A new study from researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) has found that a group of volunteers who consumed a serving of canned soup each day for five consecutive days had a more than 1,000 percent increase in urinary bisphenol A (BPA) concentrations compared with the same individuals who then consumed fresh soup daily for five days. The study is one of the first to quantify BPA levels in humans after ingestion of canned foods.The findings were published online Nov. 22 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and will appear in the Nov. 23-30 print issue.“Previous studies have linked elevated BPA levels with adverse health effects,” said Jenny Carwile, a doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology at HSPH and lead author of the study. “The next step was to figure out how people are getting exposed to BPA. We’ve known for a while that drinking beverages that have been stored in certain hard plastics can increase the amount of BPA in your body. This study suggests that canned foods may be an even greater concern, especially given their wide use.”Exposure to the endocrine-disrupting chemical BPA, used in the lining of metal food and beverage cans, has been shown to interfere with reproductive development in animals and has been linked with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity in humans. In addition to the lining of food and beverage cans, BPA is also found in polycarbonate bottles (identified by the recycling number 7) and dentistry composites and sealants.The researchers, led by Carwile and Karin Michels, associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology, set out to quantify whether canned-soup consumption would increase urinary BPA concentrations relative to eating fresh soup.They recruited student and staff volunteers from HSPH. One group consumed a 12-ounce serving of vegetarian canned soup each day for five days; another group consumed 12 ounces of vegetarian fresh soup (prepared without canned ingredients) daily for five days. After a two-day “washout” period, the groups reversed their assignments.Urine samples of the 75 volunteers taken during the testing showed that consumption of a serving of canned soup daily was associated with a 1,221 percent increase in BPA compared with levels in urine collected after consumption of fresh soup.The researchers note that the elevation in urinary BPA concentrations may be temporary and that further research is needed to quantify its duration.“The magnitude of the rise in urinary BPA we observed after just one serving of soup was unexpected and may be of concern among individuals who regularly consume foods from cans or drink several canned beverages daily. It may be advisable for manufacturers to consider eliminating BPA from can linings,” said Michels, senior author of the study.Support for this study was provided by an Allen Foundation grant and a Training Grant in Environmental Epidemiology from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
Leave those calluses alone If you’re from a Western society, chances are you value individuality, independence, analytical thinking, and an openness to strangers and new ideas.And the surprising reason for all that may very well have to do with the early Roman Catholic Church and its campaign against marriage within families, according to new research published in Science by Joseph Henrich, chair of the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, and a team of collaborators. “If you’re going to ask the rise-of-the-West question,” said Henrich, an author of the paper, “there’s this big unmentioned thing called psychology that’s got to be part of the story.”About a decade ago Henrich coined the acronym WEIRD (Western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic) to describe the characteristics of cultures that embrace individualism. And those groups were weird, which is to say unusual within the rest of the modern world’s substantial psychological variation. Most of the prior studies attempting to explain the discrepancies focused solely on geographic or ecological factors.Henrich and his collaborators decided to look at how social groups mold the psychology and values of members, the most important and fundamental being the family.“There’s good evidence that Europe’s kinship structure was not much different from the rest of the world,” said Jonathan Schulz, an assistant professor of economics at George Mason University and another author of the paper. But then, from the Middle Ages to 1500 A.D., the Western Church (later known as the Roman Catholic Church) started banning marriages to cousins, step-relatives, in-laws, and even spiritual-kin, better known as godparents.,Why the church grew obsessed with incest is still unknown. Co-author Jonathan Beauchamp, assistant professor of economics at George Mason University, suggests that one possible reason may have been material gain. Religious leaders could benefit financially from shrinking family ties — without a tight extended network those without heirs often left their wealth to the church. Whatever the reasons, one thing seems clear: The Western Church’s crusade coincides with a significant loosening in Europe’s kin-based institutions.Comparing exposure to the Western Church with their “kinship intensity index,” which includes data on cousin marriage rates, polygyny (where a man takes multiple wives), co-residence of extended families, and other historical anthropological measures, the team identified a direct connection between the religious ban and the growth of independent, monogamous marriages among nonrelatives. According to the study, each additional 500 years under the Western Church is associated with a 91 percent further reduction in marriage rates between cousins.,“Meanwhile in Iran, in Persia, Zoroastrianism was not only promoting cousin marriage but promoting marriage between siblings,” Henrich said. Although Islam outlawed polygyny