Mar 142012
 

Harvard Medical School found that 1 in 10 premature deaths is caused by eating red meat:

Small quantities of processed meat such as bacon, sausages or salami can increase the likelihood of dying by a fifth, researchers from Harvard School of Medicine found. Eating steak increases the risk of dying by 12%.

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Red meat often contains high amounts of saturated fat, while bacon and salami contain large amounts of salt. Replacing red meat with poultry, fish or vegetables, whole grains and other healthy foods cut the risk of dying by up to one fifth, the study found.

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The study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine followed more than 100,000 people for around 28 years asking them periodically about their diet and lifestyle.

It was found that for every serving of red meat – equivalent to 3 ounces (85 grams) – eaten each day there was an 18 per cent increased risk of dying from heart disease and a 10 per cent increased risk of dying from cancer.

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“The research itself seems solid and is based on two large scale cohort studies monitored over a long period of time.”

Other studies have also found that eating too much meat causes cancer and other health problems.

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Jan 022012
 

Man is not going to change, and the sea is going to be dead
   — a quote from The End of The Line

Rupert Murray's documentary The End Of The Line premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, 2009. The film is about the overfishing of the world's oceans, a subject I have covered extensively on DOTE (trailer below).

In the film we see firsthand the effects of our global love affair with fish as food.

It examines the imminent extinction of bluefin tuna, brought on by increasing western demand for sushi; the impact on marine life resulting in huge overpopulation of jellyfish; and the profound implications of a future world with no fish that would bring certain mass starvation.

Filmed over two years, The End of the Line follows the investigative reporter Charles Clover as he confronts politicians and celebrity restaurateurs, who exhibit little regard for the damage they are doing to the oceans.

I read Charles Clover's book a few years back. That book has undoubtedly influenced my writing. You can now watch the entire documentary at Hulu (1 hour, 22 minutes). I urge you do to so. You'll have to put up with some annoying advertising, but not much. Maybe you've got some free time today.

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Oct 042010
 

Scientists from Oregon State University have found a 40-fold increase in the amount of cancer-causing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) near Louisiana’s Grande Isle between May and June.

The Oregon team is looking at “the fraction of PAHs that are bioavailable – that have the potential to move into the food chain."

As I pointed out last month, PAHs are harmful to both human health and seafood safety:

McClatchy notes today:

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill still poses threats to human health and seafood safety, according to a study published Monday by the peer-reviewed Journal of the American Medical Association.

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In the short term, study co-author Gina Solomon voiced greatest concern for shrimp, oysters, crabs and other invertebrates she says are have difficulty clearing their systems of dangerous polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) similar to those found in cigarette smoke and soot. Solomon is an MD and public health expert in the department of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco.

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Sep 212010
 

As shown by the following videos, BP and government representatives are still keeping scientists and reporters away from areas impacted by oil.

WEAR ABC news documented yesterday that federal agents are preventing reporters from digging in the sand to look for oil:

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Aug 102010
 

The Soviet Union was famous for covering up its environmental disasters.

As award-winning journalist Dahr Jamail points out in a must-read article about the oil spill:

“It is well known that after the Chernobyl accident, the Soviet government immediately did everything possible to conceal the fact of the accident and its consequences for the population and the environment: it issued “top secret” instructions to classify all data on the accident, especially as regards the health of the affected population,” journalist Alla Yaroshinskaya has written.

In 1990 Yaroshinskaya came across documents about the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe that revealed a massive state cover-up operation, coupled with a calculated policy of disinformation where the then Soviet Union’s state and party leadership knowingly played down the extent of the contamination and offered a sanitized version to the public, both in and out of Russia. To date, studies continue to show ongoing human and environmental damage from that disaster.

When the disaster at Chernobyl occurred, it was only after radiation levels triggered alarms at the Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant in Sweden that the Soviet Union admitted an accident had even occurred. Even then, government authorities immediately began to attempt to conceal the scale of the disaster.

