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This tiny but mighty California bureau is taking on polluters

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This tiny but mighty California bureau is taking on polluters

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How subglacial discharge is kind of like blowing all of your money at Chipotle

How subglacial discharge is kind of like blowing all of your money at Chipotle

By on 10 Aug 2015commentsShare

What do glaciers have in common with my bank account?

They’re both slowly melting away — sometimes in big chunks, other times at a slow trickle — and both represent existential crises that end in either the demise of humanity or me moving back in with my parents. Which is why I’d like to ignore both of them — you know, ignorance is bliss, what you don’t know can’t hurt you, etc.

Except bliss doesn’t last, and what you don’t know can hurt you — and hurt you and hurt you. So as a grownup, I do, in fact, check my bank account — through scrunched eyes and gritted teeth, but still! — and I would like to know what’s going on with those glaciers, even if I’m making this face the entire time.

The problem is, there’s no online banking equivalent for monitoring melting glaciers. Even scientists don’t always know what’s going on with those giant hunks of world-altering ice. But according to a new study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, researchers have figured out a new way to use seismic vibrations to monitor the melting of tidewater glaciers — those that end in the ocean, rather than on land. Here’s more from a press release:

Meltwater moving through a glacier into the ocean is critically important because it can increase melting and destabilize the glacier in a number of ways: The water can speed the glacier’s flow downhill toward the sea; it can move rocks, boulders and other sediments toward the terminus of the glacier along its base; and it can churn and stir warm ocean water, bringing it in contact with the glacier.

“It’s like when you drop an ice cube into a pot of warm water. It will eventually melt, but it will melt a lot faster if you stir that water,” said Timothy Bartholomaus, a postdoctoral fellow at [The University of Texas Institute for Geophysics] and the study’s lead author. “Subglacial discharge provides that stirring.”

Bartholomaus and his colleagues realized that they could use seismic equipment to monitor such subglacial discharge when they were trying to study earthquakes — or “icequakes” — caused by glacier calving and kept detecting mysterious background vibrations. Those vibrations, it turned out, came from meltwater running through the ice.

Landlocked glaciers are easier to monitor because scientists can just measure the amount of runoff in glacial rivers. But if we only monitored landlocked glaciers, it would be like me only monitoring my grocery bill and ignoring rent, student loan payments, and health insurance.

“All of the biggest glaciers in Greenland, all of the biggest glaciers in Antarctica, they end in the ocean,” Bartholomaus said. “We need to understand how these glaciers are moving and how they are melting at their front. If we want to answer those questions, we need to know what’s occurring with the meltwater being discharged from the glacier.”

So while I go check my bank account, you grit your teeth and stare at this picture of the Yahtse Glacier in Alaska. All that brown water at the top is meltwater runoff.

Tony OneySource:
Scientists pioneer method to track water flowing through glaciers

, Eurekalert.



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How subglacial discharge is kind of like blowing all of your money at Chipotle

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Neonicotinoids are the new DDT


How to Paint Citadel Miniatures: Lizardmen – Games Workshop

Brightly coloured scales, tarnished golden weapons and yellowed claws are all distinctive visuals of the Lizardmen army. From the markings denoting specific spawnings to the icons of the ancient Slann cities, each Lizardmen force has a unique appearance. This product contains eleven painting guides for a wide variety of Lizardmen Citadel Miniatures, includin […]

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Merle’s Door – Ted Kerasote

Now including a wonderful new photo insert chronicling Merle’s life, this national bestseller explores the relationship between humans and dogs. How would dogs live if they were free? Would they stay with their human friends? Merle and Ted found each other in the Utah desert— Merle was living wild and Ted was looking for a pup to keep him company. As their b […]

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Colter – Rick Bass

COLTER pairs one of America’s most treasured writers with our most treasured “best friend.” Colter, a German shorthair pup, was the runt of the litter, and Rick Bass took him only because nobody else would. Soon, though, Colter surprised his new owner, first with his raging genius, then with his innocent ability to lead Bass to new territory a […]

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Inside of a Dog – Alexandra Horowitz

The bestselling book that asks what dogs know and how they think, now in paperback. The answers will surprise and delight you as Alexandra Horowitz, a cognitive scientist, explains how dogs perceive their daily worlds, each other, and that other quirky animal, the human. Horowitz introduces the reader to dogs’ perceptual and cognitive abilities and then draw […]

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Warhammer: Lizardmen – Games Workshop

Long before the rise of the new races, the Lizardmen ruled supreme. Alien, enigmatic, and without mercy, the Lizardmen will stop at nothing to restore order to a chaotic world. It is what they were made to do. After long ages of fighting to preserve their ancient civilization, the Lizardmen now seek to conquer, fully enacting the unfinished plans of their lo […]

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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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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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Index Astartes: Company Champions – Games Workshop

Honour bound to defend their Company Commander, the Company Champion seeks out powerful foes and answers challenges from enemy warlords. The Champion is always a great warrior, chosen from the most skilled veterans of the Company and is deadly in battle. About this Series: The Adeptus Astartes are genetically engineered warriors, created by the Emperor […]

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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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Paracord Fusion Ties – Volume 1 – J.D. Lenzen

J.D. Lenzen is the creator of the highly acclaimed YouTube channel “Tying It All Together”, and the producer of over 200 instructional videos. He’s been formally recognized by the International Guild of Knot Tyers (IGKT) for his contributions to knotting, and is the originator of fusion knotting-innovative knots created through the merging of […]

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Neonicotinoids are the new DDT

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These conservatives like renewable energy

These conservatives like renewable energy

Plenty of conservatives like clean energy too — especially clean-energy jobs.

