Thursday, July 27, 2017

Driverless car bill moves quickly to House floor



Driverless car bill moves quickly to House floor
By Melanie Zanona - 07/27/2017
A driverless car bill is quickly moving through the House, as Congress races to pass the first federal legislation to address the emerging technology.

The Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously approved a legislative package Thursday that would bar states from setting certain driverless car rules and allow manufacturers to deploy up to 100,000 self-driving vehicles per year without meeting existing auto safety standards.

The bill, which comes one week after it was approved by a subcommittee, was the product of bipartisan negotiations, which were reflected in the form of a substitute amendment that dropped late Wednesday night. It is sponsored by Reps. Bob Latta (R-Ohio), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.).

•••••

The Senate is also working on similar legislation, which could be released in the coming days.

•••••

The House bill would prohibit states from imposing laws related to the design, construction or performance of self-driving cars. But local governments would still maintain traditional auto responsibilities, such as licensing, registration, insurance and law enforcement.

Democrats had been concerned that the initial draft would step on states’ abilities to protect residents, but said they were pleased with the final text, which narrowed the pre-emption language. It also clarified that state motor vehicle dealer laws would not be pre-empted.

Democrats were also happy that the NHTSA will be required to do rulemakings and set a priority safety plan under the proposal, while the industry will be required to submit Safety Assessment Certifications.

Manufacturers are also required to consider cybersecurity and consumer privacy issues during development — a major priority for Democrats and some Republicans.

•••••

Democrats secured language in the measure that requires a phase-in period for the exemptions, so they don’t all hit the roads at once. The measure also requires all exempted vehicles to be made public and requires that any crash involving an exempted vehicle must be reported.

Lawmakers have hailed driverless cars for their power to save lives, reduce traffic and enhance mobility.

To help ensure that, the bill would create an advisory committee to focus on giving seniors and the disabled community access to autonomous vehicles.

The provision was particularly meaningful for Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.), who has a 28-year-old son with a disability who depends on others for rides.

“This opens up possibilities for those who have disabilities. ... This is probably the biggest challenge we have with our son,” Harper said. “We are excited about what this will do.”

Climate Change Means More Fuel for Toxic Algae Blooms

http://www.climatecentral.org/news/climate-change-toxic-algae-blooms-21651

By Andrea Thompson
July 27, 2017

For two days in early August 2014, the 400,000 residents in and around Toledo, Ohio, were told not to drink, wash dishes with or bathe in the city’s water supply. A noxious, pea green algae bloom had formed over the city’s intake pipe in Lake Erie and levels of a toxin that could cause diarrhea and vomiting had reached unsafe levels.

The bloom, like the others that form in the lake each summer, was fed by the excessive amounts of fertilizer nutrients washed into local waterways from surrounding farmland by spring and summer rains. Efforts are underway around the Great Lakes ­— as well as other places plagued by blooms, like the Gulf of Mexico and Chesapeake Bay — to reduce nutrient amounts to control the blooms, which can wreak havoc on the local ecology and economy.

But new research shows that climate change is going to make those efforts more and more difficult. As warming temperatures lead to increases in precipitation, more nitrogen, one of those nutrients feeding the blooms, will be washed into the nation’s waterways, the work, detailed in the July 28 issue of the journal Science, finds.

The biggest increases in such nitrogen loading will likely come in the Midwest and Northeast, areas already seeing the biggest uptick in heavy downpours.

•••••

Solar-eclipse fever means counterfeit glasses are flooding Amazon’s market

I suggest reading the whole article.

https://qz.com/1040159/solar-eclipse-glasses-for-sale-on-amazon-may-not-meet-nasa-safety-recommendations/

Written by Elijah Wolfson
July 27, 2017

•••••

As August 21 nears, eclipse-chasers are realizing that if they want to see the sun disappear behind the moon, they can’t just wake up on the day of the astronomical event and step outside their homes. They’ll need solar eclipse glasses. And so, in the past few months, a cottage industry has sprung up to accommodate this market need. The problem is that many of these newly arrived sellers of solar eclipse glasses are fly-by-night manufacturers looking to turn a quick profit by selling subpar and potentially dangerous goods to unsuspecting Americans.

•••••

NASA, of course, has a website dedicated to the 2017 eclipse, and on it, they have a section dedicated to eclipse-viewing safety. The site says that eclipse-viewing glasses must meet a few basic criteria:

Have ISO 12312-2 certification (that is, having been certified as passing a particular set of tests set forth by the International Organization of Standardization)
Have the manufacturer’s name and address printed somewhere on the product
Not be older than three years, or have scratched or wrinkled lenses

NASA also names a few trustworthy lens brands: “Our partner the American Astronomical Society has verified that these five manufacturers are making eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers that meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard for such products: American Paper Optics, Baader Planetarium (AstroSolar Silver/Gold film only), Rainbow Symphony, Thousand Oaks Optical, and TSE 17.”

•••••

But if you search for “eclipse glasses” on Amazon, Lunt’s TSE17 lenses don’t show up anywhere near the first 100 results. Those are filled, almost entirely, with sellers like Summstar, which sells HDMI splitters and lightbulbs alongside supposedly sun-safe glasses, and Habibee, which sells a bewildering mix of things like brightly colored plastic hairclips, nail polish, and men’s suspenders.

All of the NASA-approved manufacturers are specialists, making only lenses or astronomical gear. Most have also been in business for decades, and are well-known within the astronomy community and among eclipse-chasers. You can go to their websites and see where they source their parts, what companies did their certifications, and where you can find their factories. The Amazon sellers, on the other hand, typically sell a handful of random products—often recent fad items like fidget-spinners—and provide neither sourcing nor contact information.

•••••

All this has made me suspicious about my own glasses. The ones I bought have all the right words printed on them: “meets the Transmission Requirements of ISO 12312-2” they say, before going on to list a slew of other standards allegedly met. Then at the end: “Mfg. by: American Paper Optics.”

But the Amazon listing didn’t actually say American Paper Optics manufactured the lenses; it just showed up with the Tennessee-based company’s stamp on it. I ask Lunt how I could tell if what I had was the real deal or a knock-off, and he tells me to look at the earpieces. There’s a design element that’s been generic among all of cardboard glasses for years (remember those red-and-blue lensed 3D glasses?): the part of the cardboard frame that hooks over the ears has a rounded end. APO recently changed their design to have a more squared-off earpiece.

No surprise, my 10-pack all have rounded ears, the scarlet letter of phoniness.

•••••

Stealthy Google Play apps recorded calls and stole e-mails and texts


Company expels 20 advanced surveillance apps installed on ~100 devices.

Dan Goodin - 7/27/2017

Google has expelled 20 Android apps from its Play marketplace after finding they contained code for monitoring and extracting users' e-mail, text messages, locations, voice calls, and other sensitive data.

The apps, which made their way onto about 100 phones, exploited known vulnerabilities to "root" devices running older versions of Android. Root status allowed the apps to bypass security protections built into the mobile operating system. As a result, the apps were capable of surreptitiously accessing sensitive data stored, sent, or received by at least a dozen other apps, including Gmail, Hangouts, LinkedIn, and Messenger. The now-ejected apps also collected messages sent and received by Whatsapp, Telegram, and Viber, which all encrypt data in an attempt to make it harder for attackers to intercept messages while in transit.

The apps also contained functions allowing for:

•••••

To conceal their surveillance capabilities, the apps posed as utilities for cleaning unwanted files or backing up data. Google said the apps contained evidence they were developed by a cyber arms company called Equus Technologies. In April, Google officials warned of a different family of Android surveillance apps developed by a different provider of intercept tools called NSO Group Technologies. Those apps were related to the advanced iOS spyware known as Pegasus, which was used against a political dissident located in the United Arab Emirates. In that case, however, the Pegasus-related Android apps never made their way into Google Play.

Google has dubbed the new batch of surveillance apps Lipizzan.

