Friday, February 28, 2014

CA environmental group takes on govt agreement with oil company to dump chemicals

AFP Photo / Marc Preel
CA environmental group takes on govt agreement with oil company to dump chemicals
Feb 28, 2014 | RT

An environmental group has filed a legal petition calling on the US Environmental Protection Agency to prohibit chemicals from being dumped into the ocean after reporters revealed federal regulators had quietly given energy companies permission to do so.

The nonprofit progressive news site TruthOut revealed in October that in at least four instances federal agencies permitted the oil company DCOR to begin fracking in the Santa Barbara Channel in California without completing any kind of environmental review.

Fracking, known officially as hydraulic fracturing, has attracted the public’s attention throughout the world because of the fear that drilling into rock deep beneath the Earth’s surface could unintentionally send dangerous chemicals into the environment.

There are at least 12 rigs off the coast of California that drill into undersea rock formations, injecting highly pressurized fluid and extracting oil. After that fluid is drilled into the ground, it then comes back out as chemical wastewater, which investigators say is being allowed to be dumped back into the ocean without the public’s knowledge.

The Center for Biological Diversity filed a legal petition Wednesday pleading with the EPA to stop allowing companies to dump what the group claims is more than nine billion gallons of waste. 

It’s disgusting that oil companies dump wastewater into California’s ocean,” Miyoko Sakashita, CBD oceans director, said in a press release. “You can see the rigs from shore, but the contaminated waters are hidden from view. Our goal is to make sure toxic fracking chemicals don’t poison wildlife or end up in the food chain.”

Waste created by land fracking is dangerous because it is known to contain methanol, benzene, naphthalene, and other components that are used to break up the underground rock. Yet California’s KCET, an independent public television station, reported the waste that has been dumped into Santa Barbara Channel is even more problematic because of the delicate ecosystem off the coast of Southern California.

It came as a complete surprise to learn that oil companies are fracking in waters off the coast where I let my kids swim and play,” Sakashita continued. “The toxic chemicals used for offshore fracking don’t belong in the ocean, and the best way to protect our coast is to ban fracking altogether.”

The initial TruthOut investigation determined that environmental regulators at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement authorized “minor revisions to permits” owned by DCOR. That permit change “categorically excluded” DCOR’s fracking activity from any environmental review beginning in 2014.

Oil companies are still viewed with suspicion by some in California because of the notorious 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, which was the largest oil spill in US waters until the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989. The accident, which covered the coastline from Goleta to Ventura and killed thousands of animals, is now the third largest spill behind the Deepwater Horizon disaster and Exxon Valdez.

Unlike many situations in which an environmental group pits itself against a major corporation, the Center for Biological Diversity could have a feasible chance at stopping the objectionable activity.

The group recently won a similar lawsuit after a federal court ruled that the government violated existing environmental law when it leased federal land for fracking without reviewing the environmental implications. That decision put a halt on fracking across thousands of acres of California land.

Oil companies are fracking California’s beautiful coastal waters with dangerous chemicals, and federal officials seem barely aware of the dangers,” Sakashita told TruthOut last year. “We need an immediate halt to offshore fracking before chemical pollution or an oil spill poisons the whales and other wildlife that depend on California’s rich coastal waters.”

New Mexico nuclear plant workers exposed to radiation

Reuters / Christian Charisius
New Mexico nuclear plant workers exposed to radiation
Feb 27, 2014 | RT

Positive results for radiation exposure were found in 13 workers following a leak at the United States’ first underground nuclear waste repository near Carlsbad, New Mexico, an Associated Press report stated.

Officials said that all employees were checked for external contamination before they left the Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP) facility the day the leak occurred, but that biological samples were also taken to test for the possibility that they were breathing in radioactive particles.

The US Department of Energy and the Nuclear Waste Partnership, which manages the plant’s daily operations, are expected to hold a press conference on Thursday to discuss the test results.

"It is important to note that these are initial sample results," the DOE and Nuclear Waste Partnership said in a joint statement. "These employees, both federal and contractor, will be asked to provide additional samples in order to fully determine the extent of any exposure."
According to CNN, Nuclear Waste Partnership (NWP) spokesman Donavan Mager said the number of people exposed to radiation could not be confirmed due to the privacy rule under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. He did say the test results suggest exposure to the synthetic, radioactive metal americium.

The preliminary test results come just days after more airborne radiation was detected in the area surrounding the plant. Earlier this month, WIPP officials noticed a sharp rise in radiation levels, which they connected to a leak inside one of its underground tunnels. The plant is one of three deep nuclear repositories around the globe, storing nuclear waste 600 meters below the earth’s surface.

Since the WIPP’s creation in 1999, this is the first time it has been known to release any radioactive material. Officials told the AP that it may take weeks to learn what caused the leak. Even before this incident, a salt truck caught fire in a separate part of the facility, but that is believed to be unrelated.

Despite the record levels of radiation detected around the area, the DOE stated the readings fall “well below” the standards outlined by the Environmental Protection Agency, and that they do not pose a public or environmental threat.

On Monday, the DOE’s Joe Franco and the NWP’s Farok Sharif held a community meeting to ease public fear over the situation. In response to a question from a local resident, Franco said, "there is no risk from this event that would be a hazard to you or your children."

Regardless, the AP noted that Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) will ask the EPA to send portable air monitors to Carlsbad as a precaution.

"The health and safety of the Carlsbad community and WIPP personnel are my top priority," he said.

Confessions of a ‘Greenpeace Dropout’ to the U.S. Senate on climate change

© Greenpeace
Confessions of a ‘Greenpeace Dropout’ to the U.S. Senate on climate change
Feb 26, 2014 | Watts Up With That | Anthony Watts

Our friend Dr. Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace, went before the U.S. Senate yesterday to tell his story as it relates to global warming/climate change. It is well worth your time to read. WUWT readers may recall that since Dr. Moore has decided to speak out against global warming and for Golden Rice, Greenpeace is trying to disappear his status with the organization, much like people were disappeared in Soviet Russia.
"When modern life evolved over 500 million years ago, CO2 was more than 10 times higher than today, yet life flourished at this time."

