Category: Foraging


Environmental

Toxic fears in Malaysia over rare earth plant

Published on Jun 3, 2012 by

Activists have launched a court case against Australian mining firm Lynas in Kuantan, on the east coast of Malaysia.

The Australian company has decided to operate a rare earth refining plant there, but residents in the area are worried about the impact of radiation from the waste created by the refining process.

Production has been delayed at the plant, which can potentially meet up to 20 per cent of global demand for the minerals – used to make high-tech gadgets like smartphones.

Local community and activists say the plant, tipped to be the world’s biggest rare earth processing facility, will generate radioactive waste.

The company says the raw material and residue have low levels of radiation, and that it will recycle some of the waste into fertiliser.

Al Jazeera’s Florence Looi reports from Gebeng.

Safe’ Levels of Arsenic in Drinking Water Found to Compromise Pregnant/Lactating Mothers, Offspring

ScienceDaily (May 31, 2012) — Exposure to arsenic in drinking water at the level the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) currently deems as safe in the United States (10 parts per billion) induces adverse health outcomes in pregnant and lactating mice and their offspring, concludes a study led by Joshua Hamilton of the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) and Courtney Kozul-Horvath at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.


The team is part of the Dartmouth Superfund Research Program on Toxic Metals.

Pregnant and/or breastfeeding mothers who consumed low levels (10 ppb) of arsenic in their drinking water, the scientists found, exhibited significant disruption in their lipid metabolism, leading to diminished nutrients in their blood and in their breast milk. As a result, their offspring showed significant growth and development deficits during the postnatal period before weaning. Birth outcomes such as litter size and length of gestation were unaffected.

“The pups were essentially malnourished; they were small and underdeveloped,” Hamilton says. Once the pups were switched to milk from a mother who had not consumed arsenic, their growth deficits reversed, although only the males fully caught up with the pups that had had no arsenic exposure.

The U.S. EPA recently lowered the Maximum Contaminant Level for arsenic to 10 ppb in public water supplies — a regulated level that is considered “safe” for a lifetime of exposure — yet concentrations of 100 ppb and higher are commonly found in private, unregulated well water in regions where arsenic is geologically abundant, including upper New England (Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine), Florida, and large parts of the Upper Midwest, the Southwest, and the Rocky Mountains.

“This study raises a couple of issues. First, we have to think again about whether 10 ppb arsenic as a U.S. drinking water standard is safe and protective of human health,” says Hamilton, who is the MBL’s chief academic and scientific officer and a senior scientist in the MBL Bay Paul Center.

Read Full Article Here

US, European nuclear and coal-fired electrical plants vulnerable to climate change: study

 

Warmer water and reduced river flows in the United States and Europe in recent years have led to reduced production, or temporary shutdown, of several thermoelectric power plants. For instance, the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Alabama had to shut down more than once last summer because the Tennessee River’s water was too warm to use it for cooling.

A study by European and University of Washington scientists published today in Nature Climate Change projects that in the next 50 years warmer water and lower flows will lead to more such power disruptions. The authors predict that thermoelectric power generating capacity from 2031 to 2060 will decrease by between 4 and 16 percent in the U.S. and 6 to 19 percent in Europe due to lack of cooling water. The likelihood of extreme drops in power generation—complete or almost-total shutdowns—is projected to almost triple.

“This study suggests that our reliance on thermal cooling is something that we’re going to have to revisit,” said co-author Dennis Lettenmaier, a UW professor of civil and environmental engineering.

Thermoelectric plants, which use nuclear or fossil fuels to heat water into steam that turns a turbine, supply more than 90 percent of U.S. electricity and account for 40 percent of the nation’s freshwater usage. In Europe, these plants supply three-quarters of the electricity and account for about half of the freshwater use.

While much of this water is “recycled,” the power plants rely on consistent volumes of water, at a particular temperature, to prevent the turbines from overheating.

Reduced water availability and warmer water, caused by increasing air temperatures associated with climate change, mean higher electricity costs and less reliability.

While plants with cooling towers will be affected, results show older plants that rely on “once-through cooling” are the most vulnerable. These plants pump water directly from rivers or lakes to cool the turbines before returning the water to its source, and require high flow volumes.

The study projects the most significant U.S. effects at power plants situated inland on major rivers in the Southeast that use once-through cooling, such as the Browns Ferry plant in Alabama and the New Madrid coal-fired plant in southeastern Missouri.

“The worst-case scenarios in the Southeast come from heat waves where you need the power for air conditioning,” Lettenmaier said. “If you have really high power demand and the river temperature’s too high so you need to shut your power plant down, you have a problem.”
  Read Full Article Here

Greenland’s current loss of ice mass

by Staff Writers
Potsdam, Germany (SPX)


File image.

The Greenland ice sheet continues to lose mass and thus contributes at about 0.7 millimeters per year to the currently observed sea level change of about 3 mm per year. This trend increases each year by a further 0.07 millimeters per year. The pattern and temporal nature of loss is complex.

The mass loss is largest in southwest and northwest Greenland; the respective contributions of melting, iceberg calving and fluctuations in snow accumulation differing considerably. This result has been published by an international research group led by the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences in the latest issue of Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 1 June 2012.

The result was made possible by a new comparison of three different types of satellite observations: measurements of the change in gravity by changes in ice mass with the satellite pair GRACE, height variation with the laser altimeter on the NASA satellite ICESat and determination of the difference between the accumulation of regional atmospheric models and the glacier discharge, as measured by satellite radar data.

For the first time and for each region, the researchers could determine with unprecedented precision which percentage melting, iceberg calving and fluctuations in rainfall have on the current mass loss.

“Such an increase in mass loss in the northwest after 2005 is partly due to heavy snowfall in the years before”, says GFZ scientist Ingo Sasgen, head of the study. “The previous mass gain was reduced in subsequent years. Similarly in eastern Greenland: In the years 2008 and 2009 there was even a mass increase”.

As the researchers were able to show, this was not due to decreased glacier velocities, but because of two winters with very heavy snowfall. Meanwhile, the loss of ice mass continues here. For all studied regions the melting and calving periods between 2002 and 2011 are extraordinarily high compared to those of the last five decades.

The work was created in the framework of the Helmholtz Climate Initiative REKLIMof the Helmholtz Association and the EU project ice2sea. Due to the study, the researchers can get a little closer to understanding the current developments of the Greenland ice sheet.

Ingo Sasgen: “We now know very well how calving glaciers and melting contribute to the current mass balance, and when regional trends are largely caused by rainfall variations. And we also know where our measurements must be improved.”

One such area is north-western Greenland, where the comparison of data indicates an abrupt increase in the calving rate, which was detected by the radar data inadequately.

The REKLIM/ice2sea scientists want to find out what causes this increase and if it has a continuous or episodic character.

A necessary prerequisite is a sufficiently long time series of measurements that is to be created by the continued precise gravity measurements in the context of the new satellite mission GRACE-FO (Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment – Follow On).

Ingo Sasgen et al., “Timing and Origin of Recent Regional Ice-Mass Loss in Greenland”, Earth and Planetary Science Letters (EPSL), doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2012.03.033, Volumes 333-334, 1 June 2012, Pages 293-303

Related Links
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Beyond the Ice Age

Brazil farmers in legal feud with Monsanto over GM soy

by Staff Writers
Campo Novo De Parecis, Brazil (AFP)

Illegally smuggled into Brazil 14 years ago, transgenic soy has proved a boon to domestic farmers and now accounts for 85 percent of total production.

But five million Brazilian farmers are now locked in a legal feud with US biotech giant Monsanto, the GM soy seed manufacturer, and are refusing to pay crop royalties.

In the mid-1990s Monsanto began commercializing its genetically modified soy in the United States.

Monsanto’s soy seeds are spliced with a bacterium’s gene that makes the plants immune to the company’s popular herbicide Roundup, which farmers can then use to kill weeds while the soy plants flourish.

The first transgenic soy seeds were illegally smuggled into Brazil from neighboring Argentina in 1998 and their use was banned and subject to prosecution until the last decade, according to the state-owned Brazilian Enterprise for Agricultural Research (EMBRAPA).

The ban has since been lifted and now 85 percent of the country’s soybean crop (25 million hectares or 62 million acres) is genetically modified, according to Alexandre Cattelan, an EMBRAPA researcher.

Last year, Brazil was the world’s second producer and exporter of soybean, behind the United States.

Sales of GM soy — which is used for animal feed, soybean oil or biofuel — reached a whopping $24.1 billion and made up 26 percent of Brazil’s farm exports last year. China is the main customer of Brazilian soy.

But four years ago, five million big and small Brazilian producers filed a lawsuit against Monsanto, accusing the US chemical giant of unduly collecting two percent of sales of their annual harvest.

Since 2003-2004, Monsanto has demanded that producers of transgenic soy pay it two percent of their sales as crop royalties, Neri Perin, a representative of big producers, told AFP.

Lawyers for the producers say this means that their clients end up paying twice for the seed.

“Monsanto gets paid when it sell the seeds. The law gives producers the right to multiply the seeds they buy and nowhere in the world is there a requirement to pay (again). Producers are in effect paying a private tax on production,” said lawyer Jane Berwanger.

In April, a judge in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, Giovanni Conti, ruled in favor of the producers and ordered Monsanto to return royalties paid since 2004 or a minimum of $2 billion.

Monsanto appealed and a federal court is to rule on the case by 2014.

In the meantime, the US company said it was still being paid crop royalties.