•••••

Google's disclosure came about 12 hours before researchers from antivirus provider Sophos documented two apps on Google Play that also steal text messages. One app poses as an app store shortcut feature, and the other masquerades as an app for a "Skin Care Magazine." They worked by downloading a plug-in. Together, they had received from 100,000 to 500,000 downloads.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Informative links



American Muslims growing more liberal, survey shows
http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/26/us/pew-muslim-american-survey/?iid=ob_homepage_deskrecommended_pool


Mac malware caught silently spying on computer users
http://money.cnn.com/2017/07/24/technology/mac-fruitfly-malware-spying/index.html?iid=ob_homepage_tech_pool


We are all made of stars: half our bodies' atoms may be 'formed beyond the Milky Way'
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/jul/27/we-are-all-made-of-stars-half-our-bodies-atoms-formed-beyond-the-milky-way


The health care problem Republicans didn't anticipate
http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/26/politics/republicans-health-care-john-kerry/index.html


So long, Flash: Adobe will kill plug-in by 2020
http://money.cnn.com/2017/07/25/technology/adobe-killing-flash/index.html?iid=ob_homepage_tech_pool


Britain bans gasoline and diesel cars starting in 2040
http://money.cnn.com/2017/07/26/news/uk-bans-gasoline-diesel-engines-2040/index.html


Location of libraries offering free solar eclipse glasses
Found this on Nasa.gov
https://www.starnetlibraries.org/2017eclipse/registered-libraries-map/


According to Harvard Psychologists, Parents Who Raise "Good" Kids do these Five Things
https://curiousmindmagazine.com/parents-who-raise-good-kids/


When Health Law Isn’t Enough, the Desperate Line Up at Tents
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/23/us/healthcare-uninsured-rural-poor-affordable-care-act-republicans.html


Got Chest Pain? This Insurer May Not Cover Your Emergency Room Visit
https://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2017/06/01/Got-Chest-Pain-Insurer-May-Not-Cover-Your-Emergency-Room-Visit


The White House is only telling you half of the sad story of what happened to American jobs
http://www.businessinsider.com/what-happened-to-american-jobs-in-the-80s-2017-7


An Intriguing Link Between Police Shootings and Black Voter Registration
https://www.wired.com/2016/09/intriguing-link-police-shootings-black-voter-registration/


The reality of being poor and sick in America.
https://medium.com/@kendallybrown/the-reality-of-being-poor-and-sick-in-america-b3636e8f4a0f

Number of Large Fires Rising in the West

http://www.climatecentral.org/gallery/graphics/number-of-large-fires-rising-in-the-west

July 26, 2017

Wildfires have burned more than 4.5 million acres in the U.S. so far in 2017. That’s 38 percent more than the average acreage burned for the year-to-date over the past decade. And it is the third largest area burned by wildfires in the last decade through late July.

The bulk of U.S. wildfires burn in the western half of the country because soils and vegetation are generally drier there in summer than in the East. As temperatures rise from the increase of greenhouse gases, evaporation rates from soils increase, which can worsen drought and dry out vegetation, creating ample fuel for fires. Hotter and drier conditions also allow wildfires to spread over large areas. Overall, the West is seeing trends toward more large wildfires burning more acres with longer fire seasons. In fact, the most active wildfire seasons are often those that are hotter and drier than average.

Wildfires can be very costly. Of the 17 years since 2000, the U.S. Forest Service has spent more than $1 billion in 12 of them to suppress fires, whereas in the last 15 years of the 1900s, the annual cost only exceeded $500 million dollars twice.

•••••

Like Exxon, Utilities Knew about Climate Change Risks Decades Ago



By John H. Cushman Jr.
July 25, 2017

•••••

Forty years ago, the documents show, industry officials told Congress that the looming problem of climate change might require the world to back away from coal-fired power—something that is only now beginning to happen.

The research presents a distinct echo of an investigation of Exxon's climate record published by InsideClimate News almost two years ago, and casts significant new light on the duration and depth of industry's climate research—and how electric companies that use fossil fuels responded to the emerging science from the 1960's onward.

The 66-page report unearths research documents and testimony published but then largely forgotten decades before the climate crisis emerged as a key public issue.

And in this episode of the nation's climate history, once again, the same industry that foresaw the ultimate end of coal as a main fuel for power generation later supported actions to cast doubt on the science and to stave off policies to address the problem, funding groups that deny the scientific consensus and joining the main industry group that opposed participation in the first climate treaty. To this day, there are few federal limits on emissions of carbon dioxide by utilities, one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gases.

"It's a story with striking parallels to the investigations into ExxonMobil's early knowledge of climate change and later efforts to deceive investors, policymakers and the public on the issue," EPI said.

•••••

By 1988, the EPI report said, the Electric Power Research Institute, supported by the industry, acknowledged "a growing consensus in the scientific community that the greenhouse effect is real."

Even so, EPI said, some in the industry joined oil and other industries in the climate-denial front group known as the Global Climate Coalition, which lobbied successfully to get the United States out of the Kyoto Protocol during the George W. Bush administration.

It is striking that specialists in the industry understood the risks of climate change early enough to expand research efforts into the problem substantially in the 1970's, about the same time Exxon launched cutting-edge research on its own.

•••••

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Romans threatened with water rationing as Italy's heatwave drags on


Libertarians & conservatives would just let the water run out.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/24/rome-water-rationing-italy-heatwave

Angela Giuffrida in Rome and Matthew Taylor
Monday 24 July 2017 12.11 EDT

More than a million residents of Rome are facing water rationing for up to eight hours a day as the prolonged heatwave that has ravaged southern Europe takes its toll on the Italian capital.

Some businesses are already reporting sporadic disruption to their supply, while last month mayor Virginia Raggi turned off thousands of the city’s public drinking fountains in an effort to save water as the drought set in.

Officials from the Italian utility Acea, the Lazio region that contains Rome, and the environment ministry will meet this week to discuss the possibility of rationing the water supply to about half of the city’s 3 million residents.
Virginia Raggi, the mayor of Rome
Virginia Raggi, the mayor of Rome

Lazio’s governor, Nicola Zingaretti, has ordered that a ban on drawing water from drought-hit Lake Bracciano, which lies about 40km from the capital and supplies some of its water, will come into force on 28 July.

•••••

Blazes have broken out across southern Italy and Sicily, where temperatures have climbed well above 40C [104F]. Wildfires near the Calampiso seaside resort west of Palermo, the Sicilian capital, forced the evacuation by boat of more than 700 tourists earlier this month.

High temperatures compounded by strong winds have helped fires spread after months of below-average rainfall. Farm animals perished while several farms and more than 150 hectares of pine forest were destroyed in a blaze in Sicily this month.

•••••

The drought has ravaged two-thirds of agricultural land across the peninsula, causing an estimated €2bn (£1.8bn) worth of damage, according to Coldiretti, the farmers’ association.

Drought in the northern agricultural provinces of Italy prompted the government to declare states of emergency. Beppe Grillo, leader of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, has called for a similar response to the wildfires.

In southern Italy the heatwave has sparked at least 20 wildfires, including on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius near Naples.

•••••

Deadly salmonella outbreak linked to papayas

http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/21/health/papaya-salmonella-outbreak/index.html

By Debra Goldschmidt, CNN
Updated 6:00 PM ET, Fri July 21, 2017

Forty-seven people in 12 states have become infected with salmonella believed to be linked to yellow Maradol papayas, federal health officials said Friday.
Twelve people have been hospitalized, and one death has been reported, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Investigators are working to learn where the contamination occurred in the supply chain," the CDC said.

•••••

Symptoms of salmonella begin 12 to 72 hours after a person is infected and include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramping. This can last about four to seven days, and most individuals recover without treatment. However, those who develop severe diarrhea may need to be hospitalized. Those who are very young, who are very old or who have compromised immune systems are most at risk for complications and severe cases of illness.

Those sickened in this outbreak range from 1 year old to 95.

The CDC has recommended that consumers not eat this type of papaya, restaurants should not serve it, and stores should not sell it. "If you aren't sure if the papaya you bought is a yellow Maradol papaya, ask the place where you bought it. When in doubt, throw it out," the CDC advised.

States reporting illnesses related to this outbreak are Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Maryland. The one death was in New York.

