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Friday, November 30, 2012

DNA is directly photographed for the first time

DNA is directly photographed for the first time
Nov 30, 2012 | Eli MacKinnon

Italian physics professor Enzo Di Fabrizio captures twisted ladder that props up life

© Enzo Di Fabrizio
DNA's double-helix structure is on display for the first time in this
electron microscope photograph of a small bundle of DNA strands.

Fifty-nine years after James Watson and Francis Crick deduced the double-helix structure of DNA, a scientist has captured the first direct photograph of the twisted ladder that props up life.

Enzo Di Fabrizio, a physics professor at Magna Graecia University in Catanzaro, Italy, snapped the picture using an electron microscope.

Previously, scientists had only seen DNA's structure indirectly. The double-corkscrew form was first discovered using a technique called X-ray crystallography, in which a material's shape is reconstructed based on how X-rays bounce after they collide with it.

© Enzo Di Fabrizio
A bundle of DNA is supported by two silicon pillars.

But Di Fabrizio and his colleagues developed a plan to bring DNA out of hiding. They built a nanoscopic landscape of extremely water-repellant silicon pillars. When they added a solution that contained strands of DNA into this scene, the water quickly evaporated and left behind cords of bare DNA that stretched like tightropes between the tiny mesas.

They then shone beams of electrons through holes in the silicon bed, and captured high-resolution images of the illuminated molecules.

Di Fabrizio's images actually show a thread of several interwoven DNA molecules, as opposed to just two coupled strands. This is because the energy of the electrons used would be enough to destroy an isolated double helix, or a single strand from a double helix.

But with the use of more sensitive equipment and lower energy electrons, Di Fabrizio thinks that snapshots of individual double helices will soon be possible, New Scientist reports.

Molecules of DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, store the genetic instructions that govern all living organisms' growth and function.

Di Fabrizio's innovation will allow scientists to vividly observe interactions between DNA and some of life's other essential ingredients, such as RNA (r ibonucleic acid ). The results of Di Fabrizio's work were published in the journal NanoLetters.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Comets in Ancient Cultures

© Unknown
Figure 1
Comets in Ancient Cultures
Feb 1, 2011 | Noah Goldman

Comets have inspired dread, fear, and awe in many different cultures and societies around the world and throughout time. They have been branded with such titles as "the Harbinger of Doom" and "the Menace of the Universe." They have been regarded both as omens of disaster and messengers of the gods. Why is it that comets are some of the most feared and venerated objects in the night sky? Why did so many cultures cringe at the sight of a comet?

When people living in ancient cultures looked up, comets were the most remarkable objects in the night sky. Comets were unlike any other object in the night sky. Whereas most celestial bodies travel across the skies at regular, predictable intervals, so regular that constellations could be mapped and predicted, comets' movements have always seemed very erratic and unpredictable. This led people in many cultures to believe that the gods dictated their motions and were sending them as a message. What were the gods trying to say? Some cultures read the message by the images that they saw upon looking at the comet. For example, to some cultures the tail of the comet gave it the appearance of the head of a woman, with long flowing hair behind her. This sorrowful symbol of mourning was understood to mean the gods that had sent the comet to earth were displeased. Others thought that the elongated comet looked like a fiery sword blazing across the night sky, a traditional sign of war and death. Such a message from the gods could only mean that their wrath would soon be unleashed onto the people of the land. Such ideas struck fear into those who saw comets dart across the sky. The likeness of the comet, though, was not the only thing that inspired fear.

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The Hidden History of Ancient America

The Hidden History of Ancient America
Nov 20, 2012 |



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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gigantic penguins lived in prehistoric Antarctica

Gigantic penguins lived in prehistoric Antarctica
Nov 26, 2012 | Phenomenica

Prehistoric penguins, standing two metres or six and a half feet tall, would dwarf most men today — almost twice as tall as their modern counterparts at 3ft 11 inches.

Such a gigantic penguin waddled across the southern hemisphere millions of years ago, say Argentine experts, who discovered the fossils of a two metre tall penguin that lived in prehistoric Antarctica 34 million years ago.

 Paleontologists with the Natural Sciences Museum of La Plata province, near the capital Buenos Aires, Argentina, said the remains were found on the icy southern continent.

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“This is the largest penguin known to date in terms of height and body mass,” said researcher Carolina Acosta, the Daily Mail reports.

Marcelo Reguero who led the study added that the find will “allow for a more intensive and complex study of the ancestors of modern penguins”.

The previous record for the tallest prehistoric penguins had been held by a five foot tall bird discovered in Peru two years ago and nicknamed the Water King.

The Water King, which lived more than 36 million years ago, was found by a Peruvian student in the Paracas Reserve on Peru’s eastern coastline.

IANS

Monday, November 26, 2012

Stand Still for the Apocalypse

AP/Elizabeth Dalziel
In much of the world, including China and
the United States, dirty energy remains cheap
and plentiful, with disastrous consequences.
Stand Still for the Apocalypse
Nov 26, 2012 | Chris Hedges

Humans must immediately implement a series of radical measures to halt carbon emissions or prepare for the collapse of entire ecosystems and the displacement, suffering and death of hundreds of millions of the globe’s inhabitants, according to a report commissioned by the World Bank. The continued failure to respond aggressively to climate change, the report warns, will mean that the planet will inevitably warm by at least 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, ushering in an apocalypse.

The 84-page document,“Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must Be Avoided,” was written for the World Bank by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics and published last week. The picture it paints of a world convulsed by rising temperatures is a mixture of mass chaos, systems collapse and medical suffering like that of the worst of the Black Plague, which in the 14th century killed 30 to 60 percent of Europe’s population. The report comes as the annual United Nations Conference on Climate Change begins this Monday [Nov. 26] in Doha, Qatar.

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Psycho Planet: The NUCLEAR COVERUP continues...

