Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Huge Clean Air Victory! | End of the Coal Era Near | Mountaintop Removal



 


Huge Clean Air Victory! The End of the Coal Era is Near

Since 2010, the Beyond Coal campaign has secured plans for retirements from more than 100 coal plants and clean energy sources like wind and solar are rapidly taking their place.

We couldn't have done it without your support!

Help us continue the momentum. Share the huge news on your social network highlighting the story of the End of Coal Era and invite your friends and family to join the grassroots movement for a clean energy future!


> Act now to move beyond coal | Beyond Coal

Beyond Coal | Sierra Club Home Page: Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet


about Beyond Coal

In 2002, we got word that then-Vice President Dick Cheney was holding secret backroom meetings with the coal industry to plan a new “Coal Rush” — a massive effort to build over 150 new coal-fired power plants across the country.

Coal plants last only about 50 years, and since it was clear that the country’s aging fleet of dirty power plants would soon be retired, industry lobbyists wanted to lock-in our nation’s reliance on coal before solar, wind, and clean power would have a chance to step in.

This made no sense to us — coal is an outdated, backward, 19th-century technology. It’s the single biggest source of global-warming and mercury pollution, and it causes hundreds of thousands of asthma attacks every year. In my home region of Appalachia, mountaintop-removal coal-mining operations have blown up 500 mountains, buried 2,000 miles of streams, and turned small towns into ghost towns. Why would we want to lock ourselves in to a future of dirty energy — especially just as new technologies and innovation are making solar and wind cheaper?


more > Beyond Coal


Factsheets & Resources

Factsheet: The Dirty Truth about Coal -
Why Yesterday's Technology Should Not Be Part of Tomorrow's Energy Future



CARMA Blog - About CARMA: At its core, Carbon Monitoring for Action (CARMA) is a massive database containing information on the carbon emissions of over 50,000 power plants and 4,000 power companies worldwide. Power generation accounts for 40% of all carbon emissions in the United States and about one-quarter of global emissions. CARMA is the first global inventory of a major, emissions-producing sector of the economy.

CARMA is produced and financed by the Confronting Climate Change Initiative at the Center for Global Development, an independent and non-partisan think tank located in Washington, DC.

CARMA - Carbon Monitoring for Action: Highest CO2 Emitting Power Plants in the World



Mountaintop Removal Mining



In Appalachia, mining companies blow the tops off mountains to reach a thin seam of coal. They then dump millions of tons of rubble and toxic waste into the streams and valleys below the mining sites.

This destructive practice, known as mountaintop-removal mining, has damaged or destroyed nearly 2,000 miles of streams and threatens to destroy 1.4 million acres of mountaintops and forests by 2020. The mining poisons drinking water, destroys beautiful forests and wildlife habitat, increases the risk of flooding and wipes out entire communities.

Who Gets Hurt

Mountaintop removal pollutes waterways and allows toxic heavy metals such as cadmium, selenium, and arsenic to leach into local water supplies -- the same water that Appalachia's people rely on. But the danger isn't limited to drinking water; mountaintop removal also causes air pollution that affects communities for miles around. Many of the toxins that pollute mountaintop-removal sites are carcinogens, and cancer rates are twice as high for people who live near mountaintop-removal sites.

The Future of Mountaintop Removal

Ending mountaintop-removal mining and transitioning to clean energy will benefit Appalachia by creating good jobs in the clean-energy and tourism industries and by improving public health.

The EPA is evaluating the practice of mountaintop-removal mining and has slowed the permitting process for new mountaintop-removal sites. However, sites with existing permits continue to destroy Appalachian mountains, pollute waterways, and make people sick. You can get involved in the effort to stop mountaintop removal now and ensure protection for Appalachia and the families who call its mountains home.


Mountaintop Removal Mining | Beyond Coal


Mountaintop removal mining - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mountaintop removal mining (MTR), is a form of surface mining that involves the mining of the summit or summit ridge of a mountain. (Coal industry proponents often refer to MTR as mountaintop mining [MTM][1].) Entire coal seams are removed from the top of a mountain, hill or ridge by removing the overburden above them, and restacking the overburden back on the ridge to refect the approximate original contour of the mountain.[2] The excess amounts of overburden that can not be placed on the ridge top is moved into neighboring valleys.[3] It is most closely associated with coal mining in the Appalachian Mountains in the eastern United States. The process involves blasting with explosives to remove up to 400 vertical feet (120 m) of mountain to expose underlying coal seams. Excess rock and soil laden with toxic mining byproducts are often dumped into nearby valleys, in what are called "holler fills" or "valley fills."[4][5][6]
Peer-reviewed studies show that mountaintop mining has serious environmental impacts, including loss of biodiversity, that mitigation practices cannot successfully address.[7] There are also adverse human health impacts which result from contact with affected streams or exposure to airborne toxins and dust.[7]



misc images from the web





iLoveMountains.org -- End Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining



Mountain Justice


Learn about and take action against the destructive effects of the dirty life-cycles of coal and natural gas!

Why Mountain Justice?
- Mountain Justice is both a call to action and a request for help from the people of the Appalachian mountains. We seek to save our mountains, streams and forest from greedy coal companies. Why are we asking for help?

Over 1200 miles of streams have been buried and destroyed and countless mountains and ridge tops have been blown up–gone for all eternity. The Bush administration has altered laws to encourage and accelerate the destruction. The price of coal has doubled and the destruction of our watersheds is accelerating and spreading out like cancer. Our state and federal agencies charged with protecting our environment are liquidating our mountains.

We are losing. Our loss is not only for our own generation–but for future generations. Where there once were water producing mountains - now there are barren scraped-biologically-dead toxic wastelands. Water is going to be more important to future generations than coal. You cannot drink coal. The Pentagon has predicted than many of the future wars on our planet will not be fought over coal or oil–but for water. The lack of clean drinking water is already a global problem for humanity - as our population increases it will only get worse. The destruction of water producing mountains is not only a crime of the present–it is a very real attack on the future generations.


We cannot afford to continue losing this struggle. A few already rich coal company executives are getting wealthier at the expense of us all. The acceleration of mountain top, side and ridge removal is a curse on the future and present generations. We need your help.

We can use anything you are able to offer. If you would like to come and defend the mountains with us, please join us! To learn what we've been up to, look at our previous actions. To learn more about mountaintop removal, just look at the facts.


Mountain Justice


Forget Trees, The New Lorax Speaks For The SUVs



cynical and hypocritical mockery insults Dr. Suess's true Lorax


by Beth BuczynskiFebruary 28, 2012


UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.
When I heard that there would be a movie adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, my inner 10 year-old clapped and squealed.

