Obesity is a major emerging problem face by the world population these days. Obesity is usually associated with premature death. Obesity usually leads to many diseases, especially cardiovascular disease. Through dietary control, obesity problem may be resolved.French researchers found that polyphenols in red wine has a beneficial effects on obesity-associated disease. The polyphenol extract is [...]
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Sunday's episode of Atheists Talk radio may just annoy me — they're going to be talking about a local joint Bible study between atheists and a Methodist church. There are some atheists who like to dig into the Bible, but I'm not one of them — been there, done that, found it to be worthless drivel. Maybe you'll find it more interesting than I do.
The second half is more promising, with an interview with a board member of the UM student group, Campus Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists. Yay students!
Also tomorrow, I'm getting rid of my daughter — we have to drive in to the Minneapolis airport to toss her on a plane to Arizona, where she's going for a summer internship in biomedical informatics. I may find myself at Q. Cumbers restaurant to check out their intelligently designed salad bar in the morning, where the Bible-studying atheists can correct my ways. Any other local people care to join in?
Mr. Chu, what are you doing?! First, Steven Chu eliminated funding for Fuel Cell research because he did not feel the technology was close enough to commercial acceptance. See: “U.S. Drops Research Into Fuel Cells for Cars“. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the government preferred to focus on projects that would “bear fruit more quickly”, as he released energy-related details of the administration?s budget for the year beginning Oct. 1st.
Then, Chu turns around and says we need to throw 2.4 billion dollars at “Carbon Capture and Sequestration” which is many years farther behind the application and implementation of fuel cells.
The EPA has also just OK’d most mountaintop removal permits. This is a serious step backwards for those who thought we were moving beyond coal for energy, and for environmentalists, and for anyone who lives in the area where mountains are being bombed in the U.S.
Remember how good we all felt when we discovered the “science-based” makeup of the EPA and Obama’s science advisors? President Obama himself also said our approach to climate change and the environment would be “based on science”. Well, no, not really. Environmentalists are losing ground under President Obama, believe it or not.
“Today [May 15] was a troubling day for environmentalists. First, the Obama administration announced its decision to nominate a Superfund polluter lawyer to run the DOJ Environment Division, sparking serious concern among environmentalists, and then its was announced that the EPA has confirmed 42 of 48 permits for mountaintop removal in the coal country of Appalachia, sparking criticism from environmental groups. “
It appears that the coal industry and the lobbyists and the Republicans have gotten to the Obama admin and the Obama EPA. The Obama EPA is now caving in on very important changes that had to be made on mountaintop removal and the use of coal. I’m one of millions getting a bit pissed off.
The EPA has cleared all but 6 mountain top removal mining permits that it had been reviewing.
42 of 28 permits were approved.
Cindy Rank of the WV Highlands Conservancy commented:
“I know that Highlands Conservancy and OVEC, Coal River, the Appalachian Center had commented on dozens and dozens of these; I?d lost count after 65,” Rank said. “And I know that those 65 really did deserve much more consideration than was already given to them.
“So if EPA is not commenting any further or bringing more scientific evaluation to bear on those permits, then I think that?s a mistake and the only thing I can assume is that politics is trumping science yet once again.”
A sad day for the southern Appalachian region. An unbelievable decision considering the Obama administration spent only a few hours looking at a single MTR site. Much like Bush?s attitude toward the Constitution, apparently the Clean Water Act is just a goddamned piece of paper. Pathetic.
And along came a Mountaintop Removal update by the EPA — more weak and disturbing excuses, about “high-value” streams versus streams that aren’t worth a damn, apparently. Check out the photo there.
?EPA decided not to provide additional comments on the remaining 42 permits after consideration of the nature and extent of project impacts. 28 of the projects have two or fewer valley fills. Eleven have no valley fills at all. None have more than six. EPA?s understanding is that none of the projects would permanently impact high value streams that flow year round. By contrast, EPA has opposed six permits because they all would result in significant adverse impacts to high value streams, involve large numbers of valley fills, and impact watersheds with extensive previous mining impacts.?
One member of PDA wrote: “Coal mining is polluting the water table for WV and all surrounding states. There are sink holes all over WV and now with the rains, flooding.”
The un-delightful news doesn’t stop there.
