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Saturday, August 18, 2018

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People Have Been Reusing Clothes Forever But Thrift Shops Are Relatively New. Here's Why
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
There's a big psychological difference between a "thrift store" and a "junk store"
Seen from the air, the dry summer reveals an ancient harvest of archaeological finds
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
A hot summer reveals hidden history beneath the dried-out fields - but only when seen from the air.
Aretha Franklin and the art of her performance: Part 4
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The Queen of Soul stunned an audience at the 1998 Grammys when she took Luciano Pavarotti's place after he became ill.
‘I Don’t Feel Safe Living Here.’ After Threats From Parents, a Transgender Girl's Family Is Moving. Again.
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Brandy Rose worries that Maddie's classmates, most of whom did not know that she was transgender, will bully her now
We have some bad news about the future of the terrible wildfires in the Western U.S.
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The flames scorching the Western U.S. aren't expected to relent anytime soon.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) gave its monthly U.S. climate report on Thursday, and they used the opportunity to show that the next couple of months are ripe for an enhanced fire risk out West. SEE ALSO: The baking Pacific Ocean is changing the weather on the Southern California coast After noting the exceptionally hot and dry conditions that stoked destructive wildfires so far this summer, Tim Brown, director of the Western Regional Climate Center, said in a press call that it won't be until after October that "we see a decline in significant fire potential." A critical driver of this heightened fire potential is that trees, grasses, and shrubs, known collectively as fuels, are currently "flirting with all-time record lows for fuel moisture," said Brown. Visible imagery from NOAA's #GOES16, along with its fire radiative power product, shows the explosive growth of #wildfires — ignited by #lightning strikes over the weekend — in #WashingtonState, including the #GrassValleyFire. pic.twitter.com/4hyxpVGR1J — NOAA Satellites PA (@NOAASatellitePA) August 13, 2018 In short, hot temperatures and multiple heat waves this summer have parched the land to extreme levels, turning it to tinder. Meaningful rains can solve the problem, but they don't usually show up in many portions of the West until November.  What's more, the coming fall months have another potent fire factor that isn't usually seen in August: Strong offshore winds, blowing from the northeast.  Called "diablo winds" in Northern California, these gusts are hot, dry, and fast and have historically whipped up fires. Case in point: The deadly firestorms that swept through Northern California neighborhoods last fall were stoked by October's diablo winds. The smoke from the western North America #wildfires is moving eastward across the Atlantic Ocean, captured here by our #GOESEast satellite. More imagery: https://t.co/P1F11zXUHI pic.twitter.com/HsJh25vbvY — NOAA Satellites (@NOAASatellites) August 14, 2018 On top of all this, Brown underscored that since 1895, there has been a trend in increasing temperatures at night, which ultimately won't allow fuels to cool off and recover.  "This can lead to longer fires and more smoke production," he said. But in the last couple decades, "this trend has taken off," said Brown.  Taken alone, each of these environmental conditions can stoke fires, but taken together, they invite major flames.  Some of the largest fires in California history are burning through the ravaged state right now, and smoke from both the Western U.S. and Canada has traveled thousands of miles away to the Atlantic Ocean, actually engulfing a cyclone.  Just out: NASA global temperature for July. It was the 3rd warmest July on record after 2016 and 2017. Since July is the warmest month of the year, the past July was one of the warmest recorded months ever. Likely among the warmest months since the Eemian 120,000 years ago. pic.twitter.com/KGZXh5ZXOS — Stefan Rahmstorf (@rahmstorf) August 15, 2018 Brown likened the profoundly parched vegetation in the West to a dying Christmas tree.  During winter, the tree might be wet and green, but as time passes and the leaves brown, it becomes an increasing flammable object. And unfortunately, that's how we all should be thinking about the West right now. WATCH: Ever wonder how the universe might end?
President Trump Cancels Military Parade, Citing 'Ridiculously High' Price
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The projected cost of the parade was $92 million
A Mysterious Furry 'Sea Monster' Has Washed Up on a Russian Beach
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
A huge creature washed up on a beach in Russia and nobody is really sure what it is.
