News 2012:

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July 31, 2012




Augmented reality glasses perform real-time language translation

British computer programmer Will Powell has created a prototype real-time translation system that displays subtitles for the interlocutor's speech in a language of choice

CalRecycle: California residents disposing less garbage per resident

California residents threw out 4.4 pounds of garbage per day in 2011, a record low, the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) announced.

Chart: Tropical forest loss between 2000-2005

A study published last month in the journal Science came up with new estimates of tropical forest loss between 2000 and 2005. The research — led by Nancy Harris of Winrock International and also involving scientists from Applied GeoSolutions, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of Maryland — was based on analysis of remote sensing data calibrated with field studies.

Cheyenne Exodus Historic Horseback Journey Captured in Photographs

The historic ride to commemorate the Northern Cheyenne Exodus of 1878 will end today, July 28, when the riders arrive at the 11th Gathering of the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers in Lame Deer, Montana. The riders left Fort Reno, Oklahoma on June 1 to embark on the 1,391-mile journey.

Chimera Energy develops fracking technique that uses no water

“Fracking” may sound like something out of Battlestar Galactica, but it’s actually short for “hydraulic fracturing.” It is one of the most remarkable success stories in the history of the energy industry and its ability to open up previously unprofitable oil and gas resources in North America, Europe and China holds the promise of centuries of cheap, clean and abundant energy free of Middle Eastern control. However, it has raised the concerns of some environmentalists. Chimera Energy Corporation of Houston, Texas, has announced that they are licensing a new method for extracting oil and gas from shale fields that doesn't contaminate ground water resources because it uses exothermic reactions instead of water to fracture shale.

China, India, Brazil and other developing countries will soon consume most of the world’s oil. That’s alarming news for the U.S.

That’s partially a reflection of the growing efficiency of wealthy nations, and partially a reflection of poor countries’ growing prosperity. But it’s also a specific challenge for the United States of America, which, unlike our smaller rich peers, has grown accustomed to thinking of itself as master of its own destiny. A world in which a majority of oil consumption is happening in China, India, and Latin America is a world in which America’s energy fate is driven by forces beyond our control. And we’re pretty far behind in preparing for it.

China Launches U.S. Solar Dumping Probe

In the latest volley in a trade row between the world's top two economies, China on Friday started a probe into alleged U.S. dumping of solar products and government subsidies for the sector.

Congress pushing for cyber attack defense

In 2011, companies and public agencies that provide services critical to the modern American economy -- things like water, energy, banking and communications -- reported nearly five times as many attacks on their infrastructure as the year before.

Contraceptive Mandate Suffers Court Blow as Catholic Business Wins Crucial Court Case

A Colorado business owned by a Catholic family does not have to comply with President Barack Obama's new healthcare mandate that private employers provide employees with insurance coverage of birth control, a Colorado federal judge ruled on Friday.

Cut air pollution, buy time to slow climate change: US

Cutting soot and other air pollutants could help "buy time" in the fight against climate change, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday as seven nations joined a Washington-led plan.

Cyber Security Bill Now Positioned to Pass

Advocates of cyber security legislation have advanced the ball to the point where they might score. A new bill intended to win bipartisan support would offer “incentives” to companies that operate vital infrastructure if they participate with government authorities, which would include getting absolved of any liability.

DOE grant furthers clean coal R&D

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has selected ThermoEnergy Corporation's Unity Power Alliance (UPA) joint venture for a grant that will fund further research and development for the production of clean electric power from coal.

Drought bill may carry mammoth farm bill into law

A comparatively low-priced disaster bill for livestock producers hit by the worst drought since 1956 may be the ticket to passage for a $500 billion farm bill now in limbo in Congress.

Drought diminishes mighty Mississippi, puts heat on Congress

The severe drought in the U.S. Midwest wreaked more havoc across the country on Thursday, forcing barges on the Mississippi River to lighten loads for fear of getting stuck and raising concerns about higher prices for food and gasoline.

Environmentalists urge more notice about uranium meetings

Some environmentalists are upset over a new series of meetings scheduled to discuss uranium mining in Virginia. They say the public was not adequately notified.

Estrogen & Male Feminization

Environmentalists Mum on Poisoned Streams

When EPA-funded scientists at the University of Colorado studied fish in a pristine mountain stream known as Boulder Creek two years ago, they were shocked. Randomly netting 123 trout and other fish downstream from the city’s sewer plant, they found that 101 were female, 12 were male, and 10 were strange “intersex” fish with male and female features.
It’s “the first thing that I’ve seen as a scientist that really scared me,” said then 59-year-old University of Colorado biologist John Woodling, speaking to the Denver Post in 2005.

Few Small and Mid-sized Companies Taking Advantage of Improved Credit Conditions

The share of small businesses and mid-sized companies that report borrowing from banks has declined from recent highs reached last summer — despite the fact that these firms say improving credit conditions are actually making it easier to obtain loans.

Fmr. CIA Director Hayden: Iran Nuclear Crisis Gets 'Scarier'

Former CIA Director General Michael Hayden delivered a disturbing message during a LIGNET intelligence panel discussion on the serious threat a nuclear Iran poses to the United States.

FOMC Preview: Christening QE III

The Federal Open Market Committee will be meeting Tuesday and Wednesday to decide on the future course of monetary policy.  Here is a matrix that looks at the pros and cons of the most likely outcomes, along the subject lines that the Committee will likely discuss.

Forest program cited as cure for ‘disease’ of growing wildfires

Apache County’s forest-stewardship agreement with the U.S. Forest Service was held up at a congressional hearing Friday as a model for other governments trying to tame the growing problem of wildfires.

'Geothermal's time has come'

Geothermal energy, which helps cool homes in the summer and heat in the winter, has been around for many years but people are becoming more aware of the technology thanks to federal and state tax credits designed to make the renewable energy more affordable, said Aaron, president of Total Comfort Heating and Air Conditioning in Smithsburg. Some power companies also offer grants.

Honda uses Asimo technology to get the elderly on their feet

Honda has been working on walking robot technology since the 1980s and the 130 patents that resulted in its ASIMO robot have allowed the automotive giant to expand into creating a new range of assisted mobility devices, including the Stride Management Assist. This lightweight, surprisingly simple-looking device is designed to help those with weakened leg muscles due to age or other causes, yet who are still able to walk. It does this by giving a robotically controlled boost to the upper legs that allows the wearer to walk faster for longer.

House drought bill keeps $5 billion subsidy targeted by reformers

Farmers would get another round of the $5 billion a year "direct payment" subsidy, targeted by reformers as wasteful spending, in a Republican-drawn offer of disaster aid for farmers hurt by the worst drought in half a century.

House panel approves ‘No More Solyndras’ bill

The plan, approved in a party-line vote, would curtain the Energy Department's embattled loan-guarantee program.

Iran significantly 'speeds up nuclear enrichment'

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inspects centrifuges during a visit to the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in 2008. Iran has significantly stepped up the pace at which it is enriching uranium, shortening the time it would take for it to reach a nuclear threshold, according to two Israeli newspapers.

Island nation of Tokelau gets ready to go solar

Adopting renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power is a great way to reduce emissions and produce energy locally. In places like remote Pacific islands, however, those benefits are potentially a key to independence. For that reason Tokelau, a 10 sq. km. (3.86 sq. mi) island nation that lies around 500 km (311 mi) north of Samoa and which is a territory of New Zealand, is about to ditch diesel as a source of electricity and switch to solar power.

LENR-to-Market Weekly, July 26, 2012

Highlights this week include: Rossi achieves 1000 degrees C; Italian licensee announced; official logo chosen; Defkalion looking to move to Vancouver; Athanor Update; LERN and transmutation.

Libor Scandal Threatens Major U.S. and Global Banks

The LIBOR rate-rigging scandal threatens to engulf some of the major banks in the world including JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Citigroup (C) in the U.S. and, of course  Barclays, PLC (BARC.LN) in the United Kingdom.

Midwest crops, fish, water supply punished by drought

Temperatures heading north of 100 degrees Fahrenheit and scarce rain portended another blistering weekend for much of the U.S. Midwest, where the most extensive drought since 1956 is devastating crops, evaporating rivers, and threatening to push world food prices higher.

Millions lost in Afghan reconstruction: US

MILLIONS of dollars in US funds have been lost due to poor planning and workmanship in projects to help rebuild Afghanistan and billions more could be at risk, a US watchdog says.

Mounting Evidence Shows Many Vaccines are Ineffective and Contribute to Rise of Outbreaks Caused by Mutated Viruses

In 2010, the largest outbreak of whooping cough in over 50 years occurred in California. Around that same time, a scare campaign was launched in the California by Pharma-funded medical trade associations, state health officials and national media, targeting people opting out of receiving pertussis vaccine, falsely accusing them of causing the outbreak.

Nanosheet catalyst brings a hydrogen economy one step closer to reality

Harnessing the power of hydrogen gas presents one of the most promising options available for obtaining a large-scale sustainable energy solution. However, there are numerous and significant challenges present in the production of pure hydrogen, one of the most prominent of which is the high costs associated with the use of rare and expensive chemical elements such as platinum. Accordingly, the team at the Brookhaven National Laboratory set out to create a catalyst with high activity and low costs, that could facilitate the production of hydrogen as a high-density, clean energy source.

National birthrate lowest in 25 years

Twenty-somethings who postponed having babies because of the poor economy are still hesitant to jump in to parenthood -- an unexpected consequence that has dropped the USA's birthrate to its lowest point in 25 years.

New EIA Chief Says Coal Hurt Most by Cheap NatGas Prices

The new head of the Energy Information Administration (EIA) believes that cheap natural gas prices are hurting coal more in the electric power generation market than tough anti-pollution standards from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

New Frontiers: a debate over the prospect of US energy independence

It's a tantalizing concept: the idea that the US could become a net exporter of petroleum, or at the very least, see its net imports drop toward zero.

Pacific Coral Triangle 'at risk of collapse'

The Coral Triangle, a roughly triangular marine zone in the Indo-Pacific region that is considered to have the world's richest concentration of marine biodiversity, is facing potential ecological collapse due to heavy pressure inflicted by human activities, according to a new report.

Panetta: Sanctions not moving Iran away from nukes

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta acknowledged today that increasingly stiff international sanctions have yet to compel Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions. But he argued that more pressure eventually would lead Iran to "do what's right."

Post Office Nears Historic Default on $5B Payment

The U.S. Postal Service is bracing for a first-ever default on billions in payments due to the Treasury, adding to widening uncertainty about the mail agency's solvency as first-class letters plummet and Congress deadlocks on ways to stem the red ink.

Record Heat Wave Pushes U.S. Belief in Climate Change to 70%

A record heat wave, drought and catastrophic wildfires are accomplishing what climate scientists could not: convincing a wide swath of Americans that global temperatures are rising.

Report of Solar-Geophysical Activity

Solar activity was moderateAnother new spot group of
Earth-directed coronal mass ejections were observed during the
reporting period.The geomagnetic field is expected to be quiet to unsettled on day 1 (31 July).

Report: US presents Israel with Iran strike plan

An Israeli newspaper reported Sunday that the Obama administration's top security official has briefed Israel on U.S. plans for a possible attack on Iran, seeking to reassure it that Washington is prepared to act militarily should diplomacy and sanctions fail to pressure Tehran to abandon its nuclear enrichment program.

Representative Waxman and Senator Bingaman Urge Support for Energy Efficiency Standards for Federal Buildings

Today, House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman and Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Jeff Bingaman sent a letter to Secretary of Energy Steven Chu to urge DOE to issue a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking on the implementation of section 433 on energy efficiency performance standards for new federal buildings.

Scalia: Guns May be Regulated

Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the Supreme Court's most vocal and conservative justices, said on Sunday that the Second Amendment leaves room for U.S. legislatures to regulate guns, including menacing hand-held weapons.

Scientists unlock ocean CO2 secrets key to climate: study

Oceans curb the pace of climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels. The Southern Ocean is the largest of these ocean carbon sinks, soaking up about 40 percent of mankind's CO2 absorbed by the seas.

But until now, researchers were unsure what mechanisms were involved because of the remoteness and sheer size of the Southern Ocean.

Secrets to Finding a Great Doctor

Most people spend more time researching their next car purchase than deciding on a doctor.

Solar cell industry in free fall

Crashing prices for solar energy products are pushing most world manufacturers to the brink of destruction, and stiff tariffs the United States recently imposed on China are not reversing the trend.

Low prices for solar cells -- used to assemble the panels -- are a windfall for installers and consumers, but global manufacturers are calling foul as the price for the cells has fallen 66 percent since third quarter 2010. And Boston-based analyst firm GTM Research said it does not expect to see solar product prices increase anytime soon because of a worldwide glut.

Study: 260 million tons of waste converted to energy by 2022

A new report from Pike Research predicts the conversion of at least 261 million tons of municipal solid waste to energy within 10 years, according to a BusinessWire

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Mike Rogers, has now stated publicly that Iran and its agents masterminded the recent terror attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria.

Rogers stated flatly: "I believe there were certainly elements of Hezbollah [involved] and I believe it was under the direction of their masters in Iran."

The World is Closer to a Food Crisis Than Most People Realize

Unless we move quickly to adopt new population, energy, and water policies, the goal of eradicating hunger will remain just that

Times Are Booming for Washington’s Governing Class

While much of the nation has been struggling through stormy economic times, one locale has been weathering that storm just fine — Washington, D.C.

The reason, of course: the huge population of government workers and contractors in the nation’s capital living on the taxpayers’ dime.

Troubled Waters: Removing Estrogen from Our Water Supply

Over the past decade, a new contaminant has found its way into water supplies around the world: pharmaceutical products that contain estrogen. Estrogen comes from multiple sources, both natural and synthetic-made. It has been found to have negative effects on males and females alike when it is consumed daily in public drinking water. Not much has been done to stop this problem. Most water treatment plants have not implemented any processes to remove estrogen, and little research has been done to find the best way to solve the problem.

[ed:  And now we start adding "balance"?]

UN Shelves Gun Treaty...For Now - Dick Morris TV: Lunch Alert!

In this video commentary, I discuss how we won a battle, but not the war.  We stopped the Gun Control Treaty from being signed on Friday.  Congratulations!  Now, let's prepare for the war!

U.S. steps up solar thermal capacity

Spain and the U.S. currently dominate the global solar thermal market, according to GBI Research, due to an increase in the cost of fossil fuels and supporting government policies.

In 2011, Spain held a massive 65 percent of the global concentrated solar power (CSP) market with the U.S. in second at 33 percent of total installed capacity, according to GBI.

The U.S. was the first country to produce commercially viable solar thermal electricity.

Walking on Earth & Touching the Sky: Notes of Hope and Despair From Pine Ridge Youth

Life on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is difficult and complex. South Dakota’s Shannon County is the second poorest county in the United States, and conditions are very harsh. The people struggle with unemployment, poor housing, disease, alcohol and drug abuse, violence, depression, and more. Yet Lakota people are amazingly resilient and spiritually powerful. Among the Lakota, there is a tremendous love for the land, a system of profound cultural ways, a sense of community that often supersedes the struggles, and a capacity for humor as medicine.

Washington state begins phasing out coal

If approved by state utility regulators, the agreement would benefit PSE customers by providing them another source of low-cost power, while providing momentum to a separate TransAlta agreement to phase out coal-fired power generation in Washington by 2025.

Waste-to-energy becoming attractive generation option globally

New research makes it painfully clear that a valuable source of energy is being wasted. Nearly three-quarters of waste (trash) worldwide ends up in landfills, according to Pike Research.

Water Powered Car Hits Mainstream in Pakistan

Members of Pakistani parliament, scientists, and students alike watched in awe as Waqar Ahmad, a Pakistani engineer, successfully demonstrated a working water powered car in Islamabad. With just one liter of water, Ahmad claims a 1000 cc car could cover a distance of 40 km, or a motorbike could travel 150 km.

Water supplement for bees is claimed to prevent Colony Collapse Disorder

Around the world, honey bees have been vanishing at an alarming rate. Since bees not only provide honey, but are also vital for pollinating crops, this is not only distressing, it also puts agriculture at risk. The reasons for this decline are still unknown, but a Florida-based company claims to have found a solution in the form of a concentrated organic feed supplement. BeesVita is purported to not only protect bee colonies in danger of collapsing, but actually causes them to grow and thrive.

Western North America Faces 21st Century 'Mega-drought'

The climate's "new normal" for most of the coming century will parallel the long-term drought that hit western North America from 2000 to 2004 - the most severe drought in 800 years - scientists report in a study published Sunday.

Why Financial Discipline Won't Fix Europe

With Europe teetering on the brink, the press and the politicians have focused on fiscal discipline, and even questioned whether 17 sovereign nations should be sharing a common currency. Some, mostly southerners, argue that an integrated Europe is worth the cost and adjustments. Others, mostly northerners, are concerned with the potential costs to themselves or the project's long-term viability and desirability.

Why Physicians Often Give You Disastrous Diet Info

You would think that medical schools would provide future doctors with the knowledge they need to properly guide their patients in making good food choices. But the truth is very different.

Wide Open Spaces: Beauty and Tranquility on a Grand Scale in the Badlands

There are good times to be had in the Badlands. To fully enjoy them, get off the beaten path (i.e. the paved roads and crowds of tourists in the national park’s famed North Unit) and explore the pristine South Unit, which lies within the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Here you’ll find rare views of wildly varied rock formations and innovative adventures organized by the Oglala Sioux Parks and Recreation Authority.


July 27, 2012


5-year Swiss Rate Goes Negative

The Swiss government bond curve is now negative for maturities of five years and under. Investors are willing to lock up a negative yield for 5 years just to get out of euro denominated assets without taking much FX risk. Fears of Eurozone breakup are escalating.

25 Million Light Duty Natural Gas Vehicles Will Be On Roads Worldwide By 2019, Forecasts Pike Research

The current high costs of gasoline and diesel fuel, along with the substantial and growing supplies of low-cost natural gas in many countries, are leading to renewed interest from both consumers and fleets in natural gas vehicles (NGVs). What’s more, NGVs produce lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, particulate matter, and nitrogen oxide than gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles, giving governments looking to reduce GHGs a tool to meet those objectives.



A dry run from hell: Drought hits the smallest farms the hardest

There is something distinctly pathos-inducing about a corn plant dying of thirst. Maybe that’s why coverage of the 2012 drought has focused on commodity crops, especially corn. Reading the reports, you almost expect Tom Joad to step out from between the brown-baked stalks, as if Steinbeck were writing the copy.

Another report predicts huge trash increases in years ahead

Worldwatch Institute says trash will double by 2025

Anti-Money Laundering Scrutiny Rises for U.S. Banks

In the wake of last week's Senate subcommittee hearings on alleged lapses in anti-money laundering (AML) compliance at HSBC, Fitch Ratings expects many U.S. banks to face significant new regulatory scrutiny over efforts to prevent money laundering.

Arabs to seek UN General Assembly action on Syria

Arab nations announced plans Wednesday to go to the U.N. General Assembly and seek approval of a resolution calling for a political transition and establishment of a democratic government in Syria following the Security Council's failure to address the escalating crisis.
Saudi Arabia's Ambassador Abdallah al-Mouallimi and Qatari diplomat Abdulrahman Al-Hamadi announced plans to seek action by the 193-member world body, where there are no vetoes, during a Security Council debate on the Middle East.

As Libor Scandal Deepens, US Loses Confidence in UK Regulators

With the Libor bank investigations expanding internationally, there is increasing criticism from U.S. regulators over the handling of the scandal by British banking regulators, with the latter accused of not responding strongly enough to early allegations of rate rigging. Differences in regulatory practices between the United States and the UK could undermine a strong international response to banks’ collusion to rig rates, which could create more uncertainty and put downward pressure on the markets.

Australian states seek federal ban on plastic bags

Although some Australian cities, local councils and three states and territories have banned single-use plastic bags, Sydney-based Planet Ark Environmental Foundation Ltd. says other states are waiting for Australia's federal government to act.

Banking at the Cross-Roads: Where Do We Go from Here?

Two weeks ago the Economist front page headline was ‘Banksters’. When a respected magazine, read throughout the world, suggests that banking is riddled with malpractice, its ‘credibility shot’, trust evaporated, we have a major problem.

A problem, because the banking system – and the wider financial system – plays a crucial role in a market economy.

Billy Graham:  My Heart Aches for America"

New letter addresses nation’s declining morality and the need for spiritual revival

Citi Sees 90% Chance of Greece Dumping Euro by 2013

There's a 90 percent chance Greece will abandon the euro by the end of 2013, said Willem Buiter, chief economist at Citi.

Contaminant Transport In The Fungal Pipeline

Fungi are found throughout the soil with giant braiding of fine threads. However, these networks have surprising functions. Only a few years ago researchers from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) discovered that bacteria travel over the fungal threads through the labyrinth of soil pores, much the same as on a highway

CPUC may investigate nuclear plant closure

California regulators may move to investigate how the closure of the San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station (SONGS) could affect state ratepayers, as well as whether the cost of repairing the plant's four generators is worthwhile.

Cut air pollution, buy time to slow climate change: US

Cutting soot and other air pollutants could help "buy time" in the fight against climate change, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday as seven nations joined a Washington-led plan.

Air pollution, from sources ranging from wood-fired cooking stoves in Africa to cars in Europe, may be responsible for up to six million deaths a year worldwide and is also contributing to global warming, the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) said.

Doctors Fighting Gag Rule in Pennsylvania

If you’ve been exposed to dangerous fracking chemicals, your doctor can find out what these chemicals are—but can’t tell you!

Does Yoga Actually Work?

The answer is yes, and now we know why.

Economist Morici: Not Much More the Fed Can Do

While the Federal Reserve is close to announcing additional measures to stimulate the economy, there is little left that the central bank can do to constrain the threat of another recession, according to Peter Morici, professor at the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland and former chief economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission.

Eggs in Many Baskets: Arizona Public Service Diversifies Generation Sources

Arizona Public Service (APS) changed how it selects new generation supply with a March 2012 filing; it will no longer use "least cost" as the dominant factor. Instead, it will diversify and distribute its generation eggs in many baskets. Not only that, APS will reduce carbon emissions and total water use, and has protected itself from potential future price spikes and volatility in the natural gas market.

EIA analysis: US gasoline stocks jump as supply climbs, demand drags

US gasoline stocks jumped 4.134 million barrels last week, as production and imports rose, while demand remained lackluster, EIA data released Wednesday showed. The gasoline data was not entirely bearish, however, as US West Coast stocks fell for the second week in a row. You can read Platts analysis of itbelow.

EPA completes drinking water sampling in Dimock, PA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has completed its sampling of private drinking water wells in Dimock, Pa. Data previously supplied to the agency by residents, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Cabot Oil and Gas Exploration had indicated the potential for elevated levels of water contaminants in wells, and following requests by residents EPA took steps to sample water in the area to ensure there were not elevated levels of contaminants. Based on the outcome of that sampling, EPA has determined that there are not levels of contaminants present that would require additional action by the Agency.

Eurozone Banks are Pulling Out of the U.S.

Back in December we discussed how lack of access to dollar funding will push Eurozone banks out of the US. That's not because these banks don't like US lending. It's simply due to the fact that European banks generally rely on domestic euro deposits for funding (exacerbated by increased capital requirements). To obtain dollar funding however they used to issue commercial paper and sell it to US money market funds. But US money market funds walked away from this CP last year to avoid exposure to the Eurozone. This left Eurozone banks with no access to dollars except via the Fed Liquidity Swap (or converting euros into dollars and hedging the position via currency basis swap

Exelon reports Tritium found near Three Mile Island, no threat

A slightly elevated level of tritium was found in one monitoring well on the site near Exelon's Three Mile Island nuclear generating station in Pennsylvania, but the amount found posed no health or safety risks, the company said on Wednesday.

Exercise Really Does Help you live longer!

Regular physical activity adds about four years to life expectancy, and endurance exercise during leisure time seems to be better at extending life than physical activity done as work, according to a new research review published in the Journal of Aging Research.

Experts: Natural Gas Prices Will Continue to Soar

Natural gas prices have jumped to their highs of the year, as the nation’s scorching heat has sent people running to turn up their air conditioners. And experts say the natural gas party is not over.

WSJ: Fed Officials Increasingly Likely To Intervene

Federal Reserve officials are growing increasingly in favor of stimulating the stalling U.S. economy, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Methods could include purchasing bonds held by banks, a stimulus tool known as quantitative easing that floods the economy with liquidity to spur recovery, or extending the outlook as to how long Fed officials foresee interest rates staying near rock-bottom levels.

