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Saturday, October 31, 2015

How to use that extra hour

Daylight Savings Time comes to an end on Sunday, just in the nick of time for Republican candidates. With the primaries inching closer every day, they need all the time they can get to prepare for the next round of mud-slinging, poor-hating, minority-bashing, hate-fests that are just around the corner.

An extra hour on Sunday isn’t something that the Republicans can afford to waste, so in the interest of comradery here are some suggestions on how they can spend that time wisely:

Trick or Treat!

Mike Luckovich
For more cartoons by Mike Luckovich, CLICK HERE.

I hate it when this happens....

Daylight Saving Time ends

First rule: no jokes about the judge

Temple University law professor to discuss humor and the law at URI Honors Colloquium, Nov. 3

KINGSTON, R.I.,– Back in the 1990s, Pepsi ran a promotional campaign encouraging consumers to collect points from Pepsi labels to redeem prizes. One of the prizes was a fighter jet. 

An ambitious guy came up with the 7 million points and waited for Pepsi to make good on its promise. Pepsi refused, claiming the ad was a joke. The dispute ended up in court, which ruled in favor of Pepsi. Why?

Laura E. Little, a law professor at Temple University, says Pepsi’s offer was too unbelievable to support a legal case. She should know. Little, the Charles Klein Professor of Law and Government at Temple’s Beasley School of Law, is an expert on the legal regulation of humor. 

She’ll share her wisdom with the University of Rhode Island Nov. 3 during a talk for the Honor’s Colloquium, which focuses this year on The Power of Humor. The talk will start at 7 p.m. in Edwards Hall, 64 Upper College Road, on URI’s main campus.

Those unable to attend the lecture can watch it live online at URI Live! 

Last minute party?

Last Minute Scientific Halloween Costumes

Saving the ocean

Bringing Awareness to Predicted Global Coral Bleaching Event
The US National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting another strong El Niño, resulting in the third global bleaching event since 1998.

What is a Coral Bleaching Event?
Coral bleaching occurs when corals become stressed as a result of warmer than normal water temperatures and excessive sunlight. This causes the corals to produce toxic compounds and expel brown algae grown within the body tissue, turning the coral an unnatural white color.
As ocean temperatures rise, coral bleaching is one of the most visual indicators of thermal stress due to climate change. Limited coral bleaching is reported each year, especially during the warmer summer months when ocean temperatures rise. Global bleaching usually spans across many oceans and tends to be associated with the likes of El Niño conditions, affecting entire reef systems, not just a few individual corals.
Within a few months, a coral-dominated reef can change to an algae-dominated reef as a result of a global bleaching event - a process that can take decades or longer to reverse - especially in association with other stressors like overfishing and run-off from poor land use practices. A coral's ability to recover often depends on how healthy it was before the event.
How can you help? 
Unfortunately, we cannot stop an El Niño event that is already in motion. However, you can take steps to minimize stressors that could further damage coral reefs and other marine life.
  • Make a conscious effort to reduce the amount of trash you produce.
  • Minimize your carbon footprint by driving less.
  • Use appliances and vehicles that are energy efficient.
  • If you are a boater, pledge to keep fuel, sewage and trash out of the water.
  • Learn more about coral bleaching at
Together, we can make a difference to protect our ocean planet.

Oddballs Like These Make Hillary’s Odds Good

In the first Democratic debate, Clinton was a politician in complete command of her gifts.

Eight years ago in New Hampshire, when the question of Hillary Clinton’s likability came up during the Democratic presidential debate, Barack Obama said, memorably:
“You’re likable enough, Hillary.”

That condescending comment earned him the scorn among some liberals that he deserved. But it rang true, even to many Democrats.

There was something stiff and artificial about the former New York senator back then. Eventually, it cost her the nomination.

Well, it seems she’s been to charm school. The Hillary we saw in the first Democratic presidential debate was a politician in complete command of her gifts.

She had an answer for everything and for everybody. She beat back the mild attacks of her fellow Democrats almost dismissively and dodged the more determined assaults of the feral CNN interrogators. 

She saved her best for her Republican foes, excoriating them for their hypocrisy in bleating about big government while attempting to use that government to control our lives.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Who inspires you?

Among the current crop of candidates for president of the United States, who exhibits leadership and who doesn’t?

Leadership isn’t just the ability to attract followers. Otherwise some of the worst tyrants in history would be considered great leaders. They weren’t leaders; they were demagogues. There’s a difference.

A leader brings out the best in his followers. A demagogue brings out the worst. 

Leaders inspire tolerance. Demagogues incite hate.

Leaders empower the powerless; they give them voice and respect. Demagogues scapegoat the powerless; they use scapegoating as a means to fortify their power.

