Monthly Archives: April 2012

US Sen. Wyden tours Fukushima, reveals situation worse than reported, urges Japan to accept international assistance

April 30, 2012

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), a senior member of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, recently donned a radiation suit and investigated firsthand the devastated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. He reveals the situation is worse than reported, and is urging the Japanese Ambassador to the United States, Ichiro Fujisaki, to accept international assistance to address ongoing risks of catastrophic radioactivity releases, especially from the hundreds of tons of high-level radioactive waste stored in precarious pools vulnerable to earthquakes and tsunamis. Wyden has issued a press release, and posted his letter to the Japanese Ambassador. In the letter, Wyden wrote: “The scope of damage to the plants and to the surrounding area was far beyond what I expected and the scope of the challenges to the utility owner, the government of Japan, and to the people of the region are daunting. The precarious status of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear units and the risk presented by the enormous inventory of radioactive materials and spent fuel in the event of further earthquake threats should be of concern to all and a focus of greater international support and assistance.”  Wyden also wrote U.S. Energy Secretary Chu, Secretary of State Clinton, and NRC Chairman Jaczko, urging the
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Detroit financial crisis: slashes budget 50% and 2,500 jobs, sign of things to come, across the country?

April 30, 2012

Jon in Montana spotted this: Detroit Mayor Bing’s proposed budget slashes half government services budget…. Please read more from source: http://www.freep.com/article/20120424/NEWS01/204240377/Detroit-financial-crisis-Bing-s-budget-slashes-36-250M-spending-more-than-2-500-jobs
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Congress steering US economy toward a ‘fiscal cliff’ – MSNBC

April 30, 2012

The risk of a potential economic train wreck stems from a series of contentious political decisions that Congress has been ducking for years, postponing a long list of tough choices until the end of the year, until after the national elections. Now, unless a compromise is reached, sharp cuts in federal spending will remove hundreds of billions of dollars from the U.S. economy, virtually overnight. At the same time, American consumers will see a massive increase in taxes that will sharply curb their spending power, taking another big bite out of the economy. Please continue reading at: http://economywatch.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/26/11412043-congress-steering-us-economy-toward-a-fiscal-cliff?
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Death before retirement- 45% Of Americans Will Run Out Of Money By Their 75th Birthday

April 30, 2012

…In fact, only 45 percent of those surveyed have any plan regarding their financial life, down from 72 percent in 2011.  For more detailed breakdown regarding financial preparedness check out the Northwestern Mutual infographic below:   Please continue reading at: http://www.businessinsider.com/outliving-your-savings-in-retirement-northwestern-study-2012-4
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ALERT! End Old-Growth Temperate Rainforest Logging in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest

April 29, 2012
ALERT! End Old-Growth Temperate Rainforest Logging in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest

TAKE ACTION to protect key Asian elephant habitats and their ecosystems TAKE ACTION! It is time to end US old-growth logging, most of which exists in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest . Please urge the federal government to see the salmon and ecosystems through the dwindling old-growth trees for timber, and shift the focus from logging to an ecological protection economy in Earth’s largest temperate rainforest. With only 0.5% of Tongass’s old-growth remaining – the last areas still containing very large 300-800 year old trees – it is unconscionable that the United States of America continues with proposals to log these last tiny patches. If proposals to further log Tongass’ last old forests advance, it further clearly illustrates the United States has zero international credibility on issues of primary forest protection, climate change, and policy to achieve global ecological sustainability.
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World Malaria Day 2012: Resources still needed

April 29, 2012

Today is World Malaria Day, and the World Health Organization has launched a new initiative, dubbed T3: Test, Treat, Track. It urges countries where malaria is endemic to test every suspected malaria case, treat every confirmed case with anti-malarial medicine, and track the disease with “timely and accurate surveillance systems.” The good news is that scaled-up malaria prevention and control efforts — including delivery of 145 million insecticidal bed nets in 2010 alone — have saved a million lives over the past decade. But, the WHO points out, there’s still a long way to go in combating this disease: Read the rest of this post…
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Why is safety a divisive issue for Nuclear Regulatory Commission? – latimes.com