Fighting worsens 'deteriorating' situation in eastern Congo

Hundreds of people in North Kivu fled toward the city of Goma by road trying to escape the fighting. The sound of heavy artillery echoed through the hills. The Congolese army continued a second day offensive to recover the cities of Rugari and Rumangavo, and to takeover these positions held by the insurgency.

First U.S. Tidal Power Project Set to Launch in Maine

The ocean is a tremendous bank of energy. Covering more than two-thirds of our planet, the amount of energy embodied in the ocean's tides, currents, and waves, not to mention temperature and salinity gradients, could power the world — if we were able to commercialize the technology to harness its renewable power.

Food Prices Could Rise 5% in 2013 Due to Drought

A crippling drought that has decimated the U.S. corn crop will send food prices climbing as high as 5 percent next year, said Bill Lapp, president of commodity consulting firm Advanced Economic Solutions.

Corn prices have risen almost 37 percent since early June thanks to the drought.

Geithner Hopeful a Fiscal Crisis Can Be Averted

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner voiced confidence the Obama administration and Congress will avert a fiscal crisis.

Geithner told "CBS This Morning" it would be "untenable" to defer critical spending and tax decisions when the economy is still struggling.

Global Warming's Terrifying New Math

Three simple numbers that add up to global catastrophe - and that make clear who the real enemy is

Governor Christie signs S1925, Solar Acceleration Legislation, saving thousands of solar jobs

During the past few years the New Jersey solar industry has boomed. Installed solar generation capacity exceeded the amount required under the New Jersey Renewable Portfolio Standard, creating a potential crash of this thriving industry. A total of over 800 MW of solar generation is now operating in New Jersey

Greenland melts, open water in Arctic Ocean: scientists

For a few days this month, NASA's images of the Greenland ice sheet turned red, indicating that for a while, almost the entire surface of the vast frozen island was melting.

Greenland's Extreme July Meltdown

Virtually the entire ice sheet covering Greenland - from its coastal edges to its two-mile-thick center - experienced some degree of melting for several days this month, according to an analysis by NASA and university scientists based on measurements from three satellites.

An estimated 97 percent of the top layer of the Greenland ice sheet thawed at some point in July, the satellite data shows. This is the largest extent of surface melting observed in three decades of satellite observations.

Hidden Rift Deep Beneath the Ice May be Accelerating Melting in West Antarctica

Scientists with the British Antarctic Survey have discovered a rift valley that is one mile deep. The valley is hidden deep below the Ferrigno Ice Stream in West Antarctica, an extremely remote region seen only once previously by human eyes in 1961. They found that this rift basin is connected to the ocean, allowing the ocean to penetrate into the continent. The Southern Sea impacting the ice has a warming effect, despite its cold temperatures. This has tremendous implications, as the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is melting at a faster rate than any other part of the continent.

HOMER helps bring electricity to remote areas of Afghanistan

Sadiqi used HOMER to model power systems in the province of Bamiyan in the northern part of Afghanistan. He found the most ideal solution for his site was a hybrid system powered by renewable resources, including micro-hydro and solar, with a battery backup.

House leaders feel heat for farm aid in drought

Republicans are getting scorched for sitting on a farm bill as the worst drought in decades shrivels crops and is forecast to drive up food prices for the next two years.

The $491 billion farm bill is stalled in the House of Representatives on concerns there are not enough votes in the Republican-controlled chamber to pass a bill many see as too costly.

Industrial parks from Shenzhen to Jakarta unprepared for further floods

A year after one of the world's most-costly flood disasters devastated Bangkok, industrial parks from Shenzhen to Jakarta have failed to prepare for what could be even worse flood disasters. Picture taken July 19, 2012.

Iranian Ships Using False Flags to Evade UN and U.S. Sanctions

Although some progress is being made to stop Iranian ships from transporting WMDs, a new U.S. report details the cat-and-mouse game that Tehran is playing to evade sanctions. Iran is doing this not just through deception, but by exploiting the weakness of UN resolutions, as LIGNET explains.

Iran's leader says sanctions won't alter policies

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters in Iran, voiced confidence that the Islamic Republic can beat the latest punitive measures aimed at blocking the country's vital oil and banking industries over the disputed program.

Iraq’s Kurds Grow in Power: Is Full Sovereignty Near?

A deal with Chevron (NYSE: CVX) is the latest in a series of developments that have increased the economic and political power of the Kurds of northern Iraq. If this trend continues, tensions between the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) and Iraq’s central government in Baghdad may ultimately reach a breaking point. Syria’s civil war and Turkey’s desire to solve its own Kurdish problem could ultimately help the KRG, as LIGNET explains.

Japan Fukushima probe urges new disaster prevention steps, mindset

A government-appointed inquiry into Japan's Fukushima nuclear crisis raised doubts on Monday about whether other atomic plants were prepared for massive disasters, and delivered a damning assessment of regulators and the station's operator.

Landsat at 40: Longest Continuous View of Earth From Space

Today marks the 40th anniversary of NASA's Landsat program, the world's longest-running Earth-observing satellite program. The first satellite in the Landsat series was launched on July 23, 1972 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Maps spark concern over corporate water grab

As competition for clean water grows, some of the world's biggest companies have joined forces to create unprecedented maps of the precious resource that flows beneath our feet.

Midwest drought worsens, food inflation to rise

Scattered rain brought some relief to parts of the baking US Midwest on Wednesday, but most of the region remained in the grips of the worst drought in half a century as the outlook for world food supplies and prices worsened.

Mitt Romney's Olympics gaffe overshadows visit to London

Elevating his tendency for gaffes to the international stage, Mr Romney said that because of concerns about security, it was “hard to know just how well it will turn out”.

Most US States Trail Pre-Recession Job Levels

Three years since the recession ended, 43 states have yet to regain the jobs they lost in the downturn. The figure is a reminder of how weak the nation's job market remains.

The states that are the furthest behind in job growth are those that were hit hardest by the housing bust: Arizona, Florida and Nevada.

Move Over, Frankenfish—Now We Have Frankenapples!

The “Arctic Apple,” engineered by the British Columbia–based Okanagan Specialty Fruits, thinks the non-browning apples could improve industry sales the way “baby carrots” did for carrot sales. Of course, as most people now realize, “baby carrots” are not young, tender carrots at all, but are simply specially shaped slices of peeled carrots, invented as a use for carrots that are too twisted or knobbly for sale as full-size carrots.

NASA: Strange and sudden ice melt in Greenland

Nearly all of Greenland's massive ice sheet suddenly started melting a bit this month, a freak event that surprised scientists.

Even Greenland's coldest and highest place, Summit station, showed melting. Ice core records show that last happened in 1889 and occurs about once every 150 years.

N.C. sees big drop in mercury emissions

Mercury emissions from coal-fired electricity plants in North Carolina have decreased by more than 70 percent in the last decade, a shift state officials attributed largely to greater numbers of industrial facilities coming into compliance with more stringent limits on pollutants.

New report investigates implications of earthquakes on water utilities

In 2010–11, major earthquakes hit Chile, Japan, and New Zealand, causing significant damage to water system infrastructure. In response to these events, the Water Research Foundation funded project #4408 under the Emerging Opportunities Program to investigate the potential implications of the earthquakes on U.S. water utilities.

New Water Supply Reservoirs Risky Ventures In The Southeast

Southeast U.S. communities should think twice before building new water supply reservoirs, according to a report released recently by American Rivers.

The report, Money Pit: The High Cost and High Risk of Water Supply Reservoirs in the Southeast, documents the financial risks and water resource risks tied to the development of new reservoirs in the region. The report comes at a time when many local governments throughout Georgia, the Carolinas and neighboring states are considering significant spending of public taxpayer and ratepayer dollars to build new water supply reservoirs. Collectively, current reservoir proposals in Georgia could cost at least $10B in taxpayer and ratepayer dollars.

NJ law intended to balance solar market

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has signed legislation into law that addresses the current imbalance of Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SREC).

Nuclear Waste Showdown Looms for N.J., Nation

Lasr month four northeastern states, including New Jersey, won an important federal appeals court decision on storage of waste from nuclear power plants.

The decision struck down a rule issued last year by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The rule would allow plants to store radioactive waste onsite for up to 60 years after the plants shut down permanently. The waste is mostly spent fuel rods, stacked in pools of water or in dry casks.

Peach Bottom investigation: Security officals falsified records

A federal investigation has found that two security officials stationed at Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station falsified security post inspection documents.

In response, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a Severity Level IV violation to Exelon Nuclear regarding the security post checks and falsified records, said Neil Sheehan, a commission spokesman.

Political genius: How the plastic bag industry got behind a recycling bill

The political wonks that crafted Illinois Senate Bill 3442 did something rather remarkable: They wrote a bill about plastic bags that appealed to the plastic industry and promoted recycling at the same time. The measure passed both chambers of the legislature in Illinois in a bipartisan manner and is awaiting Gov. Pat Quinn's signature.

So how did they do it? With a bag ban ban, of course.

Puerto Rico Sparks an Energy Revolution

With power costs more than twice the U.S. national average, Puerto Rico needed an energy revolution if it were to ever rise out of its long economic funk. A year after taking office in 2009 - in the midst of the U.S. commonwealths five-year recession and a worldwide credit crunch - Gov. Luis Fortuno enacted a sweeping energy reform package aimed at reducing the islands nearly 70 percent reliance on imported oil for power production.

Quebec cleans up final scrap tire stockpiles in province

The last of roughly 45.5 million stockpiled scrap tires in Quebec have been removed and recycled with the cleanup of the province's last remaining stockpile, according to provincial and municipal officials.

Report of Solar-Geophysical Activity

New flux emergence was observed, chance for a C-class flare.  y mid to late on day 2 (28 July), a recurrent coronal hole high speed stream (CH HSS) is expected to become geoeffective causing unsettled to active periods. Unsettled to active periods are expected on day 3 (29 July) due to the combined effects of the CH HSS and the 25 July coronal mass ejection.

Report Shows Potential for Global Small Hydro Growth and Development

A new report from energy market analyst GlobalData indicates that governments around the world are beginning to see advantages of small hydropower development, has learned.

Republicans Say China Oil Deal Highlights U.S. Inaction

China's plan to gain a bigger foothold in North American oil production shows the U.S. government needs a more aggressive energy policy, a group of influential Senate Republicans said on Thursday, while a Democratic leader called for review of a Chinese bid to buy a major Canadian oil firm.

Republic Services, Arizona county share in $1.5M landfill fine

Republic Services Inc. and Maricopa County (Ariz.) Solid Waste Department will share in a $1.5 million fine over various violations at the now-closed Queen Creek Landfill, East Valley Independent Newspapers reported.

Secrets to Surviving a Hospital Stay

At some point, almost everyone will be hospitalized, whether for an illness, operation or from an accident. And patients who check in also expect to check out, alive and in better shape than when they entered. Unfortunately, however, many patients go straight from the hospital to the funeral home.

Slow Down Massive Immigration to Save Jobs for Unemployed Arizona Residents

Even as tens of thousands of Arizona workers are struggling to find a job, Congress has continued to issue 125,000 new work visas a month to immigrants and other foreign workers. This equals 1.5 million new foreign workers each year, who compete directly with Arizona residents for a very limited number of Arizona's jobs.

SoberLook - The Euro is No Longer a "Risk-on" Asset

The euro has completely decoupled from other financial instruments that would be classified as "risk-on" assets.  Risk-on/off sentiment changes have dominated global market dynamics for several years (see this write-up from Attain Capital for an overview). The following scatter plots show EUR levels vs. other risk asset prices over the past couple of years (red asterisk indicates current levels).

Solar expected to make up 40 percent of PG&E's renewable portfolio by 2020

Solar power, which makes up a tiny part of California's overall energy mix, will account for the biggest piece of the state's renewable energy pie by the end of the decade, according to the state's largest utilities.

Solar Impulse completes first ever solar-powered intercontinental journey

As anticipated, the Solar Impulse HB-SIA experimental solar-powered aircraft completed the first ever solar-powered intercontinental roundtrip journey between Europe and Africa today. The roughly 6,000 km (3,728 mile) trip commenced on May 24 and consisted of a total of eight legs averaging 800 km (497 miles) before reaching its conclusion with a landing back where it all began in Payerne, Switzerland at 8:30 pm on July 24, local time.

Steny Hoyer: Neither party is spoiling for a fight over a government shutdown

America, do not worry: Congressional leaders say they don’t want to shut the government down come Sept. 30, when the fiscal year expires. The question is, however, how exactly they’re going to keep the doors open with only six working days in September, the month after Congress’s month-long August recess.

“We have a very short time to do it,” said House minority whip Steny Hoyer (D) of Maryland at a breakfast sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor on Wednesday. Hoyer said, referring to government funding, “I think the political judgment is going to be, ‘Let’s not fight about this.’ "

Study: Ocean waves could power Australia

Ocean waves could supply as much as 11 percent of Australia's electricity by 2050, a government research study released Wednesday found.

Syrian Chemical Weapons Admission Could Be Turning Point

The Syrian government's statement yesterday that it has stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons but will only use them in the face of “external aggression” was most likely made in response to the sudden surge in rebel attacks that appear to be loosening President Bashar al-Assad's hold on power. The announcement could lead the international community to reconsider its approach to the crisis in Syria given the possibility that the Assad regime could use these weapons on its own people if sufficiently threatened.

Taxation by Mis-Representation

When Barack Obama ran for president, he promised the American people he wouldn't raise taxes. Last month, when the Supreme Court ruled that the provision at the heart of Obamacare was a big tax, it confirmed what we suspected all along: he wasn't telling the truth.

The Results are In...

Well, the results are officially in. The United States's War on Poverty has officially been declared a failure. A dud.

There have been trillions of our tax dollars spent and now we face unprecedented levels of poverty not seen since L. B. Johnson introduced his great societal experiment on the American public in 1965. And the government behemoth that we've allowed to grow is asking for more money from its citizens to continue feeding this failing social program.

The Saudi Problem

Saudi Arabia is once again the biggest producer of oil in the world, surpassing Russia to regain its title. Saudi Arabia happens to be one of the most repressive and undemocratic regimes in the world. The Economist magazine ranked Saudi Arabia 161st out of 167 countries in their most recent Democracy Index.

Thirsty South Asia's river rifts threaten "water wars"

As the silver waters of the Kishanganga rush through this north Kashmir valley, Indian laborers are hard at work on a hydropower project that will dam the river just before it flows across one of the world's most heavily militarized borders into Pakistan.

Transparent solar cells let windows generate electricity

In the future, solar panels will no longer be restricted to the roof. You'll be able to put them on your windows too....The transparent solar cell is made out of a plastic that absorbs invisible infared light while letting most visible light pass through.

UCLA produces transparent solar cells that harness infrared light

A UCLA team has developed a new type of solar cell that is nearly 70 percent transparent to the naked eye. The plastic cells, which use infrared instead of visible light, are also more economical than other types of cells because they are made by an inexpensive polymer solution process and nanowire technology, potentially paving the way for cheaper solar windows.

UK in a Deeper Recession Than Thought

Britain is suffering a far deeper recession than thought, official figures showed Wednesday in a development that is likely to increase the pressure on the government to ease up on its tough austerity approach.

Uranium supply 'sufficient for over 100 years': OECD/IAEA report

Uranium resources and production are on the rise with security of uranium supply ensured for the long term, the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency and the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a joint statement Thursday to announce publication of a new report.

U.S. 30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage Averages a Record-Breaking 3.49 Percent

Freddie Mac (OTC: FMCC) yesterday released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS), showing fixed mortgages rates continuing their streak of record-breaking lows. The 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.49 percent, more than a full percentage point lower than a year ago when it averaged 4.55 percent. Meanwhile, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, a popular choice for those looking to refinance, also set another record low at 2.80 percent.

US creating zones in six states to quickly develop solar energy

The Obama administration announced a plan on Tuesday to open public land in six southwestern states to speed up the development of solar energy, while blocking projects in areas deemed environmentally sensitive.

The plan allows for 17 zones covering about 285,000 acres of federal land in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.

USDA Declares Drought Disaster Emergency in More Counties

The worsening drought has prompted the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to designate 76 counties in six states as natural disaster areas, bringing to 1,234 the number of drought-affected counties eligible for emergency assistance.

Video Spotlight: Hiker Captures Beauty of Wildflowers at Winnemucca Lake

Winnemucca Lake in the El Dorado National Forest of California is a sacred site to the Northern Paiute people. Even a 2002 study by the Bureau of Land Management lists the lake as a “culturally significant area.”

What does your food backup plan look like?

If you're like me, you're absolutely positive about one thing--you need to have some sort of emergency food backup plan for you and your family. You never know when you're going to be dropped right in the middle of an emergency situation.

What's next? Ban the plastic bag ban bans too?

The libertarian blood that flows inside every American – even if it’s just a few drops – should start simmering whenever any lawmaker proposes a “ban.”

Prohibitions are, by definition, limits on behavior, cuts in freedom. They are government decrees that forbid adults from certain things and certain activities.

Wind farm rises on Alaskan island

Look hard to the west from mainland Anchorage. The horizon is changing fast. Tall towers are rising up on Fire Island as Cook Inlet Region Inc. builds its long-talked-about wind farm. By the end of September, it is expected to be producing electricity -- the first megawatt-scale wind project in Southcentral Alaska.

Years of effort await tidal energy developer

Now that the celebratory speeches are over, there's no shortage of work to be done to bring to reality Ocean Renewable Power Co.'s vision of harnessing ocean tides to generate electricity.

On Tuesday, more than 200 advocates of the concept gathered in Eastport for the formal dedication of Ocean Renewable's first TidGen turbine, which is scheduled to be submerged at a Cobscook Bay test site in August.


July 24, 2012


$11.4 billion in recyclables landfilled in 2010, report says

In 2010, the value of packaging landfilled in the U.S. was worth $11.4 billion, according to a report released today.

The study, titled "Unfinished Business: The Case for Extended Producer Responsibility for Post-Consumer Packaging," was published by As You Sow, a nonprofit organization that promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy, coalition building and legal strategies.

A power house of power

A claim like "the largest power house in the world" wouldn't be associated with Iowa today, but 100 years ago, Keokuk made the claim.

Are Hidden Pesticides Putting Your Health at Risk?

Everyone knows that pesticides kill bugs. However, these poisons are bad for people, too, and are linked to health problems ranging from irritation of skin, eyes, and lungs to nervous system toxicity, ADHD, cancer, hormone system effects, and miscarriages.

A “Third Way” Approach for U.S.-China Solar Trade

Chinese manufacturers and the Chinese government argue that they did not receive unlawful or excessive incentives and did not sell solar cells and modules at below cost. Also, they allege that not enough attention is given the other factors that allow a cost advantage over U.S. makers, namely “know how” and scale. They claim the solar manufacturers coalition’s trade case was brought forward because SolarWorld had lost its competitive edge and couldn’t compete successfully in a highly competitive marketplace.

Bacteria outbreak in Northern Europe due to ocean warming, study says

Manmade climate change is the main driver behind the unexpected emergence of a group of bacteria in northern Europe which can cause gastroenteritis, new research by a group of international experts shows.

The paper, published in the journal Nature Climate Change on Sunday, provided some of the first firm evidence that the warming patterns of the Baltic Sea have coincided with the emergence of Vibrio infections in northern Europe.

Bank failures reach 38 for year

The five closed firms make a total of 38 bank failures for the year, The Street reported.

The FDIC said the five closures would cost its deposit insurance fund a total of $151.3 million.

Biogas may power county cars

For years Pima County officials have struggled with what to do about smelly sewer gas.

Their newest potential solution -- put it in their cars and drive it to work.

That's right. County planners are looking at the possibility of turning gas from a wastewater treatment plant into fuel that can power county vehicles.

Bio-Retina to enter clinical trials in 2013

At least 25-30 million people worldwide have age-related macular degeneration (AMD), one of the leading causes of blindness in middle-aged and older adults. Israeli start-up Nano Retina has announced its new Bio-Retina, a tiny array of photodetectors which can be implanted directly on the retinal surface. Ready to enter clinical trials in 2013, the Bio-Retina restores vision to AMD sufferers almost immediately following the simple implantation process.

Colo. Gov. Hickenlooper: More Laws Would Not Have Stopped Tragedy

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said no law could have prevented suspect James Holmes from carrying out the act of terror that rocked an Aurora movie theater early Friday morning and left 12 dead.

Comstock Partners: 'Overwhelming' Evidence of Recession Ahead

Retail sales have fallen for three consecutive months. Monthly jobs reports have consistently failed to meet expectations, while indices gauging the manufacturing sector, once the bright spot of U.S. recovery, are slumping also. Consumer confidence is down and home sales are off as well despite some improvements seen in the sector.

Concealed Carry Prevents Violent Crimes

One common excuse for gun control, designed to sound scientific, is 10 that guns re a public health problem, that guns are “pathogens”

( germs) which must be eliminated to eliminate the “disease” of gun violence. This simply is not true. To be true, the presence of a gun would cause the disease (violence) in all those exposed to it, and in its absence, violence should not be found.

Deepwater Horizon oil spill may have played role in dolphin deaths

In the first four months of 2011, 186 bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) were found dead in the Gulf of Mexico, nearly half of them dolphin calves many of whom were perinatal, or near birth. Researchers now believe a number of factors may have killed the animals. Writing in the open-access journal PLoS ONE, scientists theorize that the dolphins died a sudden influx of freshwater from snowmelt after being stressed and weakened by an abnormally cold winter and the impacts of the BP oil spill.

DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano had few answers

Reps. Elton Gallegly and Steve King challenged Sec. Napolitano over the issue of work permits. It took Rep. Gallegly four tries before he could get Sec. Napolitano to answer his question asking how many illegal aliens would receive work permits while 14 million Americans remain unemployed. Rep. King told Sec. Napolitano that he has an issue when prosecutorial discretion results in the issuance of work permits and he told her he'll "see her in court".

Did last month's storm prove nation's energy grid is at risk?

Now that normalcy has returned, Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., has raised a frightening question:

Did the crippling storm expose a vulnerability to the nation's energy grid?

"I believe this storm has far greater implications than just being one for the record books," Rahall said, in joining other officials to support Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's efforts to land federal relief money for West Virginians.

Doomsday All Over Again? Second ‘End Date’ Reference Discovered in Mayan Text

Carved blocks uncovered at La Corona show scenes of Mayan life and record a political history of the city.

Recently a second Mayan text has been found that reveals an “end date,” for the Mayan calendar, but don’t schedule your doomsday party just yet. This end date doesn’t refer to the end of the world.

Dubai in clean energy push

Dubai is gearing up to be the venue where world leaders and policy makers will draw the road map for finding practical, cost-effective and green energy solutions for sustainable development.

Electric Car Breaks 500 Mile Barrier

The arguments against an electric car are growing fewer. A vehicle in development by ECOmove – a consortium of Danish car builders – has unveiled a car that can travel 500 miles without refueling. Once a sticking point for electric vehicles, distance could be ticked off the list of grievances the driving populace has with electrics.

Fool's Gold and Oxygen

Although this affects the concentration of free oxygen, sulfur has traditionally been portrayed as a secondary factor in regulating atmospheric oxygen, with most of the free oxygen effect done by carbon. However, new findings that appeared this week in Science suggest that sulfur's role in the oxygen cycle may have been underestimated.

Governor Christie signs S1925, Solar Acceleration Legislation, saving thousands of solar jobs

During the past few years the New Jersey solar industry has boomed. Installed solar generation capacity exceeded the amount required under the New Jersey Renewable Portfolio Standard, creating a potential crash of this thriving industry. A total of over 800 MW of solar generation is now operating in New Jersey, which is more than even the peak capacity of the state's first nuclear power plant. Until the bill was passed, the amount of solar built was several hundred megawatts more than originally planned at this point in time, and the excess threatened to put the industry into a severe decline for the next several years.

Interior Breaks Another Federal Law Involving Tribes and Indians

The Interior Department has confirmed that it broke a federal law by not publishing a list of federally recognized tribes by January 30, 2012.

Nedra Darling, a spokeswoman for Interior, said the Department is working to publish the list, which is now six months overdue. She did not say why the delay happened in the first place.

Iraq: Insurgents kill nearly 100 after declaring new offensive

"In a coordinated display intended to show they remain a viable force, Iraqi insurgents launched at least 37 separate attacks throughout the country on Monday morning, setting off car bombs, storming a military base, attacking policemen in their homes and ambushing checkpoints, Iraqi authorities said. At least 99 people were killed and more than 300 wounded in the single bloodiest day this year, according to local Iraqi officials in the many areas where attacks took place."

