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General

Celebrating July 4th Like This Isn’t a Pandemic Will Cost Lives

Posted July 3, 2020 by Anonymous

Forty states are seeing their case numbers rise. Maybe rethink the family BBQ this weekend?

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General

Theresa at the PGA

Posted August 4, 2016 by Polar Bear

Theresa and her friend from Ottawa had tickets for the last PGA tournament at Oakville. Her friend Diana won these as one gift when she won the Canadian Championship for Senior Curlers. They wanted me to go along but I would rather see it on the big sc…

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General

Lost years

Posted May 12, 2020 by Anonymous

Well, I think we have all realized now there is not going to be any “normal” anymore. 

The hysterical “reopen, damn it!” marches across the continent were a cry of despair against the inevitable, but now I think the truth is sinking in.

There is going to be a new Depression across North America. 
Here’s a thread about what we are facing:

Because they’re competing with the other shop across the street, they cut prices to keep their share of the market. And they often operate while servicing debt. Most businesses need to keep all of the balls in the air just to survive. That time is over.

— Paul Doroshenko, Q.C. (@PaulDoroshenko) May 11, 2020

The entrepreneurs have no capital. Their capital is gone. They can’t start new businesses. A handful will survive but with drastically reduced ability to invest. They will suffer in survival mode.
So will there be any jobs?

— Paul Doroshenko, Q.C. (@PaulDoroshenko) May 11, 2020

In 25 years the businesses on the street will be completely different. Many of those once apparently solid companies will fail within the next 12 months. Expect nothing but grim news.
If you have a job, cherish it. If you have a secure government job, keep it.

— Paul Doroshenko, Q.C. (@PaulDoroshenko) May 11, 2020

We must (this is an imperative) pick ourselves up and keep going. We owe that to ourselves, our families and our fellow occupant of planet earth.
Hold on. Stay strong. Better days will come and they’re worth living for.

— Paul Doroshenko, Q.C. (@PaulDoroshenko) May 11, 2020


Trump’s mismanagement – his ignorance about testing, plus his inept and corrupt support programs –will result in successive waves of Covid outbreaks across the US all summer and fall, each one killing thousands more. Everyone will just try to stay home as much as possible, so the US economy will continue to decline. Meanwhile the US government will bankrupt itself as it fights a losing battle to try to shore up the stock markets, the only economic measure Trump thinks is important.
In nine months, Biden will take over, but by then it will be too late for the thousands of businesses and bars and restaurants that will go bankrupt by next fall, after a few miserable months of trying to reopen. The companies that survive will be the ones that continue to have their employees work from home. So the downtown office towers will be empty and the owners of commercial real estate will be going bankrupt too, not to mention everyone from window washers to the people who water office plants.  Farmers across the US will  be watching their restaurant markets disappear, and they won’t be able to find immigrant workers to pick their crops. 
Canada’s economy won’t crash as badly, I don’t think — our more effective and better run federal support programs will cushion the blow a little better for us – but still, its not going to be pretty. The US border won’t be reopening for a long time yet, and our biggest trading partner won’t be buying nearly as much as they used to. Tourism will be a disaster, our oil and gas industries are in free fall, and we don’t know who will be buying all our agricultural exports anymore either.
If we can avoid another Great Depression, we will be lucky, I think. 
Back in 1973, journalist Barry Broadfood published Ten Lost Years – he interviewed hundreds of people about their experiences during the Great Depression and put it all into a book, and for many Canadians, it was the first time we had ever really heard about what happened to ordinary people in Canada during the 1930s, that awful time.
I have been thinking about that book a lot lately.
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General

Life In Scarborough: The Plague Journal, Day II

Posted March 13, 2020 by bigcitylib

Visited The Elsy (LCBO) today.  I notice that while they’re knifing each other over toilet paper at the Walmart across the parking lot, here everything is calm.  People believe that Water and wipes are essential, booze some kind of peripheral…

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General

National Post Publishes Correction

Posted August 9, 2019 by bigcitylib

BOOYAH!  JOB DONE!  The Natty Post corrects in response to this story:

Editor’s note: In the original article, Michael Rogers intended to say “early evolutionary ancestors” instead of Neanderthals when speaking about the agricultural revolution. As well, he intended to say there’s no anthropological evidence of Type 2 diabetes, not Type 1. All changes have been made in his quotes. 