April 29, 2012

…As chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, he’s been accused of yelling at people, browbeating subordinates and picking fights with his fellow NRC commissioners when he doesn’t get his way. That’s pretty much the totality of the bill of particulars Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) put out in December in support of a concerted, albeit unsuccessful, campaign to drive Jaczko from his job. (Jaczko has acknowledged that there are strong disagreements within the agency, but vehemently denies being especially tough on women, another charge made by Issa.) What the report on Jaczko issued by Issa’s committee on oversight and government reform didn’t delve into too deeply, however, were the policy issues underlying the personal friction. That’s too bad, because the disagreements concerned Jaczko’s efforts to tighten safety and security regulations for the nation’s 104 nuclear power reactors, in the face of the other commissioners’ efforts to slow him down. Please continue reading by MICHAEL HILTZIK at: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-hiltzik-20120429,0,1556565.column
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Cutting Carbon’s Dirty Secret: Relocating Pollution & Billion$ – @TIME #ccs, #coal

April 29, 2012

TIME…Oregon is blessed with bountiful and carbon-free hydroelectric power, which is one reason its per capita carbon emissions are half that of the national average. Coal power has all but disappeared from Oregon — the state’s last coal-fired power plant, outside the coastal town of Boardman, is set to close by 2020. But the picture is a little more complicated than that. Even as Boardman is set to shutter its plant, the town is weighing the construction of a huge new coal-export facility, one of several that have been proposed in the Pacific Northwest to help export Powder River Basin coal from Montana and Wyoming to the energy-hungry markets of Asia. If all the proposed ports were to be built, more than 150 million tons of carbon-intensive coal could be exported from the Northwest, nearly 50% more than the U.S.’s coal export total last year. Even as American coal consumption declines to its lowest level since 1986 — thanks to tougher air-pollution regulations and cheap natural gas from shale deposits — we could end up sending more of the stuff abroad. That’s the dirty secret of cutting carbon. Oregon — and America — may be getting off coal, but if
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A tank of sugar: How Brazil runs on biofuel. #energy #jobs

April 29, 2012

Brazil’s federal and state governments are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into research aimed at improving all stages of the bioethanol process, from sugar cane biology to engine efficiency. And the process has become big science, as well as big business. Please continue reading at: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/6d4ea098-8e67-11e1-b9ae-00144feab49a.html#axzz1tIoWyOaW
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Eastern Germany jobs hit hard by decline of solar.

April 29, 2012

The global solar industry has entered a brutal phase of consolidation and nowhere are the effects as dramatic as in eastern Germany. Several companies have already declared bankruptcy, leaving towns and cities in the region struggling with job losses and tax revenue shortfalls. The future bodes ill. Please continue reading at: http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/0,1518,830188,00.html
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Smart PRC alternative isn’t blowing smoke…blow $750 million on a 40-year-old coal

April 29, 2012

Pick one: Sink anywhere from $345 million to more than $750 million into a 40-year-old coal-fired electricity plant or spend $77 million on emission controls and fund conversion of one or more of the plant’s four units to natural gas-fired combined cycle technology. Please continue reading at: http://www.abqjournal.com/main/2012/04/29/opinion/smart-prc-alternative-isnt-blowing-smoke.html
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Air quality improving, but still failing, lung association reports…”F” grade

April 29, 2012

San Diego’s air quality has grown steadily cleaner in recent years, but the county still earned an “F” grade on the American Lung Association’s annual “State of the Air Report.” Please continue reading at: http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/sdcounty/region-air-quality-improving-but-still-failing-lung-association-reports/article_129540de-6baa-5e68-a46f-0f9b481d305d.html
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AEP disputes study linking #coal #energy plants to 3,200 deaths.

April 29, 2012

Energy giant American Electric Power is disputing an environmental group’s study that finds air pollution from the company’s 26 coal-fired plants caused as many as 3,200 deaths and more than 20,000 asthma attacks last year. Please continue reading at: http://www.boston.com/news/education/higher/articles/2012/04/28/aep_disputes_study_linking_plants_to_3200_deaths/ Sent with MobileRSS HD FREE
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And the winner of our #renewable #energy source is…King #coal still reigns.

