Each year about this time we begin to long for spring. We're just tired of short days, cold temperatures and that nasty wind. Our cabin fever is made worse by our attempts to find a distraction through consumption of what passes for news on TV. Note these headlines: "Justin Bieber throws eggs at neighbor's house." Stupid. "Justin Bieber is arrested for DUI while speeding in a yellow Lamborghini." Terminally stupid. "Bieber could have his work visa pulled and deported back to Canada." Halleluiah! Less famous youth in Texas are giving law enforcement extra headaches as they constantly steal street signs from Copperhead Road. Made famous by the Steve Earle song of the same name, Copperhead Road signs have been stolen multiple times during the last two months. But the sheriff has suspects, thanks to surveillance video. Pssst. Note to thieves. Cameras are small and inexpensive. The cops can put them pretty much anywhere these days.
The Toll of the Anti-Vaxxers
Ignoring scientific facts has consequences. And there's no greater tragedy than a child that suffers from a disease that is preventable. That's evident from a graphic depiction of the toll of the anti-vaccination movement published in the Los Angeles Times. A Council on Foreign Relations interactive map of "vaccine-preventable outbreaks" worldwide 2008-2014 shows the prevalence of diseases such as measles and whooping cough. Reluctance by parents to vaccinate their children in the U.S. partly stems from the thoroughly debunked theory that some vaccines can cause autism. The vaccine-autism link is hogwash, but the anti-vaccine movement has produced a shocking incidence of whooping cough and other diseases to which children are suffering.
More on the unsavory history of the vaccine-autism 'link.'
Images Show Devastating Drought
California is in a state of emergency. The drought is the worst on record, and these two satellite images show the destruction. Scientists have warned that as bad as the drought is now, it could get worse. The U.S. Drought Monitor map shows California and Nevada in extreme drought, with other parts of the West, Southwest and Central Plains still under the grips of abnormally dry conditions.
Brazilian Ranch has Dark History
Nearly 70 years after the end of World War II we're still discovering bits of history that shock us. This week we learned that Nazi sympathizers once owned a farm in Brazil that was used as a labor camp for abandoned, non-white children. Jose Ricardo Rosa Maciel, who works on the farm, discovered bricks engraved with swastikas and a history professor began to dig into the ranch's history. They even found documentation that cows were branded with the swastika symbol. The existence of the labor camp was confirmed by a former captive, 90-year-old Aloysio da Silva.