States are continuing to allow sewage sludge to be spread on cropland as fertilizer and in some cases increasing the amount spread, even as the PFAS-tainted substance has ruined farmers’ livelihoods, poisoned water supplies, contaminated food and put the public’s health at risk.
Michigan and Maine are the only two states in the US to widely test sludge, and regulators in each say contamination was found in all tested samples. Still, in recent months, officials in Virginia increased the amount of sludge permitted to be spread on farmland without testing for PFAS, while Alabama regulators have rejected residents’ and environmental groups’ pleas to test sludge for the chemicals.
Similar fights are playing out in other states, including Georgia and Oklahoma, and public health advocates fear regulators are ignoring the dangers to appease the waste management industry.
Source: Fury over ‘forever chemicals’ as US states spread toxic sewage sludge | Environment | The Guardian
What does the term “irreversible tipping point” or “irreversible feedback loop” actually mean?
Here is the simplest possible example. In a previous article we talked about the Thwaites glacier in Antarctica, also known as the “Doomsday Glacier”. The problem with this particular glacier is first that it is utterly gigantic (about the size of Florida), and second that it is in a very precarious position, where it could let go and slide into the ocean with remarkable speed (for a glacier). Recent headlines have painted a dire picture, for example:
‘Doomsday glacier’ hanging on ‘by its fingernails’: scientists
“’Thwaites is really holding on today by its fingernails,’ said Robert Larter, a marine geophysicist who co-authored the study. ‘And we should expect to see big changes over small timescales in the future — even from one year to the next…’ The Thwaites Glacier is roughly the size of Florida and could potentially raise the sea level by nearly 16 feet should it fall into the ocean… According to scientists, the glacier could potentially fall into the sea within three years.”
It is easy to understand why the collapse of the Thwaites glacier is irreversible. If it collapses, it will raise sea levels by many feet, inundating and destroying coastal cities and beaches. Trillions of dollars in damage will occur. Once the damage is done, there is no possible way to undo it: There is no way that humanity will ever be able to put the glacier back and lower sea levels again.
In other words, either humanity MUST save the Thwaites glacier now, or there will be trillions of dollars in irreversible damage that occurs to all of our coastal cities. In addition, there will be millions of climate refugees from these cities who will have to go somewhere. Take Miami as one example city. Miami will disappear when the Thwaites Glacier collapses. This means that 6 million Miami residents will need to move somewhere else.
Source: Climate change & doomsday: Irreversible tipping points may mean end of human civilization | WRAL TechWire
In order to stop their forces’ retreating, Russian commanders were forced to once again remind their subordinates about the prohibition against voluntary withdrawals from positions, as well as about the possibility that rear blocking units might open fire on them, the intelligence said.
“At the same time, they (commanders) refer to commander’s order No. 222,” reads the report.
“Apparently, it is analogous with (Soviet dictator Josef) Stalin’s infamous order No. 227 of June 28, 1942, according to which Soviet soldiers were shot at … (if they tried) to retreat.”
Source: Russian invaders forbidden to retreat under threat of being shot, intercept shows / The New Voice of Ukraine
The Texas law is potentially an existential threat to the social media industry. Its supposed anti-censorship provisions are so strict that it would likely prevent the major social media platforms from removing content touting Nazism or white supremacy, or even from blocking social media users who engage in campaigns of harassment against other users. Additionally, the law imposes disclosure and procedural requirements on the major platforms that may literally be impossible to comply with. Source: Republican judges just let Texas seize control of Twitter and Facebook in the latest NetChoice ruling – Vox
The new bivalent (two-strain) Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster triggered stronger neutralizing antibody responses against the highly transmissible Omicron variant at 28 days than the previously authorized booster, with no safety concerns, according to the interim results of a phase 2/3 open-label, nonrandomized study published late last week in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“These findings indicate that bivalent vaccines may be a new tool in the response to emerging variants,” the researchers wrote.
Source: Updated COVID booster tied to strong Omicron immune response | CIDRAP
Osterholm also said Biden’s comment has “wounded” the government’s messaging about the importance of getting the updated COVID booster, which he said is the best tool for decreasing serious illnesses and deaths from COVID. Health officials have a challenge convincing a skeptical public.
A high death toll as the new normal?
Celine Gounder, MD, ScM, on Twitter today said considering the pandemic as over would mean accepting that the new normal is 3,000 deaths per week from COVID. “That our new normal is that we’re numb to these deaths. Mr President, can’t you imagine better? Can’t America do better. And if so, where’s your leadership?”
She said she agrees with recent comments from World Health Organization) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, who said that the world has never been in a better position to end the pandemic—but it’s not yet over. She added, however, that the end of the pandemic depends on whether the United States and other nations use the tools they have to drive down the virus even further.
Source: Biden’s ‘pandemic is over’ comments muddle COVID messaging | CIDRAP