Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Snopes' Field Guide to Fake News Sites and Hoax Purveyors, updated 7/9/2017

I'm not giving examples of fake news items, because research has shown that when this is done, many people will remember the debunked "news" but not remember that it is false.

It boggles my mind that so many people on Facebook will take seriously obviously satirical items.

Kim LaCapria
Jan 14, 2016

The sharp increase in popularity of social media networks (primarily Facebook) has created a predatory secondary market among online publishers seeking to profitably exploit the large reach of those networks and their huge customer bases by spreading fake news and outlandish rumors. Competition for social media’s large supply of willing eyeballs is fierce, and a number of frequent offenders regularly fabricate salacious and attention-grabbing tales simply to drive traffic (and revenue) to their sites.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Honest Reporting

For the list liberal fake news sites he warns against, see the preceding blog post "If You’re A Liberal, Stop Sharing Links From These Fake News Sites"

I point out that Modern Liberals itself does contain a clearly labeled humor/satire section.


If you want to subscribe to honest reporting on national issues in the United States, there are many reputable and mostly neutral sources like AP, Reuters, BBC out there.

Here are a few of the websites I go to for news or opinion articles.

If You’re A Liberal, Stop Sharing Links From These Fake News Sites, update 7/2/2017

I haven't looked at all of these web sites, but the ones I have I agree should be disregarded.

To avoid confustion, I'll list the sources he recommends is a separate post.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

10 Journalism Brands Where You Find Real Facts Rather Than Alternative Facts

I went ahead and went with their headline, although I disagree with their rosy view of WSJ editorials. I have found the WSJ editorials not trustworthy. They are often biased on behalf of the power elite. As this article says, it does provide info on what the non-batty right-wing is saying.

By Paul Glader
Paul Glader is an associate professor of journalism at The King's College in New York City, a media scholar at The Berlin School of Creative Leadership and is on Twitter @PaulGlader.
Feb 1, 2017

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Trump Asks, ‘What About the Alt-Left?’ Here’s an Answer

By LINDA QIUAUG. 15, 2017


overall, far-right extremist plots have been far more deadly than far-left plots (and Islamist plots eclipsed both) in the past 25 years, according to a breakdown of two terrorism databases by Alex Nowrasteh, an analyst at the libertarian Cato Institute.

White nationalists; militia movements; anti-Muslim attackers; I.R.S. building and abortion clinic bombers; and other right-wing groups were responsible for 12 times as many fatalities and 36 times as many injuries as communists; socialists; animal rights and environmental activists; anti-white- and Black Lives Matter-inspired attackers; and other left-wing groups.

Of the nearly 1,500 individuals in a University of Maryland study of radicalization from 1948 to 2013, 43 percent espoused far-right ideologies, compared to 21 percent for the far left. Far-right individuals were more likely to commit violence against people, while those on the far left were more likely to commit property damage.

“We find that the right groups and the jihadi groups are more violent than the left,” said Gary LaFree, one the researchers and the director of the University of Maryland’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.


Obama's anti-racism tweet after Charlottesville is most liked ever on Twitter

Claire Phipps
Aug. 16, 2017

A tweet by Barack Obama condemning racism in the aftermath of a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, has become the most liked tweet ever, with more than 3 million social media users so far endorsing the sentiment.

The tweet, quoting the late South African president Nelson Mandela, read: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion.”

The former US president followed the tweet with more from Mandela’s autobiographical Long Walk to Freedom: “People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.

“For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

Each has had more than a million likes, and hundreds of thousands of retweets.


Monday, August 14, 2017

Sierra Leone mudslide leaves hundreds lying 'dead underneath the rubble'

Global warming is causing an increase in extreme precipitation events.

Updated August 15, 2017 08:03:08 (Must be Australia time. It's late Aug. 14 in the U.S.)

More than 200 people have been killed in a mudslide on the outskirts of Sierra Leone's capital of Freetown following heavy rains and flooding.

The Red Cross said at least 205 bodies had been taken to the central morgue in Freetown.

Police and military personnel were at the scene in the mountain town of Regent searching for people trapped in the debris.

Standing in the rain, residents sobbed as they mourned family members and waited for news of those missing.

Adama Kamara wept as she described a failed attempt to rescue her seven-week-old child.

"We were inside when we heard the mudslide approaching. I attempted to grab my baby but the mud was too fast. She was covered alive," said Ms Kamara, who escaped with bruises.


The death toll is expected to rise as more bodies are recovered, Red Cross spokesman Abu Bakarr Tarawallie said.

Vice-President Victor Foh said "it is likely that hundreds are lying dead underneath the rubble".


[An update]

More than 300 people have been killed in mudslides and flooding near Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown.

A hillside in the Regent area collapsed early on Monday following heavy rains, leaving many houses covered in mud.

A Sierra Leonean disaster management official, Candy Rogers, said that "over 2,000 people are homeless" as a result of the mudslide in the Regent area, AFP reports.


People are wailing uncontrollably; one woman told me she had lost more than 11 members of her family in the disaster, while another man said he had lost his wife, mother-in-law and children.

