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Archive for the 'New Scientific Data' Category

NEWS WATCH! FISH, CRABS, SHRIMP, HEADED TO EXTINCTION

Posted in Endangered Species, Health Watch, New Scientific Data, News Brief, Toxin Alert! on August 15th, 2008

OVER 400 OXYGEN DEPLETED “DEAD ZONES” PLAGUE WORLD’S OCEANS

dead_zone_-_sediment.jpgFertilizer runoff, fossil fuel burning, sewage and pollution-fed algae, are among the items being blamed for depleting ocean oxygen, killing sea life and creating over 400 worldwide “Dead Zones”, covering an area of 95,000 square miles, according to researchers writing in the latest edition of Science.

Hypoxia, as the condition is known, is not a new phenomenon, but as the number of “Dead Zones” has doubled each decade since the 1960’s, it is one that requires immediate attention. Failure to do so, experts tell us, could lead to a day in the not too distant future when man is no longer able to extract enough fish, shrimps, crabs and other sea life from the oceans to feed himself.

The newest “Dead Zones” are being found in the Southern Hemisphere in South America, Africa, and parts of Asia, according to researchers.

Closer to home, the largest U.S. dead zone is at the mouth of the Mississippi River, which at latest count covers some 8,000 square miles. Also threatened is Washington State’s Samish Bay and Yaquina Bay in Oregon.

For more information about “Dead Zones”

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HEALTH WATCH! SKIN CANCER ON THE RISE AMONG YOUNGER WOMEN

Posted in Global Warming, Health Watch, New Scientific Data, News Brief on July 12th, 2008

DESPITE PUBLIC EDUCATION CAMPAIGN, DANGEROUS MELANOMAS UP 50% SINCE 1980. EXCESSIVE TANNING BLAMED

operatingroom.JPEGMore bad news for sun lovers, particuarly for younger females. A just released analysis of government cancer statistics from 1973 to 2004 revealed that the rate of new melanoma cases – the most dangerous form of skin cancer – in younger women has jumped 50 percent since 1980 going from 5.5 cases per 100,000 per year at the start of the survey period to 13.9 per 100,000 per year in 2004, while the number of cases among men of similar ages remained static.

Though the aforementioned survey did not officially take into account the reasons for the increase and for the fact that the cancer rates did not increase in men of the same age group, scientists believe that the discrepancy can be attributed to two distinct lifestyle choices: the tendency among younger women to spend more time outdoors, and their habit of more frequently pursuing artificial tanning than men of the same age group.

In the area of 62,000 melanoma cases are diagnosed each year in the United States, with more than 8,400 people annually dying of the disease, according to the American Cancer Society

The findings are significant because they point to the failure of public education campaigns to educate Americans about the risks of skin cancer from sun tanning.

Read more.

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HEALTH WATCH! NEW EVIDENCE LINKS POPULAR HPV DRUG TO DEATH, PARALYSIS AND OTHER MEDICAL WOES

Posted in Ethical Business, Health Watch, New Scientific Data, News Brief on July 10th, 2008

WATCHDOG GROUP’S FOIA INVESTIGATION UNEARTHS GARDASIL’S DANGEROUS SIDE EFFECTS

2007-08-10-smartteen2.jpgJudicial Watch is one of those self-appointed, self-righteous, allegedly non-partisan – though clearly conservative – beltway groups that I often find myself disagreeing with, sometimes vehemently so. This has been the case ever since they were at the forefront of conservative billionaire, Richard Mellon Scaife’s, amply funded attempt to discredit former President, Bill Clinton. History buffs will remember that Judicial Watch under its previous president, Larry Clayman, initiated no less than 18 separate lawsuits against the President Clinton, his administration and specific members of his administration.

Equally offensive to progressives, myself included, are Judicial Watch’s positions against day laborers; their labeling as murder the death of Terri Schiavo; and their calls for the Naval Inspector General to investigate the “legitimacy and propriety” of the awards John Kerry received for his service in Vietnam.

The group, however, redeemed itself somewhat when they sued the Bush administration for access to the minutes of Vice President Cheney’s Energy Task Force; again when they sued Cheney and Halliburton for allegedly “fraudulent accounting practices” and when they sued the Secret Service to “force the release of logs detailing corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s visits to the White House”. Now this is speculation on my part, but it’s probably a safe bet that these latter efforts WERE NOT underwritten by Scaife.

