Saturday, November 30, 2019

Why ‘Early to Bed, Early to Rise’ Is a Myth (and Night Owls Can Finally Rejoice)

Julian Hayes II

In today's world, the early risers are celebrated. Nearly everything in this world is structured to suit those who sleep early and wake up with the sun. This indoctrination of needing to be an early riser starts as a little kid with our parents harping on us to go to sleep.


As someone who sees the issues of sleep deprivation up close, I can tell you that the rate of inadequate sleep among entrepreneurs and top performers is steadily rising. According to a 2016 Rand study, inadequate sleep is costing the U.S. more than $400 billion in economic losses which are leading to 1.23 million days of lost work annually.


We all have the same 24 hours in a day, but each of us are at our best at different times during that period. According to Dr. Matthew Walker, author of Why We Sleep:

"Around 40 percent of the population are morning people, 30 percent are evening people, and the reminder lies in between. Night owls aren't owls by choice. They are bound to a delayed schedule by unavoidable DNA hard wiring. It's not their conscious fault, but rather their genetic fate."

To further squash the notion that night owls are lazy, The Rockefeller University discovered a gene mutation last year that may disrupt your body's internal circadian clock, leading to the development of DSPD (Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder).


To maximize your specific chronotype and productivity, implement these three habits:
1. Schedule your day around your energy. ...
2. Have a routine that helps you wind down. ...
3. Stay consistent with your sleep and wake times. [I have a big problem doing this.]


China hopes Trump will be reelected : As long as we have money, we can buy him

I agree with the need to rebalance the trading relationship, but Trump's other actions and comments make me wonder if much of his actions against China are in support of China's rival, Russia.

By Anna Fifield
November 26, 2019 at 9:51 a.m. EST

President Trump has called out China for unfair trading practices, labeled the country a “threat to the world” and described leader Xi Jinping as an enemy.

Yet he recently congratulated the Communist Party on 70 years in power — which it marked with a military display aimed at the United States — and said his relationship with Xi is “very amazing” despite their “little spat” over trade.

Though the U.S.-China relationship has been rocky over the past 18 months, many in China’s halls of power hope that the American leader will win a second term next year. For although he may seem unpredictable, Chinese officials are betting that Trump’s transactional approach to politics might be preferable to a more principle-driven president, whether Democrat or Republican.

“Trump is a businessman. We can just pay him money and the problems will be solved,” said a politically connected person in Beijing, speaking on the condition of anonymity to talk frankly about sensitive international issues. “As long as we have money, we can buy him. That’s the reason why we prefer him to Democrats.”


Trump’s unfiltered tweets help China in negotiations because he is “easy to read,” said Long Yongtu, a former vice minister of foreign trade and China’s point man during its accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001, at a conference in Shenzhen this month. “We want Trump to be reelected; we would be glad to see that happen.”


But the Chinese were among the most shocked by the U.S. leader’s approach. When Trump took office, Communist Party officials thought that he was only interested in a quick, tweetable victory, analysts have said. But the party underestimated Trump’s resolve to both rebalance the trading relationship and make Beijing a public enemy among U.S. voters. Chinese leaders also acknowledge underestimating the extent to which China’s behavior has become a bipartisan concern in Washington, according to people who have met with senior officials.


“Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, the free and open Indo-Pacific, all of these are issues that President Trump does not typically address,” Economy said. “If I’m correct in my assumption that he doesn’t care about these issues, because he never talks about them, then he will be more willing to just trade them out in discussions with the Chinese.”


This Ohio anti-abortion bill says that ectopic pregnancies can be moved to the uterus — but that isn't scientifically possible

Ohio seems to be competing with Mississippi for the silliest state.

I have a relative who found out she had an ectopic pregnancy when she went to the emergency room and found out she was bleeding to death.

By Danielle Garrand
May 16, 2019 / 1:46 AM

An Ohio state representative introduced a new bill [Ohio House Bill 182] last month, which aims to prohibit insurance coverage of abortions that occur where the mother's life is not "endangered if the fetus were carried to term." The bill includes exceptions, including one for a procedure that does not exist.

GOP Rep. John Becker introduced House Bill 182, which allows for two situations where insurers could offer coverage for abortion services. One is a "procedure, in an emergency situation, that is medically necessary to save the pregnant woman's life."

The other, the bill says, is a procedure for an ectopic pregnancy, "that is intended to reimplant the fertilized ovum into the pregnant woman's uterus."

In an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg implants in the fallopian tubes outside the uterus. An ectopic pregnancy is not a viable pregnancy and it very often can put the mother's life at risk. The pregnancy either ends in a miscarriage or is ended with drugs or surgery. "An ectopic pregnancy cannot move or be moved to the uterus, so it always requires treatment," according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

The exception in the bill for an ectopic pregnancy, therefore, is not scientifically possible.

"That doesn't exist in the realm of treatment for ectopic pregnancy. You can't just re-implant. It's not a medical thing," said Jaime Miracle, deputy director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, earlier this month, according to the Statehouse News Bureau.

She also told the outlet that under this bill women would be forced to wait until the ectopic pregnancy became life-threatening to get an abortion. "This bill will have grave impacts on Ohio's infant and maternal mortality rate," Miracle said.


The bill also aims to make additional changes in the state, including expanding the definition of a "nontherapeutic abortion," according to the legislation's analysis. Currently, the definition of a "nontherapeutic abortion" is an "abortion that is performed or induced when the life of the mother would not be endangered if the fetus were carried to term" as well as an abortion for a pregnancy that is not the "result of rape of incest reported to a law enforcement agency." In this bill, Becker removes the rape or incest condition from the definition, meaning women who seek an abortion for a pregnancy from rape or incest would not be covered by insurance.

Also, the bill would not allow coverage for drugs or devices that "prevent the implantation of a fertilized ovum."


[Doctors have said it is not possible to do this. So what did Ohio republicans do in response. Mandate that doctors try to do the impossible.]

Jessica Glenza
Fri 29 Nov 2019 03.54 EST
First published on Fri 29 Nov 2019 03.30 EST

A bill to ban abortion introduced in the Ohio state legislature requires doctors to “reimplant an ectopic pregnancy” into a woman’s uterus – a procedure that does not exist in medical science – or face charges of “abortion murder”.

This is the second time practising obstetricians and gynecologists have tried to tell the Ohio legislators that the idea is currently medically impossible.


In addition to ordering doctors to do the impossible or face criminal charges, House Bill 413 bans abortion outright and defines a fertilized egg as an “unborn child”.

It also appears to punish doctors, women and children as young as 13 with “abortion murder” if they “perform or have an abortion”. This crime is punishable by life in prison. Another new crime, “aggravated abortion murder”, is punishable by death, according to the bill.

The bill is sponsored by representatives Candice Keller and Ron Hood, and co-sponsored by 19 members of Ohio’s 99-member House.


“There is no procedure to reimplant an ectopic pregnancy,” said Dr Chris Zahn, vice-president of practice activities at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. “It is not possible to move an ectopic pregnancy from a fallopian tube, or anywhere else it might have implanted, to the uterus,” he said.

“Reimplantation is not physiologically possible. Women with ectopic pregnancies are at risk for catastrophic hemorrhage and death in the setting of an ectopic pregnancy, and treating the ectopic pregnancy can certainly save a mom’s life,” said Zahn.

Seeing is believing

Nov. 30, 2019

I have seen anti-science people on social media that they only believe what they personally see. I have also had people tell me in person that they don't pay attention to weather reports.

In the Atlanta area, it has been in the 60's and low 70's for several days.

Should I dismiss reports of bad weather in other parts of the country, and ignore them if I wanted to travel there?

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Trump says he will only enforce part of Hong Kong bill

By Joshua Berlinger, CNN
Updated 7:02 AM ET, Thu November 28, 2019

Protesters in Hong Kong will hold a celebratory, pro-US rally Thursday after President Donald Trump gave them what one prominent activist termed a "timely Thanksgiving present."
Trump signed an act in support of the protest movement despite a potential backlash from Beijing that could derail delicate US-China trade talks, after it was passed almost unanimously by both houses of Congress.


