Time for nonalignment and peace

Bandung Conference 1955

War is an ugly part of the human experience. Everything about it is hideous. War is most obviously the act of invasion and the brutality that goes along with its operations. No war is precise; every war hurts civilians. Each act of bombardment sends a neurological shudder through a society.

World War II demonstrated this ugliness in the Holocaust and in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. From Hiroshima and the Holocaust rose two mighty movements, one for peace and against the perils of further nuclear attacks, and the other for an end to the divisions of humanity and for a nonalignment from these divisions. The Stockholm Appeal of 1950, signed by 300 million people, called for an absolute ban on nuclear weapons. Five years later, 29 countries from Africa and Asia, representing 54 percent of the world’s population, gathered in Bandung, Indonesia, to sign a 10-point pledge against war and for the “promotion of mutual interests and cooperation.” The Bandung Spirit was for peace and for nonalignment, for the peoples of the world to put their efforts into building a process to eradicate history’s burdens (illiteracy, ill health, hunger) by using their social wealth. Why spend money on nuclear weapons when money should be spent on classrooms and hospitals?

Despite the major gains of many of the new nations that had emerged out of colonialism, the overwhelming force of the older colonial powers prevented the Bandung Spirit from defining human history. Instead, the civilization of war prevailed. This civilization of war is revealed in the massive waste of human wealth in the production of armed forces—sufficient to destroy hundreds of planets—and the use of these armed forces as the first instinct to settle disputes. Since the 1950s, the battlefield of these ambitions has not been in Europe or in North America, but rather it has been in Africa, Asia, and Latin America—areas of the world where old colonial sensibilities believe that human life is less important. This international division of humanity—which says that a war in Yemen is normal, whereas a war in Ukraine is horrific—defines our time. There are 40 wars taking place across the globe; there needs to be political will to fight to end each of these, not just those that are taking place within Europe. The Ukrainian flag is ubiquitous in the West; what are the colors of the Yemeni flag, of the Saharawi flag, and of the Somali flag?

Indeed! The sentiment in the last sentence of the 2nd pqragraph has guided my political life for over 60 years. Meaningful as ever. “Why spend money on nuclear weapons when money should be spent on classrooms and hospitals?”

World’s #3 shipping company says “No more plastic waste aboard our ships!”

Letter to their customers

As part of its renewed commitment towards more sustainable trade, the CMA CGM Group announced its decision to no longer carry plastic waste on our ships as of June 1st, 2022. This landmark decision in the shipping industry will help protect the oceans and biodiversity.

To enforce this commitment while maintaining sufficient anticipation buffer for our customers, we kindly inform you that no plastic waste will be loaded onboard CMA CGM Group’s vessels as from April 15th, 2022. Plastic waste is identified under HS code category 3915.

To ensure effectiveness of this measure, we have set up ban on HS code for commodities concerned in our booking system. Please note that false declarations on the nature of the goods will lead to a blacklisting of the incriminated entity.

Do not hesitate to contact you usual CMA CGM sales representative for more information.

Thank you for acting with us today for a more sustainable future.

I say “Bravo!” Thank you very much.

NEWSWEEK R&D Team of the Year = Hyundai Motor Group

Hyundai Motor Group’s engineering team developed the company’s new Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), which underpins a new generation of vehicles aimed at democratizing an electrified future. It earns its creators Newsweek’s Auto Disruptors Research and Development Team of the Year Award…

“Over the past few years, humanity has gone through major changes,” Fayez Abdul Rahman, senior vice president of Hyundai’s Vehicle Architecture Development Center, tells Newsweek. “As a result, having mobility that provides a smart living space where we can safely and comfortably spend time has become more highly valued.” That includes features like a movable console and vehicle-to-load charging, which allows the car to provide electricity for other devices for uses like car camping and remote office work…

According to Rahman, E-GMP has also improved vehicle dynamics. “We took advantage of the EV’s structure to enable more stable and comfortable driving by lowering the center of gravity,” Rahman says.