Edited Transcript of OPHT earnings conference call or presentation 1
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Q2 2018 Ophthotech Corp Earnings Call
India Announces Plans for Manned Space Flights
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
India is a country carrying increasing expectations. Now, as its influence has expanded in several industrial sectors, the government has emphasized that the country's ambitions transcend this world and aim toward the heavens. Addressing the nation during the Aug. 15 celebrations for India's independence from the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed the country's plans to have one astronaut in space by 2022 as part of Gaganyaan, India's ambitious human space flight plan.
Murdered Colorado Mother Called Husband 'the Best Dad Us Girls Could Ask For' in Facebook Posts
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Her husband Christopher is accused of killing her and their two daughters
How Did Marilyn Monroe Get Her Name? This Photo Reveals the Story
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
And the photo is now for sale at auction
Scientists downgrade alert level for Hawaii volcano
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
HONOLULU (AP) — Slowing activity at Hawaii's Kilauea volcano has prompted scientists on Friday to downgrade their alert level for the mountain.
D.C. Archbishop Faces Criticism and Calls for Resignation After Pennsylvania Report on Priest Sex Abuse
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
People are calling for Wuerl's resignation following the grand jury report
How V.S. Naipaul Reshaped the Literary Landscape
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
He helped diasporas around the world understand where we stand and how we got here
Country Music Star Miranda Lambert Says She Has 'Made a Career Based on Telling the Truth'
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The outspoken country star on the importance of women's voices, advice from Dolly Parton and why she still carries a handgun
Don't worry, your cereal probably won't poison you with pesticides
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
It may seem like an alarmist local news story to declare your breakfast could kill you, but a new independent study claims that some of your favorite cereals could contain unsafe levels of a chemical used in a popular weed killer. The report, from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), was published online Wednesday and outlines the levels of the chemical glyphosate they found in various breakfast cereals and snacks.  Glyphosate is the major ingredient in the herbicide RoundUp and one at the center of an ongoing tug-of-war.   The World Health Organization (WHO) has ruled the chemical is "probably carcinogenic to humans," and the state of California has categorized it as a chemical linked to cancer. Meanwhile, in late 2017, the EPA concluded an assessment that declared "glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans. And its with that intersection in mind that one has to look upon the new EWG report — which wasn't peer reviewed by independent scientists — with quite a bit of scrutiny. EWG versus the EPA For the study, the EWG tested dozens of samples, looking for levels of glyphosate that were above 160 pars per billion (ppb)/0.16 mg, which the organization considers the upper range of safe levels of the chemical for children to be exposed to. You can see their full results here but a few items stand out: Quaker Dinosaur Eggs, Brown Sugar, Instant Oatmeal had readings of 620 ppb/0.62 mg and 780 ppb/0.78 mg. Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal had readings of 470 ppb/0.47 mg, 490 ppb/0.49 mg, and 530 ppb/0.53 mg. Quaker Old Fashioned Oats had readings of 390 ppb/0.39 mg, 1100 ppb/1.1 mg, and 1300 ppb/1.3 mg.  Those numbers seem not so great — if you use the EWG's threshold.  But the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets a much higher bar for how much glyphosate is safe for a person. According to a 1993 EPA report, the safe exposure level could be as high as 2 mg a day, well above any of the rates that the EWG uncovered in their studies.  For what it's worth, The Guardian recently published a report showing that the FDA has been investigating the use of glyphosate for years but has yet to issue any public findings.  The ongoing research into glyphosate is important because It's a hugely popular pesticide, with hundreds of millions of gallons being used on U.S. crops each year. And, per The Guardian's report, "the FDA has had trouble finding any food that does not carry traces of the pesticide."  Not that eating pesticides is a great thing, but the large discrepancies between the EPA numbers and the EWG numbers can be confusing for consumers trying to determine how much, exactly, is still safe. "Finding glyphosate in food is residue," Kaitlin Stack Whitney, an environmental studies scholar, said in an interview. "Residue limits are a subset of exposure limits as eating pesticides residue is one route of potential exposure." "So finding non-zero amounts isn't unexpected; it's's planned for and limited under current law," Stack Whitney, who also worked as a staff biologist for the EPA, added. There's also the issue of "spray drift," as Stack Whitney notes, pointing to EWG finding traces of the chemical on products labeled organic likely due to some of the pesticide drifting to those organic crops on the wind.  "The current pesticide review process struggles to account for this because agencies can't know what anyone and everyone's neighbors may grow and which chemicals they may apply," she said.  "So whether residues are from direct application or drift is critical to understanding how to address if you think the amount is unsafe." A question of methodology For Lori Hoepner, an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, it's about methodology.  She notes that "it's hard enough to have consensus among scientists when you're talking about using the same methods."  "So to go from something that would determine the limit of exposure, and try to extend that information to telling consumers about what it means to find glyphosate in their food, I think it can be perceived as something of a stretch," Hoepner said. Noting that she's familiar with the EWG's work and has vouched for them as a good resource for consumers, Hoepner still expressed some reservations about they way they presented their work for this study.  "It always concerns me when science is presented in a way that is not peer-reviewed, doesn't have the oversight of additional researchers who can validate or question the method." Stack Whitney echoed Hoepner's sentiment:  "[The EWG] study is like a white paper or other reports from think tanks, well researched and written but not peer reviewed. It would be useful to review their actual data and methods but those aren't available." Hoepner also wanted to see more about how they took their samples.  "What was their method? Was it randomized? Was it all from one box? How many different boxes were used? Where did they buy them?" Hoepner said. Noting the wide ranges in some of the results, Hoepner says, "that definitely creates a question mark in my mind for validity." The corporations defend their products As for the companies identified in the study, they're standing by the quality of their products.  A statement sent via email from the Quaker brand maintained the brand's stance they're products are perfectly safe and included a passage that denied the use of glyphosate in the making of their products. A spokesperson for General Mills, producers of Cheerios, echoed this sentiment in a statement. Corporate behemoth Monsanto, which produces RoundUp, has been under fire lately for the chemical, including a recent California verdict that ordered the company to pay $289 million to a school groundskeeper who claimed his constant and prolonged exposure to the chemical was to blame for him developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  In the wake of the EWG's report, Monsanto posted a rebuttal on their website accusing the EWG of "publicizing misleading information." Additionally, in an email exchange, a spokesperson for Monsanto highlighted this portion: Additionally, Monsanto Vice President Scott Partridge told the New York Times in response to EWG study, “[The EWG] have an agenda. They are fear mongering. They distort science.” For consumers, there's no right or wrong answer at the moment. While buying different brands may seem like an option, the prevalence of the pesticides used makes it nearly impossible to completely avoid.  The opposing sets of data can only sow more confusion and consumers are left to decide who they trust more: groups like the EWG, government agencies like the EPA, or corporations.  WATCH: Here's how long fruits and vegetables are stored before you buy them at the store
Flood death toll in India's Kerala jumps to 164
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The death toll from major floods in India's tourist hotspot Kerala has jumped to 164, state chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said Friday, issuing a fresh heavy rainfall warning for the battered region. Kerala's government has described the crisis -- one of the worst in decades -- as "extremely grave" and rescue operations are underway to help thousands who remain trapped by floodwaters. "The chief minister has confirmed 164 deaths.
President Trump Is Interested in a Major Shakeup for Corporate Earnings Reports
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The shift could promote longer-term thinking among business leaders
Pope Francis Condemns Sex Abuse By Pennsylvania Priests Detailed in Grand Jury Report
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The Vatican expressed “shame and sorrow” on Thursday about a scathing Pennsylvania grand jury report about clergy who raped and molested children in six dioceses and decried the abuse as “criminally and morally reprehensible.”
Tesla's Board Is Reportedly Searching for a Second
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
After Musk's controversial tweet could cost the company dearly
She ‘Helped Define the American Experience.’ Barack and Michelle Obama Mourn Aretha Franklin
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
"She helped us feel more connected to each other"
Turkish People Are Smashing Their iPhones to Protest President Trump's Tariffs
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Videos of Turks smashing their iPhones have gone viral online in response to new tariffs and sanctions imposed by President Trump.
Judge in Manafort Trial Says He Won't Identify Jurors After Receiving Threats
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Jury lists are made public unless a judge gives a reason for them to be a secret
Aretha Franklin, 'Queen of Soul,' dies at 76 : Part 1
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The music icon was just 25 years old when she came out with her first hit "Respect" and her music career lasted more than 50 years.