Though the Hong Kong legislation was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in Washington, it's unlikely to have any immediate, tangible effect.
The main bill that Trump signed into law, the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, requires the State Department to annually review whether the city is "sufficiently autonomous" to justify its special trading status with the US.
If it is found not to be, the law could result in Washington withdrawing that status, which would be a massive blow to Hong Kong's economy.

The bill also lays out a process for the President to impose sanctions and travel restrictions on those who are found to be knowingly responsible for arbitrary detention, torture and forced confession of any individual in Hong Kong, or other violations of internationally recognized human rights in the Asian financial hub.

There is no indication however that Trump intends to enact any of the powers in the act anytime soon, and in a statement, the White House said it would only enforce parts of the law because "certain provisions of the Act would interfere with the exercise of the President's constitutional authority to state the foreign policy of the United States."


Our Mother

When Dalby Biehl sang this beautiful song she wrote at Eddie Owen Presents open mic on Nov. 7, 2019, I was very honored that she said it was inspired by some of my songs.

Climate Tipping Points Are Closer Than We Think, Scientists Warn

By Bob Berwyn, InsideClimate News
Nov 27, 2019

Humans are playing Russian roulette with Earth's climate by ignoring the growing risk of tipping points that, if passed, could jolt the climate system into "a new, less habitable 'hothouse' climate state," scientists are warning ahead of the annual UN climate summit.


The scientists focused on nine parts of the climate system susceptible to tipping points, some of them interconnected:

  • Arctic sea ice, which is critical for reflecting the sun's energy back into space but is disappearing as the planet warms.
  • The Greenland Ice Sheet, which could raise sea level 20 feet if it melts.
  • Boreal forests, which would release more carbon dioxide (CO2) than they absorb if they die and decay or burn.
  • Permafrost, which releases methane and other greenhouse gases as it thaws.
  • The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, a key ocean current, which would shift global weather patterns if it slowed down or stopped.
  • The Amazon rainforest, which could flip from a net absorber of greenhouse gases to a major emitter.
  • Warm-water corals, which will die on a large scale as the ocean warms, affecting commercial and subsistence fisheries.
  • The West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which would raise sea level by at least 10 feet if it melted entirely and is already threatened by warming from above and below.
  • Parts of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet that would also raise sea level significantly if they melted.


The Emissions Gap Report—an annual assessment of global pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions—shows that countries' current pledges under the Paris climate agreement will still raise global temperatures 3.2°C (5.8°F) by the end of the century, well beyond the Paris goal of limiting warming to well below 2°C (3.6°F). The Production Gap Report shows that the amount of oil, gas and coal that countries already plan to produce will lead to 50 percent more fossil fuels produced by 2030 than would be allowable to stay under 2°C warming.

The Earth is now warming faster and CO2 levels "are increasing at rates that are an order of magnitude higher than at the end of the last ice age," when rapid climate change destabilized the climate quickly, the scientists wrote in the Nature commentary.

"To err on the side of danger is not a responsible option," they wrote.

Air pollution linked with new causes of hospital admissions

News Release 27-Nov-2019
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Hospitalizations for several common diseases--including septicemia (serious bloodstream infection), fluid and electrolyte disorders, renal failure, urinary tract infections, and skin and tissue infections--have been linked for the first time with short-term exposure to fine particulate air pollution (PM2.5), according to a comprehensive new study led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

In addition, the study found that even small increases in PM2.5 exposure were linked with substantial health care and economic costs.


Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Humans co-evolved with immune-related diseases -- and it's still happening

News Release 27-Nov-2019
Cell Press

Some of the same mutations allowing humans to fend off deadly infections also make us more prone to certain inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, such as Crohn's disease. In a Review published November 27 in the journal Trends in Immunology, researchers describe how ancestral origins impact the likelihood that people of African or Eurasian descent might develop immune-related diseases. The authors also share evidence that the human immune system is still evolving depending on a person's location or lifestyle.


For example, the malaria parasite Plasmodium sp. has infected African populations for millions of years. Because of this, evolutionary processes have selected people with DNA that favors resistance to infections by causing more inflammation in the body. In doing so, this has also contributed to making modern Africans prone to developing cardiovascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis, later in life.

Dominguez-Andres and Netea also write about how the early-human ancestors of Eurasians lived in regions still inhabited by Neanderthals and interbred. Today, people with remainders of Neanderthal DNA can be more resistant against HIV-1 and 'staph' infections, but are also more likely to develop allergies, asthma, and hay fever.


Noise-related health damage

Surely loud music has the same effects.

News Release 26-Nov-2019
Study pinpoints possible cause of noise-related blood vessel damage, heart disease
Each 5 decibel increase in environmental noise is associated with a 34% increase in risk for a heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular disease event.
Massachusetts General Hospital

Long-term exposure to environmental noise - think planes, trains, and automobiles -- has been linked in multiple studies to adverse health effects such as poor sleep, psychiatric disorders, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, the mechanisms linking noise to such diseases has not been well understood. Now, investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and colleagues have identified a potential mechanism through which long-term exposure to noise leads to inflammation, blood vessel damage, and heart disease.


Muslim woman defends Jewish family from 'racially aggravated' harassment on subway

Dillon Thompson
Nov 26th 2019 12:46PM

A woman is being heralded for her "special" and "brave" actions after she stepped in to defend a Jewish family from anti-Semitic harassment.

Asma Shuweikh was riding the London Underground on Friday afternoon when she heard another passenger aggressively shouting at a man and his young son, Sky News reported.

The apparently irate passenger read passages aloud from the Christian bible — including one about the "synagogue of Satan" — and directed comments toward the father and son, both of whom were wearing yarmulkes, the traditional, brimless caps worn by some Jewish men.

"Just ignore him," the father says to his son, according to a video of the incident posted to Twitter by a user named Chris Atkins.


Shuweikh said she had no clue she was being filmed, adding that she simply took a stand because she'd hope to receive similar help if she were being harassed.

"If it had been me, I would have liked someone to stand up for me," she told Sky News.

The video does not show what happened to the passenger making the anti-Semitic remarks, but the British Transport Police reported that he was arrested the following day. Identified only as a 35-year-old male, he was charged with a "racially aggravated" public order offense related to the incident on the train.

Ukraine Condemns Apple For Changing Map To Show Crimea As Part Of Russia

Rachel Sandler
Forbes Staff
Nov. 27, 2019

Ukraine on Wednesday criticized Apple for changing its location-based apps to show Crimea as part of Russia, implying that the company “doesn’t give a damn” about its pain, as U.S. tech companies face criticism for complying with controversial local laws in order to keep doing business in those countries.

Users inside of Russia using Apple Maps or the Weather app will now see that the Crimea peninsula belongs to Russia. One Russian user searched for Crimea’s capital, Simferopol, on Apple Maps and it displayed “Simferopol, Crimea, Russia.”


Outside of Russia, Crimea appears on Apple Maps as belonging to neither Russia nor Ukraine. When searching for Simferopol, the result doesn’t list a country next to the city. Meanwhile a search for San Francisco will display “San Francisco, CA United Sates.”


Google has taken the same approach. In 2014, Google agreed to display Crimea as part of Russia for users inside Russia. And now, users outside Russia will see Crimea’s capital Simferopol without an accompanying country at all.


Apple’s handling of Crimea mirrors what Google has done in Kashmir, a region disputed by India and Pakistan. Outside of India, Google represents Kashmir with a dotted line, indicating the territory is disputed, but inside India the region is labeled with a solid black line, indicating it belongs to India.

Trump Signs Hong Kong Democracy Legislation That Has Angered China

By Emily Cochrane
Nov. 27, 2019 Updated 7:12 p.m. ET

President Trump on Wednesday signed tough legislation that would impose sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials responsible for human rights abuses in Hong Kong, expressing support for pro-democracy activists in the territory and most likely angering China as the two countries negotiate ending their trade war.

“I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China and the people of Hong Kong,” Mr. Trump said in a statement on Wednesday. “They are being enacted in the hope that leaders and representatives of China and Hong Kong will be able to amicably settle their differences leading to long-term peace and prosperity for all.”

As late as last week, Mr. Trump refused to commit to signing the legislation, which Congress had overwhelmingly approved, saying that he supported the protesters but that President Xi Jinping of China was “a friend of mine.”


