Thursday, August 31, 2017

We need manual labor

Recently I saw a comment by someone said farm workers shouldn't be paid a decent wage because it is "manual labor". I pointed out that raising and harvesting food is necessary for us to live. And a lot of manual labor is needed to rescue people from a natural disaster, provide clean water, clean up the mess, build and repair homes, provide electricity and other power, etc.


Wells Fargo: Nearly twice as many potentially fake accounts than originally thought

The Multi-headed Hydra of Prejudice

Obese people lack cells with satiety hormones

Virus that causes mono may increase risk of MS for multiple races

Breastfeeding reduces risk of endometriosis diagnosis

Researchers raise health concerns about off-road vehicles and inhalation of asbestos

Profitable cooperation: Ants protect and fertilize plants

Computer woes - hibernate fixed.

I am really mad. I can no longer hibernate my laptop. I had found out how to implement this. When I went to close down yesterday to go to a meeting, I didn't have time to wait for updates, and had to make it Sleep, which uses battery power. In some circumstances, like if I had to evacuate during an emergency, this would have been a really big problem. I suspect it was from a Windows 10 update, unless it was something Dell did when they had it to replace their defective speaker.

It is also not environmental friendly to force the computer to use power when I'm not using it.


Dell told me how to get hibernate back.
At the command prompt, type:

powercfg /h /type full

It should return a message like:

The hiberfile size has been set to: 1659109376 bytes.

If I have problems having enough system memory available to run what I need, I now know what to look for to adjust the hiberfile size.

Mexico's Red Cross delivers aid to storm-ravaged Houston

Aug. 30, 2017

Mexico’s Red Cross sent an envoy of volunteers to storm-devastated Houston on Wednesday, hours after Texas governor Greg Abbott said the state accepted an offer of aid from the Mexican government, including vehicles, boats, supplies and food.


The support from Mexico’s Red Cross, a non-government agency, is separate from the official aid offer.

The convoy of 33 English-speaking volunteers left from Mexico City for Texas, where they plan to work in Houston shelters for 20 days before being replaced by a fresh crop of volunteers.


The Mexican government has not yet said when its aid will arrive, but has suggested they are willing to repeat an aid mission to Hurricane Katrina-ravaged New Orleans in 2005, when the Mexican army sent 200 troops with food, water and medicine.

It was the first Mexican military operation on U.S. soil in 90 years.

Now we have a moral duty to talk about climate change

I suggest reading the whole article.

By Mark Lynas
Aug. 31, 2017

This is what climate change looks like. Entire metropolitan areas -- Houston in the United States and Mumbai in India -- submerged in catastrophic floods.

Record-breaking rainfall: Harvey's 50-plus inches of torrential deluge set a new national tropical cyclone rain record for the continental United States.

They used to make Hollywood disaster movies about this sort of thing. Now it's just the news.

Officials as senior as Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Donald Trump, have suggested that now -- during a natural disaster -- is not the time to raise the divisive and highly politicized issue of global warming. But if not now, when? After the waters subside, the news crews pack up, and the long task of rebuilding begins, the world's attention inevitably moves on.

Watching Trump tour the flooded areas, I was reminded of his Rose Garden press conference less than three months ago announcing the US withdrawal from the Paris climate treaty. In that act of wanton international vandalism, Trump was helping condemn millions more people to the threat of intensified extreme events in future decades.

It is not politically opportunistic to raise this issue now. Instead we have a moral duty not to accept the attempted conspiracy of silence imposed by powerful political and business interests opposed to any reduction in the use of fossil fuels. We owe this to the people of Texas as much to those of Bangladesh and India, and Niger -- which was also struck by disastrous flooding this week.

Climate disasters demonstrate our collective humanity and interdependence. We have to help each other out -- in the short term by saving lives and in the longer term by cutting greenhouse gases and enhancing resilience, especially in developing countries.

No, of course climate change did not "cause" Harvey in any singular sense. Nor does smoking definitively "cause" any individual case of lung cancer. Smoking increases the risk of cancer, just as increased global warming increases the risk of extreme rainfall events.

This is not scientifically controversial. There is a straightforward physical relationship between a warming atmosphere and extreme rainfall potential.

Hotter air can hold more water vapor. And hotter water can provide the fuel for more intense tropical storms.
Yes, the vagaries of the weather played a part. Harvey stalled close enough to the Texas coast to continue drawing in tropical air from the Gulf of Mexico that was supercharged with moisture.

But the climate change fingerprint is undeniable, too. Sea surface temperatures across the Gulf on August 23, just before Harvey made landfall in Texas, were ominously warm, 1.5 to 4 degrees Celsius (2.7 to 7.2 F) hotter than the average of a few decades ago. These warm waters helped Harvey develop from a mere tropical depression to a Category 4 hurricane in just 48 hours.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Links and comments

Presidential Pardons Might Not End Russia Prosecutions

Cherokee Nation Assists in Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts

Trump Halting Equal Pay Measure 'A Blatant Attack On Women,' Activists Say

Winter Park-based Tampa professor fired after Hurricane Harvey 'karma' tweet
[Conservatives complain about political correctness from liberals, but they are at least as bad.]

Where Harvey is hitting hardest, 80 percent lack flood insurance

Space station video of Harvey can't be processed due to storm

Harvey in Houston: Most Extreme Rains Ever For a Major U.S. City

Will the "Comeuppance Caucus" get help for Harvey?

Doctors thought she was psychotic, but her body was attacking her brain

Here’s How Climate Change is a ‘Death Sentence’ in Afghanistan’s Highlands

Tree-Killing Beetles Spread into Northern U.S. Forests as Temperatures Rise

Trump Punishes Longtime Aide After Angry Phoenix Speech, Sources Say

TV and social media coverage showed that the site of his campaign rally, the Phoenix Convention Center, was less than full.
As his surrogates warmed up the audience, the expanse of shiny concrete eventually filled in with cheering Trump fans.

More Than 1,000 Died in South Asia Floods This Summer
The executives at fossil fuel companies and the politicians they pay off to manipulate people to ignore global warming for the sake of their own profits are mass murderers.

Fort Benning Drill Sergeants Suspended for Alleged Sexual Misconduct

Consistency is key for weight loss, study says

Civilians and strangers become heroes for Harvey victims

‘The windscreen phenomenon’ - why your car is no longer covered in dead insects

US man, allegedly stabbed for looking like neo-Nazi, actually stabbed himself

Dogs stick with sheep through wildfire

Energy Dept. Asks Scientists to Remove 'Climate Change' from Grant Proposal

An Unlikely Hurricane Hero Takes Over Chaotic Texas Storm Shelter

Death toll from floods in India, Bangladesh and Nepal crosses 1,200

The Pardon of Joe Arpaio

Trump Administration Abruptly Cuts Funding to Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs

Did Russians Target Democratic Voters, With Kushner’s Help?

Homeless Man Sleeps Outside Animal Shelter In Hopes Of Finding His Lost Dog

New study finds that climate change costs will hit Trump country hardest

Infrastructure Advisers Quit, Say Trump’s Actions Threaten Homeland Security

Man exonerated after 25 years seeks millions from Detroit
A Detroit man who served 25 years in prison for murder based on sham evidence has filed a lawsuit seeking more than $100 million, saying police deliberately framed him by switching bullets to win a conviction.

