Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Tuesday, February 21, 2006 -

The Preventive Psychiatry Newsletter has written to its subscribers telling them that the real reason the former Veterans Affairs Secretary, Anthony Principi, recently resigned was because he has been involved in a massive scandal covering up the fact that Gulf War Syndrome was caused by the use of depleted uranium, according to the SF Bay View.

In the article Arthur Bernklau, executive director of Veterans for Constitutional Law, reportedly wrote that “thousands of our military have suffered and died from, [and depleted uranium] has finally been identified as the cause of this sickness, eliminating the guessing. The terrible truth is now being revealed.” Bernklau went on to detail several alarming statistics. The historical disability rate amongst soldiers last century was about 5 percent, although it approached 10 percent during Vietnam. But due to the use of depleted uranium in the battlefield, 56 percent of the 580,400 solders that served in the first Gulf War were on Permanent Medical Disability by 2000. 11,000 Gulf War veterans are already dead. Now 518,739 Gulf War Veterans, almost all of them, are currently on medical disability.

Principi, under the order of the Bush Administration, had been allegedly covering up the disastrous results of using depleted uranium since 2000. However, with so many soldiers having serious health problems it has become impossible to keep secret.

staff reports - Free-Market News Network

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Iranian suicide bombers warn against enemy strike on nuclear facilities

Canadian Press
Published: Saturday, February 18, 2006

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - An Iranian group that claims its members are dedicated to becoming suicide bombers warned the United States and Britain on Saturday they will strike coalition military bases in Iraq if Tehran's nuclear facilities are attacked.

Mohammad Ali Samadi, spokesman for Esteshadion, or Martyrdom Seekers, boasted of having hundreds of potential bombers in his talk at a seminar on suicide-bombings tactics at Tehran's Khajeh Nasir University.

"With more than 1,000 trained martyrdom-seekers, we are ready to attack the American and British sensitive points if they attack Iran's nuclear facilities," Samadi said.

"If they strike, we have a lot of volunteers. Their (U.S. and British) sensitive places are quite close to Iranian borders," Samadi said.

Samadi reviewed the history of suicide bombing as a weapon, praising it as the most effective Palestinian tactic in their confrontation with Israel.

The organizers showed video clips of suicide attacks against Israelis, including one in the Morag settlement near Rafah in the Gaza Strip in February 2005. One Jewish settler, three Israeli soldiers and the two attackers were killed in the attack.

Hasan Abbasi, a university instructor and former member of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, told the audience of about 200 Iran is not seeking nuclear weapons as claimed by the United States and some of its allies.

"Our martyrdom-seekers are our nuclear weapons," said Abbasi, the event's main speaker.

After his speech, about 50 students filled out membership applications.

"This is a unique opportunity for me to die for God, next to my brothers in Palestine. That was why I signed up," said Reza Haghshenas, a 22-year-old electrical engineering student.

A 23-year-old woman student, Maryam Amereh, said: "We are trying to defend Islam. It's a way to draw the attention of others to our activities."

But Rahim Hasanlu, a 22-year-old industrial management student, declared himself not interested in joining.

"I just attended to learn what they're saying, thats all."

Esteshadion was formed in late 2004, calling for members on a sporadic basis at Friday prayer ceremonies, state-sponsored rallies and at the group's occasional meetings.

© The Canadian Press 2006

Rumsfeld Pushes Media Front in Terror War - 2/17/2006 5:27:00 PM - Broadcasting & Cable - CA6308691

By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 2/17/2006 5:27:00 PM

In a speech essentially establishing the importance of a wide-ranging, sometimes "non-traditional" media campaign in the war on terror, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Friday that the government must get better at communicating its message, and must not be discouraged by allegations it tried to buy favorable news in Iraq.

Rumsfeld, speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, appeared to be addressing, sometimes directly, a number of media-related issues that have surfaced recently.

Democrats were critical this week of the findings of a GAO study that showed the administration had spent at least $1.6 billion for advertising and promotion between 2003 and 2005, with Defense spending the most at $1.1.

That spending included on promoting the U.S. view on the war on terror.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Greenland Glaciers Dump More Ice Into Ocean -

Greenland's southern glaciers have accelerated their march to the Atlantic Ocean over the past decade and now contribute more to the global rise in sea levels than previously estimated, researchers say.

Those faster-moving glaciers, along with increased melting, could account for nearly 17 percent of the estimated one-tenth of an inch annual rise in global sea levels, or twice what was previously believed, said Eric Rignot of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

An increase in surface air temperatures appears to be causing the glaciers to flow faster, albeit at the still-glacial pace of eight miles to nine miles a year at their fastest clip, and dump increased volumes of ice into the Atlantic.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

CBC North - Arctic could be ice-free in summer in 15 years: scientists

Scientists say dramatic recent melting of sea ice in the Arctic may lead to the lowest level yet of ocean ice cover in the Arctic this summer, and warn drastic changes to the northern ecosystem could result.

More than 120 scientists from nearly a dozen nations are attending the meeting of the Canadian Arctic Shelf Exchange Study in Winnipeg this week.

The group, which conducted research over the past three years in the High Arctic, is releasing its findings, including studies from a year spent on board the Amundsen research icebreaker.

CBC PHOTOGALLERY: On board the Amundsen
University of Manitoba sea-ice specialist Dr. David Barber estimates that the sea-ice cover in the Arctic is now decreasing by 74,000 square kilometres a year.

