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Posted Dec 31, 2011: World Pays Ecuador Not to Extract Oil from Rainforest. Governments and film starsjoined an alliance to compensate Ecuador for lost revenue from 900 million barrelsof oil."According to the UN, the 'crowdfunding' initiative had [Dec 29]raised $116m (£75m), enough to temporarily halt the exploitation of the 722 square miles of "core" Amazonian rainforest known as Yasuní national park in Ecuador.[John Vidal, The Guardian(via Common Dreams, Dec 30]

Posted Dec 31: Contractors' Role Grows in Drone Missions, Worrying Some in the Military. Drones employ people, too. The Global Hawk surveillance drone requires 300 people to keep it in the air for 300 hours. the Air Force flies more than 50 drones around the clock over Afghanistan and other target areas. To save money, they hire relatively untrained people through hundreds of civilian contractors, among them SAIC. The recent erroneous air strike that killed civilians in Afghanistan was called in by an SAIC employee.Will future funding cutbacks cause the Pentagon to fight less wars or will it replace more aircraft with drones?[David Cloud, McClatchey Newspapers(via Common Dreams), Dec 30]

Posted Dec 31: Hysteria Reconsidered: Iran’s Nuclear Program and the Latest IAEA Report. The November report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) once more focused international concern on Iran's possible covert nuclear weapons development. The US has reacted by attempting to isolate Iran and ratchet up international pressure. Is this justified by what the IAEA presented and by what is known about the history of Iran's nuclear research?[David Szydloski, In These Times,Dec 19]

Posted Dec 31: Science controversies past and present. Today's widespread resistance to scientific findings about global warming and its sources has interesting historical parallels to the resistance encountered to the findings of Galileo and Einstein [Steven Sherwood,Physics Today,Oct 11]

Posted Dec 23: Too Late to Contain Killer Flu Science, say Experts. "Attempts to censor details of controversial influenza experiments that created a highly infectious form of bird-flu virus are unlikely to stop the information from leaking out, according to scientists familiar with the research."The virus was deliberately mutated by two teams of researchers into a form that could easily be transmitted through the air. [Steve Connor, The Independent(via Common Dreams), Dec 22]


Posted Dec 23: Occupy Wall Street's 'occucopter' – Who's Watching Whom? - or Drones for the People. Tim Pool, an Occupy Wall Street protester has bought is own remotely piloted mini-helicopter (from Amazon) that is outfitted with a video-equipped cell phone that he has equipped with software to beam live video to the internet. But there are problems raised by its use for spying on police activities: will the police justify it to amplify their own ambitions for widespread spying on the public? Can criminals use it to case targets for crimes? Is the cat already out of the bag? [Noel Sharkey and Sarah Knuckey, The Guardian (via Truthdig), Dec 21]

Posted Dec 23: Income inequality in the Roman Empire. This blog post cites historical evidence that may show that wealth inequality in the US is growing rapidly enough to have surpassed its level in imperial Rome. The author provides neat explanation of the Gini coefficient which measures inequality across all income levels on a scale of zero to one. [Tim De Chant, persquaremile.com blog(via Truthdig), Dec 16]

Posted Dec 18: As Permafrost Thaws, Scientists Study the Risks. Another possible tipping point in the gallery of possible triggers for runaway climate change has come in for renewed study - the very large quantities of methane trapped in the permafrost of the Northern Hemispheres. With the rapid arctic warming predicted by the latest scenarios, ", the gases from permafrost alone "could eventually equal 35 percent of todays annual human emissions.[Justin Gillis, NY Times,Dec 16]

Posted Dec 13: Canada First Nation to Pull Out of Kyoto Protocol. One of the US's main enables inits drive to fry the world, our neighbor Canada who is providing access to the Alberta tar sands, has now dropped all pretense about trying to cut back on carbonbizing the atmosphere. The Conservative government of Stephen Harper announced, just after the Durban meeting (at which it remained silent) that Canada was abandoning Kyoto. [David Ljunggren and Randall Palmer,Common Dreams (from Reuters, Dec 13]

