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Americans Have Already Skipped Payments On More Than 100 Million Loans, And Job Losses Continue To Escalate

Americans Have Already Skipped Payments On More Than 100 Million Loans, And Job Losses Continue To Escalate

Those that have been hoping for some sort of a “V-shaped recovery” have had their hopes completely dashed.  U.S. workers continue to lose jobs at a staggering rate, and economic activity continues to remain at deeply suppressed levels all over the nation.  Of course this wasn’t supposed to happen now that states have been “reopening” their economies.  We were told that things would soon be getting back to normal and that the economic numbers would rebound dramatically.  But that is not happening.  In fact, the number of Americans that filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week was much higher than expected

Weekly jobless claims stayed above 1 million for the 13th consecutive week as the coronavirus pandemic continued to hammer the U.S. economy.

First-time claims totaled 1.5 million last week, higher than the 1.3 million that economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting. The government report’s total was 58,000 lower than the previous week’s 1.566 million, which was revised up by 24,000.

To put this in perspective, let me once again remind my readers that prior to this year the all-time record for a single week was just 695,000.  So even though more than 44 million Americans had already filed initial claims for unemployment benefits before this latest report, there were still enough new people losing jobs to more than double that old record from 1982.

That is just astounding.  We were told that the economy would be regaining huge amounts of jobs by now, but instead job losses remain at a catastrophic level that is unlike anything that we have ever seen before in all of U.S. history.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

18 Foods to Help Relieve Stress

18 Foods to Help Relieve Stress

If you’re feeling stressed, it’s only natural to seek relief.

While occasional bouts of stress are difficult to avoid, chronic stress can take a serious toll on your physical and emotional health. In fact, it may increase your risk of conditions like heart disease and depression.

Interestingly, certain foods and beverages may have stress-relieving qualities.

Here are 18 stress-relieving foods and beverages to add to your diet.

1. Matcha Powder

This vibrant green tea powder is popular among health enthusiasts because it’s rich in L-theanine, a non-protein amino acid with powerful stress-relieving properties.

Matcha is a better source of this amino acid than other types of green tea, as it’s made from green tea leaves grown in shade. This process increases its content of certain compounds, including L-theanine.

Both human and animal studies show that matcha may reduce stress if its L-theanine content is high enough and its caffeine is low.

For example, in a 15-day study, 36 people ate cookies containing 4.5 grams of matcha powder each day. They experienced significantly reduced activity of the stress marker salivary alpha-amylase, compared with a placebo group.

2. Swiss Chard 

Swiss chard is a leafy green vegetable that’s packed with stress-fighting nutrients.

Just 1 cup (175 grams) of cooked Swiss chard contains 36% of the recommended intake for magnesium, which plays an important role in your body’s stress response.

Low levels of this mineral are associated with conditions like anxiety and panic attacks. Plus, chronic stress may deplete your body’s magnesium stores, making this mineral especially important when you’re stressed.

3. Sweet Potatoes

Eating whole, nutrient-rich carb sources like sweet potatoes may help lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Although cortisol levels are tightly regulated, chronic stress can lead to cortisol dysfunction, which may cause inflammation, pain, and other adverse effects.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

No, The U.S. Economy Will Definitely Not Be Returning To “Normal”. In Fact, Things Will Soon Get Even Worse.

No, The U.S. Economy Will Definitely Not Be Returning To “Normal”. In Fact, Things Will Soon Get Even Worse.

2020 has been quite a year so far.  It has been one nightmare after another, and yet the economic optimists continue to insist that economic activity will soon snap back to normal levels somehow.  So the economic optimists aren’t really alarmed by the fact that the core areas of our major cities have been torched, gutted and looted by rioters, because they assume that all of this violence is just a temporary phenomenon and that any damage that has been done can be repaired.  And they aren’t really alarmed by the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic is starting to escalate again.  In fact, over the last seven days we have seen the number of newly confirmed cases around the globe hit levels that we have never seen before.  They just assume that “the worst is behind us” and that the vast majority of the businesses and jobs that have been lost during this pandemic will be quickly recovered.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they were actually correct?

Sadly, the truth is that economic conditions will not be returning to normal.  Yes, some of the jobs that were lost will be recovered as states start to “reopen” their economies.  But more than 100,000 businesses have already permanently closed during this new economic downturn, and all of those jobs are lost forever.

And yes, the level of economic activity will rise as states end their lockdowns, but it will still be much lower than it was before COVID-19 started spreading like wildfire in the United States.