He says last year the extent of Arctic sea ice shrunk to the lowest level recorded by satellites, to a minimum he says that has never been seen before in modern times.

FROM JULY 29, 2005: Scientists sound alarm on Arctic ice cap
Barber says he's now worried that 2006 could be worse.

"That minimum extent is going to be surrounded by ocean and that surrounding ocean is all going to be absorbing short-wave radiation from the sun, and it's going to all warm up that surface layer and it's going to be harder to form the ice the next year."

Barber says he's most concerned about multi-year ice. He says the loss of this type of ice can affect the habitat of species such as ring seals.

He says the melting is happening too fast for them to adapt.

"So the ecosystems that have evolved to take advantage of that sea ice, you can imagine how do they adapt to such a change, it has happened so rapidly, how do they adapt to such a thing?" he says.

Scientists now say that in as little as 15 years, the Arctic could be ice-free in the summer.

They say the last time that happened was more than a million years ago.

But Simon Prinsenberg, who's with the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Halifax, says less ice could be positive for northern economies.

"A lot of people think that with less ice we might see more fisheries up there and since there's less ice it's also easier to get up there," he says.

(with notes from Patricia Bell)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

YouTube - prodigy breathe

YouTube - prodigy breathe

Sunday, February 12, 2006 : World at its warmest of past 1,200 years, researchers show

Tree rings and seashells help reveal unusual climate of last half century



The last part of the 20th century is considered by many scientists to be the warmest period since modern record-keeping began around the 1850s, but new research indicates the era is even more remarkable.

The warmth in which the Northern Hemisphere has basked since the middle of the 20th century has been the most widespread and longest period of unusual climate experienced at any time during at least the past 1,200 years, according to a research paper in the journal Science.

The finding, by a pair of climate researchers from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, U.K., was based on comparisons of the current warm period to other hot and cold intervals since the year 800.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

ICT [2006/02/10] God and man at NASA: A change in climate

A rebellion at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is highlighting a shift in the debate over climate change, a shift which leaves the Bush administration looking like religious obscurantists and indigenous prophets looking like the best scientists.

This debate has been running for at least a generation, and it might be the most important issue of the generation; but the latest round came to light at the end of January with charges that NASA officials had tried to silence their most prominent expert on climate change. The charges came directly from the target, James E. Hansen, head of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies in New York City. Hansen has been sounding the alarm for nearly two decades about sharp rises in the global surface temperature attributable to man's activity. Some credit him with coining the phrase ''global warming.''

Independent Online Edition > Environment

Our special investigation reveals that critical rise in world temperatures is now unavoidable
By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor
Published: 11 February 2006

A crucial global warming "tipping point" for the Earth, highlighted only last week by the British Government, has already been passed, with devastating consequences.

Research commissioned by The Independent reveals that the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has now crossed a threshold, set down by scientists from around the world at a conference in Britain last year, beyond which really dangerous climate change is likely to be unstoppable.

The implication is that some of global warming's worst predicted effects, from destruction of ecosystems to increased hunger and water shortages for billions of people, cannot now be avoided, whatever we do. It gives considerable force to the contention by the green guru Professor James Lovelock, put forward last month in The Independent, that climate change is now past the point of no return.

The danger point we are now firmly on course for is a rise in global mean temperatures to 2 degrees above the level before the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century.

At the moment, global mean temperatures have risen to about 0.6 degrees above the pre-industrial era - and worrying signs of climate change, such as the rapid melting of the Arctic ice in summer, are already increasingly evident. But a rise to 2 degrees would be far more serious.

By that point it is likely that the Greenland ice sheet will already have begun irreversible melting, threatening the world with a sea-level rise of several metres. Agricultural yields will have started to fall, not only in Africa but also in Europe, the US and Russia, putting up to 200 million more people at risk from hunger, and up to 2.8 billion additional people at risk of water shortages for both drinking and irrigation. The Government's conference on Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change, held at the UK Met Office in Exeter a year ago, highlighted a clear threshold in the accumulation of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, which should not be surpassed if the 2 degree point was to be avoided with "relatively high certainty".

This was for the concentration of CO2 and other gases such as methane and nitrous oxide, taken together in their global warming effect, to stay below 400ppm (parts per million) in CO2 terms - or in the jargon, the "equivalent concentration" of CO2 should remain below that level.

The warning was highlighted in the official report of the Exeter conference, published last week. However, an investigation by The Independent has established that the CO2 equivalent concentration, largely unnoticed by the scientific and political communities, has now risen beyond this threshold.

This number is not a familiar one even among climate researchers, and is not readily available. For example, when we put the question to a very senior climate scientist, he said: "I would think it's definitely over 400 - probably about 420." So we asked one of the world's leading experts on the effects of greenhouse gases on climate, Professor Keith Shine, head of the meteorology department at the University of Reading, to calculate it precisely. Using the latest available figures (for 2004), his calculations show the equivalent concentration of C02, taking in the effects of methane and nitrous oxide at 2004 levels, is now 425ppm. This is made up of CO2 itself, at 379ppm; the global warming effect of the methane in the atmosphere, equivalent to another 40ppm of CO2; and the effect of nitrous oxide, equivalent to another 6ppm of CO2.

The tipping point warned about last week by the Government is already behind us.

