You are hereEnvironment
by Walter Brasch
There has been a lot in the news this past week.
Most important, if measured by getting most of the ink and air time, is the continuing soap opera, “Charlie and the CBS Factory.”
The latest in a seemingly never-ending story is that after Charlie Sheen melted down, was fired, and spread himself to every known television talk show, declaring himself to be a winner and announcing a $100 million forthcoming law suit against CBS for breech of contract, the president of CBS announced he wanted Sheen back in “Two and a Half Men.”
Details are to be worked out. CBS said it would work with creator/executive producer Chuck Lorre and producing studio Warner Brothers, The relationship among Sheen, Warner Bros., Lorre, and most of the cast and crew may be a bit more difficult since Sheen’s warm-and-friendly on-air persona didn’t match his vitriolic attacks upon his co-stars and anti-Semitic remarks about Lorre.
Warns Any Radiation Exposure Is Unsafe
Washington, DC - March 19, 2011 – Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) today called for a nationwide
moratorium on new nuclear reactors in the United States and a suspension of operations at the nuclear reactors with a similar design as those involved in the disaster in Japan, as well as those on fault lines. PSR cited the medical risks associated with any level of radiation exposure regardless of how small. Lower doses result in less chance of harm than higher doses, but any dose level can put an individual at risk.
Toxic Intervention: Are NATO Forces Poisoning Libya with Depleted Uranium as They 'Protect' Civilians?
By Dave Lindorff
President Obama’s criminal launch of an undeclared and Congressionally unauthorized war against Libya may be compounded by the crime of spreading toxic uranium oxide in populated areas of that country.
This is latest concern of groups like the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons, which monitor the military use of so-called depleted-uranium (DU) anti-tank and bunker-penetrating shells.
Images of Libyan civilians and rebels celebrating around the burning hulks of the Libyan army’s tanks and armored personnel carriers, which had been hit by US, French and British aircraft ordnance in the early hours of the US-led assault on the forces of Col. Muammar Gaddafy, could well have been unknowingly inhaling the deadly dust of the uranium weapons favored by Western military forces for anti-tank warfare.
By Linn Washington, Jr.
A timely report from the Union of Concerned Scientists, based on data from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), contains troubling news about the state of America’s vast network of nuclear power plants.
The report, which examined serious incidents at 14 U.S. nuclear power plants nationwide from New York to California in 2010, finds fault with both plant operators and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission which is supposed to oversee them.
“Many of these significant events occurred because reactor owners and even the NRC tolerated known safety problems,” states the report, entitled: “The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety in 2010: A Brighter Spotlight Needed.”
While none of the 14 safety incidents tagged in the Union’s report as “near misses” produced harm to nuclear plant employees or the public, the report terms the frequency of these incidents, which averaged more than one per month, “high for a mature industry.”
Bad to Worse in Japan - by Stephen Lendman
It bears repeating. Government, industry, and major media reports downplay and deny Japan's unprecedented nuclear disaster, potentially able to kill millions now living and in future generations painfully.
Nuclear power is a real life Andromeda Strain. If uncontrollably unleashed, it's potentially able to destroy life worldwide under a worse case scenario.
In his latest article, nuclear expert Harvey Wasserman said "the most devastating thing about (Fukushima) is not what's happening there now. It's that until all the world's reactors are shut, even worse is virtually certain to happen again. All too soon." Fukushima, in fact, may be the nuclear nightmare he suggests.
Globally, 450 reactors operate, including 104 aging American ones, many with bad safety records caused by cost-cutting and shoddy maintenance. Poorly regulated, they're ticking time bombs, accidents waiting to happen, many plagued by near-meltdown misses.
By Missy Comley Beattie
It’s blue here in Kentucky, true blue, a landscape of royal blue, this altar to basketball and home to the Kentucky Wildcats whose devotees are historically and hysterically frenzied for victory.
The same day I awakened to breaking news of breaking tectonic plates, breaking nuclear reactors, and breaking hearts, I left my sister Laura's house for exercise and heliotherapy. An elderly woman pushed her walker in the middle of a street, a man entered his house with a giant box of Pepsi Cola attached to his arm, and another person was at his mailbox. All were costumed in Big Blue fan-ery.