The bill would require the State Department to annually review the special autonomous status it grants Hong Kong in trade considerations. That status is separate from the relationship with mainland China, and a revocation of the status would mean less favorable trade conditions between the United States and Hong Kong.

After the Senate approved the bill, the Chinese Foreign Ministry denounced it, saying it “interferes in China’s internal affairs” and “violates the basic norms of international law and international relations.”


Because the bill, in theory, has the support of a veto-proof majority in Congress, it could have been enacted into law even if Mr. Trump had vetoed it.

The bill is the latest sign of a strong bipartisan push in Washington to confront China and its authoritarian leader on a wide range of issues, including commercial practices, global infrastructure building and the detention of at least a million Muslim ethnic minority members in camps in northwest China. Because of the pro-democracy protests, Hong Kong has become a central rallying point.


That Uplifting Tweet You Just Shared? A Russian Troll Might Have Sent It

I have seen these shared on Facebook. I think I reshared the one about Warrick Dunn and his charity work for single mothers.

I suggest reading the whole article at the following link. Very informative and thought-provoking.

By Darren Linvill & Patrick Warren
November 25, 2019 9:02AM ET


On August 22, 2019, @IamTyraJackson received almost 290,000 likes on Twitter for a single tweet. Put in perspective, the typical tweet President Trump sends to his 67 million followers gets about 100,000 likes. That viral tweet by @IamTyraJackson was innocent: an uplifting pair of images of former pro football player Warrick Dunn and a description of his inspiring charity work building houses for single mothers.


For “Tyra,” however, inspiring messages like this were a tool for a very different purpose.

The purpose of the Tyra account, we believe, was not to spread heartwarming messages to Americans. Rather, the tweet about Warrick Dunn was really a Trojan horse to gain followers in a larger plan by a foreign adversary. We think this because we believe @IamTyraJackson was an account operated by the successors to Russia’s Internet Research Agency (IRA). Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted the IRA for waging a massive information war during the 2016 U.S. election. Since then, the IRA seems to have been subsumed into Russia’s Federal News Agency, but its work continues. In the case of @IamTyraJackson, the IRA’s goal was two-fold: Grow an audience in part through heartwarming, inspiring messages, and use that following to spread messages promoting division, distrust, and doubt.


Professional trolls are good at their job. They have studied us. They understand how to harness our biases (and hashtags) for their own purposes. They know what pressure points to push and how best to drive us to distrust our neighbors. The professionals know you catch more flies with honey. They don’t go to social media looking for a fight; they go looking for new best friends. And they have found them.

Disinformation operations aren’t typically fake news or outright lies. Disinformation is most often simply spin. Spin is hard to spot and easy to believe, especially if you are already inclined to do so.


The Russians know that, in political warfare, disgust is a more powerful tool than anger. Anger drives people to the polls; disgust drives countries apart.


Here is what makes disinformation so difficult to discuss: while these tweets point to valid issues of concern — issues that have been central to important social movements like Black Lives Matter and #MeToo — they are framed to serve Russia’s interests in undermining Americans’ trust in our institutions.


These accounts also harness the goodwill they’ve built by engaging in these communities for specific political ends. Consistent with past Russian activity, they attacked moderate politicians as a method of bolstering more polarizing candidates. Recently, Vice President Biden has been the most frequent target of this strategy


The factory doesn’t stop. They attack issues from both sides, attempting to drive mainstream viewpoints in polar and extreme directions.

In a free society, we must accept that bad actors will try to take advantage of our openness. But we need to learn to question our own and others’ biases on social media. We need to teach — to individuals of all ages — that we shouldn’t simply believe or repost anonymous users because they used the same hashtag we did, and neither should we accuse them of being a Russian bot simply because we disagree with their perspective. We need to teach digital civility. It will not only weaken foreign efforts, but it will also help us better engage online with our neighbors, especially the ones we disagree with.


Russian disinformation is not just about President Trump or the 2016 presidential election. Did they work to get Trump elected? Yes, diligently. Our research has shown how Russia strategically employed social media to build support on the right for Trump and lower voter turnout on the left for Clinton. But the IRA was not created to collude with the Trump campaign. They existed well before Trump rode down that escalator and announced his candidacy, and we assume they will exist in some form well after he is gone. Russia’s goals are to further widen existing divisions in the American public and decrease our faith and trust in institutions that help maintain a strong democracy. If we focus only on the past or future, we will not be prepared for the present. It’s not about election 2016 or 2020.


the IRA encourages us to vilify our neighbor and amplify our differences because, if we grow incapable of compromising, there can be no meaningful democracy.


Monday, November 25, 2019

Maryland: three men exonerated after serving 36 years for murder of teenager

Associated Press
Mon 25 Nov 2019 18.13 EST

Three men incarcerated for 36 years in Maryland were exonerated on Monday in the killing of a Baltimore teenager, after a review of their case.

Alfred Chestnut, Ransom Watkins and Andrew Stewart were expected to be released from prison hours after a judge cleared their convictions and prosecutors dropped the charges. They were teenagers when they were sentenced to life in prison in 1984.

“On behalf of the criminal justice system, and I’m sure this means very little to you gentlemen, I’m going to apologize,” the circuit court judge Charles Peters told the men, the Baltimore Sun reported.


A baby was born 'pregnant' with her own sibling and needed an emergency C-section to remove it

Julia Naftulin
,INSIDER•November 25, 2019

A baby girl named Itzmara was born through a cesarean delivery. A day later, doctors performed a C-section on her too, because she had absorbed her twin in the womb.

They diagnosed Itzmara with fetus-in-fetu, a rare condition where a malformed fetus is found in the body of its twin.

According to the National Institutes of Health, fetus-in-fetu is very rare, with only one case occurring in about every 500,000 births.

In some cases, health problems related to the condition take years to develop and aren't treated right after birth.


So after delivering Itzmara via C-section, the doctors performed a C-section on her too to remove the mass, which had no heart or brain. Itzmara was in good health following the surgery, Mamás Latinas reported.


Alaska’s ice cellars melting due to climate change after being used to store food for generations

Andy Gregory, Rachel D'Oro
,The Independent•November 25, 2019

After generations of storing their food in handmade cellars dug deep into the permafrost, growing numbers in Alaska’s far-north now find their cellars filling up with water and blood.

Dozens of the naturally refrigerated food shelters exist underneath the region’s mainly Inupiat whaling villages, where many rely on hunting and fishing to eat.

But now climate change and other modern factors are forcing changes to an ancient way of life, rendering traditional storage methods dangerously unreliable.


Cannabis tied to severe heart attack risk in younger adults

By Reuters Staff
,Reuters•November 25, 2019

Teens and young adults who use cocaine, amphetamines or cannabis are more likely to be hospitalized for heart attacks by early adulthood than their counterparts who don't use these drugs, a recent study suggests.


Overall, the risk of a heart attack hospitalization was 3.9 times higher for cocaine users, 2.3 times higher for amphetamine users, and 30% higher for cannabis users than for non-users of these drugs.


Cannabis users appeared to have worse outcomes after a heart attack than patients who used other substances.

Almost 15% of cannabis users had severe illness when they were admitted for a heart attack, a greater proportion than was seen with cocaine or amphetamine users.

The average inpatient hospital charge for cannabis users who had heart attacks was $53,608, compared with $49,979 with cocaine and $43,720 with amphetamine.

Overall, 2.7% of the heart attack patients died in the hospital. While 2% of cannabis abusers who had heart attacks died during their stay, none of the cocaine or amphetamine users who had heart attacks died.

SOURCE: Journal of Adolescent Health, online October 11, 2019.

tags: drug use, drug abuse

Carbon dioxide reaches record high in Earth's atmosphere, scientists report

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Carbon dioxide reaches record high in Earth's atmosphere

Doyle Rice, USA TODAY
,USA TODAY•November 25, 2019

Carbon dioxide – the greenhouse gas most responsible for global warming – reached an all-time high in Earth's atmosphere in 2018, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced Monday.

“There is no sign of a slowdown, let alone a decline, in greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere despite all the commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a statement.


The burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas releases greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane into Earth's atmosphere and oceans. The extra greenhouse gases have caused the planet's temperatures to rise to levels that cannot be explained by natural factors, scientists report.