One would be hard pressed to find a Dr. Seuss’ tale that I didn’t love as a child, from Go, Dog, Go all the way to the Butter Battle Book. But it was the Lorax, with his crystal clear message of environmental stewardship, that spoke to my heart, and forever changed the way I viewed the world and its natural resources.

But then my several-decades-older self started to see commercials for Universal Pictures’ Lorax movie, and my glee quickly turned to disgust.

It seems that as soon as Hollywood got a hold of the Lorax, he suddenly changed his worldview. Rather than recreate the fantastic-yet-somber tale of the Lorax’ fight to save the Truffula trees, Hollywood has made a mockery of his message. The movie’s trailer shows a dumbed-down cartoon, complete with slapstick comedy and a sappy love story, and none of the book’s original emphasis on caring for the planet.

And then, just when I couldn’t be any more disappointed, I saw this:



Yes, my friends, that’s an actual commercial in which the Lorax endorses the new Mazda CX-5 SUV as the only car with the “Truffula Seal of Approval.” And it gets worse. Other corporations have joined in the blasphemy, kidnapping the Lorax and using him to promote everything from diapers to pancakes.

Is nothing sacred? Is Hollywood no longer content to pollute our minds with the pandering plot lines we see everyday at the box office? Must they now destroy our favorite books and authors retroactively as well?

It is both cynical and hypocritical to use a beloved children’s story with a prescient environmental message to sell children and their parents more crap that they (and the planet) don’t need. The real Lorax would tell us all to stop our wanton consumption of the Earth’s resources before it’s too late. He would beg us to think of our children’s grandchildren, and the type of world our actions will force them to inherit. And most of all, he would never insult the wisdom and innocence of a child by sugar coating his plea with dumb songs, or confusing it with an SUV commercial.

“Who cares?” you might ask. “It’s just a movie.” A quick read of the original book provides the best and only answer to that question.

“UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not."



Forget Trees, The New Lorax Speaks For The SUVs | Care2 Causes


Yes Men Fix World | Alberta Tar Sands is ... Mordor? | wikileaks, yes men & Bhopal






THE YES MEN FIX THE WORLD is a screwball true story about two gonzo political activists who, posing as top executives of giant corporations, lie their way into big business conferences and pull off the world's most outrageous pranks.

This peer-to-peer special edition features never before seen footage of the Yes Men imitating the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and has been released under a free-to-share license.


The Yes Men Fix The World, P2P Edition FULL MOVIE (2009) (w/subtitles)


The Alberta Tar Sands is ... Mordor?

A fuzzy cell phone video of an Elijah Woods sighting in Alberta, Canada. A fake Alberta Film website touting the advantages of filming at the Tars Sands. A fake production company website, a gossip video blog, an angry press release by the Tolkien family, a fake video blog by Peter Jackson himself, director of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and now The Hobbit, and of course a Facebook campaign against Jackson, calling on him to stop filming in the Tar Sands: because it was too flattering to Mordor.

The only thing missing was a sighting of evil Lord Sauron.

This complex social media campaign, which had the blogosphere abuzz speculating as to when, how and why Jackson was shooting the Mordor scenes from The Hobbit in the Alberta Tar Sands, created an opportunity to further highlight the devastation caused by the Tar Sands. The Tar Sands, which NASA scientist and climate expert James Hansen has called Canada's "carbon bomb," is the country's single largest source of climate change enhancing greenhouse gas emissions. And at a time of worsening climate crisis, Canada is expanding operations at the massive industrial site.

The campaign was developed by a troupe of Toronto activists calling themselves Black Flood, along with the Yes Lab. The stated goal of the Canadian activists—"to stir up some hot and bubbly controversy on the Alberta tar sands"—worked like a charm.


Museum of Fake Websites | Yes Lab | Yes Lab


Feb. 27, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MASSIVE LEAK REVEALS CRIMINALITY, PARANOIA AMONG CORPORATE TITANS
Dow pays "strategic intelligence" firm to spy on Yes Men and grassroots activists. Takeaway: movement is on the right track!

WikiLeaks begins to publish today over five million e-mails obtained by Anonymous from "global intelligence" company Stratfor. The emails, which reveal everything from sinister spy tactics to an insider trading scheme with Goldman Sachs (see below), also include several discussions of the Yes Men and Bhopal activists. (Bhopal activists seek redress for the 1984 Dow Chemical/Union Carbide gas disaster in Bhopal, India, that led to thousands of deaths, injuries in more than half a million people, and lasting environmental damage.)

Many of the Bhopal-related emails, addressed from Stratfor to Dow and Union Carbide public relations directors, reveal concern that, in the lead-up to the 25th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster, the Bhopal issue might be expanded into an effective systemic critique of corporate rule, and speculate at length about why this hasn't yet happened—providing a fascinating window onto what at least some corporate types fear most from activists.

"[Bhopal activists] have made a slight nod toward expanded activity, but never followed through on it—the idea of 'other Bhopals' that were the fault of Dow or others," mused Joseph de Feo, who is listed in one online source as a "Briefer" for Stratfor.

"Maybe the Yes Men were the pinnacle. They made an argument in their way on their terms—that this is a corporate problem and a part of the a [sic] larger whole," wrote Kathleen Morson, Stratfor's Director of Policy Analysis.

"With less than a month to go [until the 25th anniversary], you'd think that the major players—especially Amnesty—would have branched out from Bhopal to make a broader set of issues. I don't see any evidence of it," wrote Bart Mongoven, Stratfor's Vice President, in November 2004. "If they can't manage to use the 25th anniversary to broaden the issue, they probably won't be able to."

Mongoven even speculates on coordination between various activist campaigns that had nothing to do with each other. "The Chevron campaign [in Ecuador] is remarkably similar [to the Dow campaign] in its unrealistic demand. Is it a follow up or an admission that the first thrust failed? Am I missing a node of activity or a major campaign that is to come? Has the Dow campaign been more successful than I think?" It's almost as if Mongoven assumes the two campaigns were directed from the same central activist headquarters.

Just as Wall Street has at times let slip their fear of the Occupy Wall Street movement, these leaks seem to show that corporate power is most afraid of whatever reveals "the larger whole" and "broader issues," i.e. whatever brings systemic criminal behavior to light. "Systemic critique could lead to policy changes that would challenge corporate power and profits in a really major way," noted Joseph Huff-Hannon, recently-promoted Director of Policy Analysis for the Yes Lab...


> more


Chemical Plant Locator | Take Action



Do you live near a high risk chemical plant?


