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 21 
 on: Jul 22, 2016, 06:35 AM 
Started by Maya - Last post by Helena
Hi Rad,
very cool!

Thank you.

 22 
 on: Jul 22, 2016, 06:35 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Jon Stewart shreds GOP hypocrites who overlook Trump’s flaws: ‘I see you — and I see your bullsh*t’

Travis Gettys
Raw Story
22 Jul 2016 at 08:17 ET                   

Stephen Colbert sarcastically reacted to Fox News CEO Roger Ailes’ resignation before he and Jon Stewart reacted in horror to Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention.

The former “Daily Show” host appeared Thursday night on “The Late Show,” where he asked for his former colleague’s chair to talk about the election.

“The convention’s over, I thought Donald Trump was going to speak,” Stewart said. “Ivanka said he was going to come out, she said he was really compassionate and generous, but then this angry groundhog came out and he just vomited on everybody for an hour.”

He said the Republicans appear to have a very clear plan for America.

“One, jail your political opponent,” Stewart said. “Two, inject Rudy Giuliani with a speedball enema, and then spend the rest of the time scaring the holy bejesus out of everybody.”

Stewart wondered what type of gymnastics Republicans would have to perform to embrace Trump and his ideology.

“Donald J. Trump (is) a man who clearly embodies all the things they have said for years that they have hated about Barack Obama,” he said.

He played a montage of Fox News anchors and conservative candidates complaining that Obama was inexperienced, divisive, thin-skinned, authoritarian and “a raging narcissist that has no grip on reality.”

“A thin-skinned narcissist with no government experience? Yes, that sounds exactly like Barack Obama,” Stewart said, showing a picture of Trump.

He said the conservative media would have to work constantly to justify the GOP’s choice, and he wondered how they would change their viewpoint.

“Let’s trace their journey through the eyes of one of their most talented gymnasts,” he said, showing a picture of Sean Hannity. “His name escapes me, so let’s just refer to him as ‘Lumpy.'”

Stewart showed a montage of Hannity’s wild claims about Obama’s character and nefarious plans for society — many of which could reasonably be applied to the Republican presidential nominee.

“If you don’t like divisiveness, what about when Trump suggested that Mexico is sending us their rapists?” Stewart said, and then played a clip of Hannity excusing the comment because he didn’t say “all Mexicans” were rapists.

Stewart admitted he was not an expert on civil rights history, but he is confident that most of those leaders retweeted white supremacist social media content less than Trump.

Hannity also has for years complained about Obama using a teleprompter for speeches, saying the president probably even “sleeps with the darn thing.”

“Probably sleeps with the darn thing and then doesn’t call it the next day because it didn’t say so on the teleprompter,” Stewart said.

This week, Hannity praised Trump for using a teleprompter to stay on message, which the Fox News anchor believes made him sound more presidential.

“You hate teleprompters,” Stewart shrieked.

He pointed out that conservatives hated Obama for his perceived “elitism,” which Hannity demonstrated by complaining about the then-candidate’s “million-dollar home” and choosing Dijon mustard for his “fancy hamburger.”

“Yeah, you elitist, you probably eat that burger with your mouth,” Stewart said. “Instead of being like a real American and having a Magnum fire it up your ass, like they serve them at Arby’s.”

Hannity, however, doesn’t feel the same way about Trump — “a guy who sits in a literal golden throne at the top of a golden tower with his name in gold letters at the top of it, eating pizza with a knife and fork.”

The Fox News host praised Trump earlier this year as a “blue-collar billionaire,” which Stewart said was “not a thing.”

“Trump does seem like the kind of guy you want to sit down and own a fleet of airplanes with,” Stewart said. “All that stuff is actually superficial, and I’m sure it’s easy for people without ethics or principles to embrace someone who embodies everything that they said they hated about the previous president for the past eight years, because really, for presidents, it’s about what’s inside, and that’s where Lumpy and friends, that’s where they really have found the president lacking.”

Hannity and Mike Huckabee, a former Fox News commentator, Arkansas governor and failed presidential candidate, agreed that Obama didn’t actually seem like a Christian.

“He’s the type of Christian that’s, you know, not Christian,” Stewart said.

Hannity even questioned the pope’s Christian credentials after he criticized Trump’s immigration plans.

“Yeah, who died and made that guy pope,” Stewart said. “Here’s where we are: Either Lumpy and his friends are lying about being bothered by thin-skinned, authoritarian, less-than-Christians readers of prompters being president, or they don’t care — as long as it’s their skin-skinned, prompter, authoritarian, tyrant, narcissist.”

“You just want that person to give you your country back, because you feel that you’re this country’s rightful owners,” he continued. “There’s only one problem with that: This country isn’t yours. You don’t own it. It never was — there is no real America. You don’t own it.”

“You don’t own patriotism, you don’t own Christianity, you sure as hell don’t own respect for the bravery and sacrifice of the military, police and firefighters,” Stewart said. “Trust me. I saw a lot of people on the convention floor in Cleveland with their ‘blue lives matter’ rhetoric who either remained silent or actively fought against the 9/11 first responders bill reauthorization. I see you, and I see your bullsh*t. I see it.”

He said Republicans who oppose equality for all Americans — even those who Rep. Steve King (R-IA) consigned to “subgroups” — should take their concerns to the Founders.

“Those fighting to be included in the ideal of equality are not being divisive,” Stewart said. “Those fighting to keep those people out are. So Lumpy, you and your friends have embraced Donald Trump. Clearly, the C next to your names don’t stand for constitutional or conservative, but cravenly convenient –”

Stewart was unable to add the profane noun he presumably intended to apply, because Colbert interrupted him with an airhorn.

Click to watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNiqpBNE9ik

 23 
 on: Jul 22, 2016, 06:22 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Mysterious giant sharks may be everywhere

Greenland sharks are absurdly slow and mostly blind, yet they may have spread far beyond the Arctic waters they are known from

By Mark Schrope
BBC
7/22/2016

They can be as big as great white sharks, but that's about as far as the comparison goes. Their maximum speed is a lethargic 1.7 miles per hour, many are almost blind, and they are happy to eat rotting carcasses. They may be common throughout the ocean, but you've probably never heard of them. Meet the Greenland shark.

Looking like nothing so much as a chunk of weather-beaten rock, Greenland sharks (Somniosus microcephalus) can grow up to 7.3 metres (24 feet) long, making them one of the largest of all fish, and the biggest in the Arctic. But they prefer to live in deep, cold water, so humans rarely see them.

Studies in the Arctic have revealed a few snippets of information about Greenland sharks, and more data is now starting to come in from elsewhere. It turns out that Greenland sharks are bizarre, and may be crucially important for the ocean ecosystem.

Greenland sharks only come close to the surface in places where the shallow water is frigid enough for them –  primarily in the Arctic. They are most easily seen around Greenland and Iceland. As a result, they were long thought of as purely polar animals, as were the closely-related Pacific sleeper shark and southern sleeper shark.

