AuthorTopic: Knarf's Knewz Channel  (Read 689507 times)

Offline knarf

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Geneticists trace humble apple's exotic lineage all the way to the Silk Road
« Reply #7725 on: August 15, 2017, 03:42:31 PM »
The fruit’s evolutionary history has been unpicked for the first time by studying a range of wild and cultivated apples from China to North America


 The apples we know today, varieties of the species Malus domestica, have long been known to have descended from a species of wild apple from central Asia, known as Malus sieversii.

It is a lunchbox staple so ubiquitous as to have become mundane. But the apple we know today is the fruit of an extraordinary journey, researchers have revealed.

Scientists studying the genetics of the humble apple have unpicked how the cultivated species emerged as traders travelled back and forth along the Silk Road – ancient routes running from the far east to the Mediterranean sea.

Published in the journal Nature Communications by researchers from the US and China, the study focuses on genetic data from 117 different varieties of apple. These encompassed 24 species ranging from wild apples found in North America and China to domestic apples including ancient, cultivated varieties as well as those found in our supermarkets.

By comparing the genomes of the different varieties and the characteristics of their fruit, the team were able to reconstruct the apple family tree and explore the fruit’s evolutionary history.

“Our research is the first whole genome level analysis about apples’ evolutionary history,” said Yang Bai, co-author of the research from the Boyce Thompson Institute at Cornell University.

The apples we know today, varieties of the species Malus domestica, have long been known to have descended from a species of wild apple from central Asia, known as Malus sieversii.

The new study confirms this, but also goes further. While Malus sieversii grows in both Kazakhstan and Xinjiang in north-west China, the team found that apples from the two areas are distinct, with those in Xinjiang never cultivated.

“Those apples are not getting involved in any of the domestic apples – they are a lost jewel hidden there in the Xinjiang area,” said Bai.


A map depicting the apple’s journey along the silk road Photograph

The team say the finding suggests that modern cultivated apples have their roots in the trees of Kazakhstan, growing to the west of the “Heavenly Mountains” – the Tian Shan.

Previous research has also suggested that these apples were brought westward by traders along the Silk Road. But the trees which took root, either from deliberate planting or from discarded apple cores, did not grow in isolation: they cross-pollinated with wild species in the area. In particular, researchers have said, the European crabapple, whose small, sharp-tasting fruit is used to make cider.

The new study, says Bai, suggests the resulting apples were large – a trait passed on from Malus sieversii – while the crabapple contribution appears to have made the apples firm and tasty.

Indeed the new research suggests about 46% of the genome of modern, domestic apples is likely passed down from M. sieversii plants from Kazakhstan, with 21% from the European crabapple and 33% from uncertain sources. As the trees were subsequently selected and bred by humans, the apples’ traits continued to be refined for larger size, better flavour and firmness.

But the apple’s journey was far from one-way. The genetic study revealed that apples from Kazakhstan were also carried eastward – along the way they, too, picked up contributions from wild apples, resulting in the smaller, softer, sweeter fruits that are typical of Chinese dessert apples. “The traders go across the Eurasian continent both ways,” said Bai. “They spread those ancestral seeds along their way.”

And the story of the apple continues to blossom. According to the researchers, the size of apples could be greatly increased by further breeding, while the discovery of the genetically distinct Malus sieversii apples in Xinjiang could help to improve modern varieties, including by potentially offering a genetic resource for disease resistance. “Researchers definitely can find a lot of useful traits in those [apples],” said Bai.

https://amp.theguardian.com/science/2017/aug/15/geneticists-trace-humble-apples-exotic-lineage-all-the-way-to-the-silk-road
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They’ve seen the symbols that were on display in Charlottesville before, and they know where they lead.

MUNICH ― To Germans, it is no surprise that right-wing violence is escalating in America and that the president for days appeared unwilling to explicitly condemn the racists responsible for the death of a young woman during a far-right demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia.

In Germany, commentators from even the most conservative media organizations now argue the U.S. is moving away from democracy under President Donald Trump; that the president has become, in the words of one well-known sociologist, “the standard-bearer” for white supremacists.

“We are not dealing with a normal politician, but ... with something like a totalitarian ruler,” Harald Welzer, a sociologist, told a well-regarded German radio program on Monday. “We know this kind of politics from the 20th century. We didn’t expect its return in the 21st century.”

There’s little equivocation here, in part because of Germany’s historical relationship to symbols on display in Charlottesville: the swastika, the torches and the slogans.


Protesters carry Confederate and Nazi flags during the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday.

History here casts a long shadow. As The Economist rightly observed this week, in Germany, “Relativisation, endorsement by hint or omission, far-right symbols as ‘irony’, dog-whistle prevarications and creeping extenuation are rarely tolerated.”

A lesson from the horrors of Nazi rule in Germany is that there is a direct line from totalitarian speech to open violence. Hannah Arendt wrote about it in The Origins of Totalitarianism, and Victor Klemperer, in his book Language of the Third Reich, has portrayed the brutalization of language during the Nazi regime.

In Germany, this belief has led to laws which at times seem odd to foreigners. But they are justified by history: Never again will totalitarian ideas dominate our political discourse.

While we, too, are in favor of freedom of speech, the denial of the Holocaust is forbidden, as is incitement of hatred, which is punishable by up to five years in prison. Many of the demonstrators in Charlottesville would have fallen afoul of this law in Germany.

The public display of Nazi flags or regalia is forbidden, and even antique dealers must cover any swastikas on display. Nazi salutes are also forbidden, as two Chinese tourists recently learned: They were arrested after making the salute in front of the Reichstag building in Berlin. (A drunken American tourist got even swifter justice when a passerby punched him as he gave several stiff-armed salutes in downtown Dresden on Sunday.)

Right-wing populists, not unknown in Germany, have on occasion criticized some of these laws, referring to them as a “thought-policing.”

But, so far, public opinion hasn’t turned in their favor.

And even to those who advocate stricter controls on immigration, extreme-right symbols are a taboo.

The line between the right and the far right is like a firewall and, in Germany, it’s our democracy that holds it up.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/germany-reaction-to-charlottesville_us_59922bf4e4b08a247276c42d?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009
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Offline Surly1

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Re: Knarf's Knewz Channel
« Reply #7727 on: August 15, 2017, 05:30:30 PM »

The Preppers pretty much rejected the extreams of the Survivalists...at least at first...but then got co opted and just started repeating all the same old bad survival advice. The newbies just repeat the old shit without thinking "Why?". Survivalism then becomes just a recruting tool for, guess who? White supremacists, christian reconstructionsts and the military flag wavers.

Over on my own site, the week end article will get alittle darker than usual. Oh, by the way, the link is here https://darkgreenmountainsurvivalresearchcentre.wordpress.com/ just in case I forget. As I said, the next article gets darker than usual, because I have been given permission to repost an old series, The Fallacy Of Bugging Out, buy Survival Acres, and we are at part 4, BOB, The Reality. The dark part, is his assumption that one of the Tasks on the Honey, Do, List...is to kill these starving, dangerouse, idiology driven, "Survivalists" of questionable origen.

Checked out your blog. Looks very interesting. Want to read it more when I get some time-- late in the day for me.

