Generation X is surprisingly unconcerned about climate change

by Staff Writers
Ann Arbor, MI (SPX)

File image.

As the nation suffers through a summer of record-shattering heat, a University of Michigan report finds that Generation X is lukewarm about climate change-uninformed about the causes and unconcerned about the potential dangers. “Most Generation Xers are surprisingly disengaged, dismissive or doubtful about whether global climate change is happening and they don’t spend much time worrying about it,” said Jon D. Miller, author of “The Generation X Report.”

The new report, the fourth in a continuing series, compares Gen X attitudes about climate change in 2009 and 2011, and describes the levels of concern Gen Xers have about different aspects of climate change, as well as their sources of information on the subject.

“We found a small but statistically significant decline between 2009 and 2011 in the level of attention and concern Generation X adults expressed about climate change,” Miller said. “In 2009, about 22 percent said they followed the issue of climate change very or moderately closely. In 2011, only 16 percent said they did so.”

Miller directs the Longitudinal Study of American Youth at the U-M Institute for Social Research. The study, funded by the National Science Foundation since 1986, now includes responses from approximately 4,000 Gen Xers-those born between 1961 and 1981, and now between 32 and 52 years of age.

Only about 5 percent of those surveyed in 2011 were alarmed about climate change, and another 18 percent said they were concerned about it. But 66 percent said they aren’t sure that global warming is happening, and about 10 percent said they don’t believe global warming is actually happening.

“This is an interesting and unexpected profile,” Miller said. “Few issues engage a solid majority of adults in our busy and pluralistic society, but the climate issue appears to attract fewer committed activists-on either side-than I would have expected.”

Because climate change is such a complex issue, education and scientific knowledge are important factors in explaining levels of concern, Miller said. Adults with more education are more likely to be alarmed and concerned about climate change, he found. And those who scored 90 or above on a 100-point Index of Civic Scientific Literacy also were significantly more likely to be alarmed or concerned than less knowledgeable adults.

Still, 12 percent of those who were highly literate scientifically were either dismissive or doubtful about climate change, Miller found. He also found that partisan affiliations predicted attitudes, with nearly half of liberal Democrats alarmed or concerned compared with zero percent of conservative Republicans.

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Scientists connect seawater chemistry with climate change and evolution

by Staff Writers
Toronto, Canada (SPX)

This is a satellite view of the Zagros mountain belt in western Iran. The range forms part of the most extensive belt of water-soluble gypsum on Earth, stretching from Oman to Pakistan, and well into Western India. Scientists suggest that the dissolution of ancient salt deposits caused drastic changes in seawater chemistry, which may have triggered long-term global cooling. Credit: US Geological Survey/Center for Earth Resources Observation and Science.

Humans get most of the blame for climate change, with little attention paid to the contribution of other natural forces. Now, scientists from the University of Toronto and the University of California Santa Cruz are shedding light on one potential cause of the cooling trend of the past 45 million years that has everything to do with the chemistry of the world’s oceans.

“Seawater chemistry is characterized by long phases of stability, which are interrupted by short intervals of rapid change,” says Professor Ulrich Wortmann in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Toronto, lead author of a study to be published in Science this week.

“We’ve established a new framework that helps us better interpret evolutionary trends and climate change over long periods of time. The study focuses on the past 130 million years, but similar interactions have likely occurred through the past 500 million years.”

Wortmann and co-author Adina Paytan of the Institute of Marine Sciences at the University of California Santa Cruz point to the collision between India and Eurasia approximately 50 million years ago as one example of an interval of rapid change.

This collision enhanced dissolution of the most extensive belt of water-soluble gypsum on Earth, stretching from Oman to Pakistan, and well into Western India – remnants of which are well exposed in the Zagros mountains.

The authors suggest that the dissolution or creation of such massive gyspum deposits will change the sulfate content of the ocean, and that this will affect the amount of sulfate aerosols in the atmosphere and thus climate.

“We propose that times of high sulfate concentrations in ocean water correlate with global cooling, just as times of low concentration correspond with greenhouse periods,” says Paytan.

“When India and Eurasia collided, it caused dissolution of ancient salt deposits which resulted in drastic changes in seawater chemistry,” Paytan continues. “This may have led to the demise of the Eocene epoch – the warmest period of the modern-day Cenozoic era – and the transition from a greenhouse to icehouse climate, culminating in the beginning of the rapid expansion of the Antarctic ice sheet.”

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Think Pink! Success of pink bacteria in oceans of the world

by Staff Writers
Leibniz, Germany (SPX)

Marine bacteria Roseobacter clade.

