Author Archives: Magdalynamez

Rising sea levels will drown your Western art history course

Rising sea levels will drown your Western art history course

Chris Chabot

At least Macchu Picchu is probably safe from sea level rise.

You know how we sometimes like movies in which famous world landmarks are dramatically destroyed? Climate change is about to bring those scenes to a museum near you, albeit with fewer meteors and more meteoric sea level rise.

According to a new report published Wednesday in Environmental Research Letters, everything you love is going to disappear, assuming you are the kind of person who loves old art and history and stuff. The researchers looked at UNESCO World Heritage sites, which, like humans, tend to cluster near the coasts. They simulated flooding the world with an average of 6.6 meters of sea level rise over a couple of centuries. The result was a very soggy situation: About 140 of 720 sites surveyed would be underwater, or at least in the kiddie pool — and that’s without even accounting for storm surge. As one of the researchers encouragingly clarified, these are the low-ball estimates.

Among the soon-to-be-amphibious landmarks are Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London, the Leaning Tower of Pisa (soon with extra leaning!), some old important-sounding German cities, downtown Bruges, and Naples (unless the volcano gets it first). If your tastes incline to the New World instead, you can focus your anxiety of impending loss on the Statue of Liberty and historic Havana. In any case, Atlantis is about to gain a whole bunch of cultural capital:

Ben Marzeion and Anders Levermann

The purple dots are in trouble even if the thermostat stays where it’s at; everything else up to yellow will drown with just 3 degrees C extra. Click to embiggen.

Though the study takes a slightly longer view than we in the climapocalyse business are used to fretting about — 2000 years — it’s not so long when you’re considering, say, Pompeii — also on the to-be-(re)submerged list. And in any case, the researchers assure us that serious problems will “definitely” arise sooner. From The Guardian:

“It’s relatively safe to say that we will see the first impacts at these sites in the 21st century,” lead author Prof. Ben Marzeion, of the University of Innsbruck in Austria, told the Guardian. “Typically when people talk about climate change it’s about the economic or environmental consequences, how much it’s going to cost. We wanted to take a look at the cultural implications.”

Venice is also on the list, because, duh. With high tides that turn San Marco into a swimming pool twice a day, the city is basically a poster child for the fragility of human accomplishments in the face of time and indifferent nature (shit just got real) as well as for how much rich people will pay to defy the forces of entropy.

While the residents of Kiribati probably wish someone would throw them a gala to save their low-lying island, or at least help them get off it, we’ll concede that artistic heritage is worth some protection. After all, if we’re not worried about staying in touch with past generations, why should we worry about leaving some nice things for the future generations? (Slip-’n-slide at the Doge’s Palace!)

But don’t panic! Luckily for everyone, I have some ideas about what we can do. So pour yourself a glass of Bordeaux to steady your nerves, maybe put on a nice aria — we’ll wait. OK, here goes:

Plan 1: Start spending a lot of money on expensive and questionably effective flood-control measures.

Plan 2: Just get it over with and convert all historical landmarks to water parks.

As far as the first goes, art lovers are on it. I don’t know of anyone working on the second, but changemakers, feel free to get in touch for my blueprints for the Leaning High Dive of Pisa. I guess it’s also worth mentioning the third plan, where we get serious about cutting carbon emissions and successfully restrict warming to a mere 2 degrees C, but even that doesn’t mean you won’t be wearing gaiters on your next stroll through the Accademia.

Amelia Urry is Grist’s intern. Follow her on Twitter.Find this article interesting? Donate now to support our work.Read more: Climate & Energy



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Rising sea levels will drown your Western art history course

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Mystery Lung Fungus: Are You at Risk?

Mother Jones

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Karen Deeming was a healthy 48-year-old living in Los Banos, California, and working on her master’s degree in anthropology and archaeology. Then, in late 2012, a few weeks after returning from a dig in Mariposa, California, Karen began to feel sick. A chest x-ray turned up bilteral pneumonia and masses in her lungs.

What followed was eight months of debilitating illness. And she’s not better yet.

If you suspect that Karen had lung cancer, you’re wrong. She had something else—and she isn’t alone. Cases of her illness are on the rise: In 1998, there were 2,000. In 2011, there were around 23,000.

To find out what Karen’s illness is—and whether you’re at risk—watch the video above.

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Mystery Lung Fungus: Are You at Risk?

