Opinion | Michael Bloomberg: Israel Is Courting Disaster – The New York Times

Mr. Bloomberg is the founder of Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies and served as mayor of New York from 2002 to 2013.

“In more than 20 years of public life, I have steadfastly supported Israel and its people in both word and deed, including by building medical facilities there, co-founding a leadership center, supporting its innovative local programs and funding other good causes. I have never gotten involved in its domestic politics or criticized its government initiatives. But my love for Israel, my respect for its people and my concern about its future are now leading me to speak out against the current government’s attempt to effectively abolish the nation’s independent judiciary.

Under the new coalition’s proposal, a simple majority of the Knesset could overrule the nation’s Supreme Court and run roughshod over individual rights, including on matters such as speech and press freedoms, equal rights for minorities and voting rights. The Knesset could even go as far as to declare that the laws it passes are unreviewable by the judiciary, a move that calls to mind Richard Nixon’s infamous phrase “When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is courting disaster by trying to claim that same power, imperiling Israel’s alliances around the world, its security in the region, its economy at home and the very democracy upon which the country was built.”

The Life-Changing Magic of a Urologist – The New York Times

“Urologists often deal with health problems that arise from two very intimate functions: peeing and sex. Because of this, “most urologists tend to have a lot of brevity and a bit of humor, because we know these are hard topics for our patients,” said Maria Uloko, a urologist at UC San Diego Health and assistant professor of urology at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

In my experience (as both a patient and a health journalist), urologists will happily discuss the subjects that some of us laypeople tend to avoid: erectile problems, peeing too much, peeing too little, painful sex, dwindling or nonexistent orgasms, urinary tract infections and the list goes on.”

Should I Avoid Dark Chocolate? What to Know About Heavy Metal Risks – The New York Times


“Q: There were a number of news articles about cadmium and lead in dark chocolate recently, and it made me incredibly anxious as someone who eats very dark chocolate every day — including during my pregnancy and breastfeeding! What would experts say about how much I should worry?

The bad news came in mid-December: Consumer Reports published an investigation showing that 23 of the 28 dark chocolate bars it had tested from various brands contained concerning levels of lead, cadmium or both. Research has previously shown that consuming dark chocolate may have several health benefits, including lowered blood pressure, better cholesterol and a reduced risk of heart disease. So the news that it could also contain toxic heavy metals has worried many consumers.

Melissa Melough, an assistant professor of behavioral health and nutrition at the University of Delaware, said she was curious to see the actual data as soon as she read the headlines: “These types of reports always get sensationalized.” When she took a closer look, though, she agreed that the results were worrisome.”

Peter Coy | Making Farms Organic Is Paying Off – The New York Times

Opinion Writer

“I talked by phone on Thursday with Garrett Mussi as he was driving around 1,000 acres in California’s San Joaquin Valley where he grows organic corn, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic and almonds using environmentally friendly methods. He spoke about being a good steward of the rich soil. He described using drip irrigation to conserve water and cover crops to add nitrogen to the soil and compost to enrich it.

Learning to farm in an organic way “has been a good experience,” he told me. “It definitely has its challenges, but farming overall is a challenge. I enjoy it. Always learning something new.”

Mussi doesn’t own any of the acres he tends so carefully. He is a tenant farmer. The owner of the land is Farmland L.P., an investment fund that buys farmland and readies it for certification as organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture: using pesticides sparingly, and only the least harmful kinds; minimizing erosion; sequestering carbon in the soil; rotating crops regularly and providing habitats for butterflies, bees and other pollinators. Some organic farmers use lady bugs to eat aphids and owls to eat rodents.

What we have here is finance meeting farming and doing good, not evil.”

Even a Little Alcohol Can Harm Your Health, Research Shows – The New York Times


“Sorry to be a buzz-kill, but that nightly glass or two of wine is not improving your health.

