Jan 29, 2016

Fifty Years of Global Immunization at CDC — 1966–2015

Source: CDC Weekly
During the early 1960s, concern that smallpox could be imported into the United States, and a broader interest in solving health challenges facing humanity, catalyzed the U.S. government's commitment for global smallpox eradication, which culminated on November 23, 1965, with a White House press release announcing plans for smallpox and measles vaccination campaigns for West Africa. Shortly afterward, in January 1966, the CDC Smallpox Eradication Program was established in the Office of the CDC Director, demonstrating strong agency-wide commitment to smallpox eradication and enabling deployment of resources across the agency. Ultimately, approximately 300 CDC staff members participated in the eradication initiative, and smallpox was declared eradicated by the World Health Organization in 1980.

January 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of CDC's Smallpox Eradication Program and the beginning of CDC's leadership in global immunization. This year CDC will begin implementing a new Strategic Framework for Global Immunization, 2016–2020, that articulates CDC's vision of a world with healthy persons protected from vaccine preventable disease (VPD), disability, and death.

A major focus during the next 5 years will be to provide scientific leadership and evidence-based guidance to achieve a world free of polio. CDC will also build on and leverage achievement of polio eradication to increase focus on preventing VPD importation into the United States; preventing, detecting, and responding to VPD outbreaks globally as part of the Global Health Security Agenda (https://ghsagenda.org); achieving a world free of measles and rubella; ending VPD deaths among children aged <5 years; and reducing chronic disease and cancer deaths from VPDs.

It’s not just Flint: Poor communities across the country live with ‘extreme’ polluters - The Washington Post

The Washington Post:

As national attention focuses on Flint, Mich. — where lead-contaminated water flowed for over a year to a relatively poor, minority community — new research suggests that across the U.S., communities like these are more likely to be exposed to some of the most intense pollution.

In a new paper just out in the open-access journal Environmental Research Letters, sociologist Mary Collins of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry and two colleagues from the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center and the University of Maryland examined what they term "hyper-polluters": Industrial facilities that, based on EPA data, generate disproportionately large amounts of air pollution. Then, they cross-referenced the location of these facilities with socio-demographic data from the 2000 census.

The result? "We find striking evidence that extreme emitters are likely impacting EJ [environmental justice] communities even more significantly than typical EJ scholarship might predict," the study said.

The study adds to a body of evidence showing that the U.S. continues to struggle when it comes to "environmental justice," a concept advanced by advocates and researchers to describe the reality that poor and minority communities tend to have disproportionate exposures to environmental hazards.

The industrial emissions examined in the new study were reported by close to 16,000 industrial facilities in the continental U.S. as part of the EPA's toxics release inventory program. The facilities were across a variety of sectors, ranging from mining to manufacturing, according to Collins. They did not include large power plants.

Examining this EPA data, the study found a significant disparity when it comes to how much different facilities pollute. "90% of toxic concentration present in the study area is generated by only 809 (about 5%) of facilities," the paper reported.

Michigan Officials Quietly Gave Bottled Water To State Employees Months Before Flint Residents | @ThinkProgress


The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget decided to haul water coolers into the Flint state building in January of 2015 out of concern over the city's water quality, a year before bottled water was being made available to residents, according to documents obtained by Progress Michigan.

Flint switched its water source from Detroit to the Flint River in April 2014, which is now known to have caused lead to leach into the city's tap water. After two boil advisories were issued in August and September of 2014, the city sent residents a notice that the level of trihalomethanes (TTHMs), which can cause liver and kidney problems, had exceed federal limits, although they were told that it was still fine to use the water and no corrective actions needed to be taken.

But concerns raised over water quality were enough for officials in the state's capitol of Lansing to decide to give state employees the option to drink bottled water from coolers, rather than from water fountains. Coolers were placed next to the fountains on each occupied floor, according to the documents, and were to be provided "as long as the public water does not meet treatment requirements."

facility notification


For residents, however, it took researchers uncovering elevated levels of lead in children's bloodstreams for a lead advisory to finally be issued in September of 2015. Residents were told not to drink the water and a public health emergency was declared by the Genesee County Health Department in October, and Flint's mayor declared a state of emergency in December. The National Guard was activated in January of this year to distribute water from five fire stations — a full year after water was brought in for state employees out of concern over water quality.

5 percent of polluters create 90 percent of toxic emissions. Guess where they’re located? | Grist


With the way the Flint water crisis is unfolding, the reality of environmental racism is front and center in the news. As Aura Bogado explained so well earlier this week, environmental justice is closely tied to segregation and inequality. It seems like every month there's a new study telling us that pollution is higher in black and low-income communities. Well, January did not disappoint.

A new study published in Environmental Research Letters looks into the connections between pollution, race, and income. Other studies have shown that people of color and immigrants are more likely to live in areas of higher pollution. This study, titled "Linking 'Toxic Outliers' to Environmental Justice Communities," gets a little more specific. The study looked to see if there were super-polluters — were a small number of facilities responsible for the majority of toxic emissions? — and measured their proximity to communities in terms of race and income status.