April 29, 2012

If there is to be a new beginning in global energy, the golden age is unlikely to be powered directly by the wind or sun. Despite high hopes for renewables, the figures show the world to be on the cusp of another fossil fuel boom. Please continue reading at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/king-coal-still-reigns/story-e6frg6z6-1226341179267
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Tree-Poisoning Case Reignites Billboard Industry Scandal – @Forbes

April 29, 2012

Workers for America’s largest outdoor advertising company have confessed to illegally poisoning trees that obscure billboards in Florida, reigniting a long simmering scandal in the industry. “We always cut trees illegal,” Robert Barnhart, a former employee at Lamar Advertising Co. in Tallahassee, toldinvestigators from the Florida Department of Agriculture: After a while I started actually riding around with my boss and he would show me trees he wanted poisoned. And, uh you know, he would tell me how to do it, you know, call it hit and run, machete at the roots and you pour poison, pesticides—we don’t know what is is, uh, you would put it in a plastic container and it would eat its way through the plastic container. I mean, it’s pretty gnarly stuff.” Barnhardt is suing Lamar Advertising under the Florida Private Whistleblower’s Act, contending he was fired after he refused to continue poisoning trees. Please continue reading at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2012/04/26/billboard-company-in-tree-cutting-scandal/
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7 medicinal herbs and spices that help lower blood pressure

April 29, 2012

In a published study featured in the Journal of Medicine, it was revealed that common spices can protect from heart disease and the deterioration brought about by aging. In the said study, researchers discovered a connection between the phenol content of certain herbs and spices and their capacity to prevent glycation and formation of AGE compounds that are responsible for premature aging and heart disease. As a way to manage your blood pressure, herbs and spices are a fantastic way to increase the medicinal value of your food. Below are some herbs and spices you may have been enjoying with no idea as to their value: 1. Garlic – Garlic contains allicin, a substance which has antibacterial, antioxidant, lipid lowering and anti-hypertension properties. In a pilot study made at Clinical Research Center of New Orleans on whether garlic could lower blood pressure, nine patients with severe hypertension were given a garlic preparation containing 1.3 % allicin. Sitting blood pressure fell with a significant decrease in diastolic blood pressure only five to 14 hours after the dose. Moreover, it was proven in a 2009 study that fresh garlic has more potent cardio-protective properties than processed garlic. 2. Cinnamon – Cinnamon not only prevents heart disease, it can also
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Breakthrough In Solar Cell Efficiency: Low Cost Solar Cells Suitable For Rooftop Panels Could Reach A Record-Breaking 40 Percent Efficiency

April 29, 2012

(L-R) Associate Professor Tim Schmidt and his research partner Dr Klaus Lips at the Helmholtz Centre for Materials and Energy have made a breakthrough in solar cell technology. - Breakthrough in solar cell efficiency (University of Sydney, April 18, 2012): Low cost solar cells suitable for rooftop panels could reach a record-breaking 40 percent efficiency following an early stage breakthrough by a University of Sydney researcher and his German partners. With Australian Solar Institute support, Associate Professor Tim Schmidt from the University’s School of Chemistry, together with the Helmholtz Centre Berlin for Materials and Energy, has developed a “turbo for solar cells”, called photochemical upconversion that allows energy, normally lost in solar cells, to be turned into electricity. The finding has been published in the Energy & Environmental Sciencejournal. Please continue reading at: http://www.infiniteunknown.net/2012/04/26/breakthrough-in-solar-cell-efficiency-low-cost-solar-cells-suitable-for-rooftop-panels-could-reach-a-record-breaking-40-percent-efficiency/
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Libraries vs google

April 29, 2012

Who needs librarians when we have Google? Well, let’s just see how those two stack up against each other, shall we? Thanks, Sara! *Library Amnesty Day was a success in Anchorage, Alaska. What a great idea!*Books touch the heart, as one teacher can attest. But can they up kids’ test scores? And does it even matter?*World Book Night was Monday! Post photos and share stories here. Did you do it? Tell me how it went, please?*The Argentinian book tank I wrote about last year is on the move! The artist responsible for the tank filled with books is taking his show to Peru and Bolivia. Lucky countries! Read the full text here: http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/124982#ixzz1tQgpt6XW –brought to you by mental_floss!  Please continue reading at: http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/124982
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Inspector General Faults EPA Radiation Monitoring – @Forbes

