Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Katrina links | Gristmill: The environmental news blog | Grist Magazine

Katrina links | Gristmill: The environmental news blog | Grist Magazine

Weather of Mass Destruction Bigger Threat Than Terrorism

NewsTrolls ~ Currents: "A world thrown into turmoil by drought, floods, typhoons. Whole countries rendered uninhabitable. The political capital of the Netherlands submerged. The borders of the US and Australia patrolled by armies firing into waves of starving boat people desperate to find a new home. Fishing boats armed with cannon to drive off competitors. Demands for access to water and farmland backed up with nuclear weapons. Sound like the ravings of doom-saying environmental extremists? It's actually from a report commissioned by the Pentagon on how to ready America for the coming climate Armageddon. Submitted on August 31, 2005 1:21 p.m. by Eric~LaManque. [UserTrolls]"

Stampede kills about 650 during Shiite pilgrimage in Baghdad

"BAGHDAD, Iraq -- About 650 people were killed in a stampede on a bridge Wednesday when panic engulfed a massive Shiite religious procession amid rumors that a suicide bomber was about to attack, officials and a survivor said. It was the single biggest loss of life in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion."

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Chelyabinsk, Russia » Chelyabinsk, Russia: Not many people outside of Russia have heard of Chelyabinsk. And that’s just fine with the Russian government. They’ve been trying to hide this region of 3.6 million from world scrutiny for over 50 years.

Consequently, from 1948-1951 contaminated waste from Mayak was directly dumped into the nearby Techa River which feeds into the Ob River, Russia�s fourth longest, and ultimately the Arctic Ocean. In order to maintain nuclear secrecy the residents from the 24 villages along the Techa were not warned even though they were exposed to radiation levels 20 times higher than at Chernobyl.
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Big relief effort meets Katrina |

"This storm is so large ... that it's like all the storms from last year rolled together and probably [those were] still not as bad," says Margaret O'Brien-Molina, spokeswoman for the American Red Cross in its southwest region.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Coffee is number one source of antioxidants

Coffee provides more than just a morning jolt; that steaming cup of java is also the number one source of antioxidants in the U.S. diet, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Scranton (Pa.). Their study was described today at the 230th national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society. Is Global Warming Fueling Katrina? -- Page 1

Warm ocean temperatures are a key ingredient for monster hurricanes, prompting some scientists to believe that global warming is exacerbating our storm troubles

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Chicago Tribune | Stay or go, Army store of lethal VX frays nerves

VX, which the Army began producing in 1961, was designed for launch on rockets or to drop on large numbers of troops. It works like a pesticide; as little as a pinhead inhaled or touching skin can kill a person in minutes. The chemical weapon never was used, and the nation's entire VX stockpile is housed at the Indiana depot. The goal was to have all of the material disposed of by the end of 2007, but delays have made the earliest possible date late 2008.

Neutralizing the material--or watering it down to what scientists say is a caustic but not toxic solution--is the current plan, but that, too, has run into problems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a recent report that diluting the agent may not be harmful to humans but might damage aquatic organisms. The Army suspended disposal operations in mid-June after officials at the facility discovered a wastewater leak during the neutralization process. Inspectors also learned that the wastewater--the byproduct of neutralizing the material--was more flammable than expected.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Rave raided in Utah - assault rifles, teargas, dog attacks....

Utah Youth Treated Like Terrorists! This was one of the scariest things I have ever witnessed in person. I can't even begin to describe how surreal it was. Helicopters, assault rifles, tear gas, camouflage -wearing soldiers.... why? Was that really necessary?

Click here to play for vidio

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Gas prices too high? Try Europe. |

"$7 a gallon? That's what drivers in Amsterdam pay. But Europeans have long adapted to high prices."

New Scientist News - More animals join the learning circle

Fishing For Birds
A crafty killer whale has devised a new way to catch a tasty bite. The orca spits regurgitated fish onto the surface of the water - and then waits. When a passing gull dives for the bait, the whale lunges at the feathery treat with open jaws. What's more, the trick was picked up by other family members. And it's not just whales that exhibit cultural learning, there is mounting evidence that the trait is widespread in animals, including chimps...MORE

Groups Demand Release of Reuters Cameraman in Iraq

"LONDON (Reuters) Media rights groups demanded on Thursday that U.S. forces immediately release a Reuters journalist held in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq unless they could explain why he is being held without charge.:Reporters Without Borders, a Paris-based organisation that campaigns to protect journalists detained or threatened because of their work, said it had written to top U.S. Middle East commander General John Abizaid to demand the release of 36-year-old Ali Omar Abrahem al-Mashhadani.

