PE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> Knarf's Knewz Channel

AuthorTopic: Knarf's Knewz Channel  (Read 1322517 times)

Online RE

  • Administrator
  • Chief Cook & Bottlewasher
  • *****
  • Posts: 33222
    • View Profile
The Enhanced SUN☼ Symbol
« Reply #9690 on: December 12, 2017, 05:53:23 PM »
I have  enhanced the SUN☼ Symbol with an interior Spiral.

SUN logo 7sm
SUN logo 7sm

The Spiral represents 2 things.  First, Spiral Galaxies like the Milky Way where there are billions of planets that might support life for billions more years.


Second, the Golden Rectangle and the Fibonacci Spiral, the basis of life.




Extinction is not Forever.  Life is Eternal.  If it is extinguished in one spot, it will just pop up again somewhere else.  Like Schrödinger's Cat.


RE
SAVE AS MANY AS YOU CAN

Offline knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 10597
    • View Profile
Re: Knarf's Knewz Channel
« Reply #9691 on: December 12, 2017, 07:26:03 PM »
I think what you say in this symbol is true. Life in this immensely vast universe will undoubtedly happen somewhere, and it probably already does. What boggles my mind is that you have been warning others about the coming collapse of the human race for years, and even started your own website so you can let others know how serious a situation we are in. You have written admirably about many subjects that are threatening our survival, you have done numerous podcasts with people who know that the we are in deep shit, and it is getting deeper everyday. You have devoted most of your waking life, since you woke up, to helping others realize many different ways that our existence is in peril. Yet now you want to have a stupid wrestling match with others who finally get it. The extinction symbol , as I already posted is about what you have been preaching for probably 20 years, and you reject that symbol because you do not understand it. It isn't about the extinction of "life", it is about the terrible mess we have made of this biosphere, and we know now that the mess you warned everyone about, is actually happening. It is coming down to the extinction of many of the species on our planet, and they are gone forever. More extinctions are immanent.
  In our monastery there used to be all kinds of birds and frogs, but now there is only about 20% of them. Everywhere people are noticing the swift change in our biosphere, and it has know been hypothesized that we are in a sixth mass extinction by thousands of capable scientists. It is like you have given leave of your predictions, because they have come to be. I know you feel you don't have much longer to be in the meat suit, and that might be the driving emotion that has you arguing with the very things you have been working tirelessly to warn others about. Many people when they are close to dying have some very broad realizations about the nature of the universe, of which you express very well in the above symbol. Maybe you are to tired to strap on your gun belt anymore, and want to to go the way way of a fully mature adult, who has realized his place in the short life span each of us have. I hope that is what this stupid arguing about symbols is about., because you are rejecting your life's work, and seems like you have entered a broader space to understand our universe.
  Your adult life's work is summed up in the extinction symbol.
  For twenty years I went everywhere I could to warn people about the coming crisis, and that forming small like mind communities is what would be best for them to do. You had the foresight to do that. I did also. Even if the SUN project doesn't literally happen, you have designed with like minded people a way to live by helping each other, and living simply. I admire what you have done with your life! I guess it is that quirk in your personality, that will argue for the sake of arguing, of which you are a champ.
  So from here on out, because this is your playground, and as you have reminded others that you are where the buck stops, I will never post the extinction symbol here again. I am sorry if it upsets you, I wish it didn't, but it does. You have been a great friend of mine, and I will not do anything that makes you upset about what I do. Your friendship is much more important to me, than having anything divide you and I. ( We are both Virgo's you know. :)) I have won many debates in school, and on the streets, so I know our talent at zeroing in on minuscule faults and exploiting them. I won't be playing that game with you, iI respect you too much. I am very glad the way you expressed yourself in the above post about the enhancement of the SUN symbol.
  I REALLY appreciate this website, and it gives me a place to post the newz that is pertinent to me, and might be to others. Even if I were not posting here I would be reading the as much newz about what's going on in the world daily. Thanks for letting me share that with others. I am sorry to have bothered you, it won't happen again.
HUMANS ARE STILL EVOLVING! Our communities blog is at https://openmind693.wordpress.com

Online RE

  • Administrator
  • Chief Cook & Bottlewasher
  • *****
  • Posts: 33222
    • View Profile
Re: Knarf's Knewz Channel
« Reply #9692 on: December 12, 2017, 07:42:11 PM »
I think what you say in this symbol is true. Life in this immensely vast universe will undoubtedly happen somewhere, and it probably already does. What boggles my mind is that you have been warning others about the coming collapse of the human race for years, and even started your own website so you can let others know how serious a situation we are in. You have written admirably about many subjects that are threatening our survival, you have done numerous podcasts with people who know that the we are in deep shit, and it is getting deeper everyday. You have devoted most of your waking life, since you woke up, to helping others realize many different ways that our existence is in peril. Yet now you want to have a stupid wrestling match with others who finally get it. The extinction symbol , as I already posted is about what you have been preaching for probably 20 years, and you reject that symbol because you do not understand it. It isn't about the extinction of "life", it is about the terrible mess we have made of this biosphere, and we know now that the mess you warned everyone about, is actually happening. It is coming down to the extinction of many of the species on our planet, and they are gone forever. More extinctions are immanent.
  In our monastery there used to be all kinds of birds and frogs, but now there is only about 20% of them. Everywhere people are noticing the swift change in our biosphere, and it has know been hypothesized that we are in a sixth mass extinction by thousands of capable scientists. It is like you have given leave of your predictions, because they have come to be. I know you feel you don't have much longer to be in the meat suit, and that might be the driving emotion that has you arguing with the very things you have been working tirelessly to warn others about. Many people when they are close to dying have some very broad realizations about the nature of the universe, of which you express very well in the above symbol. Maybe you are to tired to strap on your gun belt anymore, and want to to go the way way of a fully mature adult, who has realized his place in the short life span each of us have. I hope that is what this stupid arguing about symbols is about., because you are rejecting your life's work, and seems like you have entered a broader space to understand our universe.
  Your adult life's work is summed up in the extinction symbol.
  For twenty years I went everywhere I could to warn people about the coming crisis, and that forming small like mind communities is what would be best for them to do. You had the foresight to do that. I did also. Even if the SUN project doesn't literally happen, you have designed with like minded people a way to live by helping each other, and living simply. I admire what you have done with your life! I guess it is that quirk in your personality, that will argue for the sake of arguing, of which you are a champ.
  So from here on out, because this is your playground, and as you have reminded others that you are where the buck stops, I will never post the extinction symbol here again. I am sorry if it upsets you, I wish it didn't, but it does. You have been a great friend of mine, and I will not do anything that makes you upset about what I do. Your friendship is much more important to me, than having anything divide you and I. ( We are both Virgo's you know. :)) I have won many debates in school, and on the streets, so I know our talent at zeroing in on minuscule faults and exploiting them. I won't be playing that game with you, iI respect you too much. I am very glad the way you expressed yourself in the above post about the enhancement of the SUN symbol.
  I REALLY appreciate this website, and it gives me a place to post the newz that is pertinent to me, and might be to others. Even if I were not posting here I would be reading the as much newz about what's going on in the world daily. Thanks for letting me share that with others. I am sorry to have bothered you, it won't happen again.

