Tag Archive: Cyber Space


Environmental

Genetic engineering: The world’s greatest scam?

Uploaded by on Sep 11, 2009

(French version — http://www.greenpeace.org/ogm)
Genetic engineering is a threat to food security, especially in a changing climate. The introduction of genetically manipulated organisms by choice or by accident grossly undermines sustainable agriculture and in so doing, severely limits the choice of food we can eat.

Once GE plants are released into the environment, they are out of control. If anything goes wrong – they are impossible to recall.

GE contamination threatens biodiversity respected as the global heritage of humankind, and one of our world’s fundamental keys to survival.

Time, place and how wood is used are factors in carbon emissions from deforestation

by Staff Writers
Davis CA (SPX)


File image.

A new study from the University of California, Davis, provides a deeper understanding of the complex global impacts of deforestation on greenhouse gas emissions. The study, published in the advance online edition of the journal Nature Climate Change, reports that the volume of greenhouse gas released when a forest is cleared depends on how the trees will be used and in which part of the world the trees are grown.

When trees are felled to create solid wood products, such as lumber for housing, that wood retains much of its carbon for decades, the researchers found. In contrast, when wood is used for bioenergy or turned into pulp for paper, nearly all of its carbon is released into the atmosphere. Carbon is a major contributor to greenhouse gases.

“We found that 30 years after a forest clearing, between 0 percent and 62 percent of carbon from that forest might remain in storage,” said lead author J. Mason Earles, a doctoral student with the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies. “Previous models generally assumed that it was all released immediately.”

The researchers analyzed how 169 countries use harvested forests. They learned that the temperate forests found in the United States, Canada and parts of Europe are cleared primarily for use in solid wood products, while the tropical forests of the Southern hemisphere are more often cleared for use in energy and paper production.

“Carbon stored in forests outside Europe, the USA and Canada, for example, in tropical climates such as Brazil and Indonesia, will be almost entirely lost shortly after clearance,” the study states.

The study’s findings have potential implications for biofuel incentives based on greenhouse gas emissions. For instance, if the United States decides to incentivize corn-based ethanol, less profitable crops, such as soybeans, may shift to other countries. And those countries might clear more forests to make way for the new crops. Where those countries are located and how the wood from those forests is used would affect how much carbon would be released into the atmosphere.

Earles said the study provides new information that could help inform climate models of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the leading international body for the assessment of climate change.

“This is just one of the pieces that fit into this land-use issue,” said Earles. Land use is a driving factor of climate change. “We hope it will give climate models some concrete data on emissions factors they can use.”

In addition to Earles, the study, “Timing of carbon emissions from global forest clearance,” was co-authored by Sonia Yeh, a research scientist with the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies, and Kenneth E. Skog of the USDA Forest Service.

The study was funded by the California Air Resources Board and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Related Links
University of California – Davis
Forestry News – Global and Local News, Science and Application

Nearly one-tenth of hemisphere’s mammals unlikely to outrun climate change

by Staff Writers
Seattle WA (SPX)


The percentage of mammal species unable to keep pace with climate change in the Americas range from zero and low (blue) to a high of nearly 40 percent (light orange). Credit: U of Washington.

A safe haven could be out of reach for 9 percent of the Western Hemisphere’s mammals, and as much as 40 percent in certain regions, because the animals just won’t move swiftly enough to outpace climate change. For the past decade scientists have outlined new areas suitable for mammals likely to be displaced as climate change first makes their current habitat inhospitable, then unlivable.

For the first time a new study considers whether mammals will actually be able to move to those new areas before they are overrun by climate change.

Carrie Schloss, University of Washington research analyst in environmental and forest sciences, is lead author of the paper out online the week of May 14 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“We underestimate the vulnerability of mammals to climate change when we look at projections of areas with suitable climate but we don’t also include the ability of mammals to move, or disperse, to the new areas,” Schloss said.

Indeed, more than half of the species scientists have in the past projected could expand their ranges in the face of climate change will, instead, see their ranges contract because the animals won’t be able to expand into new areas fast enough, said co-author Josh Lawler, UW associate professor of environmental and forest sciences.

In particular, many of the hemisphere’s species of primates – including tamarins, spider monkeys, marmosets and howler monkeys, some of which are already considered threatened or endangered – will be hard-pressed to outpace climate change, as are the group of species that includes shrews and moles. Winners of the climate change race are likely to come from carnivores like coyotes and wolves, the group that includes deer and caribou, and one that includes armadillos and anteaters.

The analysis looked at 493 mammals in the Western Hemisphere ranging from a moose that weighs 1,800 pounds to a shrew that weighs less than a dime. Only climate change was considered and not other factors that cause animals to disperse, such as competition from other species.

To determine how quickly species must move to new ranges to outpace climate change, UW researchers used previous work by Lawler that reveals areas with climates needed by each species, along with how fast climate change might occur based on 10 global climate models and a mid-high greenhouse gas emission scenario developed by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The UW researchers coupled how swiftly a species is able to disperse across the landscape with how often its members make such a move. In this case, the scientists assumed animals dispersed once a generation.

It’s understandable, for example, that a mouse might not get too far because of its size. But if there are many generations born each a year, then that mouse is on the move regularly compared to a mammal that stays several years with its parents in one place before being old enough to reproduce and strike out for new territory.

Western Hemisphere primates, for example, take several years before they are sexually mature. That contributes to their low-dispersal rate and is one reason they look especially vulnerable to climate change, Schloss said. Another reason is that the territory with suitable climate is expected to shrink and so to reach the new areas animals in the tropics must generally go farther than in mountainous regions, where animals can more quickly move to a different elevation and a climate that suits them.

Those factors mean that nearly all the hemisphere’s primates will experience severe reductions in their ranges, Schloss said, on average about 75 percent. At the same time species with high dispersal rates that face slower-paced climate change are expected to expand their ranges.

“Our figures are a fairly conservative – even optimistic – view of what could happen because our approach assumes that animals always go in the direction needed to avoid climate change and at the maximum rate possible for them,” Lawler said.

The researchers were also conservative, he said, in taking into account human-made obstacles such as cities and crop lands that animals encounter. For the overall analysis they used a previously developed formula of “average human influence” that highlights regions where animals are likely to encounter intense human development. It doesn’t take into account transit time if animals must go completely around human-dominated landscapes.

“I think it’s important to point out that in the past when climates have changed – between glacial and interglacial periods when species ranges contracted and expanded – the landscape wasn’t covered with agricultural fields, four-lane highways and parking lots, so species could move much more freely across the landscape,” Lawler said.

“Conservation planners could help some species keep pace with climate change by focusing on connectivity – on linking together areas that could serve as pathways to new territories, particularly where animals will encounter human-land development,” Schloss said.

“For species unable to keep pace, reducing non-climate-related stressors could help make populations more resilient, but ultimately reducing emissions, and therefore reducing the pace of climate change, may be the only certain method to make sure species are able to keep pace with climate change.”

The third co-author of the paper is Tristan Nunez, now at University of California, Berkeley. Both Schloss and Nunez worked with Lawler while earning their master’s degrees. Lawler did this work with support from the UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences using, in part, models he previously developed with funding from the Nature Conservancy and the Cedar Tree Foundation.

Related Links
University of Washington
Darwin Today At TerraDaily.com

One Quarter Of Grouper Species Being Fished To Extinction

by Staff Writers
San Francisco CA (SPX)


Groupers are among the highest priced market reef species (estimated to be a multi-billion dollar per year industry), are highly regarded for the quality of their flesh, and are often among the first reef fishes to be overexploited.

Groupers, a family of fishes often found in coral reefs and prized for their quality of flesh, are facing critical threats to their survival. As part of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission, a team of scientists has spent the past ten years assessing the status of 163 grouper species worldwide.

They report that 20 species (12%) are at risk of extinction if current overfishing trends continue, and an additional 22 species (13%) are Near Threatened. These findings were published online on April 28 in the journal Fish and Fisheries.

“Fish are one of the last animal resources commercially harvested from the wild by humans, and groupers are among the most desirable fishes,” said Dr. Luiz Rocha, Curator of Ichthyology at the California Academy of Sciences, and one of the paper’s authors.

“Unfortunately, the false perception that marine resources are infinite is still common in our society, and in order to preserve groupers and other marine resources we need to reverse this old mentality.”

The team estimates that at least 90,000,000 groupers were captured in 2009. This represents more than 275,000 metric tonnes of fish, an increase of 25% from 1999, and 1600% greater than 1950 figures. The Caribbean Sea, coastal Brazil, and Southeast Asia are home to a disproportionately high number of the 20 Threatened grouper species. (A species is considered “Threatened” if it is Critically Endangered, Endangered, or Vulnerable under IUCN criteria.)

Groupers are among the highest priced market reef species (estimated to be a multi-billion dollar per year industry), are highly regarded for the quality of their flesh, and are often among the first reef fishes to be overexploited. Their disappearance from coral reefs could upset the ecological balance of these threatened ecosystems, since they are ubiquitous predators and may play a large role in controlling the abundance of animals farther down the food chain.

Unfortunately, groupers take many years (typically 5-10) to become sexually mature, making them vulnerable for a relatively long time before they can reproduce and replenish their populations.

In addition, fisheries have exploited their natural behavior of gathering in great numbers during the breeding season. The scientists also conclude that grouper farming (mariculture) has not mitigated overfishing in the wild.

Although the prognosis is poor for the restoration and successful conservation of Threatened grouper species, the authors do recommend some courses of action, including optimizing the size and location of Marine Protected Areas, minimum size limits for individual fish, quotas on the amount of catch, limits on the number of fishers, and seasonal protection during the breeding season.

However, the scientists stress that “community awareness and acceptance, and effective enforcement are paramount” for successful implementation, as well as “action at the consumer end of the supply chain by empowering customers to make better seafood choices.”

These findings are posted online here.

Related Links
California Academy of Sciences
Darwin Today At TerraDaily.com

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Cyber Space

Debut of Cut-Rate Mobile Plan Marred by Alleged Malicious Attack

The launch of a cut-rate unlimited $39-a-month mobile plan offered by upstart Voyager Mobile was marred Tuesday by what the company claims is “a malicious network attack to its primary website.”

By Daniel Ionescu, PCWorld

The launch of a cut-rate unlimited $39-a-month mobile plan offered by upstart Voyager Mobile was marred Tuesday by what the company claims is “a malicious network attack to its primary website.” The company now says it’s postponing the launch of its budget plan until an unspecified date.

The company had generated buzz for its low prices. Voyager Mobile had planned to offer a contract-free $19 per month that included unlimited calls and texts. A second plan included a $39 plan that included unlimited calls, text and 3G/4G data. Voyager Mobile had planned to piggyback its service on Sprint’s network and operate as a mobile virtual network operator (MNVO).

Voyager Mobile would also resell some of the most popular Android smartphones on Sprint such as the Motorola Photon 4G, Samsung Galaxy Epic 4G Touch, and some yet-unnamed Windows Phone 7 devices, USB dongles and mobile hotspots. The company was meant to unveil its website on Tuesday at 6AM ET.

Voyager Posted a note to its website: “Due to the network outage, Voyager Mobile is postponing its launch to a time and date in the very near future. Our goal of low cost wireless service for all will not be undermined and we strive to continue the voyage for a better wireless world.”

Voyager declined to comment when asked about the alleged attack. It’s also unclear why any group or individual would target this company.

US Postal Service Won’t Fly iPads, iPhones, MacBooks out of Country

By Karen Haslam, macworld.co.uk

From 16 May it will not be possible to ship iPads, iPhones or laptops overseas from the US using the United States Postal Service (USPS).

USPS believes that lithium batteries – which feature in devices including the iPad, iPhone, MacBooks, and other smartphones, laptops, and tablets – pose too great of a risk to be shipped overseas. An amendment to the company’s documentation states: “lithium batteries are not permitted in international mail.”

The USPS will still allow these products to be shipped within the US. UPS and FedEx will continue to ship such items overseas, however.

The revised Mailings of Lithium Batteries document states: “Primary lithium metal or lithium alloy (nonrechargeable) cells and batteries or secondary lithium-ion cells and batteries (rechargeable) are prohibited when mailed internationally or to and from an APO, FPO, or DPO location”.

USPS will lift the restriction in January 2013, however. The document explains: “On 1 January 2013, customers will be able to mail specific quantities of lithium batteries internationally (including to and from an APO, FPO, or DPO location) when the batteries are properly installed in the personal electronic devices they are intended to operate.”

The January 2013 modification is due to changes in international standards that USPS is aware of following discussion with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the Universal Postal Union (UPU). “International standards have recently been the subject of discussion by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the Universal Postal Union (UPU),” states USPS in its documentation.

Apple is reported to have opposed stricter regulations restricting lithium-battery shipments by air.

The reason for regulations regarding the transportation of lithium-batteries by air is that they can spontaneously combust. The UN rules, which will become effective on 1 January 2013, state that pilots must be notified when lithium batteries are on a flight, shipments should be labelled as hazardous materials, and employees should have training in handling such cargo.

There have been several plane crashes directly attributed to exploding lithium batteries in the last few years, according to reports.

Facebook Users Don’t Trust Site on Privacy Issues

By Ian Paul, PCWorld

Facebook Users Don't Trust Site on Privacy IssuesFacebook lays claim to more than 900 million members across the globe and may have a massive initial public offering in the coming days, but a new poll says users have trust issues with the social networking site. More than half of those surveyed, 59 percent, said they had little to no trust that Facebook would keep their information private, according to an AP-CNBC poll. The study also found that 54 percent of the survey’s 1,004 respondents would not “feel safe at all” purchasing goods and services through the world’s largest social network.

The news that Facebook users do not trust the company to keep their information private is hardly surprising given the social network’s shady past with privacy-related issues. Concerns over privacy changes involving new products such as Beacon, frictionless sharing, Instant Personalization, and Places always make headlines. And seemingly never-ending changes to Facebook’s terms of service and privacy policy allow users to think twice about trusting Facebook.

Despite Facebook’s privacy challenges, however, the social network keeps on growing, and users continue to share their most personal information with a company they reportedly don’t trust. Facebook in July 2010 claimed 500 million users and in the less than two years since the social network has nearly doubled its user base. And despite Facebook’s privacy woes, it is still one of the most popular sites for sharing photos with an average of more than 300 million images uploaded daily for the three months ending March 31, according to the company.

Facebook Users Don't Trust Site on Privacy IssuesDespite Facebook’s privacy trust problems, the finding that Facebook is not trusted when it comes to online purchases is a little surprising. To purchase items on Facebook you need to buy Facebook credits, which are only available through Facebook itself. Users can then use these credits to buy virtual items in popular games such as Zynga’s Farmville, rent movies, and, perhaps coming soon, self-promote your own posts.

Facebook does have to contend with malicious software stealing user credentials and clickjacking scams, but the company is also pretty active when it comes to security (sometimes too much so). Facebook has also offered secure SSL encryption since 2011. Some users may be wary about Facebook now, but I wonder if that will change as more services start using Facebook credits.

Connect with Ian Paul (@ianpaul) on Twitter and Google+, and with Today@PCWorld on Twitter for the latest tech news andanalysis.

Apple E-Book Lawsuit: Steve Jobs Swayed Publisher, Complaint Alleges

By John P. Mello Jr., PCWorld

Apple E-Book Lawsuit: Steve Jobs Swayed Publisher, Complaint AllegesApple cofounder Steve Jobs got directly involved in an alleged conspiracy to fix e-book prices after a publisher balked at participating in the scheme, according to a court document filed by 31 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

The document, an amended complaint to an antitrust lawsuit by the states and others against Penguin, Macmillan and Apple, was filed in a New York federal district court. A similar lawsuit against the publishers and Apple has been filed by the Department of Justice.

According to the complaint, when one of the conspiring publishers dragged its feet on entering the e-book pricing deal with Apple, Jobs was enlisted to sell high-ranking officials in the publisher’s parent company on the wisdom of the proposed pricing scheme.

“As I see it,” Jobs wrote, the publisher had the following choices:

1. Throw in with Apple and see if we can all make a go of this to create a real mainstream ebooks market at $12.99 and $14.99.

2. Keep going with Amazon at $9.99. You will make a bit more money in the short term, but in the medium term Amazon will tell you they will be paying you 70% of $9.99. They have shareholders too.

3. Hold back your books from Amazon. Without a way for customers to buy your ebooks, they will steal them. This will be the start of piracy and once started, there will be no stopping it. Trust me, I’ve seen this happen with my own eyes.

“Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t see any other alternatives. Do You?” he wrote.

Within three days of the letter, the amended complaint noted, the foot-dragging conspiring publisher and its co-conspirators agreed on an “agency” e-book pricing scheme and signed an agency deal with Apple.

In their complaint, the states and others allege that Apple joined publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster in a price-fixing conspiracy and facilitated their scheme to increase e-book prices.

Apple facilitated the alleged conspiracy, the states argue, by bringing the publishers into agreement with one another on how to go about increasing e-book prices.

The publishers’ plan was carried out in two steps, the complaint explained. First, the existing wholesale model for selling books — where retailers decided the price consumers paid for e-books — would be replaced with an agency model in which the publishers controlled the price consumers paid for an e-book. Second, retail e-book prices would be increased.

As a result of the alleged conspiracy, Apple and the publishers “agreed to eliminate e-book retail price competition between Apple and Amazon and other outlets.

Rather than hinder competition, Apple claims its deal with the publishers fostered competition. “The launch of the iBookstore in 2010 fostered innovation and competition, breaking Amazon’s monopolistic grip on the publishing industry,” it said in a statement issued after the Justice Department filed its lawsuit against the company.

“Just as we have allowed developers to set prices on the App Store, publishers set prices on the iBookstore,” it added.

However, there’s evidence that the deal Apple cut with the publishers to sell e-books wasn’t as common as the high-tech firm would like the public to believe.

Apple E-Book Lawsuit: Steve Jobs Swayed Publisher, Complaint AllegesThat agreement contains something called a “most-favored nation” clause. Typically, those clauses are included in contracts to protect a buyer from wholesale price fluctuations.

Apple’s most-favored nation clause was different, according to the Justice Department. “[I]nstead of [a clause] designed to protect Apple’s ability to compete, this [clause] was designed to protect Apple from having to compete on price at all, while still maintaining Apple’s 30 percent margin,” the Justice Department said in its complaint against Apple and the publishers.

Follow freelance technology writer John P. Mello Jr. and Today@PCWorld on Twitter.

LightSquared Declares Bankruptcy After GPS Worries Sank Its Mobile Dream

By Stephen Lawson, IDG News

LightSquared, the startup that planned a nationwide wholesale mobile network only to be shot down by regulators because of GPS interference concerns, is declaring bankruptcy.

The move came after lengthy negotiations with lenders and does not shut down the company’s only commercial operation, a satellite-based mobile service. The bankruptcy is expected to give Philip Falcone, the hedge-fund chief who built LightSquared out of two satellite acquisitions, several months of control over how the company addresses its troubles.

LightSquared wanted to run an LTE mobile broadband network using frequencies next to those used by GPS, which historically had been reserved for satellite service. Part of the promise of LightSquared was the prospect of a wholesale-only provider of LTE capacity to both large and small mobile operators, potentially making the high-speed mobile business in the U.S. more competitive.

However, in February, the FCC said it would kill LightSquared’s planned network because it would interfere with GPS receivers. As a result, LightSquared’s main asset, its spectrum, has little value unless the company can reach another deal with the agency that would give it other spectrum to work with.

Documents detailing the bankruptcy are expected to be released later Monday.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen’s e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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Survival / Sustainability

Three Things Every Newbie Survivalist Should Have

by M.D. Creekmore  

It’s a question I hear a lot from new preppers: “what should I buy first and where do I start?”

And while there are a lot of different answers depending on individual situations and needs, usually my recommendation to those starting out, is to start a food storage program, buy a good water filter and a dual purpose firearm for foraging and protection.