‘X’ Marks the Spot Where Inequality Took Root: Dig Here
In the mid-70’s, we traded in our post-World War II social contract for a new one, where “greed is good.” In the new moral narrative I can succeed at your expense. I will take a bigger piece of a smaller pie. Our new heroes are billionaires, hedge fund managers, and CEO’s.

Man Shaken After He's Viciously Stabbed Over Haircut Similar to Neo-Nazis

Judge Rules Girls in ‘Slender Man’ Case to Be Tried as Adults

This judge is sick and depraved. How do these 13 year old actions and beliefs make them adults? Is killing someone adult? Is believing in a make believe character adult? What is wrong with a society that judges children more harshly than adults?

If 13 year olds are adult, shouldn't they be able to vote, write contracts, marry, get credit cards, be drafted, etc.?

Aja Romano—
Aug 10, 2015 at 4:33PM | Last updated Mar 8, 2017


Now a Wisconsin judge has upheld a previous ruling determining that the two girls, now 13, are fit to stand trial for the crime as adults.


In upholding the earlier ruling, Waukesha County Circuit Judge Michael Bohren also upheld a previous decision,


Chris Christie: ‘Reprehensible Lies’ From ‘Disgraceful’ Cruz on Storm Aid

by Dartunorro Clark
Aug. 30, 2017

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz voted against Hurricane Sandy relief in 2013, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is not letting him — or anyone else — forget it.

As deadly storm Harvey continues to overwhelm cities along the Lone Star State's gulf coast and lawmakers push for federal funds, Christie said Wednesday that the junior Texas senator was "crap" for claiming to have supported aid for the Garden State despite his no vote.

"Dead wrong," Christie said of Cruz's claims in an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Wednesday, before calling the senator "disgraceful."

"I see Senator Cruz and it’s disgusting to me that he stands in a recovery center with victims standing behind him as a backdrop and he’s still repeating the same reprehensible lies about what happened in Sandy … and I’m not going to let him get away with it,” Christie added on CNN.


Without Borders: Mexico Sends Convoy to Help Hurricane Victims in Houston

by Levi Rickert / Currents / 29 Aug 2017

The Mexican government may not be willing to pay for Trump’s border wall, but they are putting their money to good use this week.Even with the frayed relations between the United States and Mexico brought on by the Trump administration, the Mexican government is coming to the aid of those negatively impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

And, despite Donald Trump saying as he annonced his candidacy for president that Mexico only sends their worst, a Mexican Marine convoy of good individuals is coming!

Houston Is Drowning—In Its Freedom From Regulations

They value their freedom, but now expect others to help them.

By Steve Russell On 8/28/17

We do value our freedom here in Texas. As I write from soggy Central Texas, the cable news is showing people floating down Buffalo Bayou on their principles, proud residents of the largest city in these United States that did not grow in accordance with zoning ordinances.

The feeling there was that persons who own real estate should be free to develop it as they wish. Houston, also known as the Bayou City, is a great location because of its access to international shipping in the Gulf of Mexico. It is not a great location for building, though, because of all its impervious cover. If water could easily sink into the ground, there would be less of it ripping down Houston’s rivers that just a week ago were overcrowded streets.

In less-free cities, the jackbooted thugs in the zoning department impose limits on the amount of impervious cover in a development. Some of the limits can be finessed by lining parking lots with bricks turned sideways, so grass can be planted in the holes.


As I write this, Hurricane Harvey is ambling off toward Louisiana, taking with him the high winds and the danger of storm surges but leaving rain and more rain. Critics in the cheap seats are complaining that Houston issued no mandatory evacuation order. That would only occur to somebody who has never sat in the parking lot that Loop 610 becomes at least twice a day when people are just going to and from work.

Putting the entire population on the roads at the same time, roads that are prone to flash floods when rains are nowhere near these historic levels, would mean not just inconvenience but fatalities. There would be at least as many rescues to be done as there are now, but they would be more dangerous rescues.


Houston was built without regard for the carrying capacity of its roads, just as it was built without regulating the amount of impervious cover that would be shedding water into streets, storm sewers, rivers and Buffalo Bayou.

Texans do value their freedom.

Before Hurricane Harvey, Trump canceled coastal flood protections

By Shaye Wolf, opinion contributor - 08/30/17


Hurricane Harvey has unleashed heart-breaking devastation in South Texas. But the troubling truth is that even more damage is in store in the years ahead as climate change worsens — and our federal government is now on track to be less prepared.

ust days before authorities began warning Gulf Coast residents to get ready for Harvey’s devastating storm surges and catastrophic flooding, President Trump was sending America’s coastal communities a dangerously different message.

With hurricane season looming, Trump rescinded a life-saving Obama-era rule that required federally funded infrastructure like schools, housing, and highways to be better able to withstand flood damage.

Why would the new administration increase risks for coastal residents from future storms? Because the rule Trump rescinded is based on scientists’ warnings that manmade global warming is driving up sea levels and increasing flood risk — and the current occupant of the White House rejects climate science in the most reckless way imaginable.

Indeed, Trump has spent his brief time in office making our communities more vulnerable to disasters like Harvey through a cascade of executive orders, proposed budget cuts and failures to fill key posts in federal safety and scientific agencies.

In March, for instance, Trump revoked a rule calling on federal agencies to help state and local governments prepare for and cope with natural disasters being made worse by climate change. And he has pushed steep budget cuts to programs that provide Americans with early storm warnings and disaster relief.

These moves might not seem surprising from an administration full of officials linked to the oil industry and, not coincidentally, determined to deny or obscure the most basic facts about global warming. Scott Pruitt, the new EPA administrator, has even denied that carbon pollution is the primary driver of climate change.

But Harvey offers Americans a terrifying preview of the damage such denial will do to our coastal communities.

The truth is that Harvey was fed by climate change. As our planet heats up, rising sea levels make storm surge more dangerous and increased water vapor in the atmosphere drives up flood risks.

One study found that extreme storm-surge events of Hurricane Katrina magnitude have already doubled in response to warming. These massive walls of water could become up to seven times more frequent in the coming decades.


When should we address the problem of global warming?

Heard a Texas official on the radio asked about his support of leaving the Paris climate accord. He said now was not the time to talk about whether global warming has made Harvey worse. I disagree. Not for the purpose of indulging our attack impulses, but because this is the time when people care about what's happening. When things go back to normal, many people will put go back to ignoring the problem, and if they think about it, feel that other things have higher priorities at the moment. Of course, when one has been warning about a problem for decades, seeing it ignored, it is very frustrating to see avoidable tragedy happen.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Will hurricane Harvey and Kansas flooding affect voters?

I wonder how many people are losing their birth certificates and other documentation needed to vote in some places.

As Harvey's waters rise, so do panic levels, rescuer says

Crisis brings out both good and bad in people.

By Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN
Updated 5:24 PM ET, Mon August 28, 2017

As Harvey continues dumping rain on East Texas and the waters there continue to rise, people are starting to panic, rushing rescue boats and even shooting at them if they don't stop, said one volunteer rescuer.

Clyde Cain, of the Cajun Navy, a Louisiana-based rescue force that gained fame during Hurricane Katrina, said in one instance, a boat broke down, and while the crew sought shelter in a delivery truck, people tried to steal the inoperable boat.

"They're making it difficult for us to rescue them," he said. "You have people rushing the boat. Everyone wants to get in at the same time. They're panicking. Water is rising."

Because of the hostile responses, the Cajun Navy has been forced to halt some rescue attempts, Cain said.

