Saturday, October 28, 2023

Why You Don’t Need to Rake Leaves


Burning leaves is especially dumb.


By Remy Tumin
Published Oct. 19, 2023Updated Oct. 20, 2023

You might want to kick it or step on it to hear the satisfying crunch underfoot. You might even be tempted to jump into it.

But that pile of leaves is home to an entire ecosystem filled with critical organic matter. In fact, those leaves probably shouldn’t be piled at all.

In recent years, some naturalists have called for an approach known as “leaving leaves” when they fall to the ground, which would return organic materials back to the soil.

“A forest has the richest soil there is, and that happens because leaves are falling off the trees and decomposing right there and organic materials are going back into the soil,” said Susan Barton, a professor and extension specialist in landscape horticulture at the University of Delaware. “We should be doing that in all of our landscapes, but we’re not.”


Friday, October 27, 2023

Conservative groups draw up plan to dismantle the US government and replace it with Trump’s vision

Updated 5:18 PM EDT, August 29, 2023

With more than a year to go before the 2024 election, a constellation of conservative organizations is preparing for a possible second White House term for Donald Trump, recruiting thousands of Americans to come to Washington on a mission to dismantle the federal government and replace it with a vision closer to his own.


With a nearly 1,000-page “Project 2025” handbook and an “army” of Americans, the idea is to have the civic infrastructure in place on Day One to commandeer, reshape and do away with what Republicans deride as the “deep state” bureaucracy, in part by firing as many as 50,000 federal workers.


The goal is to avoid the pitfalls of Trump’s first years in office, when the Republican president’s team was ill-prepared, his Cabinet nominees had trouble winning Senate confirmation and policies were met with resistance — by lawmakers, government workers and even Trump’s own appointees who refused to bend or break protocol, or in some cases violate laws, to achieve his goals.


Much of the new president’s agenda would be accomplished by reinstating what’s called Schedule F — a Trump-era executive order that would reclassify tens of thousands of the 2 million federal employees as essentially at-will workers who could more easily be fired.


There’s a “top to bottom overhaul” of the Department of Justice, particularly curbing its independence and ending FBI efforts to combat the spread of misinformation. It calls for stepped-up prosecution of anyone providing or distributing abortion pills by mail.


To push past senators who try to block presidential Cabinet nominees, Project 2025 proposes installing top allies in acting administrative roles, as was done during the Trump administration to bypass the Senate confirmation process.


17 million U.S. households faced food insecurity in 2022,


new report from the United States Department of Agriculture released Wednesday showed that food insecurity across households nationwide rose significantly in 2022 compared to the year prior. Food insecurity among families with children also rose astoundingly.

Specifically, the report found that 12.8% of households — or 17 million households — struggled to acquire enough food last year due to a lack of resources. That is up from 13.5 million households, or 10.2%, the year before. Nearly 7 million households had very low food security, meaning “the food intake of some household members was reduced, and normal eating patterns were disrupted at times during the year because of limited resources,” the USDA said.

Close to 9% of households with children were unable at times to provide adequate and nutritious food for their children last year, compared to 6.2% of households (2.3 million households) in 2021. Children, along with adults, suffered instances of very low food security in 381,000 households with children, which is statistically significantly higher than the 0.7 percent, or 274,000


Thursday, October 26, 2023

Infant’s death prompts FDA warning on probiotics

10/26/23 4:30 PM ET

An infant’s death has prompted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue a warning to medical professionals about giving probiotics to hospitalized preterm infants.

Monday, October 23, 2023

Hurricanes are now twice as likely to zip from minor to whopper than decades ago

by Seth Borenstein

With warmer oceans serving as fuel, Atlantic hurricanes are now more than twice as likely as before to rapidly intensify from wimpy minor hurricanes to powerful and catastrophic, a study said Thursday.

Last month Hurricane Lee went from barely a hurricane at 80 mph (129 kph) to the most powerful Category 5 hurricane with 155 mph (249 kph) winds in 24 hours. In 2017, before it devastated Puerto Rico, Hurricane Maria went from a Category 1  with 90 mph (145 kph) to a top-of-the-chart whopper with 160 mph (257 kph) winds in just 15 hours.

