Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Failing to live

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all - in which case, you fail by default.”

― J.K. Rowling

Huge methane belch in Arctic could cost $60 trillion

24 July 2013 by Fred Pearce

A sudden methane burp in the Arctic could set the world back a colossal $60 trillion.

Billions of tonnes of the greenhouse gas methane are trapped just below the surface of the East Siberian Arctic shelf. Melting means the area is poised to deliver a giant gaseous belch at any moment  - one that could bring global warming forward 35 years and cost the equivalent of almost a year's global GDP.

These are the conclusions of the first systematic analysis of the economic cost of Arctic melting, which delivers a sobering antidote to other, more upbeat assessments that say melting in this area would improve access to minerals on the ocean bed, increase fishing and create ice-free shipping lanes.

Previous work has estimated that more than a trillion tonnes of methane lie under the shelf, trapped inside lattices of ice known as hydrates, at depths as shallow as 20 metres. Concern about a possible eruption has grown since 2010, when research cruises over the shelf by Natalia Shakhova and Igor Semiletov, both now at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, found plumes of methane as much as a kilometre wide bubbling to the surface.

The pair calculated that a release of 50 billion tonnes would be possible within a decade, through known areas of melting and geological faults. Since methane is a greenhouse gas 25 times as potent as carbon dioxide, such a scenario would trigger a "climate catastrophe", they say, increasing the methane content of the planet's atmosphere twelve-fold, and raising temperatures by 1.3 ˚C (2.3 ˚F).


"The global impact of a warming Arctic is an economic time bomb," says Whiteman. A release of 50 billion tonnes of methane would bring forward by 15 to 35 years the date at which global temperature rise exceeds 2 ˚C above pre-industrial levels, the model shows, with most of the damage in the poorer parts of Africa, Asia and South America. The largest costs envisaged include loss of crops to heat and drought, coping with sea level rise and worsening tropical storms.

So how likely is a giant belch? An abrupt release of 50 billion tonnes is "highly possible at any time", Shakhova says.


ournal reference: Nature, vol 499, p 401

Meditation boosts genes that promote good health

08 May 2013 by Andy Coghlan

FEELING run-down? Try a little chanting, or meditation – yes, really. Such relaxation techniques can boost the activity of genes that promote good health, and a few minutes each day is enough to show results.

"It's not New Age nonsense," says Herbert Benson of the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He and his colleagues analysed the whole genomes of 26 volunteers – none of whom regularly meditates – before teaching them a relaxation routine lasting 10 to 20 minutes. It included reciting words, breathing exercises and emptying the mind.

After eight weeks of performing the routine daily, gene analysis was repeated. Clusters of beneficial genes had become more active and harmful ones less so (PLoS One,

The boosted genes had three main effects: improving cellular energy efficiency; upping insulin production, which improves control of blood sugar; and preventing the breakdown of caps on chromosomes that help prevent cells wearing out and ageing.

Clusters of genes that became less active were those involved in chronic inflammation, which can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease.


Class system? When it comes to school aid, rich have the edge

Kelley Holland CNBC
July 31, 2013

College students have a better chance of getting financial aid if they come from affluent backgrounds than if they are lower on the income scale, some new studies show.

There is growing evidence that colleges may be offering more scholarship money to wealthy students and less to those truly in need, and by doing so are perhaps closing a door to advancement for many families.

A new study by Sallie Mae found that 36 percent of students from wealthy families received scholarships averaging $10,213 for the school year just ended, while 35 percent of students from families earning less than $35,000 a year received scholarships worth an average of $7,237.


Grants and scholarships covered 37 percent of low income students' college costs in the 2012-2013 school year, down from 42 percent in 2008-2009, according to Sallie Mae. But middle income students increased the share of funding they got from grants and scholarships, and use of grants and scholarships by wealthy students was essentially unchanged.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bagged salad caused parasite outbreak, states say

Good idea to wash any raw food, even that which is pre-washed and packaged.

JoNel Aleccia NBC News
July 30, 2013

Health officials in Iowa and Nebraska on Tuesday tagged prepackaged salad mix as the source for an outbreak of parasite-borne food poisoning in those states even as federal officials worked to see if the conclusion applies elsewhere as well.

Iowa's top food inspector, Steven Mandernach, said that bagged salad was behind the cyclospora outbreak that has sickened at least 143 people in that state and another 78 in Nebraska. Overall, at least 372 people in 15 states have been sickened by the rare parasite since June.

"The evidence points to a salad mix containing iceberg and romaine lettuce, as well as carrots and red cabbage as the source of the outbreak reported in Iowa and Nebraska," said Mandernach, chief of the Food and Consumer Safety Bureau of the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals. "Iowans should continue eating salads as the implicated prepackaged mix is no longer in the state's food supply chain."


Monday, July 29, 2013

Human cells respond in healthy, unhealthy ways to different kinds of happiness E-mail

Monday, July 29, 2013

Human bodies recognize at the molecular level that not all happiness is created equal, responding in ways that can help or hinder physical health, according to new research led by Barbara L. Fredrickson, Kenan Distinguished Professor of psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The sense of well-being derived from “a noble purpose” may provide cellular health benefits, whereas “simple self-gratification” may have negative effects, despite an overall perceived sense of happiness, researchers found. “A functional genomic perspective on human well-being” was published July 29 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.


“We can make ourselves happy through simple pleasures, but those ‘empty calories’ don’t help us broaden our awareness or build our capacity in ways that benefit us physically,” she said. “At the cellular level, our bodies appear to respond better to a different kind of well-being, one based on a sense of connectedness and purpose.”

The results bolster Fredrickson’s previous work on the effects of positive emotions, as well as research linking a sense of connectedness with longevity.


Slow Internet

The internet is too slow to get much done. It seems to be a problem many people are having. This often indicates a computer virus problem affecting a lot of servers. But in this case, it might be connected to all the fires and storms around the country.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Give them a hand: Gesturing children perform well on cognitive tasks

Public release date: 26-Jul-2013
Contact: Elaine Bible
San Francisco State University

SAN FRANCISCO, July 26, 2013 -- In the first study of its kind, SF State researchers have shown that younger children who use gestures outperform their peers in a problem-solving task.

The task itself is relatively simple -- sorting cards printed with colored shapes first by color, and then by shape. But the switch from color to shape can be tricky for children younger than 5, says Professor of Psychology Patricia Miller.

In a new study due to be published in the August, 2013 issue of Developmental Psychology, Miller and SF State graduate student Gina O'Neill found that young children who gesture are more likely to make the mental switch and group the shapes accurately.

In fact, gesturing seemed to trump age when it came to the sorting performance of the children, who ranged from 2 and a half years old to 5 years old. In the color versus shape task, as well as one that asked children to sort pictures based on size and spatial orientation, younger children who gestured often were more accurate in their choices than older children who gestured less. The children's gestures included rotating their hands to show the orientation of a card or using their hands to illustrate the image on the card, for example gesturing the shape of rabbits' ears for a card depicting a rabbit.

"Gina and I were surprised by the strength of the effect. Still, the findings are consistent with a growing body of research showing that mind and body work closely together in early cognitive development," Miller said.

"The findings are a reminder of how strong individual differences are among children of a particular age," she added. "Certain 3-year-olds look like typical 4-year-olds. This likely reflects an interaction of natural talent and particular experiences -- both nature and nurture, as usual."

There is a growing body of research that suggests gesturing may play a significant role in the processes that people use to solve a problem or achieve a goal. These processes include holding information in memory, keeping the brain from choosing a course too quickly and being flexible in adding new or different information to handle a task.

Studies have shown that gesturing can help older children learn new math concepts, for example. "Really, though, there is evidence that gesturing helps with difficult cognitive tasks at any age," Miller said. "Even we adults sometimes gesture when we're trying to organize our tax receipts or our closets. When our minds are overflowing we let our hands take on some of the cognitive load."


Friday, July 26, 2013

Walmart Losing To Quirky Florida Based Publix – Employee Owned Company

Author: Nathaniel Downes July 26, 2013

Walmart, its very name brings with it an image of a soulless corporation, a company which abuses its employees down so much that they will rip the company to shreds on their own internal website when asked. A company reliant on government assistance to keep its employees able to even eat. It is a recipe for disaster. And those who follow the teachings of Milton Friedman and other objectivist economists would try and explain that this is absolutely required for a successful company. But don’t tell that to Publix, which now sits as the most profitable grocer in the United States, holding a remarkable 52.8% of the grocery market in highly competitive Florida, against Walmart’s 14.5%.