Posted Dec 13: Protests Boost Sales and Fears of Sonic Blaster. The eruption of the nation-wide Occupy protests may have provided a boost to the economy - at least in the police/military weapons sector, where the tools of "nation-building" abroad are coming increasingly into the hands of the guardianss of the 1% and their banks at home. This AP release discusses the ongoing experiments with the use in the streets of "sound cannons", which the police say are "only to broadcast messages". This is presumably more humane than pepper spray, tear gas and rubber bullets (which of course also at the ready), and maybe more cool than disrupting speakers with low-hovering helicopters. [David Dishneau, AP, via Common Dreams, Dec 12]

Posted Dec 13: Deal Reached in Durban But Scientists Say it Won't Avert Catastrophic Climate Change. Under the Durban agreement, governments will now spend four years negotiating how far and how fast each country should cut carbon emissions.Time is running out but "governments have reopened the door to a legally binding global agreement involving the world's major emitters, a door which many thought had been shut at the Copenhagen conference in 2009," said Bill Hare, director at Climate Action Tracker.[Fiona Harvey and john Vidal, The Guardian (via AlterNet, Dec 22]

Posted Dec 13: Healers, Torture and National Security. A retired brigadier general and Army psychiatrist decries the current permissive attitude toward torture that follows by only two generations the prosecution of Nazi torturers. A Human Rights First convocation concluded that "Torture Is Damaging. "... a person who is tortured is damaged, but so are the torturer, the nation and the military." [Stephen Xenakis, Truthout Op-Ed, Dec 10]

Posted Dec 13: Today's Severe Drought, Tomorrow's Normal. A new co-operative study examining the effect of the ongoing global warming on precipitation showed that regardless of the model(19 models were testedd), global warming is always associated with reduction of mean rainfall and thus more severe droughts in drought-prone areas. The results are to be published in the December 2011 issue of the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Hydrometerology. [Environmental Protection, Dec 7]

Posted Dec 7: The Most Important News Story of the Day/Millennium. A no doubt soon-to-be-famous statement from Bill McKibben: "You think OWS is radical? You think 350.org was radical for helping organize mass civil disobedience in DC in August against the Keystone Pipeline? We’re not radical. Radicals work for oil companies. The CEO of Exxon gets up every morning and goes to work changing the chemical composition of the atmosphere. No one has ever done anything as radical as that, not in all of human history". Twelve years after the signing of the Kyoto treaty, has the world succeeded in reducing the rate of carbon emissions to the atmosphere? Has it at least succeeded in slowing it? No and no. Even in the middle of a global economic slowdown, the rate of carbon emission increasde last year by 6% - a new record.[Bill McKibben, Common Dreams, Dec 5]

Posted Dec 7: The New Digital Divide. In a 1995 report, the Department of Commerce was already calling attention to the class-based difference in internet access. The gap has rapidly widened - "High-speed access is a superhighway for those who can afford it, while racial minorities and poorer and rural Americans must make do with a bike path." "Millions are still offline completely, while others can afford only connections over their phone lines or via wireless smartphones. They can thus expect even lower-quality health services, career opportunities, education and entertainment options than they already receive. [Susan Crawford, NY Times, Dec 3] But, be sure and read this commentary on some questionable assumptions (downplaying the importance of wireless technology, for one) that Crawford makes in the article [Ev Ehrlich's Everyday Economics, evehrlich.net, Dec 5]

Posted Nov 25: Iran and the IAEA. Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh has come up with another expose of the continued ballyhooing of a nuclear threat from Iran. In this piece he highlights the compromised role of the new IAEA head, Yukiya Amano of Japan, who under heavy US pressure was appointed in the wake of Mohammed ElBaradei's retirment.This piece received wide circulation and appeared in the TehranTimes website. Democracy Now conducted an interview of Hersh on Nov 21.[Seymour Hersh, New Yorker blog, Nov 18]

Posted Nov 25: Debate over Iran nukes is a farce. Toronto Star editorial page editor emeritus Haroon Siddiqui writes that Iran "may be violating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty but it’s a signatory that must open up its nuclear facilities to international inspection. Israel, India and Pakistan, which also developed the bomb on the sly, refuse to sign the treaty and don’t show a thing to the International Atomic Energy Agency. Yet they get rewarded by the U.S. while Iran is subjected to illegal covert actions — contamination of its nuclear computers with viruses and assassination of its scientists."[Haroon Siddiqui, Toronto Star, Nov 23]

