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.

http://www.snopes.com/2016/01/14/fake-news-sites/

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.

http://modernliberals.com/if-you-are-a-liberal-stop-sharing-links-from-these-fake-news-sites/

•••••

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.

http://modernliberals.com/if-you-are-a-liberal-stop-sharing-links-from-these-fake-news-sites/

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.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/berlinschoolofcreativeleadership/2017/02/01/10-journalism-brands-where-you-will-find-real-facts-rather-than-alternative-facts/#341d134ae9b5

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

Monday, December 11, 2017

Links



Trump watches up to eight hours of TV per day
http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/364094-trump-watches-at-least-four-hours-of-tv-per-day-report


Albania – Calls for International Help After Floods Damage Homes and Infrastructure
http://floodlist.com/europe/albania-floods-damage-december-2017


Hundreds rescued from flooding in Lourdes, France
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/video/news/video-4899/Hundreds-rescued-flooding-Lourdes-France.html


Floods wreak havoc across Southern Thailand
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/12/floods-wreak-havoc-southern-thailand-171205150000638.html


Solomon Islands – Hundreds Forced to Evacuate as Rivers Overflow
http://floodlist.com/australia/solomon-islands-guadalcanal-floods-december-2017


Australia – Homes Flooded in North Eastern Victoria After Record Rain
http://floodlist.com/australia/australia-homes-flooded-in-victoria-after-record-rain

The oligarchs are now in charge of the U.S. government



Robert Reich
December 6 at 3:31pm ·

Make no mistake. The oligarchs (Koch brothers, Mercers, Wilks, Waltons, Deasons, Schwabs, Neugebauers, Murdochs, Griffins, Ricketts, etc.) are now in charge of the U.S. government. The views of most Americans (75 percent of whom are against the tax cut, for example) no longer matter.

This was the oligarch’s deal with the devil (Trump) from the start: Get us a huge tax cut, use the resulting deficit to justify cutting Medicare and Social Security, and get rid of environmental and financial regulations. In return, we’ll finance you, we’ll back your allies in the GOP, and we’ll mount PR campaigns on your behalf that magnify your lies. Hell, we’ll even make you look like a populist.

Over half the money contributed in the 2016 came from just 158 families, along with the companies they own or control. More than 50 of these people are on the Forbes list of America’s richest billionaires. 64 of them made their fortunes in finance (hedge fund and private equity). 17 in energy, mostly oil and gas. 15 in real estate and construction (the Trumps, for example). 10 in technology.

These American oligarchs don’t have to worry about whether Social Security or Medicare will be there for them in their retirement because they’ve put away huge fortunes. They don’t worry about climate change because they don’t live in homes that might succumb to hurricanes or wildfires. They don't care about public schools because their families don't attend them. They don't care about public transportation because they don't use it. Truth to tell, they don't even care that much about America, because their personal and financial interests are global.

They are living in their own separate society, and they want people who will represent them, not the rest of us.

The Republican Party is their vehicle. Fox News is their voice. Trump is their champion.



How Smoke From California’s Fires is Harming the Most Vulnerable

http://www.climatecentral.org/news/smoke-california-wildfires-harming-most-vulnerable-21777

By John Upton (Climate Central) and Kate Wheeling (Pacific Standard)
Dec. 8,2017

David Ewing wore a bright white dust mask, his face behind it puffy and red, as he sat on a stone bench in downtown Santa Barbara, California. A fine layer of ash covered the pavement at his feet, dirty residue from wildfires ravaging the region.

“When I woke up yesterday I couldn't breathe,” said Ewing, who is homeless and has been diagnosed with cancer. He spent the previous night sleeping behind a Saks department store. “This stuff is just wiping me out.”

Ewing is among the tens of thousands of homeless in Southern California who are struggling to escape the smoke as wildfires tear through the region. Experts caution against spending time outdoors when it’s smoky, but for many, staying inside isn't an option.

Wildfire seasons have been growing longer and more severe throughout the American West. Heat-trapping pollution and the effects of weather cycles have pushed up temperatures. Meanwhile, saplings and other fuel for fires has accumulated in forests. That’s stoking blazes that are undermining long-running efforts to clean the air using environmental regulations.

