Left-Handed People Less Likely To Believe In God And More Likely To Believe In Ghosts

People who are left-handed have to deal with a world that’s set up against them.
Most utensils, seating arrangements, and tools are created with right-handed folks in mind. Relatives of mine who went through Catholic school back in the day got rapped on their knuckles any time they tried to write with their left hands. Since being right-handed was considered “normal” and “correct,” we’ve evolutionarily and socially encouraged right-handedness in potential partners.

The implications of this aren’t just about access to left-handed scissors, though. Strangely enough, our dominant hand may even indicate what kind of beliefs we hold dear.

A new study published in a journal on evolutionary psychology suggests a “weak but significant” connection between traits like left-handedness, schizophrenia, and autism to atheism. People who identify as religious tend to have a lower “mutational load” than those who don’t. But there’s a reason that’s the case.

Throughout history, Western people looking for suitable mates would consider believing in a single moral god to be a sign of mental health and social acceptability. People who believed in a god were more likely to reproduce and thus the result is they have fewer mutations in their genetic code.

While the study’s findings are interesting, it’s important to note that atheism is increasing in Western societies across the board. Non-religious people make up almost 50 percent of Britain and 22 percent of the United States.

The study also found that though it may seem counterintuitive, people with higher mutational loads, like left-handed people, are more likely to believe in ghosts and paranormal activity. This was also true for the other types of mutational loads, including schizophrenia and autism.

There are exceptions to every rule, but it’s interesting to know that left-handedness was so undesirable in the recent past that it became an important factor in determining who was acceptable to marry and what mutations were allowed to carry on.

(via IFLScience)

Next time you’re at a party and don’t have anything to talk about, this is the perfect weird fact to bring up with your friends. Do you think there’s any truth to this? What does your dominant hand say about you? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Doctors Surgically Removed 28-Pounds of Feces From Constipated Man

A 22-year old Chinese man found himself in the hospital in really bad shape; he was weak and moaning in pain, his stomach so distended he looked 9 months pregnant. He had chronic constipation for most of his life and got to the point that laxatives couldn’t provide total relief from his pain and discomfort.

The patient looked like he was about to burst anytime!

Source: IBTimes
He was sent to surgery and after three hours, doctors were able to remove a massively swollen large intestine filled with feces; it weighed 28.6 pounds or 13 kilograms!

Source: Daily Mail UK
“It looked like it could explode at any time,” said Doctor Yin Lu of Shanghai Tenth People’s Hospital.

The patient was diagnosed with Hirschsprung’s disease. It is a congenital condition in which nerve cells were missing in the bowel, which results to chronic problems in movement. Compared to a healthy digestive tract, food and waste stops in affected parts of the colon. The waste or the feces gathers up in the area and causes the large intestine to swell. In this patient’s case, it has turned into a “megacolon,” and if not operated on quickly could result to tearing or perforation and will release fecal bacteria that can cause sepsis.

This could lead to death so the man was lucky to have this operation just in time to save his life.

Source: Daily Mail UK
The disease is rare; it occurs in only 1 out of 5,000 newborns within 48 hours after birth. It can also manifest in older children through chronic constipation, distended belly, and malnutrition. The patient was already an adult when he was admitted to imagine the build-up of waste residing in his colon!

He was expected to recover fully after the operation. His story is a reminder for us all to monitor our bowel movements and keep our GI tract healthy. So if you notice constant abdominal pain and bloating that just wouldn’t go away, a trip to the doctor is a must.

Final Destination 5 (Behind The Scenes)

This video gives you a chance to look BEHIND THE SCENES of: 0:11 Final Destination 5 Survivors of a suspension-bridge collapse learn there’s no way you can cheat Death. (IMDB) Production: New Line Cinema Practical Pictures Zide/Perry Productions Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures Budget: $40 million Box office: $158 Stars: Nicholas D’Agosto, Emma Bell, Miles Fisher

All credits of this video is Behind The Scenes channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXGT…



If Your Child Is Sitting Like This, Here’s Why You Need to Stop Them Now

My daughter’s just over a year old, so there’s really not much she’s doing “wrong” yet. (Trust me, like all of us, she’ll get there.) If she smacks our family pet, it’s less hostility and more that she doesn’t have full control of her arms. If she throws her food, it’s not an act of insubordination but just her method of communicating that she’s done eating. So, when a family member alerted me to something my child was doing that she needed to stop at once, I was taken aback. Especially because, at that particular moment, she wasn’t stealing her playmate’s toys or eating an expensive coaster as she’s sometimes known to do. She was just sitting there.

Turns out, the way she was sitting — with each leg splayed at her side, knees in front and feet behind, to form a “W” shape — was all kinds of bad.

