Monthly Archives: January 2016

Jason-3 Satellite Continues Collecting Data On Sea Level Rise


VOA News

Published on Jan 31, 2016

Scientists from the U.S. and Europe are focusing their attention on the latest satellite launched to collect data on rising global sea levels. The Jason-3 satellite is extending a mission that spans more than two decades. The data collected so far shows sea levels are rising at an accelerating rate. Scientists say this data is also an indicator of climate change. Elizabeth Lee has the details.
Originally published at – http://www.voanews.com/media/video/ja…

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7 Billion: How Did We Get So Big So Fast?


NPR

Uploaded on Oct 31, 2011

http://skunkbear.tumblr.com

It was just over two centuries ago that the global population was 1 billion — in 1804. But better medicine and improved agriculture resulted in higher life expectancy for children, dramatically increasing the world population, especially in the West.

As higher standards of living and better health care are reaching more parts of the world, the rates of fertility — and population growth — have started to slow down, though the population will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.

U.N. forecasts suggest the world population could hit a peak of 10.1 billion by 2100 before beginning to decline. But exact numbers are hard to come by — just small variations in fertility rates could mean a population of 15 billion by the end of the century.

Produced by Adam Cole
Cinematography by Maggie Starbard

For a geographic representation of the same data see:

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World Population – Historical Geography

Watch human population grow from 1 CE to present and see projected growth in under six minutes. One dot = 1 million people.

© Population Connection, 2015.

Or:

See:

http://worldpopulationhistory.org/

For an alternate graphic representation of the same data see:

Global Climate Change
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Public Health

With Speed and Violence: Why Scientists Fear Tipping Points in Climate Change: Fred Pearce

Fred Pearce has been writing about climate change for eighteen years, and the more he learns, the worse things look. Where once scientists were concerned about gradual climate change, now more and more of them fear we will soon be dealing with abrupt change resulting from triggering hidden tipping points.

Even President Bush’s top climate modeler, Jim Hansen, warned in 2005 that “we are on the precipice of climate system tipping points beyond which there is no redemption.”

As Pearce began working on this book, normally cautious scientists beat a path to his door to tell him about their fears and their latest findings. With Speed and Violence tells the stories of these scientists and their work—from the implications of melting permafrost in Siberia and the huge river systems of meltwater beneath the icecaps of Greenland and Antarctica to the effects of the “ocean conveyor” and a rare molecule that runs virtually the entire cleanup system for the planet.

Above all, the scientists told him what they’re now learning about the speed and violence of past natural climate change-and what it portends for our future. With Speed and Violence is the most up-to-date and readable book yet about the growing evidence for global warming and the large climatic effects it may unleash.

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Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right: Jane Mayer

Why is America living in an age of profound economic inequality? Why, despite the desperate need to address climate change, have even modest environmental efforts been defeated again and again? Why have protections for employees been decimated? Why do hedge-fund billionaires pay a far lower tax rate than middle-class workers?

The conventional answer is that a popular uprising against “big government” led to the ascendancy of a broad-based conservative movement. But as Jane Mayer shows in this powerful, meticulously reported history, a network of exceedingly wealthy people with extreme libertarian views bankrolled a systematic, step-by-step plan to fundamentally alter the American political system.

The network has brought together some of the richest people on the planet. Their core beliefs—that taxes are a form of tyranny; that government oversight of business is an assault on freedom—are sincerely held. But these beliefs also advance their personal and corporate interests: Many of their companies have run afoul of federal pollution, worker safety, securities, and tax laws.

The chief figures in the network are Charles and David Koch, whose father made his fortune in part by building oil refineries in Stalin’s Russia and Hitler’s Germany. The patriarch later was a founding member of the John Birch Society, whose politics were so radical it believed Dwight Eisenhower was a communist. The brothers were schooled in a political philosophy that asserted the only role of government is to provide security and to enforce property rights.

When libertarian ideas proved decidedly unpopular with voters, the Koch brothers and their allies chose another path. If they pooled their vast resources, they could fund an interlocking array of organizations that could work in tandem to influence and ultimately control academic institutions, think tanks, the courts, statehouses, Congress, and, they hoped, the presidency. Richard Mellon Scaife, the mercurial heir to banking and oil fortunes, had the brilliant insight that most of their political activities could be written off as tax-deductible “philanthropy.”

These organizations were given innocuous names such as Americans for Prosperity. Funding sources were hidden whenever possible. This process reached its apotheosis with the allegedly populist Tea Party movement, abetted mightily by the Citizens United decision—a case conceived of by legal advocates funded by the network.
The political operatives the network employs are disciplined, smart, and at times ruthless. Mayer documents instances in which people affiliated with these groups hired private detectives to impugn whistle-blowers, journalists, and even government investigators. And their efforts have been remarkably successful. Libertarian views on taxes and regulation, once far outside the mainstream and still rejected by most Americans, are ascendant in the majority of state governments, the Supreme Court, and Congress. Meaningful environmental, labor, finance, and tax reforms have been stymied.

Jane Mayer spent five years conducting hundreds of interviews-including with several sources within the network-and scoured public records, private papers, and court proceedings in reporting this book. In a taut and utterly convincing narrative, she traces the byzantine trail of the billions of dollars spent by the network and provides vivid portraits of the colorful figures behind the new American oligarchy.
Dark Money is a book that must be read by anyone who cares about the future of American democracy.

See also:

Global Climate Change
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Censoring Science: Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming: Mark Bowen

From acclaimed writer and physicist Mark Bowen, Censoring Science tells the true story of the Bush administration’s censorship of the world’s preeminent climatologist, and the science behind global warming that they do not want you to know.

The facts don’t lie:
• 2005 was the warmest year since the invention of the thermometer.
• 2006 is on track to become the hottest year ever recorded in the United States.
• The six hottest years on record have occurred in the last eight years, and the twenty-two hottest years on record have occurred in the last twenty-six years.

Preeminent climatologist and leading NASA scientist Dr. James Hansen has been studying climate for over three decades. It was his testimony to a Senate committee in 1988 that first brought the threat of global warming to the world’s attention. In January 2006, news broke that the Bush administration had been attempting to censor Dr. Hansen—obscuring his message and suppressing the vast body of his scientific work, which unequivocally demonstrates the reality and immense danger of global warming.

Now, for the first time and with unfiltered access, writer and physicist Mark Bowen finally tells the exclusive story of Hansen’s decades-long battle to bring the truth about global warming to light. Censoring Science illuminates the real science behind global warming and maintains that we can still prevent environmental disaster, while both strengthening our economy and our national security. In the tradition of Ron Suskind’s blockbuster bestseller, The Price of Loyalty, Censoring Science exposes the truth behind the administration’s spin doctors, and shares the inside story of one of the most important and influential scientists of our time.

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The End of Nature: Bill McKibben

Reissued on the tenth anniversary of its publication, this classic work on our environmental crisis features a new introduction by the author, reviewing both the progress and ground lost in the fight to save the earth.

This impassioned plea for radical and life-renewing change is today still considered a groundbreaking work in environmental studies. McKibben’s argument that the survival of the globe is dependent on a fundamental, philosophical shift in the way we relate to nature is more relevant than ever.

McKibben writes of our earth’s environmental cataclysm, addressing such core issues as the greenhouse effect, acid rain, and the depletion of the ozone layer. His new introduction addresses some of the latest environmental issues that have risen during the 1990s. The book also includes an invaluable new appendix of facts and figures that surveys the progress of the environmental movement.

More than simply a handbook for survival or a doomsday catalog of scientific prediction, this classic, soulful lament on Nature is required reading for nature enthusiasts, activists, and concerned citizens alike.

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