This is a good thing because prior to 2002, DC insiders had known Judicial Watch as “essentially Richard Mellon Scaife’s tool” (Source: MediaTransparency), the group between 1997 and 2002 having received over 7 million dollars from various Scaife controlled foundations.

Jumping ahead to the present, Judicial Watch has apparently found a new – perhaps even higher calling – which is keeping America safe from the questionable business practices and greed of Big Pharma. In this context, the recent report from Judicial Watch President, Tom Fitton, concerning the potentially fatal side effects of the HPV (human papilloma) vaccine, Gardasil, deserves mention.

According to Judicial Watch, at least ten deaths have been linked to Gardasil, since September, 2007, while the total number of those believed to have died after taking the controversial new drug could number as many as twenty. Per group president Fitton, the FDA also produced 140 “serious” reports (27 of which were categorized as “life threatening”), 10 spontaneous abortions and six cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome – all since January 2008. Judicial Watch discovered this and other damning information in confidential FDA documents obtained via recent Freedom of Information Act filings.

Among the cases cited by Judicial Watch is that of a 20-year-old female with no medical history who after receiving the drug on April 1, 2008, died four days later. An autopsy was unsuccessful at determining the cause of the young woman’s death. Another tells the story of a 14-year-old female who after receiving the vaccine, took 6 steps, fell to the ground unconscious and had a 60 second grand mal (Epileptic) seizure. Then there was the case of the woman, who following vaccination with Gardasil, lapsed into a coma and is now paralyzed. Follow this link to Judicial Watch for the rest of this report.

Now my friends, this is serious business, not only for the women already negatively affected by the drug, but also because Merck’s aggressive marketing plan includes lobbying to have the vaccine mandated for all young girls as part of their school vaccination programs. To this end, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has already recommended that 11 and 12-year-old girls begin receiving the controversial new treatment.

Not content with merely injecting young women, Merck is allegedly also about to begin lobbying the FDA to approve the vaccination for young boys as well, and for women older than the 9 to 26 year old group for which Gardasil is currently approved.

Needless to say, the mainstream media has largely ignored this story, dependent as they are on drug company advertising. So it is up to you and I to pass the word and to warn friends and family about this latest example of drug company potentially marketing a product – in this case a critically needed product – that is not as safe as they would like us to believe.

But to be fair here, one should also consider Judicial Watch’s previous financial pedigree, specifically their close ties to ultra conservative, Scaife, and the fact that it is possible that Judicial Watch is blowing this entire matter way out of context to support the conservative position, which insanely considers Gardasil evil as it allows young women to be sexually permissive without potential consequences. How anyone could wish HPV on anyone as punishment for having sex outside of marriage shows how sick in the head many of these so-called conservatives really are.

To put this matter to rest, Merck should come clean with their research and address Judicial Watch’s concerns and not hide behind the FDA as Drug Company’s usually do when they are found to be at fault. Transparency here would go a long way to regaining the public’s confidence.

In the interim, I will be telling all of my friends to hold off on inoculating their loved ones with Gardasil, which is a shame because the drug serves an important purpose protecting the young people of America and the world from this horrible disease.

- Denis

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HEALTH WATCH! PHYSICIANS FIGURE OUT HOW MEDITATION AFFECTS THE BODY

Posted in Conscious Actions, Consciousness, Health Watch, New Scientific Data, Spirituality on July 2nd, 2008

A PRELIMINARY STUDY SHOWS MEDITATING TURNS OFF STRESS-RELATED GENES

meditation2.jpgAs one who lives daily with ADHD and a wicked type A personality, and who, over the years, has failed miserably in all attempts to chemically manage these conditions, the study of meditation has been godsend. Now there are many reasons for this – reasons that I must add are surely different person to person – but perhaps the most important is that it allows me to control my anxieties and manage my mind far better than drug therapy or self-medication with Gran Mariner ever did. Plus as an added benefit, meditation offers even the greenest newbie practitioner a sensation of wellness and inner peace, and it does this without any side effects, other then, perhaps, the annoying (to some) tendency to smile more and get less worked up about the snags that are so much a part of day to day life.