At the same time, transgenic soy cultivation is spreading like wildfire across Brazil, despite protests from environmentalists who say it leads to increased deforestation and from experts who say it results in less farm jobs.

“Transgenic soy occupies 44 percent of land under grain cultivation but represents only 5.5 percent of farm jobs,” said Sergio Schlesinger, a researcher who slammed the advance of soybean monoculture in his book “the grain that grew too much.”

He said this highly mechanized monoculture requires little labor and leads to the expulsion of thousands of farm workers.

After its initial ban on GM soy, the Brazilian government is now investing in research to develop this type of technology.

Transgenic soy is now grown in 17 of the country’s 26 states, with the largest production in Mato Grosso, Parana and Rio Grande do Sul.

Although still the largest exporting country, the United States has lost the dominant position it once had in the global soy trade. Brazil, Argentina, China and India have all become major players as the world’s demand for soy as food, vegetable oil, and animal feed has continued to increase.

Given the amount of available arable land and water resources in Brazil, experts expect this South American giant to eventually become the number one soybean-producing nation.

Related Links
Farming Today – Suppliers and Technology

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Cyber Space

Microsoft Just Made the Internet a Little More Private for Everyone

Internet Explorer 10 will ship with Do Not Track settings turned on by default. That’s good news for you and me; not so good for the online ad industry.

By Dan Tynan, ITworld

Break out the champagne and put on your party hats: A software heavyweight just struck a major blow for the concept of Privacy by Design.

Microsoft has elected to release Internet Explorer 10.0 with Do Not Track as the default setting. Microsoft Chief Privacy Officer Brendon Lynch blogged about the decision here. He said, in part:

We believe that consumers should have more control over how information about their online behavior is tracked, shared and used. Online advertising is an important part of the economy supporting publishers and content owners and helping businesses of all shapes and sizes to go to market. There is also value for consumers in personalized experiences and receiving advertising that is relevant to them.

Of course, we hope that many consumers will see this value and make a conscious choice to share information in order to receive more personalized ad content. For us, that is the key distinction. Consumers should be empowered to make an informed choice and, for these reasons, we believe that for IE10 in Windows 8, a privacy-by-default state for online behavioral advertising is the right approach.

While both Chrome and Firefox have Do Not Track capabilities built in, they’re turned off by default. Microsoft is making its mark by turning that setting on. Safari also blocks tracking cookies by default, but who outside of the Mac universe uses Safari?

The online advertising industry reacted about the way you’d expect — by implying that if we don’t all let advertisers follow us around the Web jotting down every site we visit and what we do there, the “free” Internet will shrivel up and die.

The Digital Advertising Alliance, a consortium of online ad networks and data gatherers that has been pushing for self-regulation of Web tracking for the past several years (and was apparently blindsided by Microsoft’s announcement), issued a vigorous response. Here’s the money quote:

The DAA is very concerned that this unilateral decision by one browser maker – made without consultation within the self-regulatory process – may ultimately narrow the scope of consumer choices, undercut thriving business models, and reduce the availability and diversity of the Internet products and services that millions of American consumers currently enjoy at no charge.

DAA spokeshuman Stu Ingis went on to tell the Wall Street Journal’s Julia Angwin that online advertisers support “consumer choice, not a choice made by one browser or technology vendor.” Essentially he’s saying that by making IE 10 private by default Microsoft is taking the choice out of users’ hands.

Which is, of course, utter horse manure. Microsoft is in fact giving users a choice – a choice to use a browser where privacy is the default setting. It’s the advertising industry that’s make the decision for consumers about whether they will be tracked by making that the default setting for the vast majority of Web surfers.

But before I get any further into this, let’s get a few things straight, shall we?

1, When advertising groups say they support Do Not Track (DNT), what they really mean is they support “Do Not Target Me With Ads But Continue To Hoover Up All My Anonymous Web Behavior” (or DNTMWABCTHUAMAWB for short). They’re still collecting data on users, they’re just not delivering ads to you based on that data. In other words, they remove the key benefit of tracking (more relevant ads) while keeping the primary threat (creating a profile of your online habits).

Some members of Congress are calling on the FTC to draw up rules that explicitly block data collection as well as ad targeting, something the tracking companies are resisting.

2. The DAA does represent most of the major US companies in the whole Web tracking ecosystem. But they represent less than a quarter of the companies listed in Evidon’s database of some 800 Web trackers. So even in the best case scenario, many of the smaller no-name companies that are tracking me are wholly unaffected by the DAA’s voluntary program.

The fact is, some people – even diehard privacy types — will choose tracking over not tracking in some instances. For example, I installed Abine’s Do Not Track Plus several months ago in my primary browser, and I’ve probably shut it off for individual sites more often than I’ve kept it on. Why? Because DNT+ prevented me from sharing that page on Facebook or Twitter, or kept me from being able to log in to leave Comments, or inconvenienced me in some other way. That’s because Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Disqus, and all the others are also Web trackers that can capture big chunks of your Web surfing history. A better option in this instance is probably Ghostery, which offers more fine grained blocking of advertisers, trackers, and widgets.

Bottom line: If tracking really is so essential to the “free Internet,” as the ad industry claims, then what’s the problem? Won’t people naturally choose to be tracked in order to get access to all those relevant ads and free content? I think we all know the answer to that, which is why the DAA is so spooked by Microsoft’s decision.

Facebook May Welcome Preteen Members

By Sharon Gaudin, Computerworld

Speculation is flying that Facebook executives may be developing technology that would enable kids under the age of 13 to join the site with parental supervision.

Intetrest by Facebook in lowering the minimum age to under 13 years old to join the world’s most popular social network was first reported in the Wall Street Journal. The network is reportedly testing ways to link a child’s Facebook page to his or her parents’, along with tools that would enable parents to decide who their children can “friend” and what apps they can use.

A Facebook spokesman told Computerworld that the company is investigating this complicated issue, but has not made any decisions.

“Many recent reports have highlighted just how difficult it is to enforce age restrictions on the Internet, especially when parents want their children to access online content and services,” said the spokesman. “We are in continuous dialogue with stakeholders, regulators and other policymakers about how best to help parents keep their kids safe in an evolving online environment.”

“That would certainly drive up subscribers,” said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research. “But I don’t know how valuable they would be, since kids under 13 don’t have much purchasing power.”

However, Kerravala noted that many kids now lie about their age to join the social network and this might curb that problem to some extent. And it also would draw kids in and get them connected earlier so they’re loyal users when they get old enough to have more money to spend, increasing the power of Facebook’s ads.

“The problem for Facebook is the under-13 set might find something else to use when they hit 13,” he added. “The idea may be to get them connected now.”

Any such move would mean that Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has had a change of mind.

In May 2011, Zuckerberg, speaking to the world’s top Internet leaders during the closing keynote at the e-G8 Internet forum in Paris, said he wasn’t interested in working to get younger users on the site.

“We’re not trying to work on the ability for people under the age of 13 to sign up,” Zuckerberg said. “That’s just not on the list of things for us to figure out right now.” However, he did say that he’d like to look more deeply into the issue at some point in the future.

If Facebook is working to include younger users, it may be because of competition from Google+, which in January widened its potential user base by lowering its age requirement from 18 to 13 years old.

Google+ executives did not mention moving to add users under the age of 13.

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Survival / Sustainability

EatTheWeeds: Episode 06: Peppergrass, Lepidium Virginicum

Uploaded by on Feb 11, 2008

http://www.eattheweeds.com/peppergrass-potent-pipsqueak/

Learn how to recognize and use the wild food peppergrass, Lepidium virginicum springtime salad ingredient, pot herb, and spice from http://www.eattheweeds.com

 

EatTheWeeds: Episode 07: Pokeweed, Phytolacca americana

Uploaded by on Feb 11, 2008

http://www.eattheweeds.com/can-be-deadly-but-oh-so-delicious-pokeweed-2/

Learn with Green Deane how to recognize and prepare pokeweed, a controversial spring green and wild food from http://www.eattheweeds.com


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Articles of Interest

U.S. N.R.C. Considering Giving 80-year Operating Licenses to Nuclear Power Plants

By Karl Grossman

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission will be holding a meeting this week to consider having nuclear power plants run 80 years—although they were never seen as running for more than 40 years because of radioactivity embrittling metal parts and otherwise causing safety problems.

“The idea of keeping these reactors going for 80 years is crazy!” declares Robert Alvarez, senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies and former senior policy advisor at the U.S, Department of Energy and a U.S. Senate senior investigator. He is also an author of the book Killing Our Own: The Disaster of America’s Experience with Atomic Radiation. “To double the design life of these plants—which operate under high-pressure, high heat conditions and are subject to radiation fatigue—is an example of out-of-control hubris, of believing your own lies.”

“In a post-Fukushima world, the NRC has no case to renew life-spans of old, danger-prone nuke plants. Rather, they must be shut down,” says Priscilla Star, director of the Coalition Against Nukes.

“This is an absurdity and shows the extent to which the NRC is captured,” says Jim Riccio, nuclear policy analyst at Greenpeace. “Nuclear regulators know that embrittlement of the reactor vessels limits nuclear plant life but are willing to expose the public to greater risks from decrepit, old and leaking reactors. As we learned from Fukushima, the nuclear industry is willing to expose the public to catastrophic risks.”

Nevertheless, on Thursday at its headquarters in Rockville, Maryland, the NRC is to hold a meeting with the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy and the Electric Power Research Institute, which does studies for the nuclear industry, “to discuss and coordinate long-term operability research programs,” says the NRC, which could lead to it letting nuclear plants run for 80 years.

For more than a decade, the NRC has been extending the operating licenses of nuclear plants from 40 years to 60 years. And just as the NRC has never denied a construction or operating license for a nuclear plant anywhere, anytime in the U.S., it has rubber-stamped every application that has come before it for a 20-year extension of the plant’s original 40-year license. It has now approved 60-year operating licenses for 73 of the 104 nuclear power plants in the U.S.

When the NRC in 2009 OK’d extending the operating license to 60 years of the oldest nuclear plant in the U.S., Oyster Creek in New Jersey, Jeff Titel, president of the New Jersey Sierra Club, declared: “This decision is radioactive. To keep open the nation’s oldest nuclear power plant for another 20 years is just going to lead to a disaster. We could easily replace the plant with 200 windmills that will not pose a danger.” With the same General Electric design as the six Fukushima nuclear power plants, the plant is 60 miles south of New York City.

The first nuclear plants given permission by the NRC to operate for 60 years were the two Calvert Cliffs plants located on the western shore of Chesapeake Bay near Lusby, Maryland, 45 miles southeast of Washington, D.C. That came in 1999. The NRC license extension program is “blind to how these machines are breaking apart at the molecular level…they embrittle, crack and corrode,” said Paul Gunter, then with the Nuclear Information and Resource Service and now director of the Reactor Oversight Project of the organization Beyond Nuclear. The NRC in its “rigged game” is driving the nation toward a nuclear disaster, said Gunter. “The term ‘nuclear safety’ is an oxymoron. It’s an inherently dangerous process and an inherently dangerous industry that has been aging.”

Read Full Article Here

Mother Nature Doesn’t Quit

By Jim Hightower

Rather than find ways to cooperate with the natural world, America’s agribusiness giants reach for the next quick fix in a futile effort to overpower nature. Their attitude is that if brute force isn’t working, they’re probably not using enough of it.

Monsanto, for example, has banked a fortune by selling a corn seed that it genetically manipulated to produce corn plants that won’t die when sprayed with the Roundup toxic weedkiller. Not coincidentally, Monsanto also happens to manufacture Roundup. It profits from the seed and from the huge jump in Roundup sales that the seed generates. Slick.

But Mother Nature, darn it, has rebelled. So much of Monsanto’s poison was spread in the past decade that weeds naturally began to resist it. As a Dow Chemical agronomist explained, “The real need here is to diversify our weed management systems.”

Exactly right! We need non-chemical, sustainable systems that work with nature and without genetically altered crops.

But, no, the Dow man didn’t mean that at all. He was calling for more brute force in the form of Dow’s new genetically altered corn seed that can absorb Dow’s super-potent 2,4-D weedkiller, which it markets under the “Enlist” brand name. Use this stuff, he says, and nature will be defeated.

Wrong. Nature doesn’t quit. The weeds will keep evolving and will adapt to Dow’s high-tech fix, too. By pushing the same old thing relentlessly, says an independent crop scientist, agribusiness interests “ratchet up [America's] dependence on the use of herbicides, which is very much a treadmill.”

It’s time to start listening to the weeds — and cooperating with Mother Nature. To advance this common sense approach, a national coalition is backing a California “Right to Know” initiative requiring the labeling of genetically altered foods. To help, go to the Organic Consumers Association at http://www.OrganicConsumers.org.

This article was published at NationofChange at: http://www.nationofchange.org/mother-nature-doesn-t-quit-1338824786. All rights are reserved.

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Environmental

Bio-luminescent technology for easy tracking of GMO

by Staff Writers
London, UK (SPX) May 03, 2012


Dr Guy Kiddle from Lumora, who led the research, explained that LAMP-BART was able to detect as little as 0.1% GM contamination of maize, and, compared to PCR, was more tolerant of contaminating polysaccharides, meaning that the DNA clean-up process did not need to be as thorough.

It is important to be able to monitor genetically modified (GM) crops, not only in the field but also during the food processing chain.

New research published in BioMed Central’s open access journal BMC Biotechnology shows that products from genetically modified crops can be identified at low concentration, using bioluminescent real time reporter (BART) technology and loop mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP).

The combination of these techniques was able to recognize 0.1% GM contamination of maize, far below the current EU limit of 0.9%.

In agriculture GM crops have been bred to improve crop yield or viability. For example some are resistant to herbicides or viruses.

They are also used in the pharmaceutical industry to produce proteins such as collagen. However there is a constant debate about the safety of these crops and whether the man-made transgenes might enter the wild population by cross-fertilization.and produce herbicide resistant weeds.

Careful handling and sampling techniques are required to assess the GM content of a crop. The most common technique is polymerase chain reaction (PCR), however, this involves complex extraction procedures and rapid thermocycling, both of which require specific equipment.

To overcome these problems researchers from Lumora Ltd. assessed whether they could use LAMP to amplify DNA at a constant temperature and use BART to identify GM-specific DNA in real time.

Dr Guy Kiddle from Lumora, who led the research, explained that LAMP-BART was able to detect as little as 0.1% GM contamination of maize, and, compared to PCR, was more tolerant of contaminating polysaccharides, meaning that the DNA clean-up process did not need to be as thorough.

He commented, “This method requires only basic equipment for DNA extraction, and a constant temperature for DNA amplification and detection. Consequently LAMP-BART provides a ‘field-ready’ solution for monitoring GM crops and their interaction with wild plants or non-GM crops.”

GMO detection using a bio-luminescent real time reporter (BART) of loop mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) suitable for field use Guy Kiddle, Patrick Hardinge, Neil Buttigieg, Olga Gandelman, Clint Pereira, Cathal J McElgunn, Manuela Rizzoli, Rebecca Jackson, Nigel Appleton, Cathy Moore, Laurence C. Tisi and James A.H. Murray BMC Biotechnology (in press)

Related Links
BioMed Central
Farming Today – Suppliers and Technology

 

 

Report warns of diminished tornado tracking, hurricane forecasting, climate change study

Written by
LEDYARD KING
Gannett Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — Predicting the weather is tricky enough. Now a new government-sponsored report warns that America’s ability to track tornadoes, forecast hurricanes and study climate change is about to diminish.

The number and capability of weather satellites circling the planet “is beginning a rapid decline” and tight budgets have significantly delayed or eliminated missions to replace them, according to a National Research Council analysis released Wednesday.

The number of in-orbit and planned Earth observation missions by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is projected to drop “precipitously” from 23 this year to only six by 2020 based on information provided by both agencies, the report found. As a result, the number of satellites and other instruments monitoring Earth’s activity is expected to decline from a peak of about 110 in 2011 to fewer than 30 by the end of the decade.

“Right now, when society is asking us the hardest questions and the most meaningful questions, we’re going to be even more challenged to answer them,” said Stacey W. Boland, a senior systems engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California and a member of the committee that wrote the report. “We’ll slowly become data-starved here.”

The report, Earth Science and Applications from Space: A Midterm Assessment of NASA’s Implementation of the Decadal Survey, credits NASA with finding creative ways to prolong the life of existing satellites and working with international partners to fill in forecasting gaps.

But, the authors said, glue and scissors only go so far.

When a similar analysis was issued five years ago, eight satellites were expected to be in space by 2012 tracking a variety of conditions, such as global precipitation, ocean topography and carbon emissions. Only three are now in orbit. Of the remaining five, two failed, one was canceled and two others are not expected to launch until at least next year.

The pipeline looks emptier over the next decade.

Of the 18 missions recommended in the 2007 report through 2020, only two are close enough to completion to register launch dates.

Dennis Hartmann, professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington, Seattle, and chair of the committee, warned that the loss of capacity will have “profound consequences on science and society, from weather forecasting to responding to natural hazards.”

NASA and NOAA are facing what all other government agencies are confronting: a record federal debt that has most in Congress talking about ways to cut programs, not expand them. The debt is approaching $15.7 trillion, or more than $50,000 per U.S. citizen, and even military leaders say the government’s spiralling sea of red ink poses a huge threat to the nation’s economic stability.

Lawmakers and the Obama administration have treated NASA better than most agencies. Its budget for the fiscal 2013 year is proposed to be relatively flat, a small victory given that many other agencies are facing deep cuts.

As a way to improve the efficiency of the nation’s civilian satellite program, a key Senate panel voted last month to shift the acquisition — but not operation — of weather satellites from the NOAA to NASA.

But even if Congress changed course today and decided to fund these missions, there would still be a lag because of the time it takes to build a satellite, Boland said.

“Once you’re even in implementation, it still takes several years to get from there to a launch pad,” she said.

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Cyber Space

Reuters

Four Irish, British suspects helped in Stratfor hack: US

Anonymous

AP file photo

Anonymous rally in Madrid in May 2011.

Federal prosecutors said four Irish and British men charged in a crackdown on the international hacking group Anonymous also helped breach the security analysis company Stratfor last year.

In an indictment made public on Wednesday, Manhattan federal prosecutors said the four men, previously charged in March, were part of the “Antisec” faction of Anonymous that disclosed in December that it had hacked into Strategic Forecasting Inc, or Stratfor.

Stratfor is dubbed a “shadow CIA” because it gathers non-classified intelligence on international crises.

Until Wednesday, only 27-year old Chicago hacker Jeremy Hammond had been formally charged with the Stratfor breach. Hammond, who is in custody in New York, was formally indicted on Wednesday for the first time, and has yet to be arraigned. His lawyer declined comment.

Hammond’s arrest was announced on March 6 along with charges against the four suspected “AntiSec” members, Donncha O’Cearrbhail and Darren Martyn of Ireland, and Jake Davis and Ryan Ackroyd of Britain.

Read Full Article Here

 

 

Sylvia Westall , Reuters

Twitter users in Kuwait face tougher regulation

Kuwaiti

Getty Images file

Kuwaitis hold a picture of 13-year-old boy Hamza al-Khatib, killed during anti-regime protests in Syria, as they take part in a demonstration in support of the Syrian uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Kuwait City on June 24, 2011.

Kuwait is about to take a firmer line on regulation of social media, uneasy about people who it says use Twitter and Facebook to stoke sectarian tensions and wary of spillover from turmoil in nearby Gulf states and Syria.

Although Kuwait has largely been spared the sectarian violence that flares in other countries in the region, the Sunni government is constantly aware of the potential for Sunni-Shi’ite tensions to boil over.

Authorities are particularly sensitive to developments in Bahrain, where the Sunni monarchy has cracked down on mainly Shi’ite Muslim protesters. Kuwait also borders Iraq and Saudi Arabia and sits across the Gulf from non-Arab Shi’ite power Iran.

Lately there are signs that frictions are heating up, and much of the activity is being stoked online.

“Twitter is becoming a platform that many people are using and many people are watching. You cannot look at this without neglecting what is happening in the region,” said Kuwaiti Twitter user and blogger Jassim al-Qamis.

Twitter has enjoyed runaway popularity in Kuwait, whose oil wealth and freer political system have helped to shield it from Arab Spring-style anti-government demonstrations.

One million accounts were registered in the country of 3.6 million inhabitants as of April, a two-fold rise in 12 months, according to Paris-based Semiocast, which compiles Twitter data.

“You have the extreme Islamists in Kuwait and you have a tension between Saudi and Iran. This is fuelling the discussion here,” said Qamis, who has written online about the unrest in Bahrain and has 2,000 followers tracking his Twitter messages.

“People are becoming proxies of powers in the region. Kuwait has become a battlefield for this.”

The rift between Sunnis and Shi’ites dates back some 1,400 years, originating in a debate over who would succeed the Prophet Mohammad as leader of the Muslim community. But it now can also encompass different political, social and historical outlooks and splits down ethnic lines.

Shi’ites make up about one third of Kuwait’s 1.1 million nationals and vocal members can be found in senior positions in parliament, media and business.

Sunni writer Mohammad al-Mulaifi was sentenced to seven years in jail and fined nearly $18,000 after a court ruled in April that he had posted falsehoods on Twitter about sectarian divisions in Kuwait and had insulted the Shi’ite faith.

Lawyers and rights activists said this appeared to be the strictest punishment so far for comments posted online.

Insulting religions or religious figures is illegal in Kuwait and the penalty is usually a fine or prison term. Lawmakers recently voted in favor of a legal amendment which could make such offenses punishable by death.

But it is the case of a Kuwaiti Shi’ite charged with insulting the Prophet Mohammad that has triggered the biggest public uproar.

Read Full Article Here

CISPA: Steamrolling Civil Liberties

The devilish details of amendments to the House-passed cyber-security bill, CISPA.
 

(This analysis first appeared at Balkinization, a noted civil liberties and legal blog).

After a flurry of last minute amendments last week, the House unexpectedly passed CISPA on Thursday evening. A week ago, I described my concerns with the version of the bill that made it out of the House Committee on Intelligence. In the intervening week, there was considerable outcry around the bill led in part by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Center for Democracy and Technology.

Learning their lesson from SOPA, the House decided to invite civil liberties constituencies to the table so as to avoid having to witness another implosion of a major legislative goal. As a result, a number of amendments were introduced that began to address some of the most egregious parts of the bill, and, in response, some members of the civil liberties community decided to withhold further, vocal opposition. Then, on Thursday evening, it all fell apart. As Josh Smith at the National Journal described, the CISPA that was passed by the House on Thursday didn’t reflect this negotiation:

The Center for Democracy and Technology and the Constitution Project never really dropped objections to the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, but after discussions with the bill’s sponsors, the groups said on April 24 they would not actively oppose the bill and focus on amendments instead. But on April 25, the House Rules Committee shot down 22 of 43 submitted amendments to the bill, known as CISPA. All but one Republican amendments were made in order, while four out of 19 Democratic amendments and four with 10 bipartisan support made the cut. Five amendments were withdrawn.

Unhappy with this outcome, the civil liberties groups are doubling down their efforts for the next stage of this battle — the Senate.

That’s the quick recap of what happened last week.

This bill still poses serious issues. Here is the version of the bill that reflects all the amendments made. For those who want to compare, this is the original bill without the amendments and these are the eleven amendments that were added on top of it.

I’ll spend the rest of this post providing a summary of the amendments made and provide my thoughts on the problems they create and solve. I’ve ordered them, roughly, by importance.

1. Goodlatte Amendment: Provides more detail around what “cybersercurity” means under this bill:

This amendment places under the umbrella of cybersecurity:

(i) a vulnerability of a system or network of a government or private entity;

(ii) a threat to the integrity, confidentiality, or availability of a system or network of a government or private entity or any information stored on, processed on, or transiting such a system or network;

(iii) efforts to degrade, disrupt, or destroy a system or network of a government or private entity; or

(iv) efforts to gain unauthorized access to a system or network of a government

or private entity, including to gain such unauthorized access for the purpose of exfiltrating information stored on, processed on, or transiting a system or network of a government or private entity

Cyber threat information, under this amendment, now specifically covers information relating to a threat to the “integrity, confidentiality, or availability of a system or network of a government or private entity or any information stored on, processed on, or transiting such a system or network.”

Confidentiality is defined as “including the means for protecting proprietary information.” This sounds a lot like intellectual property. If that’s correct, than it means that cybersecurity threats now include intellectual property piracy. Accordingly, private companies can send warrantless surveillance information regarding threats of copyright piracy to the government, and the government is authorized to act on them. It’s not exactly the Son of SOPA, but it does elevate the crime of copyright piracy so that it is now on par with distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and Stuxnet type viruses.

Read Full Report Here

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Survival / Sustainability

 

Survival Food Storage Safety

by M.D. Creekmore

Meat, fish, poultry, dairy, and fresh bakery products are dated with a “sell by date” to indicate how long the food can be displayed for sale. Also, the “sell by date” allows a reasonable amount of time after the purchase in which the product can be used. Consumers should always purchase food before the “sell by date” expires. Cereals, snack foods, frozen entrees, and dry packaged foods may be marked with a “best if used by date.” The products are not at their best quality after this date, but can still be used safely for a short period of time thereafter. Safety

Other foods, such as unbaked breads, are marked with an “expiration” or “use by date,” which means the product should not be consumed after that date. Do not purchase any food not used by that date. The freshness date is located on the food package and serves as an indicator of product quality.

Read Full Article Here

 

 

How To Make And Use Herb Preparations

by M.D. Creekmore  

Summited by anonymous Bill

Making your own herbal concoctions for medicinal purposes is really not that difficult. And since the best herbal preparations are those made when the plants are fresh, the better off you are to grow your own herbs and make your own preparations.

But even the best plants can be ruined if you use the wrong kind of process in preparing your remedies. Your choice depends on the parts of the plant to be used, the form in which the remedy will be taken, and the desired result.

Remember that herbal remedies are not one-shot wonder cures. Their effectiveness is based largely on a gradual cure.

The following ways of preparing your fresh herbs are those most commonly used in herbal medicine. Always use an enamel or non-metallic pot.

Infusion – this is a beverage made like tea, combining boiled water with the plants and steeping it to extract the active ingredients. The normal amounts are about 1/2 to 1 ounce of the plant to one pint of boiled water. You should let the mixture steep for five to ten minutes, covered, and strain the infusion into a cup.

Cold Extract – preparing herbs with cold water preserves the most volatile ingredients, while extracting only minor amounts of mineral salts and bitter principles. Add about double the amount of plant material used for an infusion to cold water and let sit for about 8 to 12 hours, strain and drink.

Read Full Article Here

 

 

EatTheWeeds: Episode 05: Wild mustard greens

Uploaded by

http://www.eattheweeds.com/cutting-the-wild-mustard-brassica-sinapis-2/

Learn with Green Deane how to recognize and prepare wild mustard, Brassica ssp., springtime salad ingredient, pot herb and wild food from http://www.eattheweeds.com

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Activism

“Tuition Fees are Class War!” CUNY Brooklyn College Students Roughed Up By Police for Demanding Fairer Treatment

Calling for an end to policies that make college less accessible to lower-income students, CUNY activists held a peaceful sit-in that was violently broken up by police.

Every gate at the City University of New York’s Brooklyn College had doubled security—no one was getting in without a student ID.

That and the rain might have dampened turnout for a mass student day of action calling for increased access to higher education and supported by the likes of Naomi Klein and Noam Chomsky, but it didn’t dampen the spirits of the student activists who rallied on the quad and then marched into Boylan Hall, chanting, “1, 2, 3, 4, tuition fees are class war! 5, 6, 7, 8, students will retaliate!”

It took police, batons and riot cuffs to do that.

I was able to get onto campus with the name of a professor given to me by one of the student organizers–the last time I visited the campus, I had no problem walking by the guards, but this time a student was left in tears because her ID wasn’t properly validated and she couldn’t get to class. Some CUNY graduate students from other campuses were able to join the Brooklyn College students for their rally, which included a banner drop from the top of Boylan Hall (also reading “tuition fees are class war”). “They didn’t give access to a rally about access,” commented Biola Jeje, one of the students involved in the action, later to AlterNet.

Arriving on the quad just after 1pm, I was just in time to follow the march into Boylan Hall and up the stairs. The students, a mix of men and women, many of whom wore red squares on their shirts or backpacks in solidarity with the Quebec student movement, took the stairs and lined up arm-in-arm in front of the office of the college president, Karen Gould.

Campus police followed the students up the stairs and lined up behind them as they sat down, still with their arms linked together, still singing. They mic-checked their demands, the crowd surrounding them repeating their calls for the college president to meet with them to discuss tuition hikes, the surveillance and racial profiling of Muslim and other students, and funding student services, as well as the over-arching presence of security on campus. And they stressed that they would not move.

The university president, they pointed out, might not have the power to change the tuition hikes they were fighting, but she did have the choice to come and meet with them and she chose instead to send campus police.  “We had a petition going around that had over 1000 signatures for free printing, extension of library hours, free course packets. Those are ways besides rescinding the tuition hikes, to help students who were dealing with the tuition hikes,” Jeje said of the students’ demands to the president.

A clarinetist accompanied them as they turned once again to songs, declaring “The Italians fought fascists with this song” and keeping the mood, for the moment, cheerful, yet militant.

In 1969 we shut this school down, in 1989 we shut this school down. In 1995 guess what we did? We shut this school down!” the crowd echoed as the police moved closer.

These peaceful students are not leaving by Sarah Jaffe

Those of us standing were herded backward and the police began yanking students to their feet, pulling them apart and pushing them down the hallway. “They yanked us up and just threw us away,” Jeje said later.

In front of me, an older man dressed in a suit tried to move forward and was roughly pushed back by an officer. He declined to give me his name, but he told the police, “I’m a college professor!” He was threatened with arrest for disorderly conduct by a large plainclothes security officer when he pressed his case for staying close. Others loudly proclaimed their right to be in the hallway as the police continued to shove students down the hall—and more of them streamed up the stairs, batons out, plastic riot cuffs dangling from their belts.

Read Full Report Here

 

 

The 99% Movement Has Something for Everyone — But Is it Occupy?

How will the 99% Spring impact the Occupy Movement?
 May 3, 2012  |

Photo Credit: sashakimel on Flickr

A version of this article was originally published by Salon.com

By all measures the Occupy movement is a powerful brand. It has thousands of spin-offs such as Occupy our Homes, Occupy Money, Occupy the Hood, Occupy Gender Equality and Occupy the Food System. It has powerful name recognition, snagging “word of the year” honors in 2011. And now ardent supporters are manning the ramparts to defend its integrity.

Adbusters, the culture-jamming magazine that helped spark Occupy Wall Street, is accusing unions and liberal groups clustered under the banner of the 99% Spring of tarnishing Occupy’s sterling name. Launched in February by groups like Greenpeace, the Service Employees International Union, MoveOn and Rebuild the Dream, the 99% Spring announced it would train 100,000 people in April for “sustained nonviolent direct action” against targets like Verizon, Bank of America and Walmart.

These groups, Adbusters belllowed in an online missive titled “Battle for the Soul of Occupy,” are “the same cabal of old world thinkers who have blunted the possibility of revolution for decades.” Adbusters fingered MoveOn as one of the primary saboteurs of Occupy, and linked to an article in Counterpunch that claims the 99% Spring “is primarily about co-option and division, about sucking a large cross-section of Occupy into Obama’s reelection campaign, watering down its radical politics, and using these mass trainings as a groundwork to put forward 100,000 ‘good protesters’ to overshadow the ‘bad protesters.’”

It’s a fiery broadside, but there’s little evidence to back it up. I queried occupiers from San Francisco, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Little Rock and New York who joined 99% Spring trainings and not one witnessed election-year politicking. Others stressed the coalition includes organizations that would bolt if it was promoting the Democrats. One core organizer of the 99% Spring who preferred to remain anonymous blew his stack when I asked if there weren’t legitimate reasons for occupiers to be suspicious of the effort. “Why don’t people look at the fact that MoveOn, this huge organization that has set much of the tone for the progressive movement for the last 10 years, is now trying to engage in a radical culture shift by moving its members from clicktivism to getting them to put their bodies on the line in nonviolent street protests and militant eviction defenses in their neighborhoods. Maybe Occupy is worried about its own viability.”

Some observers go further, claiming that Occupy is the one co-opting MoveOn. Josh Harkinson writes in Mother Jones: “It seems that America’s best-known progressive fundraising organization is now taking its cues from Occupy Wall Street.” Nathan Schneider, writing in Waging Nonviolence, takes a more nuanced approach by concluding that while the 99% Spring is indeed co-optation, there is also an opening. Because the thousands who participated in the 99% Spring are a juicy target, he argues that Occupy should be asking how to “turn these people’s attention to structures of oppression, rather than to stump speeches and delegates?” Schneider gives voice to the many Occupy activists who want to engage with broader forces. As one activist observes, “The worst thing we could do right now is make Occupy Wall Street into a small ‘radicals only’ space.”

But the real story is how the main groups behind the 99% Spring – such as MoveOn and Rebuild the Dream – have created a meta-brand known as the 99% Movement that encompasses a product line including 99% Power99% Candidates99% Unitinga 99% Voter Pledge, and events like All in for the 99% and 99% Spring Bank Protests. (Rebuild the Dream, MoveOn and SEIU are sponsors of nearly every formation.) Broadening the coalition to include radical left organizations that reject electoral politics is a sophisticated way to enhance the overall brand. Such groups can feel confident they are maintaining their independence from elections by participating in the 99% Spring, but they are still building the 99% brand, which will then be used in forms like the 99% voter pledge and 99% candidates to boost the Democratic Party’s fortunes come fall.

Read Full Report Here

 

 

May Day Multimedia Wrapup! See All Our Pics In One Place, Plus AlterNet Staff Talk General Strike on TV

 Last night, AlterNet reporters Sarah Seltzer and Joshua Holland talked about the actions in NYC and the Bay Area, respectively, on The Big Picture With Thom Hartman:

May Day – Is this the kick off of OWS spring?

Published on May 2, 2012 by

Workers of the world are uniting in a global day of action to commemorate International Workers Day. In hundreds of cities across America and around the world – in London, Barcelona, Toronto, Kuala Lampur, and Sydney – there were calls for a general strike with no working, no shopping and no banking. One thing you might have noticed in today’s rallies and marches, is that a majority of those taking part in the action are young people. That’s because they’ve figured out that Reaganomic austerity policies they’re pushing back against are harming them the most. According to a new study by the International Labour Organization, trickle-down austerity measures like the ones passed in Europe and by Republicans here in the United States disproportionately hit young workers the hardest. In austerity-wracked Ireland – a third of young workers are unemployed. And in austerity-hit Spain – more than half of all workers under age 25 are unemployed. And here in the United States – where Republicans have forced the President’s hand on budget cuts – including cuts to Pell grant programs – half of our nation’s recent college graduates are out of work or underemployed. If young people can’t find work out of college – then a whole generation of entrepreneurs, teachers, and engineers could be lost. For a round-up of today’s action from New York City – I’m joined by Occupy participants Sarah Seltzer, Associate Editor-Alternet, and Mark Bray, Press Liaison-OWS.

See Full Series  Of Reports Here

 

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Articles of Interest

US drug-busting authorities apologized to a student who said he was driven to drinking his own urine and trying to kill himself after being abandoned in a cell for five days.

Daniel Chong, 23, was mistakenly left in a cell in San Diego after being arrested with eight other people on April 21 in raid in which Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents seized guns, ammunition and drugs.

The University of California (UC) student has filed a claim seeking $20 million in compensation after the “life-altering” incident, in which he says he was left in a tiny 5 ft. by 10 ft. cell, broadcaster NBC reported.

Lacking food or drink, he decided to drink his own urine. He also ingested a powdery substance found inside the cell, which was later revealed to be a methamphetamine.

“I had to do what I had to do to survive. I hallucinated by the third day,” he told NBC, adding that he lost 15 pounds (7 kg) during the ordeal. “I was completely insane.”

Chong tried to take his own life by breaking the glass from his glasses and attempting to carve “Sorry mom,” on his arm. Nurses later found pieces of glass in his throat, leading him to believe he swallowed the shards.

The DEA confirmed details of the incident, in a statement emailed to AFP.

“The individual in question was at the house, by his own admission, to get high with his friends. All defendants were brought back to the DEA office to be fingerprinted, photographed, and interviewed.

“While being processed, the suspects were moved around the five cells at the DEA facility. Each suspect was interviewed in separate interview rooms, and frequently moved around between rooms and cells.

It added: “Seven suspects were brought to county detention after processing, one was released and the individual in question was accidentally left in one of the cells.”

DEA San Diego Acting Special Agent in Charge William R. Sherman added: “I am deeply troubled by the incident that occurred here last week.

“I extend my deepest apologies to the young man and want to express that this event is not indicative of the high standards that I hold my employees to. I have personally ordered an extensive review of our policies and procedures.”

Chong told NBC he was mystified at how they could have simply forgotten him. “They never came back, ignored all my cries and I still don’t know what happened,” he said.

“I’m not sure how they could forget me.”

Sourced from Agence France-Presse

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[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes 'FAIR USE' of any such copyrighted material.]

Environmental

 

 

New Herbicide Could Kill Weeds, Crops, Monsanto

22Apr2012

By

By Motley Fool

Monsanto (NYSE: MON  ) and Dow AgroSciences, a unit of Dow Chemical (NYSE: DOW  ) , could be facing a serious challenge to their crop chemical development plans. A remarkably nonrabid, diverse coalition of farmers and major food companies is pursuing legal action aimed at forcing the EPA and USDA to analyze potential risks associated with new weed killers in the pipeline. If they prevail, it could spell trouble for our heroes.

The Save Our Crops Coalition, or SOCC, comprises 2,000 farmers and other food interests, including Ball Corp. (NYSE: BLL  ) — maker of those canning jars and other food packaging — and Seneca Foods (Nasdaq: SENEA  ) , maker of Libby’s brand foods. Its members represent both conventional and organic farming interests, and range from specialty growers to major agronomic crop producers. This isn’t your usual band of fringe groups making noise that no one hears. Someone might actually pay attention to them.

 

Read Full Article Here

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Cyber Space

Mobile Malware Incidents on Rise, Says Smartphone Survey

By John E Dunn, techworld.com    Apr 22, 2012 7:00 am

The cost-saving culture of ‘bring your own device’ smartphones is tempting enterprises into taking risks they would not contemplate for conventional computing devices, a survey by Goode Intelligence has suggested.

The Third mSecurity Survey (summary PDF) confirmed that Apple’s iPhone is currently the dominant device, present in 77 percent of in the surveyed businesses, ahead of BlackBerry on 70 percent and the rapidly rising Android on 65 percent.

When asked whether their organisation allowed BYOD smartphone use, 71 percent said they did with 47 percent agreeing that company data was being stored on these devices.

Many of these smartphones were not being managed as secure devices, with fewer than one in five adding anti-malware and only half employing data encryption

Read Full Article Here

Hidden Dangers of CISPA

Want to stop private companies from sharing your personal information with Uncle Sam? Better hope the U.S. Congress doesn’t OK this ill-conceived legislation.

By Dan Tynan, ITworld    Apr 22, 2012 10:19 am

Have you heard of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act? If not, you’re in for a crash course. Leading privacy and civil rights groups have declared last week Stop Cyber Spying Weekin an effort to get the word out about CISPA – yet another meaningless acronym that threatens to redefine the Internet as we know it.

CISPA could be the most important piece of digital legislation since the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. And like the DMCA, which was written to thwart file sharers and DVD rippers but ended up being used to enforce copyrights on garage door openers and shut down blogs critical of corporations, it has at least as much potential for abuse.

Read Full Article Here

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Survival / Sustainability

Eat The Weeds: Episode 01: Why Learn About Wild Foods

Uploaded by on Jan 15, 2008

http://www.eattheweeds.com/foraging/

Eat Green. You can learn how to eat the weeds. Green Deane’s foraging techniques for wild food are usable anywhere. http://www.EatTheWeeds.com. The introduction is edited to fit the time slot.

Are You Ready Series: Storing Medical Supplies To Be Ready

Tess Pennington
Ready Nutrition

Storing medical supplies in the home for a possible disaster could save some one’s life if they need immediate medical assistance.  In the event of a major disaster, such as a hurricane or earthquake, if someone in the home is injured, emergency responders cannot always get to the injured victims in time.  Experts suggest having a well stocked arsenal of  medical supplies in this instance.

Suggested Home Medical Supplies

The idea of having medical supplies in the home is to be prepared for any given situation that could arise.   In the long run, if supplies are adequately organized and ready to go, the person administering medical assistance will have everything in place and be ready to act.  Making an inventory list of everything that is needed for all family members (include children’s needs as well as family members with special needs) as well as items that have already been purchased can help with organizing the supplies for storage.

  • Antacids
  • Anti-diarrheal
  • pain reliever
  • Children’s pain reliever
  • First aid book
  • Prescription medications (keep copies for records)
  • Cold/flu medicines
  • Vitamins
  • Blood clotting
  • Sterile gauze
  • Dressing bandages
  • Dressing rolls
  • Medical tape
  • Bandages of all sizes
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Eye flushing solution
  • Anesthetic solution
  • Hypodermic needles (for the antiseptic solution)
  • Electrolyte tablets
  • Benadryl
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Cold Packs
  • Warm Blankets
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Thermometers
  • Skin irritation creams
  • Gloves
  • Mask
  • Suture needles/string
  • List of medical contact phone numbers
  • Medical history file (if needed)

Read Full Article Here

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Whistle Blowers

Whistleblower bill addresses reports of sexual abuse of a minor by a co-worker

Published: Saturday, April 21, 2012, 8:30 PM

A bill aimed at preventing a repeat of the Penn State University sex abuse scandal is heading for final passage in the Louisiana House. Senate Bill 158, which has already been approved by the Senate, was easily approved by the House Labor and Industrial Relations Committee on Thursday.

jpmorrell.jpgFile photoSen. J.P. Morrell

Sponsored by Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, the bill would extend whistleblower protections to employees who report the sexual abuse of a minor by a co-worker. The bill was inspired by the case of assistant Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky, who has been accused of molesting children for years. Officials at the school are accused of covering up for him.

Another Morrell bill inspired by the Penn State scandal, SB 4, would increase requirements for reporting the sexual abuse of a minor. That bill has already passed the Senate and is headed to the House Criminal Justice Committee.

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Activism

South African society through lens of youth

Published on Apr 21, 2012 by

Young activists in South Africa are using cameras to document social and economic problems in their communities.

The photo club is designed to create awareness and get young people more involved. Their plan is to also spread the intiative to schools across the country.

Haru Mutasa reports from Johannesburg.

US ‘intelligence war’ triggers ‘Occupy spy base’ in UK

Published on Apr 22, 2012 by

Menwith Hill, the largest intelligence gathering and surveillance center outside the US, in the heart of the UK’s Yorkshire Dales, is surrounded by protesters demonstrating against America’s planned missile defense system. The local residents, often camping outside, have been joined by members of the global Occupy movement, supporting ongoing local efforts. To keep up with new types of warfare, billions of dollars has been invested in Menwith Hill over the last decade. It has enabled the base to remain a vital component of the global US surveillance network.

Greek Town Develops Bartering System

Published on Apr 18, 2012 by

http://thevictoryreport.org/
Greek town develops bartering system without euro. As Greece wonders whether its debt crisis will eventually spell its exit from the euro, one town in the centre of the country, Volos, has formed an alternative local currency. It works through a bartering system or exchange of goods.

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Articles of Interest

Mass Dolphin Death Mystery In Peru, Authorities Blame It On Viral Infection

By Sreeja VN | Apr 22, 2012 08:14 AM EDT

Investigations are on into the deaths of hundreds of dolphins that washed up on the northern coast of Peru. Around 877 carcasses of dolphins and porpoises were found on Peruvian beaches in two and half months. Peruvian officials and environmentalists are trying to unravel the mystery behind the phenomenon.

No concrete reasons have been figured out yet but the authorities believe that it could possibly be a viral infection that may have killed the dolphins in huge numbers. While environmental groups in the country blame the seismic oil exploration work carried out by BPZ Energy Company for the dolphin deaths.

Read Full Article Here

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[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes 'FAIR USE' of any such copyrighted material.]

Health

Dental X-rays Linked to Twofold Increase in Brain Cancer

Mike Barrett
Natural Society

How often does your dentist insist on giving you a dental X-ray just to make sure all is well? While a dental x-ray may be justifiable if there is some serious risk, research is pointing out that too many of these X-rays may result in a twofold risk increase in a brain cancer known as meningioma.

Dental X-Rays Could Increase Brain Cancer Risk

For the research, Elizabeth B. Claus, MD, PhD, of Yale University, and colleagues examined the records of 1,433 patients who were diagnosed with meningioma between May 2006 and April 2011. The researchers made a control group matched for sex, age, and geography. Researchers found that bitewing X-rays (showing upper and lower back teeth) performed less than once per year was associated with patients being 1.1 to 1.6 times more likely to experience meningioma across age groups. They also found that annual or more frequent panorex dental X-ray (an X-ray showing all teeth and surrounding bones) exposure increased odds by 2.7 to 3.0 in 3 of the oldest age groups, while x-rays performed “before age 10 was associated with a meningioma odds ratio of 4.9.”….

Obese Mothers 67% More Likely to Have a Child with Autism

Anthony Gucciardi
NaturalSociety

New research has drawn a direct link between obese mothers and autistic babies, finding that overweight pregnant women have a startling 67% higher chance of having an autistic child than those who are not. In the study, the researchers note that the extreme prevalency of obesity in the United States is serious cause for alarm, as autism rates continue to skyrocket.Conducted between January 2003 and June 2010, scientists observed 1,000 California children between the ages of 2 and 5. With more than two-thirds of the study population being diagnosed with either autism or developmental delays, the researchers reached some shocking statistical conclusions. When compared with the average women, who has a reported 1 in 88 chance of having an autistic child, obese mothers have a whopping 1 in 53 chance. On a large scale, especially when considering the explosive obesity epidemic, that is a major difference.

