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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Paleo People Were Making Flour 32,000 Years Ago

Oatmeal is generally considered a no-no on the modern paleo diet, but the original paleo eaters were definitely grinding oats and other grains for dinner, according to new research.

That finding comes from new investigations of an ancient stone recovered in a cave called Grotta Paglicci in Puglia, in southern Italy. It was used by the Gravettian culture — a paleolithic people who also left behind spectacular cave paintings, evidence of burial and distinctive stone tools.

The stone, which is "pale brown and not much bigger than my hand, " was clearly used as a combination pestle and grinder, says Marta Mariotti Lippi, a botany professor at the University of Florence in Italy, who led the research team. It dates back some 32,000 years, she says, providing the earliest evidence of food processing in Europe.

more

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/09/14/440292003/paleo-people-were-making-flour-32-000-years-ago

Crisis in global oceans as populations of marine species halve in size since 1970

16 September 2015
Marine species around the world, including populations of fish critical to human food security, are in potentially catastrophic decline according to research published today.

WWF’s Living Blue Planet report, an updated study of marine mammals, birds, reptiles and fish, shows a decline of 49 per cent in the size of marine populations between 1970 and 2012. As well as being disastrous for ecosystems, these findings spell trouble for all nations, especially people in the developing world who depend heavily on the ocean’s resources.

Many species essential to commercial and subsistence fishing – and therefore global food supply – are significantly depleted due to over fishing. Global population sizes of the Scombridae family of food fish that includes tunas, mackerels and bonitos have fallen by 74 per cent. Declining stocks of bluefin and yellowfin are of particular concern. Some species found in UK waters, including the vulnerable porbeagle shark and the critically endangered leatherback turtle, have also undergone precipitous declines.

While over-exploitation is identified as the major threat to ocean biodiversity, the study finds that climate change is causing the ocean to change more rapidly than at any other point in millions of years. Rising temperatures and increasing acidity levels caused by carbon dioxide are further weakening a system that is already severely degraded through overfishing, habitat degradation and pollution.

more

http://www.wwf.org.uk/about_wwf/press_centre/?uNewsID=7673

Wash Post:No, Bernie Sanders is not going to bankrupt America to the tune of $18 trillion

By Paul Waldman

The big policy headline today comes from the Wall Street Journal, which delivers this alarming message:

Price Tag of Bernie Sanders’ Proposals: $18 Trillion

Holy cow! He must be advocating for some crazy stuff that will bankrupt America! But is that really an accurate picture of what Sanders is proposing? And is this the kind of number we should be frightened of?

The answer isn’t quite so dramatic: while Sanders does want to spend significant amounts of money, almost all of it is on things we’re already paying for; he just wants to change how we pay for them. In some ways it’s by spreading out a cost currently borne by a limited number of people to all taxpayers. His plan for free public college would do this: right now, it’s paid for by students and their families, while under Sanders’ plan we’d all pay for it in the same way we all pay for parks or the military or food safety.

But the bulk of what Sanders wants to do is in the first category: to have us pay through taxes for things we’re already paying for in other ways. Depending on your perspective on government, you may think that’s a bad idea. But we shouldn’t treat his proposals as though they’re going to cost us $18 trillion on top of what we’re already paying.

And there’s another problem with that scary $18 trillion figure, which is what the Journal says is the 10-year cost of Sanders’ ideas: fully $15 trillion of it comes not from an analysis of anything Sanders has proposed, but from the fact that Sanders has said he’d like to see a single-payer health insurance system, and there’s a single-payer plan in Congress that has been estimated to cost $15 trillion. Sanders hasn’t actually released any health care plan, so we have no idea what his might cost.

much more (not the Kos article, but is good)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2015/09/15/no-bernie-sanders-is-not-going-to-bankrupt-america-to-the-tune-of-18-trillion/

Big Salt takes aim at school lunch rules

Health experts and industry groups are clashing over national sodium standards ahead of a fall congressional debate over first lady Michelle Obama’s signature school lunch regulations.

Groups including the Salt Institute contend that the federal government is years behind in its research on sodium consumption and that some studies have shown getting too little could be more dangerous than getting too much.

“There is absolutely no scientific basis for any population-wide sodium reduction strategy,” said the group’s president, Lori Roman. “Studies show, left to ourselves, we will naturally seek out the safe range. What I worry about is the captive people — the kids in schools, who are getting more than one meal a day or maybe one of their only meals of the day, and elderly people in nursing homes, who are put on low-sodium diets for no reason.”
Under the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, which is up for reauthorization this month, schools are required to reduce sodium levels in the coming years.

The rules would reduce per-lunch maximum sodium levels from 1,230 milligrams in elementary school, 1,360 mg in middle school and 1,420 in high school to 935, 1,035 and 1,080, respectively, by 2017. They would be lowered again to 640, 710 and 740 by 2022.

more

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/253634-big-salt-takes-aim-at-school-lunch-rules

Sweeping over the South Pole (of Mars)



An unusual observation by Mars Express shows a sweeping view over the planet’s south polar ice cap and across its ancient, cratered highlands.

The image was taken by the high-resolution stereo camera on ESA’s Mars Express on 25 February.

During normal scientific imaging, the camera typically takes images pointing straight down towards the surface, from around the closest point to the planet along the spacecraft’s elliptical orbit at an altitude of about 300 km.

But in this unusual observation, known as a ‘broom calibration’ image, Mars Express turned such that its camera panned over the surface far above the planet, close to its furthest point along its orbit, in this case at around 9900 km.

Importantly, as well as affording an unusual wide view, this allows the camera to record a range of features at the same illumination conditions, allowing essential calibration of the camera’s sensors.



more

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Mars_Express/Sweeping_over_the_south_pole_of_Mars

link to high res images
http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2015/09/Mars_south_pole_and_beyond

Two weeks until the fed government runs out of money. CONgress only meeting for 1 week before then

And people keep voting for these idiotic repubs that "hate government". Except when their own paychecks are involved.

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/american-public-wary-gop-shutdown-plan

Toon: Paradise!

Tuesday Toon Roundup 3: The Rest

Nuts









CONgress








NC




emails







Democratic Socialist, that is




Refugees







Trucks






Pope





Pencil


Tuesday Toon Roundup 2: Magic Beans























Tuesday Toon Roundup 1- A Murdoch Publication











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