Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ebola, African Superstition And Aggressively Ignorant American Conservatism

Eerie protective suits and shiny body bags have fueled rumors about the origins of Ebola. Here, a burial team removes the body of a person suspected to have died from the virus in the village of Pendembu, Sierra Leone.
Eerie protective suits and shiny body bags have fueled rumors about the origins of Ebola. 
Here, a burial team removes the body of a person suspected to have died from the virus 
in the village of Pendembu, Sierra Leone.
Alan: I listened to the following report and experience a queasy feeling that anti-scientific, aggressively-ignorant American conservatism is just a stone's throw from West Africanjabber about Ebola. Think it couldn't happen here? It's happening."Borowitz Report: Americans Apparently Believed In Science At Some Point"

Rumor Patrol: No, A Snake In A Bag Did Not Cause Ebola

Audio File:

"A lady had a snake in a bag. When somebody opened the bag, that made the lady die.
That's the beginning of a story that Temba Morris often hears about the origins of Ebola. Morris runs a government health clinic in a remote village near Sierra Leone's border with Guinea. According to the story, somebody else then looked inside the bag.
"And the one who opened the bag also died," is what Morris hears next. The snake escaped into the Sierra Leone bush.
So there you have it: Ebola is an evil snake that will kill you if you look at it.
The striking thing about this story, which is told and retold, is that Ebola really did come here from Guinea, and it currently is out of the bag.
But narratives like this are a dangerous distraction when health officials are dealing with a virus that spreads by human-to-human contact — and a lack of knowledge about how to stay safe.
In the remote northeastern corner of Sierra Leone, dozens of new Ebola cases are being reported each week. As the virus spreads, so do rumors about the terrifying disease.
The first is that Ebola doesn't exist. Some say it's a ploy to extract money from the international aid agencies. Others say the people aren't dying from Ebola, they're dying from a curse.
Then there are people who accept that it exists but have unorthodox ideas about how it got there.
In the initial days, some people said it could spread through drinking water and mosquitoes.
Given that it kills the majority of the people who get infected, Ebola is scary enough. If you believe it's water- or mosquito-borne, it becomes almost overwhelmingly frightening.
The other central theme that pops up in many of the rumors about Ebola is that the white people brought it.
A plague hits, and then a bunch of foreigners in spacesuits come and whisk away the corpses in shiny white body bags. There have been stories that this is all a scheme to harvest organs from the locals.
So when some people got sick, they fled to the forest or hid with relatives, making it more likely they'd infect others. Some towns in Guinea have refused to allow any foreign health workers to enter at all.
Dr. Tim Jagatic of Doctors Without Borders says the misperceptions are understandable: "We created a hospital, and a lot of people started to get sick and die. It's very difficult for them to make a connection that we are here to help."
Winning the communications battle is critical, he says: "The most effective way for us to be able to end this epidemic is to focus on public health measures. It is learning about how this disease is transmitted, increasing the level of hygiene amongst the people in the villages, demystifying and destigmatizing this disease."
Five months after this outbreak started, efforts are underway to try to do that. Posters from the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health listing the symptoms are plastered in markets and on public buildings.
Community elders are being recruited and trained to hold Ebola information sessions in their villages.
And a group of teens from the local Red Cross has written several songs explaining the basics of Ebola. One starts with a basic assertion: "Ebola is real."

Weird Enuf Fer Ya? News From Barbaria #129

Showdown at the Supreme Court expected as courts deliver conflicting rulings on Obamacare

Portland parents fight Christian ‘extremist’ club trying to ‘harvest’ kids at public parks

Texas border sheriffs slam Perry’s ‘political’ plan to deploy 1,000 troops as a waste of money

NC pastor kills self in front of deputies as they try to arrest him on child sex charges

Right-wing professor: Raping Arab women is ‘the only thing that deters suicide bombers’

Ohio limits probe of charter school where teacher allowed boys to grope female classmates

US missionary accused of sex abuse in Kenya blames ‘pseudo-tribal psychological voodoo’

In major blow to Obamacare, appeals court throws out key healthcare subsidies

TN Republican admits he can’t prove his anti-Muslim smears against Democratic rival

Sen. Ron Wyden: Corporations ‘effectively renouncing their citizenship’ with tax inversions

Feds: Newark police repeatedly violated civil rights by targeting black people

Protesters converge on Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s fundraiser with private prison CEO

Minutemen militia plans ‘Operation Normandy’ with 3,500 volunteers on the border next year

Ted Cruz bares fangs at ‘misogynist’ True Blood episode mocking him

Congress is officially less popular than the worst ‘Star Wars’ character ever

TN Republican admits he can’t prove his anti-Muslim smears against Democratic rival

Maine Gov. LePage complains: Housing eight immigrant kids is a ‘huge burden’

Christian host: Bible says no trans people in church so they shouldn’t use bathrooms either

Jon Stewart: Reagan's Reaction To Soviets DowningJet With 59 Americans Aboard


Alan: Conservative Americans are impervious to historical and scientific truth. All these neo-theocrats care about is their own personal salvation - and "God damn the rest of ya!" Only in recent years have I realized the essential egotism of "being saved!" 
while pointing righteous fingers at "the God-damned." 

