Daily Archives

1000s of US inmates on hunger strike

PressTV – Thousands of inmates have gone on hunger strike at 11 California prisons to protest horrible prison conditions, vowing to continue the strike until the minimum standards and their demands are met. Read article

Anti-Terror Sensor That Scans Crowds for Bombers Tested in U.K

Fox – A sensor that can scan huge crowds and pick out a lone suicide bomber by homing in on hidden explosives has undergone official tests, The Sun reported Thursday. The revolutionary gadget — similar to airport scanners but top secret — is believed to silently analyze materials using the unique “terahertz” waves emitted by different substances. British government scientists began testing it a year ago on mock crowds where one person in every 75 carried a “Person-Borne Improvised Explosive Device.” Heavily-censored reports obtained by the newspaper in a freedom of information request reveal other trials saw the guinea pigs armed with “handguns and knives.” Read Article

House boosts military budget in time of austerity

AP – Money for the Pentagon and the nation’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is proving largely immune from the budget-cutting that’s slamming other government agencies in the rush to bring down the deficit. On a 336-87 vote Friday, the Republican-controlled House overwhelmingly backed a $649 billion defense spending bill that boosts the Defense Department budget by $17 billion. The strong bipartisan embrace of the measure came as White House and congressional negotiators face an Aug. 2 deadline on agreeing to trillions of dollars in federal spending cuts and raising the borrowing limit so the U.S. does not default on debt payments. Read Article

Scandal Shifts Britain’s Media and Political Landscape

The New York Times – Britain’s media and political landscape shifted Thursday as the powerful Murdoch family summarily announced plans to shut down the disgraced mass-circulation tabloid at the center of a deepening scandal over journalistic malfeasance, and arrest seemed imminent for the paper’s once politically influential former editor. Read Article

BASF Said to Mull Genetically Modified Crop Exit in Germany

Bloomberg – BASF SE (BAS), the world’s biggest chemical maker, may withdraw genetically modified crop research from Germany in response to growing political opposition, three people familiar with discussions said. The maker of the Amflora scientific potato is considering the future of its research facility in rural Limburgerhof in southwestern Germany, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public. A move to the U.S. is possible for the plant biotechnology operations, which employ 700, said one of the people. Read Article

U.S. broke international law by executing Mexican national, says U.N.

CNN – The United States breached international law by executing a Mexican national without having granted him consular access, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said Friday. Navi Pillay, in a statement, said she deeply regrets the execution of Humberto Leal Garcia, after a 5-4 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court denied him a stay of execution Thursday night. Read Article

Vietnam War bio-weapon used today for Amazon deforestation

ZME Science – Of all the despicable things I thought possible going on around the Amazonian Rainforrest, using an extremely powerful chemical agent on the forest would’ve never crossed not even the darkest region of my conscious. It’s indeed petrifying what the human mind can conjure up for profit. Agent Orange is the chemical in question, and is one of the herbicides and defoliants used by the U.S. military as part of its herbicidal warfare program, Operation Ranch Hand, during the Vietnam War. Read Article

UK: Obesity charity paid £50k in secret by Coca-Cola to promote sweeteners

Daily Mail – A charity which criticised the Government for accepting money from junk food companies was itself secretly paid £50,000 by Coca-Cola to promote low-calorie sweeteners. The National Obesity Forum signed a deal with Coca-Cola in January, a few months after trustee Tam Fry had said he was ‘horror-struck’ at plans for such companies to provide cash to back public health campaigns. Mr Fry, 75, is understood to have brokered the Coca-Cola deal, despite accusing the Government last July of being ‘bribed’ by fast food giants. Read article

A deadly month in Iraq

US unemployment at highest level in ’11

PressTV – The US economy has generated lower than expected jobs over the past month, pushing unemployment to its highest level this year — 9.2 percent. Read article

FBI: No Oklahoma City bombing videos found

AP – The FBI has not found videotapes from the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that are being sought by a Utah lawyer and do not believe another records search is reasonable or will uncover the information, the agency has told a federal judge. FBI officials are “unaware of the existence or likely location of additional tapes” that would fulfill the Freedom of Information Act request filed by Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue, agency attorneys said in court papers filed last week. Trentadue sued the FBI and the CIA in 2008 to get the videos and contended the FBI’s efforts to locate the information have been inadequate. He is looking for surveillance tapes taken the morning of the bombing from exterior cameras on the Murrah building and dashboard camera video from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol’s arrest of Timothy McVeigh. McVeigh was convicted of and executed for the bombing. Trentadue asserts that the videos exist and will expose that others were involved in the domestic terrorist attack that killed 168 people. Read Article

US House OKs $649bn military budget

PressTV – The US House of Representatives has approved a 649-billion-dollar military spending bill, increasing the Pentagon budget while the country is facing austerity measures and huge debt crisis. Read article

Night Raids Curbing Taliban, but Afghans Cite Civilian Toll

NY Times – United States Special Operations forces have carried out an extraordinary number of night raids over the past year, turning them into one of their most effective tools against the insurgents even as they stir accusations of abuse, resentment among Afghans and divisions with the government.Last year’s influx of coalition forces brought with it the kind of intelligence and surveillance that have enhanced the military’s ability to conduct the night raids, which now average 300 a month, NATO and Afghan officials said. Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands detained in the raids over the past 18 months, they said. Read Article

Typing Beats Scribbling: Indiana Schools Can Stop Teaching Cursive

Time – Who still writes in cursive? That age-old writing method you might never have used since fourth grade will no longer be taught in Indiana schools come fall, thanks to a memo from school officials. Instead, students will be expected to become proficient in keyboard use. Read Article

Climate Fact Of The Day – New peer reviewed study discovers that when CO2 was higher in the past, not as hot as previously thought

Geology: Received 6 January 2011. Revision received 18 March 2011. Accepted 23 March 2011.

