And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Linkee-poo doesn't know exactly what to do with three French Hens

"A survey of most of the major public health bodies around the world actually do agree on a few things about cellphone radiation: namely, that no research has ever confirmed that low levels of radiation can harm people." Not all radiation is the same. However I'll just note here at at the professional level we never say, "It has no effect." Because you can never be sure. For MRI exposure (which includes magnetic manipulation and radio waves) we always say that there is no credible research that shows any negative effects on health (you know, as long as there's no counter-indications like foreign body ferrous metals in the subject). Note that physics is on our side here, but also note that we also didn't take Radium and X-Rays very seriously until faced with incontrovertible facts that they are hazardous. Plus it's not like there aren't other toxic materials used in cell phone manufacturing. Or to put it another way, cell phone use might pose a health risk, but not from the transmitter radiation (cell tower, bluetooth, wifi, the short range radios used in payment technologies).

"Seniors are wasting their time and money taking calcium and vitamin D supplements to ward off the brittle bones of old age, a new review concludes… Not all experts agreed with this conclusion, however. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Daniel Smith says the study makes a 'bold leap' by arguing that these supplements do no good at all." Disclaimers… IANA doctor, you should see your own physician, not all medical advice is the same for everyone… That said, take calcium and Vitamin D (D helps "fix" calcium) early on (most of these studies are on people older than 50, which is important) and do weight bearing exercises. This is general advice for good bone health. Bone density once lost can not be regained (this is a systemic issue, not say from a fracture where you have to be non-weight bearing and lose bone mass in your legs, or if exposed to prolonged weightlessness). As we age, our osteoclasts (those cells which tear down bone matrix) don't weaken as fast as out osteoblasts (those cells which build up bone matrix). So after 50 we are on a decline (actually somewhere in our 20s but it becomes more pronounced after 50). Calcium and Vitamin D along with stress exercise increase bone density (note this is in the same vein as "eat less and exercise more"… you have to do both to see any benefit). You want to build up as much as you can before you start losing the battle. Also, what the doctors say about a hip fracture is true. Avoid hip fractures at all costs. For elderly patients (those over 70, especially those over 80) a hip fracture can be a sign of imminent decline and death. Hip fractures take a heavy toll on the body, as does the surgery to repair them.

"Everyone in Israel knew that layoffs and plant closings were coming, but what was expected was something akin to painful trims. Instead, on Dec. 14, Teva announced what amounted to an amputation."

"Slowly but steadily, an enormous mass of warm rock is rising beneath part of New England, although a major volcanic eruption isn’t likely for millions of years, a Rutgers University-led study suggests. The research is groundbreaking in its scope and challenges textbook concepts of geology." When the stars are right…

"A storm that blew into northern Erie County on Christmas Eve had dumped 60 inches of snow by late Tuesday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service in Cleveland, slowing traffic on local interstates, plugging up residential streets and forcing numerous businesses to close, including the Millcreek Mall on what was expected to be a busy post-holiday shopping day." Winter is here.

"Among the big changes contained in the tax overhaul signed by President Trump last week is a little-remarked-upon provision changing the way inflation is calculated… The new method, using the so-called 'chained' consumer price index to determine when to adjust tax brackets and eligibility for deductions, is expected to push more Americans into higher tax brackets more quickly." Whispers, but only if your pay increases at the same as the rate of inflation. Note that conservatives have tried to tie Social Security increases to "chained CPI" as well. This might be the first salvo of that attack. It also may be a way to justify lower pay increases in the private sector, or to help "push" people out of poverty, or as an early move when w update minimum pay and tie it to inflation (as it should have been last time, Ohio's minimum is tied to inflation).

Some Ohio news.

So, how's the Charter School experiment in Ohio going? "A new study shows the graduation rates of Ohio’s traditional public schools are much better than those of charter schools… The study shows even when excluding dropout-recovery schools, the four-year graduation rate of charter schools in Ohio is just under 45%, faring worse than public schools in Ohio’s six largest cities." But let's give them tax breaks and focus on shifting more people/funds from public schools to charters because that seems like a winning solution.

Why do we really need to address the opioid crisis? "On the same day that the federal government released stats showing Ohio has the second-highest opioid death rate in the nation, the state’s children services’ agencies are saying their system is straining under the pressure of the deadly crisis." Because it's costing us a fortune. "Sausser said even if the state doubled what it spends on children services – which now is around 10 percent of overall costs - it would still be last in the nation for funding these agencies." Hey, ho, way to go Ohio.

"New data from the Census Bureau's Annual Survey of Manufactures rank Ohio in the top three states for manufacturing employment, behind California and Texas." Yeah! I think.

Good news. "Ohio is expanding Medicaid coverage for acupuncture." Bad news is our state legislature is still trying to cut Medicaid Expansion and limit new enrollees (that was the story I was really looking for when I saw the other Ohio news items).

We're going to cut this one up and rearrange the text a little. "On Christmas Day, The Salt Lake Tribune…" declared Sen. Orin Hatch as "Utahn of the Year… Hatch, in response, told the paper he was 'grateful for this great Christmas honor.'" Only by the paper made clear that being declare Utahn of the Year, like Time's "Man of the Year" isn't always an honorific. In this case, while naming him Utahn of the Year the paper "denounced Sen. Orrin Hatch's 'utter lack of integrity' and called for him to end his 42-year career in the Senate."

"U.S. consumer confidence declined in December from a 17-year high as Americans became less upbeat about the outlook for the economy and job prospects, according to figures Wednesday from the New York-based Conference Board."

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