Monday, September 03, 2018

Aug. 30, 2018
A notable drop since the 1990s in the number of July days with significant U.S. tornadoes may be related to the dramatic loss of midsummer Arctic sea ice, according to a study published this month in the open-access journal npj Climate and Atmospheric Science. The new work may help explain a more general drop in U.S. tornado days, part of a recent clustering of tornado activity into highly active periods interspersed with distinct quiet spells.
The new study, by Robert Trapp (University of Illinois) and Kimberly Hoogewind (Purdue University), is the first to delve into potential connections between tornado activity and Arctic sea ice. The two phenomena appear to be more closely correlated in July than in other months, noted the authors, who provide several possible reasons for the connection and its timing.
An analysis published in 2014 in Science and led by Harold Brooks (National Severe Storms Laboratory) found that the number of EF1-or-stronger tornadoes had changed little, but the number of days with such tornadoes has dropped overall since the 1970s, leading to more such tornadoes per tornado day as well as an overall increase in monthly and annual variability.
As Earth’s climate has warmed over the last 20 years, Arctic sea ice extent has dropped substantially, especially during summer and autumn. Several studies—including one in 2017 led by Michael Mann (Pennsylvania State University)—have found a weakening of summer circulation across the midlatitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, with weather patterns more likely to get “stuck” and produce extremes in temperature and precipitation.
Sept. 2, 2018
Doctors and scientists increasingly suspect attacks with microwave weapons are the cause of the mysterious ailments that have stricken more than three dozen American diplomats and family members in Cuba and China, the New York Times reported.
The victims reported hearing intense high-pitched sounds in their hotel rooms or homes, followed by symptoms that included nausea, severe headaches, fatigue, dizziness, sleep problems and hearing loss.
According to the Times, an American scientist, Allan Frey, discovered in 1960 that the brain can perceive microwaves as sound. The discovery opened a new field of weapons research in the US and the Soviet Union.
Insulin's High Cost Leads To Lethal Rationing
Sept. 1, 2018
The price of insulin in the U.S. has more than doubled since 2012. That has put the life-saving hormone out of reach for some people with diabetes, like Smith-Holt's son Alec Raeshawn Smith. It has left others scrambling for solutions to afford the one thing they need to live.
The patent for the discovery was sold to the University of Toronto for only $1 so that live-saving insulin would be available to everyone who needed it.
Today, however, the list price for a single vial of insulin is more than $250. Most patients use two to four vials per month (I personally use two). Without insurance or other forms of medical assistance, those prices can get out of hand quickly, as they did for Alec.
Depending on whom you ask, you'll get a different response for why insulin prices have risen so high. Some blame middlemen — such as pharmacy benefit managers, like Express Scripts and CVS Health — for negotiating lower prices with pharmaceutical companies without passing savings on to customers. Others say patents on incremental changes to insulin have kept cheaper generic versions out of the market.
For Nicole Holt-Smith, as well as a growing number of online activists who tweet under the hashtag #insulin4all, much of the blame should fall on the three main manufacturers of insulin today: Sanofi of France, Novo Nordisk of Denmark and Eli Lilly and Co. in the U.S.
The three companies are being sued in the U.S. federal court by diabetic patients in Massachusetts who allege the prices are rising at the expense of patients' health.
Rationing insulin, as Nicole Smith-Holt's son Alec did, is a dangerous solution. Still, 1 in 4 people with diabetes admits to having done it.
"Young adults are dropping out of college," she told the lawmakers. "They're getting married just to have insurance or not getting married to the love of their lives because they'll lose their state-funded insurance."
Aug. 11, 2018
Don't fall for the hoax: Facebook isn't restricting your News Feed to 25 friends
That said, there is an extremely convoluted and twisted kernel of truth in here — Facebook's algorithm does make judgement about which of your friends it thinks you want to see content from, and then prioritizes them in your News Feed. And engaging with these friends' posts (and them engaging with your posts) will make them appear more frequently.
If you feel you are seeing only a limited number of posts from a limited number of people, there is a tried-and-true trick that will give you a different view of your News Feed: have it show you the "Most Recent" posts rather than its default, "Top Stories."
To do this on the desktop click on "News Feed" in the left-hand column and then on "Most Recent."
Sept. 2, 2018
Drought has dominated the media debate in Australia in the past month after the whole of New South Wales was drought declared. Further north though, a majority of Queensland has been in drought for up to seven years. Myriad charities have sprung up raising cash, fodder and services for farmers. Tradesmen are offering to fix sheds, knitting clubs are making little jackets for orphaned lambs, city residents are travelling inland to inject cash into small towns via a coffee and a pie.

Youtube has restored the ability to cut off unwanted pieces of a video, from the beginning, the end, or in the middle. I didn't find it to be sensitive enough to pinpoint a second or two where I made a mistake, but it would be useful in a lot of situations.
Trim Youtube videos

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