"We have boats being shot at if we're not picking everybody up. We're having to pull out for a minute. We're dropping an air boat right now to go rescue a couple of our boats that broke, and they're kind of under attack," he said.


Trump reversed regulations to protect infrastructure against flooding just days before Hurricane Harvey

Eliza Relman
Aug. 28, 2017

Just 10 days before Hurricane Harvey descended upon Texas on Friday, wreaking havoc and widespread flooding, President Donald Trump signed an executive order revoking a set of regulations that would have made federally-funded infrastructure less vulnerable to flooding.

The Obama-era rules, which had not yet gone into effect, would have required the federal government to take into account the risk of flooding and sea-level rise as a result of climate change when constructing new infrastructure and rebuilding after disasters.

Experts are predicting Harvey — the most powerful storm to hit the US since 2004 — will cost Texas between $30 billion and $100 billion in damage.

And in the coming days, Congress will be called upon to send billions of federal dollars to help with the state's recovery and rebuilding efforts.

But because of Trump's rollback of Obama's Federal Flood Risk Management Standards, experts across the political spectrum say much of the federal money sent to Texas will likely be wasted on construction that will be insufficiently protected from the next storm.

"We will rebuild things that should not be rebuilt and ... in ways that are less safe and secure than they should be," Eli Lehrer, president of the DC free-market think tank R Street Institute, told Business Insider.


Mexico offers to help Harvey-soaked Texas

Written by Alfredo Corchado, Border-Mexico correspondent
Aug. 28, 2017

The Mexican government expressed its solidarity Sunday with the United States following the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey and offered assistance to Texas.

Mexico offered to help Texas deal with the disaster, "as good neighbors should always do in trying times."

On Sunday evening, Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott spoke by telephone.

Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez, the Mexican consul general in Austin, said he has been in constant communication with the governor's office to determine how Mexico can best help.

"As we have done in the past, Mexico stands with Texas in this difficult moment," Gonzalez said.

Mexico is prepared for a Katrina-like assistance package, officials said.

"The offer for help and collaboration acknowledges a reality," said Francisco de la Torre Galindo, Mexican consul general in Dallas. "We live in the same neighborhood called North America. We can't be distant neighbors, not any more, not ever."

Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Mexico, under President Vicente Fox, sent troops and a vessel filled with food, medicine and water to aid New Orleans. For weeks, soldiers prepared food for tens of thousands of victims and distributed medical supplies and portable water. President George W. Bush met with Mexican Marines to thank them.

The latest offer from Mexico to help Texas comes after President Donald Trump took to Twitter Sunday, insisting it will pay for a border wall.


Mexico saved American lives after Katrina. Will Trump accept its aid after Harvey?

By Max Bearak August 28


For many Americans, Harvey is bringing back memories of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Nearly 2,000 people died in the aftermath of that storm. The U.S. government and Federal Emergency Management Agency's response to Katrina was widely criticized, but Americans came together to offer housing, clothing, meals and monetary help to the affected. President George W. Bush even accepted a huge offer of aid from Mexico.

The aid Mexico sent was no small thing — it was an extraordinary gesture, and it may have saved many lives. Marking the first time that Mexican troops had set foot on U.S. soil since the Mexican-American War in 1846, President Vicente Fox sent an army convoy and a naval vessel laden with food, water and medicine. By the end of their three-week operation in Louisiana and Mississippi, the Mexicans had served 170,000 meals, helped distribute more than 184,000 tons of supplies and conducted more than 500 medical consultations.

“Mexico and the United States are nations which are neighbors and friends which should always have solidarity in moments of difficulty,” Fox told NBC News at the time.


It's a fact: climate change made Hurricane Harvey more deadly

I suggest reading the whole article.

Michael E Mann
Aug. 28, 2017

What can we say about the role of climate change in the unprecedented disaster that is unfolding in Houston with Hurricane Harvey? There are certain climate change-related factors that we can, with great confidence, say worsened the flooding.
What we know so far about tropical storm Harvey
Read more

Sea level rise attributable to climate change – some of which is due to coastal subsidence caused by human disturbance such as oil drilling – is more than half a foot (15cm) over the past few decades (see here for a decent discussion). That means the storm surge was half a foot higher than it would have been just decades ago, meaning far more flooding and destruction.

In addition to that, sea surface temperatures in the region have risen about 0.5C (close to 1F) over the past few decades from roughly 30C (86F) to 30.5C (87F), which contributed to the very warm sea surface temperatures (30.5-31C, or 87-88F).

There is a simple thermodynamic relationship known as the Clausius-Clapeyron equation that tells us there is a roughly 3% increase in average atmospheric moisture content for each 0.5C of warming. Sea surface temperatures in the area where Harvey intensified were 0.5-1C warmer than current-day average temperatures, which translates to 1-1.5C warmer than “average” temperatures a few decades ago. That means 3-5% more moisture in the atmosphere.


Harvey was almost certainly more intense than it would have been in the absence of human-caused warming, which means stronger winds, more wind damage and a larger storm surge. (As an example of how this works, we have shown that climate change has led to a dramatic increase in storm surge risk in New York City, making devastating events like Hurricane Sandy more likely.)

Finally, the more tenuous but potentially relevant climate factors: part of what has made Harvey such a devastating storm is the way it has stalled near the coast. It continues to pummel Houston and surrounding regions with a seemingly endless deluge, which will likely top out at nearly 4ft (1.22m) of rainfall over a days-long period before it is done.

The stalling is due to very weak prevailing winds, which are failing to steer the storm off to sea, allowing it to spin around and wobble back and forth. This pattern, in turn, is associated with a greatly expanded subtropical high pressure system over much of the US at the moment, with the jet stream pushed well to the north. This pattern of subtropical expansion is predicted in model simulations of human-caused climate change.

More tenuous, but possibly relevant still, is the fact that very persistent, nearly “stationary” summer weather patterns of this sort, where weather anomalies (both high-pressure dry hot regions and low-pressure stormy/rainy regions) stay locked in place for many days at a time, appears to be favoured by human-caused climate change. We recently published a paper in the academic journal Nature on this phenomenon.


In conclusion, while we cannot say climate change “caused” Hurricane Harvey (that is an ill-posed question), we can say is that it exacerbated several characteristics of the storm in a way that greatly increased the risk of damage and loss of life. Climate change worsened the impact of Hurricane Harvey.

More than 20 Texas representatives and senators voted against Sandy aid. How will they vote on Harvey?

Typical conservative/libertarians, not wanting to help those outside their own tribe, but expecting others to help them. I have experienced this on a personal level as well as observing it in the larger sphere.

Michael Hiltzik
Aug. 28, 2017

The art of compromise, otherwise known as you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours, has all but disappeared from the halls of Congress in recent years. And that may put more than 20 members of the Texas congressional delegation in a bind when relief for the victims of Hurricane Harvey comes up for a vote.

The representatives, and Republican Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, all voted against a $50.5-billion relief package for victims of 2012’s Superstorm Sandy when it came before them in January 2013. (The measure passed anyway.) Although the shape and size of a relief package for victims of Harvey won’t emerge for at least several months, it’s clear that a big one will be needed. Damage estimates from the storm still pummeling the Gulf Coast around Houston have reached $40 billion, and are likely to rise.

Texas lawmakers haven’t yet been asked how they will vote on the inevitable package. But on Friday, even before Harvey’s landfall, Cruz and Cornyn sent a letter to President Trump asking him for a major disaster declaration. Trump issued the declaration that evening.