I see you wish to discuss this rather than get in a symbology battle with me.  That is good.  :icon_sunny:

Whatever the Extinction Symbol is meant to convey by the people who use it, to the viewer it conveys a sense of hopelessness.  As far as a website is concerned, it is also a Strange Attractor for Nihilists & Misanthropes who revel in the idea of a Near Term Human Extinction.  They WANT this to happen, they blame Humanity for the destruction of the Earth ecosphere and feel we deserve to all die because of that.  These folks are over-running the collapse blogosphere, from NBL to OFW to r/collapse now too.  I don't want that happening here.  The Diner is not an Extinction Website.  It is a COLLAPSE website.  They are not synonymous.

You did not disturb my Wa by putting up these symbols, you are trying to express yourself in a way consistent with purporting to not have any beliefs.  That's fine, but I express myself in a different way and don't accept without rebuttal ideas I find insupportable.  So these Extinction Symbols get a rebuttal from me.  I was more worried that because I was taking them to task this would upset you.  You have a very low tolerance for disagreement I have found over the years.

RE
« Last Edit: December 12, 2017, 07:44:15 PM by RE »
SAVE AS MANY AS YOU CAN

Offline knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 10597
    • View Profile
Toyota, Panasonic consider joint development of EV batteries
« Reply #9693 on: December 13, 2017, 04:09:20 AM »
TOKYO (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp 7203.T is considering making batteries for electric vehicles (EV) with Panasonic Corp 6752.T, as it ramps up battery development to help meet its goal for green cars to comprise half of global sales by 2030.

The joint announcement on Wednesday builds on an existing agreement under which Panasonic - a global market leader for automotive lithium-ion batteries - makes batteries for Toyota’s petrol-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

The plan to co-operate more closely on batteries comes as automakers compete to develop more EVs in compliance with tightening regulations worldwide to reduce vehicle emissions.

Toyota’s battery needs are likely to increase after it said last year it would add fully electric vehicles to its product line-up in the early 2020s, expanding a green-car strategy which has focused on plug-in hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles (FCV).

“The auto industry faces many hurdles to developing next-generation batteries which are difficult for automakers or battery makers to tackle on their own,” Toyota President Akio Toyoda said at a joint news conference.

“It would be difficult for us to meet our 2030 goals given the current pace of battery development. That’s why we’re looking to Panasonic and other companies to help us develop ever-better cars and batteries.”

Toyoda said the automaker’s annual sales target for petrol-electric and plug-in hybrids is 4.5 million vehicles by 2030, and 1.0 million units for EVs and FCVs.

To that end, Toyota in September formed an EV technology venture with peer Mazda Motor Corp 7261.T and supplier Denso Corp 6902.T. The venture reflects a trend of automakers and components makers partnering to develop the next-generation cars, to reduce research, development and manufacturing costs.

In Panasonic, Toyota is partnering the main battery supplier of major U.S. EV maker Tesla Inc TSLA.O. With a 29 percent market share, Panasonic is the world’s biggest supplier of batteries for plug-in hybrids and EVs, showed January-June data from Nomura Research.

The pair plan to expand development of prismatic - flat, pouch-shaped - batteries with higher energy density. Panasonic already makes prismatic batteries for Toyota, whereas for Tesla, it makes cylindrical batteries of a type similar to those used in laptops.

“Our cylindrical batteries are the most widely used batteries in pure EVs at the moment,” said Panasonic President Kazuhiro Tsuga. “But when you look at the future, it’s difficult to gauge which format holds more demand potential.”

“We need to be able to develop new battery technologies in a prismatic format, and this would be difficult on our own.”

https://ca.reuters.com/article/technologyNews/idCAKBN1E707L-OCATC
HUMANS ARE STILL EVOLVING! Our communities blog is at https://openmind693.wordpress.com

Offline knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 10597
    • View Profile
Moore’s Defeat in Alabama Deals Trump a Rebuke Ahead of 2018 Races
« Reply #9694 on: December 13, 2017, 04:13:47 AM »
The defeat of Republican Roy Moore in Alabama’s U.S. Senate race by Democrat Doug Jones was a stunning rebuke to the GOP’s anti-establishment wing led by Steve Bannon and a major political embarrassment for President Donald Trump.

Moore’s candidacy was the opening gambit in Bannon’s war to oust Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the rest of the GOP’s congressional leadership. While Trump backed Moore’s primary challenger at McConnell’s behest, he jumped in with a full-throated endorsement of Moore a week before the election in an attempt to put him over the top.

All that unraveled on Tuesday night.

Trump, who once said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and still win votes, found his limit with Moore -- even in a state he won by 28 percentage points just one year ago. Combined with recent Republican losses in statewide elections in Virginia and New Jersey, Moore’s defeat blows a hole in Trump’s aura of political invincibility that will embolden Democrats as they prepare for the 2018 congressional elections.

The result was also a loss for McConnell and congressional Republicans because it trims their Senate advantage to 51-49 as they enter some tough negotiations on spending with Democrats next year. But it also may bring some measure of relief to GOP lawmakers running for re-election who feared the sexual misconduct claims against Moore would taint the party for years to come.

The outcome isn’t likely to quell the fight with Bannon’s insurgency.

Minutes after the race was called, Andy Surabian, a Bannon ally who is senior adviser to the pro-Trump Great American Alliance, laid the blame at the feet of the Senate’s top leader.

“Mitch McConnell and the Republican establishment got their wish: they successfully delivered Alabama to a liberal Democrat,” Surabian said.

Republican Carlos Curbelo of Florida taunted Bannon for backing “disgusting Roy Moore.”

“Congratulations to the Bannon wing of the @GOP for gifting a seat to @SenateDems in one of the reddest states,” Curbelo wrote on Twitter. “You have no future in our country’s politics.”

It was Trump who sounded a gracious note at the end of the night, congratulating Jones on Twitter “on a hard fought victory” and saying Republicans will have another shot at the seat in a short time -- Jones will face reelection in 2020.


Doug Jones celebrate at an election night party in Birmingham, Alabama, U.S., on Dec. 12.

On Wednesday morning, Trump said he knew all along that Moore couldn’t win. “The reason I originally endorsed Luther Strange (and his numbers went up mightily), is that I said Roy Moore will not be able to win the General Election,” Trump said on Twitter Wednesday morning. “I was right! Roy worked hard but the deck was stacked against him!”

Jones, a former federal prosecutor, prevailed in a solidly Republican state by running a low-key local campaign while Moore was consumed by a national furor following allegations he had pursued relationships with teenage girls while in his thirties.

With Moore out of the picture, Republicans may have dodged a bullet. They now won’t have to answer uncomfortable questions about why they tolerate a colleague accused of initiating a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl and assaulting a 16-year-old. McConnell had promised an ethics investigation of Moore if he won. That might have led to a contentious vote on expulsion, which in turn would have kept alive uncomfortable questions about Trump’s own conduct. More than a dozen women have accused the president of sexual harassment or other misconduct over the years.

