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.

Florida attorney who fought helmet laws dies in motorcycle crash


If they had survived, they might have had injuries that cost the taxpayers a lot.


 Gloria Oladipo
Wed 26 Oct 2022 12.58 EDT


For almost a decade, Ron Smith, an attorney and avid motorcycle rider from Pinellas county, Florida, advocated against laws which said motorcyclists had to wear helmets to ride. Eventually, the state law changed.

This August, Smith, 66, and his girlfriend, Brenda Jeanan Volpe, 62, died in a fatal motorcycle crash. Neither was wearing a helmet, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Smith and Volpe were on their way to a funeral when Smith reportedly lost control of their bike while slowing down for traffic. The motorcycle crashed into a trailer attached to a truck.



Smith was a member of American Bikers Aimed Toward Education (Abate), an advocacy group that has lobbied against helmet laws.

As an attorney, he represented clients caught violating Florida’s motorcycle safety laws in cases experts say may have helped overturn the state’s mandatory helmet law.


In 2000, Florida changed its laws to state that anyone over 21 was no longer required to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle, if they had more than $10,000 of insurance to cover accidents.

Smith was remembered by friends and associates as someone who valued his independence and that of others.

“He thought everybody should have their own choice,” said Dave Newman, who with Smith was a member of the American Legion Riders.


You don't know what friends are really thinking


Oct. 26, 2022

  Recently I heard a man interviewed on the radio who said everyone he knows is voting republican.  The truth is that many people will not admit they vote Democratic to a republican because they are afraid of being harassed and/or vandalized.   When I have let myself get pulled into discussions about politics at work by conservatives, people will come up to me when no one else is around, look around to make sure no one is around to her, and tell me quietly that they agree with me.

Being fooled


"There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn't true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true." ~ Soren Kierkegaard
The Essential Kierkegaard Paperback – May 30, 2000 by Søren Kierkegaard


Sunday, October 16, 2022

Mississippi River Drought Imperils Trade on Vital US Waterway


This must be a contributor to inflation.

 Oct 6, 2022

 The Mississippi River is a vital US waterway that ferries key commodities between the heart of America and the Gulf Coast -- and drought is putting waterborne trade in jeopardy.

Drought depleted river levels so much that in some spots vessels are getting stuck. One shipping company said low water levels are causing severe impacts to navigation not seen since 1988. It’s a key concern for transporting goods from a river basin that produces 92% of the nation’s agricultural exports, especially during harvest season.


The drying Mississippi is reminiscent of this summer’s transportation woes on the Rhine River — and both are functions of a Northern Hemisphere drought worsened considerably by climate change. Drought in root-level soil this summer was roughly 20 times more likely north of the tropics, according to a report this week by World Weather Attribution, a scientific research group. The drought caused rivers to dry up around the hemisphere, and caused particular harm in Western Europe, where summer crop yields plummeted.

The Mississippi River is currently closed near Stack Island, Mississippi, causing a backup of 117 vessels and 2,048 barges in the area as of midday Thursday, while a shutdown near Memphis, Tennessee has caused a smaller logjam, according to the Coast Guard. The US Army Corps of Engineers is dredging near Stack Island and the Coast Guard intends to reopen the waterway with restrictions at some point Friday.


About 35% of US thermal coal for export travels on the Mississippi, so this will significantly affect the market, said Ernie Thrasher, CEO of Xcoal Energy & Resources LLC, a major US exporter.

“It will be a big disruption to supply,” he said.



Kemp has hurt Georgia

 Blows my mind that people think Kemp is good for Georgia.  He cut taxes for the rich while state agencies that help regular people are too short-handed to do their work in a timely manner.  Eg., unemployment benefits during Covid layoffs; tax refunds from the state revenue department; organizing Covid vaccinations, with the result that Georgia was one of the slowest to get vaccinated, so we had a higher death rate.

Renowned conductor Yurii Kerpatenko killed by Russians

 Ukrainska Pravda
Sat, October 15, 2022 at 7:34 AM


Yurii Kerpatenko, principal conductor at the Kherson Music and Drama Theatre, has been killed by Russian occupiers in Kherson.

His death was announced on 14 October, said the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy.


 The Ministry of Culture, citing regional media, said the invaders and collaborators had planned to organise a "gala concert" featuring the famous Hilea Chamber Orchestra on International Music Day, 1 October.

