Thursday, May 31, 2012

The 2012 Science and Democracy Editorial Cartoon Contest | Union of Concerned Scientists

The 2012 Science and Democracy Editorial Cartoon Contest

Welcome to the seventh annual UCS editorial cartoon contest!
Contest Theme
We’re seeking your creative take on the important role science should play in American democracy—and the barriers that get in the way.
A functioning democracy depends on the ability of citizens and elected officials to identify and rely upon legitimate sources of scientific information essential to ensuring the nation’s well-being and security. But today, science that is accepted as established knowledge in the expert community and by governments of other leading nations is commonly rejected in American public discourse.
Political ideologies, powerful financial interests, and a 24-hour digital news cycle that demands sensation and controversy have resulted in polarized debates in which facts are often disregarded or misrepresented.  The persistent disregard for scientific evidence jeopardizes the ability of our nation’s leaders and citizens to make informed decisions and respond effectively to complex 21st-century challenges. It also threatens the principles of transparency and accountability on which our democracy depends.
We strongly encourage you to review our broad list of suggested topic areas to ensure that your entry or entries are right for this contest. 
more: The 2012 Science and Democracy Editorial Cartoon Contest | Union of Concerned Scientists

Friday, May 25, 2012

hurdy gurdy - over 100 videos | news

There are now over one hundred videos in my Hurdy Gurdy playlist!

hurdy gurdy - YouTube

see also

hurdy gurdy instruction - YouTube: 28 videos to date

The Hurdy Gurdy Weekly is mentioned in the recent newsletter of Bagpipe & HurdyGurdy Foundation in Denmark! Thank you!

Draailier Doedelzak ‏@DraailierDoedel
@r_cherwink I've mentioned your Weekly in the newsletter of our Bagpipe & HurdyGurdy foundation. It's in Dutch (sorry)

The newsletter is a PDF. Here is the website: Stichting Draailier en Doedelzak. They have an event on June 3 - see
translate to English

Space Aliens

Remember when all we had to fear was Martians?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fight Oil with Water: Chevron's Embarrassment in Ecuador

Every day Chevron tries desperately to greenwash its image. "We Agree" and "Will You Join Us" are perfect examples of empty gestures aimed at making Chevron appear the "good" oil company. The reality is, millions of dollars blown on ad campaigns and PR firms like Sam Singer in San Francisco do nothing to alleviate environmental damage and human suffering caused by their operations. Chevron even convinced Business and Social Responsibility to feature the company as a leader for "community engagement."

AMAZON WATCH | Fight Oil with Water: Chevron's Embarrassment in Ecuador

How can you help the communities of the Amazon fighting oil contamination and a historic health crisis? With water.

Use the tools on this page to help spread the word about ClearWater, a community-led project that is providing immediate relief to the people of the Ecuadorean Amazon. The same powerful communities that have been waging a 19-year battle to bring Chevron to justice for its toxic legacy in the Amazon are now building safe drinking water systems for themselves.
> Fight oil with water - Give ClearWater | Rainforest Action Network

Fossil Fool: let's call fracked gas "renewable energy" | We Are Power Shift

Fossil Fool: let's call fracked gas "renewable energy" | We Are Power Shift: Posted on May 21, 2012 by Brian Kunkemoeller, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnait, OH Posted in University of Cincinnati Beyond Coal

