Sunday, September 30, 2018

Sept. 20, 2018
Spotify has announced a new beta feature that will allow independent artists to upload their music directly to the platform instead of through a label or digital aggregator. Normally, artists who aren’t signed to a major label (which can directly upload music to Spotify) have to pay a fee to a third-party service like Tunecore to upload their music to Spotify. The upload feature will be contained within the service’s existing Spotify for Artists platform, which, among other things, allows artists to view data about their listeners and directly submit their songs for editorial playlist consideration.
Sept. 30, 2018
The death toll on the island of Sulawesi stands at 832 people, but officials said Sunday they expect that number to climb as rescuers sift through the destruction left by a powerful earthquake and tsunami.
Two days after a 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit the island and 3-meter-high waves crashed onto its northern shore, authorities continued combing through chunks of concrete and lumber searching for survivors.
Sept. 28, 2018
E-mails Show That Republican Senate Staff Stymied a Kavanaugh Accuser’s Effort to Give Testimony
Sept. 27, 2018
Here Are All The Questions Christine Blasey Ford Had To Answer About Brett Kavanaugh Allegedly Sexually Assaulting Her
Sept. 29, 2018
According to a new report from NBC News, the White House already appears to be obstructing the inquiry into the allegations against Kavanaugh by “limiting the scope of the FBI’s investigation” so not all of the women or witnesses are interviewed.
More from the troubling report:
Instead of investigating Swetnick’s claims, the White House counsel’s office has given the FBI a list of witnesses they are permitted to interview, according to several people who discussed the parameters on the condition of anonymity. They characterized the White House instructions as a significant constraint on the FBI investigation and caution that such a limited scope, while not unusual in normal circumstances, may make it difficult to pursue additional leads in a case in which a Supreme Court nominee has been accused of sexual assault.
In other words, the scope of the investigation into the first two accusers – Dr. Ford and Ramirez – will be severely limited by the White House, and an inquiry into the explosive allegations from Julie Swetnick will be ignored altogether.
Sept. 29, 2018
A 6-year-old Texas boy finally gets to speak after a simple procedure at the dentist fixed his tongue-tie. For the first five years of his life, his speech problem was thought to be related to his known disorder.
July 10, 2018
according to a deep, data-driven survey of his writings from the bench, Kavanaugh is much like the man who selected him — highly divisive in his decisions and rhetoric. He is an uncommonly partisan judge, even compared with other federal appeals court judges. Trump is seizing this opportunity to shape a generation of U.S. jurisprudence, and the direction he’s chosen is a hard right turn.
Sept. 30, 2018
Dozens of doctors tasked by the federal government with screening immigrants have serious criminal records or histories of abusing patients, a federal watchdog says.
One of the doctors even has a felony conviction for attempting to hire a hit man to kill a "dissatisfied patient," and another doctor has a long history of "sexual misconduct and exploiting female patients."
At least 132 of the 5,500 doctors charged with screening the immigrants could "pose a health or safety risk," the watchdog report said.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Sept. 25, 2018
Here’s How Millennials’ Lives Were Changed By Recession 10 Years Ago
Sept. 27, 2018
Children who use smartphones and other devices in their free time for less than two hours a day performed better on cognitive tests assessing their thinking, language and memory, according to a study published Wednesday in the Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.
Sept. 20, 2018
A top professor at Yale Law School who strongly endorsed supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as a “mentor to women” privately told a group of law students last year that it was “not an accident” that Kavanaugh’s female law clerks all “looked like models” and would provide advice to students about their physical appearance if they wanted to work for him, the Guardian has learned.
Amy Chua, a Yale professor who wrote a bestselling book on parenting called Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, was known for instructing female law students who were preparing for interviews with Kavanaugh on ways they could dress to exude a “model-like” femininity to help them win a post in Kavanaugh’s chambers, according to sources.

[What are we currently putting into the environment that we will eventually learn has long lasting harmful effects?]
Sept. 27, 2018
At least half of the world’s killer whale populations are doomed to extinction due to toxic and persistent pollution of the oceans, according to a major new study.
Although the poisonous chemicals, PCBs, have been banned for decades, they are still leaking into the seas. They become concentrated up the food chain; as a result, killer whales, the top predators, are the most contaminated animals on the planet. Worse, their fat-rich milk passes on very high doses to their newborn calves.
PCB concentrations found in killer whales can be 100 times safe levels and severely damage reproductive organs, cause cancer and damage the immune system. The new research analysed the prospects for killer whale populations over the next century and found those offshore from industrialised nations could vanish as soon as 30-50 years.
Sept. 27, 2018
American Bar Association: Delay Kavanaugh until FBI investigates assault allegations

[When I posted this on Facebook, they removed it because “it looks like spam”.]
Sept. 28, 2018
Nearly 50m Facebook accounts were compromised by an attack that gave hackers the ability to take over users’ accounts, Facebook revealed on Friday.
The breach was discovered by Facebook engineers on Tuesday 25 September, the company said, and patched on Thursday. Users whose accounts were affected will be notified by Facebook. Those users will be logged out of their accounts and required to log back in.
Update: Just heard on NPR that no passwords were stolen.
Sept. 27, 2018
There's long been a connection between birth control pills and a reduced risk of ovarian cancer. Now, new research suggests that's true for the latest form of the drug, as well.
Scientists say the protective effect of the newer pills -- which contain lower doses of estrogens and different progestogens -- rose over time and persisted for several years after women stopped taking them.
https://www .theguardian. com/us-news/2018/sep/28/russian-us-tycoon-boasted-of-active-involvement-in-trump-election-campaign-simon-kukes
Sept. 28, 2018
A Russian-American businessman who donated a substantial sum to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election effort boasted to a senior figure in Moscow that he was “actively involved” in the Republican candidate’s campaign, the Guardian can reveal.
Simon Kukes said he was helping Trump with “strategy development” and shared photos of his 29-year-old Russian girlfriend posing with the future president.
In total Kukes gave $273,000 (£207,000) to Trump Victory – a fundraising committee that distributes donations between the candidate, the Republican National Committee (RNC) and state Republican parties. He had no previous history of giving money to political causes.
Sept. 28, 2018
A mob of about 100 people in the central Mexican state of Hidalgo doused a detective with gasoline and burned him to death, according to local officials.
There have been five killings in the span of about a month in Mexico based on false rumors about child snatchers. In four of those cases, the victims were also burned.
Authorities say the rumors circulate on social media and have asked the public not to believe them.
It is not the first time that investigative agents have been killed in Mexico after townspeople caught them snooping around.
In 2004, a mob on the southern outskirts of Mexico City beat two federal agents and burned them to death for allegedly taking pictures of schoolchildren. Some claimed they believed the agents were kidnappers, but it turned out that they were on assignment investigating a case.
The hysteria has also swept up people who were simply asking questions.
In late August, two men were set afire by an angry mob in Puebla after they apparently stopped to have beer near a school.
In 2015, residents of Ajalpan, Puebla beat to death two young men who were making inquiries in the town.
Rumors spread that they were trying to kidnap children, but the two men were actually conducting a commercial survey about tortilla consumption.
Sept. 28, 2018
President Donald Trump left the door open Friday to a reopening of the FBI investigation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, saying he wants Republican Senate leaders to do “whatever they think is necessary" to get to a decision on whether to confirm him.
A day after an emotional hearing in which Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about her allegations against Kavanaugh of sexual assault, Trump told reporters at the White House he thought her testimony was "compelling" and said "she looks like a very fine woman to me."
However, he continued to stand by Kavanaugh. Asked if he had thought of replacing Kavanaugh, Trump said: "Not even a little bit."

