. After studying nearly 1,800 policy decisions passed between 1981 and 2002, the researchers argued that “both individual economic elites and organized interest groups (including corporations, largely owned and controlled by wealthy elites) play a substantial part in affecting public policy, but the general public has little or no independent influence.”12

Today, oligarchic control over decision-making, and its catastrophic ecological effects, have never been clearer. In the U.S., Donald Trump and his billionaire-dominated cabinet are seeking to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency13, to question climate science14, and to pursue a policy of “American energy dominance” that will dramatically expand production of fossil fuels.


To create a sustainable future, we must first learn the lessons of the past, and what archaeological research shows is that throughout history, civilizations that have been captive to the interests of an oligarchic elite have all collapsed.22 Today’s industrial, capitalist civilization is trapped in this same deadly cycle.


Radically transforming industrial, capitalist civilization won’t be easy. It will require movements for environmental sustainability, social justice, and economic fairness to come together, and to realize their common interest in dismantling the system of oligarchy and building a democratic, eco-socialist society.24 This “movement of movements” must put aside sectarian squabbles, and finally realize that the goals of economic justice, human rights, and ecological sustainability are all intrinsically linked.


The Death of Shame

I suggest reading the whole article at the following link:

Peter Dorman
Nov. 11, 2018

In any society not in a state of civil war, shame is a powerful force, perhaps the most powerful. Individuals or organizations caught cheating, lying or otherwise doing evil, when exposed and called out, are expected to be embarrassed. They should repent their sins and promise to make amends. Other than pure coercion, what else can disarm those who violate the norms of society?


All of this depends on the biological mechanism of shame to kick in: those whose hidden misdeeds have been exposed should feel disarmed and admit defeat. It isn’t enough that they be reviled by other members of the community; if direct coercion is unavailable for any reason, it is only the shame response that makes exposure a force of justice and not an empty gesture.

But the shame response shouldn’t be assumed. In fact, what evidence we have suggests it operated only within limited circles through most of human history. Liars and cheaters were accountable to their peers but not underlings or outsiders.


those of us who are disgusted by the shameless behavior of those in power should have no illusions. We won’t get them to back down by uncovering further evidence of their misdeeds, although evidence remains the basis for rational judgment and should always be sought. Only greater political power will overcome shamelessness.

DeVos sued for allegedly failing to comply with judge’s order to cancel student debt

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I am a retired computer programmer/analyst, with an M.A. in mathematics. I am also a songwriter/poet.

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