Thursday, March 30, 2023

10,000 steps a day is a 'fabricated' goal, doctor says. Try walking this much instead

 This article was originally published on

Sarah Jacoby
Wed, March 29, 2023 at 2:56 PM EDT


So, how often do you really need to hit your step goal to see health benefits?

Before you spend your evening walking laps around your home, know that new research shows that you don't necessarily have to hit your step goal every single day to improve your health. A new study found that walking 8,000 steps just once or twice per week can be enough to significantly reduce the risk of death over 10 years.


the benefits plateaued after walking at least 8,000 steps three days per week, meaning those who walked that much for four or more days didn't see any further reductions in mortality risk.

And it didn't have to be 8,000 steps exactly: Researchers saw the same benefits, in general, when participants walked anywhere between 6,000 to 10,000 steps.

The participants who took 8,000 or more steps during the week were also more likely to have never smoked, to not have obesity, to not have mobility limitations and to not have other conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension. And, the authors note, participants' steps were only measured for one week at baseline, so their walking habits may have changed during the following decade.

So it's possible that the people who were able to walk that many steps that frequently were less likely to die within 10 years for reasons unrelated to walking, such as medication adherence, smoking status of family members, genetics, et cetera, Inoue said.


In fact, experts are encouraging “activity snacks” taken throughout the day rather than — or in addition to — getting all of your fitness in one high-intensity class or long walk, for instance. “Moving around throughout the day ... is like the fire that keeps the metabolic furnace burning,” Dr. Jordan Metzl, a sports medicine physician at the Hospital for Special Surgery, tells

When finding the right type of exercise, there's no one-size-fits-all answer — as long as it's something you enjoy enough to do it consistently, he says.


 But it’s still important to remember that the “right” amount of steps to aim for in a day may be different from person to person. And you don’t need to push your body to hit an arbitrary goal.

“You shouldn’t ignore your body to hit a target," Dr. Lawrence Phillips, an associate professor of medicine and medical director of outpatient cardiology at NYU Langone Health in New York, told previously. "You can spread your activity throughout the day rather than having one set period,” he added.



More people means less power for workers


This is why the super rich power elite want people to have more children. If there are more people than jobs, workers have to take whatever they get.

  Gigs, scams, ghost work: India tech sector's dark side

Sumit Khanna,Rina Chandran
Published: March 21, 2023

With few jobs, India's youth are turning to the gig economy, scam call centres and AI microwork for low wages and few protections

  • India poised to be most populous country in April
  • Lack of jobs [for the number of people] pushing youth into gig work, scam call centres
  • Low-paid work, erosion of labour rights the norm


India is poised to become the world's most populous country in April, overtaking China with more than 1.43 billion people, according to estimates by the United Nations.

It also has among the youngest populations, with more than 40% under 25 years. Yet the pace of economic growth is not enough to accommodate some 12 million people joining the workforce each year.

So educated youth - once touted as a demographic dividend - are forced to turn to the gig economy delivering food and groceries, to scam call centres, online microwork, and other low-paid jobs, analysts say.


India is one of the largest and fastest-growing markets for the so-called gig economy, with nearly 8 million workers in 2020-21, and forecast to expand to 24 million workers by 2029-30, according to government think-tank Niti Aayog.

But workers earn low wages and have few protections.

"The government, the industry and employers pitch gig work as the future of work, glorifying it as something that is desirable," said Rikta Krishnaswamy, a coordinator at the All India Gig Workers' Union.

"But what we are really seeing is an erosion of hard-won labour rights. With increased digitisation, gig work is only going to get bigger and worse - especially with data annotation and labelling for AI."


Thursday, March 23, 2023

GM must face class actions over defective transmissions -judge


 A federal judge in Detroit certified class actions for drivers in 26 U.S. states who accused General Motors Corp of producing faulty transmissions for about 800,000 vehicles from the 2015 to 2019 model years.

Monday's decision by U.S. District Judge David Lawson covers several Chevrolet and GMC trucks and SUVs, several Cadillac models, and the Chevrolet Corvette and Camaro, equipped with 8L45 or 8L90 eight-speed automatic transmissions.


The drivers said GM knew about the defect before selling the vehicles, which they would not have purchased had they known.

Together we can do miracles


According to an old Native American legend, one day there was a big fire in the forest. All the animals fled in terror in all directions, because it was a very violent fire. Suddenly, the jaguar saw a hummingbird pass over his head, but in the opposite direction. The hummingbird flew towards the fire!
Whatever happened, he wouldn't stop. Moments later, the jaguar saw him pass again, this time in the same direction as the jaguar was walking. He could observe this coming and going, until he decided to ask the bird about it, because it seemed very bizarre behavior.
"What are you doing, hummingbird?" he asked.
"I am going to the lake," he answered, "I drink water with my beak and throw it on the fire to extinguish it." The jaguar laughed. 'Are you crazy? Do you really think that you can put out that big fire on your own with your very small beak?'
'No,' said the hummingbird, 'I know I can't. But the forest is my home. It feeds me, it shelters me and my family. I am very grateful for that. And I help the forest grow by pollinating its flowers. I am part of her and the forest is part of me. I know I can't put out the fire, but I must do my part.'
At that moment, the forest spirits, who listened to the hummingbird, were moved by the birdie and its devotion to the forest. And miraculously they sent a torrential downpour, which put an end to the great fire.
The Native American grandmothers would occasionally tell this story to their grandchildren, then conclude with, "Do you want to attract miracles into your life? Do your part."
“You have no responsibility to save the world or find the solutions to all problems—but to attend to your particular personal corner of the universe. As each person does that, the world saves itself.’" Written by :  The Lemurian Unicorns~. Luisa Morando

Monday, March 20, 2023

Being intelligent



Intelligence is "the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills."

To do that requires the ability and willingness to acknowledge that we don't already know everything, and that some of what we already know is not accurate.  I would say that morality also requires this.

It's mid-March and the Great Lakes are virtually ice-free. That's a problem.


Akron Beacon Journal


 Caitlin Looby, Akron Beacon Journal
Sun, March 19, 2023 at 5:56 AM EDT

It’s the middle of March and the Great Lakes are virtually ice-free.

Ice has been far below average this year, with only 7% of the lakes covered as of last Monday — and no ice at all on Lake Erie. Lake Erie's average ice coverage for this time of year is 40%, based on measurements over the past half-century. The lake typically freezes over the quickest and has the most ice cover because it's the shallowest of the five Great Lakes.

But communities along Ohio's north coast, including Cleveland, Sandusky and Port Clinton, have seen considerably less ice forming on Lake Erie in recent years.


No ice isn’t a good thing for the lakes’ ecosystem. It can even stir up dangerous waves and lake-effect snowstorms.


During stormy winter months, ice cover tempers waves. When there is low ice cover, waves can be much larger, leading to lakeshore flooding and erosion. That happened in January 2020 along Lake Michigan’s southwestern shoreline. Record high lake levels mixed with winds whipped up 15-foot waves that flooded shorelines, leading Gov. Tony Evers to declare a state of emergency for Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha counties.

And while less ice may seem like a good thing for the lakes’ shipping industry, those waves can create dangerous conditions.


The Great Lakes have been losing ice for the past five decades, a trend that scientists say will likely continue.

Of the last 25 years, 64% had below-average ice, said Michael Notaro, the director of the Center on Climatic Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

But this also comes with a lot of ups and downs, largely because warming is causing the jet stream to “meander,” said Ayumi Fujisaki Manome, a scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research at the University of Michigan who models ice cover and hazardous weather across the lakes.

There is a lot of year-to-year variability with ice cover spiking in years like 2014, 2015 and 2019 where the lakes were almost completely iced over.

A downturn in ice coverage due to climate change will likely have cascading effects on the lakes’ ecosystems.

Lake whitefish, a mainstay in the lakes’ fishing industry and an important food source for other fish like walleye, are one of the many Great Lakes fish that will be affected, said Ed Rutherford, a fishery biologist who also works at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.

Lake whitefish spawn in the fall in nearshore areas, leaving the eggs to incubate over the winter months. When ice isn’t there, strong winds and waves can stir up the sediment, reducing the number of fish that are hatched in the spring, Rutherford said.

Walleye and yellow perch also need extended winters, he said. If they don’t get enough time to overwinter in cold water, their eggs will be a lot smaller, making it harder for them to survive.


Declining ice cover on the lakes is also delaying the southward migration of dabbling ducks, a group of ducks that include mallards, out of the Great Lakes in the fall and winter, Notaro said. And if the ducks spend more time in the region it will increase the foraging pressure on inland wetlands.

Warming lakes and a loss of ice cover over time also will be coupled with more extreme rainfall, likely inciting more harmful algae blooms, said Notaro. These blooms largely form from agricultural runoff, creating thick, green mats on the lake surface that can be toxic to humans and pets.


“Unless we can keep climate change in check … it will have changes that we anticipate and others that we don’t know about yet,” Rutherford said.

Alex Jones transferring assets to family and friends, evading payments to Sandy Hook families


The Hill


 Julia Shapero
Sat, March 18, 2023 at 11:15 PM EDT

Infowars host Alex Jones has transferred millions of dollars’ worth of assets to family and friends, potentially shielding his wealth from the nearly $1.5 billion in legal damages he owes to the families of the Sandy Hook shooting victims, according to The New York Times.


He filed for both personal and business bankruptcy within the last year as the damages piled up — a move that the Sandy Hook families have claimed is an effort to shield his assets from creditors.

