Several Million Misguided Americans Believe Chocolate Milk Comes From Brown Cows

Today in “What the hell is going on here,” we have the following astonishing statistic, via the Washington Post: approximately 16.4 million Americans believe chocolate milk is produced by brown cows.

The Post cites an online survey by the Innovation Center of U.S. Dairy found at least 7 percent of the American populace never stopped believing that old dad joke everyone heard at age 6 when asking, as kids do, just where that good-tasting brown stuff came from.

 

If the statistic is accurate at all, reports the Post, there’s actually a pretty good reason—no one knows anything about farming:

For decades, observers in agriculture, nutrition and education have griped that many Americans are basically agriculturally illiterate. They don’t know where food is grown, how it gets to stores — or even, in the case of chocolate milk, what’s in it.

One Department of Agriculture study, commissioned in the early ’90s, found that nearly 1 in 5 adults did not know that hamburgers are made from beef. Many more lacked familiarity with basic farming facts, like how big U.S. farms typically are and what food animals eat.

According to Cecily Upton, an expert contacted by the paper, this kind of bizarre misinformation is due to “an exposure issue.”

“Right now, we’re conditioned to think that if you need food, you go to the store,” Upton told the Post, “Nothing in our educational framework teaches kids where food comes from before that point.”

 

 

Really, thinking chocolate milk comes out of some sort of cocoa-infused miracle bovine makes as much sense as assuming fried eggs were produced by setting a chicken on fire or that cotton candy comes from exploding clowns.

Still, it’s not a bad idea to try turning this tide today by making sure your kids know the truth.

While you’re at it remind them the salt on salted caramel treats comes from dad’s tears, shed as he spends money on overpriced, trendy foods.

h/t Washington Post

US Court of Appeals: States and counties can ban GMO crops despite federal laws

The entire organic community of the United States just won a massive victory that many may not yet even realize. Even though the DARK Act was passed by Obama and some Senate goons to prohibit labeling of GMOs nationwide, the US Court of Appeals just passed a law that enables states and counties to completely ban genetically engineered crops from ever being planted in the first place. Think about that for a minute. You see, back in the year 2000, Monsanto undermined all US organic and conventional farming by claiming that manipulating genomic material of plants did not introduce dangerous bacteria or even plant “pests” into the equation, but their noxious “Frankenfoods” prove otherwise. So biotechnology giants figured a way to not have their cancer-causing, Alzheimer’s-causing, pesticide-laden plants classified as a risk to the environment or humans. But now, none of that really matters anymore.

Thanks to the Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals and their recent interpretation of the Plant Protection Act, all U.S. states, counties, and local communities can actually ban (or regulate) the planting of any and all commercially-grown genetically engineered crops, no matter what the feds or Monsanto claims about GMO.

Neither the Plant Protection Act nor the DARK Act can stop states and counties from banning the planting of GMO crops

Farmers with seed sanctuaries around the country are celebrating this huge victory because they know exactly what it means. No farmer in America who has any lick of common sense wants genetically engineered seeds that contain pesticides in their genetic makeup. It’s bad enough that 90% of US corn, soy, sugar beets, alfalfa, and canola are GMO, we don’t need biotech corporations controlling all seeds and crops. This new court decision sets a precedent and puts in place a powerful fulcrum for stopping Monsanto and Bayer in their tracks, literally. If they can’t plant and grow their Frankenfoods on our soil, they can’t ruin the surrounding environment that’s full of natural, healthy life either.

The court recognized the potential destruction to the environment and farmers from the widespread planting of Franken-crops citing well-documented concerns, including adverse economic impacts caused by transgenic farming on non-GE crops.

The reduction of biodiversity cited by the US courts as reason to limit GE crop planting

The Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals also recognized that “the cultivation of GE crops also may raise environmental concerns, such as harm to beneficial plants and animals caused by the increased use of pesticides sometimes associated with testing and growing GE crops, the proliferation of ‘superweeds’ and other pests resistant to pesticides, and the reduction of biodiversity.”

