There’s an oil supply ‘100 times bigger’ than US reserve: Oil exec

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America Celebrates Her Freedom

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Florida Manatee Deaths up Almost 50% in 2018

The Jaguar

A Florida manatee looking at the camera.
Florida manatee deaths rose significantly in 2018. Here’s Looking at You Kid – Meet a Florida Manatee by the U.S. Geological Survey. Public Domain.

Here’s a heart-breaking story by John R. Platt and Dipika Kadaba of The Revelator. It turns out that 824 Florida manatees died last year, almost 50% more than in 2017.

Those 824 mortalities (deaths) represent 13% of the Florida manatee population, and many of them were caused by people – either directly or indirectly.

The Revelator released a video that goes into more detail about why so many manatees died last year. Click below to watch it, and be sure to visit this link for the original story.

Video by The Revelator about the dramatic rise in Florida manatee mortalities in 2018.

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Excessive PFAS Levels in Freshwater Fish

Chemical Free Life

You may want to think twice before serving up a dinner of freshly caught fish these days. Freshwater fish have been found to be contaminated with dangerous levels of the PFAS* chemical known as “PFOS”. In fact, a new study by Environmental Working Group (EWG) scientists found that consumption of just a single serving of freshwater fish per year could be equal to a month of drinking water laced with the PFAS forever chemical “PFOS” at high levels that may be harmful…

Lab testing

“The researchers analyzed data from more than 500 samples of fish fillets collected in the U.S. from 2013 to 2015 under monitoring programs by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Rivers and Streams Assessment and the Great Lakes Human Health Fish Fillet Tissue Study.”

PFAS in feshwater fish map

Results

“The median level of total PFAS in fish fillets was 9,500 nanograms per kilogram, with a…

View original post 636 more words

Carcinogenic Formaldehyde Uncovered in Popular Beauty Products

Chemical Free Life

Formaldehyde* has recently been uncovered in numerous beauty products in the U.S. In fact, the Washington State Department of Ecology found 26 of 40 different beauty product samples tested contained formaldehyde in amounts that can be harmful to humans. Formaldehyde is present in nail polishes, hair-smoothing products, body wash, and various makeup products. According to researchers, formaldehyde is included in beauty products to prevent bacterial growth. In most cases, cosmetic manufacturers add ‘methylene glycol’ or another chemical to release formaldehyde.

Background

The Washington State Department of Ecology tested 40 different cosmetics for formaldehyde, the products tested did not list formaldehyde as an ingredient in the product on the label. Products were purchased from Walmart, Target, Dollar Tree, and Fred Meyer.

Key findings:

  1. Formaldehyde was found in seven out of 10 skin lotions, nine out of 10 leave-in conditioners, and all 10 hair styling gels.
  2. Hair styling gels and…

View original post 331 more words

Outbreak Investigation of Listeria monocytogenes: Enoki Mushrooms

www.fda.gov

Do not eat, sell, or serve recalled Utopia Foods, Inc. enoki mushrooms imported from China. FDA’s investigation is ongoing. 

FDA, along with CDC and state and local partners, is investigating an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections linked to enoki mushrooms. FDA has identified imported enoki mushrooms distributed by Utopia Foods, Inc. of Glendale, New York, as a likely source of illnesses in this outbreak. Enoki mushrooms are long thin white mushrooms, usually sold in clusters. They are especially popular in East Asian cuisine and are also known as enokitake, golden needle, futu, seafood, or lily mushrooms. 

As of January 18, 2022, CDC reports three illnesses included in this outbreak. Two sick people reported eating enoki mushrooms or eating at restaurants with menu items containing enoki mushrooms. One patient did not report eating enoki mushrooms but reported shopping at various Asian grocery stores. 

Through ongoing sampling efforts, FDA and state partners have been collecting and testing samples of enoki mushrooms. An import sample of enoki mushrooms branded as Utopia Foods, Inc. was collected by FDA and was reported as being positive for Listeria monocytogenes. Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) analysis determined that the strain of Listeria found in this sample matches the strain of Listeria linked to two illnesses in this outbreak. FDA also detected an additional strain of Listeria monocytogenes in this sample, which is linked to one additional illness. Both strains are now included in this outbreak investigation. 

