We Are Making Ebola Outbreaks Worse By Cutting Down Forests

Originally posted on HumansinShadow.wordpress.com:

Mother Jones

We Are Making Ebola Outbreaks Worse By Cutting Down Forests

Epidemiologists explain how human activity helps spread the deadly virus in West Africa.

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How Blue Eyes Originated!

Close-up of a blue-eyed koala

Close-up of a blue-eyed koala (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How Blue eyes Originated



PicMonkey Collage

Everyone with blue eyes alive today – from Angelina Jolie to Wayne Rooney – can trace their ancestry back to one person who probably lived about 10,000 years ago in the Black Sea region, a study has found. Scientists studying the genetics of eye colour have discovered that more than 99.5 per cent of blue-eyed people who volunteered to have their DNA analysed have the same tiny mutation in the gene that determines the colour of the iris.


This indicates that the mutation originated in just one person who became the ancestor of all subsequent people in the world with blue eyes, according to a study by Professor Hans Eiberg and colleagues at the University of Copenhagen.

The scientists are not sure when the mutation occurred but other evidence suggested it probably arose about 10,000 years ago when there was a rapid expansion of the human population in Europe as a result of the spread of agriculture from the Middle East.

“The mutations responsible for blue eye colour most likely originate from the north-west part of the Black Sea region, where the great agricultural migration of the northern part of Europe took place in the Neolithic periods about 6,000 to 10,000 years ago,” the researchers report in the journal Human Genetics.

Professor Eiberg said that brown is the “default” colour for human eyes which results from a build-up of the dark skin pigment, melanin. However, in northern Europe a mutation arose in a gene known as OCA2 that disrupted melanin production in the iris and caused the eye colour to become blue.

“Originally, we all had brown eyes,” said Professor Eiberg. “But a genetic mutation affecting the OCA2 gene in our chromosomes resulted in the creation of a ‘switch’ which literally turned off the ability to produce brown eyes.”

Variations in the colour of people’s eyes can be explained by the amount of melanin in the iris, but blue-eyed individuals only have a small degree of variation in the amount of melanin in their eyes, he said.

“From this we can conclude that all blue-eyed individuals are linked to the same ancestor. They have all inherited the same switch at exactly the same spot in their DNA,” said Professor Eiberg.

Men and women with blue eyes have almost exactly the same genetic sequence in the part of the DNA responsible for eye colour. However, brown-eyed people, by contrast, have a considerable amount of individual variation in that area of DNA.

Professor Eiberg said he has analysed the DNA of about 800 people with blue eyes, ranging from fair-skinned, blond-haired Scandinavians to dark-skinned, blue-eyed people living in Turkey and Jordan.

“All of them, apart from possibly one exception, had exactly the same DNA sequence in the region of the OCA2 gene. This to me indicates very strongly that there must have been a single, common ancestor of all these people,” he said.

It is not known why blue eyes spread among the population of northern Europe and southern Russia. Explanations include the suggestions that the blue eye colour either offered some advantage in the long hours of daylight in the summer, or short hours of daylight in winter, or that the trait was deemed attractive and therefore advantageous in terms of sexual selection.

Source The Independent

Mortality Increase From Alzheimer´s Disease in U.S. within last 10 Years

Talesfromthelou’s Blog – copied:

Mortality Increase From Alzheimer’s Disease in the United States within the last 10 Years. Data for 2000 and 2010

Fascinating data from the Center for Disease Control.  A generation ago we could not even spell Alzheimer’s. It now looks like we are facing an avalanche of seniors losing their minds, and their lives, in later years.  You better believe that I will be looking for all preventative methods and cures for this dreaded degeneration of the brain.  I have seen what it does and it has no dignity. Lou

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States

NCHS Data Briefs Update.

In 2010, Alzheimer’s disease was the underlying cause for a total of 83,494 deaths and was classified as a contributing cause for an additional 26,488 deaths. Mortality from Alzheimer’s disease has steadily increased during the last 30 years. Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and the fifth leading cause for people aged 65 years and over. An estimated 5.4 million persons in the United States have Alzheimer’s disease. The cost of health care for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia was estimated to be 200 billion dollars in 2012, including 140 billion dollars in costs to Medicare and Medicaid and is expected to reach 1.1 trillion dollars in 2050.

