Black Lung On The Rise Again In Australia’s Coal Mining Workers

The number of reported cases of black lung, a lung disease found in coal miners, has been on the rise in Australia. According to Bloomberg, up to 25 cases of the illness pneumoconiosis have been confirmed in the state of Queensland.

Black lung disease is caused by the inhalation of coal dust over extended periods of time. Bloomberg reports that the illness’ sudden onset is most likely due to the limited control of dust in Australia’s coal mines and the poor use of modern mining technology.

“It is a ticking time bomb for the industry in Australia,” said David Lennox, a resource analyst in Sydney. “It’s a crisis that’s been a long time in the making and, over a long period of time, it will ultimately take lives.”

Since Queensland announced the resurrection of the illness, thousands of coal miners both retired and active have been seeking medical examinations for the disease.

As of 2014, there were a total of 66,211 lawyers actively working in Australia compared to the 1,268,011 practicing lawyers in the U.S. in 2012. According to Stephen Smyth, president of the Construction, Forestry, Mining, and Energy Union, these active lawyers are preparing for the vast number of workers compensation claims certain to be filed.

“No one gave it much of a thought, to tell you the truth,” said Keith Stoddart, a 68-year-old retired coal miner. “When I started in 1970, they said there was no more black lung in the mines.”

Many seniors and younger workers know what to look for work-related illnesses such as musculoskeletal disorders or dermatitis. Even symptoms of common deadly ailments that aren’t work-related are often known such as heart disease, which kills up to 84% of seniors over the age of 65.

Symptoms of rare diseases such as black lung are typically unknown. For this reason, Stoddart reportedly shrugged off the pain he felt in his back until 2015 when he coughed up a black substance as well as blood.

Jason Bing, a 46-year-old coal miner who’s been working in Queensland for nearly 13 years, has also been diagnosed with the disease. Bing is currently in the process of suing previous employers including Anglo American, the third largest coal exporter in the world.

Bing’s lawsuit calls for $2 million AUS in compensation for failing to provide adequate protective equipment and ventilation that would make it safe to work in the mines. However, what makes the case so difficult to argue is that it can take up to “”>10 years for symptoms of black lung to appear. Yet, the failure to detect the illness may be the fault of Australia’s medical professionals rather than the illness itself.

“The connection between exposure and disease has been known for many decades,” said Tim Driscoll, a professor at the University of Sydney. “So, there seems to me to have been a failure of exposure control.”

According to Driscoll, the disease was most likely left undetected by medical professionals due to poor quality x-rays, poor communication, and x-rays never being reported. It’s for mistakes such as these that home health care businesses, as well as other medical professionals, are recommended to know about five types of insurance including Professional Liability Insurance.

The Queensland state government has since dedicated up to $25 million toward the improvement of coal mining conditions. “The Palaszcuk government’s focus has always been to eradicate this insidious disease that does not belong in the 21st century,” said Mines Minister Anthony Lynham.

New Study By Mayo Clinic Finds Sleeping With Dogs Improves Sleep Quality

A new study by Mayo Clinic disproves a previous assumption that sleeping with your furry friends at night is bad for your health. According to the study, those who sleep with their dogs in their bed were determined to have an average satisfactory sleeping quality of 80%.

The study followed 40 adults and their dogs over a series of seven nights during which both the adults and canines wore motion-tracking devices. Evidence suggests that those who sleep with their pets in bed don’t suffer from poor sleep quality.

However, those who slept with their pets in their room rather than in bed still slept more efficiently with a score of 83%. Why the 3% difference?

The study determined the reasoning behind the lower sleep score was due to the dogs’ movements in their human companion’s bed. The dogs’ movements resulted in more disturbances throughout the night causing interruptions to the owner’s sleep cycle.

This may be due to the fact that dogs’ sleep cycles tend to be shorter than humans. According to Time Magazine, human sleep companions weren’t as disturbing of each other’s sleep cycles.