How does Publix do it? Are they even more soul crushing, seeking to demoralize employees to the point that they are wage slaves, like McDonald’s does? The opposite, Publix is an employee owned corporation. You read that right, employee owned. The company does well, then the employees do well. This gives your average employee of Publix a stake in improving the companies bottom line, thanks to regular dividends. They do this by retaining customers, through excellent customer service. Even Forbes magazine has come to recognize that the Publix business model is a “Walmart Slayer.” And to add to the fears of the Beast of Bentonville, Publix is expanding into new markets, just as other companies are copying the Publix model.


The tragedy for Walmart is that the very model which Publix is an excellent example of, was once touted by Sam Walton himself. He firmly believed that workers who were invested in the company became more motivated, and motivated employees brought in happy customers. Sam Walton would be spinning in his grave if he were to read what the employees of his company thought of it today.


Sometimes, the boss really is a psycho

When I have a nice boss, I am motivated to work hard for them. When I have a mean boss, I have to force myself to accomplish anything.

Allison Linn
July 25, 2013

The bully, the narcissist, the know-it-all, even the psychopath.

We may not like them, or want our children to be like them. But chances are, almost everyone who has worked long enough has a horror story about a superior who generally behaved like Homer Simpson’s boss, Mr. Charles Montgomery "Monty" Burns.

A growing number of researchers are looking into what makes a real-life Mr. Burns, and what they are finding isn’t always pretty.

“There are whole climates and cultures of abuse in the workplace,” said Darren Treadway, an associate professor at the University at Buffalo School of Management. His recent research looks at why bullies are able to persist, and sometimes even thrive, at work.

He said many people have either seen or experienced bullying at work because some bullies are skilled enough to figure out who they can abuse to get ahead, and who they can charm to get away with it.

“The successful ones are very, very socially skilled,” he said. “They’re capable of disguising their behavior.”


Very few companies will admit that they want a bad boss in their corporate ranks. But experts say that bad bosses do have some aspects of American corporate culture working in their favor. That includes the results-at-all-costs mentality that pervades many publicly held companies and the stereotype that a good boss should be aggressive and bold.

When Babiak presents the first part of his research on corporate professional who are psychopaths, he said he often hears from senior leaders who wonder why psychopaths are so bad. That’s because they would actually like to have a manager who comes across as strong, decisive and aggressive.

The allure is often short-lived.

“Usually by lunchtime they realize … that you can’t pick and choose the traits that you want,” he said. “If you are hiring a psychopath you will get pathological lying. You will get grandiose sense of self.”

By contrast, he said the initial response he usually gets from lower level workers is, “Oh my God, you’re describing my boss.”

Of course, most bosses aren’t horrendous enough to deserve an actual diagnosis of psychopathy.

“At first, the tendency is to see (a bad) boss as a psychopath,” said Sigrid Gustafson, an industrial organizational psychologist who runs the consulting firm Success Exceleration. “There are a lot of ways to be a jerk, and there are a lot of ways to be a bad boss.”

Babiak said about 4 percent of the 203 executives he studied were diagnosable psychopaths, compared to about 1 percent of the broader population. A person is considered a psychopath if they score very high on an evaluation that looks at four factors and finds that they are particularly manipulative, without remorse or empathy, live a deviant lifestyle and are antisocial.


In general, Timothy Judge, a management professor at the University of Notre Dame, said his research has shown that agreeable people – those who are cooperative, nice and gentle - are less likely to emerge as leaders than disagreeable people. That’s even though agreeable leaders tend to do just as good a job as disagreeable people, he said.

More generally, Judge’s data also has shown that being agreeable can harm many aspects of career success, including salary negotiations, occupational prestige and career attainment.

“We have this quality that we say we really want in people, and yet if you look at the labor market it really punishes that,” Judge said.

Ex-vice president at Tiffany pleads guilty to stealing $2.11 million in jewelry

By Nate Raymond, Reuters
July 26, 2013

NEW YORK - A former executive at jeweler Tiffany & Co pleaded guilty Friday to stealing more than $2 million worth of jewelry from her one-time employer.

Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun, 46, a former vice president of product development, pleaded guilty to a count of interstate transportation of stolen property less than a month after she was arrested in connection with the theft.


U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe in Manhattan set sentencing for December 10. Federal sentencing guidelines would place her sentence at 37 to 46 months.

'Fat shaming' actually increases risk of becoming or staying obese

Melissa Dahl
July 26, 2013

Making overweight or obese people feel bad about their bodies doesn’t do anything to motivate them to lose weight – actually, a new study finds it does just the opposite.

People who felt discriminated against because of their weight were more likely to either become or stay obese, finds a new report published this week in the journal PLoS ONE.


“Stigma and discrimination are really stressors, and, unfortunately, for many people, they’re chronic stressors,” says Rebecca Puhl, deputy director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University. Puhl has studied weight bias and discrimination for 13 years. “And we know that eating is a common reaction to stress and anxiety -- that people often engage in more food consumption or more binge eating in response to stressors, so there is a logical connection here in terms of some of the maladaptive coping strategies to try to deal with the stress of being stigmatized.”


Taller women more likely to get cancer, large study finds

Barbara Mantel NBC News
July 25, 2013

The taller a postmenopausal woman is, the greater her risk for developing cancer, according to a new, large study of American women. Similar results have been found in other Western populations, including in the United Kingdom and Canada, and in Asia.

“There had been several previous studies but there hadn’t been much done in North America,” says Dr. Thomas E. Rohan, chair and professor of epidemiology and population health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York. He's the senior author of the paper published Thursday in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.


Each 10 centimeter - about 4 inch - increase in height is associated with a 13 percent increase in overall cancer risk, according to his group’s analysis of 144,701 women aged 50 to 79 participating in the Women’s Health Initiative, a major, long-term research program established by the National Institutes of Health in 1991.


“This study is in women, our study was in women, but when we looked at studies of men as well, it is very similar,” says Dr. Jane Green, a clinical epidemiologist at the University of Oxford, England and the lead author of the largest study to date of the link between height and cancer.


n the meantime, tall people should not worry about their cancer risk, says Green. The association of height with cancer risk is significant but “modest,” she says, and being tall actually carries a lower risk of some other diseases, such as heart disease and stroke.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Making a difference

Seen on Facebook:

If voting really doesn't make a difference, why are Republicans working so hard to keep you from doing it?

Where do older workers work the most?

[via CBPP: "... Elsewhere we’ve noted that our Social Security system pays pretty modest benefits compared with other advanced nations. ..."]

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Estée Lauder clinical trial finds link between sleep deprivation and skin aging

Public release date: 23-Jul-2013
Contact: Jennifer Guerrieri
University Hospitals Case Medical Center

In a first-of-its-kind clinical trial, physician-scientists at University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center found that sleep quality impacts skin function and aging. The recently completed study, commissioned by Estée Lauder, demonstrated that poor sleepers had increased signs of skin aging and slower recovery from a variety of environmental stressors, such as disruption of the skin barrier or ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Poor sleepers also had worse assessment of their own skin and facial appearance.

The research team, led by Primary Investigator Elma Baron, MD, presented their data this spring at the International Investigative Dermatology Meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland in an abstract titled "Effects of Sleep Quality on Skin Aging and Function."

"Our study is the first to conclusively demonstrate that inadequate sleep is correlated with reduced skin health and accelerates skin aging. Sleep deprived women show signs of premature skin aging and a decrease in their skin's ability to recover after sun exposure," said Dr. Baron, Director of the Skin Study Center at UH Case Medical Center and Associate Professor of Dermatology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. "Insufficient sleep has become a worldwide epidemic. While chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to medical problems such as obesity, diabetes, cancer and immune deficiency, its effects on skin function have previously been unknown."


Maternal smoking during pregnancy associated with offspring conduct problems, study suggests

Public release date: 24-Jul-2013
Contact: Gordon T. Harold
University of Leicester

Smoking during pregnancy appears to be a prenatal risk factor associated with conduct problems in children, according to a study published by JAMA Psychiatry, a JAMA Network publication.

Conduct disorder represents an issue of significant social, clinical, and practice concern, with evidence highlighting increasing rates of child conduct problems internationally. Maternal smoking during pregnancy is known to be a risk factor for offspring psychological problems, including attention deficits and conduct problems, the authors write in the study background.


Univ. of MD finds that marijuana use in adolescence may cause permanent brain abnormalities

These results are from experiements on mice, but are consistent with human studies.

