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Sacramento International Airport May Replace TSA With Private Security The Sacramento International Airport is considering making a security change, and it could mean getting rid of TSA agents.
Long lines and long faces are usually what TSA security checkpoint employees see everyday.
But now the airport may be the third largest airport in the country to replace these government workers with ones from a private company.
ďItís a win-win for everything has no bearing on security procedure or the processes the public has become accustomed to,Ē said Linda Beech Cutler, Sacramento International Airport.
So far passengers at large airports like San Francisco and Kansas City are becoming accustomed to the same plan already in place.
Fourteen smaller airports around the country have also joined the screening partnership program. (CBS)
Ben Heck talks about fitting custom 3D printer in briefcase, Q nods in approval (video) The last time we ran into Ben Heck, the tinkerer extraordinaire was waxing poetic at Maker Faire about the Raspberry Pi and cheese curds. One more thing he also talked about, however, was his latest 3D printer project, which he now explains in greater detail in the latest episode of the Ben Heck Show. Improvements made to the device include use of a Birdstruder for easier access to the filament and the ability to print off an SD card if you don't have a computer handy. The 3D printer also sports an expanded 200-square-millimeter print area with a solid copper cover for added sturdiness and accuracy. As usual, size matters for Mr. Heckendorn so the device got a boost in portability, now neatly folding James Bond-like into a briefcase that measures 18 x 14 x 4.2 inches. Interested in a briefcase printer of your own? Well, Heckendorn mentioned during the Maker Faire interview that he's already working on an improved version and thinking about putting it up on Kickstarter so hope springs eternal. In the meantime, you can glean more details about the device by checking out the video after the break. (Engadget)
Batman Colorado shooting: James Holmes fixated by altered states of mind James Holmes, the alleged "Joker" gunman, described his fascination with altered states of mind in a lecture to other students, and dosed up on prescription medication before the atrocity, it emerged on Sunday. - The first video footage of the suspect showed him as an awkward, nervous 18-year-old giving a talk at a science summer camp in San Diego on "temporal illusions". It also emerged that in the days before the attack, Holmes, a cannabis smoker, joined a dating website seeking women for "sexy times" and also tried to join a gun club.
The University of Colorado said it was investigating whether he used his position as a neuroscience PhD student to order materials that he used to booby-trap his apartment.
Holmes, 24, is accused of shooting dead 12 people and injuring 58 in the rampage during a premiere of Batman film The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado. Police said the death toll could have been even higher because a semi-automatic AR-15 assault rifle jammed during the attack, forcing the gunman to use a less powerful weapon.
After the massacre Holmes calmly told detectives he had taken 100mg of the prescription painkiller Vicodin, and identified himself as "The Joker". The same drug was found in the system of actor Heath Ledger when he died of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs in 2008. Ledger played The Joker in the previous Batman film The Dark Knight. Vicodin side-effects can include euphoria, paranoia and, in rare cases, hallucinations. (London Telegraph)
Jill Tarter: A Scientist Searching For Alien Life As a child, astronomer Jill Tarter would walk along the beaches of western Florida with her father and look up at the stars.
"I assumed, at that time, that along some beach on some planet, there would be a small creature walking with its dad and they would see our sun in their sky, and they might wonder whether anyone was there," she tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "But I never thought about it professionally until graduate school."
In graduate school, Tarter worked on a project designed to search radio frequencies for clues about extraterrestrial life forms. The project, known as SERENDIP, was part of the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) program based at the University of California, Berkeley.
Tarter got hooked ó and has devoted her life to the search for extraterrestrial life. Over the course of her career at SETI, she's searched nearby star systems for signs of alien life and headed up efforts to create new telescopes to scan the skies for signals. (National Public Radio)
Aurora Shooting Mirrored Training Exercise on Same Day Near Denver Correction: Monday's CLG Newsletter lead included the following headline, 'Aurora Shooting Mirrored Training Exercise on Same Day Near Denver.' I linked to a summary of a 21 July article, 'Real life shooting imitates training exercise at Parker medical school,' written by Nancy Lofholm of The Denver Post. The first sentence of the article read, "The tragedy that played out in an Aurora movie theater Friday was ironically paralleled as a classroom learning experience in a medical school in Parker the same day." Ms. Lofholm kindly informed me of the following correction: "The movie-shooting exercise didn't happen until the day after the shooting. The school was using three scenarios and that was one of them." The exercises were "on-going" and took place Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. They were part of two weeks of general disaster training. I want to express my thanks to Ms. Lofholm for this info! I am passing this correction along to CLG readers with my apologies for implying that the Aurora shooting exercise took place on the same day that the theater incident was unfolding, when, in fact, that particular training exercise transpired after the shooting, on Saturday. --LRP 23 Jul 2012 (Citizens for Legitimate Government)
London on alert for terror attack ahead of Olympic Games Agents from Israelís elite intelligence organisation, Mossad, are hunting Iranian-backed terrorists in Europe, who are allegedly planning an ďanniversaryĒ attack 40 years after the Munich massacre, Britain's The Sunday Times reports.
The fears come as tensions rise over the International Olympic Committee refusal to commemorate the killing of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches by Palestinian terrorists on September 5, 1972.
In preparation for an Olympic terror assault, panic rooms for VIPs and spectators have been set up beneath Londonís Olympic Stadium to protect them from being taken hostage or killed, according to The Sunday Times. (Herald Sun)
Real life shooting imitates training exercise at Parker medical school The tragedy that played out in an Aurora movie theater Friday was ironically paralleled as a classroom learning experience in a medical school in Parker the same day.
Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine is in the middle of holding specialized classes in disaster life support for 150 second-year medical students. Along with response to natural disasters like hurricanes and floods and terrorist attacks, one of the scenarios being used to train the students is how to respond if a shooter fires at people in a movie theater and also uses a bomb in the attack.
"The irony is amazing, just amazing," said Rocky Vista Dean Dr. Bruce Dubin.
He said emergency specialist physicians from Parkland Hospital in Dallas as well as from several other emergency programs around the country are teaching the Advanced Disaster Life Support Training. Rocky Vista is the only medical school in the nation to make that training a part of the curriculum. (The Denver Post)
£13tn hoard hidden from taxman by global elite Study estimates staggering size of offshore economy; Private banks help wealthiest to move cash into havens - A global super-rich elite has exploited gaps in cross-border tax rules to hide an extraordinary £13 trillion ($21tn) of wealth offshore -- as much as the American and Japanese GDPs put together -- according to research commissioned by the campaign group Tax Justice Network.
James Henry, former chief economist at consultancy McKinsey and an expert on tax havens, has compiled the most detailed estimates yet of the size of the offshore economy in a new report, The Price of Offshore Revisited, released exclusively to the Observer.
He shows that at least £13tn -- perhaps up to £20tn -- has leaked out of scores of countries into secretive jurisdictions such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands with the help of private banks, which vie to attract the assets of so-called high net-worth individuals. Their wealth is, as Henry puts it, "protected by a highly paid, industrious bevy of professional enablers in the private banking, legal, accounting and investment industries taking advantage of the increasingly borderless, frictionless global economy". According to Henry's research, the top 10 private banks, which include UBS and Credit Suisse in Switzerland, as well as the US investment bank Goldman Sachs, managed more than £4tn in 2010, a sharp rise from £1.5tn five years earlier. (London Guardian)
After National Gathering, Is There Room for Insurrectionary Anarchism in Occupy? On a scorching afternoon recently in Philadelphia's Franklin Square, where Occupy's National Gathering participants had set up a daytime base, small circles of people - from gray-haired peace activists and Code Pink members clutching candy-colored parasols, to crust punks rolling cigarettes in the shade and many more - relaxed in advance of a final evening march. It would be the end of a weeklong summit of assemblies and discussions (with a march here and there for good measure), which brought over 500 hundred Occupy participants together from around the country, but passed without media fanfare.
It's a tall order, vying for attention in Philadelphia over the July 4th holiday. Even the impressive Independence Day fireworks show, which drew in around half a million revelers, was outshone that night when an electrical storm lit up the hot sky like a strobe. But the National Gathering (or NatGat, if we're going by Twitter parlance) was not necessarily aiming for spectacle. The idea, according to organizers, was to bring Occupy participants together from around the country to share and focus visions for the movement. Pundits have noted the relatively small attendance as an index for Occupy's death. But for many anarchists and radicals heavily involved in Occupy's first swell, NatGat was a nail in a different coffin altogether: the death of "Occupy" as the banner du jour under which experimental, insurrectionary action could be fostered. (Anarchist News)
British troops to mind gap at Olympics When a private firm failed to meet its promise of providing enough guards for the Olympics, the British military was called in to "mind the gap" - in security.
But even though the government is bringing in those troops - as well as RAF Typhoon combat jets, surface-to-air missiles on rooftops and an aircraft carrier on the River Thames - organizers say it will still look like the Summer Games, and not war games. - Security has been a critical concern for the Olympics ever since 11 Israeli athletes and coaches died in a terrorist attack at the 1972 Munich Games. British authorities have planned for a threat level for the London Games of "severe," meaning an attack is "highly likely." (Associated Press)
In Barcelona, a Living Wall Is More Than Architecture: It's 'Vegitecture' The environmentally-minded designers at Barcelona firm Capella Garcia Arquitectura take the idea of ďgreen livingĒ to heart. Their latest project, helmed by partners Juli Capella and Miguel Garcia, reimagines and reinvents a unsightly wall left behind from a former building demolition. Their solution: a completely natural makeover.
Completed in March, the ďGreen Side-Wall,Ē promoted by the Barcelona City Council, is a foray into what the firm has christened ďvegitecture,Ē or a vertical garden with emphasis on the structure's original architecture. The main material responsible for bringing a breath of fresh air to the residential area: Plantsóoxygen-producing, living green that cascades down the once plain wall. (Good)
Giant sunspot shoots out intense, X-class solar flare The R3 (Strong) Radio Blackout today at 12:49 EDT (1649 UTC) was accompanied by an earth-directed CME. Hampered by limited observations of the event, SWPC forecasters are now anticipating the passage of the [coronal mass ejection] around 1:00 a.m. EDT, Saturday, July 14. G1 (minor) Geomagnetic Storm activity is expected to then ensue through the rest of the day.
In short, NOAA is predicting minor effects from this space weather event - no major impacts on the power grid or satellites anticipated - although we remind you forecasting space weather is difficult and surprises are possible. Sky watchers in northern U.S. (and high latitudes) may have an opportunity to see aurora late Friday night into early Saturday morning.
Original post, from 2:30 p.m.: A massive sunspot region facing Earth - known as 1520 - has unleashed a large solar flare. NOAAís Space Weather Prediction Center says the flare is rated an X1.4. This type of flare is considered ďstrongĒ and can cause a blackout of high frequency radio communication on the sunlit side of Earth for one to two hours.
