cynicaltechnophile:

newsweek:

What BP Doesn’t Want You To Know About The 2012 Gulf Oil Spill

“It’s as safe as Dawn dishwashing liquid.” 

That’s what Jamie Griffin says the BP man told her about the smelly, rainbow-streaked gunk coating the floor of the “floating hotel” where Griffin was feeding hundreds of cleanup workers during the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Apparently, the workers were tracking the gunk inside on their boots. Griffin, as chief cook and maid, was trying to clean it. But even boiling water didn’t work.

“The BP representative said, ‘Jamie, just mop it like you’d mop any other dirty floor,’” Griffin recalls in her Louisiana drawl.

It was the opening weeks of what everyone, echoing President Barack Obama, was calling “the worst environmental disaster in American history.” At 9:45 p.m. local time on April 20, 2010, a fiery explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig had killed 11 workers and injured 17. One mile underwater, the Macondo well had blown apart, unleashing a gusher of oil into the gulf. At risk were fishing areas that supplied one third of the seafood consumed in the U.S., beaches from Texas to Florida that drew billions of dollars’ worth of tourism to local economies, and Obama’s chances of reelection. Republicans were blaming him for mishandling the disaster, his poll numbers were falling, even his 11-year-old daughter was demanding, “Daddy, did you plug the hole yet?”

Griffin did as she was told: “I tried Pine-Sol, bleach, I even tried Dawn on those floors.” As she scrubbed, the mix of cleanser and gunk occasionally splashed onto her arms and face.

Within days, the 32-year-old single mother was coughing up blood and suffering constant headaches. She lost her voice. “My throat felt like I’d swallowed razor blades,” she says.

Then things got much worse.

Like hundreds, possibly thousands, of workers on the cleanup, Griffin soon fell ill with a cluster of excruciating, bizarre, grotesque ailments. By July, unstoppable muscle spasms were twisting her hands into immovable claws. In August, she began losing her short-term memory. After cooking professionally for 10 years, she couldn’t remember the recipe for vegetable soup; one morning, she got in the car to go to work, only to discover she hadn’t put on pants. The right side, but only the right side, of her body “started acting crazy. It felt like the nerves were coming out of my skin. It was so painful. My right leg swelled—my ankle would get as wide as my calf—and my skin got incredibly itchy.”

[Photo: Benjamin Lowy/Getty]

Not entirely certain how reliable “The Daily Beast” is. taking with a grain of salt.

First off, this is from Newsweek. And the writer is a Fellow of the New American Foundation who has written about global warming for outlets including the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Time, NPR, the BBC and The Nation, per his bio. He is the author of six books that have been translated into sixteen languages. Put down the salt. It’s not healthy for you anyways. 

Point of order: Salt is very healthy for you.

In fact, all living creatures require it in order to regulate numerous bodily systems. But, as with most everything, you should only consume it in moderation.

shortformblog:

Previously, the pill required a prescription for girls aged 16 or under. In 2011, Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius made a controversial move, blocking an FDA recommendation that the pill be available over-the-counter to anyone.

"This right of privacy, whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment’s concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action, as we feel it is, or, as the District Court determined, in the Ninth Amendment’s reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy."

— Justice Harry Blackmun delivered the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade on January 22, 1973.

Prank protester chases Rutte over health cuts

The austerity talks the Dutch government has been holding over the past weeks in The Hague have been surrounded by the utmost secrecy. On Thursday, a protestor who chased Prime Minister Mark Rutte cycling to his residence provided one of the rare moments of excitement.

The protestor was a woman who looks after mentally handicapped people. She said she wanted to denounce the government’s cuts in health care. For the occasion she had dressed up as a banker. Police officers on guard at the entrance to the PM’s residence stopped her. After shaking hands with Mr Rutte, she was allowed to leave.

The Netherlands: Where you can chat up the Prime Minister while he rides around on his bicycle.

think-progress:

Who’s sitting at the witness table at the GOP hearing right now on birth control for women. 
Five men. 

Also, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) walked out of the hearing in protest of Chairman Darrell Issa’s refusal to let Democrats call any witnesses. Issa refused to allow Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown student, where Holmes teaches and describes as “the foremost Catholic university in the country,” because Fluke was “not qualified” in Issa’s opinion. Issa is Catholic. Holmes responded, “women impacted by the [policy] are the most qualified to speak.”
Said Maloney,

"What I want to know is, where are the women? I look at this panel, and I don’t see one single individual representing the tens of millions of women across the country who want and need insurance coverage for basic preventive health care services, including family planning. Where are the women?"

think-progress:

Who’s sitting at the witness table at the GOP hearing right now on birth control for women. 

Five men. 

Also, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) walked out of the hearing in protest of Chairman Darrell Issa’s refusal to let Democrats call any witnesses. Issa refused to allow Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown student, where Holmes teaches and describes as “the foremost Catholic university in the country,” because Fluke was “not qualified” in Issa’s opinion. Issa is Catholic. Holmes responded, “women impacted by the [policy] are the most qualified to speak.”

