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Nuclear insanity (Pakistan developing tactical nukes in response to India's Cold Start doctrine)

http://www.nation.com.pk/letters/31-Dec-2013/nuclear-insanity

Nuclear insanity
December 31, 2013

If you ever ask nuclear experts and advocates in our strategic community why Pakistan is going down the dangerous road leading towards the development of Tactical Nuclear Weapons (TNWs), the most logical explanation could be a description of the threats emanating from India’s ‘Cold Start’ doctrine. The Cold Start doctrine is basically a strategy to execute a limited war under nuclear overhang and the Indian Army has been working on this concept since 2004. Although the Indian government and politicians deny the existence of Cold Start doctrine, the Indian army has repeatedly conducted military exercises to operationalize the CSD.

In order to counter this provocative doctrine, the Pakistani military has developed short-range nuclear system to dissuade India from contemplating any ‘limited’ strike against our country but according to many experts, India’s Cold Start doctrine and in turn the Pakistani move toward TNWs have significantly raised the dangers of nuclear escalation between the two countries.

<snip>

In actuality, the development of tactical nuclear weapons is not only creating further complications for our command and control structure but they are more vulnerable to a terrorist attack due to their small size. Both countries cannot afford Cold Start-type doctrines nor battlefield nuclear weapons. Pakistan should immediately take steps to eliminate tactical weapons and instead focus on its ‘internal’ security challenges.

Today Pakistan’s economy is only one-seventh of India’s and our financial position is rapidly in decline. The government should spend more money on uplifting the economic situation of the people instead of wasting it on misconceived strategies. Finally, our civilian government also needs to play a role in determining the overall military strategy.

RIZWAN ASGHAR,
California, December 28.

Chris Hadfield urges space co-operation with China - "It's the next logical step"

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/chris-hadfield-urges-space-co-operation-with-china-1.2477871

Chris Hadfield urges space co-operation with China
'It's the next logical step'

The Canadian Press Dec 28, 2013

"If you predicted in 1989 that I would fly on an American shuttle to go build a Russian spaceship, people would have said you were crazy," said Hadfield, who last March became the first Canadian to command the International Space Station.


Retired Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield is calling for more co-operation with China in space and he wants it to be part of any international effort to return to the moon.

And he's not alone in his thinking. Space experts agree the Chinese can no longer be left out.

"I think right now a lot of people see it as kind of crazy to co-operate with the Chinese, but I think it's the next logical step," Hadfield recently told The Canadian Press.

<snip>

NASA says on its website that Mir hosted 125 cosmonauts and astronauts from 12 different nations before it was deorbited and sunk into the ocean in 2001.

Hadfield, who became a Canadian astronaut in 1992, visited Mir in November 1995 on the U.S. Space Shuttle Atlantis. He was the only Canadian to ever board the Russian space station.

"If you predicted in 1989 that I would fly on an American shuttle to go build a Russian spaceship, people would have said you were crazy," said Hadfield, who last March became the first Canadian to command the International Space Station.

<snip>

Hadfield said a logical progression would be to include as many countries as possible in an international mission beyond Earth — "hopefully including China and India and the other countries that have launch capability and then progress to the next stepping stone, the next natural waypoint out to space, which is the moon."

<snip>

Shark photobomb? Family photo captures big fish lurking just feet from family

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/family-photo-captures-shark-lurking-just-feet-from-family-200736440.html

Shark photobomb? Family photo captures big fish lurking just feet from family
By Eric Pfeiffer December 29, 2013 3:07 PM The Sideshow



Can there be such thing as a shark photobomb?

That’s what many are calling an eerie and eye-catching photo inadvertently snapped by a California mother that appears to show a large shark, or maybe a dolphin, swimming near her two children.

"It was quite a shock to see” the photo, June Emerson told KTLA about her photo, which captured the outline of a large fish swimming underneath a breaking wave close to the shore on Manhattan Beach.

“Many local surfers and lifeguards have seen this and believe it to be a shark,” Emerson said. “Of course, I told my kids it was dolphin, as we live at the beach and are in the waters here almost daily.”

<snip>

Trial of anti-nuclear activists ends with unusual sentence

Source: National Catholic Reporter

Kansas City, Mo. - Defense attorney Henry Stoever meekly approached the bench of Presiding Judge Ardie Bland Dec. 13, complaining that security had refused to let him bring certain pieces of evidence into the courthouse: a full-sized wooden door with a banner proclaiming, "Open the door to a nuclear weapons free world!", as well as an array of picket signs.

Stoever was representing eight nuclear protesters on this unlucky trial date, and Bland, who had sentenced other nuclear activists to jail just two years prior, was the inauspicious icing on the cake.

<snip>

After listening to Stoever's impassioned closing argument, Bland invited the eight defendants to approach the bench. Offhandedly, he pronounced them guilty of trespassing.

"I volunteered to take this case because I've done this before with Mr. Stoever and I find it interesting," Bland said, in reference to the activists he sentenced to jail two years ago. "If you're not getting to anyone else, you're getting to me. I think you're educating, because every time I learn something."

The gallery murmured their approval, and the defendants nodded.

"I want to do something a little different," Bland continued. "I want to say, I totally understand the argument made about Rosa Parks. I've done a significant amount of research on the civil rights movement, and they all suffered the consequences. ... However, I think the more significant thing is that the world was changed by their actions. I can sit here before you, as a black man, doing justice."

Then Bland announced the sentence, shocking the courtroom.

"I want each one of you to write a one-page, single-spaced essay on each of the following six topics," Bland said. "Your responses will be attached to the court record, which is a public record. They will exist as long as Kansas City exists. My way will give you a chance to say what you want to say." (See sidebar below.)

<snip>

Read more: http://ncronline.org/news/peace-justice/trial-anti-nuclear-activists-ends-unusual-sentence




Local activists march to the Kansas City Municipal Courthouse Dec. 13 with a door that was entered into evidence. (Photos courtesy of Jim Hannah)


Elon Musk on Mars, Philip Low on the Brain



Published on Dec 9, 2013

Dr. Crystal Dilworth engages in a fireside chat with space entrepreneur Elon Musk and inventor and computational neuroscientist Philip Low to discover how they are changing the world and why. Special thank you to David Franzen for hosting this late night chat at the Canadian Consul General's Residence in Los Angeles.

www.rawscience.tv


Via http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=33494.0

SPECIAL REPORT- Japan's homeless recruited for murky Fukushima clean-up

Source: Reuters

Homeless recruited for Fukushima at minimum wages

* Labor brokers skim their pay; charge for food, shelter

* Some say better homeless than going into debt by working

* Little oversight on companies getting clean-up contracts

* Gangsters run Fukushima labour brokers; arrests made

<snip>

Almost three years ago, a massive earthquake and tsunami leveled villages across Japan's northeast coast and set off multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Today, the most ambitious radiation clean-up ever attempted is running behind schedule. The effort is being dogged by both a lack of oversight and a shortage of workers, according to a Reuters analysis of contracts and interviews with dozens of those involved.

<snip>

Only a third of the money allocated for wages by Obayashi's top contractor made it to the workers Sasa had found. The rest was skimmed by middlemen, police say. After deductions for food and lodging, that left workers with an hourly rate of about $6, just below the minimum wage equal to about $6.50 per hour in Fukushima, according to wage data provided by police. Some of the homeless men ended up in debt after fees for food and housing were deducted, police say.

<snip>

"If you don't get involved (with gangs), you're not going to get enough workers," said Sayama, Fujisai's general manager. "The construction industry is 90 percent run by gangs."

<snip>

Read more: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/12/30/fukushima-workers-special-report-pix-grf-idUKL3N0K51ZU20131230

What's killing the Bald Eagles of Utah?

Source: Digital Journal

Wildlife officials are scrambling to find out what has killed 20 Bald Eagles and sickened many others over the past few weeks in Utah.

Hikers, farmers, hunters and others have been coming across the sick birds over a broad area in the northern and central parts of the state. They have been found limp, seriously weakened, often suffering from paralysis and seizures. Most die within 48 hours.

Thus far, lab tests have ruled out hunting injuries, poisoning and West Nile Virus.

<snip>

“It’s just hard to have your national bird in your arms, going through seizures in a way it can’t control – when you can see it’s in pain but you don’t know what’s causing it,“ said Buz Marthaler, a co-founder of the center, in an article in the Los Angeles Times. “And when you lose one, it just grabs your heart.”

<snip>

This year, there was a major die-off of the grebes, possibly from avian cholera, though wildlife officials are equally mystified by this die-off. Since Bald Eagles are scavengers, some wildlife officials speculate that the sickened eagles may have fed on the diseased grebes.

