America’s Drinking Water Crisis. Profit v. Poison

Source: America’s Drinking Water Crisisflint-water_-lead

After the shocking news of extremely high levels of lead found in the drinking water in Flint, Michigan, The Guardian reports: “Water authorities across the US are systematically distorting water tests to downplay the amount of lead in samples, risking a dangerous spread of the toxic water crisis that has gripped Flint.”

The controversial approach to water testing is so widespread that it occurs in “every major US city east of the Mississippi” according to an anonymous source with extensive knowledge of the lead and copper regulations. “By word of mouth, this has become the thing to do in the water industry. The logical conclusion is that millions of people’s drinking water is potentially unsafe,” he said.

Documents seen by the Guardian show that water boards in cities including Detroit and Philadelphia, as well as the state of Rhode Island, have distorted tests by using methods deemed misleading by the Environment Protection Agency.

Dr Yanna Lambrinidou, a Virginia Tech academic, warned that the issue of misleading test results was widespread. “There is no way that Flint is a one-off,” she said.“There are many ways to game the system. In Flint, they went to test neighbourhoods where they knew didn’t have a problem. You can also flush the water to get rid of the lead. If you flush it before sampling, the problem will go away.

“The EPA has completely turned its gaze away from this. The system is absolutely failing.”

Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore has called for the arrest of Michigan’s governor over the scandal in Flint. “Thanks to you, sir, and the premeditated actions of your administrators, you have effectively poisoned, not just some, but apparently ALL of the children in my hometown of Flint, Michigan. And for that, you have to go to jail.

“To poison all the children in an historic American city is no small feat. Even international terrorist organizations haven’t figured out yet how to do something on a magnitude like this.”

 

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Tiny B&B in Chester celebrating after being voted the world’s best boutique hotel

*Books mini-break*. edgar-house-2

Anyone fancy a trip to Chester?

We hear the B&Bs are pretty decent. And they’re not a bad price either.

Edgar House, a tiny seven-bed B&B overlooking the River Dee in Chester is probably treating itself to a little Bucks Fizz over breakfast today after being voted the world’s best small hotel in TripAdvisor‘s Travellers’ Choice awards.

The modest B&B beat off competition from boutique hotels in New Zealand, Australia, Costa Rica and Capri to take the title.

The award winners were determined based on the millions of reviews collected in a single year from TripAdvisor travellers worldwide.

Edgar house
(Picture: Edgar House)
Co-owner Mike Stephen said he was ‘thrilled and humbled’ with the win.

And when you check out what the little hotel has to offer, it’s perhaps not so surprising it’s proved so popular.

The views are amazing.
As is the food.
Each of their seven bedrooms is individually designed and the beds come with snuggly goose feather and down pillows, and egyptian cotton sheets, as standard.

Edgar house 2
(Picture: Edgar House)
The bathrooms have rain showers, freestanding baths, French porcelain tiles and underfloor heating.
There’s also an honesty bar hidden in a phone box.
And a mini cinema serving ice cream.

Oh, and you can get bed and breakfast for £99.50 per person.

When do we go?

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Source: Tiny B&B in Chester celebrating after being voted the world’s best boutique hotel

Should you Drop out of School?

Everything You Won’t Learn in College About How to Be Successful” by Michael Ellsberg

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“The Education of Millionaires: Everything You Won’t Learn in College About How to Be Successful” by Michael Ellsberg

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Julien Blanc’s Social Media:

F A C E B O O K: http://www.Facebook.com/JulienBlancOf…
T W I T T E R: http://www.Twitter.com/JulienHimself
I N S T A G R A M: http://www.Instagram.com/JulienHimself
S N A P C H A T: JulienHimself
P E R I S C O P E: JulienHimself

Related: 70’s interview with Margaret Thatcher:  

Tsunami Aftermath: The Urato Islands Rebuild

THE URATO ISLANDS, near the coast of Japan, rebuilds after the Tsunami disaster:1443642236

Yoshimasa Koizumi looks at his fishing equipment on Katsurashima Island. He has never used it, having moved to the island one day before last year's deadly tsunami.

