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Friday, April 29, 2016

England's Remaining Golden Eagle Missing

Wildlife experts say the bird likely died of natural causes after they fail to spot him at his usual haunts in the Lake District

 A Golden eagle in flight. The missing golden eagle had been resident at Haweswater in the Lake District for 15 years.

England's last golden eagle feared dead

England’s only resident golden eagle is likely to have died after failing to appear this spring, wildlife experts fear.
The bird, which has been a resident at Riggindale near Haweswater, Cumbria, since 2001, has not seen by RSPB staff since last November, and would normally be seen at this time of year building a nest and displaying to attract a mate.
Lee Schofield, site manager at RSPB Haweswater, said: “When the eagle didn’t appear last month we thought there was a chance he might be hunting in a nearby valley but over the past few weeks we’ve been gradually losing hope.”
The eagle, who did not have a name, was believed to have been around 20 years old and had lived alone since the death of his mate in 2004.
“We will probably never find out what happened to him but as he was ... an advanced age for an eagle, it’s quite possible that he died of natural causes,” Schofield said. 

Consensus Affirmed: Virtually All Climate Scientists Agree Warming Is Manmade

Almost 97% of climate scientists agree that the planet is warming due to human activity, according to a peer-reviewed paper published in Environmental Research Letters. The study is a "consensus on consensus." 

Loneliness is killing us 

Severe loneliness in England blights the lives of 700,000 men and 1.1m women over 50, and is rising with astonishing speed. Social isolation is as potent a cause of early death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and is twice as deadly as obesity. 

'Worse things in store': Steaming hot world sets more temperature records

The most abnormally hot regions of the world last month included Australia, which set a record with minimum temperatures almost 2 degrees above the average for 1961-90, while the Arctic region was about 3.3 degrees above average 

Why Is Productivity So Weak? Three Theories

More than 151 million Americans count themselves employed, a number that has risen sharply in the last few years. The question is this: What are they doing all day?
Because whatever it is, it barely seems to be registering in economic output. The number of hours Americans worked rose 1.9 percent in the year ended in March. New data released Thursday showed that gross domestic productin the first quarter was up 1.9 percent over the previous year. Despite constant advances in software, equipment and management practices to try to make corporate America more efficient, actual economic output is merely moving in lock step with the number of hours people put in, rather than rising as it has throughout modern history.
We could chalk that up to a statistical blip if it were a single year; productivity data are notoriously volatile. But this has been going on for some time. From 2011 through 2015, the government’s official labor productivity measure shows only 0.4 percent annual growth in output per hour of work. That’s the lowest for a five-year span since the 1977-to-1982 period, and far below the 2.3 percent average since the 1950s.
Productivity is one of the most important yet least understood areas of economics. Over long periods, it is the only pathway toward higher levels of prosperity; the reason an American worker makes much more today than a century ago is that each hour of labor produces much more in goods and services. Put bluntly, if the kind of productivity growth implied by the new data published Thursday were to persist indefinitely, your grandchildren would be no richer than you.
N Y Times 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Nuclear Taboo - Rethinking Armageddon

Rethinking Armageddon

The First Nuclear Age was characterized by the Cold War era bipolar international system and a corresponding bipolar nuclear competition between the United States and the Soviet Union. While a few other states, such as Great Britain and France, also possessed nuclear arms, their arsenals were very small compared to those of the two superpowers.
The world is far different today. On the one hand, both the United States and Russia have far smaller nuclear arsenals than they did at the Cold War’s end. At the same time, new nuclear powers have emerged in pace with advanced conventional precision warfare capabilities. The rise of cyber warfare has also led to concerns over the security and reliability of early warning and command-and-control systems, and weapon systems as well. Advances in the cognitive sciences and research on Cold War crisis decision-making have challenged some of our thinking as to how strategies based on deterrence work, or risk failing. Together, these and other recent developments have combined to form what some are calling a Second Nuclear Age.

A Hothouse Summer is Coming and We’d Better Get Ready

We have never seen Winter heat like this before over Western North America. This creates a heightened risk of seriously severe Summer extreme weather events ranging well into the far north. Similar situation in Western Russia and North-Central Siberia.

