Monday, February 15, 2010

Plutonium Leaks into Pacific Ocean

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Monday, February 8, 2010

HUGE Gas Explosion at New Connecticut Plant Kills 5

And we want more of these things in our neighborhoods?

Click on title above to see the latest report about this particular gas explosion, which by the way, is happening all across our Nation as the "Drill Here Drill Now" mmentality takes root.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Story of Stuff

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The Exponential Function

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ancient Tribe Goes Extinct as Last Member Dies

David Knowles Writer / AOL News

(Feb. 5) – Marking the end of a language and an entire people, the last member of the Bo, an ancient tribe that lived in the Andaman Islands, has died.

When Boa Sr, as she was known, died last week, she was believed to be about 85 years old. Her husband had died years beforehand, and Boa, whose name means "land" or "earth" in the Bo language, had no children.

When Boa Sr, the last member of the Bo tribe of the Andaman Islands, died last week, the Bo language died along with her.

"She was the only person who spoke Bo," Anvita Abbi, a professor of linguistics at India's Jawaharlal National University, told The Times of London. "At times, she felt very isolated and lonely as she had no one to talk to in her own language."

The Bo are believed to have first come to the Andaman Islands – located roughly 850 miles off India's east coast in the Bay of Bengal – 65,000 years ago. Bo was one of at least 10 pre-colonial languages spoken on the islands.

According to Survival International, an advocacy group for native peoples throughout the world, the Bo were one of the oldest surviving human cultures on earth.

Of the thousands of Great Andamanese who once inhabited the islands, only 52 people are still alive today. But Boa Sr, who also spoke a local dialect of Hindi as well as the amalgam language called Great Andamanese, was the last of her particular tribe.

"After the death of her parents, Boa was the last Bo speaker for 30 to 40 years," Abbi told the BBC.

The following footage, courtesy of CNN, was recorded over the last few years of Boa's life by Abbi and represents the some of the last recorded utterances and song in Bo.

The Bos' Downfall

In 1858, when the British decided to colonize the Andaman Islands and use them as a penal colony, they estimated that 5,000 Great Andamanese lived there.

"At first, the British didn't notice any difference between the tribes," said Sophie Grig, senior campaigner at Survival International.

But in 1879, a British officer named M.V. Portman was appointed officer in charge of the Andamanese, and after years of attempting to acclimate them to life as British subjects, Portman wrote "A Manual of the Andamanese Languages," which distinguished the differences among tribal languages.

Portman's own obituary, which appeared in The Times on Feb. 22, 1935, reads:

In many parts of the islands the natives were still either ferocious enemies or at best half-tamed; and his work consisted in making contact with them and very gradually bringing them to recognize the value of British rule.
But colonization proved ruinous for the tribes of the Andamans, including the Bo, with large numbers decimated by measles and syphilis brought to the islands by foreigners. Many of those who were left gravitated to alcohol, another import to the islands, as a way of seeking solace.

"When people are dispossessed from their land and their way of life, they often turn to alcohol," Grig said. "It's not surprising, and it was very much true in the case of the Bo."

In 1970 the Indian government began relocating the Bo to a settlement of concrete row houses on Strait Island. Boa Sr was moved in 1978, and Abbi said she often said that she missed her old life in the jungle.

"What's important is that we learn from this lesson and do everything we can to protect the remaining tribes like the Jarawa and the Sentinelese, who are still there and remain threatened," Grig said.

Now kept in a protective quarantine by the Indian government, the Sentinelese received worldwide attention in 2004, when they were filmed running out of the jungle firing arrows at passing helicopters shortly after the Asian tsunami killed thousands on the Andaman and Nicobar island chains.

Abbi argues that preventing the extinction of other Andamanese languages is crucial if we hope to expand our understanding of how language in the region evolved over time.

"It is generally believed that all Andamanese languages might be the last representatives of those languages which go back to pre-Neolithic times," Abbi told the BBC.

But the death of a language also has other implications.