extending beyond four wives, and the Eastern Orthodox Church adopted policies against incest, no institution came close to the strict, widespread policies of the Western Church.Those policies first altered family structures and then the psychologies of members. Henrich and his colleagues think that individuals adapt cognition, emotions, perceptions, thinking styles, and motivations to fit their social networks. Kin-based institutions reward conformity, tradition, nepotism, and obedience to authority, traits that help protect assets — such as farms — from outsiders. But once familial barriers crumble, the team predicted that individualistic traits like independence, creativity, cooperation, and fairness with strangers would increase.Using 24 psychological variables collected in surveys, experiments, and observations, they measured the global prevalence of traits that correspond or conflict with individualism. To test for willingness to help strangers, for example, they collected data on blood-donation rates across Italy, finding a correlation between high donation rates and low cousin-marriage rates. With their kinship intensity index, Schutz said, they can also predict which diplomats in New York City will or will not pay parking tickets: Those from countries with higher rates of cousin marriages are more likely to get a ticket and less likely to pay one.And, although willingness to trust strangers, as opposed to family or neighbors, is associated with higher levels of innovation, greater national wealth, and faster economic growth, which factor causes which is not yet known.“We’re not saying that less-intensive kin-based institutions are better,” said Beauchamp. “Far from it. There are trade-offs.” Tight families, for example, come with inborn financial safety nets. We solved the problem! Now let’s unsolve it. New research by Daniel Gilbert speaks to our conflicted relationship with progress Related A groundbreaking researcher in running turns his attention to walking, with and without shoes The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news. Songs in the key of humanity Some musical meaning may transcend cultural boundaries and be universally human, study says
Mount Snow Resort,Mount Snow offered its earliest lift service opening in history last Saturday when the Discovery Shuttle lift loaded its first passenger at 9:30a.m. The early opening also made Mount Snow the first and only resort open in Vermont. The Launch Pad trail was filled with a dozen terrain park features and over 700 skiers and riders in attendance throughout the weekend.Lift tickets were sold for $10 or 10 non-perishable food items. All of the $5,000 and over 1,500 food items raised will be donated to the Deerfield Valley Food Pantry. This marks the second year in a row of Mount Snow donating its opening weekend revenue to charity. Last year they rose over $1,800 for the Guy Hawkins fund.Skiers and riders from as far north as Burlington and south as New Jersey made the trip for early season snow at the Fan Gun Capital of North America. The conditions did not disappoint and further proved the worth of Peak Resorts $9 million investment in snowmaking at Mount Snow over the past three seasons. On Sunday, the larger crowd of the two days was treated with some light snowfall by Mother Nature to add to the excitement of early season skiing and riding.For more information on Mount Snow please visit www.mountsnow.com(link is external).Source: Mount Snow. WEST DOVER (October 17, 2009)
By Dialogo August 27, 2009 BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) 8/24/2009 — Federal police on Monday uncovered four tons (4,200 kilograms) of ephedrine in oil drums and boxes to be sent to Mexico and the United States. The lead investigator called it the largest illegal shipment of the methamphetamine precursor ever seized in Argentina, worth millions. The ephedrine, was imported from India and China, and discovered with the help of U.S. Drug Enforcement and Interpol agents who have advised police investigating a group of Argentines and Mexican traffickers, Commissioner Miguel Castro told The Associated Press. Castro, superintendent of investigations for the federal police, said the boxes were hidden in a furniture warehouse and the drums were found in another warehouse where one employee was arrested. The chemical is worth $4,000 to $6,000 a kilogram on the street in Argentina, but the traffickers planned to ship it to Mexico, where it sells for between $10,000 and $15,000 a kilogram to gangs that make methamphetamine for U.S. consumers, Castro said. Investigators suspect the chemical remained hidden since last year following the execution-style killings of three Argentines, allegedly by Mexican hit men, in August 2008. Two of the victims owned pharmacies that imported large quantities of the chemical for use in cold medicines, but allegedly intended to sell it instead to gangs from Mexico, which banned the substance in 2007. Forced to acknowledge how Argentina’s wide-open ephedrine market was attracting Mexican cartels, the government ordered drugmakers at the end of 2008 to obtain prior approval before importing the chemical. Monday’s discovery is the second this month. Another four tons of properly declared ephedrine was discovered abandoned in a customs service depository in the port of Buenos Aires. Castro said the two discoveries are unrelated, and that police are still trying to determine if that ephedrine is legal. All eight tons will remain under a judge’s supervision while cases are pending, and then be destroyed, Castro said.