Food Storage Program

Let’s face it most people aren’t familiar with basic foods such as hard red wheat, whole corn, soybeans etc, nor are they conversant with their preparation. So I suggest, beginning survivors start out with foods they are familiar with.

Most canned foods off the grocers shelf have a shelf life of three to five years, make a list of everything your family eats for a week, then buy 10 cases of every non-perishable item on the list.

Even though canned foods have a limited shelf life you’re going to rotate so you’ll always have a fresh supply.

Say you start out with ten cases of chili. Mark each case from 1 to 10. You start with case number 1, when you finish eating it, buy another case and mark it as case number 11. Start on case number 2, when done buy another case and mark it as case number 12 and so on.

Read Full Article Here

Solar Cookers  How to make  your  own and how to use it

CooKit

CooKit.jpg

Panel solar cookers are the first solar cookers that are truly affordable to the world’s neediest. In 1994, a volunteer group of engineers and solar cooks associated with Solar Cookers International developed and produced the CooKit, based on a design by French scientist Roger Bernard. Elegant and deceptively simple looking, it is an affordable, effective and convenient solar cooker. With a few hours of sunshine, the CooKitmakes tasty meals for 5-6 people at gentle temperatures, cooking food and preserving nutrients without burning or drying out. Larger families use two or more cookers.

The CooKit is made of cardboard and foil shaped to reflect maximum sunlight onto a black cooking pot that converts sunlight into thermal (heat) energy. A heat-resistant bag (or similar tranparent cover) surrounds the pot, acting like a greenhouse by allowing sunlight to hit the pot and preventing heat from escaping. It weighs half a kilogram and folds to the size of a big book for easy transport.

The CooKit folds to be about the size of a large notebook when not in use.

CooKits are now produced independently in 25 countries from a wide variety of materials at a cost of $3 – $7 US. Note that you can either build your own CooKit using the plans below or you can order a pre-built Cookit from Solar Cookers International. Your purchase helps support SCI’s work around the world.

CooKits complement other cooking methods needed at night and on cloudy days. Coming about twenty years after the first efforts to replace open fires with improved cooking stoves, the CooKit uses no fuel at all. The CooKit is both user-friendly and environmentally friendly. Families can save scarce, expensive fuel for when they cannot solar cook and when economically capable, add other, higher cost cooking improvements such as modern biomass, smoke hoods, biogas, or liquefied petroleum gas. A single CooKit of normal dimensions (see below) is not able to cook a pot of food large enough to feed a large family. To cook larger amounts of food a box-style cooker may be a better choice.

Solar Cooker Diagram (English)

Solar Oven detailed instruction PDF (English)

For other languages  please  see the  site,  they  have  many  languages  available

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Activism

Occupy organic vegetable gardens – Rebirth of the Victory garden

By JB Bardot, 
(NaturalNews) During World Wars I and II, private citizens were encouraged to plant Victory gardens in an effort to support the war effort and take the strain off the food industry, providing more food for citizens living at home. Little gardens popped up all over the country and they were called Victory gardens because people envisioned a victorious end to strife, sadness and hardship. Victory gardens in the U.S. produced a staggering 40% of the food supply. The Victory garden campaign resulted…

FILE – In this Friday, June 17, 2011 file image made from video released by Change.org, a Saudi Arabian woman drives a car as part of a campaign to defy Saudi Arabia’s ban on women driving, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Change.org, File)

OSLO — In May 2011, Manal al-Sharif did something revolutionary: She drove a car.

In most societies this would be far from noteworthy, but in Saudi Arabia, where women are prohibited from getting behind the wheel, it was an act of extraordinary courage. The protest, which she put on YouTube, landed al-Sharif in jail for nine days. It also made her an international figure. In the last year, she has been named one of the “Top 100 Global Thinkers” by Foreign Policy magazine and one of Time magazine’s “100 most influential people of 2012.”

And last week, the 32-year old Saudi was one of three people awarded the first annual Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent at the Oslo Freedom Forum.

To attend the conference in Norway, al-Sharif says she was pressured out of her job at the Saudi oil company Aramco. Considering she is a working-class single mother, it couldn’t have been an easy decision to continue her human rights fight in the face of such economic pressures. But, as al-Sharif told The Daily Caller, “if you stand up for your beliefs, there is a price to pay.”

“They pressured me a lot and it was like too much to take,” she said, explaining that while she was not explicitly fired, she was increasingly marginalized at the company for her activism, leading to her exit after coming into conflict again with her bosses over attending the conference.

After first stating that she didn’t “want to talk about” the pressure she has suffered under since her Rosa Parks-like act of defiance, she conceded that the Saudi government does “pressure you a lot, whether directly or indirectly.”

“So they can cause a lot of trouble,” she went on. “They scandalize you, they smear you … they spread all these rumors about you … But it’s up to you how to deal with that pressure. The more pressure it is, the more attacks I get, the more impact I know that I’m making.”

Environmentalist group laud Supreme Court move to look into country’s GMO approval system

A recent move by the Supreme Court stop commercial production of genetically-modified Bt eggplant in the Philippines was welcomed by a group of environmentalists and concerned individuals

    • By Gilbert P. Felongco, Correspondent

Manila: A recent move by the Supreme Court stop commercial production of genetically-modified Bt eggplant in the Philippines was welcomed by a group of environmentalists and concerned individuals.Greanpeace said the Supreme Court decision to grant a Writ of Kalikasan in favour of stopping Bt eggplant field trials in the country while further studies are being conducted is a step forward in the fight against so-called “Frankenstein” food that harm not only the human body but the environment as well.

Many independent scientific studies provide clear evidence that GMOs such as Bt eggplant, as well as Bt corn, can negatively impact the liver, kidneys or blood when ingested”

               Greenpeace

“Greenpeace believes the granting of the Writ of Kalikasan to be a recognition of the threats that GMOs pose to human health and the environment. We welcome this as a positive development: GMOs and GMO field trials clearly violate every Filipino’s constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology, and their invasion into our fields and our diets must be stopped,” said Daniel Ocampo, Sustainable Agriculture Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

The Writ of Kalikasan (Nature) is a legal remedy designed for the protection of one’s constitutional right to a healthy environment.

In the same breath, Greenpeace called for greater scrutiny of the country’s GMO approval system as it welcomed the Supreme Court decision to stop field trials of the genetically-modified organism (GMO) Bt eggplant in the Philippines.“The Supreme Court has given hope to Filipinos as its decision now puts into the spotlight the country’s flawed GMO approval system which has never rejected any GMO application, allowing dangerous GMO crops to be eaten and planted by Filipinos. This is an outrage and such a regulatory system which clearly disregards public good must be scrapped,” he added.

According to Greenpeace, there are serious uncertainties regarding the safety and long-term impacts of GMOs.

“Many independent scientific studies provide clear evidence that GMOs such as Bt eggplant, as well as Bt corn, can negatively impact the liver, kidneys or blood when ingested,” the group said.

Last April 26, petitioners led by Leo Avila of Davao City Agriculturist Office, Atty. Maria Paz Luna, former Senator Orlando Mercado and Greenpeace Southeast Asia Executive Director Von Hernandez filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to issue a Writ of Kalikasan against GMO field trials.

The petition seeks to immediately stop the field trials of Bt eggplant. It also puts into question the flawed government regulatory process for approving GMOs and ensuring the safety of GMOs first on health and environmental grounds before they are released into the open.

Despite the scientific doubt that surrounds GMO food crops, the Philippines has never rejected any GMO application, approving, since 2002, a total of 67 GMOs for importation, consumption and propagation.

Most of these GMOs are approved as food for Filipinos.
While other countries are taking the precautionary approach to GMOs, Greenpeace said the Philippine Department of Agriculture has done exactly the opposite.

Walker’s World: Europe’s voters revolt

by Martin Walker
Munich, Germany (UPI)

The anti-austerity revolt of European voters continued Sunday when electors in a key German province gave Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats just 28 percent of the vote, the party’s lowest perentage since 1948.

This is a grim time to be in office in Europe. Voters have turned out governments in Britain, Ireland, Portugal, Italy, Spain, France and Greece. And while Merkel remains in office at the national level and remains personally popular, her own coalition with Bavaria’s Christian Social party is fraying badly.

How much of Sunday’s vote was against the austerity that Merkel is forcing upon Europe and how much a reaction against the way Germany continues reluctantly to bail out the bankrupt European partners is an open question. Either way, it means voters are losing trust in Merkel’s economic stewardship, even though Germany has recovered more strongly from the crisis than any other European economy.

Sunday’s vote also reflected the ongoing crisis of the traditional two-party system, with smaller German parties continuing to take votes from the big two — Merkel’s Christian Democrats and the moderate-left Social Democrats. The Greens got 12 percent, the centrist Free Democrats recovered to 8 percent and the bizarre new Pirate Party, committed to Internet freedom and votes for teenagers, repeated its earlier success in Berlin.

All this took place as Greece slid further down the slope toward what the markets are calling “Grexit,” a Greek exit from the euro, which many fear would trigger Europe’s biggest crisis since World War II. After their chaotic elections and inability to form a coalition government, it isn’t easy to see how Greece musters the political will to make the budget cuts and suffer the economic pain required to remain inside the euro.

But if Greece goes, it is also not easy to see how to prevent the contagion spreading to Portugal, Spain and even Italy as depositors take their euros from their own national banks and deposit them in safer German banks, rather than see savings eroded by devaluation.

The dirty secret here is that on close examination Germany’s economic situation, despite its strong manufacturing sector and massive export trade, isn’t nearly as strong as it looks.

Germany’s Market Economy Foundation reports that in addition to the official national debt of roughly $2.6 trillion, there are $5.9 trillion in future benefit promises to retirees, the sick and people requiring nursing care. These are commitments that aren’t documented in official budgets nor has any provision been made to finance them. When these commitments are included, Germany’s real debt isn’t the “official” 80 percent of gross domestic product but 276 percent.

Moreover, the disguised way in which Germany has continued to bail out the weaker Europeans is becoming a serious public issue. This is done through the “Target2” system of the European Central Bank, where the debits and credits of the various eurozone members are held.

There has been a sharp jump in the Bundesbank’s Target2 claims within the European Central Bank’s internal payment network from $706 billion in February to $795 billion in March. Bundesbank claims have risen six-fold since 2008. Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann is demanding collateral from weaker states for Target2 transfers.

These German credits, equivalent to $800 billion, are balanced by debts of Greek, Irish, Portuguese, Spanish and Italian central banks of almost $850 billion. So long as the German central bank doesn’t demand its money, it is in effect bankrolling the other European partners. And since this is done between central banks, there has been no parliamentary authorization for this hidden bailout.

“The euro-system is near explosion,” said Professor Hans-Werner Sinn, head of Germany’s IFO Institute, addressing Austria’s Economics Academy on April 19. “This enormous international credit should have been subjected to the parliaments of Europe.”

He may well be right. But the voters seem intent on throwing the parliaments of Europe into disarray or into coalitions that are either unworkable or impotent to take the decisive action required.

This might not be so alarming, were it not that even bigger political challenges lie in wait for Europe. Its social contract and generous welfare state is becoming steadily less sustainable as the society ages. More and more people are qualifying for pensions and expensive elderly healthcare while fewer and fewer young people are coming into the labor market and when they do there are few jobs for them.

If things look grim for Europe’s incumbent politician now, they will soon look even worse as they are forced to push through new laws raising the retirement age, curbing pension and welfare payments and raising taxes.

Related Links
Democracy in the 21st century at TerraDaily.com

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[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

Environmental

Illegal mining in Peru destroying Amazon rainforest

Published on May 11, 2012 by

Illegal gold miners in Peru are destroying thousands of hectares of the Amazon forest, home to some of the world’s most important biodiversity.

Biologists are working to save wildlife in the area, as their habitats are destroyed or endangered by the gold diggers.

At the same time, stopping the mining is presenting a tough challenge for the government.

In the final instalment of a three-part series, Al Jazeera’s Mariana Sanchez reports from Madre de Dios in Peru.

Study: Plastic in ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ increases 100-fold

Mario Aguilera / Scripps Institution of Oceanography

SEAPLEX researchers encounter a large ghost net with tangled rope, net, plastic, and various biological organisms during a 2009 expedition in the Pacific gyre. Matt Durham (seen wearing a blue shirt) is pictured with Miriam Goldstein.

By Ian Johnston, msnbc.com

The amount of plastic trash in the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” has increased 100-fold during the past 40 years, causing “profound” changes to the marine environment, according to a new study.

Scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego found that insects called “sea skaters” or “water striders” were using the trash as a place to lay their eggs in greater numbers than before.

<br>

In a paper published by the journal Biology Letters, researchers said this would have implications for other animals, the sea skaters’ predators — which include crabs —  and their food, which is mainly plankton and fish eggs.

The scientists also pointed to a previous Scripps study that found nine percent of fish had plastic waste in their stomachs.

The “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” — which is roughly the size of Texas — was created by plastic waste that finds its way into the sea and is then swept into one area, the North Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone, by circulating ocean currents known as a gyre.

NOAA

This map shows the North Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone within the North Pacific Gyre.

The Scripps Environmental Accumulation of Plastic Expedition, known as SEAPLEX, traveled about 1,000 miles west of California in August 2009.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

Read Full Article Here

Vermont Fracking Ban Poised To Become Law

HuffPost Green

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont appears on the verge of enacting the nation’s first statewide ban of a hotly debated natural gas drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing.

The House on Friday overwhelmingly approved a conference committee report calling for the ban. It now goes to the desk of Gov. Peter Shumlin, who has said he takes a dim view of hydraulic fracturing and is expected to sign the measure.

The technique involves injecting water and chemicals into the ground to split rock and release gas.

Critics of the ban say it could hurt economic development in the state, or could prompt a lawsuit from the natural gas industry.

Geologists say Vermont doesn’t appear likely to have much natural gas, but there may be some under northwestern Vermont.

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Cyber Space

FBI issues warning on hotel Internet connections

The FBI today warned travelers there has been an uptick in malicious software infecting laptops and other devices linked to hotel Internet connections.

The FBI wasn’t specific about any particular hotel chain, nor the software involved but stated: “Recent analysis from the FBI and other government agencies demonstrates that malicious actors are targeting travelers abroad through pop-up windows while they are establishing an Internet connection in their hotel rooms.

The FBI recommends that all government, private industry, and academic personnel who travel abroad take extra caution before updating software products through their hotel Internet connection. Checking the author or digital certificate of any prompted update to see if it corresponds to the software vendor may reveal an attempted attack. The FBI also recommends that travelers perform software updates on laptops immediately before traveling, and that they download software updates directly from the software vendor’s website if updates are necessary while abroad.”

The FBI said typically travelers attempting to set up a hotel room Internet connection were presented with a pop-up window notifying the user to update a widely used software product. If the user clicked to accept and install the update, malicious software was installed on the laptop. The pop-up window appeared to be offering a routine update to a legitimate software product for which updates are frequently available.

The warning was issued through the FBI’s partnership with the Internet Crime Complaint Center’s (IC3) and comes on the heels of a number of other warnings such as:

Investment scam: The IC3 continues to receive complaints involving subjects who have obtained the names and Social Security numbers of individuals for illegal purposes. Subjects use the information to defraud the U.S. government by electronically submitting a fraudulent tax return to Internal Revenue Service for a hefty refund. The prevalence of such complaints mirrors the recent surge in tax fraud cases involving identity theft.

Read Full Article Here

Internet news saved forever?

Published on May 11, 2012 by

Newspapers have been around for centuries, but now with news being available online, how would we be able to archive current events? Past Pages, a program created by Ben Welsh, has found a solution to archiving digital data and he joins us with more about his website.

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Survival / Sustainability

How to prepare for the collapse even on a tight budget

By Jonathan Benson, 
(NaturalNews) Preparing for the inevitable collapse of society as we know it can be a daunting task, particularly when it means forking over wads of cash to purchase expensive preparedness supplies in the midst of a flailing economy. But Brandon Smith from Alt-Market.com has put together a helpful piece entitled The Poor Man’s Guide to Survival Gear that we think might be useful in helping our readers to make informed, rational, and frugal preparedness purchasing decisions. With so many companies…

Hugulkultur beds in Dayton MT.

Published on May 11, 2012 by

Hugulkultur beds built by Sepp Holzer in Dayton MT.

Emergency food and water storage part 1

Uploaded by on Sep 21, 2009

Even if your not going to bug out, having a multi layered plan for food and water storage is key. Whether its long term storage with beans and rice down to MRE’s you can eat without cooking having all of these choices in your arsenal will keep you ahead of the game. Preparing for armageddon , swine flu outbreak or losing your job, power outage, flooding, having transport lines cut off. These things dont have to keep you and your family from surviving. With little assistance.

sorry for the shaky vid

Emergency food and water storage part 2

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Activism

Michael Allison Case Dismissed By Illinois Atty General! – 7th Circuit Court Bans Eavesdropping Law!

Published on May 9, 2012 by

We are sad to hear that Chris Drew passed away after fighting lung cancer. He fought valiantly for all our rights. His lawyer says she will continue to fight his case in court. Michael Allison now needs an Attorney to represent him in a lawsuit to fight the Illinois Eavesdropping Statute.

Anti-Putin protests continue in Moscow

Published on May 11, 2012 by

In Russia, protests against the return to presidence of Vladimir Putin on the streets of Moscow continue despite the risk of arrest.

Some 200 activists have set up camp in the centre of the city.

Al Jazeera’s Robin Forestier-Walker reports from Moscow.

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Psy – Ops

U.S. military conducts ‘realistic urban training’ exercise in Miami

By Madison Ruppert

Editor of End the Lie

Miami residents were startled to hear the sound of low-flying military helicopters and explosions emanating from the abandoned Grand Bay Hotel in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

It turns out that the United States military was conducting a “realistic urban training” exercise involving some 100 soldiers organized by the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM).

This is just one of many military exercises being held on American soil in recent years, including an inter-agency exercise conducted in my local area of Los Angeles. My attempts to obtain any information on that drill were thwarted and/or ignored by the Los Angeles Police Department.

With the many military drills being conducted in urban locales, the legislative frameworks in place, as well as KBR’s “National Quick Response Teams,” the similar solicitation put out by FEMA not long ago, and the recently exposed internment and resettlement operations manual (see below video), I believe that many Americans are likely concerned about what this all means.

Supposed Would-Be Underwear Bomber Is CIA Informant

Obama officials tried to present this as some successfully foiled terror attack, while it was anything but

U.S. and Yemeni officials have confirmed that the supposed would-be underwear bomber at the heart of an al-Qaeda airliner plot revealed this week was actually an informant working for the CIA and Saudi intelligence all along.

Members of the Obama administration spent virtually all of yesterday parading throughout major media outlets claiming their intrepid counterterrorism efforts successfully foiled a terrorist plot to blow up an American airliner. But now officials have anonymously confirmed that the plot, like so many other “successfully foiled” terror attacks, was hatched by the CIA from the start.

Instead of showing that the CIA and the counterterrorism policies of the U.S. are keeping Americans safe from harm, or that al-Qaeda is making “inroads,” as former director of the National Counterterrorism Center Michael Leiter said, all this lauded incident shows is that the CIA can get weapons from shadowy sources and blow up planes, if it wanted to.

Officials say the informant was working for the CIA and Saudi Arabian intelligence when he was given the bomb by alleged terrorists. He then turned the device over to authorities.

This explains what many people had wondered about in the day since this supposed terror plot was revealed. There was so much secrecy about the plot, and zero information about who it was that attempted to bomb an airliner. Officials simply repeated that Americans were in no danger and the would-be bomber was “in no position to harm the United States.”

