Wednesday, July 11, 2018

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

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

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

Kim LaCapria
Jan 14, 2016

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

Monday, June 18, 2018


Understanding Maslow's Theory of Self-Actualization

Why You Can’t Really Trust Negative Online Reviews
Research suggests that people heed negative reviews more than positive ones — despite their questionable credibility.

Gunman wounds 2, is fatally shot by bystander at Walmart store

Climate Change May Already Be Hitting the Housing Market
Between 2007 and 2017, average home prices in areas facing the lowest risk of flooding, hurricanes and wildfires have far outpaced those with the greatest risk

Sunday, June 17, 2018


Roads Washed Out, Dozens of Sinkholes Reported as Flash Flooding Slams Upper Midwest

On May 17, the US Food and Drug Administration approved Aimovig for the preventive treatment of migraines in adults with episodic or chronic migraines.

Secret VA nursing home ratings hide poor quality care from the public

Giant Hogweed, an invasive plant that can cause third-degree burns and permanent blindness, has been found in Virginia, according to researchers at the Massey Herbarium at Virginia Tech.
So far, there has been just one confirmed sighting of Giant Hogweed — in Clarke County, Virginia, but the dangerous plant also grows in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Oregon, Washington, Michigan, Virginia, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, according to CBS.
The plant can easily be mistaken for other harmless plants, such as Queen Anne’s Lace and Cow Parsnip.

All about 'plogging': The new eco-friendly workout trend

Pittsburgh cartoonist says he was fired after 25 years for making fun of Trump

An insect Armageddon is under way, say many entomologists, the result of a multiple whammy of environmental impacts: pollution, habitat changes, overuse of pesticides, and global warming. And it is a decline that could have crucial consequences. Our creepy crawlies may have unsettling looks but they lie at the foot of a wildlife food chain that makes them vitally important to the makeup and nature of the countryside. They are “the little things that run the world” according to the distinguished Harvard biologist Edward O Wilson, who once observed: “If all humankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed 10,000 years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.”
[I have only seen a few fireflies in my yeard for the past few years. Used to be a lot.]

Friday, June 15, 2018


Trump told 4 lies about the inspector general report in one short Fox News hit

Greater levels of vitamin D associated with decreasing risk of breast cancer
[Too much vitamin D is toxic.]
Except under medical supervision and monitoring, intake of vitamin D3 must not exceed 10,000 IU per day. Blood serum levels exceeding 125 ng/ml have been linked to adverse side effects, such as nausea, constipation, weight loss, heart rhythm problems and kidney damage.

The results of a 23-year, follow-up study presented today at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology (EULAR 2018) suggest early, intensive treatment of rheumatoid arthritis has long-term benefits including the normalisation of mortality to levels consistent with the general population.

Large international study links blood vitamin D levels to colorectal cancer risk
However, risk did not continue to decline at the highest concentrations.

Flavor additives used in electronic cigarettes and related tobacco products could impair blood vessel function and may be an early indicator of heart damage

Teenage girls who regularly binge drink may fail to reach their peak bone mass

In a recent study, scientists at the Department of Cardiology at the University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) have identified an enzyme responsible for aircraft-related vascular damage. The researchers were also able to show that night-time noise has a particularly harmful effect and thus demand that night-time sleep be protected from noise.
Aircraft noise leads to an increased development of cardiovascular diseases in the long term, as a series of precursor studies has now shown unequivocally. In 2013, the research group of Professor Thomas Münzel succeeded in demonstrating that simulated nocturnal noise increases the stress hormone epinephrine, reduces sleep quality, and damages the vascular system, called endothelial dysfunction. Further studies on a newly developed animal model showed last year that aircraft noise leads to a significant increase in stress hormones, a vascular dysfunction, increased oxidative stress, and inflammatory processes in the vessels as well as a marked change in the expression of genes in the vessel wall.

House Republicans propose financial penalties for states that block offshore drilling
[Why do republicans only think states rights are important when it would lead to evil, not to allow states to protect people, the environment, etc.]

Tdap vaccine given during pregnancy reduces occurrence of infant pertussis

Children with eye conditions commonly referred to as lazy eye and crossed eyes were slower at marking answers on multiple-choice answer forms typically used in timed, standardized tests

The effect of portable music players on the hearing of children is unclear. A new study found that about 1 in 7 children (9 to 11 years of age) showed signs of noise-induced hearing impairment, prior to exposure to known noise hazards such as club and concert attendance. Portable music players, used by 40 percent of 2,075 children in the study from the Netherlands, were associated with high-frequency hearing loss. Repeated measurements are needed to confirm this association.

Patients maintain muscle mass 5 years after surgically induced weight loss

. While high saturated fat levels in red meat have long been known to contribute to heart disease for people in general, the new finding suggests that a subgroup of the population may be at heightened risk for a different reason - a food allergen.

