9/22/14: Google chairman Eric Schmidt announces Google is leaving the American Legislative Exchange Council, in response to a listener call to the Diane Rehm show.
LISTENER: Um, I’m curious to know if Google is still supporting ALEC which is that fund, they’re, um, lobbyists in DC that are funding climate change deniers.
ERIC SCHMIDT: Um, we funded them as part of a political [campaign—somewhat unintelligible] of something unrelated. I think the consensus within the company was that that was some sort of mistake and so we’re trying to not do that in the future.
DIANE REHM: And how did you get involved with them in the first place and were you, then, disappointed in what you saw?
SCHMIDT: Well, the company has a very strong view that we should make decisions in politics based on facts — what a shock. And the facts of climate change are not in question anymore. Everyone understands climate change is occurring and the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place. And so we should not be aligned with such people — they’re just, they’re just literally lying.
NASA in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is offering more than $35,000 in prizes to citizen scientists for ideas that make use of climate data to address vulnerabilities faced by the United States in coping with climate change.
The Climate Resilience Data Challenge, conducted through the NASA Tournament Lab, a partnership with Harvard University hosted on Appirio/Topcoder, kicks off Monday, Dec. 15 and runs through March 2015.
The challenge supports the efforts of the White House Climate Data Initiative, a broad effort to leverage the federal government’s extensive, freely available climate-relevant data resources to spur innovation and private-sector entrepreneurship in order to advance awareness of and preparedness for the impacts of climate change. The challenge was announced by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Dec. 9.
According to the recent National Climate Assessment produced by more than 300 experts across government and academia, the United States faces a number of current and future challenges as the result of climate change. Vulnerabilities include coastal flooding and weather-related hazards that threaten lives and property, increased disruptions to agriculture, prolonged drought that adversely affects food security and water availability, and ocean acidification capable of damaging ecosystems and biodiversity. The challenge seeks to unlock the potential of climate data to address these and other climate risks.
“Federal agencies, such as NASA and the USGS, traditionally focus on developing world-class science data to support scientific research, but the rapid growth in the innovation community presents new opportunities to encourage wider usage and application of science data to benefit society,” said Kevin Murphy, NASA program executive for Earth Science Data Systems in Washington. “We need tools that utilize federal data to help our local communities improve climate resilience, protect our ecosystems, and prepare for the effects of climate change.”
“Government science follows the strictest professional protocols because scientific objectivity is what the American people expect from us,” said Virginia Burkett, acting USGS associate director for Climate Change and Land Use. “That systematic approach is fundamental to our mission. With this challenge, however, we are intentionally looking outside the box for transformational ways to apply the data that we have already carefully assembled for the benefit of communities across the nation.”
The challenge begins with an ideation stage for data-driven application pitches, followed by storyboarding and, finally, prototyping of concepts with the greatest potential.
Published on Jun 30, 2012
Pesticides are substances or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest. Pesticides are a special kind of products for crop protection. Crop protection products in general protect plants from damaging influences such as weeds, diseases or insects. A pesticide is generally a chemical or biological agent (such as a virus, bacterium, antimicrobial or disinfectant) that through its effect deters, incapacitates, kills or otherwise discourages pests. Target pests can include insects, plant pathogens, weeds, molluscs, birds, mammals, fish, nematodes (roundworms), and microbes that destroy property, cause nuisance, spread disease or are vectors for disease. Although there are human benefits to the use of pesticides, some also have drawbacks, such as potential toxicity to humans and other animals. According to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, 9 of the 12 most dangerous and persistent organic chemicals are pesticides. Pesticides are categorized into four main substituent chemicals: herbicides; fungicides; insecticides and bactericides.
Food additives are substances added to food to preserve flavor or enhance its taste and appearance. Some additives have been used for centuries; for example, preserving food by pickling (with vinegar), salting, as with bacon, preserving sweets or using sulfur dioxide as in some wines. With the advent of processed foods in the second half of the 20th century, many more additives have been introduced, of both natural and artificial origin.