"The passing of this threshold is of the most enormous significance," said Tom Burke, a former government adviser on the green issues, now visiting professor at Imperial College London. "It means we have actually entered a new era - the era of dangerous climate change. We have passed the point where we can be confident of staying below the 2 degree rise set as the threshold for danger. What this tells us is that we have already reached the point where our children can no longer count on a safe climate."

The scientist who chaired the Exeter conference, Dennis Tirpak, head of the climate change unit of the OECD in Paris, was even more direct. He said: "This means we will hit 2 degrees [as a global mean temperature rise]."

Professor Burke added: "We have very little time to act now. Governments must stop talking and start spending. We already have the technology to allow us to meet our growing need for energy while keeping a stable climate. We must deploy it now. Doing so will cost less than the Iraq war so we know we can afford it."

The 400ppm threshold is based on a paper given at Exeter by Malte Meinhausen of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Dr Meinhausen reviewed a dozen studies of the probability of exceeding the 2 degrees threshold at different CO2 equivalent levels. Taken together they show that only by remaining above 400 is there a very high chance of not doing so.

Some scientists have been reluctant to talk about the overall global warming effect of all the greenhouses gases taken together, because there is another consideration - the fact that the "aerosol", or band of dust in the atmosphere from industrial pollution, actually reduces the warming.

As Professor Shine stresses, there is enormous uncertainty about the degree to which this is happening, so making calculation of the overall warming effect problematic. However, as James Lovelock points out - and Professor Shine and other scientists accept - in the event of an industrial downturn, the aerosol could fall out of the atmosphere in a matter of weeks, and then the effect of all the greenhouse gases taken together would suddenly be fully felt.

A crucial global warming "tipping point" for the Earth, highlighted only last week by the British Government, has already been passed, with devastating consequences.

World Is at its Warmest For a Millennium

by Steve Connor

The entire northern hemisphere is experiencing a sustained period of warming that is unprecedented in the past millennium, a study has found.

A review of a range of temperature records, from tree rings and ice cores to historical documents, has found that at no time since the 9th century have temperatures been so consistently high. The study, published in the journal Science, found that the late 20th century was the warmest period for the northern hemisphere since at least 800AD, eclipsing the well-known medieval warm period when vines were cultivated successfully in northern Europe and the Vikings exploited the ice-free seas to colonise Greenland.

Seasonal surface melt extent on the Greenland Ice Sheet has been observed by satellite since 1979 and shows an increasing trend. The melt zone, where summer warmth turns snow and ice around the edges of the ice sheet into slush and ponds of meltwater, has been expanding inland and to record high elevations in recent years (source: Arctic Impacts of Arctic Warming, Cambridge Press, 2004).
Timothy Osborn and Keith Briffa, climate scientists from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, analysed 14 sets of temperature records from America, Europe and East Asia. Each record covered a relatively wide region, such as northern Sweden or the low countries of the Netherlands and Belgium, and extended back at least several centuries.

Ten of the 14 records were based on tree-ring data, which went back as far as 800AD, one measured ice cores from Greenland, one involved historical documents from Europe and one covered the chemical composition of sea shells on the east coast of the US. The final set of records came from China and Japan and used a variety of records, from ice cores to historical documents.

"Our results show that, during the late 20th century, warming affected the entire northern hemisphere and that at no point in the past 1,000 years has the northern hemisphere experienced the same widespread warming," Dr Osborn said.

The study showed that the medieval warm period ran from about 890 to 1170 and that this was later followed by a significant period of cooling between 1580 and 1850, which included the period known as the "little ice age" when frost fairs were held on the River Thames.

"The key conclusion was that the 20th century stands out as having unusually widespread warmth, compared to all of the natural warming and cooling episodes during the past 1,200 years," Dr Osborn said.

Climate scientists have in the past found evidence to suggest that the late 20th century was warmer than at any time in the past millennium but this study is the first to look at a variety of temperature records from across the entire northern hemisphere.

Global Warming a Major Health Risk - Scientists

ONDON - Global warming is already causing death and disease across the world through flooding, environmental destruction, heatwaves and other extreme weather events, scientists said on Thursday.

And it is likely to get worse.

In a review published in The Lancet medical journal, the scientists said there was now a near-unanimous scientific consensus that rising levels of greenhouse gases would cause global warming and other climate changes.

"The advent of changes in global climate signals that we are now living beyond the Earth's capacity to absorb a major waste product," said Anthony McMichael of the Australian National University in Canberra and his colleagues, referring to greenhouse gases.

The scientists' review of dozens of scientific papers over the last five years said health risks were likely to get worse over time as climate change and other environmental and social changes deepened.

"The resultant risks to health ... are anticipated to compound over time as climate change along with other large scale environmental and social changes continues," they wrote.

The review said climate change would bring changes in temperature, sea levels, rainfall, humidity and winds.

This would lead to an increase in death rates from heatwaves, infectious diseases, allergies, cholera as well as starvation due to failing crops.

