Thursday, March 31, 2005

The State of the World? It is on the Brink of Disaster

An Authoritative Study of the Biological Relationships Vital to Maintaining Life has Found Disturbing Evidence of Man-made Degradation
by Steve Connor

"Planet Earth stands on the cusp of disaster and people should no longer take it for granted that their children and grandchildren will survive in the environmentally degraded world of the 21st century. This is not the doom-laden talk of green activists but the considered opinion of 1,300 leading scientists from 95 countries who will today publish a detailed assessment of the state of the world at the start of the new millennium. "

New Scientist Breaking News - Injecting crack cocaine is surprisingly common

For a number of years, the needle exchange program has been giving crack injectors citric acid to use in their injections rather than vinegar, which produces "horrible abscesses", says the administrator. "But regardless, a crack injection is going to burn your veins."

: "Crack cocaine is being injected - not just smoked - by a significant number of US drug users, reveals the first large survey of the practice. The phenomenon is particularly worrisome because it is associated with more high-risk behaviour, such as sharing needles and having unprotected sex, than other intravenous drugs."

How to make steelmaking 'green?' Add some plastic. |

How to make steelmaking 'green?' Add some plastic. | "SYDNEY A trash bin is not the first place most people would search when hunting for ingredients to make steel.
But to Veena Sahajwalla, plastic castoffs represent a potential 'green' solution to some of the environmental problems that result when today's scrap metal is converted into tomorrow's girders. Where today's furnaces use coal, she envisions partially replacing it with waste plastic. Think of it as 'beating' plastic grocery bags into plowshares."

The New York Times > National > Fish Farms Tied in Study to Imperiling Wild Salmon

Farmed salmon infect wild stocks with sea lice, study finds

A new study of wild and farmed salmon in the Pacific Northwest
reveals that farmed salmon breed parasitic sea lice that infect
juvenile wild salmon swimming nearby and could affect stocks of other
important commercial species. A Canadian research trio looked at some
5,500 young salmon as they swam through a narrow channel past a
salmon farm, and they recorded unnaturally high rates of lice
infestation as the small fish migrated through a cloud of lice
stretching nearly 19 miles around the farm, which itself is only
about one-eighth of a mile. "Conservatively, this means that the
parasite footprint of the farm is 150 times larger than the farm
itself," said study coauthor John Volpe. But the troublesome
parasites aren't the only nasties to come out of fish farms; a study
in the journal Science last year found more cancer-causing PCBs in
farmed fish than in their wild-caught counterparts, and in Europe,
chemicals used to control the parasites and dye the salmon pink have
led enviros to encourage boycotts of farm-raised salmon.

BBC NEWS | Health | Brain chip reads man's thoughts

"A paralysed man in the US has become the first person to benefit from a brain chip that reads his mind.":

Welcome to Canada


If the national mental illness of the United States is megalomania, that of Canada is paranoid schizophrenia
-Margaret Atwood, Canadian writer

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Fewer trees, less rain: study uncovers deforestation equation

Australian scientists say they have found proof that cutting down forests reduces rainfall.
: "The finding, independent of previous anecdotal evidence and computer modelling, uses physics and chemistry to show how the climate changes when forests are lost.
Ann Henderson-Sellers, director of environment at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, at Lucas Heights, and Dr Kendal McGuffie, from the University of Technology, Sydney, made the discovery by analysing variations in the molecular structure of rain along the Amazon River.
Not all water, Professor Henderson-Sellers said, was made from the recipe of two atoms of 'common' hydrogen and one of 'regular' oxygen.
About one in every 500 water molecules had its second hydrogen atom replaced by a heavier version called deuterium. And one in every 6500 molecules included a heavy version of the oxygen atom.
Knowing the ratio allowed scientists to trace the Amazon's water as it flowed into the Atlantic, evaporated, blew back inland with the trade winds to fall again as rain, and finally returned to the river.
Advertisement'It's as if the water was tagged,' she said.
While the heavier water molecules were slower to evaporate from rivers and groundwater, they were readily given off by the leaves of plants and trees, through transpiration.
'Transpiration pumps these heavy guys back into the atmosphere.'
But the study showed that since the 1970s the ratio of the heavy molecules found in rain over the Amazon and the Andes had declined significantly.
The only possible explanation was that they were no longer being returned to the atmosphere to fal"

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Global warming allows beetles to attack whitebark pines

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle: "There's an incredibly effective predator in the woods, a real life giant killer. And it is marching, taking new life and succor from the hot, dry climate that vexes so much of the West.

