Saturday News

It is the weekend and as it begins I want to post on the stuff the MSM missed……

On the health front… there a ‘broken heart syndrome’?

The technical term is takotsubo cardiomyopathy, but most would probably know the ailment by its informal name—broken heart syndrome. Now, a new study in the Journal of the American Heart Association finds that cases are on the rise, particularly among women ages 50 to 74, reports WebMD. Don’t be fooled by the nickname: The syndrome is a very real physical problem—and a serious one—though cases are rarely fatal. Still, patients may end up in the ICU for weeks recovering. The ailment is usually preceded by an extreme shock, stress, or loss, and symptoms include chest pain so severe it feels like a heart attack, fainting, and shortness of breath.

The peer-reviewed study shows that while the ailment isn’t common, neither is it as rare as once thought. Researchers found 135,463 US cases from 2006 to 2017, and 88.3% of them involved women 50 or older, per USA Today. In fact, cases were rising most quickly (up at least six-fold) in the 50-to-74 age group of women. Lead researcher Dr. Susan Cheng of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center says the trigger can be something as innocuous as a surprise party or anything from a car accident to a romantic breakup. The formal name speaks to the telltale clue of diagnosis: The heart’s left ventricle changes shape and resembles an octopus pot used by Japanese fishermen called a takotsubo.

“Men and women have different biology and susceptibility to diseases,” says Cheng. “Those differences get exaggerated over time, and in this study, it seems to be applicable here also.” Greater awareness is playing role in the increased diagnoses, but Cheng says still-unidentified environmental factors are probably a factor, too. Future research will try to pinpoint who might be most vulnerable. “There probably is some underlying genetic predisposition,” she says

More news on the real discovery of North America…..

The first permanent settlement of Vikings in North America—a seaside outpost in Newfoundland known as L’Anse aux Meadows—has tantalized archaeologists for more than 60 years. Now, scientists at last have a precise date for the site: Tree rings show a Viking ax felled trees on the North American continent exactly 1000 years ago, in 1021 C.E. The result is a star example of a relatively new dating method using a spike in solar radiation that left its mark in tree rings around the world.

“The precision is astounding,” says Rachel Wood, a radiocarbon scientist at the Australian National University who wasn’t involved in the new study. “The idea to use these short-term sharp fluctuations in radiocarbon … has been around for a few years, but it is great to see it actually being used to date an important archaeological site.”

The Vinland sagas, a pair of Icelandic texts written in the 13th century, describe the Norse explorer Leif Erikson’s expeditions to a land referred to as Vinland. Although the texts contain their fair share of embellishment, most historians agree the sagas show Vikings sailed southwest from Greenland and reached the North American continent sometime at the turn of the millennium. The discovery of a Viking-era archaeological site in 1960 featuring the remains of distinctive Norse-style buildings, a bronze cloak pin, iron nails, and other Viking artifacts bolstered such evidence.

Do you own a leaf blower?

If so you might want to read this…..

A lot of crimes against nature are committed in the name of lawn care. Pesticides are involved. Other practices endanger insects, birds, and plants. But with its high levels of chemical emissions, deafening noise, and unhealthy pollution, Margaret Renkl writes in an opinion piece in the New York Times, the leaf blower stands alone. California is phasing out gas-powered lawn equipment, and should that idea catch on, Renkl doesn’t think the nation—or its lawns—would miss it.

California has stricter emissions standards than the federal ones. Partly because of that, the state has turned the tables, with passenger vehicles’ emissions running below that of other machinery. “Think about that for a minute: Lawn-care equipment creates more pollution in California than cars do,” Renkle says. Most of the equipment uses the outdated two-stroke engine, which holds oil and gas in the same chamber and releases up to one-third of the fuel into the air as unburned aerosol. And that engine is loud.

Some versions produce as much noise as a plane taking off. In total, the equipment burns almost 2.2 billion gallons of gas per year. The dust the blowers kick up contains mold, pollen and chemicals, adding risk of lung cancer, asthma, cardiovascular disease, premature birth, and other problems. “What’s bad for the environment is bad for humans, too—most menacingly, of course, for the employees of landscape services,” Renkle writes, “who are exposed to these dangers all day long.”

Electric leaf blowers are an improvement, Renkle says. But they still take a toll on biodiversity. Renkle says she resists the temptation to fire up a gas-powered engine when leaves start to cover her lawn. “The leaves that fall across every inch of this wild half acre of suburbia are so much prettier than any unnaturally green lawn beaten into submission by stench-spewing machinery,” she writes. Read the full piece here.

On the ironic front…..or ‘karma is a bitch’ category…..

Poaching wild animals isn’t safe for humans, either. Another suspected poacher was found dead in Kruger National Park in South Africa on Thursday, USA Today reports. Just last April, rangers caught three men hunting for rhinoceros and gave chase. One of them was caught, but another one came across a herd of elephants and was trampled to death. Park officials investigating the incident say they think the man was killed by elephants, and that none of the park’s resident wildlife was harmed. In a tweet, representatives for the park said “it is dangerous to hunt illegally in the KNP. Criminals stand to lose their lives and their freedom.” The man’s body was found during an operation in the park organized to crack down on poaching.

Officials say a cell phone was found with the deceased, which authorities are hoping will lead to his accomplices, CBS News reports. Rhinoceros poaching is common in the park, which has lost 70% of its rhinos in the last ten years. Elephant poaching has become so prevalent that the population appears to be evolving, with more and more calves born tuskless. Four rhino poachers were caught Tuesday, though, as part of a recent effort to stop poachers before they actually hunt any animals. COVID travel restrictions have decreased the number of poachers, too, and the park says the number of illegal kills is down 37 percent compared to 2020.

That is all the mundane news you cannot use…..

Enjoy your weekend and have a safe Halloween weekend….

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”