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What A Week It Was: Apocadocuments from
View By Scenario:
Species Collapse:(2)
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Resource Depletion: (4)
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This Week's Top Ten Very Scary Tags:
contamination  ~ deniers  ~ health impacts  ~ koyaanisqatsi  ~ unintended consequences  ~ fertilizer runoff  ~ smart policy  ~ bad policy  ~ efficiency increase  ~ oil issues  ~ ecosystem interrelationships  

ApocaDocuments (25) gathered this week:
Sun, Aug 21, 2011
from Huffington Post:
You're Appointing Who? Please Obama, Say It's Not So!
When FDA scientists were asked to weigh in on what was to become the most radical and potentially dangerous change in our food supply -- the introduction of genetically modified (GM) foods -- secret documents now reveal that the experts were very concerned. Memo after memo described toxins, new diseases, nutritional deficiencies, and hard-to-detect allergens. They were adamant that the technology carried "serious health hazards," and required careful, long-term research, including human studies, before any genetically modified organisms (GMOs) could be safely released into the food supply. But the biotech industry had rigged the game so that neither science nor scientists would stand in their way. They had placed their own man in charge of FDA policy and he wasn't going to be swayed by feeble arguments related to food safety. No, he was going to do what corporations had done for decades to get past these types of pesky concerns. He was going to lie.... The determination of whether GM foods were safe to eat was placed entirely in the hands of the companies that made them -- companies like Monsanto, which told us that the PCBs, DDT, and Agent Orange were safe. GMOs were rushed onto our plates in 1996. Over the next nine years, multiple chronic illnesses in the US nearly doubled -- from 7 percent to 13 percent. Allergy-related emergency room visits doubled between 1997 and 2002 while food allergies, especially among children, skyrocketed. We also witnessed a dramatic rise in asthma, autism, obesity, diabetes, digestive disorders, and certain cancers.... That person is Michael Taylor. He had been Monsanto's attorney before becoming policy chief at the FDA. Soon after, he became Monsanto's vice president and chief lobbyist. This month Michael Taylor became the senior advisor to the commissioner of the FDA. He is now America's food safety czar. What have we done? ...

Self-regulation by industry is so much cheaper than the alternative!


Sun, Aug 21, 2011
from Guardian:
Rhinos threatened with extinction to meet demand for bogus cancer cure
We are at the frontline of a conflict that is threatening to turn some of South Africa's most beautiful nature reserves, a draw for tourists around the world, into lawless battlegrounds - and drive a magnificent animal towards the brink of extinction. Some 265 rhinos have been poached so far this year, according to government figures, an average of more than one per day. This puts 2011 on course to surpass last year's record death toll of 333. In 2007, it was just 13. Why? There is no mystery about it. Experts agree the carnage results from a false belief, widespread in the far east, that rhino horn can cure cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. There is now soaring demand from the newly moneyed consumers of China and Vietnam. Poaching gangs here are increasingly sophisticated, using helicopters, silent tranquillisers, body armour, night vision equipment and mercenaries experienced in rhino tracking. Once a rhino's horn has been hacked off, they leave the animal to bleed to death. The horn is then smuggled out of the country by an international syndicate. The price of rhino horn is £35,000 per kilogram, making it more expensive than gold, according to the International Rhino Foundation. ...

Profitrees / bear strange fruit / Blood on the leaves / blood at the root.


Sat, Aug 20, 2011
from Greenwire:
Presidential Candidate Perry Championed Pesticides, Torpedoed Regs as Texas Ag Chief
As the harvest season approached in 1995, Texas cotton farmers had a boll weevil problem... Then-Agriculture Commissioner Rick Perry had a solution. The Republican urged the cotton farmers to buy into a program to eradicate the pests using 250,000 gallons of the pesticide malathion. It didn't go as planned. Malathion may have gotten rid of the boll weevils, but it also killed beneficial insects that helped keep the crop free of cotton-eating beet armyworms that invaded. As a result, the valley yielded 54,000 bales of cotton -- a far cry from the projected 450,000 bales. According to some estimates, malathion cost cotton growers $140 million in crop losses and put them $9 million in debt to the eradication program. ...

Sounds like the perfect leader for the most profligate nation on earth!


