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Reposted from A Siegel by boatsie

Sunday, Brendan Smith and Jeremy Brecher  asked Are Progressives in Denial About Climate Change?  

If you listen to right wing commentators, you might think American progressives are leading the charge to protect our planet from climate change. Would that it were so!

Smith and Brecher lay out a series of challenges and issues that coalesce to keep this from being so ... and this is a true travesty because far too many progressives fail to understand the situation.

Every Progressive should recognize and incorporate, deep in their soul, the plain fact:  Global Warming is the single most serious threat to Progressive ideals, concepts, policies, and aspirations through the 21st century ... AND today.
This is not just a let’s wait until tomorrow issue, that should be put in the back of the line to deal with after other issues, we must address it with urgency today if we hope for a progressive world tomorrow.

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Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 11:10 AM PDT

Not an "Orange" Cent!

by A Siegel

Reposted from A Siegel by boatsie

With over 1000 diaries published, truly few caused me anguish as to whether they merited writing or should I publish on the subject.  This is one of those few.

Last month, Daily Kos' front page boldly proclaimed Orange-to-Blue: Our new questionaire.  These seven questions, while "not a litmus test", set a clear standard for judging whether 'this community' should or shouldn't put it resources to bear in support of a political candidate.

Notably -- and far from just to me -- these seven questions gave no hint of priority to energy, environmental, or climate disruption issues.

When challenged, from outside this community, Markos' reaction:

How many good Dems don't believe in climate change? RT @drgrist: Daily Kos's new questionnaire for candidates doesn't have a single Q about climate or energy

Markos' flippant response misses the issue ... entirely.  

First, this is not a question of "belief".  

Second, there are Democratic politicians who would score well on the Orange-to-Blue test and who 'believe in climate change' but who are obstacles to meaningful action to mitigate climate disruption.

Third, among others, President Obama has commented that he needs others to create the political space for action to address climate disruption.  Putting aside the question of whether this is a legitimate response, a simple question:

How is the political mandate for action fostered if contributors and activists don't make this part of the political calculus?

Action to mitigate climate change must be the single top agenda item for our political system if we are to have any hope to navigate the Perfect Storm (Peak Oil, Peak Water, Economic Disparity, Economic Downtown, Financial Stresses, Global Warming, etc ...) that we have created.

I -- hopefully not for one -- will not contribute an Orange cent to a political candidate, at any level or for any office, that does not provide a path to emphasize the importance of Energy Smart decision-making and policy.

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Thu Jun 09, 2011 at 01:57 PM PDT

Bonn Talks: Day 4 Agenda Finalized

by boatsie

Reposted from DK GreenRoots by boatsie

Make no doubt about it. Christina Figueres gets it. In a meeting today with youth activists at the Bonn Climate Talks, the UNFCCC executive secretary reiterated  her clear understanding that climate change is THE primary human rights issue in the world and that science must inform all decisions relative to appropriate action.

Eventually, she said, economists “…need to, have to, reconfigure themselves and get what this is really all about.”

Four days into the Bonn Talks, negotiators finally agreed on an agenda, amidst mounting pressure to reach common ground to extend the Kyoto  Protocol-- currently the only treaty which caps GHGs beyond 2012 --  at the November 28- December 9 COP17 in Durban, SA.

Under Kyoto, the EU along with 35 other nations formally agreed to 5.2 percent reductions of GHGs from 1990 levels by 2012. The United States did not ratify Kyoto and Japan, Russia and Canada last year announced their unwillingness to sign on to a Phase II unless all major economies ratify the treaty.  

Figueres suggested Tuesday the worst case scenario might be a gap between rounds one and two of Kyoto, most likely due to insufficient time and the apparently implacable policies of some of the industrialized countries, which continue to thwart the successful negotiation of a solution by 2012. Under the Copenhagen Accord, a 2013-2015 review -- also approved in the Cancun Agreements --  was accepted by the plenary to evaluate  whether the global 2 degrees C goal is adequate, or if it should be decreased to 1.5.

At the conclusion of today's talks, Ambassador Argüello of Argentina and Chairman of the Group of 77, expressed his eagerness to get down to the formal business of mapping out the agreements for adoption at the upcoming talks in Durban.

"At this point, this is a two-track negotiation where the progress in one track necessarily affects progress in the other," he said. "We cannot go home empty-handed. We are doing everything in our power to ensure that the political conditions for a meaningful second commitment period are there, and hope all actors are doing the same".