On Sunday, the Cats defeated the Florida Gators to win the SEC tournament. Often, during the action, we zipped to CNN’s coverage of Japan’s tsunami, earthquakes, and maybe-yes, maybe-no, Chernobyl-like meltdowns.
Multiples Worse than Chernobyl - by Stephen Lendman
In Japan, coverup and denial persist. In a March 18 press conference, Tokyo Electric's (TEPCO) spokesman claimed water-dousing lowered radiation levels from 312 microsieverts per hour to 289. However, 48 hours earlier, chief cabinet secretary Yukido Edano said radioactivity levels were misreported in microsieverts instead of millisieverts - 1,000 times stronger.
Contrary to other reports, TEPCO's spokesman also said water remains in Unit 4's cooling pool. In fact, there's none. Nothing the company says is credible.
Full Core Meltdown in Japan? - by Stephen Lendman
Possibly it's ongoing and concealed. All along, Japanese and Tokyo Electric (TEPCO) officials downplayed or lied about the severity of the crisis. Virtually nothing they say can be believed.
Nor from the Obama administration, budgeting loan guarantees for new reactor construction instead of decommissioning all 104 nuclear plants because operating them risks full core meltdowns.
Partial or full ones gravely harm earth, air, water and food. Three hazardous Fukushima radioactive isotopes are especially problematic. University of Rochester Professor Jacqueline Williams, a radiation expert, says ingesting radioactive iodine-131 causes thyroid and other cancers. So does hazardous beta and gamma radiation from Cesium-137. Released Strontium 90 also causes leukemia and other cancers. Large amounts of all three are spewing daily.
Armageddon Scenario in Japan - by Stephen Lendman
Japan's deepening disaster affects everyone. Atmospheric radiation will spread globally, mostly affecting the northern hemisphere. Everyone to some extent will be affected, those in Japan and nearby the most.
An unprecedented catastrophe is unfolding. You'd hardly know it from most major media reports, including US broadcast and cable channels, National Public Radio, Public Broadcasting, BBC, and Al Jazeera, failing to explain a deepening catastrophe placing millions of lives at risk.
On March 16, however, Russia Today said Japan "may be losing control" at Fukushima after a rise in radiation suggests efforts to contain the disaster aren't working. Nuclear engineer Arnie Gunderson told the Washington Post that evacuating most workers "is a sign to me that they have given up trying to prevent a disaster and gone into the mode of trying to clean up afterward."
By Dave Lindorff
It seems rather silly now, doesn’t it, all the US concern about terrorism?
The nuclear crisis in Japan, which continues to worsen, threatens to become a total multiple meltdown, combined with the perhaps even more disastrous explosion and fire in one or several spent fuel rod ponds. If any of these things happen, not to mention many of them, several hundred square miles of Japan would be rendered indefinitely uninhabitable, costing hundreds of billions of dollars. And it could be worse. If the winds are blowing south during such a disaster, all of Tokyo, which has a metropolitan population of over 30 million, could have to be evacuated.
A study by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission back in 1997, found that one spend fuel disaster could devastate almost 200 square miles of the US, and cause half a trillion dollars in damage!
Red Alert in Japan: An Unfolding Nuclear Catastrophe - by Stephen Lendman
Since March 12, a potentially unprecedented catastrophe has been unfolding in Japan, despite official denials and corroborating media reports - managed, not real news. Believe none of them. Nonetheless, on March 15, Reuters suggested what's ongoing, headlining: "Japan braces for potential radiation catastrophe," saying:
"Japan faced potential catastrophe on Tuesday" after a fourth Fukushima reactor explosion, fire, and high-level radiation release, posing grave human health risks to an expanding area, including Toyko's 20 million population 170 miles south.
France's Nuclear Safety Authority rated the disaster a six on the international seven-point nuclear accident scale. Clearly, it's the worst ever. Europe's energy commissioner, Guenther Oettinger called it an "apocalypse," telling the European Parliament that Toyko lost control of events.
