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No Free Lunch, Part 3 of 3: Proof All this proves beyond any reasonable doubt that the biological mechanism of oil formation can be reproduced in the lab. So we can be sure of one thing: that the biological theory of oil formation has been proven as much as it is expected and necessary for a scientific theory. That means that you can't explain the rising oil prices as the result of a scientific conspiracy involving setting up a hoax called "the biological theory of oil formation." If the biogenic theory is not a hoax, it means that it is likely that oil is, after all, a limited resource. We should all consider the consequences of this fact. - In closing, we turn to the eminent Australian astrobiologist and geologist, Dr. Jonathan Clarke. Dr. Clarke has produced a list of 16 observations which must be explained by the abiotic hypothesis before it can be seriously considered. We ask that abiotic supporters use this as a checklist, and please do not bother us again until you have successfully addressed each and every one of these points. - We fully agree with Dr. Clarke: the geological evidence does not support the abiogenic hypothesis. (From the Wilderness)
Viewing cable 05OTTAWA268, PLACING A NEW NORTH AMERICAN INITIATIVE IN ITS ECONOMIC POLICY CONTEXT An incremental and pragmatic package of tasks
for a new North American Initiative (NAI) will likely gain
the most support among Canadian policymakers. Our research
leads us to conclude that such a package should tackle both
"security" and "prosperity" goals. This fits the
recommendations of Canadian economists who have assessed the
options for continental integration. While in principle
many of them support more ambitious integration goals, like
a customs union/single market and/or single currency, most
believe the incremental approach is most appropriate at this
time, and all agree that it helps pave the way to these
goals if and when North Americans choose to pursue them. (WikiLeaks)
Commandos Get Duty on U.S. Soil Somewhere in the shadows of the White House and the Capitol this week, a small group of super-secret commandos stood ready with state-of-the-art weaponry to swing into action to protect the presidency, a task that has never been fully revealed before (New York Times)
Britain's Abu Ghraib As if we haven't seen enough disgusting images of soldiers torturing Iraqi prisoners, a new set of photos depicting British abuses in Basra emerged Tuesday. And for Airbus, the biggest challenge for the A380 is yet to come: billions of euros in airport expansions (Der Spiegel)
Special forces 'on the ground' in Iran In an article in the latest edition of the New Yorker, Hersh, who was the first to uncover US human rights abuses against Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison last year, reports that Pakistan, under a deal with Washington, has been supplying information on Iranian military sites and on its nuclear programme, enabling the US to conduct covert ground and air reconnaissance of Iranian targets, should the escalating row over Iran's nuclear ambitions come to a head (London Guardian)
More Bitter Pills For Big Pharma: Patents are expiring on blockbuster drugs, and there's not much in the pipelines -- Executives fear that Washington will get tough in the wake of the Vioxx debacle Last year, Merck & Co. made pharmaceutical history as the company that suffered the greatest agony due to a pain remedy. In September, Merck withdrew Vioxx, its $2.5 billion pain medication, after a study confirmed fears that the drug raised the risk of heart attacks.
Within weeks, Merck had plenty of company: A study linked Pfizer Inc.'s (PFE ) Celebrex to heart problems. Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY ) warned of potential liver problems with Strattera, a drug for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. AstraZeneca PLC (AZN ) disclosed that Iressa, a lung cancer treatment, did not extend patients' lives. And Crestor, a cholesterol-lowering drug from the same company, fell under scrutiny for potential side effects. By the end of the year, all this heat was battering pharmaceutical company valuations and misting future prospects for drug stocks.
The current year is unlikely to mark a return of robust health for the drug sector. A preliminary estimate from business information and consulting firm IMS Health (RX ) shows drug sales in the U.S. will be up 9.5% this year, to $259 billion. That's a tad better than 2004, with estimates showing sales rising 9%. But it's hardly a stellar performance: The industry hadn't posted single-digit growth since 1994. (Bloomberg)
Bush & Bin Laden George W. Bush Had Ties to Billionaire bin Laden Brood - The unexplained death of Salem, Osama bin Laden's oldest brother, in 1988, brought to an abrupt end a long and intriguing relationship between President Bush and the head of the bin Laden family fortune (American Free Press)
Phanerozoic Carbon Dioxide This figures shows estimates of the changes in carbon dioxide concentrations during the Phanerozoic. Three estimates are based on geochemical modeling: GEOCARB III (Berner and Kothavala 2001), COPSE (Bergmann et al. 2004) and Rothman (2001). These are compared to the carbon dioxide measurement database of Royer et al. (2004) and a 30 Myr filtered average of those data. Error envelopes are shown when they were available. The right hand scale shows the ratio of these measurements to the estimated average for the last several million years (the Quaternary). Customary labels for the periods of geologic time appear at the bottom.
Direct determination of past carbon dioxide levels relies primarily on the interpretation of carbon isotopic ratios in fossilized soils (paleosols) or the shells of phytoplankton and through interpretation of stomatal density in fossil plants. Each of these is subject to substantial systematic uncertainty.
Estimates of carbon dioxide changes through geochemical modeling instead rely on quantifying the geological sources and sinks for carbon dioxide over long time scales particularly: volcanic inputs, erosion and carbonate deposition. As such, these models are largely independent of direct measurements of carbon dioxide.
Both measurements and models show considerable uncertainty and variation; however, all point to carbon dioxide levels in the past that have been signifcantly higher than they are at present. While the GEOCARB Carbon dioxide levels in the most part of the Phanerzoic Eon shows a fit and resultíng climate sensitivity similar to todays values, the early Phanerozoic includes a global ice age during the Ordovician age combined with high atmospheric carbon contents based on the same project. There have been different speculations about the reasons but no acknowledged mechanism so far.
Copyright - This figure was prepared by Robert A. Rohde from published data and is incorporated into the Global Warming Art project. (Wikipedia)
World Health Organization planning "During a pandemic, it may be necessary to overrule existing legislation or (individual) human rights. Examples are the enforcement of quarantine (overruling individual freedom of movement), use of privately owned buildings for hospitals, off-license use of drugs, compulsory vaccination or implementation of emergency shifts in essential services." (World Health Organization)
France Finds No Evidence of Hijack Plot U.S. intelligence officials told their French counterparts that members of the al-Qaida terrorist network would try to board the planes over Christmas - None of the passengers on the canceled flights, including those questioned at the airport, were known to French intelligence authorities or found to have links with Islamic extremist groups, the official said. (Associated Press)
NATO’s secret armies linked to terrorism? According to a document compiled by the Italian military secret service in 1959, the secret armies had a two-fold strategic purpose: firstly, to operate as a so-called “stay-behind” group in the case of a Soviet invasion and to carry out a guerrilla war in occupied territories; secondly, to carry out domestic operations in case of “emergency situations”. (ISN Security Watch)
Got Hormones The Controversial Milk Drug That Refuses To Die - FDA Veterinarian Richard Burroughs said that agency officials “suppressed and manipulated data to cover up their own ignorance and incompetence.” (News With Views)
Covert X-rays tested as security tool Department of Homeland Security spokesman Donald W. Tighe said in a statement: ''We look forward to working with the FDA and other federal, state, and local partners in evaluating what protective measures are put in place and what technologies are used, balancing security and privacy with public health." (Boston Globe)
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