Tag Archives: michael

Cradle to Cradle – William McDonough & Michael Braungart


Cradle to Cradle
Remaking the Way We Make Things
William McDonough & Michael Braungart

Genre: Nature

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: March 1, 2010

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Seller: Macmillan

A manifesto for a radically different philosophy and practice of manufacture and environmentalism “Reduce, reuse, recycle” urge environmentalists; in other words, do more with less in order to minimize damage. But as this provocative, visionary book argues, this approach perpetuates a one-way, “cradle to grave” manufacturing model that dates to the Industrial Revolution and casts off as much as 90 percent of the materials it uses as waste, much of it toxic. Why not challenge the notion that human industry must inevitably damage the natural world? In fact, why not take nature itself as our model? A tree produces thousands of blossoms in order to create another tree, yet we do not consider its abundance wasteful but safe, beautiful, and highly effective; hence, “waste equals food” is the first principle the book sets forth. Products might be designed so that, after their useful life, they provide nourishment for something new-either as “biological nutrients” that safely re-enter the environment or as “technical nutrients” that circulate within closed-loop industrial cycles, without being “downcycled” into low-grade uses (as most “recyclables” now are). Elaborating their principles from experience (re)designing everything from carpeting to corporate campuses, William McDonough and Michael Braungart make an exciting and viable case for change.

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Cradle to Cradle – William McDonough & Michael Braungart

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Who’s in Charge? – Michael S. Gazzaniga


Who’s in Charge?

Free Will and the Science of the Brain

Michael S. Gazzaniga

Genre: Life Sciences

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: November 15, 2011

Publisher: Ecco


“Big questions are Gazzaniga’s stock in trade.” —New York Times “Gazzaniga is one of the most brilliant experimental neuroscientists in the world.” —Tom Wolfe “Gazzaniga stands as a giant among neuroscientists, for both the quality of his research and his ability to communicate it to a general public with infectious enthusiasm.” —Robert Bazell, Chief Science Correspondent, NBC News The author of Human, Michael S. Gazzaniga has been called the “father of cognitive neuroscience.” In his remarkable book, Who’s in Charge?, he makes a powerful and provocative argument that counters the common wisdom that our lives are wholly determined by physical processes we cannot control. His well-reasoned case against the idea that we live in a “determined” world is fascinating and liberating, solidifying his place among the likes of Oliver Sacks, Antonio Damasio, V.S. Ramachandran, and other bestselling science authors exploring the mysteries of the human brain.

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Who’s in Charge? – Michael S. Gazzaniga

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Florida’s toxic algae gets the Daily Show treatment

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Algae, commonly found in health food stores or clustered along the side of pool, might not appear dangerous. But don’t be fooled. South Florida is currently suffering from a massive algae crisis. The nasty sludge turns tourists away, provokes asthma attacks, and kills manatees. It’s such a mess that algae has turned into a campaign issue in the race for the U.S. Senate.

The Daily Show went full-on Miami Vice to get to the bottom of it. Comedians Roy Wood Jr. and Michael Kosta suited up like Crockett and Tubbs, learning along the way that the toxic fumes from algae can cause liver damage and make it hard for beachgoers to breathe.

As the faux-detectives sip sugary cocktails, Miami Herald environmental reporter Jenny Staletovich tells them that the sugar industry’s farming practices are partly to blame for the algae issues.

“Has anyone ever reached out to the sugar industry and just said, ‘Stop doing that’?” asks Wood Jr.

“Stop doing that, sugar,” Kosta adds.

It’s not just the sugar industry, though. There’s also our old pal climate change: Warmer waters tend to breed larger algae blooms. As if Florida didn’t have enough climate worries already.

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Florida’s toxic algae gets the Daily Show treatment

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Floridians who missed voter registration deadline because of Hurricane Michael are out of luck

Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle Wednesday afternoon. The third strongest storm to ever hit the United States, it brought 155 mph winds, heavy rainfall, and towering storm surges. While Floridians in Michael’s path were searching for refuge from the storm’s imminent fury, thousands of would-be voters missed the state’s October 9 voter-registration deadline.

In response, a coalition of civil rights groups including the Advancement Project, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the American Civil Liberties Union has filed an injunction in federal court against the state. Florida officials refused to further extend the registration deadline, despite issuing mass evacuations and closing down offices in preparation for Hurricane Michael. There have also been mounting complaints about “a mess” in the online registration system — with glitches that could have disenfranchised thousands of eligible voters. The lawsuit calls for the voter-registration deadline to be extended by at least one week statewide.

