Let’s go back. Sandy pink streaks coat the sky as the sun peeks over your backyard fence and shines on the peeling linoleum of your kitchen floor. The fridge murmurs and hums, oven burners wobble and pop, as you spend a quiet moment alone with a box of sugar cereal. Let’s count down ten of […]
Read time: 6 mins
While a second oil-by-rail boom is well underway in North America, both the U.S. and Canada are taking steps that ignore or undermine the lessons and regulatory measures to improve safety since the oil train explosions and spills of years past.
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By Kert Davies, Climate Investigations Center. Originally posted on Climate Investigations Center.
Climate change is coming at Trump even as he tries like hell to avoid the subject. Record-setting hurricanes, Florence and Michael, have caused devastation across the southeast United States. Meanwhile, the grim UN IPCC “1.5 degree” report pushed climate scientists into the headlines last week while Trump was out and about, apparently unleashed, talking to media.
One thing that’s been especially hard during my recent health struggles is that I’ve had some negative feelings resurface surrounding food and restriction. Those of you who’ve been reading for years may know that one of the reasons I started blogging back in 2008 was to share my journey to health. I spoke a lot […]
Read time: 5 mins
While the oil and gas industry has lauded the new trade deal that may soon replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a provision added by Mexico, along with its new president’s plan to ban fracking, could complicate the industry’s rising ambitions there.
A woman in Bhubaneswar’s Mahavir Nagar slum wipes cold water over her face in an effort to cool off after coming out of her home on a day when the temperature reached 42.5 C, prompting a heat wave alert in the Eastern Indian city. (Photo: Rohit Magotra/IRADe)
How researchers are finding ways to help low-income city dwellers in South Asia adapt to urban heat stress. Part of an ongoing series of stories about innovative projects in the developing world, a partnership between the International Development Research Centre and Canadian Geographic.
This is an incredible paper, Many Analysts, One Data Set: Making Transparent How Variations in Analytic Choices Affect Results, saw 61 analysts (in 29 teams), be given the same data set meant to address the same research question (are soccer referees more likely to give red cards to dark skinned players than light skinned players).
20 teams found a statistically significant positive effect, while 9 teams did not, and where effect sizes ranged (in odds-ratio units), despite all teams working from the same data set, from 0.89 to 2.93 (where 1.0 would be no effect).
Why so many differences?
Because results depend a great deal on any study’s authors chosen analytic strategy which in turn is influenced by the authors’ statistical comfort and choices and their interplay with the authors’ pre-existing working theories.
Now these results weren’t incentivized examples of p-hacking. The authors of this study point out that the variability seen was based on “justifiable, but subjective, analytic decisions“, and while there’s no obvious means with which to ensure a researcher has chosen the right methodology for their study, the authors suggest that,
“transparency in data, methods, and process gives the rest of the community opportunity to see the decisions, question them, offer alternatives, and test these alternatives in further research”.
Something all the more important in cases where authors might in fact have biases the would incentivize them to favour a particular outcome, and why I wish I was offered more in the way of stats and critical appraisal in medical school (and maybe less in the way of embryology for instance).
It’s like teleporting. AWESOME! Photo from: here — Check out my new podcast 3 Books with Neil Pasricha —
The post #680 Falling asleep right when the plane takes off and waking up right when it hits the runway appeared first on 1000 Awesome Things.
The RCGS Resolute sails toward port in Sydney, N.S. (Photo: One Ocean Expeditions)
With a dash of pomp, a dose of naval tradition and a healthy dollop of Cape Breton-style celebration, One Ocean Expeditions today celebrated the recommissioning of the RCGS Resolute, the newest addition to the company’s fleet of expedition cruise ships, in Sydney, N.S.
An artist’s rendition of the new RCGS Resolute in Paradise Bay, Antarctica. (Illustration: One Ocean Expeditions)
It’s one of the more legendary and controversial moments in 19th-century polar exploration: spring 1854, and Henry Kellett, captain of HMS Resolute, is leading his men and the crews of Intrepid and Investigator by foot and sledge across Arctic Ocean ice to distant Beechey Island.
