IST Saturday News Dump–27May23

That time again….the weekend begins and IST finds the news that somehow missed the ‘headlines’……

Do you plan on a cruise anytime soon?

If so maybe you should read this first……

While most noroviruses don’t last long, contracting one can still a rough experience—especially when you’re at sea, thousands of miles from home. Unfortunately for many people on cruise ships in 2023, getting sick is part of the experience, per Quartz. Citing stats from the CDC, the outlet reports 11 outbreaks of illness (think vomiting and diarrhea) on cruise ships so far this year, the most since 2018. The spike reflects the increasing number of people taking cruises again since the worst of the pandemic, notes the Washington Post.

At least 1,503 passengers and crew combined have come down with some kind of stomach trouble while on cruise ships that dock in US ports. According to Quartz, three of the outbreaks were definitely norovirus, but all were gastrointestinal. Cruises are closed environments and norovirus spreads easily, especially because it can live on surfaces for months, per the Mayo Clinic. With thousands of people sharing tight quarters and buffets in open dining areas, hardy viruses can thrive.

If there’s an upside, it’s that stomach virus outbreaks on cruises have actually diminished since the CDC began keeping records in 1994. The most recent one provides a typical example: About 160 passengers and 26 crew aboard Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam, or about 8% of passengers and 3% of crew, got sick. The ship was returning to Vancouver Sunday after a two-week cruise to Alaska. If you want to avoid catching a bug that ruins your vacation, Condé Nast Traveler recommends 12 steps, including:

  • Visiting a “travel medicine specialist” before you leave.
  • Avoiding self-serve dining if possible.
  • Regular hand-washing.
  • Avoiding public area restrooms.
  • Immediately reporting other travelers who are sick.

The horror stories about these outbreaks makes me want to just stay on dry land….

There has been much written about the US police and their, at times, heavy handed techniques when a softer approach was called for….but the US is not alone…..let’s go ‘down under’…..

A 95-year-old Australian woman with dementia is in critical condition after being tasered by police officers who were called to her nursing home. Police say staff at the home in Cooma, south of Canberra, told them Clare Nowland had taken a steak knife from the kitchen, 9News reports. Police say an officer used a stun gun on the frail woman after she refused to drop the knife and approached officers. “At the time she was tasered, she was approaching police. But it is fair to say at a slow pace,” New South Wales Police Assistant Commissioner Peter Cotter said. “She had a walking frame. But she had a knife.”

Rowland is 5 feet, 2 inches tall and weighs 95 pounds, the AP reports. After she was tasered, she fell to the ground and her head hit the floor. Andrew Thaler, a friend of the great-grandmother’s family, tells the BBC that she suffered a fractured skull and is not expected to survive. “The family are shocked, they’re confused,” he says, “and the community is outraged. How can this happen? How do you explain this level of force? It’s absurd.” Police say the officer involved has 12 years of experience and has been taken off active duty.

Thaler says Rowland is well-known in the community. In 2008, she appeared on TV with a skydive over Canberra to mark her 80th birthday. Nicole Lee, president of the People with Disability Australia advocacy group, says Rowland should have been treated with “compassion and time,” not a stun gun. “She’s either one hell of an agile, fit, fast, and intimidating 95-year-old woman, or there’s a very poor lack of judgement on those police officers and there really needs to be some accountability on their side,” she says.

Are you telling me that the burly coppers did not know how to disarm a old woman in a walker with a knife?

Maybe a bit more training is called for.

My daughter’s company had their studio truck vandalized….someone stole the converter….and I wanted to check out if it was a problem….it was….

When Josy turned the ignition on her 2010 Prius one morning this February, she heard an unsettling rattle coming from underneath her car. Her girlfriend, Glory, unfortunately knew the sound all too well.

Once again, thieves had targeted the cars parked at Glory’s Indianapolis apartment complex, searching for catalytic converters — the valuable, canister-like part of the car responsible for transforming harmful emissions into less-polluting gas. Glory, a 23-year-old librarian, already had her “cat” stolen from her 2016 Kia Sportage twice, once in April 2021 and another time in March 2022. Now it was Josy’s turn.

Glory and Josy — whose last names are being withheld to protect their privacy — are not alone. From San Diego to Boston, nationwide catalytic converter thefts appear to be at a historic high. Insurance claims for these thefts increased from 16,660 claims in 2020 to 64,701 in 2022, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s latest report released last week.

Beware you could be next….

Microdosing is becoming a ‘thing’ for the treatment of mental disorders…

It’s been quite the journey for psychedelics, and it’s just getting started. First, they were sacred and ceremonial plant medicines for millennia. In the 1960s era, they traversed an American culture of mind expansion, which used them as wild tools for transcending ordinary states of consciousness. Then came the backlash in the 1970s when they were outlawed by a nervous Nixon administration. Now, psychedelics are emerging from the underground as a new generation of researchers amasses evidence that mind-altering drugs offer new and effective therapies to help stem the rising tides of mental illness.

Funding for research and legalization efforts on psychedelics are ramping up across the US. In January alone, seven states introduced new psychedelic legislation that ranges from decriminalization to supervised adult use to psychiatric treatment. Abroad, Australia became the first country to legalize psilocybin — psychedelic mushrooms — and MDMA as prescribable medicines by psychiatrists. The US looks poised to follow, with the FDA potentially set to approve MDMA for therapy later this year.

These tectonic changes in drug policy are taking place against the backdrop of a US mental health crisis, one where existing treatments have fallen short: The World Health Organization’s (WHO) largest mental health report this century has termed current interventions “insufficient and inadequate.” Turning to psychoactive fungi for treatment-resistant mental illness is a sharp pivot, a sign of both the impoverishment of current approaches and the excitement around a genuinely novel remedy.

On the food front….I have been writing about this thing called ‘lab grown’ meat… a bit more on the subject….one selling point of this is that it would be environmentally favorable….but not so fast…

According to researchers, the environmental impact of cultivated meat is likely to be much higher than retail beef based on current and near-term production methods.

The current method used is similar to the biotechnology used to make pharmaceuticals, which leads to the question: Is it a pharmaceutical or food product?

Lead author and doctoral graduate Derrick Risner from UC Davis Department of Food Science and Technology said, “If companies are having to purify growth media to pharmaceutical levels, it uses more resources, which then increases global warming potential. If this product continues to be produced using the ‘pharm’ approach, it’s going to be worse for the environment and more expensive than conventional beef production.”

The study also found that the potential for global warming is up to 25 times greater than the average for retail beef.

My final offering for this Saturday….

The story of a vendetta….Orca style….

Orcas are simply not something that anyone should take a chance with. sperm whales, great white sharks, blue whales – none of them are safe from the highly intelligent and creatively violent species. Even being out of the water is not necessarily a help, as the predators are known to snatch sea lions from the beach and create waves to throw seals from the ice. In short, no one messes with orcas.

So it’s not exactly comforting to discover that one pod of these marine menaces has taken to sinking yachts off the coast of Gibraltar. No fewer than three boats have already been sunk by the marauding cetaceans.

It seems that gangs of orcas have been learning from a ringleader named Gladys. Experts now believe that Gladys has a vendetta against boats after she was struck by one or became entangled in nets, which would make her disapproval of boats understandable.

And if you think a boat is big and strong enough to withstand orcas, think again. Researchers recently recorded pods of orcas successfully attacking and killing a healthy adult blue whale, which can grow to 30 metres long. Many privately owned pleasure or fishing boats are small fry compared to a leviathan like that.