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Articles of Interest

Oops! Air Force Drones Can Now (Accidentally) Spy on You

Photo: U.S. Air Force

As long as the Air Force pinky-swears it didn’t mean to, its drone fleet can keep tabs on the movements of Americans, far from the battlefields of Afghanistan, Pakistan or Yemen. And it can hold data on them for 90 days — studying it to see if the people it accidentally spied upon are actually legitimate targets of domestic surveillance.

The Air Force, like the rest of the military and the CIA, isn’t supposed to conduct “nonconsensual surveillance” on Americans domestically, according to an Apr. 23 instruction from the flying service. But should the drones taking off over American soil accidentally keep their cameras rolling and their sensors engaged, well … that’s a different story.

Collected imagery may incidentally include US persons or private property without consent,” reads the instruction (.pdf), unearthed by the secrecy scholar Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists. That kind of “incidental” spying won’t be immediately purged, however. The Air Force has “a period not to exceed 90 days” to get rid of it — while it determines “whether that information may be collected under the provisions” of a Pentagon directive that authorizes limited domestic spying.

Breakthrough Offers Promise of Improved GMO Testing

Does this food contain genetically modified organisms?
That’s what many consumers, including overseas trading partners, want to know about the food they’re buying.
A prime example of that is the recent initiative in California, dubbed the “Right to Know” campaign, which calls for food manufacturers in the Golden State to identify genetically engineered ingredients on the labels of food products sold in that state.

GMO-sidebar.jpg

With almost as many as 1 million signatures gathered on the petition in time  for the April 22 deadline, organizers predict that the measure will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot. (The state requires just over a half million valid signatures for an initiative to qualify to be on the ballot.)
On a global level, 40 countries, including all of Europe, Japan and China, require labeling of foods, or of certain foods, containing GMOs. The U.S. has resisted labeling, and in 1992 the Food and Drug Administration established a policy declaring there is no substantial or material difference between genetically engineered foods and foods that haven’t been genetically engineered.
Sleuthing for GMOs 
The question arises: How in the world do scientists determine if foods contain GMOs?
There are technologies that can do that, of course. But the conventional method, referred to as a PCR system (polymerase chain reaction), has some distinct disadvantages. It requires complex DNA extraction procedures, relatively expensive equipment, and assays that need to be carried out in a laboratory. It has also proven difficult to design cost-effective portable devices for PCR.
In what has been called “a major breakthrough” in GMO detection and monitoring, scientists at Lumora Ltd. in the United Kingdom have developed a method they say is far more practical because it’s simpler, quicker, more precise and less expensive than PCR.
An article about this breakthrough, which uses a combination of two technologies — bioluminescence and isothermal DNA amplification — was recently published in BioMed Central’s open access journal, BMC Biotechnology.
Lumora’s bioluminescence technology, known as BART, uses luciferase, the same enzyme that lights up fireflies  As part of the detection procedure, the luciferase is coupled to DNA detection so as to light up when it detects specific DNA and RNA sequences. By using DNA signals that are specific to genetically modified crops, the system can detect even low levels of contamination.
Lumora CEO Laurence Tisi told Food Safety News that compared to a lab-based PCR system, “Lumora’s hardware is probably a lot less than 1/10 the cost.”
He also said that Lumora’s new system can detect even very low levels of GMO ingredients.
Another advantage of this technology is that GMO detection can be done out in the field as well as in a food processing center.
As such, it may offer the advantage of being a “field-ready” solution for monitoring genetically modified crops and their interaction with wild plants or non-GM crops, as well as in food processing facilities.
Tisi said that the technology detects DNA and because all plants have DNA, it can detect GMO from any plants.
This comes as good news for those who want, or require, labeling for genetically engineered crops or for processed foods that contain genetically engineered crops. While genetically modified foods may be relatively safe by science-based approaches to risk assessment, the issue of labeling GMO foods is about public confidence and also about market protection.
Tisi said that people want to know what they are eating, for all sorts of reasons. Being able to assess where their food comes from from has value to consumers, buyers and others, he said, since it means “they can be confident they are getting what they pay for.”
He pointed out that where there are regulations on food labeling, the producers need to be sure that their products comply with regulations. This varies from country to country, but in order to be able to state that a crop is non-GMO it is necessary to show that less than a certain percentage of the product contains any GMOs. In the European Union, for example, that percentage is 0.9 percent.
Lumora’s new technology can recognize GM presence as low as 0.1 percent in corn.
“In fact,” Tisi said, “there are DNA signatures in plants that can even tell you what variety the crop is and sometimes even where it came from.”
The work that Lumora has done on GMO detection was part of a much bigger EU-wide consortium known as Co-Extra, a project that looks at the co-existence and traceability of genetically modified crops.
“This project came to be as a direct consequence of the desire to better regulate GMO material in the EU,”  Tisi said.

Food Fight: How the food industry outsmarted Washington – Reuters Investigates

Published on Apr 26, 2012 by

When First Lady Michelle Obama made child obesity her signature issue, she challenged the food industry to reduce added sugar, salt and fat. The White House sought healthier school lunches, and Congress directed federal agencies to set nutrition standards. Here’s how the food industry fought back. (April 27, 2012)

Peter Jennings report – How to Get Fat Without Really Trying  1 – 5

Uploaded by on Jan 13, 2009

PART 1 of 5 – Peter Jennings news report on Food Industry, Obesity and the truth of government farm substities. How is the US obesity & health epidempics tied to corn and government funding –

“How To Get Fat Without Really Try” – a full-length investigative news report by Peter Jennings

Michio Kaku: The Dark Side of Technology

Published on May 11, 2012 by

http://bigthink.com/

Dr. Michio Kaku addresses this question: What is the most dangerous technology?

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[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

Environmental

 

Wind pushes plastics deeper into oceans, driving trash estimates up

by Staff Writers
Seattle WA (SPX)


Pieces of plastic debris found in the oceans are smaller than many people think. Most are measured in millimeters. Credit: Sea Education Association.

While working on a research sailboat gliding over glassy seas in the Pacific Ocean, oceanographer Giora Proskurowski noticed something new: The water was littered with confetti-size pieces of plastic debris, until the moment the wind picked up and most of the particles disappeared.

After taking samples of water at a depth of 16 feet (5 meters), Proskurowski, a researcher at the University of Washington, discovered that wind was pushing the lightweight plastic particles below the surface. That meant that decades of research into how much plastic litters the ocean, conducted by skimming only the surface, may in some cases vastly underestimate the true amount of plastic debris in the oceans, Proskurowski said.

Reporting in the journal of Geophysical Research Letters this month, Proskurowski and co-lead author Tobias Kukulka, University of Delaware, said that data collected from just the surface of the water commonly underestimates the total amount of plastic in the water by an average factor of 2.5. In high winds the volume of plastic could be underestimated by a factor of 27.

“That really puts a lot of error into the compilation of the data set,” Proskurowski said. The paper also detailed a new model that researchers and environmental groups can use to collect more accurate data in the future.

Plastic waste in the oceans is a concern because of the impact it might have on the environment. For instance, when fish ingest the plastics, it may degrade their liver functions. In addition, the particles make nice homes for bacteria and algae, which are then transported along with the particles into different regions of the ocean where they may be invasive and cause problems.

Proskurowski gathered data on a 2010 North Atlantic expedition where he and his team collected samples at the surface, plus an additional three or four depths down as far as 100 feet.

“Almost every tow we did contained plastic regardless of the depth,” he said.

By combining the data with wind measurements, Proskurowski and his co-authors developed a simplified mathematical model that could potentially be used to match historical weather data, collected by satellite, with previous surface sampling to more accurately estimate the amount of plastic in the oceans.

In addition, armed with the new model, organizations and researchers in the future might monitor wind data and combine it with surface collections in order to better estimate how much plastic waste is in our oceans.

“By factoring in the wind, which is fundamentally important to the physical behavior, you’re increasing the rigor of the science and doing something that has a major impact on the data,” Proskurowski said.

The team plans to publish a “recipe” that simplifies the model so that a wide range of groups investigating ocean plastics, including those that aren’t oceanographers, can easily use the model. Following the recipe, which is available now by request, might encourage some consistency among the studies, he said.

“On this topic, what science needs to be geared toward is building confidence that scientists have solid numbers and that policy makers aren’t making judgments based on CNN reports,” he said. Descriptions of the so-called great Pacific garbage patch in widespread news reports may have led many people to imagine a giant, dense island of garbage while in fact the patch is made up of widely dispersed, millimeter-size pieces of debris, he said.

In the future, Proskurowski hopes to examine additional factors, including the drag of the plastics in water, complex ocean turbulence and wave height, that might improve the accuracy of the model. He also may have the chance to examine the relationship between wind speed and depth of plastic particles. The 2010 expedition had near-uniform wind conditions so the researchers were unable to test that relationship.

“This is a first pass,” he said.

Other co-authors of the paper are Kara Lavendar Law and Skye Moret-Ferguson, Sea Education Association, and Dylan Meyer, an undergraduate student from Eckerd College. Support for the project came from NOAA and the University of Delaware. The researchers relied on data collected by students participating in the Sea Education Association’s Plastics at SEA program. Paper abstract.

 

Related Links
The great Pacific garbage patch
2010 North Atlantic Expedition
Water News – Science, Technology and Politics

 

 

 

Australia to protect most vulnerable koalas

by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP)

Australia moved Monday to protect its most vulnerable koalas, listing the much-loved furry tree-dwellers as a threatened species in parts of the country.

Environment Minister Tony Burke said the most at-risk koalas needed to be on the national list of threatened species, and populations in New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory would be listed as vulnerable.

“Koalas are an iconic Australian animal and they hold a special place in the community,” he said.

Burke said while some koala populations were under serious threat from habitat loss and urban expansion, as well as cars, dogs and disease, in other areas they were thriving to the point they needed to be controlled.

“In fact, in some areas in Victoria and South Australia, koalas are eating themselves out of suitable foraging habitat and their numbers need to be managed,” he said.

“But the Queensland, New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory koala populations are very clearly in trouble, so we must take action.”

An official report issued last year found the sleepy, furry marsupials were under increasing threat and should be considered a vulnerable species, with habitat loss seeing their numbers plunge.

Believed to number in the millions before British settlers arrived in 1788, the hunting and slaughter of the animals for their furs in the 1920s devastated the species in parts of the country.

Public outrage over the killing of the big-eyed “bears” put an end to the practice but numbers have never fully recovered, with estimates on the population varying from several hundred thousand to as few as 43,515.

Environmentalists have for years been pushing for greater protections for the koala, which sleeps about 20 hours a day and eats only the leaves of the eucalyptus tree.

University of Tasmania zoology professor Chris Johnson said the government’s move was sensible.

“The northern and southern populations are now basically separate,” Johnson said, saying they almost needed be considered as different species.

 

Related Links
Darwin Today At TerraDaily.com
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Cyber Space

 

 

 

Google sued in France over ‘Jewish’ searches

By suggesting the term ‘Jewish’ with its autocomplete tool, the Internet giant is violating French laws against keeping ‘ethnic files,’ opponents claim

 

Google may have honored Israel’s 64th birthday on its homepage last week, but in France, the company is being sued for suggesting the term “Jewish” in searches involving celebrities.

SOS Racisme, a French organization that fights discrimination, is taking the Internet giant to court over a feature intended to speed up searches, but which often suggests the term “Jewish” when users type in the names of famous French people. (Google’s English sites use the same autocomplete tool, suggesting “Jewish” when you look up names including Rupert Murdoch and Jon Hamm. Neither is Jewish, but the suggestion, based on Google’s search algorithm, shows that many users are trying to find out if they are.)

Patrick Kulgman, a lawyer for SOS Racisme, told Agence France Presse that the feature amounts to “the creation of what is probably the biggest Jewish file in history.” That would be a non-issue in many countries, but France has outlawed the compilation of “ethnic files,” AFP reports.

SOS Racisme is joined in the lawsuit by France’s Union of Jewish Students and the Movement Against Racism and for Friendship Among Peoples, among other organizations.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

 

Mozilla Criticizes CISPA for Having Broad, Alarming Reach

By Sarah Jacobsson Purewal, PCWorld

Mozilla Criticizes CISPA for Having Broad, Alarming ReachMozilla has publicly decried the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), a controversial cybersecurity bill recently approved by the House of Representatives that is now being considered in the Senate.

In a statement to Forbes, the head of Mozilla’s Privacy and Public Policy Department said:

“While we wholeheartedly support a more secure Internet, CISPA has a broad and alarming reach that goes far beyond Internet security. The bill infringes on our privacy, includes vague definitions of cybersecurity, and grants immunities to companies and government that are too broad around information misuse. We hope the Senate takes the time to fully and openly consider these issues with stakeholder input before moving forward with this legislation.”

The purpose of CISPA, which was introduced to the House in November 2011, is to allow the government and corporations to work together to protect the United States from foreign online attacks. The bill has been criticized because it includes a provision that would let companies share users’ private data with government agencies, in the event of cyberattacks.

Mozilla Criticizes CISPA for Having Broad, Alarming ReachThe bill passed last Friday after the House added new amendments that extended that controversial provision beyond just cyberattacks; companies will now be able to share users’ private data in the event of “computer crime,” exploitation of minors, and to protect individuals from “the danger of death or serious bodily harm.”

Needless to say, such a broad definition of when data can be shared concerns many people. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is avidly against CISPA, and claims that the proponents of the bill are “inciting fears of security threats” that have existed for years.

CISPA “opens the floodgates” for companies to “intercept communications of everyday Internet users and pass unredacted personal information to the governments,” says Rainey Reitman, activism director for the Frontier Foundation.

A group of security experts, professors and academics and engineers wrote an open letter to Congress, stating their criticism of CISPA.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

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Survival / Sustainability

 

 

‘Preppers’: Ready for anything

By Tim Graham

NEWS STAFF REPORTER

 

To the average passer-by, the Peter J. Crotty Casino in Cazenovia Park looks like a monument to teenage vagrancy.

Skateboarders wheel past walls of vulgar, sometimes racist graffiti. Sullen kids sneak cigarettes under the canopy on the way home from school. Pop bottles and junk-food wrappers litter the shrubbery.

But in Howard Marston’s mind, it’s a castle.

Marston sees beyond all the clutter. To him, the historic structure is a fortress, one he could retreat to when catastrophe strikes.

Solar flares might knock out power grids. A massive earthquake or meteor strike could cause widespread destruction. A pandemic might occur. A restricted oil supply or terrorist attack could trigger panic. A global financial collapse may cause riots on Main Street.

Marston has concerns. He’s always on guard and strives to be ready for life’s uncertainties. It’s how he’s wired.

He anticipates scenarios, foresees trouble — perhaps coming soon, real soon.

If a cataclysmic event drives him from his West Seneca home, Marston plans to flee with his wife and 5-year-old daughter to the Crotty Casino. The sturdy brick building has a fireplace and is near a water supply. The doors are steel. Upstairs windows face every direction, helping to defend against approaching marauders. Eight concrete steps provide high ground and can stop vehicles from ramming through the entryway.

“That’s almost too good to be true from a defensibility aspect,” Marston said.

Many would view Marston’s mindset as a form of radical paranoia, but he’s not alone — not nearly. He is what’s known as a “prepper,” someone who readies for the possibility of significant change, and there are millions across the country.

Preppers, also referred to as survivalists, have a dubious, often unfair reputation. They’re generally labeled right-wing kooks, although they come from all walks of life. Cable television series “Doomsday Preppers” on the National Geographic Channel and “Doomsday Bunkers” on the Discovery Channel have put them in the spotlight.

Such fictional characters as Robinson Crusoe and, less classically, MacGyver romanticized survivalism. But the ideal has been stigmatized by infamous real-life survivalists like Theodore Kaczynski (aka the Unabomber) and Timothy McVeigh, who were also terrorists.

Preppers frequently are ridiculed because of the oddball fringe that believes the Mayans might have been onto something with their 2012 Armageddon forecast or that a horde of zombies will overtake the planet.

But the prepper spectrum is expansive. The needle can point anywhere from incredibly practical to practically certifiable.

Some preppers merely cultivate a backyard garden to stock cellar shelves. They might be on alert for nothing more than an emergency weather situation, with a generator at the ready and enough provisions to last a week.

Others, such as members of the Mormon church, store food and supplies as faith-based policy.

There also is a group that takes the prepping lifestyle to an extreme, literal diehards who maintain underground bunkers or isolated backwoods retreats.

“Many people think the worst when they hear certain comments about survivalists,” said Bill Heffron, a retired National Guard colonel from the Town of Tonawanda. Heffron spent much of his career as a commander at the Connecticut Street Armory.

“It’s just comfort for some people. When you’re prepared ahead of time, then that’s just good planning. That’s never a problem.

“But when you start getting guns out, you start to wonder.”

Regardless of commitment levels or reasons for doing it, a critical component to a prepper’s lifestyle is anonymity.

Preppers want to stay off the grid to avoid social persecution and for one particularly important, sensible reason. When the SHTF (an abbreviation preppers commonly use for “stuff” hitting the fan) or TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) is at hand, they don’t want panicky nonpreppers trying to crowd their space or raid their reserves.

“We’re not into exposing ourselves even to close friends and family,” said the 31-year-old Marston, who asked that his real name not be used in this story. “People might be shocked to learn a family member is a prepper, an uncle, a cousin.

“The fear of being rejected is there. Yeah, there’s a lot of crazies out here. But there are crazies into everything else. There are legitimate, upstanding people doing this. It bothers me that when you say ‘I’m a prepper,’ you get the eye roll.”

Marston’s wife does that quite a bit.

While he considers prepping a serious and vital pursuit, Jill Marston finds it amusing and borderline silly.

“Lay off the comics, people,” Jill Marston said, trying unsuccessfully to stifle a giggle. “You’ll be all right. Nothing’s going to happen.”

The Marstons met as online pen pals when Jill (also not her actual name) was working on an English project at Hamburg High. He was living near the Alaska-Canada border. After several visits over a few years, he moved here to marry her.

Still, she didn’t know he was a prepper until they began watching the TV shows together. He began to tip his hand.

“He’s always been a lumberjack,” Jill Marston said. “I was marrying him for who he was, but this whole prepping thing? I think he’s nuts. He sees this as a strategy of survival, and I see it as a hobby. But he enjoys it.”

Howard Marston doesn’t come off as the least bit unreasonable. He’s a burly man, soft-spoken and articulate. His salt-and-pepper hair makes him look weathered and wise when talking about constantly scouting out locales that are easy to defend.

He said he has thought this way since he was 13, when he had a vivid dream about a nuclear blast destroying the hydroelectric Bennett Dam on the Peace River in northern British Columbia. He furiously jotted ideas in his spiral notebook and mapped areas that would be safe or unsafe to travel under various emergency scenarios. He read whatever he could find about survivalist techniques.

Howard Marston never stopped pondering TEOTWAWKI circumstances. He once worked for a major big-box retailer (he didn’t want to reveal the name) and figured it was a darn-near-perfect refuge.

“Those [stores] are designed so that no one can get in anywhere but usually two places, some of them only one place,” he said. “There are very few windows, concrete walls, an outdoor garden center that has 30-, 40-foot chain-link fence up the side of it. Some of these places, it wouldn’t take much to seal them up. Then you also have supplies.”

Howard Marston would gather with his co-workers and, much like a football coach at a chalkboard, X-and-O the store map. They would discuss who would be included, where they would be stationed, what roles they would have when the SHTF.

“I wouldn’t be surprised that if something were to happen now,” Howard Marston said, “a lot of those guys still would go there and execute the plan.”

Jill Marston insisted she wouldn’t execute any disaster plan her husband devises for an impromptu stronghold, whether it’s an abandoned Walmart or Cazenovia Park.

“I’ve already told him ‘If anything ever happens, consider me dead.’ I won’t survive,” Jill Marston said, laughing again. “It would be too much a shock to me and my system.

“To me, that’s just the way it is. It’s not real until it happens.”