It is not yet known whether the flare was accompanied by a coronal mass ejection (CME) - an outburst of particles that can trigger a geomagnetic storm on Earth and damage the electrical grid. (Washington Post)
New Homeland Security Laser Scanner Reads People At Molecular Level WASHINGTON (CBSDC) Ė The Department of Homeland Security will soon be using a laser at airports that can detect everything about you from over 160-feet away.
Gizmodo reports a scanner that could read people at the molecular level has been invented. This laser-based scanner Ė which can be used 164-feet away ó could read everything from a personís adrenaline levels, to traces of gun powder on a personís clothes, to illegal substances ó and it can all be done without a physical search. It also could be used on multiple people at a time, eliminating random searches at airports.
The laser-based scanner is expected to be used in airports as soon as 2013, Gizmodo reports.
The scanner is called the Picosecond Programmable Laser. The device works by blasting its target with lasers which vibrate molecules that are then read by the machine that determine what substances a person has been exposed to. This could be Semtex explosives to the bacon and egg sandwich they had for breakfast that morning. (CBS)
Why Eugenics Will Always Fail I don't think I'm taking a bold stance by saying that any real attempt at eugenics is indefensible. Practically speaking, though, eugenics is just as much of a bust as it is morally. We can't positively select for "better people," and we may face dire consequences if we try to weed out genetic problems, too.
"Should" is a rather vague English word. Saying we "shouldn't" do something can mean that it is immoral to do it or that it won't have the desired result. When it comes to eugenics, we tend to circle around the first kind of "shouldn't," without paying attention to the second. Eugenics programs of the past have lead to attempted genocide, mass sterilization, and garden variety needless suffering. There are plenty of reasons for people to cut off the conversation about eugenics at the moral. Too often, though, that leaves the practical drawbacks unexamined. Beyond the possibility of bungling the job, there are concrete reasons why eugenics just wouldn't work. (io9)
Hidden Government Scanners Will Instantly Know Everything About You From 164 Feet Away Within the next year or two, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will instantly know everything about your body, clothes, and luggage with a new laser-based molecular scanner fired from 164 feet (50 meters) away. From traces of drugs or gun powder on your clothes to what you had for breakfast to the adrenaline level in your bodyóagents will be able to get any information they want without even touching you.
And without you knowing it.
The technology is so incredibly effective that, in November 2011, its inventors were subcontracted by In-Q-Tel to work with the US Department of Homeland Security. In-Q-Tel is a company founded "in February 1999 by a group of private citizens at the request of the Director of the CIA and with the support of the U.S. Congress." According to In-Q-Tel, they are the bridge between the Agency and new technology companies.
Their plan is to install this molecular-level scanning in airports and border crossings all across the United States. The official, stated goal of this arrangement is to be able to quickly identify explosives, dangerous chemicals, or bioweapons at a distance.
The machine is ten million times fasteróand one million times more sensitiveóthan any currently available system. That means that it can be used systematically on everyone passing through airport security, not just suspect or randomly sampled people. (Gizmodo)
Obama gives himself control of all communication systems in America US President Barack Obama quietly signed his name to an Executive Order on Friday, allowing the White House to control all private communications in the country in the name of national security.
President Obama released his latest Executive Order on Friday, July 6, a 2,205-word statement offered as the ďAssignment of National Security and Emergency Preparedness Communications Functions.Ē And although the president chose not to commemorate the signing with much fanfare, the powers he provides to himself and the federal government under the latest order are among the most far-reaching yet of any of his executive decisions. (Russia Today)
London Cracks Down on Security for Olympic Games
Facing fears of an attack from al Qaeda or the IRA, Brits are flexing their military muscle and doubling down on surveillance cameras, Mike Giglio reports. Let the games begin. - As the 2012 Olympics approach, London may soon see surface-to-air missiles installed atop some of its apartment buildings, as residents learned by way of government-issued flyers earlier this year. The HMS Ocean, Great Britainís largest warship, will be moored on the banks of the Thames for the extent of the Games. Typhoon fighter jets will patrol the skies, and Puma helicopters will be at the ready with airborne snipers. More than 13,000 British soldiers, meanwhile, will reportedly be deployedómore than the United Kingdom currently has posted in Afghanistan.
A couple push a pram and walk their dog behind a Rapier Missile Battery, which has been deployed next to residential housing at Blackheath on May 3, 2012 in London, England in preparation for the Olympics. (Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images)
The message intended by this flexing of military muscle is clear. ďAll of these things say to sophisticated terrorists: London is expecting you. London is prepared,Ē says Patrick Mercer, a member of Parliament and former chairman of the governmentís sub-committee on counter-terrorism. ďDonít try it.Ē (The Daily Beast)
Debating the Local Food Movement Pierre Desrochers gleefully introduces himself as the bÍte noir of Canadian local-food activists. An economic geographer at the University of Toronto Mississauga, he has written a book (co-authored with his wife, Hiroko Shimizu), that attempts to eviscerate the movementís main arguments, from its economic rationale to its environmental one. Even the book's title is an upper cut aimed at local foodís leading "agri-intellectual," the prolific Michael Pollan. The Locavoreís Dilemma, Desrochers has styled his counterargument, with this baiting subtitle: In Praise of the 10,000-mile diet.