April 29, 2012

EPA officials agreed with most of the recommendations in the audit and said most will be implemented this month, but they disputed any assertion that the system underperformed or was inadequately managed: EPA Radnet Stations “EPA recognizes the expressed concern about RadNet station operability, and we have taken steps to address the issue more completely,” assistant administrators Gina McCarthy and Craig Hooks say in EPA’s official response, which appears at the end of the audit. ”However, the RadNet system was able to provide sufficient data to determine levels of airborne radioactivity during the weeks after the Fukushima nuclear power plant incident.” “The EPA is particularly concerned about the statements concerning ‘relaxed quality controls’ since the EPA contends that this is inaccurate.” Although EPA identifies Radnet monitors as critical infrastucture, it depends upon volunteers to maintain them. Agency protocol calls for filters to be changed twice weekly, a schedule that some volunteers have been unable to maintain. “EPA cannot assign volunteers or enforce expectations upon them,” McCarthy and Hooks write in their response to the audit. “Instead, EPA seeks volunteers, without compensation for their time and effort…. EPA also provides recognition, such as letters of appreciation to their supervisors, for their service in an effort
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Workers Memorial Day — April 28, 2012 #safety

April 28, 2012

Workers Memorial Day recognizes those workers who have died or sustained work-related injuries or illnesses. In 2010, a total of 4,547 U.S. workers died from occupational injuries (1), and each year, approximately 49,000 deaths are attributed to work-related illnesses (2). For 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that approximately 3.1 million workers in private industry and 820,000 in state and local government had a nonfatal occupational injury or illness (3). In 2010, an estimated 2.7 million workers were treated in emergency departments for occupational injuries and illnesses, and approximately 110,000 were hospitalized (CDC, unpublished data, 2012). Economists are working to calculate the costs associated with occupational injuries and illnesses in the United States. Recent research estimates the cost of fatal injuries at $6 billion and the cost of fatal illnesses at $46 billion. Nonfatal injuries and illnesses are estimated to cost $186 billion and $12 billion annually (4). Additional information on workplace safety and health is available from CDC at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh.
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National Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction #safety

April 28, 2012

Deaths and injuries from falls are a major yet preventable public health problem. Among occupations, construction workers face a disproportionate risk from falls. In 2010, approximately 9.1 million workers were employed in construction in the United States, accounting for 7% of the national workforce (1). Of the 4,547 U.S. workers who died on the job in 2010, 751 (17%) were employed in construction, the industry sector with the most deaths (2). The leading fatal events in construction are falls related to roofs, scaffolds, and ladders. On Workers Memorial Day, April 28, 2012, in collaboration with a broad range of agencies, organizations, and associations from the construction industry, CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health will launch a national campaign to address and reduce falls, fall-related injuries, and fall-related fatalities among construction workers. Additional information is available at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/construction/stopfalls.html.
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Air Quality Awareness Week – Asthma affects 25.7 million persons, #health

April 28, 2012

CDC is collaborating with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) to urge persons to “Be Air Aware” during Air Quality AwarenessWeek, April 30–May 4, 2012. May also is Asthma Awareness Month.Asthma sufferers are particularly affected by air pollution. One in 12U.S. residents, or approximately 25.7 million persons, currently hasasthma (1). Air pollution caused by industrial emissions andautomobile exhaust can trigger an asthma attack. Planning activitiesfor times when air pollution levels will be low can help asthmasufferers avoid attacks. Broadcast air quality forecasts and EPA’sEnviroFlash (http://www.enviroflash.info) both provide guidance inavoiding high levels of air pollutants.
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Plastic pollution underestimated, much as a factor of 27, say scientists

