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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Who lives? Who dies?

Making life-or-death decisions is very hard – here's how we've taught people to do it better
Laurence Alison, University of Liverpool and Neil Shortland, University of Massachusetts Lowell

When faced with a wildfire, responders must act quickly
and decisively to save lives. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
When faced with a rapidly advancing fire threatening a community, it can be hard to know how best to save lives.

Is a rapid evacuation better, or is it safer for residents to stay where they are? The whole situation can change in an instant, and delays and indecision can be fatal.

As wildfires spread across California, a report about a massive fire in London in 2017 can offer useful lessons for emergency managers and residents.

Inside the Grenfell Tower fire

A rapidly growing fire at the Grenfell Tower in London
challenged city officials’ decision-making skills.
Natalie Oxford/Wikimedia CommonsCC BY
On June 14, 2017, a refrigerator in a London apartment had an electrical malfunction that started a fire.

For the first two hours after the fire was reported, officials told the apartment building’s residents not to evacuate.

Rather, they recommended people stay in their apartments and trust the building’s design to contain the fire to the unit where it started.

The city’s fire officials were faced with two types of potential tragedy: people dying in their apartments or getting injured or killed trying to evacuate.

In hindsight, they took too long to realize the fire was out of control, and to change their instructions, telling people to get out.

Less than four hours after it started, the fire had engulfed the 24-story Grenfell Tower, home to just under 300 people, of whom 72 died.

A similar problem has arisen in California wildfires – including in 2018, when delays in the order to evacuate the town of Paradise, California, led to the deaths of 56 people.

Who are the Kurds and why should you care?

Why there is no Kurdish nation: Trump wasn't the only one who sold them out
John Broich, Case Western Reserve University

Flag of Kurdistan on military uniform. Bumble Dee/ 
Since U.S. troops left their region, roughly 180,000 Kurds of northeastern Syria have been displaced, and over 200 have been killed.

Those Kurds, soldiers who’d battled the Islamic State and families, had hoped to secure a future Kurdistan state in areas now targeted by Turkish warplanes and patrolled by Russian mercenaries.

This is only the latest reversal for the Kurds, a group of around 40 million who identify with a regional homeland and common historical background, but are now divided between four countries. 

Despite their many attempts, they have never won and kept a Kurdish nation.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Institutional scale child abuse

Causing 'Profound' Trauma, Trump Administration Detained Record-Breaking 70,000 Children in 2019

A young migrant girl sits on the floor as her father, recently released from federal detention with other Central American asylum seekers, gets a bus ticket at a bus depot on June 11, 2019, in McAllen, Texas.
A young migrant girl sits on the floor as her father, recently released from federal detention with other Central American asylum seekers, gets a bus ticket at a bus depot on June 11, 2019, in McAllen, Texas. (Photo: Loren Elliott/AFP/Getty Images)

The U.S. held a record 69,550 migrant children in detention facilities in 2019, a Tuesday report from The Associated Press and PBS Frontline found, leading to major psychological and physiscal harm and lasting trauma. 

"No other country held as many immigrant children in detention over the past year as the United States—69,550," said AP tech reporter Frank Bajak in a tweet promoting his colleagues' work. "The physical and emotional scars are profound."

The story lays out in excrutiating detail the emotional pain of victims of President Donald Trump's child separation policy, focusing on, among others, a Honduran father whose three-year-old daughter can no longer look at him or connect with him after being separated at the U.S. border and abused in foster care. 

"I think about this trauma staying with her too, because the trauma has remained with me and still hasn't faded," the father told AP

The 3-year-old Honduran girl was taken from her father when immigration officials caught them near the border in Texas in March 2019 and sent her to government-funded foster care. 

The father had no idea where his daughter was for three panicked weeks. It was another month before a caregiver put her on the phone but the girl, who turned four in government custody, refused to speak, screaming in anger.

"She said that I had left her alone and she was crying," said her father during an interview with the AP and Frontline at their home in Honduras. "'I don't love you Daddy, you left me alone,'" she told him. The father agreed to speak about their case on condition of anonymity for safety reasons.


Image may contain: text
From Fake Science, named by Trump as replacement for the EPA and National 
Academy of Science. 