Stating that the sense of urgency is contributing to the slowness of the process in that it is causing some inflexibility among delegates who sense this is the final opportunity "to promote interests that are vital to them," Argüello said, "there is a real will at least from the Group of 77 and China, to complete the mandate we have and to extend the international climate regime for the next five years, including a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol with binding obligations of high levels of ambition that can actually move us to our goal ... We need definitions, people want to know whether the important issues are on the table, or not".


Other options to Kyoto could conceivably emerge from a 'coalition of the willing', consisting of the EU, the G77 and a few others or the LCA negotiating track.

Writing the Daily Tck wrap up on Day 4 in Bonn, GCCA Communications Director Christian Teriete says the debate on the LCA (Long Term Cooperative Action) agenda continues to dominate negotiations, much as it did earlier this year during the talks in Bangkok.

Do we spend the year ensuring what was agreed in Cancun gets operationalized in Durban, or do we also put equal focus on other elements that are considered important by various countries and NGOs. It has trickled down into the focused discussions on key building blocks, where parties are spending quite some time figuring out what’s on and what’s not. Yesterday, for example, the US and Canada got Fossil of the Day awards for blocking a discussion about sources of long-term finance that other parties felt was important to have. This and other examples show that some of these “relocated” agenda discussions are about legitimate concerns and sometimes also very much in our interest, but overall we are also dealing with a speed and spirit that might not get us where we need to go in time. That’s why AOSIS was awarded with a rare Ray of the Day on Tuesday, applauding their plenary intervention that reflected a constructive and positive spirit.

AOSIS: Tuesday's Ray of the Day

The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), a group of 43 countries demanding global temperatures rise no more than 1.5 degrees C, Tuesday announced its intention to accept voluntary emissions cuts agreed to by industrialized nations in Cancun IF the cuts became legally-binding targets. AOSIS agreed to this concession, despite predictions that current pledge levels will result in a 4 degrees C rise in average world temperatures.

"If we're going to get started urgently we need to provide the confidence which you can only get from a legal agreement, so let's take what we did in Cancun and make it binding,"  AOSIS chief negotiator Leon Charles told Reuters Tuesday.  


OH! Canada! NO

Today's CAN Fossil of the Day Award(s) (AKA worst country in the world) goes to ... CANADA because the country:

• did not include emissions generated by the tar sands in its National Inventory Report
• WILL NOT take a legally binding target under a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.
• announced it cannot determine if it can make its Kyoto I target until end of the 2014 assessment period  (read Anna Collins A good day not to be Canadian… from Adopt A Negotiator.

Officials from Australia, China, Lebanon, the United Kingdom and the Philippines were highly critical of Canada's policies regarding the Alberta tarsands, their insufficient investments in clean energy, and the manner in which they applied scientific methods to determine their GHGs.

"I was also struck that the colleague from Canada didn't refer to the tarsands issue or at least only once in passing," said Peter Betts, the lead European Union negotiator and a director at the United Kingdom's Department of Energy and Climate Change, during the session. "This has been an issue featured much in the press, and I know there have been allegations from the press that the emissions from that sector have not been included in Canada's inventory (report submission to the UN)." (Source)

In other developments, The Executive Board today called for public inputs on the development of solar cooking methods for the Small Scale Working Group (SSC WG)


The 34th sessions of the Subsidiary Bodies for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) began Monday and continues through June 17 in Bonn, Germany.

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Reposted from Daily Kos by boatsie


The United Nations Environment Program came out with an important report this week. Decoupling Natural Resource Use and Environmental Impacts from Economic Growth" [150-page pdf presents three scenarios for 2050. If humanity continues to use resources as inefficiently as it does now, it will be consuming three times more natural resources than it does today because of growth in population and prosperity. That is, 140 billion tons annually of minerals, ores, biomass and fossil fuels.  Which is unsustainable. At the other extreme, resource consumption could be returned to 2000 levels with restrictive regulations, 50 billion tons annually. But the authors of the report say the chances of that are highly unlikely because politicians simply will not go along with such unappealing rules. And, they say, even cutting back that much wouldn't be sustainable, according to some scientists.

Co-lead author Mark Swilling from the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, explained what would drive the surge in demand for resources.
"The reality is that there is another billion middle-class consumers on the way as a result of rapid industrialisation in developing countries," he told BBC News.

