Poor Neighborhoods Vulnerable To More Mosquitos Than Suburbs

DEC Lists Best Places To Swim
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation recently posted a list of safe places to swim. The list features several links that include DEC owned campgrounds, Office of Parks and Recreation and the New York State Department of Health. Click on the campground link on DEC owned campgrounds and up pops a list of campgrounds in the Catskill Park and the Adirondack Park. Each listing includes a link to individual campgrounds as well as the county location of the campground and lists the hours when lifeguard availability exists. To find out more about Catskill and Adirondack swimming areas, click on http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/107577.html. This is a service paid for by your New York State taxes. Enjoy.

4,500 Year-Old Man Receives A Reconstructed Face
The Buxton Museum in Derbyshire, UK recently released a photo of a 4500 year-old man whose remains had been found in the 1930s. An anthropological analysis of the skeleton in the 1980s revealed that the man was about 5′ 7″ and between 25 and 30 years old when he died. The team scanned the head with a 3-D scanner and used the results to estimate the way his face looked. To view a picture of the reconstructed face, surf over to https://www.livescience.com/59738-face-of-ancient-english-man-revealed.html. This work proves that Earth dwellers of past eons looked very much like us.

PureWow Website Posts 10 Most Photogenic Places to Visit
For armchair travelers who plan to write a bucket list of places to see, https://www.purewow.com/travel/the-worlds-most-photogenic-places provides a photo list of popular places to visit. Included on the list is London with a picture of Big Ben and a London Bridge. Also high on the list is the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. To see the entire list, visit the website. The Parthenon located on the Acropolis is even more awe inspiring in person than the photo suggests. Enjoy. If you click the tab beneath the pictures, the link hooks you up with a travel agent. The travel site lists hotels in Athens and includes the one I stayed in nearly 5 decades ago. Athens is worth seeing, and the hotel has maintained its eminence.

New Zealand Doctors Work To Find Vaccine for STD
Researchers in New Zealand recently published encouraging results in the effort to find a vaccine for gonorrhea. The STD has so far resisted efforts to find a vaccine that provides protection for individuals engaging in casual sex. Doctors have worked for more than 100 ;years to find a vaccine for the STD. Treatment today consists of antibiotics which now are less effective due to the development of drug resistant strains of the disease. To learn more, visit https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_167097.html. Untreated gonorrhea presents patients with many long-term medical problems such as infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease. Just so you know. At the website, click on the link that talks about vaccine research.

New Survey Questions Trump’s “America is Great Again” Gains
A recent New York City survey reveals a forty percent increase in homeless people living on NYC streets. The tally indicates the increase of more than 1000 people who live on the streets in the five boroughs. According to NY1 this increase is the first homeless person increase since 2014. To learn more about the people Trump’s administration leaves behind, click on http://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2017/07/5/number-of-homeless-on-nyc-streets-up-40-percent–survey-finds.html.

Poor Neighborhoods Vulnerable to More Mosquitos Than Suburbs
A study recently published by the Cary Institute located in Millbrook, NY found that residents of poor neighborhoods in Baltimore suffer from exposure to more mosquitos than people living in wealthier neighborhoods. Poor neighborhoods have more abandoned buildings than wealthier ones. Vacant buildings appear to serve as mosquito breeding grounds. Researchers extrapolate that poor neighborhoods in northeastern cities are more likely to harbor mosquitos and other urban pests than earlier thought when conditions in poor neighborhoods are compared to wealthier neighborhoods. Thus, residents of poor neighborhoods who also suffer from high levels of air pollution as well as heightened noise levels also experience lower life expectancies. To learn more about this issue, click on http://www.caryinstitute.org/newsroom/hidden-inequality-mosquito-bites. And so it goes.

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Online Quiz Can Guess Your Education Level

Online Quiz Says It Can Guess Your Education Level
A humor website has a quiz that says it can guess your level of education by the number of right answers to a range of questions. Depending on your correct answers to questions such as “In which Shakespeare play does Ophelia appear,” you then pick from a choice of 4 plays. I did not score 100%, but I scored enough right answers to rise to the Ph.D level. If you wish to try your luck and knowledge, visit http://offbeat.topix.com/quiz/17308/qidx1?tr=recirc/recirc-bottom-click///17308//,1499713672,9h2j1slr. The test is too long to be really interesting.

