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The End Of Tuna? June 28, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, Food.
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The high seas are owned by no one and governed by largely feeble multinational agreements. According to the Sea Around Us project of the University of British Columbia’s Fisheries Center, catches from the high seas have risen by 700 percent in the last half-century, and much of that increase is tuna. Moreover, because tuna cross so many boundaries, even when tuna do leave the high seas and tarry in any one nation’s territorial waters (as Atlantic bluefin usually do), they remain under the foggy international jurisdiction of poorly enforced tuna treaties.

The essentially ownerless nature of tuna has led to the last great wild-fish gold rush the world may ever see. The most noticeable result of this has been the decline of the giant Atlantic bluefin tuna. But the Atlantic bluefin is just a symptom of a metastasizing tuna disease. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization reports that 7 of the 23 commercially fished tuna stocksare overfished or depleted. An additional nine stocks are also threatened. The Pew Environment Group’s tuna campaign asserts that “the boats seeking these tuna are responsible for more hooks and nets in the water than any other fishery.”

via Tuna’s End – NYTimes.com.

What’s Really Underneath The Oil Spill? June 25, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in Business, Enviroment.
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Among oil industry watchers there has been a great deal of information about the size of the field under the big spill. Respected industry watchers have said that there is good reason to expect that the field extends many miles deep underground and horizontally from the site of the spill.

In the past few years, seismic studies and drilling results from deep beneath the Gulf are leading many informed sources to believe the total oil available under the Gulf of Mexico, in the area around BP’s Macondo well (which was originally expected to have about 50 million barrels of recoverable oil) may contain billions of barrels of oil. It is early to make an informed analysis, but the Macondo well blowout may indicate that these Gulf of Mexico fields, located in deep water about 50 miles offshore and under another 20,000 to 35,000 of rock below the seabed, represent a massive oil discovery.

via Guild Global Market Commentary :: Guild Investment Management, Inc. | MyNewsletterBuilder.

Shuttle Launch As Seen By SkyDivers June 25, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in Cool photos.
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NwfUx.jpg (JPEG Image, 3504×2336 pixels) – Scaled (31%).

Afghanistan’s Potential Endgame June 21, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics.
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There was a buzz last week because of a U.S. estimate that Afghanistan could possess $1 trillion in mineral wealth. That’s a pipe dream for now, but what’s real is a Chinese project to invest $3 billion in the Aynak copper mine, south of Kabul. To transport the copper, China has pledged to build a new railway route north, through Tajikistan, and the Chinese want to extend this rail link to the Pakistani port of Gwadar on the Arabian Sea.

Then there’s the energy trade: The authors of the report, Frederick Starr and Andrew C. Kuchins, note that the Asian Development Bank is considering funding a $7.6 billion pipeline that would link natural gas reserves in Turkmenistan with energy-poor Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

More to the point, it explains why it would be in the interest of all the regional powers — especially Pakistan — to encourage a political settlement of the war that would open Afghanistan and other Central Asian markets to Pakistani merchants.

via David Ignatius – Afghanistan’s future lies in trade partnerships.

Energy-Saving Air Conditioner Breakthrough June 20, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, Science & Technology.
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“The technology we have today is nearly a hundred years old,” says Eric Kozubal, a senior engineer at NREL. Kozubal and colleagues have come up with an air conditioner that combines evaporative cooling with a water-absorbing material to provide cool, dry air while using up to 90 percent less energy. The desiccant-enhanced evaporative, or DEVap, air conditioner is meant to addresses the old complaint, “It’s not the heat; it’s the humidity,” more efficiently.

The desiccant used in the system is relatively harmless (calcium chloride is used in road salt), though its corrosiveness requires that metal be eliminated from the hardware. What’s particularly attractive is that it replaces the chlorofluorocarbons that are used as the refrigerant in traditional air conditioners. Those CFCs can easily leak, and every kilogram of them provides the same greenhouse gas effect as about 2,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide.

Kozubal says it might take about five years to develop the system to a point where NREL can hand it off to industry for commercialization. The system is designed to replace existing systems without many changes, so it could be phased in as people upgrade their old air conditioners.

via Technology Review: An Energy-Saving Air Conditioner.

Why Have More Kids June 20, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in Lifestyle.
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While you can try and instill "Good Habits", Religion, Sports and Political affiliation is your most likely long-term influence, according to Research.

