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What A Week It Was: Apocadocuments from
View By Scenario:
Species Collapse:(1)
Plague/Virus:(2)
Climate Chaos:(3)
Resource Depletion: ()
Biology Breach:(8)
Recovery:(4)
This Week's Top Ten Very Scary Tags:
toxic water  ~ invasive species  ~ ocean acidification  ~ plastic gyre  ~ bird collapse  ~ pesticide runoff  ~ efficiency increase  ~ carbon sequestration  ~ corporate malfeasance  ~ ecosystem interrelationships  ~ perchlorate  



ApocaDocuments (19) gathered this week:
Sun, Feb 17, 2008
from AP News:
Nuclear Forensica Vs. Terrorism
"Between 1993 and 2007 there were 1,340 cases reported of illicit trafficking of various types of nuclear materials around the world, she said.... Potential threats range from explosions to the spread of radioactive materials and sabotage at nuclear facilities, Nilsson told the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science." ...


Those were the ones that were discovered. Thankfully, the scientists are developing forensic techniques to catch even more. On the other hand, a robust black market in nuclear material is, well, a black mark on humanity in general.

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Sun, Feb 17, 2008
from SeaReport, via Youtube:
Plastic in the Ocean video, from 2001
...


The researchers found 6 pounds of plastic fragments, for each 1 pound of zooplankton. In 2001! That's a lot of empty calories... and pthalates, and endocrine disrupters..

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Sun, Feb 17, 2008
from Friends of the Earth, via Business Week:
Report Raises Alarm Over Superweeds
"As more acres of "Roundup Ready" crops are planted, the use of the pesticide has increased. The increased application has led some weeds to develop a resistance to glyphosate, the generic term for the chemical in Roundup. And, in turn, farmers have had to apply stronger doses of pesticide to kill the superweeds.... According to the report, the amount of weed-killing herbicides used by farmers has exploded, rising fifteenfold since biotech crops were first planted. The report lists eight weeds in the U.S. -- among them horseweed, common waterhemp, and hairy fleabane -- that have developed resistance to glyphosate, the most commonly applied pesticide." ...


Not surprisingly, elsewhere in the article, this headline:
Monsanto Profit Forecast Up.
The makers of Roundup are like heroin dealers, raising the junkies' resistance, so they can sell more, more, more.
Until the overdose.

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Fri, Feb 15, 2008
from Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
Scientists fear Tipping Point for Pacific Ocean
"Where scientists previously found a sea bottom abounding with life, two years ago they discovered the rotting carcasses of crabs, starfish and sea worms, swooshing from side to side in the current. Most fish had fled -- and those that didn't or couldn't joined the deathfest on the sea floor. Extraordinarily low oxygen levels were to blame -- swept up from the deep ocean into normally productive waters just off the Pacific Northwest coast by uncharacteristically strong winds....It looks like the Pacific has reached a "tipping point," a threshold where low-oxygen levels are becoming the rule, researchers said." ...


The scientists conclude the ocean may be "poised for significant reorganization" -- sciencespeak for "we're screwed."

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Fri, Feb 15, 2008
from TED (Ideas worth spreading):
The omnivore's dilemma
"What if human consciousness isn't the end-all and be-all of Darwinism? What if we are all just pawns in corn's clever strategy game, the ultimate prize of which is world domination? Author Michael Pollan asks us to see things from a plant's-eye view -- to consider the possibility that nature isn't opposed to culture, that biochemistry rivals intellect as a survival tool. By merely shifting our perspective, he argues, we can heal the Earth. Who's the more sophisticated species now?" ...


Astonishing. Working with nature? How counter-intuitive!

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Thu, Feb 14, 2008
from United Press International:
Yellowstone mystery: Where are the rabbits
"The U.S. Wildlife Conservation Society is trying to figure out why jack rabbits have vanished from Yellowstone National Park. The report, published in the journal Oryx, said there have been no confirmed jack rabbit sightings in Yellowstone since 1991 and only three in Grand Teton National Park since 1978. Historical records indicate that white-tailed jack rabbits were once abundant in Greater Yellowstone, a 23,166-square-mile ecosystem that contains the Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks, the group said Thursday in a release." ...