Ukraine timeline

Image may contain: 1 person

Greta is right

Aviation emissions' impacts on air quality larger than on climate, study finds
IOP Publishing

Image result for greta thunberg and airplanes
Climate activist Greta Thunberg condemns air travel for its harm to the
environment. New MIT research shows she is right.
New research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has quantified the climate and air quality impacts of aviation, broken down by emission type, altitude and location.

The MIT team found that growth in aviation causes twice as much damage to air quality as to the climate.

Writing today in IOP Publishing's Environmental Research Letters, they examine how this damage can be mitigated, and provide consistent comparative assessments of aviation emissions trade-offs, considering both climate and air quality impacts.

The lead researcher on the study, Dr Sebastian Eastham, from the Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment in MIT's Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, said: "Aviation emissions are an increasingly significant contributor to anthropogenic climate change. They cause five per cent of global climate forcing.

"When you consider the full flight, which includes emissions from takeoff, cruise and landing, aircraft emissions are also responsible for around 16,000 premature deaths a year from impaired air quality. This is small compared to other sectors, being only around 0.4% of the total deaths attributed annually to global air quality degradation, but is often overlooked in policy analysis."

"The challenges for aviation sector decision makers wanting to reduce these impacts are the trade-offs between different emission types, and their impacts in different locations."

“Betcha can’t eat one”

Data-driven definition of unhealthy yet pervasive 'hyper-palatable' foods
University of Kansas

 A popular U.S. brand of potato chips once promoted itself with the slogan, "betcha can't eat just one!"

Maybe that's because potato chips, like so many foods in the American diet, can pack a mix of ingredients apt to light up people's brain-reward neural circuitry and overpower mechanisms that are supposed to signal when we've had enough to eat.

Researchers call this class of foods -- often processed foods or sweets with alluring combinations of fat, sugar, carbohydrates and sodium -- "hyper-palatable." 

While a slew of films, popular books and academic studies have addressed hyper-palatable foods over the past 15 or so years, none has yet to offer a broadly accepted quantitative definition of just what constitutes a hyper-palatable food.

Research published in Obesity will change that, offering specific metrics that might qualify foods as hyper-palatable -- and finding most foods consumed in the United States meet these criteria.

Is Trump impeachment a "coup" or a Constitutional duty?

How political parties frame the impeachment battle will help decide Trump's fate
Jennifer Mercieca, Texas A&M University

Image result for trump ukraine cartoonThe presidential impeachment battle moves to a new stage this week, when the House will conduct the first public, televised testimony.

The nation is divided: Although a majority of Americans believe that Trump should cooperate with the impeachment inquiry, the public is not yet sure if Trump is guilty of impeachable offenses.

The impeachment battle will occur in Congress. But it will also play out on the national stage as the two sides compete to frame how the public thinks about the legitimacy of the inquiry.

Frames are ways of thinking about a particular thing, person or event. Linguists like George Lakoff explain that “sticky” frames, when repeated enough, will literally stick in our heads, rewiring the circuits in our brains and providing shortcuts to understanding reality.

The winner of this frame war will succeed in shaping how Americans understand the impeachment inquiry and will provide the standards for judging whether or not Trump has committed impeachable offenses.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Trump’s junk food diet may be one of the things making him so crazy

Psychiatrist says unhealthy food choices may affect his mental health

ImagePresident Donald Trump's well-documented eating habits are far from what a nutritionist would deem ideal. The most powerful man in the world often skips breakfast. When he does eat the most important meal of the day, he opts for bacon, McDonald's Egg McMuffins or "made in the USA" cereals high in sugar.

When Trump visits McDonald's for lunch or dinner, his go-to order for one meal ⁠— two Big Macs, two Filet-O-Fish and a chocolate shake ⁠— clocks in at 2,390 calories

He might chase that with up to 12 Diet Cokes a day

The president's love of the iconic American fast-food chain is reportedly motivated at least in part by a fear of being poisoned. That's just one quirk in a highly quirky diet.

Sometimes Trump goes for stretches of up to 16 hours without eating. 