It also accused U.S. forces of carrying out summary arrests of journalists in Iraq without providing any justification. "

American Legion Declares War on Protestors -- Media Next?

NEW YORK The American Legion, which has 2.7 million members, has declared war on antiwar protestors, and the media could be next. Speaking at its national convention in Honolulu, the group's national commander called for an end to all “public protests” and “media events” against the war.

Robertson Apologizes for Calling for Assassination

WHAT NEW EVILS WILL THEY DO IN cHRIST'S NAME? Pat Robertson pretends to apologize for issuing fatwa against Chavez. To the tune of "stompong out the reds?" This is not the first time that Robertson has issued a convoluted apology. After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he appeared to agree with the Rev. Jerry Falwell on a "700 Club" broadcast that the attacks were God's punishment for feminists, gays, lesbians and liberal groups. But Robertson later said he conducted the interview with Falwell over a studio monitor and had not fully understood what Falwell was saying. Submitted on August 25, 2005 7:23 a.m. by anymouse. [UserTrolls]

The Rev. Pat Robertson apologized yesterday for calling for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, saying he spoke "in frustration" over the U.S. government's inaction toward a man who has "found common cause with terrorists."

The religious broadcaster's comments Monday on his television show "The 700 Club" unleashed a flood of criticism, not only from the State Department and Venezuela's ambassador but also from some evangelical Christian leaders in the United States.

Televangelist Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition of America and a former presidential candidate, said on
Televangelist Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition of America and a former presidential candidate, said on "The 700 Club" it was the United States' duty to stop Chavez from making Venezuela a "launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism." (AP)
Thursday, Aug. 25, noon ET
Robertson Apologizes for Chavez Assassination Remarks
Richard Cizik, vice-president for governmental affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals, discusses the backlash against conservative broadcaster Pat Robertson's comments calling for the removal of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Robertson, 75, at first responded by insisting that his remarks had been misinterpreted by the news media.

"Wait a minute, I didn't say 'assassination.' I said our Special Forces should 'take him out,' and 'take him out' can be a number of things, including kidnapping," he said on yesterday's edition of his flagship show on the Christian Broadcasting Network.By Alan Cooperman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 25, 2005; Page A03

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Phone Recorder
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Phone Recorder

Kevin Kelly -- Cool Tools

All hail the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
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SPIEGEL Surfs the Web: Do-It-Yourself Deities - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

What to do about religious radicalism? From Texas to Tehran, it's everywhere. Why not just invent your own religion? Or, easier for the less creative among us, join one that someone else has already concocted. Invisible Pink Unicorn anyone?

All hail the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Let's review. We have radical Catholics preaching against the use of condoms in Africa, radical Jews fighting for their right to remain in illegally occupied territory in the West Bank, radical Muslims blowing themselves up in cities across the globe, and a radical born-again Christian (Pat Robertson to be precise) calling for the United States to assassinate a world leader. Is it any wonder that many are not terribly drawn to any of the world's leading faiths?

The gravestones of fallen Americans buried at Arlington National Cemetery during the Iraq war era show a change in style from earlier conflicts, in Arlington, Va., Friday, July 1, 2005. Unlike earlier wars, nearly all Arlington National Cemetery gravestones for troops killed in Iraq or Afghanistan are inscribed with the operation names, such as 'Operation Iraqi Freedom' and 'Operation Enduring Freedom', which the Pentagon selected to promote public support for the conflicts. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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Troops' Gravestones Have Pentagon Slogans

ARLINGTON, Virginia - Unlike earlier wars, nearly all Arlington National Cemetery gravestones for troops killed in Iraq or Afghanistan are inscribed with the slogan-like operation names the Pentagon selected to promote public support for the conflicts.

The gravestones of fallen Americans buried at Arlington National Cemetery during the Iraq war era show a change in style from earlier conflicts, in Arlington, Va., Friday, July 1, 2005. Unlike earlier wars, nearly all Arlington National Cemetery gravestones for troops killed in Iraq or Afghanistan are inscribed with the operation names, such as 'Operation Iraqi Freedom' and 'Operation Enduring Freedom', which the Pentagon selected to promote public support for the conflicts.