Israel plans to revive ailing Jordan river

The River Jordan is neither deep nor wide these days.

The Biblical river, which has inspired countless spirituals and folk songs, is just a narrow stream in many parts - polluted and stagnant. But that's about to change.

Japan Fukushima probe says reactors unready for natural disaster

A government-appointed inquiry into Japan's Fukushima nuclear crisis raised doubts on Monday about whether other atomic plants were prepared for massive disasters despite new safety rules, and delivered a damning assessment of the regulators and the station's operator.

Millions Use Payday Loans for Daily Living Costs

Each year, 12 million Americans spend $7.4 billion on payday loans, and seven out of 10 borrowers use these loans to cover ordinary living expenses, a new report from Pew Charitable Trusts shows.

Moody's: Cities May Be Losing Willingness to Pay Debts

Bankruptcy decisions by Stockton and San Bernardino in California signal more cities may be losing their willingness to pay debt obligations, Moody’s Investors Service said.

New solar cells may bring 'power' windows

New transparent solar cells will let windows in homes and offices generate electricity while still allowing people to see outside, U.S. scientists say.

Over-the-Counter Pain Killers Can Kill You

Over-the-counter pain relievers can kill more than just pain — taking more than the recommended amount can kill you as well.

"A Scottish study just found that people often take too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) without realizing it, and even a little extra can cause liver damage that can kill you...

PSU Study Finds 'Caffeinated' Coastal Waters

Portland, OR — A new study finds elevated levels of caffeine at several sites in Pacific Ocean waters off the coast of Oregon — though not necessarily where researchers expected.

Report: Arizona could lose 49,000 jobs if federal budget cuts take affect

An aerospace industry report claims that more than one million jobs will be lost, with another 1 million lost indirectly, if a federal budget-cuttng plan is allowed to take effect on Jan. 2, 2013, as planned. Arizona job losses are estimated at 49,000.

Report of Solar-Geophysical Activity

Solar activity was low. C2 C1 flare.  MEs are not expected to disturb the geomagnetic field. Solar activity is expected to be at very low levels with a chance for C-class events for the forecast period (24 - 26 July). The geomagnetic field was at quiet to unsettled levels with intervals
of active to minor storm conditions observed.  The proton event,  The geomagnetic field is expected to be at quiet to unsettled levels with a chance for active periods on day 1 (24 July) due to effects from a coronal hole high speed stream. 

Report: Wind farms add billions of dollars to local economies

Illinois’ 23 largest wind farms — several of which are in Central Illinois — will add $5.8 billion to local economies over the life of the projects, according to an Illinois State University study released Tuesday.

Retail Expert: 80% of Consumers Fear US Recession Will Last Three More Years

The U.S. economy remains mired in a recession that will last another three years, said Wendy Liebmann, CEO and Chief Shopper of WSL/Strategic Retail, a consultancy.

Eight out of 10 Americans told Liebmann in a survey they "think the recession will last another three or more years," she told Yahoo News.

Russia's Gazprom skeptical of US-led shale gas boom

Russia's state-owned natural gas company says the US shale-gas boom is economically unsustainable -- and it's buttressing its claim with financial data collected by an American consulting firm located less than 20 miles from the White House.

Scientists, utilities urge Low Carbon Fuel Standard

Future fuels will be cleaner and cheaper with more "Made in America" status if the U.S. adopts a national Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). That's the belief of scientists from six of the nation's leading research institutions, including Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of California, the University of Illinois, the University of Maine, Carnegie Mellon University, and the International Food Policy Research Institute.

Senators host briefing on fuel cell and hydrogen technologies to initiate launch of new fuel cell and hydrogen caucus

Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John Hoeven (R-N.D), and Chris Coons (D-Del.) hosted a U.S. Senate policy briefing as a first step in launching the new bipartisan Senate Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Caucus. This caucus will promote the continued development and commercialization of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in the United States. The senators hosted the briefing to educate the public about the value of these clean energy technologies – which have helped to create 11,000 jobs in the United States – and to invite innovative ideas to advance the industry.

Shilling: If US Isn’t Already in Recession, We’re Very Close

Economist Gary Shilling says if the U.S. economy isn’t already in a recession, it is getting very close.

“My view is that our nervous markets are anticipating this global recession,” Shilling wrote in Forbes magazine.

“Most stock markets around the world have largely erased their earlier 2012 gains in anticipation of further economic weakness and a collapse in corporate profits,” he noted.

Skip the Refined Carbs

For more than 30 years, every child in America was taught about the “food pyramid,” which was established by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to educate people about how to eat healthy foods. The USDA was promoting the food pyramid as a way to combat the growing obesity problem.

The Debt Wall and Its Repercussions

It is no secret that the U.S. is facing a debt crisis today. The national debt has risen to $14 trillion this year and is expected to go up to $16 trillion in 2012. High interest rates and budget deficit problems are among the main reasons why the national debt has ballooned to this amount. And as long as the U.S. government can’t find a way to lower down the country’s debt, the country and its citizens will suffer from its repercussions.

The oil industry's lure of the deep (waters)

If you thought 2008 was a heyday for deepwater drilling, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

At least that's the message suggested by the first two drillers, Noble Corporation and Diamond Offshore, that reported second-quarter earnings this week. While earnings were healthy, it was the commentary by the drillers' managers that made Wall Street sit up and take notice. 

The world’s first SolarKiosk opens in Ethiopia

On July 15th, the world’s first SolarKiosk was officially opened near Lake Langano, Ethiopia. The portable solar shop was designed in Germany by Graft architects and provides an “autonomous business unit” that sells energy, products, tools and services. With approximately 1.5 billion people around the globe who remain without access to a stable source of light, the SolarKiosk is intended to provide a safe and affordable solution for inhabitants in off-the-grid areas.

US has fewest cattle in at least 4 decades

A widespread drought that's forcing ranchers to sell off animals has helped shrink the nation's cattle herd to its smallest number in at least four decades.

US Military Advantage Hurt by Helicopter Tech Sale to China

The sheer size of China’s aerospace market appears to have enticed U.S.-based defense contractor United Technologies Corporation and its subsidiaries, Hamilton Sundstrand and Pratt & Whitney Canada, to intentionally ignore U.S. export restrictions by illegally exporting critical software systems that were used to build China’s first attack helicopter. China’s desire to circumvent Washington-imposed arms embargoes is hardly surprising, but the involvement by U.S. firms is, and seems to be a sign of a new challenge to American security.

Will Rogers: Actor, Comedian, Political Pundit, Truth Teller—And Proud Cherokee

Of Congress, Rogers said, “Every time they make a joke, it’s a law.… And every time they make a law, it’s a joke.”

Zebra Mussels Threaten Public Water Systems

Cities across the Midwest are on alert after zebra mussels nearly halted one city's water intake system and continue to threaten other public supplies and waterways.

"Some utilities are being overwhelmed," says John Mitchell, director of the water practice at Burns & McDonnell. "Planning for the inevitable invasion of these mollusks is critical. Almost every surface water supply in the Midwest is at risk."


July 20, 2012


"All of the above" energy policy includes cow dung

Republicans in Congress have been blunt in their assessment of the Obama administration's renewable energy policies: they are a pile of manure.

Allowing citizens to have weapons cuts crime

The indisputable conclusion drawn from Lott's research is that in every case liberalized right-to-carry laws have caused violent crime rates to plummet. It's not difficult to understand why this happens. As a whole, street thugs and other criminal opportunists are cowards. They fear an armed populace. And although violent crime will always be with us, the deterrent effect of a reasonable concealed weapons law does indeed benefit society as a whole.

Alternate Unemployment Chart

The U-3 unemployment rate is the monthly headline number. The U-6 unemployment rate is the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) broadest unemployment measure, including short-term discouraged and other marginally-attached workers as well as those forced to work part-time because they cannot find full-time employment.

Amonix Closes 150-MW Las Vegas HCPV Plant

Amonix, the clear market leader in installed high concentrating photovoltaics (HCPV), has shut down its North Las Vegas manufacturing operation a little more than a year after its much-hyped opening.

Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun*

Crime victims used to be ignored by criminologists. Then, beginning slowly in the 1940s and more rapidly in the 1970s, interest in the victim's role in crime grew.

Asia Report: The Dawn of Japan's Offshore Wind Era

While solar is currently making the biggest renewable waves in Japan, the country is also moving quickly toward offshore wind, with the recent announcement that an offshore wind demonstration project would begin producing electricity by January.

As predicted, humongous iceberg breaks away from Greenland glacier

Last autumn, scientists predicted that the Petermann Glacier, which is larger than the island of Manhattan, would soon break way from the Greenland ice sheet. They were right.

A massive iceberg larger than Manhattan has broken away from the floating end of a Greenland glacier this week

Bailout Fund Could Become Eurozone Budget Authority, Says ECB

Eurozone states need to give up more sovereignty in order to fix the construction flaws of the euro, with the bailout fund possibly turning into a budget authority further down the road, European Central Bank board member Joerg Asmussen has said.

Bernanke: Recession Likely If Congress Doesn't Act

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke painted a dark picture of where the U.S. economy is headed if Congress fails to reach agreement soon to avert a budget crisis.

Bernanke slams Ron Paul's Fed audit bill

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Wednesday rebutted Republican lawmakers pushing a bill that would give Congress the ability to review monetary policy decisions, saying it could compromise central bank independence.

Bold rebel bombing strikes Syria’s inner circle; president’s brother-in-law among the dead

Rebels penetrated the heart of Syria’s power elite Wednesday, detonating a bomb inside a high-level crisis meeting in Damascus that killed three leaders of the regime, including President Bashar Assad’s brother-in-law and the defense minister.

BP pays $5.2 million penalty for false royalty reports

BP America paid a $5.2 million civil penalty "for submitting false, inaccurate or misleading reports" regarding royalties from natural gas production on the Southern Ute Indian reservation in southwestern Colorado, a US Department of the Interior agency said Wednesday.

Britain Tops New Energy Efficiency Scorecard, U.S. Way Behind

The United Kingdom ranks highest on a new energy efficiency scorecard of the world's 12 major economies, followed by Germany, Italy, and Japan. The first International Energy Efficiency Scorecard was published today by the Washington-based nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, ACEEE.

Brzezinski to Newsmax: War With Iran Could Last Years, Devastate Global Economy

“A war in the Middle East, in the present context, may last for years,” Brzezinski, who served in the Carter White House, tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview. “And the economic consequences of it are going to be devastating for the average American.

Camp offers insights on renewable energy

Students attending an energy camp at Hillsborough Community College's SouthShore campus recently were charged with enthusiasm about alternative fuels.

Carbon capture would create substantial challenges, witnesses say at energy hearing

CARBON CAPTURE -- a key technology component of proposed federal regulations for coal-fired power plants -- doesn't yet exist and, if developed, would create substantial new challenges, energy industry leaders said Monday.

'Clean-energy' jobs add up

Ohio's clean-energy economy accounts for about twice as many jobs as mining and logging, employing nearly as many people as live in the city of Hilliard, according to a new report.

Clean Energy Loans Targeted during Hearings

A U.S. House committee put the Obama administration clean energy policy on trial as it considered legislation that would essentially end the federal loan guarantee program for clean energy technologies.

Collapsing German Yields Impacting Currency Markets

With German government yields collapsing, the two-year rate just touched a new low yesterday - negative 6bp. The 3-year yield is negative as well.

Conservative Thinkers Entertain Liberal Idea: Carbon Taxes

Conservative thinkers are playing host to a liberal idea: the enactment of carbon taxes. The issue is making news right before the national elections in the fall, and it could gain increasing momentum.

Could the US Cut Households Electricity Use by Two-Thirds?

Your mind-blowing chart of the day, courtesy of Arne Jungjohann at the Heinrich Böll Foundation.  To be fair, there's little need for air conditioning in Germany compared to the United States, but ...

CPI Unchanged on Falling Energy Prices; Deflation Risk Begins to Edge Up

The latest inflation data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show the CPI unchanged in June, following a 0.3 percent decrease in May. For the full year, the CPI has risen just 1.7 percent, well below the Fed’s target of 2 percent. Since the beginning of June, an important indicator of the risk of Japanese-style deflation has begun to rise for the first time in two years.

Crop Situation Getting Worse

The only time we've been lower on crop conditions in recent decades was during the 1988 drought (see this link for more background on droughts). However the current drought is by no means over and we may be going considerably below 30% on the chart above.

Dominion, Exelon Lead Coal Retirements

There was 1,635.5 MW of coal-fired capacity that was retired in the January-May period this year, with the single largest part of that coming through the March retirement of the State Line power plant in Indiana of Dominion Resources (NYSE: D), said a report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Electrochemical flow capacitor: Hybrid battery-supercapacitor design targets grid storage

Drexel University research combining the best features of batteries and supercapacitors could lead to a more stable, greener energy grid

Energy Harvesting Costs Drop by 50%

According to Darnell’s fourth-edition analysis of “Energy Harvesting & Related Energy Storage Devices, Worldwide Forecasts”, the energy harvesting and wireless sensor market has been negatively impacted in the near-term by the general down-turn in the economy and particularly by the slow-down in the construction industry. At the same time, there has been acceleration in technology development in this sector.

Facebook's Still Debating Whether or Not to Let in Your 12-Year-Old; Are You Still Concerned?

I'm 27 years old.

Actually, I'm not 27 years old. I'm 26 years old. I just lied on the internet! And trust me, it really is so easy that a preteen can do it.

FDA OKs Weight Loss Drug Qsymia

The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved a new weight loss drug from Vivus Inc. that many doctors consider the most effective therapy in a new generation of anti-obesity pills designed to help patients safely shed pounds.

FDA to Ban BPA from Baby Bottles; Plan Falls Short of Needed Protections: Scientists

The US Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday that the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) is now officially banned from the manufacturing of baby bottles and sippy cups -- a move that researchers say still falls short of sufficient regulation. Environmental groups say more should be done to ban BPA from all consumer products including infant formula and food and beverage packaging, which are not included under the new rules.

Federal Assumptions That Enfeeble Native America

Native American people and the distinctive nations they belong to exist in a paradoxical world. They are the original nations of North America, a fact that is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause and in the nearly 400 ratified treaties between their nations and the U.S.

Fertilizing oceans with iron dust helps sink carbon: study

Dumping iron in the seas can help transfer carbon from the atmosphere and bury it on the ocean floor for centuries, helping to fight climate change, according to a study released on Wednesday.

The report, by an international team of experts, provided a boost for the disputed use of such ocean fertilization for combating global warming. But it failed to answer questions over possible damage to marine life.

Firm goes off the grid with fuel cells

A biotechnology firm in California said it's taking itself "off the grid" with a fuel cell system to self-generate electricity for its company headquarters.

Forecasts show U.S. drought getting worse

The latest weather forecasts call for the drought afflicting the U.S. Midwest to worsen, taking a bigger toll on the country's corn and soybean crops, meteorologists said on Monday.

Fukushima not out of the realm in U.S.

The same underlying "man-made" problems that contributed to the Fukushima disaster are in place in the U.S. and require preventative actions beyond the limited steps taken far by the U.S. industry and its regulators, according to five groups commenting on the official report of the Japanese Parliament's Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission.

Geoengineers to release planet-cooling gas into New Mexico atmosphere

Two Harvard engineers are planning to spray thousands of tonnes of sun-reflecting chemical particles into the atmosphere to artificially cool the planet, using a balloon flying 80,000 feet over Fort Sumner, New Mexico.

The field experiment in solar geoengineering aims to ultimately create a technology to replicate the observed effects of volcanoes that spew sulphates into the stratosphere, using sulphate aerosols to bounce sunlight back to space and decrease the temperature of the Earth.

GE’s AquaSel cleans more water with less energy and money

Although water is the world’s most precious commodity, an astounding amount of it is wasted by industries. Fortunately, water treatment and recovery has become the focus of several technology companies, including GE, which recently demonstrated a water treatment technology that virtually eliminates losses at bottling plants and other water-related operations. The pilot study of GE’s AquaSel, a non-thermal brine concentrator technology, took place at the plant of a leading beverage company in Asia. GE says costs were greatly reduced and there was almost no liquid discharge.

Global demand for nuclear power remains high

Despite the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster that hit Japan last year, the global appetite for nuclear energy remains largely unchanged as emerging economic powers are set to account for much of the growth in worldwide electricity demand in the coming decades, a U.S. think tank expert said at a recent seminar in Tokyo.

Grains, Corn, Soybeans Hit Record Highs, Stir Food Crisis Fear

Corn and soybeans soared to record highs on Thursday as the worsening drought in the U.S. farm belt stirred fears of a food crisis, with prices coming off peaks after investors cashed out of the biggest grains rally since 2008.

Gulf Tensions Cloud Oil Markets

Oil markets reacted Monday to a naval escalation near Dubai, highlighting on-going tensions in the Persian Gulf region. Oil prices Friday surged higher following economic statements from China, which has experienced economic stagnation but not the hard fall predicted by some market analysts. The opening of an oil pipeline in the United Arab Emirates during the weekend may have taken some steam out of this week's crude oil prices, but military tensions in the Persian Gulf region trumped any significant physical market conditions.

House Republicans demand Obama officials testify about 2010 drilling ban

A battle between House Republicans and the Obama administration over the 2010 deepwater drilling moratorium escalated Wednesday, when a key House committee called on administration officials to testify about the six-month drill ban.

How To Beat UN Gun Control

the Second Amendment offer us any protection.  The Supremacy Clause in our own Constitution provides that treaties are the "law of the land" akin to a constitutional provision.  
The answer is to beat Obama and give the Republicans a majority in the Senate.  Either will suffice to kill the Treaty.  A Republican majority leader would certainly bring the Treaty up for a vote and it would certainly be defeated, ending its power over the U.S. and a President Romney will doubtless renounce the Treaty on taking office.

"How To Get Rid Of Tooky Gut Once And For All"

Like most individuals who have a stomach that just doesn't want to cooperate, I thought I had been doing a fairly good job of eating right. I cooked a variety of vegetables, I ate fruit, I was picky about the cuts of meat I selected, and it was whole-grain all the way in terms of bread and cereal. My milk choices were low-fat and I didn't indulge in sweets. All in all, I was following a pretty healthy plan.

Hybrid And Electric Car Sales Surge 164 Percent In June

Sales of alternative-energy vehicles typically fall rapidly after fuel prices peak, and although sales are down from the March 2012 high, they remain stronger than in previous years.

Index of U.S. Leading Indicators Falls More Than Forecast

The index of U.S. leading economic indicators fell more than forecast in June, a sign the U.S. economic expansion is slowing.

Interior Department Disses U.S. House on Tribal Federal Recognition

What if Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, held a hearing on federal recognition of tribes and no one came? At least no one from the federal agency that handles tribal recognition issues? That’s what happened on June 27, when Young called a meeting of the Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs, titled, “Authorization, standards, and procedures for whether, how, and when Indian tribes should be newly recognized by the federal government,” ..

Johnson & Johnson making great progress on aggressive sustainability goals

Johnson & Johnson just released its new CSR report, which highlights the company's many achievements. In a few areas the company exceeded its goals, including reducing carbon emissions by seven percent by the end of 2010 from 1990 levels. Johnson & Johnson exceeded that goal by achieving a 23 percent reduction.

Landfill methane powers prison generators

A new heating plant at State Correctional Institution-Laurel Highlands is a winner at several levels, state Corrections Secretary John E. Wetzel said Tuesday at the Somerset County facility.

The new system also generates more than enough electricity to power the state prison using methane gas created by decomposing material at nearby Mostoller Landfill.

Libya: Election Succeeds but Tribal Society Still Dominates

In Libya’s first election in more than 40 years, voters elected a large number of unaffiliated candidates to the body charged with writing the constitution and forming a transitional government, denying both the Muslim Brotherhood and liberals a majority say in this process. All sides are now attempting to form alliances to influence the constitution-writing and position themselves for national elections next year. While the elections were a victory for democracy, the disparate candidates and their unique agendas will complicate decision-making in the new government.

Little relief forecast for drought-damaged US crops

Midday weather updates on Wednesday indicate more hot, dry weather for the U.S. Midwest, where corn and soybean crops are rapidly deteriorating amid the harshest drought in more than half a century.

Merkel warns of global warming if no climate accord

Chancellor Angela Merkel warned on Monday that global warming will accelerate at a dramatic rate unless leaders reach a deal on limiting greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible.

Moody’s Zandi: Economy on Election Day Will Look Just Like Today

The economy on election day won't improve much from today, with unemployment rates remaining more or less where they are today, says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics.

Net Zero: Will Future Buildings Consume Significantly Less Energy or Even None at All?

When we hit the economic downturn of the late 2000s, electric usage declined in most developed regions such as Europe, Japan, and the U.S. One of the big debates in today's electric business is what to expect for future load growth. Historically, electric usage has been closely tied to economic growth and lifestyle gains. As gross domestic product grows, so does electric usage, and people's lives are assumed to be better off. So the assumption is that as economic activity picks up, so will electric demand. But lately, forecasters have questioned whether it is time to reconsider that assumption.

New polls show glaring weaknesses for both Obama and Romney

The latest polls show that both presidential candidates suffer from major weaknesses.  A sputtering economy dogs President Obama. Mitt Romney scores even lower than Mr. Obama on favorability.

NPPD making fiscal gains from heat

"I'm optimistic about the year," Bender said. "Unfortunately, our customers are going to have some pretty high bills just because of the amount of energy they've been using."

NTU's New Loo Turns Poo Into Power

Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have invented a new toilet system that will turn human waste into electricity and fertilisers and also reduce the amount of water needed for flushing by up to 90 per cent compared to current toilet systems in Singapore.

Nuclear Waste Showdown Looms for N.J., Nation

LAST MONTH four northeastern states, including New Jersey, won an important federal appeals court decision on storage of waste from nuclear power plants.

The decision struck down a rule issued last year by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The rule would allow plants to store radioactive waste onsite for up to 60 years after the plants shut down permanently. The waste is mostly spent fuel rods, stacked in pools of water or in dry casks.

Obama Kills Welfare Reform

Determined to destroy Bill Clinton's signature achievement, President Obama's administration has opened a loophole in the 1996 welfare reform legislation big enough to make the law ineffective. Its work requirement -- the central feature of the legislation -- has been diluted beyond recognition by the bureaucrats at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

On Conspiracy, Independence and Dependence

Since 9/11, major civil liberties in the U.S. have been undermined to such an extent that they seem to be hanging on by the merest of threads, or else by the mere illusion that they continue to exist. We have been repeatedly told the tragic events on September 11, 2001 is the reason why what Vice President Dick Cheney termed “the new normalcy” had to be put into place. That “normalcy” is now looking more and more like what has been called “totalitarianism” historically.

Pace of widespread Arctic drilling still uncertain

The extent of interest in widespread drilling in the Arctic for natural resources such as oil and gas is still uncertain as the commercial viability of exploration in such a remote environment is unknown and huge risks remain, a panel of experts said.

Path for Iran nuclear talks choked by tensions

In the span of just a few hours, announcements bouncing between Tehran and Washington showed the direction of their showdown: New issues are piling up even as Western envoys try to find a path to move nuclear talks forward.

Poll: Romney Edges Obama for First Time Since Becoming Nominee

Economic concerns are on the minds of voters as Mitt Romney has ticked ahead of President Barack Obama in a new poll for the first time since becoming the Republican nominee even in the face of months of negative advertising and attacks by Obama, the New York Times reported.

Prototype "flat-pack" wind turbine pops up in the UK

A new prototype wind turbine, 30 years in the making, and designed for flat-pack shipping and easy assembly, has been erected at Keele University in the UK...The turbine is able to begin rotating during light breezes as modest as 1.8 m/s (4 mph) in speed.

Ralph Nader and Friends Petition Full Panel Hearing on Sanction of San Francisco Peaks Attorney

The Hopi, Navajo and other tribes that hold the San Francisco Peaks sacred fear contamination and desecration from a wastewater-to-snow project.

Consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader and a group of individuals and nonprofit organizations interested in protecting the sacred San Francisco Peaks from spiritual and environmental degradation have petitioned the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for a full panel rehearing of a recent ruling that imposed sanctions on the pro bono attorney for the Save the Peaks Coalition.

Report: 2 Million Jobs Lost If Automatic Cuts Kick in

Automatic cuts in federal spending will cost the economy more than 2 million jobs, from defense contracting to border security to education, if Congress fails to resolve the looming budget crisis, according to an analysis released Tuesday.

