I’m launching this blog to feature links to worthwhile news stories, along with commentary. Generally these stories will have been ignored by larger (usually domestic US) outlets. Some of these stories can also be found on this site’s news feed supplied by an ever increasing number of sources. While you’re here, please explore my audio interviews in the menus above and come back often, as the news feed is constantly changing and I post new audio regularly.
Nov 1, 2014; 10:00 pm
Ebola in sneezes? No. Yes. No. Yes.
The CDC has made a second extremely important and bizarre reversal regarding public health information on its website this year. The first was about the health risks of microwave radiation from cell phones and a new one is all about how the Ebola virus can spread.
Months ago, they had language urging individuals to exercise caution when using a cell phone due to the radiation they emit. Then they reversed themselves and said ‘we don’t urge caution at all when using a cell phone.’ Hear my interview with a CDC official about this.
Earlier this week, the CDC uploaded a poster (thank you! Wayback Machine) which says:
“Ebola is spread through droplets.”
It then talks about “droplet spread,” which is that gross spray that inconsiderate people create when they sneeze or cough without covering their nose and mouth. Next, “Droplet spread happens when germs traveling inside droplets that are coughed or sneezed from a sick person…” To me this means that Ebola can be spread through sneezing and coughing. Right?
Ha ha, WRONG! Today, after realizing (again) that people pay attention to what they put up on their website, the CDC removed the first Ebola poster and replaced it with this one.
So what’s new in this version? Miraculously, now “There is no evidence that Ebola is spread by coughing or sneezing.” Huh?!
The new poster continues that “Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola.” Among these potentially infectious ‘body fluids’ are “large droplets (splashes or sprays) of respiratory or other secretions.”
Yesterday, the World Health Organization updated its guidelines on “personal protective equipment” (PPE) for health care workers dealing with Ebola patients. “Experts agreed that it was most important to have PPE that protects the mucosae – mouth, nose and eyes – from contaminated droplets and fluids.” The WHO doesn’t mention where these droplets come from, but I’ll guess that, at least in part, they’re concerned about sneezes and coughs.
Meanwhile, a new analysis regarding the spread of Ebola in the US, predicts that it is “quite possible” that there will be several cases in every major city by the end of the year.
Oct 28, 2014; 915 pm
Emergency! – Uranium Cloud Escapes Nuclear Plant
Oct 28, 2014; 8:30 pm
Ebola Spreads Through Droplets – Can Survive, Remain Infectious for Weeks on Cold Surfaces
The CDC had to come clean sooner or later, many had already broached the topic.
As I noted several days ago, airborne transmission of Ebola is possible, though the only known instance occurred in non-human primates and with a different strain of the virus. But now the CDC now warns that ‘droplet spread’ is a possible method of aerosol transmission. Droplet spread occurs when someone coughs or sneezes, spraying virus inside droplets. The CDC considers the danger zone to be within 3 feet of the sick person, though I’d assume 8 feet is probably safer. To most people, including me, this is airborne transmission in practicality, but in medical parlance it is not. To the CDC, true airborne transmission occurs “when a germ floats through the air after a person talks, coughs, or sneezes” which is a little different, but the fact remains that one can touch nothing and still get Ebola.
That’s bad. But what’s even worse is that Zaire Ebola virus can “survive for long periods in different liquid media and can also be recovered from plastic and glass surfaces at low temperatures for over 3 weeks” (pdf). Got that?
The most pertinent details relate to significant quantities of virus being present dried on plastic and glass after 15 days (at 4°C). Two other important positive findings are that no virus could be recovered from materials at room temperature and no virus could be recovered of any metal surface. But for glass and plastic, is dried Ebola infectious after a week or two in cold temperatures?
“This study has demonstrated that filoviruses are able to survive and remain infectious for cell culture, for extended periods when suspended within liquid media and dried onto surfaces. In addition, decay rates of a range of filoviruses, within small-particle aerosols, have been calculated, and these rates suggest that filoviruses are able to survive and remain infectious for cell culture for at least 90 min.”
I hope this virus dies out quickly in the U.S. (and everywhere of course), because an Ebola outbreak in cold temperature, at least for some strains, seems prone to present transmission problems that I imagine no one really wants to face.
Oct 24, 2014; 9:00 pm
$28,031 and Where Were You in 1987?
Faced with the reality that our (n)ever recovering economy hasn’t reached me yet, I started a totally tolerable, short-term temp job today involving the upcoming election, but not going door-to-door. I was surprised though at hearing that I shouldn’t encourage people to vote if I knew that they are against the position of this campaign.
I thought I’d see if there was anything I wanted to write about and checked the newswire in here. Handy that as I was quickly struck dumb by two awful headlines.
50% Of American Workers Make Less Than $28,031 A Year
90 percent of Americans are poorer today than in 1987
The top headline belongs to another worthy piece from the Economic Collapse blog, which continues its grim stats by telling me that last year “39 percent of all American workers made less than $20,000.” If you work 40 hours a week at $10 per hour and get two weeks off per year, then you’re making $20,000 (gross pay), taking home maybe $1300-$1400 per month.
I am very glad to say that I am not poorer than I was in 1987, but that likely due to the fact that I was still in high school. RT reports that, based on a new National Bureau of Economic Research report, a Washington Post blog was the source of the second headline. on what Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen said a week ago at the Boston Economic Conference on Inequality of Economic Opportunity:
“The wealthiest five percent of American households held 54 percent of all wealth reported in the 1989 survey. Their share rose to 61 percent in 2010 and reached 63 percent in 2013…The extent and continuing increase in inequality in the United States greatly concern me. I think it is appropriate to ask whether this trend is compatible with values rooted in our nation’s history, among them the high value Americans have traditionally placed on equality of opportunity.”
