The Dragon Has Landed – You go space billionaires

So this is happening as we speak, they are repositioning the solar panels for docking in 16 minutes. So they are a kiss away from either clicking or blowing up . Which ever is going to happen.

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html

They look like they are about 10 feet apart. That is amazing.

http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/dragon-capsule-on-course-1446050.html

Dragon capsule on course for space station arrival

By MARCIA DUNN

The Associated Press

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The privately bankrolled Dragon capsule approached the International Space Station for a historic docking Friday after sailing through a practice rendezvous the day before.

The unmanned SpaceX Dragon was on track most of the morning to deliver a half-ton of supplies and become the first commercial vessel to visit the space station. But as the capsule drew within 100 feet, flight controllers commanded it to retreat.

The capsule backed off to 230 feet as the SpaceX company worked to resolve a problem with the on-board tracking sensors. Stray reflections from the Japanese part of the space station were interfering with the Dragon’s laser-based sensors, officials said. SpaceX mission controllers quickly fixed the trouble and resumed the docking operation.

On Thursday, the capsule came within 1½ miles of the space station in a practice fly-by. It returned to the neighborhood early Friday so Kuipers and U.S. astronaut Donald Pettit could capture it with a robot arm. First, the capsule went through a series of stop-and-go demonstrations to prove it was under good operating control.

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Go there and look or read. More tomorrow.

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War Over Oil – Heh it even sounds sexy

Right now we are involved in the largest war games ever held in the middle east in Jordan with 20 or so other nations participating. Isn’t that grand? And to top it off the President of Israel thinks the plan is worked out. This is so wrong in so many ways I lost count at 100. What a pitiful waste for so much promise in Obama.

http://www.infowars.com/u-s-ambassador-to-israel-plan-to-attack-iran-ready/

U.S. Ambassador to Israel: Plan to Attack Iran “Ready”

Kurt Nimmo
Infowars.com
May 16, 2012

The U.S. ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shaprio, told a closed conference in Tel Aviv that the United States has completed preparations for a military strike on Iran. His comments were recorded by a reporter and aired on Israel’s Channel 2 TV on Wednesday night.

It would be preferable to resolve this diplomatically, and through the use of pressure, than to use military force,” Shapiro said. “But that does not mean that option isn’t available. Not just available, it’s ready. The necessary planning has been done to ensure that it’s ready.”

Shaprio’s comments were not intended for public consumption, the Times of Israel reports.

The finalized attack plan arrives as Israel and the United States prepare for joint military exercises in the United States. “The exercises, to be held in the coming months, will strengthen the relationship between the IAF and the US Air Force as they practice carrying out joint operations,” the Jerusalem-based online newspaper reported. “Israeli and US air defense forces are also to take part in a major joint drill later this summer in Israel to simulate a massive attack. Thousands of US soldiers are expected to arrive in Israel for the drills.”

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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So That Is Why They Call It Downunder – Australia loves to deface nature

I had never heard of coal seam gas before so this is a real education for me. Thanks to The Wilderness Society for that.

http://www.wilderness.org.au/regions/new-south-wales/pillaga-coal-seam-gas-project-an-environmental-disaster

Pilliga coal seam gas project an environmental disaster

The Pilliga Scrub is one of Australia’s bush icons. At over 500,000 hectares – two thirds the size of Belgium – it is the largest temperate woodland in eastern Australia.

It is one of 15 national biodiversity hotspots identified by the Federal Government, and is home to threatened species such as the Regent Honeyeater and the endemic Pilliga Mouse.

Now mining company Eastern Star Gas wants to turn the Pilliga into a massive industrial development zone.

Eastern Star has plans for a huge 1100 well coal seam gas development in the Pilliga. The destruction of the Pilliga is the first big step to seeing our natural forests and rural land covered with gas wells.

This gas field will fragment 85,000 hectares of forest, including a protected area, and this is just the beginning.

The Pilliga project also involves gas pipelines sited along environmentally-sensitive travelling stock routes and across prime agricultural land, against the wishes of local farmers. The associated export terminal at Newcastle will threaten the Kooragang RAMSAR wetland.

Allowing coal seam gas developments in the Pilliga threatens the Great Artesian Basin with the existing dozen-well project already discharging waste water into the Murray-Darling Basin.

Communities across Australia are worried about coal seam gas projects polluting their local water supplies with toxins and salt. If the Pilliga project is built, there’s no telling what the impacts on water in north west NSW will be. The Pilliga coal seam gas project is an environmental disaster waiting to happen.

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Sign up to our cyberactivist list and receive regular updates on the Coal Seam Gas and other Wilderness Society campaigns.