Not even sure the phrase “early evolutionary ancestors” cuts it science-wise in this context but fuck it I’m in  a good mood.  We’ll let it go.  Kudos to Bianca Bharti for fixing things and being a good sport about it.  As for Doc Rogers, well they say he is from the University of Guelph.  I had a friend who went there.  When I asked him what it was like he said Guelph is the sound a whale makes when it swallows.  I don’t know what that means but I don’t think its a compliment.

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General

Public Health has failed us all

Posted June 28, 2020 by Anonymous

Over the last week, I have come to understand that the COVID 19 pandemic will be known as the worst North American public health failure ever. 

Here’s why:

Remember five months ago, way back in February, when COVID cases first began showing up in North America?  
That is also when doctors in Europe, who were already dealing with dozens of cases, started reporting that, unlike other recent viruses,  transmission of COVID 19 appeared to be happening from people who didn’t know they were sick and who did not display any symptoms.
It is impossible to find and quarantine such people, because nobody knows who they are. They themselves don’t even know they are carrying the virus.
The only way that someone without symptoms can be stopped from transmitting a respiratory infection is for everyone to wear a mask, so that the infected people are prevented from spraying infectious droplets every time they speak, cough, sneeze, etc. 
So if, back in February, we had all been told to wear homemade masks whenever we were out and about (like many people already do in Asia, by the way) this simple act would have protected the friends and families and coworkers and clients of the hundreds of people across North America who were already infected but didn’t know it – the dentists, the doctors, the choir members, the conference attendees, the nursing home staff, the teachers, the social workers, the waitresses, etc etc
And thus, COVID 19 virus would not have infected hundreds of thousands.  And thousands of the people who died would have lived instead.

But what happened when, back in February, European doctors started reporting that symptom-less people were infectious? 
Well, nothing.
Faced with these early reports of symptom-less transmission, public health authorities like the World Health Organization, and the CDC and Canada Public Health did not leap into action. 

They squabbled. They denied the evidence. They quibbled about terminology. The New York Times report goes on:
Interviews with doctors and public health officials in more than a dozen countries show that for two crucial months — and in the face of mounting genetic evidence — Western health officials and political leaders played down or denied the risk of symptomless spreading. 
Leading health agencies including the World Health Organization and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control provided contradictory and sometimes misleading advice. A crucial public health discussion devolved into a semantic debate over what to call infected people without clear symptoms. 
The two-month delay was a product of faulty scientific assumptions, academic rivalries and, perhaps most important, a reluctance to accept that containing the virus would take drastic measures. 
The resistance to emerging evidence was one part of the world’s sluggish response to the virus. It is impossible to calculate the human toll of that delay, but models suggest that earlier, aggressive action might have saved tens of thousands of lives. 
Countries like Singapore and Australia, which used testing and contact-tracing and moved swiftly to quarantine seemingly healthy travelers, fared far better than those that did not.
And another thing happened too, at the same time. 
Even without a lot of evidence, even without contract tracing and quarantining travelers and other government measures, there was one crucial step that everyone could have taken without any government program at all – wearing a homemade mask. 
It seems like at least some of those who work in public health in North America also believed that the situation with COVID 19 was so urgent that wearing masks couldn’t hurt and might help.  
But they decided not tell us. 
While public health officials hesitated, some doctors acted. At a conference in Seattle in mid-February, Jeffrey Shaman, a Columbia University professor, said his research suggested that Covid-19’s rapid spread could only be explained if there were infectious patients with unremarkable symptoms or no symptoms at all. 
In the audience that day was Steven Chu, the Nobel-winning physicist and former U.S. energy secretary. “If left to its own devices, this disease will spread through the whole population,” he remembers Professor Shaman warning. 
 Afterward, Dr. Chu began insisting that healthy colleagues at his Stanford University laboratory wear masks. 
Doctors in Cambridge, England, concluded that asymptomatic transmission was a big source of infection and advised local health workers and patients to wear masks, well before the British government acknowledged the risk of silent spreaders.
But back in February, there wasn’t enough PPE to go around and all the medical masks we had were desperately needed by medical staff. 
So Public Health authorities had a choice — they could have been truthful, and told us that masks might help but the general public had to use homemade masks to save the medical ones for the health profession. 
But this message was too complicated and people were already hoarding toilet paper, and homemade masks might “give us a false sense of security” because we’re all just so stupid that we wouldn’t stay home anymore and besides, we likely wouldn’t wear then correctly anyway. So it was just so much easier to us not to bother with masks at all, that they weren’t necessary for anyone who wasn’t already sick.  