Posted Nov 22: Capitalism vs. the Climate. Naomi Klein attended a conference of the core of the climate denialist crowd - the Heartland Institute - and came away with a sober analysis of the connection between their "science" and their political analysis: They're right - a serious effort to reverse the loading of the atmosphere with greenhouse gases can only be done by "radically re-ordering our political and economic system"; liberal environmentalists are in denial about this. [Naomi Klein, The Nation, Nov 28]

Posted Nov 22: More Vegetables Evolving Chocolate-Sauce-Filled Centers As Evolutionary Imperative. Late-breaking news from The Onion! "A crop must adapt to changes in the food-consumption environment and develop traits that encourage the plant's cultivation and consumption," said Professor...". Eat your heart out, Intelligent Design-ers.[The Onion, News In Brief, Nov 18]

Posted Nov 22: Threshold Sea Surface Temperature for Hurricanes and Tropical Thunderstorms Is Rising. The good news: more doubt is cast on global warming's role in stimulating more frequent and/or severe hurricanes. The bad news: More support for observations of a strong rise in tropical tropospheric temperatures. The study cite was published by Johnson and Xie in Nature Geoscience a year ago. [ScienceDaily.com, Nov 8]

Posted Nov 15: Nukes in Space. It's called "Curiosity". What a charming name for a plutonium-powered Mars rover, the updated version of the old solar-powered rover.And only a one-in-220 chance of a cloud of plutonium particles being release to the atmosphere and surface, says its environmental impact statement. And all this for only $2.5 billion. Florida residents are protesting, but no complaints have been heard yet from residents of Mars. [Karl Grossman, Counterpunch, Nov 9]

Posted Nov 15: "Deadly Monopolies": Medical Ethicist Harriet Washington on her book, subtitled, How Firms are Taking Over Life Itself. In the past 30 years, more than 40,000 patents have been granted on genes alone and many more patents are pending. Harriet Washington argues that the biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies patenting these genes are more concerned with profit than with the health or medical needs of patients.[Democracy Now, Oct 30]

Posted Nov 15: Who Owns Federally Funded Research? The Supreme Court and the Bayh–Dole Act. [Aaron S. Kesselheim, and Rahul Rajkumar, New Engl J. Med, Sep 29]

Posted Nov 15: Race Against the Machine: The Book and the Blurbs. Quoted by the author from a blurb by Tim O'Reilly:”We’re entering unknown territory in the quest to reduce labor costs. The AI revolution is doing to white collar jobs what robotics did to blue collar jobs. Race Against the Machine is a bold effort to make sense of the future of work." [Andrew Mcafee blog]

Posted Nov 15: Our Unpaid, Extra Shadow Work. While you're happily checking out and bagging your own groceries and pumping your own gas, looking for an item in Home Depot, dealing with your latest computer virus - do you sometimes wonder what happened to all your spare time - and to all those employees displaced by automation that was supposed to liberate you?(BTW, how many books have you read this year?)[Craig Lambert,NY Times,Oct 29]

Posted Oct 31: The Twittersphere Unmasked. Is Twitter a force for conformity or social change? A mere distraction? "The collective appropriation of information makes the Twittosphere a forum for debate, which brings out the best as well as the worst in a crowd — taunts, emotional dictatorship and a lack of distance — but also a critical vision and a different analysis from traditional media."[Mona Chollet, Counterpunch. Oct 28-30]

Posted Oct 31:.The Politics of Obesity. With 74% of the U.S. adults overweight and 40% obese as of 2008, "an obesity-industrial complex can be identified. Like its military compatriots, its influence on America’s body politic is no less consequential." Have we suddenly become suicidal gluttons or are other forces at work?[David Rosen,Counterpunch, Oct 28-30]

Posted Oct 31: Crop Scientists Now Fret about Heat Not Just Water. To farmers, the most worrisome part of the changing climate has been the apparent alterations in the timing and intensity of seasonal rains. But the direct impact of increased temperatures, especially at night may have comparable consequences for crops. [Christine Stebbins, Scientific American, Oct 24]

Posted Oct 31: Arctic Ice Cover Hits Historic Low, Due to Global Warming Say Scientists. The area of the Ar ctic covered by sea ice has declined to a level not seen since the beginning of staellite observations in 1972 according to a statement released by the University of Bremen. The coverage is now down to about 50% of its original value. "The [remaining]Arctic ice cover has also become significantly thinner in recent decades, though it is not possible to measure the shrinkage in thickness as precisely as for surface area, the statement said." [Agence France-Presse(via Common Dreams), Sep 11] See also the article in RealClimate.

