Archive for the ‘CRITICAL’ Category

2015 was Hottest Year on Record

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016


Bloomberg Business — To say that 2015 was hot is an understatement. The average recorded temperature across the surface of the planet was so far above normal that it set a record for setting records.

The year was more than a quarter of a degree Fahrenheit warmer than the last global heat record—set all the way back in 2014—according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration figures released on Wednesday. A quarter of a degree may not sound like much, but on a planetary scale it’s a huge leap. Most previous records were measured by hundredths of a degree.

A powerful El Niño is largely responsible for the year’s extremes, but make no mistake: This is what global warming looks like. Temperatures are rising 10 times faster than during the bounce back from the last ice age. Fifteen of the hottest 16 years on record have come in the 21st century. …

The heat during 2015 was relentless. Monthly records were broken for every month except January (second hottest) and April (third hottest), according to data from NOAA. The year ended with an exclamation point in December, recording the most extreme departure for any month on record.

Results from the world’s top monitoring agencies vary slightly, but NASA, NOAA, the Japan Meteorological Agency, and the U.K.’s Met Office all agree: 2015 was unprecedented. The heat was experienced differently around the world, but most regions were unusually warm to downright scorching for much of the year. (01/20/2016)


Time to Grow Up?

Monday, November 30th, 2015
Apples with the Paris 2015 logo (Image: UNFCCC)

Organisers hope the Paris talks will be a vintage year and will bear fruit. (UNFCCC)

BBC News — Reports: Negotiators from 195 countries will try to reach a deal within two weeks aimed at reducing global carbon emissions and limiting global warming to 2C (3.6F).

Leaders from 147 nations have been addressing the meeting, known as COP21.

President Obama urged negotiators to deliver a meaningful deal, because the “next generation is watching”.

He told delegates: “Climate change could define the contours of this century more than any other (challenge).

“I came here personally to say the United States not only recognises the problem but is committed to do something about it.” He added that recent years had shown that the global economy had grown while emissions had remained flat, breaking the old arguments for inaction “that economic growth and environmental protection were in conflict”. (11/30/2015)


Synergic Containment: Science and Rationale

Saturday, November 28th, 2015

Synergic Containment of an Adversary EventFuture PositiveTimothy Wilken, MD writes: Synergy at its most basic simply means “working together.”Synergic science is then the study of “working together.” As science has progressed in helping us understand the human condition, it is now clear that we are an interdependent species. Sometimes I depend on others, and sometimes others depend on me. Another important fact of being in interdependent species is we share the same environment—the same reality. At home, we share the same living space with friends or family. If I turn the heater thermostat up, the room will become warmer for everyone. Control of that reality is shared. If I start yelling and screaming, things will get much noisier for everyone. Control of that reality is shared. If I make a mess or don’t clean up the kitchen, then we are all living in that mess. This is just as true in the workplace, our neighborhoods, our communities, and in fact in the whole world. We live on a single planet, we all share the same water, the same air and the same resources of the single small planet. Because control of reality is shared, if I foul the water or air, I foul your water and your air. Whatever I do, will effect you. Whatever you do, will effect me. If we work together and act responsibly, we can minimize the harm we do each other, and maximize the benefits of solving our problems together. Freedom of action in a shared environment is a privilege, not a right. When we use Synergic Containment to protect a child, we are teaching the child that in a shared environment, he is free to act as long as those actions do not hurt others. We are teaching him to work together and act responsibly. Synergic containment is probably most attractive to parents because it is a technique to control adversary behavior when you love and care about the individual behaving adversarily. Most parents love and care about their children. Containment is about protecting both the victim and the aggressor. It does this by stopping adversary behavior. Now synergic containment could be used just as effectively outside the family. (11/28/15)


A Flaw in the Monetary System?

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

MonNetA — The Money Network Alliance was founded in 2003, in response to the need for a professional networking entity for research, development and the support of complementary currencies and new money systems.  (08/07/2013)




Weakening the Planet with Deforestation

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Channel billed toucanBBC Ecology Science — The destruction of tropical rainforests is having an even greater impact on the environment than was previously thought, a study suggests. Scientists have found that deforestation in Brazil is causing trees to produce smaller, weaker seeds that are less likely to regenerate.

They believe this has been triggered by the loss of large birds from the forests, which have beaks big enough to feed on and disperse the seeds. The study is published in Science.

Pedro Jordano, from the Donana Biological Station in Seville, Spain, said: “One of our major surprises was how rapidly deforestation could not only be influencing the disappearance of the fauna, but to observe how deforestation could influence the evolution of the plant traits so rapidly – within a few generations.”

Brazil’s Atlantic rainforest was once home to a vibrant array of plants and animals. But with the arrival of sugar and coffee plantations in the early part of the 19th Century, it was rapidly destroyed.

Today, just 12% of the original forest remains. To assess the impact, researchers looked at more than 9,000 seeds collected from palm trees throughout the rainforest. Those taken from areas that had suffered heavy destruction were much smaller than seeds collected in undisturbed patches of forest.

The researchers considered a wide array of factors that might have led to the shrinkage, such as the climate, soil fertility and forest cover. “But we found no evidence for any of those effects,” explained Prof Jordano, who carried out the research with Sao Paulo State University, in Brazil. “The main factor was the disappearance of the large frugivore (fruit-eating) species.”

Usually, species such as the toucan and cotinga use their large beaks to eat the fruit, eventually spreading the seeds throughout the forest. But as the rainforest was flattened, these birds vanished, leaving smaller birds behind such as the thrush.

By evolving to produce smaller fruits, which birds with tinier beaks could handle, they were more likely to be dispersed.

However the researchers found these seeds were weaker. “Unfortunately the smaller seed size also means a lower probability for successful recruitment in the forest,” said Prof Jordano. “Smaller seeds are less likely to germinate, they are prone to losses by desiccation and they are more quickly attacked by fungi.” He added that projected climate change could render rainforests drier and hotter, making the survival of the seeds even less likely. (06/03/2013)


Giving New Meaning to being Pro Life

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

BBC Life Sciences — A stocktake of UK nature suggests 60% of animal and plant species studied have declined in the past 50 years. The State of Nature report, compiled by 25 wildlife organisations – from the RSPB to the British Lichen Society – collates assessments of 3,148 species. Conservationists hope it will offer clues to the fate of the UK’s 59,000 species. Beetles and wildlfowers are among the most vulnerable species.

According to the document, reasons for the decline are “many and varied” but include rising temperatures and habitat degradation. …

Turtle dove, hedgehog, harbour seal, early bumblebee, small tortoiseshell butterfly, natterjack toad (c) NaturePL / Photoshot / RSPB / Butterfly Conservation

“This ground-breaking report is a stark warning – but it is also a sign of hope,” said naturalist Sir David Attenborough, who launches the report today.

“We have in this country a network of passionate conservation groups supported by millions of people who love wildlife,” he said.

“The experts have come together today to highlight the amazing nature we have around us and to ensure that it remains here for generations to come.” …

The State of Nature report outlines a new “watchlist indicator” which charts how populations of these species have fared in the last 50 years and the overall trend is a 77% decline, despite successes for some including bitterns and adonis blue butterflies.

A further 6,225 UK species have been assessed according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List criteria, 12% of which are considered under threat of extinction. The highest number of threatened species are found within the flowering plants but bees, flies, moths and butterflies each have more than 200 listed. (05-22-2013)


Remember the Scottish Wildcat ?

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

From the Scottish Wildcat AssociationBBC Animal Science — A scientist who has developed a genetic test to identify pure Scottish wildcats has warned that the species could be extinct within two years. Dr Paul O’Donoghue said cross breeding with feral and hybrid cats made extinction a certainty unless “urgent” conservation activity took place. The University of Chester biologist said pure wildcats should be trapped. He also suggested that private individuals could be keeping the “very best” wildcats as pets. The senior lecturer in biology asked for these people to come forward and help with the conservation effort.