Public release date: 24-Jul-2013
Contact: Karen Robinson
University of Maryland Medical Center

Preclinical research published in Neuropsychopharmacology finds lifelong impact from marijuana use during critical period of development in adolescence

Regular marijuana use in adolescence, but not adulthood, may permanently impair brain function and cognition, and may increase the risk of developing serious psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, according to a recent study from the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Researchers hope that the study, published in Neuropsychopharmacology — a publication of the journal Nature – will help to shed light on the potential long-term effects of marijuana use, particularly as lawmakers in Maryland and elsewhere contemplate legalizing the drug.

"Over the past 20 years, there has been a major controversy about the long-term effects of marijuana, with some evidence that use in adolescence could be damaging," says the study's senior author Asaf Keller, Ph.D., Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "Previous research has shown that children who started using marijuana before the age of 16 are at greater risk of permanent cognitive deficits, and have a significantly higher incidence of psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. There likely is a genetic susceptibility, and then you add marijuana during adolescence and it becomes the trigger."


GOP to Taxpayers: We’re Against Subsidies, Except If They’re For Rich Farmers

It feels weird to agree with something at NRO Online:

GOP to Taxpayers: We’re Against Subsidies, Except If They’re For Rich Farmers, by Veronique de Rugy : A few weeks ago, I suggested that splitting the farm bill into two pieces would have the benefits of breaking the alliance between the pro-farm and food-stamp spending lobbies ... and ... would finally put farm subsidies on the path to elimination where they belong. Boy, was I wrong. As it turns out, Republicans are as eager as ever to continue to support a “ag-only bill” that includes indefensible subsidies to farmers, such as sugar-producer programs, and creates new income-entitlement programs, such as the shallow-loss program. ...:


To add insult to injury, this move just feeds into the portrait Democrats like to paint of Republican lawmakers: They will support any policies that favor the rich – even if they mean more government spending – and like to oppose policies that would benefit lower-income Americans. In this case, there is some truth to that. Republicans are showing that, while some of them weren’t willing to vote for the farm bill as long as it included food stamps, they will support the outrageous redistribution of income to higher-income Americans when it benefits wealthy farmers. ...


In Climbing Income Ladder, Location Matters

Around where I live, in the metro Atlanta area of Gwinnett County, when a developer wants to build affordable housing, neighbors in more expensive neighborhoods near by mob the zoning meeting to oppose it. And some counties & cities, including Gwinnett, have zoning laws that require large lots & homes that are not affordable to most.


Her nearly four-hour round-trip stems largely from the economic geography of Atlanta, which is one of America’s most affluent metropolitan areas yet also one of the most physically divided by income. The low-income neighborhoods here often stretch for miles, with rows of houses and low-slung apartments, interrupted by the occasional strip mall, and lacking much in the way of good-paying jobs.

¶ This geography appears to play a major role in making Atlanta one of the metropolitan areas where it is most difficult for lower-income households to rise into the middle class and beyond, according to a new study that other researchers are calling the most detailed portrait yet of income mobility in the United States.

¶ The study — based on millions of anonymous earnings records and being released this week by a team of top academic economists — is the first with enough data to compare upward mobility across metropolitan areas. These comparisons provide some of the most powerful evidence so far about the factors that seem to drive people’s chances of rising beyond the station of their birth, including education, family structure and the economic layout of metropolitan areas.

¶Climbing the income ladder occurs less often in the Southeast and industrial Midwest, the data shows, with the odds notably low in Atlanta, Charlotte, Memphis, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Columbus. By contrast, some of the highest rates occur in the Northeast, Great Plains and West, including in New York, Boston, Salt Lake City, Pittsburgh, Seattle and large swaths of California and Minnesota.


Geography mattered much less for well-off children than for middle-class and poor children, according to the results. In an economic echo of Tolstoy’s line about happy families being alike, the chances that affluent children grow up to be affluent are broadly similar across metropolitan areas.

Laid Off Dads, Laid Off Moms, and Child Abuse

July 23, 2013
Bill Gardner

What happens to children when their parents lose their jobs? My intuition is that job losses stress families and put children at increased risk of child abuse. But Jason Lindo, Jessamyn Schaller, and Benjamin Hansen have surprising data saying that the answer is more interesting than that.

Previous data suggested that my intuition was wrong and that hard economic times have little influence on child abuse.


The authors took a fresh look at the issue of unemployment and child abuse using California county data from 1996 to 2009.


The pink bar on the left represents a 0.68% increase in child abuse associated with layoffs of all workers. This increase was so small that it was not statistically different from zero. The blue and green bars, however, are the effects of layoffs of female and male workers respectively. They show that

a 0.1% increase in the fraction of working-age males being laid off leads to a 3.09% increase in the number of reports of abuse. In contrast, the point estimates imply that 0.1% increase in the fraction of working-age females being laid off leads to a 3.27% reduction in the number of reports of abuse.


So layoffs have large and opposite effects on child abuse, depending on whether men or women are laid off.

Lindo and colleagues have a plausible explanation for this. Female layoffs increase the proportion of time children are with mom. Male layoffs increase the proportion they are with dad. Both genders abuse children, but a man is about three times more likely to abuse on a per hour basis than a woman.

So much for my intuitions: I thought the story was about stress, but it is also about time and gender. This study tells us to look at how the effect of a treatment or a risk factor varies depending on the person it is applied to. This is why research study populations should be as diverse as is practicable. When it makes sense, we should include both adults and children, or men and women, and carry out the analyses that look for heterogeneity of effects. This is the motivation behind personalized medicine: finding out what works for whom.

The policy upshot of some previous research on unemployment and child abuse was that although reducing unemployment is a very good thing, it probably won’t do much to reduce child abuse. This study doesn’t change that conclusion. But it does suggest that we need to do a better job of socializing men to be authoritative, effective, and non-abusive parents.

[Note: Authoritative, rather than authoritarian.
Authoritative parenting has been found to have better outcomes for the child than either authoritarian or permissive child-rearing.]

New Research Finds Melting Arctic May Cost Global Economy $60 Trillion

$60 Trillion = $60,000,000,000,000
U.S. popultion in 2012 = 313.9 million = 313,900,000
cost per person = $191,144

By Kiley Kroh on Jul 24, 2013

The rapidly melting Arctic is not only a looming climate catastrophe, but new research shows it could be an economic disaster, as well.

In findings published in the journal Nature, economists and polar scientists from the University of Cambridge and Erasmus University Rotterdam found that the ripple effects of climate change in the Arctic — unlocking frozen reserves of methane that speed global warming and cause destructive and costly climactic changes across the planet — could deal a severe blow to the global economy.

The release of methane from thawing permafrost beneath the East Siberian Sea, off northern Russia, alone comes with an average global price tag of $60 trillion in the absence of mitigating action — a figure comparable to the size of the world economy in 2012 (about $70 trillion). The total cost of Arctic change will be much higher.


What do all of these unprecedented changes mean? Many experts now say that if recent trends continue and Arctic sea ice continues its ‘death spiral,’ we will see a “near ice-free Arctic in summer” within a decade. That may well usher in a permanent change toward extreme, prolonged weather events “such as drought, flooding, cold spells and heat waves.”

These extreme events come with a huge price tag. If nothing is done to mitigate the effects of climate change, the researchers estimate that just one giant ‘methane pulse’ will lead to an extra $60 trillion of mean climate change impacts, or 15 percent of the total predicted cost of climate change impacts (about $400 trillion). While this number alone is extraordinary, they emphasize “The full impacts of a warming Arctic, including, for example, ocean acidification and altered ocean and atmospheric circulation, will be much greater than our cost estimate for methane release alone.”

As former NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco bluntly stated, “What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic.” The region plays a major role in regulating Earth’s systems, such as climate and oceans, and it’s becoming increasingly clear to scientists that climate change in the Arctic will have profound effects on the entire planet.


Composition of Congress

Senate House
Congress Years Total Dems Reps Others Vacant Total Dems Reps Others Vacant

108th 2003–2005 100 48 51 1 — 435 205 229 1 —
109th 2005–2007 100 44 55 1 — 435 202 231 1 1
110th 2007–2009 100 49 49 2 — 435 233 198 — 4
111th 2009–2011 100 57 41 2 2 435 256 178 — 1
112th 2011–2013 100 51 47 2 — 435 193 242 — —
113th 2013–2015 100 54 45 1 — 435 201 234 — —

Homophobic Men Most Aroused by Gay Male Porn

Published on June 9, 2011 by Nathan A. Heflick, Ph.D.