For most plants and animals, such weather is an enemy. But mountain pine beetles are different. For them, it's time to breed and feast, to colonize new places. And that's exactly what they're doing."

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Rice to Mexico, Canada:

" no leftists governments unless they respect limits to power... : 'She said that Washington would permit leftist governments to come to power as long as they chose to govern within a 'democratic structure,' leaving it quite clear who got to define 'democratic structure' no land redistributions, no nationalizations, no overly independent foreign and economic policies. Mexico and its potential presidential candidates, that is, should not only think about the acceptable limits of governance, but should start seriously thinking about the country's relationship with Venezuela, and even, perhaps, with the overly independent countries of Mercosur.' Submitted on March 26, 2005 4:50 a.m. by StephenDownes."

Thursday, March 24, 2005

A seaweed soaks up TNT - and may help clean oceans |

A seaweed soaks up TNT - and may help clean oceans | "It's the same stuff used to wrap sushi.
But the real surprise lies down the hall, where Dr. Cheney, a research biologist at Northeastern University in Boston, has transformed the Japanese treat into a 'super sponge.' So far, it can sop up and neutralize TNT leaking from unexploded shells in coastal bombing ranges. But if Cheney and other researchers are right, the seaweed has the potential to scrub everything from polluted rivers to oceans.
There's just one catch. The first edition of the cleanup seaweed is genetically engineered."

PhysOrg: Climate change poorly understood by US public, survey finds

PhysOrg: Climate change poorly understood by US public, survey finds: "Climate change and the threat of global warming are poorly understood by the U.S. public, and taking action to reduce their impact is not a high priority, according to a recent MIT survey.
These results suggest that change in U.S. climate policy will not be led by public opinion. Elected officials will have to provide leadership--a task they will find difficult because achieving significant reduction of the greenhouse gases linked to climate change may involve economic costs well above what the average consumer is willing to pay. "

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

- An Immoral And Illegal War -

BELLACIAO - An Immoral And Illegal War - Collective Bellaciao: "Destroying Iraq Isn't Enough for Bush An Immoral and Illegal War
Remarks at Chicago Anti-War Rally, March 19, 2005"

Startling Scientists, Plant Fixes Its Flawed Gene

The New York Times > Science > Startling Scientists, Plant Fixes Its Flawed Gene: "In a startling discovery, geneticists at Purdue University say they have found plants that possess a corrected version of a defective gene inherited from both their parents, as if some handy backup copy with the right version had been made in the grandparents' generation or earlier.
The finding implies that some organisms may contain a cryptic backup copy of their genome that bypasses the usual mechanisms of heredity. If confirmed, it would represent an unprecedented exception to the laws of inheritance discovered by Gregor Mendel in the 19th century. Equally surprising, the cryptic genome appears not to be made of DNA, the standard hereditary material. "

New Scientist Breaking News - Cracks may force shutdown of UK reactors

New Scientist Breaking News - Cracks may force shutdown of UK reactors: "Reactors in many UK nuclear power stations are in danger of developing cracks in their graphite cores. This could force some plants to close down earlier than expected, dealing a blow to the idea that nuclear power can become a 'green' option in the fight against global warming. "

