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

Thursday, September 21, 2017


A pattern I have noticed in these hurricanes is that they weaken at night, when it's cooler, strengthen back up during the day, when it's warmer. So it would be surprising if global warming didn't lead to stronger hurricanes.

National Guard chief cites ‘bigger, larger, more violent’ hurricanes as possible evidence of climate change

Before the breach, Equifax sought to limit exposure to lawsuits

Interior’s ‘unusual’ transfer of senior executives spurs official probe

Undercover With the Alt-Right

On the Road With the Casualties of the Great Recession

Decoding the resistance to climate change: Are we doomed?

Trump judicial nominee said transgender children are part of 'Satan's plan', defended 'conversion therapy'

14% of LGBT people voted for Donald Trump and other loathsome election facts

Meet the LGBTQ Voters Who Backed Trump

Someone Made a Fake Equifax Site. Then Equifax Linked to It.

Alligators Attack and Eat Sharks, Study Confirms
He also uncovered some historical accounts of sharks preying upon American alligators, suggesting that the two carnivores square off more often than thought.

Melting Arctic ice cap falls to well below average

Trump's pick for chemical safety chief called 'voice of the chemical industry'

tags: extreme weather

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Groundbreaking study finds rigid gender stereotypes in children tied to higher depression, violence, suicide risk

Fiza Pirani The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
1:12 p.m Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017

New research from the World Health Organization and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health shows exposure to rigid gender norms can be established in children by age 10 or 11, norms that can lead to damaging consequences in adolescence and beyond.


After conducting the interviews, researchers found that gender roles are generally first introduced to children in the home and are further reinforced as they grow up by siblings, classmates, coaches, clergy and others.

And no matter where children grow up, gender stereotypes prevail and have significant implications for both girls and boys, according to researchers.

“The myth that girls are weak and boys are strong, that girls are vulnerable and boys are aggressive, was so globally pervasive we saw it play out over and over again in 15 countries and across five continents,” Robert Blum, the study’s lead researcher, told Market Watch.

Additionally, he told Huffington Post, girls are often told that their bodies are a target and if they don’t “cover up and stay away from boys,” the “sanctions they experience are pretty profound.”

“Girls pay a very high price,” Blum said.


For boys, the hegemonic myth of being strong and independent generally puts them at a higher risk of falling victim to physical violence, according to researchers.

In countries such as China, India and the U.S., it has become increasingly acceptable for girls to challenge gender stereotypes, but boys can still deal with physical bullying for defying gender norms.

Researchers also found that not only do boys die more frequently than girls from unintentional injuries, and not only are they more prone to substance abuse and suicide, but as adults, their life expectancies are also shorter compared to women.

“Such differences are socially not biologically determined,” study authors concluded.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017


More than 40 million people were estimated to be victims of modern slavery in 2016 -- and one in four of those were children.

How America's 'ground-zero' for modern slavery was cleaned up by workers' group

Children who take up American football early 'at greater risk of brain impairment'

Strong earthquake shakes Mexico, killing at least 119 people

Hurricanes May Cause Earthquakes

People who were at the vigil for Scout Schultz, on the Georgia Tech campus, say the violence appeared to be due to non-students.


Sainsbury's slimline toilet roll to wipe 140 tonnes from carbon emissions
What may look like a minor change to a consumer makes a significant difference when scaled up across many thousands of products."

March of Dimes, American Heart Association oppose new Senate repeal-and-replace bill

Global warming reduces protein in key crops

High CO2 Makes Crops Less Nutritious

After years of decline, global hunger on the rise again

By Ashley Welch CBS News September 18, 2017, 5:43 PM

Global hunger is once again on the rise, reversing some of the progress made over the last decade of steady decline, according to a new report from the World Health Organization (WHO).

In 2016, an estimated 815 million people across the world were undernourished, amounting to about 11 percent of the global population. That number is up 38 million from 2015.

Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of malnutrition. The report found that 155 million kids under the age of 5 are too short for their age. Another 52 million suffer from wasting, meaning their weight is too low for their height.

The report cites wars and climate change as factors driving the crisis.

"Over the past decade, conflicts have risen dramatically in number and become more complex and intractable in nature," the authors wrote.

More than half of those suffering from hunger live in countries torn apart by ongoing armed conflict, including South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen. Some of the highest proportions of malnourished children in the world are concentrated in zones of conflict.


Food insecurity – defined as a situation when people lack adequate amounts of food necessary for normal growth and an active, healthy life – and malnutrition are also exacerbated by the effects of climate change, such as the increasing severity of extreme storms, droughts and floods, which can interfere with crops and food distribution.

The scarcity and desperation that accompany these natural disasters can further deepen existing conflicts and lead to continued deterioration of the crisis, the researchers say, fueling a vicious cycle of greater human suffering.

Even in more peaceful regions not affected by conflict, droughts and floods linked to the recent weather phenomenon El Niño have contributed to a rise in food security and malnutrition.