“Our lawsuit is about protecting the right to vote for people impacted by Hurricane Michael in a moment where state officials have been unresponsive and unwilling to do the right things,” Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, told Grist. “It is unreasonable to expect that anyone in Florida will have an opportunity to register and vote when you’re in the storm’s path.”

Considering Florida has a long-standing history of razor-close elections, as well as the high stakes of November’s upcoming election — where climate-related issues like toxic algae blooms and now Hurricane Michael are expected to take center stage — voters who were unable to register could have some political influence on the environmental burdens they and other Floridians face.

According to a new analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists out earlier this month, the same communities that suffer from the burden of socioeconomic distress and environmental segregation — such as exposure to air toxins — also often face restrictive electoral laws. Researchers made the connection by examining Congressional election turnout and compared the effect of both socioeconomic, environment, as well as institutional factors on turnout.

“These cumulative inequalities add up and make it very difficult for those who are most in need of protecting their interests in their community from actually having a voice in the political process,” said Michael Latner, lead author of the analysis and a Union of Concerned Scientists fellow.

Researchers found that the lowest voter turnout happens in vulnerable communities and communities of color. “You get this cumulative effect such that you’ve got environmental injustice inequalities — that is, the burdens of environmental pollution and degradation — more concentrated among people of color and economically burdened communities,” Latner told Grist.

The areas affected by Hurricane Michael are some of Florida’s poorest. Gulf County and Franklin County have some of the highest poverty rates in the state at 23.5 percent and 23.1 percent, respectively. (Florida’s overall poverty rate stands at 14 percent, per the U.S. Census.) Calhoun County, just inland of where the storm made landfall, has a poverty rate of 21 percent. It’s also the county with the lowest median household income in the state — less than $32,000 per year.

“People who are economically depressed, in many ways, have less of a voice,” said Donita Judge, senior attorney and co-director of the Power and Democracy Program at the Advancement Project, one of the groups that brought suit against the state. “When some communities catch a cold, poor communities catch pneumonia. It’s always worse for them to overcome.”

This is not an isolated instance. Back in 2016, civil rights groups also sued the state after its refusal to extend the voter registration deadline during Hurricane Matthew. “Everybody has had a lot of time to register,” said Florida Governor Rick Scott at the time. Scott is currently on the ballot for one of the state’s two seats in the Senate.

But Scott’s response ignores the fact that, historically, there are spikes in voter registration rates right as a deadline approaches. In 2016, after a court ordered an additional one-week extension of the statewide deadline to accommodate those affected by Matthew, more than 100,000 additional Floridians registered.

Of course, Florida is not the only state facing allegations of voter suppression. Texas, which has some of the worst voter registration and voter participation rates, rejected 2,400 online voter registrations before the October 9 deadline. In Georgia, 53,000 voter registrations — of which nearly 70 percent belonged to African-Americans — are in limbo after the state’s Republican candidate for governor, who is also its current secretary of state, began overseeing an “exact match” registration verification process.

On Sunday, Florida’s Secretary of State Ken Detzner authorized election supervisors in select counties to accept paper registration applications whenever their offices reopen. But considering that prolonged recovery efforts follow soon after devastating hurricanes, civil rights groups feel this “limited, confusing, and inconsistent” solution was insufficient.

As human-induced climate change continues unchecked, disasters the likes of Michael are becoming the norm. “From Hurricane Katrina to Hurricane Michael, these past few years make clear that climate change is having an impact on our country,” Clarke of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said. “Election officials should do a better job at having emergency plans in place that safeguard the rights of voters.”

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Floridians who missed voter registration deadline because of Hurricane Michael are out of luck

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Hurricane Michael is a monster storm and an unnatural disaster

Hurricane Michael made landfall early Wednesday afternoon near Mexico Beach, Florida, as a high-end Category 4 hurricane, with sustained winds of 155 mph, just 2 mph below Category 5 strength.

The hurricane will likely devastate Florida’s Panhandle communities. It is, simply, a history-changing storm. According to the National Hurricane Center, “most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.”

As Michael approached land, meteorologists struggled to find words to describe it. On Twitter, the National Weather Service said, in all caps, “THIS IS A WORST CASE SCENARIO.” The hurricane’s winds and waves were so strong, their rumblings were detected on seismometers — equipment designed to measure earthquakes. Michael is expected to produce storm surge — typically the deadliest part of any hurricane — of up to 14 feet, smashing local records.

