Daily Archives

British advances in Afghanistan have escalated conflict – UN mission chief

Guardian – Attempts by British and American forces to expand their control over Afghan territory over the past 12 months have been counter-productive and led to a worsening security situation, according to the head of the United Nations monitoring mission on the Taliban. As the death toll of UK troops in the conflict reached 299 on Friday, the former UK counter-terrorism chief, Richard Barrett, told the Observer: “Most people reckon there’s a deterioration.” Read article

African Union welcomes Eritrea, Djibouti mediation deal

Reuters – The African Union on Tuesday supported a mediation agreement between Eritrea and Djibouti, whose border standoff could destabilise the Horn of Africa region. Djibouti’s government said that further to the deal, Eritrea had withdrawn its troops from two areas they had occupied. Read article

Chinese currency concerns weigh on local market

ABC – Fears that a stronger Chinese currency could dampen global growth has pushed the Australian share market lower. The All Ordinaries closed down 51 points to 4,581 and the ASX 200 slipped almost 1.2 per cent to 4,558 points. Rural services company Elders fell more than 46 per cent to 43 cents a share after cutting its profit forecast. Read Article

Sakurajima busts eruptions record

Japan Times-A pair of explosive eruptions Sunday on Mount Sakurajima in Kagoshima Prefecture brought the total to 550 this year, setting a new annual record, the local meteorological observatory said. Given that the volcano has been erupting roughly twice as frequently since last year, the number of eruptions could reach 1,000, the observatory said. The previous record of 548 was set last year -Read Article

San Francisco introduces mobile phone radiation labels

The Guardian — San Francisco – where composting is compulsory and plastic bags are banned – has passed the first law in the US requiring retailers to display the amount of radiation given off by mobile phones. The city’s mayor, Gavin Newsom, hailed the law as a victory for the public’s right to know what their mobile phones are doing to them even though some critics [including Industry] say there is no significant scientific evidence that they are hazardous to health. Read article

Iron to be dumped at sea to reduce global warming

Telegraph-The iron will lay vast amounts of phytoplankton, which absorbs CO2 as the grow, The Times reported. When the phytoplankton die it sinks to the bottom of the ocean, storing away the carbon for more than 50 years, the paper added. The National Oceanography Centre at the University of Southampton is planning a five-year trial which will cost £70m. Aircraft would spray iron sulphate liquid over almost 4,000 miles of the Southern Ocean -Read Article

The Chemist’s War: How the U.S. government poisoned alcohol during Prohibition

Slate – It was Christmas Eve 1926, the streets aglitter with snow and lights, when the man afraid of Santa Claus stumbled into the emergency room at New York City’s Bellevue Hospital. He was flushed, gasping with fear: Santa Claus, he kept telling the nurses, was just behind him, wielding a baseball bat. Before hospital staff realized how sick he was—the alcohol-induced hallucination was just a symptom—the man died. So did another holiday partygoer. And another. Read Article

Deepwater Horizon worker claims oil rig leaking weeks before explosion

Guardian-An oil worker who survived the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion has claimed that the oil rig’s safety equipment was leaking several weeks before it exploded, triggering the huge spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Tyrone Benton says that he spotted a leak on the rig’s Blowout Preventer (BOP), the device that is meant to shut the well down if there is an accident. He told the BBC’s Panorama programme that both BP and Transocean, who owned the rig, were informed of the leak, and the faulty part – a control pod – was switched off rather than being repaired -Read Article

Laser-toting robots take over UK hospital – They control your drugs now

Register – A Scottish hospital will become the first in the UK to use robots to clean, deliver food and dispense drugs. The Forth Valley Royal Hospital’s fleet of bots will also be carrying clinical waste and cleaning operating theatres when the new £300m Stirlingshire hospital opens in August. The robot squad will move around via their own dedicated network of corridors beneath the hospital. Read article

California school launches cell tower study

Kansas City.com – Five years ago, Sprint erected an 85-foot cell phone tower in the middle of California’s Vista Del Monte Elementary school. At the time, Sprint studied the tower’s structural safety and an initial power reading, but since then teachers and students have become increasingly concerned about the tower’s electromagnetic effect on health. The Vista Del Monte tower is 20 feet from classroom buildings and next to the playground and lunch tables. Read article

Gas found after N Korean nuclear fusion claims

ABC-South Korean officials have revealed that scientists detected high levels of radioactive gas after the communist North claimed it had successfully staged a nuclear fusion reaction last month. North Korea announced last month it had conducted a nuclear fusion reaction, a claim met with much scepticism in the South because of the technical difficulties of staging such an experiment.But now officials in Seoul have revealed that South Korean scientists detected extremely high levels of xenon gas near the border between the two Koreas -Read Article

