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.

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Probiotics alone or combined with prebiotics may help ease depression

News Release 6-Jul-2020

Probiotics either taken by themselves or when combined with prebiotics, may help to ease depression, suggests a review of the available evidence, published in BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health.

But as to whether they might help to lessen anxiety isn't yet clear, say the researchers.

Foods that broaden the profile of helpful bacteria in the gut are collectively known as probiotics, while prebiotics are compounds that help these bacteria to flourish.


Asthma does not seem to increase the severity of COVID-19

News Release 6-Jul-2020
Rutgers University

Asthma does not appear to increase the risk for a person contracting COVID-19 or influence its severity, according to a team of Rutgers researchers.

"Older age and conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and obesity are reported risk factors for the development and progression of COVID-19," said Reynold A. Panettieri Jr., a pulmonary critical care physician and director of the Rutgers Institute for Translational Medicine and Science and co-author of a paper published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. "However, people with asthma -- even those with diminished lung function who are being treated to manage asthmatic inflammation -- seem to be no worse affected by SARS-CoV-2 than a non-asthmatic person. There is limited data as to why this is the case -- if it is physiological or a result of the treatment to manage the inflammation."


Child mortality lower when women hold office in Brazil

News Release 7-Jul-2020
Health Affairs

Philipp Hessel from the Alberto Lleras Camargo School of Government at the University of the Andes and coauthors analyzed the association between woman political empowerment and child mortality rates in Brazil for 2000-15, finding that higher representation of women at local, state, and federal levels of decision making leads to reductions in child mortality.


This research suggests that electing female leaders decreases under-five mortality--a key focus of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals--by emphasizing social service offerings and increasing enrollment in existing governmental public health efforts.

Microplastic pollution harms lobster larvae, study finds

News Release 7-Jul-2020
Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

Microplastic fiber pollution in the ocean impacts larval lobsters at each stage of their development, according to new research. A study published in the Marine Pollution Bulletin reports that the fibers affect the animals' feeding and respiration, and they could even prevent some larvae from reaching adulthood.


Targeted taxes and school lunch policies benefit low-income populations

News Release 7-Jul-2020
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Targeted taxes on sweetened beverages and policies that strengthen nutritional standards for meals and beverages at schools may be effective tools for decreasing the purchase of sweetened drinks and reducing obesity among children living in poverty, according to two studies led by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The studies will be published online July 7, 2020 in Health Affairs.


Desk-based jobs may offer protection against poor cognition in later life

News Release 7-Jul-2020
University of Cambridge

People who work in jobs that require less physical activity - typically office and desk-based jobs - are at a lower risk of subsequent poor cognition than those whose work is more physically active, suggests new research from the University of Cambridge.

Lack of physical activity and exercise are known risk factors for major health conditions, including cognitive impairments such as memory and concentration problems. However, evidence as to whether physical activity actually protects against cognitive decline has often been mixed and inconclusive.


"Our analysis shows that the relationship between physical activity and cognitive is not straightforward," explained Hayat. "While regular physical activity has considerable benefits for protection against many chronic diseases, other factors may influence its effect on future poor cognition.

"People who have less active jobs - typically office-based, desk jobs - performed better at cognitive tests regardless of their education. This suggests that because desk jobs tend to be more mentally challenging than manual occupations, they may offer protection against cognitive decline."


Hearing and visual impairments linked to elevated dementia risk

News Release 8-Jul-2020

Older adults with both hearing and visual impairments--or dual sensory impairment--had a significantly higher risk for dementia in a recent study published in Alzheimer's & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring.

In the study of 2,051 older adults (22.8% with hearing or visual impairment and 5.1% with both impairments) who were followed over eight years, dual sensory impairment was associated with an 86% higher risk for dementia compared with having no sensory impairments. During follow-up, dementia developed in 14.3% in those with no sensory impairments, 16.9% in those with one sensory impairment, and 28.8% in those with dual sensory impairment.

Participants with dual sensory impairment were also twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease (the most common form of dementia) than those without sensory impairments.


