From the Washington Post:
Albatross named Wisdom astounds scientists by producing chick at age 62
From the Washington Post:
Albatross named Wisdom astounds scientists by producing chick at age 62
From Farm Industry News, reporting on the infestation of half of America’s farms by so-called superweeds, plants with genetic resistance to the glyphosate, the weedkiller in Monsanto’s market-dominating Roundup:
The area of U.S. cropland infested with glyphosate-resistant weeds has expanded to 61.2 million acres in 2012, according to a survey conducted by Stratus Agri-Marketing.
Nearly half (49%) of all U.S. farmers interviewed reported that glyphosate-resistant weeds were present on their farm in 2012, up from 34% of farmers in 2011. The survey also indicates that the rate at which glyphosate-resistant weeds are spreading is gaining momentum, increasing 25% in 2011 and 51% in 2012.
The Stratus Glyphosate Resistance Tracking study is conducted annually. It’s now in its third year. In 2012, Stratus completed interviews with nearly 3,000 farmers during the summer and fall.
Despite the nausea, constipation, and other sundry physical effects of the cancer chemotherapy we’re undergoing, we’d have to say the worst impact has been the creeping mental miasma.
Regular esnl readers have no doubt detected the results in the decline of frequency and depth of our posts, initially the result of the simple shock that comes from learning your body has turned on itself, followed by the physical shock of two surgeries.
Besides the loss of a cancerous bladder and prostate, we also find ourselves with a new means of draining our kidneys, thanks to the removal of a section of intestine and its reshaping into a conduct to carry urine from our surgically truncated uterers into a puckering pink urine-dripping extrusion [stoma] to the right of our navel.
There was pain after both surgeries [the first via catheter, the second by a large incision now commemorated in in a scar running betwixt navel to pubis, we stopped taking painkillers two days after leaving the hospital, leaving us an unwanted surplus of Percocets.
While the process of getting used to wearing what’s colorfully called an “urostomy bag” proved something of a trial, we managed to adapt to the stoma-drip-catching self-adhesive bags with the minimum of extra trips to the laundry.
But the biopsy showed the cancer, a rather rare micropapillary breed, had spread to at least one lymph node, and hence the four-month chemo regime, starting with our first double hit 8 January.
Of our three monthly sessions, the first is the real shit-kicker, a double dose of chemical cocktails administered over five hours. The nausea began on the second day, and lingered two more days, kept in relative check by another two-part chemical cocktail. Nine days of constipation began on the second day after the session, adding a whole new level of discomfort and ended only by a trip to the emergency room.
What still lingered was a peculiar sort of mental lethargy, a lingering mentational malady which allowed us to read a dozen hours a day but without the fuel to synthesize my responses into writing. Hence the decline in frequency of posting.
Our progeny and several friends had been urging us to get a medical marijuana letter, so we finally did, overcoming our natural inclination to add our name to yet another list.
So we became a member of a local medical marijuana club, and have now procured our first-ever California-legal weed. The only previous legal drugs we’d experienced had been our first dose of LSD in 1966, swallowed the night before it became illegal in Nevada, and hashish we bought at an Amsterdam coffee house in 2006 on the same trip where we bought a batch of just-plucked Psilocybin mushrooms procured from one of those now-closed Smart Shops legally offering both ’shrooms and live peyote cacti.
We mention this because we’re no strangers to cannabis, and we’ve done more than our share [1966-72] of psychedelics, with 2006 being our last experience of the latter.
We learned a lot about mind-altering drugs during our three-year service as scribe and block print carver for a Tantric Hindu artist and non-guru guru. The Tantrics and Shavites have developed a Prime Directive of cannabis use which we still follow: Never consume or ingest cannabis within three hours of eating. The reason is simple: Cannabis pulls blood into the brain, and when you consume while you’re digesting you create a conflict, with blood craved by the brain diverted to the digestive system, and leading to lethargy and sleepiness.