 

Read Full Article Here

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Activism

 

Occupy Wall Street Plans Global Protests in May Day Revival

Henry Goldman and Esmé E. Deprez, ©2012 Bloomberg News

(Adds rainfall in third paragraph.)
May 1 (Bloomberg) — Occupy Wall Street demonstrators, whose anti-greed message spread worldwide during an eight-week encampment in Lower Manhattan last year, plan marches across the globe today calling attention to what they say are abuses of power and wealth.

Organizers say they hope the coordinated events will mark a spring resurgence of the movement after a quiet winter. Calls for a general strike with no work, no school, no banking and no shopping have sprung up on websites in Toronto, Barcelona, London, Kuala Lumpur and Sydney, among hundreds of cities in North America, Europe and Asia.

In New York, Occupy Wall Street will join scores of labor organizations observing May 1, traditionally recognized as International Workers’ Day. They plan marches from Union Square to Lower Manhattan and a “pop-up occupation” of Bryant Park on Sixth Avenue, across the street from Bank of America’s Corp.’s 55-story tower. Rain may limit the number of protesters.

“We call upon people to refrain from shopping, walk out of class, take the day off of work and other creative forms of resistance disrupting the status quo,” organizers said in an April 26 e-mail.

Occupy groups across the U.S. have protested economic disparity, decrying high foreclosure and unemployment rates that hurt average Americans while bankers and financial executives received bonuses and taxpayer-funded bailouts. In the past six months, similar groups, using social media and other tools, have sprung up in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

FBI: 5 men charged in Ohio bridge bomb plot

 

KANTELE FRANKO THOMAS J. SHEERAN Associated Press

 

CLEVELAND (AP) — Five men described by federal authorities as anarchists angry with corporate America and the government were charged Tuesday with plotting to bomb an Ohio bridge linking two wealthy Cleveland suburbs.

The men were arrested Monday night after unknowingly working with an FBI informant for months, a strategy that federal investigators have used repeatedly in recent years to nab alleged terrorists.

“They talked about making a statement against corporate America and the government as some of the motivations for their actions,” U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach said in announcing the arrests with the head of the FBI in Cleveland, Stephen Anthony.

The alleged plotters researched explosives and obtained what they thought was C-4 explosives. The material, in fact, was harmless and the public was never at risk, because the men got it from the informant, officials said.

The men planted the fake explosives at the base of the bridge, armed them, went to a remote spot and “entered the codes that they thought would blow up the bridge with innocent people traveling over it,” Dettelbach said.

Court documents detail several conversations the FBI secretly recorded in which its informant discussed the bomb plans with some of the suspects.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

Occupy Bilderberg To Unify The Resistance

Occupy Bilderberg To Unify The Resistance

By. J.G Vibes

Throughout the long history of political and economic enslavement there has been many times where the average people realized that they were being taken advantage of and fought back against the established orders of the time. Unfortunately, in so many of these revolutions the justified anger of the masses was misdirected onto meaningless issues or scapegoats who were merely slaves themselves. This is why we have remained enslaved over all of these generations, because each time we have had an opportunity to achieve freedom, we were intentionally divided and misdirected by the “powers that shouldn’t be”.

Once again, the world is on the brink of both collapse and revolution, so we can be sure that there is a lot to gain, and a whole lot to lose for those who have spent their entire lives in control. With that being said there is no doubt that they will attempt to thwart any resistance movement that may gain momentum. We saw this recently with both the Republican Party hijack of the tea party and how establishment fronts such as George Soros and moveon have consistently attempted to funnel occupy Wall Street into counterproductive political goals.

There is hope though, because this is the first time in history where we have had this much information about our society and this kind of ability to quickly communicate instantly with millions of people, all over the world. This puts a huge monkey wrench in the plans of the global elite, because it is now more difficult for them to completely co-opt revolutionary movements without getting noticed. This doesn’t mean that they still aren’t trying to do it, because they obviously are, this just means that we can actually notice it when it’s happening, call it out and then focus our attention in the right direction.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

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Articles of Interest

 

 

 What If A Collapse Happened And Nobody Noticed?

Every once and awhile I’ll be listening to a podcast with one or the other writers specializing on the subject of Peak Oil or collapse and the subject of timetables will come up. When will the collapse finally be here, the callers ask insistently, almost pleadingly, so that they can finally justify their investments in freeze-dried foods, water purification tablets and solid gold coins. Inevitably the guest will demur, and speak more in general terms. But I’m going to be the first pundit to go out on the limb and assign a timeline for the collapse. Spread it far and wide, and let’s see just how good my predictive powers are. Are you ready? Here it is:

Right now.

What do they think a collapse is supposed to look like? It seems people just cannot just cannot get past the “Zombie Apocalypse” theory of collapse. They imagine hordes of disease-ridden folks dressed in rags stumbling around and fighting over cans of petrol and stripping cans of food from shelves. That’s not what collapse looks like. It never has been. In fact, there’s very little evidence that a Zombie Apocalypse style collapse ever occurred in the historical record. Instead we see subtle patterns of abandonment and decay that unfold over long periods of time. Big projects stop. Population thins. Trade routes shrink and people revert to barter. Things get simpler and more local. Culture coarsens. High art stagnates. People disperse. Expectations are adjusted downward. Investments are no longer made in the future and previous investments are cannibalized just to maintain the status quo. Extend and pretend is hardly a recent invention.

No, what happens in a collapse is very much more subtle than a Zombie Apocalypse. Things tend to look pretty normal for the following reasons:

1.) People and Institutions are resistant to change.
2.) The system has a formidable array of resources to preserve the status quo.
3.) Sheer momentum.
4.) Creeping Normalcy
5.) Denial

This is how history says collapses go down, not with a bang, but with a whimper. Based on recent archaeology, it seems this is how the Roman collapse unfolded was well. Although images of pillaging barbarians looting burning cities sticks in people’s imaginations when they think of the fall of the Roman Empire, this was not the experience for most people according to recent scholarship. Big events tended to come down to us in the written record, but for ordinary people, it probably seemed much less dramatic. Yes, there were some famines and plagues, as there had always been. The population declined, but there were no apocalyptic battles or mass starvation. Many of the cities appear to have been continually inhabited. There were no mass graves, ruined cities or signs of malnutrition found in excavations. Most people who survived the plagues lived right through the transition from Classical Antiquity to Late Antiquity to the Medieval period with remarkable continuity, just a change of institutions and expectations. But something clearly was happening, because we know it from history. Buildings got plainer. Citizens got poorer. Trade routes shrank. Economies became local. Lawlessness increased. The old Roman Empire had been around since far before anyone could remember, and as it broke down more and more and failed to do things it had once done easily, it must have seen to some people like the world was collapsing in on them. It wasn’t, but something was happening. Much depended on who you were, where you were, what your expectations were, and how much you had invested in the status quo, both mentally and in terms of status and resources.

What brought this thought about was reading the heartbreaking article: Suicides in Greece increase 40%

 

Read Full Article Here

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[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

Environmental

New study sheds light on debate over organic vs. conventional

by Staff Writers
Montreal, Canada (SPX) May 01, 2012


illustration only

Can organic agriculture feed the world? Although organic techniques may not be able to do the job alone, they do have an important role to play in feeding a growing global population while minimizing environmental damage, according to researchers at McGill University and the University of Minnesota.

A new study published in Nature concludes that crop yields from organic farming are generally lower than from conventional agriculture. That is particularly true for cereals, which are staples of the human diet – yet the yield gap is much less significant for certain crops, and under certain growing conditions, according to the researchers.

The study, which represents a comprehensive analysis of the current scientific literature on organic-to-conventional yield comparisons, aims to shed light on the often heated debate over organic versus conventional farming. Some people point to conventional agriculture as a big environmental threat that undercuts biodiversity and water resources, while releasing greenhouse gases. Others argue that large-scale organic farming would take up more land and make food unaffordable for most of the world’s poor and hungry.

“To achieve sustainable food security we will likely need many different techniques – including organic, conventional, and possible ‘hybrid’ systems – to produce more food at affordable prices, ensure livelihoods to farmers, and reduce the environmental costs of agriculture,” the researchers conclude.

Overall, organic yields are 25% lower than conventional, the study finds. The difference varies widely across crop types and species, however. Yields of legumes and perennials (such as soybeans and fruits), for example, are much closer to those of conventional crops, according to the study, conducted by doctoral student Verena Seufert and Geography professor Navin Ramankutty of McGill and Prof. Jonathan Foley of the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment.

What’s more, when best management practices are used for organic crops, overall yields are just 13% lower than conventional levels.

“These results suggest that today’s organic systems may nearly rival conventional yields in some cases – with particular crop types, growing conditions and management practices – but often they do not,” the researchers write. Improvements in organic management techniques, or adoption of organic agriculture under environmental conditions where it performs best, may help close the yield gap, they indicate.

“Our study indicates that organically fertilized systems might require higher nitrogen inputs to achieve high yields as organic nitrogen is less readily available to crops. In some cases, organic farmers may therefore benefit by making limited use of chemical fertilizers instead of relying only on manure to supply nitrogen to their crops,” Seufert says.

“At the same time, conventional agriculture can learn from successful organic systems and implement practices that have shown environmental benefits, such as increased crop diversity and use of crop residues.”

Yields are only part of a set of economic, social and environmental factors that should be considered when gauging the benefits of different farming systems, the researchers note.

“Maybe people are asking the wrong question,” Prof Ramankutty says. “Instead of asking if food is organically grown, maybe we should be asking if it’s sustainably grown.”

The results point to a need to get beyond the black-and-white, ideological debates that often pit advocates of organic and local foods against proponents of conventional agriculture, Prof. Foley adds. “By combining organic and conventional practices in a way that maximizes food production and social good while minimizing adverse environmental impact, we can create a truly sustainable food system.”

Related Links
McGill University
Farming Today – Suppliers and Technology

 

 

Pesticide exposure linked to brain changes: study

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) April 30, 2012

When pregnant women are exposed to moderate levels of a common pesticide, their children may experience lasting changes in brain structure linked to lower intelligence, a US study said Monday.

The study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examined New York City pregnant mothers who were tested for exposure to chlorpyrifos, or CPF, which is widely used for pest control in farms and public spaces.

The women in the study, which included 369 subjects total, took part prior to 2001 when CPF was banned from household use in the United States, though the chemical continues to be used worldwide in agriculture.

Researchers compared 20 children — age five to 11 — whose mothers tested highest for levels of CPF and found “significant abnormalities” in brain structure compared to 20 children whose mothers showed lower exposures.

However, all the women in the study were exposed at routine levels below the US established thresholds for acute exposure, indicating that even low to moderate exposure could pose hefty risks to a child’s brain development.

“The present study provides evidence that the prenatal period is a vulnerable time for the developing child,” said lead author, Virginia Rauh, professor at the Mailman School of Public Health and Deputy Director of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health.

“Toxic exposure during this critical period can have far-reaching effects on brain development and behavioral functioning.”

Researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of the children’s brains, which showed structural changes — some areas abnormally larger than usual, and some typical male-female differences in brain structure that were eliminated or reversed in the high pesticide group.

More study is needed to determine the long-term effects of the changes, which are “consistent with the IQ deficits previously reported in the children with high exposure levels of chlorpyrifos,” according to the research.

The study was the first to use MRI scans to confirm previous findings of brain structure changes in animals exposed to pesticide, the authors said.

“By combining brain imaging and community-based research, we now have much stronger evidence linking exposure to chlorpyrifos with neurodevelopmental problems,” said senior author Bradley Peterson, chief of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, New York State Psychiatric Institute.

Researchers said previous studies have shown that urban levels of the chemical have dropped since the 2001 US restrictions were added, but that risks remain because it continues to be used in food and feed crops, wood treatments, and public spaces such as golf courses, parks and highway medians.

Related Links
Farming Today – Suppliers and Technology

 

 

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Cyber Space

 

Google Cozies up to Regulators

Published on May 1, 2012 by

After a lengthy investigation into Google’s harvesting of Americans’ e-mails, passwords, and all kinds of other sensitive information that was gathered through their Street View project, the FCC found that Google hadn’t violated any laws, but did obstruct the inquiry, and would have to pay a fine of $25,000. But Google is now fighting back. CNET’s Declan McCullagh joins the show.

 

 

Microsoft denies softening of CISPA support

By Brendan Sasso

Microsoft released a statement on Monday reaffirming its support for a controversial cybersecurity bill that cleared the House last week.

“Microsoft’s position remains unchanged,” Christina Pearson, a Microsoft spokeswoman, said in a statement to The Hill. “We supported the work done to pass cybersecurity bills last week in the House of Representatives and look forward to continuing to work with all stakeholders as the Senate takes up cybersecurity legislation.”

The statement shoots down reports that the technology company was wavering in its support of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA).

Microsoft was one of the earliest supports of CISPA. The company applauded Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) when they first introduced the bill last year.

“This bill is an important first step towards addressing significant problems in cyber security,” the company said at the time.

The goal of CISPA is to help companies beef up their defenses against hackers who steal business secrets, rob customers’ financial information and wreak havoc on computer systems. The bill would remove legal barriers that discourage companies from sharing information about cyber threats.

Read Full Article Here

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Community

Bus 52 Presents: The Generous Garden Project

Uploaded by on Feb 16, 2012

Behind a small health food store in Greenville, SC lies a large unused plot of land. That is, it was unoccupied until Bo Cable’s desire to help his community resulted in the creation of The Generous Garden Project. Now it is the site of a flurry of activity and a very successful vegetable garden.

After a life spent in the publishing industry, Bo started The Generous Garden Project after a simple idea he wrote down just would not go away. After being drawn to Greenville because of its high level of volunteerism and community involvement, Bo spent a lot of time thinking how he might be able to give back to his community.

Although he’d never thought of himself as a ‘green thumb,’ Bo’s childhood on the farm gave him the experience and work ethic that helped him make The Generous Garden Project what it is today.

The Generous Garden is not a community garden in the traditional sense. While volunteers and community members grow and nurture the garden’s herbs and vegetables – such as kale, broccoli, and zucchini – they are not the ones who will be enjoying them. All of the 100% organic produce goes to local food banks, shelters and single-parent families.

Bo saw from volunteering at shelters that most of the vegetables were frozen or canned. Very few shelters are able to offer fresh food and instead have to rely mostly on canned goods. The Generous Garden’s fresh, organic vegetables not only add color, but also nutrition to shelter meals across the Greenville area.

The project occupies a sizable plot with its own compost heap with which they fertilize their crops and a worm farm to add nutrients into the soil. A generous donor provided two greenhouses, one of which is fervently being built to provide shelter for the next crop’s seedlings.

The area that is currently planted is just a fraction of the land they rent. Bo is planning ahead to the time when they will have cleared and prepared even more of the fields to grow on.

There is more to Bo’s plan however. As well as growing vegetables and herbs for people who are not able to afford such fresh, organic fare, he wants to teach people the art of gardening. By inviting school groups as well as adults to the garden, he hopes to instill in them both the ability and the desire to grow food themselves. ‘Even if someone only has a window box, I can show them how to grow vegetables,’ he says.

Bo started the project thinking that it would be an excellent weekend activity. His plan of spending a leisurely few hours in the garden on Saturdays and Sundays has turned into a full-time job. Although he owns a web-development and marketing company, he now goes to the garden every day of the week, for several hours each day.

The Generous Garden Project started in April 2011 and in its first year, it grew and distributed 32,000 lbs of produce, the equivalent of over 21,000 meals. Bo’s plans are to continue expanding their yield while not compromising the quality of their produce. His hope is that the concept could be taken to other cities across the country, bringing the benefits of fresh produce and a communal love of gardening to communities just like Greenville.

For more information on The Generous Garden Project, and to find out how to volunteer for the project or to donate gardening supplies, visit their website and their Facebook page.

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Survival / Sustainability

Week 6 of 52: Evacuation Preparedness

Tess Pennington
Ready Nutrition

This week, we will concentrate on the evacuation aspect of preparedness.  Many who have first hand accounts of mass evacuations from Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita will tell you that it is not fun.   When we think of evacuations, we typically think of the mass exodus we witnessed on television with the aforementioned storms.  Depending on the area you live in, there are times when evacuations are more localized and require you to leave your community or town.  Being that I live in Houston, I not only have to worry about hurricane season, but I also have to worry about chemical leaks from the refineries in this area.  If a refinery emergency were to occur, I would have to leave immediately, thus giving my family only a few minutes to evacuate our home.

Having a pre-assembled bag with basic survival needs in place will expedite the evacuation process, as well as keep things running smoothly.  The main goal of having a 72-hour bag is to be equipped to survive for three days.  Therefore, keep your basic survival needs in mind: food, water, shelter, clothing, sanitation, medications/prescriptions.  In addition, I would also pack some extra emergency money or a credit card with enough money for gas and lodging  in case you run into a monetary issue.  Click here to get more details on preparing a 72 hour bag.

Preparing a bag for evacuations takes more time than one would think.  Taking survival needs into account  is one thing, but trying to collect prescriptions, children’s special items, and personal documents can be frustrating if you were under time constraints.  Preparing ahead of time for evacuations will cut down on the headaches, and keep you one step ahead.

Read Full Article Here

 

 

Are You Ready Series: Earthquake Preparedness

Tess Pennington
Ready Nutrition

The sudden strike of an earthquake can catch many off guard.  For those that live in earthquake prone areas, preparing ahead of time will keep a person as safe as possible during the turmoil that the earthquake brings.

Develop an Emergency Plan

When an unexpected event happens, many are confused and do not know what to do. Having a set disaster plan in place can help members of the family get to safety.

 Do research on local emergency management (American Red Cross, City Disaster Services, etc) systems and know what their disaster protocols are. 

Teach children about the different communication sources  available such as 9-1-1, and how to work a battery operated radio in order to listen for emergency information.  Additionally, all family members should know how to turn off the home utilities (emergency, gas and water).

Have an emergency plan in place.  This will help family members know exactly where to go and what to do.  The emergency plan should have a meeting place designated in the event that family members are separated.  Additionally, having a central contact outside of the disaster area that can relay messages can help a family stay in touch if separated.

Look for any hazards in the home.  Do as much preparation as possible to the home in order to secure the area as much as possible.

  • Place heavy or bulkier items on lower shelves.
  • Cabinets and pantries where breakable items are stores should have latches on them.  Additionally, any poisonous material, such as fertilizers or pesticides should be stored in a locked area as well.
  • Secure shelves to walls.
  • Brace overhead light fixtures.
  • Repair any defective electrical wiring or leaking gas connections. If there are damages done to the ceiling or foundation, get an expert opinion about any structural defects.
  • Secure the water heater by strapping it to wall studs.
  • Avoid hanging pictures and heavy mirrors over beds, couches or where people tend to sit.

Disaster Food Supplies

Water and Food

Store 3-days worth of potable water in plastic containers.   Potable water is water safe for human consumption.  It is free of disease causing microorganisms, poisonous substances, minerals, organic matter, chemical, biological and radioactive substances.  Another method is to freeze water in plastic soda containers.  FEMA recommends that a person should have 1-gallon of water per person for at least 3 days.

Stockpile a 3 day supply of non-perishable items such as canned goods, dehydrated foods, high energy foods such as granola bars, power bars, trail mix and cereals.  Try and find foods that does not require much water to prepare them.  Enure that certain foods are stored away for family members with special needs.

Medical Supplies

Keeping a well stocked medical supply can come in handy if someone has a injury.  First aid kits can be assembled at home and include all of the basic first aid items that may be needed.  A list of complete first aid items can be seen here.