The study, obtained by The Associated Press, was conducted for the Aerospace Industries Association, but it examined the shared pain for defense and domestic programs from the across-the-board reductions slated to kick in Jan. 2.

Report: FBI Didn't Probe Ft. Hood Shooter Over 'Political Correctness'

The FBI was too concerned about political correctness and did not launch an investigation into a man who was later charged with killing 13 people in a 2009 attack at the Fort Hood military installation in Texas, despite significant warning signs that he was an Islamic extremist bent on killing civilians, according to a lawmaker briefed on a new report about the terrorist attack.

Report of Solar-Geophysical Activity

Solar activity was high. CME was subsequently observed.  This CME is not expected to be geoeffective. C-flare. Geomagnetic field activity was generally quiet.

Researchers Develop Technique To Help Pollution Forecasters See Past Clouds

Until now, scientists who study air pollution using satellite imagery have been limited by weather. Clouds, in particular, provide much less information than a sunny day.

University of Iowa scientists have created a technique to help satellites "see" through the clouds and better estimate the concentration of pollutants, such as soot.

Roubini: End of Bush Tax Cuts Could Spark Global Recession

Economist Nouriel Roubini is standing by his prediction for a global "perfect storm" next year as economies the world over slow down or shudder to a complete halt, geopolitical risk grows and the eurozone's debt crisis accelerates.

Roubini, the New York University professor dubbed "Dr. Doom" for predicting the 2008 financial crisis, highlighted five factors that could derail the global economy.

Senators Rebuke Interior on Missing Tribal Jobs Reports

Congressional pressure is mounting on the U.S. Department of the Interior for officials there to explain why they haven’t released any tribal economic and employment reports since 2007, in violation of biennial reporting requirements mandated by federal law.

Shale oil bonanza to cost refiners billions

America's shale oil boom is great news for U.S. industry, jobs and consumers, but it could cost global refiners billions.

Banking on rising demand for transport fuels, oil companies around the world have committed as much as $100 billion over the last decade on equipment to turn heavy oil into valuable refined products such as gasoline, jet fuel and petrochemicals.

Studies: In drought conditions, organic farming methods give crops better water-holding capacity

As the Midwestern drought has hung on and more states are reporting damage to their impending corn crop, Tom Philpott of Mother Jones reflected on a recent Nature study that found that industrial agricultural methods were found to produce higher yields than farms that used organic methods. (He notes he was not convinced by the study but he continues on that, in any case, "under conditions of extreme weather, things absolutely change. "Soils managed with organic methods have shown better water-holding capacity and water infiltration rates and have produced higher yields than conventional systems under drought conditions and excessive rainfall," Philpott reports.

Tax Return Hypocrisy: Pelosi, Reid Won't Release Their Filings

Democrats shouting the loudest about Mitt Romney’s reluctance to release his tax returns do not apply the same standards to themselves, according to a McClatchy News Service report.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California and Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, the two Democratic leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives, are among hundreds of elected officials from both parties who refused to release their tax records, McClatchy reported.

Texans Sickened by 'Accidental' Gas, Oil, Chemical Emissions

Flares, leaking pipelines and tanks emitted 92,000 tons of toxic chemicals into the air during accidents, break-downs and maintenance at Texas oil and gas facilities, refineries and petrochemical plants over the past three years, finds a report released today by the nonprofit Environmental Integrity Project, EIP.

The Alternative Crowd: Unusual Renewable Energies

Considering their popularity, "alternative energy" is almost a misnomer for increasingly mainstream energy sources like wind, solar and biofuels. Some alternative energies still fit the title, however. These renewables, which will principally provide power for small devices, use unusual sources to create their juice, including vibrations, clothing, viruses, water — even the movements of the human body.

The Monetary Elephant In The Room: Fed Debt Financing Charade

Most mainstream commentators seem oblivious to the fact that the Fed purchased an unprecedented 61% of U.S. debt issued in 2011.

The Navy's Green Strike Group Sails on Biofuels Blend: Will It Sail Again?

In Hawaii, the US Navy demonstrated its Green Strike Group as part of the 2012 Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC), the world's largest international maritime warfare exercise that includes 40 surface ships, six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel from 22 different nations.

This is What 37,000 Layoffs in the Wind Industry Looks Like

This graphic, put together by the wind industry, illustrates how an expiration of the production tax credit may impact employment in the U.S. Notice the spike in activity before the drop-off. That’s due to the rush of development we’re seeing currently in the lead up to the lapse of the credit. But even if the credit is extended at the end of the year, it looks like 2013 will be a poor year for installations. Developers need a lead-time of about 18 months, so many of them have put projects on hold without any clarity on if the credit will be extended. That’s why we’re already seeing manufacturers lay people off.

Turkey: Neutral Like Switzerland, But in Words Only

Turkish foreign policy has shifted to confrontation with the Syrian regime, a former ally, and supporting Syrian opposition groups. At the same time, Turkey has been trying to establish a better relationship with Iran, while ties to another former ally, Israel, deteriorate. Turkey’s Islamist government may profess adherence to Swiss-like neutrality, but its actions add up to an activist foreign policy that both supports and challenges the interests of its NATO allies.

Uninformed Generation X are unconcerned about climate change

As the United States suffers a summer of record-shattering heat and the UK experiences record summer rainfall, a University of Michigan report finds that Generation X is lukewarm about climate change - uninformed about the causes and unconcerned about the potential dangers.

"Most Generation Xers are surprisingly disengaged, dismissive or doubtful about whether global climate change is happening and they don't spend much time worrying about it," said Jon D. Miller, author of "The Generation X Report."

US DOE awards $11 million for advanced nuclear reactor research, design

The US Department of Energy on Tuesday awarded $11 million for nuclear reactor technology in research and design to improve safety, performance and cost competitiveness.

U.S. Existing Home Sales Unexpectedly Declined in June while Initial Jobless Claims Surged Last Week

Existing home sales in the US declined 5.4% to 4.37 million annualized units in June 2012 from May’s upwardly revised pace of 4.62 million. Market expectations for June were for a stronger 4.62 million reading in the month.

U.S. Fed's Beige Book Report: "Overall Economic Activity Expanded at a Modest to Moderate Pace" in June and Early July

The Fed's Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions, otherwise known as the ‘Beige Book', compiled using data collected on or before July 9, 2012 in preparation for the July 31 to August 1 Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, indicated that overall economic activity "continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace" in the period since the last report in early June. Specifically, eight Federal Reserve Districts reported modest or moderate growth (compared to 10 in the last report), three Districts reported a slower pace of growth (compared to only one previously), and one cited "mixed activity" (there was one report of steady growth in the previous report to round out the Districts).

US Mired in Weakness as Factory Activity Slows, Jobless-Aid Spikes

The slowdown in the U.S. economy persisted early in the third quarter with factory activity in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region contracting in July for a third straight month and new claims for jobless aid surging last week.

US oil refineries, cranking away...except on the Atlantic Coast

Although analysts polled by Platts Monday were slightly off, expecting the average national run rate to increase to 93.1% of capacity, run rates at 92%--what the EIA reported for last week--mark a break in a trend where recent run rates have been approaching levels not seen in the US since a 93.6% run rate back in July 2007.

Wealthy Flee France Top Tax Rate of 75%; Cameron Lays Out Red Carpet

The higher the tax rate, the greater the length people will go to avoid it. France is a case in point.

An 'Exodus' of Wealthy is underway even before French parliament has passed Hollande's proposed top tax rate of 75%.

Wind energy is safe; calls for moratorium would put significant clean energy investments and jobs at risk

Calls for a moratorium on wind energy development pending results of a Health Canada study are not warranted because the balance of scientific and medical evidence to date clearly concludes that sound from wind turbines does not adversely impact human health, says the Canadian Wind Energy Association

Wind Farm Operators Adjust to Noise Responses

Over the past several years, wind farm developers have been facing increasing complaints about wind turbine noise. After many years of successfully placing turbines in proximity to homes in farm and ranch country, where typical setbacks of 800 to 1,200 feet, and noise levels of 50dB or more, were well tolerated, wind energy companies are finding that residents in rural areas in the upper Midwest and Northeast are far more likely than farmers and ranchers to respond negatively to turbine sound of 40dB or even less. For some in areas where nighttime ambient noise levels are low, any audible noise is found to be intrusive, creating a challenging new reality for wind energy to come to grips with.

Wind farms add billions of dollars to local economies

Illinois' 23 largest wind farms -- several of which are in Central Illinois -- will add $5.8 billion to local economies over the life of the projects, according to an Illinois State University study released Tuesday.

World Trade Body Gets Serious About Alien Species

World Trade Organization rules on food safety and animal and plant health can be used to control environmental damage caused by alien and invasive species crossing borders into new habitats, a WTO seminar agreed last week.

Worst Farm Bill Ever!

What's wrong with the U.S. House of Representative's version of the Farm Bill?

Worst-in-Generation Drought Dims US Farm Economy Hopes

Cloudless skies seldom look so ominous.

A worst-in-a-generation drought from Indiana to Arkansas to California is damaging crops and rural economies and threatening to drive food prices to record levels. Agriculture, though a small part of the $15.5 trillion U.S. economy, had been one of the most resilient industries in the past three years as the country struggled to recover from the recession.


July 17, 2012


100,000-Plus Protest Nuclear Program in Japan

The largest anti-nuclear protest in Tokyo since twin earthquake-tsunami disaster caused massive meltdown at the Fukushima power plant in March 2011.

Anywhere from 75,000 to 170,000 protesters gathered in Japan’s Yoyogi Park outside Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s official residence on July 16 to register their opposition to the restarting of the country’s nuclear program, which is under way.

Abu Dhabi ships first crude oil outside Hormuz amid renewed Iran threats

The UAE has shipped its first crude oil cargo from Fujairah, bypassing the Strait of Hormuz oil chokepoint that Iran has threatened repeatedly to shut down to oil traffic.

After coal export surge, slowdown in Europe could act as a brake

In 2011 and so far in 2012, coal exports through Hampton Roads have surged.

The boom is in part because the commodity has been undercut by cheap natural gas domestically and in part because of demand from European countries that are relying more on coal to run their power plants.

A nuclear option: After 25 years, Genoa reactor's waste gets new home

On Thursday, a 64-wheel beast of a truck creeping along at just under 1 mph hauled a cask of radioactive waste from a long-dormant power plant to a concrete pad betweenand the Mississippi River, the first of five such trips it will make this summer in one of the final chapters of the Coulee Region's atomic era.

Back-to-back La Niñas cooled globe and influenced extreme weather in 2011

The lead character of the 2011 climate story was a double dip La Niña, which chilled the Pacific at the start and end of the year. Many of the 2011 seasonal climate patterns around the world were consistent with common side effects of La Niña.

Britain's Intelligence Chief Warns Iran Closing on Bomb, Predicts Israeli Attack

The head of Britian's intelligence service warned that Iran will acquire a nuclear weapon by 2014 at the latest, and predicted a military strike may be the only way to prevent such a calamity.

Sir John Sawers, head of Britain's MI6, told a group of civil servants Friday that Iran is on the path to acquiring a weapon and predicted Israel will act to stop her.

Central Banks Knew About LIBOR Manipulation For Years -- Here's Why They Didn't Do Anything

The London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) serves as the benchmark rate for lending in dollars across the world, serving as the basis for mortgage rates, credit cards, commercial loans, financial derivatives—you name it.

Every day, 18 banks from around the world tell Thomson Reuters the price they would pay to borrow money. Thomson Reuters compiles that data, cutting off the highest and lowest four rates submitted, and the BBA publishes a composite LIBOR number.

Changes in Gait May Signal Alzheimer's

A slow or uneven gait in older patients may be more than the effect of advancing age, according to three studies that found walking disorders in the elderly also may be early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

City of Atwater, CA Breaks Ground on 1.1 MW Solar Energy System

Like many communities in California that are struggling economically, Atwater sought creative solutions to help reduce energy costs associated with a new wastewater treatment plant. Under the PPA, Siemens procures, builds, owns, operates and maintains the system, and Atwater agrees to purchase the electricity generated by the solar array at a rate guaranteed for 20 years.

Confidence in TV News Hits New Low

Americans’ confidence in television news has dropped to a new low, with just 21 percent of adults saying they have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the news, a new Gallup Poll reveals.

That’s down from 27 percent last year, from 35 percent in 2003, and from 46 percent when Gallup began tracking confidence in TV news in 1993.

[Ed:  Why we do this newsletter!!]

CryoSolplus could help keep EV batteries cool

CryoSolplus consists of water, paraffin, stabilizing tensides (detergents) and “a dash” of glycol anti-freeze. When the solution is cool, the paraffin takes the form of solid droplets. The tensides keep those droplets suspended uniformly throughout the mixture, as opposed to clumping together or floating on top.

Dark matter filaments detected for the first time

For the first time, a team of astronomers has "observed" a filament of dark matter connecting two neighboring galaxy clusters. Dark matter is a type of matter that interacts only very weakly with light and itself. Its very nature is mysterious. Mapping the dark matter filament's gravity was the key to the breakthrough. The result is considered a crucial first step by scientists. It provides the first direct evidence that the universe is filled by a lacework of dark matter filaments, upon which the visible matter in the universe is distributed like small beads.

Delays, cost increases at nation's new nuclear projects

Despite promises from the nuclear industry to regulators and consumers that they learned from mistakes of the past, the nation's first two nuclear reactor projects built from scratch in 30 years are headed toward hundreds of millions of dollars in cost overruns and months, if not years, of delays.

Dem Sen. Cardin: We're Proud We've Done Nothing for Two Years

Senate Democrats are proud that they have managed to thwart just about any legislation over the past year, one of them has claimed.

They view it as an "an accomplishment," said Den. Ben Cardin of Maryland.

Don’t Like Anonymous? Their New Campaign Against Internet Pedophiles Might Change Your Mind

What do you think of when you hear the word Anonymous? Do you see an Internet vigilante group fighting against the largest governments and corporations of the world or just a couple of “script kiddies” taking down Web sites for the “lulz?” Either way, you probably have strong opinions on the matter. That may be why Anonymous launched #OpPedoChat.

Europe's New CO2 Emission Targets 'Toughest in the World'

The European Commission Wednesday proposed further cuts to carbon dioxide, CO2, emissions from new cars and vans by 2020.

The proposals move the European Union toward its stated goal of cutting overall greenhouse gas emissions to 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and moving towards decarbonizing the transport sector to minimize climate change.

Ex-Minister in Iran Urges Referendum on Nuclear Program

The referendum would ask whether Iranians prefer to continue with the nuclear program or discontinue it in the face of Western sanctions imposed due to fears Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, the opposition website Jaras reported Thursday.

FDA approves first pill to help prevent HIV

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first drug shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection, a milestone in the 30-year battle against the virus that causes AIDS.

FDA Says No to Dying Patients Seeking Access to Experimental Drugs or Treatments

While the sponsor of a clinical trial is often willing to admit dying patients, it is the FDA that blocks access to experimental drugs or to drug trials from new and smaller drug research companies. FDA’s decisions are arbitrary and subjective because the current criteria themselves are subjective, allowing FDA to do whatever it wishes without regard to a patient’s welfare.

FDA Spied on Its Own Scientists as Part of a Massive Witch Hunt—Action Alert!

This rogue agency secretly captured thousands of emails that its disgruntled scientists sent to Congress, labor officials, journalists and even the president.

Florida's Everglades Enjoys a $960 Million Dollar Win-Win

A new era of restoration for the Everglades' vast but damaged wetlands began Friday with a favorable court ruling and an $80 million infusion of federal funding.

A federal judge has approved an $880 million Everglades cleanup plan, a ruling that could lead to the settlement of nearly 25 years of lawsuits.

Fragile, but Comfortable, Oil Market Expected

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries described the global economy as "subdued" and "fragile," predicting no immediate recovery in 2013. World oil demand is forecast to grow modestly as the song remains the same for the foreseeable future. Short-term oil markets, however, may see some volatility as the slowdown in China factors into the markets. Adjustments to tightened pressure on Iran, however, should encourage what OPEC described as a "comfortable" situation for next year.

Groups: U.S. Shares 'Mindset' Behind Japan's Nuclear Disaster

The same "man-made" problems underlying last year's nuclear disaster in Japan exist today in the United States, warn five U.S. groups responding to the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission's report to Japan's Diet, or parliament.

Guess Who's Back? SOPA And ACTA Are Sneaking Into Law Behind Your Back

The Internet has won the fight. SOPA and ACTA are both dead after having been eviscerated by the combined powers of the world coming together to fight for what they believe in – basic digital human rights. We can now rest easy knowing that the war has come to an end. Politicians would never think to bring them back, even under the guise of innocuous trade agreements and IP bills, right? Right?

How much trash does it take to power a city?

Keep this number in mind: 30 megawatts.

That's roughly the peak electrical demand for a city the size of Marion -- population 34,768 by the 2010 Census, with slightly more than 15,000 households and no major energy-consuming industry -- according to Jim McCalley, Iowa State University professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Iran: Fears Over Nuclear Program Grow After U.S. Arrests

Last week’s stunning U.S. indictments over a plot to export U.S. technology for Iran’s nuclear program and new threats to close the Strait of Hormuz suggest that stepped-up efforts to find a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear program have failed to reduce the possibility of a military conflict. The size of Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile – which could be converted into nuclear weapons fuel – will continue to grow, along with the near-term chances of an Israeli airstrike.

Iran says foreign presence 'real threat' to security in oil-rich Persian Gulf

Iran's foreign ministry said Tuesday that the presence of foreign forces constituted a "real threat" to security in the oil-rich Persian Gulf as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared that Washington would use "all elements of its power" to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear state.

Lawmakers reject proposed water-rights deal

A spokesman for Navajo Nation Speaker Johnny Naize said public sentiment has been overwhelmingly against‚ a proposal that would build water facilities for the Navajo and Hopi people in exchange for them dropping water-rights claims in the Little Colorado River Basin.

Law of the Sea treaty founders in US Senate

A treaty that could unlock massive Arctic oil and natural gas resources lacks the votes to pass the US Senate, after two key Republicans announced Monday they will oppose the treaty.

Republican senators Rob Portman and Kelly Ayotte, of Ohio and New Hampshire, respectively, said they would vote against the Law of the Sea treaty over concerns that the accord would place unacceptable limits on US sovereignty.

Nestle's "Mr Water" more worried about H2O than CO2

Nestle Chairman Peter Brabeck has a new mountain to climb. The 67-year-old is trying to goad world leaders into action to avert a looming water crisis.

New catalyst could replace platinum to bring down the cost of microbial fuel cells

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) researchers have identified an inexpensive nanorod catalyst with efficiencies rivaling that of platinum. Composed of nitrogen-enriched iron-carbon nanorods, the new catalyst holds the promise of cheaper, more efficient microbial fuel cells (MFCs) that generate their own hydrogen from waste water.

New Study Shows Wind Played Large Role in BP Deepwater Horizon Incident

A new study by the University of Miami has found that winds played a key role in the British Petroleum Deepwater Horizon oil spill in spring 2010. The oil spill, the largest in the history of the United States, leaked at least 200 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. When the accident occurred, the intense loop current drew concerns that the oil at the surface could find its way to southern Florida and the eastern Atlantic Ocean; no oil was observed in the eastern Atlantic Ocean, but was mainly in the area of the northern shorelines of the Gulf of Mexico.

Nuclear waste in France set to double

France's nuclear waste agency says the amount of such waste in the country will double by 2030, and some of it will remain radioactive for 2 million years.

The current 45 million cubic feet of nuclear waste in France is likely to reach 95 million cubic feet in the next 18 years, a report by Andra, the agency charged with stocking and disposing of nuclear waste, said.

Playing War Games to Prepare for a Cyberattack

“Can it happen to us?” All over the world, technology executives have been fielding this question from boards of directors and CEOs in the wake of highly publicized cyberattacks on large, well-respected companies and public institutions.

“Yes” is the only honest answer...

Population Issues - What China Needs to do Now

China, perhaps more than any other country, faces many important and difficult population challenges: reproductive health and reproductive rights, rural-urban migration and reform of the hukou system, and imbalances in the sex ratio at birth. And two deeply connected population issues, the rapid aging of the population, on the one hand, and the low birth rate and the family planning policy on the other, are of great significance to China's future development.

Radiation Units

The present NRC limits are 5,000 millirem (mrem) per year for radiation workers, and 100 mrem per year for members of the general public. As noted below, typical background radiation levels are about 360 mrem per year.

Radioactive sludge being moved away from Columbia River

The U.S. Energy Department has begun moving highly radioactive sludge away from the Columbia River in Richland, Wash., the agency announced.

At the Hanford Site, a former nuclear production facility, workers transferred the first large container of sludge from a basin next to a former plutonium production reactor to dry storage in the center of the site, the agency said.

Ravaged by fires, Western ranchers face 'scary' summer

It took less than an hour last month for a Montana wildfire to reduce Scott McRae's ranch to thousands of blackened acres devoid of the grasses that were to sustain hundreds of cattle.

"That is 500 mouths to feed with nothing to eat in sight," said McRae, 53, co-owner of a family ranch founded in the 1880s in southeastern Montana.

Record-setting 500 trillion-watt laser shot achieved

Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's National Ignition Facility (NIF) have achieved a laser shot which boggles the mind: 192 beams delivered an excess of 500 trillion-watts (TW) of peak power and 1.85 megajoules (MJ) of ultraviolet laser light to a target of just two millimeters in diameter. To put those numbers into perspective, 500 TW is more than one thousand times the power that the entire United States uses at any instant in time.

Report of Solar-Geophysical Activity

low level C-class events were observed, No Earth-directed CME's were observed during the past 24 hours.  The geomagnetic field ranged from unsettled to major storm levels.  Solar wind velocity declined also, with initial values around 510 km/s and end-of-day values around 440 km/s.  there is a chance for isolated minor to major storm periods at high latitudes during the earlier part of 17 July.

Researcher makes fuel from wastewater

Belinda Sturm, assistant professor of civil, environmental and architectural engineering, grows green algae in tanks of municipal wastewater in Lawrence, Kan. The algae is then processed to capture oily lipids, which are used to produce biofuel, The Topeka (Kansas) Capital-Journal reported.

Retail sales fall for third straight month in June

Retail sales fell in June for the third straight month, the longest run of consecutive drops since 2008 when the country was mired in recession.

Sales slipped 0.5 percent, with declines across a wide swath of industries from electronics and cars to building supplies, the Commerce Department said on Monday. Analysts had expected a small increase.

Sabato Predicts Very Close Obama/Romney Election

One of the nation’s most respected — and accurate — election prognosticators, Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball website, concludes that the only prediction appearing “very safe” right now is that the November presidential election is going to be very close.

Sand, salt, volcanoes add to EU clean air challenge

Desert sand, sea salt, volcanic ash and other forms of natural pollution are adding to rising levels of man-made dirt sullying the air and making it harder, especially for Mediterranean countries, to meet EU environmental regulations.

Santa Cruz, California, joins list of cities banning plastic grocery bags

That increases the number of cities that have adopted plastic bag bans this year to 42, and the total number of plastic bag bans in the U.S. to 79 -- nearly two-thirds of them in California.

Solar power could meet 16% of heating and cooling energy demand by 2050

Almost a sixth of the world's low-temperature heating and cooling energy could come from solar power by the middle of the century, say energy experts.

The move would stop around 800 megatonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere each year, says the International Energy Agency (IEA) - more than 1.5 times the annual emission in the UK.

Stagflation Risks Rising in Asia; Could Impact Global Growth

With many North American crops in trouble due to severe drought conditions, analysts will be looking at Asia for signs of food inflation. Food inflation may prevent Asian countries from lowering rates, potentially creating growth problems not just for Asia, but globally. Right now the focus has shifted to India and the rising risks of a poor monsoon season.

Summer heat may delay some US zinc shipped by rail: producers

As the US zinc market enters the height of its summer business lull, zinc producers warned this week that the season's sizzling heat may delay zinc orders shipped by rail.

Syrian rebels push war into Damascus

Syrian rebels fired grenades at tanks and troops while regime armor shelled Damascus neighborhoods Monday, July 16, sending terrified families fleeing the most sustained and widespread fighting in the capital since the start of the uprising 16 months ago.