But they have been reported on the coasts of Canada, Portugal, France, Scotland and Scandinavia. Some researchers think they live in many other areas too but just haven't been spotted in them yet.

"They may be everywhere that's cold enough and deep enough," says Aaron MacNeil of the Australian Institute of Marine Science, in Townsville, Queensland.

The obvious way to see a Greenland shark in the wild is to dive into the deep sea. For instance, in 2001 a remotely operated vehicle in the Gulf of Mexico captured footage of either a Greenland shark or a sleeper shark in over 2,600 metres (8,530ft) of water.

    They may be everywhere that's cold enough and deep enough

Two years later, a pilot and a scientist from the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution in Fort Pierce, Florida, became the first people to come face to face with a Greenland shark in the deep sea. The shark, which was five metres (16ft) long, bumped into their submersible vessel 1,000 metres (3,280ft) down in the Gulf of Maine.

But hardly anyone dives that deep. So these rare encounters can't tell us how widespread and important the Greenland sharks are.

However, if the history of fishing is any guide, Greenland sharks are common as muck. The sharks were fished from the early 20th century until the 1960s; mainly for their liver oil, which was used as lamp fuel and industrial lubricant. In some years, over 30,000 were taken. That suggests a very healthy population.

In line with that, a recent expedition used 120 hooks on a longline, and caught 59 sharks. "I think they're fairly common," says Aaron Fisk of the University of Windsor in Ontario. "When we want to catch them we don't have any trouble."

So what are all these Greenland sharks eating? To find out, scientists have to get their hands dirty - by cutting open the sharks' stomachs and pulling out the remains of their meals.

    It seems the sharks aren't too concerned about the freshness of their meals

So far this kind of work suggests the menu of the Greenland shark is highly varied. As well as fish, they eat just about anything that might fall off the ice, including reindeer and polar bears.

Given a chance it seems they will even try to eat moose. Last November, a man in Newfoundland found a Greenland shark gagging on a piece of moose hide, which had probably been thrown into the water by a hunter. He and another man decided to save the shark from choking on the hunk of moose. "A couple yanks and it just came right out," he told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

It seems the sharks aren't too concerned about the freshness of their meals. Researchers have found small crustaceans called amphipods in their stomachs. These critters swarm over dead bodies in deep waters, so finding them hints that the sharks sometimes eat carrion.

That would make sense, because it's hard to understand how a Greenland shark could ever catch living prey.

For one thing they are absurdly slow, moving more sluggishly than any other shark. One satellite tagging study found that they usually meander about at around 0.8mph (1.1kph), accelerating to 1.7mph (2.7kph) when going all out. Others say they can reach 2.2mph (3.5kph). Regardless, many of the things they might want to eat can swim faster.

If that wasn't enough, many Greenland sharks appear to be almost blind. The culprit is Ommatokoita elongata, a crustacean with the nasty habit of permanently attaching itself to the front of the sharks’ eyes, damaging their corneas (see the photo above). In some populations, 90% of Greenland sharks carry these parasites. The shark that rammed the Harbor Branch submersible had them dangling from its eyes.

So how do Greenland sharks catch anything? It has been suggested that the parasitic crustaceans might be bioluminescent, and that the light they give off attracts fish for the shark. But that's "poppycock", says George Benz at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. He says the scientific literature on the sharks is "contaminated" with unsubstantiated claims like this.

Benz thinks the sharks are more likely to be ambush predators. For example, Arctic seals sometimes sleep in the water to avoid polar bears, potentially allowing Greenlands to sneak up on them.

The seals also have to poke their heads through ice holes to breathe, giving the sharks an opportunity to catch them unawares. "They can still see light and dark, and a hole in the ice is like a big flashlight that says where the food comes in," says MacNeil.

No one has directly observed Greenland sharks catching seals in this way, but there is some circumstantial evidence. Large numbers of dead seals with "corkscrew" wounds have been recovered at Sable Island off the coast of Nova Scotia. Some were bitten in half, while others had the skin and blubber stripped from the lower halves of their bodies. "We're thinking those are Greenland shark bites," says MacNeil. "When they bite, the seal spins to get away, stripping the blubber away literally as it's trying to get out."

    A hole in the ice is like a big flashlight that says where the food comes in

Others are unconvinced, arguing the seals were chopped up by propeller blades.

Whether or not the Greenland shark is the "Corkscrew Killer", Fisk has evidence that the species eats seals aplenty. He knew that seals in Svalbard have a short average lifespan despite seemingly ideal conditions: humans don't hunt them, they have few known predators, they aren't being accidentally caught by fishermen, and the area is not polluted. Wondering what was killing the seals, his team carried out stomach analyses on 45 Greenland sharks, and found that about a third contained the remains of seals. That was enough to explain the shorter lifespans.

Perhaps surprisingly, Greenland sharks may also tackle much bigger prey: whales.

Fisk's stomach analyses showed that they eat the discarded leftovers from Norwegian whale hunts. And it's not just dead whales they'll go after. Fisk has photographs of a group of beluga whales that came to a grisly end after becoming trapped by shifting ice off Baffin Island, northern Canada. "The polar bears went to town," he says, and so did Greenland sharks. "There were definitely Greenland bites on those beluga."

All this suggests Greenland sharks are playing a big role in the Arctic food web. If they are as common as everyone now suspects, they would have a big impact on other animals, says Fisk.

That may also be true in their deeper habitats, even if they get most of their food from sinking corpses. Benz says the sharks could be helping provide food for a wide range of other animals by breaking up these larger chunks of flesh. "A lot of organisms are going to benefit," he says.

If Greenland sharks are so important to the waters they live in, it would be good to know what is going to happen to them. "I think we need to think a little more about Greenland sharks," says Fisk.

In theory there are two things that could cause a problem: overfishing, and climate change.

    Hákarl is either an acquired taste, or a contender for the most disgusting food on the planet

However, fishing seems unlikely to pose a major threat to the sharks. For one thing their meat is toxic, because it is rife with unsavory organic contaminants. So Greenland sharks are not regarded as a good dining option. In 1968, a group of sled dogs was fed Greenland shark flesh. Reportedly they were left walking stiffly, hyper-salivating and vomiting - not to mention having muscular convulsions, respiratory distress, and explosive diarrhoea. Some died.

A small number of Greenlands do get caught, to supply demand for an Icelandic delicacy called hákarl, or fermented shark. The meat is detoxified through a multi-week rotting process. Hákarl, MacNeil says, is an "acquired taste". Others have described it as a contender for the most disgusting food on the planet. It probably won't catch on enough to threaten the species.

Fishermen might catch the sharks by accident, though. From the late 1980s, the Inuit returned to fishing for Greenland halibut as a means of preserving their culture. Greenland sharks try to snatch free meals from the fishing hooks, and can get wrapped up in the lines.

That leaves climate change. Perhaps its most dramatic effect is the rapid retreat of the Arctic sea ice, particularly in the summer. What will that mean for the sharks?

As the summer ice levels decrease, the window for fishing grows larger. So while the halibut fishing has been limited so far, that could soon change. Large commercial fishing operators are well aware of this opportunity.