The Organization of American States (OAS) has unveiled a new machine designed to reduce the number of weapons and ammunition in Central America. The small, trailer-mounted machine will be used by the OAS, regional police and security forces to dispose of the voluminous amounts of obsolete and unused ammunition and firearms throughout the region. “The idea of the mobile machine is so that we can move it from one country to the next and offer it as a service to the governments of the other Central American countries,” Carl Case, Director at the Office of Humanitarian Mine Action for the Department of Public Security of the OAS, told Diálogo. Officials unveiled the machine during a demonstration hosted by the OAS and Guatemalan military in Guatemala City in late January and recently in Central America OAS member nations. The machine cut and burned unused weapons and ammunition at the demonstration. Using a rotary disk saw, torches and a burner system, weapons are slashed and burned to disable them from further use. The machine disabled about 300 weapons per day during a demonstration and has the capability to burn about 100,000 rounds of ammunition daily, Case said. Up to 3 million illegal weapons exist in Central America and about 12,000 to 15,000 illegal weapons are confiscated each year by Central American authorities, he said. Participants in the initiative are travelling to each of the Central American OAS member nations to dispose of weapons and ammunition stockpiles that have accumulated over the years. The Humanitarian Mine Action program of the OAS and the OAS Department of Public Security designed the program with a grant from the U.S. State Department. The machine can safely destroy ammunition, explosives, pyrotechnic devices and even bombs of up to 500 pounds. The Humanitarian Mine Action program successfully ridded the region of all active mines in June 2010, completing the project in Nicaragua. Nations across the world donated more than $66 million to demine Central America. “Central America becoming free of antipersonnel mines is a significant milestone on the road to our goal of a mine-free world,” Peter Kent, Canada’s Minister of State of Foreign Affairs said the day of the announcement of a mine-free Central America. Since the successful mining initiative, the OAS nations of the region have turned their focus on eliminating weapons and ammunition that have accumulated over the past 60 years. Case estimated that the OAS has rounded up more than 900 tons of ammunition in Nicaragua and 400 tons in Guatemala. “We have an agreement with the Ministry of Defense in Guatemala and that is why we are starting there and that’s why we built the system there, “ Case said. “We are also in the process of negotiating similar agreements with Belize and Costa Rica. We expect to have those agreements signed fairly soon. We are in dialogue with El Salvador and we’ve had some discussion with Panama about the possibility of doing something with them as well.” To carry out the project, the OAS has employed several technicians trained in explosives demolition to train members of Central American military or security forces on how to use the machine. The technicians are supervising the project to assure safety of the demolition, which is sometimes taking place in highly populated areas such as Guatemala City. The OAS has trained 16 in Guatemala to operate the machine and 50 others on the techniques of explosives demolition. Officials in Nicaragua also have been trained to operate the machinery. “In some cases much of the ammunition is in bad condition and poses a danger to not only the military people that are working around it but also in the areas around it,” Case said. “In Guatemala, some of the ammunition and weapons were in very bad condition so it was a sensitive operation. Several stockpiles were stored in areas that were within the capital city so it was a particular problem.” During the past 20 years, explosions of ammunition and weapon stockpiles have caused damage to communities throughout Latin America, including locations in Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Paraguay. Historic conflicts in the nations of Central America created large ammunition stockpiles that are potentially dangerous to civilians, Case said. During the demonstration in Guatemala, which has an estimated 10,000 to 14,000 confiscated weapons, the firearms being destroyed included Thompson “Tommy” submachine guns, which were used primarily during the first half of the 20th Century and were made famous by American gangsters. In addition to ridding the region of old, stockpiled weapons and ammunition, Case said the OAS also hopes for the machine to eventually be used to destroy illegal arms more quickly as they are confiscated by regional security forces. The number of confiscated weapons in Central America has escalated in recent years and added to already large existing stockpiles. The Oscar Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress in Costa Rica, which is named after the former President and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, estimated that there were some 2.85 million illegal firearms in Central America, or more than one for every 17 people living in the region. “A lot of the countries in Central America see an increasing level of violence and criminality,” Case said. “You often see it in Mexico which makes a lot of news, but there are a lot of problems of similar danger in Central America with gangs, narcotics trafficking and so forth. The interest in this project on the part of the countries is to try to deal with that in a more efficient manner.” The OAS hopes that the burning machine will destroy 700,000 rounds of ammunition by the end of 2011. The OAS also has begun promoting the marking of firearms throughout Latin American and the Caribbean region to combat the illicit manufacturing and trafficking of weapons. The marking initiative, implemented by the General Secretariat of the OAS within the framework of the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Related Materials (CIFTA), met with representatives from 26 member countries in Costa Rica in December to strengthen cooperation and promote the exchange of information among government authorities responsible for firearms marking at the national, regional and international levels. By Dialogo March 18, 2011