"A language contains the memories and experiences, everything that explains and encapsulates a way of life," Grig said. "It's sad for the entire world."
Filed under: World

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Blackstone Defines "Extremism"

Blackstones police manual defines "extremism"
Netcu Watch | 04.02.2010 14:20 | Animal Liberation | Anti-militarism | Repression

Well.....Blackstones police handbook 2009 and Blackstone's 2009 Counter-Terrorism handbook both Oxford University Press, make interesting reading. It appears that we are all far too extreme for our own good. Read page 131-137 for laughs or groans of frustration.

It begins by stating that protest activity is aimed at, "a broad range of "causes" ", note the quotation marks, those who THEY define as "extreme" do not have valid concerns and consist of the following "key domestic extremist groups";

Anarchism, ALL who call themselves anarchists
Animal rights activists, anyone who believes that non human animals are not ours to abuse (there's a suprise!)
Anti Capitalism, again all who are opposed to capitalism
Anti Globalisation, ditto
Anti War activists, just "anti war" (nasty) not "peace" (nice) activists.
Environmentalists, just the extreme ones mind not the "good" ones like Bill Oddy
Fascists, the whole lot of 'em.

This intimates that certain political activity is unlawful. If ALL anarchists are extremists for example does this not imply that even if only engaging in lawful activity that a person with that viewpoint is a "bit dodgy" and is worthy of police suppression? Very worrying as this crap is dessiminated to people thick enough to swallow it without question and the power to harass and assault those identified as "extremists". The fact that this is 5 pages in a very general police handbook shows how the state is prioritising the criminalisation of dissent.

Onwards... what do these naughty "extremists" do then and how can the horror be stopped?
Shockingly local groups protest outside "primary and sometimes secondary sites"
Sometimes "Regional and national days of action" are held outside the poor helpless multinationals with the air of menace enhanced by the fact that some activists might not be local to the area in which they are protesting (helpfully there is a table telling us all about what "primary" and "secondary" targets are).

Extremists also do "mass" demonstrations, spontaneous demonstrations (it is "extreme" not to plan a demo with the police), home demos, bomb threats, bombs, hoax bombs, office occupations, malicious mail, harassment, intimidation, unsolicited goods, assault, phoning the company, black faxes, emailing and working undercover.

Interestingly protest activity most people would recognise as rather benign and utterly justified for example writing a letter to a company who makes cash out of blowing up children is mixed up with incendairy devices to confuse the issue of what constitutes "extremism", implying that someone who writes the letter will then go on to blow the place up which is a bit unlikely.

Have no fear though the "extremists" are apparently being brought to heel (they wish) by the brave forces of:
"NETCU National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit, acts as a central support service for bussiness and the academic sector targeted by domestic extremists. NETCU assesses risk and provides one-to-one tactical guidance, security advice, and support on dealing with domestic extremist campaigns". (we would like to know if this includes Asian shop keepers terrorised by Nazi filth but we doubt it). NETCU do silly exagerated press releases also.

"NDET National Domestic Extremism Team integrates with other units and organisations to help develop, prioritise and coordinate investigations concerning individuals and extremist groups". (these are the idiots who turn up on raids and try to look all important treating a bit of for example spray painting like they would a murder).

"NPIOU National Public Order Intelligence Unit liases with special branch teams and Counter Terrorism Units within the police service to maintain a strategic overview of domestic extremism related public order issues".

A useful diagram follows this, these police officers are spreading their wings and looking for victims of their oppression, beware, this has gone beyond the animal rights movement and could apply to any activist.

All in all hardly suprising, might be of interest to quite a few on Indymedia and an indication if any were needed that ANY protest activity which is both effective and contrary to the power structure in the UK will be dismissed as extreme. After all did not some pro hunt people threaten to poison the water supply as well as hospitalise those who disagree with them, kill 2 young lads, nail animals to peoples doors, blockade the M25 etc? Maybe the police are scared of them, in this book only anti hunting activity is described as "extreme". We get the impression that facists were just added as an afterthought.

