A ‘Superbug’ Resistant To All Our Antibiotics

The issue of antibiotic resistance has been getting worse for quite some time. Today, well over five thousand Americans will acquire serious infections that are resistant to first-line antibiotics — think staph infection or tuberculosis. Second-line drugs will cost these patients between 50 and 200 times more than first-line drugs, not to mention the added cost of a hospital stay at about $2,000 per night. 63 Americans will die today from these infections. By year’s end, drug-resistant bacteria will have killed 23,000 — double the yearly number of firearm homicides.

In perhaps the most comprehensive report on the subject to date, economist Jim O’Neill predicted last month that by 2050, a staggering ten million people around the world will die of such infections every year — one person every three seconds.

— source thinkprogress.org | 2016

Let commons take over health care. health care is not for profit.

Nullius in verba


Spike in Alaska wildfires is worsening global warming

The devastating rise in Alaska’s wildfires is making global warming even worse than scientists expected, US government researchers said on Wednesday. The sharp spike in Alaska’s wildfires, where more than 5 million acres burned last year, are destroying a main buffer against climate change: the carbon-rich boreal forests, tundra and permafrost that have served as an enormous carbon sink. The state’s boreal forests, peat-rich tundra, and permafrost hold about 53% of US carbon. Alaska accounts for about 18% of US land mass. Alaska currently absorbs about 3.7m tonnes of carbon a year, the USGS assessment found. But that vast storehouse of carbon has been breached by warming temperatures, thawing permafrost – and wildfire.

— source theguardian.com | 2016

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Families of Death Squad Victims Allowed to Sue Chiquita Executives

In what supporters described as “a victory for accountability for corporate crimes,” a U.S. judge ruled in favor of allowing Colombians to sue former Chiquita Brand International executives for the company’s funding of a paramilitary group that murdered plaintiffs’ family members. “Chiquita poured $1.7 million between 1997 and 2004 into the outlawed far-right paramilitary group AUC,” observed TeleSur, “which operated as a death squad in Colombia.” The ruling from Judge Kenneth Marra of the Southern District of Florida stated that “‘profits took priority over basic human welfare’ in the banana company executives’ decision to finance the illegal death squads, despite knowing that this would advance the paramilitaries’ murderous campaign,” as the human rights and conservation group EarthRights International (ERI) wrote on Thursday when it announced the judgment.

— source commondreams.org | 2016

Nullius in verba


Scots police had access to GCHQ spy programme

The newly released classified documents came from US whistle-blower Edward Snowden and reveal that a previously unknown surveillance unit called the Scottish Recording Centre (SRC) was given access to a classified GCHQ project called MILKWHITE. The SRC was a police project that allowed Scottish forces to access metadata for information about people’s phone calls and emails. MILKWHITE was also storing data on people’s usage of smartphone apps such as WhatsApp and Viber and instant messenger services such as Jabber. GCHQ’s definition of metadata is broad and includes location data that can be used to track people’s movements, login passwords and website browsing histories.

— source theferret.scot | 2016

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Developing countries outspent developed ones on renewable energy last year

In 2015, renewable energy investments hit $286 billion, a five percent increase from 2014. Global investments in renewable energy were double that spent on new coal and natural gas-fired power generation. Thanks to greater spending, a total of 147 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity was added in 2015. China was the biggest spender, accounting for a third of all renewable energy spending, but India, South Africa, Mexico and Chile all had major increases in green energy investments.

— source treehugger.com | 2016

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Only 1% of global rivers contribute 80% of riverine plastic pollution to oceans

1000 rivers account for nearly 80% of global riverine plastic emissions into the ocean, according to our study, published in Science Advances. Our model suggests that instead of a handful of large continental rivers contributing the most emissions, a high number of small and medium-sized rivers play a significant role in the influx of plastic from rivers to the ocean. These 1000 rivers can present very different characteristics, including river width, flow dynamics, marine traffic, and urbanization. A wide range of mitigation measures must be applied to these rivers across the globe to substantially decrease the amount of waste entering our oceans from rivers. Our study results are accessible in this interactive map, where you can find and help to address your nearest polluting river. These 1000 rivers account for nearly 80% of global annual emissions, ranging between 0.8 million and 2.7 million metric tons per year, with small urban rivers among the most polluting.

— source theoceancleanup.com | 30 Apr 2021

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Testimony in El Mozote Massacre Trial Highlights U.S. Cover-up of Mass Killings

In El Salvador, pretrial hearings on the 1981 El Mozote massacre are being held this week. Nearly 1,000 civilians from across seven villages were killed in the massacre carried out by U.S.-trained Salvadoran military officers. One of the expert witnesses, Stanford University political scientist Terry Karl, detailed the on-site presence of U.S. military adviser Allen Bruce Hazelwood with the Salvadoran Army at the time of the massacre, providing new insight into what Karl referred to as a “sophisticated cover-up” of the events on behalf of the Reagan administration and the Salvadoran military junta.

— source democracynow.org | Apr 28, 2021

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Chemical exposure could lead to obesity

Exposure to chemicals found in everyday products could affect the amount of fat stored in the body, according to a study by University of Georgia researchers. Phthalates are chemicals found in everything from plastic products to soap to nail polish—they give plastic its bendy stretch. But growing research shows that these chemicals could be harming people’s health. Because levels of phthalates were found in human fluids in previous studies, the researchers wanted to see if a specific phthalate, benzyl butyl phthalate, or BBP, had an effect on the accumulation of fat in cells. Their findings were published in Toxicology in Vitro.

The results of BBP’s effects were compared with bisphenol A, or BPA, an environmental endocrine disruptor that is known for its role in adipogenesis, or how fat cells develop. BBP caused a response in the cells that is similar to BPA: Both chemicals prompt the accumulation of lipid droplets. However, the droplets from BBP-treated cells were larger, something that suggests BBP exposure may lead to obesity.

— source news.uga.edu | 2016

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Facebook Hired a Former DARPA Head To Lead An Ambitious New Research Lab

If you need another sign that Facebook’s world-dominating ambitions are just getting started, here’s one: the Menlo Park, Calif. company has hired a former DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) chief to lead its new research lab. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced April 14 that Regina Dugan will guide Building 8, a new research group developing hardware projects that advance the company’s efforts in virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence and global connectivity. She was a key Google executive, too

— source time.com | 2016

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Porter Ranch Is Hit With Another Leak Again

Porter Ranch already experienced the largest recorded natural gas leak in U.S. history over the winter, when a leak at the Aliso Canyon Storage Facility spewed more than 97,000 metric tons of methane into the atmosphere. Thousands of families were evacuated during the nearly four-month long leak, which was sealed in February. Over the weekend, the neighborhood was hit with another natural gas leak. Residents had been complaining that the smell of natural gas, recognizable by a potent odorant, was again wafting through their Los Angeles neighborhood.

— source thinkprogress.org | 2016

Nullius in verba