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Art & Photography / Re: DD Favorite Art Gallery
« on: Today at 05:32:39 AM »
Quote from: GO
I have piles of Art books, the large cumbersome kind that are as obsolete now as the floppy disc.  I cannot bring myself to throw them out, despite the constant prodding from the old lady. She claims I'm a hoarder, calls all my hoarded goods junk.   :-[

If that's a curse, I share it with you. I no longer have room to store all my books in my house, and have a bunch in storage. This is after several purges. Books are like old friends, and as we get older we are loathe to lose either.

A really interesting article that I found this morning that raises a lot of provocative questions. The comparisons with the rise of the printing press are obvious; with the Spanish conquest less so.

'The goal is to automate us': welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism
Shoshana Zuboff’s new book is a chilling exposé of the business model that underpins the digital world. Observer tech columnist John Naughton explains the importance of Zuboff’s work and asks the author 10 key questions

‘Technology is the puppet, but surveillance capitalism is the puppet master.’ Photograph: Getty Images

We’re living through the most profound transformation in our information environment since Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of printing in circa 1439. And the problem with living through a revolution is that it’s impossible to take the long view of what’s happening. Hindsight is the only exact science in this business, and in that long run we’re all dead. Printing shaped and transformed societies over the next four centuries, but nobody in Mainz (Gutenberg’s home town) in, say, 1495 could have known that his technology would (among other things): fuel the Reformation and undermine the authority of the mighty Catholic church; enable the rise of what we now recognise as modern science; create unheard-of professions and industries; change the shape of our brains; and even recalibrate our conceptions of childhood. And yet printing did all this and more.

Why choose 1495? Because we’re about the same distance into our revolution, the one kicked off by digital technology and networking. And although it’s now gradually dawning on us that this really is a big deal and that epochal social and economic changes are under way, we’re as clueless about where it’s heading and what’s driving it as the citizens of Mainz were in 1495.

Car dealerships put in a lot of work to not sell you an electric car
Try to buy one of the few electric cars on the market from the big car companies and you’ll find that they really don’t want to do it.

Car dealerships put in a lot of work to not sell you an electric car
[Source Image: Chevrolet]

Head to a Ford dealership and ask about an F-150. You will be shown its features, invited on a test drive, and treated to a carefully practiced sales pitch detailing the truck’s strength, power, and durability. Ask about an electric car, and you might have a very different experience.
Experts and advocates have consistently found dealers and manufacturers putting as little effort as possible into selling electric cars.

In 2016, the Sierra Club sent volunteers to more than 300 dealerships around the country to record their experience shopping for an electric vehicle. The results were dismaying, to say the least. More than 1 in 5 Ford and Chevy dealers had failed to charge an EV so it could be taken for a test drive. Only around half of salespeople explained how to fuel a plug-in vehicle, and only a third discussed the tax credits available to buyers. “The dealership had no idea about the state and federal tax credits,” said a volunteer in California. “They said it was the policy of the company to not talk about tax incentives because they were not tax experts.”

Many volunteers described dealers who were woefully incompetent or, in some cases, openly hostile to EVs. “Senior sales staff had no idea what the battery electric vehicles’ range was. He called it a go-cart,” said a volunteer in New York. “There were no EVs in stock, and [the dealer] stated that he has no interest in ever selling an electric vehicle,” said another in Maine. “I couldn’t do a test drive because the key was lost. I was encouraged to purchase a non-electric vehicle instead,” said another in Connecticut. If dealers are reluctant to sell EVs, that has an impact on consumers. Studiesshow that drivers are more likely to buy an electric car after they take one for a spin.

Dealers may be reluctant to sell EVs because, like most Americans, they don’t know much about them. “A lot of our salesmen are not familiar with electric vehicles themselves, and so rather than try to sell people something they don’t know or don’t feel comfortable with, they’re trying to sell them something else,” said David Greene, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Tennessee.

A 2014 study found that drivers shopping for an EV were much less satisfied with their experience than those who were shopping for a conventional car. Those shopping for a luxury car showed the greatest satisfaction–the more money the dealer believed he stood to make from a sale, the more satisfied the customer was with her shopping experience. Notably, Tesla buyers were the most satisfied of all.

