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Archive for June 2011

Richard Heinberg: the end of growth, and the natural gas controversy

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Post Carbon Institute                June, 2011

Last weekend, the New York Times published a series of articles that — through leaks from EIA officials and natural gas industry insiders — corroborated the findings of our landmark report, Will Natural Gas Fuel America in the 21st Century?: Don’t believe the hype about plentiful U.S. natural gas supplies.

Of course, the controversy over natural gas is far from over, and PCI continues to provide energy realism and literacy to the debate. This week, PCI Fellow David Hughes published an analysis of two contradictory studies assessing the greenhouse gas emissions of shale gas vs. coal. The conclusion? Shale gas is worse for the climate over a 30-50 year timeframe.

From hot air to deflating (economic) balloons… We were blown away to receive nearly 600 orders in the span of 12 hours for Senior Fellow Richard Heinberg’s newest book, The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality. In the video above, Richard Heinberg, author of “The Party’s Over” and leading peak oil educator, talks about the future of our ‘growth’ society.

How Genetic Engineering May Have Created E. Coli Outbreak

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June 27, 2011    Institute of Science in Society 

Greatly assisted horizontal gene transfer and recombination turned previously harmless bacteria into dangerous pathogens Dr. Mae-Wan Ho

Rapid decoding in the new scientific commons

The E. coli O104:H4 genome was rapidly decoded within days of the initial outbreak in Germany by Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI)’s third generation technologies, and the raw data promptly uploaded to a public database (ftp://ftp.genomics.org.cn/pub/Ecoli_TY-2482) so geneticists all over the world could analyse and annotate the sequences and share their findings quickly in a new scientific commons on the internet.

It was clear that the outbreak E. coli O104:H4 is a new strain with a genome size of about 5.2 Mbp (million basepairs), which unusually, has both the properties of enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC) that cause diarrhoea and enterohaemolytic E. coli (EHEC) that cause haemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS, or bloody urine), along with resistance to the widest range of antibiotics [1].

The outbreak strain is most similar to EAEC 55989, previously isolated in the Central African Republic from an HIV-positive adult, and since emerged as a major cause of diarrhoea in children and adults worldwide [2].  EAEC carry small extra units of genetic material called plasmids; the German outbreak strain has the typical plasmid genes of EAEC bacteria, as well as the Shiga toxin genes of EHEC carried on prophage (genome of bacteria virus) integrated in the bacterial chromosome.

Rampant horizontal gene transfer

Preliminary analyses using an algorithm that searches for protein similarity to define genes based on known proteins in E. coli and other bacteria, detected 6327 genes in all, 6156 coding for proteins and 171 coding for ribosomal and tRNA.

Of the proteins identified, 33 genes are toxins, 3 suspected haemolysins (proteins causing haemolysis), a putative hemolysin expression modulating protein, and a channel protein of hemolysin III family. In addition, 31 predicted genes are related to specific antibiotic resistance: beta-lactamic, aminoglycoside, macrolide, polymyxin, tetracycline, fosfomycin and deoxycholate, novobiocin, chloramphenicol, bicyclomycin, norfloxacin and enoxacin and 6-mercaptopurine [3]. The strain is also rich in adhesion, secretion systems, pathogenicity and virulence related proteins. It seems to have a restriction-modification system, many proteins involved in Fe transport and utilization (siderophores as aerobactin and enterobactin), lysozyme, one inhibitor of pancreatic serine proteases, proteins involved in anaerobic respiration, antimicrobial peptides, proteins involved in quorum sensing and biofilm formation that could confer competitive advantage to the strain. There are genes for tellurium resistance and resistance to other metals including mercury, nickel, copper, zinc and cobalt, and more than 170 phage proteins.

The proteins are from all major classes of E. coli, pathogenic and otherwise, and at least 21 bacteria of other genera. Most of the proteins (2810) are from E. coli O26:H11 (strain 11368/EHEC), while the second largest contribution (1166) are from E.coli O44:H18 (strain 042/EAEC). Only 51 proteins are recognizably from E. coli K12, the laboratory strain originating from the original ‘wild-type’ isolate, a harmless strain. Other bacteria with major contributions include Salmonella typhi (54 proteins), Yersinia pestis (29 proteins), Shigella dysenteriae  (16 proteins) S. flexneri (20 proteins), S. boydii (9 proteins) and Bacillus cereus.

Judging from the fact that only 51 of 6156 proteins in the outbreak strain are identified with E. coli K12, the degree of divergence from the harmless ‘wild-type’ is more than 99 percent, and much of that could be due to horizontal gene transfer.

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“How Much Privacy Should We Give Away In The Name Of Safety?”

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A  Moment of Clarity from Lee Camp.

Matt Stoller: Who Wants Keep the War on Drugs Going AND Put You in Debtor’s Prison?

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June 24, 2011 Naked Capitalism

Matt Stoller is a current fellow at the Roosevelt Institute.  His Twitter feed is @matthewstoller.

More than a third of all states allow debtors “who can’t or won’t pay their debts” to be jailed.  In 2010, according to the Wall Street Journal, judges have issued 5,000 such warrants.  What is behind the increased pressure to incarcerate people with debts?  Is it a desire to force debt payment?  Or is it part of a new structure where incarceration is becoming increasingly the default tool to address any and all social problems?

Consider a different example that has nothing to do with debts.  Earlier this year, a Pennsylvania judge was convicted of racketeering, of taking bribes from parties of interest in his cases.  It was a fairly routine case of bribery, with one significant exception.  The party making the payoffs was a builder and operator of youth prisons, and the judge was rewarding him by sending lots of kids to his prisons.