The American Bar Association had concerns about Kavanaugh 12 years ago.

By Avi Selk
September 28, 2018


Flash back to the mid-2000s and another fight in the Senate over Kavanaugh’s nomination to a federal court:

Democrats for three years had been blocking President George W. Bush’s 2003 nomination of Kavanaugh to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. They argued he was biased, as shown by his work as a lawyer for Bush’s presidential campaign, for an independent counsel’s investigation into President Bill Clinton and for other conservative causes.


in May 2006, as Republicans hoped to finally push Kavanaugh’s nomination across the finish line, the ABA downgraded its endorsement.

The group’s judicial investigator had recently interviewed dozens of lawyers, judges and others who had worked with Kavanaugh, the ABA announced at the time, and some of them raised red flags about “his professional experience and the question of his freedom from bias and open-mindedness.”

“One interviewee remained concerned about the nominee’s ability to be balanced and fair should he assume a federal judgeship,” the ABA committee chairman wrote to senators in 2006.


In the end, the ABA committee weighed Kavanaugh’s “solid reputation for integrity, intellectual capacity, and writing and analytical ability” against “concern over whether this nominee is so insulated that he will be unable to judge fairly in the future.” In a split vote, it downgraded the rating of the nominee to simply “qualified” — meaning he met the ABA’s standards to become a judge but was not necessarily an outstanding candidate.


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Links and comment
Sept. 20, 2018
'Treating protest as terrorism': US plans crackdown on Keystone XL activists

in reply to a Facebook post on what a conservative sees in Trump:
I see a man blocking action on pollution that is making us ill, shortening our lives, damaging the brains of children.
I see a man who is blocking action on global warming, which is already killing people thru more frequent and stronger rain and snow events, larger hurricanes, rising seas leading to stronger storm surges. Which is leading to larger wildfires. Which is already leading to crop failures in many places. Which will lead devastation for our children and grandchildren.
I see a man who is packing our courts with people who will rule against us in favor of enabling big business to hurt our health and finances for the sake of making very rich people even richer.
I see a man who is giving big tax cuts to the very rich, small ones if any to the middle and lower wage classes, making inequality even wider, which history has shown leads to big recessions and depressions.
I see a man who lies incessantly, claiming credit for things that didn't even happen, or that were well underway before he became president.
I see a man who appointed a secretary of education who is trying to make it harder for people who say they've been defrauded by their schools to have their student loans cancelled.
I see a man who has been such a bad businessman he can't get loans from U.S. banks, so he has to get them from Russia.
I see a man who is so uncaring about the welfare of our country that he doesn't want it revealed if any of his supporters are working for the Russians.
I see a country where the percent of adults in the labor force is virtually unchanged since he became president.
I see a man who is raising the national debt to its highest levels, which will be used as reasons to cut Social Security, Medicare, health care for children, food for children, etc.
I see a man whose actions encourage sexual attacks on the female children and grandchildren people profess to love.

EPA puts top children’s health official on leave

By John Bowden and Miranda Green - 09/26/18

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday placed Office of Children’s Health Protection Director Dr. Ruth Etzel on administrative leave without explanation in a move critics warn could be part of an effort to shut the office down, an effort that the EPA denies exists.

The New York Times reports that Etzel was placed on leave and asked to hand over her badge, keys and cellphone, according to an EPA official who was familiar with the decision but would not speak publicly.


The reported administrative change set off fears for some in the health-care industry who have been watching the internal changes at EPA.

The director of the pediatric residency program at Hurley Medical Center, a teaching hospital that serviced children affected by the Flint, Mich., lead water crisis, warned the Times that the move could be a "sneaky" way for the Trump administration to shift the EPA's priorities.

“This seems like a sneaky way for the EPA to get rid of this program and not be upfront about it,” Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha told the Times, adding that Etzel is “an international leader in children’s health.”

Other EPA sources told the Times that Etzel's suspension was just the latest move slowing productivity in the EPA's small 15-person Office of Children’s Health Protection, citing a multi-agency study on childhood lead exposure undertaken by the office last year but allegedly stalled by the Trump administration since July.


The EPA has seen major staff cuts under President Trump. Since he took office, the agency has reportedly lost 8 percent of its total staff, totaling nearly 1,600 workers, in an 18-month period.


Tuesday, September 25, 2018


[Anybody who has had to deal with authoritarians should know they do not lead to good results.]
Sept. 24, 2018
The Myth of Authoritarian Competence
What trouble in Turkey reveals about the perils of strongman rule
Sept. 25, 2018
Humans are responsible for some of the wobble in Earth's spin.
Since 1899, the Earth's axis of spin has shifted about 34 feet (10.5 meters). Now, research quantifies the reasons why and finds that a third is due to melting ice and rising sea levels, particularly in Greenland—placing the blame on the doorstep of anthropogenic climate change.
Another third of the wobble is due to land masses expanding upward as the glaciers retreat and lighten their load. The final portion is the fault of the slow churn of the mantle, the viscous middle layer of the planet.
It's important to realize that this wobble isn't the prelude to any sort of environmental calamity, Ivins and Adhikari said. It doesn't affect agriculture or climate in and of itself, and any small impact on navigational equipment is easy to correct for.

If it is just natural for men to assault women, and they can't help it, then they shouldn't be in positions of power. They should be confined to the home, or to reservations, or hobbled or something to restrict them.