    If we have ice-free summers, the food web could change dramatically

But the effects of the retreating ice go far beyond a few fishing boats. The entire Arctic ecosystem revolves around the sea ice. For the Greenland sharks, ice acts as a food delivery device. It's what keeps seals over open water, and as it melts it delivers dead animals as potential meals. That food source could be drastically cut as the ice shrinks ever further.

But other animals, particularly fish from further south, are migrating into the Arctic. Might the Greenland sharks start eating them? As so little is known about the sharks, it's difficult to say what will happen. All we can say for sure is that the Greenland sharks will be living in a very different Arctic in a few decades' time.

"If we have ice-free summers, as predicted in the near term," says MacNeil, "the food web could change dramatically."

 24 
 on: Jul 22, 2016, 06:16 AM 
Started by Maya - Last post by Rad
Hi Helena,

Check out this story. God Bless, Rad

Honey hunters: Birds in Mozambique help humans find sweet treasure

The greater honeyguide and humans communicate and cooperate in order to harvest honey and wax.

By Eva Botkin-Kowacki, Staff writer July 21, 2016   

Cooperation is easier with communication, and an African bird species and the humans that it works with know that.

The greater honeyguide, Indicator indicator, is known for guiding people to beehives in the African bush in the hope that the human honey-hunters will leave beeswax behind for the birds to snack on. But if someone wants to be led to the buzzing hive dripping with golden, sticky honey, they might need to know the special password, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Science.

"Honey-hunters in Mozambique use special calls to signal to honeyguides that they're eager to follow," says study lead author Claire Spottiswoode, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Cambridge and the University of Cape Town. And, in Dr. Spottiswoode's experiments, the birds were twice as likely to guide the humans if they used this particular summoning call rather than alerting the birds to their presence in another, more generic way.

Honey-hunters of the Yao people make their way through the wilds of the Niassa National Reserve in northern Mozambique, calling out to the birds as they go as if to say, "I'm here to find a beehive with you." Their voices ring out in a sort of loud trill, capped by a grunting noise: "brrrr-hm!"

Then, a honeyguide flies to a tree near the humans, chattering at them distinctly as if to say, "follow me."

The honey-hunters follow the bird as it flits from tree to tree, continuing to chatter away. The humans periodically repeat the same call to maintain contact. "Brrrr-hm," now seems to mean 'I'm still with you,' and the bird's chattering helps the humans follow along.

This reciprocal communication is unique to the honeyguide-human cooperation. Spottiswoode knows of no other wild animal that both uses and understands cross-species vocal signaling like this to facilitate mutualistic foraging with humans.

"Honeyguides are making specialized calls to humans that humans are able to interpret correctly to their own benefit – finding a bees' nest. And reciprocally, humans are providing specialized calls to honeyguides that honeyguides are able to interpret correctly in choosing a good partner," she tells The Christian Science Monitor in a phone interview.

And this whole exchange happens "while wandering through the bush, bumping into the odd elephant, the odd buffalo, and the odd lion … and sweating a lot," Spottiswoode says.

The wild partnership can stretch as much as half a mile before the bird arrives at its buzzing destination. When it does, the bird quiets down and settles on a tree. Sometimes that tree contains a beehive and other times it sits nearby its target, waiting for its human partners to spot the hive.

Once the humans find the hive, they get to work. They expertly smoke out the bees before reaching into retrieve their sticky gold or felling the tree for easier access.

Meanwhile, the honeyguides wait, in the hopes that the humans will leave behind some beeswax for them.
Yao honey-hunter Orlando Yassene harvests honeycombs from a wild bees’ nest in the Niassa National Reserve, Mozambique. Courtesy of Spottiswoode et al.   

Spottiswoode and her colleagues wanted to find out whether the "brrrr-hm" call was communicating specific information to the birds or whether it was simply one way of making a human presence known, and any vocalization would do. So she herself went out tromping around with local Yao honey-hunters.

"You can imagine it was great fun walking hundreds of miles through beautiful landscapes and occasionally bumping into elephants," Spottiswoode says. "It was really a wonderful privilege to work in the Niassa National Reserve."

Before she went out, Spottiswoode recorded different honey-hunters making the "brrrr-hm" call, then she had the same individuals say other words in the local language. For a nonhuman control, she also made recordings of the local common dove calls.

Then the experiments commenced. For each test, "two brilliantly sharp-eyed honey-hunters and I walked together in a line through the bush for 15 minutes," Spottiswoode says. "While they stayed alert for the calls and the sight of honeyguides, I played back one of those three types of sounds through a speaker at a consistent volume."

During these experiments, honeyguides came to guide the trio 66.7 percent of the times that the "brrrr-hm" call was played, but just 25 percent of the time for the other human calls and 33.3 percent for the dove sounds. Furthermore, the bird often lost interest in the control calls before making it to a hive, suggesting that the continued use of the "brrrr-hm" call also helped maintain the partnership.

Overall, the team was led to a bees nest 54.2 percent of the time that the Yao honey-hunting call was played on a 15 minute search, whereas they made it just 16.7 percent of the time with the control sounds.

"What that suggests is that honeyguides do attach meaning and respond appropriately to the signal that advertises the people's willingness to cooperate," Spottiswoode says. "So it really does seem to be a two-way conversation between our own species and the honeyguides."

"This study provides clear and direct evidence that honeyguides respond to specialized human signals that recruit the birds to cooperative hunting and that the birds associate those signals with potential benefits to themselves," John Thompson, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, tells the Monitor in an email.

It's not surprising to see inter-species communication, Gisela Kaplan, an adjunct professor in animal behavior at the University of New England in Australia who was not involved in the study, tells the Monitor in an email. "Communication between species has been observed regularly and has been known for a long time – mainly in protection against predators," she says. But "symbiotic relationships in food finding and mutual tolerance are occasionally reported in animals or even humans ... but this is less common."

This study "experimentally verifies complex probabilities that are mutually understood: 'I help you if you promise to help me'— a bartering system not so much based on trust but on mutual confirmation and reinforcement," she says.

It's not surprising to see inter-species communication, Gisela Kaplan, an adjunct professor in animal behavior at the University of New England in Australia who was not involved in the study, tells the Monitor in an email. "Communication between species has been observed regularly and has been known for a long time – mainly in protection against predators," she says. But "symbiotic relationships in food finding and mutual tolerance are occasionally reported in animals or even humans (wolves and crows/ dolphins and gannets or even humans but this is less common.)"

This study "experimentally verifies complex probabilities that are mutually understood: 'I help you if you promise to help me'— a bartering system not so much based on trust but on mutual confirmation and reinforcement."

Humans are known to cooperate with other animals to find food. Domestic dogs are used for hunting, and some birds are trained to help with fishing. But in this case, says Spottiswoode, "it's a cooperation between humans and free-living wild animals for mutual benefit."

The honeyguides haven't been domesticated, coerced, or explicitly taught to lead humans to beehives. Instead, the relationship is a good example of pure mutualism, when two organisms have a relationship that is beneficial to both. Dolphins also engage in mutualism for foraging, collaborating with humans fishing in Brazil.