The American authorities, faced with a shortage, actively discouraged the public from buying masks. “Seriously people — STOP BUYING MASKS!” Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams tweeted on Feb. 29.

Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!

They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!
https://t.co/UxZRwxxKL9

— U.S. Surgeon General (@Surgeon_General) February 29, 2020

In other words, they lied to us.
And the politicians those public health authorities were advising — the governors and premiers and presidents and prime ministers – ended up passing on those lies because they didn’t know any better.  
So now here we are in June.
And now the public health authorities say, “Oopsie!!  Hey, you guys, we tell you now that you really should wear masks after all, because everyone would be just so much safer.”
Only its too late. Hundreds of thousands have already died. And millions are confused by the changing stories and the untruths and the squabbling and now they don’t believe anything that public health authorities are telling them. And the people who own stores and manage events and work in offices and teach in schools are just as confused. So they don’t know whether to require masks or not.
Back during the Spanish Flu, public health failed because they just didn’t know how to organize public health administration and do the scientific studies and analyze policy options and communicate widely with the public.
Now, we have all that. We have a huge public health infrastructure with thousands of experts worldwide whose whole purpose in life is to keep people safe. 
But in North America, they failed us.

“Why doesn’t the public trust us” sob the people who sold a cynical lie about masks being innefective to the press

— Kurt, myself today (@Freidland2) June 28, 2020

So first they didn’t recognize the truth, and then they didn’t trust us enough to tell us the truth when we needed it.  

[CDC head] Azar also pushed back on the idea that the new surge in cases is a result of reopening the country too fast, arguing, “That’s not so much about what the law says on the reopening than what our behaviors are within that. If we act irresponsibly, if we don’t social distance, if we don’t use face coverings … we’re going to see spread of disease.”

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General

Louisiana Activists Charged with Felonies After Delivering Box of Formosa Plastic Pollution to Lobbyists

Posted June 25, 2020 by Anonymous
Anne Rolfes and Kate McIntosh with nurdles

Read time: 6 mins

Two Louisiana environmental activists, Anne Rolfes and Kate McIntosh, were taken in handcuffs and leg irons from a Baton Rouge police station to jail after they voluntarily surrendered themselves on felony charges after months’ earlier delivering plastic pollution pulled from Texas waters to fossil fuel lobbyists’ homes. The two posted bond and were released later the same day.

The women are accused of terrorizing oil and gas lobbyists by giving them a file box full of plastic pellets found in Texas bays near a plastic manufacturing facility owned by Formosa Plastics,” NOLA.com reports.

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General

Trump is unwell

Posted June 14, 2020 by Anonymous

After yesterday’s West Point debacle – the water glass, the inability to say “McArthur”, the ramp, the tweet ABOUT the ramp – #TrumpIsUnwell is trending this morning on twitter. 

Along with all the jokes, there is this:

The media’s failure to meaningfully cover Trump’s cognitive and physical decline after obsessing about Hillary’s health is evidence of open misogyny at this point.

— The Hoarse Whisperer (@HoarseWisperer) June 14, 2020

Personally, I believe that Trump has a minor stroke last November – remember the fast and unscheduled “tour” of Walter Reed? – and he still has impairments on his right side. 

 On a lighter note, #ObamaDay is also trending twitter:

You’d think Republicans would be more worried about protecting the Constitution.

It’s the only thing preventing Barack Obama from being president again.#ObamaDayJune14th

— Middle Age Riot (@middleageriot) June 14, 2020

Full Story »

 
General

Fossil Fuel Companies and Their Supporters Ask Supreme Court to Intervene in Climate Lawsuits

Posted June 23, 2020 by Anonymous
US Supreme Court building

Read time: 11 mins

California communities last month got an important procedural win in their efforts to get fossil fuel companies to pay for climate-related impacts. On May 26, a federal appeals court ruled that their lawsuits could go ahead in state court, which is their preferred venue, rather than federal court. 

Similar lawsuits filed by Colorado communities, Baltimore, and Rhode Island are also marching on in state courts following unsuccessful attempts by fossil fuel companies to have the cases heard in federal courts, where they are more likely to be dismissed. Overall, the communities lodging these legal battles seem to be gaining momentum.

