Saturday, March 15, 2008

Food prices up; Ethanol to blame?

Why your food is costing more money
Wheat, corn, and soybean prices are surging; is ethanol to blame?
By Tom Curry - MSNBC
updated 3:47 p.m. ET, Fri., March. 14, 2008

WASHINGTON - If you’re fuming about how high gasoline prices have gotten, why not relax with a nice meal?
Perhaps a few beers and a turkey sandwich? Maybe a chicken Caesar salad?
Well, it's not just the price of gasoline that's going up. That beer, turkey and chicken are also costing more too.
As President Bush noted in his comments on the economy Friday, “Prices are up at the gas pump and in the supermarket.”
Full story:

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Family pets host for MRSA


When MRSA won't wane, check the family pet.
As if all the angst about drug-resistant staph bacteria wasn’t worrisome enough, now it turns out you might get the deadly germ from your cat.
Suspicions about that calico on the couch are being raised this week in the New England Journal of Medicine. German scientists reported that a woman endured a series of nasty abscesses caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, known as MRSA, until a veterinarian screened — and treated — the family cat.

Full story:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Deforestation driving snakes to cities


As forest falls, snakes take to city
10-foot anaconda is among the migrants leaving destroyed habitat

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Snakes — including one 10-foot anaconda — are increasingly invading the eastern Amazon's largest city, driven from the rain forest by destruction of their natural habitat, the government's environmental protection agency said Tuesday.

The agency, known as Ibama, has been called out to capture 21 snakes this year in Belem, a sprawling metropolis of 1.5 million people at the mouth of the Amazon River, Ibama press officer Luciana Almeida said by telephone.

In normal years, Ibama gets no more than one or two calls a month, she said.

Full story:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

U.S. Hispanics get worse medical care


Elderly Hispanics in the U.S. tend to get inferior care, according to a Harvard study being released Tuesday. The study reveals that hospitals with high percentages of Hispanic patients tend to have slightly lower quality indicators in three crucial areas -- for heart attacks, congestive heart failure and pneumonia.

Full story:

Images of monarch butterflies' habitat loss


This is just interesting...and sad:

Satellite images show illegal loggers have clear-cut large swathes of trees in the heart of a monarch butterfly reserve in Mexico, threatening the entire population with extinction, according to a leading researcher.

Full story:

Friday, March 7, 2008

Could we really run out of food?

U.S.-centric article ponders a world in famine.

"Biofuel production, poor harvests and emerging nations' growing appetites are emptying the world's pantry, sending prices soaring. It's a good time to invest in agricultural stocks."

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Yellow fever epidemic in U.S. - The 1878 outbreak

Retelling of 1878 outbreak in Memphis, Tennessee.

Warmer temperatures thought to have fueled the epidemic.

Emerging Disease on the Rise

National Public Radio report on increase in emerging diseases - Feb. 21, 2008

"In the next decade, we can expect more diseases...."

"Wild animals pose the biggest risk in emerging diseases..."

"Human populations are encroaching more and more on wild habitat..."

"There is a cost to development..."

"More attention should be given to hot spots..."

"Zones of increasing population growth..."

"Starting points are hot spots...That's where scientists should focus their attention..."