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Archive for January, 2008

STUDY: YOUR MORNING COFFEE MAY CONTAIN UP TO A FIFTH OF YOUR DAILY RECOMMENDED CALORIES

Posted in Health Watch, Healthy Food, News Brief on January 30th, 2008

FULL-FAT MILK, CREAM AND CHOCOLATE ARE THE CULPRITS

cup-coffee-256×256.pngA black coffee contains virtually no calories.

An “Americano” had 17.

A mocha coffee made with full-fat milk added up to 396 calories.

A mocha coffee made with semi-skimmed milk – but topped with whipped cream – contained 326 calories.

A skimmed milk café latte contained 71 calories.

A “skinny” cappuccino, with more froth and less milk, had only 27.

A cappuccino with skimmed milk contained fewer than 30 calories.

Source: Which (Great Britain)/ BBC News

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ORGANIC FOOD INDUSTRY FACES A SUPPLY CRUNCH

Posted in Conscious Actions, Consciousness, Health Watch, Healthy Food on January 30th, 2008

CONSUMERS PAYING MORE AS FARMERS STRUGGLE TO MEET DEMAND

farmers_mkt_02_o_large.jpgThe organic market makes up nearly 3 percent of the overall food market, a share that has increased every year for the past decade. It’s a small but fast-growing segment of an otherwise sluggish food industry.

But while the farmland dedicated to organic crops has expanded, it still makes up just a sliver of the nation’s total: a half percent each of all cropland and pastureland in 2005, according to the latest statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

One reason for the lagging supply is the fact that it takes a minimum of three years to transition cropland farmed conventionally to an organic operation.

The three-year transition to an organic farm “is rarely done strictly as a matter of economics,” Routh saod. It’s often as much a philosophical move, an acceptance of a particular belief system. Still, some farmers who considered going organic two or three years ago may have been tempted by promise of record prices to keep their farms conventional.

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U.S. ENERGY DEPARTMENT DROPS SUPPORT FOR CLEAN COAL PLANT

Posted in Corporate Polluters, Global Warming, Government Shenanigans, News Brief on January 30th, 2008

PLANT WOULD HAVE BURNED COAL AND SOCKED AWAY HEAT-TRAPPING CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSIONS UNDERGROUND

coalfiredpowerplant.jpgThe public-private venture comprised of major players in the energy industry from around the world and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, was formed in 2003 to design and test technology required to turn coal into a gas that can be stripped of harmful emissions, then burned to produce electricity and hydrogen.

The Alliance includes U.S. utilities and coal producers such as American Electric Power Co and Peabody Energy, along with international miners Anglo American, BHP Billiton and China’s largest coal-based power company, China Huaneng Group.

The ventures most ambitious goal is to capture carbon dioxide and store it underground permanently.

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STUDY: AIR POLLUTION CAN BE DAMAGING TO HEART

Posted in Health Watch on January 30th, 2008

EVERY 10-MICROGRAM INCREASE IN LONG-TERM EXPOSURE TO FINE PARTICULATE MATTER CAN INCREASE THE RISK OF DYING FROM HEART DISEASE AND STROKE – IN SOME INDIVIDUALS BY AS MUCH AS 76 PER CENT

atul1.jpg “Since the early 1990s, a growing body of evidence from Canada, the U.S. and Europe has documented increased rates of heart attack, and more hospitalizations for serious heart diseases such as heart failure, and stroke, after both short and long-term exposure to polluted air,” said Dr. Beth Abramson, a cardiologist who is the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s spokeswoman.

Even short-term exposure can be dangerous. One study has reported that a day-to-day increase in a PM 2.5 level as low as 20-micrograms per cubic metre can elevate the risk of heart attack within 24 hours by 69 per cent.

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GLOBAL POLLUTERS MEET IN HAWAII TO DISCUSS CURBING CLIMATE CHANGE WITHOUT STALLING ECONOMIC GROWTH

Posted in News Brief, Pseudoscientific Babble on January 28th, 2008

THE GATHERING IS MEANT TO SPUR U.N. NEGOTIATIONS FOR AN INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE AGREEMENT BY 2009

airpollition1.jpgThis is the second time this group has convened — the first time was in Washington in September — and there has been some skepticism among environmentalists about the effectiveness of this process.

“The question back in September was, ‘Does the fact that they’re launching this process indicate some change in the position of this administration?”‘ said Angela Anderson of the non-partisan Pew Environment Group.

The answer, Anderson said in a telephone interview, is no: “There has been no change in position whatsoever in this White House. They were hoping to sell their position to the rest of the world and that’s not working.”

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US AUTOMAKERS STEP UP LOBBYING EFFORTS TO BLOCK CALIFORNIA GLOBAL WARMING INITIATIVE FROM BECOMING LAW

Posted in Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Global Warming, News Brief on January 28th, 2008

AUTOMAKERS WORRIED THAT THE INITIATIVE’S HIGHER MILEAGE REQUIREMENTS COULD FURTHER DEPRESS THE STRUGGLING U.S. AUTO INDUSTRY

2007-09-28-money1.jpgFor several years now, California had been attempting to obtain a waiver from the EPA, which would enable the Golden State to mandate that automobiles sold within state borders comply with higher fuel efficiency standards that those sold elsewhere in the country.