Statement of Patrick Moore, Ph.D. Before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight

February 25, 2014

“Natural Resource Adaptation: Protecting ecosystems and economies”

Chairman Whitehouse, Ranking Member Inhofe, and members of the Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to testify at today’s hearing.

In 1971, as a PhD student in ecology I joined an activist group in a church basement in Vancouver Canada and sailed on a small boat across the Pacific to protest US Hydrogen bomb testing in Alaska. We became Greenpeace.

After 15 years in the top committee I had to leave as Greenpeace took a sharp turn to the political left, and began to adopt policies that I could not accept from my scientific perspective. Climate change was not an issue when I abandoned Greenpeace, but it certainly is now.

There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the past 100 years. If there were such a proof it would be written down for all to see. No actual proof, as it is understood in science, exists.

Continue reading..

Thursday, February 27, 2014

35 million gallons of coal ash spilled into Dan River

A worker looks toward the Dan River at the Duke Energy
coal-fired power plant in Eden, North Carolina
February 19, 2014. (Reuters / Chris Keane)
35 million gallons of coal ash spilled into Dan River
Feb 26, 2014 | RT

As much as 35 million gallons of coal ash and arsenic-contaminated water spilled into North Carolina’s Dan River due to a ruptured pipe at the Duke Energy power plant, a team of researchers said Tuesday.

According to the Associated Press, scientists at Wake Forest University used an aerial drone to create a 3D model of the affected area in Eden, North Carolina. With that model in hand, they were able to calculate the amount of coal ash and wastewater that ended up spilling out of the pipe when it burst on February 2.

Coal ash is the residue that’s left behind after coal is burned. It contains toxic chemicals such as arsenic, mercury, and lead, as well as aluminum oxide, iron oxide and more.

As RT reported previously, initial estimates pegged the amount of leaked contaminated water at 27 million gallons. If correct, the latest data suggests that the equivalent of 53 Olympic-sized swimming pools filled with polluted water could have spilled into the river.

The news comes as officials are telling local residents to avoid contact with the water until they finish conducting safety tests. According to CNN, residents are also being advised to not eat any fish caught in the river.

Despite these warnings, officials told local WRAL that the water supply has not been compromised.

For its part, Duke Energy claimed responsibility for the spill and has stated it will pay for the cost of cleanup. It also reiterated that the leaky pipe has been fixed.

"The drinking water has remained safe,” a Duke representative told CNN in a statement. “The pipe has been permanently plugged. We take responsibility for this event and also are taking another look at the management of our (14 North Carolina) ash basins."
To some environmental activists, though, that reassurance is not enough. Organized by the Sierra Club, dozens of protesters gathered around Duke Energy headquarters in Charlotte seeking answers about the spill, especially since the company’s coal ash depositories have come under fire before for being inadequate.

"We are here to say no more,” Amy Adams of Appalachian Voices said to the crowd, according to CNN.  

“No more coal ash in unlined ponds. No more leaks that seep into our drinking waters. No more stalling. No more excuses. No more hiding behind political allies. We are here to draw the line, Duke.”

Meanwhile, an investigation is also unfolding into how and why Duke Energy waited nearly 24 hours to report the spill to the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. By the time DENR officials arrived at the scene, millions of gallons of contaminated water had spilled into the river, and water downstream in Virginia was being treated for pollutants.

As a result of the spill, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory came out in support of moving waste depositories away from ponds and rivers, and told the News Observer all coal ash should be stored in lined facilities to future leaks.

“The immediate goal is to stop any existing leaks, clean up any ramifications from existing leaks and spills, and third, have a long-term solution and hopefully in most cases move these ponds or put a permanent cap on,” McCrory said at a National Governors Association meeting over the weekend.

Water and the Electricity of Life | Dr. Jerry Pollack Interview

Water and the Electricity of Life | Dr. Jerry Pollack Interview
Feb 26, 2014 | ThunderboltsProject

Dr. Jerry Pollack will speak at EU2014 along with Wal Thornhill and Dave Talbott and a whole roster of speakers. Check out

In this interview with Kim Gifford, Dr. Jerry Pollack, a professor in the bio-engineering department of the University of Washington, discusses new insights into structured water garnered in his lab. Dr. Pollack has spent the last 10 years researching the role of water in biological tissue and his discoveries could have a profound impact on our understanding of disease and healing.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Americans trash about 1/3 of their food, worth $161bn - USDA

AFP Photo / Spencer Platt
Americans trash about 1/3 of their food, worth $161bn - USDA
Feb 25, 2014 | RT

About 30 percent of the 430 billion pounds of food produced in the United States is wasted, an incredible statistic, especially given the lack of landfill space, not to mention the global menace of world hunger.

The shocking statistic gives a new meaning to the term ‘junk food,’ as Americans are sending 133 billion lbs (60 billion kg) of food to the garbage dump each year. To put it another way, 141 trillion calories annually – or 1,249 calories per capita daily – went uneaten in the United States, according to a report by the US Department of Agriculture.

The top three food groups in terms of the amount of total food loss cost are ranked as follows: meat, poultry, and fish (30 percent); vegetables (19 percent); and dairy products (17 percent). Retail food waste, for example, in grocery stores and restaurants, accounted for 10 percent (43 billion lbs), while consumer losses amounted to 21 percent (90 billion pounds) of the available food supply.

The issue of food loss is becoming a serious topic not just in the United States, but across the world as countries struggle with mounting levels of garbage, while food scarcity among an exploding world population demands a new way of thinking about eating habits.

In 2010, the average American spent $4,016 on food (both for at-home and away-from-home consumption) out of an average disposable income of $36,016, the report, titled ‘The Estimated Amount, Value and Calories of Postharvest Food Losses at the Retail and Consumer Levels in the United States’, noted.

