January 19, 2017 ... United States : "In the past 30 years, America had 13 wars spending $14.2 trillion...no matter how good your strategy is you're supposed to spend money on your own people."
A visiting Chinese billionaire, Jack Ma said that. Common Dreams report
January 18, 2017 ... United States : Americans average five hours a day watching television. By the time we reach age 65, we’re watching more than 50 hours of television a week, and that number increases as we get older. And reality TV programming consistently captures the largest percentage of TV watchers every season by an almost 2-1 ratio ... the political scene in the United States has devolved over the years into a carefully calibrated exercise in how to manipulate, polarize, propagandize and control a population. Complete counterpunch source
January 17, 2017 ... Real World Economics : Since 2015, the richest 1% has owned more wealth than the rest of the planet. Read more at Real World Economics
January 16, 2017 ... Oxfam : New estimates show that just eight men own the same wealth as the poorest half of the world. As growth benefits the richest, the rest of society – especially the poorest – suffers. The very design of our economies and the principles of our economics have taken us to this extreme, unsustainable and unjust point. Our economy must stop excessively rewarding those at the top and start working for all people. Accountable and visionary governments, businesses that work in the interests of workers and producers, a valued environment, women’s rights and a strong system of fair taxation, are central to this more human economy. Full Oxfam report
Those eight men are Bill Gates, Amancio Ortega, Warren Buffett, Carlos Slim Helu, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison, and Michael Bloomberg. Common Dreams review
Chinese passengers enjoy high speed sleeper trains
January 6, 2017 ... China : Chinese passengers now travel one of the world's longest high speed rail lines in night sleeper cars or regular day seats.
The 2,264-kilometer Shanghai-Kunming rail line runs across the five provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guizhou and Yunnan. The high speed train with sand proof bearings reduces travel time from Shanghai to the capital of Southwest China's Yunnan province Kunming from 34 to 11 hours. Full speed tunnel videos and original text at Russian Times
January 4, 2017 ... United States : The war against alternative information.
Excerpts from McCarthyism 2.0 – part 1, by Rick Sterling
The US has passed the “Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act” that President Obama signed into law on Dec. 23 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2017, setting aside $160 million to combat any “propaganda” that challenges Official Washington’s version of reality.
The new law mandates the U.S. Secretary of State to collaborate with federal agencies... “to lead, synchronize, and coordinate efforts of the Federal Government to recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United States national security interests.”
The legislation was initiated in March 2016... amid allegations of “Russian hacking” around the U.S. presidential election and media furor over supposedly “fake news.” Defeated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton voiced strong support for the bill: “It’s imperative that leaders in both the private sector and the public sector step up to protect our democracy, and innocent lives.”
The new law is remarkable... because it merges a new McCarthyism about purported dissemination of Russian “propaganda” on the Internet with a new Orwellianism by creating a kind of Ministry of Truth – or Global Engagement Center – to protect the American people from “foreign propaganda and disinformation.”
The new Global Engagement Center is authorized to: “Facilitate the use of a wide range of technologies and techniques...” (This section is an apparent reference to proposals that Google, Facebook and other technology companies find ways to block or brand certain Internet sites as purveyors of “Russian propaganda” or “fake news.”)
The law also is rife with irony since the U.S. government and related agencies are among the world’s biggest purveyors of propaganda and disinformation – or what you might call evidence-free claims, such as the recent accusations of Russia hacking into Democratic emails to “influence” the U.S. Election. Read the complete Consortium News article here
One Belt train route reaches England from China
January 2, 2017 ... China : Free trade freight train connections with England create profitable rail linked business as well as people to people relations through tourism, science and the arts. The schedule is one train weekly.
Departing from Yiwu West Railway Station in eastern Zhejiang Province, the train will travel for about 18 days and more than 12,000 kilometers before reaching its destination in Britain.
Yiwu is known for producing small commodities, and the train mainly carried such goods, including household items, garments, cloth, bags and suitcases. It will pass through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France before arriving in London.
London is the 15th city in Europe added to China-Europe freight train services.
The service will improve China-Britain trade ties, strengthen connectivity with western Europe, while better serving China's Belt and Road Initiative, an infrastructure and trade network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along ancient trade routes, the China Railway Corporation said. Source: Xinhua News
December 31, 2016 ... Zapatista Year-end Speech : Read one of the world’s most prominant democracy workers. Be patient with the computer translation posted in the archive. The Zapatista Subcommandante has the interesting skill of writing in one's native language for computer translation into many languages. English and Russian are easy. Chinese, Japanese and Korean are more difficult.
