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.

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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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