They said climate change may already have led to lower production of food in some regions due to changes in temperature, rainfall, soil moisture, pests and diseases.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Race to restore heat to frozen Ukrainian city

· Record freeze knocks out ageing power system
· Thousands are left to shiver in 'ice age' misery

Yuras Karmanau, Associated Press in Alchevsk
Saturday February 11, 2006
The Guardian

Maria Sutkovska has been living in her black cap, several woolly jumpers and a bulky coat since a breakdown in a communal heating system nearly three weeks ago plunged about 60,000 people in her eastern Ukrainian city into what they are calling "the ice age".
"At night, I'm scared that I'll die from the cold," said the 68-year-old pensioner, who lives alone in a flat where the temperature is a bone-chilling 3C (37F).

Article continues



The breakdown in Alchevsk's heating system happened on January 22 during a cold snap when temperatures plunged to a record low of -38C. Some of the pipes used to pump hot water from a central power plant froze and fractured, cutting off many homes, schools and municipal buildings. The breakdown was unprecedented even in this former Soviet republic, where ageing communal power systems suffer frequent problems, particularly when forced into overdrive.
An army of repair workers has been working round-the-clock to get the heat back on since President Viktor Yushchenko visited last week. But several thousand residents remained shivering in unheated flats yesterday, warmed primarily by hot-water bottles. Mr Yushchenko set today as a deadline to fix the system, but few people were optimistic.

Military tents have been set up where residents can go to warm up and receive hot tea. About 11,000 of the city's children have been evacuated to other Ukrainian cities, and many political parties have raced to outdo each other by donating assistance - eager to win support before next month's parliamentary election. Ukraine suffered severely during last month's cold snap, with more than 700 people dying across the country. Many victims were homeless.

"Why is cold killing our people?" an opposition politician, Nestor Shufrych, demanded in parliament this week.

Medical workers said that, in recent weeks, they have seen four times as many patients suffering from the cold as usual in winter. "In their cold apartments, people don't notice the frostbite in time," said one doctor, Viktor Prudnikov.

Oleksandr Antipov, 52, is recovering in hospital after having his fingers amputated. "We've lost this war with the cold," he said. His wife was also injured when they tried to fix a boiler in their home at the height of the cold spell.

Some apartment blocks have been reconnected to the communal heating system, but even these remain at a chilly 12C. There were no guarantees against another breakdown. Viktor Guz, who heads a civic group, said one problem was that two separate organisations owned the heating pipes: "As a result, there is no one person in charge, and these pipes have gone for a decade without repairs."

Ms Sutkovska shivered in her home, bundled in as many clothes as she could manage. "I'm scared I won't live to the next winter," she said, tears welling in her eyes. "I don't have the strength to fight this cold."

Wired News: Nano Coatings Paint Green Future

By John Gartner | Also by this reporter
02:00 AM Feb, 10, 2006

New spray-on, nanotech coatings could keep iPod screens from scratching, make paper products waterproof and perform other minor modern miracles.

And because they are cheaper, easier to apply and more environmentally friendly than substances currently in use, nanotechnology-based coatings could replace many of today's industrial paints and coatings.

The nano coatings, "liquid solids" composed of extremely tiny particles, possess unique characteristics -- like extreme flexibility, easy adhesion and resistance to corrosion and microbial growth -- that could profoundly change the manufacturing process.

Sally Ramsey, co-founder and chief chemist of Ecology Coatings, began exploring the costs and potential environmental benefits of nano coatings in 2003. She used nano-sized particles of mineral oxides to create waterproof coatings for paper at half the cost of synthetic paper. Derivative materials could be used to produce waterproof cardboard boxes, or integrated into building materials such as drywall to prevent mold from growing if it becomes wet, Ramsey said.

The wonder coatings also might make small video screens on electronic devices such as iPods and mobile phones more durable.

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Home - World Press Photo

Canadian photographer Finbarr O’Reilly wins premier award

The international jury of the 49th annual World Press Photo contest selected a color image of the Canadian photographer Finbarr O'Reilly of Reuters as World Press Photo of the Year 2005. >More

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Google Copies Your Hard Drive - Government Smiles in Anticipation

Consumers Should Not Use New Google Desktop

San Francisco - Google today announced a new "feature" of its Google Desktop software that greatly increases the risk to consumer privacy. If a consumer chooses to use it, the new "Search Across Computers" feature will store copies of the user's Word documents, PDFs, spreadsheets and other text-based documents on Google's own servers, to enable searching from any one of the user's computers. EFF urges consumers not to use this feature, because it will make their personal data more vulnerable to subpoenas from the government and possibly private litigants, while providing a convenient one-stop-shop for hackers who've obtained a user's Google password.

"Coming on the heels of serious consumer concern about government snooping into Google's search logs, it's shocking that Google expects its users to now trust it with the contents of their personal computers," said EFF Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. "Unless you configure Google Desktop very carefully, and few people will, Google will have copies of your tax returns, love letters, business records, financial and medical files, and whatever other text-based documents the Desktop software can index. The government could then demand these personal files with only a subpoena rather than the search warrant it would need to seize the same things from your home or business, and in many cases you wouldn't even be notified in time to challenge it. Other litigants—your spouse, your business partners or rivals, whoever—could also try to cut out the middleman (you) and subpoena Google for your files."

Jets may hurt atmosphere

By Kathryn DeVan email
Collegian Staff Writer

Jet traffic may be having a negative impact on the environment by causing the atmosphere to warm up, according to a recent study conducted by Penn State geography Professor Andrew Carleton and David Travis, geography and geology professor at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

"As [contrails] persist and spread out, they become thinner, which means they probably trap more long-wave radiation from Earth's surface, having a warming effect," Carleton said.