The writer was once Subcomandante Marcos, former Zapatista leader He almost always wore a mask and was able to change identity to avoid hero worship and provide himself with a new window for looking at the world.
The Zapatistas are quite impressed to discover that it is true that autonomy grows from living the new story. This is a sociologist’s dream, the Zapatistas are knowingly applying Albert Einstein’s social thought about visualizing a new story and then living it until a crytical mass accepts the new story over the old.
At that point, the new story becomes reality.
This is not magic. This is physics. Did Einstein really say that? It sounds like he might have. (Though my understanding of his math and physics is entirely poetic).
Humanity writes a new story rather than confont the monster hydra.
Distributed intelligence does not threaten existing bad government. Instead, it makes wealth in balance with Earth that is so huge it causes billionaires to feel greed, but they are left behind in the dust of happier, healthier and stronger nations that are not impressed by tawdry billions.
Link to original speech en español
December 23 - 29, 2016 ... Editor : If everyone on Earth lived like the US, the world economy would require almost five Earths for replenishment of aquifers, forests, fish stocks, erosion and pollution recycling.
The existing world economy will double in eighteen years at 4% growth per year. At that point, world economic activity will require three Earths and the US will be operating at a ten Earth consumption rate. The rest of the world will still be attempting to catch up.
A crash education campaign is the only known solution. But that conflicts with billionaires amassing still more wealth.
Thus, to some, the near future looks like robot trucks will soon deliver robot produced goods to robot consumers programed at 4% consumption growth per year. Either that, or lonely surviving billionaires be battling twenty pound scorpions and 30 foot alligators, like during the last global geologic era warm spell.
Believe it or not.
Alternatively, designing and building a human economy and way of life that uses less than one Earth provides living space for the diverse forms of life that manufacture the balanced atmosphere life requires. This is seen as a rewarding job by those who enjoy breathing.
Safety shield erected at Chernobyl A massive radiation shield has been installed over the number four nuclear reactor in Chernobyl, Ukraine, the site of the catastrophic 1986 nuclear accident. The steel-and-concrete structure is 275 metres wide, 108 metres high and weighs 36,000 tonnes. It is the largest movable land-based structure ever built and will last about 100 years, when a new replacement shield must be ready. Read original Nature article here
November 27, 2016 --- editor : unknown source
November 23, 2016 ... Nasa Earth Observatory : Satellite Detects Human Contribution to Atmospheric CO2. Launched in July 2014, NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) was designed to give scientists comprehensive, global measurements of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Now a team of scientists has used that satellite data to identify a human signal amid the seasonal fluctuations of the greenhouse gas.
Ground stations have provided a broad view of carbon in the atmosphere. Those valuable past efforts have been limited in various ways, past measurements could not necessarily pinpoint the sources of carbon dioxide. Full NASA article with More Maps
November 22, 2016 ... Defend Democracy Press : Hundreds of cancer-causing chemicals detected in Americans’ bodies
Concerns about the human health effects of perpetual exposure to environmental toxins often get dismissed or ignored by health authorities on the grounds that such chemicals don’t stick around inside the body long enough to cause problems. But a new report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) – the first of its kind – suggests quite the opposite, and could help explain why rates of cancer and other chronic diseases continue to skyrocket in the developed world.
Researchers from the respected environmental watchdog group spent upwards of a year poring through data compiled from more than 1,000 biomonitoring studies, as well as other research published by leading government agencies and independent scientists, and came to some shocking conclusions. They found that as many as 420 unique chemicals known or suspected to cause cancer, are now being detected in human blood, urine, hair and other tissue samples, demonstrating not only that carcinogens are everywhere, but that they’re also permeating our bodies at an alarming rate. Complete article here
November 20, 2016 ... Johns Hopkins University : Volunteers turn plastic bags into sleeping mats for homeless.
Louise Gregg, a parishioner of St. Vincent de Paul Church, will use the plastic yarn to make sleeping mats for the homeless. Her church owns a park in Baltimore where homeless people often sleep or congregate. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Complete JHU article here
Editor's note: A charge of ten cents per bag cuts cuts plastic bag use by at least 90%. Perhaps a portion of that new public revenue stream should be devoted to chemical free agricultural fiber mats and help with upgrading waste management. These would be postive steps toward a sense of comfort and place for far too many people...
What a world — Some say there are more vacant houses in the US than homeless people. Roll out the mats and then ask them. "What should be done with all those vacant houses?" One result is for sure; if the empty houses are filled, formerly homeless children will go to school and become part of a happier future.