No storm remotely this strong has ever hit this part of Florida. The previously strongest hurricane to hit the Florida Panhandle had winds of 125 mph, 30 mph weaker than Michael’s. The local National Weather Service office in Tallahassee issued a chilling warning that Michael was “not comparable to anything we have seen before.”

Only the 1935 “Labor Day” hurricane, which hit the Florida Keys, and 1969’s Hurricane Camille, which struck Mississippi, were more intense at landfall in all of U.S. history. Michael is the fourth Category 4 hurricane to hit the U.S. in just 15 months, joining last year’s trio of Harvey, Irma, and Maria — an unprecedented string of catastrophic hurricane disasters.

In the hours before landfall, Michael rapidly intensified, strengthening from a Category 1 to a strong Category 4 in less than 36 hours — consistent with recent research on climate change’s impact on storms. Michael did this after passing over unusually warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, which likely helped to increase the storm’s moisture content and provide fuel for more intense thunderstorms, a deeper central pressure, and stronger winds. Sea levels in the Gulf of Mexico have risen by about a foot over the past 100 years, so there’s a direct link between Michael’s coastal flooding and long-term climate change.

Recovery from Michael is likely to be a painfully slow process. The Panhandle is the most impoverished region of Florida, and this kind of a storm would be difficult to overcome even for wealthy communities. Calhoun County, just inland of where Michael made landfall, is the lowest-income county in the state, with a median household income of less than $32,000 per year. As we saw during last month’s Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas, it’s likely that thousands of people couldn’t even afford to evacuate.

Even if Michael wasn’t making landfall in a particularly vulnerable section of U.S. coastline, it would be an unrecoverable storm for many families. Our inaction on climate change made Michael into an unnatural disaster.

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Hurricane Michael is a monster storm and an unnatural disaster

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Michael could be the worst hurricane to ever hit the Florida Panhandle

With Hurricane Michael bearing down on the Gulf Coast, the state of Florida is just hours away from America’s latest hurricane disaster.

As of Tuesday evening, Michael was a Category 3 hurricane, and was expected to intensify even further before landfall on Wednesday afternoon near Panama City, where mandatory evacuations are underway. On Tuesday, President Trump signed a pre-landfall emergency declaration to help speed the flow of aid to Florida.

With Michael’s impending landfall, America is bracing for its fourth major hurricane in just 15 months. Last year’s trio of Harvey, Irma, and Maria made landfall with sustained winds above 115 mph, the criteria for a “major” hurricane.

In the Panhandle region of Florida, a storm like this is exceedingly rare. There have been only nine major hurricanes to approach the region in all of weather recordkeeping dating back to 1850. If Michael strengthens even a bit more than forecast, it could eclipse them all.

But wind speeds aren’t the only important factor here: 2012’s Sandy, which devastated the New York City region, and last month’s Hurricane Florence, which created all-time record flooding in North Carolina, had winds well below that threshold when they hit land. They still caused massive damage due to their large size.

Michael will be a relatively large hurricane, too, and is hitting a region of the Florida coast that’s particularly vulnerable to storm surge and coastal flooding. A huge swath of the northern Gulf Coast, from near New Orleans to Tampa, is currently under either tropical storm or hurricane warnings. Storm surge could be as high as 13 feet, depending on exactly where Michael makes landfall. Just offshore, waves in the normally docile Gulf of Mexico will be up to 40 feet high. The combination of extremely powerful winds and coastal flooding could prove devastating for the Florida Panhandle’s beach communities, like Fort Walton Beach and Panama City, which are set to take the brunt of Michael’s force.

In the past year since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, tens of thousands of people have moved to central and northern Florida — and Michael is likely to bring repeat trauma for some. During Irma, half of the region lost power as the storm weakened. Michael is now gearing for a direct hit, while strengthening.

Southwest Florida, which is outside the warning area, is already seeing flooding — in one case, threatening a sea wall that has just been reconstructed after last year’s Irma. Michael is so large, it could even cause coastal flooding on the other side of Florida — in combination with the King Tide, an astronomical oddity that makes October 9 the highest high tide of the year, and the influence of long-term sea-level rise linked to climate change.

It’s impossible to think of record-setting hurricanes like Michael as freak aberrations from “normal” weather. Six of the seven most damaging hurricanes in U.S. history have hit in the past 10 years. In an era of rapid climate change, every weather event — including Michael — is a partial product of current and historical greenhouse gas emissions, and should come as a warning of yet worse hurricanes in the coming decades if we continue on a business as usual path.