Gonna be some surprises at The Pearly Gate.

American conservatives have grown habituated to falsehood and trust their fellows will lie back at them, thus completing a self-reinforcing circle made possible by aggressive ignorance.

If Ronnie showed up at a Tea Party or on the floor of The House -- and actually said what was on his mind -- neo-Know-Nothings would tar-and-feather him as a RINO.


"What Would Ronald Reagan Really Do?"


"Obama's Benghazi and Reagan's Beirut"


Lest we forget...

Family members in gun-owning households are five times more likely to experience gun-related injury or death.

"Gun Cartoons and Gun Violence Bibliography"

Why, it's the Prince of Peace!

,,, suffering the little children to come unto Him.

Seven Hours Of Sleep May Be Optimal

It's the holy grail of questions: how many hours of sleep should we ideally get per night? We've heard the magic number eight, but experts are working to come up with a more refined, evidence-based number. WSJ's Sumathi Reddy joins Tanya Rivero on Lunch Break with the details. Photo: iStock/dolgachov
How much sleep do you really need?
Experts generally recommend seven to nine hours a night for healthy adults. Sleep scientists say new guidelines are needed to take into account an abundance of recent research in the field and to reflect that Americans are on average sleeping less than they did in the past.
Several sleep studies have found that seven hours is the optimal amount of sleep—not eight, as was long believed—when it comes to certain cognitive and health markers, although many doctors question that conclusion.
Other recent research has shown that skimping on a full night's sleep, even by 20 minutes, impairs performance and memory the next day. And getting too much sleep—not just too little of it—is associated with health problems including diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease and with higher rates of death, studies show.
"The lowest mortality and morbidity is with seven hours," said Shawn Youngstedt, a professor in the College of Nursing and Health Innovation at Arizona State University Phoenix. "Eight hours or more has consistently been shown to be hazardous," says Dr. Youngstedt, who researches the effects of oversleeping.

