Archive for April, 2008

Two Wolves

Monday, April 21st, 2008

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, ‘My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.’

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: ‘Which wolf wins?’

The old Cherokee simply replied, ‘The one you feed.’

– Thanks to Van for this one… 

Journalists As Truth-Tellers

Friday, April 18th, 2008

– I’ve written about Bill Moyers before.   His type of honesty is something the U.S. needs a lot more of.

– Here’s more of his wisdom:

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Thank you very much, Sissy Farenthold, for those very generous words, spoken like one Texan to another–extravagantly. Thank you for the spirit of kinship. I could swear that I sensed our good Molly Ivins standing there beside you.

I am as surprised to be here as I am grateful. I never thought of myself as courageous, and still don’t. Ron Ridenhour was courageous. To get the story out, he had to defy the whole might and power of the United States government, including its war machine. I was then publisher of Newsday, having left the White House some two years earlier. Our editor Bill McIlwain played the My Lai story big, as he should, much to the chagrin of the owner who couldn’t believe Americans were capable of such atrocities. Our readers couldn’t believe it either. Some of them picketed outside my office for days, their signs accusing the paper of being anti-American for publishing repugnant news about our troops. Some things never change.

More.. (follow this link for the full text of his speech)

Ancient Ginkgoes, Redwoods Threatened in China

Friday, April 18th, 2008

Forty million years ago the dawn redwood was among the most abundant tree species growing in the Northern Hemisphere.

Today about 6,000 trees remain in the wild, and all of them are in south-central China.

Dozens of modern plant and animal species share a similar history—once widespread, they are now restricted to the booming Asian country.

China is home to more than 31,500 plant species, about 10 percent of the world’s total. Several species, including the dawn redwood and the maidenhair tree—also called ginkgo—are as old as the dinosaurs.

But 20 percent of these plants are at risk of extinction due to human pressures, according to Peter Raven, director of the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis.

“By the end of the century, over half the species in China could be extinct or at the verge of extinction,” he said. “That’s a very serious problem.”


Global food system ‘must change’

Friday, April 18th, 2008

The global agriculture system will have to change radically if the world is to avoid future environmental and social problems, a report has warned.

The study, commissioned by the UN and World Bank, concluded that while recent advances had increased food production, the benefits were spread unevenly.

It said that 850 million people were still not getting enough food to eat.

The authors added that food prices would remain volatile as a result of rising populations and biofuel growth.

The findings were published by the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), an intergovernmental body that involved more than 400 scientists and 30 governments.

“We tried to assess the implications of agricultural knowledge, science and technology both past, present and future on a series of very critical issues,” explained IAASTD director Robert Watson.

“These issues are hunger and poverty; rural livelihoods; nutrition and human health.

“The key point is how do we address these issues in a way that is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable?”


Britain: An Entire Village Turns Against Supermarkets and Grows Its Own Food

Friday, April 18th, 2008

– From Cryptogon comes this story out of Britain that folks are deciding to go around the supermarket model of life.

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It was a sitcom that inspired many a household to live off the land.

And although it might not attract the likes of Margo and Jerry to move to the area, an entire village is trying its hand at the Good Life.

In a bid to become less dependent on supermarkets, the residents of Martin are working together to become as self-sufficient as possible.


Solazyme Unveils Renewable Biodiesel Derived from Algae via Scalable Process

Friday, April 18th, 2008

First car powered by algal biodiesel to demonstrate real-world driving at Sundance

South San Francisco, Calif. – January 22, 2008 – Solazyme, Inc., a synthetic biology company unleashing the power of aquatic microbes to create clean and scalable solutions for biofuel, industrial chemical, and health and wellness markets, today revealed the first ever algae-derived biodiesel fuel (SoladieselTM) to have undergone road testing by successfully powering a factory-standard automobile for long distances under typical driving conditions. The car and fuel are making their public debuts at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, where they are also featured in Fields of Fuel, Josh Tickell’s documentary about renewable fuels. Soladiesel biodiesel is clean, renewable, environmentally sustainable and scalable.


Climate change: a global threat multiplier

Friday, April 18th, 2008

– This is a favorite theme of mine and an essential part of what I call the Perfect Storm Hypothesis.   That there are many problems building up around us and that these problems potentiate and empower each other, or as the folks say, they multiply each other.

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A European Union study on the problems of global climate change, leaked to the press four days before its official launch on March 14, 2008, contained the sobering assessment that a failure to take radical action now to address global warming would create the likelihood of severe conflict over resources in the decades ahead. Two days later, on March 16, data from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reveals that the rate of shrinking of glaciers across the world – a key marker of climate change – has accelerated; this more than doubled between 2006 and 2007, and the 2007 figure was five times the average for the 1980-99 period. These two documents, taken together, present governments and citizens in the leading emissions-producing countries in particular with an unavoidable test.


Fears emerge over Russia’s oil output

Friday, April 18th, 2008

Russian oil production has peaked and may never return to current levels, one of the country’s top energy executives has warned, fuelling concerns that the world’s biggest oil producers cannot keep up with rampant Asian demand.

The warning helped on Tuesday to push crude oil prices to a fresh all-time high above $112 a barrel, threatening to stoke inflation in many countries.


Science solves global warming

Friday, April 18th, 2008

The Greens in New Zealand have shared a new discovery with the rest of us:

Scientists searching for a way to solve global warming have stumbled on the perfect solution for removing CO² from the air and locking it away in a non gaseous state. Crucially – given the scale of the problem – the device is self-replicating, self-powered and has the added benefit of preventing floods and erosion. They call it ‘the tree’.

What lies beneath

Friday, April 18th, 2008

– I now publish articles that seem to go against my basic premise which is the Perfect Storm Hypothesis (see the Counter Currents category).

– Just a few days ago I published one about the Bakken Formation and some months ago, I published another about new gas discoveries off Brazil. (And here as well.)

– Here the Economist Magazine takes a second look at the Brazilian claims.

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JUST how much oil is there off the coast of Brazil? Until recently, Brazil’s oil reserves were thought to be relatively modest: about 12 billion barrels at the beginning of 2007, according to BP, or about 1% of the world’s total. But last year, Petrobras, Brazil’s partly state-owned oil firm, announced the world’s biggest oil discovery since 2000: the Tupi field, which it hopes will produce between 5 billion and 8 billion barrels. Now the head of Brazil’s National Petroleum Agency (ANP) says another nearby discovery might hold as much as 33 billion barrels, which would make it the third-largest field ever found. That alone would be enough to raise Brazil to eighth position in the global oil rankings—and there is talk of further big discoveries. But the peculiar way in which the information came to light is casting doubt on its significance.