We may have front runners for next years "fossil fool." Seriously.
In the most ridiculous public testimony I've ever seen (which is really saying something), representatives from the University of Cincinnati and Kent State University today co-testified that their fracking gas fired plants should count as renewable energy, padding the pockets of publicly funded polluters and spiking demand for fracked gas in Ohio.
It's "just like solar," quipped UC Utilities Director Joe Harrell when questioned by a member of the Ohio State Energy and Public Utilities Committee why he thought his fossil fool based facility was renewable energy. "It captures heat."
Tom Euclide from Kent State apparently agrees. Together, they're doing anything they can to keep getting a good fix for their fossil fuel addictions.
Wind farmers had something to say about that during their testimony: giving rebates to these Universities will make them think twice about building new wind farms in Ohio if the state can't even recognize the difference betweenrenewable and non-renewable energy. 
Maybe the committee should consult the kids in the video. They even give installation instructions.
What's really amazing is that a bill may go to the floor of the Ohio Senate by the end of the week, giving these fracking gas plants a huge paycheck. 
Tell this guy that that's just ridiculous: Committee Chairman Peter Stautberg (614) 644-6886 call right now! 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

This is Not Cool: Murderers, Tyrants, and Madmen - YouTube

This is Not Cool: Murderers, Tyrants, and Madmen - YouTube

Recently, the Heartland Institute, a hotbed of Climate Contrarianism, posted a billboard near a Chicago freeway. The Billboard suggested that those who accept mainstream science in regard to climate change, are like Ted Kaczinsky, the Unabomber. Heartland promised to follow up with similar billboards featuring Fidel Castro, Osama Bin Laden, and Charles Manson. When a scathing barrage of internet protests and parodies went viral, Heartland was forced to withdraw the billboard, and post a defense on its website. Even then, they continued to maintain that "the most prominent advocates of global warming are not scientists, they are murderers, tyrants, and madmen."

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Hurdy Gurdy Weekly • Indiana Hurdy-Gurdy Workshop

selected photos from Hurdy Gurdy Weekly • Indiana Hurdy-Gurdy Workshop - Picasa Web Album | The Hurdy Gurdy Weekly
Apr 20-22, 2012
Bloomington, INDIANA USA
Photographer: Mel Dorries
photos: 83

The first Hurdy-Gurdy workshop in the Midwest took place on April 20-22, 2012 in scenic Brown County, Indiana, attracting both amateurs and professionals. Learn and play alongside other enthusiasts in a relaxed atmosphere with renowned teachers and performers.
Indiana Hurdy Gurdy Workshop | Early Music America

Instructors: Robert Green, Juan Wijngaard and Tom Lozano
Next workshop: October 2 - 6, 2013

special thanks for Mel Dorries & Tom Lozano for providing these photos for The Hurdy Gurdy Weekly

The Center for Science and Democracy | Union of Concerned Scientists

The United States has enjoyed sustained prosperity, security and health over much of its history in large part because of our strong commitment to independent and rigorous science. Sound decisions start with the best possible information, grounded in fact and tested by reason. And free inquiry flourishes best in a free society.
The Founding Fathers understood the importance of this partnership, as did leaders from Lincoln to Eisenhower, FDR to JFK. Because of our nation's high regard for scientific expertise, the United States became recognized in the 20th century as the global leader in science and innovation.

A Troubling Trend

In recent years, however, understanding of science and respect for its role in decision making have declined. An excessively partisan political climate and an increasingly noisy media landscape have combined to produce an environment in which science is easily drowned out by misinformation or manipulated for the benefit of private interests.
And this couldn't be happening at a worse time. Our leaders are grappling with some of the most complex and daunting problems in our history: stemming the tide of global warming, finding sustainable ways to feed, power and transport ourselves, reducing the threat of catastrophic war. We cannot hope to solve these problems without the aid of rigorous, independent science.

Restoring Science's Role

In response to these challenges, the Union of Concerned Scientists has launched a new intiative: the Center for Science and Democracy. The Center is dedicated to restoring the essential role of science, evidence-based knowledge, and constructive debate in the U.S. policymaking process, using three core strategies:
  • Restoring public confidence in, and support for, the use of independent science in public policy making;
  • Helping decision makers, citizens and journalists distinguish evidence-based information from propaganda;
  • Working with scientists to help them become more effective communicators and policy contributors.

