Guess who gets to live and die downwind from pollution sources?


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University of Washington researchers have found that air pollution from electricity generation emissions in 2014 led to about 16,000 premature deaths in the continental U.S. In many states, the majority of the health impacts came from emissions originating in other states. Interactive map of the U.S. where the states are colored according to the number of premature deaths per 100,000 people in that state. Darker colors represent more deaths.

No surprises here for me. Growing up downwind from 2 of the 3 largest factory complexes in my hometown – one of which even generated electricity from its own powerhouse – we would wake in the morning, throw open the windows, scrape the soot from the windowsill and close the windows back up till the following morning.

Fortunately, we moved upwind from the whole city by the time I was 12.

Antibiotic/Antimicrobial Resistance

❝ According to the report, more than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur in the U.S. each year, and more than 35,000 people die as a result. In addition, 223,900 cases of Clostridioides difficile occurred in 2017 and at least 12,800 people died.

Dedicated prevention and infection control efforts in the U.S. are working to reduce the number of infections and deaths caused by antibiotic-resistant germs, but the number of people facing antibiotic resistance is still too high. More action is needed to fully protect people…

❝ The report lists 18 antibiotic-resistant bacteria and fungi into three categories based on level of concern to human health—urgent, serious, and concerning—and highlights…

❝ The report also includes a Watch List with three threats that have not spread resistance widely in the U.S. but could become common without a continued aggressive approach.

Your family doctor is probably hip to all this. Not so much heard from our politicians, whether local or some big deal in Washington, DC.. But, they’re the ones who get to move money around…decide whether grants go to corporate gladhanders…or to not-for-profit research.

RTFA. Think about it. Who do you trust to get something done?

VW, There and Here


VW starts pre-production runs – new plant in China

❝ VW announced that it already started pre-production at its all-electric vehicle factory in China, just a year after ground breaking at the new plant.

Over the last two years, every major automaker has announced plans to build electric vehicles in China due to the country’s new aggressive zero-emission mandate.

❝ VW is among those automakers who quickly announced plans to build a new factory just for electric vehicles.

They started building it last year through their joint venture with SAIC and today, they announced that they started pre-production at their new factory in Anting, Shanghai.


VW breaks ground for $800 million EV plant in Tennessee

❝ Volkswagen breaks ground Wednesday on its Tennessee plant that will produce two battery-powered cars, according to Reuters. Plans for the $800 million investment in the Chattanooga plant were first announced in January. The ground-breaking shows that Volkswagen is intent on achieving its goal of producing 50 million electric cars in the next several years.

❝ Scott Keogh, Volkswagen Group of America CEO, characterized the event as part of a “magic moment” for electric vehicles in the United States. He equated it to the introduction of the Beetle, which went on to sell 21 million units.

❝ The average transaction price of a car in America right now is $33,000, somewhere around there. That’s where I’d put the dart in the market [for an electric vehicle]. That’s a decent space to approach the center of the market. It will be a car for the heart of the market.

Don’t kid yourself. The same kind of people whining about investments, government support for electric vehicles, here in the United States have their peers with the same kind of chickenshit DNA in China. Priorities are formed by leaders: political, economic and social leaders willing to move ahead. Apparently, it is still possible to find folks willing to setup shop in completely different countries because they recognize opportunity.

Court Rejects Western Colorado Coal Mine


RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post

❝ Last week, a federal court blocked the Trump Administration’s illegal approval of a coal mine expansion in western Colorado’s backcountry.

We’ve been fighting for years to stop this expansion, which threatens to despoil thousands of acres of roadless National Forest lands. This latest ruling literally stops Arch Coal’s bulldozers in their tracks, a much-needed reprieve for these wildlands!

Importantly, it’s a BIG win for the climate…

❝ Not only is coal from West Elk burned in power plants in other states, releasing massive amounts of carbon, but the mine is also a huge source of methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas.

Arch Coal had planned to expand into roadless National Forest lands so it could build roads and drill dozens of methane venting wells above the mine, as well as dig millions more tons of coal…

❝ With our latest legal victory, we’re one step closer to the clean energy future we need to save our climate, our public lands, and our American West.

Jeremy Nichols, Climate & Energy Program Director, WildEarth Guardians

Google says they’re a nightingale – looking more like a vulture!

❝ Google quietly partnered last year with Ascension — the country’s second-largest health system — and has since gained access to detailed medical records on tens of millions of Americans, according to a November 11 report by The Wall Street Journal.