“When we have warm conditions, that tends to draw more moisture out of vegetation,” said John Abatzoglou, a geographer at the University of Idaho who studies climate change and wildfires. “It tends to accelerate the rate at which vegetation dries up and becomes receptive to igniting and carrying fire.”

Wildfire smoke can travel hundreds of miles and blanket valleys and regions, creating what scientists call smoke waves. Smoke waves are pulses of bad air caused by fires that linger stubbornly for days, similar to heat waves.

Smoke contains chemicals from burning rubber and homes. It can also worsen ozone pollution. And it’s filled with tiny particles known as PM2.5, which can lodge inside lungs, trigger coughing, worsen diseases like asthma, and lead to long-term damage including cancer.

•••••

“The larger the fire, the more people are affected, and the worse the health impacts will be,” said Loretta Mickley, a Harvard University researcher who worked on the study. “It’s just one more consequence of our love of emitting these greenhouse gases. So it’s one more reason to think about, ‘OK, let’s cut these emissions back.’”

Even a state with some of America’s most rigorous and progressive pollution standards can do little to protect itself. “Our state laws and policies and local efforts are all working to drive down smog and soot pollution,” said William Barrett, a policy analyst in California at the non-profit American Lung Association, which has been providing masks to the Red Cross to give to the needy. “But now with our changing environment, we’re seeing longer and more severe fire seasons and, along with that, greater impacts to air quality.”

•••••

As with most pollution, the poorest and frailest are the most vulnerable to smoke waves. A U.S. EPA study of emergency room visits linked to a North Carolina wildfire that burned in 2008 showed health risks from PM2.5 increased in the counties with the poorest residents and with the greatest levels of income inequality.

In California, where a fast-growing population is fueling a housing crisis, officials and non-profits have been working to protect the homeless population, such as by providing masks. Non-profit workers have also been providing masks to farm workers. Homeless people and farm workers can be especially vulnerable because they often have limited access to health care and have trouble sheltering inside when the smoke outside is heavy.

•••••

The conditions stoking the blazes in Southern California are projected to become more common and severe in the years ahead as greenhouse gas pollution from fossil fuel burning, deforestation, farming and other industrial practices accumulates in the atmosphere, changing temperatures and rainfall patterns.

•••••

But even getting indoors can be a major challenge for the homeless in L.A., one of the only U.S. cities where homelessness is rising. In 2017, the number of homeless people climbed to over 55,000 — up more than 13,000 from the year prior. L.A. also has the largest unsheltered subpopulation of any big city, according to Colleen Murphy, an outreach coordinator for the L.A. Homeless Services Authority.

"In most big cities, there's at least shelters to go to at night. In Los Angeles, 75 percent of our homeless are unsheltered, so that means on any given night, they're sleeping outdoors or in their cars," she said. For comparison, 5 percent of New York City's 76,000 homeless are unsheltered. "It's very challenging even on a good day."

•••••

Lactalis baby milk in global recall over salmonella fears



Dec. 11, 2017

Health authorities in France said 26 infants in the country have become sick since early December.

The recall affects products and exports to countries including Britain, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sudan.

It covers hundreds of baby milk powder products marketed globally under the Milumel, Picot and Celi brands.

Lactalis is one of the world's biggest dairy producers. Company spokesman Michel Nalet told AFP "nearly 7,000 tonnes" of production may have been contaminated, but the company is currently unable to say how much remains on the market, has been consumed or is in stock.

•••••

Former Facebook Exec: 'You Don’t Realize It But You Are Being Programmed'

https://gizmodo.com/former-facebook-exec-you-don-t-realize-it-but-you-are-1821181133

Jennings Brown
Dec. 11, 2017

•••••

Parker has said that social media creates “a social-validation feedback loop” by giving people “a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever.”

Just days after Parker made those comments, Palihapitiya told the Stanford audience, “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works,” Palihapitiya said. “No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth. And it’s not an American problem—this is not about Russians ads. This is a global problem.”

•••••

Speaking more broadly on the subject of social media, Palihapitiya said he doesn’t use social media because he “innately didn’t want to get programmed.” As for his kids: “They’re not allowed to use this shit.”

