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December 28, 2012


62% of households hoarding, not recycling, old cell phones

Americans are still hesitant about recycling their old mobile phones.

Almost 2 out of 3 households in America – 62% to be exact – are hoarding their old cell phones instead of recycling them, according to a recent survey from mobile-phone security company Lookout Mobile.

AG Horne Makes Proposals To Reduce The Risk Of Repeat Of Newtown Massacre

Other Sheriffs are also considering participation in this proposed program. The proposal is that any school that wishes to do so, may designate the Principal or another designee to receive training in the use of firearms and how to handle emergencies such as that which occurred in Newtown. The training would be provided by personnel of the Attorney General’s Office, and of the cooperating Sherriff’s Offices. The training would be free to the schools. The designated individual (no more than one per school) would then be authorized to keep a firearm locked in a secure place, and would have adequate communication to be alerted to an emergency in any part of the school. 

Anti-Tax Conservatives Say No to Tax-Increase Deal

In the city where a protest over tax policy sparked a revolution, modern day tea party activists are cheering the recent Republican revolt in Washington that embarrassed House Speaker John Boehner and pushed the country closer to a "fiscal cliff" that forces tax increases and massive spending cuts on virtually every American.

Are 'green' vehicles more than a niche?

After adopting an ambitious fuel-economy standard this year, the government and environmental advocates now face the more-complicated challenge of meeting the goals.

A new report by the Consumer Federation of America says that demand for hybrid and alternative-fuel vehicles is growing and will be sufficient to meet expected changes in the auto industry, but some experts disagree with this outlook.

A Secretary John Kerry Would Elevate Climate Issues

Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has long been viewed as a likely candidate to replace Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

While United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice more recently had been viewed as the top contender for the post, she withdrew her name from consideration on Thursday after months of criticism for her response to the terrorist attack in Benghazi.


Ash spill cleanup: Four years down, two to go

And eventually, Roane County will have a nearly 400-acre park here with boat docks and ball fields.

That day will signify the Kingston ash spill's final cleanup -- give or take about 30 years and at least $10 million worth of environmental monitoring.

Average Temperatures in West Antarctica Show Marked Rise Over 54 Years

Global average temperatures are rising in most places, but the rise is not uniform. In western Antarctica, temperatures have risen significantly over an extended period. In a finding that raises further concerns about the future contribution of Antarctica to sea level rise, a new study by the University of Colorado University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder finds that the western part of the continent's ice sheet is experiencing nearly twice as much warming as previously thought.

Bond-Rating Cuts Fastest Since 2009

Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service are cutting corporate debt ratings at the fastest pace since 2009 as a global economic slowdown and record borrowing erode credit quality.

Chances of US Recession Surge as Fiscal Cliff Talks Stall

A decision by House Republicans to cancel a vote on House Speaker John Boehner's fiscal-cliff proposal increases the chances the U.S. economy will plunge into a recession next year, said Mohamed El-Erian, CEO of fund giant Pimco.

Cheshire rejects grid proposal

Town officials have rejected participating in a state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection pilot program that would use $20 million in state money to create micro-grids across Connecticut.

Micro-grids are small, on-site energy-generation facilities intended to power small-scale areas like neighborhoods or municipal complexes. The idea of developing a micro-grid pilot program came out of the panels that Gov. Dannel Malloy convened in the aftermath of 2011's Tropical Storm Irene and the October snowstorm that left hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents without power, some for as long as 10 days.

Climate change poll: 4 out of 5 Americans see global warming as serious problem

Nearly 4 out of 5 Americans now think temperatures are rising and that global warming will be a serious problem for the United States if nothing is done about it, a new Associated Press-GfK poll finds.

Climate Scientists accused of being terrorists

A corporate-funded think tank compared climate scientists to terrorists.1 Extremists sent threats to a British researcher, telling him to kill himself and that they wished someone would shoot him between the eyes.2

Egypt's newly empowered parliament chamber to meet

Egypt's president ordered parliament's upper chamber to convene after the release of official results of a referendum on an Islamist-backed constitution that gives temporary legislative powers to the traditionally toothless chamber.

EPA Announces Next Round of Clean Air Standards to Reduce Harmful Soot Pollution

In response to a court order, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today finalized an update to its national air quality standards for harmful fine particle pollution (PM2.5), including soot, setting the annual health standard at 12 micrograms per cubic meter. By 2020, ninety-nine percent of U.S. counties are projected to meet revised health standard without any additional actions

Evidence Mounts In Favor of the E-Cat

In reflecting on the SVT E-Cat program, I can't help but think that this has to change some minds in favor of the E-Cat. The way I see it, this show has confirmed a lot of what Andrea Rossi has been saying over the last few months regarding the development of his technology and business plan.

FDA closer to approving biotech salmon, critics furious

A controversial genetically engineered salmon has moved a step closer to the consumer's dining table after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Friday the fish didn't appear likely to pose a threat to the environment or to humans who eat it.

Federal wind-power subsidies questioned

As Congress struggles to avert the year-end "fiscal cliff" of tax-and-budget policy, there's one expiring tax law that isn't getting much press: The federal tax credit that subsidizes wind-power production.

Gallup: Majority of Americans Hold Favorable View of NRA

A majority of Americans have a favorable view of the National Rifle Association, according to a new Gallup poll.

The poll also found that views of the gun advocacy group were more positive among gun owners, although owners said the NRA did not always reflect their views.

Geithner to Congress: Deficit Standoff Risks US Default

Geithner, in a letter to congressional leaders Wednesday, said the government will hit its statutory debt ceiling Monday. To avert a default, the Treasury will take action to create about $200 billion in headroom under the debt limit.

Glad to See We Are All Alive - Welcome to the 5th World

I believe credit is due to those who helped people better understand Maya's message. In fact, you should not be surprised to hear that the people most upset about all this Hollywood style propaganda are the Mayan elders themselves. At first the elders really tried to get interested people to understand what the 'transition' is meant to be and to provide a way to give some form of tangible pathway. But when venturing into the celestial world of less defined understanding in the principles of quantum physics, dark matter, and ether - one can easily sympathize with the majority of people who become frustrated with not being able to interpret the Mayan message.

Global bank stress high! Legal costs surge!

We’re down to the wire, folks. Not just in terms of the 2012 calendar. Or the fiscal cliff talks. But the opportunity for you to target gains of 26.8%, 55.1%, and 59.5% from the ongoing global banking crisis.

Gov. John Kitzhaber releases 10-year energy action plan

"Energy is the issue of our time, both globally and here in Oregon," Kitzhaber said in a press release. "No single issue will have a greater impact on our state's economy, environment and quality of life in the coming decade, and I am committed to pursuing the policy, programs and practices needed to ensure we shape a prosperous and sustainable future."

Hawaiian Islands may vanish from world map, say geologists

The Hawaiian Islands in the North Pacific are dissolving from within and at some point in the future they might fall off the map completely, geologists claim.

Researchers discovered that the mountains found on Oahu (Koolau and Waianae), Hawaii’s third largest island, are being eroded from within by groundwater. Thus, they are quite likely to shrink as the years go by, and ultimately turn into plains.

Here's Why Organic Foods Are Better For You

The researchers found that the risk for contamination with pesticide residues was significantly reduced with organic as opposed to conventional produce; in addition, bacteria resistant to multiple antibiotics were more likely to be isolated from conventionally raised chicken and pork products than from organic ones.

Ireland: Is the Celtic Tiger on the Mend?

Ireland has long been portrayed as a success story following its remarkable transformation from a sleepy European isle into the “Celtic Tiger” -- one of the fastest growing economies in the 1990s. An abrupt collapse in the property market, however, coupled with a severe banking crisis resulted in a sharp economic downturn in 2008. Since the start of the financial crisis, successive Irish governments have implemented stern austerity measures, removing 25 billion euros from the economy through spending cuts and tax increases -- the equivalent of 16 percent of economic output in 2011.

Johns Hopkins Study: US Surgeons Make Shocking Errors

More than 4,000 times each year, American surgeons make serious medical mistakes — operating on the wrong site of a patient’s body, performing an incorrect procedure, or leaving a sponge or towel still inside a person after an operation — a new study has found.

Man-made tornadoes could one day power our cities

If we look around the Earth, we can see that Mother Nature has provided us with many stored energy resources that can potentially be used to power our world, such as the latent heat of water vapor or the heat content of tropical ocean water.

N.C. rules for toxic air to change

Environmentalists say they will fight rule changes they believe could further weaken North Carolina's protection against industrial emissions of toxic air pollutants.

The North Carolina legislature this year exempted pollution sources from state oversight if they are also covered by federal rules and don't pose an "unacceptable risk" to human health.

'Net-zero' school pays off

There's no big smokestack. You also don't see a bunch of workers scurrying around in hard hats. Rest assured though, Warren County Public Schools has a power plant.

New state laws to aid brewers, solar firms

One new state law taking effect on New Year's Day is intended to spur sales of solar energy equipment, while another is aimed at helping craft brewers snip unfavorable contracts with beer wholesalers.

Nissan Opens US Battery Plant

The largest lithium-ion automotive battery plant in the U.S. is located in Smyrna, Tenn.  The Nissan (IW 1000/26) plant- which is making battery components for the ramp-up of production of the all-electric, zero-emission 2013 Nissan LEAF early next year – is one of three of its kind in the world operated by a major automaker.

NRA’s LaPierre: ‘Monsters' on Streets Pose Threat, Not Guns

The country does not need “one more law on top of 20,000 laws” that aims to control gun ownership in response to the mass killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the CEO of the National Rifle Association said Sunday.

NRA's Wayne LaPierre: Put Armed Guards at Every School

"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," said Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the National Rifle Association, noting that banks and airports are patrolled by armed guards, while schools typically are not.

NREL and Johnson Matthey Announce Five-Year Collaboration on Biofuels

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will partner with Johnson Matthey, a global specialty chemicals company, in a five-year, $7 million effort to economically produce drop-in gasoline, diesel and jet fuel from non-food biomass feedstocks, the federal laboratory announced today.

NY Newspaper Draws Flak for Putting Gun Owners on Map

[What this article also does is draw the attention of "some" to the population that does NOT have guns.  Which houses are exposed!]

"Do you fools realize that you also made a map for criminals to use to find homes to rob that have no guns in them to protect themselves? What a bunch of liberal boobs you all are," wrote one reader.

Obama: Climate change among top three priorities for second term

President Obama has identified climate change as one of his top three priorities in his second term after coming under fire from environmentalists for giving the issue short shrift during the campaign.

Obama's Big Bluff

President Obama says he wants to raise taxes on the wealthy.  But what he really wants is to avoid spending cuts.  By blaming the Republicans for refusing to increase revenues from the rich (who are also the nation's leading employers), he can avoid having a straight-out fight over the size of government spending -- a battle he must lose and look bad fighting.

Obama’s Money Misunderstanding

In times past, political leaders would lay out their domestic and foreign policies in clear, coherent terms. President Barack Obama talks about getting our fiscal house in order, but fails to propose any meaningful spending cuts.

Online Marketplaces Sell Stolen eBay and PayPal Credentials

Jerome Segura, a senior security researcher with the vendor Malwarebytes, has recently been researching these sites, many of which operate underground on an invitation-only basis, though an alarming number are publicly available, including some hosted in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

ProPublica: Govt Now Runs the US Mortgage Marketplace

The takeover, without which the housing market could barely function, has occurred against a backdrop of little planning or public discussion.

In fact, nine out of every 10 new mortgages are now backed by the U.S. taxpayer, up from three in 10 in 2006.

Renewable Energy Review: China

Solar Sector Changes Direction

Despite battling excess supply and the knock-on impact of the global economic downturn on international markets, Q3 saw significant activity across China’s solar sector. However, this is not the supply chain-driven growth of the last five years, but a new dawn for the world’s largest solar manufacturing economy. That the country is seeking to expand its domestic solar demand to deal with oversupply and falling prices has become well-known, but Q3 has shown that the Government is willing to practise what it preaches in terms of implementing policy. 

Renewable Energy Review: Mexico

October saw the official implementation of Ley General de Cambio Climático, or the “General Law on Climate Change,” The legislation, passed in June this year, is one of the strongest national climate change laws to date and represents a robust foundation for Mexico’s transition to a low-carbon economy.

Renewable Energy Review: United States

The issue of energy — hotly debated throughout the election campaign and catalyzed by Hurricane Sandy-emerged as a highly divisive topic. President Barack Obama favored an “all of the above” approach in which clean technologies play a starring role. Mitt Romney, meanwhile, relegated renewables to the bench in favor of more traditional fuels, making clear his intention to remove subsidies on clean energy and help the oil and gas industry make the US energy independent by 2020.

Report of Solar Geophysical Activity

The largest solar event of the period was a C1..There are currently 5 numbered sunspot regions on the disk. slight Chance for an M-class flare.  The geomagnetic field is expected to be at quiet to unsettled levels for days one and two (28 Dec, 29 Dec) due to effects from a weak coronal hole high speed stream.

Report: Solar firms under investigation for stimulus swindle

The nation’s three most productive solar installation firms are under investigation for allegedly exaggerating business costs to get larger cash payments through a federal stimulus program.

Sen. Grassley: GOP Has 'Leverage' Over Obama on Fiscal Cliff

Sen. Chuck Grassley tells Newsmax that Congressional Republicans have a “great deal of leverage” on President Obama because they can refuse to raise the debt ceiling unless he agrees to spending cuts. Grassley also says the president wants the nation to go over the fiscal cliff because it will raise everyone’s taxes — then he can be seen as saving the middle class by lowering their taxes in the new year. The Iowa Republican also praised Grover Norquist for reminding Congress we have a spending problem.

State to Get Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Rhode Island plans to install at least 30 public electric vehicle (EV) charging stations next year.

Study Proves Chicken Soup Fights Flu

After a season of holiday revelry, cold and flu season lurks around the corner ready to spoil all the fun. But a new study finds that chicken soup can cure what ails you, just like your mother told you.

Sweet Potatoes Unexpected Reaction to Rising CO2 Levels

Rising levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere caused by human-driven emissions might lead to larger sweet potatoes, a staple food for many African and Asian countries, research reveals

Sweet potatoes could double in size with the increase in CO2 levels currently forecasted for the end of this century,

Ten Solar Energy Predictions for 2013

We've been down so long almost anything starts to look like up. Be prepared for another few down years as the solar industry rationalizes production and figures out how to make money downstream; we've lost this profit-making capability upstream. Since I don't have to worry about offending any customers, suppliers, competitors or politicians this year, I can be more candid than usual. The "oversupply" theme runs heavily throughout this list, so without further ado, here are ten solar predictions for 2013.

The 4 Reasons Why I’m Switching to Einkorn Wheat

What’s more, I’m switching 100%.