US Makes $2.4 Billion Bet On Clean Coal In Stimulus Package
May 15 2009–Energy Secretary Steven Chu says he will provide $2.4 billion from the economic recovery package to speed up development of technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and factories that burn coal. Chu told a meeting of the National Coal Council on Friday that it’s essential that ways are found to capture carbon dioxide from coal-burning power plants and industrial sources. Carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is the leading greenhouse gas blamed for global warming. Chu said coal will remain an essential energy source. He said even if coal plants in the United States were shut down, as some environmentalists want, China and India will not turn their back on coal.
The only thing left to do is sit back and watch it happen, unless you think it’s time for environmentally aware people to hold a few tea parties of their own. Some people think it might be time for some civil disobedience.
And don’t miss this from I Love Mountains:
“FROM WEAK TO WORSE: TIME FOR A ?DO OVER? ON U.S. ENERGY AND CLIMATE LEGISLATION
May 13th, 2009–The only thing worse than no climate and energy bill in 2009 is a bad climate and energy bill. No matter how well intentioned, the efforts in the U.S. House of Representatives to frame such a bill have gone from weak to worse - the now all-too-familiar Washington path for tough decision making. It?s maddening to realize that the more things change in Congress, the more they remain the same. Democrats screamed bloody murder when Vice President Dick Cheney met secretly with representatives of the fossil fuel industry to craft US energy policy.
Not to be outdone, Henry Waxman (D-CA), chair of the US House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA) committed the same offense by embracing the utility/coal industry blueprint for climate policy, which is now nestled in Waxman?s so-called American Clean Energy and Security Act. “
More at I Love Mountains
When the media first caught wind that people had gotten sick with an Avian influenza virus, they began spreading fear about a global epidemic. The strain in question, H5N1, is devastating to birds. It's killed millions of poultry in Asia alone, and disease experts worried that close contact with infected animals might give the virus the opportunity to exchange genetic material with a human...
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I am late linking to some of these, but late is better than never: here's the latest carnivalia for you to read;
Carnival of the Vanities. This blog carnival is all about celebrating the best writing published recently in the blogosphere, regardless of topic.
Book Review Carnival, 10 May 2009 edition. Lots of luscious books are reviewed here, just in time for you to find the perfect book to read while sitting on the beach!
Review Carnival, May 2009 edition. This blog carnival is filled with reviews of anything you can name, although my contribution was, as you'd suspect, a book review.
I also want to let you know that I am hosting the 101st edition of I and the Bird on 28 May, so please send me your essays, poems and reviews of papers about wild birds and bird watching!Read the comments on this post...
Back in 2005, the sociologist Robert Putnam got a $1.2 million grant from the Templeton Foundation to look at social capital in the USA (social capital is the term to describe all the interlinking relationships that help society tick along).
Well, the payoff comes this year, with a book by Putnam on the way. Putnam also spoke recently at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, and a taste of what will be in the book can be seen in the media buzz.
It seems that American youth are more secular than their parents, and the country's going to hell in a handbasket as a result.
From a certain, narrow perspective, that's a perfectly reasonable conclusion. After all, Putnam's study showed that religious Americans are more 'civically engaged' than their non religious counterparts:
The scholars say their studies found that religious people are three to four times more likely to be involved in their community. They are more apt than nonreligious Americans to work on community projects, belong to voluntary associations, attend public meetings, vote in local elections, attend protest demonstrations and political rallies, and donate time and money to causes ? including secular ones. (USA Today)
Kaasa, A., & Parts, E. (2008). Individual-Level Determinants of Social Capital in Europe: Differences between Country Groups Acta Sociologica, 51 (2), 145-168 DOI: 10.1177/0001699308090040
Newton, K. (2004). Social trust: individual and cross-national approaches Portuguese Journal of Social Science, 3 (1), 15-35 DOI: 10.1386/pjss.3.1.15/0
This work by Tom Rees is licensed under a Creative
Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Lantana, Lantana camera.
Photographed on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, NYC.
I have always been fascinated with these flowers because, as the individual blossoms age, their color changes. So each plant can have flowers with many different colors, even on the same stem!
Would it matter to the people in Bangladesh or Key West if they are 11 feet under water or 25 feet underwater? Maybe a little. But either way, they can’t live there anymore if the sea level rises that much.