The court continued to protect organic farming rights for states and local communities throughout the United States, saying: “The regulation of commercialized crops, both of GE and traditional varieties, remains within the authority of state and local governments.”

Though the legislature left “field trials” of GE crops up to the nefarious USDA, as long as local and state authorities stand up for their newly declared rights to ban the planting of GM crops on their land, the organic world and conservation groups in general have won the “war” for clean food. Much like the victory celebrated recently by Sonoma County, California, when voters approved a measure to prohibit GE crops from being planted in their county (The Sonoma County Transgenic Contamination Ordinance), local and organic growers and producers nationwide have reason now to celebrate having power and control to protect Mother Nature and human health in general.

Organic farmers and consumers nationwide may have lost the GMO-labeling battle, but we just won the war – the one that bans the planting of Franken-crops! Now, at the local, county and state level, farmers and consumers can support organic crops right down to the roots, and that’s even more important than labels. It’s time to make sure everything you buy is local or labeled “certified organic.” Let’s all work together to put the finishing touches on this clean food movement.

US Court of Appeals: States and counties can ban GMO crops despite federal laws

How to Grow Tangerine Trees at Home

With its deep green foliage, tangerine (Citrus reticulata) is an attractive tree that grows well indoors in cool climates, outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8b through 11. Growing a tangerine tree from seed is an interesting project, especially for kids as the seeds germinate easily and develop into attractive trees. However, most tangerine trees grown from seed never grow large enough to blossom and develop fruit.

  1. Purchase tangerine seeds from a garden center or nursery. Alternatively, save the seeds from a fresh tangerine. Wash fresh seeds thoroughly as the sweet juices may cause the seed to mold.
  2. Fill a small pot with commercial potting mixture. Use a fresh mixture that contains materials such as compost, peat moss and perlite. Be sure the pot has drainage holes in the bottom, as poorly drained soil will rot the young seedlings.
  3. Water the potting mixture and then set the pot aside to drain until the mixture is lightly moist but not soggy.
  4. Plant two or three seeds in the pot. Cover the seeds with 1/2 inch of potting mixture.
  5. Cover the pot with clear plastic, or slide the pot into a plastic bag. The plastic promotes germination by keeping the potting mixture warm and moist.
  6. Place the pot in a warm location such as the top of a refrigerator or other appliance. Light is not important at this stage.
  7. Water as needed to keep the potting mixture moist, but not soggy. Never allow the mixture to become dry. Watch for seedlings to develop in about three weeks.
  8. Remove the plastic covering as soon as the seedlings emerge. Move the pot into a location with bright, indirect sunlight and room temperatures of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid direct sunlight, which may scorch the tangerine seedlings.
  9. Repot the seedlings into individual, 4- to 6-inch pots when the seedlings have a pair of true leaves, which are the leaves that appear after the initial seedling leaves. Continue to keep the potting soil lightly moist.
  10. Feed the tangerine tree monthly throughout spring and summer, using a liquid, acid-based fertilizer for rhododendrons or azaleas. Mix the fertilizer at half the strength suggested on the container.
  11. Repot the tangerine tree into larger containers as it grows, using a pot only slightly larger each time. The moisture in a too-large pot may cause the plant to rot. Alternatively, plant the tree outdoors in spring if you live in a warm climate.

Things You Will Need:

  • Small pot with drainage hole
  • Commercial potting mixture
  • Clear plastic or plastic bags
  • Individual pots 4 to 6 inches in diameter

Ferrari 430 Scuderia Destroyed 1 Hour After Purchase

THE owner of the jet black Ferrari 430 Scuderia is licking his wounds after his $288,000 burst into flames just one hour after he bought it.

A driver in the United Kingdom has destroyed his Ferrari supercar in an accident after owning it for just one hour.

Police in South Yorkshire said the driver was able to walk away with just cuts and bruises after the Ferrari 430 “went airborne and burst into flames” in South Yorkshire on Thursday.

