Saturday News Dump

I begin this Saturday news dump with some good news…..

The devastating earthquake that recently hit Turkey and Syria that killed many and left thousands homeless….one more survivor has been pulled out of the rubble….

After a series of miraculous rescues, teams digging through the rubble in the aftermath of last month’s earthquake in Turkey and Syria had more or less given up on finding any more survivors. That is, until Tuesday, when an “unexpected groan” emitted from underneath a concrete block pile near Antakya, in the Turkish province of Hatay, per Al-Monitor. That groan came from Alex, a “young-looking” husky pulled to safety by rescuers more than three weeks after the quake that’s killed more than 50,000. WION notes it took an hour and a half to rescue Alex from the rubble. In a video circulating online, voices can be heard calling Alex’s name before he’s brought to safety; once yanked out of the space where he was trapped, he remains calm as he’s held by various rescuers.

A local tells the DHA news agency that aid teams heard Alex only because they’d been in the area looking for sites to set up temporary shelters for those who’d been displaced by the quake, per Al-Monitor. Alex isn’t the only lucky pet to see the light of day again: France 24 reports that Turkey’s Animal Rights Federation, aka HAYTAP, has rescued nearly 1,000 dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, and even cows in the temblor’s aftermath. Meanwhile, a more recent video shows Alex after his own rescue, apparently after he’d been cleaned up and fed, happily accepting the attention and affection of a HAYTAP worker at a veterinary field hospital. A volunteer with the group tells the Anadolu news agency that Alex did lose a significant amount of weight during his ordeal, but is otherwise in good condition.

On the health and wellness front….

Experts are warning against consuming a zero-calorie sweetener used in stevia and keto diet products as new research shows it may increase one’s risk of blood clots and other cardiovascular problems. The study of 1,157 volunteers undergoing cardiac risk assessment, published Monday in Nature Medicine, found those with the highest levels of erythritol in their blood had twice the risk for heart attack, stroke, blood clot, and death compared with those with the lowest levels, per USA Today and CNN. The research suggests the sugar substitute promotes blood clots, which can travel to the heart and trigger a heart attack, or travel to the brain and trigger a stroke.

Alarmingly, “the very group of people most vulnerable to experiencing adverse cardiac events are the ones we’re recommending these kinds of dietary foods for,” Dr. Stanley Hazen of the Cleveland Clinic, who led the research, tells USA Today. He notes federal guidelines don’t require that erythritol—which he calls “the sweetheart of the food industry,” per CNN—be disclosed as an ingredient in products that might simply be described as “zero sugar” or “artificially sweetened with natural products.” The body naturally produces erythritol—a sugar alcohol also found in fruits, vegetables, beer, and wine—but at very low levels compared to what’s found in the sweetener.

Hazen—who set out to determine why people treated for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and smoking cessation continued to have heart attacks and strokes—found erythritol was “at the very top of the list” of blood compounds that predicted who among study participants were at highest risk. This was confirmed among a second batch of blood samples from nearly 3,000 people, the majority of whom had coronary disease or high blood pressure, per CNN. Subsequent lab tests of erythritol in human and mice blood found it was “provoking enhanced thrombosis,” or blood clotting, Hazen tells the outlet. A 2017 study also linked erythritol and weight gain.

Robert Rankin of the Calorie Control Council, which represents the low- and reduced-calorie food and beverage industry, says the study contradicts decades of research showing erythritol is safe and the results shouldn’t be applied to the general public given the participants’ health issues. Still, “at the current knowledge we have, I would not recommend people use it,” says biochemist Karsten Hiller of the Braunschweig Institute of Technology, who authored the 2017 study. Hazen, meanwhile, advises those with cardiovascular issues to “stay away from erythritol until more studies are done.”

How about some news from the “great’ state of Tennessee….

A Tennessee Republican lawmaker on Thursday apologized after asking earlier this week if “hanging by a tree” could be added to the state’s execution methods, a comment that has shocked Black lawmakers who point to the state’s horrific history of lynching. Rep. Paul Sherrell, who is white, first made the remark Tuesday as another lawmaker was introducing legislation to include the firing squad to execute death row inmates, the AP reports. “I think it’s a very good idea, and I was just wondering about … could I put an amendment on that it would include hanging by a tree, also?” Sherrell asked.

At the time, no one on the legislative committee pushed back against Sherrell’s comments. However, his words received attention throughout the week, which led to the Republican’s apology on the House floor Thursday. “My exaggerated comments were intended to convey my belief that for the cruelest and most heinous crimes, a just society requires the death penalty in kind,” he said. “My intention was to express my support of families who often wait decades for justice. I sincerely apologize to anyone who may have been hurt or offended.” According to a report from the Equal Justice Initiative, more than 230 lynchings were reported between 1877 and 1950 in Tennessee.

However, Black lawmakers expressed alarm and disappointment not only at Sherrell’s failure to acknowledge the historical context of lynching but also the silence from GOP leaders who have not publicly condemned Sherrell’s remarks. “Hanging from a living tree invokes an image in Black folks,” said Democratic Rep. Vincent Dixie, who is Black. “It’s hurtful, and it makes us frustrated and angry.” On Thursday, Democratic Rep. Justin Pearson, who is Black, attempted to read the names of those who had been lynched in Shelby County while on the House floor. As he finished, House Speaker Cameron Sexton cut off Pearson’s microphone and warned that he was out of line.

Wait!  There is more!

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a novel bill into law Thursday that will criminalize some drag performances.

The first-of-its-kind legislation will ban “adult cabaret entertainment” on public property or in locations where it can be viewed by minors. Such entertainment, according to the measure, includes “topless dancers, go-go dancers, exotic dancers, strippers, male or female impersonators, or similar entertainers.”

The law, which takes effect April 1, calls for first-time offenders to be slapped with misdemeanors. Subsequent offenses would be classified as felonies and could result in prison sentences of up to six years.

Lawmakers in at least a dozen other states have proposed measures that would similarly restrict drag performances, according to an NBC News analysis.

Supporters say the legislation is necessary to safeguard children against exposure to inappropriate entertainment.

(NBC News)

In closing some really disturbing news….

Do you use that thingy to clean out your sinuses?

If so maybe you should read this story before you use it again….

A person in Florida has died of the brain-eating amoeba Naegleria fowleri, and health officials say tap water may be to blame. Specifically, “sinus rinse practices utilizing tap water,” according to a Florida Department of Health press release. Using a neti pot or similar sinus rinsing device with tap water that has not been sterilized is not safe, as a Naegleria fowleri infection “can only happen when water contaminated with amoebae enters the body through the nose,” the department says. Distilled or sterile water should be used in sinus rinse solutions, or, if tap water will be used, it must first be boiled for at least a minute and then cooled, CNN reports. A person cannot be infected by drinking tap water, since the amoeba is killed by stomach acid.

“An epidemiological investigation is being conducted to understand the unique circumstances of this infection. I can confirm the infection unfortunately resulted in a death, and any additional information on this case is confidential to protect patient privacy,” a press secretary for the health department said in response to an email query. Around three people per year are infected with Naegleria fowleri in the US, and most cases are fatal. This is the first time a case has ever been reported in the US in the winter, People reports—infections often happen during the summer months when people swim in warm fresh water where the bacteria is commonly found.

I think I will just stick to blowing my nose.

That is enough for this Saturday…Have a great day….Be well and Be safe….

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”