Even a man who thought that women want to have sex with their fathers, and that women spend much of their lives distraught over their lack of a penis, is right sometimes. This person, the legend that is Sigmund Freud, theorized that people often have the most hateful and negative attitudes towards things they secretly crave, but feel that they shouldn't have.

If Freud is right, then perhaps men who are the most opposed to male homosexuality have particularly strong homosexual urges for other men.

One study asked heterosexal men how comfortable and anxious they are around gay men. Based on these scores, they then divided these men into two groups: men that are homophobic, and men who are not. These men were then shown three, four-minute videos. One video depicted straight sex, one depicted lesbian sex and one depicted gay male sex. While this was happening, a device was attached to each participant's penis. This device has been found to be triggered by sexual arousal, but not other types of arousal (such as nervousness, or fear - arousal often has a very different meaning in psychology than in popular usage).

When viewing lesbian sex and straight sex, both the homophobic and the non-homophobic men showed increased penis circumference. For gay male sex, however, only the homophobic men showed heightened penis arousal.

Heterosexual men with the most anti-gay attitudes, when asked, reported not being sexually aroused by gay male sex videos. But, their penises reported otherwise.

Homophobic men were the most sexually aroused by gay male sex acts.

Thanks To Better Sex Ed, California’s Teen Birth Rate Has Plummeted By 60 Percent

By Tara Culp-Ressler posted from ThinkProgress Health on Jul 19, 2013

California’s teen birth rate has plummeted to the lowest level that it’s been in the past 20 years, according to new data from the state’s health department. The state’s rate now stands at 28 births for every 1,000 teenage girls — a 60 percent drop since 1991, when the rate peaked at 70.9 births for every 1,000 girls.

Public health experts directly attribute this success to state laws that require California’s public schools to offer comprehensive sex ed classes with scientifically accurate information about birth control. State officials also credited family planning programs that provide community-based resources to teens. “We do believe that our programs are behind these numbers,” Karen Ramstrom, the chief of the program standards branch at the California Department of Public Health’s maternal child and adolescent health division, told the Los Angeles Times.


But progress in this area isn’t uniform across every area of the country. While states like California are making huge gains, the teen pregnancy rate remains stubbornly high in the South. Adolescents there tend to receive ineffective abstinence education, and they’re more likely to lack access to birth control resources.

Tampa Passes New Law To Toss Homeless People In Jail For Sleeping In Public

The free, Christian country of the U.S.A.

By Scott Keyes posted from ThinkProgress Justice on Jul 22, 2013

If homeless people in Tampa want to avoid jail, they’d better find a place to store their things and a bed to sleep in.

That’s because last week, the Tampa City Council passed a new ordinance, Item #60, allowing police officers to arrest someone they see sleeping in public or “storing personal property in public.” The vote was 4-3.


Homelessness is a major, pervasive issue in Tampa. A 2012 study found that, among mid-sized cities, Tampa and the surrounding area had the highest number of homeless individuals at 7,419.

Exacerbating the problem is the lack of affordable homeless shelters, much less affordable permanent housing. “Most shelters in the Tampa Bay area charge $10 to $42 per night for a single person. They aren’t free,” Tasha Rennels, a Ph.D. student at University of South Florida, told Bay News 9. Though the City Council acknowledged that shelters in the city are full almost every night, they didn’t include any additional funding for new shelters or housing to go along with Item #60.

Tampa isn’t the only city taking on new anti-homeless measures. Last week, a Miami City Commissioner began an effort to throw homeless people in jail who were caught engaging in life-sustaining activities in public, such as eating and sleeping.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

D.C. Sets Record With 138 Hours Above 80°F During Brutal Nationwide Heat Wave

So even at night, it was warmer than 80°F

By Kiley Kroh posted from Climate Progress on Jul 22, 2013

The heat dome that enveloped Washington, D.C. for much of the last week, so miserable it even prompted Metro to temporarily lift its ban on passengers drinking water aboard its trains, also broke a long-standing heat record.

For over five and a half days, the temperature was least 80 degrees in D.C. This 138-hour streak is the longest on record, dating back to 1871, and besting the 128-hour streak of two years ago.

As Jason Samenow of the Capital Weather Gang notes, this record is just the latest in an “astonishingly long list” of heat-related milestones amassed over the past four summers, including: hottest three Julys, hottest three summers, most 100-degree days in a month, and longest uninterrupted stretch above 100 degrees.

Last week’s heat, combined with stifling humidity, also broke multiple records for highest minimum temperature and came close to matching the highest known dew point ever recorded.

D.C.’s warming trend over the past few years is remarkable. Capital Weather Gang found that “daily heat records have outnumbered cold records in the nation’s capital by a 7 to 1 ratio since the year 2000 and by nearly 16 to 1 in the past 3.5 years.”

The Rich Feel Poor If They Have Less Than $5 Million

By Bryce Covert posted from ThinkProgress Economy on Jul 23, 2013

Rich investors say that it takes at least $5 million to feel wealthy, according to a new investor sentiment report from UBS. Meanwhile, two-thirds of millionaires don’t consider themselves to be wealthy.

They also define being wealthy not as having a certain amount of money, but having “no financial constraints on what they do.” That does indeed likely come with a large price tag.


The inflation of how much the rich thinks it takes to be rich comes at a time of skyrocketing income inequality. The country’s CEOs now make 273 times what their workers do, while incomes for the wealthiest 20 percent are eight times greater than those in the bottom 20 percent. And while wages in top-paying jobs have been holding pretty steady, those for the lowest paying jobs are falling further and further behind.

While the rich worry about whether they can make enough to do whatever they want, most Americans are worrying about whether they can make their next rent payment. Three-quarters of the general population is currently living paycheck-to-paycheck with little stored away in emergency savings.

Meanwhile, the American Dream has become even more mythical as the social class someone is born into heavily determines how much they’ll make later in life. A third of those who grow up in the top 1 percent will make $100,000 by age 30, while just one out of every 25 people in the bottom half of the income distribution will do so. The rich may not have to worry too much about reaching that $5 million threshold.

World Bank Won’t Finance Coal Plants Anymore Because Climate Change Hurts The Poor

By Ryan Koronowski on Jul 17, 2013

In the same way President Obama announced the U.S. would not finance coal plants abroad unless there was no other option, the World Bank did the same thing yesterday. [Reuters]

The World Bank’s board on Tuesday agreed to a new energy strategy that will limit financing of coal-fired power plants to “rare circumstances,” as the Washington-based global development powerhouse seeks to address the impact of climate change.

The Bank will amend its lending policies for new coal-fired power projects, restricting financial support to countries that have “no feasible alternatives” to coal, as it seeks to balance environmental efforts with the energy needs of poor countries.


Under World Bank President Jim Yong Kim – the first scientist to head the poverty-fighting institution – the bank has launched a more aggressive stance to spur action on climate change. Kim has said it is impossible to tackle poverty without dealing with the effects of a warmer world.

Childhood abuse raises drug users’ suicide risk

July 18, 2013 | Media Contact: David Orenstein

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — For health professionals, the message from a new study in the American Journal of Public Health is clear: Asking patients about a history of childhood abuse can directly help assess their risk of attempting suicide. The evidence, authors say, shows that childhood abuse can have life-and-death consequences for the rest of a person’s life.

The longitudinal study of more than 1,600 drug users in Vancouver, Canada, found that “severe-to-extreme” abuse – particularly emotional or sexual – contributed significantly to the risk of future suicide attempts, even after accounting for a wide variety of other suicide-related factors. Less severe abuse, and physical or emotional neglect no matter the degree, did not contribute significantly to suicide risk.


Poisoning our own babies

When a woman is pregnant, a lot of people paint the future child's bedroom. This is really dumb, subjecting the baby's developing brain to paint fumes. I wonder if anybody has studied whether this increases the risk of autism?

Ocean Heat Content Continues To Soar

By Joe Romm on Jul 23, 2013

Some 90% of total global warming goes into heating the oceans. NOAA has several charts showing that the oceans are rapidly heating, just as climate scientists predicted. Here’s one:

As the saying goes, what goes down must come up. Ocean heat is going to come back up That is precisely why climatologists predict a looming climate shift to rapid surface warming

Monday, July 22, 2013

Parasite sickens 250 in Midwest; fresh produce suspected

July 22, 2013

At least 250 people have been sickened, mostly in the Midwest, by a rare parasite that may have contaminated fresh produce shipped across state lines, said federal health officials, who’ve stepped in to help coordinate the growing outbreak.