First, the researchers found the super-polluters:

Using public data and open-source software, we assess industrially based exposure estimates and proximate socio-demographic characteristics on a polluter-by-polluter basis across the continental United States. We find a highly skewed distribution of polluter-based harm generation with fewer than 10% of the nearly 16,000 study area facilities generating greater than 90% of estimated exposure.

They then did some nice math trick in order to compare it to the race and income area demographics. The results were definitely interesting but maybe a little unsurprising if you've been reading about environmental justice for a while: 90 percent of toxic emissions came from just 5 percent of the facilities, and low-income and people of color are more likely to live in closer proximity and be exposed to these super-polluters.

Why is this? The authors give a good guess: Economic power comes with political power, so those of a lower income are less likely to be able to fight and get these polluters out of their neighborhoods. The study explained:

[O]ur results support the possibility of Lerner-style sacrifice zones — or high minority, low income neighborhoods where toxic outliers can exist without the focus they might receive in other locations (Lerner, 2010). If so, the ability of such facilities to impose health risk on populations with the least capacity to resist would contribute to the persistence of these patterns.

These results definitely give us interesting policy implications. The key to helping these communities could be to focus on reducing the emissions of these "toxic outliers," or better yet — getting them shut down.

That's a relief..... In 50-49 vote, US Senate says climate change not caused by humans

WASHINGTON — The Senate rejected the scientific consensus that humans are causing climate change, days after NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared 2014 the hottest year ever recorded on Earth.

The Republican-controlled Senate defeated a measure Wednesday stating that climate change is real and that human activity significantly contributes to it. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, offered the measure as the Senate debated the Keystone XL pipeline, which would tap the carbon-intensive oil sands in the Canadian province of Alberta.

The Senate voted 50-49 on the measure, which required 60 votes in order to pass.

"Only in the halls of Congress is this a controversial piece of legislation," Schatz said.

The chairman of the environment committee, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., is an enthusiastic denier of climate change, saying it is the "biggest hoax" perpetrated against mankind.

"The hoax is there are some people so arrogant to think they are so powerful they can change the climate," Inhofe said Wednesday on the Senate floor. "Man can't change the climate."

The Senate, with Inhofe's support, did pass a separate measure saying that climate change is real — just not that human activity is a cause. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., was the only senator to vote against it.

Please read full and follow at: 

Jan 28, 2016

First Annual State of EH&S Report from Triumvirate Environmental Details Trends, Opportunities and Possible Threats

BOSTON--()--Triumvirate will detail findings and implications of the 2016 State of EH&S Survey in a webinar on January 28, 2 p.m. ET. Registration is open at: bit.ly/EHSwebinar

"The findings in this report should be a call to action because with stagnant budgets, EH&S employees are unable to focus on new initiatives that move the needle in regards to sustainability, innovation and growth."

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Triumvirate Environmental today released its first annual "State of EH&S" report analyzing the direction of the environmental health and safety industry. Triumvirate Environmental surveyed close to 200 EH&S professionals across multiple verticals to gain insight on the direction of the industry for 2016 and beyond.

Four Trends from the Survey

1. Safety Is Number One

Safety was the most important trend and biggest challenge of 2016 across industries and experience levels.

One respondent elaborated that the most important concern is, "maintaining EH&S visibility and the critical importance of safety and environmental compliance to the Senior/Executive Leadership. EH&S and its functions are taking a backseat to many other programs, and is becoming dispersed and diluted."

2. Understaffing is Rampant

Over 72% of EH&S professionals feel their department is currently understaffed and 79% of EH&S departments won't be growing in 2016. Of all industries, educational institutions had the highest percentage of respondents who felt their EH&S department was understaffed at 82%.

3. Regulatory Updates Are A Focus

Regulatory compliance was a close second to safety for most industries when asked about trends and challenges (aside from life sciences that put sustainability in the second spot). The majority of respondents cited constantly changing regulations and increasing fines as the reason.

4. Sustainability Isn't Quite There Yet

Sustainability ranked least important out of seven possible initiatives for 2016 (including safety, regulatory compliance, training, waste management & disposal, cost savings and plan improvement).

"The 2016 State of EH&S report shows that organizations are hard-pressed to expand their environmental health and safety staff with possible negative outlook for many of the topics we care about," said Warren Sukernek, director of marketing at Triumvirate Environmental. "Our analysis shows that a lack of staffing and resources can limit the ability to adopt programs like sustainability and affect operational efficiency. If organizations were allocating more funding, I think we'd see a greater focus on sustainability and using technology to streamline existing processes. Simply focusing on regulatory requirements to avoid fines and preserve job security is not enough to drive future success and innovation in our industry."

"Building a safe and compliant workspace is the central function of most EH&S departments. However, perspectives around environmental wellness are not being taken into account when EH&S departments are developing goals and priorities for their organizations," said Sasha Laferte, research lead for "State of EH&S" at Triumvirate. "The findings in this report should be a call to action because with stagnant budgets, EH&S employees are unable to focus on new initiatives that move the needle in regards to sustainability, innovation and growth."

Access the full report: bit.ly/EHSreport

Triumvirate will detail findings and implications of the 2016 State of EH&S Survey in a webinar on January 28, 2 p.m. ET. Registration is open at: bit.ly/EHSwebinar

Triumvirate's report is the first report of this depth and breadth in the EH&S industry. During December 2015, Triumvirate surveyed close to 200 EH&S professionals. Experience level of respondents ranged from associate to C-level and their locations spanned from Florida to Maine and out to Illinois.

