"Chinese scientists said they have succeeded in an experiment to remotely control the flight of a pigeon with electronic technology.
Scientists with the Robot Engineering Technology Research Center of east China's Shandong University of Science and Technology say they implanted micro electrodes in the brain of a pigeon so they can command it to fly right or left or up or down.
The implants stimulated different areas of the pigeon's brain according to signals sent by the scientists via computer, and forced the bird to comply with their commands. " LINK
...It is dawning gradually on the Northern countries that anything less than equal rights to the atmosphere will not take the negotiations anywhere. There is a realisation that time is running out fast...
...A 2003 report commissioned by the Pentagon warned that nuclear arms will proliferate as people fight for resources as a result of global warming. "Every time there is a choice between starving and raiding, humans raid." Pointing out that "disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life", it cautioned the Bush administration that climate change could "challenge United States national security in ways that should be considered immediately". "
Austin, a Duluth professor and a researcher with the University of Minnesota-Duluth's Large Lakes Observatory, has studied decades of data. What he found was water temperatures rising almost twice as fast as air temperatures — more than 4 degrees for the average surface temperature." LINK
The plan aims to slash carbon output by reducing demand and wastage across the whole spectrum from individuals to households, businesses and local governments.
"This will make London the first city in the world to have a really comprehensive plan to cut its carbon emissions," Mark Watts, climate change adviser to London Mayor Ken Livingstone, told Reuters in an interview."LINK
The 11-car train had just left a station in Turpan, in the Xinjiang region's east, when it was hit by wind at 2 a.m. Wednesday, the Xinhua News Agency said.
"A strong sandstorm cracked window panes soon after the train left Turpan, and blew some of the cars off the rail when we were trying to plug up the windows," Xinhua quoted passenger Su Chuanyi as saying."
"I believe in WWI or WWII they were seeing them in the war when the Howitzers were shooting up at each other. And when they were shooting there was no hail,” he says.
These days, China's using howitzer-like artillery shells filled with chemicals to seed clouds and make it rain. But John wants to turn destructive hail into a gentle rain with a hail cannon.
"What comes out of the top of this thing? It's a vibrational sonic boom,” he says. "When it hits the clouds it's a little bit of vibration doesn't allow the ice to form.”
John and about four other area farmers have spent over a $1 million on 18 of these cannons collectively when hail insurance got too expensive. " LINK
The problem has been compounded by last summer's heat wave in the densely populated municipality of Chongqing, as water supplies have still not recovered, the Beijing News said.
More than 10 ships that ply the Yangtze River have been stranded by the low water levels, it added." LINK
On top of that, Atlantic tropical sea-surface temperatures continue to be warmer than the average - another big factor in hurricane formation - and African rainfall patterns are suggesting a busy year. Hurricanes form from monsoon storms spinning off the western African coast.
"I think most people in this business are thinking it's going to be a more active than normal hurricane season, and I think there's a legitimacy to that," said Greg Carbone, a geography associate professor at University of South Carolina who studies climate impacts.
Hurricane season is a span from June through November when tropical cyclones are likely to form in the Atlantic. They are massive, powerful land-falling ocean storms that can threaten people and property for hundreds of miles inland. The storms have formed as early as April and as late as December. " LINK
A report from the World Health Organization estimated that in 2000 about 154,000 deaths around the world could be attributed to disease outbreaks and other conditions sparked by climate change." LINK
"This is erosion like we've never seen before. It's very alarming and is causing serious concern in the town.
"Something serious is happening. It's unbelievable." LINK
"The award-winning Millennium Coastal Park in Carmarthenshire, which cost some £30m, is losing huge chunks to the ocean.
A combination of high tides and storms have now seen a major section of the park, about a quarter of a mile long, slip into the Burry Estuary, which is notorious for its strong tides.
The latest incident at the park, which has been a huge tourism success with some 500,000 visitors per year, took place last Monday, when a 400-metre stretch of cycle path near Burry Port was destroyed by waves.