Leaders calm peoples’ irrational fears. Demagogues exploit them.

My list of great American leaders would include Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Frances Perkins, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Lots of tricks. No treats.

For more cartoons by Tom Tomorrow, CLICK HERE

Love those beavers!

URI scientist: Beavers remove nitrogen from rivers
Ponds and slower streams created by the rodents serve as nitrogen sinks
Todd McLeish

KINGSTON, R.I. – October 26, 2015 -- A research team from the University of Rhode Island has found that beavers help prevent harmful levels of nitrogen from reaching vulnerable estuaries. 

By creating ponds that slow down the movement of rivers and streams, the animals aid in removing nitrogen from the water.

According to URI Professor Arthur Gold, who led the study published last week in the Journal of Environmental Quality, nitrogen levels have been increasing in Northeast waters for years. 

The use of nitrogen fertilizers has risen and urbanization has brought in influences from septic systems. This nitrogen is released into small streams and ponds and eventually travels to estuaries, where rivers meet the sea. 

High levels of nitrogen in these water bodies stimulate algae blooms, and as the algae die and decompose, oxygen is consumed from bottom waters, creating low oxygen levels that can lead to fish kills. 

Don’t Let Them Blind You with Their Science

Organic farming can be cutting-edge, too.

When I first began researching agriculture, I had no idea how organic farming worked. I saw it as a somewhat backward yet non-toxic and desirable way to grow food.

Organic farmers didn’t use fertilizer, I figured, so maybe the plants would be smaller. And they didn’t use pesticides, so I’d have to settle for some damage to my food — and I’d pay more for the privilege.

As for the people who thought organic agriculture produced better, healthier food than conventional farming, I figured they were nuts. That sounded like magical thinking to me. Did organic farmers grow food using fairies and rainbows?

The notion that organic farming is at odds with modern science is an attitude I’ve heard repeated many times, even by organic activists. “We just need to go back and grow food how we used to,” they’ll say.

Today, I fundamentally disagree. Organic agriculture is best achieved using cutting-edge science and technology.

Obama’s Unholy Trade Policy

There's a reason Pope Francis has condemned "free trade" pacts like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Pope Francis waxed radical on several big issues in his speech to Congress last September. He condemned the arms trade, called for climate action, and challenged lawmakers to protect the most vulnerable among us.

It was wonderful. But for some reason, there was one looming issue Francis chose not to confront: the Obama administration’s corporate-friendly trade agenda.
I wish he had.

Just weeks after the pope’s historic visit, the United States and 11 other countries announced an “agreement in principle” on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP — a huge “free trade” pact that could undermine crucial labor and environmental protections in countries making up 40 percent of the world’s economy.

The Vatican’s thinking on the matter is no secret.

When the pope visited Bolivia in July, he delivered an unmistakable invective against economic policies that exploit the world’s poor. “Neocolonialism,” Francis said, “takes on different faces” — including “some treaties named as ‘free trade.'”

Thursday, October 29, 2015

You’ll never believe what Bill Gates said

By Kerry-anne Mendoza

The man who has benefited most from capitalist economics has come clean about its inability to deal with the most pressing issue of our time: climate change. In an interview with Atlantic, the Microsoft magnate argued: ’the private sector is in general inept’ as a tool to manage catastrophic changes to our climate that would threaten life on earth.

Gates argues that governments have the key role to play in developing technologies for a sustainable world, chiefly by a heavy investment in research and development. He argues that it should then be the role of private companies to pay the costs of rolling out those technologies – pledging $2bn of his own $79.2bn net worth to do just that.

So, why can’t we trust the private sector to invest in the right things at the right time? Gates argues:
“Well, there’s no fortune to be made.”“Yes, the government will be somewhat inept,”“But the private sector is in general inept. How many companies do venture capitalists invest in that go poorly? By far most of them.”

Trey Gowdy's circus act

For more cartoons by Tom Toles, CLICK HERE

Wood River adds another new board member

Local businessman Greg Kenney joins WRHS Board

The Wood River Health Services Board of Directors has unanimously elected Gregory Kenney of Rockville to the board.

Kenney is a Vice President at Perrault Farms, Inc., a turf farm and real estate venture business in Hope Valley, where he has worked since receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree from Milton College in Wisconsin.

He served on the Chariho Regional School District for 16 years and is a former Chairman of the committee. He also served as Chairman of the Chariho School District’s Project 2010 Building Committee and as Chairman of the Hopkinton Finance Board.

A Chariho High School Class of 1968 graduate, Kenney replaces his wife, Beverly Kenney, on the Wood River Health Services Board.

What? No Benghazi?