Please read full from link source at: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160127005808/en/Major-Environmental-Health-Safety-Survey-Finds-Staffing

Jan 24, 2016

By 2050, there'll be more plastic than fish in our oceans

The number of fish in our oceans will be outweighed by plastic waste over the next 35 years, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum (WEF). The announcement comes after a pretty bleak week for news, during which scientists told us all the aliens are probably dead, and South Africa moved closer to lifting its ban on domestic rhino horn trade.

The report revealed that almost a third of all the plastic we produce "leaks" into the environment, mostly ending up in our oceans, where it'll probably be eaten by wildlife or will eventually make its way into a great floating garbage patch.

Please continue reading from: 

Jan 22, 2016

NY S 164A Requires that all persons working on contracts valued at $250,000 or more receive at least 10 hours of OSHA training prior to their performance of work

New York — ​S 164A

Requires that all persons working on contracts valued at $250,000 or more receive at least ten hours of OSHA training prior to their performance of work

Full Text Read the official bill text.

Jan 21, 2016

Energy Department Announces Teams to Compete in #SolarDecathlon 2017

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the 16 collegiate teams selected to participate in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017 competition. The teams, from colleges and universities across the United States and around the world, will now begin the nearly two-year process of building solar-powered houses that are affordable, innovative and highly energy-efficient.


"President Obama's all-of-the-above energy strategy aims to create a safer and more sustainable planet, while ensuring American students and workers have the skills they need for the challenging jobs of today and tomorrow," said DOE's Solar Decathlon Director, Richard King. "The Solar Decathlon competition supports the department's commitment to improving the nation's science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education efforts, and to building a more knowledge-intensive workforce."


Over the coming months, the 16 Solar Decathlon teams will design, construct, and test their houses before reassembling them at the Solar Decathlon 2017 competition site, which will be announced soon. As part of the Solar Decathlon, teams compete in 10 different contests—ranging from architecture and engineering to home appliance performance—while gaining valuable hands-on experience in clean energy design. The winner of the competition will be the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. For the first time in the competition's history, the Solar Decathlon 2017 teams will be competing for $2 million in prize money.


In mid-2017, the student teams will showcase their solar-powered houses at the competition site to the public, providing free tours of renewable energy systems and energy-efficient technologies, products, and appliances that today are helping homeowners nationwide save money by saving energy. The solar-powered houses will represent a diverse range of design approaches; building technologies; target markets; and geographic locations, climates and regions, including urban, suburban and rural settings.


The following teams have been selected to compete in Solar Decathlon 2017:

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Lausanne, Switzerland)

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Daytona State College (Daytona Beach, Florida)

Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, Georgia)

HU University of Applied Science Utrecht (Utrecht, Netherlands)

Missouri University of Science and Technology (Rolla, Missouri)

Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois)

Rice University (Houston, Texas)

Syracuse University (Syracuse, New York)

University of Alabama at Birmingham (Birmingham, Alabama)

University of California at Berkeley (Berkeley, California)

University of California, Davis (Davis, California)

University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)

University of Nevada, Las Vegas (Las Vegas, Nevada)

Washington State University (Pullman, Washington)

Washington University (St. Louis, Missouri)

West Virginia University (Morgantown, West Virginia).

The 16 teams include eight returning teams and eight new teams.


Learn more about the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017


By 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the world's oceans, study says

There is a lot of plastic in the world's oceans.

It coagulates into great floating "garbage patches" that cover large swaths of the Pacific. It washes up by the truckfull on urban beaches and remote islands, tossed about in the waves and transported across incredible distances before arriving,...

Please read full and follow at: // B'More Green - Baltimore Sun

Ultra low quality North Dakota crude oil re-priced at $1.50 per barrel, up from negative number

Flint Hills Resources LLC, owned by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, originally asked producers in North Dakota's Bakken formation to pay the company to take shipments of a certain type of low-quality crude, Dan Murtaugh and Javier Blas report for Bloomberg. The company, which last week posted a price of -$0.50 per barrel, said the negative price was incorrectly posted and raised the price to $1.50 per barrel. The crude is down from $13.50 per barrel a year ago and $47.60 in January 2014. 

"While the near-zero price is due to the lack of pipeline capacity for a particular variety of ultra low quality crude, it underscores how dire things are in the U.S. oil patch," Murtaugh and Blas write. "U.S. benchmark oil prices have collapsed more than 70 percent in the past 18 months and fell below $30 a barrel for the first time in 12 years last week. West Texas Intermediate traded as low as $28.36 in New York. Brent, the international benchmark, settled at $28.55 in London." 

"Different grades of oil are priced based on their quality and transport costs to refineries," reports Bloomberg. "High-sulfur crudes are generally priced lower because they can only be processed at plants that have specific equipment to remove sulfur. Producers and refiners often mix grades to achieve specific blends, and prices for each component can rise or fall to reflect current economics." While negative prices are rare, they aren't unheard of. "Oil refineries sometimes pay people to take away low-demand products such as sulfur or petroleum coke to free up space." 