His company Free Speech Systems, which filed for bankruptcy last July, was reportedly transferring tens of thousands of dollars to PQPR, a company owned by Jones and his parents, according to the Times.

 Jones has also transferred a $3 million property to his wife and continues to transfer other real estate assets to family members, including an adult son, and has struck up business partnerships with several new companies created by his friends, the Times reported.



Sunday, March 19, 2023

Why You Should Stop Charging Your Phone in Your Car

For details, see the article:


Brooke Nelson   Updated: Mar. 09, 2023


The nature of charging your phone in your car poses a risk to your phone. Most people use the cigarette lighter, which generally provides 12V.

“Smartphones typically use 5V when charging, which the adapter is normally able to safely regulate the voltage,” Joshua Sutton, uBreakiFix Training Department Manager, told Reader’s Digest. “However, if the adapter is malfunctioning or is not made by your phone’s manufacturer, it can send too much power to your smartphone and potentially damage it. Most of the time you may not immediately notice this damage as it generally affects your phone battery first, diminishing the health of the battery.” This is how you can charge your phone as quickly as possible.


A Four-Decade Secret: One Man’s Story of Sabotaging Carter’s Re-election


At least one of these link will hopefully bypass the paywall.  I do have a subscription despite being retired with a low income, because I want to support important news reporting.


By Peter Baker
 March 18, 2023

It has been more than four decades, but Ben Barnes said he remembers it vividly. His longtime political mentor invited him on a mission to the Middle East. What Mr. Barnes said he did not realize until later was the real purpose of the mission: to sabotage the re-election campaign of the president of the United States.

It was 1980 and Jimmy Carter was in the White House, bedeviled by a hostage crisis in Iran that had paralyzed his presidency and hampered his effort to win a second term. Mr. Carter’s best chance for victory was to free the 52 Americans held captive before Election Day. That was something that Mr. Barnes said his mentor was determined to prevent.


What happened next Mr. Barnes has largely kept secret for nearly 43 years. Mr. Connally, he said, took him to one Middle Eastern capital after another that summer, meeting with a host of regional leaders to deliver a blunt message to be passed to Iran: Don’t release the hostages before the election. Mr. Reagan will win and give you a better deal.

William J. Casey, the chairman of Mr. Reagan’s campaign and later director of the Central Intelligence Agency, briefing him about the trip in an airport lounge.


With Mr. Carter now 98 and in hospice care, Mr. Barnes said he felt compelled to come forward to correct the record.

“History needs to know that this happened,” Mr. Barnes, who turns 85 next month, said in one of several interviews, his first with a news organization about the episode. “I think it’s so significant and I guess knowing that the end is near for President Carter put it on my mind more and more and more. I just feel like we’ve got to get it down some way.”

Mr. Barnes is no shady foreign arms dealer with questionable credibility, like some of the characters who fueled previous iterations of the October surprise theory. He was once one of the most prominent figures in Texas, the youngest speaker of the Texas House of Representatives and later lieutenant governor. He was such an influential figure that he helped a young George W. Bush get into the Texas Air National Guard rather than be exposed to the draft and sent to Vietnam. Lyndon B. Johnson predicted that Mr. Barnes would become president someday.


Mr. Barnes identified four living people he said he had confided in over the years: Mark K. Updegrove, president of the L.B.J. Foundation; Tom Johnson, a former aide to Lyndon Johnson (no relation) who later became publisher of the Los Angeles Times and president of CNN; Larry Temple, a former aide to Mr. Connally and Lyndon Johnson; and H.W. Brands, a University of Texas historian.

All four of them confirmed in recent days that Mr. Barnes shared the story with them years ago. “As far as I know, Ben never has lied to me,” Tom Johnson said, a sentiment the others echoed. Mr. Brands included three paragraphs about Mr. Barnes’s recollections in a 2015 biography of Mr. Reagan, but the account generated little public notice at the time.

Records at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum confirm part of Mr. Barnes’s story. An itinerary found this past week in Mr. Connally’s files indicated that he did, in fact, leave Houston on July 18, 1980, for a trip that would take him to Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel before returning to Houston on Aug. 11. Mr. Barnes was listed as accompanying him.


Mr. Barnes said he was certain the point of Mr. Connally’s trip was to get a message to the Iranians to hold the hostages until after the election. “I’ll go to my grave believing that it was the purpose of the trip,” he said. “It wasn’t freelancing because Casey was so interested in hearing as soon as we got back to the United States.” Mr. Casey, he added, wanted to know whether “they were going to hold the hostages.”


 he does not know if the message transmitted to multiple Middle Eastern leaders got to the Iranians, much less whether it influenced their decision making. But Iran did hold the hostages until after the election, which Mr. Reagan won, and did not release them until minutes after noon on Jan. 20, 1981, when Mr. Carter left office.