Families of fallen soldiers and Marines are being told they have the option to have the government-furnished headstones engraved with "Operation Enduring Freedom" or "Operation Iraqi Freedom" at no extra charge, whether they are buried in Arlington or elsewhere. A mock-up shown to many families includes the operation names.

Ravers say cops were too rough making bust

Partygoers at a rave in Spanish Fork Canyon that was busted by police Saturday night say officers used brutal and excessive force to clear the crowd.
As many as 90 police officers from several agencies, including SWAT members and major crimes investigators, stormed the DJ-driven dance party around 11:30 p.m. dressed in full SWAT gear and holding automatic weapons.
A helicopter announced the police presence as it crested a nearby hill and began shining a spotlight on the outdoor dance area, said 19-year-old Scott Benton of Logan.
"The cops just came in wearing full Army [camouflage]. It was basically brute force," Benton said. "I had a gun put in my face and was told to get out of there."
Standing in a crowd of people near the main stage, Alisha Matagi says she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time when she was thrown to the ground, punched, kicked and handcuffed by police.
"I did absolutely nothing wrong," she said. Matagi was arrested with about 60 other partyers. She was booked into the Utah County Jail on the suspicion of resisting arrest and failing to obey an officer, according to police records.

WARNING: You Are Under Martial Law by Karen Kilroy

The title of this article is what the notice read on the morning of May 4, 1970 – it sat largely unread in the mail boxes of Kent State University students. Later that day, four students were murdered when the Ohio National Guard opened fire on a hillside filled with students – some protesting, some watching, others merely changing classes.

Whether or not you are old enough to remember the tragedy at Kent State, please pay attention to this history. As we head into the age of aggressive protests, the police response is becoming more violent, such as in Saturday's actions in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Salt Lake City, Utah. In Pittsburgh, protestors marched the wrong way up a one-way street to close down an army recruiting office. Police used both tear gas and tasers to subdue the protestors, and one 68-year-old woman was even bitten by a police dog – she was also arrested. In Salt Lake City, a crowd of 1,500 was tear gassed from helicopters.

Arctic melt likely to worsen, scientists warn - Environment -

WASHINGTON - The rate of ice melting in the Arctic is increasing and a panel of researchers says it sees no natural process that is likely to change that trend.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005



Terrosists May Pose as Homeless for Surveillance, Government Says - from

WASHINGTON (AP) - Asking for increased vigilance in the wake of the London bombings, the government is warning that terrorists may pose as vagrants to conduct surveillance of buildings and mass transit stations to plot future attacks.

"In light of the recent bombings in London, it is crucial that police, fire and emergency medical personnel take notice of their surroundings, and be aware of 'vagrants' who seem out of place or unfamiliar," said the message, distributed via e-mail to some federal employees in Washington by the U.S. Attorney's office.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Riker’s Island; New York Neighborhood

It’s a fitting image for the U.S. prison system overall. In 1969, there were 150,000 individuals incarcerated. By 2001, that number had mushroomed to 2.1 million. That’s 7 out of every 1,000 U.S. residents, a higher rate of incarceration than any other nation in the world, a ignoble distinction previously held by Russia.

INDIA: Everything Gets Worse With Coca-Cola

Coca Cola plant finally gets kicked out of India after poisoning the water supply, distributing useless sludge claiming it was fertilizer, and drying out the local wells of formerly clean water...

Rise of the Religious Right in the Republican Party

Rise of the Religious Right in the Republican Party

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The Globe and Mail: TV station refuses anti-war ad

Sunday, August 21, 2005 Updated at 8:40 AM EDT

Associated Press

Salt Lake City — A Utah television station is refusing to air an anti-war ad featuring Cindy Sheehan, whose son's death in Iraq prompted a vigil outside U.S. President George W. Bush's Texas ranch.

The ad began airing on other area stations Saturday, two days before Mr. Bush was scheduled to speak in Salt Lake City to the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

A national sales representative for KTVX, a local ABC affiliate, rejected the ad in an e-mail to media buyers, writing that it was an “inappropriate commercial advertisement for Salt Lake City.”

In the ad, Ms. Sheehan pleads with Mr. Bush for a meeting and accuses him of lying to the American people about Iraq's development of weapons of mass destruction and its connection to al-Qaeda.

