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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Journey to the Center of the Earth: An Incredible Glimpse Inside an Active Volcano

Two Kyrgyzstan-based photographers, Andrew and Luda, run a joint Live Journal account where they post amazing photos of outdoor scenery, wildlife, and recently: active volcanoes. Earlier this year the duo trekked to the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia where the volcano complex known as Tolbachik was in active eruption. Among the numerous hellish vistas photographed by the team was this deep volcanic cave that offered a glimpse of what it might look like inside an active volcano. You can see dozens of shots from their trip organized into several sets.



Happy End: Photos of Miraculous Airplane Crashes where All the Passengers Survived

Dancing on Thin Ice, Happy End #9.1, Canada, 2012 / Bristol freighter broke through ice while landing in 1956, all survived.

The Scenic Route to Nowhere, Happy End #3.1, Mexico, 2010 / Grumman Albatross, no official report as used for drug trafficking, locals say all survived.

Passion is Rebel to Reason, Happy End #4.1, West Sahara, 2011 / Avro Shackleton Pelican, 25y SAAF, forced landing on flight to UK, all 19 saved by Polisario Rebels in July of 1994.



Why Is the Toxic Dispersant Used After BP's Disaster Still the Cleanup Agent of Choice in the US?

Great Britain, the home country of BP, has banned the stuff. So has Sweden. But BP says as long as the US allows it, they'll use Corexit dispersant on their next oil spill. "If this vision becomes reality, long-term destruction to our health and environment will expand exponentially." This according to a damning new report, Deadly Dispersants in the Gulf: Are Public Health and Environmental Tragedies the New Norm for Oil Spill Cleanups?, by the nonprofit Government Accountability Project (GAP).

The GAP report was issued today in advance of tomorrow's three-year anniversary of BP's monster debacle in Gulf of Mexico, the worst environmental disaster in US history, that killed eleven people and injured sixteen others. BP managed to hide most of the 4.9 million barrels of oil erupting from its maimed well from human eyes by flooding it with 1.84 million gallons of Corexit dispersant, both at the wellhead on the deep sea floor (a first) and at the surface.

That had devastating affects on human health, says the GAP, based on data they collected from extensive Freedom of Information Act requests and from evidence collected over 20 months from more than two dozen employee and citizen whistleblowers who experienced the cleanup's effects firsthand.

The report cites four major areas of concern: 1) existing health problems; 2) failure to protect clean-up workers; 3) ecological problems and food safety issues; 4) and inadequate compensation. Ongoing health problems from the "BP Syndrome" include: blood in urine, heart palpitations, kidney and liver damage, migraines, multiple chemical sensitivity, memory loss, rapid weight loss, respiratory system and nervous system damage, seizures, skin irritation (burning and lesions), and temporary paralysis, plus long-term concerns about exposure to known carcinogens.


There are some sick folks out there- Boston Marathon 'game'

Oh, God, There Is A Boston Marathon Bombing Game
posted on April 23, 2013 at 2:37pm EDT
Joseph Bernstein

To the sordid history of troll shock games that includes Kindergarten Killer, Pico's School and Ethnic Cleansing, add The Boston Marathon: Terror on the Streets, "developed" by two members of the notorious "Lolokaust" group of trolls. In it, you play as a marathon runner attempting to jump over pressure cooker bombs.


images at link


The Texas fertilizer plant explosion cannot be forgotten

By Mike Elk, Tuesday, April 23, 12:40 PM

Mike Elk is a labor reporter and staff writer for In These Times Magazine.

On Friday, as cable news networks sought desperately to fill airtime while waiting for the latest news in the aftermath of the Boston bombings, a friend asked me, “How come there’s no manhunt for the owner of the Texas factory, which did far more damage than the Boston bombers?” He was right to wonder.

The explosion of the West Fertilizer Co. plant on April 17 in West, Tex., killed 14 people, injured more than 160 and destroyed dozens of buildings. Yet unlike the tragedy in Boston, the Texas plant explosion began to vanish from cable TV less than 36 hours after it occurred. Marquee correspondents like Anderson Cooper were pulled out of West and sent back to Boston, and little airtime was spared for updates from Texas, even as many town residents remained missing. The networks seemed to decide covering two big stories was covering one too many, as if we journalists can’t chew gum and walk at the same time. The media’s neglect has greatly increased the danger that the explosion will quickly be forgotten, to the detriment of U.S. workers.

