Climate Crisis Could Expose Half a Billion More People to Tropical Mosquito-Borne Diseases by 2050


Yellow Fever Mosquito gets a full mealJames Gathany/CDC

❝ Rising global temperatures could put half a billion more people at risk for tropical mosquito-borne diseases like chikungunya, dengue, yellow fever, and Zika by 2050, according to a new study.

❝ While a growing body of recent research warns the human-caused climate crisis will cause general worldwide “environmental breakdown,” a study published…in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases focuses specifically on a related public health threat: how a hotter world will enable disease-carrying mosquitoes to reach more people…

❝ “Plain and simple, climate change is going to kill a lot of people,” coauthor Colin Carlson of Georgetown told Nexus Media News. “Mosquito-borne diseases are going to be a big way that happens, especially as they spread from the tropics to temperate countries.”

Lead author Ryan emphasized that public health experts should be preparing now for the outbreaks predicted to occur in new places over the next few decades.

Or we could leave responsibility in the hands of Trump-chumps, anti-vaxxers and the Republican Party. They’ll blame it all on weak walls, furriners and G_D’s WILL.

Birds are disappearing from the forests near Los Alamos


Canary in a coal mine

❝ Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory recently published a paper about bird populations on the Pajarito Plateau…

Jeanne Fair’s team conducted this study from 2003 to 2013 on several hundred acres on the Pajarito Plateau. It revealed a 73 percent decrease in the abundance of birds and a 45 percent decrease in the diversity of birds…

❝ Fair is a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory with a focus on epidemiology and animal disease ecology. She is the principal investigator for a long-term research project on the impacts of contaminants on avian populations…

I still chuckle when someone “discovers” that previously-acceptable levels of radioactive exposure and contamination are no longer OK. Forgive my cynicism; but, I worked in a research lab decades ago where half the scientists and researchers told exactly the same tale of work and radiation. Whichever lab handed over their paychecks in the name of “defense” and atomic weapons – made no difference. Every couple of years new research was announced describing how the level of radiation they were accumulating was considered safe no longer. They’d have to move on to a new job, less radiation, until they finally ended up on my turf – developing metallurgy for atomic power generating electricity. No radioactive sources on the premises.

I pay heed to those scientists whose analysis concludes that NO level of added atomic radiation is safe.

Beer Prices May Double Because Of Climate Change — GASP!

❝ The price of beer could rise sharply this century, and it has nothing to do with trends in craft brewing. Instead, a new study says beer prices could double, on average, because of the price of malted barley, a key ingredient in the world’s favorite alcoholic drink.

By projecting heat and drought trends over the coming decades, a team of researchers in China, the U.K. and the U.S. found that barley production could be sharply affected by the shifting climate. And that means some parts of the world would very likely be forced to pay much more for a beer…

❝ The researchers acknowledge that the price of beer is “not the most concerning impact of future climate change.” But in the study published Monday in the journal Nature Plants, the scientists say they wanted to use beer as an example to show the deep and wide-ranging effects of increasingly extreme weather.

RTFA. Lots of info to stuff in the ear of your favorite recalcitrant Republican political hack!

Celebrate World Penguin Day

❝ While penguins inspire a range of whimsical and warm emotions, they play a serious role as sentinels of ocean health. Perhaps no one knows that better than Michelle LaRue, an ecologist and science communicator at the University of Minnesota who has walked among these tuxedoed, flightless birds in Antarctica six times.

To celebrate World Penguin Day on April 25, we caught up with LaRue, whose current research focuses on using high-resolution satellite imagery to study polar animals, including emperor and Adélie penguins, and the effects of climate change on polar vertebrates. She has participated in many “species from space” studies, including the first global census of two Antarctic penguin populations.

RTFA, Worthwhile, interesting to all who care about how this planet proceeds into the future.

Most honey samples now show pesticide contamination

❝ A new study has found traces of neonicotinoid chemicals in 75% of honey samples from across the world.

The scientists say that the levels of the widely used pesticide are far below the maximum permitted levels in food for humans.

In one-third of the honey, the amount of the chemical found was enough to be detrimental to bees.

❝ Industry sources, though, dismissed the research, saying the study was too small to draw concrete conclusions…In economic terms, that means they couldn’t care less. As long as they’re not killing humans or turning them sterile, all’s right with the world – and their profits.

