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

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Linkee-poo, if you knew Peggy Sue then you'd know why I feel blue without Peggy, my Peggy Sue

Don't forget, for those of you in the US, "Wednesday afternoon, at exactly 2:18 p.m. ET, you can expect to get a text headlined 'Presidential Alert' on your cellphone." I can only imagine what the conservasphere would have to say if this had happened under Obama's administration.

Okay, this is a new one. "During his recent appearance on Chris McDonald’s 'The Mc Files' program, Mark Taylor, the so-called 'firefighter prophet' and radical conspiracy theorist who is the subject of a new movie premiering tonight, alleged that Hurricane Florence had been created and aimed at North Carolina in order to flood the state and destroy evidence of massive voter fraud." Wait, I thought only God could control the weather, and that he sent hurricanes as punishment the teh gayz things. I'm so confuseled. (Grokked from Fred Clark)

"In its ongoing crusade against rad teens, the Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday that it made a surprise inspection of the headquarters of Juul Labs, which is under investigation for potentially marketing e-cigarettes to children. The 'unannounced on-site inspection,' executed on Friday, resulted in the seizure of 'thousands of pages of documents,' according to the FDA."

"A study published Monday finds that patients rated themselves happiest with their doctor's visit when they got an antibiotic after seeking care for a respiratory tract infection, such as a common cold, whether they needed it or not." Antibiotics don't work against viruses. And prescribing them for such things as colds and the flu has its own harms, namely antibiotic resistant bacteria. Now, this is not to say that a viral infection doesn't make you ripe for a opportunistic bacterial infection while your immune system is busy fighting the virus. And while they talk about not incentivizing doctors to get higher ratings and instead set up some system to track antibiotic prescription to statistical bacterial prevalence, the actual solution is patient education. But that also requires a basic level of medical knowledge and critical thinking skills in the general populace. This would also solve another problem (coughFakeNewscough), but given the current situation in the US, I'm not holding my breath.

"Between 2013 and 2016, about 37% of US adults consumed fast food on any given day, according to the data brief published Wednesday by the National Center for Health Statistics." Note the report then states, "…adults in the US consumed 11.3% of their total daily calories from fast food between 2007 and 2010, according to a National Center for Health Statistics data brief published in 2013." Those statistics are measuring two different things. And it is true that "Fast foods tend to be high in calories, fat, salt and sugar, which -- when consumed in excess -- can be associated with obesity, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, among other health risks." Note the caveat of "consumed in excess", can you say "protect our revenue base"? Mostly this research is trying to blame fast food for our current health crisises of obesity and diabetes. And it has its part. However, most food has already been compromised by inclusion of sugar and high-fructose corn syrup (or other sweeteners). No, really. I've been trying to find dried fruit to use as snack that don't have sugar added at my local grocery. Our food is the result of the Nixon administration realizing that with inflation, most people wouldn't be able to eat enough. So they developed "cheap" calories. Hello high-fructose corn syrup, transfat, and overly-sweetened everything.

"Aerial photos taken by the US Navy show just how close a US Navy ship came to colliding with a Chinese warship that had challenged the US vessel's presence in the South China Sea."

"At least two packages containing ricin have been intercepted on the way to the Pentagon… As the Washington, DC, area worked to determine the origin of the ricin attack, news also broke that two individuals had been hospitalised after being exposed to a powdery substance in mail sent to Texas Senator Ted Cruz's Houston campaign office." The two people hospitalized weren't on Cruz's staff.

"Four men connected to a white supremacist group based in California have been arrested and charged with rioting at last year's Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va."

"The White House official transcript of Donald Trump’s trade press conference originally misquoted the president after he hurled an insult at a female reporter asking about the FBI investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh." And the UN delegates and heads-of-state were laughing with the president. (Grokked from George Takei)

"The Trump administration is quietly moving to weaken U.S. radiation regulations, turning to scientific outliers who argue that a bit of radiation damage is actually good for you — like a little bit of sunlight… The government’s current, decades-old guidance says that any exposure to harmful radiation is a cancer risk. And critics say the proposed change could lead to higher levels of exposure for workers at nuclear installations and oil and gas drilling sites, medical workers doing X-rays and CT scans, people living next to Superfund sites and any members of the public who one day might find themselves exposed to a radiation release." Christ on a cracker. There. Is. No. Safe. Dose. of Ionizing. Radiation. Here's the thing. Do we know the direct causative effect of low-doses? No. Because it may take 40 years for the effect to be seen and by then you've been exposed to so many other things that may cause that cancer that you can't draw a direct line from one to the other. HOWEVER, what you do want to do is limit any exposure to limit your overall risk of cancer and other diseases. Why are radiation workers only allowed 5REM a year in exposure? Because below that rate it's impossible (well, not really, but it's damn expensive) to tease out any different between our population (of radiation workers) and the general public. Above 5REM you start seeing deterministic effects and that population shows a wide variance in cancer rates versus the general population. Note: there are other studies that refute that and place the limit below 1REM per year. This will get people killed as well as cost us all a lot more in the future that it would cost business to control exposures now. Frankly, IMHO, what industry is allowed to exposure the general population to right now, under the current regulations, is way too high and is mostly based on 1) you don't know you're being exposed, and 2) you're transient in the area of exposure so there's no cost effective and non-invasive way of tracking your exposures. (Grokked from Wesley Chu)

"A key data point has been buried in the back-and-forth over the Trump administration’s rollback of former President Obama’s climate legacy: EPA’s own research has found that lifting public health protections on air pollution could kill thousands of Americans." So guess what we're doing!

"On Tuesday the New York Times dropped an investigative bombshell: President Donald Trump got at least $413 million from his father’s real estate empire, much of it through 'dubious tax schemes…including instances of outright fraud.'" Funny how being president brings a spotlight onto one's life.

"Arcane rules and customs that are hard for even the most experienced Senate alumni to explain allow someone like Jeff Flake to gum up the works. The idea that Flake can pull together a small gang of moderates to flip the emergency brake at the last minute is exactly what the body is set up to do. In the Senate, change is supposed to be slow and deliberate and difficult. That’s the whole point. If you don’t get that, you don’t get the Senate."

"Before the crowd Tuesday night in Southaven, Mississippi, Trump imitated Ford during her testimony, mocking her for not knowing the answers to questions such as how she had gotten to the high school party where she says Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her." Because our president is a petty, mean-spirited bully.

"Several people with information related to allegations of sexual misconduct against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh say they have tried in vain to speak with the FBI, which is expected to wrap up its investigation this week."

"A 1983 letter written by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh described himself and his Georgetown Preparatory School classmates as 'loud, obnoxious drunks with prolific pukers among us,' The New York Times reported Tuesday." Of course it's not clear if that was a joke or not. But I wonder just how he would have defined "pukers" in last week's testimony. Probably everybody at Georgetown Prep had weak stomachs or something.

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