Marine bacteria of the Roseobacter clade are found to be spread widely throughout the oceans of this planet from the tropics to as far as Antarctica. They live freely in the water, in sediments and as symbiotic partners of algae. Special photosynthetic pigments are responsible for their pink colour. Marine bacteria distinguish themselves through an unusually diverse metabolism, which opens interesting opportunities for biotechnological applications.

A reconstruction of their evolutionary development will provide a key for scientists to understand the secret for their ecological success. Researchers at the DSMZ have now discovered that, through plasmids, representatives of the Roseobacter group may exchange such important genetic characteristics as the capability to perform photosynthesis.

This type of horizontal gene transfer across the species boundary might make it possible for bacteria of the Roseobacter clade to quickly and effectively conquer new ecological niches. The results of experiments have been published in the magazine Environmental Microbiology and are already available online.

Since 2010, scientists of the Leibniz-Institut DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH (Leibniz Institute DSMZ German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures) have been working together with marine microbiologists, ecologists, biochemists, geneticists and information technologists in the Transregio 51 Roseobacter collaborative research centre.

The goal of this collaborative research group is to understand the evolutionary, genetic and physiological principles which are responsible for the success of this group of bacteria that have not yet been the object of very extensive research to date. What special genetic features do these bacteria have to enable them to adapt to the most varied of natural habitats?

The DSMZ researchers in the team of Dr. Jorn Petersen, Private Lecturer and Dr. Silke Pradella have now found a clue leading to an important point of reference. The scientists examined the evolution and importance of so-called “plasmids” within the Roseobacter clade which are to be found there in great numbers and varieties.

“Plasmids are usually ring-shaped DNA molecules with a size of up to 1 million base pairs which can duplicate themselves independently of the bacterial chromosome. Natural plasmids encode such useful properties as nitrogen fixation. However, they are also responsible for the development of multiresistant hospital pathogens”, the geneticist and evolutionary biologist Dr. Jorn Petersen explains.

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Buddha tree alive and healthy at age 2,500

by Staff Writers
Bodh Gaya, India (UPI)

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

The 2,500-year-old tree under which Gautama Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment is alive and healthy, Indian scientists said Thursday.

The Bodhi tree, a large Sacred Fig (Ficus religiosa,) is in Bodh Gaya in India’s eastern state of Bihar, about 60 miles from the state capital of Patna.

“The Bodhi tree is fully healthy,” Subhash Nautiyal of the Forest Research Institute in India’s northern state of Uttarakhand said.

Nautiyal and colleagues examined the tree after removing the cement slabs around its base, China’s Xinhua News Agency reported.

“It will help the tree to receive water and nutrition in its roots,” the scientists said.

The 1,500-year-old temple behind the sacred tree is visited by large numbers of tourists from all over the world, particularly from Japan.

Related Links
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Fools’ Gold Found to Regulate Oxygen

by Staff Writers
Rehovot, Israel (SPX)

File image.

As sulfur cycles through Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and land, it undergoes chemical changes that are often coupled to changes in other such elements as carbon and oxygen. Although this affects the concentration of free oxygen, sulfur has traditionally been portrayed as a secondary factor in regulating atmospheric oxygen, with most of the heavy lifting done by carbon. However, new findings that appeared this week in Science suggest that sulfur’s role may have been underestimated.

Drs. Itay Halevy of the Weizmann Institute’s Environmental Science and Energy Research Department (Faculty of Chemistry), Shanan Peters of the University of Wisconsin and Woodward Fischer of the California Institute of Technology, were interested in better understanding the global sulfur cycle over the last 550 million years – roughly the period in which oxygen has been at its present atmospheric level of around 20%.

They used a database developed and maintained by Peters at the University of Wisconsin, called Macrostrat, which contains detailed information on thousands of rock units in North America and beyond.

The researchers used the database to trace one of the ways in which sulfur exits ocean water into the underlying sediments – the formation of so-called sulfate evaporite minerals. These sulfur-bearing minerals, such as gypsum, settle to the bottom of shallow seas as seawater evaporates.

The team found that the formation and burial of sulfate evaporites were highly variable over the last 550 million years, due to changes in shallow sea area, the latitude of ancient continents and sea level.

More surprising to Halevy and colleagues was the discovery that only a relatively small fraction of the sulfur cycling through the oceans has exited seawater in this way. Their research showed that the formation and burial of a second sulfur-bearing mineral – pyrite – has apparently been much more important.

Pyrite is an iron-sulfur mineral (also known as fools’ gold), which forms when microbes in seafloor sediments use the sulfur dissolved in seawater to digest organic matter. The microbes take up sulfur in the form of sulfate (bound to four oxygen atoms) and release it as sulfide (with no oxygen).