Sept. 24, 2018
Ten days after the deadly hurricane hit, rivers are continuing to crest and some South Carolina residents are preparing to evacuate.
https://www .fastcompany. com/90239599/the-future-of-humanity-depends-on-design-ethics-says-tim-wu
Sept. 21, 2018
How many nights have you stayed up too late because you were scrolling through Instagram or Facebook? It’s not just your lack of self-control: Social media sites are designed to keep you hooked for as long as possible. And according to media scholar Tim Wu, this toxic design conditions us to behave in ways that defy our best interests.
“We crave some sense of closure, some sense of being done,” says Wu, a Columbia law professor and author of The Attention Merchants, a history of how companies through history have gathered and monetized attention, from the earliest newspapers to today’s tech platforms (the book is also Fast Company‘s summer book club pick). “Much of social media tries to prevent you from ever having that feeling.”
Sept. 24, 2018
A woman who signed a letter supporting Brett Kavanaugh after he was accused of sexual assault earlier this month called revelations from his high school yearbook that showed he and his friends reportedly boasted about their supposed conquests with her "hurtful," The New York Times reported Monday.
When Dolphin, who attended a nearby Catholic girls' school and was then known as Renate Schroeder, signed the September 14 letter, the Times reports, she wasn't aware of the "Renate" yearbook references about herself on the pages of Kavanaugh and his football teammates.
Sean Hagan, who was a Georgetown Prep student at the time, told the Times that Kavanaugh and his teammates "were very disrespectful, at least verbally, with Renate," and said, "I can't express how disgusted I am with them, then and now."
Sept. 25, 2018
A sea level research and communications group's rapid analysis of the storm surge from Hurricane Florence has found that 1-in-5 of the homes impacted along the Carolina coast wouldn't have fared so badly had sea levels not risen significantly since 1970.
Sept. 24, 2018
William Sweet of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that, on average, high-tide flooding around the country is now twice as common as it was 30 years ago. Last year, some places in New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Texas saw more than 20 days with high-tide flooding.
And he says the problem is growing quickly.
Sweet: “Small amounts of sea-level rise can make a very large difference in the number of days that communities are going to experience water in the streets.”
Sept. 25, 2018
Brett Kavanaugh's freshman-year roommate at Yale, James Roche, said in a statement Monday that, despite not observing the incident described by Debbie Ramirez, who accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct while at college, he does remember that "Brett was a notably heavy drinker" and that he "became aggressive and belligerent when he was very drunk."
Key quote: "Based on my time with Debbie, I believe her to be unsually honest and straightforward and I cannot imagine her making this up. Based on my time with Brett, I believe that he and his social circle were capable of the actions that Debbie described."
Sept. 24, 2018
Just 10 minutes of light physical activity is enough to boost brain connectivity and help the brain to distinguish between similar memories, a new study suggests.
Scientists at the University of California studying brain activity found connectivity between parts of the brain responsible for memory formation and storage increased after a brief interval of light exercise – such as 10 minutes of slow walking, yoga or tai chi.
The findings could provide a simple and effective means of slowing down or staving off memory loss and cognitive decline in people who are elderly or have low levels of physical ability.
Sept. 24, 2018
Air pollution rots our brains. Is that why we don’t do anything about it?
Public Release: 24-Sep-2018
Common weed killer linked to bee deaths
University of Texas at Austin
The world's most widely used weed killer may also be indirectly killing bees. New research from The University of Texas at Austin shows that honey bees exposed to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, lose some of the beneficial bacteria in their guts and are more susceptible to infection and death from harmful bacteria.
Scientists believe this is evidence that glyphosate might be contributing to the decline of honey bees and native bees around the world.
Public Release: 24-Sep-2018
Unprecedented study finds US ranks 27th among nations investing in education, health care
Nation's 2016 ranking plummets from 6th in 1990; China sees increase in ranking from 69th to 44th; Study of 'human capital' yields other unexpected results over 26-year period
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation
The nation placed just behind Australia (ranked 26th) and just ahead of Czech Republic (ranked 28th). In contrast, China's ranking of 44th in 2016 represents an increase from its 1990 ranking of 69th.
Public Release: 24-Sep-2018
Weight loss can be boosted fivefold thanks to novel mental imagery technique
A new study has shown how overweight people lost an average of five times more weight using Functional Imagery Training (FIT)
University of Plymouth
In addition, users of FIT lost 4.3cm more around their waist circumference in six months - and continued to lose weight after the intervention had finished.
Public Release: 25-Sep-2018
Study: Exercise may delay cognitive decline in people with rare Alzheimer's disease
This could also be true for people with more common forms of Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's Association
For individuals carrying a genetic mutation that causes Alzheimer's disease, engaging in at least 2.5 hours of physical activity per week may have beneficial effects on markers of Alzheimer's disease brain changes and may delay cognitive decline, according to a new study available online by Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association as an article in press, corrected proof.
According to the authors, these results support the benefit of physical activity on cognition and dementia progression, even in individuals with autosomal dominant* Alzheimer's disease (ADAD), a rare genetically-driven form of the disease in which the development of dementia at a relatively young age is inevitable.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Sept. 18, 2018
Over a massive region of southeast North Carolina and northeast South Carolina, Florence produced an extraordinary rainstorm that statistically has a 1-in-100 chance of occurring each year. Over substantial areas, the deluge had a 0.1 percent chance of happening, what is known as a 1,000-year event.
These exceptional rainfall events keep happening and appear to be part of a trend toward more extreme tropical rainmakers, probably connected to climate change.
Since August 2017, three hurricanes have set rainfall records for tropical weather systems in four states.
First came Harvey, which dumped an unheard-of five feet of rain in Texas last August. No storm in recorded history had produced so much water in the United States.
Then came Lane in August, which bombarded the Big Island with more than 50 inches, becoming Hawaii’s rainiest tropical storm.
As a point of exclamation, Florence slammed into the Carolinas over the past week, setting tropical storm rainfall records in two states, surpassing 20 inches in South Carolina and 35 inches in North Carolina.
Florence’s rainfall in North Carolina was the most for any tropical weather system north of Florida along the East Coast on record, and fourth most for any state.
Sept. 20, 2018
Private firefighters and five-star hotels: how the rich sit out wildfires
This echoes a global trend: cottage industries have sprung up to serve those who can afford to be a bit more protected and comfortable while the weather grows more cataclysmic. The uber-wealthy have bought estates in New Zealand (to the point that the country is in the midst of passing legislation to stymie foreign buyers) and luxe underground bunkers in Kansas and elsewhere to escape civic or natural collapse.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Sept. 17, 2018
the ever-expanding social phenomenon of parasocial relationships, wherein individuals attach affections to celebrity figures. The concept is more accurate than ever today, and it’s crucial to understanding the complications of life as an influencer or creator in 2018.
Sept. 22, 2018
Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar, a Republican from the party's most conservative wing, is standing for re-election in November.
Fearing for the future, his siblings have thrown their weight behind their choice of candidate in a powerful new TV advert.
The striking part? It's not their brother.
Nope - six of Mr Gosar's siblings have spoken out to endorse his rival, Democrat David Brill.
"It would be difficult to see my brother as anything but a racist," Grace Gosar says
Sept. 21, 2018
By Patti Davis, the daughter of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, about being sexually assaulted about 40 years ago:
I never told anyone for decades — not a friend, not a boyfriend, not a therapist, not my husband when I got married years later.
It doesn’t surprise me one bit that for more than 30 years, Christine Blasey Ford didn’t talk about the assault she remembers, the one she accuses Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh of committing.
It’s important to understand how memory works in a traumatic event. Ford has been criticized for the things she doesn’t remember, like the address where she says the assault happened, or the time of year, or whose house it was. But her memory of the attack itself is vivid and detailed. His hand over her mouth, another young man piling on, her fear that maybe she’d die there, unable to breathe. That’s what happens: Your memory snaps photos of the details that will haunt you forever, that will change your life and live under your skin. It blacks out other parts of the story that really don’t matter much.
Sept. 21, 2018
Two tiny hopping robots have successfully landed on an asteroid called Ryugu — and they've even sent back some wild postcards from their new home.
The tiny rovers are part of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Hayabusa2 asteroid sample-return mission. Engineers with the agency deployed the robots early Friday (Sept. 21), but JAXA waited until today (Sept. 22) to confirm the operation was successful and both rovers made the landing safely.
Sept. 12, 2018
Tropical cyclones, the more general term for hurricanes globally, have been setting records in the last few years. In a warming climate, the most intense of these storms are getting stronger, and some of the strongest on record have been seen in the last decade.
Defined by wind speed, last year’s Hurricane Irma was the strongest storm on record in the Atlantic basin outside of the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, and just three years ago, Hurricane Patricia became the eastern Pacific’s strongest storm on record with a maximum sustained wind of 215 mph.
While there are multiple conditions necessary for hurricanes to form, the energy that sustains these storms comes from the warm ocean water. More than 90 percent of the warming from human-induced climate change has gone into the global oceans, raising water temperatures 2°-4°F over the past century. That has translated to warming in the tropical Atlantic and along the U.S. coasts.
As warming of the climate system continues, an increase in the number of tropical cyclones each year is not necessarily expected, but their impacts will be magnified. Studies have shown that climate change enhanced the rain totals from Hurricane Harvey last year, and rising seas drove the storm surge from Sandy farther inland in 2012. With sea levels projected to rise at least a few more feet by the end of the century, storm surge will push even farther inland, affecting more people and doing more damage.
Sept. 20, 2018
Faced with Hurricane Florence's powerful winds and record rainfall, North Carolina's solar farms held up with only minimal damage while other parts of the electricity system failed, an outcome that solar advocates hope will help to steer the broader energy debate.
North Carolina has more solar power than any state other than California, much of it built in the two years since Hurricane Matthew hit the region. Before last week, the state hadn't seen how its growing solar developments—providing about 4.6 percent of the state's electricity—would fare in the face of a hurricane.
Sept. 17, 2018
In Flood-Hit Public Housing, a Reminder That the Poor Bear Brunt of Storms’ Fury