Canadian Researchers Recreate An Extinct Pox Virus
In the why did they do this category, Canadian scientists recreated an extinct smallpox- like virus. The work took about half a year and cost about $100,000. The article didn’t specify whether the dollars were U.S. or Canadian. The very scary part is that the team used commercially available DNA purchased on the Internet. The stated goal is to learn more about the disease so that a cancer treatment may be developed. To learn more about this, click on http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/07/how-canadian-researchers-built-poxvirus-100000-using-mail-order-dna. Since eradicating smallpox took years and billions of dollars, let’s hope that none of the new virus spores get out of the lab. Let’s also hope that terrorists don’t get a hold of this. Additional information may be accessed at
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/07/07/scientists-synthesize-smallpox-cousin-in-ominous-breakthrough/. For those who dismiss the warning, just remember that killer African bees escaped from a lab in South America and are now found in the southern US as well as all the countries in between. Just so you know.

Cool Web Shopping Site
For those of you who just have to have the latest and greatest, a website called Grommet is just the site for you. At my most recent visit, the site featured a cool butter dish, a cup holder for the beach, a Notabag (backpack) and a corn-on-the-cob butterer. To view these new, cool products, click on https://www.thegrommet.com.

Some Coffees Have More Caffeine Than Others
In the is this research really necessary category, Huffpost recently released a study of caffeine amounts in major coffee brands. The Center for Science in the Public Interest found that caffeine amounts in milligrams ranged from 9.1mg in McDonald’s coffee to an awe inspiring 54.2mg in an 11 oz cup of Deathwish Coffee. To learn more about caffeine highs, surf over to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thrillist/caffeine-in-coffee_b_3671665.html. I don’t think that reading this study will keep you up at night, although the Deathwish Coffee might.

Collin Woodward Discovers Why America Is Divided
The Business Insider Australia recently posted a book review of Collin Woodward’s new book “American Nations: A History of the Eleven Regional Cultures in North America.” Woodward’s thesis argues that North America, including Canada and Mexico, developed separate cultures depending upon the nationality of those who settled the area. For example, Woodward defines Yankeedom as all of the Northeast north of New York City as well as parts of Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Shared values of this group include: education, intellectual achievement, communal empowerment and citizen participation in government as a shield against tyranny.
Another area defined by Woodward is The Midlands. This includes parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska. Values of this group include: a welcoming middle class society and moderate political opinion with restrained governmental regulation. Of course, this section was profiled before the Trump election. To find out more about this interesting work, visit https://www.businessinsider.com.au/the-11-nations-of-the-united-states-2015-7.

Where The STEM Jobs Are
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 10 areas of the country with the highest percentage of STEM job range from 22.2% of jobs in the California-Lexington Park, CA area to a tie for 9th place between Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA and Washington – Arlington-Alexandria, DC-MD, VA. WV at 11.6%. The US as a whole includes a 6.3% STEM job percentage. To find out more about the location of STEM jobs, click on https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2017/8-point-8-million-science-technology-engineering-and-mathematics-stem-jobs-in-may-2016.htm. And so it goes.

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Employers Engage in Wage Theft That Totals $15 Billion

Best and Worst States to Raise Children
CNN recently reported on an Annie E. Casey Foundation study that ranks states on ethnographic data that gages the well-being of children. For the second year in a row, Minnesota ranks first as the most kid-friendly state. Predictably, Mississippi ranked last in the survey. The lowest ranking states fell in the South and the West. Except for Minnesota and Iowa, the other three top ranked states all fell in New England. To find out the other rankings, visit http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/22/health/best-worst-states-raise-children. Other fun facts include: Puerto Rico has the highest number of kids living in poverty, 58%; and one third of Mississippi students do not graduate on time. The President’s 2018 proposed Federal budget cuts education funding. Are you happy? Additional information may be accessed at http://www.aecf.org/m/resourcedoc/aecf-2017kidscountdatabook.pdf.

Minnesota Also Ranked Highest As The Healthiest State For Seniors
Maybe, it’s the water. A health website recently ranked Minnesota as the healthiest state for seniors. Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Iowa complete the top five. Again, Mississippi ranked last along with Oklahoma, Louisiana, West Virginia and Arkansas. To find out where New York falls, click on http://www.americashealthrankings.org/. Maybe New Yorkers should move to Minnesota. Or, if moving South to avoid snow, New Yorkers should avoid Mississippi like the plague. The site provides a nice, easy to understand graphic.

One in 20 Pregnant Women Infected with Zika Have Children With Birth Defects
In a recently released report, the Center for Disease Control says that one in 20 pregnant women infected with the Zika virus have children with birth defects. The study also reported that infected women who showed no symptoms also had children with birth defects. The percentage of children affected depends on which trimester the mother contracted the Zika virus. Women who contracted the disease in the first trimester produced the largest number of children with birth defects, 8 percent. Women who contracted the virus in the third trimester had the fewest number of children with birth defects, 4 percent. To read more about Zika produced birth defects, visit https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_166381.html.

