Daily Archives

Space radiation hits record high

New Scientist – Like a wounded Starship Enterprise, our solar system’s natural shields are faltering, letting in a flood of cosmic rays. The sun’s recent listlessness is resulting in record-high radiation levels that pose a hazard to both human and robotic space missions. Galactic cosmic rays are speeding charged particles that include protons and heavier atomic nuclei. They come from outside the solar system, though their exact sources are still being debated. Read Article

The Historian – Luckily of course only CO2 affects the the climate though and not solar energy so the fluctuations in the sun’s output and the Earth’s reaction to that isn’t going to affect anything

Pesticides blamed for vanishing bees

Daily Telegraph – Some pesticides could be to blame for the decline in bees according to a film, backed by the Co-operative group, that explores mysterious deaths in hives around the world. Read Article

The Historian – And of course many GMO crops also have pesticides built into their very DNA too

Iran says to enter Geneva talks with good intentions

Reuters – Iran is entering talks with six world powers this week with good intentions, the Islamic Republic’s chief nuclear negotiator said on Wednesday as he left Tehran for the one-day meeting in Geneva. Read Article

Russia and Georgia set to share blame for South Ossetia conflict

The Guardian – An EU-commissioned report on the causes of the Russia-Georgia conflict in August last year is due to be published today, delivering what is expected to be the most definitive verdict on who was to blame. Heidi Tagliavini, a Swiss diplomat with copious experience of the Caucasus, and a team of 20 military, political, human rights, and international law experts were given a €1.6m (£1.4m) budget last year to investigate the circumstances that led to the war. Read Article

Climate Change Scare Story Of Week: Global warming could change Earth’s tilt

New Scientist – Warming oceans could cause Earth’s axis to tilt in the coming century, a new study suggests. The effect was previously thought to be negligible, but researchers now say the shift will be large enough that it should be taken into account when interpreting how the Earth wobbles. Read Article

The Historian – Not that the earth hasn’t been conisderably hotter or considerably colder than it is now in the past. Great headline though….”We’re all doomed”. Only Al Gore can save our wrtetched souls.

Tide is turning for endangered Ganges River Dolphin

The Times – Less famous, graceful and numerous than its marine cousins, the Ganges River Dolphin is a shy, almost blind beast with the misfortune to favour a habitat that runs through one of the poorest and most overcrowded regions on the planet. Read Article

India promises twelvefold boost in nuclear capacity by 2050

The Times – India announced the world’s boldest nuclear power development plan yesterday, saying that it could boost its atomic capacity twelvefold by 2050 to end crippling power shortages while limiting carbon emissions. Read Article

The Historian – No CO2 emissions? Yes.  Radioactive pollution that lasts for thousands of years? Yes. Massively more expensive (and profitable) than other options such as geo-thermal? You bet!

Carbon Offset Kiosks Help Air Travelers Ditch Guilt (religious indulgences anyone?)

NPR – If you’re an environmentally conscious traveler, you may be feeling a little bit guilty about flying these days. Airplanes spew harmful greenhouse gases into the air. San Francisco International Airport is taking a step to help ease these concerns: It’s the first airport to install self-serve kiosks where passengers can purchase carbon offsets for their flights. Read Article

The Historian – Just like the medieval church, the cult of climate allows you sinners to buy away your guilt and gain a fast track to green heaven. The fact that your indulgence will have just further enriched some scam artist and not addressed the vast majority of ecological problems that your lifestyle causes is neither here nor there as you feel forgiven

Review of babysitting ban ordered – who knows what’s best for your kids?

BBC NEWS – England’s Children’s Minister wants a review of the case of two police officers told they were breaking the law, caring for each other’s children. Ofsted said the arrangement contravened the Childcare Act because it lasted for longer than two hours a day, and constituted receiving “a reward”. It said the women would have to be registered as childminders. Read Article

US under Obama could slide into military dictatorship, says Gore Vidal

The Times – Barack Obama is failing as President and the US is in danger of sliding into a military dictatorship, says Gore Vidal, the American essayist and intellectual. Read Article

US to send home 4,000 more troops from Iraq

AP — The top general in Iraq is sending home 4,000 more U.S. troops by the end of October as the American military winds down the six-year war. Army Gen. Ray Odierno said in remarks prepared for a congressional hearing Wednesday that the number of U.S. soldiers in Iraq will total about 120,000 over the next month. Read Article

The Historian – As we reported last week however their place is being taken by “private military contractors, in other words mercenaries, who now outnumber the amount of US troops in Iraq and who are under considerably less democractic scrutiny or control.