One in three Americans is at risk of a poison gas disaster by living near one of hundreds of chemical facilities that store and use highly toxic chemicals. A chemical disaster at just one of these facilities could kill or injure thousands of people with acute poisoning. Of the 12,361 chemical facilities that report their chemical disaster scenarios to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Greenpeace has identified 483 chemical facilities across the U.S. that each put 100,000 people or more at risk. Of those, 92 put one million or more people at risk up to 25 miles downwind from a plant.

The good news is that there are many cost-effective, safer chemical processes already in use that eliminate these risks without sacrificing jobs. Since 1999, more than 500 plants have switched to safer alternatives. But that's not what most chemical plants have done. Even though chemical plant safeguards fail every week, the chemical industry has largely refused to make their plants safer and more secure.

This problem is not new, the world was shocked in 1984 when thousands of people were killed at a chemical plant disaster in Bhopal, India in 1984. Congress even amended the Clean Air Act in 1990 to try and address this problem, but the amendment has gone largely unused. It's time for the Obama Administration to finally create new regulations under the Clean Air Act that will require these dangerous facilities to prevent chemical disasters by switching to safer alternatives.

Find out what you can do to help protect communities: please click here.

>>One in three Americans is at risk of a poison gas disaster by living near one of hundreds of chemical facilities that store and use highly toxic chemicals. A chemical disaster at just one of these facilities could kill or injure thousands of people with acute poisoning. Of the 12,361 chemical facilities that report their chemical disaster scenarios to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Greenpeace has identified 483 chemical facilities across the U.S. that each put 100,000 people or more at risk. Of those, 92 put one million or more people at risk up to 25 miles downwind from a plant.

The good news is that there are many cost-effective, safer chemical processes already in use that eliminate these risks without sacrificing jobs. Since 1999, more than 500 plants have switched to safer alternatives. But that's not what most chemical plants have done. Even though chemical plant safeguards fail every week, the chemical industry has largely refused to make their plants safer and more secure.

This problem is not new, the world was shocked in 1984 when thousands of people were killed at a chemical plant disaster in Bhopal, India in 1984. Congress even amended the Clean Air Act in 1990 to try and address this problem, but the amendment has gone largely unused. It's time for the Obama Administration to finally create new regulations under the Clean Air Act that will require these dangerous facilities to prevent chemical disasters by switching to safer alternatives.


TAKE ACTION >
Find out what you can do to help protect communities: please click here.

> The bulk use and storage of poison gases like chlorine at chemical facilities and wastewater and drinking water plants puts millions of Americans at risk of a Bhopal magnitude chemical disaster. Just 300 of these plants put a third of Americans at risk. But some communities no longer face these risks because they switched to safer chemical processes. For example, Washington, DC converted their waste water treatment plant 90 days after the 9/11 attacks. Before 9/11 their use of chlorine gas put 1.7 million people at risk.

President Obama's Department of Homeland Security and Environmental Protection Agency have consistently asked Congress for the authority to remove these risks by requiring the use of safer chemical processes where feasible. Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress have blocked these efforts. President Obama can implement authority under the Clean Air Act to require companies to design and operate their facilities in a way that prevents the catastrophic release of poison gasses.


Greenpeace - Chemical Plant Locator | Urge President Obama to use his authority to prevent chemical disasters | Greenpeace USA


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

whats up: Take Action: Stop Thursday's Nuclear Missile Test | Castle Bravo





nearly 4,500 warheads are considered operational, of which nearly 2,000 U.S. and Russian warheads are on high alert, ready for use on short notice
The US Air Force is at it again. Back in September 2011, thousands of you wrote to President Obama asking him to cancel the test launch of a Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile on the International Day of Peace. That test was canceled. Now, the Air Force has scheduled another Minuteman test for this Thursday, March 1, which is the 58th anniversary of the Castle Bravo nuclear test. The missile will target the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

> Take Action: Stop Thursday's Nuclear Missile Test


UPDATE 2/29/12: More than 7,000 NAPF Action Alert Network members like you sent messages to President Obama demanding the cancellation of tomorrow's nuclear missile test on the 58th anniversary of the largest-ever US atmospheric nuclear test, Castle Bravo. The Air Force has now announced that the missile test will not occur tomorrow!

As you might suspect, the military is not crediting activist pressure for the cancellation of the launch; rather, they cite technical reasons.

This is the second time in less than six months that the Air Force has canceled a nuclear missile test after pressure from NAPF Action Alert Network members. The first time was on September 21, 2011, when they had scheduled a test on the International Day of Peace.

This is certainly a small victory, but there remains much more to be done. The United States keeps 450 Minuteman III missiles, which carry nuclear warheads, on high-alert status, ready to be fired within moments of an order. These are first-strike weapons and should be removed from the US arsenal immediately.

We will not rest until the world achieves a Nuclear Weapons Convention for the phased, verifiable, irreversible and transparent elimination of all nuclear weapons. We hope that you will continue to support the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation in pursuing this essential goal.


more > whats up: Take Action: Stop Thursday's Nuclear Missile Test | Castle Bravo


J. Robert Oppenheimer - 'Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.'





see also

whats up: Atomic Cover-Up: The Hidden Story Behind the U.S. Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

whats up: Every Nuclear Explosion Since 1945 | Downwinders | Nuclear Law

whats up
RC'S NUCLEAR BLOG • NO NUKES! | RE-TOOL NOW


Monday, February 27, 2012

The Scream | Guatemala genocide



painting could sell for as much as $80 million



1893 oil, tempera, and pastel on cardboard

I was walking along a path with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.

- on a page in his diary headed Nice 22.01.1892, Munch described his inspiration for the image


Sotheby's to sell Munch's The Scream, eyes $80 mln

(Reuters) Sotheby's will offer the only privately owned version of Edvard Munch's haunting work "The Scream" at an auction in New York on May 2 where it expects to fetch over $80 million, the highest pre-sale value the auctioneer has ever put on a work of art.

"Given how rarely true icons come to the market it is difficult to predict The Scream's value... The recent success of masterpieces at Sotheby's suggests that the price could exceed $80 million."


The Scream (Norwegian: Skrik) is a series of Expressionist paintings and prints created by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch between 1893 and 1910, showing an agonized figure against a red sky. The landscape in the background is the Oslofjord, viewed from Ekeberg, Oslo.


This version, executed in 1910 in tempera on cardboard, was stolen from the Munch Museum in 2004, and recovered in 2006.

Edvard Munch created several versions of The Scream in various media. The National Gallery, Oslo holds one of two painted versions. The Munch Museum holds the other painted version, and one pastel. A fourth version (1895), in pastel, is owned by Norwegian businessman Petter Olsen, and will be offered at auction on May 2, 2012.[1] Experts estimate that the painting could sell for as much as $80 million. Munch also created a lithograph of the image in 1895.[2]

The Scream has been the target of several high-profile art thefts. In 1994, the version in the National Gallery was stolen. It was recovered several months later. In 2004, The Scream and Madonna were stolen from the Munch Museum, and recovered two years later.

