Tuesday, October 31, 2017


Ireland Wanted to Forget. But the Dead Don’t Always Stay Buried.

Fires destroy part of Hewlett-Packard archives

'Kill them all' -- Russian-linked Facebook accounts called for violence

'I want to quit': Fox News employees say their network's Russia coverage was 'an embarrassment'

Eating too much black licorice is harmful, FDA warns
Especially for those 40-years-old and older, eating two ounces of black licorice a day for at least two weeks could throw off heart rhythms. 

Wealthy Students are Pushing Out Low-Income Students at Top Public Universities

Stable, affordable homes don't just help patients, they save taxpayer dollars

'Protect your eyes while on the slopes,' scientists warn, also your skin.

Long-term use of drugs to curb acid reflux linked to doubling in stomach cancer risk

Air pollution is associated with cancer mortality beyond lung cancer
A large scale epidemiological study associates some air pollutants with kidney, bladder and colorectal cancer death

Spicy food may curb unhealthy cravings for salt

Higher thyroid hormone levels associated with artery disease and death

Young bats learn bat 'dialects' from their nestmates

Wristband devices detect dangerous seizures in patients with epilepsy

For older adults with diabetes, losing weight with diet, exercise can improve circulation

Breastfeeding for two months halves risk of SIDS, study finds

Thousands of preterm babies could be saved by waiting 60 seconds before clamping the umbilical cord after birth instead of clamping it immediately

Eating more fruits and vegetables with high-pesticide residue was associated with a lower probability of pregnancy and live birth following infertility treatment for women using assisted reproductive technologies.

Group exercise improves quality of life, reduces stress far more than individual work outs

Early childhood adversities linked to health problems in tweens, teens

Helping smokers quit: Payments, personalized support can work

Use of e-cigarettes by high school students was strongly associated with later cigarette smoking

Long-term aspirin use reduces the incidence of digestive cancers by up to 47 percent

Cover crops provide bed and breakfast layover for migrating birds

Red Sea is warming faster than global average

Political views have limited impact on how we perceive climate anomalies, study finds

Tropical forest reserves slow down global warming

A team of EPFL and European researchers has discovered a flaw in the way past ocean temperatures have been estimated up to now. Their findings could mean that the current period of climate change is unparalleled over the last 100 million years.

Climate change may slowly starve bamboo lemurs

A drier south: Europe's drought trends match climate change projections

Investing in conservation pays off, study finds

Pollutant emitted by forest fire causes DNA damage and lung cell death

Sea-level rise, not stronger storm surge, will cause future NYC flooding

China is rapidly expanding its solar power supply, hoping to meet 10 percent of the nation's electricity needs with solar energy by 2030. But there's a problem: severe air pollution is blocking light from the sun, significantly reducing China's output of solar energy, particularly in the northern and eastern parts of the country.

Reduced impact logging still harms biodiversity in tropical rainforests

Vastly expanding sugarcane production in Brazil for conversion to ethanol could reduce current global carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 5.6 percent, researchers report in the journal Nature Climate Change.
… it can be accomplished without impinging on environmentally sensitive areas in Brazil and while allowing for the expansion of other agricultural crops and human needs, the researchers report.
The carbon-related costs of converting the land to sugarcane fields were included in the analysis.

Arsenic exposure in us public drinking water declines following new EPA regulations

Mountain glaciers shrinking across the West

Right whales, already an endangered species, may face a dim future


Public Release: 30-Oct-2017
Under pressure
UCSB postdoctoral scholar Erin Meyer-Gutbrod shows that right whales, already an endangered species, may face a dim future
University of California - Santa Barbara

When 15 North Atlantic right whales turned up dead in U.S. and Canadian waters in the summer of 2017, it was declared an unprecedented mass mortality event. For a highly endangered species with slightly more than 500 animals remaining, the crisis signals a major shift in the population's recovery -- corresponding to a 3 percent loss.

Of the seven whales necropsied, six deaths were caused by humans -- four by ship strike, two by fishing gear entanglement -- and one was inconclusive. In addition to the staggering number of deaths, scientists also are puzzled by the location where most of the whale carcasses were discovered: Twelve were found in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, well north of the species' typical distributional range.

Does climate play a role in this mystery? And how will the surviving population of these baleen whales fare in the next century under various climate scenarios? UC Santa Barbara quantitative ecologist Erin Meyer-Gutbrod addressed that question in new research she conducted at Cornell University with her doctoral adviser and co-author, Charles Greene.


Future volcanic eruptions could cause more climate disruption


Public Release: 31-Oct-2017
Future volcanic eruptions could cause more climate disruption
Climate change reduces oceans' ability to buffer impacts
National Center for Atmospheric Research/University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

Major volcanic eruptions in the future have the potential to affect global temperatures and precipitation more dramatically than in the past because of climate change, according to a new study led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

The study authors focused on the cataclysmic eruption of Indonesia's Mount Tambora in April 1815, which is thought to have triggered the so-called "year without a summer" in 1816. They found that if a similar eruption occurred in the year 2085, temperatures would plunge more deeply, although not enough to offset the future warming associated with climate change. The increased cooling after a future eruption would also disrupt the water cycle more severely, decreasing the amount of precipitation that falls globally.

The reason for the difference in climate response between 1815 and 2085 is tied to the oceans, which are expected to become more stratified as the planet warms, and therefore less able to moderate the climate impacts caused by volcanic eruptions.

"We discovered that the oceans play a very large role in moderating, while also lengthening, the surface cooling induced by the 1815 eruption," said NCAR scientist John Fasullo, lead author of the new study. "The volcanic kick is just that -- it's a cooling kick that lasts for a year or so. But the oceans change the timescale. They act to not only dampen the initial cooling but also to spread it out over several years."


Humans don't use as much brainpower as we like to think

Public Release: 31-Oct-2017
Humans don't use as much brainpower as we like to think
Animals had energy-hungry brains long before we did
Duke University

For years, scientists assumed that humans devote a larger share of their daily calories to their brains than other animals. Although the human brain makes up only 2 percent of body weight, it consumes more than 25 percent of our baseline energy budget.

But a study published Oct. 31 in the Journal of Human Evolution comparing the relative brain costs of 22 species found that, when it comes to brainpower, humans aren't as exceptional as we like to think.

"We don't have a uniquely expensive brain," said study author Doug Boyer, assistant professor of evolutionary anthropology at Duke University. "This challenges a major dogma in human evolution studies."


As expected, the researchers found that humans allot proportionally more energy to their brains than rodents, Old World monkeys, and great apes such as orangutans and chimpanzees.

Relative to resting metabolic rate -- the total amount of calories an animal burns each day just to keep breathing, digesting and staying warm -- the human brain demands more than twice as many calories as the chimpanzee brain, and at least three to five times more calories than the brains of squirrels, mice and rabbits.