The term “October surprise” was originally used by the Reagan camp to describe its fears that Mr. Carter would manipulate the hostage crisis to effect a release just before the election.

To forestall such a scenario, Mr. Casey was alleged to have met with representatives of Iran in July and August 1980 in Madrid leading to a deal supposedly finalized in Paris in October in which a future Reagan administration would ship arms to Tehran through Israel in exchange for the hostages being held until after the election.


Mr. Barnes said he had no idea of the purpose of the Middle East trip when Mr. Connally invited him. They traveled to the region on a Gulfstream jet owned by Superior Oil. Only when they sat down with the first Arab leader did Mr. Barnes learn what Mr. Connally was up to, he said.

Mr. Connally said, “‘Look, Ronald Reagan’s going to be elected president and you need to get the word to Iran that they’re going to make a better deal with Reagan than they are Carter,’” Mr. Barnes recalled. “He said, ‘It would be very smart for you to pass the word to the Iranians to wait until after this general election is over.’ And boy, I tell you, I’m sitting there and I heard it and so now it dawns on me, I realize why we’re there.”

Mr. Barnes said that, except for Israel, Mr. Connally repeated the same message at every stop in the region to leaders such as President Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt.


Mr. Barnes said he did not reveal the real story at the time to avoid blowback from his own party. “I don’t want to look like Benedict Arnold to the Democratic Party by participating in this,” he recalled explaining to a friend. The headlines at the time, he imagined, would have been scandalous. “I did not want that to be on my obituary at all.”

But as the years have passed, he said, he has often thought an injustice had been done to Mr. Carter. Discussing the trip now, he indicated, was his way of making amends. “I just want history to reflect that Carter got a little bit of a bad deal about the hostages,” he said. “He didn’t have a fighting chance with those hostages still in the embassy in Iran.”

Saturday, March 18, 2023

How to Find and Disable a Hidden Apple AirTag That Could Be Tracking You


See the article at the following link:


Brooke Nelson

Updated: Feb. 11, 2022

Apple has improved our lives in thousands of positive ways, from turning phones into veritable computers to making it easier to track health info and pay via wristwatch. And yes, by creating tech that tracks lost objects. That’s the simple solution behind AirTags, small Bluetooth- and GPS-enabled devices designed to help you find frequently lost items, like keys and wallets. Unfortunately, this new tracking technology can be dangerous in the wrong hands. This year, a Sports Illustrated model reported that a stranger tried to track her location using one of Apple’s AirTags.


Roundup, the World’s Favorite Weed Killer, Linked to Liver, Metabolic Diseases in Kids


By Liza Gross
March 17, 2023

Eskenazi, who runs the Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas study (known as CHAMACOS, Mexican Spanish slang for “little kids”), has tracked pairs of mothers and their children for more than 20 years. She’s collected hundreds of thousands of samples of blood, urine and saliva, along with exposure and health records. This treasure trove of data has produced unprecedented insights into the effects of environmental hazards on children living in California’s Salinas Valley, an agricultural region often called the “world’s salad bowl.” 

So when Charles Limbach, a doctor at a Salinas health clinic, saw an explosion of fatty liver disease in his young patients and found a study linking the condition in adults to the weed killer glyphosate, he contacted Eskenazi.

Eskenazi, who also heads the Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health at the University of California, Berkeley, offered to pull samples from her freezer to test Limbach’s suspicions about glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup and the most popular herbicide on the planet. The pair enlisted the help of Paul Mills, chief of U.C. San Diego’s Behavioral Medicine Division, who led the glyphosate study in adults, along with several other scientists at Eskenazi’s center.

The results of the team’s study of Eskenazi’s children, published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives earlier this month, echoed what Mills had found in older patients.

”We show an association between early life exposure to glyphosate and liver inflammation and metabolic disease in young adults,” said Eskenazi, who led the study.

These conditions can be precursors for more serious diseases, including liver cancer and cardiometabolic diseases like stroke and diabetes, she said. “And these are only 18-year-olds.”


Teenagers who had metabolic syndrome and markers of liver disease at age 18 had higher urinary concentrations of AMPA and glyphosate between ages 5 and 18 years.  Metabolic syndrome in the 18-year-olds was also associated with agricultural use of glyphosate near their homes during early childhood.


AMPA is also a byproduct of compounds found in other products, including fire retardants and detergents. “But other studies have shown that the lion’s share, a much, much larger proportion of AMPA is due to glyphosate,” Eskenazi said.

The liver and metabolic conditions the researchers saw could be related to other causes, such as poor diet or excess weight. But the associations between AMPA and glyphosate remained when they controlled for those factors.

The findings are not surprising, considering the other studies showing liver toxicity and microbiome effects in animal models, said Bruce Blumberg, an expert on obesity and related metabolic disorders at the University of California, Irvine who was not involved in the new study. 