At least 118 cases of Cyclospora infection have been reported in Iowa, another 65 in Texas and 63 in Nebraska, state officials said. Four more cases also have been reported in Wisconsin and one in Illinois. At least eight people have been hospitalized, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday.

So far, there’s no clear source for the illnesses, which were reported from mid-June through July, said Dr. Barbara Herwaldt, a medical epidemiologist with the CDC’s division of parasitic diseases and malaria centers.

“Nothing has been implicated yet in a formal sense,” Herwaldt said. “No food item has been identified as the source of the outbreak.”

But officials in Nebraska and other states suggest that fresh vegetables may be the source, based on interviews with people who got sick. Tainted produce could have been shipped across state lines, accounting for the illnesses in multiple states, Herwaldt said. More than one food source could be behind the outbreak and contaminated water used in growing practices could be a culprit.


Officials: Zimmerman helped 4 out of wrecked SUV

Zimmerman appears to be one of those who take responsibility in the world.

Jul7 22, 2013

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - George Zimmerman helped rescue four people from an overturned vehicle in central Florida last week, just days after he was cleared of all charges in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, officials said Monday.

Seminole County Sheriff's spokeswoman Kim Cannaday said in a statement that deputies responding last Wednesday afternoon to the wreck in Sanford - the Orlando suburb where Martin was shot - found Zimmerman and another man had already helped a couple and their two children out of a flipped SUV off the road near Interstate 4. They were not hurt.

Zimmerman spoke with a deputy at the scene and then left, the sheriff's office statement said. He did not see the crash happen.

This is believed to be the first time Zimmerman, 29, has been seen publicly since his acquittal on a second-degree murder charge in the 17-year-old Martin's death in February 2012. Zimmerman's parents and his attorneys have said in interviews since the verdict that they fear for his safety because of those who may not agree with it.


Robert Zimmerman, Jr. on Monday posted on his Twitter account about his brother's actions: "George saw a need, he acted. Our parents taught us to help


High Levels of Omega-3s May Raise Prostate Cancer Risk
Happy news for me, the type in flaxseed was not found to have this correlation. I use flaxseed since I'm a vegetarian. Although it is not really relevant to me anyway, since I am a female, but if something causes an increase in one kind of cancer, it might do so for other cancers.

July 22nd 2013 11:22 AM

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to have many health benefits. But they may have risks as well, including an increased risk for prostate cancer.


Compared with men in the lowest one-quarter for omega-3 levels, those in the highest one-quarter had a 44 percent increased risk for low-grade prostate cancer and a 71 percent increased risk for high-grade cancer. They found the association with three different omega-3’s — eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), which are all found in fish and fish oil supplements — but not with alpha-linolenic acid, which comes from flax seed.

The findings are an association and do not imply causation. But according to the lead author, Theodore M. Brasky, now at The Ohio State University, omega-3’s can affect gene expression and, in high doses, be pro-oxidative or suppress immunity, all of which could promote cancer.

Still, he added, the possible “increase in prostate cancer risk doesn’t preclude a beneficial effect for other diseases.”

easy solutions

There is always an easy solution to any problem. Easy, neat, and wrong. ~ Menken

Saturday, July 20, 2013

study illuminates mortality differences between nondrinkers and light drinkers

Public release date: 18-Jul-2013
Contact: Richard Rogers
University of Colorado at Boulder

As a class, people who don't drink at all have a higher mortality risk than light drinkers. But nondrinkers are a diverse bunch, and the reasons people have for abstaining affects their individual mortality risk, in some cases lowering it on par with the risk for light drinkers, according to a University of Colorado study.

Multiple studies have shown that the likelihood of dying for people who drink increases as they consume more alcohol. Those same studies have shown that a person's mortality risk also increases at the other end of the spectrum — among people who choose not to drink at all — though the risk is still much less than for heavy drinkers.

Some researchers have hypothesized that the increased mortality among nondrinkers could be related to the fact that light alcohol consumption — drinking, on average, less than one drink a day — might actually protect people from disease and reduce their stress levels.

But researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder, working with colleagues at the University of Colorado Denver, decided to examine whether characteristics of different subgroups of nondrinkers could explain the increased mortality risk.


During the survey, nondrinkers were asked to provide their reasons for not drinking. Possible answers ranged from "don't socialize very much" to "am an alcoholic" to "religious or moral reasons."

The research team divided nondrinkers into three general categories: "abstainers," or people who have never had more than 12 drinks in their lives; "infrequent drinkers," or people who have fewer than 12 drinks a year; and "former drinkers." Each category was further divided using a statistical technique that grouped people together who gave similar clusters of reasons for not drinking.

The team then calculated the mortality risk for each subgroup compared with the mortality risk for light drinkers, and they found that the risks varied markedly.

Abstainers who chose not to drink for a cluster of reasons that included religious or moral motivations, being brought up not to drink, responsibilities to their family, as well as not liking the taste, had similar mortality risks over the follow-up period to light drinkers.

"So this idea that nondrinkers always have higher mortality than light drinkers isn't true," Rogers said. "You can find some groups of nondrinkers who have similar mortality risks to light drinkers."

The other subgroup of abstainers — whose largest reason for not drinking appeared to be a dislike of the taste and to a lesser degree family responsibilities, religious or moral motivations or upbringing — had a 17 percent higher mortality risk over the follow-up period compared with light drinkers.

The scientists also found that infrequent drinkers generally had a slightly higher mortality risk than light drinkers. Former drinkers, however, had the highest mortality risk of all nondrinkers. Former drinkers whose cluster of reasons for not drinking now included being an alcoholic and problems with drinking, for example, had a 38 percent higher mortality risk than light drinkers over the follow-up period.

By comparison, people who drink between one and two drinks per day, on average, have a 9 percent higher mortality rate than light drinkers, while people who drink between two and three drinks per day have a 49 percent higher mortality. People who consume more than three drinks per day had a 58 percent higher mortality risk over the follow-up period compared with light drinkers.

Despite confirming that some subgroups of nondrinkers have a higher mortality rate than light drinkers, it doesn't necessarily follow that those people's mortality rates would fall if they began drinking, Rogers said. For example, people who were problem drinkers in the past might increase their mortality risk further by starting to drink again.

Also, people who don't drink at all, as a group, have lower socioeconomic characteristics than light drinkers, which could be one of the underlying causes for the mortality differences, Rogers said. In that case, starting to drink without changing a person's socioeconomic status also would not likely lower mortality rates.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Antiepileptic drug use while pregnant impacts early child development

Public release date: 18-Jul-2013
Contact: Dawn Peters

Children whose mothers took antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) while pregnant are at increased risk of early development issues, according to a new study published in Epilepsia, a journal published by Wiley on behalf of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE). Results of the study suggest that children exposed to AEDs in the womb were at risk for difficulties with motor development, language skills, social skills, and autistic traits compared to children whose mothers did not take anti-seizure medications.

Medical evidence suggests that epilepsy is fairly common in women of childbearing years, with the use of AEDs during pregnancy ranging from 0.2% to 0.5%. Studies have shown that children whose mothers have epilepsy are at increased risk of birth defects (congenital malformations)—mainly thought to be caused by use of older generation AEDs during pregnancy. However, there is less understanding of AED effects on cognition during development, and there is a need for more evidence regarding long-term outcomes of children exposed to anti-seizure medication in utero.


Drinking alcohol during pregnancy affects learning and memory function in offspring?

Public release date: 18-Jul-2013
Contact: Meng Zhao
Neural Regeneration Research

Maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy has detrimental effects on fetal central nervous system development. Maternal alcohol consumption prior to and during pregnancy significantly affects cognitive functions in offspring,


Moral Monday Protests In Rally Against North Carolina GOP

A Facebook friend from Kentucky posted this and said the media is not covering it. Like the way the media wouldn't cover the Occupy Wall Street protests. I had been wondering why there hadn't been protests about the economy then. No telling how many there were that we didn't know about.