It’s unclear what he paid for the car, but it was one of only 499 ever sold with an original list price of $288,000. These cars currently fetch between $80,000 to $220,000 according to one dealer.

In a statement on Facebook police added: “Officers asked the driver what sort of car he ‘had’ to which he replied ‘It was a Ferrari’.”

“Detecting a sense of damaged pride he then said ‘I’ve only just got it, picked it up an hour ago’.”

 

South Yorkshire Police said when officers arrived, firefighters were already dousing the car which was 50 meters off the main M1 freeway.

The Ferrari 430 Scuderia can reach 60 miles per hour in 3.3 seconds and has a reported top speed of 198 miles per hour.

But in an update Friday, police said they “do not believe excess speed was a contributory factor in this collision.”

Not much you can say, but poor dude.

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How a hydroponic tomato garden inspired cops to raid a family’s home

The police report would claim it all kicked off at 7:38 a.m., but Bob Harte later thought it had to be earlier.

His 7:20 a.m. alarm had just yanked him awake. Got to get the kids — a boy in seventh grade, a girl in kindergarten — ready for school. Then he heard, like a starter’s pistol setting everything into motion, the first pounding on the front door of his home in Leawood, Kan., a bedroom suburb south of Kansas City. It was thunderous. It didn’t stop. Should I get up? Bob thought. Should I not? Sounded like the house was coming down, he would recall later.

Wearing only gym shorts, the stocky 51-year-old left his wife in bed and shuffled downstairs. The solid front door had a small window carved at eye-level, one-foot-square. As he approached, Bob saw the porch was clogged with police officers. Immediately after opening the door, seven members of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) pressed into the house brandishing guns and a battering ram. Bob found himself flat on floor, hands behind his head, his eyes locked on the boots of the officer standing over him with an AR-15 assault rifle. “Are there kids?” the officers were yelling. “Where are the kids?”

“And I’m laying there staring at this guy’s boots fearing for my kids’ lives, trying to tell them where my children are,” Harte recalled later in a deposition on July 9, 2015. “They are sending these guys with their guns drawn running upstairs to bust into my children’s house, bedroom, wake them out of bed.”

Harte’s wife, Addie, bolted downstairs with the children. Their son put his hands up when he saw the guns. The family of four were eventually placed on a couch as police continued to search the property. The officers would only say they were searching for narcotics.

Addie had a thought: It’s because of the hydroponic garden, she told her husband, they are looking for pot. No way, Harte said, correctly reasoning marijuana wasn’t a narcotic. And all this for pot?

But after two hours of fruitless search, the officers showed the Hartes a warrant. Indeed, the hunt was for marijuana. Addie and Bob were flabbergasted — all this for pot?

“You take the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, all the rights you expect to have — when they come in like that, the only right you have is not to get shot if you cooperate,” Harte told The Washington Post this week. “They open that door, your life is on the line.”

The April 20, 2012, raid would not furnish JCSO with the desired arrests and publicity (a news conference had already been planned for the afternoon). But it would cause considerable embarrassment. Not only were the Hartes upstanding citizens with clean records, they were also both former Central Intelligence Agency officers. And they were not marijuana growers. Rather, the quick-trigger suspicion of law enforcement had snagged on — it would later turn out — tea leaves and a struggling tomato plant.

 

The Hartes would eventually file a federal lawsuit against the county, city, and officers involved. And although a federal judge later threw out their claim, this week a three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit ruled that the family could move forward in court. The decision has larger implications for Fourth Amendment litigation and legislation targeting badly behaving police officers.

The scorching judicial pronouncement blasted authorities for laziness and possible fabrication, the kind of overzealous police work that’s become a sometimes deadly facet of the drug war. And despite the sustained effort of the Obama administration to power down the law enforcement’s more quixotic battles with illicit substances, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has promised to reprioritize marijuana investigations. The Hartes case is a textbook reminder how that can be dangerous.

