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National Eating Disorder Awareness Group Endorses Aerie Underwear

Source: ABC News

American Eagle's underwear line has been awarded the National Eating Disorders Association's first-ever seal of approval for showing real bodies and unretouched photos on its website and in its ads.

NEDA announced on Monday that the intimate apparel line, called Aerie, has been awarded with its Inspire seal of approval. Aerie in 2014 launched its #AerieReal campaign, setting itself apart from other bra and underwear brands by leaving in models' blemishes, tattoos, cellulite and other imperfections. This year, it partnered with NEDA, becoming a key sponsor in its eating disorder awareness walks across the country.

"Unrealistic images in advertising and the media play a role in the rising epidemic of eating disorders and poor self-esteem," NEDA CEO Lynn Grefe said in a statement. "But Aerie's campaigns highlight a range of body types. Their approach is not only socially responsible, but also resonates with the public and is profitable. We hope others will learn by Aerie's outstanding example."

Model Hana Mayeda was one of the first models to be part of Aerie's new campaign, and she said the thought of not being retouched initially gave her butterflies. She said the experience forced her to deal with her own insecurities, and she came out embracing her flaws.


Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/national-eating-disorder-awareness-group-endorses-aerie-underwear/story?id=30018925

Is the Exelon Nuclear Takeover of Pepco in the Public Interest?


Is the Exelon Nuclear Takeover of Pepco in the Public Interest?
March 27, 2015

As just announced by the University of the District of Columbia's (UDC) David A. Clarke School of Law, two panels of experts will examine the question of whether or not the proposed purchase of PEPCO by Exelon Nuclear is in the public interest for District of Columbia ratepayers.

UDC School of Law has a web post on the event, and asks that those planning to attend RSVP in advance.

The event will be held on Wed., April 8, 2015 from 7 to 10 PM in the UDC School of Law's Moot Court Room, 5th Floor, at 4340 Connecticut Ave., NW in Washington, D.C.

The first panel, "still under construction," will include Tim Judson, Executive Director of Nuclear Information and Resource Service, and author of the report "Killing the Competition: The Nuclear Power Agenda to Block Climate Action, Stop Renewable Energy, and Subsidize Old Reactors" (photo, left). Judson has testified against the Exelon-Pepco merger, as to the Maryland Public Service Commission.

The second panel will include: Attorney and Georgetown Law Professor Scott Hempling; D.C. People's Counsel Sandra Mattavous-Frye (UDC Law '83); Maryland People's Counsel Paula Carmody (UDC Law '80); and U. of Delaware Prof. Jeremy Firestone, Esq., Ph.D., and Delaware Intervener.

Feds probe PG&E report on California nuclear plant safety


Feds probe PG&E report on California nuclear plant safety
By David R. Baker
March 25, 2015 Updated: March 25, 2015 9:32pm

Federal investigators have launched a probe into whether the Nuclear Regulatory Commission erred when it let Pacific Gas and Electric Co. change earthquake safety standards at the Diablo Canyon power plant without public hearings, The Chronicle has learned.

The regulatory agency’s own internal watchdog — the Office of the Inspector General — has been delving into the issue, which is the subject of a lawsuit filed in the fall by environmentalists trying to close Diablo Canyon, California’s last nuclear plant.

In addition, the investigators are looking into complaints that the commission and PG&E colluded to dismiss seismic safety concerns raised by one of the commission’s former inspectors at Diablo Canyon, which is near San Luis Obispo on a stretch of coast riddled with fault lines. The inspector, Michael Peck, argued that the plant was no longer operating within its license and should be shut down until PG&E demonstrated that the reactors and other equipment could survive earthquakes on recently discovered faults nearby.

The Chronicle spoke with several people who have been contacted by the investigators. A commission spokesman declined to comment on the investigation, referring calls to the inspector general’s office instead. The Office of the Inspector General did not return calls seeking comment.


