Mexican plan for Gulf deep water wells sparks new worries
MEXICO CITY — Two years after the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, Mexico’s state oil company is about to test its hand at drilling at extraordinary depths in the Gulf of Mexico.
If all goes as planned, Petroleos de Mexico, known as Pemex, will deploy two state-of-the-art drilling platforms in May to an area just south of the maritime boundary with the United States. One rig will sink a well in 9,514 feet of water, while another will drill in 8,316 feet of water, then deeper into the substrata.
Pemex has no experience drilling at such depths. Mexico’s oil regulator is sounding alarm bells, saying the huge state oil concern is unprepared for a serious deep water accident or spill. Critics say the company has sharply cut corners on insurance, remiss over potential sky-high liability.
Mexico’s plans come two years after the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, the worst oil spill in U.S. history. On April 20, 2010, a semi-submersible rig that the British oil firm BP had contracted to drill a well known as Macondo exploded off the Louisiana coast, killing 11 workers and spewing 4.9 million barrels of oil in the nearly three months it took engineers to stop the spill.
BP has said the tab for the spill — including government fines, cleanup costs and compensation — could climb to $42 billion for the company and its contractors.
Pemex’s plans to sink even deeper offshore wells underscore Mexico’s pressing need to maintain sagging oil production — exports pay for one-third of government operating expenses — along with oil companies’ desire to leverage technology and drill at ever more challenging depths.
Carlos A. Morales, the chief of the Pemex exploration and production arm, which employs 50,000 people, voiced confidence that his company has to the ability to sink wells in ultra-deep water.
“Pemex is ready to undertake the challenge and to do it safely,” Morales said in an interview in his 41st-floor office at Pemex headquarters in this capital city.
“You have to bear one thing in mind,” he said. “Pemex is the biggest operator in the Gulf — including everyone — both in production and in the number of rigs we operate. We are operating more than 80 rigs offshore”.
Millions of Pounds of Toxic Poison to Flood US Farmland
By Cassandra Anderson
The EPA announced that it has completed the first part of its study on dioxin, after more than 25 years of stonewalling.
Dioxin is the most caustic man-made chemical known. Dioxin is a general term for hundreds of chemicals that are produced in industrial processes that use chlorine and burning. Disturbingly, it has a half-life of 100+ years when it is leached into soil or embedded in water systems. Dioxin was the most harmful component in Agent Orange (the recipe for Agent Orange is 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T herbicides).
The EPA says that air emissions of dioxin have decreased by 90% since the 1980′s, but dioxin is dangerous at any level. The study appears to omit any analysis of dioxin transmission in water and land. The danger is growing because Dow AgroScience has received preliminary USDA approval for its 2,4-D herbicide resistant GMO corn. This means that dioxin contaminated 2,4-D herbicide will drench US farm land and pollute water supplies if the crops are widely planted.
EPA Dioxin Assessment Report
The EPA’s press release on dioxin’s health effects trumpeted the lie that current exposure rates “don’t pose significant health risks”. But the EPA does admit that there is a cancer risk, although they are not releasing their study on cancer at this time. Perhaps the delay is due to the fact that 95% of Americans have measurable levels of dioxin in their bodies.
The EPA’s claim that current levels are not a health risk is contradicted by another webpage on the EPA’s own site says that dioxin accumulates over a lifetime, persists for years, is likely to lead to an increased risk of cancer, and that the current exposure levels are “uncomfortably” close to levels that can cause “subtle” non-cancer effects. These so-called subtle effects may include birth defects, reproductive problems and immuno suppression.
There were 500,000 victims of birth defects in Viet Nam that can hardly be considered subtle. Dioxin is bad at any level especially since it accumulates in the body.
Humans are exposed to dioxin primarily through food sources. The EPA’s press release fails to mention that people who eat animal based foods like meat, dairy and eggs will continually increase their dioxin levels.
If dioxin is so safe, why does the Veterans Administration make automatic payments for a wide range of claims that include several types of cancers and leukemia, liver disease, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease and diabetes? American taxpayers are footing the bill for veterans’ Agent Orange dioxin injuries that are estimated to cost $42 billion over the next 10 years! Monsanto and Dow, the top 2 Agent Orange producers, should pay for all damages — not taxpayers.
