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n2doc

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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 44,319

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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Utilities wage campaign against rooftop solar

By Joby Warrick

Three years ago, the nation’s top utility executives gathered at a Colorado resort to hear warnings about a grave new threat to operators of America’s electric grid: not superstorms or cyberattacks, but rooftop solar panels.

If demand for residential solar continued to soar, traditional utilities could soon face serious problems, from “declining retail sales” and a “loss of customers” to “potential obsolescence,” according to a presentation prepared for the group. “Industry must prepare an action plan to address the challenges,” it said.

The warning, delivered to a private meeting of the utility industry’s main trade association, became a call to arms for electricity providers in nearly every corner of the nation. Three years later, the industry and its fossil-fuel supporters are waging a determined campaign to stop a home-solar insurgency that is rattling the boardrooms of the country’s government-regulated electric monopolies.

The campaign’s first phase—an industry push for state laws raising prices for solar customers—failed spectacularly in legislatures around the country, due in part to surprisingly strong support for solar energy from conservatives and evangelicals in traditionally “red states.” But more recently, the battle has shifted to public utility commissions, where industry backers have mounted a more successful push for fee hikes that could put solar panels out of reach for many potential customers.

more

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/utilities-sensing-threat-put-squeeze-on-booming-solar-roof-industry/2015/03/07/2d916f88-c1c9-11e4-ad5c-3b8ce89f1b89_story.html?hpid=z1

Skyfall: Sunrise Fallstreak Cloud

By Phil Plait
Here at BA HQ we’re all about weird clouds. Well, maybe not all about them, but certainly a lot about them. You’d think that clouds wouldn’t be terribly surprising (unless you’re trying to just get some Sun on a beach in Brazil) since, after all, they’re clouds. But you’d be wrong.

For example, get an eyeful of this.



Whoa. What is that?

It’s called a fallstreak or hole punch cloud. That’s not really an official name, since this isn’t actually a separate type of cloud; it’s actually something that happens to a cloud.

more

http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2015/03/07/fallstreak_supercool_cloud.html

Hunters Find a Frozen 10,000-Year-Old Baby Woolly Rhino

IN THE EPOCH before striped dresses, the Internet was ruled by baby animals. Likewise, our Pleistocene ancestors were no doubt enthralled by the menagerie of little woolly mammals that once roamed the Earth—at least until climate change drove them to extinction. Now, as their icy tombs melt away, researchers are rediscovering those baby behemoths, and the latest little charmer that’s thawed is Sasha, the baby woolly rhino.

Admit it, the little fella is pretty cute for spending ten centuries frozen in the ice, getting chewed on by scavengers. In September, two hunters boating down a stream in Siberia noticed some wavy, auburn locks poking out of the permafrost—a dead reindeer, they thought. After realizing their mistake, they liberated the rhino’s body from the thawing soil and stored it through the worst of the winter. Last week, they delivered the body to the Sakha Republic Academy of Sciences.

Sasha is one of the few woolly rhinos yet discovered, and the only calf. Experts estimate she was just 18 months old when she died. Her discovery should help researchers better understand woolly rhinos’ living conditions, how they developed as they grew, and how they’re related to living rhino species.

Even though some Siberian predator has chewed off Sasha’s backside, the half that was buried in permafrost is largely intact. In addition to the skeletal leg, torso, and head, the calf has an ear, an eye, teeth, two horns, and a big flap of wool-covered skin. Perhaps most important, it might also still contain DNA. If scientists can recover an intact sample, they’ll be able to determine which species of (for-the-moment) living rhino is most closely related to the extinct woollies.

more

http://www.wired.com/2015/03/hunters-find-frozen-10000-year-old-baby-wooly-rhino/

Weekend Toon roundup

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Putin



NY




Virginia




Politics



Target




Winter








Circus


Toon: 5 decades

Friday Toon Roundup

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HRC







Economy




Putin








Discrimination






Traveling




Bad












Ford



Sorry no split today, hafta go

'Extinct' Bird Rediscovered in Myanmar, Surprising Scientists


When scientists heard the call of a Myanmar Jerdon's babbler (above), they quickly recorded it and played the recording back, prompting one of the birds to come investigate.