"Honeyguides love eating wax and know where the bees nests are located, but they're not much good at doing battles with the bees and getting into the bees nests to get ahold of it. Whereas humans, by contrast, love eating honey and they're experts at getting into bees nests with the help of two crucial skills: The use of fire to subdue the bees and the use of tools to chop down the tree and open up the bees nest," Spottiswoode says. "So there's an exchange of information for skills."

And that exchange is facilitated by their mutual understanding of each other's vocalizations.

It "makes good evolutionary sense" that the honeyguides would want to select a human partner who knows the lingo because they are most likely to provide them with a waxy reward for their guiding efforts, Spottiswoode says. If a bird tries to lead a person who isn't equipped to take on a beehive, they will have expended energy for naught and alerted predators to their presence by making a racket.

The fact that "the honeyguide literally understands what the human is saying … suggests that the honeyguide and human behavior have coevolved in response to each other," Stuart West, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, told Science Magazine.

Spottiswoode agrees that the ability to guide humans is likely an inherited ability, selected for over generations through natural selection. But she says it's likely that the birds learn the language of the honey-hunters at a young age, rather than being born understanding the "brrrr-hm" calls.

First of all, "honeyguides are not raised by their own parents," she says. Much like cuckoos, honeyguides lay their eggs in other birds' nests.

Furthermore, honeyguides are known to lead honey-hunters to beehives across many parts of Africa. And those honey-hunters use different calls. For example, the Hadza people in northern Tanzania use a melodious whistle to communicate with their avian guides.

 25 
 on: Jul 22, 2016, 06:11 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
U.S. Elections

The lies Trump told this week: a special Republican convention edition

It was Trump’s big week in Cleveland, where he was officially named the party nominee, but still found time to skirt the truth on Indiana, Putin and more

Alan Yuhas
AFP
Friday 22 July 2016 12.00 BST 

Vladimir Putin

“No! No, I haven’t.” – Cleveland, 20 July, in an interview with the New York Times, after being told he has “been very complimentary of Putin himself”.

Trump has repeatedly called Russia’s president a “strong leader” and spoken approvingly – “praise” by nearly any definition – of this strength and Putin’s polling numbers. For instance, on 18 December 2015 he told MSNBC: “I’ve always felt fine about Putin. I think that he’s a strong leader.”

He added: “He’s running his country and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country.”

Last September, he told Fox News: “In terms of leadership Putin’s getting an A.”

In a 10 March debate, Trump tried to hedge on semantics. “Strong doesn’t mean good,” he said. “Putin is a strong leader, absolutely. He is a strong leader. Now I don’t say that in a good way or a bad way. I say it as a fact.”

Idiosyncratic semantics aside, Trump has at minimum praised Putin relative to Barack Obama, and spoken admiringly of his “strength”, and said he considers Putin’s warm words about him a “great honor”.

“He’s been complimentary of me. I think Putin and I will get along very well.” – 20 July, Cleveland

For months, Trump has apparently misinterpreted a Russian word, “яркий”, used by Putin last December to describe him. Trump has claimed Putin called him “a genius”. In context, the word more correctly means “flamboyant” or “colorful”.

Trump likely heard the word translated as “bright” or “brilliant”, though its connotations are often more pejorative than not: bright in the sense of glaring and gaudy, brilliant in the sense of dazzling light.

In June, Putin carefully repeated the word, saying he called Trump “colorful” and nothing else. Last year, though, he said Trump was “talented, without a doubt”.

“It’s not our business to decide his merits, that’s for US voters,” Putin said, stressing that he had no opinion to divulge beyond “colorful”. He did say, however, that he would welcome the rapprochement in Russian-American relations that Trump has suggested.

Indiana

“Indiana, their unemployment rate has fallen when Mike Pence was there. When he started 8.4% to less than 5% in May of 2016.” – 16 July, New York

Trump overstates his vice-presidential pick’s role in his state’s economy, which has tracked nearly in parallel with national numbers on unemployment. Indiana’s unemployment has indeed dropped 3.4% since January 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics; but per the Federal Reserve, US unemployment has dropped 3.3% since then, 8% to 4.7%. Trump also has his figures slightly off: preliminary data for May 2016 shows the Indiana unemployment rate at 5% – actually an increase from a recent low of 4.5% in November 2015.

“It’s also rated triple A. Their bonds, are rated triple A. Very few states have that.” – 16 July, New York

Fifteen states have AAA-rated bonds, according to rating agency Standard & Poor’s, amounting nearly a third of the 50 states and thus many more than “very few”. The state was upgraded to AAA in 2008, almost five years before Pence became governor.

“Private sector job growth is up by more than 147,000 jobs since 2013. That’s, like, very unusual.” – 16 July, New York

Trump correctly cites a Bureau of Labor Statistics figure about Indiana’s private-sector jobs, but 18 other states have added more. Some have smaller populations.
Iran

“We gave them back $150bn, and we didn’t get our hostages until the end.” – 16 July, New York

The US is not giving any of its own money to Iran as part of an international nuclear arms deal meant to prevent the construction of weapons. The deal gradually unfreezes assets that belong to Iran but were restricted under sanctions related to the nation’s nuclear program. Sanctions related to human rights, terrorism and other issues remain in place and still lock Iran out of billions.

Trump’s guess of how much Iran will benefit by unfrozen assets is far higher than most experts’ estimates, though not inconceivable. Treasury secretary Jack Lew has put the number at $56bn, and Iranian officials have said both $32bn and $100bn. Independent economists have calculated that Iran will free up anything between $30bn to $100bn. Complicating the math are Iran’s debts: it will have to pay off tens of billions to countries such as China, which have helped it survive through decades of sanctions.

There is no evidence that the brief capture in January of 10 American sailors had any effect on the nuclear deal, which had been finalized five months earlier, although the incident rattled fragile relations between Washington and Tehran. A few days after the sailors were released, United Nations inspectors confirmed that Iran had complied with the deal.
Brexit

“I said that in Scotland and in the UK, that was going to happen. I was the one that predicted it. And everybody said, he’s wrong, he’s wrong.” – 16 July, New York

Trump did pronounce an opinion on whether the UK should vote to leave the European Union, but it was never a prediction and was waffling at best.

“I would say that they’re better off without it, personally, but I’m not making that as a recommendation,” he said a May interview with Fox News. “I want them to make their own decision.”

In an interview with Fox Business on 22 June, just before the Brexit vote, Trump not only did not predict an exit but discredited his own opinion.

“I don’t think anybody should listen to me because I haven’t really focused on it very much,” he said.

Many leaders argued the UK should not leave the EU, warning that the pound would crash and Britain’s economy would suffer, as it has in the last month, but none said Trump’s prediction was “wrong” – because Trump made no prediction.