On Saturday, the New York Daily News was quick to underscore the irony in Cruz and Cornyn scurrying to secure emergency assistance for their home state after voting against Sandy relief. “The devastation of Hurricane Harvey has two-faced Texas politicians looking for the same sort of relief funding they flatly opposed five years ago,” the newspaper reported.

Of the 24 GOP members of the Texas House delegation in 2013, all but one voted against the Sandy relief package in 2013. The one “yea” vote was Rep. John Culberson, whose district includes Houston. But seven other Houston-area congressmen voted the package down. All 12 Democratic members of the delegation voted in favor of Sandy relief with the exception of Sheila Jackson Lee, who represents central Houston and didn’t cast a vote. Three Republicans and two Democrats in office at the time of the vote are no longer serving in Congress.


Others demanded that every dollar spent on Sandy relief be balanced by a dollar cut somewhere else in the federal budget. As I wrote last year, when Louisiana congressmen who voted against Sandy were tasked with securing relief for victims of Hurricane Matthew, this position elevated the ideology of the balanced budget to an article of faith. Notably, the lawmakers insisting on a one-for-one trade-off against Sandy aid were never specific about where the cuts should come from.


A second ideology undergirding hostility to Sandy aid was climate change denial; virtually every lawmaker who voted against the package had also denied or expressed extreme skepticism about climate change, even though it may well have magnified the impact of of the storm on low-lying districts, and may well have contributed to the devastating potency of Hurricane Harvey. As I reported then, tying climate change to specific weather events is difficult, but climatologists say that among the likely consequences of climate change is an increase in the frequency of Category 4 and 5 storms like Matthew and Harvey.

The biggest factor influencing the Sandy vote, however, may have been the disappearance of bipartisan comity from the halls of Congress. The process may be denigrated as “logrolling,” but the idea that every legislator is going to need something from his or her colleagues at one point or another is ingrained in history. When a Mississippi flood displaced 600,000 residents of the Delta in 1927, for instance, Rep. Phil Swing personally led a congressional tour of the region. Swing represented California, 1,800 miles away, so what was he up to? Simple, he was preparing the ground for a flood control project for his home district, the Imperial Valley. He sponsored the Delta restoration bill and got his wish — congressional funding for what we know today as Hoover Dam. Both regions reaped decades of benefits.

The breakdown of partisan and regional cooperation has been compounded by the substitution of ideology for foresight. That’s a particular danger today, when the possibility — nay, probability — of future devastation from climate change, not to mention other natural occurrences, is staring us in the face. As Rep. Frank LoBiondo, (R-N.J.), called to GOP holdouts after their 2013 vote against Sandy relief: “Florida, good luck with no more hurricanes. California, congratulations, did you get rid of the Andreas fault? The Mississippi's in a drought. Do you think you're not going to have a flood again? Who are you going to come to when you have these things?”

Easy donation to the American Red Cross for hurricane relief

See the following link for links to these services.

The American Red Cross is making it easy for customers to donate to Hurricane Harvey disaster relief efforts. Just text the word HARVEY to 90999, and a $10 donation will be charged on your next phone bill.

You can also donate to the American Red Cross for Harvey disaster relief from Apple's iTunes and the App Store, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced yesterday. Head to one of those services and you'll see an American Red Cross donation button that lets you contribute $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, or $200 to the humanitarian organization, which is providing relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey.

Amazon and Whole Foods Market will also match cash donations made via Amazon—up to $1 million total —to the American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey Relief. Donate here using your Amazon account.

Carriers Offer Free Service to Areas Hit by Hurricane Harvey

You can make a $10 donation to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Harvey disaster relief efforts by texting the word HARVEY to 90999.

By Angela Moscaritolo
August 28, 2017

The nation's top mobile carriers are offering free data to areas hit by Hurricane Harvey.

"Sometimes life throws the unexpected at you, and it could mean using extra data that you weren't planning on needing," Verizon wrote on its website. "Verizon is offering 3GB of bonus data to qualified Texas counties, so you can stay connected when it matters most."


T-Mobile is making it free for customers — including those who use its prepaid brand MetroPCS — to make calls and text from impacted areas of Texas and Louisiana. The offer is available through Sept. 1.


Sprint is also waiving call and text fees for customers — including prepaid users on Boost and Virgin Mobile — in the impacted areas of Texas and Louisiana through Sept. 1. Sprint is advising affected customers to text, when possible, instead of calling "due to high call volumes and possible network congestion in the local area."


Finally, AT&T said it will "issue credits to … wireless customers in impacted areas for additional data, voice, and text charges," racked up from Aug. 26 to Sept. 1. The company will also credit affected prepaid customers for additional voice and text charges.




Decline in Labor-Force Participation Not Due to Disability Programs

Kathy Ruffing
August 25, 2017

Labor-force participation — the share of adults 16 and older who are working or looking for work — peaked at just over 67 percent in 1996-2000 and has fallen since then. Some analysts observe that the number of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries grew steeply after 2000, and assume the two trends are related. But evidence for that connection is weak. Here’s why:

Most of the growth in SSDI stemmed from demographic causes. We estimate that 70 percent of SSDI’s enrollment growth since 2000 reflects four big demographic factors: population growth, aging of the baby boom, growth in women’s labor force participation, and the rise in Social Security’s full retirement age from 65 to 66.


Rising SSDI receipt and falling labor-force participation aren’t affecting the same age groups.


There’s no reason to think that SSDI beneficiaries would otherwise be in the work force. SSDI allows and encourages work, but few beneficiaries take advantage. That’s no surprise: SSDI recipients are mostly 50 or older, have suffered a severe medical impairment after a lifetime of work, experience high death rates, and typically have limited education. Even rejected applicants struggle in the labor market, and so do former SSDI recipients whose benefits have stopped.


Ocean temperatures around Nova Scotia hit record highs

Ocean temperatures around Nova Scotia hit record highs: DFO report
Temperatures on Scotian Shelf were up by 2 or 3 C in some places
By Paul Withers, CBC News Posted: Aug 25, 2017
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Ocean temperatures in the Scotian Shelf and the Gulf of St. Lawrence reached record or near-record highs in 2016, according to a Fisheries and Oceans Canada report on Atlantic Canada's marine ecosystem.

Federal fisheries scientist Dave Hebert said temperatures on Nova Scotia's Scotian Shelf were up by 2 or 3 C [3.6 to 5.4 F] in some places.

"Most were well above normal. Some were record highs," said Hebert, who works out of the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Dartmouth, N.S.

One of those records was set last October, 32 kilometres off Halifax where the ocean bottom exceeded 11 C.

He said the average ocean temperature for the Scotian Shelf in 2016 was the second highest on record in 47 years, with 2012 being the highest.

The Gulf of St. Lawrence set a 102-year record for temperature in deep water with a depth of 200 to 300 metres.

"This is more concerning than the variations of temperature on the surface of the water," said Peter Galbraith, a researcher at the Maurice Lamontagne federal fisheries institute in Mont-Joli, Que.

He said this is because these deep water temperatures have not been seen before, it's not known what the impact will be.


The warming water coincides with a shift in where zooplankton are residing. Known as copepods, this food source is eaten by the endangered North Atlantic right whale.

More of the whales are moving from their traditional Canadian feeding grounds in the Roseway Basin off southern Nova Scotia and the Bay of Fundy in search of food.

"Those zooplankton are now in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. That's probably the reason the whales are going to where they are going because the temperatures aren't quite as warm as they are in the Scotian Shelf," said Hebert.