Alzheimer’s disease mortality varies by age, sex, race, Hispanic origin, and geographic area. This report presents mortality data on Alzheimer’s disease based on data from the National Vital Statistics System from 2000 through 2010, the most recent year for which detailed data are available.

Key findings

Data from the National Vital Statistics System

  • The age-adjusted death rate from Alzheimer’s disease increased by 39 percent from 2000 through 2010 in the United States.
  • Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and is the fifth leading cause among people aged 65 years and over. People aged 85 years and over have a 5.4 times greater risk of dying from Alzheimer’s disease than people aged 75–84 years.
  • The risk of dying from Alzheimer’s disease is 26 percent higher among the non-Hispanic white population than among the non-Hispanic black population, whereas the Hispanic population has a 30 percent lower risk than the non-Hispanic white population.
  • In 2010, among all states and the District of Columbia, 31 states showed death rates from Alzheimer’s disease that were above the national rate (25.1).

Keywords: dementia, National Vital Statistics System, death rate, aging

Alzheimer’s disease mortality increased compared with selected major causes of death.

Figure 1 is a bar chart showing percent change in age-adjusted death rates for the selected causes of death between 2000 and 2010.

Full article:


Related articles

Mystery crater in Yamal peninsula probably caused by methane release

EarthSky // Earth, Science Wire Release Date: Jul 31, 2014

Mystery crater in Yamal peninsula probably caused by methane release

Thawing permafrost likely allowed methane gas to be released, creating the large hole in permafrost found in northern Russia, says the Russian team that investigated it.

The first mysterious crater spotted by helicopter in the Yamal region of northern Russia.  Image via Nature.

UPDATE July 31, 2014. Stories are popping up fast in various media this afternoon about a likely source of a reported, mysterious hole in permafrost in the Yamal region of northern Russia. This hole was spotted by a helicopter pilot in mid-July; reindeer herders reported a second hole some days later. Eric Holthaus of Slate said that there is now:

… new (and definitive) evidence … that the Siberian holes were created via methane released from warming permafrost.

The evidence has come via the journal Nature, which published a story on its website today (July 31) featuring the findings of Andrei Plekhanov, a senior researcher at the Scientific Centre of Arctic Studies in Salekhard, Russia, and his team. This is the team that was sent in to investigate the first hole shortly after it was found. Holthaus said:

That team measured methane concentrations up to 50,000 times standard levels inside the crater.

The story in Nature said:

Air near the bottom of the crater contained unusually high concentrations of methane — up to 9.6% — in tests conducted at the site on 16 July … Plekhanov, who led an expedition to the crater, says that air normally contains just 0.000179% methane …

Plekhanov and his team believe that it is linked to the abnormally hot Yamal summers of 2012 and 2013, which were warmer than usual by an average of about 5°C. As temperatures rose, the researchers suggest, permafrost thawed and collapsed, releasing methane that had been trapped in the icy ground.

Holthaus pointed out:

Last week, the New York Times’ Andrew Revkin interviewed a Russian scientist who had also visited the hole and came to similar conclusions.

This newly reported evidence, just coming to light today, seems particularly scary given the story earlier this week about what the University of Stockholm called “vast methane plumes” found by scientists aboard the icebreaker Oden, which is now exploring and measuring methane release from the floor of the Arctic Ocean.

Read more: Scientists discover vast methane plumes escaping from Arctic seafloor

Andrei Plekhanov, senior researcher at the Scientific Research Centre of the Arctic, stands at the first large crater, discovered recently in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug region of northern Russia.  Image via China Post.

Helicopters found the first crater.  Reindeer herders report a second.  Photo of first crater via Siberian Times.

The Moscow Times reported this week that reindeer herders in far northern Russia have found a second mysterious giant hole. According to these unconfirmed reports, the second hole is about 30 kilometers (20 miles) away from a first large and mysterious hole in the Russian permafrost, which made a big splash in social media after the Siberian Times reported it in mid-July 2014.

Last week, Russian scientists estimated the first hole, which has smooth sides and a lake at its bottom, to be around 30-60 meters wide (100-200 feet) wide. The second crater is said to be smaller than the first, only about 15 meters (50 feet) wide, and it’s reported to be filled with snow.

Both craters (assuming two exist) are located within the permafrost of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area (YNAO) of the Russian Arctic. Moscow Times said that both craters appear to have formed relatively recently.