U.S. Moves to Counter Chavez-Backed Telesur TV

"The U.S. Congress has decided to fund broadcasts into Venezuela, similar to efforts in the Arab World, to 'neutralize' Telesur's 'anti-American and anti-freedom rhetoric.' Venezuela's President, for his part, has promised to wage a 'merciless electronic war against the United States.'"

Warming threatens Nunavut ice shelf

Climate change melts away Canada's last big mass: "WARD HUNT ISLAND, Nunavut -- Three years after a huge crack split one of Canada's last remaining ice shelves in half, scientists have found fresh evidence that global warming is splintering the mass of ice.

The Ward Hunt Ice Shelf is a cold and foreboding place at the edge of the earth, about 3,500 kilometres north of Edmonton. But its edges are quickly being erased as climate change rapidly alters Ellesmere Island, Canada's northernmost landmass.

The ice shelf is a 450-square-kilometre ledge that's 25 metres thick and reaches up into the Arctic Ocean from the mouth of Ellesmere Island's Disraeli Fiord. It surrounds Ward Hunt Island, which at 83 degrees north lies at the very tip of land in the Americas."

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Calls for action as global warming conference in Greenland ends

Environment ministers from 22 countries meeting in Greenland to discuss the devastating effects of global warming called for immediate action to stop climate change as the four-day meeting wrapped up.

Sen. Clinton: ``Heartbreaking'' climate trip spurs action

The political tide may be turning for Congress to curb greenhouse gases, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday at the end of what she called a "heartbreaking" tour of the Alaskan wilderness.

Friday, August 19, 2005

project censored

project censored: "Civilian populations in Afghanistan and Iraq and occupying troops have been contaminated with astounding levels of radioactive depleted and non-depleted uranium as a result of post-9/11 United States’ use of tons of uranium munitions. Researchers say surrounding countries are bound to feel the effects as well.

In 2003 scientists from the Uranium Medical Research Center (UMRC) studied urine samples of Afghan civilians and found that 100% of the samples taken had levels of non-depleted uranium (NDU) 400% to 2000% higher than normal levels. The UMRC research team studied six sites, two in Kabul and others in the Jalalabad area. The civilians were tested four months after the attacks in Afghanistan by the United States and its allies."

Thursday, August 18, 2005

New Scientist News - Climate warning as Siberia melts

"THE world's largest frozen peat bog is melting. An area stretching for a million square kilometres across the permafrost of western Siberia is turning into a mass of shallow lakes as the ground melts, according to Russian researchers just back from the region.
The sudden melting of a bog the size of France and Germany combined could unleash billions of tonnes of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere.

The news of the dramatic transformation of one of the world's least visited landscapes comes from Sergei Kirpotin, a botanist at Tomsk State University, Russia, and Judith Marquand at the University of Oxford.

Kirpotin describes an 'ecological landslide that is probably irreversible and is undoubtedly connected to climatic warming'. He says that the entire western Siberian sub-Arctic region has begun to melt, and this 'has all happened in the last three or four years'."

New Scientist News - Global warming brings earlier spring thaw to Great Lakes

The Great Lakes of the US, the planet's largest concentration of fresh water, is thawing earlier each spring, according to an analysis of ice break-ups dating back to 1846.

Senators say Alaska visit confirms climate change -

Senators say Alaska visit confirms climate change - "By Dan Joling, Associated Press Writer | August 17, 2005

ANCHORAGE, Alaska --Anyone doubting the effects of human activity on global climate change should talk to the people it affects in Alaska and the Yukon, U.S. Sen. John McCain said Wednesday."

NewsTrolls ~ Why Cindy Sheehan is Right!

" In truth, Cindy Sheehan is absolutely right. Her son signed up in the military to defend America, not Israel, and to safeguard our own democracy, not the democracy of some foreign nation that neither wants nor needs it.: In advancing this war for Israel, government and media advocates obviously couldn’t get Americans behind the war by saying it was a war for Israel. They had to make up bogus reasons for the war, such as saying that Iraq was an imminent threat to America and that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. Now that these lies have been exposed, they have changed the rationale for the war to “fighting for democracy” and “fighting against terrorism.” Here’s a short list showing why Cindy Sheehan is right! Submitted on August 18, 2005 9:03 a.m. by anymouse."

Chavez Warns Bush to Back Off, or Face 10$ Per Gallon Gasoline

"There has never been an empire more brutal, more cruel, more cynical, more savage, more hypocritical, and more dangerous than the one led by his counterpart, George Bush."

