Coal’s Deadly Dust | S37 E6 | FRONTLINE | PBS | Official Site

Coal miners across Appalachia are dying from a resurgence of severe black lung disease. But could this epidemic have been prevented?
This is one of many tough questions grappled with in Coal’s Deadly Dust, a new investigation from FRONTLINE and NPR that premieres tonight on PBS.
NPR Correspondent Howard Berkes was reporting on the disease when he received a tip about an outbreak of severe black lung — a disease that epidemiologists thought was nearly gone. Berkes met with a radiologist whose clinic was so overwhelmed with such cases, he turned to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), for answers. The NIOSH researchers found it difficult to believe what the radiologist had seen.
From 2011 to 2016, federal researchers at NIOSH had counted only 99 cases of this incurable disease nationwide; however, FRONTLINE and NPR identified more than 2,000 in Appalachia alone in the same time frame. In most cases, silica dust, not coal dust, likely played the key role.
Silica dust is known to be nearly 20 times more toxic than carbon-based coal dust — but as the film reveals, federal regulators and the mining industry never treated the lethal dust as a unique threat.
“It’s pretty difficult to hear the miners just working so hard to catch their breath and to know that the reason for that is those exposures at work that we absolutely know how to prevent,” Celeste Monforton, a former top official at the Mine Safety and Health Administration says. She adds, “It’s abundantly clear…this problem really is a silica problem…this is such a gross and frank example of regulatory failure.”
And while the mining industry and federal regulators both say they’ve made progress in protecting miners, there still is no plan for tougher regulation of silica at coal mines – and there are still more than 50,000 coal miners working nationwide.
Also this hour, FRONTLINE presentsTargeting Yemen. Correspondent Safa Al Ahmad offers a report from on the ground in Yemen, where she investigates the escalation of the deadly U.S. fight against Al Qaeda and its lasting impact on Yemeni civilians.
Coal’s Deadly Dust premieres tonight at 10 p.m. EST/9 p.m. CST, followed byTargeting Yemen. Watch on PBS stations (check local listings) or online.

Teachers in Los Angeles Confront Privatization—the Heart of Today’s Neoliberal Conventional Wisdom


Almost a decade ago, I was sitting in the audience at a national meeting when a prominent Democrat endorsed neoliberalism—the idea that the private sector can do better than the government.  I might have expected this speaker to defend government services, but instead he expressed what sounded to me like the conventional wisdom as it might have been voiced at an Aspen Institute cocktail party of the so-called “theory class.”  There was no reasoning, no sense that evidence was necessary. He merely assumed we all agreed: “We can’t support vouchers,” declared the speaker, “but charter schools are OK because they  aren’t really a form of privatization.”

In their book, American Amnesia, the political scientists Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson describe how such conventional wisdom can somehow become acceptable despite plenty of contradictory evidence.  Writing about the emergence of a bipartisan neoliberal consensus beginning in the Reagan era and continuing…

View original post 1,625 more words

The current and projected health risks of climate change

Due to food shortages related to climate change, the Earth may experience a net increase of 529,000 adult deaths by 2050, according to a new review article published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The article highlights the state of the research on climate change, including projected global temperature increases, anticipated health impacts, adaptation strategies and health benefits associated with reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions. It cites 54 sources, including government reports and peer-reviewed academic research, as evidence.

Learn more here:

The short- and long-term effects of a U.S. government shutdown

There’s much to learn about the potential short- and long-term effects of this shutdown — the longest in U.S. history — by looking at research on past shutdowns. We’ve summarized several peer-reviewed studies on the effects of the 2013 shutdown, which look at topics including short-term spending habits, changes in crime rates, fluctuating stock prices and long-term effects on employee morale.

Learn more here:

A Privacy Catch-22: The Dilemma at the Intersection of Value and Data | Michigan State University

Working in the BITLab, Emilee Rader, Ph.D., studies people’s beliefs on data privacy and reveals how data can be misused behind the scenes.

Learn more here:

Researcher Finds Connection Between Social Media Addiction and Risky Decision-Making | Michigan State University

Social media addiction leads to risky decision-making, just like drug addiction or gambling problems, according to a study. Led by Dar Meshi, Ph.D., associate professor in Advertising + Public Relations, the research is the first to examine the relationship between social media use and risky behavior.

Find out more here: