Sunday, August 31, 2014

Many are saying no to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and here are some reasons why

The rock band Kiss was one of many groups who accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
The rock band Kiss was one of many groups who accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images
Everyone seems to want in on the ALS Fundraising Campaign which has raised over $100 million dollars (and counting), reported Forbes Magazine on Saturday. Reports state that Summer 2014 may very well be the “Summer of the Ice Bucket Challenge.” It certainly seems to be true. There are videos all over our social media feeds showing friends who have accepted the challenge as well as celebrities from all over the world who have also submitted their videos to the public and challenged their friends. These videos seem to come in by the dozens every single day. We can’t seem to get away from them.

Even scam artists are taking advantage of the extremely successful viral campaign, reported USA Today, Aug. 31 (so be aware!). “Emails, text messages and Facebook postings” have lured many with the promise of celebrity videos which have turned out to be loaded with downloads of “keystroke-logging malware that will steal all of the information from your computer or portable device...which can be used to make you a victim of identity theft.” This is no joke. USA Today tells more about these scams and how to protect yourself from the scammers here.

The Associated Press told us recently that the Ice Bucket Challenge most likely will change the non-profit world. The viral campaign has rounded in the interests of many donors who might not otherwise be interested in participating in such campaigns. 

Connecting with “a younger generation of donors” has become possible with the endorsements of so many celebrities like Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Selena Gomez and even Oprah and Mark Zuckerberg. Further, “The ice bucket challenge has shown it’s OK to be silly for a good cause,” stated Brian Mittendorf, a nonprofit finance professor from the Ohio State University Fisher College of Business. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has made both fundraising and donating to a good cause fun.

Despite the popularity of this campaign, there are still many in the news who have decided to say no to the challenge. Reasons are numerous. Organizations, religious groups and celebrities have been putting up their voices in response to the challenge with seemingly very powerful reasons for resisting jumping onto this campaign’s bandwagon.

PETA advocates say no to ALS challenge on the basis of unnecessary animal cruelty
PETA advocates say no to ALS challenge on the basis of unnecessary animal

PETA advocates say no to ALS challenge on the basis of unnecessary animal cruelty

PETA president and cofounder, Ingrid E. Newkirk was recently challenged in a video by Russell Simmons to speak out against the ALS Association for “funding archaic and painful tests on animals (PETA).” In response, Newkirk posted a YouTube video Aug. 25. In the video, she states, “One way to fight animal tests is this.” She opens a door with a sign reading “Acme Labs” to reveal an adorable guinea pig. A thought bubble appears over the guinea pig’s head that reads, “I’m free!” After some moments with the guinea pig, the camera switches back to Newkirk where she relates that “Everyone can help Gypsy and other guinea pigs by buying only cruelty free cosmetics and goods. And please, save all guinea pigs by choosing charities only listed on”

PETA advocate Pamela Anderson posted a picture on her Facebook page, Aug. 20 stating that she couldn’t bring herself to accept the ALS challenge. “I thought instead, I'd challenge ALS to stop animal testing,“ she wrote. “Trying to cure human diseases by relying on outdated and ineffective animal experiments isn’t only cruel — it’s a grave disservice to people who desperately need cures.” The former Baywatch star’s post, as of Aug. 31 had been shared more than 55,000 times, had received nearly 120,000 likes and more than 16,000 comments. Pamela Anderson was one of the first people to speak out against the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Many say no to the ALS challenge because it wastes water
Many say no to the ALS challenge because it wastes water MICHAEL BUCKNER/GETTY IMAGES

Many say no to the ALS challenge because it wastes water

Not only does the ALS Association test on animals to find cures for Lou Gehrig's disease, which is something witch-house recording and performance artist Grimes disagrees with, the association in hers and many others’ eyes promotes wastefulness, as well. The artists tells the press that she doesn’t “feel great about wasting water in this California drought,” and she chooses to donate her funds “to the Malala Fund because education is the key to ending almost every issue that faces humanity and our world today."

Matt Damon did The Ice Bucket Challenge with another message attached. The Huffington Post reported that he was “conflicted when friends Jimmy Kimmel and Ben Affleck called on him to complete” the challenge because of the drought in California and because he had co-founded, an organization that advocates and makes moves towards getting clean water and proper sanitation to populations that would not otherwise have it. While Damon wanted to support the cause, he didn’t want to waste water in doing so. In a statement to bring attention to millions who do not have access to clean water or proper sanitation, the actor poured toilet water on his head.