The scientists found that linuron, which is used as a pesticicide, impaired the males' fertility, and that tadpoles developed ovaries instead of testicles to a greater extent, which caused a female-biased sex ratio

The American College of Physicians (ACP), together with the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry have filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in the case of Texas vs. the United States. The College strongly opposes a lawsuit that would jeopardize key health care protections patients rely on that were put in place by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
ACP is concerned that this case risks turning back the clock on federal health policy and that it would disregard several vital provisions of the ACA-- making it harder for patients to access care and for physicians to treat them. Should the case move forward, protections for patients with pre-existing conditions would be eliminated; annual and life-time dollar limits on coverage plans could be reinstated, negatively impacting patients who need it the most; and individuals under the age of 26 would no longer be eligible to be covered by their parents' health plans.

study by researchers investigating the 2015 HIV outbreak in Scott County, Indiana, found that a syringe services program is an important tool to control and prevent HIV outbreaks among people who inject drugs in a nonurban area

161 genetic factors for myopia identified
"We have known for some time that education-related behavior is a major environmental factor in developing short-sightedness", said co-author Professor Norbert Pfeiffer, Head of the Department of Ophthalmology at the Mainz University Medical Center. It was unclear which role close-up work during reading plays in the process, or if lack of sunlight is responsible. The new results provide important insights into the underlying biological mechanisms. They also support the most important advice Pfeiffer can give to concerned parents as a preventive measure against myopia: "Send your kids to play outside for two hours every day. And it's not just their eyes that will benefit."

Both quantity and quality of sleep affect cardiovascular risk factors in adolescents

Gum disease may be a key initiator of rheumatoid arthritis related autoimmunity

not only may opioid use increase the risk of bone fractures, but opioids may also impair healing.


Citibank will pay a huge fine for manipulating an important interest rate.
The bank settled with attorneys general in 42 states for $100 million. Following an investigation, the states said Citibank manipulated Libor, a benchmark interest rate that helps set lending rates across the world.
Citibank made millions of dollars of gains from its "fraudulent conduct," the attorneys general said.

Supermassive black hole violently swallows star, and researchers watch

Peggy Whitson, NASA's record-breaking astronaut, announces retirement
She's spent more time off the planet than any other American: 665 days over three space station missions. She's also the world's most experienced female spacewalker, with 10 under her spacesuit belt.


West Antarctic ice melt poses unique threat to U.S.

Antarctica’s ice is melting 3 times faster than in 2007
Antarctica is melting so fast, scientists say, that it will contribute 6 inches to sea-level rise by 2100.

New York’s attorney general filed suit against President Trump and his three eldest children Thursday, alleging “persistently illegal conduct” at the president’s personal charity and saying that Trump had repeatedly misused the nonprofit organization to pay off his businesses’ creditors, to decorate one of his golf clubs and to stage a multimillion-dollar giveaway at 2016 campaign events.

Combining fat and carbs overloads the brain and makes us overeat

According to a recent paper, relaxing land use regulations in the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City could increase the average U.S. worker’s income by almost $9,000 a year and add trillions to the economy.
Economists Chang-Tai Hsieh of the University of Chicago and Enrico Moretti of the University of California, Berkeley argue that U.S. workers are poorer because certain cities use zoning to constrain their housing supply, limiting the number of workers who can share in those cities’ economic success. They conclude that these exclusionary zoning policies lowered the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) by more than 50 percent between 1964 and 200

Disposable wipes – essentially baby wipes designed for adults – have become the scourge of residential and municipal sewer systems around the world.
Nonwoven cloths have been getting stuck in pipes and sewer machinery, creating massive, expensive clogs in New York, Washington DC, San Francisco, Toronto, Sydney, London and many other places for years, sparking lawsuits from cities and consumers.

Human disturbance is turning mammals into night owls, with species becoming more nocturnal when people are around, research has revealed.

A new NASA-led study shows that climate change is likely to intensify extreme weather events known as atmospheric rivers across most of the globe by the end of this century, while slightly reducing their number.
The new study projects atmospheric rivers will be significantly longer and wider than the ones we observe today, leading to more frequent atmospheric river conditions in affected areas.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


The team of biologists surveyed select species around the world to determine how the hues of modern light-emitting diode (LED) lamps affect wildlife. They found that blues and whites are worst while yellow, amber and green are more benign. Some creatures, including sea turtles and insects, are especially vulnerable.

Intensifying river floods could lead to regional production losses worldwide caused by global warming. This might not only hamper local economies around the globe - the effects might also propagate through the global network of trade and supply chains

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C could avoid around 3.3 million cases of dengue fever per year in Latin America and the Caribbean alone

Fires ignited by lightning have and will likely continue to increase across the Mediterranean and temperate regions in the Southern Hemisphere under a warmer climate

Sunny California may be getting too sunny. Increasing summer temperatures brought on by a combination of intensifying urbanization and warming climate are driving off once common low-lying morning clouds in many southern coastal areas of the state, leading to increased risk of wildfires, says a new study.

Changing our lifestyles and the way we travel could have as big - if not more of an impact on CO2 transport emissions, as electric vehicles and the transport technology revolution, according to new Oxford University research.

Hazardous chemicals such as bromine, antimony and lead are finding their way into food-contact items and other everyday products because manufacturers are using recycled electrical equipment as a source of black plastic

The wealthiest areas of the world will experience fewer changes in local climate compared to the poorest regions if global average surface temperatures reach the 1.5°C or 2°C limit set by the Paris agreement, according to new research.

A truck kicking up dust as it speeds down a dirt road is a typical image in country music videos. But this dust from unpaved roads is also an environmental and health hazard. To prevent dust clouds, some states treat dirt motorways with oil and gas wastewater. Now one group reports in Environmental Science & Technology that this wastewater contains harmful pollutants that have the potential to do more harm than good.

Policymakers are being misinformed by the results of economic models that underestimate the future risks of climate change impacts, according to a new journal paper by authors in the United States and the United Kingdom, which is published t4 June 2018.

Plastic nanoparticles - these are tiny pieces of plastic less than 1 micrometre in size - could potentially contaminate food chains, and ultimately affect human health, according to a recent study by scientists from the National University of Singapore (NUS). They discovered that nanoplastics are easily ingested by marine organisms, and they accumulate in the organisms over time, with a risk of being transferred up the food chain, threatening food safety and posing health risks.