The original German title given to the work by Munch was Der Schrei der Natur (The Scream of Nature). The Norwegian word skrik is usually translated as scream, but is cognate with the English shriek. Occasionally, the painting has been called The Cry.


The Scream - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Sotheby's - Overview


Sotheby’s is honoured to announce that Edvard Munch’s masterpiece The Scream will lead its Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale in New York on 2 May 2012. The iconic work is one of the most instantly recognizable images in both art history and popular culture, perhaps second only to the Mona Lisa.

The present version of The Scream dates from 1895, and is one of four versions of the composition, and the only version still in private hands. It will be on view in London for the first time ever, with the exhibition at Sotheby's opening on 13 April. In New York, and also for the first time ever, it will be on exhibition at Sotheby's in advance of the sale beginning 27 April. The work is owned by Norwegian businessman Petter Olsen, whose father Thomas was a friend, neighbour and patron of Munch.

As the defining image of the Expressionist movement, The Scream stands as a pivotal work in the history of art. Munch created the image in the mid-1890s as the central element of his celebrated Frieze of Life series. The powerfully-rendered, blood-red sky presents the viewer with the reality of Munch's experience at the moment he is gripped by anxiety in the hills above Oslo. Like his Dutch contemporary Vincent van Gogh, Munch's desire was to paint a new form of reality rooted in psychological experience, rather than visual. It is this projection of Munch's mental state that was so artistically innovative – a landscape of the mind, whose impact is still felt in the art of today.

An icon of global visual culture, The Scream is instantly recognizable – from Beijing to Moscow to New York. Since its creation at the turn of the 20th century, the provocative work has only gained relevance and impact over time. The haunting composition stands as the visual embodiment of modern anxiety and existential dread, referenced by everyone from Andy Warhol to The Simpsons. Edvard Munch and The Scream have been the subject of countless books, scholarly articles, films and museum exhibitions.

Munch created four versions of The Scream. The prime example, worked in 1893 from tempera and crayon on board, is in the National Gallery of Norway; another pastel version from the same year is thought to be a preliminary sketch for the work, and is owned by the Munch Museum in Oslo; the present work from the Olsen Collection, created in 1895 from pastel on board, most closely follows the prime composition in the National Gallery; and a later version in tempera and oil on board, thought to be completed in 1910, is also in the collection of the Munch Museum. In addition, Munch created a lithograph of the image in 1895, which helped initiate the process of its mass proliferation.

Of the four versions of the work, the present Scream is distinguished in several remarkable ways: it is the most colorful and vibrant of the four; the only version whose original frame was hand-painted by the artist to include his poem detailing the work's inspiration; and the only version in which one of the two figures in the background turns to look outward onto the cityscape. This version has never before been on public view in either the UK or US, except briefly in the National Gallery in Washington D.C. decades ago.

The Scream has been in the collection of the Olsen family for over 70 years. Thomas Olsen, scion of the great ship-owning dynasty, was a collector and supporter of Munch from the late 1920s. Olsen and the artist were neighbors at Hvitsten in Norway, where the young businessman's role grew from friend to patron and eventually to protector of his works.


"The Scream" + Munch - Google Search



randomly related

Paul Seils: Guatemala Genocide Ruling a Triumph for Survivors


The Scream, 1895 Lithograph, 35.5 x 25.4 cm | Edvard Munch Gallery > Lithographs > The Scream

"In the years after I worked in Guatemala, the image I carried of the plight of the genocide victims was that of the haunting face in Edvard Munch's famous painting The Scream. The pain is obvious to the observer, but there is no sound. The victims of Rios Montt were largely uneducated peasants: even screaming at the top of their lungs, their voices were never heard."

02/ 1/2012: On Thursday a Guatemalan court ruled the country's former president, General Efraín Ríos Montt, will stand trial for genocide and crimes against humanity committed thirty years ago. After decades spent hiding behind parliamentary immunity he will finally be held accountable for ordering massacres, disappearances, and the systematic destruction of hundreds of communities. The last few decades have seen a revolution in the global struggle against impunity, but even for those of us who follow the pursuit of justice in Guatemala closely, Thursday's decision ranks among the most astonishing developments. Belatedly, but valiantly, a new breed of prosecutors, led by Attorney General Claudia Paz, have finally allowed his victims' pleas for justice to be heard...


Author Walter Mosley on Writing Mystery Novels, Political Revelation, Racism and Pushing Obama



DNow! special



Today in a Black History Month special, we spend the hour with the award-winning author Walter Mosley, who many people were introduced to when Bill Clinton praised his book while running for president. Mosley has published 37 books, including a series of bestselling mysteries featuring the private investigator Easy Rawlins. The first novel in this series, set in 1948 and called "Devil in a Blue Dress," was made into a film starring Denzel Washington. Mosley has been hailed for his use of the popular detective novel as a vehicle for confronting racism across multiple decades. "When I started writing Easy Rawlins ... I was trying to talk about my father’s generation, black men and women who moved from the deep South to different parts of the world," Mosley says. "Here’s these wonderful stories about these people who have moved here and who make a big difference here. Let’s include them in the literature." Mosley’s latest novel, "All I Did Was Shoot My Man," follows the modern-day private eye Leonid McGill as he navigates a world filled with corporate wealth, armed assassins and family drama. His writing has spanned many genres, from young adult to science fiction, but he is less known for his non-fiction works that address the pressing political issues of our time. Mosley’s most recent work of non-fiction, "Twelve Steps Toward Political Revelation," starts on a deeply personal note, then expands to a call of action for people to organize against wealth inequality. Regarding his continued support of President Barack Obama, Mosley notes, "We can’t blame a guy who, you know, got elected, and he’s sitting there alone in the White House... I agree, he has a lot of power, but he doesn’t have enough power without us." [includes rush transcript]


Author Walter Mosley on Writing Mystery Novels, Political Revelation, Racism and Pushing Obama | Democracy Now!


Saturday, February 25, 2012

climate denier curriculum | Heartland Department of Education



message from students re climate denier curriculum


Heartland Department of Education

The Heartland Institute's President and CEO just admitted that Heartland is writing a "global warming curriculum" that would say climate science isn't settled. Heartland would like to create the appearance of a scientific debate where there is none by having our teachers claim we just don't know if humans are changing our climate.

Dear Mr. Bast,

I'm Corey Husic, and I'm a high school student in Pennsylvania. It's come to my attention that you are prepared to spend a significant amount of money on a "global warming curriculum" to teach kids that climate change isn't real.