Needless to say, the Big three automakers were unhappy with California’s waiver request, and called upon their friends in the Bush administration to prevent it from being granted. After two plus years of delays and inactivity, the EPA denied the California request late last month.

It was Detroit’s contention that manufacturing cars to comply with two separate standards would wreak havoc with design and production plans and increase costs significantly. The US auto industry is already facing major restructuring of its US based assets in the hope of making it more competitive with other cars in the marketplace.

The California proposal would mandate a 30% reduction in auto emissions over eight years beginning next year, with a net fuel efficiency target of 43 miles per gallon for cars and some light trucks. This is eight miles higher and four years sooner than that which is called for in the recently passed federal energy law.

Not one to take this kind of interference in its internal affairs lightly, California has sued the EPA demanding it be allowed to enforce its higher standards. The appeals court in San Francisco, as of this writing, has no timetable to rule on the challenge, but carmakers are concerned enough that they may loose to hope for a change of venue.

In the meantime, automakers and their allies have stepped up lobbying to convince states considering the higher California standard, that doing so could further depress the struggling U.S. Automotive industry.

Now if the Big Three automakers only put as much effort into the design and manufacturing of their cars that they are putting into defeating California’s waiver, perhaps, they would not be in their present situation.

With the rare exception, most of the Big Three’s recent output is boring and derivative. Fix this and American car consumers will line up to buy their products. Fail to do that and the day may come when one or more of these brands cease to exist.

-LIB

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WATER – EARTH’S NEW FLASH POINT

Posted in Global Warming, News Brief on January 27th, 2008

WATER SHORTAGES ARE CREATING A HIGH RISK OF VIOLENT CONFLICT IN OVER ONE HUNDRED COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD. WE NEED TO ACT NOW SO THAT WE ARE NOT ONE OF THEM

180px-drinking_water1.jpgAccording to the United Nations, scarce supplies of clean, potable water are contributing to poverty and social hardship in Somalia, Chad, Israel, the Palestinian territories, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Haiti, Colombia and Kazakhstan, to name but a few of the world’s countries at risk for violent conflict.

Closer to home the threat of water shortages is very real as well helped along by continued population growth and progressively more extreme, global warming related, climate changes.

Now there is a solution to this problem and it is not selling off precious water resources to large multinational corporations, the way some of our country’s more cash-strapped municipalities have done. That answer, at least in the short term, is desalination. This is the process, which converts seawater to potable drinking water by removing the salt and other minerals.

I had the opportunity to drink desalinated water a few years back and was suitably impressed with its clarity and taste. In fact, had I not know the water’s source, I would have been unable to tell the difference between this water and bottled water.

FYI: World-wide, over 13,000 desalination plants produce more than 12 billion gallons of water a day. In this country, the largest such plant is located in Tampa Bay, Florida, which began desalinizing 25 million gallons of water per day in December 2007.

Though desalination plants are expensive to build and require tremendous amounts of energy to operate, one needs to consider the alternative, a future built around rationing, with violent skirmishes breaking out whenever one of these multinationals deigns to sell their product elsewhere.

This is not a future that I desire to live in.

-LIB

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Learn more about Desalination

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BUSH’S ENVIRONMENTAL CHIEF CHOOSES AUTO INDUSTRY OVER THE PEOPLE OF CALIFORNIA

Posted in Administrative Arrogance, Global Warming, Government Shenanigans, News Brief on January 24th, 2008

VETOES STAFF RECOMMENDATIONS THAT CALIFORNIA BE ALLOWED TO SET ITS OWN EMISSION STANDARDS

200px-stephen_l_johnson_official_2006_epa_photo.jpgCalifornia Senator, Barbara Boxer, blew the lid off the inner workings of the corporate friendly Bush administration, Wednesday, with the revelation that EPA administrator, Stephen L. Johnson, had denied California’s request to enact its own vehicle emissions standards over the objections of career agency scientists, and with full knowledge that his actions would result in a legal battle, which the agency could not win.

It was either this or disappoint friends in the Auto Industry.

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AL GORE: CLIMATE CHANGE ‘SIGNIFICANTLY WORSE’ THAN FEARED:

Posted in Global Warming on January 24th, 2008

THERE ARE NOW FORECASTS THAT THE NORTH POLE ICE CAPS MAY DISAPPEAR ENTIRELY DURING SUMMER MONTHS WITHIN FIVE YEARS

_40423755_larsen_b2031.jpg Climate change is occurring far more rapidly than even the worst predictions of the UN’s Nobel Prize-winning scientific panel on climate change, according to Al Gore.

Recent evidence shows “the climate crisis is significantly worse and unfolding more rapidly than those on the pessimistic side of the IPCC projections had warned us,” climate campaigner and former US vice-president Gore said.

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STUDY: STRESSED WORKERS AT HIGHER RISK OF HEART DISEASE

Posted in Conscious Actions, Health Watch on January 23rd, 2008

STRESSED WORKERS UNDER THE AGE OF 50 HAVE A 68% HIGHER RISK OF HEART DISEASE THAN THOSE WITH EASY JOBS, ACCORDING TO EXPERTS

atul1.jpgA study, published in the European Heart Journal, of more than 10,000 civil servants found that 32% of the effect of stress on coronary heart disease was down to eating badly and a lack of exercise.

Stress also causes heart disease by affecting how people lead their lives, what they eat and if they exercise.

His team found that young people seemed to be particularly affected by chronic work stress.

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