Oxygen is released during this process, thus making it a source of oxygen in the air. But because this part of the sulfur cycle was thought be minor in comparison to sulfate evaporite burial (which does not release oxygen), its effect on oxygen levels was also thought to be unimportant.

In testing various theoretical models of the sulfur cycle against the Macrostrat data, the team realized that the production and burial of pyrite has been much more significant than previously thought, accounting for more than 80% of all sulfur removed from the ocean (rather than the 30-40% in prior estimates). As opposed to the variability they saw for sulfate evaporite burial, pyrite burial has been relatively stable throughout the period.

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Cyber Space

Talk Tech To Me: MegaUpload Vindicated?

Published on Jul 27, 2012 by

Alright it’s Thursday, which means that it’s time to talk some tech. First, a report on the Music Industry’s global anti-piracy strategy was leaked and put up on Torrent Freak. And let’s just say it tells us a thing or two about the MegaUpload case. Then, something good actually came of out Washington DC. The Police Chief reminded officers that they actually have to respect citizens constructional rights. And can Twitter predict when people will get sick? And if so, what’s next? Global weather trends? Maybe even Armageddon? Here to give us some details on all of it and Talk Tech To Me is RT Web Producer Andrew Blake.




Microsoft mum on whether it can tap Skype phone calls

EFF says if you want to make secure calls, don’t use Skype

By , Network World

Microsoft may or may not have the ability to tap Skype phone calls, but the company just won’t say, and it’s not clear why.

Asked a yes/no question whether it can intercept encrypted calls made over the peer-to-peer voice and video service, the company says it tries to help out with legal eavesdropping as much as it can, but won’t say exactly what that means.

BACKGROUND: Microsoft patent may ruin Skype, may make VoIP spy and pry easy for gov’t

“Skype co-operates with law enforcement agencies as much as is legally and technically possible,” a company spokesperson says in an email response to questions about the capability. It’s an answer that begs the question of whether it actually has the ability to tap calls as law enforcement agencies might request under the U.S. Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA).

Asked why the company won’t give a simple answer, the spokesperson responds: “It’s the company position. You have our statements. That’s all I can say. ”

Suspicion that Skype might have means to eavesdrop on calls built in cropped up when Microsoft was issued a patent earlier this year on lawful intercept, aspects of which “relate to silently recording communications.” This is done by modifying call requests so the communications path that is set up includes a node with a recording mechanism.

Beyond the issue of a built-in eavesdropping technology, the effectiveness of Skype security is also being questioned. Before Microsoft bought it last year for $8.5 billion, Skype was known for being secure through obscurity. The company would reveal nothing about the encryption it used, and governments demanded that Skype make it possible for them to listen in on the encrypted calls, and that is the current situation.

A report last year says the Egyptian government had the ability to eavesdrop on Skype calls made by dissidents during the uprisings there in 2010. It’s not clear whether the government broke Skype’s security or whether it had installed malware on Skype endpoint computers to capture calls as they were being played unencrypted on speakers or picked up by microphones


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YouTube asks nicely if commenters will use real names

But they probably won’t.

By Open Source Com…

If the internet were a city, the comment sections of some of even the most popular websites would be the dregs, where parents wouldn’t dare bring their children and even the most optimistic would feel hopeless. Racism, sexism, and outright bullying of absolute strangers – to the extent of encouraging suicide – isn’t uncommon, and those who contribute to it protect themselves from retribution by denying their identity.

Lately, though, some of the internet’s heavy hitters have made some attempts at instilling some accountability in internet dialogue. Their efforts might make for good PR, but will accomplish little more than that.

RELATED: Trolls be warned: Court ruling could unmask internet trolls everywhere

The Best Tweets in Response to LinkedIn’s Password Leak

YouTube has long been one of the roughest sites on the web in terms of internet commenting, which should come as no surprise. Given its size and the ability it grants to anyone who wants to submit a video they’d made, YouTube has unintentionally become sort of a massive, never-ending high school talent show where the hecklers are allowed to hurl whatever insults they want and the consequences are felt only by those performing.

With that in mind, YouTube has begun moving ahead on its promise made at last month’s Google I/O conference.

First announced in a June 29th blog post, YouTube has begun prompting its users and commenters to use their real names by linking to the Google+ accounts that the comapny apparently assumes they all have.

An option to comment without using your real name is still available, although Google is not intent on permitting it without giving users the run-around. As BetaBeat’s Jessica Roy described it yesterday, the site “basically guilts you into agreeing.”