Tax Break [sic]Nears End For Online Shoppers

Republican Governors, in Need of Revenue, Drop Opposition

[ED:  And so there goes the "balance" we once had between local sales (tax but no freight) and internet (freight but no tax)!!  There goes internet sales!  Forcing internet sales to calculate and charge and pay for sales for 52 states!!!  ]

TEP seeks 15% rate hike, cites several rising costs

Tucson Electric Power Co. has filed to raise rates by more than 15 percent, saying it needs its first increase since 2008 to cover rising costs and recoup more than $1 billion in system investments.

But the utility also wants a rate mechanism to recoup the cost of lower power sales resulting from new energy-efficiency programs - as well as a surcharge to offset the cost of pollution-control upgrades expected under a spate of pending federal regulations.

The 5yr Treasury Yield Hits a Record Low

The recent compression in US treasury yields has been nothing short of extraordinary. Driven by the full realization that we are in a global slowdown, the 5-year hit a record low today of just under 0.6%, following a decline that has been ongoing for decades.

The Economist: US Economy Reinventing Itself, Becoming Global ‘Comeback Kid’

The U.S. economy is reinventing itself, fast becoming the "Comeback Kid" while the world's other major economies remains mired in uncertainty, The Economist reports.

The Importance Of The Great Outdoors

I to roamed as a child, but I had miles of Mt’s and forest to wander and wonder in. It is amazing what I saw and learned by being quiet and patient, such as a Raccoon fishing under rocks for crayfish in a spring run or a fox catching grasshoppers for a snack. I also hold that there is no idea how wonderful earth is because almost no one sees the Milky Way. Youth are not aware of the billions of stars, planets, moons and suns that are in space, and I think that affects their attitude toward religion. Agenda 21 wants to make it worse by concentrating population in high rise population centers where the outdoors will be less accessible. There was less autism, and allergies because we played in the DIRT, and were exposed to allergens early and became immune to many of the problems experienced today.

Throwaway Economy Headed for Junk Heap of History

The challenge is to re-evaluate the materials we consume and the way we manufacture products so as to cut down on waste. Restructuring the transportation system has a huge potential for reducing materials use as light rail and buses replace cars. For example, 60 cars, weighing a total of 110 tons, can be replaced by one 12-ton bus, reducing material use 89 percent.

Toronto does recycling better

In addition to the green bin, there is also a blue bin that collects recyclables. So many bins! So much recycling, reusing and reducing!

Two US States Probe Major Banks over Libor Scandal

The attorney generals of New York and Connecticut are carrying out a joint investigation into alleged rigging of the Libor rates by global banks.

As the investigation over Libor rates in the UK ramp up, New York AG Eric Schneiderman decided to start his own investigation, joining Connecticut AG George Jepsen, who has been probing major banks for six months.

UK: Move to Hollow Out Military a Security Gamble

Budget cuts are imposing significant reductions in the size of the British military, resulting in the hollowing out of a force that long has been a vital contributor to US and NATO military operations. The calculation to allocate Britain’s limited budget to non-defense priorities is sensible given the protection NATO membership affords, but is also a dangerous gamble that simultaneously diminishes the country’s standing as a strong pillar of the Atlantic alliance.

Ukraine, China sign $3.7 bil loan deal to move power plants from gas to coal

Ukraine's energy and coal industry ministry on Friday signed an agreement with China Development Bank securing a $3.656 billion credit line to help the country switch its power plants over to coal from gas, the ministry said.

U.S. experiences warm and dry June; drought expands to 56% of Lower 48

Nation experiences warmest first-half of year; wildfires claim 1.3 million acres across nation

US Forces Grow Near Iran as Israeli Strike Looms; Implications for Oil, Markets?

With the U.S. increasing its military forces in the Persian Gulf and Iran's foreign minister openly warning that if sanctions are fully enforced, his nation will close the Strait of Hormuz and choke one-fifth of the world's oil supply, many are asking: Is a war with Iran imminent?

Voter Purge Efforts Likely to Spread After Florida Victory in Database Case

Florida election officials will have access to a federal database to help purge its voter rolls of non-citizens under an agreement reached between state and federal officials and welcomed on Saturday by Florida's Republican governor.

Weed Kills Cancer Like a ‘Molecular Grenade’

Johns Hopkins scientists have developed a novel anti-cancer drug made from a toxic weed-like Mediterranean plant that destroys cancer tumors and their direct blood supplies like a "molecular grenade," while sparing healthy tissues.

What's Behind Illinois Stealing Local Hero's Bee Hives?

Some people, including the beekeeper, Terrence Ingram, suspect the raid has more to do with Ingram's 15 years of research on Monsanto's Roundup and his documented evidence that Roundup kills bees, than it does about any concerns about his hives.

Where To Find Unrefined Salt

Unrefined salt contains more than 80 minerals. It has not been subjected to harsh chemicals and bleaching that removes these precious minerals. Refined salt has had all of the minerals removed through chemical processes.

Why The Great Outdoors Is So Great?

It's time to revel in all the creation that is around us.


July 13, 2012


According to the Food and Drug Administration, you have no fundamental right to feed your children the food of your choice and you have no fundamental right to your own physical and bodily health.

When did the inmates start running the asylum in this country? Why is the United States government and the state governments fighting so hard to control every little thing you put into your mouth? We have gone from a free nation to a government of nannies and it’s impacting every piece of food that you have available to you.

Ancient Remedy Stops Prostate Cancer

A natural remedy available over the counter stops the growth of prostate cells and tumors, according to researchers from the University of Chicago School of Medicine. Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), a compound isolated from propolis — the resin used by honeybees to seal holes in their hives — shut down early-stage prostate cancer by cutting off the tumor cells' ability to detect sources of nutrition.

Another Week Of Record-Breaking Lows For Fixed-Rate Mortgages

Freddie Mac (OTC: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates continuing to find new all-time record lows amid easing bond yields following June's lackluster employment report. Both the average 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgage hit new lows. The average 30-year fixed has been below 4.00 percent for 16 weeks. The average 15-year fixed has been below 3.00 percent for 7 weeks.

Appraiser: Wind farm won't affect property values

An appraiser said Tuesday that he couldn't find any evidence that a proposed wind farm in southwestern Lee County would hurt nearby property values long term.

California Leads Way in Drinking Water Membrane Filtration

The global use of microfiltration (MF) and ultrafiltration (UF) systems for drinking water treatment has drastically increased since the mid-1990s. One reason for the increase is their ability to help meet regulatory requirements for lower filtered water turbidity and for reliably removing pathogens such as Giardia cysts and Cryptosporidium oocysts. Another reason is that continual advances in membrane technologies have led to comparable or lower costs (in certain cases) for membrane filtration vs. conventional filtration systems.

Chevron Brazil spill report expected next week: regulator

Brazil's oil regulator said on Wednesday it expects to release a report next week on the causes of a November oil spill in an offshore field operated by Chevron Corp, an accident that led to criminal charges and civil suits seeking nearly $20 billion in damages.

Chinese Cyber Attack on Indian Navy Has Global Implications

Recently discovered cyber espionage against India’s Eastern Naval Command by suspected Chinese hackers could pose a serious threat to India’s first domestically built nuclear capable submarine, the INS Arihant, as well as India’s overall naval strategy in the South China Sea. While the full scope of the cyber attack is not yet known, the sophistication of this attack on a closed computer network has global security implications.

Chu calls for wind production tax credit

Congress needs to pass a wind production tax credit to help manufacturers that serve the wind industry avoid layoffs, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Thursday.

Chu sees benefits of hydrogen fuel cells

Local hydrogen advocates are encouraged by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu's change of heart about the benefits of hydrogen fuel cell technology.

Coalition aims to shut state's coal plants

With the aging smokestacks of Salem Harbor Station as a backdrop, local and state environmental leaders announced the formation of a new statewide coalition yesterday, with the aim of shutting down the last coal power plants in the state.

Colombian Indians to Santos: leave our territory

Indians remove homemade mortar grenades left by rebel of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, on a road on the outskirts of Toribio, southern Colombia, Wednesday, July 11, 2012. Rebels set up a roadblock on a road leading to Toribio while Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos was holding a meeting with cabinet members and local authorities in the church of the town, that was attacked by guerrillas last week.

Congress increases fines for hauling hazardous waste without a permit

Congress has increased fines for hauling hazardous wastes without proper registration.

House Bill 4348, approved by the House and the Senate, and signed by the president, increases the fine for hauling hazardous wastes without a permit from "not more than $20,000" to "not less than $20,000, but not to exceed $40,000."

Cost-effective solar power module could also serve as an eco-friendly furnace

Borrowing technology from sophisticated telescope mirrors as well as high-efficiency solar cells used for space exploration, a group of students and researchers at the University of Arizona is putting the final touches on a novel power plant that promises to generate renewable energy twice as efficiently as standard solar panel technology with highly competitive costs and a very small environmental impact.

Court sides with smart-meter foes on health issues

In a decision released today, the court sided with smart-meter opponents, who argued that utility regulators ignored their legal mandate to ensure the delivery of safe and reasonable utility services.

At the same time, though, the court didn't agree with the view of opponents that the meters violated constitutional issues related to privacy and trespass.

Customer satisfaction with utilities continues to decline

J.D. Power and Associates has just released the results of its annual Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study for 2012.

According to the report, customer satisfaction with electric utility companies has declined for the second year in a row. However, in relative terms, the news is not that bad.

D-Day For Gun Control

Without much fanfare and with as little publicity as possible, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will go to New York City to sign the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), now in the final stages of negotiation at the U.N. The treaty marks the beginning of an international crusade to impose gun controls on the United States and repeal our Second Amendment rights.

Egyptian legislators defy court, military by meeting

In a raw contest between Egypt’s competing centers of power, legislators Tuesday defied the country’s highest court and its most senior generals by holding a brief session of the dissolved Parliament, heeding an order by President Mohammed Morsi in the face of opposition — but no overt obstacles from judges and the military.

Employment status of the civilian noninstitutional population, 1941 to date

The amount of people "not in the labor force" exceeds the increase of population. For instance, the total population (over 16) increased in 2011 by 1,788,000 and the amount of people not in the labor force increased by 2,060,000.
This extraordinary situation has only occurred in the past three years (i.e., under Obama's administration). In all the U.S. history this has not happened before

Enbridge says pipeline safe after NTSB blasts company

Enbridge Inc, stung by a harsh rebuke from regulators over a 2010 spill that dumped more than 20,000 barrels of crude into a Michigan river system, has stepped up inspections and is confident its pipeline network is safe, the company's incoming chief executive said on Wednesday.

England flood risk to rise fourfold by 2035: report

The risk of flooding for many English homes and businesses could increase fourfold by 2035 if more action to deal with the impact of climate change is not taken, government advisers said on Wednesday.

As severe floods continue to batter parts of Britain after the wettest June since records began, around one in seven homes and businesses face some kind of flood risk, the climate advisers said.

Experts: California May Spark Municipal-Bankruptcy Wave

Many cities around the country, not just in California, are struggling to cover their expenses, as their economies try to recover from the massive housing downturn and recession, which have led to lower tax revenue for cities.
While municipal bankruptcy filings have been rare until recently, the lower tax revenue streams will lead to more filings.

Fitch Details U.S. Credit Card ABS Metrics through the Crisis

Much has been made of the resilience of U.S. credit card ABS over the last four years, and today Fitch Ratings has released a new report providing a detailed analysis of metrics for the sector throughout the crisis.

Marked credit card ABS collateral performance began to deteriorate notably beginning in December 2008. Delinquencies jumped 14%, and chargeoffs soon followed suit. Credit card performance demonstrated a strong correlation with the unemployment rate, which rose 15% in fourth quarter-2008 (4Q'08).

Food is Cheap at the Fast Food Place, and expensive at the Grocery, Why?

Have you priced fresh produce lately? A 3-pound bag of citrus will set you back $7 or $8. You’ll pay two bucks for a small head of broccoli ... over $3 a pound for grapes ... a whopping $4 for a skimpy little package of organic romaine ... alfalfa sprouts, $4 for a few ounces.

And yet, if you head for your local fast food joint, you can feast like a king from the dollar menu. A family of four can fill up for under $12.

Does that seem right to you?

Forest Carbon Loss

The carbon cycle is a complex thing. There is carbon in the air (carbon dioxide), carbon in plants and animals, dissolved carbon in the sea and carbon in the soil that is constantly circulating to and from. Elevated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide may accelerate carbon cycling and soil carbon loss in forests, as found in new research led by an Indiana University biologist. The new evidence supports an emerging view that although forests remove a substantial amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, much of the carbon is being stored in living woody biomass rather than as dead organic matter in soils.

Forgotten No More: Oneidas Donate to Start a Revolutionary Museum

The leadership and citizens of the Oneida Indian Nation (OIN) of New York think it is important to pay homage to its role in the Revolutionary War in order to help Americans realize the strong historical contributions of the Indian nation—and to grow a bright future of strengthened relations with the United States.

Former Clinton Adviser Erskine Bowles: ‘Fiscal Cliff’ May Be a $7 Trillion Disaster for US

U.S. policymakers will fail to deal with a sharp fiscal adjustment coming at the end of the year and risk sending the country spiraling into a disastrous recession, says Erskine Bowles, former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton.

At the end of the year, tax breaks, including the Bush-era tax cuts, expire, while automatic spending cuts kick in.

Fracking Impacts Muni Water Supplies

Hydraulic fracturing in Colorado uses enough water annually to meet the needs of as many as nearly 300,000 people, according to a report released in June by Western Resource Advocates.

France: Hollande's New Economic Policies Will Kill Growth

France’s new socialist government has announced it is moving forward with plans to raise taxes on corporations and on the rich, which is almost certain to hurt job creation and plunge France into crisis. The announcement of the tax increase follows France's move to lower the retirement age to 60, which will saddle the government with billions in new commitments. Expanding the social welfare program and raising taxes on those who create jobs is likely to kill economic growth in France. In a worst-case scenario, these new policies will throw the country into a debt crisis from which it will need to be rescued.

Global Think-Tank: Jobs Crisis to Linger as Economy Struggles

Unemployment in advanced economies will remain high until at least the end of 2013, with young people and the low-skilled bearing the brunt of what is by far the weakest economic recovery in the past four decades, the OECD said on Tuesday.

GMO Corn Crops Failing in the USA: Famine to Follow?

Now it appears that GMO crop failures are growing. Do we face the risk of famine as well?

In 2009 the South African Corn Crop Failure was linked to GMO seeds(1). "On January 17 [2010], internationally recognized plant pathologist Dr. Don Huber, wrote a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack warning of the discovery of a new pathogen and a possible link between Roundup Ready® (GMO) corn and soybeans and severe reproductive problems in livestock as well as widespread crop failure."(2)This past March, scientists with the Natural Society called for immediate action to stop the GMO crop failure threat

Greenspan: Fed’s Tactics Have Done Little to Help Economy

Since the downturn, the Fed has rolled out two rounds of quantitative easing, known widely as QE1 and QE2, snapping up $1.7 trillion in mortgage securities held by banks and another $600 billion in Treasury instruments with the aim of steering the country away from deflationary decline while creating conditions ripe for investing and hiring via the massive liquidity injections. 

Harvard scientists create hydrogen fuel cell that lasts longer

Materials scientists at Harvard have created a fuel cell that not only produces energy but also stores it, opening up new possibilities in hydrogen fuel cell technologies. The solid-oxide fuel cell (SOFC) converts hydrogen into electricity, and could have an impact on small-scale portable energy applications.

Idaho Power says adding more wind to its system will cost more money that someone has to pay

As the percentage of wind power in Idaho Power's system grows, the cost of melding the intermittent power into the region's electric grid rises as well.

Into Thin Air: The Disappearance of Dozens of Chinese Solar Companies

The bankruptcies of roughly two dozen U.S. and European photovoltaic manufacturers have framed much of the story about an oversupply of solar panels and crashing prices over the past year. What's less known is the impact on the PV manufacturing industry in China, where over 50 companies also have closed, said John Lefebvre, president of Suntech Power's American operations, during Intersolar in San Francisco on Wednesday.

Iran Briefing on LIGNET

With the U.S. increasing its military forces in the Persian Gulf and Iran's foreign minister openly warning that if sanctions are fully enforced, his nation will close the Strait of Hormuz and choke one-fifth of the world's oil supply, many are asking: Is a war with Iran imminent?

Iran Leader:  We Must Prep for the "End Times"

  • Iran’s supreme leader, for the first time, is telling his nation that it must prepare for war and “the end of times” as it continues to develop nuclear weapons. State-owned media outlets, in a coordinated effort, all ran a similar story Friday highlighting Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s message on the coming of the last Islamic messiah. 
  • Until now, the Iranian media would mostly quote clerics from seminaries on the issue of the last Islamic messiah to avoid the regime being labeled messianic.

Japan agency says high chance El Nino to emerge this summer

Japan's weather bureau said on Tuesday its climate models indicate there is a strong possibility the El Nino weather pattern, which is often linked to heavy rainfall and droughts, will emerge this summer.

LBNL scientists generate electricity from viruses

Device is first to produce electricity by harnessing the piezoelectric properties of a biological material

Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are working on a device that will let you charge your phone as you walk, using a paper-thin generator embedded in the sole of your shoe. The power is generated using harmless viruses that convert mechanical energy into electricity.

Libya: Election Marred as Islamists Refuse to Concede

Libya’s liberal parties appeared to have won the most seats in an assembly to write a new constitution, but a smooth transition seems to be in jeopardy since the losing Muslim Brotherhood party refuses to concede and is challenging the validity of the election. This may foreshadow the difficulties any new government will have in Libya, given the population’s lack of familiarity with democratic processes and peaceful transfers of power.

London Olympics: Massive Security Investment Lessens Threat

The summer Olympics will open on July 27 in London with an unprecedented level of security in place to deter a terrorist attack. Although it is impossible to guarantee perfect security, al Qaeda and its affiliates in the past have relied heavily on the element of surprise to hit soft targets which will be hard to achieve given the extensive security of the London games.

Merrill Lynch: US, Western World No Longer Call Shots for Rest of World

Merrill Lynch is urging investors to embrace a fundamental shift in their investing strategy as U.S. and Western economic domination crumbles.

The company is pressing its clients to revamp their investing strategy — even their basic beliefs about how to choose investments — in the face of world geopolitical change, according to The Financial Times.

More Shadows Surface for Chinese Banks

Chinese banks shares were hit yesterday on the stock market, led by China Construction Bank (CCB), which fell by 2.95% in Hong Kong on the news that it is the biggest lender to Zhejiang Zhongjiang, which is going bust. Interestingly, three months ago I briefly mentioned Zhongjiang when one of its subsidiaries, Jinxing Property, filed for bankruptcy.

Move to Close 9 Border Patrol Stations Spurs Outrage

A move by the Obama administration to close nine Border Patrol stations over four states has spurred outrage from local officials, members of Congress — even Border Patrol agents.

Though the affected stations are scattered throughout northern and central Texas, and three other states, critics say closing them will undercut anti-immigration efforts in busy areas north of the U.S.-Mexico border, Fox News reports.

Newly-discovered “beige fat” cells provide a new target in the fight against obesity

The existence of two different types of fat – or adipose tissue – in mammals has long been known: white fat, which stores calories and in excess results in obesity, and brown fat, which burns calories to generate energy and heat. Now scientists at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have confirmed the existence of a third, genetically distinct type of fat called “beige fat,” which they say is a potential therapeutic target for treating obesity.

Nine Population Strategies to Stop Short of 9 Billion

Although most analysts assume that the world’s population will rise from today’s 7 billion to 9 billion by 2050, it is quite possible that humanity will never reach this population size, Worldwatch Institute President Robert Engelman argues in the book State of the World 2012: Moving Toward Sustainable Prosperity.

Now You Can Keep A "Ready-To-Fire" Gun In Your Home Without Endangering Your Children!

I, like so many others, take my responsibilities as a parent very seriously, and I know that a large part of that responsibility is to ensure my children`s protection. If they were threatened in any way, I would stop at nothing to ensure their safety and survival. Believe it or not, my wife and I have decided that part of that protection involves having a handgun in the home.

NRA: UN Arms Treaty Must Exclude Civilian Weapons

The National Rifle Association (NRA) has demanded that the United Nations leave civilian weapons out of a treaty on international arms sales that it is negotiating this month.

NSA: Cybercrime is 'the greatest transfer of wealth in history'

The director of the National Security Agency (NSA) has called cybercrime "the greatest transfer of wealth in history." As such, he urged politicians and the American population in general to support cybersecurity legislation being pushed through Congress.

Obama Alienates Democrats With Tax Hike Proposal

President Barack Obama’s renewed call to eliminate the Bush-era tax cuts for anyone with annual income of more than $250,000 is making him a lot of enemies in his own party.

That’s particularly the case among Democrats facing competitive congressional races...

Obama on Track for Fourth Straight Year of Trillion-Dollar Deficit

The U.S. budget deficit grew by nearly $60 billion in June, remaining on track to exceed $1 trillion for the fourth straight year.

Obama Quietly Gives Himself Power to Seize Internet

Another late-Friday afternoon release from the White House — this one on how agencies should communicate with the public in emergencies — has Internet privacy advocates crying foul over a possible power grab.

The executive order — “Assignment of National Security and Emergency Preparedness Communications Functions” — was released last Friday in the late afternoon...

Obama’s Brother Featured in Anti-Obama Documentary

The film bills itself as an inside look inside how Obama's past influences his policy making.

"'2016 Obama's America' takes audiences on a gripping visual journey into the heart of the world’s most powerful office to reveal the struggle of whether one man's past will redefine America over the next four years. The film examines the question, 'If Obama wins a second term, where will we be in 2016?

OPEC's motto: Shhhhh! Don't mention the "S" word

OPEC published its latest monthly oil market report on July 11. Anyone reading it might expect to find some mention of the fact that one of its members, Iran, is now under two sets of sanctions which threaten not only its oil exports but also, ultimately, the volume of crude it produces.

Peru's Repression of Mining Protesters Condemned

The Peruvian government must immediately halt violent repression of mining protesters, more than 80 environmental and human rights organizations demanded today in a statement that will be delivered to Peruvian embassies and consulates across the United States and Canada.

Plant upgrade to pay off

Cleaning wastewater requires huge amounts of energy. ..But an $11.3 million upgrade now under way promises to slash the plant's power costs, reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and set the stage for other energy efficiency projects in the pipeline.

Potential Loss of Tax Credit Becalms Wind Industry

The wind power industry, which has been one of the nation's fastest growing energy sectors, is facing layoffs and factory closings as a federal subsidy nears an end.

Without legislative action, the federal Production Tax Credit, which has fueled the growth of wind farms from West Texas to New England for nearly two decades, will end.

Rip-Offs on Put-By Foods

The fact is there are a LOT of folks out there inadvertently making some BIG mistakes

Roubini: ‘Perfect Storm’ Poised to Strike Earlier Than Feared

A “Perfect Storm” of economic events forecast to strike the global economy in 2013 is gathering steam earlier than expected, and the world is beginning to feel its effects now, says New York University economist Nouriel Roubini.

Earlier this year, Roubini, who called the 2008 housing bust and subsequent contraction long before it happened, predicted a confluence of four events to merge into an economic hurricane and derail the global economy next year.

San Bernardino, California, Weighs Chapter 9 Bankruptcy; That Seals the Fate

When you see headlines like this: San Bernardino, California, Weighs Chapter 9 Bankruptcy, you know 100% without a doubt the city is bankrupt, and the only question pertains to the filing.

SDG&E invests in future paradigm utility-scale solar generation

The system is made up of state-of-the-art solar photovoltaic modules, related power electronics, and other components, including an advanced tracking system that follows the sun to maximize energy production designed to feed the SDG&E electric utility grid, which SDG&E sees as the future paradigm for large-scale electrical generation.

Secretary of State Clinton reaches out in historic Laos trip

Decades after the U.S. gave Laos a horrific distinction as the world's most heavily bombed nation per person, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton pledged Wednesday to help get rid of millions of unexploded bombs that still pockmark the impoverished country -- and still kill.

The U.S. dropped more than 2 million tons of bombs on the North Vietnamese ally during its "secret war" between 1964 and 1973 -- about a ton of ordnance for each Laotian man, woman and child. That exceeded the amount per person dropped on Germany and Japan together in World War II.


Smart grid leads to more efficient electric trains

Electric commuter trains, while quiet and fast, have one glaring inefficiency – when they brake at a station, the energy of the moving train is lost, even when the motors are electrically reversed. Capturing the electrical energy generated during braking is simple, but efficiently redistributing it through the power grid is not.