The report also makes note of another concerning health trend, the doubling of obesity rates worldwide since 1980. Nearly 41 million children are now overweight. While it may seem odd for both obesity and malnutrition to be on the rise, the report says the two problems are actually interrelated.

"Food insecurity and obesity often co-exist – even in the same household. When resources for food become scarce, and people's means to access nutritious food diminish, they often rely on less-healthy, more energy-dense food choices that can lead to overweight and obesity," the authors write.
And global warming is making crops less nutritious, which might cause people to crave more food to satisfy their nutritional needs.


Earth Has its Third Warmest August on Record in 2017

Dr. Jeff Masters · September 18, 2017, 6:04 AM EDT

August 2017 was the planet's third warmest August since record keeping began in 1880, said NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) on Monday. NASA rated August 2017 as the second warmest August on record. The only warmer Augusts, according to NOAA, came during 2016 and 2015, when a strong El Niño was helping increase global temperatures. Minor differences can occur between the NASA and NOAA rankings because of their different techniques for analyzing data-sparse regions such as the Arctic.

Global ocean temperatures last month were the fourth warmest on record for any August, according to NOAA, and global land temperatures were the second warmest on record. Global satellite-measured temperatures for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere were the third or second warmest for any August in the 39-year record, according to the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH) and Remote Sensing Systems (RSS), respectively.

Second-warmest year on record thus far

Each of the first eight months of 2017 have ranked among the top three warmest such months on record, giving 2017 the second highest January–August temperature in the 138-year record: 0.88°C (1.58°F) above the 20th century average. This is behind the record year of 2016 by 0.13°C (0.24°F). This near-record warmth is especially remarkable given the lack of an El Niño event this year. Global temperatures tend to be warmer during El Niño years, when the ocean releases more heat to the atmosphere. Given the lack of an El Niño event in 2017, it is unlikely that we will surpass 2016 as the warmest year on record. However, 2017 is almost certain to be the planet's warmest year on record that lacks any influence from El Niño, and Earth's four warmest years of the last century-plus are likely to be 2016, 2017, 2015, and 2014.


Arctic sea ice extent during August 2017 was the third lowest in the 38-year satellite record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).


Sea ice surrounding Antarctica has been at unprecedented lows in recent months, setting an all-time monthly minimum extent record each month during the five-month period November 2016 – March 2017, and again in August of 2017. Monthly Antarctic sea ice extent in April, May, June, and again in August of 2017 were the second lowest on record for their respective months.


According to French climatologist Jérôme Reynaud, the temperature has reached or exceeded 50°C (122°F) more than 700 times in the world in 2017 (in 10 countries). That’s an absolute record, surpassing the previous record of 300+ times, set in 2016.


Since the beginning of 2017, particularly high nighttime temperatures have also been observed in several regions of the world (in 10 countries**). There have been 200+ instances of nighttime minimum temperatures of at least 36°C (96.8°F) (including some at an elevation about 800 meters.)


Category 5 Maria Threatens Catastrophic Damage in the Caribbean

Thank goodness science allows us to have advanced notification of hurricanes so some preparation can be made. Really horrifying to think of these things striking w/o warning.

by Alex Johnson
Sept. 18, 2017 11:58pm ET

Maria blew up from a tropical storm into a major Category 5 hurricane in barely more than a day, bearing down on Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands with catastrophic winds so strong that some areas could be uninhabitable for months, forecasters warned Monday night.

Maria made landfall on Dominica, an island of 72,000 people in the Lesser Antilles, at 9:15 p.m. ET, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. The island's prime minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, wrote on Facebook that his roof was gone, that his home was flooded and that he was "at the complete mercy of the hurricane." A few minutes later, he reported that he had been rescued.


With hurricane-force winds likely to continue across both territories for as long as 24 hours, forecasters said, Maria was shaping up late Monday to be even more destructive than Hurricane Irma, which killed at least 70 people across the Caribbean and the Southeastern United States beginning in late August.

"These winds will bring catastrophic damage," the agency warned. In tandem with rain as heavy as 18 inches and storm surges forecast as high as 9 feet, conditions could leave parts of the U.S. territories "uninhabitable for weeks or months," it said.

Kenneth Mapp, governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands, suspended all Irma recovery efforts to shift the focus to preparing for Maria, while President Donald Trump declared states of emergency in both territories on Monday. The Coast Guard said it was moving personnel, cutters and aircraft in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico to protect them from Maria and to position them for quick search-and-rescue missions.


Eric Mack
Sept. 18, 2017

While you were going about your business Monday, Hurricane Maria rapidly intensified from a category 1 storm to the category 5 monster with 160 mph winds that is now bowling over the Caribbean island of Dominica.

As of 5 a.m. Atlantic time on Monday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami reported that Maria's sustained maximum winds of 90 mph put it at the high end of a category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. The NHC's 8 p.m. report put Maria at a category 5, making it one of the more rapidly intensifying storms in recent memory.