In fact, according to the website Russia Behind the Headlines, the time of formation of the second crater might be known, from reports last year by reindeer herders. This website said the second crater might have formed in September 2013. Russia Behind the Headlines said:

News of the crater was first spread by local reindeer herders, who said a celestial body had fallen and then a flash had occurred on 27 September 2013 in this region (56 miles from the village of Antipayut).

A different reindeer herder only said that he saw smoke, haze, and then a flash.

The walls of the crater appear evenly cut.

The crater, which is 70 meters deep, has an icy lake at its bottom.  Photo by Andrey-Naumenko via Siberian Times.

Both Moscow Times and Russia Behind the Headlines seem to be favoring the idea that the mysterious holes in permafrost formed due to a geophysical process associated with global warming. Russia Behind the Headlines said:

The strange holes in the Earth found in the northern tundra on Russian territory in July could mean the beginning of irreversible changes in the climate of our planet. According to Russian scientists, the most likely reason for the formation of such holes is the emission of natural gas, which may be caused by global warming …

Glaciologists from the sub-Arctic research and study unit in Tyumen say that permafrost temperatures are rising steadily in the region of the Bovanenkovskoye gas field on the Yamal Peninsula in the Russian Arctic, near where the first hole was discovered. Forty years ago it was on average about eight degrees below zero, but now in certain areas it is only minus three.

Moscow Times said:

Scientists who examined the first hole theorized that it could have been created when a mixture of water, salt and gas exploded underground …

The area, which has one of Russia’s richest deposits of natural gas, was covered by sea about 10,000 years ago, and vast salt deposits were left behind.

Moscow Times added that:

Global warming, causing an alarming melt in the ice under the soil, released gas causing an effect like the popping of a champagne cork.

Approximate location of mysterious craters in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area (YNAO) in the Russian Arctic.

Bottom line: A second mysterious crater has been found on the Yamal region of northern Russia, according to media reports.


This solar water wheel could be the solution to plastic ocean debris

Originally posted on My Blog OceansSpirit:

This solar water wheel could be the solution to plastic ocean debris

As much as we love highlighting new and interesting technologies, sometimes old technologies prove to be the best. This is definitely the case in Baltimore where a giant water wheel is removing tons of trash every day from the water, keeping it from ending up in the ocean. This centuries-old technology is quickly becoming the best solution yet for keeping plastic out of the oceans.The Inner Harbor Water Wheel sits at the mouth of the Jones Falls River where it empties into the Inner Harbor. This river is fed into by the entire Jones Falls Watershed which encompasses 58-square miles of land where tiny streams all lead to the Jones Falls River, which empties into the harbor. Any trash that ends up on…

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Elephant Tourism in Thailand Is Fueling a Deadly Black Market in Baby Pachyderms

Elephant Tourism in Thailand Is Fueling a Deadly Black Market in Baby Pachyderms

A report finds that poachers are killing adult elephants in neighboring Burma to capture their offspring.

(Photo: Sukree Sukplang/Reuters)



July 31, 2014

Millions of people travel to Thailand each year, and many visit one of the country’s many elephant tourist camps, where they ride and pose with the pachyderms. But few probably bother to think about how the animals got there. If they did, they might make other plans.

A new report from U.K.-based wildlife monitoring group Traffic found that rising demand by tourists to commune with Asian elephants is fueling a black market in wild-caught animals.

“The capture of wild elephants for Thailand’s tourism industry poses a serious threat to the future survival of the country’s wild population,” the report said.

Over the past 75 years, the Asian elephant population has declined by up to 50 percent, mostly because of habitat loss and deforestation. “But poaching for the trade in live elephants and their ivory is recognized as another important factor,” the report said.

Thailand is one of 13 Asian nations that trade in elephants to satisfy a growing tourism market. Nearly 1,700 elephants are housed at more than 100 tourist camps. Over a two-year period ending in March 2013, about 80 wild elephants were captured for illegal sale to the Thai tourism industry, according to the report.

Researchers investigated 108 elephant tourist camps, government facilities, and hotels that keep elephants and conducted informal interviews with elephant handlers and owners about the trade.

For instance, the Surin Elephant Festival, billed as the world’s largest animal show, attracts tourists each November to its elephant roundup. The roundup includes a parade of animals marching toward a fresh-fruit “elephant breakfast,” followed by elephant talent shows, demonstrations of elephant capture and training techniques, a soccer game, and a tug-of-war.