Psycho Planet: The NUCLEAR COVERUP continues...
Nov 24, 2012 |



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Now we have an "epidemic" in Hawaii...cyanobacteria killing coral, fish, turtles...remember the seals and polar bears? Still no final results from rad testing...

USGS: Rapidly-spreading disease in Hawaii coral — New strain of cyanobacteria blamed — Fish with lesions, turtles having problems — Big concern whether infectious to humans — "Truly an unusual event"

A report by the U.S. Geological Survey finds that an outbreak of coral disease along Kauai's North Shore is an epidemic. Dr. Thierry Work said the disease is rapidly spreading. A report released Wednesday said microscopic changes in tissue suggest the corals are under some type of stress.
Another big concern is whether this new strain of cyanobacteria is infectious to humans and marine life. Work says he and other scientists involved in the ongoing study have spotted puffer fish with skin discoloration and unusual lesions on their fins. [...]

The bottom line, according to Work, is that Kaua'i's reefs are heavily degraded and infected with a rapidly-spreading white coral disease unlike any seen here before.

Read more @ http://enenews.com/feds-rapidly-spreading-disease-hawaii-coral-before-new-str...

The beautiful math of coral - Margaret Wertheim

The beautiful math of coral - Margaret Wertheim
Nov 24, 2012 |



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Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Strange Case of Wal-Mart and the National Labor Relations Board

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The Strange Case of Wal-Mart and the National Labor Relations Board
Nov 22, 2012 | John Logan

For the first time in its half-century history, Wal-Mart is facing the prospect of significant labor strife. Wal-Mart workers throughout the country have been participating in short strikes and other workplace actions for the past two months. They are demanding higher wages, better benefits, more full time work, and respect on the job. And for the first time in five decades, Wal-Mart is deeply concerned, fearing these actions will escalate to something beyond its control. In many ways, however, they already have – the protesting Wal-Mart workers have attracted support from a wide variety of women, immigrant, civil rights and community organizations, as well as tens of thousands of allies on social media.

In addition to responding the way it has always responded to worker protests – asserting that it offers attractive positions, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, and that the overwhelming majority of its associates have no interest in union membership – Wal-Mart has also responded in another, more surprising, way: last Friday, it filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) accusing the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) of violating labor law by orchestrating workplace protests for more than 30 days without petitioning for a NLRB election to represent the workers.  Wal-Mart wants the labor board to seek an injunction in federal court to block the worker protests on Friday.

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It seems unlikely that Wal-Mart will get support for an injunction from the board – the protests are not about union recognition, but about respect on the job, and the protesting employees are not a union “subsidiary” as Wal-Mart contends — and it is almost impossible that it will get one before Friday. But senior management in Bentonville likely has another reason for going to the board: by filing the charge, Wal-Mart is sending a clear warning to employees thinking of participating in Friday’s action. And if employees had any lingering doubts about the company’s determination to squash the growing protests, a Wal-Mart spokesperson warned workers on national television news on Tuesday that “there could be consequences” if they fail to turn up for work on Friday – a statement that may well constitute an illegal threat under the National Labor Relations Act.  According to employees, local mangers have been holding meetings with groups of employees to reinforce the message that workers who participate in protests will face “consequences.” In response, the organization representing employees, United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart), has filed a changed with the board, which could rule that senior management is attempting to intimidate employees from participating in a legally protected activity.

It is deeply ironic that Wal-Mart is now turning to the NLRB to prevent its employees for taking action to protest against poor conditions and management retaliation for speaking up. Wal-Mart is certainly no stranger to the labor board. According to the respected international organization Human Rights Watch, “Wal-Mart has repeatedly used tactics that run afoul of US law and directly infringe on workers’ right to freedom of association.”

So what is Wal-Mart’s record before the board? Between 2000-2005, NLRB regional directors issued 39 complaints accusing the retail giant of unlawful anti-union behavior. These complaints involved 101 separate incidents of anti-union conduct at dozens of Wal-Mart stores across the country. The allegations of unlawful conduct included discriminatory hiring, firing, disciplining, and policy application; “unit packing” and worker transfers to dilute union support; illegally addressing worker concerns to undermine union activity; workplace changes motivated by an anti-union animus; illegally soliciting and remedying grievances; threatening benefit loss if workers choose to organize; interrogating workers about union activity; illegal no-talking rules; discriminatory application of solicitation rules; discrimination against union hand-billers; discrimination against pro-union workers; and illegal no-solicitation rules, including bans on union insignia, bans on discussing unions, and the confiscation of union literature. The number of NLRB complaints against Wal-Mart declined after 2005 only because efforts by employees to organize at the workplace also declined – in other words, the unlawful anti-union behavior had the intended effect.

Many of the NLRB complaints – mostly dealt with by the Bush NLRB, which was certainly no friend of unions — were eventually resolved by settlements that required the company to remedy the alleged violations and post notices in its stores promising not to engage in any further unfair labor practices charged. Unfortunately, this penalty that acts as no deterrent against unlawful behavior by powerful corporations such as Wal-Mart.

After years of intimidating employees who have tried to speak up against low wages and poor conditions, Wal-Mart has now turned to the NLRB and courts to prevent its associates from taking a stance for respect at the workplace. But this time round, as the company clearly understands, the ongoing protests will not be so easy to crush. This time the “consequences” might just backfire on the bully of Bentonville.

John Logan is Professor and Director of Labor and Employment Studies at San Francisco State University.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Nanotechnology could reduce plant's ability to produce food

© John Dziekan/Chicago Tribune/MCT)
Fresh soybeans
Nanotechnology could reduce plant's ability to produce food
Nov 21, 2012 | Common Dreams

'There could be unintended consequences ... if we're not careful.'

Long term use of nanotechnology to affect everything from stain-resistant clothing to more efficient fuel could reduce a plant's ability to produce food, according to a study of soybeans at the University of California-Santa Barbara.

