We aggregate important news
Today's posts in bigger type––>.
Prior 2/3-days posts in small type.
Britain’s wealthiest green energy businessman, Dale Vince, calls for ban on coal-fired power generation, scrapping VAT on electric vehicles, a ‘cow tax’ and more
A paper, published in Biogeosciences, describes 100-mile-long eddies of swirling water spinning their way across the Atlantic for months at a time.
The group of researchers led by Dr Johannes Karstensen have suggested that: ‘the eddies propagate westward, at about four to five kilometres per day, from their generation region off the west African coast into the open ocean.’
The Antarctic’s glaciers are in retreat, risking a catastrophic rise in sea levels. Glacier expert Andy Smith is one of the team trying to prevent a meltdown by braving this frozen wasteland
Tesla launches a stationary battery aimed at companies with variable electricity rates and homes with solar panels.
Seeking to expand its business beyond electric vehicles, Tesla Motors will sell stationary batteries for residential, commercial, and utility use under a new brand, Tesla Energy.
Such a large investment in what is still a niche market is risky, but Tesla claims that the new factory will cut battery costs by 30 percent when it begins operations, as early as 2016. Tesla’s biggest challenge will likely be filling enough orders for the output. By 2020, the plant will be able to produce enough batteries for half a million electric vehicles per year. Last year, Tesla sold around 20,000 cars.
With the mortality rate for black Americans about 18 percent higher than it is for white Americans, premature black deaths have affected the results of US elections, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of Oxford.
The study, published in Social Science & Medicine and highlighted on Friday by the UK-based New Scientist, shows how the outcomes of elections between 1970 and 2004—including the presidential race between John Kerry and George W. Bush—might have been affected if there hadn't been such a disparity in the death rate.[Unequal, expensive healthcare isn't a problem, it's a feature!]
The researchers "weighed" Antarctica's ice sheet using gravitational satellite data and found that from 2003 to 2014, the ice sheet lost 92 billion tons of ice per year, the researchers report in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters. If stacked on the island of Manhattan, that amount of ice would be more than a mile high -- more than five times the height of the Empire State Building.
Since 2008, ice loss from West Antarctica's unstable glaciers doubled from an average annual loss of 121 billion tons of ice to twice that by 2014, the researchers found. The ice sheet on East Antarctica, the continent's much larger and overall more stable region, thickened during that same time, but only accumulated half the amount of ice lost from the west, the researchers reported.
Though Canada's system is the second most expensive in the world per capita, it would save America $1.3 Trillion/yr and cover everyone
Lesley Stahl discovers the shock and anxiety of a cancer diagnosis can be followed by a second jolt: the astronomical price of cancer drugs
Dr. Peter Bach: Medicare has to pay exactly what the drug company charges. Whatever that number is.
Lesley Stahl: Wait a minute, this is a law?
Dr. Peter Bach: Yes.
Lesley Stahl: And there's no negotiating whatsoever with Medicare?
Dr. Peter Bach: No.[All other OECD countries negotiate much lower drug costs]
The New York Times columnist believes their poverty stems from a lack of virtue.
For Brooks, the problem with poor people is that they’re immoral. It’s not because they’re structurally disadvantaged, or because their local economies have collapsed, or because jobs have been shipped overseas, or because they attended chaotic schools, or because their parents worked multiple jobs for unlivable wages, or because the material demands of existence occupy the bulk of their time. Nope, it’s because of poor “social psychology.”
That’s the kind of explanation that could only be offered by someone oblivious to his own advantages. And Brooks has been peddling it for years.[Plutocratic priorities nurture nihilism in the ghetto]
Unprofessional journalists are 'roasted'.
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Boko Haram is fracturing as shortages of weapons and fuel foment tensions between its foot soldiers and leaders, women rescued from the Islamist jihadi fighters by Nigerian troops told Reuters.
The group abducted an estimated 2,000 women and girls last year as it sought to carve out an Islamic state in the northeast of Africa’s biggest economy. The army has freed nearly 700 in the past week as it advances on Boko Haram's last stronghold in the vast Sambisa forest.
The country's unstable and ineffective government is its biggest liability.
According to a UN official, Nepali customs regulators have been slow to process incoming aid, and many materials have piled up at Kathmandu Airport. Krishna Gyawali, a senior bureaucrat in Sindhulpalchowk district, estimated to The Guardian that aid operations have only met 20 percent of need. Nevertheless, on Monday the Nepali government asked remaining international rescue workers to depart the country, having determined that they were no longer needed.
The report said global emissions must peak [this year] for the world to have any chance of limiting the expected temperature rise to 2C [3.6ºF], which would still leave billions of people short of water by 2050.
