Survival Schools See Attendance Rise During COVID

When the influenza pandemic spread globally in 1918, it wouldn’t be until 1920 when things started getting back to normal in many communities.

As we see with the COVID pandemic, the arguments over masks and social distancing were similar. Instead of focusing on one’s health, it became a political argument.

Since there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight, many people are turning to survival schools to develop the skills and resources they’ll need for survival.

About 250 million people have contracted COVID since the start of the pandemic, with nearly two million dying from the disease.

What Are Survival Schools?

Survival schools have been around much longer than the coronavirus. These institutions teach people how to survive if they’re stuck in the woods with only their clothing and a couple of tools. 

Some of the skills taught during these wilderness courses include making fire by friction, finding edible food outside, and hunting safely.

Here are some of the best ones that still offer classes today.

1. Ancient Pathways

Founded by Tony Nester in 1989, this survival school focuses on bushcraft. Courses range from four days to two weeks, including a knife-only class.

2. Mountain Shepherd Wilderness Survival School

The most popular course here requires students to improvise their own shelter. You must make your way to a campsite using a compass and topographic map over four days and three nights.

3. Mountain Scout Survival School

You can find single-day survival classes that start from $60. You can learn how to trap, track, and create a fire. If you live in an urban environment, the NYC class in Central Park delivers a fun experience.

Life can throw a curveball at any time. When you know how to survive, it’s much easier to get ready for the next pitch. 

Zoom Settles Privacy Lawsuit for $86 Million

Zoom agreed to pay $86 million to settle a class-action privacy lawsuit that originated in the United States. The plaintiffs argued that the video conferencing software company shared personal data with LinkedIn, Google, and Facebook without permission.

The lawsuit also accused Zoom of misstating how it offers encryption while failing to prevent hackers from gaining access to video conferencing sessions.

As part of the settlement, Zoom denies any wrongdoing while agreeing to boost its overall security practices. In March, the company had even asked the court to dismiss, but the judge only granted a partial dismissal.

Free Users Might Not Receive Much in the Settlement

People must prove they received harm because of Zoom’s inaction with its software or the information it sold to others.

If the settlement proceeds as expected, paid subscribers can expect about a 15% refund or $25, whichever is larger. Free users who can show Zoom’s actions harmed them might qualify for a payment of up to $15.

Lawyers in the case are seeking over $21 million in legal fees, a figure not included with the final settlement numbers initially reported. 

The primary issue involves the security flaws that users encountered while operating with Zoom, especially during the lockdown pandemic months. Mac users were sometimes forced into calls without their knowledge, while attackers could remove people from meetings, spoof messages, or hijack a shared screen. 

Since 2020, Zoom has introduced more than 100 features to improve security, privacy, and safety.

Once approved, qualifying individuals will receive notice of their status.

Western Wildfires Create Air Quality Risks Along the East Coast

States like California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington are facing a record year for wildfires. The Caldor Fire in CA is one of the largest in the state’s history, covering over 212,000 acres after starting on August 14.

The Caldor Fire grew to such a large size that it began affecting the South Lake Tahoe basin. Mandatory evacuations began in that area during the first week of September.

Air quality readings in Northern California were unhealthy during these fires, but the smoke wasn’t contained in that area. People along the East Coast were also affected by those particulates.

The Bootleg Fire Burned 600 Square Miles

When fires get as large as the Bootleg Fire in Oregon or California’s Caldor Fire, they generate their own weather events.

For several days during the summer, eastern states were trapped in a smoky haze. Even though the wildfires were over 3,000 miles away, there were mornings when you couldn’t see the city skyline in Philadelphia and New York.

This year marks the second time that wildfire smoke traveled from one coast to the other. 

As air quality warnings increase, it is vital to take steps to protect yourself. The first step is to get masks or respirators that guard against PM 2.5 and PM 10 air contaminants. These items can coat lung tissues, potentially making the body more susceptible to Covid infections.

Another step is to focus on your respiratory health. Products from brands like DaVinci Labs and Plant Therapy might give you the boost you need.

Finally, stay inside when the wildfire smoke lingers. By reducing your exposure, you’ll protect your health. 

Last Refuge for Polar Bears at Risk Due to Global Warming

The Arctic Ocean is critical for the survival of wild polar bears. Parts of the landscape remain frozen all year, with one region expected to stay frozen for longer than any other. 

The Wandel Sea area, which is north of Greenland, typically retains thick ice throughout the year. 

With record melting happening in 2020, researchers fear changing climate conditions could put this beloved species at risk of extinction. 

Sailors Found Large Stretches of Open Water

The Polarstern is a German research vessel that explores the northern seas. When they entered the Wandel Sea last year, they encountered stretches of open water that shouldn’t have been there.

After this discovery, scientists used sea ice models and satellite images to piece together what was happening in the region. 

