Friday, December 30, 2022

Losing Hope on the Climate Crisis? Try this…


L. Hobart Stocking
Facebook: @SkyWaterEarthConnected
Twitter: @SkyWaterEarth
December 29th, 2022


I have a friend who laments the loss of hope with regard to the climate challenge. I hear this a lot in climate organizations. You work your ass off for months or years trying to stop a toxic pipeline, and then they put it in anyway. Or you can’t connect your actions to really stopping the icecaps from melting. You make a small step to get your community committed to clean renewable energy, but will it make any difference? Things seem… well, hopeless.


I’ve taken to reading this acknowledgement before starting the climate meetings I lead.

 “As we begin our work, let us acknowledge the scope of the climate challenges we face. The climate challenge is large, scary, urgent, and can seem overwhelming. It’s really hard work.

 We do this work because it is the right thing to do. The moral thing to do. We have no other choice.  [IMO: This is true for me]

 Our success will be measured over lifetimes, the product of thousands of projects by millions of people. Progress is the way we sustain the work, no matter the size of our project or our effort.

 Let us also acknowledge that together we are stronger than any one individual. Together, regardless of the color of our skin, where we come from, or where we live, we are powerful. Together we are relentless. Together we can support, respect and thank each other for the work we are undertaking. Together we can celebrate our successes and greave our losses. Together we will be successful because of the values we share… inclusion, fairness, empathy and the care of fellow humans and the earth that sustains all of us.

 Now let’s see what progress we can make today. Thank you for all the work you do.”

Action, not hope, is the antidote to feeling overwhelmed. We must simply… just do the work. Scope and progress are the measures that move us forward. What you do is incredibly important and significant. Thank you.

‘We are all connected. Savor the Earth!’™


Every Large Parking Lot in France Will Soon Be Covered in Solar Panels


I fact checked this, since I wasn't familiar with the web site, and verified it is reported by sources such as Times and Forbes.


November 16, 2022


Cars may be vanishing from Paris, but the ones that remain will soon be parked beneath countless acres of gleaming photovoltaics. This month, the government mandated that every parking lot with more than 80 vehicle spaces must be covered with solar panels.

The move is part of President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to increase solar power generation by a factor of 10 and double land-based wind energy. The impact could be enormous: the government expects the mandate to generate enough energy to power millions of homes — the equivalent of running 10 nuclear reactors.



Public transcripts of Jan 6 testimony

 See the web site for the specific links


Dec 30, 2022

Today, the Select Committee made public additional transcripts of witness testimony that was gathered over the course of the Select Committee’s investigation into the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol.

These records can now be found on the Select Committee’s website:

    Patrick Byrne
    Ken Cuccinelli
    Steven Engel
    Mark Finchem
    Rudy Giuliani
    Donnell Harvin
    Eric Herschmann
    Cassidy Hutchinson, February 23, 2022; March 7, 2022
    Jared Kushner
    Nicholas Luna
    Derek Lyons
    Douglas Macgregor
    Jason Miller
    Cleta Mitchell
    Mick Mulvaney
    Timothy Murtaugh
    Anthony Ornato
    BJ Pak
    Matthew Pottinger
    Kelly SoRelle, Part 1, Part 2
    Virginia Thomas

How long can we breathe?

Peter Dynes

What do people actually think they are going to breathe if we allow major corporations to destroy the forests and turn the oceans into dead zones? 2 out of every 3 breaths comes from the phytoplankton in the ocean - populations of which are decreasing.

7:05 PM · Dec 29, 2022

Blind to the truth


I don't have time right now to check that this is an actual quote by Sagan, but my observation is that it is true.

Prof. Carl Sagan

One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth.  It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken.

11:25 AM · Dec 29, 2022

We were warned


 Dec. 30, 2022

Conservatives say government should not help people, we should plan ahead.  But they have ignored the warnings about climate disruption for more than 100 years.  We could have changed gradually and saved ourselves from disaster.

May be an image of ‎text that says '‎The Rodnen و Otamatea Timrs WAITEMATA & KAIPARA GAZERTE PRICE-10s perannuım in advance WARKWORTH, WEDNESDAY AUGUST 14, 1912. 3d per Copy. Science Notes and News. COAL CONSUMPTION AFFECT- ING CLIMATE. The furnaces of the world are now burning about 2,000,000,000 tons of coal a year. When this is burned, uniting with oxygen, it adds about 7,000,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere yearly. This tends to make the air a more effective blan- ket for the earth and to raise its temperature. The effect may be con- siderable in a few centuries.‎'‎

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Do you fall in America's lower, middle, or upper class? Here's how your income stacks up compared to the rest of the US population


 Chris Clark
Thu, December 29, 2022 at 9:00 AM EST


Pew points out that the wealthiest households are the only ones to have seen gains in wealth after the start of the Great Recession. Between 2007 and 2016, the median net worth of the top 20% increased 13% to $1.2 million.

Meanwhile, the lowest earners saw their wealth decrease by at least 20% over that period of time.

The result of that is the wealth gap between America’s richest and poorest families has grown into a chasm — more than doubling between 1989 and 2016.


But what’s important to highlight when discussing lower-income households is the opportunities for advancement. While middle-class households rely on home equity to build their net worth and upper-class families rely on financial assets and investments to build their wealth, Pew found lower-income earners have fewer options to get ahead.

In fact, research indicates that the wider the wealth gap, the harder it is for lower-income Americans to move up the class ladder.



Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Philippines reports at least eight deaths as rains, floods disrupt Christmas celebrations


Extreme precipitation events, rain and snow, are becoming more common because of global warming, because warm air holds more moisture.  The fossil fuel executives who have funded denialism are mass murderers.

 Mon, December 26, 2022 at 8:33 AM EST

Philippine authorities on Monday reported at least eight deaths mostly due to floods triggered by heavy rains in the southern provinces, as Christmas celebrations were disrupted for thousands of residents who were forced to evacuate.

Images on social media showed rescue workers helping residents out of chest-deep flood waters caused by two days of moderate to heavy rainfall in central and southern Philippines.

In its latest bulletin, the national disaster agency reported eight casualties, five of whom died from drowning, while 19 were missing. Of the eight deaths, six were in the mountainous and coastal Misamis Occidental province.

Nearly 46,000 people were sheltering in evacuation centres, data from the social welfare ministry showed on Monday.


What is the North Atlantic jet stream?


Steven Bernard and Emiliya Mychasuk December 24 2022

Diagram explaining what the North Atlantic jet stream is?

Take Care of Our Planet

Lyrics to a song I wrote. I'm not a great singer, but when I sang it at an open mic, w/o accompaniment, in a restaurant, everybody stopped talking. Only time I've seen that. So people do care.

The recording is sung by UD Banks, and produced by David Leonard of Reveal Audio Services.

Take Care of Our Planet
copyright 2001 Patricia M. Shannon

Walking in the early sunlight, with the calling birds,
I see the trees against the newborn sky;
listening to the breeze, I hear God's voice
saying "Take care of this planet, don't make it die!"
We must

take care of our planet,
it's the only home we have;
it will give us what we need,
if we treat it respectfully.

He did not make the earth to be just a toy,
or an enemy with which we are at war;
remember that we were just an afterthought,
stewards and not owners are what we are.

Now some say the end is coming,
so we'll need the earth no more;
He said no one will expect it,
might be 10,000 years to go.


He did not mean for us to be parasites,
always taking destruction to new heights,
killing off the species He so carefully planned,
in the interdependent web of life.

Don't depend on some angels,
or a space ship from on high
to save you from your own folly,
if you do, you're sure to die."



Thursday, December 22, 2022

Who to believe


Dec. 22, 2022

If you don't believe science, ignore the weather warnings for the next few days. Don't bother letting your faucets drip tonight. Say a prayer asking for God to protect you, and you will be fine.

Trump acknowledged his election loss to McCarthy before Jan. 6, Hutchinson testified


Please read the whole article?

By Kyle Cheney and Nicholas Wu
12/22/2022 02:14 PM EST
Updated: 12/22/2022 02:57 PM EST 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told then-White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson in the days before Jan. 6, 2021, that Donald Trump had privately acknowledged losing the 2020 election, according to a newly disclosed interview Hutchinson gave to the Jan. 6 select committee.


