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What we're talking about Too Hot, So Long Friday, August 22, 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

Has it really been almost four years since I blogged about mushrooms? This afternoon me and my wife repeated our September 8, 2010 expedition to the hills between Lakes Lundsjön and Trehörningen and picked almost a kilo of mushrooms in a bit more than an hour. We got: King bolete, Stensopp/Karl Johan, Boletus edulis Bay…

Dr. Greg Byrnes (Siena College, Loudonville, NY) and Dr. Bruce Jayne (University of Cincinnati, OH) discovered that snakes use more force than is necessary to support their weight when climbing.  To climb, snakes rely on friction and repeatedly contract and extend their bodies, a process called concertina locomotion. To study the forces generated by snakes…

Physical Science

OK, the photo above is a recent picture of me– yesterday, in fact. But the spiral-carved rock I’m standing next to was carved that way a bit more than five thousand years ago, so that ought to count as a throwback… We’ve been in Dublin the last few days, and on Thursday we took a…

Dr. Greg Byrnes (Siena College, Loudonville, NY) and Dr. Bruce Jayne (University of Cincinnati, OH) discovered that snakes use more force than is necessary to support their weight when climbing.  To climb, snakes rely on friction and repeatedly contract and extend their bodies, a process called concertina locomotion. To study the forces generated by snakes…

“We came all this way to explore the Moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the Earth.” -Bill Anders, Apollo 8 astronaut When you think about the most amazing sights available to humanity here on Earth, you probably don’t think about leaving Earth in order to capture them. But sometimes, doing exactly that…

Environment

Dr. Greg Byrnes (Siena College, Loudonville, NY) and Dr. Bruce Jayne (University of Cincinnati, OH) discovered that snakes use more force than is necessary to support their weight when climbing.  To climb, snakes rely on friction and repeatedly contract and extend their bodies, a process called concertina locomotion. To study the forces generated by snakes…

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”:

Humanities

After nearly a decade of hoping state legislators would pass an earned paid sick time law, advocates in Massachusetts decided it was time to put the question to voters. Now, in November, voters will have the chance to help improve the lives of nearly 1 million workers who can’t earn one, single hour of sick leave and are often left to choose between caring for themselves or a loved one, paying the bills or losing a job.

If the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) give their approval to a new herbicide called Enlist Duo and to corn and soybean seeds genetically engineered (GE) to resist that chemical, the United States could see a significant increase in what is already one of the country’s most widely used herbicides.…

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.

Education

Dr. Greg Byrnes (Siena College, Loudonville, NY) and Dr. Bruce Jayne (University of Cincinnati, OH) discovered that snakes use more force than is necessary to support their weight when climbing.  To climb, snakes rely on friction and repeatedly contract and extend their bodies, a process called concertina locomotion. To study the forces generated by snakes…

The ‘Nifty Fifty (times 4)’, a program of Science Spark, presented by InfoComm International, are a group of 200 noted science and engineering professionals who will fan out across the Washington, D.C. area in the 2014-2015 school year to speak about their work and careers at various middle and high schools.  Meet Nifty Fifty Speaker…

A new study published in  AJP-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology suggests that electroacupuncture to the abdominal region may prevent increases in blood sugar concentrations after a meal by affecting insulin sensitivity and circulating free fatty acid concentrations.  Granted this is not comparative physiology research, I find it interesting that electrical stimulation can have such a large impact…

Politics

After nearly a decade of hoping state legislators would pass an earned paid sick time law, advocates in Massachusetts decided it was time to put the question to voters. Now, in November, voters will have the chance to help improve the lives of nearly 1 million workers who can’t earn one, single hour of sick leave and are often left to choose between caring for themselves or a loved one, paying the bills or losing a job.

Science had a very interesting special section this spring: The Science of Inequality – basically doing a summary and review of issues related to the stuff in Piketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century The section has a series of very interesting articles on a range of related topics: “Inequality in the Long Run” by…

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

Medicine

Here we go again. If there’s anything that ignites the fevered brains (such as they are) of antivaccine activists, it’s a good seeming conspiracy. Indeed, as we’ve seen before, if they can’t find a legitimate one, they’ll either exaggerate one or make one up out of whole cloth. This week, an “alleged” conspiracy has been…

Dr. Greg Byrnes (Siena College, Loudonville, NY) and Dr. Bruce Jayne (University of Cincinnati, OH) discovered that snakes use more force than is necessary to support their weight when climbing.  To climb, snakes rely on friction and repeatedly contract and extend their bodies, a process called concertina locomotion. To study the forces generated by snakes…

I’ll partially apologize here. The reason is that I said I’d be back to business dishing out the Insolence as usual, be it in the form of my usual 2,000 word gems, or slightly shorter, or a lot longer. However, fate intervened. First, there were new developments in the Frank Arguello threat machine. Go back…

Brain & Behavior

Dr. Greg Byrnes (Siena College, Loudonville, NY) and Dr. Bruce Jayne (University of Cincinnati, OH) discovered that snakes use more force than is necessary to support their weight when climbing.  To climb, snakes rely on friction and repeatedly contract and extend their bodies, a process called concertina locomotion. To study the forces generated by snakes…

A new study published in  AJP-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology suggests that electroacupuncture to the abdominal region may prevent increases in blood sugar concentrations after a meal by affecting insulin sensitivity and circulating free fatty acid concentrations.  Granted this is not comparative physiology research, I find it interesting that electrical stimulation can have such a large impact…

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.

Technology

Dr. Greg Byrnes (Siena College, Loudonville, NY) and Dr. Bruce Jayne (University of Cincinnati, OH) discovered that snakes use more force than is necessary to support their weight when climbing.  To climb, snakes rely on friction and repeatedly contract and extend their bodies, a process called concertina locomotion. To study the forces generated by snakes…

Do the math: There are actually two answers to this question. First, “maths” looks plural and is preferred by some because “mathematics” is plural. The problem with that is “mathematics” is no more plural than “physics” or any other compound noun. It is a rational sounding utterly incorrect argument. If we said “mathematics are cool”…

A new study published in  AJP-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology suggests that electroacupuncture to the abdominal region may prevent increases in blood sugar concentrations after a meal by affecting insulin sensitivity and circulating free fatty acid concentrations.  Granted this is not comparative physiology research, I find it interesting that electrical stimulation can have such a large impact…

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

After nearly a decade of hoping state legislators would pass an earned paid sick time law, advocates in Massachusetts decided it was time to put the question to voters. Now, in November, voters will have the chance to help improve the lives of nearly 1 million workers who can’t earn one, single hour of sick leave and are often left to choose between caring for themselves or a loved one, paying the bills or losing a job.

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.