A small part of this new public revenue stream goes to the store to help offset added paper bag store costs for the 10% who forget their reusable bags. Styrofoam is an overall larger problem yet plastic buckets are a far higher pollution stream tonnage. Even so, turtles swallowing a plastic bag thinking it's a jelly fish is more ugly.
Making a bad plastic pollution problem worse, sunlight breaks down all plastics into smaller and smaller pieces until they become quasi plankton. The base of the food chain is becoming zero food value plastic quasi plankton with a static charge. That electrical charge attracts pollution molecules. Plastic plankton are excreted clean and ready to collect more pollution molecules that travel up the food chain, directly toward humans.
November 16, 2016 ... Earth : Global climate collapse
Source: Real World Economics
November 14, 2016 ... British Columbia : Canada's proposed natural-gas plant threatens highly productive salmon river
The controversy surrounding a proposed liquefied natural-gas plant in British Columbia, Canada, continues to intensify. The project, which the Canadian government approved in September, now faces three separate lawsuits. And new research at the proposed site on the Skeena River estuary reveals that some salmon species spend over a month in the area, feeding and growing during their migration to the sea.
The Skeena natural-gas liquefaction and export facility … is spearheaded by an international consortium led by PETRONAS, the Malaysian state oil company.
A study led by ecologist Jonathan Moore at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia now finds that the Skeena River estuary near the plant's proposed site is likely to be more valuable habitat for salmon populations than previously thought.
Indigenous nations and some scientists say the Canadian government is not listening and prevents discussion of scientific topics. Read Nature magazine web report here
November 12, 2016 ... Defend Democracy Press : Greece Click image for full report.
November 11, 2016 ... editor's intro : Kshama Sawant and Robert Scheer interview
Imagine socialism as it fits in the information age: A healthy society in balance with Earth's health will produce the most happy people. Fully educated and happy people tend to have smaller families; population gently declines. Negative commercial impact on Earth, per person, also declines, accelerating with full and unbiased education. Society is healthy and creative. Earth's life support systems rebound. Humanity reaches for the stars using social concentration of distributed intelligence operating far beyond ten thousand kilometers per liter. Socialist thought connected with autonomous democracy is based on cutting edge science that also produces fun. Socialism is a great idea. Sawant/Scheer Interview Transcript
November 10, 2016 ... University of California - Davis : Why do sea birds eat plastic? It smells like food and looks like food.
"It turns out that marine plastic debris emits the scent of a sulfurous compound that some seabirds have relied upon for thousands of years to tell them where to find food..." Read full report here
November 9, 2016 ... USA : Post election lighter side.
Also November 9 ... Oregon : Sociology 101 - 2016
November 8, 2016 ... editor : The world economy requires 1.5 Earths, while the US consumes at just below the five planet rate. If everyone lived like USers, the world economy would require five Earths for replenishment of aquifers, forests, fish & meat stocks, erosion, pollution recycling and etc.
November 7, 2016 ... Crime, starvation and incarceration in America : The number of people on food assistance reached an all-time high after the 2008 financial crisis, and currently in the U.S. around one of six people in the country (14% as of Jan 13, 2015, US Dept. Ag), and one in five of children (US Census Bureau, Jan. 28, 2015) are on the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. Polanyi’s claim that without mitigating social institutions, an unregulated free market in labor would result in starvation is proven to be true. Without food assistance these people would starve.
The United States has 5% of the world population and 25% of the prison inmates. The rapid increase began with the Reagan presidency and has continued accelerating under both major US political parties.
Read full Gary Flomenhoft article at Real World Economics.
November 1, 2016 ... US managed austerity : Workers have received almost none of the gains of increased productivity since 1975 … Productivity has more than doubled, while workers received none of the gains.
The old Soviet Union collapsed when backroom central planning squeezed all it could from the population with austerity. An eerie parallel between the US and the old USSR is that most of the general population as well as central planners accept skillful propaganda over reality and science.
Centrally planned corporatism in the United States is following an austerity path similar to the old Soviet Union, as the graph above clearly shows. The main difference between the situation faced by the US today and the USSR of the 1980's is that central planners guiding the US economy are facing environmental and climate collapse at the same time that eternal war absorbs more and more of the economy for destruction rather than positive social growth and a stronger nation. Read more here
October 30, 2016 ... US Navy vs. Truth-out : "The Navy's Use of Depleted Uranium in Our Coastal Waters Threatens Humans, Wildlife.” Is the Navy destroying Earth even during practice war games? Is the US Navy lying or is it Truth-out? Decide for yourself, read the full Truth-out investigation of Navy shelling US with depleted uranium here.
from Friends of the Earth full report; food retailer grades, page 22
October 28, 2016 ... Syria : A June 1995 report to Congress by the Army’s Environmental Policy Institute (AEPI) concluded: “Depleted uranium is a radioactive waste and, as such, should be deposited in a licensed repository.”