The Way We Sleep

  • People say they need an average of 7 hours, 13 minutes of sleep to function at their best. They sleep 6 hours, 31 minutes on an average weekday, and 7 hours, 22 minutes on weekends.
  • 69% of Americans get less sleep on weekdays than they say they need.
  • Sleeping with a partner is preferred by 60% of adults. About 1 in 5 people sleep with a pet.
  • Pajamas are worn by 73% of people and 12% sleep with nothing on.
  • A third of adults sleep with one pillow, 41% use two and 14% keep four or more pillows.
Source: National Sleep Foundation, 2013 International Bedroom Poll
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is helping to fund a panel of medical specialists and researchers to review the scientific literature on sleep and develop new recommendations, probably by 2015.
Daniel F. Kripke, an emeritus professor of psychiatry at the University of California San Diego, tracked over a six-year period data on 1.1 million people who participated in a large cancer study. People who reported they slept 6.5 to 7.4 hours had a lower mortality rate than those with shorter or longer sleep. The study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry in 2002, controlled for 32 health factors, including medications.
In another study, published in the journal Sleep Medicine in 2011, Dr. Kripke found further evidence that the optimal amount of sleep might be less than the traditional eight hours. The researchers recorded the sleep activity of about 450 elderly women using devices on their wrist for a week. Some 10 years later the researchers found that those who slept fewer than five hours or more than 6.5 hours had a higher mortality.
Other experts caution against studies showing ill effects from too much sleep. Illness may cause someone to sleep or spend more time in bed, these experts say. And studies based on people reporting their own sleep patterns may be inaccurate.
"The problem with these studies is that they give you good information about association but not causation," said Timothy Morgenthaler, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, which represents sleep doctors and researchers, and a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic Center for Sleep Medicine.
American adults get less sleep today than in the past, research shows. Corbis
Dr. Morgenthaler advises patients to aim for seven to eight hours of sleep a night and to evaluate how they feel. Sleep needs also vary between individuals, largely due to cultural and genetic differences, he said.
Getting the right amount of sleep is important in being alert the next day, and several recent studies have found an association between getting seven hours of sleep and optimal cognitive performance.
study in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience last year used data from users of the cognitive-training website Lumosity. Researchers looked at the self-reported sleeping habits of about 160,000 users who took spatial-memory and matching tests and about 127,000 users who took an arithmetic test. They found that cognitive performance increased as people got more sleep, reaching a peak at seven hours before starting to decline.
After seven hours, "increasing sleep was not any more beneficial," said Murali Doraiswamy, a professor of psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., who co-authored the study with scientists from Lumos Labs Inc., which owns Lumosity. He said the study replicated earlier research, including a look at memory loss. "If you think about all the causes of memory loss, sleep is probably one of the most easily modifiable factors," he said.
Most research has focused on the effects of getting too little sleep, including cognitive and health declines and weight gain. David Dinges, a sleep scientist at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine who has studied sleep deprivation, said repeatedly getting just 20 or 30 minutes less than the minimum recommendation of seven hours can slow cognitive speed and increase attention lapses.
Experts say people should be able to figure out their optimal amount of sleep in a trial of three days to a week, ideally while on vacation. Don't use an alarm clock. Go to sleep when you get tired. Avoid too much caffeine or alcohol. And stay off electronic devices a couple of hours before going to bed. During the trial, track your sleep with a diary or a device that records your actual sleep time. If you feel refreshed and awake during the day, you've probably discovered your optimal sleep time.
The new sleep guidelines will be drawn up by a panel of experts being assembled by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the Sleep Research Society, an organization for sleep researchers, and the CDC. The recommendations are meant to reflect evidence that has emerged from scientific studies and are expected to take into account issues such as gender and age, says Dr. Morgenthaler, the academy president.
Another group, the National Sleep Foundation, a nonprofit research and advocacy group, also has assembled an expert panel that expects to release updated recommendations for sleep times in January.
These groups currently recommend seven to nine hours of nightly sleep for healthy adults. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommends seven to eight hours, including the elderly. Most current guidelines say school-age children should get at least 10 hours of sleep a night, and teenagers, nine to 10.
"I don't think you can overdose on healthy sleep. When you get enough sleep your body will wake you up," said Safwan Badr, chief of the division of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit.
study in the current issue of Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine seemed to confirm that. Five healthy adults were placed in what the researchers called Stone Age-like conditions in Germany for more than two months—without electricity, clocks or running water. Participants fell asleep about two hours earlier and got on average 1.5 hours more sleep than was estimated in their normal lives, the study said.
Their average amount of sleep per night: 7.2 hours.
Write to Sumathi Reddy at

California Halts Injection Of Fracking Waste, Warning It May Be Contaminating Aquifers

The potential impact of waste from oil and gas drilling, including hydraulic fracturing, on drinking water has been an issue in Texas, Wyoming and, with great urgency, in California this month. Here, a jar of fracking water waste is displayed at a recycling site in Midland, Texas. 

California's drought has forced farmers to rely on groundwater, even as aquifers have been intentionally polluted due to exemptions for the oil industry.