Eskenazi’s CHAMACOS study previously linked pesticides and other harmful exposures to neurodevelopmental disorders, lower IQ, preterm birth, respiratory problems and obesity, among other health problems.


Exposing honeybees to glyphosate interferes with their gut microbes, making the pollinators critical to the food supply more likely to die from infections, researchers reported in 2018. Exposing mice to glyphosate appears to disrupt gut microbes that communicate with the brain, making the rodents anxious and listless.

Scientists have just started to study glyphosate’s ability to disrupt the trillions of microorganisms in the human gut that digest food and regulate metabolism, body weight and immune function.


Monsanto assured U.S. regulators that weeds wouldn’t evolve resistance to glyphosate when it sought approval for its Roundup Ready soybeans in the early 1990s. Two years later, scientists documented glyphosate resistance in weeds.

Farmers now spray more frequently at higher rates to control the recalcitrant weeds, applying close to 300 million pounds of glyphosate on average every year. They also must increasingly resort to tilling practices to eradicate weeds, a method that releases climate-warming gases from soil.


And scientists have found the world’s favorite weed killer most everywhere they’ve looked. In house dust, particulate matter carried by the wind, soil, ditches, rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, wetlands, groundwater, dairy cows’ urine and dietary staples like the corn, soy, wheat, legumes and oats used in cereals, baked goods and other processed foods.

Glyphosate is also in the urine of more than 80 percent of the U.S. population age 6 and older. 


“This chemical should be much more tightly regulated, probably not allowed for home use, and certainly under only restricted circumstances,” said Birnbaum, long the nation’s top toxicologist. If the human race is going to survive, she said, “we’ve got to stop using all these highly used chemicals, which poison us, wildlife and the whole ecosystem.”


Thursday, March 16, 2023

U.S. far from number 1 in life expectancy

See the links for the rankings of all countries.

 Life expectancy, in years, 2020 - Country rankings: The average for 2020 based on 191 countries was 72.18 years.The highest value was in Hong Kong: 85.39 years and the lowest value was in Chad: 52.78 years. The indicator is available from 1960 to 2020.  Source: The World Bank

Number 1 is Hong Kong     85.39

Number 52 is USA  77.28


Life expectancy at birth. Data based on the latest United Nations Population Division estimates.

[Appears to be as of 2020]


Number 1 is Hong Kong   both sexes : 85.29,  females 88.17, males 82.38

Number 46 is USA  both sexes :79.11,  females 81.65, males 76.6



Wednesday, March 15, 2023

February 2023 was Earth’s 4th-warmest February on record


 by Jeff Masters March 14, 2023

February 2023 was Earth’s fourth-warmest February since global record-keeping began in 1850. It was 0.97 degree Celsius (1.75°F) above the 20th-century average, NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information reported March 14. NASA also rated February 2023 as the fourth-warmest February on record, 1.24 degrees Celsius (2.23°F) above the 1880-1920 period, which is its best estimate for when preindustrial temperatures occurred. February 2023 was the fifth-warmest February on record according to the European Copernicus Climate Change Service and fourth-warmest according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. Minor differences in the agencies’ rankings can result from the different ways they treat data-sparse regions such as the Arctic. Note that new research by NOAA has now extended the global temperature record back to 1850 (an extra 30 years); the February 2023 report is the first one that uses this new dataset. The new dataset has also improved its handling of missing data regions like the Arctic.


Arctic sea ice extent during February 2023 was the third-lowest in the 44-year satellite record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. However, winter ice extent is a poor indicator of what the ice extent will be in summer and fall.


Antarctic sea ice extent in February was the lowest on record. By Feb. 14, it had broken the all-time seasonal low record set on Feb. 25, 2022, and has remained below the previous all-time low the rest of the month. Low Antarctic sea ice is concerning since the ice helps buttress land-based ice shelves that can contribute to sea level rise if not stabilized. Formation of Antarctic sea ice also helps drive an important ocean current system, the overturning thermohaline circulation, as explained in a Feb. 12 article at Inside Climate News.


Among global stations with a record of at least 40 years, seven set, not just tied, an all-time heat record in February, and no stations set an all-time cold record:


As of the end of February 2023, three nations or territories had set or tied an all-time national cold record:


Seventeen nations or territories have set monthly all-time heat records in 2023:


Friday, March 03, 2023

How many politicians are psychopaths?


I suggest reading the whole article at the link:


Brian Klaas
Feb 20, 2023


Those costs of obtaining political power in modern society are real. But there’s a certain kind of person who systematically discounts those risks; who thinks the costs don’t apply to them because they are smart enough to game the system; and, most importantly, who thinks that the power is worth any cost.

In English, we use the phrase “power-hungry” as an insult. But it literally means “someone who wants power.” And people who want power are more likely to get it.

Unfortunately, it turns out that psychopaths really want power—and are very good at getting it. There are, as we’ll soon see, a disproportionate number of psychopaths in politics (and business), destructive figures who have been dubbed “snakes in suits.”

