Links 8/25/10

Geoengineering ‘not a solution’ to sea-level rise BBC

Digital Devices Deprive Brain of Needed Downtime New York Times. Confirms my Luddite biases against being constantly or merely frequently plugged in.

How a government is formed Sydney Morning Herald (hat tip reader Crocodile Chuck). Another primer on politics Oz style.

‘Hitler war verwandt mit Somaliern, Berbern und Juden’ or for those of you who don’t read German, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler had Jewish and African relatives, DNA test suggests New York Daily News (hat tip reader Scott A). Um, aren’t we all descended from Africans? Any trust me, anyone whose family has been in the US long enough is not lily white.

TSA’s Frisky New Pat-Downs Mother Jones (hat tip reader John D). Calling all perverts! The TSA is your new dream job!

New microbe discovered eating Gulf oil spill Associated Press. Reader Scott A notes:

I had heard there was another oil-eating microbe that had been successfully tested and used by Texas.

An Oil-Eating Microbe That’s Been Around Since 1989 Could Single-Handedly Clean Up BP’s Entire Oil Spill

It’s interesting to see that while the bureaucracy hasn’t managed to deploy the Texas-tested oil-eating bacteria, another one has managed to come into play on its own.

Methane-eating “extremophiles” were common billions of years ago before there was much oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere, and can still be found in out-of-the-way environments where there’s no oxygen and sunlight – such as around deep-sea vents.

This seems similar to the Living Machines approach as pioneered by John Todd

Slow Violence and the BP Coverups Anne McClintock, Counterpunch (hat tip reader Crocodile Chuck)
The anatomy of a housing bubble city Dr. Housing Bubble (hat tip reader Doug T)

U.S. Rejected Hen Vaccine Despite Success in Britain New York Times (hat tip reader John M)
Woman Wall Street Hates Most Is Right for the Job Tim Duncan, BusinessWeek

Credit Card Debt Drops to Lowest Level in 8 Years Associated Press

US economy is slowing more than the Fed has recognised Gavyn Davies

The Parent Company Trap Jon Stewart (hat tip reader John L). An uneven piece, the first half is not so hot, but the second part is worth it.

Bush tax cuts for the rich must go John Podesta and Robert Greenstein, Financial Times

Russia in color, a century ago Boston Globe. As reader Scott say, not exactly an antidote, but some amazing pics nonetheless.

Antidote du jour:

Picture 16

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  1. rjs

    it looks a little late to be geo-engineering:

    Greenland ice sheet faces ‘tipping point in 10 years’ – The entire ice mass of Greenland will disappear from the world map if temperatures rise by as little as 2C, with severe consequences for the rest of the world, a panel of scientists told Congress today. Greenland shed its largest chunk of ice in nearly half a century last week, and faces an even grimmer future, according to Richard Alley, a geosciences professor at Pennsylvania State University”Sometime in the next decade we may pass that tipping point which would put us warmer than temperatures that Greenland can survive,” Alley told a briefing in Congress, adding that a rise in the range of 2C to 7C would mean the obliteration of Greenland’s ice sheet. The fall-out would be felt thousands of miles away from the Arctic, unleashing a global sea level rise of 23ft (7 metres), Alley warned. Low-lying cities such as New Orleans would vanish.

    1. eric anderson

      Even if global warming (such as it is) continues, it would take many thousands of years to melt the Greenland ice sheet, according to the IPCC. For example, “For a warming over Greenland of 5.5°C, consistent with mid-range stabilisation scenarios, the Greenland ice sheet contributes about 3 m in 1,000 years.” And that still would not melt the entire Greenland ice cap.

      So far, the warming has been roughly 1 degree C, so we can see how far we are from even this very slow melting scenario at a much higher temperature.

      We’re talking about gradual changes over centuries. With calm, rational thought and deliberate action, we can cope with these problems if they occur, which is by no means a certainty.

  2. attempter

    Those Russian pictures are awesome.

    I wasn’t expecting much, having previously looked at “color” pictures from WWI which just looked like the (badly) colorized movies they used to try to inflict upon us, but these are great.

