Wade , in serious jeopardy.
One of his earliest acts as president was to reinstate the global gag rule first imposed by Ronald Reagan. You can promote reproductive rights and support access to birth control, including the right to safe, legal abortion, without supporting population control. You can be an environmentalist, too, without subscribing to Malthusian notions of Scarcity. From the time of the Puritans onwards, the vision of Armageddon-style battles between good and evil, God and the Devil, has predisposed Americans to simple-minded dualisms and extremist ideologies.
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Malthusianism is one of them. The overpopulation fears it ignites help keep the larger American apocalyptic fire burning, and that fire in turn helps keeps Malthusianism alive. I think of him visiting the home of one of his poor parishioners. I imagine him as an inexperienced young man, standing in the doorway, peering in, aghast at the squalor and the emaciated children. Perhaps the woman of the house is breastfeeding a newborn baby. He has seen enough, thank you.
Incapable of making that basic human connection, he retreats to his study and the neat, comforting world of numbers. What if he had dared to stay, dared to ask a few sympathetic questions of both husband and wife, dared to get to the bottom of what caused their predicament?
Algren, Nelson 1909-1981
There's a candidate for the presidency they call Bernie. You may have heard of him. He's an old-fashioned fellow, but his ideas—free college, medicare for all—are pretty newfangled. He's in the news these days, now that the Democratic debates are in action, and he's drawing a lot of attention. In fact, when it comes to campaign donations from real live people, he's basically running the show.
See the map above, or the link here. It represents which candidates have received the most individual donations, by United States county.
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Bernie is in the blue. It does a great job telling the whole story of how the Democrats came to be in the pockets of their corporate sponsors over the past fifty years—and how Bernie may just be the man to put an end to all that. We sat down with J. Indeed, he is one of our most important national treasures. There were titters in the audience. Vonnegut glared at them. They had assumed he was being comical in his remarks, since after all Paul Krassner was as irreverent a satirist as has ever carried a US passport. No one left. There was a long pause in which Vonnegut cooled off, and people recovered from the shock of seeing him genuinely angry and intimidating in defense of his friend.
He needed my help to get it done, but he was still funny and warm and smart in all our emails back and forth. I had no idea this was so close to the end. Without knowing anything about it, I felt enormously grateful to him for his gesture of support and the absolute graciousness with which he made it. Paul knew a lot of the same people we did, and was an enormous influence on many of them.
He was a counter-comfort, comforting because you knew you could go as far as you possibly could to test the limits, no holds barred, and still be comfortably inside the larger net he cast without even thinking too hard about it. For the first time, many of us are holding high-powered microwave transmitters—in the form of cell phones—directly against our heads on a daily basis.
They share this feature with all modern electronics that run on alternating current AC power from the power grid and the outlets in your walls or that utilize wireless communication. Different devices radiate different levels of EMF, with different characteristics. But by then, it may be too late for billions of people. Today, while we wait for the results, a debate rages about the potential dangers of EMF. The science of EMF, discussed in the next chapter, is not easily taught, and as a result, the debate over the health effects of EMF exposure can get quite complicated.
To put it simply, the debate has two sides. On the one hand, there are those who urge the adoption of a precautionary approach to the public risk as we continue to investigate the health effects of EMF exposure. This group includes many scientists, myself included, who see many danger signs that call out strongly for precaution.
On the other side are those who feel that we should wait for definitive proof of harm before taking any action. The most vocal of this group include representatives of industries who undoubtedly perceive threats to their profits and would prefer that we continue buying and using more and more connected electronic devices. This industry effort has been phenomenally successful, with widespread adoption of many EMF-generating technologies throughout the world.
But EMF has many other sources as well. Today, early in the 21st century, we find ourselves fully immersed in a soup of electromagnetic radiation on a nearly continuous basis. The science to date about the bioeffects biological and health outcomes resulting from exposure to EM radiation is still in its early stages. We cannot yet predict that a specific type of EMF exposure such as 20 minutes of cell phone use each day for 10 years will lead to a specific health outcome such as cancer.
However, while science has not yet answered all of our questions, it has determined one fact very clearly —all electromagnetic radiation impacts living beings. As I will discuss throughout this book, science demonstrates a wide range of bioeffects linked to EMF exposure. For instance, numerous studies have found that EMF damages and causes mutations in DNA—the genetic material that defines us as individuals and collectively as a species. Mutations in DNA are believed to be the initiating steps in the development of cancers, and it is the association of cancers with exposure to EMF that has led to calls for revising safety standards.
Multiple separate studies indicate significantly increased risk up to two and three times normal risk of developing certain types of brain tumors following EMF exposure from cell phones over a period of many years. While cancer is one of the primary classes of negative health effects studied by researchers, EMF exposure has been shown to increase risk for many other types of negative health outcomes.
EMF exposure as with many environmental pollutants not only affects people, but all of nature. In fact, negative effects have been demonstrated across a wide variety of plant and animal life. EMF, even at very low levels, can interrupt the ability of birds and bees to navigate. Numerous studies link this effect with the phenomena of avian tower fatalities in which birds die from collisions with power line and communications towers.
These same navigational effects have been linked to colony collapse disorder CCD , which is devastating the global population of honey bees in one study, placement of a single active cell phone in front of a hive led to the rapid and complete demise of the entire colony 4. And a mystery illness affecting trees around Europe has been linked to WiFi radiation in the environment.
As I explain in the coming chapters, there is a lot of science—high-quality, peer-reviewed science—demonstrating these and other very troubling outcomes from exposure to electromagnetic radiation.
I have worked at Columbia University since the s, but I was not always focused on electromagnetic fields. My PhDs in physical chemistry from Columbia University and colloid science from the University of Cambridge provided me with a strong, interdisciplinary academic background in biology, chemistry, and physics. Much of my early career was spent investigating the properties of surfaces and very thin films, such as those found in a soap bubble, which then led me to explore the biological membranes that encase living cells.
I studied the biochemistry of infant respiratory distress syndrome IRDS , which causes the lungs of newborns to collapse also called hyaline membrane disease. Through this research, I found that the substance on the surface of healthy lungs could form a network that prevented collapse in healthy babies the absence of which causes the problem for IRDS sufferers. A food company subsequently hired me to study how the same surface support mechanism could be used to prevent the collapse of the air bubbles added to their ice cream. As ice cream is sold by volume and not by weight, this enabled the company to reduce the actual amount of ice cream sold in each package.
My children gave me a lot of grief about that job, but they enjoyed the ice cream samples I brought home.
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I also performed research exploring how electrical forces interact with the proteins and other components found in nerve and muscle membranes.