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Posted Dec 26, 2008: Arctic Peoples Claim Their Right to Cold Temperatures '"Terrifying" is the word that best describes the situation of a hunter who is lost on shifting ice, or of the homeowner whose house splits in two when its foundation sinks, says Canadian indigenous leader Mary Simon when asked about the effects of global warming on the Inuit people'. [Stephen Leahy interviews Mary Simon, IPS, Dec 24]

 Posted Dec 26: Health Care By and For the People "The Obama transition team is asking you to help create a new health care policy. Really. Host a meeting, invite friends and associates, look at the Obama team's proposal, and let the transition team know what you decide...So far, more than 4,000 meetings are scheduled around the U.S. Here's where you can sign up to lead a session. All the information you need is online, including the moderator's guide and instructions for reporting the results back to the transition team" [Sarah van Gelder, ZSpace, Dec 21]

 Posted Dec 26: Ten New Year's Resolutions to Create a Thriving Federal Scientific Enterprise. Policy recommendations from Union of Concerned Scientists, covering transparency, whistleblower protection, end of government manipulation of research findings de-politicization of EPA.[Zspace, Dec 21]

 Posted Dec 26: Poznan Climate Talks: fiddling while the earth burns. "11,000 delegates (including 1,500 corporate lobbyists), 13,000 tonnes of carbon consumed, and two weeks wasted: the UN Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland made only glacial progress towards a new global climate treaty, due to be signed a year from now in Copenhagen."[Oscar Reyes, ZSpace, Dec 17]

 Posted Dec 26: The Most Important Number on EarthThe magic number is... 350, as in the target for CO2 reduction given by James Hansen. Bill McKibben hammers home the significance of this number in everyday words in the Dec 16 Mother Jones, via Common Dreams.

 Posted Dec 26: Temperature Summaries and SpinThe great thing about complex data is that one can basically come up with any number of headlines describing it - all of which can be literally true - but that give very different impressions."[This] ...post is therefore dedicated to cutting through the hype and looking at the bigger picture.[Gavin Schmidt, RealClimate, Dec 16]  See also: A Cooler Year on a Warmer Planet Good graphs, more on the distorted interpretations out there.[Andrew Revkin, NYT, Dec 17]

 Posted Dec 26: Cluster Bomb Treaty and The World's Unfinished Business. The accord once ratified by 30 nations will go into effect in 6 months. The US, Russia, China, Israel, India and Pakistan - a group that includes the biggest makers and users of the weapon - "neither attended the Ireland negotiations, nor did they show any interest in signing the agreement". [Ramzy Baroud, Common Dreams Dec 13]

 Posted Dec 12: Toronto Stood Up to Bottled Water Industry. "Toronto's decision last week to ban the sale and distribution of bottled water on city premises not [only].. banned an environmentally destructive product, but that included a commitment to ensuring access to tap water in all city facilities. Toronto is now the largest city in the world to pass such far-reaching regulations controlling the distribution of bottled water on municipal property and promoting the use of publicly delivered tap water. [Tony Clarke, Toronto Star and Common Dreams, Dec 11]

 Posted Dec 12: Climate Change:Latin America Could Show the Way. According to a new World Bank report,'Low Carbon, High Growth: Latin American Responses to Climate Change'by Augusto de la Torre, Pablo Fajnzylber and John Nash[link not yet available], "The region is suffering the impact of climate change; however, it is not a main source of emissions that are driving global warming, thanks to its clean energy matrix and its innovative policies to promote low carbon growth." [Ramesh Jaura, IPS, Dec 10]

 Posted Dec 12: Nuclear Weapons Obsolescence Former Lawrence Livermore Lab weapons researcher Manuel Garcia asks why such personages as Henry Kissinger, Sam Nunn, William Perry and Sam Nunn have recently joined the likes of Bertrand Russell, Einstein and Gandhi in calling for nuclear disarmament.[Counterpunch, Dec 10]

 Posted Dec 12: The New Generation of "Non-Lethal" Weapons  20,000 First Brigade Combat Team troops will be assigned inside the U.S.- the first such assignment since Reconstruction. Ostensibly the forces are for use in response to terrorist attacks, but will also be available for "civil unrest and crowd control". Featured is a new package of "non-lethal" weapons, some of which have been tested in Iraq, and may include heat beams, high-intensity sound, biochemical agents, and advanced tasers[Mike Ferner, Counterpunch, Dec 8]

 Posted Dec 12: This Toxic Life On the effects of decades of toxic waste on native pople of southern Ontario living near a concentration of heavy industry.[Wayne Ellwood, New Internationalist, via Counterpunch Dec 9]

 Posted Dec 12: Will $1.81 Gas or Russia Save the Hummer? "Will low gasoline prices put America (and the world) in another fossil-fuel “trance” — as President-elect Barack Obama cautioned — and make us forget the long-term energy and climate challenges ahead?" Check out Comedy Central's National Hummers Club video in this article by Andrew Revkin in the Dec 3 NY Times.

 Posted Dec 12: Small Farmers Key to Combating Climate Change "The agricultural sector, including land use change for agriculture, has been estimated to make up...28-33% of global emissions. Combined with the emissions created transporting food in our increasingly globalized food economy where the average bite to eat travels 1200 miles from field to fork, the industrial food system may be the largest single contributor to global warming. In small-scale organic farming systems however, carbon is actually stored in the soil at a rate of about four tons per hectare. [Annie Shattuck, Common Dreams, Dec 2]

 Posted Dec 12: The NIPCC (Not the IPCC) Report. RealClimate debunks this attempt to discredit the IPCC report and also announces the launch of a powerful Wiki-like tool for exposing the false premises of the climate-change deniers

 Posted Dec 12: After the Crash- Overreliance on financial software crafted by physics and math PhDs helped to precipitate the Wall Street collapse. "As Benoit Mandelbrot, the fractal pioneer who is a longtime critic of mainstream financial theory, wrote in Scientific American in 1999, established modeling techniques presume falsely that radically large market shifts are unlikely and that all price changes are statistically independent; today’s fluctuations have nothing to do with tomorrow’s—and one bank’s portfolio is unrelated to the next’s. Here is where reality and rocket science diverge. Try Googling “financial meltdown,” “contagion” and “2008,” a search that reveals just how wrongheaded these assumptions were."[Editorial, Scientific American, Nov 2008]

 Posted Nov 22: Did Greenhouse Gases Cause the Earth's Greatest Mass Extinction? MIT geologists theorize a chain of events begun by a giant magma eruption, then a giant CO2 release that may have warmed the sea surface,inhibiting oxygen transport to deeper waters, resulting in massive bacterial releases of H2S to the air.[Moises Velasquez-Manoff, Christian Science Monitor, Nov 19, via Alternet]

 Posted Nov 22: Where That "Recycled" E-Waste Really Goes "Without a law banning export of toxic electronic waste in the United States, there has been no way to know if old cell phones, computers or televisions originating there didn't end up in some poor village in the developing world, where desperate people pull them apart by hand to recover some of the valuable metals inside."[Stephen Leahy, IPS, Nov 14 ]

 Posted Nov 22: Man-Hunting Killer Robots, Anybody? "The Pentagon's Small Business Innovation Research program recently sent out a call for contractors to design a pack of robots whose main purpose would be to track down what it referred to as 'noncooperative human subject[s].'"[Scott Thill, AlterNet. Nov 20]

 Posted Nov 22: GM Must Re-Make the Mass Transit System it Murdered "In a 1922 memo that will live in infamy, GM President Alfred P. Sloan established a unit aimed at dumping electrified mass transit in favor of gas-burning cars, trucks and buses...FDR forced Detroit to manufacture the tanks, planes and guns that won World War 2 (try buying a 1944 Chevrolet!). Now let a reinvented GM make the "weapons" to win the climate war and energy independence."[Harvey Wasserman, CommonDreams.org, Nov 20]

 Posted Nov 22: NY Times Parody Just in case you missed it, here's the on-line version of the parody edition of the NY Times that was distributed on the streets of several major cities on Nov 11

 Posted Nov 22: - The Climate for ChangeAl Gore [ NY Times op-ed Nov 9 ]calls for a massive green public works program with a transition to concentrated solar, wind and geothermal, a new power grid, plug-in hybrids,building retrofitting and a stronger Kyoto.