Posted Oct 31: 'Coral Reefs Will be Gone by the End of the Century.' Top UN scientist. Professor Peter Sale in his new book "Our Dying Planet", predicts that the first-ever destruction of an entire ecosystem will occur by the end of this century under the combined pressure of climate change and ocean acidification, amplified by local activities such as overfishing, pollution and coastal development[Andrew Marszal,The Independent (via Common Dreams), Sep 11]

Posted Oct 31: Al Gore: Obama Isn't "Relying On Science". Tired of faith-based science and economics? How about corporation-based science. Gore has criticized Obama's undercutting of his own EPA chief Lisa Jackson as he appeared to cave in to pressure from polluting corporations and Big Oil, echoed in the Wall Street Journal. Obama has thus opted to keep in effect the pollution levels permitted by Bush-Cheney. [Brian Montopoli,CBS News (via CommonDreams,Sep8]

Posted Aug 17: Canada's PR Work for Tar Sands: Dirty, Crude and Oily. How to accelerate both global warming and environmental destruction: "TransCanada's 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline will carry as many as 1.1m barrels of crude a day to the Gulf of Mexico. It will cut through the sensitive heartland of the country. It will massively enrich big corporations. And it is certain to spill: the only question is when and how often and with what kind of human and environmental toll."[Martin Lukacs, Guardian, via Common Dreams, Aug 15]

Posted Aug 17: Why Bottled Water Companies Target Blacks and Latinos. Why do Black and Latino households spend more than twice as much (15%) as whites(6%) of their household income on bottled water? Clever advertising or contaminated public water supplies in poor communities? [Jaeah Lee, Mother Jones, Aug 15]

Posted Aug 17: Obama and the Tar Sands Pipeline. Under pressure from the oil interests in both US and Canada, Obama is expected to sign an agreement that will open the Keystine XL pipeline, stretcching from Alberta, through Oklahoma to the Gulf of Mexico, to carry 700,00 barrels per day of tar sands oil, "the most costly and toxic oil on earth".[Brian Horejsi,Counterpunch,Aug 9]

Posted Aug 17: The Decision to Bomb Hiroshima. The evidence accumulated in this well-researched summary clearly points yet again to the lack of any compelling reason for the US to drop even one nuclear bomb on a defeated Japan on Aug 6, 1945 - except the anticipated entry that week of the USSR into the war.[Gar Alperovitz, Counterpunch, Aug 5-7]

Posted Aug 17: Atomic Cover-Up: The Hidden Story Behind the U.S. Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This broadcast was made on the 66th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing. According to Japanese sources, over 300,000 people died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, including those who died of after-effects in ensuing years.[Interview of Greg Mitchell, Democracy Now, Aug 6]

Posted Aug 17: Mobile Biometrics to Hit US Streets. Caught driving without ID? Not to worry, MORIS (Mobile Offender Recognition and Information System) will soon be arriving at police departments to help you: "A gadget attached to a mobile phone can photograph and plot key points and features on your face (breaking the numbers down into biometric data), scan your iris and take your fingerprints on the spot."And, of course, match them against a national data base.[D. Parvaz, Al-Jazeera English, via Common Dreams]

Posted Aug 17: The Indoctrination of Missile Launch Officers. It's reassuring that the Air Force has to provide some moral self-justification to fortify the tender young officers whose job it will be to push the button should a launch order be issued. Here are some of the questions provided by the US Air Force and answers provided by the writer.[David Krieger, CommonDreams,Aug 2]

