Friday, October 31, 2014

History Secrets: The Prussian Connection to American Schooling (Part 4), by John Taylor Gatto

School Sucks Podcast | Oct 30, 2014

Where did the American school system come from? And what are its true purposes?

These are excerpts from John Taylor Gatto's book, The Underground History of American Education
Chapter Seven: The Prussian Connection,
Section 93: "The Technology of Subjection" and
Section 94: "The German/American Reichsbank"

Get the book:

The Ultimate History Lesson: A Weekend With John Taylor Gatto (Documentary)


History Secrets: The Prussian Connection to American Schooling (Part 3), by John Taylor Gatto

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Devastating BP oil spill left Rhode Island-sized oily ring on seafloor

A drilling platform near the Transocean Discoverer
Enterprise drillship burns off gas collected at the
BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill on June 25, 2010 in
the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana.
(Chris Graythen / Getty Images / AFP)
RT | Oct 28, 2014

The 2010 BP oil spill that resulted in 172 million gallons of oil in the Gulf of Mexico has, four years later, left an oily “bathtub ring” about the size of Rhode Island on the sea floor surrounding the site of the Macondo well, according to new research.

About 10 million gallons of oil has collected on the sea floor near the former site of the Deepwater Horizon rig and BP-operated Macondo well, where the oil spewed from April 20 to July 15 in 2010, according to a study by David Valentine, a University of California Santa Barbara geochemist, and co-author Christopher Reddy, a marine chemist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.

The study, published Monday in ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,’ found that the oil spill has left several splotches in the Macondo well area, some with more oil residue than the 1,200-square-mile “bathtub ring.”

Valentine said though there are no chemical signature tests given the oil has since degraded, the source of the oil is obvious.

"There's this sort of ring where you see around the Macondo well where the concentrations are elevated," Valentine said, according to AP.

He added that oil levels found inside the ring were as much as 10,000 times higher than outside the ring. A chemical ingredient of oil was found on the sea floor, from two-thirds of a mile to a mile below the water’s surface.

BP questioned the study’s findings, especially since the oil can no longer be tested given its degraded state.

Waves carry in blobs of oil as it washes ashore from
the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico
on June 26, 2010 in Orange Beach, Alabama.
(Joe Raedle / Getty Images / AFP)
In an email to AP, spokesman Jason Ryan said, "the authors failed to identify the source of the oil, leading them to grossly overstate the amount of residual Macondo oil on the sea floor and the geographic area in which it is found."

Though such chemical analysis is impossible at this point, study authors Valentine and Reddy said other evidence point to the Deepwater Horizon disaster: the depth of the oil, the area it encompasses, and the distance from the Macondo well.

The study was praised by marine scientists Ed Overton, of Louisiana State University, and Ian MacDonald, of Florida State University, neither of whom were involved in its conclusions, according to AP.

Though the spill is more than four years old, scientists are still measuring - and debating - the total ecological impact of the BP spill. For now, Reddy said they believed their findings validated earlier research that found deep water coral was coated with oil and damaged from the spill.

The Deepwater Horizon explosion killed 11 people and polluted Gulf waters that wash onto the shores of five US states as oil gushed from the drilling rig for nearly three months before the flow was brought to a halt.
In all, prosecutors said over 4 million barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf, making it the largest accident of its kind in petroleum industry history. Around 16,000 miles of coastline were affected and, according to the National Park Service, over 8,000 animals died as a result.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal
(Win McNamee / Getty Images / AFP)
In early September, a federal judge ruled that BP had acted with gross negligence before the spill, indicating that the corporation may have to pay billions of dollars in fines.

US District Court Judge Carl Barbier also wrote in his ruling that two other oil companies — Transocean and Halliburton — acted negligent as well, but failed to find them as responsible as BP with regards to the spill. Transocean owned the Deepwater Horizon rig, but drilling rights were leased to BP; Halliburton was in charge of the “cementing” process on the doomed drilling site.

The three companies, Barbier wrote, are "each liable under general maritime law for the blowout, explosion and oil spill," but the bulk of the blame — specifically 67 percent — will rest on BP. According to Bloomberg News, BP may next face fines as high as $18 billion — the maximum penalty under the Clean Water Act — and has already put aside $3.5 billion to cover those costs.

Despite the ruling, energy companies can count on political allies in states like Louisiana to defend their interests. For instance, in June, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed into law legislation that rescued dozens of oil and gas companies from a lawsuit over long-term damage done to the state’s wetlands.

Experts said the law may very well thwart future claims against energy companies, including those against BP.

In a letter urging Jindal to veto the legislation, Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell wrote that the bill included “very broad and all-encompassing language” and “may have other potential serious unintended consequences."

“No one can currently quantify or identify all of the causes of action which will be swept away if this bill becomes law,” the letter warned

“In the coming years perhaps the proponents of the bill can tailor legislation more narrowly drawn which does not portend such a broad and vague attack on the abilities of the State, and most importantly, local governmental entities to protect their citizens.”

Learn more:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Britain's nuclear WMD programme: Leaked Sellafield photos reveal 'massive radioactive release' threat

The B30 pond showing a full loading
with fuel rods. Photo: unknown.
The Ecologist | Oct 27, 2014 | Oliver Tickell
"...if the ponds drain, the Magnox fuel will ignite and that would lead to a massive release of radioactive material."
The Ecologist has received a shocking set of leaked images showing decrepit and grossly inadequate storage facilities for high level nuclear waste at the Sellafield nuclear plant.

The images (right), from an anonymous source, show the state of spent nuclear fuel storage ponds that were commissioned in 1952, and used until the mid-1970's as short term storage for spent fuel until it could be re-processed, producing plutonium for military use. However they were completely abandoned in the mid-1970s and have been left derelict for almost 40 years.

The photographs show cracked concrete tanks holding water contaminated with high levels of radiation, seagulls bathing on the water, broken equipment, a dangerous mess of discarded items on elevated walkways, and weeds growing around the tanks.

Read more..

Monday, October 27, 2014

At least one California town is now bone dry as megadrought continues

© Unknown
SOTT | Oct 26, 2014 | Cliff Weathers

A poor, rural community in Calfornia's agricultural belt has run out of water.