Hundreds of people are still coming to the area to look for their loved ones. Some of them told me they have not been able to find them.

In fact, there is no sign of the dozens of homes that were built at the foot of Sugar Loaf mountain.

They are covered in mud, with large areas of mire in some parts. It looks strong, but it is flaky. The concern is that if people walk there they risk sinking in the mud.


'Dodgy' greenhouse gas data threatens Paris accord

By Matt McGrath Environment correspondent
8 August 2017

Potent, climate-warming gases are being emitted into the atmosphere but are not being recorded in official inventories, a BBC investigation has found.

Air monitors in Switzerland have detected large quantities of one gas coming from a location in Italy.

However, the Italian submission to the UN records just a tiny amount of the substance being emitted.

Levels of some emissions from India and China are so uncertain that experts say their records are plus or minus 100%.

These flaws posed a bigger threat to the Paris climate agreement than US President Donald Trump's intention to withdraw, researchers told BBC Radio 4's Counting Carbon programme.
But Trump is not simply withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement. He is actively cutting back action to block global warming.


The rules covering how countries report their emissions are currently being negotiated.

But Prof Glen Peters, from the Centre for International Climate Research, in Oslo, said: "The core part of Paris [is] the global stock-takes which are going to happen every five years, and after the stock-takes countries are meant to raise their ambition, but if you can't track progress sufficiently, which is the whole point of these stock-takes, you basically can't do anything.

"So, without good data as a basis, Paris essentially collapses. It just becomes a talkfest without much progress."

Urban floods intensifying, countryside drying up

Public Release: 14-Aug-2017
Urban floods intensifying, countryside drying up
An exhaustive global analysis of rainfall and rivers shows signs of a radical shift in streamflow patterns, with more intense flooding in cities and smaller catchments coupled with a drier countryside
University of New South Wales

n exhaustive global analysis of rainfall and rivers shows signs of a radical shift in streamflow patterns, with more intense flooding in cities and smaller catchments coupled with a drier countryside.

Drier soils and reduced water flow in rural areas - but more intense rainfall that overwhelms infrastructure and causes flooding and stormwater overflow in urban centres. That's the finding of an exhaustive study of the world's river systems, based on data collected from more than 43,000 rainfall stations and 5,300 river monitoring sites across 160 countries.


As expected, it found warmer temperatures lead to more intense storms, which makes sense: a warming atmosphere means warmer air, and warmer air can store more moisture. So when the rains do come, there is a lot more water in the air to fall, and hence, rainfall is more intense.

But there's been a growing puzzle: why is flooding not increasing at the same rate as the higher rainfall?

The answer turned out to be the other facet of rising temperatures: more evaporation from moist soils is causing them to become drier before any new rain occurs - moist soils that are needed in rural areas to sustain vegetation and livestock. Meanwhile, small catchments and urban areas, where there are limited expanses of soil to capture and retain moisture, the same intense downpours become equally intense floods, overwhelming stormwater infrastructure and disrupting life.

"Once we sorted through the masses of data, this pattern was very clear," said Ashish Sharma, a professor of hydrology at UNSW's School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. "The fact that we relied on observed flow and rainfall data from across the world, instead of uncertain model simulations, means we are seeing a real-world effect - one that was not at all apparent before."


"It's a double whammy," said Conrad Wasko, lead author of the paper and postdoctoral fellow at UNSW's Water Research Centre. "People are increasingly migrating to cities, where flooding is getting worse. At the same time, we need adequate flows in rural areas to sustain the agriculture to supply these burgeoning urban populations".

Global flood damage cost more than US$50 billion in 2013; this is expected to more than double in the next 20 years as extreme storms and rainfall intensify and growing numbers of people move into urban centres. Meanwhile, global population over the next 20 years is forecast to rise another 23% from today's 7.3 billion to 9 billion - requiring added productivity and hence greater water security. The reduction in flows noted by this study makes this an even bigger challenge than before.


Informative links and comments

To paste text w/o formatting, use CTRL+Shift+v

FBI: Oklahoma City bank explosion plot foiled by undercover operation

133% leap in children admitted to ER for marijuana

Brain injury in kids might lead to alcohol abuse

Neonics put bumblebees at risk of extinction by hindering colony formation, study reveals

Supportive relationships linked to willingness to pursue opportunities

Link between biological clock and aging revealed
Scientists studying how aging affects the biological clock's control of metabolism have discovered that a low-calorie diet helps keep these energy-regulating processes humming and the body younger.

Out-of-pocket costs exceed what many insured cancer patients expect to pay

Rotavirus vaccines continue to reduce diarrhea hospitalizations, medical costs in US kids

Spain is one of the countries where more heatwaves are recorded annually

Public Release: 10-Aug-2017
Spain is one of the countries where more heatwaves are recorded annually
A study conducted in 400 cities around the world explores the relationship between heatwaves and mortality
Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

Spain has been hit by several record-breaking heatwaves this summer. In fact, Spain is one of the regions in the world where more heatwaves are recorded every year, and their effects indicate a rise in the risk of mortality of between 10% and 20% during these extremely hot periods. This is one of the conclusions which can be gleaned from an international study in which the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) participated. The study analysed heatwaves occurring between 1972 and 2012, in 400 cities and across 18 countries, and their effects on people's health, including mortality. The results are published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.


