Author Archives: Mama Bear

Algae toxins found in Skaneateles drinking water, officials say

I believe in the precautionary principle and there is so much wrong with this news article. Click on this search of this blog to learn more. Click here to read the full article.


New Zealand: Chapter 9: Cyanobacterial compliance

It’s not enough to say a particular water treatment is safe or not because, I feel the experts don’t really know because they haven’t tested all the different species. Test results thusfar show it’s easier to remove intact cells but not the toxins which can be released when the cells die from being handled roughly, exposed to various drinking water treatments, or as just part of their natural life cycle. Figure 9.1 from the paper states that cell lysis occurs from: “the use of algicides, pre-chlorination, senescent (eg, late summer) bloom, and pumping regimes.” Click on the document titled “Scientific Assessment of Freshwater Harmful Algal Blooms” to learn how complex this contaminant is for our drinking water authorities. This contaminant should be made a priority as new research is connecting it to Alzheimer’s, ALS and Parkinson’s Diseases, and we don’t want to have another Toledo, OH incident where 500,000 people could not use their drinking water due to toxins. Click here to read New Zealand’s compliance document to learn more.



d) Alkalinity and pH Alkalinity and pH determine the chemical speciation of inorganic carbon, such as carbonate, bicarbonate and carbon dioxide. Low carbon dioxide concentrations favour the growth of several cyanobacterial species. Hence, water conditions such as low alkalinity and hardness and the consumption of carbon dioxide during photosynthesis by algae, increasing the pH, give cyanobacteria a competitive advantage. Health Canada (2000, edited 2002).

Table 9.2: Toxic cyanobacteria species and their geographical distribution
Toxic species Cyanotoxin Location with toxin identified

Anabaena flos-aquae microcystins Canada, Norway
Anabaena flos-aquae anatoxin-a Canada
Anabaena flos-aquae anatoxin-a(S) Canada

cyanobacteria page 35

cyanobacteria page 36 Drinking-water treatment for households and small communities
Domestic treatment of drinking-water has been a recent issue of concern in New Zealand. Many reticulated supplies provide excellent quality drinking-water and additional household treatment may actually cause deterioration rather than improvement. However, domestic treatment may have a role in regions supplied with poor quality drinking-water. Such treatment, using filtration, activated carbon and oxidation has shown a good removal of health hazards associated with cyanobacteria.

New (previously unused) point-of-use filter cartridges can achieve a removal of microcystin variants in the range 30–60 percent, and this degree of removal could be increased to about 90 percent by the passage of the water through three such filters. The removal may drop to 15 percent, however, by the time the filter is halfway through its expected life. The form of the cyanobacteria also has an influence on the efficiency of removal. A filter consisting of activated carbon and ion exchange resins may remove about 60 percent of the filamentous cyanobacteria, while up to 90 percent of the single cells pass through (eg, Microcystis). As with other filter systems, the death and lysis of cells retained on the filter creates a potential concern.

Health Canada. 2000, edited 2002. Cyanobacterial Toxins — Microcystin-LR. Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality: Supporting Documentation. 22 pp.


Why even a record-breaking hurricane can’t hit Category 6

Click here to read the full article or an excerpt below.



Here’s a list of the different hurricane categories and what they mean, according to the National Hurricane Center:

  • Category 1 (119-153 km/h): Very dangerous winds will produce some damage: Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days.
  • Category 2 (154-177 km/h): Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage: Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.
  • Category 3 (178-208 km/h): Devastating damage will occur: Well-built frame homes may incur major damage or loss of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.
  • Category 4 (209-251 km/h): Catastrophic damage will occur: Well-built frame homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
  • Category 5 (252 km/h or higher): Catastrophic damage will occur: A high percentage of frame homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.



Depression, a disease of the mind? Actually our immune system could be the culprit

This makes sense. Managing allergies is tricky. Too much or little of anything can upset the apple cart and cause an allergic reaction of varying proportions. Here is another article along this vein that might interesting readers titled “BRAIN ALLERGIES:How Sensitivities to Food and Other Substances Can Effect the Mind.” Click here or on the pdf file to read the full article or an excerpt below.