❝ Neonicotinoids are considered to be the world’s most widely used class of insecticides…These systemic chemicals can be added as a seed coating to many crops, reducing the need for spraying. They have generally been seen as being more beneficial for the environment than the older products that they have replaced.

However, the impact of neonics on pollinators such as bees has long been a troubling subject for scientists around the world. Successive studies have shown a connection between the use of the products and a decline in both the numbers and health of bees.

Earlier this year, the most comprehensive field study to date concluded that the pesticides harm honey bees and wild bees.

You can read the report from this latest study over here.

Earthquake trends in Oklahoma related to wastewater injection


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❝ According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the number of earthquakes east of the Rocky Mountains has increased dramatically since 2009. More earthquakes in these areas have coincided with the increase in oil and natural gas production from shale formations. Seismic events caused by human activity — also known as induced seismicity — are most often caused by the underground injection of wastewater produced during the oil and natural gas extraction process…

Before 2009, Oklahoma might have experienced one to two low-magnitude earthquakes per year. Since 2014, Oklahoma has experienced one to two low-magnitude earthquakes per day, with a few instances of higher magnitude (between magnitude 5 and 6) earthquakes that caused some damage.

In addition to the increased use of wastewater injection related to oil and natural gas production in the region, the geologic conditions in central Oklahoma are conducive to triggering seismic activity. The rock underlying the formations where disposal water is being injected in the region has existing faults that are susceptible to the changing stresses caused by fluid injection. Without these geologic conditions, induced seismicity would be much less common. For example, induced seismicity in the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana is relatively rare.

❝ The USGS in 2017 issued an updated seismic hazard forecast for the central and eastern United States. This forecast attempts to estimate the chance of damage caused by earthquakes in the region of interest. The 2017 forecasted seismic rates are still significantly elevated compared with pre-2009 levels but lower than their peak in 2015.

The USGS report indicates that the recent decline may be related to decreased wastewater injection, because production in the region has decreased since the 2014 drop in oil prices. Actions by authorities in various states to regulate wastewater injection practices and restrict injection into the most sensitive areas may also be helping to reduce both the number and intensity of small earthquakes.

Give ’em a chance, folks. My experience with fossil fuel producers in Gulf States and the Permian Basin tell me nothing trumps profits. Not damage to the environment. Not light-to-medium damage to homes and businesses. It will take heavy-duty death and destruction to press these greedy bastards to find healthier ways to fill their pockets.

One egg a day could help babies grow bigger and taller


Click to enlargethereallygoodlife.com

❝ We may be lucky enough not to think about it in much of the United States, but worldwide there are tens of millions of children with stunted growth. Most of those kids are impoverished and often live in areas where access to nutritious food is limited. The World Health Organization has tried to ameliorate this problem by supplying fortified food products to underserved areas. The trouble is that those products are fairly expensive—potentially too expensive for poor families to afford — and distribution may not even reach more remote areas of the world. That’s where eggs come in.

❝ Eggs are cheap. They’re relatively easy to come by in many low-income areas, because people in those parts of the world often raise chickens and other poultry. They’re also high in protein, vitamin B12, riboflavin, and choline, plus they have significant amounts of a ton of other vitamins and minerals. And for a little baby, they can offer over 50 percent of critical daily nutrients. Eggs are an incredible, edible supplement to an impoverished kid’s diet.

❝ So a team of public health researchers from all over the U.S. and Ecuador decided to see just how much of an impact an egg a day could have. They just published their results…in the journal Pediatrics. The group traveled to a poor province in Ecuador, gathered up mother-infant pairs, and split them into two groups. One group gave their babies (aged six to nine months) an egg each day, while the other group gave no eggs. Researchers showed up at their houses to provide the eggs every week and used that visit to gather information about how the babies were doing. They took their weight and height, plus asked about any other medical problems the infants might be having. At the end of six months, they found the kids who ate eggs were significantly taller and larger. An eggy diet appeared to reduce stunting by 47 percent, and babies fed on the incredible edibles were 74 percent less likely to be underweight.

RTFA. Makes sense, nutritionally [obvious] and economically. Might not seem that way to Grocery-fodder giants selling overpriced supposedly supplemented wonder-foods. No tears from here.