The Challenge Confronting the Republican Party

The scale of strategic thinking Republicans need is vastly larger and deeper than any current proposal recognizes. The Republican National Committee will play a particularly important role in gathering information, encouraging analysis, hosting dialogues about key changes, and helping implement strategies for victory in 2014 and 2016.

The Morning Brief - Lignet

Libya: Benghazi Consulate Report Misses the Mark

Phares: Constitution Vote Moving Egypt Toward an Islamist State

Yemen: Distracting Military Shuffle Opens Door for Al-Qaeda

The Morning Brief - Lignet

Holy Land Tourism Falls, Hurting Both Israelis and Palestinians

Choked by Higher Taxes, France’s Wealthy Flee

By Refusing Foreign Troops, Mali Would Destabilize Region

The Morning Brief - Lignet

Falklands Dispute Pushing Argentina to the Left

India Challenges China with New ASEAN Pact

The Morning Brief - Lignet

Turkey: Loss of Arbiter Role Boosts Western Interests

LIBOR Scandal Deepens as UBS Under Fire

US Shale Gas Boom Forces Trinidad and Tobago to Regroup

The Morning Brief - Lignet

Syria: Assad Regime Rapidly Losing Support

UK and UAE Grow Closer Despite Human Rights Concerns

Global Inventories: Still Working Off the Excess

The Nation's Nuclear Plants Are Nuked

While the nation has been focused on new sources of natural gas and shale oil, few noticed the slow decline of an older energy source, nuclear power. Today, commercial nuclear power is struggling to stay in the game.
The power markets are hammering the nation's nukes. Over a decade ago, several regions decided to create Regional Transmission Organizations (or Independent System Operators) and use the market to set power prices. Today, North America has ten independent RTOs/ISOs, where wholesale power is auctioned every few minutes.

The Right to Work

With Michigan becoming the 24th state to adopt a right-to-work law, the handwriting is on the wall: If you want to attract investment and create jobs, unions are a barrier not a benefit.

Top Heart Doctor: Medical Miracles Do Happen

Doctors are often able to save lives by using the latest drugs and medical procedures. But every once in a while, patients survive even when science shows recovery is impossible.

Tribe to get hearing on Prairie Island nuclear waste concerns

A core issue -- whether the "temporary" cask storage is becoming permanent -- was set aside by the panel while its parent agency, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, studies the problem across the nation. A federal appeals court in June struck down the commission's waste storage rules, forcing another look at the implications of keeping radioactive waste at reactor sites for up to 60 years.

Trump: GOP Must Use 'Nuclear Option' in Debt Talks

Republicans have a “nuclear option” in the form of upcoming debt ceiling negotiations, billionaire developer Donald Trump said Monday as he slammed the White House's poor leadership on the fiscal cliff issue.

U.N. Security Council authorizes military mission in Mali

The United Nations Security Council on Thursday authorized a military peacekeeping mission in Mali to help the once-stable country retake its vast northern region from Islamist rebels.

US issues framework on study on fracking and water

The Obama administration issued the framework on Friday of a long-term study on whether fracking for natural gas pollutes drinking water, but will not make conclusions until 2014 about the controversial technique that is helping to fuel a domestic drilling boom.

U.S. slaps duties on China wind towers, high-level talks begin

The United States on Tuesday pressed forward with plans to slap steep punitive duties on wind turbine towers imported from China at prices deemed unfairly low, even as officials welcomed a high-level Chinese delegation for trade and economic talks.

US Solar Permitting Process Rife With Inefficiencies, Limits Growth

Over the past year or two, we've written a lot about the drag that solar permitting processes is having on the growth of the industry, and the efforts to bring those costs down.

Now, a nationwide survey of solar installers provides more clarity to the situation. Antiquated and complex permitting processes are limiting adoption of residential solar and discouraging installers from expanding into new territories, according to a survey by Clean Power Finance.

U.S. unveils plan to manage huge Alaskan oil reserve

The U.S. federal government on Wednesday announced a plan to manage energy drilling on part of Alaska's North Slope, with the 23-million-acre National Petroleum Reserve to be divided between areas available for oil and gas leases and those that are protected from development.

What Country Tops the List of Healthiest Countries?

  • Japan ranked highest in the world for both female and male life expectancy
  • The United States spends $2.7 trillion annually -- TWICE the amount per person as most other industrialized nations – on health care, yet was ranked only 29th for male life expectancy and 33rd for female

When the Ice Melts, the Earth Spews Fire

New scientific evidence shows the natural cyclical patterns of warming and cooling trends has a direct impact on the increase and decrease of earthquake and volcanic activity. Researchers at GEOMAR Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel (Germany) and Harvard University in Massachusetts (USA) have now found strong evidence for this relationship from major volcanic eruptions around the Pacific Ocean over the past 1 million years. They have presented their results in the latest issue of the international journal "Geology".

Wind in 2012: Booming in North America; Tops 100 GW in Europe

The past year has brought about a boom of wind energy project completions in the U.S. as developers have rushed to take advantage of the Production Tax Credit (PTC). Meanwhile, Latin American and Canada have also seen tremendous growth, signs that wind energy in other parts of the Americas is healthy and growing, despite what may happen near-term in the U.S.

World Nuclear Electricity Generation Down 5 Percent Since 2006

World nuclear electricity-generating capacity has been essentially flat since 2007 and is likely to fall as plants retire faster than new ones are built. In fact, the actual electricity generated at nuclear power plants fell 5 percent between 2006 and 2011.

Zillow: Housing Values Rose 6% in 2012 for First Gain in Six Years

Homes values gained an estimated 6 percent in the U.S. this year, the first increase since 2006, as the housing market began to recover from its worst slump since the 1930s, Zillow Inc. said.


December 21, 2012


 Agreement reached on refusal of smart meters

The state Bureau of Consumer Protection, at odds with NV Energy over the replacement of smart meters, has reached a compromise to allow electric customers to keep their existing analog meters -- but at a price.

Many customers objected to installation of the smart meters on grounds that the radiation they emit can cause cancer and other ailments.

Under the agreement reached by consumer protection and the major electric company, those unhappy customers will be able to retain their existing analog meters but they will have to pay an up-front cost of $53.46.

Americans Fearing Weapons Ban Load Up On Guns and Ammo

Thousands of Americans are rushing to their local gun stores to buy high-powered rifles and ammunition in a bid to thwart a potential assault weapons ban in the wake of last week’s Connecticut school massacre, Fox News reports.

Another possible dock from Japanese tsunami arrives on West Coast

Another dock likely washed into the Pacific Ocean following a devastating tsunami that hit Japan in 2011 has shown up on the West Coast.

Are Bank Regulators Now Encouraging Fraud?

This week, in a seemingly endless stream of bank fraud news, UBS agreed to pay $1.5 billion in a “settlement” to various regulatory agencies in the United States, the U.K. and Switzerland. The fines are part of a settlement of charges alleging the Swiss bank conspired to manipulate the Libor interest rate.

Asia Report: China Solar Shares Soar as Government Bails Out Sector

Shares in Chinese solar companies soared after the government allocated a further 7 billion yuan ($1.1 billion) of subsidies for domestic installations this year, taking the year's total to 13 billion yuan ($2 billion), according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

Atmospheric Vortex Engine creates tornadoes to generate electricity

AVE works by introducing warm air into a circular station, whereupon the difference in temperature between this heated air and the atmosphere above creates a vortex – or controlled tornado, which in turn drives multiple wind turbines in order to create electricity. The vortex could be shut down by simply turning off the source of warm air.

Australian Grocery Chains Say No to Factory Bacon and Eggs

Some major news came out this week from our friends Down Under. Two of Australia's largest grocery chains have pledged to phase out factory-raised eggs and pork. The two chains are Cole's the nation's largest, which will ban these products starting January 1st, and Woolworths, who expects to phase them out by the middle of next year. The two chains combine to cover 80 percent of the nation's food market share.

A "Win-Win" Situation for Acid Mine Drainage

Acid Mine Drainage is one of the greatest environmental hazards that is associated with mining processes and degrades more than 4,500 stream miles in the mid-Atlantic region of the US alone. When water flows through abandoned and active coal mines, a reaction occurs between the water and the rocks containing sulfur bearing minerals. This reaction has the ability to contaminate drinking water, disrupt aquatic plants and animal reproduction, and corrode parts of infrastructure due to the net acidity of the drainage.

Benghazi Report Part Of Cover-Up

The Benghazi mystery boils down to one key question: On what basis did Hillary, Susan Rice, and the president camouflage the terrorist attack on our consulate as an over-reaction to a film about Mohammed?

BofA Survey: Money Managers Remain Pessimistic on Global Economy

Money managers are still bearish on the global economy, though sentiment is improving, according to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Fund Manager Survey for December.

A net 40 percent of the 255 managers polled believe global growth will increase in the next year. While that number is nothing to write home about, it’s up from 34 percent in November and only 20 percent in October.

Bridgewater’s Dalio: Expect Austerity, Rising Interest Rates in 2013

Next year will bring austerity and rising interest rates, predicts Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund manager.

Plus, the Fed is out of bullets.

Clean Water Systems & Stores Inc Develops New Hydrogen Peroxide + Ozone Water Treatment System To Remove Bacteria And Other Contaminants From Polluted Waters

After years in development, Clean Water Systems & Stores Inc has introduced a new water purification system that removes a wide variety of contaminants from contaminated well and surface waters using a combination of hydrogen peroxide, ozone and UF technologies.

Climate Change: Marketplace is the First Responder

For a few years, matters involving climate change have been nestled behind a darkening economy. Now, though, the subject is re-emerging, hastened by Hurricane Sandy and who will pay for the associated liabilities.

Uncommon weather events are occurring with increasing frequency and are causing an enormous human toll and economic hardship. The marketplace has become the first-responders here, sidestepping a congressional stalemate. As such, insurers are pricing climate change risks into their policies while businesses are taking either mandatory or voluntary steps to cut their emissions. The result is now the platform from which to tackle the challenges posed by the earth's warming.  

Declining Yields Could Pose 'Bond Bubble' Threat for U.S. Corporate Bond Investors

Declining yields for U.S. corporate bonds have created the potential for a 'bond bubble' under which a rising interest rate scenario could result in significant valuation losses for institutional fixed-income investors, according to a Fitch Ratings study.

Domestic and Global Banking: A Look Ahead – 2013

...major concerns remain for the U.S. banking industry in 2013 and beyond. Although earnings generally beat forecasts in 2012, revenues were weak in quarter-over-quarter and prior-year comparisons. For the most part, U.S. banks met or exceeded earnings estimates by cutting costs and reducing loan loss reserves as a result of their efforts to shrink nonperforming loan portfolios. Demand for new loans was moderate with most banks showing only modest portfolio increases. And, the continuation of the Federal Reserve policy keeping record low interest rates, compressed net interest margin spreads in the second half of 2012, leading to lighter revenues than previous quarters.

Drilling for Dollars: Notable Developments in Geothermal Finance

Geothermal capacity additions are on track to top 100 MW in 2012, making this year one of the best for geothermal deployment in the last decade. This could be a tentative sign that conditions have been improving for geothermal finance (traditionally, finance has been one of the principal barriers to the technology's wider adoption). Projects coming online this year have demonstrated some creativity in leveraging financial opportunities

EIA analysis: firing away at the nation’s refineries

Refineries are starting to crank away, particularly in the US West Coast, where they’re operating at rates not seen for more than two years.

Environmental Toxins Causing Early Puberty in Both Boys and Girls

Recent research shows that boys, like girls, are beginning sexual development much sooner than historically normal. Boys are now developing six months to two years earlier than the medically accepted standard based on previous studies Precocious puberty can affect both physical and psychological health, including raising the future risk for hormone-related cancers The trend raises serious questions about environmental factors spurring this development, as it cannot be explained through genetic changes

EU Quashes Free Speech in Health Claims

Europe has rejected 95% of the health and nutrition claims under review. What does this mean for us? The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) evaluated 2,037 health claims—that is, statements that a nutrient or food contributes to or has a positive impact on a particular health condition—and authorized the use of only 241 of them. Most of the ones accepted were related to structure or function claims, such as “calcium contributes to normal muscle function.”

Fannie, Freddie May Have Lost $3 Billion in Libor Fiasco

U.S. mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may have suffered more than $3 billion in losses due to manipulation of the benchmark interest rate known as Libor, according to an internal memo by a federal watchdog.

Fitch Warns Fiscal Cliff Could Cost US Its AAA Rating

Fitch warned that the U.S. is more likely to lose its top-notch "AAA" rating if lawmakers cannot agree on how to cut the deficit and avoid the broad government spending cuts and tax increases that go into effect next year if no deal is reached.

Former FDIC Chief Isaac to Moneynews: Fed’s Tactics ‘Counterproductive’ to Recovery

Since 2008, the Fed has taken repeated steps to stimulate the economy.

Stimulus tools have included slashing benchmark interest rates to rock-bottom levels to more unorthodox measures such as quantitative easing (QE), under which Fed buys bonds such as Treasurys or mortgage debt held by banks, pumping the financial system full of liquidity in the process to make sure borrowing costs stay low across the economy.

The Fed is currently running its third round of QE in which it is buying $85 billion in mortgage-backed securities and Treasury holdings a month from banks.

Geomagnetic Disturbances

Geomagnetic disturbances (GMD) occur when solar storms on the sun’s surface send electrically charged particles toward earth, where they interact with earth’s magnetic field. This interaction potentially has implications for the nation’s high-voltage transmission grid. GMD can send geomagnetically induced currents (GIC) through transmission lines, potentially through transformers and into the earth through ground connections.

Geomagnetic Effects on Power Systems

Geomagnetic disturbances can have a serious effect on power systems. Currents induced in power lines flow to ground through substation transformers. Here they cause saturation of the transformer core which can lead to a variety of problems. Increased heating has caused transformers to burn out. Also, extra harmonics generated in the transformer produce unwanted relay operations, suddenly tripping out power lines. The stability of the whole system can also be affected as compensators switch out of service. Such a sequence of events led to the Quebec blackout of March 13, 1989, which left the whole province without power for over 9 hours.

Gun-Control Battle Looms in Light of Connecticut Massacre

“Gun-control supporters have the blood of little children on their hands,” Larry Pratt, the group’s executive director, said. “Federal and state laws combined to insure that no teacher, no administrator, no adult had a gun at the Newtown school where the children were murdered.

Harvesting energy: The power of tornadoes

According to AVEtec founder Louis Michaud's website, the vortex engine has the same thermodynamic basis as the proven solar chimney except the physical tube of the solar chimney is replaced with centrifugal force. There is no need for a solar collector, as the solar collector is the earth's surface in its unaltered state.

House approves $633 billion defense bill

The House on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a $633 billion defense bill for next year despite Pentagon complaints that it spares outdated but politically popular weapons at the expense of the military's ability to fight.