SoberLook Commentary: US Mortgage Refinancing Activity Going Strong - for Those Who are Eligible

As the US mortgage rates continue to decline to new record lows, the refinancing activity for those who are eligible has been quite robust. Just when borrowers sign the papers for a new mortgage (particularly in situations when the bank covers the closing fees), they are ready to refinance again. Some households have done this more than once this year alone.

Solar Energy Rules Can Be Downright Confusing

Lots of consumers would like to go solar, but the rules can be confusing, making it tough to decide if it's worth it.

Solar Storms/EMP Threats: Will the Utility Heed

Solar Storms and Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) disturbances have the potential to paralyze critical technologies throughout the world. These can be as sophisticated as the satellites that control the nation's most classified intelligence to the rudimentary act of turning on the lights. Without proper measures, no industry will remain unaffected by these phenomena. The results of such scenario could be ruinous to the economy and society at large. The increase in magnetic field geo-activity that results from major sun outbursts may not directly threaten the safety of people, but do present the distinct possibility of causing electrical grids to collapse, disrupt GPS systems and damage, or even deorbit satellites.

Spain: Under European pressure, new austerity

"Recession-plagued Spain unveiled new austerity measures on Wednesday designed to slash 65 billion euros from the public deficit by 2014 as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy yielded to EU pressure to try to avoid a full state bailout.

Sudan’s War Criminal President Facing Arab Spring-Like Protests

Warning anti-government protesters of an “incinerating summer” instead of an Arab Spring, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir – who was indicted in 2009 by the International Criminal Court for his role in the genocide in Darfur in the 2000s – is facing a serious challenge to his rule due to growing nationwide demonstrations brought on by the country’s dire economic problems. Despite Bashir’s repressive rule and the country’s dire problems, African states recently nominated Sudan to take a seat on the UN Human Rights Council in 2013.

Sugar Dumbs Us Down

But new evidence shows that omega-3s may reverse sugar’s brain damage.

Mainstream medicine is finally waking up to what the natural health community has known for quite a while. Sugar, particularly in the form of refined fructose, impairs one’s cognitive ability. So far the evidence is limited to rats. But it is very likely that the results apply to humans too.

Taliban reject Karzai's plea for peace talks

THE Taliban have again rejected overtures for peace from the Afghan government, vowing to continue their violent insurgency across the country.

But at the same time, doubts appear to be emerging within the terrorist network over their capacity to win the war against the international forces currently in the country, and even over the foreign-funded Afghan Army that will be left behind after 2014.

Texans leaving legacy utilities at record-setting rates

According to the Report Card on Retail Competition published by the Texas Public Utilities Commission (PUC), 57 percent of Texas electricity customers have left legacy utilities and switched to a competitive retail provider.

The Dead Sea is Dying - Really!

...dropping at the rate of more than one meter a year...The Dead Sea continues to drop at an astonishing rate, largely due to water diversions from its main tributary, the Jordan River, to the north. To replenish the sea's waters, a massive public works project that would import water from the Red Sea has been proposed. A final report from the World Bank on the project is expected soon

The "Not in the Labor Force" Phenomenon

The amount of people "not in the labor force" exceeds the increase of population. For instance, the total population (over 16 years of age) increased in 2011 by 1,788,000 and the amount of people not in the labor force increased by 2,060,000.
This extraordinary situation has only occurred in the past three years (i.e., under Obama's administration).  In all the U.S. history this has not happened before.

UK: Banks and Global Economy Casualties of Libor Scandal

Once again the financial industry has been struck with a major scandal that threatens its stability and long-term health. The recent admission by the British bank Barclays PLC (NYSE BCS, London: BARC.L) that it rigged the so-called Libor rate — a key benchmark that determines short-term lending levels among banks — may only be the tip of the iceberg as other banks appear to have been involved. If the scandal grows, it will be another blow to the beleaguered global economy and could become an issue in the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign.

UK Spy Chief Says Level of Cyber Espionage ‘Astonishing’

UK domestic security chief said last month that the extent and magnitude of foreign, state-sponsored cyber espionage attacks against the United Kingdom is “astonishing.” It was a rare public statement for a senior intelligence official, indicating the seriousness of the threat the UK is facing and mounting fears that China, in particular, is now capable of dealing significant blows to Britain’s economic and security infrastructure.

Ultra-efficient 4,000 mph vacuum-tube trains – why aren't they being built?

In the 1800s, when pneumatic tubes shot telegrams and small items all around buildings and sometimes small cities, the future of mass transit seemed clear: we'd be firing people around through these sealed tubes at high speeds. And it turns out we've got the technology to do that today – mag-lev rail lines remove all rolling friction from the energy equation for a train, and accelerating them through a vacuum tunnel can eliminate wind resistance to the point where it's theoretically possible to reach blistering speeds over 4,000 mph (6,437 km/h) using a fraction of the energy an airliner uses – and recapturing a lot of that energy upon deceleration. Ultra-fast, high efficiency ground transport is technologically within reach – so why isn't anybody building it?

U.N. Considering Global Internet Tax for U.S.-Based Websites

Should some of the largest online content providers have to pay up in order to continue to reach the global market? The United Nations thinks so, according to some leaked documents obtained by, and such a tax will be up for debate this December when the agency’s International Telecommunications Union convenes for the World Conference on International Telecommunications in Dubai.

UN Turns to Iran to Negotiate Global Arms Control Deal

The United Nations has turned to Iran to help negotiate a global arms treaty in a move that is drawing scorn and ridicule around the globe.

US' Clinton weighs in on S China Sea issue ahead of ASEAN meeting

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Vietnam this week that the US government supports the rights of coastal countries to their exclusive economic zones as stated in the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea of 1982, according to a statement posted on the Vietnam government website late Tuesday.

US Solar Can Compete with China with a Little Innovation

The US solar industry is undergoing some serious growing pains, with bankruptcies and mergers a necessary part of that process; meanwhile, competition from Chinese solar panels has many believing that American solar simply cannot compete. Not so.

Waste To Watts: Improving Microbial Fuel Cells

Some of the planet’s tiniest inhabitants may help address two of society’s biggest environmental challenges: how to deal with the vast quantities of organic waste produced and where to find clean, renewable energy.

Weighing the 'ick' factor

Once a month, California-based writer Larry Gallagher hauls eight heavy buckets to a compost pile in his backyard.

Those buckets don’t hold kitchen scraps or yard trimmings; they’re filled with sawdust, sometimes shredded coconut hulls and a month’s worth of human waste.

Why the USD Soared on the FOMC Minutes

Up until the release of the minutes from the most recent Federal Reserve monetary policy meeting, it had been a very quiet trading day.  Its not often that the FOMC minutes will cause a large reaction in currencies but the fact that the dollar soared minutes after the release to a 2 year high against the euro goes to show how easily swayed investors are when it comes to signs of QE vs. no QE.  In today's case, the FOMC minutes was just not enough to satisfy QE3 traders who wanted a more explicit admission that further asset purchases would be necessary.

Women, Bones and Alcohol

Drinking alcohol has often been debated in terms of its potential health effects. There is no black and white answer. Drinking a moderate amount of alcohol as part of a healthy lifestyle may benefit women’s bone health, lowering their risk of developing osteoporosis. A new study assessed the effects of alcohol withdrawal on bone turnover in postmenopausal women who drank one or two drinks per day several times a week. Researchers at Oregon State University measured a significant increase in blood markers of bone turnover in women after they stopped drinking for just two weeks.

World Shale Map Available from Platts

W.Va. PSC dismisses turbine noise complaint

An additional complaint about the noise level of the wind turbines at Pinnacle Wind Farm at NewPage on Green Mountain has been filed and dismissed by the Public Service Commission.

The complaint was filed by resident Gary Braithwaite on June 27. In his complaint to the PSC, Braithwaite cites "constant noise and flicker" and suggests the wind turbines be shut down until the noise can be stopped.


July 10, 2012


$1.6M For Sustainability

From solar energy to water treatment, from smarter buildings to electric cars: at Concordia University, “sustainability” is more than just a buzzword.

18 year-old electrical engineering student wows with levitating light

18 year-old engineering student Chris Rieger has spent the last 6 months building his LevLight system, where an LED light module floats in mid-air while wirelessly receiving its power from a coil hidden inside a wooden box

Alarming Decline in Sockeye Salmon

The discovery suggests that changing ocean conditions may be making life harder for some groups of wild salmon -- possibly by reducing their food supply or increasing populations of predators.

Anglo American says water issue solved in Peru

Anglo American hopes to begin construction of its $3 billion Quellaveco copper project in Peru soon and has won crucial community support for its water plan, the global mining company said on Monday.

Arctic Sea Ice Continues its Summer Retreat

A rapid decline for Arctic sea ice extent briefly hit daily record lows in June, led by extensive ice loss in the Bering, Kara, and Beaufort Seas, as well as Hudson and Baffin Bay. Snow extent was unusually low for both May and June, reinforcing the continuing pattern of rapid spring snow melt of the past six years.

Bipartisan Bill Invests In Industrial Energy, Water Efficiency

"A major study on energy efficiency found that the industrial sector represents the largest potential for increasing energy efficiency in the country," Bingaman pointed out. "Such improvements could save $47 billion annually. This bill offers focused, short-term incentives to help the industrial and manufacturing sectors make the next generation of efficiency investments necessary for these sectors to remain globally competitive and to continue to push innovation."

California Leads the Nation in Customer-Generated Solar Power

The California Public Utilities Commission's "2012 California Solar Initiative Annual Program Assessment" shows that in 2011California reached a major milestone by becoming the first state in the nation to install more than 1 gigawatt of customer-generated solar energy; a record 311 megawatts were installed in the investor-owned utility territories in 2011 alone. Currently more than 122,000 sites across the state host solar systems to serve on-site solar generation. Further, since 2007, costs for residential solar system have decreased by 28 percent and CSI projects in low income markets (areas with median incomes of less than $50,000) have increased by 364 percent.

Can You Spell PIGS with a U and an S?

On this July 4th I will bring you wishes of happiness and good will. However, I also bring a grave warning.

The United States is on the verge of a massive debt crisis. We all know we look at the Europeans as the basket cases. However, there is not really much difference between what is going on in the U.S. at the moment and what is going on in Europe. The only real difference is the U.S. dollar is the reserve currency of the world, and so the country can print money to buy its own debt. That has helped keep interest rates low.

China Condemns U.S. Gun Ownership As Human Rights Violation As China's Silent Invasion Of America Continues

One of the worst offenders of human rights on the planet condemns individual gun rights in the US as a human rights violation.

Climate Change Alarmist Recants: ‘I Made a Mistake’

“The climate is doing its usual tricks. There’s nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now.

“The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time. [The temperature] has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising. Carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that.

“We will have global warming, but it’s been deferred a bit.”

Climate Change: ‘This Is Just the Beginning’

If our news media continue to ignore the essential link between extreme weather and climate change, then we may not act in time to avert even greater catastrophe.

Congressmen Urge the U.N. to Trample the U.S. Constitution

Today begins the most important 26-day period for our Second Amendment freedoms in recent history.
That's because today, representatives from many of the world's socialist, tyrannical and dictatorial
regimes will gather at United Nations headquarters in New York for a month-long meeting, in which they'll
put the finishing touches on an international Arms Trade Treaty that could seriously restrict your freedom
to own, purchase and carry a firearm.

Continental US breaks heat record in first half of 2012

Scorching temperatures in June's second half helped the continental United States break its record for the hottest first six months in a calendar year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said on Monday.

The last 12 months also have been the warmest since modern record-keeping began in 1895, narrowly beating the previous 12-month period that ended in May 2012.

Coral Reef Emergency: 2,600 Scientists Call For Worldwide Rescue

Coral reefs worldwide are being destroyed by changes in ocean temperature and chemistry faster than at any time since the last reef crisis 55 million years ago, thousands of marine scientists warned in a joint statement today.

Coronal Mass Ejection Prediction Page

According to researchers using data from the SOHO solar observatory satellite, 25 Earth-directed halo CMEs were detected during the last eight months of 1997, and now in 2007 we again are in a time of low activity. But the fact that the Sun's activity is cyclic means that in the next 1-2 years we should expect to see CMEs becoming more frequent.

During the past year, there's been an uptick in burglaries and violent home intrusions

Let me ask you, what would you do right now if you had to confront one (or more) armed criminals who kicked in your door?

Are you prepared at all to deal with such a situation?

Dying Trees In Southwest Set Stage For Erosion, Water Loss In Colorado River

New research concludes that a one-two punch of drought and mountain pine beetle attacks are the primary forces that have killed more than 2.5 million acres of pinyon pine and juniper trees in the American Southwest during the past 15 years, setting the stage for further ecological disruption.

EIA Reports Big Drop in U.S. Coal Production and Consumption

U.S. coal production during the first quarter of this year totaled 266.4 million tons, which was 5.7% lower than the previous quarter (fourth quarter 2011) and 2.6% lower than the first quarter of 2011, said the U.S. Energy Information Administration in the June 27 edition of its "Quarterly Coal Report." U.S. coal imports totaled 2 million tons in the first quarter, 25.1% lower than fourth quarter 2011 and down 40.2% from first quarter 2011.

Energy-saving efforts pay off

The oil crisis of 1973-74 brought major changes in the way Americans consume energy. Smaller cars came into vogue, and people looked for ways to save electricity, such as insulating their homes.

Energy Storage Projects Continue to Increase Worldwide, Rising 8% in the First Half of 2012

According to a new tracker report, "Energy Storage Tracker," the number of energy storage projects deployed on a global basis continues to rise as technologies move at a variety of speeds toward commercialization. The total number of energy storage projects deployed and announced (including inactive projects) rose 8%, from 600 to 649 during the first half of 2012, the tracker report finds.

Expanded North Carolina Lithium Facility Opens, Boosting U.S. Production of a Key Manufacturing Material

Rockwood Lithium is leveraging a $28.4 million investment from the Recovery Act to expand its lithium production facility in Kings Mountain, North Carolina as well as its production operations in Silver Peak, Nevada. The plants will produce lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate, which are both used to produce lithium-ion batteries, dramatically increasing U.S. domestic production of raw and processed lithium materials.

Experts: China’s Surprise Rate Cut May Signal Deeper Woes

China’s interest rate cut on Thursday appears to signal that the world’s second-largest economy is in worse shape than believed and that the government is possibly beleaguered about its growth prospects, economists tell CNBC.

Find could improve delivery, precision of blood-clot meds

Scientists have found a way to use the body's natural clot- producing mechanisms to deliver targeted medicine in a study that may have implications for treatments of heart attacks and stroke

Five Million Jobs Still Missing since Recession Ended

U.S. employers added only 80,000 jobs in June, a third straight month of weak hiring that shows the economy is still struggling three years after the recession ended.

The unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.2 percent, the Labor Department said Friday.

The economy added an average of just 75,000 jobs a month in the April-June quarter — one-third of the pace in the first quarter. And for the first six months of 2012, employers added an average of 150,000 jobs a month. That's fewer than the 161,000 average for the first half of 2011.

Weaker job creation has caused consumers to pull back on spending.

GE puts hold on new solar jobs

General Electric Co. says it won't be adding scores of new renewable energy jobs locally as previously expected after it put on hold plans for a $300 million solar panel factory in Colorado.

German renewable energy mix growing rapidly

Solar power accounted for 10 percent of Germany's total electricity production in May 2012, up 40 percent from 2011, according to the Federal Association of the Energy and Water Industry.

Global Warming Favors Proliferation Of Toxic Cyanobacteria

Cyanobacteria are among the most primitive living beings, aged over 3,500 million years old. These aquatic microorganisms helped to oxygenate the earth's atmosphere. At present their populations are increasing in size without stopping. It appears that global warming may be behind the rise in their numbers and may also lead toan increase in the amount of toxins produced by some of these populations.

Growing Better Biofuel Crops

Research is underway to reduce the use of food crops for biofuels by shifting to dedicated energy crops and agricultural residues.

Our current dependence on fossil fuels is on a collision course with the need of future generations for a habitable environment. Supplying more than 80 percent of human energy consumption globally, fossil fuel combustion contributes to the rise of atmospheric greenhouse gases such as CO2, nitrous oxide, and methane, which are widely believed to cause detrimental climate change. We can mitigate these effects by using the many available no- or low-carbon methods to harvest energy, including wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, and solar approaches, such as the harvesting of plant biomass that can be burned as solid or liquid fuels.

How Did a Spanish Axe Wind Up in Toronto 100 Years Before Europeans?

All of these discoveries—the large village, the abundance of artifacts and the metal piece—have convinced Williamson that the history of the Huron needs to be rewritten, literally. “We not only needed to change the textbooks, we needed to write one about it,”

Huge swaths of US swelter amid prolonged outages, new storms

Weary West Virginians dumped rotting food from their refrigerators and tried to clear fallen trees from the roads on Friday as new storms prolonged the power outages that have already lasted a week.

The forecast for the weekend called for more record-breaking heat across the Midwest and into the Eastern United States, with heavy rains and severe storms in the upper Midwest, the National Weather Service said.

Inaction on 'Fiscal Cliff' Starting to Weigh on Economy

At the end of the year, tax breaks such as the Bush-era tax cuts expire, while automatic spending cuts agreed to during the 2011 debt-ceiling deal kick in. The combination of the two on Jan. 1, 2013, known as a fiscal cliff, could siphon as much as $500 billion out of the economy next year alone, according to some estimates, and wipe out a total of $7 trillion over a decade.

Interior Department Announces Onshore, Offshore Wind Energy Milestones

The U.S. Department of Interior has announced that two major wind energy initiatives have completed important environmental reviews, clearing the way for public comment and final review. Onshore, the final environmental impact statements have been released for the proposed Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Farm complex in Wyoming that would generate up to 3,000 megawatts of power, making it the largest wind farm facility in the U.S. and one of the largest in the world.

Intro to the Arms Trade Treaty

Disguised as a way to prevent the proliferation of small arms throughout the world, it is, in fact, a backdoor way to legislate gun control in the United States and effectively repeal our Second Amendment.

The ATT will set up a global body, which will require all nations to regulate firearms so that they can prevent their exportation to other countries.  Inevitably, this will require countries to inventory the guns in private hands and to register them.  A gun ban is not far away.

Iran Blames Germany, France for Nuclear Scientist Killings

Iran has now spread the blame for assassinations of its nuclear scientists, asserting that German and French intelligence agencies were also involved in the killings.

The Islamic Republic previously accused Israel, the United States, and Britain of plotting the assassinations to set back its uranium enrichment program, which Western powers suspect is designed to develop nuclear weapons.

Is Global Warming Fueling Increased Wildfire Risks?

The effects of global warming on temperature, precipitation levels, and soil moisture are turning many of our forests into kindling during wildfire season.

As the climate warms, moisture and precipitation levels are changing, with wet areas becoming wetter and dry areas becoming drier.

Mad Cow Detection

The disease may be most easily transmitted to human beings by eating food contaminated with the brain, spinal cord or digestive tract of infected carcasses. However, it should also be noted that the infectious agent, although most highly concentrated in nervous tissue, can be found in virtually all tissues throughout the body, including blood. In humans, it is known as new variant Creutzfeldt—Jakob disease, and by October 2009, it had killed 166 people in the United Kingdom, and 44 elsewhere. 

Marcellus Brine Migration Likely Natural, Not Man-Made

Hydraulic fracturing likely didn't create fissures, but gas from leaking well casings could exploit them.

A Duke University study of well water in northeastern Pennsylvania suggests that naturally occurring pathways could have allowed salts and gases from the Marcellus shale formation deep underground to migrate up into shallow drinking water aquifers.

Mystery meat in America? WTO strikes down country-of-origin labeling in U.S. grocery stores

Mexico and Canada have succeeded in a joint effort to strike down an American regulatory policy passed in 2008 that requires country-of-origin labeling (COOL) on meat sold in the U.S. Public Citizen reports that the World Trade Organization (WTO) has ruled against the U.S. in a case regarding the matter, a move that will potentially expose millions of Americans to "mystery" meat from unknown origins.

Nanoporous Graphene Could Outperform Best Commercial Water Desalination Techniques

Although oceans and seas contain about 97% of Earth’s water, currently only a fraction of a percent of the world’s potable water supply comes from desalinated salt water. In order to increase our use of salt water, desalination techniques must become more energy-efficient and less expensive to be sustainable. In a new study, two materials scientists from MIT have shown in simulations that nanoporous graphene can filter salt from water at a rate that is 2-3 orders of magnitude faster than today’s best commercial desalination technology, reverse osmosis (RO). The researchers predict that graphene’s superior water permeability could lead to desalination techniques that require less energy and use smaller modules than RO technology, at a cost that will depend on future improvements in graphene fabrication methods.

New House Bill Would Extend PTC Through End of 2013

Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee have introduced a bill that would extend the renewable-energy Production Tax Credit, providing a 2.2-cent-a-kilowatt-hour credit for electricity produced by wind turbines, through the end of 2013. Under the proposal, the PTC's extension would be paid for by repealing dual capacity taxpayer benefits for the five richest oil and natural gas companies, which earned a combined $32 billion in profits during the first three months of 2012. Under the measure, wind project developers could continue to choose to instead receive a 30 percent investment tax credit.

New Study: Fluids From Marcellus Shale Likely Seeping Into PA Drinking Water

New research has concluded that salty, mineral-rich fluids deep beneath Pennsylvania's natural gas fields are likely seeping upward thousands of feet into drinking water supplies.

Though the fluids were natural and not the byproduct of drilling or hydraulic fracturing, the finding further stokes the red-hot controversy over fracking in the Marcellus Shale, suggesting that drilling waste and chemicals could migrate in ways previously thought to be impossible.

North Carolina lawmakers reject sea level rise predictions

Lawmakers in North Carolina, which has a long Atlantic Ocean coastline and vast areas of low-lying land, voted on Tuesday to ignore studies predicting a rapid rise in sea level due to climate change and postpone planning for the consequences.

Opponents of the measure said it was a case of legislators "putting our heads in the sand" to avoid acknowledging the possible effects of global warming.

Obama, GOP Signal Deadlock on 'Fiscal Cliff'

President Obama is setting the stage for another tax battle with Republicans as lawmakers signaled on Sunday a worsening deadlock in Congress over how to tackle critical fiscal deadlines looming at year's end, including deciding whether to extend tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

Obama Invites Egypt's Islamist Leader to US

President Barack Obama has invited Egypt's newly elected Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, to visit the United States in September, an Egyptian official said on Sunday, reflecting the new ties Washington is cultivating with the region's Islamists.

Organic Tomatoes ARE More Nutritious!

The debate about whether organic food has more nutrients might be finally settled, at least in the case of tomatoes. The latest research from the University of Barcelona shows that organic tomatoes have higher levels of antioxidants than chemically-grown ones. The research team studied and analysed the chemical structure of the Daniela variety of tomato.

Patterson Drilling Down For Answer To Texas Water Crisis

State set to invest in purifying brackish water for commercial sale in Central Texas

 Along Interstate 35, between Austin and San Antonio, the Texas Economic Miracle is thirsting for water. Tight restrictions on the Edwards Aquifer and the high costs of pipelines are choking off the potential growth of homes and businesses.

Physicist shunned over 'God particle'

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - The pioneering work of Abdus Salam, Pakistan's only Nobel laureate, helped lead to the apparent discovery of the subatomic "God particle" last week. But the late physicist is no hero at home, where his name has been stricken from school textbooks.

Poaching in the Serengeti linked to poverty, high legal hunting prices

In the effort to protect the Serengeti—arguably Africa's most famous ecosystem—one of the major problems is the bushmeat trade. Population growth, little available protein, poverty, and a long-standing history of hunting has led many communities to poach wildlife within Serengeti National Park. Interviewing over a thousand community members in the western Serengeti, scientists found that community members are largely aware that wildlife hunting is illegal and that conservation of wild species is important, but hunt animals anyway partly out of necessity.

Poll: Climate slides on list of worries on environment, but public still wants action

The poll — conducted before the heatwave now gripping the eastern United States — finds that 18 percent list global warming as the single biggest global environmental problem.

That’s down from 25 percent of respondents in the same poll in July of 2008 and 33 percent in April of 20

Power industry braces for court air pollution ruling

The power industry is waiting for a federal appeals court to rule on proposed emissions controls for coal-fired power plants, a decision with implications for energy sectors ranging from natural gas to coal to tradeable pollution permits.

Ranking an effort to cut energy use

Hawaii's main energy efficiency and conservation program -- initially focused primarily on hardware upgrades such as compact fluorescent bulbs, Energy Star appliances and air conditioning retrofits -- is now getting some help from behavioral scientists in its mission to cut the state's electricity consumption.

