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Monday, July 31, 2017

Not every location makes sense for green energy projects


Image result for solar energy & land useRhode Island just doesn’t get it, even when it tries to be 21st century. 

Cutting down 30,000 trees to make room for a solar farm is only slightly less 1980's than destroying 200 acres of forest to build a fossil-fuel power plant.

The smallest state has plenty of wasted space, in the form of brownfields, old landfills, rooftops, parking lots and empty big-box retailers, but the Ocean State seems driven to Paul Bunyan its way to the future.

The latest ax-wielding project, being proposed by Southern Sky Renewable Energy LLC for 73 acres off Main Street in Ashaway, is a 13.8-megawatt solar installation, with 43,000 solar panels, that would require the clear-cutting of 60 forest acres.

“I mourn the loss of 30,000 trees, I really do,” Town Council member David Husband is quoted as saying in a recent Westerly Sun story. “But something’s going in there sooner or later.”

It's all very normal

For more cartoons by Tom Tomorrow, CLICK HERE.

At the Charlestown Galley this weekend


Dahlia Kanner Jewelry
 Trunk Show and Sale

Saturday August 5th
10 - 5pm
Sunday August 6th
11 - 4pm

All Jewelry On SALE
Jewelry preview, now thru August 4th

Come Meet Dahlia and See Her New Designs
Refreshments Served

Charlestown Gallery
5000 South County Trail, Charlestown RI (401) 364-0120

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Charlestown Gallery, 5000 South County Trail, Charlestown, RI 02813

Wind, solar and green building under study

URI Energy Fellows focus on green energy

Savannah Harik and Max Bliss
Max Bliss is worried that many developing nations have become so dependent on a small number of other countries for their energy needs that they could be exploited or controlled. It’s an issue he wants to address once he graduates from the University of Rhode Island in 2019.

“Energy is extremely important; nothing can operate without it,” said Bliss, a rising junior majoring in civil engineering and Spanish. “For developing countries, my vision is to bring renewables to increase their energy independence.”

The first step toward his goal was becoming a URI Energy Fellow, which has enabled him to spend a year working for Wind Energy Development, a North Kingstown-based company that partners with private landowners to build wind turbines, including at sites in Coventry, North Kingstown and Portsmouth.

Kitty of the Week

Meet Theo
Animal Rescue RI. 
Theo is quite the looker with his gorgeous black mane and fuzzy tail. 

This guy has been through quite a bit in his short life. 

Therefore he would prefer a home where he can be your one and only and soak up all your love. 

He can be playful but he also enjoys curling up in your lap for pats. 

Following the money

New USA Today report on Russia investigation just spelled disaster for Trump 

Image result for follow the moneyPresident Trump has good reason to be afraid, very afraid, of where Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation set off by the collision with Russia may lead, according to an investigative report by USA Today. 

Under his mandate, Mueller can follow the story, and the money trail, where ever the investigation takes him, and increasingly that appears to be into the complex business dealings, especially real estate sales.

“Experts say,” reports USA Today, “Mueller’s move to follow the money has the potential to expose Trump, his family and his associates to legal troubles that go beyond election-year collusion with the Russians.” 

“It opens the door,” adds the report, “to revelations of any business-related malfeasance discovered during Mueller’s look at Trump’s business network.” 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Is This Trump’s Vision For America?

In His Budget, You Can See a Country That Looks Like a Police State

By David Cay Johnston, DCReport Editor-in-Chief

Image result for American police stateDonald Trump plans to turn the federal government into a much more militaristic and paramilitary policing organization while making drastic cuts in the civilian workforce, including non-uniformed law enforcement, a July 7 budget memo shows.

The memo says that the budget for our government’s 2019 fiscal year, which begins on Oct.1, 2018, “will build on the ambitious plans laid out in the president’s first budget” especially through “reducing the federal civilian workforce.”

No major news organization has reported on the three-page directive from Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Mulvaney is a Tea Party Republican from South Carolina who opposes any restrictions on guns and opposes any federal spending on Planned Parenthood. In 2015, the former Congressman was willing to shut down our federal government to block all funding for Planned Parenthood.