So, what to do? Some optimism on that score appeared in another UNEP report, this one published in February, Visions for Change — Recommendations for Effective Policies on Sustainable Lifestyles. The recommendations are based on a survey of 8000 young adults from countries as diverse as Australia and Vietnam. The survey, Global Survey for Sustainable Lifestyles, found that young people see poverty and environmental degradation as the world's two greatest challenges. Among the findings:

• Although most young people consider environmental degradation as one of the top two global challenges, this varies from region to region; 82.3 per cent of young people in Australia, 73.8 per cent in Vietnam and 71.1 per cent in Sweden consider environmental degradation as one of the top two global challenges, while only 42.4 per cent in Egypt, 38 per cent in Brazil and 34.2 in Argentina do so. 

• Young adults are very satisfied with their lives, with only a few of them dreaming of luxury lifestyles, but they still seek financial, social, environmental and personal security. They want to live in a clean environment, as opposed to chaotic and polluted urban areas, and be closer to nature, particularly in developing/emerging countries like Brazil, Vietnam and Lebanon.

• Young people want local options that they can include in their daily lives: Asked to react to sustainability scenarios -mobility (car sharing, bicycle centre, car pooling), food (urban gardens, vegetable bag subscription, family take-away) and housekeeping (collective laundry, urban composting, energy management) - most young people choose the bicycle centre, urban gardens and urban composting. This shows the need to have initiatives that are involving but not intrusive, where they can interact and participate at the local level. .

At the time the report was issued, Tim Jackson, a professor at the University of Surrey, which is a partner in the Global Survey for Sustainable Lifestyles, said:

"Our responsibility to future generations rests on building strong and credible visions of a sustainable future and the GSSL has taken a first important step in this direction. Visions for Change shows genuine seeds of real hope and that hope may be the most powerful resource at our disposal."

That may sound like a revved-up version of the truism, "children are the future." But for a world on the brink, the survey injected some optimism that the up-and-coming generation maybe gets it a lot better than the ones now in charge.

• • • • •

Green Diary Rescue is a regular Saturday afternoon feature of Daily Kos. Inclusion of a particular diary does not necessarily indicate my agreement with it. The GDR begins below and continues by category in the jump.

• • • • •

ban nock posted a Great Goshawk Video

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Reposted from Catskill Julie by boatsie

This peer-reviewed study by Duke University researchers was conducted in Marcellus and Utica Shale gas drilling regions of PA and NY. It was published Monday, 5/9 in PNAS: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the US.

Methane contamination of drinking water accompanying gas-well drilling and hydraulic fracturing by Stephen G. Osborn, Avner Vengosh, Nathaniel R. Warner, and Robert B. Jackson

“Our results show evidence for methane contamination of shallow drinking water systems in at least three areas of the region and suggest important environmental risks accompanying shale gas exploration worldwide,”

UPDATE: Gas industry smacks back. 3 posts below the fold, including: researchers’ aggressive campaign; lack of expertise and frighteningly small data set; it was insupportable; that is a stretch; ... don’t qualify as evidence for anything; deliberate effort to imply hydraulic fracturing causes every problem. Just the beginning, sigh.

I wasn't planning to diary this but several hours went by and I thought it was too important to leave unposted. The gas industry will try to attack the researchers, debunk the study or minimize its influence, I'm sure. Linking specific gas mining activities such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to contamination of specific water wells has been elusive and prohibitively expensive for individual homeowners; to date regulators have been all too quick to adopt industry claims that there is no evidence of contamination of even one single well.

Research like this is needed to force regulators and governmental agencies to act to prevent danger to human health and property as well as potential environmental harm and additional greenhouse gas release. This study will be very welcome to people trying to get meaningful regulations put in place before the industry's Marcellus Shale gas rush overwhelms us.

UPDATE: ACTION STEPS in this diary from Sunday on fresh water withdrawal for hydro fracking also contains many links to maps, information and articles. Action needed TODAY in advance of the Delaware River Basin Commission vote tomorrow to allow XTO Energy to take millions of gallons of clean, fresh water for hydrofracking.

News coverage of the new study below the fold.

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Reposted from Gulf Watchers Group by boatsie

Topics: AGs Claim BP Given Pass to 'Distort' & 'Subvert', BP Spill Fund Administrator Tells U.S. Judge to Stay Out of Claims Process, Scott urged to sue BP over oil spill, Did BP claims czar snub Senate Ag committee?, Ken Feinberg reaches deal to pay subsistence claims for commercial fishermen who consume a portion of their catch, Former Congressman Anh 'Joseph' Cao terminated by oil spill claims czar Kenneth Feinberg, Longtime oil industry champion now calls BP liars, almost a year after oil spill, One year after the BP spill: A fishing business struggles, Has BP really cleaned up the Gulf oil spill?, BP Spill's Next Major Phase: Wrangling Over Toll on Gulf, US govt weighing more drilling contractor oversight, Big US funds join list voting against BP at AGM, TNK-BP plans to sue BP, seeks $10 bln in damages

You are in the current Gulf Watchers BP Catastrophe - AUV #502. ROV #501 is here.