With the increasing use of processed foods since the 19th century, there has been a great increase in the use of food additives of varying levels of safety. This has led to legislation in many countries regulating their use. For example, boric acid was widely used as a food preservative from the 1870s to the 1920s, but was banned after World War I due to its toxicity, as demonstrated in animal and human studies. During World War II, the urgent need for cheap, available food preservatives led to it being used again, but it was finally banned in the 1950s. Such cases led to a general mistrust of food additives, and an application of the precautionary principle led to the conclusion that only additives that are known to be safe should be used in foods. In the USA, this led to the adoption of the Delaney clause, an amendment to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938, stating that no carcinogenic substances may be used as food additives. However, after the banning of cyclamates in the USA and Britain in 1969, saccharin, the only remaining legal artificial sweetener at the time, was found to cause cancer in rats. Widespread public outcry in the USA, partly communicated to Congress by postage-paid postcards supplied in the packaging of sweetened soft drinks, led to the retention of saccharin despite its violation of the Delaney clause.
In September 2007, research financed by Britain’s Food Standards Agency and published online by the British medical journal The Lancet, presented evidence that a mix of additives commonly found in children’s foods increases the mean level of hyperactivity. The team of researchers concluded that “the finding lends strong support for the case that food additives exacerbate hyperactive behaviors (inattention, impulsivity and overactivity) at least into middle childhood.” That study examined the effect of artificial colors and a sodium benzoate preservative, and found both to be problematic for some children. Further studies are needed to find out whether there are other additives that could have a similar effect, and it is unclear whether some disturbances can also occur in mood and concentration in some adults. In the February 2008 issue of its publication, AAP Grand Rounds, the American Academy of Pediatrics concluded that a low-additive diet is a valid intervention for children with ADHD:
“Although quite complicated, this was a carefully conducted study in which the investigators went to great lengths to eliminate bias and to rigorously measure outcomes. The results are hard to follow and somewhat inconsistent. For many of the assessments there were small but statistically significant differences of measured behaviors in children who consumed the food additives compared with those who did not. In each case increased hyperactive behaviors were associated with consuming the additives. For those comparisons in which no statistically significant differences were found, there was a trend for more hyperactive behaviors associated with the food additive drink in virtually every assessment. Thus, the overall findings of the study are clear and require that even we skeptics, who have long doubted parental claims of the effects of various foods on the behavior of their children, admit we might have been wrong.”
The real question is HOW do we save our planet? Bees are crashing, 90% of our water contains pesticides, 80% of our food contains toxic GMOs, 85% of our forests are gone, and most alarmingly 50% of our fellow species are slated for extinction! Check out http://www.foundups.com – and learn how we can disrupt the startup of the few and in the process save our planet.
Here is a great explanation on GMO and Bt pesticide. A must watch documentary by David Suzuki
NASA is typically known for its exploits in space — it is the aeronautics and space agency, after all. But for its latest initiative, it’s looking much closer to home, and it’s asking the crowd for help.
NASA, along with other government agencies, collects troves of data to support scientific research, and this latest challenge is meant to give the Administration an idea of how it can use the data in novel ways. Users are encouraged to provide ideas on how to best make use of the data that federal, as well as private, databases may hold.
“Federal agencies, such as NASA and the USGS, traditionally focus on developing world-class science data to support scientific research, but the rapid growth in the innovation community presents new opportunities to encourage wider usage and application of science data to benefit society,” said Kevin Murphy, NASA program executive for Earth Science Data Systems. “We need tools that utilize federal data to help our local communities improve climate resilience, protect our ecosystems, and prepare for the effects of climate change.”
David Suzuki explains the fallacy of conventional economics, in an interview done for the BBC.