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Holistic Health

The benefits of raw honey

By Luella May
(NaturalNews) When we look at the word “raw”, we associated it with the preservation of important vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Just as raw vegetables are preferable because of their nutritional content, the same is true of honey. Raw honey is honey that has not been heated, pasteurized or processed in any way. The differences between raw and pasteurized honey are substantial. Raw honey is an alkaline-forming food that contains natural vitamins, enzymes, powerful antioxidants and other important…

Read Full Article Here

How to keep your kidneys healthy, happy and stone-free

By Jonathan Benson,

(NaturalNews) Kidney stones are one of the most excruciatingly painful conditions a person can develop. But a recent study published in the Journal of Urology has found that maintaining high intake of calcium and fluids, and cutting back intake of refined salt, can help to prevent kidney stones from forming. Dandelion, aloe vera, apple cider vinegar, cranberry, magnesium, and potassium can all help prevent, or even pass, kidney stones as well. Dr. Mathew Sorensen, a urologist at the University…

Water filtration is an essential component to a healthy lifestyle

By Dr. David Jockers,

(NaturalNews) Clean water is a fundamental part of a healthy lifestyle. The majority of our society relies on municipal water sources to supply their household needs. Most city water sources contain highly contaminated forms of water that are then sanitized with potent chemical agents. Water filtration is especially important to make municipal water acceptable to drink. Municipal water systems contain chemical residue from pesticides, herbicides and industrial waste. It also contains several strains…

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Pet Health

How to Know if the Poultry in Your Pet’s Food is Chicken… or Roadkill

By Dr. Becker

In early October 2011, the poultry industry held a seminar in Nashville to discuss the use of poultry by-products in pet food.

A scientist employed by a major pet food company gave a presentation audaciously titled, The Importance of Rendered Ingredients in Pet Foods.

Of course, a more candid title would emphasize to whom rendered ingredients are important, which is primarily pet food manufacturers.

Rendered ingredients are often the opposite of “important” when it comes to nutrition for the pets eating the stuff.

At the same seminar, a member of the National Renderers Association gave a presentation on emerging markets for rendered products.

It seems in the U.S. we produce about 4 million metric tons of “animal protein meal” per year.

Pet food is the biggest growth market for rendered products.

I thought this would be a good opportunity to discuss the food rendering industry, what types of raw materials are rendered for inclusion in pet food, and how easy it is to become confused by what’s really in the commercial pet food you serve your dog or cat…..

Read Full Article Here

Please… Don’t Get a Dog!

By Dr. Becker

There was a time when the majority of dogs lived at least partly outdoors rather than inside the house like members of the family.

The widely held opinion of the day was, “Hey, they’re dogs – not people.”

A different species.

Not only furry and grubby, but downright unsanitary, disease-riddled critters.

And perhaps because dogs did spend so much time isolated from their humans — on the outside looking in – people and dogs didn’t bond in the same close way we commonly see today.

To a dog, life spent mostly alone in the backyard or fenced run is no life at all.

Canines are naturally social creatures.

It’s as hard for a dog to live without companionship as it is for a human.

Fortunately, in the last few decades more dog owners have become enlightened about the basic need of canine companions to feel close to their human ‘pack.’

And the more time people spend with their dogs, the stronger the bond between them grows – a bond that provides tremendous benefits for everyone involved.

Read Full Article Here

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Positivity Mind and Body

Is there Power in Positive Thinking?

Uploaded by

How can we stay positive when competing demands and time pressure can impact everything from how our immune system functions, to whether or not we exercise, to the interactions we have with each other, and even to every breath we take? Our improved understanding of the relationship between behavior, physiology and disease development provides the rationale for integrative approaches that empower people for more mindful and effective navigation in today’s world. UCSF’s Dr. Margaret Chesney presents some of the current research on mind-body interventions and provides strategies to help enhance health and well-being. Series: Healthy Living [8/2010] [Health and Medicine] [Professional Medical Education] [Show ID: 19383]

[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes 'FAIR USE' of any such copyrighted material.]

 

Environmental

 

Poland Announces Complete Ban on Monsanto’s Genetically Modified Maize

 

Anthony Gucciardi
NaturalSociety

 

Following the anti-Monsanto activism launched by nations like France and Hungary, Poland has announced that it will launch a complete ban on growing Monsanto’s genetically modified strain MON810. The announcement, made by Agriculture Minister Marek Sawicki, sets yet another international standard against Monsanto’s genetically modified creations. In addition to being linked to a plethora health ailments, Sawicki says that the pollen originating from this GM strain may actually be devastating the already dwindling bee population.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

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Cyber Space

 

Expect more online attacks, Anonymous hackers say

 

The hacking group Anonymous says it will launch online attacks every weekend, following claims it disrupted access to the Home Office website.

Anonymous Twitter messages warned of the attack on 4 April, and said: “Expect a DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) every Saturday on the UK Government sites.”

The Home Office site was inaccessible for several hours on Saturday night.

Officials say no sensitive information was lost, and it is now back to normal.

A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack floods a web-server with so many requests that it can no longer respond to legitimate users.

The Home Office website became inaccessible around 21:00 BST on Saturday, and was patchy from 05:00 on Sunday.

It is not clear whether the protest was against email surveillance or extradition, but it could be both.

One message on Twitter said it was a protest against “draconian surveillance proposals”, but another claimed it was over extradition from the UK to the US.

One tweet claiming to be from Anonymous said: “You should not give UK citizens to foreign countries without evidence. If an offense happened in the UK, so should the trial.”

There were also claims on Twitter that the 10 Downing Street website had been targeted as part of the same protest…..

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

LulzSec hacker pleads guilty

Cody Kretsinger, 24, faces jail after admitting in plea bargain to breaching Sony Pictures website and stealing names

 

Reuters
The Guardian,

 

LulzSec hacker Cody Kretsinger has pleaded guilty to charges of taking part in an extensive computer breach against Sony.

Kretsinger, 24, pleaded guilty in a California federal court to one count each of conspiracy and unauthorised impairment of a protected computer in a deal with prosecutors. LulzSec, an offshoot of the international hacking group Anonymous, has taken credit for hacking government and private sector websites.

“I joined LulzSec, your honor, at which point we gained access to the Sony Pictures website,” Kretsinger, who went by the hacking moniker “Recursion,” told the judge after entering his guilty plea.

Kretsinger testified that he gave the information he got from the Sony site to other members of LulzSec, who then posted it onto the group’s website and on Twitter…..

 

Read Full Article Here

 

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Survival / Sustainability

 

25 Must Know Skills For Surviving The Coming Nightmare

 

The following article was generously shared with the SHTFplan community by regular contributor ‘Be Informed’ and provides skills that will be essential for surviving any number of catastrophes that may befall us.

Many people nowadays are quite aware that the world they live in is going to the toilet. Aside from the geophysical part that “seems” to be going haywire and could be nothing other than the planet’s cycles, there are plenty of man made catastrophes that loom on the horizon. Never has the planet had as many people as now and the more people there are the more competition there is for resources. More countries seek nuclear devices than ever before and with advancements in technology this is a much easier process than anytime before. Biological and chemical weapons are also much easier to manufacture because of leaps of technology in regards to computers. Oil markets are much tighter because of the countries of China and India and their increasing need of energy to fuel their booming economies, and new finds of oil fields cannot keep up with the demand. The debacle of the world economies needs no introduction. In short, bad times, really bad times could and probably be coming to a neighborhood near you. Unless you and your family take quite seriously this possibility, if and when something extremely horrible happens, you could very well end up one of the large number of statistics…..

 

Read Full Article Here

 

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Activism

 

Day 203: Live Coverage of the Occupy Movement

 

Special Coverage: As we enter Day 203 of the Occupy movements the protests have spread not only across the country but all over the globe. Thousands of activists have descended on Wall Street these past weeks as part of the #OccupyWallStreet protest organized by several action groups. What follows is a live video stream and live Twitter feed of this event.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

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Psy – Ops

 

Pupils are recruited to spy on us during our lessons and schools are being ‘run like totalitarian regimes’, say teachers

 

By Sarah Harris

 

Pupils are being ‘actively recruited’ by schools to spy on their teachers in the classroom, a union has warned.

They are being used as ‘management tools’ to carry out covert – and even open – surveillance of members of staff, it was claimed.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, condemned the practice as a ‘form of abuse’ of children.

She told the union’s annual conference in Birmingham on Saturday that ‘debilitating’ monitoring ‘erodes teachers’ self-esteem and gnaws away at their professional confidence’.

She said: ‘Children and teachers are diminished and abused by the use of pupils as management tools to carry out surveillance on their teachers.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

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Articles of Interest

Autism and Disappearing Bees: A Common Denominator?

 

By Brian Moench
Common Dreams

 

A few days ago the Salt Lake Tribune’s front page headline declared, “Highest rate in the nation, 1 in 32 Utah boys has autism.” This is a national public health emergency, whose epicenter is Utah, Gov. Herbert. A more obscure story on the same day read: “New pesticides linked to bee population collapse.” If you eat food, and hope to do so in the future, this is another national emergency, Pres. Obama. A common denominator may underlie both headlines.

A Stanford University study with 192 pairs of twins, with one twin autistic and one not, found that genetics accounts for 38% of the risk of autism, and environmental factors account for 62%.

Supporting an environmental/genetic tag team are other studies showing autistic children and their mothers have a high rate of a genetic deficiency in the production of glutathione, an anti-oxidant and the body’s primary means of detoxifying heavy metals. High levels of toxic metals in children are strongly correlated with the severity of autism. Low levels of glutathione, coupled with high production of another chemical, homocysteine, increase the chance of a mother having an autistic child to one in three. That autism is four times more common among boys than girls is likely related to a defect in the single male X chromosome contributing to anti-oxidant deficiency……

 

Read Full Article Here

 

Operation Midnight Climax : How the CIA Dosed S.F. Citizens with LSD

 

It’s been over 50 years, but Wayne Ritchie says he can still remember how it felt to be dosed with acid.