In the past 20 years, the world's temperature has risen about two-thirds of a degree Fahrenheit, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.


In a statement, the WMO said this continuing long-term trend of rising carbon dioxide means that future generations will be confronted with increasingly severe impacts of climate change, including rising temperatures, more extreme weather, water stress, sea level rise and disruption to marine and land ecosystems.

“It is worth recalling that the last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of carbon dioxide was 3-5 million years ago," Taalas said. Back then, he said the Earth's temperature was as much as 5 degrees warmer and sea levels were as much as 65 feet higher than they are now.


Samoa measles epidemic worsens with 24 children now dead

Nov. 25, 2019, 11:48 AM EST
By Associated Press

Authorities said Monday that a measles epidemic sweeping through Samoa continues to worsen with the death toll rising to 25, all but one of them young children.


The median age of those who have died is 13 months, according to government figures. The deaths include 24 children under the age of 5, 11 of whom were infants under 12 months. The other person who died was in their 30s.


Sunday, November 24, 2019

A Former Neo-Nazi Reveals How He Healed From Hate: ‘Nobody Is Irredeemable’

I encourage reading the whole article at the following link.

Tony McAleer
,The Daily Beast•November 24, 2019

As one of the voices featured in the documentary Healing From Hate: Battle for the Soul of a Nation, which premiered at the DOC NYC film festival, I have seen several cuts of the film in its development.


There is an old expression that “hurt people hurt people” and when we can engage people in the darkest expressions of their despair with curiosity and understanding, we set the foundation for change and healing. As a co-founder of Life After Hate, I can attest to the changes hundreds of people have made through similar efforts by our organization.


Everything is connected, and when we judge and dehumanize another person for their expressions of despair, when we refuse to acknowledge the humanity in those whose behavior or ideology is abominable, we deny a part of our humanity.


When we are compassionate with someone it is like we have a mirror that allows them to see their full humanity reflected at them when they are incapable of seeing it themselves. We help those people recognize their humanity, and in doing so help those people recognize the humanity in others. I truly believe that the level to which we dehumanize others is a mirror reflection of our dehumanization and disconnection, and we can’t recognize the humanity in others unless we can recognize our own humanity. Life After Hate’s philosophy is that nobody is irredeemable, and that message is also at the core of the film. It is hard to have compassion for someone who has no compassion themselves, but aren’t those the people who need it most? Everyone is capable of living and contributing to society as well as repairing and healing the very harms they created.


Australia probes 'deeply disturbing' allegations of Chinese political interference

Sonali Paul
Nov. 24, 2019

Australia’s domestic spy agency is investigating whether China tried to install an agent in federal parliament in what Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday called “deeply disturbing” allegations.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) said it had launched an investigation before the alleged plot was reported by Australia’s “60 Minutes” program and affiliated newspapers on Sunday.

The reports said a suspected Chinese espionage ring had offered “a seven figure sum” to pay for a Melbourne luxury car dealer, Bo “Nick” Zhao, to run for a seat in Australia’s federal parliament.


Car dealer Zhao told ASIO about the alleged approach from another Melbourne businessman about a year ago, the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper said in the joint report with “60 Minutes” and The Age newspaper, citing Zhao’s associates and Western security sources.

Zhao was found dead in March in a Melbourne motel room and police have been unable to conclude how he died, the newspaper said.


Stray Dog Found Curled Up In Snow Keeping Orphaned Kittens Warm

With all the stressful news, this is something to make us feel good.

By Stephen Messenger
Published On 11/20/2019

Over the weekend, while driving on a freezing cold night in Ontario, Canada, a Good Samaritan spotted something that made her stop.

There, curled up on a snowy roadside, was a shivering stray dog.

But she wasn't alone.

Though the dog could have found a safer place to pass the night, she wasn't just thinking of herself.

A closer look revealed the kind pup had wrapped herself around five orphaned kittens, whom she was cuddling to keep warm in the biting temperatures.

The Good Samaritan, in turn, saved them all from the freezing night by taking them to the Pet and Wildlife Rescue shelter. But by then, an incredible bond between the dog and kittens had already been formed.


"Our staff sees many difficult situations on a daily basis and stories like this one make every heartache worth it," the shelter said.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Home-cooked meals linked to fewer harmful chemicals in the body, study says

By Najja Parker, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Oct. 10, 2019


Researchers from the Silent Spring Institute recently conducted a study, published in the Environmental Health Perspectives, to explore the association between restaurant food and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS.

PFAS are a class of chemicals used in nonstick, stain-resistant and waterproof products, such as cookware and food packaging. The chemicals have been linked to an array of health issues like cancer, thyroid disease, low birth rate and decreased fertility.


After analyzing the results, the team found those who ate meals at home had significantly lower levels of PFAS in their bodies, while those who ate more fast food and at restaurants had higher levels of it.


Washington Becomes First State to Allow ‘Human Composting’ as a Burial Method

By Meilan Solly
April 23, 2019 | Updated: May 23, 2019

In 2015, cremations outpaced burials for the first time in United States history. And as the National Funeral Directors Association points out, this upward trend is set to continue over the coming decades, with the national cremation rate predicted to reach nearly 80 percent by 2035. Still, while cremation has obvious environmental advantages over burial—think of all the wood, reinforced concrete, steel, copper and carcinogenic formaldehyde needed to inter the deceased—the process isn’t as Earth-friendly as you might think. In fact, Laura Yan reported for Pacific Standard in 2016, cremation releases 600 million pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year.

Human composting is the brainchild of Katrina Spade, CEO of alternative burial company Recompose. Speaking with local news station KIRO 7, Spade explains that recomposition involves moving the body to a specially designed facility—“part public park, part funeral home, part memorial to the people we love,” in the entrepreneur’s words—and placing it inside of a vessel filled with wood chips, alfalfa and straw. After several weeks of microbial activity, the body breaks down into soil that can then be given to family of the deceased or used by conservation groups to “nourish the [surrounding] land.” Overall, the process uses an eighth of the energy required for cremation and saves more than one metric ton of carbon dioxide for every individual who opts to use it.


Syracuse University janitor battles racism with kindness

By Associated Press
November 19, 2019 at 7:17 p.m. EST

A janitor who removed racist graffiti at Syracuse University has started a campaign of kindness. reports that Keri Courtwright has been taping inspirational notes on doors, mirrors and paper towel dispensers during her rounds.

Courtwright says she wants to spread “good energy.” One message says: “Kindness changes everything.”

The notes are an extension of the positive messages she’d been posting in the Facebook group Pay it Forward CNY.

Some co-workers have joined her effort. One quote urges onlookers: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”


Coast Guard Moves Alabama Training After Swimmers Fall Ill

20 Nov 2019
The Associated Press

The U.S. Coast Guard is no longer using an Alabama bay for certain types of exercises after rescue swimmers reported falling ill during training.

News outlets report training has been moved from Mobile Bay to the Gulf of Mexico. Capt. William Sasser with the Mobile training station told news outlets that rescue swimmers noted symptoms of “illness and irritation” after working in the bay. He said weekly water testing showed levels of the Enterococci bacteria within acceptable ranges, but said the training was moved as a precautionary measure.

Sasser said the health of rescue swimmers has improved since the move


President Obama Talks Sustainability, Affordability, and Air Force One at Greenbuild 2019


Obama ended with comments on how individuals, leaders, communities, and countries should strive to align their stated beliefs with the things they do. “If we say our children and the next generation are the most important thing, then we have to act in accordance with those values,” he explained. “Presumably, that should be reflected in your policies and the people that you support.”


The Long Lines for Women’s Bathrooms Could Be Eliminated. Why Haven’t They Been?

The Atlantic
Joe Pinsker


In the three decades since, dozens of cities and states have joined the cause of “potty parity,” the somewhat trivializing nickname for the goal of giving men and women equal access to public toilets. These legislative efforts, along with changes to plumbing codes that altered the ratio of men’s to women’s toilets, have certainly helped imbalances in wait times, but they haven’t come close to resolving them.