Friday, September 21, 2018

Sept. 21, 2018
A new round of evacuations was ordered in South Carolina as the trillions of gallons of water dumped by Hurricane Florence meanders to the sea, raising river levels and threatening more destruction. With the crisis slowly moving to South Carolina, emergency managers on Friday ordered about 500 people to flee homes along the Lynches River. The National Weather Service said the river could reach record flood levels late Saturday or early Sunday, and shelters are open.

September Equinox 2018 will be at 9:54 PM on
Saturday, September 22
All times are in Eastern Time.
Sept. 21, 2018
Over 3 million people died from alcohol consumption in 2016, equating to 1 in 20 deaths globally, according to a new report by the World Health Organization.
More than 75% of these deaths were among men, says the report, published Friday.
The largest cause of death -- 28% -- was due to injuries. This was followed by 21% of deaths due to digestive disorders and 19% due to cardiovascular diseases. The remaining causes of death were infectious diseases, cancers, mental disorders and other health conditions attributable to drinking alcohol.
Alcohol consumption was also found to cause more than 5% of the global disease burden and reported to be a causal factor in over 200 disease and injury conditions.
An estimated 237 million men and 46 million women worldwide are affected by disorders due to alcohol consumption, with the European region most affected, followed by the Americas.
A recent study found that no amount of alcohol is safe for your overall health, with any benefits offset by higher risks of cancer, cardiovascular disease and other conditions.
"While there may be a slight benefit to heart and circulatory health from modest drinking, many studies have shown that the overall health risks of drinking alcohol outweigh any benefits," said Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, in a previous report.

Emily Holmes
September 19 at 9:53 AM ·
Right now, all over the country, teenage girls are waking up to newsfeeds full of posts written by adults in their lives that say teenage boys attempting to rape them is "just how boys are" and "they can't help themselves" and "they grow out of it" and "it was just a little harmless fun."
Think about what that must be doing to them.
And when you're done thinking about that, imagine all the teenage boys reading the same thing.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

July 30, 2018
How Coalitional Instincts Make Weird Groups and Stupid People
"The primary function that drove the evolution of coalitions is the amplification of the power of its members in conflicts with non-members. This function explains a number of otherwise puzzling phenomena. For example, ancestrally, if you had no coalition you were nakedly at the mercy of everyone else, so the instinct to belong to a coalition has urgency, preexisting and superseding any policy-driven basis for membership. This is why group beliefs are free to be so weird.
to earn membership in a group you must send signals that clearly indicate that you differentially support it, compared to rival groups. Hence, optimal weighting of beliefs and communications in the individual mind will make it feel good to think and express content conforming to and flattering to one’s group’s shared beliefs and to attack and misrepresent rival groups. The more biased away from neutral truth, the better the communication functions to affirm coalitional identity, generating polarization in excess of actual policy disagreements. Communications of practical and functional truths are generally useless as differential signals, because any honest person might say them regardless of coalitional loyalty. In contrast, unusual, exaggerated beliefs—such as supernatural beliefs (e.g., god is three persons but also one person), alarmism, conspiracies, or hyperbolic comparisons—are unlikely to be said except as expressive of identity, because there is no external reality to motivate nonmembers to speak absurdities.
[So our natural tendencies make us easy patsies for those who want to manipulate us to divide us, so that we can't work together for our mutual benefit. ]
Humans want to join coalitional groups, but we can at least consider whether the way a group expresses solidarity is a good fit with who we want to be.
tags: tribes, tribal, tribalism, group , groupthink

Conservative Catholic clergy are blaming Pope Francis for clergy sexual abuse, but it was happening LONG before he became Pope, when the church was much more Conservative, and was being covered up.
http:// time. com/5388352/doris-kearns-goodwin-leadership-turbulent-times-trump/
Sept. 6, 2018
Yes, these times qualify as turbulent, she says, although she didn’t know how much when she started the book about five years ago. Beyond any specific failures of leadership in its capital, she sees the U.S. as overwhelmed by polarization. The four examples she uses may help citizens recognize good leadership when they see it. But even more, she hopes citizens will remember that greater obstacles have been overcome before.
“It’s like being in war so long, you don’t know what peace is like,” Goodwin says. “We’ve been at each other’s throats so long in Washington. To know and remember what bipartisanship is like, that’s what I want people to see. We had it.”

Republicans are talking about regulating big tech. I thought they believe we don't need regulation of businesses.
May 1, 2018
How Climate Change Results in Emerging Diseases