Is Homelessness Our “Malnutrition & Starvation” Applied to Housing?


I suggest reading the whole article.


Thom Hartmann

Dec. 22, 2022


This week’s brutal winter storm’s impact on homeless people across the nation — it will certainly kill many —reminds us how essential safe housing is for us human beings.

There are commodities and there are necessities. Sometimes, they’re the same. Food, for example, is both a commodity and a necessity.

Imagine, then, if a group of giant companies were to buy up a third of America’s food and then begin steeply raising its price. It would produce the same situation I’ve seen both war and drought create when I did international relief work in multiple third-world countries: hunger, malnutrition, and — among the poorest and least able to work — starvation.

Housing is only slightly less a necessity than food (it varies with climate) but the scenario I just described with that food metaphor is very much what is happening in America today. Homelessness, it turns out, is our “malnutrition and starvation” applied to housing.


About a third of all American houses bought in the past few years were bought for cash; while some of this is wealthy people, most cash purchasers today are giant investment corporations.

These large-scale cash home purchases drive up the price of houses, which in turn drives up rental costs. Homlessness begins to pop when community rent exceeds 22 percent of community income, and explodes above 32 percent.

For every 5 percent increase in house prices, there’s a roughly 4 percent increase in homelessness in the same communities.

And we’re seeing it play out right in front of us in cities across America because a handful of Wall Street billionaires want to make a killing.


When my dad bought his home in the 1950s the median price of a single-family house was around 2.2 times the median American family income.

Today, the Fed says, the median house sells for $374,900 while the median American income is $35,805 — a ratio of more than 10:1 between housing costs and annual income.

As the Zillow study notes:

    “Across the country, the rent burden already exceeds the 32 percent [of median income] threshold in 100 of the 386 markets included in this analysis….”

As noted, wherever housing prices become more than three times annual income, homelessness stalks like the grim reaper. 


In 2018, corporations bought 1 out of every 10 homes sold in America, according to Dezember, noting that:

    “Between 2006 and 2016, when the homeownership rate fell to its lowest level in fifty years, the number of renters grew by about a quarter.”

Today, more than one-in-three homes in many of America’s cities are bought by giant corporations. As Oregon Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley notes:

    “Data from 2021 show the fastest year-over-year increase in hedge fund home purchases in 16 years. For example, in 2021, large hedge fund investors bought 42.8 percent of homes for sale in the Atlanta metro area and 38.8 percent of homes in the Phoenix area.”

This trend of giant corporations locking up local real estate really took off a decade ago, when Morgan Stanley published a 2011 report titled “The Rentership Society,” arguing that snapping up houses and renting them back to people who otherwise would have wanted to buy them could be the newest and hottest investment opportunity for Wall Street’s billionaires and their funds.

Turns out, Morgan Stanley was right. Warren Buffett, KKR, and The Carlyle Group have all jumped into residential real estate, along with hundreds of smaller investment groups, and the National Home Rental Council has emerged as the industry’s premiere lobbying group, working to block rent control legislation and other efforts to control the industry.


As America’s twin housing and homelessness problems have now reached crisis levels — the housing equivalent of malnutrition and starvation — Senator Jeff Merkley has submitted legislation to stop the corporate feeding frenzy.

The End Hedge Fund Control of American Homes Act bans hedge funds and private equity leeches from owning housing at scale. Merkley noted:


There’s a petition in support of this bill at Daily Kos worth taking a moment to sign.

Call your representative and your two senators and ask them to co-sponsor Merkley’s legislation in the Senate or co-sponsor companion legislation in the House. The Congressional switchboard, which will connect you to any member of Congress, is 202-224-3121.  

Greenland's glaciers are melting 100 times faster than estimated


By Stephanie Pappas  Dec. 19, 2022

Greenland's glaciers are melting 100 times faster than previously calculated, according to a new model that takes into account the unique interaction between ice and water at the island’s fjords.

The new mathematical representation of glacial melt factors in the latest observations of how ice gets eaten away from the stark vertical faces at the ends of glaciers in GGreenland. Previously, scientists used models developed in Antarctica, where glacial tongues float on top of seawater — a very different arrangement.

"For years, people took the melt rate model for Antarctic floating glaciers and applied it to Greenland's vertical glacier fronts," lead author Kirstin Schulz, a research associate in the Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences at University of Texas at Austin, said in a statement. "But there is more and more evidence that the traditional approach produces too low melt rates at Greenland's vertical glacier fronts."


The new model uses the latest data from near-glacial missions along with a more realistic understanding of how the steep, cliff-like faces of the glaciers impact ice loss. The results are consistent with Jackson's findings, showing 100 times more melt than the old models predicted.

"Ocean climate model results are highly relevant for humankind to predict trends associated with climate change, so you really want to get them right," Schulz said. "This was a very important step for making climate models better."

Sean Hannity Admits He Didn’t Believe Dominion Voter-Fraud Claims ‘for a Second’


 From the National Review, a conservative magazine.


By Caroline Downey
December 22, 2022 11:54 AM


In a sworn deposition in Dominion Voting Service’s $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News, prime-time host Sean Hannity admitted that he never bought former president Trump’s allegations that the voting-hardware company rigged tabulation machines to “steal” the 2020 election from him.

“I did not believe it for one second,” the prime-time anchor testified, according to information released in a court hearing on Wednesday and first reported by the New York Times.

The firm has accused Hannity and other hosts at the network of knowingly peddling the lie that it hijacked ballot processing in precincts around the country to favor President Joe Biden. Dominion sued a number of right-wing media outlets and figures after the 2020 showdown, including Fox News, former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell, Mike Lindell, Newsmax, and others.


Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Climate Change is Driving Millions to the Precipice of a ‘Raging Food Catastrophe’


By Georgina Gustin
December 11, 2022



Nearly 26 million people in the Horn of Africa are facing extreme hunger, with some areas already reaching catastrophic famine levels, according to the United Nations. The situation here is unfolding as a food crisis threatens a record number of people around the world, with nearly 345 million at acute levels of hunger and nearly 50 million people on the brink of famine.

“We are on the way to a raging food catastrophe,” U.N. Secretary General António Guterres tweeted recently. 

This year’s droughts and severe weather diminished or decimated crops across the world—in parts of the United States, Europe, China, Australia and the Indian subcontinent.

The current emergency foreshadows what researchers call “multiple breadbasket” failures, which will likely occur more often and with greater intensity as Earth’s atmosphere warms. Battered by more climate-induced weather shocks or chronic conditions like drought, the world’s farmers are projected to produce less food in coming decades as the global population rises toward 10 billion.

“There are other drivers of food insecurity,” said Francesco Tubiello, a senior statistician at the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization, or FAO. “But those related to climate change will increase and become more and more important.”


Farther north, camel caravans start appearing at the roadside as they travel to points for their weekly watering. And then odd shapes also begin to appear.

A frame of bones, too big to be a donkey or cow: a camel carcass, its orange-white ribs poking out of the sand after weeks in the sun. Down the road, another camel that recently collapsed, an eye pecked out by birds already, with fresh blood still pooling in the socket.

In Marsabit County, to the west, a sandy track crosses a maroon rockscape that meets the horizon in every direction. Empty plastic bottles glint under the sun. Mere yards separate one pile of camel bones from the next.

“If the camels die, that’s the end of everything,” said Patrick Katelo, PACIDA’s director. “Even these animals cannot make it now.”


Droughts and famines in the Horn of Africa have killed at least 3 million people in the past 50 years. It’s a chronically dry, famine-prone place. But the parched, heated conditions now are being amplified by warm air carried from greenhouse gas-heated waters thousands of miles away in the Indian and Pacific oceans, and the droughts are occurring with greater severity and more often, leaving people and animals insufficient time to recover.

This part of Africa, which relies on two rainy seasons, has not seen adequate rain for five seasons running. Meteorologists and climate scientists are predicting a sixth below-average rainy season next spring, which would mean rain has not fallen reliably or adequately for three straight years.

“This is unprecedented,” said Rupsha Banerjee, a drought and livestock expert with the International Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi. 


For Ali and millions like her, the forces behind her suffering are abstract and distant notions. But for officials overseeing aid to refugees, there is a direct line between the behaviors of rich countries, which are largely to blame for climate change, and her family’s misfortunes.

