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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 37,357

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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Chris Christie's Approval Rating Hits All-Time Low in New Jersey

Source: Bloomberg

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's approval rating has fallen to an all-time low as he prepares for a likely presidential campaign, according to a Quinnipiac University poll published Monday.

Fifty-six percent of voters say they disapprove of the job the Republican is doing, compared to 38 percent who say they approve. That puts him farther into negative territory than he was in a January poll, when 46 percent said they approved and 48 percent said they disapproved. His high-water mark was 74 percent approval in a poll published in January 2013.

“The governor’s job approval hits a new low and voters think his presidential ambitions are distracting him from his day job,” said Quinnipiac University Poll assistant director Maurice Carroll in a statement. “Besides, they don't think he’d be a good president.”

The survey also tested voters' perceptions of the George Washington Bridge traffic scandal that shook Christie's administration last year. New Jerseyans said 57 percent to 32 percent that Christie did not order the lane closures that caused the jam, but they say 53 percent to 38 percent that he was aware of his aides' actions.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-04-20/chris-christie-s-approval-rating-hits-all-time-low-in-new-jersey

Syracuse University drops fossil fuel stocks from its $1.2B endowment

Syracuse University has announced plans to drop all fossil fuel stocks from its $1.2 billion endowment, the largest endowment to divest entirely of fossil fuel stocks.

The drop is in response to a "Divest SU" campaign by The General Body, a movement and coalition of Syracuse University students organizing for change.

These student protesters staged an 18-day sit-in over disinvestment from fossil fuels in November.


Monday Toon Roundup 3- The Rest

War and peace




The Issue



Monday Toon Roundup 2- The slow slog to nov 2016

Monday Toon Roundup 1- Party of Moochers

Toon: Candidates Hit the Road

"I Wish My Teacher Knew" Lesson Plan Reveals Children's Heartbreaking Confessions


Kyle Schwartz is a third grade teacher at Doull Elementary School in Denver, and she's single-handedly changing the way students communicate in classrooms around the country.

After teaching for three years, Schwartz began to realize that many of her kids, while wonderful at school, faced multiple obstacles at home.

"Ninety-two percent of our students qualify for free or reduced lunch," she told ABC News. "As a new teacher, I struggled to understand the reality of my students' lives and how to best support them. I just felt like there was something I didn't know about my students."

That's when Schwartz devised a new lesson plan dubbed "I Wish My Teacher Knew," which involved kids writing notes to her detailing things that they wanted her to know about their lives.

"I let students determine if they would like to answer anonymously. I have found that most students are not only willing to include their name, but also enjoy sharing with the class. Even when what my students are sharing is sensitive in nature, most students want their classmates to know," Schwartz explained.



Solar Power Battle Puts Hawaii at Forefront of Worldwide Changes

HONOLULU — Allan Akamine has looked all around the winding, palm tree-lined cul-de-sacs of his suburban neighborhood in Mililani here on Oahu and, with an equal mix of frustration and bemusement, seen roof after roof bearing solar panels.

Mr. Akamine, 61, a manager for a cable company, has wanted nothing more than to lower his $600 to $700 monthly electric bill with a solar system of his own. But for 18 months or so, the state’s biggest utility barred him and thousands of other customers from getting one, citing concerns that power generated by rooftop systems was overwhelming its ability to handle it.

Only under strict orders from state energy officials did the utility, the Hawaiian Electric Company, recently rush to approve the lengthy backlog of solar applications, including Mr. Akamine’s.

It is the latest chapter in a closely watched battle that has put this state at the forefront of a global upheaval in the power business. Rooftop systems now sit atop roughly 12 percent of Hawaii’s homes, according to the federal Energy Information Administration, by far the highest proportion in the nation.



The F-35 Is Still FUBAR

A new report raises serious questions about the safety and performance of the most expensive jet fighter ever made.
—AJ Vicens

Originally slated to cost $233 billion, the Pentagon's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program could end up being costing more than $1.5 trillion. Which might not be so bad if the super-sophisticated next-generation jet fighter lives up to its hype. A recent report from the Defense Department's Director of Operational Test and Evaluation paints a pretty damning picture of the plane's already well documented problems. The report makes for some pretty dense reading, but the Project on Government Oversight, a watchdog group that's long criticized the F-35 program, has boiled down the major issues.

Here are a few:

Teaching to the test: The blizzard of testing required on the plane's equipment and parts isn't exactly going well, so the program's administrators are moving the goal posts. Test scores are improving because the stats are being "massaged" with tricks like not recounting repeated failures. Some required testing is being consolidated, eliminated, or postponed. "As a result," POGO writes, "the squadron will be flying with an uncertified avionics system."

Unsafe at any airspeed? The high-tech stuff that was supposed to make the F-35 among the most advanced war machines ever built pose serious safety risks. For example: The fuel tank system "is at significant risk of catastrophic fire and explosion in combat," according to POGO. The plane isn't adequately protected against lightning strikes (in the air or on the ground); it's currently prohibited from flying within 25 miles of thunderstorms. That's a major problem for a plane training program based in the Florida panhandle.



The Hidden Ocean Patch That Broke Climate Records


Nothing has caused climate scientists quite as much recent trouble as the so-called “global warming hiatus.” Not only did this approximately 14-year lull in the rise of global mean (or average) temperatures provide fodder for a variety of misguided climate change deniers (there have been other, longer pauses), but it also represented a genuine scientific mystery. Scientists knew it was being caused by falling ocean temperatures, but they also knew that the ocean, as a whole, was warming. Where was the extra heat being stored, and when would it make itself known?

Then this past November Axel Timmermann, a climate scientist at the University of Hawaii’s International Pacific Research Center, announced that global mean temperatures had finally resumed their rise, driven mainly by an unprecedented spike in sea surface temperatures in the northeast Pacific.

This unexpected shot of heat showed up in late 2013 as a discrete orange blob in satellite imagery, and by the end of last summer, sea surface temperatures as far north as the Gulf of Alaska were the highest ever recorded. So too was the global mean temperature for 2014. While it will take more time to see if the record represents the beginning of a renewed warming trend, Timmermann makes no bones about it—he believes that the blob has ended the hiatus.

The story of the blob starts with an unlikely protagonist: a vast pool of warm water, thousands of kilometers wide and more than 100 meters deep, and thousands of miles away, stretching across the equatorial western Pacific. Although this warm pool was discovered decades ago, questions about its role in climate change remain unclear. How is it connected to last year’s temperature spike in the remote and frigid Gulf of Alaska? Was it primarily responsible for storing the planet’s excess heat during the hiatus? Why did the blob emerge when it did? As scientists piece together the answers to these questions, one lesson is emerging above all others: To understand climate change, we need to remember that the ocean has a very long memory.


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