From Scientific American May 2018
There are many causes for these rising infectious tides, but researchers agree that a major driver is the country’s ever worsening income inequality. The disparity between America’s highest and lowest earners exceeds that of virtually every other developed country, and it is still widening. The number of households earning less than $15,000 a year grew by 37  percent between 2000 and 2016. Households earning $150,000 or more increased by exactly the same amount. In poor areas, where almost half the people live below federal poverty levels, populations doubled during this period. People on these bottom rungs of society’s ladder live in crowded, often unclean conditions, have limited health care, must work when sick, have poor nutrition, experience debilitating stress, and are more likely than others to abuse drugs and alcohol—all known infection risk factors
The working poor in urban areas are also uniquely positioned to spread infectious diseases because of their job conditions. More than one million low-income Americans work as food preparers, which pays an average of $13,200 a year. Many of these workers go in even when they are ill. In a 2015 study, researchers at state health departments interviewed 426 restaurant managers around the country and reported that many of the restaurants’ policies regarding working while ill violated U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommendations. Seventy percent of the managers said they had worked while sick—even with a stomach bug—because they felt obligated or worried that they would not get paid otherwise. According to a 2014 report by nonprofit Families and Work Institute, only 52  percent of employers offer paid sick leave, and among those who do, 41 percent offer it only to employees who have worked there for at least a year. “You can just imagine that if people feel they have to work or they won’t get paid for that time, that you’re going to have a lot of sick people at work,” says Jonathan Fielding,
[Also, many people face being fired if they take of when they are sick.]
Sept. 19, 2018
Since 1980, the obesity rate has doubled in 73 countries and increased in 113 others. And in all that time, no nation has reduced its obesity rate. Not one.
The problem is that in America, like everywhere else, our institutions of public health have become so obsessed with body weight that they have overlooked what is really killing us: our food supply. Diet is the leading cause of death in the United States, responsible for more than five times the fatalities of gun violence and car accidents combined. But it’s not how much we’re eating—Americans actually consume fewer calories now than we did in 2003. It’s what we’re eating.
For more than a decade now, researchers have found that the quality of our food affects disease risk independently of its effect on weight. Fructose, for example, appears to damage insulin sensitivity and liver function more than other sweeteners with the same number of calories. People who eat nuts four times a week have 12 percent lower diabetes incidence and a 13 percent lower mortality rate regardless of their weight. All of our biological systems for regulating energy, hunger and satiety get thrown off by eating foods that are high in sugar, low in fiber and injected with additives. And which now, shockingly, make up 60 percent of the calories we eat.
In 2017, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the expert panel that decides which treatments should be offered for free under Obamacare, found that the decisive factor in obesity care was not the diet patients went on, but how much attention and support they received while they were on it. Participants who got more than 12 sessions with a dietician saw significant reductions in their rates of prediabetes and cardiovascular risk. Those who got less personalized care showed almost no improvement at all.
Still, despite the Task Force’s explicit recommendation of “intensive, multicomponent behavioral counseling” for higher-weight patients, the vast majority of insurance companies and state health care programs define this term to mean just a session or two—exactly the superficial approach that years of research says won’t work. “Health plans refuse to treat this as anything other than a personal problem,” says Chris Gallagher, a policy consultant at the Obesity Action Coalition.
A pilot program in Massachusetts that gave food stamp recipients an extra 30 cents for every $1 they spent on healthy food increased fruit and vegetable consumption by 26 percent. Policies like this are unlikely to affect our weight. They are almost certain, however, to significantly improve our health.
Sept. 13, 2018
Here is a bit of instruction from a guy Superintendent Diane Douglas tapped to help review Arizona’s standards on how to teach evolution in science class:
The earth is just 6,000 years old and dinosaurs were present on Noah’s Ark. But only the young ones. The adult ones were too big to fit, don’t you know.
Sept. 18, 2018
A woman said she lost her power in Hurricane Florence but was still fired for not showing up for a shift at the restaurant where she worked.
Because North Carolina is an at-will employment state, private-sector employees can be fired for any reason – or no reason at all, according to the state Department of Labor. The exception would be if the employer has an adverse weather policy that employees have signed.
Barring that, however, a company can demand workers show up if the business is open, even if the governor has declared a state of emergency and has asked people to stay off roads, as has been the case with Hurricane Florence.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Shell and Exxon's secret 1980s climate change warnings

Benjamin Franta
Wed 19 Sep 2018


In the 1980s, oil companies like Exxon and Shell carried out internal assessments of the carbon dioxide released by fossil fuels, and forecast the planetary consequences of these emissions. In 1982, for example, Exxon predicted that by about 2060, CO2 levels would reach around 560 parts per million – double the preindustrial level – and that this would push the planet’s average temperatures up by about 2°C over then-current levels (and even more compared to pre-industrial levels).

Later that decade, in 1988, an internal report by Shell projected similar effects but also found that CO2 could double even earlier, by 2030. Privately, these companies did not dispute the links between their products, global warming, and ecological calamity. On the contrary, their research confirmed the connections.

Shell’s assessment foresaw a one-meter sea-level rise, and noted that warming could also fuel disintegration of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, resulting in a worldwide rise in sea level of “five to six meters.” That would be enough to inundate entire low-lying countries.


For its part, Exxon warned of “potentially catastrophic events that must be considered.” Like Shell’s experts, Exxon’s scientists predicted devastating sea-level rise, and warned that the American Midwest and other parts of the world could become desert-like. Looking on the bright side, the company expressed its confidence that “this problem is not as significant to mankind as a nuclear holocaust or world famine.”
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The documents make for frightening reading. And the effect is all the more chilling in view of the oil giants’ refusal to warn the public about the damage that their own researchers predicted. Shell’s report, marked “confidential,” was first disclosed by a Dutch news organization earlier this year. Exxon’s study was not intended for external distribution, either; it was leaked in 2015.

Nor did the companies ever take responsibility for their products. In Shell’s study, the firm argued that the “main burden” of addressing climate change rests not with the energy industry, but with governments and consumers. That argument might have made sense if oil executives, including those from Exxon and Shell, had not later lied about climate change and actively prevented governments from enacting clean-energy policies.


Despite scientific uncertainties, the bottom line was this: oil firms recognized that their products added CO2 to the atmosphere, understood that this would lead to warming, and calculated the likely consequences. And then they chose to accept those risks on our behalf, at our expense, and without our knowledge.


Sept. 19, 2018
A year after Hurricane Harvey, some cleanup workers are still unpaid
According to a survey conducted last year by the University of Illinois at Chicago, approximately 75% of all day laborers have reported wage theft. Even worse, 61% of day laborers said that they received no respiratory devices to protect themselves against the many molds and bacterias that workers face on the job, and 85% of day laborers say they received no health and safety training.
The organizing is also starting to have a serious effect on the way wage theft law is enforced in Houston.
Last week, for the first time, the Harris county district attorney office, working closely with the center, filed a criminal theft of services charge against a homeowner, Sonny D Nicholas, who refused to pay a group of workers more than $2,300 for work done on his home.
If convicted, Nicholas could face up to a year in jail.
Nov. 24, 2017
Already, battle lines are being drawn between a vision of equitable reconstruction being driven by worker’s rights groups and their allies in the Houston government and a free market vision championed by the Trump administration and their Republican allies in the Texas state government.
“Black workers were primarily excluded from rebuilding efforts and had to fight their way in while immigrants workers, while included, suffered extraordinary exploitation” said Saket Soni, executive director of the National Guestworkers Alliance, who headed the New Orleans Workers’ Center after Katrina.

I notice that in general, the people who say that what Kavanaugh did in high school shouldn't be held against him are otherwise in favor of charging children who commit crimes as adults, and the reverse. If there is a God that pays attention to what humans do, we must provide a continuous source of laughs.

Sept. 18, 2018
The Supreme Court on Tuesday insisted that many donations to predominantly conservative political nonprofit groups — what's often called dark money — be disclosed, seven weeks ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.
The ruling closes, at least for now, a loophole that has allowed wealthy donors to finance aggressive ads while staying anonymous. Crafted by the Federal Election Commission nearly 40 years ago, the loophole flourished after the 2010 Citizens United ruling.
The court set aside an order issued by Chief Justice John Roberts on Saturday.
Sept. 18, 2018
About 1.7 million chickens have been killed in flooding from Florence as rising North Carolina rivers swamped at least 60 farm buildings where the animals were being raised for market, according to a major poultry producer.