Scientists planted soybeans in soil doused with two kinds of metallic nanoparticles to determine whether the materials would become part of the plants.

In both cases, the substances became part of the plants. In ground spiked with zinc oxide nanoparticles, soybeans seemed to fare slightly better than normal. In soil treated with cerium oxide nanoparticles, the plants grew fewer leaves and punier bean pods," Scott Canon of The Kansas City Star reports. "That raises implications for the fields of Kansas, Missouri and the rest of the Grain Belt where, scientists presume, manufactured nanoparticles have been accumulating for a few decades now.

And nanotechnology could wreak havoc elsewhere, including in sewage plants, after chemicals wash off into local wastewater treatment facilities.

According to the study, "The results provide a clear, but unfortunate, view of what could arise over the long term (including that) plant growth and yield diminished ... Juxtaposed against widespread land application of wastewater treatment biosolids to food crops, these findings forewarn of agriculturally associated human and environmental risks from the accelerating use of (manufactured nanomaterial)."

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The American Diet: Self-Destruction Never Tasted So Good

The American Diet: Self-Destruction Never Tasted So Good
Nov 20, 2012 | Charles Hugh Smith

The atomized and empty consumerist Status Quo is the "monster Id" behind the American diet.

I know it may appear unduly harsh to discuss America's self-destructive dietary "monster Id" right before the Thanksgiving day feasting, but when is it more appropriate?

There are a great many disconnects between reality and what Americans believe out of convenience ("no snowflake feels responsible for the avalanche") or propaganda, but perhaps none is more visible than the disconnect between what we're collectively doing to our health with the food we consume.

The Chinese have an apt saying" "Disease comes through the mouth," meaning disease comes from what we eat.  

There are several parts to the food-illness disconnect. One is that poor diet is an "individual" issue. Wrong; it will bring down the entire American Empire: Can Chronic Ill-Health Bring Down Great Nations? Yes It Can, Yes It Will (November 23, 2011)

 86% of Workers Are Obese or Have Other Health Issue Just 1 in 7 U.S. workers is of normal weight without a chronic health problem.


The cost of treating heart disease and stroke in the United States is expected to triple in the next 20 years, to $818 billion, a new report says.

Here's a chart which depicts how U.S. healthcare costs are rising geometrically, far outstripping our economic competitors:

The nation cannot afford the present sickcare costs of 20% of GDP; how can it afford tripling what is spent on sickcare? Simple answer: it cannot.

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10 Worst Black Friday Moments

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10 Worst Black Friday Moments
Nov 21, 2012 | Chad Brooks
"Witnesses described the scene as complete pandemonium.

"They were throwing laptops 20 feet in the air, and people were collapsing on each other to grab them," shopper Brian Horwitz told Orlando television station WFTV.  "It was ridiculous.""
As the Black Friday frenzy has escalated in recent years, so too have the number of ugly incidents surrounding the official start to the holiday shopping season.

No one knows the trouble that can happen the day after Thanksgiving more than Wal-Mart, which has seen stores around the country marred by violence on the frenzied shopping day.

This year could be even worse for the giant retailer, as thousands of employees are planning to strike on Black Friday in an effort to end what union-backed workers call retaliation against employees who speak out for better pay, fair schedules and affordable health care.

With thousands of workers expected to participate, Wal-Mart stores around the country could be left shorthanded as they contend with the mobs of shoppers expected on Black Friday.

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What Corporate Hegemonic Forces Aren't Telling You About the Black Friday Psyop

© unknown
What Corporate Hegemonic Forces Aren't Telling You About the Black Friday Psyop 
By R. Mark Sink

The Black Friday media psyop is based on the fact that you must believe it and that the best deals to be found can only be obtained from the big box discounter, yet this is a complete farce, and there are many examples that provide a basis of understanding that defies this logic that we must spend at these locations.

The fight between Wal-Mart and those who make it happen for an elite few to wallow in is obvious enough of the truer nature that exists, one that directs a large portion of the exchange into the hands of a small family of super wealthy who disregard those who have made it possible.

But the market has drastically changed. Did you really notice? The government did.

We now live in a world of material abundance, and the Internet has opened up a way for everyday people to obtain goods peer to peer in ways that most have not taken notice. There are also the pawn shops and trading places that are often local that now bulge at the seams with household goods. Flea markets and garage sales are exploding!

At Craigslist for example, there is now enough furniture for sale locally to decorate any small city and the prices are literally on the ground. Here, you will often be buying directly from your neighbors, not a corporation. You may also find many other products that your neighbors have to offer, or you could be creative and even barter goods if you see something you'd like and would be willing to offer up something of your own. People have always liked looking at each others stuff.

This very notion is made to serve as the illusion that you really want the stuff that is offered to you by a corporation who has considered profit more important that anything else, and is using the awful media as a methodology to fool you into spending the money you just made to impress those who are consumed by the illusion.

All that gadgetry isn't really want you want, what you want has been manipulated by the exposure to the media. What you may find in reality is that what you want and what you want to give is rather more about a relationship that exists that one does not often see.

Buying these material things new is how you lose. Those days are rapidly changing and the type of products that will be available. Robots will soon be making the things they want you to buy so that you and your neighbors will be insulted at the highest level as though human ingenuity is only worthy if all that is human is removed and profits are maximized excluding what is actually sustainable.

I used to buy new tools at the big stores but finally realized the pawn shops are FULL of the best tools on the market. This is what people are not telling you. Growth is now simply printing money and we all truly know this will not last. So, one can begin to see how the market is changing. All those people who are camped out at the stores are also those who depend on their media, such as television which programs their thoughts.

Once they let go of the programming, they soon realize all they have is each other, and the pain of reality begins to set in, and the terrible conditions that have been wrought.