April 28, 2012

…“By factoring in the wind, which is fundamentally important to the physical behavior, you’re increasing the rigor of the science and doing something that has a major impact on the data,” Giora Proskurowski, an oceanographer at the University of Washington and one of the new study’s authors, said in a press release. Proskurowski and his team collected samples at several depths ranging from the surface to 100 feet down. They combined this data with wind measurements to develop a mathematical model that allows them to more accurately estimate plastic waste totals. The team concluded that there is, on average, about two and a half times more plastic waste in the oceans than originally thought. And in very windy conditions, plastic estimates could be lowballed by as much as a factor of 27.   Please continue reading at: http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2012/0426/Plastic-pollution-underestimated-say-scientists
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Radioactive waste dump opens in Texas, environmentalists worried.

April 28, 2012

A 1,300-acre dump to bury low-level radioactive waste has opened in a remote corner of west Texas, the fourth US site to allow such waste, despite concerns about water seepage at the site, which sits above the huge and vital Ogallala aquifer. Please continue reading at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/27/us-usa-energy-texas-dump-idUSBRE83Q11W20120427
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Construction of Utah tar sands plant possible by year’s end.

April 28, 2012

Utah has been quietly paving the way for U.S. tar sands production on state lands. If all goes smoothly in the regulatory process, U.S. Oil Sands could begin construction in the state later this year — a fact that environmental groups are eager to spread. Please continue reading at: http://www.eenews.net/public/energywire/2012/04/26/1
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Indonesia bans imports of U.S. beef.

April 28, 2012

Indonesia has suspended imports of U.S. beef following the discovery of a new case of mad-cow disease in California earlier this week. Please continue reading at: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304811304577367120404532352.html
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Workplace poisoning killing millions of Asians each year, says new report.

April 28, 2012

Millions of Asian people are contracting fatal diseases at work, but their suffering is ignored, unreported and uncompensated, according to a new report by a labour rights group.Please continue reading at:http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/26/workplace-poisoning-killing-millions-of-asians
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AFP: New Yorkers fish farms bring hope to socio-economically disadvantaged neighborhoods

April 28, 2012

Christopher Toole and Anya Pozdeeva, two former New York bankers who founded the Society for Aquaponic Values and Education (SAVE), are there to help. “We call it ‘beyond organic,’” Pozdeeva, 39, said. Aquaponics is a technique with ancient roots for breeding tank fish, recycling their effluent-filled water to fertilize vegetation, then allowing this naturally cleaned water to drip back into the tank below. It’s a perfect, miniature eco system that will let you grow healthy food right in a cramped apartment with almost no specialist equipment. “We built our system just from trash cans,” said Pozdeeva, a slender woman who emigrated from Russia’s Siberian region 20 years ago and still speaks English with a gentle accent. If growing fish to eat in your New York apartment sounds unlikely, then Toole and Pozdeeva are even unlikelier urban eco pioneers. Just a short time ago they were bankers working crazy hours among the skyscrapers of Manhattan, a far cry from the gritty Bronx where they are based today. After the 2008 financial crash floored the banking industry, Toole, a vice president at Sovereign Bank, discovered he had a serious eye problem, which he says was stress-related. And both of them were severely
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America’s Most Polluted Cities…five California cities have the worst

April 28, 2012

In March the California Supreme Court upheld a massive water transfer system that would likely cut off the agricultural runoff that replenishes California’s biggest lake, the Salton Sea. If the lake dries up, environmentalists and health advocates fear it will kick up toxic dust laced with selenium and arsenic that could spread across Southern California. “As water has been siphoned off for agricultural and urban use, dust emissions have increasingly threatened public health,” warns the California Audubon Society website. It’s troublesome news for the Sunshine State, where air pollution already plagues many cities. In fact, five California cities have the worst air quality of all major U.S. metropolitan areas, according to the American Lung Association. Please continue reading at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/morganbrennan/2012/04/27/americas-most-polluted-cities/
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Computing for Sustainable Water Project Uses 2 Million Computers to Study Effects of Human Activity