Some have decided to just donate, instead of dumping a bucket of freezing cold water on their heads

Many celebrities have decided that just donating to the cause without making a frozen spectacle of themselves is the best action. One such donor, Zachary Quinto did just that, as did Patrick Stewart who posted a powerful YouTube video showing himself writing a check without saying a word about the challenge and President Barack Obama who very diplomatically declined a challenge from Ethel Kennedy and stated that he would make a monetary donation to the ALS Association.

Many are opposed to embryonic stem cell research
Many are opposed to embryonic stem cell research Mauricio Lima/AFP/Getty Images

Many are opposed to embryonic stem cell research

Pro-life advocates of the US Catholic Church who consider embryonic stem cell research immoral have spoken out against the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The UK Independent reports that, “The Cincinnati Archdiocese in Ohio has already warned principles at 113 Catholic schools in the area to “immediately cease” donations to the ALS Association for this reason,” and has requested “that any money raised should instead be given to a “morally licit” organisation.”

In response to these pleas, the ALS Association stated that there is one research project which uses embryonic stem cells, but donors can request that the funds they send to the organization are not used in such studies. The Motor Neuron Disease Association states that it does not currently fund research projects which use embryonic stem cells though they do support the research while recognizing that said research will bring about many “moral, ethical and religious concerns.”

A well-known Catholic priest, Father Michael Duffy, responded in a blog post with his concerns after being nominated for the challenge. “I will certainly pray for those that suffer from the disease,” he posted., “I’ll also be on the lookout for a charity that doesn’t violate the Sanctity of Human Life.” In an update on the post, he wrote that “The John Paul II Medical Research Institute may be a more worthy group to donate to.”

Despite ‘haters’ of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the campaign’s momentum has not slowed
Despite ‘haters’ of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the campaign’s momentum has not slowed Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Despite ‘haters’ of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the campaign’s momentum has not slowed

Despite a backlash of objectors to the Ice Bucket Challenge, the campaign is still going strong. Further, many other organizations may be receiving a bit of a benefit from those who decide to donate to their causes instead of ALS. Examples? In India, The Rice Bucket Challenge, another viral campaign started by a journalist in Hyderabad, asks supporters to donate a bucket of rice to someone in need. The social media campaign has almost 60,000 likes on Facebook and can also be followed on Twitter at #RiceBucketChallenge.

Pro-choice advocates could also follow the #TacoorBeerChallenge, reported Jezebel on Tuesday. “The Taco or Beer Challenge aims to raise funds for legal abortions while taking down the lingering stigma,” wrote Jezebel. “You just eat a taco or drink a beer and donate to an abortion fund.”

Other offshoot campaigns abound. As the campaign continues, many fundraising organizations that haven't already taken note, should and probably will. Expect more offshoots soon.

*originally published on the now defunct

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Thief dressed in a 'fancy' penguin suit steals 10 cans of pseudo-fancy beer

Man in a 'quite conspicuous' penguin suit steals 10 cans of beer
Durham Police Department --CCTV Surveillance camera still

Wasps infest single woman's home, eat the pillows and mattress

Three foot wasp nest eats through the pillows and mattress in woman's spare bedroom.
Three foot wasp nest eats through the pillows and mattress in woman's spare bedroom.
Longwood Services Pest Control

Colliding galaxies found with help of a cosmic magnifying lens

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

None of us are safe from climate change and we must act now, scientists urge

Scientists say that none of us are safe from climate change and we must "get all hands on deck," now.
Scientists say that none of us are safe from climate change and we must "get all hands on deck," now.
Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images
One of the big science news items listed on Monday, Aug. 25 at the Guardian Liberty Voice reported that methane gas has been seeping into the Atlantic from the shores of more than 570 locations along the eastern coast of the United States. This is unusual, as methane seepages are usually found in “tectonically active areas,” and places that have access to “petroleum basins, like the Gulf of Mexico.” The eastern shores of the U.S. are not known for high occurrences of tectonic activity and most of the methane seepages do not seem to be results of oil and natural gas deposits.

Nature Geoscience reports that this seepage is not anything new and has been in fact occurring for more than 1000 years. Microorganisms that live in low oxygen conditions (Methanogens) produce methane as a metabolic byproduct. Most of the methane seepage is reported to “occur between 800 and 2,000 feet” and “the methane is probably escaping from frozen substances called hydrates” where many methanogens can live.