Repeat offenders

“I said, ‘Don’t go into Iraq.’ Nobody cared because I was a businessperson, I was a civilian.” – 16 July, New York

“We have massive trade deficits. I could see that, if instead of having a trade deficit worldwide of $800bn, we had a trade positive of $100bn, $200bn, $800bn.” – 20 July, Cleveland

Trump again lied about his initial, if tepid, support for the Iraq war, and again gave an inflated account of the US deficit. You can read more about those claims here and here.

****************

'I was looking at the next president of the United States': the verdict on Trump's speech

The Republican nominee delivered a polarising speech that covered crime, immigration, terrorism and trade. What should we make of it?

Lucia Graves, Jonathan Freedland, Steven W Thrasher and Richard Wolffe
Guardian
Friday 22 July 2016 10.24 BST

Lucia Graves: After a promise to ‘present the facts plainly and honestly’ Trump did exactly the opposite
Lucia Graves

You might think that a presidential nominee’s speech should include some nod to policy and platform. But then Donald Trump isn’t a regular presidential nominee.

When he took the stage at the RNC in Cleveland, attendees were treated to over an hour of fear-stoking, race-baiting red meat rhetoric, rife with misinformation, and carefully calculated to appeal to America’s basest instincts. After a promise to “present the facts plainly and honestly”, Trump proceeded to do exactly the opposite.

It wasn’t that he was lying, exactly – a liar is riddled with apprehension that the lies will be discovered, but a bullshitter just doesn’t care.

Trump is a master of bullshit, so we shouldn’t be surprised to find many of the “facts” presented “plainly and honestly” were actually not just wrong but exactly the opposite of the truth. Others were cleverly cherrypicked to disguise it.

Casting himself as the “law and order” candidate, Trump painted a portrait of American as fundamentally violent and unsafe. And perhaps the best case in point came when he zeroed in on the recent attacks on police.

“Our convention occurs at a moment of crisis for our nation. The attacks on our police, and the terrorism in our cities, threaten our very way of life,” he said. He noted that the number of police officers killed in the line of duty has risen “by almost 50% compared to this point last year”.

That sounds like a powerful statistic until you realize he’s comparing two six-plus month segments of time. Zoom out a little bit and it becomes clear that police are actually safer under Barack Obama than they have been in decades.

A Washington Post report using data from the Officer Down Memorial Page found the average number of police murders per year by administration has dropped fairly steadily: 101 under Ronald Reagan, 90 under George HW Bush, 81 under Bill Clinton, 72 under George W Bush, and 62 under Obama.

This shameless and baseless fear-mongering is Trump’s best trick. But there’s a reason magicians don’t play the same trick for an audience a thousand times over. Surely people see through Trump’s by now?
Jonathan Freedland: Teleprompter Trump was charmless, deprived of the spontaneity and humour that made him a compelling candidate

Jonathan Freedland

Some 12 hours before Donald Trump delivered his marathon speech in Cleveland, the longtime Republican consultant Mike Murphy said he sympathised with Trump’s campaign handlers. Training him, he suggested, was “like teaching Charles Manson the foxtrot”. Yes, maybe you could teach the notorious murderer a few steps and you’d think you were making progress – but then he’d stab you in the eye. “Because he’s Charles Manson.”

Murphy’s point was no matter how much you tried to tame Trump, it’d be futile. Tonight the task was simply to get Trump to have the discipline to read a scripted text from a teleprompter. And by that simple test, it was a success. Barring the odd ad-lib, Trump did as he was told. His team would have high-fived their achievement.

But the funny thing is, it was a pyrrhic victory. Because teleprompter Trump was charmless, deprived of the spontaneity and humour that has made him such a compelling candidate. Robbed of the licence to be conversational, and in a bid to play the formal orator, he simply shouted. And for a long time too.

The result was a speech that was unremittingly bleak, depicting an America that was broke, plagued by crime and besieged by murderous immigrants. You had to return to the days of Richard Nixon – if not George Wallace – to find a message of equivalent pessimism. And this from the party of Ronald Reagan, which learned that winning candidates sell boundless optimism for the future.

Trump’s larger task was to reach beyond his base. There were hints of that, with an inclusive reference to LGBT people, an appeal to Bernie Sanders voters to rally to Trump’s anti-trade stance and a plea from daughter Ivanka for equal pay for women. But those moments were few, drowned out by a long, dark speech from a candidate who may have learned a few new moves – but is not about to dance the foxtrot.
Steven W Thrasher: Trump is better at whipping up fear in white people than Romney – and understands TV better than Reagan did

Steven W Thrasher

As Trump was warmed up by a real estate developer, I felt as if I wasn’t living in reality, but inside a virtual reality scenario dreamt up by Ayn Rand. But as I watched Trump bark about “law and order”, obedience, “law and order,” immigration and “law and order” again, it dawned on me how real this was.

I was looking at the next president of the United States.

Trump’s ginormous face glowering down in condescension from the screen above, tackily framed in by gold, made me think of North Korea. Alas, there’s no escaping how American this Trump phenomena is.

Trump had one goal in his speech: to convince a poorly educated and scared population to imagine him as president. He did that. He was helped by the fact that American society is deeply invested in white supremacy, and his speech was the crowning moment of what looked like a four-day white power rally. He drummed up (fake) immigrant fears, stoked (overblown) dangers to police, and went off his prepared remarks to talk about immigrants. He spoke of refugees fleeing wars, yelling: “We don’t want them in our country!”

The crowd loved it, and Trump will win a significant portion of the white vote. The only question now: will that get him to 270 electoral college votes? Mitt Romney won more white votes than Reagan and still lost. Demographics could spare us this bigot.

But Trump is better at whipping up fear in white people than Romney – and he even understands TV better than Reagan did. Regarding “law and order”, Trump sounded as severe as Nixon. If enough voters in Pennsylvania and Ohio want skulls cracked in order to keep the protest chaos of America in 2016 at bay, we may just get a President Trump.

Richard Wolffe: He plunged into an America of crisis, crime and chaos

Richard Wolffe

For a showman who likes to dazzle, Donald Trump’s big night was sorely in need of sparkle. For a businessman whose fortune depends on construction, his acceptance speech was built without any apparent structure. For a hype merchant who brags about his “yuge” assets, the speech of his life was astonishingly small.

To succeed on his final night in Cleveland, the Republican presidential nominee just had to show up and read every word on the teleprompter screens. After the most shambolic party convention in living memory, expectations of Trump were as low as My Little Pony.

But Trump couldn’t even clear that low bar. After one sentence, he drifted off script and started boasting about how many votes he had won in the primaries.

His speech looped in a death spiral of misery. Just 100 words into his embrace of the nation, he plunged into an America of crisis, crime and chaos.

From the penthouse suite inside Trump Tower, the streets of Manhattan may well look like a scene out of Dirty Harry or the Dark Knight. But on closer inspection, Trump might just find that his Fifth Avenue neighborhood is a haven of luxury boutiques and conspicuous consumption.

“Here at our convention,” he insisted, “there will be no lies.”

After three nights of plagiarism, Benghazi and Ted Cruz, this was a promising assertion. Instead, Trump told us there were dark forces at work: a conspiracy of elites who were secretly controlling Hillary Clinton.