Read Full Article Here

 

 

Food Storage Powdered Milk Recipe: Magic Mix

Uploaded by

Use this mix to make perfect white sauces every time! You make it from dry powdered milk…for more tips for using magic and your food storage everyday, visit http://everydayfoodstorage.net/about-food-storage/magic-mix

 

 

 
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Activism

Hunger Strikes, Marches and More as Los Angeles Service Workers Make Their Presence Felt on May Day

L.A. janitors and airport workers have been building momentum for a possible strike for weeks — and they have big plans for May Day.
May 1, 2012  |

Photo Credit: Melissa Chadburn
 If you ask Mike Garcia, president of SEIU, United Service Workers West, he will tell you, “We have a jobs crisis, not a budget crisis. We have a crisis of the right-wing conscience.”

He gave this speech atop a stage at Pershing Square, in the financial hub of Los Angeles, the afternoon of tax day, April 17, 2012–a day when 2,000 janitors and workers took to the streets to let the large corporations know we would not stand for their corporate tax dodging. He went on, “The janitors are here ready to march for justice, not just for janitors, but for all workers in this country. They tell us there’s no money for healthcare in this economic recession, for wage increases, there’s no language to give us justice as immigrants in this country! We say no. We don’t believe it. There is not a scarcity of money, but there is a scarcity of justice.”

This was part of a build-up for a larger action: on May 1, International Worker’s Day, thousands of working people, their families and allies will gather from every corner of Los Angeles to tell these employers we mean business.

Los Angeles’ streets have been overcome with janitors, security workers, airport service workers, and other property service workers, and they are chanting “Strike! Strike! Strike! Huelga! Huelga! Huelga!” The janitors are sick and tired of cleaning up after the 1 percent. The Building Owners Managers Association (BOMA), happens to be made up of some of America’s biggest land barons. They are currently in negotiations with Los Angeles janitors, as it is time for them to renew their contracts. Yet some of the members of BOMA are threatening to cut back on their healthcare benefits. The janitors have let these building owners know they’re prepared to put up a fight. This slow rumble could progress to a startling halt in work if these large corporate employers don’t start to clean up their act.

It would have been announced on midnight, May 1, whether or not the janitors would go on strike. On April 25 they received the full support from the LA County Federation of Labor should they strike. JP Morgan called police to escort the bargaining committee from the Century Plaza Towers after they returned from a break from negotiations to join janitors in a rally through Century City.

The chant was that janitors are being treated like the garbage they throw out every night. Enough is enough!

If this sounds familiar it’s because it is. On April 3, 1990 there was an official strike of the Justice for Janitors campaign that went on for three weeks. The janitors in Los Angeles stayed on strike until April 22. By that time, they had reached a contract that guaranteed them at least a 22 percent raise over the next three years. The Los Angeles strike was significant to the future of Justice for Janitors, as it spurred a nationwide campaign involving over 100,000 SEIU janitors in 2000. The campaign sought to raise wages for all janitors as well as improve overall working conditions.

Read Full Article Here

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Psy – Ops

Class Warfare Is Being Used To Divide America – And It Is Working

At a time when America desperately needs to come together, we are becoming more divided than ever.  The mainstream media and most of our politicians love to pit us against one another in dozens of different ways, and right now class warfare has become one of their favorite tools for getting us to hate one another.  If you are struggling in this economy, you are being told that “the wealthy” are the cause of your problems.  If you have money, you are being told that the poor hate you and want to tax you into oblivion.  Class warfare has already become a dominant theme in the 2012 race for the White House, and there will certainly be endless speeches given along these lines by politicians from both major political parties all the way up to election day.  Class warfare will be used by both sides as a way to divide America and get votes.  And the frightening thing is that it is clearly working.  There is more hatred between the poor and the wealthy in America today than at any other time that I can remember.  But hating people because of how much money they have or don’t have is not going to solve anything.  Instead, it is just going to cause more problems.

The other day, Yale economics professor Robert Shiller told CNBC that the globe is already in a state of “late Great Depression“.  The United States is heading into unprecedented economic and financial problems and we desperately need to pull together as a country and solve these problems.

But instead, our leaders are tapping into the politics of division in a desperate attempt to get elected in the fall.

Rather than focus on real issues and real solutions, our politicians attempt to make “the wealthy” or “welfare recipients” the focus of our debates.

Well, you know what?

Most people that are rich and most people that are poor are not purposely trying to abuse the system.  Most of them are hard working people that are trying to do the best that they can in a world that is increasingly going crazy.

These days, the Occupy Wall Street crowd loves to talk about how evil the “1 percent” is.  But most of the “1 percent” are people that have worked really hard and that have been fortunate enough to get some really good breaks in life.

Yes, there are some among the “1 percent” that do some really bad things.  The too big to fail banks and the big money managers on Wall Street should be held accountable for the crimes that they have committed.

But most wealthy Americans are not trying to oppress the poor.  Most of them are just trying to do the best that they can for themselves and their families.

Neither are most poor people trying to abuse the system either.

Yes, without a doubt there are some that do not want to work and that want to live on government benefits indefinitely.

But that is a minority.

Most Americans that are receiving government benefits today would rather be working good jobs that would enable them to provide for their families.

Most Americans understand that government handouts can never provide dignity and hope for a better future.

Read Full Article Here

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Articles of Interest

Public Schools Use GPS Uniforms to Track Students! (Nanny of the Month, April 2012)

Published on May 1, 2012 by

We’ve got Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal demanding clean urine in exchange for welfare benefits (a bad idea that also doesn’t work as advertised, but hey, at least the boozers are safe!), North Carolina regulators busting a blogger for praising the paleo diet (an offense that can get you tossed in the clink!), but this month the freakiest controllers come to us from a Brazilian city where public schools have begun tracking thousands of 4-to-14-year-olds with GPS-embedded uniforms. (At least they’re not tagging the kiddos’ ears!)

Presenting Reason.tv’s Nanny of the Month for April 2012: The City of Vitoria da Conquista!

Approximately 80 seconds.

“Nanny of the Month” is written and produced by Ted Balaker. Opening animation by Meredith Bragg.

To watch previous “Nanny of the Month” episodes, go here: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2DD00E99B83A258A

Visit http://reason.tv for links and downloadable versions of this video and subscribe to Reason.tv’s YouTube channel to receive automatic notification when new content is posted.

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[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

Environmental

Do urban ‘heat islands’ hint at trees of future?

by Staff Writers
New York NY (SPX) Apr 27, 2012


Seedlings did eight times better in New York City’s Central Park than at comparable suburban and rural sites.

City streets can be mean, but somewhere near Brooklyn, a tree grows far better than its country cousins, due to chronically elevated city heat levels, says a new study. The study, just published in the journal Tree Physiology, shows that common native red oak seedlings grow as much as eight times faster in New York’s Central Park than in more rural, cooler settings in the Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountains.

Red oaks and their close relatives dominate areas ranging from northern Virginia to southern New England, so the study may have implications for changing climate and forest composition over a wide region.

The “urban heat island” is a well-known phenomenon that makes large cities hotter than surrounding countryside; it is the result of solar energy being absorbed by pavement, buildings and other infrastructure, then radiated back into the air. With a warming climate, it is generally viewed as a threat to public health that needs mitigating.

On the flip side, “Some organisms may thrive on urban conditions,” said tree physiologist Kevin Griffin of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, who oversaw the study. Griffin said that the city’s hot summer nights, while a misery for humans, are a boon to trees, allowing them to perform more of the chemical reactions needed for photosynthesis when the sun comes back up.

With half the human population now living in cities, understanding how nature will interact with urban trees is important, the authors say. “Some things about the city are bad for trees. This shows there are at least certain attributes that are beneficial,” said lead author Stephanie Y. Searle, a Washington, D.C., environmental researcher who was a Columbia undergraduate when she started the research.

In spring 2007 and 2008, Searle and colleagues planted seedlings in northeastern Central Park, near 105th Street; in two forest plots in the suburban Hudson Valley; and near the city’s Ashokan Reservoir, in the Catskill foothills some 100 miles north of Manhattan.

They cared for all the trees with fertilizer and weekly watering. Maximum daily temperatures around the city seedlings averaged more than 4 degrees F higher; minimum averages were more than 8 degrees higher. By August, the city seedlings had developed eight times more biomass than the country ones, mainly by putting out more leaves.

The researchers largely ruled out other factors that might drive tree growth, in part by growing similar seedlings in the lab under identically varying temperatures, and showing much the same result. Due to air pollution, the city also has higher fallout of airborne nitrogen-a fertilizer-which could have helped the trees as well, said Searle, but temperature seemed to be the main factor.

Other experiments done in Japan and Arizona have shown that higher temperatures, especially at night, may promote growth of rice plants and hybrid poplar trees. A 2011 study by a Lamont-based group showed that conifers in far northern Alaska have grown faster in recent years in step with rising temperatures.

Some Eastern Seaboard trees also seem to be seeing growth spurts in response to higher carbon-dioxide levels alone, according to a 2010 study by scientists at the Smithsonian Institution. However, heat can cut both ways; in lower latitudes, rising temperatures and shifting weather patterns appear to be pushing some species over the edge by causing ecological changes that stress them; massive die-offs are underway in the U.S. West and interior Alaska.

There is already some evidence that with warming climate, New York area forest compositions are already changing, with northerly species dwindling and southerly ones that tolerate more heat coming in, said Griffin. Red oaks are probably not immune to increasing heat, so there is no guarantee that they would do well in the New York City of the future.

New York City has some 5.2 million trees and is in the midst of a campaign to plant more. “Cities are special places-they might be laboratories for what the world will look like in coming years,” said Gary Lovett, a forest ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y., some 90 miles north of Manhattan. With temperatures projected to rise, he said, “what kinds of trees are doing well there now might be related to what kinds might do well up here in a number of years.”

The study’s other authors are affiliated with the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand; Black Rock Forest Consortium in Cornwall, N.Y.; and Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovoth, Israel. The paper, “Urban environment of New York City promotes growth in northern red oak seedlings,” is available here.

Related Links
The Earth Institute at Columbia University
Forestry News – Global and Local News, Science and Application

Scientists find higher concentrations of heavy metals in post-oil spill oysters from Gulf of Mexico

by Staff Writers
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Apr 27, 2012


Oyster shells like this one, collected from the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, have been shown to contain higher concentrations of three heavy metals common in crude oil – vanadium, cobalt, and chromium – than specimens collected before the spill. Credit: California Academy of Sciences.

As the two-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico approaches, a team of scientists led by Dr. Peter Roopnarine of the California Academy of Sciences has detected evidence that pollutants from the oil have entered the ecosystem’s food chain.

For the past two years, the team has been studying oysters (Crassostrea virginica) collected both before and after the Deepwater Horizon oil reached the coasts of Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida.

These animals can incorporate heavy metals and other contaminants from crude oil into their shells and tissue, allowing Roopnarine and his colleagues to measure the impact of the spill on an important food source for both humans and a wide variety of marine predators. The team’s preliminary results demonstrate that oysters collected post-spill contain higher concentrations of heavy metals in their shells, gills, and muscle tissue than those collected before the spill.

In much the same way that mercury becomes concentrated in large, predatory fish, these harmful compounds may get passed on to the many organisms that feed on the Gulf’s oysters.

“While there is still much to be done as we work to evaluate the impact of the Deepwater Horizon spill on the Gulf’s marine food web, our preliminary results suggest that heavy metals from the spill have impacted one of the region’s most iconic primary consumers and may affect the food chain as a whole,” says Roopnarine, Curator of Geology at the California Academy of Sciences.

The research team collected oysters from the coasts of Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida on three separate occasions after the Deepwater Horizon oil had reached land: August 2010, December 2010, and May 2011. For controls, they also examined specimens collected from the same localities in May 2010, prior to the landfall of oil; historic specimens collected from the Gulf in 1947 and 1970; and a geographically distant specimen collected from North Carolina in August 2010.

Oysters continually build their shells, and if contaminants are present in their environment, they can incorporate those compounds into their shells. Roopnarine first discovered that he could study the growth rings in mollusk shells to evaluate the damage caused by oil spills and other pollutants five years ago, when he started surveying the shellfish of San Francisco Bay.

His work in California revealed that mollusks from more polluted areas, like the waters around Candlestick Park, had incorporated several heavy metals that are common in crude oil into their shells.

To determine whether or not the Gulf Coast oysters were incorporating heavy metals from the Deepwater Horizon spill into their shells in the same manner, Roopnarine and his colleagues used a method called “laser ablation ICP-MS,” or inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry.

First, a laser vaporizes a small bit of shell at different intervals along the shell’s growth rings. Then the vaporized sample is superheated in plasma, which causes the various elements in the sample to radiate light at specific, known frequencies. This light allows scientists to identify and quantify which chemical elements are present in a particular growth ring.

Roopnarine and his colleagues measured higher concentrations of three heavy metals common in crude oil-vanadium, cobalt, and chromium-in the post-spill specimens they examined compared to the controls, and this difference was found to be statistically significant.

In a second analysis, the scientists used ICP-MS to analyze gill and muscle tissue in both pre-spill and post-spill specimens. They found higher concentrations of vanadium, cobalt, and lead in the post-spill specimens, again with statistical significance.

In a final analysis, the team examined oyster gill tissue under the microscope and found evidence of “metaplasia,” or transformation of tissues in response to a disturbance, in 89 percent of the post-spill specimens. Cells that were normally columnar (standing up straight) had become stratified (flattened)-a known sign of physical or chemical stress in oysters.

Stratified cells have much less surface area available for filter feeding and gas exchange, which are the primary functions of oyster gills. Oysters suffering from this type of metaplasia will likely have trouble reproducing, which will lead to lower population sizes and less available food for oyster predators.

The team presented their data at a poster session at the American Geophysical Union meeting in December 2011, and is preparing their preliminary findings for publication.

However, their work is just beginning. In addition to increasing the number of pre- and post-spill oyster specimens in their analysis, the team also plans to repeat their analyses using another bivalve species, the marsh mussel (Geukensia demissa).

Roopnarine is also planning to create a mathematical model linking the oyster and mussel to other commercially important species, such as mackerel and crabs, to demonstrate the potential impact of the oil spill on the Gulf food web.

Scientists don’t currently know how these types of trace metals move through the food web, how long they persist, or how they impact the health of higher-level consumers, including humans-but the construction of a data-driven computer model will provide the framework for tackling these important questions.

Roopnarine and his colleagues have faced a number of challenges during the course of their study. Unfortunately, pure crude oil samples from Deepwater Horizon have remained inaccessible, making it impossible for the team to compare the heavy metal ratios they have documented in the oysters to the ratios found in the Deepwater Horizon oil.

Additionally, the chemical compositions of artificial dispersants and freshwater that were intentionally spread in the Gulf to alleviate the spill are also unknown-additional variables that could affect the team’s research. The team is hopeful that they will eventually be able to analyze these samples, thus shedding more light on their results.

Related Links
California Academy of Sciences
Our Polluted World and Cleaning It Up

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Cyber Space

Richard Stallman: CISPA really abolishes people’s right not to be unreasonably searched

Published on Apr 27, 2012 by

Soon, Americans may find every private email they write could be opened, copied and inspected by government snoopers. The latest cyber security bill – called CISPA – has passed the House of Representatives, coming a step closer to becoming law. President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the act, if it goes through in the Senate. He cited civil liberty concerns as the reason for his threat. CISPA has raised a massive outcry with internet users and freedom activists, who say it’s a hard hit on people’s privacy. Reaction now from Dr Richard Stallman, who’s President of the Free Software Foundation. He’s in Tunis.

New ISP will defend users from SOPA -CISPA -government spying

Published on Apr 27, 2012 by

As the battle rages on over regulations for the Internet, one man is proposing a solution that could curb the concerns over online privacy. Legislation is being pushed in America right now that could stop online piracy, but would at the same time also infringe on the rights of many. Could all that change, though? One new Internet Service Provider will challenge the government if a user’s information is requested. Nicholas Merrill, executive director for The Calyx Institute, joins us to explain how he plans on changing the ISP landscape.

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Survival / Sustainability

Food Storage Wheat How-to Video: Cracking Wheat in Your Blender

Uploaded by on Oct 20, 2008

Learn how to easily crack wheat in your blender. For more tip, tricks, and recipes for using food storage everyday in your own recipes, visit http://everydayfoodstorage.net

 

Week 5 of 52: Pet Care

Tess Pennington
Ready Nutrition

Our furry friends are more to us than just pets, and for many of you, they are a precious family member. Caring for them during a disaster is extremely important. You need to know that when an unexpected storm occurs, many of our animals face anxiety just as we do. Knowing how your pet will react before, during and after a storm is the first step in ensuring their safety. Making sure that you anticipate your pet’s needs during an emergency because it will help them cope with this disruption into their daily routines. Also, have a pet survival kit and a pet first aid kit set aside for your pet, as this too ensures their safety.

Preps to buy:

  • Extra harness, leash, and/or carrier
  • ID tags with your contact information
  • 1-2 week supply of food for all pets (if not already bought in week 1)
  • 2-5 gallons of water for each pet
  • Pet first aid kit
  • Current vaccination and medical records for each animal (contact your veterinarian).
  • 2 weeks worth of medication for each animal (if applicable). Note: Pay attention to the expiration date and routinely rotate medicines to ensure they are not wasted.

Read Full Article Here


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Activism

Canada protests against tuition-fee increase continue

Published on Apr 27, 2012 by

Students in the Canadian province of Quebec have been protesting against a government move to raise higher education costs by 50 per cent for three months.

The Quebec government has now offered a compromise but the dispute remains unsettled as students are not accepting compromise with any tuition increase.

Al Jazeera’s Daniel Lak reports.

Malaysian police fire tear gas at electoral reform rally

Published on Apr 28, 2012 by

Malaysian police have clashed with tens of thousands of protesters calling for an overhaul of the country’s electoral system.

Security forces in the capital fired tear gas and water cannon at the demonstrators, after they broke through a barricade near Independence square.

Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, a Malaysian lawyer and president of the National Human Rights Society, tells Al Jazeera the demonstrators should have been allowed to protest peacefully.

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Psy – Ops

Systems of Control and Social Subtext – 1/4

Published on Apr 27, 2012 by

Max Igan – Surviving The Matrix – April, 27th, 2012

Systems of Control and Social Subtext – 2/4

Systems of Control and Social Subtext – 3/4

Systems of Control and Social Subtext – 4/4

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Community

Loneliness becoming ‘the norm’ in Japan

Published on Apr 27, 2012 by

Japanese society has long had a reputation for close-knit families and companies and for group culture. This year, however, the average number of people in a Tokyo home dropped below two for the first time.

NLI Research Institute says that, by 2020, living alone will be the norm in Japan. The think-tank’s Akio Doteuchi says: “People are becoming more isolated. They used to live in friendly communities where neighbours would help them.

“Now people want to protect their privacy, so people in these communities have never even met their neighbours. They don’t know if they live alone or it’s a couple or a family.

“So sometimes people die alone without anyone noticing.”

Mike Firn reports from Tokyo.

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[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

Environmental

Study finds that mild winters are detrimental to butterflies

by Staff Writers
Notre Dame IN (SPX) Apr 25, 2012


So although mild winters may be a cause for celebration for many of us, those who are concerned are biodiversity might find them to be much more somber seasons.

The recent mild winter throughout much of the United States was a cause for celebration for many. However, butterfly aficionados shouldn’t be joining in the celebration.

A new study by Jessica Hellmann, associate professor of biological sciences at the University of Notre Dame, and researchers from Western University found that mild winters, such as the one many of us just experienced, can be taxing for some butterfly or possibly other species.

Hellmann and her fellow researchers studied caterpillars of the Propertius Duskywing butterfly, which feed on Gary Oak trees. This species of caterpillar, like many insects, has a higher metabolic rate and burns more fat during mild winters.

“The energy reserves the caterpillars collect in the summer need to provide enough energy for both overwintering and metamorphosing into a butterfly in the spring,” Caroline William, lead author of the study, said.

So a butterfly needs to conserve as much energy as it can during the winter months. In the paper, Hellmann and her colleagues explain for the first time how warmer winters can lead to a decrease in the number of butterflies.