Employers Engage In Wage Theft That Totals $15 Billion
According to the Economic Policy Institute, American employers in the 10 largest states cheat workers out of more than $8 billion in wages. In fact, the lowest paid workers suffer the highest amount of wage theft. EPI findings indicate that year-round workers lose an average of $3,300 per worker. Minimum wage workers on average lose $64 a week which totals approximately one quarter of their annual pay. The number of workers who suffer wage theft total about 17% of all workers. The 10 states with the highest amount of wage theft include: Florida, 7.3%, Ohio, 5.5%, and New York, 5.0%. If wage theft abuse is projected for all workers in the nation, employers steal more than $15 billion in wages each year. Workers in the 10 most populous states who are paid less than the minimum wage total more than 21 percent. Young workers, women, people of color and immigrants are the most likely workers to suffer wage theft. To find out more about this disgusting employer practice, surf over to http://www.epi.org/publication/employers-steal-billions-from-workers-paychecks-each-year-survey-data-show-millions-of-workers-are-paid-less-than-the-minimum-wage-at-significant-cost. One must question the morality of people who think this type of American capitalism is great.

While Trump Touts Coal, China Builds Floating Solar Power Plant
Except in Washington, D.C. renewable energy is the path to the future for the rest of the world. While the EPA and President Trump push coal as fuel for electrical generation, China and Europe are now relying on renewable energy to meet energy needs. For example, China just connected the world’s largest floating photovoltaic facility to the national grid. This facility produces zero hydrocarbons as it generates electricity from sunlight. The Chinese built this facility on land formally used to produce coal. The plant generates 40 megawatts of electricity which is enough electricity to power about 40,000 homes. To learn more about this topic, click on https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/china-floating-solar-power-plant/. And so it goes.

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Burger King Hijacks Google Home

Nearly One in Eight Workers Exposed To Toxic Substances
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 14.9 percent of all workers face exposure to toxic substances. Industry levels of contaminants vary. More than half of workers in construction face exposure to hazardous contaminants. Building, grounds and maintenance workers also face high contaminant levels. In contrast, legal services workers face a negligible risk of exposure. To learn where your industry falls, click on https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2017/14-point-9-percent-of-civilian-jobs-exposed-to-hazardous-contaminants-in-2016.htm. When Republicans cut federal agency budgets, will these types of reports get cut as well?

New Drug Cuts Cancer Risk for Some Breast Cancer Patients
A drug named Xeloda may extent the lives of breast cancer patients whose cancer has not been wiped out by standard treatment. According to Medline Plus, “Oncologists said the results are ‘practice-changing.”’ Xeloda is a pill that is much less toxic than standard chemotherapy noted Dr. Stephan Malamud who was not involved in the study. Women whose cancer did not respond to Herceptin related drugs lived 30 percent longer than patients treated with other therapies. To find out more about this treatment breakthrough, visit https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_166103.html. Under the Trump budget, the CDC which funds much of the current cancer research will experience big budget cuts. Are the Republicans willing to sacrifice the lives of cancer victims to gain a big tax cut for millionaires and billionaires?

Password Manager OneLogin Hacked
Zdnet recently reported that password manager and single sign-on provider OneLogin confirmed that the company “had detected unauthorized access to OneLogin data in our US data region.” Hackers have the ability to decrypt encrypted data. To read more about this hack to see if your data has been compromised, surf over to http://www.zdnet.com/article/onelogin-hit-by-data-breached-exposing-sensitive-customer-data/. “It’s always something,” opined Roseann Roseannadana on Saturday Night Live.

Baby Teeth Link Autism To Heavy Metals
Baby teeth from children suffering from autism contain more toxic lead and less of the essential nutrients zinc and manganese compared to teeth from children without autism according to a study funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The institute is part of the National Institute of Health, a federal agency. According to researchers, the differences were most notable in the months after the children were born. The researchers noted, however, that larger studies must replicate these findings to confirm the connection between metals and autism. To learn more about this topic, click on https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/baby-teeth-link-autism-heavy-metals-nih-study-suggests. This type of research is also at risk because of the proposed Trump budget. Just so you know.

Burger King Hijacks Google Home
Burger King hijacked an ad for Google Home by having an actor say in the Burger King ad that 15 seconds was not enough time extol the virtues of the Whopper. The actor then said, “OK Google, what is the Whopper burger?” Google Home then proceeded to respond the Wikipedia article in answer to the question. As you may expect, Google wasted little time correcting this flaw. For a good laugh and more about this, surf over to http://www.pcmag.com/news/353033/this-burger-king-ad-will-hijack-your-google-home. Additional information about similar hacks is available at http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2459496,00.asp.. This article details an issue where an ad for the Xbox One activated the consoles of everyone watching the commercial at home according to the BBC . Ah, technology. The good also brings the bad.