At least one California town has gone dry, and many are expected to follow soon. East Porterville, in Tulare County is now without water, as the wells that feed it have dried up. Residents, according to Yahoo! News, now have to drive to the local fire station to get water to drink, bathe, and flush the toilet. And ironically, the town is near what was once the largest freshwater lake in California.

Tulare County, which relies heavily on the agricultural industry, is parched. The some 500 wells that feed its residents and farmers have gone dry. And the county says that it may be years and cost $20 million before a new groundwater management program, which includes a hookup between East Porterville and Porterville's water systems, goes into effect.

The county is named for Tulare Lake, which was once the largest freshwater lake west of the Great Lakes. It was drained for regional agricultural purposes, begining in the early 20th Century. The lake basin is now some of the most fertile soil in the Central Valley, the most productive agricultural region of the United States. Although dry for the most part, the lake occasionally reappears after unusually high levels of rainfall or snow melt, the last time being 1997.

Earlier this month, a 5,000-gallon-water tank, donated by the county's Sheriff's Association was delivered to East Porterville, and that is primary source of water for this low-income community. Residents now drive to the fire department with empty water jugs and pump water from the tanks to take home. The county has also been supplying free bottled water, paid for by the state, to residents for drinking and cooking.

However, there are worries within the community that the county might use the bottled-water handout to identify undocumented residents or condemn homes that are in disrepair. Non-profit groups and churches have also been trying to help supply water to East Porterville residents.

"It's a disaster," says Andrew Lockman, manager of the Tulare County Office of Emergency Services. "It's not a tornado, it's not a hurricane, it's a quiet disaster."

California is beginning of the fourth year of the megadrought (new water year begin in October), with 2014 being the worst period. For the most part, much lower precipitation rates during the winter months have fueled the drought. Snowpacks have been meager and reservoir levels are at historical lows. Warmer and dryer summers have only exacerbated the problem. Climate forecasters are predicting that megadroughts such as this one are likely the new norm.

Also problematic for California is the state's water distribution system, a vast network of dams, pipelines, and canals that's more than 90 years old and not capable, even under the best of conditions, of providing sufficient water for the state's growing population. NPR News reports that engineers and politicians agree that a substantial infrastructure upgrade is needed regardless of future water forecasts. Gov. Jerry Brown is currently asking voters to pass a bond, totalling $7 billion, to upgrade the state's water network. Included in this would be two new, massive reservoirs and expansion of many others in the state.

Meanwhile, dozens of communities in the state are reporting they're on the verge of running out of water. Some say they'll have no water in as little as 60 days. Many of the communities that are at the crisis point are small, poor and isolated, often relying on one water source, without backups, to provide for their customers.

Currently, 14 communities are on the "critical list," meaning they've informed the state that they've reached a point where they don't believe they will have adequate public water within the next two months. Some of these communities have turned to trucking in water for now while they look for long-term solutions to the drought's ialmpact on their water systems. California's 154 reservoirs are about 50% below their historic average.

The U.S. Drought Monitor, a government-funded weekly map of drought conditions, reports that 82% of the state is experiencing a severe to exceptional drought, with 58% suffering from the harshest of drought conditions. The entire state has been suffering from drought conditions since May, the first time in 15 years.

Source: AlterNet

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Creeping Lava: Erupting Kilauea volcano triggers evacuation fears in Hawaii

RT | Oct 26, 2014

Hawaii authorities on Saturday told several dozen residents near an active lava flow to prepare for a possible evacuation in the next three to five days as molten rock oozed across a country road and edged closer to homes. The flow is currently about 160 to 230 feet (50 to 70 metres) wide and moving northeast at about nine metres per hour. Kilauea volcano on the Big Island has been erupting continuously since 1983.

Video courtesy: County of Hawaii

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Earth's 10 Most Mysterious Lost Worlds

Hybrid Librarian | Oct 25, 2014

Impossible "Neutron Star" Shatters Theory | Space News

Thunderbolts Project | Oct 25, 2014

What is a neutron star? Astronomers tell us that these tiny yet massively dense objects form by gravitational collapse from the remnants of a massive star that has exploded. The theoretical neutron star was invented to try to explain highly intense bursts of energy from tiny regions of space. However, no one has ever seen a neutron star. Rather, scientists infer the objects existence when interpreting energetic emissions in deep space. Does a better explanation exist in the domains of plasma cosmology and the Electric Universe?

Source story:

Previous Space News on yet another "impossible" neutron star:

Friday, October 24, 2014

US hyping up Ebola to extract oil from West Africa

© Press TV
Press TV | Oct 24, 2014

The #US is using the #Ebola outbreak as a smokescreen to go on with its plans for extracting natural #gas and #oil from #West #Africa, an investigative journalist says.

The Ebola “hype is to distract everyone from what is actually happening” in West Africa, Susanne Posel, chief editor of Occupy Corporatism, told Press TV on Thursday.

“What is actually happening in Liberia is they [the US] found out they have natural gas and petrol a hundred years worth or more. They want to extract it and they don’t want anyone to give them any problems,” she noted.

She made the remarks as the Obama administration is deploying thousands of troops to West Africa to help the countries hit by the deadly epidemic control the viral disease.

Posel said that the US mainstream media are hyping up the Ebola epidemic because, “It makes a hell of a lot of sense to completely confuse people while you are sending troops in to secure an area that a petrol company [ExxonMobil] is going to extract natural gas and [oil].”

The 4000-strong US force deploying to Liberia--one of the three epicenters of the Ebola outbreak-- will be joined by hundreds of British troops in a mission that Washington says is aimed at building medical centers and training healthcare workers.

“I’m really concerned about the Liberians because I think this is not exactly what is happening to them,” Posel said.

The International Monetary Fund (#IMF) and the World Bank (#WB) have proposed plans to secure the extraction of natural gas and oil in the Ebola-hit regions.

"There is a country that has natural resources that the IMF, World Bank, the United States and the UK want control over," Posel said, referring to #Liberia.

The recent Ebola outbreak started in late 2013 in Guinea and rapidly spread to two more West African countries, Sierra Leon and Liberia.