In spite of this cautionary written record, the military has been shooting its radioactive waste all over the world: into population centers in Iraq in 1991 (380 tons), in Afghanistan in 2001 (amounts unknown); in Bosnia in 1994-‘95 (five tons); in Kosovo in 1999 (10 tons), in Iraq again in 2003 (170 tons); and now in Syria.
Today, the Pentagon extends the ghastly history of depleted Uranium weapons into Syria where it is deliberately exposing human beings to weaponized radiation that it knows can cause cancer and other diseases. As if the undeclared, unconstitutional war in Syria weren’t unlawful enough, now add the crime of using poison in violation of military law and the Hague Regulations of War on Land. Complete article here
Return note from a Veteran for Peace ... G, there is nothing depleted about Uranium munitions. What is much worse and not talked about is how much of this stuff has been fired at our own firing ranges. When I was in the navy we fired this shit along the american coast all the time. I have spoken to tank guys who tell similar stories. Peace Eric
October 27, 2016 … Dakota Access Pipeline : The two largest pipeline owners – Enbridge Energy Partners (EEP) and Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) – cost taxpayers as much as $665 million in 2015, by avoiding corporate taxes. Furthermore, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) allows pipeline companies to charge their customers for some of those avoided taxes, meaning that EEP and ETP can pass along to customers a “cost” they never paid in the first place, in a double whammy to taxpayers and ratepayers. The companies also benefit from additional state and federal tax breaks and subsidies.
FERC was pushing a Kinder-Morgan fracked gas a pipeline in Massachusetts that would have been paid for by electricity customers throughout the state. This pipeline project was abandoned when citizens started asking this question; "What kind of economic system is it when the people buy a pipeline for corporations?" Especially when those corporations will then ship the gas through an exporting LNG tanker port and thus raise the price paid by the very people that bought the pipeline for the energy corporations.
The Massachusetts pipeline was also a sneaky government's way to derail Massachusetts from a nascent renewable energy culture that is rapidly gearing up to replace coal, oil and fracked gas, which was falsely sold as a clean bridge fuel to a low carbon future but is actually dirtier than coal.
In the case of Massachusetts it was proved that FERC and the Massachusetts Public Utilities Commission were in alliance against the people in a system that closely mirrored the old state corporations in communist Russia.
Super tankers loaded with liquified fracked gas would have plowed through whale civilization off Massachusetts on the way to Europe after being filled by Kinder-Morgan pipelines. Whales living off the coast north of Vancouver, British Columbia face the same threat with cooperation from Justine Trudeau, the handsome young prime minister of Canada. He is also pushing a Kinder-Morgan semi communist style pipeline gift to the energy companies that terminates at a new LNG harbor at the mouth of the richest salmon breeding river anywhere on Earth. read more here
October 26, 2016 ... European Heart Journal : Long-term exposure to air pollution is linked to a greater incidence of high blood pressure, according to the largest study to investigate the effects of both air pollution and traffic noise by following over 41,000 people in five different countries for five to nine years.
This study is one of the first to investigate both air pollution and traffic noise simultaneously and it found that traffic noise is associated with an increase in cases of hypertension as well. read more here
October 26, 2016 ... Geneva : Global campaign to limit corporate power. This is a historic opportunity to give concrete tools to the affected communities seeking justice for the crimes of transnational corporations.
Global Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power in the ongoing negotiations of the Open Ended Inter Governmental Working Group (OEIWG), at United Nations, to come up with a Legally Binding Treaty for countries to prosecute and hold to account Transnational Corporations that engage in human rights violations.
read more about people affected by corporate crimes here
October 25, 2016 ... Iraq : Oil and sulfer war fires near Mosul
Link to Original NASA satellite view
The World Bank says that, globally, approximately 140 billion cubic meters of natural gas produced together with oil are burned or flared off each year — adding 350 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere.
Iraq is now one of the world’s leading gas-flaring countries: a lack of pipelines and infrastructure means that its gas is mostly burned off. Meanwhile the country has been forced to import large amounts of gas from neighboring Iran in order to meet its energy needs.
