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As your faithful scribe, I welcome you all to another edition of Overnight News Digest.

I am most pleased to share this platform with jlms qkw, maggiejean, wader, rfall, JLM9999 and side pocket. Additionally, I wish to recognize our alumni editors palantir, Bentliberal, Oke, Interceptor7, and ScottyUrb along with annetteboardman as our guest editor.

Neon Vincent is our editor-in-chief.

Special thanks go to Magnifico for starting this venerable series.

Lead Off Story

Toxic Algae Blooms May Be Longer, More Intense Due To Climate Change

 Toxic algae blooms appear to be increasing in frequency and intensity around the country, but the full range of their causes -- and their health effects -- remains far from clear. Some experts, meanwhile, are suggesting that lakes, rivers and ponds that breed such blooms are becoming more hazardous thanks in part to a warming planet.

  Green Lake, a popular local recreation destination, is no exception. Nearly every morning, Garet Munger and his little black dog, Charlie, make the 3-mile trek around the lake -- which is currently more than living up to its name.


  In the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released last week, researchers project that wet places will generally get wetter and dry places drier, with an increase in extreme weather such as heavy rainfall and heatwaves. In the Pacific Northwest, experts warn of a perfect storm: wetter winters and springs, followed by drier summers. Downpours can flush fertilizers and other favorite foods of toxic algae into lakes and rivers. After the influx of nutrients, a long scorching summer can allow the green slime plenty of time to feed, proliferate, concentrate and out-compete more benign freshwater dwellers that don't grow as well at higher temperatures.

  "Blooms are going to be longer and more intense," said Hans Paerl, professor of marine and environmental sciences at the University of North Carolina. "It's all part of the price we're paying for climate change."


World News
Shuanghui Completes Purchase of Smithfield Foods

 Meat processor Shuanghui International Holdings said on September 26 it had completed the acquisition of U.S. pork producer Smithfield Foods.

  The deal is worth US$ 7.1 billion, of which US$ 4 billion came from an eight-member consortium led by Bank of China (BOC). It is the most expensive acquisition by a non-state Chinese company overseas and also the largest Chinese investment in the United States.

  Chen Siqing, vice president of the BOC, said the loans are a classic example of the bank utilizing its global network and multi-service platform to serve the national strategy of encouraging Chinese companies to "go out," or make investments abroad.

  The bank's subsidiaries, BOC International (China) Ltd. and Bank of China (Hong Kong) Ltd., participated in the deal as well.  

U.S. News
Volcanism in New York: The Syracuse University Lava Project

 Last week I was able to attend one of the coolest science/art experiments in the country — the Syracuse University Lava Project. Bob Wysocki and Jeff Karson are co-directors of the facility — the former is in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts, the latter in the Department of Earth Sciences at Syracuse. This project is a mix of artistic expression in the form of molten basalt being poured onto various surface and a geologic experiment in, well, exactly the same form! This mini-man-made volcano in upstate New York (interestingly, right down the road from University of Buffalo’s explosive equivalent) is one of the few places on the planet were researchers/artists generate their own lava on a scale this large. Most experiments looking at magma use very small volumes, sometimes down to the size of an aspirin, but at the Lava Project, hundreds of kilograms of basalt are melted and then used to make synthetic lava flows next to the Comstock Art Facility in Syracuse. A perfect after-class activity, to say the least.

  However, it isn’t just fun and games — this facility has produced real, scientific research. Ben Edwards at Dickinson College recently published an article in Geology that used data collected during an experiment of pour this lava onto ice to look at how lava and ice interact — think of a micro-version of the Veniaminof eruption from this summer. They have been able to experiment with different compositions of basalt with varying amounts of dissolved gases to make more and less vesicular (bubble-rich) lava. They’re thrown everything from steel ball bearings to olivine crystals into the lava to see how it might effect the viscosity and thus, how the lava behaves when it flows. They’ve generated pele’s hair and pelee’s tears from the lava pours that are similar to what you find in Hawaiian-style volcanic eruptions. They’re changed the surface on which the lava flows, the angle it flows, the rate it is fed into the flow to try to mimic natural lava flows in different terranes. It is like having your own volcano where you can actually control the properties of the lavas and conditions of the land surface on which they are erupted.  

Science and Technology
Addressing Upper Mississippi River Pollution
And The Gulf of Mexico ‘Dead Zone' (Photos)

 Two months ago the “Star Tribune” ran an article announcing that the Mississippi River was the healthiest it had been in a generation. One month earlier a report indicated that the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico also had reduced in size and toxicity. While no one was claiming that the ecology war had been won, pollution of the country’s largest river system seemed to be declining.