The occupiers wanted to use this concert to show that "peaceful life" had supposedly been established in Kherson.


A co-founder of the firm behind Truth Social says Trump retaliated against another exec who refused to gift some of his shares to Melania (Kelsey Vlamis)

Oct. 15, 2022

A co-founder of Trump Media & Technology Group, the company behind Truth Social, said former President Donald Trump pushed another executive to give some of his shares to Melania Trump and retaliated when the request was declined, according to a Washington Post report.


Trump had been given a 90% stake in the company when it was founded, according to the SEC complaint. But Wilkerson told the Post he was with fellow co-founder Andy Litinsky in October 2021 when the latter received a call from Trump. At the time, the company had recently reached a merger deal that would catapult the value of its stock. Wilkerson said the former president asked Litinsky to give some of his shares to Melania Trump.

 Wilkerson told the Post that Litinsky demurred and explained the gift would result in a tax bill he would be unable to pay: "Trump didn't care. He said, 'Do whatever you need to do.'"




copyright Patricia M. Shannon 1996

They say that they are patriots because they love to wave the flag,
but they throw their trash along the road, and pour used oil down the drain.
They say that they are patriots because the pledge they love to say,
but they never bother to turn out the lights when they go home for the day.

How can we be patriots and not do all we can
to protect the earth upon which all our lives depend?
How can we be patriots and not help our fellow men?
What else is a country, but its people and its land?

They say that they are patriots because, they will always choose
to vote to build more prisons, while cutting funding for our schools.
They say that they are patriots, Star Spangled Banner they do sing,
but to their big gas-guzzlers they selfishly do cling.

How can we be patriots and not do all we can
to prevent the earth from turning into barren sands?
How can we be patriots and not lend a helping hand?
What else is a country, but its people and its land?

They say that they are patriots, because it fills them with such glee
to send our young folks overseas to be killed by enemies.
They say that they are patriots, but they would never think
to tutor some poor kids to help them stay out of the clink.

How can we be patriots and not do all we can
to protect the earth upon which all our lives depend?
How can we be patriots and not help our fellow men?
What else is a country, but its people and its land?

A country's not a piece of cloth, or words we say by rote;
a country's not a song we sing before we watch a sport.
And love's not just a feeling, it's something that we do,
every day, in every way, in everything we choose.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Animal populations experience average decline of almost 70% since 1970, report reveals


Patrick Greenfield
Wed 12 Oct 2022 19.01 EDT

Earth’s wildlife populations have plunged by an average of 69% in just under 50 years, according to a leading scientific assessment, as humans continue to clear forests, consume beyond the limits of the planet and pollute on an industrial scale.

From the open ocean to tropical rainforests, the abundance of birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles is in freefall, declining on average by more than two-thirds between 1970 and 2018, according to the WWF and Zoological Society of London’s (ZSL) biennial Living Planet Report. Two years ago, the figure stood at 68%, four years ago, it was at 60%.

Many scientists believe we are living through the sixth mass extinction – the largest loss of life on Earth since the time of the dinosaurs – and that it is being driven by humans. The report’s 89 authors are urging world leaders to reach an ambitious agreement at the Cop15 biodiversity summit in Canada this December and to slash carbon emissions to limit global heating to below 1.5C this decade to halt the rampant destruction of nature.


“Despite the science, the catastrophic projections, the impassioned speeches and promises, the burning forests, submerged countries, record temperatures and displaced millions, world leaders continue to sit back and watch our world burn in front of our eyes,” said Steele. “The climate and nature crises, their fates entwined, are not some faraway threat our grandchildren will solve with still-to-be-discovered technology.”

The coming hard times?


Oct. 15, 2022

 If the republicans get back control of one or both houses of Congress, they will do to Biden what they did to Obama and Carter: block efforts to improve the economy knowing people will blame the president, and the press will not inform the public what they are doing.

Sunday, October 09, 2022

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."



24 Harsh Truths That People Think Americans Aren't Ready To Hear But Probably Should

Recently on r/AskReddit, u/swansonite456 asked, "What are Americans not ready to hear?"

Sat, October 8, 2022 at 9:16 AM


18."America is only capitalist for poor people. Rich people live in a socialist state, where they constantly get bailouts, subsidies, and debt forgiveness."



