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WELCOME to our web site

Who are we? Our organization includes researchers, engineers, teachers, students, service providers and community members engaged in analyzing, teaching and applying basic scientific principles for the common good. We focus on how scientific discoveries are made and utilized by our society: Who benefits? Who does not, and why?

We have meetings about once a month. to plan activities, and to discuss readings and topics for articles. We also publish an occasional newsletter - click on link under Sections to the left to see the complete archive. If you would like to receive information by e-mail about our events, please write to dcmetrosftp@aol.com

SftP's NATIONAL ORGANIZATION has been revived! Fourteen local groups throughout the US (including one in Mexico) have already affiliated. The website is

and the relaunched SftP magazine is now at

The list serve, which was started in 1998, continues to be active at
producing high-quality articles and discussions about the issues we focus on here. Go to the link, read the articles (open to all) and sign on to the list serve!

And, see our own Newsletter archive for original articles by DC Metro Science for the People members

                                           ============================   2019 ============================




On April 14, 2018, thousands of people around the world gathered to march for science and to hold elected and appointed officials responsible for enacting equitable evidence-based policies that serve all communities and support science for the common good.

See coverage in Science News






<<< Past events >>>


==>Apr 2017 <==

Earth Day /Climate Action Week

Science for the People Events

Sunday April 23rd 2017    7-10pm  3 Events
  La Casa 3166 Mt. Pleasant St., NW WDC
  Columbia Heights Station, Green Line Metro, also S2, S4, 42, and 43 bus lines

=>Reception 7:00 pm
=>Panel and Community Discussion:8:00 pm  Military Recruitment, the Psychology   of Killing and War
=>Community Discussion: Why Did We March, and Where Do We Go From Here?

Tuesday April 25th  7-10pm  2 events
St Stephen and the Incarnation Church, 1525 Newton St  NW W
   Columbia Heights Station, Green Line Metro, also S2, S4, 42, and 43 bus lines
=>Panel: Community Lens: Public Transportation in the DMV
=>Panel: The Challenges of Climate Change, Militarism, and Extractionism


Thursday April 27th  7-10pm  2 events
St Stephen and the Incarnation Church,1525 Newton St  NW WDC
Columbia Heights Station, Green Line Metro, also S2, S4, 42, and 43 bus lines

=>Community Discussion:  Food Justice and the Fight Against Hunger
=>Panel  :Updates on Drug Laws and its Local Ramifications, Challenging Forensic    Evidence, and a Brief Discussion of the History of Drug Experimentation


DETAILS of SftP events:

SUNDAY APRIL 23RD    7-10pm
La Casa  3166  Mt. Pleasant St., NW  WDC
Columbia Heights Station, Green Line Metro, also S2, S4, 42, and 43 bus lines

Reception 7:00 pm

Discussion: 8:00 pm  Military Recruitment, the Psychology of Killing and War

Pat Elder is director of the National Coalition to Protect Student Privacy, working to prohibit the automatic release of student information to military recruiting services from the nation's high schools. Counter-Recruit.org, documents the deceptive practices used by the US military to recruit students into the armed forces.  Pat is author of Military Recruiting in the United States, which provides a fearless and penetrating description of the deceptive practices of the U.S. military as it recruits American youth into the armed forces. The book describes how the military encourages first-person shooter games and places firearms into the hands of thousands using the schools, its JROTC programs, and the Civilian Marksmanship Program to inculcate youth with a reverence for guns.

Maria Santelli has served as executive director of the Center on Conscience & War since 2011. Previously, Maria was coordinator of the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice. In that capacity, Maria organized Another Side: Truth in Military Recruiting, bringing the voices and experiences of combat and other veterans to thousands of students across the state and in Indian Country. In 2008, Maria became the founding director of the New Mexico GI Rights Hotline, providing direct services and resources to callers and serving as a leading voice statewide on issues affecting service members and veterans, including conscientious objection, military sexual violence, post-traumatic stress disorder, and truth in recruitment.

 Ray McGovern leads the “Speaking Truth to Power” section of the Tell the Word activity created by Gordon Cosby, Bill Branner, and Kayla McClurg of the Church of the Saviour. A former co-director of the Servant Leadership School (1998-2004), Ray has been teaching there for more than 20 years. A CIA analyst serving seven Presidents,Ray’s duties were for him an earlier genre of “speaking truth to power” – and included responsibility for conducting the morning briefing of the President’s Daily Brief.After retirement, Ray helped create Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) to expose the unconscionable way intelligence had been “fixed” to “justify” attack on Iraq. The media tells us the intelligence was “mistaken;” yet another lie.  No mistake, it was out-and-out fraud. Rayhad an unusual chance to challenge then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on this: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=v1FTmuhynaw.  Things did not work out quite so well for Ray five years later when he challenged then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by a silent standing witness: http://www. democracynow.org/2011/2/18/ex_ cia_analyst_ray_mcgovern_ beaten

Community Discussion:  "Why We Marched On April 22nd and Where Do We Go From Here"
Irv Weiner, Moderator
Charles Van  Verharen (Ethics and Technology)

TUESDAY APRIL 25TH   7-10pm - 2 panels
St Stephen and the Incarnation Church, 1525 Newton St  NW WDC
Columbia Heights Station, Green Line Metro, also S2, S4, 42, and 43 bus lines

7-8:30 pm
Panel: Community Lens: Public Transportation in the DMV 

A look at one of our region's most crucial resources; public transportation. This panel will explore how equity, worker rights, and our changing climate are connected. How does air pollution, climate security, and health converge with current plans for WMATA? Hear from local experts as they share their view of the current state of public transit in our region. Panelists will offer community solutions for how we can have a robust public transportation system that is safe, reliable, affordable, and reduces the impact of climate change. 

Moderator: Sigute Meilus , Executive Director, Americans for Transit


Zuri Tesheira: ATU Local 689
Ben Ross: Action Committee for Transit
Claudia Barragan:  Environmental Justice Committee, DC Sierra Club
David Schwartzman: DC Statehood Green Party

Americans for Transit
Environmental Justice Committee, DC Sierra Club
Economic Justice and Climate Change/Environmental Justice Committees, Metro DC
DC Metro Science for the People
DC Statehood Green Party

8:30-10 pm
Panel: The Challenges of Climate Change, Militarism and Extractivism
Speakers include:

David Schwartzman  (Prof.  Emeritus, Howard Univ, biogeochemist, environmental scientist www.solarUtopia.org)

Climate Catastrophe or The Other World that is still Possible.  Summary: I will address the status of international (Paris) agreement to confront climate change, the challenges to curb both greenhouse gas emissions from the energy and agricultural sector, the way forward to still make possible an effective prevention program keep warming below 1.5 deg C including the main obstacle, the Military Industrial (Fossil Fuel Nuclear State Terror and Surveillance) Complex. Finally why  removing this obstacle will open up a path of ecosocialist transition out of the global system of capitalism, and why extractivism can be greatly reduced as a result

Sankar Sitaraman is Assoc. Prof., Mathematics Dept., Howard Univ.  He has developed and taught  “Patterns in Environmental Mathematics” and organizer of  Nature Lovers’ Meetup   http://nature-lover.net/math

Sankar  will present A Gandhian Approach to Climate Change.  Climate change is not simply an environmental issue, it is also a socio-political and moral issue that involves questions of injustice and inequality.  As such it is perhaps dealt with better by adopting the approach taken by Gandhi in India and the civil rights leaders in the U.S.  What are some non-violent actions that can be taken to awaken people’s sense of fairness and responsibility to the planet and their fellow human beings?  How could we communicate and work together to solve this problem in a way that does not create violence, anger and division?  How do we live in a way that is sustainable but also sets an example and inspires more people to do the same? 

John Tharakan is a Prof in the College of Engineering and Architecture at Howard Univ. His research interests are in environmental biotechnology, appropriate technology development, education and social justice, sustainable development, and the ethics and philosophy of technology. He serves as Faculty Adviser to HU’s Engineers Without Borders, which takes students to work in developing communities on appropriate technology projects to deliver clean water and renewable energy. 

John will discuss Appropriate Technology, which empowers people from the grassroots and the ground up. It’s focus is human centered, focused on sustainability and justice, promoting access to water, renewable energy, safe and healthy food, clean air, access to health care, education, information and communications technologies, all while promoting ecological sustainability. The ethic of AT resides in the promotion of technologies that are culturally sensitive, ecologically sound and economically sustainable, in juxtaposition against most current technological development which is resource-extractive, environmentally and socially destructive, and promotes inequality. This is the regular military-industrial-fossil fuel-agrobiz-nuclear technology complex, which is simply not sustainable. AT is.

Paki Wieland is a deeply rooted anti-war activist, working to promote awareness of the role U.S. militarism in climate chaos. Paki was in Paris and had the opportunity to both observe the decisions governments were discussing but most moving to witness testimonies of Indigenous people from around the globe. “I was inspired by their stories to travel to Standing Rock and join the movement to stop the pipeline as a means of making amends for centuries of genocidal behavior by supporting Indigenous rights.” Paki is a member of Code Pink and her work in Western Massachusetts has included facilitating non-violence training for social and environmental justice activists. Paki is also producing two radio programs on her local community radio station and doing videography on progressive issues for her community television station. Paki will discuss her broad experiences as an environmental and anti-war activist.

DC Metro Science for the People
DC Statehood Green Party

THURSDAY APRIL 27th   7-10pm
St Stephen and the Incarnation Church, 1525 Newton St  NW WDC
Columbia Heights Station, Green Line Metro, also S2, S4, 42, and 43 bus lines

Community Discussion:  Food Justice and the Fight Against Hunger  Michele and Rick Tingling Clemmons

Because food is a necessity that has been and continues to be used as a tool of oppression, we need to be able to control our access to and ability to obtain it. because there are so many different groups working on various aspects of the food issue, at varied points, based on interests and uneven development; and this uneven development often leads to internecine struggles, we really need to find a way to better educate ourselves collectively and build unity among the groups so that we can organize to take control of our needs – learning and growing. We can attain everything that we are organized to take!  When necessary goods and services - i.e., food, clothing, health, housing, education, energy, and a fair forum for obtaining our rights to these things - became commodities, the problems of ordinary people were heightened, this despite the fact that our class, the working class, is the one that makes and produces EVERYTHING. We live under a [food] system that makes its money off of the suffering of the people. The divide and conquer aspects of that system play a critical role in the development or its lack thereof, in a fight for better, safe, affordable, more nutritious food.  The challenge is that safe, better, affordable, more nutritious food does exist, just not for poor, working people.

Updates on Drug Laws, Challenging Forensic Evidence and a Brief Discussion of the History of Drug Experimentation

Adam Eidinger is co-founder of DCMJ, and Social Action Director for Dr. Bronner’s. DCMJ is a community group dedicated to equal rights for cannabis users and their families. Due in large part to his drive for change DC residents may grow and possess cannabis in small quantities without fear of arrest.  In July 2013 DCMJ transitioned to the DC Cannabis Campaign in order to pass Ballot Initiative 71 and in May of 2015, converted back to the community group DCMJ.  DCMJ's growth coincided with the June 2013 ACLU issued a report highlighting the billions of dollars wasted on racially biased arrests.  This report, along with the Washington Lawyers Committee report highlighted the need to end marijuana arrests in Washington, DC because historically these laws targeted minorities. Today, more work remains on the reform of DC marijuana laws but a congressional rider by Maryland Rep. Andy Harris now blocks the DC government from writing new laws that might further protect cannabis users from arrest.  Adam has organized numerous act of civil disobedience to raise the call for change including using cannabis in political demonstrations

John Kelly is author of Tainting Evidence: Inside The Scandals at The FBI Crime Lab, and Prevent Your Wrongful Drug Conviction with Simple Science, offering free one-hour consultations on marijuana defense.Book: Beat Marijuana Charges Without Plea Bargaining.  about.me/ JohnFXKelly, Twitter:@falsepositives.

Mai Abdul Rahman (Palestinian Author, Organizer and Producer; Commissioner, DC Office of Human Rights (fmr), Tent of Nations, Love Thy Neighbor, Iqraa, Muslim Women's Association, DC Muslim Caucus, African Amer. for Peace in the Middle East and North Africa) will address the ramifications of the drug war on minority populations in DC.


Brief discussion relating to Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD: the CIA, the Sixties, and Beyond by Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain. The book documents the 40-year social history of LSD, beginning with its synthesis by Albert Hofmann of Sandoz Pharmaceuticals in 1938. During the cold war period of the early 1950s, LSD was tested as an experimental truth drug for interrogation by the United States intelligence and military community. Psychiatrists also used it to treat depression and schizophrenia. Under the direction of Sidney Gottlieb, the drug was used by the CIA in cooperation with participating colleges, universities, research foundations, hospitals, clinics, and penal institutions. LSD  was tested on prisoners, mental patients, volunteers, andunsuspecting human subjects -  https://erowid.org/library/books_online/acid_dreams.pdf.



With presentations by DC Metro Science for the People members Jane Zara ands David Schwartzman

                  From 2015...




PANEL with presentations by DC Metro SftP:

How can science be used to empower rather than undermine communities?

Panelists: Mai Abdul Rahman, Jane Zara, John Tharakan, David Schwartzman
Moderator: David Schwartzman

See full description of DC Metro SftP presentations here.

Peoples Climate March - New York City Sept 21 2014



Conference Link: http://science-for-the-people.org/



Panel by DC Metro Science for the People

DC Metro Science for the People:
Continuing our Legacy in the 21st Century!

Chair: David Schwartzman


Science for the People in the community:
We submitted grant proposals for funding under the
Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1D Small Grants program for 2009.
These three proposals have been funded:

   * Is My Neighborhood Hazardous to My Health?
   * Urban Gardening in Mt Pleasant
   * Forensic/Legal Counseling for Indigent Arrestees
Just below is a photo of David Schwartzman and Jane Zara explaining
the effects of air pollution on lichen growth to summer
school students at Bancroft School.
(Aug, 2009)

See also  PHOTOS from June 24, 2012 Tent city/Fair Housing Teach-in

DC Metro SftP members David Schwartzman and Jane Zara conduct a class in
Bancroft School under the grant "Is Our Community Hazardous to Our Health".

  After Typhoon Haiyan, Guiuan Province, Phillippines, Nov 19, 2013 (Bryan Denton, Corbis Images)


                                  --- Jialing River, Chongqing, China during 2007 drought ---


                   --- Near São Luis, Maranhão state, Brazil May 2009 ---


                   --- Mountaintop removal in Kentucky ---





Education Research vs. Rhetoric: Congressional Hearings on No Child Left Behind, by Tim D'Emilio (Jan 4, 2007)
Torture: America's Brutal Prisons, by John.Kelly (Jan 5, 2007)
Salvage Logging - New Scientific Scandal
, by Doug Boucher(Aug 15, 2006)
Junk Science, Wrongful Convictions and Terrorism, by John Kelly (Aug 20, 2006 )
Research Evidence and the Debate on Education: Reform vs. Change, by Tim D'Emilio
(Aug 20, 2006)
Somethin's Fishy About Agricultural Biotechnology, by Preston Covington and Jane Zara
(Aug 31, 2006)
Response and Resistance to Corporated-Backed Agrobiotechnologyby John Tharakan
(Aug 31, 2006)

==>> Many more of our articles are in the SftP NEWSLETTER <<==









Anomalies of annual average temps 1880-2018. Source: NASA GISS
     land (red), ice-free sea(blue).

For information and projections on sea level rise check here:

   Please contribute relevant news items to be posted here - this review
                  - send links to peter.caplan@yahoo.com

 Posted May 1, 2020: Review by DC Metro SftP's David Schwartzman of the controversial new film produced by Michael Moore, Planet of the Humans (link to complete film). Schwartzman concludes that the film dangerously damages the global movement for sustainability by blaming the environmental crisis on overpopulation and downplaying the role of the true culprit - labeled in the film as a "cancerous form of capitalism", which his review identifies as "militarized fossil capital driving perpetual wars for the control of oil". [David Schwartzman, Popular Resistance, 04/30/2020]
See also these reviews: Tom Athanasiou, Ecoequity; Timmon Wallis, Portside; and Eoin Higgins, Common Dreams - this last includes a bunch of other commentaries.

 Posted Apr 28, 2020: The greatest scam in history. " ... the climate-change scam that beat science, big time...science failed to have the necessary impact in significant part because of disinformation promoted by the major fossil-fuel companies, which have succeeded in diverting attention from climate change and successfully blocking meaningful action".[Naomo Oreskes, TomDispatch, 11/10/19 ]

 Posted Oct 27, 2019 :Review of "The Great Biomass Boondoggle" How the world has been led to believe that burning mature living trees instead of coal produces carbon-neutral green energy.[Mary Booth, NY Review Daily, 10/14/19]
                      Photo by Kyle Spradley

 Posted Oct 27, 2019:  Why Trust Science? Interview with science historian Naomi Oreskes on her new book. How science came under attack from the right — and how it can bridge that gap. See also this interview with Oreskes. [Paul Rosenberg, Salon, 10/13/19]

Posted Oct 27, 2019 Posted Oct 27, 2019:  Solar panels pair surprisingly well with tomatoes, peppers and pollinators In 'agrivoltaics,' crops and solar panels not only share land and sunlight, but also help each other function more efficiently.[Russell McLendon, Mother Nature News, 09/30/19]

  Posted Oct 27, 2019:   Climate Risk in the Housing Market Has Echoes of Subprime Crisis, Study Finds. "Banks are shielding themselves from climate change at taxpayers’ expense by shifting riskier mortgages — such as those in coastal areas — off their books and over to the federal government, new research suggests." [Christopher Flavelle, NY Times, 09/27/19]

  Posted Oct 27, 2019:   Daniel Ellsberg interview:  Bomb spending still rising; Hiroshima lies persist [ Dennis Bernstein, Covert Action, 09/24/19]

  Posted Oct 27, 2019: Climate Change Needs a Short-Term Plan and a Global One [Dan Adkins, Democratic Socialists of America, 09/19/19]

  Posted Oct 27, 2019: Scientists Shouldn’t Listen to the Fossil Fuel Industry. Geoengineering is a Scam.Oil and gas companies aren't only polluting our air, water, and soil. They've injected themselves into our education system as well. [Josue De Luna Navarro, IPS, 09/19/19]
                Photo: phil noble Reuters       

  Posted Oct 27, 2019: On Climate and Food, What’s the Lesson We Insist on Missing? [Francis Moore Lappe, Truthout, 09/17/19]

  Posted Oct 27, 2019: Earth warming more quickly than thought, new climate models show. A new generation of more-detailed climate models that will form the basis for the 2021 IPCC report are showing even more alarming outlooks, including increased estimates of the senstivity of near-surface temperatures to elevated concentrations of greenhouse gases.[Marlowe Hood, Phys.org-ScienceX, 09/17/19]

  Posted Oct 27, 2019: Socialism with a bit of greenwash can’t save the planet either. [Mike Haynes, rs21, 09/14/19]
                    Illustration from Climate&Capitalism, April 2015

Posted Oct 27, 2019: Radical deregulation: "New Culture Divide" Between Trump and Corporate America? - Interview of Public Citizen's Amit Narang. [Janine Jackson, Counterspin via FAIR, 09/13/19]

  Posted Sep 11, 2019: Commerce Chief Threatened Firings at NOAA After Trump’s Dorian Tweets, Sources Say. Turns out that the political appointees occupying top posts at NOAA sold out the agency at the request of the head of NOAA's parent, the Department of Commerce, in an attempt to provide cover for Trump's criminal interference in the public warning graphics released by the National Hurricane Center as the killer Category 5 storm was approaching the US. DOC is led by Wilbur Ross, now notorious for his failed attempt to force the 2020 census to question everybody about their citizenship. [Flavelle,Friedman, and Baker, NYT,09/10/19]
                                 Look out, Alabama!

 Posted Sep 11, 2019: New IPCC Climate Change and Land: Report Warns of Vicious Cycle Between Soil Degradation and Climate Change. [Real News Network, 08/08/19] Here's the full report - and a 13-minute video summary.

  Posted Sep 11, 2019: How Bodycams Distort Real Life. Another technological solution to a human problem maybe making the problem worse. People viewing an incident from the narrow perspective of the officer's videocam are found to have a bias in favor of the cop and the result is that "bodycams...look less like a tool to keep cops in line and more like a tool to monitor civilians." [Albert Fox Kahn, NY Times opinion, 08/08/19]

  Posted Sep 11, 2019: Edward Snowden Shares His Story in New Memoir That Hits Shelves in September [Jessica Corbett, Common Dreams, 08/01/19] - but two weeks later - Trump Requests Permanent Reauthorization of NSA Mass Spying Program Exposed by Snowden. [Jake Johnson, CommonDreams, 08/16/19]  

  Posted Sep 11, 2019: Amazon, Microsoft Battle Over Pentagon’s ‘War Cloud. The future of warfare - as the Pentagon sees it - lies, of course with Big Data, residing in the cloud. But whose cloud - Oracle, Amazon, IBM, or Google's? One "defense" think tank says “You’re talking about a cloud where you can go from the Pentagon literally to the soldier on the battlefield carrying classified information.” A hacker's dream? [Matt Obriend, AP, via truthdig, 07/10/19]

Image: US Maine Corps,Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI)

  Posted Sep 11, 2019: Why natural cycles only play small role in rate of global warming. Bottom line: 20th-century climate warming? It's all us. [Karsten Haustein, et al., Carbon Brief, 05/25/19]

  Posted Sep 11, 2019: We Built an ‘Unbelievable’ (but Legal) Facial Recognition Machine"Over decades, businesses and individuals have installed millions of cameras like the ones we used, inadvertently setting up the infrastructure for mass surveillance". No need for police and government spies; the genie is out of the lamp - our faces are already being recorded on hundreds of video devices in public places [Sahil Chinoy, NY Times, 04/16/19]

  Posted Sep 11, 2019: Where does your plastic go? Global investigation reveals America's dirty secret. A Guardian report from 11 countries tracks how US waste makes its way across the world – and overwhelms the poorest nations. [Erin McCormick, et al., Guardian, 06/17/19  

image: Minh Khai, Vietnam; photo: Bennett Murray, The Guardian

  Posted Sep 11, 2019: Can articial Intelligence be used to Improve Stock Trading?Exciting news from the frontiers of Big Data - but will it improve the human condition? Well, maybe your condition if you're a hedge fund manager and you have access to megacomputers crunching megadata, you may be able to make a killing - until the other hedge managers with more megabucks and mega-AIs wipe you out, along with your investors. Games in the jungle go on; and so do climate chaos, war, and massive floods of refugees. [Bernard Marr, Linked In, 02/24/19]
See also - AI has beaten us at chess, go and Jeopardy. Now it's taking on something much harder.[Isabelle Roughol, LinkedIn, 02/10/19]

  Posted Dec 23, 2018: The Coming of Hyperwar, or "Alexa, launch our nukes! " With the ever-accelerating growth of AI, "commanders might increasingly be forced to rely on ever more intelligent machines to make decisions on what weaponry to employ when and where. At first, this may not extend to nuclear weapons, but as the speed of battle increases and the 'firebreak' between them and conventional weaponry shrinks, it may prove impossible to prevent the creeping automatization of even nuclear-launch decision-making." [Michael Klare, TomDispatch, 12/18/18]

  Posted Dec 23: The Trump Administration’s War On Science - Worse Than the Inquisition? A new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists identifies "the most damaging and egregious examples of anti-sciencepolicy and practice at the DOI under [former] Secretary Zinke. 'Science Under Siege at the Department of the Interior' documents fourbroad categories of abuse: systematically suppressing science;failing to acknowledge or act on climate science; silencing and intimidating agency scientists and staff; and attacking the science-based laws that help protect America’s wildlife and habitats today and for future generations. [Basav Sen, In These Times (web only), 12/17/18]

  Posted Dec 23:  Climate change caused the “Great Dying,” aka the planet’s worst extinction. The mass extinction 252 million years ago has been undeniably linked to climate change, which, according to a new study, was triggered by the rapid release of greenhouse gases caused by a series of massive volcanic eruptions. The warming wiped out 80% of all species, including 96% of all ocean-based species, the latter due in part to loss of dissolved oxygen. (see this)The rate of atmospheric warming was some 10C over a few thousand years; we are headed for 3C just by 2100. [Carl Zimmer, NY Times, 12/07/18]

  Posted Dec 23: Everything Is for Sale Now. Even Us. 35 percent of the American work force now works freelance in some capacity, either as a main source of income or as some kind of side hustle. "This number is growing constantly — 94 percent of the new jobs created in the last decade or so were freelance or contract-based." Near-universal access to broad-band internet and social media has brought the exponentially-growing gig economy - Uber, AirBnB, TaskRabbit, and the like, and the like - which has led to "... a collapsing middle class, as well as close to zero job security and none of the benefits associated with it..." See also this Guardian article on the gig economy [Ruth Whippman, NYT Opinion, 11/24/18]

 Posted Dec 23: Report: Solar geoengineering could be ‘remarkably inexpensive’ - spreading particles in stratosphere to fight climate change may cost $2bn a year. "The researchers said they were not advocating the deployment of solar engineering, but believed it must be assessed. 'It can only be part of an overall climate policy portfolio that first includes [emission cuts], adaptation and carbon removal from the atmosphere...' ” According to Prof Joanna Haigh at Imperial College London, however, “This plan is a distraction that may well encourage weaker action on emissions reduction.” [Damian Carrington, Guardian,UK, 11/23/18]

  Posted Dec 23: Fourth Annual Climate Assessment, Volume II: Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States The National Climate Assessment (NCA) assesses the science of climate change andvariability and its impacts across the United States, now and throughout this century.As each successive climate change prediction brings darker and darker news, it was predictable that the Trump regime chose to release this latest ominous report on Black Friday, when everybody, including mass media workers, is busy shopping and traveling. (see Joe Romm piece, nov 24) This was coupled with another perfect presidential tweet - “Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS - Whatever happened to Global Warming?”. Just ask the folks in California about that.... See also commentaries by Coral Davenport in NYT and and Joe Romm in Think Progress

Clear Lake, CA, July 31 - Josh Edelson/Getty

  Posted Dec 23: Hands Off Mother Earth! - Manifesto Against Geoengineering [geoengineeringmonitor.org, 10/04/18] Endorsed by local regional and international organizations, as well as individuals, this wake-up call argues that "geoengineering perpetuates the false belief that today’s unjust, ecologically- and socially-devastating industrial model of production and consumption cannot be changed and that we therefore need techno-fixes to tame its effects. However, the shifts and transformations we really need to face the climate crisis are fundamentallyeconomic, political, social and cultural."