A "freak" 8.4 metre-high tide was blamed, as well as violent waves caused by Atlantic storms."
Fashion writers are on the whole, I believe, out of their pretty minds- it takes a very special person to come up with a sentence like "The glinting metal teeth of an open zip, with connotations of aggression and sex, is the motif of this new age of power dressing."
But even these idiot-sauvants are catching on to the feeling that something, somewhere is just not right.
"Fashion designers are not, on the whole, overtly political. However, they naturally pick up on and channel the mood around them. It may or may not be reading too much into a few frocks to wonder whether it is a coincidence that, at the very moment when the people of Europe and America are rapidly waking up to the momentousness of the crisis facing the planet, fashion is making a decisive switch from pastoral prettiness to a bleak urban-warrior stance. If New York, where fashion week featured several high-profile ethical and environmental events, represented the fashion industry trying to work out how to do something about the potential end of the planet, then Milan, perhaps, represented the industry trying to work out how to dress for it. Which I guess must be a good thing. After all, if we're going to save the planet, we really don't have time for a wardrobe crisis every time a polar ice cap melts, do we? " LINK
Well, I certainly don't. I'll just wear the melting dress. Although, the melting dress was quite pretty- maybe not so chic anymore?
The pit emitted foul odors, loud noises and tremors, shaking the surrounding ground. A rush of water could be heard from its depths.
Authorities have warned that the sounds coming from the sinkhole augured further possible collapses, and possibly the destruction of more homes. The dwellings around the crater have been evacuated, and police cordoned off a 500-yard security perimeter around the hole."LINK
"The Colorado River Basin is more prone to drought than had been thought, a panel of experts reported yesterday, and as the climate warms and the population in the region grows, pressure on water supplies will become greater." LINK
And that is seriously bad news for the millions of people who have moved out to the Las Vegas area. Now, I'm seriously tempted to just let loose and rip on people who move somewhere so obviously unsuited to habitation- somewhere where you need air conditioning to live, somewhere that cannot sustain unirrigated agriculture (the rule of thumb is 21" of rain a year). But then I think of all the articles I've read about the people who have moved out there or bought homes out there and they're (obviously) not ok people. It's a place for second chances, it's a place where people who have no where else to try because somehow they managed to screw up living in Florida or something. They're ill educated and socioeconomically marginalized, so it would be totally cruel to point out that they've just moved from the frying pan of their previous messed up life to the fire of living in what seems likely to become America's biggest folly- a false mirage in the desert. Who the hell moves to Las Vegas. Jesus.
Well, apparently a lot of people move to freaking Las Vegas. "Nevada's Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, saw water use double from 1985 to 2000."
"The 25 million Americans who rely on the Colorado River for water should expect continued — and even worsening — drought spells and water shortages as rising temperatures and growing populations create a double whammy, experts warned in a new report." LINK
Pictures taken this month by Nasa and US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellites indicate that coral is being affected by the run-off at a greater rate than previously thought.
According to Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), they show sediment creating a hazy cloud in the water over the reef, blocking out sunlight and preventing photosynthesis, the process which keeps coral alive.
Arnold Dekker of the CSIRO said: "The run-off from torrential rainfall goes into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon and straight into the ocean at speeds which were not thought to occur before we saw the images."LINK
No, really the article is about government subsidies in the UK going to fishermen/women/people who are plundering the last of the fish in the world.
" "The unregulated catches of these roving bandits are utterly unsustainable.
"The solution is not going into the deep sea but better managing the shallow waters where fish live fast and die young, and ecosystems have a greater potential for resilience," he said."
"SYDNEY, Australia - Australia will be the world’s first country to ban incandescent lightbulbs in a bid to curb greenhouse gas emissions, with the government saying on Tuesday they would be phased out within three years and replaced by compact fluorescent lighting." LINK
Thanks to the tip from the Amazing B!
No, no indeed.