Who Benefits in Yemen

Saudi Arabia decided to go to war in Yemen because it feared the Houthi takeover of the country would give Iran, its chief regional enemy, a foothold on its vulnerable southern underbelly. The Saudis also demonstrate they could project their military power in the region to aid in their quest for leadership of the Arab world. 

US firms knew about global warming in 1968 – what about Australia? 

By the late 1970s, The Canberra Times began running prominent stories about the possibility of sea-level rise and other climate impacts. A November 1977 article warned that relying only on coal-fired power would flood cities.

Financial Structure Overhaul Possible?



Why Real Reform Is Now Impossible 

The endless bleating of well-paid pundits in the corporate media about "reform" is just more circus.

It's difficult for well-meaning pundits to abandon the fantasy that meaningful reform is possible. Indeed, a critical function of the punditry and corporate media is to foster the fantasy that the status quo could be reformed if only we all got together and blah blah blah.
As I explain in my new book Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reformreal structural reform would trigger the collapse of the status quo. (As a reminder, the status quo benefits the few at the expense of the many.)
But there's another dynamic that makes reform impossible. I've prepared a chart to explain this dynamic:

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Africa 2050 Human Existence Still Possible?

Climate: Africa’s Human Existence Is at Severe Risk

“Africa’s human existence and development is under threat from the adverse impacts of climate change – its population, ecosystems and unique biodiversity will all be the major victims of global climate change.”

This is how clear the Nairobi-based United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is when it comes to assessing the negative impact of climate change on this continent of 54 countries with a combined population of over 1,200 billion [1.2 billion] inhabitants. “No continent will be struck as severely by the impacts of climate change as Africa.”

Other international organisations are similarly trenchant. For instance, the World Bank, basing on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, confirms that Africa is becoming the most exposed region in the world to the impacts of climate change.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, extreme weather will cause dry areas to become drier and wet areas wetter; agriculture yields will suffer from crop failures; and diseases will spread to new altitudes, say the World Bank experts, while alerting that by 2030 it is expected that 90 million more people in Africa will be exposed to malaria, “already the biggest killer in Sub-Saharan Africa.”


Global warming may be far worse than thought, cloud analysis suggests 

Climate change projections have vastly underestimated the role that clouds play, meaning future warming could be far worse than is currently projected. A doubling of C02 could result in a global temperature increase of up to 5.3C – far warmer than the 4.6C older models predict.The analysis of satellite data found that clouds have more liquid rather than ice, than has been assumed. Clouds with ice crystals reflect more solar light than those with liquid, stopping it reaching and heating the Earth’s surface, which means that models showing future warming are misguided

Arctic ice loss

Since 2003, Greenland has lost more than 272 Tkg of ice a year, and that affects the way the Earth wobbles in a manner similar to a figure skater lifting one leg while spinning. On top of that, West Antarctica loses 124 Tkg and East Antarctica gains about 74 Tkg, helping tilt the wobble further. They all combine to pull polar motion toward the east

Here’s What Science Has To Say About Convincing People To Do Something About Climate Change

The best way to motivate people to support action to limit climate change is to explain the dangers of not taking action. While that may not seem surprising, it is only recently that the immorality of inaction have been a key focus of top US politicians.

Radioactive boars run wild around Fukushima   

Communities in northern Japan are being overwhelmed by radioactive wild boars which are rampaging across the countryside after being contaminated by the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
The animals’ numbers are increasing as the boar breed unhindered in the exclusion zone around the stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant, and they are causing damage to farms well beyond the area poisoned by radiation. Hunters are shooting the boars as fast as they can, but local cities are running out of burial space and incinerator capacity to dispose of their corpses. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Believe it or Not; #India Cooks at Unbelievable 45.8 Degrees Celsius

Temporary relief in Bhubaneswar from the deadly heat  

Forcing Odisha government to shut down its grievance cell and schools till April 20, the heatwave in Bhubaneswar has given temporary relief to the residents. The day temperature has witnessed a drop -marginal though- only to be accompanied by high humidity.

Odisha heat wave

Owing to comparatively cool and moist southerly winds, the city has seen a drop of 3 degrees in its day temperature. Though the temperature has come down to 42.9°C from the all-time highest 45.8°C, heatwave is still persisting in the area as the temperature is still 6 degrees above normal.