In remote and rural parts of the Highlands it is known for people to take wildcats that visit their properties into their care. Dr O’Donoghue and his team have developed a test that can look at a small blood sample and scan all of the 63,000 genes that make up any individual cat. …

The biologist said the species was now one of the rarest in the world. He said it was of the “utmost importance” that large scale live trapping took place and cats found to be pure-bred wildcats then be placed in protected areas in the west Highlands.

In September last year, conservationists forecast that Scottish wildcats would be extinct in the wild within months as numbers of pure-bred cats had fallen to about 35 individuals. (05/22/2013)


How the Fed Could Fix the Economy—and Why It Hasn’t

Saturday, March 16th, 2013 of Minds Ellen Brown writes: Quantitative easing (QE) is supposed to stimulate the economy by adding money to the money supply, increasing demand. But so far, it hasn’t been working. Why not? Because as practiced for the last two decades, QE does not actually increase the circulating money supply. It merely cleans up the toxic balance sheets of banks. A real “helicopter drop” that puts money into the pockets of consumers and businesses has not yet been tried. Why not?  Another good question . . .

When Ben Bernanke gave his famous helicopter money speech to the Japanese in 2002, he was not yet chairman of the Federal Reserve.  He said then that the government could easily reverse a deflation, just by printing money and dropping it from helicopters. “The U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or, today, its electronic equivalent),” he said, “that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost.” Later in the speech he discussed “a money-financed tax cut,” which he said was “essentially equivalent to Milton Friedman’s famous ‘helicopter drop’ of money.” Deflation could be cured, said Professor Friedman, simply by dropping money from helicopters.

It seemed logical enough. If the money supply were insufficient for the needs of trade, the solution was to add money to it. Most of the circulating money supply consists of “bank credit” created by banks when they make loans. When old loans are paid off faster than new loans are taken out (as is happening today), the money supply shrinks. The purpose of QE is to reverse this contraction.

But if debt deflation is so easy to fix, then why have the Fed’s massive attempts to pull this maneuver off failed to revive the economy? And why is Japan still suffering from deflation after 20 years of quantitative easing? (03/16/2013)


Climate Change is Real

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

Climate ChangeLearnStuff — Allison Lee writes: Thanks to extensive research and noticeable changes in weather and storm prevalence, it’s getting harder to turn a blind eye to the reality of climate change. Since the Industrial Age spurred the increasing usage of fossil fuels for energy production, the weather has been warming slowly. In fact, since 1880, the temperature of the earth has increased by 1 degree Celsius.

Although 72% of media outlets report on global warming with a skeptical air, the overwhelming majority of scientists believe that the extreme weather of the last decade is at least partially caused by global warming. Some examples of climate calamities caused partly by global warming include: Hurricane Katrina, drought in desert countries, Hurricane Sandy, and tornadoes in the Midwest.

These storms, droughts, and floods are causing death and economic issues for people all over the world – many of whom cannot afford to rebuild their lives from the ground up after being wiped out by a tsunami or other disaster.

Evidence also indicates that the face of the Earth is changing because of warming trends. The ice caps of the Arctic are noticeably shrinking, the ice cap of Mt. Kilimanjaro alone has shrunk by 85% in the last hundred years, and the sea levels are rising at the rate of about 3 millimeters per year because of all the melting ice. Climate change is also affecting wildlife – for instance, Arctic polar bears are at risk of losing their environment; the Golden Toad has gone extinct; and the most adaptable species are evolving into new versions capable of withstanding warmer water. (03/03/13)


The Recreation

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

File:Creación de Adán.jpgCommUnity of Minds — Don Halcom writes: In the next sixty years the entire world will be forced to re-create itself. This is not a prophecy of doom but a fact.  The single event that will require this re-creation is the exhaustion of fossil fuels. The world consumption of energy per capita grows faster, with respect to time, than the population growth. This predicts the exhaustion of fossil fuels sooner than the optimists calculate.

