Posts Tagged With: Science

AMERICA FOR THE PEOPLE.

IMG_2821 (Copy)About 35 people showed up at a nationwide rally for Bernie Sanders for President. We gathered in a parking lot in Sonora, and flashed signs at the passing traffic. I’ve sat on the fence between Hillary, Trump and Bernie.  Hillary has worked hard in public service most of her life and has done wonderful things for others. But, she has wrapped herself in the arm of an unpopular, disappointing  president. Then, after promising she would not take super-pac money against her own party, she has. Not only wall street money but Monsanto, the GMO giant who spends billions to prevent states from labeling where our food comes from and whether it is genetically modified or not. That did it for me. Establishment politics, the failed machine that is inducing companies to go off shore, avoid taxes and take away good jobs from Americans?  Trump and Sanders are the only two candidates mandating change away from the establishment.

IMG_2822 (Copy)Trump says nothing and Sanders very little about climate change while massive extinctions and weather change are playing havoc with our planet. For the sake of our children and grandchildren, we on the ground, must shed the ingrained deniers, people who refuse to acknowledge science. We must shed a do nothing congress, promoting government shutdowns and working lock-step for their party instead the people. If a working person refuses to do his job, he gets fired. How dare Mitch McConnell state he will not even have a hearing on an appointee suggested by a sitting President, whether he is liked or not?

Trump and Sanders represent desperately needed change. Can they get us out of gridlock? I don’t know.

IMG_2823 (Copy)Environmental issues are foremost in the minds of others I met. Keep coal, fossil fuels in the ground. Support wind and solar. I talked with a bee keeper who lives in a pristine area where his bees are turning his garden and orchard into super  production, in a time when Monstanto and Bayer Chemicals are causing colony collapse across the nation. I’m hoping for a candidate that will make sure the laws we already have on the books are obeyed, like those from the EPA and the FDA and the Forest Service; sidestepping regulations when we are literally in danger of earthshaking consequences of fracking, contaminated water, shortages of clean water, decimating natural habitats for profit over nature. We and our institutions are under attack and they are ignoring our laws. How dare they get away with that stuff? They do it by under funding the organizations we depend on.

IMG_2827 (Copy)The group marched along the highway, and into a shopping center. One man was so angry, I thought he was going to attack us. He called us Communists and Socialists. Bernie is an unapologetic Socialist. The angry man wouldn’t talk rationally with us, like is he on Social Security? Does he use Medicare? Has he ridden on a train or does he drive on our socialistic roads? Has he used water from behind a dam? Come on. We all benefit from shared expenditures. Socialist countries like Sweden and Denmark, and Canada and France and many programs in Great Britain have provided a good quality of life.  Big Pharma will tell you socialized medicine is about waiting in lines for poor quality medical care.  Biased they are. They don’t mention the wonderful government sponsored childcare and education. Roosevelt made sweeping changes that saved people with socialistic programs that corporate America has tried to dismantle ever since. Are we better off? Not hardly when it takes two or three income sources for middle class people to keep the wolf from the door. Not when people with college educations are slinging hash.

IMG_2825 (Copy)Bernie is against the consolidation of big banks, and the notion that Wall Street’s obligation is to make obscene amounts of money while working people are struggling to feed their kids. The system is out of whack. Trump feels the business model is the best way to run a country. Trump makes statements about laws he is going to pass that aren’t practical like building a bigger wall. A bigger wall isn’t going to stop the drug cartels who have already moved across the border. Nor stop people from entering the country unless you fence the entire country and put a net over the airspace. He also bothers me because he makes statements and then denies he made them. Even so, Rubio in five yeas has produced ZERO bills and his absenteeism is compared to Finestein who is 82 and Kirk who has had a stroke.  Cruz is more concerned with moral issues than the planet. He pays lip service when to solving problems for working people. I’d run with Trump over them and figure he’d be smart enough to figure it out.

IMG_2834 (Copy)Suffice it to say, there is no perfect candidate. If there is, I haven’t heard about him or her. So, for the time being, I’m hanging in with Bernie. IMG_2824 (Copy)I believe this is true. He really does care for all.

 

 

 

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THINK CLIMATE CHANGE BEFORE YOU VOTE.

A crucial alarm was brought to our attention yesterday.

United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said:   “Climate change caused by burning fossil fuels has accelerated to the point that the only chance of keeping the world’s temperature below a dangerous level may be to end all greenhouse gas emissions by the end of this century The report issued in Copenhagen said climate change already is affecting life on every continent and in rising oceans.