But other animals have hungry brains too.

In terms of relative brain cost, there appears to be little difference between a human and a pen-tailed treeshrew, for example.

Even the ring-tailed lemur and the tiny quarter-pound pygmy marmoset, the world's smallest monkey, devote as much of their body energy to their brains as we do.

"This shouldn't come as too much of a surprise," Boyer said. "The metabolic cost of a structure like the brain is mainly dependent on how big it is, and many animals have bigger brain-to-body mass ratios than humans."


Is Alabama committed to evil?

When my family moved to Alabama in the 1960's, some NY relatives asked if there was indoor plumbing in Alabama. They weren't joking. A couple of decades later, a member of my church said when he told his wife they were moving to Alabama, she started crying. Looks like Alabama is trying to maintain it's traditions and heritage.

Time will tell if the fact that this poll was commissioned by republicans affected the accuracy of the results. Republicans would like depress the vote for the Democratic candidate Doug Jones by making people think he does not have a chance.


By Mallory Shelbourne - 10/31/17

Republican Roy Moore leads his Democratic opponent in the Alabama Senate race by 17 points, according to a new poll.

Moore takes 56 percent of the vote, while Democrat Doug Jones takes 39 percent, according to a survey commissioned by the Senate Leadership Fund (SLF), which has ties to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and conducted by Axis Research.


The results of the survey come a little more than one month before the special election to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.


As the Republican, Moore has long been expected to win in the deep-red state. But more recent polls have proved surprisingly close, with the RealClearPolitics poll average currently putting Moore up only 6 points over Jones.


Whose religious freedom?

Seen on Facebook:

An important question for Congress

Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe in blood transfusions.
If my boss is a Jehovah's Witness, can he prevent my health insurance from covering blodd transfusions?

Some Christian Scientists do not even believe in doctors.
If my boss is one, can he prevent my health insurance from covering doctor's visits, insulin, antibiotics, or vaccines?
If he believes in prayer, not medicine, can he require me to "pray" my medical problems away?

Does "Religious Freedom" really mean that my boss has the freedom to impose his religious beliefs on me?


As one of the Righteous Among the Nations, Mrs. Brousse was among the more than 26,000 gentiles recognized by Yad Vashem for having risked their safety, while seeking no reward, to save Jewish lives during the Holocaust.

Alien intelligence: the extraordinary minds of octopuses and other cephalopods

When Asked for Advice on How to Deal with Grief, This Old Man Gave the Most Incredible Reply

7 Spiritual Ideas That Enable Abuse And Shame The Victim

You Believe Too Many Tax Myths And Republicans Are Taking Advantage Of It

A brain science expert explains how to deprogram truth-denying Trump supporters

California’s opioid death rate is among the nation’s lowest. Experts aren’t sure why

Congress is cool to Trump's proposal to end heating aid

As Workouts Intensify, a Harmful Side Effect Grows More Common

BP and Shell planning for catastrophic 5°C global warming despite publicly backing Paris climate agreement

Facebook: 126 million people could have seen Russian election content

Climate change taking a toll on global health: Lancet

Carbon Dioxide Levels Grew at Record Pace in 2016

China Shuts Down Tens Of Thousands Of Factories In Unprecedented Pollution Crackdown

Monday, October 30, 2017

Climate change fueling disasters, disease in ‘potentially irreversible’ ways, report warns


By Ben Guarino and Brady Dennis October 30, 2017

Climate change significantly imperils public health globally, according to a new report that chronicles the many hazards and symptoms already being seen. The authors describe its manifestations as “unequivocal and potentially irreversible.”

Heat waves are striking more people, disease-carrying mosquitoes are spreading and weather disasters are becoming more common, the authors note in the report published Monday by the British medical journal the Lancet. Climate change is a “threat multiplier,” they write, and its blows hit hardest in the most vulnerable communities, where people are suffering from poverty, water scarcity, inadequate housing or other crises.

“We’ve been quite shocked and surprised by some of the results,” said Nick Watts, a fellow at University College London’s Institute for Global Health and executive director of the Lancet Countdown, a project aimed at examining the links between climate change and public health.

The effort involved 63 researchers from two dozen institutions worldwide, including climate scientists as well as ecologists, geographers, economists, engineers, mathematicians, political scientists and experts who study food, transportation and energy.


Given the profound health dangers posed by a warming climate, the study’s authors focused on a key question: How well is the world responding?

“The answer is, most of our indicators are headed in the wrong direction,” Watts said. “Broadly, the world has not responded to climate change, and that lack of response has put lives at risk . . . The impacts we’re experiencing today are already pretty bad. The things we’re talking about in the future are potentially catastrophic.”

Hotter global temperatures are exacting a human toll. Although the increase since 2000 may seem slight — about 0.75 degrees Fahrenheit — the planet is not a uniform oven. Local spikes can be dramatic and dangerous. Heat waves, defined as extreme temperatures that persist for at least three days, are on the rise.

Between 2000 and 2016, the number of people exposed to heat waves climbed by 125 million vulnerable adults, according to the report. During 2015, the worst year on record, 175 million people suffered through sweltering temperatures.

Watts also cited the rising number of deaths from floods, storms and other weather disasters. Each year between 2007 and 2016, the world saw an average of 300 weather disasters — a 46 percent increase from the decade between 1990 and 1999. In the 25 years since 1990, these disasters claimed more than 500,000 lives.

The number of potentially infectious bites from the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which spreads viruses such as dengue fever and Zika, is up 9 percent over 1950s levels.

And in recent years, the ranks of climate change migrants have grown. Just in the United States, more than 3,500 Alaskans have fled coastal erosion and permafrost melts. Twenty-five homes have been abandoned on Louisiana’s Isle de Jean Charles, which is being overtaken by the Gulf of Mexico. In 2016, its former residents became the first to receive federal funds for a climate change retreat.


But Monday’s report also finds “glimmers of hope,” Watts said. For example, many countries are moving away from coal-fired power plants, which are a source both of carbon emissions that fuel global warming and pollution that can cause immediate health problems in nearby communities.

After President Trump’s announcement in June that the United States would pull out of the Paris climate accord, the global response to climate change has been heartening, the authors write, “affirming clear political will and ambition to reach the treaty’s targets.” Nicaragua, previously a holdout because it said the treaty was not stringent enough, is set to join the Paris agreement, leaving only Syria and the United States opposed.

Watts and his co-authors note the ways people are trying to cope with the effects of climate change — spending less time outdoors, for example — even as they warn that the world cannot rely on adaptation alone.

“If anybody says we can adapt our way out of this, the answer is, of course you can’t,” he said. “Some of the changes we’re talking about are so enormous, you can’t adapt your way out.”

