Andres Oppenheimer is a Miami Herald syndicated columnist and a member of The Miami Herald team that won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize, has a nifty list of 5 important, but overlooked stories that will have big implications in the years ahead.
In 2017, US becomes World’s biggest oil producer
Corruption’s threat to China’s Leadership’s legitimacy
In October, the Cuban government announced that it would no longer require the much-hated exit visa for anyone wishing to travel abroad. All a Cuban citizen will need is a passport and a visa for the country he plans to visit. This new Cuban policy takes effect January 14th.
The problem is, under current American law, a “visit” to the United States can immediately award a Cuban full refugee status, then permanent residency and citizenship, under the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966.
For decades, Cubans have been trying to sail to the US and then dock or swim ashore before immigration agents catch up with them. For those who made it past the US Coast Guard gauntlet, once their feet touched the beach they were given legal admission. During the fiscal year that ended in September, the Coast Guard said it caught 1,275 Cubans trying to arrive by boat—the highest total since 2008. Uncounted others made it ashore, where they immediately received their unique American embrace.
Starting January 14th, however, Cuba will allow them to leave by any means of their choice. And all they’ll have to do is walk off the airplane in Miami or anywhere else in the US to be awarded refugee status. The change could lead to many thousands of new Cuban refugees every month, joining the two million Cubans and their descendants already here. But you don’t hear anyone in Washington even mentioning this problem, given the urgent concerns about Iran, North Korea, the fiscal cliff, and so much else.
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Firewood keeps you warm, when you’re cutting, hauling, splitting and stacking it, in addition to when you actually burn it. Now that the Winter weather is really here, it is time to reflect on how some other folks have gone beyond just stacking up wood to keep warm. .
Obesity has become a bigger threat to global health than child hunger, according to a major study.
More than three million deaths in 2010 were attributable to excess body weight, three times the death toll due to malnutrition.
The largest investigation of disease ever undertaken, published yesterday, also found that high blood pressure, smoking and drinking alcohol have become the world’s biggest health risks.
So-called diseases of the western industrialised nations have become more prevalent as developing nations become more affluent. Fewer infants are dying of starvation in the poorest countries while a fast expanding middle-class in the emerging economies.
This gigapixel image of the Khumbu glacier was captured by David Breashears during the spring of 2012, from the Pumori viewpoint near Mount Everest. The Khumbu Icefall is clearly visible here, and one can easily see the hustle and bustle of Everest Base Camp below.
Click the image to enter gigapixel navigation, then use the controls at the bottom of the screen to zoom and pan and find climbers on the glacier and around the base camp tents, which will give you perspective on the scale of what you are viewing.
These spiky little bunches of ice form on thin and new ice in the Arctic Ocean. But these badboys can only form under very special conditions:
1) Calm winds. We can’t have these beauties blown away can we?
2) Cold, cold air. It has to be about 20C less than the water and since seawater freezes around -2C, that means the air must be about -22C or -7.6F. BRRR.
Frost flowers form when newly formed ice sublimates, that is ice changes directly from a solid to a gas totally bypassing the liquid stage. Initially, the water vapor formed by sublimation is the same temperature as the sea ice, but gets quickly cooled by the cold air. The air is then becomes supersaturated with water vapor, which means the air has too water much in it. Air really doesn’t want to hold all that excess water vapor, so when the supersaturated air touches another ice crystal the water vapor quickly turns back into ice. (Click the image to enlarge)