"All transport, with the exception of rockets, will go fully electric" (@Michael_GR)

Elon Musk says Apple's electric car is an 'open secret' in wide-ranging BBC interview

BBC Technology Correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones went to Tesla's Design Studio in Hawthorne, California, to have a 20 minute conversation with Elon Musk, the man with the thousand big projects. They covered a lot of ground, including the future of electric cars and autonomous driving technology, as well as Tesla's goal of making more affordable EVs (starting with the Model 3, which will be unveiled this Spring), and what Musks think of possible competition from Apple. There's also a brief discussion of artificial intelligence, which Musk has warned about before.
Please read full and follow at: 

The Russian Plan To Use Space Mirrors To Turn Night Into Day

Throughout the early 90s, a team of Russian astronomers and engineers were hellbent on literally turning night into day. By shining a giant mirror onto the earth from space, they figured they could bring sunlight to the depths of night, extending the workday, cutting back on lighting costs and allowing laborers to toil longer. If this sounds a bit like the plot of a Bond film, well, it's that too. The difference is that for a second there, the scientists, led by Vladimir Sergeevich Syromyatnikov, one of the most important astronautical engineers in history, actually pulled it off.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Jan 20, 2016

A Triple-Bottom Line Solution FREE Webinar-February 17, 2016 1:30 PM EST

Please Distribute/Post! 
Reuse: A Triple-Bottom Line Solution
A Free Webinar

Join us on February 17, 2016 1:30 PM EST for the third webinar in NERC's reuse webinar series!

Learn about the positive impact reuse can have on your state, community, organization, or business Triple Bottom Line!

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Who Should Attend
Materials management professionals, nonprofit organizers, state/community/tribal leaders and activists, business owners, and others wanting to advance reuse in their communities.
States, communities, organizations, and companies are realizing that incorporating sustainability strategies into their programs and operations brings positive benefits to people, the planet, and economies ("profits")—the "triple bottom line". Reuse can foster both environmental and economic sustainability. Reuse conserves resources by extending product life cycles, and it presents the world with exciting entrepreneurial business models that benefit the social good. Reuse: a Triple-Bottom Line Solution will present insights into the many benefits of reuse and ways to measure these benefits.

Presenters and Topics
Meeting the Triple Bottom Line - the Community ReUse Center Model
Diane Cohen, Executive Director, Finger Lakes ReUse, Inc.

Fix-it Clinics—Bringing Communities Together
Nancy Lo, Waste Reduction and Recycling unit, Hennepin County
(MN) Environment and Energy Department
ReUse on Campus
Stacey White, Sustainability Coordinator
University Operations, University of Minnesota
Reuse – Metrics, and Impacts
Colleen Hetzel, Solid Waste Principal Planner
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Panasonic to invest $1.6B in Tesla's Gigafactory

Increasing its previous commitment to lithium-ion battery technology for electric vehicles and homes, Panasonic Corp. said it will spend up to $1.6 billion on Tesla Motor's Gigafactory.

The investment in the factory, which is being build outside Reno, Nev. and is expected to cost $5 billion, is an attempt by Panasonic to cement its future in automotive electronics, Panasonic President Kazuhiro Tsuga told reporters at CES this month.

Tesla Model S lithium-ion battery 

A Tesla Model S lithium-ion battery pack

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Jan 19, 2016

Researchers kill drug-resistant lung cancer with 50 times less chemo

The cancer drug paclitaxel just got more effective. For the first time, researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have packaged it in containers derived from a patient's own immune system, protecting the drug from being destroyed by the body's own defenses and bringing the entire payload to the tumor.

"That means we can use 50 times less of the drug and still get the same results," said Elena Batrakova, Ph.D., an associate professor in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. "That matters because we may eventually be able to treat patients with smaller and more accurate doses of powerful chemotherapy drugs resulting in more effective treatment with fewer and milder side effects."

The work, led by Batrakova and her colleagues at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy's Center for Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery, is based on exosomes, which are tiny spheres harvested from the white blood cells that protect the body against infection. The exosomes are made of the same material as cell membranes, and the patient's body doesn't recognize them as foreign, which has been one of the toughest issues to overcome in the past decade with using plastics-based nanoparticles as drug-delivery systems.

"Exosomes are engineered by nature to be the perfect delivery vehicles," said Batrakova, who has also used this technique as a potential therapy for Parkinson's disease. "By using exosomes from white blood cells, we wrap the medicine in an invisibility cloak that hides it from the immune system. We don't know exactly how they do it, but the exosomes swarm the cancer cells, completely bypassing any drug resistance they may have and delivering their payload."

Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine journal - Development of exosome-encapsulated paclitaxel to overcome MDR in cancer cells

Read more »// Next Big Future

Jan 18, 2016

Environment and Society featured article “Untangling Introduced and Invasive Animals" by @crystallf

The latest Environment and Society featured article is now available! This month's article, "Untangling Introduced and Invasive Animals," comes from Volume 4 (2013). Crystal Fortwangler explores introduced and invasive species, untangling the ways disciplinary frameworks across the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities examine introduced and invasive species and their relations with human societies.

Visit the featured article page to download your copy of the article today before it's gone! A new article is featured every month.