Meanwhile, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of US adults (35.7 percent) are obese, which is perhaps the best argument that Americans can offset a large part of the food waste problem by simply eating less. The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the US was $147 billion in 2008; the costs of providing medical assistance for individuals who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight, thereby placing an enormous strain on healthcare costs.
At the same time, the problem of global food scarcity is gaining the attention of world leaders.

“The United Nations predicts that the world population will reach 9.3 billion by 2050, and this will require a 70 percent increase in food production, net of crops used for biofuels. Currently…the number of food-insecure people reached 802 million in 2012,” the report stated.

The USDA warned that developed countries like the United States – where 49 million people lived in food-insecure households out of a total population of over 305 million - should not take their current level of food security for granted.

“Although most of this population growth will occur in developing countries, developed countries like the United States also face issues of hunger and food insecurity,” it said.

In an effort to attract attention to the problem of food waste, the USDA and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last year kicked off the US Food Waste Challenge. The United Nations’ Environment Program’s (UNEP) World Environment Day’s central theme was also food waste.

AFP Photo / Spencer Platt
The report acknowledged that tackling the problem is no easy challenge given the many diverse places where food is distributed, consumed and disposed of.

There are an estimated 119 million households, over a half a million dining establishments, including fast-food outlets, and numerous other locations where people gather to eat, such as schools, institutions, and prisons across the United States, it said.

Eco-hazardous habits 

A largely ignored problem associated with our intensely urbanized lifestyles is how to get rid of our food waste in a way that does not inflict long-term damage on the environment. Discarding uneaten food into plastic garbage bags and burying them in landfills only exacerbates the problem.

According to statistics by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), food waste accounted for 34 million tons of some 250 million tons of municipal solid waste in the United States in 2010, with a price tag of about $1.3 billion.

After recycling a number of materials, like metals, plastic and paper, food waste came out on top in terms of what is overloading our garbage dumps, with 21 percent of the total, according to the EPA.

The most worrying problem with landfilling food waste is that it generates methane gas as it decomposes anaerobically. Methane is 21 times more powerful in accelerating global warming than carbon dioxide, according to the EPA as cited in the USDA report.

Landfills account for 34 percent of all human-related methane emissions in the United States

The report pointed to a growing human footprint on the planet as a good reason for nations to start addressing this issue.

The report offered some suggestions on addressing the issue, including expanding on community composting programs, of which there are around 3,510 such initiatives in the US that allow neighborhood residents to leave food scraps and yard trimmings at the curb for a special collection.

At the same time, companies will work to offset food waste if “it is economically justifiable, that is, if the benefits outweigh the costs.”

The report suggested the potential advantages of building “consumer goodwill” for business, using by way of example “a sandwich shop donates uneaten yet wholesome food to a community feeding organization at the end of each day.”

Smart Tyranny: How to resist the smart grid

© Corbett Report
Smart Tyranny: How to resist the smart grid
Feb 25, 2014 | corbettreport

Smart technology represents less of a breakthrough in power distribution and more of a revolution in complete, constant, panopticon-like surveillance of everyone. As these smart technologies begin to invade our homes, we are becoming mere nodes in a giant network that we yet but dimly comprehend. Called the "Internet of Things," the plan is to create a network that will eventually include every single object on the planet. And as the public is finally becoming aware, such networks provide golden opportunities for corporations and governments alike to collect data and spy on the population.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Major X4 9 Solar Flare February 25, 2014

Major X4 9 Solar Flare February 25, 2014
Feb 24, 2014 | SolarWatcher

A major X4.9 Solar Flare was registered by newly numbered active region 11990 at 00:49 UTC this morning. Associated with this event was a 10cm radio bust reaching 3700 solar flux units with a duration of 85 minutes and a very strong Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) was observed leaving the blast site but will not have an earth bound component as the active region had just rotated the eastern limb. [Photo: SolarWatcher]

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Music Used is composed by Zack Hemsey - "Redemption"

New Mexico admits nuclear plant leaking radiation

© RT America
New Mexico admits nuclear plant leaking radiation
Feb 24, 2014 | RT America

Federal officials confirmed a local nuclear plant in southern New Mexico is leaking waste and releasing radiation into the surrounding area. The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad was leaking for days before state officials were notified. While health officials insist there is no risk to the public, it could take weeks before crews can reach the leak to figure out how it happened. The plant is the first underground nuclear repository in the US. In the meantime, Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster is back in the news: The country is planning to lift part of the nearly three-year-old evacuation order around the damaged nuclear plant, even as a new radioactive leak was discovered there. RT's Meghan Lopez discusses all things nuclear with Paul Gunter, director of Beyond Nuclear's Reactor Oversight Project.

Solar Supernova

Herschel (red) and Hubble (blue) composite image
of the Crab Nebula. Credit: ESA/Herschel/PACS/MESS
Key Programme Supernova Remnant Team; NASA,
ESA and Allison Loll/Jeff Hester (Arizona State University)
Solar Supernova
Feb 24, 2014 | | Stephen Smith

How do supernovae relate to the Sun?

On June 7, 2011 the Sun erupted with the largest plasma event yet recorded by the Solar Dynamics Observatory. SDO was launched on February 11, 2010 into a geosynchronous orbit, with plans for a five-year mission. It is capable of observing the Sun in multiple wavelengths, including extreme ultraviolet. It is also equipped with a Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager that can map magnetic field data.

The Sun’s magnetic field is difficult to detect. According to Dr David Long of the UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory: “… the Sun’s atmosphere has a magnetic field about ten times weaker than a normal fridge magnet.” However, when situations such as the June 2011 Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) occur, astrophysicists are able to use the increased magnetic field strength to map solar processes more closely.

