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Brighton Beach in Brooklyn (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Science

Some like it hot

July was hot, but a noted climate scientist questions how hot 

July was the hottest month ever recorded according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report. The scientists said July’s sizzling heat wave soared to an average global temperature 1.71 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th-century average. The previous hottest month on record was July 2016.

But Roy Spencer, a meteorologist and principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, said NOAA’s analysis is wrong, because it’s based on a limited and “error-prone” collection of mostly ground-level thermometers. His own website chart, based on satellite recording of temperatures in the lower atmosphere, shows the July increase as only two-thirds of a degree Fahrenheit: “not terribly alarming.”

Google “July heat record,” though, and it’s clear that every major network and newspaper is mega-alarmed. The Washington Post was typical in ignoring Spencer and quoting Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization: “July has re-written climate history. … This is not science fiction. It is the reality of climate change.”

The Post included in its coverage some almost-stranger-than-fiction stories: An overheated German riding his motorbike and wearing only a helmet. Two drug dealers in Belgium stuck in a cocaine-filled container and calling police to get them out before they roasted to death. But critical thinking from Spencer received nary a mention. 

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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Brighton Beach in Brooklyn (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Science

Some like it hot

July was hot, but a noted climate scientist questions how hot 

July was the hottest month ever recorded according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report. The scientists said July’s sizzling heat wave soared to an average global temperature 1.71 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th-century average. The previous hottest month on record was July 2016.

But Roy Spencer, a meteorologist and principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, said NOAA’s analysis is wrong, because it’s based on a limited and “error-prone” collection of mostly ground-level thermometers. His own website chart, based on satellite recording of temperatures in the lower atmosphere, shows the July increase as only two-thirds of a degree Fahrenheit: “not terribly alarming.”

Google “July heat record,” though, and it’s clear that every major network and newspaper is mega-alarmed. The Washington Post was typical in ignoring Spencer and quoting Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization: “July has re-written climate history. … This is not science fiction. It is the reality of climate change.”

The Post included in its coverage some almost-stranger-than-fiction stories: An overheated German riding his motorbike and wearing only a helmet. Two drug dealers in Belgium stuck in a cocaine-filled container and calling police to get them out before they roasted to death. But critical thinking from Spencer received nary a mention. 

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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Medical workers and police treat a woman who had overdosed on heroin in Warren, Ohio. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Science

‘Lives are being saved’

Opioid deaths decline for first time in 30 years

President Donald Trump highlighted the opioid crisis during his 2016 campaign. Now, for the first time in three decades, deaths from overdose of opioid painkillers in the United States have dropped by nearly 5 percent, according to government estimates for 2018.

Some regions of the country boast even more impressive statistics. In Pennsylvania, overdose deaths fell by an estimated 18 percent. In Ohio’s Hamilton County, which includes the city of Cincinnati, opioid overdose deaths plummeted 34 percent, emergency room visits due to opioid overdose fell 36 percent, and patients entering treatment for opioid addiction rose 50 percent, according to the Providers Clinical Support System (PCSS), a coalition of 20 national healthcare organizations working to address the epidemic.

“Lives are being saved,” Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex M. Azar II said in a tweet, “and we’re beginning to win the fight against this crisis.” He attributes the promising statistics to “America’s united efforts to curb opioid use disorder.”

In 2017 HHS launched a five-point strategy to combat the crisis. The strategy includes improving addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery services; improving pain management; supporting more timely health data and reporting; and increasing research on pain and addiction. President Trump’s 2019 budget includes $74 million in new investments to increase availability of overdose-reversing drugs.

States and communities across the country are employing these strategies. Some cities have allowed emergency rooms, syringe exchange sites, and walk-in clinics easier access to methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone, FDA-approved medications that help to suppress cravings and ease symptoms of withdrawal. Last month New Jersey began allowing paramedics to administer buprenorphine as soon as they have revived an overdose victim.

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