We asked this as an open question a few weeks back. We got great answers from people from all spheres of life. Because of the length of this segment, we have divided this article into three pages. Here are the 25 best answers we received.

1-5 Little Known Things Happening in the World

Starfish Death

01. The oceans are dying. My hobby is volunteering at the local aquarium. I’m not supposed to focus on depressing facts, but gosh I somehow sure do have an awful lot of them, where to start? There’s been a massive starfish die off going on for the past three years from Alaska to California, possibly elsewhere but nobody started looking until recreational divers off Canada noticed the corpses. Almost all species have been affected, it’s bacterial but nobody knows exactly what bacteria, It could be a lot of different things because the linking factor seems to be sea water temperature going up and that is ruining their little immune systems.

The salmon aren’t coming back, there hasn’t been enough fish in the Cedar River to open recreational fishing since 2008, and every species is trending downwards over time. The problem is the dams and the dams aren’t coming out for fish, not when they keep this area running on “green power.” The biggest threat to orcas, after the loss of the overall biomass of prey species, is whale watching boats. The legal limits aren’t enough to not stress the animals and pilots will flout them for money. Every sea wall somebody puts up means less eelgrass habitat for little fish, and more flat surfaces only fit for jelly-polyps. Every year there’s more jellies and less herring. What eats herring? everything.

Plastic erodes like anything else, but when it does the particles don’t sink, they float among the plankton and get eaten with them. Sea turtles eat plastic bags but what kills them is the resulting horrible tumor growths in their bodies. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is getting to the point where it can’t be captured and fixed by sea critters growing shells, and instead the carbonic acid erodes and deforms what shells they can grow at the larval stage. The species we are going to loose from this would have been vital to solving the carbon dioxide problem. Don’t get me started on bycatch.

If you want to help: don’t eat fish unless you know where it came from, recycle your plastics, pick up trash, don’t release balloons, don’t waste electricity, and for all our sakes, throw your seashells back into the ocean. Throwing your seashells back returns the calcium to the ocean, the plankton needs calcium, give it back. Bones are also good. Seafoodwatch.org is your resource for sustainable seafood. You can also eat invasive species. The best fish is the one you catch yourself on a line. Farmed fish are not better than wild caught. Hatcheries are good though. Shark finning is also awful. Don’t eat shark fin soup. Boycott places that sell it. Nitrogen runoff is also awful. Don’t fertilize your lawn. Grow mushrooms to capture agricultural runoff. The fish oil trade is also awful. Don’t eat fish oil capsules if you don’t know where they came from. If you need omega3s try eating oily fish lower on the food chain, herring, sardines, anchovies, things like that.

If you want to fact check me, google is right there. This is not hidden information. I’m on mobile so posting links is a pain, also I am not a scientist, this is not a scientific paper, this is a sad and angry screed. Google is also your friend if you have some weird regional question. I know stuff about my area, not so much on everywhere else. You should care about these problems because, moral issues of other animals right to exist aside, with insufficient plankton and other life in the ocean you personally will die. You and most life on land. If you have zero empathy for environmental issues, at least be selfish, this is your planet. Other people are fu**ing it up. I am not an actual scientist, I am a volunteer interpreter surrounded by scientists. Actual biologists would never say anything as heavy handed as I do, they like to leave room for if they happen to be wrong (but they’re usually not wrong). This can come across as wishy-washy to the general public, so I don’t bother.

02. Antibiotics are failing. Everyone knows there’s ‘superbugs’ and things but people don’t seem to realize that we’re giving our last line of defense antibiotics to livestock to fatten them up in places. Once enough diseases can’t be treated it’s going to be back to the dark ages. Almost all modern medicine is made possible by antibiotics. Anything you need surgery for can kill you without them.

03. Over 1200 people have died so far building the world cup stadiums in Qatar. This article is the most recent one I could find, but it’s from almost a year ago, so that’s probably much higher by now. It estimates over 4000 will have died by the time the stadiums are finished. To put that in perspective: that’s more people than people who died on 9/11. And no one is doing a single thing to stop it.

Countries and governments know about this, but they don’t care. The Qatari government is trying to cover it all up and failing miserably, as the figures are easily accessible. They’ve imprisoned journalists that were invited to the country for taking pictures where they weren’t supposed to and asking too many questions. How could the followers of the world’s most popular sport even stand for this? Their biggest complaint seems to be that the world cup will be held November/ December instead of June/July. There are worse things going on in the world to people, like slavery, but this is pretty damn close. And yet no one seems to be standing up for these people.