You gotta figure Wile E. Coyote is behind this.

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Thu, Feb 14, 2008
from Georgia Institute of Technology:
Carbon Capture Strategy Could Lead To Emission-free Cars
"Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a strategy to capture, store and eventually recycle carbon from vehicles to prevent the pollutant from finding its way from a car tailpipe into the atmosphere. Georgia Tech researchers envision a zero emission car, and a transportation system completely free of fossil fuels." ...


We can envision a "transportation system completely free of fossil fuels," too -- it just takes a little weed.

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Thu, Feb 14, 2008
from Terra Daily:
Skin disease linked with deforestation
"U.S. scientists have determined deforestation and social marginalization increase the risk of acquiring an infectious, tropical skin disease. The University of Michigan researchers examined the incidence of the disease American cutaneous leishmaniasis, or ACL, in Costa Rica. ACL -- characterized by skin lesions caused by an infectious organism carried by sand flies -- most commonly affects workers in forested lowlands, but tourists are increasingly at risk as remote tropical areas become more accessible." ...


With tourists as carriers, they'll be bringing back more than snapshots and souvenirs.

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Thu, Feb 14, 2008
from Financial Times:
Study finds profit in cutting emissions
"Half the cuts in greenhouse gas emissions needed to make the world safe can be achieved at a net profit to the global economy, a study has found. McKinsey, the consultancy, publishes a report on Thursday concluding that investment in energy efficiency of about $170bn a year worldwide would yield a profit of about 17 per cent, or $29bn. Diana Farrell, director of the McKinsey Global Institute, said: "It shows just how much deadweight loss there is in the economy in energy use." ...


We can think of some other deadweight losses, too, such as people who idle their cars in drive-thru fast food lanes.

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Thu, Feb 14, 2008
from Environmental Science and Technology:
Perchlorate in food
"Food is the primary source of perchlorate for most Americans, and U.S. toddlers on average are being exposed to more than half of the U.S. EPA's safe dose from food alone, according to a new U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) diet survey designed to provide perchlorate and iodine intake averages from food for the entire U.S. Even though the new study is silent on intake by highly exposed populations, several lawmakers and environmental advocates renew their calls for a national perchlorate drinking-water standard, EPA is not divulging its plans. The agency, which has been waiting for the results from the FDA study to help it decide whether to set a national drinking-water standard for perchlorate, intends to issue a preliminary determination on whether to regulate the substance soon, according to Benjamin Grumbles, assistant administrator of EPA's Office of Water." ...


If a guy named Benjamin Grumbles is making the announcement you can guess it ain't gonna be good news.

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Thu, Feb 14, 2008
from Associated Press:
Study says people impact all oceans
"Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop pristine, might be the lament of today's Ancient Mariner. Oceans cover more than 70 percent of the planet, and every single spot has been affected by people in some way. Researchers studying 17 different activities ranging from fishing to pollution compiled a new map showing how and where people have impacted the seas. Our results show that when these and other individual impacts are summed up, the big picture looks much worse than I imagine most people expected. It was certainly a surprise to me," said lead author Ben Halpern, an assistant research scientist at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis at the University of California, Santa Barbara." ...


Oh, those scientists....always the last to know.

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Tue, Feb 12, 2008
from Globe and Mail:
Salmon farms killing wild stocks: study
"VANCOUVER -- Salmon farms are having a negative impact on wild stocks globally, in many cases causing survival rates to drop by more than 50 per cent per generation, according to a new study being released today... It compared the marine survival of wild salmon in areas with salmon farming to adjacent areas that didn't have farms - and it found wild stocks are suffering wherever they are in contact with salmon farms....Studies have clearly shown that escaped farm salmon breed with wild populations to the detriment of the wild stocks, and that diseases and parasites are passed from farm to wild salmon." ...


The big city salmon are mixing with the rural salmon and those durn city slickers are takin' over!

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Tue, Feb 12, 2008
from The Independent:
Insect explosion
"Food crops could be ravaged this century by an explosion in the numbers of insect pests caused by rising global temperatures, according to scientists who have carried out an exhaustive survey of plant damage when the earth last experienced major climate change. Researchers found that the numbers of leaf-eating insects are likely to surge as a result of rising levels of CO2, at a time when crop production will have to be boosted to feed an extra three billion people living at the end of 21st century." ...


