Sunday, July 31, 2005

UI scientist measuring shuttle launches' effect on climate change

"The water vapor from Columbia's exhaust plume approached the South Pole within three days,: according to Michael Stevens, a scientist at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, and lead author of an article outlining the phenomenon this month in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Columbia released nearly 400 tons of water, the result of burning its liquid oxygen and hydrogen fuel, in a plume nearly 2 miles around and 650 miles long.
The high concentration of water vapor from the shuttle and the lower temperatures over Antarctica resulted in significantly more mesospheric clouds, at about 52 miles up, the highest clouds formed in the atmosphere." Still paying for the spraying

"For the Vietnam vets who were exposed to Agent Orange and their families, the battle for compensation is far from over":

Alarm grows over pesticide threat in nurseries

"Workers may be more at risk than those in the fields because of closer confines, advocates say."

Nuclear Warheads Lost from a B-52 Now in Iran?

Alexander Cockburn: Nuclear Warheads Lost from a B-52 Now in Iran?: "Iran may have the weapons-grade uranium out of three nuclear warheads dumped out of a B-52 back in 1991. Or so at least the US government might have some reason to believe, according to a seemingly well-informed person talking to CounterPunch last week.

On February 3, 1991, this particular B-52G had been deployed to circle around Baghdad. It was armed with 3 SRAM missiles armed with nuclear warheads and fitted with rocket drives to push them 100 miles to the rear of the B-52 before detonating.

The B-52 was heading off to refuel when it developed very serious electrical problems, including the loss of navigational equipment."

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Energy bill raises fears about pollution, fraud.

Environmental Health News: Front Page: "The bill exempts oil and gas industries from some clean-water laws, streamlines permits for oil wells and power lines on public lands, and helps the hydropower industry appeal environmental restrictions. It also includes an estimated $85 billion worth of subsidies and tax breaks for most forms of energy. "


Friends of Science: "Myth 4: CO2 is the most common greenhouse gas.

Fact: Water vapour or clouds, which makes up on average about 3 % of the atmosphere, is the major greenhouse gas. CO2 makes up only about 3% of the greenhouse gases, or about 0.03% of the atmosphere. Moreover, because of its molecular weight and absorptive capacity, water vapour is 3000 times more effective than CO2 as a greenhouse gas. Those attributing climate change to CO2 rarely mention this important fact."

Friday, July 29, 2005

An EU consultation has shown overwhelming support for limiting aviations impact on climate change
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edie news centre - Message is clear: aviation must help fight climate change

"The European Commission took one step closer to including aviation in the EU emissions trading scheme this week as it published the results of a two-month consultation on limiting the sector's impact on climate change.":

The Christian Paradox (

"How a faithful nation gets Jesus wrong:
Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2005. What it means to be Christian in America. An excerpt. Originally from August 2005. By Bill McKibben.

Only 40 percent of Americans can name more than four of the Ten Commandments, and a scant half can cite any of the four authors of the Gospels. Twelve percent believe Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife. This failure to recall the specifics of our Christian heritage may be further evidence of our nation’s educational decline, but it probably doesn’t matter all that much in spiritual or political terms. Here is a statistic that does matter: Three quarters of Americans believe the Bible teaches that “God helps those who help themselves.” "

A NASA photograph showing aircraft contrails and natural clouds. The temporary disappearance of contrails after the September 11, 2001 attacks gave empirical evidence of the cooling effect of water droplets.
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Global dimming

Global dimming is a term describing the gradual reduction in the amount of sunlight observed reaching the Earth's surface since the 1950s. The effect varies by location but globally is of the order of a 5% reduction over the three decades 1960-1990; the trend has reversed during the past decade. Global dimming creates a cooling effect that may have led scientists to underestimate the effect of greenhouse gases on global warming."

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Glacier's findings confirms global warming fears

"Independent scientists have discovered that a Greenland glacier has now become one of the fastest moving glaciers in the world: and say the findings validate fears about recent global warming.

Outlet glaciers like Kangerdlugssuaq transport ice from the heart of the Greenland Ice Sheet to the ocean and discharge icebergs, which contribute to sea level rise. Kangerdlugssuaq Glacier alone transports or “drains” four per cent of the ice from the Greenland Ice Sheet, and so any changes in the speed of these glaciers holds tremendous significance in terms of sea level rise."

Scoop: New climate change pact is just hot air

"The new five-nation pact claiming an 'alternative path' to the Kyoto Protocol for addressing climate change is not offering an alternative at all,: Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

The United States, Australia, China, India and South Korea have this week signed an accord that touts new technology as the way to reduce greenhouse gases from fossil fuel-based energy production, but has no binding goals for cutting emissions.

'This deal is just hot air designed to make it look like these countries are doing something while making sure they are not held to account for the damage they are causing the planet,' Ms Fitzsimons says.

'It is simply nonsense to suggest that new technology is somehow outside the scope of the Kyoto Protocol and an alternative to it.

'Kyoto is about ends, not means. It requires emissions reductions from its signatory nations, but says nothing about how those reductions should be made. Nations are entirely free to achieve those goals by adopting new technology, or by going solar, using less energy, planting more forests, or by trading. Any new technology that works could be used to meet the Kyoto targets."

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"Some interesting examples of how effective an artist can be to create an illusion...

A company can do a lot to brighten up a working place such as Miller Brewing was able to do...

The Heat Is Online

MUMBAI, India (AP) -- The heaviest rainfall ever recorded in India shut down the financial hub Mumbai, snapped communication lines and closed airports. Officials said Wednesday at least 633 people had died across India in two months of monsoon downpours": "Record rainfall shuts down Mumbai
The Associated Press, July 27, 2005

BBC NEWS | World | South Asia | Indian monsoon death toll soars

"More than 500 people are now known to have died in monsoon rains in the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay) and elsewhere in the state of Maharashtra.":

Monday, July 25, 2005

TomDispatch - Tomgram: The CIA's La Dolce Vita War on Terror

"Here's what we know at present about this particular version of La Dolce Vita:

*The CIA agents took rooms in Milan's 5-star hotels, including the Principe di Savoia ('one of the world's most luxuriously appointed hotels') where they rang up $42,000 in expenses; the Westin Palace, the Milan Hilton, and the Star Hotel Rosa as well as similar places in the seaside resort of La Spezia and in Florence, running up cumulative hotel bills of $144,984.

*They ate in the equivalent of 5-star restaurants in Milan and elsewhere, evidently fancying themselves gourmet undercover agents.

*As a mixed team -- at least 6 women took part in the operation -- men and women on at least two occasions took double rooms together in these hotels. (There is no indication that any of them were married -- to each other at least.)

*After the successful kidnapping was done and the cleric dispatched to sunny Egypt, they evidently decided they deserved a respite from their exertions; so several of them left for a vacation in Venice, while four others headed for the Mediterranean coast north of Tuscany, all on the taxpayer dole.

*They charged up to $500 a day apiece, according to Craig Whitlock of the Washington Post, to 'Diners Club accounts created to match their recently forged identities'; wielded Visa cards (assumedl"

Scientists: Humans cause global warming

-- Global warming is caused primarily by humans and "nearly all climate scientists today" agree with that viewpoint, the new head of the National Academy of Sciences -- a climate scientist himself -- said Wednesday.WASHINGTON (AP)

Ralph Cicerone's views contrasted with Bush administration officials' emphasis on uncertainty about how much carbon dioxide and other industrial gases warm the atmosphere like a greenhouse.

"Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is now at its highest level in 400,000 years and it continues to rise," said Cicerone, an atmospheric scientist who left as chancellor of University of California-Irvine to become academy president this month. "Nearly all climate scientists today believe that much of Earth's current warming has been caused by increases in the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, mostly from the burning of fuels."

Government Halts Release of More Photos and Videos of Abu Ghraib

"NEW YORK At the eleventh hour, lawyers for the Pentagon refused to cooperate with a federal judge's order to release dozens of unseen photographs and videos from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.:

The photos were among thousands turned over by Specialist Joseph M. Darby. Just a few that were released to the press sparked the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal last year.

The new photos were to be released by Saturday."

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Sound of a Distant Rumble:

Researchers Track Underwater Noise Generated by December 26

"When the sea floor off the coast of Sumatra split on the morning of December 26, 2004, it took days to measure the full extent of the rupture. Recently, researchers at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory analyzed recordings of the underwater sound produced by the magnitude 9.3 earthquake. Their unique approach enabled them to track the rupture as it moved along the Sumatra-Andaman Fault, raising the possibility that scientists could one day use the method to track underwater earthquakes in near real time and opening new avenues in seismologic research.

Listen to the December 26th earthquake (mp3) audio graphic"

Earthquake graphic
Frequency spectrogram of T wave showing relative strength of different frequencies through time
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Saturday, July 23, 2005

Poultry News: Commission authorises the climate change levy rebate for the agriculture sector in the UK -

"UK - The European Commission has today authorised the United Kingdom (UK) to grant the agriculture sector a tax rebate of 687 million over a period of 10 years.
The rebate on the climate change levy of 50% for horticulture and 80% for agriculture sectors covered by Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) agreements allows UK agriculture to accommodate higher energy prices caused by the levy while helping to meet the CO2 reduction targets for the UK and for Europe.

In 2001, the UK introduced a climate change levy on the non-domestic use of energy in order to meet the Kyoto targets.

Energy intensive industries were offered a significant rebate of 80% for a period of 10 years in order to adapt to the new environment and improve energy efficiency and cut carbon dioxide emissions. The agricultural sectors concerned by today�s decision (pig and poultry, food and drink) have entered into Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) agreements and have committed themselves to emission reduction targets and energy efficiency targets. The UK ensures strict monitoring of the commitments. The agreements are reviewed on a regular basis. "


Examiner: "By Dan Buckley
US INVESTIGATORS, including CIA agents, will be allowed interrogate Irish citizens on Irish soil in total secrecy, under an agreement signed between Ireland and the US last week.

Suspects will also have to give testimony and allow property to be searched and seized even if what the suspect is accused of is not a crime in Ireland. "

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Long John Baldry - Welcome everyone

Long John Baldry - Welcome everyone: "JOHN WILLIAM BALDRY - 1941 to 2005 - Long John Baldry passed away at the Vancouver General Hospital, July 21 at 10:30 pm "

Friday, July 22, 2005

75% South
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75 Degrees South

75 Degrees South: "I've tried in the past to describe what it's like during a winter storm but it's really hard to get across. The limited view through you goggles, reduced visibility, soft footing, noise and force of the wind on your body combine to make it a rather claustrophobic experience. Here's a short piece of video that I took last year which at least shows you the sight and sound - you'll have to imagine the rest for yourself.

It shows Ed our field assistant going for a walk under the Laws platform during 35 knot winds."

Police 'kill man' on London Tube - PakTribune

"'They pushed him onto the floor and unloaded five shots into him. He's dead,' witness Mark Whitby told the BBC. 'He looked like a cornered fox. He looked petrified.'":

A weird-looking cloud sporting the colors of the rainbow appeared to many in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex early Thursday afternoon.
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Strange Colorful Cloud Forms Over Metroplex

"NBC 5 Chief Meteorologist David Finfrock noted in Thursday's Weather Blog post that a viewer e-mailed the station, where he explained the display was possibly caused by a 'fuel dump' from an aircraft.":

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Faber Maunsell and Hugh Broughton win Halley VI Design Competition

"Faber Maunsell and Hugh Broughton Architects have been named winners of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) competition to design the Halley VI Research Station in Antarctica.
: The Halley VI competition, which attracted 86 entries worldwide, was launched in June 2004 by BAS and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).
A major calving event is predicted in the next decade and there is a risk that the present station, Halley V, could be lost.
The new, replacement station will provide a home and work place for 16 people during the winter and 52 in the summer, and will need to respond to the most extreme environment on the planet. Located 10,000 miles from the UK, the station will be situated on the 150m thick floating Brunt Ice Shelf, which moves 400m per annum towards the sea. Snow accumulation means that snow levels rise by over a metre every year, and the sun does not rise above the horizon for three months during the Austral winter.
Halley VI will have a series of mechanical legs on skis that enable it to stay above the surface of the ice and be relocated inland to minimize the risk of loss due to future calving events. Designed to withstand extreme winds and freezing winter temperatures down to minus 56 degrees Celsius, Faber Maunsell and Hugh Broughton Architects� design will provide a safe, stimulating place for scientists to live and work, in a building designed to minimize its impact on Antarctica's pristine environment. "

Monday, July 18, 2005

Glacial Cover-Up Won't Stop Global Warming

"Most of Austria's 925 glaciers have been receding under decades of global warming,: prompting researchers and ski-lift operators to seek novel solutions. Here, in the Tyrol region of western Austria, they're fighting the melt by covering the weak spots with blankets of white plastic or foil that keep the cold in and the heat out.

They can't save whole glaciers, only slow the shrinkage."

Friday, July 15, 2005

New Scientist Breaking News - Arctic seabirds create pollution hotspots

"Toxic faeces from Arctic seabirds may explain mysterious and dangerous levels of pollutants in northern coastal ecosystems, a Canadian team of researchers suggests.: The finding could help at-risk native communities create hunting and food-harvesting strategies to reduce the amount of toxic chemicals in their diet.
�Seabirds are very efficient concentrators of contaminants. If we can show that these chemicals flow in a predictable pattern, then we can alleviate the human problems just by altering food choices,� says Jules Blais at the University of Ottawa, lead author of the study.
For years, environmental chemists have been watching as toxic chemicals such as mercury, dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) accumulate in Arctic air, soils, water, animals and people. Native populations of northern regions are amongst the most PCB-exposed in the world. "

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Sundance getaway converts mayors into climate activists | By Amanda Griscom Little | Grist Magazine | Muckraker | 14 Jul 2005

Sundance getaway converts mayors into climate activists | By Amanda Griscom Little | Grist Magazine | Muckraker | 14 Jul 2005City leaders from around the U.S. were treated to a rare bird's-eye view of the environment earlier this week at the Sundance Summit, a three-day mayors' retreat on climate change hosted by Robert Redford in Salt Lake City and at his 6,000-acre resort nestled beneath Utah's Mount Timpanogos, near Park City. In between briefings on "The State of the Science" and "Why You Should Care," and tutorials on emissions-trading programs and retrofitting public transport, a bipartisan troupe of 46 mayors representing nearly 10 million U.S. citizens slathered on sunscreen, grabbed bag lunches, and glided up the Sundance chairlift over miles of tumbling creeks, quivering aspens, and ponderosa pines.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Scientists raise the alarm about ocean health

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Scientists raise the alarm about ocean healthFreaky environmental anomalies along the Pacific Coast from central California to British Columbia may devastate the region's wildlife, scientists say. Ocean temperatures in the area are 2 to 5 degrees higher than usual this summer; no one's sure why, but scientists suspect a lack of northerly winds during the spring stalled the usual seasonal upwelling of cold water, which brings important nutrients to the ocean's surface. Without them, the marine food chain may be breaking down. "In 50 years, this has never happened," said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration oceanographer Bill Peterson. Death rates for Brandt's cormorants on the Washington state coast are disturbingly high, and juvenile salmon numbers on the Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia coasts have been 20 to 30 percent lower than expected in June and July. Scientists are largely baffled, but Peterson says many suspect global warming may be involved.

MIT World » : Discourses on Iraq and the Middle East

MIT World » : Discourses on Iraq and the Middle East: "Noam Chomsky paints his own cynical picture of the conflict in Iraq. “The U.S. goal … certainly had nothing to do with stopping atrocities,” he says, and even less to do with advancing political freedom. “The U.S. promotes democracy when it’s in our strategic and economic interests and opposes democracy when it’s not.” Chomsky continues, “It’s almost inconceivable that the U.S. could permit a sovereign, democratic Iraq. The reasons are transparent.” Iraq, he predicts, would form an alliance with Iran, helping foment Shiite rebellion in Saudi Arabia, leading to “a Shiite alliance controlling most of the world’s energy.” Even more worrisome, Iraq would “rearm and develop weapons of mass destruction as a deterrent.” Chomsky notes, “The one thing the U.S. invasion taught everyone is you better have WMDs to protect yourself from U.S. attack.” Poses Chomsky, “Would the U.S. sit by and allow this? …. The chances are zero.” So contrary to our own “messianic vision” of implementing democracy, the U.S. will try to “run Iraq.” Chomsky’s alternative: pay Iraq billions in reparations for having supported Saddam Hussein, for years of painful sanctions, and hand the country over to the Iraqis as soon as possible. "

Resolute Bay seen by the Hyperion instrument aboard Earth Observing-1. Image credit: NASA.
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Universe Today - Satellite Can Tell When Ice is Melting

Universe Today - Satellite Can Tell When Ice is Melting: "Summary - (Jul 14, 2005) The analysis software that NASA uses to inspect photographs of the Earth is starting to recognize changing events on our planet's surface, like Spring thaws, snowfalls and volcanic eruptions. In fact, the software is now giving orders back to NASA's Earth Observing-1 satellite on where it should be pointing its camera. The software has taken more than 1,500 photographs of frozen lakes and can recognize when the ice has melted. Software like this could be used to track changing events on other planets, like dust storms on Mars or search for ice volcanoes on Europa."

Monday, July 11, 2005

Canada Signs Key International Agreement to Combat Racist Crimes on the Internet

Canada Signs Key International Agreement to Combat Racist Crimes on the Internet: "OTTAWA, July 8, 2005 – Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Irwin Cotler, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pierre Pettigrew, today announced that Canada has signed the Council of Europe's first Additional Protocol to the Convention on cybercrime, concerning the criminalisation of acts of a racist and xenophobic nature committed through computer systems, as well as hate-motivated threats and insults.

'Only greater international cooperation can help eradicate the scourge of racist and hate-related material made increasingly accessible over the Internet,' said Minster Cotler. 'Signing this Protocol underscores Canada's commitment to fight hate crimes at home and abroad. It is a key deliverable in the Government's Action Plan Against Racism.'

'Canada plays a leadership role in improving human security worldwide, which includes working toward the elimination of hate-motivated crimes,' stated Minister Pettigrew. 'When these crimes are committed online and transcend borders, countries must work together to make progress.'"

Friday, July 01, 2005

Portland Hits Major Local Climate Action Milestone – And Builds A Great City!

Gmail - NW Climate Connection - June 2005Portland, OR, June 8, 2005 – The Rose City is a shining example of how sustained investment in public transit, energy efficiency, recycling, and renewable energy makes for a healthier, better place to live – while dramatically reducing global warming pollution. After more than a decade of focused work to address climate change in Portland and Multnomah County, the Portland Office of Sustainable Development (OSD) announced that the City has reduced global warming pollution below 1990 levels - a key benchmark of the international Kyoto Protocol. On a per capita basis, emissions have fallen thirteen percent, an achievement likely unequalled in any other major U.S. city.

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