No wonder he liked that six-pointed star his social media team stole from the far-right web. “They are throwing money at her because they have total control over everything she does,” he said of these dark forces. “She is their puppet, and they pull the strings.”

Donald Trump emerged from his catastrophic convention as an ungodly amalgam of Juan and Evita Peron.

A pro-business, pro-worker, law-and-order enforcer with no appetite for Nato or foreigners. A gilded celebrity who loves the working man. “People who work hard but no longer have a voice,” he declared, “I AM YOUR VOICE.”

Don’t cry for Trump, America. The truth is, he’ll never cry for you.

**************

Trump's fiery convention speech carries too many echoes of the past to ignore

Trump’s speech accepting the nomination Thursday night was tighter than past addresses – and proof history could be about to take a dark and dangerous turn

David Smith in Cleveland
AFP
Friday 22 July 2016 09.00 BST

As the red, white and blue balloons and confetti cascaded from the roof, and fireworks exploded on multiple big screens, a young boy stood in the eye of the storm.

Barron Trump, 10, joined his father, Donald, and mother Melania, at the noisy, razzmatazz climax of the Republican national convention in Cleveland, his parents keeping a protective hand on him as rock music blared and the arena erupted.

That the future of millions of children like him is at stake could hardly be doubted. Donald Trump had just delivered a bilious, ranting speech that should make warning lights flash red for liberal America. Yes, the danger is real. This is a crossroads. History could take a dark and dangerous turn.

Comparisons with Hitler and Mussolini have been made so often and so glibly that they tend to obscure rather than clarify. Yet the ability of this demagogue to play the crowd, switching its anger on and off like a tap, carries too many echoes of the past century to ignore.

In American terms, the closest reference to the content of Thursday’s address was perhaps Richard Nixon who, in his own 1968 acceptance speech, spoke of “cities enveloped in smoke and flame” and hearing “millions of Americans cry out in anguish”.

Trump declared: “Our convention occurs at a moment of crisis for our nation. The attacks on our police, and the terrorism in our cities, threaten our very way of life. Any politician who does not grasp this danger is not fit to lead our country.”

Yes, extraordinary times require extraordinary measures. Where have we heard that before? Trump offered many of the old rightwing tropes: a crackdown on illegal immigration including a wall on the Mexican border, a defence of the right to carry guns, a bone for Christian evangelicals. And an old fashioned tough-on-crime stance. “I am the law and order candidate,” he bragged.

Above all, he will put “America first”, he said repeatedly to the overwhelmingly white audience. It is a phrase that has jarring associations with a 1940s movement to keep the US out of the second world war and which came to be accused of antisemitism. The arena filled with raucous cries of “USA! USA!” and Trump gave the thumbs up. The oldest game of all: naked jingoism.

Whereas 70-year-old Trump has previously propagated his ideas in rambling, incoherent speeches at rallies, this time the message was tighter, more disciplined, more controlled. And therefore all the more chilling.

After an introduction by his impeccable daughter, the blowhard billionaire, with favourite red tie and evidence of some extra hairspray, stood at a black lectern with gold trim on a shiny black stage against a backdrop of stars and stripes. His face was projected on to multiple giant screens in the arena. His voice carried an edge of alpha male aggression.

He showed he could control the mood of the crowd at will. At times he was fiery, whipping them into a frenzy. “We cannot afford to be so politically correct any more,” got a huge cheer from the delegates. The first mention of illegal immigrants elicited boos.

And when Trump mentioned his rival, Hillary Clinton, something extraordinary happened. Delegates began chanting, “Lock her up! Lock her up!” as they had all week. Viewers might have expected Trump to encourage them, as other speakers here in Cleveland have done. Instead, he stepped back for a moment, waved the noise away with his hand and said, with emphasis: “Let’s defeat her in November.”

The chant was not heard again. They had gone too far, even for Trump. The message to moderate Republicans and independents was: see what a reasonable guy he is? But the incident also hinted at forces that Trump has unleashed and may be one day unable to control.

When, more than a year ago, the celebrity non-politician descended an escalator at Trump Tower in New York and said of Mexicans – “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people” – he injected poison into the system. He discovered that if he said outrageous things often enough then, by the 10th time, they would have become normalised and mainstream.

That poison reached Cleveland this week. Trump’s nomination has been described as a hostile takeover and there was hostility aplenty: a festival of bigotry, rancour and racially charged hatred. Aptly for the former host of The Apprentice, it was a reality TV show in which speakers tried outdo each other with outrageous behaviour as if to make tomorrow’s tabloid front pages.

One former Republican candidate tried join the dots between Clinton and Lucifer. Another said: “If she were any more on the inside she’d be in prison.” A Senate candidate said mockingly “she loves her pantsuits” but “she deserves a bright orange jumpsuit”. And a Trump adviser called for her to be executed.

Outside the high security zone, there was a coarse, misogynistic witch hunt. Traders sold badges and T-shirts with vitriolic slogans mocking and attacking the Democratic nominee. One T-shirt showed Trump knocking Clinton out in the famous pose of Muhammad Ali.

How did it come to this? Part of it was a divided Republican party’s need to find a unifying figure: Clinton’s name was mentioned far more often than Trump’s.

Another possible explanation came on Thursday from Jeff Roe, Ted Cruz’s former campaign manager. He argued that the electoral middle ground is now worth only 6% and therefore not worth fighting for; this is why parties now prefer to fire up their bases. If true, it would be repudiation of the centrist politics of Bill Clinton in America and Tony Blair in Britain and a flight to extremism. The silos of social media conversation may only serve to exacerbate the polarisation.

Any supporter of Clinton’s Democratic primary rival, Bernie Sanders, who was thinking of defecting to Trump should be left in no doubt of that folly by the spectacle in Cleveland. Trump believes he belongs to the great man theory of history, but future historians may look back on his speech as a funeral oration for the Republican party. Alternatively, if liberal America fails to stop him, a shudder will be felt around the world.

 26 
 on: Jul 22, 2016, 06:09 AM 
Started by Maya - Last post by Helena
Hi Rad,

thank you for your answer, as well as the answer on the questions of the venus/nodal axis earlier.

As a funny fact, i'd like to share that as i was finished to read this last answer of yours, i accidentally hit the "previous" button on the end of the page and instead of being redirected to last post on the message board, the page shown was an older post of yours (can't seem to find it know to repost) about peter williams, a young man in his 30's, that was recovering it's shamanic roots in alaska, making clothes out of sea otter in complete respect and integration of man and nature.

Talking about the return to the natural laws, i just though wow!

All the best,
Helena

 27 
 on: Jul 22, 2016, 05:59 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
How an Argentinian man learned his 'father' may have killed his real parents

From 1976 to 1983, hundreds of babies were taken from the ‘disappeared’ and raised by military families. Guillermo Pérez Roisinblit was one – and the man who raised him worked at the base where his parents were murdered

Uki Goñi in Buenos Aires
AFP
Friday 22 July 2016 11.00 BST

When he was a child, Guillermo’s parents nicknamed him “the Jew”.