EV buyers were less satisfied with the shopping experience than buyers of conventional vehicles. Those shopping for a luxury vehicle were even most satisfied, particularly those shopping for a Tesla. Source: University of California Davis Institute of Transportation Studies. [Image: courtesy of the author]

Researchers further explained that EVs need less maintenance than conventional cars, which puts a dent in the dealer’s bottom line. “I got my [BMW] i3 in April of last year, so I have had it for a year and a half, let’s say, and I’m not due for my first maintenance until January,” Greene said, explaining that because EVs generate so little money after they are sold, salespeople are less inclined to move them off the lot. “Dealerships make a very large fraction, if not most of their money from maintenance and repairs,” he said.

It’s not just dealers who are failing to sell EVs. Manufacturers spend appallingly little on marketing plug-in cars. A study commissioned by the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management found that U.S. automakers are investing next to nothing on advertising electric cars such as the Ford C-Max Energi and Chevy Bolt. In 2017, manufacturers spent roughly an order of magnitude more nationally marketing SUVs and trucks, like the Chevy Silverado and Ford F-150. “Here in Tennessee, you will rarely see an electric car advertisement on television,” Greene said. “They just don’t get advertised the way other vehicles get advertised.”

Ford 2017 ad spending on the F-150 truck and plug-in Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi sedans (left), GM 2017 ad spending on the Silverado truck and plug-in Bolt and Volt sedans (right). Source: NESCAUM. [Image: courtesy of the author]

When asked about the gap in ad spending, a spokesperson for Chevy said the brand is “focusing advertising efforts in key markets and across platforms, where the conversation is most prominent.” Though, the difference in spending may also reflect the fact that big trucks and SUVs are more profitable for automakers.

“[Trucks and SUVs] are selling to less price-sensitive consumers,” Greene said. “So it’s possible to get a higher profit.” The economics of EVs are different. “When you are in the compact or subcompact passenger car segment–unless it is a luxury vehicle–you are generally facing very price-sensitive consumers,” Greene said. “This makes it difficult to get extra profit.”

Technological advancements will yield cheaper batteries, making EVs more cost-competitive, and thus, more profitable for manufacturers. To really drive the price of electric vehicles, however, automakers will simply need to produce more of them. “That is one major factor in bringing down the cost– scale and learning by doing,” Greene said. “The more you sell, the cheaper the vehicles get, and that’s a big deal for electric vehicles.”

But if car companies won’t market plug-in cars, sales will continue to lag. Authors of a recent report on consumer attitudes toward EVs wrote, “Electric vehicles are an emerging technology that has not reached beyond the ‘innovator’ and ‘early adopter’ consumer categories in most markets. The marketing of a new and different technology presents challenges, and the right messaging can be enormously helpful in increasing public acceptance.”

EVs are in a phase of adoption known as “the chasm,” a gulf separating early adopters from the majority of consumers. This is the most treacherous period in the life of a new technology, and it determines its success or failure. Some technologies, like the smartphone, make it through this period unscathed. Others, like the Segway, slip into the gap, never to be heard from again. To make it across the chasm, EVs will need to reach beyond their core market of high-earning technophiles and start winning over soccer moms and NASCAR dads.

Geoffrey Moore’s technology adoption curve. Moore argued that there was a chasm separating the early adopters of a new technology and the later converts and that companies would need to work hard to cross this chasm. Some experts have argued that electric vehicles are stuck in this chasm. Source: Craig Chelius. [Image: courtesy of the author]

“The American car market is fairly conservative,” said Nick Sifuentes, executive director at Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “People know this is a new technology, and one of the hurdles to adoption is, ‘Oh my gosh, how different is this than what I’m used to?'”

To help EVs cross the chasm, researchers have called for educating salespeople and the public about electric cars, as well as sponsoring events where drivers can test drive an EV. In addition, they say that policymakers should extend tax breaks that make it cheaper to buy an electric car. For now, automakers, dealers and consumers are stuck in a loop. Virtually no one is selling or buying EVs, despite the fact that they are safer, cleaner, and cheaper over the course of their lives than most conventional vehicles. Policymakers can break that loop.

“Government should always be in the business of incentivizing the thing that is the most healthy for its constituents,” Sifuentes said. “Clearly this is one of those cases.”

Jeremy Deaton writes for Nexus Media, a syndicated newswire covering climate, energy, policy, art and culture. You can follow him @deaton_jeremy.

This article is part of a series about barriers to the widespread adoption of electric cars.

Australian heat wave: Roads melt as heatwave escalates across parts of Australia.
When the forecast map turns this colour, this heatwave is about to get really nasty.