He added that as the amount of vapor trails increases, it covers more surface area, which traps more sunlight and allows for even more warming.

Over the course of three years, the research has looked at the effect of jet traffic on the environment by looking at air temperature. Carleton and Travis used satellite data to look at how jet contrails, or jets' vapor trails, have changed with increased air traffic.

- Bush man resigns NASA post in scandal

WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- A 24-year-old controversial presidential appointee at NASA has resigned his post amid accusations he lied on his resume about graduating from college. George Deutsch, who told NASA public affairs workers to limit reporters' access to a top climate scientist and ordered the word "theory" be inserted on every mention of the Big Bang, resigned Tuesday, The New York Times reported Wednesday. The resignation followed Texas A&M University's announcement that Deutsch, although once a student, had not received a degree in journalism as he claimed. Several NASA scientists and public affairs officials said they had been pressured by Deutsch and other political appointees to limit or slant discussions of topics uncomfortable to the Bush administration. Last month the information officers revealed they had been instructed to limit NASA climate scientist James Hansen's speaking and interviews concerning global warming. Hansen told the newspaper Deutsch was only a minor problem and distracts from the broader issue of political control of scientific information. "On climate, the public has been misinformed and not informed," he told the Times. "The foundation of a democracy is an informed public, which obviously means an honestly informed public. That's the big issue here." (good riddance, what a deutsch bag)

Maureen Farrell: Top 10 'Conspiracy Theories' about George W. Bush

This was the age of forged Nostradamus quotes and apocalyptic visions, however, and, with debunking in mind, I plodded ahead. Some predictions, which were reportedly made in 1982, were decidedly silly. Others, however, don't exactly ring foolish. Among the more noteworthy:

* Propaganda and terrorism will increase.
* Religious zealots will use the courts to try to force their views upon the general public.
* The Supreme Court will make unfortunate decisions that don't benefit the people.
* Several undeclared wars will be waged simultaneously.
* There will be high-level secrecy and clandestine agreements between nations.
* America will eventually become a police state.
* The draft will be reinstated.
* Americans will learn of government duplicity and cover-ups.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

CBC Prince Edward Island - It's so mild – Canada Geese skip trip south

It's been an unusually mild winter, and that apparently has not gone unnoticed by some wildlife.

Thousands of Canada Geese have chosen not to migrate south from Prince Edward Island this year. It's something biologists here have never seen before.

The sight of thousands of Canada Geese flocking together in P.E.I.'s sheltered bays is not something you expect to see in the middle of February.

Normally, they would have flown south two months ago.

Independent Online Edition > Americas

y Rupert Cornwell in Washington
Published: 08 February 2006

Canada is to protect a vast swath of intact temperate rainforest along its Pacific coast, under an agreement unveiled yesterday between the British Columbia government, local indigenous peoples, environmental groups and major logging companies.

The unprecedented plan covers some five million acres, or roughly a third, of the Great Bear rainforest, starting about 150 miles north of Vancouver and stretching as far as the Alaska border.

The area will be turned into a sanctuary for a host of species, including grizzly and black bears, as well as rare white "spirit" bears, wolves and wolverine, and eagles and other spectacular birds of prey. The glacier-etched fjords and rivers of the region are also spawning ground for 20 per cent of the world's wild salmon.

Under the agreement, the logging companies will be allowed to work the rest of the forest, but under strict rules designed to safeguard the region's ecosystem. Even in this semi-open area, specified tracts - key valleys, animal breeding areas and fish rivers - will be spared from the chainsaw entirely. "First Nation" native groups will have an expanded role in management of land that is part of their history and culture.

The deal comes after a decade of protests at the relentless encroachment by the timber industry, driven by the insatiable international demand for wood and paper products. The fate of Great Bear rainforest became an ecological rallying cry the world over. Under intense pressure from local and environmental groups, more than 80 US, European and Japanese hardware and furniture companies, including giants like Ikea and Home Depot, initiated a boycott of Great Bear products in the late 1990s.

The outcome is what both the industry and environmentalists say could be a model for the Amazon and other endangered forests. "The world's last ancient forests need a global network of protected areas to survive - and the Great Bear rainforest is a good place to start," said Greenpeace.

The region accounts for a quarter of the world's remaining stock of temperate rainforest. In an area where annual rainfall can measure up to 15 feet, big forest fires are virtually unknown. This has allowed some of the world's largest and most ancient trees to flourish - among them moss-draped cedars up to 1,000 years old.

But even this wilderness paradise had been threatened by erosion and other side-effects of unchecked logging in adjacent areas.

A feature of the deal is a $120m conservation fund that will finance environmental projects and eco-friendly businesses in First Nation territories. In the part of the forest where loggers are allowed to operate, they will do so according to new "ecosystem-based management" practices due to take effect in 2009.

Even the timber companies - which in the short term at least have the most to lose from the new arrangements - hailed the breakthrough. With the deal "we've started the transition from entitlement to collaboration", an industry spokesman said.

But as they celebrated a hard-won triumph, the environmental groups signalled they would remain on guard. Yesterday's announcement was a first step, said Greenpeace. "But the true measure of success will be signs of change on the ground and in the forest."

Canada is to protect a vast swath of intact temperate rainforest along its Pacific coast, under an agreement unveiled yesterday between the British Columbia government, local indigenous peoples, environmental groups and major logging companies.