With no proven treatment and no vaccine, the Ebola epidemic could affect 5,000 to 10,000 new people per week, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Scientists Prove Organic Food More Nutritionally Rich than Conventional, GMO Crops

© Natural Society
Natural Society | Oct 24, 2014 | Christina Sarich

It’s always interesting when biotech shills spout a bunch of their credentials on posts about GMOs, complaining that there is no scientific proof that genetically modified organisms are bad for our health, bad for the environment, or bad for food sustainability. But here’s something positive. In researching the true nutrition of food that is grown organically (without pesticides and herbicides, as GMOs are), one scientist that is well respected in her field found some revealing evidence showing how non-GMO, organic foods are better for us. Read on to learn more.

Many GMO-advocates are probably aware of the fact that genetically modified crops contain higher levels of pesticide residues than conventional crops. But what about organic vs. GMO when it comes to nutrient content? You can argue with a biotech scientist all day long, and they’ll tell you there is no difference, but they are flat wrong. It’s no straw man – there is real evidence that organic produce is better – in a number of ways.

Read more..

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Richard Wolff interview with RT International on global oil prices

RT | Oct 23, 2014

‘Fracking loophole’ allows drilling companies to use unregulated toxins – report

Reuters / Mario Anzuoni
RT | Oct 23, 2014

A number of US oil companies are taking advantage of the so-called “Halliburton Loophole” to circumvent federal legislature regulating diesel-based fluids in fracking, instead exploiting the environment with even more toxic chemicals, new report says.
“Because of a gap in the Safe Drinking Water Act, companies are allowed to inject other petroleum products (beyond diesel) without a permit, and many of these non-diesel drilling fluids contain even higher concentrations of the same toxins found in diesel,” report by the Environmental Integrity Project released on Wednesday reads.

Titled “Fracking’s Toxic Loophole”, the report says that the 2005 Energy Policy Act authorities the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) to “regulate diesel-based fracking fluids because of the toxicity of BTEX compounds” found in diesel.

However due to the so-called “Halliburton loophole” in the legislature the federal government is not applying the same protection standards to other fracking fluid other than diesel-based.

Overall, the Halliburton Loophole represents a significant reduction in federal oversight of drilling and fracking operations, the report claims.
“This double standard illustrates what happens when Congress manipulates environmental statutes for the benefit of polluters, instead of allowing EPA to make public health decisions based on the best available science,” the report reads.

Looking at the limited data available through FracFocus, Material Safety Data Sheets, and state agency websites the study discovered that at least six fracking fluid additives available on the market contain more benzene than diesel fuel. In addition another at least 21 fluids have much higher concentrations of ethylbenzene than benzene. Chemicals on the market also have high levels of xylene and toluene, which can lead to increased health risks.

Citing FracFocus data, the study points out that at least 153 wells in 11 states were fracked with fluids “containing ethylbenzene between January 2011 and September 2014.” Of those, 77 wells were found in Oklahoma, 23 in North Dakota, followed by Texas with 20 wells. The report says that it is not clear how often these toxic petroleum products are being used.

Reuters / Jonathan Ernst
The documented cases include the injection of a mix of crude oil, butane, and other fluids with up to 48,000 gallons of 4.1 percent benzene into a well in Dimmit County, Texas by BlackBrush O&G, LLC. While Discovery Operating Services, reported using nearly 1,000 gallons of benzene in eleven wells in Midland and Upland Counties in Texas.
“Benzene is known to increase cancer risk, and the Safe Drinking Water Act Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) is designed to limit exposure to no more than five parts per billion. However, thanks to the Halliburton loophole, the Safe Drinking Act regulates diesel-based fluids but no other petroleum products with much higher benzene concentrations,” the report reads.

The study also cites a case in Oklahoma where Citation Oil and Gas Corporation of Texas injected mix containing up to 4,538 gallons of ethylbenzene, “equivalent to the amount found in nearly half a million gallons of diesel fuels.”
“Ethylbenzene is classified as a probable carcinogen, and cancer risk is considered significant when concentrations exceed the Maximum Contaminant Level of 0.7 parts per million in drinking water,” the report says.

Eric Schaeffer Executive Director of the Environmental Integrity Project and former Director of Civil Enforcement at EPA says that the loophole must be repealed.
“To protect public health, Congress should repeal the Halliburton Loophole and EPA should broaden the categories of fracking fluids that require Safe Drinking Water Act permits,” said Schaeffer. 

“Without these reforms, we are perpetuating a loophole that allows the unregulated injection of unlimited quantities of highly toxic pollutants into the ground.”

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Yucca Mountain Radioactive Waste Dump Not Dead Yet

CounterPunch | Oct 22, 2014 | John LaForge

Zombie Alert

Just in time for Halloween, a real zombie.

Although the Obama Administration cancelled the Yucca Mountain project for disposing high-level radioactive waste (uranium fuel rods) in 2009, the scheme stays amazingly undead.

Last Thursday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued the third in a series of reports in which it declared that the deep, engineered cavern inside the mountain — 90 miles from Las Vegas, Nevada — meet the commission’s ever-changing (Eric Pianin, “Rules changed for Nevada nuclear waste site plan,” Wash. Post, Dec. 12, 2001) requirements.

Still pending are two more reports and a final NRC ruling on the site’s suitability. Actual operation of the dump also requires approval from the Environmental Protection Agency and the departments of Transportation and Energy (DOE). Of course, lawsuits by the State of Nevada and dozens of environmental groups would follow a decision to start burying waste.

In spite of 70 years of head scratching, science and industry have not found a cheap way to “dispose” of high-level radioactive waste. In 2008, the plan was estimated to cost at least $90 billion.

The DOE’s 1999 draft environmental impact statement for Yucca, says that leaving the wastes at 72 US reactor sites in 39 states is just as safe as moving it thousands of miles toward Yucca Mt. — as long as it is repackaged every 100 years. There is no need to rush the opening a dumpsite, except that reactor operators want to free-up storage space for freshly produced waste so they can keep running old reactors.