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Mountain villages evacuated as fires rage on in Portugal

"LISBON (AFP) Aug 16, 2005
Nearly 2,200 firefighters were battling dozens of wildfires in parched Portugal on Tuesday,
:including 10 major blazes which were raging out of control and forced the evacuation of several mountain villages, officials said.

The fire crews were backed by nearly 600 vehicles, 29 water-dropping aircraft and 176 soldiers as they tackled fires that have hit the centre and north of the country since Friday amid scorching temperatures, the civil protection agency said.

Emergency services workers were evacuating residents from villages in the path of the largest fire near the central town of Pampilhosa da Serra which has been burning since Saturday, a spokesman for the mayor's office in the town said.

'The fire is completely uncontrollable,' Jorge Custodio told Lisbon-based Radio Renascenca."

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

From permafrost to permatan, Alaska basks in record heat

For the second summer in a row, the glacier state has been baking under sweltering skies, stirring anxieties about global warming and its impact on the polar region.

August is meant to be a scorcher in Dallas but not in Fairbanks, where temperaturesyesterday were in the mid-80s Fahrenheit (high 20s Celsius). The weather has been clear and hot over almost all of Alaska for the past week, due to an intense high pressure dome that is reluctant to move on. » Alliant Technologies in Edina, Minnesota » Alliant Technologies in Edina, Minnesota: "When you read “dirty bomb,” you probably think of terrorists - Jose’ Padilla, Adnan el Shukrijumah, Osama bin Laden. But the premier producer of “dirty weaponry” – weapons containing radioactive material – isn’t in Pakistan, or North Korea, or anywhere other than the pretty, mild-mannered, Midwestern town of Edina, Minnesota. A company called Alliant Technologies is at home amid the golf courses and subdivisions.

Alliant Technologies makes its living by being one of the largest private contractors for the U.S. Department of Defense. Among its many products, Alliant appears to be the only U.S. provider of weapons loaded with “depleted” uranium, or DU.


Larsen-B: 10,000-year Shelf Life

"The demise of Larsen-B was most likely caused by long-term thinning underneath the ice shelf as well as short-term surface melting due to global warming. The surface-melting rate has drastically increased over the last few decades."

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Scientist reaches for the sky to curb global warming - Sunday Times - Times Online

Scientist reaches for the sky to curb global warming - Sunday Times - Times Online: "FOR centuries man has dreamed of controlling the weather, from the rain dances of Native Americans to the fanciful exploits of Superman and other comic book heroes.

Now Professor Stephen Salter, emeritus professor of Engineering Design at Edinburgh University, believes he can manufacture clouds that could help save the planet from global warming.

Salter, who invented one of the first devices to turn wave power into electricity, claims that the highly reflective clouds could be used to bounce more of the sun’s rays back into space — counteracting rising temperatures caused by a build-up of greenhouse gasses in the Earth’s atmosphere."

Friday, August 12, 2005

Independent Online Edition > Asia : app2

Millions prayed for rain across Malaysia as more cities were choked by the noxious yellow haze blown north from raging forest fires on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.: "By Justin Huggler, Asia Correspondent
Published: 13 August 2005

Indonesian forestry officials were trying to put out the fires with buckets of water yesterday, even as Jakarta refused offers of help from neighbouring countries, claiming it could deal with the crisis itself.

The onset of the acrid clouds drifting across Kuala Lumpur has been made more galling to Malaysians by the fact that many of the fires have been set deliberately by plantation owners, farmers and miners on Sumatra to clear the land of unwanted trees - a practice criticised by environmentalists.

There was a brief respite for Kuala Lumpur and central Malaysia yesterday as the wind changed, carrying the choking smoke away. But meteorologists warned that the respite was unlikely to last.

Many people were still wearing face masks in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, and asthma attacks are soaring. Air pollution remained severe enough to be considered a health risk in six areas of the city, and many schools remained closed.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

FCC Issues Rule Allowing FBI to Dictate Wiretap-Friendly Design for Internet Services

"Tech Mandates Force Companies to Build Backdoors into Broadband, VoIP:

Washington, DC - Today the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a release announcing its new rule expanding the reach of the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). The ruling is a reinterpretation of the scope of CALEA and will force Internet broadband providers and certain Voice-over-IP (VoIP) providers to build backdoors into their networks that make it easier for law enforcement to wiretap them. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has argued against this expansion of CALEA in several rounds of comments to the FCC on its proposed rule."