  Posted Nov 13: Bad-Science Warning: The “Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart” (MISTRA). The is universally-cited study is heavily relied upon in attempts to show that genes are the most important determinant of human behavior. This latest study pokes serious holes in MISTRA, including the fact that the raw data have never been made available to the scientific community. [Jay Joseph, Mad in America, 11/06/18]

  Posted Non 13: An international struggle for science and justice. The writers, biologists at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), members of the promotional core of Ciencia para el Pueblo (Science for the People-Mexico), have declared that "facing a corporatist techno-science in service to capital accumulation, we must take the opposing side of a critical science linked to struggles for justice. Construction of a science from, with, for and of the working people is a key task of those fighting for social liberation and respect for all life on Earth." [Inari Sosa, Paulina Zedillo and Fercho Tekuatl; Socialist Worker, 11/06/18]

  Posted Nov 14: Red Hunting in the Promised Land: Anticommunism and the Making of America.Joel Kovel, Basic Books, New York,1994. it was published in 1994, but we suggest this book here because it is still relevant to the US in 2018. We also wish to commemorate the recent death of Joel, a long-time associate of some of us in DC Metro SftP. From a review in the Library Journal: "Kovel, a psychiatrist and professor of social studies at Bard College, traces the evolution of anticommunism in this country from the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 to the collapse of the 'evil empire'' in the age of Reagan and Bush."

  Posted Nov 13: Urban Planning Guru Says Driverless Cars Won’t Fix Congestion. "Zero- or single-occupant vehicles, even ones that can drive themselves... cause congestion, eat up energy, exacerbate sprawl and emit more carbon per passenger-mile.” Computer simulations have shown that “without pretty radically increasing the number of people per vehicle, autonomous systems will increase total miles traveled.” [John Markoff, NY Times, 10/27/18]

  Posted Nov 13: How Scientists Cracked the Climate Change Case. CSI: The planet. NASA's Gavin Schmidt, editor of the Real Climate, neatly summarizes the evidence of the crime, the motives, the weapons used, the fingerprints - and demolishes all arguments that the perps were anybody other than the human despoilers of the planet. [Gavin Schmidt, Op-Ed, NY Times, 10/24/18]

   Posted Nov 13: Trump’s Air Pollution Adviser Denies Link Between Dirty Air and Health Problems. All that bad science and fake news have given air pollution a bad name, according to Tony Cox, chief of EPA's airpollution directorate. Cox was appointed by Trump on recommendation from a US Chamber of Commerce coal industry spokesman. [Jason Plautz, Truthdig(from Reveal), 10/24/18]

  Posted Nov 13: Trump no longer sure whether climate change is a hoax! But, he still insisted, on CBS' 60 Minutes on Oct 14: "... something’s changing, and it’ll change back again... I don't wanna give trillions and trillions of dollars. I don't wanna lose millions and millions of jobs. I don't wanna be put at a disadvantage." [Emily Stewart, Vox, Oct 14]

Posted Nov 13  Miami Meteorologist John Morales Is Looking For Higher Ground. One of the leading voices in the struggle to educate the public about climate change and the forces that are causing it, John Morales is on nightly TV in the right place at at the right time - Florida - the state that has made strenuous efforts to suppress even the mention of sea-level rise from State government docuents, even as the streets of Miami are now suffering routine flooding, even in fair weather. [Alexander Kaufman, Huffington Post US, 10/12/18]

  Posted Oct 14: The Earth is not For Sale: A Path Out of Fossil Capitalism to the Other World That is Still Possible. Peter Schwartzman (Knox College, USA) and David Schwartzman (Howard University, USA, member of DC Metro SftP).
   From the publisher: "This book provides a thought provoking outline of the solutions already in hand to the challenges now facing humanity with respect to prevalent gross social and economic inequalities, ecological thresholds and tipping points, and the ever-looming threat  of climate catastrophe. The authors find these solutions in the arenas of renewable energy systems, agroecological methods,  and reimagined social organization. Clarity is brought to the political and economic obstacles standing in the way as well as the false solutions and alleged barriers that pervade the discourse thereby delaying and obstructing progress to the solutions advanced. "

 - World Scientific Publishing Co Pte Ltd, October 2018, 344pp https://doi.org/10.1142/10827

 Posted Oct 14: IPCC Special Report on 1.5C - responding to climate change is far more like a marathon than a sprint. Gavin Schmidt suggests looking carefully at the thesummary for policy makers (SPM) and the FAQs and the responses. His own take: "...near-term reductions in carbon emissions by ~70% are required to even stabilize CO2, and to stabilize temperature, even further (net) reductions are required. And worse still to stabilize sea level, eventual temperature drops would be required. Key links are: Full report; summary for policy makers; FAQ ; Press release. Be sure to check out th evariety of responses below made climate researchers in many countries. [Gavin Schmidt,Real Climate, 10/07/18]
  See also, Major Climate Report Describes a Strong Risk of Crisis as Early as 2040. [Coral Davenport, NY Times, 10/08/18]

  Posted Oct 14: Hurricane Michael is a monster storm and an unnatural disaster. Meteorologist-journalist Eric Holthaus describes how Hurricane Michael looked to the National Hurricane Center as it suddenly strengthened to 155 mph, gathering freakish amounts of energy from the anomalously-warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, just before coming ashore at Mexico Beach, FL on Sep 10. Last year it was Irma (which cost the state $50 billion); now here's another one for climate-change-denying Governor Scott to ponder. The photo was taken two days later. The survival of that large house amid the devastation was later explained here . [Eric Holthaus, Grist, 10/10/18]
              Mexico Beach, FL Oct 12 Photo: Daniel R Clifford, TIMES

  Posted Oct 14: Climate Change Needs a Short-Term Plan and a Global One.The forecast of energy demand for 2016-2040 made by the International Energy Agency shows some developed countries making some reductions in carbon emissions, but these will be dwarfed by massive increases everywhere else. This demand must be met with renewables, and requires some new kind of Marshall Plan on a global scale to create and fund new models for fossil-free development. [Daniel Adkins, DSA Weekly, 09/19/18]

Posted Sep 29: Harbingers: Florence, Forest Fires, and the Future. A combination of over-cautious climate-change predictions by scientists, neglect of already-apparent indications of additonal carbon-releasing feedbacks, and outdated economic models has led to a dangerous low-balling of the urgency of controlling carbon. Burning no more carbon than the IPCC limit is far from a guarantee of staying below 2C warming; it gives us only a 66% chance of doing so. [John Atcheson, Common Dreams, 09/26/18]

  Posted Sep 29: Neil deGrasse Tyson: A Celebrity Salesman for the Military-Industrial-Complex. We should be grateful for the massive militarization of scientific research, astrophysicist, Hayden Planetarium director, and national-media-darling Tyson is reassurring his audiences - just look at all the cool high-tech benefits it promises to provide. He's pushing closer Pentagon-NASA cooperation and now Trump's Space Force. [T.J. Coles, Counterpunch 09/14/18]

  Posted Sep 29: Anti-Vaccine Activists Have Taken Vaccine Science Hostage. Americans who don’t want to vaccinate are increasingly getting their way; the paranoid scare stories exagerrating possible harm from vaccines are having the perverse effect of intimidating legitimate discussion and research into improving the safety of vaccines. Scientists are discouraged from publishing anything negative about vaccines for fear of further feeding the anti-vaxxers, and other anti-science types as well. [Melinda Wenner Moyer, Opinion, NY Times, 08/04/18]

  Posted Sep 29: Enabling Armageddon:The Air Force’s Strange Love for the New B-21 Did you like the B-52, and the B-1 and B-2 bombers? You'll love the Pentagon's latest offering - the B21 stealth bomber designed to carry thermonuclear weapons as well as conventional missiles and bombs, penetrating sophisticated defenses unseen. Feel safer? The Air Force wants 200 of these babies - for only half a billion each. You do the arithmetic. Not only radar-proof, this latest monstrosity will be Congress-proof, because of the nation-wide distribution of fat components contracts. [William Astore, Tomgram, 06/03/18]

  Posted Sep 29, 2018 Why thousands of AI researchers are boycotting the new Nature journal. Do we still need profit-making commercial publishers to distribute results results of academic research to the world? Should the researchers or their colleagues or libraries have to pay steep fees to make the their findings available? Should the ability to pay determine the ability to pay? [Neil Lawrence, Guardian UK, 05/29/18]

 Posted May 23, 2018: NASA's Jim Bridenstine agrees humans are responsible for climate change. The chief of NASA, at a televised May 17 town hall meeting with agency employees said “I don’t deny the consensus, I believe fully in climate change and that we human beings are contributing to it in a major way...” This,from a former Oklahoma senator who was picked by the White House to preside over a round of deep cuts to NASA's $2 billion earth science program, targeted at its efforts to continue and advance critical space-based research on climate change. [Eric Niiler, Wired, 05/17/18]

  Posted May 23, 2018: This woman fundamentally changed climate science — and you’ve probably never heard of her. Eunice Foote was (in 1856) the first scientist to make the connection between carbon dioxide and climate change, predating the work of John Tyndall. She was also a significant figure in the early women's rights movement and signer of the Seneca Falls declaration. [She joins an elite group of women scientists whose work was long ignored or suppressed by the male scientific establishment of their time, including co-discoverer of nuclear fission, Lisa Meitner and the developer of the first viable computer program (in 1845), Ada Lovelace.] [Kyla Mandel, Think Progress, 05/18/18]

  Posted May 23, 2018: Amazon's plan to scan your face has even police worried - it's too creepy, new e-mails show. How convenient - you may no longer need to use thos pesky passwords to get into your computer and all those hundreds of accounts. Rekognition, Amazon's new face recognition software is no secret, but lack of control over its applications will have serious consequences for you if you're concerned about your rights of privacy and protection from illegal searches. In some states, you can refuse to show ID to a police officer; with Rekognition, the cops need not even ask.[Sidney Fussell, Gizmodo, 05/22/18]

  Posted May 23, 2018: Britain’s biggest CO2 emitter is building Europe’s first of a kind “negative emissions” plant. If the world is to meet climate goals set by the Paris agreement, it is generally agreed that some kind of bioenergy source with carbon capture is needed. Britain is now testing a wood-burning power plant with net negative emissions. Is this possible? It depends on how you calculate net emissions. [Akshat Rati, Quartz(via Daily Climate), 05/21/18]

  Posted May 23, 2018: National parks report on climate change finally released, uncensored(!) Yes, sea level is rising and yes, if you fight hard enough, delay publication long enough, and put your scientific career in the line of fire, you can now use naughty words like, gulp, "anthropogenic" in an official National Park Service report focusing on the effects of rising sea levels. Provided that it be published quietly - no press releases, thank you.[Elizabeth Shogren, Reveal (via Truthdig), 05/18/18]

  Posted April 29, 2018: Cracking the Crypto wars. The crypto wars continue: As encrypting of communications grows ever more sophisticated, the demands from law enforcement and national security sectors for "special access" via back doors to devices grow more insistent. Here's a thoughtful analysis of the current situation.[Steven Levy, Wired, 04/25/18]

  Posted April 29, 2018: Denial by a Different Name - It’s Time to Admit That Half-Measures Can’t Stop Climate Change Climate denial may be "... a short-term strategy to buy time while industry-aligned lawmakers and think tanks work out a longer-term plan for carbon trading and pricing schemes and, ultimately, geo-engineering." [Kate Aronoff, The Intercept, 04/17/18]

Exxon Mobil refinery St. Bernard Parish, La 2015. Photo: Gerald Herbert/AP

  Posted Apr 29, 2018: Chatbots & Artificial Intelligence (AI) transform Human Resources & Hiring. If you're looking for a job, your resume will probably be vetted by a chatbot, thanks to AI and natural language processing, part of the coming wave of automation taking over "human resources" departments, which will "add a new dimension to work force management and HR domain using cutting-edge technology" [Muqbil Ahmar, LinkedIn, 04/09/2018]

  Posted Apr 29, 2018: Updates from the 2018 March for Science. "...although the turnout around the world was significantly smaller than last year, supporters haven’t lost any of their energy. The global grassroots movement has evolved from having a million people take to the streets in 2017 in more than 450 cities to year-round advocacy for science and for evidence-based policies by government officials." There was even a rally in Antarctica at a weather research station atop 200 meters of ice shelf. [Science News Staff, Science, 04/14/2018]

  Posted April 29, 2018 Facebook's Use of A.I. to Predict Your Actions for Advertisers. Facebook "...did not condemn what Cambridge Analytica did with the data it extracted from the social network — instead, [its] outrage has focused on Cambridge Analytica‘s deception." This just might have something to do with the fact that Facebook itself is doing many of the same things, and not only for businesses; and its vast reach is still growing. [Sam Biddle, The Intercept, 04/13/18]

  Posted Apr 9, 2018: Leaked Memo: EPA Shows Workers How To Downplay Climate Change. The memo was issued shortly after Pruitt banned the use of tons of medical research results, "shuttered [EPA's] program on climate adaptation, and proposed eliminating funding for programs that deal with rising seas and warming temperatures." It instructs EPA communications directors on consistent ways to dodge potentially embarassing questions from the public. [Alexander Kaufman, Huffpost, 03/28/18]

  Posted Apr 9, 2018: For Bolton, the Slaughter of 1 Million Iraqis Is a Job Qualification. (Actually, closer to 2 million). For anyone out there with doubts about John Bolton's qualifications to begin serving on April 9 as Trump's new national security advisor: he has reaffirmed his support for the 2003 invasion (which he helped bring about by manipulating intelligence), and ihas recently been advocating bombing North Korea and Iran.[Dahr Jamal, Truthout, 03/27/18]

  Posted Apr 9, 2018: Nerve Agent Attack Reveals $70 million Pentagon Program at Porton Down (UK). Questions are being raised about the poisoning of a former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter by a supposedly Russian-made nerve gas. It happens that the victims were living just 14 kilometers from Porton Downs, the site of numerous US and UK military experiments involving the testing on animals of deadly chemical and biological agents [Dilyana Gaytandzhieva, South Front, 03/27/18]

  Posted Mar 31, 2018: Hard Choice for Cities Under Cyberattack: Whether to Pay Ransom. Cyberattacks as weapons of war have stolen the headlines (see Mar 16 post), but they are also growing more sophisticated and ambitiousin the form of "ransomware", or locking the files of computers and demanding payments to unlock them. Victims so far have been individuals and hospitals and even small cities; but last week the city of Atlanta, largest so far, has become the latest target. [Alan Blinder and Nicole Perlroth, NY Times, 03/2918]

  Posted Mar 31: Gray Matter: How Genetics Is Changing Our Understanding of ‘Race’ Are genetic differences across races significant? New gene sequencing techniques are revealing detailed data about genetic ancestry and this may once again re-open this old debate. (see comments published a week later in the NYT) [David Reich, NY Times, 03/23/18]

  Posted Mar 31: Are you ready? Here's all the data Facebook and Google have on you. Did you keep your location tracker turned on when you went for a walk two years ago to visit a friend or maybe a demonstration last night? Excellent; you can log in to your Google mail and instantly see your path traced on a detailed map. And so can any hacker... See also the post just below.[Dylan Curran, The Guardian UK, 03/29/18]

  Posted Mar 31: The Mind-Benders: How to Harvest Facebook Data, Brainwash Voters, and Swing Elections. A free personality test? - just download an app, 300,000 people said sure, didn't read the fine print and you've granted access to all 50 million of their Facebook "friends". Thanks to Cambridge Analytica and similar outfits, their personal data have been weaponized into a political tool that opens the door to personally-tailored propaganda messages that has already used in efforts to swing public opinion on such issues as guns, race, and wars.[Roberto Gonzalez, Counterpunch, 03/23/18]

  Posted Mar 31:  NIH courted Alcohol Industry to Fund Study on Benefits of Moderate Drinking. [Roni Caryn Rabin, NY Times, 03/17/18]  Claudia Pine from SftP in Idaho commented "I guess I'm waiting now for the CDC to finally do gun research -- funded by the NRA. Objectives will be to show how guns build happy families! "

  Posted Mar 31: The Iraq Death Toll 15 Years After the US Invasion. Fifteen years after the catastophic US 2003 invasion of Iraq, the ensuing destabilization throughout the region with the rise of various murderous movements hs led to immense suffering and massive numbers of refugees. Updated estimates of deaths which, just in Iraq, number some to 2 to 3 million - most of these in the aftermath of the war. See also this devastating review of the selling of the invasion to the media and thence to the public; also this NY Times op-ed by Iraqui novelist Sinan Antoon. [Medea Benjamin and Nicolas Davies, Common Dreams, 03/15/18]

  Posted Mar 31:  In the classroom: Mailings to Teachers Highlight a Political Fight Over Climate Change 31% of high school science instructors teach that climate change is up for debate, 10% say it's natural and 5% don't even mention it, says a nationwide 2016 poll. And, that was before the notorious Heartland Institute last spring, mass-mailed unsolicited packages containing made-for-classroom denialist propaganda to teachers in schools and colleges nationwide. A small group affiliated with Cornell U is planning to mail corrective materials.[Katie Worth, Frontline, 03/23/18 - from a post by Phil Gasper, SftP]

  Posted Mar 16:  Cyberattack in Saudi Arabia Had a Deadly Goal. Experts Fear Another Try. (more details in Tripwire). A cyberattack launched last August against Saudi Arabia has emerged as front-page news, but with the possibility being floated that Iran could be involved, questions could be raised about the timing of this new article. As far as the public is told, history of the US's own cyberwarfare efforts began only in 1910 with the leak about the potentially deadly US attack, "Stuxnet" against Iran's centrifuges. Where's the rest of the story? This NATO article is typical of the continuing secrecy.
[Nicole Perlroth and Clifford Kraussmarch, NY Times, 03/15/18]

Image credit: Tripwire

  Posted Mar 16:  A Warning Cry From the Doomsday Vault - Humanity’s food security is at risk. Sitting deep in the permafrost under the frigid island of Svalbard, east of northern Greenland, the Global Seed Vault - our last chance to preserve some pieces of the planet's shrinking biodiversity - is in danger due to warming that is far more rapid in the Arctic than over the rest of the planet (see also next post) [Jonas Bergman, Bloomberg|Quint, 03/12/18]

  Posted Mar 16: Arctic Has Warmest Winter with Sea Ice at Record Lows. Over the last three months, Dec, Jan, And Feb, Arctic surface temperaures averaged 8.8 deg F (4.9 deg C) above normal - and in late February there was a 60-hour stretch of above-freezing readings at the northern tip of Greenland with a large area of temperatures more than 15 C above normal, extending almost to the North Pole. Meanwile, Antarctic sea ice was reaching its second-lowest summer minimum. See more complete info at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). [Seth Borenstein, Insurance Journal, 03/09/2018]

  Posted Mar 12: Climate Science Deniers Defend New York’s American Museum of Natural History From Calls to Drop Trustee Rebekah Mercer. This story came out last month - sign the petition now to help remove this dinosaur from the board. [Graham Redfearn, desmog(blog), 02/02/18]

   Posted Mar 10: $30 million military parade coming to DC this Veterans day. It's more than just a waste of money on presidential narcissism, says reporter Queally, but also a priming of public support for maintaining a permanent state of war by further glorification of militarism [John Queally, Common Dreams, 03/10/18]

   Posted Mar 10: Tepco's 'ice wall' fails to freeze Fukushima's toxic water buildup. Seven years after the meltdowns and explosions, ovver a hundred tons of groundwater per day are still seeping into Fukushima reactor site. The toxic water must be pumped out, decontaminated and stored in tanksthat now number 1,000, holding 1 million tonnes. The Tepco utility says it will run out of space by early 2021.[Aaron Sheldrick, Malcolm Foster,Reuters, 03/08/18]

  Posted Mar 10: EPA's Science Advisory Board Has Not Met in 6 Months. According to some board memebers, EPA chief Scott Pruitt is delaying calling any Board meetings so that the terms of academic scientists will expire and can be replaced by industry types. John Tharakan of DC Metro SftP served a 2-year term on this SAB and has provided relevant links from Snopes and Vice.[Scott Waldman, E&E News (via Scientific American),03/06/18]

 image published here

 Posted Mar 10: Vegas gun range billboard changed to read, “Shoot a school kid only $29”. The billboard, advertising a local shooting range, had originally said “Shoot a .50 caliber only $29. A guerrilla artist collective called "Indecline" claimed responsibility (vandalism for the people?) [Tess Owen, Vice, 03/02/18]

  Posted Mar 10: Relying on renewables alone significantly inflates the cost of overhauling energy. This critique of rapid transition to renewables tries to make its case by pointing to the intermittent nature of wind and solar and assuming 100% renewables, current prices and current technology for energy capture and storage. [James Temple, MIT Tech Review,02/26/18]

  Posted Mar 10: How New York City Won Divestment from Fossil Fuels. NY City will divest the $5 billion of its pension funds presently invested in fossil fuel stocks. They will sue the big five - ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips - for hiding evidence that burning fossil fuels causes climate change, costing the city billions of dollars spent on climate remediation. What were the tactics used by organizers to gain this important victory? [Nancy Romer, Portside, 03/02/18]

Photo: Rae Breaux/FossilFree.org

  Posted Feb 26, 2018: Energy efficiency is leaving low-income Americans behind. Poor people in general cannot afford up-front costs of buying energy-efficient homes and renovations; while there are programs available for homeowners, the people that really take a hit are the renters. Landlords have no incentives to upgrade even when tenants are paying energy bills that may be comparable to the rent... [Michael Stein, Grist, 02/21/18]

  Posted Feb 26, 2018: Are Modern Cities Sustainable? Exploding population growth, by a factor of 40 over 5 decades in some megalopolises(mostly in the slums and shanty towns of the global south), - happened just when real wages were falling and unemployment and prices skyrocketing. The cause? Globalization "... a corporate takeover of the land: a new colonialism, forcing millions of people from the countryside."...[Susan Roberts, Counterpunch, 02/16/18]
  Shanty town, San Juan Puerto Rico.  Photo by Everett, fineartamerica.com  

 Posted Feb 26, 2018: From Disruption to Dystopia: Silicon Valley Envisions the City of the Future. From smart cars to smart houses and now - smart cities. We will be even happier, fitter, more productive as we trade away whatever remains of our privacy and autonomy... [Joel Kotkin, Daily Beast, 2/18/18]

  Posted Feb 26, 2018: Cover Me: Robotic Gunner Screened Human Soldiers in U.S. Army War Game. Armed airborne drones have been terrorizing third-world cities for years, but deploying remote-controlled weapons-firing machines next to our ground troops had been slower to come off the drawing board. Until now... [David Axe, Daily Beast, 2/17/18]
                     Robot soldiers - Daily Beast

  Posted Feb 26, 2018: The Tyranny of Convenience. More leisure, more time to learn; or loss of privacy and autonomy? "The easier it is to use Amazon, the more powerful Amazon becomes — and thus the easier it becomes to use Amazon."...[Tim Wu, NY Times, 02/16/18]

  Posted Feb 26, 2018: The Autonomous Drones are Here. Paranoid nightmare comes true: Yes, maybe you ARE being followed; no pilot needed. Once this puppy records your image, it follows you everywhere... [Farhad Manjoo, NY Times, 02/13/18]

  Posted Feb 26, 2018: Take Back the Tap [pdf] - the big water hustle. 64 percent of bottled water is sourced from municipal water taps and the rest is no more healthful than tap water. Bottled water may be expensive, but you can save by buying it by the the gallon; at $4 a gallon it costs only about 2000 times as much as municipal tap water...(EcoWatch)[Food and Water Watch, Feb,2018]


  Posted Feb 26, 2018:   What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer. It's the guns, stupid! Why all the mass shootings? Mental health? Video games? Race? More crime? (e) none of the above; it's the guns, stupid. Read also about the success story of gun control in Australia, and now, from Parkland, an account of the devastating organ damage inflicted by AR-15 rounds. [Max Fisher and Josh Keller, NY Times, 11/07/17]

          photo credit Scott Olson/Getty Images, NY Times

======================articles from before 2018 are below======================

DC Metro Science for the People participation in Earth Day/Climate Action Week Apr 22-29, 2017.
<=== Details at left

  Posted Apr 22, 2017: Scientists nearly double sea level rise projections for 2100, because of Antarctica.New research based on improved models of Antarctic ice sheet and glacier dynamics and investigations of ancient super-high sea levels, a sea-level rise of up to 2m is possible as early as 2100, assuming continued CO2 emissions at the current levels. [Brady Dennis and Chris Mooney, Wash Post, 03/30/17]
  But not to worry, says Junk Science.com: "Because the failed computer models says so… most of us will not live to see the year 2100, much less 2500. Unfalsifiable nonsense."