That's right. According to your own budget documents, you want to hand teachers a curriculum that says global warming is "a major scientific controversy" and that carbon dioxide might not even be a pollutant.

Please be advised: Your entire premise is false. The reality is that our climate is changing now and human activities are a primary cause. I’m just a high school student, so please don’t take my word for it. Just ask any National Academy of Science in the world or just about any actual climate scientist.

Given who pays your bills, your plan doesn’t come as a surprise. According to your own documents, your organization is funded by coal and oil companies with a financial stake in denying climate science — not to mention tobacco companies that tried to convince us smoking doesn't cause cancer.

My generation is already experiencing a very different climate from our parents and grandparents. We will be the ones responsible for making sure coastal cities are able to withstand rising sea levels. We are the ones who will have to protect ourselves from weather extremes like stronger hurricanes, longer droughts and hotter heat waves. Instead of trying to undermine the science that shows humans are causing climate change, we should be learning how those changes are going to affect us and what we can do about it. In other words, teach us something useful.

We respectfully demand that you cease and desist your effort to bring climate change denial into our schools.

Corey Husic
Age 17
Climate Presenter


Heartland Institute

Heartland considers global warming to be "not the first case of a widespread fear based on incomplete knowledge turned out to be false or at least greatly exaggerated." wow. they say this under "Scares and Hoaxes" on their "climate wiki" - just one of the ways that they promote climate denial, working against what they call "an ideological campaign called 'global warming.'" why do they do this? - to protect and generate more profits for their contributors, of course - if changes are made to address climate change (which is, in reality, scientifically accepted as a true and present danger to the entire ecosphere), corporations would be on the hot seat and their profits would be dented dramatically by them having to actually act responsibly.

The Heartland Institute is a conservative[2][3] and libertarian[4][5][6] public policy think tank based in Chicago, Illinois which advocates free market policies. The Institute is designated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit by the Internal Revenue Service and advised by a 15 member board of directors, which meets quarterly. As of 2011, it has a full-time staff of 40, including editors and senior fellows.[5] The Institute was founded in 1984 and conducts research and advocacy work on issues including government spending, taxation, healthcare, tobacco policy, global warming, information technology and free-market environmentalism.
In the 1990s, the group worked with the tobacco company Philip Morris to question the science linking secondhand smoke to health risks, and to lobby against government public health reforms.[7][8][9] More recently, the Institute has focused on questioning the science of climate change, has sponsored meetings of climate change skeptics,[10] and is now promoting public school curricula challenging the scientific consensus on climate change.[11]

The Heartland Institute - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

stated mission: "to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems."

"Global warming is not the first case of a widespread fear based on incomplete knowledge turned out to be false or at least greatly exaggerated. Global warming has many of the characteristics of a popular delusion, an irrational fear or cause that is embraced by millions of people because, well, it is believed by millions of people!"

Scares and Hoaxes | Introduction to Global Warming - ClimateWiki

funded by contributors including AT&T, General Motors Foundation, Microsoft Corporation, Nucor Corporation (largest contributor, steel manufacturer), Pfizer, Reynolds American Inc., etc.
(see EXPOSED: 19 Corporations Funding Heartland Institute | ThinkProgress)

their response to critics -
The Heartland Institute often is the target of misinformation and even outright lies about its mission, funding and donors, and members and staff. These attacks come overwhelming from left-wing advocates who object to our principled stand in defense of individual liberty and limited government.
"Anonymity allows bloggers and other participants to post vicious, libelous statements without fear of recrimination. There is no pretext of objectivity in the blogosphere and no journalistic morality. Instead, it has evolved into a platform for hateful, offensive attacks on institutions and individuals from all corners of society."
-- 39th Trend/Forecasting Report, The Dilenschneider Group, September 2009


Reply to Our Critics | Heartland Institute

The Fakegate Gang | FakeGate: 'Here they are, a rogue’s gallery of organizations that are willing to invade people’s privacy in pursuit of an ideological campaign called “global warming.”'


Forecast the Facts | Tell General Motors: Stop Funding Climate Change Denial

General Motors, and all other corporations, should immediately pull their funding from the Heartland Institute in light of Heartland's ongoing and persistent support of climate change denial.

General Motors has been kept afloat by American taxpayers through a massive bailout. In the years since, GM has pursued a different path on global warming, using heavy investment in the Chevy Volt to power their comeback. So it's outrageous to learn that some of our tax dollars are literally ending up in the hands of the climate-denying Heartland Institute. - Leaked documents recently revealed that the Heartland Institute, a leading climate change denial "think tank," receives funding from General Motors and other major corporations. Denier weathercasters often cite Heartland's studies.


TAKE ACTION > Click here to tell GM: using taxpayer dollars to fund climate denial is wrong!

forecastthefacts.org

We began by focusing on stopping climate change denial among TV meteorologists. But when we found out that corporations like GM are backing the Heartland Institute, we knew we had to get involved, especially because many of the meteorologists who deny climate change use information directly from Heartland.

According to a recent national survey, more than half of TV weather reporters don’t believe in human-induced climate change. Meanwhile, their viewers are facing unprecedented, climate-change induced heat waves, droughts, and flooding.

Together, we can make sure that Americans hear the truth about climate change, the critical first step to addressing the climate crisis. Thanks again for taking action and being part of this effort.


see also

what next: climate deniers get my goat


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Japanese American internment - 70 years ago | haiku



rounded up


"Tagged for evacuation, Salinas, California," May 1942 | Russell Lee
This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons


February 20, 2012 marked the 70th anniversary of #EO9066, the executive order signed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt that authorized the deportation and eventual detainment of Japanese Americans from the west coast during World War II. Here is a great rundown of some of the essential facts related to internment, a particularly dark spot on our nation’s history and one glossed over by Democrats and Republicans alike.

Of the 120,000 Japanese-Americans imprisoned, 2/3 were American citizens making the number of Japanese-Americans interned without cause greater then the population of Wichita, Kansas. Americans with as little as 1/8 Japanese ancestry were interned, including orphan infants and Americans of Taiwanese and Korean descent.



70 Years Ago Japanese-American Removal and Internments Began | Care2 Causes


Poetry in History

...In an era of liberal personhood, when most — but certainly not all, recent legislation in Arizona being a case in point — citizens of the United States enjoy relative protection under the law, how are we to respond to the egregious moment in 1942 when crowds of Japanese immigrants and their American-born children were herded onto fairgrounds, relegated to horse stalls and racetracks, and “relocated” to barbed-wire compounds and hastily constructed prison barracks throughout the nation? And all this, in response to sentiment like that expressed by columnist Henry McLemore: “I am for the immediate removal of every Japanese on the West Coast to a point deep in the interior. I don’t mean a nice part of the interior either. Herd ‘em up, pack ‘em off and give ‘em the inside room in the badlands… Personally, I hate the Japanese. And that goes for all of them.”