The Huffington Post | By Nick Wing Posted: 07/16/2013

More than 100 protesters, two-thirds of them women, were arrested Monday at the 11th consecutive weekly rally on the grounds of the North Carolina state Legislature in Raleigh. With total arrests now passing 800, the list of issues continued to grow this week,


Ketamine as anesthetics can damage children's learning and memory ability

Public release date: 18-Jul-2013
Contact: Meng Zhao
Neural Regeneration Research

Recent studies have found that anesthesia drugs have neurotoxicity on the developing neurons, causing learning and memory disorders and behavioral abnormalities. Ketamine is commonly used in pediatric anesthesia. A clinical retrospective study found that children below 3 years old who receive a long time surgery, or because of surgery require ketamine repeatedly will exhibit the performance of school-age learning and memory disorders and behavioral abnormalities. Research group speculates that these abnormalities may be related to the potential neurotoxicity of ketamine.


Overnights Away From Home Affect Children’s Attachments

July 18, 2013
Fariss Samarrai, University of Virginia

Babies have an innate biological need to be attached to caregivers, usually their parents. But what happens when babies spend a night or more per week away from a primary caregiver, as increasingly happens in cases where the parents share custody, but do not live together?

In a new national study, University of Virginia researchers found that infants who spent at least one night per week away from their mothers had more insecure attachments to the mother compared to babies who had fewer overnights or saw their fathers only during the day.


Attachments are defined as an enduring, deep, emotional connection between an infant and caregiver that develops within the child’s first year of life, according to Samantha Tornello, the study’s lead author and a Ph.D. candidate in psychology in U.Va.’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

Attachments during that critical first year serve as the basis for healthy attachments and relationships later in life, including adulthood, Tornello said.


It's not just the heat -- it's the ozone: Study highlights hidden dangers

I have noticed that I often feel like it's hard to breathe when it's hot, even when the particulates air pollution rating is low. Maybe it's ozone that affects me.

Public release date: 19-Jul-2013
Contact: David Garner
University of York

During heat waves -- when ozone production rises -- plants' ozone absorption is curtailed, leaving more pollution in the air, and costing an estimated 460 lives in the UK in the hot summer of 2006.

Vegetation plays a crucial role in reducing air pollution, but new research by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) at the University of York shows that they may not protect us when we need it most: during extreme heat, when ozone formation from traffic fumes, industrial processes and other sources is at its worst.

The reason, explained lead author Dr Lisa Emberson, is that during heat waves -- when the ground is especially dry -- plants become stressed and shut their stomata (small pores on their leaves) to conserve water. This natural protective mechanism makes them more resilient to extreme heat and high ozone levels, but it also stops them from absorbing ozone and other pollutants.

"Vegetation can absorb as much as 20 per cent of the global atmospheric ozone production, so the potential impact on air quality is substantial," says Dr Emberson, a senior lecturer in the Environment Department at the University of York and director of SEI's York Centre. "What we set out to do in this study was to quantify that impact in terms of increased ozone levels and the toll on human life."


If you're not looking for it, you probably won't see it

Public release date: 19-Jul-2013
Contact: Jessica Maki
Brigham and Women's Hospital

Brigham and Women's Hospital study examines sustained inattentional blindness in expert observers

Boston—If you were working on something at your computer and a gorilla floated across your computer screen, would you notice it? You would like to think yes, however, research shows that people often miss such events when engaged in a difficult task. This is a phenomenon known as inattentional blindness (IB). In a new study from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) in Boston, researchers have found that even expert searchers, operating in their domain of expertise, are vulnerable to inattentional blindness. This study published this week Psychological Science.


The researchers asked 24 radiologists to perform a familiar lung nodule detection task. They examined five scans; each scan contained an average of 10 nodules. A gorilla, 48 times larger than the average nodule, was inserted in the last scan. The researchers found that 83 percent of radiologists did not report seeing the gorilla. With the help of Melissa Le-Hoa Vo, post-doctoral researcher at BWH, the researchers tracked the eye-movements of the radiologists and found that that the majority of those who missed the gorilla looked directly at it.

"The radiologists missed the gorillas not because they could not see them, but because the way their brains had framed what they were doing. They were looking for cancer nodules, not gorillas," explained Jeremy Wolfe, senior psychologist and director of the Visual Attention Laboratory at BWH. "This study helps illustrate that what we become focused on becomes the center of our world, and it shapes what we can and cannot see."


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

PFC exposure tied to altered thyroid function

Also suspected as the cause of the epidemic of hyper-thyroidism in cats.

Public release date: 17-Jul-2013
Contact: Jenni Glenn Gingery
The Endocrine Society

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals may increase odds of women developing mild hypothyroidism

Chevy Chase, MD—Exposure to perfluorinated chemicals is linked to changes in thyroid function and may raise the risk of mild hypothyroidism in women, according to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

Perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs, are compounds used to manufacture fabrics, carpets, paper coatings, cosmetics and a variety of other products. Among humans and wildlife, PFC exposure is widespread, according to the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Because these chemicals break down very slowly, it takes a long time for PFCs to leave the body.

"Our study is the first to link PFC levels in the blood with changes in thyroid function using a nationally representative survey of American adults," said one of the study's authors, Chien-Yu Lin, MD, PhD, of En Chu Kong Hospital in Taiwan.

Women who had higher levels of a PFC called perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) in their blood tended to have elevated levels of the thyroid hormone triiodothyronine (T3). The study also found an increase in levels of T3 and the thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4) in women with higher concentrations of the PFC perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS) in their blood. The levels rose without the pituitary gland signaling the thyroid to produce more hormones, which is the body's natural mechanism for adjusting thyroid hormone levels. Men exposed to higher amounts of PFHxS, however, tended to have lower levels of the T4 hormone.


Unattractive people more likely to be bullied at work, new Notre Dame study shows

Public release date: 17-Jul-2013
Contact: Timothy Judge
University of Notre Dame

It's common knowledge that high school can be a cruel environment where attractive students are considered "popular," and unattractive kids often get bullied. And, while that type of petty behavior is expected to vanish with adulthood, new research proves it does not.

Colleagues can be just as immature as classmates.

The study by Timothy Judge, professor of management at the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business, and Brent Scott from Michigan State University, is the first to link attractiveness to cruelty in the workplace.

In "Beauty, Personality, and Affect as Antecedents of Counterproductive Work Behavior Receipt," recently published in Human Performance, the researchers examine counterproductive work behavior and its effect on employees. They show that physical attractiveness plays as much of a role as personality in how a person is treated in the workplace. The researchers surveyed 114 workers at a health care facility, asking them how often their co-workers treated them cruelly, including saying hurtful things, acting rudely and making fun of them. Through digital photos, the workers' "attractiveness" was then judged by others who didn't know them.

"Our research is novel because it focuses on how coworkers treat attractive and unattractive colleagues," says Judge, who specializes in management psychology, gender, leadership personality and career and life success. "We find that unattractive individuals are more likely the subject of rude, uncivil and even cruel treatment by their coworkers. And, not only do we, as a society, perceive attractive and unattractive coworkers differently, we act on those perceptions in ways that are hurtful."


Former IT director fired after testifying in Zimmerman case plans 'whistleblower' lawsuit

July 17, 2013

By Tom Winter and Jeff Black, NBC News

A former worker in the Office of the State Attorney in Jacksonville, Fla., who was fired after testifying that prosecutors withheld evidence from George Zimmerman’s defense team plans to file a lawsuit against his ex-employer, his lawyer told NBC News.

Attorney Wesley White, who represents Ben Kruidbos, told NBC News he will bring a "whistleblower" type lawsuit on Kruidbos’ behalf.


Monday, July 15, 2013

McDonalds Tells Workers To Budget By Getting A Second Job And Turning Off Their Heat

By Annie-Rose Strasser posted from ThinkProgress Economy on Jul 15, 2013

McDonalds has partnered with Visa to launch a website to help its low-wage workers making an average $8.25 an hour to budget. But while the site is clearly meant to illustrate that McDonalds workers should be able to live on their meager wages, it actually underscores exactly how hard it is for a low-paid fast food worker to get by.

The site includes a sample”‘budget journal” for McDonalds’ employees that offers a laughably inaccurate view of what it’s like to budget on a minimum wage job. Not only does the budget leave a spot open for “second job,” it also gives wholly unreasonable estimates for employees’ costs: $20 a month for health care, $0 for heating, and $600 a month for rent. It does not include any budgeted money for food or clothing.


Last year, Bloomberg News found that it would take the average McDonalds employee one million hours of work to earn as much money as the company’s CEO.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Allowing ourselves to be played.

If the men's races were reversed, I would agree with the Zimmerman verdict. Therefore, I agee with it now. Otherwise I would be a racist. This is an example of how the media, including NPR, blatantly manipulate us to (1) keep people separated to keep us weakened so we can't work together for our own benefit against that of the super-rich power elite, (2) distract us from important things that are against our interests, such as the recent supreme court rulings by Republican judges on behalf of big business, (3) get themselves a big audience, thus more advertising money.