This socioeconomic geo political irony is a first in history. see truthdig report and collected research links
October 24, 2016 ... From “Ecology and Socialism” by Chris Williams pp. 124; The subject is the absurdity of carbon offset schemes:
Ideologically, there is something very significant going on. Carbon trading supports the concept that it is okay to keep polluting by creating, of all things, a market in pollution. Trading pollution and earning pollution credits for carbon offsets has been well satirized by the website cheatneutral.com [quoted below]:
“When you cheat on your partner you add to the heartbreak, pain and jealousy in the atmosphere. Cheatneutral offsets your cheating by funding someone else to be faithful and NOT cheat. This neutralizes the pain and unhappy emotion and leaves you with a clear conscience … When you use Cheatneutral we’ll mail you a Cheatneutral Offset Certificate, so you can prove to your loved one that your playing away has been successfully offset. Then you and your partner are both happy, a broken heart is mended, and you can feel good about yourself once again, all thanks to Cheatneutral.”
October 24, 2016 ... China : Diving Contest - 27 meters
Original Chinese news site
October 2, 2016 ... Real World Economics : The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, usually — incorrectly — referred to as the Nobel Prize in Economics, is an award for outstanding contributions to the field of economics. The Prize in Economics was established and endowed by Sweden’s central bank Sveriges Riksbank in 1968 on the occasion of the bank’s 300th anniversary. The first award was given in 1969. The award this year is presented in Stockholm at a ceremony on Monday 10 October.
Out of the 76 laureates that have been awarded “The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel,” 28 have been affiliated to The University of Chicago — that is 37 %. Of all laureates, 80% have been from the US (by birth or by naturalisation). Only 7% of the laureates have come from outside North America or Western Europe. Only 1 woman has got the prize. The world is really a small place when it comes to economics …
Looking at whom the prize is given to, says quite a lot about what kind of prize this is .., but looking at whom the prize is not given to, says perhaps even more.
The great Romanian-American mathematical statistician and economist Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen (1906-1994) argued in his epochal The Entropy Law and the Economic Process (1971) that the economy was actually a giant thermodynamic system in which entropy increases inexorably and our material basis disappears. If we choose to continue to produce with the techniques we have developed, then our society and earth will disappear faster than if we introduce small-scale production, resource-saving technologies and limited consumption.
Following Georgescu-Roegen, ecological economists have argued that industrial society inevitably leads to increased environmental pollution, energy crisis and an unsustainable growth.
The ‘Nobel prize’ in economics is — and has always been — a total disaster from both a scientific and social point of view ….. read more here
September 27, 2016 ... World Health Organization :
A new WHO air quality model confirms that 92% of the world's population lives in places where air quality levels exceed WHO limits. Some 3 million deaths a year are linked to exposure to outdoor air pollution. Indoor air pollution can be just as deadly. In 2012, an estimated 6.5 million deaths (11.6% of all global deaths) were associated with indoor and outdoor air pollution together. full report here
September 5, 2016 .... Xinhua, China : Chinese scientists convert sand into soil with new method
A 1.6-hectare sandy plot in Ulan Buh Desert in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, north China, has been transformed into fertile land, yielding rice, corn, tomatoes, watermelon and sunflowers, after being treated by the new method. [Photo/www.cqnews.net]
A team of researchers from Chongqing Jiaotong University has developed a paste made of plant cellulose that, when added to sand, helps it retain water, nutrients and air.
The paste is non-toxic, environmentally friendly, cheap, and suitable for mass production, they said. The cost of sand conversion is between 22,500 yuan and 40,500 yuan (3,373 to 6,071 U.S. dollars) per hectare, Yi said. (1,366 to 2,713 U.S. dollars per acre).
Enabling plants to thrive in deserts just like in soil is a major breakthrough said, Li Jia'na, with the China Agro-technological Extension Association. Despite the lack of rainfall, Ulan Buh Desert has abundant underground water reserves, perfect to support irrigation.
Large-scale desert control through the sand-to-soil conversion "must take into consideration the risks of excessive or undue exploitation of underground water resources," the paper said.
August 29, 2016 .... China : eastern Chinese city of Yiwu, home to the world's leading small commodities market, saw its first freight train leave for Afghanistan on Sunday.
It is the fifth cargo train route linking Yiwu to Europe or Asia. Cargo train routes already in service connect Yiwu with countries including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Spain, Iran, and Russia.
The train, hauling 100 containers of goods worth more than US$4 million, will arrive at Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan via Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. A single trip is 7,500 km and takes 15 days, half the time needed for maritime transportation. The service is expected to run weekly by the end of this year.
The northern Afghanistan city of Mazar-i-Sharif is a key commercial center near the border with Uzbekistan. It also serves as a logistics hub for the entire Middle East. The new freight route is expected to help upgrade trade cooperation between China and the region.