Many camps claim to be conservation centers. “The kindest thing that ethical, elephant-loving tourists can do is to visit a camp and enjoy elephants,” according to the website of the government-owned Thai Elephant Conservation Center. “Without work in tourism, elephant owners will have no means to care for their animals.”

Of the 53 elephants in the study whose origin was known, 92 percent were captured in neighboring Burma and smuggled into Thailand.

Wild elephants in Burma are usually snared in pit traps, with domestic elephants driving their wild cousins into harm’s way. Infants are the most valuable and currently fetch up to $33,000 each, a 600 percent increase since 1999. But to capture them, some adults must be eliminated first.

“It was reported that automatic weapons are increasingly being used to kill protective members of the herd,” the report said, “although it was not possible…to verify such statements.” Infants are “mentally broken and prepared for training.”

The Thai government has cracked down recently on illegal trafficking. “Based on research,” the report said, “no indication was received of elephant trade along the border after June 2012.”

That doesn’t mean the practice has stopped.

“The recent clampdown was successful in halting the live elephant trafficking temporarily, at least,” Traffic spokesperson Richard Thomas said in an email. “But unless urgent changes are made to outdated legislation and better systems are introduced to document the origin of elephants…things could quickly revert to how they were.”

Because of the trade’s clandestine nature, the exact number of contraband elephants is unknown. Several studies estimated that 50 to 100 wild elephants are smuggled from Burma to Thailand every year. Another found that 240 elephants were smuggled through a single border crossing over an 18-month period.

So what can be done?

The new report recommended that Interpol and other groups support government enforcement efforts, and that local laws be changed to ensure that elephants are registered shortly after birth.

Thai authorities should also encourage tourists to report poor conditions, treatment, or care of elephants used in the industry, according to the report.

“I’ve seen considerable concern expressed over the treatment of animals before they ever reach the parks and during the process when they are mentally broken after being captured from the wild,” Thomas said. “By all accounts, this involves severe beating of the animals.”

“There are perfectly legitimate camp owners,” he added. “But if you’re not sure that the place you’re visiting is legitimate or is caring for the animals they’ve acquired, don’t spend your money there.”…




Originally posted on Milenio:


Originalmente publicado en spiritandanimal.wordpress.com :

Restaurar la fe en la humanidad en 4 minutos exactos

Restaurar la fe en la humanidad en 4 minutos exactos

24 de julio 2014se oiga tu voz

En momentos en que la tragedia domina los asuntos del mundo, es fácil a la desesperación en el camino algunos “líderes” nos han llevado hacia abajo. Pero si usted está preocupado acerca de perder la fe en la humanidad, no se desespere: tenemos el antídoto.

Ricos o pobres; jóvenes o viejos; Australia, China o Brasil – miramos el mundo y encontramos un rasgo universal que verdaderamente nos une a todos: la bondad.

Con lágrimas de felicidad …

Cuando publicamos esta en Facebook , a los pocos días fue reproducido en numerosas páginas, y observó más de 10 millones de veces, unir a la gente de buen corazón a través del mundo!

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Stop The Gadhimai Festival

Originally posted on Rantings From a Virtual Soapbox:

All beings tremble before danger, all fear death. When a man considers this, he does not kill or cause to kill.

All beings fear before danger, life is dear to all. When a man considers this, he does not kill or cause to kill.
Buddha Dhammapada 54

This November in Nepal, the birthplace of Buddha who taught non violence towards all beings, thousands of animals will be slaughtered in the most horrific manner imaginable as part of a ritualistic mass sacrifice. The Gadhimai Festival takes place every five years and is probably the world’s largest mass public slaughter in the name of religion. About 5 million people participate in this hideous festival of barbarity.

The word festival is inappropriate for what amounts to sickening blood thirsty carnage as more than 250,000 animals are mutilated and beheaded in this horrific massacre.


Watch the film below. Please be aware it contains violent scenes…

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Scientists discover vast methane plumes escaping from Arctic seafloor

Scientists discover vast methane plumes escaping from Arctic seafloor

30 07 2014

Mega methane event.  Image via University of Stockholm via Daily Kos.