You obviously come here with a good deal of experience and have seen a lot of this shit before, especially the bullshit artists. RE, when he gets is feet underneath him, ought to enjoy your body of work.
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Re: Oregon makes drug possession a misdemeanor
« Reply #7728 on: August 15, 2017, 06:21:14 PM »


SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A bill signed by Oregon's governor has reclassified personal-use possession of cocaine, methamphetamine and other drugs as a misdemeanor from a felony.

Among its supporters are the police and sheriffs' associations, which said felony convictions include unintended consequences, including barriers to housing and employment.

The bill signed Tuesday morning by Gov. Kate Brown also directs a state commission to develop methods for recording data concerning police-initiated pedestrian and traffic stops.

This is aimed at ensuring police aren't stopping people based on racial or other profiling.

http://katu.com/news/local/oregon-makes-drug-possession-a-misdemeanor

Kesey would be so proud of Oregonians right now. This is big.

 I can't believe there's a state government doing things that make sense. No wonder it costs a lot to live in Oregon these days.

In Texas, today, we made it impossible for anyone on Medicaid to get an abortion.
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Offline knarf

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Only Renewables Can Provide the Jobs and Revenue Trump Promised From Oil
« Reply #7729 on: August 16, 2017, 04:28:27 AM »
Since the beginning, President Donald Trump promised that stripping regulations on oil companies would drive employment. "We're bringing back jobs big league," he said.

But, after six months of regulatory rollback, Trump has done almost nothing that will create jobs on oil fields or offshore rigs. That's because low oil prices, not environmental protections, are stunting job growth, and Trump's push to nix federal regulations and expand drilling will only make oil cheaper.

Foreign producers have flooded the market, driving down the price of crude oil. Oil giants like Exxon have seen earnings drop off as a result. In an effort to cut costs and salvage profits, oil companies are laying off workers or automating operations, replacing workers with machines. Drilling rigs have gotten more efficient, allowing companies to pump the same volume of oil with half as much equipment and far fewer workers. Automation is creating a small number of high-tech jobs for skilled workers, but it's eliminating the well-paid blue collar jobs Trump promised to deliver.

The oil and gas extraction sector lost more than 140,000 jobs between 2014 and 2016, when the price of oil hit a slump. The industry lost three times as many jobs over that period than it did between 2008 and 2009, during the recession.

"When the inputs to a business get cheaper, that causes the business to expand, increasing employment," said Mark Jacobsen, professor of economics at UC San Diego. "From the perspective of a U.S. oil producer, input costs haven't changed much, but the output they produce is [now] worth very little. This causes the business to shrink, decreasing employment."

Even if the price of oil rebounds, it likely won't do so permanently. Electric vehicles are getting cheaper every day, and sales numbers for EVs are growing by leaps and bounds. Over the next few years, this will likely stunt demand for gas, leading to an oversupply of oil and a further downturn in prices, according to analysis from Bloomberg. The situation isn't likely to change. The UK, France and Norway have all passed laws banning the sale of gas-powered cars by 2040 or, in the case of Norway, 2025. Other countries are likely to follow suit.

Technology and economics, not environmental protections, are driving the loss of jobs. There is very little that this president—or any president—can do about it.

Those environmental protections, however, are key to warding off the punishing heat waves, powerful storms and persistent drought associated with climate change. Trump, for example, has tried axing a rule that limits methane pollution from oil and gas drilling sites. The measure, which imposes marginal costs on energy firms, is vital to reining in emissions of this extremely potent greenhouse gas. A recent draft report from 13 federal agencies was leaked to the press. It shows that a high-emissions scenario will result in as much as 10 degrees F of warming in the U.S. and up to eight feet of sea level rise.

But Trump has turned a blind eye to the carbon crisis. His energy policies fall into two broad categories. There are those that ease restrictions on oil companies—like his decision to allow firms to lobby foreign governments in secret. Then, there are his efforts to open up federal lands and waters to drilling.

Trump's proposed budget calls for opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling. He has already signed executive orders calling for federal agencies to lift restrictions on offshore drilling, approve the construction of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines, and review monument designations with an eye to opening federal lands to oil drilling.

"By increasing the amount of government land available for drilling, this could reduce the price producers pay for the land," said Jacobsen. "However, the difficulty in the case of oil is that increases in supply will just continue to drive down the price of the product, making it a difficult proposition to help the sector."

In other words, making it easier and cheaper to drill oil will do nothing to increase prices and create jobs. While Trump appears to understand that more production will suppress prices, he fails to see that lower prices will hurt job prospects.

-----------------------------------
Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Oil would be $25 a barrel if our government would let us drill. Our country would be rich again--who needs OPEC.
11:07 AM - Sep 19, 2012

    217 217 Replies
    1,062 1,062 Retweets
    207
-------------------------------------------------------

Trump took credit for Exxon's plans to revamp its Gulf Coast refining facilities and create 45,000 new jobs, but his policies had nothing to do with the effort. Exxon began work on the project in 2013. Trump said that lifting restrictions on oil and gas development will create half a million jobs, but that claim comes from a widely discredited report from the Koch-backed Institute for Energy Research.

As it is, the price of oil is simply too low to justify expanding production. The controversial Keystone XL pipeline offers a case in point. In the years since opponents first took up arms against the project, the price of oil has plummeted. Now, companies are backing away from the Canadian tar sands, which are difficult and costly to drill. Despite having the backing of the Trump administration, the project may ultimately go nowhere.

Is there anything the president can do to create oil jobs? Trump has called for a rollback of fuel standards for cars and trucks. The move could buoy demand for oil in the short term, but it will do nothing to stop the long-term shift to electric vehicles.

All of this throws a wrench into Trump's $1 trillion infrastructure plan, which he promised would be paid for by the tax revenue from fossil fuel production. As Inside Climate News reported, to raise that much revenue, the federal government would have to dramatically raise taxes on oil or oil prices would have to skyrocket. Neither is likely to happen under the current administration.

Trump wouldn't want to drive up the price of oil. Cheap gas is good for consumer spending. When people spend less on fuel, they have more money left over to put toward other purchases. Moreover, an analysis from the University of Virginia shows a link between the cost of gas and support for presidents. High gas prices would likely hurt Trump's already abysmal approval ratings.

If the president wants to invigorate the energy sector, he might look to renewables. Solar jobs are growing 17 times faster than the economy as a whole, while wind technician is the fastest-growing job in the country. These are blue-collar jobs that don't require a college degree and can't be automated or outsourced. Trump could use his office to spur the growth of these fields.

"Continued investment in research and development could bring down the costs of clean-energy inputs even further, continuing to help the sector," Jacobsen said. "Government commitment to improve air quality can also help the clean energy sector, since it makes the costs faced by their competition higher."

It may sound paradoxical that low oil prices would stunt job growth in the oil sector, while low prices for wind and solar would create jobs in the clean-energy sector. That's because oil prices are being suppressed by glut of supply, which forces companies to lay off workers to remain profitable. The cost of renewables is falling thanks to technological advances, making the product more attractive to consumers.

"If oil prices are low, the oil industry has to curb its activities. That translates into job losses," said Karl Cates, a spokesperson for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. "Low prices for solar and wind are good for employment in the clean-energy sector because they drive deployment. Renewables represent an emerging sector that has huge cost advantages. It's growing because it's cheaper. Growth, of course, means more jobs."

