Tribalism Dec. 11

The world today is extremely divided. In the Middle East, people associate more with their religion, culture, and tribe more than they do with their nation. Most of the people in Iraq see themselves as Sunni, or Shiite, as Arab, or Persian, or Kurdish or Yazidi. The same is true in other countries there.  Even in countries like Spain the Basque and Catalan associate more with their distinct cultures than they do with the nation. Continue reading

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The Sunni – Shiite rift and their proxy wars. Dec. 7th

Trump has solidly aligned with Saudi Arabia, even though the official religion of Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism, is associated with most terrorist organizations.

Trump has opposed Iran and railed against the Iranian nuclear deal. That has intensified nationalism in Iran intensifying the power of the anti-American far right clerics there.

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Marine Dead Zones Nov. 27

Dead zones are so named because they are areas in the ocean without any oxygen. Any animals that cannot swim or move out of the area quickly enough will die. There are about 550 dead zones in the oceans today, including several off the Oregon coast. Some of these dead zones stretch for a hundred miles. Some scientists think that once a die off happened because of a dead zone, that it could take many years, perhaps hundreds before a healthy marine ecosystem can be re-established.

What causes dead zones are algal blooms. Most of the time algae and other types of phytoplankton are useful because it creates oxygen and provides the food source for thousands of different zooplankton which then becomes food for larger fish and other animals.

But all things in moderation. Sometimes the algae create toxins which will poison everything up the food chain. Some types of “red tide” will affect the brains of the animals that are higher up the food chain like sea lions and birds and they will act erratically or die.

When there is too much algae, the algae will die off and sink to the bottom where it is consumed by bacteria which eats up all of the oxygen in the water. This is a process called eutrophication.

When there are large areas of algal blooms it can create dead zones. Most of these dead zones are near the mouths of rivers, and the algal blooms are the result of too much nitrates and phosphates in the river. Most of the excess fertilizer is from agricultural runoff but some is also because of sewage from humans and also animal feedlot wastes discharged into the waterways.

The dead zones have been growing with increased population and increased use of artificial fertilizers. Dead zones can decimate fish and shellfish populations, and destroy habitat for thousands of other species.

So how can we reduce or eliminate dead zones? For one thing all cities should have a decent tertiary treatment system. This is a three stage system. The first stage is simply a settling tank that allows the solids to precipitate out. The second is anaerobic digestion, and the third is aerobic digestion. The resultant solids could be used for non food plantings. The filtered liquids should go into an estuary for final processing.

The use of concentrated fertilizers destroy the fertility of the land in the long run. Organic farming and Permaculture practices would build up the soil and prevent erosion and runnoff.

“The most devastating pollutants are the nitrogen and phosphorus found in our fertilizer and sewage. When too much of either washes downstream, coastal waters become choked with heavily fertilized algae, which then dies and decomposes, consuming the oxygen in the water and asphyxiating animal life. This process, called eutrophication, has created at least 405 “dead zones” worldwide.”

“Over the past two and a half decades, farmers have adopted “no-till” methods on 36 percent of U.S. cropland…In doing so, they reduce phosphorus runoff by about 40 percent, atmospheric nitrogen release by about half, and overall erosion by up to 98 percent—and achieve equal yields using just half the energy.”

Here are some videos that discuss dead zones and eutrophication:

Dead Zones 5min.

Marine Dead Zones 4:48 min

Eutrophication and Dead Zones  5:50 min.

05 Final Ocean Dead Zones

Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB)

10 min.

What Is Eutrophication 1:30 min| Biology for All | FuseSchool

 Dead Zones Can Be Reversed 3:40 min

Red Tides, Hypoxia and Dead Zones explained by Dr. Nancy Rabalais of LUMCON at the Gulf of Mexico

BioGold/BioRed…Positive Influences for Dead Zone Problem

BioGold Promo




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Torture – is it ever justified? Nov. 16th

This is a very unpleasant thing to discuss and hopefully we will never have to make a decision about that, but if our elected representatives are going to make decisions about torture in our behalf, shouldn’t we at least talk about it?  Continue reading

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The Jobs of the Future Nov. 13th

Many people are concerned about jobs. Most of the good paying manufacturing jobs have been moved to other countries which have cheaper labor and fewer regulations. Many other manufacturing jobs have been lost to automation. So does that mean that everyone in the future will be relegated to service jobs like flipping burgers and waiting tables?  Continue reading

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Preventing Cancer Nov. 1

There are about 54 million chemicals that are registered. About  84,000 chemicals are in our food or air and water. 78% of these have had no tests for even basic toxicity. Only about 900 have been tested for carcinogenic properties. Continue reading

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End of Life Issues Oct. 23rd


This is probably one of the most important and relevant issue we will be talking about. Most of us are in our “Golden” years, have experienced the deaths of loved ones, and our own mortality is looming large. What is the best way to interact with people we love who are dying, or the people around them that will suffer their loss? What is the best way to prepare for our own departure, and to prepare our loved ones for that inevitability? Continue reading

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