Posted Apr 20, 2017:  Science for the People covered by Science magazine!!As scientists prepare to march, Science for the People reboots. [Jeffrey Mervis, Science, 04/04/17]

   Posted Apr 20, 2017:  Which Way for Science? by the Science for the People editorial team

   Posted Apr 20, 2017: Records Found in Dusty Basement Undermine Decades of Dietary Advice. Sidelight: Speculation about why this exhaustive study went unpublished: The scientist had hoped for a different outcome.[Sharon Begley, Scientific American, 04/19/17]

   Posted Apr 20, 2017: An Example of Capitalism Literally Milking the Poor. Breast milk of third world mothers is a commodity to be marketed, no longer just to well-off Western mothers, but now also to be made into ice ceam and lollipops, and even to serve as a superfood for fitness fetishists.[Julie Bindel, truthdig, 04/19/17]

   Posted Apr 20, 2017: Policy Advisers Urge Trump to Keep U.S. in Paris Accord (...but at arms' length) The idea is for the Trump regime to try to improve its image before an increasingly appalled world opinion, but actually do little or nothing to slow down the approaching catastrophe[Coral Davenport, NY Times, 04/18/17]

   Posted Apr 20, 2017: Tinkering With the Environment to Fight Climate Change (see graph at top of this page) This NYT journalist seems to say yes, try dumping tons of sulfur into the stratosphere to make clouds more reflective. But if this shows promise, where's the incentive to stop dumping ever more carbon into the atmosphere and hastening the acidification of the world's seas? And if it fails and we've squandered more valuable time or unleashed dangerous side effects?[Jon Gertner, NY Times, 04/18/17]

   Posted Apr 20, 2017: What Is the "Mother of All Bombs" that the U.S. just dropped on Afghanistan? It's the largest nonnuclear ordnance ever used by the U.S. in combat. [Larry Greenmeier, Scientific American, 04/13/17]

   Posted Apr 20, 2017: Earth Sets a Temperature Record for the Third Straight Year. [Justin Gillis, NY Times, 01/18/17]

  Posted Apr 20, 2017: Earth Sets a Temperature Record for the Third Straight Year. [Justin Gillis, NY Times, 01/18/17]

-----------------------^^----  2017---- ^^---------------------

-----------------------vv----  2016----vv -----------------------

   Posted June 12, 2016: Scientists are getting organized to help readers sort fact from fiction in climate change media coverage. How is the public to know and take into account the reliability of a finding? A new project, Climate Feedback, is attempting this with a newly-launched rating system at climatefeedback.org. Read the comments also at the end of the Vincent article. [Emmanuel Vincent, RealClimate, 05/24/16]

   Posted June 12, 2016: Policing the dystopia As ongoing US wars in the Middle East fade from the front pages, war at home is escalating, with spy drones entering into domestic surveillance and with stepped-up militarization of police forces. And now police are making surrepitious use of the smart phones in our hands and the "internet of things". Example: In operation "Stingray", cell phone calls are intercepted by fake transmission towers set up by police and used for mass spying in chosen neighborhoods.[Matthew Harwood and Jay Stanley,TomDispatch, 05/19/16]

   Posted Jun 12, 2016:  Your iPhone’s 500,000-mile journey to your pocket The assembly line of that little device is not a line but a journey traveling through various factories in various countries, accreting components as it accumulates miles. And the component raw materials, some rare or precious have already logged thousasnds of miles. And then in a year or two, you throw it in a closet and buy a new one. [Edward Humes, Wired, 04/12/16]

  Posted June 12: A new Titanic? US and Canada prepare for worst as luxury Arctic cruise sets sail. "...coast guard officials from the US and Canada will train for a cruise ship catastrophe: a mass rescue from a luxury liner on its maiden voyage through the remote and deathly cold waters between the Northwest Passage and the Bering Strait." Thanks to global warming, 1700 passengers and crew will get to see the wonders of the Canadian Arctic this August - if all goes well... [Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, 03/28/16]

  Posted June 12: Twitter taught Microsoft’s AI chatbot to be a racist pig in less than a day. 'It took less than 24 hours for Twitter to corrupt an innocent AI chatbot. Microsoft unveiled Tay — a Twitter bot that the company described as an experiment in "conversational understanding." The more you chat with Tay, said Microsoft, the smarter it gets..." Result: people starting tweeting the bot with all sorts of misogynistic, racist, and Donald Trumpist remarks. And Tay — being essentially a robot parrot with an internet connection — started repeating these sentiments back to users.' GIGO?; Microsoft apologized the next day [James Vincent, The Verge, 03/24/16]

Posted Jun 12: Has James Hansen foretold the ‘loss of all coastal cities’ with his latest study? Hansen (with 18 co-authors) in a 52-page paper argues (in Gillis, NYT) that "fresh water pouring into the oceans from melting land ice will set off a feedback loop that will cause parts of the great ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica to disintegrate rapidly". Contrary to usual procedure, a pre-publication version of the study was released for public comment and subsequently modified. [Graham Redfearn, Guardian, 03/24/16] See also Justin Gillis's articles in the NYT here and here. See the abstract of Hansen article , or the complete article(pdf). See also the pre-publication discussion.

Posted Jun 12: Obama’s Most Dangerous Legacy "The Obama administration has made drones the weapon of choice for responding to perceived terrorist threats." George W. Bush oversaw forty-eight drone strikes in Pakistan; to date, Obama has already overseen 354 killing between 1,900 and 3,000 people in Pakistan, including over one hundred civilian victims.[David Cole, NY Review of Books, 02/24/16]

Posted Feb 26: In Zika Epidemic, a Warning on Climate Change. The warmest year (globally averaged) in recorded history, a surge in numbers of pregnant women reporting symptoms associated with the mosquito-borne tropical disease zika and subsequent increases in microcephaly reported in their newborns has led to global fears of an epidemic of zika and calls for massive spraying, research on effects of past releases of genetically-altered mosquitoes and calls for abortions for women reporting zika symptoms. Have the zika virus or the mosquitoes mutated? Are the statistics on microcephaly reliable? Are human-caused climate changes in play? [Justin Gillis, NY Times, 02/20/16]

   Posted Feb 26: The Elite of the Deep State Pull the Strings of the Marionette Theater in Washington. Excerpts from Mike Lofgren's book, "The Deep State". A defense analyst for the House and Senate Budget Committees from 1995 to 2013, Lofgren witnessed the decline of a Congress run by "...politicians, whom I began to see less and less as leaders and more and more as corporate errand boys, [for] the titans of Wall Street..." [Mike Lofgren, truthout, 02/18/16]

   Posted Feb 26: Massive US-planned cyberattack against Iran went well beyond Stuxnet; "Nitro Zeus" reportedly targeted Iran's air defenses, communications, and power grid. An ambitious plan for cyber warfare in case nuclear disarmament negotiations failed, was developed jointly with Israel early in the Obama administration, and has only temporarily been shelved, according to a Feb 16 NY Times article. The story behind this dangerous project is the subject of a new Alex Gibney documentary shown last week at the 2016 Berlin Film Festival, "Zero Days".[Dan Goodin, Arstecnica, 02/16/16]

   Posted Feb 26:  We Are Hopelessly Hooked. We average over three hours a day glued to our mobile devices; for some students, this number is over three times larger. "What does it mean to shift overnight from a society in which people walk down the street looking around to one in which people walk down the street looking at machines?" Designers of these addictive programs use techniques such as those described in Stanford professor Nir Eyal's book "Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products". [Jacob Weisberg; NY Review of Books, 02/25/16 isssue]

  Posted Feb 26: What You Get When You Mix Chickens, China and Climate Change. The world is eating four times as much chicken as it did in 1970; a large number of these birds are raised in filthy virus-soaked conditions in Asia; wild birds carry the virus to distant places. This is old news; but the rapid warming of the Arctic has been changing breeding grounds and allowing the mingling of eastern species and their pathogens with western types and providing new pathways for dangerous new outbreaks. [Sonia Shah, NY Times, 02/05/16]

  Posted Feb 26: Slurp, Baby, Slurp: How Ethanol Became a Wedge Issue in Iowa. What does renewable fuel really do? If we're talking about government-mandated ethanol made from government-subsidized corn, "...it takes 75 gallons of water and 50 acres of land to grow enough corn for a single gallon of ethanol, but mixing ethanol into gasoline reduces mileage by 3%. [Emily Schwartz Greco, OtherWords, 01/27/15]

   Posted Feb 26: Is Climate Change Supercharging Storms Like Jonas And Sandy More Than We Thought? "A new analysis suggests that human-caused climate change may be having a much bigger impact on East Coast superstorms than we thought. A global slowdown in crucial Atlantic Ocean currents — caused by global warming — appears to be supercharging both precipitation and storm surge." The abnormally-warm oceans off the East Coast may arise not only directly from general global warming, but as an indirect result of changes induced by rapid climate change in global ocean circulations [Joe Romm, ClimateProgress, 01/26/16]

   Posted Feb 26: NASA, NOAA Analyses Reveal Record-Shattering Global Warm Temperatures in 2015. "Earth’s 2015 surface temperatures were the warmest since modern record-keeping began in 1880, according to independent analyses by NASA and NOAA." Fifteen out of the 16 warmest years have occurred since 2001. Said NASA-GISS director Gavin Schmidt, “2015 was remarkable even [with]... an assist from El Niño, but it is the cumulative effect of the long-term trend (see graph) that has resulted in the record warming that we are seeing.”[NASA press release, ed. Karen Northon, 01/20/16]

   Posted Feb 26: Scientists, give up your e-mails. Congressional committees demand access to scientists' research related e- mails, which are then released to the press and often mined for apparently damaging material, often quoted out of contest, and used to harass and threaten scientists and their institutions. But e-mail seizures have also been key in exposing the lies of the tobacco and Big Pharma. What to do? [Paul Thacker, NY Times, 01/09/16]

   Posted Feb 26, 2016: Dietary Guidelines: A Plate Full of Politics. The 2015 edition of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) Report has distorted valid research due to corporate pressure, says the founder of True Health Initiative. Example: "it is 'okay' to eat 'processed meats and poultry' provided that nutrient thresholds are respected. This is absurd in the aftermath of a WHO report identifying processed meat as carcinogenic, in addition to its many other established liabilities."[David Katz, Huffington Post, 01/07/16]

   Posted Feb 26, 2016: Kate Marvel's Climate Sensitivity Paper Pulverizes Denier Argument. Marvel and co-authors in a December 14 paper in Nature asked how sensitive global warming is to each of the main natural and human-caused contributions. Their important finding was that the cooling effects of aerosols (dust and smoke) had been underestimated, so that if the air had been cleaner, the warming we've observed so far would have been even greater. Various mass-media reports from climate deniers on this finding have completely misunderstood the meaning of the research, by design or through ignorance. [Dana Nuccitelli, The Guardian, 01/12/16]

   Posted Dec 31, 2015: U.S. Foreign Arms Deals Increased Nearly $10 Billion in 2014 The NYT brings us this reassuring Christmas message: even in the face of a recession-caused stagnation in global arms sales, the US has obligingly increased its share to cement its hold on first place. Overall, "...as in previous years, the vast majority of arms were supplied by large, established countries to developing ones, which made $61.8 billion in total purchases in 2014." [Nicholas Fandos, NY Times, 12/25/15]

   Posted Dec 31, 2015: How Close Are We to 'Dangerous' Planetary Warming? How much time do we have to get serious about controlling greenhouse gases? Here's some downplayed evidence that the projected rate of global warming has been underestimated - due to two factors; one is that the compensating cooling due to reflection by pollution particles will be reduced as we stop burning coal. The second relates to how we calculate the sensitivity of global temperature to a givewn xcarbon load. See this key . [Michael Mann, Huffington Post (blog), 12/23/15]

  Posted Dec 31, 2015: Son of "Climategate": Judicial Watch Sues for Documents Withheld graphicFrom Congress in New Climate Data Scandal. It's still witch-hunting season: NOAA research finds no pause in global warming; House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas freaks out, demands tons of documents, including e-mails; AAAS defends NOAA, Smith backs off a bit, so right-wing attack dog Judicial Watch sues under FOIA. Comment following the article: "Climate Scamming... [created] to make life miserable for the common people so the Elite Liberal Progressives can Tax the very air we breathe and exact power for their own good..." [Judicial Watch: Press Room, 12/23/15]

   Posted Dec 26: Privacy and the Internet of Things. Mainstream-oriented Windows Secrets celebrates the already-here internet of things, but helpfully points out that IOT's microminiaturized sensors will be collecting data from every part of our environment, as well as our bodies - data that will be stored in the cloud and "if GPS is added to a sensor, we can know exactly where the data came from." [who's this "we"?]. Even more interesting, on-board software on ever increasing numbers of consumer products is owned by the manufacturer and you, the owner, can be prosecuted for tinkering with it! [Doug Spindler, Windows Secrets, 12/03/15]   

  Posted Dec 26: Scientists Seek Moratorium on Edits to Human Genome That Could Be Inherited. Genetic engineering has just taken a giant leap; now instead of just using gene manipulation to cure diseases, it is possible to edit with precision the DNA in human germ cells, material that comes drectly from egg or sperm, so that the changes can be passed on to future generations. Recognizing that the risks of changing the human genome are profound, an international (including China) group of scientists, has called for a moratorium on making inheritable changes to the human genome. The proposed ban has been criticized [pdf] on the grounds that it would prevent critical research on the full implications of the technique.[Nicholas Wade, NY Times, 12/03/15]

Posted Dec 26: The Kafkaesque Sacrifice of Encryption Security in the Name of Security. In the name of national security, the dangerous practice of opening a "back door" for government access to massive data servers controlled by communications giants. However, the foolishness of this idea has been exposed by, among others, a high-level group at MIT which reminds us that "If law enforcement’s keys guaranteed access to everything, an attacker who gained access to these keys would enjoy the same privilege." [Daniel Solove, LinkedIn-Pulse, 12/02/15]

  Posted Dec 26: Surprise! The NSA Is Still Spying On You. The good news: beginning Dec 1 the USA Freedom Act forced the NSA to suspend its bulk collection of phone data. The bad news: "The NSA’s sprawling, inefficient surveillance apparatus is still a privacy threat" through ongoing programs such as PRISM, the internet spying program and many others. [Kate Knibbs, Gizmodo, 11/30/15]

   Posted Dec 26: Global warming "hiatus" - R.I.P. Even without this year's unprecedented departures from from normal (stimulated by El Niño), the past decade's much-publicized apparent pause in the relentless rise of global surface temperatures is shown to be just another artifact of poorly-understood statistical noise and an excess of caution by climate scientists.(see discussion also) [Stephan Lewandowsky, et al., RealClimate, 11/26/15]

   Posted Dec 26: Growing Stupid Together - "Reality-concealing rhetoric" and our responses to terrorism. We refuse to face the reality, writes Indian novelist Pankaj Mishra, that "that the West’s post–September 11 policies of preemptive war, massive retaliation, regime change, and nation building have failed, catastrophically failed". [Pankaj Mishra, New Left Review (nplus one magazine), 11/23/15]]

   Posted Dec 26: Hang on to Your Wallets, Bankers Are Coming After Your Cash. Interest rates at banks are approaching zero; if they go negative, you pay the bank to hold your cash. OK, so I'll keep my cash at home and use it to buy everything...not so fast - some banks in Europe have already acted to try to eliminate cash from the economy. Some stores in Scandinavia already refuse to accept cash. Is the push to eliminate cash a way of insuring that banks facing failure will have our money to bail them out? Will a cashless society eliminate all anonymity in our purchases? Will it be used to strangle fundraising by dissident groups? [Ellen Brown, Alternet, 11/20/15]

   Posted Nov 12: Climate change could erase years of global anti-poverty efforts, study finds. A new detailed study, "Shock Waves: Managing the Impact of Climate Change on Poverty", directed by economist Stephane Hallegatte and funded by the World Bank, finds that current efforts to reduce the numbers of people living in extreme poverty are likely to be undercut by the effects of climate change on crop yields, diseases and natural disasters. The study used a data base of 1.4 million families in 92 countries and found that the poorest are likely suffer the worst. [Matt Petronzio, mashable.com, 11/8/15]

   Posted Nov 12: The Cyberthreat Under the Street "You may access it wirelessly, but ultimately you’re relying on a bunch of physical cables that are vulnerable to attack". E-mails, landline or cellphone calls, credit card info, hospital records - this is just some of the information that was blocked during recent attacks on buried fiber optic cables in San Francisco. Junction points where many lines come together are particularly vulnerable to sabotage, yet many are located in old, unprotected buildings.[Kate Murphy, NY Times, 11/07/15]

   Posted Nov 12: How Ubernomics are changing the way we work. E-Bay, Airbnb, Uber, Lyft and their competitors - are we looking at a new economic model? We can now choose a product or service provider by-line ratings by peers. But, how does a worker in the "sharing economy" appeal an unjust rating? Explain to the boss? Sorry, there isn't any boss. Complain to the union? No union. And you can't argue with a rating algorithm. [LLoyd Alter, Mother Nature News, 11/05/15]

   Posted Nov 12:'Worse Than We Thought': TPP A Total Corporate Power Grab Nightmare. Struggling for workers' rights, climate sanity, consumer protection, open internet, access to medicine, endangered species - any way you look at the Trans-Pacific Parnership, you lose. [Deirdre Fulton, Common Dreams, 11/05/15]

Posted Nov 12: Patriotism for Sale: The Pentagon's Pro-War Propaganda Scheme with Pro Sports. Big bucks are flowing from DoD to stage patriotic events to benefit the military's recruitment efforts. From "Tackling Paid Patriotism", a Nov. 5 report by U.S. Sens. McCain and Flake: "In 2013, a roaring crowd cheered as the Atlanta Falcons welcomed 86 National Guard members who unfurled an American flag across the Georgia Dome’s turf." Paid for by us - to 72 professional sports teams. [Nadia Prupis, Common Dreams, 11/05/15]

   Posted Nov 12: Haze Suffocating Southeast Asia. A combination of a major El Niño, continued slash-and-burn agricultural practices, the worst forest fires in decades, peat fires and major drought have produced an enormous area of smoke and haze over southeast Asia. Indonesia reports thousands hospitalized, schools closed and local states of emergency declared. The rate of CO2 release this season is estimated to be comparable to that of the entire US, which has an economy 20 times as large. A massive overhaul of agricultural practices is needed, especially the runaway expansion of palm oil production for export.[Chandran Nair, theworldpost, 11/03/15]

   Posted Nov 12: The Costs of Solar Energy to the Environment. As we get beyond burning carbon to move electrons, are we about to hand over solar to the same corporate players that have long dominated the power industries? Here's a useful discussion about centralized vs decentralized generation of electricity, followed by a lively debate among readers.[Room for Discussion, NY Times, 11/03/15]

   Posted Nov 12: Scientists confirm their fears about West Antarctica — that it’s inherently unstable.The news about Antarctica keeps getting worse, and this report on new research clearly explains how warmer-than-normal seawater is destabilizing large ice sheets in contact with the ocean in a process that may have reached the point of no return and will lead to disastrous rises in sea level, far beyond those now anticipated. [Chris Mooney, Wash Post, 11/02/15]

   Posted Oct 31: EU Parliament Votes to Drop Charges and Offer Asylum Protection for Edward Snowden; a resolution passed by European Parliament Oct 29 calls on member states to prevent whistleblower's extradition, rendition. Snowden is has been living in Russia since 2013 said "This is not a blow against the US Government, but an open hand extended by friends. It is a chance to move forward". The resolution, passed by a vote of 285-281, is not binding.[Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams, 10/29/15]

   Posted Oct 31: Exxon's Climate Change Cover-Up Exxon an early leader in climate change research? As ear;y as 1977, Exxon in-house scientists were becoming convinced of the, warning that the planet was warming, that it was due to CO2 from burning of fossil fuels, and that the industry would have to make big changes within 10 years. Exxon listened and launched a research program, but then put on the brakes, fired its climate scientists and began a campaign of denial and deception abosut the science that continues to this day. Just like Big Tobacco. [Daily Take Team, Truthout, 10/20/15]

   Posted Oct 31: An Ecological Socialist's Reflection on Edward O. Wilson's Sociobiology The noted sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson has made important and controverial contributions to the long-simmering debate about to what extent the behavior of humans and their societies is coded in our genes. Science for the People member Kamran Nayeri discusses the arguments of Wilson and others here, with special attention paid to the interactions of genes and culture. [Kamran Nayeri, forhumanliberation.blogspot.com, 10/16/15]

   Posted Oct 31: Alaska Governor's Puzzling Math: To cope with climate, we must drill more oil. See if you can follow Gov. Bill Walker's logic here: In response to financial difficulties brought about by falling oil prices, Alaska must expand fossil fuel drilling in order to pay for the damage caused by climate change. Make sense? [Deirdre Fulton, CommonDreams, 10/12/15]

   Posted Oct 31: Welcome to a New Planet: Climate Change "Tipping Points" and the Fate of the Earth. What will climate change look like? A straight line, an accelerating curve - or maybe a sudden and irreversible jump associated with a "tipping point"? The interactions of warm and cold air with salty and less salty oceans are in a delicate balance, threatened in several critical areas by massive dumping of carbon products in the atmosphere. Triggers to initiate a catastrophe can be provided by disruption of the Gulf stream (already in progress) caused by meltwater from Greenland ice, itself a side effect of the disappearing Arctic ice; and a surge of warming from the release of methane from melting permafrost could contribute as well. The drying out of the Amazon has its own tipping points, and with enormous consequences for the global biosphere and ocean/atmospheric circulation as well. [Michael T. Klare, TomDispatch | News Analysis, 10/08/15]

   Posted Oct 31: Not Just Consumer Fraud, VW Scandal Called 'Crime Against Climate' "What Volkswagen did wasn’t just consumer fraud, it was a crime against ... future generations relying on us for a livable planet," said Peter Galvin, director of programs at the Center for Biological Diversity...Volkswagen did this intentionally and knew that the effect would be a staggering release of pollution." The LA Times estimates (here) the expected effects of the VW software hack on increased lung disease and smog. [Deirdre Fulton, CommonDreams, 10/07/15]

   Posted Oct 31: Motherhood, Screened Off. What is the effect on young children of seeing their parents absorbed into the private world of the smart phone for hours each day, interrupting every activity to read or send texts or chat about unknown subjects with unknown people or listen to inaudible music? [Susan Dominus NY Times, 09/24/15]

    Posted Sep 27: A New Front: Can the Pentagon do business with Silicon Valley? A Pentagon project called Hacking for Defense is searching for new ways for the military to identify promising Silicon Valley technologies - to help accelerate the growing of tech wars with Russia and China - and no doubt rdestined to bring new toys into the hands of a US police departments in a neighborhood near you. [E.B. Boyd, California Sunday Magazine,via Techmeme 09/20/15] /

   Posted Sep 27: What Megablazes Tell Us About the Fiery Future of Climate Change. Pervasive drought and record temperatures have turned forests from Fresno to Fairbanks into tinderboxes. [Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone, 09/15/15] Read more here.