Diesel has come to our aid, at least fashionwise, with a lovely new line of global warming wear, tastefully presented in a new advertising campaign. Smart shorts, loose trousers, and cute little safari jackets seem to be the way to go.Alors, ces filles charment très! Casually strolling through the Piazza San Marco, now colorfully filled with Scarlet Macaws- such an improvement on those dull dreary pigeons! Mais, quels dommages ! quelle horreur ! Malheureusement, the Piazza San Marco is underwater about half the time already.
Other ads from the campaign show a handsome fellow walking his lizard through the jungle park surrounding the Eiffel tower, a pretty missie driving her sleek speedboat away from the island of London, and a thoughtful scholarly fellow reading a book about glaciers (oh, how very), while lounging on the tropical beach by the Rushmore Sea.
But, sir, every plant in town will die. Owls will deafen us with incessant hooting. The town sun dial will be useless!
And for fun, I'll toss in a ringer. You guess which one of these suggestions is NOT an actual proposal being looked at to save the world.
A. a really big mirror between the Sun and Earth, manufactured on the moon
B. clouds of trillions of wafer-thin, butterfly-light lenses
C. reflective films laid over the planet's deserts
D. fertilizing the seas with iron to create vast blooms of plants that would then consume tons of carbon dioxide and, as the plants died, drag the carbon into the sea
E. suspension of tiny, harmless particles of diatomaceous earth about 80,000 feet up in the stratosphere
F. wind powered unmanned cloud seeding vessels spraying sea-water droplets continuously over a significant fraction of the world's oceanic surface
G. creating vast cooling systems to preserve glaciers to maintain reflective (albedo) effects
Oh ok, ok. I know that was too easy. You all guessed G. You're right. The vast cooling systems to preserve glaciers are just to keep ski resorts in the Alps going- not to save the world, ha ha ha.
Yeah, I feel a little sick now too.
LINK to MIT Technology review article
LINK to BBC article about the cloud seeding ships
LINK to article mentioning air conditioning glaciers for skiiers.
ps. I use diatomaceous earth as an organic pesticide- never thought NASA would want to pump the skies full of it.
The exceptionally non-alarmist, non-envrionmentally focused, non-entertaining FT has a hell of an interesting article.
They seem to be saying, in startlingly poetic language, that we're at peak oil.
"All the world’s extra oil supply is likely to come from expensive and environmentally damaging unconventional sources within 15 years, according to a detailed study.
“Worse, it takes vast quantities of scarce and valuable potable water and natural gas to turn unusable oil into heavy low-quality oil.”
“In a sense, this exercise is like turning gold into lead,” Mr Simmons said." LINK
Increased ethanol production > major disaster here in the US. What about the rest of the world? Who cares?
Food will become more expensive here. Maybe that jolt will be enough for people to start thinking not only how to continue our current lifestyles but how to maybe actually change our daily lives so that we're not the nastiest pigs in the sty.
"The rising food costs fueled by ethanol demand are also affecting U.S. consumers. All things that use corn are going to have higher prices and higher cost. The impact of this is being felt first in animal feed, particularly poultry and pork. Poultry feed is about two-thirds corn; as a result, the cost to produce poultry--both meat and eggs--has already risen about 15 percent due to corn prices, says Tyner. Also expect corn syrup--used in soft drinks--to get more expensive, he says.
The situation will only get worse, says David Pimentel, a professor in the department of entomology at Cornell University. "We have over a hundred different ethanol plants under construction now, so the situation is going to get desperate," he says. Adding to the worries about corn-related food prices is President Bush's ambitious goal, announced in his last State of the Union address, that the United States will produce 35 billion gallons of ethanol by 2017.
Still, some suggest that the overheated ethanol market could soon cool down. "Politicians will see that, first of all, it is not helping our oil independence," says Pimentel. "It is increasing the price of food for people in the U.S., it is costing an enormous sum of money for everyone, and it is contributing to environmental problems. But I can imagine it is going to take another year or more before politicians realize they have a major disaster on their hands."
"As the country's largest coal rich province, Shanxi faces the danger of expanded sinking areas, due to long-term and intensified coal mining.
