Daily Archives

Medieval Warm Period Rediscovered

The Resilient Earth - A recent article in the journal Science has provided a new, detailed climate record for the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA), also know as the Medieval Warm Period. It was the most recent pre-industrial warm period, noted in Europe and elsewhere around the globe. The researchers present a 947-year-long multi-decadal North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) reconstruction and find a persistent positive NAO during the MCA. The interesting thing is that the MCA had basically been removed from the climate record by Michael Mann’s infamous “hockey stick” history graph that was adopted by the IPCC a decade ago. More interesting, Trouet et al., based their work in part on a tree-ring”“based drought reconstruction for Morocco (1049″“2002) and a millennial-length speleothem-based precipitation proxy for Scotland (900″“1993), a methodology similar to Mann’s work. Unlike Mann, these researchers found significant climate warming during the MCA. According to the report: “The Morocco and Scotland reconstructions contain substantial multi-decadal variability that is characterized by antiphase oscillatory behavior over the last millennium.”Â  Read Article

The Historian – Climate change is nothing new. In fact the last 10,000 years have been the most climatically stable since humans first walked the earth. And yet this time apparently it is all different and nothing to do with the natural forces that have always driven it before….and all the while while we focus on CO2 we ignore the very real and massive pollution and environmental destruction we are inflicting on this eco-system

Yuan trade settlement gets the nod

China Daily – Five major trading cities have got the nod from the central government to use the yuan in overseas trade settlement – seen as one more step in China’s recent moves to expand the use of its currency globally.Shanghai and four cities in the Pearl River Delta – Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Dongguan and Zhuhai – have been designated for the purpose, said a State Council meeting chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao yesterday. The Pearl River Delta boasts the country’s largest cluster of export-oriented manufacturing operations.The move is aimed at reducing the risk from exchange rate fluctuations and giving impetus to declining overseas trade, according to a statement posted on the government website Read Article

The Historian – If Chinese efforts toward making the yuan an international currency continue, the yuan could become fully convertible by the end of the year. Of course, then the dollar’s value will go into freefall, and the timeframe for full convertibility for yuan would be drastically accelerated, therefore further boosting the introduction of new global reserve currency that was announced at the G20

Pentagon prepares for economic warfare

Politico – The Pentagon sponsored a first-of-its-kind war game last month focused not on bullets and bombs “” but on how hostile nations might seek to cripple the U.S. economy, a scenario made all the more real by the global financial crisis. The two-day event near Ft. Meade, Maryland, had all the earmarks of a regular war game. Participants sat along a V-shaped set of desks beneath an enormous wall of video monitors displaying economic data, according to the accounts of three participants. “It felt a little bit like Dr. Strangelove,” one person who was at the previously undisclosed exercise told POLITICO. But instead of military brass plotting America’s defense, it was hedge-fund managers, professors and executives from at least one investment bank, UBS ““ all invited by the Pentagon to play out global scenarios that could shift the balance of power between the world’s leading economies.  Read Article

“˜US behind recent Iraq bomb attacks’

Press TV – An Iraqi lawmaker alleges that ‘the occupiers’ are behind the recent bomb blasts in Iraq basing his claims on the fact that the US has access to Iraq’s security and intelligence files. Maha al-Dori, a member of Sadr fraction in the Iraqi parliament said that “the occupiers are causing disarray in Iraq with aim of at taking control over the country’s affairs.” Al-Dori, who was speaking to al-Alam on Wednesday, also noted that Sadr’s anti-occupation movement has called on Iraqis to hold a demonstration, calling for the occupiers’ – a term referring to American forces — immediate withdrawal from Iraq.  Read Article

U.S. military concedes Afghan civilian casualties

Reuters – The U.S. military has conceded that troops under its command in Afghanistan killed a group of civilians in an operation this week, not militants as earlier reported.Investigations showed the late Wednesday night raid in an area of southeastern Khost had resulted in “killing two males, two females and wounding two females. There are reports of an infant also killed,” the military said in a statement. Read Article