Going forward, Hyundai expects the E-GMP platform to be used in 23 battery-electric vehicles by 2025 ranging across the Kia, Hyundai and Genesis branded lineups. Currently, the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5 ride on the architecture. Vehicles built on the platform will be capable of getting up to 310 miles of all-electric range.

Plenty of standalone articles online about the individuals guiding this project inside Hyundai. Next to nothing about the technology solutions. That will appear in coming months as Hyundai begins the rollout of their new technology. I just wanted to give y’all an early peek at what’s coming. This sort of platform standardization helps reduce costs (and hopefully price at the dealership). A lot easier with EV platforms.

Wind Power breezed past coal, nuclear, for the first time

Wind power was the No. 2 source for power generation in the U.S. for the first time ever on March 29, surpassing coal and nuclear power, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Thursday.

Wind turbines in the continental U.S. produced 2,017 gigawatthours of electricity on the 29th, according to data from the EIA. While there have been days in the past when wind generation separately outpaced coal and nuclear generation, the 29th marked the first day that it surpassed both power sources.

Natural gas remained the top source of power generation on March 29, comprising 31 percent of power generation, followed by wind, nuclear and coal. The milestone comes a little more than two years after nationwide wind capacity outstripped nuclear capacity in September 2019. This did not immediately result in higher wind power output than nuclear, because wind generators are designed to run at lower capacity than nuclear generators.

The clock is ticking. The countdown gets louder.

Chernobyl’s wild horses

Luke Massey

Since the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, 34 years have passed. This accident, the largest ever in a nuclear facility, led to the creation of a 4,700 km² exclusion zone between Ukraine and Belarus. A total of 350,000 people were evacuated from the area.

Initial predictions said that, due to radioactive contamination, the area would be uninhabitable for more than 20,000 years. Chernobyl was thought to become a nuclear wasteland, a desert for life.

Three decades later, studies have shown Chernobyl holds a diverse and abundant animal community. A large number of species that are threatened in Ukraine and in wider Europe reside in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

A revealing example of the situation of wildlife in Chernobyl is that of Przewalski’s horses…

The introduction of Przewalski’s horses to Chernobyl has been a success. Several lessons can be drawn from this success.

The case of Przewalski’s horses reflects that in the absence of humans, the large Chernobyl area has become a refuge for wildlife. This should lead us to reflect on the impact of human presence on natural ecosystems. With no human activity around, even with radioactive contamination, the great fauna seems to thrive.

Today’s article only sets the stage. The questions asked about wildlife of all sorts having an improved chance at survival are being asked in many scientific disciplines, nowadays. A thorough effort to see what may be learned from Chernobyl’s horses will begin this autumn. RTFA, click the link. And stay tuned. Waiting for the results of that study.

U.S. Renaming Mountains, Rivers and More Removing Racist, Misogynist Word

A mountain in northern Colorado getting a new name

The United States Department of the Interior (DOI) proposed a list of new names for more than 660 geographic features across the country last month, the agency announced in a statement.

Led by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, the first Native American to serve as cabinet secretary, the February 2022 release of the list marks the next step in a sweeping plan to remove the racist and misogynist slur “squaw” from the national geographic landscape. Hundreds of U.S. geographic sites, including mountains, rivers, lakes, remote islands and more, currently are named using the word…

“Words matter, particularly in our work to make our nation’s public lands and waters accessible and welcoming to people of all backgrounds,” said Haaland, per the statement.

“Consideration of these replacements is a big step forward in our efforts to remove derogatory terms whose expiration dates are long overdue,” added the secretary, who is a member of the Pueblo of the Laguna and a 35th-generation New Mexican.

It is a delight to witness another step away from our country’s past of official bigotry. And see it led by someone directly concerned and, I might add, I was always pleased to vote for in state elections.