If the article is paywalled, try following through these links:

SF Chronicle: PG&E/NRC in Federal Probe for Quake Collusion

Environmental groups spawn federal investigation of collusion of PG&E and NRC coverup of seismic failures at Diablo Canyon

Thursday Must Reads: Feds Probe Quake Safety at Diablo Canyon Nuke Plant; Aid-in-Dying Bill Moves Forward in Legislature

36 Years of Three Mile Island’s Lethal Lies … and Still Counting


36 Years of Three Mile Island’s Lethal Lies … and Still Counting

Harvey Wasserman | March 27, 2015

The lies that killed people at Three Mile Island 36 years ago on March 28, 1979 are still being told at Chernobyl, Fukushima, Diablo Canyon, Davis-Besse … and at TMI itself.

As the first major reactor accident that was made known to the public is sadly commemorated, and as the global nuclear industry collapses, let’s count just 36 tip-of-the iceberg ways the nuclear industry’s radioactive legacy continues to fester:

1. When about half of TMI’s fuel melted on March 28, 1979, the owners, industry and regulators all denied it, and continued to deny it until robotic cameras showed otherwise.

2. Early signs that such an accident could happen had already surfaced at the Davis-Besse reactor in Ohio, which was also manufactured by Babcock & Wilcox. TMI’s owners later sued Davis-Besse’s owners for not warning them about what had happened.

3. When TMI’s radiation poured into the atmosphere the industry had (and still has) no idea how much escaped, but denied it was of any significance even though stack monitors failed and dosimeters in the field indicated high releases (plant owners claimed they were “defective”). Only due to the work of the great Dr. Ernest Sternglass, recently departed, was public attention turned to the potential harm this radiation could do.

4. When animals nearby suffered mass mutations and death, the industry denied it. When the plague was confirmed by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and the Baltimore News-American, the industry denied the damage could be related to radiation.


7. When humans nearby were born with Down’s Syndrome and other mutations, and then adults began dying, the industry denied it, then denied any connection to TMI, but then did pay at least $15 million in out-of-court settlements to affected families on condition they not speak about it in public.


In honor of the many many victims of Three Mile Island, and of the great Dr. Sternglass and so many dedicated experts and activists, we must turn this sad litany into the action needed to shut down ALL the world’s reactors so we don’t have to experience this nightmare yet again.

The lives we save will be our own … and those of our children … and theirs …

Harvey Wasserman reported directly on TMI’s death toll from central Pennsylvania. He co-wrote KILLING OUR OWN: THE DISASTER OF AMERICA’S EXPERIENCE WITH ATOMIC RADIATION.

What to Worry About in an Iran Nuclear Deal


What to Worry About in an Iran Nuclear Deal

A good deal makes the Middle East a safer place. A bad one makes matters worse. Here are some issues to keep in mind if nuclear talks lead to a provisional agreement.



The more extreme positions on both sides are distasteful. The Pollyannas who not only seem to believe that Iran should be allowed to maintain an advanced nuclear infrastructure if it promises to behave nicely, but who also believe that this nuclear accord will somehow serve to convince the Iranians to moderate their approach to their neighbors and, for instance, stop sponsoring terrorism and murdering large numbers of people in Syria (among other places), are dangerous and naïve. On the other side, those who argue that no negotiated settlement will ever be good enough to keep Iran from the nuclear threshold—that only military action would guarantee an end to the Iranian nuclear program—believe that it is wise to start an actual war now in order to prevent a theoretical one later. If you believe that we are living in 1938, and that Israel, and the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia are playing the role of Czechoslovakia, then I suppose this position makes sense. I don’t think we are there, however.


1) What will Saudi Arabia do in response to a deal? If the Saudis—who are already battling the Iranians on several fronts—actually head down the path toward nuclearization, then these negotiations will not have served the underlying purpose President Obama ascribed to them. The president has warned, in interviews with me and others, that a nuclear Iran would trigger a nuclear arms race across the Middle East, the world’s most volatile region. One goal of these talks is to assure the rest of the Middle East that Iran cannot achieve nuclear status. If Saudi Arabia (and Egypt and Turkey and the U.A.E.) does not believe that a deal will achieve this, then it will move on its own to counter the Persian nuclear threat.

