Author Archive | Good German

Is Air Pollution a Risk Factor for Suicide?

PIC: Joseph Herman Bolduc: (PD)

PIC: Joseph Herman Bolduc: (PD)

John Upton writes at Pacific Standard:

Saying “it’s so smoggy I could kill myself” may seem as flippant as uttering “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.”

But it’s not.

Four years ago, Asian researchers reported links between air pollution and suicide rates in South Korea; and between air pollution, asthma, and suicides in Taiwan. Now, University of Utah scientists say they have uncovered similar links in pollution-prone Salt Lake County.

Delegates who have gathered in Los Angeles for the American Association of Suicidology’s annual get-together will hear this evening about the unpublished research, which compared the timing of 1,500 suicides in the Beehive State with air quality data.

Suicide can be difficult to talk about, but it’s America’s 10th leading cause of death. It’s the eighth-leading cause in Utah, home to some of the nation’s smoggiest cities. Earlier this year, the pollution problem prompted a 5,000-person protest outside the state’s capitol building.

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“Mocassins on the Ground”: Lakota Resistance Against Keystone XL Pipeline

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 11.25.58 AM

PIC: Owe Aku flyer (c) Click to visit the site.

Via Warrior Publications:

Here’s an excerpt of a recent statement by the Lakota grassroots organization Owe Aku:

“We do not want kxl, we do not want tarsands in our lands, the tarsands must stay in the ground, the extraction and its aftermath is killing humans and all of life up there, and wasting precious water… Please take a moment to help get our words, thoughts, and prayers out to the world, all over Unci Maka, that Lakota People, and many other Red Nations people, we have painted our faces. Our allies up north have painted their faces. For sacred water, for Unci Maka, for our generations.”

The Lakota people and their allies are preparing in case it should be necessary to put “Moccasins on the Ground” and protect sacred land and water from the threat of KXL.

A solid way YOU can support Lakota grassroots resistance to KXL is by chipping in a few bucks to fund the ‘Moccasins on the Ground’ activist training series.

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Desmond Tutu Calls for an Apartheid-Style Boycott of the Fossil Fuel Industry

PIC: Benny Gool (PD)

PIC: Benny Gool (PD)

Of course it’s actually the human race that needs to be saved, not the Earth, and deforestation and the trashing of the oceans need to be addressed, but point taken.  Desmond Tutu writes at the Guardian:

Twenty-five years ago people could be excused for not knowing much, or doing much, about climate change. Today we have no excuse. No more can it be dismissed as science fiction; we are already feeling the effects.

This is why, no matter where you live, it is appalling that the US is debating whether to approve a massive pipeline transporting 830,000 barrels of the world’s dirtiest oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Producing and transporting this quantity of oil, via the Keystone XL pipeline, could increase Canada’s carbon emissions by over 30%.

If the negative impacts of the pipeline would affect only Canada and the US, we could say good luck to them.

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No Thanks, Reddit: No ‘RedPill’ For Me

PIC: WimB (CC)

PIC: WimB (CC)

Andrew Gonsalves writes at Don’t Feed the Animals:

I recently stumbled across a subreddit called “TheRedPill” and I am a little saddened by it. I’ve long been aware of pick-up artist logic, anti-feminism, and general alpha-male mentality, so this community’s existence is not surprising. What’s so sad about it is that it represents a portion of the population whose first reaction to the illusion of being marginalized is to push back in the opposite direction. They call this adaptation, but what they’re really doing is painting themselves in with every other movement that fought social change to the bitter end.

To summarize The Red Pill, it’s basically a bunch of men huddling together and complaining about how women are by nature incompetent and should not be trusted with any responsibility or authority. This also means that they view women, not as individuals, but as naive, manipulable creatures who inconveniently just happen to be holding the one thing they need them for – sex – at arm’s length.

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Self-Healing Plastics Developed

Screen Shot 2014-04-12 at 8.44.21 AMVia the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology:

The KIT group headed by Christopher Barner-Kowollik uses the possibility of crosslinking functionalized fibers or small molecules by a reversible chemical reaction for the production of self-healing materials. These so-called switchable networks can be decomposed into their initial constituents and reassembled again after the damage. The advantage is that the self-healing mechanism can be initiated any time by heat, light or by the addition of a chemical substance. “Our method does not need any catalyst, no additive is required,” Professor Barner-Kowollik says. The holder of the Chair for Preparative Macromolecular Chemistry at KIT studies syntheses of macromolecular chemical compounds.

It took about four years of research for the working group of Barner-Kowollik, together with the Project House Composites of Creavis, the strategic innovation unit of Evonik, to develop a novel polymer network. At comparably low temperatures from 50°C to 120°C, the network exhibits excellent healing properties within a few minutes.

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Solartopia! Winning the Green Energy Revolution

The_Sun_by_the_Atmospheric_Imaging_Assembly_of_NASA's_Solar_Dynamics_Observatory_-_20100819Harvey Wasserman writes at Common Dreams:

High above the Bowling Green town dump, a green energy revolution is being won. It’s being helped along by the legalization of marijuana and its bio­fueled cousin, industrial hemp.

But it’s under extreme attack from the billionaire Koch Brothers, utilities like First Energy (FE), and a fossil/nuke industry that threatens our existence on this planet.

Robber Baron resistance to renewable energy has never been more fierce. The prime reason is that the Solartopian Revolution embodies the ultimate threat to the corporate utility industry and the hundreds of billions of dollars it has invested in the obsolete monopolies that define King CONG (Coal, Oil, Nukes & Gas).

The outcome will depend on your activism, and will determine whether we survive here at all. Four very large wind turbines in this small Ohio town are producing clean, cheap electricity that can help save our planet. A prime reason they exist is that Bowling Green has a municipal­owned utility.

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How to Endure Torture

PIC: PD

PIC: PD

Joshua Day writes at Daily Kos:

(note: This diary refers to innocents, but the “non-innocents” referred to are also not guilty, only more experienced.)

The first thing a person who has been taken captive and faces torture must understand:  all hope is gone.  The perpetrators may seem deliverers, after days, months or years of torture.  The victim of torture must, beyond all other things, keep in their mind that the people responsible will not, ultimately, help them in any way.  The victim must discard all religious hope.  The victim must discard all hope of rescue.  Justice will not open her eyes.  The victim must realize hope is fiction.  After that, the pain can be dealt with in a number of ways.

Discarding hope renders the procedure pointless.  If there is no hope, then escaping the pain no longer matters.  The victim must embrace the pain, because pain will be his (or even her) closest friend.

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Over Demanding Market Affects Fisheries More than Climate Change

PIC: Sudokuhani (CC)

PIC: Sudokuhani (CC)

Via AlphaGalileo:

Fisheries that rely on short life species, such as shrimp or sardine, have been more affected by climate change, because this phenomenon affects chlorophyll production, which is vital for phytoplankton, the main food for both species.

Disclosed by the research “Socioeconomic Impact of the global change over the fishing resources of the Mexican Pacific” headed by Ernesto A. Chávez Ortiz, from the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN).

Work performed at the Interdisciplinary Center of Marine Sciences (CICIMAR) from the IPN, indicates that in the last five years there have been no “spectacular” changes attributable to climate change, what has affected the fishing resources more is the over demanding market.

“Globally, a great part of the fishing resources is being exploited to its maximum capacity, several have overpass its regeneration capacities and are overexploited” Chávez Ortiz points out.

The specialist at CICIMAR details that the research consisted in exploratory weather and fisheries analysis, and confirmed what has been intuitively said for a while: a lot of the variability in the fishing is due to climate change, the problem is that evidence hadn’t been found to prove it.

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Christopher Hitchens, Religious in Spite of Himself?

PIC: Ensceptico (CC)

PIC: Ensceptico (CC)

Eric Reitan writes at Religion Dispatches’ (A)theologies:

Not long ago, Christopher Hitchens—pugilistic author of God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything—sat down for an interview with retired Unitarian minister (and self-professed “liberal Christian”) Marilyn Sewell. It wasn’t the usual sort of conversation that Hitchens has with “believers,” since his preferred sparring partners tend to be religious conservatives and apologists for fundamentalism (such as Douglas Wilson).

Not surprisingly, early in the interview Hitchens was quick to announce who was a real Christian and who wasn’t, and to insinuate that Sewell fell into the latter camp; a comment that has inspired more than a few raised eyebrows among religious progressives.

But it’s easy to let Hitchens’ arrogance on this matter obscure some broader themes—and some surprising concessions on Hitchens’ part—that emerged in the course of the interview.

One of these themes has to do with just how much Hitchens and Sewell have in common.

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Democrats, Republicans See Each Other as Mindless—Unless They Pose a Threat

PIC: Roanoke (CC)

PIC: Roanoke (CC)

Via Newswise:

We are less likely to humanize members of groups we don’t belong to—except, under some circumstances, when it comes to members of the opposite political party. A study by researchers at New York University and Harvard Business School suggests that we are more prone to view members of the opposite political party as human if we view those individuals as threatening.

“It’s hardly surprising that we dehumanize those who are not part of our groups,” says Jay Van Bavel, an assistant professor in NYU’s Department of Psychology and one of the study’s co-authors. “However, what is interesting is that we may be motivated to perceive the presence of a mind among political adversaries who threaten us.

“It’s possible that when we believe our political opponents are formidable we may humanize them in ways we don’t with members of other out-groups.”

The study appears in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

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