Author: Reporter

Small farmers often pay a high price when agricultural commerce gets hit by extreme weather

Justin Ralph estimates he has made about 200 trips delivering grain from the fields he farms with his brother and uncle this year. They were accustomed to using their four semi-trucks to take the harvest from a total of about 800 acres each of corn, soybeans, and wheat to market. What they were not used to are the distances they had to drive the past couple years, a consequence of bad weather that was only expected to increase in their area as a result of climate change. They used to take advantage of a grain elevator in Mayfield, Kentucky...

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U.S. climate assessment shows worsening trend of warming is already hurting Americans nationwide

Revved-up climate change now permeates Americans’ daily lives with harm that is “already far-reaching and worsening across every region of the United States,” a massive new government report says. The National Climate Assessment, which comes out every four to five years, was released last November with details that bring climate change’s impacts down to a local level. Overall, it paints a picture of a country warming about 60% faster than the world as a whole, one that regularly gets smacked with costly weather disasters and faces even bigger problems in the future. Since 1970, the Lower 48 states have...

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UN weather agency warns of further climate extremes on the way after 2023 hits hottest year on record

The U.N. weather agency said last December that 2023 is all but certain to be the hottest year on record, and warning of worrying trends that suggest increasing floods, wildfires, glacier melt, and heat waves in the future. The World Meteorological Organization also warned that the average temperature for the year is up some 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit from pre-industrial times, a mere one-tenth of a degree under a target limit for the end of the century as laid out by the Paris climate accord in 2015. The WMO secretary-general said the onset of El Nino in early 2023, the...

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Scientists still unsure if nanoplastics harm health after finding millions of particles in bottled water

The average liter of bottled water has nearly a quarter million invisible pieces of ever so tiny nanoplastics, detected and categorized for the first time by a microscope using dual lasers. Scientists long figured there were lots of these microscopic plastic pieces, but until researchers at Columbia and Rutgers universities did their calculations they never knew how many or what kind. Looking at five samples each of three common bottled water brands, researchers found particle levels ranged from 110,000 to 400,000 per liter, averaging at around 240,000 according to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of...

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Compromised data: People who survive natural disasters are especially vulnerable to identity theft

Information theft is on the rise. Over 1.1 million people in the U.S. alone reported the crime to the Federal Trade Commission in 2022. When a thief opens accounts in your name or otherwise uses your data, you might feel powerless. But there are steps you can take to prevent the worst outcomes. Colleen Tressler, a senior project manager for the FTC, has tracked consumer issues including identity theft for more than three decades. She said frauds and scams often emerge during specific emergencies such as the COVID pandemic, and in the wake of climate-related catastrophes. “They’re imposters, so...

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Auditory impairment: Research finds rural Wisconsin men are at high risk to suffer from hearing loss

Recent research estimated that hearing loss affects approximately 37.9 million Americans, being more common in rural areas than urban ones and in men than women. The study was published in January in The Lancet Regional Health-Americas Journal. It was the first to estimate hearing loss rates at the state and county level, and was led by NORC at the University of Chicago. The estimates are from 2019, and only included people who have hearing loss in both ears. While the study could not explain the reason for the geographic divide, experts who treat hearing loss say there are two...

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