According to a vast majority of physical therapists, there are several key reasons why:

W-sitting limits core strength because it gives kids a wider base of support. Because they don’t have to engage their abdominal or back muscles in this position, kids often prefer it to more challenging, tiring positions, like with legs in front, at their sides, or crisscrossed.
W-sitting causes muscle tightness, particularly in the legs and hips but also knees and ankles.
W-sitting aggravates neurological issues such as low muscle tone, which means when kids aren’t actively using their muscles, those muscles are floppier and softer and have a harder time holding their bodies upright.
What this all means, most therapists agree, is that prolonged W-sitting throughout childhood can lead to a delayed development in gross motor skills like coordination and balance. For those parents hoping to raise a star athlete, this position’s effect on postural muscles can also be cause for concern.

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Why do some kids sit like this? It’s by far the steadiest way for children of all ages to sit, and aside from that innate tendency to achieve the most stability, it’s also been attributed to time spent in infant carrier devices, like swings, bouncy seats, and car seats.

Seeing as my daughter had graduated from infancy, I was immediately concerned that the damage was already done. I had tried my best to limit her time in her baby swing and the oversize, overpriced ExerSaucer that I had bought under the assumption it was actually good for a baby’s development, but here she was, W-sitting at every turn. I had never noticed it until now.

What can be done? Well, the somewhat alarmist recommendation is to get them to stop doing it immediately — that, whenever you see your child W-sitting, you either physically move their legs into a suitable position (if they’re too young to understand) or tell them to do so.

So, with a watchful eye, I adjusted her legs every time she sat incorrectly, and my husband and I instructed our child’s caretakers to do the same. Occasionally I’d correct her, and it’d be fine, but plenty of times, adjusting one of her legs would make her cry and most times, doing so annoyed her to the point that she was no longer interested in sitting and scooted off to go do something else.

She wasn’t the only one getting fed up, and it had only been a week. I dug a little deeper and found that a few pediatric occupational therapists out there don’t view this seated position as a problem necessarily. There’s not much evidence that shows causation. That is, yes, children who W-sit often have orthopedic issues and muscle tightness. But W-sitting hasn’t been proven to be the cause of those issues, which makes one wonder: could tight hamstrings and hip dysplasia lead to W-sitting, not the other way around?

One such unconvinced therapist, Rachel Coley, happens to be the mother to a W-sitter and maintains it’s perfectly normal for kids to sit this way.

She notes that it’s a simple sign of flexibility and aids in fine motor control because you need to assume the most stable seated position possible when engaging in tasks that require “coordinated, controlled movements of the hands and fingers.” Coley also noted that, for babies in particular, W-sitting provides a convenient, “natural transition” from crawling or kneeling to sitting.

However, based on how strongly most certified therapists feel about W-sitting, I’m not taking any chances. I’m going to keep my eye on it, and I’ll encourage other parents who were unaware of this issue to do the same, especially if they have older kids showing some of the negative side effects. But, if my child is having the time of her life smacking two wooden blocks together, I’m not going to spoil the fun if she happens to be W-sitting.

Melania Trump Wears $1,380 Shirt While Gardening And People Online React


Initial news coverage focused on the event itself, with reporters commenting on Trump continuing former First Lady Michelle Obama’s gardening traditions. But after First Lady fashion-watcher Kate Bennett noted the shirt’s price on her Twitter, the media exploded.

According to Net-A-Porter, the online designer store that stocks it, Trump’s shirt is meant to have a “rebellious ’80s attitude,” and draws its inspiration from counterculture icons David Bowie, George Michael and Prince. It’s a part of their “grunge” collection, meant to be worn with distressed jeans to emphasize its “laid-back feel.”

Trump isn’t the first First Lady to make waves for the cost of her outfits.

Harper’s Bazaar


Obama was famous for her gorgeous-yet-affordable J. Crew chic, and her “sartorial diplomacy” helped define her role as the administration’s approachable “mom-in-chief.”


And as Obama drew criticism for “not looking like a First Lady,” and showing her scandalously-gorgeous upper arms, Trump is currently under fire for wearing a shirt worth almost half the average monthly American salary.


Reactions online were split evenly; some deriding the First Lady’s expensive fashion choices, others calling the focus on it “typical liberal fake news.”


While some lashed out at Bennet for what they saw as a partisan tweet, Bennett pointed out that she had given the exact same coverage to former FLOTUS Obama, including the pricing research.

oh wo

And while some frustration about Melania’s outfit focused on the shirt’s political optics, other Twitter users expressed bafflement that Trump’s thrift-store-chic tartan had been that much, to begin with.

i'm gonna fucking KERMIT

Finally, some opined that, given Trump’s obvious discomfort getting up close and personal with the dirt, the fact that she was wearing such an expensive outfit to do so was unsurprising.


Implications about the Trump family’s “out-of-touchness” aside, the story gave people a chance for a few bipartisan laughs. In a month when the world faced nuclear woes, mass shootings, monster storms and political crises, the moment of levity was well-needed.


10 Best Anti-Aging Foods to Eat Every Day

The greatest desire of every woman is to stay young and beautiful as long as possible. We usually try various methods in order to prevent the aging process in our body. Though, our efforts are not always successful. It is necessary to remember that certain things can help you to add years to your life. Firstly, you should lead a healthy lifestyle. For this you need to do regular physical exercises and include wholesome foods into your diet. If you want to stay young and avoid numerous age-related diseases, I recommend you to consume the following anti-aging foods every day. They are extremely beneficial for your health!

1. Fish
The conducted researches have shown that those people who eat a lot of fish almost never suffer from heart disease. For example, the native Inuits of Alaska are not familiar with this health issue because they regularly consume a big amount of fish. This food is known to be rich in omega-3 fats that will stabilize your heart rhythms and protect you against cholesterol buildup in arteries.

2. Olive Oil
Due to the fact that olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats it is one of those foods that are efficient in fighting cancer and heart disease. Everybody knows that people who live in Greece constantly use olive oil for cooking. Scientists’ studies have proven that the consumption of this oil lowers rates of heart diseases among the citizens of this country. By adding olive oil to your dishes you will supply your body with antioxidants and polyphenols which you need to resist different age-related diseases.

3. Chocolate
Cocoa is the main ingredient of chocolate. It has a high concentration of flavanols that are very good for blood vessels. When your blood vessels function well, you’re able to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia and kidney disease. That’s why you can easily enjoy the sweet taste of your favorite chocolate. Just make sure you control your portions, or this dessert will be harmful to your health. Besides chocolate bars, there is a wide range of beverages made of cocoa. By drinking them you’ll have a chance to prevent heart disease.

4. Yogurt
Some years ago Georgia was one of the countries that had the biggest number of centenarians in the world. Yogurt was claimed to be the main secret of their long lives. This dairy product is frequently used in most diets that are so popular nowadays. Perhaps you’ve never heard before but yogurt may slow the aging process. Being full of calcium, this food is extremely effective in preventing osteoporosis. In addition, “good bacteria” that are found in yogurt will strengthen your immune system and improve your overall health.

5. Blueberries
Dietarians state that blueberries may have a fantastic impact on human body. If you include these delicious and wholesome berries into your daily menu you’ll be amazed with the results. According to scientific studies blueberries are considered to increase people’s coordination when they become old. Plus, this food contains compounds that can easily diminish oxidative damage and inflammation. These health problems can lead to deficits in memory and motor function when you are old. So, blueberries are a wonderful choice for healthy aging.

6. Nuts
If you really care about your health and beauty, I would advise you to add nuts to your eating plan. This food is an enormous source of unsaturated fats and it can affect your body in the same way as olive oil does. Recently it has been found out that people who eat nuts live a few years longer than those who refuse from this tasty snack. Such nutrients as vitamins, antioxidants and minerals, make nuts one of the healthiest foods. Today you can find different kinds of nuts that are also a perfect option for vegetarians.

7. Wine
The negative influence of alcohol on our health is undeniable. Some people even don’t guess that when consumed in moderate doses alcohol can be salubrious for them. It should be mentioned that wine is the most preferable alcoholic beverage all over the world. If you drink wine, you will not only enjoy its refined taste but you will protect yourself against numerous diseases as well. Those who drink red wine are less subjected to diabetes, memory loss and heart disease. What is more important, this beverage will slow the process of aging in your body.

8. Carrots
Carrot is another fantastic food that will certainly help you to look younger and you will supply your body with various vitamins and nutrients that are necessary to be healthy. This orange vegetable is a perfect source of alpha- and beta-carotene that are known to boost our immunity and even stave off cancer. Moreover, carrots may be effectively used to care for your skin because carotenoids protect it from UV damage. When summer comes, you should try to add carrots to your diet and don’t forget to apply sunscreen either.

9. Sunflower Seeds
First of all, I’d like to say that most of us give preference to these seeds when looking for yummy snacks. Do you know that this food is very good for your health? We can hardly find any other food that is more packed with vitamin E than sunflower seeds. We all need to consume this vitamin in order to enhance our immune system which becomes weak with age. Nevertheless you have all chances to roll back the years by eating your favorite sunflower seeds.

10. Prunes
Perhaps you are surprised to see prunes on this list, but it has been proven that this food can be even more efficient than fresh fruits when it comes to our health. One of the reasons why prunes are so useful to us is their capacity to remove harmful free radicals from the blood and improve our circulation. Being dried, prunes have a big quantity of good things that have positive effect on our body. As an alternative to prunes you can also eat raisins or figs.

