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Archive for March 30th, 2010

Majority of NYT Science Editors Disbelieve in Climate Change

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(via Fair Blog)

John Horgan over at Scientific American came out last week with the stunning revelation that a majority of the editors of the Science Times section of NYT do not believe in climate change:

Two sources at the Science Times section of the New York Times have told me that a majority of the section’s editorial staff doubts  that human-induced global warming represents a serious threat to humanity.

My brain just exploded.

Oh, also:

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Written by pavanvan

March 30, 2010 at 6:35 pm

Posted in environment

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Iraq Elections: US Chooses its Favorite

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It looks as though our trusty client Maliki will come out ahead in the 2010 Iraqi elections after all, if this McClatchy dispatch is any indication. Carrying out long-standing political discrimination against the disgraced Ba’ath party, six major candidates will lose their votes and seats, costing Allawi (another US client) his victory. The six candidates committed the awful crime of having been associated with the Ba’ath party before the US invasion:

Six winning candidates in Iraq elections will be stripped of their votes and lose their seats – which would cost secular politician Iyad Allawi’s bloc its narrow victory – if a federal court upholds a broad purge of candidates who are suspected of past involvement with the late dictator Saddam Hussein’s outlawed Baath Party, Iraqi officials said Monday.

What’s most appalling about this development is not that the Iraqis had to choose between two pro-occupation candidates, but that Ahmad Chalabi is in charge of the so-called ‘de-baathification”, and thus in a position to unilaterally decide who can and cannot contest elections in Iraq. Chalabi, you must remember, was a major architect of the 2003 invasion, and went so far as to provide fake intelligence to convince Bush to bomb Baghdad. Astoundingly, Chalabi also contested the 2010 Iraqi Elections, while retaining the power to disqualify candidates at will. (Unsurprisingly, he won re-election.)

Aram Roston has written several excellent articles detailing Ahmad Chalabi’s crucial role in the Iraq invasion, and his 2008 article in The Nation entitled “Chalabi’s lobby” is a must read. Why Chalabi is still in such a powerful position after the Senate Intelligence Committee determined he had (in their words) “attempted to influence United States policy on Iraq by providing false information” is totally beyond me.

Somewhere in the bowels of the Pentagon, some master brain or another must have decided that the US would rather have Maliki in the Prime Minster’s seat rather than Allawi, and gave the order to Chalabi (who has been collaborating with the US Department of War since the ’90s) to disqualify such-and-such candidates to make Maliki come out on top.

The truth is, it doesn’t really matter – not to the Iraqis, anyway. Either Allawi or Maliki would have carried out US policy like the obedient servants they are. Whoever won, the Iraqis would still be saddled with a long-term occupation force of 50,000, their oil would still have gone up on the international market, with no chance of nationalizing it, and their elections would continue to be rigged in favor of the US – just as this one was.

When they said we’d be bringing “democracy” to Iraq, I’m sure our leaders meant “US-style democracy”. You know, the kind where the electorate chooses between two candidates with identical policies and who are funded by the same corrupt sources. Just like we have it here!

Written by pavanvan

March 30, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Death Threats Against Members of Congress: Old News

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Gail Chaddock of the Christian Science Monitor has a nice antidote to the hysteria now gripping our mainstream media regarding the recent death threats and vandalism towards members of congress. As she notes, these actions are, strictly speaking, nothing new:

The House increased security screenings for weapons following 1954 shootings in the House chamber. After a bomb 1971 bomb explosion outside the Senate chamber, metal detectors were installed at doorways in the Capitol. In 1983, after another bombing in the Capitol, metal detectors were extended to Senate and House office buildings. After the 9/11 attacks, Congress completed a Visitors Center and issued tamper-proof badges to staff.

Thankfully we haven’t seen anything like that.

Written by pavanvan

March 30, 2010 at 9:46 am

Oilman T.Boone Pickens Says Peak Oil is Here

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Via the Christian Science Monitor:

Speaking in a Senate committee hearing, the legendary Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens said that world crude oil production has topped out.

“I do believe you have peaked out at 85 million barrels a day globally,” he told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Tuesday, according to Reuters.

He noted that the United States is consuming “21 million barrels of the 85 million and producing about 7 of the 21, so if I could take just a minute on this point, the demand is about 86.4 million barrels a day, and when the demand is greater than the supply, the price has to go up until it kills demand.”

And when Mr. Pickens speaks about energy, the world listens. His ability to read markets has vaulted him into the ranks of the world’s wealthiest people. His hedge fund, BP Capital, manages more than $4 billion in assets.

This is about a year and a half old, but the trends Mr. Pickens identified have only progressed since he made his pronouncement. The Obama Administration, on the other hand, refuses to believe in the “Peak Oil theory”, instead plumping for something called the “undulating plateau”, which has absolutely no scientific basis. So naturally, he’s doing nothing about reducing our reliance on liquid fuels.

Folks, we are in a lot of trouble.

Written by pavanvan

March 30, 2010 at 9:45 am

Students devise 2,487 MPG Car

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Via The Oil Drum:

Extreme mileage was the goal this weekend on the streets of downtown Houston as 42 student teams competed in the 2010 Shell Eco-marathon Americas®, a challenge for students to design, build and test fuel-efficient vehicles that travel the farthest distance using the least amount of energy. More than 400 students were on hand to stretch the boundaries of fuel efficiency and participate in the first-ever street course challenge for the Americas eventSo who came out on top? For the second year in a row, the student team from Laval University in Quebec, Canada took home the grand prize with an astonishing 2,487.5 miles per gallon, equivalent to 1,057.5 kilometres per liter, in the “Prototype” category. And in the “UrbanConcept” category, the team from Mater Dei High School in Evansville, IN took the grand prize for the second year in a row by achieving 437.2 mpg, equivalent to 185.87 km/l.

I wonder if  Exxon-Mobil will kill this like they did the electric car.

Written by pavanvan

March 30, 2010 at 9:16 am

US Client in Indonesia Uses Slash and Burn Deforestation for US Exports

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Our client in Indonesia has a novel “food estate” idea that involves cutting down what precious little forest still remains in that country in order to grow corn, soybeans, sugar and palm oil, which they will then export to the US.

Under the project expected to start this year, 1.6 million hectares of land in Merauke district will be converted to grow crops such as rice, corn, soybean, sugar and palm oil as part of the government’s efforts to reduce dependence on imports and turn Indonesia into a global food producer.

Merauke is virtually the last forested island in Indonesia, with more than 95% forest cover. The Indonesian government claims that “no forests will be cut down”, but this is impossible since their plan also stipulates the use of “millions of hectares”. The land simply isn’t there unless you count forest cover.

Anyone interested in the pernicious relationship between Washington and Indonesia would do well to read this article in last week’s The Nation, which helpfully details our current exploitation of that archipelagic state. Keep in mind this has been going on since 1965.

Written by pavanvan

March 30, 2010 at 9:11 am