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Report Slams U.S. Ebola Response and Readiness

NBC NEWS  by Maggie Fox                                                                               Feb. 26, 2015

The United States fumbled its response to the Ebola epidemic before it even began, neglecting experiments to make vaccines and drugs against the virus, and cutting funding to key public health agencies, a presidential commission said Thursday.

Americans focused on their own almost nonexistent risk of catching Ebola from travelers instead of pressing to help the truly affected nations, the scathing report from the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues says.

They've been acting against their own best interest, the commission said in its report.

"Both justice and prudence demand that we do our part in combating such devastating outbreaks. Once we recognize our humanitarian obligations and the ability of infectious diseases to travel in our interconnected world, we cannot choose between the ethical and the prudential," it reads.

"Ethics and enlightened interest converge in calling for our country to address epidemics at their source."

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Rethinking the Grid

A 1.6 MW wind turbine installed at Mount Wachusett Community College. (Photo credit: Mount Wachusett Community College)

Image: A 1.6 MW wind turbine installed at Mount Wachusett Community College. (Photo credit: Mount Wachusett Community College)

nesea.org - February 17th 2015 - Karl Rabago

For more than 100 years, taxpayers, ratepayers, investors, and policymakers have supported the growth and operations of the electric utility industry. The ratemaking formula, under which capital investment is recovered and healthy profits are guaranteed, has helped make electric service in the United States nearly universal and relatively cheap. For much of the last century, the model leveraged increasing economies of scale to enable the provision of electricity as well as profits and dividends.

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With Little Warning, Agency Aiding New York’s Most Vulnerable Crumbles

Faced with a budget shortfall of $19.4 million, FEGS Health and Human Services recently announced it would be closing its programs. Credit Bryan R. Smith for The New York Times

Image:  Faced with a budget shortfall of $19.4 million, FEGS Health and Human Services recently announced it would be closing its programs. Credit Bryan R. Smith for The New York Times

nytimes.com - February 8 2015 - Rachel L. Swarns

The bombshell dropped on a quiet Friday evening. Steven Banks, the commissioner of the city’s Human Resources Administration, was in his office when he got the call.

On the line was Kristin M. Woodlock, the new chief executive of FEGS Health and Human Services, one of New York City’s largest social service agencies, a venerable institution often praised by corporate titans and community leaders alike.

But this was no social call: FEGS, the Human Resources Administration’s biggest provider of job placement services to the impoverished and disabled, had discovered a gaping hole in its budget and was suddenly struggling to stay afloat.

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In U.S., there are twice as many solar workers as coal miners

Workers install solar paneling.

Image: Workers install solar paneling.

fortune.com - January 16th, 2015 - Kirsten Korosec

SolarCity, the largest installer of residential solar systems in the U.S., nearly doubled its workforce last year, hiring 4,000 people to do everything from system design and site surveys to installation and engineering.

The hiring spree at SolarCity isn’t slowing; it’s picking up speed as the company attempts to install twice as many rooftop solar systems than last year and readies its 1.2 million-square foot factory in New York, which is scheduled to reach full production in 2017.

SolarCity SCTY plans to eclipse 2014’s hiring numbers, CEO Lyndon Rive tells Fortune.

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White House Moves to Rein In Methane Emissions

       

New EPA standards will aim to significantly cut methane emissions from oil and gas sites in the U.S.

The Obama administration makes its latest move to take on climate change.

usnews.com - by Alan Neuhauser - January 14, 2015

In the Obama administration’s latest use of executive authority to address climate change, the White House announced plans Wednesday to impose new regulations on the oil and gas industry that would nearly halve methane emissions from wells, drill sites and pipelines in 10 years.

The new standards, to be developed by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Air Act, would aim by 2025 to cut methane emissions by up to 45 percent from levels recorded in 2012. They would also slash the spread of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, key components of ground-level smog that have been linked to cancer, neurological conditions and other illnesses.

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Climate Change Threatens Health - Extreme Heat: More Intense Hot Days and Heat Waves

      

nrdc.org

Across the nation, climate change is making hot summer days hotter and stretching their numbers into heat waves that never seem to end. And the heat is causing more than just discomfort - as temperatures rise, so are the number of illnesses, emergency room visits, and deaths.

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Geographic information helps provide public health intelligence at mass gatherings

MEDICALNEWS TODAY                                                            Jan. 6, 2015

Infectious diseases are one of the many health issues that worry the organizers of mass gatherings, such as the Hajj and the World Cup. Geographers' tools of the trade can help event organizers to better plan, monitor and respond timely to such eventualities. The ways in which geographers gather, analyze, and visualize information provide health officials with clearer pictures of the transport routes and environmental factors that may further the spread of viruses to and from the attendees' home countries.

In Chapter 3 of the new book Health, Science and Place: A New Model, geographer and biologist Dr. Amy Blatt explains how geographic information is used for disease surveillance at mass gatherings.
Read complete article

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/287577.php?tw

Read excerpt from the book,chapter 3.

by Dr. Amy Blatt
http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-319-12003-4_3

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Governor Cuomo Launches New Effort to Boost Solar Implementation in Communities Across New York State

An array of solar panels.Image: An array of solar panels.

longisland.com - December 7th, 2014

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the launch of Community Solar NY, a new effort under the NY-Sun initiative to make implementing solar easier and more affordable for communities across the state. The program launched today supports community projects known as “Solarize” campaigns – locally-organized community outreach efforts aimed at getting a critical mass of area homes and businesses to install solar.

“Transitioning to affordable and clean energy is a large part of our goal of building a better New York State – and today we’re taking another step forward to make that goal a reality,” Governor Cuomo said.

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Cuomo to Ban Fracking in New York State, Citing Health Risks

CLICK HERE - REPORT -
New York State Department of Health
A Public Health Review of High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing for Shale Gas Development (184 page .PDF report)

nytimes.com - By THOMAS KAPLAN and JESSE McKINLEY
December 17, 2014

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration announced on Wednesday that it would ban hydraulic fracturing in New York State because of concerns over health risks, ending years of uncertainty over the disputed method of natural gas extraction.

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COMMENTARY: When the next shoe drops — Ebola crisis communication lessons from October

CENTER FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASE AND POLICY                                                                   Dec. 9, 2014          
By  Peter M. Sandman, PhD, and Jody Lanard, MD  

In contrast to the Ebola crisis in West Africa, which started in late 2013 and will last well into 2015 or longer, the US "Ebola crisis" was encapsulated in a single month, October 2014. But there may well be US Ebola cases to come, brought here by travelers or returning volunteers. And other emerging infectious diseases will surely reach the United States in the months and years ahead.

So now is a propitious time to harvest some crisis communication lessons from the brief US Ebola "crisis."

We're putting "crisis" in quotation marks because there was never an Ebola public health crisis in the United States, nor was there a significant threat of one. But there was a crisis of confidence, a period of several weeks during which many Americans came to see the official response to domestic Ebola as insufficiently cautious, competent, and candid—and therefore felt compelled to implement or demand additional responses of their own devising....

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