That’s why the dedication of my last book, Corruptible, reads as follows: “To all the nice, non-psychopaths out there who should be in power but aren’t.”


When I interviewed psychopath experts about their research, all of them made two key points. First, psychopaths are known for superficial charm, which is useful both a serial killer luring victims to their car and for winning elections.

Second, psychopaths can be split into two categories: successful and unsuccessful, or disciplined and undisciplined. The unsuccessful psychopaths are unable to control their impulses. They end up in prison as abusers and serial killers. Where do the successful psychopaths end up? Too often, in board rooms and public office.


Because psychopathy exists on a spectrum, the prevalence of psychopaths in leadership positions relative to the general public depends on how you measure it. But the evidence is really clear that psychopaths are vastly over-represented in positions of power. Depending on the study you look at, the numbers range from four times to one hundred times more psychopaths in positions of leadership than in the general population, with some of the best studies putting the figure closer to twenty-five times higher.

The kind of politician may matter, too. A recent analysis by Alessandro Nai found that populist candidates are particularly likely to score higher on measures of disagreeable narcissism and psychopathy. 


Similarly, when it comes to politics, a wide array of research has suggested that psychopaths may be better at getting power, but are worse at wielding it. Leanne ten Brinke from the University of British Columbia told me about her research, which shows that politicians with more psychopathic traits are less effective when they become higher in the political hierarchy within Congress.

It’s difficult to draw sweeping conclusions from limited observational data, of course, but it all points in the same direction: psychopaths are better than the rest of us at getting power, but eventually become less effective leaders—and are often highly destructive before they’re taken down by their own vices.


Thursday, March 02, 2023

Brazil floods, landslides: Death toll rises to 64


Global warming is causing an increase in the amount of moisture in the air, which can result in increased precipitation when conditions are right for it to fall.

February 27, 2023

  The death toll from floods and landslides in southeast Brazil a week ago was officially increased to 64 Sunday, as the search continued for one missing person.

Among the confirmed toll, 18 were children, the Sao Paulo state government said in a statement.


More than 2,400 people were displaced by the downpour which washed away homes, roads, clinics and other infrastructure.


The South American country has been hit by a series of deadly weather disasters in recent years, which experts say are likely being made worse by climate change.

Wednesday, March 01, 2023

Please be considerate


Some people apparently don't realize that in places that have rows of attached seats, like music and theater venues, the vibrations from kicking one is transmitted to the whole row, and is very annoying, detracting greatly from others enjoyment.

What People Need to Know About Bluesnarfing

 Feb. 28, 2023

Seniors Guide 


Bluesnarfing is a wireless hacking technique in which a cyber-attacker illegally accesses a Bluetooth-enabled device (such as a phone, tablet, or laptop) without your permission. From their own laptop, the hacker can then gain access to your calendar, contact list, messages, photos, passwords, and other data without ever touching your device. They can even change settings and install malware, which could result in ID theft or fraud.  


If you are in public (for example, using your phone in a doctor’s office waiting room) and have Bluetooth turned on in your device settings (as most of us do), a cyber attacker within range of your network – around 30 feet – may be able to illegally access your phone.


 How can I protect myself against Bluesnarfing?

    Check your default Bluetooth settings. When you are not using Bluetooth, turn it off, or make it non-discoverable or hidden.
    Do not leave Bluetooth-enabled devices unattended. For example, if you were to leave a Bluetooth-enabled phone or tablet in your vehicle while you run into a store, a hacker in a nearby car could access your unprotected network.
    Never accept Bluetooth pairing requests from devices you do not recognize. If you are pairing a new device for the first time, do it at home, not in public.
    Keep your confidential and personal data such as financial documents or password lists safe in a device that does not use Bluetooth, such as your desktop computer at home.
    Always be sure that your mobile device has the latest update, as these updates tend to address security weaknesses and offer new protections in the form of software updates.
    Use a PIN to lock your device when not in use and always use strong passwords (a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.) If you have a difficult time remembering passwords, consider using an encrypted password manager such as LastPass to store your data.

Thanks to upgraded security features and built-in authentication in newer Bluetooth devices, Bluesnarfing attacks are on the decline. Keep in mind that if you have an older device, it may have a higher vulnerability, since it doesn’t have the benefit of newer security. 

VW wouldn’t locate kidnapped child because his mother didn’t pay for find-my-car subscription

Cory Doctorow
Feb 28, 2023


The masked car-thieves who stole a Volkswagen SUV in Lake County, IL didn’t know that there was a two-year-old child in the back seat — but that’s no excuse. A violent car-theft has the potential to hurt or kill people, after all.