McConnell’s allies were so worried about Moore that they spent millions trying to defeat him in the primary. Now the majority leader can point to Moore’s defeat as another in a string of disastrous candidates pushed by the party’s right wing that have cost the GOP Senate seats in Delaware, Indiana and Missouri.

“Any illusion that Steve Bannon’s brand of politics could be successful vanished when a state like Alabama became competitive,” said Josh Holmes, former campaign manager and chief of staff for McConnell. “You’d have to be absolutely blind and willfully ignorant to not realize this has been a national embarrassment.”

Even without the sexual misconduct claims, Moore was a polarizing figure. He was twice ousted from the Alabama Supreme Court for refusing to follow federal court orders, argued in 2006 against allowing Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota to serve because he is Muslim, and backed impeaching Supreme Court justices who voted to legalize same-sex marriage.

Bannon has pledged to run insurgents against every GOP incumbent except Ted Cruz of Texas. Now he’ll have a much harder time carrying that strategy into November’s congressional elections.

Dealing with Moore would have been a daily challenge for a Republican Party already struggling to unite behind its agenda. Moore said he was running so God could save the country, and he vilified McConnell and other leaders as establishment sellouts.

He favored bans on homosexual conduct and gays serving in the military. He had said he believed former President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the U.S., and recently was quoted as saying at a rally that the U.S. was great before the Civil War "even though we had slavery" because, he said, families stuck together and the country had a direction.
$100 Check

Some Republican senators engaged in public debates over just how much to oppose Moore. Senator Jeff Flake tweeted a photo of a $100 check he sent to Jones, while Nebraska’s Ben Sasse tweeted that both Flake, in backing Jones, and the Republican National Committee, which renewed its financial support for Moore, had gotten it wrong. Strikingly, Republican Richard Shelby, Alabama’s senior senator, said he didn’t vote for Moore and instead wrote in the name of a "distinguished Republican."

The outcome adds urgency to Republican efforts to send a massive tax-cut bill to Trump’s desk before Jones can be seated -- by Jan. 3 at the latest -- and it greatly complicates Trump’s plan to attempt a broader repeal of the Affordable Care Act next year.

The one-seat gain gives Democrats a slightly better shot in 2018 at winning the Senate majority, which they could use to control the agenda, investigate the president and block nominees, from the Supreme Court on down.

A Democratic majority is still a long shot. The election map strongly favors the GOP, with 10 Democrats up for re-election in states won by Trump and just one Republican incumbent -- Dean Heller of Nevada -- running in a state won by Democrat Hillary Clinton.

To take the majority, Democrats would likely need to re-elect their incumbents, defeat Heller and pick up an open seat in Arizona or Tennessee -- or, in perhaps the dream Democratic scenario, topple Cruz in Texas.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-13/moore-defeat-in-alabama-deals-trump-a-rebuke-ahead-of-2018-races
HUMANS ARE STILL EVOLVING! Our communities blog is at https://openmind693.wordpress.com

Offline knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 10597
    • View Profile
US ready to talk any time North Korea wants, Tillerson says
« Reply #9695 on: December 13, 2017, 04:18:23 AM »


Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday that the U.S. would be willing to hold talks with North Korea even if the Communist nation does not do away with its nuclear weapons program.

Although Tillerson said the goal of U.S. policy remained denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, he added it was “not realistic to say we’re only going to talk if you come to the table ready to give up your program. They’ve too much invested in it. The president is very realistic about that as well.”

Tillerson’s remarks at the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington came two weeks after North Korea conducted a test with a missile that could potentially carry a nuclear warhead to the U.S. Eastern Seaboard — a milestone in its decades-long drive to pose an atomic threat to its American adversary that Trump has vowed to prevent, using military force if necessary.

“We are ready to talk any time North Korea would like to talk. We are ready to have the first meeting without preconditions. Let’s just meet,” Tillerson said. “And then we can begin to lay out a road map.”

The secretary of state did say that a “period of quiet,” without new nuclear or missile tests, would have to take place before talks could begin. This year, the North has conducted more than 20 ballistic missile launches and one nuclear test explosion, its most powerful yet.

In public, Donald Trump has been less sanguine about the possibilities of diplomacy with Kim Jong Un’s authoritarian government, which faces growing international isolation and sanctions as it pursues nuclear weapons in defiance of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions. In October, Trump appeared to undercut Tillerson when he said he was “wasting his time” trying to negotiate with the North Korea, just as Tillerson said the U.S. had backchannel communications with the North.

Trump, who has traded insults with Kim, kept up his tough talk on Tuesday. As he signed a $700 billion defense authorization bill that includes additional spending on missile defense, he referred to North Korea as a “vile dictatorship.”

“We’re working very diligently on that — building up forces. We’ll see how it all turns out. It’s a very bad situation — a situation that should have been handled long ago by other administrations,” Trump said.

In a statement late Tuesday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said, “The President’s views on North Korea have not changed. North Korea is acting in an unsafe way not only toward Japan, China, and South Korea, but the entire world. North Korea’s actions are not good for anyone and certainly not good for North Korea.”

https://www.continentsnews.com/us-ready-talk-time-north-korea-wants-tillerson-says/
HUMANS ARE STILL EVOLVING! Our communities blog is at https://openmind693.wordpress.com

Offline knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 10597
    • View Profile
How Reddit and others “broke the Internet” to support net neutrality yesterday
« Reply #9696 on: December 13, 2017, 04:24:12 AM »
Gallery: Major websites join last-ditch effort to save net neutrality rules.



Net neutrality rules will be repealed by the Federal Communications Commission Thursday, barring any unlikely last-minute changes. But net neutrality advocates won't let the vote pass quietly. Today was "Break the Internet" day, in which many websites altered their appearance and urged visitors to contact members of Congress about the pending repeal (see the gallery above for examples from Reddit, Kickstarter, GitHub, Mozilla, and others).

There were also in-person protests last week, and there will be more on the way before the FCC vote. The pressure might be having some effect, as even a few Republican lawmakers are speaking out against the repeal. Democrats were already solidly behind net neutrality rules.

Congress could reverse the FCC's decision or impose a new set of net neutrality rules, although that doesn't seem likely given the sizable Republican majorities in the House and Senate. While the issue may ultimately be decided in court, net neutrality supporters clearly won't let members of Congress make it through this week without hearing from them.



HUMANS ARE STILL EVOLVING! Our communities blog is at https://openmind693.wordpress.com

Offline knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 10597
    • View Profile
Mom, son, scramble 4 times to stay out of California wildfire's path
« Reply #9697 on: December 13, 2017, 04:27:58 AM »
Emily Vedder's heartbreaking and heartwarming story of evacuation from the Thomas Fire has shadowed the path of the devilish inferno.
The single mother and her 6-year-old son, Caden Hammons, evacuated their home in Ventura County, headed north to Carpinteria and got pushed farther west by wind-whipped flames and a burglary.
They've slept, or at least tried to, with worry on their minds and smoke in their lungs in five locations since the fire started, including their Ojai-area home.
"It's exhausting, emotionally exhausting," Vedder said.

