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Plague of Frogs | West Hunter
For a few years the herpetologists were concerned yet happy. Concerned, because many frog populations were crashing and some were going extinct. Happy, because confused puppies in Washington were giving them money, something that hardly ever happens to frogmen. The theory was that amphibians were ‘canaries in a coal mine’, uniquely sensitive to environmental degradation.


It took some time for herpetologists to admit that this chytrid fungus is the main culprit – some are still resisting. First, it was a lot like how doctors resisted Semmelweiss’ discoveries about the cause of puerperal fever – since doctors were the main method of transmission. How did this fungus get to the cloud forests of Costa Rica? On the boots of herpetologists, of course.

The second problem is Occam’s butterknife: even though this chytrid fungus is the main culprit, it’s just got to be more complicated than that. Even if it isn’t. People in the life sciences – biology and medicine – routinely reject simple hypotheses that do a good job of explaining the data for more complex hypotheses that don’t. College taught them to think – unwisely.
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february 2018 by nhaliday
EWG's Seafood Calculator | EWG
recommends Salmon (Atlantic), Sardines (Pacific), Mussels, Trout, and Mackerel for me
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october 2017 by nhaliday
Plastic fibres found in tap water around the world, study reveals | Environment | The Guardian
Scores of tap water samples from more than a dozen nations were analysed by scientists for an investigation by Orb Media, who shared the findings with the Guardian. Overall, 83% of the samples were contaminated with plastic fibres.

We are living on a plastic planet. What does it mean for our health?
New studies reveal that tiny plastic fibres are everywhere, not just in our oceans but on land too. Now we urgently need to find out how they enter our food, air and tap water and what the effects are on all of us

The US had the highest contamination rate, at 94%, with plastic fibres found in tap water sampled at sites including Congress buildings, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s headquarters, and Trump Tower in New York. Lebanon and India had the next highest rates.


Current standard water treatment systems do not filter out all of the microplastics, Mahon said: “There is nowhere really where you can say these are being trapped 100%. In terms of fibres, the diameter is 10 microns across and it would be very unusual to find that level of filtration in our drinking water systems.”

Bottled water may not provide a microplastic-free alternative to tapwater, as the they were also found in a few samples of commercial bottled water tested in the US for Orb.

Sea salt around the world is contaminated by plastic, studies show: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/08/sea-salt-around-world-contaminated-by-plastic-studies
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september 2017 by nhaliday
Hurricane Harvey: The Devastation and What Comes Next - The New York Times
A chemical stored at a Houston plant that caught fire early Thursday morning presents an airborne danger to more than 1 million people if released in a worst-case scenario, according to a company risk management plan filed to the federal government.
I think this (generally nice) story about the Cajun Navy + groups like it misunderstands civil society in a big way.
How quickly can we adapt to change? An assessment of hurricane damage mitigation efforts using forecast uncertainty: https://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/papers/15156/831-martinez.pdf
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september 2017 by nhaliday
Is soy good or bad for me? | Examine.com
The estimated per capita consumption of soybean oil increased >1000-fold from 1909 to 1999.
https://twitter.com/evolutionarypsy/status/892489043446988800 (increase started during 60s)

Clinical studies show no effects of soy protein or isoflavones on reproductive hormones in men: results of a meta-analysis: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19524224
No significant effects of soy protein or isoflavone intake on T, SHBG, free T, or FAI were detected regardless of statistical model.

some good ones:
pros and cons: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3074428/
reproductive consequences: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3443604/
visuospatial memory: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC64558/
reject (in humans)t: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19524224


A: yes
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may 2017 by nhaliday
Secular decline in testosterone levels - Rogue Health and Fitness
A Population-Level Decline in Serum Testosterone Levels in American Men: http://sci-hub.tw/10.1210/jc.2006-1375
Secular trends in sex hormones and fractures in men and women: http://www.eje-online.org/content/166/5/887.full.pdf
Small n and older sample, but interesting that while testosterone decreases have been large for men they’ve been even larger (in % terms) for women; wonder if this contributes to declining pregnancy and sexual frequency, rising depression.

Strangelove: https://youtu.be/N1KvgtEnABY?t=67

People offering human-centric explanations like cell phones: Note also that the sperm quality of dogs has decreased 30% since 1988.

mendelian rand.:
1 SD genetically instrumented increase in BMI was associated with a 0.25 SD decrease in serum testosterone

Ibuprofen linked to male infertility: study: https://nypost.com/2018/01/08/ibuprofen-linked-to-male-infertility-study/

Tucker Carlson: "Men Seem To Be Becoming Less Male": https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2018/03/08/tucker_carlson_men_seem_to_be_becoming_less_male.html
Carlson interviewed Dr. Jordan Peterson who blamed the "insidious" movement being driven by the "radical left" that teaches there a problem of "toxic masculinity." He said ideological policies focus on "de-emphasizing masculinity may be part of the problem."