•••••

Informative links



The latest brain study examined 111 former NFL players. Only one didn’t have CTE.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/the-latest-brain-study-examined-111-former-nfl-players-only-one-didnt-have-cte/2017/07/25/835b49e4-70bc-11e7-8839-ec48ec4cae25_story.html?utm_term=.b8571db65217


Sperm count in the western world is half what it was in the 1970s, says new research
[Why don't they mention exposure to pollution in our food?]
http://www.dw.com/en/sperm-count-in-the-western-world-is-half-what-it-was-in-the-1970s-says-new-research/a-39829877


A Nebraska-Sized Area of Forest Disappeared in 2015
http://www.climatecentral.org/news/mississippi-sized-area-of-forest-disappeared-21641


Five Decades of Research Confirms: Spanking Produces Similar Outcomes in Children as Physical Abuse.
http://www.earthbasedmom.com/five-decades-research-confirms-spanking-physical-abuse-produces-similar-outcomes-children/


People who have been denied health care because they were uninsured.
Click on the View more Answers button below the first comment to see more.
https://www.quora.com/Have-any-American-citizens-ever-been-personally-denied-healthcare-in-the-USA/answer/Tessa-E-Tea


Spike in calls to poison control centers over dietary supplements
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/spike-in-calls-to-poison-control-centers-over-dietary-supplements/


Microsoft may be quietly retiring Paint after 32 years
It's just "deprecated" for most of us, but it's already disappeared in China and India.
http://www.pcworld.com/article/3209722/windows/microsoft-paint-may-be-doomed-why-its-wrong-and-what-you-can-do-about-it.html


New Zealand storm: states of emergency declared as flooding hits South Island
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/22/new-zealand-calls-in-the-army-after-ferocious-storm-hits-south-island?utm_campaign=crowdfire&utm_content=crowdfire&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter#350509998-tw#1500759939962


Why Republicans Cannot Replace the ACA, Or Accomplish Anything Else
Republicans cannot govern because Republicans lack any respect for facts. Tilting at windmills is much easier than constructing them.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/chrisladd/2017/07/20/why-republicans-cannot-replace-the-aca-or-accomplish-anything-else/#3b36b2592776


Jeb Bush calls out Republicans who criticized Obama over Russia, but have been silent on the Trump-Russia probe
[I note : Democrats are also guilty of accepting behaviour in their own people they would condemn in others, as are people in general.]
http://www.businessinsider.com/jeb-bush-blasts-trump-and-republicans-over-their-handling-of-the-russia-invesetigation-2017-7


Hottest day ever in Shanghai as heat wave bakes China
https://phys.org/news/2017-07-hottest-day-shanghai-china.html


Satellite Snafu Masked True Sea Level Rise for Decades
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/satellite-snafu-masked-true-sea-level-rise-for-decades/?WT.mc_id=SA_DD_20170719


Trump Is So Rich He Thinks Health Insurance Costs $12 Per Year
[Another thing to note is that after his May statement, we would expect that he was corrected, but he then makes an even bigger mistake.]
http://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-rich-health-care-insurance-cost-639676


Final New Moon Sunday Starts the Countdown to the Great American Eclipse
https://www.space.com/37583-counting-down-solar-eclipse-new-moon.html


Whistleblower Case Shows How Trump Tries to Silence Science
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/20072017/whistleblower-trump-intimidation-abuse-power-climate-scientists-joel-clement-zinke


The Energy Industry Is Turning School Kids Into Climate Change Skeptics
https://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2017/06/16/Energy-Industry-Turning-School-Kids-Climate-Change-Skeptics


Paying People to Not Cut Down Trees Pays Off, Study Finds
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/20072017/stopping-deforestation-payment-ecosystem-services-trees-uganda-climate-change

Monday, July 24, 2017

Spike in calls to poison control centers over dietary supplements

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/spike-in-calls-to-poison-control-centers-over-dietary-supplements/

By Ashley Welch CBS News July 24, 2017, 5:02 PM

New research offers a reminder that dietary supplements don't come without risks — and the problems they can cause appear to be on the rise.

A study published in the Journal of Medical Toxicology finds that U.S. Poison Control Centers receive a call every 24 minutes, on average, regarding exposures to dietary supplements.

The rate of calls increased by almost 50 percent from 2005 to 2012, the researchers found. A total of 274,998 cases were reported from 2000 through 2012.

Seventy percent of the calls involved children younger than 6 years old. The majority of exposures were unintentional, occurring when children swallowed supplements they found at home.

About 4.5 percent of the time — more than 12,300 cases — serious medical complications occurred.

"Many consumers believe dietary supplements are held to the same safety and efficacy standards as over-the-counter medications," Dr. Gary Smith, senior author of the study and director of the Center of Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's, said in a statement. "However, dietary supplements are not considered drugs, thus they are not required to undergo clinical trials or obtain approval from the FDA prior to sale, unless the product is labeled as intended for therapeutic use."

In almost half of the cases, miscellaneous substances found in commonly used dietary supplements accounted for the calls.

•••••

Bush Beans announces product recall on 3 varieties sold in 28-ounce cans

http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2017/07/bush_beans_announces_product_r_1.html

July 24, 2017

Bush Beans has announced a voluntary recall of three of its brands of baked beans after concerns were raised about potentially defective seams on the cans.

The Bush Brothers & Company announced the recall for its 28-ounce cans of Bush's Brown Sugar Hickory Baked Beans, County Style Beans and Original Baked Beans.

The recall was announced Saturday.

According to a statement from the company, the recall was initiated by the company after internal quality-assurance checks identified an issue with potentially defective seams.

•••••

The statement notes that so far no illnesses have been associated with any of the Bush products in question.

The company is urging people who have any of the varieties of beans in question to dispose of them even if the beans do not look or smell spoiled. The company is also working with supplies to remove affected cans from the shelves.

Affected products are marked on the bottom of each with with the following codes:

BUSH'S(r) BEST BROWN SUGAR HICKORY BAKED BEANS Voluntary Recall - 28 ounce with UPC of 0 39400 01977 0 and Lot Codes 6097S GF and 6097P GF with Best By date of Jun 2019.
BUSH'S(r) BEST COUNTRY STYLE BAKED BEANS Voluntary Recall - 28 ounce with UPC of 0 39400 01974 9 and Lot Codes 6077S RR, 6077P RR, 6087S RR, 6087P RR with the Best By date of Jun 2019.
BUSH'S(r) BEST ORIGINAL BAKED BEANS Voluntary Recall - 28 ounce with UPC of 0 39400; 01614 4 and Lot Codes 6057S LC and 6057P LC with the Best By date of Jun 2019.

The company's Consumer Relations department has a switchboard open to available to answer any questions on the recall. The number is 1-800-590-3797 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Information may also be found on our website at www.bushbeans.com

Rising temperatures can kill Texas prisoners. Corrections ignored that, says federal judge

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/rising-temperatures-can-kill-texas-prisoners-corrections-ignored-says-federal-judge/

BY Kamala Kelkar July 22, 2017 at 5:06 PM EDT

A federal judge in Houston ordered a geriatric prison in Texas to help inmates overcome extreme heat and rising summer temperatures, referencing climate change in a groundbreaking ruling this week.

U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison deemed it cruel and unusual that state corrections are aware of dangerous and lethal heat risks — at least 23 men in Texas prisons have died from the heat in the last 20 years — yet have failed to impose safeguards.

Ellison slammed the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for continuously violating the Eighth Amendment by subjecting inmates at the Wallace Pack Unit south of Navasota to heat indexes that regularly exceed 100 degrees in summer.

•••••

About one year ago, the court ordered corrections to provide safe drinking water for inmates at the Pack unit after tests revealed arsenic in the water at two-to-four times the standard level permitted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

•••••

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Trump’s Apprenticeships Are Based on a Problem That Doesn’t Exist


And apprenticeships give businesses cheap or free labor.

https://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2017/06/19/Trump-s-Apprenticeships-are-Based-upon-Problem-Doesn-t-Exist

By Mark Thoma
June 19, 2017

Last week the Trump administration announced “a workforce training initiative focused on skill-based apprenticeship education” with a goal of creating one million apprenticeships over the next two years. The motivation behind the initiative was explained by Ivanka Trump: “The reality is that there are still Americans seeking employment despite low unemployment rates, and companies are struggling to fill vacancies for positions that require varying levels of skills and training. So the Trump administration is committed to working very closely to close the skills gap."

But is a “skills gap” really a problem in the US? If a skills gap exists, then the demand for workers exceeds the supply. That is, at the wage the industry is offering, there are job openings that cannot be filled.

One solution to this problem is for firms to increase wages to attract more workers. If there aren’t enough workers with adequate training in the local area to fill the open positions, then the higher wage offer will attract qualified workers from other regions of the country to move and take the jobs.

•••••

something they have been reluctant to do even as more and more of the income share has gone to business owners rather than workers.

Rising wages would allow workers to reclaim some of the income they have lost. So firm owners would prefer to fix the problem in another way. If the supply of qualified workers can be increased sufficiently through government supported retraining programs and increased immigration, then the upward pressure on wages will disappear.

