Posts Tagged 'Africa'

Brushes with the Mainstream

Last week I had two brushes with the mainstream of American culture and politics. The first was an appearance on a PBS television show, the Tavis Smiley show. As far as I can remember, this was only the second time I’ve been on a national TV program. The other time was in South Africa on a business program. On that occasion, I said something like, “The wealthy neighborhoods I’ve seen in South Africa are not truly wealthy. Real wealth ...

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Anna Hunt – Palm Oil Contains Carcinogenic Substance, Says EU Food Safety Authority

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) announces that substances found in palm oil raise a potential health concern. They identified one component of palm oil as “geotoxic and carcinogenic.” This information is critical because palm oil is the most heavily utilized vegetable oils, and many people are unaware that palm oil is used in about half of all packaged foods, personal care products and cleaning products.

In 2013, producers used 58 million metric tons of palm oil, up from 50 million ...

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Jason Hickel – Aid in reverse: how poor countries develop rich countries

We have long been told a compelling story about the relationship between rich countries and poor countries. The story holds that the rich nations of the OECD give generously of their wealth to the poorer nations of the global south, to help them eradicate poverty and push them up the development ladder. Yes, during colonialism western powers may have enriched themselves by extracting resources and slave labour from their colonies – but that’s all in the past. These ...

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Post-Fascist Europe Tells Us Exactly How to Defend Our Democracy

Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so. Here are 20 lessons from the 20th century, adapted to the circumstances of today.

1. Do not obey in advance.

Much of the power of authoritarianism is freely given. In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want, and then start ...

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Lisa-Ann Lee – Scientists identify unique “breathprint” of 17 diseases

A team of international researchers recently unveiled a nano array that can identify the chemical signatures of 17 different diseases, possibly bringing us closer to the day when doctors might be able to use a medical tricorder a la Star Trek to instantly diagnose a patient’s conditions.

Though it isn’t exactly a new idea – Hippocrates wrote about the correlation between breath odors and disease back in 400 B.C. and traditional Chinese medicine has long seen halitosis as an ...

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Why odds are against a large Zika outbreak in the US

Is the United States at risk for a large-scale outbreak of Zika or other mosquito-borne disease? While climate conditions in the U.S. are increasingly favorable to mosquitos, socioeconomic factors such as access to clean water and air conditioning make large-scale outbreaks unlikely, according to new analysis of existing research—but small-scale, localized outbreaks are an ongoing concern.

In their forthcoming paper in the Journal of Medical Entomology, “Factors of Concern Regarding Zika and Other Aedes aegypti-Transmitted Viruses in the United States,” Max ...

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Sarah Lazare – Mothers Incarcerated With Their Children in Obama’s Disgraceful Family Prisons Want Freedom for the Holidays

“We are desperate because this will be the second Christmas that our children have to spend here,” 17 mothers incarcerated at the Berks County Family Detention Center wrote in a recent joint letter to state authorities, publicized by the advocacy organization Grassroots Leadership. “This is in addition to all the other special dates—such as the birthdays of our children and our own, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc.—that we have had to spend in this jail… We ask you, 17 ...

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Tom Engelhardt – Tomgram: Engelhardt, Will Trump Make 1984 Look Like a Nursery Tale?

[Note for TomDispatch Readers: It’s that moment when TomDispatch closes down until the New Year. Let me just remind all TD readers in this holiday season that, with the age of Trump just ahead, this site is digging in for the long haul. As a start, many thanks to all of you subscribers who responded in such a heartfelt manner to my recent note about TD’s needs and gave so generously. You’ve helped ensure that our voice will remain strong ...

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ANNALEE NEWITZ – How cooking vegetables changed humanity 10,000 years ago

When you imagine Neolithic hunter-gatherers, you probably think of people eating hunks of meat around an open fire. But the truth is that many humans living 10,000 years ago were eating more vegetables and grains than meat. Researchers discovered this after an extensive chemical analysis of 110 pottery fragments found in the Libyan Sahara Desert, a region that was once a humid savannah full of lakes, herd animals, and lush plant life.

The pottery was excavated at two archaeological sites: Uan ...

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Robert J. Burrowes – Life on Earth is Dying. Thousands of Species Cease to Exist

On the day that you read this article, 200 species of life on Earth (plants, birds, animals, fish, amphibians, insects, reptiles) will cease to exist. Tomorrow, another 200 species will vanish forever.

The human onslaught to destroy life on Earth is unprecedented in Earth’s history. Planet Earth is now experiencing its sixth mass extinction event and Homo sapiens is the cause. Moreover, this mass extinction event is accelerating and is so comprehensive in its impact that the piecemeal measures being taken ...

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