From a recent story — West Antarctic ice threat revised down; still dire
“May 14 (Reuters) – A meltdown of West Antarctica’s ice sheet would raise sea levels by half as much as previously expected, but the impact would still be catastrophic, especially for U.S. coastal cities, a study showed. A collapse of the ice sheet, viewed by scientists as more vulnerable than Greenland or East Antarctica because of global warming, would push up world sea levels by 3.3 metres (11 ft) over hundreds of years rather than 5-6 as long estimated.”
This is just one theory, and other scientists still put the sea level rise at 20 feet if all the ice melts. Two weeks ago Al Gore testified before Congress that sea level could rise 25 feet. The fact is, no one knows for sure, but a rise of only 3 feet would be devastating to the coastal cities that are home to millions of people. Where will they go?
“The long-term impact of West Antarctica is not be as serious as previously believed,” said Jonathan Bamber, a professor at Bristol University in England who led the study in Friday’s edition in the journal Science. “But 17 million people in Bangladesh alone would be displaced by a sea level rise of 1.5 metres,” he told Reuters. “The consequences for the planet and stability of society as a whole for even a 1-2 metres rise is very, very serious.”
We knew about this years ago and true to form, our politicians did nothing. They did nothing until the Obama administration took over this year, but they still aren’t doing enough. That’s why they have to hear from us. Bangladesh is only one of many first countries that are being heavily affected right now by climate change. They are trying some things to delay the inevitable.
In a story from 2007: “Climate of Fear in Sinking Country — Global warming peril to Bangladesh — Flooding may hit 40 million by 2100″
40 million climate refugees will be only the beginning.
“When Iman Ali Gain first heard about climate change a couple of years ago, he thought that it was a joke. How could the habits of people in the West affect him, a 65-year-old shrimp farmer in southwestern Bangladesh? He still has no concept of the science behind global warming, which will be outlined in a United Nations report today.
But he does not need the 2,500 experts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to prove that his world is under threat. Climate change here is a day-to-day reality that scientists say could make 17 million Bangladeshis homeless by 2030. Over three decades Mr Gain has seen the waters around his mud house in the coastal region of Munshiganj, where silt-laden rivers meet the sea, rise 3m (10ft). He has been battered by increasingly violent floods, tornadoes and cyclones, and tasted the salt seeping relentlessly into his drinking water.
Three months ago a tidal river burst through one of the embankments that had protected the region?s rice growers, shrimp farmers and fishermen since 1968. ?The water came up to here,? he said, putting his hand to his chest, as dozens of labourers piled sticky, grey earth into the breached embankment. ?People were shocked and very afraid. We worry about what happens in the future. How will we live here??
Nature has never made it easy to live in Bangladesh, a vast delta at the confluence of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers, mostly lying less than 10m above sea level. Every year these waterways burst their banks as rainwater and ice melt sluice down from the Himalayas towards the Bay of Bengal. Cyclones and tornadoes pummel the coast annually, bringing further misery to a country slightly larger than England, yet crammed with 145 million people.
Local sea levels appear to be rising, and summer temperatures climbing, causing droughts in the north west. The result is a ?perfect storm? of environmental factors that could make Bangladesh the first significant country to be destroyed by climate change. ?Bangladesh is in such a difficult position because all these factors ? geographical, demographic, political and climatic ? have conspired together,? said Atiq Rahman, head of the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies and an IPCC member. ?It is a test case for the rest of the world.? Read more here.
And speaking of sea ice — it’s still melting, despite some claims. I actually found a website last night that claimed polar ice/sea ice had never been so big and was growing. Unfortunately, the opposite is true, melting continues and the breakup of major portions of ice shelves has scientists worried.
New Insight Into Decline Of Arctic Sea Ice Cover
ScienceDaily (May 15, 2009) ? The mechanical behavior of the Arctic sea ice cover appears to favor its rapid decline. Scientists from INSU-CNRS, Université J. Fourier and Université de Savoie have analyzed the trajectories of drifting buoys anchored in the ice and found that the mean drift rate and deformation rate of Arctic sea ice has strongly increased over the last three decades. These effects, related to the mechanical properties of the cover, contribute to the faster-than-expected decline of Arctic sea ice. This work is published in the 14 may 2009 issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research ? Oceans.