New Scientist Climate warning as Siberia melts - News

"THE world's largest frozen peat bog is melting. : An area stretching for a million square kilometres across the permafrost of western Siberia is turning into a mass of shallow lakes as the ground melts, according to Russian researchers just back from the region.

The sudden melting of a bog the size of France and Germany combined could unleash billions of tonnes of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere.

The news of the dramatic transformation of one of the world's least visited landscapes comes from Sergei Kirpotin, a botanist at Tomsk State University, Russia, and Judith Marquand at the University of Oxford.

Kirpotin describes an 'ecological landslide that is probably irreversible and is undoubtedly connected to climatic warming'. He says that the entire western Siberian sub-Arctic region has begun to melt, and this 'has all happened in the last three or four years'.

What was until recently a featureless expanse of frozen peat is turning into a watery landscape of lakes, some more than a kilometre across. Kirpotin suspects that some unknown critical threshold has been crossed, triggering the melting.

Western Siberia has warmed faster than almost anywhere else on the planet"

Cardiff-2 : Gas, oil and completion fluid to flare - July 19, 2005
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Austral Pacific Energy Ltd.

Austral Pacific Energy Ltd.: "Wellington, New Zealand - August 11, 2005 --/PRNewswire/-- Austral Pacific Energy Ltd. (TSXV and NZSX: APX; AMEX : AEN)

Supplejack-1 Well

The Supplejack-1 well in PEP 38741 (Austral : 30%, operator) is now being prepared for casing over two test zones, which will be flow tested in the coming weeks. The well was drilled to an along hole TD of 2570m (8,432 feet), and encountered two potential pay zones near 1950m (6,400 feet) and 1350m (4,400 feet). Electric logs indicate that the lower zone might flow oil at a modest rate; while gas flow is likely from the upper zone. Initial testing of the lower zone will proceed to oil production if successful, or if not then testing of the upper zone will be conducted, with gas being linked to nearby pipeline or used for onsite electricity generation in the event of success." News - Sci-Tech - Fly me to the Moon

IF BLACKPOOL is getting you down and the shine has gone off the Costa del Sol, a new holiday has come on the market that might just appeal.: "JACQUI GODDARD
At £55 million, the price-tag may be a struggle, the food won't be that great, and the chances of picking up a suntan are zero. But you should come back with some unique holiday snaps and something to tell the neighbours.

The destination? The far side of the Moon, a region that cannot be seen from Earth and has only ever been viewed by a handful of humans. As a member of Deep Space Expedition Alpha, you will become a lunar pioneer, travelling nearly 250,000 miles into the void to orbit the Moon more than three decades after man last set foot there."

Independent Online Edition > Science & Technology : app3

"Mysterious knotted strings used by the Incas to control their sprawling South American empire may have been ledgers for their accountants to keep track of payments to the king.":

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

CBC News: Peak for summer meteor showers nears

"Brightly lit particles will zip through the atmosphere during the annual Perseid meteor showers this week.:In North America, the celestial firework display is expected to peak late Thursday night or early Friday morning.

* INDEPTH: The lowdown on meteors

The Perseid shower occurs when gravel-sized debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle pass through Earth's atmosphere at more than 200,000 kilometres per hour and then burns up.

The heated air lights up a long trail – the 'shooting star.'"

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

How much new US oil? Not a lot. |

The energy bill becomes law Monday, but won't spur exploration.:
By Kris Axtman | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
HOUSTON – "With alternative energy sources decades from supplying US needs, motorists fretting over the cost of their next fill-up are left to wonder if America will ever wean itself from foreign oil."

"The long-awaited energy bill was supposed to do much to push up domestic oil and gas production, but as President Bush signs the legislation Monday in New Mexico, it would appear that a dramatic boost in new US fossil-fuel supplies is unlikely."