I would not be opposed to solving a skills gap problem – if it actually existed – in part through a temporary increase in immigration. But that shouldn’t happen until there is a sustained and rapid increase in wages, evidence that there truly is a problematic shortage of US workers.

I am also not opposed to job assistance programs, but the question is the effectiveness of these programs and whether they should be paid for by the government or by individual firms. On the effectiveness, if the problem is really that skilled workers are available to take these jobs but they are mismatched occupationally and geographically, as it appears to be, then programs that help to match workers with jobs and subsidize moving expenses can be helpful. It will still require employers to increase their wage offers to make it worthwhile for people to relocate or change jobs, but government-supported programs that aid the matching process still have a role to play. Unfortunately, to help pay for his apprenticeship program, Trump has proposed large cuts to Labor Department programs that have successfully helped workers find jobs.

•••••

Heat Makes It Too Hot for Africa’s Wild Dogs to Hunt



Published: July 22nd, 2017
By Damian Carrington, The Guardian

Rising temperatures are making it too hot for African wild dogs to hunt and the number of their pups that survive is plummeting, according to a new study. The research is among the first to show a direct impact of increased heat on wildlife that appears well adapted to high temperatures.

There are only 7,000 African wild dogs left in the wild and they have lost 93 percent of their historic ranges to humans. Research earlier in July suggested that a “biological annihilation” of wildlife in recent decades means a sixth mass extinction in Earth’s history is already under way.

African wild dogs leave their young pups in dens when they set off for their early morning and late evening hunts, avoiding the worst heat of the day. The scientists found rising peak daily temperatures in Kenya, Zimbabwe and Botswana cut the time the dogs were active and the survival of the pups.

In Botswana, where the team had the longest records, they found the average number of pups surviving to a year old in each litter fell from 5.1 between 1989-2000 to 3.3 between 2001-2012, with temperatures rising 1.1°C between the two periods. In Kenya, a 1C rise in the peak temperature cut yearlings by 31 percent and in Zimbabwe 14 percent.

“When people think about climate change affecting wildlife, they mostly think about polar bears,” said Prof Rosie Woodroffe, at the Zoological Society of London and who led the new research published in the Journal of Animal Ecology. “But wild dogs are adapted to the heat — surely they’d be fine? So it is shocking and surprising that even right on the equator these effects are being seen. It illustrates the global impact of climate change.”

•••••

The dogs’ highly energetic lifestyles makes them susceptible to losses of food when it is too hot to hunt antelopes. “Wild dogs live fast and die young,” said Woodroffe. “They have these huge litters (of up to 14 pups) and then the mortality is quite high.

•••••

Here’s How Much Arctic Sea Ice Has Melted Since the ‘80s


On top of this, the depth of the ice is getting smaller.

http://www.climatecentral.org/news/arctic-sea-ice-melt-since-the-80s-21637

By Andrea Thompson
July 21, 2017


Arctic sea ice has been melting at a steady clip this summer as it heads toward its annual low point. But a new chart shows that with nearly two months still left in the melt season, sea ice area is already below what would have been a yearly low in the 1980s.

The comparison shows the clear long-term decline of Arctic sea ice fueled by the global rise in heat-trapping greenhouse gases. The dramatic shrinkage of sea ice over the past few decades is driving major changes, from the loss of crucial Arctic habitat to the potential influence of weather patterns around the world.




The graph, put together by Zack Labe, a Ph.D. student at the University of California, Irvine, shows the area of the Arctic covered by sea ice right now and compares it to the averages throughout the melt seasons of the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. It is clear that with about 50 days of the melt season still to go, sea ice area is already below the point where it would have bottomed out for any year in the 1980s.

•••••

Arctic sea ice reflects incoming solar rays back to space, helping to regulate the planet’s temperature. But as human activities have released more and more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the ensuing warming has caused ice to melt. That melt means more of the ocean is open and absorbs solar energy, raising temperatures more and driving more melt in a vicious cycle.

Temperatures in the Arctic are rising at twice the rate of the planet as a whole, and the accompanying ice loss means that walruses and polar bears are losing critical habitat, more of the fragile local ecosystem is being opened up to shipping, and waves from storms can more easily batter coastal settlements. The reduced amount of sea ice may also be causing heat to be released into the atmosphere that is altering wind patterns and weather over the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Informative links



Trump to tap longtime coal lobbyist for EPA’s No. 2 spot
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/07/21/trump-to-tap-longtime-coal-lobbyist-for-epas-number-two-spot/?tid=sm_tw&utm_term=.6b28da7b4d65


Perceiving oneself as less physically active than peers is linked to a shorter lifespan
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/su-poa071817.php


Why sugary drinks and protein-rich meals don't go well together
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/bc-wsd071817.php


Experts: 1 in 3 cases of dementia preventable, nonmedical therapies ideal for dementia
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/uosc-e1i071717.php


Use of cognitive abilities to care for grandkids may have driven evolution of menopause
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/p-uoc071317.php


Paying farmers not to cut down trees in Uganda helps fight climate change, new study shows
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/ifpa-pfn071817.php


Loma Linda University researchers finds links between meal frequency and BMI
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/llua-llu071817.php


Sleep disorders may increase cognitive problems particularly in those at risk for Alzheimer's
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/ats-sdm071817.php


Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/uoa-phc072017.php


High-dose influenza vaccine leads to lower hospitalizations in nursing home residents
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/uhcm-hdi072017.php


Setting the record straight: PPIs do not cause Dementia
[Don't know if this is the last word.]
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/aga-str071917.php


In revised filing, Kushner reveals dozens of previously undisclosed assets
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/kushner-failed-to-disclose-dozens-of-financial-holdings-new-document-shows/2017/07/21/1a11a566-6e35-11e7-96ab-5f38140b38cc_story.html?utm_term=.c9995877343b


High-fat diet in pregnancy can cause mental health problems in offspring
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/ohs-hdi072117.php


Rush hour pollution may be more dangerous than you think
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/du-rhp072117.php


How physical exercise prevents dementia
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/guf-hpe072117.php


Why Some Songs Make Us Cry
https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/why-do-certain-songs-make-us-cry-ncna784801


Depression changes structure of the brain, study suggests
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/uoe-dcs072117.php


New study reveals that causes of severe antisocial behavior may differ for boys and girls
the brain's prefrontal cortex - the region responsible for long-term planning, decision-making, and impulse control - is thinner in boys and girls with CD compared to typically-developing boys and girls, and that young people with more severe forms of the condition have more abnormal brain structure.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/uob-nsr072017.php


What Happened to Jane Mayer When She Wrote About the Koch Brothers
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/27/nyregion/what-happened-to-jane-mayer-when-she-wrote-about-the-koch-brothers.html


The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America
http://billmoyers.com/story/deep-history-radical-right/


Trump’s Allies Are Taking Over the Media and Creating Their Own Reality
http://billmoyers.com/story/trumps-allies-taking-media-creating-reality/


Anthony Scaramucci called climate science ‘irrefutable’ before he worked for Trump
https://thinkprogress.org/scaramucci-formerly-accepted-science-438b701dc418


Rains push Fox River past record flood level, Des Plaines also rising again
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-chicago-flooding-rain-20170720-story.html


If Obamacare fails, it won't die a natural death but be 'choked' by GOP: Former Molina CEO
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/19/if-obamacare-fails-it-will-have-been-choked-by-gop-molina.html


Takata May Need to Recall Millions of Vehicles It Already Recalled
http://www.nbcnews.com/business/autos/takata-may-need-recall-millions-vehicles-it-already-recalled-n784521


Exxon Fined for Russia Sanctions Violations Under Tillerson
https://www.bloomberg.com/amp/news/articles/2017-07-20/exxon-fined-for-russia-sanctions-violations-under-tillerson

Friday, July 21, 2017

Family factors may influence a child's temperament

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/w-ffm072017.php

Public Release: 20-Jul-2017
Family factors may influence a child's temperament
Wiley

A new study indicates that a child's temperament may be influenced by maternal postpartum depression, maternal sensitivity, and family functioning. Maternal depression was associated with difficult temperaments in infants when maternal sensitivity was low, but not when maternal sensitivity was high. Family functioning similarly moderated these links.

The findings suggest that family factors play a critical role in shaping the trajectory of an infant's behavioral style as it unfolds over development.

For example, even when dealing with depression, mothers who consistently and appropriately respond to their infants' needs, which are hallmarks of sensitive parenting, may more effectively teach their infants how to regulate their negative emotions than mothers who respond less sensitively. Similarly, a highly functioning family unit characterized by effective communication and high interpersonal involvement among family members may support an infant's emotion regulation even when the mother is depressed.

