Archive for the ‘science’ Category

Safe & Sustainable Recycling: Protecting Workers who Protect the Planet

July 16, 2015 Comments off

Safe & Sustainable Recycling: Protecting Workers who Protect the Planet
Source: GAIA, Partnership for Working Families, and National Council for Occupational Safety and Health

Recycling is the right thing to do, but we need to make it safe for recycling workers. Recycling is a key approach for waste reduction and climate action that is used by cities across the U.S. with enormous environmental and economic benefits. But a new report finds that the actual work of sorting recycling can be unnecessarily hazardous to workers’ health and safety. Seventeen recycling workers died on the job between 2011-2013, and recycling workers are more than twice as likely to be injured on the job than the average U.S. worker. These high injury and fatality rates are a result of unsafe working conditions including exposure to hazardous items on the sort line, like hypodermic needles, toxic chemicals, and animal carcasses, and working around heavy machinery. By ensuring health and safety compliance across the industry, cities can protect workers who protect our planet.

Climate change: new investment risk demands action by investors, cautions new research

July 14, 2015 Comments off

Climate change: new investment risk demands action by investors, cautions new research
Source: Mercer

A new report from Mercer modelling the potential impact of climate change on investments, has found investors cannot ignore the implications for investment returns. The research reveals investors can manage the risk most effectively by looking ‘under the hood’ of their portfolios and factoring climate change into their risk modelling, which requires a significant behavioral shift for most.

The report, titled “Investing in a time of climate change” outlines actions for investors to manage key downside risks and access opportunities.

free registration required2

Preferred Women’s Waist-to-Hip Ratio Variation over the Last 2,500 Years

July 9, 2015 Comments off

Preferred Women’s Waist-to-Hip Ratio Variation over the Last 2,500 Years
Source: PLoS ONE

The ratio between the body circumference at the waist and the hips (or WHR) is a secondary sexual trait that is unique to humans and is well known to influence men’s mate preferences. Because a woman’s WHR also provides information about her age, health and fertility, men’s preference concerning this physical feature may possibly be a cognitive adaptation selected in the human lineage. However, it is unclear whether the preferred WHR in western countries reflects a universal ideal, as geographic variation in non-western areas has been found, and discordances about its temporal consistency remain in the literature. We analyzed the WHR of women considered as ideally beautiful who were depicted in western artworks from 500 BCE to the present. These vestiges of the past feminine ideal were then compared to more recent symbols of beauty: Playboy models and winners of several Miss pageants from 1920 to 2014. We found that the ideal WHR has changed over time in western societies: it was constant during almost a millennium in antiquity (from 500 BCE to 400 CE) and has decreased from the 15th century to the present. Then, based on Playboy models and Miss pageants winners, this decrease appears to slow down or even reverse during the second half of the 20th century. The universality of an ideal WHR is thus challenged, and historical changes in western societies could have caused these variations in men’s preferences. The potential adaptive explanations for these results are discussed.

The Livability Index: Great Neighborhoods for All Ages

July 6, 2015 Comments off

The Livability Index: Great Neighborhoods for All Ages
Source: AARP Public Policy

The Livability Index is a signature initiative of the Public Policy Institute to measure the quality of life in American communities across multiple dimensions: housing, transportation, neighborhood characteristics, environment, health, opportunity, and civic and social engagement.

An interactive, easily navigated website, the Livability Index allows users to compare communities, adjust scores based on personal preferences and learn how to take action to make their own communities move livable.

Epidemiology of Ciguatera in Florida

July 1, 2015 Comments off

Epidemiology of Ciguatera in Florida
Source: American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

Ciguatera is the most commonly reported marine food-borne illness worldwide. Because there is a biological plausibility that ciguatera may be impacted by long-term climate variability and Florida is on the northern border of the geographic distribution of ciguatera, it is important to update our understanding of its epidemiology in Florida. We performed an analysis of 291 reports in Florida from 2000 to 2011 and an e-mail survey of 5,352 recreational fishers to estimate incidence and underreporting and identify high risk demographic groups, fish types, and catch locations. Incidence was 5.6 per 100,000 adjusted for underreporting. Hispanics had the highest incidence rate (relative risk [RR] = 3.4) and were more likely to eat barracuda than non-Hispanics. The most common catch locations for ciguatera-causing fish were the Bahamas and Florida Keys. Cases caused by fish from northern Florida were infrequent. These results indicate that ciguatera incidence is higher than estimated from public health reports alone. There is little evidence that incidence or geographic range has increased because of increased seawater temperatures since earlier studies.

Past Water Patterns Drive Present Wading Bird Numbers

June 30, 2015 Comments off

Past Water Patterns Drive Present Wading Bird Numbers

Wading bird numbers in the Florida Everglades are driven by water patterns that play out over multiple years according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey and Florida Atlantic University. Previously, existing water conditions were seen as the primary driving factor affecting numbers of birds, but this research shows that the preceding years’ water conditions and availability are equally important.

CBO — China’s Growing Energy Demand: Implications for the United States: Working Paper 2015-05

June 29, 2015 Comments off

China’s Growing Energy Demand: Implications for the United States: Working Paper 2015-05
Source: Congressional Budget Office

Growing rapidly in recent decades, China’s demand for energy has nearly doubled since 2005—making China the world’s largest consumer of energy. That growth and the energy policies that China pursues increase the level and possibly the volatility of some energy prices, reduce the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing firms in relation to Chinese firms but provide benefits for U.S. consumers, and increase greenhouse gas emissions. This paper examines trends in China’s energy consumption, the implications of those trends for U.S. households and businesses, and policy options that might help minimize adverse effects.


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