Coverup and Denial in Japan - by Stephen Lendman
Discount all official government statements and major media reports repeating them instead of demanding expert, unbiased views.
Officially, Japan's nuclear emergency is under control and contained. In fact, lies substitute for truths, denial for reality, and managed news for honest reporting.
Point of fact: Besides its catastrophic quake, tsunami, destructive aftershocks, and resulting humanitarian crisis, Japan is experiencing a developing nuclear catastrophe, the full extent not known until independent sources reveal it.
On March 12, a huge explosion rocked Fukushima's Unit 1 reactor. Reports said its containment chamber was intact. Independent experts are skeptical, believing at least some damage occurred, perhaps a major breach now covered up. Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) blamed a core meltdown for the explosion, releasing hazardous atmospheric radioactive cesium-137 and iodine-131.
The Idiocy and Hubris of Engineers: Will GE Get Whacked for the Catastrophic Failure of its Nuke Plants in Fukushima?
By Dave Lindorff
GE, the company that boasts that it “brings good things to life,” was the designer of the nuclear plants that are blowing up like hot popcorn kernels at the Fukushima Daiichi generating plant north of Tokyo that was hit by the double-whammy of an 8.9 earthquake and a hugh tsunami.
The company may escape tens or hundreds of billions of dollars in liability from this continuing disaster, which could still result in a catastrophic total meltdown of one or more of the reactors (as of this writing three of the reactors are reported to have suffered partial meltdowns, and all could potentially become more serious total meltdowns with a rupture of the reactor container), thanks to Japanese law, which makes the operator--in this case Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) liable. But if it were found that it was design flaws by GE that caused the problem, presumably TEPCO or the Japanese government could pursue GE for damages.
By Linn Washington, Jr.
Swinging a sledge hammer, Pennsylvania’s first-term Republican Governor Tom Corbett, smashed into educational spending and state worker jobs during his first-ever budget address, following in the footsteps of his conservative cost-cutting confederates across the nation.
While Corbett proposes slashing over a billion dollars in fundis for pre-K through college, he spares the Keystone State’s burgeoning billion-dollar Marcellus Shale natural gas industry from his call for ‘shared sacrifice’ to close a $4-billion gap in the state’s budget.
Corbett refuses to do what over a dozen other oil and gas-producing states do and impose an extraction tax on the natural gas industry--the same industry that low and behold last year lavished him with hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions to his gubernatorial campaign.
Nuclear Meltdown in Japan - by Stephen Lendman
For years, Helen Caldicott warned it's coming. In her 1978 book, "Nuclear Madness," she said:
"As a physician, I contend that nuclear technology threatens life on our planet with extinction. If present trends continue, the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink will soon be contaminated with enough radioactive pollutants to pose a potential health hazard far greater than any plague humanity has ever experienced."
More below on the inevitable dangers from commercial nuclear power proliferation, besides added military ones.
On March 11, New York Times writer Martin Fackler headlined, "Powerful Quake and Tsunami Devastate Northern Japan," saying:
"The 8.9-magnitude earthquake (Japan's strongest ever) set off a devastating tsunami that sent walls of water (six meters high) washing over coastal cities in the north." According to Japan's Meteorological Survey, it was 9.0.
* Information on orbital mission, cargo is classified
* Mini-shuttle is solar-powered, does not carry people
By Irene Klotz
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., March 5 (Reuters) - A prototype miniature space shuttle blasted off aboard an unmanned Atlas 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Saturday for a demonstration run that could last as long as nine months.
The experimental vehicle, known as the Orbital Test Vehicle, or OTV, lifted off at 5:46 p.m. EST (2246 GMT). It is the second ship to be put in space under the U.S. military's X-37B program.
The vehicles are smaller versions of NASA's space shuttle orbiters -- 29 feet (8.8 metres) long, 14 feet (4.3 metres) across. The one-third scale spaceships are solar powered, unlike the space shuttles, and are not designed to carry people.
by Missy Comley Beattie
My hands are curved, poised above the keyboard. I’m staring at a document, blank except for the cursor that’s blinking to the rhythm of an Annie Lennox song, “Love is a Stranger.” My eyes are focused on this small vertical mark that, at other times, could be a soporific. Just not now. Because the Lennox lyrics are bitter.