House Republicans Call Off Vote on Boehner’s ‘Plan B’

Without congressional action, more than $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts will start taking effect in January, with the possibility of a recession in the first half of 2013. The stalled U.S. budget talks won’t be resolved until the last week of 2012 or early in 2013 as lawmakers plan to leave Washington for the Christmas holiday.

Is 2013 the Year of the Insurance Company Merger?

What do we see for insurance companies in 2013? It appears as though the scene is set for a tremendous opportunity for mergers and acquisitions driven by different issues in different market segments.

It’s a Drug When Big Pharma Wants It to Be a Drug

A medication at the center of a recent court ruling turns out to be a completely natural substance.

I went to church "naked" on Sunday... gun.

I was unarmed, and if someone ran in and started shooting, I'd only be able to cover my family while Steve pulled out his gun and protected us.

I'd be a LIABILITY rather than an ASSET.

Lignet News

EU Peace Prize: Another Nobel Embarrassment

Should Japan Rearm to Counter Chinese Imperialism?

Brazil: Court Decision Improves Chevron’s Prospects

Link found between global warming and increased volcanic activity

Researchers have discovered a strong historical link between global temperature increases and increases in volcanic activity

Majority of Americans have benefited from entitlements, poll finds

A solid majority of Americans say they have received benefits from six of the nation’s best-known federal entitlement programs, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center.

Although legislative efforts to rein in the nation’s debt by trimming programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are closely associated with Republicans, patronage of the programs is bipartisan, the survey data found.

Maya from the Inside: The 13 Bak´tun as Challenge to the Western Mind

The time for worrying about the apocalypse is long over, and the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) is here to tell us why.

May your days be merry and bright!

More Potent Than Carbon Dioxide, Nitrous Oxide Levels In California May Be Nearly Three Times Higher Than Previously Thought

Berkeley Lab researchers devise a new method to estimate state’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Using a new method for estimating greenhouse gases that combines atmospheric measurements with model predictions, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) researchers have found that the level of nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas, in California may be 2.5 to 3 times greater than the current inventory.

Morning Brief - Lignet

NATO’s Big New Idea Could Work to Keep Alliance Strong

Cayman Islands: Leader Axed Over Corruption, Chinese Influence

Nanofocusing device shrinks light beams

Engineers at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) and the University of California at Berkeley have developed a nanofocusing waveguide, a tiny passive plasmonic device which is capable of concentrating light onto a spot a few nanometers in size.

Navajo Nation to take over coal mine

The Australian company that owns Navajo Mine said Wednesday it has reached a preliminary agreement to sell the mine to the Navajo Nation.

BHP Billiton announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Navajo officials to sell the 33,000-acre coal mine east of Farmington to the tribe.

Newest Blockbuster Diabetes Drug Can Increase Your Risk of Cancer

Several studies of the newest blockbuster drug for diabetes, Januvia, have implicated these very common drugs to cause a number of different cancers. They will likely be removed from the market but perhaps not until they’ve killed many

Nigeria's oil output may fall by 40% by 2020

Nigeria's oil production may fall by 40% by 2020 without new investment in its key oil and gas industry, analysts and industry officials say.

The government's failure to introduce wide-ranging reforms in the industry has put millions of dollars of investment on hold.

Norway seeks to slow deforestation as climate "first aid"

Norway, which has led developed nations by investing billions of dollars to slow tropical deforestation, announced plans on Wednesday to step up its efforts as part of "first aid" to slow climate change.

Obama: I'm a 1980s Moderate Republican

President Barack Obama believes he’s so mainstream, he would have been considered a moderate Republican back in Ronald Reagan’s 1980s.

Obama launches victim disarmament task force

"President Obama launched an interagency task force Wednesday to develop immediate reforms to cure what he called a gun violence epidemic that is plaguing the United States. ... White House officials say the eventual package of proposals will likely include some new restrictions on guns, particularly assault rifles, and high-capacity magazines. But they say it will also likely involve measures that touch on mental health initiatives and, perhaps, a discussion on the depiction of violence presented in popular culture."

Only 12 light years distant, two super-Earths orbit in Tau Ceti's habitable zone

Our stellar neighborhood is becoming crowded courtesy of some newly discovered real estate. Astronomers have uncovered evidence buried in the noise of apparently empty data showing that five super-Earths are orbiting the nearby...

Our Second Amendment rights are hanging by a thread

Anti-gun hysteria is reaching a fever pitch.

And President Obama just announced he's on the warpath -- and he's not taking any prisoners.

Fellow Patriot, this is an all-out EMERGENCY.

Phase In Debt-Limit Hikes

Everyone in Washington knows two things:

1.)  Obama will try to wriggle out of any spending cuts enumerated in the fiscal-cliff deal. We all know from experience that whenever there is a 1-1 ratio between spending cuts and revenue increases, the ratio falls apart in reality. The tax increases slow the economy, curtailing growth and increasing entitlement spending. Unless there is an enforcement mechanism, spending goes up, not down.

2.)  The Republicans will not refuse to raise the debt limit and thus cause the nation to default. If House Speaker John Boehner did not let the government shut down over the 2011 continuing-resolution battle or the subsequent debt-limit fight, he won't let it close down now.

Portable sensor lets users monitor air pollution on their smartphone

The CitiSense sensor provides smartphone users with real-time air quality readings for their immediate environment

Rasmussen: Highest-ever Support for Reduced Government Spending

Nearly three out of every four voters want Washington to slash spending, according to a new Rasmussen Reports poll.

Overall 73 percent of likely voters believe the federal government should cut its spending rather than increase it, the survey reported.

Religious schools claim 'major victory' after ruling on contraception mandate

Two religious-affiliated colleges claimed a "major victory" Tuesday after a federal appeals court ordered the Obama administration to verify that it is revising the so-called contraception mandate in ObamaCare.

Renewable Power Generation - 2011 figures

Part one: how much renewable electricity capacity was installed worldwide at the end of 2011, and which technologies were the most popular?

Part two: Hydropower falls behind wind and biomass as growth dips

Part three: Wind market still on the up and dominated by China

Report of Solar Geophysical Activity

Solar Activity Forecast: Solar activity is likely to be at low levels on days one, two, and three (21 Dec, 22 Dec, 23 Dec).  The geomagnetic
field has been at quiet to unsettled levels for the past 24 hours.

Report: Massive Cyberattack on US Banks Planned

Criminals intent on stealing millions of dollars from consumer bank accounts plan to unleash a massive cyberattack on major U.S. banks, security firm McAfee warns in a new report.

Russell solar panels switched on

Solar panels that will take care of most of the town government's electrical needs are lighting up.

"We're turning from a consumer of power to a producer of power," town Supervisor Robert C. Best Jr. said. "We're not going to make a lot of money, but it's good for the environment."

Solar: A High-Yield, Low-Risk Financial Instrument for Your Investment Portfolio

Recent talk about the upcoming fiscal cliff has caused many investors to reflect upon the real long-term threats to their own portfolios. It occurred to me that there are some striking similarities between the current rate of return on a solar investment and the rate of return one would have earned on a bond investment during the high-interest-rate era of the late 80s. Many people are dead set against bonds right now and for good reason — the fact is that bonds, or any interest-bearing vehicles for that matter (especially ones that are guaranteed like U.S. Treasury Bonds, the most secure bonds in the world), are just not paying anything. This certainly was not always the case.

Study Proclaims the Arrival of Peak Farmland

Peak Farmland is a term used to indicate that the amount of land needed to grow crops worldwide is at a peak, meaning, no new farmland will have to be created. A group of experts has even said that an existing area of farmland more than twice the size of France will be able to return to its natural state by the year 2060. The area is also equivalent to all the arable land now in use in China. This is due to rising yields and slower population growth. Their report conflicts with a United Nations study which states that more cropland will be needed to stem hunger and avert price spikes as the global population pushes past 7 billion.

Sure, Asia sends US Priuses, but there’s a new US export to Asia: gasoline

Such movement “rarely makes sense,” said consultant Andy Lipow of Lipow Oil Associates. But he noted the US refining industry is using a record amount of its capacity for this time of year, especially in the Midwest and US Gulf Coast, and needs to send the excess somewhere. US Energy Information Administration data released Wednesday put the US-wide refinery run rate at 91.5%, but a peak 96.5% for the Gulf Coast and 95.9% for the Midwest. The US West Coast was only at 79.8%, but had above-average stocks of 32.64 million barrels.

Syrian Rebels Demand $700,000 for Russian, Italian Hostages

According to Kommersant, the hostages were abducted by one of the Syrian opposition groups.

The End of the Green Revolution

Green Revolution refers to a series of research, development, and technology transfer initiatives, occurring between the 1940s and the late 1970s, that increased agriculture production around the world, beginning most markedly in the late 1960s. It forms a part of the neo-colonial system of agriculture wherein agriculture was viewed more of a commercial sector than a subsistence one. The Green Revolution has since stagnated for key food crops in many regions of the world, according to a study published in the Dec. 18 issue of Nature Communications by scientists with the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment and McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

The Salinity Fingerprint

Salinity is the saltiness or dissolved salt content (such as sodium chloride, magnesium and calcium sulfates, and bicarbonates) of a body of water. Salinity is an ecological factor of considerable importance, influencing the types of organisms that live in a body of water. As well, salinity influences the kinds of plants that will grow either in a water body, or on land fed by a water (or by a groundwater). For ages salinity was mostly affected by slow geologic type processes. The ocean's salinity field is driven primarily by evaporation, precipitation, and river discharge, all key elements of the Earth's hydrological cycle. Observations show the salinity field has been changing in recent decades but more rapidly than expected and by mad made effects.

Third community solar garden blossoms in the Springs

Clean Energy Collective opened the first phase of a nine-acre solar garden Tuesday that will be capable of producing 500 kilowatts of power when operating at capacity, said company founder Paul Spencer. That is enough electricity to power 100 homes. The 2,210 solar panel garden is south of the Stratmoor Valley subdivision off Interstate 25 near South Academy Boulevard.

Tokyo rally seeks to keep alive quest to end nuclear power

With energy policy turning into one of the focal points of Sunday's Lower House election, more than 1,000 people opposed to atomic power staged a march in Tokyo on the eve of the poll to demand a nuclear-free society.

UBS Admits Fraud in $1.5 Billion Libor Rigging Deal

Swiss bank UBS agreed to a $1.5 billion fine on Wednesday after admitting to fraud and bribery in a deepening scandal over the rigging of global benchmark interest rates.

U.S. Consumer Developing a Taste for Ever-falling Mortgage Rates

US home buyers have come to expect constantly declining mortgage rates. After all, any recent increases in mortgage rates have been fleeting - just waiting a month or two would generally result in a lower rate. That expectation of cheaper mortgages has resulted in higher sensitivity to rate fluctuations. And now that the 30-year rate has stopped declining, some buyers are sitting back and waiting for the rate to go lower.

US Corporate Credit Market Looking Extraordinarily Rich

One of the "side effects" of the Fed's monetary expansion is all the capital flowing into spread products, particularly corporate credit. Corporate bond yields are hitting record lows across the ratings spectrum. An average junk bond in the Merrill HY index now yields some 6.3%.

U.S. Existing Home Sales Rise in November

Existing home sales in the US rose by 5.9% to 5.04 million annualized units in November 2012 from the revised 4.76 million (previously was 4.79 million) reported in October. Market expectations had been for sales to rise to 4.90 million in November.

US government prepares to sell General Motors stock

"The U.S. government's short stint in the auto business is coming to an end. The Treasury Department said Wednesday that it will sell its remaining stake in General Motors by early 2014, writing the final chapter of a $50 billion bailout that saved the auto giant but stoked a heated national debate about the government's role in private industry."

U.S. Mortgage Rates Mixed, 30-Year Fixed Averages 3.37 Percent

Freddie Mac (OTC: FMCC) yesterday released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing fixed mortgage rates mixed following data reports on inflation and the housing construction market. The 30-year fixed moved up averaging 3.37 percent, while the 15-year fixed eased to 2.65 percent, both remaining near their record lows.

"What To Do About Murder…"

The fact of the matter is that more laws and more control don’t equal more safety and security. If you need proof, just look at Chicago...

It might be a cliche amongst gun owners, but arguing that guns cause murders is very much like arguing that spoons make people fat, or cars make drunk driving possible

Winter storm bears down on Midwest after dumping snow on Rockies

The first major winter storm of the season, which started Tuesday in the Rocky mountains, could dump more than a foot of snow in some areas of the central Plains late Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.

"It has evolved into a full-fledged blizzard around the Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas border area..." said Alex Sosnowski, meteorologist for "It's a pretty nasty storm."


December 18, 2012


Arctic Hurricanes and Climate

Climate scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and in England report the first conclusive evidence that Arctic hurricanes, also known as polar lows, play a significant role in driving ocean water circulation and climate.

Though it seems like an oxymoron, Arctic hurricanes happen, complete with a central "eye," extreme low barometric pressure and towering 30-foot waves that can sink small ships and coat metal platforms with thick ice, threatening oil and gas exploration.

Bernanke: Fiscal Cliff Already Hurting Economy

The U.S. economy is already being hurt by the "fiscal cliff" standoff in Washington, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday. But Bernanke said the Fed believes the crisis will be resolved without significant long-term damage.

Canada Leaves Kyoto Protocol, Lets China Buy Into Oil Sands

Canada’s withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol took legal effect on Saturday, December 15. Canada is the only nation out of more than 180 to legally exit the treaty that governs greenhouse gas emissions.

CEOs See Continued Uncertainty for U.S. Economy

The results of Business Roundtable’s (BRT) fourth quarter 2012 CEO Economic Outlook Survey show CEOs’ expectations are largely unchanged, with a slight decline in expectations for sales and capital spending and a slight rise in expectations for hiring. This follows a significant drop in expectations in the third quarter of 2012.

“CEOs anticipate continued slow overall economic growth for the next six months and have slightly lower expectations for sales and capital expenditures”

CERN Cloud

Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets or the CLOUD is an experimental facility being run at CERN by Jasper Kirkby to investigate the microphysics between galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) and aerosols under controlled conditions. The experiment began operation in November 2009. But there are other important experiments taking place at CERN, including research designed to help resolve one of the biggest uncertainties of climate change — how clouds form and what role they play in regulating Earth’s temperature.

EPA Sets Stricter Clean Air Standard for Soot

Under a court order, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today finalized an update to its national air quality standards for harmful fine particle pollution (PM2.5), including soot.

First Dutch sustainable 'green gas' station opens in Port of Amsterdam

Never before has green gas been produced on such a scale. And, with the opening of the green gas station a sustainable cycle has become full circle. From garbage collection all over town to filling up a tank at Orangegas' green gas station.

GPS and radio telescopes can detect and locate rogue nuclear tests

Given that rogue nuclear tests are always conducted underground, the search for them has focused on efforts to refine the identification of characteristic seismic signatures. Now, researchers at Ohio State University (OSU) have discovered new detection methods in unlikely places – the rejected noise in GPS measurements and radio astronomy.