Drew Feustel records a video inside the Kibo laboratory module on the space station in late September. (Photo: NASA Johnson)
On October 4, support crews pulled Drew Feustel and his two fellow Expedition 56 astronauts out of the Soyuz capsule on the desert steppe of Kazakhstan, after their return-trip from the International Space Station — a journey that takes a few minutes longer than the drive between Calgary and Edmonton.
There has been much ridicule directed at Trump adviser Stephen Miller for an alleged childhood habit of drying glue on his arm, and then eating it . Obviously, I disagree with the guy’s politics but many people don’t realize that glue i…
Read time: 5 mins
Scientists looking to communicate the truth about climate should explore the power of narrative and images.
Sometimes a polar bear is a living symbol of climate change.
Other times an image of a dying polar bear is basically raw meat for the people who want to deny the truth about global warming and demonize the scientists who are researching and communicating these important issues.
Read time: 5 mins
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported in September that crude oil exports are continuing to set records, mostly due to the fracking boom in the Permian Basin, in Texas and New Mexico. June exports hit a record 2.2 million barrels per day, while the monthly average was up almost 80 percent for the first half of this year compared to the same period last year.
And crude oil exports are supposed to double by 2020, according to the San Antonio News-Express. That’s a lot of oil — and almost all of it is fracked.
Two weeks ago I gave a talk at Ottawa’s 6th Biennial Championing Public Health Nutrition Conference. I was part of a group of speakers talking about the how can it possibly not be published yet new Canada Food guide.
I was struck, both during the other presenters talks, and during the question and answer period, how focused people were on how the Food Guide will be utilized by individuals.
In my opinion, as a direct tool, it pretty much won’t be. That’s not to say it can’t or won’t have an impact on Canadian dietary patterns (it will by way of its impact on policy), nor that a person who picked it up couldn’t choose to follow it, but rather speaks to the simple fact that education alone doesn’t seem to be enough to change behaviour. Because time and again we learn that education, even when tied to terrifying events like heart attacks, doesn’t seem to be able to consistently lead people to sustain consequent lifestyle changes, nor does genetic knowledge of specific disease risks.
The reasons why are likely myriad, but probably boil down to a combination of normal human nature and change being difficult, along with the impact of a person’s food environment and social determinants of health.
For a food related example of this, take this recent paper regarding perceptions about the consumption of fast food. In it, among many other statistics, the authors note that 73% of weekly fast food consumers reported that they believed fast food wasn’t good for them.
When it comes to behaviour change, knowledge alone does not seem to correlate particularly strongly with power.
Scope this scene. End of the meal at the back of a dimly lit restaurant, your belly bursting with bowls of bread, free soda refills, sugary salad, and half a giant stir-fry, you’re thinking twice about the waiter’s offer to wrap up your meal. After all, the thought of one more forkful of soy-sauce drenched […]
The post #683 Finding a container with last night’s leftover restaurant dinner in your fridge appeared first on 1000 Awesome Things.
Man Booker prize winner Howard Jacobson, in The Atlantic, with perhaps the definitive piece on Jeremy Corbyn and Labour’s antisemitism.
Taimer Safder, in The New England Journal of Medicine, with a lovely read about the name of the dog (do read this one before it disappears behind a paywall).
Lisa Suennen, in Venture Valkyrie, on the conundrum of divergent ways to evaluate cardiac risk that span from biology to social determinants of health.
[photo by Alexandru Rotariu via Pexels]
Do you ever see kids on the playground with their bike helmets on? Sometimes you spot them riding up to the sandy lots with heads full of steam and eyes staring forward with steely determination. They are on a mission to get some playing in, buddy. And nothing’s going to get in their way. Nope, […]
The post #684 Being so excited you leave your bike helmet on appeared first on 1000 Awesome Things.
What we know and don’t know about how cannabis affects us
Cannabis botany: what’s really behind the labels
A lab in Colorado is driving around regulations to study high potency cannabis products
Contrary to popular belief, cannabis addiction is a real thing
Read time: 6 mins
The United Nations (UN) climate science panel is being accused of ignoring research into fossil fuel-funded misinformation campaigns that have been key to holding back action on global warming.