“Our family will never be the same,” Addie told The Post. “If this can happen to us, everybody in the country needs to be afraid,” Bob added.

The events leading to the raid began a year earlier, according to court documents. Starting in 1997, Sgt. James Wingo of the Missouri State Highway Patrol started pulling surveillance shifts in the parking lots of hydroponic garden stores around the state. The project’s logic, as Wingo explained in a 2011 letter to other law enforcement agencies, was that the stores “sell items that are consistently found in indoor marijuana growing operations.” As customers came and went, Wingo would note their license plate information and enter names into a database.

In 2011, Wingo conceived of “Operation Constant Gardener.” In his letter to law enforcement, Wingo stated he would “supply your agency with the names of these customers that are within your jurisdiction. This will give your agency two weeks to initiate brief investigation” to “obtain probable cause for a search warrant.” Then, per Wingo’s plan, the various agencies would all strike on the same day — April 20. Wingo chose the timing due to the date’s association with marijuana: It was a date “celebrated in that community much as we celebrate Christmas.” Wingo promised the operation would be a “significant media event.”

 

The first series of “Operation Constant Gardener” raids were successful, and 30 agencies participated in the roundups. Fifty-two “indoor grows” were seized, according to court records. “The media coverage was 99% positive,” Wingo noted in an email to the agencies.

There was demand for a repeat in 2012. Thomas Reddin, a sergeant with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, emailed Wingo five months after the first raids asking about more joint operations on the upcoming April date. Wingo admitted in an email he didn’t have enough “new contacts to justify a full throttle 420 operation.” But the State Highway patrolman offered to share the names he did have with the county. On March 20, 2012, JCSO received the names from the garden store surveillance.

Bob Harte was among them.

He had met his wife, Addie, in 1989, when both were working for the CIA. Ten years later, the family relocated to the Kansas City area to raise a family. Addie worked as an attorney with a local financial group. Bob stayed home and raised the children. Around 2011, he’d come up with the idea of trying to raise tomatoes, golden melons, butternut squash and other vegetables in a hydroponic garden in the family’s basement as an educational project with his son. The setup was small, just two parallel tubes of PVC piping with plastic cups of seeds and dirt under the lamps. And to gather supplies for the project, on Aug. 9, 2011, Bob and his two children piled out of the family’s Kia minivan in the parking lot of a gardening store called Green Circle in downtown Kansas City.

Wingo was watching from a parked car and noted the license plate.

Eight months later, as law enforcement continued to search every inch of their house for drugs, Addie sat on the couch, trying to explain to her son what was going on. “I had nothing, how do you explain that? They know I can’t protect them then,” she told The Post this week. “Sitting in your home, having your Miranda rights read to you, it’s absolutely surreal.”

The raid turned up no marijuana. Before leaving the Harte house, police would only say the family had been targeted and surveilled because marijuana “seeds and stems” had been found on the property. The police also suggested the couple’s son was smoking pot, and told the Hartes to take him to a pediatrician for a drug test.

In the year following the raid, Addie and Bob both struggled to come up with an explanation for why marijuana seeds and stems would have been at their home. The couple say they’ve never smoked pot themselves. There just wasn’t a sensible reason for the raid. The unanswered question began to eat particularly at Bob; previously calm and carefree, he stopped sleeping, and found himself mentally tripping down a rabbit hole of possible scenarios. Who were they dealing with here, he wondered. Was this a situation of corrupt cops or a setup? Or did a neighborhood teen drop some marijuana on their lawn walking by?

Addie, whose brother was a former New York City police officer, watched as her children became frightened just driving by the police station or seeing a patrol car on the road.

Finally, nearly a year after the incident, JCSO provided some documentation to the couple. Right away, they understood what had happened. On the official paperwork before the raid, investigators noted they had pulled the couple’s trash before the incident as part of the investigation. But the reports didn’t refer to “stems and seeds.” They referred to “wet glob vegetation.”

