Nuclear Colonialism in New Mexico

❝ A proposal for New Mexico to house one of the world’s largest nuclear waste storage facilities has drawn opposition from nearly every indigenous nation in the state. Nuclear Issues Study Group co-founder and Diné organizer Leona Morgan told state legislators last week the project, if approved, would perpetuate a legacy of nuclear colonialism against New Mexico’s indigenous communities and people of color.

❝ Holtec International, a private company specializing in spent nuclear fuel storage and management, applied for a license from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission to construct and operate the facility in southeastern New Mexico.

❝ The proposal, which has been in the works since 2011, would see high-level waste generated at nuclear power plants across the country transported to New Mexico for storage at the proposed facility along the Lea-Eddy county line between Hobbs and Carlsbad. Holtec representatives say the facility would be a temporary solution to the nation’s growing nuclear waste problem, but currently there is no federal plan to build a permanent repository for the waste.

No Plan, BTW, for permanent storage ANYWHERE ELSE!

Only you in the future will know if we saved glaciers


Rice University

❝ The first of Iceland’s 400 glaciers to be lost to the climate crisis will be remembered with a memorial plaque – and a sombre warning for the future – to be unveiled by scientists and local people next month.

❝ The former Okjökull glacier, which a century ago covered 15 sq km (5.8 sq miles) of mountainside in western Iceland and measured 50 metres thick, has shrunk to barely 1 sq km of ice less than 15 metres deep and lost its status as a glacier.

❝ “In the next 200 years, all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path,” the plaque reads, in Icelandic and English. “This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it.”…

❝ Cymene Howe, an associate professor of anthropology at Rice, said the plaque “would be the first to a glacier lost to climate change anywhere in the world”. Marking the moment should draw attention to what is being lost, she said.

Notice will be taken – and understood – by that small number of human beings who comprehend what is happening. And that even smaller number of politicians who care.

Latest NASA Night Lights Maps


Click to enlarge

NASA scientists are releasing new global maps of Earth at night, providing the clearest yet composite view of the patterns of human settlement across our planet.

Satellite images of Earth at night — often referred to as “night lights” — have been a gee-whiz curiosity for the public and a tool for fundamental research for nearly 25 years. They have provided a broad, beautiful picture, showing how humans have shaped the planet and lit up the darkness. Produced every decade or so, such maps have spawned hundreds of pop-culture uses and dozens of economic, social science and environmental research projects…

In the years since the 2011 launch of the NASA-NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite, Román and colleagues have been analyzing night lights data and developing new software and algorithms to make night lights imagery clearer, more accurate and readily available. They are now on the verge of providing daily, high-definition views of Earth at night, and are targeting the release of such data to the science community later this year.

Wow. Worth looking forward to.

Here there be cables!


Click to enlarge

Undersea cable maps are for the deeply nerdy, but Telegeography has just produced one that’s beautiful and functional. Plus it shows we’re only using about 36 percent of the purchased capacity.

Telegeography, the research firm tracking underground cables and IP transit costs around the world has published the latest version of its submarine cable map, and it’s, well, beautiful. I have one of these (it’s next to my spectrum chart) but the old map is pretty functional, showing the cables, their capacity, owners and their landing spots. It’s a visual reminder that the internet is grounded in some very physical infrastructure.

From Telegeography: The design of our new map was inspired by antique maps and star charts, and alludes to the historic connection between submarine cables and cartography. We drew inspiration from a number of sources including Maury’s New Complete Geography (Revised Edition) published by American Book Company in 1921 and The Timechart History of the World, a collection of antique timelines published by Third Millennium Press.

This one might actually make it into a frame. The map shows the 232 lit cables as well as the 12 anticipated to come online before 2014. These cables connect countries to the internet, by providing connectivity so your emails from San Francisco can make it to Prague. After a huge boom in the 2000-2002 time frame construction on undersea cables pretty much halted, but in 2008 and 2009 new ones (financed in part by new players such as Google) were built.

Maps mostly contain more information than you ever expect. Cartographers must have cyberbrains.

Celebrate Dickens Bicentenary by giving a book to a child

Leading Charles Dickens biographer Claire Tomalin has said children are not being taught to read with the attention span necessary to appreciate the novelist’s works.

Tomalin said Dickens’s depiction of an unequal society was still “amazingly relevant”, ahead of nationwide celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of his birth.

Children were now unable to appreciate this due to “being reared on dreadful television programmes”, she said in an interview with the Press Association. “Children are not being educated to have prolonged attention spans and you have to be prepared to read steadily for a Dickens novel and I think that’s a pity.”

On Tuesday, events will take place around the UK to celebrate Dickens’s bi-centenary

A Global Dickens Read-a-thon will also take place in 24 countries from Albania to Zimbabwe, beginning in Australia with a reading from Dombey and Son.

Tomalin…said Dickens was “after Shakespeare, the greatest creator of characters in English. “He has gone on entertaining people since the 1830s and his characters’ names are known all over the world. And because of the way he wrote, he adapts very well for theatre and even people who do not read him know about him from films, the TV and musicals.

You only have to look around our society and everything he wrote about in the 1840s is still relevant – the great gulf between the rich and poor, corrupt financiers, corrupt MPs, how the country is run by old Etonians, you name it, he said it.”

She feels Basil Fawlty is the best example of a modern character representative of those created by Dickens. Of curse, much of what was constructed by that merry band inside Monty Python qualified.

Often, when setting off on extended cycling vacations I would bring along a collections of works by a single author. Immersing myself thus really grew an understanding of someone’s writing career. One of the best of those took me up the west coast of Scotland – through the Inner Hebrides – along the North Sea to Tongue and back down to Greenock. With Dickens.