It’s savage and it’s cruel
It shines like destruction
Comes in like a flood
And it seems like religion
It’s noble and it’s brutal
It distorts and deranges
And it wrenches you up
And you’re left like a zombie
This describes love but it could be the tune of our times, as harsh as the world in which we live.
A power plant in Pinghu. To fuel the growth in GDP, China’s energy demand has surged by 220%. Photograph: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images
28 February 2011 - China will try to slow GDP growth to ease pressure on the environment following a series of unusually stark warnings from senior ministers about the country's current mode of development.
A Chinese man works at a photovoltaic power plant built with Japanese help in Xining in northwest China's Qinghai province, 11 June 2008. The 300kw solar panel power plant is the first to be connected to the local power grid. | EPA/ANGHAI JIN
27 February 2011 - Investing 2% of global GDP a year, could lead to a green and sustainable future, one that will outshine predictions of GDP growth under the current economic model.
February 23, 2011 - At the National Press Club Wednesday morning, scientists showed a video of an ocean teeming with wildlife: colorful coral, crabs, sea anemone and bright orange starfish.
The video underscored some not-so-new, but still sobering, news. If trends continue unchecked, our ocean may soon be robbed of its rich coral reefs and many of the 4,000 fish species that depend on them.
Some 75 percent of the world's reefs are facing the threat of extinction, and absent major changes, that number will rise to 90 percent by 2030, and reach 100 percent by 2050, according to a new analysis released Wednesday.
I just caught this a short while ago and just in time to stream most of the press conference, without even finishing my first pot of coffee.
Did some searching and found a couple of reports, more are being added as I type this, as well as the UNEP site page with the full report broken down in sections to download, read and study.
One doesn't need to believe in 'Climate Change', using the label 'global warming' in a simplistic way to feed the detraction of the obvious, detractors of advancing technologies and individual advancements and dreams have always been around. Developing, long over due and argued about, the technologies and finding the possible new means to the goals of a cleaner planet and cleaner living are just the same as any advancements man has made as we've evolved.
Chevron Found Guilty, Ordered to Pay $8.2 billion in Epic Oil Contamination Fight
By Jeremy Hance, From Mongabay.com
It was the environmental legal battle that some believed would never end (and they may still be right). But today in Lago Agrio, Ecuador, after 18 years of an often-dramatic court case, Chevron was found guilty of environmental harm and ordered to pay $8.2 billion in damages, however the oil giant says it will appeal the ruling. The lawsuit was filed by indigenous groups in the Ecuadorian Amazon who argue that poor environmental safeguards from Texaco in the 1970s and 80s led to widespread oil contamination and high rates of diseases, including cancer, among the populace. In 2001 Chevron purchased Texaco and inherited the legal fight. For its part, Chevron has dubbed the ruling "illegitimate" and with an appeal will drag the case on longer.
What the detractors, whether they believe the obvious or not and the flock just follows what they're told, are effectively locking the brakes on what we once were and envied around this planet, innovators in moving forward with the new idea's, interstate roadways, flying, etc. etc. etc. and with the same innovative workforce that made the advancements reality with everyone following in trying to catch up. Now those everyone's are leading and we aren't even following much, like as to energy innovations and a cleaner planet, even so called third world countries are moving ahead of us on the obvious human advancements!
Rear Admiral David W. Titley, Oceanographer and Navigator of the Navy (Photo: U.S.Navy)
The Cleveland Plain Dealer staff , has published a six part series of reports in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on the still lasting effects of the defoliants we used in our destruction of Vietnam. Reports from Vietnam as well as about the daughter of a brother Vietnam Veteran.
Astonishing theater unfolded in Washington, DC when former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and former Vice Presidents Richard Cheney and Joe Biden were taken into custody and transported to a courthouse soon after arriving in the United States. Photographers captured images of the four, revealing that Cheney no longer wore his signature sneer.
Exiled to Saudi Arabia in 2011 during the Justice Revolution in early July, the men rarely were seen in public. Rumor had it that they, as well as family members and their dogs, were well disguised when attending events outside the palace.