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Lawyer Who Beat Chevron in Ecuador Faces Trial of His Own


Munitorum: Quake Cannons – Games Workshop

A Quake Cannon is capable of hurling a macro cannon shell at targets kilometres away before they even know they are within range. Each mighty shell from a Quake Cannon can sunder fortress walls, shatter tank formations and leave craters dozens of metres deep. About this series: Weapons are the tools of war and with them soldiers ply their bloody trade […]

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A Street Cat Named Bob – James Bowen

James is a street musician struggling to make ends meet. Bob is a stray cat looking for somewhere warm to sleep. When James and Bob meet, they forge a never-to-be-forgotten friendship that has been charming readers from Thailand to Turkey. A Street Cat Named Bob is an international sensation, landing on the bestseller list in England for […]

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Dogtripping – David Rosenfelt

David Rosenfelt’s Dogtripping is moving and funny account of a cross-country move from California to Maine, and the beginnings of a dog rescue foundation When mystery writer David Rosenfelt and his family moved from Southern California to Maine, he thought he had prepared for everything. They had mapped the route, brought three […]

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Trident K9 Warriors – Michael Ritland & Gary Brozek

As Seen on “60 Minutes”! As a Navy SEAL during a combat deployment in Iraq, Mike Ritland saw a military working dog in action and instantly knew he’d found his true calling. Ritland started his own company training and supplying dogs for the SEAL teams, U.S. Government, and Department of Defense. He knew that fewer than 1 percent of […]

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Index Astartes: Tactical Dreadnought Armour – Games Workshop

Terminator Armour, also known as Tactical Dreadnought Armour, is the heaviest personal protection known to the Imperium. Commonly issued to Terminators, the armour offers protection against the hard vacuum of space as well as the bolts and blade of the enemy. About this Series: The Adeptus Astartes are genetically engineered warriors, created by […]

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How to Raise the Perfect Dog – Cesar Millan & Melissa Jo Peltier

From the bestselling author and star of National Geographic Channel’s Dog Whisperer , the only resource you’ll need for raising a happy, healthy dog. For the millions of people every year who consider bringing a puppy into their lives–as well as those who have already brought a dog home–Cesar Millan, the preeminent dog behavior expert, says, “Yes, […]

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Warhammer 40,000: The Rules – Games Workshop

There is no time for peace. No respite. No forgiveness. There is only WAR. In the nightmare future of the 41st Millennium, Mankind teeters upon the brink of destruction. The galaxy-spanning Imperium of Man is beset on all sides by ravening aliens and threatened from within by Warp-spawned entities and heretical plots. Only the strength of the immortal […]

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Farsight Enclaves – A Codex: Tau Empire Supplement – Games Workshop

Commander Farsight was once hailed by every Tau caste as a genius warrior-leader without compare. As his career blazed a bloody path across the Damocles Gulf and back again, O’Shovah split away from the Tau Empire, doggedly pursuing the Orks that had killed so many of his Fire caste comrades. It was the first overt sign of a rebellion that was to change the […]

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The Art of Raising a Puppy (Revised Edition) – Monks of New Skete

For more than thirty years the Monks of New Skete have been among America’s most trusted authorities on dog training, canine behavior, and the animal/human bond. In their two now-classic bestsellers, How to be Your Dog’s Best Friend and The Art of Raising a Puppy, the Monks draw on their experience as long-time breeders of German shepherds and as t […]

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I Could Chew on This – Francesco Marciuliano

A New York Times bestseller? Oh, you know the dogs weren’t going to let the cats get away with that! This canine companion to I Could Pee on This , the beloved volume of poems by cats, I Could Chew on This will have dog lovers laughing out loud. Doggie laureates not only chew on quite a lot of things, they also reveal their creativity, their hidden moti […]

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Lawyer Who Beat Chevron in Ecuador Faces Trial of His Own

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Supreme Court’s Gutting of Voting Rights Act Unleashes GOP Feeding Frenzy

Mother Jones

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When the Supreme Court recently gutted Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, it did so under the theory that there was little evidence of continuing racial discrimination in the states that were required to get preclearance before changing their voting laws. Congress had rather pointedly disagreed when it renewed the VRA in 2006, but no matter. The Supreme Court knew better.