So if the inflammation is causing the depression — possibly by producing chemicals that interfere with the production of serotonin — what is causing the inflammation? There are a number of possibilities.

Inflammation is the body’s response to infection but it can be triggered by stress and exacerbated by an unhealthy lifestyle.

There is also some research suggesting that children exposed to high levels of infection or to severe stressors such as traumatic life events are more likely to suffer from depression as adults.

Carmine Pariante, professor of biological psychiatry at King’s College, London, says: ‘With these individuals, the exposure to stress early in life modifies the functioning of the inflammatory system — it sets it to a higher sensitivity if you like. When these people encounter stressful life events later in life, the inflammatory system over-reacts and precipitates the depressive episode.’

And people who have never experienced depression probably do know something of what it feels like. Flu or a bad cold often begins with a period of appetite loss, listlessness, an ability to focus and a lack of interest in anything other than hugging the sofa. This is because the body reacts to the infection with inflammation, which in turn causes these mood changes.




The Truth About Hydrogen

This older (2006), informative article from Popular Mechanics gives a good overview on Hydro energy, its potential uses, and shortcomings. The dollar values in the charts for the costs for Hydrogen produced by electrolysis using Photovoltaics (PV) solar has dropped dramatically due to the huge drop in PV solar panels and the significant increase in solar panel efficiencies. The one issue which is conveniently overlooked is the massive amount of fuel wasted as HEAT – for gasoline/diesel, about 65% of every gallon is lost as HEAT. Hydrogen fuel burned in an ICE vehicle would have similar HEAT numbers, and would equally contribute to climate change (global warming). If anyone has current numbers on the fuel wasted as HEAT in Hydrogen fuel cells please post them in the comments. Click here or on the pdf file to learn more.

ICE, HEV, PHEV and BEV – What they mean and what’s under the hood

Click here or on the pdf file to learn more or read an excerpt below.


ICE – Internal Combustion Engines

Your traditional engines, powered by gasoline, diesel, biofuels or even natural gas. These make up the bulk of the vehicles on the road, and we’re likely all very familiar with them. While today’s ICEs are significantly more efficient and have lower emissions than those from decades ago, the fundamental technology – burning fuel to create power – remains the same.

Car with internal combustion engine

HEV – Hybrid electric vehicles

The most common of the alternative fuel vehicles we see on the road these days – the Toyota Prius is the most obvious example – are powered by a combination of an ICE and an electric motor (hybrid vehicle drivetrain). While the exact function of an HEV’s drivetrain may vary, fundamentally they all share the same characteristics of having a hybrid vehicle drivetrain and an electric battery, where either or both the ICE and electric motor power the drivetrain.  The batteries can be charged in a few ways, either by spinning an electric generator when the ICE is operating or in some cases, by converting the vehicle’s kinetic energy into electric energy through systems like regenerative brakes.

Toyota Prius

PHEV – Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles

These engines are in many ways very similar to the HEV in that they have a hybrid vehicle drivetrain and use both an ICE and electric power. The big difference with these vehicles is that their rechargeable battery can be charged by plugging in to a power source. When the battery is depleted, the plug-in hybrid starts acting as a regular hybrid, with the combustion engine taking the role of primary power source. The most common example of this vehicle type is the Chevrolet Volt.

To learn more, check out this article from autoevolution on the difference between hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Chevrolet Volt

BEV – Battery electric vehicles

Unlike the other three vehicle types on this list, the BEV has no internal combustion engine or fuel tank at all and runs on a fully electric drivetrain powered by rechargeable batteries. These vehicles need to be plugged in to a power source to charge, and depending on the vehicle, they have varying charging times and driving ranges. The most common two examples of these vehicles are the Nissan Leaf or Tesla Model S.



Expect your divorce’s dirty laundry to be aired in public, unless you live in Quebec

Why does Quebec have it so right and is it too late to change it elsewhere in Canada? Click here to read the full article.