“It still remains a huge problem today, overall,” says Kathryn Anthony, an architecture professor at the University of Illinois who has studied the issue for more than a decade. The issue persists for many reasons: the exigencies of real estate, the building codes that govern construction, and, of course, sexism.


Chwedyk told me about the variety of ways in which building design does account for occupants’ time. Most urgently, developers bring in experts who estimate how long it takes to exit a building, in case of an emergency. Less life-threatening considerations get attention, too. There are traffic consultants who model the building’s contributions to nearby congestion, and even estimators of elevator wait times. But it’s rare for developers to undertake any sort of timing study for bathrooms, even though it’s not clear that waiting for a toilet is any less important than waiting for an elevator.


Holding Your Crying Baby isn’t Spoiling Them, You’re Just Meeting the Child’s Needs

Posted on: November 14, 2019 at 8:43 pm
Last updated: November 21, 2019 at 11:00 am


Parents struggle when it comes to comforting a crying baby. Their instinct is to rush over and hold their child, but with advice like, “don’t spoil him,” they might hesitate the next time they hear the cry.

The good news is there is no reason to hesitate when cuddling with your crying baby. Here’s the truth: it’s impossible to spoil them.
The Purpose of a Baby’s Cry

Notre Dame psychologist Darcia Narvaez led a research team that found children become healthier and happier adults when they have parents who treated them with affection, sensitivity, and playfulness since birth.


Professor Narvaez worked with two colleagues, Lijuan Wang and Ying Cheng, to conduct this research and their findings will be published in an upcoming article in the journal Applied Developmental Science.

The three professors surveyed over 600 adults about their childhoods. They examined things like how much affectionate touch was given in their household, how much free play they were allowed as a child, and how much positive family time they experienced. The researchers found that adults with less anxiety and overall better mental wellbeing had positive childhoods.

“These things independently, but also added up together, predicted the adults’ mental health, so they were less depressed, less anxious, and their social capacities — they were more able to take other people’s perspective,” said Professor Narvaez. “They were better at getting along with others and being open-hearted.”

J. Kevin Nugent, director of the Brazelton Institute at Children’s Hospital in Boston and a child psychologist, said that a newborn baby learns from his interactions with his parents that the world is reliable, and can trust that his needs will be met.


“What parents do in those early months and years are really affecting the way the brain is going to grow the rest of their lives,” explains Narvaez, “so lots of holding, touching and rocking, that is what babies expect. They grow better that way. And keep them calm, because all sorts of systems are establishing the way they are going to work.

“If you let them cry a lot, those systems are going to be easily triggered into stress. We can see that in adulthood — that people that are not cared for well, tend to be more stress reactive and they have a hard time self-calming.”

The researchers found that free play in and out of doors is vital for child development, as well as growing up in a positive, warm home environment.


“We need to, as a community support families so they can give children what they need,” Professor Narvaez says, who recommends involving grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends in the baby’s life.

“We really didn’t evolve to parent alone. Our history is to have a community of caregivers to help — the village, so that when mom or dad needs a break, there is someone there who is ready to step in.”


Friday, November 22, 2019

Worker who raised alarm before deadly New Orleans hotel collapse to be deported

Lauren Zanolli
Fri 22 Nov 2019 13.09 EST
Last modified on Fri 22 Nov 2019 13.25 EST

A construction worker who attempted to warn managers about building dangers and was seriously injured in last month’s deadly Hard Rock Hotel collapse in New Orleans, will be deported on Monday, his lawyers said this week.

Delmer Joel Ramírez Palma, a Honduran citizen, was working inside the 18-storey building when it dramatically crumbled on to a busy downtown intersection on 12 October, killing three and injuring dozens. He survived a fall from the ninth floor to the sixth by swinging from a rope.

Ramírez Palma was hospitalized with serious injuries, including head trauma and internal inflammation, and still requires surgery for an acute eye injury, according to his wife and two lawyers working on separate immigration and civil injury cases.

Immediately after the accident, he was interviewed by a Spanish-language media outlet. Two days later, he was arrested by immigration authorities while fishing with his family in a national wildlife refuge.

He has lived in New Orleans for 18 years.

According to his lawyers and his wife, Ramírez Palma had reported safety concerns – including asymmetrical building measurements and uncured concrete too weak to support weight – to his supervisors at King Company, a New Orleans construction firm, before the deadly collapse.

Construction managers allegedly told him to ignore the issues, according to Mary Yanik, senior staff attorney at the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice, an advocacy group.


The Honduran man’s treatment has sent a further chill through the undocumented community, already on high alert under Donald Trump’s aggressive enforcement policies.

“There’s already extraordinary fear in this environment from any worker to report labor violations,” said Yanick.

Ramírez Palma’s lawyers say his case illustrates how a crackdown on undocumented workers could also hamper investigations into the cause of the accident.

“There’s really crucial information here that the public needs to get to the bottom of what happened at Hard Rock,” she said.


Daryl Gray, who is representing Ramírez Palma and four other Hard Rock workers in a civil suit against building developers, said he had spoken to “numerous” undocumented workers too afraid to talk about the accident.


Heat waves and floods shattered records. Fires ravaged the Arctic and the Amazon. This was the climate crisis in 2019.

Morgan McFall-Johnsen
,Business Insider•November 22, 2019


Scientists say climate change likely played a role in the severe polar vortex event that engulfed North America, the deadly summer heat waves in Europe, and the devastatingly slow movement of Hurricane Dorian.

Taken together, the record-shattering extreme weather we saw throughout 2019 paints a worrisome picture of what's to come.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide has reached its highest level in at least 800,000 years.

As of October, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide was at 412 parts per million.


Globe had its 2nd-hottest October and year to date on record

November 18, 2019

Planet Earth continued to sweat in unrelenting heat last month making October 2019 the second-hottest October recorded, just behind 2015.

It was also the second-hottest year to date (January through October) on record for the globe. Continuing its melting trend, Arctic sea ice coverage shrank to its smallest size yet for October.


The average global land and ocean surface temperature for October 2019 was 1.76 degrees F (0.98 of a degree C) above the 20th-century average and the second highest October temperature on record. This value was only 0.11 of a degree F (0.06 of a degree C) short of the record-warm October set in 2015.

The 10 warmest Octobers have occurred since 2003, with the five warmest Octobers occurring since 2015. October 2019 was also the 43rd consecutive October and the 418th consecutive month with temperatures — at least nominally — above the 20th-century average.


Arctic sea ice coverage was the smallest ever recorded for October at 32.2 percent below the 1981–2010 average. The 10 smallest Arctic sea ice extents for October have occurred since 2007.

Warmth around the world: Europe, Africa, Oceania, the Caribbean and the Hawaiian Islands region experienced temperatures that ranked among the three highest on record for October.

The world’s average sea surface temperature ranked second-warmest ever recorded for the year to date — less than a 10th of a degree cooler than the record-warm sea surface temperature observed in 2016.


Thursday, November 21, 2019

Fossil fuel production on track for double the safe climate limit

Please consider donating to The Guardian investigation news service.

Damian Carrington Environment editor
Wed 20 Nov 2019 00.01 EST

The world’s nations are on track to produce more than twice as much coal, oil and gas as can be burned in 2030 while restricting rise in the global temperature to 1.5C, analysis shows.

The report is the first to compare countries’ stated plans for fossil fuel extraction with the goals of the Paris climate agreement, which is to keep global heating well below 2C above pre-industrial levels, and to aim for 1.5C. It exposes a huge gap, with fossil fuel production in 2030 heading for 50% more than is consistent with 2C, and 120% more than that for 1.5C.

Scientists have warned that even the difference between 1.5C and 2C of heating will expose hundreds of millions of people to significantly higher risks of extreme heatwaves, drought, floods and poverty.


Impeachment hearings

Nov. 21, 2019

Disgusting the way some republicans, including Nunes, used the impeachment hearings to give speeches filled with lies, for the benefit of right-wing media to use as "coverage" of the hearings.

Nov. 20, 2019

Well, what do you know, testimony today came out that the Ukrainians knew about a holdup in U.S. aid earlier than has been told before.