The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — an assessment of more than 6,000 research papers — found global warming caused largely by fossil fuel burning would have severe impacts even if limited to 1.5°C (2.7°F).
Described by the IPCC as “one of the most important climate change reports ever published,” the report is designed to inform policy makers and the public around the world.
But several researchers are angry the report did not take account of academic research into the “decades-long misinformation campaign” funded and promoted by fossil fuel interests and so-called “free market” conservative think tanks that has been a major brake on progress.
Une illustration de mammifères, qui ont aujourd’hui disparu, de l’époque du Pléistocène dans le paysage de la toundra du Yukon. Des milliers de fossiles de cette région sont découverts chaque année, dont de nombreux par des mineurs et des membres de la Première Nation des Gwitchin Vuntut autour de Old Crow. (Illustration gracieusement fournie par le gouvernement du Yukon)
Au Yukon, des paléontologues cherchent la solution à l’un des grands mystères du Nord – la raison de l’extinction majeure de grands mammifères à la fin de la dernière glaciation – et les chercheurs d’or ainsi que les chasseurs autochtones les aident à recueillir les indices.
An illustration of now-extinct Pleistocene-era mammals on Yukon’s tundra landscape. Thousands of fossils from this era are discovered each year, many by gold miners and members of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation around Old Crow. (Illustration courtesy Government of Yukon)
Paleontologists in Yukon are working to solve one of the North’s great mysteries — the reason for the major extinction of large mammals at the end of the last ice age — and gold miners and Indigenous hunters are helping gather the clues.
Yukon lay beyond the reach of the massive glaciers that covered most of Canada at various times during the Pleistocene era, which lasted from 2.5 million to 12,000 years ago, and a rich diversity of large mammals — horses, woolly mammoths, ground sloths, lions, camels and other exotic animals — thrived on the territory’s tundra landscape.
A detail of the Snuxyaltwa totem pole at the ancient village site of Talyu on South Bentinck Arm near Bella Coola, B.C. The pole was raised in 2009 by the Snow family, former residents of Talyu who were evicted in the 1930s, as a way of reclaiming their hereditary right to the place
. (Photo: Julian Brave NoiseCat/Canadian Geographic)
On a May morning in British Columbia’s Bella Coola Valley, Clyde Tallio, a long-limbed 31-year-old Nuxalk intellectual, and I walk a dirt road that gives way to a forest path up a bank from Thorsen Creek, swollen with spring melt. As we slip beneath the forest canopy, we move between worlds: from rural Western Canada to sacred Nuxalk territory—the lands of Tallio’s people, who are emerging as the protagonists in an Indigenous epic unfolding on this unconquered expanse of Pacific coast.
Coming out of the subway, heading to the airport gates, or moseying back to the office after lunch, you occasionally walk with a friend and hit this classic fork in the road. On the right is a smooth-moving escalator with a bit of traffic and on the left is a wide-open set of stairs. As […]
The post #685 Taking the stairs beside somebody taking the escalator and going faster than them appeared first on 1000 Awesome Things.
Read time: 6 mins
High water in Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin and direct actions against the Bayou Bridge pipeline threaten to further delay work on the pipeline. However, it likely will be finished before the company’s pending legal challenges, including its most recent one over illegal construction, are settled.
Guest blogpost from reader Jim Owens. ******** Had I remembered to pick up tinfoil the other day, I might have escaped the latest emanations from the mind of Stephen Harper, as radiated by his book excerpt in yesterday’s National Post….
Nathalie Lasselin recently completed a 70-kilometre dive along the entire length of Montreal Island, part of her Urban Water Odyssey expedition to explore the St. Lawrence, test for pollutants and raise awareness of the critical importance of the river. Read on to see what a few of the Society’s other Fellows have been working on this year. (Photo: Nathalie Lasselin)
Read time: 10 mins
A big UN report arrived on Monday, saying in no uncertain terms that the world has up to two decades to massively cut emissions by transforming the global economy if we want to avoid terrible climate impacts.
