How would you like this guy to be your Police Chief? (Video)

2 Aug

While part of me definitely laughs due to his being a caricature of himself, I also am really not okay with this guy (in his current role at least), being as he is supposed to be law enforcement and all.  So disdain for the law might not be a great attribute.  Ditto the seeming hatred of wide swaths of the public you’re supposed to be serving… and the creepy gun love…. and the wonderful communication skills he demonstrates for the camera.

But really, this guy is the main law enforcement in a town in Pennsylvania. For reals.

Shorter People Protected Against Cancer??

30 Jul

For the shorter-to-average amongst us, rejoice that all that height you’ve been jealous of comes with a potential cost- researchers have found that in older women, at least, the taller you are, the more likely you are to be afflicted by a whole range of different cancers.

Researchers are still sussing out the mechanisms behind this finding, but my guess is that it has to do with increased levels of particular hormones tied to growth and cell proliferation… Growth hormone and insulin are necessary for everyone, but these triggers for growth have a dark side, too.


Jealous of your long-legged peers? Turns out they may not have won the gene pool after all.

New research published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention found a surprising correlation between height and cancer risk among postmenopausal women; the taller the woman, the greater her risk for the disease.

The researchers studied more than 20,900 women ages 50 to 79 who participated in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI)  study, an on-going analysis of post menopausal women and the factors that contribute to their health. They separated the women into five groups based on their height, starting with women shorter than 5 feet 1 inch, and matched them to data on their cancer rates

They discovered that for every 10 centimeters of height, a woman’s risk of developing a range of different cancers increased by 13%. When they looked at all the cancers together, they found that taller women had a 13% to 17% greater risk of developing melanoma, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer and colon cancer. They also had a 23% to 29% greater risk of developing kidney, rectum, thyroid and blood cancers.  All of the cancers showed a positive association with height; none of the taller women showed a lower risk of cancer compared to their shorter counterparts.

While the connection seems odd, previous studies have exposed the same association;  it’s possible, for example, that on the most basic level, the greater number of cells and tissues that taller people possess simply increases the odds that some of those cells will develop abnormally and become malignant. Alternatively, some of the same processes that fuel the growth that contributes to height may also feed tumors.

“Ultimately, cancer is a result of processes having to do with growth, so it makes sense that hormones or other growth factors that influence height may also influence cancer risk, said Geoffrey Kabat, a senior epidemiologist in the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in a statement.

Some of those common factors may be genetic, while others could be linked to environmental exposures or nutrition early in life.  As the authors write:

Adult height is determined both by genetics and by early life exposures, and environmental circumstances influence the attainment of one’s genetic potential. The influence of environmental exposures on height is evidenced by the secular increase in the height of populations in many countries beginning in the 19th century, probably reflecting improvements in hygiene and nutrition. Height should thus be thought of as a marker for one or more exposures that influence cancer risk rather than a risk factor itself.

Women raised in higher socioeconomic households, for example, tended to be taller than those raised in lower income settings, reflecting the fact that different nutritional exposures may have played a role in both their height and cancer risk. Height may simply be a marker for factors such as nutrition, and identifying them may yield new understanding of about how to prevent and treat tumors more effectively, “[The association between height and cancer] raises some interesting biological questions, and investigators can come up with [new] explanations,” says the study’s senior author, Dr. Thomas Rohan, the chair and professor of epidemiology and population health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

In the meantime, Rohan and his colleagues say the study doesn’t imply that cancer is inevitable for every tall woman. The study found an association, not a cause-and-effect relationship. And it’s unlikely that diseases as complex as cancer can be traced to just one developmental process such as growth.
Read more at Time Magazine’s Healthland Blog.

Profiling Corporate Criminals

30 Jul

They don’t wear a hoodie, but their attire lets you know they are undoubtedly up to NO GOOD.

profiling bankers

Starbucks CEO Shuts Down Anti-Marriage Equality Stockholder Questions (VIDEO)

29 Jul

starbucks ceo
This is great- Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks responds to multiple audience questioners (at least one of whom happen to work for/at a right-wing anti-LGBT organization) about why he supported the initiative allowing same sex couples to marry in Washington.  Clearly this was coordinated shareholder activism… Which I’m all for, go to it guys.

His responses are priceless.  Diplomatic, but no minced words, no backing down, and totally awesome.  Worth every minute. The first one is the lead up… the 2nd one unfortunately doesn’t have the question, but it’s a total shut-down of a response.


Global Warming to Cut Snow Water Storage 56 Percent in Oregon Watershed

26 Jul
While Oregon, and the Pacific Northwest more generally, will not suffer some of the worst effects of climate change that will be seen by other regions, we are not home free.
With reduced snow pack, we will have more droughts during the summer, and more flooding after rains.  This will likely have major effects on our agricultural sector, salmon, and water costs in urban centers.

McKenzie river. (Credit: Image courtesy of Oregon State University)

July 26, 2013 — A new report projects that by the middle of this century there will be an average 56 percent drop in the amount of water stored in peak snowpack in the McKenzie River watershed of the Oregon Cascade Range — and that similar impacts may be found on low-elevation maritime snow packs around the world.