The unprecedented plan covers some five million acres, or roughly a third, of the Great Bear rainforest, starting about 150 miles north of Vancouver and stretching as far as the Alaska border.

The area will be turned into a sanctuary for a host of species, including grizzly and black bears, as well as rare white "spirit" bears, wolves and wolverine, and eagles and other spectacular birds of prey. The glacier-etched fjords and rivers of the region are also spawning ground for 20 per cent of the world's wild salmon.

Under the agreement, the logging companies will be allowed to work the rest of the forest, but under strict rules designed to safeguard the region's ecosystem. Even in this semi-open area, specified tracts - key valleys, animal breeding areas and fish rivers - will be spared from the chainsaw entirely. "First Nation" native groups will have an expanded role in management of land that is part of their history and culture.

Super Bowl Satisfies ABC, Quiets Stones - Yahoo! News

You Make a Dead Man ----- (this Rolling Stone lyric thoughtfully censored for you by your Big Brother at the NFL)... To me, that cutting off of Mick's mic for the word "come" just sums up how bad it's become here in America. In 1998, when this site started, if a major network had censored a song's words that has been playing freely on the radio for 27 years (since 1981), there would be a major outcry at the artistic censorship. Now, 8 years later, it's just another day in this alter-America we now live in. Mick sang them anyway and apparently the band knew the mic would be cut. Still. I can't help but think that Frank Zappa is rolling in his grave. ""The Stones were aware of it, and they were fine with it," McCarthy told the news service. The muted lyrics--or words, really--in question, per reports, were "come" from the "you make a dead man come" line in "Start Me Up," and "cocks" from the "but am I just one of your cocks" animal-referencing line in "Rough Justice."" Submitted on February 7, 2006 5:30 a.m. by divaPastyDrone. [Hackt Up! Hei Kei!] [1 Post, 1 New] [Add New Post]...

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

- Climate change has unexpected effects

David Suzuki News January 27, 2006: Climate change has unexpected effects - Indeed, a changing climate has also been implicated in the increase of nematode parasites in musk oxen and the continuing destruction of pine forests by the mountain pine beetle. The relationship between an increase in pathogens and a changing climate is also cause for concern in regards to human health. A warmer world may be a sicker one for humans as well.

Climate change is not a simple process. Our atmosphere, our oceans, and all life on the planet are interconnected. Seemingly small alterations in one area can reverberate through the entire system, affecting the health of a tremendous variety of species - including us.

Monday, February 06, 2006

CBC North - Jumbo jet's arrival called 'a milestone'

Last updated Feb 6 2006 07:33 AM MST
CBC News
The biggest passenger plane in the world is expected to arrive in Iqaluit Monday.

The Airbus A380 is coming to the Nunavut capital for five days of cold weather testing.

All commercial aircraft have to be tested for cold-weather performance before they can be certified, and Iqaluit, with its international airport and climate, is often used for the purpose.

The jumbo jet can carry 555 passengers, weighs 273 tonnes and has a wing span of 80 metres. It's scheduled to go into service later this year.

"This is the first arrival of the Airbus A380 in North America," says John Graham, manager of the Iqaluit airport. "And honestly this is a milestone in the airport's history, a milestone for Canadian aviation."

The Airbus A380's takeoff was delayed by about an hour this morning in France, and it's now expected to arrive in Iqaluit at around 10 a.m. ET.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Warm January puts a twist in Canadian business plans

13:41:45 EST Feb 5, 2006

TORONTO (CP) - Snowball fights may have been rare in much of Canada this winter, but the mild weather has tossed a big curve ball at many companies.

While December's weather hovered near average, January was unusually warm in many parts of Canada.

Southern Quebec and Ontario posted temperatures about five degrees above normal, while thermostats in the Prairies were registering more than 10 degrees above normal.

In Ontario, it was the warmest January on record, and nationally, it ranked third behind 1981 and 1958.

And that had strategic planners in sectors from wine to transport digging out Plan B this year.

"We're not used to operating in a sea of mud in January," says Lloyd Ferguson, general manager of Ontario's Dufferin Construction, a concrete paving company and engineering contractor.

While you might think warm weather would benefit the construction industry, Ferguson begs to differ.

"If we knew it was going to be like this, then we'd plan for it. But we planned for frozen ground, and scheduled jobs that would run on frozen ground this time of year. And it's not available to us. So we're shut down."

Global warming threatens Tibet rail link

Perhaps Mother Earth is using Global Warming to fight back against industrial ecological disasters?
Chinese researcher warns that the controversial Chinese railroad across Tibet may fail quickly due to instability in the Tibetan plateaus casued by global warming... ""Fast thawing of frozen soil in the plateau might greatly increase the instability of the ground, causing more grave geological problems in the frozen soil areas where major projects such as highways or railways run through," Wu added... China completed construction of the controversial pan-Himalayan railway in October. It is to go into trial operation on July 1, Xinhua said. The railway, which runs from Xining, capital of Qinghai province, to Tibet's capital Lhasa, has been criticised for damaging the plateau's fragile environment and for threatening Tibetan culture by speeding up migration from other areas. Close to 1,000 km (600 miles) of the line's tracks run at more than 4,000 metres (13,000 ft), and it reaches 5,072 metres (16,640 ft) at its highest point."