A recent paper by MIT's Kerry Emanuel found that Atlantic hurricanes that intensify quickly like Harvey and Maria may become more common thanks to climate change.

"...the incidence of storms that intensify rapidly just before landfall could increase substantially by the end of this century, and as rapid intensification is difficult to forecast, there is a risk of an increased frequency of poorly anticipated, high-intensity landfalls, leading to higher rates of injury and death."


Monday, September 18, 2017

Women of childbearing age around world suffering toxic levels of mercury

Damian Carrington Environment editor
Monday 18 September 2017

Women of childbearing age from around the world have been found to have high levels of mercury, a potent neurotoxin which can seriously harm unborn children.

The new study, the largest to date, covered 25 of the countries with the highest risk and found excessive levels of the toxic metal in women from Alaska to Chile and Indonesia to Kenya. Women in the Pacific islands were the most pervasively contaminated. This results from their reliance on eating fish, which concentrate the mercury pollution found across the world’s oceans and much of which originates from coal burning.

The most extreme levels were found in women from sites in Indonesia where mercury is heavily used in small-scale gold mining and where fish is also commonly eaten. Such gold mining leads to serious mercury pollution and is also a source of harm to women in Kenya, Paraguay and Myanmar.

Industrial pollution is another source of mercury, and the research found this affected women in Nepal, Nigeria and Ukraine.

“Millions of women and children in communities mining gold with mercury are condemned to a future where mercury impairs the health of adults and damages the developing brains of their offspring,” said Yuyun Ismawati, an Indonesian woman from Ipen, the coalition of NGOs that produced the scientific report. “As long as the mercury trade continues, so too will the mercury tragedy.”

Cook Islands resident Imogen Ingram, from the Island Sustainability Alliance, learned that her own mercury levels were two-and-half times higher than the US Environmental Protection Agency’s safety threshold. “It is really alarming to learn that you have, without knowing, passed on mercury to your child,” she said. “Mercury contamination across the Pacific Islands is high because we eat fish. But I do not want to be told not to eat fish. Coal-fired power, one of the primary sources of mercury pollution in the oceans, is the real offender. It is time to phase it out.”


The Ipen work expanded a smaller study it conducted with the UN Environment Programme to test hair samples from more than 1,000 women from 36 places in 25 countries. In the Pacific Islands, which are far from all industrial sources of mercury pollution, 86% of the women had levels above the 1ppm safety limit, with most over three times that.

Above 1ppm of mercury, brain, heart and kidney damage can occur. The most recent scientific assessment indicates that lifelong brain damage to foetuses can begin at the lower level of 0.58ppm and in many of the sites studied virtually all the women exceeded this level.


Links and comments

This is the height of the hurricane season. The last few years have been abnormal with most Atlantic hurricanes heading toward the U.S., but not making landfall here, getting deflected by weather fronts to the northeast, fizzling out in the cooler waters there, sometimes making it all the way back across the Atlantic and hitting Europe, like Gert did earlier this summer.
What is different is that ocean water is warmer, causing hurricanes to increase in strength faster and to get stronger than they would have previously.

Arctic sea ice once again shows considerable melting

Trump Administration Seeks to Avoid Withdrawal From Paris Climate Accord

How a bill requiring Florida nursing homes to have backup AC died

GOP eying 'blue slip' break to help Trump fill the courts
republicans used this rule, among others, to block President Obama's appointments. Now they are whining it's unfair for Democrats to use it against some of Trump's appointments.

Trump makes good on pledge to donate to Harvey relief

Equifax Suffered a Hack Almost Five Months Earlier Than the Date It Disclosed

Soviet officer who averted cold war nuclear disaster dies aged 77

Australia's record-breaking winter beats average highs by 2C [3.6F], Climate Council says

Michael McGowan
Monday 18 September 2017

It’s always hot in Bidyadanga but a few degrees can make a big difference in the remote Aboriginal community, about 190km south of Broome in Western Australia.

“It’s always hot – it’s the desert – but the difference between 33C [91.4F] and 36C [96.8F] can be quite oppressive,” said Shaun Burgess, a teacher in the community.

This winter, it mattered more than most – 2017 was Australia’s warmest on record for average maximum temperatures, which reached nearly 2C above the winter average and beat the previous record set in 2009 by 0.3C, according to a report released by the Climate Council on Tuesday.
Q&A: panellists spar over coal as energy debate dominates
Read more

In July alone 72 records were broken for the highest maximum temperature, including in Sydney, which set a record high of 26.5C.

Bidyadanga was one of those 72; on July 27 it reached 36.3C, the hottest day in Australia’s warmest July. It also broke its previous July record of 35.7C, set in 2016.

“It’s made it really difficult to do things like go camping or fishing with the students, which is something we’ve done a lot of in previous years,” Burgess said. “There’s been less of an opportunity to clear the mind, less of a reprieve, I guess.”


“Winter warm spells are lasting longer, occurring more often and becoming more intense,” the report said. “The likelihood of such warm winters occurring will continue to increase as global temperatures rise.”