Theirs was not a peaceful home: air force intelligence officer Francisco Gómez beat his wife Teodora Jofre frequently. “I saw him threaten her with a knife, hit her with a rifle butt, throw her on the floor and shout he would put a bullet in her,” Guillermo eventually told a court in Buenos Aires, years later.

On school holidays, Gómez would take Guillermo to spend the day at the Buenos Aires Regional Intelligence (Riba) air force base. Fellow agents took the boy out for ice cream or let him play with their unloaded guns.

Eventually, Jofre could stand her husband’s abuse no longer, and the couple separated; Guillermo lived with Jofre and only saw Gómez on weekends.

Guillermo’s world was turned upside down at age 21 when a young woman tracked him down at the fast-food outlet where he worked in the outlying Buenos Aires district of San Miguel.

“I told her I was busy working,” Guillermo recalls now. “So she sat down at a table, wrote a me note.”

The note read: “My name is Eva Mariana Pérez, I am the daughter of desaparecidos. I’m looking for my brother. I think he might be you.”

According to human rights campaigners, 30,000 people were made to “disappear” by Argentina’s 1976-83 dictatorship, mostly young opponents of the bloody regime. Of these, between 200 and 300 were victims of the Riba intelligence unit where Guillermo played as a child.

But killing the pregnant women was a crime that even Argentina’s military men – who referred to themselves in self-aggrandising speeches as defenders of “western and Christian civilisation” – couldn’t bring themselves to commit.

Instead, they kept pregnant activists alive until they gave birth, murdering them afterwards and handing their babies to childless military couples to raise as their own. It was, in a macabre sense, the military’s ultimate victory against a despised enemy they had decided to annihilate completely. It is estimated some 500 children were born under these circumstances.

Looking up from the note he had just been handed, Guillermo told Mariana he was not the brother she was looking for. His surname was Gómez, not Pérez. Plus, he knew who his parents were. But then Mariana showed him an old photo of her father.

“It was like looking at a picture of myself,” says Guillermo, pulling out his smartphone to show the composite photo he now carries everywhere. On the left, a colour picture of himself at age 21, on the right, the black and white picture of his father at nearly the same age. They look like twins.

Mariana told Guillermo how their real parents, Patricia Roisinblit and José Manuel Pérez Rojo, were kidnapped by a military death squad in October 1978 and taken to the Riba intelligence base.

Patricia, a 25-year-old Jewish student of medicine, was eight months pregnant with Guillermo.

Her firstborn daughter Mariana was a 15-month-old baby at the time. Somehow Patricia managed to convince her abductors to release her baby girl into the hands of relatives. Patricia was murdered in secret shortly after giving birth to Guillermo. His real father was never seen again either.

The crimes of Argentina’s dictatorship cut a deep scar in the country’s collective memory, one that four decades later still refuses to heal.

In the past 10 years alone, more than 600 former military officers have been sentenced for human rights crimes; 1,000 more still face trial, while 57 others remain on the run, the subject of international arrest warrants.

The passage of time has given Argentina’s search for justice an added urgency: many witnesses and perpetrators of dictatorship atrocities are well into their 90s and 227 suspects have died before their cases reached sentencing in the last decade.

This May Guillermo took the stand in a hushed Buenos Aires courtroom to testify in the case he has brought against Gómez – the man he grew up calling “father” for 21 years – for the murder of his parents.

Among the accused in Guillermo’s case were a number of ageing former air force officers, including 90-year-old former air force chief Omar Graffigna, one of the members of the military junta that ruled Argentina.

And one of the key witnesses is Guillermo’s nonagenarian grandmother, Rosa Roisinblit, who was in court throughout as the horrific circumstances of her grandson’s early life were pieced together.

“I didn’t have a happy childhood,” Guillermo told the judges, wringing his hands together, eyes closed.

Among those who testified in recent weeks is Miriam Lewin, a survivor of the Esma camp, the Navy School of Mechanics in the city of Buenos Aires where 5,000 people died during the dictatorship.

Roisinblit had been taken to the Esma “maternity ward” to give birth, and the officers there brought Lewin and Roisinblit together because they knew each other from before. Lewin begged for Roisinblit not to be sent back back to Riba after giving birth.

“We suspected they’d kill her,” Lewin told the courtroom. Her request was ignored.

A grandmother's 36-year hunt for the child stolen by the Argentinian junta..Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/07/grandmothers-of-plaza-de-mayo-36-year-hunt-for-stolen-child

But the all-powerful military had not counted on the strength of the grandmothers of the babies they were abducting. The women banded together nearly four decades ago, naming themselves the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, after the main square in front of the presidential palace in downtown Buenos Aires where they demonstrated.

So far, they have been able to locate and identify by DNA tests 120 of their abducted grandchildren.

Among these courageous women is Patricia’s mother, Rosa Roisinblit. Helping herself along with a walking stick, Rosa sits down with her grandson Guillermo for an interview in the old building where the Grandmothers have their offices. Aged 96, thin and tiny, she seems almost too frail to handle the chill of the current Buenos Aires winter, let alone testify against Gómez as she did two months ago for the murder of her daughter. The trial is expected to last until at least October.

In a whisper of a voice that somehow conveys the determination with which she pursued Gómez for decades, Rosa recalls how Patricia’s disappearance launched her into a whirlwind of activism until she became the vice-president of Grandmothers.

An obstetrician by profession, she has one major regret.

“I helped bring so many babies into this world, but I couldn’t be there for the birth of my own grandson.”

Guillermo’s adaptation to his biological family has been slow, but the warm glow between him and his grandmother is readily apparent as they squeeze hands throughout the interview. “My grandson was born already 21 years old,” says Rosa. “It’s not the same as knowing him since he was a baby, when you get to play grandmother, take him to the park. I can’t take him to the merry-go-round when he’s already a man.”

Guillermo, now 37, a senate employee and law student, recalls how he confronted Gómez with the truth. “At first he denied everything,” he says, his voice dropping in volume. It wasn’t until the fourth confrontation, while driving together that Gómez finally cracked.

“He suddenly burst into tears, admitting I was the son of desaparecidos, telling me that my mother had been Jewish,” says Guillermo.

Suddenly all fell into place. The violence. The nickname. Eventually Guillermo realized that the Riba unit where he played as a child was the very place where his real parents had been murdered. And that the man he had thought of as his father had taken part in their deaths.

Guillermo sighs heavily as he continues. “He asked me to rest assured nothing bad happened to my mother while she was pregnant, though he couldn’t say the same about my father. He said he took care of my mother, that he brought her food secretly on weekends. It was too much information for me.”

Guillermo has since changed his surname from Gómez to Pérez Roisinblit, a combination of his biological parents’ names. Apart from seeing him in court this May, he has had no contact with Gómez for years, after the former intelligence agent threatened both him and his biological grandmother.