New data gives hope for meeting the Paris climate targets


Dana Nuccitelli
Monday 30 October 2017

Over the past half-century, growth in the global economy and carbon pollution have been tied together. When the global economy has been strong, we’ve consumed more energy, which has translated into burning more fossil fuels and releasing more carbon pollution. But over the past four years, economic growth and carbon dioxide emissions have been decoupled. The global economy has continued to grow, while data from the EU Joint Research Centre shows carbon pollution has held fairly steady.


China’s shift away from coal to clean energy has been largely responsible for this decoupling. Due to its large population (1.4 billion) – more than four times that of the USA (323 million) and nearly triple the EU (510 million) – and rapid growth in its economy and coal power supply, China has become the world’s largest net carbon polluter (though still less than half America’s per-person carbon emissions, and on par with those of Europeans). But as with the global total, China’s carbon pollution has flattened out since 2013.


In 2016, American carbon pollution fell to below 1993 levels. The emissions decline began around 2008, which is also when natural gas, solar, and wind energy began rapidly replacing coal in the power grid.

The Trump administration has done everything in its power to reverse that trend. It began the withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement and the process to repeal the Clean Power Plan, has begun censoring EPA climate scientists and deleting climate change information from government websites, and proposed to prop up the dirty, failing coal industry with taxpayer-funded subsidies.

And yet, while these steps can slow the decline in American carbon pollution, the transition from coal to clean energy will nevertheless persist. Coal simply can no longer compete with cheaper, cleaner sources of energy, and the next American president can quickly reverse many of the Trump administration’s anti-climate orders.

In the meantime, many cities, states, and businesses have declared that they “will continue to support climate action to meet the Paris Agreement.” California has led the way, having passed climate legislation including the implementation of a carbon cap and trade system over a decade ago. The state’s economy has grown rapidly as its carbon pollution has fallen. California now gets over 25% of its electricity from renewables (another 10% from hydroelectric), and just 4% from coal.


To have a realistic chance of meeting the Paris climate target and avoiding 2°C global warming above pre-industrial temperatures, global carbon pollution likely needs to peak by 2020. That goal remains within reach, as we now appear very close to peak global carbon emissions.

That’s just a start – we still need a rapid decline in carbon after we reach the peak – but with the flood of bad climate news over the past year, it’s nice to see that we still have hope to prevent the worst climate change consequences.

US winter has shrunk by more than one month in 100 years


Friday 27 October 201

The length of the US winter is shortening, with the first frost of the year arriving more than one month later than it did 100 years ago, according to more than a century of measurements from weather stations nationwide.

The trend of ever later first freezes appears to have started around 1980, according to data from 700 weather stations across the US going back to 1895 and compiled by Ken Kunkel, a meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information.
Sea levels to rise 1.3m unless coal power ends by 2050, report says
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Kunkel compared the first freeze from each of the 700 stations to the station’s average for the 20th Century. Some parts of the country experience earlier or later freezes every year, but on average freezes are coming later.

The average first freeze over the last 10 years, from 2007 to 2016, is a week later than the average from 1971 to 1980.

This year, about 40% of the Lower 48 states have had a freeze as of 23 October, compared to 65% in a normal year, according to Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the private service Weather Underground.

In Ottawa, Illinois, the average first freeze for the 20th century was 15 October. The normal from 1981 to 2010 based on NOAA computer simulations was 19 October. Since 2010, the average first freeze is on 26 October. Last year, the first freeze in Ottawa came on 12 November.


Overall the United States freeze season of 2016 was more than a month shorter than the freeze season of 1916. It was most extreme in the Pacific Northwest. Oregon’s freeze season was 61 days – two months – shorter than normal.

Global warming has helped push the first frosts later, Kunkel and other scientists said. Also at play, though, are natural short-term changes in air circulation patterns – but they too may be influenced by man-made climate change, they said.
'We will be toasted, roasted and grilled': IMF chief sounds climate change warning
Read more

This shrinking freeze season is what climate scientists have long predicted, said University of Oklahoma meteorology professor Jason Furtado.

A shorter freeze season means a longer growing season and less money spent on heat. But it also hurts some plants that require a certain amount of chill, such as Georgia peaches, said Theresa Crimmins, a University of Arizona ecologist.


Pests that attack trees and spread disease aren’t being killed off as early as they normally would be, Crimmins said.


Research, said natural variability, especially an El Nino, made last year exceptional for an early freeze, but “it represents the kind of conditions that will be more routine in a decade or two” because of man-made climate change.

“The long-term consequences are really negative,” said Primack, because shorter winters and hotter temperatures are also expected to lead to rising seas that cause worse flooding during heavy storms.

Global atmospheric CO2 levels hit record high


Jonathan Watts and agencies
Monday 30 October 201

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased at record speed last year to hit a level not seen for more than three million years, the UN has warned.

The new report has raised alarm among scientists and prompted calls for nations to consider more drastic emissions reductions at the upcoming climate negotiations in Bonn.

“Globally averaged concentrations of CO2 reached 403.3 parts per million (ppm) in 2016, up from 400.00 ppm in 2015 because of a combination of human activities and a strong El Niño event,” according to The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, the UN weather agency’s annual flagship report.

This acceleration occurred despite a slowdown – and perhaps even a plateauing – of emissions because El Niño intensified droughts and weakened the ability of vegetation to absorb carbon dioxide. As the planet warms, El Niños are expected to become more frequent.

The increase of 3.3 ppm is considerably higher than both the 2.3 ppm rise of the previous 12 months and the average annual increase over the past decade of 2.08ppm. It is also well above the previous big El Niño year of 1998, when the rise was 2.7 ppm.

The study, which uses monitoring ships, aircraft and stations on the land to track emissions trends since 1750, said carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is now increasing 100 times faster than at the end of the last ice age due to population growth, intensive agriculture, deforestation and industrialisation.

The last time Earth experienced similar CO2 concentration rates was during the Pliocene era (three to five million years ago), when the sea level was up to 20m (65 feet) higher than now.


Prof Dave Reay, professor of carbon management at the University of Edinburgh, said: “This should set alarm bells ringing in the corridors of power. We know that, as climate change intensifies, the ability of the land and oceans to mop up our carbon emissions will weaken. There’s still time to steer these emissions down and so keep some control, but if we wait too long humankind will become a passenger on a one-way street to dangerous climate change.”


The World Meteorological Organisation predicted 2017 will again break records for concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane, but the growth rate will not be as fast because there is no El Niño effect.

Donald Bain, ghostwriter of dozens of books under other people’s names, dies at 82


Donald Bain, a little-known but versatile writer who sold millions of books, most of them published under other people’s names, died Oct. 21 at a hospital in White Plains, N.Y. He was 82.

The cause was congestive heart failure, said his literary agent, Bob Diforio.