There are however two things I recommend that everyone purchase or barter that would be considered new, or better yet, fresh.

They are knowledge and food. If either of these are packaged per se, they are only available if you get them from an approved source that is considered hegemonic, then it is likely that the true quality that you are obtaining is not what you think it is.

If you're food must be packaged and labeled in a way that you must be a chemist to understand what is in it, then it is probably not food at all, but some type of substance designed to twinkle in your conscious while leaving behind a trail of deceit that greatly affects your overall health. If the company you work for makes weapons as an example, did you really think this was a life-giving paradigm? We see now that the weapons are also part of the methodology of profit.

If you work for Wal-Mart, are you really in the fight to survive, or are you entrapped in complicity and looking for a way out?

If the only knowledge you obtain is from the media, and the only learning one has considered has come from the usual sources of programming, then you can bet that one is camped out just to prove to oneself that the programming has been successful, and that somehow the illusion of matter is sustained.

The knowledge we obtain from each other, such as in the Internet, has much greater value in our relationships that are the truer desire of mankind, and from those we have learned to trust. Inside here is the new media, a place of meditation and contemplation with others, not ourselves and the impulses made to rot at the fabric of life.

Monday, November 19, 2012

NASA VIDEO: Sun Unleashes 'Monster Eruption'

NASA VIDEO: Sun Unleashes 'Monster Eruption'
Nov 19, 2012 | Daily Bail



Intense.

The sun unleashed a monster eruption of super-hot plasma Friday (Nov. 16) in back-to-back solar storms captured on camera by a NASA spacecraft.

The giant sun eruption, called a solar prominence, occurred at 1 a.m. EST (0600 GMT), with another event flaring up four hours later. The prominences was so large, it expanded beyond the camera view of NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), which captured high-definition video of the solar eruption.

"The red-glowing looped material is plasma, a hot gas made of electrically charged hydrogen and helium," officials with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, which oversees the SDO mission, explained in a description. "The prominence plasma flows along a tangled and twisted structure of magnetic fields generated by the sun’s internal dynamo. An erupting prominence occurs when such a structure becomes unstable and bursts outward, releasing the plasma."

More videos here...

Give BP the Death Penalty

Photo Credit:
Shutterstock.com/Jeff Whyte
Give BP the Death Penalty
Nov 18, 2012 | Thom Hartmann, Sam Sacks

What does it take for a foreign corporation to get the corporate death penalty in America?

What does it take for a foreign corporation to get the corporate death penalty in America? That's a question we need to ask ourselves, after news broke yesterday of BP's legal settlement over its Gulf oil spill disaster in 2010.

Eleven workers were killed when their oil rig exploded, and for three months five million barrels of toxic crude gushed in the Gulf of Mexico as BP, which never made contingency plans for this sort of obvious crisis, tried to find a way to plug the hole. That oil killed marine life, blanketed coastlines, and put Gulf Coast small businesses out of business. To this day, we still don't know the long-term effects of this catastrophe on the ecosystem or our food chain, which is now contaminated with eyeless shrimp, clawless crabs, and other oil-mutated aquatic freak shows. Not to mention the human cancers that will show up in future decades.

Now, the foreign corporation responsible for all of this, BP, will just cut a small check, and then go back to business as usual, punching holes in the Gulf. It pled guilty to 14 felony and misdemeanor charges and agreed to pay a $4.5 billion fine – the largest criminal fine in our nation's history. But for a corporation that just announced it earned $5.4 billion in three months, BP knows it got off easy.

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

There's No Tomorrow

There's No Tomorrow
Feb 11, 2012 |



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Momentum Builds for Historic Black Friday Strike at Walmart

Momentum Builds for Historic Black Friday Strike at Walmart
Nov 17, 2012 | Jake Olzen



“We are standing up to live better,” say Walmart’s retail workers, playfully twisting Walmart’s slogan of “live better” into a rallying cry for better conditions and treatment. In a taste of what the nation’s largest retailer can expect on Black Friday, frustrated Walmart workers have again started walking off their jobs to protest their employer’s attempts to silence outspoken workers.

Workers from both the retail and warehouse sectors of Walmart’s supply chain have called for nation-wide protests, strikes and actions on, and leading up to, next Friday — the busiest shopping day of the year. In the past week, wildcat strikes in Dallas, Seattle and the Bay Area saw dozens of retail workers — from multiple store — walk away from their shifts, suggesting that the Black Friday threats are to be taken seriously.

Dan Schlademan, Director of the Making Change at Walmart campaign, said in a nation-wide conference call organized for media on Thursday that Walmart can expect more than 1,000 different protests, including strikes and rallies at Walmart stores between now and Black Friday.

According to organizers working with the Walmart retail workers’ association, OUR Walmart, stores around the country — including, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Washington D.C. and others — can expect workers to go on strike. Specific dates have not been announced yet out of concern to minimize chances for Walmart to preemptively silence workers’ voices.

“We are expecting a wide variety of activity — strikers right in front of their stores, demonstrations, flash mobs, rallies and people working to educate customers — I think it’s going to be a very creative day.” said Schlademan. “Brave strikers are seeing a huge amount of support from community allies.”

As Waging Nonviolence has previously reported, the historic wildcat strikes are invigorating a new form of labor organizing of non-union labor. By drawing on the support of community allies — particularly from religious and student groups — workers are finding it increasingly easier to resist their employer’s abuses.

In addition to joining striking workers at rallies at Walmart stores, supporters are able to donate to Making Change at Walmart to help the striking low-wage workers make up lost wages. In the form of food gift cards, the community support organization Making Change at Walmart is providing concrete ways for others to be in solidarity with Walmart’s workers. Thus far, $25,000 has been raised.

But this kind of grassroots support pales in comparison to the revenue and capital at Walmart’s disposal. Some Walmart executives are making upwards of $10 million a year while full-time retail workers struggle to make ends meet. Sara Gilbert, a customer service manager at a Seattle Walmart, makes only $14,000 a year to support her family.

