Over half of known human pathogenic diseases can be aggravated by climate change

Over half of known human pathogenic diseases can be aggravated by climate change


It is relatively well accepted that climate change can affect human pathogenic diseases; however, the full extent of this risk remains poorly quantified. Here we carried out a systematic search for empirical examples about the impacts of ten climatic hazards sensitive to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on each known human pathogenic disease. We found that 58% (that is, 218 out of 375) of infectious diseases confronted by humanity worldwide have been at some point aggravated by climatic hazards; 16% were at times diminished. Empirical cases revealed 1,006 unique pathways in which climatic hazards, via different transmission types, led to pathogenic diseases. The human pathogenic diseases and transmission pathways aggravated by climatic hazards are too numerous for comprehensive societal adaptations, highlighting the urgent need to work at the source of the problem: reducing GHG emissions.

Link: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-022-01426-1

Rainwater everywhere on Earth unsafe to drink due to ‘forever chemicals’, study finds

Rainwater was found to contain unsafe levels of forever chemicals. – Copyright Pexels

Rainwater almost everywhere on Earth has unsafe levels of ‘forever chemicals’, according to new research.

Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large family of human-made chemicals that don’t occur in nature. They are known as ‘forever chemicals’ because they don’t break down in the environment.

They have non-stick or stain repellent properties so can be found in household items like food packaging, electronics, cosmetics and cookware.

But now researchers at the University of Stockholm have found them in rainwater in most locations on the planet – including Antarctica. There is no safe space to escape them.



Ozark Magic with Brandon Weston



This week Ken and Mark venture into the deepest wooded mountains of the Ozark region to discover the hidden magic contained within. Our spirit guide on this quest is author of ‘Ozark Folk Magic’, and ‘Ozark Mountain Spell Book’, Brandon Weston.

This week we discuss: How does one acquire ‘The Power’, Plant magic, the myths and monsters of the region, just how do you pronounce ‘Appalachian’ and much more.

Joining me on his cunning throne this week is Mar(c)k™ Satyr

Main theme by Simon Smerdon (Mothboy)

Music bed by chriszabriskie.com

Check out Brandon’s book over at Llewellyn BooksBrandon Weston Bio:

My work is a living tradition. It’s the work that Ozark healers have been doing for hundreds of years. You can see many different cultures and traditions represented in Ozark folkways. These beliefs and practices, much like the Ozark people who created them, are a mixture of many places, beliefs, and ways of life. Specific folk traditions that have had a great influence on Ozark folkways include the European Cunning craft, Cajun/Creole folk medicine including the path of the Traiteur, Pennsylvania German Braucherei often also called Powwowing, Indigenous healing practices from the diverse nations of the Southeastern US, West African folk traditions by way of Southern RootworkHoodoo, and Conjure, and even Central/South American Curanderismo. An important aspect of my research includes looking into all the traditions that have had such a great impact upon Ozark folkways. In looking at where these traditions intersect, we can start to understand so much more about the lives and practices of our ancestors. While you can look at Ozark folkways and see the fingerprint of all these traditions, remember that these practices remain unique to this specific area and should be approached with that mindset. ​I’m an Ozarker through and through. This is the land where I was born, the land where my parents and my grandparents were born, as well as many more of my ancestors before that. In this way, my work is my own, the spirits I honour are my own, and while my work may be seen as a part of the larger tapestry of Southern folk magic, there are many practices that are unique to me as I have learned them. I hold true to all these traditions that I’ve been taught and those that have been Spirit led.​


Handle with Care

A photo taken from the International Space Station by NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman Sept. 2, 2014.
A photo taken from the International Space Station by NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman Sept. 2, 2014.

A group of climate scientists warn that the potential for humanity’s mass extinction has been dangerously underexplored. On this week’s On the Media, we hear how facing our planet’s fragility could inspire hope, instead of despair, and a physicist explains how creation stories are essential for understanding our place in the universe.

Luke Kemp [@LukaKemp], a Research Associate at Cambridge’s Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, on a new study that says we need to put more attention on the possibility of human extinction and other climate catastrophes. Bryan Walsh [@bryanrwalsh], editor of Vox’s ‘Future Perfect,’ also explains why our brains have a hard time processing catastrophes like climate change. Listen. Charles Piller [@cpiller], investigative reporter for Science Magazine, on his six month investigation into how faulty images may invalidate groundbreaking advancements in Alzheimer’s research. Listen. Guido Tonelli, a particle physicist at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, on the importance of creation myths, and what scientists can tell us about the fragility of the universe.