Trade between Yiwu and Afghanistan amounted to US$20.2 million in 2015, representing year-on-year growth of 2,284.5 percent. The total import-export volume reached US$18.3 million during the first half of this year, up by 4,683 percent compared with the same period last year, according to the local bureau of commerce. original Chinese report here
August 19, 2016 .... Africa — International Monetary Fund : Defend Democracy Press has reproduced this analysis from Pambazuka News, 21 July 2016.
An internal IMF report admitting the destructive nature of neoliberalism may have come too late for many African countries. The neoliberal structural adjustment programmes have led to economic hardships, political instability and conflicts in most African countries where they have been implemented.
For decades African countries have been forced by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to implement neoliberal policies, including opening their markets to foreign competition, reducing the role of the state in providing basic services and abolishing subsidies to the poor.
However, an IMF internal paper published in July for the first time admits that the neoliberal reforms prescribed by the Bretton Woods organisations are flawed, have increased inequality and have not necessarily delivered economic growth.
The report, headlined “Neoliberalism: Oversold” is written by three leading IMF economists – Jonathan Ostry, Prakash Loungani and Davide Furceri. The report says new research on the impact of neoliberal policies on recipient countries has led to “disquieting conclusions” for the World Bank, IMF and proponents of neoliberalism.
The IMF report specifically looks at two aspects of neoliberal reforms: the removal of barriers to capital flows, called capital account liberalization, and reducing public spending aimed at cutting fiscal deficits and public debt, called fiscal consolidation, or more commonly austerity.
The report makes three devastating conclusions: One, that the neoliberal reform programme has not delivered increased economic growth. Secondly, neoliberal reforms have increased inequality. And thirdly, the increased inequality caused by neoliberal reforms has in turn undermined the level and sustainability of economic growth.... Expanded report here
August 17, 2016 .... Nature | News Feature : Bottles, bags, ropes and toothbrushes: the struggle to track ocean plastics.
Kamilo beach, on the tip of Hawaii’s Big Island, is a remote tropical shore. It has white sand, powerful waves and cannot be reached by road. It has, in fact, much that an idyllic tropical beach should have. But there is one inescapable issue: it is regularly carpeted with plastic.
Bottles, fishing nets, ropes, shoes and toothbrushes are among the tons of waste washed up here, thanks to a combination of ocean currents and local eddies. A study in 2011 reported that the top sand layer could be up to 30% plastic by weight1. It has been called the dirtiest beach in the world, and is a startling and visible demonstration of how much plastic detritus humanity has dumped into the world’s oceans.
From Arctic to Antarctic, from surface to sediment, in every marine environment where scientists have looked, they have found plastic. Global production of plastics rises every year — it is now up to around 300 million tonnes — and much of it eventually ends up in the ocean. Complete article here
August 15, 2016 .... Alternet report : Some people argue that bottled water just tastes better. But that, it turns out, is just a perception. The nonprofit group Ban the Bottle found that "countless" taste tests conducted by Corporate Accountability International’s Think Outside the Bottle campaign and various media outlets showed people could not tell the difference between the two:”
Ultimately, however, the point isn’t whether one tastes better than the other—it’s how our tastes are shaped by advertising, rather than by what’s good for us. Between 10 and 15 percent of the price of a bottle of water goes to cover advertising costs. We not only buy their myths, it turns out we pay extra for them... Expanded report here
The price for bottled water according to Business Insider, noting that almost 2/3 of all bottled water sales are single 500 mL bottles, is about $7.50 per gallon, according to the American Water Works Association. That’s almost 2,000x the cost of a gallon of tap water and twice the cost of a gallon of regular gasoline... see Business Insider here
August 10, 2016 .... Harvard University : Researchers find unsafe levels of industrial chemicals in drinking water of 6 million Americans. Drinking water supplies serving more than six million Americans contain unsafe levels of a widely used class of industrial chemicals linked to potentially serious health problems, according to a new study from Harvard University researchers. “Virtually all Americans are exposed to these compounds,” said Xindi Hu, the study’s lead author. “They never break down. Once they are released into the environment, they are there.”
194 of 4,864 water supplies across nearly three dozen states had detectable levels of the chemicals. Sixty-six of those water supplies, serving about six million people, had at least one sample that exceeded the EPA's recommended safety limit of 70 parts per trillion for two types of chemicals — perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Expanded report here
August 8, 2016 .... McKinsey Global Institute : The real incomes of about two-thirds of households in 25 advanced economies were flat or fell between 2005 and 2014.
The United States was able to reduce the fall of real income from 81% of the people to less than 2% by using deficit spending for transfer payments and tax cuts. Full report here
August 7, 2016 .... France : Earth overshoot day occurs earlier each year. This is the day when the world economy overshoots Earth's ability to resupply and recycle wastes. Greenhouse gasses, water pollution and specie extinction are among the primary overshoots. The word economy requires 1.6 Earths.