Likewise, the VW execs who decided to nonconsensually track the location of every driver and sell that data to shady brokers — but to deny car owners access to that data unless they paid for a “find my car” subscription — didn’t foresee that their cheap, bumbling subcontractors would refuse the local sheriff’s pleas to locate the car with the kidnapped toddler.


The local sheriff called Volkswagen and begged them to track the car. VW refused, citing the fact that the mother had not paid for the $150 find-my-car subscription after the free trial period expired. Eventually, VW relented and called back with the location data — but not until after the stolen car had been found and the child had been retrieved.


In short: the automotive sector has filled our cars with surveillance gear, but that data is only reliably available to commercial data-brokers and hackers who breach Big Cars’ massive data repositories. Big Car has the IT capacity to fill our cars with cheat devices — but not the capacity to operate an efficient surveillance system to use in real emergencies. Big Car says that giving you control over your car will result in your murder — but when a child’s life is on the line, they can’t give you access to your own car’s location.


Wednesday, February 08, 2023

Chinese surveillance balloon part of massive program over 5 continents: Blinken


By Shannon K. Crawford and Luis Martinez
February 8, 2023, 5:58 PM

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday revealed that the U.S. assesses the alleged Chinese spy balloon shot down over the weekend was part of an expansive surveillance program aimed at gathering intelligence from targets around the globe.


That official also advised that the U.S. had briefed India, Japan, Vietnam, and Taiwan -- all of which appear to have been surveilled by Chinese balloons.

The same official also advised that Chinese balloons are believed to have transited through more than 40 countries and that the U.S. had recently briefed India, Japan, Vietnam, and Taiwan -- all of which appear to have been surveilled by the aircraft.


Feds see poverty rising in Atlanta’s suburban school districts


 A result of republican/conservative control in the suburbs vs Democratic in the city of Atlanta


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
By Ty Tagami - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Jan. 24, 2023

 Poverty rates are rising among young people in many of Atlanta’s suburbs, according to new federal data, creating an array of challenges for teachers and school district administrators.

From 2019 to 2021, the rate of poverty among residents aged 5-17 climbed nearly 7 percentage points in DeKalb County and more than 2 points in Clayton and Gwinnett counties. They and Cherokee County, up 1.4 percentage points, exceeded the average state increase of 1 point, according to the new youth census data , which is for residents within school districts whether or not they attend those schools.

Atlanta Public Schools was the only major metro Atlanta school district to see a sizable drop, falling a net 4.7 percentage points by 2021 after plummeting nearly 9 points the year before. 


people in the suburbs have noticed a change.

“We have an increasing number of people who are experiencing houselessness,” said Marlyn Tillman, co-founder and executive director of Gwinnett SToPP, an advocacy organization. “Our hotels are filling up with people living there.”

Lisa Morgan, president of the Georgia Association of Educators, said most of the suburban educators she knows have had students who lived in extended-stay hotels. Such transience affects learning, she said. 


Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Morning Has Broken, pet peeve

 Something that damages my enjoyment of the song "Morning Has Broken" is when people pronounce what should be re-creation (creating again) like recreation, like playing badminton. It trivializes the mood of the song.

They tried to get Trump to care about right-wing terrorism. He ignored them.

08/26/2020 04:30 AM EDT



Neumann was DHS’s assistant secretary for threat prevention and security policy at the time, handling counterterrorism work from the Department of Homeland Security’s headquarters. In M├ílaga, a history-drenched resort town on Spain’s Costa del Sol that once marked the fault line between the Muslim and Christian worlds, she and her counterparts from scores of countries spent long hours talking about the terrorism threats that concerned them most. After a while, she began to see a pattern: Though concerns about instability in the Middle East dominated most public discussions on counterterrorism, about 80 percent of the leaders at the conference ranked far-right extremism among their top concerns.


For Neumann, her nightmare scenario of globalized white supremacist terrorism was coming to life. Meanwhile, the U.S. government was doing far too little about its own homegrown extremists — often "lone wolves" radicalized online by white supremacist websites and fueled by hostility toward immigrants and minorities. But White House officials didn’t want to talk about the rising domestic extremist threat or even use the phrase “domestic terrorism.” The administration’s relentless, single-minded focus on immigration enforcement — coupled with nonstop turnover on the National Security Council — constantly pulled senior DHS leadership away from everything else. And her ultimate boss, President Donald Trump, was part of the problem.

This story is based on background and on-record interviews with current and former law enforcement officials, inside and outside DHS. It includes, for the first time, detailed comments from two top former political appointees in the department who tried to tackle the problem before giving up on the Trump administration. Frustrated by the president’s failure to act, they are actively supporting his opponent.

“At least in this [Trump] administration,” Neumann said, “there’s not going to be anything substantive done on domestic terrorism.”