“I work full time for one of the richest companies in the world and yet my children are on state healthcare and we get subsidized housing,” said Gilbert who joined other OUR Walmart associates in Seattle’s walkout on Thursday. Walmart posted almost $16 billion in profits last year and recently announced changes to employee healthcare premiums that could raise the cost for workers as much as 36 percent.

Also back in the struggle against Walmart are its warehouse workers. On November 14, the Inland Empire, Calif., warehouse workers — who are privately contracted through the logistics company NFI but move 100 percent Walmart goods — resumed their strike due to retaliations against outspoken workers. The workers were part of the 15-day strike in mid-September that re-ignited workers’ efforts to change Walmart’s treatment of its employees.

David Garcia, a warehouse worker from Southern California who took part in the first strike, was recently terminated for speaking out against unsafe working conditions and broken equipment. According to Elizabeth Brennan, an organizer with Warehouse Workers United with whom the NFI workers are affiliated, about three dozen workers have had their hours cut while others have been demoted and suspended in retaliatory efforts from Walmart’s contractor to curb organizing efforts.

“It’s been tough,” said Garcia. “My kids need food, school supplies and an apartment to sleep in at night, but right now it is difficult to provide them these basic things.”

On Thursday, six community supporters were arrested for blocking a major thoroughfare to the Walmart-contracted warehouse. The two dozen striking warehouse workers returned to work on November 16.
The Inland Empire strike, which still demands an end to unsafe working conditions, retaliatory practices and poor wages, comes during a crucial time when much of Walmart’s supply chain is moving into high gear. It remains unclear whether the strikes and walkouts will generate enough pressure to force Walmart to systematically change how it treats its 1.4 million employees, but the Walmart workers movement seems to be spreading and growing.

The Corporate Action Network is hosting online activism for supporters as well as publicizing some of the events planned at Walmart stores for Black Friday. While some activists for workers’ rights and just wages advocate boycotting Walmart and shopping on Black Friday in general, Making Change at Walmart has not called for boycotts but affirms all efforts that support workers’ rights to assemble and speak out.

Charlene Fletcher, a Walmart employee in California plans to go on strike to emphasize her message that Walmart is not listening to its workers. Fletcher and her husband both have to work Thanksgiving Day for Walmart and will miss spending the holiday with their two young children. Complaints have alleged that Walmart’s scheduling practices have made it very difficult for families to spend time with each other on holidays like Thanksgiving when Walmart plans to open its doors to shoppers that evening. Fletcher wants Walmart executives to know that Walmart’s employees are just as important as its customers.

“We are going to make the ultimate sacrifice,” said Fletcher who is also a part of OUR Walmart. “By going on strike on the busiest shopping day of the year, we hope to send a message out to Walmart that we are not a small percentage of workers who are struggling and that we mean business.”

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Ventura Busts Tesla Ray “Death Ray – Death Squad” Secret

TESLA’S DEATH RAY A REALITY
Ventura Busts Tesla Ray “Death Ray – Death Squad” Secret
Nov 16, 2012 | Gordon Duff

9/11, Shuttle Disasters, Murders Attributed to Directed Energy “Death Ray”

Jesse Ventura’s television show, “Conspiracy Theory” has done it again.  Ventura has stumbled on a government program that many of us have long heard whispers about.  Reagan’s ultra-secret “planetary defense system” used for murder and terrorism.



Ventura presents a list of murdered scientists, shows the weapons used, microwave “heart attack generators” and weapons capable of destroying cities or even massive steel high-rise buildings.

Ventura interviews an fascinating group of scientists who tell of a massive conspiracy, hiding the capabilities to hide murders at will, destroy cities, even continents.

We now have to reassess shuttle disasters, several inexplicable airline crashes, certainly 9/11 and murders, not just of scientists who worked on directed ray projects but evidence from Iraq and Afghanistan that directed energy weapons have been used there.

This may well be one of the biggest secrets of all.

The key to it all is the Serbian inventor, Nicola Tesla, who claimed he invented a “death ray” over a hundred years ago.  This would seem outrageous if he weren’t accepted as Einstein’s equal by most scientists and historians.

The electricity powering most of the world today was based on Tesla, not Edison.

Nearly everything we use is based on breakthroughs or stolen Tesla research.  Tesla’s history is, in itself, one of the most mysterious and challenging aspects of modern history.

Where this goes, Ronald Reagan and his Star Wars program is now clear.

It succeeded, this is why we hear nothing, success beyond imagination, or as Ventura’s team calls it, “Tesla 2.0.”

The theories of Dr. Judy Wood are examined, who has long claimed that 9/11 was the result of the use of directed energy.

Also, Jesse Ventura abandons his belief in the “nano-thermite” theories espoused by some scientists who claim this material was the only possible means of causing the destruction seen at ground zero on 9/11/2001.
What is proven, here and finally, that the events of 9/11 were, without any doubt, a government conspiracy, one made possible by scientific breakthroughs that have turned America into something indescribable.
America spent over one trillion dollars to develop “after next generation” technology, one Reagan himself alludes to as “planetary protection” from a possible alien invasion.

What we got instead was pocket killing machines and the ability to cause natural disasters on command, any type, earthquakes, weather changes and, of course, terror attacks of any imaginable size that can never be investigated.

We now have a provable technology that may well be the cause of a string of disasters that HAARP conspiracy theorists have studied for years.

Then there are the murders, so many murders.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Math Reveals Perfectly Cozy Penguin Huddles

Penguins in a colony pack extremely tightly
together, but still shuffle around without crushing anyone.
CREDIT: March of the Penguins (National Geographic film)
Math Reveals Perfectly Cozy Penguin Huddles
Nov 16, 2012 | Stephanie Pappas

Greed is good for penguins that huddle together to avoid Antarctica's icy weather.