The Urato Islands. (pop: 300). Courtesy of: CNN

Actions were organized by sustainability researchers in the Satoyama Initiative to discuss rebuilding and revitalization of the Urato Islands after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami on the 11th of March 2011.  These sessions were key turning points for the rebuilding process of the Urato Islands.  Two dialogues were held, the first in 2012 and the second in 2014.

Strong collaboration between local communities and external stakeholders was the key for an effective community dialogue session. commitment as was organised follow up from several key Universities, and civil society organisations.

The Urato Islands are four islands that are inhabited by several hundred people located near the small city of Shiogama, in Miyagi prefecture, on the north-eastern coast of Japan.   The population of these islands lived from small-scale agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture (oysters and seaweed) that were intertwined and supported the rich and unique ecosystems of the islands.dsc_2248

The 2011 tsunami swept over much of the islands, destroying fishing boats, houses and oyster beds, disrupting people, their tools and the produce land and seascape that people had spent centuries creating.  The people in Urato are making heroic efforts to rebuild their livelihoods, but the tsunami revealed underlying problems that they share with much of rural Japan:depopulation, ageing populations and a lack of people to take over business.  The combination of the Tsunami with these slow changes has made many people worried about whether they can can rebuild their communities in a sustainable way.

Clearing and rebuilding efforts continue on Katsurashima Island off the coast of Miyagi prefecture.

The Urato Islands (pop. 300) Courtesy of CNN

The community dialogue sessions with local and external stakeholders in the Urato Island helped to bring new energy to the islanders, over come the damages they got, and embrace new ways of rebuilding their community that used both their own resources and their connections with the outside world.  These dialogues focussed on how to use ecosystem services to enhance post-disaster rebuilding and restoration of the Islands, and how to enable communities to enhance their cultural and management practices to sustain both people and ecosystems.   The dialogue helped align the efforts long-time residents and newer arrivals as well as locally focussed restoration efforts and externally oriented efforts to create new types of markets and support among the consumers of Urato’s fish and shellfish.  The dialogue help unite these local actors, such as fishermen, schools and local organisations, and connect with external stakeholders such as customers, ministry of the environment, NGOs, and universities, to create a shared vision.

This approach of organising community dialogue sessions together with local and external stakeholders can be applicable to any other part of rural areas in Japan struggling with rebuilding and revitalisation of the communities not only for the communities affected by natural disaster, but also for communities who would like to revitalise the area respecting socio-ecological system.  A weakness of this type of approach is the limited number of people that can be involved in a dialogue process.  Similar approaches to community dialogues could be applied in other areas, and the processes initiated by such dialogues may be able to reorient people and societies world-view in new directions.   · in Social-Ecological Seeds, Food system,Integrated social-environmental, community. · 地図

Happy Sloth Day via Tico Times

Buttercup @ Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica

Jo Jo @ Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica

Becky Cliffe @ Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica

Featured image

Happy International Sloth Day!!!! A wonderful day to celebrate my favorite animal!!!! So proud of all the hard work Becky Naomi Cliffe @ Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica has done to research how to reintroduce orphaned, hand raised sloths.

See More: http://beckycliffe.com/sloth-science-2015/

Related: My battle with Leishmaniasis: a flesh-eating parasite By: Becky Radcliffe

In my second year at the University of Manchester I studied parasitology, and the terrifying images of dramatic lesions and extreme elephantiasis are burnt vividly into my memory. Of course, I never considered that one day I would become one of those horror stories. In July I was diagnosed with a tropical flesh-eating parasite called Leishmaniasis, and for the past 10 weeks I have been battling to regain my health. We never fully appreciate how lucky we are to be healthy, and unfortunately I learnt this lesson the hard way.

What is Leishmaniasis?

Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by the protozoan parasite Leishmania. There are actually 21 different species of leishmania, and they are found throughout Asia, Africa, South/Central America and Southern Europe. The parasite can be found in many different mammals, but the only way for it to be transmitted to a human is through the bite of an infected sandfly. When an infected sandfly bites a human, the parasite is transmitted into the body and replicates within the human macrophage cells. I was diagnosed with a type of infection called cutaneous leishmaniasis, which basically means that the disease appears as a lesion on the skin at the site of the original sandfly bite. This wound then continues to grow, and can spread to other areas of the body. Often, it will infect the mucosal lining of the mouth, nose and ears causing serious disfigurement. In minor cases, the infection heals itself within a year, however in most cases (including mine) treatment is needed.