An international team of scientists aboard the icebreaker Oden – currently north of eastern Siberia, in the Arctic Ocean – is working primarily to measure methane emissions from the Arctic seafloor. On July 22, 2014, only a week into their voyage, the team reported “elevated methane levels, about 10 times higher than background seawater.” They say the culprit in this release of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, may be a tongue of relatively warm water from the Atlantic Ocean, the last remnants of the Gulf Stream, mixing into the Arctic Ocean. A press release from University of Stockholm described the discovery as:

… vast methane plumes escaping from the seafloor of the Laptev continental slope. These early glimpses of what may be in store for a warming Arctic Ocean could help scientists project the future releases of the strong greenhouse gas methane from the Arctic Ocean.

The scientists refer to the plumes as methane mega flares.

Click here to see where the icebreaker Oden is right now.

SWERUS expedition preliminary cruise plan and study areas of Leg 1 and 2. EEZ=Exclusive Economic Zone; LR=Lomonosov Ridge; MR=Mendeleev Ridge; HC=Herald Canyon; NSI=New Siberian Islands. Image via Daily Kos via University of Stockholm.

On July 22, 2014, chief scientist Örjan Gustafsson of the University of Stockholm wrote about the methane mega flare event in his blog. He wrote:

So, what have we found in the first couple of days of methane-focused studies?

1) Our first observations of elevated methane levels, about ten times higher than in background seawater, were documented already as we climbed up the steep continental slope at stations in 500 and 250 meter depth. This was somewhat of a surprise. While there has been much speculation of the vulnerability of regular marine hydrates [frozen methane formed due to high pressure and low temperature] along the Arctic rim, very few actual observations of methane releases due to collapsing Arctic upper slope marine hydrates have been made. ¨

It has recently been documented that a tongue of relatively warm Atlantic water, with a core at depths of 200–600 meters may have warmed up some in recent years. As this Atlantic water, the last remnants of the Gulf Stream, propagates eastward along the upper slope of the East Siberian margin, our SWERUS-C3 program is hypothesizing that this heating may lead to destabilization of upper portion of the slope methane hydrates. This may be what we now for the first time are observing.

2) Using the mid-water sonar, we mapped out an area of several kilometers where bubbles were filling the water column from depths of 200 to 500 meters. During the preceding 48 hours we have performed station work in two areas on the shallow shelf with depths of 60-70m where we discovered over 100 new methane seep sites. SWERUS-C3 researchers have on earlier expeditions documented extensive venting of methane from the subsea system to the atmosphere over the East Siberian Arctic Shelf. On this Oden expedition we have gathered a strong team to assess these methane releases in greater detail than ever before to substantially improve our collective understanding of the methane sources and the functioning of the system. This is information that is crucial if we are to be able to provide scientific estimations of how these methane releases may develop in the future.

While not as long-lasting in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, methane is much more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in Earth’s atmosphere. Climate scientists discuss a potential feedback loop regarding methane’s role in global warming. That is, as Earth’s climate warms, methane that is frozen in reservoirs stored in Arctic tundra soils – or marine sediments – may be released into the atmosphere, where it warm Earth still more, releasing more methane, and so on.

Methane release from the Arctic Ocean is not a new phenomenon; after all, the Stockholm scientists were there to measure it. U.S. scientists have observed Arctic Ocean methane release, too. For example, NASA reported in April 2012 on a study in which scientists measured surprising levels of methane coming from cracks in Arctic sea ice and areas of partial sea ice cover.

Bubbles of methane rising up through Arctic seawater.  Image via University of Stockholm.

On July 23, Ulf Hedman – who is aboard the Oden and who is Science Coordinator for the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat – gave a vivid description of the discovery in his blog:

We are ‘sniffing’ methane. We see the bubbles on video from the camera mounted on the CTD or the Multicorer. All analysis tells the signs. We are in a [methane] mega flare. We see it in the water column we read it above the surface an we follow it up high into the sky with radars and lasers. We see it mixed in the air and carried away with the winds. Methane in the air. Where does it come from? Is it from the old moors and mosses that used to be on dry land but now has sunken into the sea. Does it come from the deep interior of the Earth following structures in the bedrock up into the sand filled reservoirs collecting oil and gas then leaking out upwards, as bubbles through the sea bed into the water, into the mid-water sonar, the Niskin bottles the analysis and into our results?

Where does the methane come from? Is it organic or not? What’s the volume? How much is carried up into the air? Is there an effect on the climate? One mega flare does not tell the truth. It’s not evidence enough.

We carry on for the next station.