Sat, Aug 20, 2011
from EcoHearth:
Millions of Abandoned, Leaking Oil Wells and Natural-Gas Wells Destined to Foul Our Future
Other instances of leaking oil from just the past 30 odd years (millions of gallons noted in parentheses) have occurred in Kuwait during the Gulf War (240-336); Bay of Campeche, Mexico (140); Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies (88.3); Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan (87.7); Nowruz Oil Field, Persian Gulf (80); Angolan coast (80); Saldanha Bay, South Africa (78.5); off Brittany, France (68.7); off Nova Scotia, Canada (43); Genoa, Italy (42); Exxon Valdez spill off Alaska (11); and BP's Deepwater Horizon platform leak in the Gulf of Mexico (205). This in-depth EcoHearth report indicates these are but a prelude more numerous catastrophes to come.... Each day hundreds of thousands of abandoned leaking oil wells and natural-gas wells spew toxic pollutants into the environment--and tens of millions more will soon join them--thanks to fatally flawed gas and oil-well capping and lax or nonexistent industry and government oversight. A three-month EcoHearth.com investigation has revealed this developing environmental calamity that almost no one is paying attention to and that gravely threatens ecosystems worldwide. There are at minimum 2.5 million abandoned oil and gas wells--none permanently capped--littering the US, and an estimated 20-30 million globally. There is no known technology for securely sealing these tens of millions of abandoned wells. Many--likely hundreds of thousands--are already hemorrhaging oil, brine and greenhouse gases into the environment. Habitats are being fundamentally altered. Aquifers are being destroyed. Some of these abandoned wells are explosive, capable of building-leveling, toxin-spreading detonations. And thanks to primitive capping technologies, virtually all are leaking now--or will be. ...

I'm confident that the technology of the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s is both dependable and safe, in perpetuity. How about you?


Sat, Aug 20, 2011
from Guardian:
China to cap energy use in national low-carbon plan
A cap on energy consumption is expected to be at the heart of a Chinese low-carbon plan to be issued this year, experts believe, amid reports that officials have now agreed its level. China is the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, making up a quarter of the global total. Experts say setting an energy limit would add certainty to the country's attempts to rein in emissions and should make it easier for emissions trading schemes to get off the ground. The cap has been anticipated for some time but is now thought likely to emerge in the low-carbon plan understood to have been broadly approved by a panel set up by the state council, China's cabinet, and chaired by the premier, Wen Jiabao. It should be formally passed later this year. Reuters reported that officials have settled on a total energy cap of 4.1bn tonnes of coal equivalent (TCE) by 2015 - a level more than 25 percent higher than last year. Analysts warn that the plan has yet to be nailed down and that a cap could still be delayed by disagreements, to re-emerge in a later policy document. ...

My cap is saying "Andale!"


Fri, Aug 19, 2011
from Washington Post:
Plants and animals fleeing climate changes
Across the globe, plants and animals are creeping, crawling, slithering and winging to higher altitudes and latitudes as temperatures climb. Moreover, the greater the warming in any given region, the farther its plants and animals have migrated, according to the largest analysis to date of the rapidly shifting ranges of species in Europe, North America, Chile and Malaysia.... "This more or less puts to bed the issue of whether these shifts are related to climate change. There isn't any obvious alternative explanation for why species should be moving poleward in studies around the world."... On average, species migrated uphill 36 feet per decade and moved away from the equator -- to cooler, higher latitudes -- at 10 miles per decade. The rates are two to three times those estimated by the last major migration analysis, published in 2003.... As species shift ranges, they're coming into contact with other species in new patterns, Chen said, a phenomenon called reshuffling. But ecologists are just beginning to study how species reshuffling may affect ecosystems. ...

Wait a minute -- there's a card game? And we're "all in" already?


Fri, Aug 19, 2011
from Environmental Health News:
Scientific proof: Money is dirty.
Paper money from countries all around the world carry a chemical hitchhiker -- the hormone-active substance known as bisphenol A (BPA). Paper bills are the latest addition to a growing list of items tainted with the ubiquitous chemical that has been linked to adverse reproductive, metabolic and behavioral effects. The study identifies cash as another source of human exposure to BPA, report the researchers who found that BPA can transfer to the bills from thermal cash receipts stored next to them in wallets. The levels measured in the 50 bills from different governments varied widely -- from almost nothing to considerably high amounts. Still, more research is needed to understand human exposures and possible health effects. ...

Give me the cash and I'll be your guinea pig!