  But speakers Cynthia Parthou (Executive Director-Gulf Restoration Network), Trevor Russell, (Watershed Program Director-Friends of the Mississippi) and Lark Weller (Community Planner at National Park Service-Mississippi National River & Recreation Area) warned everybody at Environment Minnesota's Green Ideas and Ham breakfast Tuesday morning not to feel so self-assured. All of the states in the upper Mississippi River valley experienced drought which resulted in far fewer nutrients running into the watershed.


  Finding a solution is more than simply getting legislators to act. Powerful economic forces are involved, too. Regarding nitrate pollution, Weller pointed out that “the lion’s share is mostly agricultural,” but the lack of standards in upper Midwest states favors big agriculture’s bottom line. The trick is to convince farmers big and small that restoring barriers such as wetland areas works to everyone’s benefit by creating economical natural filters for nutrient run-off while also blunting the soil erosion from storms like Hurricane Katrina.

 While speakers and audience members acknowledged that progress had been made, more work is needed because a dead zone the size of Rhode Island and Connecticut combined still exists out in the Gulf. Individual efforts like raking up yard waste and picking up after one’s pet are important, but most effective is establishing environmental standards that promote accountability and profitability. As Cynthia Parthou wryly observed, the water from Lake Itasca has gone through eight people and treatment systems by the time it reaches New Orleans, nevertheless “I have to drink what you put into that river.”




Shell's Niger Delta Pollution
 This week’s ruling by a Dutch court in a case brought by four Nigerian farmers against the oil company Shell for pollution damage represents a small victory – but also underlines the real-world challenges facing victims of pollution and human rights abuses involving multinational companies.


  While sabotage of oil pipelines in the Niger Delta is one cause of pollution, it’s not nearly such a major issue as Shell’s public relations machine likes to make out. Many spills are caused by leaks from pipelines that are old and poorly maintained, and Shell’s claims about the extent to which sabotage causes pollution have been strongly challenged by communities and NGOs, including Amnesty International.

  This week’s ruling means Shell can no longer point to sabotage as if the company has no responsibility for this problem, and it should have wider ramifications for Shell’s Nigeria operations. The extent to which the company has acted to prevent sabotage must now be closely monitored, with particular scrutiny given when oil spills are attributed to sabotage.

  The court ruling was, however, a blow for the three farmers whose claims were dismissed, and exposes the formidable obstacles facing the people of the Niger Delta in their ongoing struggle to get justice after more than half a century of pollution.

Society and Culture
'Modern diplomacy is bringing civil society together through music and culture'

In this Idea Exchange, German Ambassador Michael Steiner talks about why Kashmir should be proud of the Zubin Mehta concert, says it was a legitimate diplomatic exercise, explains the reason he hosted Modi and wishes India does not squander its economic chances. The session was moderated by Editor, Express News Service, Pranab Dhal Samanta

Pranab Dhal Samanta: Tell us about the Srinagar concert—you were saying it was quite a nightmare getting it organised through the Indian system. Also about your country, which is having its elections and is the one bright spot in Europe currently. At times, it feels that a lot of responsibilities have been thrust on Germany, more than what Germany wants to take on at times.

This concert was of course a huge logistical undertaking for an embassy. I was under pressure for whether I could guarantee security. I was pretty sure we would have the security, but that was the priority. The world was in a position to see it, because it was shown everywhere. The only critique I have is that you didn't see what really happened at Shalimar Bagh. What really happened was that you had, of course, the VIPs, musicians, officials, but a huge majority of normal Kashmiris sitting on the lawns. Boat owners, shopkeepers and students, even former stone-pelters...

Of course music-wise it was fantastic, especially the Kashmiri song... You think it's five minutes. In reality what happened was that we wanted the Bavarian State Orchestra to present a Kasmiri song together with the Kashmiris. But the problem was all the traditional Kashmiri songs were never put into note, there was never an arrangement, and the musicians did not speak English. They had never heard about the orchestra, and the same was true for the orchestra. So what we did with the help of the Internet and e-mails was that young Sopori (Abhay) trained with 15 musicians in Srinagar, and at the same time in Munich, the Bavarian State Orchestra trained for this one song... So musicians here had to learn to play together with an orchestra that they had never seen and had two days to train, and they did it... 7,000 km apart. It was perfect, just perfect.

Do We Need Women in Combat?
 “The Pentagon unveiled plans [...] for fully integrating women into front-line and special combat roles, including elite forces such as Army Rangers and Navy SEALs.”

So ran the lead on the CNN story. And why are we doing this?

