Bits n’ pieces from east, west and beyond

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East, west or beyond, sooner or later events elsewhere may have a local impact. A recent sampling:

•Capture CO2, help the planet and make a profit. That’s the idea behind Climework’s CO2 collectors; small fans collect air and filters soak up the CO2, which can be sold, made into products or buried safely underground. Some see the product as capable of helping companies meet climate goal.

•In 1979 teacher’s wages were 5.5 percent less than their peers; in 2017 the figure was 18.7 percent less, according to data from the Economic Policy Institute and the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics.

According to a Consumer Reports survey, 93 percent of Americans want honest country-of-origin labels on their meat. But the USDA’s labeling policies allow meat to carry a “Product of USA” label even if the meat was born and raised outside the U.S. The “made in USA” label is allowed if the meat was minimally processed in the U.S.

•Check the label: soy is being promoted by the pet food industry as a desirable fiber. But there are veterinarians that disagree, saying it is biologically inappropriate for pets and can cause allergies, deadly bloat and thyroid problems. Another issue: soy can interfere with utilization of nutrients.

•Right-wing commentator Josh Bernstein, in a video, claims that if Democrats gain control of Congress at the mid-term elections and attempt to impeach the President, “it could trigger the most violent, bloodiest revolution in the history of the United States.”

•Recent research shared in the journal Animal Cognition says that dogs have 19 known pointing gestures they use to relay messages to humans.

•Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders says every 10 seconds Amazon’s founder makes more money than the median-income Amazon employee makes in a year. And last year, with a $6.5 billion profit, Sen. Sanders says Amazon paid no federal income taxes. The corporation also paid thousands of employees so little they were forced to use public assistance for food, housing and Medicaid. Essentially, the Senator claims, taxpayers are subsidizing the world’s wealthiest man, Jeff Bezos, who has said he has more money than he can spend.

•Less diverse gut bacteria (aka microbiome) is linked to numerous health problems such as allergies, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, IBD and neuro-psychiatric disorders, according to the American Association for Cancer Research.

•Displacement by Hurricane Maria a year ago prompted 135,592 people from the island to take up residence in the U.S. Of those, 56,477 went to Florida, 15,208 went to Massachusetts, 13,292 moved to Connecticut, 11,217 went to New York, 9,963 went to Pennsylvania and 5,027 moved to New Jersey, according to the Census Bureau.

•Estimates of Hurricane Maria’s death toll in Puerto Rico have varied: the U.S. President said there were 17 deaths when he visited there in October. But research from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health says a conservative estimate is 4,645 deaths. But some deaths cannot be confirmed in cases where people lived alone.

•According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s own Regulatory Impact Analysis, the White House’s call to reduce the scope of the Clean Air Act will cause more than 1000 additional death from air pollution in 2030, as compared to retaining the Act left as-is.

•The medical journal The Lancet recently published a study showing that police killings of unarmed African-Americans has a psychological impact on the whole Black community, such as triggering depression and stress disorder. Last year 25 percent of people police killed were Blacks, but Blacks represent 13 percent of the U.S. population. In 2015, 99 percent of cases where police shot Blacks did not result in an officer being convicted of a crime, according to the website Mapping Police Violence.

•An EPA study supports academic studies that show fracking has contaminated drinking water. The fracking industry has denied there is a problem. But Journal: Science in the Total Environment, shows fracking chemicals cause fat cells to hold more fat. Fracking chemicals have also been shows to be hormone disruptors that influence fertility and the immune system.

•Babies of those living in 10 of Pennsylvania’s most heavily fracked counties, have a 29 percent greater risk of dying in their first 28 days, according to a study in Journal of Environmental Protection.

•Blast from the past: In an op-ed he wrote in the 1990’s, now Vice President Mike Pence said a U.S. President who is unfaithful to his wife, lies to the American people and tries to cover it up should be removed from public office.

•And another blast: Thirty years ago this summer climatologist James Hansen testified to the U.S. Congress about the hazards of climate change. As a result, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was established.

Lorraine H. Marie is a writer based in Colville, Washington.

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