Michael Cohen says Trump believed the classified documents stashed at Mar-a-Lago were his 'get out of jail free card'


Joshua Zitser

Oct. 9,022


 Michael Cohen said that former President Donald Trump saw the classified documents stashed at Mar-a-Lago as his "get out of jail free" card, he told Salon magazine in an interview.

"He's only interested in one thing: the get out of jail free card," Cohen said. "And that's exactly what he saw in those documents."

Cohen, once Trump's personal attorney and fixer, suggested in the Salon interview that Trump thought he might be able to leverage the confidentiality of these documents to his own advantage.


The Washington Post reported that FBI agents were looking for secret documents about nuclear weapons during the Mar-a-Lago raid in August. The Post's source did not say if this refers to the US arsenal or that of another country.


According to The New York Times, Trump has already floated the idea of using classified documents as a bargaining chip. Trump last year suggested to advisors that he would return boxes of materials from Mar-a-Lago to the National Archives and Records Administration in exchange for  "sensitive" documents about the FBI investigation of his 2016 campaign's ties to Russia, the paper said.

Aides to the former president did not go through with the proposal, per The Times.


Facts are facts


“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” ― Aldous Huxley

Reptiles of the mind


The man who never alters his opinions is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.

Wednesday, October 05, 2022

Study links in utero ‘forever chemical’ exposure to low sperm count and mobility


Note that sperm counts have been decreasing for years.


PFAS, now found in nearly all umbilical cord blood around the world, interfere with hormones crucial to testicle development

 A new peer-reviewed Danish study finds that a mother’s exposure to toxic PFAS “forever chemicals” during early pregnancy can lead to lower sperm count and quality later in her child’s life.

PFAS – per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances – are known to disrupt hormones and fetal development, and future “reproductive capacity” is largely defined as testicles develop in utero during the first trimester of a pregnancy, said study co-author Sandra Søgaard Tøttenborg of the Copenhagen University hospital.




Climate crisis made summer drought 20 times more likely, scientists find


Where I live, it's a fall drought. Had too much rain this summer, now none for several weeks.


 The droughts and flood which have been occurring around the globe have reduced crop yields and contributed to inflation, which the news media doesn't mention when talking about inflation. 

Damian Carrington Environment editor
Wed 5 Oct 2022 17.00 EDT

The climate crisis made the record drought across the northern hemisphere this summer at least 20 times more likely, scientists have calculated. Without human-caused global heating, the event would have been expected only once every four centuries.

The drought hit crop production and power supplies, exacerbating the food and energy crises already sparked by Russia’s war in Ukraine. Droughts will become even more severe and more frequent unless the burning of fossil fuels is phased out, the researchers warned.

The dry conditions, assessed using data on soil moisture, largely resulted from the heatwaves that struck across North America, Europe and Asia, with lower rainfall relatively less important. The scientists said a summer as hot as that of 2022 would have been “virtually impossible” without global heating and in Europe alone there were 24,000 heat-related fatalities.


The dry conditions caused widespread water shortages and wildfires, with a record number of blazes in Europe, the first national drought alert in China and more than half of the US being declared in drought. In the UK, temperatures hit 40C for the first time on record, shocking scientists, and hosepipe bans are still in place across much of the country.


Dr Friederike Otto, at Imperial College London, UK, and also part of the team, said: “In Europe, drought conditions led to reduced harvests. This was particularly worrying as it followed a climate change-fuelled heatwave in [India and Pakistan] that also destroyed crops, and happened at a time when global food prices were already extremely high due to the war in Ukraine.”

The scientists had already found that the deadly South Asian heatwave was made 30 times more likely by the climate crisis and that the intense rainfall, which caused devastating floods across Pakistan, was made 50% worse by global heating. 

-----The scientists found the record northern hemisphere drought of 2022 would be expected once every 20 years in today’s climate but only every 400 years without climate change. The drought in western and central Europe was made at least three to four times more likely by global heating. But they said this does not mean that climate change has had less influence in Europe as the fingerprint of climate change is harder to discern in smaller regions.

The analysis is complex and carries uncertainties, but the researchers said the estimates in the study are conservative, with the real influence of human activities likely even higher.


