"Residents of Manhattan will not just sweat harder from rising temperatures in the future, says a new study; many may die."
Bad news for women who like to have a cigarette now and then while drinking a six pack of wine: Even one smoke more than doubles your risk of keeling over dead from a heart attack. Results from a three-decade study that followed the health habits of 101,000 American nurses found that even very light smoking dramatically increased the incidence of "sudden cardiac death"—these are the sneaky kind of heart attacks that just knock people over dead, with no warning and no previously known medical conditions.
Light-to-moderate smokers were twice as likely to die of sudden heart problems than those who had never smoked. But those who quit [...]
"Things slow at the office? Remind your employees that they’re going to die."
With the terrifying new strain of "indestructible" tuberculosis discovered in India this week, it's a good time to revisit the music made about the deadly disease in the past. Like lots of terrifying things, tuberculosis has inspired some truly great music. The "T.B. Blues" that Texas blues singer Victoria Spivey sings above, for example. Like she says, it's no joke. But she also says that she wrote it, in 1927. According to Smithsonian Folkways, it was written by Lead Belly, and he recorded it in 1944. Hmm!
"We're basically back to where we were before drugs." -In case the return of bedbugs isn't exciting enough for you, let's give a big "welcome back" to tuberculosis!
Tired of swine flu? Good news! "A patient who saw a doctor in Aichi Prefecture, central Japan, is suspected of having contracted a new strain of influenza, Nagoya city officials said Friday." Before everyone runs off half-cocked in all directions, can we just agree right now that we're going to call this one "Aichi Breaky Heart"?
The 4,000-pound hexapod insect-mobile is "an entertainment vehicle," according to it's designer, Matt Denton, from Hampshire, U.K. "I hope it will inspire people," he says. That is not quite my reaction.
Robots: friendly helpers or heartless monsters that will destroy humanity? This is no longer just a question for the movies that play all the time on "Spike" or TNT. As you may or may not have noticed, aggressor nations such as the United States are getting out of the people business when it comes to fighting wars. Drones and robots are where the action is today, because drones don't urinate on the corpses of innocent people in Afghanistan, and drones don't burn the Koran, and drones don't come home missing a couple of limbs or a chunk of brain and end up standing alongside a freeway ramp with a [...]
"Preliminary results from a New York State study show that more than half of the eggs tested from chickens kept in community gardens in Brooklyn, Bronx and Queens had detectable levels of lead, unlike their store-bought counterparts. While lead is a naturally occurring element that is gets ingested in a variety of ways, it has been well established to be harmful to humans, even in very low quantities." —Locavores add another natural nutrient to their diets.
Anxious about the possibility of a Fukushima-style nuclear calamity in the event of another earthquake here on the East Coast? You should be! But save some shelf space in your cabinet of concerns for our deteriorating dams:
In 2009 the American Society of Civil Engineers released a survey of the state of infrastructure in the U.S. The group found that dams are, on average, in terrible disrepair. Of the more than 85,000 dams, more than 4,000 are unsafe or deficient, and nearly 1,800 of those are located where a breach would cause severe damage to life or property. With so many dams, it is hard to [...]
"The fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, on Wednesday, April 17, killed at least a dozen people and destroyed several blocks of the small town. Is your neighborhood next?"
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, volunteers have spontaneously organized to help the many, many people whose homes were destroyed or damaged by the storm. Many displaced or electricity-lacking NYC residents are still in need of hot meals. Occupy Sandy has been coordinating deliveries and making some food at their hubs in Brooklyn, but a lot of the food they're distributing is coming from various kitchens in churches and schools and even homes, and some of those volunteers are also finding ways to deliver the food themselves. (Here's what's happening and where to help for Thanksgiving.)
This outpouring of community support gives me a schizoid blend of alternately [...]
"From highways in Texas to nuclear power plants in Illinois, the concrete, steel and sophisticated engineering that undergird the nation’s infrastructure are being taxed to worrisome degrees by heat, drought and vicious storms."
Your youth was even more poisonous than you remember:
Following the recall of nearly 12 million Shrek glasses over the summer because of toxic levels of brain-damaging, cancer-causing lead and cadmium, the Associated Press has discovered that pretty much every decorative drinking glass ever made carries the same risk, dating back to nearly 50 years ago. A specially commissioned laboratory test of 35 separate drinking glasses made between the late 1960s and this year—including those with enamel designs of Superman, Batman, and characters from The Wizard Of Oz—found that all of them exceeded federal limits on lead in children’s products by up to 1,000 times, many of these [...]
Today in things that might kill you: "Thousands of people have been placed under quarantine in a town in northwest China after a man died of pneumonic plague and 11 others were confirmed infected with the deadly lung infection, health authorities said." Pneumonic plague, the story continues, can kill its victims "within 24 hours of infection."