The findings by scientists at Oregon State University, which are based on a projected 3.6 degree Fahrenheit temperature increase, highlight the special risks facing many low-elevation, mountainous regions where snow often falls near the freezing point. In such areas, changing from snow to rain only requires a very modest rise in temperature.

As in Oregon, which depends on Cascade Range winter snowpack for much of the water in the populous Willamette Valley, there may be significant impacts on ecosystems, agriculture, hydropower, industry, municipalities and recreation, especially in summer when water demands peak.

The latest study was one of the most precise of its type done on an entire watershed, and was just published in Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, with support from the National Science Foundation. It makes it clear that new choices are coming for western Oregon and other regions like it.

“In Oregon we have a water-rich environment, but even here we will have to manage our water resources differently in the future,” said Eric Sproles, who led this study as a doctoral student at OSU.

“In the Willamette River, for instance, between 60-80 percent of summer stream flow comes from seasonal snow above 4,000 feet,” he said. “As more precipitation falls as rain, there will more chance of winter flooding as well as summer drought in the same season. More than 70 percent of Oregon’s population lives in the Willamette Valley, with the economy and ecosystems depending heavily on this river.”


Among the findings of the study:

  • The average date of peak snowpack in the spring on this watershed will be about 12 days earlier by the middle of this century.
  • The elevation zone from 1,000 to 1,500 meters will lose the greatest volume of stored water, and some locations at that elevation could lose more than 80 days of snow cover in an average year.
  • Changes in dam operations in the McKenzie River watershed will be needed, but will not be able to make up for the vast capability of water storage in snow.
  • Summer water flows will be going down even as Oregon’s population surges by about 400,000 people from 2010 to 2020.
  • Globally, maritime snow comprises about 10 percent of Earth’s seasonal snow cover.
  • Snowmelt is a source of water for more than one billion people.
  • Precipitation is highly sensitive to temperature and can fall as rain, snow, or a rain-snow mix.

Read the rest of the Science Daily story here.

Photographic Tour of Hot Dog Manufacturing (Pretty Gross)

25 Jul

It’s National Hot Dog Day, meaning that businesses across the country will give away the American favorite for free.  

A camera crew from Discovery Channel’s “How It’s Made” stepped inside a John Morrell factory to reveal the process for how hot dogs are made.

It isn’t pretty, as the photo on the right illustrates.  

The factory processes a mindblowing 300,000 hot dogs an hour. 

The recipe starts with beef and pork trimmings. Later, a whole bunch of other er, stuff is added. 

The hot dog process starts with beef and pork “trimmings,” or what’s left over after butchers cut out the more desirable steaks and pork chops.

The trimmings are fed into a machine to be ground up.

After the meat passes through the grated metal plates, it resembles ground hamburger.

Now, processed chicken trimmings are added to the mix.

The meat mixture is blended until its liquefied.

Factory workers add food starch, salt, and ground mustard to the mixture. They also add other flavorings, which vary by region based on preferences.

Now, water is blended into the mix as everything is blended together into a big vat.

Next, corn syrup is added for a bit of sweetness.

Then, more water is added so the ingredients will disperse evenly and the hot dogs will be juicy.

Now, the meat mixture is pureed again. Excess air is vacuumed out.

Long rows of the cellulose tubing are rolled into the machine.

The meat puree is pumped into the casings and loaded onto racks.

Now, the hot dogs go into a smoker to get additional flavoring as they bake.

Then, the hot dogs are covered in cold, salty water so they’re chilled enough for packaging.

The hot dogs are pulled onto a conveyer.

Workers slide them off into metal containers into a peeler machine to remove the casings. The machine can peel 700 hot dogs in a minute.

A worker makes sure the hot dogs are perfect and discards the flawed ones.

Then, a machine separates hot dogs into groups for packaging.

Finally, the hot dogs resemble the packages you find in stores and are shipped out for sale.

Read more:

“One of FratPAC’s top priorities is a tax break for fraternities” and stopping anti-hazing legislation

24 Jul

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images
Harrison Kowiak was 19 years old when he died after schoolmates pummeled him on a pitch-black field in Hickory, North Carolina. It was part of a fraternity hazing.

Determined to protect other students, Kowiak’s mother Lianne devoted herself to fighting hazing. She thought she had a powerful ally in U.S. Representative Frederica Wilson, who calls herself the “Haze Buster” and backed Florida’s tough anti-hazing law as a member of the state legislature in 2005.

Standing beside Wilson at a Capitol Hill news conference in September, Kowiak helped display a 10-foot-long banner headed “Hazing Kills,” and depicting a cemetery. As Wilson vowed to deny financial aid to students who engage in hazing, Kowiak applauded. What Kowiak didn’t know was that, behind the scenes, the fraternity industry’s political arm, known as “FratPAC,” had been pressing Wilson to back off. Today, 19 months after Wilson first promised an anti-hazing bill, she hasn’t filed one.

The industry’s lobbying is “disgusting,” Kowiak said in an interview. “What are the priorities here?” They “should be to stop hazing so none of our youth have to go through it.”

Even as deaths and injuries proliferate at their local chapters, traditional college fraternities resist a federal role in punishing hazing, contending that Wilson’s proposal would infringe on student rights and that existing state criminal laws are sufficient.

Read the whole Bloomberg story here.