We’re including Montana because of its very important Senate race, where Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock could eke out a victory against Republican Sen. Steve Daines. Montana isn’t expected to be close in the presidential race; polls here have shown the margin in high single digits, which is a dramatic improvement over 2016, but that’s still a steep climb to 50%. Winning in Montana requires running up the score in the college towns (Missoula and Bozeman, in Gallatin County) while staying close in the more blue-collar cities (Billings and Great Falls, in Yellowstone and Cascade Counties, respectively) in order to stave off the heavily red rural counties.NORTH CAROLINA MILWAUKEE14.869/3165/29 FULTON10.673/2668/27 EL PASO11.535/6134/56 COUNTY% OF 2016STATEWIDE VOTEWHAT Dems NEEDTO BREAK 50%2016 PRES.Results LIVINGSTON2.234/6432/62 KALAMAZOO2.655/4253/40 BREVARD3.440/5738/57 SCOTT5.555/4347/45 SARASOTA2.444/5442/54 MIAMI-DADE10.465/3463/34 BROWARD8.868/3166/31 DOUGLAS6.738/6037/55 ARAPAHOE10.954/4453/39 Georgia has not one but two Senate races this year, and modeling to 50% is especially important in this one because state law mandates that if no candidate wins a majority, the top two finishers have to advance to a runoff, both in the special election and the regularly scheduled one. The presidential race isn’t subject to that requirement, but in Georgia, it’s shaping up to be one of the closest races in the nation.One step to winning the Peach State is to run up the score in Atlanta and its closest suburbs. Interestingly, Fulton County, where most of Atlanta is, is also home to a lot of affluent, mostly white areas and isn’t quite as blue as two of its neighboring counties that have larger African American majorities.The other step is to win in the Atlanta area’s affluent, but rapidly diversifying, outer suburbs in Cobb and Gwinnett Counties—preferably in the upper 50s if not higher. (Stacey Abrams hit those same benchmarks above in Cobb and Gwinnett but still fell a smidge short in the 2018 gubernatorial race anyway, thanks to Republican strength in the rural areas and, probably, GOP voter suppression.) For more detail on this pathway, my colleague Steve Singiser has written a full-length piece on what to watch in Georgia.IOWA LAKE2.146/5340/55 POLK3.043/5541/55 – Advertisement – RENO2.141/5628/63 JEFFERSON11.850/4749/42 LEHIGH2.653/4650/45 ADAMS7.051/4650/41 WOODBURY2.845/5537/57 AIKEN3.642/5534/61 INGHAM2.762/3560/33 PICKENS2.329/6821/74 GUILFORD5.461/3758/38 FRANKLIN10.666/3260/34 HARRIS14.661/3954/42 WASHTENAW3.970/2968/27 RAVALLI4.542/5828/66 PHILADELPHIA11.584/1682/15 PINELLAS5.249/4847/48 CHATHAM2.760/3955/40 ORANGE5.862/3560/35 OTTAWA3.033/6431/62 DUVAL4.649/4847/48 There’s no Senate race in Ohio, but we’re including it because of its perennial bellwether status in the presidential race. While Biden’s main task is to crush it in the Democratic strongholds of Cuyahoga and Franklin Counties (Cleveland and Columbus, respectively), you might also keep an eye on more blue-collar counties like Lorain and Mahoning (the latter is home of Youngstown).These were Democratic strongholds in the past and gave Clinton only very narrow wins in 2016, but they now seem poised to snap back significantly with Biden at the top of the ticket. Biden will also want to come close in Lake County, Cleveland’s more affluent affluent suburbs, though it hasn’t moved much in the Democratic direction during the Trump era, unlike a wide variety of suburbs elsewhere in the country.PENNSYLVANIA MONTGOMERY7.161/3858/37 ROCK2.656/4352/41 VOLUSIA2.843/5441/54 LUZERNE2.242/5939/58 Colorado appears to have graduated from swing-state status to safely blue at the presidential level, which is pretty amazing for a state that was red for decades until 2008 (with a brief blip in 1992). But it does have a key Senate race, although Democrat John Hickenlooper is looking pretty likely to defeat Republican Sen. Cory Gardner. With much of the state’s population concentrated in the Front Range, Hickenlooper’s easiest path means winning decisively in Denver and Boulder, winning narrowly in the inner suburbs (Adams, Arapahoe, and Jefferson Counties), and not getting blown out in Colorado Springs (El Paso County) or Denver’s exurbs (Douglas and Weld Counties).FLORIDA SEMINOLE2.449/4847/48 BLACK HAWK4.158/4150/43 BOULDER6.871/2770/22 WAYNE16.268/3166/29 BUTLER3.240/5934/61 LUCAS3.662/3656/38 PINAL5.042/5737/56 PASCO2.639/5837/58 After ages waiting for it, the blessed day has arrived: Texas has finally achieved swing-state status. It has a competitive Senate race, where Democrat MJ Hegar has an outside shot at unseating Republican Sen. John Cornyn, but the main event here is the presidential race, which polling indicates will be very close. Basically, Biden needs to replicate Beto O’Rourke’s 2018 map but perform just a smidge better, which requires dominant performances in Houston (Harris County), Dallas, Austin (Travis County), and El Paso, while squeaking out wins in Fort Worth (Tarrant County) and Austin’s suburbs (Williamson County), and coming close in Dallas’s outer suburbs in Collin County. Steve Singiser has also gone into more detail about the key counties in Texas.WISCONSIN ERIE2.049/4946/48 SHAWNEE6.457/4044/47 FORSYTH2.429/7024/71 CLAYTON2.388/1284/14 SUMTER2.063/3755/43 FLORENCE2.854/4546/51 LINN7.558/3950/41 CHESTER4.455/4452/43 BUCKS5.651/4948/48 FORSYTH3.856/4253/43 YUMA2.052/4746/47 OUTAGAMIE3.245/5541/53 LEWIS & CLARK7.056/4141/48 LeXINGTON5.837/6029/66 COUNTY% OF 2016STATEWIDE VOTEWHAT Dems NEEDTO BREAK 50%2016 PRES.Results POTTAWATTAMIE2.744/5536/57 LAKE2.651/4936/57 RACINE3.249/5145/50 COUNTY% OF 2016STATEWIDE VOTEWHAT Dems NEEDTO BREAK 50%2016 PRES.Results The perennial swing state of Iowa has both one of the nation’s closest presidential races and a key Senate race, though Democratic Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield seems to