Posted Aug 17: Extreme Weather Link 'Can No Longer Be Ignored' Scientists to end 20-year reluctance with study into global warming and exceptional weather events.[Steve O' Connor,Independent (via Common Dreams),July 1]

Posted May 7: Al Gore Invents a Showpiece E-Book. ”The United States is still borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn in ways that destroy the planet. Every bit of that’s got to change,” says Gore in "Our Choice". The writer of of an Inconvenient Choice now turns from describing the problem to suggesting solutions. And Pogue (The NYT tech reviewer) reviews it because of a panoply of state-of-the-art multi-media interactive features on this iphone/ipad/ipod Touch -compatible app. [David Pogue, NY Times, May 5]

Posted May 7: Drumbeat of Nuclear Fallout Fear Doesn’t Resound With Experts. "The fear is unwarranted, experts say." Hmm, sounds familiar. But actually, Broad is referring to fallout outside of Japan from the accidents and comparing the radiation to natural background and X-rays. He claims that in the world's oceans "thousands of decomposing drums of radioactive waste pose bigger dangers than the relatively small amounts of radioactive water released from the Fukushima Daiichi plant." [William Broad, NY Times, May2]

Posted May 7: Despite Bipartisan Support, Nuclear Reactor Projects Falter. Even though Congress under Bush and now Obama has made available tens of billions in loans, there has been little sign of substantial revival revival of the nuclear power industry. Even before the Fukushima disasters, the projected renaissance of nuclear power was faltering from the combined effects of low natural gas prices and declining demand for electricity.[Matthew Wald, NYTimes, apr30]

Posted May 7: Unsafe at any Dose. Caldicott points out that it's too early to draw conclusions oabout the consequences of Fukushima when we still don't know the full effects of Chernobyl. Cancers other than leukemia take 15-50 years to develop and radiation-induced mutations are recessive and can take generations to appear. [Helen Caldicott, NY Times, Apr 30]

Posted May 7: America’s Nuclear Nightmare: The U.S. has 31 reactors just like Japan’s — but regulators are ignoring the risks and boosting industry profits. When the news of Fukushima hit, "...officials in Germany moved swiftly to shut down old plants for inspection, and China put licensing of new plants on hold. But Gregory Jaczko, the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, reassured lawmakers that nothing at the Fukushima Daiichi reactors warranted any immediate changes at U.S. nuclear plants. [Jeff Goodell, Rolling Stone, Apr 27]

Posted May 7: The Obama-Gates Scam on Military Spending. Porter's analysis shows how a mixture of creative accounting methods "verging on chicanery" have left an impression of large ewductions in military spending where in reality they represent small cuts in a grossly inflated projection of spending over the next ten years. [Gareth Porter, Counterpunch,Apr 21]

: Posted May 7: Nuclear Power: Adequate Insurance Too Expensive. Only because nuclear plants all over the world are either grossly underinsured or not insured at all, has it been possible for nuclear utilities to stay in business. [AP (via Common Dreams), Apr 21]

Posted May 7: Obama's Dirty Energy Fixation. "Just days after a 9.0 earthquake and tsunami unleashed a nuclear disaster in Fukushima, President Barack Obama signed a nuclear power cooperation agreement with Chilean President Sebastián Piñera. Like Japan, Chile is seismically active. It suffered the sixth-most powerful earthquake--8.8--ever recorded on a seismograph only last year."[Daphne Wysham, Other Words (via Common Dreams), Apr 21]

Posted May 7: Is the World Too Big to Fail? The fate of the species as just another externality that is dismissed by market systems; one need only "...have a look at the new Congress in the U.S., propelled into power by business funding and propaganda. Almost all are climate deniers. They have already begun to cut funding for measures that might mitigate environmental catastrophe. Worse, some are true believers; for example, the new head of a subcommittee on the environment who explained that global warming cannot be a problem because God promised Noah that there will not be another flood."[Noam Chomsky, Tom Dispatch (via Common Dreams), Apr 21]

Posted May 7: Japan's Biggest Problem: Melted fuel, radioactive water puring into the sea, cesium-137 releases, cracks in the spent fuel pool, the ongoing aftershocks? More than likely, Hoffman writes, it is the ongoing lies and secrecy as government and the nuclear establishment continue to work together to downplay the seriousness of the situation. [Russell Hoffman, Counterpunch, Apr 18]