Crystal Fortwangler is Assistant Professor of Sustainability and Environmental Anthropology at the Falk School of Sustainability. Follow her at: @crystallf

Pandemics and national security

This months the report "Global Health Risk Framework" was released. It was prepared by a commission sponsored by The Wellcome Trust [UK]..." in partnership with seven other philanthropic and government organisations including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, in response to the Ebola outbreak that began in 2014. It was coordinated by the US National Academy of Medicine," according to an announcement at the Welllcome Trust website.

The announcement continues:

"...Dr Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust and a member of the Commission's International Oversight Group, said:

"Few global events match epidemics and pandemics in potential to disrupt human security and inflict loss of life and economic and social damage. Yet for many decades, the world has invested far less in preventing, preparing for and responding to these threats than in comparable risks to international and financial security.

"Today's report shows that by spending the equivalent of around 40p a year for every person on the planet, we could make our world much safer against the threat of infectious disease outbreaks.

"The cornerstones of the proposed framework must be the creation of a strong, independent WHO Center to lead outbreak preparedness and response, and an expert body to galvanise the research and development of vaccines, therapies, diagnostics and other tools...."

The announcement is at

The report is available as a free download from the US National Academy of
Medicine website:
where there are other links related to the report's launch.

Jan 17, 2016

MIT researchers can recycle the light of incandescent light and become 4 times as efficient as LED lights

Researchers at MIT have shown that by surrounding the filament with a special crystal structure in the glass they can bounce back the energy which is usually lost in heat, while still allowing the light through.
They refer to the technique as 'recycling light' because the energy which would usually escape into the air is redirected back to the filament where it can create new light.

"It recycles the energy that would otherwise be wasted," said Professor Marin Soljacic.

Usually traditional light bulbs are only about five per cent efficient, with 95 per cent of the energy being lost to the atmosphere. In comparison LED or florescent bulbs manage around 14 per cent efficiency. But the scientists believe that the new bulb could reach efficiency levels of 40 per cent.

And it shows colors far more naturally than modern energy-efficient bulbs. Traditional incandescent bulbs have a 'colour rendering index' rating of 100, because they match the hue of objects seen in natural daylight. However even 'warm' finish LED or florescent bulbs can only manage an index rating of 80 and most are far less.

Nature Nanotechnology - Tailoring high-temperature radiation and the resurrection of the incandescent source

Read more »// Next Big Future

Jan 15, 2016

Occupational Health Guide for Owners and Managers

"Creating a Safe and Healthy Workplace: A Guide for Entrepreneurs, Owners, and Managers is available on the website of the International Commission on Occupational Health:

This is a short, easy-to-read, easy-to-translate, user-friendly, heavily illustrated booklet It was written primarily for small- and medium-enterprises in developing countries but there has been interest in using it more generally. 

This is a new resource and you may find it useful in many applications as a means of raising awareness, educating managers, and disseminating reasonable practices to clients and managers without ohs training. . 

Jan 14, 2016

Department of Energy ESnet will carry 100 petabytes of data per month in 2016

The Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) is the mission network of the U.S. Department of Energy. This high-performance, unclassified network that is managed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is moving into the newly-constructed Wang Hall on the Berkeley Lab campus.

ESnet links 40 DOE sites across the country and scientists at universities and other research institutions via a 100 gigabits-per second backbone network. One of these sites, the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) has made the move to the Berkeley campus from its previous 15-year home in Oakland, California. ESnet has built a 400 gigabit-per-second (Gbps) super-channel between the Berkeley and Oakland sites to support this transition over the next year. This is the first-ever 400G production link to be deployed by a national research and education network, and will also be part of a research testbed for assessing new tools and technologies that are necessary to support massive data growth as supercomputers approach the exascale era.

ESnet carries around 20 petabytes of data monthly. The level of traffic over the ESnet network has increased an average of 10 times every 4 years, propelled by the rising tide of data produced by more powerful supercomputers, global collaborations that can involve thousands of researchers, and specialized facilities like the Large Hadron Collider and digital sky surveys. It's expected that ESnet will need to carry over 100 petabytes of data per month by 2016.

ESnet purchased almost 13,000 miles of dark fiber from a commercial carrier for DOE use. By creating a research testbed and lighting the dark fiber with optical gear, ESnet will enable network researchers to safely experiment with disruptive techologies that will make up the next generation Internet in a production-like environment at 100 Gbps speeds.

Read more »// Next Big Future

Jan 13, 2016

cryptogon.com » $1 Trillion Erased from Stocks So Far in 2016

CNNWall Street's disastrous start to 2016 has caused roughly $1 trillion to vanish from the stock market.

The eye-popping losses highlight the deep fears that has gripped financial markets over China's economic slowdown and crashing oil prices.

That one-two punch caused the Dow and S&P 500 to suffer their worst start to a trading year on record last week.

The S&P 500's market valuation has plunged by $1.04 trillion since the end of 2015, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Jan 12, 2016

Free Webinar: Implementation of the Green Chemistry Change and Sustaining Success

Green Chemistry Guide Listen and Learn Webinar Series

​​Webinar:                    Implementation of the Green Chemistry Change and Sustaining Success
Date:                           Tuesday, January 19, 2016 2:00-3:00 PM EST
Register Online:         https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2425667052908588290
Join the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR) and the Western Sustainability & Pollution Prevention Network (WSPPN) on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 at 2:00 PM EST for another Green Chemistry Guide Listen and Learn webinar.  The Green Chemistry manual provides state agencies and technical assistance providers (engineers) with tools and resources to better serve their clients who are looking for information and to support greening their operations, processes, products and supply chains. Business owners can also use the publication to develop and implement green chemistry solutions and improve profitability.