As the Electric Sun theory proposes, the Sun is a positively charged electrode powered by electromagnetic fields permeating the galaxy. At the farthest limit of its coronal discharge, millions of kilometers from the surface, is a negatively charged region known as the heliosphere: a double layer that isolates the Sun’s plasma cell from the galactic plasma that surrounds it. A voltage difference between the Sun and the galaxy occurs across the double layer, or heliopause boundary sheath. Inside the heliopause a weak, constant electric field is centered on the Sun. Since the Sun’s electric field is weak, overall, its magnetic field is correspondingly weak.

Unfortunately, NASA scientists are not used to seeing the Sun in its electrical guise. Instead, a recent press release is rife with descriptions from the field of fluid dynamics, as if the Sun is a giant drop of oil quivering in space. The massive CME and its subsequent electromagnetic transport of solar plasma are described as “drops of ink falling through water”; and “… a great example of where light and heavy fluids mix”. The conclusion is that the plasma was affected by the Rayleigh-Taylor instability.

The Crab Nebula is said to be the remnant of a star that exploded in 1054 AD. Since it is also thought to exhibit a Rayleigh-Taylor instability in its tendrils, or filaments, SDO mission analysts think that the two phenomena are similar. Matter that is denser that the majority of the Crab Nebula’s structure is said to be “falling back” into thinner gases and dust. Like oil falling through water, the heavier material branches and splits.

As many previous Picture of the Day articles have maintained, supernovae, nebulae, and CMEs are electrical phenomena and are not governed by kinetic and gravitational effects, alone. Plasma behaves in ways that are unfamiliar to most people. Plasma is completely different from a gas. Since more than 90% of the light emitted from planetary nebulae (like the Crab Nebula) is from ionized oxygen, they ought to be identified with oxygen discharge tubes, similar to a neon lamp.

The CME demonstrated that solar explosions are interconnected by magnetic fields reaching out for thousands of kilometers. CMEs typically spew plasma in the billions of tons throughout the Solar System. A signature of CME ejections is an increase in auroral brightness and frequency on Earth. This is because the ejections are composed of charged particles, and are attracted to and follow Earth’s polar magnetic cusps. A few CMEs have been observed to leave the Sun with unexpected acceleration: velocities more than 70,000 kilometers per second have been clocked.

Although the Sun’s electric and magnetic fields are weak, the Sun is gigantic, meaning that electromagnetic forces can act with great impetus. Magnetic fields constrict electric currents into filaments, which twist around each other, forming double layers. Double layers form when electricity flows in plasma, causing positive charges to build up in one region of a plasma cloud and negative charges to build up nearby. An electric field appears between the two regions, accelerating the charged particles. Sometimes, the stored electrical energy in a double layer is catastrophically discharged in a “Langmuir burst.” Those bursts are what are seen on the Sun as solar flares and CMEs.

Perhaps electricity flowing through the Crab Nebula is causing the same phenomena witnessed by SDO. Rather than nuclear furnaces in the Sun initiating CMEs, or a thermonuclear explosion creating the Crab

Nebula, both celestial objects should be considered in the light of plasma physics.

Stephen Smith

Monday, February 24, 2014

Destroying Planet Earth: Geoengineering is the Ultimate Hubris, without Democratic Control

Destroying Planet Earth: Geoengineering is the Ultimate Hubris, without Democratic Control
Feb 23, 2014 | Global Research | Dr. Vandana Shiva

Supporters of geoengineering have proposed radical ways to alter the planet. But opposition is growing to geoengineering. We interviewed the indian environmentalist, scientist, philosopher Vandana Shiva.

Vandana Shiva, originally a theoretical physicist, she now campaigns the world for heirloom seeds, organic farming and local food systems instead of the chemical- and oil-intensive large scale industrial farms that destroy the environment and wreck local economies. She also supports Hands off Mother Earth, a citizen-based organization that resists geoengineering .

 Vandana Shiva was interviewed by Maria Heibel from NoGeoingegneria


NoGeoingegneria: So, first, thank you very much for your time because you’re an incredible woman and you always have so much time for everybody. and it’s great. We wanted to speak a little bit about geoengineering with you. It’s something that embraces everything: food and water and what is happening now in the world in a situation of climate change, and great change, and risk of collapse at every level. I saw the interview you had with Amy Goodman. So, first, what is, for you, at this moment, the role of geoengineering?

00:55 Vandana: the role of geo-engineering should, in a world of responsibility, in a world of scientifically enlightened decision making and ecological understanding, it should be zero.

There is no role for geo-engeneering. Because what is geoengineering but extending the engineering paradigm? There have been engineered parts of the earth, and aspects of ecosystems and organisms through genetical engineering: the massive dam building, the re-routing of rivers. These were all elements of geoengineering at the level of particular places and we have recognized two things: one, that when you don’t take into account the way ecological systems work, then you do damage. Everyone knows that in effect climate change is a result of that engineering paradigm. We could replace people with fossil fuels, have higher and higher levels of industrialization, of agriculture, of production, without thinking of the green-house gases we were admitting, and climate change is really the pollution of the engineering paradigm, when fossil fuels drove industrialism. To now offer that same mindset as a solution is to not take seriously what Einstein said: that you can’t solve the problems by using the same mindset that caused them. So, the idea of engineering is an idea of mastery. And today the role that we are being asked to play is a role based on informed humanity.

2:45 NoGeoingegneria: In my eyes geoengineering started in the 50s with atomic tests, because in this period they started to make geoengineering of the atmosphere of earth in a global sense, in a bigger sense, and a lot of projects in the 50s started to organize the earth, the planet, in a new way, with a new idea of engineering really the whole planet. With the power of atomic bomb scientists made a shifting in their mind, in my eyes. So in this period, in the 50′s weather modification also started very energically. It is part of geo engineering, and you have here the map of the ETC group, in the whole world, they are doing it, and you cannot do local modifications without changing the whole system. I know in India, in Thailand, and Australia weather modification maybe is more discussed, more open than in Europe. For example in Italy they made weather modification in the 80′s and people don’t know it. What do you think about the role of weather modification in a sense of geoengineering for food, for water, for the whole system?