Given the implications of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) findings — government intervention, progressive social policies, more international aid — it’s perhaps not surprising that those who deny climate change is real or a problem pushed back. It took a few days, but the climate science deniers’ response to the IPCC report is now in full flow.
What we see is three distinct layers of climate science denial at play here:
There’s the ‘this isn’t happening’ sun-spot brigade. There’s the ‘this is happening but it’s all a Communist ruse’ zealots. And then there’s the team who reluctantly admit they’ve lost the debate but shoehorn in a number of caveats and excuses to justify why nothing should happen.
Delingpole draws on an old friend, author Rupert Darwall, to claim that “science” is really just a pretext, devised by “ideological Euro Greenies, to destroy the fossil fuel hegemony of countries like the U.S. and to impose on them a new, eurocentric, renewable energy global tyranny.”
Now in full flow, Delingpole mocks reporting (such as ours) that points to the egregious media coverage in the UK, which favoured Strictly Come Dancing over ecological crisis. He asks, could it be that within the media universe “a few vestiges of the old standards still prevail? That maybe some editors still recognise a complete non-story when they see one?”
The BBC‘s editors decided it was a story, but had a slightly odd approach to covering it.
Ebell is the former head of President Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition team and a Director of the libertarian US think tank the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).
His appearance has been heavily slated. Environmental writer Mark Lynas described the interview as “utterly pointless and embarrassing. Car-crash television, and a waste of time that could have been used addressing the real questions.”
“If you want political analysis, ask a policy analyst. If you want propaganda, ask Myron Ebell,” said Simon Lewis, professor of global change science at University College London.
Not to be denied their place in the sun, LBC radio got in on the action, giving a platform to GWPF-founder Lord Nigel Lawson to spout his stock in trade — that all this talk of climate action is just “PC claptrap”.
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Not content with giving Nigel Lawson a platform, LBC doubled up by bringing Piers Corbyn on to deny not just climate breakdown — “I’ll challenge the IPCC and the professor just speaking, there is no scientific paper in existence that shows that increases of carbon dioxide worldwide drive world temperature rises” — but that coral reefs were under threat.
The IPCC‘s report compiled evidence from more than 6,000 papers. It said 70 to 90 percent of coral reefs would be lost with 1.5C of warming, and almost all with 2C of warming.
Over at Conservative Woman — which regularly runs pieces by Conservative non-woman and GWPF researcher Harry Wilkinson — a headline runs “Top scientist shoots the climate-change alarmists down in flames”. In that article, Wilkinson quotes American climate science denier Richard Lindzen, who the GWPF contrived to give its annual lecture on the day the IPCC report was released.
In an extraordinary talk, Lindzen equates the climate consensus with “the suicide of industrial society”. His talk is a homage to oil and coal arguing: “the power these people desperately seek includes the power to roll back the status and welfare that the ordinary person has acquired and continues to acquire through the fossil fuel generated industrial revolution and return them to their presumably more appropriate status as serfs.”
Lindzen has form. Back in 2017 writing at Merion West, Lindzen argued that believing climate change is largely caused by increases in carbon dioxide is “pretty close to believing in magic.”
In 2015 The Daily Mail reported Lindzen compared people believing in global warming to religious fanatics: “As with any cult, once the mythology of the cult begins falling apart, instead of saying, oh, we were wrong, they get more and more fanatical.”
“It isn’t hard to spot the problem with issuing frightening-sounding deadlines. If the deadlines come and go, without us managing to lower emissions and yet still life goes on, it makes the people setting the deadlines look rather foolish.”
“It is also somewhat counter-productive. Given the failure of the world to come to an end, it is tempting to say, just as we do when religious cults and other fantasists make doom-laden predictions which fail to come to pass: well, the whole thing must be a hoax. What is the point of listening any further?”