If you still insist on remaining anonymous, you have to tell Google why: “My channel is for a show or character” or “My channel name is well-known for other reasons” are two options. “I want to remain anonymous,” is–unsurprisingly–not one.

However, YouTube’s blog post does make it clear that anonymous commenting is still an option.

We realize that using your full name isn’t for everyone. Maybe people know you by your YouTube username. Perhaps you don’t want your name publicly associated with your channel. To continue using your YouTube username, just click “I don’t want to use my full name” when you see the prompt.

Though the ability to opt-out does take a little air out of this movement’s tires, it’s still a commendable admission by YouTube that it needs to clean up its streets. It also isn’t the only recent sign of an impending War on Trolls, either.


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Online Privacy: Americans Want It, and They Want It Now. So Why Can’t They Get It?

A new survey by Truste claims 94 percent of people care deeply about online privacy. Unfortunately, none of them are in the online advertising industry.

By Dan Tynan, ITworld

Tis the season for surveys. Last week I noted a survey by PwC about what personal data consumers are willing to give up, and what they want in return for it. The respondents to that survey were quite concerned about their privacy and understood their data had real monetary value.

Online Privacy: Americans Want It, and They Want It Now. So Why Can't They Get It?Today’s topic is another recent survey, this one commissioned by Truste, an organization that offers a Good Housekeeping-style seal of approval for corporate privacy practices. As with PwC, Truste’s survey suggests that consumer concern about online and mobile privacy is on the rise, and people are much more sophisticated about the issues than the ad industry might have you believe.

According to the survey, a whopping 94 percent of the 1000+ people surveyed consider privacy issues “really important” or “somewhat important,” and six out of ten are more concerned about it than they were a year ago.

More than a third claim they’ve stopped visiting a Web site or doing business with a company because they were concerned for their privacy, and 83 percent are aware of behavioral (ie, targeted) ads, up from 70 percent last year.

Admittedly, asking people questions like these often inspires them to answer in the way they think they’re supposed to, not necessarily in the way they actually act when not taking an online survey.

(“Do you floss after every single meal to ensure cleaner teeth and a whiter smile? Why, yes, I’m doing it right now.”)

For example: In this survey, 40 percent of people claim to read a Web site’s privacy policy often or most of the time. I think that number is off by a factor of ten. Even I don’t read privacy policies most of the time, and I do this for a living. Likewise for things like refusing to allow third parties to share information (76 percent) or opting out of online ads (50 percent). I suspect there’s a bit of self delusion at play here (though not as much as this guy seems to believe).

Still, because Truste asked the same questions last year, you can draw the conclusion that all the public debate over mobile privacy, GPS tracking, and Do Not Track legislation has had an impact. People are more aware of the issues, and they’re taking more steps to protect themselves. That’s all good, and I’ll happily take all the credit for it.


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Microsoft-Skype Snooping Accusations Push All the Paranoia Buttons


Hold the phone, Internet, before deciding whether Microsoft has engineered a backdoor to allow Skype wiretaps.


By Robert X. Cringely, Infoworld


Has Microsoft has figured out a way to bug Skype calls? A report published in Slate late last week suggests this might maybe possibly be theoretically true — cue the InterWeb’s full-blown paranoia party.


In a blog post titled “Skype won’t say whether it can eavesdrop on your conversations,” Slate’s Ryan Gallagher determined through dogged questioning that Microsoft will neither confirm nor deny that it has built a backdoor into Skype that would allow the government to wiretap VoIP calls.


From this he naturally concludes that Microsoft really is eavesdropping on our conversations and is trying to keep it a big fat secret:


… when I repeatedly questioned the company on Wednesday whether it could currently facilitate wiretap requests, a clear answer was not forthcoming. Citing “company policy,” Skype PR man Chaim Haas wouldn’t confirm or deny, telling me only that the chat service “co-operates with law enforcement agencies as much as is legally and technically possible.”


Shares of Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil just went up 17 percent on the news.


Gallagher’s other “proof”? In June 2011, one month after Microsoft announced its acquisition of Skype, it received a patent for technology that would allow it to “silently copy communication transmitted via the communication session.”


Sounds scary, don’t it? The problem with that theory is a) Microsoft applied for this “Legal Intercept” patent two years before it acquired Skype, and 2) the patent doesn’t really say much about how the technology would actually work, let alone bust through Skype’s 256-bit AES end-to-end encryption.


Gallagher also relied on a story by another Forbes blogger, Anthony Wing Kosner, which quoted from an ExtremeTech story by Tim Verry about claims made a hacker who goes by the handle Alien Nesby, who says Microsoft added “backdoors for government” to Skype after the acquisition was final.