“Science has spoken. There is no ambiguity in their message. Leaders must act. Time is not on our side,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.

“The scientific community across the world is sounding the alarm. Climate change is real and it will have devastating consequences around the globe unless we act boldly and decisively,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders, a member of the Senate environment and energy committees.

Sanders has proposed a fee on carbon and methane emissions. The measure is cosponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Their bill would help create millions of jobs transforming the U.S. energy system away from fossil fuels to sustainable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass. Another Sanders bill would end tax breaks and subsidies for oil and coal companies. A companion measure in the House is sponsored by Rep. Keith Ellison.

Both ideas are backed by scientists and leading economists but blocked by Republicans in Congress. “Many Republicans now respond to the crisis of climate change by saying they are not scientists and therefore have no opinion,” Sanders said. “Well, most of them are not doctors but they respect doctors’ opinions on cancer and heart disease. Most of them are not generals but they respect the opinions of our military leaders. It’s time for them to respect the views of the scientific community on climate change.”

It is time to bug your representatives to DO SOMETHING ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE, no matter what party you belong to.  Let us try to save what we have before we see devastation as it is portrayed in science fiction movies like blade runner.

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BITE SIZED WISDOM.

We arrived in Nicolaus, California. I was hoping to say goodbye to my grandsons who are moving temporarily to Australia. I got to talk to them on the phone. Just before a move, a million details need attention. How lucky we are to have email and the internet.

I walked Lake Minden, which is part of a Thousand Trails resort, and didn’t take a single picture.

This morning, I thought about many things, as I cruised through my science publications, and emails from groups I belong to. I hope I can find enough “sound bites” of wisdom to make this blog worthwhile.

As history has shown, it is impossible to bomb your way to peace.

A poison kills you,” says biology professor Frederick vom Saal. “A chemical like BPA reprograms your cells and ends up causing a disease in your grandchild that kills him.”

A scary thought. Plastics in all forms, its seem, are unhealthy for us and the planet.

New research led by Michigan State University psychology professor David Z. Hambrick suggests that, unfortunately for many of us, success isn’t exclusively a product of determination — that despite even the most hermitic practice routine, our genes might still leave greatness out of reach.

I NOW know why all that practice didn’t make me a great pianist. It’s my DNA.

The probiotic properties of the lactic-acid bacteria isolated from wine are similar to those of probiotics that come from foods like dairy products such as fermented milk or yogurt and dry sausages, and foods of plant origin such as sauerkraut and olives, fruits, cereals, meat or fish. 

Good news, and two glasses a day will do it, but, it has to be wine without sulphites.

Gulf coast ecosystems were supposed to rebound after the BP oil spill. They haven’t.  (Tim McConneil)

So, are we going to trust drilling in the arctic?

Oh,well. this blog didn’t turn out quite like I thought it would. I can’t find half the information that I kept somewhere that should reflect a bit of wisdom.

We are just a couple of hours away from Murphys, and home again.  Jim is already looking at the weather and thinking about ditching.  He is a Weather Wimp!!!

 

 

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A SHAMEFUL POWER PLAY.

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Last night, just as it was getting dark, the power went out. We have no street lights and when it gets dark, it is black hole dark. I spent the evening in my chair trying to read by candle light. Makes you appreciate your power company, but that kind of power is not my subject today.

I’m disgusted by John Boehner’s  frivolous lawsuit against President Obama. I’m remembering Kenneth Starr’s useless pursuit of the Whitewater Case during the Clinton Administration. The guy didn’t even give up his day job to investigate and cost we taxpayers millions of dollars for no indictments of anybody in the Whitewater case. He stretched out that investigation for months and bilked all of us.  Now, Boehner expects the taxpayers to pay for this lawsuit?

There has never been such an obstructionist congress since the constitution was ratified, and our founding father’s were a contentious bunch. But, their aim was the betterment of all. I believe this lawsuit is purely a power play at our expense.

I’m not a great fan of Obama, but let the guy do his job. If you don’t like him, and his cohorts, offer a better plan and vote them out.

Lets take a look at where we are. Food stamp use is skyrocketing, more Americans are unable to live on their wages. Not good. But it was congress who cut food stamps from $7 a day to $6. Can’t blame that on Obama. And businesses like Walmart, MacDonalds, etc. who pay their hundreds of thousands of workers half the poverty level wages while we taxpayers have to subsidize them with food stamps and medical care? The Republicans were lock step against raising the minimum wage.

Both parties, everyone including Obama, seem to be against regulating Wall Street interests and taxing the super rich to the previous working checks and balances.