American Ingenuity at Its Finest?
PC Magazine recently reported that unsupervised prisoners incarcerated in an Ohio prison pieced together computers from computer parts from computers that were to be disassembled to recycle computer parts. Inmates hid these contraband computers in the ceilings. The inmates then used the computers to commit identity theft and tax fraud as well as change their security levels at the prison. To read more about inmate ingenuity, surf over to http://www.pcmag.com/news/353024/inmates-build-computers-from-recycled-parts-hide-in-ceiling. And so it goes.

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Hacker Profiles

Hacker and Cyber Criminal Profiles
Hackers and cyber terrorists at best pose an inconvenience and at worst present a very dangerous threat. How do hacktivists, pranksters, tinkerers and sharpshooters differ? The definitions of these terms are found on the Government Computer News website. GCN.com. The site reported that open-source developer , Eric Raymond, has taken a stab at categorizing hackers by their most essential and universally shared traits. For example, Raymond argues that sharpshooters are individuals who exhibit obsession with details. Pranksters gravitate to information security and test engineering. All told, eight types of hackers have been profiled. To read the short excerpt, click on https://gcn.com/articles/2017/04/10/hacker-archetypes.aspx. And don’t forget state sponsored hackers and cyber terrorists. The full blog post may be accessed at http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=7478. This is a fascinating examination of computer hacker profiling.

Measles Disease Is Still A Threat In The US
Even though Measles has been eliminated in the US since 2000, every year new Measles cases pop up all over the country. The disease enters the country with infected travelers from Europe and Africa, either nationals from countries carrying the disease or by returning US travelers. whose vaccinations against the disease have lapsed. Since the disease has disappeared in the US, Americans don’t think to make sure that Measles vaccinations are in place. To read more about how to keep from becoming a modern day Typhoid Mary, click on https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_165583.html. More medical travel information may be obtained at https://medlineplus.gov/alphanews_t.html#travelershealth.

Scott Pruitt Take Note: Satellites Have Tracked Antarctic Ice Loss For Decades
According to the European Space Agency, five different satellites have tracked ice loss in the Antarctic over the last 24 years. For example, the agency found that from 1992 to 2016 glacier movement has increased speed to 20 to 30 cm a day, or an overall speed increase of 13%. This movement is tied to the warmer temperatures of the water off the coast of Antarctica. This is just another example of global warming that EPA head, Scott Pruitt refuses to accept. To learn more about this topic, click on http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Earth/Satellites_track_Antarctic_ice_loss_over_decades.

May Clean Hands Campaign Provides Teaching Materials For Physicians and Patients
May 5th was World Hand Hygiene Day. The CDC offers posters and other materials for medical personnel as well as for the general public to heighten awareness for the need for clean hands to prevent disease spread. Materials may be accessed on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. The Center for Disease Control provides timely information on numerous topics. To access the information on clean hands, surf over to https://www.cdc.gov/handhygiene/campaign/index.html. Spend at least 20 seconds washing and rubbing hands to get rid of germs.

Fourth Quarter 2016 Job Growth Noted By BLS
The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently noted that job gains exceeded job losses in the fourth quarter of 2016 by 688,000. Job gains exceeded job losses in 9 of 13 major industries. Professional and business services and education and health services led the list of gains. An interactive graphic indicates the number of jobs gained/lost for each industry. To learn more about employment data, click on https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2017/gross-job-gains-exceed-gross-job-losses-by-688000-in-third-quarter-of-2016.htm. In spite of the election campaign charges that Obama caused job loss, the opposite appears to be the case. And so it goes.

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New York Times Summer Reading Contest

What the NRA Doesn’t Want You To Know
According the website MedlinePlus, 16 children are hospitalized every day from gun injuries. The American Academy of Pediatrics research revealed that children face a public health menace with unintentional gun injuries and more children are injured in gun assaults. Researchers said that the data indicated that kids under 15 who suffered gun injuries were accidental victims. Kids 15 to 19 suffered gun injuries due to physical assaults. 57 percent of injuries to kids were unintentional. Almost 90 percent of victims were male. Half of the victims lived in dangerous neighborhoods. To read more about this issue, click on https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_165226.html. Could more stringent gun laws reduce these injuries? Not according to the NRA.