Thu, Aug 18, 2011
from Wired:
Science Zapping bugs with microwaves could replace pesticides
Researchers at the National Physical Laboratory are investigating whether microwaves can be used to kill insects and other pests, such as slugs and snails, instead of chemical pesticides. The right wave frequency can cause damage to the insect's structure, causing it to explode, or can simply interfere with its communication or reproductive system. Microwaves of up to 100 gigahertz are being tested to see whether they can be used as a more energy efficient and environmentally friendly way of exterminating certain pests. Whereas chemical pesticides don't discriminate between species, microwaves could be tailored to target insects of a certain size and structure. Finding the right resonant frequency to cause the damage to the bugs is a bit of trial and error. ...

What could go wrong?


Thu, Aug 18, 2011
from Reuters:
Solar company Evergreen files for bankruptcy
U.S. solar company Evergreen Solar Inc filed for bankruptcy on Monday, its once cutting-edge technology falling victim to competition from cheaper Chinese rivals and solar subsidy cuts in Europe. The Chapter 11 filing by a company once seen at the forefront of U.S. renewable energy technology came after a two-year struggle to stave off competition from Asia. The increasingly crowded market forced Evergreen to close its much-touted but short-lived Massachusetts factory and relocate manufacturing to China, and resulted in the virtual disappearance of its once-lofty stock market value. ...

Evergreen nevermore.


Thu, Aug 18, 2011
from Associated Press:
Perry says he doesn't believe in global warming
GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry told New Hampshire voters Wednesday that he does not believe in manmade global warming, calling it a scientific theory that has not been proven. "I think we're seeing almost weekly, or even daily, scientists that are coming forward and questioning the original idea that manmade global warming is what is causing the climate to change," the Texas governor said on the first stop of a two-day trip to the first-in-the-nation primary state. He said some want billions or trillions of taxpayer dollars spent to address the issue, but he added: "I don't think from my perspective that I want to be engaged in spending that much money on still a scientific theory that has not been proven and from my perspective is more and more being put into question." ...

How do we know for sure that Rick Perry exists?


Wed, Aug 17, 2011
from Scientific American:
Human Sewage Identified as Coral Killer
A Florida biologist has linked a vicious coral-killing pathogen in the Caribbean and Florida Keys to human sewage that leaks into the ocean from improperly treated wastewater. The Caribbean Elkhorn coral was at one time the most common coral in the Caribbean, but has declined by 90 percent over the last 15 years and is now an endangered species. Among the many factors contributing to its decline is a disease known as white pox, caused by Serratio marcescens, a common fecal intestinal bacteria found in the guts of many humans and other animals, including seagulls, Key deer and cats. But whether it came from humans or another source has been a mystery.... To determine the source of the pathogen, the team tested human sewage, along with that of several other organisms, including seabirds, fireworms, snails and deer. A genetic analysis showed that only the strain found in human sewage and snails matched the strain in the coral.... The result: only coral inoculated with the human strain of the bacteria got sick. ...

Same sh*t, different day.


Wed, Aug 17, 2011
from OnEarth:
NRDC: Acidic Oceans
Q&A with NRDC senior scientist Lisa Suatoni: How closely is ocean acidification related to global climate change? Ocean acidification and global climate change are two -- independent -- impacts of rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations. When fossil fuels are burned, carbon dioxide is produced. Approximately two thirds of that CO2 goes into the atmosphere, where it causes global warming; the remaining third is absorbed by the world's oceans, where it causes ocean acidification. Two problems, one culprit.... The Arctic is predicted to be corrosive to some types of shelled organisms in the next 10 to 30 years.... As we speak, roughly one million tons of CO2 are being absorbed by the oceans every hour. And the source of this pollution -- global emissions of greenhouse gases -- is expected to rise, rapidly. By mid-century, the average atmospheric CO2 concentration could easily reach double the pre-industrial concentration, and so could the drop in ocean pH. That means the problems we are seeing in the Pacific Northwest oyster industry are most likely going to get worse and spread elsewhere. Although they've held off disaster for now, the oyster hatcheries will need to continue developing techniques to protect their "crop" from the shifting chemistry of the sea. What can we do about acidification on a larger scale? Is there a way to get the ocean's chemistry back into balance? There is no way to artificially restore the chemistry of the world's oceans to pre-industrial levels. It will happen naturally as the ocean water mixes with the deep sea sediments, which act to neutralize the enhanced acidity, but that takes thousands of years. The only broad-scale solution to ocean acidification is to reduce and stabilize carbon dioxide emissions right now to keep things from getting worse. ...