We told you recently that right-wing efforts to overturn state-level renewable-energy mandates have been failing across the nation. Here’s one big reason why: Many conservatives actually like the mandates.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Conservatives fighting against alternative-energy mandates—which they see as unwarranted and costly market interference—are losing ground even in some Republican-controlled states, where legislatures are standing behind policies that force electric utilities to buy renewable energy.

Some of the most vocal support for the policies is coming from an unlikely corner: farmers who see profit in rural renewable-energy projects.

Of the 29 states that require the use of wind, solar and other renewable power sources, at least 14 considered proposals this year to significantly water down or repeal the policies. None have become law yet, with many legislative sessions adjourned until next year.

In North Carolina, state Rep. Mike Hager (R) pushed to repeal the state’s renewable requirement, but his effort failed.

Mr. Hager said his colleagues were swayed by the prospect of local jobs in the renewable-energy sector. “It’s hard to be conservative when it affects your district,” he said in an interview.

In some of the debates over renewable mandates, local people who would benefit from increased job prospects and decreased pollution are pitted against the Koch-backed group Americans for Prosperity, which pretty much hates renewables in all cases. That was the situation in Georgia last week, as we reported at the time: Tea Party Patriots pushed through a plan to require the state’s largest utility to increase its use of solar power, despite opposition from AFP.

The Journal reports that AFP was also active in the fight over North Carolina’s renewable mandate:

The repeal’s primary advocates in North Carolina were groups with financial backing from outside the state, such as the conservative political-action group Americans for Prosperity, which also lobbied against such mandates elsewhere. Dallas Woodhouse, the group’s North Carolina director, said he believed Republicans opposed the mandate in principle, but the prospect of jobs is “intoxicating for a lot of legislators” at a time of high unemployment.

Americans for Prosperity has taken funding from the fossil-fuel industry, which competes with renewables.

Imagine that: Even some conservatives prefer job-boosting policies over ideological fealty to dirty energy.

Lisa Hymas is senior editor at Grist. You can follow her on Twitter and Google+.

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Nothing to sneeze at: Climate change is making your allergies worse

Nothing to sneeze at: Climate change is making your allergies worse


Get used to it.

As if the increased threat of catastrophic weather events weren’t enough, climate change also has to mess with us in ways less apocalyptic but arguably more frustrating on a daily basis. Like by making our allergies way worse.

More CO2 in the atmosphere stimulates plant growth and pollen production, and as a result, allergy doctors across the country are reporting increases in patient visits — new ones who have never before experienced symptoms as well as longtime sufferers getting more miserable each year.

Quest Diagnostics, which tests for allergies, reported a 15 percent increase in ragweed allergies from 2005 to 2009, according to USA Today. Scientists are straightforward about the climate connection:

“The link between rising carbon dioxide and pollen is pretty clear,” says Lewis Ziska, a weed ecologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a top researcher in the field.

His lab tests show that pollen production rises along with carbon dioxide. It doubled from 5 grams to 10 grams per plant when CO2 in the atmosphere rose from 280 parts per million (ppm) in 1900 to 370 ppm in 2000. He expects it could double again, to 20 grams, by 2075 if carbon emissions continue to climb. The world’s CO2 concentration is about 400 ppm.

Not only is pollen more prevalent, but longer growing seasons mean allergens stay around for more of the year. And some scientists see pollen counts doubling much sooner than 2075. The Louisville, Ky., Courier-Journal reports:

A federal plant physiologist says tree pollen is emerging roughly two weeks sooner in the spring, and ragweed pollen is lingering two to four weeks longer in the fall.

In fact, pollen counts are expected to more than double by 2040, according to a study presented at a meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology last fall.

“The more pollution, the more global warming, we’re definitely seeing higher pollen counts,” said Dr. David Pallares of Louisville Allergy and Asthma. “Over the last decade, there has been a progressive increase in pollen counts compared with in the past.”

Pollen prevalence has always varied between different regions of the country (fewer people suffer from allergies to ragweed in the Pacific Northwest and Southeast, for example). The lengthening of the allergy season varies by region, too. From 1995 to 2009, USA Today reports, ragweed season increased by only one day in Oklahoma City, compared to 16 days in Minneapolis and 27 days in Saskatoon, Canada.