4:21 Vandana

Weather modification is a very small part of geo engineering. Geoengineering right now is the hubris of saying: “all this climate change, and we’re living in the anthropocene age and now human beings will be the shapers of our future, that totally control the overall functions of not just our planet, but our relationship with other planets, so many of the solutions offered have been putting reflectors in the sky to send the sun back as if the sun was a problem rather than the very basis of life, or to put pollutants into the atmosphere in order to create a layer of pollution that would stop the sun from shining. But the instability of the climate that is the result of the greenhouse effect will just be aggravated by these interventions. Now weather modifications done in a narrow-minded way, to say “we are not getting rain so let us precipitate rain artificially so that agriculture doesn’t fail” is something that for example the Chinese did for the olympics. They made sure there would be no rain during the Olympics. It is a lower level of hubris than the larger project of geoengineering.

5:47 you know this map…..?

5:49 Vandana  yes of course i know Etcetera.

5:52 N: and you see that the ETC Group also published only a part, it’s only a part because everyday something else is coming out, in the whole world they are doing it, so if you make in a lot of points.

6:07 V: it’s not too much the points

6:08 N: what does it mean for weather extremes for example?

6:11 V: the first thing is it creates more instability, and we are dealing with instability, therefore we must deal more with actions that create insurance against instability, rather than aggravating the instability. It’s like I’m driving a car and I know there’s a precipice there, I should put the car in reverse and then turn into another direction. What geo engineering is doing is saying “let’s put our foot on the accelerator”. And the precipice is climate instability, climate unpredictability. And at the root of it is the false idea that these silly little actions will be able to control and regulate the weather and climate. But the second most important part of why geo engineering is so so wrong is that is ultimate expression of patriarchal irresponsibility. Patriarchy is based on appropriating rights and leaving responsibility to others. In this case the scientists who are playing these games, the who are investors financing it, are all doing it without having any consent for these experiments, any approval for these experiments, locally or globally, and worse, without thinking of the consequences or what it can lead to, and without ever ever being bound to responsibility. Therefore it is the ultimate expression of all the destructive tendencies of patriarchy.

7:50 N: Yeah, and you see you can take one name Edward Teller. He comes from the atomic bomb. He had the idea of controlling the weather by atomic bomb. He proposed the shield for sun radiation management, so the same persons, the same power structure is organizing this type of management of the planet and of space. So, you know about the intention of control ….?

8:22 V: Well for some people the intention is really one of making others suffer. And therefore aspects of geo- engineering are about links with military warfare. How do you alter the climate so that you can just make rain fall or fail in a particular area and let agriculture suffer. But in other cases, even if there isn’t that military intention of harm to the other there is an ignorance…..

8:56 N: There is also economic interest ……

8:58 V: Not all, the reason that there is such a battalion of scientists behind it…..

9:00 N: You know oil and not soil, the food and water …….

9:05 V: The people are pushing it have a money interest. The people who are pushing it have a military interest. , people are pushing to have a military interest. The players merely have the arrogance that ” I have the solution”. And it’s the combination of stupidity combined with the arrogance of the little players, and the evil projects of the ones who control it, that combination is what makes it toxic. Because if the scientific community could only recognize its responsibility to society and the planet and say “I will not be part of your games”, which is how Scientists for Social Responsibility was created, which is how the group that started to monitor the whole nuclear issue, those were all scientists. This is a marriage of stupid scientists with evil minds, and we need scientists with responsibility to be the counterforce to say this is not science, just as we need in genetic engineering. And it is as the community of scientists who really know the science start to speak more and organize better, that the stupid scientists of the biotech industry will quieten down. And biotech and geo engineering have the same mindset, of engineering, of power, of control, of mastery of nature

10:30 N: you spoke also of the dams. It’s big geoengineering also in India and in the whole world and there are now the big interests of water and here, the last time we had an interview with Pat Mooney he said that big dams, energy production, water control, and weather control, it’s one thing. So it’s not only a small intervention to have crops. It’s something more.

11:06 V: No as I said it’s the ultimate hubris, that’s what it is! Hubris on a planetary scale!

11:19 N: Uh….. what do you think about the fact they will spray nano particles? That’s the program!

11:29 V: Each of these issues has a particular aspect thats different but i think those particular aspects are very small compared to the overall damage and the overall irresponsibility. For me the first issue is, how dare you do this. How dare you. That has to be humanity’s response. Then the rest of the little thing of how nano particles can harm or have too much sulphur in the atmosphere can harm, those are specific details but this is a civilizational issue. And in civilizational issues you don’t look at the tiny details as the debate. You have to look at the big picture!

Transcript by lukinski&trishy

 Vandana Shiva

Vandana Shiva, a world-renowned environmental thinker, activist, physicist, feminist, philosopher of science, writer and science policy advocate, is the Director of The Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy. She serves as an ecology advisor to several organizations including the Third World Network and the Asia Pacific People’s Environment Network. 

In 1993 she was the recipient of the Right Livelihood Award, commonly known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize”. A contributing editor to People-Centered Development Forum, she has also written several works include, “Staying Alive,” “The Violence of the Green Revolution,” “Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge,” “Monoculutures of the Mind” and “Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution, and Profit,” as well as over 300 papers in leading scientific and technical journals. Shiva participated in the nonviolent Chipko movement during the 1970s, whose main participants were women. She is one of the leaders of the International Forum on Globalization, and a figure of the global solidarity movement known as the anti-globalization movement. She has argued for the wisdom of many traditional practices, as is evident from her book “Vedic Ecology” that draws upon India’s Vedic heritage. Shiva has fought for changes in the practice and paradigms of agriculture and food. Intellectual property rights, biodiversity, biotechnology, bioethics, genetic engineering are among the fields where Shiva has contributed intellectually and through activist campaigns. She has assisted grassroots organizations of the Green movement in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Ireland, Switzerland and Austria with campaigns against genetic engineering. In 1982, she founded the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology. Her book, “Staying Alive” helped redefine perceptions of third world women. Shiva has also served as an adviser to governments in India and abroad as well as non governmental organisations, including the International Forum on Globalisation, the Women’s Environment & Development Organization and the Third World Network.