At this point, even the perpetually optimistic OECD is admitting that global economic activity as a whole will be way down in 2020

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Most U.S. States Have ‘Reopened’ Their Economies, So Why Does Unemployment Continue To Spiral Out Of Control?

Most U.S. States Have ‘Reopened’ Their Economies, So Why Does Unemployment Continue To Spiral Out Of Control?

This wasn’t supposed to happen.  Once states started to “reopen” their economies, the tsunami of unemployment was supposed to end.  But instead, we continue to see Americans lose jobs at a pace that is far beyond anything we have ever seen before in all of U.S. history.  All the way back in 1982, there was a week when 695,000 Americans filed initial claims for unemployment benefits, and that all-time record was never broken until this year.  Of course we have seen monster number after monster number here in 2020, and we just learned that last week another 1.877 million Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits…

Filings for unemployment insurance claims totaled 1.877 million last week in a sign that the worst is over for the coronavirus-related jobs crisis but that the level of unemployment remains stubbornly high.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for 1.775 million new claims. The Labor Department’s total nevertheless represented a decline from the previous week’s upwardly revised total of 2.126 million.

So even though more than 40 million Americans had already lost their jobs in 2020, there were still enough people losing their jobs last week to surpass the old record from 1982 by more than a million.

Just think about that.

Overall, a grand total of 42.6 million Americans have now lost their jobs since the pandemic began, and that makes this the largest spike in unemployment in all of U.S. history by a very wide margin.

And when the monthly employment report comes out on Friday, the official U.S. unemployment rate is expected to surpass 20 percent

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

10 Numbers That Show The U.S. Has Fallen Into A Horrifying Economic Depression

10 Numbers That Show The U.S. Has Fallen Into A Horrifying Economic Depression

The last recession was really, really bad, but it was never like this.  It is time for us to face reality, and that means admitting that the U.S. economy has plunged into a depression.  This is already the worst economic downturn that America has experienced since the Great Depression of the 1930s, and we are right in the middle of the largest spike in unemployment in all of U.S. history by a very wide margin.  Of course it was fear of COVID-19 that burst our economic bubble, and fear of this virus is going to be with us for a very long time to come.  So we need to brace ourselves for an extended economic crisis, and at this point even Time Magazine is openly referring to this new downturn as an “economic depression”.  Needless to say, there will be a tremendous amount of debate about how deep it will eventually become, but everyone should be able to agree that our nation hasn’t seen anything like this since before World War II.

In order to prove my point, let me share the following 10 numbers with you…

#1 According to a study that was just released by the National Bureau of Economic Research, more than 100,000 U.S. businesses have already permanently shut down during this pandemic, and that represents millions of jobs that are never coming back.

#2 The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta is now projecting that U.S. GDP will shrink by 42.8 percent during the second quarter…

A new GDP forecast from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta for the three months through June estimates an unprecedented drop of 42.8 percent. The bank describes the data as a “nowcast” or real-time, compared with the official government report of GDP, which is dated. The first-quarter preliminary data, which showed a 4.8 percent dip, included a limited period of impact from COVID-19.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

New Zealand Deprioritizes Growth, Improves Health and Wellbeing

New Zealand Deprioritizes Growth, Improves Health and Wellbeing

Last May, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern released a budget to improve the “wellbeing” of its citizens rather than focusing on productivity and GDP growth. And not so coincidentally, New Zealand has one of the best coronavirus outcomes of any democracy in the world. Perhaps this provides a model for the world to make economic health cohere with health for all life.

To improve wellbeing, Ardern emphasized goals that focus on care for people and planet. Goals included community and cultural connection as well as intergenerational equity. Under the policy, new spending had to focus on one of five priorities: improving mental health, reducing child poverty, addressing inequalities of Indigenous peoples, thriving in a digital age, and transitioning to a low-emission economy.

While New Zealand isn’t the only country to float the idea of wellbeing over income, it is the first country to make it a reality. Guided by this philosophy, New Zealand is not in a rush to open its economy even as headlines swirl decrying a “stock market crash,” or a “recession worse than 2008-09.” Is Ardern’s example wise? Can we build upon it to further improve life after COVID?

Jacinda Ardern

New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has deprioritized “growth” as an economic goal in favour of improving wellbeing. Her compatriots seem to like it: her personal approval rating is 65%. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Health and the economy

In the postwar capitalist framework, economic “health” became equated to income growth, price stability and full employment. There are increasingly serious pitfalls to thinking of “health” as a capitalist metaphor rather than a desirable end goal. Using GDP and stock market values as measures of overall economic health made sense in the postwar era, when growth was necessary to improve human wellbeing by raising material living standards.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The lockdown air-freshener?