Greener planet is goal for 3 startups

If the glut of companies billing themselves as "solutions" providers is any indication, the world has no shortage of problems.

Gun Expert Lott: Let Teachers Carry Arms, Ban Gun-Free Zones to Halt Mass Shootings

Banning gun-free zones and allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons could help eliminate mass shootings at schools, John R. Lott, one of the nation's leading gun experts, tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview Saturday.

Human link to climate change stronger than ever: draft report

International climate scientists are more certain than ever that humans are responsible for global warming, rising sea levels and extreme weather events, according to a leaked draft report by an influential panel of experts.

The early draft, which is still subject to change before a final version is released in late 2013, showed that a rise in global average temperatures since pre-industrial times was set to exceed 2 degrees Celsius by 2100, and may reach 4.8 Celsius.

Idle No More: Indigenous Brothers and Sisters Taking the Initiative for a Better Tomorrow

Idle No More is a cry for justice that has spread across Canada, flowing into the United States and other global countries.  This age old resistance began centuries ago as Indigenous nations and their lands, suffered the impacts of exploration, invasion and colonization.

Japanese operator in most frank admission over nuclear disaster

The operator of a Japanese nuclear power plant that blew up after a tsunami last year said on Friday its lack of safety and bad habits were behind the world's worst nuclear accident in 25 years, its most forthright admission of culpability.

Leaked UN Report Predicts ‘Irreversible’ Climate Change

A leaked early draft of the UN’s latest climate change study shows human activities to be responsible for climate warming that will take centuries to reverse, even if greenhouse gas emissions were to stop right now.

Message From The Editor of Off-Grid News

There are a lot of things that helped make America into a great nation. Although many of these ideals have been forgotten or even consciously tossed to the side, it does not change the fact that they were the foundation that this country was built on. Our Christian values provided a moral compass for nearly two centuries, and our persistence and hard work allowed us to conquer any obstacles in our path. But today I want to take a look at the ingenuity of the American people.

Montana governor: Oil and gas boom could fund clean energy

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, who been an advocate of the recent oil and gas boom that could upend U.S. energy policy, says he will keep spreading his message when he leaves office.

Schweitzer, whose tenure as governor will end next month due to state term limits, said the wave of drilling across his state could be a model of how to eliminate the nation's dependence on foreign fuel - if lawmakers would just get out of the way.

New Lethal Bird Flu Strain Emerges in Indonesian Ducks

Indonesia has identified the bird flu virus that has killed hundreds of thousands of ducks over the past few weeks as a virulent type which is new to the country.

Newtown massacre was 18th mass murder event in 2012

The slaughter of 20 children and numerous teachers and other adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary was horrifying beyond belief — yet what makes it worse is that it isn’t an isolated incident...

Why is all this happening? In large part because we are engaged in moral and spiritual disarmament.

Patriot missiles a warning to Syria's al-Assad

The United States and Germany are sending Patriot missiles and troops to the Turkish border, a warning to Syria's besieged President Bashar al-Assad.

The surface-to-air interceptors would be "dealing with threats that come out of Syria," said U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Threats would include Syrian strikes inside Turkey and fighting between the government and rebels that extends into Turkey.

Post-Sandy, ConEd Evaluates Undergrounding Entire Distribution Network

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Consolidated Edison (NYSE:ED) (ConEd) is evaluating whether to underground the entirety of its distribution network, an undertaking that would cost $40bn.

'Primal Diet': Eat Like Our Ancestors to Lose Weight, Be Healthier

Gedgaudas, a certified nutritional therapist and neurofeedback specialist, says that a high-fat, moderate-protein, starch-free diet – along with nuts, seeds and seafood – helped Paleolithic man develop the physical makeup we still have today. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors didn’t have the carbohydrates, particularly grains and legumes, and processed foods that are today’s diet staples. Today, as we become more dependent on that starch-heavy diet, our bodies as well as our minds are becoming less healthy.

Reaganomics Devastated the Economy

When corporate tax rates are lower than individual tax rates, investment as a percentage of income will rise. This will enable productive and sustainable business development, thereby enhancing economic growth for society — one that benefits the poor, the middle class and even the upper class, since more consumers will be available to purchase products.

Report of Solar Geophysical Activity

slight chance for M-class flares on days one, two, and three (18 Dec, 19 Dec, 20 Dec).  The geomagnetic field is expected to be at quiet to active levels on day one (18 Dec) and a return to predominantly quiet levels for days two and three (19 Dec and 20 Dec).

Revealed: What the Beef Industry Pumps Into Your Dinner

A common industry practice puts consumers at higher risks for eating food contaminated by deadly pathogens -- and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Simple Test Predicts How Long You’ll Live

If you're middle-aged or older, how easily you can sit on the floor and then rise is a strong indication of how long you will live, finds a new study.

The sitting-rising test reveals a person's level of musculoskeletal fitness, explained Dr. Claudio Gil Araujo and colleagues at the Clinimex Exercise Medicine Clinic in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The Morning Brief - Lignet

Nigeria and US Reluctant to Label Boko Haram a Terrorist Group

Little Azerbaijan Poses a Major Challenge to Iran

Malaysia: An Emerging Market Success Story?

Tensions Rise as China Makes Bold Moves in Disputed Territories

Tokyo rally seeks to keep alive quest to end nuclear power

With energy policy turning into one of the focal points of Sunday's Lower House election, more than 1,000 people opposed to atomic power staged a march in Tokyo on the eve of the poll to demand a nuclear-free society.

"Japan will face a crossroads tomorrow," Yuko Tanaka, a professor at Hosei University, told a crowd of hundreds who gathered in Hibiya Park, Chiyoda Ward, on Saturday ahead of the march.

Two Fed Officials Speak Out Against the Latest FOMC Policy Decision

We are seeing some dissent among the Fed officials with respect to last week's decision.

Udall: Wind energy tax credit crucial to state

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., said he plans to demand an extension of the wind energy production tax credit on the Senate floor Thursday, a tax credit he feels has been instrumental in creating jobs in New Mexico.

On his weekly radio call, Udall pleaded his case for the extension of the tax credit in an attempt to save it before it expires at the end of the year.

USDA investing in bioenergy

The USDA will invest $10 million in research grants to drive production of bioenergy and bio-based products.

The research is intended to lead to the development of sustainable regional systems and jobs. Further, producing clean energy in the U.S. will loosen dependence on foreign oil and give rural communities the injection they need to boost their economies.

Will wind tax credit blow away?

Right now, those winds seem to be blowing in the wrong direction for the projects. With the U.S. Senate and House struggling to strike a deal to avoid a fiscal cliff of automatic spending cuts and tax increases, chances worsen for extending a federal renewable energy production tax credit that expires Dec. 31.

World’s Largest Companies Embracing Clean Energy

A majority of the world’s largest companies are not waiting for governments to mandate renewable energy and lower greenhouse gas emissions, they are taking it upon themselves to act first. A new report from investment and conservation organizations shows that more than half of the Fortune 100 and more than two-thirds of the Global 100 have set carbon emissions reduction commitments, renewable energy commitments or both.


December 14, 2012


2013 CFO Outlook: Investing in Growth, Looking to Expand

With an eye toward seizing opportunities in 2013, a majority of senior finance executives in the U.S. plan to invest in their companies to drive growth and expect to achieve higher revenues and profits next year.

2013 Macro US Outlook: Economy Poised for Growth

Moody’s Analytics released Chief Economist Mark Zandi’s US economic outlook for 2013. According to “U.S. Macro Outlook 2013: Poised for Liftoff,” fiscal policy will continue to drag on US growth in 2013, but the economy should gain traction by the second half of year, powered by a reviving private sector.

Bank of England Chief: Currency Wars Heating Up

The head of the Bank of England warned on Monday that too many countries were trying to weaken their currencies to offset the impact of the slow global economy and the trend could grow next year.

Bank Reserves Still Down on the Year; Should Ramp Up Shortly

Some MBS settlements have now been reflected on the Fed's balance sheet, as agency paper holdings increase.

Bank reserves are also gradually moving up, though still down for the year. So far the growth in reserves has been underwhelming.

Bernanke: Fed Can't Offset Fiscal Cliff—'It Is Just Too Big'

There are limits to how much aid the Federal Reserve can provide to the U.S. economy, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke warned on Wednesday as he urged politicians to tackle a year-end fiscal cliff that could derail the country's gradual recovery.

California could surpass renewable energy goals, PUC president says

California is poised to meet its renewable energy target in the next eight years with a "comfortable margin" to spare as regulators work to promote projects that also help increase "green" jobs in the state.

CFOs See Stability in U.S. Economy Despite "Fiscal Cliff" Threat

Nearly 70 percent of chief financial officers of US companies believe the US economy will either improve or remain stable during the next six months, according to the 2012 Fall CFO Survey from Grant Thornton LLP. The survey findings reveal that 39 percent of respondents believe the state of the US economy will remain the same in the first half of 2013, while 30 percent believe it will improve. Of those surveyed, 31 percent said it will worsen, which is an increase of ten percentage points from the firm’s 2012 Summer CFO Survey findings.

Clean technology nearing edge of fiscal cliff

New research from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) finds that if federal investment in clean technology returns to 2009 levels, 2013 job gains would almost equal those from canceling the $54 billion cut to defense spending scheduled for 2013 under the Budget Control Act.

Codex Committee: “You Can’t Tell People that Food Prevents Disease!”

Here in the US, we have been debating various issues concerning natural health: Will we retain access to a wide variety of dietary supplements in high-nutrient-level dosages? Will we be able to access nutritious, healthy foods, or will selection and quality diminish because of industry or government control? Will we finally achieve mandatory labeling for GMOs? We naturally think that, if we are able to convince our policymakers, our rights will be protected. But we could be wrong. We have to keep a close eye on what happens overseas too.

Daily Aspirin: It’s Crucial You Take the Right Kind

If you take daily aspirin for heart health – as 20 percent of Americans do – it’s crucial that you take the right kind, says a top cardiologist.

Drought expands in many farm states

Drought continued to expand through many key farming states within the central United States in the past week, as scattered rainfall failed to replenish parched soils, according to a report issued Thursday by state and federal climatology experts.

European gas markets have lost 10 years of growth: Stern

European gas markets have lost over 10 years of growth, with demand back to the levels of the 1990s, Professor Jonathan Stern of the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies told the UK House of Lords EU energy subcommittee Wednesday.

Fed Links Rate Hike to 6.5% Unemployment, Pumps More Money Into Economy

In an unprecedented step, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday it would hold interest rates near zero until it hit the specific target of a 6.5 percent U.S. jobless rate, and it pledged to keep pumping more money into the economy.

Fed Policy Means Treasury Issues ‘Free’ Debt

The central bank said Wednesday it will buy $45 billion a month of Treasury securities starting in January, expanding its asset-purchase program, and for the first time linked the outlook for its main interest rate to unemployment and inflation targets. The purchases will add to the $40 billion a month it is buying of mortgage debt.

“What really happens, and this is critically important, is that the Treasury issues bonds and the Fed buys them and then it remits interest to the Treasury,” Gross, who runs the $285 billion Total Return Fund, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television with Betty Liu. “It means the Treasury is issuing debt for free. There are complications. Inflation is one of the complications.”

Get Ready, Utilities: Solar is Coming

Quick question.  Your state has good sunshine, lots of open rooftops, and the cost of solar energy has been falling by 10% per year.  Do you think it will take 13 years to double the 10 megawatts (MW) of installed solar power?

Government Spying Out of Control

The constitutional standard for all search warrants is probable cause of crime. FISA, however, established a new, different and lesser standard – thus unconstitutional on its face since Congress is bound by, and cannot change, the Constitution – of probable cause of status.

Greenlight® Environmental Series Targets Water; Provides Bacterial Load Testing Results In As Fast As 45 Minutes

Baseline-MOCON, Inc., a subsidiary of MOCON (NASDAQ: MOCO), launches a new fast, accurate and cost-effective way to measure live bacteria loads and improve disinfection efficiency for water environments.  For the first time, bacteria can be measured in as fast as 45 minutes vs. the 24-48 hours needed with traditional methods.

Homelessness for veterans fell, but rose for families.

A vigorous effort to house the homeless has been countered somewhat by a sluggish economy.

The federal government and local communities have greatly increased the number of beds available to the homeless over the last four years, either through emergency shelters or through government-subsidized apartments and houses. But the struggling economy contributed to the number of homeless people in the United States remaining stable between January 2011 and January 2012.

How much power does it take to keep the Internet running?

The amount of power required to keep the Internet up and running is an afterthought for most of us. Truth be told, most of us are more concerned with how much power’s left in our laptop, tablet, or smartphone than what it’s taking to power the website we want to visit.

Ibasei's Cappa provides hydroelectricity on a small scale

The Cappa compact hydropower generator can deliver 250 W of electricity

Despite being the most widely used form of renewable energy worldwide, hydroelectricity is generally reserved for large-scale commercial installations built around massive dams..

India to review Iran crude import dependence in the new year - minister

India will take up for review its dependence on Iranian crude oil in the new year, India's foreign minister Salman Khurshid said Thursday, Press Trust of India reported.

Innovative NRDC Plan Featuring Federal-State Partnership Saves Americans More Than $25B In Climate And Health Costs While Unleashing Billions In Clean Energy Investments

Experts at the Natural Resources Defense Council today unveiled a groundbreaking proposal to sharply cut carbon pollution from America's power plants, featuring a unique federal-state partnership and flexibility for plant owners that will hold down costs and improve Americans' health.

International renewables to grow dramatically by 2020

Renewable energy in emerging countries is expected to increase significantly by 2020, according to GlobalData.

This projection is based on the rapidly expanding economies of China and India. According to the research, India, Mexico, China, South Africa, Russia, Brazil and Indonesia will more than triple their combined installed renewable energy capacity...

Japan Officially in Recession; USD/JPY Testing Resistance Level

Japan's second quarter GDP was revised from +0.1% to -0.1%. This barely makes a difference to Japan's overall economic situation, other than the fact that it puts it officially in recession (two consecutive quarters of declining GDP).

Japan Scrambles Jets in Islands Dispute With China

A Chinese military surveillance plane entered what Japan considers its airspace near disputed islands on Thursday, the Japanese Defense Ministry said, an escalation in an already tense standoff over the territory. Japan scrambled fighter jets in response, but the Chinese plane left before they arrived, according to Japanese authorities.

Kotlikoff: We’re Suffering from ‘Hysterical Economy’

“You’re an employer. Every day you hear ‘the economy’s going over a fiscal cliff. Tax hikes and spending cuts will kill the economy,’” he writes on

That fear makes companies start firing their workers. Other firms see less demand as a result, and they start doing the same thing, Kotlikoff says.