Anybody thinking plagues of locusts?

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Want more context?
Try reading our book FREE online:
Humoring the Horror of the Converging Emergencies!
More fun than a barrel of jellyfish!
Tue, Feb 12, 2008
from The Telegraph:
Malaria warning as UK becomes warmer
"Following a major consultation with climate change scientists, the Government is issuing official advice to hospitals, care homes and institutions for dealing with rising temperatures, increased flooding, gales and other major weather events. It warns that there is a high likelihood of a major heatwave, leading to as many as 10,000 deaths, hitting the UK by 2012....Hospitals are also warned to prepare for outbreaks of malaria and tick-born viruses, as well as increased levels of skin cancer and deaths from asthma and other breathing conditions." ...


Imagine having a government that tells you the truth about the dangers of global warming.

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Tue, Feb 12, 2008
from Chicago Tribune:
Refinery pollution may soar
"Global-warming pollution from Midwest oil refineries is expected to soar by as much as 40 percent during the next decade, a dramatic increase that runs counter to regional and national efforts to curb heat-trapping gases. Expansion plans at the BP refinery in Whiting would boost the facility's greenhouse-gas emissions to 5.8 million tons a year, the company told the Tribune. That would be equivalent to adding 320,000 cars to the nation's highways. While greenhouse gases from the tailpipes of cars get the most attention, the refineries that keep cars and trucks running also contribute to global warming. Fuel must be burned to make gasoline from oil, generating carbon-dioxide pollution." ...


As long as we got us one of them amphibious cars with a spanking air conditioning system who the hell cares?

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Mon, Feb 11, 2008
from The Times of India:
King penguins could be wiped out by climate change
"PARIS: One of the emblems of the Antarctic, the king penguin, could be driven to extinction by climate change, a French study published on Monday warns. In a long-term investigation on the penguins' main breeding grounds, investigators found that a tiny warming of the Southern Ocean by the El Nino effect caused a massive fall in the birds' ability to survive. If predictions by UN scientists of ever-higher temperatures in coming decades prove true, the species faces a major risk of being wiped out, they say. " ...


This species takes an entire year to complete the breeding cycle; no wonder they're on the brink! Can't they get with the program and hurry up?

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Mon, Feb 11, 2008
from Cambridge News:
Killer ladybirds are invading the area
"It may look like the delicate insect that has graced the nation's gardens for centuries. But the Asian harlequin ladybird is nothing like our gentle native species. It is a brutal killer which is set to wipe out Britain's 46 native species of ladybird due to its voracious appetite. Dr Mike Majerus, an academic at Cambridge University ... said: "The harlequin is very large, aggressive and out-competes our native species for food. And when it can't find aphids to eat, it will devour other ladybirds, as well as lacewing, butterflies and hoverflies." ...


In England they're called ladybirds, in the US they're called ladybugs, but either way, they are not very ladylike.

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Mon, Feb 11, 2008
from Behavioral Neuroscience:
Saccharin may lead to weight gain
"Casting doubt on the benefit of low-calorie sweeteners, research released Sunday reported that rats on diets containing saccharin gained more weight than rats given sugary food. The study in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience found that the calorie-free artificial sweetener appeared to break the physiological connection between sweet tastes and calories, driving the rats to overeat. Lyn M. Steffen, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota, who was not involved in the latest report, said the study offered a possible explanation for the unexpected association between obesity and diet soda found in recent human studies." ...


This story is so ironic, it's post-ironic. The fat rats aren't laughing, though.

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Mon, Feb 11, 2008
from Wall Street Journal:
Nine Cities, Nine Ideas
"Ann Arbor, Mich., and Beijing, China, have precious little in common. But the modest college town and sprawling national capital do share one trait: They're part of a world-wide movement by cities to rein in their runaway energy use. Ann Arbor is replacing the bulbs in its street lamps with light-emitting diodes that use much less power. Beijing is closing or relocating cement kilns, coal mines and chemical plants dating back to the era of Chairman Mao. ...


Only 249,328 cities -- and ideas -- to go!

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