Relief comes for US Midwest, Northeast after heat wave

A blistering heat wave finally showed signs of letting up across the U.S. Midwest and Northeast on Sunday, bringing relief to millions after days of oppressive temperatures - just as forecasters warned that a new round of record highs could soon bake Western states.

Removing Estrogen From Drinking Water

The birth control pill is a widespread contraception method. However, large amounts of these modified estrogens leave the body again in urine. The conventional methods in sewage treatment plants are unable to treat this waste water sufficiently because the most frequently used estrogen ethinylestradiol is very difficult to break down. As a result, the hormone finds its way into rivers and lakes and also accumulates in drinking water with serious consequences for fish and other aquatic life.

Renewables Provide 11.55% of Domestic Energy Production During 1st Quarter 2012

The latest EIA "Monthly Energy Review," with data through March 31, 2012, reveals that renewable energy sources (biomass/biofuels, geothermal, solar, water, wind) accounted for 11.55% of domestic energy production during the first quarter of 2012. Non-hydro renewables accounted for 8.06% of domestic energy production for the period. While total domestic energy production from all sources during the first quarter of 2012 increased by 3.89% compared to the first quarter of 2011, non-hydro renewables increased at roughly double that rate - 7.67%.

Report: ‘Britain’s Atlantis’ Found Under North Sea

The underwater world, being called Doggerland and Britain’s Atlantis, stretched from Scotland to Denmark when Britain was not an island but connected to the European continent. It was gradually submerged by water between 18,000 B.C. and 5,500 B.C., according to researchers.

Report of Solar-Geophysical Activity

C7/Sf at 09/0830Z.  Region 1520 (S17E33) continued its growth phase in area coverage, spot count and magnetic complexity, but remained relatively quiet.  No Earth-directed CMEs were observed
during the previous 24 hours.  Solar activity is expected to be
moderate with a chance for X-class events for the next three days
(10 - 12 July).  The geomagnetic field was at unsettled to minor storm levels with high latitude major storm intervals.  This activity was most likely a result of CME effects from the 04 July M1 event.

Sales show U.S. drivers slow to embrace all-electric vehicles

All-electric vehicles that you plug-in overnight are a tough sell with drivers afraid of becoming stranded with few charging stations in operation across the nation.

Consumers want hybrids that combine gas with battery power, like the Toyota Prius, or that plug in but have a backup gas tank, like the Chevrolet Volt.

Scientists capture the shadow cast by a single atom

A team of researchers at Griffith University has managed to stretch the capabilities of microscopy to its ultimate limit. Culminating a five-years effort, the scientists have obtained a digital image of the shadow cast by a single atom, in a development that might soon lead to important advances in scientific observations ranging from the very big to the very small.

Scientists Discover New Trigger For Immense North Atlantic Plankton Bloom

Whirlpools, or eddies, swirl across the surface of the North Atlantic Ocean sustaining phytoplankton in the ocean's shallower waters where they can get plenty of sunlight to fuel their growth, keeping them from being pushed downward by the ocean's rough surface.

Seabird study shows spike in plastic ocean litter

Researchers found that 92.5% of the birds examined had plastic scraps in their stomach, with an average of .385 grams (.0136 ounces) of plastic per bird, according to the release. That's equal to about 5% of the bird's body mass.

The report compares that amount to a human carrying 10 quarters in his or her stomach.

Severe Weather Intensifies Focus on Disaster Planning

Severe thunderstorms knocked out power to 1.2 million homes in the D.C. area. Wildfires ravaged more than 2 million acres in the Rockies. Two-thirds of the country is in drought conditions, and flooding is expected to get worse as the time between rainstorms lengthen and, in turn, grow more intense.

Sierra Club Report Challenges Coal Theories

The Sierra Club on June 28 released a new, 28-page study claiming that the days of cheap coal-fired power are now over, both in the U.S. and around the world.

Small Wind Report - U.S. Market Shrinks, Manufacturing Grows with Exports

While the U.S. small wind turbine market decreased 26 percent in 2011, exports drove a 13.4 percent increase in U.S. manufacturer sales, according to the "2011 Small Wind Turbine Market Report." In the U.S., more than 19 MW of small wind systems were installed, with revenues totaling $115 million. More than 7,300 small wind turbines were installed in the U.S. in 2011 for the sixth consecutive year (for comparison purposes, almost twice the number of utility-scale turbines installed). More than 150,000 total small wind turbines have been installed cumulatively in the last decade. The cumulative installed U.S. capacity increased to 198 MW.

SoberLook - Denmark to Eurozone: Keep Your Darn Euros Out

As Eurozone depositors look for safer places to put their money, Denmark has become one of the "destinations". It's not as popular as Switzerland but good enough to attract some sizable flows from euros into Danish Krone (DKK). With DKK pegged to the euro, the central bank has to buy euros to maintain the peg. And that's exactly what they have been forced to do for some time, as seen from growth of the foreign reserve account balances.

Solar Getting Burned Again

It was to be the country’s biggest solar equipment maker. Instead, it will be exhibited by critics of President Obama’s green energy plan. In the spotlight now is General Electric, which has said that it will delay by at least 18 months the construction of a facility to build solar panels.

Solazyme Opens Algae-to-Oil Plant in Illinois

Solazyme has announced the commissioning of its first fully integrated biorefinery in Peoria, Illinois, to produce oil from algae. Solazyme has been running routine fermentations at commercial scale since 2007 and began running fermentation operations at the Peoria facility in Q4 2011. With the successful production of algal oil from the integrated facility this month, Solazyme has met its start-up goals for the facility on schedule.

SOLON Corporation Begins Construction on 460kW Solar Project in Gila Bend, Arizona

SOLON Corporation, one of the largest providers of turnkey solar power plants and photovoltaic (PV) products in the U.S., today announced it has begun construction on a 460 kilowatt (kW) photovoltaic (PV) system for the Town of Gila Bend's Reverse Osmosis (RO) Water Treatment Facility in Arizona.

Stanford scientists give new life to Thomas Edison's nickel-iron battery

A green, rechargeable battery that is suitable for powering electric vehicles and stationary power storage applications, and that would survive tens of thousands of charge cycles in a useful life of 100 years without loss of capacity. What could be a better innovation for our times? Such a battery has been developed, and recently improved by Stanford researchers. Oh, one other thing. The battery was invented by Thomas Edison in 1901.

State of the Weather

It is summer time in the US and, of course, it is warm. But how bad or good is it compared to the past and what bodes for the future? The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during June was 71.2°F, which is 2.0°F above the 20th century average. The June temperatures contributed to a record-warm first half of the year and the warmest 12-month period the nation has experienced since recordkeeping began in 1895. The nation, as a whole, experienced its tenth driest June on record, with a nationally-averaged precipitation total of 2.27 inches, 0.62 inch below average.

Study Confirms Presence Of Contaminants In Some New England Bedrock Groundwater, ID's New Concerns, Determines Likely Locations

Potentially harmful levels of naturally occurring arsenic, uranium, radium, radon and manganese have been found in some bedrock groundwater that supplies drinking water wells in New England, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study. 

While the presence of contaminants, such as arsenic, in some groundwater was already known, this new study identifies several that hadn’t been previously identified.

Surprise: New Walmart Stores Boost Nearby Home Values

A new study refutes the commonly held view that opening a Walmart store lowers the value of nearby properties — instead, it actually raises home values.

Survival Medicine Handbook

...government shenanigans aren't all that I'm worried about. We've had some pretty serious natural disasters around the country that have caused medical facilities to be stretched to the breaking point. Between droughts, wildfires, and once-in-lifetime derecho storms, millions have been left without power in the hottest summer on record for the United States.

Synthetic protein kick-starts the immune system to prevent all strains of the flu

We’ve seen promising moves towards developing a universal or near-universal influenza vaccine, but researchers at the Donald P. Shiley BioScience Center have taken a different tack to ward of the crafty virus. Although the flu virus actively keeps the immune system from detecting it for a few days, giving it time to gain a foothold, the researchers have found that a powerful synthetic protein, known as EP67, can kick start the immune system so that it reacts almost immediately to all strains of the virus.

Taliban Morality Squads: An Ominous Sign for Afghanistan

Emboldened by the news that NATO combat troops will soon leave Afghanistan, the Taliban has established morality squads in some remote Afghan provinces, sending a signal that it wants to reestablish its draconian religious rule over the entire country. Unfortunately for the West, it has the potential to achieve this goal, as LIGNET explains.

Taxpayers Still Support Tobacco Growers

The federal government recently announced a new $54 million, 12-week campaign using TV spots to encourage smokers to give up the habit, and state and federal spending on anti-smoking efforts have topped $800 million in some years.

The Next Imminent Bailout: Eminent Domain

It seems that governmental efforts to save the underwater and ineligible homeowner from his own fate are reaching fever pitch. Not only do we hear today of the up to $300mm in Agriculture Department Rural Housing Service loans that may have financed ineligible projects or borrowers with a high potential inability to repay the loans; but yesterday’s WSJ reports on the growing call for ‘eminent-domain’ powers to be used by local government officials in California to stop the “housing bust’s public blight on their city”. In yet another get-out-of-jail-free card, the officials (helped by a friendly local hedge-fund / mortgage-provider) want to use the government’s ability to forcibly acquire property to remove underwater homes, restructure the mortgage (cut principal), and hand back the home to the previously unable to pay dilemma-ridden homeowner.

The Quest to Capture Carbon is on

The quest is on to capture carbon dioxide. And while the notion of separating such releases from other fumes before they escape the smokestack is prevalent in most minds, other ideas are also creeping into the mainstream.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

Although the TPP covers a wide range of issues, this site focuses on the TPP's intellectual property (IP) chapter.

The TPP suffers from a serious lack of transparency, threatens to impose more stringent copyright without public input, and pressures foreign governments to adopt unbalanced laws.

U.S. Congress Passes Huge Transportation Bill without Keystone XL Pipeline

The U.S. Congress overcame months of division to pass a massive transportation bill that secures a two-year extension of highway funding. The bill sets aside about $105 billion over 27 months to fund thousands of road, bridge and railway projects, including repairs to a steadily declining national infrastructure. legislation notably did not include the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline long sought by congressional Republicans. The package sailed through the House with 373 votes to 52, and then passed the Senate 74-19, with one member voting present.

U.S. Drought Monitor Shows Record-Breaking Expanse Of Drought

More of the United States is in moderate drought or worse than at any other time in the 12-year history of the U.S. Drought Monitor, officials from the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln said recently.

Analysis of the latest drought monitor data revealed that 46.84 percent of the nation's land area is in various stages of drought, up from 42.8 percent a week ago. Previous records were 45.87 percent in drought on Aug. 26, 2003, and 45.64 percent on Sept. 10, 2002.

U.S. Navy moves ahead on biofuels despite congressional ire

* $420 million effort aims to build 3 biofuel refineries

* Government funds would be matched by private capital

* Republicans worry about wasted funds, skewed priorities

What Does the Future Hold for OPEC?

We’re coming up on 40 years of OPEC trying to set the price of oil as high as they can manage.  The oil market is finally at a turning point, non-OPEC production is up, demand is down, and international economics may have finally found a bright spot in ‘globalization’.

World's Water Leaders Share Solutions To Unlock Policy, Planning And Project Delivery Challenges

The water industry must create and capitalize on “economies of scope,” said a group of more than 80 world water leaders. This key finding offered insight into the need to address increasing scarcity and cost of the world’s most precious resources.

WSJ: Government Miscounting Unemployed

For example, a comparison of jobs data between the start and end of 2011 shows the ranks of the unemployed fell by 822,000 while the number of people not in the labor force grew by a larger 1.24 million, the Journal says. The unemployment rate fell by 0.6 percentage point over that time to 8.5 percent.

Moreover, the participation rate—the share of the working-age population either working or looking for work—has fallen by 2.3 percentage points over the four years through May to 63.8%, a three-decade low.

Nearly 88 million people—about seven times the ranks of the officially unemployed—aren't part of the headline rate's calculation, the Journal says.

The extremely long duration of joblessness that has seen people fall off
the rolls has had a bigger impact than aging since 2008, the Journal says. The  civilian employment ratio, which simply divides employed people by total population, has dropped from 63 percent to 58.6 percent in just five years.


July 6, 2012


 6.3 Mw - VANUATU

America Is Not Over Fat – It’s Under Muscled!

Obesity is an epidemic. Globally, more than 1 billion adults are overweight – at least 300 million of them clinically obese. The obesity and overweight epidemic pose a major risk for serious diet-related chronic diseases, including type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke, and certain forms of cancer. The health consequences range from increased risk of premature death, to serious chronic conditions that reduce the overall quality of life and cost each and every one of us some serious cash.

Appalachian Power chief calls storm 'major historical disaster'

Asked Tuesday whether he would handle the Virginia power outages differently if given a second chance, the president of Appalachian Power Co. answered without hesitation.


APS girds for summer demand

Arizona Public Service has taken steps to ensure they are quickly able to respond to any power outages caused by monsoons or high electrical demand this summer. Monsoon season officially began June 15 and will end on Sept. 30.

Brazilian researchers develop new anti-inflammatory for severe pain

The main breakthrough of the research is the successful synthesizing of a protein produced by the human body

Chances increase for El Niño beginning in July-September 2012

The dynamical models, including the NCEP Climate Forecast System (CFS), largely favor the development of El Niño by July-September 2012, while the majority of statistical models predict ENSO-neutral through the rest of 2012.

Child Hunger Still a Major Problem in Developing World

The United Nations had set a target for developing countries around the world to cut the proportion of children who suffer from hunger in half by 2015 from 1990 levels. It is true that childhood hunger has improved since its peak in 1985. However, insufficient progress has been made, and only five percent of the developing world is on track to meet the UN target. One in five infants and children are moderately or severely underweight, amounting to 110 million children around the world. Further, another 148 million are mildly underweight.

China Quadruples 2015 Solar Energy Target to Aid Demand, Prices

China, the biggest supplier of solar power panels, quadrupled a domestic installation goal for sun- derived energy projects to 21 gigawatts by 2015 to help absorb excess supply of panels and support prices.

Clayton jumping to front of class in solar power

Under an appropriately blazing summer sun, a crowd gathered Tuesday to celebrate the placement of the first solar panel in what will be the largest single installation of solar electricity in the state of Missouri.

Climate Change Is Already Shrinking Crop Yields

Concentrating Solar Power - No Resource Constraints

A recently published study from Chalmers University of Technology has gone into the details on material issues for CSP. The main conclusion is that CSP does indeed seem to be largely unrestricted, viewing the material requirements compared to the global reserves. In theory, enough solar plants could be built to cover -- at the very least -- five times the current global electricity demand.

Corn Prices Break Above the 2008 Highs

The drought across the US continues to cause havoc, driving agricultural commodities prices higher. Corn futures hit a record this week, exceeding the 2008 highs.

Decontaminating Decades Of Pollution: Innovative Project Aims To Transform The New River

There's new hope for one of North America's most polluted rivers. In a Strategic Plan released recently by the California-Mexico Border Relations Committee, faculty of UC Davis Extension...The New River is highly polluted with domestic, agricultural and industrial waste from both countries. "It's certainly an issue of environmental justice that has gone unchecked for more than 50 years," says Loux, who served as a consultant and principal investigator for the plan.

EPA maintains GHG thresholds, more flexible on plantwide limits

The US Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday it will maintain its current greenhouse gas thresholds that target power plants, refineries and other large facilities while streamlining flexibility with emission limits applied source-wide rather than at specific emission points.

Firefighters gain upper hand in Colorado, see long wildfire season

Firefighters grappling with the two most destructive wildfires on record in Colorado reported progress on Monday, but were steeling themselves for a long season in what has already been a dangerously active fire year in the western United States.

GlaxoSmithKline admits to criminal pharma fraud in 3 billion dollar case

British registered company, GlaxoSmithKline, faces $3 billion in penalties after pleading guilty to the biggest health care fraud case in history. GSK admitted that physicians had been bribed to push potentially dangerous drugs in exchange for Madonna tickets, Hawaiian holidays, cash and lucrative speaking tours. They also admitted distributing misleading information regarding the antidepressant Paxil.

Government-sponsored study destroys DEA’s classification of marijuana

A government-sponsored study published recently in The Open Neurology Journal concludes that marijuana provides much-needed relief to some chronic pain sufferers and that more clinical trials are desperately needed, utterly destroying the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) classification of the drug as having no medical uses.

While numerous prior studies have shown marijuana’s usefulness for a host of medical conditions, none have ever gone directly at the DEA’s placement of marijuana atop the schedule of controlled substances.

House Report: Countrywide Issued 'Hundreds' of Discounts for Influence

The former Countrywide Financial Corp., whose subprime loans helped start the nation's foreclosure crisis, made hundreds of discount loans to buy influence with members of Congress, congressional staff, top government officials and executives of troubled mortgage giant Fannie Mae, according to a House report.

In the energy debate, is there hope for a "rational middle?"

What Kallenberg found was that people really are yearning to have a reasoned, informed discussion on key energy issues and want to find common ground for moving ahead with a future that is less dependent on fossil fuels. He began to call these people "the rational middle."

What, no shouting? No finger pointing? No rhetoric?

It May Take More Than Stimulus to Arrest Brazil's Slowdown

As is the case with China and India, we are now seeing material deterioration in Brazil's business conditions, particularly manufacturing. The June manufacturing PMI is showing some unexpected weakness.

JPMorgan probed over possible power market manipulation

U.S. energy regulators have subpoenaed JPMorgan Chase & Co to produce 25 internal emails as part of an investigation into whether the bank manipulated electricity markets in California and the Midwest.

July 4: A Good Time to Affirm Our Original Independence

In my view, July 4 is a good opportunity for us to reflect on the original free and independent existence of our American Indian ancestors and the original independence of our nations and peoples. It is important to remain mindful of the fact that we have an amazing spiritual and political legacy: Our original existence, independent and free of any Christian European claims of dominance or “plenary power” over us.

Math Formula Leads Researchers To Source Of Pollution

The leaking of environmentally damaging pollutants into our waters and atmosphere could soon be counteracted by a simple mathematical algorithm, according to researchers.

Millstone wants to keep more nuclear waste on-site

Millstone Power Station owner Dominion plans to expand its nuclear waste storage capacity more than sevenfold at the 520-acre site of its three nuclear power plants.

Minnesota Ignores Indians, Allows Wolf Hunting

Against the steadfast opposition of American Indians in the state, Minnesota will hold its first managed wolf hunting and trapping season this fall. As a result, a cultural clash is brewing between state officials and Indians, who revere wolves.

Moody’s Zandi: Resolve ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Threat and Economy Will Really Recover

A congressional decision to delay the timing of tax hikes and spending cuts at the end of the year could lead to more lasting recovery, says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics.

More than 1 million in US still without power five days after storm

More than 1 million homes and businesses in a swath from Indiana to Virginia remained without power on Wednesday, five days after deadly storms tore through the region.

More than 2,000 heat records matched or broken

More than 2,000 temperature records have been matched or broken in the past week as a brutal heat wave baked much of the United States, and June saw more than 3,200 records topped, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Monday.

NASA researchers aim to help get airborne wind power systems off the ground

The system developed at Langley flies a kite in a figure-8 pattern to power a generator on the ground

New boson discovered, probably Higgs

Numbers are yet to be crunched and the data analysis goes on, but one thing appears to be certain: scientists at CERN have discovered a new boson, and it's probably the Higgs particle, the missing particle of the Standard Model which is thought to lend all matter its mass. Both the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN observe a new particle with mass between 125 and 126 GeV, comfortably within the band of possible Higgs masses previously identified.

North Carolina governor rejects fracking law

North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue on Sunday vetoed legislation that would have lifted a ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and opened the door to shale gas exploration in that state.

Oil complex settles higher Tuesday as Iran tensions mount

Crude and product futures settled higher in moderate pre-holiday US trading Tuesday as tensions escalated between the West and Iran.

Pre-Industrial Emissions Still Causing Temperatures To Rise

A climate model accounting for the carbon dioxide (CO2) released into our atmosphere before the industrial revolution has been used to show the detrimental effect of carbon emissions on global temperature in the long-term.

Report: 'Collusion' Caused Japan's Nuke Disaster

Damage from the huge March 11, 2011, earthquake, and not just the ensuing tsunami, could not be ruled out as a cause of the accident, the panel added, a finding that could have serious implications as Japan seeks to bring idled reactors back on line.

Report of Solar-Geophysical Activity

Solar activity was high.  several low-level M-class flares.  Solar activity is expected to be moderate with a chance for X-class flares for the next three days (06-08 July).  The geomagnetic field was quiet to unsettled with an isolated active period due to residual effects from a coronal hole. The geomagnetic field is expected to be mostly quiet on days one and two (06-07 July) as effects from the CH HSS subside. Unsettled to active conditions are likely on day three (08 July), with a chance for isolated minor storm periods, due to effects from the CME associated

San Onofre whistle-blowers less protected than others in California/a>

An obscure legal doctrine leaves whistle-blowers at the San Onofre nuclear plant with less legal protection than other California workers, including employees at the state's only other nuclear plant.

Scorching heat roasts eastern United States

About 1.3 million homes and businesses in the eastern United States remained without power amid a heat wave on Tuesday, and storm damage and high temperatures forced many Fourth of July celebrations to be canceled.

SoberLook - Despite the Summit Agreement, It Will be a While Before the ESM is Authorized to Buy Italian Bonds, Germany Still Holds the Key

On Friday Angela Merkel got the Bundestag approval she was seeking. Germany approved the Fiscal Compact and the ESM. Germany views the Fiscal Compact as a way to enforce austerity in the periphery countries.

SoberLook - ECB's Balance Sheet Hits €3.1 Trillion; Nearly Half the Assets are Loans to Banks

The ECB continues its relentless march of balance sheet expansion. For the first time the total assets of the Eurosystem have exceeded €3.1 trillion.

Sups want different road to solar plant

The Yuma County Board of Supervisors made it clear that it wants the Foothills Solar Plant to come with a good road, and they have a preference as to where the fresh pavement should lead through the scrubby desert.

Taylor eyes coal waste's worth

Mounds of anthracite coal were once stored at a colliery site in the center of Taylor. The coal needed to be washed before it could be sold. The water, full of coal dust, used to run into Keyser Creek, until the federal government declared it to be a health hazard and ordered the mining companies to stop.

The “Empire Strikes Back” Against California’s GMO Initiative

The California Right to Know 2012 Ballot Initiative, if enacted in November, would require GMO food—that is, all food containing genetically engineered ingredients—to be so labeled in the state. Consumers all over the US are in favor of this by wide margins. It is very important because, with the full power of the US government behind GMO, and huge amounts of money flowing back to Washington from GMO producers, the only way to stop the GMO juggernaut is to tell consumers what they are buying.

The Obama Plan for Cost-competitive Military Biofuels: The 10-Minute Guide

It's finally here. The Obama Administration has laid out an integrated strategy for commercializing advanced biofuels, with a focus in this phase on military advanced biofuels at cost-competitive prices with conventional fuels.

The State Of Drinking Water: A Roundup Of ACE12 From Dallas

...for water professionals there is no offseason, as LaFrance went on to describe the mission at hand — fixing an ailing U.S. drinking water infrastructure system that will require $1 trillion in investment over the next 25 years..

Throngs in Mexico hit stores with gift cards they say came from election-winning PRI

Thousands of people rushed to stores on Tuesday to redeem prepaid gift cards they said were given them by the party that won Mexico’s presidency, inflaming accusations that the election was marred by massive vote-buying.

Top teachers union losing members

The National Education Association has lost more than 100,000 members since 2010. By 2014, union projections show, it could lose a cumulative total of about 308,000 full-time teachers and other workers, a 16 percent drop from 2010.

Trump: Way US Counts Unemployed Is ‘Not Appropriate’

Only those who are out of work but actively looking are counted as unemployed, yet if the government were to factor in discouraged workers into the headline unemployment rate, the number would be much higher.
Previous methodologies would have resulted in much higher unemployment rates today as well.

"The reporting requirements are so different now. You have people saying the real number is 14 percent and 15 percent and 16 percent by the way they used to account, and now the number is at 8.2 and you know if you give up looking for a job, they take you off the list,..

Two Closures Illustrate the Need to Chart a New Course for Solar

Uranium mine set to reopen

A mining company has cleared all federal hurdles and now plans to begin mining uranium this fall about 10 miles south of the Grand Canyon's South Rim.

