Archive

Archive for the ‘documents in the news’ Category

Recent shifts in the occurrence, cause, and magnitude of animal mass mortality events

January 17, 2015 Comments off

Recent shifts in the occurrence, cause, and magnitude of animal mass mortality events (PDF)
Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Mass mortality events (MMEs) are rapidly occurring catastrophic demographic events that punctuate background mortality levels. Individual MMEs are staggering in their observed magnitude: re- moving more than 90% of a population, resulting in the death of more than a billion individuals, or producing 700 million tons of dead biomass in a single event. Despite extensive documentation of individual MMEs, we have no understanding of the major features characterizing the occurrence and magnitude of MMEs, their causes, or trends through time. Thus, no framework exists for contextualizing MMEs in the wake of ongoing global and regional perturbations to natural systems. Here we present an analysis of 727 published MMEs from across the globe, affecting 2,407 animal populations. We show that the magnitude of MMEs has been intensifying for birds, fishes, and marine invertebrat es; invariant for mammals; and decreasing for reptiles and amphibians. These shifts in magnitude proved robust when we accounted for an increase in the occurrence of MMEs since 1940. However, it remains unclear whether the increase in the occurrence of MMEs represents a true pattern or simply a perceived increase. Regardless, the increase in MMEs appears to be associated with a rise in disease emergence, biotoxicity, and events produced by multiple interacting stressors, yet temporal trends in MME causes varied among taxa and may be associated with increased de- tectability. In addition, MMEs with the largest magnitudes were those that resulted from multiple stressors, starvation, and disease. These results advance our understanding of rare demographic processes and their relationship to global and regional perturba- tions to natural systems.

See: Mass Die-Offs of Birds and Fish on the Rise (AllGov.com)

Final Report of the Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation Network Agency Accountability Board (Central Intelligence Agency)

January 16, 2015 Comments off

Final Report of the Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation Network Agency Accountability Board (Central Intelligence Agency) (PDF)
Source: Central Intelligence Agency
From AllGov.com:

In what amounts to the fox announcing it did nothing wrong while guarding the hen house, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has concluded its own people were not at fault for spying on a Senate investigation of the CIA’s torture program from last decade.

During a lengthy probe of the CIA’s controversial program, the Senate Intelligence Committee reviewed CIA files with the agency’s permission. However, in the course of the Senate committee’s work, several CIA officials searched the files being used by Senate staffers.

The controversy prompted the CIA’s top man, John Brennan, to organize a panel to determine whether his agency had acted improperly.

Brennan stacked the five-member panel with three senior CIA officers.

Births: Final Data for 2013

January 16, 2015 Comments off

Births: Final Data for 2013 (PDF)
Source: National Center for Health Statistics

This report presents 2013 data on U.S. births according to a wide variety of characteristics. Data are presented for maternal age, live-birth order, race and Hispanic origin, marital status, attendant at birth, method of delivery, period of gestation, birthweight,and plurality. Birth and fertility rates are presented by age, live-birth order, race and Hispanic origin, and marital status. Selected data by mother’s state of residence and birth rates by age and race of father also are shown. Trends in fertility patterns and maternal and infant characteristics are described and interpreted.

Employment Situation– December 2014

January 9, 2015 Comments off

Employment Situation– December 2014
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 252,000 in December, and the unemployment rate declined to 5.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, construction, food services and drinking places, health care, and manufacturing.

Evening use of light-emitting eReaders negatively affects sleep, circadian timing, and next-morning alertness

December 24, 2014 Comments off

Evening use of light-emitting eReaders negatively affects sleep, circadian timing, and next-morning alertness
Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

In the past 50 y, there has been a decline in average sleep duration and quality, with adverse consequences on general health. A representative survey of 1,508 American adults recently revealed that 90% of Americans used some type of electronics at least a few nights per week within 1 h before bedtime. Mounting evidence from countries around the world shows the negative impact of such technology use on sleep. This negative impact on sleep may be due to the short-wavelength–enriched light emitted by these electronic devices, given that artificial-light exposure has been shown experimentally to produce alerting effects, suppress melatonin, and phase-shift the biological clock. A few reports have shown that these devices suppress melatonin levels, but little is known about the effects on circadian phase or the following sleep episode, exposing a substantial gap in our knowledge of how this increasingly popular technology affects sleep. Here we compare the biological effects of reading an electronic book on a light-emitting device (LE-eBook) with reading a printed book in the hours before bedtime. Participants reading an LE-eBook took longer to fall asleep and had reduced evening sleepiness, reduced melatonin secretion, later timing of their circadian clock, and reduced next-morning alertness than when reading a printed book. These results demonstrate that evening exposure to an LE-eBook phase-delays the circadian clock, acutely suppresses melatonin, and has important implications for understanding the impact of such technologies on sleep, performance, health, and safety.

FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg’s statement on FDA’s blood donor deferral policy for men who have sex with men

December 24, 2014 Comments off

FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg’s statement on FDA’s blood donor deferral policy for men who have sex with men
Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is a science-based regulatory agency that works to protect and promote the public health. In this role, it is our responsibility to regulate the blood supply and to help ensure its continued safety for the patients who receive these life-saving products.

Over the past several years, in collaboration with other government agencies, the FDA has carefully examined and considered the available scientific evidence relevant to its blood donor deferral policy for men who have sex with men, including the results of several recently completed scientific studies and recent epidemiologic data. Following this review, and taking into account the recommendations of advisory committees to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the FDA, the agency will take the necessary steps to recommend a change to the blood donor deferral period for men who have sex with men from indefinite deferral to one year since the last sexual contact.

This recommended change is consistent with the recommendation of an independent expert advisory panel the HHS Advisory Committee on Blood and Tissue Safety and Availability, and will better align the deferral period with that of other men and women at increased risk for HIV infection. Additionally, in collaboration with the NIH’s National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the FDA has already taken steps to implement a national blood surveillance system that will help the agency monitor the effect of a policy change and further help to ensure the continued safety of the blood supply.

Statement by the President on Cuba Policy Changes

December 18, 2014 Comments off

Statement by the President on Cuba Policy Changes
Source: White House

Today, the United States of America is changing its relationship with the people of Cuba.

In the most significant changes in our policy in more than fifty years, we will end an outdated approach that, for decades, has failed to advance our interests, and instead we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries. Through these changes, we intend to create more opportunities for the American and Cuban people, and begin a new chapter among the nations of the Americas.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,001 other followers