“As soon as we heard that, we knew it was my tea,” Addie told The Post, referring to a loose-leaf Teavana brand tea she drank regularly. “But it took over a year and about $25,o00 for a lawyer to figure out what had happened.”

There was more to learn about the pre-raid investigation.

Court records later indicated that after identifying the Hartes from Wingo’s tip, JCSO conducted three trash pulls on the house. On the first, April 3, the officers noted wet “plant material” but determined it was “innocent.” At the next two trash pulls — April 10 and April 17 — the same material was found again, but this time JCSO officers tested the material with a marijuana field test. The results came back positive, but the offices didn’t take photos of the results or send the material to a laboratory for confirmation. Instead, based on the Wingo tip and the two positive drug tests, JCSO applied for and was granted a search warrant for the April 20 raid.

In November 2013, the couple filed a federal lawsuit against the county’s board of commissioners, as well as the officers involved. The family claimed the raid was an unlawful search-and-seizure in violation of the 14th and Fourth Amendments. The suit, which asked for $7 million in damages, also argued law enforcement violated state laws including trespassing and abuse of power.

In December, 2015, U.S. District Judge John W. Lungstrum threw out the family’s case citing qualified immunity, the legal doctrine that shields officers from liability for otherwise lawful acts in the course of their duty. The Hartes appealed.

This week, the three judge panel — Carlos Lucero, Gregory Phillips and Nancy Moritz — ruled against the state, sending the case back to district court. The 100-page decision pushed back hard against the claim that police officers are immune from legal responsibility if they are just doing their jobs.
“The defendants in this case caused an unjustified governmental intrusion into the Hartes’ home based on nothing more than junk science, an incompetent investigation, and a publicity stunt,” Lucero wrote in his opinion. “The Fourth Amendment does not condone this conduct, and neither can I.”

The judge went on to question the department’s claim of probable cause for the raid — particularly on the issue of the supposedly “positive” field-tested tea leaves. “There was no probable cause at any step of the investigation,” the judge wrote. “Not at the garden shop, not at the gathering of the tea leaves, and certainly not at the analytical stage when the officers willfully ignored directions to submit any presumed results to a laboratory for analysis.”

Ed Eilert, a chairman of the Johnson County Board of Commissioners, did not respond to an email seeking comment on the decision.

The appellate win, if not successfully appealed, means the Hartes will be able to press their case in district court. Five years after the raid, the couple say they are committed to pushing forward especially if the challenge could impact the latitude law enforcement takes when conducting police work.

“The Fourth Amendment was not there when we needed it,” Bob said. “We want to restore that for future generations.”

 

source:www.washingtonpost.com

 

Meet The Woman Rescuing Fruit and Feeding Her Community

Currently, 40% of all food goes to waste in San Diego leaving one in five people in the city food insecure. Food insecurity means, simply, the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.

Supermarkets dispose of too much good food, regular consumers waste groceries, and the erosion of environmental resources means that North Americans lead the world in food waste. It’s a depressing thought for sure. Luckily, YouTuber and activist Rob Greenfield’s new video may give you some hope.

Enter, Nita Kurmins Gilson, the woman bringing fresh fruit to thousands of San Diegans in need. In 2009, Nita learned that one in six people in her county were going to bed hungry. She also saw an abundance of fresh produce going to waste all over the city.

Nita connected the dots to be part of the solution for both food waste and hunger. She began by picking excess fruit from neighborhood trees and hand-delivered it to local food pantries. What started with “one woman, one box, and one car” has expanded to 300 volunteers, and together they have harvested over 100,000 pounds of fresh fruit.

Besides fruit trees, they also harvest excess crops from local small farms, and collect unsold produce from weekly farmers markets.

All to feed children, families, seniors, veterans, and the homeless in need. Nita also speaks to and educates the community about sustainability and food justice. She co-founded CropSwap with the mission to feed the hungry and reduce waste, and she’s doing an amazing job!