"One reason is that domestic drilling is already proceeding at a rapid clip, spurred on by a market in which oil is selling for more than $60 a barrel. Another is that much of what's known to be in the ground is running out or hard to reach. As for what's not known, the energy bill did not open up a lot of new territory to exploration. "

"Some say Congress should have done more to encourage production and cut US dependence on imported oil - now almost 60 percent of total consumption. Others say the energy legislation does that, not by opening up huge tracts for drilling onshore and offshore, but by focusing half of the bill's $11.5 billion in subsidies on renewable energy, such as wind and solar

Monday, August 08, 2005

Nuclear Power Needs Government Incentives, Says Task Force - Physics Today May 2005

"A high-profile US government task force says it is in the national interest to use nuclear power as a clean and increasingly economical way to meet the growing demand for electricity.:

Citing economics, climate change, and the projected growth in global energy demand, a US Department of Energy (DOE) task force cochaired by former Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) chairman Richard Meserve and former New Hampshire Governor John H. Sununu has recommended that the federal government help revitalize the US nuclear power industry ..." | USAF fuel costs blowout cuts weapons research funding | Energy and Peak Oil News

"The Pentagon is discovering it's not immune from the high gas prices that have overwhelmed taxpayers' cheque books and dampened summer travel plans across the U.S. Defense Dept. planners are now estimating fuel costs may add as much as $4 billion to what was already expected to be a shortfall of nearly $6 billion in Fiscal 2007 and each year following. This nearly doubles the predicted annual deficit of about $10 billion.:

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John Jumper says he cannot confirm the impact on the upcoming Fiscal 2007 budget, which goes to Congress in February, but it 'is enough to be worried about.' Because USAF operates the bulk of the Defence Dept.'s gas-guzzling aircraft, it generally consumes the largest amount of fuel. Meanwhile, the service is cutting back by $3 billion this fiscal year.

A slew of options to find funding for Fiscal 2007 and beyond are zipping through the Pentagon, including a significant retooling of the $245-billion Joint Strike Fighter program that would radically change USAF's buy and affect the plans of foreign partners. The Army and Marines supporting the Iraq occupation will also surely feel the effects."

University Of California Study Sheds New Light On Climate-change Processes

"A new study from the University of California shows, for the first time, that the deep-ocean circulation system of the north Atlantic, which controls ice-age cycles of cold and warm periods in the Northern Hemisphere, is integrally coupled to salinity levels in the Caribbean Sea.: This research reinforces concerns that global warming, by melting the glacial ice of Greenland, could quickly and profoundly change salinity and temperatures in the north Atlantic Ocean. One consequence might be much colder weather in northern Europe and Britain and perhaps even in eastern Canada and the U.S. northeast.

Posted by Picasa » Toxic Neighbors: Elf Atochem and Bayport Texas

"What happens when you mix a small, Texas town near the Houston Shipping Channel with a conglomerate of over fifty chemical plants? You get children born with birth defects and people with respiratory problems under virtual house arrest."

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Coastal ocean suffers a season of famine

"First it was the seabirds nesting too late and washing up dead on the beach.

Then it was the fish, usually roiling in vast numbers, gone missing.

Biologists at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Oregon Coast refuges soon realized they were seeing just a small slice of a Pacific Ocean gone haywire."

Friday, August 05, 2005

Who Loves Creepy Megachurches? / Stadium crowds, thousands of rabid devotees, all chugging Jesus like Kool-Aid. Should you be afraid?

"They are places like the New Life Church, perhaps the most powerful and frightening of all megachurches, home to the famous and heavily shellacked Pastor Ted Haggard and his 11,000 fiery Left Behind-addled throngs located in the heart of honey-let's-never-go-there Colorado Springs.:

Pastor Ted, that is, with his bright red hotline straight to the White House (he and our sanctimonious, war-happy prez speak at least once a week), Pastor Ted who, along with the snarlingly pious James Dobson of the violently militant Focus on the Family sect of frothy true believers, helped terrify the Federal Communications Commission and slam women's rights and galvanize all those mad throngs of confused Christians to vote to keep Dubya in office all these shockingly impeachment-free years. Praise Jesus."

Poison feast of salmon contaminates B.C. grizzlies

"Vancouver — Grizzly bears feasting on Pacific salmon provide iconic images of natural bounty that wildlife photographers have captured for generations.

But a new study suggests something is wrong with this picture. The grizzly bears in British Columbia that feed heavily on salmon each fall are doing more than loading up on nutrients for hibernation.

Research from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the University of Victoria shows that the annual feast of salmon is also loading the bears with pollutants -- including concentrations of chemicals that could affect the reproductive abilities of young females."