Said Maloney,

"What I want to know is, where are the women? I look at this panel, and I don’t see one single individual representing the tens of millions of women across the country who want and need insurance coverage for basic preventive health care services, including family planning. Where are the women?"

Pink Ribbon, Inc.

Billions of dollars have been raised through the tireless efforts of women and men devoted to putting an end to breast cancer. Yet, breast cancer rates in North America have risen to 1 in 8. “What’s going on?” asks Barbara Brenner in Pink Ribbons, Inc. a new film coming in 2012. 

This feature documentary visits some of the massive fundraising runs and questions where the money goes and asks ‘who really profits from pink ribbon campaigns?’. We meet women with metastatic breast cancer from the IV League support group of Austen, Texas who openly tell us their stories.

Above is a pdf of an August 2010 letter from Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s chief scientific adviser addressing the controversy of Komen partnering with Planned Parenthood. In it, Dr. Winer defends the partnership on the grounds that Planned Parenthood provides invaluable services to many impoverished, un- and under-insured women across the country. It’s an interesting read.

If the viewer isn’t working, the letter, in full and with all emphasis Dr. Winer added, is reproduced below:

August 2010

An open letter about Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Planned Parenthood

This year, as in the past, Susan G. Komen for the Cure is being criticized by some for funding a handful of women’s health programs run by, or with ties to, Planned Parenthood. I’m writing this letter to explain our position and to correct any misinformation you may have heard about this subject.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure exists for only one reason: to save lives and end breast cancer forever. In the past 27 years, we’ve invested more than $1.5 billion to accomplish those goals through research and for programs that educate, screen and treat people in communities all around the world.

Early screening through mammograms and education is critical to end the suffering from this disease: 98 percent of women treated for early stage breast cancer, before it spreads, are alive five years later. The widespread use of mammography and heightened public awareness of breast cancer both contribute to these favorable statistics.

And while Komen Affiliates provide funds to pay for screening, education and treatment programs in dozens of communities, in some areas, the only place that poor, uninsured or under-insured women can receiver these services are through programs run by Planned Parenthood.

These facilities serve rural women, poor women, Native American women, women of color, and the un- and under-insured. As part of our financial arrangements, we monitor our grantees twice a year to be sure they are spending the money in line with our agreements, and we are assured that Planned Parenthood uses these funds only for breast health education, screening and treatment programs.

As long as there is a need for health care for these women, Komen Affiliates will continue to fund the facilities that meet that need.

One year ago, two Catholic ethicists - Ron Hame, Ph.D. and Michael Panicola, Ph.D. - examined the moral implications of our funding decision. They concluded that it was morally permissible for the church to be involved with Komen in light of its funding agreements with Planned Parenthood.

The fact that some Komen affiliates, at times, provide funding to Planned Parenthood specifically and solely for breast health services cannot on the face of it be construed as wrongdoing,” the ethicists wrote. “The good that Komen does and the harm that would come to so many women if Komen ceased to exist or ceased to be funded would be a sufficiently proportionate reason" for Catholics to support our funding decisions (emphasis added).

Another piece of misinformation being spread by many who criticize Komen for the Cure for its Planned Parenthood grants is that abortion causes breast cancer. Well-conducted research consistently fails to support this claim. We agree with the bulk of scientific evidence - from the National Cancer Institute, Harvard, a rigorous study in Denmark and fro Oxford University - that there is no conclusive link between breast cancer and induced abortion or miscarriage.

It is important for women to receive accurate information about risk factors for breast cancer. There are steps a woman can take to reduce her risk of developing breast cancer (for example, maintaining a healthy weight) as well as important steps every woman should take to make sure that, if she does develop breast cancer, it is detected and treated as soon as possible. A complete list of risk factors and screening recommendations can be found on our website www.komen.org.

More detailed information is on our website at www.komen.org. We invite you to review the documents there, and we thank you again for taking time to investigate our position on this issue.

Eric Winer, M.D.
Chief Scientific Advisor
Susan G. Komen for the Cure

(Source: ww5.komen.org)

washingtonpoststyle:

The Susan G. Komen Foundation has announced it will no longer fund Planned Parenthood (it had provided money that went to breast cancer screenings in the past).
A chart, from Ezra Klein earlier this year, looking at where the money given to Planned Parenthood goes.

washingtonpoststyle:

The Susan G. Komen Foundation has announced it will no longer fund Planned Parenthood (it had provided money that went to breast cancer screenings in the past).

A chart, from Ezra Klein earlier this year, looking at where the money given to Planned Parenthood goes.

Komen foundation cuts off cancer screening grants to Planned Parenthood

Boston Globe:

Susan G. Komen for the Cure announced today that it’s cutting off grants to Planned Parenthood affliates across the country to provide breast cancer screenings, including breast exams and mammogram referrals.