As a result of this testing, Utopia Foods, Inc. voluntarily expanded their original recall (first issued on December 13, 2022) to include their 200g packages of “Enoki Mushrooms”, imported from China, with clear and blue plastic packages with clear markings of “Best before 03/02/2023” or “Best before 03.09.23”. These products were distributed between January 6, 2023, and January 13, 2023, in NY, NJ, and CT, to wholesale companies for further distribution.

FDA’s investigation is ongoing to determine a potential source of contamination and whether any other products are contaminated or linked to illnesses. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.

Recommendation

Consumers, restaurants, and retailers should not eat, sell, or serve recalled enoki mushrooms from Utopia Foods, Inc. and should return them to the place of purchase for a refund or throw them away.

Listeria is especially harmful if you are pregnant, aged 65 or older, or have a weakened immune system due to certain medical conditions or treatments. If you are in any of these groups, do not eat raw enoki mushrooms. Cook enoki mushrooms thoroughly to kill any foodborne germs. Other people can be infected with Listeria, but they rarely become seriously ill.

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these symptoms after eating enoki mushrooms:

  • People who are not pregnant usually have fever, muscle aches, and tiredness. They may also get a headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, or seizures.
  • Pregnant people usually have fever, muscle aches, and tiredness. However, Listeria can cause pregnancy loss or premature birth. It can also cause serious illness or death in newborns.

Follow FDA’s safe handling and cleaning advice and use extra vigilance in cleaning and sanitizing any surfaces and containers that may have come in contact with these recalled products to reduce the risk of cross-contamination, including retailers who stored or repackaged recalled enoki mushrooms. Listeria can survive in refrigerated temperatures and can easily spread to other foods and surfaces.  


Recalled Product

Enoki Mushrooms - Listeria monocytogenes

Utopia Foods Inc of Glendale, NY, is recalling its 200g packages of “Enoki Mushrooms”, imported from China. The recalled products were distributed nationwide in produce wholesale companies. The product comes in clear and blue plastic package with the brand name “Utopia” and barcode # 8928918610017 marked on the packaging. The initial recall includes all products within expiration and the expanded recall includes products with clear markings of “Best before 03/02/2023” or “Best before 03.09.23”. Products included in the expanded recall were distributed between January 6, 2023, and January 13, 2023.


Case Count Map Provided by CDC

CDC Case Count Map - Enoki Mushrooms - Listeria monocytogenes


Previous Updates

January 17, 2023

FDA, along with CDC and state and local partners, is investigating an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections linked to enoki mushrooms. FDA has identified imported enoki mushrooms distributed by Utopia Foods, Inc. of Glendale, New York as a likely source of illnesses in this outbreak. Enoki mushrooms are long thin white mushrooms, usually sold in clusters. They are especially popular in East Asian cuisine and are also known as enokitake, golden needle, futu, seafood, or lily mushrooms. 

As of November 17, 2022, CDC reports two illnesses included in this outbreak. Based on epidemiological information provided by CDC, both patients report consuming enoki mushrooms or eating at restaurants with menu items containing enoki mushrooms prior to becoming ill. 

Through ongoing sampling efforts, FDA and state partners have been collecting and testing samples of enoki mushrooms. An import sample of enoki mushrooms branded as Utopia Foods, Inc. was collected by FDA and was reported as being positive for Listeria monocytogenes. Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) analysis determined that the strain of Listeria found in this sample matches the strain of Listeria linked to illnesses in this outbreak. 

As a result of this testing, Utopia Foods, Inc. voluntarily expanded their original recall (first issued on December 13, 2022) to include their 200g packages of “Enoki Mushrooms”, imported from China, with clear and blue plastic packages with clear markings of “Best before 03/02/2023” or “Best before 03.09.23”. These products were distributed between January 6, 2023, and January 13, 2023, in NY, NJ, and CT to wholesale companies for further distribution.

On December 13, 2022, as a result of earlier testing that determined enoki mushroom product was contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, Utopia Foods Inc. issued a voluntary recall of 200g packages of “Enoki Mushrooms”, imported from China and shipped nationwide. The Listeria detected in their product at that time has not been linked to this outbreak or any reported illnesses. 