According to a new study, penguin groups can maximize everyone's heat when individual birds act selfishly, huddling in ways that keep them toastiest.

"Even if penguins are only selfish, only trying to find the best spot for themselves and not thinking about their community, there is still equality in the amount of time that each penguin spends exposed to the wind," study researcher Francois Blanchette, a mathematician at the University of California, Merced, who normally studies fluid dynamics, said in a statement.

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Blanchette became interested in penguin huddles after watching the hit documentary "The March of the Penguins." He and his colleagues made mathematical models of penguin huddles, varying wind strength and turbulence to see what sort of shapes arose. The model calculated which penguin along the edge of the huddle would be coldest and had that penguin move toward the center of the huddle in a sort of constant rotation.

These models produced long, thin huddles that gradually crept away from the wind direction. In real life, penguin huddles are more rotund, so researchers went about making their models more realistic. They added an element of uncertainty, such as wind eddies and differences in size of the huddled penguins. The result was huddles that look much like those seen on real Antarctic ice. [Album: The Penguins of Deception Island]
"A penguin huddle is a self-sufficient system in which the animals rely on each other for shelter, and I think that is what makes it fair," Blanchette said. An obstacle to the ideal shape, such as a wall, would likely make the huddles less fair, he added.

Blanchette and his mathematician colleagues report their work today (Nov. 16) in the journal PLOS ONE, and will present the findings at the American Physical Society's fluid dynamic conference next week in San Diego. They hope to get feedback from biologists on their findings. The model may also help biologists refine their observations of penguins in the field by letting them know what behaviors to look for in huddles.

Blanchette also hopes the penguin study will help spread the word about his first love, math.

"Nearly everybody seems to love penguins, and not enough people love math," he said. "If we use math to study penguins, we could potentially teach more people to love math, too!"

Pandas may have originated in Spain

Pandas may have originated in Spain
Nov 16, 2012 | Phenomenica

Scientists believe two fossils discovered in Spain may be of the oldest known ancestors of Asian giant panda.

The fossils reveal the origins of this unique bear, according to Juan Abella and colleagues from the National Museum of Natural Sciences and the Catalan Institute of Paleontology, Spain.

The two 11.6 million year old fossil jaws and teeth were discovered in southwest Europe and represent a new genus likely to be the oldest known members of the giant panda family.

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The fossils bear the characteristics of a bear adapted to eating tough plant material like bamboo. The giant panda, native to certain parts of China, is the only living member of this unique bear family with these dietary habits.

“The new genus we describe in this paper is not only the first bear recorded in the Iberian Peninsula, but also the first of the giant panda’s lineage,” corresponding author Juan Abella said.

The discovery has been published in the open access journal PLOS ONE.

ANI

BP Hit with the Largest Criminal Penalty In U.S. History Over Gulf Oil Spill

© unknown
BP Hit with the Largest Criminal Penalty In U.S. History Over Gulf Oil Spill
Nov 15, 2012 | Washingtons Blog

BP Employees Indicted for Manslaughter and Lying to Federal Investigators 

As we’ve documented for years, BP was criminally negligent in connection with the Gulf oil spill, and has gone to great lengths to cover up the scope of the disaster … including low-balling spill estimates.

Up until today, many said that nothing had changed, and that the missing ingredient is holding BP executives criminally responsible.

AP reports today:
Two men who worked for BP during the 2010 Gulf oil spill disaster have been charged with manslaughter and a third with lying to federal investigators, according to indictments made public Thursday, hours after BP announced it was paying $4.5 billion in a settlement with the U.S. government over the disaster.

A federal indictment unsealed in New Orleans claims BP well site leaders Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine acted negligently in their supervision of key safety tests performed on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig before the explosion killed 11 workers in April 2010. The indictment says Kaluza and Vidrine failed to phone engineers onshore to alert them of problems in the drilling operation.

Another indictment charges David Rainey, who was BP’s vice president of exploration for the Gulf of Mexico, on charges of obstruction of Congress and false statements. The indictment claims the former executive lied to federal investigators when they asked him how he calculated a flow rate estimate for BP’s blown-out well in the days after the April 2010 disaster.

Before Thursday, the only person charged in the disaster was a former BP engineer who was arrested in April on obstruction of justice charges. He was accused of deleting text messages about the company’s response to the spill.

Earlier in the day, BP PLC said it would plead guilty to criminal charges related to the deaths of 11 workers and lying to Congress.

***

BP will plead guilty to 11 felony counts of misconduct or neglect of a ship’s officers, one felony count of obstruction of Congress and one misdemeanor count each under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Clean Water Act. The workers’ deaths were prosecuted under a provision of the Seaman’s Manslaughter Act. The obstruction charge is for lying to Congress about how much oil was spilling.
This all sounds good. And BP is – in fact – being hit with the largest criminal penalty in U.S. history.

But given the decades-long culture of criminal negligence at BP, the indictments against small fish is no more impressive than the Department of Justice’s dog-and-pony show going after low-level bank employees, instead of the big boys.

And given that BP made a profit of $5.5 billion in the most recent quarter – and that the penalty will be paid over five years – this is just the cost of doing business for BP.

Most importantly, nothing has changed in regard to dangerous drilling practices. Indeed, BP is going to drill even deeper … with an even greater potential for disaster.  And see this and this.

Top oil spill expert Dr. Robert Bea – a UC Berkeley professor and government consultant – told us the following after reading this post:
The assigned BP well site leaders, Kaluza and Vidrine, were at the pointed end of this disaster “spear”.  Several news reports have stated they were the two highest ranking BP officials onboard the Deepwater Horizon.