Then he got even more fired up: “Your behaviors—you don’t realize it but you are being programmed. It was unintentional, but now you gotta decide how much you are willing to give up, how much of your intellectual independence,” he told the students in the crowd. “And don’t think, ‘Oh yeah, not me, I’m fucking genius, I’m at Stanford.’ You’re probably the most likely to fucking fall for it. ‘Cause you are fucking check-boxing your whole Goddamn life.”

•••••

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Tax-Aide needs volunteers



AARP FOUNDATION SEEKS VOLUNTEERS FOR FREE TAX-AIDE PROGRAM



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!

www.aarpfoundation.org/taxaide

Friday, December 08, 2017

Links



Somebody on Facebook objected to tax breaks for businesses being counted as subsidies.
Corporations are subsidized by the rest of us paying for the things they need, like roads, educated workers, police, fire fighters. Eg., it's taxpayer money paying the fire people fighting the wildfires in California, protecting their homes and businesses.


Discussion on radio on the tax bill. They mentioned that corporation savings were likely to be passed on to shareholders, which would cause stock prices to rise.
An example of why a high stock market doesn't mean the economy is good for the non-rich.


Roy Moore accuser Beverly Young Nelson 'scared to go anywhere' since her sexual assault allegation
[Ah yes, those wonderful Alabama values, threatening children because their mother reported on the actions of a child molester.]
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/roy-moore-accuser-beverly-young-nelson-pray-hes/story?id=51666016


Eco-friendly Salt Alternatives for Melting Ice and Snow
https://www.greenmoxie.com/natural-green-salt-alternatives-for-melting-ice-and-snow/


Beet Juice And Cheese Brine Used As Road Salt Alternatives
https://www.google.com/search?q=what+can+be+used+to+melt+ice+on+roads&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-ab


Calcium chloride is just as commonly used to melt ice on the streets as sodium chloride is. In fact, it's cheaper than sodium chloride. Companies manufacture large amounts of calcium chloride from brines and other natural materials that can be used for the same purpose.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-do-we-put-salt-on-icy/


Just a Little Weight Loss May Cut Breast Cancer Risk
https://consumer.healthday.com/cancer-information-5/breast-cancer-news-94/just-a-little-weight-loss-may-cut-breast-cancer-risk-729196.html


Man who saved rabbit from California wildfires explains his decision
https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/western-wildfires/man-who-saves-rabbit-california-wildfires-explains-his-decision-n827741


Debunking the Myth: Obama’s Two-Year Supermajority
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/jennifer-m-granholm/debunking-the-myth-obamas_b_1929869.html


Songbirds Shift Migration Patterns to Sync with Warming
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/songbirds-shift-migration-patterns-to-sync-with-warming/


U.S. Disbands Group That Prepared Cities for Climate Shocks
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-04/trump-disbands-group-meant-to-prepare-cities-for-climate-shocks


Taurine lends hand to repair cells damaged in multiple sclerosis
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-12/sri-tlh120817.php


Consuming sugary drinks during pregnancy may increase asthma risk in mid-childhood
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-12/ats-csd120517.php


Screen time before bed linked with less sleep, higher BMIs in kids
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-12/ps-stb120717.php


Mindful yoga can reduce risky behaviors in troubled youth, says UC research
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-12/uoc-myc120717.php


Could death rates have swung the 2016 election?
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-12/du-cdr120717.php


Duration of sleep increases and sleeping difficulties decrease after retirement
[A wonderful thing about retirement is being able to get enough sleep.]
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-12/uot-dos120717.php


People with Huntington's want more openness around assisted dying
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-12/lu-pwh120717.php


Temple research: Canola oil linked to worsened memory & learning ability in Alzheimer's in mice
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-12/tuhs-trc120617.php


Age-related hearing loss may be a risk factor for cognitive decline, impairment and dementia.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-12/tjnj-iah120517.php


Age-related hearing loss may be a risk factor for cognitive decline, impairment and dementia.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-12/tjnj-iah120517.php


Inadequate regulation for vaginal mesh products has exposed women to unnecessary harms, warn experts
[Libertarians will be happy these business were not subject to adequate regulation.]
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-12/b-irf120517.php


Crafty crows know what it takes to make a good tool
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-12/uosa-cck120417.php


Cultures around the world share the belief that atheists lack morality. The evidence, however, tells a different story.
https://www.sapiens.org/culture/religious-people-moral/?utm_source=SAPIENS.org+Subscribers&utm_campaign=32712f4977-Email+Blast+12.8.2017&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_18b7e41cd8-32712f4977-217367021