'We're watching our friends' farms, land, houses be destroyed. And for us not being able to go home to safe air has been the biggest struggle."

The odyssey began on Monday, December 4, when the Thomas Fire shoved the lump in anxious Ojai residents' throats into the pits of their stomachs.
Walls of dangerous orange flame lit up the darkness on the edge of town.
"We saw the smoke and we saw the flames and then we decided to leave," Vedder said. "Then it was mandatory an hour later for us to go, and everyone in Ojai was basically clogging up the two ways out."
"Smoke, fire," Caden remembered, frowning.
What does a 6-year-old think about scampering out of his home with a fire raging?
"Sad, worried."
So, mother and child fled to their Aunt Mimi and Uncle Greg Putnam's avocado ranch in the foothills of Carpinteria.
Vedder and Caden spent a restful night in the Carpinteria home on Shepard Mesa that her grandparents once owned.
"We thought we were safe, but once the fire escalated overnight we decided to get a hotel room," she said.
Shepard Mesa eventually was evacuated.
On December 5, Vedder and Caden fled the avocado ranch for the safety of a Carpinteria hotel, miles from the attacking flames on the south side of the main freeway.
They spent three nights catching up on sleep, until Vedder returned from work Friday, December 8, and found someone had stolen the important documents they grabbed and dashed with from their Ojai home.
"I just felt violated," she said.
Vedder filed a police report over the theft of her Social Security card, their birth certificates and other paperwork.
"I was tired. I hadn't slept in days," she said. "The air quality is bad. And then to have tried to save all these things (documents) just to have them taken from our room" was the last straw, she said.
So, on December 9, the Koonce family in Santa Barbara welcomed their displaced friends, this undaunted mother and son.
Surely, the home of Julie Koonce, her husband, Nick, and their son C.J. would be far enough west of the Thomas Fire's wrath.
C.J. gave Caden a pair of red "Star Wars" pajamas adorned with Stormtroopers and the families shared a meal highlighted by homemade pizza.
Vedder and Caden shared a foldout couch, their fourth bed since the fire began, only to be awakened by mandatory evacuation alerts and warnings about the Thomas Fire burning west in the hills.

At sunrise December 10, Vedder and friends tried to brew coffee to inject some liquid caffeine into sleep-deprived, stress-ravaged bodies.
But the power kept going out. Coffee finally brewed at 11 and by 6 p.m., Vedder, Caden and the extended Koonce family heeded voluntary evacuation orders and moved to a hotel farther west in Goleta, where they are now.
"We just try to stay positive," Vedder said.
And somehow Vedder, a 42-year-old aesthetician at La Reve Spa in Santa Barbara, has kept working.
Because school is canceled, her boss let her bring well-behaved Caden to the spa, where he spent much of his time playing on the computer.
Their trek has been filled with friends reaching out in many ways.
Vedder plans to return to Ojai as soon as she can, when the smoke clears. She says she has broken down crying during the journey from an inferno.
"At nighttime is usually when -- I'm missing home," Vedder said. "But we explain that our friends are safe, our house is safe and we're going to move forward. And we're just lucky that we have a place to go home."
Vedder adds she's waiting for an air purifier to arrive and that will help with the unrelenting smoke.
So, they wait in evacuee limbo, just two of 100,000 or so refugees from the Thomas Fire,
Video of the inferno flickered on a local news report as Caden consumed six small pancakes in the "Star Wars" pajamas handed down from his friend.
Outside, sepia-toned smoke hung in the air.
"It makes people sick and they have to go to the doctor," Caden said. "I'm just scared now."
Sitting on a couch in a hotel, the boy hugged his mom.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/12/us/ventura-fire-mom-son-evacuees/index.html
HUMANS ARE STILL EVOLVING! Our communities blog is at https://openmind693.wordpress.com

Offline knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 10597
    • View Profile
Record high 262 journalists imprisoned in 2017: CPJ
« Reply #9698 on: December 13, 2017, 04:32:37 AM »

Al Jazeera reporters have often come under fire, especially in Egypt

The number of journalists jailed reached a record high this year amid an aggressive crackdown by government authorities.

A total of 262 reporters were put behind bars for their work in 2017, a new report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) revealed on Wednesday.

"It is shameful that for the second year in a row, a record number of journalists are behind bars," said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon in a statement on Wednesday.

"Countries that jail journalists for what they publish are violating international law and must be held accountable," he added.

For the second, successive year, Turkey emerged as the country with the highest number of reporters imprisoned, at 73.

The crackdown on Turkish press is part of a wider government campaign under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, following a failed military coup in June 2016.

China and Egypt followed Turkey's lead, with 41 and 20 cases, respectively.
#FreeAJStaff

The report comes as Al Jazeera reporter Mahmoud Hussein approaches one year of detention in an Egyptian cell.

Hussein, an Egyptian national based in Qatar, was detained and questioned by Egyptian authorities on December 20 after travelling to Cairo for a holiday.

He is accused of "incitement against state institutions and broadcasting false news with the aim of spreading chaos".

Al Jazeera has rejected the allegations against him and urges his unconditional release.

Besides Hussein, other Al Jazeera reporters have also come under fire.

A social media campaign with the hashtag #FreeAJStaff was launched by the Doha-based network to draw awareness of its detained journalists.

Over the past few years, Egyptian authorities have arrested several Al Jazeera employees, raising concerns over media freedom in the country.

    Journalists are being targeted for only being journalists and performing their job professionally.

    Baher Mohamed, Al Jazeera journalist

In May 2016, a Cairo court sentenced a former editor-in-chief of Al Jazeera Arabic, Ibrahim Helal, to death, charging him in absentia with endangering national security.

Al Jazeera's Baher Mohamed, Mohamed Fahmy and Peter Greste - along with seven colleagues outside Egypt - were accused of spreading "false news" during their coverage of the aftermath of the military overthrow of then-president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, the year they were taken into custody.

Mohamed and Fahmy spent 437 days in jail before being released in 2015. Greste spent more than a year in prison.

"I believe this is the darkest era when it comes to press freedom and journalists," said Al Jazeera's Mohamed, who rejoined the network's headquarters in Doha in October 2015.

"Journalists are being targeted for only being journalists and performing their job professionally," he added.

'Dangerous time'

In its annual census, the US-based non-profit CPJ found that nearly three-quarters of journalists are jailed on anti-state charges, many under broad and vague terror laws.

According to the media rights group Reporters Without Borders, North Korea ranks the lowest in terms of press freedom.

Iraq and Syria were the deadliest countries for reporters in 2017, CPJ numbers revealed.

Politics reporters, who comprise 87 percent of those jailed, are most at risk of being jailed.

"It is certainly a dangerous time to be a journalist, particularly in the Middle East and Asia, where throwing journalists behind bars seems to be a form of censorship for which countries pay a small price politically," Robert Mahoney, CPJ's deputy executive director, told Al Jazeera.

Journalists and media observers believe the limitations imposed by heads of states prevents reporters from doing their jobs effectively.

"The political situation in some countries has deteriorated and the tolerance for criticism has decreased," said CPJ's Mahoney.