Heatwaves - Natures Silent Killer

Temperature records have already been broken but the worst of the heatwave sweeping across parts of Australia is yet to come.

The Bureau of Meteorology warned Friday will mark the peak of the week-long heatwave — currently in its fifth day — for some of NSW’s most heavily populated areas. Temperatures in western Sydney are expected to slide well into the 40s, while the CBD is likely to have its fifth consecutive day above 30C for the first time in eight years.

On Thursday, a total of 27 places across NSW and the ACT baked in record maximum temperatures, with one town in the northwest of NSW sweltering in oppressive, all-time high heat for two straight days.

The freakish temperatures have turned forecast maps a worrying black and purple in areas where the mercury is set to spike.

A Windy TV forecast with black and purple colours showing the extreme heat in Australia. Picture: Higgins Storm Chasing, product via WindyTV

A Windy TV forecast with black and purple colours showing the extreme heat in Australia. Picture: Higgins Storm Chasing, product via WindyTVSource:Supplied

Ads by Kiosked

Whitecliff, a tiny outback town with a population of just under 150 people, broke its record on Wednesday with a temperature of 48.2C, dropping only marginally on Thursday with a high of 47C just after 3pm. The extreme heatwave emptied the streets, turning it into a scorching ghost town.

Elsewhere in the far northwest, Tibooburra Airport recorded the top temperature in the state on Thursday with 48.2C just before 4.30pm.

Noona recorded 48.1C and Wilcannia Airport and Smithville both reached 47.8C, with Borrona Downs, Bourke, Cobar Airport and Delta all reaching temperatures of at least 47C.

In Sydney’s west, Penrith, Richmond, Campbelltown and Camden all reached 35C by 1pm.

Conditions are so extreme that the bitumen on the Oxley Highway near Wauchope, just west of Port Macquarie, began melting about midday.

The Oxley Highway near Wauchope has started to melt as the oppressive heat continues. Picture: Facebook

The Oxley Highway near Wauchope has started to melt as the oppressive heat continues. Picture: FacebookSource:Facebook

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Motorists were warned of the deteriorating surface as social media photos show the tar beginning to melt. Picture: Facebook

Motorists were warned of the deteriorating surface as social media photos show the tar beginning to melt. Picture: FacebookSource:Facebook

Ads by Kiosked

Looking ahead, the Bureau of Meteorology has warned of more sweltering weather on the way for much of the state.

In a statement, BOM spokeswoman Anita Pyne said the west of NSW would likely see temperatures in the mid to high 40s, including areas around the Ivanhoe and Menindie areas forecast to hit up to 48C.

Broken Hill is forecast to reach four consecutive days of more than 45C — an event which has not happened since records began in 1957.

Transport for NSW is warning drivers to allow extra time on the roads as dangerous temperatures often result in more breakdowns as vehicles overheat.

Meanwhile, the NSW Rural Fire Service is battling more than 60 fires across the state, and 13 fire bans are in place across much of central NSW, stretching from the Victorian border up to Queensland.

Pedestrians are seen in Sydney’s CBD during a scorching day on Thursday. Picture: AAP/Paul Braven

Pedestrians are seen in Sydney’s CBD during a scorching day on Thursday. Picture: AAP/Paul BravenSource:AAP

Authorities are again warning people to take extra care in the heat by staying indoors, keeping hydrated and limiting physical activity.

Paramedics have been called to treat numerous patients for heat-related illnesses, including three children in Sydney’s southwest who were suffering from exhaustion, heatstroke and vomiting. One was taken to Liverpool Hospital in a stable condition.

Sydney train users are being warned there could be delays across the network as temperatures rise.

Temperatures in Sydney’s west are expected to climb as high as 45C on Friday, ahead of a long-awaited cool change on Saturday.

Beachgoers cool off at Bronte Beach as heatwave conditions sweep across the state. Picture: Joel Carrett/AAP

Beachgoers cool off at Bronte Beach as heatwave conditions sweep across the state. Picture: Joel Carrett/AAPSource:AAP


  [size=12t]"The sound of colors is so definite that it would be hard to find anyone who would express bright yellow with base notes, or dark lake with the treble."[/size]

-Wassily Kandinsky

Just love it when you post this stuff. Kandinsky is not someone I have ever spent much time with.
Breath of fresh air. Thanks, GO.