The risk of a single 5-day opioid prescription


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❝ Now that it’s clear opioid painkillers have helped cause the worst drug epidemic in history, health experts are scrambling to figure out when dependency on these powerful prescription drugs starts — and how to prevent it.

❝ A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at the relationship between the number of days of someone’s first opioid prescription and their long-term use. It found that that number has a huge impact: Patients face an increased risk of opioid dependency in as few as four days of taking the drugs.

As you can see in the chart…opioid prescriptions longer than five days in length significantly increased the likelihood of continued opioid use both one and three years later…

❝ “There’s nothing magical about five days versus six days, but with each day your risk of dependency increases fairly dramatically,” said Bradley Martin of the CDC, one of the study authors.

❝ The study, which analyzed 1.3 million non-cancer patients, also found that only 6 percent of patients prescribed a one-day supply of opioids were still taking the drugs a year later, but that number doubled to 12 percent if patients were prescribed a six-day supply and quadrupled to 24 percent if patients were given a 12-day supply.

Pretty solid warning, I’d say.

Pregnant women + insecticide exposure = kids with behavioral problems

❝ Young children whose mothers were exposed to pyrethroid insecticides while pregnant showed increased rates of behavioral difficulties, a small retrospective French cohort study found.

❝ After adjusting for certain potential confounders, there was a positive association between high prenatal concentrations in maternal urine of certain neurotoxic chemicals found in insecticides, on one hand, and on the other, internalizing behavioral difficulties at age 6 in offspring, reported Jean-François Viel…and colleagues.

Moreover, there was a positive association between high concentrations of certain chemicals in children’s urine and externalizing behavioral difficulties at the same age…

❝ Pyrethroids are a class of insecticides that were designed because of concerns about organophosphate insecticides — with pyrethroids “purportedly a safer alternative for humans and the environment.”

The authors had previously used the PELAGIE mother-child cohort to examine prenatal and childhood exposure to pyrethroid insecticides and neurocognitive abilities. They found a link between childhood exposure and poorer neurocognitive abilities, but there was no association between prenatal exposure and neurocognitive abilities in objective testing…

❝ The pyrethroid metabolite trans-dimethylcyclopronane carboxylic acid was found in nearly all mothers (99.9%) and children (96.5%), followed by cis-dibromonovinyl at 68.3% of mothers and 85.2% of children.

But it was high concentrations of prenatal cis-DCCA that were associated with internalizing difficulties in children, and high concentrations of 3-phenoxybenzoic acid in children that were linked with externalizing difficulties.

❝ The authors also found that there was a more than twofold increased risk of abnormal or borderline social behavior associated with children who had the highest 3-PBA levels…

They concluded that the results, along with the prior study that linked pyrethroid insecticides with cognitive disabilities, support a “potential risk to neurodevelopment from pyrethroid insecticides,” and that remediating the potential causes of these neurodevelopmental deficits is “of paramount public health importance.”

Yes, doctors aren’t always the most entertaining authors. Even when they discover that the latest solution to endangering human life and living – from chemicals that increase agricultural profits – seems to have produced a whole new batch of dangers.

After the fact, of course. Everything previously approved in tidy political fashion. Satisfying farmers and agri-chemical producers alike.

Examination of Arctic warmth leads straight to the expected cause


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❝ It normally takes many months to get a paper through peer review and into a journal, but a group of scientists has released their detection and attribution study early, and it’s a stunning indictment. We now know the culprit for the astonishing Arctic warmth of November and December. It seemed very likely that the guilty party was rising greenhouse gasses with Arctic amplification as the accomplice, and that’s JUST what the evidence shows. It’s overwhelming, and the defendants have no choice but to throw themselves upon the mercy of the court.

❝ The analysis shows that even in our present climate that is around a degree warmer than 1900, this heat is unusual, but would happen once every 50-200 years. The odds of it happening in the climate of 1900 are astronomically tiny, however, if we warm another degree, this will be a nearly commonplace event.

The study is here, and for those that do not want to read the whole thing RTFA for the conclusions.

❝ What this study took great pains to do was to show that this warmth is almost certainly not a natural oscillation in the Arctic climate. Such oscillations exist, but when they are subtracted out, this year stands out like a big red sore thumb. Chris Mooney at the Washington Post has a good summary of this study as well.

I’ll leave crayola-sophistry to the climate denial crowd. They have a good couple of years ahead with the government packed by both wings of the Republican Party.