What would happen if all petrol and diesel-powered vehicles were removed from a smaller European city? Up to 4% of all premature deaths could be prevented, according to a new study from Lund University in Sweden.

Global warming can be limited to 1.5°C by changing how we travel, heat homes, use devices

Since the 1960s, scientists at the University of Vermont have been documenting the decline of red spruce trees, casualties of the damage caused by acid rain on northeastern forests.
But now, surprising new research shows that red spruce are making a comeback--and that a combination of reduced pollution mandated by the 1990 Amendments to the Clean Air Act and changing climate are behind the resurgence.

Weather-related disasters can make people more religious but it depends on the toll they inflict, suggests new UBC research. If a disaster injures a significant number of people, it can strengthen religiosity among those who are already religious. But if a disaster inflicts mostly economic damage, the opposite effect applies.

A two year project to repeat a famous bird survey by driving over 20, 000km in a 4x4 across Botswana has confirmed researchers' fears: many birds of prey are fast disappearing from one of Africa's last great wilderness areas.
Reported sightings of iconic species of eagle and vulture declined by as much as 80% compared with the previous survey, while some migrant species recorded last time have vanished,

Pollution is changing the fungi that provide mineral nutrients to tree roots, which could explain malnutrition trends in Europe's trees.

Nutrient pollution makes ocean acidification worse for coral reefs

Nutritional quality of fish and squid reduced by warm water events

Some hurricanes are moving more slowly, spending increased time over land and leading to catastrophic local rainfall and flooding, according to a new study published Wednesday (June 6) in the journal Nature.

Consumer food choices can help reduce greenhouse emissions contributing to climate change

After Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in September of 2017, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) began distributing emergency food. An analysis of 10 consecutive days of federal food aid delivered during the aftermath of Hurricane Maria reveals that much of this food exceeded the dietary limits for sodium, added sugars and saturated fats outlined in federal dietary guidelines.

Moderate and extreme temperatures could increase the risk of occupational injuries
Extremes of cold and heat increased the risk of injury by 4% and 9%, respectively.

Ukrainian villages still suffering legacy of Chernobyl more than 30 years on

If no action is taken to reduce the negative impacts on agricultural yields, the researchers estimate that the environmental changes predicted to occur by mid- to end-century in water availability and ozone concentrations would reduce average yields of vegetables and legumes by 35% and 9% respectively. In hot settings such as Southern Europe and large parts of Africa and South Asia, increased air temperatures would reduce average vegetable yields by an estimated 31%.

Which food type is more environmentally costly to produce -- livestock, farmed seafood, or wild-caught fish?
The answer is, it depends. But in general, industrial beef production and farmed catfish are the most taxing on the environment, while small, wild-caught fish and farmed mollusks like oysters, mussels and scallops have the lowest environmental impact, according to a new analysis.

The results show that warmer temperatures by the end of this century will reduce yields of corn/maize throughout the world, confirming previous research. But the study also shows dramatic increases in the variability of corn yields from one year to the next and the likelihood of simultaneous low yields across multiple high-producing regions, which could lead to price hikes and global shortages.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018


The Democratic National Committee (DNC) will no longer accept campaign donations from fossil fuel companies.

One-Third of US Adults May Unknowingly Use Medications that Can Cause Depression
Approximately 15 percent of adults who simultaneously used three or more of these medications experienced depression while taking the drugs, compared with just 5 percent for those not using any of the drugs, 7 percent for those using one medication and 9 percent for those taking two drugs simultaneously.

Last week, in a move that could further gut the Affordable Care Act and threaten the health insurance of 130 million people, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it would not defend the provisions of the law that protect consumers with pre-existing conditions. Cable news barely took notice.

Flooding from high tides has doubled in the US in just 30 years

A group of top Democrats are calling on the Trump administration to present a plan to Congress to combat “massive levels of deprivation and the immense suffering this deprivation causes”, following an excoriating United Nations report into extreme poverty in America.

Ireland will hold a referendum in October to remove the offence of blasphemy from its constitution, Charlie Flanagan, the justice and equality minister, has said.

Beauty blogger mom calls out Kat Von D for anti-vaccine stance with heartwrenching story

Just weeks after passing a new tax on big businesses, Seattle political leaders signaled late Monday they would reverse course and repeal it.
Mayor Jenny Durkan and city council President Bruce Harrell said in statements that they would end the tax, initially meant to combat rising homelessness in a city where housing prices have soared.
[Amazon's leaders have a welfare mentality common to big business. They don't want to pay for the resources they use and the problems they cause.]

Mueller warns that election, politics meddling by foreigners is still happening
[What would be surprising would be if places like Russia were not continuing to meddle.

TransCanada contains West Virginia natgas pipeline blast, no injuries

Frequent use of the ER fell after the Affordable Care Act

1.45 million children's lives saved by HiB and pneumococcal vaccines since 2000

Children of highly critical parents show less attention to emotional facial expressions, according to new research from Binghamton University, State University at New York.
"These findings suggest that children with a critical parent might avoid paying attention to faces expressing any type of emotion," said Kiera James, graduate student of psychology at Binghamton University, and lead author of the paper. "This behavior might affect their relationships with others and could be one reason why children exposed to high levels of criticism are at risk for things like depression and anxiety."