But it’s not just the communist Soviets …
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Aug 042010
 

Fighting for Justice in Appalachia

On Thursday, July 14, right after the regular 4:30 PM shift change, Katie Huszcza, Colin Flood, Jimmy Tobias, and Sophie Kern, four Climate Ground Zero activists, and all in their early twenties, locked down to a high wall miner engaged in mountain top removal coal mining on Coal River Mountain. A high wall miner is a very large machine designed to bore holes into the hillside with giant grinders that pulverize the coal. From time to time, the grinder has to pull out of the coal seam and shut down to add another extension to the augers that cut into the mountain. It was at that moment that Colin and Katie went into action. Before the giant three story engine could be moved back into position the activists climbed underneath and locked down to it. Not only was the machine was idled for three and one half hours, it sat disabled in the middle of the main haul road stopping all other traffic. This was the first time that concerned citizens had ever shut down one of these machines using their own bodies.

Colin and Katie are charged with trespass asked to leave, conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor and obstruction, and are being held at $2,500 bail each. Sophie and Jimmy have an additional charge of littering, ironically enough for leaving the banner after they were arrested, and are being held on $3,500 bail each. All four have so far refused to pay the bail.

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Jul 192010
 

If you live on the Gulf Coast, welcome to the real world of oil — and just know that you’re not alone. In the Niger Delta and the Ecuadorian Amazon, among other places, your emerging hell has been the living hell of local populations for decades.

Even as I was visiting those distant and exotic spill locales via book, article, and YouTube, you were going through your very public nightmare. Three federal appeals court judges with financial and other ties to big oil were rejecting the Obama administration’s proposed drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico. Pollution from the BP spill there was seeping into Lake Pontchartrain, north of New Orleans. Clean-up crews were discovering that a once-over of beaches isn’t nearly enough: somehow, the oil just keeps reappearing. Endangered sea turtles and other creatures were being burnt alive in swaths of ocean ("burn fields") ignited by BP to "contain" its catastrophe. The lives and livelihoods of fishermen and oyster-shuckers were being destroyed. Disease warnings were being issued to Gulf residents and alarming toxin levels were beginning to be found in clean-up workers.

None of this would surprise inhabitants of either the Niger Delta or the Amazon rain forest. Despite the Santa Barbara oil spill of 1969 and the Exxon Valdez in 1989, Americans are only now starting to wake up to the fate that, for half a century, has befallen the Delta and the Amazon, both ecosystems at least as rich and varied as the Gulf of Mexico.

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Jul 072010
 

Before the 4th of July weekend, there was unreported maneuver in the Senate designed to protect BP and the federal government from liability in the Gulf disaster.

Senate Democrats asked unanimous consent to pass legislation that would give the BP Oil Spill Commission the subpoena power it needs to do its job.

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Jul 062010
 

On Friday, cleanup workers in Grand Isle, La., positioned absorbent material to block oil from washing onto the beach.

On Friday, cleanup workers in Grand Isle, La., positioned absorbent material to block oil from washing onto the beach.

When the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform set off the worst oil spill at sea in American history, it was flying the flag of the Marshall Islands. Registering there allowed the rig’s owner to significantly reduce its American taxes.

The owner, Transocean, moved its corporate headquarters from Houston to the Cayman Islands in 1999 and then to Switzerland in 2008, maneuvers that also helped it avoid taxes.

At the same time, BP was reaping sizable tax benefits from leasing the rig. According to a letter sent in June to the Senate Finance Committee, the company used a tax break for the oil industry to write off 70 percent of the rent for Deepwater Horizon — a deduction of more than $225,000 a day since the lease began.

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Jun 282010
 

BP has been given unlimited access to all BP operations and meetings to a Louisiana shrimper’s wife named Kindra Arnesen.

As Yves Smith notes:

Arensen appears to have been invited in because she got media coverage earlier in June when CNN covered her efforts to organize wives of Gulf fisherman over concerns about the safety of working on oil cleanup.

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