PHOTOGRAPH BY ROBERT TIZARD, WCS

Christine Dell'Amore
National Geographic
PUBLISHED MARCH 5, 2015

A bird thought to have gone the way of the dodo decades ago has been rediscovered in Myanmar (Burma), scientists reported Thursday.

A team led by the Wildlife Conservation Society stumbled upon the bird, a Myanmar Jerdon's babbler, last May while studying other birds in a small grassland area near an abandoned agricultural research station. (See "Pictures: Extinct Species That Could Be Brought Back.")

Once they heard its distinctive call, the scientists quickly recorded it and played the recording back, prompting an adult Myanmar Jerdon's babbler to come investigate. The team caught the the first known glimpse of the animal since 1941, according to a Thursday press release from the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Over the next two days, the team found several more individuals of the "extinct" bird and took blood samples and high-resolution photographs.

more

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/03/150305-birds-extinct-rediscovered-myanmar-burma-animals-science/

When four cops have to use deadly force to subdue a man, something's wrong

By TED RALL

The police shooting of a 39-year-old homeless man in the skid row section of downtown Los Angeles is prompting comparisons and reactions familiar to those that followed police killings of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Mo., and New York. The identity of the man is still not clear, but he was known as "Africa" to some who knew him on the streets.



The incident is still under investigation but many question how dangerous a man without a gun can be to four highly trained law enforcement professionals, all armed. The LAPD says its officers first approached Africa in response to a robbery call, and that its officers shot the man to prevent him from taking one of the officers' guns. The revelation that Africa was a convicted bank robber who served a long prison term seems to bolster the image of a dangerous person. In Ferguson, police also pointed to the victim's alleged involvement in a robbery.

Then there's the context of lousy community relations. "Skid row has been home to police occupation under the Safer Cities Initiative," Steve Diaz, an organizer for the Los Angeles Community Action Network, said at a meeting of the Los Angeles Police Commission's weekly meeting. "They clear people out in the name of gentrification."

Since at least one of the LAPD officers was wearing a body camera, the investigation is also being viewed as a test case for a technology that advocates hope will hold rogue cops accountable and defend honest ones against folks' charges of brutality. The claim of a St. Louis man that a policeman turned off his dashboard cam before beating him, following a similar story in New Orleans late last year, has skeptics wondering whether videotaping really is a solution in such cases.

Maybe it's because I'm old enough to remember domestic policing before it was militarized and excessive force became the norm, but for me this is as much a story about officers who escalate violence far too quickly as it is about other relevant issues, such as racism.

more

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-rall-lapd-skid-row-homeless-shooting-20150305-story.html

McConnell Urges Sedition against EPA requirements

WASHINGTON — Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and majority leader, is urging governors to defy President Obama by refusing to implement the administration’s global warming regulations.

In an op-ed article published Wednesday in The Lexington Herald-Leader with the headline, “States should reject Obama mandate for clean-power regulations,” Mr. McConnell wrote: “The Obama administration’s so-called ‘clean power’ regulation seeks to shut down more of America’s power generation under the guise of protecting the climate.” He added, “Don’t be complicit in the administration’s attack on the middle class.”

As Mr. Obama pushes an aggressive climate change agenda, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed regulations to slash greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants, the nation’s largest source of planet-warming pollution. The rules, which the E.P.A. expects to be final this summer, would require each state to submit a plan detailing how it would cut coal-fired power plant pollution. Once implemented, the plans could lead to the closing of hundreds of coal plants, in what the administration says will be a transformation of the nation’s energy economy away from fossil fuels and toward sources like wind and solar.

States that rely heavily on coal production or coal-fired electricity are wary of the plan, which could ultimately freeze demand for coal. Already, 12 states, including Mr. McConnell’s home state, have filed lawsuits opposing the plan and at least a dozen more are expected to file similar suits.

But Mr. McConnell urged governors to fight the regulations by simply refusing to submit their state plans to the federal government.

more
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/05/us/politics/mcconnell-urges-states-to-defy-us-plan-to-cut-greenhouse-gas.html?ref=politics&_r=0

Thursday TOON Roundup 4- The Rest

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Haters








Nut




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Economy


Health





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