Tagged: women

Autoimmune diseases rising in 9/11 workers

The list of ailments afflicting the World Trade Center first responders has grown to include systemic autoimmune diseases…

The conditional odds ratio for autoimmune diseases rose by 13% for each month individuals spent working at the site…according to Mayris P. Webber, DPH, Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues.

And for those who spent 10 months working at the site the risk tripled the researchers reported…

“The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center buildings and the subsequent building collapses and fires exposed rescue/recovery workers to aerosolized WTC dust, an amalgam of pulverized cement, glass fibers, silica, asbestos, lead, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, and polychlorinated furans and dioxins,” they noted.

The result has been the development of various respiratory and other diseases including asthma, gastroesophageal reflux, and cancer in up to 70% of the exposed New York City fire department members, but the entire range of potential health effects is not yet known and may take decades to fully manifest.

Autoimmune diseases have been linked with multiple environmental exposures, including silica, hydrocarbons, and particulates.

These autoimmune conditions include rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), dermatomyositis, vasculitis, and Sjogren’s syndrome, and most often have been reported after many years of exposure and predominantly among women.

The finding of an increase in autoimmune disease among WTC responders was “unexpected and highlights the need for increased clinician awareness of the possibility of these and perhaps other autoimmune disorders in their WTC-exposed male patients…”

The authors concluded that workers and residents should be closely monitored for these conditions. “The stakes are high because enhanced surveillance can lead to early detection and treatment, which has been shown to improve quality of life and reduce or delay organ damage including erosive joint destruction, kidney failure, pulmonary fibrosis, and hypertension.”

And so it goes. Disease and disability caused by industrial material and chemical can surface many years later. I hope, in this case, our government, the powers that have responsibility for support in unusual circumstances will respond with more pace and thought than they did to the ailments incurred by first responders.

Women of National Geographic

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Meave and Louise Leakey

We’re celebrating women in science and the major impacts they’re making in a variety of fields.

Meet some of the female scientists National Geographic has had the honor of supporting through the years. Hear from “Her Deepness,” Sylvia Earle, about the role of women in science—and find out who recently named her as a “Woman of the Year”.

Discover the incredible solar power breakthrough National Geographic Emerging Explorer Xiaoling Zheng is working on.

See how Big Cats Initiative Grantee Amy Dickman is transforming lives—human and feline—in Tanzania. Then learn why it’s crucial that more women get into science, and how we can help remove the barriers to their success.

Lots more at NatGeo. Click the link above and enjoy and learn.

Thanks, Ursarodinia

Women sent to ‘terror’ court for driving in Saudi Arabia

Two Saudi women detained for nearly a month for defying a ban on females driving were referred to a court established to try terrorism cases on Thursday…

Activists said it was the first time female drivers have been referred to the specialised criminal court in Riyadh, and that their detention is the longest of female drivers in Saudi history.

Four people close to Loujain al-Hathloul, 25, and Maysa al-Amoudi, 33, said they are not being charged for defying the driving ban but for voicing opinions online. They declined to elaborate on the specific charges because of the sensitivity of the case and anonymously for fear of government reprisal…

Saudi authorities are expanding a crackdown on people who criticise the government online. It said judges and prosecutors are using a 2007 anti-cybercrime law to charge Saudi citizens for peaceful tweets and social media comments.”

At the time of their arrest, Hathloul and Amoudi had a combined Twitter following of more than 355,000. They were vocal supporters of a grassroots campaign launched last year to oppose the ban on women driving…

Though no laws ban women from driving in Saudi Arabia, authorities do not issue them licences and ultra-conservative Saudi clerics have issued religious edicts against it

Hathloul was stopped by border guards and her passport was confiscated for more than 24 hours when she attempted to cross the border on 30 November with a UAE driver’s licence in an act of defiance.

Amoudi, a UAE-based Saudi journalist, was stopped when she went to deliver food and a blanket to Hathloul at the border, activists and relatives say. They were formally arrested on 1 December.

A useful point. Though fundamentalist theocrats most often offer some absurd religious rationale for the suppression of civil liberties and civil rights – they’re capable of offering the oldest reason there is for despots to order around other human beings: “Because I say so!”