Follow the Gulf Watchers tag by going clicking on the heart next to the Gulf Watchers tag at the bottom of this diary. Follow the Gulf Watchers Group by going here and clicking on the heart next to where it says "Follow" in the Gulf Watchers Group profile on the right. You will have to scroll down a little to see the profile. Bookmark this link to find the latest Gulf Watchers diaries.

Gulf Watchers Diary Schedule
Monday - evening drive time
Wednesday - morning
Friday - morning
Friday Block Party - evening
Sunday - morning

Part one of the digest of diaries is here and part two is here.

Please be kind to kossacks with bandwidth issues. Please do not post images or videos. Again, many thanks for this.

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Reposted from Japan Nuclear Incident Liveblogs by boatsie

This is another clearinghouse diary for discussion and commentary about the ongoing nuclear disaster(s) in Japan.   For updated information on news and a timeline of the events following the March 11 Japanese Earthquake, visit the Mothership.  The Mothership is updated regularly and also provides a more extensive list of news and data sources, social media, crisis mapping and other relevant information.

If you would like to recommend this diary feel free to do so. All previous liveblogs published to the Japan Nuclear Incident group can be found here. The group also serves as an archive for Coverage@Kos. (For more details on this ongoing  24/7 breaking news resource and information on how to follow this @ Kos, please read below the fold.)

Updated JNI Combined Servcies Newfeed Friday, 4/15/11 JST ) 500 workers still trying to cool temps @ No. 1 ... USDOE sending five large stainless steel tanks to store contaminated radioactive materials ... Groundwater radiation level at nuke plant rises ...  Search crew engaged in 10 day search for bodies within 10K from Fukushima … Reactors are a “ticking time bomb” ...  TEPCO considers plan to remove spent fuel rods from crippled Fukushima plant  ... Temps @ Reactor #4 @ 90 degrees ... Fukushima workers were urged to bank stem cells


UPDATED NEWSFEED ...11:20 AM JST 4/14/11 Another 6.1 undersea quake just 7 miles deep east of Morioka on Honshu Island ... Mo tsunami orders issued... Water @ No. 4 spent fuel pool rises to 90 degrees ... Some spent fuel rods  @No. 4 damaged ...Radiation levels in seawater decrease ... Sendai Airport reopens … Region near nuclear plant has history of tsunamis dating back to 1100 years  ... Fishing boats are now being cleared away and repaired…. Concrete factory owner hastens to reopen to assist in rebuilding efforts… Young woman returns to mother’s home to find a sole yellow narcissus blooming from underneath the rubble ...

NHK World - Reactor makers draft 10-year decommission plan h/t ricklewsive

Japanese manufacturer Toshiba, which helped build the Fukushima Daiichi plant's now crippled nuclear reactors, says decommissioning them will take at least 10 years.
The proposal is divided into 3 phases. The short-term plan, likely to take several months, involves cooling and stabilizing reactors and spent fuel pools, while preventing radioactive water from increasing.
Toshiba will then move toward the medium-term plan, involving the safe removal of nuclear fuel rods from the pools and pressure vessels, using special cranes to be set up near the reactor buildings. Toshiba says this work will take 5 years.

The final phase, dismantling the reactors and clearing the land, will take another 5 years. Toshiba says that radioactive substances released in the process must be removed during this phase.
Thursday, April 14, 2011 21:41 +0900 (JST)

Fukushima Reactors Are a "Ticking Time Bomb," Japanese Govt in Denial h/t rickelswise

Scientist Michio Kaku: When we hear "that things are stable, it’s only stable in the sense that you’re dangling from a cliff hanging by your fingernails."

Removing highly toxic water remains difficult task at nuke plant

TOKYO, April 14, Kyodo
The government's nuclear safety agency on Thursday continued to grapple with pools of highly radioactive water at the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, as the level of polluted water filling an underground trench edged up again after it finished pumping out around 660 tons of water.
The removal of around 60,000 tons of contaminated water from the basements of the Nos. 1 to 3 reactor turbine buildings as well as trenches connected to them is vital because the water is hampering work to restore the cooling functions of the reactors lost since the March 11 earthquake and ensuing tsunami.