While the EPA’s press release does acknowledge “certain industrial activities” as a cause of dioxin pollution, they omit any reference to chemical herbicides and pesticides. The EPA doesn’t mention that herbicide 2,4-D (half of the Agent Orange recipe) is the seventh largest source of dioxin in the US. Dow Chemical is the biggest 2,4-D manufacturer, and Dow is also listed as the #2 and #3 biggest industrial dioxin dumper in the US. Herbicide 2,4-D is polluting groundwater.
Shocking EPA Omission
The most disturbing omission by the EPA is its complete lack of oversight of a specific type of dioxin, 2,7-DCDD, that is one of the most potent kinds of dioxin. It is reported that DCDD is an inevitable by-product of 2,4-D herbicide manufacturing. The EPA doesn’t even regulate or monitor DCDD!
Therefore, the EPA’s report is incomplete and the true levels of dioxin are unknown.
Survival / Sustainability
Soccer Mom Prepares for the Unexpected
Uploaded by peakmoment
Peak Moment 203: “I have a ball preserving food with my friends!” And at the same time Kathy Harrison is making sure her kids can eat if storms knock out power or roads. The author of “Just in Case: How to Be Self Sufficient when The Unexpected Happens” gives practical tips on storing food without getting overwhelmed. She looks at dehydrating, canning, and root cellaring; finding and preserving local food, and buying food at discount. For Kathy, preparedness is an empowering, community activity.
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Container Gardening With Vegetables and Herbs
By Barbara Pleasant
These are among the best food crops for container gardening: artichoke, arugula, bok choy, celery, chard, cucumber, eggplant, garlic, lettuce, onion, pepper, snap bean, pea, tomato and most herbs. Look for compact varieties that will grow best in a confined space.
The most personal way to forge a connection with delicious food crops — from arugula to tomatoes — is to grow them up close in containers. Special methods are needed to produce high-quality food crops in containers, because most vegetables and herbs grow best when planted in the ground. Stable soil temperatures and constant access to water, nutrients and microscopic soil allies give in-ground crops a clear advantage.
But if growing edibles in the ground is not an option due to a lack of backyard space, destructive pets or homeowner association rules, then growing some crops in containers on your porch, patio or fire escape may be the solution. Also, if you have problems with your site or soil that prevent in-ground gardening, then container gardening may allow you to avoid some of these problems:
• Shade from buildings and trees can be minimized by moving container-grown vegetables to your sunniest spots, which change with the seasons.
• Soil pH barriers can be overcome by using custom soil mixes to grow plants that need more or less acidic soil conditions than are common in your area. For example, containers are a good way to grow acid-loving strawberries or potatoes if your soil is naturally neutral or alkaline.
• Protection from soil borne pests, from nematodes to voles, and greatly reduced weed problems are natural benefits of container gardening. Where soil borne diseases such as tomato Fusarium are common, containers are an easy way to grow lovely ‘Yellow Pear’ tomatoes and other susceptible varieties.
• Contaminated soil from toxic lead in old paint, termite pesticides applied to your home’s foundation, chemicals that have leached from treated wood, and other hazards, should not be a problem as long as you use good quality soil mix. (These concerns are especially relevant on urban and reclaimed lots.)
Then there’s the convenience factor. Although my vegetable garden is right in my backyard, I want containers of sweet peppers, parsley, cherry tomatoes and basil within steps of my kitchen door. If you live in an apartment or condo with no yard, you can still have a summer’s worth of veggies right at your fingertips.
One big difference between in-ground and container-grown vegetables is root temperature. In summer, warm daytime temperatures will cause plant roots in containers to warm up by 15 degrees Fahrenheit or more (this never happens 4 inches below ground). And dark containers accumulate solar heat, which intensifies this effect. Warm roots can be your enemy or your friend, depending on the season and the crop. Eggplant, peppers, tomatoes and okra love warm roots, while onions and celery (a surprisingly successful container plant) need cooler feet. You can’t control the weather, but you can minimize soil temperature swings by using the largest containers possible and choosing light-colored containers when appropriate.
