Check out how people kill themselves – while taking selfies!


Say cheese—and watch out for that jagged cliff behind you!

❝ A group of health researchers in India have tried to tally the death toll from selfie taking, counting 259 deaths worldwide from October 2011 to November 2017. In doing so, they also caught a blurry glimpse of the leading ways in which people perish during dicey photo ops. The top three were drowning, transportation related (mostly being hit by trains), and falling off of things, such as cliff edges…

The resulting grim picture shows a developing public health threat, the researchers argue. Yet, the numbers are likely “just the tip of iceberg,” they add. Selfies are never recorded as an official cause of death, media reports don’t report every death, and the search was limited to English-language news reports…

❝ Still, the researchers were able to catch a reasonable peek into the perilous photo trends…Risk-taking men accounted for 72.5 percent of the fatalities with gender data. Of those with age data, the mean age was about 23 years old. The majority of deaths were of those aged 10 to 29.

Har. Death by misadventure would be the usual cause listed, I imagine.

American Medical Association takes a stand against gun violence


Jim Watson/AFP

❝ With frustration mounting over lawmakers’ inaction on gun control, the American Medical Association on Tuesday pressed for a ban on assault weapons and came out against arming teachers as a way to fight what it calls a public health crisis.

At its annual policymaking meeting, the nation’s largest physicians group bowed to unprecedented demands from doctor-members to take a stronger stand on gun violence — a problem the organizations says is as menacing as a lethal infectious disease.

The action comes against a backdrop of recurrent school shootings, everyday street violence in the nation’s inner cities, and rising U.S. suicide rates.

❝ “We as physicians are the witnesses to the human toll of this disease,” Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency-medicine specialist at Brown University, said at the meeting.

RTFA. Nice to see a leading body of successful, well-educated professionals stand in responsible commitment to fighting a social disaster. Ain’t always the case.

Opioids are killing thousands of veterans and the VA played a role in that

❝ Opioids, mostly illegally obtained counterfeit pills and heroin, now account for 63 percent of all drug deaths in the U.S., with fatalities climbing at an astounding rate of nearly 20 percent a year. In fact, the estimated number of drug deaths in 2016 topped the total number of soldiers killed in the Iraq and Vietnam wars. There’s a grim irony in that statistic, because the Department of Veterans Affairs has played a little-discussed role in fueling the opioid epidemic that is killing civilians and veterans alike. In 2011, veterans were twice as likely to die from accidental opioid overdoses as non-veterans. One reason…is that for over a decade, the VA recklessly overprescribed opiates and psychiatric medications. Since mid-2012, though, it has swung dangerously in the other direction, ordering a drastic cutback of opioids for chronic pain patients, but it is bungling that program and again putting veterans at risk…

❝ Today, the number of patients affected by the VA’s swinging opiate pendulum is staggering: 60 percent of veterans who fought in the Middle East and 50 percent of older veterans have chronic pain. Since 2012, though, there has been a 56 percent drop to a mere 53,000 chronic pain VA patients receiving opioids—leading to swift, mandated cutoffs regardless of patient well-being and with virtually no evidence that it’s a safe approach…

RTFA. The VA stumbles from one side of the wrong-way highway to the other. Crippled by the fake president and tame bureaucrats relying on positions already corrupt and ineffectual – our veterans’ medical treatment is on the way to being as useless as any Republican-designed healthcare system.

Bodies Of Dead Climbers On Everest Serve As Guideposts


Prakash Mathema

❝ Mount Everest holds the impressive title of ‘tallest mountain in the world,’ but many people don’t know about its other, more gruesome title — the world’s largest open-air graveyard

❝ The top portion of the mountain, roughly everything above 26,000 feet, is known as the “death zone.”
There, the oxygen levels are only at a third of what they are at sea level, and the barometric pressure causes weight to feel ten times heavier. The combination of the two makes climbers feel sluggish, disoriented and fatigued and can cause extreme distress on organs. For this reason, climbers don’t usually last more than 48 hours in this area.

The climbers that do are usually left with lingering effects. The ones that aren’t so lucky are left where they fall.

❝ Standard protocol is just to leave the dead where they died, and so these corpses remain, to spend eternity on the mountaintop, serving as a warning to climbers, as well as gruesome mile markers.

Truly interesting article. At least to me. I’ve spent a fair piece of outdoors life with serious climbers in the US, Switzerland and France, Scotland and elsewhere. Known a number of successful athletes at this pursuit. A few who died along the way.

RTFA for questions unique to the life and death of high altitude climbing.

Pollution’s Annual Cost? $4.6 Trillion and 9 Million Dead

❝ And that was just in 2015, according to a new global report on the consequences of humanity’s actions.


DelhiUdit Kulshrestha/Bloomberg

❝ Pollution in all its forms killed 9 million people in 2015 and, by one measure, led to economic damage of $4.6 trillion, according to a new estimate by researchers who hope to put the health costs of toxic air, water and soil higher on the global agenda.

In less-developed nations, pollution-linked illness and death drag down productivity, reducing economic output by 1 percent to 2 percent annually, according to the tally by the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, published Thursday by the U.K. medical journal. The report is intended to illuminate the hidden health and economic consequences of harmful substances introduced into the environment by human activity…

❝ The report represents an “extremely comprehensive and rigorous quantification” of pollution costs, said Francesca Dominici, a professor of biostatistics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who wasn’t involved in the study.