New York Times Summer Reading Contest for Kids
Beginning June 16th The Times will ask kids “what interested you most this week and why?”
Every Tuesday beginning July 4th the Times will publish the winners’ names from the previous week and feature what the winners wrote. Contest rules and registration materials will be found on line at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/27/learning/the-eighth-annual-new-york-times-summer-reading-contest.html?_r=0. The article provides a link to a downloadable PDF that provides all the details. The Times limits the contest to teenagers from 13 to 19. So, sorry genus 6th graders, you’re too young. The contest does not award money prizes, but winners get published in the paper.

Data From BLS For Writers of All Ages
For everyone who wants to write, technology today provides many avenues for paid work. The salary information featured here, though, indicates that the average writer makes slightly more than the US average salary all wage earners. While there are exceptions to the rule, writing jobs may be less desirable than other professions as college grads weigh the salary outlook against college loan debt. To find out more, surf over to https://beta.bls.gov/labs/blogs/2017/05/10/put-your-writing-skills-to-work/.

Government Purges Global Warming From EPA Web Pages
In an example of climate denying, the Trump administration removed all climate information from the agency’s website. Scott Pruitt, agency head, said that the change will give voice to the new direction adopted by the administration. To read more about this head-in-the-sand approach to policy making, visit https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/05/epa-purges-climate-change-information-as-part-of-website-updates/.

Scientists Collect Human-like DNA in Cave Dust
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology located in Leipzig, Germany say that very little human bone material is needed to find DNA in the dust found in empty caves. Finding the DNA is one thing, analyzing the DNA to understand what it means is another. Work continues on understanding the data. For more information, click on http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/01/04/507543208/dust-to-dust-scientists-find-dna-of-human-ancestors-in-cave-floor-dirt. An interesting first step.

James Fenimore Cooper’s Daughter Is First American Female Nature Writer
Susan Fenimore Cooper became the first American Woman to publish Nature Writing. So says the Library of Congress, Susan Fenimore Cooper published Rural Hours By A Lady based on Journals written in 1848 and 1849 that focused on weather, fauna and flora in and around Cooperstown, New York. Susan lived most of her life in Cooperstown, although she did live in New York City and in France. Another work, Journal of a Naturalist in the United States, was published in London in 1855. The article posts several links to online sources where readers may access and read the books on line. To find out more about the relatively unknown Susan Cooper, visit http://blogs.loc.gov/inside_adams/2017/04/susan-fenimore-cooper-the-first-american-woman-to-publish-nature-writing/. This is yet another example of useful government programs.

Space Junk Surrounds Earth and Should Be Cleaned Up
Earthlings have been shooting objects into space since 1957. Today more than 7,000 satellites spin around us making it increasingly difficult to find space for new satellites. Now the European Space Agency is speaking up about this threat. In fact, according to Holgar Krag, head of the ESA Space Debris Office, there are more than 20,000 pieces of junk more than 10cm in size and 750.000 bits larger than 1cm. Particles of this size are capable of damaging space crafts. To learn more about this problem, click on https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/248159-esa-says-time-come-get-serious-removing-space-junk. And so it goes.

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Coffee Lovers Relax

Sexism Rampant In Science, Too
The University of California, Davis recently published research that scientific research results have been polluted by the lack of recognition that male and female members of a species may be genetically/physically different. According to the researchers, this fundamental assumption of genetic equality between the sexes has ignored many differences between male and female members of a particular species. In the past, researchers recognized differences in sex organs between males and females. But, the current study found that when researchers primarily used males for analysis, the researchers missed the many physical differences between the sexes. To access the study results of Rock Pigeons study at UC Davis, visit https://www.ucdavis.edu/news/pigeon-study-takes-sexism-science/. On a more personal note, medical research on human heart attacks has focused primarily on male subjects. Thus female heart attack victims face a more difficult disease treatment due to a basic lack on medical knowledge.

California Beachfront Property May Not Be a Good Investment
The Huffpost recently posted a story about climate change that has California beachfront property owners concerned. A California government council recently advised that due to global warming, sea levels may rise as much as 10 feet by the end of the century. A worst case scenario projects that airports in San Francisco and Oakland as well as 42,000 homes will be completely submerged. The agency, California Ocean Protection Council’s advisory team, accepted these higher sea level estimates as the team warned that roads, railroad tracks, bridges, farm land and cities faced serious risks from rising water levels. In addition, Louisiana stands to lose 2,250 miles of shoreline due to rising sea levels. To learn more about this threat, click on http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/california-sea-level-rise_us_59027f0fe4b0bb2d086c5f31. As you drive around with your fossil fuel polluting car, consider the effect of rising sea levels on Long Island, The New Jersey shore and Miami, Florida. Oops! Where did Long Beach Island Go?