Unfortunately, we can’t stop time and stay young forever. However, we have endless opportunities to add years to our life and to look amazing no matter how old we are. All the above foods will definitely help you to stay healthy and by eating them you’ll be able to avoid various age-related diseases. What methods do you use to prevent the negative effects of aging? Do you eat any other anti-aging foods? What are they?

Epsom Salts – 8 Amazing Benefits & Uses

Every night when my father came home from work, he used to take a bowl of warm water, add a spoon of Epsom Salts, and soak his feet. It’s natural enough to want to soak your feet after a hard day of working on the farm, especially as his days were often long.

I never gave any thought to addition of the Epsom Salts so I did not ask why he did this. He is now nearly eighty and during a recent visit to the chiropodist, he was told that he had the feet of a young man. As he told me this, I made a quick mental note and fleetingly thought that perhaps it was something to do with soaking his feet for all those years.

I thought that it was a daft notion, but decided to see what I could find out about the properties of Epsom Salts. I became more interested when I discovered that many spa salons also use them as a foot soak to help cleanse the feet of impurities. This was just the start of things and I discovered that Epsom Salts have numerous applications for humans, animals, and plants. For the moment, I will only be focusing on its benefits to humans.

Health Benefits Of Epsom Salts

Improve Digestion: John Pollard describes “The Gallbladder Flush” in his book, “The Digestive Awareness Diet”. This flush involves drinking a large amount of organic apple juice for three days, drinking a mixture of grapefruit juice and olive oil and drinking Epsom Salts the following morning.  The premise of this is that the apple juice will soften the gallbladder and loosen the stools, and the Epsom salts will evacuate the toxins dumped into the digestive tube to improve digestion. Please note that this is only a quick overview of the process.

Remove Gallstones: There are several other books that mention the Epsom salts detox and the reason it is as effective as a detox is because it acts as a laxative. It also opens the capillaries and is therefore effective in removing gallstones.

Relief from muscular pain: An Epsom salts bath can promote detoxification through the skin and they are traditionally used as a soaking agent to bring relief from muscular pain and stiffness.

Rich in Magnesium: Epsom salt is magnesium sulphate and according to the National Academy of Sciences, the majority of people living in America today are deficient in magnesium. This is related to fast-food living, as well as modern farming methods.

The Academy believes that this is why there is such a high incidence of stress-related illnesses, digestive problems, arthritis, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue, heart disease, and strokes. Bathing with Epsom salts not only makes magnesium readily available to the body, but it also draws out toxins, and as magnesium is a natural stress reliever, the bath lifts the mood and aids in relaxation.

Improve circulation and lower blood pressure: Research indicates that raising magnesium levels can promote a healthy heart by improving circulation and lowering blood pressure. It also improves the body’s capacity to use insulin. Magnesium is necessary to sustain calcium levels in the blood.

Sulphates are not easily obtained through the food we eat but are absorbed through the skin. These stimulate the pancreas to make digestive enzymes and assist in detoxifying the body. Epsom Salt flushes toxins and heavy metals from the cells, easing muscle pain and helping the body to eliminate harmful substances.

Also see

Corns and Calluses: Causes & Home Remedies
11 Effective Home Remedies for Heliobacter Pylori Infection
Used in Aromatherapy: Epsom salts are a natural emollient and exfoliator and many aromatherapy skin care products incorporate carrier oils, essential oils, and sea salt with Epsom salts. With a little know how, it is easy to experiment and make your own skin scrubs and cleansers.

Conditioner: Mixing Epsom salts and a few drops of your favorite essential oil to a good hair conditioner will add body to the hair.

Facial Cleanser: Mixing half a teaspoon of Epsom salts into any cleansing cream will make an effective facial cleanser, which can then be massaged into the skin and rinsed off with lukewarm water. An excellent homemade skin mask can be made from a tablespoon of cognac, a quarter cup of dried milk powder, the juice of a lemon, five drops of lavender essential oil, and half a teaspoon of Epsom salt. This is suitable for normal and oily skin.

For those with dry skin, two teaspoons of mayonnaise, five drops of lavender essential oil, a quarter of a cup of grated carrots, and half a teaspoon of Epsom salts should be mixed together.

Experts say that soaking in an Epsom salts bath at least three times a week will help us feel better, look better, and have more energy. So, maybe its time that I took a leaf out of my father’s book.

Written by HealthyNewAge, the natural care web site and blog

DHS to Require Interviews for Over 100,000 Visa Holders

© A segment of a U.S. visa. Image: A segment of a US visa.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Department of Homeland Security will begin requiring holders of employment-based visas to be interviewed in order to update their status, according to officials at the agency and a spokesman, a move critics say could jam the already backlogged visa application system.

An internal agency memo seen by NBC News estimated that more than 130,000 applicants annually would now be required to be interviewed before changing their status from one visa category, such as technical worker, to another category, such as agriculture worker. Carter Langston, a spokesman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, confirmed the memo.

The plan is a realization of Trump’s March executive order that called for heightened scrutiny of visa applicants, Langston said.

“This is the first stage of a multi-year expansion of interviews,” Langston said.

Related: Trump Backs Slashing Legal Immigration With ‘Merit-Based’ System

A DHS official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that the new policy may be expanded to include other populations, such as students and green card holders, that do not currently require interviews to change status. The increase could expand the number of interviews conducted to more than one million a year, the official said.

Greg Chen, director of government relations for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said that kind of expansion would be “disastrous for the economy and the country.”

Related: Trump Signs New Immigration Executive Order

“The agency simply doesn’t have the infrastructure or personnel to interview one million people each year, and overnight American businesses and families would experience enormous delays for every kind of immigration visa or green cards,” Chen said.

Langston said the newly required interviews would be phased in over many months, giving the agency time to increase its staff.

Trump team nears decision on national monuments


As Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke approaches the 24 August deadline for his recommendations to President Donald Trump on whether to alter dozens of national monuments, conservation proponents say it remains all but impossible to predict which sites the administration could target for reductions or even wholesale elimination.

In recent months, Zinke has traveled from coast to coast as he conducted the review, which included 27 national monuments created since 1996, the majority of which are larger than 100,000 acres.

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But even as he visited states from Maine to Oregon and Utah to New Mexico, Zinke managed to touch down in only eight of those monuments over the 3.5-month review.

In the weeks before his final report recommending changes is due to the White House, Zinke has begun to roll out reprieves to some of the sites under review: As of late Wednesday, he had named six sites that will see no boundary adjustments or management changes.

But conservation advocates have largely panned those early decisions, arguing that the review process has proved opaque even as Zinke’s office asserts that the secretary has provided details about his schedule and meetings.

“The review process that the Trump administration has been undertaking has been fairly arbitrary, so it is honestly a guessing game as to which monuments are most at risk and how the review is being conducted and whose voices are being heard to drive Secretary Zinke’s decision,” the Wilderness Society’s vice president for conservation, Melyssa Watson, said in a news conference yesterday.

The six sites removed from review are Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve in Idaho, Hanford Reach National Monument in Washington state, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in Colorado, Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument in Montana, Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument in Arizona and Sand to Snow National Monument in California.

Notably, although Zinke has previously visited the Montana monument — he served as the Treasure State’s at-large House lawmaker before his appointment to the Trump Cabinet — he did not make official visits to any of the sites he has removed from the review to date.

An Interior spokesman could not confirm whether Zinke plans to excuse any other monuments before the final report is issued. Zinke was on vacation this week to celebrate his 25th wedding anniversary; he appeared to be in the Mediterranean (Greenwire, Aug. 17). But Zinke acknowledged earlier this year that not every monument included in the report will receive the same level of scrutiny.

“I think we’re focusing on just a few,” Zinke told the natural resources committee of the House of Representatives, and he later told reporters: “We’re not taking a deep dive in all of them” (E&E News PM, June 22).

In the meantime, while conservationists continue to urge the Trump administration to refrain from trying to make changes to any of the nation’s monuments, some Western state GOP lawmakers have lobbied Zinke and Trump to rescind or sharply reduce the acreage of many of the remaining 21 monuments.

Zinke indicated in an interim report that he plans to call for significantly slashing the 1.35 million acres now included in Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah (E&E News PM, June 12).

Below is a summary of the 20 national monuments that remain under review:

Basin and Range National Monument, Nevada

The nearly 704,000-acre site created by President Obama in 2015 is among the handful Zinke visited personally in recent months.

In a letter to Zinke earlier this year, 15 members of the Congressional Western Caucus derided the monument as a “personal favor” to former Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada ahead of his retirement from Congress.

Among their complaints, the lawmakers noted that the site surrounds artist Michael Heizer’s large installation “City,” which sits on private land.

During his visit to Basin and Range last month, Zinke met with officials from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which agreed to a conservation easement last year to grant the Bureau of Land Management rights to 1,300 acres of private land around the installation within the monument.

The Western Caucus letter urged Zinke to reduce the site to just 2,500 acres, or less than 1 percent of its current size.

Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, California

Both state and congressional lawmakers pushed for designation of this Northern California site before Obama agreed to set aside nearly 331,000 acres in 2015.

The area sits at the meeting point of two tectonic plates — giving it scientific importance — but it is considered a recreation hot spot for the populations of nearby San Francisco and Sacramento.

“Only a few places on the planet illustrate the scientific process as clearly as does the Berryessa region,” University of California, Davis, geologist Eldridge Moores told California state lawmakers at a hearing in 2015, California public radio station KQED reported at the time.

Although state lawmakers approved a resolution urging the creation of the monument, Western congressional lawmakers called for its “total rescission.”

State Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a former Democratic House lawmaker, has threatened to file suit against the Trump administration if it tries to alter the Berryessa site or any other of the state’s national monuments (Greenwire, June 9).

Carrizo Plain National Monument, California

In his final three days in the White House, President Clinton named seven new national monuments, including this 204,000-acre site in San Luis Obispo County.

Both proponents and opponents of the monument’s current boundaries have highlighted its potential for oil and gas production.

In their June letter, Western lawmakers noted that the monument counted 15 active oil wells in 2010 and that “giant fields with billions of barrels of reserves surround the monument.”

Greenpeace has similarly highlighted the area’s energy stores, noting that it is among the six national monuments with the largest potential energy development if its boundaries are reduced or eliminated (Greenwire, May 10).

Becerra also noted development in the area surrounding the monument, writing in June that the site “offers refuge to many animals and plants that are threatened, endangered or rare.”

Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, Oregon and California

When Clinton set aside the then-53,000-acre site in 2000, it marked the first time a monument had been created with the sole intention of protecting biodiversity.

In his final weeks in office, Obama expanded the monument to its current 100,000 acres, asserting that the additional land would “increase habitat connectively, watershed protection and landscape-scale resilience for the area’s unique biological values” (Greenwire, Jan. 12).

But Oregon’s congressional delegation has split over the monument along party lines, with Democratic Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden advocating for the site and GOP Rep. Greg Walden vowing to help roll back the “midnight expansion.” Republicans have argued that the land should be open to timber harvesting.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) urged Zinke to retain the monument during his visit to the state last month but said he gave no indication about his plans (Greenwire, July 17).

Giant Sequoia National Monument, California

Opponents of the nearly 328,000-acre monument created by Clinton in early 2000 likewise say it should be open to timber harvesting, arguing that it is otherwise a safety hazard.

“This is a health and safety issue for us,” Tulare County Deputy Administrator Eric Coyne told the San Francisco Chronicle in June. “We need the flexibility to do responsible tree mitigation” (Greenwire, June 28).

But the monument was designated to protect the 33 groves of the largest trees on earth, allowing for removal of the trees only when there is a “clear need” for maintenance or public safety.

Environmentalists successfully challenged early management plans for the site that included predictions for the volume of timber that would be regularly removed from the monument (Greenwire, Sept. 5, 2012).

Gold Butte National Monument, Nevada

The 297,000-acre Gold Butte National Monument is home to rock art and cultural sites — and hundreds of illegally grazing cattle that belong to jailed Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, whose own 160-acre ranch is nearby.

While Zinke held a news conference in Bunkerville, Nev., during his visit to the area, he declined to discuss the animals that prompted a standoff between ranchers and federal officials in 2014. Bundy is expected to face trial in the case as soon as next month.

In its creation of the monument late last year, the Obama administration pointed to concern over vandalism in the area, much of which had previously been designated as areas of critical environmental concern for the desert tortoise and bighorn sheep.

While Nevada Republicans have called for a significant reduction to the monument’s size, Democratic Rep. Dina Titus and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto have urged Zinke to retain the site.

“Apparently, the 2.7 million public comments submitted in favor of keeping these monuments were not enough to help Mr. Zinke make up his mind,” Cortez Masto said in a video released last month.

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

The southwestern Utah monument marked its 20th anniversary last year, but debate over the site remains as heated as it was when Clinton announced the 1.9-million-acre monument in 1996.

Republicans have long criticized the monument status for blocking access to massive coal deposits in the area’s Kaiparowits Plateau and crippling potential economic growth for the region.

But environmentalists who have backed the monument — which Clinton had hoped would rally green voters to his bid for a second term as he preserved cliffs, slot canyons and sandstone arches — point out that the plateau has proved to be a paleontological jackpot since the monument’s establishment, producing tens of thousands of fossils.

Zinke acknowledged during a May visit to the area that he would like to balance those interests.

“I have some in my truck,” he said of the site’s coal at the time. “It’s there, and the creation of a monument was to protect and not to prevent” (Greenwire, May 11).

Utah’s all-GOP congressional delegation has rallied against the monument, and Western GOP lawmakers urged Zinke to rescind the site’s status in their June letter.

The Trump administration is expected to face legal challenges if it attempts to reduce or roll back any of the monuments under review, but Grand Staircase-Escalante is more complicated than most of the sites being assessed. That’s because Congress itself has twice adjusted the monument’s boundaries to exclude small towns and exchange state lands with Utah, as well as paid the state $50 million in the process (Greenwire, May 2).

Ironwood Forest National Monument, Arizona

In his proclamation designating this 129,000-acre site in mid-2000, Clinton said the Ironwood Forest presents a “quintessential view of the Sonoran Desert” and pointed to vegetation including its “ironwood, palo verde and saguaro.”

The monument, located southwest of Tucson, is also home to species including hawks, owls, desert bighorn sheep and tortoises.

While the Congressional Western Caucus has called for the site’s elimination — arguing that it has blocked access to state trust lands and hindered grazing in the area — the Friends of Ironwood Forest has disputed its criticisms.

“Monument designation had no impact on management of State Trust Land which, by law, is open only to holders of valid use permits,” Friends of Ironwood Forest board member William Thornton wrote in the Arizona Daily Star last month. He noted that ranchers can still graze their animals on state lands, while hunters and anglers can likewise access the land with licenses.

Unlike typical state parks, state trust lands are used by Western states to generate funds for education and public services and are not broadly available for public access.

“The monument has not resulted in one dime of lost revenue to K-12 education,” Thornton added.

Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, Maine

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) is leading the charge to dismantle the state’s sole national monument, arguing that the public has seen a reduction in access to the nearly 88,000-acre site, largely made up of former working timberland.

Obama created the monument last year after Burt’s Bees co-founder Roxanne Quimby purchased the land, then donated it to the federal government via her family’s nonprofit foundation, Elliotsville Plantation Inc.

In opposition to LePage is Elliotsville Plantation President Lucas St. Clair, who is also Quimby’s son.

St. Clair has argued that the monument has increased access to the previously private lands. He has also touted the fact that the nonprofit has endowed a $40 million fund for upkeep of the monument.

Zinke traveled to Maine in June and at the time indicated he was leaning away from reducing the size of the monument.

“Scaling back I don’t think makes a lot of sense for here,” he told the Portland Press Herald during his visit. Still, Zinke would not commit to maintaining the site as a monument, suggesting he could seek to have Congress change the site’s status to a national park or other public land designation.

Marianas Trench, Rose Atoll and Pacific Remote Islands marine national monuments, Pacific Ocean

President George W. Bush created three marine monuments during his final days in office in early 2009, setting aside nearly 196,000 square miles of oceanic reserves intended to address overfishing and pollution and to help the ocean adapt to climate change.

At the time of their designation, the largest of the sites was the 95,000-square-mile Marianas Trench monument near the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam, an area that has been compared to an underwater Yellowstone and Grand Canyon for its unique geology of hydrothermal vents, mud volcanoes and pools of boiling sulfur.

The Rose Atoll near American Samoa covers more than 13,000 square miles, including coral reefs and a lagoon that serves as a home to sea turtles, birds and giant clams.

Bush also set aside nearly 87,000 square miles for the Pacific Remote Islands monument, which likewise claims a wealth of biodiversity that includes sea turtles, manta rays, sharks and whales as well as birds like the masked boobies and red-footed boobies among its islands, reefs and atolls.

Obama then enlarged the Pacific Remote Islands site to nearly six times its original size in late 2014, to its current 490,000 square miles (Greenwire, Sept. 25, 2014).

Commercial fishing, deep-sea mining and other extraction activities are banned within the sites.

The five marine monuments included in the Interior review are also part of a Commerce Department study examining whether 11 marine national monuments and national marine sanctuaries should be opened to oil and gas development (Greenwire, Aug. 16).

That study was prompted by Trump’s executive order mandating a review of offshore energy policies.

Mojave Trails National Monument, California

This 1.6-million-acre site in Southern California is the largest of a trio of monuments Obama set aside in the Mojave Desert in early 2016.

Earlier this week, Zinke excused the 154,000-acre Sand to Snow National Monument from his review. Castle Mountains National Monument, at just 21,000 acres, was not large enough to qualify for automatic inclusion in the Interior review.

But the Mojave Desert site, with its lava flowers and sand dunes, is also involved in a debate over whether Cadiz Inc. will be able to build a proposed 43-mile-long pipeline to pump water from an aquifer under land its owns to 100,000 households in Southern California.

The Trump administration has placed it on a list of infrastructure priority projects, which raised questions for now-Interior Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt, who briefly led the Trump transition team. Before his confirmation to the Trump administration, Bernhardt was chairman of the natural resources department at the law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. The firm’s lobbying arm worked to advance the Cadiz project (Greenwire, April 6).

“Diverse communities across the desert fought for over a decade to designate all three of our California desert national monuments,” Mojave Desert Land Trust Executive Director Danielle Segura told the Highland Community News in California on Wednesday. “We encourage Secretary Zinke to recognize the public’s will and the unique ecological and historical significance of places like Mojave Trails National Monument in his forthcoming recommendations.”

Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, Atlantic Ocean

Obama created the first Atlantic marine monument in 2016 when he designated nearly 5,000 square miles for preservation off the coast of Massachusetts.

But the decision — which barred oil and gas exploration in the area and restricted commercial fishing — drew a lawsuit from Northeastern fishermen, including the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, Atlantic Offshore Lobstermen’s Association, Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, Rhode Island Fishermen’s Alliance and Garden State Seafood Association.