If every one on Earth lived like the US, the world economy would require 4.8 Earths — 5.4 Earths if we all lived like Australians. France and the UK operate at about a three Earth consumption level. Full report here
August 6, 2016 .... Qaladize, Kurdistan Region : Kurdish and Iranian authorities have reported that in less than two weeks they will reopen crossing routes for local smugglers who transport and trade a variety of goods between the two countries.
Local villagers, mainly from the Iranian side, have been carrying goods and commercial items to sell on both sides of the border. This act has been deemed illegal by Iran.
However, according to Aziz Hassani Nalousi, the mayor of the Kurdish city of Sardasht, the locals will be given special licenses to be able to carry on their border crossings on foot and avoid the risk of being stopped by border guards.
Nalousi said that the decision to reopen the border and license the villagers has come from Iran’s interior ministry in Tehran and is supposed to go into effect in 10 days. Read more here
August 3, 2016 .... the Netherlands : Privatized water and sewage companies are being taken back by communities all over the world. The main reasons are poor quality and service plus higher costs of private corporations. TPP and TTIP are seen as corporate sponsored treaties attempting to subvert this trend.
"This report," stated lead editor Satoko Kishimoto of TNI, "shows that water privatization, which has been promoted so heavily in recent years, is increasingly being rejected by cities worldwide after years of failed promises, poor services, and high prices."
Public reclamation of water services has demonstrated clear benefits to communities, the researchers write, thereby "contradict[ing] neoliberal theorists, international financial institutions, and their expectations of superior private sector performance." Read more here
August 1, 2016 .... England : Requiring U.K. consumers to pay 5 pence (7 U.S. cents) for a plastic shopping bag yields an almost 90 percent drop in plastic bag use.
Charging people for choosing a plastic bag will be a healthy for Earth’s seas. Around eight million tons of plastic makes its way into oceans each year globally, which is ingested by 31 species of marine mammals and more than 100 species of sea birds, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said in a statement on Saturday. Read more here
July 28, 2016 .... Kurdistan, Giving birth to Earth's most modern democracy : In Pictures — Slideshow walk through Sulaimani's downtown market.
July 19. 2016 ... San Diego, California : The San Diego City Council on Tuesday voted 6-3 to ban single-use plastic bags at large grocery stores, pharmacies and corner markets — becoming the 150th municipality in California to eliminate single-use plastic bags in certain stores, food retailers. read more here - Vivir bien
July 12, 2016 ... Baton Rouge, Louisiana :
police bounce off cosmic powered woman
above photo by Jonathan Bachman/ Reuters
The green uniform approached rapidly as state police bounced. The state police person on cosmic powered woman's left broke his elbow armor when he bounced off the pavement.
Shining with a chocolate copper sun glow, cosmic woman immediately appraised the danger of an approaching trooper with multiple crowd mower ammo clips plainly visible in his quiver and leg pockets. She quickly agreed to let the state police up — If they would kindly take her to their leader.
The state policeman to cosmic powered woman’s right can be seen limping with a painful bend to his right side; the side he bounced on. She is pulling them toward their leader. No pressure dimple from the state policeman's left thumb on her right shoulder clearly indicates he is being pulled.
The clear-skin state police person’s face above cosmic woman's right shoulder is visible via his flipped up visor. He is unabashedly entranced under the powerful spell of cosmic beauty. He, too, is being pulled toward her. As is the attention of the silver haired leader. Note: Unconfirmed anonymous unauthorized to speak reports identify the line officer ogling cosmic powered woman as the son of the field commander, with the same style dark glasses.
The state reserve person wearing green appears to be returning to his unit somewhat distractedly while reading instructions from a small square interbrain projection unit transmitting into his left eye from the bridge of his nose.
The silver haired field leader is accompanied by a hooded priest in gray and a woman facing him wearing a baseball style cap. She will be the temporary custodian of the cosmic powered woman riding a spiritual wave toward them.
"I took a stand in Baton Rouge because enough is enough." Cosmic woman as quoted by the Guardian.
July 11, 2016 ... University of Exeter, UK: Subtropical Cornwall climate could mean exotic new crops
The University of Exeter in Exeter, Devon, and Falmouth, Cornwall, UK, offers research and study in sciences, social sciences, business, humanities and arts. Researchers from the Environment and Sustainability Institute in Penryn, Cornwall, have developed new techniques for modeling local microclimates.
The subtropical weather in Cornwall means new exotic crops such as quinoa and Japanese persimmon are now more likely to succeed, according to a new technique developed by University of Exeter experts to monitor the climate.