The memo refers to increasing spending only on militarism and enforcing immigration laws as part of “broader efforts to streamline government by ensuring that the federal government spends precious taxpayer dollars only on worthwhile policies, and in the most efficient, effective manner.”

Mulvaney instructed civilian agencies to not even ask for more money. His memo requires agencies to identify programs for reduction or elimination. He suggests significant savings can be found by focusing on “waste, fraud and abuse.”

I beg your pardon

For more cartoons by Ruben Bolling, CLICK HERE.


More than 8.3 billion tons of plastics made

Most has now been discarded

University of Georgia

Photo published for 17 Powerful Images Showing The Devastating Effects Of OverpopulationHumans have created 8.3 billion metric tons of plastics since large-scale production of the synthetic materials began in the early 1950s, and most of it now resides in landfills or the natural environment, according to a study published in the journal Science Advances.
Led by a team of scientists from the University of Georgia, the University of California, Santa Barbara and Sea Education Association, the study is the first global analysis of the production, use and fate of all plastics ever made.

The researchers found that by 2015, humans had generated 8.3 billion metric tons of plastics, 6.3 billion tons of which had already become waste. Of that waste total, only 9 percent was recycled, 12 percent was incinerated and 79 percent accumulated in landfills or the natural environment.

If current trends continue, roughly 12 billion metric tons of plastic waste will be in landfills or the natural environment by 2050. Twelve billion metric tons is about 35,000 times as heavy as the Empire State Building.

Why are younger white guys dying?

Opioids and obesity, not 'despair deaths,' raising mortality rates for white Americans

University of Colorado at Boulder

Image result for Donald trump jowls
Role model
Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according to new CU Boulder research.

The study, published online in the International Journal of Epidemiology, also found that, contrary to widely reported research findings, suicide and alcohol-related deaths are not to blame for increasing mortality rates among middle-aged whites.

The results call into question recent reports suggesting that what have become known collectively as "despair deaths" -- by suicide, alcohol and drugs -- are on the rise among white Americans, particularly men, facing a lack of economic opportunity and an increase in chronic pain.

Will the VA finally recognize connection to glioblastoma?

McCain's Brain Cancer Draws Renewed Attention to Possible Agent Orange Connection By Charles Ornstein, ProPublica, and Mike Hixenbaugh, the Houston Chronicle

Image result for glioblastomaWhen Amy Jones' dad, Paul, was diagnosed with glioblastoma last month, she wondered whether it might be tied to his time in Vietnam.

Then, last week, when Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., also a Vietnam veteran, was diagnosed with the same aggressive brain cancer, Jones searched online for glioblastoma and Vietnam vets.

She soon learned the disease is one of a growing list of ailments that some Vietnam veterans and their relatives believe is caused by exposure to Agent Orange, the toxic herbicide sprayed during the war.

"Honestly, it's not easy to even admit that this is happening, let alone to even talk about it," said Jones, whose 68-year-old father has had surgery to remove a brain tumor and now is receiving radiation treatments. "It's only been six weeks. It's such a devastating diagnosis."

McCain's diagnosis comes as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is under increased pressure to broaden who's eligible for Agent Orange-related compensation. 

During the war, the military sprayed millions of gallons of the herbicide in Vietnam to kill enemy-covering jungle brush, and in the process, may have exposed as many as 2.6 million U.S. service members — including McCain.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Sidelining Science from Day One

How the Trump administration has harmed public health and safety in its first six months

Union of Concerned Scientists

Image result for trump war on scienceSince President Trump took office in January 2017, his administration (aided and abetted by Congress) has waged a war on science—undermining the role of science in public policy, giving industry undue influence on decision-making processes, creating a hostile environment for federal scientists, and reducing public access to scientific information.

This pattern of anti-science actions threatens the health and safety of the American people, with the greatest impacts likely to fall on the nation's most vulnerable populations. 

