Robber fly - Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects. It isn't easy. Shahan says that this Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca), for instance, is "skittish" and doesn't like its picture taken.

Eye-popping bug photos

Nature by Numbers (Video)

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
"The Quantum Factor" – Apr 10, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Galaxies, Universe, Intelligent design, Benevolent design, Aliens, Nikola Tesla (Quantum energy), Inter-Planetary Travel, DNA, Genes, Stem Cells, Cells, Rejuvenation, Shift of Human Consciousness, Spontaneous Remission, Religion, Dictators, Africa, China, Nuclear Power, Sustainable Development, Animals, Global Unity.. etc.) - (Text Version)

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

(Live Kryon Channelings was given 7 times within the United Nations building.)

"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“… 4 - Energy (again)

The natural resources of the planet are finite and will not support the continuation of what you've been doing. We've been saying this for a decade. Watch for increased science and increased funding for alternate ways of creating electricity (finally). Watch for the very companies who have the most to lose being the ones who fund it. It is the beginning of a full realization that a change of thinking is at hand. You can take things from Gaia that are energy, instead of physical resources. We speak yet again about geothermal, about tidal, about wind. Again, we plead with you not to over-engineer this. For one of the things that Human Beings do in a technological age is to over-engineer simple things. Look at nuclear - the most over-engineered and expensive steam engine in existence!

Your current ideas of capturing energy from tidal and wave motion don't have to be technical marvels. Think paddle wheel on a pier with waves, which will create energy in both directions [waves coming and going] tied to a generator that can power dozens of neighborhoods, not full cities. Think simple and decentralize the idea of utilities. The same goes for wind and geothermal. Think of utilities for groups of homes in a cluster. You won't have a grid failure if there is no grid. This is the way of the future, and you'll be more inclined to have it sooner than later if you do this, and it won't cost as much….”

"Fast-Tracking" - Feb 8, 2014 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Reference to Fukushima / H-bomb nuclear pollution and a warning about nuclear > 20 Min)

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change
In a bid to combat climate change, US President Barack Obama announced the Clean Power Plan on Monday, marking the first time power plants have been targeted by mandatory regulations on carbon dioxide emissions in the US.
Google: Earthday 2013

Friday, January 31, 2014

Australia Approves Plan to Dump Dredge Spoil in Barrier Reef

Jakarta Globe – AFP, January 31, 2014

Mounds of coal can be seen along the coastline of Queensland at the port of
Hay Point, located around 450 km (279 miles) southeast of the city of Townsville
August 5, 2009. (Reuters Photo)

Sydney. Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority on Friday approved the dumping of up to three million cubic meters of dredge waste in park waters in a move blasted by environmentalists.

The decision follows the government giving the green light to a major coal port expansion for India’s Adani Group on the reef coast in December, under some of the strictest-ever environmental conditions.

It will see Adani dredge three million cubic meters of material from the seabed to allow freighters to dock at the port in Abbot Point, lifting the facility’s capacity by 70 percent to make it one of the world’s largest coal ports.

Conservationists warned it could hasten the demise of the World Heritage-listed reef, which is already considered to be in “poor” health, with dredging smothering corals and seagrasses and exposing them to poisons and elevated levels of nutrients.

The reef is already facing pressures from climate change, land-based pollution and crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks.

“This is a sad day for the reef and anyone who cares about its future,” said WWF Great Barrier Reef campaigner Richard Leck.

“The World Heritage Committee will take a dim view of this decision, which is in direct contravention of one of its recommendations.”

The reef is facing a World Heritage downgrade from Unesco this year due to concerns about rampant coastal development proposed in the region, particularly port, gas and coal operations. Unesco are due to meet in June, when they are expected to discuss the issue.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) chairman Russell Reichelt said he recognized there was intense community concern and debate about the application by North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation to dispose of dredge spoil in the park.

But he said allowing the project to proceed would help contain development to existing ports, and the reef itself and seagrass meadows would still be protected.

“This approval is in line with the agency’s view that port development along the Great Barrier Reef coastline should be limited to existing ports,” he said.

“It’s important to note the sea floor of the approved disposal area consists of sand, silt and clay and does not contain coral reefs or seagrass beds.”

The GBRMPA, whose board is currently under investigation for its links to the mining industry, added that the strict environmental conditions imposed on the project by the federal government would help protect the reef.

The conditions require that sediment entering the marine park be reduced by 150 percent over the long term – a “net benefit” to water quality – and that $81 million be contributed to reef conservation programs and specific measures observed to protect marine flora and fauna.

WWF Australia has said the material dredged during the port expansion would be enough to fill 150,000 dump trucks that “lined up bumper-to-bumper would stretch from Brisbane to Melbourne,” a distance of more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles).

Agence France-Presse

The reef: the spoil will be dumped about 24km from Abbot Point, the gateway
to the world heritage-listed reef. Photograph: Grant V Faint/Getty Images

Related Articles:

Great Barrier Reef authority approves dredging and dumping to expand port
Australia probes Great Barrier Reef board over 'mining links'

A handout picture made available by Greenpeace on Feb. 1, 2014 shows a
 sign protesting the proposed coal port at Abbot Point at the Great Barrier Reef,
 north of Bowen, Queensland, Australia. (EPA Photo/Greenpeace Australia and
New Zealand)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Booming German offshore wind power industry puts pressure on marine life

DeutscheWelle, 24 January 2014

Offshore wind energy is continuing to grow off the German coast as the country remains dedicated to its energy transformation. But conservationists are concerned about the effects the industry is having on animals.

Families walk their dogs along the sandy beach, the waves lapping to their side, oblivious to the fact that less than 100 kilometers (62 miles) off the coast wind turbines turn creating energy for electricity in tens of thousands of German homes.

Such renewable energy is a key element in Germany's transition away from coal and nuclear energy, but now some are questioning the environmental impact of offshore wind farms particularly on animals – in both the sea and air.

"There are indications from research that fish larvae can be damaged by intense sounds,” said Fabian Ritter, leader of the marine protection campaign at Whale and Dolphin Conservation in Berlin.

"Seals are very sensitive to sounds and can be easily disturbed," he told DW. "There's disturbance and the risk of collision for birds, and bats, and other animals."

Increase of biodiversity

Offshore wind farm Alpha Ventus is
 situated in the North Sea, north of
 the island of Borkum
A recent report released by Germany's Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency, known as the BSH, on the wind farm Alpha Ventus has sought to soothe conservationists' fears. According to the report, the effects on fish, birds and marine mammals are minimal.

Conducted over five years, the study looked at the ecological effects of the 12 turbines at Alpha Ventus, a test site run jointly by energy firms EWE, E-ON and Vattenfall, 60 kilometers off the German coast in the North Sea. It revealed an increase in the biodiversity at the bases of the turbines.

"Life on the ground had very much intensified because small life-forms such as mussels, starfish and sea anemones, were able to find a new surface on which to grow and multiply, much stronger than on the sand that was already there," said Monika Breuch-Moritz, president of the BSH.

"That is actually just a normal result, you see similar things on every shipwreck," she told DW.

Hearing loss for animals

Although there are still concerns about birds getting stuck and killed while flying across the path of the massive wind turbine blades, one of the biggest concerns for conservationists relates to harbor porpoises, mammals which depend on their sense of hearing to hunt and navigate. According to the report, the animals were at times driven up to 20 kilometers from the sound of construction.

Harbor porpoise numbers are decreasing
in the Baltic, but that's also due to fishing
"If sounds become too intense, there's going to be severe damage to the harbour porpoise,” said Ritter. “If they become deaf, that's a death sentence for them."

Companies are required to limit noise to 160 decibels – the same level of noise as a jet plane taking off – at a distance of 750 meters away from construction sites. The German environment ministry also implemented new requirements in December as part of a noise prevention concept. Guidelines require measures such as bubble curtains, where air bubbles are released from the seabed to create a sound-insulating barrier.

While Breuch-Moritz said the move was important, she added that the study had found porpoises returning to the site following the end of construction.

"As soon as the pile-driving is over, the porpoises come back," said Breuch-Moritz. "The operation of a wind farm, not the construction, doesn't disturb the porpoises."

Cumulative effects

Still, conservationists say the report does not take into account the cumulative effects of the many wind farms being built off Germany's north coast and say the noise prevention concept, which is only in effect for the North Sea, should be extended to also cover the Baltic Sea.

According to the German Offshore Wind Energy Foundation, which works closely with the German environment ministry, offshore wind turbines generated 520 Megawatts (MW) of electricity in September 2013. The government plans to increase that figure to 25,000 MW by 2030.

"We're not talking about one site, but hundreds over decades," says Fabian Ritter. "You could say you are changing an ecosystem, sound-wise."

Even so, Andreas Wagner, manager of the German Offshore Wind Energy Foundation's Berlin office, which worked with the energy firms to build the Alpha Ventus wind farm, said there was a lot of effort being taken by industry to reduce the potential ecological impacts.

