Disruptive weather in a warming world

The summer of 2021 was a glaring example of what disruptive weather will look like in a warming world. In mid-July, storms in western Germany and Belgium dropped up to eight inches of rain in two days. Floodwaters ripped buildings apart and propelled them through village streets. A week later a year’s worth of rain—more than two feet—fell in China’s Henan province in just three days. Hundreds of thousands of people fled rivers that had burst their banks.,,In mid-August a sharp kink in the jet stream brought torrential storms to Tennessee that dropped an incredible 17 inches of rain in just 24 hours; catastrophic flooding killed at least 20 people. None of these storm systems were hurricanes or tropical depressions.

Soon enough, though, Hurricane Ida swirled into the Gulf of Mexico, the ninth named tropical storm in the year’s busy North Atlantic season. On August 28 it was a Category 1 storm with sustained winds of 85 miles per hour. Less than 24 hours later Ida exploded to Category 4, whipped up at nearly twice the rate that the National Hurricane Center uses to define a rapidly intensifying storm. It hit the Louisiana coast with winds of 150 miles an hour, leaving more than a million people without power and more than 600,000 without water for days. Ida’s wrath continued into the Northeast, where it delivered a record-breaking 3.15 inches of rain in one hour in New York City. The storm killed at least 80 people and devastated a swath of communities in the eastern U.S.

What all these destructive events have in common is water vapor—lots of it. Water vapor—the gaseous form of H2O—is playing an outsized role in fueling destructive storms and accelerating climate change. As the oceans and atmosphere warm, additional water evaporates into the air. Warmer air, in turn, can hold more of that vapor before it condenses into cloud droplets that can create flooding rains. The amount of vapor in the atmosphere has increased about 4 percent globally just since the mid-1990s. That may not sound like much, but it is a big deal to the climate system. A juicier atmosphere provides extra energy and moisture for storms of all kinds, including summertime thunderstorms, nor’easters along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard, hurricanes and even snowstorms…

Fascinating – and dangerous – forecasting. Even here in the desert Southwest, we can look forward to drought and unusual cloudbursts. The scariest part being rapid intensification – with circumstances changing dramatically in a matter of hours. Not only an interesting read. Something needing to be added to our understanding of changing weather systems in our future – for simple self-preservation.

Adding healthy years to your life


Virginia Oliver, lobstering crew member, is 101 years old

Death comes for us all. But recent research points to interventions in diet, exercise and mental outlook that could slow down aging and age-related diseases – without risky biohacks such as unproven gene therapies. A multidisciplinary approach involving these evidence-based strategies “could get it all right,” said Valter Longo, a biochemist who runs the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California’s Leonard Davis School of Gerontology…

Time will tell who’s right regarding the life span of our species. What’s clear is that certain lifestyles help individuals live longer than they otherwise would – including the genetically blessed. Harvard researchers found that healthy habits add nearly 15 years of life expectancy. “That’s over $100 trillion in health-care savings,” said Harvard biologist David Sinclair…

Stress that’s good for longevity can be caused by nutrition. Ideally, our ancestors enjoyed protein-rich red meat for peak energy and performance. But when hunting expeditions failed, people resorted to eating hardy plants. Today, our bodies still infer a state of scarcity if we consume lots of vegetables, switching on the longevity genes. Indeed, such a diet is associated with longer lives, according to the Harvard study. Becoming a full-fledged vegetarian probably isn’t necessary, but, to maximize what longevity experts call “healthspan,” at least 50 percent of protein should come from vegetable sources, Longo said.