For more information, please contact:

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Hunter Heritage Centre,
90 Hunter Street,
Newcastle, NSW, 2300
Phone: 02 4929 4395

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Aral Sea Shrinks To A River – More damage from the Soviet Union

You can read either article below. The facts stay pretty much the same but  each has one of my favorite pictures of the horrible damage. The overhead shot is the most compelling:

http://www.global-adventures.us/2010/04/05/aral-sea-shocking-disaster/

Then there is the “boats and camels” shot:

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/07/16/the_world_s_worst_ongoing_disasters?page=0,3

The World’s Ongoing Ecological Disasters

While it’s probably still too soon to celebrate, BP appears to finally be getting the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico under control. But many of the world’s greatest environmental catastrophes continue, with no end in sight.

BY JOSHUA E. KEATING | JULY 16, 2010

UZBEKISTAN/KAZAKHSTAN

Disaster: The shrinking of the Aral Sea

Going since: The 1960s

Damage done: Straddling the border of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, the Aral Sea was once the world’s fourth-largest inland water body and home to at least 20 species of fish and a thriving coastal economy in the surrounding towns. In the early 1960s, the Soviet government built more than 45 dams and 20,000 miles of canals in an effort to create a cotton industry on the desert plains of Uzbekistan, depriving the sea of its main sources.

Over the next three decades, the sea shrank to two-fifths its original size, turning fishing villages into barren desert outposts. Thanks to the high salt content in the remaining water, all 20 fish species are now extinct. Drinking water supplies in the area are dangerously low and the ground contains dangerous pesticides from the cotton farms. When the wind sweeps across the now-dry sea bed, it spreads up to 75 million tons of toxic dust and salt across Central Asia every year.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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Japan _ For such a small island, Big environmental mess

I still have strong doubts about the claims that the northwest section of the US got slimed by radiation from Fukushima. But the plant is a big environmental mess that could last 30 years. Then there is the millions of tons off debris that has smashed around the edge of the pacific garbage gyre and is barreling towards  Alaska and Washington state. That could do real damage. Some of it has already washed ashore. Once it is done there it will move on to hit Hawaii and ultimately end up in the gyre it avoided the first time. It wasn’t their fault but they still messed up the pacific ocean. A little future planning might not hurt.

http://www.medicaldaily.com/news/20111219/8322/fukushima-radiation-epa-death-united-states-nuclear-meltdown-japan-tsunami-earthquake.htm

Study Connects U.S. Deaths to Fukushima, Contradicts EPA Reports

By Adam Daley

A new study set for publication tomorrow in the International Journal of Health Services found there may be a connection between an estimated excess of 14,000 deaths in the U.S. and the radioactive fallout from explosions at Fukushima nuclear reactors in Japan, an argument in direct conflict with reports from the Environmental Protection Agency.

In the 14 weeks after Fukushima fallout arrived in the U.S., deaths reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rose 4.46 percent from the same period in 2010, or roughly 14,000 deaths. The rise in reported deaths after Fukushima was largest among U.S. infants under age one.  The 2010-2011 increase for infant deaths in the spring was 1.8 percent, compared to a decrease of 8.37 percent in the preceding 14 weeks.

“This study of Fukushima health hazards is the first to be published in a scientific journal. It raises concerns, and strongly suggests that health studies continue, to understand the true impact of Fukushima in Japan and around the world,” said co-author Joseph Mangano, MPH, MBA, and Executive Director of Radiation and Public Health Project. “Findings are important to the current debate of whether to build new reactors, and how long to keep aging ones in operation.”

Six days after the meltdowns in Japan, scientists detected a plume of toxic fallout in the U.S. According to the EPA, all of the radiation levels detected were “very low, well below any level of public health concern.”

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The Climate And Mankind Go Down The Drain – If Copenhagen was a bust Durban was a big boooooom

The world is just now getting over the disinformation campaign led by the rich, the coal companies and the oil companies that argued that global climate change wasn’t happening. The world had a perfect opportunity to clean it all up. China’s chunk of the atmosphere is a pig stye and they have to clean it up. They have people dying. Everyone has gone toxic over the last decade like it doesn’t matter. One of the reasons the world’s economy has stalled out is that it was in the process of moving to more sustainable models but the super rich and the elites dug in their heels and are holding it back. No new jobs. Why cause we don’t wanna. Sounding like three year olds threatening to take their toys and go home. But where is home anyway. They never got around to setting up a paradise on Mars. This article takes a much more tactful approach than mine but:

http://io9.com/5868551/did-the-durban-climate-change-talks-actually-accomplish-anything

Did the Durban climate change talks actually accomplish anything?

The UN’s latest Climate Change Conference recently concluded after two weeks of intense negotiations in Durban, South Africa. There’s going to be a new agreement to address climate change, but does that really mean anything? Let’s break down what happened.

Top image: Chukchi Sea Polar Bears by AP/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

There’s no point in denying it — the Durban talks, otherwise known as COP17, didn’t directly accomplish much at all, if anything. In fact, you could argue the talks represented a net loss for the world’s commitment to fighting climate change, as Canada announced it was withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol, the current UN agreement aimed at cutting climate change, placing it in the unusual position of being lectured by China about its environmental policy.

And if you were hoping for an agreement that would lay down concrete steps to cut carbon emissions or lower global temperatures, then these talks were a dismal failure. Instead, they simply got all the countries there to agree to be part of a future, legally binding agreement that will be defined by 2015 and go into effect in 2020. That might just sound like passing the buck — and yeah, it kind of is — but this does represent some small progress from the Kyoto Protocol.

For one thing, this new agreement has the United States on board, which infamously refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Second, this future treaty will be legally binding for all countries, not just those classified as developed. While major developing powers like China and India ratified the Kyoto Protocol, they were under no real requirement to comply with it.

That should change with this new agreement, although a major contention of the final marathon 60-hour negotiating session was India’s objection that their compliance not be “legally binding.” They eventually settled on an agreement that would have “legal force.” What’s the difference? Your guess is as good as mine, though hopefully that will become clearer by 2015. It was also agreed to set up a fund to help developing countries pay for climate compliance, though there are no actual specifics on where the money would come from or how it would be managed.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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A Positive Review Of The Durbin Climate Conference – I guess I will rant tomorrow

I like Eugene Robinson a lot. I think he is wrong here because of the time frame. I do not believe we have 9 years to address these things because the sun is heating up. By next year we should be seeing a marked increase in sun spots and the weather is going to go from creepy to scary. But it is a well thought out position nonetheless.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/reason-to-smile-about-the-durban-climate-conference/2011/12/12/gIQA80nZqO_story.html

Eugene Robinson
Eugene Robinson
Opinion Writer

Reason to smile about the Durban climate conference

By , Published: December 12

I’m inclined to believe that the apparent result of the climate change summit in Durban, South Africa, might turn out to be a very big deal. Someday. Maybe.

After the meeting ended Sunday, initial reaction ranged from “Historic Breakthrough: The Planet Is Saved” to “Tragic Failure: The Planet Is Doomed.”

My conclusion is that for now, at least, the conceptual advance made in Durban is as good as it gets.

This advance is, potentially, huge: For the first time, officials of the nations that are the biggest carbon emitters — China, the United States and India — have agreed to negotiate legally binding restrictions.

Under the old Kyoto Protocol framework, which for now remains largely in effect, rapidly industrializing nations refused to be constricted by limits that would stunt their development. The United States declined to sign on to the Kyoto agreement as long as China, India, Brazil and other rising economic giants got a pass.

This meant that while European nations worked to meet emissions targets — or, in some cases, pretended to do so — the most important sources of carbon were unconstrained. When Kyoto was adopted, China was well behind the United States as an emitter; now it’s far ahead. India recently passed Russia to move into third place.

The Durban talks seemed likely to go nowhere until the Chinese delegate, Xie Zhenhua, announced that Beijing was willing to consider a legally binding framework. With China now responsible for fully 23 percent of the world’s carbon emissions, this was an enormous step forward.

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Durban Climate Summit A Success – They get a new climate observatory

See this is what happens when you do open ended searches. I am sure that you thought I would be ranting here about what a dismal conference it was. Or maybe how everything that they agreed to was a drop in the atmospheric bucket considering how much and how many different types of toxins we spew. And I may do that tomorrow, but today South Africa is smiling because nobody was killed and they got a new observatory out of the deal. From Monaco no less.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201112131459.html

SouthAfrica.info (Johannesburg)

South Africa: Climate Change Observatory for the Country

13 December 2011

A unique climate change observatory, the first of its kind in the world, focusing on bringing scientific information from around the globe to the public, is to be built in Cape Town by the International Polar Foundation.

The announcement, first reported by the SABC on Friday, was made last week at a function attended by Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco, who were in Durban for the UN climate change summit (COP 17).

Prince Albert is a patron of the Belgium-based International Polar Foundation (IPF), a non-profit organisation established in 2002 with the aim of “providing a novel interface between science and society”. The IPF’s last major project, completed in 2009, was the construction of a new research station – the world’s first zero-emission research station – in Antarctica.

Interface between science and society

Its next major project is the Polaris Climate Change Observatory, which will be built in the heart of Cape Town’s famous V&A Waterfront, on a jetty that will be specially developed, the IPF says on its website, “to offer visitors of all ages a striking experience as a path to sustainability.

“Featuring permanent and temporary exhibitions, outreach and education activities, spectacular ways of presenting climate facts and figures, highlighting new science and innovations, the Polaris Climate Change Observatory will confirm Cape Town and South Africa as world landmarks for climate action.”

According to the IPF, Cape Town is the perfect location for this “new breed of science centre”, and not only because of the city’s geographical location as a gateway to the Southern Pole.

