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June 17, 2011

Faced With New FDA Rules Regarding Sunscreen, Sun Agrees to 'Knock That Shit Off' for a Few Years." (And Overnight Open Thread)

Note: This was gonna' be a regular post, but now it's the ONT. Because I'm Just. That. Lazy.

(Yeah, laugh it up sun-boy)

The ever-helpful FDA has just released new rules to cut confusion on sunscreen claims.

“WASHINGTON (AP) -- Help is on the way to consumers confused by the jumble of sun protection numbers, symbols and other claims on sunscreens. Starting next summer, consumers can start looking for SPF 15 bottles with the label "broad spectrum" and feel confident they're being protected from an increased risk of cancer.”

“"These changes to sunscreen labels are an important part of helping consumers have the information they need so they can choose the right sun protection for themselves and their families," said the delightfully named Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of FDA's drug division.”

It’s entirely possible that something extra was slipped into that last sentence by the editorial staff here. Speaking of staffs:

“The FDA will prohibit sunscreen marketing claims like "waterproof" and "sweatproof," which the agency said ‘are exaggerations of performance.’”

Not mentioned is whether or not you should seek immediate medical attention if your sunscreen lasts for more than 4 hours. Good to see that the FDA jumped right on this problem with their usual speed and efficiency though:

“The rules were decades in the making. FDA announced its intent to draft sunscreen rules in 1978 and published them in 1999. The agency delayed finalizing its guidelines for years until it could address issues concerning both UVA and UVB protection.”

A mere 33 years.

And in related news, our sun (AKA “Sol”) issued a press release yesterday, presumably in response to the new FDA regulations. The beleaguered star, under intense public scrutiny for causing sunburns and other unpleasanty things has agreed to tone things down for a few years. While no direct reason for this unexpected solar nap was given, that didn't stop speculation:

”WASHINGTON (AP) - The sun is heading into an unusual and extended hibernation, scientists predict. Around 2020, sunspots may disappear for years, maybe decades.”

“But scientists say it is nothing to worry about. Solar storm activity has little to do with life-giving light and warmth from the sun. The effects from a calmer sun are mostly good. There'd be fewer disruptions of satellites and power systems. And it might mean a little less increase in global warming.”

But that can't, uh...

"Scientists don't know why the sun is going quiet. But all the signs are there."

Oh.

A sleepy sun is a happy sun? Maybe it's tired of all those probe-arrazzis buzzing around it. Wants to stay out of the light of day for awhile? (Hah! Solar humor!)

"Earlier this month, David Hathaway, NASA's top solar storm scientist, predicted that the current cycle, which started around 2009, will be the weakest in a century. Hathaway is not part of Tuesday's prediction."

Which is a damn good thing since we know well by now that dramatic climatic and galactic changes occur only during much shorter periods of time Mr. Hathaway. Usually in four year cycles. But not to worry:

"People shouldn't be scared of this," said David McComas, a scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, who wasn't part of the team. "This is about the magnetic field and the ionized gas coming out of the sun. It's a reduction in that, not the light and the heat."

"There are questions about what this means for Earth's climate. Three times in the past the regular 11-year solar cycle has gone on an extended vacation - at the same time as cool periods on Earth."

Wait, but...like causality or something? Some sort of relationship?

"Skeptics of man-made global warming from the burning of fossil fuels have often pointed to solar radiation as a possible cause of a warming Earth, but they are in the minority among scientists. The Earth has warmed as solar activity has decreased."

"Andrew Weaver, a climate scientist at the University of Victoria, said there could be small temperature effects, but they are far weaker than the strength of man-made global warming from carbon dioxide and methane. He noted that in 2010, when solar activity was mostly absent, Earth tied for its hottest year in more than a century of record-keeping."

Oh thank Gaia. For a moment I thought there might be...questions. Like this dumbass heretic implies:

"Hill and colleagues wouldn't discuss the effects of a quiet sun on temperature or global warming. "If our predictions are true, we'll have a wonderful experiment that will determine whether the sun has any effect on global warming," Hill said.

Some soothing solar-related tunes below the fold...


Some Highly-Pixellated Billy Thorpe:

Some Highly-Weird Ian Astbury & Friends:

And Some Highly-Groovy Earth Wind and Fire:

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posted by Genghis at 09:50 PM

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