However, some of the companies facing those lawsuits appear to be gearing up for a larger battle, looking to the Supreme Court to weigh in and using their network of promoters to continue attacking these lawsuits outside the courtroom.

Full Story »

 
General

Back Home Again

Posted February 5, 2020 by Polar Bear

I have been away from the blogger writing for quite a time. I have been busy working to get well and after two years without being able to walk I am finally making progress. I was encouraged during the past couple of years to receive many contacts from…

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General

Funny stuff

Posted June 21, 2020 by Anonymous

OK, here’s some funny stuff I collected over the last while — particularly enjoyed the last one:

My spouse is “attending” a virtual conference for the next few days. To help simulate the real thing, I’ll set out a picked-over tray of mini-muffins, soggy cut fruit, and some weak coffee, and then whisk them away just as he approaches the table.

— Erin Conwell (@erconwell) June 19, 2020

Had a bit more #LifeCommentary fun with my friend’s dog, Sooty. He’s fabulously bonkers. https://t.co/iLwRCv76xZ

— Nick Heath (@nickheathsport) June 15, 2020

This talented pupper doing an amazing obstacle run pic.twitter.com/3l4bYkgp0e

— Back To Nature (@backt0nature) June 20, 2020

Even bears have their Felix Ungers. https://t.co/36E68JPeMJ

— Neil (@NPSusa) June 20, 2020

pic.twitter.com/SZ2u5dRVlT

— Fátima Ma. Alvarado.💙💛🇻🇦🇳🇮📿 (@Falvarado1974) June 19, 2020

This is quite possibly the greatest commercial I’ve ever seen… pic.twitter.com/t3oxiJrUr3

— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) June 17, 2020

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General

Jason Kenney’s Alberta Victory: An Analysis

Posted October 28, 2017 by bigcitylib

The knock against Jason Kenney is he is almost 50 and still unmarried.  Is he hiding an “artistic streak”?  PS.  Just try to jam that pipeline down BC’s throat, tar-miner.  There will be hell to pay.That is all.

Full Story »

 
Drugs

How to Sesh Responsibly On ‘Super Saturday’

Posted July 3, 2020 by Anonymous

With pubs reopening and the nation collectively getting the bag in, here’s what you need to remember.

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General

‘Slam Dunk’ Study Finds Trump EPA’s Move Not to Tighten Air Pollution Standards Would Prematurely Kill 140,000 Americans

Posted June 30, 2020 by Anonymous
Salem Harbor power plant soot pollution

Read time: 7 mins

A new study from public health researchers provides the strongest evidence yet that increased exposure to a type of air pollution from tailpipes and smokestacks that’s known as fine particulate matter (PM2.5), or soot, can cause premature death. This peer-reviewed study of air pollution impacts on older Americans suggests that current air quality standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) do not protect public health, and that strengthening the standards could save over 140,000 American lives over a decade.

In praising this study as a “slam dunk,” one former EPA air pollution scientist warned that the Trump EPA, which is trying to maintain the current standards, “ignores it at their peril.”

Full Story »

 
General

Saturday Stories: The COVID Roundup

Posted May 9, 2020 by Yoni Freedhoff
Dr. Bredy Pierre-Louis, Family Physician, Brooklyn, Died From COVID19. May his memory be a blessing

Caitlin Flanagan, in The Atlantic, on having stage IV colon cancer during the time of COVID19 (if you only read one piece this week, make it this one)

Orac, in Respectful Insolence, discusses Plandemic.

Tomas Pueyo, in Medium, on testing and contact tracing.

Ed Yong, in The Atlantic, covers whether or not we should be currently worried about coronavirus mutations

Full Story »

 
General

Trump EPA’s Refusal to Strengthen Air Quality Standards Most Likely to Harm Communities of Color, Experts Say

Posted June 12, 2020 by Anonymous
A protester wearing an #ICANTBREATHE face mask in front of the 3rd Police Precinct on May 28 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Read time: 8 mins

In April, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, proposed maintaining, rather than strengthening, national air quality standards for soot, a type of air pollution with serious impacts for heart and lung health. This week, an independent panel of experts who previously advised the EPA on these air standards slammed the current agency’s decision in the New England Journal of Medicine, pointing out it’s literally a matter of life or death, especially for communities of color.