With a chemo-sensitized gut, we followed the rules today, and the result has been a distinct lifting of the mental lethargy, using the fruits of our visit to the Berkeley club a block from Casa esnl: A free Rhino Pellet [a cinnamon cookie made with cannabis-infused butter], an oral nocturnal cannabis and essential oil tincture [left], and a pinch of hash to brighten up our minor remnant of some seven-year-old Humboldt homegrown.
Our stomach is calm, our energy and mood increased to the point we tackled some serious house cleaning/organizing, and we’ve also done more posts than usual.
Intimations of other benefits
We also bear in mind that a growing body of research indicates that a non-psychoactive component of cannabis inhibits growth in cancer cells.
As San Francisco Chronicle reporter Victoria Colliver wrote last 18 September:
A growing body of early research shows a compound found in marijuana – one that does not produce the plant’s psychotropic high – seems to have the ability to “turn off” the activity of a gene responsible for metastasis in breast and other types of cancers.
Two scientists at San Francisco’s California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute first released data five years ago that showed how this compound – called cannabidiol – reduced the aggressiveness of human breast cancer cells in the lab.
“The preclinical trial data is very strong, and there’s no toxicity. There’s really a lot of research to move ahead with and to get people excited,” said Sean McAllister, who along with scientist Pierre Desprez, has been studying the active molecules in marijuana – called cannabinoids – as potent inhibitors of metastatic disease for the past decade.
The National Cancer Institute website is less adulatory on its Cannabis and Cannabinoids web page, noting only this:
No clinical trials of Cannabis as a treatment for cancer in humans were identified in a PubMed search; however, a single small study of intratumoral injection of delta-9-THC in patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme reported potential antitumoral activity.
Donald Abrams, chief of oncology at UCSF physician said this to NBC News:
“If this plant were discovered in the Amazon today, scientists would be falling all over each other to be the first to bring it to market.”
And consider this, from the Science Updates blog of Cancer Research UK:
Through many detailed experiments, handily summarised in this recent article in the journal Nature Reviews Cancer, scientists have discovered that various cannabinoids (both natural and synthetic) have a wide range of effects in the lab, including:
- Triggering cell death, through a mechanism called apoptosis
- Stopping cells from dividing
- Preventing new blood vessels from growing into tumours
- Reducing the chances of cancer cells spreading through the body, by stopping cells from moving or invading neighbouring tissue
- Speeding up the cell’s internal ‘waste disposal machine’ – a process known as autophagy – which can lead to cell death
All these effects are thought to be caused by cannabinoids locking onto the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. It also looks like cannabinoids can exert effects on cancer cells that don’t involve cannabinoid receptors, although it isn’t yet clear exactly what’s going on there.
And go here [PDF] for a 2010 metareview of medical studies, including Multiple Sclerosis, chronic pain, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, nausea, brain cancer, and more.
And another wrapup’s here.
The bottom line: Since we’re engaged in fighting cancer, we’ll take all the help we can get.
From James Howard Kunstler, writing at Clusterfuck Nation:
What’s obvious to me is what I have been fearing about this country for some time now: that all the disorders of our time would prompt a campaign to defend the status quo at all costs and to sustain the unsustainable. That is really the master wish behind all the political hijinks of the day, especially the pervasive accounting fraud in all high-order money matters. We see the comforts and conveniences of modernity slipping away and we’ll do anything to try to hang onto them, including lying to ourselves to such an immersive degree about what is really happening that we suppose we can manufacture a happy counter-reality. That’s at the heart of zero interest rate policies, and Federal Reserve manipulation of markets, and statistical misreporting from all the national agencies charged with adding things up. So, the Fed pumps its $90 billion-a-month and the Standard & Poor’s index inflates like an old tire while ten thousand more families get added to the food stamp rolls, and the banks sit on enough foreclosed property to fill the state of Indiana, and another 25-year-old college loan debt serf ODs on vodka and Xanax because he finally understands that even bankruptcy will not save him from perpetual penury.