In addition to climate change, researchers say chemical exposure or clean-freakiness could be to blame for the rise in allergies (kids who aren’t exposed to enough germs, thanks to a parental hygiene obsession, don’t develop the proper immune responses and can overreact to harmless allergens). There’s a lot left to study to figure out what we could expect in coming decades, but this area of research already lacks resources — pollen-counting stations, which only exist in 32 states, receive no federal funding, and instead rely on volunteers trained by the private American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology to keep operating.

Don’t think being lucky enough not to suffer from allergies means you have nothing to worry about: The swelling ranks of people who do will raise healthcare costs for everyone.

Just another fun twist to life in the 21st century! Thanks, climate change.

Claire Thompson is an editorial assistant at Grist.

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There Was Some Surprisingly Good Economic News on Tuesday

Mother Jones

There was lots of economic data released Tuesday. We’ll start with the good news:

The 2008 bailout has largely been repaid: The US government has recovered most of the bailout funds it disbursed to financial institutions and auto companies under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) launched in 2008. The Treasury department has just unveiled a new interactive that tracks those funds so you can see for yourself.

The Treasury has recovered all of the $68 billion it disbursed since 2008 to AIG (the giant insurance corporation that insured a bunch of top-rated mortgage-backed securities that turned out to be junk):

The government has regained almost all of the $245 billion injected into banks since 2008:

And taxpayers have gotten back 62 percent of the $80 billion in bailout funds distributed to GM and Chrysler:

Consumer confidence is up: Despite the fact that Wall Street is freaked out about the Federal Reserve lightening up on its stimulus efforts, consumer confidence—the measure that gives investors a sense of how freely Americans will spend in coming months—rose for the third month in a row, far beyond what was forecasted. Economists have credited much of the increase to rising house prices; new numbers released Tuesday showed that April home prices were up 12 percent over last year.

But not everyone gets to be part of the recovery: Even though unemployment ticked downwards last month, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that “there are signs the job market is splitting into two” as the long-term jobless are being left in the dust:

Close to 25% of the short-term unemployed—those out of work for six months or less—find jobs each month, a figure that has shown steady improvement since the recession, though it remains below its long-term average of 30%.

The nation’s 4.4 million long-term unemployed haven’t seen similar gains. Only about 10% of them find jobs each month, a number that has hardly budged in the past two years. In a recent experiment, economist Rand Ghayad sent out mock résumés for about 600 job openings; those that showed six months or more of unemployment generated far lower response rates from employers, regardless of the other skills or experience.

And a final downer: the current share of the population that is employed is still far below what it was at the before the recession.

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There Was Some Surprisingly Good Economic News on Tuesday

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Julian Assange: WikiLeaks Preparing More Disclosures

Mother Jones

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has spent the last year holed up inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London seeking asylum from Swedish and American authorities, held a press call today to discuss former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and the charges leveled against Bradley Manning, who is currently on trial for allegedly leaking thousands of diplomatic cables and other classified documents to WikiLeaks. On the call, Assange said that his organization is continuing to consider documents for release and gave new details about his contact with Snowden.

“Wikileaks is always in the process of preparing its next publication,” Assange told Mother Jones. “We have pending publications, but as a matter of policy, we can’t discuss them.” The organization’s releases have been sporadic since Assange took refuge in the embassy last June. Its last big document dump was in April of this year, when it disclosed diplomatic cables from the 1970s.

Assange, who is Australian, spoke from inside the embassy, where he is staying until he has assurance that British authorities won’t extradite him. He is wanted by Sweden for questioning in relation to allegations that he sexually assaulted two women, but even if that investigation is dropped, he says that he won’t leave the building because he fears the United States will extradite him in connection with the leak of the cables and other secret documents. He is currently under investigation by the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and his lawyer has said it’s likely the Justice Department has already prepared a sealed indictment against Assange. “My primary concern is dealing with the US case,” Assange said.

The WikiLeaks founder again expressed his support for Snowden, who is facing extradition worries of his own in Hong Kong. He said that WikiLeaks is in touch with Snowden’s legal team to help him potentially gain asylum in Iceland, but did not provide detail on whether he had personal contact with Snowden. When Mother Jones asked Assange whether Wikileaks had any contact with Snowden before he made his first disclosures to the press, Assange said, “We never discuss issues potentially related to sourcing.” (Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian, who broke Snowden’s disclosures, told BuzzFeed that “I’m not aware that WikiLeaks has any substantive involvement at all with Snowden, though I know they’ve previously offered to help.”)

Although Assange acknowledged that he is hindered in doing WikiLeaks work because he cannot personally meet with sources, he said that if US authorities are attempting “place me in a position where I cannot investigate national security, that’s a clear failure. Because there is nothing else to do but work.”

Shortly after the call wrapped up, the WikiLeaks’ Twitter account sent a widely criticized tweet suggesting that the tragic death yesterday of journalist Michael Hastings “has a very serious non-public complication” and noted the group would “have more details later.”

Originally posted here – 

Julian Assange: WikiLeaks Preparing More Disclosures

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