Saturday, April 24, 2010
New, Deadly Cryptococcus Gattii Fungus Found in U.S.
Infections from a new strain are unpreventable - and the strain is spreading.
A new strain of hypervirulent, deadly Cryptococcus gattii fungus has been discovered in the United States, a new study says.
The outbreak has already killed six people in Oregon, and it will likely creep into northern California and possibly farther, experts say.
The new strain is of the species Cryptococcus gattii, an airborne fungus native to tropical and subtropical regions, including Papua New Guinea, Australia, and parts of South America. An older strain of the fungus was frst detected in North America in British Columbia, Canada, in 1999.
No one knows how the species got to North America or how the fungus can thrive in a temperate region, experts say.
"The alarming thing is that it's occurring in this region, it's affecting healthy people, and geographically it's been expanding," said study co-author Edmond Byrnes, a graduate student at the Joseph Heitman Lab at Duke University.
Friday, April 23, 2010
How to Delete Facebook Applications (and Why You Should)
The process of doing so is incredibly simple.
After signing into Facebook, do the following:
1. Click on "Account" at the top-right of the screen.
2. Click "Application Settings"
3. Change the "Show" drop-down box to "Authorized." This will show all the applications you've ever given permission to.
4. In the resulting list, click the "X" button on the far right next to each app you want to remove to delete it.
5. On the pop-up box that appears, click "Remove" then click "Okay" on the next box confirming the app was deleted.
Repeat this process to remove all the apps you no longer use on a regular basis.
Doing this won't eliminate risk entirely - nothing can do that - but it's a good first step in reducing risk. However, as long as you have a Facebook account, your data won't be private. If true privacy is really a concern for you, it may be time to find that account delete button instead. (Hint: it's under "Account Settings.")
Dangers of the make-up counter: E.coli found in EVERY 'tester' on beauty counters
E.coli has been found in 100 per cent of beauty product testers at make-up counters.
Products sampled for a two-year study were also found to contain bacteria, including staph and strep strains, which can cause herpes and conjunctivitis.
The highest levels of contamination were found on Saturdays – the busiest shopping day of the week.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Kenyan Embassy Mocks Tea Party Movement, Promotes Kenyan Tea With Capitol Tea Party
The Kenyan Embassy is set to promote one of its biggest exports and mock the tea party movement at the same time.
According to Talking Points Memo, the embassy has sent out invitations to a tea party next week, inviting attendees to "Find out what a real tea party is like."
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Duncan Blasts "Useless" Air Marshal Service (June 19, 2009)
(June 19, 2009) Washington, DC -- Mr. DUNCAN: Madam Speaker, probably the most needless, useless agency in the entire Federal Government is the Air Marshal Service.
In the Homeland Security Appropriations bill we will take up next week, we will appropriate $860 million for this needless, useless agency. This money is a total waste: $860 million for people to sit on airplanes and simply fly back and forth, back and forth. What a cushy, easy job.
And listen to this paragraph from a front-page story in the USA Today last November: “Since 9/11, more than three dozen Federal air marshals have been charged with crimes, and hundreds more have been accused of misconduct. Cases range from drunken driving and domestic violence to aiding a human-trafficking ring and trying to smuggle explosives from Afghanistan.''
Actually, there have been many more arrests of Federal air marshals than that story reported, quite a few for felony offenses. In fact, more air marshals have been arrested than the number of people arrested by air marshals.
We now have approximately 4,000 in the Federal Air Marshals Service, yet they have made an average of just 4.2 arrests a year since 2001. This comes out to an average of about one arrest a year per 1,000 employees.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Cabot Oil & Gas’s Marcellus Drilling to Slow After PA Environment Officials Order Wells Closed
More than 15 months after natural gas drilling contaminated drinking water in Dimock, Pa., state officials are ordering the company responsible -- Houston-based Cabot Oil and Gas -- to permanently shut down some of its wells, pay nearly a quarter million dollars in fines, and permanently provide drinking water to 14 affected families.
The order is among the most punitive in Pennsylvania's history and reflects officials' frustrations over a string of drilling-related accidents. The record of spills, leaks and water contamination in Pennsylvania -- several of which are tied to Cabot -- has spotlighted the environmental risks of drilling for natural gas across the country, jeopardized development of the massive Marcellus Shale resource deposit, and contributed significantly to actions by both Congress and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to bolster federal oversight of drilling.
"The events at Dimock have been the black eye for the industry and have also been a black eye for Pennsylvania," the state's chief environment official, John Hanger, told ProPublica. "It's been an enormous headache. If Cabot doesn't get this message, the company has got an amazing hearing problem."
