Saturday, January 29, 2011

When governments actually use science

And not hysteria to function:
Roads built to the same standards as the scorching south of France; fish moved from the overheated Lake District to cooler waters in Scotland; lighthouses threatened by rising seas.

From measures in use already to seemingly far-fetched scenarios for the future, these are some of the findings in the first batch of climate adaptation plans submitted to the environment ministry Defra.

Under the Climate Change Act, 91 major organisations responsible for key aspects of national infrastructure have to explain how they will cope if the climate alters as forecast.

The latest projections suggest the potential for major change - for example that it is "very likely" that southern England will on average be 2.2-6.8C warmer by the 2080s.

That range of possible warming reveals the huge uncertainties inherent in climate forecasting. Nevertheless the aim of the studies is to ensure that long-term planning takes account of the possible risks.
They even are planning ahead, isn't that novel?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011


In New York City, bedbugs now are 250 times more resistant to the standard pesticide than bedbugs in Florida, due to changes in a gene controlling the resilience of the nerve cells targeted by the insecticide.
We're going to have to walk around in those hazmat suits and live in plastic houses....

Other articles on bedbugs.


We were always going to go to war with Iraq

But we knew this the minute Georgie was selected to be president in 2000:
In his evidence Mr Blair said he had always made clear to US president George Bush that he would be "up for" regime change in Iraq if it was the only way of dealing with Saddam Hussein.

He acknowledged that he had discussed ousting Saddam with Mr Bush as early as December 2001 - even though it was not then British policy.

The inquiry released a newly declassified document from March 2002 - a year before the invasion - in which Mr Blair said the UK should be "gung ho" about the prospect of getting rid of the Iraqi dictator.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Blog sprinkles


A curbside view of an Australian flood taking out cars.

Purposely misunderstanding Martin Luther King.

Last chance to see Tutankhamen's tomb. The next one will be fake.

Tiger mothering: Get straight As or I'll burn your stuffed animal collection!

Who actually has abortions in the US:

Nearly half of pregnancies among American women are unintended, and four in 10 of these are terminated by abortion. Twenty-two percent of all pregnancies (excluding miscarriages) end in abortion.
Frank Rich: No One Listened to Gabrielle Giffords

Darrell Issa:

I knew it!


I KNEW it was a government commiepinkosocalist islamofacist plot to steal my apricots and ruin my tomatoes!!
U.S. Renews Contract With Spotted Ground Squirrels Through 2015

WASHINGTON—The Department of the Interior announced this week that ongoing negotiations with the nation's population of spotted ground squirrels have been resolved and that the rodents are now contracted to continue activities on U.S. soil through Dec. 31, 2015.

"We're happy to have finally reached an agreement with this vital American species, and we thank all the ground squirrels who have been carrying on in good faith for the past 18 months while we worked this out," a jubilant but visibly exhausted Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told reporters at a press conference Tuesday. "Their continued participation in our forests, meadows, and prairies is an integral part of our natural world, and I think our generous offer reflects that fact."

Under the terms of the agreement, which was conducted through third-party labor mediators, the ground squirrels will be responsible for scurrying up and down trees; rustling in undergrowth; chittering; and eating a variety of seeds, berries, and nuts.

The contract stipulates the nation's spotted ground squirrels be paid $345 million over five years and also provides for performance-based bonuses.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Founding Fathers did NOT make the Constitution

A Christian icon and a religious document.

Bill Maher:

I had somebody in the comments a while back trying to prove Jefferson was Christian and would have approved of 'intelligent design' because he gave Bibles to Washington D.C. schools. (On the other hand, there were those who decided Jefferson was a secret Muslim.)

And then there was Christine O'Donnell...

If only we could go somewhere safe while we watched the incoming holy wars in the US as the 'theocrats' fight it out to decide exactly WHICH Christian religion gets to rule the nation....

Tell the E.P.A.: Ban the pesticide that's killing honey bees

Since 2006, U.S. honey bee populations have been in precipitous decline, with some estimates suggesting losses as high as 30% per year. While that's terrible, the problem is far greater than just the destruction of a species. Without bees, a big piece of our food supply is in serious danger. Pollination by honey bees is key in cultivating the crops that produce a full one-third of our food

Scientists have been scrambling to understand the crisis -- termed Colony Collapse Disorder -- but have yet to find a single, definitive cause. There are likely multiple interacting causes, and mounting evidence suggests that one widely used class of pesticides may be a critical factor.

One such chemical, called clothianidin, is produced by the German corporation Bayer CropScience. It is used as a treatment on crop seeds, including corn and canola, and works by expressing itself in the plants' pollen and nectar. Not coincidentally, these are honey bees' favorite sources of food.