Among the study's conclusions is that the higher the temperature, the greater the risk to people's health. However, after analysing the data, researchers point out that the risk is similar whether high temperatures occur over several days or on a single day. In addition, the study considers that the effects on health can last for up to three to four days following a period of excessive heat.

"We have also found that people living in relatively mild or cool areas are more sensitive to hot spells of weather than those in more extreme regions. This suggests that there is some acclimatisation to these extremes of heat", Tobí­as adds.


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Liberals gather in Atlanta to plan Trump resistance strategy

By Nicole Chavez and Michelle Krupa, CNN
Updated 10:02 AM ET, Sat August 12, 2017

Louisiana's governor has declared a state of emergency in New Orleans as officials and residents scrambled in the aftermath of last Saturday's heavy storm that left hundreds of homes and businesses flooded.

With more rain in the forecast, New Orleans leaders rushed to deal with a series of malfunctions in the city's drainage system -- and to face a critical public after some local officials waited days to reveal the full extent of system failures.


Because of New Orleans' unusual topography -- with many areas below sea level and protected by levees -- pumps in every neighborhood must suck rainwater out of storm drains and canals and push it into a nearby lake or other water bodies. In most other places, gravity does that work.

This time, unlike during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, a huge amount of rain falling in a very short period of time caused the flooding. The rain tested the drainage system -- not the chain of levees, flood walls and pumps that the federal government built after Katrina.


Within three to four hours on Saturday, as much as 8 to 10 inches of rain fell across New Orleans.


tags: extreme weather, severe weather

New Findings Show How Climate Change Is Influencing India’s Farmer Suicides

Brian Kahn By Brian Kahn
Aug. 11, 2017

A suicide epidemic among India’s farmers has shaken the country and contributed to a doubling of the nation’s suicide rate since 1980.

It’s a widespread and intensely personal issue, one that has been difficult to tease out the root source. Debt, mental health, lack of social services, weather vagaries and even media coverage have all been put forward as part of the problem. Now, recent research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that climate change could also be playing a role.

The findings attribute more than 59,000 suicides in India to rising temperatures since 1980. With the world expected to warm further, the results suggest that adaptation could play a key role in helping farmers.


Agriculture makes up 14 percent of India’s GDP, but employs 230 million people or 32 percent of the rural population. Roughly two-thirds of those farmers have poor access to irrigation and rely on rainfed agriculture, itself a crapshoot tied to the Indian monsoon. That leaves them vulnerable to not just drought but other climate shocks like rising temperatures.

“These farmers and agricultural workers face extremely stressful and difficult conditions,” Carleton said. “In this risky environment where families are very poor, any additional shock can lead to extreme economic destitution, and some individuals may cope with that hardship by committing suicide. I find that the climate, and temperature in particular, causes crop losses while also elevating the risk of suicide.”

The study shows that there’s a strong link between high temperatures in the growing season and suicide rates. Carleton found that degree days above 68°F (20°C) was a key threshold for suicide rates in India. By looking at the increase in degree days above 68°F since 1980, she was able to tease out how many additional suicides across India have likely been due to rising temperatures. Her results show the additional heat is responsible for 59,300 suicides since 1980, accounting for about 7 percent of the overall increase.

Rising temperatures essentially act as a threat multiplier, similar to how the military views climate change. Rather than directly causing suicides just because it’s hot out, Carleton’s work suggests that hotter weather can have knock-on effects like reducing crop yields and increasing financial hardship.


Friday, August 11, 2017

Informative links and comments

I saw "An Inconvenient Denial" yesterday. Informative, interesting, and moving. The part on flooding in New Orleans is all the more poignant and moving because of the current flooding there. It was good to hear the emotion in Al Gore's voice, since he tends to sound rather wooden in radio interviews. Of course, the radio chooses what parts of the interview to air, so who knows whether what we hear there is representative. Of course, it could just be the way Gore speaks when thinking thru a response. And in the movie, when he got impassioned at one point, he stopped and apologized, so he might be trying to sounds cool.

Barbara Cook, Star of Broadway, Cabaret, Dies at 89
I remember when peple like Barbar Cook could be heard singing songs from musicals on pop radio, before Clear Channel, renamed IHeartRadio, bought almost all radio stations and ruined them and deprived listeners because their only concern is making money.

5 deaths reported while using weight loss balloon treatment, FDA says

These Are the Crazy Climate Records from 2016 You Haven’t Heard Much About

Safe partial solar eclipse viewing opportunities in the Atlanta area - August 21

Using old, slow computer

I had to send my laptop I got less than a year ago in to Dell to get the sound fixed.
So I'm using my old, dependable, but very slow Toshiba, with only 1G of memory.
So until I get my new computer back, I won't be posting as much.