The battle for Turkey’s soul

New Scientist – TURKEY is the Islamic world’s leading secular democracy. It spends a large proportion of its income on scientific research and aims to match that of the European Union by 2013. Turks like science: one of the country’s top-selling magazines is the popular science monthly Bilim ve Teknik (“Science and Technology”), published by the country’s scientific funding agency TÃœBITAK. The best-seller is a science monthly for kids.But Turkey is also a hotbed of creationism. So when a cover feature on Darwin planned for the March issue of Bilim ve Teknik was pulled at the last minute, it caused an uproar. Turkish scientists suspected that pressure from religious politicians had led to censorship. Is Turkey changing course? Does this bode ill for science in the Muslim world? Read Article

Number of UK mumps cases ‘three times higher than last year’ (MMR sales dropping)

Daily Telegraph – Three times as many cases of mumps have been reported so far this year compared to last, with university students hardest hit, official figures show. To the end of February this year there were almost 1,000 confirmed cases in England and Wales, the Health Protection Agency statistics show.Mainly affected are older teenagers and adults in their early twenties who were too old to receive the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine when it was introduced in 1988.  Read Article

The Historian – Ask yourself these questions: a/ Is Mumps a potentially fatal illness in a healthy population? (No) b/ Are profits of big pharma going to be up or down if they sell less MMR vaccines? Now re-read the article with different glasses on.

Barack Obama uses Bush funding tactics to finance wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

Daily Telegraph – President Barack Obama has requested another $83.4 billion (£57 billion) from Congress to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, using a controversial special troop funding provision that he voted against as a senator. Antiwar congressman and activists who played a key role in Mr Obama’s election campaign criticised him for deploying the same “off the books” funding tactic that were introduced by his predecessor George W Bush.Mr Bush was accused of trying to mask the overall cost of the two conflicts ““ which now stands at virtually $1 trillion – by funding them via annual “emergency” supplements rather than through the usual budgetary process. Read Article

Fed says plan now to avert inflation

Reuters – The United States economy will skid more deeply into recession in coming months, Federal Reserve policy-makers warned on Thursday, but it is time to start planning how to wind down spending to avert an inflationary surge.The president of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank, Thomas Hoenig, said that hard as it was to predict when the winding-down process must be initiated, it will happen.”We know it has to happen, but the timing I can’t tell you. Nobody knows. We will watch every indicator of data that suggests a recovery is on the way,” Hoenig said in response to audience questions after a speech in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Failure to do that at the right time means you risk a much higher inflation environment,” he added. Read Article

The Historian – With twelve plus trillion already magiced out of thin air into the US economy alone I fear that particular horse may have bolted well before they attempt to shut the barn door.

Wells Fargo shocks market with record profit

Reuters – Wells Fargo & Co said it expects to post a record $3 billion first-quarter profit, causing its shares to soar 31.7 percent and providing a welcome jolt to the stock market and a still-troubled banking sector.The preliminary results suggest that lenders focused on traditional banking activities may handle the recession better than analysts and investors expect, at a time the government is performing “stress tests” on 19 major banks. Read Article

The Historian, Of course because it is secret you will never find out just how many billions of taxpayer funded “bailouts” they recieved

CIA ‘shuts down’ its secret prisons

BBC – The US has stopped running its global network of secret prisons, CIA director Leon Panetta has announced. “CIA no longer operates detention facilities or black sites,” Mr Panetta said in a letter to staff. Remaining sites would be decommissioned, he said. The “black sites” were used to detain terrorism suspects, some of whom were subjected to interrogation methods described by many as torture.  Read Article

The Historian – This is the same CIA who used to deny the secret prisons even existed or that they tortured their victims. But of course we can trust what they say now as its all different.

Red Cross “˜gravely concerned’ about US detainees who “˜disappeared’

Newsweek – The Red Cross concluded, based on the “consistency” of the accounts of the detainees in separate interviews, that the prisoners had been subjected to what “amounted to torture and/or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.” But the report documents the treatment of only those 14 high-value CIA detainees whom President Bush publicly announced in September 2006 had been transferred to Guantánamo. Because the Bush administration had a preexisting arrangement to permit the Red Cross access to detainees at Guantánamo, the transfer to the U.S. detention facility in Cuba allowed the organization to question those prisoners for the first time. At the time of the transfer, Bush said the CIA interrogation program had provided valuable intelligence in the war on terror and had taken “potential mass murderers off the streets before they have a chance to kill.” Without offering any numbers, he also said that the CIA detention program had involved “only a limited number of terrorists at any given time.” But Bush said the detention program was being ended, adding: “Once we have determined that the terrorists held by the CIA have little or no additional intelligence value, many of them have been returned to their home countries for prosecution or detention by their governments.” In fact, agency officials have confirmed that as many as 100 detainees had gone through the detention program after it was created following the 9/11 attacks. Read Article

