|Every week Daily Kos diarists write dozens of environmentally related posts. Many don't get the readership they deserve. Helping improve the odds is the motivation behind the Green Diary Rescue. In the past seven years, there have been 239 of these spotlighting more than 13,555 eco-diaries. Below are categorized links and excerpts to 53 more that appeared in the past seven days. That makes for lots of good reading during the spare moments of your weekend. [Disclaimer: Inclusion of a diary in the rescue does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.]|
Lessons for building an ecocity culture—by citisven: "Located along the Loire River about 30 miles from the Atlantic coast in western France, Nantes is the country's 6th largest city with a population of 600,000. In the early 1990s, Nantes embarked on one of the largest urban redevelopment projects in Europe when it decided to transform its old shipyards into a culturally diverse, multiple-use neighborhood. Located on an island in the heart of the city along the riverbanks, the 337-hectare Île de Nantes project soon became a bustling hub for creative industries: as more artists and start-ups began moving into the old factories, two creative visionaries were dreaming up a series of playful, interactive apparatuses designed to be part Jules Verne's fantasy world and part Leonardo da Vinci's mechanical universe. [...] There are a lot of smart people who have presented compelling cases for why we need to take action. Scientists have shown us the irrefutable evidence. Economists tell us the bubble is going to burst. The United Nations is wholeheartedly committed to sustainable development. No doubt, most people around the world are aware that we are collectively on the wrong path. And yet, too often the way our environmental predicament is presented to us is like that of a child who has done something wrong, so when asked to make changes in our lifestyles or built environments we get resentful because we perceive it as a sacrifice. We have locked ourselves into a mental zero sum position, where a gain for the planet is tallied as a personal loss."
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Catastrophic Coal Firesale by Obama's BLM is Failing b/c of West Coast Port Protests!—by FishOutofWater: "The Obama administration is negating all their positive actions on climate change in one disastrous decision to lease an enormous area of federal land for coal mining in Wyoming's Powder River basin at fire sale prices. I just traveled through parts of southwestern Virginia and southeastern Kentucky that are in desperate condition because their economy was based on coal. The jobs are leaving Appalachia and the people can't find work. Appalachian coal can't compete with natural gas and low-sulfur Powder River Basin coal from federal land sold at below free market prices in sweetheart deals in one buyer auctions. Very few jobs are generated from mining these ponderous pits with massive machinery. And there's no shortage of jobs in the region because of the fracking boom.This lease block sale will be a climate disaster and will hurt the Appalachian job situation. It's a lose, lose proposition."
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You can find the remainder of the rescued green diaries below the vortex.
Eco-Related DC & State Politics
Ha! Conservation Group Hammers US Sen. Ron Johnson Again (more tissues will be needed)—by Puddytat: "Booya! As if Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson (R-TeaBaggerstein) didn't weep enough crocodile tears (and whine about being a victim of 'environmental jihad') after their first ad, the League of Conservation Voters is now running a second ad":
Republicans get serious about climate change? Maybe—by VL Baker: "After ignoring and obstructing action on climate change for over 30 years, the House GOP are planning a major meeting on climate change for September 18. They have invited leaders of 13 federal agencies to testify. It will be the first time since President Obama unveiled his climate action plan in June that administration officials will testify on Capitol Hill about the agenda. Those invited include leaders of the Environmental Protection Agency; the departments of Agriculture, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Interior, State, and Transportation; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the Commerce Department; NASA; the U.S. Agency for International Development; the Export-Import Bank; and the White House Office of Science and Technology."
Rick Scott Turns Florida into Pollution Paradise—by SemDem: "According to the National Resource Defense Council, Florida is now the 2nd most polluted state in the union (thanks Ohio) under Governor Pollution. It wasn't always this way. Florida used to be a beacon for the environmental movement. Before the dark years of Republican leadership, Florida made headlines for rejecting the massive flood-control projects of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; restoring the Kissimmee River; and spending billions to save the precious Everglades. Hell, as early as three years ago Crist came up with a plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions and established commissions to combat pollution. But under the brief and horrible regime of Governor Sick Rott, the commissions were eliminated, agencies charged with protection were slashed or abolished, activists were pursued, budgets of the water-management districts gutted, and anti-environmental legislation that actually CREATED pollution were enacted into law."