SSIR: War of Ideas

The War of Ideas: Why Mainstream and Liberal Foundations and the Think Tanks They Support Are Losing in the War of Ideas in American Politics

Saturday, February 04, 2006

NASA's Hansen Claims Government Wants to Keep Him Mum on Climate Change

NASA's Hansen Claims Government Wants to Keep Him Mum on Climate Change

The following is a complicated tale that takes place and is told at the intersection of science, public policy and the media: Last month, NASA's top climate scientist, James Hansen, director of the agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, issued an entreaty for the United States to sharply reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that ultimately warm the world. Technologies exist to make a significant dent, Hansen told his audience at the American Geophysical Union meeting, so the federal government needs to adopt them.

Shortly afterward, Hansen claims, word came down from on high that NASA public information principals would review all of his lectures, papers and postings to the Goddard Web site and would vet all interview requests from journalists. Hansen took his story to Andrew Revkin, who writes about climate and the environment for the New York Times. The Times framed the story on its toniest lot: Sunday, page A1, above the fold. (And the story shall live on, it appears: It already ranks as the Times' most e-mailed story over the past week, even kicking A Million Little Pieces author James Frey to the curb.) In the piece, Hansen charged that NASA public affairs staffers were acting as censorious handlers on orders from a White House that does not want to reduce carbon emissions.

"Communicating with the public seems to be essential" where climate change is concerned, Hansen told the Times, "because public concern is probably the only thing capable of overcoming the special interests that have obfuscated the topic."

Oilsands crucial to U.S. plans

Imports from Canada expected to play major part in U.S. push to reduce its dependence on oil from Middle East

Hydraulic shovels load heavy haulers at the Muskeg River oilsands mine approximately 75 kilometres north of Fort McMurray in this file photo. Oilsands production is predicted to triple to three million barrels a day by 2020.
Photograph by : The Canadian Press, File

Sheldon Alberts with files from Paul Haavardsrud, CanWest News Service
Published: Saturday, February 04, 2006

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Energy is predicting crude oil from Alberta's oilsands -- not alternative energy sources such as biomass ethanol -- will help halve America's dependence on overseas oil within two decades.

The assessment, in a report to be released later this month, follows President George W. Bush's challenge this week for the U.S. to sharply reduce its oil imports from unstable nations in the Middle East.

According to data obtained by the Reuters news agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates America's oil imports from Canada will almost double by 2025, from 1.6 million barrels a day to 2.7 million barrels a day.

The vast majority of that increased production will come from Alberta's oilsands, which are expected to triple production to as much as three million barrels a day by 2020.

"If (the United States) receives it all, which we don't have in our forecast, it could reduce even more our dependence on the Middle East," an energy department official told Reuters.

The U.S., however, isn't the only country with designs on Canadian oil.

Earlier this week, India's top energy official said his country could invest up to $1.5 billion in the next year to gain a toehold in the oilsands.

China, meanwhile, has already made overtures of its own, most notably, by throwing its clout behind Calgary-based Enbridge Inc.'s proposal to build a 400,000-barrel-a-day pipeline from Alberta to the west coast.

Chemicals in food packaging -- Ohio Citizen Action

Most people know that Teflon chemicals are in cookware. However, chemical coatings used in food packaging have proven to break down into Teflon chemicals as well. Scientists are investigating human exposure from oil, stain, and grease repellent coatings on paper and cartons such as french fries boxes, sandwich wrappers, and microwave popcorn bags.

* Situation analysis, paper and packaging business, 3M internal document
* Fluorochemical use, distribution and release, 3M internal document
* Fast food companies asked to disclose use of toxic chemicals in food packaging, press release, Environmental Working Group

"According to 3M Company testing, Teflon chemicals are present in the blood of about 95% of people living in the United States. [PFOA or C8] linked to the coatings on take-out food cartons and raincoats is 'likely' to cause cancer in humans, according to a draft report by a panel of an independent advisory board to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Scientists are not sure how the chemical - perfluorooctanoic acid - is getting into people, but it is found widely in human blood throughout the United States. Some researchers say the source is the deterioration of water- and grease-repellant coatings used on carpets, raincoats and takeout-food boxes,” Philadelphia Inquirer, June 29, 2005.

Defra, UK - Environmental Protection - Climate Change - Action internationally

Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change

The Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change book consolidates the scientific findings of the Exeter conference and gives an account of the most recent developments on critical thresholds and key vulnerabilities of the climate system, impacts on human and natural systems, emission pathways and technological options of meeting different stabilisation levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The book focuses on three crucial questions:

1. For different levels of climate change what are the key impacts, for different regions and sectors, and for the world as a whole?

2. What would such levels of climate change imply in terms of greenhouse gas stabilisation concentrations and emission pathways required to achieve such levels?

3. What technological options are there for achieving stabilisation of greenhouse gases at different stabilisation concentrations in the atmosphere, taking into account costs and uncertainties?


Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change - full text of book PDF logo (16.3 MB - note very large file size)

Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change - executive summary PDF logo (168 KB) - After PCBs, the next big thing

PFCAs turn up in blood of seals, polar bears Large group of chemicals
linked to cancers
Feb. 4, 2006. 01:00 AM

Fluorinated polymers are everywhere, even though most people have never heard of them.

Microwave popcorn bags, stain-free carpets, fast-food wrappers, denture cleaners, windshield washer fluid — this is just a sample of the consumer products that contain some compound from this vast chemical family.