One million people in north China's coal-rich Shanxi Province will move out of the coalmine sinking areas and shanty towns before 2008, said an official with the provincial government."
"The delicate interplay between the oceans and atmosphere is changing with catastrophic consequences."
The changes in wind patterns have affected the timing of a natural shift in the seas between cold, nutrient rich water and warm, worn-out waters. Where this shift, called upwelling, occurs, plankton blooms, and fish come to eat. When upwelling is disrupted in any way, the consequences are catastrophic for the ecosystem.
Off the coast of Oregon, a massive die off "was so severe that the researchers fear that marine life cannot return to the area."
Ravage the world, tranquillity is here!"*
Well, not so much. Unholy deeds indeed ravage the world, and tranquility has fled the Lake District. The lakes "are being devastated, mainly by sewage and farming. Some are so badly affected that they are virtually dead.
Mostly they are being fed to death by sewage and - especially - wastes and fertilisers from agriculture. These cause weeds and algae to flourish, soaking up oxygen from the water and suffocating other life. And, partly as a result, they are often plagued by alien, invasive species."
*LINK to Composed by the side of Grasmere Lake, 1806 by William Wordsworth
"The lawsuit is a sharp escalation in the water fight between the states.
"Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting," said Montana Attorney General Mike McGrath Thursday in a press conference announcing the suit. "That's where we are with Wyoming on a number of levels." LINK
I have no idea what he's talking about, but if the famously armed and ornery residents of Montana and Wyoming get all liquored up and start some border battle over the Tongue River, I am so there. You know, if I can get some body armor and a book deal.
As unhinged as it sounds, this water/whisky dichotomy reminds me of some lines from one of my all time favorite blues songs.
Oh Lord give me water,
when I'm thirsty,
Give me whiskey,
when I'm dry.
Give me Alberta,
when I need her,
and Heaven when I die.
Anyway, here's more background on the brewing water war between the states. More interstate water based conflicts, coming soon! Keep tuned, to WLGD. Here with what you need to know, before you knew you needed to know it.
According to the head of FAO's Water, Development and Management Unit, Pasquale Steduto, water use has expanded at twice the rate of population growth over the past 100 years creating conditions of water scarcity.
Water shortages are obviously most acute in the driest areas of the world, which are home to more than 2 billion people and to half of all poor people. "
"Life in the USA will have to become much more local, and virtually all the activities of everyday life will have to be re-scaled. You can state categorically that any enterprise now supersized is likely to fail -- everything from the federal government to big corporations to huge institutions. If you can find a way to do something practical and useful on a smaller scale than it is currently being done, you are likely to have food in your cupboard and people who esteem you. An entire social infrastructure of voluntary associations, co-opted by the narcotic of television, needs to be reconstructed. Local institutions for care of the helpless will have to be organized. Local politics will be much more meaningful as state governments and federal agencies slide into complete impotence. Lots of jobs here for local heroes."
"Floods in Mozambique have left 68,000 people homeless, and 280,000 more may be forced to evacuate this week, a top official said Monday as refugees crowded into dismal camps to escape the raging waters.
"If we go to the high areas there is drought and the ground is rocky. If we go to the lower Zambezi there are crocodiles. So we prefer to face the crocodiles and floods because our problem is hunger." LINK
"Snow-starved June Mountain shut down nearly two weeks ago after a season that lasted all of 23 days. The closure threw 175 seasonal employees out of work and left local businesses desperate to hang on until the fishing crowd jams the streets this summer.Nobody knows whether the cause is global warming or the meteorological glitch of a high-pressure area hanging on, like a deranged houseguest, for months. " LINK
Mmm, those deranged houseguests, just sticking around.