Scheduled to open in 2014, the first Polaris Climate Change Observatory will bring together “the ingenuity of one of Africa’s premier cities with a revolutionary concept which will change the way visitors understand the world, the changing climate and ways in which humanity can take responsibility and make decisions for the future”.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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Global Warming Is Huge – And so are the storms it spawns

This years weather was truly weird. Hot cold hot cold hot cold. Next year will be even more uneven. I wonder when the farmers are going to wake up to the fact that their livelihoods are on the line. Nitrogen fertilizer is one of the chief causes. Yet next spring they will be spraying it with gay abandon.

http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/climate-weather/blogs/un-wilder-weather-on-the-way#

Russell McLendon

U.N.: Wilder weather on the way

The threat of heat waves and heavy precipitation are becoming especially severe, warns the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Russell McLendon

U.N.: Wilder weather on the way

The threat of heat waves and heavy precipitation are becoming especially severe, warns the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Fri, Nov 18 2011 at 12:36 PM EST
People around the planet should prepare for “unprecedented extreme weather,” according to a report released Friday by top international scientists and disaster experts. Earth’s recent wild weather is likely just a sneak peek, the report warns, as rising global temperatures cook the oceans and atmosphere into a frenzy.

“We need to be worried,” one of the study’s lead authors tells the Associated Press. “And our response needs to anticipate disasters and reduce risk before they happen rather than wait until after they happen and clean up afterward. … Risk has already increased dramatically.”

This dire outlook comes via the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a Nobel Prize-winning research group that issues periodic reports on global warming. The IPCC’s next big report is due in 2014, but a panel meeting in Uganda this week decided the threat of extreme weather warrants a warning now. If greenhouse gas emissions keep rising, the IPCC says temperatures — and weather — could quickly spiral out of control.
“For the high-emissions scenario, it is likely that the frequency of hot days will increase by a factor of 10 in most regions of the world,” says the IPCC’s Thomas Stocker. “Likewise, heavy precipitation will occur more often, and the wind speed of tropical cyclones will increase while their number will likely remain constant or decrease.”
Scientists avoid blaming specific storms on climate trends, but the broader link between weather and warming has been discussed for years — especially after the horrific 2005 hurricane season. It has become an increasingly common topic of debate over the last two years, as blizzards battered North America and Europe, wildfire and droughts ravaged Russia and Somalia, floods inundated Pakistan and Thailand, and tornadoes leveled U.S. cities from Missouri to Massachusetts.

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Go there and see the neat graphs and the rest of the story. More tomorrow.

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Morocco’s Bid To Become The New Saudi Arabia – Transmission losses will be killer

While solar projects in general are a good idea, location is everything.  Morocco is close to Europe. Well it is close to Spain and Southern France but the line losses with current technology will be huge. I suppose it would help to electrify Northwest Africa, but I doubt if that is the market.

http://www.evwind.es/noticias.php?id_not=14771

World Bank backs Morocco concentrating solar power megaproject

november 18, 2011

Ouarzazate is only the first part of Morocco’s ambitious plan of developing 2000 megawatts in solar energy capacity by 2020. The first stage is a concentrated solar thermal power design, using parabolic trough mirrors.

World Bank backs Morocco concentrating solar power megaproject

The World Bank today approved $297 million in loans to Morocco to help finance the Ouarzazate Concentrated Solar Power Plant Project, taking a historic step toward realizing one of the first large-scale plants of this kind in North Africa to exploit the region’s vast solar energy resources.

With this approval from the Bank’s Board of Executive Directors, Morocco takes the lead with the first project in the low-carbon development plan under the ambitious Middle East and North Africa Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) Scale-up Program. A $200 million loan will be provided by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the part of the Bank that lends to developing country governments, and another $97 million loan will come from the Clean Technology Fund.

“The World Bank is proud to provide the financing needed to make this large-scale renewable energy investment possible,” said World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick. “Ouarzazate demonstrates Morocco’s commitment to low-carbon growth and could demonstrate the enormous potential of solar power in the Middle East and North Africa. During a time of transformation in North Africa, this solar project could advance the potential of the technology, create many new jobs across the region, assist the European Union to meet its low-carbon energy targets, and deepen economic and energy integration in the Mediterranean. That’s a multiple winner.”

The 500 megawatt (MW) Ouarzazate solar complex, as the first power site, will be among the largest CSP plants in the world and is an important step in Morocco’s national plan to deploy 2000 MW of solar power generation capacity by 2020.

The World Bank has supported Morocco’s national Solar Power Plan since it was launched in 2009 and is now making this significant loan to co-finance the development and construction of the Ouarzazate Project Phase 1 parabolic trough plant through a Public Private Partnership between the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN) and a private partner. Ouarzazate Phase 1 will involve the first 160 MW and will help Morocco avoid 240,000 tons of CO2 equivalent a year.

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More next week.

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