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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 01:20 AM
Number of posts: 25,156

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Japan: Locals hold 70th memorial service for U.S. B-29 crew who crashed in Wakayama

Locals hold 70th memorial service for U.S. B-29 crew who crashed in Wakayama
May 07, 2014

TANABE, Wakayama Prefecture--Locals offered a prayer to U.S. crew members who were killed when their B-29 bomber crashed in the closing days of World War II in this mountainous area, a tradition that residents have continued in the 70 years since their deaths.

At a memorial service held in the Ryujinmura district of this city on May 5, about 150 residents attended, including Ken Furukubo, a former junior high school teacher who has researched the crash and the crew over the past 40 years.

“We are extremely relieved to be able to mark the landmark 70th memorial,” Furukubo, 76, told the crowd. “It is important to remember the incident and build up a peace bastion inside ourselves.”

The plane crashed on May 5, 1945, killing seven of the 11 crew members. The remaining four were soon captured.

Two of the prisoners ...


Civilian diver dies in South Korea ferry search

Source: AP via Japan Times

SEOUL – A civilian diver involved in searches for dozens of missing people from the South Korean ferry disaster died Tuesday as other divers helped by better weather and easing ocean currents were picking up efforts to retrieve more bodies from the sunken ship.

The Sewol carried 476 people, most of them students from a single high school near Seoul, when it sank off South Korea’s southern coast on April 16. Only 174 survived, including 22 of the 29 crew members. The sinking left more than 260 people dead, with about 40 others still missing.

On Tuesday, one civilian diver died at a hospital after becoming unconscious, government task force spokesman Ko Myung-seok said in a statement. He is the first fatality among divers mobilized following the ferry’s sinking, according to the coast guard.

The 53-year-old diver was pulled to the surface by fellow divers after losing communication about five minutes after he began underwater searches, Ko said. It was his first search attempt, Ko added.

Despite his death...

Read more: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/05/06/asia-pacific/civilian-diver-dies-in-south-korea-ferry-search/

National Academies Press: The Growth of Incarceration in the United States

"This study makes the case that the United States has gone far past the point where the numbers of people in prison can be justified by social benefits and has reached a level where these high rates of incarceration themselves constitute a source of injustice and social harm."

The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences.
Committee on Causes and Consequences of High Rates of Incarceration; Committee on Law and Justice (CLAJ); Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE); National Research Council

After decades of stability from the 1920s to the early 1970s, the rate of imprisonment in the United States more than quadrupled during the last four decades. The U.S. penal population of 2.2 million adults is by far the largest in the world. Just under one-quarter of the world's prisoners are held in American prisons. The U.S. rate of incarceration, with nearly 1 out of every 100 adults in prison or jail, is 5 to 10 times higher than the rates in Western Europe and other democracies. The U.S. prison population is largely drawn from the most disadvantaged part of the nation's population: mostly men under age 40, disproportionately minority, and poorly educated. Prisoners often carry additional deficits of drug and alcohol addictions, mental and physical illnesses, and lack of work preparation or experience. The growth of incarceration in the United States during four decades has prompted numerous critiques and a growing body of scientific knowledge about what prompted the rise and what its consequences have been for the people imprisoned, their families and communities, and for U.S. society.

The Growth of Incarceration in the United States examines research and analysis of the dramatic rise of incarceration rates and its affects. This study makes the case that the United States has gone far past the point where the numbers of people in prison can be justified by social benefits and has reached a level where these high rates of incarceration themselves constitute a source of injustice and social harm.

The Growth of Incarceration in the United States recommends changes in sentencing policy, prison policy, and social policy to reduce the nation's reliance on incarceration. The report also identifies important research questions that must be answered to provide a firmer basis for policy. The study assesses the evidence and its implications for public policy to inform an extensive and thoughtful public debate about and reconsideration of policies.

Suggested Citation
National Research Council. The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2014.

You can download this book from the NAP by going to this link and following the prompts after you click the 'download' button on the left. If you don't care to register, just click the "download as guest" button on the bottom right of the sign in page.

5 Reasons Why Nuclear Energy Is A Dead End Technology, by Jeremy Rifkin

(Updated) Teacher who organised ferry trip kills himself as hopes fade for 300 children

Original information from here:
Teacher who organised ferry trip kills himself as hopes fade for 300 children
Behind subscription wall: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/asia/article4066907.ece

More information here:
Deputy head teacher rescued from South Korea ferry found hanged
Teacher found in apparent suicide next to gymnasium set up for survivors after rescue from ferry that sank with hundreds of his students trapped inside

By AFP10:30AM BST 18 Apr 2014

A deputy head teacher rescued from a sinking South Korean ferry that sank with hundreds of his pupils on board was found dead on Friday, in what media reports said was an apparent suicide.