Considered one of the pre-eminent ghost writers in the publishing world, Mr. Bain wrote more than 100 books, including most of the best-selling “Capital Crime” mystery novels of Margaret Truman.

Mr. Bain was also responsible for more than 40 titles in the “Murder, She Wrote” series, writing as Jessica Fletcher, the fictional mystery author and small-town sleuth portrayed in the long-running CBS crime drama by Angela Lansbury.

The “Murder, She Wrote” television series ran from 1984 to 1996, with Lansbury’s character solving murders in Cabot Cove, Maine, which, for all its New England charm, had an alarmingly high rate of violent crime.


Mr. Bain’s first major success came in 1967, when he wrote the pseudonymous best seller “Coffee, Tea or Me?,” a risqué novel purporting to be a nonfiction account of the amorous adventures of two free-spirited flight attendants, or “stewardesses,” as they were then called.

The title derived from a salacious come-hither line delivered by one of the stewardesses, and it became a commonplace, if leering, catchphrase of the time. The novel sold millions of copies, prompting Mr. Bain to publish three more “Coffee, Tea or Me?” sequels, all written by “Trudy Baker” and “Rachel Jones.” The publisher hired two former flight attendants to portray the would-be authors on talk shows.


Sunday, October 29, 2017


The Trump administration is considering abandoning an Obama-era policy of fully forgiving federal loans for students defrauded by for-profit colleges

Billionaire GOP donor: Trump is 'a threat to democracy'

Robots to help stock shelves at 50 Walmart stores

The Walton family, which owns Walmart, has more wealth than 42% of American families combined.

The eco guide to sanitary products

Bones And Grooves: The Weird Secret History Of Soviet X-Ray Music

This West Virginia Company Trains Coal Miners To Install Solar Panels

New York to send additional utility crews to Puerto Rico

Billionaire Charged With Bribing Doctors to Prescribe Opioids

Nursing home death prompts new questions for troubled United Medical Center

Bangladesh is now home to almost 1 million Rohingya refugees

Burma is also known as Myanmar

Before this situation, I had noticed that Buddhists seldom if ever were responsible for large scale violence.

By Max Bearak October 25, 2017

Wednesday marks the two-month anniversary of attacks in Burma, carried out by a small band of Rohingya militants, that triggered a massive and indiscriminate retaliation from the Burmese military and the exodus of most of the Muslim minority ethnic group from the country.

Some 604,000 people, mostly Rohingya, have fled to neighboring Bangladesh since Aug. 25, where they have joined more than 300,000 who fled in earlier waves of ethnic violence over the past three decades. With thousands still crossing the border each day, the total number of Rohingya refugees is expected to cross the 1 million mark in the coming days or weeks.

Roughly half a million Rohingya are thought to still be in Burma, where many live in camps for displaced people. Human rights organizations have documented the wholesale incineration of Rohingya villages across three townships (akin to counties) of Burma's Rakhine State, where the majority of Rohingya once lived. In interviews in Bangladesh refugee camps and over the phone while still in Burma, Rohingya have offered searing testimony of extensive crimes against humanity carried out by the Burmese military.


On Wednesday, Reuters reported a new version of a story that has been repeated numerous times over the past two months: Aid workers were hounded away from a camp for displaced Rohingya by people from the local Buddhist majority.

“The simple fact here is that lifesaving aid is being blocked from reaching vulnerable people who desperately need it, including children and the elderly,” Pierre Peron, spokesman for the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Burma, told Reuters.


The Burmese government has warned in the past that it will only allow those Rohingya with proof of land ownership in Burma to return — documents that most Rohingya do not have, or lost in the chaos of the crackdown.


Reports in Burmese state media seem to indicate that the Burmese government plans on appropriating land vacated by the Rohingya and may even harvest unattended crops.


Most of the 604,000 new arrivals in Bangladesh are children, thousands of whom are unaccompanied. Many are acutely malnourished.

On Monday, at an international conference in Geneva, international donors pledged around $340 million to the United Nations-led response. The U.N. had asked for about $100 million more than that. Doctors Without Borders has called the camps in Bangladesh a “time bomb ticking toward a full-blown health crisis” as sanitation and medical services and distribution of clean water have struggled to keep up with refugee arrivals.


Bangladesh is already the world's most densely populated large country. It is also one of the poorest. The government and civil society have nevertheless provided a massive amount of aid. The long-term viability of the camps in Bangladesh relies on continued international support, however, and the presence of nearly 1 million penniless refugees in southeastern Bangladesh is straining what was already very underdeveloped public services such as roads and hospitals.

Neonicotinoid pesticides found in honey from every continent

Oct. 5, 2017
By Debora MacKenzie

The evidence has been mounting for years that the world’s most widely used pesticides, neonicotinoids, harm bees and other pollinating insects. Now it seems the problem isn’t limited to Europe and North America, where the alarm was first sounded. It’s everywhere.

In 2013 the EU temporarily banned neonicotinoids on crops that attract bees, such as oilseed rape. In November, the European Food Safety Authority will decide if the evidence warrants a total ban. France has already announced one.

Starting in 2012, a team led by Alex Aebi of the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, asked travelling colleagues, friends and relatives to bring back honey when they went abroad. In three years they amassed 198 samples from every continent except Antarctica, and tested them for neonicotinoids.

They found that three-quarters of the samples contained at least one of the five neonicotinoid pesticides. Of those, nearly half contained between two and five different neonicotinoids.

Most worryingly, in 48 per cent of the contaminated samples, the neonicotinoids were at levels that exceeded the minimum dose known to cause “marked detrimental effects” in pollinators. “The situation is indeed bad for pollinators,” says Aebi.

“Finding neonicotinoids in honey is perhaps not surprising,” says Christopher Connolly of the University of Dundee, UK. After all, the pesticides are widely used. “But to find neuroactive levels, in so many samples at many global sites, is shocking.”

Bees survive the winter by eating honey, so the results imply they are chronically exposed to neonicotinoids. “Recent scientific evidence showed an increased sensitivity to neonicotinoids after frequent or long-term exposure,” says Aebi.


Fact checking web sites








In Mexican town, women and 'muxes' take charge after massive quake


September 12, 2017 / 4:01 PM / 2 months ago
David Alire Garcia

Destruction wrought by Mexico’s massive earthquake has put a spotlight on the quasi-matriarchal indigenous traditions of the worst affected town, with women and third-gender ‘muxes’ playing a leading role in the aftermath of the disaster.

Located in Mexico’s narrow isthmus region, about 400 miles (644 km) southeast of capital Mexico City, Juchitan bore the brunt of the 8.1 magnitude earthquake that flattened thousands of buildings in the humid market town in a matter of seconds and took at least 98 lives nationwide.