Apple lands documentary about Sir Lewis Hamilton, 7x F1 world champ

Apple TV+ announced…that it has landed a new feature documentary about the groundbreaking life and career of seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton, who has broken both records and barriers to become one of the greatest Formula One drivers in history. The documentary will feature full access to Hamilton and his team, on and off the track, and an all-star cast of guest interviews.

Hamilton has blazed an uncharted trail professionally, socially and culturally, and transformed the sport on a global scale. Coming from a working-class family, Lewis succeeded in a sport where the odds were stacked against him but where his talent shone through, allowing him to dominate the sport for over a decade. Hamilton is currently the only Black driver to race in the Formula One series. He embraced what made him different and his rise to the top of his career has made him fiercely committed to using his platform to influence positive change for future generations…

Apple recently made history earning six Academy Award nominations across major categories, including Best Picture, for “CODA,” the first-ever motion picture starring a predominantly Deaf cast in leading roles to receive this distinction, along with multiple Oscar nominations for “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” including Best Actor for star Denzel Washington, one of the most nominated actors ever and the most nominated Black man in history.

This is an automagic Win-Win for a gearhead like me…who also spent my lifetime dedicated to the Civil Rights Movement as the core value within progressive politics. Being at Lime rock Park for Opening Day in April, 1957 is a memory I treasure. More important to character and purpose in life was my first sit-in down in Virginia in 1961.

Recycled wastewater – used to remove microplastics from seawater

The technology group Wärtsilä, together with the shipping company Grimaldi Group, have unveiled a new system that uses exhaust gas scrubber washwater to tackle the amount of microplastics in the world’s oceans; a critical and growing global environmental challenge.

According to the association Plastic Europe, 368 million tonnes of plastic were produced in 2019 worldwide, and around 3%, or 11.4 million tonnes, of this plastic ultimately ends up in the ocean. To tackle the growing amount of microplastics in the world’s seas, Grimaldi has developed and patented a system that filters out microplastics from open loop scrubber washwater.

Wärtsilä, in partnership with the Neapolitan group, will take the microplastics filtration system – which traps plastic particles before the washwater is returned to the ocean – to market. The capability to filter microplastics will be an integrated feature of Wärtsilä’s future wash-water treatment system.

The new system requires very little changes to onboard procedure and uses the natural capabilities of an open loop scrubber to contribute to cleaning the oceans during each voyage.

A 2-stage “attaboy” for couple of firms bright enough, skilled enough to take one success and turn a portion of that remnant into a second process. Best kind of engineering and inventiveness.

Double pig kidney transplant successfully performed in brain-dead patient

Scientists successfully transplanted two kidneys from a genetically modified pig into a human recipient and found that the organs produced urine and were not rejected during the days-long experiment.

The procedure was performed in a brain-dead patient who was a registered organ donor and whose family authorized the research, according to the new study, published Thursday (Jan. 20) in the American Journal of Transplantation. The research team intends to eventually transplant pig kidneys into living patients, in formal clinical trials — but first the team wanted to address some critical safety questions.

In the new study, the researchers transplanted not one, but two pig kidneys inside a recipient’s body, where kidneys would be placed during a conventional human-to-human transplantation…From the procurement of the pig’s kidneys to the surgery itself, the study followed the exact same procedure that the team will use in a future clinical trial, Dr. Jayme Locke, lead surgeon said…

Most of these genetic modifications are intended to reduce the risk of a transplant being rejected by the human body. For instance, the modified pigs lack three genes that each code for specific carbohydrates; in the human body, these carb molecules can set off an aggressive immune reaction. The donor pigs also lack a gene that codes for a specific growth hormone receptor, and without this receptor, the pigs’ organs should stop growing once transplanted into a person.

Finally, the pigs carry six extra genes plucked from the human genome: four to help make each pig’s organs appear more familiar to the human immune system and two to prevent the formation of blood clots.

Researchers are getting better and better at this – all the time. Sooner or later, full-blown ethics reviews will have to allow for inter-species transplants.