Bee calamity stings owners

HOUSTON CHRONICLE-During the hottest time of year, Don Angle toils in a dense, green wooded area in south Houston. The sticky humidity surrounds him, while the buzz of his job drowns out all other sounds. It’s a literal buzz coming from co-workers, of sorts. Bees. Lots of them. Angle, 61, would normally spend next month moving 70-pound boxes of fresh honey his bees have created. But this summer he will have less boxes to lift thanks to a phenomenon affecting beekeepers across the country -Read Article

Using Carbon Nanotubes in Lithium Batteries Can Dramatically Improve Energy Capacity

ScienceDaily — Batteries might gain a boost in power capacity as a result of a new finding from researchers at MIT. They found that using carbon nanotubes for one of the battery’s electrodes produced a significant increase — up to tenfold — in the amount of power it could deliver from a given weight of material, compared to a conventional lithium-ion battery. Such electrodes might find applications in small portable devices, and with further research might also lead to improved batteries for larger, more power-hungry applications. Read article

It’s true, your boss is a psychopath

Boston – Watching the news some days, you’d think a lot of companies were run by psychopaths. And, according to a recent study, some might well be. One of the authors of the study was hired by companies to evaluate managers — mostly middle-aged, college-educated, white males — for a management development program. It turns out that these managers scored higher on measures of psychopathy than the overall population, and some who had very high scores were candidates for, or held, senior positions. Read Article

Firms paid to shut down wind farms when the wind is blowing

Telegraph-Energy firms will receive thousands of pounds a day per wind farm to turn off their turbines because the National Grid cannot use the power they are producing. Critics of wind farms have seized on the revelation as evidence of the unsuitability of turbines to meet the UK’s energy needs in the future. They claim that the ‘intermittent’ nature of wind makes such farms unreliable providers of electricity -Read Article

Vatican cardinal faces corruption inquiry over Rome property deals

The Guardian – A senior Vatican cardinal is under investigation for corruption, dragging the Catholic church into a public works scandal that has sent shockwaves through the Italian government. Italian media reported today that Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, the archbishop of Naples, was suspected of striking cosy deals while head of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, the Vatican congregation that uses proceeds from a property empire including 2,000 Rome apartments to fund missionary efforts. Read article

Australia, China ink $10b deals

ABC – Australia and China have signed new deals worth $10 billion after talks between Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and vice-president Xi Jinping. The new agreements are mostly in the resources and energy sector, but also include telecommunications, training and a quarantine protocol for exporting Tasmanian apples to China. Read Article

Air tests from the Louisiana coast reveal human health threats from the oil disaster

Southern Studies-The media coverage of the BP oil disaster to date has focused largely on the threats to wildlife, but the latest evaluation of air monitoring data shows a serious threat to human health from airborne chemicals emitted by the ongoing deepwater gusher. Today the Louisiana Environmental Action Network released its analysis of air monitoring test results by the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA’s air testing data comes from Venice, a coastal community 75 miles south of New Orleans in Louisiana’s Plaquemines Parish -Read Article

Four cups of coffee a day ‘reduces risk of oral cancer’

Daily Telegraph – Researchers found regular coffee drinkers were 39 per cent less likely to develop oral and pharynx cancers than those who didn’t drink coffee. It follows a similar study by Japanese scientists who tracked patients’ drinking habits for 13 years and who found those downing at least one cup a day were much less likely to get tumours than those who hardly ever drank coffee. Read article
Related articles: New Evidence That Drinking Coffee May Reduce the Risk of Diabetes; UK: Coffee can cut chances of developing Parkinson’s disease, according to new research

Scandal of vulnerable Colombian citizens killed for €1,500 bonus

Irish Times – Many men have been disappearing – only for families to find out the army had shot them. When Luz Marina Bernal’s 26-year old son went missing in February 2008, she immediately raised the alarm. Fair Leonardo Porras Bernal had a mental age of nine, could not read or write, and never strayed too far from his home in Soacha, a gritty satellite town of Bogotá, the capital of Colombia. Read Article

Controversial Pesticide Worries Scientists

NPR -Odds are most supermarket strawberries come from California — that’s where 90 percent of the berries are produced. And if the strawberries are not organic, they were likely grown in fumigated soil, which is creating a stir between scientists and regulators in California. The two groups recently faced off over the expected approval of a potentially dangerous pesticide -Read Article