Those are the numbers. They paint a very clear picture: American men are failing, in body, mind and spirit. This is a crisis. Yet our leaders pretend it’s not happening. They tell us the opposite is true: Women are victims, men are oppressors. To question that assumption is to risk punishment. Even as women far outpace men in higher education, virtually every college campus supports a women’s studies department, whose core goal is to attack male power. Our politicians and business leaders internalize and amplify that message. Men are privileged. Women are oppressed. Hire and promote and reward accordingly.

But it also hints at an almost opposite take: average testosterone levels have been falling for decades, so at this point these businessmen would be the only “normal” (by 1950s standards) men out there, and everyone else would be unprecedently risk-averse and boring.
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may 2017 by nhaliday
Harvest of Fears: Farm-Raised Fish May Not Be Free of Mercury and Other Pollutants - Scientific American
In fact, studies have shown that farm-raised fish have more toxins overall than their wild-caught cousins, though exceptions of course do exist.
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april 2017 by nhaliday
Prevalence, incidence estimations, and risk factors of Toxoplasma gondii infection in Germany: a representative, cross-sectional, serological study : Scientific Reports
Seroprevalence increased from 20% (95%-CI:17–23%) in the 18–29 age group to 77% (95%-CI:73–81%) in the 70–79 age group. Male gender, keeping cats and BMI ≥30 were independent risk factors for seropositivity, while being vegetarian and high socio-economic status were negatively associated. Based on these data, we estimate 1.1% of adults and 1.3% of women aged 18–49 to seroconvert each year. This implies 6,393 seroconversions annually during pregnancies. We conclude that T. gondii infection in Germany is highly prevalent and that eating habits (consuming raw meat) appear to be of high epidemiological relevance. High numbers of seroconversions during pregnancies pose substantial risks for unborn children. Efforts to raise awareness of toxoplasmosis in public health programs targeting to T. gondii transmission control are therefore strongly advocated.

A significant interaction was noted between age and sex (p-value = 0.023), since higher seroprevalences were observed among younger males and older females.
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march 2017 by nhaliday
Summary | EWG's 2017 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce
Three long-term birth cohort studies in the U.S. suggest that pesticides are harming children’s brains. In these studies, researchers found that women’s exposure to pesticides during pregnancy, measured through urine samples, was associated with negative impacts on their children’s IQ and neurobehavioral development, as well as with ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder] diagnoses. Also, one of the studies looked at structural brain growth using magnetic resonance imaging and found that the gray matter was thinner in children the higher their mothers’ exposure to organophosphates, which are used widely in pesticides. I think that’s quite scary.
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march 2017 by nhaliday
Hormones in Beef: Myth vs. Fact
- milk and beef hormones are several orders of magnitude below soy/tofu
- white bread, pinto beans, and peanuts surprisingly high
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february 2017 by nhaliday
Bisphenol A (BPA)
Alternatives to BPA containers not easy for U.S. foodmakers to find: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/22/AR2010022204830.html

Food is main source of BPA for consumers, thermal paper also potentially significant: https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/130725
New data resulting from an EFSA call for data led to a considerable refinement of exposure estimates compared to 2006. For infants and toddlers (aged 6 months-3 years) average exposure from the diet is estimated to amount to 375 nanograms per kilogram of body weight per day (ng/kg bw/day) whereas for the population above 18 years of age (including women of child-bearing age) the figure is up to 132 ng/kg bw/day. By comparison, these estimates are less than 1% of the current Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) for BPA (0.05 milligrams/kg bw/day) established by EFSA in 2006.

For all population groups above three years of age thermal paper was the second most important source of BPA after the diet (potentially accounting for up to 15% of total exposure in some population groups).

Among other key findings, scientists found dietary exposure to BPA to be the highest among children aged three to ten (explainable by their higher food consumption on a body weight basis). Canned food and non-canned meat and meat products were identified as major contributors to dietary BPA exposure for all age groups.

Tips for Avoiding BPA in Canned Food: http://www.breastcancerfund.org/reduce-your-risk/tips/avoid-bpa.html

Holding Thermal Receipt Paper and Eating Food after Using Hand Sanitizer Results in High Serum Bioactive and Urine Total Levels of Bisphenol A (BPA): http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0110509

Bisphenol S Disrupts Estradiol-Induced Nongenomic Signaling in a Rat Pituitary Cell Line: Effects on Cell Functions: http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1205826/
common substitute for BPA


Effect of probiotics, Bifidobacterium breve and Lactobacillus casei, on bisphenol A exposure in rats: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18540113

What are the sources of exposure to eight frequently used phthalic acid esters in Europeans?: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16834635
Food is a main source of DiBP, DnBP, and DEHP in consumers. In this case, consumers have very few possibilities to effectively reduce their exposure.

Are endocrine disrupting compounds a health risk in drinking water?: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16823090

How to Avoid Phthalates (Even Though You Can't Avoid Phthalates): http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maia-james/phthalates-health_b_2464248.html
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january 2017 by nhaliday

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