<snip>


Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/environment/what-s-killing-the-bald-eagles-of-utah/article/364799

Elon Musk: This is why I think solar power will be the primary long term solution

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/statuses/414456595431432192

Elon Musk @elonmusk

This is why I think solar power will be the primary long term solution http://www.abb-conversations.com/2013/12/7-impressive-solar-energy-facts-charts/

1,526 Retweets
1,013 Favorites

10:05 AM - 21 Dec 13


Here's the article he references, I didn't paste in the charts, follow the link and see them:
http://www.abb-conversations.com/2013/12/7-impressive-solar-energy-facts-charts/

7 impressive solar energy facts (+ charts)
December 2, 2013 by Zachary Shahan

How solar power has changed over the last 10 years

Solar power is in a tremendously different place today than it was in 10 years ago. Below are a handful of impressive stats about solar power’s growth, as well as some general stats about solar energy potential that are also quite noteworthy.

1. Even yearly energy potential from sunshine dwarfs total energy potential from any other source.
The annual energy potential from solar energy is 23,000 TWy. Energy potential from total recoverable reserves of coal is 900 TWy. For petroleum, it’s 240 TWy; and for natural gas, it’s 215 TWy. Wind energy’s yearly energy potential is 25–70 TWy.

2. Approximately 66% of installed world solar PV power capacity has been installed in the past 2½ years.
Furthermore, total installed capacity is projected to double in the coming 2½ years.

3. Global solar PV power capacity grew from about 2.2 GW in 2002 to 100 GW in 2012.
From 2007 to 2012, it grew 10 times over, from 10 GW to 100 GW.

4. There are now about 1.36 million jobs in the global solar PV industry.
There are also about 892,000 in the solar heating & cooling industry.

5. Germany accounted for nearly one third of global solar PV capacity at the end of 2012.
Italy (16%) and Germany (32%) combined accounted for nearly half of global solar PV capacity.

6. The price of solar PV panels dropped about 100 times over from 1977 to 2012.
Since 2008, the price of solar PV panels has dropped about 80%.

7. The sunshine hitting Texas in one month contains more energy than all the oil and gas ever pumped out of the state.
Nonetheless, New Jersey has about 10 times more solar PV power capacity installed than the entire state of Texas.


Harvard: Marijuana Doesn’t Cause Schizophrenia

http://psychcentral.com/news/2013/12/10/harvard-marijuana-doesnt-cause-schizophrenia/63148.html

Harvard: Marijuana Doesn’t Cause Schizophrenia
By JOHN M. GROHOL, PSY.D.
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on December 10, 2013

<snip>

The new study is the first family study that, according to the researchers, “examines both non-psychotic cannabis users and non-cannabis user controls as two additional independent samples, enabling the examination of whether the risk for schizophrenia is increased in family members of cannabis users who develop schizophrenia compared with cannabis users who do not and also whether that morbid risk is similar or different from that in family members of schizophrenia patients who never used cannabis.”

<snip>

The researchers recruited 282 subjects from the New York and Boston metropolitan areas who were divided into four groups: controls with no lifetime history of psychotic illness, cannabis, or any other drug use; controls with no lifetime history of psychotic illness, and a history of heavy cannabis use during adolescence, but no other drug use; patients with no lifetime history of cannabis use or any other drug and less than 10 years of being ill; patients with a history of heavy cannabis use and no other drug use during adolescence and prior to the onset of psychosis.

Information about all first-, second-, and third-degree relatives was obtained, as well as information about any other relative who had a known psychiatric illness. This resulted in information on 1,168 first-degree relatives and a total of 4,291 relatives. The study gathered together information regarding cannabis use, and family history regarding schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and drug abuse.

<snip>

“While cannabis may have an effect on the age of onset of schizophrenia it is unlikely to be the cause of illness,” said the researchers, who were led by Ashley C. Proal from Harvard Medical School.

“In general, we found a tendency for depression and bipolar disorder to be increased in the relatives of cannabis users in both the patient and control samples. This might suggest that cannabis users are more prone to affective disorders than their non-using samples or vice versa.” Future research is needed to understand this relationship.

Drug abuse also appears to have an important genetic component.

<snip>


China formally eases one-child policy

Source: BBC

China's top legislature has formally adopted a resolution easing the country's one-child policy, the state news agency Xinhua reports.

The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress passed a resolution allowing couples to have two children if either parent is an only child.

A proposal to abolish re-education through labour camps was also approved.

<snip>

It is expected that reforms will be rolled out gradually and incrementally around the country, with provincial authorities entrusted to make their own decisions on implementation according to the local demographic situation.

<snip>

China is now believed to have a birth rate of just over 1.5 children per woman of child-bearing age - which is, in fact, higher than many of its regional neighbours, including Taiwan, Japan and South Korea.

<snip>

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-25533339
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