Monday, November 26, 2012

Growing food in the desert: is this the solution to the world's food crisis?

Source: Guardian

...the work that Sundrop Farms, as they call themselves, are doing in South Australia, and just starting up in Qatar, is beyond the experimental stage. They appear to have pulled off the ultimate something-from-nothing agricultural feat – using the sun to desalinate seawater for irrigation and to heat and cool greenhouses as required, and thence cheaply grow high-quality, pesticide-free vegetables year-round in commercial quantities.

So far, the company has grown tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers by the tonne, but the same, proven technology is now almost ready to be extended to magic out, as if from thin air, unlimited quantities of many more crops – and even protein foods such as fish and chicken – but still using no fresh water and close to zero fossil fuels. Salty seawater, it hardly needs explaining, is free in every way and abundant – rather too abundant these days, as our ice caps melt away.

So well has Sundrop's 18-month project worked that investors and supermarket chains have lately been scurrying down to Port Augusta, making it hard to get a room in its few motels, or a table at the curry restaurant in the local pub. Academic agriculturalists, mainstream politicians and green activists are falling over each other to champion Sundrop. And the company's scientists, entrepreneurs and investors are about to start building an £8m, 20-acre greenhouse – 40 times bigger than the current one – which will produce 2.8m kg of tomatoes and 1.2m kg of peppers a year for supermarkets now clamouring for an exclusive contract.

It's an inspiring project, more important, it could be argued, than anything else going on in the world. Agriculture uses 60-80% of the planet's scarce fresh water, so food production that uses none at all is nothing short of miraculous.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Rifle-Toting Terrorists Pose Great Threat to Power Grid

In this article, the chairman of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Jon Wellinghoff made some ridiculous statements that might slightly discredit his claims about the vulnerability of our power grid.

He said, "A coordinated physical attack is a very, very unsettling thing to me." An attacker "could get 200 yards away with a .22 rifle and take the whole thing out."

Mr. Wellinghoff might be interested to know that the maximum effective range of a .22 long rifle is 150 yards.

Wellinghoff also claimed that a utility could install metal sheeting to block the view of the transformers for a "couple hundred bucks" and "if you can't see through the fence, you can't figure out where to shoot anymore."

This guy has obviously never done any target practice at a junk yard or landfill.  Serious damage could be done by firing blindly through metal sheeting because it would only take one round to pierce the transformer casing  causing oil to leak out and rendering the transformer inoperative.

It would take AR400 steel plates 3/8" thick to stop the most common rifle rounds including .308, .30-06 and 7.62x54R. AR400 3/8" costs is at least $800 for a 4x8 sheet. So effective protection with steel would not be as cheap as Wellinghoff claims.

The best and cheapest solution would probably involve moving transformers to an underground basement.

Source: Bloomberg

An attack on the power grid by terrorists -- even ones armed with relatively simple weapons -- is among the greatest threats to the reliability of the nation's power system, the chairman of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said.

"There are ways that a very few number of actors with very rudimentary equipment could take down large portions of our grid" FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff said today at a Bloomberg Government breakfast in Washington. "I don't think we have the level of physical security we need."

Friday, November 23, 2012

Economic IQ test: If the national debt doesn't matter, then taxes aren't needed at all

Source Natural News

If debt doesn't matter, then taxes aren't needed at all

Under the current system of unlimited spending, unlimited money creation and unlimited debt that "doesn't matter" according to the bureaucrats in Washington, there is absolutely no reason why any so-called "revenue" needs to be collected from the working class population whatsoever. "Revenue" only matters if debt matters, and we've been told by everybody in Washington (except Ron Paul) that debt doesn't matter.

Logically, then, we need no income tax at all. The President could simply announce the elimination of all federal taxes and the closure of the IRS, then have the Fed print up the money it needs. No more income taxes... ever! Imagine the savings in paperwork reduction alone...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Maker of Airport Body Scanners Suspected of Falsifying Software Tests

The Department of Homeland Security acted outside of its regulatory authority and with profound disregard for the statutory and constitutional rights of air travelers when it implemented body scanners without first making a public notice and accepting public comment.

The DHS still has not complied with the orders of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit which ruled that DHS had violated the Administrative Procedures Act by implementing body scanners as a primary screening method without first undertaking public notice and comment rulemaking and ordered the agency to "promptly" undertake the proper rulemaking procedures and allow the public to comment on the body scanner program.

Now we are learning that test results for the Rapiscan naked body scanners may have been falsified.

Source: Wired's Threat Level

A company that supplies controversial passenger-screening machines for U.S. airports is under suspicion for possibly manipulating tests on privacy software designed to prevent the machines from producing graphic body images.