Warm, not super-hot, temperatures in the early Eocene subtropics

Caitlin R. Keating-Bitonti1, Linda C. Ivany1, Hagit P. Affek2, Peter Douglas2 and Scott D. Samson1
+ Author Affiliations
1 Department of Earth Sciences, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York 13244, USA
2 Department of Geology and Geophysics, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8109, USA

Abstract

The early Eocene (ca. 55–48 Ma) encompasses one of the warmest intervals of the past 65 m.y. and is characterized by an unusually low equator-to-pole thermal gradient. Recent proxy studies suggest temperatures well in excess of 30 °C even at high latitudes, but conflicting interpretations derived from different types of data leave considerable uncertainty about actual early Eocene temperatures. A robust comparison among new paleotemperature proxies may provide insight into possible biases in their temperature estimates, and additional detail on the spatial distribution of temperatures will further resolve the early Eocene meridional temperature gradient. We use a suite of paleotemperature proxies based on the chemistry of bivalve shell carbonate and associated sedimentary organic matter from the United States Gulf Coastal Plain to constrain climate at a subtropical site during this key interval of Earth history. Oxygen isotope and clumped isotope analyses of shell carbonate and two tetraether lipid analyses of sedimentary organic carbon all yield temperatures of ?27 °C. High-resolution, intraannual oxygen isotope data reveal a consistent, large range of seasonal variation, but clumped isotope data suggest that seasonality is due primarily to precipitation, not to temperature. These paleotemperature estimates are 2–3 °C warmer than the northern Gulf of Mexico today, and generally consistent with early Eocene temperature estimates from other low and mid-latitude locations, but are significantly cooler than contemporaneous estimates from high southern latitudes. READ PAPER

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Australian Prime Minister, Gillard, reveals carbon price scheme

ABC – Australian households will be offered a raft of compensation measures to offset the impact of the Government’s new carbon tax, Prime Minister Julia Gillard has confirmed. Some 90 per cent of households will get tax cuts and/or extra payments when the $23 per tonne price kicks in on July 1 next year. Read Article

Top 10 Scariest Food Additives

Yahoo – There was a time when “fruit flavored” and “cheese flavored” meant “made with real fruit” and “made with real cheese.” Today? It’s artificial everything. Most of the food at your local supermarket is no more authentic than Snooki’s tan. Our fruit comes packaged in Loops, our cheese delivered via Whiz. Sure, it’s edible, but there’s no way your great grandparents would recognize this junk as food. The problem with additives runs deep. The FDA currently maintains a list of ingredients called Everything Added to Food in the United States (EAFUS), which features more than 3,000 items and counting. Thankfully, most EAFUS ingredients are benign, but a few of them do have potentially harmful effects. Read article

Israel arrests pro-Palestinian activists

PressTV – According to Israeli sources, at least 60 activists were detained and taken for interrogation and a total of 25 others were denied entry into Israel on Friday. The activists were part of the pro-Palestinian “Welcome to Palestine” campaign, organizing the “flytilla” to Israel. Read article

IMF approves $4.2b loan tranche for Greece

abc – The executive board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved a disbursement of about 3.2 billion euros ($4.2 billion) to help Greece pay debts due this month. Read article

Suicide rates in Europe ‘linked’ to financial crisis

BBC – The financial crisis “almost certainly” led to an increase in suicides across Europe, health experts say. The analysis by US and UK researchers found a rise in suicides was recorded among working age people from 2007 to 2009 in nine of the 10 nations studied. Read Article

Lord Monckton hung up on in heated interview with ABC Radio

Herald Sun – ABC radio presenter Adam Spencer has been told to “shut up” and stop being childish during a heated on-air exchange with climate change sceptic Lord Christopher Monckton. In what was more a debate than an interview, Spencer hung up on his guest before calling back to resume the interview. The tension began when Spencer asked Lord Monckton about his claims that he is a Nobel Laureate. Read Article

Food prices head back towards record highs

Guardian – Hard-pressed consumers face higher grocery bills after new figures showed that food prices jumped by 1.3% in June to within a whisker of their record high. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) food price index increased by 3 points to 234 points last month – a 39% increase on the year – as concerns about weak Brazilian sugar production sent sugar prices soaring by 14%, outweighing a decline in cereal costs. Read Article

India: Monsanto accused of violating bio-safety rules

The Hindu – The Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS), a farmers’ organisation, on Monday joined hands with Greenpeace and sought an immediate ban on all open field experiments of Genetically Modified (GM) crops in the country by Monsanto (a bio-technology company), in the wake of alleged violation of bio-safety norms by the multinational seed firm in Bijapur. Read Article