Bits ‘n’ Pieces

From east, west and beyond

By Lorraine H. Marie
Reader Columnist

East, west or beyond, sooner or later events elsewhere may have a local impact. A recent sampling:

A severe allergy to products such as meat, dairy, wool and gelatin has been linked to tick bites. It’s becoming more widespread in the nation’s Southeast, according to The little-known condition can result in doctors testing for asthma, heart conditions and tumors, when they should be ordering a blood test that checks the immune system’s reaction to mammalian meat. 

Swansea University in the U.K. studied people from Eastern and Western societies about what they want in a lifetime mate. Top pick: kindness.

Last year, an 8-year-old girl from Mexico, Xóchitl Guadalupe Cruz López, was honored for inventing a solar water heater from all recycled parts. López said she was inspired to create her water heater since people in her region are vulnerable to respiratory illnesses when they have to shower in cold water.

If trends continue, 80% of the planet’s fisheries will be in deep trouble by 2030, according to the Environmental Defense Fund. Almost half the Earth’s people rely on fish for protein, but peer-reviewed research shows that using the right fish management policies can result in an increase in fish populations by nearly 1/3 by 2100 — despite ocean warming. 

Update for the stethoscope: it looks like a small TV remote but it can record heart sounds as well as electrical signals. The $349 Duo also records data to a mobile app, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Carbon pricing is gaining popularity in the business sector, according to Ceres, a nonprofit that promotes sustainable economies. This year, more than 75 businesses, including eBay, General Mills, Gap, Levi’s, Nike, Mars Inc., Microsoft and PepsiCo advocated for climate legislation in the nation’s capital. It has not escaped CEOs’ notice that climate change has led to disasters like wildfires, drought, floods and storms that impact infrastructure and create $300 billion a year in unnecessary costs. Ceres explains carbon pricing: a government fee that increases over time on carbon pollution and greenhouse gases, intended to provide incentives for bringing down emissions while addressing costs from emissions that emitters don’t pay for. A Gallup poll found 71% surveyed favor a carbon tax on fossil fuel companies and want the revenue generated to reduce other taxes.

The world’s four largest garment exporters are China, India, Bangladesh and Vietnam. Oxfam reports that wages for Vietnamese laborers, who work six days a week, are often less than $1 an hour (U.S.) Reward work, not wealth, an Oxfam report, explains that Vietnamese parents typically move to industrial areas without their children and send money home to them, but rarely can afford to visit them. 

More than 3.5 hours of TV viewing a day can lead to memory loss in older people, according to a U.K study. Tests were conducted with two different groups on 3,662 adults ages 50 and older. Those who watched their sets for more than 3.5 hours each day showed an 8% to 10% decline in verbal memory. Those who watched less than that showed a 5% decline. Speculation as to causes of the decline included the TV distracting them from activities that preserve mental function (like reading) or cognitive stress from show content.

After suspending bee data collection, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has resumed its research, according to CNN. Data tracked: colony collapse disorder, impacts of climate change and toxic pesticides.

Make a deal? Newsweek reports that President Donald Trump may want to resign rather than face indictment and impeachment. That resignation would likely include a deal to protect himself, his wealth and his family from legal action. Trump has tweeted that if he’s impeached it could trigger civil war-like conditions. Harvard law professor John Coates’ comment: “A sitting president threatening civil war if Congress exercises its constitutionally authorized power” is cause for impeachment by itself.

Blast from the past: “Before the Freedom of Information Act I used to say, ‘The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a bit longer.’” That quote is attributed to Henry Kissinger, who said it was spoken in jest, in March of 1975. Kissinger served as U.S. secretary of state and national security adviser under President Richard Nixon, and as secretary of state under President Gerald Ford. The FOIA was enacted July 4, 1966 and required the disclosure of previously unreleased federal information, with the intent that decisions made by the government should be evaluated by citizens.

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