Construction processes for offshore
 wind farms create a lot of noise,
conservationists say
"We have more than half a dozen commercial offshore wind farms under construction right now, but they are not all being built at the same time and not installing the foundations at the same time, so there are not many cumulative effects in reality," he said.

Many conservationists say they do not want to see less development in the sector of offshore wind energy, but greater consideration of the potential effects of offshore wind farms.

"We think it's the future of the energy development in Germany and maybe in Europe and worldwide," says Fabian Ritter, from the Whale and Dolphin Conservation organization. "But you have to look at what you can do to minise harm to the marine environment."

Stem cell 'major discovery' claimed

BBC News, James Gallagher, Health and science reporter, 29 January 2014

Petri dishes filled with stem cells

Related Stories

Stem cell researchers are heralding a "major scientific discovery", with the potential to start a new age of personalised medicine.

Scientists in Japan showed stem cells can now be made quickly just by dipping blood cells into acid.

Stem cells can transform into any tissue and are already being trialled for healing the eye, heart and brain.

The latest development, published in the journal Nature, could make the technology cheaper, faster and safer.

The human body is built of cells with a specific role - nerve cells, liver cells, muscle cells - and that role is fixed.

However, stem cells can become any other type of cell, and they have become a major field of research in medicine for their potential to regenerate the body.

Embryos are one, ethically charged, source of stem cells. Nobel prize winning research also showed that skin cells could be "genetically reprogrammed" to become stem cells (termed induced pluripotent stem cells).

Acid bath

Now a study shows that shocking blood cells with acid could also trigger the transformation into stem cells - this time termed STAP (stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency) cells.

Dr Haruko Obokata, from the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology in Japan, said she was "really surprised" that cells could respond to their environment in this way.

She added: "It's exciting to think about the new possibilities these findings offer us, not only in regenerative medicine, but cancer as well."

The breakthrough was achieved in mouse blood cells, but research is now taking place to achieve the same results with human blood.

Chris Mason, professor of regenerative medicine at University College London, said if it also works in humans then "the age of personalised medicine would have finally arrived."

He told the BBC: "I thought - 'my God that's a game changer!' It's a very exciting, but surprise, finding.

"It looks a bit too good to be true, but the number of experts who have reviewed and checked this, I'm sure that it is.

"If this works in people as well as it does in mice, it looks faster, cheaper and possibly safer than other cell reprogramming technologies - personalised reprogrammed cell therapies may now be viable."

For age-related macular degeneration, which causes sight loss, it takes 10 months to go from a patient's skin sample to a therapy that could be injected into their eye -and at huge cost.

Prof Mason said weeks could be knocked off that time which would save money, as would cheaper components.


The finding has been described as "remarkable" by the Medical Research Council's Prof Robin Lovell-Badge and as "a major scientific discovery" by Dr Dusko Ilic, a reader in stem cell science at Kings College London.

Dr Ilic added: "The approach is indeed revolutionary.

"It will make a fundamental change in how scientists perceive the interplay of environment and genome."

But he added: "It does not bring stem cell-based therapy closer. We will need to use the same precautions for the cells generated in this way as for the cells isolated from embryos or reprogrammed with a standard method."

And Prof Lovell-Badge said: "It is going to be a while before the nature of these cells are understood, and whether they might prove to be useful for developing therapies, but the really intriguing thing to discover will be the mechanism underlying how a low pH shock triggers reprogramming - and why it does not happen when we eat lemon or vinegar or drink cola?"

Related Articles:

“…Yawee, let's talk about your invention, your most recent one. You described your guided stem cell protocol as a "go there and stay there" instructional technology to guide the stem cells directly to where they are needed. You "instruct" the stem cells to go to a place in the body and stay there where they can be used. Now, the ones sitting in the chairs today don't know anything about that. But you do and I do. And you know that you're either incredibly lucky, over and over, or you're dealing with something else. Because to guide a stem cell in a "go there and stay there" scenario is like a Human Being reporting to a city of a billion people, then standing on the outskirts and locating that one person they are looking for, right away, by accident! Somehow it works.

Your "go there and stay there" is a macro program accomplishing an incredible micro result. How? Trillions, if not hundreds of trillions of DNA molecules are all identical in the Human body. Somehow they "talk to each other" instantly. If one DNA molecule senses something, they all do. Science doesn't know that yet. They may have thought of it, but they don't know it. There is a mystery here of how DNA does what it does. Somehow it must communicate, yet there is no process of communication known to your science that could explain it. But they all "see" the intent of your program together as one and implement it as one.