be running just ahead of Biden. As you can see from the table, most of the state’s small cities are modestly blue, with only Iowa City (in Johnson County) a Democratic stronghold. But Biden and Greenfield need to win basically all of them, except for the redder Council Bluffs and Sioux City (Pottawattamie and Woodbury Counties, respectively), in order to compensate for the much redder rural counties. Steve also has a deep dive into the key counties in Iowa if you’d like to explore further.KANSAS JOHNSON24.657/4044/47 CHEROKEE2.727/7122/72 LARIMER7.049/4848/43 MESA2.729/6928/64 YORK3.436/6333/62 MACOMB8.744/5642/54 STARK3.245/5439/56 BERKELEY3.847/5039/56 Kansas is here because of its competitive Senate race, although a good night will also see the Sunflower State pull into the single digits in its presidential race. Leading the way in Kansas’s slow move toward becoming a swing state is Johnson County, where most of Kansas City’s affluent suburbs are located. This was long the state’s stronghold of mainstream Republicanism, but Democrat Laura Kelly won the county 55-38 en route to her victory in 2018’s gubernatorial race.Democratic Senate hopeful Barbara Bollier will also need to dominate in Kansas City, Lawrence, and Topeka (Wyandotte, Douglas, and Shawnee Counties, respectively) and squeak out a narrow win in Wichita (Sedgwick County, the state’s second most populous county) because the entire rest of the state is very red.MICHIGAN GWINNETT8.055/4350/44 TARRANT7.550/4943/52 Pennsylvania has no Senate race this year, but as usual, it’s one of the linchpins (or you might even call it a keystone, if you will) of the presidential race. Biden needs to do what Clinton narrowly failed to do in 2016, which is to run up the score not just in the big cities but also in Philadelphia’s suburbs (Delaware, Montgomery, and to a lesser extent, Bucks and Chester Counties). That would compensate for the right turn that the counties outside of Pittsburgh in southwestern Pennsylvania, like Westmoreland, have taken. While Lackawanna County (where Biden’s hometown of Scranton is located) is too small to appear on the list, its next-door neighbor Luzerne County is also worth watching to see if Biden’s favorite-son status turns around this large Obama-to-Trump county.SOUTH CAROLINA OAKLAND13.953/4651/43 In Michigan, it’s worth watching both the presidential and Senate races, though polls suggest Biden and Democratic Sen. Gary Peters are on track to win by mid to high single-digits. Detroit (in Wayne County) is key, though the real impact here might not be its vote share rather turnout—and specifically, whether it can exceed 16.2% of the state’s total vote, its share in 2016. (In 2012, by contrast, Wayne was 17.2% of Michigan’s total en route to Barack Obama’s 9-point win, a figure similar to Biden’s current polling lead in the state.)You’ll also want to keep an eye on Macomb County in Detroit’s blue-collar suburbs, which is one of the nation’s largest counties to flip from Obama to Trump. Clinton did so poorly here that Biden doesn’t need to actually flip it back in order to win statewide, but this is one of those areas that seems tailor-made for a big Biden bounce back.MONTANA DALLAS2.449/4941/51 GENESEE4.154/4552/43 WARREN2.135/6429/66 BERKS3.046/5343/52 DEKALB7.784/1579/16 PUEBLO2.847/5146/46 SEDGWICK16.149/4736/54 COBB8.153/4548/46 MOHAVE3.128/7222/73 STATEWIDE—50/4935/56 JOHNSON4.973/2565/27 WELD4.935/6234/57 GALLATIN10.760/3745/44 DUBUQUE3.254/4546/47 STATEWIDE—50/4946/47 BUTLER2.337/6224/69 MISSOULA12.167/3052/37 SILVER BOW3.367/3252/39 COUNTY% OF 2016STATEWIDE VOTEWHAT Dems NEEDTO BREAK 50%2016 PRES.Results COUNTY% OF 2016STATEWIDE VOTEWHAT Dems NEEDTO BREAK 50%2016 PRES.Results SHEBOYGAN2.042/5638/54 RICHLAND8.072/2564/31 STATEWIDE—50/4947/48 The benchmarks are a solution to a problem you may have experienced: watching a race that’s expected to be close but, in the early going, suddenly finding that your preferred candidate is losing when you look at the total numbers. If you dig into county-level reporting, however, you might notice that mostly the smaller, rural counties are reporting first. To do that, you need to know the names of the larger counties you should actually watch, and that’s one thing that the benchmarks do.The other way the benchmarks help you is that when the larger counties start reporting, you can use them to see if the numbers that they’re reporting are coming in at the right level for your preferred candidate. That way, you can get a good early sense of how the race is going, before a majority of the votes have reported (which, again, is especially important in states where the rural areas tend to report first).- Advertisement – KENT6.447/5045/48 UNION2.235/6232/63 Wisconsin, of course, was scene of one of the biggest heartbreakers in the 2016 election and then saw a similarly close race in the 2018 gubernatorial election, though with much better results for Democrats. At least according to current polling, Biden looks to be winning the Badger State much more easily, but the bare minimum he needs to clear the hurdle here is to hit the 70s in Milwaukee and Madison (Dane County), keep it close to 50-50 in the state’s smaller blue-collar cities like Racine, Kenosha, and Oshkosh (Winnebago County), and just keep from getting totally embarrassed in conservative suburbs like Waukesha County (which, contrary to what you’ve heard, isn’t necessarily that crucial for winning).Make sure to join us at Daily Kos Elections on Nov. 3 starting at 6 PM ET for our complete coverage of election night! BUNCOMBE2.957/3954/40 North Carolina has not just a very competitive presidential race and a key Senate race, but also a contested gubernatorial race, though Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is favored to win reelection. Biden and Democratic Senate candidate Cal Cunningham will need to hit the 60% mark in almost all of the state’s major cities in order to win statewide, considering