A second American journalist killed by ISIS

Steven Sotloff Georgianewsday.com photo

 

A second American journalist’s death was confirmed when a video of his beheading was authenticated by U.S. officials.  The freelance journalist, Steven Stoloff, was killed by the hands of ISIS, or the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Only last month, his mother, Shirley Sotloff’s mother, pleaded directly on a video to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to release her son.

Steven Stoloff was an independent freelance journalist whose work was seen in publications such as Time, Foreign Policy, Christian Science Monitor and World Affairs. He covered areas of the Middle East including Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Syria.

Stoloff attended the University of Central Florida majoring in journalism.

By Sharon Dunten, editor of SurvivingTimes.com

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Louisiana is drowning, quickly

Egret moves slowly through cedar knees. usgs.gov photo

In just 80 years, some 2,000 square miles of its coastal landscape have turned to open water, wiping places off maps, bringing the Gulf of Mexico to the back door of New Orleans and posing a lethal threat to an energy and shipping corridor vital to the nation’s economy.  To read the complete story, link to http://bit.ly/1lGYXmI

Band video highlights homeless military veterans and PTSD

By Chad Childers, Loudwire.com

Five Finger Death Punch continue to use the video format for maximum impact and their latest clip for ‘Wrong Side of Heaven’ shines a spotlight on the plight of homeless military veterans and the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder.  To read the post, go to http://bit.ly/YFsuTh

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Three whistle blowers receive nearly $1M in compensation

 

- SurvivingTimes.com staff report

Pontiac, Michigan - One foreman and two truck drivers working for a Michigan asphalt company received nearly $1M in compensation after losing their jobs for whistle blowing about safety violations at the company. The three men raised safety concerns related to rest periods for drivers, exceeding legal overtime and lack of vehicle maintenance.

Asphalt Specialists Inc, headquartered out of Pontiac, Michigan, was found in violation of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act by the U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHEA for wrongfully terminating employees who had raised safety concerns.  The STAA covers private-sector drivers and other employees of commercial motor carriers who resist working in unsafe working conditions and report safety issues to OSHEA.

“It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against employees who report work-related safety concerns or violations of federal transportation regulations, which require drivers to have a minimum 10-hour rest period between shifts,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels.

In a news release from the U.S. Department of Labor, Asphalt Specialists Inc was ordered to reinstate the three employees to their former positions with all pay, benefits and rights.  The company will pay close to $944,000 in damages, $250,000 in back wages and $110,000 in compensatory damages and $600,000 in punitive damages.

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Bank of America to pay nearly $17B in mortgage pact, says CBS News

Are American banks redeeming themselves by paying billions in financial settlements back to the U.S. taxpayers?  CBS News reports on one U.S. Department of Justice investigation led to the largest settlement so far in 2014.  http://cbsn.ws/1q2HHXz

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Is technology replacing the human workforce?

By Sharon Dunten, editor of SurvivingTimes.com

If you look forward to the next 50 years you might not like what you see when it comes to the American workforce. The workforce could be robots and not humans. I am not trying to bring up a Dooms Day scenario, but if you look back 50 years ago, computer technology has grown so rapidly that humans don’t seem to be catching up — but the robots are and so are the corporations that might see the future human workforce as a liability or poor investment in labor.

After watching the video below I became concerned more about the low-wage worker as they might be replaced by a “bot” at a favored fast-food joint or industrial manufacturing job for more efficiency. The initial investment of a bot may be substantial, yet in the long run, it could pay for itself. Through bot technology, corporations don’t have to worry about wages, medical insurance or staff vacations. So where do the low-wage workers go for jobs in the future?

Not only low-wage workers should be concerned about the bots. As computers get smarter and continue to retain more information, computer problem-solving white collar workers could be replaced by hardware and software workers, namely advanced super-computers. So where do the higher salaried white collar workers find jobs in the future?

As Americans we have become more and more dependent on computer technology. We love our smart phones, tablets and laptops. These instruments have made our lives easier and computer technology has infiltrated into every aspect of our lives: cars, refrigerators, maps, education, publishing, supermarkets, advertising, social groups, farming, advanced manufacturing.  Americans are capable of producing more crops, goods and information than in anytime in human history. And we are enjoying the comforts of this technology.

But at what point will computer technology replace the jobs Americans hold today? What will a child born in 2014 need for education and job training to provide for their families – shelter, medical needs and food on the table?  It is something to seriously contemplate, or maybe you should just Google it.

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Northwest Ohio battles with toxins in drinking water

Darwin Dunten's photo.

Ohio National Guard is dispensing clean water to residents who cannot drink their tap water because of an algal bloom affecting northwest Ohio’s drink water.

By Sharon Dunten, editor of SurvivingTimes.com

Northwest Ohio communities, including Toledo and Lucas County, who are dependent on drinking water from Lake Erie are facing a water fiasco today as a harmful algal bloom is producing toxins in their water which could be harmful to humans and animals.

The Associated Press reports that Ohio Governor John Kasich has declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard.

“The reemergence of harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie is an ecological and economic setback for communities along the coast,” said U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur about a NOAA’s report released on July 10.

In other words, they saw it coming.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted that western Lake Erie would have a significant bloom of cynanobacteria during the 2014 bloom season in late summer.

Humans might be affected with symptoms including skin irritation, stomach cramps, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, fever, sore throat, headache, muscle and joint pain, blisters of the mouth and liver damage, says the The World Health Organization (WHO)

The Toledo News Now reports a harmful algal bloom or HAB occurs when excess nitrogen and phosphorus are present in lakes and streams. These toxins could be a result of over-fertilized fields and lawns or malfunctioning septic systems from livestock pens.

A number of environmental factors have to come into play for algal bloom to be triggered.  For example, eutrophication, or excessive plant and algal growth, in a waterway could happen to lakes as sediments accumulate over many years.  But humans have accelerated the process with the use of additional nutrients in America’s bodies of water.

The Knowledge Project website, nature.com, states that eutrophication might also be caused from “aquacultural scientists and pond managers often intentionally ‘urtophy’ water bodies by adding fertilizers to enhance primary productivity” for recreational fishes.

Another bloom trigger  is thermal stratification.  The Center for Earth and Environmental Science at Indiana-Purdue University, Indianapolis, defines this phenomenon as when the top layer of the water becomes warmer while the bottom layer remains cooler.  When the bottom water becomes depleted of oxygen, the nutrients from the sediments in the water, or if the nutrients are added to the water by humans, become fuel for algae to grow on the top of the water.

According to NOAA harmful algal blooms were common in northwestern Lake Erie between the 1960s and 1980s but lapsed until the 2000s.