Flawed study overstates link between fluoride and ill health: experts

Despite only finding an association between fluoridated water and underactive thyroid gland, the paper calls from reducing all sources of fluoride from the environment. Joost Nelissen/Flickr, CC BY-NC

Despite only finding an association between fluoridated water and underactive thyroid gland, the paper calls from reducing all sources of fluoride from the environment. Joost Nelissen/Flickr, CC BY-NC

By Reema Rattan, The Conversation

Researchers have widely criticised a new study that questions the safety of water fluoridation, arguing the findings were overstated and the study poorly designed.

The paper, published in the Journal of Epidemiological & Community Health, links fluoridated water to increased rates of hypothyroidism, which occurs when the thyroid gland is under active, causing weight gain, hair loss, fatigue and depression, among other symptoms.

The study authors question the safety of water fluoridation as a public health measure.

“It’s simplistic and it’s extremely overreaching in its conclusions,” said Mike Morgan, chair of population oral health at the University of Melbourne.

“To do a study like this and say there’s an association without taking into account other factors, and then say, we should reduce the levels of fluoride, well it beggars belief that they should be able to say that in a reputable publication,” he added.… Read the rest

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Two More Craters Found in Northern Russia

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Satellite image of the site before the forming of the Yamal hole (B1). K1 and the red outline show the hillock (pingo) formed before the gas emission. Yellow outlines show the potentially dangerous objects. Picture: Vasily Bogoyavlensky

 

Siberian swiss cheese.

via The Siberian Times:

Respected Moscow scientist Professor Vasily Bogoyavlensky has called for ‘urgent’ investigation of the new phenomenon amid safety fears.

Until now, only three large craters were known about in northern Russia with several scientific sources speculating last year that heating from above the surface due to unusually warm climatic conditions, and from below, due to geological fault lines, led to a huge release of gas hydrates, so causing the formation of these craters in Arctic regions.

Two of the newly-discovered large craters – also known as funnels to scientists – have turned into lakes, revealed Professor Bogoyavlensky, deputy director of the Moscow-based Oil and Gas Research Institute, part of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

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Teachers’ gender bias in maths affects girls later

Todd Petrie (CC BY 2.0)

Todd Petrie (CC BY 2.0)

By Sue Wilson, Australian Catholic University

New research has found some teachers mark boys’ primary (elementary) school maths tests more favourably than girls, impacting girls’ uptake of advanced mathematics and science subjects in high school. Entrance rates into maths and science degrees at university level can also be traced back to the impacts of teachers’ gender bias in primary school.

Higher levels of mathematics and science education have been linked to greater employment opportunities and higher earnings, meaning a primary teacher’s attitude towards maths can have a serious impact on a child’s future success.

Teachers assume boys are better at maths

The researchers followed nearly 3000 students from 6th grade to the end of high school. As a measure of teacher bias, they compared school 6th grade test marks given by teachers who knew the students’ sex, with external test marks for the same students, but with no identifying characteristics provided.… Read the rest

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The Water Wars

Michael Specter describes a thirsty, violent world fighting for water, at the New Yorker:

Angry protesters filled the streets of Karachi last week, clogging traffic lanes and public squares until police and paratroopers were forced to intervene. That’s not rare in Pakistan, which is often a site of political and religious violence.

But last week’s protests had nothing to do with freedom of expression, drone wars, or Americans. They were about access to water. When Khawaja Muhammad Asif, the Minister of Defense, Power, and Water (yes, that is one ministry), warned that the country’s chronic water shortages could soon become uncontrollable, he was looking on the bright side. The meagre allotment of water available to each Pakistani is a third of what it was in 1950. As the country’s population rises, that amount is falling fast.

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Photo: Robert Couse-Baker (CC)

 

Dozens of other countries face similar situations—not someday, or soon, but now.

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How Crazy Am I To Think I Actually Know Where That Malaysia Airlines Plane Is?

Jeff Wise writes at New York Magazine “In the year since the vanishing of MH370, I appeared on CNN more than 50 times, watched my spouse’s eyes glaze over at dinner, and fell in with a group of borderline-obsessive amateur aviation sleuths. A million theories bloomed, including my own”:

The unsettling oddness was there from the first moment, on March 8, when Malaysia Airlines announced that a plane from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing, Flight 370, had disappeared over the South China Sea in the middle of the night. There had been no bad weather, no distress call, no wreckage, no eyewitness accounts of a fireball in the sky—just a plane that said good-bye to one air-traffic controller and, two minutes later, failed to say hello to the next. And the crash, if it was a crash, got stranger from there.

Theoretical Search Area MH 370 en

Map of the area where Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 could theoretically be found, by Pechristener (CC)

My yearlong detour to Planet MH370 began two days later, when I got an email from an editor at Slate asking if I’d write about the incident.

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POWER/RANGERS: Power Rangers Reboot

My childhood has finally come full circle. A dark, R-rated Power Rangers reboot has hit the Internet.

Directed by Joseph Kahn, POWER/RANGERS stars Katee Sackhoff as the Pink Ranger, Gichi Gamba as the Black Ranger, Will Yun Lee as General Klank, James Van Der Beek as Rocky, and Russ Bain as the Green Ranger.

UPDATE: The video has been pulled from YouTube and Vimeo due to copyright complaints from Saban (the folks behind Power Rangers). It’s still available on Adi Shankar’s (the producer’s) Facebook.

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Princes of the Yen: Central Banks and the Transformation of the Economy

Can central banks create booms and busts by manipulating the money supply? Do they do this in order to create a public consensus for economic, political, and social change? Professor Richard Werner, a monetary and development economist at the University of Southampton, says they can do this, and that they are doing this. This is what the Bank of Japan did in the 80s and 90s, and that is what the European Central Bank is doing at this very moment.

The documentary “Princes of the Yen” reveals how Japanese society was transformed to suit the agenda and desire of powerful interest groups, and how citizens were kept entirely in the dark about this. Professor Richard Werner was a visiting researcher at the Bank of Japan during the 90s crash, during which the stock market dropped by 80% and house prices by up to 84%. He experienced first hand how actors inside the Bank of Japan deliberately adopted policies to further an agenda contrary to the interest of the majority of Japanese society.… Read the rest

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Get a Liberal Out of America

Max Hertz is a liberal, college professor, and artist — and he wants out of America. To do so, he’s set up a crowdfunding campaign. Hertz explains that he’s asking conservatives to put their money where their mouths are, as they are known to say things like: “If you don’t like America, you should just leave.”

Hertz explains, “I am worried about the growing anti-liberal, anti-art and anti-intellectual trends in America and I am actually concerned for my well being and safety.” A little melodramatic, maybe, but he seems hellbent on getting the hell out of here. By donating to his campaign, you will receive hate filled, right wing bumper stickers.

“I would like to leave America before the next scheduled installment of a right-wing president takes place.” Hertz explains.

You can check out his website/donate here.

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