So how has that theory worked out? Normally we’d have to wait a while to find out. Even Citizens United, which gutted campaign financing law, took a few years before its full effect was obvious. But in this case, a few weeks has been enough. A couple of days ago, the North Carolina Senate voted to approve a draconian set of changes to its voting laws, and there’s not much question that final passage will come shortly. Check out this astonishing list of changes in the bill:

Require voter ID at polling places.
Reduce the early voting period from 17 days to 10 days.
Prohibit counties from extending poll hours by one hour on Election Day even in extraordinary circumstances, such as in response to long lines. (Those in line at closing time would still be allowed to vote.)
Eliminate pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds, who currently can register to vote before they turn 18.
Outlaw paid voter registration drives.
Eliminate straight-ticket voting.
Eliminate provisional voting if someone shows up at the wrong precinct.
Allow any registered voter of a county to challenge the eligibility of a voter rather than just a voter of the precinct in which the suspect voter is registered.

Why North Carolina’s Voter ID Bill Might be the Nation’s Worst

In the past, all of this would have required preclearance from the Justice Department, and it almost certainly would have been dead on arrival. But with the end of Section 5 there was nothing left to stop them, so the bill turned into a feeding frenzy of provisions designed to suppress voting among blacks, Hispanics, the poor, and the young. “What’s happening in North Carolina,” said Ed Kilgore, “is the product of a gang of ideologues led and funded by gazillionaire Art Pope who stormed the ramparts of a once-progressive state.”

There is, needless to say, virtually no justification for any of this. “Election integrity” is the stated reason, but examples of voter fraud are vanishingly rare and no one in North Carolina has even bothered to pretend otherwise. They just want to reduce voting among any group that happens to support Democrats. If that means reducing the black and Hispanic vote—something that North Carolina’s own Secretary of State has confirmed will happen—well, you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, can you?

So is there any hope of overturning this law? There’s not much in North Carolina itself. But on Thursday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department would file a suit to halt a new voter ID law in Texas. “My colleagues and I are determined to use every tool at our disposal to stand against such discrimination wherever it is found,” he told an audience in Philadelphia, and a suit to stop North Carolina’s law is likely too. So this is where the fight is headed. Section 5 is dead, and despite some early noises from congressional Republicans about passing a new version, there was never any serious chance of that happening. What’s happening in North Carolina, after all, is part of broad push by the Republican Party itself throughout the country. So now it’s up to the Justice Department to go in after the fact and take these laws to court one by one. The Supreme Court seemed to think this was a perfectly adequate subsititute for preclearance. We’ll soon find out if they were serious when once of these challenges eventually wends its way onto their docket.

From – 

Supreme Court’s Gutting of Voting Rights Act Unleashes GOP Feeding Frenzy

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How a Trade Pact Between Europe and America Might Really Be Aimed at China

Mother Jones

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I’ve mentioned before that TTIP—the trade pact between Europe and America that’s currently under negotiation—is likely to have a fairly modest impact on trade itself. That’s because trade between Europe and American is already pretty free. Rather, the most important effect of TTIP is likely to be in the areas of regulatory harmonization and the removal of various non-tariff barriers, including some contentious negotiations over IP law.

Dan Grant agrees, but suggests a way of looking at this that I haven’t seen elsewhere:

So if the TTIP isn’t especially controversial and its member states seem inclined to smooth off its rough edges, why is it significant?


The TTIP isn’t just about lowering trade barriers between America and Europe; it’s also about setting rules. It will harmonize regulations for the entire trade area….America and Europe will set the rules for the global standard of free market enterprise.

….China’s trade record with other countries has been marred by claims of dumping, unsafe products, and consistent complaints over intellectual property rights violations, but the consequences to Beijing have been marginal. The creation of a massive trade bloc has the potential to change this dynamic. A robust TTIP advantages U.S. and EU companies, boosting their competitiveness and expanding their market share. Billions of dollars worth of Chinese products would be less competitive in the U.S. and EU markets. China could see its exports bottled up within its shores.

….Even though the Western press has largely overlooked this dimension of the TTIP, Beijing most assuredly has not. Intermittent claims of a potential trade cold war are bubbling up in Chinese media, and they’re likely to intensify as the TTIP negotiations advance….In light of such points, it’s important to note that the establishment of the TTIP should not be interpreted as an overtly aggressive move against China. Instead, it’s an opportunity for Beijing to formally make common cause with the developed economies of the world.

I don’t have the foreign affairs chops to really evaluate this, but it’s an interesting idea. Click the link to read Grant’s entire argument.

UPDATE: Evan Soltas has more on this subject here.

