More hot links from our friend fatster:
“The United Nations’ environment chief [Achim Steiner] has slammed plans by the world’s richest nations to put off a global treaty on climate change to 2020 . . ..” Steiner was particularly “scathing about the proposal . . . that a global agreement is not necessary, because companies and governments will reduce emissions by themselves . . .” Ah, the old “invisible hand” model, once more trotted out to evade responsibility . They’ll be meeting on this treaty next week in Durban, South Africa.
Good grief! Cancer is taking quite a toll on South American leaders nowadays. Chavez of Venezuela (unspecified cancer), Fujimoro of Peru (currently serving a 25-year sentence for abuses and corruption while president, has tongue and mouth cancer), Rousseff of Brazil (lymphoma), Lugo of Paraguay (lymphoma), and former president Brazilian president Lula (throat cancer).
Diebold, now Premiere, optical-scan machines were used in recent Provo, UT, Municipal Council elections. Results in District 1 showed that one candidate had won by just nine votes. A recount was conducted, using the same equipment, “only to be abruptly called off when the results were found to be ‘extremely in favor of the opposite candidate’.” Why don’t they just do a hand recount? Well, you see, “state code prescribes the recounting of votes should be done in a similar process to the initial vote count.” It’ll be interesting to see how they extricate themselves from the circular process set up for use of the machines.
Although James Murdoch is still ensconced on the UK Times editorial board and in his Chairmanship at News International Ltd., he has resigned from the News Group Newspapers Ltd. and Times Newspaper Holdings Ltd. One analyst has stated that his resignations thus far “may be a step toward his resignation from News International altogether”. We’re waiting. Meanwhile, London Police, who expanded their investigation from phone to computer hacking, have made their first arrest for the latter.
Brazil has stepped-up its actions beyond the initial $26 million fine, threatening now to suspend Chevron’s drilling altogether following the recent oil spill off the Brazilian coast. An official said “there was ‘no comparison’ between this spill and last year’s disaster at BP’s Macondo Well in the Gulf of Mexico . . ..” No one has died in the Brazil situation, while eleven died at Macondo. During the worst days, 200 – 330 barrels a day leaked in Brazilian waters, while Macondo leaked almost 5 million barrels altogether. The US could fine BP from $1100 to $4300/barrel— depending on whether “gross negligence is proven.” Aye, there’s the rub.
Pennsylvania will have an additional “140 megawatts of wind power, enough to power over 38,000 homes” by 2013, an increase of 20% in the state’s wind energy. Seems the one thing holding up further development of alternatives to such nasty things as the Marcellus Shale is Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act. That Act established a cap on a group of alternative energy sub-components–“hydropower, geothermal, biologically derived methane, fuel cells, biomass, and coal mine methane” and wind.
Peoples of the world are rejecting nuclear power, according to results of an international poll of some 23,231 adults. Opposition to building new nuclear plants has increased to 80% and higher in Germany, Mexico, Japan, France and Russia. Support for building nuclear power plants ranges from 37 to 42% in the UK, USA (sigh), China and Pakistan. And this should brighten your spirits: more than 71% of those polled worldwide believe their countries could be free of coal and nuclear energy “within 20 years by becoming highly energy-efficient and focusing on generating energy from the sun and wind”.
Whether they’re among your ancestors or not, it seems a good weekend to celebrate this continent’s First People and their appreciation of the earth and its creatures.