Fracking nightmare: US Ohio and West Virginia to face massive poisoning

Fracking nightmare: US Ohio and West Virginia to face massive poisoning
Feb 23, 2014 | Voice of Russia
Concern has been mounting among residents of the US states of Ohio and West Virginia over health risks from chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing activities or fracking. Waste from gas fracking sites is brought to landfills but no tests for radiation or other health-damaging effects are actually done. There is also the twin threat of worsening air and ground water pollution and the depletion of local freshwater resources.

About 100,000 liters of chemicals and more than 18 million liters of water are used per frack. Water mixed with sand and chemicals is injected into a borehole at high pressure and factures the rock. The gas or oil released during the process is pumped out. The boreholes are lined with steel pipes and have protective cement casings. Fracking wastewater cannot be returned into a water body. It remains underground. The problem is, however, that that with each new frack the cement expands and contracts and eventually cracks and then the fracking fluid seeps through and contaminates the water table.

Kip Rondy, co-owner of Green Edge Gardens in Amesville, Ohio, was among those recently arrested for blocking the K&H Injection Well in Athens County. He fears that fracking might cause irreparable harm to the ground water and aquifers.

"There are a lot of ways for something to get into the aquifers. Even with all of the technology available, there is no way to know for certain that the aquifers won't be contaminated," he told reporters.

Rondy, 64, who has had a farm in Lincoln County, W.Va., for 10 years, lashed out at extractive industries for taking materials and wealth away from an area and leaving its people impoverished as little infrastructure is built for the long-term benefit of the area.

"The reality is we are being duped… The areas end up being depleted and worse off than what they were before," he said.

Still worse, drilling companies refuse to disclose the chemicals they use in the fracking process, claiming it’s a trade secret, despite possible dangers to workers and health staff.

"First-responders, medical responders and hospitals need to know what they might be dealing with," said Chuck Wyrostok, of the West Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club. He urged tighter environmental monitoring of fracking.

"There are several stages in the process that should have inspectors on scene. "They don't have enough to do that... Casings can fail over a period of time. Fluid can get into the aquifers, water can be poisoned and there would be no way to fix it,” he said.

When their neighborhoods are polluted by fracking, where will people go?

Voice of Russia, News and Sentinel

Sunday, February 23, 2014

11,000-year-old settlement found under Baltic Sea

© iStock
A newly discovered underwater site was
in fact some sort of a dump in which
nomadic Swedes discarded objects.
11,000-year-old settlement found under Baltic Sea
Feb 22, 2014 | Rossella Lorenzi \ Discovery News

Evidence of a Stone-Age settlement that may have been swallowed whole by the Baltic Sea has resurfaced near Sweden, revealing a collection of well preserved artifacts left by nomads some 11,000 years ago.

Dubbed by the local press "Sweden's Atlantis" after the fabled island which according to Greek philosopher Plato sank around 9600 B.C. in the Atlantic Ocean, the newly discovered site was in fact some sort of a dump in which nomadic Swedes discarded objects, according to a report by the Swedish daily The Local.

Buried 52 feet below the surface at Hanö, a sandy bay off the coast of Skane County in Sweden, the items include wood pieces, flint tools, animal horns, ropes, a harpoon carving made from an animal bone and the bones of an aurochs and an ancient cattle which became extinct in the early 1600s.

"There's wood and antlers and other implements that were thrown in there," project leader Björn Nilsson, archaeology professor at Södertörn University, told the Local.

Amazingly, the artifacts have been perfectly preserved because of the abundant oxygen-consuming gyttja -- a black, gel-like sediment which is formed when peat begins to decay.

"Around 11,000 years ago there was a build up in the area, a lagoon or sorts ... and all the tree and bone pieces are preserved in it. If the settlement was on dry land we would only have the stone-based things, nothing organic," Nilsson said.

Nilsson's team is continuing to excavate the area, looking for a potential burial site.

"What we have here is maybe one of the oldest settlements from the first more permanent sites in Scania and in Sweden full stop," Nilsson said.



© NextGov
Feb 22, 2014 | Phantom Report

Corporations and government are using information about us in a new – and newly insidious – way. 

Employing massive data files, much of the information taken from the Internet, they profile us, predict our good or bad character, credit worthiness, behavior, tastes, and spending habits – and take actions accordingly.

As a result, millions of Americans are now virtually incarcerated in algorithmic prisons.

Some can no longer get loans or cash checks. Others are being offered only usurious credit card interest rates. Many have trouble finding employment because of their Internet profiles. Others may have trouble purchasing property, life, and automobile insurance because of algorithmic predictions. Algorithms may select some people for government audits, while leaving others to find themselves undergoing gratuitous and degrading airport screening.

An estimated 500 Americans have their names on no-fly lists. Thousands more are targeted for enhanced screening by the Automated Targeting System algorithm used by the Transportation Security Administration. By using dataincluding “tax identification number, past travel itineraries, property records, physical characteristics, and law enforcement or intelligence information” the algorithm is expected to predict how likely a passenger is to be dangerous.

Algorithms also constrain our lives in virtual space. They determine what products we will be exposed to. They analyze our interests and play an active role in selecting the things we see when we go to a particular website..

Eli Pariser, argues in The Filter Bubble, “You click on a link, which signals your interest in something, which means you are more likely to see articles about that topic” and then “You become trapped in a loop…” The danger being that you emerge with a very distorted view of the world.