April 28, 2012

Researchers are tapping the power of 2 million volunteered computers to run millions of simulations to help predict the effects of human activities on large watersheds. Please continue reading at: http://www.treehugger.com/gadgets/computing-sustainable-water-project-uses-2-million-computers-study-effects-human-activity-watersheds.html
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Phenomenal Gains in Manufacturing Productivity in… America

April 28, 2012

Today’s factory workers produce more output in an hour than workers in the 1940s produced in a day. The chart above shows annual real manufacturing output per worker from 1947-2011 using data released today by the BEA for manufacturing output by industry, and data from the BLS on manufacturing employment. In 1950, the average U.S. factory worker produced $19,500 (in 2011 dollars) of output, and by 1976 the amount of output per worker had doubled to $38,500. Output per worker doubled again to $74,400 (in 2011 dollars) by 1997 (21 years later) and then doubled again to $152,800 by 2010, but it only took 13 years for the last doubling because worker productivity has been accelerating.  Last year, manufacturing output per worker increased to a new record high of $156,500 (see chart), and almost ten times the output per worker in 1947.  In other words, the average American factory worker today produces more output in an hour than his or her counterpart produced working almost a ten hour day in 1947 – and that’s why we’re producing record levels of output with fewer workers.    This is an amazing story of huge increases in U.S. worker productivity in the manufacturing
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“The new retirement” for nuclear power plants | 80 is the new 65.

April 28, 2012

Today, only 14 percent of Americans age 25 and older are confident that they will have enough money to retire comfortably, according to a recent survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). Another recent survey, by Wells Fargo, reported that a quarter of middle-class Americans now plan to postpone retirement until they are at least 80 years old — longer than many of them are expected to live. For Americans facing an uncertain financial future, 80 is the new 65. Some are calling it “the new retirement.” But it really should be called “the no retirement.” And senior citizens aren’t alone. Nuclear reactors are experiencing some of the same woes: Retirement age is fast approaching or already in the rearview mirror, but there is a lot less money in the nest egg than anticipated. At the 44 US nuclear reactors that have already received license extensions, 60 is the new 40. And even when those reactors reach the end of their working lives, they may not be able to move on to the final stage. According to a recent article in The New York Times, the operators of 20 US nuclear reactors — including some with licenses that expire soon — do not have sufficient
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White House Promotes a Bioeconomy…first time the country has recognized the total impact that biological sciences has

April 28, 2012

NYTimes.com - Use of biology “can allow Americans to live longer, healthier lives, reduce our dependence on oil, address key environmental challenges, transform manufacturing processes, and increase the productivity and scope of the agricultural sector while growing new jobs and industries,” the report says. Much of what is in the 43-page-report, which the administration released before its planned announcement on Thursday, is a list of government programs that are already under way. So it is not clear what concrete changes, if any, will result. Still, some biotechnology industry executives and scientists welcomed the plan as a sign of the government’s commitment, saying it would now be easier to push for specific new programs to foster biotechnology development. “This may be the first time the country has recognized the total impact that biological sciences has for the current and future economy,” Dr. Phillip A. Sharp, a Nobel laureate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who was not involved in the project, said in an e-mail. Please continue reading at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/26/business/energy-environment/white-house-promotes-a-bioeconomy.html
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Virtual power plants for renewable energies could build out investments

April 28, 2012

Siemens recently put two virtual power plants into operation. Virtual power plants are networks of several small power stations that are run like a single system. One of the new virtual power plants enables the Munich municipal utility company to run six of its cogeneration modules, five hydroelectric facilities, and one wind-power plant more efficiently and economically than if they were operated separately. The facilities have a combined output of 20 megawatts. The second virtual power plant was set up for the utility company RWE and consists of a number of similar components to those in Munich. Although it will initially also have an output of 20 megawatts, the second virtual power plant will be expanded to 200 megawatts by 2015. The key component of each virtual power plant network is the distributed energy management system from Siemens. Please continue reading at: http://phys.org/news/2012-04-virtual-power-renewable-energies.html
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Politics stands in the way of nuclear future…$2 billion national gamble on nuclear energy.