Posted May 7: We Need a Serious Critique of Net Activism. "... technology isn't necessarily good for freedom – but how else can the oppressed have a voice?" This review of Evgeny Morozov's "The Net Delusion" will appear soon in the dcmetro sftp Newsletter, but is highlighted here as well because of its ongoing relevance to on going discussions in sftp about advances in science and their relevance to social progress. [Cory Doctorow,Guardian-UK,Jan 25]

Posted May 7: Left Forum 2011:
Interview with David Schwartzman.
On the concept of de-growth and its relation to capitalism, eco-sociological movements. [The Mantle, Mar 19] 

Posted Mar 19: The "Green" Nuclear Cabal - How Global Warming Rescued the Atomic Lobby. - an excerpt from Jeffrey St. Clair's environmental history, Born Under a Bad Sky. The "nuclear renaissance" that has quietly developed over the last decades has had allies all over the world, in the highest places, and has fed on concerns over global warming.[Jeffrey St. Clair, Counterpunch, Mar 18]

Posted Mar 19: From Hiroshima to Fukushima. "The chain of events at the reactors now running out of control provides a case history of the underlying mismatch between human nature and the force we imagine we can control. Nuclear power is a complex, high technology. But the things that endemically malfunction are of a humble kind. The art of nuclear power is to boil water..."[Jonathan Schell, Nation, Mar 15]

Posted Mar 19: Meltdowns Grow More Likely at the Fukushima Reactors. "The boiling-water reactors at Fukushima - 40 years old and designed by General Electric - have spent fuel pools several stories above ground adjacent to the top of the reactor."[Robert Alvarez, Znet, Mar 14]

Posted Mar 19: Japan’s Long Nuclear Disaster Film. A review of the Japanese monster-movie genre and how it relates to its national psyche in the postwar period. The monster movies were inspired not only by Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but by the out-of-control H-bomb test on Bikini atoll in 1954 that detonated with about 2.5 times greater force than anticipated. The unexpectedly vast fallout from the bomb enveloped a distant Japanese tuna trawler named the Lucky Dragon No. 5 in a blizzard of radioactive ash.[Peter W Kirby, NYT, Mar14]

Posted Mar 19:Fukushima crisis: Anatomy of a meltdown - March 13, 2011. Why the explosions? Where did the hydrogen come from? What went wrong in Japan?[ Geoff Brumfiel, Nature blog, Mar 14]

Posted Mar 19: “My Fear is that Climate Change is the Biggest Crisis of All”: Naomi Klein warns that global warming could be exploited by capitalism and militarism. Amy Goodman interviews Naomi Klein, activist and author of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. "in 2007, 71—this is a Harris poll—71 percent of Americans believed climate change was real, and two years later, 51 percent of Americans believed it."[DemocracyNow, Mar 9]

Posted Mar 19: Regulation Lax as Gas Wells’ Tainted Water Hits Rivers. Hydrofracking, a new technique for extracting natural gas trapped in rock formations, using high-pressure injection of water is coming under increasing criticism for the consequent release of wastewater that is contaminated with toxic metals and radioactivity into sources of drinking water.[Ian Urbina, NYT, 2/26]

Posted Feb 21: Human contribution to more-intense precipitation extremes. (abstract only on-line) Models with and without the extra greenhouse gases produced by humans have successfully isolated the human contribution to the observed increase in extreme precipitation events over land in the Northern Hemisphere from 1950-2000[Seung-Ki Min, et al.,Nature,Feb 17] (See also summary in RealClimate)

Posted Feb 21: Building a Perfect Machine of Perpetual War: The Mexico-to-Colombia Security Corridor Advances. In the face of drastically diminishing power throughout most of South America, the U.S. has been steadily building a "security corridor" , stretching from Mexico through Central America into Colombia, consisting of military bases and/or bilateral trade treaties and police/military training programs. [Greg Grandin, The Nation, Feb 11,2011]