Yucca Mt. Project Cancelled for Hundreds of Reasons

While Republicans from nuclear-heavy states are pushing to revive the Yucca project and hoping for a November take-over of the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., broadcasts the science-based disqualifiers that prove Yucca unsuitable. Among them are fast flowing water inside the mountain, earthquake faults, lava flows, and the risk of exploding waste canisters — like the one that burst and wrecked the Energy Department’s Waste Isolation Pilot Project in New Mexico last February. Joonhong Ahn, an engineering professor at the U. of Calif., Berkeley, said in an e-mail to, “… there are still numerous hurdles ahead.”

Indeed, the Government Accounting Office concluded in 2001 that 293 unresolved scientific and engineering problems hinder the plan. (“GAO Challenges Plans for Storage of Nuclear Waste,” Wash. Post, Nov. 30, 2001) Responding to the new report, Nevada state officials made the same point. “The NRC licensing board has admitted more than 200 Nevada contentions challenging the safety and environmental impacts of the proposed repository, and Nevada is prepared to aggressively prosecute these challenges. It is not apparent that the [NRC report] specifically addressed these and other safety contentions,” said Bob Halstead, Executive Director of Nevada’s Agency for Nuclear Projects, in a prepared statement.

“For the NRC staff to publically release just this one volume of the 5-volume Safety Evaluation Report outside the proper context of an ongoing licensing proceeding, and in the absence of a complete SER, is unprecedented,” Halsted said. “It creates a false impression that the safety review has been completed. It is difficult to see what reason there could be for such a release except to provide political support and encouragement for Yucca Mountain supporters in Congress and elsewhere.”

This false impression was spectacularly exaggerated by Rep. John Shimkus, R-Mich., who told the New York Times Oct. 17, “[N]uclear waste stored under that mountain … will be safe and secure for at least a million years.”

Nuclear Waste Production is Kept Alive by Yucca Supporters

Yucca Mt. wouldn’t begin to address the country’s vast nuclear waste problem. There already are about 70,000 tons of it stored at reactor sites. This stockpile would fill Yucca to capacity and force the start of a search for Dump No. 2. Waste that must be containerized for a million years is the “animated corpse” that will forever haunt our clean, cheap too-safe-to-meter nuclear power complex.

The Yucca Mt. “mobile Chernobyl” idea — and alternate plans for regional “interim” dumps — also explodes the risks of radiation accidents contaminating waste handlers and the people along transport routes. The DOE’s planning maps show the waste passing through 40 states, 40 Indian Reservations and 100 major cities. In January 2008, former state transportation analyst Fred Dilger caused alarm when he told a Hillary Clinton campaign rally that if waste trains go through Las Vegas, “All of the casinos on the west side of Las Vegas Boulevard would be bathed in gamma radiation.”

The shipments, using as-yet-untested waste casks, would expose between 138 and 161 million Americans to the risks of dangerous levels of radiation and to the consequences of inevitable truck, train and barge accidents. Even the project’s Final Environmental Impact Statement predicts between 150 and 250 rail or truck crashes over the plan’s 25-year span — about 10 crashes every year for 25 years.

That’s an undying prospect scary enough for a million Halloweens.

John LaForge writes for PeaceVoice, is co-director of Nukewatch—a nuclear watchdog and environmental justice group—and lives at the Plowshares Land Trust out of Luck, Wisconsin.

“Never heard of so much sickness & death in such a short period” says Fukushima evacuee — Writes about strange diseases in young people, deadly tumors and hemorrhages, pets missing hair, child losing all their fingernails, polydactyl baby — Doctor: My friends are dying of cancer, one after another

ENE News | Oct 21, 2014

Excerpts from message by a Fukushima evacuee, translated by World Network for Saving Children from Radiation, Oct. 15, 2014: Mrs. Junko Honda… was a successful beauty salon owner who ran two salons… She recently [compiled the] unusual symptoms that she had heard about over the past three years… whose veracity she has been able to ascertain.

“I had never heard of so much sickness and death in such a short period of time” -Honda

Babies, Children, Young Adults
Sep ’11: Child… had nosebleeds very often… many others at school who had nose bleeding
Jun ’12: Child had headaches and nausea since the accident
Apr ’13: Friend of an evacuee gave birth to a polydactyl child [birth defect, extra fingers/toes]
Jul ’13: Younger friend of an evacuee… got ill with cancer
Mar ’14: Relative [in] middle school… got ill with rheumatism [and] medicine doesn’t work

Lymph, Thymus, Thyroid Gland Problems
Apr ’11: I felt strange feeling in my lymph nodes… salon staff also felt the same
Sep ’11: My friend’s father died with a tumor in the lymph glands
Sep ’11: Gynecologist mentioned there was an increase of lymph tumors
Jan ’13: Child of an evacuee [had] unsubsidized thyroid exam… thymus gland was swollen
Jan ’13: Several children… from Fukushima [also diagnosed with swollen] thymus gland
Sep ’13: Child of an evacuee had an unsubsidized thyroid examination… they found many cysts
Oct ’13: Friend, an evacuee age 35, developed thyroid cancer
Mar ’14: Friend of an evacuee, in her 30s, had thyroid surgery

Unusual Skin, Hair, Nail Problems
Apr ’11: Hair of our pets [dog & cat] become uneven because of hair loss to an unusual degree
Apr ’11: Reddish eczema on my daughter’s face [which] stayed until we evacuated
Sep ’11: Hairdresser friend and her sister have suffered dermatologic eczema since the accident
Jun ’12: [Child's mother] experienced hair loss and… had sparser hair
Jun ’12: All the fingernails of a child evacuee from Sugakawa fell off after the accident

Adults Under Retirement Age
Sep ’11: Customer in her 40s got ill with a disease that cannot renew blood
Sep ’11: Woman in her 30s died from cardiac arrest
Aug ’12: My relative died suddenly of subarachnoid hemorrhage… in his 30s
Dec ’12: Resident in his 30s developed a tumor
Dec ’12: Resident in her 40s developed a tumor and died
Jan ’13: Doctor [said] his friends have been dying with cancer one after another
Mar ’13: Man in his 30s died suddenly
Mar ’13: 5 customers… had funerals of close family in very short period… 3 were in their 50s
Oct ’13: Male friend who was doing decontamination work died suddenly

See Video: ‘Hell of Fukushima in the immediate vicinity of the children’ (only in Japanese)

Chemical contamination in environment, including pharmaceuticals, are 'growing at exponential rate'

© Natural News
Natural News | Oct 21, 2014 | Julie Wilson

The "innovative" and "challenging new compounds" created each day by commerce are threatening the planet in which we live, scientists say. More and more traces of pharmaceuticals are being discovered in our lakes, rivers and soil daily, and their effects are pretty much completely unknown.