This is an example of how we are played by the power elite, thru their servants, the media, including NPR.

Most people have very strong opinions on this case, based on a few pieces of information that the media has manipulated. You are letting yourself be played.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Cigarette smoke impacts genes linked to health of heart and lungs

Public release date: 10-Jul-2013
Contact: Michael Bernstein
American Chemical Society

New insights into why obese cigarette smokers experience a high risk of heart disease suggest that cigarette smoke affects the activity of hundreds of key genes that both protect the heart and lungs and expose them to damage. The study, published in ACS' Chemical Research in Toxicology, suggests that the effects may be especially profound in obese nonsmokers who inhale "sidesteam smoke" from cigarettes smoldering nearby.

Diana J. Bigelow and colleagues point out that active smoking doubles the risk of heart disease, while second-hand smoke exposure increases this risk by about one-third. They set out to gain more information on why the risks are especially high among people with obesity, using specially fed laboratory mice that are stand-ins for humans in such experiments.

The report describes how mainstream smoke and to a greater extent, sidestream smoke, inhibit the activity of genes that protect the heart and lungs, and activate genes associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Those changes were more profound in obese mice than normal-weight mice.


Vaccinated children: A powerful protection for older adults, Vanderbilt study shows

Public release date: 10-Jul-2013
Contact: Craig Boerner
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Children who receive a vaccine to prevent blood and ear infections, appear to be reducing the spread of pneumonia to the rest of the population, especially their grandparents and other older adults. Results of a new Vanderbilt study, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and published in the July 11 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine show infant vaccination against pneumococcal bacteria since 2000 has reduced pneumonia hospitalization by more than 10 percent across the board, with the most significant reductions at the extreme ends of the age spectrum.

"Pneumonia is a leading cause of hospitalization in the United States. The protective effect we saw in older adults, who do not receive the vaccine but benefit from vaccination of infants, is quite remarkable. It is one of the most dramatic examples of indirect protection or herd immunity we have seen in recent years," said the study's first author, Marie Griffin, M.D., MPH, professor of Preventive Medicine and Medicine.

James Powers, M.D., associate professor of Medicine in Geriatrics, said the study suggests this herd immunity is an even more effective prevention for elders than the vaccine currently recommended to prevent pneumonia in older adults.

"The reduction in pneumonia hospitalizations among older adults appears to be related to long-term effects following introduction of PCV7 immunization for children. We have not seen a similar response to the pneumovax 23 vaccine (recommended for older adults) introduced in 1983," Powers said.


“Kangaroo Care” found to offer developmental benefits for premature newborns

July 10, 2013

New research in the Journal of Newborns & Infant Nursing Reviews concludes that so-called “kangaroo care” (KC), the skin-to-skin and chest-to-chest touching between baby and mother, offers developmentally appropriate therapy for hospitalized preterm infants.

In the article, “Kangaroo Care as a Neonatal Therapy,” Susan Ludington-Hoe, RN, CNM, PhD, FAAN, from Case Western Reserve University’s Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, describes how KC delivers benefits beyond bonding and breastfeeding for a hospital’s tiniest newborns.

“KC is now considered an essential therapy to promote growth and development of premature infants and their brain development,” Ludington-Hoe reports.

But while KC’s benefits are known, its use is not widely promoted by hospitals, she says.


Kangaroo Care for preemies involves the mother nestling the baby on her chest for at least one hour at a time and ideally for 22 hours a day for the first six weeks, and about eight hours a day for the next year.

Throughout Scandinavia and the Netherlands, KC is widely practiced, said the researcher. They practice 24/7 Kangaroo Care because mothers are told that they have to be their baby’s place of care, and they make arrangements so that someone else watches children at home so that the infant is always in maternal or paternal KC while hospitalized. It continues at home where mothers wear wraps that securely contain the infant on her chest to prevent falling.

Ludington-Hoe reports that this approach is standard care in Scandinavia and Germany, where many preemies leave the hospital about three weeks earlier than in the United States. Also, KC is used in those countries after normal births and continues for three full months.

In previous research, benefits of KC have extended from childbirth to age 16, showing improved cognitive and motor development in newborns that received KC during hospitalization.


Preemies held by their mothers in a prone position for an extended time tend to sleep better, which aids brain development. Infants adjust their heartbeats and body temperatures to their mother’s and absorb immune benefits from their mother’s skin, the researcher found.


New theory uncovers cancer's deep evolutionary roots

Public release date: 11-Jul-2013
Contact: Skip Derra
Arizona State University

Tracing cancer back to the dawn of multicellularity could explain its mysterious properties and transform therapy

TEMPE, Ariz. -- A new way to look at cancer -- by tracing its deep evolutionary roots to the dawn of multicellularity more than a billion years ago -- has been proposed by Paul Davies of Arizona State University's Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science in collaboration with Charles Lineweaver of the Australian National University. If their theory is correct, it promises to transform the approach to cancer therapy, and to link the origin of cancer to the origin of life and the developmental processes of embryos.


The new theory predicts that as cancer progresses through more and more malignant stages, it will express genes that are more deeply conserved among multicellular organisms, and so are in some sense more ancient. Davies and Lineweaver are currently testing this prediction by comparing gene expression data from cancer biopsies with phylogenetic trees going back 1.6 billion years, with the help of Luis Cisneros, a postdoctoral researcher with Arizona State University's Beyond Center.

But if this is the case, then why hasn't evolution eliminated the ancient cancer subroutine?

"Because it fulfills absolutely crucial functions during the early stages of embryo development," Davies explains. "Genes that are active in the embryo and normally dormant thereafter are found to be switched back on in cancer. These same genes are the 'ancient' ones, deep in the tree of multicellular life."

The link with embryo development has been known to cancer biologists for a long time, says Davies, but the significance of this fact is rarely appreciated. If the new theory is correct, researchers should find that the more malignant stages of cancer will re-express genes from the earliest stages of embryogenesis. Davies adds that there is already some evidence for this in several experimental studies, including recent research at Harvard University and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

"As cancer progresses through its various stages within a single organism, it should be like running the evolutionary and developmental arrows of time backward at high speed," says Davies.

This could provide clues to future treatments. For example, when life took the momentous step from single cells to multicellular assemblages, Earth had low levels of oxygen. Sure enough, cancer reverts to an ancient form of metabolism called fermentation, which can supply energy with little need for oxygen, although it requires lots of sugar.


Gang members found to suffer unprecedented levels of psychiatric illness

Public release date: 12-Jul-2013
Contact: Katrina Coutts

Young men who are gang members suffer unprecedented levels of psychiatric illness, placing a heavy burden on mental health services, according to new research led by Queen Mary, University of London.


In terms of mental health, gang members and violent men were significantly more likely to suffer from a mental disorder and access psychiatric services than non-violent men. The exception was depression, which was significantly less common among gang members and violent men.

Violent ruminative thinking, violent victimisation and fear of further victimisation were significantly higher in gang members and believed to account for high levels of psychosis and anxiety disorder in gang members.

The findings showed that, of the 108 gang members surveyed:

85.8 per cent had an antisocial personality disorder;
Two-thirds were alcohol dependent;
25.1 per cent screened positive for psychosis;
More than half (57.4 per cent) were drug dependent;
Around a third (34.2 per cent) had attempted suicide; and
More than half (58.9 per cent) had an anxiety disorder.


Professor Coid added: "A potential limitation of the study is that survey participants were aged 18 to 34 and the average age for gang membership is 15. So gang members in this study should be considered 'core' gang members who have not stopped in early adulthood. We need further longitudinal studies to see if our findings are due to factors specific to this group."

The research is published today in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Fighting over Christianity in Northern Island

July 12, 2013

Water cannon and baton rounds have been used in north Belfast after a sustained attack on police in the Woodvale area.

Police were enforcing a Parades Commission ban. Four police officers and one civilian have been hurt.

The ruling stops Orange Order lodges from walking on a stretch of road in north Belfast that separates loyalist and nationalist communities.

Trouble has also broken out on the Newtownards Road in east Belfast.

Bricks and bottles have been thrown in both areas. The water cannon and baton rounds were used on the Woodvale Road.

Missiles were thrown between loyalists and nationalists close to St Matthew's church on the Newtownards Road.