The Leishmania parasite life cycle

Leishmaniasis and sloths 

Unfortunately, sloths are often thought of as being dirty, lazy animals that transmit diseases and parasites. One of the many diseases that people blame sloths for is leishmaniasis. Many local people are terrified of sloths for this reason, and sadly they pass this fear down through generations. I have lost count of the number of people that have asked me if a sloth can give them leishmaniasis. The simple answer is no. This misconception stems from a few scientific studies that have found sloths to test positive for the leishmania parasite. They are, in scientific terms, a ‘reservoir’ for leishmania, but so are many mammals – including dogs! There is no way a sloth can transmit leishmaniasis to a human – this only happens through the bite of an infected sandfly. It is just one of the many negative myths that the sloths are burdened with!

My journey

I remember the sandfly that bit me. I was walking my new puppy on the beach at dusk and was annoyed by the itchy bump that later appeared on my arm. I forgot about it and only really noticed something unusual when the bite was still there two weeks later. Nobody seemed particularly concerned by the little scab on my arm, and I probably left it far longer than I should before seeking a diagnosis. We watched the little hole in my arm slowly grow for 4 weeks before deciding to have it tested. Within 24 hours, the doctor had called and told me that I had tested positive for leishmaniasis and should begin treatment immediately. I didn’t know it at the time, but that was just the tip of the iceberg.

As it turned out, there are no nice treatment options. The Costa Rican method involves up to 60 injections of glucantime – a toxic chemical that kills the parasite but also comes with a high risk of liver and heart damage. That didn’t sound like much fun, so I decided to seek treatment in the UK since I had been due to return during August anyway. When I finally arrived at my doctors office and presented him with a flesh-eating parasite, he looked at me like I had two heads. I was advised to go to the emergency room at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine to find more specialised help. I don’t think that many people turn up at the hospital claiming to have leishmaniasis, since doctors of all shapes and sizes turned up to see the girl with the flesh-eating parasite. It’s safe to say that many people looked at me like I had two heads that day.

I was finally introduced to the wonderful Dr Tim O’Dempsey. He took a biopsy of my arm (much to my horror) and told me the bad news: the UK treatment options aren’t much better than the toxic Costa Rican injections. Furthermore, I had to wait 5 days for the biopsy results before I could do anything at all – we had to just sit and watch the hole continue to grow in my arm. It was an overwhelmingly creepy feeling knowing that something was munching through the flesh on my arm and I couldn’t do anything to stop it! Depending on the species of leishmania I was infected with, I now had two treatment choices:

1) I could be admitted to hospital for three weeks of intravenous medication (chemotherapy), which basically involves the same toxic chemicals as the Costa Rican injections (think heart problems and liver failure). Famously, TV presenter Ben Fogle endured this treatment after contracting leishmaniasis in Peru, and he ended up bed-bound with pneumonia – no thank you!

2) OR I could trial a new oral medication from Germany called Miltefosine. This horrifically expensive drug comes with a bunch of awful side effects, including sickness so severe that many people simply can not finish the treatment. This option wasn’t guaranteed to work either, and had never before been used to treat leishmaniasis from Costa Rica. Furthermore, this medication is only effective against one subspecies of the parasite – the most dangerous subspecies.

As it turned out, fate made the decision for me. I was diagnosed as having the dangerous subspecies (one that is prone to infecting the mouth and nose causing disfigurement) and so I was prescribed 4 weeks worth of Miltefosine pills. I began treatment immediately and initially, things looked promising. The hole in my arm stopped growing, and the pills weren’t making me too nauseous. Unfortunately, I didn’t realise it at the time but this medication takes a huge toll on the immune system. My arm was healing but I was becoming weaker every day. Within three weeks, strange painless lumps had started to appear all over my arm and my lymph nodes were inflamed. By this point I had returned to Costa Rica and was looking forward to getting back to normal – but normal was a long way off.