And the next, and next, next…

Bottom line: A team of international scientists aboard the icebreaker Oden has documented “elevated methane levels, about ten times higher than in background seawater” in the Arctic Ocean. They are calling it a methane mega flare event and express hopes it will help them project future releases of the strong greenhouse gas methane from the Arctic Ocean, and to understand the role this released methane might play in global warming. …



Activist Post: Why are massive numbers of sea creatures dying along the west coast right now? #news

Activist Post: Why are massive numbers of sea creatures dying along the west coast right now? #news.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Why are massive numbers of sea creatures dying along the west coast right now?

Michael Snyder
Activist PostNever before have we seen so much death along the west coast of North America.  Massive numbers of sea stars, bluefin tuna, sardines, anchovies, herring, oysters, salmon, marine mammals and marine birds are dying, and experts are puzzled.  We are being told that we could even see “local extinctions” of some of these sea creatures.  So are all of these deaths related?  If so, what in the world could be causing this to happen?  What has changed so dramatically that it would cause massive numbers of sea creatures to die along the west coast?The following are 15 examples of this phenomenon.  Most scientists do not believe that these incidents are related.  But when you put them all together, it paints quite a disturbing picture

#1 A “mystery plague” is turning sea stars all along the west coast of the United States and Canada into piles of goo…

Sea stars, commonly referred to as starfish, have been dying off in alarming numbers along the entire West Coast, from Baja, Mexico, to Alaska. According to reports from the Seattle Aquarium, some parts of Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands have seen population declines of up to 80 percent.

On the Oregon coast, according to CoastWatch Volunteer Coordinator Fawn Custer, “Last December, we had less than 1 percent of sea star wasting. By May 1, more than 5 percent of sea stars were affected. Now, I would say, in some areas, it is up to 90 percent.”

A marine epidemiologist at Cornell University says that this is “the largest mortality event for marine diseases we’ve seen“.

#2 The population of bluefin tuna in the Pacific Ocean has declined by 95 percent.  Mexico has already banned fishing for bluefin tuna for the rest of the year, and the U.S. government is considering doing the same thing.

#3 Sardine, anchovy and herring populations have dropped dramatically along the west coast in recent years…

Pacific sardine populations have shown an alarming decline in recent years, and some evidence suggests anchovy and herring populations may be dropping as well.

The declines could push fishermen toward other currently unmanaged “forage fish,” such as saury, smelt and sand lance, stealing a critical food source relied on by salmon and other economically important predators.

In response, the Pacific Fishery Management Council is considering an ecosystem-based management approach that recognizes the fundamental role of forage fish in the Pacific marine food web. Tiny, but abundant, these small schooling fish feed on plankton and, in turn, fill the bellies of Oregon’s iconic marine species, including salmon, sharks, whales, sea lions and sea birds.

#4Record numbers of distressed sea lions have washed ashore in California” for the second year in a row.  One news report described these distressed sea lions as “malnourished and dehydrated, too weak to find food on their own“.

#5 Marine birds are “disappearing” in the Pacific northwest…

From white-winged scoters and surf scoters to long-tailed ducks, murres, loons and some seagulls, the number of everyday marine birds here has plummeted dramatically in recent decades.

Scoters are down more than 75 percent from what they were in the late 1970s. Murres have dropped even more. Western grebes have mostly vanished, falling from several hundred thousand birds to about 20,000.

#6 Those that work in the seafood industry on the west coast are noticing some very “unusual” mutations.  For example, a red king crab that was recently caught in Alaska was colored bright blue.

#7 Pelicans along the California coastline are “refusing to mate“.  This is being blamed on a lack of fish for the pelicans to eat.  As a result, we are seeing less than one percent of the usual number of baby pelicans.

#8 The oyster population in the Pacific is falling so fast that it is being called “the great American oyster collapse“.

#9 The population of sockeye salmon along the coast of Alaska is at a “historic low“.

#10 Something is causing herring off the coast of British Columbia to bleed from their gills, bellies and eyeballs.

#11 Scientists have discovered very high levels of cesium-137 in plankton living in the waters of the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and the west coast.

#12 Back in May, more than six tons of anchovies died in Marina Del Ray over a single weekend.

#13 Just a few days ago, thousands of dead fish were found on Capitola Beach.  Authorities are trying to figure out what caused this.

#14 Earlier this month, thousands of dead fish were found on Manresa Beach.