The science community and the general public have responded to this threat with vigorous resistance, and we must continue to stand up for science if we are to prevent the worst potential consequences of the Trump administration's actions.

These are the findings of a new UCS report, Sidelining Science from Day One, that details dozens of cases where science has been ignored, denied, distorted, silenced, or hidden from public view over the administration's first six months.

Political interference in government science is not new. Previous administrations and their allies have engaged in many of the same kinds of attacks the report identifies. But under the Trump administration, these threats to the federal scientific enterprise have escalated markedly.

The report documents a long list of tactics being used by the Trump administration and Congress to diminish the role of science in our democracy:

No need to pretend.

For more cartoons by Ted Rall, CLICK HERE.

Compare the numbers

Image may contain: 10 people, people smiling, text

Tests in Charlestown begin August 8

Lifeguard Certification Testing Begins Next Week
Image result for lifeguard testThe Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announced today that beginning next week, it will administer surf and non-surf lifeguard certification testing for the 2018 season. Certification is required for lifeguard positions at all Rhode Island beaches.

The schedule of testing is as follows:

Monday, July 31 – Friday, August 4 | 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Scarborough State Beach, Narragansett Surf tests for lifeguards working at all types of swimming facilities

Tuesday, August 8 through Friday, August 11 | 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Prosser Grove Picnic Area, Burlingame State Park, Charlestown Non-surf tests for lifeguards working at freshwater/bayside beaches

Put down that Mountain Dew. And the chicken wing, too.

Why sugary drinks and protein-rich meals don't go well together

BioMed Central

Image result for fat guy eatingHaving a sugar-sweetened drink with a high-protein meal may negatively affect energy balance, alter food preferences and cause the body to store more fat, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Nutrition.

Dr Shanon Casperson, lead author of the study from USDA-Agricultural Research Service Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, USA said: "We found that about a third of the additional calories provided by the sugar-sweetened drinks were not expended, fat metabolism was reduced, and it took less energy to metabolize the meals. This decreased metabolic efficiency may 'prime' the body to store more fat."

The researchers found that the inclusion of a sugar-sweetened drink decreased fat oxidation, which kick-starts the breakdown of fat molecules, after a meal by 8%. If a sugar-sweetened drink was consumed with a 15% protein meal, fat oxidation decreased by 7.2g on average. 

If a sugar-sweetened drink was consumed with a 30% protein meal, fat oxidation decreased by 12.6g on average. While having a sugar-sweetened drink increased the amount of energy used to metabolise the meal, the increased expenditure did not even out the consumption of additional calories from the drink.

Trump White House turns into a sewer

Image result for the moochDonald Trump’s pick for Communications Director took an already vulgar administration down another notch or 3,000 in an interview with the New Yorker. 

It sounded more like the ramblings of a low-level mob hit-man than of a Harvard Law grad who’s been tapped to manage the message of the supposed leader of the free world. Here are a few snippets (not suitable for most children, or for most adults):

On Chief of Staff Reince Priebus:
“Reince Priebus — if you want to leak something — he’ll be asked to resign very shortly.”

“Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac…’Let me leak the fucking thing and see if I can cock-block these people the way I cock-blocked Scaramucci for six months.'”

On leakers: 
“What I want to do is I want to fucking kill all the leakers and I want to get the President’s agenda on track so we can succeed for the American people.”

On Steve (whatever his job is) Bannon:
“I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock.”

The interview, which would have made Richard Nixon blush, was potentially more than just obscene. It may have been a felony. In talking about leaks (he wants to “kill” all the leakers), one quote got the attention of the FBI:

Friday, July 28, 2017

“You bought it”

6-Month Update for Trump Voters

Image may contain: textSo after six months, has he delivered what he promised you?

1. He told you he’d repeal Obamacare and replace it with something “beautiful.” 

You bought it. But he didn’t repeal and he didn’t replace. (Just as well: His plan would have knocked at least 22 million off health insurance, including many of you.)

2. He told you he’d cut your taxes.  
You bought it. But tax “reform” is stalled. And if it ever moves, the only ones whose taxes will be cut are the wealthy.

