The underground gets ready

One bright afternoon in early January, on a beach in Southern California, a young woman spread what looked like a very strange picnic across an orange polka-dot towel: A mason jar. A rubber stopper with two holes. A syringe without a needle. A coil of aquarium tubing and a one-way valve. A plastic speculum. Several individually wrapped sterile cannulas—thin tubes designed to be inserted into the body—which resembled long soda straws. And, finally, a three-dimensional scale model of the female reproductive system…

Ellie snugged the rubber stopper into the mason jar. She snipped the aquarium tubing into a pair of foot-long segments and attached the valve to the syringe’s plastic tip. In less than 10 minutes, Ellie had finished the project: a simple abortion device. It looked like a cross between an at-home beer-brewing kit and a seventh-grade science experiment…

I had read about such devices before. But watching the scene on the beach towel brought history into focus with startling clarity: Women did this the last time abortion was illegal.

For Ellie, the Del-Em was more symbolic than pragmatic—an amulet from the past to carry into an uncertain future. After all, pharmaceuticals can now be used to end pregnancies in the first trimester, when more than 90 percent of legal abortions occur. (Almost 99 percent of abortions occur within the first 20 weeks.) There are also modern, mass-produced manual vacuum-aspiration devices for doing what the Del-Em does. Community providers have talked about stockpiling such supplies in case Roe falls…

Given the uncertainties, she suggested, it couldn’t hurt to have a do-it-yourself tool like the Del-Em. “Just knowing the people who came before you had other ways of managing these things, not necessarily through a doctor or condoned by a government—there’s something really powerful in that,” she said.

Nothing new about some portion of your life kept ready to deal with corrupt politics, politicians with the ethical standards of criminals. RTFA, folks. You may need it as reference, some day.

New Mexicans will be opening more abortion clinics near state lines

Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains and other providers could be opening up more brick-and-mortar abortion clinics near New Mexico state lines, one official with PPRM said.

On the heels of the leaked U.S. Supreme Court document this week, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill Tuesday, effectively immediately, that initiated a Texas-style mechanism to make abortion unobtainable in that state at about six weeks gestation. The law would allow anyone to sue an organization or individual who “aids and abets” a patient receiving an abortion on or about six weeks gestation…

Before the six week ban went into effect on Tuesday, Oklahoma abortion clinics served 45 percent of abortion patients coming from Texas since the beginning of September, Neta Meltzer, director of communications strategy for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, told NM Political Report.

Texas’ six-week gestation law, which made abortion illegal in that state through what some call a “vigilante” style enforcement, went into effect on Sept. 1.Dr. Kristina…

Dr. Kristina Tocce said the fact that Texas has made providing abortion services impossible for patients after more than six weeks in gestation shows that what one state does is not limited to that state alone.

“It’s impacted the entire nation. Every single time a state passes something it affects the entire nation. Every person of reproductive age is affected by these unjust laws,” she said.

The cost of staffing and providing service for citizens from any of the nearby states run by backwards political hacks will be shared beyond our borders. New Mexicans needn’t fear being overwhelmed by costs, public and private. I’m confident people of good will have sufficient consideration at heart to help provide aid to abortion seekers while continuing the good fight inside their own state lines.

Nearby wildfires increase cancer risk

A new study from McGill University finds higher incidence of lung cancer and brain tumors in people exposed to wildfires. The study, which tracks over 2 million Canadians over a period of 20 years, is the first to examine how proximity to forest fires may influence cancer risk…

Published in The Lancet Planetary Health, the study shows that people living within 50 kilometers of wildfires over the past 10 years had a 10% higher incidence of brain tumors and 4.9% higher incidence of lung cancer than people living further away.

Wildfires typically occur in similar regions each year, and as a result, people living in nearby communities might be exposed to carcinogenic wildfire pollutants on a chronic basis, warn the researchers.

In addition to impacts on air quality, wildfires also pollute aquatic, soil, and indoor environments. While some pollutants return to normal concentrations shortly after the fire has stopped burning, other chemicals might persist in the environment for long periods of time, including heavy metals and hydrocarbons. “Exposure to harmful environmental pollutants might continue beyond the period of active burning through several routes of exposure,” adds Professor Weichenthal

Just being an old geezer, I’ve been staying indoors on detectable “smoke days” during the unusually severe wildfire wildfire patch we’re experiencing this spring. Now, I get to worry even more.

Massive, unregulated source of plastic pollution you never heard of…


Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP

A nurdle is a bead of pure plastic. It is the basic building block of almost all plastic products, like some sort of synthetic ore; their creators call them “pre-production plastic pellets” or “resins.” Every year, trillions of nurdles are produced from natural gas or oil, shipped to factories around the world, and then melted and poured into molds that churn out water bottles and sewage pipes and steering wheels and the millions of other plastic products we use every day. You are almost certainly reading this story on a device that is part nurdle….

