Archives for August, 2010

More on Excrement

Check out Carnal Carnival #1: Essentials of Elimination, hosted by Bora at A Blog Around the Clock. It’s a fascinating collection of blog posts all about poop. (The post I put up yesterday on sanitation is among them.) Many of the posts are about the interesting things scientists can learn by studying excrement – human…

In Praise of Toilets

I noted in my post about Pakistan that a shortage of clean water for millions of flood victims may lead to outbreaks of diarrheal diseases. It’s worth getting into the issue of how unclean water causes these diseases. Basically, the problem is water contaminated by human feces. In Clinical Microbiology Reviews, Qadri et al list…

Can OSHA ban a dangerous work practice?

Earlier this month, Labor Secretary Solis proposed more than $16 million in penalties to 17 employers involved in the construction of the Kleen Energy Systems power plant in Middletown, Connecticut. The construction site was the scene of a massive explosion on the morning of February 7 in which Peter Chetulis, Ronald J Crabb, 42, Raymond…

Occupational Health News Roundup

Before BP’s name was linked in everyone’s mind to the Gulf oil disaster, the company was infamous for its unsafe Texas City refinery, where a March 2005 explosion killed 15 workers and injured 170. In September 2005, OSHA cited BP for $21 million, and BP paid the fine and entered into an agreement with OSHA…

Flooding in Pakistan has killed 1,600 and is affecting an estimated 20 million people. Six million lack access to food, shelter, and water. The report of a single confirmed cholera case (in the Swat valley) is generating some headlines, but the important point is that a lack of clean water makes the spread of any…

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels has sent a letter to Occupational Safety and Health Administration staff laying out a vision for how OSHA can do a better job of protecting worker health and safety over the coming years. In “OSHA at Forty: New Challenges and New Directions,” Michaels gives…

Two miners not yet located at Barrick gold mine in Nevada

Updated (8/15/10 2:00 pm EST) below Mine rescue teams continue their search to rescue or recover two workers struck by a “large surge of pressure” as they were being lowered into a mine shaft at Barrick’s Meikle mine near Elko, Nevada. As the Associated Press reports, the incident occurred on Thursday, August 12 at 1:15…

by Elizabeth Grossman “After three long months of oil geysering continuously from the depths of the Gulf, a temporary cap has stemmed the flow and it appears that the well is on its way to being killed. But we are by no means through this disaster,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) in his opening remarks…

Riding the (Crowded) Rails

When I visited Shanghai a few years ago, one of my favorite moments was riding the maglev train from the airport to a Metro station on the outskirts of the city. As I recall, its speed got up to around 250 mph – a counter in each car displayed the speed, and the numbers changed…

Senators John McCain and Tom Coburn have released a report on “100 Stimulus Projects that Give Taxpayers the Blues.” Their introduction rails against “torrential, misdirected government spending,” and short descriptions of the 100 projects singled out for ridicule are evidently supposed to disgust readers. What disgusted me, though, was an apparent lack of respect for…