CO2 significantly reduces nutrients in major food crops

Rising levels of CO2 around the world will significantly impact the nutrient content of crops according to a new study. Experiments show levels of zinc, iron and protein are likely to be reduced by up to 10% in wheat and rice by 2050. The scientists say this could have health implications for billions of people, especially in the developing world.

Researchers have struggled over the past two decades to design large scale field trials to accurately model the impacts of increased CO2 levels on the nutritional makeup of crops…Now an international team has put together a global analysis based on experiments in Japan, Australia and the US.

They’ve grown 41 different varieties of grains and legumes in open fields, with levels of carbon dioxide expected in the middle of this century.

“It is possibly the most significant health threat that has been documented for climate change,” said lead author Dr Samuel Myers from the Harvard School of Public Health…”We found significant reductions in iron, zinc and protein in rice and wheat, and we found significant reductions in iron and zinc in soybeans and field peas as well,” he said.

The researchers estimate that these reductions of up to 10% could have major health implications for millions of people around the world.

Around a third of the global population are already suffering from iron and zinc shortages, leading to some 63 million life years being lost annually as a result.

“We found that close to 2bn people are getting at least 70% of their iron and zinc from these grains and legumes. So reductions in those crops are potentially quite worrisome in terms of increasing those deficiencies,” said Dr Myers…

The impact of carbon on nutrient levels is another straw on the camel’s back of poverty. The IPCC has already projected diminishing crop yields as a result of rising temperatures.

Folks who tie their gonads to the denial of climate change aren’t worried of course. They act like food magically appears every morning at McDonalds and Taco Bell. Climate has nothing to do with it.

Next time someone says graffiti is art —

whale-graffiti
Click to enlarge

A dead Minke whale that washed ashore in New Jersey suffered some further indignity: someone tagged it with graffiti. The whale, which was roughly 12 to 15 feet long, was discovered Thursday morning below Atlantic City’s Central Pier.

Police tell The Press of Atlantic City the purple markings are not gang-related and appear to be Greek letters. The letters appeared to be Tau Epsilon Phi, a fraternity that has chapters at several area schools, followed by what looked like “94.”

Spokesman Jesse Cohen says while it has not been confirmed that Tau Epsilon Phi members were involved, the fraternity considers it a “reprehensible act” contrary to its teachings and is cooperating with authorities.

A state pathologist will try to determine the cause of death.

Idiots. Meatheads whose sterile self-image requires defacing something as natural as a death in nature are about as useless and unproductive as most of the phonies we’re saddled with in politics.

Art – my arse!

Texas politicians say they’re not getting enough — Pass a pole tax!

Texas wants strip-club owners to pay millions of dollars owed on a $5-per-patron tax imposed in 2007 that they have left unpaid amid court challenges, according to a letter from Comptroller Susan Combs.

Combs said in the April 11 letter that the clubs have to cough up the so-called pole tax even as the legal case continues, because courts have ruled it valid…

Under the Sexually Oriented Business Fee Act passed seven years ago, a business that offers live nude entertainment and alcohol must remit $5 to the comptroller for each patron. After lawmakers passed the legislation, owners of businesses led by the Texas Entertainment Association filed a lawsuit claiming the tax violated the First Amendment.

The state Supreme Court ruled in August 2011 that the tax didn’t harm the clubs’ freedom of speech. Clubs continued to fight the case in lower and appellate courts, but there has been no activity since April 2013, according to dockets.

Yes, nothing seems to drive politics and profits in this land more than sex. The all-time top traffic-getter in this, my personal blog, goes back to practically the first day I moved this blog over to wordpress.com.

Nine maps showing ways climate change already affecting the United States

Temperature changes over the past 22 years (1991-2012) compared to the 1901-1960 average, and compared to the 1951-1980 average for Alaska and Hawai‘i. NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC.

This map is the simplest way to see global warming in action. Since the 19th century, average US temperatures have risen by 1.3°F to 1.9°F. (Note, though, there have been some fluctuations here and there: in the 1960s and 1970s, temperatures dipped, partly due to the cooling effect of sulfate pollution that was eventually cleaned up.)

Recent decades have been even hotter: since 1991, every region in the United States has been warming, with the biggest temperature increases occurring in the winter and spring.

Continue reading

Polio emergency declared as war and bandits spread the virus

The spread of polio to countries previously considered free of the crippling disease is a global health emergency, the World Health Organization said, as the virus once driven to the brink of extinction mounts a comeback.

Pakistan, Cameroon and Syria pose the greatest risk of exporting the virus to other countries, and should ensure that residents have been vaccinated before they travel, the Geneva-based WHO said in a statement today after a meeting of its emergency committee. It’s only the second time the United Nations agency has declared a public health emergency of international concern, after the 2009 influenza pandemic.

Polio has resurged as military conflicts from Sudan to Pakistan disrupt vaccination campaigns, giving the virus a toehold. The number of cases reached a record low of 223 globally in 2012 and jumped to 417 last year, according to the WHO. There have been 74 cases this year, including 59 in Pakistan, during what is usually polio’s “low season,” the WHO said.

The disease’s spread, if unchecked, “could result in failure to eradicate globally one of the world’s most serious, vaccine-preventable diseases,” Bruce Aylward, the WHO’s assistant director general for polio, emergencies and country collaboration, told reporters in Geneva today. “The consequences of further international spread are particularly acute today given the large number of polio-free but conflict-torn and fragile states which have severely compromised routine immunization services.”

“Conflict makes it very difficult for the vaccinators to get to the children who need vaccine,” David Heymann, a professor of infectious diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said in an interview before the WHO’s announcement. “It’s been more difficult to finish than had been hoped.”

The polio virus, which is spread through feces, attacks the nervous system and can cause paralysis within hours, and death in as many as 10 percent of its victims. There is no cure. The disease can be prevented by vaccines

The resurgence of the virus “reminds us that, until it’s eradicated, it’s going to spread internationally and it’s going to find and paralyze susceptible kids,” Aylward said.

Resurgence, as well, of the question: what holds back progress for most of the people living on this planet? Is it stupidity or ignorance? My answer changes from week to week.

It takes a special kind of stupidity after all to make uninformed and ignorant decisions. Whether the ignorance is religion-based, hatred of furriners, paranoid rejection of science and info from educated folks who obviously don’t live in your own neighborhood/state/region/country/continent – doesn’t matter a whole boatload. Killing your kin and letting your children die sounds mostly stupid to me.