Nesby made his claim based on a 43-word comment posted three months ago on Hacker News, but he wrote it in FULL CAPS, so you know it must be true.


Microsoft directly denied the claims made in Verry’s post, noting it did recently overhaul its Skype network, but the changes were made to increase quality of service and security, not for spying. But that didn’t stop Forbes blogger Eric Jackson from jumping right on the paranoia pony and riding it to the finish line. In a blog post titled “It’s terrifying and sickening that Microsoft can listen in on all my Skype calls,” Eric proves he has 1) a rather delicate constitution, and b) clearly been taking courses in how to write traffic-magnet blog headlines.



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Survival / Sustainability


Week 15 of 52: Emergency Medical Supply (List 3)

Tess Pennington
Ready Nutrition

Last week, my 5-year old slammed her finger in the door so hard that we thought it was broken for sure. Immediately, her finger began swelling and my husband and I were about to bolt out to the door to take her for an X-ray. She was terrified and crying, and all we wanted was to take her pain away. I grabbed an instant ice pack out of our medical supplies for her finger and decided to wait 30 minutes to see if the swelling changed. I laid her on my bed and cuddled with her while ensuring her fingers were in between the ice pack. When I checked her finger, the swelling had begun to subside and I breathed a sigh of relief. You never know when a medical emergency will arise, but you are always hoping that when it does, you will be ready for it.

As I previously mentioned, to be fully prepared for a medical disaster, you need to have a well-rounded medical supply. Since there are so many different types of medical supplies to store, I have broken them up to make the list more affordable. Click to see List 1 and List 2.

Because medical emergencies can occur suddenly and without warning, your medical supplies should be diverse and unique to your family’s needs. Situations may arise and getting to the store or the emergency room may not be a viable option. Therefore, having a wide array of medical supplies at your home can help diffuse an alarming situation.

When creating a medical supply, think about which medical issues will most likely occur and prepare accordingly for them. Also, have some supplies on hand for any family members who have pre-existing conditions would make a prolonged disaster more comfortable.

In 2006, The National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS) released a 2006 Emergency Department Summary that gathered statistics of emergency department use, including the most common reasons adults and children sought medical care and treatment. Having medical supplies that could assist in these common medical emergencies would be proactive on your part.

  •  Children Fever
  • Childhood Earaches
  • Various injuries such as sprains, strains, broken bones
  • Chest Pain
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Back Pain
  • Shortness of Breath

It is very important to have vitamins in your medical supplies. Vitamins are essential in regulating body functions and also help in the healing process. Storing the right types of food that have the highest amounts of vitamins would be one way of ensuring that your diet is vitamin packed. Therefore, prepare by having first hand knowledge on what vitamins the body needs on a daily basis.  Storing multivitamins such as, Centrum multivitamins or Centrum Silver multivitamins are great options.


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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)

Animals and house pets can often fall victim to an injury as well.  Having medicine and first aid supplies for them will ensure their health and safety.


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Are You Ready Series: Hurricane Preparedness

Tess Pennington
Ready Nutrition

It seems that natural storms have become more severe in recent years.  No one takes hurricanes lightly anymore due to the shock and awe that hurricane Katrina caused when she came ashore.  These monster storms are so violent and have the capacity to level an entire town.

Hurricanes are serious tropical storms with winds that exceed 74 mph and have a tendency to cause structural damage to homes and commercial businesses.  Inland flooding is also a concern for many who live on the coasts because a hurricane can dump dozens of inches of water in a matter of days.  The extent of the damage done by a hurricane depends on the category that is has been assigned.  The categories range from 1 (minimal damage) to 5 (severe damage).  Plans and preparations should be made prior to the possibility of a hurricane threat.

Those that live in the coastal areas know that hurricanes are always lurking around the corner.  Therefore, it is only logical to have a disaster plan in place in the case this is the year the hurricane will hit.

Make a Plan

A disaster plan is one of the most important aspects of preparedness.   A decisive plan of action should take into account the pros and cons of any given situation.  The basic premise of having a disaster plan is to know what your Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C is before the disaster strikes.  Your main priorities are shelter, fire, and water, and food.   When preparing a disaster plan, keep all the information together in a binder called the G.O.O.D Manual.  This will keep vital information, emergency plans, contact information, etc organized and ready in the case someone needs it in a pinch.  It would be wise to write down a main contact of someone outside of the hurricane area that you can use as a communication hub to relay pertinent information to other members of the family or friends.  This is important because 1. You do not want to be on the phone the entire time calling people with updates, and 2. Phone lines are going to be maxed out.  It will be hard to get through multiple times.