Who is most likely to take truly idiotic risks and lose their lives?

Every year, a dozen or so people receive a Darwin Award. In the words of the award committee, “Darwin Award winners eliminate themselves in an extraordinarily idiotic manner, thereby improving our species’ chances of long-term survival.”

Their stories — though tragic — are often criminal, and will stretch your understanding of just how idiotic humans can be.

Take, for instance, the South Carolina man who spray-painted his face gold to disguise himself while robbing a Sprint store, then asphyxiated from the fumes. Or the pair of Belgian bank robbers who attempted to use dynamite to break open an ATM, but ended up demolishing the entire building, burying themselves in debris, and dying.

Recently, a group of British researchers decided to analyze the data provided by the Darwin Awards as a way of finding out whether men are more likely to engage in foolishly risky behavior than women — as has previously been indicated by studies of hospital records and financial risk-taking.

Their finding, published…in the British Medical Journal, isn’t a huge surprise, but it’s still pretty jarring: 88.7 percent of the Darwin Awards winners were male…

The researchers note that there could theoretically be some selection bias at play, and that the disparity might also just reflect known differences in rates of crime and alcohol consumption between men and women.

Still, the lesson here is clear: men are much, much more likely to take truly idiotic risks that cost their lives.

I’m not surprised. Are you?

Is red the new black?


Click to enlargeRex Features

Crimson tide: Is red the new black? The presence of at least 14 scarlet women at the Emmys last night would seem to suggest so. Finding a shade that flatters skintone but doesn’t clash or merge into the carpet is a styling challenge.

Used to be celebrities hated to be seen in public looking very much like another celebrity.

Why men don’t write advice columns

Dear Walter: I hope you can help me here. The other day, I set off for work in my Volvo 1800 leaving my husband in the house watching the TV as usual. I hadn’t gone more than a mile down the road when my engine conked out and the car shuddered to a halt. I walked back home to get my husband’s help. When I got home I couldn’t believe my eyes. He was in our bedroom with the neighbor lady. I am 32, my husband is 34, and we have been married for twelve years.

When I confronted him, he broke down and admitted that they had been having an affair for the past six months. I told him to stop or I would leave him.

He was let go from his job six months ago and he says he has been feeling increasingly depressed and worthless. I love him very much, but ever since I gave him the ultimatum he has become increasingly distant. He won’t go to counseling and I’m afraid I can’t get through to him anymore.

Can you please help?

Sincerely, Sheila

Dear Sheila: An 1800 stalling after being driven a short distance can be caused by a variety of faults with the engine. Start by checking that there is no debris in the fuel line. If it is clear, check the vacuum lines and hoses on the in-take manifold and also check all grounding wires. If none of these approaches solves the problem, it could be that the fuel pump itself is faulty, causing low delivery pressure to the carburetor float chamber.

I hope this helps

-Walter

Thanks, Ursarodinia

Hobby Lobby hypocrisy – invested in contraceptives they would deny to employee health plan

When Obamacare compelled businesses to include emergency contraception in employee health care plans, Hobby Lobby, a national chain of craft stores, fought the law all the way to the Supreme Court. The Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, the company’s owners argued, forced them to violate their religious beliefs. But while it was suing the government, Hobby Lobby spent millions of dollars on an employee retirement plan that invested in the manufacturers of the same contraceptive products the firm’s owners cite in their lawsuit.

Documents filed with the Department of Labor and dated December 2012—three months after the company’s owners filed their lawsuit—show that the Hobby Lobby 401(k) employee retirement plan held more than $73 million in mutual funds with investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs commonly used in abortions. Hobby Lobby makes large matching contributions to this company-sponsored 401(k)…

These companies include Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, which makes Plan B and ParaGard, a copper IUD, and Actavis, which makes a generic version of Plan B and distributes Ella. Other holdings in the mutual funds selected by Hobby Lobby include Pfizer, the maker of Cytotec and Prostin E2, which are used to induce abortions; Bayer, which manufactures the hormonal IUDs Skyla and Mirena; AstraZeneca, which has an Indian subsidiary that manufactures Prostodin, Cerviprime, and Partocin, three drugs commonly used in abortions; and Forest Laboratories, which makes Cervidil, a drug used to induce abortions. Several funds in the Hobby Lobby retirement plan also invested in Aetna and Humana, two health insurance companies that cover surgical abortions, abortion drugs, and emergency contraception in many of the health care policies they sell.