Posted Feb 21: Wendell Berry Joins Retired Coal Miners and Residents in Kentucky Capitol Sit-in. More than six years after Kentucky became the first state in the nation to introduce a bill that would halt the dumping of toxic coal mining wastes into headwater streams and effectively rein in the devastating fallout of mountaintop removal operations, a group of affected coalfield residents, retired coal miners and bestselling authors... launched a sit-in in the office of Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear [Jeff Biggers, Huffington Post (via Common Dreams),Feb 12,2011]

Posted Feb 21: US Chamber’s Lobbyists Hired Hackers To Sabotage Unions, Smear Chamber’s Political Opponents. "The U.S. Chamber of Commerce [which represents] ExxonMobil, AIG, and other major international corporations, is working with set of 'private security' companies and lobbying firms to undermine their political opponents". One of the techiques exposed was leaking false documents to progressive organizations to try to entrap them into publishing the fictitious material and thus damaging their credibility.[Lee Fang, ThinkProgress.org (via Common Dreams), Feb 10,2011]

Posted Feb 21: Virtual Warfare Escalates on US-Mexico Border.. Wind Zero, a private outfit with a $100million budget and 1000 acreas of land east of San Diego is building a law-enforcement and military-training facility.( Think Blackwater) There is to be a heavy emphasis on drones and other unmanned aerial systems.[Kanya D'Almeida, Inter Press Service (via Common Dreams), Feb 7,2011]

Posted Feb 21: Confronting the Climate Cranks. An additional 40% of the amount of CO2 emitted by humanity since the Industrial Revolution has been dumped into the atmosphere since 1988, the year James Hansen delivered his warning to the US Senate. Hertsgaard asks that we replace the term "climate skeptics" with "climate cranks" and is launching a campaign, Confront the Climate Cranks. See also Feb 27 interview with Mark Hertsgaard by the Real News.[Mark Hertsgaard, The Nation, Feb 7,2011]

Posted Feb 21:Why Minnesota should maintain its moratorium on new nuclear reactors - Testimony of Arjun Makhijani before a Committee of the Minnesota State Senate, January 25, 2011. Makhijani presents strong testimony on the continued lack of economic viability, the environmental hazards and the net loss of jobs that will come with new nuclear plants. See also the Factsheet on nuclear power compiled by the IEER (Institute for Energy and Environmental Research)

Posted Feb 21: To cut emissions, cut parking spots. "Because every vehicle trip must end in a parking space, limiting parking through economic and policy changes has significantly reduced miles driven in 10 European cities, according to "Europe's Parking U-Turn: from Accommodation to Regulation," published by the New York City-based Institute for Transportation and Development Policy ( document loads slowly) [Tiffany Stecker, Sci. American,Jan 24,2011]

Posted Feb 21: BP Targets One of the World's Last Unspoilt Wildernesses. BP (in a joint project with Russian state-owned oil giant Rosneft) has decided to set up rigs in the Kara Sea, an area of great biodiversity and treacherous weather conditions. The region, an extension of the Arctic Ocean, located off the coastline of Siberia in far northwestern Russia, is one of the few remaining havens left for a number of endangered species. [Mark Leftly and Chris Stevenson, The Independent (via CommonDreams),Jan16,2011]

Posted Feb 21:. Israel Tests on Worm Called Crucial in Iran Nuclear Delay. An in-depth look at the U.S.-Israeli operation that unleashed "Stuxnet", a computer worm specifically targeted to Iran's centriguge program. Is this a first step in the legitimation of cyber warfare? [William Broad,John Markoff and David Sanger, NY Times, Jan 15,2011]

Posted Feb 21: Why the CIA is spying on a changing climate. Even the CIA has been duped into believing in climate change? It's now worrying that "the U.S. government is ill-prepared to act on climate changes that are coming faster than anticipated and threaten to bring instability to places of U.S. national interest, interviews with several dozen current and former officials and outside experts and a review of two decades' worth of government reports indicate."[Charles Mead and Annie Snider, Mcclatchy,Jan10,2011]

Posted Feb 21: I Am Not a Gadget. In this review of Jaron Lanier's "You Are Not a Gadget", Justin Podur presents some interesting speculations on the hidden effects and social consequences of today's internet. Concerning the connection between innovation and wealth, he suggests that "Today, those who have accumulated wealth are able to seize and control other people's innovations."[Justin Podur, zcommunications,Jan 9, 2011]