He prefers his steak "so well done" that "it would rock on the plate." 
Image result for trump and junk food

He eats two common finger foods — fried chicken and pizza — with a fork. He is rumored to think Ore-Ida fries are "perfect." And you better believe that he gets two scoops of ice cream for dessert, while dinner guests get just one.

What do the president's eating habits say about his mental state? 

Dr. Bandy Lee, the renowned Yale forensic psychiatrist and author of the New York Times bestseller "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump," says that the president's diet is "as unsuitable as can be for either maintaining his own immediate or long-term health or being an example to those who look to the presidency for guidance."

Salon talked to Lee about how nutrition choices like Trump's can impact both the brain and mental health.

Occam's Razor

No photo description available.

Free dental day went very well!

Dentistry From The Heart!

Team Photo 2019

Arrowhead Dental Associates would like to thank our entire team, doctors, and volunteers whose efforts made this 11th Dentistry From The Heart a real help to many people. This year we provided free treatment to 167 patients with limited access to dental care.

A big thank you to our business sponsors who helped make the event possible through their generous donations and to each patient who supports our practice.

We look forward to this day more and more each year. The stories and smiles shared with our team during Dentistry From The Heart are touching and truly incredible.

Thank You To Our Generous Sponsors!

Sea Blast Karen-Sue Inc.
The Courthouse Center For The Arts
Leo's Pizza
Coast Guard House
The Break: A Narragansett Hotel
Matunuck Oyster Bar
Southern Rhode Island Chamber
Of Commerce
Roofing Unlimited & Construction Inc.
Northup's Service Center Inc.
Frances Fleet
Belmont Market
Rawlings Floor Covering
Bank Rhode Island
The Tapped Apple Winery
EZ-Waste Systems
Stop and Shop
Lickety Splits
Paul Masse
Narragansett Rubbish Removal
Judith Chick
Nigrelli's Jewelry
Westerly Community Credit Union
Rosanna's Flowers
Charlestown Wine and Spirits
The Nordic Lodge
Seaside Pharmacy
Kiefer's Martial Arts
Meadow Brook Inn
YMCA Westerly
Pat's Power Equipment
Dunkin Donuts Charlestown
Tile Craft Inc.
Hungry Haven
Chariho Furniture
Rippy's Liquor & Marketplace
Darby Dental
Washington Trust Company
Famous Pizza
Crotty & Son Body Works
Verizon Wireless Zone Westerly
Kingston Chamber Kingston
The Ocean House
Charlestown Mini Super
DeQuattro Orthodontics
401 Oyster Co.
Ryan Maguire: High Velocity Art
Laurel Lane Country Club
Henry Schein

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Are men animals?

In new book, a Brown anthropologist investigates
Brown University

Are Men Animals? by Matthew GutmannThirty years ago, in downtown Mexico City, Matthew Gutmann took a picture of a man holding a baby. Little did he know then that photo would launch a decades-long career studying men and masculinity around the world. 

“I showed that photo to a bunch of people in the United States, and I kept getting vehement reactions,” he said. 

“People said, ‘This is unreal. This is an aberration.’ I tried to explain to an art editor at a university press that the photo was candid and not posed, and he said, ‘That’s impossible. Mexican men are machos; they don’t carry babies.’”

For Gutmann, a professor of anthropology at Brown University, that moment launched a quest to learn more about men and masculinity in Mexico. 

He has since studied the state of sexual and reproductive health across Latin America, investigated the concept of masculine loyalty among American veterans who fought in Iraq, and observed changes in workplace gender standards in urban China, where he currently teaches as a visiting professor. 

In some ways, the book “Are Men Animals?” is a distillation of all that Gutmann has learned since he took that fateful photo as a graduate student. 

His book, out Tuesday, Nov. 12 (today), through Basic Books, takes the reader on a world tour, examining the women-only subway cars of Mexico City, the barrio of Santo Domingo and the so-called “marriage market” in Shanghai to demonstrate that there’s no single definition of masculinity or manliness. 

Green energy helps to prevent drought

Solar and Wind Energy Preserve Groundwater for Drought, Agriculture
By B. Rose Kelly, Woodrow Wilson School

look california GIFSolar and wind farms are popping up around the country to lower carbon emissions, and these renewables also have another important effect: keeping more water in the ground.