We have told you this before, and we have written books about it. Your DNA has quantum attributes. It's not a quantum molecule, but it gives quantum instructions. Ah, but there's more. All the DNA I perceive in your body right now is singular, with only one allied consciousness. This is because the DNA in the Human body is in an entangled state with itself. It is quantumly locked in a way that it works as one benevolent union. This is a quantum physics attribute that is not yet fully understood and not yet applied to biology. It represents the smart body, the innate body, and if you want proof of that, it's everywhere!

What do you know about identical twins? You know that they have the same DNA and that they are the only Humans on the planet who do. What do you know about studies of identical twins? You know that they can be on opposite sides of the planet and both can have the same intuition at the same time about something that's happening with their family. Now, what does that tell you about their DNA? It's connected! In fact, it's connected within a particular quantum state. What do you know about quantumness in DNA? The answer is, almost nothing! So let me fill you in. It's beautiful. Let me fill you in, because it's going to temper everything you do from now on. ..”

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Chemists unveil 'water-jet' printer

Google – AFP, 28 January 2014

Water drops are seen in Honduras on March 4, 2010 (AFP/File, Orlando Sierra)

Paris — Like any ordinary printer, this machine ingests a blank page and spits it out covered in print.

But instead of ink, it uses only water, and the used paper fades back to white within a day, enabling it to be reused.

A team of chemists claims their "water-jet" technology allows each page to be reprinted dozens of times -- a money- and tree-saving option in a digital world that still relies heavily on hard copy.

"Several international statistics indicate that about 40 percent of office prints (are) taken to the waste paper basket after a single reading," said Sean Xiao-An Zhang, a chemistry professor at Jilin University in China, who oversaw work on the innovation.

The trick lies in the paper, which is treated with an invisible dye that colours when exposed to water, then disappears.

The print fades away within about 22 hours at temperatures below 35 degrees Celsius (95 deg Fahrenheit) as the water evaporates -- quicker if exposed to high heat, Zhang and a team wrote in a paper describing their invention in the journal Nature Communications.

The print is clear, claim the designers, and the technology cheap.

"Based on 50 times of rewriting, the cost is only about one percent of the inkjet prints," Zhang said in a video on the Nature website.

Even if each page was re-used only a dozen times, the cost would still be about one-seventeenth of the inkjet version.

Sean said dye-treating the paper, of the type generally used for printing, added about five percent to its price, but this is more than compensated for by the saving on ink.

Crucially, the new method does not require a change of printer but merely replacing the ink in the cartridge with water, using a syringe.

"Water is a renewable resource and obviously poses no risk to the environment," said the study.

Previous work in the quest for a disappearing ink has tended to yield a low-contrast print, often at a high cost, and sometimes using hazardous chemicals.

Zhang and his team used a previously little-studied dye compound called oxazolidine, which yielded a clear, blue print in less than a second after water was applied.

They have managed to create four water-printed colours so far -- blue, magenta, gold and purple -- but can only print in one hue at a time, for now.

The next step is to improve both the resolution and the duration of the print.

They are also working on a machine that will heat pre-printed sheets of paper as they are fed into the machine, fading the pages instantaneously for re-printing.

At 70 C (158 F), the colour disappears within about 30 seconds.

Zhang said the dyed paper was "very safe" but toxicity tests are underway on mice to be sure.

Related Article:

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Public support for fracking in Britain falls for a second time

Poll shows a further increase in shale gas opposition since protests last summer – despite prime minister's support, Adam Vaughan, Tuesday 28 January 2014

Anti-Fracking protest march near to the IGas Barton Moss fracking 
exploration rig in Salford A protest march near the IGas Barton Moss fracking
site near Salford, 26 January 2014. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

David Cameron is losing the battle for public opinion over fracking for shale gas because of high-profile public protests against the controversial technique, polling suggests.

The latest results of a long-running survey on British attitudes towards shale gas, undertaken by YouGov and commissioned by the University of Nottingham, show an increase in the number of people opposed to fracking and a decrease in those in favour for the second time since protests at Balcombe in West Sussex last August.

An image depicting the British prime minister, David Cameron, is held by a
 protester during a rally at the former test drill site operated by Cuadrilla
Resources in Balcombe. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

The slide in support comes despite several major speeches by the prime minister in support of shale gas over the same period, including last week's address to the World Economic Forum in Davos where he said the UK needed to "embrace the opportunities of shale gas" even though he understood "the concerns some people have".

Public support for fracking steadily grew from June 2012 to a high of 58% in favour and just 18% against in July 2013, when asked the question: "should shale gas extraction in the UK be allowed?". But after the protests against an oil-drilling site run by Cuadrilla at Balcombe – which saw several thousand people marching and dozens of arrests including that of Green MP, Caroline Lucas – the number in favour fell in September to 55% and has dropped again this month to 53%. Opposition has also risen, to 24% in September and 27% this month.