FDA’s investigation is ongoing to determine a potential source of contamination and whether any other products are contaminated or linked to illnesses. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.


https://www.fda.gov/food/outbreaks-foodborne-illness/outbreak-investigation-listeria-monocytogenes-enoki-mushrooms-november-2022?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

Sometimes it’s hard to part with your Christmas Tree 😂

30 Other Things Investigators Found In Biden’s Garage | Babylon Bee

Article Image

Politics · Jan 16, 2023 · BabylonBee.com

30 Other Things Investigators Found In Biden’s Garage

Investigators found classified documents in President Biden’s garage. No one really knows why it was there, including Biden. But the real story is all the other stuff they found. His garage was a veritable treasure trove of scandal!

Here is the definitive list of items found in Biden’s garage:

  1. Obama’s birth certificate
  2. Private hair collection
  3. 180,000 Trump ballots
  4. One of Hunter’s hookers
  5. Hunter
  6. Friendship bracelet from President Xi
  7. My patriot supply buckets (go to preparewithbee.com for an exclusive deal)
  8. The real Joe Biden tied up and gagged shouting, “Help! that guy’s an imposter!”
  9. Unused Stairmaster
  10. All the CIA’s JFK documents
  11. Jimmy Hoffa
  12. Treasure map leading to the lost city of Atlantis
  13. A bunch of model train stuff
  14. A paycheck from Burisma made out to “the big guy”
  15. The friendship bracelet he made for Obama but was too embarrassed to give him
  16. Industrial-size pallet of Metamucil
  17. A lock of Galadriel’s hair
  18. White hood
  19. Cuties on Blu-Ray
  20. A nuke – literally an entire nuke
  21. Model of the Capitol building made of LEGO
  22. Joe Biden’s brain in a jar
  23. Early classified copy of Hogwart’s Legacy
  24. A surprisingly solid collection of tabletop board games
  25. Pontiac Aztek he’s been restoring since 2014
  26. All of the eggs
  27. First 14 seasons of The Apprentice on DVD
  28. 12 vials of COVID-20 from Wuhan
  29. 500 boxes of Kellogg’s Corn Pops
  30. A pallet of 10% for the big guy

Wow! So exciting! Who knows what they’ll find next?

Babylon Bee subscriber Totes Bussin Yo contributed to this report. If you want to pitch your own headline ideas to our staff, click here to check out all of our membership options!

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Food Additive Titanium Dioxide Linked to Colon Cancer: Study

Chemical Free Life

Over the past several years, we have published a number of scientific studies linking the nanoparticle food chemical “titanium dioxide” to serious health outcomes, many linking the additive to complications with the digestive system. Now, the results of a new scientific study reveal why that may be so.  Scientific researchers have now demonstrated that food-grade titanium dioxide, which is used as a white pigment/coloring additive in everything from toothpaste to candy to dairy products, accumulates in colon cells, causing what may be permanent damage–including colon cancer*.

Study overview

The scientists set out to investigate the ability of cells to restore cellular alterations in cell granularity, molecular fingerprints of nuclei acids, proteins and lipids, ROS production, possible interaction with the cell nucleus, DNA damage, antioxidant enzymes activity and cytoskeleton architecture after a 24-hour of titanium dioxide exposure was removed from cell cultures.

“Using electron microscopy, the researchers…

View original post 893 more words

I Hope Everyone Is Having a Good New Year

My husband and I unfortunately caught one of the flu variants over the Christmas holiday, I don’t get the flu vaccine because I’m allergic to eggs, but my husband had the vaccine, so I’m surprised he caught the flu, we were both recovering over the New Year’s, but I have ulcers that flared up and started bleeding so they had to rushed me to the hospital on New Year’s and I had to get blood transfusions and be in the hospital for the week.

It’s good to be home and catch up with everyone’s blogs, while I continue to recover.

So my wish for you this New Year’s is to have a very healthy and happy 2023 🕊️

Countries That Are Going Fur Free In 2023

Dog flu outbreaks hit shelters, homes across US as vets encourage owners to get their dog vaccinated

www.foxnews.com

Sarah Rumpf

Humans are not the only ones suffering from this winter’s extreme flu season, with veterinarians across the U.S. advising dog owners to get their furry friends vaccinated. 

“Canine flu is one of the infectious respiratory things that we can see in dogs,” Dr. Jess Fejes, medical director at the Veterinary Emergency Group, told Fox 29.

Canine flu symptoms include coughing, sneezing, eye and nose discharge, fever, lethargy and trouble breathing. While there are limited treatment options after a dog becomes infected, there is a preventative vaccine. While it is not a core puppy vaccine, dogs that are at risk for catching the flu virus can receive it from their vet.