After decades of confusing and sometimes contradictory research (too much alcohol is bad for you but a little bit is good; some types of alcohol are better for you than others; just kidding, it’s all bad), the picture is becoming clearer: Even small amounts of alcohol can have health consequences.

Research published in November revealed that between 2015 and 2019, excessive alcohol use resulted in roughly 140,000 deaths per year in the United States. About 40 percent of those deaths had acute causes, like car crashes, poisonings and homicides. But the majority were caused by chronic conditions attributed to alcohol, such as liver disease, cancer and heart disease.

When experts talk about the dire health consequences linked to excessive alcohol use, people often assume that it’s directed at individuals who have an alcohol use disorder. But the health risks from drinking can come from moderate consumption as well.

“Risk starts to go up well below levels where people would think, ‘Oh, that person has an alcohol problem,’” said Dr. Tim Naimi, director of the University of Victoria’s Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research. “Alcohol is harmful to the health starting at very low levels.” “

Scientists think that the main way alcohol causes health problems is by damaging DNA. When you drink alcohol, your body metabolizes it into acetaldehyde, a chemical that is toxic to cells. Acetaldehyde both “damages your DNA and prevents your body from repairing the damage,” Dr. Esser explained. “Once your DNA is damaged, then a cell can grow out of control and create a cancer tumor.” “

David Lindsay. Terrific update, and excellent comments. Such as:


I so wish someone had advised me to try removing alcohol from my life decades ago. At nearly five years sober now I care not so much about the benefits to my physical health, but the vast improvements to my state of mind are priceless. Fabulous deep sleep, each and every night, zero low grade depression anymore, intense clarity of thought, profound improvements in communication style and thus relationships. While you are using a drug it looks marvelous – how could you ever give up such a “pleasure”. But give it up and the rewards are huge – so beyond any pleasure I ever got from what now looks purely like the poison it is.

25 Replies1478 Recommended

Kennedy commented January 13


No more moderate drinking, I can’t use my stove and I’m turning my house upside down checking for any classified documents.

2 Replies1354 Recommended

HoustonJan. 13

Recent research that led to the mantra “Even small amounts of alcohol can have health consequences.” is widely misunderstood. The results from the supporting studies show none to extremely low population level health impact of low level alcohol consumption – marginally positive for some cardiovascular outcomes and slightly negative for cancer outcomes. The point is that drinking alcohol for the purpose of improving health does not seem to be justified as was claimed in some previous studies. However stopping low level alcohol consumption that may be enjoyable based on the studies is like stopping driving because “Any amount of driving increases your risk of death due to an accident”. The story is completely different for high levels of alcohol consumption.

8 Replies681 Recommended

On-farm composting methods

“Composting may be divided into two categories by the nature of the decomposition process. In anaerobic composting, decomposition occurs where oxygen (O) is absent or in limited supply. Under this method, anaerobic micro-organisms dominate and develop intermediate compounds including methane, organic acids, hydrogen sulphide and other substances. In the absence of O, these compounds accumulate and are not metabolized further. Many of these compounds have strong odours and some present phytotoxicity. As anaerobic composting is a low-temperature process, it leaves weed seeds and pathogens intact. Moreover, the process usually takes longer than aerobic composting. These drawbacks often offset the merits of this process, viz. little work involved and fewer nutrients lost during the process.

Aerobic composting takes place in the presence of ample O. In this process, aerobic microorganisms break down organic matter and produce carbon dioxide (CO2), ammonia, water, heat and humus, the relatively stable organic end product. Although aerobic composting may produce intermediate compounds such as organic acids, aerobic micro-organisms decompose them further. The resultant compost, with its relatively unstable form of organic matter, has little risk of phytotoxicity. The heat generated accelerates the breakdown of proteins, fats and complex carbohydrates such as cellulose and hemi-cellulose. Hence, the processing time is shorter. Moreover, this process destroys many micro-organisms that are human or plant pathogens, as well as weed seeds, provided it undergoes sufficiently high temperature. Although more nutrients are lost from the materials by aerobic composting, it is considered more efficient and useful than anaerobic composting for agricultural production. Most of this publication focuses on aerobic composting.