   Posted Sep 27: Apple and Other Tech Companies Tangle With U.S. Over Data Access. In the latest chapter in the battle over on-line privacy, where the internet giants are attempting to strengthen encryption to prevent US government back-door access, Apple refused to comply with a Justice Department request to turn over text messages in a criminal investigation. A possible US law suit is being discussed. [Apuzzo, Sanger and Schmidt, NYTimes, 09/07/15]

   Posted Sep 27: Bjørn Lomborg, just a scientist with a different opinion? The scientific credentials of media personality and climate-change skeptic Lomborg, are found lacking and his published articles are found to be almost all opinion pieces, seldom or never cited by peers and employing common debating tricks to obfuscate the facts. [Stefan Rahmstorf, RealClimate, 08/31/15]

   Posted Sep 27: Why NASA’s so worried that Greenland’s melting could speed up. Greenland's contribution to the global rate of sea-level rise is three times that of Antactica, according to satellite studies released by NASA - this despite the disparity in size. The rapid warming of the Arctic is causing unprecedented surface melting on top of the ice sheet as well as accelerating the flow of glaciers into the sea. [Chris Mooney, Washington Post, 08/29/15]

   Posted Sep 27: WTO Ruling Against India's Solar Push Threatens Climate, Clean Energy. India's ambitious plan to develop 100,000 megawatts of solar power (equal to some 100 large fossil-fuel plants) was blocked by the World Trade Organization due to a US lawsuit. Why? Because incentives offered to manufacturers within India would violate free-trade rules of the same type that are included in the TPP.[ Nadia Prupis, CommonDreams, 08/27/15]

   Posted Sep 27: The harrowing story of the Nagasaki bombing mission. Carrying a fully-armed atomic bomb (Fat Man) through the night, under attack by flak and under pursuit by Japanese fighter planes and running short of fuel in threatening weather...Of course, had the mission "failed" and Japan had been given some extra time to surrender, some 300,000 Japanese civilians wouldn't have been incinerated (see discussion after article). [Ellen Bradbury and Sandra Blakeslee, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 08/04/15]

   Posted Aug 31: The Widening World of Hand-Picked Truths. How is it that even the enormous scientific advances of the last 50 years have been unsuccessful in dismissing false "faith-based" convictions held tenaciously by sizeable portions of the US public, including such obvious examples as creationism, climate-change denial - and some still-debatable ones such as resistance to fluoridation, vaccination, and GMOs. Are the doubts about establishment and corporate science raised by groups such as us in Science for the People contributing to the re-spreading of anti-science and superstition on the right? [George Johnson, NYTimes, 08/24/15]

    Posted Aug 31: Computer games, children's brains and inflated claims. "Mind Change", neurologist Susan Greenfield's much-cited polemic about the effects of digital technology has generated lots of headlines in the popular media, but an editorial (summary) in the BMJ (formerly British Medical Journal) has taken a stand against this "media circus" and requested that Greenfield publish her claims (digital media lead to childhood dementia
and autism) in a scientific journal. [Pete Etchell, Guardian - UK, 08/13/15]

   Posted Aug 31: Direct Action vs. Climate Change. There's a new surge of climate activism, from the anti-Arctic-drilling kayaktivists in Portland, to the ongoing strong actions in Utah aimed at stopping the first US tar sands project, to the anti-fracking campaigns in the Northeast and in Texas, the battle against the LNG export erminal in Maryland and now the international buildup of organizing for the December Paris climate talks.[Scott Parkin, Counterpunch, 08/19/15]

   Posted Aug 31: Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace. The old promise that technolgy would help to free humankind from a life of toil is being neatly turned on its head at Amazon, where super-exploitation of workers to fuel supercompetition to monopolize world markets is the rule.[Jody Kantor and David Streitfeld, NY Times, 08/15/15]

   Posted Aug 31: The Clean Power Plan Is Barely Better Than Kyoto; IPCC Says: We Must Remove CO2 From the Atmosphere. "The grand contradiction between the latest climate science and current climate policy is that since about the beginning of the Kyoto Era, we have emitted as much climate pollution as we emitted since ...the mid-1700s." The planet will take decades to come to equilibrium with all of this extra carbon in the pipeline; thus we must begin planning for actual carbon removal. See also detailed references for this article. [Bruce Melton, Truthout, 08/16/15]

   Posted Aug 19: The New America: Little Privacy, Big Terror. A timely essay that reviews new books by four authors, Bruce Schneier, Benjamin Wittes and Gabriella Blum, Owen Fiss, and Andrew Cockburn - built around how increasingly massive amounts of personal data available online are being vacuumed up by government with the full cooperation of the internet giants and little hindrance from the recently- passed USA Freedom Act. [David Cole, NY Review of Books, 08/13/15 issue]

   Posted Aug 19: Internet of Hacked Things. Another new internet is here - get with it. Why worry about forgetting to lock your front door when you can now do it remotely? Or drive your own car? But is our digital future a hacker's paradise in the making, a "fast-motion train wreck in privacy and security"? See also "Hackers Remotely Kill a Jeep on the Highway—With Me in It" here. [Zeynep Tufekci, NY Times, 08/10/15]

   Posted Aug 19: Recession, Not Fracking, Behind Drop in U.S. Carbon Dioxide Emissions, Scientists Conclude. Correlation is not the same thing as causation. While "the drop in emissions happened at roughly the same time as the fracking rush spread, shale gas had relatively little to do with the drop in carbon emissions", according to a scientific paper published July 21 in the journal Nature Communications. Despite widwspread claims published in the media, almost all of the decrease in carbon emissions can be explained by the global economic slowdown. [Sharon Kelly, Desmog Blog, 07/20/15]

   Posted Jul 30: The Balance of Power in the Middle East Just Changed. The significance of the crucial July 14 US-Iran nuclear accord is seen not only in relation to the 30 years of tension and hostility (following the US-supported Iraqi invasion under Reagan that preceded it), but going back to the 1953 CIA-led overthrow of the democratically-elected Mossadegh government. [Peter Van Buren, Huffington Post, 07/28/15]

   Posted Jul 30: Disastrous Sea Level Rise Is an Issue for Today's Public -- Not Next Millennium's. NASA's John Hansen has re- examined research on sea-level rise during the last inter-glacial era and found that the models have been seriously underestimating the rate at which ice will melt under current CO2 levels. This time he's skipped the refereeing process and gone straight to the public. See also commentary by John Queally in Common Dreams and Eric Holthaus in Slate. [John Hansen, Huffington Post, 07/26/15]

   Posted Jul 30: Capitalism, Green or Otherwise, Is ''Ecological Suicide''. In this review of Richard Smith's "Green Capitalism: The God that Failed", Klein examines the argument that "capitalism and saving the planet are fundamentally and irreconcilably at odds."[David Klein, Truthout, 07/21/15]

   Posted Jul 30: New Study of Foragers Undermines Claim That War Has Deep Evolutionary Roots. Is war in our genes? Is it a biological necessity? Has civilization had any success in civilizing us? Old questions, still open for debate, but maybe there's hope. [John Horgan, Scientific American, 7/18/15 (via Kamran Nayeri)]

  Posted Jul 30: Google didn’t lead the self-driving vehicle revolution; John Deere did. Motivated by an apparent scarcity of farm labor, farmers even on small farms have been adopting self-operating farm equipment on their land, where it is not subject to federal regulation. [Andrea Peterson, Wash Post, 06/22/15]

   Posted Jul 14: Psychologists Collaborated with CIA & Pentagon on Post-9/11 Torture Program, May Face Ethics Charges. Just released - an internal review (pdf) for the 120,000-member American Psychological Association confirms the extent of APA's deal that allowed members to assist in years of government-run torture programs which it then concealed with cover-ups and lies. Hear or read this interview with Steven Soldz, professor of psychoanalysis and Jean Maria Arrigo, psychologist and APA member. [Amy Goodman (interviewer), Democracy Now, radio WPFW, 07/13/15]


   Posted Jul 14: The Climate Deception Dossiers. Union of Concerned Scientists has just released a trove of internal memos laying bare the extent to which fossil fuel industry giants have deceived the world about the catastrophic potential of burning carbon. Tactics included "...forged letters to Congress, secret funding of a supposedly independent scientist, the creation of fake grassroots organizations, multiple efforts to deliberately manufacture uncertainty about climate science." [Kathy Mulvey and Seth Shulman, Union of Concerned Scientists, 07/08/15] ; see full report(pdf). See also , Big Oil Knew. Big Oil Lied. And Planet Earth Got Fried. [John Queally, Common Dreams, 07/09/15]

   Posted Jul 14: Ending Greece's Bleeding? In voting to reject creditors' terror tactics, Greece could have helped Europe to dodge a bullet. "Europe’s self-styled technocrats are like medieval doctors who insisted on bleeding their patients — and when their treatment made the patients sicker, demanded even more bleeding." (update: Pres. Tsipras has since accepted a similar deal.) [Paul Krugman, NY Times, 07/06/15]

   Posted July 14: Alaska’s glaciers are losing 75 billion tons of ice per year. Although the rapid melting of Greenland's glaciers has attracted recent attention, a new study estimates that Alaska, even with far less ice, is suffering a mass loss one-third as great. (Ed. note: over the past 365 days, Alaska temperatures have been averaging some 5 deg F above normal!) [Chris Mooney, Wash Post, 06/17/15]

   Posted Jul 14: There's a Little Good News About All that Plastic in the Ocean. Imagine, ten years from now - one pound of plastic in the oceans for every three pounds of fish. The "good" news? Half of the anticipated new plastic will come from just five countries - China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Sri Lanka - and the Ocean Conservancy - and some of the polluters - are working on a report that is supposed to lead to a plan... [Kate Sheppard, Huffington Post, 06/05/15]

   Posted Jul 14: Nicaragua Canal: A Giant Project With Huge Environmental Costs. 173 miles long - three times the length of the Panama Canal, it may create an environmental catastrophe, as well as displace tens of thousands of indians and poor people. [Chris Kraul, Environment360, 05/05/15]

  Posted Jul 14 Obama's Catastrophic Climate-Change Denial. Bill McKibben on Obama's granting Shell permission to drill in the Arctic Ocean: "It’s as if the tobacco companies were applying for permission to put cigarette machines in cancer wards."[Bill McKibben, Reader Supported News, May 22]

   Posted May 25: Why Technology Will Never Fix Education The opinion given here is that mass education through technology - MOOC for example - doesn't deal with the problem of lack of motivation, and may actually broaden the class-based differences in educational outcomes. "for good or ill, the main carrot of a college education is the certified degree and transcript, and the main stick is social pressure." [Kentaro Toyama, Chronicle of Higher Education, 05/19/15]

   Posted May 25: Shell hasn't earned enough trust to drill in Alaska's Arctic seas. A must-read by Lois Epstein of DC Metro Science for the People, Arctic program director for The Wilderness Society. After a series of mistakes and near-disaster in the 2012 drilling season, Royal Dutch Shell is requesting permission to double its effort this summer and is already on its way back to Alaska with an armada of vessels, including a drilling rig operated by the same contractor, Trans-Ocean, that was involved in the massive 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.[Lois Epstein, Alaska Dispatch News, 05/08/15]
    Quoted from Shell's own site: "And what's the biggest opportunity we've got today? The melting Arctic."
     Shell oil rig Kulluk aground off Alaska, 2012.               Coast Guard photo by Sara Francis

Posted May 25: "Rise of the Robots" by Martin Ford and "Shadow Work" by Craig Lambert - book reviews. Not only are blue-collar workers continuing to suffer unemployment, underemployment and job downgrading due to automation, but computerization is making huge inroads into education-intensive professions (such as book-reviewing) and even into programming itself. Meanwhile, incrasing amounts of our time is consumed by "shadow work" that we voluntarily do on line such as "deleting spam, installing software upgrades, creating passwords for every website we seek to enter, and periodically updating those passwords."..."As the seas rise and the air condenses into toxic smog, many of us will be bent over our laptops, filling out forms and attempting to wade through the 'terms and conditions' ". [Barbars Ehrenreich, NY Times Book Review, 05/15/15]

   Posted May 25: How We Can Break Free From Sexism in Science. Gender bias is still a problem in science, not only in peer reviews, but is also routinely found in academia, whether in grant allocation, hiring, mentoring, reference letters, salaries, invited journal articles or even student feedback.[Amber Griffiths, The Conversation (via truth-out.org), 05/05/15]

   Posted May 25: Washington D.C. Has Highest Infant Mortality Rate Among the 25 Wealthiest Cities. New findings released by Save the Children reveal the vast differences in death rates among rich and poor children in cities around the world. In DC, it was found that in 2012 the infant mortality rate (14.9 deaths per 1,000 live births) in Ward 8 was more than 10 times higher than the rate in DC's wealthiest community (Ward 3). The figures were included in the 16th annual State of the World’s Mothers report. [Save the Children, 05/04/15]

   Posted May 25: If predictive algorithms craft the best e-mails, we're all in big trouble. Want to write winning e-mails? Use this new app (Crystal) to tailor your message to fit the on-line profile of your recipient - automatically. Of course, people (and corporations) e-mailing you will be doing the same thing. Get the picture? [Evan Selinger, Christian Science Monitor, Apr27]

   Posted Apr 26: An Online University Course on the Science of Climate Science Denial. This free course should help us in educating ourselves and others about the denialism crowd, exploring questions such as "Why do a small but vocal minority reject the scientific evidence for climate change? What techniques do they use to cast doubt on the science?" Register here. [John Cook, RealClimate, 04/22/15]

   Posted Apr 26: Why Don’t Americans Want to ‘Soak the Rich’? It’s a Trick Question. The answer is that Americans DO want to soak the rich - the 4/19 Neil Irwin column in the NY Times is exposed by FAIR as grossly misleading. Poll after poll has shown that people in the US consistently favor raising taxes on the wealthy. [Jim Naureckas, FAIR, 04/21/15]

   Posted Apr 26: JPMorgan Algorithm Knows You’re a Rogue Employee Before You Do. Tired of shelling out billions to hire slick corporate lawyers to help evade punishment for its crimes, supposedly committed by its workers, financial giant J.P. Morgan is developing a computer code to spot potential fraudsters and troublemakers in its ranks. “We’re taking technology that was built for counter-terrorism and using it against human language...", said a Morgan security subcontractor [Hugh Son, Bloomberg News, 04/08/15]

   Posted Apr 26: John Oliver interviews Edward Snowden The popular, British writer, producer and TV personality traveled to Russia to do this devastating interview with Edward Snowden. He underlines the ignorance of the US public about who Snowden even is, and warns us that the Patriot Act, centerpiece of the "war on terror" is coming up for renewal on June 1. [Rob Beschizza, boinbboing.net, 04/06/15]

   Posted Apr 26: The Climate Threat Nobody's Even Talking About. Even as we struggle to reverse the rise of carbon emissions, a potential new source lies in wait for us: the melting of permafrost. The rapid warming of the Arctic is not only melting its cover of sea ice, but also soil-bound frozen organic matter, which will decay much more rapidly, producing still more carbon dioxide and methane. [Chris Mooney, Washington Post via Reader Supported News, 04/06/15]

   Posted Apr 26: World Celebrates 'Victory for Diplomacy over War'. The historic and widely-acclaimed 6-nation agreement on a framework to prevent Iran's development of nuclear weapons was immediately greeted by a chorus of demands from the US Congress for legislation to sabotage or delay the final deal. [John Queally, CommonDreams, 04/04/15]

   Posted Apr 26:    The Folly of Machine Warfare. Review of Andrew Cockburn's new book, "Kill Chain: Drones and the Rise of the High-Tech Assassins". The roots of drone warfare go back to pre-World War II discussions about victory through air power alone, which were used to justify the creation of an independent Air Force. This, coupled with reliance on technologically-based intelligence and targeting of air strikes led logically to the present era of drone warfare. [Franklin Spinney, Counterpunch, 03/27/15]

   Posted Apr 26:  Body Count Report Reveals At Least 1.3 Million Lives Lost to US-Led War on Terror. According to a report by physicians' groups, in the ten years following the 2003 invasion of Iraq a million lives were lost in Iraq alone - 5% of the country's population, not counting deaths among refugees. The rest of the deaths took place in Aghanistan (250,000) and Pakistan. Not included is the ongoing carnage in Syria, Libya, Yemen and Somalia. [Sarah Lazare, CommonDreams, 03/26/15]

  Posted Mar 28: How Robots & Algorithms Are Taking Over: Review of "The Glass Cage: Automation and Us", by Nicholas Carr. Technological unemployment, a term coined by Keynes has caused recurring crises, but the current wave of automation and roboticization may eliminate half of all U.S. jobs over the next 20 years. In fact, even software is writing more advanced software and robots are creating better robots. [Sue Halpern, NY Review of books, 04-02-15]

   Posted Mar 28: Off the Deep End: The Wall Street Bonus Pool and Low-Wage Workers. "The financial industry’s 2014 bonuses were double the combined earnings of all Americans who work full-time at the federal minimum wage." The bonuses handed over to 168,000 securities industry employees totaled $28.5 billion, twice as much as the total earned by the 1 million full-time $7.25/hour minimum wage workers, and would be enough to pay a living wage of $15/hour to millions of restaurant workers or home health care aides. [Sarah Anderson, Institute for Policy Studies, 03/11/15]

   Posted Mar 28: TPP vs. Democracy: Leaked Draft of Secretive Trade Deal Spells Out Plan for Corporate Power Grab. New information released today by Wikileaks reveals even deeper dangers embedded in the Trans-Pacific partnership, an 11-nation trade agreement, representing 40% of the world's GDP, being negotiated semi-secretly since 2008. Not only would it endanger workers' rights and environmental protection but a key provision gives multinationals the right to sue nations.[Sarah Lazare, CommonDreams, 03/26/15]

   Posted Mar 28: Amazon Forest Becoming Less of a Climate Change Safety Net. A massive study lasting 30 years and involving almost 200,000 trees spread throughout the Amazon forest indicates that the extra CO2 in the atmosphere may have speeded up tree growth at the cost of reducing their lifetime and as they die, the rainforest is rapidly becoming less of a carbon absorber.[Justin Gillis, NY Times, 03/23/15]

   Posted Mar 28: What’s going on in the North Atlantic? Averaged over 100 years, global warming seems to have effected every region on earth except one: the north-central Atlantic. The cooling of the water here is shown to be evidence of a serious weakening of the Gulf stream and may be part of an accelerating change in ocean currents on a global scale. More information here. [Stefan Rahmstorf, RealClimate, 03/23/15]

   Posted Mar 28: Why the Real Unemployment Rate is Double the ‘Official’ Unemployment Rate. What is keeping wages stagnant in an era of increasing productivity? The unemployment rate is systematically underreported throughout the industrialized world by excluding workers who have given up on their job search, the underemployed and others. "The increased ability of capital to move at will around the world... [and] 'free trade' deals that accelerate the movement of production to low-wage, regulation-free countries.." are important players in this game. [Pete Dolac, Counterpunch, 03/20/15]

   Posted Mar 28: A Neocon Admits the Plan to Bomb Iran. They're at it again - the "bomb,bomb,bomb.. bomb-bomb Iran" neocons. Joshua Muravchik's March 15 Washington Post op-ed piece argues for sabotaging negotiations and letting the bombs fly (no boots on the ground) in a blatantly illegal act of aggression. [Robert Parry, Consortium News, 03/19/15]

   Posted Mar 8: Is Drone Warfare Fraying at the Edges? Amid growing criticism, another drone strike - Pakistan, Yemen, or Somalia - some more "militants" killed, but the terror outfits seem only to grow. And now, dissent from a new source: the "pilots" are quitting in large numbers. The Air Force attributes it to overwork, but the true reasons may involve a mixture of scorn from real combat pilots plus some new type of psychological stress.[Pratap Chatterjee, TomDispatch, 03/05/15]

Posted Mar 8: Third North American Oil Train Inferno in Three Weeks. First it was Ontario, then it was West Virginia (see post below); now it's Illinois. Another derailment, followed by an unstoppable inferno; again, local residents fleeing from their homes. The Center for Biological Diversity recently released a report on the danger of oil trains... some 25 million people live within the one-mile evacuation zone of tracks carrying oil trains, and that the trains pass through 34 wildlife refuges and critical habitat for 57 endangered species."
[Environment News Service, 03/05/15]

   Posted Mar 8: The Biology of Being Good to Others. This essay/book review discusses the various theories of the evolution of altruistic behavior and Darwinian survival theory at the level of the individual, group, species and planet. [H. Allen Orr, NY Review of Books, March 2015]

   Posted Mar 8: There's No Way Out of it. Resurgent conservatism and religious fundamentalism - and leftist anti-corporate agitation (yes, us) - have combined to feed a wave of distrust of doctors, drugs, journalists and government in general; one result has been an anti- vaccination movement that has led to the resurgence of measles and other communicable diseases. [Jerome Groopman, NY Review of Books, 03/05/15]

   Posted Mar 8: Manipulate and Mislead: How GMOs Are Infiltrating Africa. "African farmers have a lot to lose from the introduction of GMOs; the rich diversity of African agriculture, its robust resilience and the social cohesion engendered through cultures of sharing and collective effort could be replaced by a handful of monotonous commodity crops owned by foreign masters."[Haidee Swanby, Mariann Bassey Orovwuje, Common Dreams, 02/23/15]

   Posted Mar 8: Poison Spring: The Secret History of Pollution and the EPA. This 2014 book by Evaggelos Vallianatos with McKay Jenkinswhich EPA staffers, hired as scientists, who "...spent their time cutting and pasting industry studies and conclusions into rubber- stamped registration approvals [of pesticides]".[Carl Van Strum, Independent Science News, 02/23/15]

   Posted Mar 8: Latest Cyber Bank Robbery Illustrates That Poor Cyber Security is Official Policy. A recent massive online robbery that hit over 10o banks in 30 countries is evidence that "cyber intrusions are enabled by a hi-tech sector, which offloads the cost of its sloppy engineering onto the public. Never mind the industry-wide campaign of subversion conducted by government spies. Poor cyber security doesn’t just appear out of thin air... it’s baked in."[Bill Blunden, Alternet, 02/18/15]

   Posted Feb 21: Deeper Ties to Corporate Cash for a Doubtful Climate Scientist. "Harvard astrophysicist" Willy Soon is neither. Has never worked for Harvard nor is he an astrophysicist, nor even a climatologist. But he has been able to haul in a million in grants from sources such as the Kochs over the last 10 years to continue publishing much-echoed false claims attributing global warming to solar variations. [Justin Gillis and John Schwartz, NY Times, 02/21/15]

   Posted Feb 20: As Extreme Cold Engulfs Eastern U.S., Fossil Fuel Mishaps Leave Disaster Areas on Fire. In the wake of the latest tank car disaster, this one in West Virginia, Amy Goodman interviews energy activist Steve Kretzman for Oil Change International on the Feb 19 edition of Democracy Now (video and transcript available at link). This was the third in a week of disasters involving oil, including also an explosion at an L.A. Exxon-Mobil refinery, and another on a tanker train in Ontario. [Democracy Now, 02/29/15]

photo by Marcus Constantino/Charleston Daily Mail

   Posted Feb 18: Monopoly’s Inventor: The Progressive Who Didn’t Pass ‘Go’ Here's the fascinating story of Lizzie Magie, the forgotten progressive feminist who invented this perennially popular board game 112 years ago, as a political statement. [Mary Pilon, NY Times, 02/13/15]

   Posted Feb 18: Calls Grow to Reject ISIS Authorization That Permits 'Waging War All Over World'. Obama's new Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) is seen as a blank check by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, while their right-wing colleagues derided it as too weak. Frances Boyle of the U of Illinois warned that between this AUMF and the 2001 version, still in effect, "...you can have the U.S. government waging war all over the world." See also Andre Bacevich's comments. [Dierdre Fulton, Common Dreams, 02/13/15]

   Posted Feb 18: U.S. Embedded Spyware Overseas, Report Claims. Kaspersky Lab, the widely respected computer security firm has revealed that "...the U.S. has found a way to permanently embed surveillance and sabotage tools in computers and networks it has targeted in Iran, Russia, Pakistan, China, Afghanistan and other countries..." [Perlroth and Sanger, NY Times, 02/16/15]

   Posted Feb 18: Surveillance, Privacy Concerns Raised as FAA Gives Domestic Drones a Nod Are the black helicopters next? Statements by the White House and FAA on Feb 15 have opened the door to non-military domestic drone use. The proposed regulations have raised concerns about online privacy, internet neutrality and safety. The aircraft can weigh up to 55 pounds, and travel at speeds of up to 100 mph - but no, they won't deliver your pizza. [Dierdre Fulton, Common Dreams, 02/15/15]

photo by Budi Nusyirwan/flickr

   Posted Feb 18: The Pentagon & Climate Change: How Deniers Put National Security at Risk. Save the bases! Climate change activists have an awkward ally - the military. Billions of dollars in Pentagon assets located near the sea are threatened by inexorably rising waters, but their usual friends on the right are turning a deaf ear. [Jeff Goodell, Rolling Stone, feb 12]

   Posted Feb 18, 2015: Balloon-borne wind turbines bring electricity where it's needed. A new wind turbine that's held aloft at heights of up to 600 meters by tethered helium balloons, the Buoyant Air Turbine could improve wind power efficiency by tapping the stronger and more consistent winds at higher levels. [NSF/Discoveries, 02/05/15]

   Posted Jan 30, 2015: Kids Caught in Crossfire of Climate Education Battle. The science deniers, still unrepentant after mostly losing the battle to keep evolution out of the nation's public schools, are losing another one: denial of human-caused climate change has been kicked out of (coal-mine-rich) W. Virginia's schoolbooks. The NRC-led Next Generation Science Standards, published in 2013 is the first-ever set of K-12 national standards. But, accepted in 13 states so far, it will soon face some uphill battles. [Katherine Begley, Inside Climate News, 1/29/15]

   Posted Jan 30, 2015: New Report Urges Western Governments to Reconsider Reliance on Biofuels As explained in a new World Resources Institute report, highlighted in the NY Times, "...turning plant matter into liquid fuel or electricity is so inefficient that the approach is unlikely ever to supply a substantial fraction of global energy demand". The use of any of this kind of material other than in the form of waste products will inevitably compete for valuable land with vital food crops. [Justin Gillis, NY Times, 1/28/15]

   Posted Jan 30, 2015: See this new video: This is What Energy Democracy Looks Like.

