Sunday, February 27, 2011

Baby Dolphins Killed By Oil Spill?

Scientists trying to determine the death of baby dolphins

60 baby Bottlenose dolphins have been found dead along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, and because the average gestational period for the bottlenose dolphin correlates with the massively devastating BP oil spill in the same area, it’s easy to assume 185 million gallons of toxic oil spilled into the ocean had something to do with it.

The decomposing dolphin fetuses have been washing up along the coast since Jan. 1, and some scientists are expecting this trend through May.

It’s also not just the dolphins that have possibly suffered from the tidal wave of spewing oil from BP’s offshore drilling, a recent study of the area around the spill by University of Georgia scientist Samantha Joye found dead corals, found dead crabs and sea stars scattered on the sea floor, along with strings of bacterial slime that created what she called an "invertebrate graveyard."

Research is obviously still being conducted to find out if BP is to blame for the horrific graveyard scene scattered along the Gulf’s beaches, but the shear unusually large amount of dead baby dolphins located where the oil spilt pushes me to guess that maybe BP did have something to do with this situation.

Surely more than four months of oil spilling into the ocean will do some type of damage to the oceanic life in the Gulf of Mexico, and although federal officials and BP have scaled back the cleanup, Louisiana officials say they're still seeing oil washing ashore.

There are a number of people who were exposed to the toxic chemicals in the Gulf that have ended up seriously ill. Some of those people will also suffer long term affects from their contact with the oil during the spill. Further research is being conducted on this subject too, but all of these deaths and illnesses can’t all be coincidence can they?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cutting Planned Parenthood

On Feb. 17 the U.S. House of Representatives voted to bar Planned Parenthood health centers from all federal funding for birth control, cancer screenings, HIV testing, and other lifesaving care. 

Why should you care?

Planned Parenthood works to advance women's reproductive health and rights. If they cut the funding to Planned Parenthood, three million women, men, and teens will be at risk of losing access to basic care.

This issue is not an abortion debate as abortions account for only a small fraction of the services provided by Planned Parenthood and no tax payer money goes toward abortions. The organization mainly provides contraception, screening for cancer and testing for sexually transmitted diseases. Many of the clients are low-income women with few other options for non-emergency health care.

The majority of the services provided by the nation's leading sexual and reproductive health care advocate are spent on contraception. In 2008, it was reported that contraception constituted 35 percent of total services, STI/STD testing and treatment constituted 34 percent, cancer testing and screening constituted 17 percent; and other women's health procedures, including pregnancy, prenatal, midlife, and infertility were 10 percent. Two percent to three percent of visits involve abortions.

Planned Parenthood loosing federal funding would be devastating for many families. Other clinics are already overflowing with lower income families that have no other way besides Planned Parenthood for health care and contraception. They have no doctor of their own to go to, and they often go without any knowledge about their sexual health.

Cutting federal funding to this organization will not help any conservative pro-life cause, but it will wreck havoc on the people who depend on Planned Parenthood for health care and sex education.

Watch the video from ABC about Congresswoman Jackie Speier sharing her experience with abortion.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Protests That Inspired The World

Eighteen days of angry protests from the citizens of Egypt did more than just earn a few tweets and clips on the internet. The determined people of the most populous country in the Arab world, decided to end decades worth of fiery grievances against the 30 year autocratic rule of President Hosni Mubarak. 

The people of Egypt not only toppled the power of Mubarak, but on Feb. 11, 2011 they have transformed politics in Egypt and around the Arab world. The Egyptian people braved tear gas, rubber bullets and security police officers notorious for torture and despite restrictions placed on the Internet, Egyptian bloggers managed to report new unrest, posting accounts and images of fresh demonstrations on the streets of Cairo online throughout the course of the protests.

As a result of the successful uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, the people of Egypt have not only victoriously overthrown their government leader, but they have also enthralled dissidents and activists around the world who have campaigned for radical change.

The social media networking that played a huge part in distributing information from the people to other parts of the world has even spread to Djibouti, a city-state across the Gulf of Aden from Yemen, where protesters reportedly clashed with security forces on Feb.18.

Protesters in Egypt and the surrounding region used Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to organize, and benefited from pan-Arab media outlets such as Al-Jazeera television that spread word of the uprisings.