The question is whether the zooplankton are leading the whales into a shipping lane super highway.

Since June, at least 10 right whales have been found dead in the gulf. Several deaths have been attributed to ship collisions or fishing gear entanglements.

The federal government responded by imposing a speed limit and temporarily closing some fishing grounds.


Friday, August 25, 2017

Bernie Sanders Voters Helped Trump Win and Here's Proof

Considering the comments I saw on Facebook by some Bernie supporters, this is very believable. Some because they thought Hillary would win, so they did a protest vote.

By Jason Le Miere On 8/23/17

Bernie Sanders supporters switched their allegiance to Donald Trump in large enough numbers last November to sway the election for the real estate billionaire, according to an analysis of voter data released Tuesday by the blog Political Wire. Since Trump’s shock victory over Hillary Clinton, much discussion has focused on the degree to which passionate Sanders supporters’ refusal to embrace Clinton led to the Republican winding up in the White House.

According to the analysis of the 2016 Cooperative Congressional Election Survey, fewer than 80 percent of those who voted for Sanders, an independent, in the Democratic primary did the same for Clinton when she faced off against Trump a few months later. What’s more, 12 percent of those who backed Sanders actually cast a vote for Trump.

The impact of those votes was significant. In each of the three states that ultimately swung the election for Trump—Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania—Trump’s margin of victory over Clinton was smaller than the number of Sanders voters who gave him their vote.


Comments and links

What's the matter with some people? Now some people are blaming the company that made the torches the white supremacists used in Charlottesville. So we do we need to find out what brand of matches they used to light them, so we can make a big fuss about that? And if the KKK wears sheets, do we need to find out what company made the sheets?
A lot of people on both sides are using recent events to indulge their animalistic instincts to find any excuse to attack.

If you don't believe science or news, disregard the hurricane warnings, stay in place, and pray. Isn't whatever happens to you God's will?
Good thing there are experience government employees at federal agencies like FEMA, since Trump has not bother to fill posts.
Anybody want to take my bet that Texas will ask for federal funds to help with the results of hurricane Harvey?

At least 160 water rescues, 1 death in Kansas City area flooding

Probe Investigators Find Another Email From A Trump Top Aide About A Russia Meeting

Lawyers: Massachusetts withheld evidence about Breathalyzers

Remnants of Hurricane Gert Made It All the Way to Ireland, United Kingdom

How ordinary people made Charlottesville possible

Trump’s science envoy quits in scathing letter with an embedded message: I-M-P-E-A-C-H

Former Lottery Executive Gets 25 Years for Rigging Numbers in Four States

Why being awkward makes you more likely to succeed
Ty Tashiro

An Antidote to Incivility
Christine Porath

Millennials: The Greatest Generation or the Most Narcissistic?
Jean M. Twenge

This map shows the real value of $100 in every state

Hillary Clinton's Side of the Story Matters, Too
She was stalked by Trump at the debate, and stalked by The New York Times long before that.

Former CIA agent wants to buy Twitter to kick Trump off

IRS: Identity Theft on Business Tax Returns Soaring

Blacks for Trump guy has some deeply weird views about Cherokees, Masons and Obama

4 things to do with your solar eclipse glasses

Here’s why new home sales tanked

He voted for Trump and sorely regrets it

How to tell if your tax preparer is a crook

New evidence indicates Nixon himself tried to sabotage Vietnam War peace talks

Facebook 'dark ads' can swing political opinions, research shows

Thursday, August 24, 2017

WSJ staffers unhappy with cautious treatment of President Trump

by Dylan Byers @CNNMoney August 23, 2017

The Wall Street Journal's cautious treatment of President Trump has created internal strife at the storied paper and raised questions about its editor-in-chief, Gerard Baker, several Journal sources have told CNNMoney.

Baker's latest demonstration -- a series of late-night emails urging editors to soften the paper's coverage of Trump's Phoenix speech, even to the point of removing context -- left some Journal staffers frustrated and discouraged, those sources said.

"Sorry. This is commentary dressed up as reporting," Baker wrote of one draft of an article about the speech in emails obtained by The New York Times. "Could we please just stick to reporting what he said rather than packaging it in exegesis and selective criticism?"

The portions of the draft that were removed from the final article included context about how the president's speech differed from statements he had made the day before. One passage that was edited out called Trump's speech "an off-script return to campaign form" that "pivoted away from remarks a day earlier in which he solemnly called for unity."


some staffers told CNNMoney they believed that Baker was going out of his way to be deferential to Trump in order to maintain access to the White House and proximity to power. Staffers also chafe at Baker's insistence on conducting the interviews with Trump himself, rather than letting the paper's journalists take the lead.

Other sources who spoke with CNNMoney cautioned that such frustrations were overblown. They said the Journal has always prided itself on being cautious and judicious in its reporting, and touted the paper's aggressive ongoing coverage of Trump's business entanglements.

The Journal is owned by Rupert Murdoch, who also owns Fox News and has become very close to the president and his administration. Sources at both the White House and in Murdoch's orbit say the two men talk multiple times a week.


For profit medicine

Aug. 24, 2017

From a Facebook friends post

UPDATE : --- was let out a few minutes later. There's a cyst on the left kidney, and several crystalline stones resembling burrs, and an infection around the stint. They gave painkillers and antibiotics with a prescription for more, then back in 5-10 days for the procedure. ... She's been in pain for months and the local excuse for a hospital wouldn't schedule the procedure until she had several thousand dollars up front. The evil of for profit medical care.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Your Mind Makes Accidents Inevitable

Eccentric’s Corner: The Risk Taker
By Gary Drevitch, published on May 2, 2017 - last reviewed on July 3, 2017

There’s a chart at the front of research psychologist Steve Casner’s book, Careful, depicting the rate of fatal accidents, or “unintentional injury deaths,” in the United States. It displays a sharp and steady decline, from about 110 such deaths per 100,000 people in the 1930s to just about 40 per 100,000 by 1990. But then the rate plateaus, and declines only a little further; in fact, around the start of the 21st century, it begins to creep upward. It seems that in spite of the efforts of people like Casner, who has devoted his career to safety, primarily in aviation through his work at NASA and elsewhere, we simply can’t seem to make ourselves any less accident-prone. And Casner is pretty sure our brains are to blame.

People often joke that they didn’t have car seats or bike helmets when they were kids and everyone “still turned out fine.” Are they right?

No. The people who are not in those conversations are the people who weren’t fine. They died. So you have a sort of selection bias there. If you have 1,000 people and 997 of them are wiped out, the other three could sit around and say, “What’s the problem? We’re fine.” If you look at the number of children injured or killed in car crashes back then, it was pretty bad, and those of us who survived should probably credit luck rather than an amazingly safe lifestyle. We’re in a much better place today,


How has aviation safety changed since your career began?

In the cockpit of a major airline, you can hear the change in the pilots’ language. The captain will say to the first officer, “I’m going to do this and then I’m going to do this and in case I screw it up, you’re going to let me know.” That’s out on the table. There’s no shame or ego. They recognize that to err is human, and that they are human: “I’m going to make an error, and that’s where you come in.”

Have other fields made similar advances?

In 2009, Atul Gawande’s book, The Checklist Manifesto, about using checklists to prevent errors in intensive care, came out, and those of us in aviation were blown away. We thought, This is like the 1940s. If a pilot ever did anything without a checklist, they’d be told, “It’s over. You’ve failed.” It’s not even a possibility for us. And Gawande was talking about how these ideas were just starting to get out in medicine eight years ago.