Mustafa Santiago Ali, former head of the EPA‘s environmental justice office, also highlighted in congressional testimony how the effects of air pollution are just another form of the same systemic racism that ends up hitting people of color particularly hard, and even more so during the current pandemic:

Full Story »


 
General

Thinking about the future of Canadian food

Posted May 23, 2020 by Anonymous
CNN has a big story tonight about the future of the US food supply – with more questions than answers:

“We don’t know what the food-service sector will look like,” said Jaime Chamberlain, a fresh-produce importer based in Nogales, Arizona. When the pandemic largely shut down the US in mid-March, “I lost about 96 percent of my food-service contracts from one day to the next. That is an incredible hit to my business.”
Now, Chamberlain asks, “Are people going to go back to cruise lines? Will they go to a restaurant that seats 100 people? Will that restaurant be able to operate with the same amount of seating? Maybe there’ll be no more conventions for 1,000 people… I think people are going to be very reluctant.”
Burkett, speaking by phone from his Mississippi farm, shares those and other worries, and not just on his own account.“As a farmer, the dilemma I’ve got right now, is we don’t have a market. I’ve got crops going to be there to harvest, and I don’t know if we’ll have someone to sell to or not.” In a few weeks, Burkett said he will have more than 120,000 ears of sweet corn to harvest — all meant to go to restaurants that may or may not need them. “My biggest fear is the fear of how long this is going to last. I have to decide now what I’m going to plant in the fall. I’ve got to order seeds, get the ground ready,” Burkett said. He’s decided, for example, to go ahead and plant seedless watermelons, so they’ll be ready to sell this fall to the New Orleans school system — and he’ll have to hope the schools are open.

Canada is going to be having similar problems, because nobody knows what is going to happen.

COVID19 has upended the world, and given Trump’s mismanagement in America, which will bleed over into Canada too, we are going to be on our own for a long time, I think.

For us here in the west, the main issue I think is going to be food — growing it, and importing it.  The food production and distribution and processing chains are in shambles and its going to get worse.
Yes, we are planting a garden this spring after years of not bothering. And yes, we have arranged for weekly vegetable deliveries from the local market garden. And yes, I am hoarding jars so I can freeze and can vegetables and fruit for the first time in a long time. And yes, we know a guy who knows a guy who can get us a side of beef the next time they are culling their herd.
But its not going to be enough.
Especially if the meat plants keep on having to close down because the virus is running rampant through their facilities.  Wait till it gets into the fish plants, and into the fruit and vegetable processing lines.
Has anybody yet figured out the safest ways to seed, fertilize, harvest, and process our Canadian crops this summer?  Will we also have to figure out how to get our Saskatchewan grain to flour mills in Ontario, and move BC apples to the food processors in Quebec, instead of following the usual north-south shipping lanes, selling our food south while eating food imported from the US? 
And hey, funny thing, hoocouldanoode? – but maybe it would have been a good thing to keep the Canadian Wheat Board around for just such an emergency, because the Canadian government could tell them what to do and they sorta had to do it – unlike the grain companies who will happily make a pile of money shipping all our grain production to China or wherever even if Canadians need the bread.
Our remaining other marketing boards might well turn out to be useful for the next few years, too – we will need the eggs, and the milk.
Basically, in the long term, I think Canada will have to get more self-sufficient, both in terms of what we produce, and how we sell it.  It won’t be as “efficient” as the globalized food production and distribution system our food producers have spent the last 50 years developing. But at least in a Canada-focused national system, Canadians would be the first in line.
But its going to be a painful time while we sort it out.
Full Story »

 
General

Black Environmentalists Are Organizing to Save the Planet From Injustice

Posted June 17, 2020 by guest
Black Lives Matter sign in a lawn

Read time: 4 mins

By , Grist. This story originally appeared in Grist and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

I can’t breathe.” These were among the final words that George Floyd and Eric Garner gasped before their deaths at the hands of white police officers. That plea has become part of the current rallying cry for racial justice and an end to police brutality in the U.S. But for Black people living near industrial facilities, the phrase has an additional layer of meaning: a reminder of their disproportionate pollution burden.

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General

Shell’s Falcon Pipeline Dogged by Issues with Drilling and Permit Uncertainty During Pandemic

Posted June 15, 2020 by Sharon Kelly
Wolf Run Creek

Read time: 17 mins

Over the past few months, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders, Shell Pipeline Company has pressed onward with the construction of a 97-mile pipeline running through Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Shell plans to use the Falcon pipeline to supply its $6 billion plastics plant currently being built in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, with ethane, a raw material pulled from shale wells in the state and from neighboring Ohio.