Many find behavioral genetics depressing, but it’s great news for parents and potential parents. If you think that your kids’ future rests in your hands, you’ll probably make many painful “investments”–and feel guilty that you didn’t do more. Once you realize that your kids’ future largely rests in their own hands, you can give yourself a guilt-free break.

…In fact, relaxing is better for the whole family. Riding your kids “for their own good” rarely pays off, and it may hurt how your children feel about you.

If you simply don’t like kids, research has little to say to you. If however you’re interested in kids, but scared of the sacrifices, research has two big lessons. First, parents’ sacrifice is much smaller than it looks, and childless and single is far inferior to married with children. Second, parents’ sacrifice is much larger than it has to be. Twin and adoption research shows that you don’t have to go the extra mile to prepare your kids for the future. Instead of trying to mold your children into perfect adults, you can safely kick back, relax and enjoy your journey together—and seriously consider adding another passenger.

via The Case for Having More Kids – WSJ.com. (more…)

And Now – The Potato Battery June 20, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, Science & Technology.
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Potato battery basic composition and performance. Potato Zn/Cu galvanic cell battery basic structure. The battery (Kcell = 15.5 cm) was used to light two white LEDs.

The bioelectrolytic low power electrical energy source introduced in this study brings an extra dimension to the utilization of the globally fourth most abundant crop, accessible essentially all over the world, made of solid components, and requires low initial financial investment compared with solar or conventional batteries. Boiling and the simple assembly do not require special skills; it is both easy to operate and environment friendly. Last but not least, the power generated by Zn/Cu-potato is much cheaper than any conventional portable battery and produces with LED’s substantially cheaper lighting than kerosene. The proposed technology may be immediately implemented in the developing countries for improving the life quality on numerous people who do not have access to grid electricity.

via Zn/Cu-vegetative batteries, bioelectrical characterizations, and primary cost analyses | Issue 3 – Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy.

Behind the World-wide Cornficker Cyberwar June 20, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in cool stuff.
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This long article is the one-of-the-best layman’s introduction to a war going on behind-the-scenes as we surf the net.

As of this writing, 17 months after it appeared and about a year after the April 1 update, Conficker has created a stable botnet. It consists of anywhere from hundreds of thousands of computers to 12 million. No one knows for sure anymore, because with peer-to-peer communications, the worm no longer needs to check in with an outside command center, which is how the good guys kept count. Joffe estimates that with the four distinct strains (yet another one appeared on April 8, 2009), 6.5 million computers are probably infected.

The investigators see no immediate chance or even any effective way to kill it.

via The Enemy Within – Magazine – The Atlantic.

BP’s Last Option June 18, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in Cool photos, Enviroment, Humor.
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Thanks to Darryl Edwards

NASA Warns of 2013 Solar Storm June 17, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, Science & Technology.
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Every 22 years the Sun’s magnetic energy cycle peaks while the number of sun spots – or flares – hits a maximum level every 11 years. Dr Fisher, a Nasa scientist for 20 years, said these two events would combine in 2013 to produce huge levels of radiation.

We know it is coming but we don’t know how bad it is going to be,” Dr Richard Fisher, the director of Nasa’s Heliophysics division, said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph.

“It will disrupt communication devices such as satellites and car navigations, air travel, the banking system, our computers, everything that is electronic. It will cause major problems for the world.

“Large areas will be without electricity power and to repair that damage will be hard as that takes time.”

via Nasa warns solar flares from ‘huge space storm’ will cause devastation – Telegraph.

Flights, girls and cash buy Japan whaling votes June 15, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, Geopolitics, In The News.
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A SUNDAY TIMES investigation has exposed Japan for bribing small nations with cash and prostitutes to gain their support for the mass slaughter of whales.

The undercover investigation found officials from six countries were willing to consider selling their votes on the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

The revelations come as Japan seeks to break the 24-year moratorium on commercial whaling. An IWC meeting that will decide the fate of thousands of whales, including endangered species, begins this month in Morocco.Thanks Michelle Hester.

Flights, girls and cash buy Japan whaling votes – Times Online.

Stingray Migration June 14, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in Cool photos, Enviroment.
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Like autumn leaves floating in a sunlit pond, this vast expanse of magnificent stingrays animates the bright blue seas of the Gulf of Mexico.

Taken off the coast of Mexico’s Holbox Island by amateur photographer Sandra Critelli, this breathtaking picture captures the migration of thousands of rays as they follow the clockwise current from Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula to western Florida.