Strong winds moved most of the sea ice out of the area, with thinner and newer ice working to displace the patches of thicker and older spots. 

Canada was so concerned about the issue in 2019 that the government designated part of this last ice area as a marine protected environment. Although climate models likely need to be re-examined to determine the accuracy of the findings, most surveys didn’t predict that much loss until several decades in the future.

That means polar bears aren’t having much luck finding food. They rely on seals and other sea creatures to appear in holes from the ice to breathe for hunting. Without this advantage, the results could be devastating for the species. 

Opioid Deaths Rose 46% in Washington in 2020

While COVID-19 spun off variants to infect millions of people, many coped with the different lockdown orders by taking opioids.

It was a choice that led to a 46% increase in opioid-related deaths in Washington, D.C., in 2020. Most of the people impacted by this issue were older Black and African-American men.

Although the rates are staggering, the issue isn’t something new to those who live in America’s capital. Fentanyl deaths started rising in 2017, and the figures have kept climbing since that time.

Treatment Options Show Racial Disparities

The United States experiences several ethnic and racial disparities in the healthcare field. The use of opioid disorder treatments, including buprenorphine and methadone, has several barriers to distribution to minority communities.

Buprenorphine providers tend to accept commercial insurance, but they will not take Medicaid.

Medicaid is the medical coverage individuals and families receive when they meet specific low-income thresholds. Minorities in the United States are more likely to use this service, and it is even more likely that someone with an opioid addiction will be on it.

That means the people who need the treatment the most are the least likely to get it. 

What fueled this crisis? We know that about one-quarter of the patients who receive prescription opioids for pain management end up abusing the product. 

We also know that about 5% of the people who misuse an opioid prescription will transition to heroin.

The only way to change these statistics is to stop offering opioids as the first-course treatment for pain. We must also reach out to the communities where overdosing is rampant to deliver some much-needed services. 

J&J Vaccine Protects Against Delta Variant of COVID

Dmitry Stuzhuk worked as a fitness instructor and social media influencer in 2020. He was only 33 years old when he died from complications of COVID-19.

He told his followers on social media that the virus wasn’t real. That all changed when Stuzhuk was rushed to the hospital, unconscious and in grave condition. His heart eventually gave out because of what COVID-19 did to him. 

Before passing away, Stuzhuk shared his experience with over 1.1 million people. He admitted that he thought COVID wasn’t real until he got sick.

That’s why vaccinations are so crucial right now. If you don’t want to wait five weeks to be fully vaccinated against COVID, the J&J vaccine is a one-and-done deal. Published information even suggests that it protects against the Delta variant. 

The J&J Vaccine Improves Over Time

A preprint study submitted by J&J shows that blood samples from a participant subset found that the single-shot vaccine created neutralizing antibody activities against the Delta variant. The results were even better than what it did against the Beta variant that came from South Africa earlier in the year.

The immune responses from the J&J vaccine persisted for a minimum of eight months.

In addition to the vaccine, people can use several tools to help them stave off the coronavirus in any variant. Masking up is a great choice, while maintaining social distancing can limit infection risks indoors.

It is also essential to maintain your health. Adding products from Thorne Research and Irwin Naturals can support your body’s fight to stay strong.

COVID-19 is real, and it is likely to continue beyond 2021. It still kills people every day. That’s why it is up to each of us to take care of ourselves. 

Last Soviet Soldier Who Helped at Auschwitz Dies

During the final days of World War II, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Russia were united against a common enemy. Although the three superpowers didn’t trust each other, they knew that Nazi Germany was a foe that needed to get stopped.

David Dushman was a Soviet soldier serving on the front lines of that conflict. He was the last surviving member involved with the liberation of Auschwitz for his country.

Dushman was driving a T-34 tank on January 27, 1945. He drove it into the massive electric fence that surrounded the death camp, flattening it to stop the atrocities once and for all.

Dushman Didn’t Realize the Magnitude of What Happened

When Dushman and his fellow soldiers came upon Auschwitz, they didn’t know the full magnitude of their discovery for some time.

During a 2015 interview with a Munich newspaper, Dushman said that he saw living skeletons coming from everywhere. They stumbled out of their barracks, too exhausted to stand from that exertion, laying among the dead.

The Soviet soldiers didn’t stop. After flattening the fences, they continued “hunting for the fascists.” Dushman says that they handed the prisoners in Auschwitz all the canned food they had to help.

Over one million people, most of them Jews, were transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau between 1940-1945. The Nazis murdered the vast majority of them.

Dushman’s service is particularly notable because he fought in Stalingrad and Kursk. He was one of only 69 soldiers in his 12,000-man division to survive, and he was wounded seriously three times.

Mega-Droughts in West Begin Earlier Than Normal

On June 29, 2021, Lytton set the Canadian record for the all-time highest temperature ever recorded. The small community in British Columbia experienced a daytime high of 49.6°C, or 121.3°F.