Lawmakers to push tax code change for renewable energy in 2013

A group of U.S. lawmakers said on Wednesday that they plan to push ahead in the new year to change the tax code so renewable energy projects could qualify for beneficial tax structures commonly used by pipelines and other energy-related companies.

Lockheed CEO: Ending Fiscal Uncertainty Would Lift Economy

The United States is poised for strong economic growth if political leaders can just move the nation beyond the current "debilitating" budget uncertainty, the chief executive and chairman of Lockheed Martin Corp said on Thursday.

New Discoveries of Van Allen Belt and Earth's Magnetic Field

"We expected to see a fairly placid radiation belt system," Baker reports. "Instead, we see that the belts have been extraordinarily active and dynamic during the first few weeks. We're looking in the right places at the right times." The twin probes, built and managed for NASA by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., contain identical sets of five instrument suites. These suites have confirmed previous hypotheses about the belts' behavior, while also revealing that the belts are a far more dynamic and changing environment than previously thought.

NYMEX oil complex settles higher on US Fed pledge to stimulate economy

NYMEX January crude futures settled 98 cents higher at $86.77/barrel Wednesday, as the entire oil complex received a boost from the US Federal Reserve's move to continue its quantitative easing program to stimulate the economy.

January heating oil settled 3.98 cents higher at $2.9668/gal and January RBOB settled 3.6 cents higher at $2.6465/gal.

Online Sellers Object to Sales Tax Proposals - Survey

Online sellers are strongly opposed to any proposal that would provide for a nationwide sales-tax collection requirement, with an overwhelming majority saying that such a mandate would hurt their business, according to a new survey conducted by EcommerceBytes.

OPEC agrees to keep current oil output, secretary general

OPEC ministers meeting in Vienna on December 12 agreed to maintain their current combined 30 million b/d crude output ceiling into 2013 and temporarily solved the politically difficult problem of choosing a new secretary general by extending Abdalla el-Badri's tenure for one year

Order 1000 leaves some transmission problems unsolved

It seems the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) Order 1000 has caused the energy industry nothing but headaches since its July 2011 introduction. The challenges within Order 1000 have created a significant ripple effect throughout the transmission industry, stretching from planning to rate setting to construction and maintenance.

Plant root used to create eco-friendly lithium-ion battery

Researchers have found an eco-friendly alternative to the metal ores currently favored in the electrodes of lithium-ion batteries. The new non-toxic and sustainable battery uses purpurin, a red/yellow dye extracted from the root of the madder plant that has been used for dying cloth for at least 3,500 years – meaning the substance can simply be grown rather than mined.

Precious Metals Hit by the Evans' Rule

The Fed will be undertaking an even more aggressive expansionary policy than originally announced in September. Balance sheet will expand dramatically and so will the reserves and the monetary base. Treasuries sold off again today with higher inflation expectations

Renewable energy is reliable, new study claims

Although critics of renewable energy may claim that it isn't reliable enough to power a grid, a new study gives proponents of clean power – such as wind and solar – fresh ammunition to respond. A thorough analysis carried out by the University of Delaware and Delaware Technical Community College concluded that renewable energy could reliably power a large electrical grid 99.9 per cent of the time by 2030, at a cost that matches today’s electricity prices.

Report: Residential Solar PV Installations Hit All-Time High in Q3 of 2012

Residential installations of solar PV hit a record high in the third quarter of 2012, according to a new report published by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). The US Solar Market Insight: Third Quarter 2012 reports that more than 118 MW of solar PV capacity was added to the United States residential sector in Q3, a growth of 12 percent since last quarter and the strongest showing ever in a single quarter.

Report of Solar Geophysical Activity

Solar activity is likely to be low on days one, two, and three (14 Dec, 15 Dec, 16 Dec). The geomagnetic field is expected to be at quiet levels for days one and two (14 Dec, 15 Dec).  Quiet to unsettled levels are expected for day three (16 Dec).

Smart City San Diego launches solar canopy project

The San Diego Zoo, part of Smart City San Diego, is among one of the first to implement a solar-to-EV project where 10 canopies provide 90 kW to charge electric vehicles.

Solar needs cost reductions

The solar industry needs cost reductions in order to overcome diminished subsidies and regain profitability, and these reductions could be closer than we think, according to Lux Research.

Studies reveal that SUGAR is just as addictive as drugs and alcohol and could be the reason for your weight problems

SUGAR has also been found to be behind the underlying cause of many serious health issues

Study: 39 Percent of Fish Routinely Mislabeled

Nearly three in five New York City grocery stores and restaurants that sell seafood have mislabeled part of their stock, substituting varieties that could cause health problems, according to a new study.

Some 39 percent of the fish obtained for the study by the ocean conservation group Oceana was inaccurately identified, Oceana said. Sometimes cheap fish is substituted for more expensive varieties or plentiful species for scarce ones.

Study: Colorado River Water Supply Slowly Falling Short of Users

The Colorado River – which is the lifeblood to 40 million people and no less than 22 tribes – stands to fall at least 3.2 million acre-feet short of its users’ needs by 2060. And even the most ambitious water-saving strategies won’t fully ease the strain.

Suomi satellite shows Earth in black

The trick here is its special day-night band. Where a camera captures a whole picture in one exposure, the day-night band produces an image repeatedly by scanning a scene and resolving it as millions upon millions of individual pixels. After that, the system reviews the amount of light in each pixel and, if it’s very bright, a low-gain mode prevents the pixel from being over-saturated. If, on the other hand, the pixel is very dark, the signal gets amplified.

Texas Judge Halts Keystone XL Pipeline Construction

Texas landowner Michael Bishop, 64, an analytical chemist and former U.S. Marine, has been granted a temporary restraining order that halts construction of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline across his land while a judge considers Bishop’s charges of fraud against the company.

The End Of The Free Internet?

Until now, the work of the UN negotiators who are pondering how to regulate the Internet has been shrouded in secrecy.  But as 1,950 delegates from 193 countries gather this week in Dubai to consider 900 proposals to regulate the Internet, their game is becoming clear.

The Fed Targets $45 Billion in Treasury Purchases a Month; Why then did Treasuries Sell Off?

The Fed has announced that in addition to the $40 billion of monthly MBS purchases, it will also commence $45 billion in treasury purchases. This unprecedented open-ended program will swell bank reserves and ratchet up the monetary base.

The Internet transcends borders, at least for a while longer

Summary: Make no mistake, the forces of darkness will be back. We The Internet will be waiting for them. This is our playing field, our rules. Our Internet.

The Morning Brief - Lignet

North Korean Missile Launch Could be US Intelligence Failure

US Gives Blackwater Another Chance in Afghanistan

Italy: Monti Could Return As Prime Minister

Syria: The End of the Assad Regime is in Sight

Shifting Leftward, Romania Heeds the Call of a New Generation

Russia: Increasing Espionage to Steal Naval Secrets

Losing Out in Europe, Gazprom Turns to Asia

Venezuela: Infighting Likely As Chavez's Health Worsens

This is what we're up against

As Hurricane Sandy was wreaking havoc on the East Coast, commentators on Fox News repeatedly claimed that the storm had "nothing to do with climate change."

Hurricane Sandy's impact was undeniably worse because of rising sea levels caused by global warming—but because our opponents are desperate to keep science out of our political discourse, they tried to hide this fact from you and me. That's not just misleading. It's dangerous.

Triangulating The Fiscal Cliff

Obama's popularity and his party's political fortunes might not survive the fruits of his recent victory. If he cows the Republicans into giving him a tax increase on the upper brackets, he will lose the fig leaf he uses to disguise his true intentions. Until now, taxing the rich has been his answer to everything.

True emissions reductions require solid energy policy

According to new research from Germanwatch and the Climate Action Network Europe, which ranks the climate protection performance of the 58 highest emitters worldwide, the U.S. has seen emissions reductions, but these could be just smoke and mirrors.

Unleash Clean Power

The Union of Concerned Scientists has a practical plan to cut U.S. oil use in half over the next 20 years, which will save billions of dollars each year, dramatically cut global warming emissions, and ease many other serious problems, including oil spills, the high cost of oil and gas price spikes, and health threats from air pollution that have become the all-too-familiar face of oil.

U.S. announces will not sign ITU treaty, period

Summary: The U.S. has just announced that, "U.S. cannot sign revised telecommunications regulations in their current form."

U.S. Federal Reserve

Summary of Economic Projections shows mild downward revisions to the ranges.
The overview of Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) participants’ assessments of appropriate monetary policy shows majority expect policy firming in 2015.

U.S. misses Top 50 in Global Energy Architecture rankings

The research reveals that high-income countries have proven best at managing the transition to a new energy architecture based on strong energy policy coupled with multiple energy resources that delivers inexpensive, plentiful and relatively clean power, and generated large national revenues.

Who will lead for Obama on carbon and clean energy policy?

As a stalemated Congress shies away from taking serious action on climate change, environmentalists are focusing on potential Cabinet openings at the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy that could further their efforts.

Why a potential role for the US as oil production king needs an asterisk

The peak oil folks have been saying it for years, but now a Wall Street house is sending out a caution flag as well.

One of the arguments long made by followers of peak oil is that organizations such as the International Energy Agency count crude and natural gas liquids equally.So the world market of 89 million b/d of liquids contains mostly energy-intensive versatile hydrocarbons such as crude oil–versatile in the sense that they can be processed to make products that do everything from propelling cars to making carbon black–and a lesser amount of NGLs with a far more limited use.

Why I Do Not Recommend Pork - Nearly 70 Percent Contaminated with Dangerous Pathogens

According to Consumer Reports, 69 percent of all raw pork samples tested were contaminated with the dangerous bacteria Yersinia enterocolitica, which can cause fever and gastrointestinal illness. Ground pork was more likely than pork chops to be contaminated

Wind Energy Deal Wending Way Through Congress

With the 2012 coming to a close and 2013 about to emerge, Washington is full of prognosticators. In the energy world, questions abound. But perhaps none have generated as much controversy as the production tax credit given to wind, which expires at year-end.

Wind Energy Lobby Willing to Phase Out Tax Credit

In an unusual move a trade group, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), said it is willing to accept a gradual phase-out of a major tax incentive.


December 11, 2012


7.1 Mwb - BANDA SEA

Administration Moves Forward On Gun Control

As soon as the election returns were in, the United States voted to reopen negotiations on the Small Arms Treaty from which it had backed off in the summer of 2012.  Now the Treaty is slated for signature in March of 2013.

Aides: Boehner, Obama Talks Ramping Up, Are 'More Serious'

Talks between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner on a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff have turned more “serious,” aides said on Monday — but each side wants the other to be more specific about tax revenues and entitlement cuts.

Alternative Energy Attractiveness Indices

New markets have ricocheted across the renewables sector, injecting some much-needed optimism and competition into an industry that remains scarred by the enduring legacy of the financial crisis.

Emerging markets are already learning from their predecessors’ mistakes, with many opting for capacity tenders in favor of financial incentives.

Anti-fracking to reach fever pitch

The anti-fracking (hydraulic fracturing) movement has gone global. From the U.S. to the EU, protests are increasing in momentum. Hydraulic fracturing has existed for decades, with much success in some instances, but protestors have managed to succeed with moratoriums, delays, suspensions and bans on further drilling -- in just two years.

Astronomers find infant solar system in our stellar neighborhood

The Sun is a bit over 4.5 billion years old, leading many to think of all stars as billions of years in age. Astronomers have now demonstrated that isn't always the case.

December 2012 U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook

Look for long-term mortgage rates to remain near their record lows for the first half of 2013, then rising gradually during the second half of the year, but remaining below 4 percent.

Despair after climate conference, but U.N. still offers hope

At the end of another lavishly-funded U.N. conference that yielded no progress on curbing greenhouse emissions, many of those most concerned about climate change are close to despair.

Dick Armey Blasts Losing GOP: They Said 'Stupid Things'

The Republican Party and stupid statements by some candidates are to blame for GOP losses in last month's congressional elections, the former leader of a tea party group said Monday.

EEI: When it comes to cybersecurity threats, 'This is not your parents' utility anymore'

Utilities recognize this is “a new world,” Batz said during TransmissionHub’s TransForum East in Arlington, Va., on Dec. 6. “This is not your parents’ utility anymore. There are new threats [and] new threat actors. Security is a marathon, except unlike a 26-mile marathon, I do not see an end in sight. It’s a marathon and we have to do [things] today to respond to today’s risks.”

Egypt's Morsi imposes martial law for referendum

Egypt's Islamist president has given the army temporary power to arrest civilians to help secure a constitutional referendum seen by the Muslim Brotherhood as a triumph for democracy and by its liberal foes as a religious straitjacket.

EIA Annual Energy Outlook: Growth in U.S. Energy Production Outstrips Consumption Growth

The Annual Energy Outlook 2013 (AEO2013) Reference case recently released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) presents updated projections for U.S. energy markets through 2040. These projections include only the effects of policies that have been implemented in law or final regulations.

EIA: Renewables will outpace fossil fuels

Recent research from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) presents findings showing how evolving consumer preferences, improved technology, and economic changes are pushing the nation toward more domestic energy production, greater vehicle efficiency, greater use of clean energy and reduced energy imports.

Expiring tax credit curtails renewable development

Wind power projects around the country are grinding to a halt due to uncertainty over the future of the production tax credit for such projects.

Fiscal cliff threatens boom in wind industry

Amid the fiscal cliff drama on Capitol Hill, there's a behind-the-scenes push to extend a lucrative tax credit that has helped propel the recent boom in the U.S. wind industry.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers aims to attach a one-year extension of the credit, slated to expire at the end of December, to a broad budget deal that would avert the fiscal cliff's tax increases and spending cuts. But what if Congress and President Obama can't reach an overall deal?

Fisheries Commission Ignores Advice for Ending Overfishing

A five-day meeting on fisheries ended last week (6 December) amid complaints that big fishing nations have blocked efforts to curb tuna overfishing and ignored scientific advice.

Food Allergies? Pesticides In Tap Water Might Be To Blame

Food allergies are on the rise, affecting 15 million Americans. And according to a new study published in the December issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), pesticides and tap water could be partially to blame.

Fossil-Fuel Subsidies of Rich Nations Five Times Climate Aid

Rich countries spend five times more on fossil-fuel subsidies than on aid to help developing nations cut their emissions and protect against the effects of climate change, the Oil Change International campaign group said.

Gingrich: Republicans Better Prepare for ‘Super Bowl’ in 2016

President Barack Obama “guarantees a permanent war” with Republicans by forcing the party’s hand on the issue of income-tax hikes on top earners, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Sunday.

“The president won,” Gingrich said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “The president has a very clear, simple position. He wants to prove he can dominate, and he proves he can dominate by getting the rates up, and he has a veto pen.”