Even so, Casner argues, we’re in the midst of a safety crisis. In 1918, one in twenty people died in an accident of some kind; by 1992, that number had been reduced to one in forty, through regulations, innovations, and public-awareness campaigns. But then the decline in the accidental-death rate stopped—and, since 2000, it has actually risen. In 2015, after almost a century of steady decline in car fatalities, driver, pedestrian, and cyclist deaths shot up eight, ten, and twelve per cent, respectively. Other kinds of accidents are more common, too, and we are now, Casner says, about as safe as we were thirty years ago. Casner has some theories about why this is happening. One is “risk homeostasis”—our tendency, once we’re safer, to take more risks. (Bicyclists who wear helmets, for example, tend to ride closer to cars than those who don’t.) New inventions play a role—smartphones that distract us, medications that confuse us; so does the new popularity of adventure sports, such as rock climbing. There’s the ascendant culture of D.I.Y.: “People are once again building their own furniture, blowing glass, upgrading their homes, and chopping and chainsawing their own firewood,” Casner writes. Many injuries happen when people are trying to “cook, make, decorate, or fix something.” Another significant factor is that people are living longer, into frail, accident-prone old age.

“We have come to the end of a really good run,” Casner concludes. “We have wrung all the big gains we’re going to get from putting rubber corners on stuff and saying, ‘Hey, don’t do that.’ ” From here on out, if we want to be safer, we will have to do it ourselves, by making better decisions. We’ll have to become the kinds of people who, before trampoline-bouncing into the pool, think twice (or, more likely, for the first time).


Casner finds the word “accident” misleading; he distinguishes between “mistakes” and “errors.” A mistake is “the flawless execution of a mostly dumb idea”—it’s what happens when you should have known better. Many of the hundred and forty thousand people who fall off ladders every year do so because they stand on the rung that says “Not a step.” That’s a mistake. But errors are inevitable: even a competent and well-trained pilot will, eventually, glance at a lever in the “On” position and think that it is actually “Off.” The psychologist James Reason has found that people are aware of their own errors only eighty-five per cent of the time. Even workers in nuclear power plants make “errors in reading gauges, interpreting indicator lights, and selecting the wrong button to push,” Casner writes. The core problem is that minds wander. A French psychologist surveyed E.R. patients who had been in car accidents; he found that half of them were lost in thought at the moment of the crash. [Happened to me.]


Environmentalists Tend To Have Bad Voting Records — And Lie About It

August 23, 2017
Bob Oakes, Yasmin Amer


Voters who say the environment is one of their top two most important issues tend to have pretty abysmal voting records.

Nathaniel Stinnett founded the Environmental Voter Project in Boston, which looks at voters’ habits and patterns. He joined WBUR to discuss his findings.

Bob Oakes: What did you find out about voters who self-identify as environmentalists?

Nathaniel Stinnett: In the 2016 presidential election, about 68 or 69 percent of registered voters turned out to vote. The problem is only 50 percent of environmentalists turned out to vote.

In the 2014 midterms, only 21 percent of environmentalists voted. We’ve got a big turnout problem.

Do you know why?

The honest answer is not only do we not know why, we will never know why.

Any behavioral scientist can tell you it’s really hard to set up an experiment to figure out why someone doesn’t take an action, like voting.

The best you can do is ask them, and what do you think happens when you ask environmentalists why they don’t vote? They lie. They lie their pants off.

We did a survey last year in the Boston area where we asked hundreds of environmentalists who had never voted before why they don’t vote, and the overwhelming majority of them said, "Oh no, I always vote.”

Who you vote for is secret, but whether you vote or not is public information. ... And so it's really hard to measure why people aren't voting, because even people who don’t vote still buy into the societal norm that voting is a good thing.


We think the best way to have an impact in 2018 is to start having an impact in 2017. And so if we get an environmentalist to vote in a municipal election in 2017, it only takes a month or two for the record of that vote to show up on their public voter file, and then every politician who’s running for governor or Congress or Senate in 2018 sees the record of that vote and then they start polling those people, they start prioritizing the issues they care about, and they start responding to them.


Another US agency deletes references to climate change on government website

Jamiles Lartey
Wednesday 23 August 2017

The National Institutes of Health deleted multiple references to climate change on its website over the summer, continuing a trend that began when the Trump administration took charge of the domain.
Trump is deleting climate change, one site at a time
Read more

The changes were first outlined in a report by the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative (EDGI), which has been using volunteers to track changes to roughly 25,000 pages across multiple government agencies since Trump took office. EDGI counted five instances in which the term “climate change” was changed to simply “climate” on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) site.

The NIH, an agency of the federal government, is the world’s leading public health research body.

EDGI’s findings can be confirmed by using the internet archive Wayback Machine and looking up the affected NIH pages. The database appears to show the deletion as having occurred between 28 June and 6 July of this year.

The references were altered on pages belonging to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH’s division dedicated to the study of the environment and its effects on human health. NIEHS also removed links to an educational factsheet from two separate pages, and a page dedicated to explaining the environmental impacts of climate change.

The scrubbing was ineffectual, though, as the term was mostly only deleted from page titles and subheadings. “No other language changes were made and the term ‘climate change’ continues to be used in the body text of the page,” EDGI reported.


Harvard Study Finds Exxon Misled Public about Climate Change

By John H. Cushman Jr.
Aug. 22, 2017

A comprehensive, peer-reviewed academic study of ExxonMobil's internal deliberations, scientific research and public rhetoric over the decades has confirmed empirically that the oil giant misled the public about what it knew about climate change and the risks posed by fossil fuel emissions, the authors said on Tuesday.

The paper confirms the findings of a 2015 investigative series by InsideClimate News that was based largely on the company's internal records, and also of independent work published by the Los Angeles Times. That reporting ignited investigations by state attorneys general that are still in litigation.


Across the board, the paper found "a systematic discrepancy between what ExxonMobil's scientists and executives discussed about climate change privately and in academic circles and what it presented to the general public," the authors said.

"ExxonMobil contributed quietly to the science and loudly to raising doubts about it," they wrote.

The authors explicitly rejected Exxon's main defense, which was to claim that journalists were "cherry picking" the company's record and that its positions had always been in step with the state of the science. The company often said that anyone who read the full documentary record would see matters Exxon's way.

The Harvard researchers said their task was to accept Exxon's challenge to review the full record. Among the documents they examined were dozens cited in ICN's work, as well as more than 50 scientific papers Exxon frequently mentioned in its own defense and its issue advertising.


In one finding, they judged that 83 percent of peer-reviewed papers written by company scientists and 80 percent of the company's internal communications acknowledged that climate change is real and caused by humans. But among Exxon's advertisements on the editorial pages of The New York Times, a proxy for communications aimed at a broad public audience, only 12 percent acknowledged climate change as real and human-caused, while 81 percent expressed doubt.


In an interview, Supran said that the company's "pattern of discrepant, misleading climate communication" seems still pertinent today, even though the documents analyzed here dated back many years.

It's not just the dissonance he sees between Exxon's more recent formal endorsement of a carbon tax and the refusal of almost anyone the company supports in Congress to embrace that kind of climate solution.

"The company's apparent acknowledgement of climate science and its implications," he said, "seems dramatically at odds with basically its current business practice."