Hitting Your Kids Increases Their Risk of Mental Illness
http://healthland.time.com/2012/07/02/physical-punishment-increases-your-kids-risk-of-mental-illness/


Families who raise children without hitting them
https://www.quora.com/Can-you-effectively-raise-a-child-without-hitting-them


Trump admin scraps Obama-era proposal requiring airlines to disclose bag fees
http://thehill.com/policy/transportation/363956-trump-admin-scraps-obama-era-proposal-requiring-airlines-to-disclose?utm_campaign=snd&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter


NASA’s plan to save Earth from a giant asteroid
https://www.vox.com/videos/2017/12/8/16753156/nasa-asteroid-collision

Violence is a Preventable Brain Disorder

http://upliftconnect.com/violence-preventable-brain-disorder/

By Jacob Devaney on Saturday January 24th, 2015

•••••

We literally have the ability to change the world we live in by addressing our core belief systems. This logic can be applied to our deeply held beliefs that human-beings are wired for violence, which the science of epigenetics refutes completely. Human behavior is much more a product of our environment and conditioning than it is dictated by genes. This points directly to child-rearing practices, and the ways that it affects the developing brain

Harsh, punitive, and cold environments along with chronic stress cause the brain to release a neurotoxin known as cortisol. Cortisol literally destroys brain cells in the area of the brain connected to emotional regulation and impulse control causing the prefrontal lobes to atrophy. Whereas, loving supportive connection in a safe environment causes the brain to secrete oxytocin which developed these centers and cultivates the capacity for empathy, which is the neurological foundation for peace. The conclusion is that Violence is a Preventable Brain Disorder.

•••••

Republicans Are Coming for Your Benefits



Paul Krugman DEC. 4, 2017

Republicans don’t care about budget deficits, and never did. They only pretend to care about deficits when one of two things is true: a Democrat is in the White House, and deficit rhetoric can be used to block his agenda, or they see an opportunity to slash social programs that help needy Americans, and can invoke deficits as an excuse. All of this has been obvious for years to anyone paying attention.

So it’s not at all surprising that they were willing to enact a huge tax cut for corporations and the wealthy even though all independent estimates said this would add more than $1 trillion to the national debt. And it was also predictable that they would return to deficit posturing as soon as the deed was done, citing the red ink they themselves produced as a reason to cut social spending.

Yet even the most cynical among us are startled both by how quickly the bait-and-switch is proceeding and by the contempt Republicans are showing for the public’s intelligence.

In fact, the switch began even before the marks swallowed the bait.

During the Senate debate over the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Senator Orrin Hatch was challenged over support for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which covers nine million U.S. children — but whose funding lapsed two months ago, and has not been renewed. Hatch declared his support for the program, but insisted that “the reason CHIP’s having trouble is because we don’t have money anymore” — just before voting for a trillion-and-a-half-dollar tax cut that will deliver the bulk of its benefits to the richest few percent of the population.

•••••

We can go on down the list. The simple fact is that big spending on people who “won’t lift a finger” doesn’t actually happen in America — only in Hatch’s meanspirited imagination.

Now, to be fair, there are some people in America who get lots of money they didn’t lift a finger to earn — namely, inheritors of large estates. Strange to say, however, Republican legislation would give these people much more — indeed, billions and billions of dollars — without requiring any additional effort on their part.

The House version of the big tax cut would eliminate the estate tax entirely; the Senate version would double the level of wealth exempted from the tax, to $22.4 million for a couple. How can this be justified if it’s supposedly hard to find money for children’s health care?

•••••

For budget deficits are going to soar thanks to Republican legislation — probably by even more than the official scorekeepers say, because the legislation creates so many new loopholes. And offsetting those deficits will require going after the true big-ticket programs, namely Medicare and Social Security.

Oh, they’ll find euphemisms to describe what they’re doing, talking solemnly about the need for “entitlement reform” as an act of fiscal responsibility — while their huge budget-busting tax cut for the rich gets shoved down the memory hole. But whatever words they use to cloak the reality of the situation, Republicans have given their donors what they wanted — and now they’re coming for your benefits.