That’s all I have on this Saturday….hopefully you found something that peaked your interest…..

Buy that Orca a tuna!

Enjoy your weekend….be well and be safe….

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”


IST Saturday News Dump–20May23

Mercifully the work week has ended and the jocularity of the weekend can begin.

Let us jump into the meat of this post.

On the food front….I true enjoy using olive oil when I cook….but there may be a pricing problem on the horizon….

If you’re on a Mediterranean diet kick, you might want to be judicious with how much olive oil you use in your meals. That’s because the monthslong drought and sweltering temps in the Mediterranean, especially Spain, have dried out olive trees, causing prices to spike and a looming shortage of the condiment. Quartz cites stats from the International Monetary Fund that put the worldwide price tag for olive oil at about $6,000 per metric ton—a level not seen since 1997, when the price hovered at around $6,225.

In Spain the top olive oil producer on Earth, churning out a million-plus tons of the stuff in a typical year—the most recent five-month olive harvest that ended in February eked out just half of what it usually does. The driving factor behind the current slippery scene: “exceedingly poor” weather, a Mintec analyst tells CNBC, which notes that olives thrive when the mercury is between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Per the Telegraph, recent temperatures in the south of Spain recently broke the 100-degree mark. Farmers union officials in Spain say lack of rainfall is also hurting crops, with barely a drop since January—and it doesn’t look like it will be getting better anytime soon.

“Looking at the forecasts, it’s almost a given—it’s going to be another grim year,” Rafael Sanchez de Puerta, who heads up the Spanish olive cooperative Dcoop, tells the paper. One farmer who belongs to the UPA union in Andalusia says he hasn’t seen things this bad in the two decades he’s been working the fields. “If something doesn’t change radically in the next few weeks, it’s going to be a catastrophe,” he says. Quartz notes that while olive oil production has also dipped in other parts of western Europe, including Italy, nations with better weather are trying to pick up some of the the slack, including Greece and Turkey, the latter of which nearly doubled its olive oil production last year.

Have you ever wondered if your food is past the “use by” date can it still be consumed….here is a guide for you concerned….

When that bag of languishing lettuces starts to go a little limp or an old carton of yogurt is discovered in the depths of the fridge, most Americans will look for guidance from the date printed neatly on the food label.

But with the exception of infant formula, these labels are not actually a gauge of food safety. In the US, the marked dates are only intended to indicate quality and they are not regulated by any federal agency.

“Food date labels are really like the wild west – there are no standards,” said Jeffrey Costantino, a spokesperson at ReFed, a non-profit advocacy organization working to reduce food waste.

Consumer confusion can take a toll on the climate and on household budgets.

Here is one for the books….those self-checkout units in stores….now some are asking for tips…..

Consumers already contending with a squeeze on their bank accounts due to inflation are now facing more pressure as businesses introduce new tipping features at self-checkout machines.

Companies, including airports, bakeries, coffee shops and sports stadiums, have now introduced the self-serve tipping option, where customers can leave tips including the typical 20%, despite facing minimal to no interaction with any employee, according to a recent report by The Wall Street Journal.

Customers report feeling obligated to leave a tip as they question where and to whom the extra money is actually going, but businesses are increasingly embracing the option to boost pay for workers outside of salaries, according to WSJ.


I do the work and I am expected to tip?

My response to that is….BITE ME!

I live in a small town in Coastal Mississippi and it was recently given an honor by…..

A Mississippi Coast city was recently rated the most affordable beach town in the United States. Gulfport topped’s 2023 list of the most affordable beach towns, beating out cities like Newport News, Virginia; Corpus Christi, Texas; and Navarre, Florida. Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes was thrilled to see the city recognized. “Our ability to offer affordable housing options – whether beachfront properties or homes nestled in our charming neighborhoods – alongside a high quality of life is a testament to our commitment to sustainable growth,” he said. “Gulfport stands out for its natural beauty and affordability and thrives as a dynamic community enriched by a deep cultural heritage, historical significance and a pervasive spirit of unity.”

Read more at:

It use to be a sleepy city on the Gulf of Mexico….but since casinos have moved into the area and we have become a mini Vegas it has become more popular….but it is good to see it get a bit of recognition.

Time for me to go out and tend to the garden….enjoy your Saturday and Be well and safe….

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

IST Saturday News Dump–13May23

Once again the week has ended and time for the now famous IST News Dump that brings under-reported news stories….stories that are of interest and some even bring to my readers a bit of the old FYI….

Enough intro….let’s get started….

Does anyone remember the Russian protest band, Pussy Riot?  As one could imagine they are not high on the Putin popularity chart….the band members have found a home away from home…..

Two members of the Russian protest and performance art band Pussy Riot are on course to become citizens of Iceland after fleeing their homeland. Maria Alyokhina and Lucy Shtein are on a list of people to receive fast-tracked citizenship through parliamentary decree, reports Iceland Review. After Russia invaded Ukraine last year, Shtein, who was already under house arrest, decided it was time to get out of the country and dodged surveillance of her Moscow home by dressing in a food courier’s outfit. Alyokhina, her girlfriend, later used the same outfit to escape.

Bryndís Haraldsdóttir, chairman of the citizenship committee, said members decided to grant the pair citizenship as an act of protest against Russia, the Reykjavik Grapevine reports. Long before the invasion of Ukraine, members of Pussy Riot were targeted by Russian authorities for their protests against Vladimir Putin’s policies. Some served time in prison. On Saturday, members of the group including Alyokhina visited Tulsa to accept the Woody Guthrie award from Nora Guthrie, the singer’s daughter, the Tulsa World reports.

“As artists who, like Woody Guthrie, have the courage of their convictions, there are no contemporary artists more worthy of this recognition than Pussy Riot,” said Cady Shaw, director of the Woody Guthrie Center, per the World. “They have paid a very personal price for speaking their minds on the most serious issues of our time, yet they continue to fight for justice and freedom.” Another member, Nadya Tolokonnikova, has been placed on Russia’s criminal wanted list, though she is believed to live in the US.

A Louisiana man shoots a kid playing hide and seek……

A Louisiana man is facing multiple charges after allegedly opening fire on young people who were playing hide-and-seek on his property. Authorities say David V. Doyle, 58, shot a 14-year-old girl in the back of the head early Sunday, USA Today reports. She was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries and Doyle was charged with aggravated battery, four counts of aggravated assault with a firearm, and illegal discharge of a firearm. The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office said they received a report of a shooting in Sparks, a small town near the Texas border.

The sheriff’s office said deputies were called to the home around 1am Sunday, KPLC reports. The office said detectives determined that several juveniles were playing hide-and-seek in the area and were hiding on Sparks’ property. The only homes on the dead-end road are those of Doyle, the victim’s family, and a relative of the victim’s family, per KPLC. The sheriff’s office said Doyle told investigators that he retrieved his firearm after seeing shadows outside his home. He said he then “observed people running away from his property, at which time he began shooting at them and unknowingly hit the girl.”

Just another normal day in America.

Environmentalists are concerned about the global build-up of discarded plastic…..and now some possible ‘good’ news…..