“These are communities that have contributed nothing to climate change, but they’re the ones staring, literally, into the face of the climate crisis,” said Gemma Connell, who heads the southern and eastern Africa regional office of the U.N’.s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. “It’s just devastating to see people who’ve done nothing go through this.”


Please volunteer for Tax-Aide


Now that I've recovered from working at the polls, I'm working on Tax-Aide recertification. We need more volunteers. If you don't want to be a tax preparer, we need greeters to help people fill out the form properly before they get to the tax preparer. This helps the process go much more smoothly, and can prevent someone waiting around just to find out they need to bring in some more documentation.

We are a house built on sand


Dorothy L. Sayers


A society in which consumption has to be artificially stimulated in order to keep production going is a society founded on trash and waste, and such a society is a house built upon sand.

Monday, December 19, 2022

Fighting inflation


Dec. 19, 2022


Jerome Powell thinks workers wages are too high, causing inflation.  Why doesn't Congress cut Powell's salary to help fight inflation?

Alex Jones seeks $1.3 million salary in Infowars bankruptcy



Dietrich Knauth
Mon, December 19, 2022 at 6:30 PM EST


 Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on Monday asked a judge to allow him to take a $1.3 million annual salary from the bankrupt parent company of his Infowars' website.


Jones drew a $1.3 million salary from Free Speech Systems before its bankruptcy, and his attorney asked U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Lopez to restore his salary to that level at a hearing Monday.

Jones has been paid a reduced biweekly salary of $20,000 since his company filed for bankruptcy on July 29, just over a third of what he had been paid before, according to his court filing.

Free Speech System's monthly revenue has dropped to $1.9 million from pre-bankruptcy levels of $6 million to $7 million, attorneys from the company said, adding that it currently has about $1.8 million in cash.


Jones claimed for years that the 2012 killing of 20 students and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut was staged as part of a government plot to seize Americans’ guns. He has since acknowledged the shooting occurred, but plaintiffs said Jones cashed in for years off his lies about the massacre and subjected them to harassment and stalking by his followers.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Americans flocking to fire: national migration study


 News Release 8-Dec-2022
People are trading hurricane zones for wildfire areas, says national study of natural disasters, climate change, and migration
Peer-Reviewed Publication
University of Vermont


Americans are leaving many of the U.S. counties hit hardest by hurricanes and heatwaves—and moving towards dangerous wildfires and warmer temperatures, finds one of the largest studies of U.S. migration and natural disasters.

The ten-year national study reveals troubling public health patterns, with Americans flocking to regions with the greatest risk of wildfires and significant summer heat. These environmental hazards are already causing significant damage to people and property each year—and projected to worsen with climate change.


 “These findings suggest that, for many Americans, the risks and dangers of living in hurricane zones may be starting to outweigh the benefits of life in those areas,” said UVM co-author Gillian Galford. “That same type of tipping point has yet to happen for wildfires and rising summer heat, our results suggest, probably because they’ve only become problems at the national level more recently.”




Dec. 13, 2022

 I'm mostly recovered from working at the polls.  It's very gratifying, also tiring.  Looking forward to 2024, glad to have a break next year to catch up with stuff that got behind.

If our ballot machines are not to be trusted, doesn't that mean we shouldn't trust that republicans won most statewide races in Georgia? Actually, I don't trust republicans not to cheat.

Co-working spaces limit creativity in the long run, finds new study


 News Release 8-Dec-2022
Bayes Business School study finds shared spaces can be inhibitors to new business collaborations
Peer-Reviewed Publication
City University London


Co-working spaces can limit the creativity and innovation of new businesses, a study has found.

These shared spaces, which have boomed in popularity since the pandemic, may offer initial opportunities to collaborate but, before long, they ultimately inhibit the emergence of collaborative practices.


Researchers determine genetic variants offered protection during Black Death, associated with current autoimmune disorders


 News Release 8-Dec-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Infectious diseases are some of the strongest selective pressures in human evolution, selecting for genetic variants that increase resistance to infection. In the face of a pandemic, resistance to the disease undergoes strong positive selection that likely affects the genetic makeup of the population afterward. The Black Death, otherwise known as the Bubonic Plague, remains the most devastating pandemic in recorded history, reducing the European population by 30-50% within a 4-year span (1346-1350) and affecting nearly all of Afro-Eurasia. The Black Death was caused by Yersinia pestis, a highly contagious and deadly bacterium that quickly spread across the eastern continents.

How did this plague alter the population’s genetic composition, and did any alleles confer protection in those that survived?


 “It was exciting once we delved into to the variants, to see that our variants of interest show this signal of balancing selection,” Klunk said. “We were able to say one of the variants we're looking at clearly shows a signal of selective pressure over the course of Black Death, and we showed that it’s definitely involved in the immune response to Y. pestis, as well as other pathogens. But today that variant is also associated with a higher risk of autoimmune and inflammatory disorders. So being able to make that link was like, wow, that's something special.”

“I think studies like this help us understand why we're at risk for certain diseases, and how past pandemics have shaped current disease risks,” Vilgalys said. “Why does 50% of the population have these ERAP2 variants that put you at increased risk for chronic disease? Part of the reason is that our genomes have been shaped by past infectious disease, like the Black Death. Across the board, if we were to look at a lot of risk alleles for modern disorders, you're probably going to see that those are protective against some disease that we've had in the past.”


FSU research links common sweetener with anxiety


 News Release 8-Dec-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Florida State University


Florida State University College of Medicine researchers have linked aspartame, an artificial sweetener found in nearly 5,000 diet foods and drinks, to anxiety-like behavior in mice.

Along with producing anxiety in the mice who consumed aspartame, the effects extended up to two generations from the males exposed to the sweetener. The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“What this study is showing is we need to look back at the environmental factors, because what we see today is not only what’s happening today, but what happened two generations ago and maybe even longer,” said co-author Pradeep Bhide, the Jim and Betty Ann Rodgers Eminent Scholar Chair of Developmental Neuroscience in the Department of Biomedical Sciences.


Light therapy relieves fatigue syndrome in Multiple Sclerosis


 News Release 12-Dec-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Medical University of Vienna


Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is almost always accompanied by fatigue, a massive tiredness that is described by the vast majority of patients as the most distressing symptom. In a recent scientific study, a research group led by Stefan Seidel from the Department of Neurology at MedUni Vienna and AKH Vienna identified light therapy as a promising non-drug treatment option: patients included in the study showed a measurable improvement after just 14 days of use. 


Attitudes around COVID-19 vaccination are linked to increased traffic risks


 News Release 12-Dec-2022
According to new research in The American Journal of Medicine individuals who neglect health recommendations for vaccination against coronaviruses may also neglect road safety
Peer-Reviewed Publication

Reasons underlying hesitancy to get vaccinated against COVID-19 may be associated with increased risks of traffic accidents according to a new study in The American Journal of Medicine, published by Elsevier. Researchers found that adults who neglect these health recommendations may also neglect basic road safety. They recommend that greater awareness might encourage more COVID-19 vaccination.


Over 11 million individuals were included, of whom 16% had not received a COVID-19 vaccine. The cohort accounted for 6,682 traffic crashes during follow-up. Unvaccinated individuals accounted for 1,682 traffic crashes (25%), equal to a 72% increased relative risk compared to those vaccinated. The increased risk was more than the risk associated with diabetes and similar to the relative risk associated with sleep apnea.

The increased traffic risks among unvaccinated adults extended to diverse subgroups (older & younger; drivers & pedestrians; rich & poor) and was equal to a 48% increase after adjustment for age, sex, home location, socioeconomic status, and medical diagnoses. The increased traffic risks extended across the entire spectrum of crash severity and appeared similar for Pfizer, Moderna, or other vaccines. The increased risks collectively amounted to 704 extra traffic crashes.

“The study found traffic risks were 50%-70% greater for adults who had not been vaccinated compared to those who had,” noted Dr. Redelmeier. “These data suggest COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy is associated with significant increased risks of a traffic crash, however, this does not mean COVID-19 vaccination directly prevents crashes. Instead, it shows how adults who do not follow public health advice may also neglect the rules of the road. Misunderstandings of everyday risk can cause people to put themselves and others in grave danger.”