New York City Cops Aren’t The Only Law Enforcement People In Trouble
The New York Times recently reported that New York City Corrections Commissioner, Joseph Ponte, was reprimanded for the misuse of city- owned vehicles. It seems that the commissioner who was brought in to correct abuses in city jails, used city vehicles on many trips to Maine on his vacations. In addition to the unauthorized vehicle use, the commissioner also managed to take 90 vacation days so far during his two plus years in New York City. How many vacation days do you get in a year? To read more about this, surf over to https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/28/nyregion/new-york-correction-commissioner-joseph-ponte-reprimand.html. When it comes to New York City law enforcement personnel, it appears difficult to tell the good guys from the criminals.

Coffee Lovers Relax: It’s OK To Drink More Than 4 Cups of Coffee a Day
The International Life Science Institute reviewed 740 studies on the effect of coffee drinking on people. Thankfully, the review indicates that the amount of coffee people drink has little or no adverse affects. Even pregnant women may consume 300mg of caffeine daily safely. The study concluded that children may consume 2.5mg of caffeine daily as well. To learn more about coffee drinking, surf over to http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/drinking-4-coffee-cups-four-no-health-risks-caffeine-safe-life-sciences-institute-ilsi-a7700921.html. Good news.

35 New York Schools Save On Technology Expenses
T/H/E/ Journal recently reported that 35 school districts in the lower Hudson Valley will roll out managed IT services provided by the Lower Hudson Regional Information Center of the Southern Westchester BOCES. The school districts are located in Westchester, Putnam and Rockland Counties served by the Southern Westchester BOCES. This state-aided service lowers local costs and provides needed curriculum support for districts as well as hardware support. Since districts eliminate the necessity of hiring I T curriculum specialists, the programs get more bang for their technology bucks because BOCES personnel services generate extra state aid the following year. To learn more about this program, visit https://thejournal.com/articles/2017/04/24/35-ny-school-districts-adopt-managed-it-services.aspx. Other BOCES regional computer centers should be able to provide similar services for component districts as well. And so it goes.

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NSA Data Leaks

Stronger Muscles May Improve Kids’ Memory Skills
According to www.lHealthDay.com, new research suggests that kids with stronger muscles may have improved memory skills. Researchers examined 70 children aged 9 to 11 years and found that muscle fitness was directly related to more accurate memories. The problem is, only 1 in 3 US children are physically active every day. Physical inactivity produces weak muscle mass. The type of physical activity did not include such strength skills as weight lifting. To read more about this research, click on https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_164718.html. If you have trouble accessing this post, surf over to HealthDay at https://consumer.healthday.com/fitness-information-14/misc-health-news-265/stronger-muscles-may-pump-up-kids-memory-skills-721586.html. Best of luck getting your kids to exercise.

Strategies To Combat Fake News
How can Internet users, newspaper readers and TV news viewers avoid fake news? It seems that even reputable news organizations occasionally fall for a fake news item. Well, help is on the way. A website, www.thenewsliteracyproject.org, provides instruction for students, teachers and news media personnel techniques essential to avoid fake news. If interested, sign up for free newsletters focused on students, teachers and reporters. The cure to fake news is not a magic bullet. Rather, the solution requires some training which does require work. Nevertheless, to avoid being taken in by fake facts such as 3 million voters committed voter fraud, give this site a look

Burning Down The Barn After The Horses Have Escaped
The US Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, indicated that the Justice Department will close a federal agency formed four years ago to instill more scientific rigor in the forensic sciences. This national commission has worked on establishing best practices for crime lab personnel. The FBI as well as prosecutors all over the country rely on DNA results as well as other forensic tests to determine the guilt or innocense of those accused of crimes. But the truth is, crime lab data may be flawed or inaccurate. In Massachusetts, nearly 22,000 drug convictions may be overturned because a crime lab worker made up test results. And in another test of hair sampling, 26 of 28 examiners gave flawed testimony in more than 200 trial cases. Oops. To read more about CSI screw-ups, visit https://www.propublica.org/article/another-startling-verdict-for-forensic-science. Note: Propublica just shared a Pulitzer Prize with the New York Daily News for a series on widespread abuse of eviction laws by New York City police officers. This abuse caused hundreds of innocent people to lose their apartments. The police used a law designed to fight porn and prostitution in Times Square to unjustly push people out of their homes. New York City cops can’t seem to catch a break in the press these days.