“Presumably, humans accommodate the needs of their bed partner in an effort to promote sleep in a manner that even the most well-trained dog does not,” said lead author Dr. Lois Krahn in the study.

A single dog or cat in a bed may have the best sleep results, Krahn said, but it’s when multiple animals sleep on the bed that the owner’s sleep may become unhealthily disrupted. Even just one extra hour of sleep is valuable up to 82% of Americans.

It should be noted, however, that the study only analyzed the households of middle-aged, healthy women. And, because there was no control group, the researchers were unable to officially determine whether there was a difference in sleep quality and the size or breed of the dogs.

Despite these drawbacks, Krahn’s message remains the same. “My main recommendation is for people to take a look at their setup and carefully consider whether it is truly working or not,” Krahn said. “And not allow loyalty to their pet to blind them to consequences that aren’t desirable to their sleep.”

Salem Eclipse Campers Show Hospitality In Bush’s Pasture Park

According to 47% of adult campers, it’s the joy of camping itself that’s the biggest motivator to pitch up a tent in the great outdoors and enjoy a hot s’more around the fire.

However, citizens of Salem, Oregon didn’t quite share that joy when the city opened its parks to campers for the August 21, 2017, eclipse.

“Over the years, we’ve literally had people pee in our fence,” said Claudia Howells to the Statesman Journal. “And we’re not alone.”

Howells, who’s lived near Bush’s Pasture Park since 1984, was just one of the many Salemers concerned over the use of bathrooms in the park. Citizens were also concerned over general respect for the park and surrounding area.

“I was very negative about it,” Irene Longaker, who’s lived across from the Park for 41 years, said to the Journal.

However, after the eclipse, the campers proved to be gracious about their temporary stay in the park.

The City of Salem provided campers with port-o-potties for bathroom facilities, made signs for proper disposal of garbage, and limited traffic by prohibiting RVs and other vehicles from parking on the grass. According to USA Today, tailgating and fire pits were also forbidden.

Bush’s Pasture Park horticulturist, Tom Beatty, said approximately 1,500 to 2,000 visitors camped in the park the day before the eclipse. The campers were courteous and for the most part cleaned up after themselves. Even Jeff Schumacher, the chair of the South Central Association of Neighbors, who was initially apprehensive of the Salem campers and critical of the free event, was happy to find people enjoying the park responsibly on Sunday night.

Schumacher told the Statesman Journal that the city should be urging visitors to use their hotels and RV parks in order to increase revenue and feed the local economy. However, Salem officials had chosen not to charge for camping in Bush’s Pasture Park in order to provide better crowd control in the morning when the eclipse would bring about larger crowds.

Longaker approved of the parameters set forth by the city. “I’m about to write the city and say they couldn’t have done a better job.”

Boy Scouts Bring Light To Illinois Route 1

A group of boy scouts helped bring light to a Danville Township. On Wednesday, August 17, Dalton Rolinitis and three other Boy Scouts from Troop 234 installed solar panels along a series of utility poles along Illinois Route 1’s east side.

Rolinitis, 16, thought of the project back in May as a part of his final step to becoming an Eagle Scout. A high school sophomore, Rolinitis often bikes between Home Gardens and Westville on a mile-long sidewalk between Lete Lane and Lyons Road along Illinois Route 1. The stretch of road is incredibly dark, the lights having been removed years ago.

According to Commercial News, the power poles that were placed along the road were torn away by an F2 tornado in 2013.

“Ameren replaced most of the poles,” reports Commercial News, “but not the lights.”

Without the street lights, the stretch of land was extremely dangerous for those who walk, jog, or bike between Westville and Home Gardens. Pedestrians were at risk of being hit by passing motorists and other pedestrians have been injured after colliding with one another.

Rolinitis and his friends aren’t the only aspiring Eagle Scouts who have embraced green energy. The Boy Scouts of America have become far more eco-friendly over the years, and the group encourages learning about conservation and the human impact on the environment.