The complex relationship between deforestation and diet diversity in the Amazon

News Release 7-Jul-2020
International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)

Ten years ago, non-indigenous households from three communities in the Ucayali region in Peru regularly ate fish, wild fruits and other products collected from the Amazon forest. Combined with whatever they grew and harvested on their lands, this contributed to a relatively diverse diet. Today, the same households have changed their production strategy and how they get food on the table. Agricultural production, complemented by hunter-gatherer activities, aimed to satisfy both household consumption and income generation. However, this has been largely replaced by commercial agriculture such as palm oil and cocoa. This shift in agricultural production objectives has affected the sources of food for local communities and appears to be associated with relatively less diverse diets, according to a new study authored, among others, by CIAT (now the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT) scientists.


The marked rise in obesity in rural areas of Peru reflects a worldwide trend. While the study only looked at the diversity of household diets and not the nutritional value, the increased consumption of foods high in saturated fats and ultra-processed foods demands the attention of local policy makers.


Certain jobs linked to higher risk of knee osteoarthritis

News Release 8-Jul-2020

Workers in jobs that typically involve heavy lifting, frequent climbing, prolonged kneeling, squatting, and standing face an increased risk of developing knee osteoarthritis. That's the conclusion of a new analysis published in Arthritis Care & Research.

Knee osteoarthritis is a highly prevalent, chronic condition and one of the leading contributors to loss of work and disability.


Increase in delirium, rare brain inflammation and stroke linked to COVID-19

News Release 7-Jul-2020
University College London

Neurological complications of Covid-19 can include delirium, brain inflammation, stroke and nerve damage, finds a new UCL and UCLH-led study.

Published in the journal Brain, the research team identified one rare and sometimes fatal inflammatory condition, known as ADEM, which appears to be increasing in prevalence due to the pandemic.

Some patients in the study did not experience severe respiratory symptoms, and the neurological disorder was the first and main presentation of Covid-19.

Joint senior author Dr Michael Zandi (UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) said: "We identified a higher than expected number of people with neurological conditions such as brain inflammation, which did not always correlate with the severity of respiratory symptoms.

"We should be vigilant and look out for these complications in people who have had Covid-19. Whether we will see an epidemic on a large scale of brain damage linked to the pandemic - perhaps similar to the encephalitis lethargica outbreak in the 1920s and 1930s after the 1918 influenza pandemic - remains to be seen."


Dozens of Florida hospitals out of available ICU beds, state data shows

Maria Caspani and Gabriella Borter
,Reuters•July 7, 2020

More than four dozen hospitals in Florida reported that their intensive care units (ICUs) have reached full capacity on Tuesday as COVID-19 cases surge in the state and throughout the country.

Hospital ICUs were full at 54 hospitals across 25 of Florida's 67 counties, according to data published on Tuesday morning by the state's Agency for Health Care Administration. More than 300 hospitals were included in the report, but not all had adult ICUs.


Tuesday, July 07, 2020

FBI chief says China threatens families to coerce overseas critics to return to China

Jonathan Landay
,Reuters•July 7, 2020

FBI Director Christopher Wray on Tuesday urged China-born people in the United States to contact the FBI if Chinese officials try to force them to return to China under a program of coercion that he said is led by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Wray issued the unusual appeal in an address to the Hudson Institute think tank in which he reiterated U.S. charges that China is using espionage, cyber theft, blackmail and other means as part of a strategy to replace the United States as the world's dominant economic and technological power.

He said Xi has "spearheaded" a program called Fox Hunt aimed at strong-arming people born in China living outside of the country who are regarded as threats to return home in order to silence criticism of Beijing's political and human rights policies.

The families of those who refuse to return are threatened and some have been arrested in China "for leverage," he said


'Wearing a mask is not about fear': Retailer group urges governors to require everyone to wear a mask

Kelly Tyko
July 7, 2020

As viral videos of shoppers' tirades and confrontations over being asked to wear face coverings during the COVID-19 pandemic erupt, major retailers are urging governors to make it a requirement for everyone to wear a mask.


"Retailers are alarmed with the instances of hostility and violence front-line employees are experiencing by a vocal minority of customers who are under the misguided impression that wearing a mask is a violation of their civil liberties," Brian Dodge, the retail association’s president, said in a letter to the National Governors Association.


'Race against time' in Japan floods, 50 feared dead

I checked CNN, BBC, NPR, & ABC reports about the flooding, didn't see any mention of the role of climate change. Some did mention the fact that these are record floods. Typical for these news sources which depend on funding from the fossil fuel industry.