Trump likely won't change course on energy policy. Too bad. He has the opportunity to create jobs "big league."

https://www.ecowatch.com/trump-oil-2472885355.html
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Exxon, Shell Censured for Claiming Natural Gas Is 'Cleanest' Fossil Fuel
« Reply #7730 on: August 16, 2017, 04:35:18 AM »
For many years, a standard talking point from the fossil fuel industry and those who speak on the industry's behalf has been that natural gas is a cleaner alternative to conventional energy sources like coal and oil. This talking point is at least partially responsible for many people—including former President Barack Obama and his Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz—believing that natural gas can act as a "bridge fuel" in the eventual shift from coal and oil to renewable sources of energy.

But the truth is a lot more complicated than a talking point, something which a Dutch advertising watchdog has recognized as it takes two fossil fuel companies to task over misleading ads about natural gas being the "cleanest of all fossil fuels."

At first glance, natural gas does appear to be "cleaner" due to the simple fact that it does not release as much carbon dioxide (CO2) when burned as coal. However, when you account for the release of methane (a much more potent but shorter-lived greenhouse gas) from burning natural gas—a number which is frequently underreported—its climate impact goes through the roof, revealing a fuel source roughly equal in total emissions to other fossil fuel sources.

To complicate the issue further, when natural gas is extracted via the horizontal drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," the overall environmental impact can actually exceed that of fuel sources such as coal and oil.

When all of these factors are taken into account, it becomes clear that natural gas is not the wonder fuel that the industry and its cheerleaders would have us believe.

The big question then becomes how should society handle this kind of spin and misinformation from industry? In Europe, they've decided to censure the dirty energy companies that are trying to convince the public that natural gas is a cleaner alternative to coal and oil.

According to reports, an advertising standards board in the Netherlands will formally censure Exxon and Shell, as part-owners of a Dutch petroleum company, for advertising the claim that natural gas is "the cleanest of all fossil fuels." The ad campaign featuring this claim ran earlier this year. Just two months ago, the agency also admonished Statoil for making the claim that natural gas was a "low emissions fuel" and for calling it "clean energy."

As The Guardian reported:

"The Dutch watchdog waived punitive action against the NAM company, which is part-owned by Shell and Exxon, in that light.

Paul de Clerk of Friends of the Earth Europe, which co-filed the complaint with Milieudefensie, said: 'This clear ruling by the advertisement standards board is of great importance. Time after time we see how oil and gas companies are misleading citizens and politicians.

'They want us to believe that gas is clean and they support the transition to renewable energy. Behind the screens we see how the same companies lobby against this transition. To prevent catastrophic climate change we need to end the dependency on all fossil fuels—including gas.'"

While the move by the Dutch advertising watchdog is a great step forward, the U.S. is still embracing the backwards policy of believing that natural gas is the fuel of the future, with the Trump administration pushing world leaders at a recent G20 meeting to buy American natural gas by calling it "clean technology" and insinuating it's a more stable source than Russian gas.

The Dutch regulators understand that natural gas is not clean, it is not revolutionary, and it certainly is not a "bridge fuel." If anything, the constant claims that natural gas could be cleaner are helping to prevent areas of the world from making the switch to renewable sources of energy, even as that sector continues to show phenomenal growth.

https://www.ecowatch.com/exxon-shell-natural-gas-2473196366.html
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Offline knarf

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Trump Defends Initial Remarks on Charlottesville; Again Blames ‘Both Sides’
« Reply #7731 on: August 16, 2017, 04:40:18 AM »
President Trump reverted Tuesday to blaming both sides for the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va., and at one point questioned whether the movement to pull down Confederate statues would lead to the desecration of memorials to George Washington.

Abandoning his precisely chosen and carefully delivered condemnations of the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis from a day earlier, the president furiously stuck by his initial reaction to the unrest in Charlottesville. He drew the very moral equivalency for which a bipartisan chorus, and his own advisers, had already criticized him.

“I think there is blame on both sides,” the president said in a combative exchange with reporters at Trump Tower in Manhattan. “You had a group on one side that was bad. You had a group on the other side that was also very violent. Nobody wants to say that. I’ll say it right now.”

Mr. Trump defended those gathered in a Charlottesville park to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee. “I’ve condemned neo-Nazis. I’ve condemned many different groups,” he said. “Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch.”

He criticized “alt-left” groups that he claimed were “very, very violent” when they sought to confront the white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups that had gathered in Charlottesville.
Continue reading the main story
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“Many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee,” Mr. Trump said. “So this week, it is Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”

It was a remarkable rejection of the criticism he confronted after waiting two days before naming the right-wing groups in the bloodshed that ended with the death of a young woman after a car crashed into a crowd of protesters.

Mr. Trump accused people he called the alt-left of “swinging clubs” as they “came charging at, as you say, at the alt-right.” He said some of the right-wing members of the crowd in the Virginia park were “bad.” But he added that the other side came “charging in without a permit and they were very, very violent.”

Aides had urged him for days to take the high ground, persuading him on Monday to read a brief statement condemning the neo-Nazi groups from the Diplomatic Room in the White House. But over the past day, back in his private New York residence for the first time since becoming president, Mr. Trump was alone, without his wife and young son, and consuming hours of television, with many on cable news telling him he had not done enough.

On Monday night, he was tweeting his frustration, accusing the “fake media” of never being satisfied. But by Tuesday morning, the president was fuming again. At a scheduled event about the permitting process for infrastructure, Mr. Trump asked for questions — contrary to the wishes of his aides, including John F. Kelly, his new chief of staff, who stood to the side, looking grim.

Venting, his face red as he personally executed the defense of his own actions that no one else would, Mr. Trump all but erased any good will he had earned Monday when he named racist groups and called them “repugnant to everything we hold dear.”

His largely unprovoked presidential rant on Tuesday instantly sparked an even more intense critique, especially from Republicans.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan called white supremacy “repulsive” and said “there can be no moral ambiguity.” Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Republican of Florida, tweeted: “Blaming ‘both sides’ for #Charlottesville?! No.” Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, said white nationalists in Charlottesville were “100% to blame” and wagged his finger at the president for suggesting otherwise.

“The #WhiteSupremacy groups will see being assigned only 50% of blame as a win,” Mr. Rubio said on Twitter moments after Mr. Trump’s remarks. “We can not allow this old evil to be resurrected.”

Senator Todd Young of Indiana, a freshman Republican, wrote: “This is simple: we must condemn and marginalize white supremacist groups, not encourage and embolden them.”

Even members of Mr. Trump’s own military appeared to take quick offense to their commander’s words. Hours after the president spoke, the Marine Corps commandant, General Robert B. Neller, wrote in a tweet that there is “no place for racial hatred or extremism in @USMC. Our core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment frame the way Marines live and act.”

Mr. Trump delivered his remarks in the lobby of Trump Tower, where officials had spent much of the day trying to erase certain telltale signatures of the brand that would be caught on TV — most significantly, a blue curtain was placed over the Ivanka Trump display in the lobby.

If Mr. Trump was aware of the reaction that would ensue after his clearly improvised remarks, he appeared immune to the consequences of those words, which electrified the lobby of his signature office building. It was there in 2015 that he launched his presidential campaign with a furious assault on illegal immigrants and a declaration that Mexicans were “rapists” bringing crime into the United States.

Instead, the president seemed determined to convince any doubters that he did not misspeak in his first reaction to the events in Virginia on Saturday.

Mr. Trump said his initial statement was shaped by a lack of information about the events in Charlottesville, even though television statements had been broadcasting images of the violence throughout the morning.

“There was no way of making a correct statement that early,” he said. “I had to see the facts, unlike a lot of reporters. I didn’t know David Duke was there. I wanted to see the facts.”

Within minutes, Mr. Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader, praised Mr. Trump’s comments as a condemnation of “leftist terrorists.”

“Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville,” Mr. Duke said in a Twitter post.

But Mr. Trump also made it clear that even now — with the benefit of hindsight — he does not accept the overwhelming criticism that he should have reserved his condemnation for the white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups.

Mr. Trump called the driver of the car who the authorities said crashed into the crowd, James Alex Fields Jr., 20, “a disgrace to himself, his family and this country. You can call it terrorism. You can call it murder. You can call it whatever you want.”

Speaking bluntly about an ongoing investigation in a way that presidents rarely do, Mr. Trump said Mr. Fields, who is being held without bail on charges of murder and malicious wounding in the death of Heather Heyer, is “a murderer.”

“What he did was a horrible, horrible, inexcusable thing,” Mr. Trump said.

But he refused to explicitly say that the killing of the young woman was a case of domestic terrorism, saying only that “you get into legal semantics.”

The president also gave himself a pat on the back from Ms. Heyer’s mother, who thanked him in a statement for “words of comfort and for denouncing those who promote violence and hatred” after Monday’s remarks.

Mr. Trump said: “I thought it was terrific. Under the kind of stress that she is under and the heartache she is under, I thought putting out that statement to me was really something I won’t forget.”

He also unleashed his frustration at the news media on Tuesday, saying they were being “fake” because they did not acknowledge that his initial statement about the Charlottesville protest was “very nice.”

Again and again, Mr. Trump said that the portrayal of nationalist protesters in the city were not all neo-Nazis or white supremacists, and he said it was unfair to suggest that they were.

He said blame for the violence in the city — which also took the lives of two Virginia state troopers when their helicopter crashed — should also be on people from “the left” who came to oppose the nationalist protesters.

The president said it should be “up to a local town, community” to say whether the statue of Lee should remain in place.

Soon after Mr. Trump was done speaking, he wandered close to the velvet rope line that held a group of about 20 reporters and photographers, his mood noticeably brighter. A reporter asked if he planned to visit Charlottesville after the tragedy there. Mr. Trump replied by saying he has a house there, and provided an endorsement of the Trump Winery nearby.

Then he disappeared into Trump Bar, taking a shortcut to his residence next door.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/15/us/politics/trump-press-conference-charlottesville.html?partner=rss&emc=rss
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Offline knarf

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Baltimore Removes Confederate Statues in Overnight Operation
« Reply #7732 on: August 16, 2017, 04:45:00 AM »
Statues dedicated to Confederate heroes were swiftly removed across Baltimore in the small hours of Wednesday morning, just days after violence broke out over the removal of a similar monument in neighboring Virginia.

Beginning soon after midnight on Wednesday, a crew, which included a large crane and a contingent of police officers, began making rounds of the city’s parks and public squares, tearing the monuments from their pedestals and carting them out of town.

Small crowds gathered at each of the monuments and the mood was “celebratory,” said Baynard Woods, the editor at large of The Baltimore City Paper, who documented the removals on Twitter.

“The police are being cheerful and encouraging people to take photos and selfies,” Mr. Woods said in an interview.

The statues were taken down by order of Mayor Catherine Pugh, after the City Council voted on Monday for their removal. The city had been studying the issue since 2015, when a mass shooting by a white supremacist at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C., prompted a renewed debate across the South over removing Confederate monuments and battle flags from public spaces.
Continue reading the main story

The police confirmed the removal.

By 3:30 a.m., three of the city’s four monuments had been removed. They included the Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson Monument, a double equestrian statue of the Confederate generals erected in 1948; the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument, erected in 1903; and the Roger B. Taney Monument, erected in 1887.

Taney was a Supreme Court chief justice and Maryland native who wrote the landmark 1857 decision in the Dred Scott case, ruling that even free blacks had no claim to citizenship in the United States. Although Taney was never part of the Confederacy, the court’s decision was celebrated by supporters of slavery.

The fourth statue, the Confederate Women’s Monument, was dedicated in 1917.

One Twitter user, James MacArthur, live-streamed the removal of the Lee and Jackson monument as it was unceremoniously torn from its pedestal and strapped to a flatbed truck. At street level, lit by the harsh glare of police klieg lights, the two generals appeared small.

Residents were seen celebrating on the pedestal, on which someone had spray-painted “Black Lives Matter.”

A team of police cars escorted the statues out of town. Ms. Pugh suggested on Monday that the statues might be relocated to Confederate cemeteries elsewhere in the state. (Although Maryland never seceded from the Union during the Civil War, there was popular support for the Confederacy in Baltimore and Southern Maryland, where Confederate soldiers are buried.)

One city councilman said the statues should be destroyed, not just moved.

“These people were terrorists. They were traitors. Why are we honoring them?” Councilman Brandon M. Scott said at a meeting on Monday.

A group of protesters made up of so-called alt-right activists and white supremacists demonstrated against the removal of a Lee statue in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday, clashing with counter-protesters. One woman was killed when a driver rammed a car into a crowd of counter-protesters; the police have charged an Ohio man who has expressed far-right views. Two state troopers monitoring the event were also killed in a helicopter accident.

Tensions were further inflamed on Saturday when President Trump refused to clearly denounce the protesters, some of whom carried Nazi banners and Confederate battle flags. Although he condemned the Ku Klux Klan, “neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups” in a statement on Monday, Mr. Trump said Tuesday that parties on “both sides” of the debate were to blame for the deadly violence.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/16/us/baltimore-confederate-statues.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=b-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0
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Lincoln Memorial in Washington defaced with expletive
« Reply #7733 on: August 16, 2017, 04:48:51 AM »
The Lincoln Memorial in the U.S. capital was spray painted with expletive graffiti that was discovered on Tuesday, days after violence broke out in Charlottesville, Virginia, over an American Civil War-era monument.

The graffiti appeared to read "fuck law" spray painted in red on a column of the memorial to Abraham Lincoln, the American president who signed the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves in the United States.

The National Park Service said in a statement that it was removing the graffiti from the monument and a Smithsonian Institution directional sign blocks away that was also vandalized with spray paint.

The U.S. Park Police said in the statement that they were investigating.

The graffiti marks the second time this year that the Lincoln Memorial, one of Washington, D.C.'s major tourist attractions, was defaced. In February, the monument to Lincoln, the Washington Monument and the World War II Memorial, were vandalized with a marker pen.

The Park Service said that a monument preservation crew was removing the graffiti at the Lincoln Memorial on Tuesday using a mild paint stripper.

A Park Service photo showed the graffiti on a column of the memorial, and Twitter erupted with opinions on whether it said "law" or "Islam."

"Could the person who defaced the Lincoln Memorial please come back and write more clearly so we know who to be mad at," comedy writer Chase Mitchell wrote on Twitter.