Supran cited Exxon's push, thwarted by sanctions so far, to drill in Siberia along with the Russian company Rosneft, even though "that oil and gas resource, the largest untapped oil and gas resource left in the entire world, is quantifiably incompatible with holding warming below 2 degrees," the internationally accepted goal.

"In terms of the company's rhetoric and business practices," he concluded, "there is a pattern of discrepancy between what the company says and what the company does."



In Exxon’s peer-reviewed papers and internal communications, about 80% of the documents acknowledged that climate change is real and human-caused.

In Exxon’s paid, editorial-style advertisements (“advertorials”) published in the New York Times, about 80% expressed doubt that climate change is real and human-caused.


For example, Exxon scientist Brian Flannery co-authored a chapter of a 1985 Department of Energy report with NYU professor Martin Hoffert concluding that in a “Low CO2” emissions scenario, humans would cause about 2°C global surface warming above pre-industrial levels by 2100, and about 5°C in a “High CO2” scenario. These projections were in close agreement with those in the latest IPCC report nearly 30 years later.

Yet in a 1997 advertorial in the New York Times opposing the Kyoto Protocol, Exxon argued:

Nations are being urged to cut emissions without knowing either the severity of the problem – that is, will Earth’s temperature increase over the next 50–100 years? – or the efficacy of the solution – will cutting CO2 emissions reduce the problem?

The advertorial included a misleading graph showing that human activities only account for 3–4% of global carbon dioxide emissions – misleading because the natural carbon cycle is in balance. Earth naturally releases a lot of carbon, but absorbs just as much. Human emissions disrupt that balance and hence are responsible for the entire increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels:


Diplomats in Cuba suffered traumatic brain injuries, records show

My neighbors attack me with noise in the audible range. Don't know what kind sound their music creates outside the audible range.

By Rafael Bernal - 08/23/17

U.S. and Canadian diplomats in Cuba suffered mild traumatic brain injury and likely damage to their central nervous system in an incident that has been linked to a sonic attack.

Medical records said doctors had discovered signs of the damage after patients complained about hearing loss, nausea, headaches and balance problems, CBS News reported.

More than 10 U.S. and 5 Canadian diplomats in Havana began experiencing "a variety of physical symptoms" in the fall of 2016, according to the State Department.

The symptoms have been traced to a sonic attack — a deliberate use of a sonic device operating outside of the audible range — on diplomatic residences in Havana.

Cuban authorities have vowed to investigate the injuries amid pressure from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Some diplomatic tours of duty have also been cut short as a result of the incident.


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Millenials and post millennials

I research generational differences — here's why people born after 1995 aren't millennials like I thought they'd be and need their own category instead
The Conversation

Jean Twenge, The Conversation
Aug. 22, 2017


Around 2010, teens started to spend their time much differently from the generations that preceded them. Then, around 2012, sudden shifts in their psychological well-being began to appear.

Together, these changes pointed to a generational cutoff around 1995, which meant that the kids of this new, post-millennial generation were already in college.

These teens and young adults all have one thing in common: Their childhood or adolescence coincided with the rise of the smartphone.


A 2015 survey found that two out of three U.S. teens owned an iPhone.

For this reason, I call them iGen, and as I explain in my new book “iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids are Growing up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy – and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood,” they’re the first generation to spend their adolescence with a smartphone.

Growing up with a smartphone has affected nearly every aspect of their lives. They spend so much time on the internet, texting friends and on social media – in the large surveys I analyzed for the book, an average of about six hours per day – that they have less leisure time for everything else.

That includes what was once the favorite activity of most teens: hanging out with their friends.

Whether it’s going to parties, shopping at the mall, watching movies or aimlessly driving around, iGen teens are participating in these social activities at a significantly lower rate than their millennial predecessors.

iGen shows another pronounced break with millennials: Depression, anxiety, and loneliness have shot upward since 2012, with happiness declining.

The teen suicide rate increased by more than 50 percent, as did the number of teens with clinical-level depression.


I found that teens who spend more time on screens are less happy and more depressed, and those who spend more time with friends in person are happier and less depressed.

Of course, correlation doesn’t prove causation: Maybe unhappy people use screen devices more.

However, as I researched my book, I came across three recent studies that all but eliminated that possibility – at least for social media. In two of them, social media use led to lower well-being, but lower well-being did not lead to social media use.

Meanwhile, a 2016 study randomly assigned some adults to give up Facebook for a week and others to continue using it. Those who gave up Facebook ended the week happier, less lonely and less depressed.


Spending less time with friends means less time to develop social skills. A 2014 study found that sixth graders who spent just five days at a camp without using screens ended the time better at reading emotions on others’ faces, suggesting that iGen’s screen-filled lives might cause their social skills to atrophy.

In addition, iGen reads books, magazines and newspapers much less than previous generations did as teens: In the annual Monitoring the Future survey, the percentage of high school seniors who read a non-required book or magazine nearly every day dropped from 60 percent in 1980 to only 16 percent in 2015.

Perhaps as a result, average SAT critical reading scores have dropped 14 points since 2005. College faculty tell me that students have more trouble reading longer text passages, and rarely read the required textbook.

This isn’t to say that iGen teens don’t have a lot going for them.

They are physically safer and more tolerant than previous generations were. They also seem to have a stronger work ethic and more realistic expectations than millennials did at the same age.

But the smartphone threatens to derail them before they even get started.

To be clear, moderate smartphone and social media use – up to an hour a day – is not linked to mental health issues. However, most teens (and adults) are on their phones much more than that.

Somewhat to my surprise, the iGen teens I interviewed said they would rather see their friends in person than communicate with them using their phones. Parents used to worry about their teens spending too much time with their friends – they were a distraction, a bad influence, a waste of time.

But it might be just what iGen needs.

High doses of vitamin B might be tied to lung cancer risk, study says

By Michael Nedelman, CNN
Updated 9:00 PM ET, Tue August 22, 2017

Men who took high doses of vitamin B6 and B12 supplements had a higher risk of lung cancer, and the association was highest among current smokers, according to a study published Tuesday.

The study found a 30% to 40% increased risk of lung cancer among men taking these vitamins from individual supplements -- not from multivitamins or diet alone. But the effect seemed to be driven by current smokers who far exceeded the recommended daily amounts of the vitamins, according to study author Theodore Brasky, an epidemiologist in the division of cancer prevention and control at the Ohio State University College of Medicine.

"I think these results point to a synergism" between high-dose B vitamins, smoking and lung cancer risk among men, Brasky said.


In smaller quantities, these vitamins are involved in several vital processes in the body, including DNA replication. But many high-dose supplements, he said, claim to boost energy and provide other unproven benefits.
"That's marketing. That's not science," he said.


There were too few cases of lung cancer among nonsmokers to include them in the full analysis. An increased risk of lung cancer was not seen among women or with the vitamin B9, also known as folate.

Other researchers have found different results. Some studies linked vitamin B6 with lower lung cancer risk, and another found that B12 had no impact on risk. The authors of the new study said that the discrepancy could be because some of these studies measure B vitamins in the blood and not through dietary surveys, like they did. Or it may be that lung cancer itself raises levels of these vitamins in the body.


A focus on B vitamins may not be the most effective way to protect against lung cancer, experts warn.
"Combustible tobacco smoke is the No. 1 most important factor, not just only in lung cancer but in many cancers," Brasky said.