This temporary relief is likely to be maintained till tomorrow after which, temperatures will rise again. As per latest reports by Skymet Weather, heatwave will continue to prevail in the region as dry weather is likely to persist till the weekend. 

Last night, after over 60 hours in the air and months of work on the ground, Solar Impulse completed its crossing of the Pacific. The landing at Moffett Field completed the most challenging part of its round-the-world journey, one interrupted by a long layover in Hawaii that allowed the team to sort out issues with the craft's batteries.

Almost eight decades after oil was first found in the country, officials on Monday are to unveil Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s “Saudi Vision 2030,” a blueprint seeking to reduce the current reliance on revenue from crude exports. King Salman has approved the package of developmental, economic, social and other programs. Prince Mohammed, known as MbS among diplomats and Saudi watchers, disclosed details of the plan in interviews with Bloomberg in Riyadh.

Many Germans fear the deal will lower standards for products, consumer protection and the labor market. Fifty-six percent of the Germans see free trade as a positive development, compared to 88 percent two years ago.
“Support for trade agreements is fading in a country that views itself as the global export champion,” Aart de Geus, Bertelsmann’s CEO, said.

Could off-grid electricity systems accelerate energy access?

Small-scale electricity systems provide uneven benefits and limited service options, according to a new study published today from researchers at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the World Resources Institute (WRI).
Previous research has shown multiple benefits of electricity access for education, livelihoods, and health, in particular from the reduction in kerosene for lighting that lead to indoor air pollution. However, small-scale systems--which are often set up in an ad-hoc way in remote areas outside licensed power grids--have not previously been systematically studied. Off-grid systems can include a wide variety of energy sources, from a simple diesel generator powering a microgrid set up by a wealthy farmer to solar-powered home systems sold by entrepreneurs. 
"These little systems have been proliferating widely across South Asia in the last ten years, sometimes in competition with each other" says IIASA researcher Narasimha Rao, who led the research design of the study. "We wanted to know what level of service and what benefits are people getting from these systems, and how these compare with larger scale electricity grids."

Monday, April 25, 2016

Just Awful: "Beautiful Cambodian Tigers Functionally Extinct"

Image result for cute tiger cubs wallpaper hd

Tigers Are Now Extinct In A Country Where They Used To Thrive

Six years after 13 countries pledged to double the number of tigers in the wild by 2020, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) declared tigers “functionally extinct” in Cambodia on Wednesday.
According to WWF, the last wild tiger in the country was observed in 2007 thanks to a hidden camera in the Mondulkiri Protected Forest. Cambodia, one of the 13 countries in the world where tigers live, has approved a plan to reintroduce tigers into the Mondulkiri protected forest in eastern Cambodia, the Guardian reports. “We want two male tigers and five to six females tigers for the start,” said Keo Omaliss, director of the department of wildlife and biodiversity at the Forestry Administration, according to the Guardian. “This is a huge task.”
Though it may be a huge task, the announcement comes a week after researchers said in a studythat forest loss has been lower than expected in tiger habitats, so there is enough space for tigers to come back from the brink of extinction, if habitats are preserved. Habitats are critical for any species, said Anup Joshi, one of the study’s authors, “and especially so with tigers, which need large areas to survive.”
Tigers are solitary animals apart from the connection between mother and cub. They traverse large territories and their size is determined mostly by the availability of prey. Joshi, a conservation biologist at the University of Minnesota, told ThinkProgress that out of the 76 conserved landscapes where tigers live, 29 were recognized as areas where tiger populations could double.

Wireless Electric Vehicle Charger With 20 kW Capacity & 90% Efficiency

the ORNL equipment could shorten the time needed to boost a battery back up to 80% range from 8 hours or more to as little as 3 hours. That could even make it suitable for applications away from home, such as shopping malls.

Hunt wants Australia to lead world in battery storage

“Solar and storage together are the future of electricity. That’s a huge direction in Australia and we are the world’s leading household solar nation. Now we want to be number one in the deployment of battery storage."

Fracking’s Total Environmental Impact Is Staggering

A new report details the sheer amount of water contamination, air pollution, climate impacts, and chemical use in fracking in the US. For the past decade, fracking has been a nightmare for our drinking water, our open spaces, and our climate.
Where do the children play?