Iran set to unveil nuclear latest

BBC – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is expected to announce advances in his country’s nuclear programme in a speech to mark national nuclear day. His address in the city of Isfahan, home to a uranium conversion facility, comes a day after Tehran was invited by six world powers for fresh talks. A top adviser to President Ahmadinejad said on Thursday that the Iranian government was considering the offer. Tehran denies Western claims that it is seeking to build a nuclear bomb. It insists its nuclear programme is for civilian purposes and is purely peaceful.  Read Article

US military blew up pigs to test body armour

Daily Telegraph – American military researchers have blown up live pigs dressed in body armour in an attempt to study the link between roadside bomb blasts and brain injury. Researchers strapped pigs and rats into Humvee simulators and subjected them to about 200 blasts, according to Pentagon documents and interviews obtained by USA Today. The tests were carried out over an 11-month period.  Read Article

Six years on, huge protest marks Baghdad’s fall

Reuters – Tens of thousands of followers of anti-American Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr thronged Baghdad on Thursday to mark the sixth anniversary of the city’s fall to U.S. troops, and to demand they leave immediately.”Down, down USA,” the demonstrators chanted as a Ali al-Marwani, a Sadrist official, denounced the U.S. occupation of Iraq that began with the fall of Baghdad on April 9, 2003, and the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s statue in Firdos Square. Read Article

France may ban illegal downloaders from internet

The Times – Anyone who downloads films and music in France without paying will face up to a year’s ban from the internet under a disputed law that is to be approved by the French parliament today. Hollywood and the music industry are behind President Sarkozy’s “three strikes and you’re out” scheme for curbing the illegal use of entertainment. Paul McGuinness, the manager of the Irish band U2, said that the French law, in which rights holders will trace and turn abusers in to the State, set an example in the fight against piracy. “It is equitable and balanced and will work in practice,” he said. Critics, who include internet and civil liberties groups and some artists, are denouncing it as a breach of freedom that will not work. One internet campaign group called Quadrature du Net said that the law amounted to “imposing a social death sentence”.  Read Article

Women stressed in pregnancy ‘more likely to have children with asthma’

Daily Telegraph – Expectant mothers who felt “very anxious” had a 60 per cent higher chance of having a baby who develops the condition than those who were more relaxed, a study by Bristol University has found. The research adds to growing evidence that stress could be one of the environmental factors that doctors believe can help to trigger asthma in patients genetically predisposed to the condition. More than one million children and four million adults suffer from asthma in Britain.  Read Article

Pollution link with birth weight

BBC – Exposure to traffic pollution could affect the development of babies in the womb, US researchers have warned. They found the higher a mother’s level of exposure in early and late pregnancy, the more likely it was that the baby would not grow properly. Read Article

Hyperactivity drug ‘could help solve Britain’s obesity crisis’ (“& increase our profits”

Daily Telegraph – Drugs used to treat hyperactive children, such as Ritalin, could be used to help solve Britain’s obesity crisis as new research has shown one in three severely obese adults who fail to lose weight have undiagnosed Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.  Doctors behind the latest findings claim a chemical imbalance in the brain caused by undiagnosed ADHD prevents severely obese patients from having the willpower to lose weight.And they claim once the condition had been treated with drugs such as Ritalin improve their dieting success dramatically. Read Article

The Historian: Glaxo Board – “Well done lads for sponsoring that study, profits will be healthy as a result of further drugging children”. Here’s a thought, why not alternatively teach people how to cook  proper and not processed food at school, and stop feeding our children crap. That way they will neither be obese or hyper-active. But where’s the profit in that eh?

Moldovans used Twitter to arrange protests

Pravda – More than 10,000 young Moldovans came out to the streets on Tuesday to protest against Moldova’s Communist leadership. There began clashes with the police. People managed to gather a huge crowd in a short period of time using social messaging networks like Facebook and Twitter. The protesters created their own searchable tag on Twitter, rallying Moldovans to join and propelling events in this small former Soviet state onto a Twitter list of newly popular topics, so people around the world could keep track.  Read Article