Officer Ambushed by 3 Armed Men. He Pressed the Button to Release His K9. All Hell Broke Loose.

Police officer ‘dragged into the woods to be killed by three men’ saved when his K-9 chases after him and sends the attackers running

A police officer who was dragged into the woods by three attackers was saved thanks to his trusty dog.

Deputy Todd Frazier of Long Beach, Mississippi, a K-9 officer, pulled over last Monday night to check on a car when he noticed that the man in the front seat appeared to be passed out and the lights were off.

That is when two men appeared nearby and distracted him as the driver got out and ambushed him. All three men dragged Frazier into the nearby woods.

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Attacked: Deputy Todd Frazier (above) of Long Beach, Mississippi, pulled over last Monday night to check on a car with the driver passed out in the front seat and was suddenly dragged off into the woods to be killed

Attacked: Deputy Todd Frazier (above) of Long Beach, Mississippi, pulled over last Monday night to check on a car with the driver passed out in the front seat and was suddenly dragged off into the woods to be killed
K-9 Lucas

K-9 Lucas

Saved: He was able to unlock the backdoor of his squad car from his keychain and release his K-9 Lucas (above), who bit at least one man and scared them off

‘They told him they were going to slit his throat, and they were dragging him toward the woods,’ Chief Deputy Don Bass said according to The Clarion-Ledger.

He said the men then planned on dumping the body after killing him.

When asked if the incident might have something to do with recent gangs stating they would attack any police officers they encountered on sight, Bass said: ‘At this point in time I don’t care.’

Regardless of their motivation, the men were quickly foiled when Frazier managed to unlock the back doors of his squad car using a pop mechanism that he activated on his key chain.

That sent Lucas, Frazier’s police dog, running after his owner and the men.

The dog bit at least one of the attackers before they ran off, jumping into the Town Car Frazier first stopped to inspect and speeding away from the scene.

Frazier suffered a two-and-a-half-inch cut to his forehead from what a doctor believes was a box cutter and multiple other bodily injuries.

He was taken to a local hospital and released.

Video playing bottom right…

 

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Man’s best friend: Frazier is pictured with his K-9 Lucas in this 2012 snap during a search-and-rescue operation

On the mend: Frazier suffered a two-and-a-half-inch cut to his forehead from what a doctor believes was a box cutter and multiple bodily injuries

Bass later conceded the incident may have to do with gangs in the area.

‘We’ve been stressing this for months and months now. It’s no different from last week. We get a BOLO (be-on-the-lookout) from the state alerting us that the Black Gangster Disciples have put out an SOS, or Shoot on Sight, for police officers,’ he said.

‘For a couple of months we’ve been preaching safety because we knew our location between New Orleans and on the I-10 corridor… it’s going to happen here.’

The three suspects remain at large.

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Meet The Dad Making A Sustainable Difference In San Diego

California’s drought may have ended but there is still work to be done. With the EPA running the risk of a full defunding under President Trump, research around water conservation is at risk. This is a critical moment for the people of California to save the valuable natural resource and create a more sustainable water ecosystem.

Californians waste too much water and the toll is being felt statewide. Water conservation may seem daunting but the process is rather simple. Reduce, reuse, and recycle water. If that doesn’t make sense, YouTuber and activist Rob Greenfield’s new video will break down just how easy it is.

Meet Brian Blum, a busy dad who uses water wisely by harvesting rainwater, and reuses it by sending the water from his washing machine and sinks to his garden. His house is run 100% by the solar panels on his roof, and he composts everything he can to increase the fertility of his land and keep waste from the landfill.

Brian wants a world where his daughter grows up experiencing the same beauty he did. His sustainable best practices are simple and routine but they ensure a happy, healthier earth.

Follow Brian’s example by making some small sustainable changes around your home. Save water. Reuse water. Look into solar panels. The earth will thank you for it.