Most Americans are aware that fluorescent light bulbs are five times more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs. However, LED lights are considered to be more eco-friendly than fluorescents because of their lack of mercury.

Rolinitis chose to use the latter for his project, opting to use LED lights powered by solar panels as an eco-friendly and inexpensive way to provide the township’s joggers with the light they need.

The lights, 18 in total, cost the township only $306. With the help of fellow scouts Donnie McMasters, Kenny Clarkston, and Kacy Clarkston, the boys attached the 5″x8″ lights to blocks of wood before attaching them to the utility poles 12 feet off the ground. While the light is dim, it brightens as a pedestrian or motorist approaches, and the light will stay on in the dark for up to eight hours.

Should any of the lights break in the future, the township will replace them. For now, the lights will be maintained by the Rolinitis family.

The Department of Transportation Is Getting Creative With Anti Drunk Driving Ads

Every two minutes someone is injured in a drunk driving crash around the country. And the Department of Transportation is looking to change that.

For their new nationwide ad campaign, the DOT focuses on the “Four E’s” — enforcement, education, engineering, and emergency medical services. So far, the Four E’s have brought a lot of success as nationwide long-term anti drunk driving trends are positive.

The DOT believes this success is due in part to their creative and hard hitting ad campaigns, which vary all across the nation. While the ad campaigns may differ state by state, the message is crystal clear.

Take Oregon, for example. The state has made it a law to specifically use billboard advertisements as part of their comprehensive traffic safety program. New Mexico has utilized an intensive media campaign, including social media posts to make drivers aware of the dangers and potential risks of driving intoxicated. They also have one of the strictest interlock device laws in the country, which is used both to punish repeat offenders and to prevent them from driving with any alcohol in their system.

Montana is another state that is getting creative with their laws. Native Americans make up about 7% of the population but represent about 20% of traffic fatalities over the past five years. So, the state DOT branch has decided to produce safety advertisements that are relevant and relatable to different Native American cultures, and they are posting them, with permission, on reservation lands.

The Texas DOT is reminding people not to drink and drive by putting the faces of victims of drunk driving on billboardsfor everyone to see. They hope that by making a personal connection to those killed by this serious matter, people won’t even attempt to drive intoxicated.

These creative and unique campaigns seem to be working. In recent years more than 90% of Americans report wearing a seatbelt. Traffic fatalities nationwide also dropped from more than 51,000 in 1980 to 33,000 in 2014.

Amazon Wishes To Hire 50,000 Workers Nationwide

Warehouse worker scanning box while smiling at camera

Hiring individuals that are perfect for the job can be rough, and keeping them onboard can be even more challenging. This was demonstrated in 2015, when some 2.7 million workers left their jobs in June, a 25% increase from the years prior. And while the market has recovered and grown since The Great Recession, the War For Talent rages on.

But Amazon is making a big move, having announced that they intended to hire 50,000 workers. With the labor market still little tight, others will be competing for many of those jobs.

The major retail company will be opening their doors to job seekers Wednesday at more than 10 shipping sites, and the majority of the jobs offered will be full-time positions. Around 10,000 part-time jobs will also be offered at sorting centers, and some supporting and manager positions have also opened.

Back in January, Amazon stated their intent to hire some 100,000 full-time workers in 18 months time. Since then, they’ve steadily announced jobs, like plans to grow their Boston and Michigan employments between 900 and 1,600 workers.

The labor market is uncertain in its ability to support the retail giant’s demands. The U.S. experienced a drop in unemployment to just 4.4%, a nearly 16-year low, but the average hourly pay only rose 2.5% in the last year. This is in contrast to the 4% raise that occurred the last time unemployment was so low.

Amazon stated that the jobs will offer “highly competitive” pay and include health insurance, disability insurance, retirement-savings options, and company stock. These come along with 20 weeks of paid leave and other benefits.