The authors recommend that individuals who hesitate to take the COVID-19 vaccine reflect on their choices and recognize how such decisions have repercussions in ways they do not imagine. “We don't want unvaccinated people to feel persecuted and are not suggesting they stop driving; instead, we suggest they drive a bit more carefully. Physicians counseling patients who decline COVID-19 vaccination could consider safety reminders so their patients do not become traffic statistics," Dr. Redelmeier concluded.

Scientists uncover possible neural link between early life trauma and binge-eating disorder


 News Release 12-Dec-2022
Discovery may lead to therapeutic targets to treat binge eating, obesity
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Virginia Tech


Nearly 3 percent of Americans suffer from binge-eating disorder at some point their lifetimes, and of them, more than eight in 10 survived childhood abuse, neglect, or other trauma.

Now, a Virginia Tech scientist has identified how early life trauma may change the brain to increase the risk of binge eating later in life.

Research led by principal investigator Sora Shin, an assistant professor with the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, revealed how a pathway in the brain that typically provides signals to stop eating may be altered by early life trauma.


 tags: child abuse,

A Mediterranean diet not only boosts health, but also improves fertility

 News Release 12-Dec-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
University of South Australia

With an emphasis on fruits, vegetables and legumes, the Mediterranean diet has long been applauded for its multiple health benefits. Now, new research shows that it may also help overcome infertility, making it a non-intrusive and affordable strategy for couples trying to conceive.


Share of patients with heat exhaustion increased 53 percent when comparing June 2016 to June 2021


 News Release 12-Dec-2022
More males than females diagnosed with heat-related illnesses, according to new FAIR Health study
Reports and Proceedings
FAIR Health


Among privately insured individuals receiving medical services, the percentage of patients diagnosed with heat exhaustion increased 52.5 percent when comparing June 2016 to June 2021. This was part of a general trend in which, from May to September, the percentage of patients who were diagnosed with heat stress, heat exhaustion or heatstroke was higher in each month in 2021 than in the corresponding month of 2016. These and other findings are reported in a FAIR Health brief released today, Heat-Related Illness: A Window into Recent Trends.


 More males than females were diagnosed with the three heat-related illnesses studied. Though the distribution was close for heat stress (males 52 percent, females 48 percent), there was greater gender disparity for heat exhaustion and heatstroke. For each of these diagnoses, males constituted 64 percent and females constituted 36 percent.

[Maybe because men are more likely to work outside.]


Alcohol abstinence essential even in advanced liver cirrhosis

  News Release 13-Dec-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Medical University of Vienna


Complete abstinence from alcohol is considered a cornerstone in the treatment of patients with alcohol-related liver disease. It has not yet been sufficiently researched whether this measure can still improve the prognosis even in the case of advanced liver cirrhosis. Scientists at the Department of Internal Medicine III at MedUni Vienna and AKH Vienna have now provided evidence of the positive effects of alcohol abstinence even at very advanced stages of the disease.


 tags: drug use, drug abuse,


Vitamin D deficiency increases risk of losing muscle strength by 78%


 News Release 13-Dec-2022
Researchers in Brazil and the UK analyzed data for more than 3,000 people aged 50 or more to prove the importance of vitamin D to muscles.
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo


Vitamin D plays an important role in the regulation of calcium and phosphorus absorption by the organism. It also helps keep the brain and immune system working. Researchers at the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar) in Brazil and University College London (UCL) in the United Kingdom have now shown that vitamin D supplementation reduces the risk of dynapenia in older people by 78%.

Dynapenia is an age-associated loss of muscle strength. It can be partially explained by muscle atrophy and is a major risk factor for physical incapacity later in life. People with dynapenia are more likely to fall, need to go to hospital, be prematurely institutionalized, and die.



Exercise is medicine for cancer and every dose counts - even in late stages in the disease


 News Release 13-Dec-2022
A single bout of exercise has been shown to elevate anti-cancer proteins called myokines in people with advanced prostate cancer, to levels which can significantly suppress tumour growth.
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Edith Cowan University


It is well-known exercise has many benefits, but new Edith Cowan University (ECU) research has revealed just how critically important it can be – even for people with advanced cancer.


Previous work from ECU’s Exercise Medicine Research Institute has shown men with advanced prostate cancer can change the chemical environment of their body over six months of exercise training to suppress growth of cancer cells.


The team observed increased levels of proteins called ‘myokines’ which are produced by skeletal muscles and can suppress tumour growth and even help actively fight cancerous cells by stimulating a range of anti-cancer processes in the body.


But a new EMRI study has shown a single bout of exercise can elevate myokines even further and induce additional cancer suppression.


Importantly, this exercise induced medicine occurs in patients with incurable, advanced cancer where the disease has well and truly taken hold and patients have already received extensive treatment over many years.


“This is helping us to understand why patients with cancer who exercise exhibit slower disease progression and survive for longer.”


“These patients are palliative, so there is no cure and they will eventually succumb – however, there is evidence that exercise will extend survival and the increased myokine levels explored in our recent paper is a prime mechanism.”



“The optimal dose of exercise is not yet known, but it is likely to be 20-plus minutes each day and must include resistance training to grow the muscles, increase the size and capacity of the internal pharmacy, and stimulate the myokine production,” he said.


“This study provides strong evidence for the recommendation patients with prostate cancer, and likely anybody with any cancer type, should perform exercise most days, if not every day, to maintain a chemical environment within their body which is suppressive of cancer cell proliferation.”


Why American Aluminum Plants Emit Far More Climate Pollution Than Some of Their Counterparts Abroad


By Phil McKenna
December 6, 2022

This article was published in partnership with NBC News.


Though considered non-toxic by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration,  tetrafluoromethane (CF4) and hexafluoroethane (C2F6), PFCs that are unwanted byproducts of aluminum production, are among the most potent and longest-lasting greenhouse gases on the planet. They belong to a class of synthetic, fluorine-containing chemicals known as “the immortals” because of how long they remain in the atmosphere. Once the gases are released, they are “essentially permanent additions to the atmosphere,” the Environmental Protection Agency notes.

PFCs threaten “the public health and welfare of current and future generations,” according to a 2009 determination by the EPA as part of a sweeping “endangerment finding” on greenhouse gases. However, unlike carbon dioxide and methane, the EPA does not regulate PFCs.

CF4, the primary PFC released by Century Aluminum, is 7,380 times worse for climate change than carbon dioxide on a ton-for-ton basis over a 100-year period. But, unlike CO2, which remains in the atmosphere for approximately 300-1,000 years, CF4 remains in the atmosphere for 50,000 years. 

In 2021, the Sebree plant, the largest U.S. aluminum production facility operating at full capacity, vented 24 tons of perfluorocarbons (PFCs) into the air. The emissions equal the annual greenhouse gas emissions of 40,000 automobiles—ones that will remain on the theoretical road for tens of thousands of years.

Meanwhile, a newer plant also owned and operated by Century Aluminum in Grundartangi, Iceland, emits just one sixth the perfluorocarbons (PFC) emissions per ton of aluminum, as compared to the company’s Sebree plant, according to an Inside Climate News assessment of Environmental Protection Agency data as well as financial and environmental reports published by Century and Nordural, its Icelandic subsidiary.


In a case similar to that of Century Aluminum, Alcoa’s Intalco smelter in Ferndale, Washington, emitted nearly 50 tons of PFCs in 2020 before curtailing production.

That’s in contrast to Alcoa’s Fjarðaál smelter in Fjarðabyggð, Iceland, which has a PFC emissions intensity less than one fortieth that of the recently shuttered Intalco smelter


Jim Beck, a spokesperson for Alcoa said “we do not disagree” with the assessment. Beck added that emissions from the Intalco facility were high “due to the older technology and operational instability that the facility was experiencing.”


In some cases, multinational companies have slashed emissions at their overseas facilities while continuing to operate older U.S. plants with some of the highest PFC emissions rates in the world.

Industry analysts say the stark contrast is due to regulatory differences and the relative cost of electricity, the largest expense for the energy-intensive industry. Iceland, which is subject to the European Union’s carbon trading market, places a high price on PFC emissions based on the gas’s outsized climate impact. There is no such fee or regulatory limit for PFC emissions in the U.S.


Barry Welch, a chemical engineering professor at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, who has consulted for many of the world’s leading aluminum production companies, said the aging U.S. smelters are like Model T cars.