Republicans keep saying Trump gave aid to Ukraine. It was actually Congress that authorized this aid, and Trump held it up until it public accusations that he was doing it so to get Ukraine to act against Biden's son. Also:

Trump Resisted Sale of Javelins to Ukraine
By Amy Mackinnon | November 15, 2019, 4:00 PM

As U.S. President Donald Trump’s congressional allies seek to defend him from a rapidly escalating impeachment inquiry, they have repeatedly pointed to the fact that it was Trump, not his predecessor President Barack Obama, who signed off on providing Ukraine with lethal weapons such as Javelin anti-tank missiles.

But current and former officials who were privy to the decision in December 2017 to provide the missiles to Ukraine told Foreign Policy that Trump had been reluctant to go ahead with the move and only did so when aides persuaded him that it could be good for U.S. business.


Dishonest republican questioner at it again claims Obama only authorized "MRE (meals ready to eat) and blankets" to Ukraine. This is a flat out lie, as several other repeated statements by the republican questioners. Obama didn't give as much aid as I would have liked, but he did give military & security aid.

Matt Gaetz misleads about Obama's record on Ukraine military aid
By Amy Sherman on Friday, October 25th, 2019 at 11:47 a.m.

At the time, Obama officials were debating whether to send lethal military equipment amid the conflict with Russia, particularly Javelin anti-tank missiles. Obama rejected a request from Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko for lethal aid in 2014, though the White House approved a $53 million aid package that included vehicles, patrol boats, body armor and night-vision goggles, as well as humanitarian assistance.

U.S. officials were concerned that providing the Javelins to Ukraine would escalate their conflict with Russia. Key allies, including Germany, were not keen on sending weapons into the conflict zone, said Michael Kofman, an expert on Russia and senior research scientist at the CNA Corporation.


Here the republicans go again, going on about the whistleblower, complaining in the same speech that he doesn't have firsthand knowledge of the Trump Ukraine phone call, and also complaining that the Democrats haven't called him to testify. Why do they want the whistleblower to testify when there are people with firsthand knowledge that can testify Of course, Trump is keeping some people with firsthand knowledge from testifying.

Nov. 19, 2019

At the end of the second day of the hearings, last week, a republican said that people were finding the hearings "boring" and that we should stop listening. So obvious that they are expecting damaging testimony in the future that they don't want people to hear.

Trump and his defenders keep harping on the whistleblower not having firsthand knowledge of Trump's communications with Ukraine's president, even though people with firsthand knowledge have come forward, or are being subpoenaed. And Trump is trying to keep those who do have firsthand knowledge from testifying. It is obvious they are trying to keep people from paying attention to those who do have firsthand knowledge and that they believe the firsthand knowledge is damaging to Trump.

Some republicans at the hearings claimed that Trump asked Ukraine's president to help him against a political rival of Trump before Ukraine knew that Congress had ordered military aid to their country. This would depend on the unlikely assumption that Ukraine does not keep an eye on what the U.S. government is doing in regards to their country, and that there was no one else friendly to Ukraine who would have been aware of this.

Brazil Admits It Has a Deforestation Problem and Vows to Fix It

Samy Adghirni and Julia Leite
,Bloomberg•November 21, 2019

Brazil is drawing up plans to curtail a surge in deforestation of the Amazon rainforest that’s provoked an international outcry, the country’s top security official said.

“We are already preparing a stronger policy to contain fires,” General Augusto Heleno Pereira, the country’s Institutional Security Minister, said in an interview in Brasilia, in a rare acknowledgment of the problem. “Everybody is convinced we must tighten enforcement,” he added, referring to farmers who set fires on agricultural lands to improve productivity.


Australians shelter from bushfires as political heat climbs

Australia, like the U.S., has chosen to elect a leader who denies climate disruption and blocks action against it.
Note it is in the southern hemisphere, so while it is late fall in the U.S., it is late spring in Australia.

By Colin Packham
,Reuters•November 20, 2019

Firefighters battled hundreds of bushfires across Australia on Thursday as scores of blazes sprang up in new locations, triggering warnings that it was too late for some residents to evacuate.

As Thick smoke blanketed the most populous city of Sydney for a third day, residents were urged to keep children indoors, stepping up pressure on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to tackle climate change.

By early afternoon, dozens of fires were burning across the southeastern state of Victoria and temperatures of 40.9 Celsius (105.6 F) in Melbourne, its capital, matched the hottest day on record in 1894, Australia's weather bureau said.


Blazes across several states have endangered thousands of people, killing at least four people this month, burning about 2.5 million acres (1 million hectares) of farmland and bush and destroying more than 400 homes.

The early arrival and severity of the fires in the southern hemisphere spring follows three years of drought that experts have linked to climate change and which have left bushland tinder-dry.

With 10 days remaining to the official start of summer, extreme temperatures and high winds have sparked wildfires in new areas, even as firefighters tracked the crisis across the mainland, the Northern Territory and the island of Tasmania.


Ben Doherty and agencies
Thu 21 Nov 2019 17.23 EST

Record-breaking spring temperatures helped spark and fan bushfires across the country on Thursday.

In Victoria, 100km/h winds fanned more than 60 fires as an unprecedented heatwave moved north to south, drawing comparisons with the “worst conditions you’d see in February or March” from the state’s emergency services minister, Lisa Neville.


Melbourne’s maximum temperature of 40.9C [105.6F] matched the 1894 record for the hottest November day. Laverton was the hottest place in Victoria at 44.3C [111.7F].


Centuries of Christian anti-Semitism led to Holocaust, landmark Church of England report concludes

Well, duh.

Gabriella Swerling
,The Telegraph•November 20, 2019

Centuries of Christian anti-Semitism led to the Holocaust, a landmark Church of England report has concluded. In a foreword to the report, published today, the Archbishop of Canterbury said that Christians cannot challenge and reflect on the past honestly, “until we have felt the cruelty of our history”.


It urges Christians to not only be repentant for the “sins of the past” against Jews, but also to challenge active attitudes and stereotypes.

It also marks the first time that the Church of England has made an authoritative statement on the subject of anti-Semitism.

The new “tool for teaching” on Christian-Jewish relations acknowledges that Christian theology played a part in the “stereotyping and persecution fo Jewish people which ultimately led to the Holocaust”.


Six million Jews were systematically killed by the Nazis during the Holocaust. Throughout World War II, Nazi Germany killed around five million other ‘untermenschen’ - a the term for those the Nazis deemed as ‘undesireable’ or ‘sub-human’.

These included victims from Romani communities, disabled and homosexual people and those of other nationalities and religions. The number of Nazi victims is often disputed by Holocaust deniers.


Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Exposure to PM 2.5 pollution linked to brain atrophy, memory decline

News Release 20-Nov-2019
University of Southern California

Women in their 70s and 80s who were exposed to higher levels of air pollution experienced greater declines in memory and more Alzheimer's-like brain atrophy than their counterparts who breathed cleaner air, according to USC researchers.


College students may get health benefits from less than one extra hour of sleep

News Release 20-Nov-2019
Penn State

College life can be rigorous and exhausting, but new research suggests that just one extra hour of sleep a night is not only possible, but can also have significant health benefits for college students.

In a study led by Penn State, researchers found that when asked to extend their sleep, college students were able to get an additional 43 minutes of sleep per night on average. They also experienced less sleepiness during the day and had lower blood pressure.


Researchers find long-term benefits of nurse home visits for new mothers and infants

News Release 20-Nov-2019
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Home visits by nurses to check on infants and first-time mothers offer learning benefits for the children and savings in the cost of public welfare programs, according to new research published in December 2019 issue of the journal Pediatrics.

Researchers from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, University College London (UCL), and the University of Rochester evaluated the long-term effects of nurse home visiting programs. The initial visits were conducted in June 1990 and continued for over many years. The studies follow up on families 18 years after they participated in the nurse-visit program and they compare outcomes for those families with control groups.


"This early intervention, Nurse-Family Partnership, produced long-term improvements in the cognitive functioning of 18-year-old youth born to mothers who had limited personal resources to cope with the adversities of living in deep poverty," Olds said. "This new evidence shows promise that Nurse-Family Partnership's effects may carry over into adulthood."


Largest study ever finds that urban green space can prevent premature deaths

News Release 20-Nov-2019
Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal)

Residential greenness can protect against premature all-cause mortality, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis conducted by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), an institution supported by "la Caixa", in collaboration with Colorado State University and the World Health Organization (WHO), and published in The Lancet Planetary Health.