•••••

The Turn of the “Made in America” Claim Enforcement

http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/the-turn-of-the-made-in-america-claim-53209/

July 211, 2017

It has recently be reported by Reuters that President Donald Trump is looking for ways to defend American-made products by certifying legitimate U.S. goods and aggressively going after imported products unfairly sporting the “Made in America” label, the White House said on Tuesday (July 18, 2017). President Trump announced that his administration would crack down on “predatory online sales of foreign goods” that are hurting U.S. retailers. According to a senior official, the United States loses about $300 billion a year to theft of intellectual property ranging from semiconductors to jeans. In March of this year, the President signed an executive order that gave customs officials more authority to stop pirated and counterfeit items.

•••••

An emphasis on policing the “Made in America” label claim is therefore not new. The question will be how will the Trump Administration’s “new” emphasis be enforced. As is the case for nearly all other federal agencies, the FTC is in line to have its budget cut. Under President Trump’s proposed spending plan for fiscal 2018, the FTC is to lose approximately $6 million. Additionally, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Ajit Pai, reportedly wants to cede to the FTC enforcement of internet service priority pricing and net neutral practices. More responsibility for the commission with less funding.

•••••

No charges for teens who police say recorded man's drowning


Adults help to create the culture for this, producing and giving an giving an audience to shows like the Sopranos and Game of Thrones, electing and defending someone like Trump as president of our country, expressing disdain and lack of caringness to others.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/charges-teens-police-recorded-mans-drowning/story?id=48769120

By EMILY SHAPIRO
Jul 21, 2017,

Five teenagers won’t face criminal charges after they recorded video of a man’s drowning and didn't intervene, a Florida police chief said.

The video, taken earlier this month in Cocoa, Florida, about 45 miles east of Orlando, shows a person's head bobbing up and down in a pond. The unidentified teenagers are laughing and joking in the video, with one of them appearing to laugh and say, "He just died!"

Cocoa Police Chief Mike Cantaloupe said in a statement Thursday the police department learned of the recording last weekend and reviewed it. Police identified and interviewed the five teens, he said.

Police have not named the juveniles.

"The State Attorney’s Office was consulted regarding what, if any criminal charges could be applied in this incident," Cantaloupe said, adding, "As horrible as this video is the laws in the State of Florida do not obligate citizens to render aid or call someone to render aid to a person in distress."

The victim, 31-year-old Jamel Dunn of Cocoa, died of drowning, the medical examiner ruled, police said, adding that they recovered his body July 14.

•••••

States of Emergency in California and British Columbia from Raging Wildfires

https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/states-emergency-california-british-columbia-raging-wildfires

Bob Henson · July 20, 2017, 3:38 PM

One of the largest evacuations in British Columbia history is underway, thanks to 155 wildfires—including fifteen major wildfires that threaten populated areas—that have forced more than 45,000 people from their homes.

•••••

The fires have created suffocating smoke in British Columbia and Alberta all week, causing dangerous levels of tiny particles known as PM2.5 (less than 2.5 microns or 0.0001 inch in diameter). PM2.5 pollution causes over 80,000 premature deaths each year in the United States.

•••••

Smoke from the fires has been transported over much of Canada and the U.S. this week, including Alaska. On Thursday morning, smoke from the fires was responsible for PM2.5 levels in the red “Unhealthy” range in central Montana and much of Alberta, including the city of Edmonton. According to the EPA, if sustained for 24 hours, this “red zone” air quality will cause increased aggravation of heart or lung disease and premature mortality in persons with cardiopulmonary disease, and the elderly, and will also cause increased respiratory effects in the general population.

•••••

Detwiler Fire threatens California’s historic town of Mariposa

A state of emergency was declared on Wednesday in Mariposa County, including parts of Yosemite National Park, as the Detwiler Fire doubled in size in just one day to encompass roughly 46,000 acres on Wednesday. The fire had expanded to 70,000 acres by Thursday morning, with just 10% containment, and 45 structures had already been lost, according to CalFire. The Merced Sun-Star reported that more than 3100 firefighters were being coordinated from an incident command post at the Merced County Fairgrounds. In the crosshairs of the spreading fire on Thursday was Mariposa, a Gold Rush-era town of about 2000 residents and 4000 structures. The town was almost completely evacuated on Wednesday.

Thick smoke from the fire streamed into Yosemite, cutting visibility and raising air quality concerns. The Air Quality Index (AQI) reached “very unhealthy” levels by Wednesday night close to the fire. “Unhealthy” conditions extended northeast from the fire across the Reno, Nevada, area. An AQI in the unhealthy range can bring adverse effects to anyone, with those in sensitive groups at even greater risk.

•••••

The generous rains and mountain snows of the winter of 2017—so welcomed by people from California to Wyoming—are now proving to have been a double-edged sword. The moisture led to a growth spurt in the grasses and shrubs across rugged landscapes of the West that typically dry out in the summer. The exceptionally wet cool season has segued into a viciously hot, dry summer that’s turned the unusually lush landscape into fuel ripe for a fire.

•••••

Thursday, July 20, 2017

'Extreme And Aggressive' California Wildfires Force Thousands To Evacuate

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/07/19/538090510/-extreme-and-aggressive-california-wildfires-force-thousands-to-evacuate

Laurel Wamsley
July 19, 2017

A wildfire in the foothills near Yosemite National Park has consumed eight structures — and is threatening 1,500 more in tiny Mariposa, Calif.

•••••

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire, posted on its website that "firefighters experienced extreme and aggressive fire behavior" on Tuesday. "Firefighters on the ground as well as aircraft are actively working to contain and suppress the fire."

•••••

Cal Fire spokesman Koby Johns says that the cause of the fire is unknown but that its speed is due to the region's drought being followed by heavy rains.

•••••

"Lots of tall grasses, lots of bushes, and they essentially provide like a ladder to the trees," Johns told Valley Public Radio's Ezra David Romero. "A lot of those trees are dead oak trees and then you have fire spreading from tree to tree."

•••••

In the city of Saratoga, Calif., near San Jose, the pilot of a water-dropping helicopter was forced to ground the aircraft when a drone appeared unexpectedly, Ryan Cronin of the Santa Clara County Fire Department told the Times.

"It really put them in a precarious position," he said of the drone. "We didn't appreciate that much."

Wildfires have been especially prevalent this year. Fires have burned 4.4 million acres so far in 2017, compared with 2.7 million acres over the same period in 2016, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Large fires are currently reported in 12 states, all in the western U.S.

Wildfires Roar Across Southern Europe


https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/18/world/europe/france-split-italy-fires.html

By THE NEW YORK TIMES JULY 18, 2017

Strong winds, dry weather and high temperatures: The fire season is in full swing across the Mediterranean.

In France, fires raged on Tuesday less than 10 miles from the resort city of Nice. In Croatia, fires have damaged homes in the historic city of Split. And in Montenegro, the authorities have asked NATO for assistance in dealing with fires that had forced evacuations along the coast.

•••••

Officials reported nearly 900 wildfires in Italy on Monday, with people evacuated from residential as well as touristy parts of Rome and Naples, and around Mount Vesuvius, near Naples.

•••••

No Respite For Tens Of Thousands Of Canadians Fleeing Wildfires

http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/no-respite-for-tens-of-thousands-of-canadians-fleeing-wildfires-1726571

July 19, 2017

Tens of thousands of people who fled wildfires in western Canada were unable to return home Tuesday as the massive blazes raged on.

Officials said that 155 fires were still burning in British Columbia province, where the flames have already consumed more than 327,000 hectares (808,000 acres) of forest and uncultivated land.

•••••

Trump officially nominates climate-denying conservative talk radio host as USDA’s top scientist

https://thinkprogress.org/sam-clovis-officially-nominated-still-not-a-scientist-d47be4ffb1a8

Natasha Geiling
July 20, 2017

Sam Clovis, a former Trump campaign adviser and one-time conservative talk radio host, has no background in the hard sciences, nor any policy experience with food or agriculture. Still, that did not stop President Donald Trump from officially nominating Clovis to the position of the United States Department of Agriculture’s undersecretary of research, education, and economics, the agency’s top science position.