GravityLight tackles weighty issue of lighting in the developing world

With most of us in the developed world more concerned about the flow of electricity to power our computers, TVs and all manner of other wonders of the modern age, it’s easy to forget the massive impact resulting from one of the first widespread public uses of electricity – the humble incandescent light bulb. With a large proportion of the world’s population still lacking reliable access to electricity, the GravityLight hopes to bring the benefits of environmentally friendly artificial light to the developing world

Groups gather against tax credit, area wind farms

An eclectic collection of organizations opposes the wind production tax credit.

Some, such as FreedomWorks and the National Taxpayers Union, disagree with the policy for mostly financial reasons, as it provides a 2.2-cent tax deduction for every kilowatt-hour of energy produced by wind companies. Others object mainly to how the credit helps grow an industry they feel destroys nature's beauty by placing windmills across the landscape.

Hydra's immortality gene sheds light on human aging

The tiny freshwater polyp Hydra is a remarkable creature. It does not show any signs of aging and appears to be immortal. Researchers from Kiel University have examined this phenomenon and uncovered an important link to the aging process in humans that could lead to the development of advanced rejuvenation therapies.

Israeli Researchers Use Rust To Store Solar Energy

Using the power of the sun and ultrathin films of iron oxide (commonly known as rust), researchers at the Technion, Israel's Institute of Technology, have found a novel way to split water molecules to hydrogen and oxygen. The breakthrough, published this week in the scientific journal Nature Materials, could lead to less expensive, more efficient ways to store solar energy in the form of hydrogen-based fuels. This could be a major step forward in the development of viable replacements for fossil fuels.

Key decisions at Doha talks on climate change

Following are major decisions by almost 200 nations at U.N. meeting on climate change in Doha, Qatar, November 26 to December 7:

Lesson From UK: Tax Hike on Wealthy Lowers Revenue

One side wants to rein in entitlements to deal with the budget deficit. The other side insists that any such moves be accompanied by higher taxes on the wealthy.

That may sound like the ongoing fiscal battle in Washington, but actually describes the situation in Britain.

The difference is that Britain has already raised taxes on the wealthy, with a telling result: The government actually lost revenue.

Lessons Learned in Water Management from U.S. Shale Gas Operations

Countries and operators that are embarking on the global development of shale gas resources can benefit from the United States’ experience in water management from shale gas operations, according to a new report from Accenture

Message From The Editor of Off-Grid News

Many times we feel that, in the grand scheme of things, we individually are insignificant little cogs who don't contribute much (if anything) to the universe at large. We get up in the morning, go through our day, come home, and go to bed each night.

Mich. Readies for Another Round of Right-to-Work Protests

Michigan police are bracing for another wave of demonstrations today and Tuesday in Lansing, where protests broke out last week related to right-to-work bills making their way through the legislature.

NASA's "new form of energy" makes oil and nuclear power obsolete

The National Aeronautics & Space Agency (NASA) revealed today that it is working on a "new form of energy" that can transmutes common materials to a "different element" and that can replace fossil fuels for use in homes, space and other transportation systems and infrastructure. A patent for the work was filed by NASA in October.

Nation's largest digester to open Dec. 14

The system is initially designed to convert 10,000 tons of waste per year; a planned January 2013 upgrade will boost that amount to 40,000 tons per year, making it the largest commercial high solids waste-to-energy system in the United States, according to the company.

Philippine shelters "washed away" as typhoon toll hits 379

Rescue workers searched on Thursday through thick mud, broken homes and fallen trees for survivors, two days after a typhoon swept the southern Philippines killing nearly 400 people and leaving at least as many missing.

Puzzling over the US mandate for a fuel that doesn’t exist yet

Someone sitting through oral arguments this morning at the DC Circuit without any knowledge of biofuels might come away asking: “So, you’re telling me the Environmental Protection Agency requires refiners to blend a certain type of fuel into gasoline, but that fuel doesn’t exist? And the only time someone made that fuel in the US, they exported it to Brazil?”

Yep and yep.

Report of Solar Geophysical Activity

There are currently 2 numbered sunspot regions on the disk. Two filament eruptions were observed off the southeast limb early in the period. Both events have associated CMEs; however neither event appears to be Earth directed.  he geomagnetic field is expected to be at quiet levels..

Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq vie for OPEC’s top job as Ecuador bows out

Ecuador has quietly withdrawn its candidacy for the post of OPEC secretary general, a decision apparently made some time back but not made public until December 4.

That leaves OPEC’s top three producers–Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran–fighting for the organization’s top administrative post...

Schiff: High Tax Rates Always Fail

As part of their argument for higher taxes on the wealthy, Democrats argue that the economy was doing swimmingly in the 1950s, when the top marginal rate was 91 percent.

But a look at the numbers shows that the wealthy weren’t actually paying more taxes then than they are now, says Peter Schiff, CEO of Euro Capital.

Senate Dems push climate change amendment

Senate Democrats are attempting to force a vote on climate change through an amendment to the defense authorization bill.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s (D-R.I.) amendment calls for the U.S. to “assess, plan for, and mitigate the security and strategic implications of climate change” out of concern for national security.

Senate passes amendment allowing biofuel refinery construction

The Senate passed an amendment to the defense bill Thursday that would strike the prohibition on biofuel refinery construction.

Shale Gas Exports: Economic Gains Up, Price Increases Minimal

Shale gas may not just be a boon to U.S. energy developers and their industrial users. It may also be desired by enterprises based in Asia and Europe -- something that is one-step closer to reality now that a report issued by the U.S. Department of Energy has given such exports a favorable review.

Strong quake hits off Japan near Fukushima

A strong quake centered off northeastern Japan shook buildings as far away as Tokyo on Friday and triggered a one-meter tsunami in an area devastated by last year's Fukushima disaster, but there were no reports of deaths or serious damage.

The quake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.3...

Study: Renewable energy can meet demand

Renewable energy has the potential to power a large electric grid fully 99.9 percent of the time economically by 2030, U.S. researchers say.

A study by the University of Delaware and Delaware Technical Community College suggest a well-designed combination of wind power, solar power and storage in batteries and fuel cells would nearly always exceed electricity demand at costs comparable to today's electricity expenses, a university release reported Monday.

The Morning Brief  :  Lignet

Venezuela: Chavez Probably Lied About His Cancer to Win Re-Election

India: Wary of China but Pakistan and Domestic Problems Hinder Strong Response

Algeria: A Natural Ally In The War On Terror

Former Ambassador: Greece is Not Financially Viable

The Morning Brief - Lignet

Iranian Nuclear Program Advances Despite New Diplomacy

Syria: Rebels Gain Strength with New Military Council

As a global forum to promote economic cooperation among the world’s biggest

Argentina: Chevron-YPF Deal in Trouble

The EV battery conundrum

What kind of developments will lead to EV batteries that are safer and deliver more energy?

The requirement for EV safety becomes a high-profile topic when a tragic event reaches the front pages. Attention focuses on the battery and high-voltage electrics of any EV involved in an accident or fire. Photographs of an electric vehicle burned to its frame rails and sitting on its wheel rims is a magnet for horror-inducing headlines. Reactions range from, “Why are we wasting money on these death traps,” to, “Accidents can happen,” and, “We’re working to eliminate them completely.”

They're here already: Second generation LED bulbs

You know technology is maturing when you start to see second and third-generation products. That might well be the case for LED bulbs.

UK banks hit by record $2.5B U.S. fines

HSBC and Standard Chartered, the two biggest UK banks by market value, are to pay more than $2.5bn in fines as part of record settlements with US authorities over money laundering allegations.

Uncontacted Tribes in Peru at Risk

Peru is set to embark on a major expansion of gas operations in the Camisea region in the Amazon - a move which could decimate Indigenous peoples, both those in 'voluntary isolation' and others in the early stages of contact. 

US Birth Rate Falls to Record Low

The birth rate in the United States dropped to the lowest level ever recorded last year, led by a significant plunge in births to foreign-born women.

The overall birth rate in 2011 was 63.2 per 1,000 women of prime childbearing age, 15 to 44 years. That is the lowest rate since at least 1920, the earliest year for which there are reliable numbers, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center.

U.S. Mulls Financial Details Embedded in Global Climate Change Talks

Global climate change talks are now underway in Doha, Qatar and are focusing on crafting solutions to issues presented in earlier meetings. The 194 nations now present are discussing an array of thorny matters that most notably include the ways and means by which the developed world will assist those less developed.

U.S. November Payroll Employment Stronger Than Expected

November 2012 non-farm payroll employment rose by a greater than expected 146,000 following gains of 138,000 and 132,000 in October and September, respectively.

U.S. selling its remaining stake in AIG

The Treasury Department's stock offering would generate about $7.8 billion in gains based on Monday's $33.36 closing price of AIG shares...

"The fact that the United States government had to put forward $180 billion and had to remain a significant investor in a financial institution the size of AIG speaks to the depths and nature of the crisis we faced four years ago and its long aftershocks," Angelides said.

Winds of change? Industry's economic impact threatened by credit lapse

There is a rallying cry for the wind industry: "20 percent by 2030."

It is a reference to the goal of having one-fifth of the United States' power produced by windmills within the next 18 years. The goal was set after former President George W. Bush made a comment about America's need to diversify its energy portfolio during his second term.

Approximately 3 percent of the nation's electricity currently comes from turbines. Building that capacity and aiming for the long-term goal has made a large economic impact.

Would Efforts Backfire to Repeal Renewable Portfolio Standards?

President Obama’s re-election is having little effect on efforts to roll back state laws mandating the use of green energy. The Heartland Institute is now teaming with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to try and repeal those standards, arguing that they are increasing the cost of electricity.

Yale team on cutting edge with micro fuel cells

Our bright, shiny technology future is getting a bright, shiny new fuel cell to go with it.

Yale University engineers have developed a process to create micro fuel cells made of glass. The tiny gizmos hold the potential for durable, less expensive energy sources in an array of consumer products.


December 7, 2012



Analysis Of Independent Studies Finds Consensus On Gross CO2 Emissions From Tropical Deforestation

The Ecosystem Services Unit of Winrock International (WI) and Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC) today announced they have reached scientific consensus on gross carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from tropical deforestation. The analysis provides a crucial piece of information that now allows policymakers to confidently set targets for emissions reductions based on scientifically derived benchmarks.

Apple doubles size of Catawba County fuel cell project

Apple plans to double the size of its Catawba County fuel cell project, the nation's largest such venture not run by an electric utility, to 10 megawatts.

Are You Being Drugged Without Your Consent?

Imagine if the water you drank contained an invisible drug…

  • A drug so harmful that it's been proven to cause serious health issues, including damage to your bones and teeth, as well as your kidneys, thyroid, pineal gland, and even your brain.
  • A drug so pervasive that 41% of all American children between the ages of 12 to 15 show visible signs of having been needlessly overexposed it. With recent international studies indicating that even small dosages can lower IQ in our kids.
  • A drug so unregulated that the FDA's official classification is "Unapproved New Drug." And yet, it's still pumped into the water supply of over 180 million Americans, including infants and the elderly, with no way to control who gets it, how much they get, or what effect this mass dosing has on any given individual.
  • Australian researchers develop promising new approach to hydrogen storage

    Hydrogen is a clean burning fuel that can be extracted from sources including natural gas, biomass, coal and water. One of the major problems in making it a viable alternative fuel is storage – the atoms are so tiny that they can easily escape from many kinds of containers. Also, hydrogen is more volatile than petrol.

    Canada is a declining market for U.S. coal

    U.S. coal exports to Canada totaled 3.2 million short tons and represented roughly 5 percent of the 66.2 million short tons of total U.S. coal exports during the first half of 2012, according to EIA’s Quarterly Coal Report.

    Can We Avoid Running out of Oil and Minimize Its Impact on Our Environment?

    With technologies like horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing driving a boom in production of tight oil from shale in the United States, the mounting costs of oil for our climate and economy presents a far more urgent challenge than does concern about a dwindling supply.  Regardless of where our oil comes from, it causes a host of problems that we can best address by using less.

    Cash row threatens Doha climate talks

    A row over who will pay for dealing with the accelerating impact of climate change soured U.N. debate in Doha, where a final day of haggling was expected to do nothing to curb greenhouse gas pollution.

    Colorado State University Scientists Studying Climate Change Impact on Front Range Drinking Water through USDA Grant

    CSU's Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, along with Chuck Rhoades from the U.S. Forest Service, will study the potential impact of climate change on water quality affecting more than 25 million who rely on the forest's headwaters as their drinking water source.

    Damascus Countdown:  Is Syria About to Use Weapons of Mass Destruction Against Israel, and/or it's Own People?

    Will the prophecies regarding the future of Damascus come true in our lifetime? Are current events in Syria foreshadowing prophetic events?

    Doha Climate Talks in a ‘Race Against Time’

    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today issued an urgent warning to government leaders as the annual United Nations climate negotiations kicked into high gear in Doha. “Let us be under no illusion,” he said. “This is a crisis. A threat to us all. Our economies. Our security. And the well-being of our children and those who will come after.”

    Drought expands, concerns mount about wheat and rivers

    Drought continued to expand through the central United States even as winter weather sets in, wreaking havoc on the nation's new wheat crop and on movement of key commodities as major shipping waterways grow shallow.

    Unseasonably warm conditions have exacerbated the harm caused by the lack of needed rainfall. The average temperature for the contiguous United States last month was 44.1 degrees Fahrenheit, 2.1 degrees above the 20th century average...

    Educated Efficiency

    “Fixing insulation and leaky windows isn’t as sexy as saying, ‘Look at our new solar installation,’ but for every $1 spent you will save more on energy efficiency than a solar array.” –

    EIA analysis: a big surge in gasoline stocks

    The US market posted an enormous jump in gasoline stocks last week, as reported by the Energy Information Administration’s latest survey. Part of the reason was reduced demand, but refiners also appear to be reacting to strong margins by increasing their rates.

    EIA Forecast for Energy Production/Consumption in the U.S.; Massive Spike in Tight Oil Output

    Crude oil production, especially from tight oil plays, rises sharply over the next decade. Domestic oil production will rise to 7.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2019, up from less than 6 million bpd in 2011.

    Motor gasoline consumption will be less than previously estimated ... reflecting the introduction of more stringent corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards. Growth in diesel fuel consumption will be moderated by the increased use of natural gas in heavy-duty vehicles.

    ENSO-neutral is favored for Northern Hemisphere winter 2012-13 and into spring 2013

    it is considered unlikely that a fully coupled El Niño will develop during the next several months. ENSO-neutral is now favored through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2012-13 and into spring 2013

    Fed Lowers Mortgage Rates without "Printing Money"

    bank reserves are basically holding flat...

    Fracking In Michigan: U-M Researchers Study Potential Impact On Health, Environment, Economy

    University of Michigan researchers are conducting a detailed study of the potential environmental and societal effects of hydraulic fracturing, the controversial natural gas drilling process known as fracking.