Nice to see primary source acknowledgement of one of my favorite dichos criticizing right-wing scumbags. “Republicans would have invented hypocrisy if Christians hadn’t beat them to it.”

Gallup poll says electoral politics more split by race

Goldwater v Santorum
Click to enlarge

White Americans lean more Republican now than at any time in the past three administrations, a new Gallup poll finds…While the country as a whole trended Democratic under the final years of the George W. Bush administration, it has moved the opposite direction under President Barack Obama.

But the gap between the two groups has not been larger than in 2010, when nonwhite people showed a 43-point preference toward the Democratic party, and white people chose Republicans by a 14-point advantage. At 61 points, Gallup measured the largest gap between the two ethnic groups since it began separately identifying Hispanic voters…

“It is unclear precisely what role Obama’s race has played in these changes,” said Jeffrey Jones, writing for Gallup. “Whites became slightly more Republican during 2009, the first year of Obama’s presidency. However, the biggest movement came during the next year, when Obama signed the healthcare overhaul into law but saw his approval rating sink and his party lose its large majority in the House in that year’s midterm elections…”

With the U.S. becoming increasingly racially and ethnically diverse, the balance of political power may shift toward the Democrats unless Republicans increase their advantage among a shrinking white majority, or cut into Democrats’ advantage among nonwhite voters,” he said.

Gallup hasn’t been an especially useful resource for Republican planners since they predicted Dewey’s victory over Truman. However – that’s unimportant to those who planned and executed the largest racist infusion into the Republican Party since Nixon’s Southern Strategy. That earlier event was accomplished with the help of the John Birch Society aided by the billionaire brothers who intended that one of them become president. The Republicans ended up running Goldwater instead of one of the Koch Bros. – and either road – it damned near crushed the Republican Party.

This time around, Koch Bros. money was used to manufacture the influx of bigots into the Republican Party to answer the threat of Democrats picking up more Hispanic, Black and women voters. They call it the Tea Party, this time, and had all the literature printed and ready to go when Rick Santelli had his “spontaneous” moment on CNBC.

So, we’re in critical times, again. And I think a face-to-face confrontation with the idjit vote – the whole hatred-of-science crowd – does nothing but good in the long range. It may even stiffen the spines of Democrats. One hopes they’ll stand up and be counted along with the growing majority of working class Americans.

UN helps eloped Saudi woman fight for asylum – and love

UNHCR officials in Yemen told the BBC Huda’s application was likely to be approved on the grounds that she could face mistreatment, even death, at the hands of her family if returned home.

In Yemen, it is being celebrated as a modern day Romeo and Juliet story.

Huda crossed the border several weeks ago, followed by her boyfriend, Arafat, who was working in Saudi Arabia.

Huda – who is in her early 20s – says she decided they had to elope after Arafat’s marriage proposal was rejected by her family.

The two have been held in an immigration detention centre in Yemen since their arrival.

Huda is charged with illegally crossing the border.

The same charge against Arafat was dropped, but he refused to be freed, wanting to remain with her in prison.

The two get to meet once a week when Huda’s asylum case is heard in court.

At first, her application to do this through the UNHCR was rejected by the ministry of the interior…But UNHCR officials in Yemen say the judge allowed her request last week…

She then filled out a form known as the Refugee Status Determination. While this is being studied, she is under UN protection and cannot be deported.

The UNHCR officials have told the BBC that it is very likely that she will be granted full refugee status in the next few days, which would mean that Huda and Arafat would be freed and able to marry

For its part, the UNHCR says that if Yemen does for whatever reason bow to Saudi pressure over the case and try to have Huda deported, it has an alternative plan which could see the two lovers united in another country.

Fundamentalist religions of just about any sort drive me up a tree. They seem to exist only to oppress women, stifle love, prevent kindness between human beings and in general make this short life we have as miserable as possible.

My best wishes to the young couple. I hope they manage to find somewhere to marry and continue their love without the interference of state religion.