A dog looks on as veterinarian technician Justin Jones gives a canine influenza immunization at Los Gatos Dog and Cat Hospital.

A dog looks on as veterinarian technician Justin Jones gives a canine influenza immunization at Los Gatos Dog and Cat Hospital. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

DogFlu.com shows a map of dog influenza outbreaks across the U.S., including recent outbreaks in nine states, including New York, Texas, Florida, South Carolina and Pennsylvania.

Vets are now having the flu shot discussion with dog owners. They say not every dog needs the vaccine, but if a dog is social, it’s something an owner should consider.

“It’s going to be somewhat specific, based on region and what they are exposed to, but, generally, dogs exposed to a lot of other dogs, dogs in doggie day care, boarding, things like that,” Dr. Fejes explained.

A dog waits to be seen at Los Gatos Dog and Cat Hospital on January 25, 2018, in Los Gatos, California.

A dog waits to be seen at Los Gatos Dog and Cat Hospital on January 25, 2018, in Los Gatos, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Vials of canine influenza vaccine sit on a table at Los Gatos Dog and Cat Hospital on Jan. 25, 2018, in Los Gatos, California.

Vials of canine influenza vaccine sit on a table at Los Gatos Dog and Cat Hospital on Jan. 25, 2018, in Los Gatos, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

If pet owners choose to keep their dog unvaccinated, there are still ways to ensure that your pooch stays safe this flu season. The viruses spread through the air, so places where dogs congregate, like dog parks, can be risky for man’s best friend.

“Canine influenza is transmitted through droplets or aerosols containing respiratory secretions from coughing, barking and sneezing. Dogs in close contact with infected dogs in places such as kennels, groomers, day care facilities and shelters are at increased risk of infection.” the American Veterinary Medical Association explained. “Canine influenza can be spread indirectly through objects (e.g., kennels, food and water bowls, collars and leashes) or people that have been in contact with infected dogs.”

According to one veterinary office in Florida, an influenza vaccine will only cost between $25 and $35.

Dog owners should always be on the lookout for warning signs. If your dog stops eating or has difficulty breathing, contact your veterinarian. Getting your dog vaccinated for canine influenza may not prevent infection altogether, but it may reduce the severity and duration of the illness, the American Veterinary Medical Association advised.

https://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/dog-flu-outbreaks-hit-shelters-homes-across-us-vets-encourage-owners-get-dog-vaccinated?intcmp=tw_fnc

8 Dazzling Facts About the Sun

Article image

Original photo by Lia Koltyrina/ Shutterstock

www.interestingfacts.com

While there’s a lot happening on Earth, the sun is the real star of our show — pun intended. Hanging out at an average 93 million miles away from Earth, the sun is a perfect mixture of hydrogen and helium that spit-roasts our planet just right as we travel around its bright, glowing body. But although the sun is central to our survival, there’s still a lot we don’t know about it. For decades, space agencies have been sending missions to explore the sun and find answers; in 2021, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe became the first spacecraft to “touch” the sun by entering its upper atmosphere (still some 4 million miles away from its surface). Based on research from these missions and more, here are some of the most interesting things we’ve learned about the sun — and some of our best guesses at what its future might look like.

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Solar system and Sun.

The Sun Is Middle-Aged

Credit: Vadim Sadovski/ Shutterstock

The sun seems eternal — an ever-present, life-giving fireball in the sky — but not even it can escape the wear and tear of time. Some 4.6 billion years ago, the sun formed from a solar nebula, a spinning cloud of gas and dust that collapsed under its own gravity. During its stellar birth, nearly all of the nebula’s mass became the sun, leaving the rest to form the planets, moons, and other objects in our solar system. Even today, the sun makes up 99.8% of all mass in the solar system.

Currently in its yellow dwarf stage, the sun has about another 5 billion years to go before it uses up all its hydrogen, expands into a red giant, and eventually collapses into a white dwarf. So at 4.6 billion years old, the sun could be best described as “middle-aged” — but we don’t think it looks a day over 3 billion.

Make Every Day More Interesting

Recieve Facts Directly In Your Inbox. Daily.

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Planet earth in different angles, chaotically on a black background.

1.3 Million Earths Could Fit Inside the Sun

Credit: Andrei Riakin/ Shutterstock

The Earth is big, but the sun is bigger — way bigger. Measuring 338,102,469,632,763,000 cubic miles in volume, the sun is by far the largest thing in our solar system, and some 1.3 million Earths could fit within it. Even if you placed Earth in the sun and maintained its spherical shape (instead of squishing it together to fit), the sun could still hold 960,000 Earths. Yet when it comes to stars, our sun is far from the biggest. For instance, Betelgeuse, a red giant some 642.5 light-years away, measures nearly 700 times larger and 14,000 times brighter than our sun.

3of 8

Sun cross-section science illustration.

It Takes a Long Time for Light to Escape the Sun

Credit: Mopic/ Shutterstock

The sunlight that reaches your eyes is older than you might think. It takes a little over eight minutes for photons from the surface of the sun to reach Earth, meaning every time you glimpse the sun (hopefully with sunglasses!), it actually looks as it appeared eight minutes ago. However, this photon blazing at the speed of light is at the end of a very long journey. Once a photon enters the sun’s “radiative zone,” the area between the core and the convective zone (the final layer which stretches to the surface), energy is absorbed after a very short distance into another atom, which then shoots that energy into yet another direction. The overall effect is what scientists call a “random walk,” and the result is that it can take a single photon thousands of years — up to 100,000 years — to escape the sun. As our knowledge of the sun grows, scientists will likely refine this number, but for now it’s safe to say that it takes “a long time.”

4of 8

Solar prominence, solar flare, and magnetic storms.

The Sun’s Atmosphere Is Much Hotter Than Its Surface

Credit: Lia Koltyrina/ Shutterstock

As you travel farther from the surface of Earth, things usually get colder and colder. Planes traveling at 35,000 feet, for example, travel through the stratosphere and experience temperatures around -60 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the sun’s atmosphere works inexactly the opposite way. While the surface of the sun hovers around 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, the atmosphere (or corona) of the sun is hundreds of times hotter, with temperatures reaching up to 3.6 million degrees Fahrenheit.

Scientists aren’t exactly sure why the sun’s atmosphere is so much hotter than the surface. One leading theory is that a series of explosions called “nanoflares” release heat upwards of 18 million degrees Fahrenheit throughout the atmosphere. Although small when compared to the sun, these nanoflares are the equivalent of a 10 megaton hydrogen bomb, and approximately a million of them “go off” across the sun every second. Another theory is that the sun’s magnetic field is somehow transferring heat from its core, which rests at a blazing 27 million degrees Fahrenheit, to its corona.

5of 8

Wind turbines against backdrop of sunset sky with clouds in field.

Different Parts of the Sun Rotate at Different Speeds

Credit: Prilutskiy/ Shutterstock

The sun doesn’t rotate like your typical planet. While the Earth’s core does rotate ever so slightly faster than the planet’s surface, it mostly moves as one solid mass. The sun? Not so much. First of all, it’s a giant ball of gas rather than a rigid sphere like Earth. The gases at the sun’s core spin about four times faster than at its surface. The sun’s gases also spin at different speeds depending on their latitude. For example, the gases at the sun’s equator rotate much faster than the areas at higher latitudes, closer to the poles. A rotation that takes 25 Earth days at the sun’s equator takes 35 days to make the same journey near the poles.

6of 8

3D rendering of our home planet with moon and sun.

The Sun Completes Its Own Galactic Orbit Every 250 Million Years

Credit: aryos/ iStock

Picture a grade-school model of the solar system, and it’s easy to forget that the sun is on its own galactic journey. While the Earth orbits the sun, the sun is orbiting the center of the Milky Way galaxy. On its orbiting journey, it travels roughly 140 miles per second, or about 450,000 miles per hour (by comparison, the Earth travels around the sun at only 67,000 miles per hour). Although blazing fast by Earth standards, it still takes our star roughly 230 million years to complete a full revolution.

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Sunset landscape at Paria Rimrocks, Utah.

In About 1 Billion Years, the Sun Will Kill All Life on Earth …

Credit: Rezus/ iStock

In 5 billion years, the sun will enter its red giant phase and engulf many of the inner solar system planets, including Earth. However, Earth will lose its ability to sustain life much earlier than that, because the sun is steadily getting hotter as it ages. Scientists estimate that anywhere between 600 million and 1.5 billion years from now, the Earth will experience a runaway greenhouse effect induced by our warming sun that will evaporate all water on Earth and make life on our blue marble impossible (except for maybe some tiny microorganisms buried deep underground). Eventually, Earth will resemble Venus, a hellish planet warmed beyond habitability due to its thick atmosphere and proximity to the sun. Luckily, humanity has at least several hundred million years to figure out a plan B.  

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Young plant in the morning light on nature background.

… But Life Only Exists Because of the Sun in the First Place

Credit: amenic181/ iStock

You can’t get too mad at the sun for its warming ways, because life couldn’t exist without it. Earth is perfectly placed in what astronomers call a star’s “goldilocks zone,” where the sun isn’t too hot or too cold but just right. This advantageous distance has allowed life to flourish on Earth, with the sun bathing our planet in life-giving warmth. The sun also gives plants the light they need to grow and produce oxygen, which in turn forms the bedrock of the web of life — and it’s all thanks to the middle-aged, hydrogen-burning, massively huge star at the center of our solar system.

https://www.interestingfacts.com/sun-facts/YsyqoqYHnQAHPRwi?liu=1e1d551ed0ac320c4eb86b3930c2c3c7&utm_source=blog&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=1679167544

Boxing Day Funnies…

VIDEO Thought crime: UK Police Arrest Pro Life Woman for Silently Praying Outside an Abortion Clinic

NarrowPathMinistries

ByJim Hoft December 23, 2022

A recent incident in the UK serves as a warning of the dangers that Britain’s censorious state poses to the right to free speech.

Isabel-Vaughan-Spruce, a charity volunteer, was arrested and charged for a silent prayer “thought crime” near an abortion facility

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) released a video on Thursday showing police confronting Spruce, who was arrested for violating a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) after she was seen praying silently near an abortion facility four times in Kings Norton, Birmingham.

Spruce, a longtime charity worker for vulnerable women and children, was praying in silence when police officers approached her and inquired about what she was doing outside the abortion clinic. She said that she “might be praying in my head, not out loud.”

Police: I’ll ask you once more. Will you voluntarily come with us now to the police station for…

View original post 748 more words

Victory! Suffering Giant Pandas YaYa & LeLe At The Memphis Zoo Will Finally Be Sent To A Sanctuary In China

PROTECT ALL WILDLIFE

Suffering: Giant Pandas YaYa And LeLe At Memphis Zoo Credit: Panda Voices

UPDATE! A huge victory for Giant Pandas YaYa, 22, and LeLe, 24, who will be sent back to their homeland of China, according to a statement from the Memphis Zoo. In Defense of Animals and Panda Voices, who have been lobbying for the pandas’ release for nearly two years, announced the news today.

“After far too many years of suffering in a grossly inappropriate zoo exhibit, YaYa and LeLe will finally get improved care at a specialized panda refuge in their homeland,” said Brittany Michelson, Captive Animals Campaigner for In Defense of Animals.

“We applaud the Memphis Zoo and Chinese authorities for making the ethical decision to return the pandas to China once the loan contract ends in April 2023. We thank Billie Eilish and our many thousands of supporters worldwide for helping us encourage the zoo…

View original post 341 more words

Monday Memes …

Top Ten Things Not to Do On The Day After Christmas

Fiction Favorites

Photo by Anna Dziubinska on Unsplash

This list was first posted on December 26th, 2016. I think it is still good advice.

* * *

Top Ten Things Not to Do on The Day After Christmas

10 On the day after Christmas, do not venture out to return gifts. If you do, at best, due to the lines, you will get to return three in eight hours. At worse, you will encounter conditions much like warfare and require treatment for PGRTS. (Post Gift Return Traumatic Syndrome is nothing to take lightly, Buford.)

9 On the day after Christmas, do not watch a bowl game. If you do, at best, it won’t keep you awake. At worst, the two teams will be so bad you will totally regret the time spent watching. (You never realized a schedule made up entirely six loss teams could be so dull, did you, Bunky. Bunky?…

View original post 520 more words

Happy Boxing Day

Gas Power Saves Texas From Blackouts, As Wind Power Collapses Again!

Iowa Climate Science Education

By Paul Homewood

 

 

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https://uk.news.yahoo.com/us-declares-texas-grid-emergency-180011531.html

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https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/texas-power-prices-spike-more-165419011.html

 

The emergency order from the US Energy Department allowed the state’s grid operator to exceed certain air pollution limits to boost generation amid record power demand in the state. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, whose service area includes 90% of electric customers in Texas, requested the emergency order Friday, warning it may need to resort to blackouts. TRANSLATION  – fire up more coal and gas plants!

Fortunately a repetition of the blackouts last year was avoided. But as we can see, it was gas power which came to the rescue, as wind power collapsed to virtually nothing at the same time as demand surged:

2022, Central Time

https://www.eia.gov/electricity/gridmonitor/dashboard/electric_overview/balancing_authority/ERCO

Texas has 35 GW of wind capacity, but output was running below 5 GW throughout Saturday, and down to 2 GW for much of the day. This certainly was not due to lack of wind, quite…

View original post 145 more words

The Original Double Tap (With apologies to Seal Team Six)

The Butcher Shop

by Buttermilk Junction

☞Today in Old-West History

On today’s date 153 years ago, Christmas Day, Saturday, December 25, 1869, notorious sixteen-year-old outlaw John Wesley Hardin (1853-1895), the son of a Methodist preacher, was playing cards at the town of Towash in Hill County, Texas, & had won many hands when a town tough, Jim Bradley, a big loser, suddenly jerked forth a knife & threatened: “You win another hand & I cut out your liver, Kid.” Hardin was unarmed at the time & politely excused himself. He went to his room & strapped on two six-guns.

☞That night, Hardin stepped into the main street of Towash wearing his two revolvers. Down the street stood Jim Bradley, who also wore a gun & had been looking for Hardin. Hardin walked toward Bradley who cursed him & then fired a shot in Hardin’s direction, the bullet missing its mark. Hardin’s hands flashed…

View original post 163 more words

Biden’s Biggest Blunders?

The Lone Cactus

As we enter the week between Christmas and New Year’s, we always seem to be besieged with list after list of the “top news stories of the year”, the “best fill in the blank of 2022”, and on and on. It gets to be a little nauseating. So, this year, I’m going to give you what I considered to be the top ten Biden Blunders of the year. Now, realize that some of his biggest blunders (I’m looking at the Afghanistan withdrawal) took place in 2021 and aren’t eligible for this year’s list. With that in mind…here we go!

10. The Iranian Nuclear Deal. Ever wonder what actually happened to this one? It basically died on the table. Yes, Biden wanted to bring back Bobo Obama’s worst foreign policy deal, something that was supposed to be Obama’s “signature foreign policy legacy item”. It didn’t work. In fact, Iran’s Ayatollah called…

View original post 832 more words

Catch me if you can

“Hop Aboard the Most Magical Winter Train Rides in America”

“MERRY CHRISTMAS”

6 Amazing Facts About Elves

Article image

Original phot0 by Dean Clarke/ Shutterstock

www.interestingfacts.com

Elves take many forms. For starters, there’s the diminutive, pointy-eared elf that often appears in fairy tales. In fantasy literature like J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and many role-playing games, elves are human-sized, willowy, and wise. In Northern European folklore, they’re clever, supernatural tricksters.

Each December, however, the hardworking, friendly elves under the employ of Santa Claus reign supreme. When Yuletide rolls around, it’s only natural to have elves on the brain. But do you know how those mischievous sprites became Christmas helpers? Or why should you be cautious around a dancing elf? Get in the holiday spirit with these six interesting facts about elves.

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Elves teasing a butterfly.

Early Elves Were Mischief Makers

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The concept of elves got its start in Northern Europe, from early Norse mythology to the Germanic folklore of the Middle Ages. Elf myths varied by region, and were often told in conjunction with fairy folklore. While some elves were benevolent, more often than not they were volatile troublemakers.

Illnesses, both human and animal, were often pinned on elves, as were bad dreams — supposedly, elves caused them by sitting on the sleeper. (The German word for nightmare, alpdrücken, translates literally to “elf pressure.”) They were even rumored to steal babies. While helpful elves sometimes worked their way into the mythology, early elves were certainly a far cry from the cheery toy manufacturers that came to dominate modern wintertime folklore.

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Elves and fairies dancing among the toadstools in the moonlight.

Dancing Figured Prominently in Elf Mythology

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In Scandinavian mythology, elves are typically portrayed as powerful, supernatural beings, and they often used music and dancing as a way to enchant and ensnare humans — like in the story of The Elf-Woman and Sir Olaf. In the tale, a knight stumbles into the elf world the day before his wedding and encounters elf maidens dancing. He’s asked to join the dance but refuses. As a result, he dies, although the ending differs in the story’s many variations. Another ballad, called “Elvehoj,” has a happier ending: Elf maidens attempt to draw him into dances that would permanently bind him to the elf world, but they’re ultimately unsuccessful.

Still another legend tells of the Elf-king’s tune: When a fiddler plays the song, it compels everyone in earshot, including inanimate objects, to dance. The fiddler can’t stop playing once the song has begun, unless he or she can play backwards, or someone cuts the fiddle’s strings. These dance themes continue in later Scandinavian texts, such as Hans Christian Andersen’s 1845 tale The Elf Mound, which describes elf maidens performing dances to impress party guests.

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Postcard depicts an illustration of elves as they wave to one another.

Christmas Elves First Emerged in the 19th Century

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It wasn’t until the 1800s that elves began to be associated with Christmas. One of the earliest references was Clement Clarke Moore’s 1823 poem “A Visit From St. Nicholas” (more commonly known as “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” from its first line), which described Santa himself as a “jolly old elf.” In 1856, Little Women author Louisa May Alcott wrote a short story called “Christmas Elves” — but that story was never published, so it didn’t popularize the concept.

Nonetheless, the concept of Santa’s elves had certainly entered the cultural lexicon by the 1870s, when other works started mentioning elves. A December 1873 issue of Godey’s Lady Book — a highly influential women’s magazine that also helped popularize the Christmas tree as a tradition in America — led with an image of Santa’s workshop, complete with his elf helpers.

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British writer JRR Tolkien.

J.R.R. Tolkien Preferred the Middle English Word “Elven” Instead of “Elfin”

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When J.R.R. Tolkien wrote his famous Lord of the Rings series, “elven” was considered an obsolete Middle English word. According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), it was originally a noun that meant “female elf,” or simply “elf.” When Tolkien wrote the series, “elfish” or “elfin,” which had its first print appearance in 1590, were the terms used to describe “having to do with elves.”

Tolkien, also well known for his expertise in language and folklore, deliberately used “elven” and “elvish” instead, which became somewhat of a headache when it came time to proofread The Fellowship of the Ring. “The impertinent compositors have taken it upon themselves to correct, as they suppose, my spelling and grammar,” Tolkien wrote to his son in August 1953, “altering throughout ‘dwarves’ to ‘dwarfs’; ‘elvish’ to ‘elfish’… and worst of all, ‘elven’ — to ‘elfin.’”

To this day, neither Merriam-Webster nor Dictionary.com recognizes “elven” as a word, although Merriam-Webster recognizes “elvish.” The OED says that “elvish” specifically refers to elves as they’re described in Tolkien’s books, though the word has also become popular in other elf-related fantasy circles.

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Mischievous Elf on the shelf.

The Elf on a Shelf Tradition Started With a Self-Published Book

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The Elf on a Shelf is a Christmas season ritual in which a parent hides a “Scout Elf” doll each morning for kids to find. The idea is that the elf watches the family, reports back to Santa at night if the kids have been naughty or nice, and then sets up in a different spot in the home for the next day.

This now-ubiquitous Christmas tradition dates to 2005, when a mother and her twin daughters pitched the idea for a book based on their own family ritual. After they were rejected by publishers, the trio took out credit cards and dipped into retirement funds to self-publish the book The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition, which came with an elf for the reader’s own shelf. It was a runaway success, and over the next 15 years, more than 14.5 million Scout Elves were sold as the practice became a regular part of Christmas for families all over the world. The design of what’s now known as a “Scout Elf” is much older than the tradition itself. It bears a striking resemblance to the “knee-hugger” elves of the 1950s and 1960s; perhaps one of these was the family’s original elf.

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Hermey the elf and Rudolph.

One Elf in “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” Lacks a Notable Feature

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There’s much that sets Hermy the Misfit Elf apart from the rest of his North Pole co-workers in the 1964 animated TV special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The most obvious and central to the plot is that he wants to be a dentist rather than manufacture toys. He also appears to be the only junior employee with a visible hairstyle — a stylish, swoopy blond mop.

But another feature sets Hermy apart that you may not have noticed: He does not have the pointy ears typically associated with elves. The other assembly workers, and even the gruff, goateed factory supervisor, all have pointy ears. Once you notice they are missing, it’s hard to unsee it, especially since his actual ears are quite small and rounded.

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