I bet we'll just innovate ourselves out of needing the ocean!


Wed, Aug 17, 2011
from PNAS, via IdahoStatesman.com:
Idaho trout face climate trouble, study finds
"Fundamentally, skepticism is a good thing in science," said Wenger, a fisheries researcher with Trout Unlimited in Boise. Both Wenger and Isaak, a fisheries biologist at the U.S. Forest Service's Rocky Mountain Research Station in Boise, were a part of a team of 11 scientists who said trout habitat could drop by 50 percent over the next 70 years because of a warming world. The paper, published Monday in the peer-reviewed science journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, predicts native cutthroat habitat could decline by 58 percent. The two men, who have devoted their lives to scientific research, say they depend on the scientific method and peer review to judge the quality of the research that underscores their findings. The climate predictions are based on 10 of the 20 climate models developed independently worldwide that all show the world is getting warmer. "The climate models have been right for 30 years and they are getting better all the time," Isaak said. The data these men have collected in the watersheds of the West shows the same trends, they said. And warmer water isn't the only problem. The research also shows that warmer winters are causing more winter floods that wash away the gravel that holds brook and brown trout eggs. The changing spring and summer flows give rainbow trout an advantage over native cutthroat trout in the rivers they share, allowing the invaders to crowd out the natives. And the forecast for the future is more unnerving to these researchers and anglers than even they want to believe. The most dire climate models show temperatures in Idaho rising an average of 9 degrees in 70 years, Wenger said. "That would make Boise pretty unpleasant," he said. "None of us want to believe that." But Wenger is a scientist. He may hope the models that predict only a 4- to 5-degree rise over 70 years are more accurate, but he has to use the science that is available. "I have to set aside my feelings and use the best data," he said. ...

If, of course, you believe in so-called "evidence."


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Wed, Aug 17, 2011
from Wired Science:
Ringing the Warning Bell: Colistin-Resistant Klebsiella
In all the latest bad news about bacteria becoming highly resistant -- through carbapenem resistance, or the "Indian supergene" NDM-1 -- there has been one hopeful thread: All of the organisms have remained susceptible to one very old, little-used drug called colistin. That might be about to change. Which would be very, very bad news. Writing in a recent issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, faculty from the University of Pittsburgh say they saw five patients last year with colistin-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae, a Gram-negative bacterium that is a frequent cause of very serious hospital infections and that has already become resistant to multiple classes of drugs.... There are a couple of observations that can be teased out of these cases. The first is that these infections tend to happen to people who are already very sick: in need of a transplant; or having gotten a transplant, and on immune system-suppressing drugs; or with traumatic injury. They are people who would have been at risk for hospital-acquired infections. The second is how these unexpectedly resistant hospital infections complicate the course of an already-sick patient. The victims in this outbreak were in the hospital from six weeks, in the shortest course, to six months in the longest. The third is that some treatment is thankfully still possible. The organism -- which was identical in four of the patients and negligibly different in the fifth -- still responded to tigecycline, a relatively new drug. But in the table of susceptibility and resistance published in the journal, tigecycline was manifestly the only drug that still worked. ...

My certainty that technology will conquer nature is being challenged.


Wed, Aug 17, 2011
from Guardian:
Mekong River dolphin population on the brink of extinction - WWF ‎
The Irrawaddy dolphin population in the Mekong River is at high risk of extinction, with numbers estimated at 85 and the survival of new calves very low, WWF said on Wednesday. Fishing gear, especially gill nets, and illegal fishing methods involving explosions, poison and electricity all appear to be taking a toll, with surveys conducted from 2007 to 2010 showing the dolphin population slowly declining. "Evidence is strong that very few young animals survive to adulthood, as older dolphins die off and are not replaced," said Li Lifeng, director of WWR's freshwater programme. "This tiny population is at risk by its small size alone. With the added pressure of gill net entanglement and high calf mortality, we are really worried for the future of dolphins." The Irrawaddy dolphins live in a 190km (118mile) section of the Mekong between Kratie, Cambodia and the Khone Falls, which are on the border with Laos. Research also shows that the population of dolphins in a small transboundary pool on the Cambodia-Laos border may be as few as seven or eight, WWF added, despite the fact that Irrawaddy dolphins are protected by law in both nations. ...

Explosions, poison, and electricity would take a toll on me, too!