The Transportation Security Administration sent a letter Nov. 9 to the parent company of Rapiscan, the maker of backscatter machines, requesting information about the testing of the software to determine if there was malfeasance.

Jindal: End 'dumbed-down conservatism'

Source: POLITICO

“It is no secret we had a number of Republicans damage our brand this year with offensive, bizarre comments —enough of that,” Bobby Jindal said. “It’s not going to be the last time anyone says something stupid within our party, but it can’t be tolerated within our party. We’ve also had enough of this dumbed-down conservatism. We need to stop being simplistic, we need to trust the intelligence of the American people and we need to stop insulting the intelligence of the voters.”

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Did Paula Broadwell reveal secret CIA prison?

Bengazi-gate just gets weirder and weirder.

Source: Klein Online

Did Paula Broadwell, reveal a secret CIA detention center in Benghazi during a public speech she gave last month?

Broadwell, a former counterterror operative, co-authored a bestselling biography of David Petraeus. She discussed the book during a keynote speech on Oct. 26 at a University of Denver alumni symposium. The speech is available in full on YouTube.

During a question and answer session, Broadwell was asked about the September 11 attacks against the U.S. mission in Benghazi.

She stated: “Now I don’t know if a lot of you heard this, but the CIA annex had actually had taken a couple of Libya militia members prisoner. And they think that the attack on the consulate was an effort to try to get these prisoners back. So that’s still being vetted.”

The existence of a U.S. prison or CIA detention center in Benghazi would be a new development in the debate surrounding the attacks there. The information does not appear to be publicly known.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Climate change: taking a toll on coffee?

Source: Los Angeles Times

Writing in the journal PLoS One on Wednesday, research botanist Aaron Davis of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in London and colleagues reported that climate warming could drive wild varieties of Coffea arabica to extinction by 2080.

“Our modeling shows a profoundly negative trend for the future distribution of indigenous Arabica coffee under the influence of accelerated global climate change,” the study authors wrote.

Arabica is the prized plant that produces 70% of the more than $15 billion worth of coffee sold around the world each year. Mostly it is cultivated on farms, which grow varieties descended from a small number of plants that were carried out of Ethiopia in the 1600s and 1700s, Davis told National Geographic this week

Thursday, November 8, 2012

CIA Allegedly Using Drug Money to Overthrow Ecuador President Rafael Correa

Source: Infowars

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is using drug money to fund Rafael Correa’s opposition in the coming 2013 Ecuadorian elections, intelligence sources have revealed to Chilean independent media. The accusations do not stand alone. In October, former UK diplomat Craig Murray said that the CIA had tripled its budget to destabilize the government of Ecuador.

The allegations were made public by President Rafael Correa on November 3rd on national television, just days after his official visit to Chile to meet with President Sebastian Piñera.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

One-quarter of EMTs don't get flu vaccine

Source: UPI

... "It's a concern that so many EMTs who are educated in healthcare do not believe that the public health message regarding influenza vaccine safety and efficacy is reliable," study co-investigator Kate Wright, an associate professor and director of Heartland Centers at Saint Louis University, said in a statement.

In addition, 25 percent of the 265 St. Louis EMTs said they do not believe that influenza is a serious disease that can cause death.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

What the Bible Says About Rape

Source: Alternet

... The Bible is loaded with divinely sanctioned rape babies. The Bible both depicts and scriptsa world in which women have no choice about who they are given to. Daughters can be given in marriage or sold outright, slaves can be sent by their mistresses to bear proxy babies, virgin war captives can be claimed as wives, widows can be forced to submit to humping by their brothers-in-law until they produce sons. Presumably any of these women can be laid at any time, at a man’s discretion, much as is the case in parts of Afghanistan or analogous Iron Age tribal cultures today. In such a world, a significant portion of babies conceived will be the product of non-consensual sex. In other words, rape. ...

A Vote for a Third Party Candidate Is NOT a Wasted Vote

Most voters have a simple process for selecting who to vote for. In most cases, voters choose to vote for the Republican or Democrat that scares them the least. Most voters are either terrified that Obama will win a second term in the White House or that Romney will be inaugurated in January. So essentially voters let fear dictate who they will vote for.

Most voters are also smart enough to realize that it's not in their best interest to vote for the Republican or the Democrat. Democrats and Republicans have brought our nation to the fiscal cliff. Republicans and Democrats have supported many wars that we should never have started. Democrats and Republicans have allowed the Federal Reserve to significantly devalue the dollar over the past century resulting in the virtual robbery of a huge percentage of our savings.