"Authoritarianism is on the rise and journalists are paying the price," he added.

Despite the fear of crackdown and intimidation by authorities, many are still determined to continue doing their jobs.

"Myself, I'll always chase the truth. I'll not stop being a journalist," said our correspondent Mohamed.

"There are hundreds of thousands of brave journalists who will continue to do the job even better than me."

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/12/record-high-262-journalists-imprisoned-2017-cpj-171213085027930.html
HUMANS ARE STILL EVOLVING! Our communities blog is at https://openmind693.wordpress.com

Offline knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 10597
    • View Profile
Trump's Jerusalem move reignites Palestinian cause
« Reply #9699 on: December 13, 2017, 04:36:11 AM »

Tens of thousands have protested against the US decision in different continents

US President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the US embassy to the city from Tel Aviv has reignited the Palestinian cause, according to analysts.

Breaking with years of US policy, Trump announced the move on December 6, drawing international condemnation and sparking a wave of heated protests around the world.

No country currently has its embassy in Jerusalem.

The status of Jerusalem has long remained a sensitive topic and one of the core issues in the Israeli-Palestine conflict.

Trump's decision has "touched the nerve of the Arab people and the backbone of the international law", said Salman Abu Sitta, chairman of the Popular Conference of Palestinians Abroad.

"The declaration has ignited the people's feelings about Palestine and Jerusalem as its symbol, but it also exposed those who ran into the despicable position of the so-called normalisation," he told Al Jazeera, speaking from Kuwait.

Jerusalem, home to holy religious sites, has particular significance for Muslims, Christians and Jews.

West Jerusalem was seized by Israel during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, when more than 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from historic Palestine, referred to by Palestinians as the Nakba (catastrophe) when Israel was officially founded.

Israel subsequently occupied and annexed the eastern part of the city after its military victory in the 1967 war, but its control over East Jerusalem has never been recognised by the international community.

Palestinians want occupied East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state, while Israel says the city cannot be divided.
'Huge early Christmas gift'

With the issue of Israel and Palestine on the back burner of diplomacy in recent years, Trump's decision comes as "a godsend" for the people of Jerusalem, explained Daoud Kuttab, a Palestinian journalist and columnist.

"Donald Trump gave Jerusalemites and Palestinians a huge early Christmas gift," he told Al Jazeera.

"The 300,000 Palestinians in Jerusalem who have been political orphans received more attention than they could have dreamed of," he added.

    It [US move] has certainly unified the ordinary Arab and Muslim citizens to demand their government to take a much more determined action to help the Palestinian cause and get away from the US.

    Ghada Karmi, British-Palestinian author

The international community has never recognised Israel's claim to the entire city.

Ghada Karmi, a British-Palestinian author and research fellow at Exeter University's Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, said the move has given Israel "free license to take over the whole of Jerusalem", but has also brought the Palestinian struggle into the spotlight again.

"It's had a very unending consequence," she told Al Jazeera from London. "It's indeed returned the issue of the Palestinians and of Jerusalem onto the world stage."

Karmi added: "It faces the official Arab position with a real question: how do they want to proceed from now on? They have to start thinking again."

An extraordinary summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was held in the Turkish city of Istanbul on Wednesday regarding Jerusalem.

The Jeddah-based group rejected and condemned the American decision.

"This is a violation of international law ... and this is a provocation of the feelings of Muslims within the world ... it will create a situation of instability in the region and in the world," Yousef al-Othaimeen, OIC's secretary general said.
'Bold steps need to be taken'

A series of emergency sessions were held in the days after the US decision and the issue has been high on the agenda of diplomatic meetings and international summits.
Trump's Jerusalem decision is spoiling Christmas for Bethlehem

Several members of the UN Security Council held an emergency meeting to roundly condemn the move at the UN headquarters in New York.

The Arab League also slammed Trump's decision at an emergency session of foreign ministers from 22 Arab states in Egypt's capital, Cairo.

But Arab and Muslim leaders have been criticised for not taking concrete steps against Trump's decision.

Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas said there was no strong Arab official response and urged bolder steps.

"Embassies were not closed, ambassadors were not expelled and relations were not cut off or even frozen," he said in a speech delivered by Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki on his behalf on Tuesday, adding that rejecting the decision is not enough.

Many believe Arab nations are "too compromised" in their relationship with the US to take any effective action.

"The Arab regimes issue statements and declarations for public consumption only," said Al Jazeera's senior political analyst Marwan Bishara.

"In reality, they are too weak or too divided to do anything about it."

However, others feel there is increasing pressure on the diplomats from ordinary citizens.

The US move "has certainly unified the ordinary Arab and Muslim citizens to demand their government to take a much more determined action to help the Palestinian cause and get away from the US", said Karmi.

Diplomats and experts have long vouched for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Afte Trump's announcement, there is growing consensus that such a solution is "effectively dead".

"This has exposed the fallacy of the so-called peace process," said Abu Sitta of the Popular Conference of Palestinians Abroad.

Some also point towards a one-state solution now as the only option.

"This last action on the part of the American president by giving the whole of Jerusalem to the Israelis is obviously the final nail in the coffin of the idea of the two-state solution," said Karmi.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/12/trump-jerusalem-move-reignites-palestinian-171212115234940.html
HUMANS ARE STILL EVOLVING! Our communities blog is at https://openmind693.wordpress.com

Offline knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 10597
    • View Profile
Can #MeToo go beyond white neoliberal feminism?
« Reply #9700 on: December 13, 2017, 04:39:35 AM »

Demonstrators participate in the #MeToo Survivors's March on November 12 in Los Angeles

Alicia Garza, the cofounder of Black Lives Matter, recently paid tribute to Tarana Burke, the African American activist who began the "Me Too" campaign in 2007 as a grassroots movement to aid sexual assault survivors in underprivileged communities where no rape crisis centres existed and few sexual assault workers were on the payroll. Garza, herself a survivor of sexual assault, explained that for her, the importance of "Me Too" lies in the "power of empathy, this power of connection, is really about empowering people to be survivors, to be resilient, and also to make really visible that sexual violence is not about people's individual actions, that this is a systemic problem".

These words are not only directed towards the Donald Trump and Roy Moore types and the conservative backlash against #MeToo, but should also be read as a counterbalance to the trenchant feminist critiques of the campaign.

Activists and feminists have, rightly, pointed out that it is only when powerful, wealthy and mostly white women come forward that influential men have been forced to resign from high-profile positions. This raises the absolutely crucial question of when and where claims of sexual harassment and assault are heard and whose voices count.

Other critics have noted that the denunciation and the tendency to conflate more "casual" sexual harassment with sexual assault can lead to scapegoating, lack of due process, and a new "sex panic", where sexuality will be even more forcibly policed. Historically, such processes have translated into more intensified policing of non-normative sexual practices, particularly among LGBTQ people.

Along similar lines, women of colour have voiced their grave concerns about the incredibly bloated and racist criminal justice system, claiming that the mere criminalisation of perpetrators is problematic.