“They are out of date,” Welch said of the current fleet of U.S. smelters, which were built between 1902 and 1980. “They should be shut down.”

Yet, security experts say the U.S. must find a way to keep the aluminum plants open. The strong, lightweight metal is used to make everything from more fuel-efficient cars and airplanes to solar panels and satellites.

“Just as we are reliant on the Middle East for oil, we will soon be in position where we will be reliant on China and Russia for aluminum,” said Joe Quinn, vice president of strategic industrial materials at SAFE Commanding Heights, an organization based in Washington, D.C., that advocates for U.S. energy security. “There is a legitimate need to stabilize the aluminum sector for national security reasons.”


In written testimony submitted to the United States International Trade Commission in 2017, company officials said aluminum producers were being “decimated” by “unfair practices of Chinese aluminum producers.”


William Shatner : My trip to space made me realise we have only one Earth – it must live long and prosper


 Wed 7 Dec 2022 10.00 EST

William Shatner


Last year, at the age of 90, I had a life-changing experience. I went to space, after decades of playing a science-fiction character who was exploring the universe and building connections with many diverse life forms and cultures. I thought I would experience a similar feeling: a feeling of deep connection with the immensity around us, a deep call for endless exploration. A call to indeed boldly go where no one had gone before.

I was absolutely wrong. As I explained in my latest book, what I felt was totally different. I knew that many before me had experienced a greater sense of care while contemplating our planet from above, because they were struck by the apparent fragility of this suspended blue marble. I felt that too. But the strongest feeling, dominating everything else by far, was the deepest grief that I had ever experienced.

While I was looking away from Earth, and turned towards the rest of the universe, I didn’t feel connection; I didn’t feel attraction. What I understood, in the clearest possible way, was that we were living on a tiny oasis of life, surrounded by an immensity of death. I didn’t see infinite possibilities of worlds to explore, of adventures to have, or living creatures to connect with. I saw the deepest darkness I could have ever imagined, contrasting starkly with the welcoming warmth of our nurturing home planet.


I had to get to space to understand that Earth is, and will remain, our only home. And that we have been ravaging it, relentlessly, making it uninhabitable.


I was the oldest man to go to space. I worry about the world my grandchildren will be living in when they are my age. My generation is leaving them a planet that might pretty soon be barely livable for many of Earth’s inhabitants. My experience in space filled me with sadness, but also with a strong resolve. I don’t want my grandchildren to simply survive. I want them, as an old friend used to say, to be able to live long and prosper.



Sunday, December 04, 2022

Rich pastors not paying taxes

 10:32 AM · Dec 4, 2022

Brown Eyed Susan

Joel Osteen, one of the richest pastors in the US, has 5 fireplaces, 3 elevators, and a driveway that can fit over 20 cars, including his Ferrari.

Joel doesn't pay taxes, but you do.
Why is this?

Biden rebukes Trump for saying constitution should be ‘terminated’


Martin Pengelly in New York
Sun 4 Dec 2022 10.54 EST


 The Biden White House rebuked Donald Trump after the former president said the US constitution should be “terminated” over his lie that the 2020 election was stolen.


John Bolton, George W Bush’s UN ambassador who became Trump’s third national security adviser, said: “No American conservative can agree with Donald Trump’s call to suspend the constitution because of the results of the 2020 election. And all real conservatives must oppose his 2024 campaign for president.”

Inside the Saudi Strategy to Keep the World Hooked on Oil


 By Hiroko Tabuchi
Tabuchi reported from the Saudi capital, Riyadh, to examine the kingdom’s vision for an oil-rich future.
Nov. 21, 2022


Shimmering in the desert is a futuristic research center with an urgent mission: Make Saudi Arabia’s oil-based economy greener, and quickly. The goal is to rapidly build more solar panels and expand electric-car use so the kingdom eventually burns far less oil.

But Saudi Arabia has a far different vision for the rest of the world. A major reason it wants to burn less oil at home is to free up even more to sell abroad. It’s just one aspect of the kingdom’s aggressive long-term strategy to keep the world hooked on oil for decades to come and remain the biggest supplier as rivals slip away.

In recent days, Saudi representatives pushed at the United Nations global climate summit in Egypt to block a call for the world to burn less oil, according to two people present at the meeting, saying that the summit’s final statement “should not mention fossil fuels.” The effort prevailed: After objections from Saudi Arabia and a few other oil producers, the statement failed to include a call for nations to phase out fossil fuels.


The dissonance cuts to the heart of the Saudi kingdom. The government-controlled oil company, Saudi Aramco, already produces one out of every 10 of the world’s barrels of oil and envisions a world where it will be selling even more. Yet climate change and rising temperatures are already threatening life in the desert kingdom like few other places in the world.

Saudi Aramco has become a prolific funder of research into critical energy issues, financing almost 500 studies over the past five years, including research aimed at keeping gasoline cars competitive or casting doubt on electric vehicles, according to the Crossref database, which tracks academic publications.


Sunday, November 27, 2022

Former Chief of Staff: Trump Wanted to Use IRS to Get Back at Political Enemies


 Chris Walker,
Published   November 14, 2022


A chief of staff to former President Donald Trump revealed to The New York Times this week that Trump frequently insinuated that his perceived political adversaries should be subject to IRS tax audits.

John Kelly, who served as White House chief of staff from mid-2017 to the end of 2018, said that Trump repeatedly told him of his desire to have individuals he believed were against him audited, The Times reported on Sunday.

Among those who Trump said “we ought to investigate” and “get the IRS on” were former FBI director James Comey and former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe, who replaced Comey after Trump fired him in May of 2017. (Trump would go on to fire McCabe just days before he was set to receive a greater retirement package for his years of work within the federal government.)


Kelly revealed to The Times that he would often have to calm Trump down after the former president threatened to go after those he disliked through use of the federal government’s resources.

“The U.S. government, whether it’s the IRS or the Justice Department, should never be weaponized or used to retaliate, and certainly not because someone criticizes you in the press or is your political opponent,” Kelly told The Times.


Kelly’s narrative is consistent with many of Trump’s actions that have already been confirmed. Trump threatened to use his powers as president, for example, to shut down social media sites for fact-checking disinformation. He also threatened legal repercussions against Georgia state elections officials for not agreeing to “find” him enough votes to overturn his 2020 loss to now-President Joe Biden. And he previously threatened to remove federal funding from U.S. cities that are led by Democrats, a move that many said was retaliatory in nature.


DNA showed a mother was also her daughter’s uncle — how scientists solved this medical mystery


Dan Vergano
Science Reporter
November 25, 2022


How can a paternity test suggest a mother is also her daughter’s father?

The answer to that medical mystery, sparked by a confusing paternity test result, is “When the genes of a vanished twin brother live on in the mother’s DNA.” The finding, which genetics experts reported earlier this month, suggests that such human “chimeras” — people with DNA from more than one embryo — could be more common than we thought.



Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Return on investment of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign in New York City


 News Release 21-Nov-2022
JAMA Network Open
Peer-Reviewed Publication
JAMA Network


 In this decision analytical model study of a citywide initiative, every $1 invested in the New York City COVID-19 vaccination campaign yielded estimated savings of $10.19 in direct and indirect costs of health outcomes that would have been incurred without vaccination. The findings of this study suggest that COVID-19 vaccination in New York City was associated with reduction in severe outcomes and avoidance of substantial economic losses.


Drinking during pregnancy changes baby’s brain structure News Release 22-Nov-2022
Reports and Proceedings
Radiological Society of North Americaws-releases/971414


A new MRI study revealed that consumption of alcohol even in low to moderate amounts during pregnancy can change the baby’s brain structure and delay brain development.



 tags: drug use, drug abuse

Eating only one meal per day is associated with an increased risk of mortality in American adults 40 years old and older


 Article Highlight | 22-Nov-2022
Food for thought: If you eat and when you eat can impact your mortality

Skipping meals, fasting and eating meals too closely together may be linked with increased cardiovascular or all-cause mortality, researchers report in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics



Eating only one meal per day is associated with an increased risk of mortality in American adults 40 years old and older, according to a new study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, published by Elsevier. Skipping breakfast is associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease mortality and missing lunch or dinner with all-cause mortality. Even among individuals who eat three meals daily, eating two adjacent meals less than or equal to 4.5 hours apart is associated with a higher all-cause death risk.