2) If the underground enrichment facility at Fordow—which had been hidden from Western view for several years, and which the U.S. and Europe have repeatedly said needs to be closed—is allowed to run centrifuges, even to spin germanium and other elements that cannot be used in the manufacture of nuclear weapons, then doubt could legitimately be sown about the strength of this deal. Already-spinning centrifuges in a maintained, guarded, and fortified bunker can be retrofitted to handle uranium, should the Iranians choose to break their agreement. It would be better to see Fordow filled with cement, or otherwise crippled.

3) The Iranians have never answered most of the questions put to them by the International Atomic Energy Agency about the possible military dimensions—the so-called PMDs—of their nuclear program. These questions must be answered before sanctions are even partially lifted. Otherwise, the West will never get answers.

4) The proposed speed of sanctions relief is, of course, something to watch carefully. The Iranians want immediate sanctions relief, but the West should only agree to a stately pace of sanctions-removal, predicated on 100-percent Iranian compliance on intrusive inspections, among other issues.

5) The largest question in my mind concerns the matter of break-out time—how long it would take for Iran, once it made a decision to violate the terms of a deal and go for full nuclearization, to actually make a deliverable weapon. The goal of the Obama administration is to make sure that it would take Iran at least a year to cross the threshold. The assumption is that a year would give the West time to devise a response—including, if necessary, a military response. This will be among the issues of greatest controversy because this is an easily misunderstood and distorted matter, one that is both devilishly complicated and, in many ways, theoretical. On this issue, as on others, I will be listening to experts I respect. There are several, but three of the people I will be listening to carefully on this issue in particular are Gary Samore, formerly President Obama’s point man on the Iran nuclear file; David Albright, of the Institute for Science and International Security, and Olli Heinonen, a former deputy director general of the IAEA. If these three, and a handful of others, seem nervous about the details of a framework deal, should one be reached, then I'm going to be nervous as well.

The dangerous disregard of nuclear experts for one another


The dangerous disregard of nuclear experts for one another

Hugh Gusterson 03/25/2015

This year’s meeting of the International Studies Association (ISA) in New Orleans began on the first day of Lent. The gaudy street parades and drunken revels of Mardi Gras subsided and, as city workers swept up colored beads from the streets, the academics converged on downtown hotels for four days of serious discussions about global security and development.

Noting that there were no less than fifteen panels on nuclear weapons issues on the ISA program, one speaker declared that we are in the midst of an academic “renaissance in nuclear studies.” But much of the “renaissance” looks more like recycling than rejuvenation, and it has created an intellectual terrain that is oddly partitioned.


The bifurcation at ISA mirrors a larger split in global security discourse. On one hand, as the United States telegraphs its commitment to modernize its nuclear weapons and retain them as instruments of statecraft, it is clear that US national security elites, together with their cousins in Moscow, London, Paris, and Beijing, have an outlook that makes it impossible for them to imagine a world without nuclear weapons. If nuclear weapons are abolished, it seems likely that it will not be through a process led by the United States but—like the negotiation of the treaties banning landmines and cluster munitions—through a process that the United States to some degree opposes.


At the ISA conference the two speech communities operated in parallel worlds, rarely debating each other directly. (One notable exception came in a round table discussion where Patrick Morgan, a nuclear realist from the University of California, Irvine, scoffed at Sauer’s talk of a global convention banning nuclear weapons). But maybe this lack of communication is inevitable since the two communities operate within what Thomas Kuhn would have called incommensurable paradigms. Still, it was disconcerting to come away from the conference with the perception of two small intellectual communities talking past each other on the same topic—the topic being the most serious international security dilemma in the world today. If we are to solve the nuclear problem, we will need the combined insights of both communities.