"The ice atop Cordillera Blanca, the largest glacier chain in the tropics, is melting fast because of rising temperatures, and peaks are turning brown. The trend is highlighting fears of global warming and, scientists say, is endangering future water supplies to the arid coast where most Peruvians live. " LINK
"There could be no glaciers in Montana’s Glacier National Park by 2050." LINK
"Over the past two years, Indonesia has suffered an encyclopedia of troubles, from the devastating tsunami of December 2004 to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, droughts, bird flu outbreaks, landslides, airline crashes and a vast, bizarre geyser of mud — a constant pounding of catastrophes that has worn down the national psyche and convinced many that something supernatural is going on." LINK
Interestingly, some have decided that it is the president who is cursed.
"“Since the day he took office there have been unending disasters,” said Permadi, a member of Parliament and a mystic, of the president. Like many Indonesians, he uses only one name. Mr. Yudhoyono was born under a bad sign, he said, and nature is demonstrating its anger at him and the nation."
Well, a cursed president might be easier to deal with than the epic, mega-sized infrastructure issues that they have.
"As the economy grows about 6 percent a year, with a proliferation of homes, offices and shopping centers, almost no new roads, bridges, airports, power lines or water systems have been built since the Asian economic crisis a decade ago. More malls, more squatter communities, more hillside villas: all contribute to breakdowns in urban services and to disasters like the flood."
Also, the floods? Have left people dying in their wake. The receding floodwaters have left thousands suffering with diarrhea, dengue fever, and severe respiratory problems. LINK
Jakarta situation gets even worse- 480,000 refugees
Jakarta under water
Choke a volcano? Are you sure?
Time for another look at disaster central, Indonesia
Goodish news about those displaced Indonesians
"STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - A mysterious illness is killing tens of thousands of honeybee colonies across the country, threatening honey production, the livelihood of beekeepers and possibly crops that need bees for pollination.
Researchers are scrambling to find the cause of the ailment, called Colony Collapse Disorder."
"Local and state officials across the country say thousands of miles of century-old underground water and sewer lines are springing leaks, eroding and — in extreme cases — causing the ground above them to collapse. Though there is no master tally of sinkholes, there is consensus among civil engineers and water experts that things are getting worse.
The Environmental Protection Agency has projected that unless cities invest more to repair and replace their water and sewer systems, nearly half of the water system pipes in the United States will be in poor, very poor or “life elapsed” status by 2020. " LINK
The vault aims to safeguard the world's agriculture from future catastrophes, such as nuclear war, asteroid strikes and climate change. "
"Tell Citigroup and Merrill Lynch to Stop Financing Climate Change!
Citigroup and Merrill Lynch are currently helping TXU, Texas’ largest utility, finance 11 new coal-fired power plants in Texas. Together, these plants will emit 78 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, which is:
• Equal to the annual emissions of 14 million passenger cars
• More than two-and-a-half times more CO2 than California will prevent with its groundbreaking emissions reduction program for vehicles
• Larger than the emissions of many entire countries, including Denmark, Portugal, and Sweden.
Both Citigroup and Merrill Lynch describe themselves as environmental leaders. Yet, at a time when a growing number of business leaders are taking action to reduce climate change emissions, these two financial giants are helping to build power plants that will help to accelerate climate change."
LINK goes to petition.
"The competition is based on the idea of the $10m X-prize for the first privately-built, reusable aircraft that could fly into "space" - defined as 100km above ground - twice in one week. The X-prize was awarded in 2004.
The irony of basing an environment prize for absorbing carbon dioxide on a prize for releasing the gas in the fastest way possible will not be lost on many environmentalists who want to curb the unnecessary use of fossil fuel rather than relying on untried and unproven technological fixes for global warming." LINK
It says it is planning legislation to ensure the average car emits no more than 130g of CO2 per kilometre, compared with 162g/km in 2005. " LINK
Naturally, the car industry calls this unfair and arbitrary. Who the heck are we, to think that we should NOT pump the air full of poison? Think of the economy! Won't someone please think of the economy???
Parts of Shaanxi province face drought after January saw as little as 10% of average rainfall, state media say.
Frozen lakes are melting and trees are blossoming in the capital Beijing as it experiences its warmest winter for 30 years, the China Daily reported." LINK
That's another New Orleans, that's an epic disaster. And there will just be more and more of this to come. It might not be on the news here that much, but these stories will happen more and more.