As Workouts Intensify, a Harmful Side Effect Grows More Common

Three years ago, Christina D’Ambrosio went to her first spin class, pedaling fast on a stationary bike to the rhythms of popular music as an instructor shouted motivation.

But Ms. D’Ambrosio, who exercises regularly, found the hourlong class was harder than she anticipated. By the end her legs were sore and wobbly.

“I thought my body just wasn’t used to that kind of muscle ache because it was my first class,” said Ms. D’Ambrosio, a kindergarten teacher from Pleasantville, N.Y.

Over the next two days, her legs throbbed with excruciating pain, her urine turned a dark shade of brown, and she felt nauseated. Eventually she went to a hospital, where she was told she had rhabdomyolysis, a rare but life-threatening condition often caused by extreme exercise. It occurs when overworked muscles begin to die and leak their contents into the bloodstream, straining the kidneys and causing severe pain.

After a two-week hospital stay, Ms. D’Ambrosio was released and has since recovered. Her case was highlighted in April in The American Journal of Medicine along with two other cases of spinning-induced rhabdomyolysis treated by the same doctors.

The report noted that at least 46 other cases of people developing the condition after a spin class were documented in the medical literature, 42 of them in people taking their first class. The report cautioned that the condition was very rare, and not a reason to avoid high-intensity exercise. But the authors said their goal was to raise public awareness so that people who begin a tough new workout program will ease into it to lower their risk of injury.

“I would never discourage exercise, ever,” said Alan Coffino, the chairman of medicine at Northern Westchester Hospital and a co-author of the new study. “Spin class is a great exercise. But it’s not an activity where you start off at full speed. And it’s important for the public to realize this and for trainers to realize this.”

Rhabdo, as many experts call it, has long been documented among soldiers, firefighters and others whose professions can be physically demanding. An Army study in 2012 estimated that about 400 cases of the condition are diagnosed among active-duty soldiers each year. On occasion there have also been large clusters of college athletes hospitalized with it after particularly grueling workouts.

But doctors say they are now seeing more of it among weekend warriors driven in part by the popularity of high-intensity workouts. Spinning in particular has gained a huge following; large chains like FlyWheel, SoulCycle and others report millions of rides and tens of millions in annual sales. Studies show that high-intensity exercise offers myriad health benefits, but for a small subset of people, many of them beginners, rhabdo can crop up and quickly turn ugly.

In 2014, doctors at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center published a report on two patients who arrived at the emergency room with rhabdo shortly after their first spin class. One was a 24-year-old woman hobbled by pain, her legs swollen and feeling “as tight as drums.” She was rushed to surgery, where doctors sliced her thighs open to relieve a dangerous buildup of pressure.

Another study found that between 2010 and 2014, there were 29 emergency room visits for exercise-induced rhabdo at NewYork-Presbyterian alone. Weight lifting, CrossFit, running and P90X were the reasons for some visits. But the most common one was spinning. Dr. Todd S. Cutler, an internist at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian and lead author of the study, said the patients all fit a similar profile.

“These are people who are not unfit,” Dr. Cutler said. “They are being pushed too hard, and they’re not trained to do this, and so they get really bad muscle trauma.”

There is some evidence that certain medications, including statins, stimulants and antipsychotic drugs, as well as genetic susceptibilities may contribute to the condition, said Patricia Deuster, a professor of military and emergency medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

But in general it occurs when people simply do not give their muscles time to adjust to an aggressive new exercise, experts say. A little damage to muscles is a good thing because that stimulates them to grow and adapt to stress. But when the stress is too great, fibers are destroyed. When that happens they break apart and release compounds that can be harmful to the liver, such as a protein called myoglobin, which causes brown or tea-colored urine, a classic symptom of rhabdo.

While almost any intense activity can cause rhabdo, it almost always strikes people who are doing something new. That is why people should always progress from light to moderate and then vigorous intensity when doing a new exercise, said Eric Rawson, chair of the department of health, nutrition and exercise science at Messiah College in Pennsylvania.