Langevin and Cicilline Speak at “Make It In America: What’s Next?” Member Day Hearing

Washington, D.C.  – Congressmen Jim Langevin (RI-02) and David Cicilline (RI-01) joined House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and other House Democrats today for a “Make It In America: What’s Next?” hearing. House Democrats first launched the Make It In America jobs plan in 2010, with the goal of encouraging companies to bring overseas jobs back home, and sparking high-wage, private-sector job growth in America.

“Our economic landscape has changed dramatically in the past decade, and we must adapt accordingly. I hear a constant refrain from employers in Rhode Island and beyond that despite having a rising number of job openings, they are unable to find employees with the necessary skills to fill them. This skills gap is a persistent drag on our economy, but it is one that we have the tools to fix,” said Langevin, co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus. 

More girls getting complete HPV vaccine

UT Southwestern Medical Center
How can any responsible adult oppose vaccinating
children to prevent the spread of cervical cancer?
Ask Rep. Flip Filippi.

A joint study by UT Southwestern Medical Center and Parkland Health & Hospital System investigators found that a multicomponent outreach program increased completion of the three-dose human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination series that reduces the risk of cervical cancer caused by the virus.

"Delivery of the HPV vaccine in safety-net settings is critically important because uninsured African-American and Hispanic women have higher rates of cervical cancer," said Dr. Jasmin Tiro, Associate Professor of Clinical Sciences at UT Southwestern, who led the study.

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), HPVs are the most common types of sexually transmitted infections in the United States and can be spread by vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Completing the HPV vaccine series before beginning sexual activity reduces risk of infection from the HPV types targeted by the vaccine. HPV infection can cause cervical, head and neck, and anal cancers, plus genital warts.

Despite the HPV vaccine being available since 2006, challenges remain in persuading parents and their teenage children to complete the vaccine series.

WANTED: more bats

By TIM FAULKNER/ecoRI News staff

 This photo of a big brown bat, not to be confused with the little brown bat, was taken at the Bat Lab run by James Simmons at Brown University.
This photo of a big brown bat, not to be confused with the little brown bat, was taken at the Bat Lab run by James Simmons at Brown University.

There are bats in Rhode Island. They inhabit barns in South County, high-rises in Providence and mansions in Newport. The problem is there are just a lot fewer of them than there were a decade ago, according to local bat experts.

Matt Grady, owner of animal removal company BatGuys Wildlife Service, has collected bats from attics and chimneys across Rhode Island and eastern Massachusetts for almost two decades. He began seeing their numbers decrease significantly with the onset of white-nose syndrome.

The disease has decimated as much as 90 percent of migrating bats as they wintered in caves and abandoned mines in upstate New York, Vermont and Canada. The death of millions of bats has significantly reduced the once-familiar little brown bat in the region. Other less-common species, such as the Eastern red, hoary and silver-haired bats, are all but gone, according to Grady.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

VIDEO: Time to tell the truth about immigration


To watch this video on YouTube:

Donald Trump has opened the floodgates to lies about immigration. Here are the myths, and the facts

MYTH:  Immigrants take away American jobs. 

Wrong. Immigrants add to economic demand, and thereby push firms to create more jobs. 

MYTH: We don’t need any more immigrants. 

Baloney. The U.S. population is aging. Twenty-five years ago, each retiree in America was matched by 5 workers. Now for each retiree there are only 3 workers. Without more immigration, in 15 years the ratio will fall to 2 workers for every retiree, not nearly enough to sustain our retiree population. 

VIDEO: Twisting historical words

To watch this on YouTube:

As Halloween approaches, beware of energy vampires

They suck energy, money, add to carbon load

KINGSTON, R.I. –You leave your cell phone charger in the outlet even when your phone is disconnected. Others leave their computers on when they go to class. Another person rushes out of the office at night, leaving the printer on.

These are the energy vampires at work--stealthy, barely noticed energy drainers.

The University of Rhode Island President’s Council on Sustainability reminds all campus community members that energy vampires suck thousands of dollars out of the University each year and add to the University’s carbon impact. As Halloween approaches, council members say now is a good time to rid the campus of energy vampires.

A recently completed survey of faculty and staff run by the University and its energy consultant, NORESCO, showed that 99 percent of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “URI should conserve energy.” Of that group, 75 percent were in strong agreement. Ninety-eight percent said they agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “I should help URI conserve energy.”

The United Nations is coming for your Saugys!!!

World Health Organization
Mike Luckovich
For more cartoons by Mike Luckovich, CLICK HERE

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer agency of the World Health Organization, has evaluated the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat.

Red meat

After thoroughly reviewing the accumulated scientific literature, a Working Group of 22 experts from 10 countries convened by the IARC Monographs Programme classified the consumption of red meat as probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A), based on limited evidence that the consumption of red meat causes cancer in humans and strong mechanistic evidence supporting a carcinogenic effect.