I think you know that you should stop voting for the lessor of two evils. I think you know that you should choose the candidate that best reflects your views. Have you seriously considered the Green Party candidate Jill Stein or the Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson? If you plan to vote for Romney, then there's a good chance that Johnson more closely reflects your views than Romney. If you plan to vote for Obama, then there's a good chance that Stein or even Johnson more closely reflects your views than Obama.

Vote for the Third Party candidate who would serve your best interest! You probably don't because you don't want to "waste your vote". Stop and think about that logic for a second. You have chosen to let you fear drive you to vote against your interest so that you can help ensure that the election is not won by the candidate you hate most. I can totally understand this logic if you live in one of the tightly contested states. But, I can't understand this logic if you live in one of the states that are solidly blue or solidly red in this election.

Electoral College votes that are solidly Obama/Biden: California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington
Electoral College votes that are solidly Romney/Ryan: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming

If you live in one of the states that are solidly Obama or Romney, then your vote for Obama or Romney will statistically have virtually no impact on the election. Your single vote will be recorded in the popular vote for Obama or Romney, but your vote has no other tangible value or affect in this election. If you live in one of these states and you vote for a Third Party candidate, then your vote will send a much clearer message.

Your single vote could help Johnson or Stein win just 5% of the popular vote, which would enable a Third Party candidate to receive federal funding for the next election. Your single vote for Stein or Johnson could help improve a Third Party candidate's ballot access in the next election. Your single vote for Johnson or Stein could also help send a clearer message to the Republicans and Democrats, "I do not approve of what the two-party system has done to my country."

There's a great article on Washington's Blog discussing the views of several popular figures on this topic.

Liberals and Conservatives Agree: Vote Third Party

Preface: Many Americans are waking up to the fact that the Republican and Democratic candidates are incredibly similar.

Many people are starting to realize that Obama and Romney are virtually indistinguishable on war, jobs, freedoms and favoring fatcats instead of the little guy.

Many of us want a third party candidate to win … but are afraid of “wasting our vote”.

Leading conservatives and liberals say that we should vote for a third party candidate.

Read more at Washington's Blog"

Friday, November 2, 2012

NASA- International Space Station 10th Anniversary

Source: NASA

Now the largest spacecraft ever built, the orbital assembly of the space station began with the launch from Kazakhstan of its first bus-sized component, Zarya, on Nov. 20, 1998. The launch began an international construction project of unprecedented complexity and sophistication.

A Message from The Greatest Generation (NSFW)

A Message from The Greatest Generation (NSFW)

Source:MoveOn.org

Credit is due to this Caroline May article at The Daily Caller

Credit is also due to Infowars.com and to Alex Jones for mentioning it on his podcast and radio show

WARNING: Adult Language - Not Safe For Work, Not recommended for children under 13

Bengazi timeline challenges Fox News story

Source: The Washington Post

The Fox News report paints the CIA as a cautious and incompetent organization that hesitated and withdrew when U.S. citizens and assets were under fire. Officialdom depicts the effort as an all-out scramble to deliver as much help as quickly as possible.

As reported in this series yesterday, the mainstream media have largely declined to follow Fox’s reporting, leaving it on something of a limb. A reckoning is coming. Stay tuned to this series.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

NSA Analyst Proves GOP Is Stealing Elections

It's very interesting how little election irregularities have been discussed by the mainstream media in the U.S. and how few candidates have challenged the legitimacy of the vote.

Source: UK Progressive

Retired NSA analyst Michael Duniho has worked for nearly seven years trying to understand voting anomalies in his home state of Arizona and Pima County. This publication has written extensively about apparent vote machine manipulation in a 2006 RTA Bond issue election that is still being fought in the courts. Said Duniho, “It is really easy to cheat using computers to count votes, because you can’t see what is going on in the machine.”

When Duniho applied a mathematical model to actual voting results in the largest voting precincts, he saw that only the large precincts suddenly trended towards Mitt Romney in the Arizona primary – and indeed all Republicans in every election since 2008 – by a factor of 8%-10%. The Republican candidate in every race saw an 8-10%. gain in his totals whilst the Democrat lost 8-10%. This is a swing of up to 20 point, enough to win an election unless a candidate was losing very badly.

How Will the Fed React to Sandy?

Source: CNBC

In the period after the disaster, the return of productivity to its pre-disaster level permits firms to increase output, which lifts households’ income and enables them to increase their investment in physical capital. That process continues for a number of periods as the capital stock is slowly reconstructed. In the longer term, the protracted rebuilding of the capital stock is associated with below-trend output and persistent, above-trend paths for employment, investment, and inflation.