Did the young officers leading troops in battle in Afghanistan and Iraq, returning with casualties, say they needed women to enhance the fighting efficiency of their combat units and the survival rate of their soldiers?


No. This decision to put women in combat represents a capitulation of the military brass, a surrender to the spirit of our age, the Pentagon’s salute to feminist ideology.


Well, that's different...
Can't Possibly Be True
 Dana Carter's debut as principal of Calimesa Elementary School in California's San Bernardino County was quite inauspicious, as parents quickly objected to his August policy of requiring kids to drop to one knee when addressing him. One parent said her daughter was forced to kneel while awaiting his attention and then to rise only when he lifted his arms. Carter said he would discontinue the policy and insisted he had instituted it for "safety" and not because he imagined himself as royalty.


Bill Moyers and Company:

Greenpeace International Executive Director
Kumi Naidoo
(Saving the Earth from Ourselves)
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Comment Preferences

  •  Nicely done Man Oh Man. (14+ / 0-)

    Excellent choices and thank you.

    The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.― Neil deGrasse Tyson

    by maggiejean on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 09:08:51 PM PDT

  •  We need soldiers in combat (13+ / 0-)

    Not merely "women," per se.  Conservatives are a bigoted, ignorant and controlling bunch - aren't they?

    Nice OND, thanks Man Oh Man.

    "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

    by wader on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 09:09:56 PM PDT

  •  Mars Miss(ion) (15+ / 0-)

    Denver Post: Next Mars mission could miss launch window from government shutdown

    The U.S. federal government shutdown is threatening to delay NASA's next mission to Mars, MAVEN, by two years if it misses the November launch window.

    Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN), which is about as Colorado-centric as a mission can get, entered the final phases of launch processing in Florida in August.

    But all the spacecraft work was halted Tuesday when 97 percent of NASA's workers were furloughed and the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, which manages the program, and the Kennedy Space Center,where the spacecraft is prepared for launch, were closed.

    "MAVEN isn't unique — there are other missions impacted — but we are just very time-critical compared to other projects," said Bruce Jakosky, the principal investigator from the University of Colorado at Boulder and brainchild behind the mission's science.

    The $485 million project has a 20-day launch window to get off the ground, starting Nov. 18. The next window, determined by planetary alignment, won't open again until early 2016.

    "It is not time to panic yet," Jakosky said. "I would start to panic if we are shut down for a week or more."

  •  Good selection of (14+ / 0-)

    interesting stories. The principal with the policy of making kids  drop to one knee when addressing him is so weird. I'd get him out of there stat. He needs treatment.

    Ceiling Cat rules....srsly.

    by side pocket on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 09:10:48 PM PDT

  •  Man Oh Man (17+ / 0-)

    I want to go experiment with flowing lava.
    Good  whole OND.
    Thank you.

    Life Mask Looking


    I`m already against the next war.

    by Knucklehead on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 09:12:28 PM PDT

  •  NSA contractors furloughed (15+ / 0-)

    NPR: Clapper: Shutdown Hurts Intelligence, Counterterrorism Efforts

    Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told a Senate panel on Wednesday that the government shutdown — which forced the furlough of 70 percent of the CIA and NSA workforce — amounted to a "dreamland" of opportunity for foreign spy agencies.

    Clapper, who appeared side by side with National Security Agency chief Gen. Keith Alexander, told a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee that failure to fund the government "is not just a Beltway issue. It affects our capability to support the military, diplomacy and our policymakers."

    Alexander and Clapper said a core of counterterrorism staff was still working but a prolonged shutdown could damage intelligence efforts.

    "The damage will be insidious," Clapper told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. "Each day that goes by, the jeopardy increases."

    "I've been in the intelligence business for about 50 years. I've never seen anything like this," he said.

  •  scanners (12+ / 0-)

    if memory serves it was raining that day....satellite dish usually has less signal pick up during rain times my TV headphones picked up the audio protion of a video conference ( for one hour ) I checked google while it was going on .... and Jefferson Labs had posted a calendar for a performance review showing the scheduled video conference call they were talking about costs - benefits - results

    Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab) is one of 17 national laboratories funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The lab also receives support from the City of Newport News and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

    The lab’s primary mission is to conduct basic research of the atom's nucleus using the lab’s unique particle accelerator, known as the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF). Jefferson Lab also conducts a variety of research using its Free-Electron Laser, which is based on the same electron-accelerating technology used in CEBAF.