Autumn foliage
California has now become
a far country


Yajin Nakao



Frosty night
listening to rumbling train
we have come a long way


Senbinshi Takaoka


The Delta Ginsha [a free-verse poetry club] was founded in 1918 by Neiji Qzawa… Its members met monthly and submitted their haiku to the master of the month, who was usually the host or hostess for the evening. They submitted for consideration as many poems as they desired. The poems were then read and discussed and a vote was taken to determine the best haiku… It was an evening anticipated by the members—grape growers, onion farmers, teachers, housewives, bankers, pharmacists, and others—who had assembled for an enlightening cultural and social event.


Poetry in History: Japanese American Internment | Lantern Review Blog


Executive Order 9066


Japanese-American internment was the relocation and internment by the United States government in 1942 of approximately 110,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese who lived along the Pacific coast of the United States to camps called "War Relocation Camps," in the wake of Imperial Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.[1][2] The internment of Japanese Americans was applied unequally throughout the United States. Japanese Americans who lived on the West Coast of the United States were all interned, while in Hawaii, where more than 150,000 Japanese Americans composed over one-third of the territory's population, 1,200[3] to 1,800 Japanese Americans were interned.[4] Of those interned, 62% were American citizens.[5][6]

President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the internment with Executive Order 9066, issued February 19, 1942, which allowed local military commanders to designate "military areas" as "exclusion zones," from which "any or all persons may be excluded." This power was used to declare that all people of Japanese ancestry were excluded from the entire Pacific coast, including all of California and much of Oregon, Washington and Arizona, except for those in internment camps.[7] In 1944, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the exclusion orders,[8] while noting that the provisions that singled out people of Japanese ancestry were a separate issue outside the scope of the proceedings.[9] The United States Census Bureau assisted the internment efforts by providing confidential neighborhood information on Japanese Americans. The Bureau's role was denied for decades, but was finally proven in 2007.[10][11]
In 1988, Congress passed and President Ronald Reagan signed legislation which apologized for the internment on behalf of the U.S. government. The legislation said that government actions were based on "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership".[12] The U.S. government eventually disbursed more than $1.6 billion in reparations to Japanese Americans who had been interned and their heirs.[13]


Japanese American internment - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia




The Amache Japanese Internment Camp at Granada, Colorado


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

whales - PBS | US Navy | whale story



Ocean Giants | PBS - Nature

Watch Ocean Giants - Preview on PBS. See more from Nature.


i just learned that blue whales live for 2 centuries - the few remaining old ones remember the really bad days, even have old harpoons still in them. bigger than dinosaurs... living here and now on earth with us today... - problem is global warming is likely to disrupt their food supply so badly that something that huge won't be able to survive.

Whales and dolphins conjure a deep sense of wonder in us that’s hard to explain. From the Arctic to the Amazon, this groundbreaking three-part series goes on a global expedition with world-renowned underwater cameramen, Doug Allen (Planet Earth) and Didier Noirot (Jacques Cousteau’s cameraman), as they capture spellbinding footage of these marine mammals. Ocean Giants looks at how cetaceans hunt, mate, and communicate, and follows scientists as they strive to uncover new insights about these animals.

Watch Songs of the Humpbacks on PBS. See more from Nature.


The first hour, Giant Lives, enters the world of the great whales. In the Arctic, giant bowhead whales survive the freezing cold wrapped in fifty tons of insulating blubber two-feet thick, making them the fattest animals on the planet. But the biggest animal on the planet is the blue whale. Measuring a hundred feet long, and weighing in at 200 tons, it is double the size of the largest dinosaur.

The second hour, Deep Thinkers, explores the cognitive and emotional lives of dolphins and whales. Like us, cetaceans have special brain cells, spindle cells, that are associated with communication, emotion, and heightened social sensitivity. These cells were once thought to be unique to us, but research is now showing that whales and dolphins may have up to three times more spindle cells than humans.

Marine mammals’ extrasensory perceptions and communication skills are the focus of Voices of the Sea, the final hour of the series. Whales and dolphins depend on sound to function in their ocean home. They use ultrasound to see inside other creatures, clicks and whistles to speak, and echolocation to navigate and hunt in the pitch-black depths.

Join PBS Nature, as it dives into the world of whales and dolphins, and reveals the secrets of their intimate lives like never before. Ocean Giants premieres on Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at 8/7 c (check local listings).


whale song spectogram


Spectrogram of Humpback Whale vocalizations. Detail is shown for the first 24 seconds of the 37 second recording Humpback Whale "Song". The ethereal whale "songs" and echolocation "clicks" are visible as horizontal striations and vertical sweeps respectively. Spectrogram generated with Fatpigdog's PC based Real Time FFT Spectrum Analyzer.


Whale sounds - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



Navy Sonar & Whales


Low Frequency Active Sonar spectogram


The U.S. Navy is experimenting with a long range underwater sonar system which is to be used to detect the presence and position of submarines deep in the oceans of the world. It uses a low frequency signal that can travel great distances and presumeably bounce off targets that are hundreds of meters below the ocean surface.


DolphinEAR Hydrophones


Navy Sonar & Whales | EARTHJUSTICE


Navy Sonar & Whales

Navy sonar harms whales and dolphins. Check out this video and hear what it sounds like, and see what it does to these marine mammals. Earthjustice is working to get the Navy to use their sonar in places where it won't harm whales and dolphins.

The incident recorded in this video occurred in Puget Sound in May 2003. It was investigated by the National Marine Fisheries Service, Office of Protected Resources, who filed a report.

Video: Orca and Navy Sonar | Earthjustice

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:
A whale's keen sense of hearing is vital in every aspect of its life history, including foraging for food, finding mates, bonding with offspring, communicating with other members of their species, navigating through lightless waters and avoiding predators.
Experts agree that exposure to sonar blasts can cause serious injury or death from hemorrhages or other tissue trauma. Whales can also suffer from temporary and permanent hearing loss, displacement from preferred habitat, and disruption of feeding, breeding, communication and other behaviors essential to survival.
The use of military sonar has been associated with whale strandings in Greece (1996), the Bahamas (2000), Madeira (2000), Vieques (1998, 2002), the Canary Islands (2002, 2004), the northwest coast of the U.S. (2003), Kaua'i (2004) and Spain (2006).