Scientists have been aware of microorganisms that can digest plastic, but they’re of limited help. They mostly need temperatures over 86 degrees Fahrenheit to function; heating the environment for them is impractical and not carbon neutral. But now microbes have been isolated that can do the work at a much lower temperature, about 59 degrees, the Guardian reports. Scientists from the Swiss Federal Institute WSL documented their work in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology. The discovery was made in the Alps and the Arctic. “These organisms could help to reduce the costs and environmental burden of an enzymatic recycling process for plastic,” one of the researchers said.

Just more than half of the strains tested—11 fungi and eight bacteria—could digest biodegradable polyester-polyurethane (PUR); 14 fungi and three bacteria digested the plastic mixtures of polybutylene adipate terephthalate (PBAT) and polylactic acid (PLA). None could digest non-biodegradable polyethylene (PE). It’s a trail scientists have been on for a while, and an American researcher has pointed out the challenge in the past. “Think about the sheer scale on which we manufacture plastics and the low value of these plastics,” said Susannah Scott, a chemical engineer at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “It’s a tall order to ask biology to do that well.”

For years I have been reading and writing about this ‘breakthrough’….if it is so promising why is it taking so long to implement?

Keeping with the environmental thing……fir years we have heard from deniers that the CO2 in our atmosphere was not from emissions but rather from cow farts…this also helped those vegan freaks to promote their lifestyle…..but is that all there is?

Cows and methane. No doubt you have heard that cow’s burps are a major source of methane, a very active greenhouse gas. Sources vary, but some say ruminants, of which cows are just one example, are responsible for 16 percent of worldwide methane emissions.

What are ruminants? Ruminants have a specialized stomach, called the rumen, that harbors bacteria and other organisms that ferment grasses and other vegetative food, turning otherwise indigestible fiber into compounds the ruminant can use for growth and maintenance. But one class of organisms, the methanogens, working in the oxygen deficient environment of the rumen, use some of those products of fermentation for their growth and maintenance, releasing methane as a byproduct. The ruminant burps this methane into the atmosphere.

But here is something you have probably never heard when cows are accused of being a major cause of global warming: Methane contains one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms. The carbon atom a ruminant belches came from the carbon dioxide a plant took from the atmosphere. The methane released from the rumen will decay back to carbon dioxide after 10 to 12 years of roaming around the atmosphere.

Perspective: Don’t blame cattle for climate change

On the meat production thing…..cultured meat.

According to a recent study that was published in the journal ACS Synthetic Biology, researchers at the Tufts University Center for Cellular Agriculture (TUCCA) have developed immortalized bovine muscle stem cells (iBSCs) that can grow rapidly, divide hundreds of times, and possibly continue to do so indefinitely. These immortalized cells are a significant step toward making it possible for millions of people to be fed through cellular agriculture, which is the process of growing meat in bioreactors.

Currently, it is difficult and expensive to produce cell-cultured meat because muscle and fat cells need to be able to grow and divide rapidly. Normal muscle stem cells can only divide about 50 times before they stop dividing and die. However, immortalized cells developed by the TUCCA team can divide indefinitely, which means they can produce much more meat.

Making these immortalized cells widely available will make it easier and cheaper for other researchers to develop cell-cultured meat, which could help to reduce the environmental impact of meat production.

That just does not seem edible to me….but I am old.

Sorry but that is all I have on the Mother’s weekend Saturday….

Enjoy your day and give your mother a hug.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

IST Saturday News Dump

I have had all this king stuff I can endure… his ass and be done with it.

And then there is the Kentucky Derby….enough already!

It is that time again yet another weekend begins…..basically Summer is on its way….

Let’s start with food…..

Do you eat Parmesan cheese?  I prefer Romano but that is just me.  You may not be so interested in parm after this….

Every now and then on the Internet, people discover something about food that you thought everyone already knew. Hey, we’re all learning, right? Last month it was the turn of paprika and all spice, but now it’s our old friend Parmesan cheese under the spotlight.

“Today years old when I found out Parmesan cheese is made from baby cow’s stomach & I could go cry,” one user wrote on Twitter, prompting others to learn this too. “I’m just gonna have to go full vegan at this point.”

Parmesan is traditionally made from cow’s milk, aged for at least 12 months in copper vats, where it is heated and other ingredients like whey and rennet are added. It’s rennet that vegans, vegetarians, and anyone just a bit grossed out by eating the stomach juices of baby cows don’t like the sound of.

“Animal rennet is an enzyme obtained from the fourth stomach of an unweaned calf (this can include veal calves, or even lamb and kid),” according to the Courtyard Dairy.

This whole turn to ‘plant based’ anything has me doing a lot of bitching…..why are more women into the switch to ‘plant based’?

As the world increasingly turns towards vegetarian and vegan diets, one group are having a much harder time making the switch: men. Men generally eat more meat than women and are more resistant to changing this, so why are they so stuck in their ways? 

The answer, like many things, could be good ol’ fashioned toxic masculinity, argues a recent study. Researchers from Australian National University suggest that men may resist making the switch to being meat-free because eating meat makes them feel more “manly”, while not doing so threatens their masculinity.

Okay I call bullsh*t to this…..I am too old to worry about my masculinity….I like the taste of meat especially cooked on a grill.  You?

AI has been in the news these days…..I found an article about the research into brain waves using AI…..

Scientists used AI to read people’s brain scans and recreate a whole story only from their brainwaves, per a study published Monday

Participants were asked to listen, watch, or imagine a story while sitting in a brain-scanning machine called an fMRI, per the study from experts at the University of Texas, Austin.

The AI was able to accurately predict what the story was about by reading only the participant’s brainwaves, per the study. 

This type of technology could one day help people who have lost the ability to communicate, the scientists on the project said. 

“For a noninvasive method, this is a real leap forward compared to what’s been done before, which is typically single words or short sentences,” Alex Huth, an assistant professor of neuroscience and computer science at UT Austin, said in a press release.

More on the technology front…..

Remember Steve Austin?  Don’t hurt yourself….he was the  bionic man….with a bionic eye among other parts.

The presentation on his screen shows a small device, about the size of a penny, attached to a thin tail of wiring. It’s a device he hopes can restore a critical sense and help the blind see again. It doesn’t look like much — a miniature city of electronics attached to a microLED display just 2mm square — but it doesn’t have to.

The prosthesis he’s showing off is known as the Science Eye, and once it’s been proved safe and effective, it’ll be implanted on top of, and inside, the eyeballs of human patients suffering from diseases where the eye’s light-sensing cells have died. The idea is to coax other cells within the eye to receive and translate light signals. The device was unveiled as the biotech exited stealth on Nov. 21 last year

Does this move us closer to downloading our consciousness into a robot?

A new space station in the works….only this one is underwater…..

The plan to build an underwater research habitat took a major step forward this week after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) inked a deal with the Proteus Ocean Group to develop the facility for a 2026 deployment.

Called Proteus, the 2,000-square-foot underwater lab will seek to advance marine science, research, and education, while also seeking solutions to some of the planet’s most pressing problems, NOAA said.

The facility, dubbed the “underwater space station” for the way it will let scientists work for extended periods in a unique environment, will be located at a depth of around 60 feet off the Caribbean island of Curacao and serve as an underwater habitat for up to 12 scientists, innovators, and even private citizens who will be able to live beneath the waves while studying the ocean habitat.

This concludes my useless news round-up for this first Saturday of May.

Enjoy your day…..Be Well  and Be Safe….

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

IST Saturday News Dump

The weekend starts and as usual IST will bring you the news that failed to impress the MSM….