Ingesting honey after swallowing button battery reduces injury and improves outcomes

Sleeping too much or not enough may have bad effects on health

People who smoke or have diabetes may be at increased risk of calcifications in a region of the brain crucial to memory

A new study shows that a fruit and vegetable prescription program can improve access to healthy foods for underserved children. The program, which was implemented in Flint, Michigan, could be replicated in other areas to address food insecurity in children.

A new study shows how veterans with PTSD may benefit physiologically from using service dogs.

New findings from the long-running Whitehall II study of over 10,000 civil servants has found 50-year-olds who had blood pressure that was higher than normal but still below the threshold commonly used when deciding to treat the condition, were at increased risk of developing dementia in later life.

People with higher empathy differ from others in the way their brains process music, according to a study by researchers at Southern Methodist University, Dallas and UCLA.
The researchers found that compared to low empathy people, those with higher empathy process familiar music with greater involvement of the reward system of the brain, as well as in areas responsible for processing social information.

Composition of complex sugars in breast milk may prevent future food allergies

Democrats urge Congress to take action on appalling rates of poverty

Ed Pilkington in New York
Tue 12 Jun 2018 14.52 EDT

Bernie Sanders and a group of top Democrats are calling on the Trump administration to present a plan to Congress to combat “massive levels of deprivation and the immense suffering this deprivation causes”, following an excoriating United Nations report into extreme poverty in America.


The group specifically urges Trump to put the convention on the rights of the child before the Senate for ratification. The US is the only country in the world that has failed to ratify the treaty and the letter writers say “it is shameful that more than 13 million children live in poverty in this country and that, on any given night, more than one in five homeless individuals are children”.


The congressional intervention comes in response to the official report of the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty, Philip Alston, who acts as global watchdog on the human rights implications of deprivation. Following a two-week tour of the US in December that took him to several of the most poverty-stricken parts of the country, he issued a scathing critique of the fact that 40 million Americans live in poverty and more than five million experience levels of absolute deprivation associated with the developing world.


They lament the narrow definition of human rights adopted by the US over successive administrations. Quoting Alston, they say the US “is alone among developed countries in insisting that, while human rights are of fundamental importance, they do not include rights that guard against dying of hunger, dying from a lack of access to affordable healthcare or growing up in a context of total deprivation”.


Giant African baobab trees die suddenly after thousands of years

Please consider donating to The Guardian so they can continue doing investigative reporting w/o a paywall or advertisers who might influence their reporting.

Agence France-Presse
Mon 11 Jun 2018 18.13 EDT
Last modified on Tue 12 Jun 2018 11.50 EDT

Some of Africa’s oldest and biggest baobab trees have abruptly died, wholly or in part, in the past decade, according to researchers.

The trees, aged between 1,100 and 2,500 years and in some cases as wide as a bus is long, may have fallen victim to climate change, the team speculated.

“We report that nine of the 13 oldest … individuals have died, or at least their oldest parts/stems have collapsed and died, over the past 12 years,” they wrote in the scientific journal Nature Plants, describing “an event of an unprecedented magnitude”.

“It is definitely shocking and dramatic to experience during our lifetime the demise of so many trees with millennial ages,” said the study’s co-author Adrian Patrut of the Babeș-Bolyai University in Romania.

Among the nine were four of the largest African baobabs. While the cause of the die-off remains unclear, the researchers “suspect that the demise of monumental baobabs may be associated at least in part with significant modifications of climate conditions that affect southern Africa in particular”.

Further research is needed, said the team from Romania, South Africa and the United States, “to support or refute this supposition”.


Monday, June 11, 2018


CDC: 'Throw away' pre-cut melons after salmonella outbreak

Toddlers in America are eating too much added sugar, and the problem only gets worse as they get older, a new study conducted by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control found.
Extra sugar consumption has been linked to high levels of obesity, cavities, asthma, and risk factors for heart disease later in life. It's also been associated with higher cholesterol levels and elevated blood pressure. Added sugar is especially bad for children, as it sets diet preferences that could lead them to make poor nutritional choices later in life.

During 1999–2016, suicide rates increased significantly in 44 states, with 25 states experiencing increases >30%. Rates increased significantly among males and females in 34 and 43 states, respectively. Fifty-four percent of decedents in 27 states in 2015 did not have a known mental health condition. Among decedents with available information, several circumstances were significantly more likely among those without known mental health conditions than among those with mental health conditions, including relationship problems/loss (45.1% versus 39.6%), life stressors (50.5% versus 47.2%), and recent/impending crises (32.9% versus 26.0%), but these circumstances were common across groups.

Utah suicide rates increase by almost 50 percent, according to recent report

Indiana’s suicide rate increased more than 30 percent from 1999 to 2016

Clinical psychologist Joel Dvoskin Says Suicide Is About Despair, Not Just Mental Health

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Nation’s Hottest May on Record Leaves Dust Bowl in the Dust

Bob Henson · June 6, 2018, 12:42 PM EDT

After one of the coldest Aprils in U.S. history, last month delivered a stunning switch—the warmest May for the contiguous U.S. in records going back to 1895. May came in at 5.21°F above the 20th-century average, which beats out the Dust Bowl month of May 1934 (4.51°F above the 20th-century average). This is the third time in the past three years that a longtime monthly U.S. heat record has been eclipsed: December 2015 toppled a 1939 record, and June 2016 pushed out June 1933.

May’s warmth was remarkably well-distributed around the country. Whereas the nationally chilly April (13th-coldest on record) still had above-average warmth over the western U.S., every one of the Lower 48 states came in well above average for May—a rare feat. A total of 41 states had a top-ten-warmest May, and eight of those states had a record-warm May: Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. The Oklahoma record is especially impressive given that western Oklahoma was near the epicenter of the devastating 1930s Dust Bowl.



