Showing posts from August 14, 2016

A bit of cash can keep someone off the streets for 2 years or more

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[A one-time cash gift of $1000 can keep people off the streets for at least 2 years according to a well-designed study published in Science. *RON*]

By David Shultz, Science, 11 August 2016

If someone is about to become homeless, giving them a single cash infusion, averaging about $1000, may be enough to keep them off the streets for at least 2 years. That’s the conclusion of a new study, which finds that programs that proactively assist those in need don’t just help the victims—they may benefit society as a whole.

“I think this is a really important study, and it’s really well done,” says Beth Shinn, a community psychologist at Vanderbilt University in Nashville who specializes in homelessness but was not involved in the work.

Homelessness isn’t just bad for its sufferers—it shortens life span and hurts kids in school—it’s a burden on everyone else. Previous studies have concluded that a single period of homelessness can cost taxpayers $20,000 or m…

How Capitalism Actually Generates More Inequality

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[Why extending markets or increasing competition won’t reduce inequality. *RON*]
By Geoffrey M. Hodgson, Evonomics, 11 August 2016
At least nominally, capitalism embodies and sustains an Enlightenment agenda of freedom and equality. Typically there is freedom to trade and equality under the law, meaning that most adults – rich or poor – are formally subject to the same legal rules. But with its inequalities of power and wealth, capitalism nurtures economic inequality alongside equality under the law.

Today, in the USA, the richest 1 per cent own 34 per cent of the wealth and the richest 10 per cent own 74 per cent of the wealth. In the UK, the richest 1 per cent own 12 per cent of the wealth and the richest 10 per cent own 44 per cent of the wealth. In France the figures are 24 cent and 62 per cent respectively. The richest 1 percent own 35 percent of the wealth in Switzerland, 24 per cent in Sweden and 15 percent in Canada. Although there are im…

Public water supply is unsafe for millions of Americans

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[18 million Americans get drinking water from systems that violate federal lead rules. Not only does the EPA know about it, they have done almost nothing to enforce their own regulations, according to multiple industry experts. *RON*]

By Susan Scutti, CNN, 9 August 2016

These specific chemicals have been linked to high cholesterol, obesity and cancerStudy says millions of Americans' water has unsafe levels of these chemicals (CNN)Millions of Americans may be drinking water with unsafe levels of industrial chemicals, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters. These chemicals, known as polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances or PFASs, have been linked to high cholesterol, obesity, hormone suppression -- and even cancer.
Introduced more than 60 years ago, PFASs are a category of man-made chemicals that degrade very slowly, if at all, in the environment.
"I do think that Americans…

Illinois Governor Vetoes Law That Would Have Registered 2 Million Voters

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[Democracy Chicago-style. Governor wants to delay this until after the next election. Fortunately the state legislature has a stipulation whereby they can veto his veto. *RON*]
Alice Ollstein, Think Progress, 12 August 2016
Late Friday afternoon, Illinois’ Republican Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill that would have made the state the sixth in the nation to automatically register millions of voters.

Rauner had expressed some support for the policy back in May, telling reporters: “I am a big fan of simplifying the voter registration process and trying to get everyone who should be able to vote, to get them registered and vote.”

By early August, he had a different view. While expressing support for the general idea of automatic voter registration, he wrote in his veto notice on Friday: “The consequences could be injurious to our election system.” Urging the legislature to make reforms to the bill before sending it back to him, he cited the threa…

EPA's Own Advisory Board Demands Revision of Deeply Flawed Fracking Report

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[This pretty well defines regulatory capture. Panel of independent scientists tells EPA to revise report that said fracking did not have "widespread, systemic impacts" on drinking water. *RON*]

By Nika Knight,Common Dreams, 12 August 2016

The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Science Advisory Board, a panel of independent scientists, is calling on the agency to revise last year's much-malignedreport that declared fracking to have "no widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources."
"The EPA's own analysis shows that dirty oil and gas fracking contaminates drinking water, confirming what millions of Americans already know." —Lena Moffitt, Sierra Club As the Washington Post reports:

The conclusion was widely cited and interpreted to mean that while there may have been occasional contamination of water supplies, it was not a nationwide problem. Many environmental groups faulted the study, even…

Scientists May Have Found a Way to Stop Zika Cold

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[Excellent news. A form of bacteria called Wolbachia stops transmission of the virus without killing the mosquitoes. *RON*]

Erica Langston, Mother Jones, 13 August 2016

Mosquitoes may be small, but they pack a mean punch. Weighing in at a measly 2.5 milligrams, these buzzing arthropods are responsible for more deaths than snake bites, shark attacks, and murders combined. A whopping 725,000 people die each year from diseases transmitted by this common pest. Researchers have spent decades and millions of dollars fighting dengue, yellow fever, and chikungunya—dangerous viruses that female mosquitoes can spread in a single bite. Now—as scientists rev up efforts to tackle the worsening mosquito-borne Zika epidemic that's rocked the Americas—some scientists are tapping into Earth's oldest organic armies as they seek to wipe out these diseases.