In 1492

Columbus sailed the ocean blue

We all remember that little ditty from our youth it is all about the discovery of America…..we keep propagating this lie even with the proof that it was visited hundreds of years before Columbus was even born.

Microscopic analysis of wood suggests that Norse people in Greenland were using timber that came from North America over 700 years ago. The research is further evidence that Viking sailors were making contact with the east coast of North America long before Christopher Columbus “discovered the New World” in 1492 CE.

Archaeologist Lísabet Guðmundsdóttir from the University of Iceland examined the wood from five Norse sites across western Greenland that were occupied between 1000 and 1400 CE. Looking at the cellular structure of the wood, Guðmundsdóttir noted how some of the timber came from trees that aren’t native to Greenland or even Northern Europe, such as Jack pine that’s found east of the Rocky Mountains in Canada.

“These findings highlight the fact that Norse Greenlanders had the means, knowledge, and appropriate vessels to cross the Davis Strait to the east coast of North America, at least up until the 14th century. As such, journeys were being made from Greenland to North America throughout the entirety of the period of Norse settlement in Greenland, and resources were being acquired by the Norse from North America for far longer than previously thought,” the study concludes.

After the meteor strike did not diminish the size of the creatures that remained….take a look at what we had after the strike.

Dinosaurs have always seemed larger than life. They lived during a time when almost everything seemed bigger—titanic herbivores stretching more than 80 feet long were not uncommon, and nine-ton carnivores had to feast on hundreds of pounds of flesh each day to survive. This popular view of the Age of Dinosaurs overlooks the innumerable small species that lived alongside Stegosaurus and Triceratops, just as we’re surrounded by insects, birds, rodents and other small animals today. It also falsely frames the end of this era as an end to the heyday of gigantism—but that’s only an illusion.

Life didn’t shrink after the end of the Cretaceous. Long past the Age of Dinosaurs, Earth saw the evolution of impressive birds, snakes, crocodiles, rhinos and more, including the largest animals of all time. While the broader story of life on Earth may best be told through the diminutive and meek creatures that are often overlooked, here are ten animals that underscore the fact that remarkable body size was not just the domain of the dinosaurs.

The global problem that is growing is the rise of Type 2 Diabetes…..and now we know what causes it (I thought we always know what causes this)….

The CDC expects to see a 700% increase in the number of young Americans diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes by 2060. It’s both a national and global problem and, according to new research, poor diet is largely to blame. Researchers from Tufts University created a model based on dietary data from 184 countries and found 70% of Type 2 diabetes diagnoses in 2018, some 14 million cases, could be tied to poor diet—well above the 40% figure previously offered, according to a release. They also found there were 8.6 million more diet-attributable cases in 2018 than in 1990, per CNN. They then looked at 11 dietary factors, ranging from intake of sugary beverages to intake of whole grains. They linked more than 60% of diet-attributable cases to excess intake of unhealthy foods and 39% to inadequate intake of good foods. But three factors stood out overall.

The largest impacts globally, especially for men, younger adults, and urban residents, came from overconsumption of refined rice, wheat, and potatoes, as well as red and processed meat, like bacon, sausage, and salami, per CNN. Insufficient intake of whole grains was another major factor. Consuming too many sugary drinks, including fruit juice, and not enough nuts, seeds, and nonstarchy vegetables were also contributing factors, though not to the same degree as the three foremost ones, per HealthDay News. “These new findings reveal critical areas for national and global focus to improve nutrition and reduce devastating burdens of diabetes,” says Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian of Tufts’ School of Nutrition Science and Policy, co-author of the study published Monday in Nature Medicine.

The greatest number of diet-attributable cases came from Central Asia and central and Eastern Europe, particularly Poland and Russia, where potatoes and red and processed meats make up a large part of diets. There were also high numbers of cases in Latin America and the Caribbean, particularly Colombia and Mexico, where sugary drinks and processed meat are widely consumed, but whole grains aren’t, researchers said. “Left unchecked and with incidence only projected to rise, Type 2 diabetes will continue to impact population health, economic productivity, [and] health care system capacity, and drive heath inequities worldwide,” says lead study author Meghan O’Hearn, a former PhD student at Tufts, per HealthDay.

One of the first things that points to getting older….the appearance of gray hair…..but could that be a thing of the past?

A groundbreaking study from NYU Grossman School of Medicine has shed new light on the causes of gray hair. It also focuses on the unique properties of melanocyte stem cells (McSCs) found in hair follicles. 

The study reveals that as people age, McSCs lose their ability to move between growth compartments in hair follicles. This ultimately affects hair color. The research improves our understanding of the mechanisms underlying hair pigmentation. It also opens up the possibility of developing treatments to reverse or prevent graying in humans.

Published in the journal Nature on April 19, the study focused on cells present in the skin of mice and humans, known as McSCs. The maturation of these cells determines hair color. They continually multiply but remain nonfunctional unless they receive a signal to transform into mature cells responsible for producing pigments. 

The researchers discovered that McSCs exhibit remarkable plasticity. This means they can transition between different states of maturity as they move through the various compartments of a hair follicle.

As my regulars know I am a dog person….I have always had dogs in my life and we are close so I detest any form of mistreatment but there are other things that contribute to mistreatment besides the extremes we read about everyday….

It’s easy to denounce the mistreatment of animals at the extremes: physical abuse, dog fighting, etc. But as Kenny Torrella writes at Vox, it gets trickier when even self-described animal lovers do things that fall into the realm of “everyday neglect and cruelty” in regard to their pets. He ticks off examples: “punitive training, prolonged captivity and extreme confinement, mutilations (declawing, ear and tail docking), outdoor tethering, lack of autonomy, verbal abuse, monotonous and unhealthy diets. …” Plus, the animals often don’t get enough socialization or exercise—they’re bored to frustration. “We may see ourselves as the best of animal lovers, but we very well could be inflicting suffering on our pets every day.” In his provocative piece, Torrella suggests we should aim for a world with fewer—but happier—pets.

“Before the cat dads and dog moms come for me, know this: I am one of you,” writes Torrella. He adds that his dog Evvie won’t be his last, given the number of dogs in need of homes at animal shelters. But he also argues that too may pet owners think their animals are much happier than they are. “Scientists have set up cameras to see what dogs do when home alone all day, and it turns out there’s a lot of yawning, barking, howling, whining, and sleeping—signs of anxiety and frustration.” Torrella talks to ethologist Marc Bekoff, whose views sum up the piece: “He’d like to see puppy and kitten mills phased out amid a major cultural shift wherein people would only get a dog or cat if they have the time, money, patience, and energy to give them a good life,” writes Torrella. “The motto would be: fewer pets with better lives.” Read the full piece

My canine friends suffer from none of the types listed so I believe they are a happy bunch.

This concludes the round-up of ‘forgotten’ news for this weekend.

Enjoy your Saturday….Be Well….Be Safe….

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

IST News Dump Saturday

Happy Earth Day….hug a tree today.

The weekend begins and the world continues to turn….and it is up to me to give you all the news that was unfit for public consumption.

New sports are popping up everywhere….frizbee football, cornholing, teqball, and then there is pickleball.

Pickleball has gained popularity so much so that courts are expanding everywhere…..but there is a problem with the so-called popularity.