The analysis, which included nine longitudinal studies involving seven countries and a total of over eight million people, provides strong evidence on the impact of increasing green areas on mortality.


The meta-analysis of these studies found that an increment in greenness around homes is significantly associated with reduced premature mortality. More specifically, the study provides an estimate for the protective effect: a 4% reduction in premature mortality per each increment of 0.1 in vegetation score, within 500 meters of the residence.


Musicians at serious risk of tinnitus, researchers show

No surprise

News Release 20-Nov-2019
University of Manchester

The research team found that health and lifestyle factors had relatively little impact on Tinnitus and hearing difficulties. Noise exposure was by far the biggest risk.

The findings confirm what industry insiders have long been saying about the impact their workplace has on their hearing.


Skipping breakfast linked to lower GCSE grades

News Release 20-Nov-2019
University of Leeds

Students who rarely ate breakfast on school days achieved lower GCSE grades than those who ate breakfast frequently, according to a new study in Yorkshire.

Researchers, from the University of Leeds, have for the first time demonstrated a link between eating breakfast and GCSE performance for secondary school students in the UK.

Adding together all of a student's exam results, they found that students who said they rarely ate breakfast achieved nearly two grades lower than those who rarely missed their morning meal.


DDT linked to higher risk of diabetes among Asian Indian immigrants to US

News Release 20-Nov-2019
University of California - Davis

revious exposure to the pollutant DDT may contribute to the risk of diabetes among Asian Indian immigrants to the United States, according to a study from the University of California, Davis.

The study, published today in the American Chemical Society's journal Environmental Science & Technology, linked high levels of DDT, or dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, in Indian immigrants with risk factors for metabolic disease.


Cannabis found not to be a substitute for opioids

Note difference from last post, which applied to using marijuana for pain, this study concerns people already addicted and are on methadone treatment.

News Release 19-Nov-2019
McMaster University


The research team looked at all research on the effects of cannabis use on illicit opioid use during methadone maintenance therapy, which is a common treatment for opioid use disorder, and found six studies involving more than 3,600 participants.

However, a meta-analysis of the studies found cannabis use didn't reduce illicit opioid use during treatment nor did it retain people in treatment.


tags: drug abuse, drug use

Daily cannabis use lowers odds of using illicit opioids among people who have chronic pain

News Release 19-Nov-2019
University of British Columbia


Researchers from the BCCSU and University of British Columbia (UBC) interviewed more than 1,100 people at highest risk of opioid overdose in Vancouver between 2014 and 2017 who reported substance use and major or chronic pain. They found that daily cannabis use was associated with significantly lower odds of daily illicit opioid use, suggesting people are replacing opioids with cannabis to manage their pain.


tags: drug use

Radiation from CT scans associated with increased risk for cancer

Not surprising.

News Release 19-Nov-2019
Oxford University Press USA

A new study in JNCI Cancer Spectrum finds that exposure to radiation from CT scans is associated with higher risks of developing thyroid cancer and leukemia.


Access to food and nutrition more limited in sub-Saharan Africa than previously estimated

Sadly, climate disruption will make this even worse.

News Release 19-Nov-2019

A survey of over six thousand sub-Saharan households shows an estimated 39% experience severely unreliable access to food. In addition, 49% have inadequate diversity in their diet, putting them at risk for micronutrient deficiencies. The study, published in Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, is among the largest of its kind -- and also the first to correlate food access and nutrition to time of year, as well as demographic, agricultural, ecological and economic factors.


Tens of thousands of deaths linked to weak US air pollution rules

Emily Holden in Washington
Wed 20 Nov 2019 11.00 EST

US air pollution rules could be hugely insufficient in preventing deaths, experts are concluding from a new study of the likely causes of death of 4.5 million veterans.

Published in the peer-reviewed journal Jama, the research finds that 99% of deaths from illnesses linked to a certain type of air pollution occur in people who are exposed to lower levels than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) currently deems acceptable.

But Donald Trump’s EPA could be set to maintain the current standard – thus leading to continued air pollution-associated deaths. The agency is also reconsidering the established science linking particle pollution from fossil fuels and other sources with a host of illnesses.

About 200,000 Americans are thought to die from air pollution each year, but scientists previously couldn’t pinpoint the specific causes of death for almost half of those people.


They linked nine causes of death with the pollution: cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, dementia, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, lung cancer and pneumonia.


Al-Aly explained that researchers examining only death records could only see “the tip of the iceberg”. His team reviewed the illnesses people struggled with before death to get a clearer picture of their overall health.


Another study published on Wednesday in Brain further confirmed the links between air pollution and cognitive problems. Women in their 70s and 80s who were exposed to higher levels of air pollution experienced greater declines in memory and more Alzheimer’s-like brain atrophy, according to researchers at the University of South Carolina.


Former British consulate employee says China tortured him for Hong Kong information

By Guy Faulconbridge
,Reuters•November 20, 2019

A former employee of Britain's consulate in Hong Kong said Chinese secret police beat him, deprived him of sleep and shackled him in an attempt to force him to give information about activists leading pro-democracy protests.


Simon Cheng, a Hong Kong citizen who worked for the British government for almost two years, said he was tortured while detained for 15 days as he returned from a trip to mainland China in August.

"I was hung (handcuffed and shackled) on a steep X-Cross doing a spread-eagled pose for hours after hours," Cheng said in a post on Facebook.

"Sometimes, they ordered me to do the 'stress tests', which includes extreme strength exercise such as 'squat' and 'chair pose' for countless hours. They beat me every time I failed to do so using something like sharpened batons."

Britain said Cheng's treatment amounted to torture and summoned China's ambassador to express outrage. China did not immediately comment on Cheng. Reuters was unable to verify his account.


Windows users, beware: This fake update could lock up your PC, or worse

Alison DeNisco Rayome
November 19, 2019 8:00 AM PST

Updating to Windows 10? Don't fall victim to this spam email attack.

With the end of support for Windows 7 coming in January, many users are looking to update to Windows 10 to continue getting security updates and support from Microsoft. According to a Tuesday report from security firm Trustwave, attackers are well aware of this and are targeting Microsoft users with fake Windows update emails that will infect computers with ransomware -- an especially sinister type of malware that locks up valuable data on your computer, and demands that you pay a ransom to release it or your data will be destroyed.


Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Trump is systematically ending the viability of a future Palestinian state

This is not the first time I have wondered if Trump is deliberately encouraging a terrorist attack so he can have an excuse to seize more power.

Joshua Leifer

Tue 19 Nov 2019 10.34 EST
Last modified on Tue 19 Nov 2019 10.51 EST

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement on Monday – that the US will no longer consider Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories a violation of international law – is, in many ways, a near-perfect encapsulation of the Trump administration’s approach to Israel-Palestine.

Couched in grotesque doublespeak, it claims to advance “the cause of peace” while signaling US approval of Israel’s brutal, perpetual military rule over the roughly 3 million Palestinians living in the West Bank. It is part and parcel of the Trump administration’s ongoing, concerted efforts to undermine international legal frameworks for addressing human rights violations (and not just in Israel-Palestine). And it is yet more proof, not that more was needed, that the Trump administration is actively pursuing a post-two-state-solution agenda.
"post-two-state-solution" - how diplomatic. In other words, pursuing a one-state Israeli agenda.


It would, however, be a mistake to view Pompeo’s announcement as a complete break with US policy precedent. Again, as with so much of what the Trump administration has done over the past several years, this, too, marks less a rupture with the status quo than its unmasking. While the US government has long considered Israeli construction of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories a violation of international law on paper, it has done little to hold Israel’s government meaningfully accountable in practice.


Chinese bishop 'on the run' after refusing to join state-sanctioned church

Sophia Yan
,The Telegraph•November 19, 2019

A Catholic bishop in China is believed to be on the run from state security after refusing to bring his church under a government-sanctioned religious association.


Mr Guo is part of a group of bishops that many religious and human rights experts feared would be persecuted after the Vatican inked a deal with Beijing last year on the ordaining bishops.