For once, a lack of regulation on the government's part is largely to blame. The "environmental spread of pharmaceuticals" is totally ignored by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), allowing these man-made pills to end up everywhere, including our drinking water.

The Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, which hasn't been updated since its creation, excludes drugs and pesticides. Under the law, the EPA is required to maintain a registry of industrial compounds that may be potentially toxic, but advanced safety testing of those materials is not required, according to a report by The New York Times.

"Congress has not sent an environmental law to the president's desk in 18 years"

Only a fraction of the estimated 84,000 compounds registered have been tested for their safety on humans, prompting scientists and environmental groups to call for serious revisions, in which the risk assessments of suspect compounds are performed.

"Our chemical safety net is more hole than net," said Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group. "Where does that leave us in terms of scientific understanding of what drugs to regulate?"

Anne Womack Kolton, vice president for communications at the American Chemistry Council, which represents chemical manufacturers said, "Think about the world 40 years ago. It was a vastly different place. It's common sense to revise the law and make it consistent with what we know about chemicals today."

The American Chemical Society maintains a database of chemical substance information containing more than 89 million organic and inorganic substances and 65 million sequences dating back to 1957. An estimated 15,000 new substances are added each day, many of which are poorly understood, scientists say.

In an essay published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, Dr. Jerald L. Schnoor, a University of Iowa professor of civil and environmental engineering, wrote about the way older compounds are altered in the environment. Some substances become even more toxic after they are broken down by plants or animals.

Chemical contamination in the environment is growing at an exponential rate, scientists say

For example, polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs (which are banned in the U.S. but keep showing up in the environment), are broken down into even more "toxic metabolites," reported the Times.

Another example is chlorpyrifos, a highly toxic organophosphate insecticide that when ingested by animals become 3,000 times more potent, according to Beyond Pesticides [PDF].

Minnesota Zumbro River laced with traces of prescription pills

While investigating the chemistry of the Minnesota Zumbro River, environmental health scientists were surprised at the "sheer range and variety" of prescription drugs they found. Relatively high levels of acetaminophen, an over-the-counter painkiller that causes liver damage in humans, the antibiotic anti-convulsive carbamazepine, caffeine and pesticides were among the contaminates found.

"We don't know what these background levels mean in terms of environmental or public health," said Deborah Swackhamer, the investigation's lead scientist.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) tracks chemicals in waterways, sediments, landfills and municipal sewage sludge, which are often converted to fertilizer. Steroid hormones and triclosan (an antibacterial agent banned in Minnesota) were found in sewage.

The antidepressant Prozac has shown up in fish, causing them to be anxious, anti-social and even homicidal, reported the Scientific American.

"We're looking at an increasingly diverse array of organic and inorganic chemicals that may have ecosystem health effects," said Edward Furlong, a USGS chemist. "Many of them are understudied and unrecognized."


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

14 California communities now on verge of waterless-ness; mass migration out of California seems imminent

© Natural News
Natural News | Oct 20, 2014 | Jonathan Benson

Unless California gets some heavy rain, and soon, the state's roughly 38 million residents will eventually be up a creek without a paddle -- or without a creek, for that matter. The latest media reports indicate that some 14 communities throughout the state are now on the verge of running completely dry, and many more could join them in the coming year if conditions remain as they are.

A few months ago, the official count was 28 communities bordering on complete waterless-ness, according to the Water Resources Control Board. Those that have since dropped off the list were able to come up with a fix, at least for now. The other 14, though, face an unprecedented resource collapse that could leave thousands of Californians with no other choice but to pack their bags and head to greener pastures.

"It's a sign of how severe this drought is," verbalized Bruce Burton, an assistant deputy director for the board, to the Los Angeles Times about some of the drastic measures being taken. For the first time ever, the water board has begun tracking communities throughout the state that are bordering on complete water loss, a situation that has never before occurred.

Most of the communities on the brink are located in California's Central Valley, the "food basket" of America that The New York Times (NYT) once declared to be the nation's greatest food resource. Most of America's carrots are grown there, as are the bulk of salad greens, almonds and citrus fruits that we all take for granted -- but that could soon disappear due to the continued drought.

'Larger, more sophisticated communities' face total water depletion

In some stricken areas, water facilities have been able to secure temporary supplies from neighboring communities as they figure out longer-term solutions. In Siskiyou County near the Oregon border, the city of Montague was actually able to construct a brand-new irrigation ditch to transport water from a lake 25 miles away, replacing an old ditch that had run dry back in April.

While most of the communities facing total water depletion are relatively small in size, with only a few thousand residents each, the prospect of larger communities also becoming affected is increasingly likely. Tom Quinn, the executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies, says that, if the drought continues, many of the more iconic regions of California will suffer.

"If this drought keeps on going, some larger, more sophisticated communities are going to be in trouble next year," he told the LA Times.

Mountains shifting due to water losses 

It isn't just that no new water is coming into California -- underground aquifers and other former backup sources are also running dry. According to research published in the journal Science, the entire Western United states has lost an astounding 240 gigatons of water since 2013, an amount equivalent to 1 billion tons.

In spatial terms, this amount of water could be spread out across the entire Western U.S. in a solid 10-centimeter sheet, constituting about 63 trillion gallons, or enough to fill 75,000 football stadiums. This loss has not only altered the gravitational field of California, according to the study, but also caused mountains throughout the state to rise up out of the ground in some areas.

"100 percent of the state is in drought, with 82 percent of the land designated as in 'extreme' or 'exceptional' drought, the highest levels on the U.S. Drought Monitor scale," explains the National Journal. "Thirty-seven million people are affected by the drought."

