Facebook Disaster Maps - Using Data to Help Communities Recover and Rebuild

newsroom.fb.com - By Molly Jackman - June 7, 2017

Today, we are introducing disaster maps that use aggregated, de-identified Facebook data to help organizations address the critical gap in information they often face when responding to natural disasters. Many of these organizations worked with us to identify what data would be most helpful and how it could be put to action in the moments following a disaster.

This initiative is the product of close work with UNICEF, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the World Food Programme, and other organizations. 

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ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLE HERE - Surveillance for good? Facebook tracks disaster victims

CLICK HERE - Mark Zuckerberg - Facebook

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Port Arthur Residents' Concerns Continue After German Pellets Silo Collapses

           

kfdm.com - by Kaily Cunningham - June 4, 2017

PORT ARTHUR — After nearly two months of smoke pouring out of a German Pellets silo in Port Arthur, the silo collapsed early Sunday morning.

Authorities say the silo collapse just after 4 a.m. . . .

 . . . However, they say, their health concerns -- as a result of inhaling the smoke -- continue.

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'Cancer Alley' Residents Say Industry is Hurting Town: 'We're Collateral Damage'

           

In Louisiana’s industrial heart, the shadow of Trump’s deregulation push looms as St James residents fight chemical plants, pipelines and laissez-faire policies

theguardian.com - by Lauren Zanolli in St James, Louisiana. Main image by Julie Dermansky - June 6, 2017

We’re sick of being sick, we’re tired of being tired,” said Pastor Harry Joseph of Mount Triumph Baptist Church, which serves this sleepy riverside town of about 1,000 residents, mostly poor and African American. Once a bucolic village of pasturelands and sugarcane fields on the banks of the Mississippi, St James, Louisiana, is now a densely packed industrial zone in the heart of Louisiana’s petrochemical corridor, commonly referred to as “Cancer Alley” . . . 

 . . . Fifteen large industrial sites – mainly oil storage facilities, pipelines and petrochemical plants – now fill the 13-mile stretch of road that defines the town of St James, also known as the fifth ward of St James parish.

Yet residents here say they’ve seen little economic benefit – either in jobs or tax revenues – from the industry that has taken over the town. Instead, they say, they’ve been saddled with a myriad of health issues, medical bills and environmental degradation.

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Texas Lawmakers Do Little to Address Pregnancy-Related Deaths

           

FILE - In this March 6, 2017, file photo, Texas Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, front, backed by Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, center, and other legislators talks to the media during a news conference to discuss Senate Bill 6 at the Texas Capitol in Austin, Texas. Just months after a high-profile study revealed that Texas has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the developed world, state lawmakers failed to respond by passing comprehensive legislation to combat the crisis during the legislative session. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Obstetrics & Gynecology - Recent Increases in the U.S. Maternal Mortality Rate: Disentangling Trends From Measurement Issues

CLICK HERE - Maryland Population Research Center (MPRC) - MacDorman research on U.S. maternal mortality increase featured on CNN

abcnews.go.com - Associated Press - by Meredith Hoffman - June 4, 2017

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How G.O.P. Leaders Came to View Climate Change as Fake Science

           

A coal-fired power station in Mount Storm, W.Va., in January. The coal industry played an instrumental role in efforts to unwind the Obama administration’s climate policies. Credit Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

nytimes.com - by Coral Davenport and Eric Lipton - June 3, 2017

The Republican Party’s fast journey from debating how to combat human-caused climate change to arguing that it does not exist is a story of big political money, Democratic hubris in the Obama years and a partisan chasm that grew over nine years like a crack in the Antarctic shelf, favoring extreme positions and uncompromising rhetoric over cooperation and conciliation . . .

<In 2008 Senator John McCain, who had just secured the Republican nomination for President, sounded the alarm on global warming.>

 . . . Since Mr. McCain ran for president on climate credentials that were stronger than his opponent Barack Obama’s, the scientific evidence linking greenhouse gases from fossil fuels to the dangerous warming of the planet has grown stronger.

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Map Shows How Paris Reversal Isolates U.S. From World

           

           

1Nicaragua refused to join the Paris Agreement because the country believes that the accord’s voluntary goals are insufficient.

2A brutal civil war and international sanctions made it difficult for Syria to attend the Paris negotiations and deliver an emissions-reduction goal.

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Trump Will Withdraw U.S. From Paris Climate Agreement

           

nytimes.com - by Michael D. Shear - June 1, 2017

President Trump announced Thursday that he will withdraw the United States from participation in the Paris climate accord, weakening global efforts to combat climate change and siding with conservatives who argued that the landmark 2015 agreement was harming the economy.

But he will stick to the withdrawal process laid out in the Paris agreement, which President Barack Obama joined and most of the world has already ratified. That could take nearly four years to complete, meaning a final decision would be up to the American voters in the next presidential election.

Still, Mr. Trump’s decision is a remarkable rebuke to fellow heads-of-state, climate activists, corporate executives and members of the president’s own staff, all of whom failed this week to change Mr. Trump’s mind with an intense, last-minute lobbying blitz.

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More Than 30 States Embrace Grid Modernization, New Policy Tracker Finds

           

CLICK HERE - 50 States of Grid Modernization (60 page .PDF report)

CLICK HERE - 50 States of Solar (11 page .PDF report)

A new quarterly report from the folks who brought you '50 States of Solar' aims to chronicle grid modernization initiatives across the US

utilitydive.com - by Herman K. Trabish - May 31, 2017

Grid modernization is a hot topic in the power sector as utilities across the country replace aging infrastructure and upgrade their systems for new energy technologies.

But until now, there was no easily-accessible tool to track the myriad regulatory actions on advanced metering, non-wire alternatives, ratemaking reform and the like.

