Friday, March 23, 2007

Antarctic melting may be speeding up

Antarctic melting may be speeding up
Fri Mar 23, 2007 6:31 AM EDT14

HOBART (Reuters) - Rising sea levels and melting polar ice-sheets are at upper limits of projections, leaving some human population centers already unable to cope, top world scientists say as they analyze latest satellite data.

A United Nations report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in February projected sea level gains of 18-59 centimeters (7-23 inches) this century from temperature rises of 1.8-4.0 Celsius (3.2-7.8 Farenheit).

"Observations are in the very upper edge of the projections," leading Australian marine scientist John Church told Reuters.

"I feel that we're getting uncomfortably close to threshold," said Church, of Australia's CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research said.

Past this level, parts of the Antarctic and Greenland would approach a virtually irreversible melting that would produce sea level rises of meters, he said.

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Aircraft vapour trails increase global warming-Report

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Aircraft vapour trails increase global warming-Report

Airlines could
boost their emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and still halve their impact on global warming. That is the paradoxical conclusion of a new study into the effects of commercial aviation on the environment.

The CO2 emitted from their engines is not the only way aircraft affect climate.

They also do so through their contrails, the long trails of water vapour and ice that form in an aircraft's wake and which can persist for several hours.

Contrails trap heat in the atmosphere by reflecting infrared radiation emitted from the Earth's surface.

In 1999, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), calculated that contrails from the world fleet of 12,000 civil airliners contribute as much to global warming as the CO2 their engines pour out as they burn jet fuel.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Long-haul flights leaving their mark

Mar 21 2007

Rhodri Clark, Western Mail

A remarkable picture shows the way that Wales is affected by vapour trails far more than much of England.

Climate change is being accelerated because the country lies under flight paths linking the world's most affluent continents.

Satellite images show that so many long-haul flights cross Wales at high altitude the country can be almost completely obscured by vapour trails.

It is not such a problem over the busy London area because the planes fly at a lower altitude.

The high-altitude trails over Wales prevent heat escaping at night and narrow the temperature gap between night and day.

Story continues

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


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By: Devvy
March 19, 2007

© 2007 -

All of us at one time or another have looked up into the sky and seen those beautiful, fluffy clouds floating by or some that just seem to hang there for our enjoyment. Some of them look as soft as a pillow. But, over the decade, we the people have seen those natural creations take on a more sinister apparition in the form of man made contrails. On December 19, 2004, I wrote a news column for NWVs on this very issue; see here. Immediately, my mail box filled up with assertions that the issue of contrails is just more conspiracy malarkey and it's just "steam" coming out of commercial airliners. This prompted me to write a follow up column; see here.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

What We Never Saw...another view of 9/11

I got this from a friend's blog and I just had to post this. It's a very haunting video of the 9/11 attacks, and brings it all home as to just how horrible they are. Regardless of your views of 9/11, this video will definitely move you, and make you feel for the people who died on that tragic day.
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Super-Close Google Maps Zooms


Super-Close Google Maps Zooms

Holy moly that is a close up zoom of a camel (see my screenshot above) – and it works for other place on Google Maps too! Yes, it turns out that you can zoom in much more deeply onto Google Maps by doing this:

  1. Select a location and switch to satellite view

  2. Zoom in as far as you can, and click “link to this page” at the top right

  3. Now replace the “z” parameter in the URL with a higher value, e.g. 20, 22, or 23, and wait. Some locations will now show more detailed imagery

The French Ecrans website and Geotrotter have more on this.

What fun images can you find? Please post screenshots.

Playing water ping pong.
It seems he’s looking into the camera, actually.
This is a rare zoom level 23, almost (already?) creating privacy issues people joked about earlier.
Nobody’s in the Googleplex pool.

Relaxing at the beach.

[Thanks Frank Fuchs!]

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Can This Fruit Be Saved?

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Can This Fruit Be Saved?

The banana as we know it is on a crash course toward extinction. For scientists, the battle to resuscitate the world’s favorite fruit has begun—a race against time that just may be too late to win
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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Climate report 'was watered down'

Japan's refusal to apologize for wartime brothels sparks furor

But prominent Japanese scholars and politicians routinely deny direct military involvement or the use of force in rounding up the women, blaming private contractors for any abuses. The government also has questioned the 200,000 figure.