Because we are fans of smiling people here at Libsearthwatch.com, we try to keep abreast of the latest meditation news and developments. The following posting from Lauren Cox of ABC News is an example of that.

- Denis

SAY OM: DOCTORS FIND MEDITATION AFFECTS YOUR BODY

By LAUREN COX -ABC News Medical Unit

July 2, 2008—It turns out peaceful thoughts really can influence our bodies, right down to the instructions we receive from our DNA, according to a new study.

Researchers for the study, published in the Public Library of Science, took blood samples from a group of 19 people who habitually meditated or prayed for years, and 19 others who never meditated.

The researchers ran genomic analyses of the blood and found that the meditating group suppressed more than twice the number of stress-related genes — about 1,000 of them — than the nonmeditating group.

The more these stress-related genes are expressed, the more the body will have a stress response like high blood pressure or inflammation. Over long periods of time, these stress responses can worsen high blood pressure, pain syndromes and other conditions.

Continue reading this posting.

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COMMENTARY: SHOULD WE JAIL ENERGY CO. CEO’S WHO LIE ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING

Posted in Clean Energy, Conscious Actions, Global Warming, Government Shenanigans, New Scientific Data, News Brief on June 28th, 2008

NASA’S DR. JAMES HANSEN THINKS SO. BLAMES SPECIAL INTERESTS FOR STALLING TRANSITION TO RENEWABLE ENERGY

hansen.jpgDr. James Hansen, a noted climatologist and director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, in a posting on the NASA Web site, has called for the incarceration of fossil fuel executives for “spreading disinformation about global warming”. Dr. Hansen, an outspoken environmental advocate, is recommending that the executives be “tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.”

Special interests, according to Dr. Hansen, have blocked our society’s “transition to our renewable energy future.” Their “methods are sophisticated, he notes, including funding to help shape school textbook discussions of global warming.” “They (the fossil fuel companies) are aware of the long-term consequences of continued business as usual,” Hansen continued, as he likened their actions to those of the tobacco companies who initially attempted to “discredit the link between smoking and cancer”.

Now, this is not the first time that Dr. Hansen have taken the heads of polluting industries to task. He has been a thorn in the side of the oil and coal industries ever since initially sounding the alarm about global warming in an appearance before a Senate subcommittee over twenty years ago. It was this appearance that is credited with helping to “raise broad awareness” of the global warming issue.

In the intervening two decades, Dr Hansen has angered the Clinton administration, advised Al Gore in his highly successful evolution into America’s environmental conscience, and been censored by the Bushies. He did all this while pissing off the fossil fuel companies to the extent that they tried and failed to have their flunkies in the Bush administration rein him in.

This took the form of everything from having senior NASA administrators attempt to coerce him to change his public statements about the causes of climate change, a move which, of course, failed, to ordering NASA public relations staff to review his public statements and interviews. The latter was instituted following a 2005 lecture at the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

But the attempts to silence him did not end there. During a appearance on the iconic, 60 Minutes, Hansen revealed that White House staffers had edited his climate-related press releases with the intention of “making global warming seem less threatening”. To make matters worse, the person charged with doing the editing was a former oil company executive, who after being outed for his part in this fiasco resigned from government and returned to the waiting arms of Big Oil.

At the time Hansen commented that in three decades in the government, he had “never witnessed such restrictions on the ability of scientists to communicate with the public.”

Among Dr. Hansen’s other unpopular positions – unpopular for the fossil fuel companies, that is – are his calls for retiring all coal-fired power plants that don’t capture carbon dioxide emissions by 2025. Currently there is no practical technology to capture carbon dioxide emissions.

His contention is that society will reach a “global tipping point” by 2016 if the human population is unable to reduce greenhouse gases.

-Denis

Read more about Dr. James Hansen

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NEWS WATCH! PERENNIAL ARCTIC ICE COVER DOWN BY HALF SINCE 2005

Posted in New Scientific Data, News Brief on May 13th, 2008

WWF WARNS THAT ARCTIC ICE MAY BE MELTING FASTER THAN MOST CLIMATE CHANGE SCIENCE HAS CONCLUDED.