Trump's Military Parade Isn't Happening This Year, Pentagon Says
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The parade has been postponed
ISIS Terrorist Killed Iraqi Police Officer Then Came to U.S. as Refugee, Justice Department Says
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Omar Ameen was arrested in Sacramento
5 Ways to Make Friends as an Adult, According to Science
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
After college ends, or you leave your first job, or you have kids and get sucked into a three-year vortex wherein your closest social contact is with the lovely receptionist at your pediatrician’s office, we...
President Trump Says Media Is 'the Opposition Party' After 350 Newspapers Push Back on 'Fake News' Attacks
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
350 newspapers from Maine to Hawaii published editorials about free press
Not just land heat waves: Oceans are in hot water, too
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
WASHINGTON (AP) — Even the oceans are breaking temperature records in this summer of heat waves.
Maths: six ways to help your child love it
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Make maths more fun with these tips
Elon Musk Says Stress and Long Hours Are Taking a Toll During an 'Excruciating' Year
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
But he stood by a recent tweet saying he might take Tesla private
Scientists find 'world's oldest cheese' in a 3,300
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Researchers may have discovered a jar of the world's oldest cheese in the tomb of an ancient Egyptian mayor, but - frustratingly for turophiles - the taste of the bacteria-laced sample is likely to remain a mystery. The discovery, announced in the American Chemical Society's Analytical Chemistry journal this week, came after researchers tested the whitish contents of the jar found in the tomb of Ptahmes, a mayor of 13th century BC Memphis, an important capital in ancient southern Egypt. "This is the oldest solid cheese ever found," Enrico Greco, a scientist with the department of Chemical Sciences at the University of Catania who coauthored the report, told The Telegraph.  Remains of cheese-like products older than the jar's contents had previously discovered in Poland, China, and Egypt, but a scientist who took part in the discovery says they were the products of natural fermentation so were more like yogurt than cheese. Older samples discovered elsewhere were "more attributable to natural fermented milk like yogurt or kefir. In our case we didn't find any biomolecular traces of proteins resulting from natural fermentation of milk," Mr Greco said. 3,300-year-old cheese was in the tomb of Ptahmes, the former mayor of Memphis Credit: UNIVERSITY OF CATANIA/CAIRO UNIVERSITY The jar had been covered in a canvas to preserve the cheese. The scientists investigated its contents using liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry, the American Chemical Society said.  The tests showed the cheese had been made from a mixture of cow and sheep, or goat, milk. They also revealed that the sample was laced with Bricella melitensis, which can be deadly to humans. But the cheese's taste is a mystery. Archaeofood | World's oldest food "We do not have much information on what the taste could be, we know it was made mostly from sheep's and goat's milk," Mr Greco said. "But for me it's really hard to imagine a specific flavour. I'm Italian, I love cheese and I know how much they can change in flavour and appearance even with very few differences in ingredients and process. "It is these small variations and the specificities in the regional processes that have allowed the development of so many varieties in my country."
Vietnam's caged bears dying off as bile prices plummet
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Two moon bears are gently removed from the cramped cages where they have been held for 13 years, rescuers carefully checking their rotten teeth and matted paws before sending them to their new home in a grassy sanctuary in northern Vietnam. The animals are among the lucky few to be rescued in a country where hundreds of bears are feared to have been killed or starved to death as the cost of once-valuable farmed bile has plummeted. Bear bile is extracted -- often continuously and painfully -- from the animals' gallbladders and used in traditional medicine in Vietnam, where the illegal practice remains widespread.