More Than 80 Leading Economists Demand “Not A Penny More” Spent On Fossil Fuels

https://cleantechnica.com/2017/12/07/80-leading-economists-demand-not-penny-spent-fossil-fuels/

December 7th, 2017 by Joshua S Hill

A group of more than 80 world-leading economists from 20 countries have issued a declaration in which they demand that “not a penny more” be spent on fossil fuel production and infrastructure while encouraging an increase in renewable energy investments in the lead-up to French President Emmanuel Macron’s international summit on climate finance.

“We the undersigned, call for an immediate end to investments in new fossil fuel production and infrastructure, and encourage a dramatic increase in investments in renewable energy,” wrote 81 economists from all over the world, writing in the lead up to the One Planet Summit set to be held on December 12, a two years to the day after the signing of the historic Paris Climate Agreement, and which will be presided over by French President Emmanuel Macron. The Summit will aim to determine how public and private financiers can innovate to support and accelerate the effort to fight climate change.

•••••

“It is time for the community of global economic actors to step up its efforts to save our planet and preserve our common future,” added Pierre-Richard Agénor, Professor of International Macroeconomics and Development Economics, University of Manchester, another of the declaration’s undersigned. “Our declaration affirms that it is the urgent responsibility and moral obligation of public and private investors, as well as development institutions, to lead in putting an end to the use of fossil fuels and embrace safe and renewable energies.”

“Ongoing global climate change and environmental destructions are happening at an unprecedented scale, and it will take unprecedented actions to limit the worst consequences of our dependence on oil, coal, and gas,” write the undersigned of the declaration.

“Equally as critical as drastically curbing the carbon intensity of our economic systems is the need for immediate and ambitious actions to stop exploration and expansion of fossil fuel projects and manage the decline of existing production in line with what is necessary to achieve the Paris climate goals.”

The need for reducing fossil fuel production should come as no surprise, especially considering that repeated research has shown that the carbon emissions residing within existing fossil fuel production and reserves will already take us well beyond safe climate limits. As such, the economists are not just seeking a curb on future exploration and development but a restriction of existing business-as-usual policies in an effort to keep warming to well below 2ºC, and as close to 1.5ºC as possible.

“Along with policy changes such as the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies, a massive increase in financing for renewable energy solutions is needed if we are going to see a rapid decline in carbon emissions by 2025,” added Neva Rockefeller Goodwin Co-Director, Global Development And Environment Institute, Tufts University.

Environmental, Health and Economic Impacts of Road Salt

https://www.des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/water/wmb/was/salt-reduction-initiative/impacts.htm

New Hampshire winters demand an effective and affordable means of de-icing roadways. The primary agent used for this purpose is sodium chloride (road salt), which is composed of 40 percent sodium ions (Na+) and 60 percent chloride ions (Cl-). Other components in salt like ferrocyanide, which is used for anti-caking, and impurities like phosphorus and iron, can represent up to 5 percent of the total weight. The sodium, chloride, ferrocyanide and impurities make their way into our environment through the runoff from rain, melting snow and ice, as well as through splash and spray by vehicles and by wind. They find their way onto vegetation and into the soil, groundwater, stormdrains, and surface waters causing significant impact to the environment.

Chloride (Cl-) is completely soluble and very mobile. Chloride is toxic to aquatic life and impacts vegetation and wildlife. There is no natural process by which chlorides are broken down, metabolized, taken up, or removed from the environment. In 2008, New Hampshire listed 19 water bodies impaired by chloride; in 2010 that number increased to 40. Trends show that chloride levels continue to rise with increasing use of road salt.

The transport of sodium (Na+) in the environment is not as prominent as chloride due to ion exchange; however, this exchange can alter the soil chemistry by replacing and releasing nutrients into the groundwater and surface water changing soil structure and impacting the aquatic environment. Contamination of sodium in drinking water is a concern for individuals restricted to low-sodium diets due to hypertension (high blood pressure). Wildlife is also prone to high sodium levels by ingesting salt or drinking water runoff from snow and ice melt.

Additives to road salt like ferrocyanide, which is used as an anti-caking compound in large salt supplies, can have impacts on both the environment and human health due to cyanide ions being released by certain types of bacteria as well as from exposure to sunlight. The USEPA in 2003 added this compound to its list of toxic pollutants under section 307(a) of the Clean Water Act. Other potential components and impurities of road salt can include calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, aluminum, lead, phosphorus, manganese, copper, zinc, nickel, chromium, and cadmium.