Living proof

In South Korea, just 113 of the former sex slaves are still alive. A shelter has been set up for them in Gwangju, 50 kilometres south of Seoul, where Lee Ok-seon lives with eight other women.

The beatings Lee endured during three years of sexual enslavement to Japanese troops left her nearly deaf from blows to the head, with speech slurred from missing teeth and scars on various parts of her body.

She was shocked to hear the Japanese prime minister say last week there was no proof she and other so-called comfort women had been coerced into prostitution.

The proof, she said, is all over her body.

"They took away other people's young daughters only to beat them to death, make them sick to death and starve them to death," said Lee, now 79. "And now they say there was no coercion in taking us. How evil are they?"

© The Canadian Press, 2007

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Marijuana, the wonder drug

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A new study in the journal Neurology is being hailed as unassailable proof that marijuana is a valuable medicine. It is a sad commentary on the state of modern medicine that we still need "proof" of something that medicine has known for 5,000 years.
The study, from the University of California at San Francisco, found that smoked marijuana was effective at relieving the extreme pain of a debilitating condition known as peripheral neuropathy.
It was a study of HIV patients, but a similar type of pain caused by damage to nerves afflicts people with many other illnesses including diabetes and multiple sclerosis.

Neuropathic pain is notoriously resistant to treatment with conventional pain drugs. Even powerful and addictive narcotics like morphine and OxyContin often provide little relief. This study leaves no doubt that marijuana can safely ease this type of pain.

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Friday, March 02, 2007

The Pentagon’s Power to Arrest, Torture, and Execute Americans

By Jacob G. Hornberger

03/02/07 "ICH" --- -- The president and the Pentagon now wield the omnipotent power to arrest, torture, and execute any American they label an “enemy combatant.” It is impossible to overstate the significance of this power. It has totally upended the relationship of the military and civilian in the United States. The assumption of this particular power easily constitutes one of the most monumental revolutions of liberty and power in history. It is a revolution that every American must confront now, not later. If people wait until later to confront the expanded use of this power, it will be too late, because by that time it will be too dangerous to do so.

As long as this particular power is permitted to stand, there is no possibility for Americans to be considered a free people. A necessary prerequisite for restoring freedom to our land is the removal of this power from the arsenal of government officials.

Everyone needs to understand the nature of this power and its enormous significance. Historically, the U.S. military has lacked the power to arrest, incarcerate, or inflict harm on American civilians. If Americans committed a federal crime, they were subject to being indicted by a federal grand jury and then prosecuted in U.S. District Court. The Bill of Rights guaranteed that the accused would be accorded certain rights of due process of law, such as the right to defend himself with the assistance of an attorney, to confront the witnesses whose testimony the prosecutors were relying on, to summon witnesses in his behalf, to remain silent, and to have a trial by jury. Everyone was presumed to be innocent and the government had to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Those constitutional protections and guarantees were upended on 9/11, without even the semblance of a constitutional amendment. On 9/11 the president and the Pentagon assumed to themselves the power to take any American into custody and inflict violence on him, without according him any of the protections provided by the Bill of Rights. Today, the Pentagon has the authority, on orders of its commander in chief, to send American soldiers into any neighborhood in the country and take into custody any American citizen and inflict harm on him simply by labeling him an “enemy combatant” in the “war on terror.”

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Disinformation :: The Face Of The $100 Laptop

Disinformation :: The Face Of The $100 Laptop

'The so-called $100 laptop that's being
designed for school children in developing nations is known for its
bright green and white plastic shell, its power-generating hand crank,
and for Nicholas Negroponte, the technology futurist who dreamed it up
and who tirelessly promotes it everywhere from Bangkok to Brasilia.
What has not received much attention is the graphical user
interface—the software that will be the face of the machine for the
millions of children who will own it. In fact, the user interface,
called Sugar, may turn out to be one of the more innovative aspects of
a project that has already made breakthroughs in mesh networking and
battery charging since Negroponte unveiled the concept two years ago.

offers a brand new approach to computing. Ever since the first Apple
Macintosh was launched in 1984, the user interfaces of personal
computers have been designed based on the same visual metaphor: the
desktop. Sugar tosses out all of that like so much tattered baggage.
Instead, an icon representing the individual occupies the center of the
screen; "zoom" out like a telephoto lens and you see the user in
relation to friends, and finally to all of the people in the village
who are also on the network.' (Businessweek). article

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