Invented in 1965 by three dads in the Northwest, pickleball has become increasingly popular in recent years. Some cities—like Denver, for example—are struggling to accommodate interest in the sport while also serving the needs of residents who want to play tennis or just enjoy a quiet night at home. Denver’s Channel 7 reported this week that the city’s parks department shut down courts at one park and decided against building new courts at another park, mainly because neighbors say the game is too noisy. This came after the nearby city of Centennial put a moratorium on new courts within 500 feet of a residence. Axios reports that Denver pickleball players aren’t the only enthusiasts struggling to find a place to smack balls around.

The outlet notes faceoffs between tennis players and pickleballers in various cities, including Atlanta and New York. USA Pickleball’s Carl Schmits conceded the sport can be loud enough to bother people who live near courts, but he also expressed suspicion that the tennis community is using noise as a tool to prevent building new courts. Still, pickleball is big in New York City, and a 14-court facility called “CityPickle at Wollman Rink” opened Friday in Central Park, per NBC New York, which has photos of the facilities.

CityPickle plans similar ventures in cities including Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, DC, and Toronto, per Axios. Another sign of the sport’s popularity: Walmart just announced a venture in which it will pay for 125,000 court reservations around the nation for employees and customers, notes Insider. Sign-up is here. Meanwhile, the limitations mentioned in Centennial have caused quite a local controversy, and the Denver Post digs into that. “I will have constant … 10, 12, 16 hours a day of noise,” says one resident who lives near a park. “I will no longer be able to enjoy my deck. We moved to our neighborhood because it is peaceful, because it is quiet.”

Personally I see this ‘sport’ going by the way of once super popular racketball.

AS a dog lover I have often asked the same question….why do smaller dogs live longer than larger ones?

Scientists have for the first time explained why larger dogs have shorter lifespans than smaller dogs—selective breeding for size has made large breeds more susceptible to cancer.

University of Adelaide experts examined the causes of differences in and death in 164 dog breeds, ranging in size from chihuahuas to Great Danes.

“When we analyzed these data sets, we discovered that larger dogs were more likely to die from cancer at a younger age when compared with smaller dogs,” said Dr. Jack da Silva from the University of Adelaide’s School of Biological Sciences.

“Larger dogs didn’t necessarily age faster than the smaller breeds, but the research did show that as the breed’s average body weight increased, so did the rates of cancer.”

“We believe the relationship between a dog’s body size and their lifespan may be caused by an evolutionary lag in the body’s cancer defenses, which are unable to keep up with the rapid and recent of bigger dogs,” he said.

More dog news…..

For anyone who’s ever wondered why a bedside pizza-and-movie-dispensing gadget doesn’t exist, well, you’re apparently still out of luck. But your dog might be sitting pretty: As Axios reports, there’s a new AI-powered device that dispenses treats and “provides all day scheduled and on-demand engagement for your dog with games, behavioral programs, and training.” It’s called Companion, and per PR Newswire, it recently raised $6 million for a grand total of $14 million in capital, and it will start shipping next year.

  • What it does: Aside from the aforementioned, it looks for “sudden or subtle shifts in your dog’s movement or posture that can indicate pain, anxiety, or stress,” using “AI hardware, machine learning, and best-in-class positive reinforcement techniques,” per Companion. The “curriculum constantly adapts and adds new behavior, training, and health modules over the air as your dog learns.”
  • From the CEO: John Honchariw says this, per Axios: “We don’t leave our human children alone, but we do leave our fur children alone, and people are anxious about that. … We also want to give our dog something really enriching—and even better if it helps us have better communication with it.”
  • Honchariw on his own dog: “He loves it, and it’s his all-day play buddy. He eats 100% of his dog food through the device, so for him, it’s like the world’s most advanced food puzzle. And it really helped me because I know he’s doing things and having fun at the same time and learning all the basic obedience commands.”
  • Like the idea? It’ll set you back a bit with your wallet. The cost: $49 a month.

To help with the FYI….I give some health news.

First the rise in diabetes type-2……

The CDC expects to see a 700% increase in the number of young Americans diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes by 2060. It’s both a national and global problem and, according to new research, poor diet is largely to blame. Researchers from Tufts University created a model based on dietary data from 184 countries and found 70% of Type 2 diabetes diagnoses in 2018, some 14 million cases, could be tied to poor diet—well above the 40% figure previously offered, according to a release. They also found there were 8.6 million more diet-attributable cases in 2018 than in 1990, per CNN. They then looked at 11 dietary factors, ranging from intake of sugary beverages to intake of whole grains. They linked more than 60% of diet-attributable cases to excess intake of unhealthy foods and 39% to inadequate intake of good foods. But three factors stood out overall.

The largest impacts globally, especially for men, younger adults, and urban residents, came from overconsumption of refined rice, wheat, and potatoes, as well as red and processed meat, like bacon, sausage, and salami, per CNN. Insufficient intake of whole grains was another major factor. Consuming too many sugary drinks, including fruit juice, and not enough nuts, seeds, and nonstarchy vegetables were also contributing factors, though not to the same degree as the three foremost ones, per HealthDay News. “These new findings reveal critical areas for national and global focus to improve nutrition and reduce devastating burdens of diabetes,” says Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian of Tufts’ School of Nutrition Science and Policy, co-author of the study published Monday in Nature Medicine.

The greatest number of diet-attributable cases came from Central Asia and central and Eastern Europe, particularly Poland and Russia, where potatoes and red and processed meats make up a large part of diets. There were also high numbers of cases in Latin America and the Caribbean, particularly Colombia and Mexico, where sugary drinks and processed meat are widely consumed, but whole grains aren’t, researchers said. “Left unchecked and with incidence only projected to rise, Type 2 diabetes will continue to impact population health, economic productivity, [and] health care system capacity, and drive heath inequities worldwide,” says lead study author Meghan O’Hearn, a former PhD student at Tufts, per HealthDay.

Of course the older we get the longer we want to live….follow these rules and see…..(but before any drastic changes consult your medical professional)….

The study, published Monday, April 10, in Circulation, found people with higher scores for lived up to nine years longer on average than those with the lowest scores. The scores measure adherence to a set of lifestyle behaviors and developed by the American Heart Association known as Life’s Essential 8.

These measures encourage not using , being physically active, eating a , getting the right amount of sleep, managing weight and controlling , blood glucose and cholesterol levels. A prior study found adults with greater adherence to these metrics lived longer without chronic disease than those with lower scores.

Live Long And Prosper….

There is your weekend news dump…I hope you find info that helps….

Enjoy your Saturday….Be Well….Be Safe….

Your IST Saturday News Dump

The Easter weekend begins and there are a couple of stories in the news that deserve further scrutiny from my mentally superior readers.

My regular readers know that I am a canine person.   MoMo my Coon Hound is e4 years old and I am too old to ruff house with her so Sue and I adopted a 7 month old Jack Russel as a playmate….that plan worked wonderfully….the ad world needs to replace the “Energizer Bunny” with a Jack Russell….there is more energy in a 7 month old than the “Bunny” could ever possibly muster.

Sorry I got off subject….I recently read an article about the dogs around Chernobyl……

New research has studied hundreds of the free-wheeling dogs that roam the ruins of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and found that exposure to radiation may have made them genetically distinct from other dogs elsewhere in the world.

Following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster on April 26, 1986, around 120,000 people living in the surrounding area and the nearby city of Pripyat were forced to evacuate and abandon their homes. This included many pet dogs who, against all odds, managed to establish a sturdy population that still lives in the irradiated land that surrounds the decaying power plant. 

In a new study, scientists looked to gain a deeper understanding of the unusual dog populations living around Chernobyl in light of the harsh environmental contamination that many are exposed to on a daily basis. 

With the help of blood samples collected from the stray animals between 2017 and 2019, they genetically analyzed 302 dogs from populations living within the power plant itself, as well as those 15 to 45 kilometers (9.3 to 27.9 miles) from the disaster site.

Are Genes, brain characteristics and intelligence connected?

I am glad you asked.

Intelligence is partly heritable. There are studies that show that certain genetic variations are linked to better performance in intelligence tests. Other studies show that a variety of brain characteristics, such as network efficiency, are related to intelligence. For the first time, researchers have now studied all three parameters—genes, different brain characteristics and behavior—simultaneously. Using gene analyses, magnetic resonance imaging and intelligence tests, the team demonstrated which brain characteristics form the link between genes and behavior.

The results are described by a team around Dorothea Metzen from the Department of Biopsychology at Ruhr University Bochum, Germany, and Dr. Erhan Genç, formerly at Ruhr University, now at the Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors in Dortmund (IfADo), in the journal Human Brain Mapping.

In addition to the IfADo and various institutions of Ruhr University, the Humboldt-Universität Berlin, the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, the Medical School Hamburg and the University of Luxembourg were involved. At Ruhr University, the biopsychology, and genetic psychology teams cooperated.

We have a new epidemic sweeping the country….the epidemic of banning books….

Librarians from across the United States released a report showing that pro-censorship groups’ efforts to ban books with LGBTQ+ themes and stories about people of color have driven an unprecedented rise in the number of book challenges, with right-wing organizers pushing library workers to remove works ranging from the dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale to children’s books about foods enjoyed in different cultures.

According to the American Library Association (ALA), a record-breaking 2,571 unique titles were challenged in 2022, a 38% increase from the previous year.

The organization recorded 1,269 demands to censor books from various groups and individuals, compared to 729 challenges counted in 2021.

“Each attempt to ban a book by one of these groups represents a direct attack on every person’s constitutionally protected right to freely choose what books to read and what ideas to explore,” said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom. “The choice of what to read must be left to the reader or, in the case of children, to parents. That choice does not belong to self-appointed book police.”

Kansas has passed a bill that proves (To me) that the lawmakers are “perverts”…..

Kansas’s GOP is advancing one of the country’s most shocking anti-transgender bills to date.

As Newsweek reported, the state legislature has passed HB 2238, which bans trans athletes from participating on school and college sports teams that align with their gender identity. When asked in a previous legislative session how the bill would be enforced, one of its proponents suggested a mandatory “sports physical,” which would include an inspection of an athlete’s genitals to prove their gender.

Yes, you read that correctly: Anti-trans lawmakers want to subject school-age children to invasive genital exams. It’s even more ludicrous considering there are only three openly trans athletes playing on school sports teams in the entire state.

HB 2238 was previously vetoed by Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, earlier this month. However, the legislature was able to override Kelly’s rejection with a vote. The legislation will now take effect on July 1.

Seriously?  Strangers will be able to examine kids genitalia…..and that sounds okay for you?

Like I said “PERVERTS”!

Finally….I watch the happenings in my state of Mississippi and once again we made the top of a list…the most stressed state…..

Need to squeeze one of those stress balls more than you used to? It could have something to do with where you live. WalletHub looked at all 50 states to see which ones were the most afflicted by anxiety and tension, examining more than three dozen metrics across four main categories: stress related to work, family, money, and health and safety. Everything from median income and the average number of hours worked to the amount of sleep people get and separation and divorce rates were taken into account, with Mississippi emerging as the most stressed state in the nation.

Most Stressed

  1. Mississippi (No. 1 in “Money-Related Stress” category)
  2. Louisiana
  3. New Mexico (No. 1 in “Family-Related Stress” category)
  4. West Virginia
  5. Nevada
  6. Arkansas (No. 1 in “Health and Safety-Related Stress” category)
  7. Alabama
  8. Kentucky
  9. Texas
  10. Oklahoma

That is the best I can do on this Saturday…..Please enjoy your Easter weekend….be well and be safe….

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Another Saturday News Dump

The weekend and time for all the news that you probably did not hear, see or read….

There was the usual Ukraine, China, Russia, Trump Blah, blah, blah…..and sadly the unusual news was just as boring….sorry about that.

College students build a cheap satellite…..

It costs a lot of money to get a satellite into orbit onboard a rocket—around $50 million minimum, to be more specific. While this massively restricts who can access the space industry, it’s not all bad.  According to NASA, there are approximately 27,000 hunks of space junk orbiting high above humans’ heads at the moment, with an average of 25 years before they fall from orbit and burn away upon atmospheric reentry.

Still, lowering costs while also shortening satellite lifespans is important if space exploration and utilization is to remain safe and viable. As luck would have it, a group of students and researchers at Brown University just made promising headway for both issues.

College students built a satellite with AA batteries and a $20 microprocessor

We all have heard of the ‘lost continent’ of Atlantis, right?

Ever heard of Lemuria?

In the 19th century, a rumor circulated in the scientific world that a “lost continent” was laying undiscovered at the bottom of the Indian Ocean. They named it Lemuria as their misguided efforts were driven by some very confusing lemurs.

The idea is largely credited to British zoologist Philip Lutley Sclater who wrote a paper titled “The Mammals of Madagascar” in 1864, published in the Quarterly Journal of Science. Sclater explained that lemur fossils could be found in Madagascar and India, but not in Africa or the Middle East, suggesting that Madagascar and India were once been part of a larger continent that’s since gone missing in the Indian Ocean.

Sclater wasn’t alone in his dreams of Lemuria and a number of other prominent European scientists jumped on the bandwagon. 

In 1868, German biologist Ernst Haeckel published “The History of Creation,” in which he argued the origin of humanity was to be found in Asia, not Africa as Charles Darwin correctly stated, and that humans were closely related to the primates of Southeast Asia. 


The “missing link, ” he believed, could be found on the long-lost landmass of Lemuria. Acting as a continental superhighway between India and Africa, Lemuria could explain how humans migrated to the rest of the world, at least in his mind. 

That’s right: according to Haeckel, we are descended from lemurs and the remains of some strange lemur-human hybrids are likely to be lurking in the Indian Ocean on a long-lost continent.

The whole ‘plant- based’ stuff has become a marketing ploy, a trend if you will, but mjust how ‘good’ is the diets?

People often adjust their diets to keep themselves healthy—but what about changing what we eat for the health of the planet? It appears that some popular meal plans, such as ketogenic and Paleolithic diets, aren’t very good for Earth or for your wellness, according to a recent study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked into the environmental impact and nutrition quality of food commodities.

Our food choices can have major consequences: What we eat contributes about a third of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions globally, when accounting for agriculture and land use, supply chain, and our dietary habits. Given food’s huge impact on climate change, it’s important that dietary patterns become more sustainable. This begins with identifying the food choices that are environmentally friendly, which is exactly what the study sought to find out.

“Given that many people are experimenting with different diets, it’s helpful to have a sense of the differences in their impacts,” says Diego Rose, study author and director of nutrition at Tulane University. “What individuals choose to eat sends signals to producers about what to produce, so individual behaviors can affect what gets produced and thus the impacts from our overall food production.”

Paleo and keto diets aren’t great for you or the planet, study says

Now that I have bored you guys to tears….you can go out and enjoy your Saturday without the worry of the crap I have passed on.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Saturday News Dump

Another Weekend begins (the last before Spring)  and as usual I have some news that did not make the front pages in the past week so as usual the old Professor is here to right that wrong.