[This article includes a slide show of the effects of the storm, esp. flooding:]
Sept. 18, 2018
Hurricane Florence, now a post-tropical cyclone, resumed its second week of impacts with much of the same – flooding that cut off entire towns, water rescues in parts of the Carolinas that have been inundated, and more tragedy.
The storm is responsible for at least 35 deaths – 27 in North Carolina, six in South Carolina and two in Virginia.
Don't use map apps: Because of the aggressive flooding, road closures are a fluid situation, and navigation apps are having trouble keeping up. Therefore, officials have warned drivers to not use the apps, as they could lead travelers into flooded or closed roads.
The worst for many may still be coming. Rivers including the Little Pee Dee, the Waccamaw, the Great Pee Dee, the Lumber, and the Black are expected to reach or exceed flood levels this week.
Sept. 18, 2018
The Trump administration is rolling back Obama-era standards to limit planet-warming methane pollution from oil and gas operations on federal lands.
Environmental advocates said retracting the regulation would contribute to global warming and cause more smog-forming pollution that can cause heart and lung illnesses.
Sept. 18, 2018
I hate to state the obvious, but apparently it needs to be done. Just because someone has never sexually assaulted you, it doesn’t mean they’ve never sexually assaulted someone else. Just because someone has been nice to you, it doesn’t mean they’ve acted the same way with everyone else in their life.
As more and more stories of supposedly good guys acting badly come out, it is getting harder pretend that sexual assault is something only monsters do.
Sept. 18, 2018
People over 50 in areas with the highest levels of nitrogen oxide in the air showed a 40% greater risk of developing dementia than those with the least NOx pollution, according to the research, based on data from London.
The observational study, published in the BMJ Open journal on Wednesday, cannot establish that air pollution was a direct cause of the dementia cases. However, the authors said the link between higher pollution and higher levels of dementia diagnosis could not be explained by other factors known to raise risks of the disease.
Air pollution has already been linked with cardiovascular and respiratory disease
Frank Kelly, professor of environmental health at King’s College London and one of the authors of the paper, told the Guardian: “The study outcome suggests a linkage [between air pollution and dementia] but cannot inform on the cause. However, I believe that we now have sufficient knowledge to add air pollution to the list of risk factors for dementia. Our calculations suggest that it elevates risk by 7%, so [that would suggest] approximately 60,000 of the total 850,000 dementia cases in the UK, in mathematical terms.”
A ground-breaking study from China recently found a “huge” reduction in intelligence associated with breathing dirty air, equivalent to losing a year’s education.
The paper’s authors said a link between poor air quality and dementia could begin early in life. They wrote: “Traffic related air pollution has been [linked to] poorer cognitive development in young children, and continued significant exposure may produce neuroinflammation and altered brain innate immune responses in early adulthood.”
June 2017
The Five Types of Trump Voters

The way we treat other people helps to create a world where others treat us that way.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018


[Please read the whole article, which I saw in the print edition.]
Sept. 13, 2018
'No money, no job': Poverty forces people in path of Hurricane Florence to ride out storm
Sept. 17, 2018
Multi-surface cleaners and other commonly used household disinfectants could be making children overweight by altering the bacteria found in their guts, a new study published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal suggests.
Infants living in households where antimicrobial disinfectants are used at least weekly were twice as likely to have higher levels of the bacteria Lachnospiraceae at ages 3 to 4 months than children whose homes did not frequently use disinfectants, the Canadian researchers found. When those children with higher levels of Lachnospiraceae were 3 years old, their body mass index (BMI) was higher than children who do not live in homes that frequently use disinfectants, the study also showed.
The bacteria Lachnospiraceae are "a normal component of our gut microbiota," Anita Kozyrskyj, senior author of the study and a University of Alberta pediatrics professor, said in a CMAJ podcast.
However, she explained that it is known "from animal studies that higher levels of Lachnospiraceae have been associated with higher body fat and insulin resistance."