(5:20 AM JSL 4.14.11)  ... Radiation levels in seawater off Fukushima highest since monitoring began  3 weeks ago … Temporary home visits possible for evacuees 20 kilometers out …. Flawed earthquake predictions gave Fukushima a false sense of security …. Geiger counters are probably ineffective for consumers in detecting hazardous levels of radiation in food and water at home … Excessive radioactive cesium found in fish caught off Fukushima ...Edano:  former government officials taking senior posts at Tokyo Electric Power Co.  ''socially unacceptable.''  (see stories from research links below)

Kyodo News - Groundwater radiation level at nuke plant rises: TEPCO

TOKYO, April 15, Kyodo
According to the latest findings, a groundwater sample taken April 6 near the No. 1 reactor turbine building showed radioactive iodine-131 of 72 becquerels per cubic meter, with the concentration level growing to 400 becquerels as of Wednesday. The concentration level of cesium-134 increased from 1.4 becquerels to 53 becquerels.
TEPCO pumped out around 660 tons of highly radioactive water Tuesday and Wednesday from one of the trenches to a ''condenser'' inside the nearby No. 2 reactor turbine building, where during normal operation steam from the reactor is converted into water.

But the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said the water level in the vertical part of the trench as of 11 a.m. Thursday had increased by about 4.5 centimeters from the level observed at 6 p.m. Wednesday

. - TEPCO considers plan to remove spent fuel rods from crippled Fukushima plant h/t procrastinator john

Officials of Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, are considering a plan to remove spent fuel rods from storage pools at its reactors, sources said.
Sources said TEPCO officials were using the experience of the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in the United States in 1979 as a model. At Three Mile Island, melted fuel rods in the reactor core could not be removed using ordinary procedures and had to be shifted in small batches. Cranes were operated by remote control to reduce exposure to radiation among the workers.

The U.S. company that developed the remote-control technology and handled the processing of fuel rods at Three Mile Island is now part of the Toshiba Corp. group. TEPCO officials are considering drawing on that expertise.

procrastinator john found this drawing of crane over reactor building from Asahi Shinbun.

Overview of events - April 12-13 JST Elevation to Level 7 Event

... 5.4 quake off coast … in first minutes post 3/11 quake Tepco workers connected car batteries to instruments to read data … Tepco to pay evacuees emergency funds  ...  ... Workers have started the process of removing highly radioactive water in the plant ...  Experts urge external cooling system.. No abnormalities in pumping or power for Fukushima post 6.3 quake  ...  More than 150,000 people have been displaced  ... Images of evacuation zone ... (Update 12:10 PM 04 13 11 JNI Combined Sources)

Japan yesterday elevated  the ongoing disaster at the Fukushima Nuclear Reactor site from a Level 5 to Level 7, the highest level incident. This established Fukushima as the most serious nuclear event since Chernobyl. Although the amount of radiation released by the Fukishima meltdowns is not as high, the ongoing release of radioactivity from the four reactors elevates the crisis. In yesterday's news conference, officials announced that 10,000 Terabequerels per hour of radiation were emitting from the plant for a period of hours.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, a level seven incident is characterized by a major release of radiation with widespread health and environmental effects. A five-rated event is a limited release of radioactive material, with several deaths from radiation. The scale is designed so the severity of an event is about 10 times greater for each increase in level.

"The difference between Chernobyl and Fukushima is this - Chernobyl had a massive explosion and spread a large radioactive cloud over much of Europe very quickly and it looks as though the Fukushima incident is not going to do that, although there is some in the atmosphere that has been released." NISA spokesman, Hidehiko Nishiyama

Radiation In Japan April 12
High radiation levels in sea off Fukushima coast

The science ministry says radiation levels in seawater off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture are the highest since it began monitoring them about 3 weeks ago.

The ministry says the level of iodine-131 was 88.5 becquerels per liter in a sample taken on Monday in the sea about 30 kilometers east of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The figure is 2.2 times the government's upper limit for wastewater from nuclear facilities.

Japan's northeast suffered many large past tsunamis

(Reuters) - Japan's battered northeastern coast suffered many large tsunamis in the past and nuclear power stations there should have been built to withstand these huge walls of water, a scientist said on Thursday.
In a commentary in the journal Nature, geophysics professor Robert Geller singled out two tsunamis -- the 38-meter Sanriku tsunami of 1896 that killed 22,000, and the Jogan tsunami of 869 that was comparable in size to the March 11 disaster -- which pummeled the very same Tohoku region in the northeast.
"There were very many documented large tsunamis in that area but the point is ... even one would have been enough to warrant precaution in designing nuclear power plants," Geller, of the Graduate School of Science at the University of Tokyo, said in a telephone interview.