[CNA is an English-language news channel based in Singapore.]
07 Jul 2020 10:35AM
(Updated: 07 Jul 2020 11:41AM)

YATSUSHIRO, Japan: Emergency services in western Japan were "racing against time" on Tuesday (Jul 7) to rescue people stranded by devastating floods and landslides, with at least 50 feared dead and more torrential rain forecast.

Japan's Meteorological Agency issued its highest emergency warning level for heavy rain and landslides over vast swathes of the southwestern Kyushu island, with downpours expected until Thursday.

The death toll from the heavy rains that started in the early hours of Saturday is expected to climb. An official in the hardest-hit region of Kumamoto told AFP that 49 were now confirmed dead with one other feared dead.


More than 40,000 personnel, including police and firefighters as well as coast guards and troops, were deployed to rescue people, with around a dozen still unaccounted for.

Rivers overflowing their banks have swept away bridges and turned roads into lakes, making rescue access possible only by raft or helicopter.

Nobuko Murakami, a 78-year-old woman whose house was destroyed by landslides, told local media: "I couldn't sleep as the sound of the rain was deafening. I have lived here for more than 50 years, but I have never seen such heavy rain. I wonder when I can get back home."


Fourteen of the dead were wheelchair-bound residents of a nursing home unable to escape to higher ground as the waters rose.

A rescue worker who searched the facility told NHK: "The ground floor was filled with water and we couldn't get into it. Some people managed to evacuate to the first floor. I've never experienced anything like this in my life."

Further complicating the evacuation efforts was the fear of spreading the coronavirus.

Compared to many other nations, Japan has been relatively lightly affected by the pandemic, with just under 20,000 cases and fewer than 1,000 deaths.


Japan is in the middle of its annual rainy season, which frequently unleashes deadly floods and landslides.

Climate change is also playing a role because a warmer atmosphere holds more water, increasing the risk and intensity of flooding from extreme rainfall.

In 2018, more than 200 people died in devastating floods in the same region of Japan.

McConnell reaches milestone on judges by filling final Circuit Court vacancy

This will be very bad for the environment, workers, women, minorities, the poor, anybody but the power elite.

June 24, 2020, 12:37 PM EDT / Updated June 24, 2020, 5:54 PM EDT
By Leigh Ann Caldwell and Sahil Kapur

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday reached a significant milestone during the Trump presidency by filling the final vacancy on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, an achievement that fulfills his goal of remaking the federal judiciary as more conservative for a generation but also one that is less diverse.

McConnell, who has vowed to “leave no vacancy behind,” heralded the achievement on the Senate floor Wednesday, noting that there hasn’t been a fully appointed Circuit Court in decades.


The conservative shift of the court under President Donald Trump and McConnell is not just ideological — the federal courts have also become younger, more white and more male.

Nearly 76 percent of the judicial confirmations under Trump are men compared with 58 percent during President Barack Obama’s tenure, according to data collected by the American Constitution Society.

The racial disparity has also grown under Trump as well. Eighty-five percent of his confirmations have been white compared with 64 percent under Obama. Eighteen percent of Obama’s confirmations were Black compared to 4 percent under Trump.


The final vacancy on the Circuit Courts, Trump’s 53rd confirmation, was filled Wednesday when the Senate voted 52-48 to confirm Cory Wilson for the 5th Circuit. All Senate Democrats and one Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, voted against him because of his stated opposition to the Affordable Care Act. He is 49 years old.


The large numbers of vacancies facing Trump weren't an accident. McConnell took over the Senate in January 2015 and held votes on just two Circuit Court judges during Obama's last two years in office. And McConnell has made confirming judges central to his tenure as majority leader.


"Nearly a third of the nation's Circuit Court judges were picked by Trump and confirmed by Republican senators,” Paul Gordon, senior legislative counsel for the liberal judicial organization People for the American Way. “Not even one of those judges is African American, and they are making decisions with devastating impacts on the lives of Black people."


Growth of online sports betting poses significant public health challenge -- New study

News Release 3-Jul-2020
University of Bath

A surge in use of online sports betting platforms, and promotional tactics such as free bets to hook users in, pose a significant and growing public health challenge which needs urgent attention from policymakers, according to the author of a new academic study.

Writing in the Journal of Public Health, Dr Darragh McGee from the University of Bath highlights how a normalisation of online sports betting over recent years has had detrimental impacts on the lives of young adult men.