China has long insisted that it approve appointments, clashing with absolute papal authority to pick bishops. The agreement broke that standoff, and could help pave the way for formal diplomatic ties, but also stoked worries that the Chinese state would have too much power to regulate religion.


China’s officially atheist Communist Party – has engaged in a widespread crackdown on religion in the last few years. Authorities have banned Arab-style onion domes on mosques and other buildings – even if merely decorative.

The UN estimates more than a million Muslims have been detained in chilling “re-education” camps, where former detainees have told The Telegraph they were subject to physical torture, psychological intimidation and political indoctrination.

The government has shut down churches not sanctioned by the Party, detaining priests and members of various congregations. And houses of worship, including Buddhist temples, are now mandated to have pictures of Xi Jinping, the leader of the Party.


Police: White teen girl aimed to attack black Georgia church

Trump and his followers are encouraging this

,Associated Press•November 19, 2019

A white 16-year-old girl is accused of plotting to attack a mostly black church in a north Georgia city, where police say she planned to kill worshippers because of their race.


the white son of a sheriff’s deputy was arrested in April and accused of a setting fires that destroyed three black churches in rural Louisiana. Holden Matthews is awaiting trial on arson and hate crimes charges in the Louisiana church burnings.


Discussions vs arguments

Saw this on Facebook:

Discussions are always better than arguments,
because an argument is to find out who is right,
and a discussion is to find out what is right.

Friday, November 15, 2019

She went to prison over her boyfriend’s child abuse. Thirteen years after he got out, she’s free.

By Reis Thebault
November 8, 2019

As a teenager, Tondalao Hall survived a violent relationship — one that ended only after she was arrested and imprisoned for not reporting her boyfriend’s abuse of their children. Now, after 15 years behind bars, she is free.

Hall’s sentence, issued under Oklahoma’s controversial “failure to protect” laws, was far harsher than the one given to her boyfriend, Robert Braxton Jr., who abused Hall and her children. He served two years in jail. The disparity has been seen as an example of the criminal justice system bungling cases of intimate-partner violence.


Her release came a month after Oklahoma’s Pardon and Parole Board voted unanimously to recommend her 30-year sentence for commutation. Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) granted the request Thursday, ending a decade and a half of incarceration.

The case stems from a 2004 hospital visit. Tondalao Hall was 20 years old at the time, and Braxton abused her regularly — choking her, punching her and berating her with verbal attacks, according to court testimony.


In 2006, Hall was sentenced to 30 years after pleading guilty to failing to protect the two children from abuse. Braxton pleaded guilty to the abuse itself and was released on probation after spending two years in jail while the case was adjudicated.

Lambert said there are dozens of women locked up under the failure-to-protect law who have stories “frighteningly similar” to Hall’s — victims of abuse who are punished rather than helped. The charge is a felony that can result in the same sentence as child abuse: life in prison.


Microsoft four-day work week boosts productivity

By Zoe Kleinman Technology reporter, BBC News
4 November 2019

Microsoft Japan said sales had been boosted by nearly 40% during an experiment in which staff worked a four-day week on full pay.

Offices were closed on every Friday of August 2019 and full-time staff were given "special leave", which was paid.

Meetings were restricted to a maximum of 30 minutes and online discussions were encouraged as an alternative to face-to-face.


Thursday, November 14, 2019

Yellow lens glasses worsen drivers' night vision

Linda Carroll
August 2, 2019

Touted to improve nighttime eyesight, yellow lens glasses don’t help drivers see better and may, in fact, worsen vision, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that yellow-lens wearing volunteers operating a driving simulator were no better at spotting a pedestrian when confronting oncoming headlights than those who wore clear lenses, according to the study published in JAMA Ophthalmology. And there was a suggestion that the yellow tinted lenses might even be making the situation worse.


“Wearing (tinted) glasses, whether they are yellow, red or blue, cuts out a chunk of light. Which means this is the same as wearing sunglasses while driving at night.”


Most students who committed deadly school attacks over the past decade were badly bullied

By COLLEEN LONGNovember 7, 2019

Most students who committed deadly school attacks over the past decade were badly bullied, had a history of disciplinary trouble and their behavior concerned others but was never reported, according to a U.S. Secret Service study released Thursday.


Most attackers were male; seven were female. Researchers said 63% of the attackers were white, 15% were black, 5% Hispanic, 2% were American Indian or Alaska Native, 10% were of two or more races, and 5% were undetermined.

The weapons used were mostly guns, but knives were used, as well. One attacker used a World War II-era bayonet. Most of the weapons came from the attackers’ homes, the investigators reported.


There’s no clear profile of a school attacker, but some details stand out: Many were absent from school before the attack, often through a school suspension; they were treated poorly by their peers in person, not just online; they felt mistreated; some sought fame, while others were suicidal. They fixated on violence and watched it online, played games featuring it or read about it in books.


A scathing new Pentagon report blames Trump for the return of ISIS in Syria and Iraq

Ellen Ioanes
Aug 8, 2019, 2:23 PM

A report from the Pentagon inspector general found that President Donald Trump's decision to rapidly pull troops out of Syria and divert attention from diplomacy in Iraq has inadvertently aided the Islamic State's regrouping in Syria and Iraq.


Who Pays - State and Local Taxation?

Easy to see why Trump is trying to move tax home from New York to Florida. Florida state and local taxes are extremely regressive, the richer you are the smaller percentage of income you pay in taxes.

The following link ranks the states from least equitable to more equitable, and provides details for each state.

Forty-five states have regressive tax systems that exacerbate income inequality. When tax systems rely on the lowest-income earners to pay the greatest proportion of their income in state and local taxes, gaps between the most affluent and the rest of us continue to grow.

The ITEP Tax Inequality Index measures the effects of each state’s tax system on income inequality by assessing the comparative impact a state’s tax system has on the post-tax incomes of taxpayers at different income levels.


ITEP Tax Inequality Index
States in order of rank from least equitable to more equitable
1 Washington 14 Louisiana 27 Georgia 40 Utah
2 Texas 15 Hawaii 28 Missouri 41 Oregon
3 Florida 16 New Hampshire 29 Connecticut 42 Maryland
4 South Dakota 17 North Dakota 30 Massachusetts 43 Montana
5 Nevada 18 Alabama 31 North Carolina 44 New York
6 Tennessee 19 New Mexico 32 Rhode Island 45 Maine
7 Pennsylvania 20 Arkansas 33 Virginia 46 New Jersey
8 Illinois 21 Iowa 34 Wisconsin 47 Minnesota
9 Oklahoma 22 Michigan 35 Colorado 48 Delaware
10 Wyoming 23 Kansas 36 Nebraska 49 Vermont
11 Arizona 24 Mississippi 37 West Virginia 50 District of Columbia
12 Indiana 25 Kentucky 38 Idaho 51 California
13 Ohio 26 Alaska 39 South Carolina


Link for New York state and local taxes per income group


Link for Florida state and local taxes per income group

Eg., lowest 20% in income pay 12.7% of income in taxes
top 1% pay 2.3% in income


Climate change will affect “every single stage” of a child’s life, health researchers warn

By Umair Irfan Nov 13, 2019, 6:30pm EST

Climate change is already impacting the health of millions around the world, from expanding the range of disease-carrying mosquitoes to worsening chronic kidney disease to increasing the frequency of deadly heat waves.

But the worst effects will fall to the youngest, and most dire for them lie ahead. That’s the conclusion of a major report published by the British medical journal The Lancet on Wednesday.


As children, this next generation faces growing risks from climate-related hazards like less nutritious crops and spreading diarrheal disease. As these children grow up, they will encounter air pollution exacerbated by burning fossil fuels. When they enter the workforce, they may struggle to earn money as rising average temperatures make it more difficult to work outdoors. And their lives and livelihoods could be disrupted by extreme weather becoming more severe.


At the moment, some of the most severe climate change health effects are on the elderly.


“The incidence of asthma for instance, we see it is directly related to the environment that the child is in among other variables as well,” said Richard Carmona, a report author who served as surgeon general in the George W. Bush administration.


However, the report also shows that there is still time to act to avert some of the most severe health consequences of climate change. Limiting warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius, the goal of the Paris climate agreement, would require coordinated global action that would have immense benefits for health, particularly for young people.