Welcome to the for-profit prison industry.  It’s an industry that wants people in jail, because jail is their product.  And they have shareholder expectations to meet.

Privatized prisons are marketed to international investors as “social infrastructure”, and they are part of a wave of privatization washing over the globe.  Multi-billion dollar prison companies are upgraded by analysts with antiseptic words like “prospects for global prison growth”, and these companies have built a revolving door and patronage machine characteristic of any government contractor.  Only, in this case, the business they are in is putting people into steel cages (or “filling beds” as they put it), and they don’t care how, why, or whether the people in those beds should be there.  They don’t care if you’re in prison for smoking pot, stealing cars, or being in debt.  They just want people in jail.

Here’s the 2010 10k of the Corrections Corporation of America (PDF), the largest operator of private prisons in the country.  It’s a pretty simple business model – more prisoners, more money.  Or, as the company writes, “Historically, we have been successful in substantially filling our inventory of available beds and the beds that we have constructed.  Filling these available beds would provide substantial growth in revenues, cash flow, and earnings per share.”

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Fantasy enervates America

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Anthony Weiner-converted-to-Islam meme spreads

By Justin Elliott    Salon  June 21, 2011

A prominent right-wing Islam expert believes the Jewish congressman “most likely” converted in secret   » More

 We must have an extreme mental health crisis if large numbers of people can swallow this kind of scam. And I fear such gullibility is not influenced by politics at all. Surely equal numbers on the Left consistently believe doing the same thing repeatedly (like re-electing Obama) will eventually have a different result. Reason has little impact on cherished fantasy. But people locked in fantasy-mode cannot long endure.

see also: Republicans may love war, but Democrats wage it

“The American Dream has run out of gas. The car has stopped. It no longer supplies the world with its images, its dreams, its fantasies. No more. It’s over. It supplies the world with its nightmares now”

–  J. G. Ballard  

 

 

Written by laudyms

June 22, 2011 at 8:14 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Paul Craig Roberts: Conspiracy Theory

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by Paul Craig Roberts    Foreign Policy Journal  June 20, 2011 

 

While we were not watching, conspiracy theory has undergone Orwellian redefinition.

A “conspiracy theory” no longer means an event explained by a conspiracy.  Instead, it now means any explanation, or even a fact, that is out of step with the government’s explanation and that of its media pimps.

For example, online news broadcasts of Russia Today (RT) have been equated with conspiracy theories by the New York Times simply because RT reports news and opinions that the New York Times does not report and the US government does not endorse.

In other words, as truth becomes uncomfortable for government and its Ministry of Propaganda, truth is redefined as conspiracy theory, by which is meant an absurd and laughable explanation that we should ignore.

When piles of carefully researched books, released government documents, and testimony of eye witnesses made it clear that Oswald was not President John F. Kennedy’s assassin, the voluminous research, government documents, and verified testimony was dismissed as “conspiracy theory.”

In other words, the truth of the event was unacceptable to the authorities and to the Ministry of Propaganda that represents the interests of authorities.

The purest example of how Americans are shielded from truth is the media’s (including many Internet sites’) response to the large number of professionals who find the official explanation of September 11, 2001, inconsistent with everything they, as experts, know about physics, chemistry, structural engineering, architecture, fires, structural damage, the piloting of airplanes, the security procedures of the United States, NORAD’s capabilities, air traffic control, airport security, and other matters.  These experts, numbering in the thousands, have been shouted down by know-nothings in the media who brand the experts as “conspiracy theorists.”

This despite the fact that the official explanation endorsed by the official media is the most extravagant conspiracy theory in human history.

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US Orders News Blackout Over Crippled Nebraska Nuclear Plant- report

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Flooded Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant

 

Update I:

I got suckered by this article

tho there’s no doubt the MSM sat on the story until it was picked up by alternative news sites.

Update II:   The MSM is finally covering this story (tepidly):

Friday, June 24, 2011
NEW YORK TIMES
A Nuclear Plant’s Flood Defenses Trigger a Yearlong Regulatory Confrontation
By PETER BEHR of ClimateWire
[. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .]   “This is the first test of the revised flood preparations for Fort Calhoun,” OPPD spokesman Michael Jones said.

***

When important stories are neglected by the MSM, it’s a perfect opportunity for spinners and perception management trolls to jump in. See more about sophisticated troll activity at

Intelligence Briefs or Disinformation? How to tell the difference  Posted by Phil Brennan on Jan 14, 2011 |

If you still want to check out the ‘blackout’ article first here’s my

Editor’s NOTE: This article repeats a claim about West coast infant mortality that has been seriously disputed. Longer periods of time need to be compared to provide statistical reliability. Even without radiation exposure, the US has 6.7 deaths per 1,000 live births: the highest infant mortality rate among the high-income nations in 2006. Iceland, with 1.4 deaths/ 1,000 live births, had the lowest.

You can decide for yourself how much input here the coal industry had as well….There are  many hallmarks of rightwing spin propaganda too. I’m not endorsing this article, just collecting breadcrumbs. I’d love to talk to someone from Omaha!

-cwr

US Orders News Blackout Over Crippled Nebraska Nuclear Plant

Posted by Jay White on Jun 17 2011,       Weather Tech

A shocking report prepared by Russia’s Federal Atomic Energy Agency (FAAE) on information provided to them by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) states that the Obama regime has ordered a “total and complete” news blackout relating to any information regarding the near catastrophic meltdown of the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant [photo top left] located in Nebraska.

According to this report, the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant suffered a “catastrophic loss of cooling” to one of its idle spent fuel rod pools on 7 June after this plant was deluged with water caused by the historic flooding of the Missouri River which resulted in a fire causing the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) to issue a no-fly ban over the area……….the rest here