Clark has a long history of climate denial. Back in 2015 he wrote in the Express the sort of paean to fossil fuel capitalism that Richard Lindzen would have been proud of:
“Climate change is not the greatest risk to the world: the biggest danger we face is the economic decline which would result from the loss of the cheap energy which has improved lives beyond all recognition over the past two centuries.”
“You name it: better food, better transport, better medical care. Ultimately, all the fantastic improvements in our lives since 1800 have been down to one thing: our ability to harness energy from fossil fuels.”
In summary: Everything’s getting better forever and ever. Except the IPCC report tells us that’s very much not the case, unless we take radical action.
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Which is perhaps why, in a second Breitbart article, Delingpole took aim at the organisations charged with implementing this ‘green tyranny’ that would see a move away from fossil fuels — specifically the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) Chief Executive, Chris Stark.
He’s a man full of “revolutionary fervour” for cutting the UK’s emissions and helping the world avoid terrible climate impacts, Delingpole (sort of) writes. “If this doesn’t chill you to the marrow, it should”, apparently.
He’s not the only one that’s scared the CCC might now become empowered. Nick Timothy, a former SPAD for Theresa May who is credited with getting the UK’s Department of Climate Change shut down, urges Telegraph readers to “take back control” from “unaccountable entities” such as the CCC.
And entities such as the Nobel committee, perhaps.
Bjorn Lomborg over at the Wall St Journal took the opportunity to distort the work of just-announced Nobel Prize winner, climate economist, William Nordhaus. Lomborg claims Nordhaus said that “proposed cost of CO2 cuts aren’t worth it”.
But as Carbon Brief’s Simon Evans points out on Twitter, Nordhaus literally wrote in one of his many, many papers on the economic rationale for climate action:
“The future is uncertain so we should have more climate policy, not less.”
As Evans points out, the entire framing used by Lomborg is just wrong:
❌ The @IPCC_CH “urges” leaders to limit warming to 1.5C ❌
Nope. Countries of the world agreed to try & avoid 1.5C. They asked IPCC what it would take to do this, & how the impacts of 1.5C would compare to 2C.
— Simon Evans (@DrSimEvans) October 10, 2018
In one sense the new ideological discomfort of the shrinking climate denial network is understandable. As the IPCC reports outlines, mass systemic change is required – a systemic change that is incompatible with the economic system the climate science deniers revere.
The Daily Mail – a bastion of climate science denial under former editor Paul Dacre – started uncharacteristically promisingly with Peter Oborne’s excellent report from Bangladesh, which seems to be based on actual facts and actual reporting and firmly grounded in reality.
But then on Wednesday they had Stephen Glover veer from acknowledging the level of crisis, to arguing that it’s all just too expensive so nothing should be done. He writes:
“This week’s IPCC report judged that global warming must be kept to a maximum of 1.5C warmer than pre-industrial levels, rather than the 2C ceiling previously envisaged. How can scientists be so sure that the lower figure should become the new goal?
“I ask because it carries enormous extra costs. The IPCC estimates that new energy infrastructure — wind, solar and electricity storage — as well as technologies that can capture CO2 from the atmosphere, could cost a jaw dropping £1,800 billion.”
“This will be paid for by the likes of you and me.”
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He’s not the only one that acknowledges climate change is a problem but isn’t really willing to countenance the solutions.
Rod Liddle in The Sun takes aim first at vegetarians, then at windfarms.
Of the IPCC’s suggestion that we’re going to have to eat a lot less meat, he says: “Climate change is a fact. But when they conflate two issues for reasons of fashion, I begin to smell a rat”.
So Rod isn’t going veggie. But what of another IPCC finding, that the world is going to need a heck of a lot more windfarms? No. He doesn’t fancy that either:
“Wind turbines are a blight on our landscape”, he says, “causing misery wherever they are”.
That’s all pretty normal messaging for newspapers known for objecting to climate policy. But what’s new about the latest spate of climate science denial is its politics.
Having overwhelmingly lost the scientific debate, these groups are now pivoting to a new position which is centred around two ideas: first that the new is too apocalyptic and second that it’s too expensive.