| Tue Jul. 22, 2014

California officials have ordered an emergency shut-down of 11 oil and gas waste injection sites and a review more than 100 others in the state's drought-wracked Central Valley out of fear that companies may have been pumping fracking fluids and other toxic waste into drinking water aquifers there.
The state's Division of Oil and Gas and Geothermal Resources on July 7 issued cease and desist orders to seven energy companies warning that they may be injecting their waste into aquifers that could be a source of drinking water, and stating that their waste disposal "poses danger to life, health, property, and natural resources." The orders were first reported by the Bakersfield Californian, and the state has confirmed with ProPublica that its investigation is expanding to look at additional wells.
The action comes as California's agriculture industry copes with a drought crisis that has emptied reservoirs and cost the state $2.2 billion this year alone. The lack of water has forced farmers across the state to supplement their water supply from underground aquifers, according to a study released this week by the University of California Davis.
The problem is that at least 100 of the state's aquifers were presumed to be useless for drinking and farming because the water was either of poor quality, or too deep underground to easily access. Years ago, the state exempted them from environmental protection and allowed the oil and gas industry to intentionally pollute them. But not all aquifers are exempted, and the system amounts to a patchwork of protected and unprotected water resources deep underground. Now, according to the cease and desist orders issued by the state, it appears that at least seven injection wells are likely pumping waste into fresh water aquifers protected by the law, and not other aquifers sacrificed by the state long ago.
"The aquifers in question with respect to the orders that have been issued are not exempt," said Ed Wilson, a spokesperson for the California Department of Conservation in an email.
A 2012 ProPublica investigation of more than 700,000 injection wells across the country found that wells were often poorly regulated and experienced high rates of failure, outcomes that were likely polluting underground water supplies that are supposed to be protected by federal law. That investigation also disclosed a little-known program overseen by the US Environmental Protection Agency that exempted more than 1,000 other drinking water aquifers from any sort of pollution protection at all, many of them in California.
Those are the aquifers at issue today. The exempted aquifers, according to documents the state filed with the US EPA in 1981 and obtained by ProPublica, were poorly defined and ambiguously outlined. They were often identified by hand-drawn lines on a map, making it difficult to know today exactly which bodies of water were supposed to be protected, and by which aspects of the governing laws. Those exemptions and documents were signed by California Gov. Jerry Brown, who also was governor in 1981.
State officials emphasized to ProPublica that they will now order water testing and monitoring at the injection well sites in question. To date, they said, they have not yet found any of the more regulated aquifers to have been contaminated.
"We do not have any direct evidence any drinking water has been affected," wrote Steve Bohlen, the state oil and gas supervisor, in a statement to ProPublica.
Bohlen said his office was acting "out of an abundance of caution," and a spokesperson said that the state became aware of the problems through a review of facilities it was conducting according to California's fracking law passed late last year, which required the state to study fracking impacts and adopt regulations to address its risks, presumably including underground disposal.
California officials have long been under fire for their injection well practices, a waste disposal program that the state runs according to federal law and under a sort of license—called "primacy"—given to it by the EPA.
For one, experts say that aquifers the states and the EPA once thought would never be needed may soon become important sources of water as the climate changes and technology reduces the cost of pumping it from deep underground and treating it for consumption. Indeed, towns in Wyoming and Texas—two states also suffering long-term droughts—are pumping, treating, then delivering drinking water to taps from aquifers which would be considered unusable under California state regulations governing the oil and gas industry.
In June 2011, the EPA conducted a review of other aspects of California's injection well program and found enforcement, testing and oversight problems so significant that the agency demanded California improve its regulations and warned that the state's authority could be revoked.
Among the issues, California and the federal government disagree about what type of water is worth protecting in the first place, with California law only protecting a fraction of the waters that the federal Safe Drinking Water Act requires.
The EPA's report, commissioned from outside consultants, also said that California regulators routinely failed to adequately examine the geology around an injection well to ensure that fluids pumped into it would not leak underground and contaminate drinking water aquifers. The report found that state inspectors often allowed injection at pressures that exceeded the capabilities of the wells and thus risked cracking the surrounding rock and spreading contaminants. Several accidents in recent years in California involved injected waste or injected steam leaking back out of abandoned wells, or blowing out of the ground and creating sinkholes, including one 2011 incident that killed an oil worker.
The exemptions and other failings, said Damon Nagami, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council in an email, are "especially disturbing" in a state that has been keenly aware of severe water constraints for more than a century and is now suffering from a crippling drought. "Our drinking water sources must be protected and preserved for the precious resources they are, not sacrificed as a garbage dump for the oil and gas industry."
Still, three years after the EPA's report, California has not yet completed its review of its underground injection program, according to state officials. The scrutiny of the wells surrounding Bakersfield may be the start.

Israeli Academic: Raping Palestinian Women Would Deter Attacks

Alan: If you can't find enough young bucks to do all that f_______, you might try uprooting the illegal Israeli settlements 
as prelude to giving the West Bank back.



International Law And Israeli Settlements


"Is Israel The World's Foremost Terror State. Israeli General's Thinks So"

Published on 21 July 2014 Written by Connie Hackbarth
Dr. Mordechai Kedar, an Israeli scholar of Arabic literature and lecturer at Bar-Ilan University, declared Monday that raping the wives and mothers of Palestinian combatants would deter attacks.
"The only thing that could deter a suicide bomber is knowing that if caught, his sister or his mother would be raped," said Kedar during a radio talk show.
Listen to Hebrew-language radio show ; Kedar's comment begins at 1:35:00: 
Kedar, who is an academic expert on the Palestinian population within Israel, served for twenty-five years in the military intelligence, where he specialized in Islamic groups. 
He is a researcher at the right-wing Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies of Bar Ilan University, as well as the founder and current director of the Israel Academia Monitor, a neo-McCarthyst website that follows alleged "anti-Israel activities of Israeli academics". 
During the interview on the Hakol Diburim national daily talk programme of Israel Radio Bet,  the interviewer, Yossi Hadar, responded that Kedar's proposal "sounds bad [...] We can not of course take such measures." 
These remarks did not deter Kedar, who responded that "it is culture..." and "this is the Middle East", before adding that "I did not speak about what we are doing or not doing. I am speaking about the reality: the only thing that will deter a suicide bomber - if he knew that if he pulls the trigger, his sister will be raped." 
Bar Ilan University is a Jewish religious university situated in a Tel Aviv suburb. In November 1995, Yigal Amir, a student at the institution, assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.