Published Jan 21, 2015 by Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung-NYC, Trade Unions for Energy Democracy and energy democracy initiative.org

   Posted Jan30, 2015: The official and unofficial stories of Google in space. As government space satellite budgets shrink, billionaires such as Richard Branson and Elon Musk are stepping up plans to "democratize" it, using combinations of government and corporate money, including such players as NASA and Google. Plans are already being developed for a colony on Mars and a swarm of 4000 privately-owned mini-satellites. [Jessica Bland, Guardian UK, 01/26/15]

   Posted Jan 30, 2015: Why the modern world is bad for your brain. We are being constantly assault by information, factoids, rumour, stimuli and responsibilities of all kinds. What do we need to remember and know, and what can we ignore? Telephone is now also dictionary, calculator, web browser, email, Game Boy, appointment calendar, voice recorder, guitar tuner, weather forecaster, GPS, texter, tweeter, Facebook updater, and flashlight. Earl Miller, a neuroscientist at MITsays that "...our brains are “not wired to multitask well… When people think they’re multitasking, they’re actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there’s a cognitive cost in doing so.” [The Guardian, UK, 01/18/15]

   Posted Jan 30, 2015: How Medical Marijuana’s Chemicals May Protect Cells. 23 states and the District of Columbia allow the use of marijuana to treat some medical conditions, "including pain, nausea and glaucoma." How does marijuana really work? What are the active ingredients? Reports of widening applications of components of the plant are appearing in top medical journals. [David Noonan, Scientific American, 1/20/15]

   Posted Jan 30, 2015: Crowdfunded science: harnessing the wisdom of the crowd, or selling out? "Faced with the threat of budget cuts and intense competition for the money that remains, scientists around the world are instead turning directly to the public for the help they need." Crowd-funded science projects include a moon lander, a search for moons in other solar systems and sounds made by Amazon fish. Is this what science for the people is supposed to mean? Is the public at large more fit to decide what to fund then governments or their science-funding agencies? [Richard Gray, The Guardian UK,01/02/15]

   Posted Jan 30, 2015: The Scoreboards Where You Can’t See Your Score How do you rate? Everybody now has access to their credit rating (however accurate), but do you know your risk of medical complications? Do you frequently switch cell-phone carriers, buy potency aids, use dating services? A lot of this information is out there and you can only guess what or where - next time you apply for a job or a private-sector insurance policy. [Natalia Singer, NY Times, Dec 27]

   Posted Jan 30, 2015: Bolivia Revolutionizes Urban Mass Transit: From the Streets to the Sky. What do Bolivia and Switzerland have in common? Mountains - and now, cable cars. In a move to ease urban transit, reduce pollution and link workers communities with distant jobs, President Evo Morales has announced the completion of the third on a set of popularly- priced cable-car lines, serving 100,000 LaPaz residents perday. [Emily Achtenberg, NACLA, 12/26/14]

   Posted Dec 25, 2014: Oil’s Swift Fall Raises Fortunes of U.S. Abroad. Oil prices have fallen by almost 50% six months; finally - woo-hoo, cheap oil is back - time to fire up those SUVs, America. Eat your hearts out, you "antagonistic" oil exporters - yes we're talking about you - Russia, Venezuela, Iran. Sorry about that, Nigeria, Angola,Sudan. Saudi Arabia keeps pumping and refuses to cut production so as to preserve market share; the US, now heavy into oil from shale, has upped its overall oil production by a factor of 1.8 since 2008. Coincidence? Lots of folks don't think so.[Andrew Higgins, NY Times, 12/24/14]

   Posted Dec 25:  How Facebook Killed the Internet, or Death by Ten Billion Status Updates. Where does our information come from now? Why are the people around me staring at small black rectangular objects in their hands? asks this progressive folk musician. Have writers become mere content providers ? "Is it worth it to replace moderators with algorithms? Editors with white noise? Investigative journalists with pictures of your cat?" [David Rovics, Counterpunch, 12/24/14]

Posted Dec 25: 'A Roadmap to Global Burning': COP20 Closes With Even Weaker Climate Pact. The non-binding nature of the agreements reached two weeks ago in Lima came as disappointing news to many hoping for even the modest goal of keeping post-industrial warming to under 2 degrees C: “We are on a path to three or four degrees with this outcome,” said Tasneem Essop, international climate strategist for WWF.
[Lauren McCauley, Common Dreams, 12/14/14]

   Posted Dec 25: Once-In-1200-Year California Drought Bears Signature Of Climate Change. While a new NOAA report seeks to blame natural variability for the long-lasting severe drought in California, a number of leading climate scientists have already strongly criticized the finding, showing that the effect of record-breaking high temperatures was not properly considered in the research. [Joe Romm, ClimateProgress, Dec 8]

   Posted Dec 25: White House Launches Climate Literacy Initiative for Americans. The Office Office of Science and Technology Policy is launching several efforts to improve understanding of climate change among students and business leaders. They are facing the need to roll back years of successful anti-science efforts by groups such as ALEC and the Koch-funded Heartland Institute. [Sustainablebusiness.com News, 12/05/14]

   Posted Dec 9: Once-In-1200-Year California Drought Bears Signature Of Climate Change. While a new NOAA report seeks to blame natural variability for the long-lasting severe drought in California, a number of leading climate scientists have already strongly criticized the finding, showing that the effect of record-breaking high temperatures was not properly considered in the research. [Joe Romm, ClimateProgress, Dec 8]

   Posted Dec 9: The Trouble with Twin Studies: A Reassessment of Twin Research in the Social and Behavioral Sciences - excerpts from a new book by Jay Joseph (to be published in 2015) raising serious questions about heritabiity of complex human traits. [Provided by Jonathan Latham, Independent Science News.org]

   Posted Dec 8: A Fossil Fuel Scandal at the Climate Talks in Lima. Fossil-fuel lobbyists are getting worried as the global campaign for divestment from fossil fuels gathers steam. They showed up this week at the Lima summit conference with leaflets advertising propaganda panels they had organized. Environmental NGO's demanded that industry lobbyists be banned from the summit, especially in view of their long history of environmental destruction in Latin America. [Jamie Henn, Huffington Post, 12/06/14]

   Posted Dec 8: Why are some Antarctic ice shelves feeling warmer water than others? This is a straightforward discussion of the complicated and probably irreversable changes in action near the antarctic coast as deteriorating ice shelves give way and glaciers head seaward. [Scott Johnson, Ars Technica, 12/07/14

Ice in Antarctica's Weddell Sea; photo by Sunke Schmidt

   Posted Dec 8: The Moral Trauma of "21st Century Warriors". The new meaning of service in the U.S. military "redefines the entire tradition of warriorhood and in fact renders them more vulnerable to harm from the invisible wounds of war", argues this op-ed; but see what's on the drawing board to make long-distance killing even easier (see John Markoff's NYT article posted below). [Edward Tick, Truthout op-ed, 11/22/14]

   Posted Dec 8: White House announces push for next generation of high-tech weapons. Looks like Barry is pushing for another Nobel Peace Prize. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced in a get-tougher initiative in a memo to Pentagon leaders “We are entering an era where American dominance in key warfighting domains is eroding and we must find new and creative ways to sustain, and in some areas expand, our advantages”. (Hagel was sacked eight days after this Reuters release appeared. Not tough enough? )[Reuters, via TheGuardian, 11/16/14]

   Posted Dec 8: My Last Words to Bush and Cheney. Paralyzed in action in Iraq, confined to a wheelchair and dying in a hospice, Tomas Young on behalf of fellow veterans, citizens and hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Midle East calls on the perpetrators of the war to publicly beg for forgiveness for "egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder". [Tomas Young, Counterpunch, 11/14/2014]

   Posted Dec 8: Fearing Bombs That Can Pick Whom to Kill Drones are getting a bad press - sometimes they kill people that weren't on the kill list. Sometimes the remote operator, continents away, has pangs of conscience. Why not make automated killing even more automated? "...artificial intelligence has begun to supplant human decision-making in ...high-speed stock trading and medical diagnostics, and even in self-driving cars. Self-governing weapons are already being developed. [John Markoff, NY Times, 11/11/14]

   Posted Nov 11: The Myth of Chinese Super Schools. Race to the Top, No Child Left Behind, Common Core testing - what is it about the performance of Chinese students that makes us a prisoner of the test-and-punish strategy for teachers and schools? Do our mediocre scores on international tests predict economic disaster for the US? [Diane Ravitch, NY Review of Books, 11/20/14 issue]

   Posted Nov 11: The Creepy New Wave of the Internet The "Internet of Things"is here. With tens of millions of sensors sending data directly to the internet from our homes, cars, purchases and even our bodies - and exchanging it with other sensors and of course accumulating it in Big Data banks. NSA's massive spying on citizens is morphing into a privatized version guaranteed to make life better for all; but "a system that can remind you to stop at the market for dessert is a system that knows who you are and where you are and what you’ve been doing and with whom you’ve been doing it". [Sue Halpern, NY Review of Books, 1/20/14 issue] /

   Posted Nov 11:  Air concentrations of volatile compounds near oil and gas production: a community-based exploratory study. Fracking and other new techniques to extract hydrocarbons have expanded rapidly. The effects of the drilling on groundwater sources are already alarming; the effects on air pollution have been nearly ignored, but they may be serious. Community-based networks are needed to monitor the industry. [Macey, et al., Environmental Health, 10/30/2014]

  Posted Nov 11: How do trees change the climate? A Sept, 2014 NY Times op-ed by Nadine Unger carried the unfortunate title, "To Save the Planet, Don't Plant Trees", which stirred up a good deal of controversy. The present piece in RealClimate clarifies the matter, explaining how planting trees in the tropics counteracts warming not only locally, but globally and that we must do everything possible to save the remaining tropical forests. [Abby Swann, RealClimate, 10/27/14]

   Posted Nov 11: Invasion of the Data Snatchers - Entertaining and scary ACLU video on threats to our privacy.

   Posted Nov 11: Intent on Defying an All-Seeing Eye. This review of the film "Citizen Four", details the spy-thriller exploits behind the outing of the NSA's global snooping evoking "the modern state as an unseen, ubiquitous presence, an abstraction with enormous coercive resources at its disposal." [A.O. Scott, NY Times, 10/23/14]

   Posted Nov 11: Extreme Weather: Looking for Climate Ties An excellent discussion about public perception of extreme weather events and how they are related to climate change, with reference to NOAA's recently issued State of the Climate Report,2013. [athompson, AP, via Ventura County Star, 10/23/14/]

   Posted Nov 11: Amazon deforestation picking up pace, satellite data reveals After several years of reduced clearing of the Brazilian Amazon the rate of deforestation has recently seen a sharp uspsurge due to a combination of economic and political factors, including evasion of timbering laws and lax enforcement, and an economic downturn. Neither the article nor the original document presented any information on the extent of foreign ownership of the affected land. [Jonathan Watts, The Guardian UK, 10/19/14]

  Posted Nov 11: How much it will cost to tackle climate change? We don't know and we can't know. Why it's a dangerous mistake to wait for the economists to run elaborate models based on poorly-known input before we take decisive measures to stop pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere - a summary of an important new study calling for immediate action. [David Roberts, Grist, 10/16/14]  

  Posted Nov 11: The United States is No. 1 – But in What? In international violence and preparations for it, among other things. Accounting for 37% of the world's military spending, we are dishing out more than twice what is spent by our two closest competitors, China (11%) and Russia (5%). combined. And yes, we're also Number One in arms exports. See this updated report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. [Lawrence Wittner, History News Network, 10/12/14]

   Posted Nov 11: Hillary Clinton: Endless War is now U.S. Doctrine. Just in case you had any doubts..Well before the rise of ISIS, the indefinite extension of the war on terror was part of high-level administration planning. The groundwork in place allows[ people like former CIA and DoDm chief Leon Panetta say that we’re looking at kind of a 30-year war. Greenwald: "Only in America are new 30-year wars spoken of so casually, the way other countries speak of weather changes. "[Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept, 10-07-14]

   Posted Nov 11: The Rough Guide to Frackistan In addition to having the perfect title, this article gives a compact history of fracking and how it is now revolutionizing the energy landscape - as well as parts of the physical landscape. As the price of gas sinks, will renewables have trouble competing? [Michael Ennis, Texas Observer, May 2014]

   Posted Nov11:  Livermore scientists suggest ocean warming in Southern Hemisphere underestimated. Due to massive emission of greenhouse gases, it's well known that the earth's heat budget is no longer balanced, but with some 90% of the surplus stored in the oceans, it's hard to measure. New deep-water measurements reveal repeated underestimates of the vast quantities stored thousands of meters below the surface of the southern oceans. See FAQs.
[Anne M Stark, Lawrence Livermore National Lab, 10/5/14 ]

  Posted Oct 3: Limiting global warming to 2°C - new opposition. An article in Nature, an angry response and a rebuttal have re-ignited debate on setting boundaries on climate change: Can you focus on one slow-changing parameter like average surface temperature, or rather on areas where progress can be observed by the public, such as greenhouse gas concentrations? [Stefan Rahmstorf, RealClimate, 10/1/13]

  Posted Oct 3: Failure Is Success: How American Intelligence Works in the Twenty-First Century. {A must-read!} "You put about $68 billion annually into a maze of 17 major intelligence outfits", spy on the world and what do you get? Surprised in 2001, wrong in 2003 on nuclear weapons in Iraq, the Egyptian Spring, Afghanistan, Syria, and now, ISIS - US intelligence "regularly been one step late and one assessment short, when not simply blindsided by events". [Tom Engelhardt, Common Dreams, Sep 30]

  Posted Oct 3: What’s Wrong With the Radical Critique of the People’s Climate March The classic debate opposing moderate mass actions to exemplary more-radical actions by a small elite core continues. Will this be a defining event in the mobilization of public opinion and action? Will it help to open the way to replacing capitalism with some kind of eco-socialism? [Jonathan Smucker and Michael Premo, The Nation, 9/30/14]

  Posted Oct 3: Australia Heat Wave Is Tied to Climate Change. The latest State of the Climate report, recently released by the American Meteorological Society indicates that while the evidence for the cumulative effects of global warming is massive, its is still difficult to link specific extreme events to global warming; however the extreme heat and drought throughout Australia in 2013 passes all statistical tests - yes, it's climate change.. [Justin Gillis, NY Times, 9/29/14]

  Posted Oct 3: Miss a Payment? Good Luck Moving That Car. Need to get somewhere quick in an emergency and the car won't start? It could be the re-po man that remotely de-activated your ignition.[Corkery and Silver-Greenberg,NY Times, 9/25/14]

  Posted Oct 3: Lyme disease surges north, and Canada moves out of denial Candians can no longer be quite so smug about the benefits of a warming climate; increasing numbers of disease-bearing six-legged immigrants from the US are taking up residence there. [Marianne Lavelle, Daily Climate, 9/24/14]

   Posted Aug 30: The Mystery of Huge Solar Plants - and tiny dead birds. With construction and planning of multiple gigawatt-scale solar projects for public lands, ecological disruptions become more likely. The effects of wind turbines on birds and bats have been studied and now evidence is being gathered on bird kills due to concentrated solar beam fields created by giant arrays of mirrors. .[Sara Bernard, Grist.org, 8/28/14]

   Posted Aug 30: A Closer Look at Turbulent Oceans and Greenhouse Heating. An apparent slowdown over the last 15 years in the rate of global warming has elicited enthusiastic responses from the climate denialosphere and a good deal of speculation about statistical significance and possible explanations from modelers. In the face of the excess of energy entering over that leaving the planet, where is the heat being stored? The mechanisms discussed here involve multi-decadal cycles of massive overturning of oceans driven by salnity and temperature differences. [Andrew Revkin, NY Times dotearth blog, 08-26/13]

   Posted Aug 30: The Surveillance Engine: How the NSA Built Its Own Secret Google. Did you ever wonder how government agencies can manage to sort through the avalanche of data provided daily by NSA's worldwide snooping? Not to worry, that's been taken care of, thank you: NSA has provided it's own secret Google-class search engine, ICReach, which it has made available for government agencies such as the FBI to conveniently recover whatever it wants. [Ryan Gallagher, The Intercept, 8/25/14]

  Posted Aug 30: In Iraq, a Bombing Program Designed for the Weapons Industry - Washington has created "the perfect machine"for the arms industry: Provide arms and training for a weak and corrupt Iraq regime; regime gets overthrown by well-trained militants using captured US weapons, which the US is now destroying by bombing raids. And, to complete the circle, send in more US weapons to replace what the rebels have grabbed from the regime. [Tom Englehart, CommonDreams, 8/20/14] 

  Posted Aug 30: The Injustice of Marijuana Arrests. Equal numbers of blacks and whites use marijuana, yet in DC, 8 times as many blacks are arrested; nationwide the ratio is 3.7. n 2011, there were more arrests for marijuana possession than for all violent crimes put together. The cost? $3.6 billion per year in dollars, but enormous in human terms. [Jesse Wegman, NY Times, 7/28/14] 

  Posted Aug 30: Facebook Admits Manipulating Users' Emotions by Modifying News Feeds. "In a study with academics from Cornell and the U. California, Facebook filtered users' news feeds – the flow of comments, videos, pictures and web links posted by other people in their social network. One test reduced users' exposure to their friends' "positive emotional content", resulting in fewer positive posts of their own. Another test reduced exposure to "negative emotional content" and the opposite happened." Good news - we can all save on Prozac and feel good all the time...[Robert Booth, The Guardian UK, 6/29/14]

  Posted Aug 30: US Use of Killer Drones Will Stoke New Waves of Anti-US Sentiment and move us closer to a world of endless war, according to a Jun 26 US task force report, which concedes that they "have enabled the United States to engage in the cross-border use of lethal force against targeted individuals in an unprecedented and expanding way, raising significant strategic, legal and ethical questions." [Lauren McCauley, Common Dreams, 6/26/14]

   Posted Jul 25: The True Cost of a Burger. OK, buddy, put the burger down and step away and nobody gets hurt... What are the hidden "externalities" in the production and annual consumption by Americans of some 16 billion cheeseburgers, e.g., costs to the environment (toxic wastes, carbon footprint), to public health (chronic diseases and premature death). [Mark Bittman, NY Times, Jul 15]

   Posted Jul 25: Letter from Gaza by a Norwegian doctor: A devastating first-hand account of the scene in an emergency room in Shifa, Gaza, under bombardment and flooded with dying and wounded, staffed with volunteers and lacking equipment and supplies. [Mads Gilbert, MiddleEastMonitor, Jul 20]

   Posted Jul 13: A New Generation of Nuclear Subs. Instability abroad? Stalled economy at home? The Navy has the answer: The all- new SSBN(X) nuclear-missile-armed subs at $8 billion a pop, missiles not included, the largest ever built - a dozen of them. Now in their R&D phase, they should be ready for deployment in 17 years. [Lawrence Wittner, Consortium News, Jul 11]

  Posted Jul 13: Nomads of the Digital Age. Will the internet remain a free and open platform for communication, or a commodity controlled by a few corporations, censored and surveilled by the U.S. national-security apparatus? The first heroes that the battle to free critical information are now stateless nomads or prisoners - Julian Assange, Bradley/Chelsea Manning, Ed Snowden, Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald and others.[Amy Goodman, Common Dreams, Jul 10] 

  Posted Jul 13: Blueprints for Taming the Climate Crisis. Pathways to deep decarbonization. An independent team of energy exports reported onwhat kinds of changes will be necessary if we get serious about the need to make the drastic cuts in carbon release necessary to keep global warming below 2 degrees C. [Eduardo Porter, NY Times, July 8] 

  Posted Jul 13: Kneeling in Fenway Park to the Gods of War. Scrap that trip to your local recruitment office; now the recruiter comes to you, right at your local ballpark, along with blatant pro-war propaganda posing as honoring the troops. [Chris Hedges, truthdig, Jul 7]

   Posted July 13: “Genetic Determinism”: Highly Placed Mainstream Media Racists. Science editor for the NYT for 30 years, Nicholas Wade has just published a book, "A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History", which attempts to ascribe cultural superiority to genetics.(see also Madrick's blog post below). [Steve Rendall, FAIR, Jul 2]

   Posted July 13: Endgame? How the rhetoric of ecoetiquette muddies writing about global warming. Is climate-change alarmism de- sensitizing the public or do we need to turn up the volume? Review of books by P. Allitt, A. Newitz, E. Kolber, B McKibben and C Childs. [Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow, The Nation, Jul 21/28]

   Posted July 13: Inequality Begins at Birth. New research points to the importance of early-childhood stress typically experienced in poor families as an important factor in producing neurological damage that leads to later learning difficulties. [Jeff Madrick, NY Review Blog, June 26]

   Posted Jun 25: The Death of the American Mall. The era of explosive growth of mid-market malls and is over, along with the growth of the suburbs that spawned them; doomed by their isolation from any sustaining community and by the growth of internet shopping. [David Uberti, The Guardian, UK (via AlterNet), June 19]

  Posted Jun 25: Frankenstein Fears His Monster: The Gates Foundation Wants You To Boycott High-Stakes Tests."...the alchemists responsible for concocting the horrific education policies designed to turn teaching and learning into a test score have been shaken hard enough to awaken from the nightmare scenario of fast-tracking high-stakes Common Core testing across the nation." [Jesse Hagopian, CommonDreams, June 13]

  Posted Jun 25: How dust in the wind may be quickening Greenland's ice melt. Dust settling onto the the Greenland ice sheet may provide nutrition for bacteria and ice algae which would accelerate the darkening of the ice surface and further increase the melt rates. [Pete Spotts, Christian Science Monitor, June 9]

  Posted Jun 25: The Growth Problem: Capitalism and Climate Change. "Growth is simply essential for [capitalism's] survival. Spurred on by competition, capitalism seeks to constantly re-invest surplus into more capital; a system of self-expansion seeking only greater accumulation. The concept of stationary capitalism is an oxymoron." [Alyssa Rohricht, Counterpunch, May 29]

Posted Jun 25: The Impossibility of Growth Demands a New Economic System. Past periods of rapid growth have collapsed due to exhaustion of local sources of animal and wood-based energy. Fossil fuel has led to unprecedented sustained - but unsustainable growth as ever-more hazardous sources of carbon are sought.The consequences will be unprecedented collapse. [George Monbiot, CommonDreams, May 28]

  Posted Jun 25: Google’s Next Phase in Driverless Cars: No Steering Wheel or Brake Pedals. Need a ride? Pick up your smartphone app and request car and select destination. Done. No human intervention needed. But what are the human consequences of this sci-fi dream? [John Markoff, NY Times, May 27; Dan Gillmor, The Guardian,UK, Jun 2] 

  Posted Jun 25: Giants behaving badly: Google, Facebook and Amazon show us the downside of monopolies and black-box algorithms [ Mathew Ingram, Gigaom.com, May 23]

  Posted Jun 25: The Secret History of Hypertext - the conventional history of computing leaves out some key thinkers. How was the web invented? Was its present bottom-up structure inevitable? Will it stay the way it is? [Alex Wright, The Atlantic, May 22] 

  Posted Jun 25: The 95% Doctrine: Climate Change as a Weapon of Mass Destruction Defending the invasion of Iraq to defend the U.S. against Saddams's putative weapons of mass destruction, Dick Cheney famously said he would go to war if there was even a 1% chance that some country was planning to use them. What if there were a 95% chance, and the weapons were in plain sight? [Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch, May 22]

   Posted Jun 25 Use of AC Increases local Nighttime Temperatures, Escalates Demand for AC. Increases of a degree C in nighttime temperatures due to use of air conditioners during a heat wave in Phoenix were calculated and verified, showing how use of AC immediately creates the need for more AC (abstract). [Newswise, AZ State Univ., May 16] 

  Posted Jun 18 Don't Walk Away from War - it's not the American way. Sgt Bergdahl walked away from the Afghanistan war, but nobody wants to hear the message: this, as well as all the wars fought by the US since WWII has not only resulted not victories, but in stalemates and defeats, untold suffering and in most cases, worsening of the conditions that led to the war.[Tom Englehardt, Nation of Change, Jun 12]

   Posted May 20: Illegal Amazon Timber Sold Worldwide. Greenpeace is pointing the finger at US-based Lumber Liquidators, which claims sustainable sources, but depends heavily on imports from the state of Pará Brazil where despite local efforts, up to 78% of the tree harvest is illegal (see Greenpeace report).[Daniel Brindis, Greenpeaceblogs, May 15]

   Posted May 20: Use of AC Increases local Nighttime Temperatures, escalating demand for AC. Increases of a degree C in nighttime temperatures due to use of air conditioners during a heat wave in Phoenix were calculated and verified, showing how use of AC immediately creates the need for more AC (abstract). [Newswise, AZ State Univ., May 16]

   Posted May 16: Glenn Greenwald: How I Met Edward Snowden Excerpt from Glenn Greenwald's new book, published May 13, "No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Security State" [TomDispatch, May 13]

   Posted May 16: Turning America's Roads Into Gigantic Solar Panels. About 1% of the contiguous US is paved; can some of that 31,000 square miles - parking lots and roads - be covered with solar panels? A backyard inventor couple in Idaho says yes; they are now testing their prototype surfaces made of super-resistant glass-based textured panels. [Rob Wile, Business Insider, May 14]

   Posted May 16: No Turning Back: Mexico's Looming Fracking and Offshore Oil and Gas Bonanza. Pemex, Mexico's state-owned oil giant is being broken up, opening Mexico's vast oil and gas reserves to foreign exploitation, especially deep-water oil reserves in the Gulf of Mexico and extensive shale gas reserves. Likely winners are the US oil giants. [Ben Jervey and Steve Horn, DeSmogBlog, May 12]

   Posted May 16 :"We Kill People Based on Metadata" - the now-famous words of General Michael Hayden, former director of the NSA and the CIA. Thanks to Edward Snowden, two House committees have voted unanimously to clamp down on NSA spying. But there are some very important doors still left open, including NSA planting of back-door leaks in computer networks. [David Cole, NY Review blog, May 10]

  Posted May 13: Scientists Warn of Rising Oceans as Antarctic Ice Melts. (See also "This Is What a Holy Shit Moment for Global Warming Looks Like" by Chris Mooney in Mother Jones).Two new scientific papers, in the journals Science and Geophysical Research Letters, report that major West Antarctic appear to have become irrevocably destabilized due to undermining by warm sea water.[Gillis and Chang, NY Times, May 20]

Thwaite Glacier - NASA

    Posted May 13: CIA Aided Polio's Comeback - but Media Have Forgotten the Story. New outbreaks of polio are hitting tribal areas of Pakistan - the place where vaccination teams, were driven out due to widespread mistrust because they were being used to gather intelligence for the CIA, including for the killing of bin Laden. [Julie Hollar, FAIR blog, May 7]

   Posted May 13:   Climate Change Study Finds U.S. Is Already Widely Affected. The latest National Climate Assessment, released this time in the White House compiles nationwide evidence of unusual floods caused by extreme downpours, droughts and heat waves. Attached to the report is an excellent appendix on climate science. [Justin Gillis, NY Times, May 6]

    Posted May 13:   Stephen Hawking: Artificial Intelligence 'Potentially the Worst Thing to Happen to Humanity'. Looking at the explosive growth of applications for artificial intelligence, Hawking worries that "there is no physical law precluding particles from being organised in ways that perform even more advanced computations than the arrangements of particles in human brains" , with the devices we have created "out-inventing human researchers, out-manipulating human leaders, and developing weapons we cannot even understand." [Stephen Hawking, The Independent,UK, May 1]

   Posted May 13: Friends, and Influence, for Sale Online. Grassroots democracy on the Web - click here to Like, but the weight of your opinion may be diluted by thousands of "bots", scurrying to every corner of the net, posting not only Likes, but also Favorites. Comments. Upvotes. Page views. Bots can have names, faces, cyber-emotions - and they're for sale. Buy a small army of bots and you can sway public opinion, be a celebrity, win an election... maybe start a war? [Nick Bilton, NY Times blog, Apr 20]

  Posted Apr 30: Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty. Reviews by Paul Krugman(NY Times): "demolishes that most cherished of conservative myths, the insistence that we’re living in a meritocracy in which great wealth is earned and deserved";  Joe Conason (Nation of Change): "...the structures of capitalism ... drive us toward a system of economic peonage and political autocracy; and Timothy Shenk (The Nation): ""...may [become] the most influential work of economics yet published in our young century [John Cassidy, NewYorker blog Mar 26, 2014; other cited reviews are from April]

  Posted May 13:    Posted May 13: Stephen Hawking: Artificial Intelligence 'Potentially the Worst Thing to Happen to Humanity'. Looking at the explosive growth of applications for artificial intelligence, Hawking worries that "there is no physical law precluding particles from being organised in ways that perform even more advanced computations than the arrangements of particles in human brains" , with the devices we have created "out-inventing human researchers, out-manipulating human leaders, and developing weapons we cannot even understand."[Stephen Hawking, The Independent,UK, May 1]

   Posted May 13: Friends, and Influence, for Sale Online. Grassroots democracy on the Web - click here to Like, but the weight of your opinion may be diluted by thousands of "bots", scurrying to every corner of the net, posting not only Likes, but also Favorites. Comments. Upvotes. Page views. Bots can have names, faces, cyber-emotions - and they're for sale. Buy a small army of bots and you can sway public opinion, be a celebrity, win an election... maybe start a war?[Nick Bilton, NY Times blog, Apr 20]

   Posted Apr 30: Autism Nation: America's Chemical Brain Drain. Large increases in autism in the US over recent decades are not explained by changes in diagnostic techniques, but may be a result of exposure of fetuses to a vast array of chemicals and GMOs combined with weakened regulations and monitoring. [Brian Moench, Truthout, Apr 26]

   Posted Apr 30: NYT front page: Russian Units in Ukraine. Maybe not. The NYT Apr 23 front page story awakened memories of a similarly-placed story in 2002 alleging secret WMD hidden in Iraq. A day later the Times admitted - but not on Page 1 - that the evidence behind the story was a bit shaky. [Peter Hart, FAIR blog, Apr 24

   Posted Apr 30: Math Spying: The quandary of working for the spooks. Who is the largest employer of mathematicians in the US? NSA. How has the mathematics community responded to the outrage generated by revelations "of law-breaking on an industrial scale?" by NSA and sister organizations in other countries? "Largely by ignoring it." reports this mathematician. [Tom Leinster, New Scientist, Apr 23]

   Posted Apr 19: Star-Spangled Baggage: How America’s Wars Came Home With the Troops.  Returning combat veterans are increasingly involved in mayhem at home: "...the skills drilled into the combat soldier -- cunning, deceit, strength, quickness, stealth, a repertoire of killing techniques, and the suppression of compassion and guilt -- equip him perfectly for a life of crime..." [Ann Jones, TomDispatch (via Common Dreams), Apr 17

   Posted Apr 14: Three expensive milliseconds. That costly new tunnel for fiber-optic cables being drilled through the mountains of Pennsylvania will reduce communication time between futures traders between NY and Chicago - by .003 iseconds. Will lightning trades improve productivity, stabilize markets, improve allocation of capital? No, no and no. Improve life for the 1%? No doubt.[Paul Krugman, NY Times, Apr 13]

   Posted Apr 11: NSA Said to Have Exploited Heartbleed Bug for Years; NSA has denied the charge. According to Bloomberg, the NSA had known for two years about the existence of a the serious security flaw just discovered last week, but kept it secret to use it for its own ends."Putting the Heartbleed bug in its arsenal, the NSA was able to obtain passwords and other basic data that are the building blocks of the sophisticated hacking operations at the core of its mission, but at a cost. Millions of ordinary users were left vulnerable to attack from other nations’ intelligence arms and criminal hackers." .[Michael Riley, Bloomberg News, Apr 11]

   Posted Apr 11: Climate Change Messaging: Avoid the Truth. In a NY Times Op-Ed, Ted Norhaus and Michael Shellenberger continue their critique of the tactics of some climate-change activists and call for a revival of nuclear power. Steven Breyman objects to the techno-fix appraoach points out in his response in Counterpunch that the NYT piece ignores the massive injection of funds by the Koch brothers and their Big Oil friends to discredit climate science. [Steve Breyman, Counterpunch, Apr 11]

           SPECIAL LINKS

       Science for the People on cable radio. Listen to Jane Zara's interview of John Kelly, author and investigative researcher and DC Metro Science for the People member on the subject of incompetence and corruption at the FBI laboratories and abuses of forensic science. (may take up to a minute to download - be patient!)