April 28, 2012

PIKETON, Ohio – Three dozen 43-foot-tall centrifuges swirl quietly in a cavernous building in southern Ohio, ready to turn uranium hexafluoride into the enriched fuel that can power America’s nuclear power plants. They stand like stacks of poker chips on a table — the ante for what could be a $2 billion national gamble on nuclear energy. Energy company USEC wants federal loan guarantees to allow it to build 11,000 centrifuges here, which would spin out enough fuel to power about three dozen nuclear power plants non-stop. Please continue reading at: http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/story/2012-04-13/usec-centrifuges-loan-guarantees/54560118/1
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IBM looking to put lithium-air batteries on the road

April 28, 2012

One of the main challenges faced by the Electric Vehicle (EV) industry is so-called “range anxiety.” Current lithium-ion batteries will provide a range of about 100 miles (161 km), limiting the commercial adoption of EVs in a market accustomed to the range and supporting infrastructure of gasoline-powered vehicles. If existing lithium-ion batteries were scaled up to match the range capacity of gas-powered vehicles, they would be unfeasibly large and heavy. Lithium-air batteries, which have the potential to provide energy densities that rivals traditional gasoline-powered engines, are seen as a possible solution. IBM has been researching such batteries and recently announced that it’s bringing two companies with experience in electric vehicle materials onboard to aid in their development… Continue Reading IBM looking to put lithium-air batteries on the road
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Philips unveils poleless street lighting system

April 28, 2012

A group of people including city planners and architects recently put a challenge to Dutch electronics company Philips: design an outdoor lighting system that helps to declutter our streets. The result was FreeStreet, a street lighting system that does away with vertical streetlight poles in favor of horizontally-strung cables that have clusters of LED lights built into them. The system won its designers a 2011 Dutch Design Award, and is available for use in Europe as of this month… Continue Reading Philips unveils poleless street lighting system
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Dow Corn, Resistant to a Weed Killer, Runs Into Opposition – NYTimes.com

April 28, 2012

To Jody Herr, it was a telltale sign that one of his tomato fields had been poisoned by 2,4-D, the powerful herbicide that was an ingredient in Agent Orange, the Vietnam War defoliant. “The leaves had curled and the plants were kind of twisting rather than growing straight,” Mr. Herr said of the 2009 incident on his vegetable farm in Lowell, Ind. He is convinced the chemical, as well as another herbicide called dicamba, had wafted through the air from farms nearly two miles away. Mr. Herr recalled the incident because he is concerned that the Dow Chemical company is on the verge of winning regulatory approval for corn that is genetically engineered to be immune to 2,4-D, allowing farmers to spray the chemical to kill weeds without harming the corn stalks. Please continue reading at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/26/business/energy-environment/dow-weed-killer-runs-into-opposition.html
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E.P.A. Official Spoke of ‘Crucifying’ Polluters – @NYTimes

April 28, 2012

A high-ranking Environmental Protection Agency official has apologized for remarks he made to subordinates suggesting that the agency “crucify” some violators of pollution laws to deter others. Al Almendariz, an E.P.A. regional administrator, told employees that it would be useful to make an example of polluters by coming down hard on them, much as the Romans did when they conquered a village and publicly crucified resisters. Senator James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican and frequent critic of the E.P.A., found a 2010 videotape in which Mr. Almendariz used the analogy and publicized it this week. Mr. Almendariz said he regretted his “poor choice of words.” “It was an offensive and inaccurate way to portray our efforts to address potential violations of our nation’s environmental laws,” he said in a statement first obtained by the Daily Caller and later distributed by Mr. Inhofe’s office. “I am and have always been committed to fair and vigorous enforcement of those laws.” Please continue reading at: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/26/e-p-a-official-spoke-of-crucifying-polluters/
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Will The Stars Align for Small Nuclear Reactors? @MattWaldNYT