In the past, the undersecretary of research, education, and economics has brought years of experience in science, public health, or food policy. Previous undersecretaries have been biochemists, plant physiologists, or food nutrition experts. The most recent undersecretary, Catherine Woteki, came to the position from Mars, Inc., where she helped manage the company’s scientific research on health, nutrition, and public safety.

Clovis, on the other hand, comes to the position after serving as national co-chair for the Trump campaign, which he joined in 2015. Before that, Clovis was a professor of economics at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. He has a doctorate in public administration, and unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate in 2014.

•••••

Informative links



Treated hydraulic fracturing wastewater may pollute area water sources for years
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/ps-thf071917.php


Smart walk assist improves rehabilitation
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/epfd-swa071817.php


The dangers of driving after restricted sleep and moderate alcohol intake
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/w-tdo071817.php


Exercise packs a punch against inflammation
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/w-epa071817.php


Certain antibiotics during pregnancy may increase risk of birth defects
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/w-cad071717.php


Healthy eating and exercise in pregnancy limits weight gain and lowers odds of caesarean
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/b-hea071717.php


Healthy heart in 20s=healthy brain in 40s
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/aaon-hhi071417.php


Gaining a few pounds may increase long-term heart failure risk
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/aha-gaf071417.php


One minute of running per day associated with better bone health in women
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/uoe-omo071717.php


Obese and overweight less likely to consider next meal when making portion size decisions
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/sfts-oao071417.php


Benefits of gastric bypass surgery linked to changes in sweet taste preference
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/sfts-bog071417.php


Climate change may be harming the future of African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) by impacting the survival rates of pups
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/zsol-hdi071917.php


Sea temperature changes contributing to droughts
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/uoe-stc071817.php



Thawing permafrost releases old greenhouse gas
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/ggph-tpr071717.php


Pangolins at huge risk as study shows dramatic increases in hunting across Central Africa
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/uos-pah071917.php


Manmade aerosols identified as driver in shifting global rainfall patterns
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/uomr-mai071817.php


Amphibians can become tolerant to pesticides, but at a cost
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/bu-acb071717.php


Record-breaking marine heatwave powered by climate change cooks Tasmania's fisheries
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/uons-rmh071717.php


Mountaintop coal mining causes Appalachian rivers to run 'consistently saltier'
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/uow-mcm071317.php


Climate change could mean more weight restrictions and higher costs for airlines
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/s-ccc071317.php


Ravens can plan ahead, similar to humans and great apes
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/aaft-rcp071017.php


Climate change to deplete some US water basins used for irrigation
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/miot-cct071217.php


Female fish prefer averagely active lovers
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/guf-ffp071217.php


Russia appears to be taking Georgia's land inch by inch
http://www.businessinsider.com/russia-appears-to-be-taking-georgias-land-inch-by-inch-2017-7


Trump’s Budget Falls Far Short of Pledge to Wipe Out the Deficit: CBO
https://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2017/07/13/Trump-s-Budget-Falls-Far-Short-Pledge-Wipe-Out-Deficit-CBO


Sessions greenlights police to seize cash, property from people suspected of crimes but not charged
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/sessions-greenlights-police-to-increase-seizures-of-cash-and-property-from-suspected-criminals/2017/07/19/3522a9ba-6c99-11e7-96ab-5f38140b38cc_story.html?utm_term=.6c6275b8c9f6


Tax Scammers Never Sleep: IRS Names 4 Summer Scams to Avoid
https://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2017/06/27/Tax-Scammers-Never-Sleep-IRS-Names-4-Summer-Scams-Avoid


The Secret Agenda of a Facebook Quiz
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/20/opinion/the-secret-agenda-of-a-facebook-quiz.html


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Destruction of wetlands linked to algal blooms in Great Lakes

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/uow-dow071817.php

Public Release: 19-Jul-2017
Destruction of wetlands linked to algal blooms in Great Lakes
Current protection efforts overlook role of wetlands
University of Waterloo

Canada's current wetland protection efforts have overlooked how the environment naturally protects fresh-water resources from agricultural fertilizer contaminants, researchers from the University of Waterloo have found.

In a recent study, engineering researchers at Waterloo found that small wetlands have a more significant role to play than larger ones in preventing excess nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizer from reaching waterbodies such as the Great Lakes.

Excess nutrients are a primary cause of algal blooms, which have a number of impacts, including impairing drinking water quality, robbing aquatic life of needed oxygen and closing beaches to swimming.

•••••

At Midway Point, 2017 Is 2nd-Hottest Year on Record

http://www.climatecentral.org/news/midway-point-2017-2nd-hottest-year-21625

By Andrea Thompson
July 18, 2017

At the halfway point of the year, 2017 remains the second-hottest year to date — a surprise given the demise of the El Niño that helped boost temperatures to record levels last year.

The continued near-record warmth is a marker of just how much global temperatures have risen thanks to the greenhouse gases accumulating in the atmosphere from fossil fuel use.

“Personally, I wasn't expecting it to be as warm as it has been,” Ahira Sanchez-Lugo, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration climate scientist, said in an email. “After the decline of the strong El Niño I was expecting the values to drop a bit and rank among the top five warmest years. This year has been extremely remarkable.”

•••••

Every month of the year so far, including June, has ranked in the top three hottest for that month. Overall, the first six months of the year were 1.64°F (0.91°C) above the 20th century average of 56.3°F (13.5°C), according to NOAA. They were 0.29°F (0.16°C) behind the same period in 2016, which turned out to be hottest year on record, but ahead of 2015 by 0.09°F (0.05°C).

According to NASA, the first six months were 1.64°F above the 1951-1980 average.

•••••

While there were several spots that have seen record-warm years so far — including Mexico, parts of eastern Russia and China and western Europe — the heat is fairly broadly spread around the globe.

•••••

In fact, years with La Niñas (which tend to cool global temperatures) are today warmer than El Niño years several decades ago. 2017 actually started out with a La Niña, albeit a weak one, but it is 0.38°F (0.21°C) ahead of 1998, Sanchez-Lugo, said.

•••••

We Can’t Really Throw Things Away


We Can’t Really Throw Things Away
Copyright 2011 Patricia M. Shannon

(chorus)
Oh, we can’t really throw things away,
we can’t really throw things away;
they’ll come back to haunt us, come back to taunt us;
we can’t really throw things away.

(1st verse)
The plastic bags we throw away
can end up in oceans or lakes;
get eaten by creatures who think they are food,
and die from a big tummy ache.

(chorus) ‘Cause we …

(2nd verse)
The plastic we throw out, the pills that we take,
contaminate water so bad,
it can make little girls grow up way too fast,
and boys might never be dads.

(chorus) ‘Cause we …

(3rd verse)
The gases that come from the tailpipes of cars,
and spew out from our factories
can give us cancer, rot lungs and brains,
and are bringing the whole earth to its knees.

(chorus) ‘Cause we …

..
The sheet music to my song "We Can’t Really Throw Things Away" is available at the following link.

https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B70WsnjzVKW-NWVhRVRic3FTcHFUVjMzM3Y2dkdydw

The mp3 of the melody is at

http://www.reverbnation.com/patriciashannon


I created the sheet music with MagicScore Note

To create the PDF, I used CutePDF
When CutePDF installs, it creates a virtual printer that creates a PDF file
So when I did a "print" with MagicScore, I specified the CutePDF printer, and instead of sending the info to a printer, it created a PDF file.

I also used MagicScore to create a MIDI file.
I then used the MIDI to MP3 Converter from Piston Software
to create the mp3 file.

Feel free to use it for non-commercial purposes consistent with it's message. (I would only expect royalties if someone were making a significant amount of money from it.)

If anybody does use it, I would appreciate knowing about it, so I know I haven't just wasted my time :)

Half of All Plastic That Has Ever Existed Was Made in the Past 13 Years

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/07/plastic-age/533955/

Sarah Zhang
Plastic production is rapidly accelerating, according to an ambitious new paper—but only 9 percent of it gets recycled.

•••••

Now, for the first time, researchers have published a sweeping, public, and in-depth accounting of all plastic that has ever been made in the entire world. The number is so big as to defy human comprehension: 8,300 million metric tons since 1950. Of this, 6,400 million metric tons has outlived its usefulness and become waste; 79 percent of that waste is sitting in landfills or the natural environment, 12 percent has been incinerated, and just 9 percent has been recycled.

•••••

Perhaps the most eye-popping statistic in the study is how quickly plastic production has been accelerating in just this millennium. The world has made as much plastic in the past 13 years it did in the previous half-century.