Microsoft did something right on their most recent update. A few days ago, it gave a message that there would be a large, time-consuming update, and allowed for it to be postponed. When I turned off my computer, I was given the option of whether to do updates before turning it off. Usually, I had to hibernate when I didn't have time for an update before turning it off. And Windows 10 didn't come with Hibernate as a regular option, I had to buy a book on advanced techniques for Windows 10. And when I got my machine back from Microsoft repair for their lousy speaker, the hibernate option was gone, couldn't get it back on. I had to contact Microsoft and they sent me a command to run, setting the amount of space to use for hibernate. They had obviously disabled it when they had my machine.

Many LGBTQ individuals’ immediate reactions on social media to the Supreme Court’s much-anticipated decision in the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case expressed alarm and fear. While there are reasons to be concerned about ongoing efforts to pit religious freedom against equal rights, the decision is far better than many people thought it might be and contains much that the LGBTQ community should cheer.

Here’s the Email Russian Hackers Used to Try to Break Into State Voting Systems

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday his phone calls with U.S. President Donald Trump and other world leaders were just like sausages: better not explain what’s inside.

Apocalypse Now: Why Believers Grow Stronger when the World Doesn’t End
if we have demonstrated commitment to something or someone — the way the UFO cult members did — we become even more committed and will go so far as to change our ideas to remain consistent with that commitment and avoid any regret or sense of failure related to earlier choices. In other words, if we’ve paid a lot for a bunch of grapes, we will find them sweet — but if someone else gets them first, we will believe they were probably sour anyway.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Sen. Jeff Merkley denied entry into one migrant detention facility, claims he saw kids caged in another

Any adult should know that when some people have such power over others, there will be abuses if there is not very good oversight.
What are the people who run these centers trying to hide?

By Emily Tillett CBS News June 4, 2018, 2:15 PM

Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley tried to visit an immigration detention facility in Texas over the weekend, but was soon denied access into the building. This prompted questions about what's going on behind closed doors at some of the country's detention facilities amid concerns about the separation of children from their parents who have attempted to cross the border illegally.

Merkley live-streamed his arrival at a detention facility run by the Office of Refugee Resettlement in Brownsville, Texas on Sunday, which he said was housing children who had been separated from their families at the border. During Merkley's live stream, the senator introduced himself to guards outside the building, identifying himself as a member of Congress and asking for permission to enter. The windows at the facility appeared to be blacked out.

"I was barred entry," Merkley said. "Asked repeatedly to speak to a supervisor -- he finally came out and said he can't tell us anything. Police were called on us," he added in a tweet.


Merkley's colleague, Sen. Bob Menendez tweeted in response to the senator's story, saying he shared a similar experience in being barred from gaining access to a detention facility. He said that Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen "owes us answers."


And amid uproar over the treatment of children who make it into the U.S. after being forced to part ways with their families, Merkley claimed in his interview with CNN that he witnessed kids in cages at a separate facility in McAllen, Texas.

"When I was at the center at McAllen Border Station, this is the processing center, earlier and I was admitted there and I did see the people, hundreds of children locked up in cages there at that facility," said Merkley, claiming that the federal government was "whitewashing" the challenges of the entrance system.

He added, "They have big cages made out of fencing and then wire and nets stretched across the top of them so people can't climb out of them."


Monday, June 04, 2018


Cancer patients who took antibiotics during immunotherapy treatment lived about half as long as those who avoided the drugs, a new UK study of more than 300 people has found.

A new government report says that the federal black lung trust fund that helps sick and dying coal miners pay living and medical expenses could incur a $15 billion deficit in the next 30 years. That’s if a congressionally mandated funding cut occurs as planned at the end of the year.
The cut in the funding formula comes as NPR has reported and government researchers have confirmed an epidemic of the most advanced stages of black lung, along with unprecedented clusters of the disease in the central Appalachian states of Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.

India slashes heatwave death toll with series of low-cost measures
‘Common sense’ policies such as free water and reflective roof paint save lives as temperatures near 50C (122F)

New internet accounts are Russian ops designed to sway U.S. voters, experts say

Bernie Sanders: Disney needs 'moral defense' for having hungry workers while making billions

Your Food Choices Can Have a Big Climate Impact, So Be Picky, New Study Says
A sweeping study of the food chain, from farm to table, singles out choices that can cut greenhouse gas emissions. The biggest impact: switch to a plant-based diet.

The most widely-used technology for detecting methane leaks from oil and gas operations does not work reliably in extremely cold weather—like on Alaska's North Slope, according to recent research and the industry's own reports.
When the weather hits the extreme lows common around Prudhoe Bay, when the winds whip and the sun dips below the horizon for a few months, the infrared technology required to look for methane leaks isn't always able to find them.

Keeping Global Warming to 1.5 Degrees Could Spare Millions Pain of Dengue Fever

Industries Try to Strip Power from Ohio River's Water Quality Commission

With just over a year in office, Donald Trump has already appointed 21 of America’s 167 current circuit judges and intends to fill an additional 20 or more vacancies by the end of the year. He is far outpacing Barack Obama, whose 21st circuit court nominee was approved 33 months into his presidency amid gridlock in Congress. Seventeen of Trump’s nominees for district courts, most of whom replaced Democratic appointees, have also been approved by the Republican-controlled Senate.