A libertarian-leaning academic with a thick French-Canadian accent, Desrochers was in Washington, D.C., last week to present the book to what has undoubtedly been one of his friendlier audiences thus far, at the libertarian Cato Institute. He is particularly bemused by the notion that anyone would try to produce local food "when it makes no economic sense," when we have developed over the course of centuries an international and increasingly efficient system for feeding the world affordable bananas and blueberries and lamb year-round. Locavores Ė and their kind have popped up throughout history Ė have traditionally championed local food, he says, for no reason other than that itís local. (The Atlantic)
Proposed Sacramento ordinance would restrict actions outside City Hall Strumming a ukulele on the front lawn of Sacramento's historic City Hall on a sunny afternoon last week, Michael Hanson broke one proposed law after another.
He was making noise with something other than his voice. He had signs, a table and a chair. He was harming what's left of the front lawn by, well, standing on it.
At least he didn't have a fog machine.
"We've never had a fog machine," he said. "At least not that I know of."
That's a relief, given that the city is exploring placing strict rules on how the land surrounding the historic and nearby newer City Hall is used Ė including prohibiting fog machines.
While city officials insist Hanson and his fellow Occupy Sacramento protesters were not the inspiration for the new guidelines, many of the proposed violations under debate are committed by Occupy members every day.
Under an ordinance to be considered by the City Council's Law and Legislation Committee later this month, violators would be subject to fines of $250 to $25,000 for breaking laws set forth in the proposed "Use of the City Hall Facility" ordinance. Those who defy the rules would be guilty of misdemeanors. (Sacramento Bee)
Woo hoo! 'Shrooms and acid party at my house tonight! We do not have a rational drug policy. There are potent and dangerous drugs that are socially accepted because hey, weíve always drunk alcohol and smoked cigarettes, while there are milder, far less dangerous drugs that are damned because theyíre new and unfamiliar. And so we throw people in prison for long jail terms if they are caught with some marijuana, while people can go out every weekend and drink themselves into an abusive, obnoxious state, and we just tell them theyíre cool.
It is possible to take an objective look at the effects of various drugs on individuals and society, and ask ďwhereís the harm?Ē Hereís an example, the dangers of an array of drugs characterized and ranked. (Science Blogs)
An Astronautís Incredible Photos of "Star Trails" -- Looking at Earth from the International Space Station.
When he is not flying around Earth at about 18,000 miles per hour, out on space-walks or performing weird zero-gravity experiments, astronaut Don Pettit takes some of the most astounding space photos to date. The images, which look straight out of 2001: A Space Odyssey, as has been noted around the web, were taken 240 miles up in space by combining multiple 30-second exposure photos, and then stacking them together with imaging software. The resulting ďstar trailĒ images, as he calls them, essentially show the paths made by stars and earth lights over 10 to 15 minutes.
All images below were taken by Don Pettit from NASA. (Slate)
Is Bilderberg a conference on world affairs or a powerful global cabal? Depends on who you ask. A dull office park near Dulles International Airport took on the sheen of a Hollywood thriller this week, when an invitation-only cadre of global leaders gathered for a secretive meeting known as the Bilderberg conference.
Henry Kissinger and Bill Gates were chauffeured in. Fairfax County police established a security perimeter around the Westfields Marriott and prohibited a Washington Post photographer from snapping pictures from a public street. (Washington Post)
Germany sets solar record, meets half of electricity demand Germany's investment in renewables has seen the country set the world record for photovoltaic energy generation at 22 gigawatts per hour -- or approximately 50 percent of German electricity demand.
A spate of good weather has helped the country break the record, along with the fact that the milestone was reached on 26 May: a Saturday, with factories and offices closed. However, on 25 May a third of electricity generated in the country still came from solar generators. (Wired)
Terrorist Plots, Hatched by the F.B.I. THE United States has been narrowly saved from lethal terrorist plots in recent years ó or so it has seemed. A would-be suicide bomber was intercepted on his way to the Capitol; a scheme to bomb synagogues and shoot Stinger missiles at military aircraft was developed by men in Newburgh, N.Y.; and a fanciful idea to fly explosive-laden model planes into the Pentagon and the Capitol was hatched in Massachusetts.
But all these dramas were facilitated by the F.B.I., whose undercover agents and informers posed as terrorists offering a dummy missile, fake C-4 explosives, a disarmed suicide vest and rudimentary training. Suspects naÔvely played their parts until they were arrested.
When an Oregon college student, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, thought of using a car bomb to attack a festive Christmas-tree lighting ceremony in Portland, the F.B.I. provided a van loaded with six 55-gallon drums of ďinert material,Ē harmless blasting caps, a detonator cord and a gallon of diesel fuel to make the van smell flammable. An undercover F.B.I. agent even did the driving, with Mr. Mohamud in the passenger seat. To trigger the bomb the student punched a number into a cellphone and got no boom, only a bust.