CO-Sen: Mark Udall (D), "Action on climate change is long overdue"—by poopdogcomedy: [From Udall}: "It’s getting worse. For over a decade, NASA satellites have scanned Earth’s surface and measured the size and tenacity of wildfires across the country. According to NASA, the long and intense fire seasons of late are becoming a yearly mainstay.'Fire seasons are starting earlier, due to warmer spring temperatures and earlier snow melt, and they are lasting longer into the fall.' [NASA 08/09/2013]. [...] Climate change is here, and the worsening wildfires and severe drought across the West are just a couple of many concrete examples that prove it. We can’t continue to ignore this reality. The time to act was yesterday."
Who's to blame for climate change?—by VL Baker: "Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg at The Atlantic takes a look at who has the lion's share of blame for climate change. Of course, it's tragic, because overwhelmingly the fault goes to the U.S. Although China has recently overtaken the U.S. in CO2 emissions; it would take them 94 years to catch up to the cumulative U.S. production of greenhouse gas emissions."
Dr. Michael Mann's lawyers are having so much fun...—by caerbannog: "...that the lawyers should be paying Dr. Mann for the privilege of taking his case against the Competitive Enterprise Institute and National Review! Climatesciencewatch.org has the latest legal briefs, and they are pure popcorn-munching entertainment gold. Link here. So throw a bag of popcorn into the microwave and then check out these juicy excerpts from those legal briefs (thanks again to climatesciencewatch)."
it’s like a nature hike through the book of revelations—by cordgrass: "WaPo--Al Gore explains why he's optimistic. It's getting really scary out there, with the freak weather and Exxon and Koch-fueled Republican intransigence, but lately I've been cheered up by the recent optimism from Bill McKibben, Paul Gilding, and now Al Gore. The full interview with Gore is definitely worth a read, particularly if you are a treehugger feeling down in the trenches (feeling like a roothugger, I guess). 5000+ comments already on the article over there, undoubtedly from paid fossil fuels Internet minions—they see this as a threat."
Grand solar minimum could slightly cool planet until ~2080—by gnosticator: "Being a father, I am quite glad to hear scientists recognize that the "grand solar minimum" could stave off catastrophic warming, at least until near the end of the century, and which might allow my child and his generation of kids around the world to have a more normal life. Perhaps he won't have to fight in a future war because of climate change chaos. This could buy mankind critical time to start fixing the root problems of climate change: massively downsizing petrochemical industry or replacing petrochemical products altogether and establishing mitigation strategies, perhaps allowing more time for discussion of controversial geo-engineering and other mitigation strategies."
Food, Agriculture & Gardening
Computer system used in meatpacking inspections was offline for two days—by Christian Dem in NC: "Earlier this month, a new computer system that USDA inspectors use to inspect the meat that comes out of the nation's meatpacking plants went offline for two days. As a result, millions of pounds of meat went out before being inspected for contamination."
China's water pollution off the charts, must outsource food production—by VL Baker: "With its successful bid to purchase the U.S. pork giant Smithfield, which is pending U.S. governmental approval, China has revealed its major vulnerability—that of feeding its own people. Its race to get to the top of global manufacturing has extracted the heavy cost of fouling its water, land and air so that it must look outside its boundaries to keep its increasingly unsustainable growth on track. In a stunning piece, Bloomberg details China's predicament as a coal/water dilemma. In order to continue its manufacturing miracle unabated, China must rely on the use of coal, its number one energy source. Coal requires a massive use of water both in mining and in burning. Coal industries and power stations use as much as 17 percent of China’s water."
