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Member since: Tue Nov 9, 2004, 11:55 PM
Number of posts: 27,509

Journal Archives

Obama set to utter term 'climate change' in Florida on Earth Day trip

Source: Guardian

- State made headlines for reported rule against using the phrase
- President says climate change ‘can no longer be denied – or ignored’
- Florida banned state workers from using term ‘climate change’ – report

Announcing an Earth Day trip to Florida on Saturday, President Barack Obama used his weekly address to say “climate change can no longer be denied – or ignored”.

Attitudes to climate change among Republicans and in Florida recently made national news, after it was reported that the state’s Department of Environmental Protection had issued an unwritten policy to forbid state workers from using the term.

“We were instructed by our regional administrator that we were no longer allowed to use the terms ‘global warming’ or ‘climate change’ or even ‘sea-level rise’,” a former DEP employee was quoted as saying in a report by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting. “Sea-level rise was to be referred to as ‘nuisance flooding’.”


Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/apr/18/florida-obama-climate-sceptics-earth-day

Earth Day organizers hope to reach millions, teaming up with 'Angry Birds' game developers

Source: Associated Press

The hugely popular game "Angry Birds" is showing Earth Day some love this year.

Game developers at Rovio Entertainment are announcing plans Saturday to create an in-game experience about climate change. The game will debut in September to coincide with the U.N. General Assembly as world leaders discuss sustainability goals.

The Finnish game developers are also creating an Earth Day level in "Angry Birds" to debut Wednesday on the official Earth Day.

Blanca Juti of Rovio Entertainment says the game company wanted to raise awareness in a fun way and make people think about climate change. Last year, they teamed up with Prince William's United for Wildlife to create a conservation-related game. That drew 10 million game sessions.


Read more: http://www.usnews.com/news/entertainment/articles/2015/04/18/earth-day-aims-to-reach-millions-with-angry-birds-game

Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day Takes Over The National Mall

Source: Huffington Post

The sun is shining and temperatures are forecast to hit summery highs for Saturday's Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day on the National Mall in Washington. The event, which organizers hope more than 200,000 people will attend, was put together to highlight the role ordinary citizens can play in ending extreme poverty around the world. It features a star-studded free concert, with the likes of My Morning Jacket and Mary J. Blige performing, as well as high-profile speakers ranging from Don Cheadle to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Watch a livestream above.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/18/global-citizen-2015_n_7092432.html

Usher, Gwen Stefani, Common, Mary J. Blige, Train among headliners for Earth Day rally Saturday


Usher, Gwen Stefani, Common, Mary J. Blige, Train among headliners for Earth Day rally Saturday
By Kevin Lewis, Steve Rudin, ABC 7 News
April 17, 2015 - 10:45 pm
Updated: April 18, 2015 - 02:25 pm

WASHINGTON (AP/WJLA) -- An all-day Earth Day rally and concert Saturday is drawing some big names to the National Mall.

Usher, Mary J. Blige, Gwen Stefani, Common and Train are scheduled to perform during the free Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day rally hosted by will.i.am and Soledad O'Brien. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. near the Washington Monument.

Earth Day organizers also are announcing plans with developers of the popular "Angry Birds" game to create a new in-game experience about climate change. "Angry Birds" has been downloaded 2.8 billion times worldwide. The game's climate change campaign will coincide with the U.N. General Assembly in September as world leaders tackle sustainability goals.

Earth Day Network President Kathleen Rogers says the game and celebrity power will help more people focus on solving climate change.


Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day Live Stream

On April 18th artists, world leaders, and over 250,000 citizens are joining together at the National Mall to protect the planet and its people.

A New 'Wrinkle in Time': never-before-seen passage sheds light on author's political philosophy



A New ‘Wrinkle in Time’

Madeleine L’Engle’s ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ has sold 14 million copies since its publication in 1962. Now, a never-before-seen passage cut from an early draft is shedding surprising light on the author’s political philosophy

By Jennifer Maloney
Updated April 16, 2015 10:45 p.m. ET

Madeleine L’Engle, the author of “A Wrinkle in Time,” resisted labels. Her books weren’t for children, she said. They were for people. Devoted to religious study, she bristled when called a Christian writer. And though some of her books had political themes, she wasn’t known to write overtly about politics. That is, until her granddaughter, Charlotte Jones Voiklis, came across an unknown three-page passage that was cut before publication.