Composting objectives may also be achieved through the enzymatic degradation of organic materials as they pass through the digestive system of earthworms. This process is termed vermicomposting.”

Source: On-farm composting methods

Andrew Weissmann | Merrick Garland Should Investigate Trump’s 2020 Election Schemes as a ‘Hub and Spoke’ Conspiracy – The New York Times

Mr. Weissmann was a senior prosecutor in the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“The tenacious work of the Jan. 6 committee has transformed how we think about the Jan. 6 rebellion. It should also transform the Justice Department’s investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Before the hearings, federal agents and prosecutors were performing a classic “bottom up” criminal investigation of the Jan. 6 rioters, which means prosecuting the lowest-ranking members of a conspiracy, flipping people as it proceeds and following the evidence as high as it goes. It was what I did at the Justice Department for investigations of the Genovese and Colombo crime families, Enron and Volkswagen as well as for my part in the investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election led by the special counsel Robert Mueller.

But that is actually the wrong approach for investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection. That approach sees the attack on the Capitol as a single event — an isolated riot, separate from other efforts by Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the election.”

Meet the Peecyclers. Their Idea to Help Farmers Is No. 1. – The New York Times

For this article Catrin Einhorn traveled to Vermont, where she saw many different kinds of toilets.

“BRATTLEBORO, Vt. — When Kate Lucy saw a poster in town inviting people to learn about something known as peecycling, she was mystified. “Why would someone pee in a jug and save it?” she wondered. “It sounds like such a wacky idea.”

She had to work the evening of the information session, so she sent her husband, Jon Sellers, to assuage her curiosity. He came home with a jug and funnel.

Human urine, Mr. Sellers learned that night seven years ago, is full of the same nutrients that plants need to flourish. It has a lot more, in fact, than Number Two, with almost none of the pathogens. Farmers typically apply those nutrients — nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium — to crops in the form of chemical fertilizers. But that comes with a high environmental cost from fossil fuels and mining.”

Want to Sleep Like a Baby? 60-67 F  Try a Smart Thermostat. | Wirecutter

. . . .  Who can do this

“There are a few factors to think about when you’re picking a smart thermostat (we go over them in-depth in our guide to the best smart thermostat), but the first is whether the particulars of your home, and your existing climate-control system, are even compatible with a given model. In general, if you have central air, a Nest or Ecobee model is likely to be compatible—you can confirm in advance on the Nest and Ecobee sites—and the same is true of forced-air heating. Hot-water hydronic and steam heating systems may require additional wiring or the use of an adapter, which is typically DIY-able. Electrical heating typically includes a thermostat in each location already.”


Paul Krugman | America’s Economy in the European Mirror – The New York Times

“Last week Eurostat, the European Union’s statistical agency, released a revised estimate of the euro area’s February inflation rate. It wasn’t a happy report: Consumer prices were up 5.9 percent from a year earlier, more than most analysts had expected. And it’s going to get worse, as the effects of the Ukraine war weigh on food and energy prices.

Britain hasn’t yet released its February inflation number, but the Bank of England expects it to match the rate in the euro area.

Of course, U.S. inflation is even higher, with February consumer prices up 7.9 percent from a year earlier. These numbers aren’t exactly comparable, for technical reasons, but inflation in the U.S. does seem to be running around two percentage points higher than in Europe. I’ll come back to that difference and what might explain it. But surely the fact that inflation is up a lot in many countries, not just America, is worth noting.

After all, the entire Republican Party and a fair number of conservative Democrats insist that the recent surge in U.S. inflation was caused by President Biden’s big spending policies. Europe, however, had nothing comparable to Biden’s American Rescue Plan; last year the euro area’s structural budget deficit, a standard measure of fiscal stimulus, was only about a third as large, as a percentage of G.D.P., as America’s.”