Sarah O'Hara, pro vice-chancellor and professor of geography at the University of Nottingham, said: "After a prolonged period when the UK public appeared to be warming to shale gas, that opinion is shifting in the opposite direction, with the apparent turn against fracking for shale gas continuing."

Lawrence Carter, climate campaigner at Greenpeace, said of the new polling: "David Cameron appears to have lost his knack for PR. After a concerted push from the prime minister to sell shale gas to the public, including financial bungs to local councils, his net return is that fewer people support fracking. It is time he listened to the voices of local communities and abandoned his plans to industrialise our countryside with this dirty, risky and controversial practice and instead backed the home insulation programmes and clean energy sources that can tackle rising bills and protect the environment."

Anti-fracking protests have taken place across the country, from Lancashire to the East Midlands and Sussex. Campaigners cite concerns over the impact on water supplies, climate change and the flaring and trucks that accompany the process, which uses water, sand and chemicals pumped at high pressure underground to fracture shale rocks and release gas.

Protesters targeting a drilling site run by IGas at Barton Moss in Salford have been camped out for two months now, leading to dozens of arrests, mostly for obstructing a highway. Local MP Barbara Keeley said the "the policing costs are much, much higher than anything that comes back" and Greater Manchester police say policing the protests has cost more than £330,000.

There has been a concerted push by ministers to encourage backing for shale gas. David Cameron earlier this month announced that in addition to communities receiving money for living near shale gas wells, local authorities would keep 100% of business rates from fracking projects rather than the usual 50%, a move condemned as "bribes" by critics.

On Monday, the climate minister, Greg Barker, said environmentalists should back shale gas because it had lower carbon emissions than coal power, which it can displace. "The kneejerk reactions to fracking is [based on] ideology, it's not science-based," he said. Lord Deben, the chairman of the UK's climate advisory committee and a former environment minister, recently told the Guardian that those who condemn fracking as extremely damaging are taking a "nonsensical position."

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "Shale gas has the potential to create growth, jobs and energy security and we are promoting safe exploration that protects the environment. This should not be undermined by campaigns of misinformation. We are also committed to working with communities to make sure that shale exploration happens in partnership with local people and that they see the benefits".

But the University of Nottingham polling also suggests most people agree with the view that payments to communities living near shale gas wells are "bribes", with 57% saying they believed the compensation was "to get the community's support for fracking in their area" and almost nine in 10 saying the payments were not being paid for the benefit of the community.

Prof Matthew Humphrey from the school of political and international relations and co-author of the report, said: "The public is getting strong messages from protest groups about the dangers of fracking and an equally strong message from the government about the benefits it will bring in terms of secure and affordable energy. The trends seem to show that neither side has won the argument yet."

Friday, January 24, 2014

Europe's 'greenest city' tests limits of sustainable living

Google – AFP, Tom Sullivan (AFP), 24 January 2014

An environmentally smart house belonging to Jeanette and Ryan Provencher
in Vaexjpe, on January 15, 2014 (AFP, Erik Martensson)

Vaexjoe — Pine cones, moss and rotten food are fuelling a Swedish city's quest to be sustainable, but people's attachment to their cars may put the brakes on its carbon-neutral ambition.

Nestled among glittering lakes and thick pine forests in southern Sweden, Vaexjoe has gone further than most in renewable energy, clean transport and energy conservation, promoting itself as "Europe's Greenest City".

"We started very early," Henrik Johansson at Vaexjoe local council told AFP.

"Our politicians realised in the '60s that if the city was to develop the lakes had to be cleaned up -- they'd been polluted by the linen industry in the 18th century and by the city's expansion."

A bus travels through Vaexjoe, on
January 15, 2014 (AFP, Erik Martensson)
The restoration of the most polluted waterway, Lake Trummen -- infamous for its noxious smell as far back as the 18th century -- acted as a catalyst for more ambitious environmental projects, he added.

"When I was a kid you wouldn't have dreamt of taking a swim in it, but today you can," said the 39-year-old environmental officer.

"That very obvious change has stayed in people's minds -- it showed that if you really want to do something and set your mind to it, you will succeed."

In the 1990s, before global warming was grabbing headlines, the city council announced plans to abandon fossil fuels by 2030 and to halve carbon emissions in less than two decades -- among a host of "green goals" that also encourage local farmers to go organic and everyone to reduce paper consumption and to use bicycles or public transport.