26 nations demand personal user info from Google – guess which Free and Democratic country leads the list?


Differences? Well, Mueller prefers a .40 calibre Glock

Private information about Google users was demanded by governments or police a total of 14,201 times in 26 developed countries in the last six months of last year, according to figures released for the first time by the internet giant…

In an effort to highlight the amount of online censorship that exists, Google disclosed that it had received more requests from the United States than anywhere else – and that it complied with anywhere from three-quarters to more than 90% of the requests depending on which country they were made in…

Google began releasing its half-yearly Transparency Report in April 2010 as a way to highlight state censorship of the internet. “For the first time, we’re disclosing the reasons behind requests for content removal and the percentages of user data requests we comply with, in whole or in part,” a Google spokesman said…

The figures show that Brazil still leads the way in requesting that Google removes content from its services, with 263 orders, ahead of South Korea, Germany, Libya and India…

Google also, for the first time, revealed that it had received no content removal requests from Chinese authorities in the latter part of 2010. Google began redirecting Chinese users to its uncensored Hong Kong site in June 2010 amid allegations of state spying.

No surprises here for me. Considering it’s been 47 years since the first time I had a couple of FBI agents show up where I worked in an attempt to scare me off from continued opposition to the VietNam War.

Over the years you develop a bit of a callus on the bits of your freedom that stick out and are abraded by hypocrites in and out of government who prattle about this land of liberty. The Patriot Act is only something new and threatening to those who’ve never gotten off their rusty dusty and offered public dissent to American bigotry, foreign policy and snoops in general.

CIA informants detained by Pakistan ISI over bin Laden raid

Pakistani intelligence officials have reportedly arrested alleged informants who gave information to the Central Intelligence Agency before the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, the former al-Qaeda leader.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that five people had been detained, including an army major who officials said copied the license plates of cars visiting bin Laden’s compound in the city of Abbottabad, weeks before the US operation…

Neither the army nor Pakistan’s intelligence agency would confirm or deny the overall report about the detentions…

The fate of those arrested is unclear, but US officials said that Leon Panetta, the CIA director, raised the issue when he travelled to Islamabad last week to meet with Pakistani military and intelligence officials.

US-Pakistani relations have been strained over the raid by Navy SEALs on Pakistani territory, which was seen as a blow to the prestige of the country’s military.

Officials said the arrests of the alleged informants was just the latest evidence of the fractured relationship between the two nations.

The New York Times also said that at a closed briefing last week, members of the Senate Intelligence Committee asked Michael Morell, the deputy CIA director, to rate Pakistan’s co-operation with the US on counterterrorism operations, on a scale of one to 10.

“Three,” Morell replied, according to officials familiar with the exchange, the newspaper said.

That’s encouraging. I’d have rated it lower – and less productive – than that.

New directions established for Arctic Council


Hillary attends Arctic Council meeting for the first time
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

Canada and other Arctic nations will work together on major search and rescue operations in the Arctic, under an international treaty signed by eight nations Thursday in Greenland….U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Canada’s Leona Aglukkaq were at the Nuuk meeting, along with foreign affairs ministers from Norway, Iceland, Finland, Sweden and Denmark…

The leaders meeting in Nuuk also agreed to set up a task force to work on an Arctic oil spill preparedness and response agreement. Given companies’ growing interest in drilling for offshore oil and gas in the Arctic, northern countries need to work fast on an oil spill plan, said Alexander Shestakov, director of the Global Arctic Program with the World Wildlife Fund…

Observers in Nuuk said Thursday’s meeting shows that the Arctic Council is moving in a new direction, in which there will be more action than talk.

Nunavut Premier Eva Aariak said in a statement that she welcomes the “trend within the [Arctic] Council for more policy-making” as a step towards a stronger council.

It is historic for the Arctic Council to agree today to a binding legal instrument,” Aariak said. “I look forward to the work of the next task force towards another potential agreement for 2013 on emergency response and preparedness,” she added…

Shell has set its sights on the Chukchi and Beaufort seas off the northern Alaskan coast, while BP is trying to work out an arrangement in Russia’s Arctic.

Meanwhile, oil rigs are already heading west of Greenland, where Cairn Energy plans to drill four holes this year. The government in Greenland has authorized oil and gas exploration in the area, despite concerns from some that development is moving too quickly and could harm Arctic wildlife.

RTFA for beaucoup details.

Indigenous peoples, first nation folks are claiming significant boundaries, rights and responsibilities. Looks like all the treaties accept environmental responsibilities as a basic premise.

Egypt onstage when Obama addresses the Arab world


American Congressmen visiting school destroyed by Israeli military
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

CAIRO – President Obama’s decision to deliver a speech here next month has given significant encouragement to a once powerful ally that has grown increasingly frustrated over its waning regional influence and its inability to explain to its citizens why it remains committed to a Middle East peace process that has failed to produce a better life for Palestinians.

After eight years in which Egypt felt unappreciated and bullied by the Bush administration, Egyptian officials were gleeful about Cairo’s selection last week for the president’s address to the Muslim world. They said that it proved Egypt remained the capital of the Arab world and that it eased concerns that Washington might undermine its Arab allies in exchange for a grand deal with their rivals in Iran.

“The aptest choice was Cairo,” the Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmed Abul Gheit, told the state-owned daily newspaper Rose Al-Yousef. “It is the capital of moderation in Islam and the capital of cultural sway in the Arab and Muslim worlds.”

Still, President Obama’s decision to address a deeply skeptical Arab audience from Cairo is fraught with potential land mines, according to political analysts, human rights advocates and government officials. He has selected an authoritarian state where political and economic reform has stalled under President Hosni Mubarak, 82, who has been in power for nearly 30 years.

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