Back in my hotel in New Orleans, the receptionist told me you have to give something up for Lent. How about we give up ignoring those who disagree with us on nuclear weapons?

Russia, US to Jointly Prepare Mars, Moon Flight Road Map – NASA

Source: Sputnik

Russia and the United States will work together on a roadmap to send humans to Mars and the Moon, according to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.

The Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos and its US counterpart NASA will jointly hammer out a "road map" program on flights to Mars and the Moon, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said on Saturday.

Bolden, who is currently on a tour of Russia's Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, added that he had discussed joint efforts to send missions to the Red Planet with Roscosmos head Igor Komarov, including time frames and funding.

"Our area of cooperation will be Mars. We are discussing how best to use the resources, the finance, we are setting time frames and distributing efforts in order to avoid duplication," Bolden said.


Read more: http://sputniknews.com/world/20150328/1020132249.html

Russia, US Aim to Create New Space Station After 2024 - Roscosmos Chief

Source: Sputnik

Russia and the United States plan to jointly establish a new space station after 2024 with participation of partner countries, Russian space agency Roscosmos head Igor Komarov said Saturday.

"Roscosmos and NASA will fulfil the program of building a future orbital station. We will elaborate the details. It is going to be an open project, not restricted only to current participants, but open for other countries willing to join it," Komarov said.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, who is currently on a working visit to the Baikonur cosmodrome, said that one day the International Space Station would be unable to function properly and should be replaced. Bolden stressed that both NASA and Roscosmos agreed that part of future building activities should be passed over to the private companies.


Read more: http://sputniknews.com/science/20150328/1020127456.html

Energy-related CO2 emissions leveled off and decoupled from economy

This is very important - and very good - news.


Global energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide stalled in 2014

Preliminary IEA data point to emissions decoupling from economic growth for the first time in 40 years

13 March 2015

Preliminary data from the International Energy Agency (IEA) indicate that global emissions of carbon dioxide from the energy sector stalled in 2014, marking the first time in 40 years in which there was a halt or reduction in emissions of the greenhouse gas that was not tied to an economic downturn.


Global emissions of carbon dioxide stood at 32.3 billion tonnes in 2014, unchanged from the preceding year. The IEA data suggest that efforts to mitigate climate change may be having a more pronounced effect on emissions than had previously been thought.

The IEA attributes the halt in emissions growth to changing patterns of energy consumption in China and OECD countries. In China, 2014 saw greater generation of electricity from renewable sources, such as hydropower, solar and wind, and less burning of coal. In OECD economies, recent efforts to promote more sustainable growth – including greater energy efficiency and more renewable energy – are producing the desired effect of decoupling economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions.


In the 40 years in which the IEA has been collecting data on carbon dioxide emissions, there have only been three times in which emissions have stood still or fallen compared to the previous year, and all were associated with global economic weakness: the early 1980's; 1992 and 2009. In 2014, however, the global economy expanded by 3%.


Pope cites Fukushima nuclear crisis as a modern-day Tower of Babel


Pope cites Fukushima nuclear crisis as a modern-day Tower of Babel
March 25, 2015
By YUKIE YAMAO/ Correspondent

ROME--Pope Francis warned against the dangers of arrogance in comparing the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant crisis to the biblical Tower of Babel, in a talk held with Japanese bishops in the Vatican.

"Mankind can become arrogant and create a society convenient to them, driven by an egotistical motive," Francis told members of the Bishops of Japan on March 20, according to Takeo Okada, archbishop of Tokyo. "Acts thought to help mankind are ending up destroying themselves."

The pope also warned that the production and export of arms is the most destructive threat to civilization, stating that "the problem lies in how massive wealth is created through them."

The Japanese bishops issued a message in February to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, in which they expressed concern over groups that deny wartime atrocities and the Abe administration's efforts to alter Article 9 of Japan's pacifist Constitution to allow the nation to exercise the right to collective self-defense.


An apt metaphor.
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