Shedding Light in the Darkness

Monthly Archives: October 2015

Study Links Sugar Cane Burning on Maui With Respiratory Illness


A new study, published in the journal Environmental Health, on the health effects of sugar cane burning finds a link between cane burning and acute respiratory illness. Sugar cane harvesting by burning on Maui island is an environmental health issue due to respiratory effects of smoke. Volcanic smog (“vog”) from an active volcano on a neighboring island periodically blankets Maui and could confound a study of cane smoke’s effects since cane burning is not allowed on vog days. This study examines the association between cane burning and emergency department (ED) visits, hospital admissions, and prescription fills for acute respiratory illnesses.  Read more of this post

Alarming Rates of Drugging Babies and Toddlers in America


In May 2014, The New York Times disclosed that more than 10,000 American toddlers 2 or 3 years old are being medicated for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder outside established pediatric guidelines. The article, “Thousands of Toddlers Are Medicated for A.D.H.D., Report Finds, Raising Worries,” drew from information from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, which found that toddlers covered by Medicaid are particularly prone to be put on medication such as Ritalin and Adderall. Read more of this post

Child Cancer Rates Soar After Fukushima Nuclear Disaster


Back in March, Forbes ran an article on the Fukushima disaster by nuclear power industry proponent James Conca asserting that: “No one will die from Fukushima radiation, there will be no increased cancer rates, the food supply is not contaminated, the ocean nearby is not contaminated, most of the people can move back into their homes, and most of the other nuclear plants in Japan can start up just fine.” Read more of this post

The Rise of Digital Amnesia

digital amnesia figures

Cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab has published a new study that reveals the majority of connected consumers increasingly depend on devices for recalling and storing their memories. Kaspersky Lab has termed this phenomenon Digital Amnesia: the experience of forgetting information that you trust a digital device to store and remember for you. Read more of this post

Yoko Ono on John Lennon – A Remembrance


In the late 1980s Yoko Ono mounted the first gallery exhibition of John Lennon’s art on Maui. She would come back to Maui for more exhibits. and each time we would meet and talk. As a huge Beatle and John fan this was a great treat. Our paths had first crossed, unbeknownst to us, back in the late 1960s during anti-censorship demonstration in London. While I was marching along John and Yoko popped out of a building and led it. We also discovered we shared a love for ancient Egypt and particularly the temple of Abydos. Anyway, here’s a little remembrance of John coming up to his 75th birthday, taken from interviews I conducted with Yoko. Read more of this post

Are Computers in Schools Making Kids Dumber?


The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has just released a study which looked at computer use among 15-year-olds across 31 nations and regions in 2012, and found that students who used computers more at school had both lower reading and lower math scores, as measured by PISA or Program for International Student Assessment. Read more of this post

Rx For Violence? Aggression & Antidepressants


In an article headlined “Rx for violence? Crime risk rises for young people on antidepressants,” the Los Angeles Times reported on a new study out of Sweden linking antidepressants and violence.

Data from Sweden shows that young adults between the ages of 15 and 24 who had filled prescriptions for the drugs were more likely to be convicted of a homicide, assault, robbery, arson, kidnapping, sexual offense or other violent crime when they were taking the medications than when they weren’t. The researchers found no link between antidepressant use and criminal activity for older patients. Read more of this post

A Blow to Biotech as Much of Europe Says No to GMO


Half of the European Union’s 28 countries and three of its regions have opted out of a new GM crop scheme, in a blow to biotech industry hopes. Under new EU rules agreed in March, 14 countries have now told Brussels they will send territorial exclusion requests to the big agricultural multinationals including Monsanto, Dow, Syngenta and Pioneer.

Applications from Latvia and Greece have already been accepted by the firms and if that pattern is extended, around two-thirds of of the EU’s population – and of its arable land – will be GM-free. Industry sources warned that Europe could soon become a “graveyard” for biotech products but environmentalists hailed the news.

On Wednesday, Germany became the largest EU country to snub GM crops, when the agricultural minister, Christian Schmidt , told Brussels that his country had no appetite for the biotech produce.

Other countries that have exercised an opt out or said they plan to include Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Italy, Hungary, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovenia. Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Wallonia region of Belgium will also be opting out on a regional basis. Wales has more recently opted out, making England the only country in the British Isles to allow GM crop cultivation.