Some Federal Protection For Internet Users
There have been a plethora of news stories about the decision of the FCC to allow internet providers to sell customer data to third parties without the approval of individual customers. That issue is still cooking at the FCC, but Internet users can rely on the Federal Trade Commission to provide some Internet protection for users. The FTC is described as the top cop on the privacy beat. The agency provides consumer protection for health, credit and financial data. To learn more about how the Federal Trade Commission provides protection for you, click on https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/blogs/business-blog/2017/04/your-cop-privacy-beat. Of course, President Trump and his minions now scrutinize all agencies to reduce the size and effectiveness of agency services.

NSA Data Leaks
Two websites have recently published stories about the Shadow Brokers’ data drop on NSA hacking software. On one hand, the government tasks the NSA to protect the country from attack by hostile forces on many fronts. On the other hand, whistleblowers have leaked information that the NSA has overstepped its authority by hacking into financial sites that put all financial transactions on government view regardless of whether or not criminal activity or national security is involved. To learn more about this complicated issue, visit these two sites:
http://www.digitaljournal.com/tech-and-science/technology/malware-made-by-the-nsa-released-by-shadow-brokers-group/article/490006. A second site with additional information may be accessed at https://arstechnica.com/security/2017/04/purported-shadow-brokers-0days-were-in-fact-killed-by-mysterious-patch/. And so it goes.

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Political Humor

April is Poetry Month
The National Council of Teachers of English recently posted a lesson plan on poetry activities. This activity allows students to play with words and letters in an imaginative way. Ogden Nash once wrote, “ Cows are of the bovine ilk. One end moo the other milk.” A great introduction to poetry for kids, Ogden Nash can win over any poetry hater. The site presents alphabet poem examples. To learn more about the universality of poetry appreciation, surf over to http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/lesson_images/lesson988/modelalphabetpoems.pdf. For more generalized poetry info click on http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/lesson-plans/abcs-poetry-988.html. Now you, too, can help kids learn to appreciate poetry. N.B. Poetry serves as the basis of ‘Rap’ music as well. Enjoy. ReadWriteThink is a service provided to English teachers to improve teaching practice.

Another Education Topic: Can You Write Cursive And Other Questions?
An article in Education Week Teaching Now reports that a second grade Facebook request asking for comments on a number of questions such as can you write cursive went viral. Within 2 days, the question garnered more than 300 thousand responses. The teacher’s ultimate goal was to provide data for her students to study graphing. To learn more about the questions and the responses, click on http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teaching_now/2017/03/can_you_write_in_cursive_2nd_graders_survey_goes_viral.html. Keyboarding is quick and everyone learns it in schools, but cursive writing broadens options when computers are not handy.

Some Utah Courts Seemingly Hold Rapists in High Regard
According to The Daily Kos, Utah District Court Judge Thomas Low spoke in glowing terms about the prisoner he was about to sentence to prison for sexual abuse and rape. Judge Low said moments before sentencing Keith Vallejo to prison that, “The court has no doubt that Mr. Vallejo is an extraordinarily good man.” The judge made the comment while one of the two victims sat in court watching the proceedings. To read the complete post, click on http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/04/14/1653236/-During-sentencing-judge-said-he-had-no-doubt-the-convicted-molester-is-extraordinarily-good? So much for judicial impartiality and integrity.

NYC Cops Exhibit Thuggery, Again
Last month several NYPD cops threatened to use Tasers against a group of black youth standing on a public sidewalk near Brooklyn’s Midwood High School. The officers began pushing and shoving and threatening the youths without explaining why the group should disperse. This is the most recent example of police behavior that the New York Civil Liberties Union cited as, “That confirms the all-too-frequent-complaints of NYPD officers abusing their authority to intimidate young people of color.” To read the complete post, visit http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/40171-nypd-officers-threaten-high-school-students-with-taser. It’s hard to sympathize with cops for the real threats they face when they behave in this manner.

Is Criticism of Israel Anti-Semitism?
This is the question that Rebecca Vilkomerson, director of the Jewish Voice for Peace, answers in her book On Antisemetism. The book compares the clear antisemitism of the Alt-Right with supporters of Israeli behavior in the West Bank who claim that criticism of Israel’s behavior amounts to antisemitism. Since the Trump election, Alt-Right supporters of white nationalism have committed acts of vandalism on the Temples and cemeteries of American Jews. According to Vilkomerson, a distinction must be made between criticism of Israeli actions at home and antisemitism in the U.S. To read more about this thought-provoking piece, visit http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/40207-antisemitism-and-support-for-israel-are-not-incompatible-we-must-confront-both. An expanded analysis of this work appears at http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/40224-israeli-government-is-petrified-of-boycott-divestment-and-sanctions-bds-movement. In the second link, the Israeli opposition to the BDS, Boycott, Divest, Sanctions, uses the charge of antisemitism to prevent and forestall any criticism of Israeli treatment of Palestinians in Israeli controlled territory. Given the apparent blank check President Trump has given the Israeli authorities on this issue, the topic seems very relevant.