Thursday, April 15, 2010
President Bush Addresses Nation on Economic Crisis
President Bush Addresses Nation on Economic Crisis
September 24th, 2008
(Posted by Marc Perkel in Politics, economy)In response to the Tea Party protests and in honor of the taxpayer,
let us remember where this all started.
Ah-h-h! So these were the good old days! :-(
How Senator Vitter Battled the EPA Over Formaldehyde’s Link to Cancer
When Sen. David Vitter persuaded the EPA to agree to yet another review of its long-delayed assessment of the health risks of formaldehyde, he was praised by companies that use or manufacture a chemical found in everything from plywood to carpet.
As long as the studies continue, the EPA will still list formaldehyde as a "probable" rather than a "known" carcinogen, even though three major scientific reviews now link it to leukemia and have strengthened its ties to other forms of cancer. The chemical industry is fighting to avoid that designation, because it could lead to tighter regulations and require costly pollution controls.
"Delay means money. The longer they can delay labeling something a known carcinogen, the more money they can make," said James Huff, associate director for chemical carcinogenesis at the National Institute for Environmental Health in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Tax Day Fact Check: Most Americans Got A Tax Cut This Year
Citizens for Tax Justice, a self-described non-partisan organization, released a report on Tuesday that read: "The 2009 economic stimulus bill actually reduced federal income taxes for tax year 2009 for 98 percent of all working families and individuals." This total includes the 95 percent of working families that will or have received tax credits in the range of $400 to $800.
The health care bill passed by the administration, meanwhile, includes a tax credit that could cover up to 35 percent of the premiums a small business pays to insure its workers. The Recovery Act, meanwhile, included such tax breaks as a $1,500 credit for home energy improvements, and an $8,000 credit for first-time home buyers.
It has been a buffet of tax breaks and credits offered by this administration (occasionally to the chagrin of progressive economists, who want more focus on stimulative federal spending).
Yet polling numbers indicate that Americans are barely aware of these developments. ...
Monday, April 12, 2010
George W. Bush 'knew Guantánamo prisoners were innocent' - Times Online
George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld covered up that hundreds of innocent men were sent to the Guantánamo Bay prison camp because they feared that releasing them would harm the push for war in Iraq and the broader War on Terror, according to a new document obtained by The Times.
The accusations were made by Lawrence Wilkerson, a top aide to Colin Powell, the former Republican Secretary of State, in a signed declaration to support a lawsuit filed by a Guantánamo detainee. It is the first time that such allegations have been made by a senior member of the Bush Administration.
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
How Americans are propagandized about Afghanistan
On February 12 of this year, U.S. forces entered a village in the Paktia Province in Afghanistan and, after surrounding a home where a celebration of a new birth was taking place, shot dead two male civilians (government officials) who exited the house in order to inquire why they had been surrounded, and then shot and killed three female relatives (a pregnant mother of ten, a pregnant mother of six, and a teenager). The Pentagon then issued a statement claiming that (a) the dead males were "insurgents" or terrorists, (b) the bodies of the three women had been found by U.S. forces bound and gagged inside the home, and (c) suggested that the women had already been killed by the time the U.S. had arrived, likely the victim of "honor killings" by the Taliban militants killed in the attack.
Although numerous witnesses on the scene as well as local investigators vehemently disputed the Pentagon's version, and insisted that all of the dead (including the women) were civilians and were killed by U.S. forces, the American media largely adopted the Pentagon's version, often without any questions. But enough evidence has now emerged disproving those claims such that the Pentagon was forced yesterday to admit that their original version was totally false and that it was U.S. troops who killed the women:
After initially denying involvement or any cover-up in the deaths of three Afghan women during a badly bungled American Special Operations assault in February, the American-led military command in Kabul admitted late on Sunday that its forces had, in fact, killed the women during the nighttime raid.
One NATO official said that there had likely been an effort to cover-up what happened by U.S. troops via evidence tampering on the scene (though other NATO officials deny this claim). The Times of London actually reported yesterday that, at least according to Afghan investigators, "US special forces soldiers dug bullets out of their victims’ bodies in the bloody aftermath of a botched night raid, then washed the wounds with alcohol before lying to their superiors about what happened."
What is clear -- yet again -- is how completely misinformed and propagandized Americans continue to be by the American media, which constantly "reports" on crucial events in Afghanistan by doing nothing more than mindlessly and unquestioningly passing along U.S. government claims as though they are fact.