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July 15, 2013

Miami is going to drown in our lifetimes

Climate change is altering the coasts at a dramatic rate. Miami is likely to be the first to fall. Why the City of Miami Is Doomed to Drown | Politics News | Rolling Stone
Sea-level rise is not a hypothetical disaster. It is a physical fact of life on a warming planet, the basic dynamics of which even a child can understand: Heat melts ice. Since the 1920s, the global average sea level has risen about nine inches, mostly from the thermal expansion of the ocean water. But thanks to our 200-year-long fossil-fuel binge, the great ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are starting to melt rapidly now, causing the rate of sea-level rise to grow exponentially. The latest research, including an assessment by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, suggests that sea level could rise more than six feet by the end of the century. James Hansen, the godfather of global-warming science, has argued that it could increase as high as 16 feet by then – and Wanless believes that it could continue rising a foot each decade after that. "With six feet of sea-level rise, South Florida is toast," says Tom Gustafson, a former Florida speaker of the House and a climate-change-policy advocate. Even if we cut carbon pollution overnight, it won't save us. Ohio State glaciologist Jason Box has said he believes we already have 70 feet of sea-level rise baked into the system. Of course, South Florida is not the only place that will be devastated by sea-level rise. London, Boston, New York and Shanghai are all vulnerable, as are low-lying underdeveloped nations like Bangladesh. But South Florida is uniquely screwed, in part because about 75 percent of the 5.5 million people in South Florida live along the coast. And unlike many cities, where the wealth congregates in the hills, southern Florida's most valuable real estate is right on the water. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development lists Miami as the number-one most vulnerable city worldwide in terms of property damage, with more than $416 billion in assets at risk to storm-related flooding and sea-level rise.

There is probably beaver ass sweat in your vanilla ice cream

All the Stuff You Don’t Want to Eat…But You Do Anyway -- Restless Chipotle
He was talking about why knowing about the food you eat is important..and then he dropped the bomb….Food additives in vanilla ice cream… So what? We all know we eat additives, right? Why research them? The FDA approved them, right? Well..the next few words caused me to pause mid chew. Yes. Mid chew. “Did you know that there are beaver’s anal glands in vanilla ice cream?” Jamie asked with a smirk. A very smirky smirk. I thought it was a joke. Turns out? It’s not. Apparently someone decided that beaver anal glands enhanced sweets, including vanilla ice cream and many raspberry products. The substance can be found on your ice cream as castoreum; if it is in a small enough amount it does not have to be listed. Have a little Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla, folks…… Beaver’s butt might be bad enough but you regularly, happily eat other stuff that is as bad or worse. And with the sketchy disclosure and label laws you don’t have to be told.

July 10, 2013

Breeding Bacteria on Factory Farms

Reminder: if you feel you have to eat meat, find a local source. Meat from big chain supermarkets or at chain restaurants comes from factory farms. Factory farms are trouble. Breeding Bacteria on Factory Farms - NYTimes.com
The story of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in farm animals is not a simple one. But here’s the pitch version: Yet another study has reinforced the idea that keeping animals in confinement and feeding them antibiotics prophylactically breeds varieties of bacteria that cause disease in humans, disease that may not readily be treated by antibiotics. Since some of these bacteria can be fatal, that’s a scary combination. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are bad enough, but now there are more kinds; they’re better at warding off attack by antibiotics; and they can be transferred to humans by increasingly varied methods. The situation is demonstrably dire. Two of the examples highlighted in a Food and Drug Administration report are that about 10 percent of all chicken breasts sold at retail are contaminated with a form of salmonella that’s resistant to at least one antibiotic, and nearly half of all chicken that’s sold is contaminated with antibiotic-resistant campylobacter. Some of the antibiotics in question are used to treat sick people but are also used daily in raising livestock. And it seems that these livestock, especially ones raised by contemporary industrial means, are a breeding ground for making these and other bacteria more resistant [1] . Some of this resistance comes from overuse in humans, but there’s increasing evidence that resistance is being bred in animals that are a) raised in confinement and b) given antibiotics routinely. We want to know, of course, whether these bacteria move from animals to humans. Of particular concern is one called MRSA ST398, or “livestock-associated MRSA.” MRSA [2] is shorthand for Methicillin (a type of antibiotic)-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.