The study looked at 830 Atlantic tropical cyclones since 1971. It found that in the last 20 years, 8.1% of the time storms powered from a Category 1 minor storm to a  in just 24 hours. That happened only 3.2% of the time from 1971 to 1990, according to a study in the journal Scientific Reports.


Sunday, October 22, 2023

The Phantom Hacker:" FBI Phoenix Warns Public of New Financial Scam

October 20, 2023

Phoenix, Ariz.–FBI Phoenixis warning the public of a new scam dubbed “The Phantom Hacker.” Scammers are impersonating technology, banking, and government officials in a complex ruse to convince a typically older victim that foreign hackers have infiltrated their financial account.The scammers then instruct the victim to immediately move their money to an alleged U.S. Government account to “protect” their assets. In reality, there was never any foreign hacker, and the money is now fully controlled by the scammers. Some victims are losing their entire life savings.


Thursday, October 19, 2023

Earth Started Getting Less Green 20 Years Ago

By  on 


[The wording in this article might be misleading to non-scientists.  Warmer air holds more moisture, so the atmosphere holds more total moisture than previously because it is sucking up more moisture from the earth, making the earth drier.  The extra moisture in the atmosphere also causes more precipitation when the air cools.]

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Reason loses

 You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.

~ Robert A. Heinlein

Moral quandary

 Oct. 17, 2023

I'm sad that I have to think it is a good thing that some people are being killed in order to protect others.

Monday, October 16, 2023

SUVs emit more climate damaging gas than older cars do, study finds

Peter Walker

Mon 16 Oct 2023 01.00 EDT

The increasing popularity of ultra-heavy SUVs in England means a conventional-engined car bought in 2013 will, on average, have lower carbon emissions than one bought new today, new research has found.

The study by the climate campaign group Possible said there was a strong correlation between income and owning a large SUV, which meant there was a sound argument for “polluter pays” taxes for vehicle emissions based on size.


Friday, October 13, 2023

Our reptilian brain


I'm sure if Carl Sagan were still alive, he would have included social media:

MacLean has shown that the R-complex plays an important role in aggressive behavior, territoriality, ritual and the establishment of social hierarchies. Despite occasional welcome exceptions, this seems to me to characterize a great deal of modern human bureaucratic and political behavior.

Monday, October 09, 2023

Vermont Utility Plans to End Outages by Giving Customers Batteries

Oct. 9, 2023

Many electric utilities are putting up lots of new power lines as they rely more on renewable energy and try to make grids more resilient in bad weather. But a Vermont utility is proposing a very different approach: It wants to install batteries at most homes to make sure its customers never go without electricity.

The company, Green Mountain Power, proposed buying batteries, burying power lines and strengthening overhead cables in a filing with state regulators on Monday. It said its plan would be cheaper than building a lot of new lines and power plants.


No More War

No More War
copyright Patricia M. Shannon 2010

No more war, I want to have no more war,
why can't we all just try to get along?
Hate is easy, it's for the weak and lazy,
it's really dumb and crazy, war.
If we don't learn to change our ways,
could be the end of the human race.

No more war, I want to have no more war,
we got to have no more babies crying in pain,
No more war, we got to have no more war,
just got to have no more war, no more war!

War's not always between two different countries,
it's something that is practiced every day -
on highways, blogs, politics, jobs, sports, and families,
war is being waged each day.
If we could learn to live at peace
with our own neighbors, someday war might cease.

No more war, I want to have no more war,
we got to have no more babies dying in pain,
No more war, we got to have no more war,
just got to have no more war, no more war!

Friday, October 06, 2023

Gen. Milley: Public can rest easy on Biden's decision making

 at 12:55:49p EDT


Mark Milley, the former chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appeared on “60 Minutes.” CBS’ Norah O’Donnell asked him directly about President Joe Biden's age, which has been the subject of both Republican attacks and obsessive media coverage. Milley said he didn’t want to get into the politics of it before giving a very positive assessment of Biden’s mental acuity.

“I engage with him frequently and [he’s] alert, sound, does his homework, reads the papers, reads all the read-ahead material. And he's very, very engaging in issues of very serious matters of war and peace and life and death," Milley said. "So if the American people are worried about an individual who is, you know, someone who's making decisions of war and peace and has access to, you know, makes the decisions of nuclear weapons and that sort of thing, I think they can rest easy.”