The plants discussed here are easy to grow in containers in most climates, but many other vegetables make challenging container crops. If you’re a new gardener, stick with the container-grown vegetables listed below at first to build on your skills. Remember, plants grown in containers will be totally dependent on you for water, feeding and adequate accommodations for their roots. By midsummer, herbs and vegetables in containers may need water twice a day and liquid fertilizer twice a week. Think of container gardening as an intensive form of the food gardener’s art…..
Psy – Ops
This Is Your Brain on the Department of Defense
The Department of Defense has long had its eyes on emerging neuroscience technologies. Should we be worried?
By Azeen Ghorayshi
April 04, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — Science and the military have historically made creepy bedfellows, with military curiosity about neuroscience leading the pack. Yet it’s no secret that since the early 1950s, the US military has had a vested interest in harnessing cutting-edge developments in neuroscience to get a leg up on national defense (a la well-publicized failures like Project MK-ULTRA ). In 2011, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Pentagon’s research arm credited with, among other things, spearheading the invention of the internet , had a budget of over $240 million  devoted to cognitive neuroscience research alone. From brain-scan-based lie detection to memory-erasure pills, some of the technologies are, at first glance, simply the stuff of sci-fi. But an essay published in the March issue of PLoS Biology  tells a cautionary tale of high-tech neuroscience developments on the horizon that “could be deployed before sufficiently validated.”
The two authors, Michael Tennison and Jonathan Moreno, are no strangers to the broader implications of science; both are bioethicists, and Moreno, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, has been a part of multiple government advisory bodies, including President Obama’s bioethics commission. “They see me as an honest broker,” says Moreno. “I worry about the ethical questions behind a lot of these technologies, I’m left-leaning, but I’m no pacifist—I have kids, and I think we do have to worry about national security.”
A lot gets said about scientific research that’s so-called “dual-use ,” e.g., its potential for good is matched or outmatched by its potential to do harm. Case in point: the recent H5N1 hubbub , where Dutch and American scientists made a potentially dangerous airborne strain of the already-dangerous bird flu virus, but only in the interest of “preventing a pandemic .” Similarly, Moreno runs through recent developments in neuroscience, connecting them to their well-funded, though still highly speculative, DOD research goals—as well as the knotty legal and ethical questions these experimental technologies suggest. “Neuroscientists haven’t had the atom bomb moment that Einstein and Oppenheimer had, they haven’t even had the bird flu moment; but that time is fast-approaching,” Moreno says. Here are some of the top neuroscience developments that Moreno, and DOD, is keeping an eye on—and why he thinks we should care.
Articles of Interest
Shady Companies With Ties to Israel Wiretap the U.S. for the NSA
By James Bamford
Army General Keith Alexander, the director of the NSA, is having a busy year — hopping around the country, cutting ribbons at secret bases and bringing to life the agency’s greatly expanded eavesdropping network.
In January he dedicated the new $358 million CAPT Joseph J. Rochefort Building at NSA Hawaii, and in March he unveiled the 604,000-square-foot John Whitelaw Building at NSA Georgia.
Designed to house about 4,000 earphone-clad intercept operators, analysts and other specialists, many of them employed by private contractors, it will have a 2,800-square-foot fitness center open 24/7, 47 conference rooms and VTCs, and “22 caves,” according to an NSA brochure from the event. No television news cameras were allowed within two miles of the ceremony.
Overseas, Menwith Hill, the NSA’s giant satellite listening post in Yorkshire, England that sports 33 giant dome-covered eavesdropping dishes, is also undergoing a multimillion-dollar expansion, with $68 million alone being spent on a generator plant to provide power for new supercomputers. And the number of people employed on the base, many of them employees of Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, is due to increase from 1,800 to 2,500 in 2015, according to a study done in Britain. Closer to home, in May, Fort Meade will close its 27-hole golf course to make room for a massive $2 billion, 1.8-million-square-foot expansion of the NSA’s headquarters, including a cyber command complex and a new supercomputer center expected to cost nearly $1 billion.
Monsanto’s Top Corporate Secrets Exposed
This is an unbelievable resource on the power that Monsanto holds over the world and everything in it. An unprecedented look its web of power over you and me. An absolute gem of a resource I bring to you via its author Kelly Dericks whom I applaud to no end for her dedication and bravery in making this interactive map. spread the word!!
Invisible Empire A New World Order Defined Full
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