Archive for July, 2022

There Are Issues As A Country & A World… But Without The Planet? We Have Nothing

Posted in Climate, Climate Change, Climate Crisis, Environment, Life on July 20, 2022 by darkjade68

Environment Needs To Be A Main Priority For As Many Of Us As Possible… Don’t Wait For Our Government To Fix Everything, There Is Way Too Much Red Tape To Make Things Happen Quickly Enough… Do What You Can As An Individual Everyday, Or We Won’t Have A Country Or World To Fight For

Record Breaking Heat In UK (One of the ways you can help the Environment)

Posted in Environment, Life, Vegan, Vegan Cooking, Vegan Recipes with tags , , on July 18, 2022 by darkjade68

Record-breaking heatwaves prompt wildfires and multiple deaths across Europe

One Of The Most Important Things You Can Do For The Environment (Original Article Here)


Eat Responsibly

Eating locally grown food supports local farmers and merchants in your own community as well as reducing the amount of fuel, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions required to move the food you eat from the farm to your table. Eating organic meat and produce keeps pesticides and chemical fertilizers off your plate and out of rivers and streams.

Eating responsibly also means eating less meat and fewer animal products such as eggs and dairy products, or perhaps none at all. Eating less meat is a matter of good stewardship of our finite resources. Farm animals emit methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming, and raising animals for food requires many times more land and water than growing food crops.9

If you stopped eating meat and animal products, you could save a lot of water. Livestock graze on about a quarter of ice-free land on Earth. Additionally, approximately a third of arable land is reserved for livestock feed production.10

The process of nurturing animals and crops for livestock requires a lot of water. According to some estimates, it’s likely you’ll save about 1300 gallons of water each time you sit down to a plant-based meal instead of an animal-based one.11


If you have questions about Veganism, let me know

Also, check out my James Cooks Vegan blog HERE

Thanks for Reading/Listening


This Break Has Been Nice, But We’re Not Done Yet (Mask Up/Social Distance) – Worse Covid Yet

Posted in Covid, Life with tags , , on July 11, 2022 by darkjade68

The Original Article Can Be Found Here


This New ‘Ninja’ COVID Variant Is the Most Dangerous One Yet

The latest subvariant of the novel coronavirus to become dominant in Europe, the United States, and other places is also, in many ways, the worst so far.

The BA.5 subvariant of the basic Omicron variant appears to be more contagious than any previous form of the virus. It’s apparently better at dodging our antibodies, too—meaning it might be more likely to cause breakthrough and repeat infections.


Vaccines and boosters are still the best defense. There are even Omicron-specific booster jabs in development that, in coming months, could make the best vaccines moreeffective against BA.5 and its genetic cousins.

Still, BA.5’s ongoing romp across half the planet is a strong reminder that the COVID pandemic isn’t over. “We’re not done yet, by any stretch,” Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in California, wrote on his Substack.

High levels of at least partial immunity from vaccines and past infection continue to prevent the worst outcomes—mass hospitalization and death. But globally, raw case numbers are surging, with serious implications for potentially millions of people who face a growing risk of long-term illness.

Equally worrying, the latest wave of infections is giving the coronavirus the time and space it needs to mutate into even moredangerous variants and subvariants. “The development of variants now is a freight train,” Irwin Redlener, the founding director of Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness, told The Daily Beast.

In other words, unstoppable.

BA.5 first turned up in viral samples in South Africa in February. By May it was dominant in Europe and Israel, displacing earlier forms of the basic Omicron variant while also driving an increase in global daily COVID cases from around 477,000 a day in early June to 820,000 a day this week.


In late June, BA.5 became dominant in the United States. Cases haven’t increased yet—the daily average has hovered around 100,000 since May. But that could change in coming weeks as BA.5 continues to outcompete less transmissible subvariants.

Topol offered a concise explanation for BA.5’s ascendancy. Where the mutations that produced many earlier variants mostly affected the spike protein—the part of the virus that helps it to grab onto and infect our cells—BA.5 has mutations across its structure. “BA.5 is quite distinct and very fit, representing marked difference from all prior variants,” Topol wrote.