The month after the El Paso and Dayton shootings, on Sept. 20, 2019, acting DHS Secretary McAleenan signed off on a strategic framework on terrorism and targeted violence. Neumann helmed the work drafting the document. McAleenan had previously ordered an immediate review of the department’s domestic terrorism efforts when he became its acting chief, and had tasked its Homeland Security Advisory Council with specifically looking into protecting houses of worship. He recognized domestic terror was a significant emerging threat and that the department needed to shift to respond to it, former DHS official Andrew Meehan said.

“White supremacist violent extremism, one type of racially- and ethnically-motivated violent extremism, is one of the most potent forces driving domestic terrorism,” the McAleenan framework document read.

The new strategic framework also promised that DHS would begin releasing a yearly State of the Homeland Threat Assessment document. Eleven months later, the first such briefing has yet to materialize. 


John Cohen, the department’s former counterterrorism coordinator, said DHS could bring tremendous expertise and capabilities to the effort to fight domestic terror.

“The challenge is bringing those resources together in a cohesive, coordinated, and comprehensive way,” he added.

And, he said, the president isn’t making it easy.

“Law enforcement officials are concerned that the political rhetoric used by the president to inspire his political base has been viewed by some violent white supremacists as a call to violent action, and has been viewed by a number of mentally unwell, violence-prone individuals as permission to engage in acts of violence,” he added.


One state law enforcement official, who requested anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, said the intelligence products DHS sends to its state and local partners emphasize the threat from left-wing extremists significantly more than the threat from right-wing extremists––and disproportionately so. Left-wing extremists have caused numerous problems and hurt police, the state official continued. “But none of them have been killed,” the official said. “But when we look at the far right, we’ve seen numerous attacks where cops have been killed.”

“I would expect at least a balanced production between far left and far right extremists,” the official continued.

The official also said he got much more helpful information on threats from the far right from the Anti-Defamation League than from DHS — particularly its material on Boogaloo, a coterie of extremists trying to incite a race war.

“They only have a handful of analysts at the ADL, and their handful of analysts put together a better product that the entire DHS,” the official said. 

Earlier in the Trump administration, DHS’s intelligence arm disbanded a group of analysts focused on domestic terrorism


The Center for Strategic and International Studies — a centrist Washington think tank known for its focus on international affairs and defense technology — released a briefing in June of this year concluding that the most significant terror threat to the U.S. appears to come from white supremacists. Right-wing extremists were responsible for two-thirds of terror attacks and plots in the U.S. last year, it found, and for 90 percent in the first four months of 2020.

Neumann left the department in April. Last week, she endorsed Joe Biden for president. Taylor and Mitnick have endorsed Biden as well.

“The good news is, the people who have been given the charge to protect the country — even the career officials who folks think are the deep state — they passionately care about their jobs and are going to do whatever it takes to protect the country,” she said. 

The richest 1 percent dodge taxes on more than one-fifth of their income, study shows

I suggest reading the whole article.


By Christopher Ingraham
March 26, 2021 at 7:08 a.m. EDT 

The richest Americans are hiding more than 20 percent of their earnings from the Internal Revenue Service, according to a comprehensive new estimate of tax evasion, with the top 1 percent of earners accounting for more than a third of all unpaid federal taxes.

That’s costing the federal government roughly $175 billion a year in revenue, according to the findings by a team of economists from academia and the IRS.


The researchers say that years of IRS funding cuts, combined with the increased sophistication of tax evasion tactics available to the rich, have made shirking tax obligations easier than ever. And they say that these estimates probably understate the true extent of tax evasion at the top of the income spectrum.


But the new study finds that even the IRS’s standard corrections underestimate the true extent of tax evasion among the rich.

The researchers were able to demonstrate this after the IRS and Justice Department initiated a crackdown on tax evasion in 2008. That effort led to the creation of the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program, which allowed taxpayers to disclose previously hidden offshore assets and pay a penalty in exchange for immunity from prosecution. According to the IRS, tens of thousands of taxpayers took advantage of the program before it shut down in 2018.

Hundreds of those taxpayers, as it turns out, had also been randomly audited before the creation of the program. The researchers matched those audits with the subsequent disclosures, and found that IRS auditors missed the offshore assets roughly 93 percent of the time.

These riches sheltered overseas, moreover, were concentrated almost exclusively among the very top earners.

The study also uncovered evidence of widespread underreporting of income among proprietors of pass-through businesses, whose revenue is taxed on their owners’ returns. “Up to 35% of the income earned at the top is not comprehensively examined in the context of random audits,” the authors found.




Since 2010, total funding for the IRS fell by about 20 percent, according to recent congressional testimony by IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig. The number of enforcement staff employed by the agency fell 30 percent over the same period.

Those staffing cuts have, in turn, driven a sharp drop in audit rates, especially for wealthy taxpayers. In the mid-2010s, close to 30 percent of the returns of the richest 0.01 percent of taxpayers — those earning at least $10 million a year — were typically audited. By 2019, that number had fallen to well under 10 percent.