 “We’re also seeing the impacts compounding and cascading across regions and sectors,” he said. For example, the drought cut hydropower production, as well as power from nuclear and coal plants, due to lack of cooling water. “That compounded a situation where electricity prices were already under stress, due to the Russia-Ukraine war and when we needed lots of electricity for air conditioning all across Europe to deal with the high heat.”


What kind of person should we elect?


Oct. 5, 2022


The people we elect affect the well-being of everybody in our country and world. A person who would vote for someone just because they were a star football player is not patriotic. 

Can hyaluronan cure dry eye disease?


hyaluronan is also called hyaluronic acid.  I have been taking it several years for my joint, and it has improved my problem with dry eyes, although I still have to take artificial tears at night. But I no longer need them during the day.


 News Release 14-Sep-2022
Can hyaluronan cure dry eye disease?
Already known to reduce wrinkles, hyaluronan under the microscope at UH College of Optometry
Grant and Award Announcement
University of Houston


As you read this are your eyes burning, itchy, tired, dry or red? If so, you may be one of 21 million people in the United States living with dry eye disease (DED). If you don’t have it now, you may soon – the numbers are expected to rise as the population ages, and as anyone who suffers from it can tell you, it will decrease your productivity and reduce your quality of life.  

Unfortunately, treatment options for DED are limited. What is known is that the Meibomian gland undergoes age-related changes that may account for the disease. Clinical studies suggest that 85% of all dry eye cases are caused by some form of Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). Meibomian glands are oil glands on the edge of the eyelids; the oil they produce is an important part of the eye's tears, keeping tears from quickly drying.  

Enter a discovery in the lab of Vivien Coulson-Thomas, associate professor of optometry in the University of Houston College of Optometry: an extra cellular matrix or ECM (a network of proteins and other molecules) that surrounds and supports the Meibomian gland and is rich with hyaluronan (HA), a molecule known to protect and lubricate soft tissue. Hyaluronan is widely used for treating numerous conditions, including application around the eyes and into the eyelids in order to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.



Cost of cancer treatment can impact health of survivors

 News Release 15-Sep-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication

Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University


A significant number of people who have survived cancer are living in poverty, which can have negative effects on their physical and mental health, according to researchers at the Medical College of Georgia and the Georgia Cancer Center at Augusta University.

Using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, which contains data from people across the US regarding health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions and their use of preventive services, they found that 12% of some 28,000 cancer survivors were living in poverty.

“The high cost of oncology care in the United States and its adverse effects on cancer survivors is of increasing concern,” they write in the journal JCO Oncology Practice. “The financial burden of cancer often persists years after diagnosis, due to ongoing costs of cancer care and late effects of cancer treatment, as well as incurred debt, lost income and inability to work.”

Many cancer treatments now total $100,000 or more annually, and without health insurance, those costs can be entirely out-of-pocket.


People who receive periodontal care have better outcomes after heart attack


 News Release 15-Sep-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
University of Michigan


The conventional wisdom is that medical and dental care are related, but less is known about how dental care relates to health outcomes after acute incidents like heart attacks.

 To that end, University of Michigan researchers studied patients receiving periodontal care, dental cleanings or no dental care during 2016-2018 and who had acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) in 2017.

 They found that patients who had heart attacks and received periodontal maintenance care had the shortest length of stay in the hospital, and more follow-up visits. The longest length of stay was experienced by the no-dental-care group. 


Five years after water crisis, 1 in 4 Flint residents has PTSD


 News Release 20-Sep-2022
Very high rates of depression and PTSD linked to water contamination
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Duke University


Data from the largest mental health survey of the Flint, Michigan community indicate that one in five adults, or roughly 13,600 people, were estimated to have clinical depression, and one in four, or 15,000 people, were estimated to have PTSD five years after the water crisis began.



Study gauges positive impacts of Medicare on low-income adults


 News Release 4-Oct-2022
Medicare eligibility and enrollment at age 65 were associated with improvements in measures of health care access and financial strain
Peer-Reviewed Publication


Medicare eligibility and enrollment are associated with decreases in the percentage of low-income adults who delay or avoid medical care due to costs, as well as in the percentage who worry about or have problems paying medical bills, according to a new study publishing on October 4th in the open access journal PLOS Medicine by Rishi Wadhera, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, USA, and colleagues.

In the United States, low-income adults are more likely to lack health insurance coverage, face barriers accessing health care, and disproportionately experience financial strain due to health care expenditures compared with higher-income adults. The Medicare program provides health insurance coverage to more than 50 million older adults in the United States.