Saturday Morning Garden Blogging: Vol 9.27 Betty Ford Alpine Gardens—by JupiterSurf: "Merry Light is the very first Kossack I had the pleasure of meeting in the dimensional world as opposed to just meeting here in the flat blog. 'They say a stranger is just a friend we have not met yet.' We had a wonderful day wandering around the garden taking photos and sharing stories of our lives...it was like we had always known each other... Merry also brought me some lovely pansies to plant on my balcony garden in the Rockies...and I enjoyed them all summer, they have since been shared with a friend of mine out there."
"The oil money will help keep the toilets clean."—by RLMiller: "'He said the oil money will help keep the toilets clean and the parks supervised for visitors who use MRCA-managed parks throughout the county.' That's the rationale for a public parks agency to sell out a blue collar community and using taxpayer money earmarked for parks to keep on drilling ... with a cut to the parks agency. This deal is Texas-bad. But it's happening in California."
Poisoning the Well at World's End?—by Dan Chu: "In 1859 the first oil well in the nation was drilled in Pennsylvania. Over the past 150 years, hundreds of thousands of oil and gas wells have been drilled across the state, and today close to 10,000 wells sit abandoned as rusting holes in the ground seeping oil and gas. In some cases, these wells were drilled right in the middle of streams. Since the companies that drilled these wells have walked away, the mess is left for Pennsylvania’s taxpayers to clean up. Each abandoned well costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to plug with concrete. Most of these wells will likely never be plugged due to the cost and inaccessibility, leaving them to ooze oil and gas in perpetuity. Despite this nasty legacy, today, dirty energy companies are allowed to drill new wells with inadequate safeguards, and insufficient bonding for plugging wells and cleaning up after the life of the well is over."
Good Climate Change News from --- Texas?—by 6412093: "Most folks strongly support development of wind and solar energy generation to replace utilization of fossil fuels. However, wind and solar energy depends in part on steady winds and sunny days. Some critics, like me, point out we will always need massive amounts of, at a minimum, natural gas fired power plants to back-up solar and wind generation during their slack periods. That’s because sometimes, we’ll have more wind and solar power than we need, and hours later, we may not have nearly enough. Solar and wind supporters frequently argue that advances in energy storage may address this problem. And in Texas, of all places, we can now find three pending permit applications for just that type of large-scale energy storage."
Fossil Fuel Uncompetitive in Germany; Plants to Shut Down—by The Dead Man: "This is the future that the Koch Brothers and their ilk fear desperately want to steal from us. In Germany, energy provider RWE is taking 3.1 gigawatts offline because their-fossil fuel powered plants are no longer competitive with renewables. Wholesale energy prices have been halved over the last four years."
Should New York State Require Frackers to Buy Watershed Insurance?—by rexxnyc: "The New York State legislature is now debating allowing fracking in some parts of our state. Having watched 'Gasland' I'm really not so sure that it is a wise idea. But I also sense tremendous economic pressure on Albany to allow some fracking here. So if it must be done then I'd like to suggest an alternative regulatory scheme that might motivate better (from an environmental vantage) practice and so minimize watershed damage. Would it make sense to require fracked well operators to purchase 'Watershed Insurance'?"
Framing Fracking—by Richard Mathews: "We are framing the California fracking debate incorrectly. We are allowing it to be referred to as a choice between a moratorium or regulation. But that is not what we have actually been offered. Regulation is not on the table. California had three bills in the legislature that called for a moratorium on fracking until safety could be assured. All three bills have died. Instead we now have a bill by State Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Calabasas) that purports to regulate fracking. It is being touted as the best alternative to a moratorium and the most that could get past Gov. Jerry Brown."
Ocean fracking should be no surprise —by Dan Bacher: "The California Coastal Commission, under intense pressure from legislators and environmental activists, pledged Thursday, August 15 at its meeting in Santa Cruz to investigate reports of fracking (hydraulic fracturing) in ocean waters in the Santa Barbara Channel. iWe do not yet understand the extent of fracking in federal or state waters, nor fully understand its risks," said Coastal Commission Deputy Director Allison Dettmer, who will lead the investigation."