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‘Resilience Bonds’: A Secret Weapon Against Catastrophe

           

Resilience bonds could help places vulnerable to natural disasters, like Mexico, better prepare for catastrophe - not just help clean up after it. (Credit: Alamy Stock Photo)

The costs of natural disasters are becoming too much to bear – and it’s driving up premiums no matter where you live. The solution may be a transformative type of insurance never seen before.

bbc.com - by Amanda Ruggeri - May 16, 2017

 . . . People will have to shift their entire thinking about how disaster recovery is funded – and by whom, experts say. “There’s a perception that, following a disaster, the federal government’s role is to make you whole and rebuild homes and infrastructure and community at the federal taxpayer’s expense. And that is simply not true,” Medlock says. “There are limits to what the federal government can – and should – do.”

 . . . Enter a new idea that could transform not only the global economy, but how disasters affect us: a resilience bond. As well as guaranteeing help to communities after a catastrophe, it would help fund projects and strategies they need to become less vulnerable to begin with . . .

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What Happens to Earth if the US Exits the Climate Deal?

           

Credit:  AP Photo/Jim Cole, File

washingtonpost.com - Associated Press - May 27, 2017

 . . . In an attempt to understand what could happen to the planet if the U.S. pulls out of Paris, The Associated Press consulted with more than two dozen climate scientists and analyzed a special computer model scenario designed to calculate potential effects.

Scientists said it would worsen an already bad problem, and make it far more difficult to prevent crossing a dangerous global temperature threshold.

 . . . “The U.S. matters a great deal . . . That amount could make the difference between meeting the Paris limit of two degrees and missing it” . . . 

While scientists may disagree on the computer simulations they overwhelmingly agreed that the warming the planet is undergoing now would be faster and more intense.

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Food and Climate Change: We Can Still Act and It Won’t Be Too Late

           

Michelle Obama and White House chef Sam Kass (in green) digging for sweet potatoes in the White House kitchen garden in 2010. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty

The former president addresses the greatest challenges facing the world, and what we can do about them

theguardian.com - by Barack Obama - May 26, 2017

 . . . even if every country somehow puts the brakes on emissions, climate change would still have an impact on our world for years to come. Our changing climate is already making it more difficult to produce food, and we’ve already seen shrinking yields and spiking food prices that, in some cases, are leading to political instability. And when most of the world’s poor work in agriculture, the stark imbalances that we’ve worked so hard to close between developed and developing countries will be even tougher to close.

CLICK HERE - READ COMPLETE ARTICLE - Barack Obama on food and climate change: ‘We can still act and it won’t be too late’

 

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Miami's Zika Outbreak Began Months Before It Was First Detected

           

A groundskeeper at Pinecrest Gardens sprays pesticide to kill mosquitoes in Miami-Dade County, Fla., in 2016.  Gaston De Cardenas/Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Nature - Genomic epidemiology reveals multiple introductions of Zika virus into the United States

npr.org - by Greg Allen - May 24, 2017

Last year's Zika outbreak in Miami likely started in the spring of 2016, with the virus introduced multiple times before it was detected, researchers say. And most of those cases originated in the Caribbean.

The study, published Wednesday in Nature, examined more than 250 cases of local Zika transmission in three Miami neighborhoods. Researchers analyzed 39 Zika virus genomes isolated from 32 people who had been infected and seven Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the species that carries Zika.

Comparison of differences in those genomes finds the virus was introduced by travelers at least four and perhaps as many as 40 different times as early as March 2016. Local transmission of Zika wasn't confirmed in Miami until late July.

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New Drugs Found to Cause Side Effects Years After Approval

Abilify - Daniel Acker / Bloomberg via Getty Images

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - JAMA - Postmarket Safety Events Among Novel Therapeutics Approved by the US Food and Drug Administration Between 2001 and 2010

nbcnews.com - Associated Press - May 10, 2017

Almost one-third of new drugs approved by U.S. regulators over a decade ended up years later with warnings about unexpected, sometimes life-threatening side effects or complications, a new analysis found.

The results covered all 222 prescription drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from 2001 through 2010. The researchers looked at potential problems that cropped up during routine monitoring that's done once a medicine is on the market.

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Infectious Disease Is the Next Big Global Security Risk

The World Is Not Ready for the Next Pandemic

           

John Hackett and Charles Chiu handle Zika samples at the University of California, San Francisco-Abbott Viral Diagnostics and Discovery Center - Cody Pickens for TIME

time.com - by Bryan Walsh - May 4, 2017

 . . . From Ebola in West Africa to Zika in South America to MERS in the Middle East, dangerous outbreaks are on the rise around the world . . . 

 . . . The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ranks H7N9 as the flu strain with the greatest potential to cause a pandemic--an infectious-disease outbreak that goes global. If a more contagious H7N9 were to be anywhere near as deadly as it is now, the death toll could be in the tens of millions.

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Scientists Say the Pace of Sea Level Rise Has Nearly Tripled Since 1990

           

An iceberg is pictured in the western Antarctic peninsula in March 2016. (Eitan Abramovich/AFP/Getty Images)

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - PNAS - Reassessment of 20th century global mean sea level rise

washingtonpost.com - by Chris Mooney - May 22, 2017

A new scientific analysis finds that the Earth’s oceans are rising nearly three times as rapidly as they were throughout most of the 20th century, one of the strongest indications yet that a much feared trend of not just sea level rise, but its acceleration, is now underway.

“We have a much stronger acceleration in sea level rise than formerly thought,” said Sönke Dangendorf, a researcher with the University of Siegen in Germany who led the study along with scientists at institutions in Spain, France, Norway and the Netherlands.

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