The Scientific Argument for Mastering One Thing at a Time

Saturday, June 02, 2018


America's poor becoming more destitute under Trump: U.N. expert

Sure, Unemployment Went Down - Because More People Left The Workforce

Black employment isn't at an all-time high

Trump is breaking the environment beyond repair

A close aide to Scott Pruitt last year ordered a set of 12 fountain pens that cost the Environmental Protection Agency $1,560, according to agency documents.
Each $130 silver pen bore the agency's seal and Administrator Pruitt's signature, according to the documents, which were obtained by the Sierra Club through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Republican Who Claims Holocaust Was Orchestrated by Gay Nazis Wins Enough Support for Massachusetts Governor Primary
Despite this, he received support from 626 of the more than 2,000 delegates at the Massachusetts Republican Party Convention—almost double the 15 percent required to get on the ballot.
Despite his surprise success, few expect Lively’s campaign to go much further. Baker, who has regularly been voted the country’s most popular governor, still garnered 70 percent of delegates’ support at the convention.

Trump administration officials are making plans to order grid operators to buy electricity from struggling coal and nuclear plants in an effort to extend their life, a move that could represent an unprecedented intervention into U.S. energy markets.
[Socialis/welfare for super-rich fossil fuel executives.]

Whale that died off Thailand had eaten 80 plastic bags

Why Rich Kids Are So Good at the Marshmallow Test
Affluence—not willpower—seems to be what’s behind some kids' capacity to delay gratification.

Colleges Are No Match for American Poverty


FBI to America: Reboot Your Routers, Right Now

2,000 People Evacuated in North Carolina After Alberto Triggers Mudslides and Flooding

6 Things You’re Recycling Wrong
Too many of these items will contaminate a batch of recycling. That means waste managers might not be able to find buyers for the materials — especially now that China, one of the world’s main importers of recyclable waste, has said it will reject shipments that are more than 0.5 percent impure. Contaminated loads could be sent to the landfill instead.

Former Republican House Speaker John Boehner declared Thursday that the Republican Party as he once knew it is gone, replaced by what he called the “Trump party.”

What Kind Of Parent Are You: Carpenter Or Gardener?

Premature Birth Rates Drop in California After Coal and Oil Plants Shut Down

By Sabrina Shankman
May 22, 2018

Shutting down power plants that burn fossil fuels can almost immediately reduce the risk of premature birth in pregnant women living nearby, according to research published Tuesday.

Researchers scrutinized records of more than 57,000 births by mothers who lived close to eight coal- and oil-fired plants across California in the year before the facilities were shut down, and in the year after, when the air was cleaner.

The study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that the rate of premature births dropped from 7 to 5.1 percent after the plants were shuttered, between 2001 and 2011. The most significant declines came among African American and Asian women. Preterm birth can be associated with lifelong health complications.

The results add fresh evidence to a robust body of research on the harmful effects of exposure to air pollution, especially in young children—even before they're born.


In a study that looked at 1,293 mothers and their children in the Boston area, Mueller and his coauthors found that babies who were exposed to higher levels of particulate matter during the third trimester were significantly more likely to have high blood pressure in childhood.

Particulate matter can come from cars and the burning of coal, oil and biomass.


"We all breathe. Even small increases in mortality due to ambient air pollution have a large population health impact," she wrote. "Of course, we need electricity and there are costs and benefits to all energy decisions, but at some point we should recognize that our failure to lower air pollution results in the death and disability of American infants and children."

Wednesday, May 30, 2018


The average American worker takes less vacation time than a medieval peasant

A former sales representative for major drug manufacturer Insys Therapeutics, Inc. has admitted to charges she helped fuel the opioid addiction crisis by bribing doctors to prescribe a potent painkiller, authorities said.

Ivanka Trump Wins China Trademarks, Then Her Father Vows to Save ZTE

The president implied that children were being separated from their parents at the border because of a law enacted by Democrats.
Actually, the policy in question was enacted by his own administration.

Right-Wing Extremists Are a Bigger Threat to America Than ISIS

Why Teachers Are Walking Out

Florida brewery unveils six-pack rings that feed sea turtles rather than kill them

Even republican conspiracy theorists find Trump's accusations that a spy had been “embedded” in the 2016 Trump campaign as part of a secret conspiracy to undermine a presidency and the Constitution to be unfounded.

I notice that many people who support the right of businesses to choose not to hire or serve people because of their shade of skin, sexual orientation, religion, etc., and to punish NFL players for kneeling instead of standing, are mad at ABC for firing Roseanne Barr.

Extreme Inequality Helped Cause Both the Great Depression and the Great Recession

Why economic inequality leads to collapse

How Income Inequality Makes Economic Downturns Worse

Tuesday, May 29, 2018


The weasel voice in journalism

Personality predicts musical preference
[Based on the big five dimensions. I wish they also included the honesty/humility dimension.]

Breitbart staffer recruited Sanders activist Bruce Carter to get African Americans to support the Republican—or stay home.

Harvard study: Black defendants get longer sentences from GOP-appointed judges
under a GOP-appointed judge, a black defendant receives sentences that are, on average, three months longer than from a Democratic-appointed judge.
The study also found that those same judges gave shorter sentences to women by an average of two months compared to “similar males.”

Puerto Rico’s Hurricane Maria Death Toll Could Exceed 4,000, New Study Estimates

EPA used disavowed research to justify putting dirtier trucks on the road
Trump's EPA has tried to justify the move by citing a privately funded study that claimed the trucks did not cause more pollution, but even the university that conducted the research has now cast doubt on the findings.
[Funded by a businessman who stands to gain from allowing dirtier trucks, by a person with no training or experience in the area, at ta location owned by the businessman.]