•••••

It’s worth considering how much the rise of plastic is tied to the rise of oil and gas. Around this time, the United States began using a lot more oil. Oil is easy to make into plastic, and and it is cheap to do so. These economic forces helped create a new category of product: the disposable, single-use plastic packaging.

Packaging is now the largest plastic market, and it’s still tied to fossil fuels. In June, The Wall Street Journal reported on how the United States’ natural gas boom was translating into cheaper plastic pellets. The Dow Chemical Company wants to send its plastic pellet to places like Brazil, where it’s betting that a rising middle class will want the convenience of single-use plastic baby-food containers. Developing countries in South America and Asia account for much of the recent growth in plastics consumption.

These economic forces also govern how plastic gets recycled—or doesn’t. It’s often cheaper just to make virgin plastics, especially if you need plastic of a certain hardness or durability. Plus, there are so many different types of plastics that need to be sorted. “Plastic recycling just suffers from poor economics,” says Geyer.

•••••

46 Republicans Join Dems in Backing Military Study on Climate Change Threat

https://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2017/07/14/46-Republicans-Join-Dems-Backing-Military-Study-Climate-Change-Threat

By Eric Pianin
July 14, 2017

President Trump has been highly dismissive of the long-term threat of climate change, to the point of recently pulling the U.S. out of the Paris international climate change accord. But not so Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis and many other defense experts.

During his Senate confirmation hearing in January, Mattis described global warming as a “driver of instability” requiring a broader, “whole-of-government response.”

So it was significant that the House on Thursday defeated an amendment to national defense authorization legislation that would have blocked a detailed Department of Defense study into the 20-year impacts of climate change on national security and the military.

Like many other current and former military brass and defense experts, Mattis views the effects of climate change and rising sea levels as a grave threat to U.S. military operations and bases around the world. Mattis said in written testimony that it was essential that the military consider how changes like open-water routes in the thawing Arctic and drought in international trouble spots can present challenges for troops and defense planners, as ProPublica reported in March.

“Climate change is impacting stability in areas of the world where our troops are operating today,” Mattis said in a written response to a question posed by a Democratic member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “It is appropriate for the Combatant Commands to incorporate drivers of instability that impact the security environment in their areas into their planning.”

•••••

Indeed, extreme weather patterns and rising sea levels already are posing problems or many military facilities. Military installations on waterfront properties are facing hundreds of floods a year, and in some cases could be mostly under water by 2100, according to a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Globe had 2nd warmest year to date and 3rd warmest June on record, 2017

http://www.noaa.gov/news/globe-had-2nd-warmest-year-to-date-and-3rd-warmest-june-on-record

July 18, 2017

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The average global temperature set in June 2017 was 1.48 degrees F above the 20th-century average of 59.9 degrees, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. This average temperature was the third highest for June in the 1880-2017 record, behind June 2015 (second) and a record-breaking June 2016. June 2017 marks the 41st consecutive June and the 390th consecutive month with temperatures at least nominally above the 20th-century average.

•••••

The average Arctic sea ice extent (coverage) for June was 7.5 percent below the 1981-2010 average, the sixth smallest for the month since satellite records began in 1979. The average Antarctic sea ice extent was 6.3 percent below average, the second smallest on record for June behind 2002.

•••••

The globally averaged land-surface temperature (fourth warmest for the month of June) and the sea-surface temperature (third warmest) ranked second highest on record for the year to date.

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Africa had its warmest June on record; Europe, its second (tied with 2007); South America, its third (tied with 2005); Asia, it’s eighth; North America, its 10th; and Oceania, its 50th (tied with 1927).

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You can find NOAA’s report and download related maps and images by visiting the NCEI website.



U.S. saw 2nd warmest year to date on record and warmer-than-average June

http://www.noaa.gov/news/us-saw-2nd-warmest-year-to-date-on-record-and-warmer-than-average-june

July 7, 2017

•••••

June 2017

Last month, the average contiguous U.S. temperature was 70.3 degrees F, 1.9 degrees above the 20th-century average. June 2017 tied as the 20th warmest June in the 123-year period of record, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. Much-above-average temperatures were observed across the Southwest, while parts of the Southeast, Lower Mississippi Valley and Ohio Valley were cooler than average.

•••••

The year-to-date (YTD, January through June 2017) average temperature was 50.9 degrees F, 3.4 degrees above the 20th-century average. This was the second warmest first-half of the year in the record, 1.2 degrees cooler than 2012. The YTD precipitation total for the Lower 48 states was 17.86 inches, 2.55 inches above average. This ranked as the sixth wettest YTD on record.

•••••

From January to June, the U.S. experienced nine billion-dollar weather and climate disasters, including two floods, a freeze, and six severe storms, collectively causing 57 fatalities. This number trails the record of 10 events set in both 2011 and 2016.

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Find NOAA’s report and download images by visiting the NCEI website.

Police kill more whites than blacks, but minority deaths generate more outrage

Unjustified shooting by police of people of any race is deplorable.

People get their impressions from what the news media, and also their own tribe/group, chooses to report. The news media chooses to play up misbehavior against African-Americans by Caucasians, esp. police, because it's good for the bottom line. It generates a lot of audience to them, which increases ad revenue. It is likely to generate protests, more drama drawing more audience.

And the media serves the power elite, being owned by them and depending on them for ad revenue. The power elite benefits from fostering racial divisions, drawing attention away from problems that affect all of us, reducing the ability for us to work together on those problems.

I'm not saying there is no racism. If you're as old as I am, you know that things have gotten much better, so we can continue to improve in this area if we work together. And you can't do this by demonizing and alienating people because they have light skin.


http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/apr/21/police-kill-more-whites-than-blacks-but-minority-d/?page=all

By Valerie Richardson - The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison says she wants to see an officer shoot an unarmed white teenager in the back before agreeing that the “conversation about race” is over, but she almost certainly already has received her wish.

An analysis released last week shows that more white people died at the hands of law enforcement than those of any other race in the last two years, even as the Justice Department, social-justice groups and media coverage focus on black victims of police force.

•••••

Her comments reflect a widespread view that blacks are routinely targeted by law enforcement while whites shot by police are a rarity. Outrage has surged in recent weeks over the high-profile deaths of black men at the hands of police,

•••••

The officer who shot him, Michael Slager, has been charged with murder, and the Justice Department is investigating the case for civil rights violations.

•••••

Meanwhile, the deaths of whites at the hands of law enforcement typically receive less attention, even when the case is shrouded in controversy. For example, Gilbert Collar, an 18-year-old white student at the University of South Alabama, was shot and killed while naked, unarmed and under the influence of drugs by a black police officer.

The officer, Trevis Austin, was cleared of wrongdoing in 2013 by a Mobile County grand jury in a case that received little media coverage outside Alabama. Mr. Collar’s parents filed a federal lawsuit last year against the officer.

•••••

Adjusted to take into account the racial breakdown of the U.S. population, he said black men are 3.5 times more likely to be killed by police than white men. But also adjusted to take into account the racial breakdown in violent crime, the data actually show that police are less likely to kill black suspects than white ones.

“If one adjusts for the racial disparity in the homicide rate or the rate at which police are feloniously killed, whites are actually more likely to be killed by police than blacks,” said Mr. Moskos, a former Baltimore cop and author of the book “Cop in the Hood.”

“Adjusted for the homicide rate, whites are 1.7 times more likely than blacks die at the hands of police,” he said. “Adjusted for the racial disparity at which police are feloniously killed, whites are 1.3 times more likely than blacks to die at the hands of police.”

•••••

Despite the recent flood of media coverage involving police shootings, Mr. Moskos advised his readers to “keep all this morbidity in perspective,” reminding them that very few people, white or black, will ever be shot or killed by police.

“The odds that any given black man will shoot and kill a police officer in any given year is slim to none, about one in a million. The odds for any given white man? One in four million,” he said. “The odds that a black man will be shot and killed by a police officer is about 1 in 60,000. For a white man those odds are 1 in 200,000.”

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http://investigations.myajc.com/overtheline/#shot-at-home

Shot at home
Calls for help ended in death. Home is where many deadly police shootings occur.

By Brad Schrade, Jeff Ernsthausen and Jennifer Peebles

More than a third of all Georgians fatally shot by law enforcement since 2010 were killed at home, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Channel 2 Action News investigation has found.

In roughly half of the cases, police responded to a call for help or to intervene in a domestic violence case — only to have the incident end with officers killing someone at the residence instead.