    #MeToo has already shifted debates about workplace norms, created new and surprising alliances

     

Finally, another concern coming from the left has to do with its individualistic nature. This line of critique suggests that #MeToo is about "me", the individual's resilience and survival and does not and likely cannot mobilise people politically. Thus, it can easily become part of a neoliberal feminist discussion, which ultimately individualises and atomises each person who uses the hashtag while disavowing the socioeconomic and cultural structures shaping our lives. In this way, it also elides the women who are perhaps most vulnerable to violence - sexual or otherwise - such as immigrant, domestic workers, and low-income women of colour.

Insofar as this is the case, then the #MeToo discourse not only helps to disarticulate the systemic nature of gendered and sexual violence, but it actually places the onus on individual women to come forward and speak their pain.

These criticisms are both valid and forceful. But Garza, in her single sentence quoted above, manages to address many of the issues raised, while highlighting the fault lines as well as the incredible potential of the #MeToo campaign.

First, Garza reminds us that "Me Too" began as a grassroots movement, founded by an African American woman, whose aim was to reach women in underprivileged communities, particularly young women of colour. From the outset, the movement had a very specific therapeutic and political vision that helps explain its affective pull, as well as why women feel empowered when speaking about their painful and often traumatic experiences. As Burke puts it: "Me Too" is about "using the power of empathy to stomp out shame."


The Time magazine named the 'Silence Breakers', those who have shared their stories about sexual assault and harassment, 'person of the year'. The magazine's cover features Isabel Pascual, Ashley Judd, Taylor Swift, Adama Iwu and Susan Fowler [AP]

While the mainstream press has noted - albeit mostly in passing - Burke's coining of the term, much less has been said about the origins of "Me Too" as a grassroots movement, its therapeutic vision or its initial mission to help underprivileged women find their voice. Thus, Garza's intervention reminds us, yet again, how often "black women's work" and their voices have been erased from mainstream US narratives.

Second, Garza highlights one of the main tensions or paradoxes in the current #MeToo movement. On the one hand, she says that #MeToo is about empowering individuals who have experienced sexual harassment and assault, transforming shame into a language of empowerment, survival and resilience. The desire for emotional transformation and the effort to enable survivors to speak and work through their pain clearly has its roots in the movement's original therapeutic vision.

On the other hand - and in the very same breath - she insists that sexual violence is about systemic patriarchal violence, which, she contends, feeds off of shame and silence.

Garza has a point. Notwithstanding the strength of the different critiques, the "#MeToo" campaign has, within a short period, managed to bring about noticeable social change. Its incredible domino effect has begun to transform not only public discussion but also the cultural landscape in ways that no one could have predicted even six months ago. Indeed, we are witnessing a new phenomenon in which self-entitled and privileged men who think they can do whatever they want with impunity are actually being sacked as a result of sexual assault and even "casual" sexual harassment. This is historic.

#MeToo has already shifted debates about workplace norms, created new and surprising alliances where female farmworkers are not only speaking out, but expressing their solidarity with Hollywood actresses; it is breaking the silence around gender inequality in this particular form - sexual harassment and assault - pushing the mainstream media to abandon the bad apple approach and to note that the problem is, in fact, pervasive, if not structural.

In this context, it is crucial to remember the motivations behind the original "Me Too" campaign, as well as the words of its founder: "I appreciate the hashtag, and I appreciate the hashtag elevating the conversation, but it's not a hashtag, right? It's not a moment. This is a movement."

It is certainly true that the current #MeToo campaign could devolve into another aspect of an individualistic neoliberal feminism, leaving men like Donald Trump and Roy Moore unscathed. But it is also true that it could gather more momentum and broaden the conversation to include urgent and difficult discussions about structural sexism, male self-entitlement, and - just as importantly - other forms of intersecting systemic oppressions. Burke and Garza are leading the way. Whether we follow their lead and help mobilise the moment into a mass movement is, in many ways, up to us. So, yes, "MeToo."

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/metoo-white-neoliberal-feminism-171213064156855.html
HUMANS ARE STILL EVOLVING! Our communities blog is at https://openmind693.wordpress.com

Offline knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 10597
    • View Profile
Macron: World is losing battle against climate change
« Reply #9701 on: December 13, 2017, 04:43:00 AM »
French President Emmanuel Macron delivered a stark warning on climate change at a meeting in Paris, urging political and business leaders to launch an urgent new phase in the fight against global warming.

"We are losing the battle," Macron said at Tuesday's "One Planet" summit. "We must all act because we will all be held to account."

The meeting was held on the second anniversary of the Paris climate agreement, a pact ratified by 170 nations to cut Earth-warming greenhouse gas emissions.

US President Donald Trump, however, has since announced plans to withdraw from the accord, a move Macron described as "bad news".

"We are here in such great numbers because so many of us have decided not to accept the US government decision to leave the agreement," he said.

Macron did not invite Trump to the summit. Several prominent American figures - including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk - were in attendance.

Al Jazeera's Natacha Butler, reporting from Paris, said the US pullout has left "an enormous shortfall in the funding for the battle against climate change".

Trump, who has called climate change a "hoax", said he would withhold $2bn pledged to the Green Climate Fund, set up to help poorer countries tackle the effects of climate change.

Antonio Guterres, the UN chief, said the Green Climate Fund was indispensable, adding it was "only justice" that developed countries help poorer countries fight climate change.

"We are in a war for the very existence of life on our planet as we know it," said Guterres.

"There is no shortage of funds. What we are short on is trust and we must fix this. This means that the rich northern countries up their engagement and pledge $100bn a year until 2020 for developing countries."

Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, said environmentalists owed Trump a debt of gratitude for rallying thousands to action.

Speaking to reporters earlier in the day, Bloomberg added America's Pledge - a coalition of 1,000 US governors, mayors, business leaders, and academics, formed to honour US commitments in the Paris Accord - now "represents half of the US economy".

Other public and private financial institutions unveiled plans to invest in clean energy and divest from fossil fuels.

That included an announcement by the World Bank that it would not finance oil-and-gas exploration or production after 2019.

A group of more than 225 investment funds managing more than $26 trillion in assets pledged to step up pressure on the world's largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters to curb emissions and disclose climate-related financial information.

Here are some of the other commitments announced in Paris:

    French insurer Axa said it would quadrupole investments in environmentally friendly projects, and pull out $2.9bn from companies that derive more than 30 percent of their revenues from coal
    Dutch bank ING said it would have "close to zero exposure" to coal power generation by 2025
    Norwegian pension fund Storebrand said it will expand its portfolio of fossil fuel-free investments to more than $3bn
    The European Union pledged to invest 9 billion euros ($10.6bn) in clean energy, sustainable agriculture, and climate-resilient cities
    The World Bank also announced a slew of other projects, including a $4.5bn fund for cities to fight the effects of climate change, and a plan to tackle erosion along the West African Coast

Margaret Kuhlow, the World Wide Fund, told Al Jazeera she was "encouraged" by the new commitments.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/12/macron-world-losing-battle-climate-change-171212163540152.html
HUMANS ARE STILL EVOLVING! Our communities blog is at https://openmind693.wordpress.com

Offline knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 10597
    • View Profile
Chinese authorities collecting DNA from all residents of Xinjiang
« Reply #9702 on: December 13, 2017, 04:47:21 AM »

Xinjiang is one of the most tightly controlled parts of China.