The Center's Activities

The Center's work takes many forms, including the following:
  • Convening Science and Democracy Forums
  • Motivating leadership by building a network of science and democracy advocates among business, health, education, and religious leaders. 
  • Promoting two-way dialogues between experts and non-experts. 
  • Increasing accountability for the misuse of science by releasing an annual report on “Science in Our Democracy.” 
  • Building the capacity of scientists to respond to harassment.

Find Out More

For more information about how to get involved and to learn about opportunities to support the Center, please contact Pallavi Phartiyal at or 617-301-8039.

The Center for Science and Democracy | Union of Concerned Scientists

The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.
What began as a collaboration between students and faculty members at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1969 is now an alliance of more than 400,000 citizens and scientists. UCS members are people from all walks of life: parents and businesspeople, biologists and physicists, teachers and students. Our achievements over the decades show that thoughtful action based on the best available science can help safeguard our future and the future of our planet.

UCS: Independent Science, Practical Solutions | Union of Concerned Scientists

The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.

What began as a collaboration between students and faculty members at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1969 is now an alliance of more than 400,000 citizens and scientists. UCS members are people from all walks of life: parents and businesspeople, biologists and physicists, teachers and students. Our achievements over the decades show that thoughtful action based on the best available science can help safeguard our future and the future of our planet.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Showdown in Charlotte: Bank VS America at Bank of America Shareholders Meeting - YouTube

Showdown in Charlotte: Bank VS America at Bank of America Shareholders Meeting - YouTube

Cast & Crew: Ms. 99: Lenina Nadal/Right to the City; Brian Big Banks: Randy Jackson, The UNITY Alliance; MC: Rishi Awatramani/ Virginia New Majority; Director, Doyle Canning/smartMeme for The Unity Alliance, Producer, Danielle Connor/smartMeme, Costumes: Kimi Lee/Unity Alliance, Video shot by: Mikel Barton & Sowjanya Kudva; Photographs by: Jed Brandt/Right to the City Alliance; Edited by: Sowjanya Kudva and Danielle Connor

Bank of America is the worst of the worst - #1 in home foreclosures, #1 financier of filthy coal, and mega-millions lobbyist for the 1%. That's why over 750 marched during their stockholders meeting & occupied the streets, and 6 were arrested in peaceful acts of civil disobedience.
Special Thanks to: Design Action Collective, Artists Ken Srdjak & Cesar Maxit, the Groupo 99 including Maria Reyes of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Margarita Ramirez of Causa Justa/Just Cause, and City Life/Vida Urbana; Lisa Fithian; Brigid Flaherty &,, and many more who made the day such a success!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Tough Talk From Environmental Activist Dr. Helen Caldicott


Dr. Helen Caldicott has passionately devoted the last 40 years to educating the global community about the inherent risks and dangers of nuclear energy and weapons and the critical changes needed to restore and help save our embattled Earth. The Australian-born medical doctor (a pediatrician) and former Nobel Peace Prize nominee is the author of five books and the founder of several organizations including Physicians for Social Responsibility, Women's Action for New Directions (WAND) and The Helen Caldicott Foundation/ I recently had the opportunity to talk to the world renowned activist and environmental prophet at Green America's Green Festival in New York City, where she delivered an urgent and electrifying speech. Dr. Caldicott, who has been outspoken about the health and environmental dangers of nuclear power since before the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl meltdowns, prays that we will take heed from the recent Fukushima nuclear disaster, which resulted in the Japanese government shutting down all 54 of Japan's nuclear reactors, and spark a global trend to close nuclear power plants. Her frustration and anger at the lack of meaningful progress on this issue is palpable; as is her inspiring hope and belief in the collective power of individual citizens to raise their voices and create the political will to take action. What's at stake, as she reminds us in this candid interview, is our moral and spiritual imperative to protect our children and our Mother Earth. As she bluntly puts it, " The planet's in the intensive care unit, critically, acutely ill, and now we are all physicians to a dying planet." She urges, "Let the data sink in and then get off your couches to save the planet for your children."