•••••

The wrenching details of the Felio case emerged in the most comprehensive examination of police shootings in Georgia to date. As in many states, no agency in Georgia tracks police violence, and little information exists about how often and under what circumstances these shootings occur. Reporters from the AJC and Channel 2 spent months analyzing law enforcement investigative files, medical examiners’ reports, media accounts and other public records to identify at least 166 fatal shootings by police in Georgia from 2010 through the end of June.

One of the clearest patterns identified was the number of Georgians shot by police at their homes or those of family members. At least 65 cases fell into that category, including Felio’s. None of the officers faced charges for the domestic shootings, although prosecutors are still reviewing at least six cases.

The concentration of police shootings at residences contrasts sharply with the narrative of police shootings nationally, which have focused on unarmed black men shot in the street.

The AJC and Channel 2 investigation of 65 citizens shot at home reveals that those police shootings cut across many racial and demographic lines. Forty-one of those shot were white and 21 were black.

•••••

Informative links


Dog caught on video rescuing deer in Long Island Sound
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/dog-caught-video-rescues-drowning-deer-long-island-sound-article-1.3333567


Artificial Sweeteners Don't Help People Lose Weight, Review Finds
http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/07/17/537262142/artificial-sweeteners-dont-help-people-lose-weight-review-finds


Mathematics World Mourns Maryam Mirzakhani, Only Woman to Win Fields Medal
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mathematics-world-mourns-maryam-mirzakhani-only-woman-to-win-fields-medal/


Richard Branson: Donald Trump told me he wanted 'to spend the rest of his life' getting revenge
https://www.aol.com/article/news/2016/10/21/richard-branson-donald-trump-told-me-he-wanted-to-spend-the-re/21589127/

https://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/meeting-donald-trump


Now Eric Trump Is Accused of Stealing From a Cancer Charity
http://www.newsweek.com/now-eric-trump-accused-stealing-cancer-charity-636044


Senate Republicans exempt own health coverage from part of latest proposal
https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/7/13/15966034/senate-republicans-exemption


Trump's tax proposal would push US below Greece on inequality index
https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/jul/17/trump-united-states-tax-reform-plan-greece-commitment-to-reducing-inequality-cri-index

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Informative links


Y2K Everyday?
The corporations that use this work should be paying for it. They are parasites. That's how the CEO's get rich, using other people's work w/o paying for it.
http://www.digitopoly.org/2017/07/14/y2k-everyday/


Russian Trolls Fooled Sanders' Voters with Anti-Clinton Fake News
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bernie-sanders-fake-news-russia_us_58c34d97e4b0ed71826cdb36?ncid=engmodushpmg00000003


The Affordable Care Act's Dependent Care Coverage and Mortality.
The average monthly disease-related mortality rate of the 19-25 years old group fell by between 3.1% and 6.1% in the wake of the dependent care coverage expansion.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28263282


Study found 45,000 deaths annually linked to lack of health coverage before Obamacare
http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2009/09/new-study-finds-45000-deaths-annually-linked-to-lack-of-health-coverage/


Everything is a distraction from something much, much worse
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/opinion/opinion-everything-is-a-distraction-from-something-much-much-worse/ar-BBEmWwY


White House releases sensitive personal information of voters worried about their sensitive personal information
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/07/14/white-house-releases-sensitive-personal-information-of-voters-worried-about-their-sensitive-personal-information/?utm_term=.8d69fac4f111


Today’s Extreme Heat May Become Norm Within a Decade
https://www.msn.com/en-us/weather/topstories/today%e2%80%99s-extreme-heat-may-become-norm-within-a-decade/ar-BBEpp7I


A Death Row Convict’s Final Words Set Two Innocent Men Free
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/a-death-row-convict%e2%80%99s-final-words-set-two-innocent-men-free/ar-BBElWWl


Greenhouse Gases Are Rapidly Changing the Atmosphere
http://www.climatecentral.org/news/greenhouse-gases-atmosphere-21618


Rising Temps Could Bring Flight Delays Worldwide
http://www.climatecentral.org/news/rising-temps-flight-delays-worldwide-21616


From heatwaves to hurricanes, floods to famine: seven climate change hotspots
But the bottom line is that climate hotspots intersect, and nowhere will we escape the changes taking place. What happens in the Amazon affects West Africa; the North American growing season may depend on the melting of Arctic ice; flooding in Asian cities affected by warming on the high Tibetan plateau. And urban areas ultimately depend on the countryside.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/23/from-heatwaves-to-hurricanes-floods-to-famine-seven-climate-change-hotspots


'Flooding of this magnitude has not been seen before'
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-des-plaines-fox-rivers-reach-flood-stage-20170713-story.html


Severe thunderstorms and flooding rainfall will continue to be a threat in parts of the East Friday, continuing a siege that has plagued parts of the Midwest and Northeast much of this week, says weather.com meteorologist Linda Lam.
Earlier in the week, torrential rainfall caused flash flooding from Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, New York and into Massachusetts.
https://weather.com/news/news/storms-midwest-northeast-flash-flooding


Music streamer SoundCloud has cash until fourth quarter after layoffs
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-soundcloud-cash-idUSKBN19Y2NR


Bill Clinton And George W. Bush Bond In Conversation About Leadership
http://www.npr.org/2017/07/13/537143950/bill-clinton-and-george-w-bush-bond-in-conversation-about-leadership

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Longer, Fiercer Fire Seasons the New Normal with Climate Change



By Georgina Gustin
July 11, 2017

Firefighters in the West are starting to see it every year: an earlier start to the fire season and millions of acres of forest and range burned or ablaze as the summer just begins to heat up.

At least 60 large blazes are currently devouring parts of the West, threatening to make 2017 a record-breaking wildfire year and adding to the 3.4 million acres already burned this year. As early as April, wildfires had scorched more than 2 million acres in the United States—nearly the average consumed in entire fire seasons during the 1980s. At least 20 new, large fires have ignited in the West in the last few days, forcing thousands of people from their homes.

"All the wildfires out West at the moment—it's exploding," said Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist in the climate analysis section of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. "It was the same last July, with fires all the way up to Alaska."

Forest ecologists and climate scientists say this is the new normal—what the fire historian Stephen Pyne has called the "pyrocene"—and recent research has solidly linked it to human activity. A study last year found that human-caused climate change had nearly doubled the amount of forest burned in the West since 1984.

"Dry periods are getting drier, and the risk of wildfire is greater as a consequence of climate change," Trenberth said. "There's a tremendous amount of fuel out there waiting for the right conditions. Whatever conditions exists, they're always exacerbated by climate change. There's always that heat variable, the increased risk."

•••••

This year, relief appeared to come with heavy snows over the winter, which built up snowpack in the Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevada, followed by rains this spring. But as temperatures heated up again this spring and summer, that relief may have actually made things worse.

"There are wet times and dry times, but here's the thing: the wet times promote fuel growth, and the dry times increase your vulnerability to fire," said Tim Brown, director of the Western Regional Climate Center in Reno, Nevada. "This year is a great example of that. In the Great Basin [which covers much of the West], that very wet winter caused a tremendous amount of cheatgrass, sagebrush and rabbitbrush. That's all available to burn now."

•••••

In the West, they used to talk about a fire season," Trenberth said. "The fire season used to be 60 days, then 90 days, and now they think it's year-round. There's no pause."

The mountainous West isn't the only area that's becoming increasingly vulnerable. Earlier this year, nearly 1.6 million acres of forest and grassland burned in the Plains and the Southeast, across Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Florida and the Carolinas.

Those blazes came on the heels of an already bad 2016 in the Southeast, where hundreds of thousand of acres burned across Appalachia after an especially dry summer turned forests into kindling. Climate scientists say conditions in the Southeast will likely get worse, largely because forests in that region need more water than those in the West and they're not getting it. Making matters worse, communities in the Southeast usually aren't well equipped to battle blazes and are more densely populated.

The warming atmosphere is only partly to blame. Decades of battling fires has meant that fires have been unable to burn naturally, a process that clears out undergrowth. Left to grow, that undergrowth has become fuel.

•••••

At the same time, populations in the "wildland-urban interface" have grown as development has mushroomed across the country. With millions of dollars of construction and human lives at risk, fire departments are increasingly called on to protect investments in naturally fire-prone areas.

The pressure on the Forest Service to cope with bigger, more dangerous fires, meanwhile, has meant more funding going toward fighting blazes and not enough toward preventing them in the first place.

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