Hurricanes thriving on global warming

"An MIT Professor says that hurricanes have been getting more powerful over the last few decades, and warns that the trend is likely to continue. He says that global warming is a contributory factor.:

In a paper appearing in the online edition of the journal Nature Kerry Emmanuel, professor of meteorology in MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, writes:

'My results suggest that future warming may lead to an upward trend in [hurricanes'] destructive potential, and - taking into account an increasing coastal population - a substantial increase in hurricane-related losses in the 21st century.'"

Thursday, August 04, 2005

By Noam Chomsky : "

08/02/05 'ICH' -- -- THIS month’s anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki prompts only the most sombre reflection and most fervent hope that the horror may never be repeated.

In the subsequent 60 years, those bombings have haunted the world’s imagination but not so much as to curb the development and spread of infinitely more lethal weapons of mass destruction.

A related concern, discussed in technical literature well before 9-11, is that nuclear weapons may sooner or later fall into the hands of terrorist groups.

The recent explosions and casualties in London are yet another reminder of how the cycle of attack and response could escalate, unpredictably, even to a point horrifically worse than Hiroshima or Nagasaki. "

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

US journalist shot dead in Iraq

"A US freelance reporter, Steven Vincent, has been shot dead by unknown gunmen in Basra, southern Iraq, police have said.:

Mr Vincent was abducted with his female Iraqi translator at gun point by men in a police car on Tuesday.

His bullet-riddled body was found on the side of a highway south of the city a few hours later.

He had been writing a book about the city, where insurgents have recently stepped up their attacks."

As the world prepares to mark the 60th anniversary of the dropping of the first atomic bomb on Saturday

Top News Article | "WASHINGTON (Reuters) - some American media experts see uncomfortable echoes between the suppression of images of death and destruction then and coverage of the war in Iraq today." As author Greg Mitchell lays out in an article in Editor & Publisher this week, in the weeks following the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, U.S. authorities seized and suppressed film shot in the bombed cities...

A European Sahara? - Newsweek: International Editions -

The great desert has leaped over the Med. Is climate change to blame—or man and his works? - Are our products our enemy? - Are our products our enemy?: "It took months for Hunt to realize that the problem was caused by a temporary employee's error. 'He had two bottles of detergent, one for the floor and one for the cages, and he picked up the wrong one.'

The harsh alkaline floor detergent caused the plastic in the cages to begin to disintegrate, which leached a chemical called bisphenol A into the animals' food and water. Suddenly, 40% of the eggs had chromosomal abnormalities.

The question this posed for scientists: If plastic can do this to mice, what dangers do people face?"

كتائب شهداء الأقصى

كتائب شهداء الأقصى

Tuesday, August 02, 2005 » Three Mile Island » Three Mile Island: "Sproldex Tags: Radiation, Nuclear, Energy, Pollution, United States, Power Grid, Disasters, Pennsylvania

“The tremendous menace of this day and age is not the stockpile of nuclear weapons which human ingenuity has devised, but the grim fact that the men in charge of them are as mediocre as those who invented them are brilliant.”

Peter Ustinov, Actor"

Canada's nuclear reactors

There are twenty-two nuclear power reactors in Canada - twenty in Ontario and one each in Quebec and New Brunswick. Below is a quick introduction to some of the concerns Greenpeace has about these reactors."

Nuclear workers' heartbreak

"A group of sick workers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory gathered last week at the Livermore Public Library to tell their stories. They are members of an exclusive club that no one wants to join. It's the dues that are the killer.:

Each of them either worked at the lab or was married to someone who was employed at the facility. There was talk of nuclear weapons experimentation, laser beams and top secret projects. That's what made the lab such an exciting place to work.

And then there was talk of cancer, surgery and death. Those are the stories that matter now.

Although the survivors' support group was a relatively small gathering, these people are just a part of a huge national story. The race to create and perfect nuclear weapons has taken, and continues to take, a terrible toll among the scientists, technicians and support personnel. Since 2000, nearly 100,000 work-related claims have been filed nationwide from nuclear weapons research sites."

Boing Boing: Michael Palin's travel books online for free


Around the World in 80 Days
Pole to Pole
Full Circle
Hemingway Adventure
Sahara with Michael Palin

Monday, August 01, 2005

Study: Warming Making Hurricanes Stronger - Yahoo! News

"The analysis by climatologist Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology shows for the first time that major storms spinning in both the Atlantic and the Pacific since the 1970s have increased in duration and intensity by about 50 percent."s:

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