    In hydraulic fracturing, large amounts of water, sand and chemicals are injected deep underground to break apart rock and free trapped natural gas. Though the process has been used for decades, recent technical advances have helped unlock vast stores of previously inaccessible natural gas, resulting in a fracking boom.

    GE bids to increase wind turbine efficiency with fabric-covered blades

    GE's fabric-covered blade is reminiscent of the fabric-covered wings used on World War I fighter planes

    Geithner: We're Ready to Go Over Cliff if Taxes Don't Rise

    The Obama administration is ready to go over the fiscal cliff if it doesn't get its way when it comes to raising taxes on wealthier Americans, said Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

    Going Beyond Carbon Dioxide

    WE all know (or should know) by now that the carbon dioxide we produce when we burn fossil fuels and cut down forests is the planet’s single largest contributor to global warming. It persists in the atmosphere for centuries. Reducing these emissions by as much as half by 2050 is essential to avoid disastrous consequences by the end of this century, and we must begin immediately.

    GOP 'Doomsday' Plan

    ABC News reports that House Republicans have a doomsday plan in mind should the fiscal-cliff talks fail to reach an agreement: total surrender!

    GOP Leaders in House Take Another Shot at EPA Transparency

    Republican leaders of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote a Nov 30 letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson to follow up on prior requests that the agency make certain information relating to rule making activities publicly available.

    In an effort to improve transparency for taxpayers, committee leaders previously requested EPA post rule making petitions and notices of intent to sue to the agency's website, but they said the agency has yet to take action.

    Here comes the avalanche of ObamaCare

    Millions of your fellow Americans are worried as ObamaCare’s massive and radical changes begin to take hold.

    Here’s what’s happening right now:

    Hybrid self-charging power cell by-passes batteries

    Recently researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have come up with what they believe is a more efficient approach. They have developed a self-charging power cell that directly converts mechanical energy to chemical energy. The cell stores the power until it is released as an electrical current.

    Hydrogen could help cut emissions and boost wind and solar power

    A new report reveals the significant potential for using hydrogen to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and improve the efficiency of renewable technologies, including wind and solar power.

    "Hydrogen: untapped energy?", the latest technical report from the Institution of Gas Engineers & Managers (IGEM), explores how hydrogen can be used as a carrier to store energy produced from a wide range of primary sources, and to power applications including electric vehicles, heating and power generation.

    Iran's oil exports suffer as US sanctions

    Iran is considering basing its budget for the year beginning in March 2013 on a crude export volume of just 1 million b/d.

    Lignet News

    Egypt: Protests Grow Over Morsi’s Actions, New Constitution

    Syria: Rebels Winning Cyber War

    Australia Risks a Crisis with High Spending and Regulation

    Could U.S. Warnings Over Syria’s Chemical Weapons Backfire?

    China Aims to Dominate Asia with New Aircraft Carrier

    Tunisia: Angry, Unemployed Youth Threaten Stability

    China: New Leadership Strikes New Tone, but Little Chance for Substantive Change

    Brazil’s Economy Stalls, Raising Fear And Hope

    Europe: Natural Gas Import Options Grow

    Magnitude 7.3 Earthquake Shakes Northeast Japan

    Northeastern Japan was jolted by a powerful earthquake at 5:18 pm Friday, local time. The quake produced small tsunami waves along the east coast of Honshu island. Japan’s Meteorological Agency has now lifted all tsunami warnings and advisories for the region.

    Mesa saves money by 'going green' with SRP

    "There's a lot of reasons for cities to take on initiatives like this, to find alternative resources, energy resources" Brady said. "And sometimes it can be motivated also by financial (gain) ... but in the end we also know it's just part of the right thing to do to be a good global citizen managing our resources."

    Negotiators see glimmers of progress on farm bill

    With a week left to act, agricultural leaders in Congress are still deadlocked on two major issues for a new U.S. farm bill, cuts in crop subsidies and reductions in food stamps, said two of the four key negotiators on Thursday.

    But the leaders of the House and Senate agriculture committees suggested that recent talks had yielded at least some progress.

    New radio telescope to provide advance warnings of potentially damaging solar flares

    After a long eight-year wait, the building of Australia's Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) telescope has finally reached completion.

    New Study Finds TARP Recipients Succeed, Despite Exec Pay Limits

    “Our most important finding, in fact, was that compensation restrictions led to a more efficient allocation of the TARP funds,” said Cadman, an assistant professor of Accounting at the David Eccles School of Business. “It’s not that we want to argue that asset relief should always come with ways to limit executive compensation, but in this case those limits actually helped the government allocate TARP funds more efficiently.”

    NOAA predicts sea level will rise 0.2 to 2 meters by 2100

    The worst potential scenario for sea level rise around the US coastline this century is more than two meters, says an authoritative report issued today by NOAA's Climate Program Office.

    Regardless of how much warming occurs over the next 100 years, sea level rise is not expected to stop in 2100.

    More than 8 million people in the US live in areas at risk of coastal flooding. Along the Atlantic Coast alone, almost 60 percent of the land that is within a meter of sea level is planned for further development, with inadequate information on the potential rates and amount of sea level rise.

    No New Taxes

    Recently, some of the most far left progressives in Congress have formed a 'Gang of Six". Together, they have vowed that tax increases on those making over $250K (but note, Obama has now changed it to those making over $200K) is just the beginning. So far, over 112,000 people have signed our petition for NO NEW TAXES

    Norway to pay Brazil $180 million for slowing deforestation

    Norway has promised $1 billion each to Brazil and Indonesia for protecting their tropical rainforests and warned Jakarta earlier this year that its progress in reforming its forestry sector will not be sufficient to meet its pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 26 percent by 2020.

    NRDC proposes emissions standards for existing generation

    The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) today announced a proposal it claims will cut carbon emissions at U.S. power plants by 26 percent and stimulate more than $90 billion dollars in renewable energy and efficiency investments by 2020.

    Nuclear foe says no-reactor option should be top choice in NRC waste rule

    An anti-nuclear activist told US Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff Wednesday he believes an option that would see the US build no more nuclear power plants or extend the licenses of current units should be the preferred alternative in a generic environmental impact statement the agency is developing for a revised rule on spent fuel storage.

    Oklahoma Schools Push to Keep Native Languages Alive

    Impassioned sponsors of the bill understand the crisis facing Native American languages today. Many languages are endangered and could very well disappear in the next decade if something isn’t done to pass them on to younger generations.

    Regional Banks Release Loss Reserves to Boost Earnings

    US regional banks have over-reserved for loan losses during 2009-2010 period, expecting a wave of defaults. Default rates however have been lower than projected and banks have been releasing these reserves into earnings in the past couple of years. According to Credit Suisse, that trend is expected to continue.

    Renewable energy 2012: A year of transition

    Renewable energy enjoyed substantial progress in 2012, but the market in general is still struggling to balance the potential benefits of green power with the challenges of managing renewable energy regulation, integration and cost.  

    Renewable Power Generation - 2011 figures

    Special report. Part one: how much renewable electricity capacity was installed worldwide at the end of 2011, and which technologies were the most popular?

    Report of Solar Geophysical Activity

    A large filament eruption was observed.  An associated CME was observed in LASCO C2 and C3 imagery. There are currently 4 numbered sunspot regions on the disk.  The geomagnetic field is expected to be at quiet to unsettled levels for days one and two (07 Dec and 08 Dec) due to possible CME effects. A return to quiet levels is expected on day three(09 Dec).

    Researchers find way to suppress certain types of memories

    We’re all carrying around some cringe-inducing memories that we’d rather forget. But for those suffering Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), recalling certain memories can provoke fearful, emotional experiences. By the same token, some memories can remind those battling drug addiction of the rewarding effects of the drug and trigger a relapse. Researchers at Canada’s Western University have found a way to effectively block these types of memories that could lead to better treatments for both conditions.

    Research: Global cleantech back sliding

    Cleantech consulting firm Kachan & Co. has released research that it says will call into question some of cleantech's traditional leading indicators of health, predicts risks will develop within the solar and wind sectors.

    Scientists build the most accurate computer simulation of the brain yet

    Researchers at the University of Waterloo have built what they claim is the most accurate simulation of a functioning brain to date. Despite a seemingly unimpressive count of only 2.5 million neurons, (the human brain is estimated to have somewhere nearing 100 billion neurons),

    Solar panels raise questions

    Solar panels have sparked a debate between homeowners and a city code that may not be ready for them.

    Solar PV Can Be Game-Changer

    Solar photovoltaic (PV) power has the potential to be a game-changer with regard to interconnection matters, Charlie Smith, executive director, Utility Variable-Generation Integration Group, said Dec. 5.

    During his presentation at TransmissionHub’s TransForum East in Arlington, Va., Smith noted that in Germany, while it took 30 years to develop 30 GW of wind, it took only five years to develop that same amount of solar.

    Solar PV prices falling

    he installed price of solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems in the U.S. fell substantially in 2011 and through the first half of 2012, according to research from the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

    Spacecraft Enters Sun's Magnetic Field Connected to Milky Way

    The "magnetic highway" is a place in the far reaches of the solar system where the Sun's magnetic field connects to the magnetic field of our galaxy Milky Way. This connection allows charged particles from inside the heliosphere (the magnetic bubble that surrounds the Sun) to zoom out - and it allows charged particles from outside to stream in. When Voyager 1 is in the magnetic highway, onboard particle sensors can directly sample material from beyond our solar system.

    Syria loads chemical weapons into bombs; military awaits Assad's order

    Pentagon sources tell NBC News that the Syrian military is awaiting final orders to launch chemical weapons against its own people after precursor chemicals for deadly sarin gas were loaded into aerial bombs. NBC's Jim Miklaszewski reports.

    The Morning Brief

    Syrian CW Reports Could be Ploy for Asylum for Assad

    France: How the Conservatives are Helping Hollande

    North Korea Isolated Amid Planned Missile Launch

    Despite Rising Anti-Semitism, Europe Still Friend to Israel

    The politics of post-Mubarak Egypt have broken

    Yesterday, tens of thousands of anti-Muslim Brotherhood protesters swept up to the gates of the presidential palace in Cairo, furious about a proposed Constitution that was written with limited, if any, input from the revolutionary political groups that spearheaded the protests that drove Hosni Mubarak from power in Feb. 2011.

    "The Responsibility We All Share"

    We live in a nation torn between conflicting ideals. Thankfully, there are principles that the United States was founded on that remain constant in our society today, but there are also generational values that change over time. Some for the better, and some for the worse of our society…

    Tracking Pollution From Outer Space

    Tel Aviv University team uses NASA satellites to measure pollution hovering over world's megacities

    The thickest layers of global smog — caused by traffic, industry, and natural minerals, among other factors — are found over the world's megacities. But getting an accurate measurement of pollution is no easy task. On-the-ground monitoring stations do not always provide the most accurate picture —monitoring stations depend heavily on local positioning and some cities put stations in urban centers, while others build on the edge of a city.

    U.S. Mortgage Rates Calm, Near Record Lows

    Freddie Mac (OTC: FMCC) yesterday released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing fixed mortgage rates little changed and remaining near their record lows helping to keep homebuyer affordability high and attractive to those looking to refinance.

    U.S. now 'totally unified' in opposition of U.N. Internet governance

    In a historical moment of unanimous agreement -- an eye-opening 397-0 vote -- the U.S. House of Representatives voted today to approve a resolution pushing the U.S. government to fight the United Nations in its bid to control and change the Internet at the WCIT-12 summit, currently under way in Dubai. 

    The unanimous vote is meant to send a signal -- as a show of strength -- to other countries meeting at the telecommunications summit that both the White House and its lawmakers oppose any role the U.N. might take in Internet governance or regulation.

    Utilities losing billions in wasted water

    Approximately two-thirds of the world's population, or 4.6 billion people, will experience water stressed conditions within the next decade. These conditions stem from water demand that exceeds the available amount during a certain period or when poor quality restricts its use.

    Research from Sensus of more than 180 utilities globally reveals that these utilities are losing a collective $9.6 billion each year from leaked water.

    Water Services Industry To Double Revenues By 2020 In Efforts To Tackle Scarcity

    The Era of Peak Water Is Here

    The global water services industry is set to double to $1 trillion in annual revenues by 2020 as companies address the growing problem of water scarcity, according to a new BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research report called “A Blue Revolution – global water” based on the collective views of 35 analysts, covering 60 companies from 18 countries. The report is the latest thematic megatrend piece from BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research following previous reports on obesity, energy efficiency, safety and security and a previous report on water.

    Whites Stayed Home And Re-Elected Obama

    Now that all the data is in, the fundamental reason for Romney's defeat is apparent, if largely unreported.  It is not just that blacks, Latinos, and single women showed up in record numbers at the polls.  It's that whites didn't.
    The final numbers suggest that 91.6 million votes were cast by whites -- seven million less than the 98.6 million that were cast in 2008!


    December 4, 2012


    6.4 Mwp - VANUATU

    774 AD Solar Blast 20x's Larger Than 'Carrington Event'

    A new study just released indicates the June 2012 discovery by a team of Japanese scientists showing a spike in carbon-14 found in tree rings dating between 774-775 AD - was most likely caused by a CME (coronal mass ejection). Until now, the 1859 "Carrington Event" has been documented as the largest solar event to hit Earth ever recorded.

    2012 Breaks Records for Heat, Drought, Weather Extremes

    “Climate change is taking place before our eyes and will continue to do so as a result of the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which have risen constantly and again reached new records,” said World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.

    After ballot defeat, activists still push to label genetically engineered food

    "The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act" — was defeated, 52 percent to 48 percent. If it had been approved, California would have been the first state to mandate the labeling of genetically engineered food.

    Supporters of the initiative were mostly organic-food proponents hailing from across the country. They have not given up. Since the defeat, they have been spending time picking up the pieces, beginning and continuing similar campaigns in other states, especially Washington.

    As nations haggle, global carbon cut targets get impossibly deep

    As the nations of the world struggle in Doha to agree even modest targets to tackle global warming, the cuts needed in rising greenhouse gas emissions grow ever deeper, more costly and less likely to be achieved.

    At UN Climate Talks, Researchers Insert Facts on How Food is Driving-and is Driven by-Climate Change

    Applying scientific answers to the consumer question, "What do our food choices have to do with heat, hurricanes, floods, and droughts?", the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) is launching today a set of "Big Facts" that highlight the complex relationship between agriculture and climate change.

    Chevy’s First Electric Car Sparks Up Los Angeles Auto Show

    The electrified version of Chevy’s gasoline-powered Spark “also benefits from the technologies and experience of its big brother, the Chevrolet Volt,” Fletcher said. “The engineering team was able to reduce development time and cost by using many of the same components and systems from the Volt.”

    Cold, mold loom as hazards in Sandy disaster zones

    City officials estimate at least 12,000 New Yorkers are trying to survive in unheated, flood-damaged homes, despite warnings that dropping temperatures could pose a health risk. Many families have returned to coastal homes contaminated with mold or filled with construction dust.