BA.5’s widespread mutations made the subvariant less recognizable to all those antibodies we’ve built up from vaccines, boosters and past infection. BA.5 has been able to slip past our immune systems, ninja-style, contributing to the rising rate of breakthrough cases and reinfections.

This comes as no surprise to epidemiologists who’ve warned for many months now that persistently high case-rates—which they largely attribute in part to a stubborn anti-vax minority in many countries—would facilitate ever more infectious and evasive variants and subvariant. The more infections, the more chances for significant mutations.

A young child receives a Moderna COVID-19 vaccination at Temple Beth Shalom in Needham, Massachusetts, on June 21, 2022.

In that sense, BA5 might be a preview of the months and years to come. A year ago, we had a chance to block SARS-CoV-2’s main transmission vectors through vaccines and social distancing.

But we didn’t. Restrictions on businesses, schools and crowds have become politically toxic all over the world. Vaccination rates remained stubbornly low, even in many countries with easy access to jabs. In the U.S., for example, the percentage of fully vaccinated has stalled at around 67 percent.

So COVID lingers, 31 months after the first case was diagnosed in Wuhan, China. The longer the virus circulates, the more variants it produces. BA.5 is the all but inevitable result of that tragic dynamic.

The situation isn’t entirely hopeless. Yes, BA.5 seems to reduce the effectiveness of the best messenger-RNA vaccines. Vaccine-maker Moderna published data indicating that a booster shot it’s developing specifically for Omicron and its offspring works only a third as well against BA.5 compared to earlier subvariants.

But vaccines, boosters and past infection still offer meaningful, if reduced, protection against BA.5. “Even a boost of the original genome, or a recent infection, will [produce] some cross-protective antibodies to lessen the severity of a new Omicron subvariant infection,” Eric Bortz, a University of Alaska-Anchorage virologist and public-health expert, told The Daily Beast.

The more additional jabs you get on top of your prime course, the better protected you are. Arguably the best protection results from two prime jabs of the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer or Moderna plus a couple boosters. “Get your damn fourth shot!” Redlener said.

The problem, in the United States, is that only people 50 years old or older or with certain immune disorders qualify for a second booster. And the U.S. Food and Drug Administration won’t say whether, or when, it might authorize second boosters for younger people. “I have nothing to share at this time,” an FDA spokesperson told The Daily Beast when asked about boosters for under-50s.

A girl gets a COVID-19 test at a testing station on July 7, 2022, in Shanghai, China.

It’s an obvious bureaucratic screw-up. As many as a million booster doses are about to expire in the U.S., all for a want of takers. “A profound waste, which should be made available to all people, age under-50 who seek added protection,” Topol wrote.

To be fair, Pfizer and Moderna are both working on newboosters that they’ve tailored specifically for Omicron subvariants. On June 30, an FDA advisory board endorsed these variant-specific boosters. The FDA announced it might approve them for emergency use for some Americans as early as this fall.

But there’s a risk these jabs will show up too late, especially if they’re highly optimized for just one recent subvariant and thus ineffective against future subvariants. “Variant-chasing is a flawed approach,” Topol wrote. “By the time a BA.5 vaccine booster is potentially available, who knows what will be the predominant strain?”

Fortunately, there are fallbacks. Masks and voluntary social-distancing, of course. Post-infection therapies including the antiviral drug paxlovid also help. “This is not a time to abandon non-pharmaceutical intervention,” Redlener stressed.

But voluntary mask-wearing and paxlovid are bandaids on a festering global wound. The surge in BA.5 infections creates the conditions for the next major subvariant—BA.6, if you will. It might be even worse.

It’s looking more and more likely that COVID will be with us, well, forever. “COVID is becoming like the flu,” Ali Mokdad, a professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington Institute for Health, told The Daily Beast.

That is, endemic. An ever-present threat to public health. The big difference, of course, is that COVID is much more dangerous than today’s flu. And it keeps mutating in ways that make it even worse.