“At a time when intermittent fasting is widely touted as a solution for weight loss, metabolic health, and disease prevention, our study is important for the large segment of American adults who eat fewer than three meals each day. Our research revealed that individuals eating only one meal a day are more likely to die than those who had more daily meals. Among them, participants who skip breakfast are more likely to develop fatal cardiovascular diseases, while those who skip lunch or dinner increase their risk of death from all causes,” noted lead author Yangbo Sun, MBBS, PhD, Department of Preventive Medicine, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis. TN, USA. “Based on these findings, we recommend eating at least two to three meals spread throughout the day.”


COVID-19 vaccine gives substantial protection against reinfection


 News Release 22-Nov-2022
Protection was greatest during the Delta wave, but decreased against the Omicron variant
Peer-Reviewed Publication


Individuals previously infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, still benefit from vaccination, gaining 60% to 94% protection against reinfection, depending on the variant. 


About 2% of pregnant Canadian individuals self-report using cannabis in pregnancy, with usage associated with higher risk of preterm births, low birthweight newborns, and congenital anomalies


 News Release 23-Nov-2022
About 2% of pregnant Canadian individuals self-report using cannabis in pregnancy, with usage associated with higher risk of preterm births, low birthweight newborns, and congenital anomalies, in a multi-region study of 1.28m births
Peer-Reviewed Publication



tags: drug use, drug abuse

Exposure to certain drugs and environmental risk factors during embryonic development can cause changes similar to autism


 News Release 23-Nov-2022
Gene that guides earliest social behaviors could be key to understanding autism
Peer-Reviewed Publication
University of Utah Health


Little is known about how social behavior develops in the earliest stages of life. But most animals––including humans––are born with an innate ability to interact socially or form bonds with others. And that contributes to success throughout life.

Now, a new animal study points to a gene that is important for the earliest development of basic social behaviors.

The work also suggests that exposure to certain drugs and environmental risk factors during embryonic development can cause changes to this gene, leading to alterations in social behavior that are similar to those found in individuals who have autism. Much to their surprise, the researchers also found they could reverse some of the effects using an experimental drug.


However, Peterson notes that this study was conducted in animals, and more research needs to be done before any of its results can be confirmed in humans. Therefore, he cautions against drawing conclusions about real-world applications.


Georgia GOP Senate nominee Herschel Walker set to receive 2022 tax exemption on Texas home meant for a 'principal residence': report


John L. Dorman
Wed, November 23, 2022 at 12:37 PM


John L. Dorman
Wed, November 23, 2022 at 12:37 PM·2 min read
In this article:

    Herschel Walker
    Herschel Walker
    American football player and political candidate (born 1962)

Herschel Walker
Georgia Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker.AP Photo/John Bazemore

    Walker is set to receive a tax break for his Texas home meant for a "primary residence," per CNN.

    The Georgia Republican is expected to save $1,500 from the homestead tax exemption in Texas.

    Walker is locked in a tight runoff contest with Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in Georgia.

Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker is receiving a tax break meant for a "principal residence" on his Texas home while he's an active candidate running for office in Georgia, according to a report from CNN's KFile.

Public tax records revealed that Walker is set to get a homestead tax exemption in Texas this year, which will save him roughly $1,500 while also potentially infringing on tax rules in Texas as well as Georgia's residency rules laid out for candidates seeking public office, per the KFile report.


Wednesday, November 16, 2022

A brain expert shares his 7 ‘hard rules’ for boosting memory and fighting off dementia


I suggest reading the whole article for specifics:


Published Sun, Nov 13 20229:39 AM EST
Marc Milstein, Contributor


The average human brain shrinks by approximately 5% per decade after the age of 40. This can have a major impact on memory and focus.


As a neuroscience researcher, here are seven hard rules I live by to keep my brain sharp and fight off dementia.

1. Keep blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check


2. Manage sugar levels


 3. Get quality sleep


4. Eat a nutritious diet


5. Don’t smoke (and avoid secondhand and thirdhand smoke)


6. Make social connections


7. Continuously learn new skills


Honeybees are living half as long as they were 50 years ago, maybe unexpected consequence


14 November 2022
By Gary Hartley


Honeybees kept under laboratory conditions in the US only live half as long as they did in the 1970s, suggesting that genetics could be contributing to colony losses, and not just environmental factors such as pesticides and sources of food.

Five decades ago, the median lifespan for a worker western honeybee (Apis mellifera) that spent its adult life in a controlled environment was 34.3 days. Now, the median is 17.7 days, according to research by Anthony Nearman and Dennis vanEngelsdorp at the University of Maryland.


 The change implies that solutions to the reduced life of colonies in the field, a problem increasingly encountered by beekeepers, may be found in the bees themselves.

“For the most part, honeybees are livestock, so beekeepers and breeders often selectively breed from colonies with desirable traits like disease resistance,” says Nearman.

“In this case, it may be possible that selecting for the outcome of disease resistance was an inadvertent selection for reduced lifespan among individual bees,” he says. “Shorter-lived bees would reduce the probability of spreading disease, so colonies with shorter lived bees would appear healthier.”


Experimental honeybees are collected from hives as pupae within 24 hours of emerging from their wax cells, meaning that early exposure to pathogens or pesticides as larvae can’t be ruled out as a factor. However, the bees used in the current study showed no overt symptoms of such exposure, says Nearman.


Further research will look at lifespan trends across different parts of the US and around the world, in an attempt to compare the relative impact of genetic and environmental factors.


Earth had its 4th-warmest October on record


November 15, 2022


The planet added another warm month to a warm year, with October 2022 ranking as the world’s fourth-warmest October in 143 years.

Notably, the Northern Hemisphere saw its second-warmest October and Europe saw its warmest October on record, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).


 The YTD average global temperature was the sixth warmest on record at 1.57 degrees F (0.87 of a degree C) above the 20th-century average.

According to NCEI’s Global Annual Temperature Outlook, there is a greater than 99% chance that 2022 will rank among the 10-warmest years on record, and less than a 2% chance that it will rank among the top five.


Devastating floods in Nigeria were 80 times more likely because of climate crisis

 Damian Carrington Environment editor
Wed 16 Nov 2022 17.00 EST


The heavy rain behind recent devastating flooding in Nigeria, Niger and Chad was made about 80 times more likely by the climate crisis, a study has found.

The finding is the latest stark example of the severe impacts that global heating is already wreaking on communities, even with just a 1C rise in global temperature to date.


The floods that struck between June and November were among the deadliest on record in the region. Hundreds of people were killed, 1.5 million were displaced and more than 500,000 hectares [1,235,527 acres] of farmland was damaged.


The WWA study said the reason the floods were so disastrous was that people in the region were already very vulnerable to extreme weather, as a result of poverty, violent conflicts and political instability.

“The analysis found a very clear fingerprint of anthropogenic climate change,” said Prof Maarten van Aalst, the director of the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, who is at Cop27. “The floods resulted in massive suffering and damages, especially in the context of high human vulnerability.


 A recent Guardian analysis of hundreds of studies laid bare the devastating intensification of extreme weather that is causing people across the world to lose their lives and livelihoods. At least a dozen major events, from killer heatwaves to broiling seas, would have been all but impossible without human-caused global heating.

Severe events in 2022 include the calamitous flooding in Pakistan, where global heating increased the intensity of rain by about 50%, and the record summer drought across the northern hemisphere, which would have been expected only once every four centuries without the climate crisis. A deadly south Asian heatwave earlier in the year was made 30 times more likely.



Male fertility crash accelerating worldwide: study

Actually it could end up being good news, because fewer people means less damage to the environment we depend on for life.

 The Hill

Saul Elbein
Tue, November 15, 2022 at 5:23 PM

The world is experiencing a quiet yet accelerating collapse in male fertility, according to a paper published Tuesday in the journal Human Reproduction Update.

The study found sperm counts fell by more than 51 percent between 1973 and 2018. And while sperm counts have been dropping for decades, the decline rate appears to be speeding up.


The rate of decline since 2000 has been striking, the study found, with an observed 2.64 percent fall each year in the number of sperm per milliliter of semen — more than twice as large of a decline as that observed since 1978, according to The Guardian.