Measuring up to 6ft 6in across, poisonous golden cow-nose rays migrate in groups – or ‘fevers’ – of up to 10,000 as they glide their way silently towards their summer feeding grounds. Thanks to Ramon Brunings.

via The great ocean migration… thousands of majestic stingrays swim to new seas | Mail Online.

How Sarah Palin Is Reshaping Feminism June 11, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in Religion.
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The Christian right is now poised to become a women’s movement—and Sarah Palin is its earthy Jerry Falwell.

via How Sarah Palin Is Reshaping the Religious Right – Newsweek.

Congress Plugs BP Oil Leak June 7, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in Cool photos, Enviroment, Humor.
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Thanks to Mike Douso

Bernie Madoff BMOC June 7, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in Business.
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rom the day Bernard Lawrence Madoff, prisoner No. 61727-054, arrived at the softer of Butner’s two medium-security facilities in handcuffs and shackles, his over-the-collar hair shorn close, his rich man’s paunch diminished, he was a celebrity, even if his admirers were now murderers and sex offenders

“People just kept throwing money at me,” Madoff related to a prison consultant who advised him on how to endure prison life. “Some guy wanted to invest, and if I said no, the guy said, ‘What, I’m not good enough?’ ” One day, Shannon Hay, a drug dealer who lived in the same unit in Butner as Madoff, asked about his crimes. “He told me his side. He took money off of people who were rich and greedy and wanted more,” says Hay, who was released in December. People, in other words, who deserved it.

via An Inside Look at Bernie Madoff’s Life in Prison — New York Magazine.

Giant 125 year-old Rhododendron June 6, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in Cool photos, Enviroment.
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This 125 year old Rhododendron is about 25 ft high and 30 ft wide.
It is in down town Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, B.C.Thanks to Mike Douso. From this link you can “enlarge Wall

paper” to download it.

Giant rhododendron – Flowers Wallpaper 371355 – Desktop Nexus Nature.

Suicidal iPad Makers June 5, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in Business, Science & Technology.
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Ask around among the more than 250,000 workers at the Shenzhen complex, and you’ll find explanations. One 21-year-old assembly-line worker, who asked that his name not be used, says conditions at Foxconn, the world’s largest electronics contract manufacturer, make his life seem meaningless. He says conversation on the production line is forbidden, bathroom breaks are kept to 10 minutes every two hours, and workers get yelled at frequently. . So far this year, 10 Foxconn workers have committed suicide.

No one disputes that Taipei-based Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai, has cultivated a tough culture. The company generates more revenue in a year than Apple, Dell, or Microsoft (MSFT). It has grown in profitable obscurity to become an industry juggernaut for a simple reason, says Pamela Gordon of Technology Forecasters, a supply-chain research firm: “It’s the prices. Their prices are lower for high-quality work.” Foxconn won Apple’s order to make the iPhone after Gou directed the business units that make components to sell parts at zero profit, according to two people familiar with the chairman’s actions. Net income jumped 37 percent in 2009 to $2.3 billion, Foxconn’s second-best year on record. Foxconn’s suicides are a reminder of the human cost that can come with the low-cost manufacturing U.S. tech companies demand.

via Why Apple and Others Are Nervous About Foxconn – BusinessWeek.

Why It Is Harder For Drinkers To Quit Smoking June 5, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in health.
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If drinking and smoking seem inextricably linked, perhaps it’s because in the brain’s pleasure centre they actually are.

Alcoholics often have a particularly hard time quitting cigarettes. Traute Flatscher-Bader at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and colleagues wondered why this should be. So they did a post-mortem analysis of gene expression in the brains of smokers, alcoholics and those who had done both during their lives.

They found that a group of genes in the nucleus accumbens – an area involved in creating pleasurable feelings – were expressed most strongly in their group of alcoholic smokers (Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, DOI: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2010.01207.x).

These genes play a role in rewiring the neurons in the nucleus accumbens. That means people who both smoke and drink might get a greater reward, making it harder for them to quit, says Flatscher-Bader.

Knowing that the link between drinking and smoking may not be purely social could lead to new ways to treat addiction.

via Trying to quit smoking? The devil is in the drink – health – 05 June 2010 – New Scientist.