Newly released emails show senior Environmental Protection Agency officials working closely with a conservative group that dismisses climate change to rally like-minded people for public hearings on science and global warming, counter negative news coverage and tout Administrator Scott Pruitt's stewardship of the agency.
John Konkus, EPA's deputy associate administrator for public affairs, repeatedly reached out to senior staffers at the Heartland Institute, according to the emails.

Premature Birth Rates Drop in California After Coal and Oil Plants Shut Down

Al Bean, Apollo 12 moonwalker, has died

Few large US companies say they'll use tax savings to boost wages, CNBC survey finds

Harley-Davidson workers across the USA are reeling after a new report revealed a plant closure and layoffs were planned as the company expected to reap huge financial benefits from the federal corporate tax cut.
The Milwaukee-based motorcycle manufacturer benefited from the tax cuts enacted Jan. 1, announced cuts of 350 jobs across the company in late January and on Feb. 5 approved a half-cent dividend increase and buyback of up to 15 million shares.


Republicans confirming Trump's court nominees at record pace

Senate GOP used “blue slips” to block Obama judicial nominees, but now wants to trash the practice

McConnell to End Senate’s ‘Blue Slip’ Tradition

Grassley rips up 'blue slip' for a pair of Trump court picks

Senate confirms Trump's 13th Circuit Court judge, disregards 'blue slip' protest

10 Famous Song Titles That Never Appear Lyrically in the Song

As of May 16, YouTube will take additional measures to provide song credit information for more than half a billion of the music videos that are currently available on YouTube’s website.
Entitled “music in this video,” the new feature will be located below the “show more” area underneath a given music video, and will identify all of the contributing artists, from the songwriters to the labels and publishers who represent said songwriters. The information will appear under music that is uploaded to official artist channels, as well as under the YouTube user content that uses recorded music.

5 Things That Can’t Be Copyrighted

'No words to describe the devastation' after Ellicott City flooding in Maryland

In Britain, Austerity Is Changing Everything
After eight years of budget cutting, Britain is looking less like the rest of Europe and more like the United States, with a shrinking welfare state and spreading poverty.

Only a Handful of Birds Survived the Dinosaur Killing Asteroid—Now Scientists Have Worked Out Why

Friday, May 25, 2018


At least 65 people died of heatstroke in Karachi since Saturday as the temperature hit 44 degrees Celsius (111.2 Fahrenheit) on Monday during the Holy month of Ramazan, Edhi confirmed.

If I were running for president, and the FBI had suspicions that some people in my campaign were secretly working for the Russians, I would want and expect the FBI to investigate. I find it very alarming that we have a president who feels otherwise.

The world’s 7.6 billion people represent just 0.01% of all living things, according to the study. Yet since the dawn of civilisation, humanity has caused the loss of 83% of all wild mammals and half of plants, while livestock kept by humans abounds.

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that companies can use arbitration clauses in employment contracts to prohibit workers from banding together to take legal action over workplace issues.
The vote was 5 to 4, with the court’s more conservative justices in the majority. The court’s decision could affect some 25 million employment contracts.

Education Dept. dismantles team focused on fraud at for-profit colleges

General Thinking Tools: 9 Mental Models to Solve Difficult Problems

Facing Trump, a historian appeals to America's soul: 'I think we'll survive'

One of the students killed in the Santa Fe school shooting reportedly turned down romantic advances from Dimitrios Pagourtzis, the suspect in the deaths of 10 people and wounding of at least another 10.

How the "Global Cooling" Story Came to Be

Sunday, May 20, 2018


Michael Stoker, best known for coining the "lock her up" chant against presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at the 2016 Republican National Convention, will soon head the EPA's regional office that oversees the Pacific Southwest.

Trump’s aides defend civil service pay freeze and retirement cuts, but raise unanswered questions
May 10, 2018
[How long will it be before we are told that immigrants are necessary to fill positions in civil service because Americans won't take these jobs?]

Like everything else, Congress is underfunding the Social Security Administration
Jan. 19, 2018

Senators, watchdog hit Social Security over closed offices and poor service
May 15, 2018
[Congress underfunds them, then criticizes them for the predictable results. Conservatives are parasite, not wanting to pay for services they expect. ]

Fake Facebook accounts and online lies multiply in hours after Santa Fe school shooting

The FBI didn’t use an informant to go after Trump. They used one to protect him.

At least 15 People killed as cyclone Sagar hits the coast of Somaliland
Tropical cyclones moving from the Arabian Sea into the Gulf of Aden aren’t rare.
However, few tropical cyclones have penetrated the western Gulf of Aden in the satellite era.

Tropical Cyclone 1A, which developed late Wednesday between Yemen and Somalia, could become one of the first tropical storms on record to cross the entire Gulf of Aden—perhaps affecting even the tiny nation of Djibouti, where tropical cyclones are virtually unknown. TD 1A was named Cyclonic Storm Sagar by the Indian Meteorological Department, the agency with primary responsibility for tropical cyclone forecasting in the North Indian Ocean, including the Arabian Sea.

NHC Track Forecasts Were Best Ever in 2017; No Improvement in Intensity Forecasts

April 2018: Earth's 3rd Warmest April on Record
[Since the U.S. was colder than average, the rest of the globe was even higher than the average for the globe.]


Windows Essentials, including Windows Movie Maker, are no longer available from Microsoft. But someone posted the links to the archived version in the Microsoft community. A Microsoft agent left a comment thanking them for the info. I have a project that I made with Movie Maker and I want to be able to maintain it, so I was very happy to find this.