This is legal, but is it legitimate? Without the F.B.I., would the culprits commit violence on their own? Is cultivating potential terrorists the best use of the manpower designed to find the real ones? Judging by their official answers, the F.B.I. and the Justice Department are sure of themselves ó too sure, perhaps (New York Times)
Air Force Instruction 14-104 -- Oversight of Intelligence Activities -- OPR: AF/A2RP This publication implements Air Force Policy Directive (AFPD) 14-1, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Planning, Resources, and Operations and is consistent with Executive Order (EO) 12333 (part 2), United States Intelligence Activities; Department of Defense (DoD) Regulation 5240.1-R, Procedures Governing the Activities of DoD Intelligence Components That Affect United States Persons; DoD Directive, and (DoDD) 5240.1, DoD Intelligence Activites. This publication states the requirements for United States Air Force intelligence oversight activities. In this publication, the term intelligence refers to intelligence and counterintelligence units, activities,, etc. It describes mandatory intelligence oversight-associated training requirements for Air Force components that conduct intelligence activities. (US Air Force)
An ikaite record of late Holocene climate at the Antarctic Peninsula Zunli Lua, Rosalind E.M. Rickabyb, Hilary Kennedyc, Paul Kennedyc, Richard D. Pancostd, Samuel Shawe, Alistair Lennief, Julia Wellnerg, John B. Andersonh - Abstract:
Calcium carbonate can crystallize in a hydrated form as ikaite at low temperatures. The hydration water in ikaite grown in laboratory experiments records the δ18O of ambient water, a feature potentially useful for reconstructing δ18O of local seawater. We report the first downcore δ18O record of natural ikaite hydration waters and crystals collected from the Antarctic Peninsula (AP), a region sensitive to climate fluctuations. We are able to establish the zone of ikaite formation within shallow sediments, based on porewater chemical and isotopic data. Having constrained the depth of ikaite formation and δ18O of ikaite crystals and hydration waters, we are able to infer local changes in fjord δ18O versus time during the late Holocene. This ikaite record qualitatively supports that both the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age extended to the Antarctic Peninsula. (Earth and Planetary Science Letters)
Medieval warming WAS global -- new science contradicts IPCC -- 'It was consensual' claims looking shaky More peer-reviewed science contradicting the warming-alarmist "scientific consensus" was announced yesterday, as a new study shows that the well-documented warm period which took place in medieval times was not limited to Europe, or the northern hemisphere: it reached all the way to Antarctica.
The research involved the development of a new means of assessing past temperatures, to add to existing methods such as tree ring analysis and ice cores. In this study, scientists analysed samples of a crystal called ikaite, which forms in cold waters.
ďIkaite is an icy version of limestone,Ē explains earth-sciences prof Zunli Lu. ďThe crystals are only stable under cold conditions and actually melt at room temperature.Ē
Down in the Antarctic peninsula that isn't a problem, and Lu and his colleagues were able to take samples which had been present for hundreds of years and date their formation. The structure of Ikaite, it turns out, varies measurably depending on the temperature when it forms, allowing boffins to construct an accurate past temperature record. (The Register)
Scientists use rare mineral to correlate past climate events in Europe, Antarctica The first day of spring brought record high temperatures across the northern part of the United States, while much of the Southwest was digging out from a record-breaking spring snowstorm. The weather, it seems, has gone topsy-turvy. Are the phenomena related? Are climate changes in one part of the world felt half a world away?
To understand the present, scientists look for ways to unlock information about past climate hidden in the fossil record. A team of scientists led by Syracuse University geochemist Zunli Lu has found a new key in the form of ikaite, a rare mineral that forms in cold waters. Composed of calcium carbonate and water, ikaite crystals can be found off the coasts of Antarctica and Greenland.
ďIkaite is an icy version of limestone,Ē say Lu, assistant professor of earth sciences in SUís College of Arts and Sciences. ďThe crystals are only stable under cold conditions and actually melt at room temperature.Ē (Syracuse University)
Why the Global Warming Skeptics Are Wrong The threat of climate change is an increasingly important environmental issue for the globe. Because the economic questions involved have received relatively little attention, I have been writing a nontechnical book for people who would like to see how market-based approaches could be used to formulate policy on climate change. When I showed an early draft to colleagues, their response was that I had left out the arguments of skeptics about climate change, and I accordingly addressed this at length.
But one of the difficulties I found in examining the views of climate skeptics is that they are scattered widely in blogs, talks, and pamphlets. Then, I saw an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal of January 27, 2012, by a group of sixteen scientists, entitled ďNo Need to Panic About Global Warming.Ē This is useful because it contains many of the standard criticisms in a succinct statement. The basic message of the article is that the globe is not warming, that dissident voices are being suppressed, and that delaying policies to slow climate change for fifty years will have no serious economic or environment consequences.
My response is primarily designed to correct their misleading description of my own research; but it also is directed more broadly at their attempt to discredit scientists and scientific research on climate change.1 I have identified six key issues that are raised in the article, and I provide commentary about their substance and accuracy. They are:
ē Is the planet in fact warming?
ē Are human influences an important contributor to warming?
ē Is carbon dioxide a pollutant?
ē Are we seeing a regime of fear for skeptical climate scientists?
ē Are the views of mainstream climate scientists driven primarily by the desire for financial gain?
ē Is it true that more carbon dioxide and additional warming will be beneficial?
As I will indicate below, on each of these questions, the sixteen scientists provide incorrect or misleading answers. At a time when we need to clarify public confusions about the science and economics of climate change, they have muddied the waters. I will describe their mistakes and explain the findings of current climate science and economics. (The New York Review of Books)
The NSA Is Building the Countryís Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say) The spring air in the small, sand-dusted town has a soft haze to it, and clumps of green-gray sagebrush rustle in the breeze. Bluffdale sits in a bowl-shaped valley in the shadow of Utahís Wasatch Range to the east and the Oquirrh Mountains to the west. Itís the heart of Mormon country, where religious pioneers first arrived more than 160 years ago. They came to escape the rest of the world, to understand the mysterious words sent down from their god as revealed on buried golden plates, and to practice what has become known as ďthe principle,Ē marriage to multiple wives.
Today Bluffdale is home to one of the nationís largest sects of polygamists, the Apostolic United Brethren, with upwards of 9,000 members. The brethrenís complex includes a chapel, a school, a sports field, and an archive. Membership has doubled since 1978óand the number of plural marriages has tripledóso the sect has recently been looking for ways to purchase more land and expand throughout the town.