“Assuming the Tesla system comes anywhere near meeting its announced specifications, and noting that electric cars are also on the market from Tesla and others, we now have just about everything we need for a technological fix for climate change, based on a combination of renewable energy and energy efficiency.”
—Professor John Quiggin
Research paper calls for workplaces to start adapting to extreme heat ‘if severe economic impacts from labour productivity loss are to be avoided’
The largest single example underway is the Olive Vale property on Cape York, from which 330sq km of “world heritage quality” woodland is being razed.
The LNP ruled out grazing as an example of the “high value agriculture” intended to benefit when passing the new laws in 2013.
However, Olive Vale owner Ryan Global is a beef industry player which has flagged increasing the number of cattle on the property from 15,000 to 25,000.
A recent study estimates that the amount of plastic waste that washes off land into the ocean each year is approximately 8 million metric tons.
The British people will wake up on 8 May having made a choice on Europe almost subconsciously and without any discussion. A choice that will have considerable consequences for them. And, incidentally, for other Europeans too.
Philippe Bernard of Le Monde, Pablo Guimón of El País and Christian Zaschke | The Guardian
New York and New Jersey share a spate of recent corruption allegations and unusual cooperation between Democrats and Republicans. Is that a coincidence?
Germany's latest spying scandal has created the biggest crisis yet for the country's foreign intelligence agency. The German government appears to have been aware of widespread US spying, possibly including economic espionage, against European targets and yet it did nothing to stop it.
The lamps are made from locally sourced scrap metal and fragments of solar panels that charge a battery-powered LED light, while a USB port can be built into the base, offering an easy way to charge phones and radios.
Instead of importing solar technology from a mass producing country such as China, groups of young people are trained to manufacture the lamps. These are then given to women’s groups, who use the money they save [by not buying kerosene] to set up small businesses such as poultry farming or beekeeping.
Almost a year and a half after her husband disfigured her for life in a frenzied knife attack, Setara is still awaiting a legal separation. Her plight is all too familiar in Afghanistan, where divorce rights are heavily weighted towards men
Self-described socialist and 2016 presidential candidate takes aim at influence of big money and criticises Clinton Foundation, Koch brothers and others
“For the last 30 years I’ve been standing up for the working families of this country,” he said, “and I think I’m the only candidate who’s prepared to take on the billionaire class which now controls our economy and increasingly controls the political life of this country.
“We need a political revolution in this country involving millions of people who are prepared to stand up and say enough is enough, and I want to lead that.”
Pamela Geller is the co-founder and prolific blogger for the American Freedom Defense Initiative which rails at the ‘Islamification’ of America
The American Freedom Defense Initiative is listed under its other name Stop Islamization of America as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Centre.
Geller is credited with helping start the Obama birther movement, after she posted a theory from a reader that Obama was the love child of Malcolm X.
The Tampa Bay Times examined the effects of Florida’s 2005 law in more than 200 cases (about half of them fatal) through mid-2012. It reported that the law’s chief beneficiaries were “those with records of crime and violence.” Nearly 60 percent of those making self-defense claims when a person was killed had been arrested at least once before; a third of those had been accused of violent crimes in the past; over a third had illegally carried guns in the past or had threatened others with them.
Stand Your Ground claims succeeded 67 percent of the time, but in 79 percent of the cases, the assailant could have retreated to avoid the confrontation. In 68 percent, the person killed was unarmed.
Electing African-American political leaders has done little to alleviate the suffering of Black America.
The recent African-American uprisings aren’t just about police brutality.
In 1925, 18 Baltimore neighborhood associations came together to form the “Allied Civic and Protective Association” for the purpose of urging both new and existing property owners to sign restrictive covenants, which committed owners never to sell to an African American. Where neighbors jointly signed a covenant, any one of them could enforce it by asking a court to evict an African American family who purchased property in violation. Restrictive covenants were not merely private agreements between homeowners; they frequently had government sanction. In Baltimore, the city-sponsored Committee on Segregation organized neighborhood associations throughout the city that could circulate and enforce such covenants.
Metropolitan areas like Denver and New York are shunning competition and focusing on how entire regions can work together to reach economic goals.
Denver's turnaround began with a regional agreement, signed in January 1987, which laid out the region's shared economic principles. The mayors of Denver and surrounding areas still gather once a month to meet on economic plans. And, even though the original regional agreement remains voluntary, people stick to the core ideas. "It's an approach to regionalism that's about creating a culture instead of a legal structure," Clark adds. "People want to behave at the highest level of ethics, provided the guy next door does, too."
|Arts & Education Events:|
Almost 6,800 people rescued off the coast of Libya on Saturday and Sunday in more than a dozen separate operations led by the Italian navy
Hundreds of women and children rescued by army from Islamist fighters given sanctuary in refugee camp
Boko Haram fighters killed older boys and men in front of their families before taking women and children into the forest where many died of hunger and disease, freed captives have revealed.