This series of webinars covers the content of the manual chapter-by-chapter. Lissa McCracken, Executive Director, Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center, will present on Chapter 8, which addresses the implementation of sustainability practices into business models and integrating pollution prevention and green chemistry strategies and models

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Occupational Health Internship Program for Summer 2016 - application now open

Do you know a student who might be interested in learning more about occupational health -- a student currently in the public health, nursing or medicine track or an energetic and curious student interested in economic and social disparities or environmental issues?

We need your help to recruit these students to apply for the Occupational Health Internship Program (OHIP).  This is the 13th year of our very successful summer program that is designed as a field-based learning experience in occupational safety and health. Teams of two students are placed with labor unions or community-based organizations to work on projects that investigate job-related health and safety issues among workers, often of new immigrant groups, employed in an under-served or a high hazard job.

Students can apply to work in any of the following cities, regardless of where they now reside: San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, New Orleans, New York City, Oklahoma and Lincoln (NE). Supervision and mentorship are provided by senior occupational health researchers from UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Illinois at Chicago, Tufts University, Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals, and the California Department of Public Health.

The deadline to apply is February 19, 2016.

The program is open both to undergraduates (3rd and 4th year) and graduate students  with an interest in occupational health or related fields. A stipend is provided for the 9-week experience ($4,000 for undergraduates, $5,200 for graduates). Housing allowance is not provided but we can assist those relocating for the summer to find temporary housing.

More information about the program, and how to apply, can be obtained at the OHIP website at


Jan 11, 2016

Japan: Researchers Developing Cell Phone Sensor to Detect Cancer, Other Diseases from Breath

The Japan TimesA high-precision sensor that can detect the possibility of someone having cancer, diabetes and other ailments just from their breath has been developed in a joint project involving the government, the private sector and a university.

The product is expected to be put into practical use as early as 2022, it has been learned.

In the future, it may become possible for an individual to easily check their health by connecting a sensor to a smartphone or other device. There are also hopes that the nation's growing medical expenditures could be curbed by the early detection of disease.

The National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), based in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, played the leading role in developing the small sensor, which is capable of detecting substances in a person's exhalations with high accuracy by analyzing the odor of the breath.

To put this technology into practical use, the institute has been working with Kyocera Corp., NEC Corp., Sumitomo Seika Chemicals Co., Osaka University and a precision equipment maker in Switzerland.

Jan 8, 2016

Millions of people being contaminated with toxic mercury used in mines via @cbcgreg

The largely unregulated use of mercury has created a major worldwide environmental hazard

Brandon Nichols knows first hand what it's like to get poisoned by mercury.
"I got mercury poisoning two or three times," he told CBC news. "I got some serious headaches."

The University of British Columbia grad student had been in South America, researching small scale gold mining operations in Ecuador and their use of mercury.

Mercury is widely used by the miners because it bonds with gold, allowing it to be more easily separated from the ore hauled out of countless mines dotting the countryside.

Toxic Mess
The widespread use of the toxic liquid metal is creating a long lasting environmental hazard that starts with ore processing and travels all the way up the food chain. But much of it is hidden in remote corners of the developing world so it's receiving little attention.

Nichols shot hours of video as he researched mining and processing techniques. Now he's working on ways to reduce the use of mercury and its largely unregulated use in those remote places.

"If you were ever going to try and clean this up, I don't know how you would," he says, describing how rudimentary workshops have become mini toxic waste sites.

"These guys, they splash it around. The walls are contaminated, the floor, the miner. Essentially every square inch of the place is covered in mercury."

He says the workers compound the problem when they then return home, covered with the invisible poison which then contaminates their homes and families.

Health Risk
The biggest risk to human health occurs when the workers burn off the mercury in order to release the gold from the amalgam. This creates an invisible toxic gas but few take even basic precautions to protect themselves or others.

Nichols says he found one exhaust vent spewing toxins between a school and a restaurant in Portovelo, Ecuador.

Beads of mercury are squeezed out of an amalgam and onto the bare hands of a worker processing gold in Ecuador. (Brandon Nichols)

A recent conference at the University of British Columbia brought together experts from around the world battling to cut down on the use of mercury in mining.

Susan Keane, deputy director of health programs at the Natural Resources Defence Council in Washington, D.C., says about 1,400 tonnes of mercury is used by miners each year. 

"Mercury use from small scale gold mining is the largest source of mercury pollution in the world."

Developing countries in South America, Asia and Africa are the biggest users.

Paleah Black Moher is a toxicologist with Simon Fraser University who's seen the problems first hand.

"I just did a study in Burkina Faso in February and found some of the highest exposures of elemental mercury ever recorded. So, it's pretty phenomenal."

Neurological time bomb
She says mercury concentrates in the human brain and over time creates neurological problems, especially if children are exposed. It can lower IQ and cause people to lose control of their extremities. It can also cause genetic defects which can be passed onto future generations.