The entire infrastructure created by the exploitation of fossil fuels will have to be replaced by a new one. Literally everything will need to be changed. The clothes we wear, the food we eat, the houses we live in, the lights we use, the heat we need, the transportation we use, the roads we use, the medicines we need, the energy we use — everything about the infrastructure will have to be re-created.  We are that dependent upon fossil fuels.

The desperation of this event cannot be minimized. Politicians, economists, businessmen, philosophies, governments, armies or the clergy will not solve this problem. Only one institution has any chance of performing this re-creation and that is science. Without science, all the other institutions are useless for this task.

Science and the exploitation of fossil fuels created our current infrastructure. Science and something new will have to re-create a new infrastructure. Any other path will only lead to a total collapse of modern civilization. If you believe that this is an exaggeration, then you are part of a group that does not understand the current world we live in. It is very easy to take our surroundings for granted and assume they will always be the same. The existential event that is about to confront mankind will swamp any other disaster in the history of the world. If you do not believe me just hide and watch it happen. If you do believe me then get involved with the re-creation. Procrastination will only lead to a condition that will not allow the re-creation to occur in a peaceful manner. We must have sufficient motive, resources and time to accomplish the re-creation. It is a problem of bootstrapping ourselves to a new world. …

The most important conclusion is that massive energy consumption is the creator of population growth. We cannot support 7 billion people (or more) without the use of fossil fuels energy. There is only a finite amount of sunshine and land to create the future energy requirements.

We must reduce our current crude oil energy equivalent consumption by an estimated 80%. About 20% of our current crude oil energy consumption should support a world population of about 1 billion with a life style similar to our current system.

Here is the most difficult part to execute; we must initiate controlled population reduction in a planned way over about the next sixty year from about 7 billion to about 1 billion. Population should stabilize at about 1 billion. Our grand children demand it. Religion will be the major obstacle here. In my opinion, wars are not ethical solutions.

About 12% of the earth’s agricultural land could be devoted to BioDiesel production. This is about four times the current land used for cooking oils. Remember that at least 60% of the earth’s agricultural land is required to maintain the current status quo of crude oil based energy equivalence. I did not include coal and natural gas in these calculations which will also become exhausted in the future. To replace the latter two will require even more agricultural land. The game only gets more intractable. We will have to determine the plants we want to use to replace the coal and natural gas. Got any good ideas? I will guarantee that no “computer” scientist or economist or banker or politician or stock market analyst or pure mathematician or justice of the Supreme Court will solve these problems.

Diesel engines and jet turbines will be the only engines in the future. Electric motors/generators will also be used.

We are no longer going to have the energy resources to employ all of our current working population when fossil fuels become extinct. We are already seeing hints of this. All of the infrastructure will be smaller as well as the goods for sale from such a system. All of economics is the result of the real physics of the planet and not the reverse. We can only use what we are given.

Failure to abide by the above suggestions will result in the ugliest set of wars we can imagine and will kill most of our grand children in a short period of time. Stupidity is not an excuse.

I apologize for presenting such a dark calamity but it is better to know about it now than to wake up one morning and find WWIII erupting outside our windows. It will happen if we do not wisely execute the transformation of our existing infrastructure and that begins now, not 50 years from now. Time and resources are the enemies.

I fully realize that our current ways of thinking and living are opposed to this transformation ever occurring. We do not live on a planet chocked full of infinite resources. I repeat; stupidity is not an excuse. Our current crop of politicians and economist may, in fact, be that stupid. Infinite growth requires infinite resources which do not exist on this planet. If your daddy told you that this is not true, then your daddy was wrong. Do your own thinking. Make it scientific thinking this time and not just another fairy tale about the princess and the knight in shining armor living happily ever after. We cannot have everything, we only imagine we can. This is dangerous thinking. The world is changing too rapidly to day dream about the good old days. Make our dreams about tomorrow realistic. Please help modulate our lusts. (01/09/2013)