A DeSmog investigation found that Falcon’s construction has struggled with drilling problems and has continued even while one key water-crossing for the pipeline lacked state or federal permits. During that same time, vast numbers of other businesses in both states — including the Shell plastics plant itself — were forced to slow or stop activities in efforts to combat the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

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General

#ObamaGreat

Posted May 17, 2020 by Anonymous

Here are Obama’s two addresses tonight to the HBCU and high school 2020 graduating classes. 

#ObamaGreat and #ObamaWasBetterAtEverything are now trending around the world. 

Congratulations to the HBCU Class of 2020! Michelle and I are so proud of you. As you set out to change the world, we’ll be the wind at your back. Can’t wait to see what you achieve. https://t.co/PCsjkJJTXi

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 16, 2020

Congrats to the high school Class of 2020, as well as to the teachers, coaches, and most of all, parents and family who’ve guided you along the way. Thanks for letting me be part of your big day! pic.twitter.com/RjYvHs2BhC

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 17, 2020

And here is what people think about the guy America has got instead:

— Eleven Films (@Eleven_Films) May 16, 2020

The contrast is enough to break your heart.

I’m all for a Space Force if we use it to launch every fucking member of this criminal administration straight the fuck into the sun

— Jeff Tiedrich (@itsJeffTiedrich) May 15, 2020


Full Story »

 
China

Beijing Is Furious About UK’s Offer to Welcome Hong Kongers Fleeing Harsh New Security Law

Posted July 2, 2020 by Anonymous

In a statement, China’s Foreign Ministry warned: “Any attempt seeking to undermine China’s sovereignty, security and development interests is doomed to fail.”

Full Story »

 
General

National Post Publishes Absolute Bullshit Re Beyond Meat

Posted August 8, 2019 by bigcitylib

The absolute bullshit is this bit:

“For the last million years, we’ve evolved with a very specific diet that’s been based on whole foods,” [Michael] Rogers said. “There hasn’t been a change in our diets this drastic in all of human evolution with the exception of one event in human history: when the Neanderthals ventured from forests into pastoral land and started … agricultural practices,” more than 12,000 years ago.

I don’t know who Michael Rogers is, but this kind of quote is the kind of thing that makes you think he isn’t much of an expert.  I mean, the timing of wheat domestication is about right, a couple thousand years too early, maybe.  But the species is wrong.  The last Neanderthals walked maybe 40,000 years before crops were domesticated, unless Mr. Rogers knows something nobody else does.

Seriously, this is a big fat fucking boner of a mistake: Neanderthals invented agriculture.  BULLSHIT!!!   That the NP published it without  fact checking is embarrassing.  And if you are trying to criticize alt-meat, making this kind of claim isn’t going to help.

PS.  I have never tried a Beyond Meat product nor do I have an opinion on the company.

Full Story »

 
General

With Prospects Souring for Oregon Gas Terminal, an Obscure Group Raises Pressure for State Approval

Posted June 18, 2020 by Anonymous
WSTN's "open letter to Gov. Brown" ad in The Oregonian

Read time: 11 mins

On May 24, a full-page ad appeared in The Oregonian, Oregon’s largest newspaper. The “open letter,” addressed to Gov. Kate Brown, asked her to support Jordan Cove LNG, a controversial coastal liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal. Between the “COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic fallout,” the project would be crucial to restoring the state’s economy, the letter argued. “We’re going to need as many jobs as we can get, and very soon.”

We ask you to listen because Jordan Cove is about Oregon, but it is also about much more,” the letter said, a statement that certainly seems to describe the entity that bought the ad, the Western States and Tribal Nations Natural Gas Initiative, or WSTN. Despite its sole focus on exporting natural gas through the West Coast, the group is virtually unknown in Oregon.

Full Story »

 
General

For Decades, the Oil and Gas Industry Got Taxpayer Help from the Fracking Production Tax Credit

Posted June 16, 2020 by Anonymous
Stacked drilling rigs in the Permian Basin in spring 2020

Read time: 6 mins

Before the U.S. fracking boom took off, shale drillers had access for over two decades to a particular tax incentive that experts say played a key role in setting the stage for the so-called shale revolution.