This is not accurate.  the two highest ranking BP officials onboard the Deepwater Horizon were Pat O’Brien, VP of Exploratory drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and his subordinate manager David Sims.  O’Brien and Sims were further up the “blunt end” of the disaster spear.
The real power that caused this disaster came from higher levels of management (or mis-management) in BP.  Again, we have “blamed the victims” in an attempt to localize the causation.

You are right – at this point in the developments, we have reinforced the lesson that this is an “affordable” (to those along the blunt end of the disaster spear) cost of doing business.

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New Studies: Austerity Is Crushing, Not Saving, Europe

A riot policeman in Greece attacks a protester
during an anti-austerity rally in Athens.
(Credit: PIAZZA del POPOLO/CC-BY-2.0)
New Studies: Austerity Is Crushing, Not Saving, Europe
Nov 16, 2012 | Julio Godoy

BERLIN - The austerity programmes being rolled out in virtually every member state of the European Union (EU) – particularly in Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy – have failed to reach their stated objective of consolidating public finances in order to solve sovereign debt crises.

Instead, these programmes – which entail massive public spending cuts in sectors such as education, health and governance – are “leading to collective folly” and even to “a social breakdown” across the continent, according to numerous economic experts.

Far from solving the debt crisis, as promised, the current fiscal consolidation plans will result in higher debt-GDP ratios in the EU in 2013, according to recent research.

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Several reports have now confirmed what economists and activists warned months and even years ago: that the economic crisis, triggered by the financial collapse of 2007-2008 and the subsequent state-sponsored bailout of banks and investment funds, has resulted in higher unemployment and poverty rates in every country.

According to figures published by the official European statistics office, Eurostat, youth unemployment in Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain is presently above 30 percent.

The situation is particularly difficult in Greece, where youth unemployment has more than doubled since 2008, to reach 55.4 percent in 2012. In Spain, where a 37 percent youth unemployment rate was the norm in 2008, the crisis has rendered over 50 percent of the youth labour force jobless.

Further deterioration of the social climate in Greece, where unions have orchestrated a wave of general strikes against yet another bout of state budget cuts, this time worth 17 billion dollars, augurs ill for the future of the Union under the shadow of austerity.

In its newest Global Prospects Report, released on Nov. 5, the London-based Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) predicts that the Eurozone recession will continue through 2013, with only “marginal growth … likely” in 2014.

According to the CEBR, the outlook is particularly calamitous in Greece, Italy, and Spain, with negative economic growth prospects. The report forecasts contractions of gross domestic product (GDP) in all three countries for 2013, of seven, 1.8, and 2.2 percent respectively.

“The economic situation in some parts of Europe is moving from bad to catastrophic,” Douglas McWilliams, chief executive of CEBR and a co‐author of the report, told IPS. “There is a danger that the economic problems will spill over into social breakdown in many areas of Europe as unemployment soars and governments run out of money.”

Yet another analysis of the economic and social situation in Europe, released Nov. 1 and authored by two leading economists at the London-based National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), goes even further, arguing that the austerity programmes across the continent are “self-defeating”.

The NIESR’s most benign scenario for 2013 forecasts a worsening of the present depression. According to their calculations, the austerity programmes will have a negative impact on the debt-growth ratios of 8.9 percent in Greece, 7.7 percent in Portugal, 4.2 percent in Spain, and 1.9 percent in Italy.

Jonathan Portes, co-author of the study, told IPS that his analysis of the present fiscal policies in Europe leads to the conclusion that “while in ‘normal times’, fiscal consolidation would lead to a fall in debt-GDP ratios, in current circumstances…fiscal consolidation is indeed likely to be ‘self-defeating’ for the EU collectively."

Youth hit hard by austerity

In a study released late October, the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound), an autonomous body of the EU, emphasised, “The immediate future of Europe depends upon the 94 million Europeans aged between 15 and 29.”

According to the study, the youth unemployment rate was 33.6 percent (or 19.5 million people) in 2011, “the lowest level ever recorded in the history of the European Union”.

However, there is huge variation between EU member states, with rates varying from below 7 percent in Luxembourg and the Netherlands, to above 17 percent in Bulgaria, Ireland, Italy, and Spain.

“The consequences of a lost generation are not merely economic,” the Eurofound report warns, “but are societal, with the risk of young people opting out of democratic participation in society.”

The drain of an unproductive youth force – in terms of lost output – amounts to some 153 billion euros annually, or 1.2 percent of the EU’s GDP, according to the Eurofound report.

Stefano Scarpetta, deputy director for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), charged that Europe was “failing in its social contract” with the young, and warned that political disenchantment could reach levels similar to those that sparked the North African uprisings that have been dubbed the Arab Spring.

According to a report released last May by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), unemployment among young people in North Africa jumped five percentage points in 2011, to 27.9 percent.

“North Africa and the Middle East stand out in terms of their overall unemployment problem and these are the only two regions where the unemployment rate exceeded 10 percent in 2011 for the population aged 15 and above,” according to the ILO.

That situation is now true in various EU member states, where discontent has emerged in the form of ‘indignados’ in Spain and mass youth mobilisations in Portugal, Greece, and elsewhere in Southern Europe.
Peter Matjasic, president of the European Youth Forum, the representative body of more than 90 national youth councils and international youth NGOs, urged the EU to make the European “vision (of a social democratic society) a reality for a generation.”

Matjasic also demanded that expectations raised by the bestowal of the Nobel Peace Prize upon the EU this year be fulfilled. “The Nobel committee (talked) of the success of the ‘European dream’ and European leaders this week spoke about strengthening it. But without investing in youth now, it is in danger of becoming a lost dream.”

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

How To Build A Bicycle Generator

How To Build A Bicycle Generator
Nov 12, 2012 | Alt-Market

This article was originally published at Waking Times

Building your own generator requires a number of items. A person, a bike, a way of supporting your bike off the ground, a motor, an energy smoothing system and an inverter if you want to use your bike generator to power mains equipment. Each of these parts needs to work efficiently in order to generate between 50 and 100 watts of usable energy for your generator.