3. He told you he’d invest $1 billion in our nation’ crumbling infrastructure. 

You bought it. But his infrastructure plan, which was really a giveaway to rich investors, is also stalled.

4. He said he’d clean the Washington swamp.  

You bought it. But he’s brought into his administration more billionaires, CEOs, and Wall Street moguls than in any administration in history, to make laws that will enrich their businesses, along with former lobbyists, lawyers and consultants who are crafting new policies for the same industries they recently worked for.

5. He said he’d use his business experience to whip the White House into shape.  

You bought it. But he created the most chaotic, dysfunctional, back-stabbing White House in modern history, in which no one is in charge.

Worst week ever?

Pic of the Moment

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At the Mystic Aquarium

plastic shark

For Shark Week, consider this...  
Humans shouldn't swim with sharks and neither should plastic. Help us ditch the disposables. The growing plastic pollution in our ocean, rivers, and lakes threatens nearly every species of aquatic life, including sharks. That's why we need you to be a part of In Our Hands - ACP's campaign to replace single-use plastic with innovative alternatives. 

Show your support and spread the word about the In Our Hands campaign! And, get a custom graphic of your favorite sea animal!

You can help

Our choices are transforming the ocean in a fundamental way - and endangering everything we love about our oceans, lakes, and rivers.  But your every day decisions have the power to change this.  The solution to the plastic problem is in our hands.   
  • Decline single-use plastic and choose re-usables and other alternatives.
  • Learn how plastic pollution impacts animals, regional bodies of water, and  humans.
Did you know?  In addition to reusable bags and water bottles, paper and metal straws, there are also biodegradable waste bags, reusable sandwich wraps and compostable single-use cutlery, plates and bowls! 


Also help by participating in The Big Y Plastic Bag Challenge
As part of Summer Nights | Mon., July 31 | 6:00 - 9:00pm 

Big Y wants to "sea change" by helping you to eliminate plastics in our oceans. Each guest that brings in their stash of plastic shopping bags will receive a reusable shopping bag courtesy of Big Y. 

Harp sealAnimal Spotlight: Harp Seal 
While harbor seals are most commonly found in Mystic Aquarium's Animal Rescue Clinic, our animal care professionals also treat harp, gray and hooded seals.  So far this year, four (4) harp seals have received treatment in the clinic, including the recently released, Petunia, an approximately 16 month old female harp seal.

Petunia was transferred to the Animal Rescue Clinic on May 13, 2017 after being rescued in Scarborough, ME by the Marine Mammals of Maine.  After months of specialized care for various
wounds and pneumonia, she was released last week.

Did you know?
  • Harp seal mothers are able to identify their babies by their smell.
  • Spend relatively little time on land and prefer to swim.
  • This species gets its common name from the harp-shaped markings on the back of the otherwise darkly colored adults.

humpback whale
New England Boaters: Watch Out for Whales
During the summer months, whales have been spotted in the coastal areas of New England where they feed on small schooling fish and zooplankton called copepods.  There have been numerous reports of interactions between boaters and whales in the New England waters.  Click here to learn how to navigate your way around a whale sighting.

                            learn more  

Membership: Sea Change    
Unlimited visits are great. Free 4-D is quite a perk. Clean oceans are life-giving. The benefits of a Mystic Aquarium membership are far-reaching.  We seek change through conservation, education and research. You sea change with your membership.  Click here to join now!    

Mystic Aquarium's Corporate Sponsors 
Corporate Sponsors

Get a FREE KID'S ADMISSIONS TICKET to participating zoos and aquariums  
When you purchase two specially marked   
Stonyfield Organic YoKids multipacks, you can
get a FREE kid's ticket with the purchase of an
adult ticket.  Bring your kids face-to-face with
endangered species and inspire them to make a


The mission of Mystic Aquarium is to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through conservation, education and research.

Mystic Aquarium  | 55 Coogan Blvd, Mystic, CT  | 860.572.5955
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