Known as the Section 29 Unconventional Fuels Production Tax Credit, this subsidy resulted in more than tripling the production of unconventional gas, at a cost of at least $10 billion to taxpayers, from 1980 to 2002.

Full Story »

 
General

Courage is found in unlikely places

Posted March 18, 2020 by Anonymous

Things are awful and they’re going to get worse – the economy is going to tank, maybe worse than it did in 2008, and hundreds of thousands of people are going to lose their jobs. 

To understand why the world economy is in grave peril because of the spread of coronavirus, it helps to grasp one idea that is at once blindingly obvious and sneakily profound.
One person’s spending is another person’s income. That, in a single sentence, is what the $87 trillion global economy is.That relationship, between spending and income, consumption and production, is at the core of how a capitalist economy works. It is the basis of a perpetual motion machine. We buy the things we want and need, and in exchange give money to the people who produced those things, who in turn use that money to buy the things they want and need, and so on, forever.
What is so deeply worrying about the potential economic ripple effects of the virus is that it requires this perpetual motion machine to come to a near-complete stop across large chunks of the economy, for an indeterminate period of time.

In spite of the billions that governments will spend to prop up the economy, our standard of living is going to decline. Or at least it will FEEL like it is declining — we won’t have the restaurants around anymore that we used to love, we won’t be getting the variety and quality of food we are used to seeing in grocery stores because the agricultural and shipping industries are going to be in such disarray, we won’t have sports or new TV shows or new movies or touring theatre companies or concerts or community events. For many of us, our retirement savings are taking a hit that we won’t be able to recover. 
Not to mention, of course, the hundreds of thousands around the world who will get sick, and the tens of thousands who will die in the next 18 months to two years, before a COVID vaccine can be developed and put into production and reach the market.
Goodbye yellow brick road, yes indeed.
Someday maybe we will say “I remember when you could walk into a store and buy bananas any time of the year”.
So in the meantime, I can only keep my spirits up by searching out some “good news” stories. Because once again, in a crisis, people have a remarkable way of pulling together, pushing though, helping themselves and each other to cope and to manage and to survive.

“But where shall I find courage?” asked Frodo.
“That is what I chiefly need.”“Courage is found in unlikely places,” said Gildor.
“Be of good hope! Sleep now!”

Beautiful. King Street, right? https://t.co/LkN6dqdqnj

— David Frum (@davidfrum) March 18, 2020

@CoronavirusCast

You wanted some positive stories.
Here you go. This man must be a listener.

Sask. First Nation chief prepared for COVID-19 pandemic weeks before it hit https://t.co/1zRd7e74O3

— Raptor Girl SK- We the Champs! (@raptorgirlSK) March 17, 2020

While our doors may be closed, we’ll still bring the Gallery to you online.

During our closure, we’ll take you on a tour, gallery by gallery. Each day we’ll focus on one room and the works of art on view within it. #MuseumFromHome pic.twitter.com/VfI4Nm8kj5

— National Gallery of Art (@ngadc) March 14, 2020

We’re better than our political leadership. https://t.co/ez9K1RChDP

— John Pavlovitz (@johnpavlovitz) March 16, 2020

Louis Vuitton is switching all its perfume & cosmetic manufacturing factories to make hand sanitizer gels. https://t.co/p6I5QC1s4d

— Krishnan (@cvkrishnan) March 15, 2020

Hope they were able to find some TP https://t.co/3gBnXKJAKB

— Kevin Smith (@Global_Smith) March 15, 2020

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Children

Australian Food Industry Launches World’s Least Aggressive New Voluntary Self-Regulatory Effort

Posted March 2, 2020 by Yoni Freedhoff

Waiting for any industry to self-regulate itself is just plain dumb. Honestly, industry’s job is to protect and promote sales, and that’s of course true for the food industry as well.

Self-regulation tends to crop up not out of altruism or doing the right thing, but rather as a means to forestall legislative regulatory efforts which in turn would prove to be more damaging to sales.

Take this recent initiative out of Australia which will see the food industry not advertising their junk to kids within 150m (500ft) of schools. 150 whole metres! While certainly not likely to do anything at all, it’ll be especially useless perhaps in that the school buses themselves will be exempt, as of course will be the bus stops’ shelters.

Oh, and as toothless as it is, it’s also voluntary.

Really the only thing this initiative will do is provide the food industry with ammunition if and when facing calls for legislated regulation (something we’re hearing more and more calls for) and to pretend that they care about anything other than profits.