Biden signs executive order protecting nationwide access to abortion and contraception

Posted in Life with tags , on July 8, 2022 by darkjade68

Original Article Is HERE


Biden signs executive order protecting nationwide access to abortion and contraception

US president Joe Biden signed an executive order on Friday protecting access to abortion and contraception after the Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade decision last month. The White House said the president will direct the Health and Human Services Department to take action to protect and expand access to medication abortion approved by the Food and Drug Administration and to ensure access to emergency medical care, family planning services and contraception.

The order aims to safeguard access to reproductive health care services, including abortion and contraception; protect patients’ privacy and access to accurate information; and promote the safety and security of patients, providers and clinics, the White House said in a release.

To be sure, executive orders are often limited in scope, and as powerful as the American presidency can be, Biden can’t unilaterally snap his fingers and restore reproductive rights nationwide.

But according to a White House summary, Biden’s new order isn’t just a hollow, face-saving exercise of a Democratic president going through the motions. There are some worthwhile measures in the broader policy, including:

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will expand access to abortion care through medication.

The White House and Attorney General Merrick Garland’s office will convene “private pro bono attorneys, bar associations, and public interest organizations to encourage robust legal representation of patients, providers, and third parties lawfully seeking or offering reproductive health care services throughout the country.” This will apparently include protecting the right to travel out of state to seek reproductive care.

The administration is prioritizing patient privacy, including taking new steps to prevent the transfer and sales of sensitive health data, and blocking digital surveillance related to reproductive health care services. This will apparently include enlisting the Federal Trade Commission to protect the privacy of people seeking information on abortion services.

Obviously, reproductive rights advocates will keep their celebrations in check in response to an order like this — it’s not as if anyone is going to say, “Whew, problem solved” — but for those who’ve pushed the White House for a more robust response to the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling, this is certainly a start.

My First 6 Months Of Being A Professional Dungeon Master

Posted in D & D, DORAGON Adventures, Dungeons And Dragons, Professional Dungeon Master, Writing with tags on July 3, 2022 by darkjade68

My Professional Dungeon Master Beginnings

Doragon Kishu (Dragon Rider & Paladin)

In the last week of December, I decided to give Professional Dungeon Mastering a try

I’ve been Playing/Dungeon Mastering Dungeons & Dragons on and off for 35+ years, it’s one of my greatest joys

Being I’ve always Homebrewed (Created my own material), as opposed to using official or 3rd party books & material, I decided I would start by using a 5e (D & D 5th Edition) Module I wrote and published two years prior (2019)

That way I’d be super familiar with the material I was running

Image Credit MoodyBlue/DeviantArt

Generally I ran ‘Theater of the Mind’ when I DM’d (Dungeon Mastered) campaigns, but because it was Professional Dungeon Mastering, and people were paying me, I decided to also include Roll 20 so that I could include maps etc.

I started with a Thursday game, then a Friday game, but soon combined the two to make one Friday Game

View original post 319 more words

New York Moves To Enshrine Abortion Rights In State Constitution

Posted in Life with tags , on July 3, 2022 by darkjade68
The Equal Rights Amendment prohibits discrimination against anyone based on race, ethnicity, national origin, disability or sex — specifically sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and pregnancy.

Original Article Found Here


By Grace Ashford

July 1, 2022

ALBANY, N.Y. — The New York State Legislature on Friday passed a measure that, if fully enacted, would enshrine in the State Constitution the right to seek an abortion and access contraception.

The measure — the Equal Rights Amendment — places New York at the forefront of legal efforts to protect reproductive rights after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade last week, ending long-established abortion protections.

But the amendment’s reach is far broader. It prohibits the government from discriminating against anyone based on a list of qualifications including race, ethnicity, national origin, disability or sex — specifically noting sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and pregnancy on the list of protected conditions.

Democrats in Albany described the amendment as a crucial defense of those protected classes and a shield against potential government incursions on contraception, consensual sexual relations and same-sex marriage.