This association was observed mainly for colorectal cancer, but associations were also seen for pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer.

Processed meat

Processed meat was classified as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1), based on sufficient evidence in humans that the consumption of processed meat causes colorectal cancer. 

Criminal conduct

Volkswagen begins recalling diesels in Europe
From: Leon Kaye 
Go to jail!

The good news for Volkswagen is that it delivered almost 7.5 million vehicles to customers during the first three quarters of 2015. 

The bad news is that 8.5 million of VW’s cars will most likely be subject to a mandatory recall — and that’s just in Europe.

The fallout from the Volkswagen emissions scandal continues to reverberate, four weeks after revelations about the installation of “defeat device” software in diesel-powered cars slammed the newswires. 

Now, the world’s largest automaker is facing a global public relations crisis. This includes its home base: 2.8 million of the recalled vehicles were sold in Germany.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Teachers are also twice as likely to die from mesothelioma as other Americans

Why do we begrudge them their pensions and benefits?
By Bill Walker, Environmental Health News

Asbestos does not discriminate.

It doesn’t matter who you are – young or old, strong or frail, rich or poor, factory worker or CEO – if you inhale or ingest even one microscopic asbestos fiber, you’re at increased risk of developing a deadly disease whose symptoms may not show up for decades.

But of the estimated 12,000 to 15,000 Americans who die of asbestos-related diseases each year, some groups do bear a disproportionate burden. The death rate is highest for workers in industries in which asbestos is or was extensively used, such as construction, shipbuilding, chemicals and railroads. 

But while each asbestos death is tragic, the tragedy feels most horrifying and unfair when it strikes those who were exposed through their unselfish service to society. 

Among those more likely than the average American to die from asbestos exposure are two such groups – one that willingly put themselves in harm’s way, another that may have never known they were at risk: firefighters and teachers.

“It’s a risk you accept,” said Battalion Chief J.J. Winn of the Charleston, S.C., Fire Department – the same post held by his father, John Winn, who died in May 2012 at age 59 of mesothelioma, a rare and incurable cancer caused only by asbestos exposure. Although asbestos does not burn, a fire in a building that contains asbestos sends millions of deadly fibers airborne.


Astronomy Picture of the Day

Starburst Galaxy Messier 94 

Beautiful island universe Messier 94 lies a mere 15 million light-years distant in the northern constellation of the hunting dogs, Canes Venatici.

A popular target for earth-based astronomers, the face-on spiral galaxy is about 30,000 light-years across, with spiral arms sweeping through the outskirts of its broad disk.

But this Hubble Space Telescope field of view spans about 7,000 light-years or so across M94's central region.

The sharp close-up examines the galaxy's compact, bright nucleus and prominent inner dust lanes, surrounded by a remarkable bluish ring of young, massive stars.

The massive stars in the ring are all likely less than 10 million years old, indicating the galaxy experienced a well-defined era of rapid star formation.

As a result, while the small, bright nucleus is typical of the Seyfert class of active galaxies, M94 is also known as a starburst galaxy.

Because M94 is relatively nearby, astronomers can explore in detail reasons for the galaxy's burst of star formation.

News from Charlestown's Worm Ladies

Jackson, a Rhody Worm Grower

A Special Event For Those Interested In
The Rhody Worm Cooperative

November 7, 2015

Castings, Vermicompost, Aerated Verrmicompost Tea

Monique Bosch will be present with her microscope to evaluate the microorganisms in your castings.  Bring 1/4 cup sample of your castings if you would like to have them put under the microscope--first come basis.

Monique is a horticulturist and co founder of Green Village Iniative in Bridgeport Connecticut

Also:  An Update on The Rhody Worm Cooperative

Come for the entire meeting or for part of it. 
Bring other people you know who are interested. 
Bring your own snack, beverage and/or lunch if you wish.

RSVP Margaret, 401-272-9788/ walk-ins welcome

Warwick Public Library
600 Sandy Lane
Warwick, RI 02889

Save the date  Compost Conference at Rhode Island College, March  10,2016

Margaret O'Donnell will be selling worms and coir at her home in Providence.  Call 401-272-9788 or email her

From Steve at the Urban Worm Company



The Worm Factory 360


Three sizes: 
3 pound bag--$20
5 gallon pail--$60
20 gallon tote--$200--10% discount on additional 20 gallon totes

Thank you for your interest in Vermicomposting and for wanting us to grow.  If you are interested in The Rhody Worms Cooperative, in setting up mid-scale vermicomposting in your location, or if you need any information on red wigglers or the castings, please contact us.  


Nancy Warner
The Worm Ladies of Charlestown, Inc.

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The Worm Ladies of Charlestown, Inc.