04. I just recently found out most of my co-workers have no idea who Kim Jong Un is or who Kim Jong Il was, so I’m gonna say North Korea; like, that entire situation.

05. Thailand is in the sh*ts. Military coup is still on, and there’s no sign of a resolution. Even if there is it won’t be a long term fix as the “Red” party will win and the “Yellow” party will protest, leading to demonstrations and a further coup. The country has had some 18 coups in the last 60-ish years.

The country has a very well respected monarch but his health has been deteriorating (he is 88 years old). Slight questions have been raised regarding the succession and the state of affairs following it. The thing that is most damning however, is the civil war that the country is in, but not even Thai people know of this. The southern cities of yala and hat yai (bordering Malaysia) have a very oppressed Muslim minority, who are now revolting for the past few years. The military has been active in these areas and some of the reports coming out of there are really heartbreaking. Not many other parts have been affected at all, but, don’t know what the situation would be like in the future.

The military government recently rejected refugees for the first time. There are major problems regarding slavery in the fishing industry and the economy is in the dumps. But hey, still a beautiful country.

6-10 Little Known Things Happening in the World

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06. Women’s reproductive health is a mess. Yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, and UTIs are extremely common. Many women have recurrent BV or yeast infections despite regular visits to a gyno. The main reason for this is that the only treatment they can really be prescribed is antibiotics or antifungals. The problem with these treatments is that they don’t treat the underlying issue, which is collapse of the vaginal microbiome, and in the case of antibiotics they make it even worse. Some people are prescribed “home remedies” such as boric acid suppositories, but these only temporarily help.

The main constituents of the healthy vaginal microbiome are Lactobacillus crispatus and Lactobacillus jensenii. In the USA, there is no currently available probiotic, OTC or not, that contains these two species. These species are also the most fragile, meaning that when you go on antibiotics to treat an infection, these good bacteria die off and cannot recolonize. You end up with a collapsed microbiome that cannot adequately defend against subsequent infections, which are also treated with more antibiotics. They also open the door to fungal infections, but BV and UTIs are the main problem, especially since they also pose a reproductive risk with adverse effects to pregnancy and childbirth. L. acidophilus, which is the main constituent of most probiotics you can get in the USA, is a very small part of the healthy vaginal microbiome, and taking it orally does absolutely nothing for your vagina, yet many doctors still advise you to do that (which is truly baffling).

So why isn’t there a probiotic that contains L. crispatus and L. jensenii? Because a small pharmaceutical based in California has taken out a patent on an L. crispatus probiotic to treat UTIs, and is sitting on that patent having basically given up work on it around Phase 2 trials, despite excellent results (which have been published). In Europe, such a probiotic is available very cheaply and OTC. You can order it online, it’s called Mycoress and sold out of France and the UK. There’s no L. jensenii probiotic, and I’m not sure why, there may be technical reasons for that.

This issue is of course completely ignored by most people, and sufferers of these issues are not even aware that there is a very simple treatment that could be made available. I have spoken with gynecologists who are very frustrated with the lack of good treatment for recurrent vaginal infections, and they are also not aware that these treatments exist and work really well, but are locked up in a dead patent.

07. Mosul Dam in Iraq is in a really bad shape. At this point it could break any day and no one would be surprised, yet no one is doing anything. Let me rephrase: if it broke, it has the potential to be the worst man made disaster in history. Imagine the 2004 tsunami, but in the middle of one of the most heavily populated places in Earth instead of the middle of the ocean.

08. Internet shills. The internet is being used by various entities for marketing and propaganda purposes. It would be strange if this was not occurring, but if you mention it, people call this a conspiracy theory, or paranoid nonsense. In fact, this is openly admitted to on a routine basis, but people don’t seem to enjoy reading the newspaper.

09. Human trafficking/slavery is still a thing. I’m not talking about modern slavery where people in 3rd world countries don’t get paid enough and cant leave because there is no other job. I’m talking about people who are being held captive, treated like objects/animals and are forced to work. You think there aren’t any more people in chattels. But out there somewhere out of these many rich guys some of them are crazy and own a really big basement. Horrible things happen like sex slavery, forced labor. Who knows, maybe someone just buys slaves to torture them. I’m working on a film about blood farming. It’s where people are chained up, like cattle at a milk farm, and drained of only enough blood to keep them alive so the process can be repeated day after day. Here is an article on it.

10. The government of the United States is making every effort to peer into the lives of it’s citizens through digital means all but ignoring the constitution. Most people are aware of some parts of it, but it seems like very few are willing to connect the dots of all the legislation, spending and legal battles and see the big picture. What exactly are we going to have to live with in the near future.

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Last Update: April 25, 2016

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