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Jan 13 2013

What We Now Know

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Up host Chris Hayes discusses what we now know since last week began, including how NFL linebacker Junior Seau committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest preserving his brain for scientific study. His panel guests are George Saunders, author of “Tenth of December;” Michael Chabon, author of “Telegraph Avenue” and Pulitzer Prize-winner; Victor LaValle, author of “The Devil in Silver” and Assistant Professor and Acting Fiction Director at Columbia University School of the Arts; and Ayana Mathis, author of “The Twelve Tribes of Hattie.”

Seau Suffered From Brain Disease

by Mary Pilon, New York Times

The former N.F.L. linebacker Junior Seau had a degenerative brain disease linked to repeated head trauma when he committed suicide in the spring, the National Institutes of Health said Thursday.

The findings were consistent with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease widely connected to athletes who have absorbed frequent blows to the head, the N.I.H. said in a statement. Seau is the latest and most prominent player to be associated with the disease, which has bedeviled football in recent years as a proliferation of studies has exposed the possible long-term cognitive impact of head injuries sustained on the field. [..]

Since C.T.E. was diagnosed in the brain of the former Eagles defensive back Andre Waters after his suicide in 2006, the disease has been found in nearly every former player whose brain was examined posthumously. (C.T.E. can be diagnosed only posthumously.)

NFL concussions lawsuit: 2,000 former players to file class action suit

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – A concussion-related lawsuit bringing together scores of cases has been filed in federal court, accusing the NFL of hiding information that linked football-related head trauma to permanent brain injuries.

Lawyers for former players say more than 80 pending lawsuits are consolidated in the “master complaint” filed Thursday in Philadelphia.

Plaintiffs hope to hold the NFL responsible for the care of players suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological conditions. Other former players remain asymptomatic, but worry about the future and want medical monitoring.

Australia Adds New Weather Map Colors for Extreme Heat

by Brooke Jarvis, Rolling Stone

Climate change is causing ‘catastrophic’ danger in much of the country

Australia is facing record-breaking temperatures in next week’s forecast – a heat wave so intense that the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has been forced to make new charts.

For the first time, the century-old agency’s forecast map now includes a gauge for temperatures up to 54° Celsius (129.2° Fahrenheit), complete with new colors – deep purple and hot pink – to indicate areas experiencing heat above 50°C (122°F).

Though Australia’s existing heat record, set in 1960, still stands for the moment, officials believe it may soon be surpassed. The nation’s Bureau of Meteorology has been open about the impact that rising greenhouse gases are already having there: The agency’s website declares that Australia is “experiencing rapid climate change,” including more frequent heat waves and changing rainfall patterns.

The current heat wave has produced above-average temperatures for 80 percent of the country – the nationwide average on Monday was 104 degrees Fahrenheit – and scores of wildfires. The state of New South Wales, home to Australia’s most populous city, Sydney, is facing its greatest fire danger ever, officials say. In some areas of the state, the official fire danger rating is “catastrophic.”

2012 Hottest Year On Record For Lower 48 States, NOAA Confirms

It’s official: 2012 was the warmest year on record in the lower 48 states, as the country experienced blistering spring and summer heat, tinderbox fire weather conditions amid a widespread drought, and one of the worst storms to ever strike the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2012 had an average temperature of 55.3°F, which eclipsed 1998, the previous record holder, by 1°F. That was just off Climate Central’s calculation in mid-December, which projected an expected value of 55.34°F, based on historical data.

The 1°F difference from 1998 is an unusually large margin, considering that annual temperature records are typically broken by just tenths of a degree Fahrenheit. In fact, the entire range between the coldest year on record, which occurred in 1917, and the previous record warm year of 1998 was just 4.2°F.

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