If you plan on bugging out or evacuating, get the evuaction plan in order, needed items together and try and leave before the mass exodus.  No one wants to be caught in idle traffic for hours.  Also, having extra gallons of gasoline would also be beneficial.  In the past, many refugees who did not have extra gas and ran out of gas ended up having to abandon their cars on the highway.  Bottom line is plan ahead and try and leave as early as possible.

Calling one person will minimize the time of the phone, and you can concentrate your effort on other important things.  Additionally, contact a friend or relative to see if you would be able to stay with them (if you plan on getting out of the storms path).

Learn about your community emergency response plan, as well as the national weather radio stations prior to the threat of a storm.  The National Hurricane Center is also a good source for information regarding approaching hurricanes and tropical storms.

Plan For The Worst Scenario and Get Emergency Supplies Now

Typically, when a hurricane watch or warning is issued, there is a mass flock to the stores to gather items.  People tend to buy the exact same thing (canned goods, water, infant formula, etc), and these are the items that run out the fastest.  Those who wait to gather supplies until the last minute are typically the ones who will either end up waiting in long lines, or go home empty handed because all the stores have sold our of supplies.

The most important item to have on hand besides a plan, is water.   Multiple disaster organizations suggest having 1 gallon of water per person per day.  This suggestion is for drinking purposes only.  If a person wants to flush their toilet or clean dirty dishes, they will need to have extra water on hand.  Having a water filter or micropur tablets is a good idea to have on hand in the case that city water is interrupted or a person’s well has become contaminated.  Here are some additional suggestions for having extra water on hand:

  • Properly clean and bleach a bath tub.  Caulk the drain hold and allow it to dry.  Fill it with water.
  • Freeze zip loc bags filled with water.
  • Use emtpy juice containers (cleaned thoroughly) and fill them with water.
  • Fill buckets with water to use for flushing the toilet.

Gathering foods for a short term disaster can be relatively inexpensive.  It is a good idea to plan for the worst case scenario so that everything can be prepared for.  Since electicity going out is typically a problem with hurricanes, purchase foods that can be stored without refrigeration.  Furthermore, plan meals to meet a 1500-2000 calorie diet that are high in nutrients so that individuals in the home can keep up their energy levels up.  Keep in mind any members of the family that are on special diets (including pets).

Other supplies such as flashlights, batteries, a battery operated or solar radio, first aid kit and a good can opener are some other additional items one may need if a hurricane hits.  Gasoline will also be in an extremely high demand.  Especially if a person is using a generator to power a home.  Having a ready supply of fuel will help make the experience of bugging in a little less of a burden and more of a minor inconvenience.


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Are You Ready Series: Earthquake Preparedness

Tess Pennington
Ready Nutrition

The sudden strike of an earthquake can catch many off guard.  For those that live in earthquake prone areas, preparing ahead of time will keep a person as safe as possible during the turmoil that the earthquake brings.

Develop an Emergency Plan

When an unexpected event happens, many are confused and do not know what to do. Having a set disaster plan in place can help members of the family get to safety.

 Do research on local emergency management (American Red Cross, City Disaster Services, etc) systems and know what their disaster protocols are. 

Teach children about the different communication sources  available such as 9-1-1, and how to work a battery operated radio in order to listen for emergency information.  Additionally, all family members should know how to turn off the home utilities (emergency, gas and water).

Have an emergency plan in place.  This will help family members know exactly where to go and what to do.  The emergency plan should have a meeting place designated in the event that family members are separated.  Additionally, having a central contact outside of the disaster area that can relay messages can help a family stay in touch if separated.

Look for any hazards in the home.  Do as much preparation as possible to the home in order to secure the area as much as possible.

  • Place heavy or bulkier items on lower shelves.
  • Cabinets and pantries where breakable items are stores should have latches on them.  Additionally, any poisonous material, such as fertilizers or pesticides should be stored in a locked area as well.
  • Secure shelves to walls.
  • Brace overhead light fixtures.
  • Repair any defective electrical wiring or leaking gas connections. If there are damages done to the ceiling or foundation, get an expert opinion about any structural defects.
  • Secure the water heater by strapping it to wall studs.
  • Avoid hanging pictures and heavy mirrors over beds, couches or where people tend to sit.

Disaster Food Supplies

Water and Food

Store 3-days worth of potable water in plastic containers.   Potable water is water safe for human consumption.  It is free of disease causing microorganisms, poisonous substances, minerals, organic matter, chemical, biological and radioactive substances.  Another method is to freeze water in plastic soda containers.  FEMA recommends that a person should have 1-gallon of water per person for at least 3 days.