_40423755_larsen_b2031.jpgArctic ice is melting fast and the area covered by ice sheets in ocean could shrink this summer to the smallest since 1978 when satellite observation first started, Japanese scientists warned in a report.

Ice sheets in the Arctic Ocean shrank to the smallest area on record in late summer in 2007, researchers at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said in a report on the website (http://www.eorc.jaxa.jp/imgdata/topics/2008/tp080430.html).

“The sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has continued to shrink since the beginning of April in such momentum to approach last year’s levels,” they said in the report based on an analysis of satellite images.

The area covered with perennial ice in the Arctic Ocean has receded “drastically” in recent years, falling to nearly half the area observed in 2005, they said.

“The reduction of areas covered with perennial ice means the overall ice in the Arctic Ocean is thinner and thinner year after year,” the report added.

CONTINUE READING

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HEALTH WATCH! SCIENTISTS DISCOVER HOW TO GROW PORK, CHICKEN, AND BEEF THROUGH CELL CULTURE IN VATS

Posted in Corporate Polluters, Global Warming, Health Watch, Humane Treatment of Animals, New Scientific Data, News Brief, Sustainable Business on April 15th, 2008

HOW LONG BEFORE YOU CAN EAT MEAT AND BE ETHICAL, AND ENVIRONMENTAL, TOO?

cattle.jpegWouldn’t it be kinda nifty if it were possible to have all of the pork, chicken, and beef that anyone would ever want to chow down on, without the environmental and ethical consequences created by the outdated and barbaric process of raising and slaughtering cattle for food?

Well, thankfully the lab coat and pocket protector set think that this is as important as I do and have figured out a way to do something about it.

Their discovery, a procedure, known as Cultured Meat Technology, while still in its infancy, will in the years to come eliminate the need for most of the feedlots and slaughterhouses scattered around our world today, by making it possible to produce ample supplies of different meats through cell culture in vats.

Besides the fact that this new procedure will allow scientists to produce products high in beneficial nutrients and low in heart-debilitating fats, it will make it possible for us to eliminate several of the most prolific sources of methane gas production in our world today. A colorless, odorless gas, methane from cow belches and lower gastric discharges is a potent, greenhouse gas, as it traps 21 times more heat within our atmosphere than carbon dioxide, our most common and best known greenhouse gas.

To help wrap you mind around the scope of the methane issue and how important this discovery is to our continued existence on this planet, it’s important to understand that the methane released by the 1.3 billion cows alive on our planet today, (100 million in the US alone), is more harmful than all of the carbon monoxide fumes generated by all of the cars, trucks and planes in use today.

This does not mean that if we fix this problem, we can all run out and order without consequence, a three-ton gas-guzzler. No way, Jose! What it does mean is that, perhaps, we have bought ourselves a little time-out in our rush to destruction, time, which hopefully we will not squander with distractions, as has been our society’s ongoing MO.

The time has come when we as a civilized people can no longer allow the poorer nations of the earth to bulldoze large swaths of rain forest land to make way for cattle grazing as our society struggles to produce enough meats to supply the needs of the almost 9 billion people who currently call this planet home. Now why they cannot eat more meat substitutes, more tofu, tofutti, tempeh etc., is beyond me, but that is a topic for a different discussion.

-LIB

CONTINUE READING –

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HEALTH WATCH! REGULAR MEDITATION LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE

Posted in Health Watch, New Scientific Data, Sustainable Living on April 15th, 2008

MEDITATING TWICE A DAY PROVEN TO SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE BLOOD PRESSURE

meditation1.jpgPracticing Transcendental Meditation or TM, as it is better known, a minimum of two times daily has been shown to lead to a blood pressure reduction of as much as 12-15 percent, according to a study published in the March 2008 edition of American Journalof Hypertension.

This translates to a reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular causes and a 15-20 percent lower risk of stroke, according to Dr. James W. Anderson, the study’s lead author in an article posted to Reuters Health over the weekend.

For the uninitiated, TM, is the process where a man or woman sits in a comfortable chair for 20 minutes twice a day and attempts to quiet the mind by focusing on a mantra. Where TM succeeds over other forms of meditation, per Dr. Anderson, is that it has the “unique ability to bring the practitioner into a ‘quiet zone’ that acts as a kind of “sanctuary” for a person, refreshing them and reducing stress.