LINK: https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/otm/episodes/on-the-media-handle-with-care

We’re in a global food crisis that will wreak havoc on local economies and trigger civil unrest

We're in a global food crisis that will wreak havoc on local economies and trigger civil unrest

Climate Endgame: Exploring catastrophic climate change scenarios

Climate Endgame: Exploring catastrophic climate change scenarios

Prudent risk management requires consideration of bad-to-worst-case scenarios. Yet, for climate change, such potential futures are poorly understood. Could anthropogenic climate change result in worldwide societal collapse or even eventual human extinction? At present, this is a dangerously underexplored topic. Yet there are ample reasons to suspect that climate change could result in a global catastrophe. Analyzing the mechanisms for these extreme consequences could help galvanize action, improve resilience, and inform policy, including emergency responses. We outline current knowledge about the likelihood of extreme climate change, discuss why understanding bad-to-worst cases is vital, articulate reasons for concern about catastrophic outcomes, define key terms, and put forward a research agenda. The proposed agenda covers four main questions: 1) What is the potential for climate change to drive mass extinction events? 2) What are the mechanisms that could result in human mass mortality and morbidity? 3) What are human societies’ vulnerabilities to climate-triggered risk cascades, such as from conflict, political instability, and systemic financial risk? 4) How can these multiple strands of evidence—together with other global dangers—be usefully synthesized into an “integrated catastrophe assessment”? It is time for the scientific community to grapple with the challenge of better understanding catastrophic climate change.


Why the U.N. chief says we are ‘one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation’

Why the U.N. chief says we are 'one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation'
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres says we are facing “a time of nuclear danger not seen since the height of the Cold War.” His remarks came at the 2022 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons at the United Nations in New York City.
Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

The world is now enduring greater stress than any time in recent decades, according to U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres. And while humanity has so far avoided “the suicidal mistake of nuclear conflict,” he said, tensions are hitting new highs at a time when many lessons of the past seem forgotten.

“Today, humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation,” the world’s top diplomat said at a U.N. conference on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons in New York City.

It’s not the first time such a dire warning has been issued about the catastrophic risks posed by nuclear weapons. Here’s a brief look at why Guterres and others are raising the alarm now: LINK

A State-of-the-Art Review on the Use of Modafinil as A Performance-enhancing Drug in the Context of Military Operationality



A State-of-the-Art Review on the Use of Modafinil as A Performance-enhancing Drug in the Context of Military Operationality

Modafinil is an eugeroic drug that has been examined to maintain or recover wakefulness, alertness, and cognitive performance when sleep deprived. In a nonmilitary context, the use of modafinil as a nootropic or smart drug, i.e., to improve cognitive performance without being sleep deprived, increases. Although cognitive performance is receiving more explicit attention in a military context, research into the impact of modafinil as a smart drug in function of operationality is lacking. Therefore, the current review aimed at presenting a current state-of-the-art and research agenda on modafinil as a smart drug. Beside the question whether modafinil has an effect or not on cognitive performance, we examined four research questions based on the knowledge on modafinil in sleep-deprived subjects: (1) Is there a difference between the effect of modafinil as a smart drug when administered in repeated doses versus one single dose?; (2) Is the effect of modafinil as a smart drug dose-dependent?; (3) Are there individual-related and/or task-related impact factors?; and (4) What are the reported mental and/or somatic side effects of modafinil as a smart drug?


We conducted a systematic search of the literature in the databases PubMed, Web of Science, and Scopus, using the search terms “Modafinil” and “Cognitive enhance*” in combination with specific terms related to the research questions. The inclusion criteria were studies on healthy human subjects with quantifiable cognitive outcome based on cognitive tasks.


We found no literature on the impact of a repeated intake of modafinil as a smart drug, although, in users, intake occurs on a regular basis. Moreover, although modafinil was initially said to comprise no risk for abuse, there are now indications that modafinil works on the same neurobiological mechanisms as other addictive stimulants. There is also no thorough research into a potential risk for overconfidence, whereas this risk was identified in sleep-deprived subjects. Furthermore, eventual enhancing effects were beneficial only in persons with an initial lower performance level and/or performing more difficult tasks and modafinil has an adverse effect when used under time pressure and may negatively impact physical performance. Finally, time-on-task may interact with the dose taken.


The use of modafinil as a smart drug should be examined in function of different military profiles considering their individual performance level and the task characteristics in terms of cognitive demands, physical demands, and sleep availability. It is not yet clear to what extent an improvement in one component (e.g., cognitive performance) may negatively affect another component (e.g., physical performance). Moreover, potential risks for abuse and overconfidence in both regular and occasional intake should be thoroughly investigated to depict the trade-off between user benefits and unwanted side effects. We identified that there is a current risk to the field, as this trade-off has been deemed acceptable for sleep-deprived subjects (considering the risk of sleep deprivation to performance) but this reasoning cannot and should not be readily transposed to non-sleep-deprived individuals. We thus conclude against the use of modafinil as a cognitive enhancer in military contexts that do not involve sleep deprivation.

The End of Snow Threatens to Upend 76 Million American Lives

The End of Snow Threatens to Upend 76 Million American Lives
Sierra Nevada Mountains near Lone Pine, California, in February. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Disappearing snowpack is accelerating the historic drought across the Western US, and so far government responses haven’t matched the scale of the problem.

LINK: https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2022-western-us-snowpack-drought/

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