Surly Newz / Doomstead Diner Daily January 20
« on: Today at 03:57:08 AM »

Doomstead Diner Daily January 20

The Diner Daily is available HERE with even MORE sections and stories:

News digest brought to you by the Doomstead Diner.

Trump Offers DACA Relief, TPS Extension for $5.7 Billion Border ‘Wall’ - In a speech at the White House Saturday afternoon, President Donald Trump offered Democrats relief for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and an extension of the Temporary Protected S…

The dealmaker-in-chief has a new offer

[url=][/url] - President Trump is scheduled to make a “major announcement” about the border this afternoon. According to the Washington Post, he plans to say that he will keep in place two programs (DACA and TPS) t…

Questions About BuzzFeed Report Give Team Trump ‘Fake News’ Ammo - As quickly as it prompted a media and political firestorm after it was published on Thursday, BuzzFeed’s report accusing President Donald Trump of ordering Michael Cohen to give false testimony regar…

White Students in MAGA Hats Taunt Native American Elder, Vietnam Vet - The smirk on the face of this white kid with a red MAGA hat, as he taunts a Native American elder singing an intertribal song, is simply unbearable. The as-of-yet unidentified teenager was part of a …

Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin on reports apparently questioning Trump’s loyalty to U.S.

[url=][/url] - Two major stories in the past week have apparently called into question the actions and loyalty of the president of the United States. Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin joins Joy Reid to di…

Did the Supreme Court issue a major immigration ruling under false pretenses?

[url=][/url] - The privately run South Texas Detention Center in Pearsall, Texas, in 2009Eric Gay/AP As the Supreme Court considered a major immigration case on whether detained migrants could be held without bond …

TSA says financial stress of shutdown is forcing growing number of officers to stay home

[url=][/url] - TSA workers pick up food and other items at the popup pantry in the police training facility at Tampa International Airport on Monday, Jan. 14, 2018. The food pantry was organized by the airport and …

The Yellow Vests Are Going to Change France. We Just Don’t Know How.

[url=][/url] - That’s one reason this national conversation may quell tensions for a while but probably won’t end the yellow-vest movement for good. The gilets jaunes, so named for the roadside safety vests that dr…

'The goal is to automate us': welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism

[url=][/url] - We’re living through the most profound transformation in our information environment since Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of printing in circa 1439. And the problem with living through a revolution i…

We Work For The Federal Government and It's Time to Strike - The following is an open letter from two employees of the federal government. Due to a fear of losing their jobs, they have chosen to remain anonymous. This Shutdown Is a Poison to the Nation and Lab…

The pace at which the world’s permafrost soils are warming - AWI

Image from the Lena spring flood at Samoylov. Once a year the river carries massive amounts of ice towards the Arctic Ocean. The floats often get stucked at the shoreline and build big icy dams.

[url=][/url] - Roughly one sixth of the land areas on our planet are considered to be permafrost regions, which means the soils there have remained permanently frozen for at least two consecutive years. In most of …

Heatwave 2019: Record temperatures soar across Australia

[url=][/url] - The Bureau of Meteorology warned Friday will mark the peak of the week-long heatwave — currently in its fifth day — for some of NSW’s most heavily populated areas. Temperatures in western Sydney are …

Europe’s Most Important River Is Running Dry

[url=][/url] - Kevin Kilps’s car ferry churns the waters of Germany’s Rhine river as he steers toward the bank opposite Kaub, a scenic village just south of the rocky outcropping named after the legendary siren Lor…

Thailand: Insurgents Kill Buddhist Monks

[url=][/url] - (New York) – Separatist insurgents in Thailand’s southern border provinces killed two Buddhist monks in an unlawful assault on a temple, Human Rights Watch said today. The deliberate attack on civili…

Car dealerships put in a lot of work to not sell you an electric car

Car dealerships put in a lot of work to not sell you an electric car

[url=][/url] - Head to a Ford dealership and ask about an F-150. You will be shown its features, invited on a test drive, and treated to a carefully practiced sales pitch detailing the truck’s strength, power, and …

Here is the morbidity and mortality information you've been waiting for

[url=][/url] - I’ve been browsing recent issues of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, as one does on a lazy Saturday morning, and a recent issue provided a bit more information about the popularity of…

Meet the Team Behind CNN Brasil: A Businessman Accused of Exploiting Slave Labor and An Executive From a Fox News-style Outlet