Posted Feb 21:Computers That See You and Keep Watch Over You. "...machines do not blink or forget. They are tireless assistants. " said about the latest developments in prisoner-monitoring devices. As always, advances in resolution, miniaturization, data storage and image recognition, coupled with declining costs are sharpening the tools of repression - but perhaps also the opportunities for resistance and revolution? [Steve Lohr,NY Times,Dec 31]

Posted Feb 21, 2011: Research links rise in Falluja birth defects and cancers to US assault. According to a report soon to be published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Fallujah, Iraq, the scene of a major US assaults in 2004 is seeing increasing levels of birth defects. No other city in Iraq has anywhere near the same levels of reported abnormalities. Falluja has at least 11 times as many major defects in newborns as the world average, the research has shown. One of the suspected causes is depleted uranium used in artillery shells. [Martin Chulov,The Guardian,Dec 30]


Posted Dec 24, 2010: Assange: US pushing "Digital McCarthyism" in assault on Wikileaks. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in an interview with msnbc's Cenk Uygur: "Well, let's look at the definition of terrorism. The definition of terrorism is a group that uses violence or the threat of violence for political ends...But we see constant threats from people in the ... Senate trying to make a name for themselves, the people like Sarah Palin, top shock jocks on Fox and, unfortunately, some members, also, of the Democratic Party, calling for my assassination, calling for the illegal kidnapping of my staff." [(with video link)Xeni Jardin,BoingBoing.net,Dec 22]

Posted Dec 24: Group IQ. A new MIT study shows that teams of people display a collective intelligence that has surprisingly little to do with the intelligence of the team’s individual members. Rather, the most important factors may have to do with group dynamics, including the absence of a strong leader or the presence of women [Carolyn Johnston,Boston Globe,Dec 19]

Posted Dec 24: Astronomer Sues University, Claiming Religion Cost Him a Job. After thousands of years of discrimination, torturing and burning of atheists and other dissenters, it looks like, at least at the University of Kentucky, the shoe may be on the other foot: C. Martin Gaskell, seeking a position at U of K alleges that he was turned down because he is an evangelical Christian. He denied being a creationist, but certain public statements that he has made apparently scared the hiring committee. [Mark Oppenheimer, NY Times,Dec 18]

Posted Dec 24: Dire Development Issues Converge in the Drylands. The recently-launched United Nations Decade for Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification (UNDDD) are scheduled to run from January 2010 to December 2020 to raise awareness and develop action plans to protect the drylands, home to one in every three people on earth. They are "an ancient and natural sanctuary to some of the rarest species of animal, bird and plant life on the planet". According to reports from the UNDDD, "one in every three crops under cultivation today has its origins in the drylands." They also support half of the world's livestock. [Kanya D'Almeida,IPSnews,Dec 17]

Posted Dec 24: Economic Crisis Looms, But Clean Energy Shines On. Portugal, in the midst of one of the worst economic crises of any EU state, is continuing its exemplary progress in renewable energy. Based on 2008 figures, 23.2 percent of the energy consumed in Portugal came from "green" sources, compared to the 10.3 percent average of the rest of the 27- member bloc. In efforts to encourage similar progress abroad, Portugal recently signed an agreement with Brazil "to establish technical, scientific, educational and cultural cooperation" between the two countries, especially in the field of solar energy. [Mario de Queiroz, IPSnews,Dec 16]

Posted Dec 24: Anthropology Group Tries to Soothe Tempers After Dropping the Word ‘Science’. "The American Anthropological Association had caused a stir by dropping the word “science” from its long-range plan". Is anthropology a science? Will political science be next? [Nicholas Wade,NY Times, Dec 13]

Posted Dec 24, 2010: Losing Time, not Buying Time. "Control of methane, soot, and other short-lived climate-forcing agents has often been described as a cheap way to "buy time" to get carbon dioxide emissions under control. But is it really?" A very clear and useful comparison of the time scale of CO2 vs methane and other climate-change actors. [Raypierre Humbert, RalClimate, Dec 6, 2010]

Alaska Oil Pipeline Leak - SftP member interviewed on NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Aug 8

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 - A 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)