His analysis describes a 'gamblification of sports' - whereby new mobile app technologies and a liberalisation of regulations surrounding sports advertising have combined to broaden the appeal and entry-point of gambling. This has been promoted as something for sports fans to 'enjoy' alongside watching football, horse racing and an array of other sports, he explains.

Drawing on in-depth interviews carried out with 32 young men aged 18-35 engaged in online betting to some degree, four main themes emerge from his research:


Study indicates that Medicaid expansion has led to earlier cancer detection among individuals with low income

News Release 6-Jul-2020

New research found that the likelihood of being diagnosed with advanced cancer decreased among individuals with low income after expansion of Medicaid coverage. The findings are published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society (ACS).

The Affordable Care Act expanded Medicaid coverage for most adults in the United States with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level, and many states opted to do so starting in 2014. This led to increased enrollment in Medicaid, with most new enrollees reporting that they had previously been uninsured.


Behind the dead-water phenomenon

News Release 6-Jul-2020

What makes ships mysteriously slow down or even stop as they travel, even though their engines are working properly? This was first observed in 1893 and was described experimentally in 1904 without all the secrets of this "dead water" being understood. An interdisciplinary team from the CNRS and the University of Poitiers has explained this phenomenon for the first time: the speed changes in ships trapped in dead water are due to waves that act like an undulating conveyor belt on which the boats move back and forth. This work was published in PNAS on July 6, 2020.


Consumers prefer round numbers even when the specific number is better news

News Release 6-Jul-2020
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Consider this scenario: A vaccine for the novel coronavirus has been developed that is 91.27% effective. If public health officials present this information using the specific number, people are likely to think the vaccine is actually less effective than if it is presented as being 90% effective.

This concept is a real-life application of recent findings from Gaurav Jain, an assistant professor of marketing in the Lally School of Management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, published recently in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Process.


The research showed that people find non-round numbers unique and jarring. Jain and his team determined that people pause to think about the specific number due to its uniqueness. Because it isn't easy to comprehend, people tend to compare the non-round number to an easily understood ideal standard -- like 100%. Then, because the specific number doesn't live up to the ideal, people perceive it negatively.

"Numbers have a language and give non-numerical perceptions," Jain said. "When we use specific numbers, the evaluations decrease. There was no apparent reason for this kind of behavior, and this was incredibly surprising."


Monday, July 06, 2020

Florida business pays $65,000 after violations of pay, U.S. applicants and a visa program

David J. Neal
,Miami Herald•July 6, 2020

An Ocala horse training company has paid $65,807 after myriad labor violations of U.S. applicants and H-2B visa workers, the Department of Labor announced.


H-2B visa workers aren’t immigrants, but brought into the U.S. for temporary, nonagricutlural work.


Eddie Woods Stables advertised the stable attendant job to potential U.S. applicants as a 40-hour a week job, knowing the attendant would be expected to work 48 hours a week.

▪ Job advertisements to U.S. workers stated a lower wage rate than was actually paid to H-2B visa workers. Doing so “could produce a chilling effect on the number of U.S. applicants,” Labor said.


McConnell opens door to more coronavirus stimulus checks for low-income Americans

Frank Thorp V and Julie Tsirkin and Dareh Gregorian
,NBC News•July 6, 2020

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Monday that the next round of coronavirus legislation could include an additional round of stimulus checks aimed at helping low-income Americans.

Asked at one of three public events in Kentucky whether the relief bill would include more direct payments, McConnell said it "could well."

"I think the people who have been hit the hardest are people who make about $40,000 a year or less. Many of them work in the hospitality industry. The hospitality industry, as all of you know, just got rim-racked — hotels, restaurants — and so that could well be a part of it," McConnell said.


Brain-eating amoeba: Warning issued in Florida after rare infection case

6 July 2020

The Florida Department of Health (DOH) said one person in Hillsborough County had contracted Naegleria fowleri.

The microscopic, single-celled amoeba can cause an infection of the brain, and is usually fatal.

Commonly found in warm freshwater, the amoeba enters the body through the nose.


given the potentially deadly consequences of infection, the DOH issued a warning to residents of Hillsborough County on 3 July.

Health officials urged locals to avoid nasal contact with water from taps and other sources.