Today, Vaexjoe's CO2 emissions are indeed almost half what they were in 1993 -- one of the lowest levels in Europe at 2.7 tonnes per person -- and almost half of Sweden's already low average.

In the 1970s Vaexjoe developed a district heating and power system -- pumping heat and hot water from a central boiler around the city.

That was not unique for Sweden, but the city-owned energy company went on to pioneer a changeover from oil to biomass -- incinerating leftovers from the forestry industry.

At the plant just outside the city, Bjoern Wolgast, the director, picks up a handful of tangled twigs, moss and bark, and breathes in the pungent pine fragrance as an excavator delivers a pile of the dusty material to a nearby conveyer belt.

"It's totally renewable energy -- Swedish forests still produce more than we take out," he said, adding: "And we send ash back to fertilise the forest."

Today almost 90 percent of the city's 60,000 inhabitants get their heat and hot water from the plant, which also supplies about 40 percent of electricity needs.

Thanks to a series of filters, the plant's emissions are almost negligible -- one-twentieth of the national limit.

But whether Vaexjoe really is "Europe's Greenest City" is open for debate and the slogan irritates some locals, including ecological restaurant owner Goeran Lindblad.

"Why were we years behind other parts of the country in recycling food waste?" asked Lindblad, one of the first in Vaexjoe to start recycling food two years ago.

Nonetheless, when the local council did start collecting organic waste things happened quickly.
Two-thirds of households signed up voluntarily -- in return for lower charges -- and today the city's fleet of green biogas buses runs almost entirely on locally produced gas made from rotten food and sewage.

"It's difficult to compare cities of different sizes but I'd say it's one of Europe's greenest -- they're very advanced and ambitious," said Cristina Garzillo, a sustainability expert at the local government network ICLEI in Freiburg, Germany.

Ryan Provencher, a 39-year-old engineer, moved to Sweden from Texas just over a decade ago and could be described as a fervent convert to the green revolution.

Henrik Johansson, Environmental Coordinator
 of Vaexjoe Municipality, pictured January 15,
2014 (AFP, Erik Martensson)
"We recycle just about everything. I only use my car about twice a week and tend to run or cycle to work," he said.

Provencher lives with his wife and three children in Vaexjoe's most environmentally friendly "positive house", which sends more energy back to the local grid than it uses thanks to a roof covered in solar panels and an array of other energy-saving gadgets.

He says the contrast with life in Waco, where his parents live, is like "night and day".

"Gas is so cheap there that nobody thinks twice about driving."

Vaexjoe may be a world away from Waco, but many of its residents have a similar love affair with the car -- about 60 percent drive -- and it has proved hard to change that, making the city's fossil-free goal harder to achieve.

"We're dependent on national changes and on car and fuel companies to make alternatives available. We can't force people out of their cars," Johansson said.

"But we're making it more and more attractive to use bikes or buses and harder to drive shorter distances. And it's pretty easy to make quick improvements: gas stations are already blending biofuels into ordinary fuel so everyone can start lowering their CO2 emissions."

"By 2030 I think we'll be at least 80 percent there," Johansson said.

"And that would not be so bad!"

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Japan researchers use cosmic rays to see nuclear fuel

Google – AFP, 23 January 2014

Members of the International Atomic Energy Agency inspect a spent fuel
 pool at the crippled Tokyo Electric Power Fukushima nuclear power plant,
on November 27, 2013 (TEPCO/AFP/File, Tepco)

Tokyo — Japanese researchers said Thursday they had succeeded in using cosmic rays to find nuclear fuel inside a reactor, a technology that might be helpful in the complicated decommissioning at Fukushima.

By observing the way the particles behaved near reactors, container vessels and spent fuel pools, they were able to obtain a clear visual picture of the fuel, they said.

"We are conducting this study carefully as this enables you to find where nuclear fuel is anywhere in the world," said Fumihiko Takasaki, a researcher at the High Energy Accelerator Research Organisation, or KEK, one of the laboratories involved in the research.

The technology could help Tokyo Electric Power Co. in the clean-up at its Fukushima Daiichi power plant, he told AFP by telephone.

A massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami knocked out cooling systems at the power station, sparking reactor meltdowns that contaminated land, air and the sea.

Engineers working on the decades-long decommissioning are faced with a series of difficulties, not least of which is that they do not know exactly where the molten fuel is inside the battered reactors.

Present technology is not robust enough to allow them to get a look inside the units, where some fear that fuel has melted through containment vessels and possibly into the ground underneath.

KEK, working jointly with University of Tokyo, University of Tsukuba and Tokyo Metropolitan University, observed particles called muons in experiments.