The lumps grew, and one in particular became very sore. It turns out that these were abscesses growing under my skin as a result of a staphylococcus infection. Within a few days I was feverish, my heart rate was up and my blood pressure dropped – all very bad signs of a systemic infection. I was rushed to a local doctor who prescribed antibiotic injections and bed rest. The rest was a roller-coaster. The injections (that were unfortunately in my bum cheek) left me with a second infection, which quickly developed into a large abscess leaving me unable to walk or sit down. I was forced to waddle everywhere. After one of the most uncomfortable weeks of my life, the doctor surgically drained 10 ml of pus from the abscess, and prescribed stronger antibiotics. I then developed further infections in my eye and mouth, all requiring treatment. And then to top everything off, a final infection in my left arm that also had to be surgically drained and my arm stitched up.

My arm after surgery

So today I am writing this, finally feeling like my roller-coaster ride is coming to an end. The leishmaniasis on my arm is healing, and the infections are finally going away. I still have stitches in my left arm and I have a few days of antibiotics left – but I have gone almost a week now without any new symptoms developing, and I am finally beginning to regain my energy (and most importantly, I don’t need to waddle anymore)! It has been a horrific journey, but I will never again be taking my good health for granted.

Now, I am finally ready to put my snake boots on and get back out in the jungle! It’s been a while since I have been able to follow up on the  Sloth Backpack Project, so it’s time for me to get productive. http://www.slothsanctuary.com/blog/

More Information: World Health Organization Disease Management info: Lleishmaniasis

 POST-KALA-AZAR DERMAL LEISHMANIASIS: A MANUAL FOR CASE MANAGEME

This solar powered floating farm can produce 20 tons of vegetables every day

From design practice, Forward Thinking Architecture, come a set of modular floating farms that harvest sunlight and rainwater, as well as desalinate saltwater and grow thousands of tons of vegetables ever year.

Inspired by Chinese floating fish farms, these rectangular units measure 200×350 meters and can connect with other modules via walkways.  The usage of waterways is a great compliment to the farming industry because it makes farming available in so many more locations.  It reduces the need to import food by localizing growth and incorporates rivers and lakes as viable “farmland.”

Each unit is comprised of three levels.  The bottom floor focuses on aquaculture and water desalination, the first floor on hydroponic crop cultivation, and the roof is adorned with solar panels, skylights and rainwater collectors.

Each module is anticipated to make 8,152 tons of vegetables every year and bring in 1,703 tons of fish.  The modules, then, connect into a grid and can scale up into huge farms, producing local food for entire cities.

http://www.inhabitat.com/could-solar-powered-modular-floating-farms-be-an-answer-to-global-food-self-sufficiency/

http://www.forwardthinkingarchitecture.com/SFF-FLOATING-FARMS-INITIATIVE

This blog is free & open source, however embeds may not be.

 
Minds

Finding Truth In an Illusory World

source   https://www.minds.com/blog/view/447430685691482112/this-solar-powered-floating-farm-can-produce-20-tons-of-vegetables-every-day

From design practice, Forward Thinking Architecture, come a set of modular floating farms that harvest sunlight and rainwater, as well as desalinate saltwater and grow thousands of tons of vegetables ever year.

Inspired by Chinese floating fish farms, these rectangular units measure 200×350 meters and can connect with other modules via walkways.  The usage of waterways is a great compliment to the farming industry because it makes farming available in so many more locations.  It reduces the need to import food by localizing growth and incorporates rivers and lakes as viable “farmland.”

Each unit is comprised of three levels.  The bottom floor focuses on aquaculture and water desalination, the first floor on hydroponic crop cultivation, and the roof is adorned with solar panels, skylights and rainwater collectors.

Each module is anticipated to make 8,152 tons of vegetables every year and bring in 1,703 tons of fish. …

View original post 22 more words

A Dog Escapes the deadly clutches of a Wild Python

A dog has miraculously avoided becoming a huge pythons meal – after his owner whacked it with a leafy branch.

The distressed dog can be seen in the deadly clutches of the python as it begins to constrict its prey to death.

But the heroic owner – who has not been named – quickly grabs a nearby branch and begins hitting the lengthy python with it in Karnataka, India.

And the act works, as the stunned python begins uncoiling and slowly slithers away.

We bring you the weirdest, wackiest and most bizarre stories from around the world. Stay tuned for daily uploads that you simply have to see to believe.  Check here for more information:  Twitter: https://twitter.com/caters_news   Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/catersnews Website: http://www.catersnews.com