In the last few years, Amazon’s growth has been phenomenal. They’ve had sales that nearly doubled in a three-year span, and Amazon is growing outside of its original position of just retail. They’ve purchased grocer Whole Foods with a $13.7 billion deal and then added Sears’ Kenmore products to their website and rolled out ready-to-eat meals that compete with companies like Blue Apron.

If the plans of the company to hire so many workers goes just as planned, then they could see another large increase in sales.

Skateboarders And Law Enforcement Clash — Literally — At San Francisco’s Dolores Park

feet-1844875_960_720In San Francisco’s Mission District, what should’ve been an impromptu yet enjoyable skateboarding event ended up turning into something resembling a brawl with law enforcement.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the encounter started at around 7 p.m. at a competition called a “hill bombing.” About 11 million people self-report that they enjoy skateboarding on a regular basis, but it can definitely cause injuries, and when law enforcement was called to Dolores Park to help an injured skateboarder, another rider collided with an officer, sending the rider through the air.

Many of the almost 300 onlookers say the injury looked deliberate, and videos posted to Twitter clearly show that the officer was, in fact, standing in the center of the street.

“Dude, a cop just (messed) him up,” one witness said.

The video also shows just how steep the street was and how fast the riders were going.

“It seems pretty obvious to me that the police officer just kind of stuck his shoulder out, and you know, it’s a really dangerous, reckless thing to do at that speed,” said Chris Atwood in an interview with CBS.

Incidents such as these inevitably beg the question as to whether or not the use of police body cameras should be more heavily enforced. While it is estimated that 67% of burglaries can be avoided by the installation of video surveillance, it’s not at all a stretch to say that video surveillance can also improve the conduct of law enforcement, who should be held to higher standards upholding the law as it is.

The skater was taken to the hospital and treated for minor, but unspecified, injuries, and the park was shut down.

As a result of the confrontation, however, multiple police cruisers were defaced, and one even had its windows smashed.

Although nobody was arrested, the investigation is still underway.

Probably the biggest propeller in this story was social media.

Witness Joel Hamill posted his own video as well. “Purposely push skateboarder into car causing serious injury,” he Tweeted as a caption.

“We literally shut down Dolores Street,” a 22-year-old San Francisco skater who identified himself only as Pete told SF Gate. “They (police) were doing their job. That doesn’t mean we always agree with it … It got very very serious very fast. Then the cops got involved and the skaters got mad.”

Grace Gatpandan, police spokesperson, fully supports the actions of the officers.

“The officers were just trying to keep them safe when this all happened,” she said.

Millennials Are Now The Largest Home Purchasers In The Nation

Mortgage concept

The housing market has been hit in a big way by the millennial generation, who have entered it with force recently. For years now, the millennial generation had been seemingly uninterested with owning homes, but for the first time they make up the majority of home purchasers.

According to a millennial real estate agent, Nick Sakkis, the reason why this took so long to occur is really tied to the lifestyles and employment options that the generation had.

“I think Millennials have a lot of options that the GenX-ers or Boomers didn’t have. They can work remotely so the idea of putting down roots in one place might not appeal to a lot of them, so that’s where the disconnect comes in.”

But that appears to no longer be the case with the older members of the generation, who are no longer restrained by the burdens they had early in their professional lives. A lot of their resources had been tied into their education and career until now, and financial analysts say not to underestimate that. It’ll have a lot of impact on the power of their purchasing and in a good way.

Greg McBride,’s chief financial analyst, is one of the voices speaking about the power of the millennial real estate buyer.

“A lot of those Millennials who were reluctant to buy because of student loan debt or career mobility will look in their 30s and – by virtue of those investments in education and career early on – will be able to skip right over the starter home.”

So, while the big bank results state otherwise, the housing market could see an exponential increase in the coming years as millennials obtain a little more financial freedom, especially amongst military members finally leaving duty.