An estimated 200,000 metric tons of nurdles make their way into oceans annually. The beads are extremely light, around 20 milligrams each. That means, under current conditions, approximately 10 trillion nurdles are projected to infiltrate marine ecosystems around the world each year.

Hundreds of fish species — including some eaten by humans — and at least 80 kinds of seabirds eat plastics. Researchers are concerned that animals that eat nurdles risk blocking their digestive tracts and starving to death. Just as concerning is what happens to the beads in the long term: Like most plastics, they do not biodegrade, but they do deteriorate over time, forming the second-largest source of ocean microplastics after tire dust. (A nurdle, being less than 5 millimeters around, is a microplastic from the moment of its creation, something also known as a primary microplastic.)

There’s much we still don’t know about how plastics can harm the bodies of humans and animals alike, but recent research has shown that microplastics can be found in the blood of as much as 80 percent of all adult humans, where they can potentially harm our cells. We may not eat the plastic beads ourselves, but nurdles seem to have a way of finding their way back to us.

You could always write to your Congress-critter and complain. If they fit the average profile, they might ask you to explain what a nurdle is. The only reason I know is because I spent a few strange years – long ago and far away – running a production quality lab for a plastics manufacturer. :-]

No doubt, your elected buddy is on the donations payroll from plastic manufacturers who offer a helluva lot more to their re-election than you or I do.

EMERGENCY ALERT!


Jim Weber/Santa Fe New Mexican
Status of one of the small fires feeding – now – into evacuation. This was just outside Mora 4 days ago.

I don’t know who lives the other side of the Sangre de Cristo range who might see my blog posts; but, it behooves me to repeat the warning that just dropped in onto my iphone:

MORA COUNTY HOLMAN AND CHACON immediate MANDATORY evacuation. Evacuees leaving Mora must utilize highway 434 to Angel Fire, 442 to Wagon Mound or 518 North to Taos. these roads are open for evacuation only. NO REENTRY ALLOWED. Nearest shelter is Penasco High School.If you need help evacuating call State Police 505-827-9300.

Please be safe, people.

UPDATE: Forecasters now say Wednesday will be even worse for Red Flag winds than Monday or Tuesday.

Fires we’re dealing with

“A time-lapse captured by a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite, shows two devastating events happening in the Western United States. The first is a wildfire outbreak in northern New Mexico that started last month and has intensified in the past two weeks, fueled by extreme drought and high winds. The second is a dust storm caused by violent winds in Colorado.
Seven large fires were burning in New Mexico as of Tuesday, according to the NASA Earth Observatory. The satellite image shows four of them. The westernmost is the Cerro Pelado fire, covering about 27,000 acres near the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The northernmost is the Cooks Peak fire, covering about 59,000 acres near Taos. Just south of that are the Calf Canyon and Hermits Peak fires, which merged around April 22 into one huge, 160,000-acre blaze.”

The Cerro Pelado fire is the one that smokes us. Days with a NW wind, I only get in an early morning walk before winds rise.

“Did none of you learn anything from the Gridiron Dinner?”


Pete Marovich/NYTimesTrevor Noah asks…

On Saturday, the comedian Trevor Noah stood before a ballroom of 2,600 journalists, celebrities and political figures at the White House Correspondents Dinner, and asked: What are we doing here?

“Did none of you learn anything from the Gridiron Dinner? Nothing,” Mr. Noah said, referring to another elite Washington gathering in April, after which dozens of attendees tested positive for the coronavirus. “Do you read any of your own newspapers?”

By Wednesday, Mr. Noah’s chiding remarks at what he called “the nation’s most distinguished superspreader event” were beginning to appear prophetic as a growing number of attendees, including a string of journalists and Antony J. Blinken, the secretary of state, said they had tested positive for the virus…

The growing number of cases presented another sign of an official Washington that has largely returned to prepandemic routines, even as officials still urge Americans to take precautions, and has decided to live with the result.

Stupid is as stupid does. Might be repetitive…even trite. Still happens to be the truth too often to ignore.

Three lawsuits filed against USPS over ICE-trucks

Three separate lawsuits were filed today against the U.S. Postal Service over the quasi-independent agency’s billion-dollar move to replace its aging delivery fleet with a majority of gasoline-powered vehicles (ICE = Infernal Combustion Engines).

The lawsuits say USPS failed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act, including by using inaccurate or outdated information about the emissions of gas-powered trucks and the cost of electric vehicles.

The Natural Resources Defense Council and the United Auto Workers filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Earthjustice, CleanAirNow, the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity filed their lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) and New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) led 14 other states and the District of Columbia in filing a separate lawsuit in the Northern District of California.

Bonta and James were joined by the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, as well as the city of New York and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has said scaling up the agency’s purchase of electric vehicles would be too expensive in both the short and long term.

DeJoy is a liar. I don’t know or care which suits he’s sharing the money with. After he loses the lawsuit he should be forced to get an honest job. For once.