Nuclear-Affected Residents To Get Tepco Cash Soon: METI Chief h/t peraspera

Wednesday, April 13, 2011
TOKYO (Nikkei)--The government plans to have Tokyo Electric Power Co. distribute emergency funds as soon as possible to those forced to evacuate their homes following the nuclear plant crisis, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Banri Kaieda told a news conference Tuesday.
"Many people were forced to flee without packing any possessions," Kaieda said. A government office charged with nuclear-crisis compensation will soon approve the disbursement at its inaugural meeting, according to Kaieda.
The government will then notify Tokyo Electric, known as Tepco. Payments are expected to reach 1 million yen [$11,812] a household, with a total around 50 billion yen [$590.6 million].
The Japan Times
"The leakage (from the reactors) has to be stopped. Leaking means the water inside the reactors is decreasing. So the water has to be replenished, and then it leaks again. This cycle has to be stopped," said Hisashi Ninokata, professor of nuclear reactor engineering at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.
Some experts, including Ninokata, have started floating the idea of temporarily building a brand new external cooling system for the reactors, given the daunting task of removing the deadly water in the building housing the RHRS.
Experts urge external cooling system

Discussion and analysis among JNI team on Readings around the Dai-chi plant for Apr 9
h/t middleagedhousewife

Yes, that is the latest we have for several spots at the plant.
These readings are taken from various locations around the plant, starting with the northern most point near the ocean, continuing counterclockwise around the perimeter to the southern most point near the ocean (the MPs and gate readings).  There are also some readings from within the plant.  The distance from reactor 2 to the main gate is ~ 1 km, and to the gym is ~ 0.5 km.  Data are taken from the same place as the readings for the various power plants I listed previously.  Given the differences in reported figures, I'm not sure where the reading listed in the table I posted previously for this plant are taken from.

Japan Nuclear
Higher resolution version of image


Sinister seven: what Japan's new nuclear crisis rating means h/t mahakali overdrive


Today's Choices: Best MSM Overviews

BBC NEWS: Fukushima: What happened - and what needs to be done

WHAT WENT WRONG: Fukushima flashback a month after crisis started



Coverage @ Kos 4/9-4/14

FOoW: Radiactivity Increases in Fukushima Water, TEPCO is out of Storage Tanks on 4/14
joieau: Happy Talk from Reuters: How does Fukushima differ from Chernobyl?+
Citisven: German Town Shows How to Achieve Nuclear Free Future
HoundDog: Japan Will Raise the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Rating to Level 7 on 4/11 (PLS READ: REC LIST as of 11:05 PST)
GlowNZ: One Month
Finehelen10: Uranium Conference Adds Discussion of Japan Accident
Radical def:Fukushima: Greenpeace Urges Wider Evacuation Zone
Nathguy: Fukushima: The Failure was Deliberate indifference and the NRC knew and Lied.
Rock Strongo: Heartbreaking Video from Japan Nuclear Evacuation Zone

Please visit ROV 47 for news, discussion and analysis of events prior to breaking news on 13-15 April JST.

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Reposted from Sunday Train by boatsie

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

After the outcry when the Caltrain system between San Francisco and San Jose (and once in a while beyond) faced a scare that it would drop from 86 trains per day down to a peak-commute-only 48 trains per day ...
... Caltrain was able to scrape together a 76 train per day schedule.

Clem at the Caltrain HSR Compatibility Blog ran the schedule through his commute service index, which weights 70% the average trip time, 30% the best trip time, 20% the average wait between trains, and 15% the maximum service gap.

So giving the original 86 train schedule a benchmark score of 100, how far did the 76 train schedule drop?

It rose to 104. On Clem's metric, the 76 train per day schedule is an improvement.

? What gives?

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Reposted from boatsie by boatsie

Human Identity Uroboros. Credit line: Nina McCurdy


I sure wasn't expecting to hear about how the daughters of the President of the United States might offer a novel solution for incentivising the climate justice movement last month when I attended a talk on "The New Universe and the Human Future: How a Shared Cosmology Could Transform the World."