Even so,  the jobless rate is forecast to drop to 6.1% from 6.3%, and many cities and states  are raising minimum wages, and many major economic indicators are pointing to a steady economic recovery. The real estate market is virtually recovered, though not at bubble prices. And millions of people have medical insurance who didn’t have it before.
Obama hasn’t performed miracles, but he ended two wars, secured the world’s loose nukes, got rid of Bin Laden and brought the last POW home. He disarmed a middle-eastern madman without firing a shot, and dashed Putin’s hope of a new Soviet empire. Now, if he could just get congress to work instead of pontificate, it really would be a miracle.

There are still pressing world issues, like climate change, extreme weather costs, women’s choices, equal pay, decisions made from an anti-scientific attitude. School textbook companies re-writing history to please the religious beliefs of a minority. Extremists trying to break down the wall between government and religion. But hey,  let’s sue Obama and spend a lot of taxpayer money and take attention away from any real issues.  It disgusts me.

 

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MR. SMITH WENT TO WASHINGTON.

Jim and I paused to reflect yesterday on our fifth anniversary since we met face to face at a restaurant in Tracy, a half way point from where I live to where he was parked near Gilroy. Once we hit the road, I slowly gave up my newspaper and and now get my news on-line.

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Mr. Smith went to Washington and gave his millions to create The Smithsonian, our  masterfully reflective Museum and Archive that covers every aspect of American life and beyond. Scientists, psychologists, researchers, and curators seek out what makes us tick and how it affects how we live. I get their magazine at home, but read it on-line as well. The picture above is what once was the “Loneliest” tree on the planet. Three hundred years old, with roots that reached 100 feet to the water table. An acacia that was used on maps in the 1930’s as a directional landmark and for many years before by word of mouth. It was rammed into by a (rumored) drunk driver in 1973 and killed. The trunk sits in the Smithsonian and a metal tree has replaced the famous Acacia.

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Jim and I are tea drinkers, but when I’m home, I drink one cup of coffee in the morning. Neuroscientist Steven Miller tells us that the best time to drink coffee, or any caffeine drink, is when our cortisol begins to dip, for most people about 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the morning and after 1:00 in the afternoon and after 6:30 at night.

The United Kingdom’s National Healthy Service claims their measurements were based upon when workers begin to tire and suggest coffee break  at 2:16 p.m. Rather precise, aren’t they? The afternoon drink, with a 15 minute nap,no longer, called the caffeine nap, is beneficial according to  LIFEHACKER. Hey good to know.

Smithsonian gives you Smart News, what is Trending Today, New research and Cool Finds.  Smithsonian is trustworthy, not controlled by any President or Congress. I love it.

 

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PEE POWER

Here’s a way to ensure waste isn’t, well, wasted.

Four African girls just showed off a urine-powered generator at Maker Faire Africa, in Lagos. Duro-Aina Adebola, Akindele Abiola and Faleke Oluwatoyin, 14, and Bello Eniola, 15, built the device, which uses an electrolytic cell to separate hydrogen out of urine, Maker Faire’s website explained.

The hydrogen goes into a water filter for purification, which then gets pushed into the gas cylinder. The gas cylinder pushes hydrogen into a cylinder of liquid borax, which is used to remove the moisture from the hydrogen gas. This purified hydrogen gas is pushed into the generator.

A liter of urine generates six hours of electricity.

While the system does have one-way valves for safety,  the device is admittedly explosive.

I recently saw a cartoon of a guy pissing directly into a gas tank. Funny, but we may not be that far away. The concept of using urine for hydrogen isn’t a new idea.

Gerardine Botte, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Ohio University  has developed a technology to generate hydrogen fuel from urine.

Botte says urine contains two compounds that could be a source of hydrogen: ammonia and urea. Place an electrode in wastewater, apply a gentle current, and voila: hydrogen gas that can be used to power a fuel cell. Ammonia and urea hold their hydrogen atoms less tightly than water does, so less energy is required to split them off.

Botte’s technology has the greatest potential for power generation in settings where large numbers of people gather – airports and sports stadiums, for example. An office building with 200 to 300 workers could generate 2 kilowatts of power, every drop in the bucket helps. Botte’s approach could  address pollution associated with animal feedlots. The urine produced by 1,000 cows could generate 40 to 50 kilowatts of power, and rid the soil of all that noxious ammonia.

There is also A group of scientists in the UK, working on a fuel cell powered directly by urine. I hope they get it all together and perfected soon. I’d like to think that pee has power and cache. Waste Not Want Not is still part of my childhood vocabulary and an environmentally sound idea for today.

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