“Conventional economics is a form of brain damage.” ~ David Suzuki
Anytime any being takes an action, there are both intended and unintended consequences, also called externalities. When a forest is cut for lumber, the intention is to use that wood to build houses, boats, etc. (oh yeah, and make a profit). This is the intended consequence and these usually are far fewer in number than the unintended consequences. This action of clear cutting an entire forest has huge numbers of devastating externalities such as soil erosion, disruption in rainfall patterns, desertification, species and habitat destruction, as well as a loss of something intuitively sacred.
Conventional economists do rightly speak of externalities in textbooks and how serious they can be. But many have ignorantly assumed an inexhaustible supply of natural resources to fuel economic growth indefinitely. They also assume the Earth has an infinite capacity to absorb externalities. In such a world of infinite resources and infinite capacity to absorb pollution, externalities have little consequence. It is when the cumulative effect of all those externalities begins to erode the capacity of the planet to support life that we start to see the real threat externalities pose to all of life on Earth.
This inspiring video points out the fallacy of conventional economics – a belief that there are no limits – and provides a hopeful model with which to frame our vision for the future.
Lobbing her softballs in the form of affable iterations of stock climate denier statements like “I don’t deny climate change, it’s happening I just don’t know if we need to do anything about it,” and “I fly over the country all the time, it’s green out there, there’s lakes, there’s rivers, it’s a beautiful world—it’s all cyclical,” Colbert provided her openings to explain her book’s thesis—that capitalism, with its demands for constant growth to fuel profit, must be scrapped to reverse climate change.
Does Texas Congressman Steve Stockman need a refresher course in elementary school science? Jon Stewart suggests he does. Photo credit: Comedy Central
“Here’s why you need the march,” he says, answering his own question. “It’s accepted pretty much everywhere—but there’s one place called the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology.” He illustrates his point with jaw-dropping clips of House members on that committee interviewing John Paul Holden, President Obama’s senior advisor on space and technology issues.
In one clip, Texas Congressman Steve Stockman explains that he doesn’t believe in rising ocean levels, saying, “When your ice cube melts in your glass, it doesn’t overflow—it’s displacement!” “How far back to the elementary school core curriculum do we have to go to get someone on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology caught up?” exclaims Stewart, pounding on his desk in exasperation. “Do we have to bring out the papier-mâchéand soda so you can make a %#$^&$ volcano?”
In another clip, Indiana Congressman Larry Bucshon offers that climate change has been disproved because “there’s public comments out there that that question has been asked and answered saying no.” “You should look at the scientific literature rather than the public comments,” offers Holdren. “With all due respect, Rep. Bucshon,” says Stewart, “I suggest you get the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology as opposed to the YouTube comment feed of Obummerlies1776.”
On 19 November 2011 over 100 dancers converged at Occupy SF & Oakland to dance the world awake. Other related video about Art and Activism: http://tiny.cc/h84ay. Flash mob Produced & Directed by Magalie Bonneau-Marcil of DancingwithoutBorders.org, Video Directed & Edited by Ben Flanigan (BenFlanigan.com), Thanks to our team of choreographers: Giuliana Blasi, Samantha Sweetwater and Mika Lemoine. Co-sponsors: CODEPINK.org & SFNOW.org Want to bring the flash mob to your community? Go to http://tiny.cc/h3t3w for choreography video tutorial. Music: Thanks to the Black Eyed Peas.
Welcome to Transition Studies. To prosper for very much longer on the changing Earth humankind will need to move beyond its current fossil-fueled civilization toward one that is sustained on recycled materials and renewable energy. This is not a trivial shift. It will require a major transition in all aspects of our lives.
This weblog explores the transition to a sustainable future on our finite planet. It provides links to current news, key documents from government sources and non-governmental organizations, as well as video documentaries about climate change, environmental ethics and environmental justice concerns.
The links are listed here to be used in whatever manner they may be helpful in public information campaigns, course preparation, teaching, letter-writing, lectures, class presentations, policy discussions, article writing, civic or Congressional hearings and citizen action campaigns, etc. For further information on this blog see: About this weblog. and How to use this weblog.
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