In vivid contrast to Mexico’s macho, male-dominated society, travelers have noted since at least the 1800s the relative equality of Juchitan’s mainly Zapotec men and women, as well as the prominence of muxes, Zapotecs born biologically male who mix gay and feminine identity.

After the earth shook violently just before midnight on Thursday, women, muxes and men all leapt into action, in many cases pulling away rubble with their bare hands.


Locals say there is a muxe in every Juchitan family. They are widely accepted despite an ingrained Roman Catholic heritage and known for dedication to family, especially for taking care of mothers as other siblings move out.


Roughly eight in 10 residents of Juchitan are indigenous, mostly Zapotec. Women are typically also in charge of family finances, said Felina Santiago, a muxe and beauty shop owner, speaking outside her badly damaged home.

“Many say Juchitan is the ultimate matriarchy. It’s a city of women who fight, who work hard,” Santiago said.

“Now more than ever, we’re going to work to get back on our feet,” she said, just as a structure on her block loudly collapsed, causing a sudden stir as neighbors rushed to the spot.

No one was hurt.


Saturday, October 28, 2017

Ocean acidification is deadly threat to marine life, finds eight-year study


Fiona Harvey
Monday 23 October 2017

If the outlook for marine life was already looking bleak – torrents of plastic that can suffocate and starve fish, overfishing, diverse forms of human pollution that create dead zones, the effects of global warming which is bleaching coral reefs and threatening coldwater species – another threat is quietly adding to the toxic soup.

Ocean acidification is progressing rapidly around the world, new research has found, and its combination with the other threats to marine life is proving deadly. Many organisms that could withstand a certain amount of acidification are at risk of losing this adaptive ability owing to pollution from plastics, and the extra stress from global warming.

The conclusions come from an eight-year study into the effects of ocean acidification which found our increasingly acid seas – a byproduct of burning fossil fuels – are becoming more hostile to vital marine life.

“Since ocean acidification happens extremely fast compared to natural processes, only organisms with short generation times, such as micro-organisms, are able to keep up,” the authors of the study Exploring Ocean Change: Biological Impacts of Ocean Acidification found.


Ocean acidification can reduce the survival prospects of some species early in their lives, with knock-on effects. For instance, the scientists found that by the end of the century, the size of Atlantic cod in the Baltic and Barents Sea might be reduced to only a quarter of the size they are today, because of acidification.


Ocean acidification is another effect of pouring carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, as the gas dissolves in seawater to produce weak carbonic acid. Since the industrial revolution, the average pH of the ocean has been found to have fallen from 8.2 to 8.1, which may seem small but corresponds to an increase in acidity of about 26%.


Worse still, the effects of acidification can intensify the effects of global warming, in a dangerous feedback loop. The researchers pointed to a form of planktonic alga known as Emiliania huxleyi, which in laboratory experiments was able to adapt to some extent to counter the negative effects acidification had upon it. But in a field experiment, the results were quite different as the extra stresses present at sea meant it was not able to form the extensive blooms it naturally develops. As these blooms help to transport carbon dioxide from the surface to the deep ocean, and produce the gas dimethyl sulfide that can help suppress global warming, a downturn in this species “will therefore severely feed back on the climate system”.


Transparent Solar Panels Could Harvest Energy From Windows and Eventually Replace Fossil Fuels

Counterprotestors outnumber “White Lives Matter” protestors.
Ultimately it appeared that about 300 people attended — about 100 “White Lives Matter” attendees and twice as many counterprotesters.

Vietnam POW: This is the right way to honor veterans
That self-contentment applies to civilians who say "thanks for your service" as uniformed servicemen pass by them in an airport. It does little. It may give a civilian 15 seconds of satisfaction to think that they made a meaningful impact on a soldier's day, but real impact would be saying "thank you for your sacrifice" or "because of you, America is safe."

Poll: 71% of Americans say politics has reached a dangerous low point
In addition, 42% of those polled said Trump's election was not legitimate, including two-thirds of Democrats and 9% of Republicans. That compares to about 14 percent who said former President Barack Obama's election in 2008 wasn't legitimate.

Air Force says $22M jet crash caused by assembly error

Hurricane Sandy, five years later: 'No one was ready for what happened after'

Mysterious object seen speeding past sun could be 'visitor from another star system'

Tropical Storm Philippe Advisory


Tropical Storm Philippe Advisory Number 5
NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL AL182017
500 PM EDT Sat Oct 28 2017



Updates on Facebook. A nice thing about the Facebook posts is that they remain there, so we can see the history of the progression.


Friday, October 27, 2017

10-Year-Old Mexican Girl With Cerebral Palsy Detained by Border Patrol After Surgery in Texas

by The Associated Press
Oct. 26, 2017

A 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who entered the United States from Mexico without permission a decade ago is potentially facing deportation after having to go through a Border Patrol checkpoint in South Texas for emergency gallbladder surgery, a family lawyer said Thursday.

Immigration advocates are protesting Rosa Maria Hernandez's case and say Border Patrol should show more discretion in the cases of sick children who are in the U.S. illegally but need medical treatment.

Leticia Gonzalez, an attorney for the Hernandez family, said Thursday that Rosa Maria was taken with a cousin from the Texas border city of Laredo to a children's hospital in Corpus Christi, about 150 miles away. They had to pass through one of several Border Patrol checkpoints set up in South Texas, north of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Gonzalez said Border Patrol agents allowed the girl and her cousin to pass, but followed the hospital vehicle taking them. At the hospital, agents stood by and refused to let Rosa Maria's relative close the door to their room so they could keep watch over the girl, Gonzalez said.

And after the surgery was complete, agents stood ready to escort Rosa Maria to a federal facility for unaccompanied minors in the U.S. illegally, located another 140 miles away in San Antonio.

Rosa Maria is now being held at the facility indefinitely, the attorney said.

Even if she is eventually released to a sponsor approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the girl will undergo processing and could be deported. Gonzalez said it could be several weeks before she is released.

"They just refused to allow the child to go home," Gonzalez said Thursday.

In a statement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed its agents had escorted Rosa Maria from a checkpoint to the hospital.

It said Border Patrol agents were "committed to enforcing the immigration laws of this nation." The statement added that "once medically cleared she will be processed accordingly."


Astrid Dominguez, immigration policy strategist for the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, said people without legal status in Texas' border regions have long had to decide whether to seek medical care and face detention, including during the Obama administration.

"This isn't an isolated case," Dominiguez said. "This is a risk they have to take to get medical attention for their children."

Nurses in Puerto Rico See First-Hand Health Crisis from Climate Disasters

By Phil McKenna
Oct 26, 2017

A group of nurses who volunteered in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria gave harrowing accounts of what they saw in hospitals, homes and isolated towns there at a meeting with members of Congress on Thursday.