Apparently, there are moments in history when nations just get lost. I maintain that things would go a whole lot better for us if we acknowledge what is actually going on, namely: a major shift of direction into economic contraction after 200-plus thrilling years of expanding energy resources and easy-to-get material riches. It’s in the nature of this world that things cycle and pulse, and we have entered a certain phase of the cycle that demands certain responses. We have to make the scale of human activities smaller, finer, simpler, and more rooted to the local particulars of place. We have to let go of WalMart and globalism and driving cars incessantly and attempting to manage the affairs of people half a world a way… and we just can’t imagine engaging with this endeavor. That is true poverty of imagination.
From Pro Publica:
Message from Mexico: U.S. Is Polluting Water It May Someday Need to Drink
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is one of the world’s leading research centers in nanotechnology, the fabrication of incredibly small particles of chemicals that behave in strange ways because of their very tiny size.
But there’s the potential for billions, even trillions in profits, so the rush to develop commercial applications surges forward, while concerns for the health of humans and the rest of the biosphere lag far behind.
From Heather Millar, writing in Orion magazine:
Some published research has shown that inhaled nanoparticles actually become more toxic as they get smaller. Nano–titanium dioxide, one of the most commonly used nanoparticles (Pop-Tarts, sunblock), has been shown to damage DNA in animals and prematurely corrode metals. Carbon nanotubes seem to penetrate lungs even more deeply than asbestos.
What little we know about the environmental effects of nanoparticles—and it isn’t very much—also raises some red flags. Nanoparticles from consumer products have been found in sewage wastewater, where they can inhibit bacteria that help break down the waste. They’ve been found to accumulate in plants and stunt their growth. Another study has shown that gold nanoparticles become more concentrated as they move up the food chain from plants to herbivores.
As a society, we’ve been here before—releasing a “miracle technology” before its potential health and environmental ramifications are understood, let alone investigated. Remember how DDT was going to stamp out malaria and typhus and revolutionize agriculture? How asbestos was going to make buildings fireproof? How bisphenol A (BPA) would make plastics clear and nearly shatterproof? How methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) would make gasoline burn cleanly? How polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were going to make electrical networks safer? How genetically modified organisms (GMOs) were going to end hunger?
UPDATE: A 1.8 aftershock with the same epicenter followed Friday at 4:59:17 p.m. measuring 1.8. Details here.
The epicenter was just above Grizzly Peak Boulevard at the eastern end of the Tilden Park golf course.
From the quake’s web page of the U.S. Geological website:
|Depth||8.4 km (5.2 miles)|
|Region||SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA, CALIFORNIA|
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 0.2 km (0.1 miles); depth +/- 0.2 km (0.1 miles)|
|Parameters||Nph= 44, Dmin=0 km, Rmss=0.08 sec, Gp=|
As we reported in detail last February, UC Berkeley is at the forefront of the government’s push to develop more efficient ways of using rare earths that are key to a range of so-called “clean energy” technologies, including one especially critical element, dysprosium.
From a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory announcement we included in a post last February:
Belonging to a family of elements known as lanthanides—also called rare earths—dysprosium and other rare earths are used in almost every high-tech gadget and clean energy technology invented in the last 30 years, from smart phones to wind turbines to hybrid cars. Although the United States was self-sufficient in rare earths or obtained them on the free market until the early 2000s, the vast majority are now mined in China and the supply has been subject to fluctuations. The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) aims to change the status quo by reviving the study of these critical materials to better understand how to extract them, use them more efficiently, reuse and recycle them and find substitutes for them.
With most of the world’s developed dysprosium supplies in China, along with other critical rare earths, the Obama administration has launched a major military shift, concentrating American naval forces in the Pacific while using legal pressure to force China to part with more of its stockpiles, resources critical for American high tech industry.
Now comes a new report from the Department of Energy revealing that no matter how much of China’s dysprosium goes on the market, it’s not going to be enough.
