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Appalachian Voices:
Mountaintop removal is a radical form of coal mining where entire mountains are literally blown up --devastating communities throughout Appalachia, polluting drinking water and destroying rivers. And the worst part is, you're paying for it.
If your home or business is on the electric grid, chances are you are connected to mountaintop removal in the Appalachian Mountains. Find out how --and then find out what you can do about it.
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The future of artificial intelligence
[W]hat excites him most is what he sees over the horizon now. What he calls 'the Singularity.' And what does he mean by that?

KURZWEIL: Well, it primarily refers to our merging with our technology and greatly expanding our human potential. Literally the word refers to a profound transformation. And here we're using it in a context of human history, in that there will be a great transformation of human society. I put it around twenty forty-five. .... And to be a little more specific, by the late twenty-twenties we'll have both the hardware and the software to create machines that are at human levels of intelligence. We've already modeled and simulated twenty different regions of the brain. And we can test those simulations and they perform equivalently to human performance of those brain regions. And the hardware will be quite capable of actually being much more powerful than the human brain.

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Fri Jan 04, 2008 at 01:50 PM PST

Baghdad in Boston

by nu

The project starts in a backpack outfitted with a small microcontroller [I hate those big microcontrollers] and a GPS unit. Recent news of bombings in Iraq are downloaded to the unit every night, and their relative location, to the center of the city, are superimposed on a map of Boston. If the wearer walks in a space in Boston that correlates to a site of violence in Baghdad, the backpack detonates and releases a compressed air cloud of confetti, looking like a mixture between smoke and shrapnel and the white blossoms of a cherry tree, completely engulfing the wearer. Each piece of confetti is inscribed with the name of a civilian who died in the war, and the circumstances of their death.
Via, edited slightly for brevity:
There's a bicycling, walking and perhaps skating and more human-powered transportation coalition being formed in NC and being named and defined as an organization this week.
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Reef the dog posted this in a comment around midnight last night. I know this is too short for a diary, but I don't have the stomach to do it justice. If somebody who does wants to take it up, I'll delete this one.

UNC-Wilmington criminology prof Mike Adams posted a piece on ( ams&dt=03/14/2007&page=full&comments=true ) that includes the following:

   But enough about what Ann [Coulter] ought not to do. Heres what she should do immediately:

      1. Start a website called Global War on Fags today.

      2. Begin writing essays calling for the cleansing and purification of society via the mass murder of homosexuals.

      3. Distribute videos on the website showing the actual murders of homosexuals.

      4. Circulate instructions on how to bomb gay bath houses in San Francisco.

      5. Circulate a battle dispatch to give people specific information on Americas most notorious bath houses.

Update: I have changed the title in response to information about the context, without reading which I should not have posted this diary. I apologize.

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Sun Feb 18, 2007 at 11:11 AM PST

GE Locomotive breath

by nu

From the Better World Club:
In recent years, the US EPA has been steadily ratcheting up emissions standards for diesel fuel and automobile engines. The EPA is currently working on a proposal to cut smog and soot emissions from diesel locomotive engines. Unfortunately, General Electric, by far the largest locomotive producer in the country, is fighting the proposed standards.
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From the Nature Conservancy magazine:
In a groundbreaking partnership, the Nature Conservancy helped Meijer select 119 trees, shrubs and perennials that will carry a new "Recommended Non-Invasive" tag, along with the Conservancy's logo. The stores will also remove two invasives from their inventories: the Norway maple and Lombardy poplar.
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Thu Jan 04, 2007 at 02:25 PM PST

Public hearings on Cliffside, NC coal plants

by nu

From the North Carolina Conservation Network:

State rulemakers with the NC Utilities Commission want to know your opinion about plans for new large coal-burning plants in Cliffside, North Carolina. The hearings will be taking place in:

Charlotte, NC January 10th, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm [That’s what the page says, but I’d check all these times …]
Shelby, NC January 11th, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Raleigh, NC January 17th from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

Just click on any of the above links to get more details about each hearing and to let us know you'll be attending. We'll send you detailed talking points and even a reminder to attend the hearing next month.

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I posted this late in an open thread day before yesterday because the new diary editor doesn't cooperate with me. Now I've remembered the old one's still available, so here goes again. Via Appalachian Voice:

Under most circumstances, we are of the opinion religion should not play a role in political debate.  Recently, however, we’ve learned some religious leaders are railing against mountaintop mining and, as we hear it, invoking the Almighty to bring an end to the mining method.

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From an article by Fiona Morgan in the Independent (Research Triangle area, NC):
N.C. State Professor Tom Hoban is offering Sociology 395-M, "Social Movements for Social Change" [sorry, no link available right now], on the popular social networking site that claims to have 100 million active users worldwide. But administrators say it's the wrong space for teaching a university course.
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From "Untransformed" by Elizabeth Kolbert, in The New Yorker, 25 Sept. 2006, p. 61:
A distribution transformer, much, say, like an elevator, is easy to ignore until it malfunctions. Its unromantic job, in most cases, is to take the high-voltage current transmitted over the grid and convert it --or step it down-- to the lower-voltage current that emerges from a wall socket. There are an estimated three million distribution transformers in operation in the United States, and virtually all the electricity produced in the country --some four trillion kilowatt-hours per year --passes through at least one of them en route from the plant where it was generated to the heating element in your toaster. Along the way, some energy is inevitably lost, and even though proportionately these losses are small, when you're talking about four trillion kilowatt-hours they quickly add up.
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Today, Appalachian Voices has launched, a website that uses satellite mapping and petition technology to educate Americans on the destruction of mountaintop removal and empowers them to stop it.
On the site, you can explore "The National Memorial for the Mountains", an interactive satellite map that shows each of the more than 450 mountains already destroyed by mountaintop removal.
You can also view videos about mountaintop removal featuring Woody Harrelson and the people of Appalachia; and you can download a copy of Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" performed by Willie Nelson exclusively in support of our effort to end mountaintop removal mining.
Mary Anne Hitt
Appalachian Voices
703 W. King St.
Suite 105
Boone, North Carolina 28607

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