Stockpile a 3 day supply of non-perishable items such as canned goods, dehydrated foods, high energy foods such as granola bars, power bars, trail mix and cereals.  Try and find foods that does not require much water to prepare them.  Enure that certain foods are stored away for family members with special needs.

Medical Supplies

Keeping a well stocked medical supply can come in handy if someone has a injury.  First aid kits can be assembled at home and include all of the basic first aid items that may be needed.  A list of complete first aid items can be seen here.

Disaster Tools

Your preparedness tools are your life line during emergencies. The tools you choose should be ones that you can depend on to assist in meeting your basic survival needs. Without them, you could be ill-equipped in a survival situation. Ensure that disaster tools are stored in a centralized location in order for you to get to them during a time sensitive manner. Some suggested emergency tools are:

  • Flash lights
  • Batteries
  • Propane stove
  • Fire extinguisher (ABC variety)
  • Battery operated radio
  • Can opener (non electric)
  • Duct tape
  • Multipurpose tool
  • Waterproof matches
  • Tube tent or emergency shelter
  • Extra cash
  • Trash bags
  • Signal flare
  • Wrench to turn off gas appliances and water
  • Pliers
  • Map
  • Survival manual
  • Whistle
  • Compass
  • Signal Flare


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Whistle Blowers

Ecua-doors Open: New hope for Assange in embassy diplomatic shift

Published on Jul 27, 2012 by

There’s a glimmer of hope for whistleblower Julian Assange as Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he’s currently taking refuge, says Swedish authorities are welcome to come over to question Assange over sex crime allegations. Ecuador says it will decide on whether to grant asylum after the London Olympics, which end on August 12th. Michael Ratner, a legal advisor to both Julian Assange and Wikileaks says Ecuador does offer hope to Assange.

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Whistleblowers in armed forces must be protected, says MP Angus Robertson

Angus Robertson MP for MorayAngus Robertson MP for Moray

By Paul Ward

Whistleblowers in the armed forces should be given the same protection as civilian employees, according to a senior SNP MP.

Armed forces personnel are forbidden from discussing their work with MPs, MEPs or members of devolved legislatures (MDLs) such as the Scottish or Welsh parliaments without the approval of UK government ministers.

SNP defence spokesman Angus Robertson, the party’s leader at Westminster, has questioned “what the MoD has to hide”.

He insisted that “scandals” such as kit shortages, maintenance shortcuts and “the many MoD procurement bungles” would not have been revealed without whistleblowers.

Mr Robertson has circulated MoD instructions on contact with parliamentarians, obtained through a freedom of information request, informing forces personnel they are “accountable to ministers” and “not accountable to parliament”.

The document is marked “unclassified” but with instructions that it is “not to be communicated to anyone outside HM Service without authority”.

It says there should “be no need for contact between Crown servants, irrespective of seniority, and parliamentarians unless specifically authorised by the Secretary of State or a delegated minister”.

Personnel are also instructed to inform ministers of any unexpected or unsolicited contact with parliamentarians or their staff.

UK government guidance says employers cannot prevent employees from reporting improper, illegal or negligent behaviour as part of their employment contract or any other agreement.


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Whistleblowers to Corrupt ATF Head: Don’t Threaten Us

Katie Pavlich
News Editor, Townhall


Late Wednesday evening, Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa and Senator Chuck Grassley sent a letter to Acting ATF Director Todd Jones asking him to clarify the following remarks:

“… if you make poor choices, that if you don’t abide by the rules, that if you don’t respect the chain of command, if you don’t find the appropriate way to raise your concerns to your leadership, there will be consequences. …”

“Disciplinary process.”


Issa and Grassley aren’t impressed. From the letter they sent him:

If courageous whistleblowers within the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF/Agency) had  not come forward to Congress, the tactics used in Operation Fast and Furious might never have come to light. By providing Congress key information about the shortcomings of Fast and Furious, these whistleblowers put their careers on the line to prevent reckless operational tactics from ever being employed again and to make sure the family of murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry got the whole truth about their son’s death. On numerous occasions, we have stressed to ATF and the Department of Justice the importance of protecting whistleblower disclosures and preventing retaliation against whistleblowers.

We recently reviewed a video message you sent to ATF employees on July 9, 2012. In this message, entitled “ChangeCase #8: Choices and Consequences,” you stress to ATF employees that “if you make poor choices, that if you don’t abide by the rules, that if you don’t respect the chain of command, if you don’t find the appropriate way to raise your concerns to your leadership, there will be consequences…” The essence of whistleblowing is reporting problems outside of an employee’s chain of command when the chain of command has failed to address them. In fact, for a disclosure to be legally protected, it is often necessary for the employee to report the wrongdoing to someone other than his or her supervisor.