But new pioneers have quietly begun moving into the area, secretive outsiders who say little and keep to themselves. Like the pious polygamists, they are focused on deciphering cryptic messages that only they have the power to understand. Just off Beef Hollow Road, less than a mile from brethren headquarters, thousands of hard-hatted construction workers in sweat-soaked T-shirts are laying the groundwork for the newcomersí own temple and archive, a massive complex so large that it necessitated expanding the townís boundaries. Once built, it will be more than five times the size of the US Capitol.
Rather than Bibles, prophets, and worshippers, this temple will be filled with servers, computer intelligence experts, and armed guards. And instead of listening for words flowing down from heaven, these newcomers will be secretly capturing, storing, and analyzing vast quantities of words and images hurtling through the worldís telecommunications networks. In the little town of Bluffdale, Big Love and Big Brother have become uneasy neighbors.
The NSA has become the largest, most covert, and potentially most intrusive intelligence agency ever. (Wired)
UC DAVIS NOVEMBER 18, 2011 "PEPPER SPRAY INCIDENT" TASK FORCE REPORT "THE REYNOSO TASK FORCE REPORT" Our overriding conclusion can be stated briefly and explicitly. The pepper spraying
incident that took place on November 18, 2011 should and could have been
On November 18, 2011, University of California, Davis, police officers used pepper spray
on students sitting in a line in the midst of a protest and ďoccupationĒ on the campus
quad. Viral images of the incident triggered immediate and widespread condemnation of
the police action.
To assist the Task Force with fact finding and the identification of best practices in
policing, the University engaged Kroll, Inc., an internationally known risk management
firm. Kroll completed the final draft of its report on Feb. 22, 2012 (the ďKroll ReportĒ).
The Kroll Report describes at length the events leading up to this incident. In brief, at
approximately 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 17, 2011, tents were erected on the
Quad at the Davis campus. The Administration decided to remove the tents, instructing
police to do so at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, November 18, 2011. While attempting to remove
tents, the police arrested several individuals. Subsequently, in the midst of a growing
group of people, the police officers employed pepper spray to remove several students
linking arms in a line across a walkway in the Quad.
The UC Davis protest focused on and drew strength from widespread discontent among
students about the increase in tuition and fees at the University of California. The
incident also took place against the backdrop of worldwide student protests, including
demonstrations by the Occupy Wall Street movement, which triggered similar events
across the nation. These protests presented challenges for all affected universities and
municipalities in attempting to balance the goals of respecting freedom of speech,
maintaining the safety of both protesters and non-protesters, and protecting the
legitimate interests of government and the non-protesting public.
In the immediate aftermath of the UC Davis incident, University of California President
Mark G. Yudof announced the appointment of former California Supreme Court Justice
Cruz Reynoso to chair a Task Force to address the pepper spraying of UC Davis students.
This was a result of a request from Chancellor Katehi for an independent investigation to
review the incident and report findings and recommendations to enable peaceful and
nonviolent protests. All Task Force members are either currently or were once affiliated
with UC Davis and most were nominated by relevant campus organizations. (University of California)
Ron Paul 43%, Obama 41% For the first time ever, Ron Paul leads Barack Obama in a hypothetical 2012 matchup. In the latest Rasmussen poll, Paul earns 43% of the vote, while the current president attracts support from 41%.
Ten percent (10%) would vote for some other option, a figure that includes 17% of Republicans. Ron Paul leads by 13 among men and trails by eight among women. Paul also picks up 15% of the vote from self-identified liberals. (Ron Paul)
Davis votes to support repeal of Citizens United ruling Yesterday, the city of Davis voted unanimously to support Assembly Joint Resolution 22. The text of the resolution passed by the Davis city council can be found here. AJR 22 is working its way through California's state legislature; the bill would urge Congress to begin the process of a Constitutional Amendment in order to overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling. The Citizens United Supreme Court decision is what allows Corporations and "Super PACS" to spend unlimited funds on any individual candidate or party they choose.
Davis joins New York City and Portland in calling on Congress to begin the process of a Constitutional Amendment for campaign finance reform. The effort in Davis, like in these other cities, was spearheaded by the Occupy Davis group. Occupy is developed growing momentum for repealing the Citizens United ruling that many see as swinging the door of corruption completely open. (Examiner)
Is This the End of Market Democracy? The 2012 election will offer voters a stark choice between right and left alternatives.
President Obama is calling for:
investing in things like education that gives everybody a chance to succeed. A tax code that makes sure everybody pays their fair share. And laws that make sure everybody follows the rules. Thatís what will transform our economy. Thatís what will grow our middle class again.
Republicans, in turn, are denouncing the expansion of a Democratic ďentitlement societyĒ and what they see as a trend toward European social democracy. They are calling for sharply reduced taxes, regulation and government spending to free market forces and revive private sector economic growth.
While Americans are going to be able to choose between two contrasting ideologies, what if both choices are off the mark? What if the legitimacy of free market capitalism in America is facing fundamental challenges that the candidates and their parties are not addressing?
Here are some of the issues that are making some politicians and political thinkers uneasy:
Are large segments of the American workforce ó millions of people ó at a structural disadvantage in the face of global competition, technological advance and ever more sophisticated forms of automation? Is this situation permanent?
Will the share of profits from improving corporate productivity flowing to capital and to high-earning C.E.O.s continue to grow, while the income of wage earners stagnates and their share of profits declines?
Has the surging wealth and income of the top one percent and of the top 0.1 percent reached a tipping point at which the political leverage of the very affluent decisively outweighs the influence of the electorate at large?