“In the scientific community, I don’t think there is any disagreement about the cost-benefit analysis of controlling pollution,” Dominici said. Reducing air pollution from vehicles and power plants, for example, would simultaneously improve human health and reduce planet-warming carbon emissions, she said. “The major barrier has been political, but not scientific.”

❝ As large as that figure is, it may even underestimate the full cost of pollution. Because the amount is derived from death rates, it doesn’t include the price of medical expenditures or lost productivity from those sickened but not killed by pollution-related disease. And it doesn’t measure some forms of pollution that are likely to have health effects, such as soil tainted with heavy metals or industrial toxins, because data to calculate its influence on health are insufficient.

No surprise when Bloomberg offers articles like this one. Folks selling services to investors realize that folks in all walks of life can develop a conscience about principled profit-making versus scumbags who don’t care how their profits are acquired.

Most expensive fighter ever — F-35 Ejection Seats will only harm a couple dozen pilots 1st year in service

❝ The F-35 fighter jets’ flawed ejection seats, which Air Force officials said in May had been fixed, still pose a “serious” risk that will probably injure or kill nearly two dozen pilots, according to an internal Air Force safety report that service officials withheld from the press.

The F-35 Joint Program Office — which runs the $406.5 billion initiative, the most expensive weapons program in history — has declined to try to save those lives by conducting less than a year’s worth of additional testing that would cost a relatively paltry few million dollars, the report shows…

❝ Specifically, the 2015 tests indicated 98 percent “probability of fatal injury” for pilots weighing less than 135 pounds when ejecting from the original seat when the jet was too low to the ground to cushion the force of the ejection by the smaller parachute, according to the internal documents.

For pilots weighing up to 165 pounds, there was a nearly one in four chance of fatal injury, the documents showed. In Air Force press releases, that was described merely as “elevated” risk

❝ New F-35s will have the somewhat improved seats, but all but four of the 235 jets that pilots are flying today have yet to be modified…

But, the military-industrial complex is making a boatload of money. Which do you think counts more with the Pentagon or Congress. Profits or pilots?

Trump Admin Ignores Human Rights in Border Patrol Beating Death

❝ Attorneys for the family of a man killed by Border Patrol agents said Monday the Trump administration will “lose badly” for failing to respond to the family’s petition regarding their loved one’s death at the border.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights took up a petition filed by the family of Anastasio Hernandez-Rojas in May claiming human rights abuses over Border Patrol agents’ extrajudicial killing of the San Diego man and what the family says was a botched investigation by U.S. government officials.

❝ The U.S. government had until Aug. 10 to respond to the petition but has remained silent – breaking decades of tradition of cooperating with the human rights agency even with regard to abuse of prisoners kept at Guantanamo Bay.

Because the government has not responded to the petition, the commission can enter a default judgment against the United States – accepting the family’s claims as true.

❝ Earlier this year, the United States did not participate in hearings before the commission. Roxanna Altholz, associate director at UC Berkeley Law School’s International Human Rights Law Clinic and one of the attorneys on the Hernandez-Rojas case, said the government’s refusal to participate is unprecedented…

Hernandez-Rojas was beaten by Border Patrol agents in 2010 when he was caught crossing the border. The beating put him in a coma before Hernandez-Rojas’ family decided to take him off life support.

The Feds have already agreed to a large settlement in the civil case brought by Rojas family; but, they still would like justice to be determined – charging the agents who beat Rojas. Understandable.

Doesn’t seem to affect our fake president’s comprehension of law and justice.

Yup, we have an opioid overdose crisis — & cigarettes kill 15 X more people

❝ Cigarettes still kill nearly half a million people in the US each year — 15 times the death toll from the opioid crisis. That’s also more than alcohol, car accidents, AIDS, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides combined.

❝ Thanks to tobacco taxes and cigarette bans, the smoking rate in America has declined dramatically — from around 32 percent in the 1980s to 15 percent today. But over the past couple of years, the smoking prevalence here hasn’t budged while rates have continued to drop in other rich countries like the UK and Canada. Australia has even managed to reduce its smoking rate to an all-time low of 13 percent…

❝ Last week, the US Food and Drug Administration announced a new initiative that could — if it pans out — drive down the US smoking rate much, much further. Scott Gottlieb, the commissioner of the FDA, said the agency plans to set new, much lower limits on the amount of nicotine in tobacco, essentially forcing companies to reengineer cigarettes so they’ll be less addictive…

Given who owns most of Congress, this will take years.

❝ In the meantime, though, there are many other policies the US could pursue to bring down the smoking rate. Adding graphic picture health warnings to cigarette packs or ratifying the UN’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control are among a couple of measures America hasn’t put in place even though hundreds of other countries have. So while the new nicotine announcement is a real public health power move, we’re still missing some tobacco control basics.

Other countries have proven that just making cigarette packaging plain deters smoking.

❝ …More than 100 countries around the world have added gruesome pictures of the health effects of cigarettes on packs. (The most recent review of the research suggests the graphical warnings are more effective than text-only warnings at curbing the appeal of smoking.)…

The US hasn’t updated the health warnings on packs in 32 years

While our erstwhile voices of the people mostly blather about what a great job they’re doing fighting on our behalf – just might be time for you to call or write or email your Congress-critter and tell them to actually do something quick and easy to help keep more of us alive.