Netcu Watch

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The Hidden Life of Garbage

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Evolution Impacts Environment, Study Finds

Results change scientists' thinking about relationship between evolution and ecology

February 1, 2010

Biologists have long known that ecology, the interaction between organisms and their environment, plays a significant role in forming new species and in modifying living ones.

The traditional view is that ecology shapes evolution. The environment defines a template for the process of evolution: natural selection shapes organisms to fit that template.

Some studies suggest, however, that evolutionary processes reciprocate by influencing ecology.

Now biologists present evidence that ecology and evolution are indeed reciprocally interacting processes, a fundamental shift in scientists' understanding of the relationship between evolution and ecology.

The results appear this week in the online early edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

"By documenting that rapid, adaptive evolution within single species can cause substantial changes in ecosystem structure and function, this study makes a significant contribution to merging ecological and evolutionary theory," said Alan Tessier, program director in the National Science Foundation (NSF)'s Division of Environmental Biology, which funded the research.

NSF supported the research as part of a five-year, multi-investigator grant funded by the Frontiers in Integrative Biological Research (FIBR) initiative.

"Our results represent a first significant step in showing that evolution cannot be ignored when studying ecological interactions," said David Reznick, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California at Riverside (UCR), who led the study.

In earlier work, Reznick demonstrated that guppies, the study organism, can evolve very rapidly. In this new study he and collaborators quantify the ecological consequences of such rapid adaptation.

The scientists compared guppies--small freshwater fish that have been the subject of long-term studies--adapted to two different stream communities in Trinidad.

One stream community had a diverse group of fish species, some of which were predators on guppies. The other stream community included guppies and one or a few non-predatory species.

In the experiments, the researchers collected guppies from the two different communities and quantified their impact on a stream ecosystem by placing them in replicate, artificial streams built alongside a natural stream.

The researchers chose the locations of the artificial streams so they could divert water from a spring that flowed into the nearby natural stream. The diverted spring water first flowed through the artificial research streams, then emptied back into the natural stream.

Next, the biologists seeded the artificial streams with organisms, such as insect larvae, from the natural stream. The artificial streams had similar ecosystems at the start of the experiment.

They found that guppies from the two types of fish communities had substantially different impacts--after only four weeks--on the structure and function of their ecosystems.

"Guppies from the more diverse fish communities ate more insect larvae, while the low-predation guppies--guppies from the simple fish communities--ate more algae," said scientist Ronald Bassar of UCR, the first author of the PNAS paper.

"These differences in diet resulted in the artificial streams with guppies from diverse communities having more algae and fewer invertebrates than streams stocked with guppies from the simple communities."

There also were corresponding differences in how and at what rate nutrients, like nitrogen and phosphorus, were recycled.

The streams with high-predation guppies--guppies from the more diverse fish communities--had less plant production and oxygen consumption, a slower breakdown of leaves that had fallen into the water, and a slower accumulation of the resulting detritus.

The researchers' findings mirrored their observations in guppies across natural streams in Trinidad.

"By doing our experiments in artificial streams we are able to pin down guppies as a likely cause of what we see in natural streams," Bassar said.

"The experiments show that local adaptation causes the evolution of differences in diet, which, in turn, causes differences in ecosystem structure. Our next step is to characterize how this changed ecosystem, in turn, shapes how the guppies adapt to it."

Bassar and Reznick were joined in the study by several biologists, including Michael Marshal and Cathy Pringle from the University of Georgia; Eugenia Zandonà of Drexel University; Douglas Fraser from Siena College; Joseph Travis from Florida State University; Alexander Flecker from Cornell University; and Steven Thomas from the University of Nebraska. The team also included Sonya Auer and Andrés López-Sepulcre of UCR.

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Media Contacts
Cheryl Dybas, NSF (703) 292-7734
Iqbal Pittalwala, UC-Riverside (951) 827-6050

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2010, its budget is about $6.9 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives over 45,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes over 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards over $400 million in professional and service contracts yearly.