Category Archives: Environment

Amid climate change, FEMA and Government Aid Widen Wealth Inequality

NPR All things considered: How Federal Disaster Money Favors The Rich.

“isasters are becoming more common in America. In the early and mid-20th century, fewer than 20 percent of U.S. counties experienced a disaster each year. Today, it’s about 50 percent. According to the 2018 National Climate Assessment, climate change is already driving more severe droughts, floods and wildfires in the U.S. And those disasters are expensive. The federal government spends billions of dollars annually helping communities rebuild and prevent future damage. But an NPR investigation has found that across the country, white Americans and those with more wealth often receive more federal dollars after a disaster than do minorities and those with less wealth. Federal aid isn’t necessarily allocated to those who need it most; it’s allocated according to cost-benefit calculations meant to minimize taxpayer risk.

Put another way, after a disaster, rich people get richer and poor people get poorer. And federal disaster spending appears to exacerbate that wealth inequality.”

“They’re in cover-up mode, I’ve been cut off from any kind of information.”

AZ Central: Grand Canyon tourists exposed for years to radiation in museum building, safety manager says.

“For nearly two decades at the Grand Canyon, tourists, employees, and children on tours passed by three paint buckets stored in the National Park’s museum collection building, unaware that they were being exposed to radiation.

Although federal officials learned last year that the 5-gallon containers were brimming with uranium ore, then removed the radioactive specimens, the park’s safety director alleges nothing was done to warn park workers or the public that they might have been exposed to unsafe levels of radiation.

In a rogue email sent to all Park Service employees on Feb. 4, Elston “Swede” Stephenson — the safety, health and wellness manager — described the alleged cover-up as “a top management failure” and warned of possible health consequences.
[…]
In his letter to colleagues, Stephenson apologized for the untimely notice. He stressed that exposure may not be severe depending on how close individuals got to the source, how long they were exposed, what they were wearing, and other factors. He also emphasized that employees will not necessarily suffer health consequences, but should consider receiving a medical screening.

“Of particular concern are 1000s of children attending ‘shows’ in very close proximity to the uranium,” he wrote. Those presentations lasted a half hour or more, he said, yet radiation dosages could have exceeded federal safety standards within seconds.

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“North is on the move”

NPR Science: As Magnetic North Pole Zooms Toward Siberia, Scientists Update World Magnetic Model.

“North is on the move, and that’s a problem for your smartphone’s maps.

Earth’s geographic north pole is fixed. But the planet’s magnetic north pole — the north that your compass points toward — wanders in the direction of Siberia at a rate of more than 34 miles per year.

That movement may seem slow, but it has forced scientists to update their model of Earth’s magnetic field a year earlier than expected so that navigational services, including map-based phone apps, continue to work accurately.”

NPR: The North Magnetic Pole Is Shifting East, Fast. “NPR’s Ari Shapiro speaks with Nature reporter Alex Witze about a rapid shift in the Earth’s magnetic poles.”

Apprehensions on US-Mexico border: Trump’s first year in office saw lowest number since 1971

BBC: Trump wall – all you need to know about US border in seven charts.

“Mr Trump argues $5.7bn (£4.5bn) is needed to address a “humanitarian and security crisis” at the southern border and has warned the shutdown will continue until he gets the cash.

Democrats say the wall is a waste of taxpayers’ money and accuse the Trump administration of a “manufactured crisis”.

Here are seven charts and maps that try to explain where we are with the wall and what the situation is like at the US-Mexico border.”

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“Chocolate Chirp Cookies”

NPR The Salt: Should Hyping Edible Bugs Focus On The Experience Instead Of The Environment?

“Farming insects may be more sustainable than raising meat, but so far that hasn’t been quite enough to convince most Westerners to eat them.

Marketing them as delicious, exquisite delicacies, though? That might do the trick.
[…]
Current marketing tactics for eating insects tend to point out environmental and health benefits. But a new study published in Frontiers in Nutrition suggests it might be better to focus on taste and experience, such as highlighting how much dragonflies taste like soft-shelled crabs.”

Best food name ever: “Chocolate Chirp Cookies” for cookies baked with cricket flour.