However, Hellmann and the Western University researchers found that warmer winters might not always reduce butterfly populations as much as one might initially think. They reared caterpillars in two different locations: one which often experiences more variable and warmer winter temperatures and one which generally features more stable and generally cooler winter temperatures.

The caterpillars that were exposed to the warmer and more variable conditions were better able to withstand the warmer conditions, simply by being exposed to them. They did so by lowering the sensitivity of their metabolism.

However, the ability of even caterpillars accustomed to warmer, more variable winters to cope with such conditions is still limited, according to the researchers. They calculated the energy use of both groups of caterpillars and discovered that the caterpillars that lower their metabolic rates to deal with warmer winters still use significantly more energy to survive them.

“We still have lot to learn about how organisms will respond to climate change,” Hellmann said. “Our study shows significant biological effects of climate change, but it also shows that organisms can partially adjust their physiology to compensate. We now need to discover if other species adjust in similar ways to our example species.”

So although mild winters may be a cause for celebration for many of us, those who are concerned are biodiversity might find them to be much more somber seasons.

Related Links
University of Notre Dame
Darwin Today At TerraDaily.com

 

Challenges hinder agroforestry research, policy formulation and adoption in Indonesia

by Yvonne Otieno
Nairobi, Kenya (SPX) Apr 25, 2012


File image.

Indonesia, the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, most of which come from deforestation, is setting out to reverse the trend. One of the ways it plans to do so is to create a national strategy to put more trees on farms, a practice known as agroforestry

The importance of collaboration among all research partners in agroforestry was recently emphasised at a historic workshop to develop a national strategy on agroforestry research in Indonesia.

During the meeting, five key challenges facing agroforestry in Indonesia were also identified. The first challenge mentioned was the Government’s partial approach to research, which translates into low adoption of research recommendations.

Second, land tenure insecurity, particularly in State forest areas, leads to social conflict and degradation of forest resources. Third, the trade-off between conservation and development activities lead to difficulty in deciding forest management.

The slow progress of community-based forestry management schemes introduced by the Ministry of Forestry hampered agroforestry development and emerging issues related to climate change and affecting forestry and land management were also mentioned as hindrances.

Despite the challenges, the meeting identified opportunities for agroforestry, such as the large pool of knowledge worldwide; increasing support for agroforestry-related policies; availability of potential partners in research and development, including the World Agroforestry Centre, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), NGOs, regional governments, the private sector and universities; and international concern for climate change that provides financial support for agroforestry research.

The meeting included experts from the Forestry Research and Development Agency (FORDA) of the Ministry of Forestry (including the newly formed agroforestry research centre at Ciamis), Bogor Agricultural Institute, University of Lampung, Gadjah Mada University and the World Agroforestry Centre Indonesia office. Several key resource persons with expertise in policy analysis, natural resource management and agroforestry were also present.

The day-long workshop was jointly opened by Dr Ir Bambang Trihartono MF, head of FORDA’s Centre for Research and Development for Enhancement of Forest Productivity, and Dr Ujjwal Pradhan, regional coordinator of the World Agroforestry Centre in Southeast Asia.

In their opening speeches, both talked of focusing on achieving clear research outcomes and timeframes with direct impact on the development of agroforestry.

FORDA had prepared a draft document, which the workshop discussed in detail. The draft stated that the vision of the strategy was ‘agroforestry mainstreamed into forestry development in Indonesia and widely adopted by the community as a forestry and land-use system to meet sustainable forest management goals for improving people’s livelihoods and sustaining natural resources’.

The mission of the meeting was in two parts; first to develop the partnerships and involvement of research actors in producing knowledge for the development of agroforestry in Indonesia and second was to widen the adoption of agroforestry by stakeholders in Indonesia.

The opening presentation by Dede Rohadi of FORDA, who is also a consultant to CIFOR, explained that although agroforestry was a legal practice and widely practised it had not yet been formally acknowledged in Government planning and policy.

FORDA had been conducting significant research activity for some time. However, research into the social aspects had been less adequately addressed yet there were many problems in the social arena that affected agroforestry development.

Dede provided a background to the research status of agroforestry in Indonesia, dividing the research topics into four: silviculture, environment, social and economic. A literature search had revealed that the first, silviculture, had more than 120 publications associated with it; environment had 109; economic 112; and social 98.

The strategy development targeted several areas for initial research including smallholders’ production systems and markets for agroforestry practices, community-based forest management in State forest areas, harmonising agroforestry practices with global climate change, and enhancing agroforestry practices for environmental services.

The research into smallholders’ production systems is closely linked with CGIAR Research Program 6 whose objective is enhancing the management and use of forestry, agroforestry and tree genetic resources across landscapes from forests to farms; and the research priorities of FORDA[y1] .

The results from the research will be disseminated through national and international journals, popular media, policy briefs, international and national seminars, the internet, working groups and demonstration plots.

In order to implement the strategy, the capacity of staff and farmers would need to be enhanced, typically through training and workshops; exchange programs involving study tours, internships and seconded scientists; a post-graduate program; and advocacy.

The deliberations of the day’s workshop are being taken into account in the continuing drafting of the national strategy. A national workshop with partners from other ministries, especially agriculture, marine and fisheries and the National Planning Agency, will be held in the near future to establish a cross-ministry approach.

Related Links
World Agroforestry Centre Indonesia
Forestry News – Global and Local News, Science and Application

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Cyber Space

Obama condemns monitoring abroad as Congress pushes CISPA

Published on Apr 24, 2012 by

President Obama announced that he is planning on fighting genocide in the Middle East by cracking down on entities that use technology to conduct human rights violations. On Monday, Obama signed an executive order that targets individuals who use technology to monitor and track dissidents. Although President Obama opposes the monitoring of individuals abroad, Congress is attempting to pass a legislation that will allow the US government to do just that domestically. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing Protection Act (CISPA) could alter online freedoms in the US, and Declan McCullagh, CNet News correspondent, joins us for a closer look.

 

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Survival / Sustainability

10/4/2011 3:42:55 PM
By David Wendell – Bushcraft on Fire
Dealing often with people who may run into a “survival situation” the question of “Survival Mentality” often comes up. And while it is important to have a positive attitude in far-out situations, I believe that this mentality also comes into play in our everyday lives. In homesteading, sustainability, and self reliance this outlook can mean the difference between success and failure, and in a critical situation it could even mean life or death! We all face severities in our everyday life, and the ability to overcome these difficulties will determine the outcome. So what exactly is a “Survival Mentality?”Simply put,  a survival mentality is the inward knowing that you can do what needs to be done to overcome whatever adversity you might be facing. This could be as simple as building a new addition, or as severe as a strong storm or drought wiping out your entire crop for the year. How would you be able to handle these things if they occurred in your life? The only way to be able to face such hardship with a positive attitude is by adhering to the old adage…

“Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.”

Read Full Article Here

 

 

Adapt… or Face Extinction

Animals adapt to the environment or face extinction, while some humans seem too stuck in their own old ways.

By Joe Novara

186-104-1b

“Did Seattle win last night?” my friend Ernst, the animal psychologist, asked during brunch at my place.

“How should I know?” I snapped back. “The morning paper isn’t here yet. I hate when that happens. Messes up my whole Sunday routine.”

“You should not be so set in your ways,” my friend counseled. “You have to adapt to the environment. Like animals adapt. They have to or face extinction.””You think I should get with it – read the news on handheld computers rather than flattened trees.”

“It’s all a matter of information-format conditioning,” Ernst began, easing back into the lounge chair. I hate it when he waxes professorial. “Take the early Greeks…” he began.”No thanks,” I retorted. “…they were very upset when the written word was discovered. What was going to happen to all those epic story-poems told by heart? And when books first came out, the Romans must have missed unwinding with a good scroll.”

“Hey look, I didn’t ask for a lecture. I only want my morning paper in the morning, not the afternoon. Okay?”

“We all have to adapt to changing times,” Ernst persisted. “Take animals, for instance. They’re too slow. Look at roadkill.””I usually try not to. But, okay. I can see where you’re going – roadkill would have to continue for a million years before animals know to ‘stop, look and listen’ before they cross the street. Is that it?”

“Something like that. Animals can figure out how to live around cities. But they can’t get the concept of roads. They’re wired to go from one place to another the same way, over and over, no matter what’s in the way.”

“Right. Plop your garden across a snake’s migratory path and he could give a hiss about detours and alternate routes.”

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Activism

Hundreds rally for Mumia’s release outside the DoJ

Published on Apr 24, 2012 by

Mumia Abu Jamal is an American writer and journalist whose prison case
has sparked international outrage. He has spent the last 29 years on
death row, but earlier this year his sentence was reduced to life in
prison without the possibility of parole. Abby Martin of RT reports
from the “Occupy the Justice” rally in Washington, DC on Mumia’s 58th
birthday, where hundreds have gathered in solidarity with the Occupy
Movement to call attention to his case, the unfairness of the US
justice system and an end to mass incarceration in the US, where one
out of every 100 Americans are currently in prison.

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Articles of Interest

The Associated Press April 24, 2012, 7:38PM ET

Ex-BP engineer arrested in Gulf oil spill case

By CAIN BURDEAU and MICHAEL KUNZELMAN

NEW ORLEANS

Federal prosecutors brought the first criminal charges Tuesday in the Gulf oil spill, accusing a former BP engineer of deleting more than 300 text messages that indicated the blown-out well was spewing far more crude than the company was telling the public at the time.

Two years and four days after the drilling-rig explosion that set off the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, Kurt Mix, 50, of Katy, Texas, was arrested and charged with two counts of obstruction of justice for allegedly destroying evidence.

His attorney, Joan McPhee, issued a statement Tuesday evening describing the charges as misguided and that she is confident Mix will be exonerated.

“The government says he intentionally deleted text messages from his phone, but the content of those messages still resides in thousands of emails, text messages and other documents that he saved,” she said. “Indeed, the emails that Kurt preserved include the very ones highlighted by the government.”

Read Full Article Here

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[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

Environmental

New study on Monsanto corn suggests GMO trees could devastate forest ecosystems

24Apr2012

By

“Some trees are being genetically engineered to contain the Bt toxin,” notes Anne Peterman of Stop GE Trees.  “This could be a tremendous threat to forest ecosystem soils, in which beneficial fungi are a key component of the forest ecosystem.”

The feds have allowed seven southeastern states to plant GM forests. See Alien Forest, Alien Ocean, Alien Sky; and watch the award-winning documentary, “A Silent Forest: The Growing Threat, Genetically Engineered Trees” (2005, 46 mins) which details the appalling effects allowed by the Monsanto-owned federal government. (You can buy the full length film at Amazon.) ~ Ed.

By Ryan Villarreal
International Business Times

Bioengineering agricultural giant Monsanto has touted the safety of genetically modified crops, but a new study has found that insecticide-containing corn can be harmful to the overall health of soil ecosystems.

Genetically modified corn has been linked to a decrease in a subterranean fungus that forms a symbiotic bond with plant roots, allowing them to draw in more nutrients and water from the surrounding soil in exchange for carbon.

Researchers at Portland State University conducted a study to examine the effects of corn genetically engineered with the bacteria-derived insecticidal toxin, Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, on growth of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF).

AMF is important for the overall health and fertility of soil ecosystems, and was found to form less bonds with the roots of Bt corn than with non-Bt corn.

“Because these fungi rely on a plant host for nutrition and reproduction, they may be sensitive to genetic changes within a plant, such as insect-resistant Bt corn,” Tanya Cheeke, a PhD student in biology at Portland State, told the American Journal of Botany.

Cheeke conducted the study as part of her doctoral research into the impact of genetically modified crops on soil ecosystems.

“What makes our study unique is that we evaluated AMF colonization in 14 different lines of Bt and non-Bt corn under consistent experimental conditions in a greenhouse using locally collected agricultural field soil as the AMF inoculum,” Cheeke told AJB.

Cheeke planted corn seeds containing the Bt gene and without it into soil containing AMF to simulate agricultural conditions on modern industrial farms.

Cheeke also tested AMF growth with other crops in soil formerly planted with both Bt and non-Bt corn. With soybeans planted in both soils, AMF root bonding was not harmed, leading Cheeke to conclude that the Bt gene was not directly toxic to AMF, but that its only known damage is to root bonding with Bt corn.

According to Cheeke, in 2011, 88 percent of corn cultivated in the U.S. was genetically modified with insecticides like Bt.

Read Full Article Here

Documentary- A Silent Forest. The Growing Threat, Genetically Engineered Trees- Full Movie


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Cyber Space

‘Hurt Locker’ Studio Sues 2,514 Over Copyright Infringement

By Sarah Jacobsson Purewal, PCWorld    Apr 24, 2012 7:41 AM

'Hurt Locker' Sue 2,514 Over Copyright InfringementVoltage Pictures, the movie studio that gained its fame by producing the Academy Award-winning film “The Hurt Locker” and targeting 24,583 BitTorrent users in a piracy-related lawsuit last year, is on another copyright infringement crusade.

According to TorrentFreak, the studio has filed a new lawsuit in Florida against 2,514 unnamed defendants, all of whom are accused of illegally downloading “The Hurt Locker.”

[RELATED: So, You’re Being Sued for Piracy]

The lawsuit lists the IP addresses of the 2,514 defendants, and admits that Voltage Pictures does not know their identities. Voltage Pictures is asking for a subpoena to obtain the true names and addresses of the defendants, probably so it can threaten them with legal action and force them to settle for around $3,000 apiece.

This is the how piracy-related copyright lawsuits typically work; they’re never meant to actually see the inside of a courtroom. Instead, companies subpoena Internet service providers for the IP addressees’ personal details, and then spend their time attempting to get people to settle for somewhere between $1,000 and $3,000.

If Voltage Pictures can get even 15 percent of the 2,514 defendants to settle for $3,000, the studio will make around $1.13 million.

Read Full Article Here

Identity Theft: When Millions of Dead People Apply for Credit Cards

By Tim Greene, NetworkWorld    Apr 23, 2012 3:40 pm

Seems that the threat of identity theft doesn’t end, even with death. Identity thieves apply for millions of credit cards per year using personal information of the deceased, a study shows.

The identification data for nearly 2.5 million dead people — names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers — are used by criminals to fill out credit card applications each year, according to a study performed by ID Analytics.

BACKGROUND: IRS: Top 10 things every taxpayer should know about identity theft

MORE: The Most Mortifying Moments in IT Security History

The majority of those — about 1.6 million — are typos made by identity thieves when entering Social Security Numbers, and thereby flagging matches with SSNs listed in the Social Security Administration Death Master File, the study says.

Read Full Article  Here

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Survival / Sustainability

BBC – Horizon – How to Survive a Disaster Part.1

Uploaded by on Apr 21, 2011

When disaster strikes who lives and who dies is not purely a matter of luck. In every disaster, from those people face once in a lifetime, to those they face every day, there are things that can be done to increase the chances of getting out alive.
Horizon has gathered a team of leading experts to produce the ultimate guide to disaster survival. Through controversial experiments, computer simulations and analysis of hundreds of survivor testimonies from plane crashes to ferry disasters and even 9/11, they will reveal what happens in the mind in the moment of crisis and how the human brain can be programmed for survival.

BBC – Horizon – How to Survive a Disaster Part.2

BBC – Horizon – How to Survive a Disaster Part.3

BBC – Horizon –  How to Survive a Disaster Part.4

BBC – Horizon –  How to Survive a Disaster Part.5

Ultimate Emergency Food – Urban Survival

Uploaded by on Feb 12, 2012

I don’t see enough talk about sprouting in the survival community. Not only is sprouting an inexpensive, easy way to grow organic, non-gmo food free of radiation, it’s also perfect for starting seedlings.

Many of you already have seeds (probably heritage, non-gmo) in your stores in the event that you have to grow a victory garden. Well adding a sprouter kit only makes sense to me. You can grow food indoors with very little light, water and heat AND you can start your seedlings for your garden!

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Activism

10 Arrested–Including Vietnam Veteran, Minister, Students, Unemployed–At Wells Fargo Action

 Ahead of the big bank’s shareholder meeting tomorrow, 10 activists were arrested in Des Moines, Iowa, at a Wells Fargo office, where they were sitting in to demand CEO John Stumpf grant them time to address the meeting.

Members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, as well as National People’s Action director George Goehl, occupied the headquarters of the bank’s Home Mortgage division, calling for time for the 99% Power coalition to address the shareholder event and present their demands, which include reducing principal on underwater mortgages and paying their fair share of taxes.

Read Full Article Here

 

 

Hawaii wants GMO foods labeled (opinion)

By Hesh Goldstein, April 24 2012
(NaturalNews) For years Monsanto has infiltrated our islands because of our year round planting and growing cycle. Unfortunately, what they are planting and growing is detrimental to the health of anyone that consumes it. Because of Monsanto’s financial power, they succeed in “buying” state and federal politicians that regularly bend over forward for them and acquiesce to anything they say. This is evidenced by the fact that Monsanto’s former attorneys, employees and okole kissers, head key government…

Citizens, OCA pledge to help Vermont and other states raise money to fight Monsanto

By Ethan A. Huff, April 24 2012
(NaturalNews) America is at a crucial tipping point in the fight for food labeling transparency, as the state of Vermont could be the first in the union to require mandatory labeling of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). But Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin and the Vermont state legislature need some serious prodding from the public to make it happen, as Monsanto’s intimidation and threat tactics are on the verge of killing this important first step towards real food freedom. Similar to the ballot initiative that Californians will have the opportunity to vote on this fall (http://www.naturalnews.com), H.722, also known as the Vermont Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, would require that all GMOs and products that contain GMOs be properly labeled. And H.722 is supported by more than 90 percent of Vermonters, and also has overwhelming support from the Vermont House Agriculture Committee (http://www.naturalnews.com/035628_Monsanto_Vermont_GMO_labeling.html).

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Community

Caine’s Arcade

Published on Apr 9, 2012 by

A 9 year old boy who built an elaborate cardboard arcade in his dad’s used auto parts store is about to have the best day of his life. Help Caine’s Scholarship Fund: http://CainesArcade.com

Get the Caine’s Arcade Theme Song on iTunes!
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/caines-arcade-single/id518928144

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Articles of Interest

Assange’s mainstream friends U-turn after show boom

Published on Apr 24, 2012 by

The media that once praised Julian Assange, hailing him a hero for his work as a whistleblower, has now drastically changed its tune, after the debut of his talk show on RT. While some say it’s due to journalistic jealousy, others believe the U-turn is political. Laura Smith reports from London.

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[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

Environmental

BP oil spill 2 years later

Published on Apr 21, 2012 by

Friday marked the two year anniversary of America’s worst oil spill. British Petroleum was behind the disaster that took two months to maintain yet also spawned side-effects that caused a downward spiral in the economy, tourism and wildlife still to this day. In recent ads, images of green grass and beautiful water have been advertised in an attempt to lure people to the US Gulf coast. But is everything back to normal? Abby Martin takes a closer look at spill two years later.

Monsanto: The Real Cyberdyne

Daisy Luther
Inalienably Yours
April 22nd, 2012

If ever there was a company that embodied evil, it would be the Monsanto Company.

The combination of unfettered corporate greed, a eugenics agenda and corrupt political manipulation forms an unholy trinity that could make Monsanto the real Cyberdyne Systems.  In the Terminator movies, Cyberdyne Systems created the artificial intelligence computer system Skynet, which destroyed most life on earth and forced survivors to live.

Proving once again that fact is indeed as strange as fiction, the Monsanto Company could single handedly cause TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It).

The History of Monsanto

Monsanto was started in St. Louis, Missouri in 1901 by John Francis Queeny, whose background was in the pharmaceutical industry.  Beginning as it would continue, the first product made by Monsanto was saccharin, a controversial artificial sweetener now banned in many countries for its links to cancer.

Over the last century, Monsanto was responsible for bringing many controversial substances to the market.

  • Saccharin
  • Agent Orange
  • DDT
  • Aspartame
  • Bovine Growth Hormone

Initially a chemical company, it wasn’t until 1982 that Monsanto branched into agriculture, immediately tying the chemical background to the formerly wholesome business of growing food.  Monsanto was determined to improve on nature and by the late 1980s had begun trials with genetically modified crops.

Read Full Article Here

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Cyber Space

FBI Steps Up ‘Internet Doomsday’ Awareness Malware Campaign

By Jared Newman, PCWorld    Apr 23, 2012 9:07 AM

FBI and Internet DoomsdayPC users infected with a strain of malware called DNS Changer will face their own personal Internet doomsday in July unless they disinfect their computers, the FBI warns.

Users have until July 9 to rid themselves of the DNS Changer malware, which can infect Windows PCs and Macs alike. After that, the FBI will throw a switch that prevents infected computers from accessing the Internet.

It’s not as Big Brother as it sounds. DNS Changer is a Trojan that surfaced in 2007 and infected millions of machines. The malware would redirect computers to hacker-created Websites, where cyber-criminals sold at least $14 million in advertisements. DNS Changer also prevented computers from updating or using anti-virus software, leaving them vulnerable to even more malicious software.

Last November, in one of the biggest cybersecurity takedowns ever, the FBI arrested six Estonian nationals that allegedly ran the click-jacking fraud, and seized the rogue DNS servers where infected users were being redirected. The FBI has put up surrogate servers in place of the malicious ones, but only temporarily.

Read Full Article Here

 

 

China Takes Tougher Stance on Online Pirated Content

By Michael Kan, IDG News    Apr 23, 2012 6:00 am

China’s Internet firms will need to better screen their websites for unlicensed digital works or be held responsible for infringement, according to a proposed judicial interpretation from the country’s supreme court.

The court on Sunday released the proposed interpretation of China’s Internet infringement laws, taking a stricter stance on how websites can be held liable for promoting unlicensed copyrighted works such as movies, music, and books.

Under the interpretation, companies can be held liable if the unlicensed works are recommended to users in certain ways. This could include the unlicensed work being featured on a company site that ranks content based on popularity, or if an infringing product is promoted through a description and link.

Liability can also be determined if companies knowingly allowed users to upload unlicensed content. A court can look at what measures the company took to stop the infringement, as well as what safeguards are already in place to prevent further unlicensed works from being uploaded.

Read Full Article Here

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Survival / Sustainability

Urban Survival Skills To Keep Your Ass Alive

by M.D. Creekmore  

urban survival city burning

Can You Survive

No mater how much I bitch and moan, some of you just don’t listen, letting my advice go in one ear out the other. I tell you to get out of the major population areas, but you refuse, thinking you will pack up your bug out bag and head for the hills moments before the first flames light the night and the mushroom cloud hovers overhead.

Even if you are fortunate enough to have a retreat out in the country getting to your safe haven maybe impossible during upheaval. Roads blocked by wrecked and fuelless vehicles will stop most bugouters in their tracks. Maybe you were born lucky and can make it out safely before the balloon bursts, then what?

People in rural areas, will start shooting if threatened by mobs of refugees fleeing the city. Don’t expect to be welcomed with arms outstretched. Most country folks don’t trust outsiders; you will likely be greeted with a load of buckshot and not the cup of fresh coffee and meaningful conversation you hoped for.

After the cities are in ruins, criminal gangs will start to migrate to the country where they will continue their business of stealing and terrorizing in more fruitful territory. If you can stay hidden and survive the first weeks after a collapse you may at some point have the entire city pretty much to yourself. If you can’t or won’t get out NOW at least start making plans to survive where you are.

Food Storage A Must For The Urban Survivalist

You should store enough survival food to last at least six months. This means enough food to live on without leaving home. Food stables include, rice, beans, honey, wheat, sugar, tea, coffee, salt, pepper, baking soda, cooking oil etc. Also canned soups, meats, fruits and vegetables should be included for verity. The food storage calculator is an excellent tool for approximating needed qualities of foods and is a great help here.

Sprouting seeds will keep you supplied with fresh greens even in the winter. Sprouts are germinated seeds of vegetables, nuts, grains and legumes. Sprouts are nutritious, inexpensive and high in protein. Sprouts should be included in your survival food plans. All that is needed is a couple of quart mason jars, a squire of nylon window screen, rubber bands and viable seed stock.

If you decide to include whole grains in your diet, you will need a grain grinder. Grinders should be steel-burred, not stone. Some people suggest that steel-burred grinders cause heat that could damage the nutrient content of the grain. Don’t buy it. Hand grinding doesn’t cause enough heat to cause damage. Don’t waist your money on stone grinders or combination steel and stone, get the much cheaper but entirely functional steel-burred grinder.

Next you will need something to cook on. I recommend one of the Coleman multi fuel camp stoves. I have the Peak1 which burns both Coleman fuel and kerosene. These stoves are small, light weight and very energy-efficient.

Remember, when using stoves like these indoors the fumes must be vented to the outside, if not carbon monoxide can build up and kill you.

If you don’t have one already go by your local shopping center and pick up a Stanly Aladdin narrow-mouth thermos bottle. You will use the thermos as an energy-efficient appliance for cooking. Don’t get a wide-mouthed thermos; if you intend to use it for cooking, these are less efficient at holding heat.

It is best to use a different bottle for cooking then your everyday thermos. Coffee smell for instance, tends to leach into whatever you are cooking, even if the bottle has been cleaned.

Thermos cooking is in no way difficult or complicated, all you need is some simple directions.

Read Full Article Here

 

 

Are You Ready Series: Essential Footwear

Tess Pennington
Ready Nutrition

Surviving the harsh elements of nature is a hard thing to do.  Surviving the harsh elements of nature without a good pair of shoes is next to impossible.   Waterproof boots will protect your feet from the natural elements (water, heat, cold, snow, etc).  Hiking boots are designed to give your feet the necessary support they need to help you move, stay aligned with your body, and protect you from weather elements.

Boots Are Made For Walkin’

Boots that have flexible soles and deep tread are the best type of shoes to have as far as walking/hiking in nature go.  There is much debate on whether to purchase all leather boots that are fairly heavier or light weight hiking boots.  Several studies have shown that wearing one extra pound on your feet takes as much energy as carrying five or six pounds in a backpack.  Keep in mind of the terrain of the location you will be in to make the right decision of the type of footwear that should be purchased.  There are many reviews of hiking boots to determine what is the best choice.

Worn out boots that have not been tended to can do an insurmountable amount of damage on the feet.  In James Wesley, Rawles book The Patriot, the character Doug was wandering around in the harsh extremities of nature with worn down boots that were falling apart at the seams.  After walking a very long  journey, he made it back to his home and dug up a cache that he had buried way before the collapse of the country and found a spare pair of combat boots.  In all of the items that were in the cache (coins, batteries, face paint, soap, vitamins, food, etc), he was most thankful for putting in a spare pair of boots.

Points to Find the Best Boots For You:

  • Select boots that are designed to provide the support and protection you will need for the most difficult terrain you expect to encounter.
  • Choose boots that are designed to support the load you expect to be carrying.   The heavier your load, the more support you will need.
  • Remember that hiking boots do not have to weigh a great deal.
  • Consider the various advantages of fabric-and-leather boots and all-leather boots. Fabric-and-leather boots are lighter and easier to break in, but all-leather boots offer added protection and durability in rigorous terrain, as well as being water resistant and breathable.
  • Top-quality hiking boots, are made with a Gore-Tex® lining that keeps water out while allowing perspiration to escape.
Source – www.llbean.com

R.E.I’s website has some further tips to think about when choosing the right pair of boots.

Read Full Article Here

 

How to store drinking water for long term storage

Uploaded by on Nov 16, 2010

Here is a convenient way to store water, and to properly disinfect the water, for long term storage. For those that are in to storing food, do not forget the water. Your body needs water before it needs food.

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Activism

Woman Receives Anonymous Threats after Opposing Monsanto

By Mike Barrett

After losing a 3-day old daughter to kidney failure, a woman named Sofia Gatica from Argentina made a decision to spearhead an anti-Monsanto movement with other mothers of sick children. Monsanto is a biotechnology, agrochemical company which has been polluting the environment and human health with herbicides, pesticides, genetically modified foods, and other substances for decades. Numerous cases have been brought against Monsanto for biological damage and even death — such is the recent case in which farmers say the biotech giant’s creations spawned ‘devastating birth defects‘.

Near where Gatica lives, there are soybean fields covering the land where farmers spray loads of chemicals on the crops. The primary weed killer used on the fields is the one and only Roundup, the most popular herbicide used by farmers which contains the active ingredient glyphosate. Gatica didn’t initially connect the chemical exposure to her baby’s death until she noticed that many of her friends and neighbors were also experiencing health problems.

“I started seeing children with mouth covers, mothers with scarves wrapped around their heads to cover their baldness, due to chemotherapy…There are soybeans to the north, to the south, and to the east, and when they spray, they spray over the people because there’s no distance,” Gatica said to a Grist reporter.

In fact, researchers found that people in her area had three to four agricultural chemicals in their blood, including one chemical, endosulfan, which is banned in over 80 countries. The researchers also found that 33 percent of the residents were struck with cancer. In other previous German findings, Monsanto’s Roundup was present in all urine samples tested at an amount of 5 to 20-fold the established limit for drinking water, showing how prevalent these chemicals really are.

Read Full Article Here

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[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

Environmental

Eyeless Shrimp and Fish With Tumors: The Horrific Consequences of BP’s Spill

Despite mounting environmental and health consequences, not to mention the death of 11 workers, no executives have received jail time.
April 18, 2012  |

Marine Photo Bank / Flickr Creative Commons
Photo Credit: Marine Photo Bank / Flickr Creative Commons

Almost two full years after the BP oil spill, a panel of experts gathered at the 17th annual Tulane Environmental Law Summit, to present the continuing impacts of the BP Oil Spill. That spill began with the April 20th, 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling unit used by BP 40 miles off the Louisiana coast. Eleven men lost their lives. The resulting spill of oil into the Gulf of Mexico stands as the largest oil spill in U.S. history and the second largest environmental disaster in this country to date besides the nearly decade-long Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Scientists at the summit presented recent photographs of shrimp with no eyes and fish with cancerous tumors born long after the gulf was declared “safe” for fishing.

Read Full Article Here

Monsanto taking over global agriculture

Published on Apr 18, 2012 by

Monsanto has been on a mission to control US agriculture. With the help of politicians and regulation agencies, the biotechnology company has been putting many farmers out of business. Many critics of the company believe it is the right of the people to know if they are consuming genetically-modified food. Jeffrey Smith, author of Seeds of Deception, joins us with more on the Monsanto.

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Cyber Space

CISPA gets a rewrite but still threatens Americans’ privacy

Foes of controversial legislation rally before expected vote next week, with scant success so far: latest draft still allows Internet companies to share customer data and communications with the National Security Agency.

by

New revisions to a proposed federal cybersecurity law still would permit Internet companies to hand over confidential customer records and communications to the National Security Agency.

A recent torrent of criticism prompted the politicians behind the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act to circulate a revised version (PDF) of CISPA this evening before an expected floor vote next week. But the authors made only relatively minor tweaks.

The legislation remains so broad that the NSA could vacuum up “all sorts of sensitive information like Internet use information and the contents of e-mails,” ACLU legislative counsel Michelle Richardson told CNET.

CISPA is experiencing a milder form of the same kind of Internet backlash that doomed the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP early this year.

Advocacy groups, including the American Library Association, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the libertarian-leaning TechFreedom, launched a “Stop Cyber Spying” campaign today — complete with a write-your-congresscritter-via-Twitter app — and the bill has now drawn the ire of Anonymous. A letter (PDF) sent today by more than two dozen organizations, including the Republican Liberty Caucus, urges a “no” vote on CISPA, and more than 669,000 people have signed an anti-CISPA Web petition.

Read Full Article Here

Anonymous downs Home Office site for second time

By , ZDNet UK

NEWS

Anonymous has brought down the Home Office website for the second time, even though the department had prior warning of the hacking collective’s campaign of weekend attacks.

Anonymous logo

Hackers connected to Anonymous brought down the Home Office website for the second time in a matter of days. Image credit: Anonymous

A flood of traffic sent to Homeoffice.gov.uk led to intermittent outages on Saturday, but did not compromise internal systems, the government department said on Monday.

“The site was temporarily unavailable,” a Home Office spokeswoman told ZDNet UK. “The site was targeted by a distributed denial-of-service attack, and was flooded by the volume of traffic.”

Last weekend, the Anonymous group launched its Operation Trial at Home (OpTrialatHome) campaign to protest the extradition treaty the UK has with the US. NASA hacker Gary McKinnon, TVShack website operator Stephen O’Dwyer and Christopher Tappin have been affected by the treaty, which critics see as unbalanced.

Those attacks took down the websites run by the prime minister’s office and the Ministry of Justice, as well as the Home Office. Anonymous activists were successful for a second time in a matter of days because they varied their attack, the Home Office said in a statement on Monday.

“DDoS attacks are a difficult problem to tackle,” the government department said. “The threat environment is changing constantly, with hacktivists using different tools and techniques to frustrate existing defences.”

One of the hacktivists behind the UK Anonymous 2012 Twitter feed declined to tell ZDNet UK which attack tools the group had used at the weekend.

Read Full Article Here

April 18, 2012 | By Katitza Rodriguez

The Impending Cybersecurity Power Grab – It’s not just for the United States

EFF, OpenMedia.ca, CIPPIC and a number of civil society organizations have declared this to be ‘Stop Cyber Spying Week’ in protest of several controversial U.S. cybersecurity legislative proposals, including the bill currently before Congress and the Senate called CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing & Protection Act of 2011. While ‘Stop Cyber Spying Week’ is focused on U.S. initiatives, Canadians should be concerned as well as the adoption of a privacy-invasive U.S. cybersecurity strategy is likely to have serious implications for Canadian civil liberties. For this reason, Canadian civil society groups have joined the protest. In general, Canadians would do well to remain vigilant.

Using the guise of ‘cybersecurity’, CISPA aims to mobilize Internet intermediaries to institute a sweeping, privacy-invasive, voluntary information-sharing regime with few safeguards. The U.S. cybersecurity strategy, embodied in CISPA and other legislative proposals, also seeks to empower Internet companies to deploy ill-defined ‘countermeasures’ in order to combat these threats. Use of these powers is purportedly limited to situations addressing ‘cybersecurity’ threats, yet this term is so loosely defined that it can encompass almost anything – even, potentially, to investigate potential breaches of intellectual property rights!

The cornerstone of the privacy-invasive CISPA component is the establishment of private-public partnerships for information sharing. This creates a two-tiered regime that, on the one hand, facilitates the collection of personal Internet data by private Internet companies as well as the sharing of that information with the government and, on the other, allows government agencies to share information with private companies.

Read Full Article Here

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Survival / Sustainability

completed soapIf you have never made your own soap before, this the first of a two-part lesson.It is soap making for the total beginner. I have been making soap for years and recently decided to try to develop a recipe for a reliable batch of soap using ingredients I can easily obtain, instead of ordering exotic oils by mail.I am guessing this would make it easier for other people who are curious about making soap but don’t know how to begin.

Traditionally, people used a combination of wood ash and lard to make soap. The Soap Factory has an interesting account of the history and chemistry of soap making and the traditional methods of rendering fat and obtaining potash from wood ash.  I applaud the homesteader who chooses to make soap using materials at hand and traditional methods.  Those of us who want to make things easier need to purchase their materials. In place of wood ash we can easily find lye at any hardware store.  The oils are more difficult.  Many homemade soap recipes use coconut oil, palm oil and olive oil as the base ingredients. Soap made from these oils is nice and hard, it lathers well and it is soothing to the skin. The problem for me is that it is not that easy to find hydrogenated (solid at room temperature) coconut oil and palm oil where I live. When I am going to make a large quantity of soap, like many batches for holiday gifts, I don’t mind ordering oils by the mail from Columbus Foods.  They have a  “Soaper’s Choice area of their website with just about any exotic oil you could want in quantities as small as 7 pounds.  For smaller and one-time batches, this is not practical.  You can’t store oil for long periods of time because it gets rancid, especially in my very hot (in the summer) Chicago home. I thought maybe other people have avoided making soap due to the difficulty of obtaining supplies. Also, some people do not want to use palm oil because of  environmental concerns.  I decided to develop a very simple and basic soap recipe for the beginner using supplies you can buy easily.   We still want to make a batch of soap that is hard, produces lather and is gentle to the skin, but we are going to use oils that you can find at the grocery store and pharmacy.

For Part 1 of this soap making tutorial you will gather all of your materials. Next week you can combine them into a batch of soap.

Read Full Article  Here

Last week you gathered your materials and supplies. This week you can finally make your soap!

First, I’d like to remind you about safety. This is a project that uses a very dangerous material. Lye is sold in the drain cleaner department with lots of other nasty chemicals because it heats up to a very high temperature when it gets wet and literally burns through the stuff clogging your pipes.  You do not want to get it on your body or in your mouth or eyes.  You should plan on wearing gloves and eye protection when you are around the lye and make sure it is not anywhere where a child or pet can get near it.  Store the unused lye in a safe spot with other dangerous household chemicals.  You will only be using a few tablespoons of lye for this recipe. While caution needs to be exercised you will not have a giant cauldron of boiling lye to work with.  This is another reason why this is a good batch for the beginner.

Step 1

Measure the oils. Use a small lightweight bowl to measure each oil and add it to the cooking pot. (This should be a no-stick or stainless steel pot.) Measure and pour each oil separately.  If you are not sure how high your scale goes, divide the olive oil into two.  Each time you put the empty bowl on the scale make sure to clear the scale so that it starts at zero before you add anything. Wipe the bowl clean between oils. Measure 13 ounces of corn oil, 23 ounces of olive oil, and 2 sticks of cocoa butter (2 ounces total.) Slice up the cocoa butter first for quicker melting. Put the pan containing the oil on the stove to wait for the next step.

Step 2 lye

Following the safety guidelines, take one empty glass jar and put it on the scale and carefully weigh out 4.8 ounces of lye. You should have newspaper under the scale that you can gather up and throw away when you are done, in case any grains pop out of the jar. In another glass jar pour in 12 liquid ounces of water. Let the water sit until it is room temperature. When it is ready, pour the lye into the water and stir it in using a rubber spatula. Never pour the water into the lye. The lye goes into the water. Protect yourself from the fumes. This is the most dangerous part of the soap making process, when the lye water will quickly heat up to a very high temperature. Stir until the lye is dissolved and plan to revisit the lye water periodically to make sure everything is dissolved. Put it somewhere safe to cool down. If lye gets on you, quickly wash it off. It will sting slightly if it gets on your skin but can blind you if it gets in your eyes.

 Read Full Article Here

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Activism

13 Arrests as Occupy New Haven Camp Closes

The protesters, believed to live in one of the last Occupy encampments in New England, have been in a legal battle with the city.

Wednesday, Apr 18, 2012
13 Arrests as Occupy New Haven Camp Closes
Audrey Washington, NBC Connecticut

New Haven police have made at least six arrests.

Thirteen Occupy New Haven protesters were arrested as police moved them from their camp on the New Haven Green on Wednesday morning.

The city began cleaning up the green on Wednesday afternoon and officials estimate that the cost for cleanup will be $25,000, while the city expects the whole cost associated with the protest will be around $145,000 in taxpayer money.

The city also plans to assess the property to ensure that the trees are healthy because they have not been properly watered.

The deadline for the protesters to leave was 8 a.m. after the group lost its appeal in federal court in New York on Tuesday.

Occupy signs were gone and most of the tents were down before that.