Marianne Schnall: What is the one message you are most hoping to get out there?

Helen Caldicott: There isn't one message, there are three. One is that we are in dire danger from global warming and that unless we pull our socks up and stop burning coal and stop driving our SUV's around doing five miles to the gallon and stop fracking and natural gas, we're doomed. The temperature is on the way to be three degrees centigrade hotter by the middle of the century, which is almost antithetical to human existence, and six degrees by the end of the century - this is the top leading scientific data now that is available. I mean, we're killing the earth! Overtly. And we don't love our children enough, because if we did, we would be taking the necessary steps to stop burning coal and saving energy, you know.."

more > Marianne Schnall: Tough Talk From Environmental Activist Dr. Helen Caldicott

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Ecological Worldview: Hearing the Cries of the World | Center for Ecoliteracy

The Ecological Worldview: Hearing the Cries of the World | Center for Ecoliteracy: Thirty years ago, the king of Bhutan proclaimed, "Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product." It's easy to trivialize personal "happiness" as a goal, and for that reason I find "well-being" to be a more helpful concept, but the analysis of the Bhutanese government, under the leadership of its remarkably eloquent prime minister, Jigmi Y. Thinley, is sophisticated. This happiness, he says, differs markedly from the common use of that word to denote an ephemeral, passing mood due to some temporary external condition like praise or blame, gain or loss. "Rather it refers to the deep, abiding happiness that comes from living life in full harmony with the natural world, with our communities and fellow beings, and with our culture and spiritual heritage — in short, from feeling totally connected with our world."

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

‘Doctrine of Discovery’ Used for Centuries to Justify Seizure of Indigenous Land, Subjugate Peoples, Must Be Repudiated by United Nations

8 May 2012

Economic and
Social Council

Department of Public Information
News and Media Division • New York

By Derek Olson | May 8, 2012

PINE RIDGE, SD - A United Nations fact-finder studying the lives of American Indians is releasing some of his findings. They include recommending the federal government return the Black Hills to tribes.

For many Native Americans in the Dakotas, the Black Hills are a touchy subject.

"It belongs to us, and this was reaffirmed in 1980 by the United States Supreme Court," Oglala Sioux Tribal President John Yellow Bird Steele said.

The 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty promised that the Black Hills would remain in tribal hands. But that was a promise broken once gold was discovered in the area.

"It isn't just a piece of paper. It isn't just a contract. It is something more spiritual that has us tied and connects us to this land," OST member Clarence Yellow Hawk Sr. said.

Yellow Hawk Sr. can relate to the treaty in a way not many other people can.

"My grandfather, Chief Yellow Hawk, was one of the signers of those treaties back in 1868," Yellow Hawk Sr. said.

"When you ratify a treaty by two-thirds of the Senate and it falls into the constitution of the United States, it's a law and it needs to be fully implemented," Yellow Bird Steele said.

It's an opinion shared by James Anaya, the fact-finder for the United Nations who will recommend that the federal government return the Black Hills to the tribes. His mission is part of the U.N.'s Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

"I want everyone to know of the document that the United Nations had passed and the United States accepted, of what those specific rights are so we can implement them," Yellow Bird Steele said.

"My grandfathers and fathers always told me that we will live poor. We will live under these conditions knowing that one day, our ancestors told us that, we will be getting the Black Hills back. And I believe that time is now," Yellow Hawk Sr. said.

An official report to the United Nations is expected by this September.
Speakers Call for Mechanism to Investigate Historical Land Claims; Also Holds Dialogue on Land Use and Participatory Mechanisms in Arctic

The Doctrine of Discovery had been used for centuries to expropriate indigenous lands and facilitate their transfer to colonizing or dominating nations, speakers in the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues stressed today, urging the expert body to study the creation of a special mechanism, under United Nations auspices, to investigate historical land claims.