The passage, which Ms. Voiklis shared with The Wall Street Journal so it could be published for the first time, sheds new light on one of the most beloved and best-selling young-adult books in American literature. Published in 1962, “A Wrinkle in Time” has sold 14 million copies and inspired a TV-movie adaptation, a graphic novel, and an opera. Meg Murry, the novel’s strong-willed misfit heroine, has been a role model for generations of children, especially girls. Now, Jennifer Lee, the co-writer and co-director of the Oscar-winning animated film, “Frozen,” is writing a film adaptation for Disney.


In it, Meg has just made a narrow escape from Camazotz. As Meg’s father massages her limbs, which are frozen from a jarring trip through space and time, she asks: “But Father, how did the Black Thing—how did it capture Camazotz?” Her father proceeds to lay out the political philosophy behind the book in much starker terms than are apparent in the final version.

He says that yes, totalitarianism can lead to this kind of evil. (The author calls out examples by name, including Hitler, Mussolini and Khrushchev.) But it can also happen in a democracy that places too much value on security, Mr. Murry says. “Security is a most seductive thing,” he tells his daughter. “I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the greatest evil there is.”


The WSJ article isn't paywalled, and includes a short video discussion.

The new passage is at http://graphics.wsj.com/documents/doc-cloud-embedder/?sidebar=1#1881486-a-wrinkle-in-time-excerpt
or as pdf at https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1881486/a-wrinkle-in-time-excerpt.pdf

House Space Subcommitee's Surreal NASA Budget Hearing


House Space Subcommitee’s Surreal NASA Budget Hearing
Posted by Doug Messier on April 16, 2015

I woke up early this morning with a low-grade headache. Checking Twitter, I discovered I’d slept through the beginning of a House Subcommittee on Space’s hearing on NASA’s budget with Administrator Charlie Bolden.

My headache immediately worsened as I found the hearing webcast on my cell phone. A whole range of largely unprintable words and phrases came immediately to mind, but there was one that kept coming back: clown car. The House Science Committee really needs a bigger clown car.


What really got my head pounding was a line of questioning and statements from the Republican majority best summed up by a paragraph in House Science Committee Chairman’s Lamar Smith’s opening statement.

“The Administration continues to starve NASA’s exploration programs to fund a partisan environmental agenda. NASA simply deserves better.”

It was yet another spectacularly false claim made in an institution already well know for its overabundance of bullshit.


Food from Fukushima could be hitting Britain's shelves through legal safety loophole

Source: Independent

Products contaminated by radiation, including tea, noodles and chocolate bars, have already been exported from Japan under the cover of false labelling by fraudsters.

Experts warned that Britain’s food regulations were not strong enough to prevent these kinds of contaminated products – which are fraudulently marked as coming from radiation-free regions of Japan – from entering the UK. This raises the prospect of mildly carcinogenic ingredients entering the food system.

The alarm is being sounded after Taiwanese investigators uncovered more than 100 radioactive food products which had been produced in Fukushima but falsely packaged to give their origin as Tokyo.


“I suspect what has happened in Taiwan might well have already happened in the UK. Intermediary supply chain middlemen can buy food in bulk and package and label as they like – before shipping them to the UK,” said Alastair Marke, a fellow at the Royal Society of Arts and principal adviser in London to Shantalla, a food safety consultancy.


Read more: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/food-from-fukushima-could-be-hitting-britains-shelves-through-legal-safety-loophole-10174298.html

SpaceX to launch at 1:33 pm Pacific Time today (4/13/2015)

Live coverage on NASA-TV begins 12:30 pm Pacific (3:30 pm Eastern).

They'll make another attempt at landing on an ocean barge.

Watching a paradigm shift in neuroscience


Watching a paradigm shift in neuroscience
by Björn Brembs, March 26

When I finished my PhD 15 years ago, the neurosciences defined the main function of brains in terms of processing input to compute output: “brain function is ultimately best understood in terms of input/output transformations and how they are produced” wrote Mike Mauk in 2000. Since then, a lot of things have been discovered that make this stimulus-response concept untenable and potentially based largely on laboratory artifacts.

For instance, it was discovered that the likely ancestral state of behavioral organization is one of probing the environment with ongoing, variable actions first and evaluating sensory feedback later (i.e., the inverse of stimulus response).


As one would expect, this dramatic shift in perspectives from input/output to output/input has led to a slew of recent publications which were not thinkable a mere 15 years ago.


In the most recent annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, where I usually only find very few presentations on ongoing activity and how it leads to variability, there now were several posters on exactly this topic, seemingly out of nowhere.


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