The lockdown air-freshener?

The Covid-19 pandemic has cleared the city streets. But who foresaw that it would dramatically clean the urban air?

One unexpected consequence of the global response to the coronavirus pandemic has been the extraordinary reduction in urban air pollution in cities where the majority of the population have been required to stay home. This level of clean city air—clean enough to breathe freely without fear of eventually  damaging one’s health and that of one’s children, is unprecedented in the modern era. Urban residents have marveled at the clarity of distant mountains rarely seen or imagined. Cities that used to be shrouded in a grey-brown blanket of smog, now seem newly minted against a background of sparkling blue sky.

London in 2016. Parents were warned not to take their cchildren into the city

Urban air pollution in major cities has been a scandal for centuries. The air pollution in London, England, has been atrocious since the 17th Century when the poet Sir William Davenport complained about the ‘canopy of smoke’ that covered the city.  We might have imagined that London’s air quality had improved over the last three centuries as the burning of coal in the city has been replaced by cleaner fuels, but we would be wrong. A report released in 2017 found that all Londoners are exposed to concentrations of particulate matter higher than WHO air quality guidelines. In central London, about 8 million people breathe in air that exceeds the guidelines by a whopping 50 percent or more.

The last ICE age

Coal is no longer the primary culprit. It is now the unbridled use of the internal combustion engine (ICE) for urban transport and the combustion of huge quantities of hydrocarbon fuels such as gasoline and diesel in the urban environment.  

Shanghai, before the lockdown

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

We Are Witnessing Economic Carnage Like We Have Never Seen Before, And The Economy Is Going To Continue To Bleed Jobs

We Are Witnessing Economic Carnage Like We Have Never Seen Before, And The Economy Is Going To Continue To Bleed Jobs

Now we are up to 33.5 million jobs lost.  In just 7 weeks, the U.S. economy has been completely turned upside down, and the numbers are unlike anything that we have ever seen before.  On Thursday, the Labor Department announced that 3.17 million Americans filed initial claims for unemployment benefits last week.  That brings the grand total for this crisis up to 33.5 million, and that figure absolutely dwarfs what we witnessed during the last recession.  And as I discussed yesterday, even the mainstream media is now admitting that millions of those jobs are never coming back.

Yes, some Americans will be going back to work now that the lockdowns are being ended, but for now it is being projected that the job losses will continue to surpass any gains that are made by workers that are returning to their old jobs.

In fact, one prominent economist told CNBC that it will likely take until mid-June before the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits each week falls below a million…

At the current pace, the week claims numbers should fall below 1 million by mid-June, according to Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. “We’re very hopeful that June will see the beginnings of a rebound as states begin to reopen,” Shepherdson said.

To put that in perspective, prior to this year the all-time record for a single week was just 695,000.

So even when we get down to a million new claims each week, that will still be a catastrophic level.

And the truth is that these numbers don’t even tell the entire story.  Because state unemployment websites have been so overwhelmed, there are vast numbers of unemployed Americans that still have not been able to successfully file claims.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Syrian Job: Uncovering the Oil Industry’s Radioactive Secret

The Syrian Job: Uncovering the Oil Industry’s Radioactive Secret

oil pump and radioactive warning

Cancerous lesions have developed across Keith MacDonald’s body and his son is dead from leukemia. His life has disintegrated, and in his eyes fault lies with the third richest company on earth. It is headquartered in the Netherlands, incorporated in the United Kingdom, and is an entity (thanks to the Parliamentary Pension Fund) that every single British MP has a stake in — Royal Dutch Shell.

The story of how MacDonald got here is a tale of adventure and tragedy fit for a Hollywood thriller, only it is real. Even with many unknowns, MacDonald’s case unearths a shocking part of the world’s most powerful industry that somehow has remained hidden for generations.

MacDonald was born on a military base in Scotland in 1951. When he was three years-old, his older brother was killed in a tragic cliff accident—the boy chased a stray football over the edge and fell 100-feet to his death. “My mother couldn’t deal with the stress and became obsessed with my wellbeing,” says MacDonald. “Safety, safety, safety, all of my life. It was almost claustrophobic. I became the family rebel and left home.”