My better half suffers from crippling migraines she has found that the Botox injections help a lot…..but not e everyone has that option so is there any anyone working on a help in dealing with these problems?

A new nasal spray from Pfizer has just been OKed by the Food and Drug Administration, and the company hopes it will be a game changer for the nearly 40 million migraine sufferers in the US. Reuters reports on the FDA’s Friday approval of zavegepant, sold under the brand name Zavzpret, for migraines with and without aura after a late-stage study showed the drug performed very well compared with a placebo. One of its apparent benefits: how fast it takes effect, with the study showing pain relief as soon as 15 to 30 minutes after using the spray, and a return to normal activities shortly thereafter. Of the 1,400-plus subjects who took part in the study between October 2020 and August 2021, nearly a quarter of those who used Zavzpret reported being symptom-free after two hours, compared with 15% of placebo takers.

The drug also showed more efficacy than a placebo at treating symptoms of a migraine—defined as at least five bouts of headache lasting four to 72 hours, according to the National Headache Foundation—up to 48 hours later. Zavegepant falls under a class of drugs called calcitonin gene-related peptide inhibitors, and treatments are already available from such companies as AbbVie, Eli Lilly, Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Amgen. Pfizer is hoping its entry will beat the rest on speed. “Fifteen minutes is very quick, even for other nasal sprays,” Dr. Kate Mullin of the New England Institute for Neurology & Headache, who also served as the lead investigator during the zavegepant trial, tells USA Today.

Angela Hwang, Pfizer’s chief commercial officer and president of its global pharma business, calls zavegepant a “significant breakthrough for people with migraine who need freedom from pain and prefer alternative options to oral medications,” per a release. Mullin notes that those alternatives come in especially handy when migraine sufferers can’t take meds orally due to migraine-induced nausea and vomiting. The release notes zavegepant “was well tolerated” during its clinical trials, with common side effects after using the nasal spray including a bad taste, nasal discomfort, and nausea. Some patients with a hypersensitivity to the drug reported hives and facial swelling. Zavzpret’s price, “expected to be comparable in price to other FDA-approved migraine medicines,” according to Pfizer, will be announced at the drug’s launch in July, reports Reuters.

I try to include a little FYI in the weekend posts….

“Charlie, what happened to pubic hair?” (a line from two and half men)

Pubic hair grooming behaviors can differ by gender, nationality, religion, relationship status, and more. Additionally, trends in public hair grooming, like many other forms of aesthetics and hygiene, can change significantly over time. A study published in Anzjog explores the reasons members of both sexes utilize pubic hair grooming.

Pubic hair grooming is a very personal choice that can influenced by many factors, such as trends, sex, age, time period, and more. Additionally, pubic hair can affect a person’s self-esteem, with previous suggesting that engaging in this grooming is related to higher genitalia satisfaction for women.

Another relevant factor is that removal of pubic hair can have health implications, such as removing hair to avoid pubic lice or skin irritation associated with waxing or shaving. Most research about pubic hair grooming habits have focused on women, and this study seeks to expand the body of literature by also including men.

For their study, Rebecca Deans and colleagues utilized 1,560 young adult participants to serve as their sample. All participants were aged 18 to 25 years old. Data was collected for two similarly aged cohorts, occurring in 2014 and again in 2021. Participants were recruited through the university and social media platforms.

New research explores attitudes and habits related to pubic hair grooming among young adults

A little something for the men….

Hate those pesky swimsuit tan lines you get while sunbathing? If you’re planning an upcoming vacation in Berlin, you won’t have to worry about that, if you’re not too modest. That’s because authorities in the German capital announced Thursday that they support the concept of “Freikoerperkultur,” or “free body culture”—meaning anyone is free to go topless in the city’s public swimming pools, reports the BBC. Previously, women who showed their breasts while visiting Berlin’s public pools were sometimes asked to cover up or leave, and some were barred from ever coming back, per the AP.

One of those women decided to file a complaint after being booted. The legalities around this seem murky, but topless swimming or sunbathing by women appears to have not been outright unlawful in the city’s public pools, per the Washington Post. In a statement, the Berlin state government noted that while pools do have requirements for “all bathers” to wear “standard swimwear,” such as swim trunks, swimming shorts, bikinis, and, burkinis, the rules don’t specify what gender has to wear what.

Which is why Berlin’s public pools operator says it’s now going to make sure to apply those rules across the board. This will “[establish] equal rights for all Berliners, whether male, female, or nonbinary,” as well as “[create legal certainty for [pool] staff,” says the head of Berlin’s ombudsperson’s office for equality and anti-discrimination, per the Post. In other parts of Germany, the issue doesn’t seem to be as closely regulated: The BBC notes that “foreign visitors to Germany are often surprised—and sometimes downright disconcerted—by the sight of naked Germans frolicking in its lakes, snoring in its parks, or sweating in its saunas.”

That news ought to bring the social media addicts spring into action….or maybe tourism will pick up.

Next is an environmental portion….there are some ‘forever chemicals’ that leach into our ecosystems that could do a lot of damage….ever hear of PFAS?

You may not realize it, but various everyday products like adhesives, food packaging, and cookware contain certain chemicals called per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to make them resistant to heat, oil, grease, or water. More than 9,000 PFAS have been identified so far, which are used in a wide range of industrial and commercial applications. 

Despite their important function in various consumer products, they have a serious downside. PFAS don’t break down easily in the environment due to their chemical structure that resists biodegradation. This explains why they’re often called “forever chemicals.”

“Their unique structure allows them to also move through surface and groundwaters and persist in soils and sediments,” says Allen Burton, a professor of environment and sustainability at the University of Michigan whose research deals with environmental toxicology. “They bioaccumulate in humans and wildlife and are so common their ingestion cannot be easily avoided.”

PFAS can leach into soil, air, and water, and they’re already found in humans’ blood and urine. Studies also report that PFAS are ubiquitous in municipal wastewater—not only in those with direct sources like textile mills or papermaking operations, but also in non-industrial wastewater like septic tanks and office buildings. Some suspect it comes from the microfibers in water-resistant clothing during laundry or from human excrement. However, new research reveals another potential source: toilet paper.

Toilet paper may be a major source of ‘forever chemicals’ in wastewater

Some possible good news for us peasants that live in a hurricane region….

After three nasty years, the La Nina weather phenomenon that increases Atlantic hurricane activity and worsens western drought is gone, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday. That’s usually good news for the United States and other parts of the world, including drought-stricken northeast Africa, scientists said. The globe is now in what’s considered a “neutral” condition and probably trending to an El Nino in late summer or fall, said climate scientist Michelle L’Heureux, head of NOAA’s El Nino/La Nina forecast office. “It’s over,” said research scientist Azhar Ehsan, who heads Columbia University’s El Nino/La Nina forecasting. “Mother Nature thought to get rid of this one because it’s enough.”

La Nina is a natural and temporary cooling of parts of the Pacific Ocean that changes weather worldwide. Studies have shown that in the United States, because La Nina is connected to more Atlantic storms and deeper droughts and wildfires in the West, La Ninas often are more damaging and expensive than their more famous flip side, El Nino, the AP reports. Generally, American agriculture is more damaged by La Nina than El Nino. If the globe jumps into El Nino it means more rain for the Midwestern corn belt and grains in general and could be beneficial, said Michael Ferrari, chief scientific officer of Climate Alpha, a firm that advises investors on financial decisions based on climate.