A new Princeton University-led study in Nature Communications is among the first to show that solar and wind energy not only enhance drought resilience, but also aid in groundwater sustainability.

Using drought-prone California as a case study, the researchers show that increased solar and wind energy can reduce the reliance on hydropower, especially during drought. Consequently, this could help divert more surface water from hydropower to irrigation, thereby reducing overall groundwater abstraction.

While the scope of this study focused on the United States, the framework can also be applied internationally, especially for policymakers working to meet the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals, said lead author Xiaogang He, who worked on the study as a Ph.D. student at Princeton. He is now a Water in the West postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University.

Why whistleblowers are protected by law

Federal Agencies Declare Whistleblowers ‘Essential’ to Good Government, Tout Savings
By Tom Buerkle
Image result for whistleblower protection
Some legal experts have made the point that Trump's attacks on the Ukraine call
whistle-blower and his efforts to reveal his or her name is a clear-cut violation of
the federal Whistleblower Protection Act and, as such is impeachable as an
obstruction of justice.
While Donald Trump has renewed demands that the media expose the person who first warned about his Ukraine phone call that triggered the impeachment inquiry, other parts of his administration are defending whistleblowers and showing how essential they are to the proper functioning of our government.

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced Wednesday that it had provided more than $2 billion in financial remedies to investors since 2011 because of tips about fraud and other wrongdoing. 

It also paid $387 million in awards to the whistleblowers who gave that information.

“Success begets success,” the agency’s Division of Enforcement said in its latest annual report. “

As a result, we again received thousands of whistleblower tips and a record number of whistleblower claims in Fiscal Year 2019,” which ended in September.

Trump doesn’t want to hear that good news, or defend decades of legislation and precedent that protect whistleblowers.

It’s not just the SEC that’s benefiting from tipsters. 

At a sister agency, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, information from whistleblowers helps drive 40% of fraud and misconduct investigations and has resulted in more than $730 million in penalties, enforcement chief James McDonald said recently.

Monday, November 11, 2019

How Trump Will Try To Derail Impeachment

Delay, lie, destroy evidence, attack patriots, burn his friends and family, ANYTHING to escape
By David Cay Johnston, DCReport Editor-in-Chief
Related imageThe damning Oct. 29 testimony by a decorated Army officer who revealed misleading White House edits to the infamous rough transcript of Donald Trump’s “perfect” call to Ukraine’s leader fits perfectly Trump’s lifelong abuse of records.

Altering, destroying, fabricating and hiding records is Trumpian behavior going back decades that the late Wayne Barret and others including me have thoroughly documented, but that rarely makes the mainstream news.

Trump has repeatedly, and falsely, said that the memorandum of the July Ukraine call is a “word for word, comma for comma” perfect transcript. 

Yet on its first page, the document warns that it  “is not a verbatim transcript.” Trump acolytes, especially Fox News viewers, can hardly be blamed for believing the president since the “fair and balanced” cable channel has become TrumpTV, a Moscow-like propaganda outlet that distorts nightly the verifiable record.

Image result for Roy Cohn playbook
Roy Cohn (right) was chief counsel to infamous Sen. Joe McCarthy.
Cohn spent years as Donald Trump's friend and mentor.
In fighting impeachment and conviction Trump will rely on the Roy Cohn playbook.

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Russo-Ukraine expert on the White House national security staff, told House investigators the transcript was misleadingly edited to protect Trump from proof of wrongdoing. 

He said Trump clearly sought Kyiv’s interference in domestic American politics. Vindman said he tried twice—unsuccessfully—to make the record accurate by filling in words replaced with ellipses.

Vindman’s testimony only increases the reasons Americans should see the accurate and full records of a call between Trump and Chinese President Jinping Xi in which a similar request to dig up dirt on Joe Biden and his son was discussed.

The concerns flowing from Vindman’s testimony, since confirmed by other witnesses, go far beyond Trump soliciting foreign intervention in American electoral politics, which is a serious crime. They raise questions about Trump’s disloyalty, threats to our national security and the integrity of official records on which future administrations must rely.