A prediction I hope is not accurate


Oct. 5, 2022


I hope that I'm wrong to expect that the supreme court will blatantly vote to help republicans in the upcoming courses on redistricting.  I expect them to continue to allow republicans to gerrymander to blatantly disenfranchise Democrats, and also to not allow states to redistrict in order to allow African-Americans the number of districts proportional to their population in the state.  It will then be interesting to see how they rule if they get a case where the Democrats gerrymander to their own advantage.

Sunday, October 02, 2022

The US ultra-rich justify their low tax rates with three myths – all of them rubbish


I suggest reading the whole article:


Robert Reich

Sun 2 Oct 2022 06.15 EDT


A record share of the nation’s wealth is in the hands of billionaires, who pay a lower tax rate than the average American. This is indefensible

On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office released a study of trends in the distribution of family wealth between 1989 and 2019.

Over those 30 years, the richest 1% of families increased their share of total national wealth from 27% to 34%. Families in the bottom half of the economy now hold a mere 2%.

Meanwhile, a record share of the nation’s wealth remains in the hands of the nation’s billionaires, who are also paying a lower tax rate than the average American.

How do the ultra-wealthy justify their wealth and their low tax rates? By using three myths – all of which are utter rubbish.

The first is trickle-down economics.

Billionaires (and their apologists) claim that their wealth trickles down to everyone else as they invest it and create jobs.


In reality, the super-wealthy don’t create jobs or raise wages. Jobs are created when average working people earn enough money to buy all the goods and services they produce, pushing companies to hire more people and pay them higher wages.

The second myth is the “free market”.

The ultra-rich claim they’re being rewarded by the impersonal market for creating and doing what people are willing to pay them for.


no other advanced nation has nearly the degree of inequality found in the United States, yet all these nations have been exposed to the same forces of globalization and technological change.

In reality, the ultra-wealthy have rigged the so-called “free market” in the US for their own benefit. Billionaires’ campaign contributions have soared from a relatively modest $31m in the 2010 elections to $1.2bn in the most recent presidential cycle – a nearly 40-fold increase.


The third myth is that they’re superior human beings.

They portray themselves as “self-made” rugged individuals who “did it on their own” and therefore deserve their billions.

Bupkis. Six of the 10 wealthiest Americans alive today are heirs to fortunes passed on to them by wealthy ancestors.

Others had the advantages that come with wealthy parents.

Jeff Bezos’s garage-based start was funded by a quarter-million-dollar investment from his parents. Bill Gates’s mother used her business connections to help land a software deal with IBM that made Microsoft. Elon Musk came from a family that reportedly owned shares of an emerald mine in southern Africa.



Study finds higher rates of traumatic injuries for outdoor workers during hotter weather

  News Release 29-Sep-2022
OSU study finds higher rates of traumatic injuries for outdoor workers during hotter weather
Peer-Reviewed Publication

Oregon State University


Rates of traumatic injury among workers in the Oregon agricultural and construction sectors are significantly higher during periods of high heat compared with periods of more moderate weather, a recent Oregon State University study found.

The results underscore the importance of providing robust safety protections for outdoor workers, especially as extreme heat events become more common with climate change, researchers said.

“The big take-home message I want people to get from this is that, if the temperature is high and you have workers out there, they’re more likely to be injured, whether it’s due to dehydration, reduction in mental capacity or exhaustion,” said Richie Evoy, lead author on the paper and a recent doctoral graduate from OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences.




Study reports first evidence of social relationships between chimpanzees, gorillas


 News Release 30-Sep-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Washington University in St. Louis


A long-term study led by primatologist Crickette Sanz at Washington University in St. Louis reveals the first evidence of lasting social relationships between chimpanzees and gorillas in the wild.






Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Cystic fibrosis patients can benefit from vitamin supplements, Oregon State research shows


 News Release 28-Sep-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Oregon State University


 Cystic fibrosis patients who supplement their diet with vitamin C can also derive greater benefit from another antioxidant, vitamin E, resulting in a reduction in damaging inflammation, a study led by Oregon State University suggests.


The benefits of the findings, published in the journal Nutrients, are not unique to cystic fibrosis patients, she noted. Smokers, for example, typically have problems associated with oxidative stress and can benefit from extra vitamin C and possibly extra vitamin E. Metabolic syndrome patients have issues with vitamin C and E as well.