 Posted Nov 22: Eating is a Political Act - Interview with Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals and In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto. "If people could see how their food is produced, they would change how they eat."[ Mark Eisen, The Progressive, via AlterNet, Nov 8]

 Posted Nov 22: Lost penguins get Brazil air lift "Hundreds of penguins have been returned to their native territory in the south Atlantic ocean by an air force plane after being found along Brazil's coast...the unusual journey the penguins are making suggests something has gone wrong with their normal fish supply [and]...it is not clear whether this is due to changes in water temperatures and ocean currents or man-made pollution. "[ Gary Duffy, BBC News, Oct 8 ]

 Posted Nov 11: Zero Carbon Communities The Sunflower project, originating the small city of Moura, Portugal and now involving communities in seven other European Union countries - Bulgaria, Britain, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain - aims at transformation into what the EU’s Intelligent Energy-Europe programme (IEE) calls a "Zero Carbon Community." [Mario de Queiroz, IPS, Nov 3]

 Posted Nov 11: The Fertilized Egg and the Decapitated Flower  On election day the state of Colorado voted on an amendment to its constitution that states that "the terms ‘person' or ‘persons' shall include any human being from the moment of fertilization." In Switzerland scholars are debating the meaning of a 1990's amendment to the Swiss constitution that seeks"...to defend the dignity of all creatures-including the leafy kind-against unwanted consequences of genetic manipulation." [ Christopher Brauchli, CommonDreams, Nov2 ]

 Posted Nov 11: Time to Bury the 'Clean Coal' Myth  Ever notice that nobody says "coal" any more; they say "clean coal"; enter Google with this phrase and you get 1.3 million results. How has this happened? [ Fred Pearce, Guardian, CommonDreams]

 Posted Nov 11: Coal Far Costlier than Thought According to results of a new study by Chinese researchers working with Greenpeace, China’s overwhelming reliance on polluting coal carried a price tag of 250 billion US dollars last year They calculate "the hidden cost of environmental and social damage caused by China’s coal mining industry to be 7% of the country’s 2007 gross domestic product." [Antoaneta Bezlova, IPS Oct 29]

 Posted Nov 11: Massive Shift to Clean Energy Could Start Tomorrow  "An aggressive shift towards renewable power generation and energy effiency could save the world from the most devastating impacts of climate change, and at the same time create a multi-billion-dollar industry and save trillions of dollars in future fuel costs"[Wolfgang Kerler, IPS, Oct 28]

 Posted Nov 11: Why Cancer's Gaining on Us  "In this country, a woman's lifetime risk of breast cancer is one in eight. In 1975, the risk was about one in 11." The author links this to the fact that 80,000 synthetic chemicals] are used today in the United States, and their number increases by about 1,000 each year[Rita Arditti, Boston Globe, Oct 27, via CommonDreams]

 Posted Oct 20: Change Everything Now - an interview with Gus Speth, dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. "...I hope I hope for is a huge [grassroots] mass movement in the country before it's too late."[Jeff Goodell,CommonDreams and Orion Magazine, Oct 19]

 Posted Oct 20: Harvard Study: Blame the Financial Crisis on Too Much Testosterone. "Men who trade on an appearance of strength are actually the guys who, in evolutionary terms, have outlived their usefulness." [ Sharon Rupp, Alternet Oct 20 ]

 Posted Oct 20: The War on Pot Is a War on Young People. "74% of all Americans busted for pot are under 30 -- it's long past time for young people to join ranks and help end this drug war" [ Paul Armentano, AlterNet, Oct 17 - from DrugReporter]

 Posted Oct 20: The Real Story Behind the U.S.-India Nuclear DealThe agreemen excepts India from an amendment to the U.S. Atomic Energy Act of 1954 that prohibits trading with states that have not signed the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty. It is seen "not just a late win for an unpopular president, [ but also ] a coup for lobbyists and defense contractors" and a stepping-up of pressure againstr Iran. [Subrata Ghoshroy, AlterNet, Oct 17]

 Posted Oct 20: The Crisis and the Environment by Michael T. Klare in Foreign Policy in Focus, Oct 17 asks "Will the [economic] crisis be good or bad for the environment, especially with respect to global warming?"

 Posted Oct 20: Green Fantasia - Bill McKibben's review of Tom Friedman's latest book, "Hot, Flat and Crowded" - and interesting critique of high-tech solutions to global warming, with a link to a blogger's critique of a Washington Post editorial that questions whether we can fight the recession and global warming at the same time. [ NY Review of Books, Nov 6 ]

 Posted Sep 29: Pete Goes (Anti)Ballistic - Originally published in 2000 by Paul Newman (R.I.P.) on the Pentagon's push for an anti-missile defense, this short piece appeared in the Sep 25 Nation as a tribute.

 Posted Sep 29: Visions of Pinpoint Control - the romance of laser weapons. Physicist Manuel Garcia gives a clear explanation of how lasers and laser weapons work and U.S. plans for their development and use.[Counterpunch, Sep 26]

 Posted Sep 29: It Pays to Go Green The UN's recently-released report entitled "Green Jobs: Towards Decent Work in a Sustainable, Low-Carbon World" shows the possible impact a emerging "green economy" will have on the world of work. According to the report, "investments resulting from efforts to reduce climate change and its effects are already generating new jobs".[Wolfgang Kerler, IPS News, Sep 25]

 Posted Sep 29: Denmark, Norway Grapple with Growing CO2 "...In Norway, emissions from greenhouse gases have never been higher, growing 3 percent last year alone". Norway is trying to offset incrfeasing carbon emissions by experimenting with sequestration technology and donating $1 billion to help preserve the Amazon rainforest.[Ida Karlsson, IPS News Sep 25]

 Posted Sep 29 Portugal: Ocean Wave Energy Leader: 'Renewable energy sources at present account for "40 percent of electricity production" in Portugal, especially solar and wind power'[Mario de Queiroz, IPS News, Sep 24 ]


 Posted Sep 29: Electronics Dumping Ground "...the Government Accountability Office found virtually no enforcement by the Environmental Protection Agency on exports of used electronics to developing countries that often dismantle them in extremely unsafe operations."
[Derrick Jackson, Boston Globe, Sep 23]

 Posted Sep 16 : Military Industrial Complex 2.0 Cubicle Mercenaries, Subcontracting Warriors, and Other Phenomena of a Privatizing Pentagon. "...in the last decade the amount the Pentagon has paid out to private companies for services has increased by 78% in real terms." writes Frieda Berrigan [CommonDreams, Sep 15]

 Posted Sep 16: FLOW: For Love of Water…New Film Examines Global Water Crisis. Transcipts and links to audio/video of Democracy Now radio panel discussion on the film with filmmaker Irene Salina and activist Maude Barlow.

 Posted Sep 16: US Intelligence on Iran Nukes - Buried or ignored in the U.S. media were these recent words from the our top intelligence analyst Thomas Fingar: "Iran’s work on the 'weaponization portion' of its nuclear development program 'was suspended' in 2003."[ Ray McGovern, Counterpunch, Sep 11]

 Posted Sep 16: The Ethics of Interrogation — The U.S. Military's Ongoing Use of Psychiatrists. Gregg Bloche in the Sep 11 The New England Journal of Medicine discusses the military's interpretation of recent APA and AMA resolutions against torture.

 Posted Sep 16: Simple question, simple answer...not Spencer Weart in Nature (Sept 8)on the difficulties of explaining global warming to the skeptics: "the climate system inevitably betrays a lover of simple answers...", along with a very interesting discussion.

 Posted Sep 16: How the U.S. Garrisons the Planet and Doesn't Even Notice "According to the Pentagon, we still have a total of 124 bases in Japan, up to 38 on the small island of Okinawa, and 87 in South Korea" writes Tom Engelhardt (Common Dreams, sep 4) "...In Washington, our garrisoning of the world is so taken for granted that no one seems to blink when billions go into a new base..."

 Posted Sep 16: The Medicalization of Everyday Life "As the pace of medical innovation slows to a crawl, how do drug companies stay in profit? By ‘discovering’ new illnesses to fit existing products..." [ Ben Goldacre, Bad Science, Sep 1]

Posted Aug 29: The State Deparment's Green Scare Wing A leaked PowerPoint presentation reveals that despite its self-serving rhetoric, the government views these activists not really as "eco-terrorists" but admits that "...animal rights and environmental activists are less a threat to national security than to corporate financial security."!  [Will Potter in Counterpunch, Aug 25]

Posted Aug 29: Carbon Offsets: More harm than good? Melissa Checker (Counterpunch, Aug 21) asks whether like the sale of indulgences by churches us avoid tackling the task of dealing with the underlying problem.

Posted Aug 29: Bioengineering: Climate Change Methadone? Proposals for geoengineering that attempt to offset the effects of CO2 warming are becoming more numerous - and dangerous. Read this critique and also the discussion that follows in RealClimate, Aug 20

Posted Aug 29: Brazil: Supreme Court to Rule on Invasions of Indigenous Land by large-scale rice growers. According to one organizer of the indigenous resistance in the state of Roraima: "The pressure of agribusiness and large-scale agriculture on indigenous lands has intensified as a result of the 'biofuels revolution' and the need to produce feed for the world’s livestock".[Marta Caravantes, IPS News, Aug 21]

Posted Aug 29: Wind Energy Bumps Into Power Grid’s Limits "...many transmission lines, and the connections between them, are simply too small for the amount of power companies would like to squeeze through them. The difficulty is most acute for long-distance transmission, but shows up at times even over distances of a few hundred miles.[Matthew Wald NYT, Aug 26]

Posted Aug 29: Dean Baker [the Guardian, Aug 11] proposes that commodity speculation be taxed - a revival of the Tobin tax proposal.( Past supporters have ranged from Ralph Nader to Senator Charles Grassley). Baker argues that "Such a tax would be extremely progressive because the overwhelming majority of trading is done by the wealthiest people." but for this very reason gives it little chance of succeeding.

Posted Aug 29: States throw out costly electronic voting machines "The demise of touch-screen voting has produced a graveyard of expensive corpses: Warehouses stacked with thousands of carefully wrapped voting machines that have been shelved because of doubts about vanishing votes and vulnerability to hackers."...[Deborah Hastings, ap.google.com, Aug 19]
 --> [See article below also]

Posted Aug 29: Planning to E-vote? Read This First "...with another presidential election less than three months away, many e-voting systems are fraught with security glitches, and the technology has yet to prove itself as the solution voters were looking for." [Larry Greenemeier, Scientific American, Aug 18]

Posted Aug 29: How the States (don't) Teach Evolution How one teacher succeeded in a struggle to require that Florida teach evolution in its schools. Note graphic that shows that only five states mention human evolution directly in the high school classroom. This is one less than in the year 2000. [Amy Harmon, NYT, Aug 23]

Posted August 17: Don't miss this book event sponsored by DC Metro Science for the People! Energy expert Arjun Makhijani discusses his new book on the economics and politics of alternative energy sources Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free. Tues Aug 19, 6 PM at Busboys and Poets, 14th and V NW, 2 blocks from U St-Cardozo Green Line Metro stop.

Posted August 17: Click to see Global Warming: DC Metro Region Outlook, a new information-packed PowerPoint presentation by DC Metro Science for the People member Raghu Raghavan

Posted August 17: Suffocating Dead Zones Spread Across World’s Oceans - Critically low oxygen levels now pose as great a threat to life in the world’s oceans as overfishing and habitat loss, say experts - by David Adam in the Aug 15 Guardian. "...hundreds of regions of critically low oxygen now affect a combined area the size of New Zealand, and that they pose as great a threat to life in the world’s oceans as overfishing and habitat loss."

Posted August 17: Leaks in Patch for Web Security Hole "Faced with the discovery of a serious flaw in the Internet’s workings, computer network administrators around the world have been rushing to fix their systems with a cobbled-together patch. Now it appears that the patch has some gaping holes..." (John Markoff, NYT)

Posted August 17: Targeting Civilians Kevin Young, tells in this interesting Aug 8 Counterpunch piece on the history of mass bombings how "Just as incendiary area bombing of cities like Tokyo produced an uncontrollable 'firestorm' that spread rapidly to engulf entire neighborhoods and cities, the moral reasoning of political leaders and civilians in the Allied countries might be said to have undergone a similar process."

Posted August 17:Hot Commodities, Stuffed Markets, and Empty Bellies Ben Collins of Dollars & Sense (July, 2008) gives a compact and lucid summary of the forces behind the recent tremendous increases throughout global commodities markets.

Posted August 17: The Migration History of Humans: DNA Study Traces Human Origins Across the Continents:DNA furnishes an ever clearer picture of the multimillennial trek from Africa all the way to the tip of South AmericaA review of current research on the origins and migrations of the different branches of humanity By Gary Stix. Sci American

Posted August 6: Solar Power Storage Breakthrough at MIT "...the process, inspired by photosynthesthesis...uses electricity from solar panel...is fed to[a catalyst] in water, causing the water to split into hydrogen and oxygen. The elements create a chemical fuel that can be recombined to create energy later, when the sun is not shining", reports the Aug 1 Boston Globe

Posted August4: Military-Industrial Complex: It's Much Later Than You Think The profound effect of privatization of military and intelligence functions is analyzed in this important review article by Chalmers Johnson in a July 28 post on CommonDreams. Reminding us that Clinton was an important pioneer in this effort, Johnson goes on " After 2001, Bush and Cheney added an ideological rationale to the process Clinton had already launched so efficiently. They were enthusiastic supporters of “a neoconservative drive to siphon U.S. spending on defense, national security, and social programs to large corporations friendly to the Bush administration.”

Posted August4: Massachusetts: How Not to do Health Care Reform In the August edition of Labor Notes, Sandy Eaton writes that the newly-reformed Mass. health care system is "plagued by an ongoing crisis of access, affordability, and quality". Legislators having ruled a Canadian-style system "off the table", there remains in place a "tangle of private insurance companies, with their expensive bureaucracies and profits..".

Posted August4: Facing the Freshwater Crisis "As demand for freshwater soars, planetary supplies are becoming unpredictable. Existing technologies could avert a global water crisis, but they must be implemented soon"- (Peter Rogers, Scientific American, July).

Posted August 4, 2008:Commentary on Patel's Stuffed and Starved...it is a "food system that destroys rural communities, poisons poor city dwellers, is inhumane to animals, demands unsustainable levels of use of fossil fuels and water, contributes to global warming, spreads disease and...although it is controlled by some of the most powerful people on the planet, the food system is inherently weak. It has systemic and structural vulnerabilities that lie close to the surface of our daily lives. All it takes to expose them is a gentle jolt.” (quoted from the book, Guardian, July 20)

Posted August 4, 2008:Journalistic Whiplash “Each new paper negates or repudiates something emphatically asserted in a previous paper,” Dr. Pfeffer said. “The public is obviously picking up on this not as an evolution of objective scientific understanding but as a proliferation of contradictory opinions.” (Revkin, NY Times July 29) .

Posted August 4, 2008:Bush offshore drilling plan: Naomi Klein out-talks and out-interrupts Fox Business News interviewers. Enough said - check out this July 18 video!

Posted August 4, 2008:Turf Wars Americans can't live without lawns - but how long can they survive with them? Elizabeth Kolbert looks into the cultural history of this venerable institution in the July 21 New Yorker.

Posted August 4, 2008:Torture and the Rule of Law: "There just aren’t two sides to those matters. That’s what the International Red Cross means when it says that what we did to Guantanamo detainees was categorically torture" .Review of Jane Mayer's new book "The Dark Side" by Glenn Greenwald, July 12 post on Salon.com.

Posted July 23, 2008: The Anti-Climate Summit Walden Bellow, writing in Foreign Policy in Focus, July 15 comments on the "massive confusion" caused by the recent G-8 climate communique from Hokkaido. "The G8 position is a giant step backward. It may have ... undermined the prospects for an effective global climate strategy for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol that is expected to be finalized at the crucial UN meeting in Copenhagen in December 2009."

Posted July 23, 2008 Cheap Oil from Nigeria? While the lifeblood of twenty-first century techno-life is pumped from their land, [the people of Niger Delta] live in the Stone Age, with no schools, no hospitals and barely any electricity. They have felt three effects from the petrol. Their land has been poisoned by oil spills; the fish they lived off have been turned into stunted, toxic rarities; and when they ask for compensation, they are shot at.(from The Independent, via Common Dreams, Jul 14)

Posted July 23, 2008: Big Dams Not the Answer "This is the wrong climate for big-dam hydropower. A changing climate means more frequent and more severe droughts and floods. River flows will see major changes as glaciers and snowpack melt, and rain and snowfall patterns are drastically altered...", says Aviva Imhof (Common Dreams, July 14)

Posted July 23, 2008: Conversation About Nukes "Why are Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, William Perry, and Sam Nunn writing in the Wall Street Journal calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons?" asks Conn Hallinan in Common Dreams, July 13. The worry is of course that certain smaller nations "...will try to close the enormous gap in military spending and capabilities by developing nuclear weapons. That, and their general fear of nukes falling into the “wrong hands, explains their interest in taking the NPT seriously. "

Posted July 23, 2008: Is There an Oil Shortage? Not if you look at supply and demand. Stronger than that or the 30-40% accounted for by the falling dollar, according to Hossein-Zadah on Counterpunch, 7/13, "... has been the impact of manipulative speculation: war and political instability have served as breeding grounds for hoarding and speculation in energy futures markets."

Posted July 23, 2008:Women to G8: Support Real Solutions to the Global Food Crisis From a statement presented to the G8 ministers by leaders of MADRE and women's organizations from other countries,: "...The root cause of the food crisis is not scarcity, but the failed economic policies long championed by the G8, namely, trade liberalization and industrial agriculture. These policies, which treat food as a commodity rather than a human right, have induced chaotic climate change, oil dependency, and the depletion of the Earth’s land and water resources as well as today’s food crisis." (Common Dreams, July 8)

Posted July 23, 2008:Grow Your Own? Not an important contribution, argues Stan Cox (AlterNet 6/23) ..."the mainstays of home gardening -- vegetables and fruits -- are not the foundation of the human diet or of world agriculture. Each of those two food types occupies only about 4 percent of global agricultural land (and a smaller percentage in this country), compared with 75 percent of world cropland devoted to grains and oilseeds..."