-LIB

SOURCE: American Journal of Hypertension, March 2008.

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STUDY: NEW GENERATION ANTI-DEPRESSANTS HAVE LITTLE CLINICAL BENEFIT FOR MOST PATIENTS

Posted in Health Watch, New Scientific Data, News Brief on February 26th, 2008

BRITISH RESEARCH GROUP CONCLUDES THAT THE DRUGS ACTIVELY HELP ONLY A SMALL GROUP OF THE MOST SEVERELY DEPRESSED

2007-08-20-painpills1.jpgWhat if Tom Cruise and his Scientology friends are really right? What if anti-depressants are just another high priced way to separate a nation of depressed people from their money, and really have little if any clinical benefit? Scary thought, but perhaps not as far fetched as it sounds.

Dominating the news cycle today along with all of the squabbling between Clinton and Obama is the release of a new study by a group of British University researchers, which contends that those happy pills that far too many of us take really provide little if any benefit to all but the most severely depressed.

The study, by researchers from the University of Hull in Great Britain, reviewed published clinical trial data, and unpublished data, secured under Freedom of Information legislation, on 47 clinical trials before publishing their
findings in the journal PLoS Medicine.

The British team focused on drugs, which work by increasing levels of the mood controlling chemical serotonin in the brain. These included fluoxetine (Prozac) and paroxetine (Seroxat), from the class known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), alongside another similar drug called venlafaxine (Efexor) – all commonly prescribed in here in the United States.

Per the BBC, The researchers found that the drugs did have a positive impact on people with mild depression – but the effect was no bigger than that achieved by giving patients a sugar-coated “dummy” pill.

“This means that depressed people can improve without chemical treatments,” according to lead researcher, Professor Irving Kirsch. “Given these results, there seems little reason to prescribe anti-depressant medication to any but the most severely depressed patients, unless alternative treatments have failed to provide a benefit.”

As might be expected, this news has triggered vocal responses from Big Pharma with the makers of Prozac and Seroxat, two of the commonest anti-depressants, the first to rush into print with their denials.

- LIB

READ MORE…

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ETHANOL FROM PRAIRIE GRASS SHOWS VIABILITY

Posted in Alternative Energy, New Scientific Data, News Brief on January 12th, 2008

LARGE AMOUNTS OF FUEL PRODUCED ON MARGINAL LAND WITH MODERATE FERTILIZER

switchgrass.jpg In the rush to find alternate sources of fuel so as to wean ourselves off of deadly fossil fuels, much has been made of the potential of corn based ethanol. Sadly, most of that is total bullshit.

Did you know that it takes one gallon of gas (that nasty fossil fuel that we are trying to get rid of) to make 1.3 gallons of ethanol? No? Didn’t think so.

Additionally corn requires large doses of herbicide and nitrogen fertilizer, which can cause more soil erosion than any other crop. So why then are we building all of those corn-processing plants? More importantly, why are we allowing the starving people of the world to go hungry so that we can make this inefficient fuel?

Well my friends, once again, it is all about money. We are making corn based ethanol because corn is easy to grow, adapts well to our climate and many of the corporate entities engaged in this process including, Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill have large fields of guess what?

While most with a knowledge of biofuels willingly admit that the future is cellulosic ethanol, made from such feedstock as switch grass and wood chips, both of these processes are in the early testing and experimentation stages and will require significant outlays of capitol to be made a reality. Whereas corn, inefficient that it is, is ready to go and for cheap.

As biofuels go, there are many better alternatives to corn.

Sugar is a better alternative. But with the exception of Hawaii, there are not a lot of areas in the United States capable of growing this product in any great amounts. Regardless, it is worth noting that eight gallons of biofuels can be made from one gallon of petroleum.

Even soybeans are better than corn, though not by much. Soybeans deliver 2.5 gallons of biofuels per gallon of gas used in the manufacturing process.

But as I said earlier, the future of biofuels belongs to prairie grasses, algae and cornstalks.

In the article which follows, we will take a look at some of the new research on the topic which shows that prairie grasses grown using only moderate amounts of fertilizer on marginal land can produce significant amounts of ethanol, on average 300 gallons per acre of switch grass used.

- LIB

READ MORE….

Related Story: National Geographic “Green Dreams”

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