Thursday, October 05, 2023

Trump allegedly discussed US nuclear subs with foreign national after leaving White House

October 5, 2023, 7:31 PM

Months after leaving the White House, former President Donald Trump allegedly discussed potentially sensitive information about U.S. nuclear submarines with a member of his Mar-a-Lago Club -- an Australian billionaire who then allegedly shared the information with scores of others, including more than a dozen foreign officials, several of his own employees, and a handful of journalists, according to sources familiar with the matter.


Monday, October 02, 2023

Rand Paul demands federal disaster aid for Kentucky after voting against it for everyone else

 Typical republican


Consider the two faces of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

First, the Rand Paul of Dec. 11, writing to President Biden after a string of tornadoes devastated his home state, killing at least 64 and leveling whole communities:

“The Governor of the Commonwealth has requested federal assistance this morning, and certainly further requests will be coming as the situation is assessed. I fully support those requests and ask that you move expeditiously to approve the appropriate resources for our state.”

Second, the Rand Paul of Oct. 24, 2017, on the Senate floor opposing a $36.5-billion disaster aid bill to help residents of Texas, Louisiana, Florida and Puerto Rico after hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria as well as victims of wildfires in California:

“People here will say they have great compassion and they want to help the people of Puerto Rico, the people of Texas, the people of Florida, but notice they have great compassion with someone else’s money. Ask them what they’re doing to help their fellow man.”


A cursory glance at his record indicates that he has consistently opposed federal disaster relief measures.


US pays far more for health care than other countries

Sunday, October 01, 2023

Tax-Aide needs volunteers

 Tax-Aide scope of service sometimes changes, so if you previously were not able to have them do your taxes, it is possible they may be able to do them now.


 Tax-Aide needs volunteers! It provides free tax preparation, and it is very personally rewarding to be able to help people. Tax-Aide provides training. They are starting up their training now, sending out training materials. You do not need to be a certain age for us to do your taxes.


Now more than ever, older adults living on a limited income need help getting tax breaks. As a Tax-Aide volunteer, you can help your neighbors in need get money back, making a big difference in a short amount of time.

These days, more people can’t afford to pay for professional tax preparation — and often miss out on much-needed tax breaks and refunds. Since 1968, Tax-Aide has helped over 75 million taxpayers with low to moderate income file their returns.

You don’t have to be a tax pro to volunteer with us — there are many ways to get involved and connect with people in your community. Best of all, giving back with your new friends at Tax-Aide is rewarding and the camaraderie and support makes volunteering fun.

Ten Ways Billionaires Avoid Taxes on an Epic Scale

 See link for details:

Last June, drawing on the largest trove of confidential American tax data that’s ever been obtained, ProPublica launched a series of stories documenting the key ways the ultrawealthy avoid taxes, strategies that are largely unavailable to most taxpayers. To mark the first anniversary of the launch, we decided to assemble a quick summary of the techniques — all of which can generate tax savings on a massive scale — revealed in the series.


Mass Extinction: Entire Branches on Tree of Life Are Dying, Scientists Warn

19 September 2023

Like the comet striking the dinosaurs – in slower motion, but just as deadly – human activity is hacking off entire branches from the tree of life, a new study confirms.

"It is changing the trajectory of evolution globally and destroying the conditions that make human life possible," ecologists warn in their new paper.

"It is an irreversible threat to the persistence of civilization and the livability of future environments for Homo sapiens."


Over 100 Dolphins Dead in Brazilian Amazon

Over a hundred dolphins were found dead in the Brazilian Amazon over the last seven days, amid record-breaking water temperatures of more than 102 degrees. Researchers are working to rescue surviving dolphins and transfer them to other bodies of water, but the task has proved difficult.


Swiss glaciers have lost 10% of their volume in the past 2 years 

 A Swiss Academy of Sciences panel is reporting a dramatic acceleration of glacier melt in the Alpine country, which has lost 10% of its ice volume in just two years after high summer heat and low snow volumes in winter.

Switzerland — home to the most glaciers of any country in Europe — has seen 4% of its total glacier volume disappear in 2023, the second-biggest decline in a single year on top of a 6% drop in 2022, the biggest thaw since measurements began, the academy’s commission for cryosphere observation said.