From the U.S. Department of Energy Critical Materials Strategy [PDF]. Click on the image to enlarge:
From the report:
Figure 4-4 illustrates the ranges of projections of global requirements for dysprosium oxide in magnets for wind turbines and vehicles, as well as non-clean energy use during the period of 2010–2025. These amounts are given in terms of dysprosium oxide because it is the commercial feedstock from which dysprosium metal is refined and NdFeB magnets are fabricated. Also included in Figure 4-4 are supply estimates for 2010 and 2010 plus additional individual mines, as well as an estimate for 2015 supply.
Figure 4-4 shows that the basic availability of dysprosium oxide is tight in the short term. Anticipated new mines will provide relatively little new supply—an additional 10%—by 2015. Global demand meets or exceeds projected 2015 supply under all four trajectories in the beginning of the medium term. Non-clean energy demand alone will lead to a supply-demand mismatch by the middle of the medium term under the assumed trajectory, highlighting the need for corresponding material intensity improvements or substitutes in non-clean energy technologies. Clean energy demand makes up a growing share of global dysprosium demand, increasing from 11% in 2010 to 52% in 2025 under Trajectory C. Demand for dysprosium oxide is roughly four-times as much for vehicles compared to wind turbines in 2025. In order to meet demand under Trajectory C, global production of dysprosium oxide needs to more than double by 2025. The developing supply-demand imbalance in the medium term under all trajectories highlights the importance of R&D on alternative approaches to heat management (a main function of the dysprosium content) in magnets or substitutes for NdFeB magnets in general in clean energy technologies.
It’s been a while since we’ve covered the agrofuel scene, that wondrous playground of billionaires, Al Gore, and UC Berkeley millionaire patent-mongering profs.
There’s a whole lot to report, but we’ll start with one of the sweetest scams ever, in which a clever Canadian figured out how to make millions off Uncle Sugar simply by shipping trains full of agrodiesel south across the border, then bringing them right back to Canada without ever unloading a drop.
Then we’ll look at the latest news from BP and the university it owns right here in Berkeley.
In a second part we’ll give you a brief update on one of Berkeley’s agrofuel startups that isn’t and the fate of another partnership spearheaded by the same prof who launched the startup.
Canadian newsies investigate
The Canadian scam, which appears to have been perfectly legal, was first reported 3 December by John Nicol and Dave Seglins, a pair of intrepid journalists for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
In their first story, the reporters cited reports that the tasnkers made their down-and-back trips between 15 and 28 June 2010, earning CN Rail a potential $23.6 million [Canadian] in charges.
From their report:
“In 25 years, I’d never done anything like it,” one railway worker told CBC News on the condition he not be named for fear he might be fired. “The clerk told me it was some kind of money grab. We just did what we were told.”
According to internal CN records, Train 503 shipped the biodiesel to Port Huron, Mich., from Sarnia, Ont.; Train 504 brought them back. The number of cars on the train would remain mostly the same, but cars were added and removed, between 68 and 89 cars at a time. As soon as the paperwork and car shuffling was completed, the trains made the return trip.
“This unit train will move at least once daily to Port Huron starting on Tuesday, June 18,” said an email written by Teresa Edwards, CN’s manager of transportation for Port Huron/Sarnia.
It will “clear customs and return to Sarnia. If we can get in more flips back and forth we will attempt to do so. Each move per car across the border is revenue generated for Sarnia/Port Huron.
“It will be the same cars flipping back and forth and the product will stay on the car.”
Damned fishy, right?
Why the hell would a company send a total of 1,984 tank cars full of fuel into the U.S., then bring them back without ever unloading them?
The reporters were back with a second story on the 20th, and it’s just as sordid as you might imagine.
It turns out the shipments were part of a deal by a Toronto-based company, which made several million dollars importing and exporting the fuel to exploit a loophole in a U.S. green energy program.
Bioversel Trading hired CN Rail to import tanker loads of biodiesel to the U.S. to generate RINs, which are valuable in the U.S. because of a “greening” policy regulating the petroleum industry. The EPA’s “Renewable Fuel Standard” mandate that oil companies bring a certain amount of renewable fuel to market, quotas they can achieve through blending biofuel with fossil fuel or by purchasing RINs as offsets.