Contaminates from road salt enter water resources by infiltration to groundwater, runoff to surface water and through stormdrains. The chloride discharged into these waters remains in solution and is not subject to any significant natural removal methods; only dilution can reduce its concentration.

•••••

Sodium in drinking water is a health concern for individuals restricted to low-sodium diets due to hypertension (high blood pressure). Therefore, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) now requires drinking water to be monitored for sodium and public water suppliers to report to local health authorities any concentration above 20 mg sodium per liter of water (20mg/l)4. Chloride is not toxic to human health at low levels but does pose taste and odor issues at concentrations exceeding 250 mg/l. In New Hampshire from 1983 to 2003 the NHDOT replaced more than 424 private wells contaminated by road salt at a cost of $3.2 million. Several public water supply wells have also been abandoned due to contamination.

The two most important concerns for pet owners regarding road salt are ingestion and paw health. According to the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center, ingestion of road salt by eating salt directly, licking salty paws, and by drinking snow melt and runoff “can potentially produce effects such as drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, volcalizing/crying, excessive thirst, depression, weakness, low blood pressure, disorientation, decreased muscle function and in severe cases, cardiac abnormalities, seizure, coma, and even death (www.aspca.org).” Exposure of your pet’s paws to road salt can produce painful irritations, inflammation, and cracking of the feet pads that can be prone to infection and are slow to heal.

Road salt in the environment affects the health of wildlife, including birds and mammals. Birds, the most sensitive wildlife species to salt, often mistake road salt crystals for seeds or grit. Consumption of very small amounts of salt can result in toxicosis and death within the bird population. Wildlife such as deer and moose are also attracted to the roadway to ingest salt crystals, which leads to higher incidents of vehicular accidents and wildlife kills. Particularly high concentrations of sodium and chloride can be found in snow melt, which many animals drink to relieve thirst and potentially can cause salt toxicity including dehydration, confusion and weakness, among other symptoms. Road salt can cause a decline among populations of salt sensitive species reducing natural diversity. Damage to vegetation can have significant impact on wildlife habitat by destroying food resources, shelter and breeding and nesting sites, and by creating a favorable environment for non-native invasive species.

Chloride in surface waters can be toxic to many forms of aquatic life. Aquatic species of concern include fish, macroinvertebrates, insects, and amphibians. Elevated chloride levels can threaten the health of food sources and pose a risk to species survival, growth, and/or reproduction. Chloride toxicity increases when it is associated with other cations, such as potassium or magnesium, which may occur once the ions of road salt have dissolved and migrated at potentially different rates. Salinity stress on sensitive aquatic communities can impact species diversity. The presence of salt also releases toxic metals from sediment and when released into the water can inhibit nutrients and dissolved oxygen within the water that aquatic species rely on.

•••••

The most visible impact of road salt on our environment is in the grass, shrubs, and foliage along the roadside. Not only does salt effect the terrestrial roadside vegetation it also has an impact on emergent and submerged aquatic plants. Salt leaves the road and enters the environment by splash and spray from vehicles, transportation by wind, snow melt into the soil and as runoff to surface waters. Salt primarily causes dehydration which leads to foliage damage but also causes osmotic stress that harms root growth. Salt can disrupt nutrient uptake and cause injury to seed germination, stems, leaves, and flowering ability. Salt can lead to plant death and can also cause a colonization of salt tolerant species, such as cattails, thereby reducing species diversity. Vegetation along roadways is a natural buffer area between pollutants and the waters. With salt damage and vegetation degradation it compromises the retention and processing of pollutants in stormwater runoff to the groundwater source. The University of New Hampshire suggests planting salt tolerant tree species such as horsechestnut, black locust, honey locust, red oak and white oak in areas of high salt concentrations.

alt influences the chemistry of the soil in which it infiltrates. Through ion exchange the Na ion stays within the soil and releases other ions such as Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium into the groundwater as well as increasing metal mobilization. This causes depletion in the soil as well as changes the soil permeability causing the soil to become impervious which blocks water infiltration, reduces soil stability, and decreases the soil pH and overall fertility. Salt can have impacts on soil biota, soil welling and crusting, soil electrical conductivity, soil osmotic potential, soil dispersion, and structural stability. Salt can inhibit some soil bacteria compromising soil structure and inhibiting erosion control mechanisms and increasing sediment in runoff.