    Managing and operating the lab for DOE is Jefferson Science Associates, LLC. JSA is a limited liability company created by Southeastern Universities Research Association and Computer Sciences Corp.

    another audio pick up on TV headphones: several months before Jefferson National Lab when  Air Force One was parked at local Air Force base and he then drove to SF for fundraiser.... the radio frequency spectrum became available over TV headphones picked up CB conversation ( 32 miles from my location)  between two truck drivers making meet up plans for dinner at resturant that intersected their drive routes

    How Stuff Works - Radio Scanner

    To tap into this ocean of electromagnetic dialogue and hear what all of these people are talking about, all you need is a scanner. A scanner is basically a radio receiver capable of receiving multiple signals. Generally, scanners pick up signals in the VHF to UHF range (see How the Radio Spectrum Works for details on these frequency bands).

    Scanner Basics
    Scanners typically operate in three modes:
    Manual scan

    In scan mode, the receiver constantly changes frequencies in a set order looking for a frequency that has someone transmitting. Lights or panel-mounted displays show what channel or frequency is in use as the scanner stops on a given frequency. The frequencies can be preprogrammed on some models or manually set on practically all models.

    In manual scan mode, the user taps a button or turns a dial to manually step through preprogrammed frequencies one frequency at a time.

    In search mode, the receiver is set to search between two sets of frequencies within a given band. This mode is useful when a user does not know a frequency, but wants to know what frequencies are active in a given area. If the frequency the scanner stops at during a search is interesting, the user can store that frequency in the radio scanner and use it in scan mode.

    Some of the recently released scanners are capable of tracking municipalities and police frequencies in the 800-megahertz (MHz) range. This is known as trunk tracking of computer-controlled trunked radio networks.

    Scanners and Secret Frequencies (Electronic Underground Series)  – September 1, 1993 by Henry L. Eisenson  (Author) , Bill Cheek

    Entertaining book describes the scanner world, the people in it, the equipment they use, and how they acquire and tune in to the "secret" frequencies.

    Hostage tactics are for those who can’t win their fights through elections, in Congress, in fights for the Presidency or in the Courts. It is a last gasp of those who cannot cope with the realities of our democracy. ~ Senator Elizabeth Warren

    by anyname on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 09:15:42 PM PDT

    •  frogging (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ek hornbeck, Man Oh Man

      Frequency frogging repeaters were commonplace in frequency-division multiplexing systems from the middle to late 20th century.


      frequency frogging

      In telecommunication, the term frequency frogging has the following meanings:

      The interchanging of the frequencies of carrier channels to accomplish specific purposes, such as to prevent feedback and oscillation, to reduce crosstalk, and to correct for a high frequency response slope in the transmission line.

      In microwave radio relay systems, the alternate use of two frequencies at repeater sites to prevent feedback and oscillation.

      Note: Frequency frogging is accomplished by having modulators, which are integrated into specially designed repeaters, translate a low-frequency group to a high-frequency group, and vice versa.

      A channel will appear in the low group for one repeater section and will then be translated to the high group for the next section because of frequency frogging.

      This results in nearly constant attenuation with frequency over two successive repeater sections, and eliminates the need for large slope equalization and adjustments. Singing and crosstalk are minimized because the high-level output of a repeater is at a different frequency than the low-level input to other repeaters.

      It also diminishes group delay distortion. A repeater that receives on the high band from both direction and sends on the low band is called Hi-Lo; the other kind Lo-Hi.

      Microwave radio relay is a technology for transmitting digital and analog signals, such as long-distance telephone calls, television programs, and computer data, between two locations on a line of sight radio path. In microwave radio relay, microwaves are transmitted between the two locations with directional antennas, forming a fixed radio connection between the two points. The requirement of a line of sight limits the distance between stations to 30 or 40 miles.

      Beginning in the 1950s and 1960s networks of microwave relay links, such as the AT&T Long Lines system in the U.S., carried long distance telephone calls and television programs between cities. These included long daisy-chained series of such links that traversed mountain ranges and spanned continents. Much of the transcontinental traffic is now carried by cheaper optical fibers and communication satellites, but microwave relay remains important for shorter distances.

      Microwave Radio Relay

      How microwave radio relay links are formed

      Because the radio waves travel in narrow beams confined to a line-of-sight path from one antenna to the other, they don't interfere with other microwave equipment, and nearby microwave links can use the same frequencies. Antennas used must be highly directional (High gain); these antennas are installed in elevated locations such as large radio towers in order to be able to transmit across long distances. Typical types of antenna used in radio relay link installations are parabolic antennas, dielectric lens, and horn-reflector antennas, which have a diameter of up to 4 meters. Highly directive antennas permit an economical use of the available frequency spectrum, despite long transmission distances.