But I have to say I was awed and inspired beyond expectation by the presentation in the planetarium of San Francisco's Academy of Science. The presenters, Nancy Ellen Abrams and Joel R. Primack, who co-authored the book of the same name, shared a concept of cosmology which catapulted my nuanced worldview into a light-bending projection through baryonic matter! Recasting my image of myself into that of a highly energized and participating elementary particle in an ever-expanding universe.

A universe which, in a blink of an eye, will no longer be visible to our descendants. And, should we decide to re-connect with it, a cosmos which innately connects us with a novel response to addressing the wounds we have inflicted on this planet. (Read Darkness at the Edge of the Universe. Brian Greene. New York Times. Jan. 11, 2011)

It may seem strange that there should be a practical connection between the vastly different timescales of cosmology and our present environmental challenges, but not only is there a connection -- it is crucial that people realize this very soon. By understanding how humanity fits into the timescale of the universe, we begin to grasp what is truly at stake for our planet and for our descendants in the political and economical decisions being made today.

We have, they suggest, the opportunity to utilize cosmological concepts to work on the issues which threaten our future. (the authors)

The Malia-Sasha Horizon

"So tonight, let us ask ourselves — if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call."– President-Elect Barack Obama acceptance speech, November 4, 2008

The Malia-Sasha Horizon*
Projected Carbon Emissions Through 2100, and Actual Data So Far
The pessimistic red curve is business as usual (IPCC 2007 scenario A2) and the optimistic blue curve represents an aggressive reduction in carbon emissions (IPCC 2007 scenario B1). From U.S. Global Change Research Program.Source


Abrams and Primack maintain that if today's leaders -- political, cultural, religious, business  -- and their supporters (which means each and every one of us) -- begin to envision the world from the perspective of the Malia-Sasha Horizon this would represent an enormous step towards expanding our consciousness of ourselves and our worldview within the 'boundlessness of cosmological time.' Still, even in the best case scenario, a scenario in which on an international scale, steps are immediately taken to address the root causes of climate change, the projected image of 2100 remains cause for alarm.

Optimistic and Pessimistic Temperature Scenarios
These correspond to the two scenarios presented in the previous figure. Images taken from U.S. Global Change Research Program


New Inertia Bg Pictures, Images and Photos
New Inertia Bg By DaRabman


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Reposted from SciTech by boatsie Editor's Note: Sci-Tech -- boatsie

A burst of gamma rays of unprecedented intensity, variability and duration has been  discovered by astronomers  using gamma and x ray detectors on NASA satellites. Gamma bursts last only a few hours, but this gamma burst has been going on for over a week.  Because the burst has highly variable brightness, astronomers have proposed that it is an intense gamma ray beam focused directly at our solar system, from the black hole heart of a distant galaxy, across a vast expanse of space and three and a half billion years of time.

Images from Swift's Ultraviolet/Optical (white, purple) and X-ray telescopes (yellow and red) were combined in this view of GRB 110328A. The blast was detected only in X-rays, which were collected over a 3.4-hour period on March 28. Credit: NASA/Swift/Stefan Immler

This video shows a supercomputer model animation of a normal gamma ray burst.

Measurements of this unprecedented gamma ray burst show it lasting for days when a normal burst from the merger of 2 neutron stars to become a black hole would be over in a few hours, at most.

Astronomers say they have never seen anything this bright, long-lasting and variable before. Usually, gamma-ray bursts mark the destruction of a massive star, but flaring emission from these events never lasts more than a few hours.

Although research is ongoing, astronomers say that the unusual blast likely arose when a star wandered too close to its galaxy's central black hole. Intense tidal forces tore the star apart, and the infalling gas continues to stream toward the hole. According to this model, the spinning black hole formed an outflowing jet along its rotational axis. A powerful blast of X- and gamma rays is seen if this jet is pointed in our direction.

"We have been eagerly awaiting the Hubble observation," said Neil Gehrels, the lead scientist for Swift at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "The fact that the explosion occurred in the center of a galaxy tells us it is most likely associated with a massive black hole. This solves a key question about the mysterious event."

This video shows an animation of an energy beam created by the infalling of matter from a star that is being ripped apart by a black hole.

"The best explanation at the moment is that we happen to be looking down the barrel of this jet," said Andrew Levan at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, who led the Chandra observations. "When we look straight down these jets, a brightness boost lets us view details we might otherwise miss."

This brightness increase, which is called relativistic beaming, occurs when matter moving close to the speed of light is viewed nearly head on.

