World’s Glaciers Melting At Fastest Rate Since Record-Keeping Began

The world’s glaciers have melted to the lowest levels since record-keeping began more than 120 years ago, according to a study conducted by the World Glacier Monitoring Service that was released on Monday.

The research, published in the Journal of Glaciology, provides new evidence that climate change has spurred the rapid decline of thousands of the world’s ice shelves over the past century. The first decade of the 21st century saw the fastest loss of ice since scientists began tracking it in 1894 — and perhaps in recorded history, WGMS reported.

“Globally, we lose about three times the ice volume stored in the entirety of the European Alps every year,” Michael Zemp, director of the WGMS and lead author of the study, told The Huffington Post.

On average, the world’s glaciers will lose 30 inches of ice thickness this year, Zemp said. That’s twice the rate lost in the 1990s, and three times the rate lost in the 1980s.

The news comes just a few months before many of the world’s leaders gather in Paris for the United Nations Conference on Climate Change. The planet’s leading scientists have emphasized the importance of reaching a deal, saying there is “no plan B” if the talks fail.

The latest news on ice melt continues a trend of worrying statistics. The planet saw the warmest year on record in 2014, and researchers observed the lowest maximum ice extent ever seen earlier this year. All of that lost ice will very likely contribute to catastrophic sea level rise, which some scientists predict could approach 10 feet in the next 50 years.

Preliminary data for the past five years suggest that the melting has continued at an alarming rate, and the “bad news is —> Read More

The Nuclear Family: New Book Examines Two Sides of the Atomic Bomb

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From an early age I thought it was strange that my family had a connection to both sides of the atomic bombs, in a very intimate way. I hoped to write a book that showed one of the most important events in human history had more then one viewpoint.

As the world becomes more connected, and wars continue to be waged, I believe it is crucial to our understanding and our future as a functioning society that we take a step back and look objectively at each side.

To that end, I have just released my book The Nuclear Family on Amazon. It will be available on Kindle on August 10, and bookstores in about four weeks later. Here is an excerpt:


“Truth is a malleable concept, yet remains the most valued of virtues.
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In 2010, in order to uphold the truth, I started discussing the atomic bombs as they related to my family. A book I’ll leave nameless was under scrutiny because a person lied about the American perspective depicted in its pages. The author redacted, but the incident left me reeling to tell the true story that connected both sides of the atomic bomb to my family. I wrote a newspaper article for the 65th anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It snowballed into a research grant that I won on March 10, 2011 which was already March 11th in Japan. That night distaster struck. As the news unfolded of what would become the Great East Japan Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Disaster, I quickly decided not to give up my plans. I was dedicated to this book. I was dedicated to truth.

How can we define truth, especially when it comes to history? Every country has their own truth for every chapter in history. Take Pearl Harbor, —> Read More

HuffPost What’s Working Honor Roll: We May Finally Have An Ebola Vaccine That Works

As journalists, we dutifully report on what’s going wrong, from scandals and corruption to natural disasters and social problems. But far too often the media fails to show the whole picture, neglecting to tell the stories of what is working. From scientific breakthroughs to successful crime-reduction initiatives, the What’s Working Honor Roll highlights some of the best reporting and analysis, from a range of media outlets, on all the ways people are working toward solutions to some of our greatest challenges.

Wired: At Last, An Ebola Vaccine That Might Actually Work

Ebola shook the world in 2014, when what started as a mild outbreak in West Africa turned into an international epidemic. The epidemic is now contained, but the virus has yet to be eradicated. But the end may be closer than previously thought.

A group of researchers from several organizations, including Doctors Without Borders and the World Health Organization, are currently testing a preliminary vaccine in Guinea. The 2,014 patients who have received it have remained Ebola-free even after exposure to the virus. The result have been so favorable that rather than separating patients into two testing groups for receiving that vaccine at different times, researchers are giving the vaccine to every subject immediately.

Rebecca Grais, director of research at Epicentre — a division of Doctors Without Borders — is optimistic about the vaccine’s potential. “This is the only vaccine where we have efficacy data,” Grais told Wired.

Health officials involved in the research have recommended distributing the vaccine where the disease is still active — namely, in Guinea and Sierra Leone.

“Even if the efficacy were significantly lower than 100 percent, it would still be worth using,” Grais said.

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NPR: More Previously Uninsured Californians Got Coverage Under Obamacare

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Better Health, By Design

Students in the Design+Health class, a partnership between Brown Medical School and RISD

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Sending Design to School

There are few precedents for interdisciplinary, collaborative learning opportunities for design and medical students early in their education. During this critical phase, students are absorbing their respective disciplines with enthusiasm while also challenging traditional concepts and seeking out ways to incorporate progressive thinking into their future careers. Through early collaboration, these eager minds gain exposure to unique perspectives and expertise that can broaden their respective skill sets for problem solving. Medical students can acquire skills for innovative thinking and production and design students can gain conceptual grounding in clinical medicine and health in order to direct their creative talents.

To promote the value of cross-disciplinary collaboration, we created Design+Health, a developing partnership between the Alpert Medical School of Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).(d) One of Design+Health’s first projects is a joint course that seeks to increase awareness of the capacity of all fields of design to influence health, and to foster collaboration and effective communication between the health and design disciplines. By bringing together design students and medical students during their formative educational experiences, our goal is to break down traditional silos in education in order to unlock innovative capacity and create a new approach to best understand and respond to complex problems involving health.

The human element has always been as important to medicine as the scientific side. Design takes this human factor into account by analyzing how healthcare is provided and used and how the behavior of doctors, patients, and other actors promotes or impedes health. Through novel systems that bring medical resources to underserved areas, redesigned hospital and exam rooms that help providers offer better care, and medical devices that empower patients to improve their own health, design has a pivotal role to play in healthcare. —> Read More

Here’s What’s Wrong With That Viral Soda Infographic

By: Rachael Rettner
Published: 08/01/2015 07:04 PM EDT on LiveScience

An infographic that breaks down what happens in your body after you drink one Coke has gone viral, but health experts say some information in the graphic is exaggerated.

In addition, while soda is certainly not a healthy food choice, drinking a sugar-sweetened beverage once in a while wouldn’t necessarily make a person unhealthy, the experts said.

“If you’re drinking one soda on occasion … that doesn’t equate to it being necessarily unhealthy,” said Heather Mangieri, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and owner of the nutrition consulting company Nutrition Checkup in Pittsburgh. “The overall diet quality is what’s important.”

The infographic, which appears on the blog the Renegade Pharmacist, details seven changes that happen to the body during the first hour after drinking a Coke, including the effects of ingesting 39 grams of sugar. The information for the graphic was taken from a 2010 article on the website blisstree.com

On the whole, the science presented in the infographic is fairly accurate, said Dana Hunnes, senior dietitian at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

However, some of the wording is exaggerated, Mangieri said. For example, the infographic says that in the first 20 minutes of drinking a soda, “your blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Your liver responds to this by turning any sugar it can get its hands on into fat.”

But the effects of drinking this amount of sugar can vary depending on whether a person is active or inactive at the time, and whether they’ve eaten or not, Mangieri said. [How Much Sugar Is in That? (Infographic)]

“What happens after you consume a beverage like this relies heavily on whether the body is in need of energy, and what you do after consumption,” Mangieri said. If —> Read More

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