Lincoln was president during the 1861-65 Civil War, and the vandalism was found days after deadly weekend violence at a far-right rally at a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The unrest has intensified a national debate over whether monuments to the pro-slavery Confederacy are symbols of heritage or hate.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-washingtondc-memorial-idUSKCN1AV2E6
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Bill Cosby loses another defense lawyer as his second trial looms
« Reply #7734 on: August 16, 2017, 04:56:03 AM »
Is Bill Cosby having a hard time finding new lawyers to defend him at his second trial on sexual assault charges in November?

It looks that way given that his lead attorney, Brian McMonagle of Philadelphia, said earlier this month he would bow out of the case, and Cosby's second lead attorney, Angela Agrusa of Los Angeles, filed paperwork Tuesday saying she intended to step down, too.

Agrusa said in her motion to withdraw that Cosby is seeking new counsel but factors beyond his control, including summer and trial schedules and the "particularities of this high-profile and sensationalized matter" are slowing down his search.

As a result, Cosby is seeking to delay until Sept. 11 a pre-trial hearing in Norristown, Pa., set for Aug. 22 to discuss, among other matters, whether or not he will have new lawyers by then.

Andrew Wyatt, Cosby's spokesman, declined to comment but said in an email to USA TODAY "our new counsel will be in place by the end of the month." When McMonagle said he intended to step aside, Wyatt said he was "vetting lawyers on my short list" to replace him. 

No one on the Cosby team is explaining why McMonagle and Agrusa want out of the case.

Their bid to leave follows an embarrassing controversy, shortly after the first trial ended in a hung jury on June 17, when Wyatt told a morning chat show in Birmingham, Ala., that Cosby intended to launch a series of town hall lectures to young people about how to avoid "bad behavior" that could get them charged with sexual assault.

Outrage ensued, and Agrusa told reporters a criminal defendant facing a second trial should not be saying anything at all in public. Cosby later denied he planned any lectures, calling such reports media "propaganda."

McMonagle and Agrusa headed the Cosby legal team that defended him at his June trial on three charges of aggravated indecent sexual assault against a woman who accused him of drugging and molesting her at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. He denies wrongdoing, says their encounter was consensual.

After six days of trial testimony and five days of deliberations, the jury deadlocked, unable to agree on a verdict and the judge declared a mistrial. Kevin Steele, district attorney of Montgomery County, Pa., said he would retry Cosby and Judge Steven O'Neill set the new trial date for Nov. 6.

Steele objects to Cosby's desire for a delay in the pre-trial hearing and asked O'Neill to deny it, according to documents in the case. Steele said Cosby has already missed two dates to sign up new lawyers and another postponement would further delay "the timely administration of justice in this matter."

https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/2017/08/15/bill-cosby-loses-another-defense-lawyer-looking-new-second-trial-looms/570347001/#
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Fish mistaking plastic debris in ocean for food, study finds
« Reply #7735 on: August 16, 2017, 04:59:25 AM »
Behavioural evidence suggests marine organisms are not just ingesting microplastics by accident but actively seeking them out as food


Fish eat microplastics driven by their odour. Above, debris found in the stomach of a fish in Portugal.

Fish may be actively seeking out plastic debris in the oceans as the tiny pieces appear to smell similar to their natural prey, new research suggests.

The fish confuse plastic for an edible substance because microplastics in the oceans pick up a covering of biological material, such as algae, that mimics the smell of food, according to the study published on Wednesday in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Scientists presented schools of wild-caught anchovies with plastic debris taken from the oceans, and with clean pieces of plastic that had never been in the ocean. The anchovies responded to the odours of the ocean debris in the same way as they do to the odours of the food they seek.

The scientists said this was the first behavioural evidence that the chemical signature of plastic debris was attractive to a marine organism, and reinforces other work suggesting the odour could be significant.

The finding demonstrates an additional danger of plastic in the oceans, as it suggests that fish are not just ingesting the tiny pieces by accident, but actively seeking them out.

Matthew Savoca, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and lead author of the study, told the Guardian: “When plastic floats at sea its surface gets colonised by algae within days or weeks, a process known as biofouling. Previous research has shown that this algae produces and emits DMS, an algal based compound that certain marine animals use to find food. [The research shows] plastic may be more deceptive to fish than previously thought. If plastic both looks and smells like food, it is more difficult for animals like fish to distinguish it as not food.”

Plastic debris in the oceans, ranging from the microscopic to large visible pieces, is recognised as a growing problem as it does not readily degrade and hundreds of thousands of tonnes are dumped in the sea annually. Larger pieces have been found in the intestines of whales and seabirds, where they are thought to be potentially fatal, while the smallest pieces have been detected in the guts of even juvenile fish and molluscs. Numerous species of fish eaten by humans have been found to contain plastic, and the effect of eating these on human health is still unknown.

Efforts to reduce marine plastic have so far had little effect: microbeads widely used in cosmetics and other products have been banned in the US, the UK and other countries, but they only solve part of the problem, which is mainly caused by dumping of plastic rubbish. There could be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050, campaigners have warned.

Scientists have struggled to understand exactly how the massive increase in plastics may be affecting the behaviour of fish and marine ecosystems, and how to contain the problem.

A previous paper published in the journal Science that alleged juvenile fish were attracted to microplastics “like teenagers after junk food” was withdrawn earlier this year after controversy. The scientists involved in that paper, who have no relation to the authors of today’s study, were suspected of having exaggerated their data or failed to carry out the purported experiments properly. The new paper did not draw on that publication.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/aug/16/fish-confusing-plastic-debris-in-ocean-for-food-study-finds
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Help: Trump Administration Attacking Ocean Protections
« Reply #7736 on: August 16, 2017, 05:09:23 AM »

The Trump Administration is attacking the very bedrock of ocean – and environmental – protection in the United States… and we need to fight back.

We won’t stand by while the Administration silently sacrifices crucial marine life, healthy ocean ecosystems and your rights as an American citizen in the name of special interests – and I know you won’t either.

Tell the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to preserve existing measures that protect our oceans and save marine life before the Monday, August 21 deadline >>



Dear Ms. Denit, NOAA:

I urge the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to maintain the current regulations and regulatory processes in order to implement our nation’s fundamental environmental laws.

In light of Executive Orders 13766, 13771, 13777, and 13783, NOAA is seeking comment on “outdated, ineffective, or unnecessary regulations.” NOAA issues regulations to implement many of our nation’s key environmental laws, including the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the National Marine Sanctuaries Act, and the Coastal Zone Management Act. These laws and associated regulations are essential to the well-being of our oceans and coastal communities and are important drivers of our national economy. I recommend that NOAA reject any rollbacks or weakening of its vital environmental regulations under the guise of streamlining or reducing regulatory burden. 

I object to the false premise that public safeguards represent an unnecessary regulatory burden for our nation. Environmental protections save lives, improve health, conserve resources, spur innovation, and level the playing field for small businesses while allowing for or even promoting economic growth and providing far more in benefits than they cost. There is no evidence that NOAA regulations burden industry unnecessarily. In fact, in the Office of Management and Budget’s most recent report analyzing the benefits and costs of federal regulation, the estimated net benefits of major federal regulations between 2009 and 2015 was in the range of $103 billion and $393 billion. Since it began issuing the report in 1997, OMB’s analysis has repeatedly shown that the benefits of federal regulation outweigh the costs. In addition, NOAA consistently engages in Regulatory Impact Reviews for all regulatory actions that are of public interest to ensure that the agency systematically and comprehensively considers all available alternatives so that public welfare can be enhanced in the most efficient and cost-effective way.