“You can be fit, and I can come up with a workout that you are unaccustomed to, and that could be what causes rhabdo,” he said.

Even elite athletes are not immune. Amy Purdy, a bronze-medalist Paralympic snowboarder and “Dancing With the Stars” contestant, went to an exercise class last year after taking three weeks off from her training regimen. The class consisted of a circuit of challenging exercises, she said, including dozens of pull-ups.

“About halfway through I realized my arms were completely fatigued,” she said.

The next morning she could not straighten her left arm. Then it became sore, stiff and swollen, prompting her to go to a hospital. She remained there for eight days as doctors flushed her kidneys with water, she said. She was diagnosed with rhabdo, and when she wrote about the experience on social media she was inundated with responses.

“Thousands of people have reached out to me on my Instagram page who have had it as well,” she said. “Almost everyone was fit before, got it from pull-ups and is trying to figure out the way to get back into fitness without risking a recurrence.”

Two things can help you avoid rhabdo, said Joe Cannon, an exercise physiologist. Before starting a new program, do a less intense version of it first. That means riding a stationary bike at a moderate pace before starting a spin class, or doing just one set of a weight lifting exercise rather than multiple sets and repetitions.

But the most important advice is to know your limits: Don’t be afraid to leave a class or to say no to a trainer if you are struggling.

“One thing I’ve noticed when people tell me they’ve gotten rhabdo in the gym is that they gave up their personal power,” said Mr. Cannon, author of “Rhabdo: The Scary Side Effect of Exercise You’ve Never Heard Of.” “They kept doing what the instructor told them to do because they did not want to look weak.”

That was the case for Nancy Weindruch, a communications executive at the Council for Responsible Nutrition, a trade group in Washington. In 2015 Ms. Weindruch, who exercised regularly, attended a spin class with her sister, but was not prepared for the instructor’s fast pace and directions to “push past your limits.”

“It went from zero to 60 very quickly,” she said. “Within minutes I knew that I was in over my head. But I swallowed my pride and kept going.”

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Three days later, after unbearable pain in her legs, she was admitted to a hospital with rhabdomyolysis and was kept there for six days. Ms. Weindruch eventually returned to exercise, but now she sticks to activities like walking, yoga and the elliptical machine.

“I never thought that exercise could be dangerous,” she said. “But it can be when your body is not prepared for really intense levels.”

 

source: www.nytimes.com

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Volvo Plans to Go Electric, to Abandon Conventional Car Engine by 2019

The Swedish automaker is slamming on the brakes on vehicles powered solely by internal combustion engines, announcing that every car it makes from 2019 onward will have an electric motor.

 The move makes Chinese-owned Volvo the first traditional carmaker to fully embrace electric and hybrid production.

“This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car,” Volvo’s president Håkan Samuelsson said in a statement Wednesday.

Volvo said it would launch five fully electric cars between 2019 and 2021. Three of them will carry the Volvo brand, and the other two will come from the company’s high-performance unit Polestar.

The rest of Volvo’s fleet will consist of either plug-in hybrid cars or mild hybrid cars, which combine a gas engine with a battery.

Starting in 2019, Volvo will only produce cars that have some form of electric motor — and no cars running purely on an internal combustion engine.

Volvo electric hybrid vehicle

The shift is likely to have been influenced by Chinese auto company Geely, which bought Volvo in 2010.

China has been swift to adopt electric vehicles. The world’s second-largest economy, which is plagued by air pollution, wants 5 million electric cars on its roads by 2020.

More than half of the world’s electric cars are already sold in China, according to a report from the Center for Automotive Research at Germany’s University of Duisberg-Essen. In 2016, Chinese drivers bought 507,000 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles out of 873,000 worldwide.

Volvo’s announcement comes just weeks after U.S. electric car firm Tesla said it was working with Shanghai officials to establish a manufacturing facility in the region to better serve China.

“Tesla is deeply committed to the Chinese market,” Tesla said.

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