Posted July 23, 2008: Rejuvenating Public Sector Science "...too many scientists have hired themselves out to the highest bidders — corporate interests that use their science-for-hire papers to cast doubt on the facts that our planet is warming, smoking kills, and toxic chemicals can cause birth defects."(Kirsten Stade, Common Dreams, Jun 25)

Posted July 23, 2008: Oxfam: Biofuels Put 30 Million in Poverty A recent report, written by Oxfam biofuel policy adviser Rob Bailey, estimates that 30% of the recent rise in food prices is attributable to biofuels and that "urges developed nations to abandon their biofuel mandates and get rid of the subsidies and tariffs on biofuels that are destroying the ability of the market to appropriately adjust biofuel and food supply and demand." (Earth2Tech, 6/25)

Posted July 23, 2008: Body Fat: Key to Energy Independence Barbara Ehrenreich (AlterNet 6/24) "The average liposuction removes about half a gallon of liquid fat ... think of the vast reserves our nation is literally sitting on! Thirty percent of Americans are obese, or about 90 million individuals or 45 million gallons of easily available fat -- not from dead diatoms but from our very own bellies and butts."


Posted June 27, 2008:Rejuvenating Public Sector Science "...far too many scientists have hired themselves out to the highest bidders — corporate interests that use their science-for-hire papers to cast doubt on the facts that our planet is warming, smoking kills, and toxic chemicals can cause birth defects."(Kirsten Stade, CommonDreams Jun 25)

Posted June 27, 2008: Oxfam: Biofuels Put 30 Million in Poverty "The report, written by Oxfam biofuel policy adviser Rob Bailey, urges developed nations to abandon their biofuel mandates and get rid of the subsidies and tariffs on biofuels that are destroying the ability of the market to appropriately adjust biofuel and food supply and demand. These economic hurdles have lead to an all-time low in grain reserves, the report says, and pushed food prices to record highs."(Reuters, Jun 25)

Posted June 27, 2008: Brazil: How to Atone for Beef's Sins "Cattle in the country’s Amazon jungle region, which numbered 73.7 million head in 2006, occupied 74 percent of the total deforested area, according to "The Cattle Kingdom", a Friends of the Earth Report published in Jan."However, the original cause of deforestation is not cattle-raising, but rather the lack of incentives for sustainable production in the Amazon, said Mario Menezes, assistant director of Friends of the Earth and co-author of the study." (Mario Osava,EcoEarth, Jun 21)

Posted June 27, 2008:Nanotech: Why Something So Small Can Be So Dangerous. "Environmentalists, scientists, and policymakers increasingly worry that nanotech development is outrunning our understanding of how to use it safely." (AlterNet, Jun 23)

Posted June 27, 2008:Global Warming 20 Years Later James Hansen looks at what has happened since since June 23, 1988, when " I testified to a hearing chaired by Senator Tim Wirth of Colorado that the Earth had entered a long-term warming trend, and that human-made greenhouse gases almost surely were responsible. I noted that global warming enhanced both extremes of the water cycle, meaning stronger droughts and forest fires, on the one hand, but also heavier rains and floods." The picture is is even bleaker today, aftedr two decades of increased CO2 emissions and he has concluded that " the safe level of atmospheric carbon dioxide (now 385 ppm)is no more than 350 ppm, and it may be less".(Guest Editorial Worldwatch Institute, Jun 23)

Posted June 27, 2008:Gas Price Gouging Mike Whitney at Counterpunch, Jun 23 writes "The reason oil has skyrocketed to nearly $140 per barrel is because of rampant speculation. The peak oil doom-sayers are simply confusing the issue. This is not about shortages or scarcity; it's about gaming the system to fatten the bottom line. The whole scam is being executed by the same carpetbagging scoundrels who engineered the subprime fiasco; the investment bankers." This agrees with what has been said (more mildly) in Congress of late. Paul Krugman (NYT, Jun 27) argues: no, it's about scarcity

Posted June 27, 2008: The Ugly Side of Disaster Race and the public reaction to the inundations in New Orleans and Iowa. Tim Wise, Counterpunch, JUn 21.

Posted June 27, 2008:New NOAA Climate Change Study predicts more extreme events over North America "Among the major findings reported in this assessment are that droughts, heavy downpours, excessive heat, and intense hurricanes are likely to become more commonplace as humans continue to increase the atmospheric concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases" (NOAA press release, Jun 19)

Posted June 27, 2008: Wired Magazine's Incoherent Truths A recent article in Wired - "Rethinking What it Means to be Green . Crank up the A/C! Kill the Spotted Owl! Keep the SUV!" was guilty of serious scientific errors. RealClimate (Jun 15 post) sets them straight.

Posted June 27, 2008:Harvard Researchers Hide Drug Company Pay "...the Harvard group’s consulting arrangements with drug makers were already controversial because of the researchers’ advocacy of unapproved uses of psychiatric medicines in children." NYT, Jun 8

Posted June 11, 2008:Study Finds Wide Racial, Geographic Health Care Disparities Among Medicare Beneficiaries Race and place of residence can have a significant effect on the quality of care a Medicare beneficiary receives, according to a report released Thursday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "Blacks were found to be less likely than whites to receive recommended care within a given region, but greater disparities in care were found among different geographic regions, according to the study" (Portside, June 11(Subscribe: portside.org/subscribe); also K Sack, NYT, June 5)

Posted June 11, 2008: Lessons for a Greener World Interview in Cuba Si (April 1) with Green spokesperson Derek Wall on what we can learn from Cuba and Latin America about achieving a green planet."The Cuban constitution enshrines environmental protection. Cuba has been identified as the one country in the world that has been able to develop in an ecologically sustainable way by the WWF.

Posted June 11, 2008:Attention Hackers: Uncle Sam's Cyber Force Wants You Working with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Department of Homeland Security, and other governmental agencies, the Air Force’s stated goal is to gain access to, and control over, any and all networked computers, anywhere on Earth, at a proposed cost of $30 billion over the first five years.(Astore, CommonDreams, June 6)

Posted June 11, 2008:Jeffrey Sachs, author of "Common Wealth" is interviewed on Bill Maher's show Real Time on the subject of Sustainability: "...a small part of the Mohave Desert could provide more than half of the electricity needs of the United States without emitting any carbon dioxide, just using the solar power that's available.(video from Apr 27).

Posted June 11, 2008:As Climate Bill Dies, Greens Express Hope " 'The American people are seeking a change from the kind of cynical political games we saw (the Republican leadership) play this week,' said Carl Pope, the executive director of the Sierra Club, after the bill's supporters fell 12 votes short of the 60 they needed to cut off debate and force a vote. While these procedural ploys may have succeeded in today's closely divided Senate, we are confident that a larger pro-environment majority will allow us to prevail in the next Congress' " (Lobe, IPS News, June 6)

Posted June 11, 2008:Small Town Overthrows Corporate Giant for Control of Water "The people of Felton, California learned that they had successfully wrested control of their water from the clutches of a giant corporation on Friday, May 30, 2008. Many of the 3,000 adult residents of the Felton Water District had been organizing for nearly six years to buy the community's water system from California American Water". (Hauter, AlterNet, June 5)

Posted June 11, 2008: About Farmers, Without Farmers " Outside the three-day UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) summit of world leaders that opened June 3 in Rome, there took place a parallel conference: "More than 100 delegates from international social movements, farmers organisations, indigenous groups from the South and NGOs [held] a five-day forum on food sovereignty. The civil society forum Terra Preta (black soil, in Portuguese) has been organised by the International Planning Committee (IPC), a global network of NGOs and civil society groups concerned with agricultural issues."(Zaccaro, IPS NEWS, Jun 3)

Posted June 11, 2008:Excerpts from Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World's Food System "In every country, the contradictions of obesity, hunger, poverty and wealth are becoming more acute. India has, for example, destroyed millions of tons of grains, permitting food to rot in silos, while the quality of food eaten by India's poorest is getting worse for the first time since Independence in 1947. In 1992, in the same towns and villages where malnutrition had begun to grip the poorest families, the Indian government admitted foreign soft drinks manufacturers and food multinationals to its previously protected economy" Raj Patel, Alternet, June 2

Posted June 11, 2008:Masculine, Feminine or Human? Univ. of Texas journalism professor and author Robert Jensen on student attitudes toward gender roles and dominance: "...[these vies] sum up the dominant, and very toxic, conception of masculinity with which most men are raised in the contemporary United States". Counterpunch May 20.

Posted May 29, 2008: "...a recent United Nations report, “Livestock’s Long Shadow,”...concludes that eating meat is “one of the most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.” and that "eating meat causes almost 40 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than all the cars, trucks, and planes in the world combined. It concludes that the meat industry “should be a major policy focus when dealing with problems of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity.”(Bill Berry, Wisconsin Capital Times May 26 and Common Dreams)

Posted May 29, 2008:Billions Wasted in U.N. Climate Program The criticism centres on the UN's clean development mechanism, an international system established by the Kyoto process that allows rich countries to meet emissions targets by funding clean energy projects in developing nations.(John Vidal, The Guardian May26)

Posted May 29, 2008:Do-it-yourself Public Transit in Cambodia Video from 2006 shows now grassroots knowhow and creativity resulted in the construcion out of spare parts of self-propelled flatcars running on bamboo rails. Science for the people lives!

Posted May 29, 2008:Animal Farm: The Cybrids A new british law being considered ispermits the creation of human-animal hybrid embryos, or “cybrids,” for medical research. Pro and cons discussed by Olivia Judson blog, NY Times May 20.

