Category Archives: Health

“[I]f people want less plastic, they’ll have to pick replacements carefully”

NPR: Plastic Has A Big Carbon Footprint — But That Isn’t The Whole Story.

“Plastic waste gets a lot of attention when photos of dead whales with stomachs full of plastic bags hit the news. Pieces of plastic also litter cities, and tiny plastic particles are even floating in the air.

Largely overlooked is how making plastic in the first place affects the environment, especially global warming. Plastic actually has a big carbon footprint, but so do many of the alternatives to plastic. And that’s what makes replacing plastic a problem without a clear solution.”

“Though 72 hours is the longest a minor can be legally confined in such a facility, some had been there almost a month”

The Atlantic: What a Pediatrician Saw Inside a Border Patrol Warehouse. “Dolly Lucio Sevier evaluated dozens of sick children at a facility in South Texas. She found evidence of infection, malnutrition, and psychological trauma.”

“But when Sevier asked the 38 children she examined that day about sanitation, they all said they weren’t allowed to wash their hands or brush their teeth. This was “tantamount to intentionally causing the spread of disease,” she later wrote in a medical declaration about the visit, the document that the lawyers filed in federal court and also shared with me. (Asked for comment on this story, a Customs and Border Protection official wrote in an email that the agency aims to “provide the best care possible to those in our custody, especially children.” The agency’s “short-term holding facilities were not designed to hold vulnerable populations,” the official added, “and we urgently need additional humanitarian funding to manage this crisis.”)

As agents brought in the children she requested, Sevier said, the smell of sweat and soiled clothing filled the room. They had not been allowed to bathe or change since crossing the Rio Grande and turning themselves over to officials. Sevier found that about two-thirds of the kids she examined had symptoms of respiratory infection. The guards wore surgical masks, but the detainees breathed the air unfiltered. As the children filed in, Sevier said she found evidence of sleep deprivation, dehydration, and malnutrition too.”

Link via MetaFilter.

“When, exactly, do abortion opponents think life begins?”

The New York Times – Opinion: Life Begins at Conception (Except When That’s Inconvenient for Republicans). “It’s almost as if abortion bans aren’t actually about “life” at all.” By Molly Jong-Fast.

“But what are we to make of what happened on Feb. 22, when a 24-year-old woman from Honduras went into labor at 27 weeks pregnant and delivered a stillborn baby at an ICE detention center? According to ICE, “for investigative and reporting purposes, a stillbirth is not considered an in-custody death.” Where were the cries of outrage from pro-life corners? Do some lives begin at conception and others don’t? Is an immigrant fetus less of a person than a citizen fetus?

Many pro-choice pundits make the argument that abortion opponents are hypocrites for their lack of concern about maternal health and early-childhood programs, and they are. But these inconsistencies about when “life” begins are far more revealing. The idea that fertility clinics should be allowed to end “life” in the pursuit of resolving infertility is wholly illogical; the notion that an in-custody stillbirth at 27 weeks is not a death, but that an abortion at six or eight weeks is a murder punishable by up to 99 years in prison, requires wild feats of mental jujitsu.

It’s almost as if the Republican Party considers “life” to be a completely arbitrary notion. It’s almost as if this isn’t actually about “life” at all.”

Link via MetaFilter.

Blick auf den blauen Punkt im All

re:publica 2015 – Alexander Gerst: Blue Dot Mission – Sechs Monate Leben und Arbeiten auf der ISS. (YouTube, 1:12h)

“Man sieht Krieg. Wir haben Bomben und Raketen fliegen sehen über Gaza. […] Wenn es wirklich intelligentes Leben im Universum gibt und die uns irgendwann mal besuchen kommen, dann wäre das das erste, was die sehen. Wir sind eine Spezies, die sich auch intelligent nennt, und das erste, was man von uns sieht ist, dass wir unsere Lebensgrundlange, die sehr zerbrechlich ist und sehr begrenzt ist, zerstören und uns gegenseitig umbringen. Das ist das, was man von außen sieht, und ich wüsste nicht, wie man irgend jemandem erklären sollte, warum wir das tun.”

(Zitat ab 0:36:53)

Damals wurde Gerst auch gefragt, wie die Chancen stehen, dass er noch einmal ins All fliegt. Heute kann er auf seine zweite Mission, Horizons, im Jahr 2018 zurückblicken.

(Hinweis: Die Kommentare unter dem Video sollte man besser überwiegend nicht lesen… aber das versteht sich bei YouTube eigentlich von selbst.)