It’s always best to remember, as I’ve written before, the food industry is neither friend, nor foe, nor partner.

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General

Man Against Nature

Posted July 1, 2016 by Polar Bear

My lawn is a beautiful green and my garden is about as good as it gets. However I am been invaded by rabbits and moles. The rabbits eat my Lettice and I do not mind as I have a secret stash in a container. The moles are sneaky and dig tunnels under the…

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General

Saturday Stories: The COVID files

Posted May 23, 2020 by Yoni Freedhoff
Dr.Sudheer Singh Chauhan, Internal Medicine Physician and Associate Program Director IM Residency Program at Jamaica Hospital, New York, died of COVID19 on May 19th. May his memory be a blessing
Kai Kupferschmidt, in Science, on why only some people are COVID super spreaders 
Natalie Kofler and Françoise Baylis, in Nature, on the perils, pitfalls, and disparities of “immunity passports”. 
And if you don’t follow me on Twitter or Facebook, here’s a segment I did with CTV’s The Social on the very real impact these scary times has on our physical and mental well being
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General

Formosa Plastics Opponents Ask Louisiana Governor to Veto Bill Over Harsh Sentencing Concerns

Posted June 11, 2020 by Anonymous
Sharon Lavigne of RISE St. James

Read time: 10 mins

On Friday, June 12, Louisiana’s Democratic governor John Bel Edwards is expected to sign off on a piece of legislation, House Bill 197, that would make it a more serious crime to trespass on Louisiana’s so-called “critical infrastructure,” including the state’s system of flood-control levees, fossil fuel pipelines, and sprawling network of petrochemical plants and refineries.

But if you ask Sharon Lavigne, founder of RISE St. James, a Louisiana community group, what House Bill 197 means to her, the answer that comes back isn’t about floodgates or water pumps or pipelines. It’s about the legacy of slavery in the United States — and how that legacy echoes in criminalization efforts today.

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Canada

Armed Military Member Rammed Truck Through Gates Where Trudeau Lives

Posted July 2, 2020 by Anonymous

The man was arrested after driving onto the grounds of Rideau Hall, where the Prime Minister, his family, and the Governor General live.

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General

Health Canada Fails Science And Canadians By Allowing Any Purported Weight Loss Supplements To Be Sold

Posted February 24, 2020 by Yoni Freedhoff

The latest of many systematic reviews and meta-analyses of herbal supplements for weight loss plainly makes the case that there is no justification for their sale.

They. Don’t. Work.

None of them.

None. Of. Them.

So why does Health Canada license and allow the sale of 1,128 natural products whose listed purported use is for weight management? Or of the 671 products that purport they’ll improve sexual enhancement? Or of pretty much any of them?

Maybe the answer lies somewhere in the taxation of the $1.8 billion annual Canadian sales of vitamins and supplements?

Maybe it lies in well-intentioned hope?

Maybe it lies is political contributions and lobbying?

But the one place where it doesn’t lie is in science. Shouldn’t that be the only place that matters?

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General

16 Year Tradition

Posted December 5, 2016 by Polar Bear

Ever since Theresa, Doris and I moved to Oakville and lately Burlington we have taken a day and made tourtiere .It is a rather simple exercise but we all have our own recipes for this French Canadian Xmas treat. My recipe came mainly from my late Mothe…

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China

17 Developers Are Testing Coronavirus Vaccines on Humans. Here’s What You Need to Know About Them.

Posted July 3, 2020 by Anonymous

The race to develop a coronavirus vaccine is getting crowded — and expensive.

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General

Global Warming and Extremes in Natural Event

Posted July 9, 2016 by Polar Bear

Our weather forecasters have issued a report saying that the last 60 days have been the driest in recorded memory. Crops across Ontario  have been devastated in many areas. Theresa and I travelled up country today and there was clear evi…

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General

In Break With Trump’s EPA, Nevada Announces Plan to Cut Tailpipe Emissions

Posted June 23, 2020 by Anonymous
Las Vegas traffic

Read time: 4 mins

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced on Monday, June 22, that Nevada would be developing a policy to increase the number of zero and low-emission vehicles sold within the state.

With the announcement of the Clean Cars Nevada initiative, Nevada is set to join 14 other states that have fully or partially adopted clean car standards identical to California’s stricter standards authorized by the Clean Air Act.

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