Such widespread use means big dollars. Manufacturing millions of kilograms of fluorinated polymers (and the chemicals used to make them) generates billions of dollars in annual revenue for chemical giants like Dupont Co. in the U.S., Clariant in Germany and Daikin in Japan.

Yet, these ubiquitous compounds are shaping up to be as big an environmental and potential health problem as their better known chemical cousins like PCB and DDT. Possibly even bigger, say some experts like University of Toronto's Scott Mabury.

Earth Meanders

The U.S.A. now stands for totalitarianism, perma-war and collapsing climate.

America's freedom, prosperity and global allure are being lost forever. Fear, hubris and excessive consumption have turned the American dream into an American tragedy. In the name of freedom, freedoms are being dramatically curtailed. To keep oil cheap, deadly climate change is ignored. Totalitarian national security powers and an absence of leadership to stop climate collapse threaten the nation's and the world's economic, social, political and ecological foundations as never before.

The American dream of freedom and prosperity has long been fragile and incomplete, as American democratic rhetoric has been undermined by a history of militarism, racism and poverty. The great liberal democratic experiment could have gone badly wrong at many points in American history, but perhaps surprisingly, instead liberty and comforts continued to expand. Not anymore.

Because of one dastardly criminal attack on 9/11, many Americans have supported their government's rollback of democratic human rights and the rule of law, including curtailing domestic civil liberties and waging foreign wars of aggression. It is terrible that 3,000 people died that day over four years ago. But where is the perspective?

Forty two thousand people die in America every year from automobile accidents. We are not seriously thinking of limiting driving. Already some 500 people are dying daily directly as a result of climate change, and within decades this is expected to soar to the hundreds of millions, if not billions. At least 3,000 people, mostly children, die a day from bad water around the world. Yet the $20 billion investment required to provide drinking water to all the Earth's children is not made. The direct costs of the immoral Iraq war approach $400 billion - twenty times what it would cost to daily save from bad water the twin towers' death toll...

Friday, February 03, 2006 - Global warming boosting Greenland glacier flow - Feb 3, 2006

Friday, February 3, 2006 Posted: 2044 GMT (0444 HKT)
(Reuters) -- Two major glaciers in Greenland have recently begun to flow and break up more quickly under the onslaught of global warming, a new study said on Friday, raising the specter of millions drowning from rising sea levels.

The report from the University of Swansea's School of the Environment and Society said the Kangerdlugssuaq and Helheim glaciers had doubled their rate of flow to the ocean over the past two years after steady movement during the 1990s.

This spurt meant that current environmental models of the rate of retreat of Greenland's giant ice sheet -- which could add seven meters to the height of the world's oceans if it disappears -- had underestimated the problem.

"It seems likely that other Greenland outlets will undergo similar changes, which would impact the mass balance of the ice sheet more rapidly than predicted," the study said.

It said the fact that the two major outflow glaciers had shown the same sudden acceleration despite being more than 300 km apart suggested the cause was not local but more likely climatic or oceanic in origin.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

American Civil Liberties Union : Eavesdropping 101: What Can The NSA Do?

The recent revelations about illegal eavesdropping on American citizens by the U.S. National Security Agency have raised many questions about just what the agency is doing. Although the facts are just beginning to emerge, information that has come to light about the NSA's activities and capabilities over the years, as well as the recent reporting by the New York Times and others, allows us to discern the outlines of what they are likely doing and how they are doing it.

The NSA is not only the world's largest spy agency (far larger than the CIA, for example), but it possesses the most advanced technology for intercepting communications. We know it has long had the ability to focus powerful surveillance capabilities on particular individuals or communications. But the current scandal has indicated two new and significant elements of the agency's eavesdropping:

1. The NSA has gained direct access to the telecommunications infrastructure through some of America's largest companies
2. The agency appears to be not only targeting individuals, but also using broad "data mining" systems that allow them to intercept and evaluate the communications of millions of people within the United States.

The ACLU has prepared a map illustrating how all this is believed to work. It shows how the military spying agency has extended its tentacles into much of the U.S. civilian communications infrastructure, including, it appears, the "switches" through which international and some domestic communications are routed, Internet exchange points, individual telephone company central facilities, and Internet Service Providers (ISPs). While we cannot be certain about these secretive links, this chart shows a representation of what is, according to recent reports, the most likely picture of what is going on.

CBC News: Storm surge sweeps newborn seals to their death

Hundreds of dead seal pups are expected to wash up on the shores of Nova Scotia in the aftermath of a severe winter storm.

A major storm surge on Wednesday swept scores of grey seal pups that had just been born on Pictou Island out to sea, where they drowned.

The adult seals came ashore on Pictou Island to give birth because there is little ice in the strait. (photo: Corrine Cameron)
Jane MacDonald, one of the 18 people who live on the island year round, watched in horror as the adult seals tried desperately to save their pups.

"The mothers just push them and push them with their nose, and they dive back under and push them back up, and they get back into the tide wash, and then a big wave will hit and just sweep them back out to sea," she said.

A small part of the herd made it to higher ground, MacDonald said, but hundreds of seal pups were washed away.

Grey seals prefer to give birth on ice floes. But with little ice in the strait this year, the estimated herd of 2,000 moved ashore to Pictou Island.

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