Exercise can further simulate our ancestors’ stressful environments, some experts say, which can dupe your genes into extending your span of health. Just don’t do too much…As with fasting, just don’t go overboard…

Lots more in the article including love and happiness. Companionship helps…if and when you find the right person to be your better half. I try to keep up with what proves to help. I passed my textbook average a few decades ago. Feeling better all the time. :-]

Anti-Vaxxers Could Bring Back Childhood Diseases


“The good old days”

…Replicated in some form or another in cities and towns across America, (there is) a growing grassroots movement of people who believe that vaccine mandates—for COVID, yes, but increasingly for other diseases as well—are an affront to their personal freedom. That represents a marked shift from pre-pandemic times, when vaccine opponents typically based their reasoning on medical concerns and were largely comprised of a few religious sects and a small number of left-leaning activists seeking explanations for rising rates of autism. As the anti-vaxx mandate movement gains political traction, particularly on the right, medical experts fear it could not only cripple efforts to eradicate COVID but could also lead to a surge in long-conquered diseases, from mumps to whooping cough to smallpox.

“There are some more conservative states where we are likely to see other non-COVID vaccine mandates under attack, and it is very worrisome,” says Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. “If we have some of these pediatric infectious diseases come back, it will be horrific.”

Yet what scares epidemiologists now is that many conservatives who denounce vaccine mandates are eliding the medical questions of whether they are safe. Instead, says David Rosner, a Columbia University historian who specializes in the intersection of politics and public health, they’re focusing on a political view that requiring them is wrong.

“We are at the beginning of a much more profound change that may lead to resistance to other vaccines but also may lead to disintegration of any sense of social obligation, social cohesion and social purpose,” he warns. “It’s part of the questioning of what the country is and what it represents. When you see this kind of breakdown and unwillingness to work together, even under the most obvious circumstances where we’ve had more than 650,000 people die, it feels like the beginning of a major dividing point.”

I usually end a post like this by saying “I try to differentiate between ignorance and stupidity”. I have no interest, however, in letting “Stupid” win this one. I’ve said this several times before. Let me repeat myself. I’m old enough to remember springtime and gathering together with the other kids in my neighborhood to figure out who died over winter from diphtheria or pneumonia or influenza.

And even if you’re ignorant enough to make a religious crusade of libertarian healthcare choice, I hope you’re not stupid enough to offer your children a better chance of dying before they’re old enough to vote.

Detect Your Child’s Emotional Distress Before the School’s AI Does

School districts use artificial-intelligence software that can scan student communications and web searches on school-issued devices — and even devices that are logged in via school networks — for signs of suicidal ideation, violence against fellow students, bullying and more. Included in the scans are emails and chats between friends, as well as student musings composed in Google Docs or Microsoft Word.

When the AI recognizes certain key phrases, these systems typically send an alert to school administrators and counselors, who then determine whether an intervention with the student and parents is warranted…

“From a public-sector perspective, there is no presumed anonymity in anything you do on a school device, on a school network or in a school setting,” Dr. Brian Megert added. “I have mixed feelings about it, but if we’re going to err on one side it has to be on the side of safety.”…

Ask about their peers. Instead of making the conversation about them, a good way to get into a discussion is to ask about others. Dr. Hina Talib suggests saying something like, “Have you ever heard of anyone who cut themselves and you weren’t sure what that was about? I’m happy to talk to you about it.”…

There are ways to talk to kids about mental health before you get a call from the school…Don’t be afraid to talk about suicide. Dr. Hina Talib said some parents worry that bringing up the topic of self-harm or suicide could inspire kids to act, but she said that isn’t true; kids usually feel relieved to have someone to talk to.

More questions and answers follow through the article. Useful stuff.

Our government can’t “afford to” spend more on healthcare and education

Roughly, this averages out to $290 million every day for 7,300 days. That’s how much money America spent on 20 years of war and nation-building in Afghanistan, according to Brown University’s Costs of War project.

I’ve been around a long time. Our government, the two incompetent political parties we have [we’re essentially allowed], have used the same lies to justify destructive behavior like this…and will continue to do so unless and until the people of the United States rise up and throw the bastards out of office. I ain’t holding my breath. This is a nation of ignorant, deluded sheep!

[OK. I was too pissed-off when I posted this morning. Foot-dragging drives me crazy. We’re way too polite to Congress!]