If you’re having trouble finding a job as a software engineer, it may be because you got a low score from the Gild, a company that predicts the skill of programmers by evaluating the open source code they have written, the language they use on LinkedIn, and how they answer questions on software social forums Algorithmic prisons are not new.. Even before the Internet, credit reporting and rating agencies were a power in our economy. Fitch’s, Moody’s, and Standard and Poor’s have been rating business credit for decades. Equifax, the oldest credit rating agency, was founded in 1899.

When algorithms get it right (and in general they do a pretty good job), they provide extremely valuable services to the economy. They make our lives safer. They make it easier to find the products and services we want. Amazon constantly alerts me to books it correctly predicts I will want to read. They increase the efficiency of businesses.

But when algorithms get it wrong, real suffering follows.

Read More: NextGov

How GM food is finding its way into your diet

Milking parlour, UK. Photo: sarahluv via
How GM food is finding its way into your diet
Feb 22, 2014 | The Ecologist | Andrew Wasley

Genetically modified food is flooding into the UK through the back door. Few consumers know that the meat and dairy products they eat may have been made from animals fed a diet containing GM crops.

Campaigners are so alarmed at the influx of GM animal feeds into the UK that they are now calling for a mandatory labelling scheme to force manufacturers and retailers to identify products made from livestock fed on a GM diet.

Cash-strapped British farmers also face an unpleasant ultimatum in 2014 - accept GM or go organic - as conventional non-GM animal feed becomes less and less available at affordable prices.

EU imports 30 million tonnes a year of GM feed

Unknown to many, about 30 million tonnes of GM animal feed is thought to be imported into Europe each year to feed pigs, poultry, dairy and beef cattle, as well as farmed fish.

The UK imports an estimated 140,000 tonnes of GM soya and as much as 300,000 tonnes of GM maize annually for use as animal feed.

Much of the soya and maize used is grown in South America, including Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, where cultivation has been linked to serious environmental and human rights abuses.

The labelling loophole

In the UK, foods containing GM material for human consumption are currently required by law to be labelled. However, human foods derived from GM fed animals - meat, fish, milk and dairy products - do not need to be labelled.

This represents a worrying loophole which means consumers could inadvertently be eating be GM products.

Peter Melchett from the Soil Association told me that "labelling of all products from animals fed on GM should be legally required throughout the EU. Supermarkets in many European countries are now starting to label products from animals fed on GM."

Supermarkets 'betraying customers'

"It is a scandal that UK supermarkets refuse to give this information to their customers, and instead deliberately keep them in the dark, with, at best, information on their websites and confusing answers to people who call their helplines. 

"We know that people want accurate labelling, and at the moment supermarkets are betraying their customers on this issue."

The Soil Association cites a previous Food Standards Agency-published poll which found 67% of the public thought it was important for products made from animals fed GM diets to be labelled.

Europe - the UK is being left behind

In France, retail giant Carrefour in 2010 launched a labelling scheme to inform customers that animals used to produce foodstuffs have not been fed genetically-modified feed.

More than 300 products now come with a 'free from GM feed' label after the supermarket said polls had found that more than 60% of customers would stop buying products if they knew they were made from animals given GM feed.

Similar schemes are being adopted by other major European food retailers.

UK retailers: 'no GM guarantee'

In Britain, tensions over the issue intensified last year following an announcement by four British supermarkets - Tesco, Sainsburys, the Co-op and Marks and Spencer.

In it they said they could no longer guarantee that the feed used in their poultry lines would be non-GM, citing their suppliers' apparently increasing difficulties in sourcing non-GM feed.

Waitrose is perhaps further ahead than other retailers, but it too has been unable to secure GM free feeds for livestock, other than poultry and NZ lamb and UK farmed trout and salmon.

"Along with all other supermarkets, our other conventional livestock will have some GM soy in their feed, but for ruminants it will only be an element, as under Waitrose production standards we always insist that our cattle are grazed on pasture when available. Our pigs will have more soy and cereal in their diets. 

"We're currently working on securing new non GM soy supply routes going forward and researching home grown protein sources to give our farmers a broader range of options for their feed regimes across all livestock, reducing the need for GM soy."

British farmers are also facing an worrying dilemma - accept GM feed or go organic - according to industry sources, who agree that conventional feed is increasingly becoming difficult to source at an economically viable price.

An ample supply, say producers, but where is it?

The availability of non GM feed is disputed. Producers organisations in Brazil maintain there is an ample supply of conventionally grown soya, but that poor infrastructure at ports has held some shipments up.

Yet some major feed supply companies are now only offering their customers GM options, or organic.

"It's a nightmare trying to source non GM feed", one supermarket source admitted. "The reality is that trying to source it on the scale needed [by large retailers] is very difficult. The feed companies own the boats, the mills, they control the supply chain."

GM feed 'forced onto farmers'

One animal feed merchant told me that GM is now effectively being forced onto farmers: "As a farmer you are constantly under pressure, you are busy, you've got to be good at finance, a good production manager, so when someone offers [GM] feed that's cheaper, it's easy to say yes."

"Not having an option is not good. But when you've got an importer saying GM is fine and that he's not going to bring in [non GM] a farmer is not likely to go out and source his own."

The merchant said that not all farmers were aware about GM ingredients, and admitted some were not concerned anyway. He said some believed they were the victims of double standards:

" 'Why can we import GM from the USA or wherever, but are not allowed to grow it here', they say."

Non-GM feed prohibitively expensive

A Welsh organic dairy farmer I interviewed agreed opinions are split: "I've got farming neighbours who are conventional; some are accepting GM with open arms, some don't want it. One milk supplier is not happy at all about GM feed", he says.

Michael Hart, a beef and lamb farmer from Cornwall, and the founder of the Small and Family Farms Alliance, said that he believes there is still demand for non GM feed but that it is becoming prohibitively expensive:

"My local feed merchant says he can get organic, but for conventional non GM he'll demand more money."