The coverage so far of the Texas disaster is a far cry from the gold bar of workplace safety reporting, set by Walter Cronkite in 1968 following the Farmington, W.Va., mine explosion, in which 78 miners were killed. Then, Cronkite camped out for four days in a field in the middle of winter and provided in-depth stories on the mine explosion and its aftermath. Cronkite’s impassioned journalism is widely credited by workplace safety advocates as inspiring the passage of the first federal mine safety legislation: the 1969 Coal Mine Health and Safety Act. Since the legislation was enacted, the number of coal mining accidents have plummeted from 311 in 1968 to just 19 in 2012.

Over the years, though, the media have not kept up Cronkite’s dogged reporting on workplace safety — or on workers at all. This decline in coverage has created an environment in which companies may feel as if they can get away with massive safety violations because they will face little scrutiny from the media and the public. For instance, in 2010, an explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia killed 29 miners. In the year leading up to the explosion, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the mine was cited 458 times for safety violations, with 50 of those violations being “for willful or gross negligence”— a rate nearly five times the national average for a single mine. But after the disaster, this information and the story of the mine disaster vanished from the national discourse, and new mine safety legislation failed to pass even a Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.


Toon: "Everybody Saw That"


Breast milk jewelry? It's the latest mommy keepsake

Strands from baby’s first haircut. The first tooth. Tiny footprints sunk into clay. Some parents even tuck away the dried stump of the umbilical cord or the stick pregnancy test as a touching memento marking the milestones of their kids.

The latest? Breast milk jewelry.

Few issues polarize mothers more than breast-feeding, and all things related to breast-feeding, so wearing processed breast milk around the neck or in a bracelet has ignited some passions.

The jewelry, on sale at the handmade marketplace Etsy, is definitely not for writer Ashley McCann, 34, in Naples, Fla. She nursed both her boys, 6 and 9, and loved it, but she feels some sort of line has been crossed.


McDonald's burger bought in Utah in 1999 looks exactly the same as the day it was first flipped

If you need another reason to kick the junk food habit this should do it.
A Utah man has unearthed a McDonald's hamburger he bought in 1999 - and the sandwich looks exactly the same as the day it was first flipped.

David Whipple kept the fast food meal for a month to show friends how the preservative-packed hamburger would keep its composure.

But he forgot about it, finding it two years later in his coat pocket and then he decided to continue the bizarre experiment.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2313276/McDonalds-burger-bought-Utah-1999-looks-exactly-the-day-flipped.html

UC Santa Cruz police confiscate 2-pound joint from 4/20 party

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — A video posted to the Internet shows police on the University of California, Santa Cruz campus confiscating what is described as a 2-pound marijuana joint Saturday.

According to various accounts on the Internet, the incident happened at an annual event that marks April 20, or 4/20, numbers which have become associated with smoking marijauna.

According to the website LiveLeak.com, the officers took the giant joint because it violated the weight limit set for carrying pot, which is one ounce.


Tweaking GDP statistics won’t hide the fact that Americans are doing worse

By Matt Phillips

Uncle Sam is about to rewrite US economic history stretching all the way back to 1929.

With a statistical flick of the switch starting in July, the US government will increase the size of the world’s largest economy by about 3%. How? The agency that tallies up US GDP is going to be changing the way it counts spending on research and development. Here’s the short version, from the Financial Times, which published a solid story on the change (paywall).

At present, R&D counts as a cost of doing business, so the final output of Apple iPads is included in GDP but the research done to create them is not. R&D will now count as an investment, adding a bit more than 2 per cent to the measured size of the economy.

Over at the Washington Post, Neil Irwin explains it this way:

Now BEA will treat research and development and creation of artistic works as longer-term investments, not unlike factories, equipment, or software. On a purely technical level, this should more precisely match GDP in any one quarter to the actual economic value the nation generates in that span. In the old system, the value of the economic output of a Star Wars movie would only show up in GDP over decades to come, in the form of personal consumption expenditures like movie tickets and DVD sales.

So should you care?

Unless you’re one of the people on Wall Street or in academia whose professional reputation rests on how closely they can guess where GDP growth will be each quarter, probably not. In fact, if you’re interested in figuring out anything meaningful about the economy, like, say, how the people in it are actually doing, GDP is a pretty awful measure.

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