“This study used vitamin C far in excess of what someone can easily obtain from the diet,” she said. “One thousand milligrams is the equivalent of 15 oranges or four or five medium bell peppers. But the research does suggest a high dosage may be beneficial in inflammatory conditions.”


Neighborhood Noise May Increase Dementia Risk


Years ago, I read of studies that found that loud factory noise damages the brain.


Michelle Samuels

November 6, 2020

Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia affect millions of older adults in the US—but not equally. Past research has identified risk factors including genes, education, racism, and air pollution, and a growing number of studies now point to noise as another influence on risk of dementia.

Now, a new study co-led by a School of Public Health researcher finds that 10 decibels more daytime neighborhood noise is associated with 36 percent higher odds of mild cognitive impairment and 30 percent higher odds of Alzheimer’s disease.

Published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia, the journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, the study is the first of its kind in the US.




 Do loud noises harm the brain?

    November 20, 2020 Betsy Mills, PhD

 Urban areas are centers of bustling activity, which can provide ample opportunities for cognitively stimulating activities, but also increase exposure to excessive noise, commonly referred to as noise pollution. Exposure to noise can lead to short term impairments in cognitive function, particularly with respect to the ability to focus and remember, while some studies suggest that, similar to air pollution, chronic exposure to noise pollution may increase the risk for dementia.

A report by the European Environmental Agency found that 12,000 premature deaths and 48,000 cases of ischemic heart disease were attributable to environmental noise pollution each year in Europe The majority of the noise pollution is related to traffic.


Noise acts as a stressor by inducing a state of arousal in the body, which increases levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol. The brain is wasting resources on trying to tune out the noise, so the brain has less capacity to perform other complex tasks, leading to a temporary decline in cognitive performance [3]. Attention and memory tend to be the cognitive domains most impacted by noise. The stress response leads to vascular changes that can pave the way for cardiovascular disease and vascular dementia. Meta-analyses indicate that each 10 dB(A) increase in environmental noise increases the risk for adverse cardiovascular outcomes, including hypertension and heart attacks, by 7 to 17% [8]. Due to the strong connection between heart health and brain health, these negative effects on the cardiovascular system may account for some of the increased dementia risk from noise pollution. Exposure to noise during the night can impair sleep quality, which has additional negative health consequences. Chronic activation of the arousal-stress response can also cause oxidative stress, which is another driver of dementia.



High blood pressure speeds up mental decline, but does not fully explain dementia disparities


 I live in a neighborhood where most of the people are immigrants from Mexico.  They tend to play their music very loud.  Research indicates this increases the risk of dementia.  My next post will be on that.


 News Release 28-Sep-2022
Long-term “study of studies” in Latino and non-Latino older adults shows clear hypertension link, but mystery still remains about why dementia risk is higher in those of Hispanic origin
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan


People with high blood pressure levels face a faster erosion of their ability to think, make decisions and remember information than those with normal blood pressure levels, a new study finds.

The researchers traced high blood pressure’s association with declining brain function over years, in data from six large studies that they pooled and analyzed. They show that blood pressure-related cognitive decline happens at the same pace in people of Hispanic heritage as in non-Hispanic white people.

The team had set out to see if differences in long-term blood pressure control explained why Hispanic people face a 50% higher overall risk of dementia by the end of their life than non-Hispanic white people in the United States.

But the new findings suggest that other factors may play a bigger role in that disparity.


 “Our findings suggest that high blood pressure causes faster cognitive decline, and that taking hypertension medication slows the pace of that decline,” says Levine, a professor of internal medicine at the U-M’s academic medical center, Michigan Medicine.

“Since other studies have shown that people of Hispanic heritage in the United States tend to have higher rates of uncontrolled hypertension than non-Hispanic white people, due in part to worse access to care, it’s vital that they get extra support to control their blood pressure even if blood pressure is only part of the picture when it comes to their higher dementia risk,” she adds. “A risk factor like uncontrolled high blood pressure that is more prevalent in one group can still contribute to substantial health disparities.”