Image: Photos of Keith MacDonald and his brother and mother (left), and their graves (right)

His oilfield story begins in the early 1970s. MacDonald was a rock and roll roadie, setting up equipment for Santana, Elton John, and Rod Stewart — “I was making good money, having a ball.” One autumn day in 1975, he hitched a ride to Birmingham with a friend who had an interview for a job inspecting oil and gas pipelines. The recruitment manager for British Industrial X-Ray wore a shirt and tie, looked MacDonald over and with a string of words that would change the course of his life, offered him a job.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The UN Is Now Admitting That This Coronavirus Pandemic Could Spark Famines Of “Biblical Proportions”

The UN Is Now Admitting That This Coronavirus Pandemic Could Spark Famines Of “Biblical Proportions”

What the head of the UN’s World Food Program just said should be making front page headlines all over the globe.  Because if what he is claiming is true, we are about to see global food shortages on a scale that is absolutely unprecedented in modern history.  Even before COVID-19 arrived, armies of locusts the size of major cities were voraciously eating crops all across Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia, and UN officials were loudly warning about what that would mean for global food production.  And now the coronavirus shutdowns that have been implemented all over the planet have brought global trade to a standstill, they are making it more difficult to maintain normal food production operations, and they have forced countless workers to stay home and not earn a living.  All of this adds up to a recipe for a complete and utter nightmare in the months ahead.

David Beasley is the head of the UN’s World Food Program, and on Tuesday he warned that we could actually see famines of “biblical proportions” by the end of this calendar year.  The following comes from ABC News

The coronavirus pandemic could soon double hunger, causing famines of “biblical proportions” around the world by the end of the year, the head of the World Food Programme, David Beasley, told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday.

Beasley warned that analysis from the World Food Programme, the U.N.’s food-assistance branch, shows that because of the coronavirus, “an additional 130 million people could be pushed to the brink of starvation by the end of 2020. That’s a total of 265 million people.”

He described what we are facing as “a hunger pandemic”, and he insisted that urgent action must be taken in order to avoid a nightmare scenario.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Crazy long food lines across America reveal the total LACK of preparedness that now characterizes our just-in-time society

Crazy long food lines across America reveal the total LACK of preparedness that now characterizes our just-in-time society

Image: Crazy long food lines across America reveal the total LACK of preparedness that now characterizes our just-in-time society

(Natural News) As the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to spread across the United States, sickening and killing tens of thousands, other problems are just beginning, including food shortages.

As reported by The Sun, the U.S. now has more recorded COVID deaths than any other country in the world, though there are doubts even among U.S. intelligence agencies that China has been completely transparent and up-front in reporting its true number of cases and deaths.

That said, as the virus spread and governors ordered non-essential businesses closed to help contain the spread, newly out-of-work Americans, by the millions, are already beginning to suffer basic shortages of food.

The news site reports: 

The shocking statistics come as the need for emergency food aid has exploded in recent weeks due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Nearly 100 per cent of food banks in the Feeding America network are serving more neighbors in need during the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet nearly 60 per cent are facing reduced inventory levels amidst rising demand,” according to a survey by Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief and food rescue organization.

Meanwhile, organizations are having difficulty replenishing their food stocks and keeping food on hand for the growing numbers of needy, many of whom line up for hours in cities like San Antonio, Texas, and elsewhere waiting for assistance. 

The survey noted further that the current number of people needing food assistance has surpassed the 37 million who faced hunger in the country last year. 

It added that “since establishing the COVID-19 Response Fund on March 13, Feeding America has distributed $112.4 million and over 94 million pounds to food banks throughout the network, helping provide nearly 79 million meals to neighbors facing hunger.”

If this doesn’t prove to you why aspects of “prepping” are vital, nothing will.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

COVID 19 and Our Food Supply

COVID 19 and Our Food Supply

Though food is still plentiful, with only temporary and localized shortages, the threat of the COVID 19 crisis to the food supply is considerable. There is no evidence thus far that the disease can be transmitted via food or packaging (though the virus apparently remains viable on plastic for 2 to 4 days). The real danger is that chains of supply will be undermined by both sickness and the pre-cautionary measure we take. Already we are seeing a contraction of food imports from abroad. But the danger extends to even our own local supply.

The safety of shoppers and workers at supermarkets is the first worry that public officials and the general public have expressed. But the food at market comes from somewhere; and that “somewhere” is peopled by a vast array of workers, starting with farmers and farm workers. Will we continue to have the workforce necessary to produce our food, and will they be able to do it in conditions of health and safety for themselves?