Keystone and Other Fossil Fuel Transportation
US Dept. of Interior Calls BS on State Dept.'s Keystone XL Impact Report—by ericlewis0: "The US Department of the Interior has criticised as "inaccurate" the State Department's draft conclusions that the impact of the Keystone XL pipeline on wildlife would be temporary, and has warned instead that it could have long-term, adversarial effects. It is the second major government body to publicly criticise State's draft environmental impact statement (DEIS), a much contested document which examines the pipeline's potential impact on the natural environment, endangered species, communities and the economy. The DEIS, published in March, concluded that the project would only have a temporary and indirect impact on wildlife."
The Great Outdoors
The Daily Bucket - annual Hurricane Ridge wildflower walk—by Milly Watt: "Every summer since 2009, we've taken one or two trips up to Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park to see wildflowers. I'm beginning to collect enough records to be able to compare different years and have some expectation for what might be blooming at different times during the short summer season.
Pacific Northwest—The Pacific Northwest abounds in edible fruits, throughout the year. Many are tasty to humans as well. On a short walk around my home, I found all these berries and other fruits growing wild, most of them native. Most fruit bushes grow vigorously in open spaces of disturbed forest, like roadsides and fields, responding to the abundant light. That's common habitat in the islands. In earlier times Native Americans depended on summer berries, collecting them both in naturally occurring open areas like stream banks and where they burned the forest routinely to maintain habitat and food diversity. Three kinds of blackberries grow prolifically here. The native Trailing Blackberry or Dewberry (Rubus ursinus) sprawls vine-like along the ground and into mounds over debris. I'm frequently snagged while walking, not only tripped but slashed by its thorny vines around my ankles."
Dawn Chorus: Chimaeras—by matching mole: "There are quite a few birds in North America whose names are derived from animals which they eat: flycatchers, oystercatchers, kingfishers, and the snail kite. Internationally there are bee-eaters, fishing owls, fish eagles, the bat falcon, and so on. There are also birds named after animals that the birds are associated with ecologically in other ways such as the cattle egret and the various cowbirds. And all the Central and South American ant birds which follow army ant swarms. There are also all kinds of birds named after other kinds of birds: hawk owls, hawk eagles, eagle owls, cuckoo shrikes, and so on. Australia is particularly rich in this kind of name with: shrike-thrushes, quail-thrushes, and my personal favorite, emu-wrens!"
The Daily Bucket--My New Squirrel ~!@!!%—by 6412093: "A couple of weeks ago, It was Ms. 6 who actually starting the cussing. I heard her yelling, and then the back door slammed as she raced out to chase away a squirrel that had just evicerated a recently-purchased and newly-bloomed sunflower blossom. Then I began hearing a new sound in the trees, a 'chirrrr.' At first I hoped I could finally claim a new bird in my backyard solely by identifying its call, the way some of the Bucket pros can. You know who you are. And one morning, as I picked up fallen fruit, I heard the 'chirrr' in the pear tree, and looked up quickly, anxious to see this new bird. Instead, a small, dark squirrel edged up towards me on a pear tree branch, acting friendly. It behaved squirrelly, of course, with the jumpy frantic movements I know too well. But it was cuter, with more concise features and a smarter look in its white-ringed eyes, than the invasive, larger Eastern grey squirrels that decimate my bird feeders and vegetable garden at every opportunity."
Photos: The Emergence—by FOYI: Birth of a butterfly.
Got Water? Then Count Your Blessings —byxaxnar: "If you do a quick search with any web search tool on water shortage, you'll turn up no end of news stories from around the world. To simplify greatly, there are three main reasons: global weirding, population growth, and stupidity. (Some might say stupid covers the other two.)[...] Stupid, though—where to begin? There's so much. Take agricultural policies that encourage farmers to plant crops that couldn't survive without pumping away billions of gallons of water that aren't coming back, for one. Look at states within the U.S. going to war over water. Consider that the Colorado River was divvied up on the basis of water flow estimates that turned out to be way too high. Take a look here if you want to see where things are really dry in the U.S. at the moment - and then ask if people in those areas have political leaders who get the idea of sustainability and resource constraints."