Muons are constantly falling on the earth and move without hindrance through water, human bodies and many other objects.

But substances with high density such as nuclear fuel reduce their penetration.

A team of researchers monitored muons at three locations outside an off-line nuclear plant in Ibaraki prefecture, east of Tokyo, from February 2012 to December 2013.

They tracked where muon penetration was blocked to produce the image of nuclear fuel at the plant.

Takasaki said the team would propose use of the system to Tokyo Electric Power, adding observations at some five locations for less than two months would enable them to produce visual images of nuclear fuel at Fukushima.

Melting ice a hot topic at Arctic conference

Deutsche Welle, 22 January 2014

The Arctic Frontiers conference is now a key event in the polar calendar. With climate change opening up the region, a record number of politicians, scientists and journalists are gathered in Norway's Arctic capital.

As the dark sky of the long cold Arctic night lightens in the early hours of this winter morning in Tromso, Norway, an international crowd lines up on the iced-over snow at a harbor bus stop. They're heading for Norway's northernmost university campus. Construction noise competes with the cries of the gulls as climate change opens up the commercial potential of the icy north.

Outside the conference venue, TV crews jockey for position to capture the arrival of Erna Solberg, the Norwegian prime minister. A small row of youngsters line the entrance holding up a protest banner: Fossil Free Arctic Future.

Skjoldvear and other activists say
Norway should stop Arctic drilling
Ingrid Skjoldvear, of Young Friends of the Earth Norway, says they want the prime minister to stop Arctic drilling and focus on cutting emissions and achieving climate targets. The young people have their work cut out for them, as Norway's prosperity is based on oil revenue. And that's unlikely to change in the near future.

No future without oil?

Solberg makes no bones about the continuing importance of oil and gas drilling for Norway. Her goal is to make northern Norway an "innovative and stable region" and an "attractive place to live."

Like other high-profile politicians from Arctic nations speaking at the conference, Solberg talks of opportunities and of sustainable development. Fossil fuel extraction is an integral part of her policy to bring employment, education and an improved infrastructure to the region. This domestic policy priority is in line with growing international interest in the Arctic, said the conservative politician.

Climate change is having a dramatic impact on the Arctic. But while Solberg and her peers acknowledge the problems, the young people outside cannot expect any shift in fossil fuel policy. Around 13 percent of the world's remaining oil is thought to be in the Arctic. Minerals, including rare ores, are said to be there for the taking now that the ice is melting. Nina Jensen is head of World Wildlife Fund Norway, one of the few NGOs invited to speak at the conference. She feels that many Norwegians have a growing awareness of the paradox of hunting for Arctic oil as the ice "melts beneath our feet," threatening the fragile ecosystem.

The peoples of the Arctic

Hammond: Development in the Arctic
 should be determined by the needs of
the people of the Arctic
"Humans in the Arctic" is the focus of this year's conference, which the organizers say will attract around 1,000 people over the course of the week. The region is home to some 4 million people, many of them from around 30 indigenous groups. Greenland's Prime Minister Aleqa Hammond, herself an indigenous Greenlander, summed up the impact of climate change on her people.

"Imagine a giant island with three climate zones, being pushed almost two kilometers (1.2 miles) northward each year," she said. That statistic graphically illustrates the huge changes affecting the environment and people of the world's biggest island, with an ice sheet that contains the largest amount of water in the northern hemisphere, and which is of key importance to the world climate and global sea levels.

Hammond is a realist. She knows her small country needs revenue to achieve the goal of full independence from Denmark. But she is also well aware of the negative impacts of rapid industrialization on a people traditionally very close to nature. As well as the decrease in ice stability, she talked of the contaminants polluting the environment and finding their way into Arctic mammals, some of them a source of traditional food. While physical health has been improved by better housing, nutrition and health care in the last 50 years, Hammond stressed the negative mental and physical health effects of a loss of traditional values.

Health is the main focus of the agenda. There are above-average suicide rates in circumpolar areas, and chronic illnesses and heart disease are on the rise due to a shift from hunting and fishing to what Greenland's premier describes as the "office worker lifestyle." Urbanization is another factor, with 80 percent of the 15,000 Greenlanders living in the capital, Nuuk, and only 20 percent in villages. Just 100 years ago, everyone lived in small settlements.

Climate change is having a dramatic impact on the Arctic and the way
of life for indigenous people

Other Arctic regions face similar problems. High-profile politicians from Scandinavia, Russia, the US and Canada, the current chair of the Arctic Council, have spoken of the need for environmental protection, maritime safety, oil spill preparedness and better search and rescue programs, as industrial activity and new shipping lanes bring freight and tourists into the dangerous Arctic waters.