how red much of the rural areas are (North Carolina does have a number of heavily Black rural counties in its northeast, though they’re all too small to register on this chart). One smaller city to keep an eye on is Wilmington (in New Hanover County), a longtime conservative stronghold where Cooper won in 2016 and that may be poised to flip at the presidential level.OHIO WASHINGTON2.631/6927/67 COUNTY% OF 2016STATEWIDE VOTEWHAT Dems NEEDTO BREAK 50%2016 PRES.Results GASTON2.035/6332/64 STATEWIDE—49/4848/43 WILLIAMSON2.349/4842/51 STATEWIDE—50/4945/48 MARICOPA60.250/4945/48 LORAIN2.554/4648/48 COUNTY% OF 2016STATEWIDE VOTEWHAT Dems NEEDTO BREAK 50%2016 PRES.Results BROWN4.345/5441/52 MONTGOMERY4.753/4647/48 South Carolina may end up with a single-digit presidential race, but the real story here is the Senate contest, where Democrat Jamie Harrison is neck and neck with Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham. South Carolina is unique among all the states we’re looking at in that even its most populous county (Greenville) is a red county. To compensate for that, Harrison will need a dominant win in Charleston and come close in its suburbs (Berkeley and Dorchester Counties).One other source of strength for Harrison that doesn’t show up on the list is that South Carolina has a large number of Black-majority rural counties that run in a belt across the state’s middle; individually, these counties aren’t very populous but taken together they make up much of the state’s 6th Congressional District. Orangeburg is one of the largest of these counties (it’s 1.9% of the state’s total), and Harrison would need to be in the mid-70s here to be on track to win statewide.There’s also a special caveat for the Palmetto State: Harrison and his allies have been spending heavily to boost Constitution Party candidate Bill Bledsoe as a way of peeling off conservative voters who feel Graham hasn’t been sufficiently loyal to Trump. (Bledsoe dropped out a month ago and endorsed Graham, but his name will still be on the ballot.) If this gambit is successful, Harrison’s win target may fall a few points shy of 50%.TEXAS One of the drawbacks of a simple method like this one is that swings don’t occur uniformly across an entire state. One recent election where we found this out the hard way was 2016, where Hillary Clinton, in many states, actually hit most of the large-county benchmarks that I calculated, but where she came up short in the many rural counties that are too small for inclusion on these lists and where she essentially died of a thousand small cuts.Another potential problem here is that in urban counties, a candidate can hit the correct benchmarks in terms of percentage of vote share but fall off the pace in terms of turnout, as happened in Milwaukee and Detroit in 2016. The opposite is also possible: In last year’s race for governor in Kentucky, Democrat Andy Beshear fell below his benchmarks but still won by running up huge raw vote totals in the cities. That’s why the benchmark for each county’s share of the state’s total votes is important data, though unfortunately it’s hard to tell whether you’ve hit the right mark on turnout until all the votes have been counted.The biggest potential difficulty of all, though, has been magnified by the pandemic and Donald Trump. We know that Democrats prefer mail and early voting while Republicans prefer to cast their ballots on Election Day. Each of these different bucks of votes, however, are generally reported at different times, with early votes and some mail votes typically appearing first, followed by Election Day votes, and then later-arriving mail votes.- Advertisement – STATEWIDE—49/4947/49 DOUGLAS4.275/2262/29 LANCASTER4.040/5737/56 COUNTY% OF 2016STATEWIDE VOTEWHAT Dems NEEDTO BREAK 50%2016 PRES.Results MAHONING2.155/4449/46 LA CROSSE2.155/4351/41 HAMILTON7.459/4053/42 WYANDOTTE4.174/2561/32 HORRY6.338/6130/67 WESTMORELAND3.035/6533/64 The way this all works is that for each table, you’ll see three columns of numbers. The left one is the percentage of the state’s total votes that come from each particular county. (They include only the counties that represent 2% or more of a state’s total vote, so you can weed out the clutter, though collectively, these small counties can add up—more on that below.)The middle column is the target the Democratic candidate should be shooting for, usually in order to shoot for 49% to 50% statewide and the barest possible majority. Finally, the right-hand column is the 2016 result, so you understand the baseline for the current 2020 estimates.This all operates at the level of rough estimates, just for the benefit of advanced election-watchers. Actual professional campaigns use much more precise and granular information for setting targets, often at the precinct level and relying on voter file data.- Advertisement – CUYAHOGA11.071/2865/30 DENTON3.344/5437/57 GREENVILLE10.243/5335/59 NORTHAMPTON2.349/5146/50 CHARLESTON8.459/3751/43 STATEWIDE—49/4947/47 SPARTANBURG5.841/5733/63 COUNTY% OF 2016STATEWIDE VOTEWHAT Dems NEEDTO BREAK 50%2016 PRES.Results MONTGOMERY2.329/7022/73 CASCADE6.950/5035/57 DENVER11.975/2474/19 CUMBERLAND2.041/5738/56 STATEWIDE—50/4945/50 COUNTY% OF 2016STATEWIDE VOTEWHAT Dems NEEDTO BREAK 50%2016 PRES.Results STATEWIDE—49/4941/55 NEW HANOVER2.449/4846/49 MECKLENBURG10.065/3262/33 STATEWIDE—49/4946/50 YORK5.444/5236/58 LEE3.540/5838/58 POLK14.860/3852/40 COCONINO2.360/3554/35 ANDERSON3.834/6426/70 STORY3.259/3651/38 BEAUFORT3.749/4941/55 WINNEBAGO2.947/5243/50 DORCHESTER3.046/5038/56 COUNTY% OF 2016STATEWIDE VOTEWHAT Dems NEEDTO BREAK 50%2016 PRES.Results COUNTY% OF 2016STATEWIDE VOTEWHAT Dems NEEDTO BREAK 50%2016 PRES.Results DURHAM3.381/1778/18 PIMA16.258/4153/40 ALLEGHENY10.759/4056/39 STATEWIDE—50/4943/52 FT. BEND2.958/4251/45 DALLAS8.568/3261/35 FLATHEAD9.543/5728/64 BEXAR6.661/3854/41 YELLOWSTONE14.046/5131/58 COLLIN4.046/5339/56 TRAVIS5.273/2466/27 STATEWIDE—49/4943/51 