"Authorities earlier estimated that up to 60 percent of Jakarta was submerged by waters reaching up to 4 meters deep in some places.
The Meteorological and Geophysics Agency has forecast that heavy rains will continue to hit Jakarta in the coming weeks. February is the peak of the rainy season in the country.
Environmentalists blame the frequent flooding in Jakarta on poor urban planning and deforestation of hillside areas to the south of the city. " LINK
These are a few of my favorite reader stories from the campaign:
"At a supermarket in Edinburgh I saw a turnip that was branded as "grown in Scotland". It was shrink wrapped, and the label said: "packaged in Kent".
Despite many swede fields near by, the Co-op in Aberfoyle offers shrink-wrapped swede, from Tasmania.
Prof Stephen Baron
In Asda, I have seen coconuts shrink-wrapped.
Melissa Gooch" LINK
Well, the campaign is working! The UK's 3rd largest grocery is going to strip produce of packaging in a test store, and based on the results, is considering doing the same at all of it's stores.
"The stores involved in the trial will not be named to protect the experiment. Packaging will be removed from 60 lines of fresh produce, including carrots, broad beans and courgettes. Only produce deemed "fragile", such as raspberries, will remain packed to prevent damage.
A company spokesman said: "The move heralds a return to old-fashioned retailing methods - the first step taken towards the past by any retailer for almost 60 years."" LINK
"All the buildings in Dongtan will be self-sufficient in their energy use, with power coming from a combination of wind power, solar power and other renewable sources. All the apartments and houses will be within seven minutes' walk of public transport. Most of the citizens of Dongtan will work within the city and all buildings, made of local materials, will use a combination of traditional and new construction technologies.
This is the biggest single building project in the world, and it's taking place in a country many see as the biggest risk to the planet's green future. The urbanisation process in China is astonishing - there are already 90 cities with more than a million residents, and 400 million people are expected to move from the countryside to cities in the next 30 years.
The project has been given initial approval by the central government in Beijing and the remaining permissions are expected after Chinese new year later this month.
The initial phase will be finished by 2010, when the Expo fair comes to Shanghai, and it is forecast that by 2030 there will be more than 500,000 people living here." LINK
Water rises to 13 feet in Jakarta; forecasts call for two more weeks of rain " LINK
"We fear that diarrhoea and dysentery may break out, as well as illnesses spread by rats," one official said. " LINK
Worse still, the scientists said, space for the expanding palm plantations was often created by draining and burning peatland, which sent huge amounts of carbon emissions into the atmosphere. "
It looks like it's going to take a while to sort all this out.
Letters sent by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an ExxonMobil-funded thinktank with close links to the Bush administration, offered the payments for articles that emphasise the shortcomings of a report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
On Monday, another Exxon-funded organisation based in Canada will launch a review in London which casts doubt on the IPCC report."LINK
In related news, "Exxon Mobil Corp. roared past Wall Street expectations and set a new record for the highest profit ever earned by a U.S. company in a single year." LINK
Maritime experts say shipping water by tanker is one of the least eccentric ideas raised of late to counter acute shortages.
Dragging icebergs from the Arctic, ships hauling enormous bags of fresh water, and cloud seeding -- in which clouds are sprayed with chemicals to induce rain -- have all been aired by water authorities in the past."
Residents have been advised not to use the snow for household tasks or let animals graze on it." LINK
Well, they're saying "The yellowish-orange snow that fell in West Siberian regions Wednesday contained no toxic substances, and its color was the result of a sandstorm in neighboring Kazakhstan, experts said Friday. " LINK
Geophysicists have a plan to shut off the Indonesian mud volcano- the one caused by the drilling company.
"Indonesian geophysicists hope to stem the flow of a destructive mud volcano on East Java by dropping chains of concrete balls into its mouth."
Well then. That sound like a good idea. Now the volcano will just spit out cannon balls.