Local police on Jindo island said the body of Kang Min-Kyu, 52, was found near the gymnasium where relatives of the 268 people still missing from the ferry disaster have been staying.

"The precise cause of death is still under investigation," one police official told AFP.

Yonhap news agency cited police as saying he was found hanging from a tree having apparently committed suicide.

Of the 475 people...


OpEd from NYT:

"“Evacuation dynamics,” a discipline at the intersection of physics, engineering, architecture and social psychology..."

Learning From Korea’s Disaster

PLAINSBORO, N.J. — With hope fading for the rescue of 271 passengers, most of them high school students, who remain missing after the South Korean ferry Sewol capsized and sank Wednesday, it is not too early to draw lessons from the disaster. South Korea’s early response was to point to “human error” and seek the arrest of the ferry’s captain, first mate and another crew member. But it’s worth keeping three points in mind as investigations proceed.

First, few great disasters have one single explanation. In some cases imagination fills in an incomplete story. The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 almost certainly wasn’t started by Mrs. O’Leary’s cow overturning a lantern. Folklore scholars have a word — sharpening — for the addition of detail after original information is lost. And the spark is often beside the point. Catastrophic loss of life and property usually signals a fateful conjunction of unlikely circumstances, none of which might have been fatal in itself. If Chicago hadn’t been a boomtown built mainly of wood; if there hadn’t been a prolonged drought; if the air had been calm instead of windy — etc., etc., etc.

This principle applies, too, in most of the great peacetime shipwrecks. Consider the Titanic. The flat sea and atmospheric conditions prevented lookouts from recognizing the iceberg before it was too late. The scraping of sea ice against the hull led to a failure of riveted plates. There were problems communicating with other ships. No matter how many levels of safety we devise, there are always a few cases in which the loopholes in each of them align. Perhaps the ferry experienced such a fatal conjunction.

Second, organizations may be more to blame for disasters than individuals. Agencies and corporations nominally committed to safety may ignore good engineering practice to meet what they consider urgent goals. In her study of the 1986 Challenger launch decision, the sociologist Diane Vaughan pointed to what she called the “normalization of deviance.” A culture like NASA’s that becomes overly concerned with budgets and timetables may no longer recognize that it is encouraging its members to take unacceptable risks to meet them. In the Sewol’s case we need to look beyond the captain to the rest of the officers and company procedures. Roll-on-roll-off vehicle decks like the one on the Sewol can make ships unstable if flooded. Was there special vigilance to protect against damage from loose equipment? The communications officer has said he had not participated in evacuation drills and didn’t have time to read the evacuation manual: Were he and other officers provided with pocket summary charts?

At the other extreme, excessively strict accountability can bite back....


That data has been completely discredited because the method of data collection doesn't work

This addresses it:

...we are all too familiar with the dog bite fatality report that was published in 2000 titled “Breeds of dogs involved in fatal human attacks in the United States between 1979 and 1998.” This data set has been used incessantly to support breed discriminatory laws, even though the authors of this report themselves have made several statements explaining why the report does NOT support these ineffective and costly laws. This data set was based mostly on unreliable media reports and its authors concluded that their research did not support the idea that one kind of dog was more likely to bite someone than another kind of dog. Nevertheless, proponents of discriminatory laws have pointed to this data set to support their positions.

This was the only study of its kind, until earlier this month when the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) published the “Co-occurrence of potentially preventable factors in 256 dog bite–related fatalities in the United States (2000–2009).” The objective of the study was to “examine potentially preventable factors in human dog bite-related fatalities (DBRFs) on the basis of data from sources that were more complete, verifiable, and accurate than media reports used in previous studies.” Instead of relying on news accounts like in the previous study, the researchers used reports by homicide detectives and animal control agencies, and interviews with investigators.

The study found that the major factors in the fatalities studied include:
- the absence of an able-bodied person to intervene (87.1%),
- incidental or no familiar relationship of victims with dogs (85.2%),
- owner failure to neuter dogs (84.4%),
- compromised ability of victims to interact appropriately with dogs (77.4%),
- dogs kept isolated from regular positive human interactions versus family dogs (76.2%),
- owners’ prior mismanagement of dogs (37.5%),
- and owners’ history of abuse or neglect of dogs (21.1%).

Four or more of these factors were present in over 80% of the dog bite related deaths. Considering that over 75% of dog bite related deaths were caused by resident dogs (a dog not kept as a family pet, but isolated from positive human interactions and usually kept for protection and/or chained outside), reducing this practice is a huge factor in preventing dog bites, as is neutering male dogs.

Most dog bite related fatalities had the above preventable factors in common, but no where was breed found to be a factor. The authors of this new report found that breed could not be reliably identified in over 80% of the cases, as news reports often differed from each other or from animal control reports.