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Michael could be the worst hurricane to ever hit the Florida Panhandle

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Michael Avenatti’s climate vision is 2020

Welcome to 2018, the parallel universe in which a man best-known for suing the president of the United States on behalf of a porn star is now considering running for president. But hey, President Trump was a reality TV star, so Michael Avenatti’s run doesn’t sound that far-fetched.

And if Avenatti did succeed Trump — which, for the record, would be extremely weird — at least he seems to give a rat’s ass about the environment.

In a document pinned to the bulldog lawyer’s Twitter profile on August 27 and reported on this week by E&E News, Avenatti outlines his stance on 20 issues, including climate change. In fact, climate features first on the list (fine, it’s alphabetical, but it’s still cool that at least one potential Democratic 2020 contender thinks climate change is worth putting front and center).

Committing to the goals outlined in the Paris agreement, addressing our reliance on oil, slashing emissions? Maybe other rumored 2020 presidential contenders will take a page out of Avenatti’s book and say “basta” to the prolonged political silence on climate change.

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Michael Avenatti’s climate vision is 2020

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For 400 months in a row, our planet has been unusually hot

Our overheating planet just reached another staggering — maybe even astronomical — new milestone.

In a report out Thursday, NOAA confirmed that April was the 400th consecutive month of warmer-than-average global temperatures. The last month cooler than the 20th century average was December 1984, back in the days of big hair and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

We’ve come a long way since then. Somehow, though, we’re still debating whether human activity is behind the warmer atmosphere, not to mention what the hell we’re going to do about it.

Either the last 400 months were all an incredible coincidence — we’ll get to that in a second — or something else is going on. I’m thinking it’s the latter.

Sure, there is a tiny chance that Earth just pulled off the most impressively unlikely feat ever. If you assume the odds of a particular month being warmer than average are 50 percent — what you’d expect in a stable climate — then the odds of 400 warm months in a row would be approximately one in 1 x 10^120. The name for such a number is a “novemtrigintillion” — a value bigger than the number of atoms that exist in a trillion universes.

Thanks to science (and common sense) we know the real reason: People burning stuff for energy, something that — lucky us! — we really don’t have to do anymore.

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For 400 months in a row, our planet has been unusually hot

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Tales from Both Sides of the Brain – Michael S. Gazzaniga


Tales from Both Sides of the Brain

A Life in Neuroscience

Michael S. Gazzaniga

Genre: Life Sciences

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: February 3, 2015

Publisher: Ecco

Seller: HarperCollins

Michael S. Gazzaniga, one of the most important neuroscientists of the twentieth century, gives us an exciting behind-the-scenes look at his seminal work on that unlikely couple, the right and left brain. Foreword by Steven Pinker. In the mid-twentieth century, Michael S. Gazzaniga, “the father of cognitive neuroscience,” was part of a team of pioneering neuroscientists who developed the now foundational split-brain brain theory: the notion that the right and left hemispheres of the brain can act independently from one another and have different strengths. In Tales from Both Sides of the Brain, Gazzaniga tells the impassioned story of his life in science and his decades-long journey to understand how the separate spheres of our brains communicate and miscommunicate with their separate agendas. By turns humorous and moving, Tales from Both Sides of the Brain interweaves Gazzaniga’s scientific achievements with his reflections on the challenges and thrills of working as a scientist. In his engaging and accessible style, he paints a vivid portrait not only of his discovery of split-brain theory, but also of his comrades in arms—the many patients, friends, and family who have accompanied him on this wild ride of intellectual discovery.

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Tales from Both Sides of the Brain – Michael S. Gazzaniga

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Darrell Issa Appears to Flee to Building Roof to Avoid Protesters

Mother Jones

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) was seen taking refuge on the roof of his office building in Vista, California, Tuesday, taking photos of angry constituents who had gathered below to protest the congressman’s voting record. The incident comes before a much-anticipated town hall meeting this Saturday at San Juan Hills High School, where the nine-term congressman is expected to face a hostile crowd because of his support for various Trump administration policies, including the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Democrat Mike Levin, an environmental lawyer who recently announced his bid to challenge Issa in 2018, shared an image of the congressman appearing to avoid demonstrators on social media, where it was roundly mocked.

Others saw his retreating to a rooftop as reminiscent of Michael Scott, Steve Carrell’s character in The Office who memorably took to the roof in the episode titled “Safety Training.”

Issa, on the other hand, described his trip to the roof a bit differently. Shortly after the criticism, he took to Twitter to offer this narrative. We recommend zooming in to take a closer look at the signs:

For more on Levin and the fight to defeat Issa, the richest man in Congress, head to our profile here.

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Darrell Issa Appears to Flee to Building Roof to Avoid Protesters

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