  3. Ina Deaver

    Now this is some linkage! The Russian pictures were fantastic, more quirky goodness on the Australian election fallout, the ocean is going to eat us all (the part we haven’t populated with mutant zombie flesh-eating bacteria as a result of the BP oil spill) – All very interesting stuff.

    But I must disagree with you on the Jon Stewart piece – that started out awesome, and got brilliant. ;)

    I think I’m with Team Evil.

    1. eric anderson

      Those Russian photos are fantastic. A friend alerted me to them over the weekend.

      There are 2600 photos in that collection, available for viewing at the Library Of Congress website. Wow.

  4. LeeAnne

    Agreed, and surprising –but, with no opportunity for propaganda wasted, I’d say the message from the PTB here is that hard work and peasant life is grand (look at all that open space), and the women left behind in the US employment gap can get back to embroidery where there’s bound to be unfilled labor demand what with Chinese labor too expensive and busy with other things.

    (seriously, always a fashion slave, I loved the vivid textile details)

  5. doom

    Steve should knock off work and make himself a zillion dollars with the False Claims Act. This CTEH sounds like a forensic bonanza.

  6. EmilianoZ

    I don’t usually like The New Yorker, but I have to say they just produced a must-read article:

    “Covert Operations”
    The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama.
    by Jane Mayer

    It’s about the Koch bros and their undue influence on a wide range of issues spanning global warming, healthcare reform, formaldehyde… What makes the article so interesting is that it analyzes the mechanisms by which some rich dudes can get what they want by controlling the whole process from ideas (dummy think tanks) to implementation (pseudo grass-roots activism).

    After reading that article I’m no longer convinced the Tea Party is that grass-roots. Sure their rage is grass-roots (don’t we all have it?). But all the infra-structure that allowed them to make themselves heard is corporate-owned. So, they might be grass-roots, but they sure are well looked after by expert gardeners.

    I often wondered why there were no equivalent of the Tea Party on the progressive side. I guess no billionaire has an interest in fostering such an organization. Hell, the media wouldn’t even mention them if they existed.

  7. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Today should be Hug-A-Luddite Day or just Luddite Day.

    Hopefully, we’ll soon have Luddite Week, Luddite Year and eventually just Luddite Life.

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Credit card debt lowest in 8 years?

    Here is some simple math for anyone who has been able to be responsible (the non-slave workers) and save up:

    1. 0.4% from your bank account

    2. 5% for your mortgage

    Would you rather pay, in many case, fees to reduce your mortgage from 5% to say, 4%, or just pay the mortgage down by say, half?

    I think mortgage debt should be going down too.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Are there any green-house gas eating microbes? It appears there are.

    We need as many of them as possible in our atmosphere.

  10. Anonymous Jones

    As did most of us, I loved the Russian pictures. Absolutely beautiful.

    I thought the Doc Housing Bubble link was interesting, especially having so many friends with houses in Pasadena, but I was disappointed with his overuse of “median” statistics. Regardless, I’ve counseled a number of friends recently on home/condo purchases, and it is amazing what people are willing to do to buy. Being house poor is a real problem out here, even with these incredibly low interest rates. I tell people that there is no guarantee that the housing will appreciate and that this can’t be a substitute for prudent retirement planning (if you don’t have a job with a defined benefit pension). But whatever, people want to have “security” (yes, mostly an illusion) that they “own” (yes, the bank has most of the capital stack) a house. Sadly, after PITI (even with the income tax deduction) and other living expenses, there is no savings now and with the job market so uncertain, how can you have any faith that there will be any savings later? And finally, what do you think will happen to prices if and when interest rates rise? Hey, like any other investment, housing can be great or it can be average or it can be dismal. Just know that you are probably “consuming” a lot and making a poor investment decision if you’re buying in the slowly deflating bubble cities.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A house dropping 40% in one year probably will cost 1 marriage.

      A house dropping 40% over 10 years might result in 2, 3 or more divorces, as it gets passed on and on and on…

      Think of the children!!!

      The social cost!!!

  11. M. Samuel

    The BP link from Ann McClintock was one of the most revealing I’ve read in a long time. I had no idea that BP was still spraying corexit, and in the middle of the night at that. All to cover up the ongoing destruction of the gulf of Mexico. The environmental and public health fallout seems horrific. How many people must die, so that we don’t have to know how bad it really is?

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