What Makes Finnish Kids So Smart? June 5, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in Books, Lifestyle.
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High-school students here rarely get more than a half-hour of homework a night. They have no school uniforms, no honor societies, no valedictorians, no tardy bells and no classes for the gifted. There is little standardized testing, few parents agonize over college and kids don’t start school until age 7. Yet by one international measure, Finnish teenagers are among the smartest in the world.

Finnish teachers pick books and customize lessons as they shape students to national standards. “In most countries, education feels like a car factory. In Finland, the teachers are the entrepreneurs,” says Mr. Schleicher, of the Paris-based OECD, which began the international student test in 2000.

One explanation for the Finns’ success is their love of reading. Parents of newborns receive a government-paid gift pack that includes a picture book. Some libraries are attached to shopping malls, and a book bus travels to more remote neighborhoods like a Good Humor truck.

via What Makes Finnish Kids So Smart? – WSJ.com.

And You Think We Got It Bad In The Gulf… June 3, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment.
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It is impossible to know how much oil is spilled in the Niger delta each year because the companies and the government keep that secret. However, two major independent investigations over the past four years suggest that as much is spilled at sea, in the swamps and on land every year as has been lost in the Gulf of Mexico so far.

One report, compiled by WWF UK, the World Conservation Union and representatives from the Nigerian federal government and the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, calculated in 2006 that up to 1.5m tons of oil – 50 times the pollution unleashed in the Exxon Valdez tanker disaster in Alaska – has been spilled in the delta over the past half century. Last year Amnesty calculated that the equivalent of at least 9m barrels of oil was spilled and accused the oil companies of a human rights outrage.

With 606 oilfields, the Niger delta supplies 40% of all the crude the United States imports and is the world capital of oil pollution. Life expectancy in its rural communities, half of which have no access to clean water, has fallen to little more than 40 years over the past two generations. Locals blame the oil that pollutes their land and can scarcely believe the contrast with the steps taken by BP and the US government to try to stop the Gulf oil leak and to protect the Louisiana shoreline from pollution. Thanks to Caroline Collier

via Nigeria’s agony dwarfs the Gulf oil spill. The US and Europe ignore it | Environment | The Observer.

Our Hidden Inflation June 3, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business.
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Government statistics are about the last place one should look to find inflation, as they are designed to not show much. Over the last 35 years the government has changed the way it calculates inflation several times. According to the Web site Shadow Government Statistics, using the pre-1980 method, the Consumer Price Index would be over 9 percent, compared with about 2 percent in the official statistics today.

While the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle, this doesn’t even take into account inflation we ignore by using a basket of goods that don’t match the real-world cost of living. (For example, health care costs are one-sixth of G.D.P. but only one-sixteenth of the price index, and rising income and payroll taxes do not count as inflation at all.)

Why does the government understate rising costs? Low official inflation benefits the government by reducing inflation-indexed payments, including Social Security. Lower official inflation means higher reported real G.D.P., higher reported real income and higher reported productivity.

via Op-Ed Contributor – Easy Money, Hard Truths – NYTimes.com.

Coast Guard Sank Oil Rig June 2, 2010

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Mike Miller has run Calgary-based Safety Boss — which established an international reputation after successfully fighting the Kuwait well fires after the first Gulf War — for more than 30 years.

The U.S. Coast Guard erred, Miller said, in how it dealt with the fire aboard the Deepwater Horizon after the explosion on April 20 and before the drilling rig sank two days later.

He remains convinced that two days of pouring water on the fire swamped the ship, causing it to sink and sever the connection from the ocean floor to the surface, where it would have been easier to deal with the fire and contain the flow.

Oil well firefighters would know not to do that, he said.

“If you’re not successful in an hour you’re not ever going to be successful,” he told CBC News.

The U.S. Coast Guard made a 'colossal' mistake in how it fought  the fire on the Deepwater Horizon, says Mike Miller.The U.S. Coast Guard made a ‘colossal’ mistake in how it fought the fire on the Deepwater Horizon, says Mike Miller. (Associated Press/U.S. Coast Guard)

“You have to hit these fires with overwhelming force. They’re not like a forest fire where you fight them for days at a time. Why they went on with that was just beyond me.”

The resulting aerial pollution would have been far less of a threat than oil in water, especially given that booms have limitations. In the Exxon Valdez tanker spill in 1989, booms only collected four per cent of the oil, and that was in an enclosed bay
Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/money/story/2010/06/02/f-gulf-spill-canadian-oil-industry.html#ixzz0pjLHVR87

via CBC News – Money – A game changer for Canada’s oil industry.

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