STATEWIDE—50/4942/51 We could therefore see results that initially lean Democratic, then shift toward the GOP, then tilt back toward Democrats. But that’s just one potential arc. Because every state has different rules that govern its vote-counting procedures, and because partisan preferences for voting method are by no means set in stone, the flow of results could vary distinctly from state to state.One last caveat: Two states that you might be looking for, but unfortunately couldn’t be included, are Alaska and Maine, both of which have competitive Senate races. Alaska simply doesn’t have counties, so there are no county-level benchmarks to be set. (You might be able to find reporting by legislative district if you look at the state’s elections site, though.) Maine does have counties, but as with the rest of New England, election data in Maine is reported at the town level, so if you went looking for “Cumberland County” or “Penobscot County” real-time data, you’d be very disappointed. (Some of the state’s biggest cities include Portland, Bangor, Auburn, and Lewiston, if you want to look at town-level data.) WAKE11.160/3657/37 CUMBERLAND2.759/3956/40 EL PASO2.476/2369/26 HENRY2.455/4550/46 SUMMIT4.758/4152/43 DANE10.474/2570/23 YAVAPAI4.436/6331/62 MARATHON2.342/5838/56 STATEWIDE—49/4936/56 WAUKESHA8.037/6233/60 PALM BEACH7.058/4156/41 COUNTY% OF 2016STATEWIDE VOTEWHAT Dems NEEDTO BREAK 50%2016 PRES.Results KENOSHA2.651/4947/47 COUNTY% OF 2016STATEWIDE VOTEWHAT Dems NEEDTO BREAK 50%2016 PRES.Results DELAWARE4.962/3859/37 Hey, did you know there’s a close race in Florida this year? I know, that’s so weird; it’s never happened before! Ordinarily, the path to victory for Democrats in Florida means running in the 60s in the three mega-counties of the Miami area (Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach) as well as That Other Orange County (the one that has Orlando in it). It also means holding serve in the St. Petersburg and Jacksonville areas (Pinellas and Duval Counties, respectively), while riding out the GOP onslaught in the state’s smaller counties.This year’s number mix might be a little different, though, based on district-level polling we’ve seen, which has seen Biden underperforming Clinton somewhat in the Cuban community in Miami but dramatically overperforming Clinton in the “I-4 Corridor” suburbs like Pinellas and Seminole Counties.GEORGIA LEAVENWORTH2.646/5133/58 HILLSBOROUGH6.354/4552/45 Let’s talk further about the methodology here. If you’re a regular consumer of our county benchmarks, you might know that in the past it’s usually been a very simple math process. For instance, in Arizona, Clinton’s 45/48 result in 2016 would be turned into a 50/43 target in 2020, accomplished by adding 5 to the 2016 Democratic vote share in each county and subtracting 5 from the GOP vote share in each county.However, 50/43 isn’t a very realistic target, because we have a more conventional election this year, with less-disliked candidates, and it’s highly unlikely that third-party candidates this year will take 7% of the total vote, as they did four years ago. The third-party vote might still end up at about 2%, though, so I’ll generally be modeling to either 50/49 or 49/49 this year.What I’ve therefore done this year is create an intermediate step (which I’m not showing in the table, to minimize onscreen clutter, but I’ll describe the process to make it more transparent), where, in Arizona, I would first add 3 to both sides of the 2016 result, so 45/48 becomes 48/51, and the two-party share gets bumped up to 99%, which is more typical in most elections.It’s possible, of course, that the split in 2016 wasn’t exactly half-and-half; in other words, the number of Democrats defecting to the Greens or Libertarians in 2016 might not have been equal to the number of Republicans defecting to Libertarians or Evan McMullin’s campaign. There’s no good way to figure that out with any certainty, though, so I’m simply splitting the difference equally.Only then do I switch over to the old method, where I would add 2 to the Democratic side and subtract 2 to the GOP side, to bring the target vote share to 50/49 that would get Joe Biden and/or Democratic Senate candidate Mark Kelly across the finish line by the barest margin possible.If you apply this method to Pima County (home of Tucson), you’d see that in 2016, the county went 53/40 for Clinton. After the intermediate step, that becomes 56/43 for Clinton. Adding 2 to the Democratic side and subtracting 2 from the Republican side, that gets turned into a 58/41 target for 2018. As you’ll note, no correction is needed in the state’s largest county, Maricopa County; that’s because more than half of the state’s population lives there, so naturally it’s going to have a very similar vote share percentage breakdown as the state as a whole.COLORADO
Former Australian cricketer Ryan Harris has sold his home at Balmoral. Photo: Steve PohlnerFormer Australian cricketer Ryan Harris has sold his five-bedroom pad at Balmoral for a mighty $1.45 million dollars.The property at 30A Taylor St was sold by Ray White East Brisbane’s Tony O’Doherty.Mr O’Doherty said a family who relocated from Perth bought the home.“They loved the house itself,” he said.“I’d shown them six to seven properties but the drawcard here was the separation between levels – almost dual living.More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this home4 hours agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investor4 hours ago“Her mother was going to be living with them, so this was perfect.”FREE: Get the latest real estate news direct to your inbox here.30A Taylor St, Balmoral.Harris, a consultant coach at Cricket Australia, owned the home since 2010 and decided it was time for a change.He had done some renos to the home including building an entertaining area/deck with an outdoor kitchen.The two-storey home is on a 513sq m block of land with a poolside entertaining pavilion.