Reposted from Severe Weather Liveblog by boatsie Editor's Note: published timely -- boatsie
Severe Weather Liveblog is a collective effort to keep Kossacks safe when a large severe weather outbreak takes place. These blogs will be posted as needed, based on user-interaction (comments) and evolution of the severe weather event.

These diaries will be posted when one or more of the following criteria are met:

  • A moderate risk for severe weather, as denoted by the SPC.
  • A major tornado outbreak anywhere in the United States (or Canada...but those are harder for the public to track and detect due to Canada's radar system and the way Environment Canada works its warnings)
  • A derecho event, which can cause extreme damage over large areas.
  • Landfalling hurricanes
  • Severe weather events impacting a very densely populated metro area (Chicago, DC, NYC, Atlanta, etc.)

If you have emergency information that needs to be added to the diary (reports of tornadoes on the ground, emergency information telephone numbers, etc.), please indicate so in the subject line of the comment to lessen the delay in posting it to the diary.

Right now, aside from myself, the editors of Severe Weather Liveblog are not4morewars, boatsie and Predictor. If you'd like to help, drop me a message.

Please keep in mind that any Severe Weather Liveblogs posted are not places for tasteless cracks at other people's expense. Post cheap political/social shots towards those affected at your own risk.

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Reposted from FishOutofWater by boatsie Editor's Note: Ocean Advocates -- boatsie

Extremely radioactive water, measured at (edit at 9pm in bold) over 1000 millisieverts per hour in air above the water, is flowing from a damaged pit, servicing the number 2 reactor at Fukushima, through an 8 inch crack, directly into the ocean according to the deputy director of Japan's nuclear safety agency. Technicians are attempting to seal the crack with concrete. (Apparently TEPCO's instruments peg out at 1 Sievert per hour, so 1000 millisieverts per hour is a lower bound, 9pm update.)

The operator of the plant said that air directly above the water leaking into the sea had a radiation reading of more than 1,000 millisieverts an hour, said Hidehiko Nishiyama, deputy director-general of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency. Although higher levels of radiation have been detected in the ocean waters near the plant, the leak discovered Saturday is the first identified direct leak of such high levels of radiation into the sea. Earlier Saturday, Mr. Nishiyama had said that above-normal levels of radioactive materials were detected about 25 miles south of the Fukushima plant, much further than had previously been reported.

TEPCO drawing

Because one third of the reactor core of unit 2 has apparently melted down, according to estimates by experts, a large inventory of cesium 137  and strontium 90 may have entered the ocean. These isotopes have half lives of about 30 years. Cesium 137 tends to adsorb onto clay minerals and organic matter. Cesium is taken up by the tissues of plants, where it acts like potassium. Strontium 90 tends to be taken up into the shells and bones of marine organisms, where it acts like calcium. Cs-137 and Sr-90 are present in minute amounts. They become radiologically toxic at extremely low concentrations, before they have any other toxic effects on cells.
TEPCO and Japan's nuclear safety agency have not released measurements of radionuclides in water. This is a preliminary report.

“With radiation levels rising in the seawater near the plant, we have been trying to confirm the reason why, and in that context, this could be one source. We’re testing samples of water from the pit and from the sea near the plant, and we can’t really say for certain until we’ve studied the results,” he said.

Radioactive iodine has been previously measured at high levels in sea water near the devastated Fukushima reactors, but most of the iodine inventory is in short lived isotopes.  The longer lived isotopes will quickly disperse through the ocean because iodine is highly soluble and mobile. Over a period of years the cesium 137 and strontium 90 are likely to have the greatest effect on the marine food chain, in my opinion.

FYI, I have had experience managing research projects on the migration of nuclear waste leachates in the environment from low level waste sites, uranium mill tailings piles and the Hanford N reactor. Strontium 90 was the limiting isotope contaminating the Columbia river that caused the slit trenches at the N reactor to be shut down. I would expect strontium 90 to be a major concern if partially melted down fuel has been partially dissolved by application of sea water to the crippled reactor. Cesium 137, which is more volatile than strontium, and is also very soluble, is definitely a concern.

Kyodo news reports that radioactivity levels have been rising in sea water but does not publish any data.

Levels of radioactive materials have been skyrocketing in the sea near the nuclear power plant hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, fanning concerns about the expansion of sea contamination and the impact on fishery products.

Long shore currents in this region of Japan have been reported to flow towards the south. Generally, in humid areas like Japan and the east coast of the U.S., low salinity water, that originated partially in rivers, flows along the coastline, slowly mixing with open ocean water. This zone of relatively fresh water could transport radionuclides miles to the south along the shore.

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