The surprising link between circadian disruption and cancer may have to do with temperature


 News Release 28-Sep-2022
Scripps Research scientists pinpoint an unusual culprit in cancer: a family of genes that respond to temperature changes in the body
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Scripps Research Institute


Disruptions in circadian rhythm—the ways that our bodies change in response to the 24-hour light and dark cycle—have been linked to many different diseases, including cancer. The connection between the two has been poorly understood, even though shift workers and others with irregular schedules experience these disruptions regularly. But a new discovery from Scripps Research is helping answer what may be behind this correlation.

Published in Science Advances on September 28, 2022, the findings highlight that chronic circadian disruption significantly increased lung cancer growth in animal models. By identifying the genes implicated, the researchers are illuminating the mysterious link between our sleeping patterns and disease, which could help inform everything from developing more targeted cancer treatments to better monitoring high-risk groups.


 The findings aligned with what the researchers initially thought: mice that were exposed to the irregular, shifting light patterns had an increased tumor burden of 68%.

But when they used RNA sequencing to determine the different genes involved in the cancer growth, they were surprised that a collection in the heat shock factor 1 (HSF1) family of proteins was the main culprit.  

“This is not the mechanism we were expecting to find here. HSF1 has been shown to increase rates of tumor formation in several different models of cancer, but it has never been linked to circadian disruption before,” Lamia says.

HSF1 genes are responsible for making sure proteins are still made correctly even when a cell is under extreme stress—in this case, when it experiences changes in temperature. The team suspects that HSF1 activity is increased in response to circadian disruption because changes in our sleep cycles disturb the daily rhythms of our bodies’ temperature.

“Normally, our body temperature changes by one or two degrees while we’re sleeping. If shift workers don’t experience that normal drop, it could interfere with how the HSF1 pathway normally operates—and ultimately lead to more dysregulation in the body,” Lamia adds. She believes cancer cells may exploit the HSF1 pathway to their own benefit and create mutant, misfolded proteins, but says more research is needed in this area.


Brain development of the preterm baby is improved by supporting emotional connection with the parent


 News Release 28-Sep-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
University of Helsinki


A joint study by the University of Helsinki and Columbia University showed that supporting emotional connection between mother and her premature baby following birth in the hospital intensive care unit improves the baby’s brain development.

Columbia University Professors Martha G. Welch and Michael M. Myers had previously discovered that supporting the emotional connection between mother and infant during neonatal intensive care significantly improved later neurobehavioral development.

In the current study, the brain network functions of premature infants were measured at term age, following approximately 6 weeks of Family Nurture Intervention (FNI) in the neonatal intensive care unit. All babies received normal high-standard premature care, but some families were given additional FNI to strengthen mother-infant emotional connection.

The study shows that such parental support during the intensive care treatment removed the developmental abnormalities in brain function that are typically seen in the prematurely born infants. The brain network function of the premature infants in the treatment group were not different from their control peers that were born at the normal term age.



MRI findings in opioid-exposed fetuses show smaller brain size


 News Release 28-Sep-2022
Third-trimester fetuses with in utero opioid exposure exhibited multiple smaller 2D biometric measurements of the brain, as well as altered fetal physiology, on investigational MRI
Peer-Reviewed Publication
American Roentgen Ray Society


According to an open-access Editor’s Choice article in ARRS’ American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR), third-trimester fetuses with in utero opioid exposure exhibited multiple smaller 2D biometric measurements of the brain, as well as altered fetal physiology, on investigational MRI.


 tags: drug use, drug abuse,

Mind-body practices lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes


 News Release 28-Sep-2022
New research from the Keck School of Medicine of USC reveals mind-body practices are highly effective at reducing blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Keck School of Medicine of USC


Mind-body practices such as yoga and meditation are increasingly popular tools for promoting health and combating diseases, including type 2 diabetes. Approximately 66% of Americans with type 2 diabetes use mind-body practices and many do so because they believe it helps control their blood sugar. Until now, however, whether mind-practices can reduce blood glucose levels has never been rigorously quantified.

According to new research conducted by a team from the Keck School of Medicine of USC, published recently in the Journal of Integrative and Complementary Medicine, some mind-body practices can be nearly as effective as commonly prescribed drugs at reducing blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes.


This study, the first to analyze a range of mind-body practices including meditation, qigong, yoga and mindfulness-based stress reduction and their effect on blood glucose levels, revealed that all mind-body practices led to significant reductions in blood sugar levels.