    Cornstalks Everywhere But Nothing Else, Not Even A Bee

    We'll start in a cornfield — we'll call it an Iowa cornfield in late summer — on a beautiful day. The corn is high. The air is shimmering. There's just one thing missing — and it's a big thing...

    ...a very big thing, but I won't tell you what, not yet.

    Despite weak economy, CO2 emissions to grow 2.6 percent in 2012: study

    Carbon dioxide emissions from industry rose an estimated 2.6 percent in a weak global economy this year, a study released on Monday showed, powered by rapid emissions growth in China and India, which may add urgency to U.N. climate talks in Doha.

    DOE ARPA-E funding breakthrough energy technology

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has selected 66 cutting-edge research projects as part of its Advanced Research Projects Agency -- Energy (ARPA-E). The projects will a cumulative total of $130 million in funding for transformational, breakthrough technologies that show fundamental technical promise but are too early for private-sector investment.

    Don’t Waste Time Trying to Predict the ‘Unknowable’

    I have been a professional investor for the last 19 years and have made countless capital-allocation decisions, probably 90 percent or more of which have been profitable.

    Economist Galbraith: Cut the Retirement Age

    While many economists are calling for an increase in the retirement age to ease financial pressure on the entitlement system, University of Texas economist James Galbraith goes in the opposite direction.

    He thinks the retirement age — now 67 for full Social Security benefits — should be lowered, at least temporarily.

    'FBIs'—Full-Blooded Indians—Face the Most Anti-Indian Racism

    FBIs (Full Blooded Indians) get weary of hearing about the vicissitudes facing mixed-blood Indians, for understandable reasons.  FBIs bear the brunt of anti-Indian racism.  “Race,” having no freestanding reality, is most often conflated with color, and so racial stigma follows color.

    Then there’s the history of colonists searching for Indians to sell out tribal interests. Who hangs around the fort but mixed-blood political shape shifters?

    Finally, the United States is beginning to take energy efficiency seriously

    Despite the lack of attention paid to the issue during this year’s presidential campaign (at least, before Sandy came along), Barack Obama’s first term was a bit of a quiet revolution for climate change policy in America.

    For Best Toilet Health: Squat or Sit?

    • The classic 175 year old Western toilet may be in part responsible for increasing bowel and pelvic problems, including constipation, hemorrhoids, colitis, appendicitis, colon cancer and others
    • Modern toilets place you in a sitting position as opposed to the more traditional squatting position with your knees to your chest; sitting to empty your bowel results in more straining because your intestinal organs are not in an optimal position for elimination
    • Squatting actually straightens your rectum, relaxes your puborectalis muscle, and allows for complete emptying of your cecum and appendix without straining, which prevents fecal stagnation and the accumulation of toxins in your intestinal tract
    • Squatting has been scientifically shown to relieve constipation and hemorrhoids, but additional research needs to be done
    • Non-westernized societies, in which people squat, do not have the high prevalence of bowel disease seen in developed nations; in some cultures with traditional lifestyles, these diseases are uncommon or almost unknown

    G20 Fails as Subsidies to Fossil Fuels Hit $523 Billion: GRFA

    As another United Nations Climate Change Conference gets under way in Qatar, the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA) criticized G20 leaders for failing to hold up their commitment to phase out the costly fossil fuel subsidies that hurt developing economies and slow the development of alternative fuels. According to the IEA, fossil fuel subsidies reached over half a trillion dollars this past year, with latest estimates showing subsidies reaching $523 billion in 2011, up from $412 billion in 2010.

    How the Pharmaceutical Industry Profits from False Claims

    • Evidence shows drug companies frequently hide vital information about their drugs in order to get it on the market and keep it there
    • Nearly 40 years’ worth of research has yielded no evidence whatsoever to support the hypothesis that depression is caused by abnormalities in your serotonin system.

    How the Sugar Industry Hoodwinked You about the Dangers of Sugar, Using Big Tobacco Tactics

    • For 40 years, the priority of the sugar industry has been to cast doubt on studies suggesting sugar can make you ill and obese. Meanwhile, according to some estimates the US health system spends about $150 billion a year on sugar-related diseases
    • To protect business, the industry has bought scientists and hired powerful lobbyists to ensure sugar would not be subject to legislative restriction
    • Since 1970, obesity rates in the United States have more than doubled and diabetes has tripled. In order to make any appreciable dent in the current trend, severe sugar and fructose restriction is an absolute must

    India's energy revolution

    India is looking at an "energy revolution", and Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology will be at the heart of it, according to research from Frost & Sullivan. Currently, 20 percent of building electricity consumption can be attributed to lighting systems.

    Interior Annouces Cobell Settlement Is Final—Enjoy the Moment!

    On November 26, 2012, the Secretary of the Interior announced in a press release that the Cobell litigation is final and the department will implement the final steps for the settlement payment.

    Iowa Scientists warn of need for climate change action

    A group of scientists in the top U.S. grain-growing state of Iowa said on Monday that this year's harsh drought was a sign of things to come and should spur more action to prepare for the challenges of a warming climate.

    Is America at the end?

    "What role will the United States play-if any-in the end times?" asks reporter Troy Anderson in the new issue of a Christian magazine. "When New York Times best-selling author Joel C. Rosenberg tells audiences that America isn't mentioned in Bible prophecy, many are stunned and ask how the wealthiest, most powerful nation in history isn't a specifically defined player in the last days."

    ISM: US Manufacturing Sector Contracts, Plunges to Three-Year Low

    Manufacturing unexpectedly contracted in November to its lowest level in more than three years, as companies worried about whether lawmakers in Washington could reach a budget deal in time avert a crisis that many fear could lead to a recession.

    LIGNET: China’s Coming Crash Threatens U.S. Economy, Security

    A new online briefing from a high-level panel of experts, including a former director of the CIA, unmasks the growing threat posed by an increasingly troubled China.

    Lignet - The Morning Brief

    North Korea: Kim Turns to Purges to Solidify His Power

    Europe Trails US in Fight Against Foreign Trade Corruption

    Kuwait: Unrest Will Continue After Low Turnout Election

    Japan: More Gridlock After Ruling Party Loses Next Election

    Middle East developing sustainable energy

    Recent research by the World Energy Council (WEC)  revealed the top 10 countries in sustainable energy system performance -- the top 10 performing countries in order are Sweden, Switzerland, Canada, Norway, Finland, New Zealand, Denmark, Japan, France and Austria.

    Navajos Working to Get Little Colorado River Deal Through Lame Duck. Outlook Unlikely

    The Navajo Nation is still trying to eke out a deal on Little Colorado River water rights, although an ambitious goal of trying to get it through during Congress’ Lame Duck session is looking unlikely.

    New Appliances Save Consumers On Their Electricity Bills

    Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) released its 2011 Energy Efficiency and Consumption Trends data for major home appliances. The data is based on 2011 shipments of major appliances and shows a continuing trend of decreased energy consumption.

    New tech lets air traffic systems tell the difference between airplanes and wind turbines

    Wind farms and airports don’t mix. Unfortunately, when the blades are turning on wind turbines, the motion can interpreted as aircraft on air traffic control radar screens. Needless to say, the results of such confusion could potentially be catastrophic – or at the very least, they could make things much more stressful for already-frazzled air traffic controllers. UK tech firm Aveillant, however, claims that its Holographic Radar system is the solution to the problem.

    New Telescope to "Predict Trajectory"

    Australia has unveiled a new radio telescope in the remote outback that will give the world a vastly improved view of the Sun and much faster warnings on massive solar storms. Solar flares and CMEs (coronal mass ejections) produce an eruption of charged particles that can wreck havoc on Earth's magnetic field. 

    Norquist: 'Tea Party 2' Backlash if Obama Sends Nation Over Fiscal Cliff

    Grover Norquist, the founder of Americans for Tax Reform, predicted a tea party backlash that would dwarf the movement’s success in the 2010 midterm elections if President Barack Obama pushes the nation over the “fiscal cliff.

    Obama Offers $6 Billion Investment for Clean Energy Infrastructure in Asia-Pacific

    President Obama is offering a $6 billion investment in clean energy infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region under the US-Asia Pacific Comprehensive Partnership for a Sustainable Energy Future.

    Obama quietly signs bill shielding airlines from carbon fees in Europe

    President Obama has signed into law a bill that requires U.S. airlines be excluded from European carbon emissions fees.

    Obama Slaps States That Don't Comply With Obamacare

    Residents of states that refuse to set up health insurance exchanges under Obamacare are set to be hit with higher premiums under new rules announced by the Health and Human Services Department.

    Insurance companies will be charged 3.5 percent of any premiums they sell through the federal exchanges, the department announced Friday.

    Paul Krugman: US Needs to Start Worrying About ‘Austerity Bomb’

    Washington should stop fighting the "fiscal phantom" of the deficit and start worrying about the coming "austerity bomb," warns Paul Krugman in his New York Times column.

    The "deficit scolds," as Krugman calls them, say a growing deficit will prompt “a run on Treasury bonds, interest rates will spike and the U.S. economy will plunge back into recession.” So we must slash spending and increase revenue to reduce the deficit.

    Planning for Climate Change

    The Metcalf Institute at the University of Rhode Island recently held the second in series of seminars on climate change.  Here are a few noteworthy points that were offered Nov. 30 by 15 scientists, engineers, planners and other experts:

    Pledges to fight global warming inadequate, U.S. off track: study

    Major nations' policies are inadequate to limit global warming and the United States is off track even in carrying out its weak pledge to limit greenhouse gas emissions, a scientific scorecard showed on Friday.

    Report of Solar Geophysical Activity

    The largest flare was a C1 observed.  Solar wind speed, as measured by the ACE spacecraft, reached a peak speed of 381 km/s .  The geomagnetic field is expected to be at quiet levels for the next three days (04 Dec, 05 Dec, 06 Dec).

    Scientists successfully treat Alzheimer’s symptoms in mice

    By turning off an immune system transmitter in mice with an Alzheimer’s-like condition, scientists have been able to greatly reduce the accumulation of an abnormal protein known as amyloid-ß in the animals’ brains. Previous studies have shown that the protein plays a central role in Alzheimer’s disease. It is hoped that the research may ultimately point the way towards a method of preventing or treating the disease in humans.

    Seven of 10 Richest Members of Congress Are Democrats

    For the second year in a row, Republican Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas is the richest member of Congress, with a reported net worth of $305 million — the first time a Washington lawmaker has surpassed the $300 million mark.

    Shale Oil and How It Changes the World

    Extracting shale oil from oil shale is more potentially costly than the production of conventional crude oil both financially and in terms of its environmental impact. Deposits of oil shale occur around the world, including major deposits in the United States of America. Estimates of global deposits range from 2.8 to 3.3 trillion barrels. This obviously will change the picture of global economics and politics.

    Simple Ways to Cut Hospital Infections

    Preventing surgery-linked infections is a major concern for hospitals and it turns out some simple measures can make a big difference.

    Solar stability and emerging markets

    Emerging markets are forecast to help bring stability to ailing solar industry in Europe, with up to 12 GW of new photovoltaic (PV) capacity added in 2017 up from just 1.6 GW in 2012, according to research from IHS.

    Some ships divert as LA-Long Beach container terminals still closed

    Some bunker fuel demand has been diverted to other ports as numerous container ship terminals at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in California remain closed due to a labor strike, market sources said Monday.

    Study Suggests Replacing San Onofre Capacity With Distributed Generation

    Distributed generation resources should be viewed as a near-term solution to meet Southern California's energy requirements in light of the prolonged or permanent shutdown of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, a new briefing paper by the Rocky Mountain Institute argues.

    Study: Too Much Exercise Can Shorten Lifespan

    When it comes to exercise, you really can get too much of a good thing.

    That’s the key finding of a new report that suggests prolonged high-intensity workouts — lasting more than an hour each day — do more harm than good and can shorten lifespan.

    Sunlight: Still considering solar farm in Forsyth

    An Arizona alternative-energy company has not backed away from plans for a potential solar farm in Forsyth County, though it is on the backburner.

    Superstorm a turning point in US climate change debate: senator

    The chairwoman of a key US Senate committee Thursday called Superstorm Sandy a "turning point" in the debate over climate change while another committee member said the views of climate change deniers should no longer be tolerated.

    The case for and against renewables, at the Platts Global Energy Forum

    As the discussion/debate between thinker and author Robert Bryce and entrepreneur Jigar Shah at the Platts Global Energy Forum was drawing to a close, Shah spoke from the perspective of an entrepreneur who has devoted much of his career to renewable energy development.

    The Latest on Alzheimer’s

    Behind a dangerous new test approved by the FDA is a new drug by the same company. Meanwhile, new research offers better natural solutions.

    There is No Fiscal Cliff

    Now we have a constant media drumbeat that Republicans will have to cave to President Obama's demands or they will bear responsibility for going over the fiscal cliff.

    President Obama has increased his demands for more taxes and more spending.

    The Left, both the politicians and the news media, have created a mythical threat which can only be solved by Republicans surrendering their principles and abandoning their allies.

    Yet the fiscal cliff is entirely a manufactured threat.

    Two More Fed Presidents Back Expanding Stimulus

    Two Federal Reserve regional bank presidents this weekend backed additional accommodation to bring down 7.9 percent unemployment with the planned expiration later this month of an easing program known as Operation Twist.

    US weighing military options if Syria uses WMD

    The White House and its allies are weighing military options to secure Syria's chemical and biological weapons, after U.S. intelligence reports show the Syrian regime may be readying those weapons and may be desperate enough to use them, U.S. officials said Monday.

    U.S. Wind Energy Prevents as Much Global Warming Pollution as Taking 13 Million Cars Off the Road Each Year

    As Superstorm Sandy and its aftermath prompt more Americans to call for action tackling global warming, Environment America released a new Environment America Research & Policy Center report today showing how current power generation from wind energy prevents as much global warming pollution as taking 13 million cars off the road each year.

    Volcker: Volcker Rule Is Already Shaping Wall Street

    The Volcker Rule, which would restrict banks from trading their own money for profits in capital markets, is already changing Wall Street behavior even though the rule isn’t in effect yet, said the rule’s architect, Paul Volcker.

    Why You Should Care About Codex: Separating Fact from Fiction

    The Codex Alimentarius (Latin for “Food Code”) is a collection of internationally adopted food standards, guidelines, codes of practice, and other recommendations which supporters hope will become a global standard and also facilitate international trade.

    Zombie Companies Thwarting Economic Recovery

    Fearful of the financial repercussions of a protracted wave of business failures, central bankers have sought to suppress the incidence of default in recent years, primarily by maintaining artificially low interest rates. This has contributed to the creation of ‘zombie companies’ -- businesses that can only afford to service their debts, paying interest but not reducing their principal loan amounts.



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