Posted May 29, 2008:Manufacturing the Food Crisis Walden Bello shows that In the Phillipines, "The one-two punch of IMF-imposed adjustment and WTO-imposed trade liberalization swiftly transformed a largely self-sufficient agricultural economy into an import-dependent one as it steadily marginalized farmers... " "The experience of Mexico and the Philippines was paralleled in one country after another subjected to the ministrations of the IMF and the WTO. A study of fourteen countries by the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization found that the levels of food imports in 1995-98 exceeded those in 1990-94. This was not surprising, since one of the main goals of the WTO's Agreement on Agriculture was to open up markets in developing countries so they could absorb surplus production in the North."(The Nation, June 2, posted May 15)

Posted May 29, 2008:Freeman Dyson's Selective VisionCritique of Dysons's NY Review of Books article in which he says "Carbon emissions are not a problem because in a few years genetic engineers will develop “carbon-eating trees” that will sequester carbon in soils". RealClimate, May 24, with discussion.

Posted May 29, 2008:Brazil: Agribusiness Undermines Environmental Leadership Role "Brazil is a world leader in agriculture and on several environmental issues, but it will find it hard to reconcile both fronts, judging by the many battles lost by former environment minister Marina Silva, in spite of the political clout she wielded for over five years."(Mario Osava, IPS May 22)

Posted May 29, 2008:Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It "The outrageous success of bottled water, in a country where more than 89 percent of tap water meets or exceeds federal health and safety regulations, regularly wins in blind taste tests against name-brand waters, and costs 240 to 10,000 times less than bottled water, is an unparalleled social phenomenon, one of the greatest marketing coups of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries."(from book by Eliz. Royte, Bloomsbury USA, posted May 20)

Posted May 29, 2008:New Trend in Biofuels Has New Risks "...biologists and botanists are warning that... these newer crops [non-food crops like reeds and wild grasses] are what scientists label invasive species — that is, weeds — that have an extraordinarily high potential to escape biofuel plantations, overrun adjacent farms and natural land, and create economic and ecological havoc in the process.
(Elizabeth Rosenthal, NYT, May21)

Posted May 20, 2005:Climate Changed Critical analysis of the changed role of environmentalists in the debate on warming: "While powerholders can no longer ignore the issue, they can certainly delay action through obfuscation and false solutions. And surprisingly, nearly all of the distractions and false solutions proposed by government or industry have been embraced by parts of the environmental movement".By John Hepburn, posted May 18, Znet.

Posted May 20, 2008: Whose Rain Forest?" The government of [Brazil] is pushing a law that would restrict access to the rain forest, requiring foreigners and Brazilians alike to obtain a special permit to enter it. Brazilian officials say it would separate bad non-governmental organizations from good ones, and deter so-called “biopirates” — those who want to patent unique substances discovered in the forest". “The Amazon is ours,” Justice Secretary Romeu Tuma Jr. said in an interview. “We want to know who is going there and what they are going to do. It’s a question of national sovereignty.” NYT, Mar 18

Posted May 20, 2008:Cluster Bomb Ban? Russia, China, US oppose treaty."Delegates from more than 100 countries will open a conference in Dublin [May 19]that will try to hammer out a treaty banning the production, use, stockpiling, or transfer of cluster munitions...Major producers and stockpilers of cluster munitions, the United States, Russia, and China, will be absent and are opposed to a treaty..." Common Dreams, May 18.

Posted May 20, 2008: Climate Change and Tropical Cyclones Technical discussion in RealClimate questions recently-found apparent decrease in tropical storms in a warmer world - by Rasmus Benestad & Michael Mann, posted May 18, with discussion.

Posted May 20, 2008: Pharmaceutical Payola - Drug Marketing for Doctors Robert Weissman in May 17 Common Dreams: "...direct-to-consumer ads make up less than a tenth of [drug] industry marketing expenditures ($4 billion of $57.5 billion in 2004). And Gagnon and Lexchin’s estimate of $57.5 billion on marketing excludes many industry expenditures that are really driven by marketing, including clinical trials conducted for marketing purposes.The bulk of the industry marketing effort — more than 70 percent... — is directed at doctors.

Posted May 20, 2008:Regime-Quakes in Burma and China "If the Burmese junta avoids mutiny..., it will be thanks largely to China, which has vigorously blocked all attempts at the United Nations for humanitarian intervention in Burma. Inside China, where the central government is going to great lengths to show itself as compassionate, news of this complicity could prove explosive. Will China’s citizens receive this news? They just might"(Naomi Klein, Nation, May 15)

Posted May 20, 2008:Manufacturing a Food Crisis Walden Bello writes that Mexico, "the homeland of corn had been converted to a corn-importing economy by 'free market' policies promoted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and Washington. The process began with the early 1980s debt crisis..."(Nation, May 15)

Posted May 20, 2008: Portugal’s ‘Mayor of the Future’ in Green Energy Mayor Pos-de-Mina of the city of Moura (Pop. 16,500)saw his ecological dream take shape near the village of Ameraleja, where the "solar energy plant that will soon be the world’s biggest began to function in March. With 100 hectares of solar panels, the station will have a full production capacity of 46.4 MW in 2009, and 62 MW in 2010, when it is fully functioning. Using a new solar tracking system , the plant will produce 93 gigawatts (GW) hours/year, equivalent to the consumption needs of 30,000 households, by means of 268,000 photovoltaic panels. (IPS, May 13).

Posted May 20, 2008: U.S. Consumers Rank Last in World Survey of Green Habits According to a National Geographic-sponsored survey "Americans were least likely to choose the greener option in three out of four categories — housing, transportation and consumer goods_ according to the assessment. In the fourth category, food, Americans ranked ahead of Japanese consumers, who eat more meat and seafood.(McClatchy, May 13)

Posted May 5, 2008: Big Pharma Digs In ".. negotiations [currently]at the World Health Organization (WHO) could yield dramatic public health benefits in the years ahead and ...research needs of poor countries might be addressed.... Big Pharma is watching the WHO talks with trepidation. [they]are open to new government resources being invested to find treatments for diseases endemic to developing countries -- this represents a new business opportunity, after all. But they fear losing their pricing prerogatives, including to charge exorbitant rich country prices in middle-income countries. The companies are also very concerned that new R&D mechanisms may displace the global patent-monopoly system around which they have built their business models -- and which enable them to earn enormous profits. Robert Weissman, Zspace, May4.


Posted May 5, 2008: What Nuclear Renaissance? The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) expects up to thirty applications to be filed to build atomic plants; five or six of those proposals are moving through the complicated multi-stage process. But no new atomic power stations have been fully licensed or have broken ground. And two newly proposed projects have just been shelved. ...Nuclear power has been in steady decline worldwide since 1984, with almost as many plants canceled as completed since then.
Chris Parenti, Znet, May 2

Posted May 5, 2008: Multinationals Making Billions on Global Food Crisis, Geoffrey Lean, The Independent: "...Monsanto last month reported that its profits increased from $1.44bn to $2.22bn. Cargill's net earnings soared by 86 per cent from $553m to $1.030bn over the same three months [ending Feb 2008]. And Archer Daniels Midland, one of the world's largest agricultural processors of soy, corn and wheat, increased its net earnings by 42 per cent in the first three months of this year from $363m to $517m. The operating profit of its grains merchandising and handling operations jumped 16-fold from $21m to $341m.

Posted May 5, 2008: Chastity Science Faced with the fact that "...Three large-scale studies in 2007 found that federally funded chastity promotion has no effect on teen behavior ", Bush appointees at HHS launched "...an alternative approach to assessing abstinence program performance: pay local programs to partner with evaluators to report on their program's effectiveness. HHS abstinence grantees are required to use at least 15 percent of their grants—about $23,000 of taxpayer money per year for the average program—to do these self-evaluations." The strategy has worked - currently there is $175 million dedicated to abstinence-until-marriage programs and zero to comprehensive sex education. Steve Yoder, Zspace, May 1

Posted May 5, 2008: The Pentagon Stangles Our Economy - why the U.S. Has Gone Broke. Chalmers Johson, Le Monde Diplomatique, AlterNet, Apr 26, argues that the U.S. military budget of $623B exceeding the combined military budgets of the next 9 nations is "...military Keynesianism -- the determination to maintain a permanent war economy and to treat military output as an ordinary economic product, even though it makes no contribution to either production or consumption."

Posted May 5, 2008: Should You Pay $6 per Gallon? Why higher gas prices make economic sense. By Keith Naughton, Newsweek. Apr 25: ' "The biggest lie in America politics today is to say you care deeply about global warming and advocate for the price of gas to go down," says Mike Jackson, CEO of the AutoNation car dealer chain. "Those are mutually exclusive concepts." '

Posted May 5, 2008: The World Food Crisis John Nichols, The Nation, May 13:"..globalization and genetic gimmickry... has left thirty-seven nations with food crises while global grain giant Cargill harvests an 86 percent rise in profits and Monsanto reaps record sales from its herbicides and seeds."...