I’m a child of Argentina’s ‘disappeared’: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/dec/27/child-argentinas-disappeared-new-family-identity

He maintains a difficult realtionship with Teodora Jofre, who claims she was not aware he was the child of desaparecidos, believing he was the illegitimate child of one of her husband’s comrades.

Despite her 96 years, Rosa says she is not about to give up anytime soon the fight for the missing grandchildren her association is still looking for.

“The strength comes from the love for your children,” she says. “If I had stayed home crying for the disappearance of my daughter I would have died long ago.”

 28 
 on: Jul 22, 2016, 05:50 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Alcohol is a direct cause of seven ​​forms of cancer, finds study

Analysis implicates alcohol in development of breast, liver and other types of cancer and says even moderate consumption is a risk

Denis Campbell Health policy editor
AFP
Friday 22 July 2016 00.15 BST

Alcohol causes seven forms of cancer, and people consuming even low to moderate amounts are at risk, according to new analysis.

Health experts endorsed the findings and said they showed that ministers should initiate more education campaigns in order to tackle widespread public ignorance about how closely alcohol and cancer are connected. The study sparked renewed calls for regular drinkers to be encouraged to take alcohol-free days, and for alcohol packaging to carry warning labels.

Fresh analysis of evidence accumulated over recent years implicates alcohol in the development of breast, colon, liver and other types of cancer.

The study, published in the scientific journal Addiction, concludes that there is more than simply a link or statistical association between alcohol and cancer that could be explained by something else. There is now enough credible evidence to say conclusively that drinking is a direct cause of the disease, according to Jennie Connor, of the preventive and social medicine department at Otago University in New Zealand.

“There is strong evidence that alcohol causes cancer at seven sites in the body and probably others,” Connor said. “Even without complete knowledge of biological mechanisms [of how alcohol causes cancer], the epidemiological evidence can support the judgment that alcohol causes cancer of the oropharynx, larynx, oesophagus, liver, colon, rectum and breast.”

Growing evidence suggested that alcohol was also likely to cause skin, prostate and pancreatic cancer, she added. Emphasising that a drinker’s risk increased in relation to the amount consumed, Connor said: “For all these there is a dose-response relationship.”

Connor arrived at her conclusions after studying reviews undertaken over the past 10 years by the World Cancer Research Fund, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the World Health Organisation’s cancer body, and other authoritative bodies.

“The highest risks are associated with the heaviest drinking but a considerable burden is experienced by drinkers with low to moderate consumption, due to the distribution of drinking in the population,” Connor said. Campaigns to reduce alcohol consumption should therefore try to encourage everyone to cut down, as targeting only heavy drinkers had “limited potential” to reduce alcohol-related cancer, she added.

In February Prof Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer for England, caused a stir by warning women that drinking alcohol could cause breast cancer. She told a parliamentary hearing: “Do as I do when I reach for my glass of wine. Think: do I want the glass of wine or do I want to raise my own risk of breast cancer? I take a decision each time I have a glass.”

Davies played a key role in drawing up new government guidelines on safe drinking limits, published in January, which recommended that men reduce their maximum weekly intake of alcohol from 21 to 14 units, or seven pints of beer a week, which is the longstanding threshold that women are advised not to exceed.

The growing evidence of alcohol’s role in causing cancer, underlined by a report by the UK Committee on Carcinogenicity, was a key reason behind Davies and her counterparts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland issuing advice that some said was impractical and would be ignored. Sticking to the new guidelines would help keep drinkers’ risk of cancer low, the proponents said.

Dr Jana Witt, Cancer Research UK’s health information officer, said: “We know that nine in 10 people aren’t aware of the link between alcohol and cancer. And this review is a stark reminder that there’s strong evidence linking the two.”

A recent CRUK study found that when people were shown a list of different cancers, only one in five of them knew that breast cancer could be caused by drinking, compared to four out of five people who knew that alcohol could cause liver cancer.

“Having some alcohol-free days each week is a good way to cut down on the amount you’re drinking,” Witt said. “Also, try swapping every other alcoholic drink for a soft drink, choosing smaller servings or less alcoholic versions of drinks, and not keeping a stock of booze at home.”

Alan Boobis, professor of biochemical pharmacology at Imperial College London, said the science showing alcohol’s role in cancer was well established. “The main difficulty is communicating effectively with the public,” he said.

Connor’s study also found that people who smoke and drink are at even greater risk of developing cancer.

More positively, there was some evidence that drinkers who gave up alcohol could reverse their risk of laryngeal, pharyngeal and liver cancer, and that their risk reduced the longer they avoided alcohol, Connor’s research found.

Elaine Hindal, chief executive of Drinkaware, the alcohol industry-funded education charity, agreed that drinking and cancer risk were closely linked.

“Regularly drinking more than the government’s low-risk guidelines puts you at increased risk of some types of cancer, and can also increase your risk of heart and liver disease, strokes and pancreatitis,” she said. “Smoking and drinking together increases your risk of developing throat and mouth cancer more than doing either on their own.”

People drinking more than the recommended limits should cut down in order to safeguard their future health, she added.

 29 
 on: Jul 22, 2016, 05:48 AM 
Started by Sabrina - Last post by Rad
Hi Skywalker,

It is the slower moving of any two bodies that is used as the baseline to determine a phase between the two being considered.

God Bless, Rad

 30 
 on: Jul 22, 2016, 05:45 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Diving enthusiasts could be used to measure ocean temperatures

Decompression computers worn by recreational and commercial divers provides accurate data, study shows

Damian Carrington
Red Orbit
Friday 22 July 2016 11.00 BST

Millions of holidaying scuba divers are able to become citizen scientists and take vital measurements of ocean temperatures, which are being driven up by climate change.

More than 90% of the heat trapped by global warming goes into oceans, where it drives hurricanes and disrupts fish stocks. Satellites can measure surface temperature when there are no clouds, but getting data from below the surface is much harder and more expensive.

A flotilla of 3,000 diving robot buoys provides measurements, but millions of recreational and commercial divers around the world could also play a role. A study, published in Science Reports on Friday, shows that measurements taken from the decompression computers often worn by divers can provide accurate data on ocean temperatures.

Scientists from the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) in Scotland took a range of decompression computers on dives alongside scientific instruments, and showed that the results tallied. The scientists have already collected more than 7,500 dive records from around the world via the Dive Into Science website.

Kieran Hyder at Cefas, who led the citizen science project, said: “To undertake a global science programme that could generate this information would be hugely expensive, but there are millions of sport and commercial dives every year. Making use of just a small fraction of those dives will greatly increase our knowledge of what is happening worldwide.

“The potential of scuba divers to contribute to ocean monitoring is huge and I believe that this study demonstrates only the tip of the iceberg,” he said.

The new data is particularly valuable in highly changeable coastal environments, where many dives occur, as well as in areas that are rarely sampled by other methods.

According to the Dive Into Science project, which is funded by the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: “This extra data could prove crucial in the efforts to understand and predict the effects of our changing climate.”

Other researchers have investigated the ability of tagging marine creatures to provide temperature and other data. The creatures could include penguins and seals and the latter could be especially useful due to their deep dives.

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