On Thu, 8 Feb 2018 18:44:46 -0500, #BeamMeUpScotty
Post by #BeamMeUpScotty Post by Mr. B1ack Post by Red
Doctors floored by epidemic levels of black lung in Appalachian coal
The cases are more severe, and miners are dying younger.
An epidemic of severe and rapidly progressive black lung disease is
emerging among coal miners in Appalachia. Case counts from just three
clinics in the region reveal the highest disease levels that doctors
have ever reported, according to a study published in JAMA this week.
Between January 2013 and February 2017, researchers at the National
Institute for Occupational Safety and Health documented 416 coal
miners with the condition. Prior to the discovery, researchers largely
thought that black lung cases were a thing of the past. Diagnoses have
been rare since the late 1990s
The clinics, run by Stone Mountain Health Services, would typically
see five to seven cases each year, Ron Carson, who directs Stone
Mountain's black lung program told NPR. Now, the clinics see that many
in two weeks, he said. And in the past year, theyve diagnosed 154
Thats an indication that its not slowing down, Carson said. "We
are seeing something that we havent seen before.
In the study, co-authored by Carson, researchers also noted that the
disease is more severe than in the past. Many of those diagnosed had
worked in the mines for less than 20 years yet had severe, rapidly
progressing disease. Miners are dying at a much younger age, Carson
Then there are one or more co-factors. Black lung usually
takes a lot of exposure, especially in modern OSHA mines.
Could be something they're eating. Maybe smoking more
weed aggrivates BL disease ? Fumes from modern
house paints ? Something new, or missing, in the water ?
Hard to pin down.
However the shift from hand-work to the use of machines
may be it. Chipping out coal or the older machines
generated "chunks" whereas the newer machines are
closer to saws ... more skinny cuts (as mentioned) but
perhaps also cut at higher velocities that generate more
nano-fine particulates. Below a certain size, the required
masks might not even filter them out properly. Nano-
particles will also make it deeper into the lungs and stick
MY guess ... most mining involving actual humans down
in holes will soon come to an end. The tech exists for
semi-autonomous and even fully-autonomous robotic
mining machines. No unions, no OSHA, no sick time,
no health insurance, no strikes, no fatilities, working
24/7/365 ... the robots will win. You could even flood
coal mines with CO2 ... meaning no fires/explosions.
And get Carbon credits for doing it so their executives can fly around
in jets and waste fuel.... ;)
Well what's the POINT in getting rich otherwise ? :-)
However, especially with coal, don't expect the owners
to make lots more money from automation. They'll be
dealing with steadily-dwindling demand and competitors.
The automation will allow them to REMAIN in business,
but in the medium/long term EVERYBODY using such
automation means they'll just be keeping up with the
Jones's, so to speak.
That rule applies to every biz/industry that phases in
advanced automation. It also means those entities
will NOT be generating the kinds of revenues needed
to support the growing mass of obsoleted humans
who can't pay for anything anyhow. Follow that out
just a bit .........
I also fear there's an unbreachable "gap" we'll get to.
The current concepts of ownership, work, profits and
such will get fuzzier as the machines do more ... but
reaching "robotopia" where the machnes do it ALL
may be unreachable. It's because there'll be SO many
useless humans who still need stuff and SO little
profit left in making such stuff .... the old economy
will collapse before the new one can become
self-sustaining. Instead of a great new future, we
get a new dark age, local warlords, Mad Max type
stuff ........... victims of our own cleverness and
impeccable short-term economic logic.
Hard-rock mining for various minerals/metals will also
go to automation, but it won't go that way as quickly.
Coal mining is just extraordinarily dangerous and you
spend a lot more money on safety issues.
I'm gonna posit that the tech - and maybe some of
the machines - for autonomous coal mining exist
already. Doesn't take a huge amount of AI to scrape
black stuff out of tunnels and plop it in little railcars.
The human aspect will, for awhile, revolve more
around techs who can use telepresence to operate
robots that repair the other robots. Eventually the
robots will be able to do that themselves too ......
right down to ordering new gears from Amazon
(the orders will be processed by robots, billed by
robots, packed by robots and then flown in by
robot drones - see where this is going ?).
The idea of flooding the mines with CO2 is an
explosion/fire-prevention thing, not so much a
"carbon disposal" concept. The skinny is that
no human COULD even go down there, except
wearing some kind of environment suit. It'd be
really HOT too ... no more want/need for
ventillation. The robots won't mind.