A Food Chain Crisis in the World’s Oceans

Stephan:  Further evidence of our destruction of the space ship upon which our well being depends. Have we the political will to overcome the corporate virtual states who own our Congress? With Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) focusing her attention on such pressing issues as increasing the Federal penalties for making pot brownies, I think you have the answer. Thanks to Damien Broderick, PhD.

It is the starting point for our oceans’ food chain. But stocks of phytoplankton have decreased by 40 percent since 1950, potentially as a result of global warming. It is an astonishing collapse, say researchers, and may have dramatic consequences for both the oceans and for humans.

The forms that marine flora and fauna come in are varied and spectacular. From bizarre deep sea creatures to elegant predators and giant marine mammals, the diversity in our planet’s oceans is astounding.

But it is the microscopic organisms like diatoms, green algae, dinoflagellates and cayanobacteria that make it all possible. Phytoplankton is the first link in the oceanic food chain. It is eaten by zooplankton which is in turn eaten by other animals, which are then consumed by yet further sea creatures. Sometimes that chain can be quite short — the only thing that separates whales from phytoplankton in the food chain, for example, are the krill that come in between.

But it appears that humans may be in the process of destroying this fundamental link in the oceanic food chain. Temperatures on the surface of our oceans are rising because of climate change, resulting in a reduction of the stock of phytoplankton. Just how […]

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Calcium Supplements May Boost Heart Attack Risk


A new review of research on calcium supplements raises concern for those who routinely take them to prevent bone loss. After analyzing data on close to 12,000 adults, researchers found that in people older than 40, the supplements appear to increase the risk of heart attack by as much as 30 percent (the risk is still small) while providing very limited benefit to bone health, HealthDay reports. Unlike calcium from dietary sources, supplements can boost blood levels of calcium, which may hike a person’s heart attack risk. The researchers encourage people to get calcium through dairy products, green leafy vegetables, and other dietary sources. ‘It is not clear whether [calcium supplements] really increase the risk of heart attacks or strokes,’ said John Cleland, author of an editorial accompanying the report in the British Journal of Medicine, according to HealthDay. But ‘they do appear to be a waste of time and effort, and we should probably stop using them.’
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The supposed health benefits of supplements in general face scrutiny. Clinical trials suggest that supplements of single nutrients like vitamins B, C, and E and the mineral selenium do not, as once thought, prevent chronic or age-related […]

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Dwindling Retirement Savings ‘Undiscussed Explosive Bomb’ Of Recession

Stephan:  Further evidence of the demise of the American middle class.

After working in executive management for over ten years with a steadily increasing salary, Rick Stephens, 51, was laid off from his job in June 2008. Two years of steady unemployment later, he has sold his car, moved in with his 75-year-old father and blown through all his retirement savings to stay afloat.

‘I pay my bills with what is left of the savings I accumulated by being frugal all my life, but I’m going through that pretty fast,

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FBI Admits Probing ‘Radical’ Historian Zinn for Criticizing Bureau

Stephan:  No one should be surprised by this story. It is yet another account in the FBI's long history of violating the civil rights of citizens, and shows us just how far back this sort of activity goes. I guarantee you future historians will be writing about dozens of such cases in the post 9/11 world, 30 years from now

FBI files show bureau may have tried to get Zinn fired from Boston University for his political opinions

Those who knew of the dissident historian Howard Zinn would not be surprised that J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI kept tabs on him for decades during the Cold War.

But in a release of documents pertaining to Zinn, the bureau admitted that one of its investigations into the left-wing academic was prompted not by suspicion of criminal activity, but by Zinn’s criticism of the FBI’s record on civil rights investigations.

‘In 1949, the FBI opened a domestic security investigation on Zinn,’ the bureau states. ‘The Bureau noted Zinn’s activities in what were called Communist Front Groups and received informant reports that Zinn was an active member of the CPUSA; Zinn denied ever being a member when he was questioned by agents in the 1950s.

‘In the 1960s, the Bureau took another look at Zinn on account of his criticism of the FBI’s civil rights investigations.’
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On Friday, the FBI released a 243-page file on Zinn, who died in January at age 87. The release describes the historian as ‘radical.’ The documents show the bureau taking an active interest in Zinn since the late 1940s, when […]

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White House pushes for Warrantless Access to Internet Records

Stephan:  I confess, and I am not happy to say this, that the further along his Presidency goes the less I care for Barrack Obama. God knows he is better than the alternative, any observant person should have a pretty good take on John McCain now, but I had hoped for a bit more than better than the alternative.

The White House has asked Congress to make it possible for the FBI to demand that Internet service providers turn over customers’ records in cases involving terrorism or other intelligence issues without first obtaining a court order.

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act currently states that companies are required to provide basic subscriber data to the FBI, but lists only the four kinds of information that might be found on phone bills — customer’s name, address, length of service, and toll billing records.

In 2008, the Justice Department ruled that those four categories were ‘exhaustive,’ making some companies reluctant to provide any additional information. The proposed amendment would add the phrase ‘electronic communication transactional records’ to the list in order to include the recipients of emails and when they were sent and received — though not their content. It might also cover web browsing history.

The administration is describing the proposal as intended to prevent ‘confusion’ on the part of service providers, but the Washington Post notes that ‘what officials portray as a technical clarification designed to remedy a legal ambiguity strikes industry lawyers and privacy advocates as an expansion of the power the government wields through so-called national security letters.’

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According […]

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