      Over-horizon microwave radio relay

      In over-horizon, or tropospheric scatter, microwave radio relays, unlike a standard microwave radio relay link, the sending and receiving antennas do not use a line of sight transmission path. Instead, the stray signal transmission, known as "tropo - scatter" or simply "scatter," from the sent signal is picked up by the receiving station.

      Signal clarity obtained by this method depends on the weather and other factors, and as a result a high level of technical difficulty is involved in the creation of a reliable over horizon radio relay link. Over horizon radio relay links are therefore only used where standard radio relay links are unsuitable (for example, in providing a microwave link to an island).

      Though not commonly known, the US Military used both portable and fixed-station microwave communications in the European Theater during WWII.

      Starting in the late 1940s, this continued to some degree into the 1960s, when many of these links were supplanted with tropospheric scatter or satellite systems.

      When the NATO military arm was formed, much of this existing equipment was transferred to communications groups.

      The typical communications systems used by NATO during that time period consisted of the technologies which had been developed for use by the telephone carrier entities in host countries.

      One example from the USA is the RCA CW-20A 1–2 GHz microwave relay system which utilized flexible UHF cable rather than the rigid waveguide required by higher frequency systems, making it ideal for tactical applications.

      The typical microwave relay installation or portable van had two radio systems (plus backup) connecting two LOS sites.

      These radios would often provide communication for 24 telephone channels of frequency division multiplexed signal (i.e. Lenkurt 33C FDM), though any channel could be designated to carry up to 18 teletype communications instead. Similar systems from Germany and other member nations were also in use.

      Similar systems were soon built in many countries, until the 1980s when the technology lost its share of fixed operation to newer technologies such as fiber-optic cable and communication satellites, which offer lower cost per bit.

      Microwave spying

      During the Cold War, the US intelligence agencies, such as the National Security Agency (NSA), were reportedly able to intercept Soviet microwave traffic using satellites such as Rhyolite.

      Much of the beam of a microwave link passes the receiving antenna and radiates toward the horizon, into space. By positioning a geosynchronous satellite in the path of the beam, the microwave beam can be received.

      Hostage tactics are for those who can’t win their fights through elections, in Congress, in fights for the Presidency or in the Courts. It is a last gasp of those who cannot cope with the realities of our democracy. ~ Senator Elizabeth Warren

      by anyname on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 01:47:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  2 shutdown facts (16+ / 0-)

    James Fallows @ The Atlantic: The Two Basic Facts That Should Be in Every Shutdown Story

    To people who follow politics these two facts are obvious. But they're not part of most "tragedy of gridlock" false-equivalence stories, and I believe they would come as news to most of the public. The two facts are:
    1. If the House of Representatives voted on a "clean" budget bill -- one that opened up the closed federal offices but did not attempt to defund the Obama health care program -- that bill would pass, and the shutdown would be over. Nearly all Democrats would vote for it, as would enough Republicans to end the shutdown and its related damage. (And of course it would pass has already passed the Senate, repeatedly, unless the minority dared filibuster it, and would be signed by the president.) For illustrations of the wanton damage, see here and here.
    2. So far House Speaker John Boehner has refused to let this vote occur. His Tea Party contingent knows how the vote would go and therefore does not want it to happen; and such is Boehner's fear of them, and fear for his job as Speaker, that he will not let it take place.
    These two points are why the normal D.C.-poohbah moanings about the need for compromise do not apply.
  •  Hungry? (14+ / 0-)

    7 Insects You'll Be Eating in the Future

    As the human population continues to inch closer to 8 billion people, feeding all those hungry mouths will become increasingly difficult. A growing number of experts claim that people will soon have no choice but to consume insects.

    As if to underscore that claim, a group of student from McGill University in Montreal has won the 2013 Hult Prize, for producing a protein-rich flour made from insects. The prize gives the students $1 million in seed money to begin creating what they call Power Flour. "We will be starting with grasshoppers," team captain Mohammed Ashour told ABC News on Monday (Sept. 30).

    Earlier this year, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) released a report titled, "Edible Insects: Future Prospects for Food and Feed." The document details the health and environmental benefits derived from a diet supplemented by insects, a diet also known as "entomophagy." Gleaned from the FAO document and other sources, here's a list of seven edible insects you may soon find on your dinner plate. [Eat This! 7 Perfect Survival Foods]

  •  Suggestion for readability: justify left. (5+ / 0-)


    I read this diary every night, and enjoy it -- but I have to say that the centered text, with its awk line breaks, is somewhat annoying.

    Other than that, carry on!  :)

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