This includes bodies of open water such as lakes, rivers, ponds and canals, where infections are more likely in the warmer summer months of July, August and September.


Toxic hand sanitizers have blinded and killed adults and children, FDA warns

Beth Mole - 7/6/2020, 6:54 PM

Adults and children in the United States have been blinded, hospitalized, and, in some cases, even died after drinking hand sanitizers contaminated with the extremely toxic alcohol methanol, the Food and Drug Administration reports.

In an updated safety warning, the agency identified five more brands of hand sanitizer that contain methanol, a simple alcohol often linked to incorrectly distilled liquor that is poisonous if ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin.

The newly identified products are in addition to nine methanol-containing sanitizers the FDA identified last month, which are all made by the Mexico-based manufacturer Eskbiochem SA de CV. According to FDA testing, one of the products contained 81 percent methanol and no ethanol, a safe alcohol typically used in hand sanitizers.


Methanol is metabolized to formaldehyde, then to formic acid inside the body. This can lead to a dangerous buildup of acid in the bloodstream that damages organs and tissues, particularly the optic nerve, causing vision impairment and blindness. Drinking as little as 30 milliliters—2 tablespoons—may be lethal to children, and even smaller amounts can cause blindness.

But drinking isn’t the only way methanol causes severe harms. Inhaling or absorbing methanol through the skin can lead to the same systemic effects seen from ingestion. Those can manifest as nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system, or death, the FDA notes.

“Although all persons using these products on their hands are at risk for methanol poisoning, young children who accidently ingest these products and adolescents and adults who drink these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute, are most at risk,” the FDA said in its warning. Risks are heightened further amid the current COVID-19 pandemic since many people are using hand sanitizer more frequently to try to protect against the devastating new coronavirus.

The newly identified products are as followed:

Hand sanitizer Gel Unscented 70% Alcohol, made by Grupo Insoma, S.A.P.I de CV (Mexico)
Mystic Shield Protection hand sanitizer, made by Transliquid Technologies (Mexico)
Bersih Hand Sanitizer Gel Fragrance Free, made by Soluciones Cosmeticas SA de CV (Mexico)
Antiseptic Alcohol 70% Topical Solution hand sanitizer, made by Soluciones Cosmeticas SA de CV (Mexico)
Britz Hand Sanitizer Ethyl Alcohol 70%, made by Tropicosmeticos SA de CV (Mexico)

The full list of product codes can be found here.

Swarms of locusts devastate parts of northern Kenya

Baz Ratner
June 30, 2020 / 4:43 AM

The branches on trees around Kenya’s northern town of Lodwar have been stripped bare of leaves, bending downwards under the weight of voracious young locusts.

Numbers of locusts exploded in East Africa and the Red Sea region in late 2019, exacerbated by atypical weather patterns amplified by climate change. Swarms of insects flew west from Yemen, and this year reached Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia.


The hatchings have occurred as crops are planted in a region where 20 million people struggle for food.


Sunday, July 05, 2020

Revealed: legislators’ pro-pipeline letters ghostwritten by fossil fuel company

Will Parrish
Published on Thu 2 Jul 2020 06.00 EDT


The letter sent by Burgum was one part of a broader ghostwriting campaign that saw several key legislators send pro-pipeline support letters ghostwritten by officials of MDU Resources – a subsidiary of the fossil fuel giant WBI Energy – to key regulatory agencies.

The records, obtained by the watchdog group the Energy and Policy Institute and provided to the Guardian, show that three North Dakota state legislators and a Williams county, North Dakota, commissioner signed and mailed letters to Ferc and the US army corps of engineers that reproduced word-for-word letters sent to them by MDU Resources’ political strategists.

Although the fossil fuel industry’s dominance of North Dakota politics is well-known, the records shed new light on the extent of the industry’s role in shaping what the public – and federal regulators – hear about these industries from supportive state and local officials.


Those politicians who reproduced an MDU Resources support letter verbatim include the North Dakota state senator Dale Patten and North Dakota house representatives Keith Kempenich and Denton Zubke, who collectively signed a letter to FERC on 20 February supplied by company lobbyist Cory Fong, a former North Dakota tax commissioner.

In another indication of the revolving door in North Dakota politics, MDU Resources’ Dever – who supplied the template letter to Burgum – was previously an official with the North Dakota commerce department.