REMEMBER TO BE CAREFUL WHEN WORKING WITH ELECTRICITY – IF IN DOUBT, ASK AN ELECTRICIAN

We’ll discuss the parts and how to assemble a single bike generator in this D.I.Y. Guide which you can download as a PDF here.

1. PEOPLE

At the end of the day if there are no motivated cyclists you cannot create electricity. Each person can create between 20 and 100 watts over extended periods and we’ve got as much as 250w from athletes in short bursts. It’s also more fun doing things together so get your friends round to give you a hand!

2. A BICYCLE

Type of bike:

Road bikes are most suitable type of bike for generating electricity because they have slick tires. Slick tires help keep friction and noise to a minimum level. Road bikes are designed to be efficient on smooth roads. You will generally get more watts from a road bike than a town (designed for comfort) or a mountain bike (designed for bumps and bashes).

Gears:

Geared bikes have the advantage that cyclists of different abilities can use them.
  • Single speed bikes have the advantage that the cyclist cannot change gear and make life easier for him/herself. Therefore you can almost guarantee the same power out from each person.
Magnificent Revolution has a set of second hand road bikes. You can get a good bike for just over £100. We got ours from places such as the Bicycle Ambulance in Cambridge and Bike Works in London.

Read complete instructions..

Fracking Rush Threatens US Energy Security: Report

(Image: FWW report)
Fracking Rush Threatens US Energy Security: Report
Nov 14, 2012 | Common Dreams

Despite gas industry claims that the natural gas extraction "revolution" will create energy security and affordable fuel for US consumers, fracking will in fact benefit those in the US very little, as the natural resource will most likely be shipped offshore to those who will "pay the highest price," according to a new report released Wednesday by Food and Water Watch. Additionally, there is far less oil and gas reserves to mine in the first place -- contrary to what industry leaders would have us believe.

Market proposals by gas and oil companies revealed in the report will likely cause skyrocketing prices for US consumers and only vast amounts of pollution in the industry's wake.

The report U.S. Energy Insecurity: Why Fracking for Oil and Natural Gas is a False Solution shows that as of October 26, 2012 the Department of Energy has received 19 proposals from various US fossil fuel companies to export liquefied natural gas to foreign bidders. These companies stand to profit greatly by selling "huge amounts of natural gas overseas—as much as 40 percent of current U.S. consumption."

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“The hype over fracking is giving Americans a false sense of energy security,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “The industry is making empty promises about U.S. energy security to prolong America’s destructive dependence on fossil fuels. At the same time, it is laying the groundwork to sell natural gas overseas to maximize profits. The gas will go wherever it can fetch the highest price—and right now that’s not the United States.”

Additionally, the report shows that natural gas resources will be far more scarce and difficult to extract than industry voices would like us to believe.

According to the group:
The industry is also misrepresenting U.S. natural gas and tight oil supplies. Its claims rely on uncertain estimates of shale gas resources and on allowing the oil and gas industry to drill not just throughout the Marcellus Shale and other shale plays, but also all along the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Even if the industry’s vision holds true, Food & Water Watch calculates that plans to create increased demand for U.S. natural gas translate to a supply of just 50 years and would require drilling hundreds of thousands of new shale gas wells.
Steve Horn at the Desmogblog wrote today:
[The Report] shows, contrary to industry claims, there aren't 100 years of unconventional oil and gas sitting below our feet, even if President Barack Obama said so in his 2012 State of the Union Address. Far from it, in fact. [...]

FWW crunched the numbers, estimating that there are, at most, half of the industry line, some 50 years of natural gas and much less of shale gas. This assumes the industry will be allowed to perform fracking in every desired crevice of the country. These are the same basins that advocates of hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") claim would make the U.S. the "next Saudi Arabia."
The study also exposes the myth that low fuel prices at the pump will be achieved through the exploitation of US oil reserves. Not only does the US have far less oil than generous industry estimates claim, but that amount of potential production in the US would not lower prices, because the price of oil is set on a global market.

“Gas is no bridge fuel, and investing in the infrastructure to support this would make the U.S. dependent on dirty fossil fuels for several more decades and would sacrifice our health and communities to the industry’s thirst for profits. We need to ban fracking and remake our energy system now,” concluded Hauter.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Freaky Clean: Chemical in antibacterial soap weakens muscle function

Freaky Clean: Chemical in antibacterial soap weakens muscle function
Aug 15, 2012 | Alexandra Sifferlin

It turns out antibacterial soaps aren't so "clean" after all. A common chemical in antibacterial products, triclosan - which can be found soaps, toothpastes and mouthwashes - was found to impair muscle function in lab and animal tests.

Originally, the chemical, developed in the 1960s, was used in hospitals to prevent bacterial infections. Since then, it's been used in countless household products, and several studies - mostly in animals - have hinted that the effects of triclosan may not be entirely beneficial.

According to a recent Smithsonian article:
Studies have shown that the chemical can disrupt the endocrine systems of several different animals, binding to receptor sites in the body, which prevents the thyroid hormone from functioning normally. Additionally, triclosan penetrates the skin and enters the bloodstream more easily than previously thought, and has turned up everywhere from aquatic environments to human breast milk in troubling quantities. 
Now, in a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from the University of California, Davis, found that triclosan also interferes with muscle function. In the lab, they exposed human muscle cells, from the heart and elsewhere, to triclosan and discovered that the chemical interrupted cellular communication necessary for muscle contraction. Then the researchers exposed mice and fathead minnows to the chemical to see what would happen: after a single dose, the exposed mice showed 25% reduced heart muscle function and 18% reduced grip strength. In the fish, which were exposed to as much triclosan as would be expected in a week in the wild, the chemical led to poor performance in swimming tests that simulated escape from a predator.

Read more..

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