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The Life Slant

Age of Extinction: Massacring Sharks Won’t Rid COVID-19

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The pharmaceutical gold rush to invent an antidote for the highly infectious airborne coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has set its sights on devouring the most perfect fish to swim the seas: the shark.

Some of the 176 coronavirus vaccine trials are using an oily animal hydrocarbon found in deepsea shark livers called squalene. Squalene is believed to improve the human response of the antigen (toxin) within the dose.

Sharks and Covid-19 vaccine
Great white sharks are the largest predatory fish on Earth.
Image credit: Michael Muller
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Trump Greenlights Destruction of America’s Amazon-like Rainforest

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Nestled along 500 miles of Alaska’s verdant Inside Passage there are spellbinding skyscraper Sitka spruce, giant western hemlocks, colossal  western redcedars and weathered 1,800-year-old yellow cedars. The hallowed old-growth temperate rainforest is ruled by the monarchs of nature, three-quarter ton grizzly bears. Altogether, some 17 million dripping, breathing, climate-making Mother Earth forested acres are guarding a whopping eight percent of all the carbon held in the United States. The Tongass National Forest is America’s Amazon rainforest. It contains about one-third of the sanctified old-growth temperate forests left on our man-besieged planet. That priceless rainforest is every American (and planetary) Gen Zs birthright, and Donald J. Trump, the chief promoter of extinction, has just signed off on the death warrants for more than half of it, some 9 million acres.

Yellow cedar tree rings are living museums. They provide an unparalleled looking glass into the climate when the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great established his capital at Constantinople in 330CE (much later becoming Istanbul, Turkey).
Image Credit: Reddit
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Vengeance: Climate Fires

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* As I’m writing, the air is putrid and acrid. A fog of death has cloaked Washington, Oregon and California. Climate fires have incinerated about five million acres – a once-in-a-generation-event – and they are far from over.

The enormity and ferocity of these man-made, global heating fires is gobsmacking. The climate has reached a planetary tipping point. The only unknown is how we survive it – especially with Republicans intoxicated on Trumpism, recklessly reassured by Rupert Murdoch’s science-denying talking heads.

Four hundred and fifty million honeybees were burned to death during the December 2019 Australian climate-driven bushfires. Image credit: ABC News

*My upcoming book Gen Z Emergency has chronicled the hideous 2019-2020, worst-ever, Australian climate fires. More than one billion of our brethren and sistren, the animals, were cremated. This does not include frogs and insects, which would have elevated that number into several billions.

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China goes viral

China Goes Viral

*The global economy has suffered and enormous punch to the gut, and the economies of many nations are coughing and wheezing while dozens of their citizens perish. The culprit in this calamity is the Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. The origin of this pandemic (empowered by the global economy) has been traced to the city of Wuhan, in Hubei province, China, where it emerged in December of 2019.

Actually, according to Helen Davidson of “The Guardian,” COVID-19 was first detected on November 17 of 2019, and by March 13, 2020, had killed 4,702 people. The Chinese government only admitted that there was human-to-human contact on January 21 of 2020. Doctor Ai Fen of the Wuhan Central hospital lost four of her fellow doctors to the virus and is guilty of “criticizing hospital authorities for suppressing early warnings of the outbreak.” To further add to the global mayhem, Dr. Fen and whistleblower ophthalmologist Li Wenliang were risking their jobs as well as detention to reveal to the public about the conditions in Wuhan. The global economy advances (and kills) everyone equally, if not for the preparations by their nation. Keep Reading

Covid-19: The Chicken or the Egg

*What came first is debatable when asked about the chicken and the egg. However, when we ask what happened first, labor or corporations, the answer is labor.

The president has claimed, “I am facing the biggest decision of my life.” He is referring to getting people back to work as our economy has taken a big hit because of the pandemic. Many of us were not around during the Great Depression when people were out of work; there were food shortages, confusion, health risks, and more. None of us want to repeat that era. As Americans, we must support cautious and well thought out legislation on the mobilization of our economy.

Living in a Democracy claiming freedoms has been one of the many issues creating issues on our health care providers, enforcement, getting to solutions, and understanding the impact and meaning of a pandemic. Keep Reading

Yellow Lanterns Welcoming Spring

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*A magnificent plant called yellow lantern is flowering along the west coast. It’s a vibrant vernal beauty.

These western inhabitants thrive in rich mucky, wet swamps near red alders, Sitka spruce, western redcedars and grand firs.

Yellow Lanterns
It’s exhilarating to see these bursting Sitka oxygen-makers. Image credit: Reese Halter

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COVID-19: The Clear and Present Threat to Military Families During This Crisis is Not the Virus

*Too many veterans and their families aren’t mentally, emotionally and spiritually prepared for the difficult days ahead. Since the spread of COVID-19, we’ve heard from hundreds of military families who are afraid – not of catching a virus – but of the long term damage this crisis will have on their lives.

They’re afraid they’ll turn to older ways of coping with their challenges as the stress of this crisis looms over them. Many nationwide closures have affected support groups such as alcoholics anonymous (AA), and other key outpatient services due to government action to limit large gatherings. People are overwhelmed with financial buckling, uncertainty, school cancellations affecting their children, and being closed off from normal routines. Keep Reading

A Sweet Story

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*Science is exhilarating, challenging and rich with rewards. As a scientist, the bees have shown me many things.

Last week, the bees revealed a lesson on speed and stamina. At 230 wingbeats per second, on my bicycle, I clocked one gal soaring down the street at 27 miles per hour (mph)!

honeybees
An indefatigable worker on a nectar run. Image credit: Reese Halter

She had an empty load. When topped-up with nectar, pollen, water or tree resin (used to make propolis, or bee glue), a honeybee can reach an impressive 20mph. She can maintain that stamina for possibly a couple miles or more.

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Androgyny’s Abrogation

*Here’s the call:

Dispatcher: 911 what is your emergency?

Caller: I think we have a heart attack victim.

Dispatcher: OK please tell me the age and sex of the victim.

Caller: I can’t.

Dispatcher: You can’t tell me the age and sex of the victim?

Caller: About 40 years old, I guess, but I don’t know the sex.

Dispatcher: You don’t know the sex?

Caller: They’re androgynous. Keep Reading

Do You Love America’s Youth?

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*More dead kids.  Another devastated town.  We mourn, we complain and we do nothing.  NOTHING!

As tiresome as it is to listen to NRA Nutz misquote, misinterpret and misuse the Second Amendment, and as badly as we need gun ownership regulation of some sort – as the Second Amendment dictates – gun control legislation is not going to stop these monstrous school killings; at least not any time soon.  Even if gun control legislation passed this afternoon it would take decades before guns weren’t readily available – if then. Keep Reading

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