We don’t know, but there are troubling concerns. Take fresh produce, for example. Already pressed by acute labor shortages, farms large and small in places like the Central Coast of California have scrambled to provide job security to their workers. But they also depend during crucial harvest periods on temporary labor, and as the border tightened under the Trump administration the H2-A visa system has become important. Florida, Georgia, Washington, and California all depend upon a sizeable workforce from Mexico and the Caribbean under the system. But the virus has meant the closing of consulates in Mexico and elsewhere that process these visas. The labor crunch will come soon for producers of lettuce and strawberries on the Central Coast.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Fourteen Low-Tech Ways to Stay Healthy (Besides Handwashing)

Fourteen Low-Tech Ways to Stay Healthy (Besides Handwashing)

Health is not just an absence of illness. At the very least health includes a well-functioning immune system, our bodies’ first defense against pathogens that cause disease. This includes COVID-19, the coronavirus.
We are all constantly exposed to bacteria, viruses, and parasites even if we wash our hands twenty times a day. If our immune system is working well, it creates a barrier that stops the antigens from entering the body altogether. This is the first line of defense. If this fails, the second line is for the immune system to produce white blood cells, chemicals and proteins that find, attack and destroy the antigens before they can reproduce. If that fails, the immune system destroys the antigens as they multiply. If the antigens are able to multiply a lot you will feel lousy as your body fights the disease in earnest. You will have unpleasant symptoms. A large part of your energy will go towards your immune system’s battle. You will be sick.

I don’t know about you, but I want to stay at defense levels one and two. And this is more than possible, even with the coronavirus. Don’t get me wrong—handwashing and not touching your face does reduce the amount of pathogens that make it to your immunity barrier, but it doesn’t eliminate them entirely unless you live in a special isolation bubble. To be healthy, you also need your immune system functioning robustly. The following suggestions (to do before you become sick) may strike you as common sense, but, to paraphrase Voltaire, in the middle of a pandemic common sense is sometimes not so common. 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Shocking New Study Concludes That The “Best Case Scenario” For A COVID-19 Pandemic Is 15 Million Dead

Shocking New Study Concludes That The “Best Case Scenario” For A COVID-19 Pandemic Is 15 Million Dead

Over the past week, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 outside of China more than tripled once again.  Hopefully it is extremely unlikely that such a rapid growth rate will continue, because if it does, there will be more than a million confirmed cases outside of China just a month from now.  I don’t even want to imagine the level of fear that would cause, and needless to say that would be absolutely devastating for the entire global economy.  Of course if we do get to a million confirmed cases, there won’t be any way to keep it from spreading everywhere on the entire globe, and the ultimate death toll could be unimaginable.

According to the WHO, the current death rate for this outbreak is 3.4 percent, and many experts believe that it will continue to go higher.

That means that a whole lot of people will die if this virus cannot be contained somehow.

Researchers at a major university in Australia modeled seven different scenarios for how a COVID-19 pandemic might go, and in the “best-case scenario” the death toll was 15 million

New modeling from The Australian National University looks at seven scenarios of how the COVID-19 outbreak might affect the world’s wealth, ranging from low severity to high severity.

Four of the seven scenarios in the paper examine the impact of COVID-19 spreading outside China, ranging from low to high severity. A seventh scenario examines a global impact in which a mild pandemic occurs each year indefinitely.

But even in the low-severity model — or best-case scenario of the seven, which the paper acknowledged were not definitive — ANU researchers estimate a global GDP loss of $2.4 trillion, with an estimated death toll of 15 million.

A pandemic that kills 15 million people would change everything.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How The Cold Can Be Bad For Your Health, & What You Can Do About It

How The Cold Can Be Bad For Your Health, & What You Can Do About It

Winter comes with some extremely cold temperatures for parts of the country, and as such, brings the potential for health problems too. There are a few things to look out for, and ways to prepare yourself if you have to be outside when temperatures begin to dip in the negative numbers.

How The Cold Can Be Bad For Your Health, & What You Can Do About It

Winter comes with some extremely cold temperatures for parts of the country, and as such, brings the potential for health problems too. There are a few things to look out for, and ways to prepare yourself if you have to be outside when temperatures begin to dip in the negative numbers.

Obviously, if you can stay inside when it starts to get extremely cold, you’ll be doing yourself a favor.  Having some kind of a backup source of heat for your home will also help keep you comfortable if the power ever goes out and that’s our first suggestion for anyone living with this potential. A woodburning stove is an excellent option  While not cheap, the benefits for some will certainly outweigh the costs.

10 Awesome Tips You Never Knew About Using Wood Stoves That May Change Your Life

What To Look Out For If Exposed To The Cold:

  1. Hypothermia. This condition occurs when your body temperature drops below 95˚F (35˚C). This results from your body losing more heat than it can make, such as when you are exposed to cold or water. Hypothermia can show up as shivering, clumsiness, confusion, tiredness, or urinating more than usual. If not treated quickly, hypothermia can cause severe health problems, including death.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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