TOPSHOT - Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is silhouetted during the appointment ceremony of the new heads of public banks, at Planalto Palace in Brasilia on January 7, 2019. - Brazil's Finance Minister Paulo Guedes appointed the new presidents of the country's public banks. (Photo by EVARISTO SA / AFP) (Photo credit should read EVARISTO SA/AFP/Getty Images) - Last Monday, CNN announced that it will launch a Portuguese-language channel in Brazil. The U.S.-based cable news channel will roll out the latest foreign operation to bear the CNN brand through a li…

‘We’re left in the dark’: As many industries get shutdown relief, those without political clout feel left behind

[url=][/url] - By Lisa Rein , Lisa Rein Reporter covering federal agencies and the management of government in the Trump administration Email Bio Follow Juliet Eilperin and Juliet Eilperin Reporter covering nationa…

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Editor's note

The Doomstead Diner is a hub for discussion and information pertaining to the ongoing Economic Collapse of the Industrial Economy. The Diner is the result of many years of discussion and debate on many other forums. At Doomstead Diner, our goal is to collate much of the information we can to assist in planning for the world to come.

Surly Newz / Re: Common Dreams
« on: January 19, 2019, 06:15:44 PM »

News & Views | Saturday, January 19, 2019


Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen Merkley Calls for FBI Perjury Probe into Homeland Secretary Nielsen After Child Detention Memo Leaked
by Jessica Corbett, staff writer
After releasing a damning draft memo that showed the Trump administration planned to "traumatize" migrant children with family separations and expedite deportation by denying asylum hearings, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) on Friday called for an FBI investigation into whether Homeland Security Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen lied when she testified before Congress about the policy.


Donald Trump on Jan. 19, 2019 'No Wall. No Deals.' Rights Groups Urge Congress to Reject Trump Plan for Trump-Created Crisis
by Andrea Germanos, staff writer
Immigrant rights activists on Saturday expressed concern that President Donald Trump is about to propose a "deal" to end his government shutdown—and fund his border wall obsession—that would be merely "another trick to hurt even more immigrant families."
Family members of a victim cry when recognizing the body after an explosion in a pipeline belonging to Mexican oil company PEMEX on January 19, 2019 in Tlahuelilpan, Mexico. At Least 66 Killed as Pipeline Explosion Rocks Central Mexico
by Andrea Germanos, staff writer
Local residents were advised to take precautions from a lingering toxic cloud on Saturday as authorities in the central Mexican state of Hildalgo said the death toll from a gasoline pipeline explosion had risen to 66.
Demonstrators at the Women's March in Washington, D.C. on January 19, 2019. Ocasio-Cortez Delivers Powerful Call for Justice as Third Women's March Kicks Off
by Common Dreams staff
"Justice is about the water we drink. Justice is about the air we breathe. Justice is about how easy it is to vote. Justice is about how much ladies get paid. Justice is about if we can stay with our children after we have them for a just amount of time."
"The Women’s Agenda is a tangible declaration of how we will protect and defend our rights, safety, health and communities," the group states. Ahead of Third Annual Women's March, Group Releases Far-Reaching 'Intersectional Feminist Policy Platform'
by Andrea Germanos, staff writer
New agenda, says group ahead of nationwide marches on Saturday, is "a tangible declaration of how we will protect and defend our rights, safety, health, and communities."
To Get Beyond "If True" Caveat, Democrats Vow to Investigate Trump's "Potentially Impeachable Offense"
by Jake Johnson, staff writer
"We know that the President has engaged in a long pattern of obstruction. Directing a subordinate to lie to Congress is a federal crime."
march 'If the Water Is Rising, Then So Must We': Indigenous Peoples March in Washington Against Global Injustice
by Jessica Corbett, staff writer
In an event described as "breathtaking, heartbreaking, strong, and beautiful," representatives from native communities around the world came together in Washington, D.C. on Friday for the first-ever Indigenous Peoples March.