Secret Food: Monsanto Spends Millions in Bid to Defeat Local GMO Labeling Initiative

A sign at a 2013 rally in Connecticut.
(photo: CT Senate Democrats/flickr /cc)
Common Dreams | Oct 17, 2014 | Sarah Lazare

This is not the first time the biotech giant has funneled millions into efforts to defeat labeling laws

Monsanto, the largest genetically-modified seed corporation in the world, has so far spent over $4 million in a bid to crush an Oregon initiative, up for vote in November, to mandate the labeling of genetically engineered food.

Records from the Oregon Secretary of State's office show that the company, on October 8, made a contribution of $2.5 million to opponents of the bill, bringing the company's total contributions to $4,085,150.

The initiative—ballot measure 92—would require manufacturers and retailers to label "genetically engineered raw and packaged food." Backers of the provision say that Oregonians "have the right to know" what is in their food.

This is not the first time Monsanto has poured its funds into efforts to crush such measures. Earlier this month, it was revealed that the company has spent $4.7 million to defeat a similar initiative in Colorado, also up for vote in November.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Once a Sea - now it's the Aral Desert

What was once the Aral Sea at Muinak,
Qoraqalpoghiston, Uzbekistan.
Photo: so11e via Flickr.
The Ecologist | Oct 16, 2014 | Anson Mackay

The Aral Sea is a well known environmental disaster zone. But this year, it got a whole worse, writes Anson Mackay, as its biggest basin dried up completely to expose a toxic, salty wasteland. With continuing irrigation and declining river flows due to climate change, the desert is only set to expand

The Aral Sea has reached a new low, literally and figuratively. New satellite images from NASA show that, for the first time in its recorded history, its largest basin has completely dried up.

However, the Aral Sea has an interesting history - and as recently as 600-700 years ago it was as small, if not smaller, than today.

The Aral recovered from that setback to become the world's fourth largest lake, but things might not be so easy this time round.

Today, more people than ever rely on irrigation from rivers that should instead flow into the sea, and the impact of irrigation is compounded by another new factor: climate change.

Really a lake - but now, a wasteland

Sandwiched between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, the Aral Sea is actually a lake, albeit a salty, 'terminal' one. It is salty because evaporation of water from the lake surface is greater than the amount of water being replenishing through rivers flowing in.

It is terminal because there is no outflowing river. This makes the Aral Sea very sensitive to variations in its water balance caused either by climate or by humans.

Indeed, the sea has long been a cause celebre in the world of environmental catastrophes, an exemplar of the devastating harm that ill thought-out economic policies can have on the environment.

Intensive irrigation of cotton plantations in the deserts of the western Soviet Union prevented water reaching the Aral Sea, leading to the drastically low levels we see today. This in turn meant the highly-salty waters killed off many plants and animals.

During early Soviet Union times, the Aral Sea and its fringing wetlands were a significant resource for the fishing industries, agriculture, animal husbandry and fur trapping.

Six decades of profligate cotton irrigation

But in the 1950s, the extent of irrigated land used for 'white gold' (cotton) increased dramatically from 4 billion to 8 billion hectares, with Uzbekistan becoming one of the world's largest cotton producers. To feed cotton's insatiable demand for water, the Karakum Canal was built out of the desert sands and because it was unlined, water losses were extremely high.

During the late 1960s, the amount of water evaporating from the Aral Sea become greater than the amount of water entering the lake, so lake levels declined dramatically in the 1970s and 1980s. More than 75% of the surface area and more than 90% of the lake's volume has been lost.

In 1987-1988, the lake split into two, and the Large and Small Aral Sea basins were created. International efforts have been made to protect the Small Aral Sea through the construction of dams, and this has meant that lake levels here have increased.

The Large Aral Sea continued to shrink and subsequently split itself into two basins; a deeper, smaller west Large Aral and a more shallow, but expansive, east Large Aral. And it is this latter basin which NASA images show had dried out completely this summer.

Toxic, salty dust storms causing disease and death

The environmental impact of the drying Aral has been devastating. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced and hundreds of species have disappeared. Toxic metals and agrochemicals (herbicides, pesticides, insecticides), used to prevent disease and pests from lowering cotton yields, found their way into the sea through its rivers.

But because the Aral is a terminal lake, the pollutants were never washed out, and they instead sunk to the bottom sediments.

Now these bottom sediments are exposed to the air, they are blown up into the atmosphere as toxic, salty dust storms, which can spread for many hundreds of kilometres causing increased deaths and chronic disease, especially the young.

However, lower lake levels have also exposed ancient irrigation systems and mausoleums surrounded by settlements (some remains of which are still under water), built during the late Middle Ages. This means that in certain parts of the Aral, lake levels during 13th-14th century must have been lower.

We still aren't sure exactly what caused such extreme regression, but a cooler, drier climate played a role. The 13th century Mongol invasion of central Asia also led to the Amu Dar'ya, one of two major rivers that feed the Aral, being diverted to the Caspian Sea. Clearly humans were a major factor in the Aral's previous dry spell.

By the late 16th century, the Aral Sea started to fill up again, in part because irrigated channels meant the Amu Dar'ya once more flowed into the lake.

With climate change and continuing irrigation, water flows will cease

A key question that remains today therefore is how much of the lake's current regression is due to intensive irrigation and how much may be due to climate change over the past 50 years. Recent studies suggest only 14% of the shrinking of the Aral Sea since the 1960s was caused by climate change, with irrigation by far the biggest culprit.

Researchers looking at what will happen to Aral Sea levels with global warming over the next few decades have combined several model predictions together and expect net water loss to increase as more evaporation leads to less river inflow.

However, if irrigation of the rivers continues, then net water loss will be even greater as river flow into the Aral Sea will essentially cease.

Climate change may be one of the world's great problems but over-irrigation is at least possible to reverse with the right policy changes. But the two issues together make a disastrous combination.

The future for much of the Aral Sea does not look great.

Anson Mackay is Professor of Environmental Change at University College London. He received funding from INTAS between 2003-2005 to research water level change in the Aral Sea over recent millennia.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

A Simple Truth; Computer Climate Models Cannot Work

Watts Up With That | Oct 16, 2014 | Dr. Tim Ball

Ockham’s Razor says, “Entities are not to be multiplied beyond necessity.” Usually applied in making a decision between two competing possibilities, it suggests the simplest is most likely correct. It can be applied in the debate about climate and the viability of computer climate models. An old joke about economists’ claims they try to predict the tide by measuring one wave. Is that carrying simplification too far? It parallels the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) objective of trying to predict the climate by measuring one variable, CO2. Conversely, people trying to determine what is wrong with the IPCC climate models consider a multitude of factors, when the failure is completely explained by one thing, insufficient data to construct a model.

IPCC computer climate models are the vehicles of deception for the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) claim that human CO2 is causing global warming. They create the results they are designed to produce.

The acronym GIGO, (Garbage In, Garbage Out) reflects that most working around computer models knew the problem. Some suggest that in climate science, it actually stands for Gospel In, Gospel Out. This is an interesting observation, but underscores a serious conundrum. The Gospel Out results are the IPCC predictions, (projections), and they are consistently wrong. This is no surprise to me, because I have spoken out from the start about the inadequacy of the models. I watched modelers take over and dominate climate conferences as keynote presenters. It was modelers who dominated the Climatic Research Unit (CRU), and through them, the IPCC. Society is still enamored of computers, so they attain an aura of accuracy and truth that is unjustified. Pierre Gallois explains,
If you put tomfoolery into a computer, nothing comes out but tomfoolery. But this tomfoolery, having passed through a very expensive machine, is somehow ennobled and no-one dares criticize it.
Read more..

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Data indicates pattern of fewer tornado days in U.S. - but more tornados!

© Matt Coker
Emerging pattern: fewer tornado
days in U.S. - but more tornados!
SOTT | Oct 17, 2014 | Bob Yirka,

A trio of researches with the U.S.'s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has found that though there are fewer total days per year when tornados occur in the U.S., the number that occur on days when there are tornados has increased over the past couple of decades. In their paper published in the journal Science, Harold Brooks, Gregory Carbin and Patrick Marsh describe how they studied weather data over the past half century and what they found when looking for trends.

Tornados happen in many places, but because of its unique geography, the U.S. has more than any other country - mainly due to the lack of a large mountain dividing east and west. There has been speculation recently, that global warming is causing more tornados to occur - though it has also been suggested it only seems that way because of how quickly information about tornadic events disseminates in the modern era. The trio at NOAA decided to let hard facts tell the story. They collected weather data from the national storm database, which goes back to 1954, to see if they could coax out any patterns (they only included tornados at least as strong as an F1).

As it turns out, the trio did find a pattern, they say the data shows very clearly that the U.S. actually has a trend of having fewer days in which there is a tornado over the past two decades - that's the good news. The bad news is that on days when there is a tornado, there are more than there used to be. The data shows that back in the 1970's there were just .6 days a year that had 30 or more tornados - after the turn of the century, that number had risen to 3 days per year. Curiously, the numbers suggest that the country still experiences on average, the same number of tornadoes each year, approximately 1,200 - they're just spread out differently. They also noted that the beginning and end of the tornado "season" in recent years has fluctuated more wildly than the years prior to that.

The researchers cannot say of course why the spread of tornados has changed in the U.S., though some might suggest it's due to global warming or even changes in atmospheric conditions in parts of the country due to pollution or other unknown factors. What is clear, is that something is causing a change, and there is now evidence of it, providing a path for moving forward for better understanding what is really going on.

More information: Science 17 October 2014: Vol. 346 no. 6207 pp. 349-352. DOI: 10.1126/science.1257460
Also read: US study finds tornadoes coming in swarms rather than isolated occurrences and
SOTT Earth Changes Video Summary - September 2014

Dr. Peter Dale Scott on the American War Machine

Dissident Thinker | Mar 26, 2012

We speak to Dr. Peter Dale Scott on his latest book, "American War Machine."

We discuss the politically correct atmosphere in education, CIA drug trafficking, assassination, deep politics and the drug war in Mexico.

You can find Dr. Scott at:

Busted: Popular “Non-GMO” Tortilla Chips Found to Contain 75% GMOs

Natural Society | Oct 18, 2014 | Christina Sarich

© Natural Society
Do you do your best to avoid GMOs in food by reading labels and only buying from trusted brands? Well how would you feel if you found out that a popular brand of tortilla corn chips that you’ve been buying – specifically because their packaging states they are GMO-free – was FULL of GMO corn? Yea, you’ve been eating those tasty little chips like they were going out of style, all while potentially hurting yourself without even knowing it. That is exactly what’s happening with tortilla chip maker Xochitl, a company recently ousted for covertly including GMO ingredients in its chips.

Xochitl has been printing the GMO-Free label on the bottom left on their packages, branding themselves as a label that consumers can trust. However, after conducting a study looking at many products that are supposed to be GMO-free, Consumer Reports, has found this labeling to be less than honest.

Consumer Reports says that Xochitl has been lying about their GMO content – and not just a little bit. We aren’t talking about trace amounts of GMO corn.

The report even found its way into the mainstream media.

Despite the non-GMO claims by Xochitl (pronounced “so-cheel”) and their Totopos de Maiz original corn chips, the Consumer Reports investigation found that the non-organic (supposedly non-GMO) varieties of the chips contain over 75% GMO corn, after testing 6 different packages.

GMO corn was found in each type of chips, even with the ‘all natural’ and ‘No GMO’ claims on the front and backs of packages.

The Xochitl finding raises an important question about the unverified, non-third party claims of companies trying to sell their GMO-containing products. It also makes the suggestions of the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association that we should just trust food manufacturers to ‘voluntarily’ label their GMOS without independent verification and government mandated labeling even more ridiculous.

Report: 92% of Citizens Want GMOs Labeled

The report, which can be read in its entirety here, states that the majority of samples from companies that make unregulated non-GMO claims contained about 0.9% GMO corn or soy on average. Xochitl just happened to grossly overstep that average.

So, even though looking at packaging can help you to minimize GMO consumption (as most non-GMO advocates have been saying for years), it is going to be more and more difficult to find truly non-GMO products unless they are sourced outside of the US. as so many of our crops are contaminated with genetically modified seed.