Link to the original study:

found here: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10024788018
post#7 by old guy

And there is also this summary blog post by another study's author:
A New Pit Bull Study
March 15, 2012

The author’s study shows pit bulls’ natural habitat is the bed and breed-specific behavior is cuddling

By Anna MacNeill


At my university, I visited campus libraries expecting to delve into a pool of pit bull literature. Instead, I found myself ankle deep in a mud puddle. There was nothing substantial!


What the Study Revealed

A new profile of pit bulls emerged from the study: They were not more aggressive than the other breeds. Pit bulls were more likely to sleep on the bed , more likely to cuddle with their owners (p<0.05), and less likely to show aggression to their owners (p<0.10) – three things associated with strong human-animal bonds. Pit bulls were more likely to pull on the leash (p<0.05).

There was no difference in the number of dogs euthanized at the shelter due to aggression. Likewise, there was no significant difference between groups for aggression to strangers, other dogs, cats, children under 12, skateboarders/cyclists, joggers, over food, when stepped over, or when moved while sleeping.

There was, however, a trend for the other breeds group to be returned for aggression (p<0.02). For those still in the home, there was a slight trend for the other breeds group to show aggression to their guardians (p<0.10).

Seven bites were inflicted on people: one by a pit bull, which did not break the skin, and six by the other breed group, four breaking the skin.



Original post

Australian's For Coal 2014 - Resolving Cognitive Dissonance

The Solar Industry Has Been Waiting 60 Years For This To Happen

The Solar Industry Has Been Waiting 60 Years For This To Happen — And It Finally Just Did

It's now a question of how and where, not if, solar becomes a dominant force in energy markets.

AllianceBernstein's Michael Parker and Flora Chang published a note last week with the following chart showing how rapidly the cost of solar on a real-dollars-per-million-BTU equivalent basis has, in many instances, come to match that of conventional fuels.

Nothing else looks like this. And the title of the chart, Welcome to the Terrordome, reflects this almost violent decline in solar pricing.

The authors write:
Exhibit 2 is the chart the solar industry has been working towards for 60 years. Solar is now – in the right conditions – cheaper than oil and Asian LNG on an MMBTU basis. Yes, we are using utility- scale solar costs in developing markets with lots of sun. But that describes the growth markets for global energy today. For these markets solar is just cheap, clean, convenient, reliable energy. And since it is a technology, it will get even cheaper over time. Fossil fuel extraction costs will keep rising. There is a massive global market for cheap energy and that market is oblivious to policy changes at the NDRC, MITI, the EU or the CPUC.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/solar-price-terrordome-chart-2014-4

The Brutally Dishonest Attacks On Showtime’s Landmark Series On Climate Change

The Brutally Dishonest Attacks On Showtime’s Landmark Series On Climate Change

Percent of Americans Who Believe the Effects of Global Warming Have Already Begun to Happen, by Political Ideology, from McCright and Dunlap

The good news is the video of episode one of Showtime’s climate series, “Years Of Living Dangerously,” has been getting great reviews in the New York Times and elsewhere.

The bad news is the Times has published an error-riddled hit-job op-ed on the series that is filled with myths at odds with both the climate science and social science literature. For instance, the piece repeats the tired and baseless claim that Al Gore’s 2006 movie “An Inconvenient Truth” polarized the climate debate, when the peer-reviewed data says the polarization really jumped in 2009 (see chart above from “The Sociological Quarterly”).

As I said, “Years Of Living Dangerously” — the landmark 9-part Showtime docu-series produced by the legendary James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jerry Weintraub — has been getting great reviews. Andy Revkin, often a critic of climate messaging, wrote in the NY Times Monday:
… a compellingly fresh approach to showing the importance of climate hazards to human affairs, the role of greenhouse gases in raising the odds of some costly and dangerous outcomes and — perhaps most important — revealing the roots of the polarizing divisions in society over this issue….


The New York Times op-ed is from the founders of the Breakthrough Institute — the same group where political scientist Roger Pielke, Jr. is a Senior Fellow. It pushes the same argument that Pielke made in his fivethirtyeight piece — which was so widely criticized and debunked that Nate Silver himself admitted its myriad flaws and ran a debunking piece by an MIT climate scientist.

Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, two widely debunked eco-critics who run The Breakthrough Institute (TBI), begin by ...


Close Look: Walmart's Turbine Powered Hybrid Concept Truck

I'm not a fan of Walmart, but they are a force within the trucking sector that can change the offerings of the manufacturers. So it is good news that they've been working with energy efficiency experts to redesign our heavy transport vehicle fleet - they save money and their effort results in real, substantive carbon carbon emission reductions across the entire sector.

The Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience concept truck is the latest in their fleet efficiency program.

The one-of-a-kind prototype offers a whole package of firsts. The tractor has very advanced aerodynamics and is powered by a prototype advanced turbine-powered, range-extending series hybrid powertrain.

The trailer is made almost exclusively with carbon fiber, saving around 4,000 pounds which can then be used to carry more freight.

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