Friday, March 18, 2005

Secret US Plans for Iraq's Oil

The Bush administration made plans for war and for Iraq's oil before the 9/11 attacks : " sparking a policy battle between neo-cons and Big Oil, BBC's Newsnight has revealed.
Two years ago today - when President George Bush announced US, British and Allied forces would begin to bomb Baghdad - protestors claimed the US had a secret plan for Iraq's oil once Saddam had been conquered.
In fact there were two conflicting plans, setting off a hidden policy war between neo-conservatives at the Pentagon, on one side, versus a combination of 'Big Oil' executives and US State Department 'pragmatists.'
'Big Oil' appears to have won. The latest plan, obtained by Newsnight from the US State Department was, we learned, drafted with the help of American oil industry consultants.
Insiders told Newsnight that planning began 'within weeks' of Bush's first taking office in 2001, long before the September 11th attack on the US. "

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Bobby Fischer can go if Iceland grants citizenship

Jailed Grand Master Bobby Fischer will be free to leave Japan if Iceland grants him citizenship, Social Democratic Party President Mizuho Fukushima told reporters at Tokyo's Justice Ministry on Wednesday:

Europe Seeks Ideas on Cutting Aircraft Climate Impact

"The largest impacts of aircraft on climate are through CO2, nitrogen oxides, and contrail formation,according to one technical document, 'Aviation and the Global Atmosphere,' a publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a worldwide team of thousands of scientists established by the World Meteorological Organization and the UN Environment Programme. "

Europe Seeks Ideas on Cutting Aircraft Climate Impact

"The largest impacts of aircraft on climate are through CO2, nitrogen oxides, and contrail formation,according to one technical document, 'Aviation and the Global Atmosphere,' a publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a worldwide team of thousands of scientists established by the World Meteorological Organization and the UN Environment Programme. "

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Himalayan glaciers 'melting fast'

Melting glaciers in the Himalayas could lead to water shortages for hundreds of millions of people, the conservation group WWF has warned.
In a report, the WWF says India, China and Nepal could experience floods followed by droughts in coming decades.

The Himalayas contain the largest store of water outside the polar ice caps, and feed seven great Asian rivers.

The group says immediate action against climate change could slow the rate of melting, which is increasing annually.

Chain Saw Thins Flocks of Migrants on Gold Wings

"There used to be rivers of butterflies, but now there are years when there are no butterflies at all," : "Hardier genetically altered corn and soybean crops in the United States and Canada, in the breadbasket areas that are the monarch's main summer conjugal grounds, have enabled farmers to use stronger herbicides to eliminate weeds. That has drastically depleted the supply of flowers on which the butterflies feed, as well as common milkweed, on which the monarch lays its eggs in the spring and summer and on which its larvae feed, several biologists say. "

Saturday, March 12, 2005

ACLU/CNN: Detained children at Abu Ghraib abused while parents forced to watch

ACLU/CNN: Detained children at Abu Ghraib abused while parents forced to watch

Pentagon chiefs cleared over prisoner abuse.

Pentagon chiefs cleared over prisoner abuse. 11/03/2005. ABC News OnlinePentagon chiefs cleared over prisoner abuse - - The Pentagon has cleared itself of any high-level responsibility for the abuse of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.
TVNL Comment: Nobody in this administration has been held to account for anything. There is no balance of power. This is a dictatorship with a republic (not democracy) wrapper.

Troops will be protected from radiation: Army chief.

"The Chief of the Army says Australian troops going into southern Iraq will be protected against depleted uranium ammunition. ":The Gulf wars have left Iraq littered with depleted uranium

Friday, March 11, 2005

NDP Parliamentarians Work To Protect Farmers’ Right To Save Seeds

HALIFAX AND TIMMINS NDP Foreign Affairs Critic Alexa McDonough and NDP Agriculture Critic Charlie Angus are fighting back against a Liberal attempt to obliterate farmers traditional right to save seeds. : "
For generations, the world's farmers have harvested seeds from their crops to replant for the next season. This practice must be preserved in Canada, and is crucial to farmers in developing countries, yet it is threatened by multi-national corporations who seek to control the world's food supply.
McDonough has tabled a motion at the Foreign Affairs Committee to bring together Foreign Affairs, International Trade, International Development and Agriculture Committee members for a special meeting with members of The Working Group on Canada's Policy with Regards to Agricultural Biotechnology and Developing Countries. "

Nobel Prize winner warns severe global climate change

Xinhua - EnglishThe earth is still under grave threat of global warning caused by intensified fossil fuel use although the chlorofluoro carbons level in atmosphere had been dropping for the past 30 years, MarioJ. Molina, Nobel Prize Laureate in chemistry was quoted by BangkokPost newspaper as saying here on Thursday.

Mario won the prestigious prize in 1995 for the development of "CFC-ozone depletion theory," which found that continued release of CFCs into the atmosphere could lead to significant depletion ofozone layer, which shields the earth's surface from the damaging ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

He said the best way to cope with global warning is a shift of energy sources from fossil fuels to renewable energy, installationof carbon-capture technology in coal-fired power plants and development of energy-saving transport system.

Monday, March 07, 2005

How the Chinese Execute women by firing squad

Hanco's Media

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Apache kills

Apache kills: "I found this somewhere on the web. This was in iraq 2003 or 2004 and is footage from an apache helicopter video"

Friday, March 04, 2005

JC's reviews

JC's reviews: "AF2025 v3c15-1 | Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning... | (Ch 1) []
Weather as a Force Multiplier:
Owning the Weather in 2025"

Gigantic solar storms slash ozone levels

"The gigantic solar storms of November 2003 severely depleted the ozone layer above the Arctic for as long as eight months, suggest newly released satellite observations. Ozone levels had reduced to just 40% of normal spring levels in 2004.
: 'We have never seen ozone close to this level in the northern hemisphere,' says Cora Randall, a researcher with the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado at Boulder, US, and one of the study team."

New Scientist Breaking News - Maximum pain is aim of new US weapon

"The US military is funding development of a weapon that delivers a bout of excruciating pain from up to 2 kilometres away.Intended for use against rioters, it is meant to leave victims unharmed. But pain researchers are furious that work aimed at controlling pain has been used to develop a weapon. And they fear that the technology will be used for torture.
'I am deeply concerned about the ethical aspects of this research,' says Andrew Rice, a consultant in pain medicine at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London, UK. 'Even if the use of temporary severe pain can be justified as a restraining measure, which I do not believe it can, the long-term physical and psychological effects are unknown.'"

More contrails over Comox (2001)
Posted by Hello

Little Lost Canadians

THERE has been a great deal of muddled thinking over the missile-defence issue and its relationship to the North American Aerospace Defence Command: "The clear and simple fact is that Paul Martin and the Liberals have already given the United States exactly what it sought to begin with -- full co-operation by NORAD in missile-defence work. Last August, Ottawa and Washington agreed that NORAD's aerospace warning function would be used 'in support of the designated commands responsible for missile defence of North America.' NORAD was already, by signature of Canadian ambassador Michael Kergin, an integral part of the missile-defence structure.
Since Canada already provides manpower for the NORAD early-warning and battle-command posts at our expense, and as these are free gifts to the operation of the missile-defence program, there is no reason to think that Canada is getting a free ride. In fact, Washington gets the extra staffing without paying the bill. The lesson of history is that Canada does not have to participate in U.S. missile-defence plans, and that NORAD was never at risk. A desire to placate Washington is the only reason for further involving Canada in the current U.S. missile-defence scheme through back-door deals and quiet support."


GRAIN | BIO-IPR | In 2004 two laws have been proposed -- a seed Act and a Patent Ordinance which could forever destroy the biodiversity of our seeds and crops, and rob farmers of all freedoms, establishing a seed dictatorship. ": "Since the beginning of farming, farmers have sown seeds, harvested crops, saved part of the harvest for seeds, exchanged seeds with neighbours. Every ritual in India involves seeds, the very symbol of life's renewal.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Smackdown delivered to Condi Rice

Daily Kos :: Political Analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation.: "Missile Counter-Attack

Axworthy fires back at U.S. -- and Canadian -- critics of our BMD decision in An Open Letter to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

Thursday, March 3rd, 2005


Dear Condi, I'm glad you've decided to get over your fit of pique and venture north to visit your closest neighbour. It's a chance to learn a thing or two. Maybe more.

