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Consumer Reports – How safe is your shrimp?

Consumer Reports – “Each of us eats, on average, almost 4 pounds per year, making shrimp more popular than tuna. Once considered a special-occasion treat, shrimp has become so ubiquitous that we now expect to find it on the menu whether we’re at a pricey restaurant or a fast-food joint. In fact, Americans eat about three times more shrimp than we did 35 years ago. To satisfy our insatiable appetite, the U.S. has become a massive importer: About 94 percent of our shrimp supply comes from abroad, from countries such as India, Indonesia, and Thailand. But our love affair with shrimp does have a downside. Most of the shrimp we import is “farmed”—grown in huge industrial tanks or shallow, man-made ponds that can stretch for acres. In some cases 150 shrimp can occupy a single square meter (roughly the size of a 60-inch flat-screen television) where they’re fed commercial pellets, sometimes containing antibiotics to ward off disease. If ponds aren’t carefully managed, a sludge of fecal matter, chemicals, and excess food can build up and decay. Wastewater can be periodically discharged into nearby waterways. “Bacteria and algae can begin to grow and disease can set in, prompting farmers to use drugs and other chemicals that can remain on the shrimp and seep into the surrounding environment,” says Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., executive director of the Consumer Reports Food Safety and Sustainability Center. Those shrimp-farming practices raise a variety of concerns—not just about how safe shrimp are to eat but also about the environmental damage that can be caused by farming them that way. For shoppers the dilemma starts at the grocery store, where it’s difficult to know what to buy. Labels and names can be confusing, meaningless, or—worse—deceptive. Sellers may not always tell (or even know) the truth about the origins of the shrimp they offer. And the allure of a label proclaiming that shrimp are “natural” or “wild” can obscure the fact that some expensive varieties aren’t necessarily fresher or more flavorful…”

The Systematic Component of Monetary Policy in SVARs

Arias, Jonas and Caldara, Dario and Rubio-Ramirez, Juan Francisco, The Systematic Component of Monetary Policy in SVARs: An Agnostic Identification Procedure (March 13, 2015). FRB International Finance Discussion Paper No. 1131. Available for download at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2598244 “Following Leeper, Sims, and Zha (1996), we identify monetary policy shocks in SVARs by restricting the systematic component ofContinue Reading

Food security in the twenty-first century

Ian Goldin: “There are currently about 7 billion people on Earth and by the middle of this century the number will most likely be between 9 and 10 billion. A greater proportion of these people will in real terms be wealthier than they are today and will demand a varied diet requiring greater resources inContinue Reading

Why understanding the legally disruptive nature of climate change matters

Liz Fisher, Eloise Scotford, and Emily Barritt:  “It is now commonly recognized by governments that climate change is an issue that must be addressed. The 21st Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to be held in Paris in December 2015 is the most high profile example of this, butContinue Reading

International Atomic Energy Agency Lacks Transparency, Observers and Researchers Say

“The nuclear inspection agency that is central to the current Iran negotiations is flunking international transparency norms, according to a report posted today by Freedominfo.org and the National Security Archive’s Nuclear Vault. Key documents about International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) proceedings, found in various national archives and private collections but closed at Agency headquarters inContinue Reading

FBI Flawed Forensic Hair Chemistry Testimony Spanned Two Decades

Spencer S. Hsu – Washington Post –  “The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000. Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory’sContinue Reading

Antibacterial Drug Shortages From 2001 to 2013

Antibacterial Drug Shortages From 2001 to 2013: Implications for Clinical Practice. Clin Infect Dis. (2015) doi: 10.1093/cid/civ201 First published online: April 22, 2015 “Background. Previous studies have described drug shortages; however, there has been no comprehensive evaluation focusing on US antibacterial shortages. Methods. Drug shortage data from the University of Utah Drug Information Service database were analyzed,Continue Reading

Ten simple choices for a healthier planet

Ten Simple Things You Can Do to Help Protect the Earth “Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Cut down on what you throw away. Follow the three “R’s” to conserve natural resources and landfill space. Volunteer. Volunteer for cleanups in your community. You can get involved in protecting your watershed, too. Educate. When you further your ownContinue Reading

Exploring Compatibilities Between Linked Data Models of Library of Congress and OCLC

Godby, Carol Jean, and Ray Denenberg. 2015. Common Ground: Exploring Compatibilities Between the Linked Data Models of the Library of Congress and OCLC. Dublin, Ohio: Library of Congress and OCLC Research. ” The white paper summarizes the recent activity of the Bibliographic Framework Initiative at the Library of Congress which proposes a data model for futureContinue Reading

Deep Water: The Gulf Oil Disaster and the Future of Offshore Drilling

“On April 20, 2010, the Macondo well blew out, costing the lives of 11 men and beginning a catastrophe that sank the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and spilled nearly 5 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The spill disrupted an entire region’s economy, damaged fisheries and critical habitats, and brought vividlyContinue Reading

Records Reveal Extensive Monitoring of E-ZPass Tags Throughout NY

ACLU – “New documents obtained by the New York Civil Liberties Union reveal that wireless E-ZPass tollbooth transponders are being read routinely throughout New York City to systematically collect location data about drivers. At the NYCLU, we were surprised when we first heard this might be happening. In late 2013, NYCLU staff went on aContinue Reading

NYC libraries are engine of the city running out of fuel

“The city’s libraries — the fusty old buildings, and a few spiffier modern ones, planted in all five boroughs — had 37 million visitors in the last fiscal year, said Angela Montefinise, a spokeswoman for the New York Public Library, which runs branches and research centers in Manhattan and the Bronx and on Staten Island.Continue Reading