Tue, Aug 16, 2011
from Michael Stafford, on DailyWorld:
A conservative's conversion on climate change
I am a "climate change convert." Like many conservatives, I was traditionally skeptical of the science supporting anthropogenic global warming. Today, I am skeptical no longer. Like conservative blogger D.R. Tucker, on this issue, I was ultimately "defeated by facts."... In my own case, I finally reached a point where I could no longer in good conscience deny the implications of the cumulative weight of so large a corpus of evidence. That body of evidence is extensive, and growing. For example, in 2010 the National Academy of Sciences issued what its president, Ralph J. Cicerone, deemed "the most comprehensive report ever on climate change." The report echoes many of the same findings as the earlier 2007 IPCC report that played a key roll in Tucker's conversion but includes five additional years' worth of evidence and data. And in 2010, the Pentagon identified climate change as a threat to our nation's security in its Quadrennial Defense Review for the first time.... In the end, my own reading and research made the following conclusions inescapable: today, there is no debate in the scientific community about whether the Earth is warming -- it is. There is also a nearly unanimous consensus that human activity is responsible for this warming. Given the foregoing, addressing climate change today is an ethical and moral imperative. Failing to do so is a repudiation of our responsibilities both to each other, and most particularly, to future generations. It is a breach of faith, trust, and duty, of enormous magnitude. ...

That's... so... beautiful....


Tue, Aug 16, 2011
from New York Times:
With Post-Its and Checklists, Schools Cut Their Energy Bills
Simple yellow Post-it notes with the message "When not in use, turn off the juice," pointedly left on classroom computers, printers and air-conditioners, have helped the Mount Sinai School District on Long Island save $350,000 annually on utility bills. Energy consumption in New York City's 1,245 school buildings is down roughly 11 percent since 2008, as motion detectors have been installed on classroom lights and unused refrigerators and freezers have been unplugged for the summer.... As part of the Bloomberg administration's campaign to reduce the municipal government's energy consumption and carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2017, the city awarded $100,000 in May to schools that voluntarily decreased their energy use in a monthlong competition. Martin Luther King Jr. Educational Campus in Manhattan won top honors with a 35 percent reduction. And this fall, rooftop solar panels are being installed on three school buildings.... In New Jersey, the schools in Holmdel Township have lowered their electric and gas bills by about half since 2009, to $1 million annually. In environmental terms, that breaks down to 3.5 million fewer kilowatts of power and 240,000 fewer therms of heat a year. "We're focused on energy reduction like crazy," said Dennis M. Walcott, the city's schools chancellor, who regularly checks on schools that he sees lighted up at night. ...

When school administrators become as bright as their students, who needs electricity?


Tue, Aug 16, 2011
from Bloomberg:
EPA's Outdated Tests Leave American Cars Guzzling Gas: View
At issue is how federal regulators calculate each automaker's Corporate Average Fuel Economy. Obscure as these CAFE ratings may be, their public policy impact is vast. Whenever the U.S. government tells automakers to boost their CAFE scores -- as it did this summer -- it transforms the next generation of cars Americans drive. The trouble is, the tests used to gauge fuel efficiency don't reflect the way we actually drive, especially on the highway. The government's highway test involves a top speed of 60 mph, an average speed of 48.3 mph, no use of heaters or air conditioners and an achingly slow initial acceleration in which it takes more than a minute to go from zero to 50 mph.... It would be one thing if this exercise in pokey driving produced equally distorted scores for all models. But the outmoded CAFE process risks short-changing cars with smart fuel- saving features in favor of others that are engineered for the test.... Under the current tests, the stated goal of 54.5 mpg by 2025 is a number that will be achieved only on paper, car experts say. In practical terms, hitting the CAFE target is likely to produce a more modest 40 mpg to 42 mpg in real-life driving, analysts say. ...

These are the consequences of the No Automobile Left Behind Act.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011
from Anchorage Daily News:
Human activities linked to warming and loss of sea ice
About half the recent record loss of Arctic sea ice can be blamed on global warming caused by human activity, according to a new study by scientists from the nation's leading climate research center. The peer-reviewed study, funded by the National Science Foundation, is the first to attribute a specific proportion of the ice melt to greenhouse gases and particulates from pollution. The study used supercomputers named Bluefire and Franklin and one of the world's most sophisticated climate models to reach its conclusions, said lead author Jennifer Kay, a staff scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. The paper was published last week in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters. In a telephone interview from Boulder, Colo., where NCAR is headquartered, Kay said her study was an attempt to learn how much Arctic Ocean melting can be attributed to "natural variability" -- complex changes wrought by non-human forces -- and how much has been caused by greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and by atmospheric particulates. ...