I know it seems improbable to your divinely guided master in the White House that mere mortals might disagree with participating in a missile-defence system that has failed in its last three tests, even though the tests themselves were carefully rigged to show results.

But, gosh, we folks above the 49th parallel are somewhat cautious types who can't quite see laying down billions of dollars in a three-dud poker game.

As our erstwhile Prairie-born and bred (and therefore prudent) finance minister pointed out in presenting his recent budget, we've had eight years of balanced or surplus financial accounts. If we're going to spend money, Mr. Goodale added, it will be on day-care and health programs, and even on more foreign aid and improved defence.

Sure, that doesn't match the gargantuan, multi-billion-dollar deficits that your government blithely runs up fighting a "liberation war" in Iraq, laying out more than half of all weapons expenditures in the world, and giving massive tax breaks to the top one per cent of your population while cutting food programs for poor children.

Just chalk that up to a different sense of priorities about what a national government's role should be when there isn't a prevailing mood of manifest destiny.

Coming to Ottawa might also expose you to a parliamentary system that has a thing called question period every day, where those in the executive are held accountable by an opposition for their actions, and where demands for public debate on important topics such a missile defence can be made openly.

You might also notice that it's a system in which the governing party's caucus members are not afraid to tell their leader that their constituents don't want to follow the ideological, perhaps teleological, fantasies of Canada's continental co-inhabitant. And that this leader actually listens to such representations.

Your boss did not avail himself of a similar opportunity to visit our House of Commons during his visit, fearing, it seems, that there might be some signs of dissent. He preferred to issue his diktat on missile defence in front of a highly controlled, pre-selected audience.

Such control-freak antics may work in the virtual one-party state that now prevails in Washington. But in Canada we have a residual belief that politicians should be subject to a few checks and balances, an idea that your country once espoused before the days of empire.

If you want to have us consider your proposals and positions, present them in a proper way, through serious discussion across the table in our cabinet room, as your previous president did when he visited Ottawa. And don't embarrass our prime minister by lobbing a verbal missile at him while he sits on a public stage, with no chance to respond.

Now, I understand that there may have been some miscalculations in Washington based on faulty advice from your resident governor of the "northern territories," Ambassador Cellucci. But you should know by now that he hasn't really won the hearts and minds of most Canadians through his attempts to browbeat and command our allegiance to U.S. policies.

Sadly, Mr. Cellucci has been far too closeted with exclusive groups of 'experts' from Calgary think-tanks and neo-con lobbyists at cross-border conferences to remotely grasp a cross-section of Canadian attitudes (nor American ones, for that matter).

I invite you to expand the narrow perspective that seems to inform your opinions of Canada by ranging far wider in your reach of contacts and discussions. You would find that what is rising in Canada is not so much anti-Americanism, as claimed by your and our right-wing commentators, but fundamental disagreements with certain policies of your government. You would see that rather than just reacting to events by drawing on old conventional wisdoms, many Canadians are trying to think our way through to some ideas that can be helpful in building a more secure world.

These Canadians believe that security can be achieved through well-modulated efforts to protect the rights of people, not just nation-states.

To encourage and advance international co-operation on managing the risk of climate change, they believe that we need agreements like Kyoto.

To protect people against international crimes like genocide and ethnic cleansing, they support new institutions like the International Criminal Court -- which, by the way, you might strongly consider using to hold accountable those committing atrocities today in Darfur, Sudan.

And these Canadians believe that the United Nations should indeed be reformed -- beginning with an agreement to get rid of the veto held by the major powers over humanitarian interventions to stop violence and predatory practices.

On this score, you might want to explore the concept of the 'Responsibility to Protect' while you're in Ottawa. It's a Canadian idea born out of the recent experience of Kosovo and informed by the many horrific examples of inhumanity over the last half-century. Many Canadians feel it has a lot more relevance to providing real human security in the world than missile defence ever will.

This is not just some quirky notion concocted in our long winter nights, by the way. It seems to have appeal for many in your own country, if not the editorialists at the Wall Street Journal or Rush Limbaugh. As I discovered recently while giving a series of lectures in southern California, there is keen interest in how the U.S. can offer real leadership in managing global challenges of disease, natural calamities and conflict, other than by military means.

There is also a very strong awareness on both sides of the border of how vital Canada is to the U.S. as a partner in North America. We supply copious amounts of oil and natural gas to your country, our respective trade is the world's largest in volume, and we are increasingly bound together by common concerns over depletion of resources, especially very scarce fresh water.

Why not discuss these issues with Canadians who understand them, and seek out ways to better cooperate in areas where we agree -- and agree to respect each other's views when we disagree.

Above all, ignore the Cassandras who deride the state of our relations because of one missile-defence decision. Accept that, as a friend on your border, we will offer a different, independent point of view. And that there are times when truth must speak to power.

In friendship, Lloyd Axworthy

(Lloyd Axworthy is president of the University of Winnipeg and a former Canadian foreign minister)

CBC News: 4 Mounties killed at Alberta drug site

CBC News: 4 Mounties killed at Alberta drug site: "MAYERTHORPE, ALTA. - Four RCMP officers died Thursday when a man with a high-powered rifle began shooting during an investigation into a marijuana grow operation in northwestern Alberta. "

GM Trees Alert

GM Trees Alert: "GM Trees Alert:
Prof. Joe Cummins gives us timely warnings of mad scientists developing GM trees that send mercury vapor into the air and questions the benefits of GM trees with reduced lignin content. "

Serious vulnerability hits non-Microsoft browsers

"On this occasion the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser is not affected by the vulnerability,which only affects its competitors.
The vulnerability involves browser support for International Domain Names (IDN), which allows non-ACSII characters to be used within a domain name."

GM Trees Alert

GM Trees Alert: "GM Trees Alert:
Prof. Joe Cummins gives us timely warnings of mad scientists developing GM trees that send mercury vapor into the air and questions the benefits of GM trees with reduced lignin content. "

Hermaphrodite Frogs Linked to Pesticide Use

Heavy use of chemicals such as DDT and PCBs may cause
higher rates of hermaphroditism in frogs. | Society Environment | Eco protesters and US anti-terror law

Feds using terrorism excuse to crack down on eco-activists
Peter Huck reports on claims that anti-terrorist legislation brought in by the US government since 9/11 is being used as a catch-all to harass and prosecute environmental protesters

Hermaphrodite Frogs Linked to Pesticide Use

Heavy use of chemicals such as DDT and PCBs may cause
higher rates of hermaphroditism in frogs.

Critics assail NASCAR for burning leaded gas

What's the connection between NASCAR racing, diminished mental
capacity, and increased criminal behavior?
If your answer was
"lead," well, we commend your high-mindedness. Indeed, that is the
answer: Though leaded gasoline was phased out in the U.S. decades
ago, the racing industry (along with aviation) was exempted. Despite
years of pleas from the U.S. EPA, NASCAR has not developed an
alternative to leaded gas, which it says keeps engine valves
lubricated. "We just have not been able to find a solution," said
NASCAR spokesguy Ramsey Poston. Lead from auto exhaust can stay in
the air for up to 10 days and travel many miles. Those in the most
danger are children, for whom lead presents the threat of permanently
diminished mental capacity. Low-level lead exposure has also been
linked to criminal behavior. NASCAR is the fastest-growing "sport"
in America, with some 3.5 million spectators a year attending races.
(Look, we made it all the way through the blurb without saying "Bush"
or "red state"! Oh, oops.)

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Contrails over CFB Comox
Posted by Hello

Moon over Comox
Posted by Hello

Canada a Haven Again as American Soldiers Head North

Like Draft Evaders and Deserters of Vietnam Era, American Soldiers are Heading North to Find Refuge from What They Say is an Unjust War in Iraq

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Saddam tribunal judge gunned down

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Saddam tribunal judge gunned down: "A judge on the special Iraq tribunal set up to try former president Saddam Hussein has been killed in Baghdad."

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Scientists Discover Why the North Pole Is Frozen -

EO News: Scientists Discover Why the North Pole Is Frozen - February 23, 2005

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