My recent Yale Climate Connections video (below) relied on interviews with a host of Arctic Science All stars on climate and the erratic jet stream.
Here, Jennifer Francis, who I’ve also interviewed many times, has a chance to talk on the subject in which she is a pioneer. Read the rest of this entry »




Fears over the security of Brazil’s two nuclear power plants have been raised after a heavily armed gang raided a secure workers’ condominium just a kilometre away and blew up two cash machines.

About 10 men held security guards hostage at around 3am on Monday, robbed guests at a party in a private club then escaped in a waiting speedboat from the Praia Brava condominium for workers at the Angra 1 and 2 nuclear reactors, run by state company Eletronuclear.

It was the second incident in a month: on 9 December, thieves exploded an ATM in the Mambucaba Condominium, another security-controlled workers’ village 15km away from the plants, near Angra dos Reis on the Rio de Janeiro state coastline.

Dr Paul Dorfman, a senior researcher at University College London’s Energy Institute, said that the use of “explosives and modern weaponry close to any nuclear plant” was a cause for worry, even if the explosion would not have caused direct damage to reactors.

“There are grave and increasing concerns about risk of attack to a nuclear plant across the world,” he said.


Daily Mail:

Vladimir Putin is poised to create a special force to protect against terrorist drone strikes on key nuclear power stations, following attacks on Russian bases in Syria.

The move – involving the development of technology to reliably zap drones – comes amid fears that terrorists could use sophisticated long-distance weapons to target nuclear bases.

Russian concerns have been heightened by jihadist attacks on its military bases in Syria using UAVs – unmanned aerial vehicles.

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Reuters via Nikkei Asian Review:

DETROIT, U.S. (Reuters) — Ford Motor Co’s plan to double its electrified vehicle spending is part of an investment tsunami in batteries and electric cars by global automakers that now totals $90 billion and is still growing, a Reuters analysis shows.

That money is pouring in to a tiny sector that amounts to less than 1 percent of the 90 million vehicles sold each year and where Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc, with sales of only three models totaling just over 100,000 vehicles in 2017, was a dominant player.

With the world’s top automakers poised to introduce dozens of new battery electric and hybrid gasoline-electric models over the next five years – many of them in China – executives continue to ask: Who will buy all those vehicles?

“We’re all in,” Ford Motor Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr said of the company’s $11 billion investment, announced on Sunday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. “The only question is, will the customers be there with us?”

“Tesla faces real competition,” said Mike Jackson, chief executive of AutoNation Inc, the largest U.S. auto retailing chain. By 2030, Jackson said he expects electric vehicles could account for 15-20 percent of New vehicle sales in the United States.

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Emoji have become a language of their own, but until recently, the language made it hard to talk about climate change: There are no emoji about pollution, wildfires, or rising sea levels. So artists Marina Zurkow and Viniyata Pany launched a set of mobile stickers specifically about climate change, called Climoji.

The icons depict melting sea ice, starving polar bears, dead trees, and flooded people. They’re intended to raise awareness about some of the most important issues of our time: global warming and environmental destruction. Need an emoji to express your frustration with plastic pollution? Thanks to Zurkow and Pany, now you have a whale with a plastic bottle in its stomach, or a plastic bottle with a fish skeleton inside.

Climate change is already affecting the world, from rising temperatures to rising sea levels. Hurricanes and wildfires made 2017 the most expensive year on record for natural disasters— and scientists say that these catastrophic events will become the new normal as the world continues to warm up. This isn’t an issue for the future, Zurkow tells The Verge. So it seems imperative to make ways for people to talk about it.

“Why are some of our primary communication tools avoiding this issue? Why isn’t there even a hurricane icon in the official emoji set?” says Zurkow.

Climoji was launched as an art project, thanks to New York University’s Green Grants, but Zurkow plans to make it big. In the spring, she wants to approach Facebook, and see if the social media giant will add the stickers to its own library. And eventually, she’d like the Unicode Consortium — the Silicon Valley-based group of computer and internet companies that approve new emoji — to adopt the climate change icons. But before that happens, more people need to use the emoji. Right now, about 400 people have downloaded the set, Zurkow says.

Cranberries: Linger

January 15, 2018

Lead Singer Dolores O’Riordan dead at 46. Read the rest of this entry »

MLK on Government Giving

January 15, 2018

Above, good working definition of denial and fake news in action.

For years I’ve shown a light on the commonality between climate denial and racism in America. We see that playing out in real time now, as ruling Republicans have decided that majority brown, hurricane ravaged Puerto Rico is a shithole, and the Americans living there are thus unworthy of attention.

They’ve also decided that acknowledging the reality of climate change does not serve their donor’s agenda. So accepting that climate fueled disasters are a real fact of life is not possible in their hermetically sealed logic loop. The non-white population of Puerto Rico makes it invisible to the carefully cultivated ignorance of the GOP base – so from their perspective, all good for now.
But under the radar – hundreds of thousands of angry ,displaced Puerto Ricans are immigrating to electorally important red states….watch this space.

Washington Post:

IN THE more than three months since Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, a lot of excuses have been offered to explain the failure to restore power and provide other critical services to American citizens who live on the island. Like the enormity of the devastation. Or the complexity of the work. Or the difficulty of getting workers and supplies to a place surrounded by water. Yadda yadda yadda.

The real reasons for the deplorable response to conditions in Puerto Rico are clear: the island’s lack of political muscle and the mainland’s lack of political will. As a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico has no U.S. senator, no vote in the House and no electoral votes in presidential elections — and so it is all too easy for the White House and Congress to turn a blind eye to the needs of its vulnerable population.

More than 100 days after Maria swept the island on Sept. 20, nearly half of its residents — more than 1.5 million people — remain in the dark, and officials are now saying it will take to the end of February to restore most power. Hard-to-reach rural areas will not get power until the end of May — “just in time,” the New York Times noted, “for the 2018 hurricane season.” Lack of power is seen as a major factor in the higher death rates that occurred after the storm passed, and it continues to pose a danger as Puerto Rico struggles with limited resources, strained health-care services and the worsening of an already-poor economy.

If this were happening in any state — including another group of islands, Hawaii — there would be uninterrupted media attention and demands for action. As Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) put it following a visit this week to Puerto Rico: “If this were happening in Connecticut, there would be riots in the streets.”

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