The case is pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, but a judge stayed action in the case in May to await the outcome of the Trump administration’s reviews (E&E News PM, May 12).

During his visit to the East Coast in June, Zinke stopped in Boston to meet with both fishermen’s groups and scientists about the monument.

The Boston Globe reported that Zinke appeared sympathetic while meeting with about 20 representatives of New England’s seafood industry.

“When your area of access continues to be reduced and reduced … it just makes us noncompetitive,” Zinke said at the time. “The president’s priority is jobs, and we need to make it clear that we have a long-term approach to make sure that fishing fleets are healthy.”

Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

New Mexico’s congressional delegation has split over the future of the 496,000-acre boundary of the site — with its Democratic senators pushing Zinke to retain the site, while New Mexico GOP Rep. Steve Pearce has argued for it to be cut to just 60,000 acres.

Obama created the monument in 2014, designating four separate areas in close proximity to Las Cruces, N.M.: the Organ Mountains, Desert Peaks, Potrillo Mountains and Doña Ana Mountains.

Obama’s proclamation notes that in addition to the geologic and biological resources of the region, the monument encompasses “hundreds of artifacts, rock art, dwellings, and other evidence of the Native peoples.”

Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, Hawaii

This site near Hawaii is the world’s largest marine protected area at nearly 600,000 square miles.

Bush first designated the site — originally named the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument — in 2006, then renamed it to Papahānaumokuākea in early 2007 in honor of Hawaiian gods Papahānaumoku and Wākea, whose mythology includes the creation of the Hawaiian archipelago and its people.

In 2016, Obama opted to quadruple the site’s size to protect the 7,000 species that live in the monument’s boundaries, as well as to extend prohibitions on commercial fishing and extractive activities (E&E Daily, Aug. 26, 2016).

The Trump administration could opt to try to roll back those prohibitions as well as the monument’s size.

Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, New Mexico

Although Zinke visited the Land of Enchantment last month, he didn’t include a trip to northern New Mexico to see this 243,000-acre monument Obama established in 2013.

The monument itself stretches from the Colorado border south to Pilar, N.M., following the Rio Grande through a deep gorge. In his proclamation designating the monument, Obama described the area as “an extraordinary landscape of extreme beauty and daunting harshness.”

The proclamation barred mineral and geothermal leasing in the area.

While Pearce has called for the site to be reduced by an unspecified amount, both the state’s Democratic senators have lobbied for its retention.

But in an exchange at a Senate Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee hearing in June, Zinke would not indicate his position on either of the state’s monuments.

“In the case of New Mexico, I do not want to rip a Band-Aid off a monument that’s settled. … If it’s settled and people are happy with it, I find no reason to recommend any changes,” he said at the time (Greenwire, June 21).

San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, California

The more-than-356,000-acre site is located between Los Angeles and San Bernardino, making it a popular area of respite for more than 15 million people who live within a 90-minute drive of the monument.

Although congressional Democrats in the region had pushed for a much larger 600,000-acre recreation area, Obama’s final proclamation in 2014 offered a smaller site, which is managed by the Forest Service.

The Congressional Western Caucus has raised complaints that the site includes nonwilderness Forest Service land, as well as a small mining operation, and has called for unspecified cuts to the site.

But environmentalists have urged for the monument to remain untouched, noting that it is among the most likely monuments to be opened to oil and gas production if its protections are eliminated.

Sonoran Desert National Monument, Arizona

The southern Arizona site is another of the seven monuments Clinton created in his final days in office, covering more than 486,000 acres near the Mexico border.

The site has long drawn the ire of conservatives, including a failed legal challenge by the Mountain States Legal Foundation. It argued that Clinton had exceeded his authority to create the Sonoran Desert monument as well as others like the Cascade-Siskiyou and Ironwood Forest (Greenwire, Oct. 21, 2002).

It has also been the focus of lawsuits over grazing rights in the area, after Clinton’s proclamation disallowed the practice in portions of the monument, as well as a long-running fight over recreational target shooting (E&E News PM, Dec. 16, 2016).

In addition, the Congressional Western Caucus has complained that the monument creates a hindrance to Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection agents, who must comply with environmental regulations on federal lands operated by the Interior and Agriculture departments.

Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona

The nearly 280,000-acre site is located in northern Arizona near the Utah border, a remote area that BLM describes as a “geologic treasure.”

“Despite its arid climate and rugged isolation, the monument contains a wide variety of biological objects and has a long and rich human history,” Clinton wrote in his 2000 proclamation. “Full of natural splendor and a sense of solitude, this area remains remote and unspoiled, qualities that are essential to the protection of the scientific and historic objects it contains.”

Among the most popular locations in Vermilion Cliffs is the “Wave,” a sandstone formation located in the Coyote Buttes North. But visitation to the site is limited to 20 people per day, who must apply for permits in a lottery system.