Fishing the North Coast: Increased allocations for Pacific halibut in 2019

first_imgSome good news coming out of the fishing world – finally. During the ninety-fifth annual meeting of the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC), it was announced that our Pacific halibut allocation for California will be set for the next four years at 39,000 pounds. This is approximately 8,000 net pounds greater than our 2018 quota. According to Tom Marking, who sits on the PFMC Groundfish Advisory Panel, the commission was finally able to work out a compromise between Canada and Alaska …last_img

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The Problem With Skin Flakes in Your Air Conditioner

first_imgI never read Robert Fulghum’s book, All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, but I have a clear memory of learning about one thing in the book:  Most of the dust floating around our homes is actually made up of skin flakes.  Now, I don’t know if that memory is accurate (maybe it wasn’t from Fulghum’s book?), but I have found out that this tantalizing “fact” about dust and skin flakes isn’t true.  Household dust, it turns out, isn’t made up largely of skin flakes.  (See this article about a 2009 study on household dust.)Household dust and air conditioner coilsThat doesn’t really let skin flakes off the hook, though.  There’s still enough of them floating around that they can cause a problem if they find their way into your air conditioner. RELATED ARTICLESAll About Indoor Air QualityAll About Air PurifiersVentilation Rates and Human HealthHVAC technicians deal with dirty coils all the time.  See that photo at the top?  That’s a really bad one.  Almost no air can get through all that gunk.  I did a kind of postmortem on that coil a few years ago, but my focus was on the performance of the air conditioner, not indoor air quality.Just so you know what an air conditioner’s evaporator coil is supposed to look like, here’s a photo of a nice, clean coil.  No gunk.  No sludge.  Just a bit of water that had condensed on the cold metal fins on that summer day in Atlanta.  Air can move through the coil.A clean air conditioner coil with no skin flakes. [Photo credit: Energy Vanguard]Now look again at the photo at the top of this article.  When dirt gets pulled into the duct system and can make it all the way to the coil, that’s what can happen over time.  It’s a mix of all kinds of things.  A lot of it is particles (pollen, dirt, dead bug parts…) that find their way into the house from outdoors.  Another big chunk is carpet fibers in homes with carpet.  Then there’s pet dander.  And skin flakes.When that stuff gets pulled into an air conditioner and finds a wet coil, it sticks.  Over time, that gunk creates its own little ecosystem because guess what:  There’s life in them there particles!  My friend Kristof Irwin has discussed this issue of the microbiome in his Building Science Podcast more than once.  (And that’s only one reason you should go listen and subscribe!)The problem with skin flakesAt the end of 2017, researchers in Hong Kong published a paper titled, Skin squames contribute to ammonia and volatile fatty acid production from bacteria colonizing in air‐cooling units with odor complaints.  Squames are what I’ve been calling flakes; they’re pieces of skin that fall off our bodies all the time.  The plain English translation of the title would be:  Skin Flakes and bacteria combine in your air conditioner to create bad odors.  (Here’s a nice summary of the paper.)Skin flakes have proteins in them.  Bacteria, which are everywhere, chow down on the proteins.  An eventual waste product from this process is ammonia.  So if you ever smell something like urine coming from the air conditioner, this could be the reason.But wait… there’s more!  In addition to the proteins, skin flakes also have fatty acids.  That leads to another bacteria chow-down with a different waste product smell:  body odor.What can you do to keep these urine and BO smells from emanating from your air conditioner?  It’s pretty easy.  Make sure your return ducts are sealed and that you have a good filter with no bypass.  Just a few months ago I wrote about seven reasons your filter isn’t doing its job.  Fix those problems and use a good, high-MERV filter designed properly to have a low pressure drop. Allison Bailes of Decatur, Georgia, is a speaker, writer, building science consultant, and the author of the Energy Vanguard Blog. You can follow him on Twitter at @EnergyVanguard.last_img read more

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Hand or foot spasms

first_imgDefinitionSpasms are contractions of the muscles of the hands, thumbs, feet, or toes. Spasms are usually brief, but they can be severe and painful.Alternative NamesFoot spasms; Carpopedal spasm; Spasms of the hands or feet; Hand spasmConsiderationsSymptoms depend on the cause. They may include:CrampingFatigueMuscle weaknessNumbness, tingling, or a “pins and needles” feelingTwitchingUncontrolled, purposeless, rapid motionsNighttime leg cramps are common in the elderly.CausesCramps or spasms in the muscles often have no clear cause.Possible causes of hand or foot spasms include: Abnormal levels of electrolytes or minerals in the body Brain disorders, such as Parkinson disease, multiple sclerosis, dystonia, and Huntington disease Chronic kidney disease and dialysis Damage to a single nerve or nerve group (mononeuropathy) or multiple nerves (polyneuropathy) that are connected to muscles Dehydration (not having enough fluids in your body)Hyperventilation (overbreathing), which is rapid or deep breathing that can occur with anxiety or panicMuscle cramps, usually caused by overuse during sports or work activityPregnancy, more often during the third trimesterThyroid disordersToo little vitamin DUse of certain medicationsHome CareIf vitamin D deficiency is the cause, supplemental vitamin D should be taken under the doctors direction. Calcium supplements may also help.Being active helps keep muscles loose. Aerobic exercise, especially swimming, and strength building exercises are helpful. But care must be taken not to overdo activity, which can worsen the spasms.Drinking plenty of fluids during exercise is also important.When to Contact a Medical ProfessionalIf you notice recurrent spasms of your hands or feet, call your health care provider.advertisementWhat to Expect at Your Office VisitThe doctor or nurse will perform a physical exam and ask about your medical history and symptoms.Blood and urine tests may be done. Tests may include:Potassium, calcium and magnesium levelsHormone levelsKidney function testsVitamin D levels (25-OH vitamin D)Treatment depends on the cause of the spasms. For example, if they are due to a low level of vitamin D in your body, your doctor will likely recommend that you take a vitamin D supplement.ReferencesStein J. Spasticity. In: Frontera WR, Silver JK, Rizzo TD, eds. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2008:chap 144.Review Date:2/24/2014Reviewed By:Joseph V. Campellone, M.D., Division of Neurology, Cooper University Hospital, Camden, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.last_img read more

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