[Ah yes, those wonderful rich people, making money by hurting children.]
Sept. 17, 2018
Infant walkers, those wheeled contraptions that give babies who can’t yet walk the sudden ability to walk, are bad. This has been long established. But parents keep using them and so pediatricians are renewing the call for a ban.
Sept. 17, 2018
When researchers first discovered a link in the late 1990s between childhood adversity and chronic health problems later in life, the real revelation was how common those experiences were across all socioeconomic groups.
But the first major study to focus on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) was limited to a single healthcare system in San Diego. Now a new study — the largest nationally representative study to date on ACEs — confirms that these experiences are universal, yet highlights some disparities among socioeconomic groups. People with low-income and educational attainment, people of color and people who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual had significantly higher chance of having experienced adversity in childhood.
Donate to help hurricane victims who are disabled.
Tired of trying to have a connected conversation over the thick layers of noise, background music, and dense variety of groups in conversation?
SoundPrint allows you to rate and review places based on their sound levels. This way you can plan your next meeting, date, or family outing around a great place to eat to hear and connect with each other.
Sept. 2018
The average retail price of a prescription drug taken to treat a chronic condition has reached $13,000 per year. That’s more than three times what it was when the landmark drug legislation was passed, and it’s about four-fifths of the average annual Social Security retirement benefit. How much a Medicare beneficiary has to pay out of pocket for that medication can vary greatly, depending on what drug plan he or she has.
June 16, 2017
President Trump says he’s received tens of millions of dollars in income from the golf courses and resorts whose profile he boosted during frequent visits since taking office, according to filings released Friday by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.
Properties that Trump frequently visited as president saw the largest boost in income.
Sept. 17, 2018
I worked undercover as an order picker at one of the company’s warehouses for three weeks in 2016, in the small Staffordshire town of Rugeley in the United Kingdom. I took the job as part of the research for my book, Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low Wage Britain.
Before I started the job I had a relatively positive view of Amazon - admittedly derived from my use of the company’s website as a consumer. When I set out to write my book I was simply looking at low-paid, precarious work. I ended up working at Amazon by accident: my search for a low-paid job merely coincided with a recruitment drive on Amazon’s part.
Yet what I found while working for Amazon shocked me. I had done warehouse work previously when I was younger, along with a range of other poorly paid, manual jobs. In other words, my shock at the way workers were treated by Amazon was not a product of some wet-behind-the-ears naivety: I fully expected warehouse work to be tough. Yet what I witnessed at Amazon went far beyond that. This was a workplace environment in which decency, respect and dignity were absent.
Sept. 17, 2018
While Florence forced humans to evacuate or seek shelter last week, the storm's impacts required the rescue of hundreds of animals. Dozens of organizations, teams and families from around the country came to the rescue throughout the weekend, providing temporary homes and transportation to safer shelters.
Sept. 17, 2018
Honduras' supreme court indefinitely suspended the start of a trial Monday of eight men charged in the 2016 killing of prize-winning Honduran indigenous and environmental rights activist Berta Caceres.
Caceres was shot to death inside her home in La Esperanza in western Honduras on March 2, 2016, one year after winning the Goldman Environmental Prize for her leadership against a dam project.
Two of the accused worked at one time for Desarrollos Energeticos SA, the company behind the hydroelectric project that Caceres and her group Copinh had battled against for years. Caceres had reported death threats from both of them.
Another defendant was an active-duty military member, supporting assertions by Caceres' family that there was collusion between the company and state security forces.
Roberto David Castillo Mejia, who was executive president of DESA when Caceres was killed, was arrested last March in the killing, though he is not part of the suspended trial. Prosecutors allege he was in charge of handling logistics for the killing. The company said Castillo and its other employees were "totally unconnected" to the murder.
Last year, a team of lawyers published a report after studying the case. They said it was a carefully planned effort and "there is evidence to link high-level state and non-state officials to the murder."
Sept. 14, 2018
Parents, Stop Kids' Need for Tommy John Surgeries, Says Tommy John
the former Major League pitcher has an urgent message for parents.
Spare your still-developing teen the potential of a lifetime of pain and discomfort: Stop the focus on a single sport.
John is speaking up because he's alarmed by the number of teen athletes – not only pitchers, but youngsters in other sports – who are undergoing major surgery in ever-increasing numbers. While pitchers are playing baseball nearly year-round and therefore overworking their elbows at too young an age, John is just as concerned about far too many soccer players having to undergo reconstructive knee surgery for similar reasons. Their joints are not yet fully formed and the constant strain from dedicated, 11-month/year participation and travel teams frequently lead to ligament tears and painful ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) operations.
"This is about more than just baseball and elbows. It’s about the way we are raising our children," writes the 75-year-old former lefthander, who won the majority of his 288 big-league games after his revolutionary surgery in 1974. "The nation’s youth-sports industry is a $15 billion business — and more and more, that business pushes children to make decisions early about which sport they want to play, and then to pursue that sport to the exclusion of all others," writes John, in an essay published in this month's AARP Bulletin. "And kids’ bodies are paying the price."
Aug. 16, 2018
Mothers with high levels of the pesticide DDT in their blood during pregnancy are more likely to bear children who develop autism, according to a study of blood samples from more than one million pregnant women in Finland.
Several countries have banned the pesticide DDT over concerns about its effects on the environment.Credit: Popperfoto/Getty
Mothers with high levels of the pesticide DDT in their blood during pregnancy are more likely to bear children who develop autism, according to a study of blood samples from more than one million pregnant women in Finland.
The World Health Organization estimates that globally, one in 160 children has autism. Any case of autism is likely due to a number of factors, including genetics and other environmental exposures.
Although the authors stress that the findings do not prove that autism is caused by DDT — whose use has been banned in many countries for decades over concerns about its effects on wildlife— it is the first such association using a direct measure of exposure to the pesticide. Researchers who investigate links between environment and disease say that further studies are needed to determine the mechanism, if any, by which DDT exposure could trigger autism.
The study, published on 16 August in the American Journal of Psychiatry1, also examined mothers’ exposure to another set of chemicals known as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and found no association between these substances and autism. That finding deepens questions about whether or how DDT might be linked to autism.
DDT — which is still sometimes used in Africa to control mosquito populations — lingers in soil and water for decades, accumulating in plants and the animals that consume them. PCBs, which used to be common in building materials and electronics, tend to accumulate to high concentrations in certain fish.
Brown cautions that although there seems to be a link between autism and DDT exposure, the overall risk of having a child with the disorder is low — even among women with high DDT levels. His group plans to look at other organic chemicals in the Finnish database to determine whether they might affect fetuses by interacting with DDT.
January/February 2018
Despite America’s reputation for optimism, nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults are pessimistic about the country’s future. [1] This may not be all bad, though. Decades of research have found that positive thinking isn’t always so positive. In some cases, pessimists fare better than those with a sunnier disposition.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Sept. 16, 2018
Ted Cruz’s Texas Senatorial campaign has sent hundreds of thousands of mailers seeking donations that are meant to look like official county summons, a high-ranking campaign official confirmed to Newsweek.
The brown envelopes read “SUMMONS ENCLOSED- OPEN IMMEDIATELY” in large black letters, and have a return address of “official county summons.”
While the letter inside the envelope is a donation form for the Cruz campaign, there is some fear that certain voters may be confused by the mailer and think that they are required by law to pay a fee.
Nobody is paying for ailing children's organ transplants or life-saving surgeries based on how often a social media post is shared.
This item is just another iteration of a long-running online hoax/scam entreating users to share posts and photographs under the false premise that doing so will help to secure an organ transplant or money for surgery needed by a desperately ill child.
Even if no money actually changes hands in connection with these posts, the sharing of them indirectly assists scammers by driving followers, shares, and likes to their social media pages, creating popular platforms from which they can launch other fraudulent schemes.
Sept. 16, 2018
For years, one of the Republican Party’s biggest supporters has been Seth Klarman, the billionaire chief executive and portfolio manager of Boston’s private investment firm, Baupost Group, which Klarman founded in 1982.
His political support has since changed as Klarman is now donating to Democratic initiatives, according to the New York Times’ analysis of Klarman’s Federal Election Commission filings, set to be released on September 20.
Klarman told the Times his generosity towards Democrats—although he doesn’t identify as one—was his way of ensuring a “check on Donald Trump’s runaway presidency.”

Aug. 31, 2018
Washington lobbyist W. Samuel Patten pleaded guilty Friday to acting as an unregistered foreign lobbyist, and admitted to lying to the Senate Intelligence Committee and funneling a Ukrainian oligarch's money to Donald Trump's Presidential Inaugural Committee.
Sept. 15, 2018
A new study, published in the journal Current Biology, concluded that common alternatives to BPA caused harmful effects in mice, notably in their reproductive cells. The findings add to the mounting body of evidence that these alternatives carry their own health risks. As Science noted, if further research on animals and humans continues to support these findings, it could derail efforts to reassure the many consumers already nervous about the plastics in their food and drink containers that there are safe options to choose from.
Sept. 16, 2018
Scientists have found the first evidence that particles of air pollution travel through pregnant women’s lungs and lodge in their placentas.
Toxic air is already strongly linked to harm in foetuses but how the damage is done is unknown. The new study, involving mothers living in London, UK, revealed sooty particles in the placentas of each of their babies and researchers say it is quite possible the particles entered the foetuses too.
“It is a worrying problem – there is a massive association between air pollution a mother breathes in and the effect it has on the foetus,” said Dr Lisa Miyashita, at Queen Mary University of London, one of the research team. “It is always good if possible to take less polluted routes if you are pregnant – or indeed if you are not pregnant. I avoid busy roads when I walk to the station.”
A series of previous studies have shown that air pollution significantly increases the risk of premature birth and of low birth weight, leading to lifelong damage to health.
Public Release: 12-Sep-2018
Elevated blood pressure is linked to increased risk of aortic valve disease
European Society of Cardiology
Public Release: 13-Sep-2018
Heat-related deaths likely to increase significantly as global temperatures rise, warn researchers
Models show that the implementation of the Paris Agreement is critical to avoid a large increase in temperature-related deaths
Public Release: 13-Sep-2018
Certain environmental pollutants may contribute to poor kidney health
American Society of Nephrology
Certain highly pervasive environmental pollutants may have a variety of negative effects on kidney health, according to an analysis of all relevant studies published on this topic to date. The findings, which appear in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN), point to the need for additional research to clarify and address these effects.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large group of manufactured non-biodegradable compounds used in industrial processes and consumer products, and they are everywhere in the environment. Humans are exposed to PFAS through contaminated soil, food, water, soil, and air. Recently, they have been detected on military bases, where they are used in aqueous fire-fighting foams, as well as in public water supplies from industrial contamination and in agricultural and crop products.
Public Release: 13-Sep-2018
Adhering to an anti-inflammatory diet was associated with lower risks of dying from any cause, dying from cardiovascular causes, and dying from cancer in a recent Journal of Internal Medicine study.
In the study of 68,273 Swedish men and women aged 45 to 83 years who were followed for 16 years, participants who most closely followed an anti-inflammatory diet had an 18% lower risk of all-cause mortality, a 20% lower risk of cardiovascular mortality, and a 13% lower risk of cancer mortality, when compared with those who followed the diet to a lesser degree. Smokers who followed the diet experienced even greater benefits when compared with smokers who did not follow the diet.
Anti-inflammatory foods consist of fruits and vegetables, tea, coffee, whole grain bread, breakfast cereal, low-fat cheese, olive oil and canola oil, nuts, chocolate, and moderate amounts of red wine and beer. Pro-inflammatory foods include unprocessed and processed red meat, organ meats, chips, and soft-drink beverages.
"Our dose-response analysis showed that even partial adherence to the anti-inflammatory diet may provide a health benefit," said lead author Dr. Joanna Kaluza, an associate professor at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences, in Poland.
Public Release: 14-Sep-2018
Use of probiotics is linked to reduced need for antibiotic treatment in infants and children, according to a review of studies that probed the benefits of probiotics, say researchers in the U.S., England and the Netherlands.
Their study, supported in part by the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics and published in the European Journal of Public Health, found that when the results from twelve studies were pooled together, infants and children were 29% percent less likely to have been prescribed antibiotics if they received probiotics as a daily health supplement. When the analysis was repeated with only the highest quality studies, this percentage increased to 53%.
Public Release: 14-Sep-2018
We have more than enough calories, but what about other nutrients?
"There are two main issues with how we currently talk about food systems," says Hannah Ritchie from the University of Edinburgh, who led the study. "The first is that we focus our measure of food security in terms of calories (energy), when micronutrient malnutrition ('hidden hunger') affects more than ~2 billion people across the world."
Public Release: 13-Sep-2018
BPA exposure in US-approved levels may alter insulin response in non-diabetic adults
University of Missouri-Columbia
Public Release: 13-Sep-2018
Dietary fiber reduces brain inflammation during aging
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Public Release: 16-Sep-2018
Paracetamol, also known as acetaminophen or APAP. use in infancy is linked to increased risk of asthma in some teenagers
Specific variants in the GST genes seem to play a role in greater susceptibility to lung problems
European Lung Foundation