Is it possible that in the United States and Europe, democratic free market capitalism is no longer capable of providing broadly shared benefits to a solid majority of workers? (New York Times)
FBI foils alleged suicide bomb attack on U.S. Capitol The FBI has arrested a suspect who was en route to the U.S. Capitol allegedly to detonate a suicide bomb, USA TODAY's Kevin Johnson reports.
Update at 4:50 p.m. ET: A bail hearing has been set for 29-year-old Amine El Khalifi of Alexandria, Va., an unemployed Moroccan who authorities said is in the United States illegally. He arrived when he was 16 and overstayed his visitor's visa.
According to a counterterrorism official, El Khalifi "expressed interest in killing at least 30 people and considered targeting a building in Alexandria and a restaurant, synagogue and a place where military personnel gather in Washington before he settled on the Capitol after canvassing that area a couple of times," the Associated Press writes. During the year-long investigation, El Khalifi detonated explosives at a quarry in the capital region with undercover operatives. He is not believed to be affiliated with al-Qaeda, officials said. - According to a counterterrorism official, El Khalifi "expressed interest in killing at least 30 people and considered targeting a building in Alexandria and a restaurant, synagogue and a place where military personnel gather in Washington before he settled on the Capitol after canvassing that area a couple of times," the Associated Press writes. During the year-long investigation, El Khalifi detonated explosives at a quarry in the capital region with undercover operatives. He is not believed to be affiliated with al-Qaeda, officials said. (USA Today)
Newest anti-Keystone activists: Tea Partiers If thereís anything the Tea Party hates, itís whatever the government is doing right now. Which means greens have picked up some unusual allies in the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline: Texas Tea Partiers who think the project violates property rights.
ďCrippling someoneís water supply knows no party line,Ē said Rita Beving, consultant to the bipartisan East Texas Sub-Regional Planning Commission. A Republican mayor and a Democratic city secretary lead the groupís fight against the pipeline.
TransCanada has shown itself willing to use eminent domain to acquire land to build the pipeline. The company says it prefers to come to ďvoluntary agreementsĒ whereby landowners sell their land, but just on the off chance that you would rather not give up your land and instead keep your land, theyíre prepared to take it. This sits about as well with Tea Partiers as a gay clinic escort melting down a gun and turning it into a hammer and sickle. (Grist)
Robots will steal your job, but that's okay: How to Survive the Coming Economic Collapse You are about to become obsolete. You think that you are special, unique, and that whatever it is that you are doing is impossible to replace. You are wrong.
As we speak, millions of algorithms created by computer scientists are frantically running on servers all over the world with one sole purpose: do whatever we used to do, but better. These algorithms are intelligent computer programs, permeating the substrateof our society. They make financial decisions, they predict the weather, they suggest which countries will wage war next. Soon, there will be little left for us to do: machines will take over.
Does that sound like a futuristic fantasy? Maybe so. This argument is proposed by a growing, yet still fringe, community of thinkers, scientists and academics, who see the advancement of technology as a disruptive force which will soon transform our entire socio-economic system, forever. According to them, the displacement of labour by machines and computer intelligence will increase dramatically over the next decades. Such changes will be so drastic and quick that the market will not be able to abide in creating new opportunities for workers who lost their job, making unemployment not just part of a cycle, but structural in nature and chronically irreversible. It will be the end of work as we now it. (io9)
Timeline of celebrities killed by Big Pharma: Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, Farrah Fawcett, Elvis and more The recent death of pop icon Whitney Houston has once again sparked worldwide awareness of the fragility of human life, and how easily it can slip away in an instant. But what Houston's death has also brought to the forefront is the reality that, under the auspices of treating disease, FDA-approved pharmaceutical drugs are a primary cause of death in the U.S., as well as within the entertainment industry.
Over the years, NaturalNews has covered the deaths of numerous celebrities, singers, actors, and cultural icons that met their fates because of prescription drug overdoses. Some of these individuals died as a result of misusing pharmaceutical drugs, while others were literally out of their minds as a result of taking them, which made them particularly prone to the careless and even suicidal behaviors that ultimately led to their deaths.
Below we have put together a short timeline of celebrity deaths caused by pharmaceutical drugs. While we recognize that some of these individuals deliberately misused both prescription and illicit drugs, resulting in their deaths, some of them were arguably heavily influenced by these highly-addictive drugs in the first place, which caused them to further abuse dangerous, but legal, prescription drugs, and often under the guidance of their doctors. (Natural News)
Tony Bennett Is Right That Legalizing Drugs Would Save Lives "First it was Michael Jackson, then it was Amy Winehouse and now the magnificent Whitney Houston. I'd like to have every gentleman and lady in this room commit themselves to get our government to legalize drugs. So they have to get it through a doctor, not just some gangsters that sell it under the table."
That's what Tony Bennett said at a pre-Grammy Awards party on Saturday night, shortly after learning of the tragic death of Whitney Houston, and he's exactly right. One of us (Neill) is a former police officer who fought -- and lost friends -- on the front lines of the failed "war on drugs." One of us (Katharine) learned about the commonality of human pain in another difficult way, spending two years in a residential facility ("rehab"). She wasn't there for drugs, but many of those struggling alongside her were.
There has been some confusion and criticism over Bennett's remarks and, because of our experience dealing with the pain and heartbreak of drug abuse and harmful drug laws, we feel compelled to expand upon his heartfelt remarks in the hopes that we can help break through some of the misunderstanding underlying the reaction to what Bennett said. (Huffington Post)
The Top Twelve Reasons Why You Should Hate the Mortgage Settlement As readers may know by now, 49 of 50 states have agreed to join the so-called mortgage settlement, with Oklahoma the lone refusenik. Although the fine points are still being hammered out, various news outlets (New York Times, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal) have details, with Dave Dayenís overview at Firedoglake the best thus far.