       VIDEO: In Schools Everywhere: The Story of Stuff. Annie Leonard's simple, cheerful and brutal 2007 video about consumption, waste, the environment and capitalism has become a hit among teachers and students nationwide, according to this front-page Times article.Watch the video HERE. [Leslie Kaufman, NY Times, May 10]

       VIDEO: Climate Catastrophe: The 99% Solution. Video of a session organized by DC Metro SftP at the Left Forum, March 2012, Pace University, Manhattan, N.Y.C. See presentations by Brian Tokar, Richard Greeman, and DC Metro SftP members Jane Zara and David Schwartzman. Chaired by Jenny Greeman, followed by a very interesting question/comment session...

       HOW TO ARGUE WITH A CLIMATE DENIER: One-Line Responses. Courtesy of Skeptical Science, here is a list of 154 frequently-heard misconceptions about the coming climate chaos and plain-language answers, complete with references - an essential tool in providing climate science for the people. See also this longer list of shorter responses.[John Cook, Skeptical Science blog, May 2013

LATEST POSTS - continued

   Posted Apr 1 : UK uses health workers in counter-terror plan. Coming soon to a country near you? Medical workers in the UK's National Health Service are now being trained as "terrorist"-spotters. They are supposed to be on the lookout for patients critical of UK foreign policy and having characteristics such as lack of a job that might make them "vulnerable to radicalisation" .[Matthew Cassell, Al Jazeera, Apr 10]

   Posted Apr 11: Profiting from Climate Change Commenting on the new book, Windfall, by McKenzie Funk, Olson says that the theenergy industires are making the transition from denying global warming to cheering it on and scrambling for new opportunities to make big bucks. [Gary Olson, Common Dreams, Mar 31]

   Posted Apr 11: Borrowed Time on Disappearing Land: Facing Rising Seas, Bangladesh Confronts the Consequences of Climate Change. At the top of the list of countries endangered by rising sea levels is Bangladesh, which produces just 0.3% of greenhouse gas emissions. 17% of its land surface is expected to disappear into the sea in the next 40 years and the normal impact of its frequent tropical storms will reach ever further inland, producing catastropic damage. [Gardiner Harris, NY Times, Mar 28]

Bangladesh, with its low elevation and severe tropical storms, is among the countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, though it has contributed little to the emissions that are driving it. Credit Kadir van Lohuizen for The New York Times

   Posted Apr 11: Will Earth Cross the Climate Danger Threshold by 2036?. The world is still increasing its rate of production of greenhouse gases. Even if the increase stopped and we continued at the same rate, the planet's average surface temperature will rise by 2 degrees C by 2036, writes Michael Mann, a world-leading expert on climate change in a Scientific American article. This will caoss " a threshold that many scientists think will hurt all aspects of human civilization: food, water, health, energy, economy and national security." [Michael Mann, Scientific American (via readersupported news, Mar20]

   Posted Apr 11: Between activism and science: grassroots concepts for sustainability coined by Environmental Justice Organizations. This is an extensive global survey of struggles for environmental justice.(PDF) [(18 authors), Journal of Political Ecology, Vol 21,#2, Mar 2014]

   Posted Mar 25: The Great Lakes: 'Liquid Pipeline' for World's Dirtiest Fuels? An alarming report by water resources expert and activistn Maude Barlow (pdf) points to the Great Lakes and surroundings as a key conduit for "extreme energy" and its waste products. [Lauren McCauley, Common Dreams, Mar 18]

   Posted Mar 24: Statistics guru Nate Silver hires climate skeptic. Nate Silver has established quite a reputation for using rigorous statistics to make predictions about politics and sports, but the hiring for his new blog of a well-known climate-change "skeptic" with a record of serious statistical errors and political bias has drawn a storm of controversy.See also more extensive article in Dailykos, Mar 23 .[Kiley Kroh, Climateprogress, Mar 19]

   Posted Mar 24: AAAS report: "What We Know - The Reality Risks and Response to Climate Change". The Climate Science Panel of AAAS, the producer of Science magazine has launched an initiative to put the prestige of AAAS behind the ongoing battle to expose the skeptics and educate the public. Anything new? Here are comments from desmogblog and from Scientific American  [AAAS, whatweknow.aaas.org, Mar 18]

   Posted Mar 24: A Big Fracking Lie - Fracked gas for export: The Obama administration is seeking fast-track approval for a giant plant to be built on Chesapeake Bay to liquefy fracked natural gas piped from sites throughout Appalachia. From there it will be pumped into huge tankers for shipment to India and Japan. Action (Mar 18): Go here to see update and submit public comments. This is just one of 20 such plants proposed.[Bill McKibben and Mike Tidwell, Politico, Jan 21, 2014]

   Posted Mar 24: Researchers Confirm: When NSA Watches Your Metadata, It Is Watching You Stanford researchers prove what civil liberties advocates have warned since NSA scandal broke. The researchers, using only data about phone calls, not the words spoken, were able to pry into medical conditions, gun ownership, marijuana cultivation, abortion, and participation in Alcoholics Anonymous. [Sarah Lazare, Common Dreams, Mar 13]

   Posted Mar 24: Data "pioneers" watching us work. Big Brother is watching you ever more closely in the workplace, says the Financial Times, with evident satisfaction. That magnetic strip in your name badge may be monitoring your interactions with other employees; or else sensors built in to your Steelcase desk may by spying on you. But, be happy; management is just trying to improve your productivity. [Hannah Kuchler, Financial Times, Feb 17]

   Posted Mar 8: What Europe Should Know about US Mass Surveillance. Edward Snowden has just delivered comprehensive testimony to the an investigative panel of the European Parliament revealing in lucid detail the nature and scope not only of NSA's gigantic operations, but also the extensive cooperation of its partner agencies in Europe. The complete statement is here (pdf) together with the panel's questions and Snowden's responses. [Edward Snowden, Common Dreams, Feb 7]


    Posted Feb 28: Optic Nerve: millions of Yahoo webcam images intercepted by GCHQ. Is your webcam spying on you? The UK surveillance agency GCHQ has been sweeping up millions of images from Yahoo users’ webcam chats and probably using NSA "Optic Nerve "face recognition technology. US Senators Ron Wyden, Mark Udall and Martin Heinrich have said they will investigate the role of NSA in expediting this latest massive invasion of privacy. [Spencer Ackerman, Guardian,UK, Feb28]

  Posted Feb 28: Could Offshore Wind Farms Could Knock Down Hurricanes?. If wind turbines congregate in sufficient numbers, can they be safe from hurricanes? Maybe; in fact it could be the hurricanes that have to worry. Computer simulations sho that an offshore array of tens of thousands of sparsely spaced wind turbines sould slow down a hurricanes winds enough to substantially weaken the storm before it reaches land and prevent catastropic storm surges,[Mark Fischetti, Sci American, Feb 26]

   Posted Feb 28: Western Spy Agencies Infiltrating, Warping World of Online Activism Newly-released Snowden documents show how UK's GCHQ has been able to 'manipulate, deceive, and destroy reputations' of online targets. Sounds like a page out of the J. Edgar Hoover FBI playbook where spooks were used to infiltrate and sabotage progressive groups. [Jon Queally, Common Dreams, Feb25]

   Posted Feb 28:    Posted Feb 28: Why Amazon’s Collaboration with the CIA Is So Ominous Amazon, world's largest online store has enormous amounts of data on consumers everywhere. They're soo good at what they do, that the CIAhas made a deal to buy some of their expertise in cloud computing, for $600 million.But, Amazon customers have started a petition campaign to demand that their data not be leaked to the CIA. Feel safer now? [ Norman Soloman's blog (via Truthout, Feb 20]

   Posted Feb 28: Global warming risk due to Arctic thaw significantly worse. The diminishing Arctic ice cover over the last 30 years has been accurately measured and found to be twice as great as predicted from models. According to the abstract in PNAS, the resulting darkening of the surface has the same effect ais adding another 25% to the warming due to theglobal CO2 rise during those 30 years. [Jeff Hecht, New Scientist, Feb 18]

   Posted Feb 28: Alberta's financial health depends on tar sands. All we hear about is how the Alberta tarsands-to-US Keystone-XL pipeline will strengthen US energy self-sufficieny. What's in it for Alberta? 30% of the state's expenditures are financed by revenues from oil and gas. [David Olive, Toronto Star, Feb 14]

   Posted Feb 28: How Can it be so cold if there's global warming? "Peter Sinclair and the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media have put together an amazing video that succinctly explains how the eastern half of the United States can be so cold in the midst of global warming and climate change. Among those he interviews are Jeff Masters of the Weather Underground and Jennifer Francis, who is research professor at Rutgers University's Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences. It also includes graphics and excerpts from news reports. It's brief and brilliant."[Lawrence Lewis, DailyKos, Jan 29] 

   Posted Feb 9: Ending the World the Human Way: Climate Change as the Anti-News Out of 9137 peer-reviewed papers on climate change published in about the last year, exactly *one* did not conclude that it was human-caused. The message will gradually sink in that, yes, the climate is changing, and changing catastrophically - and it's our fault, but we may still be able to do something about it. But there are so many other things in the news...[Tom Engelhardt, Common Dreams, Feb 8]

   Posted Feb 9: No Wonder the World Is Terrified of America - we're the biggest threat. And, the distant runner-up in a year-end international BBC/Gallup poll was Pakistan, with a third as many votes. Although the biggest security quesion currently being discussed in media and academic circles has to do with containing Iran, Chomsky suggests that, with the drones continuing to explode, most of the world is asking instead"Can the United States be contained and other nations secured ...? [Noam Chomsky, AlterNet, Feb 5]

   Posted Feb 9: Fracking's Skyrocketing Water Usage Trends Spell Disaster The fracking boom is "is happening in places that can least afford to lose precious water supplies" according to a new report by Ceres.org, a group that does sustainability studies for investors; discussion here. The water is often taken from streams and wells in already dry areas, polluted and then injected into deep disposal wells, forever cut off from the hydrological cycle.[John Queally, Common Dreams, Feb 5]

   Posted Feb 9: The Internet You Know and Love is in Danger "Net neutrality – the principle that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) must treat all data on the Internet equally – is vital to free speech. But earlier this month, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the FCC's net neutrality rules, jeopardizing the openness of the Internet that we have come to take for granted." Major internet service providers controlling a big slice of on-line traffic have already used their power to censor and slow down content at will. [Sandra Fulton, Common Dreams, Feb 1]

Posted Feb 9: Q&A with Edward Snowden. On mass data sniffing: Permanent records are being kept of our daily activities, so that if at some time in the future you should come to the government's attention, it can find out names of all your contacts, and even, for example, where you went to dinner on a given date - up to 5 years in the past.[Free Snowden, Jan 23]

   Posted Feb 9: Fifty States of Fear. Be afraid. Be very afraid. The use of fear by authorities to persuade citizens to submit to loss of freedom privacy and dignity isn't new, but seems to grow daily, almost independent of the level of credible dangers. The aim of terrorists is to create terror and our governments are helping to do the terrorists' job for them. [Peter Ludlow, NY Times, Jan 19]

   Posted Feb 9: Jan 7 Fakethrough! GMOs and the Capitulation of Science Journalism. Golden Rice, high-protein cassava, edible vaccines, blight-resistant rice...where are they now? Sensationalist reports of unsubstantiated claims about scientific breakthroughs by mass media reporters: Is the science press captive or incomptetent - or both? [Jonathan Latham, Independent,UK, Jan 7, 2013 (via Mitchell Cohen]

   Posted Jan 20, 2014: If You See Something, Say Something. Despite overwhelming evidence both that climate change is happening and that it is human-caused, Congress still wallows in anti-science rhetoric, and the mass media still insist on presenting both "sides" as reasonable. Mann, the inventor of the "hockey stick" image of global warming warns that scientists must roll up their sleeves and get involved. [Michael Mann, NY Times, Jan 17, 2014]

   Posted Jan 20: Al Gore: Geoengineering of Global Cooling: 'Insane, Utterly Mad and Delusional'. A draft of the 5th IPCC report suggests that, in view of the inability of significant global measures to fight climate change, that geoengineering solutions be considered. Gore blasts this approach is providing pretexts for further inaction: The fact that some scientists who should know better are actually engaged in serious discussion of those alternatives is a mark of how desperate some of them are feeling due to the paralysis in the global political system."(see also Naomi Klein) [Jon Queally, Common Dreams, Jan 16]

   Posted Jan 20: The Special Ops Surge: America’s Secret War in 134 Countries The US may be pulling troops out of Iran and Afghanistan, but not to worry - they're still in 74% of the world's nations (more than double the 2008 level), and the number of personnel in the Special Operations Command has more than doubled since 2001.Activities range from commando raids and kidnappings to training exercises and web-based propaganda campaigns. [Nick Turse, Tom Dispatch(via Common Dreams, Jan 16]

   Posted Jan 20: NSA Devises Radio Pathway into Computers - and you don't even have to be connected to the internet. In order to plant this bug, the NSA must have had physical access to your computer - or to the manufacturing process. The technique according to NSA is one of the essential tools for cyber warfare - offensive as well as defensive and was already used to infect Iranian uranium-processing centrifuges with the Stuxnet virus, which subsequently escaped into the internet. The number of gugged computers is unknown but growing; estimates indicate that on the order of at least 100,000.[David Sanger and Thom Shanker, NYTimes, Jan 14]

annual Chaos Communication Congress on December 28, 2013 in Hamburg, Germany

   Posted Jan 20: Switch to gas has slashed power-plant emissions, study finds new research on pollution generated by power plants has found that substitution of gas for coal has produced a massive reduction in particles and harmful gases such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide and also reduced carbon dioxide emissions by power plants by some 23% in 2012 (abstract here).The work did not measure the increase in greenhouse gases caused by gasleakage from pipelines and fracking. [Douglas Fischer, The Daily Climate, Jan 10, 2010]

   Posted Jan 20: American Jihad 2014 Our three-part system of checks and balances has grown a monstrous fourth branch, much of it out of control or even of sight of the other three branches. It has immense funding, unprecedented power and it is based on premises that seem to be immune to challenge - almost as if it were faith-based. Its eyes and ears reach everywhere, in support of its global jihad, and when it decides to strike, it strikes without warning - carrying out a kind of stealth fatwah. [Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch, Jan 5, 2014]

   Posted Jan 20: More evidence undermines industry claims of fracking safety. An AP investigation has turned up complaints about pollution of groundwater related to nearby fracking and drilling activities at hundreds of sites spread over four states from Texas to Pensylvania.[Facing South, Jan 5, 2012]

   Posted Jan 20, 1914: The Psychological Dark Side of Gmail. Distressed by massive invasions of our privacy admitted by NSA (thank you Mr Snowden), the biggest players in the on-line world - Google, Yahoo, Apple, Facebook and others addressed an open letter on Dec 8 to Obama and Congress to promote surveillance reform. But these are the very outfits that still engage daily in massive surveillance and violations of privacy and "use that data to build and update complex psychological profiles on hundreds of millions of people all over the world...in real time." [Yasha Levine, Pando Daily (via AlterNet), Dec 31]

   Posted Jan 20, 2014: We Need to Talk About Ted. TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) sponsors a series of conferences where smart people with good communication skills present cutting-edge ideas. Are the talks just info-mercials and the solutions presented just placebos? [Benjamin Brastton, Guardian, UK, Dec 30, 2013]

   Posted Dec 30, 2013: Inside TAO: Documents Reveal Top NSA Hacking Unit. Yes, geeks of the world - there IS a heaven. If you qualify, NSA may let you become part of an elite team, one that came to light due to a rash of failures of garage-door remotes. It's name is Tailored Access Operations, or TAO, which is the NSA's top operative unit - a kind of elitet strike force that can be called in when normal access to a target is blocked.[Der Spiegel(via Reader Supported News), Dec 29]

   Posted Dec 30, 2013: Christmas message from Edward Snowden. Snowden made a two-minute video recorded in Moscow and broadcast on Christmas on the UK's Channel 4, saying that modern surveillance was more invasive than any envisioned in the novel "1984" by George Orwell, and warned that children today would grow up without knowing "what it means to have a private moment." [The Guardian, Dec 25, 2013]

   Posted Dec 30: Global Warming Will Intensify Drought, Says New Study. Human-caused climate change, aside from the the predicted global warming, lethal heat waves and more-intense rainfall events in some areas, may also increase the severity of droughts elsewhere. According to the new study, summarized here, appearing in Nature Climate Change (abstract here), "...it is expected that when droughts occur they are likely to set in quicker and be more intense." [John Abraham, ClimateDesk, (from UK Guardian), December 23, 2013]

    Posted Dec 30: Protesters Arrested for Staging a Bioterror Hoax. Another powerful blow has been struck in the ongoing US struggle against the terrorists in our midst. This time they were pretending to be anti-XL pipeline activists, but the Oklahoma cops (having been recently briefed at the behest of Trans-Canada) were quick to grasp the underlying agenda: bio-terrorism. They seized a large banner which was decorated with a strange sparkling substance and rushed it to the lab for analysis, having busted two of the leaders. According to the prisoners, the deadly substance was...glitter. [Molly Redden, Mother Jones, Dec 17 ]

   Posted Dec 30: Welcome to the Memory Hole - disappearing Edward Snowden. We are seeing rapid improvement of technologies similar to those used to hide material unfit for children or to isolate the public in authoritarian regimes from current reality. In the Ministry of Truth of Orwell's "1984", inconvenient facts from both the present and past were laboriously replaced by hand. Now with our growing dependence on digital information we may be approaching a world susceptible to massive manipulations of this kind, including virtual disappearances of inconvenient people.[ Peter Van Buren, TomDispatch, Dec 3]

   Posted Dec 22: The Global Temperature Jigsaw. Is the apparent pause in global warming over the last 15 years real? If so, why wasn't it predicted by most of the models? What happened to ocean temperatures during this period? [Stefan, RealClimate, Dec 17]

   Posted Dec 22: Study Adds to Arctic Warming, Extreme Weather Debate. Can we really link recent weather extremes at temperate latitudes to Arctic ice and snow loss? New research analyzes important jet stream changes. [Andrew Freedman, Climate Central, Dec 8]

   Posted Dec 18: Edward Snowden's Open Letter: Offers to Help Brazil Over US Spying in Return for Asylum (Full text). Snowden: "These programs were never about terrorism: they're about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They're about power." [Edward Snowden, AlterNet, Dec 17]

   Posted Dec 18: America's Child Soldiers: JROTC and the Militarizing of America. Sign them up when they're 14 or 15? It used to be the high school marching band; now it's the military, in the form of JROTC (Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps). Now already installed in 3400 high schools with a total enrollment of 557,129 kids, it is partly subsidized by the schools themselves and uses Pentagon-supplies texts. [Ann Jones, TomDispatch, Dec 15]    

Posted Dec 18: Who Should You Believe When it Comes to the Safety of Genetically Engineered Foods? The controversy over genetically-engineered foods is still alive. It turns out that the tests linked to the bioengineering industries invariably give it the green light, while independent investigators are divided. And introducing genes to protect the crop from poisonous pesticides does nothing to protect the underlying ecosystem. [Jill Richardson, AlterNet, Dec 11] 

   Posted Dec 16: The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder. Kids giving you trouble? Just label them and drug them. How has it come about that 15% of high-school-age children are suddenly the victims of a new disorder and 3.5 million are are on medication for it? Is our newest epidemic another invention? [Alan Schwarz, NYTimes, Dec 14; see also: interview with Alan Schwarz on Democracy Now. ]

   Posted Dec 13: Coke's Conspiracy Against Tap Water. "What you would like to drink", asks the waiter. Better not answer "tap water", cheapskate - Coca Cola has been teaching your waiter the techniques of getting you to shell out for one of its products - including Dasani, their brand of bottled H20. Their Cap the Tap program will help you get over your naive trust in your community water supply and your foolish fears of putting weight by guzzling bottled sugar water. [Jim Hightower, truthout, Nov 12]

   Posted Dec 13: Google's Road Map to Global Domination. Asking "where" may become a thing of the past as Google rushes onward with an immense program to maps the globe and equip every useful object, person or animal with the means to be tracked via GPS with the help of implanted chips or smart phones. And Google's streetview, while having covered only 10% of the world's streets (6 million miles) has expanded to every country on the planet, opening up countless opporunities for commercial and military applications by cross-indexing and correlations. [Adam Fisher, NY Times, Dec 11]

   Posted Dec 13: Geoengineering approaches to reduce climate change unlikely to succeed. The temperature of our planet's oceans and atmosphere are rising because of megatons of the CO2 and methane we've already released. Let's just get around the problem by reducing some of the sunlight; this is the basis of various "geoengineering" schemes being proposed. But, according to new research (see abstract), not only do these schemes fail to stop the growing CO2-caused acidity of the oceans, but they also generate potentially serious disruptions of the planetary water cycle by reducing solar-driven turbulent mixing that lifts water vapor from the surface. [escience news, Dec 5]

Heavy rainfall events can be more common in a warmer world (Credit: Annett Junginger, via imaggeo.egu.eu)

   Posted Dec 13: To Make Hospitals Less Deadly, a Dose of Data. Hospitals may be hazardous to your health. Every year least 440,000 people who go to the hospital never return - due to preventable errors, and over ten times that number suffer serious harm. But the prospective patient doesn't have access to information to help choose a hospital, thanks to lobbying efforts by the hospital industry. (but see the comments section following the article) . [Tina Rosenberg, NY Times Opinionator blog, Dec 4]

   Posted Dec 13: Russia Develops World's First Floating Nuclear Power Plant. If you liked Fukushima, you'll love this - Russia has announced that its work on a floating 70 megawatt nuclear power plant is progressing and will be complete in about 6 years. The ship is about 470 feet long and The floating power station would provide power and heat to isolated consumers in remote coastal areas that do not have centralized power supply. It's owner has assured the world that it would be "resilient in a disaster". (see comment in Nation of Change) [Timon Singh, Inhabitat, Nov 4]

   Posted Dec 13: Emissions of Methane in U.S. Exceed Estimates, Study Finds. 50% greater, says a new study that measures methane over a dense network. The origin of the extra methane was from oil and natural gas extraction and from livestock, and calls into question all previous estimates and overfly optimistic predictions about future methan releases..[Michael Wines, NY Times, Nov25]

   Posted Dec 13: Look What's Behind the Recent Slowdown in Global Warming. An new study in Nature (abstact) uses statistical methods to relate changes in the rate of global warming, such as the slowdown in the last 15 years, to changes in human activity, such as the world wars, the depression and the banning of CFCs. [Tim McDonnell, Mother Jones, Nov 11]

    Posted Nov 10: How to Protect Your Phone From the Police. Or, at least, protect what you've recorded. By the time that cop can descend on you yell "give me that phone!" your photos and videos will be out there for all to see - if you follow these instructions. [Andrew Tarantola, Gizmodo, Nov 9]  

 Posted Nov 10: Genetically modified mosquitoes set off uproar in Florida Keys. Recent large increases in sometimes-fatal dengue fever infections in tropical metropolitan areas are being used to justify new experimentation with the release of genetically-modified male insects. The males mate and die and the offspring are found to quickly die before reaching breeding age. Only problem is the research, is being conducted by Oxitec in Florida and Brazil without community consent. [Patricia Sagastume, Al-Jazeera America, Nov 9]