#15 According to a study conducted by researchers at Oregon State University, radiation levels in tuna caught off the coast of Oregon approximately tripled in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Could it be possible that at least some of these deaths are related to what has been happening at Fukushima?

We do know that fish caught just off the shore from Fukushima have been tested to have radioactive cesium that is up to 124 times above the level that is considered to be safe.

And we also know that a study conducted at the University of South Wales concluded that the main radioactive plume of water from Fukushima would reach our shores at some point during 2014.

Is it so unreasonable to think that the greatest nuclear disaster in human history could have something to do with the death of all of these sea creatures?

Just consider what one very experienced Australian boat captain discovered when he crossed the Pacific last year.  According to him, it felt as though “the ocean itself was dead“…

The next leg of the long voyage was from Osaka to San Francisco and for most of that trip the desolation was tinged with nauseous horror and a degree of fear.

“After we left Japan, it felt as if the ocean itself was dead,” Macfadyen said.

“We hardly saw any living things. We saw one whale, sort of rolling helplessly on the surface with what looked like a big tumour on its head. It was pretty sickening.

“I’ve done a lot of miles on the ocean in my life and I’m used to seeing turtles, dolphins, sharks and big flurries of feeding birds. But this time, for 3000 nautical miles there was nothing alive to be seen.”

In place of the missing life was garbage in astounding volumes.

“Part of it was the aftermath of the tsunami that hit Japan a couple of years ago. The wave came in over the land, picked up an unbelievable load of stuff and carried it out to sea. And it’s still out there, everywhere you look.”

What do you think?

Is Fukushima to blame, or do you think that something else is causing massive numbers of sea creatures to die?

Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…

This article first appeared here at the American Dream.  Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.

Belly fat clearest sign of type 2 diabetes risk

Belly fat clearest sign of type 2 diabetes risk

Public Health England states categorically for first time that excess weight is biggest risk factor for type 2 diabetes

An overweight woman. Photograph: Anthony Devlin/PA

Men who measure more than 102cm (40 inches) around the middle – and not below the belly – are five times more likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes than men with a smaller waist, while women who measure more than 88cm (35 inches) are three times more likely to be diagnosed than others, according to advice from Public Health England.

People who are simply overweight, as well as those who are obese, are risking type 2 diabetes, which can lead to blindness, amputations and an early death, the public health body has warned.

Abdominal fat – around the stomach – is a better indicator of your chances of getting it than BMI (body mass index), which is a ratio of weight to height.

“Diabetes is a massive problem. It is getting clearer and clearer that it is a massive problem in England and the single best thing you can do to address it is to lose weight,” said Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England.

In an advisory report to local authorities, who now have responsibility for public health including combating obesity, Public Health England is stating categorically for the first time that excess weight is the biggest risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Some 90% of people with the disease are overweight. Treating people with the disease and its complications – they also risk cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and depression – cost £8.8bn in 2010-11, which is approaching 10% of the NHS budget. Around 23,300 people died prematurely that year because of it.

It is not just about those who are morbidly obese, said Tedstone. “Over 60% of us are at risk of type 2 diabetes because we are overweight,” she said. “But overweight has become normalised and many people no longer realise they are potentially endangering their health.

“People underestimate their weight. They underestimate their children’s weight,” she said. “They perhaps think they don’t need to do anything about it.

Obesity treatment and prevention is not a mandatory service for local authorities. It is one of many public health issues they can spend ringfenced funding on, depending on the perceived needs of their population. The report from Public Health England, said Tedstone, “is about raising the profile with local authorities, helping them decide how to spend the money.”

Obesity services across England are generally thought to be patchy. Although obesity rates tend to be higher in more deprived areas, “it isn’t just about the poor,” said Tedstone. “In better-off communities it is still a problem.”

Barbara Young, chief executive at Diabetes UK, said: “We hope the report acts as a spur to action, as there are now 3.8 million of us in the UK who have diabetes and it costs the NHS £10bn per year. With many millions of people in the UK now at high risk of type 2 diabetes, this is an epidemic that looks likely to get even worse, and if this happens then the impact on the nation’s health would be devastating and the increase in costs to the NHS would be unsustainable.”

She called on the government to focus more on preventing the disease, by ensuring the NHS Health Check is rolled out and people at risk given the support they need to make changes to their lifestyle – as well as considering making healthy food more accessible through taxation and tougher regulation of the food industry.