The endeavor, code-named “Project Nightingale,” has enabled at least 150 Google employees to see patient health information, which includes diagnoses, laboratory test results, hospitalization records, and other data, according to internal documents and the newspaper’s sources. In all, the data amounts to complete medical records, WSJ notes, and contains patient names and birth dates.

❝ The move is the latest by Google to get a grip on the sprawling health industry. At the start of the month, Google announced a deal to buy Fitbit, prompting concerns over what it will do with all the sensitive health data amassed from the popular wearables. Today’s news will likely spur more concern over health privacy issues.

Neither Google nor Ascension has notified patients or doctors about the data sharing. Ascension—a Catholic, non-profit health system—includes 34,000 providers who see patients at more than 2,600 hospitals, doctor offices, and other facilities across 21 states and the District of Columbia.

Most of today’s tech corporations don’t pretend to be anything more than money-gathering machines. Some few – damned few – include the premise of protecting your privacy as the starting point for their endeavor. Even fewer, stick with that plan over time.

I wouldn’t count Google as part of anything other than that first batch of greed-based economic “heroes”.

No more AT&T throttling your data plan…Just buy their more/most expensive options and you’re OK

❝ AT&T…announced three new “unlimited” data plans. Keeping track of all the different limits on AT&T’s unlimited mobile plans is just as difficult as ever, but…Buying AT&T’s cheapest unlimited plan still comes with the risk of getting your data throttled to speeds slower than those provided to other customers when the network is congested. The possible throttling can be imposed at any time, even if a customer hasn’t used much data that month. But while upgrading to pricier plans currently only gives AT&T customers 22GB a month before possible throttling, the plans coming out soon have options for at least 50GB or 100GB of un-throttled use…

❝ Starting November 3, AT&T will offer a new “Unlimited Starter” plan as the entry-level edition at prices of $65 per month for a single line or $35 for each line when you buy four lines…

The new top-level plan is Unlimited Elite, and AT&T said it will launch “in the coming weeks” but did not reveal a specific release date. This one is $85 a month for a single line or $50 per line with four lines…blah, blah, blah!

I especially love their plan to keep you viewing even when throttled by “giving you” Standard Definition quality streams. I hope you love down-rezzed screens because US brands stopped making or importing SD TVs about 16 years ago…and the last few SD broadcasters gave up a couple years ago. AT&T will actually have to reduce the quality of whatever they’re letting you receive — when they’re screwing you out of bandwidth.

Facebook Making Millions Off Gun Permit Scam

❝ One of Facebook’s biggest political advertisers is running an elaborate scheme to trick people into believing that a legal “loophole” allows them to qualify for and purchase concealed-carry permits online. The multimillion-dollar ad operation actually sells handgun safety certificates rather than legitimate permits, and urges people to buy them right away before Democrats intervene.

❝ But the scam goes far beyond false advertising

Of 50 ads launched in October, more than one-in-three contain links enabling people to bypass either critical caveats (including the fact that the certificate is not a permit), the safety training that’s required by law, or both. Nearly one-in-five of the ads — which have been viewed millions of times — feature a shareable link that takes people directly from Facebook to a checkout page with the message, “Congratulations! You PASSED!” where they’re told to fill in their billing information in 15 minutes or less to get their certificates…

❝ At the very bottom, there are also a few small, grey-on-grey lines stating that the certificate is “not a license or permit to carry a concealed weapon in any state.”

Truth in advertising, eh?

Cancer Alley getting worse!


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❝ ProPublica and The Times-Picayune and The Advocate investigated the potential cancer-causing toxicity in the air. Using EPA data, public records requests and more, we found that some of the country’s most toxic air will likely get worse…

❝ The data for our story and corresponding graphic comes from several sources. We provide details on each below.

The bulk of the analysis relies on data from the Risk-Screening Environmental Indicators (RSEI) model, which was developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Manufacturing facilities with 10 or more employees in particular industries, which are in possession of chemical quantities above specific thresholds, are required to disclose information on their toxic emissions to the Toxics Release Inventory, a program administered by the EPA. The EPA releases this information online each year as required by the 1986 Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. RSEI translates the TRI data, which is reported by weight, into values that reflect the relative risk to human health. These indicators allow regulators, companies and communities to assess risks and take action relative to a specific facility or waste stream.

Please click through to the article and the many sources referenced by the authors.