While reasons for the decline are unclear, one major factor could be endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in thousands of everyday items, co-author Shanna Swan of the Icahn School of Medicine told the Financial Times.

These compounds — found in everything from personal care products to food packaging — have particularly dire impacts on reproductive function, Swan noted. She specifically called out phthalates and bisphenols, compounds used as linings in products such as water bottles and takeout containers.

Levine and Swan’s joint study builds on existing findings that have linked environmental chemicals to persistent rates of decline in sperm counts.

A 2021 Danish study listed chemicals found in or derived from fossil fuels as possible culprits, as The Hill reported.

Potentially harmful chemicals from such sources “have been found in samples of blood, urine, semen, placenta and breast milk of all humans investigated,” the study found.

“It is well established that these chemicals have become part of our tissues and fluids,” the authors added. “We know that they can be a threat to wildlife. Unfortunately, too little has been done to uncover their role in humans.”

Plastic derivatives such as bisphenol A (BPA) — commonly added to food and beverage packaging — have also been linked to declining male fertility as well as birth defects.

Many potentially toxic chemicals “reach us via food,” Andreas Kortenkamp, a professor at Brunel University London, said in June.


Humans could face reproductive crisis as sperm count declines, study finds


Nicola Davis Science correspondent
Tue 15 Nov 2022 05.00 EST


Previous studies have suggested that fertility is compromised if sperm concentration falls below about 40m per ml. While the latest estimate is above this threshold, Levine noted that this is a mean figure, suggesting the percentage of men below this threshold will have increased.


Tina Kold Jensen of the University of Southern Denmark said the new study recapitulated a concerning trend. “You keep on finding the same trend, no matter how many studies you include – that is a bit scary to me,” she said.

Prof Richard Sharpe, an expert in male reproductive health at the University of Edinburgh, said the new data showed that the trend appeared to be a worldwide phenomenon.

Sharpe said the decline could mean it takes longer for couples to conceive and, for many, time is not on their side as they are delaying trying to conceive until the woman is in her 30s or 40s, when her fertility is already reduced.




Sunday, November 13, 2022

Corporate profits causing inflation

Robert Reich 

Nov. 12, 2022

Corporate profits only accounted for roughly 11% of price growth from 1979 to 2019. 

Today, record corporate profits account for 53.9% of price increases. 

Folks, corporate greed is driving inflation, not workers asking for better wages or Joe Biden.

Sunday, November 06, 2022

3 things a climate scientist wants world leaders to know ahead of COP27


Published: November 2, 2022 3.02pm EDT


If humanity continues on its current path, we’re going to leave a hotter, deadlier world for the children of today and all future generations.

Earth desperately needs COP27 to succeed. I’m a climate scientist and I believe world leaders should have these three things top-of-mind heading into the conference.

1. Our planet is undeniably in crisis

So far, Earth has warmed just over 1℃ relative to pre-industrial levels, meaning we’ve already damaged the climate system. Our greenhouse gas emissions have already caused sea level to rise, sea ice to shrink and the ocean to become more acidic. 


Human health is also on the line. Research last month revealed the climate crisis is undermining public health through, for instance, greater spread of infectious diseases, air pollution and food shortages.

Among its disturbing findings, heat-related deaths in babies under a year old, and adults over 65, increased by 68% in 2017-2021, compared to 2000-2004.


2. Emissions reduction is too slow

Some countries, particularly in Europe, are succeeding in reducing greenhouse gas emissions through transitioning to renewable energy.

But globally it’s not happening fast enough. A UN report this week found if nations deliver on their climate action goals for 2030, Earth will still heat by about 2.5℃ this century - overshooting the Paris Agreement goal to keep global warming well below 2℃. 


3. The stalling must end

With so many challenges facing the world, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the cost of living crisis, it may be tempting to view climate change as a problem that can wait. This would be a terrible idea.

Climate change will get only worse. Every year of delay makes it much harder to prevent the most dangerous climate projections becoming a reality.


FBI Warns Voters on Election Crimes Ahead of the November 2022 Midterm Election


October 12, 2022


Election crimes threaten the integrity of elections and undermine public confidence in our democracy. Election crimes fall into broad categories:

    Ballot/voter fraud
    Campaign finance violations
    Civil rights violations, such as voter suppression or voter intimidation

While individual states and localities have the constitutional authority and responsibility to manage their own elections and election laws, an election crime becomes a federal crime when one or more of the following occurs:

    A ballot includes one or more Federal candidates
    Election or polling place officials abuse their office
    The conduct involves false voter registration
    The crime is motivated by hostility toward protected minority groups
    The activity violates federal campaign finance law

Examples of Federal election crimes include, but are not limited to:

    Giving false information when registering to vote
    Voting more than once
    Changing ballot markings or otherwise tampering with ballots
    Vote buying
    Threatening voters with physical or financial harm
    Intentionally lying about the time, manner, or place of an election to prevent qualified voters from voting
    Political fundraising by federal employees
    Campaign contributions above legal limits
    Conduit contributions/straw donor schemes
    Contributions from foreign or other prohibited sources
    Use of campaign funds for personal or unauthorized purposes

Distinguishing between legal and criminal conduct is critical for ensuring the integrity of U.S. elections. The following activities are not federal election crimes:

    Giving voters rides to the polls or time off to vote
    Offering voters a stamp to mail a ballot
    Making false claims about oneself or another candidate
    Forging or faking nominating petitions
    Campaigning too close to polling places
    Honest mistakes by poll workers
    Lack of immediate election results while ballots are counted

The FBI plays an important role in preventing violations of your constitutional rights, including your right to vote. Report any instances of potential election crimes to your local FBI field office, and ask to speak to an election crimes coordinator.




China’s Heat Wave, Water Shortage Threaten Its Role in Global Supply Chain


Samantha Aschieris / @samantharenck / August 30, 2022

A record-breaking heat wave across China is exacerbating underlying issues that threaten its future role in the global supply chain, an Asian studies expert says.  

China has long struggled with water shortages, food prices, power grid issues, and inflation, all of which have been magnified by the record heat wave the country is facing, says Dean Cheng, a senior research fellow in the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation. (The Daily Signal is the media outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)

Over the past two months, China has been battling its worst heat wave in more than 60 years, with temperatures reaching as high as 113°F in Beibei, which is in the Chongqing province, and 111.2°F in Sichuan province, The Washington Post reported.  

“The water shortage is in turn affecting internal transportation … which affects supply chains. The water shortages are affecting power generation, or hydropower, which affect supply chains. The power shortages they’re already having is affecting supply chains,” said Cheng, who characterized China as “water poor.”  


The heat wave has resulted in rolling electrical blackouts for homes and offices, and in factories being shut down, and it has killed thousands of fish and poultry, CNN reported.


Global supply chains have already been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the heat wave has the potential to have a greater impact than the pandemic, according to Mirko Woitzik, a global director of intelligence solutions for Everstream Analytics.


We’ve seen a number of factories and businesses closing temporarily. I believe Tesla and Apple temporarily closed some of their manufacturing facilities in China. Given what we’ve seen with the causes of supply chain problems and kind of what happens when those are mucked up—we saw that previously as a result of COVID—this heat wave can either prolong some of those supply chain challenges or exacerbate them. 


Permanent Daylight Saving Time will hurt our health, experts say

 I suggest reading the whole article.


 By Sandee LaMotte, CNN
Updated 11:15 AM EST, Sun November 6, 2022 


 However, a growing number of sleep experts say the act of moving our clocks forward in the spring is ruining our health. Studies over the last 25 years have shown the one-hour change disrupts body rhythms tuned to Earth’s rotation, adding fuel to the debate over whether having Daylight Saving Time in any form is a good idea.

“I’m one of the many sleep experts that knows it’s a bad idea,” said Dr. Elizabeth Klerman, a professor of neurology in the division of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School.

“Your body clock stays with (natural) light not with the clock on your wall,” Klerman said. “And there’s no evidence that your body fully shifts to the new time.”

Dr. Phyllis Zee, director of the Center for Circadian and Sleep Medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Evanston, Illinois, also opposes Daylight Saving Time.

“Between March and November your body gets less morning light and more evening light, which can throw off your circadian rhythm,” she said.