   Posted Nov 10: Inside America’s Drone Wars. A review of Glenn Greenwald's news film, "Unmanned" which details the Obama Administration’s deadly drone program and its innocent victims in the tribal areas of Waziristan in Pakistan. The entire film (63 minutes) can be seen==>> here<<== on YouTube.[Indira Pradhan, Counterpunch, Nov 8-10]

   Posted Nov 10: Science for the Little People? We all start out as scientists, but then some of us forget. How is it that babies' method of learning about the world that leads to such rapid development? "Babies and young children are like the research and development division of the human species, and we grown-ups are production and marketing".. [Chris Mooney and Indre Viskontas, Grist, Nov 8]


 Posted Nov 10: Flying the Coop: Antibiotic Resistance Spreads to Birds, Other Wildlife A new study of wild birds in CA, MA, KS and NY found that "2.5 percent, harbored genes for resistance to vancomycin, a drug of last resort for hard-to-treat hospital-acquired infections. Crows with the resistance genes in their feces were found in all of the states except California."[Lindsey Konke, Enviro Health News(via CommonDreams), Nov 5]

   Posted Oct 23:  Are We Puppets in a Wired World? A review and essay on seven significant new books on privacy, data banks and the internet. The bottom line,already quoted far and wide: "while we were having fun, we happily and willingly helped to create the greatest surveillance system ever imagined, a web whose strings give governments and businesses countless threads to pull, which makes us…puppets." [Sue Halpern, NY Review of Books, Nov 7 issue]

  Posted Oct 23: Keystone XL Pipeline Could Yield $100 Billion For Koch Brothers. Approval of the Keystone XL pipeline could generate $100 billion in profits for the right-wing sugar daddy Koch brothers according to a study Billionaires' Carbon Bomb, PDF released Oct 19 by the International Forum on Globalization [Jared Gilmore, Huffington Post, Oct 20 ]

   Posted Oct 23:  Canada-EU Deal Threatens Canada's Water. A pact to export more meat and another to expedite access to Canada's municipal water supplies by French multinationals, both recently signed by Canada's Prime Minister Harper bring further pressure on Canada's diminishing fresh water resources. The meat pact calls for massive new imports of beef and pork to the EU (it takes 15,000 tons of water to produce each to of beef). [Maude Barlow, Council of Canadians blog (via Common Dreams), Oct 18]

  Posted Oct 23:  Chevron Sues Rainforest Communities It Contaminated. After ten years of litigation, Chevron was to be fined an unprecedented $19 billion for the massive damage it inflicted on the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest, one of history's worst encironmental disasters.But now a countersuit has been started by Chevron's eco-criminals, directed against local leaders, a cacao grower and a leader of the Secoya indigenous people, under the RICO act. [Kevin Koenig, EcoNews(via Nation of Change), Oct 15]

A hand covered in crude from one of the hundreds of open toxic pits Chevron (formerly Texaco) abandoned in the Ecuadorean Amazon rainforest near Lago Agrio. Photo credit: Caroline Bennett / Rainforest Action Network

  Posted Oct 23: Google: Doing Evil with ALEC. The notorious American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has been quietly signing on new allies - Google (and also Yelp, Facebook, Microsoft, and Yahoo, who are dues-paying members of ALEC's tech task force, according to an article in the Daily Beast). ALEC promotes such regressive measures as tax cuts for tobacco companies, school privatization , repeal of state taxes for the wealthy and opposition to renewable energy disliked by oil companies."Google’s involvement in ALEC is consistent with the company’s ... rigorous data-mining of emails [and] online searches...".[Norman Soloman, Nation of Change, Oct 12]

   Posted Oct 23: Are Utility Companies Out to Destroy Solar's 'Rooftop Revolution'? In California, customers who install solar systems and battery arrays are finding themselves cut off from grid. Electric utilities are reacting to the growin numbesrs of small rooftop installers as a threat to their profits and even allege that solar customers are taking energy off the grid, storing it in their batteries and reselling to the utilities disguised as excess solar power.[Jon Queally, CommonDreams, Oct 9]

   Posted Oct 7: Spying for Economic Gain: Canada's CSEC Targeted Brazilian Energy Firms - New documents revealed by Edward Snowden reveal spying on mining and energy companies. Canada has its own version of NSA, which has tapped into computers and smartphones affiliated with Brazil’s mining and energy ministry looking not for terrorists but for "economic intelligence." The info was shared with the US and has further outraged the Brazilian government, already fuming over the revelation of NSA spying on its President. [Jon Queally, Common Dreams, Oct 7]     

  Posted Oct 7: U.S. Government Researchers Barred from Scientific Conferences; collateral damage? unintended consequence? "Not only are government researchers barred from their own labs during the government shutdown, but they cannot travel anywhere else, either." [Sara Reardon, Sci. American (from Nature, Oct 4), Oct5]

   Posted Oct 7: Thank You for Your Service, by David Finkel: Book Review. The number of young veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and related brain problems is over half a million and rising. A "high-tech, information-age approach to waging war supposedly offered a template for assured victory. Iraq and Afghanistan have shredded such pretensions." [Andrew Bacevich, truthdig, Oct 4]

  Posted Oct 7: Fracking by the Numbers - Key Impacts of Dirty Drilling at the State and National Level. With 80,000 wells drilled or approved, oil and gas interests are seeking further expansion. Impacts include pollution of groundwater with radiation and toxic waste, damage to land and of boosting carbon emissions. [Elizabeth Ridlington and John Rumpler, Environment America Research & Policy Center, Oct 2013]

Fracking in the Jonah, Wyoming gas field

   Posted Oct 7: The Destruction of Lavabit - How the owner of the company that handled Edward Snowden's encrypte emails courageously stood up to the feds' massive investigation. Another hero in resistance to the government's war on privacy and whistleblowers has emerged: We not only have Snowden, Greenwald and Poitras to thank, but also Ladar Levison, owner of an ultra-encrypted e-mail service used by the trio. Levison shut down his service rather than cave in to FBI demands to deliver his entire database. [Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet, Oct 4]

   Posted Oct 7: Pandora's Box. The 3-D printer as the Next Big Thing: From toys to prosthetics to guns, its use is growing exponentially. From 2008 to 2011, personal 3-D printer sales grew 346 percent, according to Staples, which has just become the first major retailer to carry the machines in its stores. Three-D printers are becoming cheaper by the day; a sophisticated model can now be had for less than a thousand dollars. [Jeff Saginor, The American Prospect(via S.E. Anderson, Oct 1]

   Posted Oct 7: The New IPCC Climate Report. The latest in the series of increasingly dismal IPCC climate reports (full report here) points the finger (almost) unequivocally at us humans and humanoids. Oceans will continue to rise and acidify, high-rainfall areas to moisten, dry areas to dryen and the Arctic Ocean to lose almost all its ice. [Stefan, RealClimate, Sep 27]

   Posted Oct 7: Corroding Our Democracy: Canada Silences Scientists, Targets Environmentalists in Tar Sands Push. Democracy Now interviews one of Canada’s leading environmental activists, Tzeporah Berman, who has campaigned for two decades around clean energy and is the former co-director of Greenpeace International’s Climate Unit. [Amy Goodman, Democracy Now. Sep 24]

  Posted Sep 20: Commentary by David Schwartzman of DC Metro Science for the People on "Energy and Growth: The Great Progressive Reversal", by Michael Shellenberger & Ted Nordhaus (July, 2013). SolidarityEconomy.net via TheBreakthough.org, posted => here 

  Posted Sep 20: The Crisis at Fukushima's Unit 4 Demands a Global Take-Over. As the siutation at Fukushima Unit #4 continues to deteriorate, and with large amounts of radioactive liquids temporarily stored in hastily constructed tanks that are already leaking into the Pacific,its owner Tokyo Electric Power with the help of Japan's government is about to take the dangerous gamble of attempting to remove 1300 spent fuel rods sitting in a pool 100 feet above the ground. Expertise from around the world is desperately needed. [Harvey Wasserman, Common Dreams, Sep 20](See also Sep 3 article below.) 

  Posted Sep 20: End of the Holocene: Reconstructing 12,000 years of climate. A ground-breaking reconstruction of the last 12,000 years of climate has been found to be consistent with a recent more detailed reconstruction of the last 2000 years.Thed methods are independent, yet agree on the hockey sticki -the sharp rise of the last century that more than offset 5000 years of natural cooling due to the Milankovitch cycle.[stefan, RealClimate, Sep 16] 

  Posted Sep 20: Major newspaper commentaries call climate-change alarm unwise and unnecessary. They never quit. This piece in Physics today cites commentaries by Bjorn Lomberg in the Sep 14 Wash Post and Matt Ridley in the Wall St Journal and exposes just how misleading their articles are.[S. Corneliussen, Physics Today, Sep 16] 

  Posted Sep 20: The giant jellyfish invasion mystery. Increasing reports of exponential rates of increase of jellyfish populations are examined in this balanced article. A piece by Tim Flannery ("They're Taking Over!", NY Review of Books, Sep 26) discusses how acidification of ocean waters and overfishing have combined to destroy many of the natural enemies of the jellyfish. [Kate Allen, Toronto Star, Sep 15]

  Posted Sep 20: Poop Power: Turning Human Waste into Energy. In Ghana, "Groundbreaking disposal methods, which leapfrog Western technologies, are now allowing human waste to be transformed into fertilizer, biofuel and biodiesel. The techniques have the potential to tackle Ghana’s sanitation issues while increasing food production and fuelling the nation. They could also provide other countries with a new approach to waste treatment, one that is cheaper and easier." [Jessica Campbell Mercydalyne Lokko, Toronto Star, Sep 15]

   Posted Sep 20: Assessing the Role of Global Warming in Extreme Weather of 2012. This summary of an international review of a year's worth of studies concludes once again that global climate change can't be linked to specific destructive events, but steadily increases the chances of extreme heat waves and floods both inland and due to sea level rise, along coasts.[Andrew Revkin, NY Times, Sep 6] Notice how the headline is slanted differently from the previous day's NYT article by Kenneth Chang: Research Cites Role of Warming in Extremes.

   Posted Sep 5: Errors Cast Doubt on Japan’s Cleanup of Nuclear Accident Site. More than 2 years after the triple meltdown at Fukushima, groundwater continues to leak into the ruins that remain, carrying radioactive runoff into the sea. Accidents, miscalculations, coverups and delays have led Japan's government to intervene, and now with no prior experience they are trying to remove the damaged spent fuel rods from the wreckage of reactor #4 [Martin Fackler, NY Times, Sep 3] See also :After disaster, the deadliest part of Japan's nuclear clean-up. [Aaron Sheldrick and Antoni Slodkowski, Reuters, Aug 13]

   Posted Sep 5: Is global warming really slowing down? Fox News has the answer: Yes! Among all of the indicators of climate change it's always possible for the denialists to continue to deny. In this case they;ve seized on a transient decrease in the rate of rise in surface temperaure, easily within the noise level indicated by past fluctuations in the long-term record. If it needs to be explained, the probable reason is increased heat transfer deep in the oceans. But, the total heat content of the oceans continues to rise. [Chris Mooney, Grist, Sep 2]

   Posted Sep 5: Disruptions: More Connected, Yet More Alone. Are you in love with your smart phone? Probably, says this youtube video, "I Forgot My Phone", now going viral. On smartphones everywhere...[Nick Bilton, NY Times, Sep 1]

   Posted Sep 5: 'Black Budget' Revealed: A Detailed Look at US 'Espionage Empire'. This article summarizes a detailed study by the Washington Post, based on Snowden's revelations, showing for the first time the explosive growth of many of the government's 16 spy agencies that now employ over 100,000 people. [John Queally, Common Dreams, Aug 29]

   Posted Sep 5: What the Assault on Whistleblowers Has to Do With War on Syria. "...Every president who wants to launch another war can’t abide whistleblowers. They might interfere with the careful omissions, distortions and outright lies of war propaganda, which requires that truth be held in a kind of preventative detention..." [Norman Soloman, Common Dreams, Aug 28]

   Posted Sep 5  Facial Scanningis Making Gains in Surveillance. Now that your e-mail, personal files and phone conversations are being vacuumed up by NSA and company, it's time to ask whether you should continue to walk and talk on public streets with your face exposed. Probably not...[Charles Savage, NY Times, Aug 21]

   Posted Sep 5: How Laura Poitras Helped Snowden Spill His Secrets - a detailed and fascinating account of heroism of a key player in exposure of NSA's global spying, succeeding in the face of enormous odds [Peter Maass, NY Times, Aug 11]

   Posted Aug 8: How The Washington Post’s New Owner Aided the CIA, Blocked WikiLeaks & Decimated the Book Industry. What does Jeff Bezos' history at Amazon portend for the future of the Post and print journalism in general? Panel discussion on Democracy Now with Dennis Johnson (Melville House), Robert McChesney (Free Press) and Jeff Cohen (FAIR). [Democracy Now, Aug 7]

   Posted Aug 8: The NSA and Global Terror Alerts. The global outrage that has greeted Edward Snowden's revelation of global spying by the U.S. has predictably led to a "Global Terror Alert", another in a series of reminders to everybody to be very afraid. After an Aug 2 meeting of top US security aides, there followed "the swift closure of U.S. embassies in the Middle East and Africa, and a blanket warning that will stay in place all of August. [Binoy Kampman, Counterpunch, Aug 5]

Burning methane Goldstream Lake, near Fairbanks, AK. Photo Mark Thiessen, Natl Geographic, Aug 2013.

   Posted Aug 8: Gangplank to a Warm Future. Methane release, a by-product of normal oil-drilling, is far more serious for fracking. "Because of leaks of methane, the main component of natural gas, the gas extracted from shale deposits is not a 'bridge' to a renewable energy future — it’s a gangplank to more warming". [Anthony Ingraffea, NY Times, July 28]

   Posted Aug 8:  Rapid Arctic thawing could be economic timebomb, scientists say; Methane released by a thinning permafrost may trigger catastrophic climate change and cost the world $60trillion, according to this story in The Guardian, based on a recent paper in Nature (Whieman, Hope and Wadhams, July 2013.This elicited an immediate attack in the Washington Post and a good discussion at Skeptical Science and at Real Climate (see post #65 in this debate. .[John Vidal, The Guardian, UK, July 24]  

   Posted Aug 8: You Are Being Tracked. That's the title of a new ACLU report released July 17. "Location records of millions of civilians are logged and updated in roughly 300 police departments nationwide through 'rapidly expanding" automatic license plate reader technologies, dispersed throughout cities and communities'"according to the ACLU.[Jacob Chamberlain, Common Dreams. July 17]

    Posted July 14: Signature Targeting Comes Home to Roost. The artificial-intelligence-based calculations behind the selection of drone assassination targets are performed by computer and the results "... presented to an overworked decision-maker, who does not have a clue about the deeply buried subjective assumptions underpinning seemingly objective nature of the calculations." [Franklin Spinney, Counterpunch, July 12]

  Posted July 14: The Snowden Asylum Saga. "Shame on you, Snowden: stripping away the political-legal cover for war crimes. Twicefold shame, Snowden, for stripping away the ideological cover of counterterrorism...as America’s biggest growth industry, not only as the surest way of terrorizing the American public and keeping them docile. "[Norman Pollack, Counterpunch, July 12]

   Posted July 14: VIDEO: Edward Snowden interviewed by Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras of the Guardian, UK. [Financial Times, July 9]

   Posted July 14: Open Access and the looming crisis in science. The publish-or-perish rat-race for the research scientist has become more complex: your work must not only be cited, but it must appear in the top journals. How is a journal ranked? By who publishes in it. Everyone wants a citation in a top journal, but space is limited so 90% are being rejected; page prices are soaring, lesser-ranked journals are being spawned and for those who seek access to the latest research via internet, paywalls are springing up everywhere. Is this how we should determine what to research and how to disseminate knowledge to the public that is paying for it? [Björn Brembs, The Conversation, Jul 8]

   Posted July 14: This Really is Big Brother: The Leak Nobody's Noticed. Even before Edward Snowden revealed massive government surveillance of private communications, Obama had launched a sweeping and unprecedented initiative, known as the Insider Threat Program, wherby "...millions of federal employees and contractors must watch for 'high-risk persons or behaviors' among co-workers and could face penalties, including criminal charges, for failing to report them. Leaks to the media are equated with espionage.'Hammer this fact home ... leaking is tantamount to aiding the enemies of the United States,' says a June 1, 2012, Defense Department strategy for the program that was obtained by McClatchy".[Digby, Common Dreams, June 23]

   Posted July 14: Snowden Coverage: If US Mass Media Were State-Controlled, Would They Look Any Different? "While an independent journalism system would be dissecting the impacts of NSA surveillance on privacy rights, and separating fact from fiction, U.S. news networks have obsessed on questions like: How much damage has Snowden caused? How can he be brought to justice?" [Jeff Cohen, Common Dreams, Jun 26]

   Posted July 14: Fracked Gas Isn’t a Bridge Fuel—It’s a Gangplank. Aside from contaminating groundwater, fracking leaks quantities of the suoer-greenhouse gas, methane, sufficient to negate its reduced production of carbon dioxide when burned. In addition, much of the fracked gas is destined forliquefaction, itself an energy intensive process, before being shipped abroad. [Josh Fox, EcoWatch, Jun 25]  

   Posted Jun 11: Edward Snowden: Saving Us from the United Stasi of America - Snowden's whistleblowing gives us a chance to roll back what is tantamount to an 'executive coup' against the US constitution. Daniel Ellsburg, the hero who released the Pentagon Papers and hastened tyhe end of the Vietnam war, speaks out in praise of a current hero.[Daniel Ellsberg, Guardian (UK) (via Common Dreams), June 10]

 Posted Jun 11: The Judicial Lynching of Bradley Manning. The man whose video brought to the world stunning evidence of US war crimes is himself being subject to a military court martial that has ruled out any attempt by Bradley Manning to discuss those war crimes as motivation for his act. [Chris Hedges, Truthdig (via Common Dreams, June 10]

   Posted Jun 11: Rethinking American Exceptionalism - The U.S. can't guarantee its citizens healthcare -- but it can execute them without due process. And, our enormous GDP brings us - compared to the industrialized world - exceptional rates of child poverty, inequality and lack of workers' rights; and exceptional health care - for those who can afford it. [David Sirota, Salon, June 6]

   Posted Jun 11: U.N. Expert Calls for Halt in Military Robot Development. Human Rights Watch: “by 2030 machine capabilities will have increased to the point that humans will have become the weakest component in a wide array of systems and processes.[Nick Cumming-Bruce, NY Times, May 30]

    Posted Jun 11: Geoengineering: Our Last Hope, or a False Promise? Some are still looking for ways to engineer the planet so that we can continue dumping ever more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Orbiting mirrors? Iron in the oceans? Giant CO2-sucking machines? "The idea of building a vast industrial infrastructure to offset the effects of another vast industrial infrastructure (instead of shifting to renewable energy) only highlights our unwillingness to confront the deeper causes of global warming — the power of the fossil-fuel lobby and the reluctance of wealthy consumers to make even small sacrifices." [Clive Hamilton, NY Times Op-ed, May 26]

   Posted May 26: Global majority faces water shortages 'within two generations'. Long-standing fresh-water supply problems caused by excessive use in marginal areas, are being exacerbated by pollution and by climate change, bringing longer-lasting droughts in some areas and damaging floods in others. Be sure and see this video![Fiona Harvey, Guardian UK, May 24]

Posted May 26: Destroying the Planet for Record Profits - the biggest criminal enterprise in history. A brief history of how the fossil fuel giants have systematically been destroying the planet, hiring propagandists to create confusion about climate chaos, seeking ever dirtier sources of energy; and now, having almost destroyed the Arctic ice, are happily opening deep-sea drilling operations in the world's most vulnerable ocean. [Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch.com, May 23]

   Posted May 26: Nuclear War Careers Don’t Get No Respect. What ever happened to all thos ready-to-launch nuclear-armed ICBMs? Not to worry - we're still safe. There are 450 of them, still ready to launch, each with the power of 18 Hiroshima bombs. On second thought, worry: 10% of the officer with their fingers on the nuclear trigger at the minot, ND base were removed because of morale and "attitude"problems. We all feel secure now, right?[John La Forge, Counterpunch, May 22]

    Posted May 26: Jaron Lanier: The Internet destroyed the middle class. Lanier's new book, "Who Owns the Future" continues his attack on digital utopianism, giving an example the destruction of Kodak, damaged by the disappearance of film cameras, turned to digital cameras, which are now giving way to Instagram, which has been sold to Facebook. This has caused a loss of some 140,000 middle-class jobs. [Scot Stimberg, Salon, May 10]

   Posted May 26:    Arctic Ocean 'acidifying rapidly';   Amazing Sea Butterflies Are the Ocean’s Canary in the Coal Mine The melting of arctic ice is exposing the ocean there to rapid acidification due to direct contact with the increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the air. [Roger Harrabin, BBC News, May 6]
Serious consequences are foreseen for the marine ecosystem, one of which is already apparent - the dissolving of the shells of small animals such as the sea butterfly. [Emily Frost and Hannah Waters, Smithsonian.com, May 14]

   Posted May 12: FBI’s Latest Proposal for a Wiretap-Ready Internet Should Be Trashed. The FBI has a problem with the increasing shift of private and commercial communications away from wiretap-ready telephones to much more complicated on-line networks. They are actually calling for legislation "to penalize online services that provide users with too much security". Original story appeared in the April 29 Washington Post. [Julian Sanchez, Wired, May 10]

   Posted May 12:  Norway, Canada, the United States and the Tar Sands. Norwegian environmental groups are trying to prevent their state-controlled oil company from developing the Canadian tar sands deposits. The Canadian public agrees, but as for the Canadian government, says Hansen, "On one hand, they say that tar sands will make Canada the Saudi Arabia of oil. On the other hand, they say that the amount of carbon in tar sands is negligible."[James Hansen, Common Dreams, May 10]

   Posted May 12:  Global Pandemics: Not If, But When. Still another potentially dangerous flu virus (H7N9) has jumped from farm animals in China to humans. Nader asks why the CDC has only four staff assigned to tracking flu outbreaks in China, given the potential for great losses of life in cases of global outbreaks, contrasting this to the intense efforts devoted to the war on terrorism. [Ralph Nader, Common Dreams, May 10]

Chinese health workers deployed in safety gear. (Getty images)

   Posted May 12: No-win situation for agricultural expansion in the Amazon. Aside from all the ugly ecological consequences, cutting down pieces of Amazon rainforest to grow crops or raise cattle doesn't even make good economic sense. A new study shows that "climate feedbacks ... will decrease the productivity of pasture and soybeans – the reason advanced for felling the trees in the first place." [Oliveira, et al., Enviro. Res. Letters, May 9]

Posted May 3: Green Giants Profit from Planet's Destruction. A movement has sprung up among students in the US to get their universities to rid their portfolios stocks of fossil-fuel-linked corporations. Klein points out that several major environmental groups have extensive holdings in the very industries responsible for spending big bucks to undermine the environmentalists'efforts. [Naomi Klein, The Guardian (UK), May 3]

   Posted May 3: Chemical Weapons: ‘A Retold Drama Riddled With Plot Holes’. Why do recent US government allegations of the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government fall appear to lack conviction? The simple reason may be that the US itself has a record that is far from clean in this area.  [Robert Fisk, Independent(UK),via truthdig, May 1]

 Posted May 3: US Military sends in reinforements for its'Force-Feeding Teams as the Guantanamo hunger strike spreads. Over 100 of Guantanamo's 166 prisoners are now refusing food in protest over Obama's unfulfilled promise to close the prison by 2010. According to an Army spokesperson the 40 reinforcements included "nurses, specialistas and hospital corpsman". The American Medical Society has sent a polite letter of protest to Secretary of Defense Hagel. [Jon Queally, Common Dreams, Apr 30]

   Posted May 3: Why Do Conservatives Like to Waste Energy? The path to persuading conservatives to be conservationists apparently lies through their pocketbook and not through the efforts of the big-government liberal-dominated tree-hugging mass media
.[Tim McDonnel, Climate Desk, Apr 29]

   Posted May 3: No Rich Child Left Behind.. No surprise - children of the rich perform better in school then children of the poor. But the gap is growing and is far greater than any differences explained by race. And the difference between rich and middle class has become larger than middle class and poor, echoing the enormous growth in wealth inequality ovefr the last 30 years. [Sean Reardon, NY Times blogs, Apr 27]

   Posted May 3 :Talking With Julian Assange - from the George W. Bush Library to the trial of Bradley Manning. While the bloody deeds of Dubbya are celebrated at his new library in Texas, an American anti-war hero, Bradley Manning, sits in his prison cell awaiting trial. [Medea Benjamin, CounterPunch, Apr 26]

   Posted May 3: Study Charts 2,000 Years of Continental Climate Changes. An ambitious new 78-author climate-change study publishedd April 21 in Nature Geoscience (see abstract) pieced together pre-instrument estimates of temperature change by region over 2000 years. A gradual cooling over the last milenniu8m precedes a recentt warming that is unprecedented in its rapidity. [Andrew Revkin, blogs, NY Times, Apr 22]

From new study of temperature changes over continents through 2,000 years. Colors denote extent of warming or cooling (scale -3 to +3C). Bars denote 30-year periods during which mean temperature was calculated. (Larger version HERE)

   Posted Apr 20: The Excel Depression. Did a coding error basically destroy the economies of the Western world? Generally accepted austerity international policies apparently being justified based on a mistake in the use of a computer program (Excel)? At stake is the belief that debt slows growth. Krugman adds in a blog post (Apr 20) that maybe the glitch will have a good effect, because increasing numbers of economists are starting to reconsider their positions.[Paul Krugman, NY Times, Apr 18]

   Posted Apr 20: Cluster Bombs Come Home. Amid the widespread shock and outrage about the cruel use of shrapnel-producing payloads in the Boston Marathon bombs, largely unremembered is the widespread US/NATO use 14 years ago over civilian areas of Serbia 1000-pound CBU-87/B cluster bombs. [Norman Soloman, Counterpunch, Apr 18]

Do-it-yourself shrapnel

   Posted Apr 20: Green energy slips after carbon trading blow. In terms of carbon use, the average unit of energy today is as dirty as it was 20 years ago, according to a new International Energy Association report (PDF) - this despite a lot of talk by world leaders, said IEA executive director, Maria van der Hoeven, "and despite a boom in renewable energy over the last decade". The reason: coal has been growing faster than non-fossil. [Matt McGrath, BBC, Apr 18]

   Posted Apr 20: The Trouble With Biofuels. The increasing use in the UK of fuels derived from plants and fats is going to lead to more expensive fuel, decreases in carbon-absorbing peat and forests and volatility of food prices. [Rob Bailey, Chatham House Report EER PP 2013/01 (PDF), April 2013]

   Posted Apr 20: Health effects from wind power unfounded. Increasing use of poorly-done and misleading studies of alleged harmful health effects from wind turbines are being used by comminity groups to stop the spread of wind power in many countries. The research presented here shows a stong psychosomatic component to the measured effects. [David Suzuki, straight.com, Vancouver, Apr 16]

   Posted Apr 13:    Coming soon:  Thin Ice - The Inside Story of Climate Change (go to link and see ad, above left). 