Given what is required is systemic change, they are swiftly changing positions to defend the indefensible — an economic system based on extraction and exploitation of natural resources and mass consumerism that the IPCC tells us must be in its end-phase.
Amongst the torrent of climate science denial from the usual suspects, there are also a few shoots of refreshing reality appearing. For instance, the normally obstinate Times runs an editorial that breaks with their own columnist Matt Ridley’s vehement do-nothingery and points to the IPCC report to make his stance look absurd:
“The IPCC report’s authors warn that cutting emissions fast enough to keep the planet sufficiently cool could mean a $2.5 trillion hit to global GDP. Others estimate that switching to electric cars will create new industries worth $7 trillion a year in the US alone. It is true that a revolution will be necessary, but it should be bloodless and it will be good for us. So bring it on.”
Image: Duncan Hull/Flickr CC BY 2.0
Oh they’re out there.
Tunnel vision physicians who believe that everyone should be vegan, or be intermittently fasting, or in ketosis, or on an incredibly low-fat diet, or vegetarian, or low carb high fat, – and I’m sure the list goes on.
It’s a head scratcher for me because a physician’s training ought to have them know better.
Because for virtually every medical problem, multiple therapies and therapeutic modalities exist. And because physicians know that some drugs work better than others with different patients – sometimes predictably, and sometimes unpredictably, and that sometimes people have adverse reactions to certain drugs that require them to try alternatives.
Diets are the same.
Whether for weight management, general health, or the treatment of particular medical conditions, certain patients, sometimes explicably and sometimes not, will do better with different diets, both in terms of the impact that diet has on whatever they’re trying to treat, but also on their ability to enjoy that diet enough to sustain it long term.
And so even if there were a scientifically proven best diet for a particular issue (and for weight, plainly at this point, there isn’t), there’ll still be some people for whom it fails, and some people for whom its adverse effects on their lives leads to its discontinuation, and if they happen to be on that diet because they’re following or seeing one of those MDs who is so stuck on there being only one diet to rule them all, I guess they’re just out of luck.
So what drives those MDs? I think the answer varies. For some it’s likely the extension of their own personal experience and success with a particular dietary approach. For others, it may be the consequence of literal or intellectually sunk costs. And finally some may not have sufficient background to evaluate much on their own and instead simply parrot an eloquently delivered diet zealot’s talking points (perhaps especially in the cases of MDs converted by other MDs). But regardless of why one thing’s for sure, the promotion of one right or best diet isn’t good medicine, it compromises patient care, provides oxygen to the fire of fads, serves as catnip for publishers, the media, and the public, and solidifies the notion that there are dietary demons and deities, all of which in turn torches the hope of improved nutrition related scientific literacy in society.
Nutritional populism is a bad look irrespective of which diet it happens to be promoting.
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The post #686 When you open your cell phone and there are a bunch of new texts from your friends appeared first on 1000 Awesome Things.
Read time: 6 mins
By Dan Zukowski
A quiet, sunny afternoon in New England quickly turned to chaos and tragedy as a series of 80 fires and explosions erupted across three communities in the Merrimack Valley north of Boston on September 13. Extreme overpressure in a Columbia Gas distribution system caused uncontrollable natural gas venting over a wide area, and the resulting blasts killed one and injured more than two dozen.
In the wake of this disaster, scientists and environmentalists are raising questions about the safety and climate impacts of Massachusetts’ aging natural gas infrastructure and the wisdom of continuing to rely on this fossil fuel.
Hey, it’s not like you can play outside, go swimming, ride your bike, or walk to the store. So just flick off the lights, yank open the blinds, and stare out the window at the majestic streaks of bright lightning cracking down all around you. AWESOME! Photo from: here Join my book club! — Follow […]
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Read time: 3 mins
Americans For Prosperity (AFP), a political advocacy network funded by the petrochemical billionaire Koch brothers, recently launched a campaign to support President Donald Trump’s efforts to roll back fuel efficiency and automobile emissions standards.
Through social media feeds of the many AFP state chapters, the group is promoting a petition to “Repeal Costly Obama-era Fuel Standards.”