"Children, hungry and sick, clinging to their crying mothers, who were begging for food to feed their families. Frail elders exposed to excessive heat and rain, desperate for drinking water and forced to make terrible choices to either suffer from severe dehydration or drink from contaminated rivers and streams that could also lead to death," Cathy Kennedy, a registered nurse and Vice-President of National Nurses United, said recounting what she and others saw on the island.

The ongoing crisis in Puerto Rico is surfacing many of the health risks associated with climate change—risks that are becoming more common as global temperatures rise and that are raising concerns across the nursing profession.

This week, an international nursing society published a special-edition journal focused on those risks. It includes 11 studies detailing how climate change is exacerbating human health threats, including infectious and chronic disease, mental health, food security, disaster planning and social disparities, and how the nursing profession can address these emerging challenges.

"Recent natural disasters have had considerable health consequences, including deaths in nursing homes and an extreme lack of access to medical services," Eileen Sullivan-Marx, dean of New York University's Rory Meyers College of Nursing and an editor of the special issue, said in a statement. "Now more than ever, it is critical that the nursing community work with other health professionals to plan for changing conditions."

The studies, published in the Journal of Nursing Scholarship by The Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International, addressed a multitude of challenges that health providers face worldwide.


Another study focused on social justice issues associated with climate change and human health. Climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year between 2030 and 2050: including 38,000 per year due to heat exposure in elderly people; 48,000 due to diarrheal disease; 60,000 due to malaria; and 95,000 due to childhood undernutrition, according to a 2014 study by the World Health Organization.

"Those who contribute least to global warming are those who will disproportionately be affected by the negative health outcomes of climate change," the authors of the new study write.


"I don't remember ever teaching or learning in my career what it would mean to not have electricity for a certain period of time, because it wasn't in our thinking that that would happen," Sullivan-Marx said. She said new manuals will likely have to be written about what to do if you are a nurse working in a health-care facility and electricity or air conditioning or fuel for a back-up generator is unavailable for an extended period of time.

As the public health implications of extreme climate events grow, nursing groups are stepping up their response efforts and calling on government officials to do the same.


Christine Grant, a registered nurse from Washington, D.C., who recently returned from Puerto Rico, said her team initially focused on providing medicine but quickly switched to distributing food and water to remote areas that were not receiving it from the federal government.

"It just made no sense to me that small groups of nurses were able to get this up and running, that we could figure it out and have these small minivans to get out to the remote areas to distribute food and water," Grant said. "With the resources and the manpower that they have they could have done so much better."



The night before last, I woke up from a bad dream where Trump was riling up his supporters, who were gathering in big, armed groups, and were on the verge of attacking Trump opponents and taking over.

NASA "Twins Study" Shows How Spaceflight Changes Gene Expression

World's witnessing a new Gilded Age as billionaires’ wealth swells to $6tn

Subsidy plan for coal and nuclear plants 'will cost US taxpayers $10.6bn a year'

Nestlé, Mars and Hershey 'breaking promises over palm oil use'

Dad quits job to qualify for Medicaid to receive cancer treatment
[The headline on this erroneously refers to “Medicare”, when it should be “Medicaid”.
He's not eligible for Medicare because he's not old enough, hasn't been on disability for two years, or have a few very severe diseases which qualify for immediate Medicare.]

How Russia Is Playing Catalonia To Get A Reprieve On Crimea

Thursday, October 26, 2017


5 Vegetables That Are Healthier Cooked

A computer server crucial to a lawsuit against Georgia election officials was quietly wiped clean by its custodians just after the suit was filed, The Associated Press has learned.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Southern California Is Breaking Heat Records By Alarming Margins


At one coastal airport, the 1983 record was shattered by 15 degrees.
By Lydia O’Connor
Oct. 25, 2017

Southern California is getting scorched by an unseasonable heat wave, with temperatures in some areas breaking records by double-digit margins.

According to the National Weather Service office in Los Angeles, heat records for Oct. 25 were shattered in a number of places Wednesday. The most notable record was set at the Camarillo Airport in Ventura County, where a high of 103 degrees broke the previous record, 88 set in 1983, by a jaw-dropping 15 degrees.

Heat waves typically break temperature records by only as much as a few degrees. A June 2016 heat wave that struck Southern California, for example, broke several records by single digits. The one double-digit margin was set in El Cajon, where temperatures for that calendar day toppled the previous record by 10 degrees.

Even during a 2015 heat wave in the region with back-to-back days of temperatures surpassing 100 degrees, the heat broke records by small margins.

Other heat records set Wednesday include Oxnard, where 102-degree temperatures beat out the old record by 8 degrees, and Los Angeles International Airport, where 99-degree heat toppled the 1983 record of 92.


The ongoing heat sparked several brush fires on Tuesday, requiring closures on three freeways. Later Tuesday, hot wind gusts complicated firefighters’ efforts to contain a growing wildfire in the hills about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

Scientists have long warned that these types of heat waves will become the new normal.

“If we continue with business-as-usual burning of fossil fuels, and warm the planet by [3 degrees Celsius] by the end of this century, then what we today call ‘extreme heat’ we will instead call ‘midsummer,’” Michael Mann, a leading climate scientist and professor of meteorology at Penn State University, told HuffPost during a heat wave plaguing the Midwest and Northeast last summer.

Link between Adolescent Pot Smoking and Psychosis Strengthens

Research presented at a Berlin psychiatric conference shows teenage cannabis use hastens onset of schizophrenia in vulnerable individuals

By R. Douglas Fields on October 20, 2017


Marijuana’s potentially detrimental impact on the developing brains of adolescents remains a key focus of research—particularly because of the possibility teenage users could go on to face a higher risk of psychosis.

New findings may fuel those worries. At the World Psychiatric Association’s World Congress in Berlin on October 9, Hannelore Ehrenreich of the Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine presented results of a study of 1,200 people with schizophrenia. The investigation analyzed a wide range of genetic and environmental risk factors for developing the debilitating mental illness. The results—being submitted for publication—show people who had consumed cannabis before age 18 developed schizophrenia approximately 10 years earlier than others. The higher the frequency of use, the data indicated, the earlier the age of schizophrenia onset. In her study neither alcohol use nor genetics predicted an earlier time of inception, but pot did. “Cannabis use during puberty is a major risk factor for schizophrenia,” Ehrenreich says.

Other studies, although not all, support the thrust of Ehrenreich’s findings. “There is no doubt,” concludes Robin Murray, a professor of psychiatry at King’s College London, that cannabis use in young people increases the risk of developing schizophrenia as an adult. Speaking at the Berlin conference, Murray—one of the first scientists to research pot’s link to the disorder—cited 10 studies that found a significant risk of young cannabis users developing psychosis. He also mentioned three other studies that identified a clear trend but had a sample size that was too small to reach statistical significance. “The more [cannabis] you take—and the higher the potency—the greater the risk,” he contends, warning this makes the increasingly potent new strains of marijuana especially concerning.


tags: drug abuse, drug use


These baby foods and formulas tested positive for arsenic, lead and BPA in new study

Why reason and evidence won’t change our minds.