Gradually other countries in similar situations are seeing Egypt’s victory as a possibility for them as well. The protests in Tunisia and Egypt were a testament to what the power of the people can do.

"Tears welled in my eyes when I watched the Egyptians, overjoyed after Mubarak left. I want to tell them that your fight has paid off but we don't know where our future lies," said a 53-year-old private tutor in Yangon, Myanmar's biggest city. The tutor spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution from the authorities in an article for The Sydney Morning Herald.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Let’s Talk About Sex

So you feel guilty for all of the chocolate that you ate on Valentine’s Day and now you’re looking for a way to get back on track and stay in shape. Why not have sex?
Seriously, a special jaunt with your significant other to the bedroom can benefit your health in so many ways. Here are some excuses for bringing sexy back all over again.
It relieves stress.
Make up sex anyone? There’s a reason why you end up on cloud nine after a special rendezvous. That extra pep in your step is the brain releasing endorphins during and after sex. The neurotransmitters create a feeling of euphoria while masking all of that stress you completely just forgot about.
It helps you lose weight.
Thirty minutes of exercise a day can burn off 85 calories and that exercise can also include sex. Like any other form of exercise, sex can help you lose weight and stay in shape.
It’s actually good for the heart.
Intercourse is a great form of cardio-exercise. It gets your heart pumping faster and helps it stay in shape. Research has also found that sex can lower your blood pressure and help keep your heart healthy.
It can boost your immune system.
Setting aside the possibilities of contracting a few sexually transmitted diseases, sex between healthy partners can actually boost your immune system. Research has shown that sex, two times a week can increase the levels of immunoglobulin A or IgA, an antibody which helps protect you from respiratory diseases like the cold and flu, in our body. Sex three or more times a week on the other hand showed results of the lowest levels of antibodies though.
It helps you sleep.
During that crazy work out your body generates oxytocin which actually helps you sleep better. Sex definitely relaxes you, promoting deeper and more restful sleep.
Just remember to be safe while engaging in sex. You can reduce your risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease by using condoms regardless of if it’s vaginal or anal intercourse.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

What Will It Be, Taxes Or Cuts?

Ted Rall / For the L.A. Times
I was reading an article on Mercury News about Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to extend taxes and the $1.4 billion in higher education cuts that he also proposed when I came across this line within the text,

“Before a hearing at the Capitol Monday, California State University Chancellor Charles Reed said Brown told him and UC President Mark Yudoff ‘if this doesn't pass, we'll come back and cut more.’”

Right now, even before the proposed $1.4 billion cut, higher education in California is already struggling to keep afloat with what little they have. It took me two years to get into a pre-requisite English class at Cal Poly Pomona and I have met so many sixth and seventh year students on campus that my current intension of graduating in four years seems a little farfetched.

We have a $25 billion deficit sitting on our shoulders in California and smiles, confetti and wishing it all away won’t fix this problem.

There is a need for a two-thirds vote from both legislative houses to put the revenues up for a vote in June. If this doesn’t pass, the cuts would double, and anyone looking for that pre-requisite English class at Cal Poly Pomona should just give up hope of ever being able to get in.

Both Reed and Yudoff tried to avoid tuition increases for this year, but if the tax extension fails, students will have to fork up another arm and a leg to cover the costs.

I just really hope that the people of California can get to the point where we can accept the raising of taxes and leave higher education alone. California's colleges have suffered more than enough already.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Where’s the Beef?

Somewhere in the country a scientist is growing meat in a laboratory. No, this is not the opening line to a popular science fiction novel. Vladimir Mironov, a scientist at the Medical University of South Carolina, has been working for about a decade to grow meat artificially.

First off, I’m a vegetarian, so I don’t have a problem with this at all. Mironov wanted to solve world hunger in an energy efficient way that didn't involve harm to any animals. Other non-vegetarians on the other hand, are disgusted at the idea that their meat has went from the Petri dish to their plates.

The thing about the non-vegetarian’s opinion is that they shouldn’t be disgusted with artificially grown meat because of all the unnatural and genetically modified foods that the majority of them already consume.