NOAA’s broad call for comments on “any existing Agency regulation” is unprecedented and unnecessary. NOAA’s regulations, including those specifically identified in the Federal Register notice, were properly promulgated in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act. Thus, NOAA has already received comments from the public on its regulations. There is no reason to believe that, after the comprehensive process for promulgating regulations, NOAA’s regulations are obsolete, ineffective, or counter-productive. Rather, it appears that this exercise is driven by an ideological opposition to all regulation, no matter how necessary to address practical problems, conserve the environment, promote the economy, or comply with the law. Indeed, it appears from the Federal Register notice that the administration wants to create a one-way ratchet, seeking only negative input and not seeking to hear about the benefits of regulation. The notice is calculated to solicit comments from special interests voicing their displeasure with protections that help the public and protect the environment for the benefit of all Americans. NOAA ought to be asking for guidance on how to better carry out its mission of conserving and managing our coastal and marine ecosystems and resources, not how to retreat from it.

NOAA must maintain all current regulatory processes, especially those promulgated to implement our nation’s environmental laws. I urge NOAA staff and any other decision-makers involved in the review process to reject any attempts to roll back or weaken NOAA’s existing regulations or regulatory processes.

Sincerely,



https://act.oceana.org/page/12931/petition/1?ea.tracking.id=twitter&utm_campaign=Petition&utm_content=20170814Defense2&utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_id=NyiatRuyy7NXEP
« Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 05:12:57 AM by knarf »
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A Dinosaur So Well Preserved, It Looks Like a Statue
« Reply #7737 on: August 16, 2017, 05:17:06 AM »


Borealopelta, discovered accidentally by Canadian miners, is one of the most spectacular fossil finds of all time.

In March 2011, a construction worker named Shawn Funk visited an impressive dinosaur collection at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Alberta. As he walked through halls full of ancient bones, he had no idea that a week later, he’d add to their ranks by finding one of the most spectacular dinosaur fossils of all time. It’s an animal so well preserved that its skeleton can’t be seen for the skin and soft tissues that still cover it.

When we look at dinosaurs in museums, it takes imagination to plaster flesh and skin on top of the bones. But for the dinosaur that Funk unearthed—a 110-million-year-old creature named Borealopelta—imagination isn’t necessary. It looks like a sculpture. And based on pigments that still lurk within the skin, scientists think they know what colors the animal had. “If someone wants to come face to face with a dinosaur, and see what it actually looked like, this is the one for that,” says Caleb Brown from the Royal Tyrrell Museum, who has studied the animal.



Borealopelta was one of the ankylosaurs—a group of heavy-set, low-slung, tank-like dinosaurs. It lacked the shin-thwacking tail clubs that some of its relatives wielded, but its back was covered in heavy, armored scales, and a pair of 20-inch-long spikes jutted from its shoulders. It weighed 1.5 tons and was 20 feet from foot to tail. And it probably couldn’t swim very well.

Somehow, this particular individual ended up at sea. Perhaps it got careless on a shoreline. Perhaps it drowned in a flood and was washed out to sea. Either way, gases started building up in its body, causing it to float belly-up. As those gases released, the dead dinosaur sank, and hit the ocean floor hard enough to leave a small crater. Before sharks had a chance to nibble it, or worms had a chance to bury into its bones, it was quickly smothered by fine sediment and sealed off from the outside world. There it remained for millions of years, until March 11, 2011, when an excavator bit into it.

By then, the ocean floor that had swallowed the dinosaur had become the Millennium Mine—a huge oil sand quarry in northern Alberta. Funk, a heavy-equipment operator, was digging in the mine when he noticed a change in the texture and color of the underlying rock. Alberta is rich in fossils, and construction crews know that any dig could potentially yield fresh bones. Funk called his supervisor, and they alerted the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

Two days later, Donald Henderson and Darren Tanke flew over, expecting to find the bones of a marine reptile—a long-necked plesiosaur, perhaps, or a dolphin-like ichthyosaur, fossils of which are commonly found in Alberta. But on arrival, they realized that the miners had actually uncovered something special—a dinosaur. Excavators had already smashed through the animal’s tail and rear end, which were permanently lost. But most of the creature was still there, and even then, it was clear that it had rare features like fossilized skin. “I don’t think anyone realized how magnificent the specimen was going to be,” says Brown.

After three days of intense safety training, the team began to liberate the dinosaur—a process that took two weeks of laborious 12-hour shifts. “All the mine staff from every level and department were tripping over themselves offering to help,” Henderson later wrote in The Guardian. They eventually isolated a single 15,000-pound block that contained the animal, and that was jacketed in burlap and plaster. But as they lifted the block, the jacket split and the block collapsed—a horrifying moment, immortalized on video.

Fortunately, everything broke cleanly and in big pieces, all of which were shipped to the museum. One might think that a large team would process the fossil, but the museum’s team of a dozen technicians is already stretched thin. Every year, Alberta discovers more dinosaur specimens than the Royal Tyrrell can possibly collect, so many are just left in the ground. Of those that are recovered, many linger in warehouses. The ankylosaur clearly deserved special attention, but because of its delicate state, it was assigned to a single pair of steady hands.

Those hands belonged to technician Mark Mitchell, who compares the process of separating dinosaur from rock to chipping concrete chunks from a surface as soft as compressed talcum powder. It took him 7,000 hours over 5.5 years, during which he did little else. For that reason, the dinosaur carries his name—Borealopelta markmitchelli. (The first half comes from the Latin for “northern shield.”)
“It really help us visualize what these weird dinosaurs would have looked like while alive.”

The finished specimen, now on display to the public, is both breathtaking and reassuring. It’s hard to reconstruct what animals look like based on bones alone—an elephant’s skeleton bears no obvious trace of its trunk, and a bird’s skeleton offers few clues about the thick overlying plumage. So paleontologists have debated whether giant dinosaurs had trunks, or whether all species were covered in some form of feathers. But for Borealopelta, “what we thought this animal looked like based on the skeleton is what is actually looked like,” says Brown. “And it probably mostly had scaly skin.”

It’s a good time to be interested in ankylosaurs. Another new and well-preserved species was unveiled last month—Zuul crurivastator, named after the monster from Ghostbusters and the Latin for “destroyer of shins.” “It's so wonderful to have two amazing new ankylosaur skeletons with the armor in place,” says Victoria Arbour from the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, who named and described Zuul. “It really helps us visualize what these weird dinosaurs would have looked like while alive.”

The shape of Borealopelta’s face and body are plain to see, but its remains have long lost their natural color, and are now tar-black with ochre spots. Still, they contain chemical clues about their original hues. To interpret those clues, the Royal Tyrrell team turned to Jakob Vinther from the University of Bristol.