Chloride ions increase the conductivity of water and accelerate corrosion. Chloride can penetrate and deteriorate concrete on bridge decking and parking garage structures, and damage reinforcing rods, compromising structural integrity. It damages vehicle parts such as brake linings, frames, bumpers, and other areas of body corrosion. It impacts railroad crossing warning equipment and power line utilities by conducting electrical current leaks across the insulator that may lead to loss of current, shorting of transmission lines, and wooden pole fires. The cost of corrosion damage and corrosion protection practices for highways and the automobile industry have been reported to cost a staggering 16-19 billion dollars a year

Asteroid 2017 VL2 zoomed terrifyingly close to Earth and Nasa didn’t see it coming

http://metro.co.uk/2017/12/08/asteroid-2017-vl2-zoomed-terrifyingly-close-earth-nasa-didnt-see-coming-7144051/

Jasper Hamill Friday 8 Dec 2017

Asteroid 2017 VL2 is the size of a whale, which means it’s large enough to wipe out a major city.

It measures between six and 32 metres wide and came within 73,000 miles of the surface of Earth.

This is just one-third of the distance between our planet and the moon.

It passed by on November 9 and was only observed on November 10.

If it hit Earth, the asteroid would wipe out anything within a radius of about 4 miles.

Luckily, it won’t come back our way until 2125.

Planet Earth will have another terrifyingly close encounter with a three-mile-wide asteroid just over a week before Christmas.

Planet Earth will have another terrifyingly close encounter with a three-mile-wide asteroid just over a week before Christmas.

A gigantic space rock called 3200 Phaethon is due to brush ‘quite close’ to our planet on December 17, Russian astronomers have revealed.

This huge asteroid is thought to cause the beautiful Geminids meteor shower which will take place between December 13 and 14, causing hundreds of bright meteors to illuminate the night sky as they burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.

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Thursday, December 07, 2017

Links



Last day to apply for health insurance thru the ACA marketplace is Dec. 15.


Poll: Majority says Congress should investigate sexual harassment allegations against Trump
By Rebecca Savransky - 12/06/17 12:43 PM EST
http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/363562-poll-majority-says-congress-should-investigate-sexual-harassment


Consumer bureau reconsidering fine against Wells Fargo for mortgage fees
http://thehill.com/policy/finance/363862-consumer-bureau-reconsidering-fine-against-wells-fargo-for-mortgage-fees


The three ultra-rich families battling for control of the Republican party
https://qz.com/1085077/mercers-vs-kochs-vs-adelsons-the-three-ultra-rich-families-battling-for-control-of-the-republican-party/

The most accurate climate change models predict the most alarming consequences


Not surprising. Changes have been happening faster than predicted. Of course, part of that is due to scientists making conservative predictions so as not to be alarmist.

http://www.sltrib.com/news/environment/2017/12/07/study-most-accurate-climate-change-models-predict-the-most-alarming-consequences/

By Chris Mooney | The Washington Post

The climate change simulations that best capture current planetary conditions are also the ones that predict the most dire levels of human-driven warming, according to a statistical study released in the journal Nature on Wednesday.

The study, by Patrick Brown and Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford, California, examined the high-powered climate change simulations, or models, that researchers use to project the future of the planet based on the physical equations that govern the behavior of the atmosphere and oceans.

The researchers then looked at what the models that best captured current conditions high in the atmosphere predicted was coming. Those models generally predicted a higher level of warming than models that did not capture these conditions as well.

The study adds to a growing body of bad news about how human activity is changing the planet's climate and how dire those changes will be. But according to several outside scientists consulted by The Washington Post, while the research is well-executed and intriguing, it's also not yet definitive.

"The study is interesting and concerning, but the details need more investigation," said Ben Sanderson, a climate expert at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

•••••

In the past, it has been common to combine the results of dozens of these models, and so give a range for how much the planet might warm for a given level of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere. That's the practice of the leading international climate science body, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Instead, Brown and Caldeira compared these models' performances with recent satellite observations of the actual atmosphere and, in particular, of the balance of incoming and outgoing radiation that ultimately determines the Earth's temperature. Then, they tried to determine which models performed better.

