17 Jan 2015

Planetary Boundaries, Nutrient Pollution and Human Civilization

An international team of researchers published a report in Science on Thursday, finding that humanity has exceeded four out of nine planetary boundaries that constitute a safe operating space for humans. Steve Carpenter, director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Limnology and the only US-based researcher, defines planetary boundaries as “the outer limits of change to the Earth’s system that we think is tolerable to maintain good conditions for civilization.”

14 Jan 2015

Over Easy: Two Albuquerque Police Officers Charged With Murder

On Monday, Kari E. Brandenburg, the district attorney for Bernalillo County, charged Albuquerque police officers Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez with murder in the shooting death of 38-year-old James Boyd, a homeless man with a history of mental illness. The officers killed Boyd in March 2014 in the Sandia foothills where Boyd was camping. The DA filed these charges by information, as opposed to taking the case to a grand jury. The court has not yet set a date for a preliminary hearing. It is also notable that this is the first time in 50 years that an Albuquerque DA has filed charges against on-duty police officers for a fatal shooting.

11 Jan 2015

CDC MMWR: Six People Die Each Day in the US From Alcohol Poisoning

On Friday, the CDC published a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) with study findings about alcohol poisoning deaths in the United States, 2010-2012. Accidental poisoning by exposure to alcohol is caused by high-intensity alcohol intake during a binge. The CDC defines a binge as “four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men on an occasion.” On average, six people in the US die each day from alcohol poisoning.

10 Jan 2015

California Bill AB 96 Proposes Strict Ban on Ivory Sales

On Wednesday, California Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins and co-author Senator Ricardo Lara introduced AB 96, a bill that would strictly ban ivory sales. This would close loopholes such as crafting fresh ivory to appear antique and selling it as ‘antique.’ The provisions of AB 96 would become operative on July 1, 2016.

04 Jan 2015

Could FDA e-Cigarette Regulation Ultimately Benefit Big Tobacco?

In September of this year, R.J. Reynolds, the second largest Big Tobacco company in the US, asked the FDA to ban vapor e-cigarettes, amazingly citing “unique public health risks:” In light of the source, this comes across as a low blow. R.J. Reynolds, who is voicing concern that vapor flavors may be inappropriately “appealing to youth” is the same company that launched the Joe Camel marketing campaign.

03 Jan 2015

Saturday History: Some of the Drastic Changes During Our Young Lives, 1932 – WWII

This country had begun in war, the one called the Revolutionary War—which was really a colonial uprising. Small wars came on the scene from time to time until the Civil War when the citizens of the United States enjoyed the luxury of killing one another. Had the two oceans not acted as a barrier, surely other nations would have come in and taken advantage of a weakened, sickened country whose citizens murdered each other. The results still haunt us today. “Damn Yankee” remains one word to some in the South, and racism did not end when Lee surrendered to Grant.

31 Dec 2014

Monarch Butterfly to be Considered for Federal Endangered Species Protection

The sixty-day period for public comment submission regarding whether monarchs should be placed on the Endangered Species list begins today. The Fish and Wildlife Service proposal will be published in the Federal Register. Public comments on the prospect of listing monarchs will be accepted through March 2. To view the notice and submit information starting today, visit regulations.gov and search for docket number FWS-R3-ES-2014-0056.

28 Dec 2014

Why Some People May Be Deciding Not to Marry – And It’s Not Internet Porn

Last week, the Washington Post published an article titled, “Americans aren’t getting married, and researchers think porn is part of the problem.” Presumably working with the hypothesis that the only possible reason any young man would want to marry in the first place is for the sexual gratification, or rather “marital sexual gratification,” the study suggests that they’re not getting married because of the deep and lasting satisfaction they are finding with ‘Internet Pornography.’

27 Dec 2014

Saturday History: Seasonal Farming Tasks in the Great Depression

Of all farming activities we performed during the Great Depression of the 1930s, two were notable because they involved the whole community: thrashing of the wheat, and butchering the animals. Summer thrashing of the wheat was the most exciting time of the year because it was a social time rolled into sustenance activity.

24 Dec 2014

Over Easy: Police Kill 18-year-old black teen Antonio Martin near Ferguson, Missouri

Last night in Berkeley, Missouri, police fatally shot Antonio Martin, an 18-year-old black male, at a Mobil gas station. The St. Louis Dispatch reports that officers were performing a routine business check after hours at the gas station when they spotted two men. Police claim that Martin pulled a handgun, prompting the shooting. Details of last night’s incident are still emerging