In 2007, Vinther started studying tiny pigmented structures called melanosomes, found in fossilized dinosaur feathers. These come in two types—spherical ones that are reddish-brown, and sausage-shaped ones that are black or gray. By looking at the spread of melanosomes over a dinosaur’s body, Vinther could reconstruct the palettes of these extinct animals. He worked out that the small hunter Anchiornis had a black-and-gray body with a red crest, while the four-winged Microraptor shared the glossy black plumage of a modern starling, and that the parrot-faced Psittacosaurus had a dark back and light belly.

Vinther couldn’t find any melanosomes in Borealopelta’s skin. But he did find traces of chemicals called benzothiazoles, which are part of reddish-brown pigments. Based on the distribution of these chemicals, the team thinks that their ankylosaur had the same pattern as Psittacosaurus—a rust-colored head and back, and a light-colored belly.

This pattern—dark on top and light below—is called countershading, and is one of most common forms of camouflage in nature. If an animal was evenly colored all over, its own shadow would render its bottom half darker than its top half, making it easy to spot. Countershading, by lightening the bottom and darkening the top, cancels out the effect of the shadow and makes animals look flat and inconspicuous.

On land, countershading is a common trick among animals that need to hide from predators, like deer, antelope, and wild horses. But once prey animals get big enough, their bulk provides them with enough defense—that’s why rhinos and elephants are just uniformly gray. Borealopelta bucks that trend. It’s rhino-sized, and much bigger than any countershaded land animal around today. “The fact that this massive armored dinosaur with these huge spines still had countershading tells us that it was a common meal for the predators of the time,” says Brown. Such predators might have included Acrocanthosaurus, as long as Tyrannosaurus but more lightly built.

It might seem obvious that plant-eaters like Borealopelta were hunted by large predators. But “some people believed that an animal like this was predator-proof,” Brown says. “To get into the animal, you would have had to flip it onto its belly—and it’s huge.” Clearly, though, enough predators were doing that to drive the evolution of a camouflaged color scheme.

But Alison Moyer from Drexel University, who studies ancient molecules, isn’t convinced for several reasons. For example, she notes that benzothiazoles are naturally found in the sea, and it’s not clear if the traces found in the Borealopelta specimen came from the dinosaur itself. It’s also unclear how the animal’s pigments would have changed as it floated belly-up on the ocean surface. “We know a lot about what happens to human skin in a bloat-and-float, and there’s drastic changes between the side exposed to the water and the side exposed to the air,” says Moyer. For a dinosaur, “we don’t know anything about how their soft tissues degrade.”

“There’s still a lot of healthy scientific skepticism around the interpretation of ancient biomolecules like pigments,” says Arbour. “It's just really hard to collect enough data to lets us reconstruct color patterns on extinct dinosaurs. But for now, I am just excited about the exceptional preservation of this specimen and what we'll be able to glean from it in the long run. It's just so beautiful!”

The team are now trying to analyse the ankylosaur’s gut contents, to see if they can identify its last meal. They’re also trying to analyze its bones. That’s usually the easy bit when it comes to studying dinosaurs, but with Borealopelta, the skeleton is obscured by skin! “We’ve tried to use CT-scanners but so far that hasn’t been successful. The rock is too dense, but we hope future technology will let us look inside. Ironically, it’s too well preserved!”

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/08/a-dinosaur-so-well-preserved-it-looks-like-a-statue/535782/
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Offline knarf

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Americans waste up to 60 million tons of food a year.
« Reply #7738 on: August 16, 2017, 05:21:08 AM »
5 Ways Wasting Food Hurts the Environment (and 5 Ways You Can Fix It)

It’s the secret shame of many Americans: The half-forgotten perishables in your refrigerator and pantry that are now turning pretty colors or giving off the fragrance of a corpse.

Those of us who feel pangs of guilt over wasted food are sadly in good company: Some estimates reveal Americans waste as much as 60 million tons of food a year (for various reasons, some simply because of extremely high standards set by American stores). This fact is shameful enough given the plight of world hunger, but what many of us may not realize is that wasted food also has a harmful effect on the environment.

Here are the five biggest ways wasted food hurts the environment—and five ways we can combat this problem and make it better for millions of people worldwide.

1. Wasted food wastes water.

Whether from irrigation, spraying, pouring, or some other means, water is essential to agriculture, not to mention the feeding of animals who give us meat, fish and dairy.

But by throwing out millions of tons of food, we also waste uncounted millions of gallons of water that was used to plant, grow, sustain, or otherwise produce food.

Fruit and vegetables are among the most water-laden food products, because they contain more water. (For example, one bag of apples is about 81 percent water.) But meat products are the heaviest water users, because the animals drink a lot of water—and more importantly, because so much water is needed for the grain that becomes their feed. It takes about 8 to 10 times more water to produce meat than grain.

All told, if 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted worldwide each year, most estimates place the water in that amount of food to be 45 trillion gallons—or 24 percent of all water used for agriculture. And remember that 70 percent of the world’s freshwater is used for agriculture!

2. Wasted food releases methane.

When food is thrown out, it eventually makes its way to landfills. As that food begins to decompose, it releases methane gas.

Methane is a greenhouse gas that adversely affects the earth’s climate and temperature. Here’s why the millions of tons of food wasting in American landfills should concern you:

    Methane is more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere than CO2—about 25 times more effective.
    Methane accounts for about 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.
    Much methane, as well as other adversely affective gases, has already been released in the production process. The wasted food is now adding to that.

Less wasted food means we release less methane gas, which is way better for the environment.

3. Wasted food wastes oil.

This is another production side of the waste epidemic. Oil, diesel and fossil fuels are required to grow, transport, store, and cook food. Think of the harvesting machinery that has to be powered, the vehicles taking the food from the farm to the warehouse to the store, the machinery that is used to sort, clean, package, or otherwise prepare the food so it can be sold. Much of this machinery requires massive amounts of oil, diesel and other fuels to function.

To waste millions of tons (in America) or billions (worldwide) each year also means all of the oil and fuel that has gone into the production of said food is wasted.

Using that fuel in the first place can release harmful amounts of greenhouse gases into the environment, combined with the other harmful amounts released from the decomposing food already in landfills, and all of the future decomposing food that will yet be wasted.

Wasting fuel and oil both at the front (production) and the back (decomposition) end by not eating the food we purchase has a hidden but costly impact on the environment.

4. Wasted food wastes land.

Land use for food falls into two main categories: The land used for production, specifically the crops and grassland used in the actual growing (or raising, in the case of livestock), and the land used for retaining food that has been thrown out.

The irresponsible use of food products has an adverse impact on the physical land itself.

If you recall your high school science classes, you may have heard the terms arable land and non-arable land. This simply means land that can grow crops (arable), or land that cannot (non-arable). This factor is important for evaluating how food waste affects land.

Most of the land needed to produce milk and meat is non-arable (think meadows, fields, etc.). It’s perfect for livestock, but terrible for growing crops. But most of the food wasted worldwide, regardless of the type of land, is meat.

About 900 million hectares of non-arable land are used in the production of the world’s meat products. When you count all of the land needed to produce other foods, like the millions of pounds of fruits and vegetables we waste each year, the use of land skyrockets.

The problem lies in both the waste of the food (so the land is being used for an ultimately pointless purpose) and the fact that land, if not cared for, loses its ability to yield over time—called degradation. Eventually the land produces far less than can sustain the people living in the region.