Ex-U.S. military officials press to close Guantanamo

Reuters – Top former U.S. military officials are lobbying for U.S. President Barack Obama to advance plans to close the controversial military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Working with the human rights group Human Rights First, more than a dozen former U.S. military officials are meeting this week with top Obama officials including Attorney General Holder, Pentagon officials and lawmakers to press them to quickly close the Guantanamo prison, which has been the target of international condemnation. Read Article

New Czech move to block EU treaty

BBC – Czech senators opposed to the EU’s Lisbon Treaty have filed a new complaint against it with the country’s constitutional court. The complaint could create a new delay to treaty ratification, even if Irish voters back the treaty in a referendum on Friday.  Read Article

‘Paranoid’ China ramps up IT firewall on anniversary

ABC – Media rights group Reporters Without Borders says a “paranoid” China has blocked tens of thousands of websites ahead of the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic. The Paris-based group said Chinese authorities had targeted Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and other ways that residents, including foreign reporters, used to circumvent controls on the Internet. Read Article

UK official: Vaccine unlikely to have caused death

Physorg.com – Flowers at the gate of Blue Coat Church of England School in Coventry England Tuesday Sept. 29, 2009, after a pupil from the school died Monday after receiving the HPV1 Cervarix jab. Health authorities launched an investigation Tuesday into the death of a 14-year-old girl who had just received a vaccine for cervical cancer. Natalie Morton died in a hospital Monday, a few hours after being the given the Cervarix vaccine, which protects against two strains of the human papilloma virus that causes cervical cancer. She was vaccinated at her school in Coventry in central England. Read article

The Historian – The damage limitation PR campaign goes into full spin

Starbucks has killed off community life

Telegraph.co.uk – Starbucks and its latte-frothing emulators have helped to kill off community life, according to an academic who conducted a study of the world’s biggest coffee chain. Small and widely spaced tables, free wireless internet access and a preference for take-away customers are among the conversation-killing factors that have encouraged patrons to cut themselves off, Bryant Simon claimed. Read Article

Scandalous blindness rates can be reduced

ABC (Australia) – The Federal Government says high levels of blindness in the Aboriginal population could be prevented by a “simple” regular eye check-up. Yesterday the National Indigenous Eye Health Survey said blindness rates in Indigenous adults were six times the rates in the rest of Australia and 94 per cent of vision loss associated with eye disease was preventable or treatable. Read article

Don’t Blame Flu Shots for All Ills, Officials Say

NY Times – As soon as swine flu vaccinations start next month, some people getting them will drop dead of heart attacks or strokes, some children will have seizures and some pregnant women will miscarry. But those events will not necessarily have anything to do with the vaccine. That poses a public relations challenge for federal officials, who remember how sensational reports of deaths and illnesses derailed the large-scale flu vaccine drive of 1976. Read article

Hunting: An Extinction Threat To Middle East’s Most Threatened Bird

Science Daily – Conservationists trying to prevent the extinction of Northern Bald Ibis Geronticus eremita are distraught that one of the last remaining wild birds in the Middle East has been shot by a hunter in Saudi Arabia, bringing the known wild Middle Eastern population of this Critically Endangered species to just four individuals. Read Article

Australian oil spill could hit 16 million litres

Northern Territory News – AT LEAST two million litres of oil has spewed into the sea from a ruptured well off the north Australian coast. Environmentalists fear up to 16 million litres has been spilled – making it the worst oil disaster in our history. There have been reports Ashmore reef nature park, considered part of the NT, was being threatened. But Beth Holden of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said the oil was heading northeast and would miss the reef. Thai energy company PTTEP originally said 400 barrels of oil was spilling from Montara field, 690km northwest of Darwin, every day. The well started leaking 35 days ago, which would mean 2.26 million litres has polluted the Timor Sea.  Read Article

Saudi Arabia ‘offers airspace’ for Israel attack on Iran

Daily Express - Israeli fighter jets have been allowed to use Saudi airspace to launch go-it-alone air strikes on Iranian nuclear installations, says a recent report. The issue has been discussed in a closed-door meeting in London, where British Intelligence Chief Sir John Scarlett, his Israeli counterpart, Meir Dagan, and Saudi official have been present, Daily Express reported.  Read Article

EU intervention in Irish referendum ‘unlawful’

Daily Telegraph – The European Commission has been accused of “unlawful” interference in Ireland’s referendum after paying for a 16-page guide to the Lisbon Treaty to be inserted into national newspapers.  Read Article

UN scrutinises Gaza ‘war crimes’

BBC – The UN’s main human rights watchdog is gearing up for a debate on a damning report into Israel’s military operation against Gaza eight months ago. The report, widely lauded by human rights groups, accuses both Israel and its militant Palestinian adversary Hamas of war crimes in the campaign.  Read Article

Iran to let IAEA inspect new nuclear site ‘soon’

Daily Telegraph – Iran will soon give the UN nuclear watchdog a timetable for inspecting its second uranium enrichment plant, its atomic chief said in an interview posted on the website of state-owned Press TV on Tuesday.  Read Article

Child abuse common in other churches, says Vatican

Telegraph.co.uk – Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva said that the church was “busy cleaning its own house” but that the problem was more widespread. The remarks came in a defiant response to accusations that the church had covered up allegations of abuse levelled at it during a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council last week. Read article