Former Westlands staffer appointed to California Water Commission—by Dan Bacher: "The revolving door between corporate interests and California government continues with the announcement of the appointment of a former Westlands Water District staffer to the California Water Commission. Governor Jerry Brown appointed David Orth, 55, of Clovis, to the Commission on August 21. Orth has been general manager of the Kings River Conservation District since 2002. He was vice president of resource management at California Valley Land Company Inc. from 2000 to 2002 and held multiple positions at Westlands Water District from 1986 to 2000, including general manager and director of finance."
Feds give away 451,000+ acre feet of fish water to San Joaquin Valley growers—by Dan Bacher: "The California Sportfishing Protection Alliance has recently learned that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service inexplicably gave away 451,000 acre-feet of water in 2011 to farmers in the San Joaquin Valley that could have been stored in Shasta Reservoir to provide critical relief for fisheries in 2012 (below normal year) and 2013 (dry year). Over half of the available spawning habitat on the Sacramento River for endangered winter-run Chinook salmon has been eliminated this year because of a lack of available cold water in Shasta Reservoir, according to Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA). Lack of flow this year has also caused serious violations of water quality standards in the Delta and impacted endangered Delta smelt."
Hoopa Valley Tribal Members Protest Westlands Lawsuit—by Dan Bacher: "Members of the Hoopa Valley Tribe and Klamath Justice Coalition are in Fresno this Tuesday and Wednesday to protest the Westlands Water District lawsuit blocking the release of Trinity River flows needed to stop a fish kill from occurring on the lower Klamath River. Tribal members today asked Westlands Water District Board Members to drop their lawsuit at the meeting at the district's headquarters in Fresno, but Westlands growers said they had no intention of dropping the litigation."
Judge lifts order blocking increased Trinity River releases—by Dan Bacher: "In a significant victory for salmon, a federal judge in Fresno today issued a decision lifting a temporary restraining order blocking increased releases of Trinity Reservoir water into the Trinity River to prevent a fish kill on the lower Klamath River. The decision by U.S. District Judge Lawrence O'Neill came after a two -day court hearing and days of protests from a large group of Hoopa Valley Tribal members. Over 60 Tribal members protested in Fresno, California at the Westlands Water District board meeting on Tuesday and outside the Fresno courtroom and in Sacramento, California outside a fisheries hearing at the California State Capital building on Wednesday."
Eco-Activism & Eco-Justice
Chevron's Richmond Refinery—by Glen the Plumber: "Since 2010 the city of Richmond has been fighting back after the voters gave the Mayor’s seat and a majority in the city council to the Richmond Progressive Alliance. At the rally marking the anniversary of the Aug. 6 refinery fire Mayor Gayle McLaughlin announced that the city had filed a lawsuit against Chevron. Listed in the lawsuit are 14 other toxic gas releases since 1989 for which Chevron had apologized and promised to improve. Richmond is tired of waiting."
Interview with Quinn Eaker of Garden of Eden About SWAT Raid on Organic Texas Garden—by perceptionisrealityshow: "The raid of An organic garden in Arlington, Texas on false drug allegations was really the culmination of resistance to local codes designed to force persons to live lifestyles as determined by the state, not the free will of the individual, says Quinn Eaker of the Garden of Eden. Perception is Reality Publisher David Sparks spoke with Eaker this week about what the raid means to the notion that Americans have the right to pursue individual happiness and freedom."