Morning exercise is the key to a good night's sleep after heart bypass surgery

News Release 3-Jul-2020
European Society of Cardiology

Sophia Antipolis - 3 July 2020: Trouble sleeping after heart bypass surgery? Morning walks are the solution, according to research presented today on ACNAP Essentials 4 You, a scientific platform of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

"Many patients have trouble sleeping after heart bypass surgery," said study author Dr. Hady Atef of Cairo University, Egypt. "When this persists beyond six months it exacerbates the heart condition and puts patients at risk of having to repeat the surgery. It is therefore of utmost importance to find ways to improve sleep after bypass surgery."


"Our recommendation for heart bypass patients with difficulty sleeping and performing their usual activities is to do aerobic exercise only," said Dr. Atef. "We think that resistance exercise requires a high level of exertion for these patients. This may induce the release of stress hormones which negatively affect sleep."

"Aerobic exercise means physical activity that does not require a very high level of exertion," he explained. "Choose an activity you enjoy like walking, cycling, or swimming. Aim for 30 to 45 minutes and do it in the morning because research shows this releases the hormone melatonin which helps us sleep well at night."

Broadway star Nick Cordero dies at 41 after fight with coronavirus

By John Bowden - 07/05/20 09:59 PM EDT

Broadway star Nick Cordero died on Sunday at age 41 after battling coronavirus and subsequent health problems for several months, his family said Sunday.


Pet dogs may improve social-emotional development in young children

News Release 5-Jul-2020

Young children from dog-owning households have better social and emotional wellbeing than children from households who do not own a dog, suggests research published in the journal Pediatric Research.

A team of researchers at the University of Western Australia and Telethon Kids Institute utilised questionnaire data from 1,646 households that included children aged two to five years. The researchers found that, after taking into account children's age, biological sex, sleep habits, screen time and parents' education levels, children from dog-owning households were 23% less likely to have overall difficulties with their emotions and social interactions than children who did not own a dog. Children from dog-owning households were 30% less likely to engage in antisocial behaviours, 40% less likely to have problems interacting with other children, and were 34% more likely to engage in considerate behaviours, such as sharing.

Associate Professor Hayley Christian, the corresponding author said: "While we expected that dog ownership would provide some benefits for young children's wellbeing, we were surprised that the mere presence of a family dog was associated with many positive behaviours and emotions."

Among children from dog-owning households, those who joined their family on dog walks at least once per week were 36% less likely to have poor social and emotional development than those who walked with their family dog less than once per week. Children who played with their family dog three or more times per week were 74% more likely to regularly engage in considerate behaviours than those who played with their dog less than three times per week.


What we know about wearing a mask against Covid-19 now

July 5, 2020

Seeing comments about people still thinking masks don't work. Heard an interview with Fauci about this today. We have leaned more than we did in the beginning about the fact that masks are helpful. Also, there was confusion about what doctors were saying. For one thing, at the beginning, there was a shortage of masks for medical personnel, where the need was urgent, and a shortage of masks, so they needed to be kept for medical personnel. Also, the message that masks are not 100% effective, so you need to also take other precautions, got morphed int a message that masks didn't work at all.

John Prine Posthumously Named Honorary Poet Laureate

My favorite John Prine songs are "The Dutchman" and "Dead Egyptian Blues"

July 4, 2020

John Prine has been posthumously named an Honorary Poet Laureate for the State of Illinois. Born in Maywood, IL and initially rising to fame in the state as the “singing mailman” in Chicago, Prine is the first Illinoisan to receive the honorary designation, which commemorates and celebrates his writing and musical contributions. Prine passed away due to complications from COVID-19 on April 7th at the age of 73.

“John Prine leaves behind an unparalleled musical legacy and was beloved by family and millions of fans who hope that in Heaven he finds Paradise waitin’ just as he longed for,” Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said in a statement, deftly sliding in some references to well-known Prine songs in his proclamation.


Fiona Whelan Prine revealed in June that John had been working on a new album when he passed away, and the very final song Prine ever recorded called “I Remember Everything” was released via Prine’s label Oh By Records. Co-written with longtime collaborator Pat McLaughlin and produced by Dave Cobb, the song actually debuted at #1 on the Billboard Digital Rock Songs Sales chart, giving Prine the first #1 of his career.