Because RINs can be generated through import, the 12 trainloads that crossed into Michigan would have contained enough biodiesel to create close to 12 million RINs. In the summer of 2010, biodiesel RINs were selling for 50 cents each, but the price soon fluctuated to more than $1 per credit.
Once “imported” to a company capable of generating RINs, ownership of the biodiesel was transferred to Bioversel’s American partner company, Verdeo, and then exported back to Canada. RINs must be “retired” once the fuel is exported from the U.S., but Bioversel says Verdeo retired ethanol RINs, worth pennies, instead of the more valuable biodiesel RINs. Bioversel claims this was all perfectly legal.
However, one of the companies Bioversel approached to be the ‘importer of record’—Northern Biodiesel Inc. of Ontario, N.Y. — discovered that the same fuel was going back and forth across the border and the same gallons were being used to repeatedly generate new RINs under their company’s name. The company called the EPA and also sent a letter that would become an open letter to the biodiesel industry, accusing Bioversel of “trying to perpetrate a fraud against NBI and the Renewable Fuel Standard program.”
And what was the result? Were the whistleblowers rewarded for their virtuous reporting of their inadvertent involvement in a potential ripoff of American taxpayers?
The CBC reports:
Northern Biodiesel insisted the RINs issued were not valid because it had never received any bills of lading or chemical analysis reports from Verdeo, and thus Northern Biodiesel never reported/certified them with the EPA. However, millions of these RINs were sold in its name.
As a result, Northern Biodiesel RINs became tainted within the industry and [company owner Bob] Bechtold said that put him out of business.
“That was about the dumbest thing we ever did,” said Bechtold about the letter and coming forward to the EPA. “We thought we were saving the industry, doing good to protect the industry, but it ended up being the kiss of death for us, because we are no longer able to participate in the field.”
Why are we not surprised?
BP turning sour on cellulosic?
One of the most prominent names in Berkeley campus politics has been BP, once known as the Anglo Iranian Oil Company.
The oil giant’s $500 million Energy Biosciences Institute [EBI] effort to create next generation fuels at th Helios lab at UC Berkeley was the largest corporate funding ever on an American college campus, and the subject of some intense faculty politics after the school’s administration accepted the cash without the requisite consultation with the academic senate [which eventually voted an ex post facto approval].
The research, conducted in a purpose-built taxpayer-funded lab complex in downtown Berkeley, with the corporation occupying most of the space for its own proprietary research and the rest of the complex protected from prying eyes by campus security.
While the research has been going on for the past five years, one thing that hasn’t happened is the development of the technology for production of cost-effective internal combustion fuels from plant cellulose, the widely truumpeted goal of most of the research.
Chris Somerville, the multimillionaire bioentrepreneur who heads the Energy Biosciences Institute [EBI], admitted as much in an interview published earlier this month on the EBI website:
[I]t is probably premature to build a biorefinery for production of lignocellulosic fuels. Academic work in the field has not yet converged to an optimal process. As I said, we think that such an optimized process will be continuous. When we get to a situation where academic studies have converged on the most efficient process and predict economic feasibility without subsidies, then it will be appropriate to start building biorefineries. Some companies appear to have started building lignocellulosic fuel biorefineries because they have adequate confidence in their own technologies, they want to capture possible business advantages of being early movers, and (because of) pressure from the government to get on with it in order to preserve the subsidies that are currently available for advanced biofuels. I cannot evaluate the merit of these possible motivations. However, based on technical progress in the field, I remain very optimistic that we will eventually have a very large industry based on lignocellulose feedstocks.
Somerville has a habit of omitting inconvenient truths, as we learned early on when covering the birth of the EBI for the late Berkeley Daily Planet.
Back when he was selling campus colleagues and the community on the BP grant, he repeatedly claimed that the crops used for the new miracle fuels would be grown only on marginal land east of the Mississippi.