Parts of Cornwall have become subtropical since 2000 and this means new exotic crops such as quinoa and Japanese persimmon are now more likely to succeed, according to a new technique developed by University of Exeter experts to monitor the climate. read more about Cornwall here - Vivir bien
July 7, 2016 ... Penn State: Bees' ability to forage decreases as air pollution increases.
Air pollutants interact with and break down plant-emitted scent molecules, which insect pollinators use to locate needed food, according to a team of researchers led by Penn State. Plant-emitted hydrocarbons break down through chemical interactions with certain air pollutants such as ozone. This breakdown process results in the creation of more air pollutants, including hydroxyl and nitrate radicals, which further increase the breakdown rate of plant odors.
Penn State researchers are pointing to a similar phenomena described below with regard to Greenfield's Town Council, Mayor's Office, the Recorder newspaper and the civic group, Greening Greenfield — All are supporting the burning of Greenfield's plastic waste in an ethnic neighborhood of color, see below, June 4, 2016, last paragraph. An additional complexity is photo-active chemical reactions too complicated and numerous for research budgets.
read more about bees here - Vivir bien
July 6, 2016 ... Editor: Human efforts will show the beginning of control over global climate collapse by 2025 or the likelihood of human extinction becomes close to certain. Environmental collapse is the #1 issue world-wide. Runaway damage to Earth’s life support systems after 2025 will be too large to cope with. Two presidential terms from now.*
The US government is the world’s largest single polluter.
The US military is the largest polluter of US government and undermines national security with disregard for Earth's life support systems.
*note the May 24th entry below; yellow line turning toward safety from red danger, still at high warning level, just beginning to show in 2025.
June 18, 2016 ... United States : Congressional Representative Tulsi Gabbard has introduced HR 4108 - To prohibit the use of funds for the provision of assistance to Syrian opposition groups and individuals. Today she asked everyone to call their representative and request support for this bill to end the the regime change war in Syria.
read more here Vivir bien Aloha
June 9, 2016 ... Union of Concerned Scientists : For decades, we’ve been working to reduce global warming emissions, increase use of clean energy, and hold fossil fuel companies accountable for spreading misinformation about climate science. But polluters and their political allies are fighting hard to maintain the status quo. From tying up power plant emission reductions in court to demanding UCS turn over years of documentation about our work to expose ExxonMobil's history of deception on global warming—their heightened attacks are an indication of just how effective our work together has been! But we can’t let up now. We need your help to keep fighting for a clean energy future. read more here Vivir bien
June 3, 2016 ... Upsala University, Sweden : For the first time, scientists have now been able to show that development of fish is threatened by microplastic pollution … The microplastic particle levels tested in the current study are similar to what is found in many coastal habitats in Sweden and elsewhere in the world today … Larval perch exposed to environmentally relevant concentrations of microplastic polystyrene particles displayed stunted growth rates. read more here Vivir bien
May 27, 2016 ... Puerto Rico owes US nothing : A colony of the US is not responsible for debts piled up by crony capitalists who controlled the colony. Debts under colonialism are invalid. The US owes reparations to Puerto Rico. read more here Vivir bien
May 24, 2016 ... editor : Liberation from austerity imposed on unsuspecting nations by cunning force? Is that particular shedding all that is necessary for survival of a mature sentient specie that suddenly realizes it is about to die?
2025 marks the turning point — Will human actions to stay alive begin to show?
May 17, 2016 ... Massachusetts supreme court : State government must consider the longer view of youth and cut even more CO2 — For the health and safety of youth and their children. See Our Children's Trust and CommonDreams
May 15, 2016 ... Real World Economics : "No matter how many stories I tell about thought control in economics, students and colleagues in other disciplines simply don’t believe me." Professor David Ruccio "They don’t understand the restrictions on the professors in many economics departments and even the strict surveillance of what can be taught to students in basic economics classes." Read more here Vivir bien
May 7, 2016 ... Santa Barbara, California : Dive and dock volunteers cleaned tons of junk from the floor of Santa Barbara Harbor and sorted it into waste bins. Dozens of volunteers put in some hefty work to retrieve mounds of rubbish from 10 - 20 feet deep and had great fun doing it. Read more here Vivir bien
China's container policy pivot to the Atlantic
Fully operational & free trade
spice trails reopen
This train started in Yiwu near the Pacific Coast of China loaded with toys and machinery. It returned to China from Spain loaded with wine, olive oil and hams. It was a 16,000 mile round trip on the new Yixin'ou cargo line to the Spanish capital Madrid - 26,000 kilometers. Read more here Vivir bien