A study on food waste by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization found that about 99 percent of the waste occurs on land with extremely high levels of degradation—which puts undue stress on land that has already worked hard to produce food for us.

5. Wasted food harms biodiversity.

Biodiversity is simply a fancy word for the diversity of life in an ecosystem or environment—the full spectrum of life across different species and kinds of organisms. This is a hidden but real cost of food waste: it decimates biodiversity in a number of ways:

    Deforestation, especially in tropical areas, destroys natural flora and fauna (sometimes to the point of extinction), in the name of creating more land for food production.
    To increase production of livestock, natural land is turned into pastures, which besides deforestation also impacts biodiversity by the increase of livestock; the more livestock graze and range on an area, the less natural and diverse the area becomes.
    Marine fisheries are a large culprit in the decimation of marine ecosystems and natural habitats, often resulting in overexploited areas or stocks (the 10 most caught species of fish have been labeled overexploited). Fish are caught with little thought to how the rapid depletion of population will impact their environments. These fish then get thrown out by the consumer, or rejected by stores for not meeting certain criteria, or rot in the truck because of lack of modern refrigeration (in developing nations).

Combat Food Waste

How can people combat the problem of wasting edible food? Here are five of the most common ways.

1. Use restraint.

Make the effort to plan meals, keep detailed shopping lists and avoid buying food items on impulse. Cultivating these thoughtful habits will go a long way toward keeping food out of your home that will end up being thrown out.

2. Don't be afraid to disregard the sell-by date.

These are not federally regulated in the United States and do not mean anything about the food’s safety for consumption (unless it’s baby food, in which case the date should be heeded). Rather, the sell-by date is a notation from the manufacturer that denotes the food’s peak quality. The use-by date is more important: eat food by that date or find out if it can be frozen.

3. Really use leftovers.

Some of us are good at doing this already. There are many ways to be creative and ingenious with the things you served the night before. You can turn one meal into a completely different one if you know a few things about recipes and common ingredients.

4. Don’t forget scraps.

There are lots of ways to creatively use the scraps of vegetables and other products (think celery leaves, the tops of beets and other veggies, and chicken bones). You can use them for flavoring, soup stock and even whole meals. You can read this article and this one to find ideas for how to incorporate the oft-forgotten parts of food.

5. Do your research.

Do you have a leftover amount of an ingredient for a recipe? Instead of throwing out what’s left, research ways to incorporate it into other meals (like here, here or here). Find more ways to avoid wasting food online.

A Real Problem

Food waste is a real problem, but it doesn’t have to be. While the loss of food due to poor harvesting or other methods in developing countries is its own issue, the millions of tons of wasted food in our nation are often the fault of consumers. Creative, careful and thoughtful shopping, cooking and consumption will go a long way toward responsibly using the food we have and can even make a path to fullness for the millions of people worldwide who are hungry.

http://www.alternet.org/food/5-ways-wasting-food-hurts-environment-and-5-ways-you-can-fix-it
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Offline Eddie

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Re: Baltimore Removes Confederate Statues in Overnight Operation
« Reply #7739 on: August 16, 2017, 06:27:58 AM »
Statues dedicated to Confederate heroes were swiftly removed across Baltimore in the small hours of Wednesday morning, just days after violence broke out over the removal of a similar monument in neighboring Virginia.

Beginning soon after midnight on Wednesday, a crew, which included a large crane and a contingent of police officers, began making rounds of the city’s parks and public squares, tearing the monuments from their pedestals and carting them out of town.

Small crowds gathered at each of the monuments and the mood was “celebratory,” said Baynard Woods, the editor at large of The Baltimore City Paper, who documented the removals on Twitter.

“The police are being cheerful and encouraging people to take photos and selfies,” Mr. Woods said in an interview.

The statues were taken down by order of Mayor Catherine Pugh, after the City Council voted on Monday for their removal. The city had been studying the issue since 2015, when a mass shooting by a white supremacist at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C., prompted a renewed debate across the South over removing Confederate monuments and battle flags from public spaces.
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The police confirmed the removal.

By 3:30 a.m., three of the city’s four monuments had been removed. They included the Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson Monument, a double equestrian statue of the Confederate generals erected in 1948; the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument, erected in 1903; and the Roger B. Taney Monument, erected in 1887.

Taney was a Supreme Court chief justice and Maryland native who wrote the landmark 1857 decision in the Dred Scott case, ruling that even free blacks had no claim to citizenship in the United States. Although Taney was never part of the Confederacy, the court’s decision was celebrated by supporters of slavery.

The fourth statue, the Confederate Women’s Monument, was dedicated in 1917.

One Twitter user, James MacArthur, live-streamed the removal of the Lee and Jackson monument as it was unceremoniously torn from its pedestal and strapped to a flatbed truck. At street level, lit by the harsh glare of police klieg lights, the two generals appeared small.

Residents were seen celebrating on the pedestal, on which someone had spray-painted “Black Lives Matter.”

A team of police cars escorted the statues out of town. Ms. Pugh suggested on Monday that the statues might be relocated to Confederate cemeteries elsewhere in the state. (Although Maryland never seceded from the Union during the Civil War, there was popular support for the Confederacy in Baltimore and Southern Maryland, where Confederate soldiers are buried.)

One city councilman said the statues should be destroyed, not just moved.

“These people were terrorists. They were traitors. Why are we honoring them?” Councilman Brandon M. Scott said at a meeting on Monday.

A group of protesters made up of so-called alt-right activists and white supremacists demonstrated against the removal of a Lee statue in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday, clashing with counter-protesters. One woman was killed when a driver rammed a car into a crowd of counter-protesters; the police have charged an Ohio man who has expressed far-right views. Two state troopers monitoring the event were also killed in a helicopter accident.

Tensions were further inflamed on Saturday when President Trump refused to clearly denounce the protesters, some of whom carried Nazi banners and Confederate battle flags. Although he condemned the Ku Klux Klan, “neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups” in a statement on Monday, Mr. Trump said Tuesday that parties on “both sides” of the debate were to blame for the deadly violence.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/16/us/baltimore-confederate-statues.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=b-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

I don't believe removing statues of Confederate Generals is going to end this clash between what now amounts to nothing more than warring tribes of rabble. Once the statues are all gone, there will be some new inspiration, some other vestige of racism, sexism, or other -ism to rally around.

I would be the very last to come out in support of Nazism, white supremacy, racism, or any of that. But those who see the mobs who are defacing monuments as freedom fighters are completely delusional.

If I thought tearing down statues or spraying graffiti would make the world a better place, I'd be out there doing it. But such acts are really just the result of an eruption of hate toward a false enemy. It isn't Robert E. Lee who is oppressing black people in America in 2017, and changing street names, school names, and tearing down old bronzes won't do a damn thing to free anybody from the current system of slavery.

I do see that some well-intentioned folks are showing up at these hate rallies to protest them,with the same motivation that protesters once showed up to effectively protest against the KKK. If I were one of those individuals, I'd look closely at how different the "anti-hate movement" is now than the non-violent protests of the past.

I saw that Surly posted this meme that portrayed dignified black people aligned against the neo-Nazis, with signs that stated "we want civil rights". If that were an honest representation of what's going on, I wouldn't be writing this...but it isn't.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.