“We can no longer afford to play a risk game because the right not only is going to take everything to court, they’re starting to control all the courts,” said Senator Liz Krueger, the architect of the amendment. “So it’s just more and more important to enshrine things in state constitutions as well as state laws.”

The timing, they said, was important as well.

“I think this first passage meets the moment that New Yorkers want to express their support for abortion rights and reproductive health care — as well as protect other New Yorkers,” said Senator Brad Hoylman, a Democrat of Manhattan, who co-sponsored the bill.

  • Dig deeper into the moment.

Republicans were divided on the amendment, particularly in the Senate, where seven voted in favor and 13 against. Some of those who opposed it, including Senator Andrew Lanza of Staten Island, argued that Democrats had overreached and produced text that could, in effect, discriminate against certain religious views.

“I don’t think anybody should be discriminated against — whatever your views on abortion,” Mr. Lanza said.

More than a dozen states and the District of Columbia affirmed or expanded abortion rights before the Supreme Court ruling, while another dozen or so Republican-led states had legislation in place that outlawed abortion after the ruling was issued.

In the last days of New York’s 2022 legislative session, lawmakers passed a package of bills aimed at protecting abortion seekers and providers. But after the Supreme Court issued decisions on abortion and concealed weapons, Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, ordered the Legislature to return to Albany on Thursday for an extraordinary session.

Following a long night of negotiations, the measure passed the Senate without debate. The Assembly voted to pass it late Friday evening.

Still, no changes will happen right away.

Amending the State Constitution is a yearslong process in New York, requiring passage by two separately elected Legislatures, and then approval by voters in a referendum. By passing it this year, Democratic leaders hope that they can win approval next year and get it to voters in 2024, when a high turnout is expected in a presidential election year.

Though Ms. Hochul has no formal role in approving such an amendment, she has been a vocal champion of the measure and has included the effort in campaign ads.

Proponents had hoped to pass the amendment at the end of the 2022 session, which concluded in early June. But the effort got bogged down after several leading religious groups, including the Catholic Conference and the Jewish Community Relations Council, opposed the measure for a variety reasons.

One key issue was whether the act of enshrining new protected classes into the State Constitution would in any way downgrade existing religious protections.

Early versions of the bills did not include religion or creed on the list of protected classes, though religious rights do appear elsewhere in the state Constitution. Religious groups protested mightily.

Marc Stern, general counsel for the American Jewish Committee, said that while he supported adding protections for transgender and reproductive rights, he believed that by omitting religion from the specific list was unacceptable.

“What they have in mind are the wedding photographer, bake shop cases,” Mr. Stern said, referring to past court cases involving businesses that denied their services to gay couples. “That’s why they are excluding religion and creed.”

Mr. Stern said he believed that lawmakers intended for gay couples to win those cases — which he considered putting “a thumb on the scale.”

By Friday, lawmakers had reached a compromise, adding religion to the list of protected classes so that it would be on equal footing with sex and race.

Lawmakers said the compromise would ensure that the state had stronger protections than ever for members of protected classes, and that one group’s rights would not diminish another’s.

“This amendment is really a shield, not a sword,” Mr. Hoylman said.

A provision that would have lowered the standard for discrimination — to include unintentional discrimination that results in a ‘disparate impact’ — was removed from the legislation, to the disappointment of advocates. But a clause in the law leaves the door open for future changes.

While the Catholic Conference continued to oppose the measure, other religious groups, including the Jewish Community Relations Council voiced their support, saying that they were gratified to have found “common ground to add these protections for all New Yorkers including the protection of the right to religious freedom.”

Other proponents, including the New York Civil Liberties Union, also cheered the passage, calling a crucial first step in responding to the ‘existential threat” posed by the Supreme Court.

“Our state constitution, if this amendment passes, will say, ‘not here in New York and not on our watch.’ Our equal protection clause can serve as a model,” said Lee Rowland, policy director for the N.Y.C.L.U., adding: “That’s a big win.”

Grace Ashford is a reporter on the Metro desk covering New York State politics and government from the Albany bureau. She previously worked on the Investigations team. @gr_ashford