RELATED EARTHJUSTICE LITIGATION


Earthjustice Attorney Steve Mashuda discusses this case in an interview with San Francisco Bay Area NBC News affiliate KNTV.

Navy Sonar and Marine Mammals: On January 26, 2012, a coalition of conservation and American Indian groups sued the National Marine Fisheries Service for failing to protect thousands of whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, and sea lions from U.S. Navy warfare training exercises along the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington. In late 2010, NMFS gave the Navy a permit for five years of expanded naval activity that will harm or "take" marine mammals and other sealife. The permit allows the Navy to conduct increased training exercises that can harm marine mammals and disrupt their migration, nursing, breeding, or feeding, primarily as a result of harassment through exposure to the use of sonar.

North Atlantic Right Whales: In 2010, conservation groups challenged the U.S. Navy's decision to build a $100 million Undersea Warfare Training Range 50 miles east of Jacksonville, FL, next to the only known calving ground for the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale. The warfare training grounds would include a system of approximately 300 underwater "sonar nodes" connected by cable to a landside facility some 50 nautical miles away. Scientists believe that the loss of even one right whale from non-natural causes could jeopardize the future of the species.

Navy Sonar and Hawaiian Humpback Whales: In 2008, Hawai'i federal district Judge David A. Ezra found that the Navy violated federal law and enjoined it from carrying out its undersea warfare exercises in Hawai'i's waters without adhering to additional mitigation measures to protect marine mammals. Earthjustice had filed suit on behalf of the Ocean Mammal Institute, the Animal Welfare Institute, KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Surfrider Foundation's Kaua'i Chapter.

Endangered Species Protections for Southern Residents: In 2005, Earthjustice successfully argued that the Southern Resident orcas in Washington State's Puget Sound deserve protection under the Endangered Species Act, resulting in new safeguards for the orcas, including the creation of a binding recovery plan, protection for the whales' critical habitat, and assurances that all federal projects will protect the whales before the projects can proceed.
Listen to an audio interview with VP For Litigation Patti Goldman.


Video: Orca and Navy Sonar | Earthjustice


Navy Training Blasts Marine Mammals with Harmful Sonar | Earthjustice

January 26, 2012
San Francisco, CA - A coalition of conservation and American Indian groups today sued the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for failing to protect thousands of whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, and sea lions from U.S. Navy warfare training exercises along the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington.

Earthjustice, representing InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council, Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth, Friends of the San Juans, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and People For Puget Sound, today filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Northern California challenging NMFS’s approval of the Navy’s training activities in its Northwest Training Range Complex. The lawsuit calls on NMFS to mitigate anticipated harm to marine mammals and biologically critical areas within the training range that stretches from Northern California to the Canadian border.
“These training exercises will harm dozens of protected species of marine mammals—Southern Resident killer whales, blue whales, humpback whales, dolphins, and porpoises—through the use of high-intensity mid-frequency sonar,” said Steve Mashuda, an Earthjustice attorney representing the groups. “The Fisheries Service fell down on the job and failed to require the Navy to take reasonable and effective actions to protect them.”
The Navy uses a vast area of the West Coast for training activities including anti-submarine warfare exercises involving tracking aircraft and sonar; surface-to-air gunnery and missile exercises; air-to-surface bombing exercises; sink exercises; and extensive testing for several new weapons systems... > more


> Read the fact sheet: "West Coast Marine Life and the Navy’s NW Training Range"


Canadian sonar in U.S. waters


The frigate HMCS Ottawa


"First there were 4 detections of explosive sounds"

A growing coalition of scientists, educators, and citizens are working together to expand a regional hydrophone network in the Salish Sea. This site is part of the SeaSound Project of The Whale Museum and is an experiment in sharing real-time underwater sound. The goals are to monitor the critical habitat of endangered southern resident killer whales to detect orca sounds and measure ambient noise levels.


Orcasound.net Hydrophone Network



see also

LFAS.net Low Frequency Active Sonar Network

Beaked Whales Respond to Simulated and Actual Navy Sonar | NOAA Fisheries Service’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC)

SURTASS LFA: "The Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System (SURTASS) Low Frequency Active (LFA) is a long range surveillance sonar the U.S. Navy needs for national security."


whats more: whale story







AMAZON WATCH - Talisman: Keep Your Promise, Leave the Achuar in Peace!




"John Manzoni must come here and speak to the elders who have lived where Talisman is drilling for oil. He must understand that there are real problems and the company must recognize and respect our people" – Peas Peas Ayui, FENAP leader

The Achuar of the northern Peruvian Amazon are fighting to keep Canadian oil company Talisman Energy out of their ancestral territory, but the company continues to ignore the Achuar's demands and expand operations. Talisman's "divide and conquer" strategy is heightening tensions and the risk of conflict.

Achuar leaders and elders have responded to this urgent situation, in a last ditch effort to seek peaceful resolution by Achuar elders have invited Talisman CEO John Manzoni to visit their territory and speak directly with Achuar leaders.

Sign the global petition asking Talisman to leave the Achuar in peace and withdraw from their territory, and send a letter to John Manzoni asking him to keep his promise and meet with the Achuar.


TAKE ACTION > AMAZON WATCH - Talisman: Keep Your Promise, Leave the Achuar in Peace!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

hurdy gurdy wheel, crank & shaft assembly



wheel, crank & shaft assembly by Graeme McCormack




"I have just finished Drawing up the Henri 111 Renaissance Hurdy Gurdy. I have modelled it on an existing instrument from Paris circa 1750. The main deviation from the original is that it can play over 2 octaves and has adjustable bridges and string lifting mechanisms. I have also changed the internal frame to use smaller wood stock. The original has solid end blocks that needed large wood stock to cut them from. There are 9 x A1 size sheets to this plan. I will add more written information as I make this gurdy." - Henri 111 hurdy gurdy

AntiQuated Strings - Graeme McCormack



see also

whats more: barrel gurdy: a musical instrument to make from a wine barrel (a plan i am working on)


Monday, February 20, 2012





new top view, 2/20/12

- an idea that i've been working on for awhile
- there is now a page on it at whats more

whats more: barrel gurdy
"it uses a hand-cranked wheel to bow playing strings and drones like a hurdy gurdy, but is played with a slide like a Vichitra Veena (as in video) - no gurdy keybox..."