This idea of artificially growing meat seems a little weird at first, but after thinking about it, I’m not really surprised that it has come to this. To put it simply, the majority of people in America do not care what they eat as long as it’s cheap and it tastes good. Why else would people deliberately munch on fast food despite all of the constant warnings from nutritionists and the FDA not to?

Genetically modified food isn’t a new concept. The majority of the population eats genetically altered food already. Typically, soybean, corn, canola, and cotton seed oil have been genetically modified since the early 1990’s. So eating genetically modified meat wouldn’t be such a big deal, right?

Various organizations such as “Climate Crisis,” “Hungry For Change,” and “Take Part” have tried to inform the public through different films, websites, books, and even A-List celebrities for years about the side of the food industry that everyone knows about but doesn’t really want to hear.

Different organizations have warned people for years about the negative effects that genetically modified and fast food had on their bodies, but the majority of the population doesn’t want to hear it.

Films like, “Fast Food Nation,” “Super Size Me,” “Food Inc.,” and “Our Daily Bread” have been shown to people of all ages, races and creeds across the country, and McDonalds still serves 47 million customers every day around the world. They have more than 32,000 restaurants in 117 countries. In the United States, there are more than 14,000 restaurants according to their website.

The majority of the American population doesn’t bother to care what they are eating or if it bad for them. People are not waiting in the drive thru at Taco Bell for high quality food. They eat fast food because it’s cheap and it’s quick. They rather risk their health for convenience.

Recently a lawsuit involving Taco Bell and its "taco meat filling," which is how the lawsuit says Taco Bell should advertise its “seasoned beef,” alleges that the product contains mostly substances other than beef.

The “other than beef” part of that statement is what has me wondering what’s actually in it, but sales of Yum Brands, the owner of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell fast-food chains, are still growing and lines at Taco Bell haven’t diminished since the claims.

"Obviously you know it's not 100% organic food," said Taco Bell customer Bethany Weis, 23, of Chicago in an article printed in the L.A. Times. "I know it's not good for me. I still like it."

If people were really opposed to the idea of artificially grown food more people would protest it, buy locally grown organic food at their farmer’s market, question where they are actually getting their food sources from, and actually read the labels on the back of their food products. It really isn’t difficult to do, but the majority of the popularity doesn’t want to put in the small bit of extra effort. They rather sit back, learn all about the problem, and then do nothing about it.

Would you?

Watch the Food Inc. trailer here.

Watch the full episode. See more POV.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

February Is American Heart Month

The month of February is used to spread awareness about your heart as well as the problems that can associate with it. Events like National Wear Red Day on February 4, and other Go Red For Women campaigns helps fund-raise to save lives and gets people to start thinking about their heart health.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States as of 2007. Every 25 seconds, an American will have a coronary event, and every minute one person will die from one. Heart disease accounts for 25.4% of the total deaths in the United States, but the majority of those deaths can be prevented.

You can reduce your chances of developing coronary heart disease by taking the necessary precautions in your health, and you can help reduce heart disease related deaths by knowing the signs and symptoms of heart attack.

Here are some symptoms that you should look for when identifying a heart attack or a stroke.

·         Chest Discomfort
·         Discomfort in other areas of the upper body
·         Shortness of breath
·         Breaking out into cold sweat
·         Nausea
·         Lightheadedness

·         Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg (especially on one side of the body)
·         Confusion
·         Trouble speaking or understanding
·         Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
·         Trouble walking, dizziness
·         Loss of balance or coordination
·         Severe headache with no known cause

These symptoms can occur in both men and women, and although heart disease is sometimes thought of as a "man's disease," it is the leading cause of death for both women and men in the United States, as women account for nearly 50% of heart disease deaths.

Heart disease is often perceived as an "older woman's disease," because it is the leading cause of death among women aged 65 years and older. However, in reality, heart disease is the third leading cause of death among women aged 25–44 years and the second leading cause of death among women aged 45–64 years.

You can prevent heart disease in both men and women by opting to not smoke or use tobacco, eating healthy, exercise for 30 minutes, maintain a healthy weight, and get regular health screenings.

Heart disease may be a leading cause of death, but it doesn't mean that you have to accept it as your fate. Some risk factors such as family history, sex or age will always affect your chances of contracting heart disease, but there are always ways to lower your risk and stay healthy.