Urgent Message from Michael Reagan

Polls show that all across this nation Americans are waking up to Obama's radical agenda as a result of the recent Supreme Court decision.

They realize they have been LIED to.

President Obama repeatedly said his health care plan was NOT a tax

US Beaches Laden With Sewage, Bacteria: Study

US beaches can be dirty places, making about 3.5 million people sick each year from sewage in the water, said an annual study Wednesday that rates American beaches by how dirty they are.

The Natural Resources Defense Council report included 3,000 beaches nationwide and listed 15 “repeat offenders” that have turned up again and again in the pollution rankings.

U.S. Fixed Mortgage Rates Continue Finding New Record Lows

Freddie Mac (OTC: FMCC) yesterday released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS), showing average fixed mortgage rates continuing to find new all-time record lows amid recent data showing less consumer spending and a contraction in the manufacturing industry. The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has matched or hit a new record low in 10 of the last 11 weeks. The 1-year ARM also averaged a new record low this week.

US Sends Ships, Fighter Jets to Brace for Iran Threat

The United States has quietly moved significant new military forces into the Persian Gulf to discourage an Iranian response to new sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic.

We should remember

...ten years before America actually declared her independence, revolution had begun. And that revolution began under a 100-year-old elm tree in Boston, when on September 10, 1765, a copper plate with large gold letters was hung in its branches, declaring the tree "The Tree of Liberty."...Much like today, the first and most obvious means of raising revenue was through a tax. And on March 22, 1765, the Stamp Act was passed by the British Parliament.

This tax had an effect the British were not expecting... it enraged the colonists like no other tax had up to that point.

What Ever Happened to Gym Class? Budget Cuts and the Rise of Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity rates are on the rise as hours spent in physical education are on the decline. What’s wrong with this picture?

What the Supreme Court Decision Means for Integrative Medicine

The most important change Roberts made for integrative medicine is that he changed the mandate, which in turn has truly major implications for financing integrative treatments. Under President Obama’s legislation, it was a legal requirement to buy an insurance policy that met all US government requirements. Under the law as modified by Roberts, it becomes a “lawful choice” (his own words) not to buy this government-defined insurance, to buy some other kind of insurance, or to buy no insurance at all.

White House urges renewal of wind energy tax credits

"Delaying action is creating uncertainty. Companies are scrapping or delaying plans to build new turbines," Nancy Sutley, chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said at a news conference Monday, July 2, under a giant wind turbine in North St. Paul.

Whitney Downgrades JPMorgan, Says Move Was 'Long Time Coming'

Star Wall Street analyst Meredith Whitney, who called the housing collapse long before it happened, has downgraded JPMorgan Chase to a hold recommendation, saying the decision had been "a long time coming."

Window coating improves mood by letting more light in

With many of us spending more and more time indoors, it can be a struggle to get the amount of sunlight our bodies crave. Modern heat-insulating, sun-protection glazing doesn’t help, as it reflects a noticeable percentage of the incident sunlight in the part of the spectrum that governs our hormonal balance.

Without the First Americans, There Would Be No U.S.A.

Natives and their vast lands introduced Europeans to the concept of individual dignity and a person’s right to be free. For example, if a Native man didn’t wish to hunt or fight in battle, he wasn’t forced to do so. There were also Native women who became warriors and who held leadership positions within their Tribe. The concept of individual freedom, in the European mind, became one’s right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Mixed with capitalistic greed, such liberty gave birth to the phenomena once known as ‘The American Dream.”


July 3, 2012


10 sobering realizations the Eastern U.S. power grid failure is teaching us about a real collapse

In the wake of violent storms, the power remains out today for millions of Americans across several U.S. states. Governors of Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio have declared a state of emergency. Over a dozen people are now confirmed dead, and millions are sweltering in blistering temperatures while having no air conditioning or refrigeration. As their frozen foods melt into processed goo, they're waking up to a few lessons that we would all be wise to remember.

$62M more pumped into development of alternative fuels

The government announced on Monday its latest effort to spur the development of biofuels through a $62 million investment.

The Obama administration said a key part of the spending was $30 million in federal funding being made available to quicken the development of biofuels to replace diesel and jet fuel consumed by the military and the commercial aviation and shipping sectors.

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Funding for Projects to Boost Renewable Energy Production, Reduce Energy Consumption  

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA has selected for funding 450 projects nationwide, including 31 in North Carolina, that are focused on helping agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy consumption and costs; use renewable energy technologies in their operation; and/or conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy projects. Funding is made available through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which is authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill.

Annual Energy Outlook 2012

The projections in the U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA's) Annual Energy Outlook 2012 (AEO2012) focus on the factors that shape the U.S. energy system over the long term. Under the assumption that current laws and regulations remain unchanged throughout the projections, the AEO2012 Reference case provides the basis for examination and discussion of energy production, consumption, technology, and market trends and the direction they may take in the future. It also serves as a starting point for analysis of potential changes in energy policies. But AEO2012 is not limited to the Reference case. It also includes 29 alternative cases, which explore important areas of uncertainty for markets, technologies, and policies in the U.S. energy economy. Many of the implications of the alternative cases are discussed in the "Issues in focus" section of this report.

As EPA Considers How To Account for Biomass CO2 Emissions, Massachusetts Offers Stringent Alternative

As EPA implements Massachusetts v. EPA, assessing how to regulate CO2 from biomass sources has proven enormously complex. The biomass industry argues that using biomass for power is carbon neutral, as new plant growth can absorb the carbon emitted from combustion. Environmentalists in turn argue that using biomass should not give a stationary source a green card to emit CO2, particularly because it can take many years for regrowth to absorb the CO2 emitted from harvesting and combustion.

A State-by-State Climate Map

A new interactive map released by the group Climate Central summarizes the average temperatures of each of the 48 contiguous United States for the last 100 years. By clicking across the country (try it on the map above), you can see that lately, temperatures have been trending up no matter where you live.

At 11:59 p.m. on December 31, 2012, every American will plunge further into financial darkness

The largest bubble in American history has accelerated beyond the point of no return. And just like every other bubble before this one — it WILL burst.

Brazil tribes occupy contentious dam site

A cluster of 12 men from the Xikrin tribe chant in their native language while marching together, arms interlocked, stomping their feet against the dry red dirt. They say this is their call of resistance from the Amazon.

The Xikrin are joined by about 150 indigenous people from three other tribes -- the Arara, Juruna, and Parakana -- that are occupying one of the work sites at the Belo Monte dam construction site in what is becoming a high-stakes standoff. The occupation, which is entering its second week, has halted a part of the construction on what will be the world's third-largest hydroelectric dam.

California growers join greens to query frack safety

Hydraulic fracturing has brought together greens and growers in California through a shared concern about the impact of the practice on water in a state where it is often in short supply.

Congress Proposes Expanding Master Limited Partnerships to Renewable Energy & Biofuel Projects

Over the last several decades, MLPs have proven to be highly effective at attracting private investment in energy projects through the public markets. However, under current law, MLPs have only been able to invest in oil, natural gas, coal extraction, and pipeline projects. Approximately $290 billion (83 percent) of MLP investments have gone into qualifying energy and natural resources. Of that, just over 80 percent has gone into midstream oil and gas pipeline projects.

Court upholds EPA's greenhouse gas rules

A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday upheld the first-ever U.S. proposed rules governing heat-trapping greenhouse gases, clearing a path for sweeping regulations affecting vehicles, coal-burning power plants and other industrial facilities.

Eastern U.S. hit by heat wave, power outages

Blistering heat blanketed much of the eastern United States for the third straight day on Sunday, after violent storms killed at least 13 people and knocked out power to more than 3 million customers.

Emergencies were declared in Maryland, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington D.C., on Saturday because of damage from the storms that unleashed hurricane-force winds across and a 500-mile (800-km) stretch of the mid-Atlantic region.

Economists: Consumers Are Growing Increasingly on Edge

U.S. consumers are growing increasingly on edge, which doesn't bode well for the economy, economists say.

Gasoline prices may be lower, but high unemployment rates and uncertainty in Europe are among the many things crimping consumer spirits, which isn't good, considering that consumer demand drives about 70 percent of the U.S. economy.

Energy and Environment Update

In the midst of a big week for health care, energy issues had a number of their own headlines as well.
On June 26, a three-judge panel with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit dismissed challenges from industry groups and some states to the Environmental Protection Agency’s tailoring rule in an unsigned opinion that reaffirmed the rules in their entirety. The tailoring rule limits greenhouse gas permitting to the largest industrial sources

Europeans' Views of the Euro

The latest Pew surveys that focused on the benefits of the euro and the ongoing wish to maintain the common currency have revealed some interesting results.

  • The Brits are really really happy the UK is not part of it.
  • The Greeks want to keep the euro more than the Germans.
  • And the Italians more than the others think it was a bad idea.

Europe's Cities Plan To Combat Mounting Climate Risk

European cities are planning to adapt to climate change as the risks become more severe, a report by UK-based emissions measurement organization the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and consultancy Accenture showed on Thursday.

Evidence of 'God particle' found; big announcement expected July 4

Scientists working at the world's biggest atom smasher plan to announce Wednesday that they have gathered enough evidence to show that the long-sought "God particle" answering fundamental questions about the universe almost certainly does exist.

Experts: Obamacare Ruling Doesn’t End Business Uncertainty

The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the healthcare reform law Thursday doesn’t eliminate uncertainty for American companies, experts say.

Indeed, it could increase that uncertainty. Businesses will remain reluctant to spend their $1.2 trillion in cash on employment and expansion, Greg Valliere, chief political strategist at Potomac Research Group, tells

Gardening Through A Drought

For a homesteader, gardening is a crucial element of living off the land. If you grow your own food, a drought can be a scary and trying time. However, droughts are a fact of life, and depending on where you live, may be a fairly regular occurrence. That’s why the best way to garden through a drought is to plan ahead. Water is, and always will be, a limited resource. There is only so much water to go around on this planet, and you need to use yours wisely.

Genetic Evidence That Antioxidants Kill Cancer

Researchers of Jefferson’s Kimmel Cancer Center have produced genetic evidence suggesting antioxidant drugs could help prevent and treat cancer. With research already showcasing the powers of various cancer fighting foods, this research further shows how dangerous mainstream medical testing and treatments can be outranked by nature’s gifts.

Global Biogas Market to Nearly Double in Size to $33 Billion by 2022

Although a relatively minor player within the overall bioenergy sector, the market for biogas sits at the confluence of a number of forces, including increasing demand for distributed generation, tightening environmental regulations, and accelerating buildout of infrastructure for natural gas and for vehicles powered by natural gas.  A byproduct of anaerobic digestion (AD), a process in which microorganisms break down organic matter in an oxygen-starved environment, biogas is gaining traction as a versatile energy carrier with significant potential to meet growing demand within the power, heat, fuel, and chemical markets.

Global carbon emissions rise is far bigger than previous estimates

New analysis by the Guardian shows the world emitted a record 31.8bn tonnes of carbon from energy consumption in 2010

Global Drought is Damaging Crops; Will have a Destabilizing Geopolitical Effect

The recent drought conditions across some of areas in the US have caused a number of wildfires in western states. The media has focused on the fact that some states are cancelling the 4th of July fireworks in fear that they could ignite dry brush and trigger yet another wildfire.

Gluskin’s Rosenberg: ‘We’re Living in a Modern Day Depression’

Gluskin Sheff chief economist David Rosenberg has remained bearish on the U.S. economy since the financial crisis ended in 2009, and now he puts it in stark terms.

"We are living in a modern day depression," Rosenberg tells Yahoo. “Never in the post-World War II experience have I seen a recovery languish as badly as this one.”

Gov. Rick Scott: Florida Won't Implement Medicaid Expansion of Obamacare

Florida Gov. Rick Scott tells Newsmax he will refuse to implement provisions of Obamacare despite the Supreme Court’s ruling because the healthcare overhaul will be “devastating” to Florida families and taxpayers.

Heat Wave Wilts Corn as Supplies Diminish Most Since 1996

Corn supplies in the U.S., the world’s biggest exporter, are declining at the fastest pace since 1996 just as a Midwest heat wave damages the world’s largest harvest for a third consecutive year.

Iran oil minister names OPEC governor as his marketing adviser: report

Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Ghasemi Monday appointed OPEC Governor Mohammad Ali Khatibi his adviser for hydrocarbon marketing, an unusual move that came as Iran is grappling to cope with the impact on oil exports of US sanctions and an EU import ban that came into effect on Sunday.

Iran oil minister says no decision yet to cut oil exports: report

Iran's Oil Minister Rostam Ghasemi was reported as saying Tuesday that the country had not yet made a decision on whether to cut oil exports, playing down comments made by a senior official last week.

Is America Facing a "Jonah" Moment, or a "Nahum" Moment?

...let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands. Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we shall not perish?'" (Jonah 3:5-9)

Japan's gas utlities may work together to import North American LNG

Japanese gas utilities are considering expanding their participation in upstream developments for LNG as part of efforts to lower cost of importing the product, the Japan Gas Association Chairman Mitsunori Torihara told reporters Tuesday.

Kamakura Troubled Company Index Declines 0.86% to 8.13% in June

Kamakura Corporation reported Monday that the Kamakura index of troubled public companies improved, declining 0.86% to 8.13% in June. The decline in the index reflects an improvement in corporate credit quality, which has only shown improvement in four of the last fourteen months.

LIBOR Manipulation: "Dude, You're Killing Us"

The FSA released records of their LIBOR manipulation claim against Barclays. The full document is attached below. Some of the trader/submitter conversations are incredible - and it's quite amazing what people will say on recorded lines, e-mails, or text. No wonder it's going to cost Barclays half a billion to settle.

Mali Islamist radicals raze more Timbuktu shrines

Muslim extremists continued destroying the heritage of the ancient Malian city of Timbuktu on Monday, razing tombs and attacking the gate of a 600-year-old mosque, despite growing international outcry.

Mapping out China's bold claims

It's one thing to read of the disputed claims in the South China Sea involving China and every other country that lines the edges of this Asiatic body of water, and it's another thing entirely to see a map that starkly demonstrates just how boldly and aggressively China is pushing its claims.

'No doubt' that climate change is playing a role in U.S. fires

A noted climate scientist says there is "no doubt" that climate change is "playing a role" in this year's series of record fires in the western U.S. A massive wildfire in Colorado has forced the evacuation of 36,000 people, destroyed over 300 homes, and killed two people. The devastation wrought by the Waldo Canyon Fire even prompted a visit form U.S. President Barack Obama. But this is not the only epic fire in the U.S. this year: less than a month before the Colorado disaster, New Mexico experienced its largest fire on record in Gila Nation Forest; the conflagration burned up 247,000 acres (100,000 hectares). Other major wildfires have occurred in Utah and Wyoming, as well as other parts of New Mexico and Colorado.

Obamacare, the Great Swindle

Now that Obamacare has been ruled a tax by the U.S. Supreme Court, reality is starting to sink in for all those who emotionally supported it. Promoted as a way to provide either free health care or low-cost health care to the masses, the sobering reality is that under Obamacare, health insurance prices keep rising, not falling. That's no surprise, of course, since the Obamacare legislation was practically written by the health insurance companies, and they sure didn't put their weight behind a sweeping new law that would earn them less profit.

Obamacare Wins, We Lose

It was a brilliant move by far Right (but oh so likable) Chief Justice Roberts to side with the Dem-appointed Justices and uphold ObamaCare.  After all, this is a massive victory for corporate power, forcing citizens to buy an expensive insurance product that won’t serve our needs very well but will profit industry, in lieu of receiving real health care.

Oil complex settles down on US, China, European economic woes

The petroleum complex settling lower Monday after a slew of poor macroeconomic data, including contracting manufacturing figures from the US, China and the EU.

Oxygen microcapsules could save lives when patients can't breathe

Six years ago, Dr. John Khier of Boston Children’s Hospital began investigating the idea of using injectable oxygen on patients whose lungs were incapacitated or whose airways were blocked. He was prompted to do so after a young girl that he was caring for passed away – she succumbed to a brain injury, which resulted when severe pneumonia caused her lungs to stop working properly, which in turn caused her blood oxygen levels to drop too low. Now, Khier is reporting that his team has injected gas-filled microparticles into the bloodstreams of oxygen-deprived lab animals, successfully raising their oxygen levels back to normal levels within seconds.

People return to charred cities after Colorado wildfires

Residents began returning to charred areas of Colorado Springs on Sunday after the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history forced tens of thousands of people from their homes and left the landscape a blackened wasteland.

Pimco’s Gross: Economic and Market Normalcy Is Decades Away

Global economies and markets won't see what they remember as normal times for several decades to come, says Bill Gross, co-founder of Pimco and manager of the world's largest bond fund.

Blame hefty debt burdens for the rough roads ahead, as countries can either default and spend years rebuilding their finances and credibility afterwards, or they can print money and run up inflation rates that eat up debts but deal with high prices for a while.

Producer responsibility bill for mercury-added lamps proposed

Lawmakers in Massachusetts have proposed a producer responsibility bill for mercury-added lamps.

House Bill 4207 aims at increasing the recycling of the mercury-added lamps, a category of compact florescent bulbs, by forcing manufacturers to start a collection and recycling program individually or as a collective. The manufacturers would be financially responsible for all the costs and expenses of its collection and recycling program.

Putting a Freeze on Peak Loads

Thermal energy storage for air conditioning has been around for decades. But it's only in the last few years that the technology is being deployed at utility scale in California, with municipal utilities taking the lead. Ice Energy earlier this year relocated its corporate headquarters to Glendale from Windsor, Colo., in part to better serve California's municipal utilities.

Ranchers, farmers seeking solutions to U.S water worries

"Ranching is really mostly about water and grass. So you've got to look at ways to control water," Price said in an interview at his 77 Ranch, where temperatures over 100 degrees drive his cattle into the shade every day and have spurred swarms of hungry grasshoppers.

A recent stretch of devastating drought in Texas and fears of ongoing water scarcity across many parts of the United States are pushing Price and others in ranching and farming into new frontiers of water conservation.

Rasmussen: Conservative Anger Against Obamacare Hitting 'Stratospheric Levels'

Conservative interest in the presidential election hit “stratospheric levels” following last week’s Supreme Court ruling upholding Obamacare, noted pollster and author Scott Rasmussen tells Newsmax.TV.

“All that did was energize conservatives,” declared Rasmussen in an exclusive interview on Monday. “The conservative interest in the election was already much higher than that of moderates and liberals. It went up to really stratospheric levels right after the ruling. We don’t know if that will continue or if it’s just a temporary response to the news cycle.”

Recently Discovered 80-Year Old Photos Shed New Light on Greenland Ice Loss

The research was conducted by Ohio State University along with their Danish colleagues. According to Ohio State associate professor Jason Box, the historic images show that the glaciers were actually melting faster in the 1930s than today. There was then a brief cooling period in the mid-20th century followed by accelerated melting in the 2000s.

"Because of this study, we now have a detailed historical analogue for more recent glacier loss," Box said. "And we've confirmed that glaciers are very sensitive indicators of climate."

Rep. Noem Spearheads Bipartisan Letter to Leadership on PTC for Wind Energy

“The PTC has been an important player in bringing the wind industry to life.” said Rep. Noem. “Over 75,000 American jobs are supported by wind, and the industry is a growing force in South Dakota. With MFG Manufacturing in Aberdeen, MTI in Mitchell and wind farms in other areas of the state, wind energy is helping families pay mortgages and put food on the table. If we fail to extend the PTC, thousands of jobs will be at risk, and that’s why I’m pushing to get it on the House floor as soon as possible.”

Report of Solar-Geophysical Activity

Solar activity increased to high levels. Region 1515 (S17E04) produced an impulsive M5/2b flare at 02/1052Z associated with a Type II radio sweep (estimated shock speed 1063 km/s), a 380 sfu Tenflare, and a coronal mass ejection (CME).  Geomagnetic field activity is expected to remain at unsettled to active levels on day 1 (03 July) as CH HSS effects persist.

Rise in sea level can't be stopped: scientists

Rising sea levels cannot be stopped over the next several hundred years, even if deep emissions cuts lower global average temperatures, but they can be slowed down, climate scientists said in a study on Sunday.

Senate committee in California to hold hearing on bag ban passed by Assembly

A California Senate committee is expected to hold a hearing on a potential statewide ban on the retailers' distribution of plastic bags.

SoberLook - The US Economy's Impact on the Presidential Race - the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Here are some interesting data compiled by Barclays Capital that looks at previous incumbent presidents running for their second term. In each case the comparison is made between specific economic indicators during a president's tenure and the votes the incumbent was able to win in the general elections. Let's look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of the US economic indicators during the past 4 years and what those indicators were for the previous incumbents.

State pressed to monitor SO2 pollution near coal plants

An environmental group released a report Thursday showing that most of the St. Louis area may violate new standards for sulfur dioxide and is exposed to unhealthy levels of the pollutant from the stacks of two area coal-burning power plants.

Supreme Court Decision Makes Implosion More Likely;  Health Law to add $1.15 Trillion to National Debt

A disastrous, appalling decision was handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court today. The Court upheld the individual mandate and socialized medicine, saying both are constitutional, despite the fact that a recent poll found 68% of Americans want all or part of the law repealed. The federal government can now force us to buy what we don’t want.

The Inside Scoop On 5 Kinds Of Crazy Weather

Most of us had never heard the term "derecho" until Friday, when we learned that's what meteorologists call the kind of massive storm that swept through the Midwest and blitzed the Eastern Seaboard, killing at least 20 people and leaving a 700-mile swath of destruction and downed power lines in its wake.

The real disappointment of the Rio+20 Conference

To the immense disappointment of environmental groups and even some multinational corporations, Rio+20 failed to produce binding commitments or a plan on how to strike a balance between consumer demand and the availability of natural resource.

Trying to Keep Deposits in Spain

How does Banco de Sabadell, Spain's 5th largest bank try to keep depositors from moving cash to Germany or Switzerland? They offer up a juicy deposit rate. The bigger the portion of your deposit you are wiling to lock up for a year ("Fund"), the more they will pay.

Tsunami of debris just the beginning

Researchers say waste may keep washing ashore in U.S. for decades.

Light debris, like plastic, Styrofoam and, perhaps, some fishing nets were supposed to reach the coast later this summer, but big items weren't expected until 2013 at the earliest. Now, officials up and down the West Coast and in Hawaii are pondering the best way to handle the tsunami of debris headed their way.

U.S. energy demand still increasing

Research from Frost & Sullivan finds that U.S. energy consumption will increase by 7.3 percent over 2010 levels during a 10-year period. To meet this demand, solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind power will be the fastest growing renewable technologies, representing more than 40 percent of electricity generation in 2020, supported by a focus on domestic energy production and sustainability.

U.S. Fixed Mortgage Rates Match All-time Record Lows

Freddie Mac (OTC: FMCC) yesterday released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS), showing average fixed mortgage rates largely unchanged helping to keep homebuyer affordability high for those in the market to purchase or looking to refinance. Both the 30-year fixed and 15-year fixed rate mortgages matched their all-time record lows.

US net oil import dependence drops another notch

The net oil import dependence of the US shows no signs of stabilizing. It keeps sinking.

The Energy Information Administration's April figures, released June 28, recorded the fact that US net import dependence measured in barrels per day reached another recent low. We'll define "recent" as the time period that began with the August 2006 net imports of just over 13.4 million b/d, the highest ever.

U.S. Unveils Final Drilling Plan, Limits Arctic Sales

U.S. oil companies will be allowed to drill in more areas of the Gulf of Mexico but won only limited access to the Arctic under the final version of the Obama Administration's five year drilling plan that was slammed by industry and some environmentalists.

West's Wildfires A Preview Of Changed Climate: Scientists

Scorching heat, high winds and bone-dry conditions are fueling catastrophic wildfires in the U.S. West that offer a preview of the kind of disasters that human-caused climate change could bring, a trio of scientists said on Thursday.

Yale’s Shiller to Moneynews: Home Prices Could Plunge Even Lower

Home prices have risen lately but nothing suggests that a concrete recovery for the sector is taking place, and prices could fall even lower, Yale economist and author Robert Shiller said.

"I think it's a good chance that home prices may fall still further," Shiller told Newsmax.TV in an exclusive interview. 

Yucca Mountain critic among nominees confirmed to nuclear panel

Sidestepping a new debate over the nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, the Senate confirmed two of President Obama's nominees to the beleaguered Nuclear Regulatory Commission -- including a critic of the proposed waste dump in Nevada who will become the panel's new chair.



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