Hotter than it looks

Looking at predicted highs and lows for the heat wave that moved in, it doesn't look a lot hotter than it had been in the Atlanta area. But where it's really showing up is in how long it takes to cool off at night. When it cools off outside, I turn off the air conditioner and put a fan in a window blowing out, with another window open at the other end of the house. With the heat wave, it doesn't cool off enough to do so until 2am.

Immigrant workers at Michigan greenhouse: We were cheated, tricked into deportation

We are fed propaganda that being rich is a result of being a good person. But it is often the result of being willing to cheat and lie. This case is far from unusual.

Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press
,USA TODAY•July 5, 2020

When Eduardo Reyes-Trujillo arrived in Michigan in 2018 to work at a greenhouse about 30 minutes south of Detroit, he hoped to earn enough money to help some of his poor family members back in Mexico.

The migrant worker had come to the United States legally to work at Four Star Greenhouse in Carleton through a temporary agricultural visa known as H-2A.

But he said his dreams were crushed after he and other workers were cheated out of their pay despite working long hours.After they complained, he said that they were lured and tricked by their employer into being detained by federal immigration agents in a Walmart parking lot, and eventually sent back to Mexico.


Aggressive anti-mask customers are forcing some restaurants to shut dining rooms to protect employees from abuse

Kate Taylor
July 5, 2020

As restaurants contemplate reopening dining rooms across the US, some are facing a new concern — how aggressive anti-mask customers might treat employees.

Numerous restaurants across the US have decided to close dining rooms after reopening or shut down entirely due to anti-mask customers' treatment of workers.

Hugo's Taco closed both of its locations in Los Angeles in late June due to combative customers who refused to wear masks.

"Staff have been harassed, called names, and had objects and liquids thrown at them," Hugo's Tacos said in a statement posted on social media. "A mask isn't symbolic of anything other than our desire to keep our staff healthy."


While rude customers are nothing new, some conflicts linked to masks have put employees in dangerous situations. In May, a customer shot an employee at a Waffle House in Aurora, Colorado, after being turned away for not wearing a mask. This week, a McDonald's employee from Oakland, California, was hospitalized after being assaulted by a customer who refused to wear a mask, she told Business Insider.

"In 30-plus years of studying retail and crisis situations, we have never seen a situation of customers being so rude to hourly employees," Larry Barton, a professor of crisis management and public safety at the University of Central Florida, told Business Insider's Mary Hanbury in May.

Two French ex-spies on trial accused of espionage for China

Agence France-Presse
,The Telegraph•July 5, 2020

In a case that could be from a spy thriller, two former French intelligence agents go on trial on Monday accused of having passed on secrets to a foreign power.

While French officials have been at pains to avoid releasing details of the affair, the pair are accused of working for China, according to several media reports.


Florida has reported more than 10,000 new cases for a fourth straight day as the country sees another surge in the illness.

July 5, 2020, 1:35 PM EDT
By Doha Madani

Florida surpassed 200,000 coronavirus cases as the state reported another 10,059 new positives on Sunday.

The state has reported more than 10,000 new cases for a fourth straight day as the country sees another surge in the pandemic. Florida is among 11 states where numbers have spiked, at least doubling over the past two weeks.

On Saturday, Florida reported 11,458 new cases of the virus, which breaks its previous records and approaches New York's highest daily tally of 11,571 from April.


Saturday, July 04, 2020

Lunar eclipse visible Fourth of July weekend - updated July 3, 2020

by: Marcus Bailey
Posted: Jul 1, 2020 / 12:46 PM EST / Updated: Jul 1, 2020 / 12:46 PM EST

The moon will pass through parts of Earth’s showdown this weekend, providing some extra beauty in the skies July 4 night.

Late Saturday night, the eclipse will be visible for much of the western hemisphere, including all of North and South America. With dry conditions and relatively clear skies in the forecast for Saturday night across central Indiana, viewing conditions should be excellent.

This won’t be a full lunar eclipse. This is called a “penumbral” lunar eclipse. The difference between penumbral and total or partial eclipses is that the Earth’s outermost shadow or the penumbra falls on the face of the Moon. This makes for a more subtle shadow over the moon compared to a sharp shadow during a partial eclipse, making it a bit more difficult to observe.

Those that wish to take a peek at this event should look between the hours of 11:00 PM EDT Saturday, July 4 to 1:50 AM EDT Sunday, July 5, with the peak viewing around 12:30 AM EDT.