Those forceful calls came amid continued debate on this year’s special theme:  the enduring impact of the Discovery Doctrine on indigenous peoples and the right to redress for past conquests covered under articles 28 and 37 of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  Throughout the day, representatives of indigenous groups, Governments and United Nations funds, agencies and programmes aired their views on the need to more justly reflect indigenous rights and freedoms in national constitutions and other comprehensive agreements.

Indigenous and native peoples spoke out against continued use of the internationally recognized principle of “terra nullius” — which describes land belonging to no one but that could, in some cases, be acquired through occupation — as well as anachronistic norms, like the Regalian Doctrine, under which private land title emanates from the Spanish crown.  Such principles were based on racist, unscientific assumptions, many said, and could not be used by States to justify the “theft” of native lands, territories or natural resources.

Others argued that the Discovery Doctrine — and its contemporary effect — should be studied by the Permanent Forum, as should indigenous legal systems to understand how they regarded its application.  The term “conquest” should not be used in a manner to suggest that conquest had occurred.  Echoing the comments of many, Steven Newcomb of the North American Caucus said the original free and independent existence of indigenous peoples — and their relationship with their territories — predated domination by western Christendom.  That free existence was the source of their birthright.

For their part, Government representatives described efforts to compensate indigenous peoples for past and present inequities.  Mexico’s delegate said electoral justice was one way to guarantee rights.  “With electoral justice, we redress social injustice”, he declared.  It was important to recognize customary law and respect the rights to self-determination and self-recognition.  Consultations were needed to understand whether elections should take place under ordinary systems, or in accordance with traditional systems.

>more: ‘Doctrine of Discovery’, Used for Centuries to Justify Seizure of Indigenous Land, Subjugate Peoples, Must Be Repudiated by United Nations, Permanent Forum Told

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (PDF)

A Biocentric Viewpoint is Needed Now!

David Suzuki

Environmentalism has failed. Over the past 50 years, environmentalists have succeeded in raising awareness, changing logging practices, stopping mega-dams and offshore drilling, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But we were so focused on battling opponents and seeking public support that we failed to realize these battles reflect fundamentally different ways of seeing our place in the world. And it is our deep underlying worldview that determines the way we treat our surroundings.
We have not, as a species, come to grips with the explosive events that have changed our relationship with the planet. For most of human existence, we lived as nomadic hunter-gatherers whose impact on nature could be absorbed by the resilience of the biosphere. Even after the Agricultural Revolution 10,000 years ago, farming continued to dominate our lives. We cared for nature. People who live close to the land understand that seasons, climate, weather, pollinating insects and plants are critical to our well-being.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the birth of the environmental movement. In 1962, Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, which documented the terrible, unanticipated consequences of what had, until then, been considered one of science’s great inventions, DDT. Paul Mueller, who demonstrated the effects of the pesticide, was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1948. In the economic boom after the Second World War, technology held out the promise of unending innovation, progress, and prosperity. Rachel Carson pointed out that technology has costs.
Carson’s book appeared when no government had an environment department or ministry. Millions around the world were soon swept up in what we now recognize as the environmental movement. Within 10 years, the United Nations Environment Programme was created and the first global environmental conference was held in Stockholm, Sweden.
With increasing catastrophes like oil and chemical spills and nuclear accidents, as well as issues such as species extinction, ozone depletion, deforestation, acid rain and global warming, environmentalists pressed for laws to protect air, water, farmland and endangered species. Millions of hectares of land were protected as parks and reserves around the world.
Thirty years later, in 1992, the largest gathering of heads of state in history met at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The event was meant to signal that economic activity could not proceed without considering ecological consequences. But, aided by recessions, popped financial bubbles, and tens of millions of dollars from corporations and wealthy neoconservatives to support a cacophony of denial from rightwing pundits and think tanks, environmental protection came to be portrayed as an impediment to economic expansion.
This emphasis of economy over environment, and indeed, the separation of the two, comes as humanity is undergoing dramatic changes. During the 20th century, our numbers increased fourfold to six billion (now up to seven billion), we moved from rural areas to cities, developed virtually all of the technology we take for granted today, and our consumptive appetite, fed by a global economy, exploded. We have become a new force that is altering the physical, chemical and biological properties of the planet on a geological scale.
In creating dedicated departments, we made the environment another special interest, like education, health and agriculture. The environment subsumes every aspect of our activities, but we failed to make the point that our lives, health and livelihoods absolutely depend on the biosphere—air, water, soil, sunlight and biodiversity. Without them, we sicken and die. This perspective is reflected in spiritual practices that understand that everything is interconnected, as well as traditional societies that revere “Mother Earth” as the source of all that matters in life.
When we believe the entire world is filled with unlimited “resources” provided for our use, we act accordingly. This “anthropocentric” view envisions the world revolving around us. So we create departments of forests, fisheries and oceans, and environment whose ministers are less concerned with the health and well-being of forests, fish, oceans or the environment than with resources and the economies that depend on them.
It’s almost a cliché to refer to a “paradigm shift,” but that is what we need to meet the challenge of the environmental crises our species has created. That means adopting a “biocentric” view that recognizes we are part of and dependent on the web of life that keeps the planet habitable for a demanding animal like us.
Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. Written with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Communications Specialist Jode Roberts.
Learn more at