The Parades Commission ruled that marchers would not be allowed to return along the part of the Crumlin Road, at Ardoyne shops, that separates nationalist and loyalist communities.

In recent years, there has been serious rioting in the nationalist Ardoyne area following the return leg of the parade.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Latin American complaints over U.S. spying ignore their own wiretap programs

July 11, 2013

By Tim Johnson | McClatchy Foreign Staff

MEXICO CITY — Several Latin American presidents have complained bitterly following recent revelations about U.S. electronic surveillance, but there’s a bit of hypocrisy in some of their griping.

At least four Latin countries have requested, and received, U.S. help in setting up eavesdropping programs of their own, ostensibly designed to fight organized crime. But the programs are easily diverted to political ends, and with weak rule of law in parts of the region, wiretapping scandals erupt every few months.


As Alabama Cuts Benefits, Desperate Man ‘Robs’ Bank To Get Food, Shelter In Jail

He is in danger of being abused by guards and other prisoners.

By Scott Keyes posted from ThinkProgress Economy on Jul 11, 2013

So desperate for food and shelter, an Alabama man did the unthinkable this week: robbing a bank so he could turn himself in and get sent to jail.

Rickie Lawrence Gardner, a 49-year-old man from the small town of Moulton, Alabama, entered Bank Independent on Monday and handed the teller a note saying he had a gun and to hand over the bank’s money. After the employee complied, Gardner took the bag of cash, walked outside, and locked it in his car. He then sat on a bench in front of the bank and waited for police officers to arrive.

“When officers got there, he did not offer any kind of resistance. He was just waiting on them,” Moulton Police Chief Lyndon McWhorter said. “His is the first bank robbery I’ve ever worked where the robber was waiting outside the bank for the police to turn himself in.”

What drove Gardner to such a drastic measure? He was on the cusp of losing his job because a leg injury put him in so much pain that it prevented him from working. Facing possible homelessness, jail was a preferable option in his mind. And he wasn’t looking for just a short stay. Despite his note, Gardner wasn’t even carrying a gun when he committed the robbery; he’d only mentioned it in the note, according to the AP, “because he thought it would get him a longer sentence.”


Perhaps most tragic about Gardner’s saga is that even if he gets his wish and winds up in prison, Alabama’s incarceration system is severely overcrowded and underfunded. Because it draws its funding largely from the General Fund, state lawmakers’ budget-cutting zeal could produce shortfalls in prison funding. As a result, Chris Sanders, a policy analyst at the public interest group Arise Citizens’ Policy Project, notes that Gardner could be entering “a system that runs at nearly double its designed capacity and that many people long have believed to be teetering on the brink of a federal takeover.”

Youth murder rates at 30-year low, CDC reports

There has been a decrease in total violence and murder rates. The decrease in lead pollution is a plausible reason for at least some of this decrease.

Maggie Fox, NBC News
June 11, 2013

Murder rates for children, teens and young adults hit a 30-year-low in 2010 – but just barely, government health officials reported on Thursday. At least one violence expert said the findings offer "real signs of hope" that violence prevention works.

After a sharp rise in the late '80s and early '90s, homicide rates for 10- to 24-year-olds have been falling since 2000, the team at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.


The causes are fairly well understood, the CDC said. “Previous research has linked the rise and subsequent decline in homicide and violent crime in this population to changes in drug use and drug-related crime, shifting community demographics, community-based and problem-oriented policing (i.e., identification and analysis of a specific type of crime to develop customized, coordinated, and improved community response strategies), and varying economic conditions,” the researchers wrote.


“The CDC other researchers and partners over time have evaluated different approaches to reducing risk for violence. These types of approaches do reduce risk for violence,” she said. “There is no one reason a young person gets involved with violence. There is no one prevention approach that solves this problem.”

Programs that have been shown to work give youngster better communication skills, encourage parents to be more involved in what their children are doing, and discourage violence in general. Not all programs do work, Ferdon noted. “What we have seen is there is a lot of variablility in these programs,” she said.

She said the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence at the University of Colorado outlines some, which include intensive family counseling such as parent-child interaction therapy; multisystemic therapy aimed at homes, schools and neighborhoods; and cognitive-behavioral group therapy.

CDC also funds the Prevention Institute’s UNITY program, which targets cities, families, communities and schools with after-school programs, neighborhood-based mentoring programs, mental health services and parenting skills classes.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

NPR faithful to its corporate donors

On NPR's Market Place program yesterday or the day before, they reported that Hostess foods will be reopening after filing for bankruptcy last year. The program blamed union wages and failure to expand it's product line.

Absolutely no mention of the huge executive bonuses and pay increases right before they declared bankruptcy.

No mention that they stole their employees pension money.,0,966735.column

No, America is not going to hell

Monday, July 1, 2013
Jay Bookman

The "America is going to hell" lobby has seemed to become increasingly vocal, with proponents of the theory citing everything from demographic change and gay marriage to a "culture of violence" as evidence of this supposed decline. And in many cases, it just ain't true.

Take the murder rate, for example. You might not know it from the nightly local news, but the murder rate has fallen by more than half, from 9.8 per 100,000 residents in 1991 to 4.8 per 100,000 in 2010, according to the FBI's Uniform Crime Report. The overall violent crime rate has fallen starkly as well, from 758 per 100,000 in 1991 to 403 per 100,000 in 2010. (That decline applies to Georgia as well. Our murder rate fell from 9.5 per 100,000 in 1996 to 5.6 in 2011.)

Likewise, the national high school graduation rate is now approaching 75 percent, according to Education Week, which is the highest rate in 40 years and up eight percentage points in the last decade. Latino graduation rates are up 16 points in that time frame; black graduation rates are up 13 points.


Making $7.75 an Hour, and Figuring There’s Little to Lose by Speaking Out

When I worked for Waffle House between IT jobs, I personally experienced wage theft, and witnessed it done to others.

Published: July 1, 2013


This 25-year-old woman with striking black eyes and hair pulled back in a bun is a shift manager at KFC — her title is good for 50 cents an hour above minimum wage. From this, she and her husband, Jude Toussaint, an unemployed antenna installer, buy clothes for their three children and food, and help her mother with the rent.

Her wages erode on all sides. Often, she said, she finds her check is hours short. And when she works overtime, she receives two checks, each at straight time, as if she worked for two different employers rather than a single KFC across from Bargain Land on Pitkin Avenue in Brooklyn.

Last year boiling oil spilled over and scalded her hands; she received $58 a week in workers’ compensation, she said. Nearly every day her manager called and demanded: When are you returning to work?


There was a Mexican man with gray hair and a bushy mustache who trained as an architect. His two daughters live in Mexico and depend on him, and he sleeps in a basement and makes $5 an hour delivering Papa John’s pizza.

“I delivered during Hurricane Sandy,” he said in Spanish. “They told us to ride bent over, so that the pizzas didn’t get wet.”

Naquasia Legrand, a 22-year-old from Canarsie, Brooklyn, works at two KFCs. She washes dishes at one for $7.75 and mops floors at the other for $8. She says she must work four or five hours each week off the clock.

She needed to buy a MetroCard last week so she skipped lunch. She shakes her head. “I think I deserve to eat lunch.”


Papa John’s chief executive, John Schnatter, makes $2 million per year and lives on a faux medieval estate outside Louisville, Ky. He spoke recently of trying to subvert Obamacare’s provisions by cutting the hours of all of his workers to less than 30 hours. YUM! Brands, which owns KFC and Taco Bell and whose chief executive makes $11.3 million per year, helped lead the battle against paid sick days.


New York City Council Hears Plea From Fast-Food Workers

Published: June 27, 2013


¶ The economic reality for the city’s fast-food workers is bleak. According to the advocacy group New York Communities for Change, fast-food workers in the city make on average between $10,000 and $18,000 a year, well below the Census Bureau’s poverty income threshold level of about $23,000 for a family of four.

¶ Low pay, however, is not the only problem. A number of workers who testified before the Council’s Committee on Civil Service and Labor said they were not paid for the overtime they had worked.

A study issued last month by Fast Food Forward, a coalition of groups seeking to improve conditions for fast-food workers, found that about 80 percent of employees in the industry in New York City had experienced some form of wage theft in the past year.

¶ Shenita Simon, a mother of three who works at a KFC in Brooklyn, said that to avoid paying her overtime, the manager would make her clock out even though she was still working. Yum Brands, which operates and licenses KFC, as well as Pizza Hut and Taco Bell restaurants, did not respond to phone calls on Thursday for comment.