   Posted Apr 13: Wall Street's Climate Finance Bonanza. Fifteen years after Kyoto, "carbon markets have collapsed, developing countries are awash with carbon credits for which there is no demand, and the planet keeps getting warmer". A leaked agenda for a high-level meeting last week in Washington seems to head the world back down the same path of generous profit guarantees for the big players. [Janet Redman and Antonio Tricarico, Common Dreams, Apr 10]

   Posted Apr 6: North Korea's Attack Plan: Apocalypse Never Mind. Beating the war drums again on CNN: Retired general gaming out North Korean strategies on a big map. Sound familiar? Fire up those aircraft carriers boys - it's show time. More on sabre-rattling here. [Peter Hart, FAIR blog, Apr 5]

Pyongyang: File image from Voice of America

   Posted Apr 6: Improved cookstoves solve one emissions problem, but create another. Black carbon pollution by cookfires and woodburning stoves all over the world is an important contributor to global warming, but more important to the users, it accounts for 4 million deaths annually. New high-efficiency stoves economize on fuel and thus cut CO2 and black carbon production, but generate ultrafine partilces that may be even more hazardous to health. [Umair Irfan, E&E Publishing (via Daily Climate]

   Posted Apr 6: Foreign demand for beef, soybeans adds pressure on Amazon forest. Deforestation in Brazil in the year ending July 2012 reached its lowest rate since monitoring began in 1988, with a decrease of 27% compared to the previous year. However, the land is coming under increasing demand for imports of soybeans and meat by Russia, China and other developing countries. The story is based on an article in CICERO ( in Oslo) which points out that "Consumption of Brazilian soybeans and beef by countries who are already seeking to protect Brazilian forests...is driving demand and therefore indirectly increasing the deforestation they are seeking to prevent". [Alister Doyle, Reuters, Apr 4]

    Posted Apr 6: Falling Gasoline Use: U.S. Can Just Say No to New Pipelines and Food-to-Fuel. US gasoline consumption has fallen slowly in each of the last 5 years at an average rate of 1%. Causes include increased use of mass transit and bikes and declines in car sales in the cities, increasing gas prices and more efficient engines. Will this help in the fight against the use of farm products for fuel and dangerous innovations such as Canadian tar sands oil and fracking? [Janet Larsen. Inter Press Service, Mar 29]

   Posted Mar 31: Scariest graph: Response by Marcott et al. Shaun Marcott's article below (posted Mar 11) showing a new calculation of global temperature trends over the last 12,000 years, drew widespread attacks from the climate change deniers. He has responded with more info. [Real Climate, Mar 31]

   Posted Mar 28: The ethicality of prescribing placebos. Do placebos work, or do most symptoms go away with time? Is deliberate deception of the patient ever justified? A widely publicized (2010) study that seemed to show that placebos worked even when labeled as such was shown (here) to have been badly done and to have proven nothing. [Suzi Gage, Guardian, UK, March 25]

   Posted Mar 28: Soldier Suicides. In three out of the last four years there have been more soldier suicides than combat deaths In 2012 there were 349. But veteran suicides numbered over 8000, with over 20 thousand more apparently saved by hot-line counseling. The reasons are not hard to find: multiple deployments, facing hostile populations then returning home to join the walking wounded and dealing with PTSD (VA recognizes 250,000 cases), homelessness, and lack of medical care. This is just one cost of the unending US global war on everything. [Alyssa Rohricht, Counterpunch, Mar 22]

   Posted Mar 28: Giant Sequoias Face Looming Threat from Shifting Climate. Shrinking Sierra Nevada mountain snowpack and rising temperatures could make it difficult for giant sequoias, particularly seedlings and young trees, to survive because they would be left with insufficient water to endure longer and warmersummers.[Bruce Dorminey, Environment360, Mar21]

   Posted Mar 28: The Dangerous Myth That Climate Change Is Reversible. That we can reverse climate change by cutting emissions is a dangerous commonly held myth, as explained in this 2007 MIT study, “Understanding Public Complacency About Climate Change: Adults’ mental models of climate change violate conservation of matter.” We have reached the point where radical cuts right now will be enough only to stabilize greenhouse gases. [Joe Romm, Common Dreams, Mar 17]

   Posted Mar 11: The Scariest Climate Change Graph Just Got Scarier. A new study at Oregon State U led by Shaun Marcott has used ocean records to verify earlier research and reliably extend the climate record back to the end of last ice age, 12000 years ago; post-glacial warming peaked about 6000 years ago followed by thousands of years of gradual cooling since . But nowl the abrupt warming of the last 100 yearshas equalled all those years of accumulated cooling. [Tim McDonnell, Mother Jones, Mar 7] (See Mar 31 update)

   Posted Mar 11: Seizing the Airwaves: Radio by and for the people. "...a new law on low-power FM radio is paving the way for the greatest expansion of FM radio in decades. This is a huge victory for media justice" and an opportunity for sectors to be heard that are traditionally marginalized by the coporate mass media. [Betty Yu and Steve Renderos, FAIR, Mar 1]

   Posted Mar 11: The Self-Defense Self-Delusion: Owning guns doesn't actually help stop gun violence. Excellent summary of the misleading statistics that sometimes seem to show that guns in their homes make people safer - and the uncritical role of the press in maintaining this delusion. [Steve Rendall, FAIR, Mar1]

   Posted Mar 5: A Robot Didn’t Steal Your Job - Why outsourcing and de-skilling are the real culprits (not technology). Can technology be blamed for the economic crisis that suddenly materialized in 2008 and threw millions out of work? We can't blame machines and computers without looking at the economic and social context.[Rob Urie, Counterpunch, Mar 1, 2013]

from businessinsider.com Mar 17, 2011

   Posted Mar 5: There's Such a Thing as "Human Nature," Right? It's hardly news that we perceive the world through culturally-determined lenses, but a group of anthropoligists is finding grross differences in the very wiring of thought processes with Westerners as an extreme and Americans are the weirdest, an extreme within that extreme. [Ethan Waters, Pacific Standard via Alternet, Feb 26]

   Posted Marf 5: A Better Plan Than 'Endless Growth': Enough Is Enough. Faced with a continuing economic crisis and the reality of a finite planet with a rapidly-deteriorating atmosphere, is it rational for the yearly Davos conclave of the high priests of capitalism to continue to tout more growth as the solution? [Rob Dietz and Dan O'Neill, Common Dreams, Feb 25]

    Posted Mar 5: Why I'm Quitting Facebook. Douglas Rushkoff, author of "Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now." and CNN columnist, announced to the world his divorce from Facebook - "Corporations used to have to do research to assemble our consumer profiles; now we do it for them." He cites manipulation of his personal data and possible abuse by government agencies. [Douglas Rushkoff, CNN, Feb 25]

   Posted Mar 5: Up to 76 nuclear waste loads may be coming your way. If you're planning on using a US or Canadian highway in the next four years, you better be careful - that truck you're passing may just have some liquid high-level radioactive waste aboard, from nuclear power plants and bomb manufacturing. You can find this and related stories at NucNews. [Ian MacLeod, Ottawa Citizen February 23, 2013 ] 

    Posted Feb 22: How Beijing is Shaping the Amazon. Continuing its long-term policy of massive land purchases on four continents, China is heavily involved in the deforestation of the Amazon, according to a a recent study by Fearnside, et al.(abstract here). It has become Brazil's foremost trading partner, importing vast quantities of soy, timber, aluminum and beef. [Jan Rocha, daily climate, Feb 21]

   Posted Feb 22: The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food. “There’s no moral issue for me; I did the best science I could", insisted one talented veteran of the US Army Natick labs and a leading pioneer in the kind of mega-coporate research leading to Lunchables, for instance, a convenient packaged lunch, loaded with fat, sugar and salt (and addictive power) for millions of school children [Michael Moss, NY Times, Feb 20]


    Posted Feb 20:The Rich See a Different Internet Than the Poor. "Thanks to technology that enables Google, Facebook and others to gather information about us and use it to tailor the user experience to our own personal tastes, habits and income, the Internet has become a different place for the rich and for the poor." The "personalization" of the Net created - with or without our permisssion - by the 1%, is manipulating the experiences of the 99%. [Michael Fertik,Scientific American, Feb 18, 2013]

    Posted Feb 20: Pseudo-Protests and Serious Climate Crisis. Was it a call to radical new action to save the planet, or (accoding to Counterpunch) a celeb-driven Democratic pep rally? What has Obama accomplished or even supported in the last four years that justifies all this trust that he will take significant action of the unfolding climate catastrophe?But in a Feb 19 post, FAIR blasted the minuscule amount of press coverage accorded the demo. [David Swanson, Counterpunch, Feb 18]

   Posted Feb 20: Rise of Drones in U.S. Drives Efforts to Limit Police Use. Here's an issue that seems to unite the paranoid right with ACLU liberals: surveillance of US citizens by police drones. And the usual cuddly defenses are being trotted out yet another time: drones arejust great for finding lost kids and pets). [Somini Sengupta,NY Times, Feb 15]

    Posted Feb 20: Arctic Death Spiral: Ice volume has collapsed. Most of the alarm about record low ice amounts is based on decline in area; a new U of Washington study based on observation and the new PIOMAS model concludes that the sea-ice volume has declined even faster - to a scant one-fifth of what it was in 1980, as shown in the dramatic graphic below (by Andy Lee Robinson) . [Joe Romm,Think Progress/Climate Progress, Feb 15]

   Posted Feb 20: Wasted energy from cities explains a global warming mystery. Urban conglomerations produce enough waste heat not only to create local warming, but also to make small changes in the general circulation of the Northern Hemisphere, which cause additional unexpected areas of warming and cooling far from the cities.[John Roach, NBC News,Jan 27]

    Posted Feb 10: Drones, Surveillance Towers, Malls of the Spy State, and the National Security Police on the Northern Border - Living in a Constitution-Free Zone. The "longest undefended border in the world" is undergoing some ominous changes. It is watched over more closely every day by drones, surveillance towers, and agents of the Department of Homeland Security and beginning to look a lot like our southern border.[Todd Miller,Tom Dispatch(via Common Dreams),Feb 7]

   Posted Feb 10: Model vs observation: recent global temperature trends. In spite of the record-breaking heat in the US, global surface temperatures lagged noticeably behind the forecast rises for the last two years and gives the appearance of having leveled off over the last decade, much to the delight of the global warming skeptics. However, the loss of Arctic sea ice has been far more severe than any prediction. Are these trends significant? [Gavin Schmidt, RealClimate, Feb 7]

    Posted Feb 10: The Secret Climate Threat? A sizable portion of the observed global warming may be due to particles of black carbon (soot) according to a major new study. The sources of soot can be controlled much more easily than the sources of CO2. Does this give us some extra time to contol the CO2? Abstract of original Journal of Geophysical Research article here.[Nicholas Kusnetz, Rolling Stone (via readersupportednews), Feb 3]

    Posted Feb 10: Three States to Consider Climate Change Denial for the Schools.Students in Oklahoma,Arizona and Colorado may soon the lucky winners of a course about scientific controversies, courtesy of Heartland Institute and ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) the major partners in and funders of the global warming denial crowd. [Steve Horn, Counterpunch, Feb 1]

   Posted Feb 10: Meet the Contractors Turning America's Police Into a Paramilitary Force. The line separating military from police hardware is disappearing. Everything from surveillance drones to cell phone locators, iris scanners and night vision goggles and more are rapidly being adopted by the police.[John Knefel, AlterNet | Report (via Truthout}, Jan 31]

    Posted Jan 28: Disaster Capitalism Hits New York. Superstorm Sandy's 13.8-foot storm surge and destruction of thousands of homes and businesses - plus the prospect of ever more frequent coastal flooding as our planet warms - has stirred up political pressure for large-scale countermeasures.These include miles-long barriers across New York harbor and southern Long Island Soundr. But serious upgrading of building codes is also needed in case the barriers fail, and this is where the crunch comes: rents would skyrocket and the poor would be on their own, and the city could turn into a super-size gated community. [Arun Gupta, InTheseTimes, Jan 28]

   Posted Jan 28: Why Journalists Are Skipping Lunch To Learn Stats. Do (the) people know the difference between relative and absolute risk? "When science makes the crossover from academic into public discourse, whose responsibility is it to adjust the language accordingly?" The Royal Statistical Society(UK) has launched a project to make journalists more statistically literate..[Khalil Cassimally w/Frank Swain, Sci. Amer.,Jan 28] 

    Posted Jan 28: Teacher Boycott of Standardized Test in Seattle Continues to Spread. "A boycott of Washington state’s mandated standardized test by teachers at a Seattle [high] school is spreading to other schools and winning support across the country, including from the two largest teachers’ unions, parents, students, researchers and educators." At issue is the almost-universal use of these flawed high-stakes tests to evaluate not only students, but teacher, schools and even state education systems - as well as increasing pressure to "teach to the test".[Valerie Strauss, Wash Post (via Common Dreams) Jan 26]

     Posted Jan 28: Japan to build world's largest offshore wind farm. Following the shutdown of all but two of Japan's 54 nuclear reactors un reponse to the Fukushima disaster, Japan is building a wind farm 16 km offshore of Fukushima to be completed by 2020 consisting of 143 generators to produce up to 1 gigwatt of power.[Rob Gilhooly, New Scientist, Jan 16] 

    Posted Jan 24: How Much Will Tar Sands Oil Add to Global Warming? A significant amount, It's been estimated that if we want to keep the global temp rise to only(!) 2C by 2050, we can put no more than 1000 gigatons (metric) into our atmosphere. Using today's technology alone, the Alberta tar sands alone would produce 170 gigatons - of very dirty energy.Related stories:(1) Jan 23 -Governor Heineman of Nebraska approves passage of the XL pipeline that willl carry tar sands oil therough his state; (2) Jan 22 - Sierra Club announces that it will engage in civil disobedience to stop tar sands oil. [David Biello,Sci Amer,Jan 23,2014]

Tar sands pit, Alberta. Source: Economist, Jan 20, 2011

   Posted Jan 24: Massive melting of Andes glaciers. Glaciers in the tropical Andes have shrunk by 30-50% since the 1970s, according to a study published in the journal Crysosphere. The lower-altitude glaciers are losing mass so quickly that there will probably be no ice below 16,000 feet within a few decades - a serious threat to the water supply of tens of millions of people. [BBC News, Jan 23, 2013]

   Posted Jan 24: End Military Recruiting in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools. In an official policy statement, the American Public Health Association has issued a stong condemnation of military recruiting in schools warning that it "has become increasingly aggressive and predatory" and that early exposure of teenagers to military service can have effects far worse than those observed in older youths.[American Public Health Association policy statement 20123 10/30/201(via NNOMY - National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth),Jan 19, 2013]

  Posted Jan 24: Antarctica takes out its frustration on the children of the 1%. The strange story of how a cranky Antarctica attempted to swamp a boatload of rich young visitors. [Sarah Laskow, Grist, Jan 18] 

   Posted Jan 14, 2013: The Great Oil Swindle: Scaling the Peak of Fossil Fuel Scarcity. The flood of stories in the last few months, including the IEA 2012 World Energy Outlook, proclaiming a new abundance of fossil fuel was apparently based on bad data, wishful thinking and distortions. Economically feasible production of oil has already peaked, coal production is down and shale from fracking is requiring enormous investment and producing diminshing returns. [Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, Foreign Policy in Focus {via Common Dreams),Jan 13]

    Posted Jan 14, 2013: Aaron Swartz, RIP. This is a tribute to Internet activist, inventor, and idealist, Aaron Swartz who killed himself last week at the age of 26. He was facing prosectuion by the US government for finding ways to break into data bases and unload enormous amounts of data to be made freely available to the public - an outstanding example of science for the people.See also Glenn Greenwald's tribute. [Cory Doctorow,boingboing, Jan12] 

   Posted Jan 10, 2013: Villagers Wail Against Nuclear Power. Near the southern tip of India in the town of Kudankulam, a 1000-megawatt nuclear plant is nearing commissioning, but is the scene of increasing protests by local farmers and fisherman, with over a thousand arrests. At issue is not only inadequate compensation for land seizures, but mounting concern about safety issues such as radiation leaks and vulnerability to tsumanis. [K.S. Harikrishnan, IPSnews, Jan 10, (photo at left)]

   Posted Jan 10, 2013:   The Cash-for-Clunkers-Conundrum. Cash for Clunkers the nickname for the 2011 program that subsidized the junking of used cars to be replaced with new cars in the name of reduced emissions and inceased gas mileage. Taking into account the environmental impacts of junking functioning vehicles, was this program a plus for the environment or a greenwashed subsidy for the struggling auto industry?[Jennifer Santisi, E magazine, Jan 2, 2013]

   Posted Jan 10, 2013:Some Cluster Bombs More Newsworthy Than Others. "The plane came in from the southeast late in the afternoon, releasing its weapons in a single pass. Within seconds, scores of finned bomblets struck and exploded on the homes and narrow streets of this small Syrian town" - according to a front-page story in the Dec 21 NY Times. But it was also mentioned in passing that the US is one of the few nations in the world that has not banned cluster bombs, and in fact, is still using them - in places like Yemen. [Peter Hart, FAIR, Jan 2, 2013]

    Posted Jan 4, 2013 :Study: Home air conditioning reduced deaths. A reduction by 80% over the last half-century of the chance of dying on very hot day has been documented by a team or researchers from several universities. Of course this of course leads to a paradox: “... the solution involves more energy consumption...and that is going to exacerbate the problem of increased temperatures”, remarked co-author Michael Greenstone of MIT. [Julie Eilperin (Wash Post), Courier-Journal.com, Dec 24, 2012]

   Posted Jan 4, 2013 Weather Girl Goes Rogue. Back in September when the ice cover in the Arctic was reaching its all-time low, came this absolutely hilarious and right-on video, which juxtaposes the idiocy of what passes for TV news with the need for straight talk about the climate crisis. [Produced by the Canadian political satirist, Deep Rogue Ram.]

Weathergirl goes rogue


VV=======================Dec 2012====================================VV

 Posted Dec 31, 2012: Nuclear Roulette: The Truth About the Most Dangerous Energy Source on Earth. Truthout interviews the author of the new book "Nuclear Roulette", outlining issues of large numbers of small accidents, major catastrophes, radioactive waste, the industry PR machine, and the planned Generation IV reactors. [Mark Karlin, Truthout-Interview, Dec 29, 2012]

   Posted Dec 31, 2012: Elections 2012: The Good, The Bad, and The Ironic. (PDF) What could have accounted for Karl Rove's election-night meltdown? A fascinating look at the various methods (and possible counter-methods) of rigging election. Underlined once again is "the fundamental unacceptability of concealed and unobservable vote counting".[Jonathan Simon and Sally Castleman, Election Defense Alliance (via Mitchell Cohen), Dec 28]

   Posted Dec 29: The Deadly Fantasy of Assault Weapons. Got $2500 to spare? Now's the time to treat yourself to a Bushmaster assault rifle so's you can "consider your man card reissued", announced a recent Bushmaster campaign (pulled just after the Newtown Bushmaster AR-15-enabled massacre), typical of the kind of assault-weapon propaganda aimed at amateur shooters who want to play soldier. (Science for the ) people has it limits...) [Editiorial, NY Times, Dec 29, 2012]

Bushmaster AR-15

   Posted Dec 28: Nuclear power plant flood risk: Sandy was just a warm-up. Although the winds at the Oyster Creek power plant, 40 miles north of Atlantic City NJ reached only 75 mph as Sandy's center came ashore, the 7.4-foot storm surge caused widespread power outages, forcing a plant shutdown and a switch over to diesel to maintain crucial cooling. A rise of less than 2 additional feet would have flooded the backup generators, as happened at Fukushima. Other U.S. nukes are similarly vulnerable, especially with rising sea levels and the possibility of storms of increased strength.. [Heather Rogers, Remapping Debate (via The Daily Climate), Dec 19]

   Posted Dec 28, 2012: Why We Should be Grateful to the NRA. Amid all the hand-wringing over the Newtown massacre, the NRA has came up with a sensible solution to the problem: armed guards in all the schools. The implications of this course of action if followed coherently, are truly exciting...[Christopher Brauchli, Counterpunch, Dec 28-30]

   Posted Dec 25: Real and Virtual Firearms Nurture a Marketing Link. Video shooter games, real weapons and military training - and Connecticut... See any connection? Doesn't take much imagination. Electronic Arts. maker of "Medal of Honor Warfighter" a top video game claims it was unaware of links on its site to weapons catalogues(!) - already a widespread practice among shooter gaming sites. But, surprise - the military has long known and used virtual killing to attract the interest of and then train new recruits (see "Keyboards First. Then Grenades"). [Barry Meier and Andrew Martin, NY Times, Dec 24, 2012]

   Posted Dec 23: The heat is on in West Antarctica. It's not only happening, but twice as fast as was thought: findings published 3 years ago (and criticized by some) on the rapid warming of West Antarctica (the part south of South America) have been corroborated and found to be too conservative. Discussion has been renewed about the chances of a collapse of parts of the ice sheet and resultant catastrophic rises in sea level. Press coverage will be widespread, but read it here direct from the horse's mouth.[Eric Steig,Real Climate,Dec 23,2012]

   Posted Dec 23:The Coming Drone Attack on America. The coming importation of tens of thousands of drones into US airspace "with a specific mandate to engage in surveillance and with the capacity for weaponization" could herald the arrival heree of a police state, according to Wolf. Some will be as small as hummingbirds - excellent for personal surveillance; others as big as passenger planes. They will be used by police, corporations and the military. [Naomi Wolf,Guardian, UK, Dec 21]

Posted Dec 20: Alaskan Natives Take on Fossil Fuel Disinformation in Kivalina. Author's introduction to her new book, "Kivalina: A Climate Change Story", gives a nice perspective on climate change in history and introduces the story of the threatened villagers exposure of climate-change denial by Big Oil. [Christine Shearer, Counterpunch, Dec 16, 2012]

Posted Dec 20: Canada's 'War on Science - Environmental groups say recent measures show that Harper's government is stepping up its attack on climate scientists. A combination of budget cuts and Canada's aggressive drive to develop its oil sands (Canada has the world's third-largest oil reserves after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela)have won for it a recognition of the world's worst in climate policies in the developed world, according to the Climate Action Network. [Al-Jazeera, Dec 11, 2012]

Posted Dec 20: Robots and Robber Barons. The economic crisis is over if you look at record corporate profits - but that may be news for labor. Why is capital grabbing and ever-larger slice of the pie? Krugman's explanation is the continuing ability of high tech to displace not only unskilled but skilled and highly-paid workers.On the capital side, monopoly power is riding high again, fueled by the collapse of serious anti-trust legislation and accompanied by the loss by labor of much of its bargaining.[Paul Krugman, NY Times (via Common Dreams), Dec 10]

Posted Dec 20: Change Is Coming: Factory Farms' Days May Be Numbered. "In one of history's most stunning victories for humane farming, Australia's largest supermarket chain, Coles, will as of January 1 stop selling company branded pork and eggs from animals kept in factory farms." The other dominant Australian chain which together with Coles controls 80% of supermarker sales in Australia is moving in the same direction. Driven by consumer pressure, changes are beginning in some states in the US and in Europe. For more information on the subject and a great read, see "Eating Animals" a book by Jonathan Foer, review here. [Ocean Robbins,Common Dreams,Nov 28,2002]

Factory-farmed chickens. Source: Advocacy for Animals

Posted Dec 20: World Energy Report 2012: The Good, the Bad, and the Really, Truly Ugly. Signalled by its euphoric reception by Wall Street, this year's Internationak Energy Agency report seems to contain only bad news - both for the global economy and the future of the planet. Cheering about an expected rise of US to first place in oil production has more to do with a decline in the competition; rosy estimates of the benefits of fracking and tar sands are figured in; coal use is down only because coal exports are rising and the estimated global warming is now not to be a "mere" 2C, but 3.6C, or 5.5 degrees F [Michael T. Klare,TomDispatch(via Common Dreams),Nov 27,2012]

Posted Dec 20: As drug industry’s influence over research grows, so does the potential for bias. This update of the continuing scandal over pervasive pharmaceutical industry ontrol power over scientific drug research - not just over the choice of topics investigated, but over the findings released as well. Over th year ending last August, of 73 articles about new published in the New England Journal Medicine, 50 were co-written by drug company employees and 37 "had a lead author, typically an academic, who had previously accepted outside compensation from the sponsoring drug company" [Peter Whoriskey, Wash. Post,Nov 24]

Posted Dec 20: Inside the Monsanto Information War. Inside the Monsanto Information War. An update on the controversy over genetically-modified corn. The French rejected a long-term study that linked corn to massive tumors in rats genetically modified to resist Monsantos Roundup herbicide; but they also called for further research. [Mike Ludwig, Truthout | Report , Oct 24, 2012]


bird flu virus



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