American Legion Comes Out Against Military Parade
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The group says it appreciates Trump’s support for troops, the money would be better spent on veterans
Brazil's 'Dr. Bumbum' Charged With Murder After Fatal Plastic Surgery
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Prosecutors said he did not have a license to practice medicine in the state where the procedure took place
NASA finally figured out what this ‘foreign object’ on Mars actually is
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Despite what so many people would love to believe, NASA hasn't discovered any evidence of past or present intelligent life on Mars. So, when the Curiosity rover stumbled upon what appeared to be a very suspicious chunk of something on the Red Planet's surface, they were not only surprised but also a little bit worried. The thin fragment was suspicious enough to warrant its own name, with NASA's Curiosity rover team calling it the "Pettegrove Point Foreign Object Debris," named for the location where it was discovered. With no idea what it was or where it came from, the rover's handlers began to worry that it might actually be a chunk of the rover itself, suggesting some unseen damage or other issue with the robot. Thankfully, those concerns seem to have been unfounded. In a new update from NASA the object has now been identified as a natural chunk of rock rather than a piece of any manmade craft or vehicle. The team analyzed the bizarre object with a tool called the ChemCam RMI. The instrument uses a laser to sniff out the makeup of anything it's pointed at, and the results for this particular piece of debris revealed that it's actually just a very thin piece of rock. NASA describes the inspection thusly: The planning day began with an interesting result from the previous plan's ChemCam RMI analysis of a target that was referred to as "Pettegrove Point Foreign Object Debris" (PPFOD), and speculated to be a piece of spacecraft debris. In fact it was found to be a very thin flake of rock, so we can all rest easy tonight - Curiosity has not begun to shed its skin! How this particularly thin sliver of rock got to where it is — and why it seems to be a different color than the surrounding sand and debris — remains unexplained, but at least the rover isn't falling apart.
Exclusive: U.S. seed sellers push for limits on Monsanto, BASF weed killer
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
America's two biggest independent seed sellers, Beck's Hybrids and Stine Seed, told Reuters they are pushing U.S. environmental regulators to bar farmers from spraying dicamba weed killer during upcoming summers in a potential blow to Bayer AG's Monsanto Co. Limiting spraying of the chemical to the spring season, before crops are planted, would prevent farmers from using the herbicide on dicamba-resistant soybeans that Monsanto engineered. The seeds are sold by companies including Beck's and Stine.
Former Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee, Who Sparked Both a Nuclear Arms Race and a Peace Process, Has Died at 93
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Vajpayee set off India's nuclear race but later reached out to Pakistan in peace
Idlib Could Be the Last Major Battlefield of the Syrian Civil War. But Assad Won’t Take It Easily
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
For years, Idlib has been the dumping ground for Syria’s defeated rebel. As the government retook areas like Aleppo...
CNN survey suggests support for Space Force doesn’t match Star Wars appeal
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
News Brief: A CNN survey suggests most Americans don’t back the Trump administration’s plans to create a new military branch known as the Space Force. The survey, based on a sampling of 1,002 American adults, showed that 55 percent would rather keep the Air Force in charge of protecting U.S. space assets. Phil Larson, a space policy adviser in the Obama administration who’s now at the University of Colorado, joked on Twitter that “Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace” (the movie featuring the widely panned Jar Jar Binks character) won higher ratings on Rotten Tomatoes. Support for the… Read More
Spanish King Taunted by Catalan Separatists at Ceremony for Terror Attack Victims in Barcelona
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Catalonia's push to break away from Spain has been Felipe VI's biggest challenge
Boy Repeatedly Stabs 14
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The 14-year-old girl was stabbed 'multiple times ... five, six, seven times'
New Horrifying Details Released About Fire Tornado That Killed California Firefighter
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The rare fire tornado that ravaged a Northern California neighborhood last month trapped and killed a firefighter while “violently” flinging debris and embers at two bulldozer operators, according to new details released on the stunning fire event
World's oldest cheese found
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Scientists discover a 3,300-year-old cheese, thought to be the world's oldest, in Egypt, but it is riddled with bacteria.
Aretha Franklin: A master in the art of making an entrance: Part 6
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Franklin paid tribute to Carole King with a performance at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors.
Admiral Who Led Bin Laden Raid Tells President Trump to Revoke His Security Clearance, Too
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Thirteen former intelligence chiefs – including David Petraeus Robert Gates – released a statement backing Brennan and calling Trump's attacks "ill-considered and unprecedented"
Never Mind Congress. These Democrats Want to Win State Legislatures
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Flippable is directing anti-Trump political momentum towards flipping statehouses blue.
China May Be Adding a ‘Nuclear Element’ to the South China Sea, the Pentagon Warns
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
China plans to introduce floating nuclear power plants near disputed islands
‘The Laws Need to Change’ After Shocking Reports of Child Abuse by Catholic Priests, Pennsylvania Attorney General Says
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
"I don’t know how any lawmaker in Pennsylvania could possibly be against those reforms"