Danish women explain why ageing in a country that looks after its citizens is ‘like one long really fun holiday’
Sky-high taxes that make capitalists choke on their Chablis may also have the happy side effect of making Danes more content. Denmark has the lowest income inequality among all the OECD countries and studies show that living in neighbourhoods where most people earn about the same can make you happier. “You pay taxes all your life and then you get a pension that’s enough to live on – though you need savings for some of the extras,” explains Kerner, “so it’s a pretty good deal.”
Around three-quarters of all deaths in earthquakes are due to building collapse – and poor people bear the brunt. As rescue efforts continue in Nepal, Robin Cross argues for safer, more resilient reconstruction
Another chance to catch the most interesting, and important, articles from the previous week on MIT Technology Review.
- Rethinking the Manufacturing Robot
A company that makes robots designed to work closely with humans has a new version that addresses the limitations of its first effort.
- Smartphone Secrets May Be Better Than a Password
Researchers are investigating whether recalling text messages, calls, and Facebook likes could be a useful log-in strategy.
- The Hackers’ New Weapons: Routers and Printers
Criminals are hijacking home and office routers and printers to help them overwhelm websites with traffic.
- IBM Shows Off a Quantum Computing Chip
A new superconducting chip made by IBM demonstrates a technique crucial to the development of quantum computers.
- Small Display Bedevils Some Apple Watch Apps
The 3,500 apps available for the Apple Watch show the device’s promise and pitfalls.
- Online Fact-Checking Tool Gets a Big Test with Nepal Earthquake
An organization crowdsources the verification of rumors on social media in the Nepal disaster zone.
- A Warehouse Worker’s Best Friend—or Replacement?
Robots that work alongside warehouse workers could make online shopping even more efficient and eventually replace human employees altogether.
Only Ed Miliband offers a vision for a fairer Britain. His party deserves to form the next government
His stand on Murdoch, his promise to freeze energy prices, his interest in small business supported by a state investment bank, his belief in a progressive capitalism that encourages long termism, invests in education and skills and reforms the financial markets is not “anti-business”. It stands for fair regulation, just taxation, strong redistribution, partnership in the EU and a vital role for a more efficient accountable state.
From the outset, Ed Miliband has staked his leadership on the bet that the crash of 2008 sounded the death-knell for the market fundamentalism that characterised the last three decades.
Progress in outlining a new capitalism has been fitful, piecemeal and cautious. But Labour’s direction of travel under Miliband is clear. Government, local and national, has a vital role in delivering the fair society.
Malaria and other preventable diseases rife as ongoing insecurity hampers aid delivery in a country where humanitarian plight has been largely ignored
A major standard-setter in the private equity industry, CEM Benchmrking, has thrown down a gauntlet to investors. It said in a recent report that it is impossible for private equity investors to know how much they are paying in private equity fees and costs. Moreover, CEM also points out that most public pension funds are not complying with government accounting standards in how they report private equity fees and costs, and that based on their benchmaring efforts with the South Carolina Retirement System Investment Commission and foreign investors, most public pension funds are missing at least half of the total costs.
I’ll focus this post only on governance impacts and try to make the case, that this so-called trade agreement, if passed and implemented would create profound governance changes in the United States without benefit of the constitutional amendments that would normally be required to accomplish such changes. I’ll also make the case that the governance impacts destroy national sovereignty, state sovereignty, separation of powers, and democracy.
Testimonies of Israeli combatants about last year’s war show apparent disregard for safety of civilians
...Israeli ground troops were briefed to regard everything inside Gaza as a “threat” and they should “not spare ammo”, and that tanks fired randomly or for revenge on buildings without knowing whether they were legitimate military targets or contained civilians.
“What we have seen and heard only strengthens our determination to work for peace. The situation in Gaza is intolerable. Eight months after a devastating war, not one destroyed house has been rebuilt and people cannot live with the respect and dignity they deserve.”
Desolation and destiny in a land in limbo
Bright blue sky spreads over buildings with big bites taken out of them. Half-eaten bedrooms and kitchens yawn open to reveal tangled wires, broken rock, and household goods: a slipper, a pack of sanitary pads, a ripped-up schoolbook. People peek over mounds of rubble from tents behind their former homes, like aliens come to settle an abandoned planet.
“Gaza is hell,” 20-year-old Ahmad told me in Shejaiya, one of the worst-hit neighborhoods in Gaza City. He and his 19-year-old brother were picking over the leftovers of their home. Sometimes they sell salvaged iron and rubble for recycling; other days they search for their old photos, papers, and clothes. “Gazans have Israel on one side, Hamas on the other, and here we are just eating shit,” he said. “People are only living because they are not dying. If death was nicer, we’d go for it.”