This is the first lunar eclipse since 2019. The next eclipse will also be a penumbral eclipse, slated for November.

How to watch the 'buck moon' lunar eclipse this weekend

Amanda Kooser
July 2, 2020 6:25 p.m. PT

The eclipse will be visible across most of North and South America as well as parts of southwestern Europe and Africa. This NASA map shows visibility for the globe. Time and Date can help you pinpoint the best viewing window for your specific location.,of%20this%20penumbral%20lunar%20eclipse.

Heatwaves have become longer in most of the world since 1950s – study

Adam Morton
Published on Fri 3 Jul 2020 06.26 EDT

Heatwaves have increased in both length and frequency in nearly every part of the world since the 1950s, according to what is described as the first study to look at the issue at a regional level.

The study found the escalation in heatwaves varied around the planet, with the Amazon, north-eastern Brazil, west Asia (including parts of the subcontinent and central Asia) and the Mediterranean all experiencing more rapid change than, for example, southern Australia and north Asia. The only inhabited region where there was not a trend was in the central United States.

Published in the journal Nature Communications, the study found a clear increasing trend in the total number of heatwave days within and across regions, and that heatwaves were getting longer across the past 70 years.


Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes and the study’s lead author, said not only had there been more and longer heatwaves worldwide over the past 70 years, but the trend had accelerated markedly.

She said it was consistent with what climate scientists had long forecast – that a rise in heatwaves would be a clear sign of global heating – and the results should be a “clarion call” to policymakers that urgent action was needed to prevent the worst impacts of the climate crisis.


Homeless man saves police officer stabbed in the head

Gino Spocchia
,The Independent•July 3, 2020

A homeless man who intervened when a Washington DC police officer was stabbed has said he feels like a “little hero”.

The Metropolitan Police Department on Thursday thanked John Burrows, who was said to have saved the police officer’s life after another homeless man attacked his head and back with scissors.

The officer was transported to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries to receive treatment, reported NBC News4.

Metropolitan police head Peter Newsham said on Thursday that Mr Burrows was “very, very kind — very heroic” and had “prevented the officer from sustaining additional injuries”.

Mr Newsham added that investigators have not been able to determine the motive behind the attack, which took place amid continuous protests against racism and police violence in downtown Washington DC.

A 61-year-old homeless man has been arrested and charged with assault with intent to kill an officer.


Jane Goodall: If humans don't change "we're going to destroy ourselves"

It is worthwhile to read the whole article at the link below.

By Jeff Berardelli
July 2, 2020 / 6:57 PM / CBS News


While COVID-19 and protests for racial justice command the world's collective attention, ecological destruction, species extinction and climate change continue unabated. While the world's been focused on other crises, an alarming study was released warning that species extinction is now progressing so fast that the consequences of "biological annihilation" may soon be "unimaginable."


It's pretty grim. We need to realize we're part of the environment, that we need the natural world. We depend on it. We can't go on destroying. We've got to somehow understand that we're not separated from it, we are all intertwined. Harm nature, harm ourselves.

If we continue on with business as usual, what do you fear the outcome will be?

Well, if we continue with business as usual, we're going to come to the point of no return. At a certain point the ecosystems of the world will just give up and collapse and that's the end of us eventually too.


We have to have a different kind of economy, we need a different way of thinking about what is success. Is it just about having more and more money, more and more stuff, being able to show off to your friends, and the wasteful society we live in? We waste clothes, we waste food, we waste laptops and cellphones. That pollutes the environment. So we've got to think differently, haven't we?


So one thing we can do, those of us in affluent societies can almost all do with a bit less. We have a very unsustainable lifestyle.


You know, animals are so much more intelligent than people used to think, and they have feelings and emotions and personalities, like your dog, any animal you share your life with. You know, birds now are making tools and octopus are incredibly intelligent. And when we think of all this trafficking of animals, selling them in meat markets or factory farms, when you think that each one one is an individual, can feel fear and pain, can suffer mentally as well as physically, isn't it shocking? I'm glad you don't eat them. I don't either, of course.


I was told by a Hebrew scholar the original translation of that word that you just mentioned, "dominion," is wrong. It's actually something more like "stewardship." That's very different. If God gave us stewardship that's different from saying we have dominion.