Chinese authorities are collecting DNA samples, fingerprints and other biometric data from every resident in a far western region, Human Rights Watch has said.

Officials are also building a database of iris scans and blood types of everyone aged between 12 and 65 in Xinjiang, adding to controls in a place some experts have called an “open-air prison”.

The region is home to over 11 million Uighurs, a Muslim Turkic minority, and is occasionally hit by bouts of violence.

The data can be used for “surveillance of persons because of ethnicity, religion, opinion or other protected exercise of rights like free speech”, according to Human Rights Watch.

Part of the collection is being done through government-provided medical checkups, and it is unclear if patients are aware the exam is also designed to transmit biometric data to the police.

Although the checks are officially voluntary, one Uighur said local cadres “had demanded that they must participate in the physicals”. A story in a local newspaper encouraged officials to “work hard to convince them to participate”.

Nearly 19 million people have participated in the medical exams, dubbed Physicals for All, in 2017, according to state news agency Xinhua. For people determined to be “focus personnel” – a euphemism for those the government views as dangerous – their data will be collected regardless of age.

“The mandatory databanking of a whole population’s biodata, including DNA, is a gross violation of international human rights norms,” said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. “It’s even more disturbing if it is done surreptitiously, under the guise of a free healthcare program.

“Xinjiang authorities should rename their physical exams project ‘Privacy Violations for All’, as informed consent and real choice does not seem to be part of these programs,” she added.

Officials in the region claim the scheme is meant to improve policies aimed at poverty alleviation. They also say it is targeted at “social stability”, a phrase commonly used to describe crackdowns on government critics.

In the massive effort to collect biometric data from millions of residents, police in Xinjiang bought DNA sequencers from the US company Thermo Fisher Scientific, according to Human Rights Watch. The company refused to directly address its products being used in Xinjiang, saying only: “We do expect all of our customers to act in accordance with appropriate regulations and industry-standard best practices.”

Biometric data collection also applies to people originally from Xinjiang who have moved to other parts of China, where they will be required to submit their information locally.

Xinjiang is one of the most tightly controlled parts of China, with the Uighur minority facing increased scrutiny in recent years. Heavily armed troops on city streets are a common sight and the authorities frequently hold mass rallies to bolster their support in the fight against the Islamic extremists Beijing blames for a series of attacks on government officials and civilians.

But rights groups say most of the violence stems from restrictions on religion, culture, language and expression, as well as a lack of economic opportunities in the impoverished region. Uighurs often complain high-paying jobs are given only to Han Chinese.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/13/chinese-authorities-collecting-dna-residents-xinjiang
HUMANS ARE STILL EVOLVING! Our communities blog is at https://openmind693.wordpress.com

Offline knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 10597
    • View Profile
English rivers polluted by powerful insecticides, first tests reveal
« Reply #9703 on: December 13, 2017, 04:51:45 AM »
Neonicotinoids, banned on flowering crops, were found in nearly all rivers tested, increasing concerns over their impact on fish and birds


The river Waveney that supplies the Norfolk Broads had chronic neonicotinoid pollution levels recorded.

Rivers in England are contaminated with powerful insecticides, new testing has revealed, increasing concerns over the impact of the toxic chemicals on fish and birds.

Neonicotinoids were banned from use on flowering crops in the European Union in 2013 due to the harm they cause to bees and other vital pollinators. Following even more evidence of harm, an EU vote to extend the ban to all outdoor uses is expected soon.

However, evidence is also growing that neonicotinoids – the world’s most widely used insecticide – harm other species, such as songbirds. Neonicotinoids have been in use since the early 1990s and now contaminate landscapes around the world. But very little monitoring of their concentration in soils or water is done, a failing recently condemned by a UK government chief scientific adviser.

The first systematic testing of neonicotinoids in rivers in Britain was mandated by EU water regulations and conducted in 2016. The results, obtained by the conservation charity Buglife, show that half of the 16 rivers tested in England had either chronic or acute levels of contamination. Of the 23 rivers tested across Britain, neonicotinoids were not detected in six.

No official limits exist in the EU for neonicotinoid pollution in freshwater. But a peer-reviewed scientific analysis published in 2015 recommended chronic and acute levels that should not be exceeded “to avoid lasting effects on aquatic invertebrate communities”, and these were used by Buglife to asses the new river data.

Like flying insects, aquatic insects are vulnerable to neonicotinoids and provide the main source of food for many fish and birds. Recent research in the Netherlands has shown chronic neonicotinoid pollution in water led to sharp drops in insect numbers and was linked to heavy falls in bird numbers.

“We are devastated to discover that many British rivers have been heavily damaged by neonicotinoid insecticides,” said Matt Shardlow, CEO of Buglife.

Mark Lloyd, CEO of the Angling Trust, said: “These results are highly alarming in the context of widespread declines in aquatic insect life and fish populations. We urge the government to act urgently to ban continued use of these chemicals to protect wildlife, fisheries and drinking water.”

The most polluted river tested was the river Waveney on the Norfolk/Suffolk Border, where the acute harm level was exceeded for a whole month in the summer of 2016. Sugar beet fields are the most likely source of pollution, said Shardlow.

The nearby river Wensum, in a Special Area of Conservation for its river life, was also chronically polluted. Both rivers supply the Norfolk Broads, an internationally important wetland site and home to many endangered aquatic animals.

The proposed EU ban would still allow neonicotinoids to be used in greenhouses and as a flea treatment for pets. A new Greenpeace study suggests neonicotinoids are frequently found in waterways close to greenhouses where they have been used. The new tests found contamination in a stream in the Cairngorms, which Shardlow said is most likely the result of a treated dog entering the stream.

“It is vital that action is taken to completely ban these toxins, including in greenhouses and on pets, before another year of disgraceful pollution occurs,” he said.

Arlin Rickard, CEO of the Rivers Trust, said: “We work closely with farmers and growers to reduce and better target chemical and fertiliser usage, however some chemicals are just too damaging and persistent to be tolerated.”

A spokesman for the National Farmers Union said: “British farmers take their environmental responsibilities seriously and have high levels of pesticide stewardship through schemes like the Voluntary Initiative, which offer advice and actions designed to keep pesticides out of water. The Environment Agency closely monitors pesticides in rivers and we are not aware of it raising any specific concerns about high levels of neonicotinoids.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/dec/13/english-rivers-polluted-by-powerful-insecticides-first-tests-reveal
HUMANS ARE STILL EVOLVING! Our communities blog is at https://openmind693.wordpress.com

Offline knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 10597
    • View Profile
The climate science maverick believes catastrophe is inevitable, carbon offsetting is a joke and ethical living a scam. So what would he do? By Decca Aitkenhead


James Lovelock



In 1965 executives at Shell wanted to know what the world would look like in the year 2000. They consulted a range of experts, who speculated about fusion-powered hovercrafts and "all sorts of fanciful technological stuff". When the oil company asked the scientist James Lovelock, he predicted that the main problem in 2000 would be the environment. "It will be worsening then to such an extent that it will seriously affect their business," he said.