A Biocentric Viewpoint is Needed Now!  EcoWatch: Uniting the Voice of the Grassroots Environmental Movement

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Celebrating nuclear shutdown in Japan! - historic day


TOKYO - Thousands of Japanese marched to celebrate the last of this nation's 50 nuclear reactors switching off Saturday, shaking banners shaped as giant fish that have become a potent anti-nuclear symbol.

Japan will be without electricity from nuclear power for the first time in four decades when one of three reactors at Tomari nuclear plant in the northern island of Hokkaido goes offline for routine maintenance checks.

After last year's March 11 quake and tsunami set off meltdowns at Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, no reactor stopped for checkups has restarted amid growing public worries about the safety of nuclear technology.

People gather at an anti-nuclear demonstration on the Children's Day national holiday, calling for a safer future for younger generations at a park in Tokyo on May 5, 2012. The last working reactor in Japan is to be switched off May 5, 2012, leaving the country without nuclear power just over a year after the world's worst atomic accident in a quarter of a century. AFP PHOTOS / KAZUHIRO NOGI

"Today is a historical day," shouted Masashi Ishikawa to a crowd gathered at a Tokyo park, some holding traditional "Koinobori" carp-shaped banners for Children's Day that have grown into a symbol of the anti-nuclear movement.

"There are so many nuclear plants, but not a single one will be up and running today, and that's because of our efforts," Ishikawa said...

> more: Japan Nuclear Power: Thousands Celebrate As Last Of Reactors Switch OfF | CP | By Yuri Kageyama, The Associated Press

see also

whats up: RC's NUCLEAR BLOG
Occupy Nuclear Daily (#OccupyNuclear)

Friday, May 4, 2012

kicksy wicksy | Nigel Eaton / Cliff Stapleton

"This is just half of a super tune by English Hurdy-Gurdy player Cliff Stapleton, I had to re-record this as my pick-up fell off during the performance at Halsway Manor." - Nigel Eaton

update 31 May: video deleted but Nigel says maybe a new one this weekend with the entire tune :)
nigeleaton1's channel

update 20 June: Nigel said: "well i did a version of kicksy for ya, no worries best N" - - see what next: Kicksy Wicksy - a Cliff Stapleton tune played by Nigel Eaton - thanks Nigel!

same tune (complete) - Nigel Eaton w/ Cliff Stapleton

NIGEL EATON & CLIFF STAPLETON | gurdymike's channel

hurdy gurdy playlist - YouTube