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Open Letter from John Santos: NARAS Oblivious to the Obivious




John Santos at Grammy Protest Feb.12, 2012 Outside Staples Center, Los Angeles

The epic and historical blunder committed last April by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences was etched into the archives last week by the conspicuous absence of the 31 categories they pulled from Grammy consideration, and the musically vacuous telecast they promoted (at $800,000 per 30 second commercial) as the best that American music has to offer. We hope that sooner than later, NARAS will understand that pretending to not know what all the fuss is about, infinite procrastination, and two tons of lip service are not solutions to their unethical practices and offensive actions. They obviously have no idea that undermining and eliminating a huge portion of the most culturally diverse and creative music in our country is a form of violence against communities that historically have had to deal with this kind of mentality for much too long...


more > Open Letter from John Santos: NARAS Oblivious to the Obivious – Feb. 18, 2012 Grammy Watch



see also

Presente - We Want Latin Music Fully Recognized At The Grammys

Grammy Watch


Friday, February 17, 2012

Walrus Disease Investigation | seals update



presence of ulcerative skin lesions might be associated with a suspected disease agent which appears to be affecting other seal species in the region - radiation investigated as cause


Walrus on Togiak National Wildife Refuge
Photo Credit: Bill Hickey/USFWS


see also:
whats up: update on diseased seals: Preliminary Assessment of Radionuclide Exposure (Feb 17)
No radiation levels were found in these samples that would directly cause the symptoms seen in the pinnipeds. Test results show radiation levels are within the typical background range for Alaska.
- note: this is regarding direct causation - i am still wondering whether Fukushima's radioactive plume could be affecting the seals, walruses and possibly whales. i have heard no news on the whale deaths beyond that a determination was made that it was not caused by human activity (?)
what next: UPDATE re: Deaths of ringed seals in Alaska (Jan 21)
• more background at what next: Deaths of ringed seals in Alaska | Fukushima | Fish Eaters | Nanuuq's Prey: Ice Seals (Jan 17)



In August 2011 a large herd of Pacific walruses (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) hauled out onto a barrier island near the coastal community of Point Lay, Alaska. Some of the walruses at the haulout site were reported to have bleeding skin lesions, and a ground-based survey confirmed the presence of ulcerative skin lesions on several walrus carcasses and some of the live animals.

Alaska Marine Science Symposium poster (January 2012)

The cause(s) and significance of the skin lesions are currently unknown. Most walruses exhibiting skin lesions appeared to be otherwise healthy. One hypothesis under investigation is that the skin lesions observed in walruses at the Point Lay site might be associated with a suspected disease agent which appears to be affecting other seal species in the region.

In December 2011 the Working Group on Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Events (WGMMUME) determined that an “Unusual Mortality Event” (UME) involving multiple species of pinnipeds is occurring in the Arctic. A UME is defined as: "a stranding that is unexpected; involves a significant die-off of any marine mammal population; and demands immediate response..."

...The primary species involved in the mortality event has been ringed seals (Phoca hispida); however other species of arctic pinnipeds, including walrus have exhibited similar symptoms. As part of the UME investigation process, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be working with the WGMMUME and an Inter-agency response team to investigate factors contributing to the observed symptoms.


more > Alaska Region - Marine Mammals Management



more

whats up: update on diseased seals: Preliminary Assessment of Radionuclide Exposure (Feb 17)
Summary of findings: Scientists have conducted preliminary qualitative screening of a few tissue samples from both healthy and sick pinnipeds (ice seals and walruses) involved in this UME for possible radionuclide exposure. No radiation levels were found in these samples that would directly cause the symptoms seen in the pinnipeds. Test results show radiation levels are within the typical background range for Alaska.

what next: UPDATE re: Deaths of ringed seals in Alaska (Jan 21)

what next: Deaths of ringed seals in Alaska | Fukushima | Fish Eaters | Nanuuq's Prey: Ice Seals (Jan 17)


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

800,000 messages opposing Keystone XL | 350.org




“The Senate should consider this one day of action as a warning," said Michael Kieschnick, President of CREDO. "The American people are watching very closely whether the Senate represents Big Oil or the public health. If the Keystone XL pipeline is forced through, we will do much, much more until it is permanently blocked.”

WASHINGTON, DC -- Over the last 24-hours, environmental and progressive groups flooded the Senate with more than 800,000 messages opposing the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The surge in online activism came as Senate Republicans tried to saddle the transportation bill with an amendment that would reverse President Obama’s decision to block the controversial project.

“The voice of three quarters of a million Americans is a force that the Senate will ignore only at great peril," said Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director. "Big Oil is spending millions on political influence to force approval of this dangerous and unnecessary pipeline. But Congress shouldn’t be in the business of permitting oil industry projects, and they shouldn’t be promoting oil profits above the health and safety of Americans.”

The petition drive was organized by a group of over 30 organizations and businesses with the goal of sending the Senate half a million messages in under 24 hours. The online drive quickly went viral, powered in part by blogs and online advertising, tweets from celebrities (including the founder of Twitter, Evan Williams), and a shout-out from Stephen Colbert, who interviewed 350.org founder Bill McKibben on Monday night.


more > Over 800,000 Americans Tell the Senate: Stop Keystone XL | 350.org


350.org



350.org is building a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis. Our online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions are led from the bottom up by thousands of volunteer organizers in over 188 countries.

350 means climate safety. To preserve our planet, scientists tell us we must reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere from its current level of 392 parts per million to below 350 ppm. But 350 is more than a number—it's a symbol of where we need to head as a planet.

350.org works hard to organize in a new way—everywhere at once, using online tools to facilitate strategic offline action. We want to be a laboratory for the best ways to strengthen the climate movement and catalyze transformation around the world.

We operate at a large scale to take on the world's greatest challenge. In October of 2009 we coordinated 5200 simultaneous rallies and demonstrations in 181 countries, what CNN called the 'most widespread day of political action in the planet's history.' On 10/10/10, we organized a day of climate solutions projects--from solar panel installations to community garden plantings--and changed communities from the bottom up with over 7000 events in 188 countries. And at the end of last year, we coordinated a climate art project so large it had to be photographed from a satellite in outer space.

In 2011, we are building people power in every corner of the planet. With a huge mobilization planned for September and a series of bold campaigns in strategic countries around the world, we've got big plans. With the help of millions of people, we'll create a wave a hard-hitting climate activism all over the world that can lead to real, lasting, large-scale change.

We think we can turn the tide on the climate crisis--but only if we work together. If an international grassroots movement holds our leaders accountable to realities of science and principles of justice, we can realize the solutions that will ensure a better future for all.

Or to put it another way...
With over 4000 languages spoken around the world, words don't always get the point across.

To transcend the language barrier we made this wordless animation that explains 350.org in 90 seconds:


Watch "Because the World Needs to Know": 350.org's first animation
What's the best way to introduce the world to 350? With over 4000 languages spoken around the world, it's probably not with a bunch of words. We did our best to boil down the science of global warming and vision of the 350 Campaign in 90 seconds--and with no words. - 350.org Animations and Videos | 350.org