The dilemma, as Hammond sees it: How to bring prosperity to the Arctic's indigenous people with easier access to oil, gas and minerals, without destroying a society rapidly being catapulted from a traditional rural lifestyle into the realities of the industrialized, commercialized, globalized world where the environment is of secondary importance?

An expanding circle

Nearby, in the center of Tromso, senior Arctic officials from the Arctic Council member states and the growing host of "observers" meet in closed-door session at the organization's secretariat, which was set up here a year ago. Dealing with the increasing number of participants is an issue. Speaking with DW, Iceland's Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson said Monday (20.01.2014) that his country was happy to work with any countries planning to invest in the region, as long as they follow the laws and regulations. Iceland signed a free trade agreement with China last year; everyone here is calling for international cooperation.

But Greenland's Hammond has called for caution. “It's clear for me that development in the Arctic should be determined by the needs and inspirations of the people of the Arctic. Anything else would be wrong,” she told the gathering. At the same time, she appealed to any new partners to bear in mind that even small changes will have a big effect on a small indigenous population, perhaps reflecting the knowledge that developing the Arctic will not go ahead without the economic power and the expertise of outsiders.

The development of the high north is cruising ahead at full speed. And everyone, it seems, wants a piece of the Arctic cake now that the icing is melting.

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(Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) - (Text version)

New Mini Ice Age
“… The Weather

Let's talk about the weather. We retreat to exactly what we told you before in this very chair. The water cycle is a cooling cycle, not a heating cycle. You're going to have more severe winters and storms. It's going to get colder. But it gets warmer before it gets colder. That is the cycle, and it has always been the cycle. You can see it in the rings of the trees and the cores of the ice. Don't let your scientists pull the political wool over your eyes for their own purposes. Start seeing these things for what they are. It's a recurring cycle based on four Earth alignment attributes, including the wobble (the precession). You're in this cycle. Prepare.

The beginnings of it will be with you from now at least until the end of the 2012 36-year window, and you can watch it work. The first thing that happens is that the ice melts at the poles, but not completely. It's the way it has happened before. As the redistribution of weight from the poles to the oceans of the earth takes place, the weight is redistributed to the crust, and that creates earthquakes. And the earthquakes that will be the most powerful are the ones that are closest to the poles. We told you that some time ago. So it's not a mystery that suddenly you have some of the most powerful earthquakes that you've ever had. Not only that, but a cooling ocean creates larger storms.

What do the conspiracists do with all this? "See? We're doomed. Here it comes," they say. "Here it comes! The end is here!" Twenty-two years ago, we gave you the information that is happening today. We told you about the weather. We told you to get ready for it, but we still haven't told you why the water cycle is needed. We've hinted at it since it is very controversial, and we'll lose many readers right here and now. Here's the prediction: The scientists are going to laugh and biologists are going to scratch their heads and roll their eyes.

The Refreshing of the Cycle of Life

When you change the temperature of the waters of the planet, it changes the life cycle of the ocean and it eventually renews itself. The life cycle of the planet has a limit to its viability over time. There has to be a refreshing of the very cycle of life, and this is what the water cycle does. Are there any places you've seen too many fish lately? Yes. Millions of salmon in the north. Odd that it was in Alaska, isn't it? Alaska is very close to the poles where the water temperature is being felt first. Oh, again the experts will tell you that this is not the reason. It's about hatcheries and rivers. But nobody predicted this, did they? Science is fast to give you reasons, but slow to give you logic in advance. They always seem to be surprised.

We are saying things we haven't said before. Again, watch for this, an actual change in the life cycle of the planet's oceans because of the water temperature shift. Biologists are going to have to start redesigning the paradigm of how everything works, including reefs, ocean bottoms, and how plankton survive and reproduce. Listen, this is not the first time that the life cycle has been refreshed! But again, this may take generations of humanity to complete. In the process, you may again lose species. This is normal. Gaia is slow, and Humans are impatient. Your textbooks may someday tell of how naive humanity was back in 2011 when they tried to blame weather changes on everything but a natural cycle. Now you know why there is a water cycle.

So what does that tell you about Gaia? Gaia is beginning the cycle of refreshing life on over-fished oceans. It tells you that in the cracks, there is love and caring about the Humans who live on the earth. There's a reason you're here. There's a plan here, and a benevolent Universe and quantum energy with intelligent design. All is there for you, precious, sacred Human Being. …”

Pink salmon, shown in a file photograph, 
have a lifespan of two years