That record beat the temperatures from the previous all-time high set the day before by several degrees.

The town of 250 people was forced to evacuate because wildfires engulfed the community soon after the massive heat descended. Winds of more than 70 kph were fueling the flames, destroying everything in their path.

This event is only one of several scientists fear could happen as the West enters a potential mega-drought.

Ancient Weather Cycles Offer Dire Warnings

Western North America has dealt with drought for about two decades. It has drained rivers, destroyed crops, and fueled massive wildfires.

Scientists fear that this trend could be the start of something that has never happened in recorded history before. Part of the reason for its resilience is artificial climate change, responsible for up to 50% of its destructive impact.

No one knows why the Anasazi people left Chaco Canyon in the 12th century or Mesa Verde a century later. The 16th century megadrought in Mexico could have amplified the cocoliztli epidemics that killed up to half of the indigenous population.

In 2016, researchers found computer models suggesting a 90% risk of a 35-year drought happening by 2100 if climate change remained unabated. The data from 2000 to 2018 already shows that it was the region’s second-driest period of the past 1,200 years.

Although other notable events have occurred in the West, including a drought that lasted for nearly a century in the 1400s, current affairs show that times are changing. If we’re unable to adapt, the future could look bleak a few decades from now—not only for humans, but for fish and wildlife as well.

Companies Begin Widespread COVID Vaccine Testing in Children

John* celebrated his 12th birthday by getting his first COVID-19 vaccine. Although it took more than an hour to make his way with his parents through the mass vaccination site, he said the experience was worthwhile.

“Even if I need to wear a mask at school still, I can start hanging out with my friends and play soccer without having it on,” John said. “That makes the vaccine worth it to me.”

As more kids 12 and up get the vaccine, Moderna, Pfizer, and others are studying the effects of the COVID shot in pediatric participants. In March, over 6,750 healthy participants under the age of 12 were enrolled in an American and Canadian study on the effectiveness of mRNA therapeutics.

No Timetable Is Available for Under-12 Vaccine Distribution

American authorities hope that children under the age of 12 can start getting their COVID vaccines by Thanksgiving 2021. The results of the clinical research into pediatric inoculations will dictate how soon an authorization will occur.

While waiting for the results of these studies, parents can take steps today to help their children have a stronger immune system.

That process starts by getting enough sleep at night. Most children need at least nine hours of rest, with younger kids needing 11-12 hours.

It also helps to eat a healthy diet. Try to limit sugars that can cause immune system depression while adding dark, leafy greens to at least one meal per day.

A final step is to supplement the nutrients that kids aren’t getting from diet alone. That means working with brands like QuickSilver Scientific, Sovereign Silver, and Argentyn 23 to fill in the gaps that the immune system needs to stay strong.

COVID-19 isn’t going away any time soon. That’s why it is up to each of us to stay healthy in manageable ways.

*Name changed for privacy

Moving 101: Things to Know When Moving to a New State

Moving from one state to another state is no easy task, from budgeting to getting a moving company and getting acquainted with your new location. There are a lot of things to do and a lot more things to know! We are going to review what you need to know when you want to move to a new state. 

Locations

Different locations come with different challenges; when you’re moving to a new state, you need to know the right place to live. If you get an apartment in a place that is culturally different than what you are used to, it may take more time to get adjusted. And you need to know the best neighborhoods because different regions within a state have different prices for the same type of living space; an apartment in the city could cost far more than an apartment in the suburbs.

Schools

If you have a family, knowing about the schools is absolutely necessary. Even if you don’t have kids yet, but you plan to stay in one place for quite a while, it’s very important that you know how good the schools in that state are. It’s also important to know the locations of various schools and their ratings. Conduct thorough research about the schools, but don’t just rely on places like greatschools.org to inform your decision. Try to find more localized reviews of schools to find out what people who attend certain schools are saying.

Another factor is how hard moving is on kids. To try to help them adjust faster, getting them into the right school is important. If the school they are going to move to is quite similar to the school they are living in, it can make the adjustment process easier, but if the change is drastic, then they are going to struggle to adjust. The choice of school can influence where you choose to get your house because if your kids are in public schools, the location of your house greatly determines the standard of the school in that location.

Moving Costs

Picking the right moving company is very important. Moving into a new state is difficult enough even with a trustworthy moving company, but there are horror stories out there from people who chose poorly in this regard. Some moving companies hold your belongings hostage until further unexpected payments are made. It’s vitally important to hire the right moving company because it can also greatly reduce your stress and cost of moving. If you engage the services of a moving company that is incapable of meeting your needs, you will set yourself up for a lot of trouble and stress that you simply don’t need.

Moving to a new state is never the simplest endeavor, but hopefully this list helps make your moving process easier.