Read Full Article Here

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[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

Environmental

 

Thawing permafrost may have led to extreme global warming events

 

by Staff Writers
Sheffield UK (SPX)

 


File image: thawing permafrost.

Scientists analysing prehistoric global warming say thawing permafrost released massive amounts of carbon stored in frozen soil of Polar Regions exacerbating climate change through increasing global temperatures and ocean acidification.

Although the amounts of carbon involved in the ancient soil-thaw scenarios was likely much greater than today, the implications of this ground-breaking study are that the long-term future of carbon deposits locked into frozen permafrost of Polar Regions are vulnerable to climate warming caused as humans emit the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide by burning fossil fuels for energy generation.

Researchers in centres across America, Italy and the University of Sheffield, analyzed a series of sudden, and extreme, global warming events – called hyper thermals – that occurred about 55 million years ago, linked to rising greenhouse gas concentrations and changes in Earth’s orbit, which led to a massive release of carbon into the atmosphere, ocean acidification, and a five degrees Celsius rise in global temperature within just a few thousand years.

It was previously thought that the source of carbon was in the ocean, in the form of frozen methane gas in ocean-floor sediments but now the experts believe the carbon released into the atmosphere millions of years ago came from the Polar Regions.

Professor David Beerling, of the University of Sheffield’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, said: “For the first time, we have linked these past global warming events with a climatically sensitive terrestrial carbon reservoir rather than a marine one. It shows that global warming can be amplified by carbon release from thawing permafrost.”

“The research suggests that carbon stored in permafrost stocks today in the Arctic region is vulnerable to warming. Warming causes permafrost thaw and decomposition of organic matter releasing more greenhouse gases back into the atmosphere.

“This feedback loop could accelerate future warming. It means we must arrest carbon dioxide emissions released by the combustion of fossil fuels if humanity wishes to avoid triggering these sorts of feedbacks in our modern world.”

The breakthrough was made through cross-disciplinary collaborations with climate and vegetation modellers, isotope geochemists and permafrost experts led by Rob DeConto at the University of Massachusetts, in collaboration with the University of Sheffield, Yale, the University of Colorado, Penn State, and the University of Urbino, Italy.

Rob DeConto added: “Similar dynamics are at play today. Global warming is degrading permafrost in the north Polar Regions, unlocking once-frozen carbon and methane and releasing it into the atmosphere. This will only exacerbate future warming in a positive feedback loop.”

The temperature of Earth’s atmosphere is a result of energy input from the sun minus what escapes back into space. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere absorbs and traps heat that would otherwise return to space.

The global warming events were accompanied by a massive input of carbon to the atmosphere plus ocean acidification, and were characterized by a global temperature rise of about five degrees Celsius within a few thousand years.

Until now, scientists have been unable to account for the massive amounts of carbon required to cause such dramatic global warming events and Antarctica, which on today’s Earth is covered by kilometres of ice, has not been appreciated as an important player in such global carbon dynamics.

The research is published in the journal Nature.

 

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Cyber Space

 

Internet can help, not start, democracy

 

by Staff Writers
Columbus, Ohio (UPI)

 


disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

The use of the Internet to promote democracy is most effective in countries already enacting reforms to move in that direction, U.S. researchers say.

The common assumption that the Internet played a major role leading to democratic revolutions in the Arab world and elsewhere is likely an exaggeration, they said.

“Instead of the Internet promoting fundamental political change, it seems to reinforce political change in countries that already have at least some level of democratic freedoms,” researcher Erik Nisbet, a professor of communication at Ohio State University, said.

“Internet use is a less effective means to mobilize citizens for democracy in extremely authoritarian countries,” he said in an OSU release Wednesday.

Demand for democracy is highest in countries where more people are connected to the Internet, the researches said, and in countries where Internet users spend more time on the Web.

“Internet penetration in a country matters in terms of how much people want democratic reforms, but it is even more important that people are spending greater amounts of time on the Internet and that they are connected to other people in their community,” study co-author Elizabeth Stoycheff said.

The researchers analyzed data on 28 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia that evaluated how much the citizens in each country demanded democracy and their frequency of Internet use.

Some countries have the right political and technological mix for the Internet to play a role in social and political change, the researchers said, but countries with highly authoritarian regimes are not likely to see democracy flourishing anytime soon regardless of use of the Internet.

“Our results suggest that the Internet can’t plant the seed of democracy in a country,” Nisbet said. “However, the Internet may help democracy flourish if it has already started to grow.”

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Survival / Sustainability

 

Useful lessons learned from the Great Depression

 

by M.D. Creekmore


This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest  by MtWoman

(Note: the numbers in certain places are references to the links and info provided at the end.)

Recently, there was a discussion here on the SBlog (as I like to call it) about what knowledge and wisdom our parents and grandparents may have to share with us from their experiences during the depression. I decided to “interview” my father on the subject, using the specific questions that Hunker-Down and Bam-Bam proposed, and expanding from there using my own questions.

It was a very good experience for me. My father is a tough German man, and is seldom open to such things, especially because having to ‘think back’ reveals to him how his memory is failing. But I was gentle and patient and this time he opened up quite a bit. I learned a lot about him, other members of our family, and myself. Discussing my family of origin, and what their lives were like has given me a better understanding of how I am, and what life was like ‘back then’…and what I can do to ‘prep’ for my own future. I’ll share with you here what I found out.

First a little history:

It seems that my father, who was born in 1925, making him 4 years old when the market crashed at the start of the Depression, didn’t have a very hard time of it, really.

His parents were German immigrants, who had been “sponsored” (1) by some other family members to come to the US. In those days, immigrants had to be “sponsored” for a year, which meant someone vouched that you would not become a “burden to society” and they would cover your financial needs until a job was found. There were other requirements, like taking the “umlaut” (those two little dots over some letters) off your name if you had one, which my grandparents had to do. My grandfather came over first (1922), and my grandmother came a year later. They were married here in the US in 1924.

When my father was born and through his childhood, my grandfather worked, and my grandmother was a housewife. They had a small house in Minnesota (one of my most favorite places to go in the summer as a kid). It had a couple of bedrooms, a kitchen, a ‘sitting’ room, and – my favorite – a screened in front porch where I would sleep on a cot sometimes in the Summer, and watch the train go by on the tracks just across the street.

There was electricity in the house and running water and ‘flush’ toilets. They had an apple tree, a good garden, and a ‘cellar’…a space under the house with a hardened dirt floor. I remember there being bushel baskets of root vegetables down there and some jars on shelves. My grandfather had some barrels at the corners of the eaves of the garage which gathered rain water. Their house was 1-2 miles from downtown…..

 

Read The  Full Article Here

 

 

How much water is enough?

 

by M.D. Creekmore


This is a guest post by Tom Sciacca of CampingSurvival.com Yes .

If you like food as much as I do, it’s hard to imagine that our body can actually go weeks without food. It wouldn’t be fun, of course, but it can be done. But without water, our bodies can get into serious trouble quickly – just a matter of days before dehydration can set in. So why is it that many people keep lots of extra food stored in their houses, but neglect to store any water?

This subject came to mind recently when my cousin told me about having to endure a power outage with no drinkable water. Since power outages often impact water treatment facilities, tap water can be unsafe for drinking. The situation was made worse by the fact that her child had vomiting and diarrhea, which meant that there was an even greater need for drinking water, as well as water for cleaning, sanitation and hand washing.

For instance, a mixture of water and chlorine bleach would have greatly assisted in sanitizing around her child, helping to ensure that others didn’t also get sick. And obviously, you wouldn’t want to clean up after such a mess without being able to thoroughly wash your hands. (As a dad, I know that’s NOT fun!) Finally, water for food preparation is a supply you’ll need over and above what you plan to drink.

Now if you look at the conventional wisdom out on the internet, you’ll find guidelines such as the following:….

 

Read Full Article Here

 

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Activism

 

The Wonderful, Unpredictable Life of the Occupy Movement

 

By Arun Gupta, Truthout

Occupy Wall StreetOccupy Wall Street demonstration on March 15, 2012. (Photo: Sunset Parkerpix)

I met Nomi on a bus in Baltimore. She was from Wisconsin and had been involved with Occupy Wall Street. She was part of Occupy Judaism and fondly recalled the Yom Kippur services she attended at the Wall Street occupation with hundreds of other people. Nomi said that, for the first time, she and her friends felt like they could combine the religious and radical dimensions of Judaism. The conversation fell silent as the bus rolled along. Suddenly she turned to me and excitedly announced that she met her girlfriend at Liberty Plaza. I smiled and responded, “That’s why Occupy Wall Street matters.”

By enabling people to find fulfillment in all parts of their lives, whether romantic, spiritual, political or cultural, the Occupy movement is more than a movement. It is life-changing. People experience themselves as complete social beings, not just as angry, alienated protesters. Nomi said she was no longer involved in the movement, which I thought was more evidence of why the actual occupations were so important.

The emergence of every mass movement makes sense in hindsight, but no one could have predicted hundreds of occupations and thousands of groups would pop up across the United States just weeks after a ragged encampment secured a tenuous foothold on Wall Street last September. Sure, anger was boiling over prior to the takeover of Zuccotti Park in downtown Manhattan, but the occupation crystallized who is to blame for the economic crisis and who are the legitimate people. Anyone could walk into the public space, share their stories, find people with similar grievances and help build micro-societies. Occupy wasn’t just a rejection of Washington and Wall Street. It revealed the failings of liberals, unions and the left. New activists didn’t first have to master volumes of social and cultural theory, attend grueling anti-oppression workshops and learn how to pepper their comments with academic jargon before joining. Nor did the movement require consultants, focus groups or polling to occupy the center of American politics with a radical left message. And the form was not the same old rallies with canned chants, pre-printed protest signs and preaching to the choir.

It’s worth considering why Occupy Wall Street was such a smashing success last fall, as well as where it is headed. While the media lens has shifted away, Occupy has spawned a menagerie of energized movements and ambitious plans. Veteran organizer David Solnit, who is involved with Bay Area Occupy movements, sums up the current state: “The numbers showing up at GAs have dropped. Any movement has its mass mobilization and its in-between times. The organizing a lot of people are doing around housing and education are less visible but go much deeper. We need a better measuring tape than numbers and public space and whether it’s amplified through media owned by the 1 percent.”

Like plants that lay dormant for the winter conserving energy, many occupations are blossoming anew with ambitious plans now that it’s spring. Solnit says in San Francisco the movement is defending a dozen families in foreclosure, and is working toward a citywide moratorium on bank foreclosures and evictions. In Los Angeles, organizers say May Day plans include large-scale marches by immigrants and unions, rolling street blockades and even an attempt to disrupt the main airport. In New York and around the country, a campaign has been launched called “F the Banks” to force the government to dismantle Bank of America, which is still receiving taxpayer subsidies. In Chicago, after the G8 summit set for May was moved to Camp David because of fear of large-scale protests, activists are moving forward with large-scale demonstrations to coincidence with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) meeting the same month.

Challenging the status quo comes with costs. As the Occupy movement struggles to effect radical social change, it faces persistent police attacks and co-optation by Democratic Party forces from the outside and divisions over identity politics, militancy, localism and diffusion from the inside.

Read Full Article Here

 

 

Writer fled China to ‘publish book’ on dissident

by Staff Writers
Hong Kong (AFP) April 6, 2012

 

A Chinese dissident who wrote a book critical of the country’s leadership has said he fled into exile after being warned against publishing a biography of a jailed Nobel laureate.

Yu Jie, a writer who in 2010 published “Wen Jiabao: China’s Best Actor” despite threats of jail time, fled to Washington with his family in January after he was “subjected to torture” and faced restrictions on publishing.

In an interview aired Friday on Hong Kong broadcaster RTHK, Yu said that his decision to flee Beijing was also prompted by his urge to pursue a book project on fellow dissident Liu Xiaobo, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.

“The secret police told me I will be jailed if the book is published,” he said.

“(I fled)… to make sure the biography can be published overseas,” the 38-year-old told RTHK without saying when the book will be released.

He described the decision to flee as “painful” and said he believed he would not be able to return to Beijing within the next five years.

The writer said he had been warned against criticising the Communist Party or speaking out against China abroad.

Yu has previously said he came under tighter surveillance after Liu won the Nobel Prize.

He has also complained that he was forbidden from publishing or practicing his religion. He is a member of a Protestant church which is not authorised by the Chinese government.

Liu, 56, is the only Nobel Peace Prize winner in prison. He wrote a bold manifesto for democracy called Charter 08 and was jailed for 11 years for subversion on Christmas Day 2009.

Human rights groups frequently voice concern about Chinese dissidents who remain in the country including prominent rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng.

Gao, who has defended some of China’s most vulnerable people including Christians and coal miners, was detained in February 2009 and had been held largely incommunicado by authorities except for a brief release in March 2010.

Gao’s brother said last week that was allowed to meet with him in a remote jail for the first time in nearly two years, allaying fears for his well-being.

China rights couple hear trial verdict on Tuesday
Beijing (AFP) April 7, 2012 – The verdict in the trial of rights activists Ni Yulan and her husband will be announced on Tuesday, a year after the couple were detained amid growing unrest in China, their daughter said Saturday.

Ni and Dong Jiqin, who have long helped victims of government-backed land grabs, were detained in April last year as authorities rounded up scores of activists amid online calls for protests similar to those in the Arab world.

In a brief December trial they were charged with “picking quarrels, provoking trouble and willfully destroying private and public property” — charges lawyers and supporters say were trumped up to silence them.

“Our lawyer told me the verdict will be read by the Beijing Western District court on Tuesday morning,” daughter Dong Xuan, 27, told AFP.

“They are not guilty and should be released, but I fear that my mother will be sentenced to at least three years as a repeat offender. I am hoping that my father will be released for time served.”

The couple’s lawyer last visited them in February, she said. Ni, 51, remains ill and is suffering from fever, a swollen neck and has trouble speaking.

Ni spent much of the trial lying on a bed in the courtroom due to her poor health and needed a respirator to breathe.

The couple have provided legal assistance to numerous families around China who have been forcibly evicted from their homes in government-backed land requisitions, a major cause of unrest in China.

Their battle to oppose the land grabs began in 2001 after their courtyard home in central Beijing was requisitioned and marked for demolition.

Trained as a lawyer, Ni was sentenced to a year in jail in 2002 for “obstructing official business,” and for two years in 2008 for “harming public property” — charges brought against her as she tried to protect her home.

She was also disbarred in 2002.

In January, Dong Xuan was barred by police from leaving China to collect a 100,000-euro (131,000) human rights award for her mother in the Netherlands.

She says she remains under police surveillance.

Ni’s case has been championed by numerous Western governments, including the United States and the European Union, which sent representatives to meet with her during her brief period of freedom in 2010.

Related Links
China News from SinoDaily.com

 

 

Day 207: Live Coverage of the Occupy Movement

Josh Harkinson, Special Coverage:

As we enter Day 207 of the Occupy movements the protests have spread not only across the country but all over the globe. Thousands of activists have descended on Wall Street these past weeks as part of the #OccupyWallStreet protest organized by several action groups. What follows is a live video stream and live Twitter feed of this event….

Read Full Article Here

 

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Articles of Interest

 

Bald eagle in crosshairs of US fight over lead bullets

by Staff Writers
Boyce, Virginia (AFP) April 7, 2012

 

The bald eagle that came into wildlife rehabilitator Belinda Burwell’s care last month, just as the hunting season was coming to a close in North America, was a shadow of its former self.

The stiff and wobbly bird clung to life but showed distinct signs of lead poisoning, likely from scavenging the remains of big game left by hunters who killed their prey with lead bullets.

“She couldn’t walk, couldn’t fly,” said Burwell. “If she tried to move, she would fall over, she would stumble.”

Environmental groups say 20 million birds die worldwide each year from eating bits of lead in animal carcasses, because many US hunters use lead ammunition which leaves 3,000 tons of toxic fragments in gut piles and unclaimed kills.

The dangers of lead have been well known for decades, and steps have been taken to prevent human consumption by removing it from paint, gasoline, pipes, children’s jewelry and more.

A ban on hunters’ use of lead shot for killing waterfowl was passed in the United States in the early 1990s because birds were being poisoned by ingesting the pieces that fell into waterways and ponds.

But the question of whether to do the same for hunters on land has thrust the eagle, the national symbol of America, into a fresh political battle over gun rights and environmental protection.

On one side is the powerful US gun lobby, which disputes science on lead poisoning and insists that any measures to regulate lead ammunition would spell a ban on hunting in all its forms, infringe on gun rights and raise costs.

On the other is a dogged but weary wildlife protection movement that is pressing the Environmental Protection Agency to take steps to regulate the use of lead ammunition in order to protect birds and humans against lead poisoning.

Both have adopted the bald eagle as a symbol of their efforts, with the bird featuring on the cover of the Center for Biological Diversity’s petition to the EPA as well as on the web page of the National Rifle Association.

“This is the last unregulated, widespread distribution of toxic lead into the environment,” said Jeff Miller of the Center for Biological Diversity, which is seeking US federal rules to require non-toxic bullets in hunting and shooting sports.

— Gun-grabbers disguised as nature lovers —

“We know it is getting into the food chain. We also know that humans are eating it and there is no safe level of lead in the human body so it is most certainly a human health issue too.”

Miller said 150 groups in 40 states now support the petition, including hunters, scientists, American Indians, conservationists and veterinarians.

The EPA turned down a similar request for a ban on lead bullets in 2010, saying it did not have the authority to regulate ammunition. However, environmental advocates say the EPA does have the right to regulate components of ammunition.

More than a dozen countries in Europe have banned lead ammunition for hunting waterfowl and Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden are among a handful of countries that have totally banned lead bullets.

Germany, Japan and Belgium have passed limited restrictions on their use.

The Peregrine Fund, a nonprofit group in Idaho, has posted online a host of peer-reviewed studies on the effects of lead on wildlife, with some figures showing as many as 10-15 percent of young eagles die each year from lead poisoning.

While the bald eagle is no longer a threatened population in the United States, it and other birds that scavenge like the endangered California Condors, vultures, herons and golden eagles, are among the species most at risk.

One study by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources showed how a lead ballistic tip bullet could fragment into an average of 141 pieces per carcass, reaching as far as 14 inches from the wound (35 cm), indicating a danger for humans who eat meat killed with lead bullets, too.

Pro-gun groups like the National Shooting and Sports Foundation say there is no “sound science” to support a ban.

“If wildlife management decisions become about preventing harm to individuals within a species and not about managing a species itself, then you have essentially made the argument to ban hunting,” said Lawrence Keane, senior vice president of the NSSF.

The NRA has urged Congress to “step in and ensure this restriction never happens,” asserting that the effort is being headed by “gun-grabbers… disguised as nature lovers.”

A House subcommittee in late February approved a bill that would prevent the EPA from taking action on the CBD’s petition, and some senators with ties to sportsmen’s groups are considering the same.

Rick Watson of the Peregrine Fund said switching to copper bullets costs the same as buying a box of premium lead ammunition, about $45 a box, while the cheapest lead ammo can be had for $15.

“Hunters historically and traditionally have been some of the best conservationists this country has had. And given accurate facts we believe the vast majority will choose to use lead-free ammunition because it protects the wildlife they so enjoy,” he said.

Matt Miller, an outdoor writer and hunter, said he switched to copper bullets years ago after learning of the dangers of lead, and is pleased with the results.

“It has not increased the cost of my hunting. The bottom line is if you know your rifle and you shoot it well, a big game hunting trip costs you one bullet.”

Burwell, who has been treating her eagle for three weeks and is ready to release her into the wild on Saturday, said she is not optimistic that the EPA will act.

“With the NRA pushing to prevent any type of regulation, the word on the wildlife side is it will never happen,” she said.

“It depends on who has the most money. Doesn’t it seem sometimes that that is who wins these things?”

Related Links
Darwin Today At TerraDaily.com

 

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