Starbucks Says Anyone Can Now Sit In Its Cafes — Even Without Buying Anything
[Which means more work for the low-wage employees in the same amount of time.]

Tax cut sparks record-setting $178 billion buyback boom

A D.C.-area doctor was sentenced to three years in prison for slipping an abortion pill into his pregnant ex-girlfriend’s drink, causing her to miscarry
The Washington Post was unable to reach Fiske Saturday, but WJLA reported that she didn’t want her ex-boyfriend to serve a long prison sentence.

Some countries have as high or higher rate of gun ownership than the U.S., but far lower rate of violence.

Iceland is awash in guns, yet it has one of the lowest violent crime rates in the world.

Country - Firearms per 100 people - Firearm homicides per 100,000 - Percent of homicides by guns
Iceland - 30.3 - 0 - 0
Germany - 30.3 - 0.19 - 26.3
Austria - 30.4 - 0.22 - 29.5
Canada - 30.8 - 0.51 - 32
France - 31.2 - 0.25 - 9.6
Norway - 31.3 - 2 - 8.1
Sweden - 31.6 - 0.41 - 33.9
Finland - 45.3 - 0.45 - 19.8
Switzerland - 45.7 - 0.77 - 72.2
United States - 88.8 - 3.21 - 67.5

Parents in the U.S. are more willing to increase the chances that their children will commit suicide or violence, or be a victim of violence, than give up the gratification of being able to take out their anger and frustrations on their children.

There is also robust evidence of an increased incidence of aggression among children who are regularly spanked. A 2002 meta-analysis of 27 studies across time periods, countries, and ages found a persistent association: children who are spanked regularly are more likely to be aggressive, both as a child and as an adult.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Risks of Harm from Spanking Confirmed by Analysis of Five Decades of Research

April 25, 2016

The more children are spanked, the more likely they are to defy their parents and to experience increased anti-social behavior, aggression, mental health problems and cognitive difficulties, according to a new meta-analysis of 50 years of research on spanking by experts at The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Michigan.

The study, published in this month’s Journal of Family Psychology, looks at five decades of research involving over 160,000 children. The researchers say it is the most complete analysis to date of the outcomes associated with spanking, and more specific to the effects of spanking alone than previous papers, which included other types of physical punishment in their analyses.

“Our analysis focuses on what most Americans would recognize as spanking and not on potentially abusive behaviors,” says Elizabeth Gershoff, an associate professor of human development and family sciences at The University of Texas at Austin. “We found that spanking was associated with unintended detrimental outcomes and was not associated with more immediate or long-term compliance, which are parents’ intended outcomes when they discipline their children.”

Gershoff and co-author Andrew Grogan-Kaylor, an associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work, found that spanking (defined as an open-handed hit on the behind or extremities) was significantly linked with 13 of the 17 outcomes they examined, all in the direction of detrimental outcomes.


Gershoff and Grogan-Kaylor tested for some long-term effects among adults who were spanked as children. The more they were spanked, the more likely they were to exhibit anti-social behavior and to experience mental health problems. They were also more likely to support physical punishment for their own children, which highlights one of the key ways that attitudes toward physical punishment are passed from generation to generation.

The researchers looked at a wide range of studies and noted that spanking was associated with negative outcomes consistently and across all types of studies, including those using the strongest methodologies such as longitudinal or experimental designs.


Both spanking and physical abuse were associated with the same detrimental child outcomes in the same direction and nearly the same strength.

“We as a society think of spanking and physical abuse as distinct behaviors,” she says. “Yet our research shows that spanking is linked with the same negative child outcomes as abuse, just to a slightly lesser degree.”


Spanking and crime rates


Christian Pfeiffer, the director of the Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony in Hanover.

Mr Pfeiffer has found a correlation between declining rates of children being spanked (or otherwise punished physically) and subsequent decreases in violent crime. In Germany, for example, it used to be common until well into the last century to discipline kids in this way. Not doing so almost amounted to being negligent. But then parents and teachers gradually stopped beating children.


People who as children experienced the “powerlessness” of frequent spankings report a disproportionately greater interest later in life to own guns, Mr Pfeiffer says. They also demand more draconian prison sentences, including the death penalty, for convicted criminals. And they seem more prone to violence themselves. In a study of 45,000 ninth-graders Mr Pfeiffer conducted in 2007-08, those kids who had been beaten by their parents were five times as likely to commit repeated crimes or to use cannabis, and missed school four times more frequently for ten days a year or more.

Scandinavian countries, in part inspired by the children’s books of Astrid Lindgren, the author of the popular Pippi Longstocking (pictured) series, were the first to make spanking illegal for teachers in the 1950s and 60s. Between 1979 und 1983, they also outlawed spanking by parents. Crime rates, gun ownership and prison populations have been falling since.

By contrast, spanking is still common in large parts of America, especially in the Evangelical milieus of Southern states. This is also where crime remains relatively high, gun ownership common, and incarceration excessive. (America’s incarceration rate is between eight to ten times that of northern European countries.)

Within Europe, countries like Germany followed the Scandinavian example with a law against spanking in 2000, while others, like Britain, fall somewhere between Europe and America (as so often). Again, Mr Pfeiffer notices the expected correlations with crime and punishment.


Two studies in 2010 showed that only 15% of American children are raised by their parents without any physical violence at all. To Mr Pfeiffer, this is one (of admittedly several and complex) factors, that explain why Americans own more guns, commit more crime and punish more severely than western Europeans. The conclusion, suggests Mr Pfeiffer, is that everybody, including Americans, should try raising kids with what he calls “Liebe statt Hiebe” (love instead of beatings).