Your ominous message–which could be interpreted as a threat–is likely to have a major chilling effect on ATF employees exercising their rights to Contact Congress. Therefore, it needs to be clarified.

You must remind ATF employees about their right to talk to Congress and provide Congress with information free and clear of agency interference or retaliation.

ATF whistleblowers Jay Dobyns and Vince Cefalu are also hitting back against Jones’ remarks. Both Dobyns and Cefalu, agents with more than 20 years of experience in the bureau, expressed concerns about unethical behavior to their superiors and nothing was done. Cefalu founded CleanUpATF.org back in 2009 in order to give ATF agents across the country an anonymous place to expose corruption within ATF without fear of retaliation. His website is where Operation Fast and Furious was first exposed. Dobyns worked undercover for two years within the Hells Angel gang, risking his life for ATF, and is now being punished by the bureau for speaking out against supervisors who ignored death threats against himself and his family.

“Many ATF agents have confronted the corruption and abuses for years. We provided documentary evidence to the Attorney General, Office of the Inspector General, Office of Special Counsel and members of Congress in writing. We were ignored until people died. We are still being ignored by Mr. Jones and a handful of his executive staff. Most, if not all of the agency’s failures could have and should have been prevented. It’s a sad day for the future of a great bureau,” Cefalu tells Townhall.


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Whistleblowers say Lodge retaliated against them

Foys says Campbell Lodge Boys Home board removed

Written by  Jim Hannah

COLD SPRING — The bishop for Diocese of Covington removed the 15-member board of the troubled Campbell Lodge Boys’ Home the same day four former employees filed a lawsuit claiming they were retaliated against for exposing neglect at the nonprofit.

“My very first concern is for the residents of the (lodge), for their safety and well-being,” Bishop Roger Foys wrote in a statement to The Enquirer. “It is my hope that they will find a safe haven and be treated with the dignity and respect due every person.

“After having reviewed the investigative reports I believe it is necessary to have a fresh set of eyes evaluate what future the Home may have in our Diocese.”

The bishop appoints the board members and has the power to remove them at will, according to the home’s 1958 articles of incorporation. The home receives about $1.2 million – or 76 percent of its budget – from tax dollars annually. The nonprofit’s tax returns show it receives virtually no money from the diocese.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Campbell Circuit Court by the home’s former therapists Jennifer Rush and Shane Donohue, along with the director of equine-assisted services, Mary Oldiges, and equine specialist Regina Bach.

The defendants named in the suit are the home, fired executive director Barry Jones and the former board members.

Diocese spokesman Tim Fitzgerald said the diocese would announce the new board members soon.

The new board is expected to hold their first board meeting in mid-September, Fitzgerald said.

The home’s attorney, Ben Dusing, and Jones’ attorney, Walter Hornbeck, both confirmed they were aware of the lawsuit but declined to comment on it.

The future of the 54-year-old home remains uncertain.

The children at the home, licensed to care for 24 at a time, were removed after the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services investigated the whistleblowers’ claims. The home then laid off about 50 employees and fired Jones, who earned $96,652 per year.

The suit echoes the findings of the state investigation. The home had a dangerous practice of improperly dispensing psychotropic medications and narcotics to the children. When the children acted out, the staff then handled them roughly.


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Saudi clashes video: Police fire live rounds on Shiite protesters in Qatif

Published on Jul 27, 2012 by

Several demonstrators have been wounded in Saudi Arabia’s eastern district of Qatif after security forces opened fire on protesters. MORE INFO & PHOTOS: http://on.rt.com/ko740y

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‘America geared up for war’

Published on Jul 27, 2012 by

In as many days, police and residents of Anaheim have clashed over the police shooting of an unarmed man: In total, 2 men have been killed, 5 for the year, on record, enraging the mostly black and Latino population of Anaheim, a city known for Disneyland, but now described as a powder keg ready to explode.


Psy – Ops

The Porter Report: Israel, the Bulgaria Bombings and Iran

Published on Jul 27, 2012 by

Gareth Porter: Netanyahu accuses Iran, and Iran accuses Israel, of being behind terrorist attack


Articles of Interest

Illegal Cloning? ‘Dumped fetuses could be half human, half engineered’

Published on Jul 27, 2012 by

Hundreds of human fetuses, found in a forest in central Russia, may have been removed from a local medical university. Police are questioning a researcher, who was fired last year and could have taken the material she was working on with her. However, some doctors say the dumped fetuses could even be the product of cloning.

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