Posted May 5, 2008: Vitamin Supplements - Helpful or Harmful? According to Jeremy Lawrence, health editor at The Independent (Apr 16)"... a review of 67 randomised trials of vitamin pills has found that far from prolonging life, they may actually shorten it."


Posted April 28, 2008: Interference at the EPA Science and politics at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "...investigations [by the Union of Concerned Scientists] show an agency under siege from political pressures. On numerous issues—ranging from mercury pollution to groundwater contamination to climate change—political appointees have edited scientific documents, manipulated scientific assessments, and generally sought to undermine the science behind dozens of EPA regulations..." Union of Concerfned Scientists, Apr 23.

Posted April 28, 2008: Butterflies, Tornadoes and Climate modeling - a tribute to recently-deceased Edward Lorenz, famous for describing "the butterfly effect" and for other major contributions to chaos theory. Article contains clear explanation of ways in which small causes can have large and disproportionate effects on climate. RealClimate , Apr 23.(followed by discussion)

Posted April 28, 2008: The Torture Election: Fighting for the Soul of the American Psychological Association New York psychologist Steven Reisner, a leading critic of APA's policy on torture, which allows psychologists to participate in Bush's "war on terror" interrogations, won a plurality of 30% in balloting for the presidency of theAPA. This is seen by some in APA as a great victory for critics of the organizaion's position...,by Jeffrey Kaye, Apr 23 AlterNet

Posted April 28, 2008: Expressing Our Individuality the way E. Coli Do ". E. coli’s individuality should be a warning to those who would put human nature down to any sort of simple genetic determinism. Living things are more than just programs run by genetic software. Even in minuscule microbes, the same genes and the same genetic network can lead to different fates. Carl Zimmer, Apr 22, NY Times.

Posted April 28, 2008: The Hidden Battle to Control the World's Food Supply"...it's about how countries have been forced to abandon their support for farmers and to abandon things like grain supplies and grain stores. And this is a longer-term story, and it involves organizations like the World Bank and the World Trade Organization that have a fairly iron control over the economies of most of the poorest countries in the world..." Interview of Raj Patel by Amy Goodman, Alternet Apr 19

Posted April 28, 2008: Tantalum, Cellphones and the Congo "A tenfold spike in the price of coltan in 2000 brought attention to its lawless extraction in the Congo with headlines like, “Coltan, Gorillas and Cell Phones,” and “Coltan Boom, Gorilla Bust.” As in the past with elephants, mountain gorillas and millions of innocent civilians today are being trampled in the quest for mineral wealth deep in the heart of Africa..." By Casey Bush and Joshua Seeds, Common Dreams, April 19

Posted April 28, 2008: The Ethanol Apologists "While the soaring cost of the ethanol are maddening, even more galling are the continuing claims by a group of ethanol apologists who insist that the ethanol industry is having no effect on food prices...". by Robert Bryce, Counterpunch, Apr 17.


Posted April 14, 2008:A new video (Posted to YouTube Mar 11), Unreported World: Blood, Church and State. documents the effects of a new law prohibiting all abortions - even therapeutic abortions -that has been passed in Nicaragua, putting at risk thousands of women. Doctors and patients alike are subject to prison. (video is in three parts; click here for part2 and part 3.

Posted April 14, 2008: Hurricane expert reconsiders global warming's impact The new work, by MIT's Kerry Emmanuel, "suggests that, even in a dramatically warming world, hurricane frequency and intensity may not substantially rise during the next two centuries", writes Houston Chronicle reporter Eric Berger (Apr 12).There are now questions about whether the record demonstrates that hurricanes have increased in intensity, and if so, whether sea surface temperatures changes alone can cause siginificant changes in hurricane intensity. [Warning to global warming deniers: This result is specific only to the problem of hurricanes]

Posted April 14, 2008: Are You Unhappy? Is It Because of Consumer Addiction? Charles Shaw on Alternet(Apr 12) suggests that "The pattern of out-of-control consumption in the U.S. is not too different from the well-known behavioral patterns of substance abusers".

Posted April 14, 2008: Scientists Ask EU to Drop Biofuel Targets Although the EU agreed in 2006 that 10 percent of the bloc's transport needs should derive from agricultural crops by 2020, a new paper by European Environment Agency says that "the that the production and use of biofuels may not lead to major cuts in the emissions of carbon dioxide, the main substance triggering global warming, when compared to conventional petrol or diesel...[and] an upsurge in biofuel production will put increasing pressure on water, soil, flora and fauna". IPS, April 12

Posted April 14, 2008: Pseudo-science Blames Coming Depression on BoobsCommentary in April 9 Alternet on an April 5 post by AP science writer Seth Borenstein: "A new brain-scan study may help explain what's going on in the minds of financial titans when they take risky monetary gambles — sex. When young men were shown erotic pictures, they were more likely to make a larger financial gamble than if they were shown a picture of something scary, such a snake, or something neutral, such as a stapler, university researchers reported.." The research was done at Stanford and involved a sample of 15... Science marches on.

Posted April 14, 2008: Poor Go Hungry While Rich Fill Their Tanks (or, Let Them Eat Ethanol) "A dramatic rise in the worldwide cost of food is provoking riots throughout the Third World where millions more of the world’s most vulnerable people are facing starvation as food shortages grow and cereal prices soar. It threatens to become the biggest crisis of the 21st century" according to Paul Vallely, Apr 12, Common Dreams, The Independent.

Posted April 14, 2008: Brazil - Growing Foreign Appetite For Land"The biofuel frenzy has driven growing purchases of land in Brazil in the last few years, by local and foreign investors alike. George Soros, Bill Gates, the owners of Google and former U.S. president Bill Clinton have all bought land or are partners in companies dedicated to the development of bioenergy in this country"... , writes Mario Osava in IPS, Mar 24.

Posted April 14, 2008: Atmosphere's Sensitivity to CO2 In a new paper(still in preprint), James Hansen comes up with even more pessimistic outlooks "If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm to at most 350 ppm." These findings are discussed at length in a forum inApril 7 RealClimate

Posted April 6, 2008: The Case Against Lawns By Fritz Haeg. Why do we dedicate so much property to something that requires precious resources, endless hours and contaminates our air and water?... Posted April 4 on alternet.org

Posted April 6, 2008: Ecology & Climate Change (audio)Justin Podur, professor of environmental studies at U of York, Toronto and a radical political activist discusses the science and politics of climate change, concluding that if parts of the world are rendered uninhabitable by climate changes, the elites will still survive - so lets not waste our time arguing with the elites. Recorded Mar 25 at Austin, TX (zcommunications.org). Check out Podur's blog

Posted April 6, 2008: World Bank Climate Profiteering by Daphne Wysham and Shakuntala Makhijani shows how profitable World Bank investments in giant coal-burning power plants is aided by creative interpretations of carbon trading (commondreams.org, April 1)

Posted April 6, 2008: Will Al Gore Help Shut the Nuke Power Loophole? by Harvey Wasserman in Common Dreams, Apr 2. In reacting to the nuclear power industries campaign to present itself as a solution to global warming, Gore has pointed out the many neglected environmental impacts of of the nuclear fuel cycle and the extensive use of fossil fuels in the construction of the massive and complex plants. (article is followed by discussion)

Posted Mar 24, 2008:The Folly of Turning Water into Fuel "...times are good in the High Plains. Corn and other grains are selling like precious metals, and there is every reason to believe that prices will stay high. At the heart of the boom is the U.S. government's decision to rely on corn-based ethanol to meet a big part of the nation's demand for "renewable" fuels." But, Stan Cox is alarmed: AlterNet March 22, 2008.


Posted Mar 24, 2008: Carbon capture...another great green scam "Cleaner technology is possible", writes George Monbiot in the Mar 18 Guardian," but Labour plans to introduce it so slowly that any benefits will be lost in higher coal output

Posted Mar 24, 2008: Birth Control for Others NY Times review of "Fatal Misconception" by Matthew Connely. "...a century’s worth of mistakes, arrogance, racism, sexism and incompetence in what the jacket copy calls a 'withering critique' of 'a humanitarian movement gone terribly awry'.” Reviewer Kristof concedes that good points are made, but considers the book one-sided.

Posted Mar 24, 2008: Run Your Car on Coal?Maybe not - the Coming of Liquefied Coal. "U.S. coal companies... plan to combine well-known coal-to-liquids technology and rapidly-evolving coal-to-chemicals technologies with untested methods of capturing CO2, compressing it into a liquid, and injecting it a mile below ground, hoping it will stay there forever. ... If coal executives succeed in convincing the public to pay for all this, low- carbon renewable energy systems and waste-free 'green chemistry' will be sidelined for decades to come." Peter Montague, Counterepunch, Mar 21.

Posted Mar 24, 2008: Monsanto's Raid on Brazil - Resisting Agrofuels and Biotech, by Isabella Kenfield, Counterpunch, Mar 22. "...Brazilian women occupied a research site of the U.S.-based agricultural biotechnology giant Monsanto in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, destroying the greenhouse and experimental plots of genetically-modified (GM) corn". Participants, members of the international farmers' organization La Vía Campesina were protesingt the Brazilian government's decision in February to legalize Monsanto's GM Guardian® corn, which came just weeks after the French government prohibited the corn due to environment and human health risks.