That was at best a gross distortion. First, the “marginal lands” were those which had been taken out of production under the federal Conservation Reserve Program, which was created to end farming on lands susceptible to catastrophic erosion. Lobbyists for Big Agra and Big Oil managed to get a law passed that removed the protection if the land is used for growing fuel crops — thus gutting a program created to head off a return of the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s.
The land also provides critical habitat for threatened and endangered wildlife Continue reading
From that erstwhile bastion of strait-laced propriety, the Smithsonian:
The Fungus in Your Cheese Is Having Weird Sex
From Tad Patzek, chair of the Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering Department at The University of Texas at Austin, and gathered from this post at his always enlightening blog, Lifeitself:
Historic production of crude oil in the U.S. is resolved into several Hubbert curves. The tallest one is the original Hubbert curve published in 1956. The smaller curves starting from 1960 were generated by producing shallow, deep and ultra-deep Gulf of Mexico, Alaska (mostly Prudhoe Bay), and then everything else that was not in the original curve: large waterflood projects, thermal and carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery (EOR) projects, horizontal wells, hydrofractured wells, etc. The broad curve peaking in 2002 was introduced in late 2002, and the model represented fairly well the U.S. crude oil production until 2010. The last small green curve on the right was introduced last month to describe the Bakken and Eagle Ford shales, as well as the increased production of crude oil from the Permian Basin near Midland, TX. The right-most black curve depicts a hypothetical production of 7 billion barrels of oil from the Arctic Natural Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska. So the last point on the blue step-line represents 5.7 MMbopd produced in the U.S. in 2011. This rate is predicted by EIA to grow to over 6 MMbopd in 2012.
The huge influx of corporate cash and a deceptive ad blitz convinced California voters to go against their own interests and defeat Proposition 37, which would’ve required the labeling of food derived from genetically modified organisms.
The gutted news media failed to report on the true scale of deception involved in the campaign, and the source of the paychecks for all those “experts” who appeared in the corporate-sponsored ad blitz. The corporateers won, and handily.
Here in Berkeley, neoliberal Mayor Tom Bates, who rolls over the instant he hears a corporateer’s or a real estate developer’s wallet open, win reelection, but two of his pet measures didn’t.
One, Measure S, was designed to “cleanse” the streets of the homeless, the victims of neoliberalism, by barring them from sitting or lying on the city’s sidewalks. Measure S was defeated by a narrow margin, losing by 1,055 of a total of 33,767 votes cast.
The mayor’s second major proposal, Measure T, would have gutted a citizen-crafted plan for the city’s shoreline region, allowing high-rise development in hopes of attracting “synthetic biology” and other corporate startups spawned by would-be billionaire scientists from the university up the hill.
The measure went down to defeat by 123 votes of a total of 31,611 votes cast.
For complete results from local races, see the Alameda County Registrar of Voters web page and click on “open all categories.”
First, a video report from Nature News:
And the story, from Charlotte Stoddart of Nature News:
Bees, the most important pollinators of crops, are in trouble. All over the world, their populations are decreasing and scientists and farmers want to know why. In some cases, such as the widely reported colony collapses in North America in 2006, it is probably down to disease. But a blooming crop of research suggests that pesticides are also to blame.
Earlier this year, two studies published in Science showed that colonies are severely affected when bees are exposed to neonicotinoid pesticides of the kind commonly sprayed on crops. In one study, exposure led to a significant loss of queens in colonies of bumblebees (Bombus terrestris). In the other, on honeybees (Apis mellifera), the insecticide interfered with the foragers’ ability to navigate back to the hive.
Now, in a study published in Nature, researchers at Royal Holloway, University of London, in Egham, UK, show that low-level exposure to a combination of two pesticides is more harmful to bumblebee colonies than either pesticide on its own. The results suggest that current methods for regulating pesticides are inadequate because they consider only lethal doses of single pesticides. As ecologist Nigel Raine explains in the video, low doses of pesticides have subtle effects on individual bees and can seriously harm colonies. He hopes that his work will feed into consultations on pesticide regulations that are happening now in Europe.