The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial with the Washington Monument in the background. Let’s Honor MLK’s Fight for Economic Justice by Expanding Social Security
by Nancy J. Altman
The values embodied in Social Security are Dr. King’s values and beliefs.
A caricature of President Donald Trump. President Donald Trump and Political Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy
by Al Martinich, Tom Palaima
Trump’s latest manifestationof political MSP has many stages.
Three fifth graders Washington Post Forgets to Mention, Scott Walker Misled Fifth Graders About Taxes
by Dean Baker
Scott Walker either does not understand how our income tax system works or is deliberately lying to advance his agenda
Demonstrators march in San Francisco on Nov. 5, 2011. (Photo: Glenn Halog/flickr/cc) Belonging and Social Change: A Critique of the Politics of Wokeness
by Cynthia Kaufman
We are in an amazing and dangerous time, where the chronic social problems which have caused so much trauma over so many years are coming to be seen as urgent and in need of attention by a rapidly increasing number of people. As so many people become “woke” to these problems, it is important that we develop a culture of social change that is ready to hold those people in a positive and supportive community.
A crowd holds signs reading "On strike for our students." Why I Stand With UTLA’s Fight for Teachers, Families and Children
by Marjorie Orellana
LA teachers are asking for much more than a modest and well-deserved pay raise for themselves. They are advocating for the rights of children and families in a public education system that has been severely eroded over the years since I left the classroom.
Members of the Central Labor Council of Nashville and Middle Tennessee Institute Index: The Racial Injustice of the Government Shutdown
by Sue Sturgis
Percent of the federal government workforce that's black, a disparity explained by a history in which African Americans subject to racial discrimination in the private sector turned to public employment: more than 18

Diner Newz & Multimedia / Re: Doomstead Diner Comic Strip
« on: January 19, 2019, 09:39:57 AM »
This one's for GO...

Mona was late.


Civilization Facing Crisis If Humans Don’t Cut Back On Eating Red Meat, Scientists Warn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new report says our civilization is in crisis if people don’t start cutting back on eating red meat. The report comes with a diet that would protect our health and planet.
The diet changes would address that and also reduce the impact of livestock, which is blamed for a lot of pollution.
YEAH!!! You all have to become VEGETARIANS like ME :emthup:
Not going to happen. Of course we will be eating less meat in the future. Meat takes a lot of grain or grass and since we will all have our little doomstead gardens we won't be feeding it to cattle. Not much at least. And when we collapse further to hunter-gatherers we will only have a little meat once in a while (if the deer survive). I figure being a Vegetarian prepares me for the future ;D.

I suspect you are correct, but I for one will miss it. Habits of a lifetime. One of my best friends and my daughter are vegetarians, so it may be just a matter of time.

Surly Newz / Re: The Daily Meme
« on: January 19, 2019, 05:53:38 AM »

And then there's this.
 and for stony silence from Mueller’s investigators.

Except that there is not stony silence. Seems Buzzfeed might be making it up??
So, back to waiting for the actual report.

Posted this morning: I told anyone bothering to listen yesterday that I had doubts about this story because of Jason Leopold, who'd rushed to print before in stories about Enron and Rove.

In a rare move, Mueller’s office denies BuzzFeed report that Trump told Cohen to lie about Moscow project,3282.msg168465.html#msg168465

Surly Newz / Re: The Daily Meme
« on: January 19, 2019, 05:25:58 AM »

Surly Newz / Glaciers in the Americas Are Melting Faster
« on: January 19, 2019, 04:49:53 AM »
Glaciers in the Americas Are Melting Faster
Mountain glaciers are an important source of freshwater for wildlife and human communities

Glaciers in the Americas Are Melting Faster
HPS-12 Glacier. Credit: Joshua Stevens NASA Earth Observatory and U.S. Geological Survey

Glaciers in the snowy mountains of western Canada are melting faster than they were a decade ago, according to scientists.

New research suggests that ice loss in the southern Coast Mountains of British Columbia is happening at nearly five times the rate it was in the early 2000s.

Overall, glaciers in western North America—not including Alaska—have lost about 117 billion tons of ice since 2000; they are currently losing about 12 billion tons a year.

The vast ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica get the most global attention when it comes to melting glaciers, largely because of their immense potential to contribute to sea-level rise. Greenland is currently the biggest loser, pouring nearly 300 billion tons of ice into the ocean each year, by recent estimates. But Antarctica is a rising concern—research published this week finds that the Antarctic ice sheet is losing about 250 billion tons of ice annually, and the melt rate seems to be accelerating (Climatewire, Jan. 15).

Still, Greenland and Antarctica aren’t the only important frozen places on Earth. Glaciers exist in many regions, from the Americas to the Swiss Alps to the Himalayas. Scientists are finding that many of these glaciers are also melting and retreating, likely in response to rising temperatures.

And while most of them aren’t likely to make much of a dent in global sea-level rise—in part because many mountain glaciers don’t empty into the oceans—these losses are still important. Many are a critical source of fresh water, helping to feed the streams and rivers that wildlife and human communities depend on.