GM concerns have not gone away

Hart, a prominent anti-GM campaigner, says that since the BSE crisis farmers have become more sceptical about science and about what they are told, and that many have concerns about GM:

"Since 1996 farmers are more market aware and [more aware] of public opinion towards what we do. Is this GM stuff safe to feed my cows? Why do the public say they don't want it? Trust of science, trust of big business has gone."

With the Horsegate scandal still fresh in the public memory, consumers will be rightly worried about this latest attempt to allow GM food to slip in unannounced and without permission - particularly as major questions remain over its safety, for  both for farm animals and people.

GMO Action petition: Stop GMOs polluting our meat, milk, eggs and fish

Andrew Wasley's book, The Ecologist Guide to Food, is out now, published by Leaping Hare.

This article was originally published at Huffington Post.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Whistleblower Fired After Warning Of Danger At Hanford Nuclear Site

Whistleblower Fired After Warning Of Danger At Hanford Nuclear Site
Feb 19, 2014 | Story Leak | Mikael Thalen

A nuclear engineer who has continually warned of major safety issues at Washington state’s Hanford nuclear cleanup site was fired Tuesday after executives accused her of “unprofessional conduct.”

Image: Hanford Sign (Wikimedia Commons).
Donna Busche, the site’s environmental and nuclear safety manager, is now the third high-level employee to be removed after exposing Hanford’s growing danger.

The site, built in the 1940s as part of the Manhattan Project, is the most polluted nuclear waste site in the United States. Cleanup operations are currently being led by California-based URS Corp, who vehemently denies Busche was fired for her remarks.

“URS gave me no reason for my termination other than ‘unprofessional conduct.’ They gave me no documentation. They gave me no explanation,” Busche told CBS News.

According to Busche, URS has attempted to bypass thousands of the plant’s safety features with dangerous design tools, even barring her and her staff from conducting safety reviews.

“The Energy Department’s overall safety culture is broken and all they are doing now is sitting idly by,” Busche said.

Busche went as far as filing a federal lawsuit last year, claiming she had been punished for sounding the alarm and even predicting URS would soon fire her.

“I am a little numb,” Busche said. “I am going to take a deep breath because it has been a long five years with what I have gone through at the waste treatment plant.”

Not only has URS denied firing Busche for blowing the whistle, the company has remained mostly quiet on the countless safety issues brought up by multiple employees as well.

“Ms. Busche’s allegations will not withstand scrutiny, and URS looks forward to demonstrating through the legal process that the company and its managers acted appropriately and in full compliance with the law in their dealings with Ms. Busche,” URS spokesman Sard Verbinnen said.

Busche joins others such as Walter Tamosaitis, the former head of research who was fired by URS shortly after his concerns prompted a federal investigation last year.

Despite reassurances from URS, the site continues to make intentional news every few months as the situation becomes noticeably worse. Just last year, workers discovered six leaking storage tanks producing 1,600 times higher than normal radiation readings.

While no definitive connection has been made, some Washington residents speculate that Hanford is linked to the alarming rise in bizarre birth defects in neighboring counties.

The complete disregard for safety by the government and corporations at a location with the deadliest radioactive isotopes known to man exemplifies the current mentality by the power structure.

Unsurprisingly, the federal government’s response to the ongoing situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is eerily similar. Despite scientists confirming the presence of cesium-137 in kelp off the coast of San Diego, the federal government continues to downplay any possible danger.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Smart Meters Allow the Government, Corporations and Hackers to Spy On You

Smart Meters Allow the Government, Corporations and Hackers to Spy On You
Feb 19, 2014 | Washington's Blog

Smart Meters: A Little Too Smart

Smart meters allow the government, corporations and hackers to spy on you.

Postscript: As security expert Bruce Schneier points out, the entire concept of the “Internet of Things” – where every device, from your refrigerator to your tv – is connected to the Internet is wildly insecure and vulnerable to hacking

Hydraulic Fracking and the Florida Legislature. The Environmental Implications

Hydraulic Fracking and the Florida Legislature. The Environmental Implications
Feb 20, 2014 | Desmogblog | Steve Horn

The American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) model bill for disclosure of chemicals injected into the ground during the controversial hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) process is back for a sequel in the Sunshine State legislature.

ALEC’s model bill was proposed by ExxonMobil at its December 2011 meeting and is modeled after a bill that passed in Texas’ legislature in spring 2011, as revealed in an April 2012 New York Times investigative piece. ALEC critics refer to the pro-business organization as a “corporate bill mill” lending corporate lobbyists a “voice and a vote” on model legislation often becoming state law.

The bill currently up for debate at the subcommittee level in the Florida House of Representatives was originally proposed a year ago (as HB 743) in February 2013 and passed in a 92-19 vote, but never received a Senate vote. This time around the block (like last time except for the bill number), Florida’s proposed legislation is titled the Fracturing Chemical Usage Disclosure Act (HB 71), introduced by Republican Rep. Ray Rodrigues. It is attached to a key companion bill: Public Records/Fracturing Chemical Usage Disclosure Act (HB 157).

HB 71 passed on a party-line 8-4 vote in the Florida House’s Agriculture and Environment Subcommittee on January 14, as did HB 157. The next hurdle the bills have to clear: HB 71 awaits a hearing in the Agriculture and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee and HB 157 awaits one in the Government Operations Subcommittee.

Taken together, the two bills are clones of ALEC’s ExxonMobil-endorsed Disclosure of Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid Composition Act. That model — like HB 71 — creates a centralized database for fracking chemical fluid disclosure. There’s a kicker, though. Actually, two.

First kicker: the industry-created and industry-owned disclosure database itself — FracFocus — has been deemed a failure by multiple legislators and by an April 2013 Harvard University Law School studySecond kicker: ALEC’s model bill, like HB 157, has a trade secrets exemption for chemicals deemed proprietary.  

Read more..

Thursday, February 20, 2014

S0 News February 20, 2014: Solar Storms, Severe Weather

S0 News February 20, 2014: Solar Storms, Severe Weather
Feb 20, 2014 | Suspicious0bservers

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