The best known example of widespread contamination took place in Japan starting in the 1950s. The mercury was dumped into the water by industry and absorbed by fish and shellfish. More than 2,000 people who ate seafood from the area came down a severe form of mercury poisoning which came to be called Minamata disease.

Fixing the problem won't be easy....Please read full by By Greg Rasmussen (@cbcgreg), CBC News

Reducing E-Waste Through Purchasing Decisions

Title: Reducing E-Waste Through Purchasing Decisions

Purchasing decisions made by companies for electronic office equipment, such as computers, printers, and fax machines, are often not made with the equipment end-of-life disposition in mind. Purchasing agents develop technical specifications for office equipment and make final purchasing decisions based on the needs of their users. The end result is that final disposition of this electronic waste, or e-waste, may sometimes be through the trash or through unchecked third party disposal companies which increases the potential for contaminants to enter the environment. The Delta Institute, in consultation with the Green Electronics Council (GEC) -- the program manager for the EPEAT program -- and the University of Illinois Survey Research Laboratory (SRL), worked on the project, Reducing E-waste through Purchasing Decisions, to identify opportunities and barriers for purchasing agents to include end-of-life decisions in the purchasing process and for asset managers to practice responsible recycling. Delta used a survey process, company interviews, and live and videotaped presentations with private companies to identify barriers and test strategies that can be used by private company purchasing agents and asset managers to facilitate recycling of electronic equipment. Delta concluded that by far the two most prevalent and widespread barriers to using best management practices for purchasing and recycling of electronics were (1) a lack of awareness around electronics purchasing and recycling certifications and registries, and (2) persistent negative perceptions around electronic certifications and registries. Delta beta-tested on company representatives the effectiveness of two delivery methods designed to raise awareness and remove negative perceptions: a live educational presentation and a videotaped webinar. Results from the taped webinar were inconclusive. However, responses from the live presentation suggested that the presentation was successful at raising awareness and dispelling negative perceptions about electronics registrations and certifications to encourage their use. While it is hoped and anticipated that removal of these barriers led to increased recycling of electronics in participating companies, verification was beyond the scope of this study.


20th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference

20th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference

June 14, 2016 - June 16, 2016
Portland, Oregon
Type: Conference

Held by the ACS Green Chemistry Institute, this event is the premier conference on green chemistry and engineering. Hundreds of participants from industry, government, and academia come together every year to share research as well as education and business strategies to ensure a green and sustainable future. The 2016 conference will focus on the theme "Advancing Sustainable Solutions by Design."

Contact Information:

Jan 7, 2016

Cost of Injuries and Violence in the United States was $671 billion in just 2013.

Cost of Injuries and Violence in the United States

The total lifetime medical and work loss costs of injuries and violence in the United States was $671 billion in 2013. The costs associated with fatal injuries was $214 billion while nonfatal injuries accounted for over $457 billion.

Injuries, including all causes of unintentional and violence-related injuries combined, account for 59% of all deaths among people ages 1-44 years of age in the U.S.—that is more deaths than non-communicable diseases and infectious diseases combined. Injuries killed more than 192,000 in 2013—one person every three minutes.

Each year, millions of people are injured and survive. In fact, more than 3 million people are hospitalized, 27 million people are treated in emergency departments and released each year. These people are often faced with life-long mental, physical, and financial problems.

Nearly $130 billion of the fatal injury costs were attributable to unintentional injuries, followed by suicide ($50.8 billion) and homicide ($26.4 billion).

Drug poisonings, including prescription drug overdoses, accounted for 27% of fatal injury costs.

Falls (37%) and transportation-related injuries (21%) accounted for the majority of costs treated in emergency departments.

Males account for the majority (78%) of fatal injury costs ($166.7 billion) and nonfatal injury costs (63%; $287.5 billion).

NY Times: Mexican Soda Tax Followed by Drop in Sugary Drink Sales via @anahadoconnor

NY Times: A tax on sugary drinks implemented in 2014 in Mexico appears to have had a significant impact: After one year, sales of sugary beverages in the country fell as much as 12 percent while bottled water purchases rose 4 percent, a new study found.

Public health authorities hailed the findings as the first hard evidence that a nationwide tax could spur behavioral changes that might help to chip away at high obesity rates. Some predicted that other countries that have been looking at Mexico as a test case would follow in the country's footsteps and implement their own taxes on sugar sweetened beverages.

"There are many countries in the region and other parts of the world that have been waiting on empirical evidence from Mexico to determine whether to implement similar measures," said Franco Sassi, head of the public health program at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, a research and policy group. "I think this is encouraging for all the countries that have been deciding whether to use this measure. This is a demonstration that it works."

Mexico's obesity epidemic has attracted worldwide attention. Of the 34 developed countries that are members of the O.E.C.D., Mexico has the highest rate of adults who are overweight or obese — about 70 percent — and the highest rate of Type 2 diabetes. It also has the highest per capita intake of soft drinks, which account for 70 percent of the total added sugars consumed by the average Mexican.