As the glaciers shrink, experts worry that these water supplies could begin to dry up. So keeping close tabs on melt rates, and the factors that influence them, can help communities plan for the future.

This week, two studies took a closer look at glaciers in North and South America. The first, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, focuses on the mountains of western North America—excluding Alaska, where many studies have already been conducted, but including glaciers in British Columbia and the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

Taken as a whole, satellite imagery suggests, the region has been losing substantially more ice from 2009 to the present—about four times as much—than in the previous decade. That’s mainly because of the high losses in Canada’s Coast Mountains, which are home to a majority of western North America’s glaciers. Farther south in the Pacific Northwest, however, the researchers actually found that some places were seeing less intensive melt rates now than in the previous decade.

The reasons for the differences may be linked to a shift in atmospheric patterns and weather conditions, the scientists suggest. In the latter decade, the researchers noted a change in the position of the jetstream, a major air current in the Northern Hemisphere.

This shift brought changes in wind patterns over western Canada and the Pacific Northwest, as well as changes in regional temperatures and precipitation patterns. Some areas, particularly those farther south, became wetter, while other areas farther north became warmer and drier and began to melt faster. The researchers suggest that these changes, on top of the background warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions, may help account for the significantly higher melt rates in parts of Canada in the past decade.

“I think there would need to be more work done on whether this positional change in the jetstream is natural variability or caused by [anthropogenic] climate change,” said lead study author Brian Menounos of the University of Northern British Columbia.

That said, the researchers suggest that future climate change could make some of these effects worse.

Previous modeling studies suggested that severe climate change might continue to alter wind patterns over the mountains of western North America, causing some winds to become weaker. It’s similar to the changes the researchers observed over the last decade, which they believe contributed to the accelerated ice loss in Canada. That’s on top of the baseline increases in melting expected to occur as temperatures continue to rise.

Meanwhile, a second study published this week in Nature Climate Change confirmed that Patagonia, a region that includes parts of southern Chile and Argentina, is losing more ice than any other area in South America. The new estimates, also based on satellite imagery, suggest that the northern and southern Patagonian ice fields—covering about 6,500 square miles, the largest expanse of ice in the Southern Hemisphere besides Antarctica—are losing around 17 billion tons of ice each year.

Altogether, the study suggests glaciers in South America are losing about 20 billion tons of ice annually. The new estimates anticipate lower rates of ice loss in some parts of the continent than previous studies, particularly around the tropics, but more or less agree with the high melt rates observed in Patagonia.

As the new study points out, air temperatures in that region of the world are on the rise, contributing to “enhanced melt conditions,” although the Patagonian ice fields seem to be responding more strongly than other glaciers in the general area.

Previous research has also suggested that ice loss in Patagonia may be accelerating in recent years and that glaciers there may be retreating at some of the fastest rates in the world. Unlike mountain glaciers found in more inland regions of the world, its melting ice can run off into the ocean and have some effect on sea-level rise. Right now, the melting may be contributing around one-twentieth of a millimeter of sea-level rise each year, or around 2 percent of the current rate of global sea-level rise.

As temperatures continue to rise around the world, glaciers in North and South America aren’t the only ones at risk. Scientists have documented shrinking ice on every continent, frequently in places where human communities rely on them for water.

Continued monitoring is critical to helping these communities understand and prepare for the changes that are already happening—and for helping them make predictions about the future, Menounos noted.

“One of the keys to improving models to forecast the future fate of glaciers depends quite heavily on having good observational data to validate how these models behave—in much the same way that a global climate model is evaluated on how well it does to predict the trend of temperature or precipitation in a given decade,” he said in an interview. “So observations are absolutely essential.”

Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from E&E News. E&E provides daily coverage of essential energy and environmental news at [url=][/url].

Surly Newz / Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« on: January 19, 2019, 04:41:12 AM »
Mini-Monsters with Multiple Heads Created in the Lab

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Mini-Monsters with Multiple Heads Created in the Lab
A hydra with too little of a protein called Sp5 develops multiple heads.

The tiny, immortal hydra is a freshwater animal that can regenerate an entirely new animal from just the tiniest sliver of its body. Usually, it does this perfectly: One foot, one long skinny body, and one tentacled head.

But with a single genetic tweak, researchers can create monstrous hydras that sprout fully functional heads all over their bodies — appropriate for an animal named for an ancient Greek monster that had somewhere between six and nine heads.