Paul Manafort pleaded guilty on Friday to one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice and one count of conspiracy against the US.
Sept. 11, 2018
Business Insider spoke with 31 current or recently employed drivers about what it's like to deliver packages for Amazon.
Some drivers described a variety of alleged abuses, including lack of overtime pay, missing wages, intimidation, and favoritism.
Many of these drivers also described a physically demanding work environment in which, under strict time constraints, they felt pressured to drive at dangerously high speeds, blow stop signs, and urinate in bottles on their trucks.
Sept. 14, 2018
Veteran reporter Bob Woodward on Friday told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt he looked "hard" for evidence of collusion between President Donald Trump and Russia but didn't find anything.
But he still thinks the special counsel Robert Mueller has "something" on the president.
H. L. Mencken - There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
often paraphrased as
For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.
Sept. 12, 2018
Warnings about ecological breakdown have become ubiquitous. Over the past few years, major newspapers, including the Guardian and the New York Times, have carried alarming stories on soil depletion, deforestation, and the collapse of fish stocks and insect populations. These crises are being driven by global economic growth, and its accompanying consumption, which is destroying the Earth’s biosphere and blowing past key planetary boundaries that scientists say must be respected to avoid triggering collapse.
Many policymakers have responded by pushing for what has come to be called “green growth.”
For reference, a sustainable level of resource use is about 50 billion metric tons per year—a boundary we breached back in 2000.
The team then reran the model to see what would happen if every nation on Earth immediately adopted best practice in efficient resource use (an extremely optimistic assumption). The results improved; resource consumption would hit only 93 billion metric tons [instead of 180 billion metric tons] by 2050. But that is still a lot more than we’re consuming today. Burning through all those resources could hardly be described as absolute decoupling or green growth.
It sounds like an elegant solution to an otherwise catastrophic problem. There’s just one hitch: New evidence suggests that green growth isn’t the panacea everyone has been hoping for. In fact, it isn’t even possible.
Study after study shows the same thing. Scientists are beginning to realize that there are physical limits to how efficiently we can use resources. Sure, we might be able to produce cars and iPhones and skyscrapers more efficiently, but we can’t produce them out of thin air. We might shift the economy to services such as education and yoga, but even universities and workout studios require material inputs.
We might shift the economy to services such as education and yoga, but even universities and workout studios require material inputs.
Once we reach the limits of efficiency, pursuing any degree of economic growth drives resource use back up.
Sept. 16, 2018
Results released Sunday from a major study of low-dose aspirin contain a disappointing answer for older, otherwise healthy people.
"We found there was no discernible benefit of aspirin on prolonging independent, healthy life for the elderly," says Anne Murray, a geriatrician and epidemiologist at Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis, who helped lead the study.
There is still strong evidence that a daily baby aspirin can reduce the risk that many people who have already suffered a heart attack or stroke will suffer another attack.
And there is some evidence that daily low-dose aspirin may help people younger than 70 who have at least a 10 percent risk of having a heart attack avoid a heart attack or stroke, according to the latest recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Sept. 14, 2018
The American Red Cross is urging residents in non-impacted areas to give blood as Hurricane Florence batters the Carolina coastline.
The organization had to cancel about 130 blood drives because of the hurricane, so it's calling on volunteers from outside the area to donate.
The group made the announcement at a FEMA news briefing.
Dec. 1, 2017
Florida Senator Marco Rubio admits that the Republican tax cut plan, which benefits corporations and the wealthy, will require cuts to Social Security and Medicare to pay for it.
To address the federal deficit, which will grow by at least $1 trillion if the tax plan passes, Congress will need to cut entitlement programs such as Social Security, Rubio told reporters this week. Advocates for the elderly and the poor have warned that entitlement programs would be on the chopping block, but this is the first time a prominent Republican has backed their claims.

As Trump Boasts About Economy, New Data Show Poverty Rate Virtually Unchanged

Sarah Ruiz-Grossman,HuffPost•September 12, 2018

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau show that, despite overall increases in household income for Americans since last year, the nation’s poverty rate has essentially stagnated.


This stagnation came after several years of significant declines in the poverty rate: Since 2014, it has fallen 2.5 percentage points, from 14.8 percent to 12.3 percent.


And in July, the White House claimed in a report that the “War on Poverty is essentially over and a success,” all while pushing for more work requirements for safety-net programs such as food stamps.


Almost 3 in 10 black children were poor in 2017, as well as about 1 in 4 Latino kids. That’s compared with about 1 in 9 white children, Golden noted. Such “stark disparities” in poverty rates by race “have consequences for kids’ whole lives,” she added.

For poverty to stagnate despite employment rising overall is attributed in part to workers continuing to get low wages. More than two-thirds of children in poverty live with a working adult, Golden said.

“It’s not about not working,” Golden said. “But low wages, jobs that don’t offer enough hours, jobs that are transient ― it’s what’s going wrong at the low end of the labor market.”