Saturday, October 4, 2014

World’s 10 Biggest Energy Gluttons

World Development Indicators
from Next time you get into your car and drive to the supermarket, think about how much energy you consume on an annual basis. It is widely assumed that Westerners are some of the world’s worst energy pigs. While Americans make up just 5 percent of the global population, they use 20 percent of its energy, eat 15 percent of its meat, and produce 40 percent of the earth’s garbage. Europeans and people in the Middle East, it turns out, aren't winning any awards for energy conservation, either. set out to discover which countries use the most energy and why.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Judge Won't Stop #Detroit Water Shutoffs

from A judge overseeing Detroit's bankruptcy refused Monday to stop the city from shutting off water if people can't pay their bill. Judge Steven Rhodes said the water department probably hasn't done enough to help people with chronically low income, but noted there is no "enforceable right" to water. Rhodes covered much ground as he read his opinion in court. He said Detroit's recent strategy to get people into two-year payment plans, starting with a 10 percent down payment, was "bold" and "commendable." Roughly 30,000 customers now are enrolled. Bankruptcy law doesn't grant the authority to interfere with city services, said Rhodes, who also turned aside constitutional arguments of due process and equal protection. "Detroit cannot afford any revenue slippage," said the judge, who heard two days of testimony last week.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Supermarkets Waste Tons Of Food As They Woo Shoppers

Ready-to-eat meals found in the prepared food aisle are a growing source of waste, as it is difficult to reuse meals that aren't sold but are fully cooked.from Supermarkets and restaurants serve up more than 400 million pounds of food each year, but nearly a third of it never makes it to a stomach. With consumers demanding large displays of unblemished, fresh produce, many retailers end up tossing a mountain of perfectly edible food. Despite efforts to cut down on all that waste, in the U.S., the consumer end of the food chain still accounts for the largest share. It comes down to shoppers demanding stocked shelves, buying too much and generally treating food as a renewable resource.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

U.S. Food, Chinese Processing: the Latest Food Outrage

from The US FDA prevents such things as artisinal cheese and butter being imported from Europe, products that have been in use for hundreds of years and don't make people sick, but--speaking of sick--this breathtakingly corrupt agency is allowing big food processors to grow food in the US but then process it in China in facilities with far less stringent regulation, and send it back here for us to eat! Worse, the producers only have to say where it was grown, not where it was processed!

There would appear to be no good explanation for this except corruption at the highest levels--not necessarily illegal corruption, but friendly handshaking between the executives of big food processors and FDA administrators. One thing is very clear: of least importance to the FDA is its obligation to protect us and our children. Far more important is to enable big food processors to increase their profits.

U.S. Hospitals Overdo Ebola Plans, Posing New Risks

from Fear of Ebola is causing U.S. hospitals to take precautions that, paradoxically, might backfire, increasing the risk to those caring for a patient with the deadly disease, researchers warned this week.
The only confirmed Ebola cases on U.S. soil so far have been two American aid workers flown from Liberia for treatment at Emory University Hospital. They were discharged this week after recovering from the disease that has killed more than 1,400 people in Africa. 

While calling the extra steps "understandable given the horrific mortality of this disease," Dr. Michael Klompas of Harvard Medical School and lead author of the paper in Annals of Internal Medicine, said they are unnecessary and could backfire.

For instance, if nurses and doctors wear unfamiliar gear such as head-to-toe hazmat suits, "there is absolutely a risk of making mistakes and contaminating yourself" with a patient's bodily fluids, said Dr. David Kuhar of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Going overboard could also hurt patients, Klompas said. If workers need to don hazmat suits before entering a patient's room, they will likely examine, test and care for patients less frequently.

Hospitals in 29 states have contacted CDC about 68 suspected cases: 66 were not Ebola and two test results are pending.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Canadians Cut off From Local Water Supplies After Billion Gallon Waste Spill

from Hundreds of British Columbia residents can no longer consume water at the place where they live following a billion gallon spill of mining waste that reached rivers and creeks in the Cariboo provincial area, the CBC reports.

The open-pit Mount Polley copper and gold mine recently suffered a breach in a tailings pond, which caused 1.3 billion gallons of slurry to pour out straight into Hazeltine Creek, equaling in size nearly 2,000 Olympic swimming pools.

The mining waste, which is feared to comprise dangerous elements like arsenic, mercury, and sulfur, uprooted trees as it was flowing en masse to the creek. Tailings ponds from mineral mines generally store water, mixed with chemicals and ground-up minerals left over from mining operations.

The number of people currently banned from using water stands at 300, but it may go up, as authorities are trying to determine how far the waste has traveled, alongside the cause of the breach.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

U.S. Aid Workers Given Experimental #Ebola Drug

from Two American aid workers infected with Ebola are getting an experimental drug so novel it has never been tested for safety in humans and was only identified as a potential treatment earlier this year, thanks to a research program by the U.S. government and the military.

The workers, Nancy Writebol and Dr. Kent Brantly (picutred), are improving, although it’s impossible to know whether the treatment is the reason or they are recovering on their own, as others who have survived Ebola have done. Brantly is being treated at a special isolation unit at Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital, and Writebol was flown there early Tuesday in the same specially equipped plane that brought Brantly.

They were infected while working in Liberia, one of four West African nations dealing with the world’s largest Ebola outbreak. On Monday, the World Health Organization said the death toll had increased from 729 to 887 deaths in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria, and that more than 1,600 people have been infected.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The US Meat Processing Company At The Rotten Center of China’s Latest Food Scandal

from A US-owned factory in Shanghai is at the center of China’s latest food scandal: Chinese health authorities have suspended operations at Shanghai Husi Food, owned by the Illinois-based OSI Group, for reprocessing old and discarded meat to extend its use-by date. Husi was supplying meat to KFC, Pizza Hut and McDonald’s restaurants in China. Staff were captured on camera reprocessing expired and discarded meat—in one case picking up food off the floor and throwing it into processing machines.

OSI, McDonald’s largest protein supplier, is one of several American firms that have recently been buying and building plants in China in hopes of capitalizing on the country’s rising standard of living. But the allegations, made by local Chinese media Dragon Television, are a reminder of how difficult it can be to improve China’s food safety problems.

China Meat Scandal Spreads To Japan
China Rotten Meat Scandal Spreads To Starbucks, Burger King