Freshwater, drought, and climate change

Lack of freshwater for human consumption and agricultural use is a growing and very serious problem globally–including in rich countries like the United States.  As an example, rivers in many countries are experiencing significantly reduced flows due to warmer temperatures, longer and more frequent droughts, less snow and less winter precipitation, and the need to serve more and more people. Quick bibliography: Recent research about…

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The benefits of kindness

Be kind to others; it’s good for you and for them. “Doing good is, in fact, good for you.” There have been many supporting studies. Kindness of different kinds has “been related to increased life satisfaction, decreased depression, lower blood pressure”, a longer life, and more. Both the givers and the receivers of kindness see the benefits. Quick bibliography: Recent research about the benefits of…

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Authoritarianism and corruption

Authoritarianism and corruption go together. “Corruption is the misuse of public power for private gain and has become a worldwide problem for economies and social development.” Together, authoritarianism and corruption weaken societies–accentuate existing divisions, create new ones, increase inequality, spread distrust, and make a society less stable and less able to respond effectively and coherently to challenges–like disease, poverty, and violence. Voters turn to authoritarians…

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Childhood obesity and parents’ influence

Child obesity is a major global health problem in both developed and developing countries. Tens of millions of children (perhaps as many as 15-20% of all children) are overweight or even obese by the age of 5 or younger. “Obese children are likely to become obese adults and are at higher risk of developing a range of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease (CVD), type…

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The effects of stress brought on by pandemic diseases

Pandemic diseases–such as COVID-19–can be extremely stressful. The uncertainty of transmission, the intense desire to protect family and friends (and yourself), the unknown of the impact of catching the disease itself, the inexorable spread, the panic and outright misinformation that can be spread by social media, the drumbeat of the news, empty store shelves … the disappearance of the normal. What impacts can this stress…

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Pandemics–history, control, and prevention

A pandemic is defined as a disease epidemic occurring over a widespread geographic area. Whether technically a pandemic or not, the world has experienced many large outbreaks of disease–examples include the Black Death (bubonic plague) which affected Asia and Europe and peaked in the mid 1300’s to the Spanish influenza outbreak of 1918-1919 which killed an estimated 20 to 50 million people to more recent…

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