It is also vital to note that “All Natural” products had comparable levels of GMO corn or soy to their “conventional” counterparts according to Consumer Reports; in other words, the “All Natural” label is virtually meaningless if you want to avoid GMOs.

Though it is understandable that food companies would want to present their products as GMO-free since over 96% of Americans want their food labeled so they can avoid the stuff, producing a product and selling it to national grocery store chains all over the nation with a false ‘NO-GMO’ brand is unconscionable – and illegal. Their website, not just their brand packaging, states this claim.

If we continue to fight against this trend, I do think we can win. After all, several multi-million dollar lawsuits against Coca-Cola - makers of Vitamin Water, and Tropicana - for claiming their products were ‘all natural’ when they were not, have been won.

We are, in fact, the largest GMO-producing country in the world. Over 90% of the soy we grow and 90% of our corn is now genetically modified.

Please, adjust your grocery shopping habits according to this information, and of course let Xochitl know just how you feel about their fraudulent practices on their contact page here - their Facebook page will no longer load.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

NASA satellites sees a question mark in Tropical Storm Ana as it approaches Hawaii

NOAA's GOES-East satellite captured this
image of Tropical Storm Ana approaching Hawaii
in the Central Pacific Ocean on Oct. 17
at 1500 UTC (11 a.m. EDT).
SOTT | Oct 17, 2014 | NASA

NOAA's GOES-West satellite captured an image of Tropical Storm Ana that showed the outer clouds were already reaching the big island by 11 a.m. EDT and the storm resembled a giant question mark.

Tropical Storm Ana was nearing hurricane strength mid-day on Oct. 17 and the Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC) expects the storm to become a hurricane before reaching the big island of Hawaii.

NOAA's GOES-West satellite took an infrared picture of Tropical Storm Ana as it was approaching Hawaii on Oct. 17 at 11 a.m. EDT (5 a.m. HST). Ana looked like a giant question mark in the infrared image, as a large band of thunderstorms wrapped into the center from the eastern side of the storm and extended south of the storm.

Despite the storm looking like a question mark from space, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center said that there is no question the storm has been intensifying.

A Tropical Storm Watch remained in effect for Hawaii County on Oct. 17. A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, in this case within 24 to 36 hours. Interests elsewhere in the main Hawaiian Islands, and in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument Area, should monitor the progress of Ana.

The CPHC expects tropical-storm-force winds to affect the Big Island of Hawaii by tonight, Oct. 17. In addition, heavy rainfall with total rain accumulations between 6 and 8 inches, with isolated totals of 12 inches are possible. Heavy rain could potentially affect the other islands Saturday and Sunday. This rainfall could cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.

In addition to the winds and heavy rainfall, dangerous surf will precede and Ana. CPHC noted that large swells are expected to build over the eastern end of the main Hawaiian island chain today (Oct. 17) through Saturday. These large swells will continue to spread up the island chain through the weekend. Surf produced by these swells could potentially be damaging along exposed south and southeast shorelines beginning later today and Saturday, and persisting through the weekend in some areas.

At 11 a.m. EDT (5 a.m. HST) maximum sustained winds were near 70 mph (110 kph) and Ana is expected to become a hurricane later in the day with gradual weakening expected Saturday and Sunday. The center of tropical storm Ana was located near latitude 15.7 north, longitude 154.2 west. Ana was moving toward the west-northwest near 14 mph (22 kph)

Ana is expected to turn slightly to the northwest and slow over the weekend of Oct. 18 and 19. After a brief stint as a hurricane overnight Oct.17 and early Oct. 18 when it will be west of the Big Island, it is expected to weaken back to a tropical storm and move almost parallel to the Hawaiian Islands while remaining over water, west of the islands. By mid-week next week, around Oct. 18, the CPHC expects Ana to track through the French Frigate Shoals.

The Feds Just Approved a New GMO Corn. Here's Why I'm Not Rejoicing

Mother Jones | Oct 17, 2014 | Tom Philpott

High-tech seeds, old-school
In September, the US Department of Agriculture greenlighted new GMO corn and soybean products engineered to resist two kinds of herbicides, Roundup (glyphosate) and an older, more toxic one called 2,4-D (which was one of two ingredients in the powerful defoliant used in the Vietnam War called Agent Orange). And on Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency approved of a new 2,4-D formulation called Enlist, which has been designed for use on the novel seeds, in six corn/soy-heavy states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. That means starting in spring 2015, farmers in the Midwestern Corn Belt will likely be dousing their crops with 2,4-D as well as Roundup, in an effort to control the plague of weeds that have evolved to resist Roundup.

The authors predict that glyphosate (Roundup)
use will hold steady at high levels—and
use of other herbicides, like 2,4-D, will soar.:

From Mortensen, at al, "Navigating a
Critical Juncture for Sustainable
Weed Management," BioScience, Jan. 2012
So what's the big deal? In this 2012 post, I laid out research by a team led by Pennsylvania State University crop scientist David A. Mortensen (paper abstract  here) on how the new products are at best a temporary solution to the problem of "superweeds"—they lead farmers down a path of ever-increasing reliance on agrichemicals. They argue that chances are "actually quite high" that Dow's new product will unleash a new generation of weeds resistant to both herbicides, because when farmers apply 2,4-D to weeds that are already resistant to Roundup, they'll essentially be selecting for weeds that can resist both. Their projection of how such double resistance will affect herbicide use is at the left—a boon for agrichemical sales, but not so great for the environment.

Comet Will Buzz Mars Sunday: How to See It in Telescopes

Live Science | Oct 17, 2014 | Joe Rao

A comet is on course for a super-close approach to the planet Mars this Sunday (Oct. 19) in a rare celestial encounter. And if you have a moderate-size telescope, you just might be able to spot the icy wanderer as it nears the Red Planet, weather permitting.

The comet in question is Comet Siding Spring, which was discovered on Jan. 3, 2013 by the Scottish-Australian astronomer Robert H. McNaught, a prolific observer of both comets and asteroids. McNaught has discovered 82 previously unseen comets, including a stupendously bright one that briefly became visible to the naked eye in broad daylight in January 2007. 

Read more..