‘Recyclable’ is a word, not a promise — most plastic goes to landfills | SFChronicle.com


No. These announcements may sound great, but they look painfully naive in the face of the growing storm that is the global plastic recycling market. At the same time that the news is filled with these flashy industry recycling pledges, we are getting an increasingly frantic story from across the country and the world that our plastic simply isn’t getting recycled.

A 2017 study found that of all the plastic ever created, only a paltry 9 percent has been recycled, and the rest is clogging our streets, waterways, and has even made its way into our food systems. Beyond the fish on our plate, tiny pieces of plastic have been found in sea salt, honey, and even beer. Not to mention 94 percent of the United States’ drinking water.

Source: ‘Recyclable’ is a word, not a promise — most plastic goes to landfills – SFChronicle.com

This Itsy Bitsy Spider is a Robot | SIGNAL Magazine


Researchers have developed an integrated fabrication process that for the very first time enables the design of soft robots on the millimeter scale with micrometer-scale features. To demonstrate the capabilities of their new technology, they created a robotic soft spider from a single elastic material with body-shaping, motion and color features.

The team first used a soft lithography technique to generate 12 layers of an elastic silicone that together constitute the soft spider’s material basis. Each layer is precisely cut out of a mold with a laser-micromachining technique, and then bonded to the one below to create the rough 3-D structure of the soft spider.

The approach, known as Microfluidic Origami for Reconfigurable Pneumatic/Hydraulic (MORPH), could open up the field of soft robotics to researchers who are more focused on medical applications where the smaller sizes and flexibility of these robots could enable an entirely new approach to endoscopy and microsurgery, researchers say.

Source: This Itsy Bitsy Spider is a Robot | SIGNAL Magazine

Blue light from screens can steadily blind us


The negative health effects of blue light emitted from our laptops, mobile devices, and other digital screens are common knowledge: Tech’s favorite color inhibits the body’s production of melatonin and alerts us awake, throwing off our sleep cycles.

In addition to causing serious eye strain, it also increases the risk of obesity and certain types of cancer—all of which can explain the recent popularity of eyeglasses made just to filter out blue light. The effectiveness and necessity of these, meanwhile, are still up for debate.

Source: Study: Blue light from screens can steadily blind us

Rebuilding the employment security system for the Rust Belt that created it


The collapse of the region’s labor-intensive manufacturing-based economy took its toll on the employment-based safety net protections that Midwestern employers and unions forged after World War II. Today, employer-based systems of health insurance, pensions, and unemployment insurance serve fewer and fewer Midwestern workers.

For Rust Belt workers and communities today and in the future, economic security policies must become more flexible and suited to a fast-changing economy. This will require balancing support for technological innovation with concerted efforts to reduce the costs of dislocation for people and places bearing the brunt of change.

Source: Rebuilding the employment security system for the Rust Belt that created it

This City Lost 1 Million Pounds–Now It’s Redesigning Itself To Keep Them Off


This City Is Going On A Diet.”

The success came because of a massive public awareness campaign that educated and encouraged citizens to eat fewer fried foods and more fresh produce, and more importantly, a collective goal that spurred competition among local employers and businesses.

But it turns out hitting the weight loss goal was only the beginning. It won’t do much good if the city just goes back to its old ways. To keep off the pounds, Oklahoma City’s four-term Republican mayor, Mick Cornett, believes permanent, longer-term changes are needed, which is why Oklahoma City’s streets, sidewalks, and parks are now in the process of getting a makeover.

Source: This City Lost 1 Million Pounds–Now It’s Redesigning Itself To Keep Th

Why the U.S. anti-smoking campaign is a great model for fighting disinformation


As U.S. officials attempt to formulate an effective response to Kremlin mischief-making, there’s one precedent that might be worth considering: the U.S. government’s anti-smoking campaign.

The effort to reduce smoking in the United States began in 1964, when the government acknowledged for the first time that smoking is harmful to health. By 2015, the United States had managed to cut the smoking rate by more than half.

When the campaign began, doctors were still telling pregnant women that it was safe for them to smoke. Fifty years later, smoking has been banned in many public spaces.

Source: Why the U.S. anti-smoking campaign is a great model for fighting disinformation

Scientists Identify an Exercise-Activated Biological Pathway


A team from the Joslin Diabetes Center has found that a molecular switch that occurs in the muscles may explain why some people respond better to aerobic exercise and strength training, while others do not.

If the protein [c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK)] is activated, exercise will stimulate skeletal muscle growth and if it is not activated, muscles will improve their adaption for endurance and aerobic capacity.

“We’ve identified an exercise-activated biological pathway that hasn’t been studied at all,” Sarah Lessard, PhD, an assistant investigator in Joslin’s section of Clinical, Behavioral and Outcomes Research and first author on the paper, said in a statement.

“It’s like a switch. If the switch is on, you’ll have muscle growth. If it’s turned off, you have endurance adaptation in the muscle.

Source: Scientists Identify an Exercise-Activated Biological Pathway

Trump Official Says He Warned of Child Trauma From Family Separations | Bloomberg


“There is no question that separation of children from parents entails significant potential for traumatic psychological injury to the child,” Commander Jonathan White, a Health and Human Services official who led the agency’s family reunification efforts, told the Senate Judiciary Committee at Congress’s first hearing on the separations of thousands of families at the border.

Source: Trump Official Says He Warned of Child Trauma From Family Separations – Bloomberg

Reducing food insecurity among households with children is still a challenge for the United States


Households across the United States continue to have difficulty in providing enough food for all their members at a given time during the year, due to a lack of resources.

In 2016, 12.3 percent of households were food insecure. In households with children, 16.5 percent did not have consistent access to adequate food.

Source: Reducing food insecurity among households with children is still a challenge for the United States

Study shows link between physician burnout and medical errors | The Sacramento Bee

Physicians in this country experience extremely high levels of burnout – and that’s contributing to medical errors.

That’s the conclusion of a new Mayo Clinic study that found more than half of the physicians nationwide experience burnout, defined as either emotional exhaustion or a feeling of distance from a one’s job and colleagues, said Dr. Christine Sinsky, the vice president of professional satisfaction at the American Medical Association and a researcher on the study.

Source: Study shows link between physician burnout and medical errors | The Sacramento Bee