Public health advocates in Mexico led an effort to levy a nationwide tax on sugary drinks in 2013, which was widely endorsed and supported by medical groups. After fierce debate and opposition from the food and beverage industry, Mexico's government passed a 1-peso per liter sales tax on sugar-sweetened beverages that went into effect on the first day of January 2014. The tax amounted to a roughly 10 percent price increase on soft drinks, half of what health advocates had been calling for.

The tax was part of a broad anti-obesity program with other measures that also went into effect later in 2014, including healthier school meals, food labels with clearer nutrition information and a ban on certain junk food ads aimed at children.

Please read full By ANAHAD O'CONNOR Follow @anahadoconnor 

Saudi Arabia faces 'economic bomb' and hikes gas prices 50% @byHeatherLong

Saudi Arabia is running out of money...
While the world's attention is focused on Saudi Arabia's latest flare up with Iran, many Saudis are concerned about the "economic bomb" at home. The government is slashing a plethora of perks for its citizens.
The cash crunch is so dire that the Saudi government just hiked the price of gasoline by 50%. Saudis lined up at gas stations Monday to fill up before the higher prices kicked in.
"They have announced cutbacks in subsidies that will hurt every single Saudi in their pocketbook," says Robert Jordan, a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia and author of "Desert Diplomat: Inside Saudi Arabia Following 9/11."
Gas used to cost a mere 16 cents a liter in Saudi Arabia, one of the cheapest prices in the world. Many Saudis drive large SUVs and "have no concept of saving gas," says Jordan.
The gas hike is just the beginning. Water and electricity prices are also going up, and the government is scaling back spending on roads, buildings and other infrastructure.
Those cuts might sound normal for any government that is running low on cash. But it's especially problematic in Saudi Arabia because the vast majority of Saudis work in the public sector.
About 75% of the Saudi government's budget comes from oil. The price of oil has crashed from over $100 a barrel in 2014 to around $36 currently. Most experts don't expect a rebound anytime soon.....The International Monetary Fund recently predicted that Saudi Arabia could run out of cash in five years or less if oil stays below $50 a barrel.
Please read full by Heather Long   @byHeatherLong (CNN- Money)

Study suggests nutrient decline in garden crops over past 50 years

AUSTIN, Texas—A recent study of 43 garden crops led by a University of Texas at Austin biochemist suggests that their nutrient value has declined in recent decades while farmers have been planting crops designed to improve other traits.

The study was designed to investigate the effects of modern agricultural methods on the nutrient content of foods. The researchers chose garden crops, mostly vegetables, but also melons and strawberries, for which nutritional data were available from both 1950 and 1999 and compared them both individually and as a group.

Donald Davis
Dr. Donald Davis, a member of the university's Biochemical Institute, led the crop-nutrient study.
Photo: Marsha Miller
The study, based on U.S. Department of Agriculture data, will appear in the December issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Its lead author is Dr. Donald Davis of the university's Biochemical Institute in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. His coauthors are Drs. Melvin Epp and Hugh Riordan of the Bio-Communications Research Institute in Wichita, Kan., where Davis is a research consultant.

According to Davis, establishing meaningful changes in nutrient content over a 50-year time interval was a significant challenge. The researchers had to compensate for variations in moisture content that affect nutrient measurements, and could not rule out the possibility that changes in analytical techniques may have affected results for some nutrients.

"It is much more reliable to look at average changes in the group rather than in individual foods, due to uncertainties in the 1950 and 1999 values," Davis said. "Considered as a group, we found that six out of 13 nutrients showed apparently reliable declines between 1950 and 1999."

These nutrients included protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin and ascorbic acid. The declines, which ranged from 6 percent for protein to 38 percent for riboflavin, raise significant questions about how modern agriculture practices are affecting food crops.

"We conclude that the most likely explanation was changes in cultivated varieties used today compared to 50 years ago," Davis said. "During those 50 years, there have been intensive efforts to breed new varieties that have greater yield, or resistance to pests, or adaptability to different climates. But the dominant effort is for higher yields. Emerging evidence suggests that when you select for yield, crops grow bigger and faster, but they don't necessarily have the ability to make or uptake nutrients at the same, faster rate."

According to Davis, these results suggest a need for research into other important nutrients and foods that provide significant dietary calories, such as grains, legumes, meat, milk and eggs.

"Perhaps more worrisome would be declines in nutrients we could not study because they were not reported in 1950—magnesium, zinc, vitamin B-6, vitamin E and dietary fiber, not to mention phytochemicals," Davis said. "I hope our paper will encourage additional studies in which old and new crop varieties are studied side-by-side and measured by modern

Graphene Membrane Can Clean Nuclear Wastewater, New Research Shows

Microscopic graphene membranes can effectively filter radioactive particles from nuclear reactor wastewater at room temperature, researchers from the University of Manchester have shown. Writing in the journal Science, the researchers demonstrated that graphene membranes can act as a sieve, separating different varieties of hydrogen — both radioactive and non-radioactive isotopes — from water. The new technology could also be scaled to produce significant amounts of so-called "heavy water," which is a non-radioactive component that is required in large quantities to produce nuclear energy. The graphene technology is 10 times cheaper and more efficient than current methods of producing heavy water. "This is really the first membrane shown to distinguish between subatomic particles," said University of Manchester researcher Marcelo Lozada-Hidalgo.

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