"And of course," Lovelock says, with a smile 43 years later, "that's almost exactly what's happened."

Lovelock has been dispensing predictions from his one-man laboratory in an old mill in Cornwall since the mid-1960s, the consistent accuracy of which have earned him a reputation as one of Britain's most respected - if maverick - independent scientists. Working alone since the age of 40, he invented a device that detected CFCs, which helped detect the growing hole in the ozone layer, and introduced the Gaia hypothesis, a revolutionary theory that the Earth is a self-regulating super-organism. Initially ridiculed by many scientists as new age nonsense, today that theory forms the basis of almost all climate science.

For decades, his advocacy of nuclear power appalled fellow environmentalists - but recently increasing numbers of them have come around to his way of thinking. His latest book, The Revenge of Gaia, predicts that by 2020 extreme weather will be the norm, causing global devastation; that by 2040 much of Europe will be Saharan; and parts of London will be underwater. The most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report deploys less dramatic language - but its calculations aren't a million miles away from his.

As with most people, my panic about climate change is equalled only by my confusion over what I ought to do about it. A meeting with Lovelock therefore feels a little like an audience with a prophet. Buried down a winding track through wild woodland, in an office full of books and papers and contraptions involving dials and wires, the 88-year-old presents his thoughts with a quiet, unshakable conviction that can be unnerving. More alarming even than his apocalyptic climate predictions is his utter certainty that almost everything we're trying to do about it is wrong.

On the day we meet, the Daily Mail has launched a campaign to rid Britain of plastic shopping bags. The initiative sits comfortably within the current canon of eco ideas, next to ethical consumption, carbon offsetting, recycling and so on - all of which are premised on the calculation that individual lifestyle adjustments can still save the planet. This is, Lovelock says, a deluded fantasy. Most of the things we have been told to do might make us feel better, but they won't make any difference. Global warming has passed the tipping point, and catastrophe is unstoppable.

"It's just too late for it," he says. "Perhaps if we'd gone along routes like that in 1967, it might have helped. But we don't have time. All these standard green things, like sustainable development, I think these are just words that mean nothing. I get an awful lot of people coming to me saying you can't say that, because it gives us nothing to do. I say on the contrary, it gives us an immense amount to do. Just not the kinds of things you want to do."

He dismisses eco ideas briskly, one by one. "Carbon offsetting? I wouldn't dream of it. It's just a joke. To pay money to plant trees, to think you're offsetting the carbon? You're probably making matters worse. You're far better off giving to the charity Cool Earth, which gives the money to the native peoples to not take down their forests."

Do he and his wife try to limit the number of flights they take? "No we don't. Because we can't." And recycling, he adds, is "almost certainly a waste of time and energy", while having a "green lifestyle" amounts to little more than "ostentatious grand gestures". He distrusts the notion of ethical consumption. "Because always, in the end, it turns out to be a scam ... or if it wasn't one in the beginning, it becomes one."

Somewhat unexpectedly, Lovelock concedes that the Mail's plastic bag campaign seems, "on the face of it, a good thing". But it transpires that this is largely a tactical response; he regards it as merely more rearrangement of Titanic deckchairs, "but I've learnt there's no point in causing a quarrel over everything". He saves his thunder for what he considers the emptiest false promise of all - renewable energy.

"You're never going to get enough energy from wind to run a society such as ours," he says. "Windmills! Oh no. No way of doing it. You can cover the whole country with the blasted things, millions of them. Waste of time."

This is all delivered with an air of benign wonder at the intractable stupidity of people. "I see it with everybody. People just want to go on doing what they're doing. They want business as usual. They say, 'Oh yes, there's going to be a problem up ahead,' but they don't want to change anything."

Lovelock believes global warming is now irreversible, and that nothing can prevent large parts of the planet becoming too hot to inhabit, or sinking underwater, resulting in mass migration, famine and epidemics. Britain is going to become a lifeboat for refugees from mainland Europe, so instead of wasting our time on wind turbines we need to start planning how to survive. To Lovelock, the logic is clear. The sustainability brigade are insane to think we can save ourselves by going back to nature; our only chance of survival will come not from less technology, but more.

Nuclear power, he argues, can solve our energy problem - the bigger challenge will be food. "Maybe they'll synthesise food. I don't know. Synthesising food is not some mad visionary idea; you can buy it in Tesco's, in the form of Quorn. It's not that good, but people buy it. You can live on it." But he fears we won't invent the necessary technologies in time, and expects "about 80%" of the world's population to be wiped out by 2100. Prophets have been foretelling Armageddon since time began, he says. "But this is the real thing."

Faced with two versions of the future - Kyoto's preventative action and Lovelock's apocalypse - who are we to believe? Some critics have suggested Lovelock's readiness to concede the fight against climate change owes more to old age than science: "People who say that about me haven't reached my age," he says laughing.

But when I ask if he attributes the conflicting predictions to differences in scientific understanding or personality, he says: "Personality."

There's more than a hint of the controversialist in his work, and it seems an unlikely coincidence that Lovelock became convinced of the irreversibility of climate change in 2004, at the very point when the international consensus was coming round to the need for urgent action. Aren't his theories at least partly driven by a fondness for heresy?

"Not a bit! Not a bit! All I want is a quiet life! But I can't help noticing when things happen, when you go out and find something. People don't like it because it upsets their ideas."

But the suspicion seems confirmed when I ask if he's found it rewarding to see many of his climate change warnings endorsed by the IPCC. "Oh no! In fact, I'm writing another book now, I'm about a third of the way into it, to try and take the next steps ahead."

Interviewers often remark upon the discrepancy between Lovelock's predictions of doom, and his good humour. "Well I'm cheerful!" he says, smiling. "I'm an optimist. It's going to happen."

Humanity is in a period exactly like 1938-9, he explains, when "we all knew something terrible was going to happen, but didn't know what to do about it". But once the second world war was under way, "everyone got excited, they loved the things they could do, it was one long holiday ... so when I think of the impending crisis now, I think in those terms. A sense of purpose - that's what people want."

At moments I wonder about Lovelock's credentials as a prophet. Sometimes he seems less clear-eyed with scientific vision than disposed to see the version of the future his prejudices are looking for. A socialist as a young man, he now favours market forces, and it's not clear whether his politics are the child or the father of his science. His hostility to renewable energy, for example, gets expressed in strikingly Eurosceptic terms of irritation with subsidies and bureaucrats. But then, when he talks about the Earth - or Gaia - it is in the purest scientific terms all.

"There have been seven disasters since humans came on the earth, very similar to the one that's just about to happen. I think these events keep separating the wheat from the chaff. And eventually we'll have a human on the planet that really does understand it and can live with it properly. That's the source of my optimism."

What would Lovelock do now, I ask, if he were me? He smiles and says: "Enjoy life while you can. Because if you're lucky it's going to be 20 years before it hits the fan."

https://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2008/mar/01/scienceofclimatechange.climatechange
HUMANS ARE STILL EVOLVING! Our communities blog is at https://openmind693.wordpress.com