These many-headed hydras aren't just a trick of mad science. For the first time, researchers have figured out what keeps hydra head regeneration in check. The findings could inform everything from human developmental studies to cancer research. [The 12 Weirdest Animal Discoveries]

The hunt for an off switch

Though hydras are simple animals, regrowing body parts is no minor achievement. With each regeneration, the animal has to organize its body plan so that just one head ends up on top, and just one foot, or basal disc, sprouts on the bottom. Researchers had some of the pieces of this puzzle. They knew the gene Wnt3 is crucial for prompting the growth of the head. They also knew there must be some molecular check on Wnt3. Without that inhibition, the hydra would just grow heads all over. They also knew that a particular receptor and genetic activator, called beta-catenin/TCF, were activated by Wnt3 to start the head-growth process.

But they were missing the "off" switch. Something, they knew, had to prevent the hydra from growing head after head after head, said Brigitte Galliot, a professor of genetics and evolution at the University of Geneva.

So Galliot and her colleagues went hunting. They started with a close relative of hydras, planarians, or flatworms, which also regenerate. In the planarian genome, they found 440 genes that become less active when beta-catenin/TCF signals were blocked, giving them a starting point for the search for other genes involved in this cycle. Of those, 124 also existed in the hydra genome. [In Photos: Worm Grows Heads and Brains of Other Species]

Of those, they found only five genes that are most active at the top of the hydra's tubular body and least active at its foot, meaning they had to be specific to head growth. Among those five, they looked for genes that became increasingly active during regeneration. That left three: Wnt3, Wnt5 and a gene called Sp5.

A careful balance

The team already knew that Wnt3 and Wnt5 got the head-growing process rolling. So they focused on Sp5. They soon found that beta-catenin/TCF prompts the activity of Sp5 — but Sp5 also tamps down the beta-catenin/TCF signals by repressing Wnt3.

This might sound a little strange, but it was just what the researchers were looking for: a compound that could put the brakes on an otherwise runaway feedback loop. To check their work, they grew hydras engineered not to express the Sp5 gene.

"In 100 [percent] of these animals you get ectopic [extra] heads," Galliot told Live Science. "Which is really amazing."

What happens, Galliot and her colleagues reported today (Jan. 19) in the journal Nature Communications, is that when a hydra needs a new head, it releases Wnt3, which clings to beta-catenin/TCF, which activates a whole bunch of genes, including more Wnt3 and Sp5. Without Sp5, the Wnt3keeps the cycle going, and tons of heads pop up all over the regenerating hydra. These heads, Galliot said, are totally functional. They have a nervous system and tentacles and a working mouth.

When Sp5 is in the picture, as it is in nature, it binds to Wnt3, keeping that activator from finding and binding to beta-catenin/TCF. In the absence of Wnt3, beta-catenin/TCF stops sending out "make a head!" messages, and only one head grows.

The process, Galliot said, is all about the balance between activation and repression. And that's where things get interesting. It turns out that Wnt3isn't just in flatworms and hydras and other simple, regenerating animals. It's also in mammals, including humans. The gene appears to affect embryonic development, which means that understanding its function could help scientists understand what controls early human development. Wnt3 is also a crucial driver of some sorts of cancer, Galliot said. It might be that Sp5 manipulation could halt the proliferation of such cancers, she said.

That kind of medical research is still far in the future, but the hydra's tentacle-studded heads point the way, Galliot said.

"What we learn from simple organisms like this tell us what kind of test we can do in mammals to understand better," she said. "It gives us a direction."

Marathon Man Newz / Re: Plus ça Change, Plus C'est La Même Chose
« on: January 19, 2019, 04:35:13 AM »
Because videos like this? They show he was......piercingly observant, and nobody's fool. Not at all. I really do wonder what he would have to say about the state of race relations in America today.

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IMO, you have this exactly right. Malcolm was executed by TPTB as surely as was King. Even though they hung it on the Nation of Islam. Too much publicly uttered truth. NY will still not release the records. As usual, there remains a shitmist of lingering questions about the case.

“Just as a chicken cannot produce a duck egg, the system in this country cannot produce freedom for an Afro-American.”

Malcolm X assassination: 50 years on, mystery still clouds details of the case
Despite freedom of information act requests throughout the years, New York still will not release records to the public and claim files would endanger the safety of police officers and constitute unwarranted invasions of privacy

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