Taken as a whole, the mind-body practices averaged a .84% reduction in hemoglobin A1c, a measure of the average blood glucose level for the past 3 months. Yoga, the most-studied modality, provided the largest benefit, about a 1% reduction in hemoglobin A1c. The authors noted that a 1% reduction is particularly notable because metformin, the most prescribed diabetes drug, reduces hemoglobin A1c in people with type 2 diabetes by 1.1% on average. 


Exposure to air pollution worsens COVID-19 outcomes, even among the fully vaccinated


 News Release 28-Sep-2022
Researchers from the Keck School of Medicine of USC and Kaiser Permanente Southern California conducted the first individual-level study of air pollution exposure and COVID-19 vaccination.
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Keck School of Medicine of USC


 By comparing publicly available air quality monitoring data with deidentified patient medical records, they first established that regardless of air pollution exposure, vaccines go a long way in reducing COVID-19 hospitalizations.

“Fully vaccinated people had almost 90% reduced risk of COVID hospitalization, and even partially vaccinated people had about 50% less risk,” said Zhanghua Chen, PhD, assistant professor of population and public health sciences at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and co-first author of the study.

But air pollutants—in particular fine particles (PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2)—are still harmful. Even among people who were vaccinated, exposure to those two pollutants over the short or long term increased the risk of hospitalization up to 30%.

“Among vaccinated people, the detrimental effect of air pollution exposure is a little smaller, compared to people who were not vaccinated,” Chen said. “But that difference is not statistically significant.”


Loneliness associated with double the risk of developing diabetes


 News Release 28-Sep-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication


A new study published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes [EASD]) finds that feelings of loneliness are linked to a significantly higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D).



Study finds no differences in performance between male and female surgeons


 News Release 28-Sep-2022
Results show same rates of death and complications, despite female surgeons being more likely to be assigned high risk patients. Researchers call for more opportunities for female surgeons, to help reduce gender based inequity
Peer-Reviewed Publication


A new study published by The BMJ today finds no differences in rates of death or complications between male and female surgeons in Japan, despite the fact that female surgeons are more likely than male surgeons to be assigned high risk patients.

The researchers point out that, globally, women remain a minority in the surgical field, and they call for more opportunities for female surgeons, to help reduce gender based inequity.



Congressional Hearings Show Oil Companies Are Slow-Rolling and Overselling Climate Initiatives, Democrats Say


By Nicholas Kusnetz
September 16, 2022


Congressional Democrats presented fresh evidence Thursday which they say proves that oil companies are continuing to mislead the public on climate change and undercut global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

At a hearing held by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, lawmakers read from newly released documents obtained from ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell and BP as part of an ongoing investigation into the fossil fuel industry and its role driving climate change.

Among the documents was an internal memo sent to ExxonMobil’s chief executive, Darren Woods, that apparently sought to weaken the climate commitments of an international oil industry group, as well as internal emails from Exxon and other companies showing employees appearing to question the speed or seriousness of their efforts to pivot their businesses to focus on cleaner products.

Democrats say the documents also show that the companies’ climate pledges depend on “unproven technologies whose future success and commercialization are not assured.” 


Who to vote for?


Sept. 28, 2022


Our elected officials greatly affect the welfare of our country and world, in the short and long term. Voting for one because they are a famous sports person is unpatriotic. is a scam


Sept. 28, 2022,

I and others have tried to buy music score products from , but have not received the product months after paying.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Lead safety guidance lacking for urban farmers in many major US cities


 News Release 27-Sep-2022
Guidelines for safe lead levels and support for testing varied widely across 42 large U.S. cities, in part due to lack of federal guidance on lead levels in soils in which food is grown
Peer-Reviewed Publication
American Geophysical Union

AGU Release No. 22-57


Urban gardens and farms are on the rise in the U.S., but urban soils are sometimes contaminated from legacy pollution and industrial use. Despite this risk, there is little guidance for people growing food in urban soils on what levels of lead are safe, and existing policies vary widely between cities and states, as a new study highlights.

Lead, and other potentially toxic elements, are of concern in soils that are used to grow food because plants can incorporate those harmful elements into their roots, stems, leaves and fruits, which are then eaten. Exposure to even low levels of lead, primarily through ingestion, can cause health problems such as heart disease and neurological dysfunction, and lead is especially harmful to children, who are still developing.