Expert panel recommends new shingles vaccine that gives increased protection

National Park Service Considering Steep Increase in Entry Fees for 17 Parks

Blood test can effectively rule out breast cancer, regardless of breast density

Post-concussion brain changes persist even after pre-teen hockey players return to play

Conservation spending predicts rise and fall of global biodiversity

Medicare patients in poorest US counties more likely to incur higher out-of-pocket hospitalization expenses

The psychological toll of shame in military personnel post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) feelings

The role of the gut microbiome in posttraumatic stress disorder: More than a gut feeling

Now we know why babies shouldn't sleep face down

Living close to green spaces is associated with better attention in children

UMass Amherst researchers find triclosan and other chemicals accumulate in toothbrushes
triclosan, an antibacterial agent in some over-the-counter toothpastes, accumulates in toothbrush bristles and is easily released in the mouth if the user switches toothpaste types.

Large declines seen in teen substance abuse, delinquency
[Maybe because of decrease in lead levels in the environment, and decrease in corporal punishment of children.]

Pharma gifts to providers result in more branded, expensive prescriptions

Some infant rice cereals contain elevated levels of methylmercury

Oysters rapidly close their shells in response to low-frequency sounds characteristic of marine noise pollution

Pollutant emitted by forest fire causes DNA damage and lung cell death

Study indicates arsenic can cause cancer decades after exposure ends

Weak social ties a killer for male whales

human exposure to glyphosate, a chemical widely found in weed killers, has increased approximately 500 percent since the introduction of genetically modified crops.

Toxicant levels are around 90 percent less in glo™ emissions compared to cigarette smoke

Starting at age 6, children spontaneously practice skills to prepare for the future

A drier south: Europe's drought trends match climate change projections

Deforestation linked to palm oil production is making Indonesia warmer

Sea-level rise, not stronger storm surge, will cause future NYC flooding

Air pollution cuts solar energy potential in China

Reduced impact logging still harms biodiversity in tropical rainforests

Electricity from shale gas vs. coal: Lifetime toxic releases from coal much higher

Arsenic exposure in us public drinking water declines following new EPA regulations

Mountain glaciers shrinking across the West

US ocean observation critical to understanding climate change, but lacks long-term national planning

Czech zoo cheers birth of endangered eastern black rhino
Only a few hundred remain in African reserves, where they must be protected from poachers. Some 140 are in European zoos.

Long Island prosecutor indicted in 2012 police brutality cover-up

Rise in mumps outbreaks prompts U.S. panel to endorse 3rd vaccine dose


Congress just killed a rule that would have made it easier for consumers to sue banks — here's why people are so upset

The Great Kansas Tax Cut Experiment Crashes And Burns

Rising Seas Are Flooding Virginia’s Naval Base, and There’s No Plan to Fix It

U.S. Unprepared to Face Costs of Climate Change, GAO Says
The risks are big, and they’re rising, a new report says—just as the Trump administration is changing how it calculates costs to make them look smaller.

Blood-thinning drugs 'can reduce risk of dementia by up to 48%' in people with an irregular heartbeat

The terrible truth about your tin of Italian tomatoes
[Things like this also happen in the U.S.]

The FCC just ended a decades-old rule designed to keep TV and radio under local control

Intergenerational social mobility

EPA nominee may be illegally circumventing confirmation

Harassment, then helplessness, in state capitals

4 Surging Facebook Scams You Need to Avoid

Bad Rabbit: Ten things you need to know about the latest ransomware outbreak

It's the third major outbreak of the year - here's what we know so far.
By Danny Palmer | October 25, 2017

A new ransomware campaign has hit a number of high profile targets in Russia and Eastern Europe.

Dubbed Bad Rabbit, the ransomware first started infecting systems on Tuesday 24 October, and the way in which organisations appear to have been hit simultaneously immediately drew comparisons to this year's WannaCry and Petya epidemics.

Following the initial outbreak, there was some confusion about what exactly Bad Rabbit is. Now the initial panic has died down, however, it's possible to dig down into what exactly is going on.

1. The cyber-attack has hit organisations across Russia and Eastern Europe

Organisations across Russian and Ukraine -- as well as a small number in Germany, and Turkey -- have fallen victim to the ransomware. Researchers at Avast say they've also detected the malware in Poland and South Korea.


2. It's definitely ransomware

Those unfortunate enough to fall victim to the attack quickly realised what had happened because the ransomware isn't subtle -- it presents victims with a ransom note telling them their files are "no longer accessible" and "no one will be able to recover them without our decryption service".

Victims are directed to a Tor payment page and are presented with a countdown timer. Pay within the first 40 hours or so, they're told, and the payment for decrypting files is 0.05 bitcoin -- around $285. Those who don't pay the ransom before the timer reaches zero are told the fee will go up and they'll have to pay more.


4. It spreads via a fake Flash update on compromised websites

The main way Bad Rabbit spreads is drive-by downloads on hacked websites. No exploits are used, rather visitors to compromised websites -- some of which have been compromised since June -- are told that they need to install a Flash update. Of course, this is no Flash update, but a dropper for the malicious install.


10. You can protect yourself against becoming infected by it

At this stage, it's unknown if it's possible to decrypt files locked by Bad Rabbit without giving in and paying the ransom - although researchers say that those who fall victim shouldn't pay the fee, as it will only encourage the growth of ransomware.

A number of security vendors say their products protect against Bad Rabbit. But for those who want to be sure they don't potentially fall victim to the attack, Kaspersky Lab says users can block the execution of file 'c: \ windows \ infpub.dat, C: \ Windows \ cscc.dat.' in order to prevent infection.


Report: Walmart Workers Cost Taxpayers $6.2 Billion In Public Assistance

The best way to clean your apples, according to science

A man who helped repair homes after Hurricane Harvey just died of flesh-eating bacteria

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Record-Melting Fall Heat Wave Bakes Southern California


Bob Henson · October 24, 2017

It’s not every October 23 or 24 that millions of Americans are swathed in temperatures above 100°F. This week has done just that, bringing some of the toastiest weather ever observed in the United States during late October, and more pre-Halloween heat is on the way. By far the most scorching weather has been in Southern California, although it’s also been exceptionally mild this month in settings as far-flung as Michigan, Florida, and New England.