Only since 1800, in the last 0.1% of the history of Homo sapiens, has the human population shot into the billions. Now at nearly 6.7 billion, with 9 billion looming 40 years away, few environmentalists seem to care.
Yet the population-environment link is clear. Our environmental impact, as gauged by total resource consumption for a country or the world, is the product of population size and the average person’s consumption.
Today’s crumbling environment, racked by climate change, mass extinction, deforestation, collapsing fisheries and more is evidence our total consumption has gone too far. We are destroying our life-support system. In ecological terms we are in “overshoot” of Earth’s “carrying capacity” for humans, our demand exceeding the planet’s absorptive and regenerative capacities.
To avert catastrophe, we need to reduce both factors in the equation: our numbers and per person consumption.
Or so it would seem. Ignoring that logic, most environmentalists today avoid half the equation. An emailer’s assertion was typical: “John, if everyone on Earth just consumed less, as they do in Mexico, say, we wouldn’t have exceeded carrying capacity.”

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Warm #Oceans Creating MONSTER Cyclones

A NOAA-led study published in September projects increases in “the number and occurrence days of very intense category 4 and 5 storms” by the end of the century, and, more generally, NOAA projects an increase in the average intensity of tropical cyclones.
Washington Post

Record warm oceans have spawned scary slate of monster tropical cyclones

In the past six months, the Earth has witnessed several of the freakiest, most intense storms in recorded history.
Spurred by the highest ocean temperatures observed to date, record-breaking tropical cyclones — the class of storms that includes hurricanes and typhoons — have explosively developed in three regions: the northeast Pacific Ocean, the south Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean.

These storms may be a harbinger of increasingly severe tropical cyclones in future decades as the Earth continues warming.

The most recent vicious storm, Tropical Cyclone Fantala, attained peak winds of 173 mph north of Madagascar this past weekend. According to meteorologist Bob Henson at Weather Underground, it became the most intense tropical cyclone on record in the Indian Ocean. Fantala has since lost some steam andis forecast to weaken to a tropical storm over the southern Indian Ocean by early next week.  Fortunately, it has avoided any land areas.

A Harbinger of the End of the Fossil Fuel Era

Coal production as Peabody Energy Declares Bankruptcy, as an end becomes more and more visible in an ongoing global coal industry collapse and retrenchment. In three of the world’s largest coal producing and consuming regions (India, China, and the US) production, imports and exports are down. In the US, coal production has fallen by more than 50% since 2008.
4 Things to Know About the Peabody Energy Bankruptcy

In the last couple of years, more than 50 coal companies have declared bankruptcy. Activists in the US have halted the construction of more than 150 new coal-fired power plants since the early 2000s.

Here’s What Science Has To Say About Convincing People To Do Something About Climate Change

The best way to motivate people to support action to limit climate change is to explain the dangers of not taking action. While that may not seem surprising, it is only recently that the immorality of inaction have been a key focus of top US politicians.

Why Organized Religion Fears Educated Women

Educating women improves the welfare of families as they become empowered to contribute to the financial success of their household—which in turn creates more opportunities and resources available for their children.

For thousands of years women have been defined only in correlation to their relationship to men. They have been kept hidden, prohibited from speaking, forced into submission and treated as the “unclean” gender whose existence is that of mental and physical servitude to her human counterpart. Why has so much emphasis been placed upon the mind and actions of women? What does organized religion fear about the mind of an educated and logically-thinking woman?
Here are 5 reasons why organized religion fears educated women:

The loss of patriarchal control

Image result for big brotherIt is a widely-known fact that the more educated and financially stable a woman becomes, the more likely she is to practice family-planning and have her children at a later age. Educated women are also more likely to have fewer children than their uneducated and impoverished female counterparts.
Furthermore, educated women are more likely to cultivate their own worldview, rather than simply following their traditional familiar teachings; and may contribute no followers to a religion when they do finally decide to start a family.
This is a problem for religion because women who choose the timing and size of their household don’t typically contribute the same amount of future-followers to a religion as those women who are restricted from pursuing an education and career. If a woman leaves the religion altogether as a direct result of becoming well-informed and financially stable and no longer needs the “comforts” that her religion once provided, she has not only removed herself from the ranks, but her children as well. For religion to perpetuate itself, it must have followers, or it ceases to exist.

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