Environmental Justice Activists Look to Close Big Polluter's Loopholes—by Mary Anne Hitt: "A loophole is a polluter's best friend -- and today, community activists from fenceline communities traveled to Washington, D.C., to try and close one of them. These concerned citizens were in Washington to talk to the Obama administration about updates to the so-called "startup, shutdown, malfunction" rule for industrial facilities, including coal plants and refineries. Existing loopholes in many states allow big polluters to skirt responsibility for huge blasts of toxic emissions that sometimes happen when a facility is starting up, shutting down, or experiencing a malfunction. For polluters that put the bottom line before the well-being of neighboring communities, this loophole provides a golden opportunity to release large amounts of toxic pollution without accountability."
Forests & Public Lands
Protect Public Lands from Reckless Fracking? Yes We Can!—by Michael Brune: "One of the worst consequences of President Obama's reckless 'all of the above' energy policy is the blight of oil and gas rigs that has spread across our public lands—often right next to national parks and wilderness areas. Based on my own family's camping trip this summer, I can testify that the sight of natural gas flares in the night sky adds nothing to the wilderness experience. What's more, most of this new drilling is hydraulic fracturing (fracking), which is so dangerous, destructive, and polluting that there's no reason why any additional public lands should be leased to drillers. Air-polluting gas flares are bad enough—running the risk of contaminating the water table of a national park is unthinkable."
Pollution, Hazardous Wastes & Trash
Fukushima just keeps getting worse as probable new high level radiation leaks are discovered—by Lefty Coaster: "The Fukushima nuclear disaster continues to unfold two and a half years it began. New high-radiation spots found at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant Tokyo: The operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant said on Thursday new spots of high radiation had been found near storage tanks holding highly contaminated water, raising fear of fresh leaks as the disaster goes from bad to worse. The announcement comes after Tokyo Electric Power Corporation (Tepco) said this week contaminated water with dangerously high levels of radiation was leaking from a storage tank. The time scale involved with the still unfolding Fukushima nuclear disaster is likely to be measured in decades, if not centuries."
Wrecked Fukushima plant springs highly radioactive water leak—by chloris creator: "Contaminated water in the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl is leaking from a storage tank at Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. [...] That's the problem with so many of these things. The problems fall out of the news, but the harm they do lingers on, poisoning the water."
Transportation & Infrastructure
Tesla Model S receives highest safety rating of any car ever tested—by Jen Hayden: Independent testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has awarded the Tesla Model S a 5-star safety rating, not just overall, but in every subcategory without exception. Approximately one percent of all cars tested by the federal government achieve 5 stars across the board. NHTSA does not publish a star rating above 5, however safety levels better than 5 stars are captured in the overall Vehicle Safety Score (VSS) provided to manufacturers, where the Model S achieved a new combined record of 5.4 stars."
Using the Hype-Loop to Understand the California HSR System—by BruceMcF: Elon Must: "'When the California 'high speed' rail was approved, I was quite disappointed, as I know many others were too. How could it be that the home of Silicon Valley and JPL—doing incredible things like indexing all the world’s knowledge and putting rovers on Mars – would build a bullet train that is both one of the most expensive per mile and one of the slowest in the world? Note, I am hedging my statement slightly by saying “one of”. The head of the California high speed rail project called me to complain that it wasn’t the very slowest bullet train nor the very most expensive per mile. BruceMcF: So this is explicitly a proposal from the guy who made big bucks on an internet payment system, Paypal, showing how the California HSR is old, outdated technology and if he wasn't busy doing other things, why, he could give us an intercity transport system that would knock our socks off."
Eco-Philosophy & Essays
Conservation Begins With Wildlife—by blip1944: " One of the issues that keeps coming up in the argument about banning lead ammunition is that substituting non-toxic materials for lead will drive up the price of ammunition, making it more difficult for the "average" gun owner to indulge in his hobby, be it hunting or target shooting. There are even the usual conspiracy notions floating around the Internet that the effort to prohibit all lead ammunition is just another example of how the "elite" is looking to get rid of guns by pricing ammunition out of everyone's budget. The real issue, however, has nothing to do with lead. It has to do with an age-old alliance between hunters and conservationists that needs to be restored. Americans have been arguing about hunting and environment since the founding of the country. Once British rule disappeared, many of the Colonial regulations and laws that governed hunting no longer applied, and many of these laws were repugnant to Americans because they represented a holdover from the English tradition that allowed only the upper classes to engage in outdoor sport."