Veterans who’ve served for a period of time longer than six months get access to special VA home loans that require no mortgage insurance and give 100% financing options. So, not only will older millennials have the benefit of an education, but also potentially great housing options from the armed services, too.

As the millennial generation begins to settle down and have families of their own, the investments made in their future are starting to show a good return. If this will drive the housing market out of its slump has yet to be determined.

Police Called About Giant Water Slide, Go For a Ride Themselves

A police car rushes to the emergency call with lights turned on

Since its inception nearly 50 years ago, the inflatable industry has been growing steadily as a market. This can include jump houses, obstacle courses, and water slides, which are the real summertime pleasure.

And that’s something even the police can agree on!

During a Fourth of July party, the police received a complaint that a large water slide was causing a disturbance in a residential area. Upon arriving on the scene, the police officers did the most logical thing they could do:

They partook in the fun.

A resident of the area, Katlen Joyce Smith, said that one of the local parents had decided to build a slip-and-slide for the neighborhood kids to enjoy during the annual block party for the holiday.

Although the initial complaint claimed that the water slide was blocking the road, the officers found no apparent violations.

“When the police came, they quickly realized that wasn’t the case and asked if they could take a turn,” Smith said.

One of the officers to arrive at the scene, Carrie Lee, stated in a video posted on Twitter that there weren’t any violations that could be seen with the slide. It did not block the road.

“We looked at it and determined it wasn’t really an issue. So the first thing I said, I said I’m not here to break up your fun,” Lee reported to CNN.

In that same video, Lee can be seen using the trash bag as her raft while her partner, Officer Joe Jones, slides down on an inner tube with one of the neighborhood kids.

Smith was ecstatic about the events and could hardly believe how the complaint had turned out, taking to Facebook to share:

“I still can’t handle the amazing mess of it all I hope the neighbor who called them saw it all go down!!”

Officer Jones didn’t have any intention of going down the slide originally but caved to pressure from one of the local kids.

“I thought I was going to be able to get out of it, because I’m too big to fit in a trash bag. But then when the kids pulled out this big raft … I had no choice.”

The events can be seen on YouTube and the Police Department’s Twitter feed.

Big Pharma Needs To Adapt To The Times, Says Teva CEO

Female pharmacist

The CEO and interim-President of pharmaceutical giant Teva, Yitzhak Peterburg, believes that the health-care industry is facing a “huge disruption” in the coming years. The cause, Peterburg believes, is the fact that technology heavyweights are not “jostling” for consumers with more traditional providers.

“I am a very great believer that we are now in a huge disruption within the health-care (industry),” he said, “and I think it will affect our industry. For me, the digital reform, or whatever we see, is a huge enabler.”

Teva Pharmaceutical, which is located in Israel, is one of the largest producers of generic medicines. It also has treatments for sclerosis as well as late-stage programs for disorders of the nervous system.

Peterburg believes that pharmaceutical companies need to start thinking of ways to navigate their changing landscapes and take a look at the competitors that are appearing.

“Being good at manufacturing pills and injections is no longer enough for pharma companies. Consumers have also changed and they expect very different value from pharmaceutical companies and the healthcare industry as a whole,” said Peterburg.

Some of the competitors he listed that need to be watched out for in the modern pharmacy world are companies like Amazon and Google. Amazon was reported to be attempting to enter into the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry earlier in the year.

Peterburg believes that there is no easy solution to the issue and that it’s not as straightforward as one would expect. This is due to the fact that the industry is, according to him, “not moving at the same pace.”

“It’s very, very difficult, especially for incumbents, to find the right way and where to move,” he noted. “That’s why we have to do it by collaboration maybe with start-ups, with small companies and try to find the solution.”

What this collaboration would mean for the hundreds of thousands of individuals working in the industry (there were 397,430 pharmacy technicians working in the U.S alone in 2015), is unknown.