Original article – 

How a Trade Pact Between Europe and America Might Really Be Aimed at China

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We Don’t Need More Capital. We Need More Labor Income.

Mother Jones

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Advanced economies need lots of capital to operate efficiently. But is more capital always better? Longtime readers know that I have my doubts: there are diminishing returns to everything, and there’s a point at which access to capital is so widespread that making access easier doesn’t do much good. In fact, it might even make things worse. If increased access to capital isn’t matched by an increase in labor income, then there’s a mismatch: lots of capital sloshing around, but not a lot of good opportunities to invest in real-world production of goods and services. The result is a financial bubble.

Today, Brad DeLong reviews the bidding and concludes that this is probably right:

Bruce Bartlett points to Greenwood and Scharfstein, to Cechetti and Kharoubi’s suggestion that financial deepening is only useful in early stages of economic development, to Orhangazi’s evidence on a negative correlation between financial deepening and real investment, and to Lord Adair Turner’s doubts that the flowering of sophisticated finance over the past generation has aided either growth or stability.

Four years ago….it seemed to me then that in a world short of risk-bearing capacity with an outsized equity premium virtually anything that induced people to commit their money to long-term risky investments by creating either the reality or the illusion that finance could, in John Maynard Keynes’s words, “defeat the dark forces of time and ignorance which envelop our future”.

….But the events and economic research of the past years have demonstrated three things. First, modern finance is simply too powerful in its lobbying before legislatures and regulators ….Second, the growth-financial deepening correlations on which I relied do indeed vanish when countries move beyond simple possession of a banking system, EFT, and a bond market….Third, the social returns to the U.S.’s and the North Atlantic’s investment in finance as the industry of the future over the past generation has, largely, crapped out.

We still haven’t come to grips with this. Dodd-Frank was a weak bill, and it’s getting weaker by the day as finance lobbies scramble to gut its implementing regulations. Likewise, Basel III’s capital requirements for banks are—probably—an improvement over Basel II, but they’re still nowhere near adequate. At the same time, the bargaining power of labor, already weakened by deunionization, globalization, and skill biasing, is starting to be weakened even more by the slow but inexorable march of automation.

Until we deal seriously with this stuff, we’re just setting ourselves up for more misery. It’s practically an iron law of finance that when capital piles up because there are too few productive projects to invest in, eventually it gets stupid. The result is a frenzy of some kind or another, and then a bust. Eventually, even Wall Street and the Republican Party will have to face up to this.

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We Don’t Need More Capital. We Need More Labor Income.

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Supreme Court Rules on DOMA and Prop 8: A Great Day to Be Gay

Mother Jones

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More Mother Jones coverage of gay rights and marriage equality

Supreme Court Rules on DOMA and Prop 8: A Great Day to Be Gay

The Best (or Worst) Lines From Scalia’s Angry Dissent on the Supreme Court’s Defense of Marriage Act Ruling

Here Are the 7 Worst Things Antonin Scalia Has Said or Written About Homosexuality

Which Politicians Supported Gay Marriage and When?

What the Gay-Marriage Ruling Means for Immigration Reform

VIDEO: The 5 Most Comically Bad Anti-Gay Ads, Ever

Mac McClelland on Gay Rights in Uganda

Gay by Choice? The Science of Sexual Identity

Gay by Choice? Yeah, What If?

In a pair of decisions on Wednesday, the Supreme Court handed marriage equality supporters major victories, striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act and paving the way for same-sex marriages to resume in California.

The 5-4 decision in the DOMA case deemed the 17-year-old measure that President Bill Clinton signed into law unconstitutional because it denies equal protection rights to same-sex couples who are legally married under state law. The case, Windsor v. United States, involved Edith Windsor, a lesbian whose partner of 40 years died in 2009. Under DOMA, the federal government didn’t recognize their marriage, which meant Windsor was unable to claim tax benefits provided to heterosexual couples and was left with a large estate tax bill. (See Adam Serwer’s explanation of the case.)

“DOMA contrives to deprive some couples married under the laws of their State, but not other couples, of both rights and responsibilities,” Justice Anthony Kennedy declared in the majority opinion.

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Supreme Court Rules on DOMA and Prop 8: A Great Day to Be Gay

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Whiskey Biofuels: A Sustainable Fuel Worth Toasting?

Alan Lambert


Strawberries with Basil Granita (Recipe)

20 minutes ago

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Whiskey Biofuels: A Sustainable Fuel Worth Toasting?

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