Austrian Pensionskassen have reported an average 3.2% return for the first nine months of 2013, a substantial gain on their average half-year performance of 0.86%.For the third quarter, the local pension fund association, FVPK, reported a 2.4% return.Andreas Zakostelsky, chairman at the FVPK, said he was optimistic about the results, as they showed Pensionskassen were able to weather short-term dips in the financial markets.Meanwhile, Austrian supervisory body FMA also released its official figures for the second quarter. It found that Austria’s 16 Pensionskassen returned -1.3% over the second quarter, bringing the half-year return to 0.9% – similar to the 0.86% reported by the FVPK over the summer.FMA figures also showed that almost 47% of the €16.5bn in pensions assets managed at the end of the second quarter was invested in bonds, and 28.3% in equities.The remainder was invested in cash, real estate and loans.After hedging, around 18.5% of assets was invested in foreign currencies.In other news, collective corporate pension scheme BKV saw assets increase by 1.4% quarter on quarter to €619.3m, as of the end of June.As part of a reform plan introduced earlier this year, BKV pensioners, as well as people close to retirement, have until the end of October to switch to an insurance-based scheme offering certain guarantees.The BKV is a competitor to the Pensionskassen’s own Sicherheitspension, or ‘safety pension’, which was also introduced by the reform.From January 2014, a new feature will be introduced into the Austrian pension system, the so-called Pensionskonto.Using the Pensionskonto, Austrians, similar to the Swedes, will now be able to learn how much of a pension they can expect from each pillar.Christoph Krischanitz, managing director at the actuarial consultancy arithmetica, said: “Until now, only pensioners got any information on their pension, but people still working did not.”He said he expected the new information would make the topic of pensions more “politically dynamic” and might lead to future shortages in the first pillar.
This review concluded that several of the wells did not have the necessary barriers and Equinor , therefore, plans to drill new wells in order to ensure safe production. Norwegian energy giant Equinor has experienced a further delay in the development of its operated Martin Linge offshore field. “This is mainly due to the corona-situation affecting the work on the topside”, the spokesperson explained. The costs of drilling up to three new wells total about NOK 2 billion (about $224.3 million). The latest delay was caused mainly by the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the need to drill new wells due to barrier deficiencies discovered in wells drilled under the previous operator Total. Barrier deficiencies force Equinor to drill fresh Martin Linge wells When it comes to the well integrity issues on the field, Offshore Energy reported earlier this week that Equinor had conducted an in-depth analysis of the wells drilled at Martin Linge before it took over as the operator of the field from Total in 2018. Posted: 18 days ago Categories: The spokesperson added: “We will also drill up to three new gas production wells at the field due to integrity issues found during an in-depth analysis of wells pre-drilled earlier by former operator Total”. The field was previously scheduled to start production in mid-2020. However, the operator has suffered delays in the start-up. Exploration & Production In a statement sent to Offshore Energy, a spokesperson for Equinor said the production start-up for the Martin Linge field had been postponed from this year to 2021. Posted: 18 days ago The Maersk Intrepid drilling rig has recently started the drilling operations at Martin Linge. The North Sea Martin Linge field is an oil and gas discovery made in 1978. The field is located 42 kilometres west of Oseberg, in 115 metres of water. Equinor’s Martin Linge field is currently under development. The platform jacket was installed on the field in 2014 and topside modules in 2018. Equinor became the operator of the Martin Linge field in March 2018 and it holds a 70 per cent interest and its partner Petoro holds the remaining 30 per cent interest.
Theestimated cost of damaged was pegged at P170,000, according to Alberto GimayJr., Municipal Risk Reduction Management Council head. ILOILOCity – A tornado destroyed two houses and damaged four others in Barangay DawisNorte, Zarraga, Iloilo. This man looks at the ruins of his house that was destroyed when a tornado ripped through Barangay Dawis Norte, Zarraga, Iloilo on Thursday. IAN PAUL CORDERO Gimay saidthat no one was injured when the tornado rip through the village around 3 a.m. on Thursday. Several trees were uprooted, he added. “Mayolang kay wala kita sang casualty. Walamay na pilasan sang nag-igo ang buhawi, damaged lang gid ang mga balay didto sa Dawis Norte,” Gimay told Panay News. “Ang direction sang hanginis paibabaw indi pa-horizon, kay kung pa-horizonnatam-an gid sila kun tani.” The affected residents soughttemporary shelter from their relatives./PN