Standard time, which we enter when we move our clocks back in the fall, is much closer to the sun’s day and night cycle, Zee said. This cycle has set our circadian rhythm, or body clock, for centuries.

That internal timer controls not just when you sleep, but also when you want to eat, exercise or work, as well as “your blood pressure, your heart rate and your cortisol rhythm,” Zee added. 

 A call to ban Daylight Saving Time for good has come from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine: “Current evidence best supports the adoption of year-round standard time, which aligns best with human circadian biology and provides distinct benefits for public health and safety.”

The proposal has been endorsed by more than 20 medical, scientific, and civic organizations, including the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the National Parent Teacher Association, the National Safety Council, the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms and the World Sleep Society. 

 When our internal clocks are offset from the solar day-night cycle by even one hour we develop what sleep experts call “social jet lag.” Studies have shown social jet lag increases the risk of metabolic disorders such as diabetes, raises the risk of heart disease and stroke, worsens mood disorders such as depression, affects the digestive and endocrine systems and shortens our sleep duration. It can even reduce life expectancy, 


 Making the time change permanent would make the chronic effects of any sleep loss more severe, not only “because we have to go to work an hour earlier for an additional 5 months every year but also because body clocks are usually later in winter than in summer with reference to the sun clock,” according to a statement from the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms.

“The combination of DST and winter would therefore make the differences between body clocks and the social clock even worse and would negatively affect our health even more,” the authors concluded. 


 “The United States has tried permanent daylight saving time twice before and ended it early. The UK tried once before and ended it early. Russia tried it once, so did India and ended it early,” Klerman said. “I think we should learn from history.” 

No, the U.S. government hasn’t made daylight saving time permanent


A man insisted to me a few days ago that Congress has already made Daylight Savings Time permanent.


The U.S. Senate unanimously approved the Sunshine Protection Act, which was reintroduced in 2021 by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), on March 15, 2022. Rubio previously introduced the Sunshine Protection Act in 2019.

The legislation would make daylight saving time the permanent standard time throughout the country starting on Nov. 5, 2023. That means we wouldn’t change our clocks, or “fall back,” in November and would have a full year of daylight saving time instead of only eight months.

But the bill has some hoops to jump through before daylight saving time is the norm for everyone.

As of Nov. 1, 2022, the bill hasn’t moved forward in the U.S. House. The bill needs House passage before President Joe Biden could sign it into law.

That means people in U.S. states that observe daylight saving time will still move their clocks back one hour on Nov. 6, 2022.

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) explains on its website that federal law doesn’t allow full-time daylight saving time, so Congress needs to act before states can adopt changes. Federal law does allow states to exempt themselves from daylight saving time upon action by the state legislature.



Climate crisis: past eight years were the eight hottest ever, says UN


Damian Carrington Environment editor
Sun 6 Nov 2022 07.00 EST 

The past eight years were the eight hottest ever recorded, a new UN report has found, indicating the world is now deep into the climate crisis. The internationally agreed 1.5C limit for global heating is now “barely within reach”, it said.

The report, by the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO), sets out how record high greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are driving sea level and ice melting to new highs and supercharging extreme weather from Pakistan to Puerto Rico.

The stark assessment was published on the opening day of the UN’s Cop27 climate summit in Egypt and as the UN secretary-general warned that “our planet is on course to reach tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible”.


For the past two years, the natural La Niña climate phenomenon has actually kept global temperatures lower than they would otherwise have been. The inevitable switch back to El Niño conditions will see temperatures surge even higher in future, on top of global heating.

The WMO report said:

    Carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are at record levels in the atmosphere as emissions continue. The annual increase in methane, a potent greenhouse gas, was the highest on record.

    The sea level is now rising twice as fast as 30 years ago and the oceans are hotter than ever.

    Records for glacier melting in the Alps were shattered in 2022, with an average of 13ft (4 metres) in height lost.

    Rain – not snow – was recorded on the 3,200m-high summit of the Greenland ice sheet for the first time.

    The Antarctic sea-ice area fell to its lowest level on record, almost 1m km2 below the long-term average.


Rising global heating is making extreme weather more severe and more frequent around the world. The WMO report highlighted the drought in east Africa, where rainfall has been below average for four consecutive seasons, the longest in 40 years. About 19 million people are now suffering a food crisis.

The WMO analysis also reported:

    Devastating flooding in Pakistan, with at least 1,700 deaths and 7.9 million people displaced.

    A series of cyclones that battered southern Africa, which hit Madagascar hardest with torrential rain.

    Exceptional heatwaves and droughts in the northern hemisphere, with China enduring its longest heatwave on record, the UK passing 40C for the first time, and European rivers including the Rhine, Loire and Danube falling to critically low levels.

    Hurricane Ian wreaking extensive damage and loss of life in Cuba and Florida.

“All too often, those least responsible for climate change suffer most, but even well-prepared societies this year have been ravaged by extremes,” said Prof Taalas.


Last total lunar eclipse for three years arrives Tuesday


 I should be able to see it when I'm on my way to work at the polls.


Sun, November 6, 2022 at 11:22 AM


Better catch the moon’s disappearing act Tuesday — there won’t be another like it for three years.

The total lunar eclipse will be visible throughout North America in the predawn hours — the farther west, the better — and across Asia, Australia and the rest of the Pacific after sunset. As an extra treat, Uranus will be visible just a finger’s width above the moon, resembling a bright star.

Totality will last nearly 1 1/2 hours — from 5:16 a.m. to 6:41 a.m. EST — as Earth passes directly between the moon and sun.

Known as a blood moon, it will appear a reddish-orange from the light of Earth’s sunsets and sunrises. 


South America will get a glimpse of Tuesday’s lunar eclipse, weather permitting. Striking out altogether, Africa, the Middle East and most of Europe will have to wait until 2025.

Among those providing a livestream of Tuesday’s lunar extravaganza: Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles and the Italian-based Virtual Telescope Project.


Homeland Security Admits It Tried to Manufacture Fake Terrorists for Trump

 Dell Cameron
Sat, November 5, 2022 at 7:45 AM

The Department of Homeland Security launched a failed operation that ensnared hundreds, if not thousands, of U.S. protesters in what new documents show was as a sweeping, power-hungry effort before the 2020 election to bolster President Donald Trump’s spurious claims about a “terrorist organization” he accused his Democratic rivals of supporting.


The report describes attempts by top officials to link protesters to an imaginary terrorist plot in an apparent effort to boost Trump’s reelection odds, raising concerns now about the ability of a sitting president to co-opt billions of dollars’ worth of domestic intelligence assets for their own political gain. DHS analysts recounted orders to generate evidence of financial ties between protesters in custody; an effort that, had they not failed, would have seemingly served to legitimize President Trump’s false claims about “Antifa,” an “organization” that even his most loyal intelligence officers failed to drum up proof ever existed.


Wednesday, November 02, 2022



Nov. 2, 2022


How can people have free will if they are not able to perceive reality?  Anybody who is old enough to remember Obama's presidency should remember that when republicans gained control of Congress, they blocked almost all his attempts to stimulate the economy.  They knew people would blame the president if things were not good, and they thought it would help them regain the presidency.  They have done this to other presidents.  They will do it to Biden.  Voting for republicans for Congress because you are unhappy with the economy is self-destructive.


Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Atmospheric levels of all three greenhouse gases hit record high


We have had more than 30 years to develop better energy sources, and chose not to.


Helena Horton Environment reporter
Wed 26 Oct 2022 11.00 EDT 

Atmospheric levels of all three greenhouse gases have reached record highs, according to a study by the World Meteorological Organization, which scientists say means the world is “heading in the wrong direction”.

The WMO found there was the biggest year-on-year jump in methane concentrations in 2020 and 2021 since systematic measurements began almost 40 years ago.

Now the theory is that the methane rise could be caused by activities of microbes in wetlands, rice paddies and the guts of ruminants. Rising temperatures have caused the ideal conditions for microbial methane production, as they enjoy warm, damp areas.m

[Could one of the causes of the increase in methane be the melting of methane clathrates due to warming oceans.]


However, even if they act rapidly to stop the damage, much of it is already baked in. As long as emissions continue, global temperature will continue to rise. Given the long life of CO2, the temperature level observed will persist for decades, even if emissions are reduced swiftly to net zero.