Methanogens can thrive in any place that has low or no oxygen such as in the guts of cows and humans, inside of microbes that live in organisms such as termites, in rice paddies and marshes, wrote Astrobiology Magazine in 2005. The percentage of methane produced from these sources was reported to equal nearly 70 percent of the methane contributed to the Earth’s atmosphere.

From these figures, it may seem that the methane byproduct that methanogens produce give no real cause for alarm. The methane production by methanogens has been an ongoing occurrence, a part of the natural cycle. However, many are still concerned that as the planet's climate gets warmer, more methane gas seepage will cause an irreversible change that will affect us all. Methanogens’ role in this may very well tip the scales.

Methanogens, which can thrive in extreme environments, have been found kilometers deep inside the ice of Greenland. The microorganisms thrive in glacial ice and under certain circumstances can contribute much more methane gas to the atmosphere, creating “massive deposits of methane clathrates [hydrates], which account for a significant fraction of organic carbon in continental margin sediments.” Methanogens, “represent a key reservoir of a potent greenhouse gas (methane).” Astrobiology Magazine reported that “a large amount of methane is locked inside ice crystals under permafrost and beneath the continental shelves. These deposits of methane hydrate [...] are vast. They are thought to contain far more carbon than all fossil fuels put together.”

In their frozen state, the methane gas seems to stay put. However, as glacial ice continues to melt, more methane and carbon are released into the atmosphere which could cause increased global warming. Scientists and climatologists have been warning us about this. It seems that evidence unequivocally points to climate change catastrophes and humans are making what is otherwise natural rush its course at a frightening rate.

Take it from some of the experts, 97 percent of whom agree that “climate-warming trends over the past century are likely due to human activities.” These experts are speaking from every medium, such as Twitter and Instagram to try to get people to wake up and make changes that could save us from impending doom.

'If even a small fraction of Arctic sea floor carbon is released to the atmosphere, we’re f’d.'

Jason Box, a professor in glaciology at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, posted to his Twitter account that “If even a small fraction of Arctic sea floor carbon is released to the atmosphere, we’re f’d.” He tweets new information ongoing and also posts at his blog, Meltfactor.

'We’re doomed if we keep burning carbon'

Climatologists Myles Allen reported last year that “we’re doomed if we keep burning carbon” and he participates in talks which address the need for industries to take part in the matter. Participation of industries, Allen says, are significantly important in cutting carbon emissions from power plants. "Do I think we’re doomed to disastrous warming? 

Absolutely not. But do I think we are doomed if we persist in our current approach to climate policy? I’m afraid the answer is yes."
'Global warming isn't a prediction. It is happening.'
'Global warming isn't a prediction. It is happening.' Screenshot of James Hansen quotes from Brainyquote

'Global warming isn't a prediction. It is happening.'

James Hansen is a top climate scientist who has been active in the climate change debate for decades. He states that there is overwhelming evidence that climate change is real. His talks have helped to raise awareness of the issue in Congress about how humans are contributing significantly to climate change. He also continues to speak to the public about how it is pertinent that action be taken now in order to protect future generations, as well as plants and animals. One such talk is logged at TedTalks.
'Nobody is safe'
'Nobody is safe' Screenshot from

'Nobody is safe'

In an article posted to the Huffington Post on Aug. 25, photographs were posted that showed a series of portraits called “Scared Scientists” which were taken by photographer Nick Bowers. On the photographer’s website, he stated that “The most frightening thing about climate change is that we continue to ignore it.” He also states that most of the scientists pictured and quoted encourage people to vote for green policies and initiatives if “we are to decrease emissions and create a sustainable and safe future.” Further, the time is very much now. “It’s our job to put pressure on governments and on big business.”

Per NASA, most of the current warming trend is very likely 'human induced'

Direct quote from NASA's Instagram: “As seen on #Cosmos: Climate change. The Earth's climate has changed throughout history. Just in the last 650,000 years there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat, with the abrupt end of the last ice age about 7,000 years ago marking the beginning of the modern climate era - and of human civilization. Most of these climate changes are attributed to very small variations in Earth's orbit that change the amount of solar energy our planet receives. The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is very likely human-induced and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented in the past 1,300 years. Image Credit: NASA #nasa #earth #earthrightnow #science #climatechange”

*originally published on the now defunct