He was drinking bourbon and soda with other federal officers at a holiday party in 1957 at the U.S. Post Office Building on Seventh and Mission streets. They were cracking jokes and swapping stories when, suddenly, the room began to spin. The red and green lights on the Christmas tree in the corner spiraled wildly. Ritchie’s body temperature rose. His gaze fixed on the dizzying colors around him.

The deputy U.S. marshal excused himself and went upstairs to his office, where he sat down and drank a glass of water. He needed to compose himself. But instead he came unglued. Ritchie feared the other marshals didn’t want him around anymore. Then he obsessed about the probation officers across the hall and how they didn’t like him, either. Everyone was out to get him. Ritchie felt he had to escape.

He fled to his apartment and sought comfort from his live-in girlfriend. It didn’t go as planned. His girlfriend was there, but an argument erupted. She told him she was growing tired of San Francisco and wanted to return to New York City. Ritchie couldn’t handle the situation. Frantic, he ran away again, this time to the Vagabond Bar where he threw back more bourbon and sodas. From he hit a few more bars, further cranking up his buzz. As he drank his way back to Seventh and Mission, Ritchie concocted a plan that would change his life.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

Europe’s Austerity Program Spawns ‘Lost Generation’

 

Julio Godoy, News Report:

 

The German economy already suffered a slowdown of 0.2 percent during the last quarter of 2011. Given the OECD forecast, such figures suggest that even Germany, the last standing economic powerhouse in an otherwise lethargic continent, might have fallen into recession – experiencing a negative growth rate for two consecutive quarters. To confirm the crisis, the European Commission’s office for youth announced that youth unemployment across the continent went up to 5.5 million in January 2012, a 37.7 percent growth rate since the spring of 2008, at the beginning of the global financial crisis.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes 'FAIR USE' of any such copyrighted material.]

 

Environmental

Monsanto’s Roundup Altering the Physical Shape of Amphibians

 

Mike Barrett, News Analysis:

 

While it wasn’t surprising to see morphological changes take part due to the naturally emitted chemicals from predators, it was rather shocking to find out that Roundup had the same effects — causing the tails of the tadpoles to grow in size. What’s more, the combination of the naturally emitted chemicals and Roundup caused the tadpoles’ tails to grow twice as large. Seeing as tadpoles alter body shape in order to properly survive in its environment, the forced changes from herbicides like Roundup can put the animals at a disadvantage.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

 

Environmental Groups Sue EPA Over Lack of Coal Ash Regulation

 

Emma Schwartz, News Report:

 

A 2009 investigation by the Center for Public Integrity revealed the havoc that coal ash has wreaked near ponds, landfills, and pits where it is dumped. Even the EPA has identified 63 “proven or potential damage cases” in 23 states where coal ash has tainted groundwater or otherwise harmed the environment. But critics say no meaningful federal regulations have been put in place.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

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Survival / Sustainability

 

Using Community Gardens to Grow Low-Income Communities Out of Food Deserts

 

Emily Apple, New Deal 2.0:

 

“More than 23 million Americans live in ‘food deserts’: areas with limited access to affordable and nutritious food, particularly ones composed of predominantly lower income neighborhoods and communities. Recognizing these problems, Daniel Bowman Simon … has now has moved on to helping low-income individuals and families access healthy foods through his organization SNAP Gardens. Simon encourages SNAP beneficiaries to ‘grow’ their benefits by utilizing a 1973 amendment to the Food Stamp Act that allows food stamp recipients to use their benefits to buy seeds.”

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

The Hidden Food in Your Yard – You May Walk by It Every Day…

 

By Dr. Mercola

 

A major part of achieving optimal health is living in partnership with nature.

Growing your own food is a great way to rekindle this connection with nature.

But have you thought about eating plants that grow wild—perhaps in your own backyard?

Some “weeds” can be delicious if prepared properly, and they are absolutely free.

In an article published earlier this summer, Live Science collected some easy-to-identify healthful weeds, including:

Dandelion: The entire plant is edible, and the leaves contain vitamins A, C and K, along with calcium, iron, manganese, and potassium.
Purslane: Purslane tops the list of plants with omega-3 fats.
Lamb’s-quarters: Lamb’s-quarters are like spinach, except healthier, tastier and easier to grow.
Plantain: Not the better-known banana-like plant with the same name. It has a nutritional profile similar to dandelion.
Stinging Nettles: If you handle them so that you don’t get a painful rash from the tiny, acid-filled needles, these are delicious and nutritious cooked or prepared as a tea.

This is of course how our ancestors ate. They hunted and gathered, and ALL of it was wild. And by all accounts, they were far healthier than we are.

Of course, like anything else, identification and use of wild plants requires spending some time educating yourself, lest you eat something inedible or even poisonous. But with some attention to learning what to look for, you can avail yourself of some of the most highly nutritious, health-promoting plants for FREE—and have a lot of fun doing it. With the availability of the Internet, in addition to a number of excellent printed books and even wild-food foraging classes, this information is now easy to access.

So, grab your favorite weeding tool and a basket, and step outside to see what little gems you can find in your own backyard!

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

 

 

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Whistle Blowers

 

‘Reluctant Spy’ indicted for leaking US secrets

 

A former CIA officer was indicted Thursday on charges of leaking secrets to journalists, including the name of a covert agent and the role of another CIA employee in classified operations.

John Kiriakou, who had previously revealed the CIA’s use of waterboarding of Al-Qaeda suspects, was charged in January with leaking secrets. The indictment allows the case to proceed to trial without an evidentiary hearing.

The indictment returned by a grand jury in Virginia charged Kiriakou with one count of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act and three counts of violating the Espionage Act.

The indictment also charged him with making false statements to the CIA in an unsuccessful attempt to trick the agency into allowing him to include classified information in his 2010 book, “The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA’s War on Terror.”

 

Read Full Article Here

 

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Activism

 

How to Succeed in Reoccupation Without Really Trying

 

Nathan Schneider, Op-Ed:

 

This is a new time; the movement and people’s perspectives on it are in a totally different place than they were last fall. Potential allies expect more from the movement, I’d say, and so they should. People I know who were wholeheartedly behind it a few months ago seem to think it’s over, or it should be. The encampments, which Occupiers know as well as anyone sometimes turned into rather unsafe spaces, lost much public support.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

 

Corrupt Canadian Banking System.mp4

 

Uploaded by facing42 on Apr 6, 2012

 

This is my daughter. She gave this speech at a business meeting in front of 600 people. Her eyes have been opened to a scam that is being perpetrated upon Canadians and the rest of the world.
I am the owner of this video. Feel free to use it freely without altering the content in a manner that would draw conclusions unintended by the speech but please redirect people back to the original post.

Please also see these great resources for more information and people who are trying their best to enact the necessary change in our country and the world:

http://www.ohcanadamovie.com/

 

 

 

 

More proof activism works: Kraft, Coca-Cola and Pepsi all say they will leave ALEC

 

By Madison Ruppert

 

For those who are unaware, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), is a corporate front group which enables corporate members to help craft “model” legislation which they then give to their allies in state legislatures to put forth as their own.

Essentially, it allows America’s largest corporations to ghostwrite legislation which is later proposed by legislators without the public ever knowing that ALEC had a hand in crafting the bill. They have been linked to many corporations with less-than-admirable intentions, one of the more troubling being Corrections Corporation of America.

A great resource to learn more about the corrupt and deplorable actions of ALEC is ALEC Exposed, a project of the Center for Media and Democracy. They expose ALEC corporations, politicians, state chairmen, who funds ALEC as well as a breakdown of all of the so-called “model bills” they create.

A coalition of citizen groups led by the group Color of Change have begun a campaign to pressure the corporations behind ALEC to quit the group and thus cease providing them with massive funding.

They are arguing that popular consumer corporations should not be backing legislation which, ultimately, is incredibly harmful to the communities which profit off of.

Furthermore, they are directly harming their shareholders and employees as well by damaging their communities as well.

The coalition, made up of Color of Change, Rebuild the Dream, Center for Media and Democracy and the Republic Report, along with private individuals, recently wrote to all 20 corporations sitting on ALEC’s board.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

 

Generation Waking Up: The Story of Our Generation

 

 

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Articles of Interest

 

These Are The Prices AT&T, Verizon and Sprint Charge For Cellphone Wiretaps

 

Andy Greenberg, Forbes Staff

 

If Americans aren’t disturbed by phone carriers’ practices of handing over cell phone users’ personal data to law enforcement en masse–in many cases without a warrant–we might at least be interested to learn just how much that service is costing us in tax dollars: often hundreds or thousands per individual snooped.

Earlier this week the American Civil Liberties Union revealed a trove of documents it had obtained through Freedom of Information Requests to more than 200 police departments around the country. They show a pattern of police tracking cell phone locations and gathering other data like call logs without warrants, using devices that impersonate cell towers to intercept cellular signals, and encouraging officers to refrain from speaking about cell-tracking technology to the public, all detailed in a New York Times story.

But at least one document also details the day-to-day business of telecoms’ handing over of data to law enforcement, including a breakdown of every major carrier’s fees for every sort of data request from targeted wiretaps to so-called “tower dumps” that provide information on every user of certain cell tower. The guide, as provided by the Tucson, Arizona police department to the ACLU, is dated July 2009, and the fees it lists may be somewhat outdated. But representatives I reached by email at Verizon and AT&T both declined to detail any changes to the numbers…..

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

 

[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes 'FAIR USE' of any such copyrighted material.]

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