Nature + nurture = Apocalypse.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011
from Agence France-Press:
Shell silent on North Sea oil pipeline leak
Royal Dutch Shell Plc was silent yesterday on the status of an oil leak of unspecified size in the North Sea and authorities said they had no information on whether the leak had been stemmed, provoking anger from environmentalists. The Anglo Dutch oil major said on Friday that it had discovered the leak from a flow line at its Gannet Alpha Platform and said then it was working to stem the flow. The company declined to comment yesterday. ...

Playing a little shell game, eh?


Tue, Aug 16, 2011
from Washington Post:
White House mulls stricter smog standards
The White House is engaged in an intense debate over how much it should tighten national smog standards, an issue that has sparked a battle between business and public health groups. On Friday the Environmental Protection Agency announced it would "shortly" issue the final rules, which were delayed three times last year and again late last month. As the Office of Management and Budget reviews the agency's final proposal, which was submitted July 11, business groups have joined many state and local officials in launching a concerted push to delay any new standards until 2013...While the most polluted areas would have up to 20 years to meet the new standards, business leaders suggest it could delay the permitting of not only new industrial facilities but the expansion of existing ones. ...

These darn standards are in the way of us ruining the planet!


Mon, Aug 15, 2011
from Scientific American blogs:
Myths: Busted - Clearing Up the Misunderstandings about Organic Farming
The article1, by a PhD candidate named Christie Wilcox, was compromised by a slew of elisions and exaggerations. If the intention was to myth-bust, mark this one a fail: The article spread new misconceptions about the methods of organic food production. As the co-manager of an urban farm2 that uses organic practices, I was annoyed by the distortions in the article. So I'm pleased that the Scientific American editors have dedicated some space for a rebuttal.... Any approved sprays must either be produced from a natural substance or, if they are synthetic, must be proven to "not have adverse effects on the environment" or "human health."... She writes: "Why the government isn't keeping a watch on organic pesticide and fungicide is a damn good question." Well, actually, the government is -- through the highly detailed rules regarding organic certification.5 Farmers hoping to be certified as organic must keep records covering the "production, harvesting, and handling" of their crops -- and maintain those records (including receipts for purchases of any off-farm inputs like sprays) for at least five years. Organic growers also submit to an annual on-site inspection from an organic certifier. Yes, the certifiers are independent, non-government agencies, but the level of scrutiny is intense. No, the government doesn't record the use of non-synthetic pesticides on organic farms. And neither does it record the use of synthetic pesticides on individual industrial farms. A national law, FIFRA (the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act), expressly forbids the EPA from requiring pesticide applicators to report how they use synthetic chemicals6. The only information the federal government collects on pesticide usage is at the aggregate level.... Still, given the demands of yearly on-site inspections, it's fair to say that organic-certified farmers, ranchers, and processors are the most highly regulated sector of the US food system and consent to far more oversight than any industrial farmer.... It would make more sense, then, to reverse Wilcox’s question: Why the government requires far less reporting on the production methods of industrial farmers than it does reporting from organic farmers is a damn good question. The burden of proof seems askew. ...

What a silly question. Destructive agriculture is normal, after all.


Mon, Aug 15, 2011
from MSNBC:
Arctic voyage to study ocean's changing acidity
The world's oceans are getting more acidic, and a new mission to the Arctic will help scientists figure out what this means for delicate marine life. For the second straight year, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) will embark on a research cruise aboard the U.S. Coast Guard vessel Healy to the Arctic Ocean on Aug. 15 to collect water samples and other data to determine trends in ocean acidification from the least explored ocean in the world. What the scientists learn from the data collected during the seven-week cruise will provide an understanding of the extent to which the Arctic Ocean 's chemistry is changing and detail potential implications for carbonate species -- such as phytoplankton and shellfish -- that are vulnerable to greater ocean acidity created by climate change. "Ocean acidification can have broad global impacts on industry, ecosystems, tourism and policy, so it is of vital importance to determine trends and whether impacts are already occurring in oceans around the world," said USGS oceanographer Lisa Robbins. ...

Who knows? Maybe acidity is good for marine life!