Yes, Planned Parenthood provides cancer screenings and general gynecologic care, not just family planning services such as contraception and abortions.

Komen — which sponsors walks and races to raise money for breast cancer research — said it halted the grants because of a controversial investigation of Planned Parenthood by a Republican congressman, who claims the organization is using government funds for abortions, according to the Associated Press. Komen gave about $680,000 in funds to Planned Parenthood affiliates last year, but the seven Massachusetts centers didn’t receive any funding and won’t be directly affected.

The Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts expressed “deep disappointment” and blamed it on “anti-women’s health groups” that have launched boycotts of the well-known breast cancer charity for partnering with Planned Parenthood on cancer screenings.

Over the past five years, those Planned Parenthood health centers that received Komen program funding provided nearly 170,000 clinical breast exams out of the more than 4 million clinical breast exams performed nationwide at Planned Parenthood health centers; clinicians under the grants wrote more than 6,400 mammogram referrals out of 70,000 mammogram referrals issued from Planned Parenthood clinics.

“At a time when women’s health has been under attack, it’s a sad commentary that our two organizations won’t be working together since we both have similar missions,” Dianne Luby, president of the Massachusetts Planned Parenthood said in an interview. “Komen has appeared to succumbed to political pressure from a vocal minority and it leaves women in the lurch. We hope they’ll reconsider.”

think-progress:

A MAJOR WIN for women’s health!

Whoa.

Tags: women health news

shortformblog:

It gets better, even: Apparently Paula Deen has parlayed her diabetes into a sponsorship deal with a drug company. Looks like someone’s gonna have to update their recipes.

Not at all shocking. Also:

Last August, “No Reservations” host Anthony Bourdain called Deen “the worst, most dangerous person to America” and said she should “think twice before telling an already obese nation that it’s OK to eat food that is killing us.”

And, last April, Buzzfeed compiled the “Top 25 Reasons Paula Deen Has Diabetes.”

shortformblog:

It gets better, even: Apparently Paula Deen has parlayed her diabetes into a sponsorship deal with a drug company. Looks like someone’s gonna have to update their recipes.

Not at all shocking. Also:

Last August, “No Reservations” host Anthony Bourdain called Deen “the worst, most dangerous person to America” and said she should “think twice before telling an already obese nation that it’s OK to eat food that is killing us.”

And, last April, Buzzfeed compiled the “Top 25 Reasons Paula Deen Has Diabetes.”

(via shortformblog)

UC Merced Professor Creates Powerful HIV Inhibitor

UC Merced:

In a significant step toward reducing the threat of HIV, UC Merced Professor Patricia LiWang has designed what may be the most effective chemical inhibitor against infection of the virus.

"We need a fairly wide arsenal of HIV drugs because the virus is always mutating," LiWang said. "Drugs become less effective as time goes on."

LiWang’s inhibitor, a novel combination of two existing drugs, has a strength that ranges from several times better than existing inhibitors to several hundred times better, depending on the strain of HIV. The inhibitor works by blocking HIV from entering a person’s cell at two different steps of viral entry. This so-called “entry inhibition” is at the forefront of new strategies for stopping the virus.  Other existing inhibitors have different strategies, such as preventing HIV from carrying out activities like replicating or integrating into the human genome.

There are hundreds of different strains of HIV, LiWang said, and the virus mutates when it gets inside a person’s body. 

“However, since this drug is a combination of two inhibitors, it would be nearly impossible for a virus to mutate so it wouldn’t get hit with either one of these drugs,” she explained.

The research is an example of UC Merced’s faculty addressing real-world health problems. 

The inhibitor is a special protein produced from harmless bacteria, which allows for large amounts to be made. The inhibitor could be added to a vaginal cream that woman could apply to guard against the virus.While condoms protect against HIV, many men in sub-Saharan Africa and other areas won’t wear them, and women often don’t have a choice in the decision. 

LiWang’s findings were published in August in The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Graduate Student Bo Zhao was the first author on the paper. Marie K. Mankowski, Beth A. Snyder and Roger G. Ptakfrom the Southern Research Institute were also part of the study.

Though the discovery is promising, much more testing and development is needed before it could be used by people in countries ravaged by the AIDS epidemic. The next step would be to see if it causes inflammation or any side effects. Clinical trials would be years off.

"We hope that a company is interested in it and we hope to get funding to keep developing it and see why it works," LiWang said. 

discoverynews:

What You Should and Should Not Eat In An Emergency
We’re pretty sure Andy Warhol had some soup cans on hand. But what else should you have in case the apocalypse comes?

Important in case of zombies.

discoverynews:

What You Should and Should Not Eat In An Emergency

We’re pretty sure Andy Warhol had some soup cans on hand. But what else should you have in case the apocalypse comes?

Important in case of zombies.

The CDC offers Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse