What we're talking about Too Hot, So Long Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Too Hot, So Long

Failing to get the time to acclimate to a hot work environment can be deadly. That’s the message I took away from an item in last week’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). “Heat illness and deaths among workers — U.S. 2012-2013” reports on 13 occupational heat-related fatalities investigated by federal OSHA.  Nine of the…

Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new data on heat deaths among U.S. workers, underscoring the often-tragic consequences that result when employers fail to take relatively simple and low-cost preventive actions.

On July 5, James Baldasarre, a 45-year old a Medford, Massachusetts US Postal Service employee who had worked for USPS for 24 years, died from excessive heat. According to news reports, shortly before collapsing in the 95-degree heat, Baldasarre texted his wife to say, “I’m going to die out here today. It’s so hot.”  On…

A hot work environment killed at least 13 people in 2012 and 2013 (not counting cases from nineteen states, including California, that operate their own OSHA programs). On The Pump Handle, Celeste Monforton writes "the report shows the diversity of jobs and situations in which workers are at risk of suffering a heat-related illness or death." Kim Krisberg says "most of the people worked outdoors, though seven of the cases happened indoors in work settings with a powerful heat source." Nine of the thirteen died in their first three days of being on the job, showing that the human body needs time to acclimate to a hot new schedule. Krisberg continues "heat illness prevention programs were either incomplete or entirely absent from the workplaces in question." Considering that workplaces in the study were as hot as 106° Fahrenheit, and that heat stroke can damage the brain and organs as well as kill you, simple interventions like providing water, shade, and rest should be a top priority for any employer.

Channel Surfing

Life Science

Susan Blackmore always lectures entertainingly — really, if you get a chance to hear her, you should — so I can guess how surprised she was when students claimed offense and walked out on her talk. They were religiously indoctrinated, and simply shut down their brains when the word “evolution” came up, and when she…

The USA Science & Engineering Festival is proud to announce the return of Lockheed Martin as its 2016 Founding and Presenting Host and expanded outreach activities to engage our nation’s youth in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). “The USA Science & Engineering Festival provides an essential introduction and gateway to the exciting world of STEM,”…

I think this is rather awesome: a detailed examination of the Cambrian fossil Hallucigenia, specifically an examination of the fine structure of its claws, has revealed clear affinities of the long extinct form to this adorable little guy, the velvet worm.

Physical Science

The USA Science & Engineering Festival is proud to announce the return of Lockheed Martin as its 2016 Founding and Presenting Host and expanded outreach activities to engage our nation’s youth in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). “The USA Science & Engineering Festival provides an essential introduction and gateway to the exciting world of STEM,”…

Whether you’ve been coming around to Starts With A Bang for years or whether you just discovered us a few weeks ago, chances are you’ve heard us take on the issue of dark matter — whether it exists and, if so, what its properties are — and how we think we know that. And while every…

“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” -Nathaniel Hawthorne It’s hard to believe that we’ve almost reached the end of Messier Monday, but with a finite number (110) objects in the catalogue, we were bound to come to…

Environment

There is a fantastic paper just out in Science: “Sustained miniaturization and anatomoical innovation in the dinosaurian anceestors of birds” by Michael Lee, Andrea Cau, Darren Naishe and Gareth Dyke. I want to talk about this research but if you really want to know more about it, don’t rely on me; one of the co-authors…

Researchers at DARPA are using geckos to create biologically inspired methods of scaling vertical walls. Check out this video demonstration of “Geckskin”:

A year ago, the entirety of the intertubes were rocked to their foundations by a post of epochal proportions – me taking the piss out of AW’s “paper”. And now, I’m rather distressed to see, the anniversary of this anniversary has passed unnoticed by everyone. When your major “paper” is so contemptible that people don’t…

Humanities

Previous research has documented a link between downturns in the economy and suicide among adults. But how do those downturns ripple throughout families and communities, and in particular, how do massive job losses affect the mental health of teens? A new study has found that, sadly, many teens are not immune to the stress of a struggling economy.

The USA Science & Engineering Festival is proud to announce the return of Lockheed Martin as its 2016 Founding and Presenting Host and expanded outreach activities to engage our nation’s youth in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). “The USA Science & Engineering Festival provides an essential introduction and gateway to the exciting world of STEM,”…

Researchers at DARPA are using geckos to create biologically inspired methods of scaling vertical walls. Check out this video demonstration of “Geckskin”:

Education

The USA Science & Engineering Festival is proud to announce the return of Lockheed Martin as its 2016 Founding and Presenting Host and expanded outreach activities to engage our nation’s youth in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). “The USA Science & Engineering Festival provides an essential introduction and gateway to the exciting world of STEM,”…

Researchers at DARPA are using geckos to create biologically inspired methods of scaling vertical walls. Check out this video demonstration of “Geckskin”:

In honor of the Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week”, check out these shark cams. National Aquarium Reef Shark Cam: Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream SHARK FIN CAM: Video taken from a camera strapped to the dorsal fin of a shark: Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream If you have not yet tuned in to Discovery…

Politics

Researchers at DARPA are using geckos to create biologically inspired methods of scaling vertical walls. Check out this video demonstration of “Geckskin”:

I just realized that the Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed a brief with the court in relation to Mann vs. the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the National Review, Mark Steyn, and Rand Simberg (variously). This is disappointing and will probably color my opinion of EFF going forward on whatever else they do. Their brief isn’t just…

Tina Fey, ah, Sarah Palin, um, not sure, produces point by point rebuttal to Elizabeth Warren’s speech on progressive values: And now …

Medicine

I hadn’t expected to write about this topic again so soon, but then I didn’t expect a major newspaper to have written such a boneheaded editorial about it. In a way, I hate to write this post, because USA TODAY did great things once. There, Liz Szabo wrote the single best science-based report on cancer…

Researchers at DARPA are using geckos to create biologically inspired methods of scaling vertical walls. Check out this video demonstration of “Geckskin”:

I’m happy to welcome Dr. Heather Lander to the blogosphere and Twitterverse. She’s a virologist who has done work with some of the world’s deadliest pathogens in a high-security biosafety level 4 laboratory. This is the type of lab where one must wear “space suits” to work with organisms. You’ve probably seen in dramatized in various movies and…

Brain & Behavior

Previous research has documented a link between downturns in the economy and suicide among adults. But how do those downturns ripple throughout families and communities, and in particular, how do massive job losses affect the mental health of teens? A new study has found that, sadly, many teens are not immune to the stress of a struggling economy.

Researchers at DARPA are using geckos to create biologically inspired methods of scaling vertical walls. Check out this video demonstration of “Geckskin”:

In honor of the Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week”, check out these shark cams. National Aquarium Reef Shark Cam: Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream SHARK FIN CAM: Video taken from a camera strapped to the dorsal fin of a shark: Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream If you have not yet tuned in to Discovery…

Technology

Researchers at DARPA are using geckos to create biologically inspired methods of scaling vertical walls. Check out this video demonstration of “Geckskin”:

I just realized that the Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed a brief with the court in relation to Mann vs. the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the National Review, Mark Steyn, and Rand Simberg (variously). This is disappointing and will probably color my opinion of EFF going forward on whatever else they do. Their brief isn’t just…

In honor of the Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week”, check out these shark cams. National Aquarium Reef Shark Cam: Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream SHARK FIN CAM: Video taken from a camera strapped to the dorsal fin of a shark: Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream If you have not yet tuned in to Discovery…

Information Science

To continue the recent American Association for the Advancement of Science theme, I present the text of a recent open letter I signed to the AAAS concerning their new journal Science Advances. Thanks to Jonathan Tennant for spearheading this effort. You can read more about the rationale behind writing the letter and the process involved…

From the “So Funny it Hurts” file… This one combines the recent spying cases between Canada and China with the equally “humourous” ongoing Canadian War on Science. Chinese cyber spies disappointed by Canada’s complete lack of scientific research BEIJING – Chinese state-sponsored hackers were disappointed after hacking into Canadian government and business research archives and…

In honor of the Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week”, check out these shark cams. National Aquarium Reef Shark Cam: Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream SHARK FIN CAM: Video taken from a camera strapped to the dorsal fin of a shark: Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream If you have not yet tuned in to Discovery…

Jobs

Previous research has documented a link between downturns in the economy and suicide among adults. But how do those downturns ripple throughout families and communities, and in particular, how do massive job losses affect the mental health of teens? A new study has found that, sadly, many teens are not immune to the stress of a struggling economy.

Erik Deighton’s work-related death could have been prevented. That’s how I see Michigan OSHA’s findings in the agency’s citations against his employer, Colonial Plastics.

Obama signs order requiring certain contractors to disclose labor violations; judge rules in favor of college athletes; Brooklyn hospital fined for workplace violence; and workers take wage theft to court.