Posted Mar 24, 2008: Climate Change Deepening World Water Crisis "The world water crisis ...deals with mismanagement of water and how governments have failed to secure the involvement of local communities in the management of water," said Sunita Narain, director of the New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment. "However, today the world water crisis faces yet another challenge -- one of climate change... and it is this challenge which the world is completely failing to do anything about, and which will jeopardise the water security of large numbers of people, who already live on the margins of survival." IPS, Mar 19

Posted Mar 24, 2008: Gap in Life Expectancy Widens for Nation . There are “large and growing disparities in life expectancy for richer and poorer Americans, paralleling the growth of income inequality in the last two decades", reports Robert Pear in the NY Times, reprinted in Common Dreams, Mar 23.

Posted Mar 24, 2008: Green Buildings may be the cheapest way to slow global warming, reports David Bellow, Sci Amer, Mar 17. "By building green--and retrofitting existing buildings--the countries of North America could cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than 25 percent", according to a new report from the Montreal-based Commission for Environmental Cooperation.

Posted Mar 12, 2008: The Gardens of Death "The first time I saw one, my first instinct was to pick it up. It shone in the sunlight, bright green, something new and fresh amid the dry grass of the south Lebanon hills. The little cluster bomblet seemed to have been made to hold in the hand. No wonder the little children died."...reports Robert Fisk on the problem of mines and cluster bomblets in Lebanon in The Independent, Mar 1. (CommonDreams)

Posted Mar 12, 2008: Cheap Oil Is Over -- "A suburban nation of snowmobilers, dirt bikers and NASCAR races -- all of it was made possible by the one-time blessing of cheap oil". This culture will have to give way to a "...society that will have to get its thrills and satisfactions in other ways, involving fewer prosthetic projections of our will to power...", argues James Kunstler in his book "Thrillcraft: The Environmental Consequences of Motorized Recreation"(Chelsea Green, 2007), excerpted on AlterNet, Mar 11.

Posted Mar 12, 2008: Review of Julia Hallisy's new book The Empowered Patient: How to Protect Yourself from Hospital Errors, by Maggie Mahar, AlterNet March 10. "As many as 95,000 people die annually" as a result of adverse events ranging from infections to fatal drug reactions"...

Posted Mar 12, 2008:Michael Klare: Bad News at the Pump- The $100-plus Barrel of Oil and What It Means: "we face not a sudden spike, but the results of a steady, relentless climb that began in 2002 and shows no signs of abating; nor can this rise be attributed to a single, chaos-causing factor in the energy business or in global politics. It is instead the product of multiple factors endemic to energy production and characteristic of the current era. There is no prospect of their vanishing any time soon... Znet, Mar 11

Posted Mar 12, 2008: The War of Drones, Drones, machine and human, have drenched Pakistan with the blood of innocents. On the one side are US-made drones such as the MQ-1B General Dynamics Predator - a remote controlled, self-propelled, missile-bearing aerial system. On the other side are the low-tech human drones, armed with explosive vests stuffed with ball bearings and nails... Pervez Hoodbhoy, Znet, Mar 10

Posted Mar 12, 2008: The Ostrich Brigades "Colder than usual January temperatures in the United States have brought the climate change deniers out of hibernation, flooding websites, and opinion and letters pages about the 'great global warming hoax'. They even organised their own conference on denial in New York City..." Steven Leahy, IPS, Mar 4.[ see also our Feb 7 post, What if you held a conference and no (real) scientists came? ]

Posted Mar 3, 2008: Federal Science and the Public Good -UCS Feb 14 report cites "numerous independent investigations[that] have documented the suppression, manipulation, and distortion of federal science before it enters the policy process. Political interference in science has indeed become pervasive." Participate in a discussion of the report at Nation Mag. Discussion Group Meeting on Mar 15 (see calendar).

Posted Mar 3, 2008: The Placebo Effect "The new meta-analysis show[ed] once again that some antidepressants aren’t much...[use] in mild or moderate depressionsaid." (go to Counterpunch article or see our Jan 30 post below) The industry is contesting the study on the basis that it was not in line “with patient experience”. Do drugs stop working if you know they are little better than a sugar pill? And do cultural factors, like our collective faith in a treatment, have a measurable effect on the benefits?by Ben Goldacre, Mar 1, Bad Science

Posted Mar 3, 2008: Let's Build More Bombs A series of eight public hearings at locations around the country by the National Nuclear Security Administration to discuss sites for new and more efficient nuclear weapons, while Washington continues its campaign to "prevent Iran from even considering developing one". Posted by Ron Jacobs Mar 1 on ZSpace (and also in Counterpunch).

Posted Mar 3, 2008: Space Wars - Coming to the Sky Near You? The international consensus against "the weaponization of space—even though there are no international treaties or laws explicitly prohibiting nonnuclear anti­satellite systems or weapons placed in orbit...is now in danger of unraveling..." by Theresa Hitchens, Scientific American, March, 2008.

Posted Feb 27, 2008: Nuclear Is Not the Right Alternative Energy Source "If you don’t like coal, you have to take nuclear, goes the nuclear establishment’s hopeful mantra. That’s a false choice. Replacing coal with nuclear is risky, costly and unnecessary. Renewable energy sources are quite sufficient to provide ample, reliable electricity..." by Arjun Makhijani in CommonDreams.org, Feb 25 from Dalla Morning News.

Posted Feb 27, 2008:The Global Water Crisisand the coming battle for the right to water: "The three water crises - dwindling freshwater supplies, inequitable access to water and the corporate control of water - pose the greatest threat of our time to the planet and to our survival."From CommonDreams.org, Feb 25 - excerpt of Maude Barlow’s latest book," Blue Covenant" Meet the author Feb 29, 6:30-8PM, at Busboys and Poets see calendar

Posted Feb 27, 2008: The Checklist ...".I C.U.s put five million [intravenous] lines into patients each year, and national statistics show that, after ten days, four per cent of those lines become infected. Line infections occur in 80,000 people a year in the United States, and are fatal between five and twenty-eight per cent of the time"."A simple checklist of things to remember to do in emergency rooms has saved an estimated 1800 lives and $75 million in 18 months in Michigan hospitals".... New Yorker, Dec 10, 2007

Posted Feb 27, 2008: Prozac doesn't work better than placebo A new peer-reviewed meta-analysis of clinical data (in Plos Medicine) demonstrates that four widely-prescribed SSRI anti-depressants, including Prozac and Effexor, "are not more effective than placebos. Kirsch and his colleagues have obtained for the first time what they believe is a full set of trial data for four antidepressants. They requested the full data under freedom of information rules from the FDA, which licenses medicines... and requires all data when it makes a decision." The Guardian and Meta Filter, Feb 25

Posted Feb 27, 2008: 143 Million pounds of beef recalled -- Will the Industry Finally Change?...Prompted by public outcry[over a Humane Society video], the company that processed meat from this [ California ] slaughterhouse issued the largest beef recall in U.S. history even though -- oops -- much of the 143 million pounds recalled has already been eaten, including possibly by children in school lunches. By Anna Lappé, Huffington Post. Posted February 24

Posted Feb 27, 2008: Latin America: Deforestation is still winning. "Never before have Latin America and the Caribbean fought so hard against deforestation, say experts and government officials, but logging in the region has increased to the point that it has the highest rate in the world. Of every 100 hectares of forest lost worldwide between the years 2000 and 2005, nearly 65 were in Latin America and the Caribbean." by By Diego Cevallos, IPS News Agency, Feb 16

Posted Feb 27, 2008: The Med Scare, Studies ...have shown little evidence that ... gross overprescription[of children] is the norm nationwide...Most kids are underdiagnosed and don’t get services. Access is poor and there’s a lack of providers" by Judith Warner, NY Times, Feb 21.

Posted Feb 27, 2008: Asia’s Hidden Arms Race: Six Countries Talk Peace While Preparing for War by John Feffer, Commondreams, Feb 13. In Northeast Asia a "..massive regional arms race is threatening to shift into overdrive. Since the dawn of the twenty-first century, five of the six countries involved in the Six Party Talks have increased their military spending by 50% or more"...

Posted Feb 14, 2008: Government Supresses Major Health Care Report "...As many as 9 million people -- including residents of Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee -- may be at risk from exposure to pollutants including pesticides, dioxin, PCBs , and mercury, according to Sheila Kaplan(see Kaplan report), an investigative journalist who covered the story for the Center for Public Integrity...". By Maggy Mahar, Feb12 AlterNet

Posted Feb 14, 2008: Unclogging Urban Arteries, by Elizabeth Quill, Science, Feb 8: In 2003, soon after London authorities slapped a tax on each vehicle entering the city center, traffic volume fell 15%, and drivers spent 30% less time in gridlock, according to the city's Transport for London. Commuters were delighted, and once-virulent opposition to the fee, now £8 ($16) a day, subsided...[read rest of article->]

Posted Feb 14, 2008: Waterboarding for God and Country ..."An extreme form of interrogation going back at least as far as the Spanish Inquisition, waterboarding has been condemned as torture by just about everyone-except the hired legal hands of the Bush administration", writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern in Feb 11 Counterpunch.

