Monthly Archives: December 2013

Stewart Brand: Turning Soviet Nukes into US Electricity

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Virgin Galactic Celebrates 2013 Milestones


Six Months of NSA Secrets

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People Pressure: Activists cry foul as govts crack down on protests

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Top 7 Underreported Stories of 2013

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Wall Street completes the year with record-breaking gains

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BBC News – Heatwave kills seven in Argentina

A heatwave affecting Argentina has left at least seven people dead – most of them elderly – in the past week, officials say.

The heat has been compounded by power cuts, which have prevented many people from using air conditioning.

In Santiago del Estero and other northern provinces temperatures have soared to over 45C (113F).

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Top 20 Democracy Now! Segments of 2013 | Democracy Now!

As part of our look back at the top news stories of 2013, we have complied a list of the 20 most-viewed Democracy Now! segments on

Global Climate Change
Environmental Justice
Environment Ethics

Looking Back: A Year of Struggles on Climate, Education & Marriage Equality Inspire Hope for 2014


Published on Dec 31, 2013 – On the last day of 2013, we look back on some of the many signs of hope that emerged on issues ranging from economic equality to LGBT rights to climate justice. With all the bad news that came this year, there were many encouraging displays of a shifting public consciousness and a willingness by ordinary people to mobilize for change. We are joined by Sarah van Gelder, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of YES! Magazine, whose latest article is “10 Hopeful Things That Happened in 2013 to Get You Inspired for What’s to Come.”

Please consider supporting independent media by making a donation to Democracy Now! today, visit:

Global Climate Change
Environmental Justice
Environment Ethics

Monsanto’s scary new scheme: Why does it really want all this data?

As biotech giant pays huge sums for data analysis about farms, many are terrified about how it might be harnessed

Lina Khan

(Credit: Nejron Photo, Fotokostic via Shutterstock/Salon)

Imagine cows fed and milked entirely by robots. Or tomatoes that send an e-mail when they need more water. Or a farm where all the decisions about where to plant seeds, spray fertilizer and steer tractors are made by software on servers on the other side of the sea.

This is what more and more of our agriculture may come to look like in the years ahead, as farming meets Big Data. There’s no shortage of farmers and industry gurus who think this kind of “smart” farming could bring many benefits. Pushing these tools onto fields, the idea goes, will boost our ability to control this fiendishly unpredictable activity and help farmers increase yields even while using fewer resources.

The big question is who exactly will end up owning all this data, and who gets to determine how it is used. On one side stand some of the largest corporations in agriculture, who are racing to gather and put their stamp on as much of this information as they can. Opposing them are farmers’ groups and small open-source technology start-ups, which want to ensure a farm’s data stays in the farmer’s control and serves the farmer’s interests.

Who wins will determine not just who profits from the information, but who, at the end of the day, directs life and business on the farm.

One recent round in this battle took place in October, when Monsanto spent close to $1 billion to buy the Climate Corporation, a data analytics firm. Last year the chemical and seed company also bought Precision Planting, another high-tech firm, and also launched a venture capital arm geared to fund tech start-ups.

In November, John Deere and DuPont Pioneer announced plans to partner to provide farmers information and prescriptions in near-real time. Deere has pioneered “precision farming” equipment in recent years, equipping tractors and combines to automatically transmit data collected from particular farms to company databases. DuPont, meanwhile, has rolled out a service that analyzes data into “actionable management strategies.”

….(read more).

Environmental Justice
Environment Ethics
Food-Matters http://Food-Matters.TV