A multi-day summer-like heat wave kicked into high gear on Monday and continued Tuesday along and well inland from the California coast, from Santa Barbara through Los Angeles to San Diego. Dozens of locations record highs for the date and all-time highs for this late in the year, and Santa Ana winds kept the temperatures amazingly warm throughout Monday night. In Orange County, the city of Fullerton soared to 107°F on Monday. According to WU weather historian Christopher Burt, this is likely the hottest single temperature recorded anywhere in the United States so late in the year. Even Death Valley has never recorded a temperature this high after October 16 in any year! For comparison, the national U.S. record high for November is 105°F, most recently at Tustin Irvine Ranch, California, in 1997.

Another impressive mark: downtown Los Angeles (the University of Southern California campus) hit 102°F. Prior to Monday, the downtown station had never topped 100°F after October 17, in records going all the way back to 1877. Incredibly, the USC downtown station got even hotter on Tuesday, reaching 103°F at 1 pm.


The heat and wind will continue through Wednesday across the coastal ranges of Southern California, keeping fire danger at critical levels on both Tuesday and Wednesday as designated by the NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center. The very warm night Monday night gave temperatures a running start toward highs on Tuesday that could match or even exceed Monday’s at some locations (as was the case in Los Angeles, as noted above). Adding to the fire risk, winds were already gusting above 60 mph at some locations by midday Tuesday, and relative humidity on Tuesday night may remain as low as 10-15%, dropping below 10% as the air heats up by day. Winds should begin to relax across the area by Wednesday afternoon.



Southern California Braces for Wildfire Threat Amid Triple-Digit Heat

Typhoon Lan hits Japan leaving three dead

Jimmy Carter: The media has been harder on Trump than predecessors
[I despise Trump, but it is true that he gets much criticism for trivial things, or things that would have been looked at differently for other presidents. This actually works to the benefit of the budget and legal changes he and the republican Congress are making, taking away attention from serious things.]

Mexico takes a big step in addressing carbon emissions

Troubled By Flint Water Crisis, 11-Year-Old Girl Invents Lead-Detecting Device

'Our minds can be hijacked': the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia

The United States Has Lost One of Its Greatest Astronauts

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona will retire, citing direction of GOP under Trump

The .1 percent are the true villains: What Americans don’t understand about income inequality

The republican tax plan will make this even worse.


Lynn Stuart Parramore, AlterNet


The 99 percent would do well to find common ground with bulk of the 1 percent if we can, because we are going to need each other to tackle this mounting threat from above.

To make it into the 1 percent, you need to have, according to some estimates, at least about $350,000 a year in income, or around $8 million accumulated in wealth. At the lower end of the 1 percent spectrum, the “lower-uppers,” as they have been called, you’ll find people like successful doctors, accountants, engineers, lawyers, vice-presidents of companies, and well-paid media figures.


Those at the lower end of the 1 percent have very nice houses and take exotic vacations, but they aren’t zipping to and fro in personal helicopters or cruising the high seas in megayachts. In exorbitantly expensive places like New York City and San Francisco, the lower-uppers may not even feel particularly rich. Most of them aren't really growing their share of wealth and plenty are worried about tumbling down the economic ladder. They have reason to worry.

Some lower-uppers are beginning to realize that their natural allies are not those above them on the economic ladder. They are getting the sense that the 0.1 percent is its own hyper-elite club, and lower-uppers are not invited to the party. The 0.1 percent has pulled away because at the tippy top, income has grown much faster than it has for the rest of the affluent.Unlike the lower-uppers, the super-rich folks are armed with every tax dodge in universe: they aren’t expected to pay nearly their share to Uncle Sam. Their income comes largely from capital gains, which are taxed at a far lower rate than income earned from working. As their money piles up higher and higher, their conspicuous consumption knows no bounds—they are building palatial homes and massive art collections and even gold-plated bunkers to protect themselves in case of an uprising. Many don’t really ever put down roots in communities; they roam from New York to London to Dubai to the Cayman Islands, following the favorability of weather and tax codes.


All told, the 0.1 percent now owns about as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent of America combined. And that’s just the official numbers. Plenty of their wealth is parked overseas and in places where it’s hard to get an accurate count of what they’ve accumulated. To get into the club, which comprises around 115,000 households, you need to start with a nest egg of $20 million—and that’s at the very bottom of the super-rich group. George W. Bush just barely makes the cut. He’s very rich, but not among the highest fliers in today’s second Gilded Age.


People like Cohen are a big part of the undue concentration of wealth at the expense of workers and communities—they create little of value for society and siphon off funds for our schools and infrastructure with tax loopholes allowed by bought politicians, like the notorious “carried interest” loophole. You also get bankers CEOs like Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase and corporate chieftains paid stratospheric salaries even while driving their companies into the ground, like erstwhile GOP presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina, formerly of Hewlett Packard.


Unless we act boldly—together—to reduce private concentrations of wealth, inequality will continue to grow and that 0.1 percent will continue to explode because the returns on their wealth exceed increases in salaries and income, as Thomas Piketty noted in his book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century. They can get wealthier and wealthier just by sitting there doing absolutely nothing. In fact, it would be better if they did just sit there and do nothing, because when they do something, it is often reckless speculation that destabilizes the economy. By seriously taxing our wealthiest households, we could raise significant revenues and invest these funds to expand wealth-building opportunities across the economy.
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Until we are able to offer a challenge to the 0.1 percent, we will continue to see democracy undermined, social cohesion blown apart, economies destabilized, social mobility stalled, and many other important aspects of our personal and public lives degraded, including our health. We need the lower-uppers to construct a social and political movement big enough and powerful enough to do it.




The most visible indicator of wealth inequality in America today may be the Forbes magazine list of the nation’s 400 richest. In 1982, the “poorest” American listed on the first annual Forbes magazine list of America’s richest 400 had a net worth of $80 million. The average member of that first list had a net worth of $230 million. In 2016, rich Americans needed net worth of $1.7 billion to enter the Forbes 400, and the average member held a net $6.0 billion, over 10 times the 1982 average after adjusting for inflation.

Inequality is skyrocketing even within the Forbes 400 list of America’s richest. The net worth of the richest member of the Forbes 400 has soared from $2 billion in 1982 to $81 billion in 2016, far outpacing the gains at either the Forbes 400 entry point or average.

Over the past quarter of a century, only America’s most affluent families have added to their net worth.


The 21st century has not been kind to average American families. The net worth — assets minus debts — of most U.S. households fell between 2000 and 2011. Only the top two quintiles of the nation’s wealth distribution saw a net increase in median net worth over those years.

The rich don’t just have more wealth than everyone else. The bulk of their wealth comes from different — and more lucrative — asset sources. America’s top 1 percent, for instance, holds nearly half the national wealth invested in stocks and mutual funds. Most of the wealth of Americans in the bottom 90 percent comes from their principal residences, the asset category that took the biggest hit during the Great Recession. These Americans also hold almost three-quarters of America’s debt.