The government just shut down. Now what?
1 hour ago
"Mr Nader said that despite the collision, which occurred 1,500 kilometres above the east coast of Madagascar, the satellite seemed to be holding its course.The ironic thing about hitting Soviet space junk is that Ecuador will try again with another nanosatellite on a Soviet rocket (the first one was launched on a Chinese rocket).
Later data indicated that the nanosatellite [named Pegaso], a cube weighing just 1.2 kilograms, struck tiny debris in the particle cloud surrounding the Soviet space junk.
The EXA said that the satellite's antenna had lost its orientation and the craft was spinning wildly over two of its axes, and could not receive transmissions or send commands.
According to the space agency Ecuadoran engineers will not know whether they can get Pegaso to work again until Monday."
“We are in the midst of dramatic assault on the security of the food supply,” said Dr. Robert S. Lawrence, director of the Center for a Livable Future, part of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The group promotes ecological research into the nexus of diet, food production, environment and human health.One of the problems highlighted in the article is that warmer weather allows more plant pathogens to attack crops - a serious problem for coffee, for one thing.
The primary culprit of all this menu mayhem is climate change, which is choking off certain crops already weakened by both genetic tinkering and chemically based farming, some experts contend."
|" Seriously, babe, I could be converted into biodiesel! "|
"Each year we looked at temperature and precipitation variations and the amount of water contained within the snowpack as of April," said USGS scientist Greg Pederson, the lead author of the study. "Snow deficits were consistent throughout the Rockies due to the lack of precipitation during the cool seasons during the 1930s – coinciding with the Dust Bowl era. From 1980 on, warmer spring temperatures melted snowpack throughout the Rockies early, regardless of winter precipitation. The model in turn shows temperature as the major driving factor in snowpack declines over the past thirty years."Got that? Global warming = warmer springs = less snow = less water. Reason for serious concern.
Runoff from Rocky Mountain winter snowpack accounts for 60 to 80 percent of the annual water supply for more than 70 million people living in the western U.S., and is influenced by factors such as the snowpack’s water content, known as snow water equivalent, and the timing of snowmelt."
"The latest data, from the 2012-2013 winter, indicate an average loss of 45.1 percent of hives across all U.S. beekeepers, up 78.2 percent from the previous winter, and a total loss of 31.1 percent of commercial hives, on par with the last six years. (Most keepers now consider a 15 percent loss "acceptable.")"
Farmers who grow crops like almonds, blueberries and apples rely on commercial beekeepers to make sure their crops get pollinated.
But the number of honeybees has now dwindled to the point where there may not be enough to pollinate those crops.
Pettis says that this year, farmers came closer than ever to a true pollination crisis. The only thing that saved part of the almond crop in California was some lovely weather at pollination time.
"We got incredibly good flight weather," Pettis says. "So even those small colonies that can't fly very well in cool weather, they were able to fly because of good weather."
Mr. Dahle said he had planned to bring 13,000 beehives from Montana — 31 tractor-trailers full — to work the California almond groves. But by the start of pollination last month, only 3,000 healthy hives remained.
Almonds are a bellwether. Eighty percent of the nation’s almonds grow here, and 80 percent of those are exported, a multibillion-dollar crop crucial to California agriculture. Pollinating up to 800,000 acres, with at least two hives per acre, takes as many as two-thirds of all commercial hives.This past winter’s die-off sent growers scrambling for enough hives to guarantee a harvest. Chris Moore, a beekeeper in Kountze, Tex., said he had planned to skip the groves after sickness killed 40 percent of his bees and left survivors weakened.“But California was short, and I got a call in the middle of February that they were desperate for just about anything,” he said. So he sent two truckloads of hives that he normally would not have put to work.
"Likewise, we calculated that nuclear power prevented an average of 64 gigatonnes of CO2-equivalent (GtCO2-eq) net GHG emissions globally between 1971-2009 (see Fig. 3). This is about 15 times more emissions than it caused. It is equivalent to the past 35 years of CO2 emissions from coal burning in the U.S. or 17 years in China (ref. 3) — i.e., historical nuclear energy production has prevented the building of hundreds of large coal-fired power plants." (emphasis added - and coal-fired power plants cause direct health problems, regardless of the climate effects)And for those impressed with the rise of fracking and the concomitant rise of U.S. natural gas production, there's this eye-opener:
"Our findings also have important implications for large-scale "fuel switching" to natural gas from coal or from nuclear. Although natural gas burning emits less fatal pollutants and GHGs than coal burning, it is far deadlier than nuclear power, causing about 40 times more deaths per unit electric energy produced (ref. 2)."Wowsers.
"The Hill reported on Monday that some Senate Democrats are considering changes to the filibuster to prevent Republicans from blocking nominations by requiring nominees meet a 60-vote threshold, rather than just a simple majority.From the admirable Greg Sargent:
Reid is reportedly mulling the option and Mikulski said she would back him if he did — even if the mid-session change leaves Democrats open to the criticism that they’re changing the rules in the middle of the game."
"The New York Times yesterday highlighted two of the more recent ways that Republicans have manipulated loopholes in Senate rules to delay confirmation of Secretary of Labor nominee Thomas Perez and Environmental Protection Agency nominee Gina McCarthy. It’s worth stepping back and realizing: what’s happening here is that Republicans are delaying these nominations beyond their eventual insistence that almost all nominees must get 60 votes. In other words, they’re filibustering on top of their own filibusters.
That’s just two examples. There are numerous others; again, with virtually all nominees required to have 60 votes, one can accurately say that Republicans are filibustering every nomination. But perhaps the worst are the “nullification” filibusters, in which Republicans simply refuse to approve any nominee at all for some positions — the National Labor Relations Board, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — because they don’t want those agencies to carry out their statutory obligations.
In doing so, Republicans are not breaking the rules of the Senate. T hey are, however, breaking the Senate itself, and harming the government."
|Now THAT's a sexy Sharapova|
"There is a wide and strong expert consensus on the pressing need to act now to begin debris removal activities," says Heiner Klinkrad, Head of ESA's Space Debris Office.Now, if 20 years ago there was an understanding of the need to address Earth's changing climate, and nothing of major significance, import, or impact has been done since, then clearly the next 20 years probably will result in very little progress on the space debris problem, as the problem gets progressively worse.
"Our understanding of the growing space debris problem can be compared with our understanding of the need to address Earth's changing climate some 20 years ago."
There was wide agreement that the continuing growth in space debris poses an increasing threat to economically and scientifically vital orbital regions.
"Twice before, the Fermi team had been alerted to potential conjunctions, and on both occasions the threats evaporated. It was possible the Cosmos 1805 [defunct Russki Cold War satellite] encounter would vanish as well, and the spacecraft's observations could continue without interruption.
But the update on Friday, March 30, indicated otherwise. The satellites would occupy the same point in space within 30 milliseconds of each other."