And while we’re on the subject of noxious effects of pesticides, consider this headline from Op-Ed News:
Six largest pesticide corporations funding effort to try to defeat GMO labeling Proposition 37
The latest quake, striking six minutes before this post, hit just four buildings south of U. C. Berkeley’s California Memorial Stadium, directly in front of the Alpha Chi Omega house at 2313 Warring Street.
Here’s the date from the quake’s U.S. Geological Survey web page:
|Depth||7.7 km (4.8 miles)|
|Region||SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA, CALIFORNIA|
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 0.2 km (0.1 miles); depth +/- 0.3 km (0.2 miles)|
|Parameters||Nph= 56, Dmin=1 km, Rmss=0.14 sec, Gp= 22°,
M-type=duration magnitude (Md), Version=1
Two stories from today’s Los Angeles Times.
First, about a woman who received minor injuries after coming across a mother bear and her cub:
Bear attacks woman walking dog; officials vow to kill it
Second, about an accident that occurred when a driver hit a deer laying on the road after it had apparently been struck by another driver:
Woman dies in vehicle crash after hitting deer in the road
From SUNY labor economist Lisa Krall, via The Daly News:
Perhaps the real question of progress is not how to forge a new energy frontier, but how to forge a different model of economic organization and purpose, a model that isn’t predicated on never-ending growth and a belief that there are no real biophysical limits.
When we first moved to California back in Nineteen-ought-sixty seven, our first earthquake experience literally scared the shit out of. Fortunately [or not] we were sitting on the porcelain throne when it happened — a truly terrifying place for a temblor neophyte to find oneself when the building creaks and groans and stuff falls off shelves.
These days we’re more blase about it, and first thoughts turn to guesstimates, as in “That felt like about a 3.2.”
But this video, captured by the Associated Press from the Tuesday night video feed from a town meeting in Waterboro, Maine when a 4.0 struck nine miles away in Hollis Center, reminds us on what that first quake was like:
Note that, unlike Californians, the folks from Maine weren’t quite sure at first just what had happened.
Maine wasn’t the only place not usually associated with quakes to feel the earth move recently.
Here’s a report from NDTV Canada about a 4.5 shaker that struck north of Montreal on the 11th:
Welcome to the wonderful world of earthquakes, Canadians and Mainers.
With Proposition 37, the California ballot measure to require labeling of foods, plunging in popularity because of a massive advertising campaign funded by Monsanto, DuPont, and other Big Agra giants, we decided it’s time to offer some support for the measure.
So here’s a documentary from Gary Null:
GMO Ticking Time Bomb – Part 1
GMO Ticking Time Bomb – Part 2
Monsanto has kicked in $7 million to the No on 37 campaign, with DuPont adding another $5 million. Altogether, the No camp has raised $34.6 million, compared to the $5.5 million raised by supporters of the measure.
Lisa Baertlein of Reuters reports on the impact:
An intense advertising blitz, funded by Monsanto Co and others, has eroded support for a California ballot proposal that would require U.S. food makers to disclose when their products contain genetically modified organisms.
For more than a week, an opposition group funded by Monsanto, PepsiCo Inc and others has dominated television and radio air time with ads portraying the labeling proposal as an arbitrary set of new rules that will spawn frivolous lawsuits and boost food prices, positions disputed by supporters of the proposed new measures.
Support for the GMO labeling proposal has plummeted to 48.3 percent from 66.9 percent two weeks ago, according to an online survey of 830 likely California voters conducted for the California Business Roundtable and Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy by M4 Strategies.
At the same time, the proportion of respondents likely to vote “no” on the measure – known as Proposition 37 – jumped to 40.2 percent from 22.3 percent two weeks ago, according to the survey results released on Thursday.
We’re voting yes.
From Spiegel, reporting on a climate change hybrid. And, yes, that’s what they call them:
As Arctic Melts, Polar and Grizzly Bears Mate
An important talk coming up this Thursday here in Berkeley with some excellent speakers, some of whom we know and respect.