Political Humor
The Daily Kos posted a hilarious piece listing 12 reasons why cats aren’t Republicans. Dems and Progressives will love this. Conservatives and Republicans not so much. To read visit http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/10/27/1339526/-Why-cats-aren-t-Republican. And so it goes.

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Salary Data for the Nosey

Satire Requires Knowledge To Appreciate
Johnathon Swift wrote Gulliver’s Travels in the early 18th Century. Today the four novels are read as elementary school level fiction. When originally written, the novels featured excoriating political attacks aimed at adults. Most contemporary readers do not know or appreciate the criticism. Similarly, The Onion publishes contemporary satire that only the knowledgeable really appreciate. For example, in a recent post The Onion reported that computer accessory manufacturer Logitech released a new keyboard with raised letter keys so that fitness-minded computer users can get a cardio-workout as they type. A second story says that Jared Kushner just added ‘Solve the Middle East Crisis’ to his to- do-list. This report says that Kushner will devote an hour or two to solve the Arab-Israeli issues as he attacks the to-do-list in his Daytimer day-planner. This site is a national treasure which must appeal to all who love Mad Magazine. But, you have to be in-the-know to see the humor and the criticism. To visit, click on http://www.theonion.com/article/jared-kushner-quietly-transfers-solve-middle-east–55639. Enjoy. To really appreciate the satire genre, find a copy of Swift’s ‘Modest Proposal’ which English professors say is one of the best examples of sustained irony in the English language, shocking though it is.

Salary Data for the Nosey
The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released salary data for the construction and extraction industries. According to the Bureau, average wages in these industries fall just below the average wages for all workers: $48,900 for construction and extraction workers and $49, 630 for all occupations. To find out the average wages for carpenters, electricians and hazardous materials removal workers, surf over to https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2017/annual-mean-wage-of-construction-and-extraction-occupations-was-48900-in-2016.htm. These salaries are accurate as of May 2016. Now you know.

World War l Trivia On the 100th Anniversary of Our Entry In The War
The war effort produced many technical advances that are still in use today. For example, the invention of a cotton substitute for bandages called cellucotton proved effective in treating wounds previously treated by the use of cotton bandages. The highly absorbent material found a new use for women after the war when Kimberly Clark invented sanitary napkins under the Kotex brand. We also have modern equivalents of airplanes, submarines and trench coats: all used in World War l. To learn more click on http://science.dodlive.mil/2017/04/06/world-war-i-innovations-still-used-today. The post also features vintage photos that are interesting as well.

CDC Reports Zika Virus Effects on Pregnant Women
Much has been learned over the last year about the Zika Virus and its effects on people. At first, doctors believed that only pregnant women faced risks. Today, doctors know that birth defects are only some of the problems produced by the virus suffered by members of both sexes. To learn more about the Zika Virus, visit https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/zika-babies/index.html. Be careful where you travel. Zika patients live in 40 states. Additional Zika information may be accessed at https://www.cdc.gov/zika/hc-providers/index.html.

Newspaper Job Losses
As a high school student in the late 1950s, I considered a career in print journalism. Even then, 60+ years ago, pundits proclaimed the immenent demise of newspapers do to the increasing reliance on radio/TV newscasts by newspaper readers . Today, however, the chicken-little ‘the sky is falling’ pronouncements are taken seriously. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the situation today is different than the situation was seven decades ago. Newspapers, now, have lost nearly half of their employees in the period 2001 to 2016. Other media employment remains stagnant with the exception of internet publishing which has more than doubled employment numbers during the last ten years.
As one might expect, salaries in print journalism have suffered as well. Average salaries for internet publishing and web portals comes in at $197,549. Television broadcasting salaries come in second at $90.583. In contrast, newspaper salaries average $48,403. Even radio broadcasting salaries now average $56,382 or next to last. Sadly for journalism, my choice of an education career proved prescient. To find out more about this issue, click on https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2017/newspaper-publishers-lose-over-half-their-employment-from-january-2001-to-september-2016.htm. And so it goes.

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    hunterj

    The idea for this blog arose from fourteen years of writing columns on the same idea that I produce monthly for my computer club newsletter. Over the years I found a number of the Internet URLs featured in a particular column became dated because I ... Read Full
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