This particular La Nina, which started in September 2020 but is considered three years old because it affected three different winters, was unusual and one of the longest on record. It took a brief break in 2021 but came roaring back with record intensity. “I’m sick of this La Nina,” Ehsan said. L’Heureux agreed, saying she’s ready to talk about something else. The few other times that there’s been a triple-dip La Nina have come after strong El Ninos and there’s clear physics on why that happens. But that’s not what happened with this La Nina, L’Heureux said. This one didn’t have a strong El Nino before it.

Enjoy your Saturday and be well and safe….

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Saturday News Dump

I spend a lot of time reading on-line and I run across stories that are news but news that few pay attention to for some reason…..and Saturdays I try to stay away from the typical news stories and bring some interesting and entertaining news for their consumption.

Let’s begin with some disturbing news about a long dead bacteria….

Scientists are busy working on reviving ‘zombie viruses’ that have been lying dormant for tens of thousands of years, and while it sounds absolutely terrifying, it could be important when it comes to protecting us all in the future.

One of the many worrying things about global warming is the melting of the permafrost in the arctic.

The frozen layer of soil beneath the surface is thawing at a faster rate than anywhere else in the world, as the Arctic continues to warm up four times quicker than the rest of the planet.

It means that viruses which have been lying dormant for up to 50,000 years could reemerge and prove a threat to adult and human life.

Have these people never seen a movie?   This sort of thing seldom ends well for us humans.

Then there are those ‘time travelers’ from Tik Tok, who seem to pop up with this dire prediction or that….well they are back with news of World War 3…..

Self-described “time travellers” on TikTok continue to fascinate social media users, and the latest viral account has made one of the boldest predictions yet.

The figure, who goes by the name “Trevor the Time Traveller”, is the latest person to claim they’re from the future on the platform and they bring with them bad news.

Trevor claims to be posting videos from two decades in the future, and he also says he’s on the hunt to find his friend “Roger” aka “Chronos”.

“Remember this date 2/21/2024 – something very big will happen,” he wrote.

“29/5/2030 – A third world war will start, lasting 7 years between the north and south.

“2037 – The war ends and a second baby boom happens, growing the population too high.”

Mark your calendar….

I admit it….I hate clowns and I realize I am not alone….but why do we fear clowns?

You’re not alone in your coulrophobia—far from it, in fact. A stunning 53.5% of people are afraid of clowns, a phobia that doesn’t generally seem to stem from bad encounters with clowns at all, according to a new study. Researchers at the University of South Wales surveyed 987 people ages 18 to 72, with more than half responding they were scared of clowns to some degree. Some 5% said they were “extremely afraid,” which is a higher percentage than reported in surveys on other common phobias, including fear of animals (3.8%), heights (2.8%), closed spaces (2.2%), and flying (1.3%), researchers write at the Conversation.

A follow-up survey given to respondents who reported some fear of clowns asked them to choose from eight options that might explain their trepidation, as detailed in the study published last month in Frontiers in Psychology. A scary experience with a clown was actually the weakest contributing factor, per New Atlas. The strongest factor was hidden emotional signals as a result of clown makeup. “We cannot see their ‘true’ faces and therefore cannot understand their emotional intent. So, for example, we don’t know whether they have a frown or a furrowed brow, which would indicate anger,” according to researchers.

They were left wondering if “faces painted as animals also create the same kind of effect,” or if there’s “something more particular about the makeup of clowns that drives this fear.” It could be that hidden emotions seem especially hazardous given negative portrayals of clowns in popular culture, their unpredictable behavior, and a feeling of repulsion toward near-human-looking objects—all strong factors in coulrophobia, researchers found. Overall, women were more likely to report fear based on physical appearance and behavior, while men were more likely to report fear derived from experience and learning. The good news is that, like with other phobias, fear of clowns is found to decrease with age.

Recently I have seeing really weird ‘sports’ starting showing up….’sports’ like cornholing, teqball, pickleball and now I see there is a ‘slap fighting’ sport….and this one could be more dangerous than corn holing…..

The competitors stand rigidly upright with their hands behind their backs, waiting to absorb a brutal slap to the face. When the open-handed blow is delivered, there’s a sharp report and the reaction can be dramatic. Some fighters barely move, while others stumble backward or fall to the floor. Some are knocked out. UFC President Dana White is selling slap fighting as the next big thing in combat sports, putting his money and the resources of one of the world’s foremost mixed martial arts organizations behind the Power Slap League. “It’s a home run,” said White, among several UFC officials involved in the league, per the AP. Power Slap fights are typically three to five rounds. The fighters take turns hitting each other in the face with an open hand; those on the receiving end stand with their hands behind their backs. A fighter has up to 60 seconds to recover and respond after receiving a blow.

Fighters can earn up to 10 points based on the effectiveness of the slap and the defender’s reaction. Fights can end in a decision, knockout, technical knockout, or disqualification, such as for an illegal slap. Present at the events are a supervising doctor and a physician or physician’s assistant, plus three EMTs and three ambulances. Some slap-fighting beat downs have gone viral, including a video from Eastern Europe showing a man who continues to compete even as half of his face swells to seemingly twice its size. White has touted the safety record of the UFC, but he hasn’t talked specifically about injuries in the Power Slap League. The Nevada Athletic Commission has already sanctioned the league for Las Vegas matches.

Questions have arisen about the safety of slap fighting, particularly the risk of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a degenerative brain disease believed to be caused by repeated blows to the head. A former chair of the commission, which regulates combat sports in Nevada, says OKing the league was a mistake. Chris Nowinski, co-founder and CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, agrees, calling slap fighting “one of the stupidest things you can do.” White says slap fighting is safer than boxing or mixed martial arts, as each contestant usually takes only three blows per bout. In boxing, White says, that number could be 400 or more, and that doesn’t include the shots taken during sparring. There’s no sparring in slap fighting, he notes.

Just another ‘blood sport’ to entertain the peasants.

Ever feel like ‘flippin’ someone off?

Flipping the bird is “a God-given” right in Canada, a judge has ruled following a dispute between neighbors, a case the judge suggested he’d like to literally throw out the window. “To be abundantly clear, it is not a crime to give someone the finger,” Quebec Court Judge Dennis Galiatsatos concluded in the Feb. 24 ruling, which cited Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, per the Guardian. “Flipping the proverbial bird is a God-given, charter-enshrined right that belongs to every red-blooded Canadian.” Galiatsatos went on to chastise Michael Naccache of the Montreal suburb of Beaconsfield for having “weaponized the criminal justice system in an attempt to exert revenge on an innocent man.”

Epstein, 45, testified that it was actually Naccache who’d uttered a death threat on May 18, 2021. He’d allegedly held up a drill in a menacing manner, hurled insults, and said, “You’re f—ing dead.” Only then did Epstein tell Naccache to “f— off” before giving him the finger with both hands while walking away, the court heard. It “may not be civil, it may not be polite, it may not be gentlemanly,” but “it does not trigger criminal liability,” Galiatsatos ruled. He added that though court cases aren’t literally thrown out, in this case, “the court is inclined to actually take the file and throw it out the window.” Epstein, a teacher and “caring father of two young daughters,” committed “no crime whatsoever,” said the judge.

That is my news of the weekend…..

Have a great Saturday….Be well….Be safe….

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”