The Wall Street Journal is also reporting that the SEC is about to launch some securities litigation against major banks. Since the statue of limitations has already run out on securities filings more than five years old, this means theyíll clip the banks for some of the very last (and dreckiest) deals they shoved out the door before the subprime market gave up the ghost.
The various news services are touting this pact at the biggest multi-state settlement since the tobacco deal in 1998. While narrowly accurate, this deal is bush league by comparison even though the underlying abuses in both cases have had devastating consequences.
The tobacco agreement was pegged as being worth nearly $250 billion over the first 25 years. Adjust that for inflation, and the disparity is even bigger. That shows you the difference in outcomes between a case where the prosecutors have solid evidence backing their charges, versus one where everyone know a lot of bad stuff happened, but no one has come close to marshaling the evidence. (Naked Capitalism)
49-State Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Will Be Finalized Thursday Forty-nine states, every one but Oklahoma, as well as federal regulators will participate in a foreclosure fraud settlement that will release the five biggest banks (Wells Fargo, Citi, Ally/GMAC, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America) and their mortgage servicing units from liability for robo-signing and other forms of servicer abuse, in exchange for $25 billion in funding for legal aid, refinancing, short sales, restitution for wrongful foreclosures and principal reduction for underwater borrowers. The announcement will be made on Thursday.
This settlement arises from multiple abuses found in the servicing of loans and the foreclosure process over the past several years. At the height of the housing bubble, banks sliced and diced mortgages and traded them with little regard for the rules following land recording or securitization to such a sloppy extent that they lost track of the true owner on potentially millions of homes. To cover up for this massive failure, banks and their servicing units have been found to have routinely forged, back-dated and fabricated documents at county recorder offices and state courts across the country. Furthermore, they employed ďrobo-signers,Ē who signed hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of documents and affidavits without any knowledge of the underlying mortgages. In addition, investigations uncovered massive servicing abuses, including illegal fees charged to borrowers, putting borrowers into foreclosure at the same time as they were working out loan modifications, failing to honor previous settlements where promises were made on modifications, and countless other errors that maximized servicer profits and gouged homeowners. There are also cases of wrongful foreclosures where homeowners have been turned out of their homes without just cause, and servicer-driven foreclosures, where servicers illegally added late fees and applied payments inaccurately, pushing the homeowner into foreclosure. This is but a smattering of the examples of foreclosure fraud and servicer abuse found in a series of interlocking investigations, court depositions, reviews of documents in registers of deeds offices, and homeowner testimonials. (Fire Dog Lake)
Ron Paul Secretly Won the Caucuses They all laughed at Ron Paul. They all laughed when he took a stage in Minnesota, having come in a solid second place, and reminded the faithful of a "little thing called delegates!"
They were serious about it. Paul's people believe that they understand the delegate process, and that the media does not. There is truth here: The delegate process is confusing, and I assume that Paul supporters have used their four years of organizing and studying in a fruitful manner. In an e-mail to supporters, they try to get granular about what's occuring. (Slate)
Mindful Eating as Food for Thought TRY this: place a forkful of food in your mouth. It doesnít matter what the food is, but make it something you love ó letís say itís that first nibble from three hot, fragrant, perfectly cooked ravioli.
Now comes the hard part. Put the fork down. This could be a lot more challenging than you imagine, because that first bite was very good and another immediately beckons. Youíre hungry.
Todayís experiment in eating, however, involves becoming aware of that reflexive urge to plow through your meal like Cookie Monster on a shortbread bender. Resist it. Leave the fork on the table. Chew slowly. Stop talking. Tune in to the texture of the pasta, the flavor of the cheese, the bright color of the sauce in the bowl, the aroma of the rising steam.
Continue this way throughout the course of a meal, and youíll experience the third-eye-opening pleasures and frustrations of a practice known as mindful eating.
The concept has roots in Buddhist teachings. Just as there are forms of meditation that involve sitting, breathing, standing and walking, many Buddhist teachers encourage their students to meditate with food, expanding consciousness by paying close attention to the sensation and purpose of each morsel. In one common exercise, a student is given three raisins, or a tangerine, to spend 10 or 20 minutes gazing at, musing on, holding and patiently masticating. (New York Times)
Sacramento's Utilities Rates Advisory Commission approves water rate hikes Sacramento's Utilities Rates Advisory Commission voted 5-2 to raise water rates in the city by $19 a month over the next three years. The reason for the rate hike? It is to gain a loan from Goldman Sachs to renovate an aging water system. But that loan is going to raise water and sewer bills from $57 monthly to $350 a month in just 15 years.
The city council still must give its approval before the rate cuts are final. But officials seem more and more in support of this measure. City Council members must hear from their constituents that these rate hikes are unsustainable. In a city with near 11 percent unemployment, raising water and sewer bills will only put more financial strain upon the city's residents.
Also residents should be aware that this loan comes with a $10.8 million underwriting fee for Goldman Sachs. The loan itself would total $1.8 billion, and Goldman Sachs would also be making profit off that through interest. Sacramento is a city that is already struggling with painful budget cuts. Sacramento has had to lay off police and firefighters, as well as hundreds of teachers and other city employees. The city has closed libraries, and discontinued other public services. Can the city afford this loan? (Examiner)
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