Posted Feb 14, 2008::Marijuana Makes Your Teeth Fall Out' '...rash of new studies of marijuana hitting the mass media, generating scary headlines like "Smoking Pot Rots Your Gums," "Cannabis Bigger Cancer Risk Than Cigarettes" ' Bruce Mirken, AlterNet, Feb 9 [more on cannabis hoaxes in Bad Science July 2007]

Posted Feb 14, 2008: Biofuels Worse Than Fossil Fuels"Biofuels are making climate change worse, not better, according to two new studies (Science: Tilman, U of Minn) which found that total greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels are far higher than those from burning gasoline because biofuel production is pushing up food prices and resulting in deforestation and loss of grasslands". Steven Leahy, IPS, Feb 8.

Posted Feb 7, 2008: Climate Set for 'Sudden Shifts' Some of the shifts, triggered when human-induced climate changes pass certain "tipping points" could occur in this century. "The greatest threats are tipping of the Arctic sea-ice and the Greenland ice sheet, and at least five other elements could surprise us by exhibiting a nearby tipping point.", writes lead author Tim Lenton of the U of East Anglia in an important study appearing soon in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Story by P. Ghosh, BBC News, Feb 4.
See also Tipping the Scales, a previous paper by Lenton in the Nov 22 Nature, focusing on carbon policy changes.

Posted Feb 7, 2008:Climate Could Devastate Crops - from a study by D Lobell, et al. in the Feb 1 Science [abstract] (under the less-sensational title "Prioritizing Climate Change Adaptation Needs..."), suggests that southern Africa could lose more than 30% of its main crop, maize, by 2030, with significant losses in Asia as well. "The majority of the world's one billion poor depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, yet it is also "the human enterprise most vulnerable to climate change". BBC News, Jan 31.

Posted Feb 7, 2008: What if you held a conference and no (real) scientists came? "The 2008 International Conference on Climate Change" in New York, coming up this Mar 2-4,"...may look like a scientific conference - especially to those who are not familiar with the activities of the Heartland Institute, a front group for the fossil fuel industry that is sponsoring the conference..." RealClimate , Jan 30

Posted Feb 7, 2008: Re-Thinking the Meat Guzzler "...assembly-line meat factories consume enormous amounts of energy, pollute water supplies, generate significant greenhouse gases and require ever-increasing amounts of corn, soy and other grains, a dependency that has led to the destruction of vast swaths of the world’s tropical rain forests." Mark Bittman, NYTimes, Jan 27

Posted Jan 30, 2008: The Depressing Truth About Anti-Depressants A New England Journal of Medicine study found that in drug company tests of anti-depressants, "out of 36 trials that showed the drugs to be of questionable or no benefit, the results from only 3 trials were published accurately. Of the rest, 22 were not published at all"... By Stan Cox in Counterpunch, Jan 27

Posted Jan 30, 2008: Pre-emptive nuclear strike a key option, NATO told. 'The west must be ready to resort to a pre-emptive nuclear attack to try to halt the "imminent" spread of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, according to a radical manifesto for a new Nato by five of the west's most senior military officers and strategists led by General John Shalikashvili, the former chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff and Nato's ex-supreme commander in Europe..'. Posted Jan 22 in The Guardian.

Posted Jan 30, 2008: Tupperware and Tasers "In Arizona, Tupperware-style Taser parties have become all the rage", writes Sylvia Talvi in In These Times of Jan 25. 'ABC News ran a December 2007 “Money Matters” segment praising the palm-sized stunner as an exciting holiday gift'...

Posted Jan 30, 2008: Telecom Immunity: Covering Up Illegality by Secrecy and Fear "...a number of credible sources have... reported that the NSA's domestic phone record program began 7 months before 9/11"... Colleen Rowley, Huffington Post, Jan 24

Posted Jan 30, 2008: AreWhales Smarter than We Are ?
Whales, not people have the largest brains on the planet, not only in absolute size but also in proportion to body size. And they also have more convolutions per pound of body weight..., says Douglas Field of Scientific American Community blog, Jan 15. See comments following the post.

Posted Jan 22, 2008 Pro-rail Section Disappears from Report An important piece of the Congressionally-mandated Surface Transportation Commission recommending an expanded light-rail network was apparently deleted by Bush Administration censors. But wait, there's more: The deleted section was written by Paul Weyrich, founder of the ultra-conservative National Heritage Foundation. Posted Jan 21 on establishment-oriented public transportation advocacy website, Destination: Freedom.

Posted Jan 22, 2008 " Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization" by Lester R. Brown, Norton, 2008. WorldWatch Institute, headed by the author, has posted a free online edition "Plan B 3.0 is a comprehensive plan for reversing the trends that are fast undermining our future. Its four overriding goals are to stabilize climate, stabilize population, eradicate poverty, and restore the earth's damaged ecosystems," says Brown. "Failure to reach any one of these goals will likely mean failure to reach the others as well."Go to the public briefing by WorldWatch this Jan 30 .And, go to the DC Metro Science for the People meeting that night, featuring Joel Kovel. (see Calendar)

Posted Jan 18, 2008 The report Hurricane Katrina and the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement authored by Chris Kromm and Sue Sturgis of the Institute for Southern Studies(2008), and subtitled " A global human rights perspective on a national disaster", shows that the U.S. failed to abide by principles it agreed to in a 1998 UN document on internal displacement. Serious failures occurred before, during and after the storm.

Posted Jan 11, 2008 Antarctica lost ice in last 10 years The continuing massive ice losses in the Arctic are well established, but some studies (accepted by the IPCC) seemed to show increases in Antarctic continental ice du to increased snowfall. Now comesthe bad news from Nature Geoscience: Overall, the land-based ice has shrunk in the last 10 years, according to a radar and climate model study by Eric Rignot, et al. at JPL. Reuters, Jan 14.

Posted Jan 11, 2008 The Afterlife of Cellphones "...in 2005 there were already more than half a billion old phones sitting in American drawers. That added up to more than $300 million worth of gold, palladium, silver, copper and platinum ... mining the gold needed for the circuit board of a single mobile phone generates 220 pounds of waste" NYTimes, 1/13

Posted Jan 15, 2008 Meds to Numb the GIs' Conscience? In 2005, 6250 US veterans took their own lives. Can "chemical Kevlar" (propanalol) de-sensitize them so that they can do their jobs with those pesky conscience pangs? Posted Jan 10 on Alternet by war widow Penny Coleman.

Posted Jan 11, 2008 Can Incrementalism Be the Path to Universal Health Care? No, answers Mark Dunlea in Common Dreams in a Jan 7 post in which he supports universal mandatory coverage from a single source. "...people don’t realize they have inadequate insurance until they need it. Private insurance companies increase their profits by denying services to those they insure. As a result, high health care bills now account for a majority of bankruptcy filings, yet 3 out of 4 such individuals had health insurance when they become ill."

Posted Jan 4, 2008 What’s Your Consumption Factor? NY Times op-ed by by Jared Diamond estimates that the average citizen of the developed world has 32 times the impact of somone in the "developing" world.

Posted Jan 4, 2008 :A Solar Grand Plan by By Ken Zweibel, James Mason and Vasilis Fthenakis, Scientific American Jan 2008."A massive switch from coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear power plants to solar power plants could supply 69% of the U.S.’s electricity and 35 % of its total energy by 2050". Solar cells, mirror arrays, storage and transmission discussed.

Posted Jan 4, 2008: 350 Parts Per Million is James Hansen's new CO2 limit, given at a Dec 13 American Geophysical Union meeting. This makes Bali look "quaint" says Bill McKibben in a Dec 28 Washington Post Op-Ed. Actual CO2 level today: 383 ppm. [Google Hansen 350 to see some of the commentary]

=====================================================

 

Geo-engineering: InVogue-realclimate.org

Human Fingerprints: Fact Sheet on Global Warming - Union of Concerned Scientists

CARGILL: Eating the Amazon : rainforest to soybeans

Global Warming and Hurricanes:     Scientists vs. Journalists


Alaska Oil Pipeline Leak - SftP member interviewed on NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Aug 8
 
 
ARTICLES by DC METRO SftP

Education Research vs. Rhetoric: Congressional Hearings on No Child Left Behind, by Tim D'Emilio (Jan 4, 2007) Torture: America's Brutal Prisons, by John.Kelly (Jan 5, 2007)Salvage Logging - A New Scientific Scandal, by Doug Boucher(Aug 15, 2006) Junk Science, Wrongful Convictions and Terrorism, by John Kelly (Aug 20, 2006)Research Evidence and the Debate on Education: Reform vs. Change, by Tim D'Emilio (Aug 20, 2006)Somethin's Fishy About Agricultural Biotechnology, by Preston Covington and Jane Zara (Aug 31, 2006) Response and Resistance to Corporated-Backed Agrobiotechnologyby John Tharakan (Aug 31, 2006)

 


 
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