Mon, Aug 15, 2011
from Huffington Post:
New Shellfish Poison Found In U.S. Waters Caused By Algal Bloom
The bright red skull-and-crossbones signs are hard to miss and increasingly common on Pacific Northwest beaches. A whole new fleet just popped up along the shores of a small bay between the Pacific Ocean and Puget Sound. On Friday, Washington State health officials reported the first U.S. illnesses linked to one particular strain of toxin triggered by an algal bloom. Three people came down with Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP) after eating mussels from Sequim Bay, in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The bay is now closed to shellfish harvesting.... Although the culprit biotoxin hadn't been previously detected at unsafe levels in U.S. shellfish, thousands of people in Europe, Asia and South America have reportedly suffered its unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms in recent years.... Excess nutrients entering the waterway, including fertilizers, pet waste and sewage, might also contribute to the proliferation of the microscopic marine plants. "A heavy rainfall could produce the last slug of nutrients for algae to start blooming in mass," said Moore. ...

Can't we just dump algaecide into the waters? How hard is that?


Mon, Aug 15, 2011
from Indian Country Today:
Navajo Aquifer Concerns May Prove True
For years, Native opponents of a massive strip mine on Black Mesa in northern Arizona have said longstanding extractive practices of Peabody Energy Corp. (formerly Peabody Western Coal Co.) have depleted a major aquifer on which they depend and a recent analysis seems to bear them out. "The mining-related impacts on the aquifer are more significant than have been recognized or acknowledged," said Dr. Daniel Higgins, who performed the analysis as part of Arid Lands Resource Studies, graduate interdisciplinary programs, University of Arizona, Tucson.... The aquifer Higgins studied for more than five years provides drinking water to Native communities and is a source of water below Black Mesa that feeds sacred springs. Opponents object to the further industrial use of the pristine aquifer water.... But it's not like a bank account, he explained,"because being able to see any change or reversal (in aquifer depletion) is going to take a tremendous amount of time in a large aquifer. The impacts will get worse before they get better--it's not like flipping a switch." A federal geochemical analysis in 1997 determined that 90 percent of the water in the N-Aquifer is 10,000 to 35,000 years old. "Technically, that 90 percent of the water is not replenishable on a human time-scale but only on a geological time-scale," he said. ...

"Industrial use" and "sacred springs" mix like coal and water.


Weeks' Archived

Sep 26 - Dec 31, 1969
Sep 19 - Sep 26, 2011
Sep 12 - Sep 19, 2011
Sep 5 - Sep 12, 2011
Aug 29 - Sep 5, 2011
Aug 22 - Aug 29, 2011
Aug 15 - Aug 22, 2011
Aug 8 - Aug 15, 2011
Aug 1 - Aug 8, 2011
Jul 25 - Aug 1, 2011
Jul 18 - Jul 25, 2011
Jul 11 - Jul 18, 2011
Jul 4 - Jul 11, 2011
Jun 27 - Jul 4, 2011
Jun 20 - Jun 27, 2011
Jun 13 - Jun 20, 2011
Jun 6 - Jun 13, 2011
May 30 - Jun 6, 2011
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Apr 25 - May 2, 2011
Apr 18 - Apr 25, 2011
Apr 11 - Apr 18, 2011
Apr 4 - Apr 11, 2011
Mar 28 - Apr 4, 2011
Mar 21 - Mar 28, 2011
Mar 14 - Mar 21, 2011
Mar 6 - Mar 14, 2011
Feb 27 - Mar 6, 2011
Feb 20 - Feb 27, 2011
Feb 13 - Feb 20, 2011
Feb 6 - Feb 13, 2011
Jan 30 - Feb 6, 2011
Jan 23 - Jan 30, 2011
Jan 16 - Jan 23, 2011
Jan 9 - Jan 16, 2011
Jan 2 - Jan 9, 2011
Dec 26 - Jan 2, 2011
Dec 19 - Dec 26, 2010
Dec 12 - Dec 19, 2010
Dec 5 - Dec 12, 2010
Nov 28 - Dec 5, 2010
Nov 21 - Nov 28, 2010
Nov 14 - Nov 21, 2010
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Nov 1 - Nov 7, 2010
Oct 25 - Nov 1, 2010
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Oct 4 - Oct 11, 2010
Sep 27 - Oct 4, 2010
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Sep 13 - Sep 20, 2010
Sep 6 - Sep 13, 2010
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