Cigarette smoking is a factor in 80% to 90% of lung cancers in the United States, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smokers are 15 to 30 times more likely to get lung cancer or die from it than nonsmokers. Lung cancer kills more Americans than any other kind of cancer.

"When we're talking about what to be concerned about most: If you're a male smoker and you want to take B vitamins, you can stop smoking," Brasky said.

"Smoking is the most important thing here, and that's preventable."


Too little of these vitamins is thought to carry cancer risk, too. Errors can happen when building new strands of DNA, causing them to break. And genes responsible for cell division may be thrown off by these changes, the study authors said.


The good news, Bailey said, is that most people aren't taking the single-vitamin, high-dose supplements that go far beyond recommended levels.
"Most people are taking multivitamins," she said, "and for that, there's really been no (cancer) association, which I think is a success story.

Farming has changed climate almost as much as deforestation

Harvesting, tilling remove large amounts of carbon from soil
Thomson Reuters Posted: Aug 22, 2017

Agriculture has contributed nearly as much to climate change as deforestation by intensifying global warming, according to U.S. research that has quantified the amount of carbon taken from the soil by farming.

Some 121 billion tonnes (133 billion tons) of carbon have been removed from the top two metres of the earth's soil over the last two centuries by agriculture at a rate that is increasing, said the study in PNAS, a journal published by the National Academy of Sciences.


While soil absorbs carbon in organic matter from plants and trees as they decompose, agriculture has helped deplete that carbon accumulation in the ground, he said.

Widespread harvesting removes carbon from the soil as do tilling methods that can accelerate erosion and decomposition.

"It's alarming how much carbon has been lost from the soil," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "Small changes to the amount of carbon in the soil can have really big consequences for how much carbon is accumulating in the atmosphere."


But the findings show potential for the earth's soil to mitigate global warming by absorbing more carbon through such practices as better land stewardship, more extensive ground cover to minimize erosion, better diversity of crop rotation and no-till farming, he said.


Monday, August 21, 2017

The Worst Inventor In History

Read about this in the June 10, 2017 print edition of New Scientist. Most of the article is available online only by subsciption. I found this article which gives much of the information.

By Michael Van Duisen on Thursday, October 3, 2013

Thomas Midgley was a renowned chemist and inventor who held over 100 patents in his lifetime, but he’s most notorious for two chemicals which wreaked untold havoc on the environment: leaded gasoline and Freon, the first CFC. During his lifetime, Midgley was met with great praise, but his legacy has become tarnished since the full effects of his inventions are now understood. Millions have been affected by him, to the point of death, and many more are still suffering to this day.


he began working at Dayton Research Laboratories, a subsidiary of General Motors, under the supervision of Charles F. Kettering. Their task: Find a solution to the problem of “knocking” in automobile engines. In 1921, after starting with iodine (because he thought dying the fuel red would cause it to absorb more heat), and then working his way down the periodic table, and finding “most of them had no more effect than spitting in the Great Lakes,” Midgley finally discovered that the addition of tetraethyl lead, or TEL, would successfully eliminate the problem.


General Motors, as well as many other companies around the world, had already been selling an ethanol-gasoline blend to reduce knocking, which burned fairly cleanly and was highly effective. However, ethanol couldn’t be patented and offered no viable profit for GM, so they were on the lookout for new additives to use. Marketing TEL under the name “Ethyl” (because lead was already known to be poisonous), GM expected to rake in massive amounts of money.

Later in 1923, GM established the General Motors Chemical Company in order to produce TEL, and Midgley was named vice president. Many leading medical experts, including the US Surgeon General, expressed grave concerns over the potential health problems which would arise from the use of TEL, but their views were swept under the rug by GM, even after workers at their plant began to succumb to lead poisoning. In fact, at a plant they supported jointly with Standard Oil (now known as Exxon Mobil), more than 80 percent of the staff died or suffered severe lead poisoning. (TEL was dubbed “loony gas” by the few survivors because the victims would often go through bouts of insanity.) To assuage public fears, Midgley would often rub TEL on his bare hands, proclaiming: “I’m not taking any chance whatever.”

However, public opinion turned against TEL and it seemingly would have been quashed, if not for the utter lack of action from the federal government, which never informed the public of the dangers of TEL or commissioned an independent study on its effects. The Surgeon General did issue a report on TEL, but the findings were inconclusive and pushed to the side of public discourse. It took until 1995, when it was discovered lead additives reacted badly with the newly created catalytic converters, for TEL and its “offspring” to finally be banned in the US.


In 1930, after leaving TEL behind, Midgley was contracted by the Frigidaire division of General Motors to help discover an alternative to ammonia and propane, which were commonly used as refrigerants, but were flammable and highly toxic. In three days’ time, he helped synthesize dichlorodifluoromethane, the first of the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which was named “Freon.” Just as it was with TEL, the health and environmental effects were not made publicly available until years after the fact. In a stroke of what some might call karma, Midgley contracted polio in 1940 and died in 1944, strangled to death by a complicated system of pulleys he invented to help others lift him out of bed. So ended the tale of a man who J.R. McNeill, an environmental historian, described as having “more impact on the atmosphere than any other single organism in Earth’s history.”

Drinking small amounts while pregnant may affect the baby’s face

June 5 2017
By Jessica Hamzelou

Drinking even small amounts of alcohol when pregnant seems to have subtle effects on how a baby’s face develops – including the shape of their eyes, nose and lips. This isn’t necessarily harmful, though.

“We don’t know if the small changes in the children’s facial shape are connected in any way to differences in their development,” says Jane Halliday of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Victoria, Australia, who led the research. “We plan to look at this as the children grow.”

Heavy drinking during pregnancy can cause fetal alcohol syndrome, which is characterised by distinctive facial features, such as small eye openings, a short up-turned nose, and a smooth philtrum over the upper lip. Children with this condition are likely to have attention and behavioural disorders, as well as a lower IQ, says Halliday.


Even low levels of alcohol – such as no more than two drinks on any one occasion, and no more than seven a week – were linked to changes in face shape. However, these changes could be detected only by using the imaging technique, and were not visible to the naked eye.


There is more to learn, adds Chambers. We still don’t know what protects some babies from the harmful effects of alcohol, for example. “Some women will have a quart of vodka a day and have children with no fetal alcohol syndrome,” she says.

Health organisations generally recommend that pregnant women avoid alcohol entirely, but many women drink before realising they are pregnant – which is often a month or two into a pregnancy.

“We don’t know of a safe lower threshold,” says Chambers. “The recommendation to avoid alcohol in pregnancy is a wise one.”

Informative links

Secret Service nearing spending limit for protecting Trump

Most moms aren't putting babies to sleep safely, study says

What to Know About New Guidelines for High Blood Pressure in Children

Fran works six days a week in fast food, and yet she's homeless: 'It's economic slavery'

Ohio judge shot in ‘ambush’ outside courthouse, returns fire at attacker

Polls: Majority in 3 key states 'embarrassed' by Trump

How the wealth gap between restaurant goers and those serving them is​ widening

The 9/11 rescue that we need to hear more about
[With all the attention on pitiful haters, and TV and politicians glorifying greed and hate, it is helpful to the soul to remember things like this.]

The New York Times’ Vendetta Against Hillary Clinton

Former CIA deputy director: Trump is politicizing the US intelligence-gathering process

Trump disbands federal advisory panel on climate change

Your browser history is for sale, here's what you need to know

Worried about companies spying on your browsing? Here's what you can do

L.A. is testingcoating its streets with heat reflective material