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.