Blackfish: Putting the 'Killer' Back in 'Killer Whale'—by Jennifer A Epps: "The non-fiction feature Blackfish currently in theaters is in many ways a sterling example of summer counter-programming: a success at the Sundance Film Festival this past winter, it now provides a quiet voice of seriousness, an exposé on a serious subject, amidst the usual superheroes and monsters at the multiplex in the hot weather months. It begins, however, rather like a famous summer monster movie, with the mystery of a young woman’s gruesome, watery death, and like that blockbuster, proceeds to pile on clues of just how she died and how many others like her there might actually be. The template I’m referring to is the 1975 thriller Jaws, which together with Star Wars, launched the gargantuan juggernaut of costly, loud, franchise-heavy action pix which dominate the out-of-school season -- so there is a poetic irony in a documentary cousin emerging from the depths to challenge that paradigm. The irony pales in comparison to the tragedy, however; the genesis for the making of Blackfish was an actual death, that of 20-something Dawn Brancheau, an accomplished swimmer and trainer at SeaWorld Orlando, who was mauled and dismembered in 2010."
The Killdeer helps recruit another worker for the revolution—by 6412093: "So last week I approached a construction worker. I knew he knew the details on a crooked construction contractor who had been cheating his workers out of wages for years. Though we were sipping whiskey, the worker and I just were not hitting it off. He was very conservative and an evangelical, despite the whiskey drinking, and not that thrilled about having a black president. We started talking about his many guns. That just revealed some of my ignorance about firearms, but he mentioned how many doves he had shot that season. Well, I had gotten tired of slinging BS about stuff I didn't know much about, so I said, 'We've got doves and killdeer at the golf course where I work Saturday mornings. I've been keeping track of the killdeer out there for years. I see them pair off every spring. I watch for their new nests and whether they're getting preyed on. I count how many are there every spring and fall." He turned to me with a funny look. 'Killdeer? You keep track of Killdeer?' A long pause."
Russia vs. U.S. Gas “Cold War” Underlying Edward Snowden Asylum Standoff—by Steve Horn: "Lost in the excitement of this 'White Bronco Moment,' many have missed the elephant in the room: the 'Great Game'-style geopolitical standoff between the U.S. and Russia underlying it all, and which may have served as the impetus for Russia to grant Snowden asylum to begin with. What’s at stake? Natural gas. Russia, of course, has its own surveillance stateand has been described by The Guardian’s Luke Harding as a 'Mafia State' due to the deep corruption that reportedly thrives under Putin’s watch. It all comes as the U.S. competes with Russian gas production thanks in part to the controversial drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing—'fracking'—transforming the United States into what President Barack Obama has hailed as the 'Saudi Arabia of gas.'"
Products & Miscellany
An African soap that might wash malaria away—by Stonepounder: "Two African students have created an anti-Malaria soap that is not only a soap but also a mosquito repellant and leaves a larvicidal in the rinse water. Malaria killed an estimated 660,000 people in 2010 and the best guess is that a vaccine is still a few years away. But now there is something new. Amazing! Faso Soap, is nifty on several levels. As Dembele and Niyondiko point out, everyone in Africa—even the poorest of poor—uses soap. So, unlike other mosquito repellents such as sprays, lotions and tablets, the product does not require a change in behaviour from consumers. Wash yourself, your kids and clothing using the new soap and voilà, you’re protected against malaria. And, in addition to protecting bathers, the soap produces larvicidal wastewater that helps prevent mosquito larvae breeding in drains and sewers. Then there is the fact that Faso Soap is made from abundantly available locally sourced plants and natural ingredients, including lemon grass, shea tree and African marigold, which means it is inexpensive to make. The idea is to make Faso Soap one of the cheapest available so there are no additional costs to households."