Shockingly, no major independent study has verified the safety of this pesticide. While clothianidin has been used on corn -- the largest crop in the U.S. -- since 2003, it was officially approved by the Environmental Protection Agency last year on the basis of a single study, conducted by Bayer. However, recently leaked documents show that the study was actually debunked by the agency's own scientists, so the pesticide was effectively approved with no scientific backing.

The petition reads:
"The E.P.A. must immediately ban clothianidin and conduct a full, independently verified scientific review on the effect of the pesticide and other neonicotenoids' impact on honey bees and other non-target species."
Update: Here is another petition from Food Democracy Now:
Save the Bees, Tell the EPA to ban Bayer's toxic pesticide clothianidin

For the past several years scientists have been alarmed by the mysterious collapse of bee populations worldwide. Known as “Colony Collapse Disorder”, massive bee die-offs discovered by beekeepers has resulted in the loss of as much as 30% of the commercial honeybee population in the U.S. since 2006.

Last month a leaked EPA memo uncovered proof that the U.S. government approved a pesticide toxic to bees based on "fatally flawed" science and they have no intention of banning it even though it is harming the U.S. bee population. Incredibly, beekeepers and scientists around the world are pointing to Bayer's clothianidin as a leading factor in colony collapse and 4 European countries have already banned it. Join us in telling the EPA to immediately ban the sale and use of clothianidin until proper tests can be conducted.
h/t to Steve Bates in comments

Apparently Europe banned this pesticide three years ago...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

He is the very model of a modern U.S. President

Couldn't take this down fast enough

Rush Limbaugh's Tucson billboard.

We need a laugh

You wanna see what the super rich are doing with their excessive piles of money?

Here. Try not to be sick.

Sign the petition

America needs a top cop on illegal guns now
The mass shooting in Tuscon, Arizona is yet another deadly reminder of what happens when dangerous people get their hands on guns.

Now more than ever, law enforcement officials need the full support of Congress and the public to crack down on deadly criminals.

But the one agency responsible for cracking down on illegal gun crime has gone without a Director for the last four years.

To keep guns out of the hands of criminals, the Senate must confirm President Obama's nominee for ATF Director, Andrew Traver. As the head of the Chicago ATF office, Traver has proven that he'll fight to keep our families safe.

Each day we wait, 34 Americans will lose their lives to gun violence.

Tell your Senators to stand up to the powerful gun lobby and confirm a top cop on illegal guns for America.

Tell the Senate to confirm Andrew Traver as the ATF Director.

“I call on my Senators to confirm Andrew Traver as the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives immediately. We can't afford to allow illegal guns to flow freely to criminals here in the U.S. or across the border to drug cartels.”

Thank you, Mr. President.

Sunday, January 09, 2011


Are we running out of oil?

Fracking. And what it is doing to us. (h/t Mahakal)

Huck Finn censorship and racism.

Forewarned is forearmed about Fox News.

Frantic editing on Sarah Palin's blog.

Gee... Sarah Palin with a rifle

How subtle and clever. But it doesn't mean anything. It's not about killing liberals or anything. Just about gun rights. And the knowledge that guns scare liberals. And stuff.


Update: an enlarge pic


Insurrectionism Timeline

For those who try to say everybody indulges in violent rhetoric.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Not that I'm freaking out or anything


But all of these deaths can't be attributed to fireworks, cold weather, or fog.... can they?

Apparently die offs are common.

Or are they not telling us something?

Update: Another scientist not worried.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The Constitution

Note to Republicans... reading the Constitution in the House is fine. Skipping or glossing over anything is not. Read ALL the amendments too. And really listen to what it says. Knowing the history about why they dumped the Articles of Confederation would be helpful.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
By the way... the Constitution is a legal document. It is not a religious icon.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

One way to jump the shark literally

Drunk Serbian man kills hammer-head shark with his butt
A Serbian man reportedly has become a hero in Egypt -- by accidentally killing a shark with his butt while drunk.

Dragan Stevic was soused to the gills while partying at the Red Sea resort Sharm El Sheikh when he inadvertently felled the beast that had been terrorizing tourists for weeks.

Stevic cannonballed into the water from a high-diving board, according to a Macedonian news agency. Instead of making a splash, he came down right on the shark's head, killing the toothed terror instantly, New York Post reports.

Stevic doesn't remember killing the shark. He was too drunk. He's now in hospital with alcohol poisoning. But the shark slaying was witnessed by Stevic's drinking buddy. After a long night of boozing, Stevic decided he needed a swim. So he walked onto the beach and spotted a diving board.

"Dragan climbed on the jumping board, told me to hold his beer, and simply ran to jump," the drinking buddy says. "Dragan jumped high and plunged down to the sea, but didn't make as much splash as we thought he would."

That's because he landed on a shark, Register informs.