"We know enough about the climate system that it doesn't necessarily make sense to throw all the models in a pool and say, we're blind to which models might be good and which might be bad," said Brown, a postdoc at the Carnegie Institution.

The research found the models that do the best job capturing the Earth's actual "energy imbalance," as the authors put it, are also the ones that simulate more warming in the planet's future.

Under a high-warming scenario in which large emissions continue throughout the century, the models as a whole give a mean warming of 4.3 degrees Celsius (or 7.74 degrees Fahrenheit), plus or minus 0.7 degrees Celsius, for the period between 2081 and 2100, the study noted. But the best models, according to this test, gave an answer of 4.8 degrees Celsius (8.64 degrees Fahrenheit), plus or minus 0.4 degrees Celsius.

Overall, the change amounted to bumping up the projected warming by about 15 percent.

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Links



Trump Is ‘Racist’ And ‘Ungodly,’ Says Republican Pastor as He Quits Party
http://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-racist-ungodly-pastor-says-735767


How to Help Your Kid Become 'Rejection-Proof'
https://offspring.lifehacker.com/how-to-help-your-kid-become-rejection-proof-1820899725


Alaska just reported one of the most extreme snowfall rates on record: 10 inches per hou
An atmospheric river — a plume of very wet air — transported warm, Pacific Ocean moisture all the way up into the high latitudes and smacked into the mountainous coast of Alaska.
[Because of global warming, the atmosphere contains more moisture than it used to.]
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2017/12/07/alaska-just-reported-one-of-the-most-extreme-snowfall-rates-on-record-10-inches-per-hour/?utm_term=.f3aa0528793f


California fires: 'Firefighters taking a beating' as Santa Ana winds rage
http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/07/us/ventura-fire-california/index.html


Arctic sea ice melt could exacerbate California droughts
http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/arctic-sea-ice-melt-california-drought-1.4437273


Tyson Food contractors caught on video mistreating chickens
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/you-need-to-kill-him-tyson-food-contractors-caught-on-video-mistreating-chickens/2017/12/06/35ec4f58-d9fa-11e7-94b5-82a81b0f862e_story.html?utm_term=.b7ae013998d7


Apparent White House pick to lead census sparks concern about partisanship
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/apparent-white-house-pick-to-lead-census-sparks-concern-about-partisanship/2017/12/07/662b789a-d6e1-11e7-a986-d0a9770d9a3e_story.html?utm_term=.18d8652b7c29

Links




Since the last update of Windows 10, my computer shows a black screen when turned on after Sleep. Have to force it off with the power button, then start again. I changed my options for what the computer does when not used for awhile, or on actions like closing the computer, and changed the sleep options to something else.


Trump is either a fool, or is trying to get the U.S. attacked, because he knows Americans in the past have re-elected unpopular presidents when we were fighting such things. In that case, he is a traitor. If he is doing this to distruact us from things like the Mueller investigation, he is a traitor.


VW Executive Sentenced to 7 Years in Prison for Diesel Role
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-06/vw-executive-sentenced-to-7-years-in-prison-for-diesel-role


Why people deny facts
http://time.com/4466692/denying-to-the-grave/


VA slashes program that helps homeless veterans obtain housing
http://thehill.com/homenews/news/363681-va-slashes-program-that-helps-homeless-veterans-obtain-housing-report

ExxonMobil opposes ALEC's attempt to fight EPA climate policy
[Wow! Exxon Mobile has been one of the biggest supporter of climate change denialism in the past. Maybe they are finally facing up to the problems they have laid up for their children and grandchildren.]
http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/363389-exxon-opposes-alecs-attempt-to-fight-epa-climate-policy?amp


America's homeless population rises for the first time since the Great Recession
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/dec/05/america-homeless-population-2017-official-count-crisis


Air pollution harm to unborn babies may be global health catastrophe, warn doctors
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/dec/05/air-pollution-harm-to-unborn-babies-may-be-global-health-catastrophe-warn-doctors


US government report finds steady and persistent global warming
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2017/dec/06/us-government-report-finds-steady-and-persistent-global-warming


The United States experienced its 7th warmest November and 10th warmest autumn
https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/news/national-climate-201711