I know very little about Janet Yellen and I don’t know if she really means this or is just saying nice sounding words for show. And if she does mean them, can she do anything to counter it?
I might as well bring the Pope in here. Why? Well this week I’ve found myself, at blog’s launch, agreeing with Hillary Clinton (below) and now possibly the Fed Chair. But this Pope is different, really astoundingly so. I like this Pope and I’m not even Catholic. His words to remember?
Corruption Is a Greater Evil than Sin
Oct 23, 2014; 6:30 pm
Ebola can be transmitted through the air
I haven’t been looking at news much yet today, trying to stay focused on other things. But I needed to look something up for confirmation and ended up glancing at a couple of the 15 or so stories staring at me. There was a story about Kansas City (MO) hospital workers being threatened with termination if they used the word ‘Ebola’ in any context for any reason. I don’t see how using euphemisms will help with anything other than those officials always being able to say, ‘nope, no Ebola here.’
But it was the link to related content after the article that was truly intriguing. That article starts “Ebola can spread by air in cold, dry weather” referring to a 1995 research study asserting that airborne transmission is possible but not in the warm, moist climates where Ebola is endemic. The study abstract begins “The potential of aerogenic infection by Ebola virus was established by using a head-only exposure aerosol system.”
In 1989, a primate quarantine facility in Reston, VA became an Ebola hotspot because imported monkeys were dying from it. Officials successfully kept the virus isolated. In addition to having no monkeys escape, the good news was that this appeared to be a strain that didn’t infect humans. However the bad news was that the Ebola passed between monkeys which weren’t in the same room. Ebola went airborne, likely traveling in the buildings’ air ducts.
The incident in Reston is thought to be the “first time the infection spread through the air” though it has never been demonstrated between humans. With colder, drier weather becoming prevalent across much of the country for many months, it would be good to know if the Ebola strain/s causing this outbreak can go airborne like those in 1989.
Oct 22, 2014; 1145 pm
Can’t recall agreeing with Hillary before
I also wouldn’t be terribly surprised if it didn’t happen again for quite a long time. But I just saw this very eye-grabbing headline.
Hillary Clinton says no iPads for Babies
I couldn’t believe it, but then I read the article and saw that Hillary didn’t say one word about
Her (and Chelsea’s) focus is on increasing “actual parent-child interactions like talking, reading and singing” especially before the age of two, which is a great idea. Parents continuing to do it after two years old would be even better. Reading is extremely important, but so is keeping powerful microwave transmitters away from children.
Oct 21, 2014; 10:00 pm
As if you didn’t know the economy isn’t recovering.
From the Economic Collapse blog retrieved at Zero Hedge:
“Barack Obama and the Federal Reserve are lying to you. The “economic recovery” that we all keep hearing about is mostly just a mirage. The percentage of Americans that are employed has barely budged since the depths of the last recession, the labor force participation rate is at a 36 year low, the overall rate of homeownership is the lowest that it has been in nearly 20 years and approximately 49 percent of all Americans are financially dependent on the government at this point. In a recent article, I shared 12 charts that clearly demonstrate the permanent damage that has been done to our economy over the last decade. The response to that article was very strong. Many people were quite upset to learn that they were not being told the truth by our politicians and by the mainstream media. Sadly, the vast majority of Americans still have absolutely no idea what is being done to our economy. For those out there that still believe that we are doing “just fine”, here are 19 more facts about the messed up state of the U.S. economy…“
Oct 21, 2014; 9:15 pm
Nine real technologies that will soon be inside you
If you’re like me, then the headline above disturbs you A LOT.
It belongs to an article which asserts that you’ll soon want to have your smartphone embedded inside your forearm, computer chips inside you to ‘heal you’ in various ways or function as birth control, not to mention the brain-computer interface you’ve undoubtedly been struggling all your life without. Who knows if any of this will come to pass as more and more people are realizing that the radiation which runs a lot of this technology isn’t safe.
The only things I need to put in me are food, water and very occasionally a little ‘medicine,’ which is pretty much just foods (garlic, ginger, peppers, elderberry syrup) and herbs in my case.
The language of ‘inevitability’ regarding all this technology is a problem, because we do have the option to not participate in it, right? Right?
Oct 20, 2014; 10:45 pm
Not A Scientist. Not A Doctor.
Recently there have been numerous (Republican) candidates for office claiming that they are ‘not a scientist, but that you should take them seriously when they say climate change isn’t real.
Many of them (all) are also not doctors, but you had better listen to them right now about what to do regarding Ebola, starting with panicking. Granted there have been numerous missteps in the US and in Africa during this recent crisis, never mind the intentional destruction of African health care infrastructure, but when has panic helped any situation?
Oct 20, 2014; 3:30pm
Cupertino, We Have A Problem
You’re going to see a lot of content in here regarding the dangers of radio frequency radiation, the stuff that allows all of your wireless devices (not I don’t have any) to function. This radiation is considered a possible carcinogen by the World Health Organization after a near unanimous vote of its International Agency for Research on Cancer. There’s a huge amount of research demonstrating serious concern about these frequencies, mostly in the microwave band.
Last week I saw this great article, vwhich is really just an open letter to the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook. It is very well written and sourced and is a great summary of the major concerns that I believe every parent would have if they knew a little more about the issue and risks.
It’s worth reading, especially if you have (grand)children who use a cell phone, wifi or tablet at home or school, or who have parents who do. Children are disproportionately at risk from exposure to this radiation and smart phones use way more radiation than older flip phones and tablets use WAY more than smart phones.