April 28, 2012

A company that wants to build a new kind of nuclear reactor, one small enough that it could be delivered by truck, has found a potential customer. WestinghouseA rendering of the Westinghouse small modular reactor. The Westinghouse Electric Company has lined up Ameren, a St. Louis-based electric company, as a partner for its small modular reactor project. Getting a strong indication of commercial interest is critical because the Nuclear Regulatory Commission can review only a few of the many proposed reactor designs and gives priority in the licensing process to those with a stronger chance of getting built. Some utility analysts have argued that small reactors would be good “drop-in replacements” for 1950s and 1960s-era coal plants that are now being retired, given that that their generating capacity would be about the same. But Ameren is looking at its Callaway nuclear plant near Fulton, Mo.,where it runs one reactor and had hoped to build a second full-size one. Please continue reading at: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/26/will-the-stars-align-for-small-nuclear-reactors/?partner=rss&emc=rss
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Cancer… It changes everything

April 28, 2012
Fortunately, the internet has a virtually inexhaustible supply of code that doesn

See more at:  http://xkcd.com/1048/
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Fusion’s gains, however, mean losses for DOE’s environmental and basic energy research programs.

April 28, 2012

…Fusion’s gains, however, mean losses for DOE’s environmental and basic energy research programs. Overall, the panel would provide DOE with $26.3 billion, about $365 million below its 2012 budget, and $1.76 billion below the Administration’s request. DOE’s Office of Science would get $4.824 billion, about $72.2 million less than its 2012 level and $190.6 million below the request. Please continue reading at: http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2012/04/fusion-wins-big-in-house-spendin.html
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U.S. EPA, Dept. of Energy Launch Innovative New Tools to Determine Solar and Wind Energy Potential o

April 28, 2012

City of Richmond, Calif. is serving as a pilot community for development of the tools SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have developed and launched new tools designed to test underutilized sites and contaminated land for solar and wind energy potential Please read more from source: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/7B9D19F7D5065BCB852579EB0054A315
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EPA Awards More Than $1 Million to College Teams for Innovative Environmental Solutions (HQ)

April 28, 2012

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded more than $1 million in grants to 15 university and college teams from across the country who participated in the 8th Annual National Sustainable Design Expo on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. for their innovative environmental solutions Please continue reading at: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/67080215612D011E852579EA0077EDA3
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EPA Agreement with Amtrak Brings Greater Drinking Water Protections for Riders (DE, DC, MD, PA, VA,

April 28, 2012

(PHILADELPHIA – April 26, 2012) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has entered into an agreement with the National Railroad Passenger Corp. (Amtrak) to ensure safe and reliable drinking water for the railroad’s passengers and crews. To better protect the riding public from illnesses caused by microbiological contamination, the agreement requires Amtrak to monitor all the drinking water systems on its railcars and provide enhanced maintenance for its water systems Please continue reading at: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/8BA4F806E4F5A803852579EC006982CE
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Fatal work injuries rose in 2010, new data show. #safety

April 27, 2012

The Department of Labor reported today that 4,690 U.S. workers suffered fatal injuries in 2010, a 3 percent increase from 2009. The higher number in part reflects a string of high-profile disasters in 2010, including the Upper Big Branch mine explosion in West Virginia and BP’s Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. Please continue reading at: http://www.iwatchnews.org/2012/04/25/8755/fatal-work-injuries-rose-2010-new-data-show
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Campaign to Cancel or Legally Bar 166 Proposed U.S. #Coal #Energy Plants.

April 27, 2012

As of spring 2012, 166 proposed coal-fired power plants have been canceled, legally barred, or otherwise stopped from going forward in the United States. That means that each year, 654 million metric tons of carbon, the equivalent of 9.5 percent of US emissions, won’t be entering the atmosphere. The proposed cap-and-trade legislation would, at best, have reduced annual emissions by 16 percent as of 2020. The Beyond Coal campaign imposed, noted Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute, “a de facto moratorium on new coal-fired power plants.” To be sure, the recession also caused electricity demand to plummet, as did a shift to more energy-efficient appliances, motors, and industrial processes.  Coal was also hurt by its own rising costs—especially as natural gas, its chief competitor, stayed relatively cheap. Read on at: http://motherjones.com/environment/2012/04/beyond-coal-plant-activism
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Is Childhood and Adult obesity the main reason for the massive energy usage and increase in health care costs? #health

April 27, 2012

The simple math of mass and its toll on our nations… 50% or more of the population is overweight  Carrying 30% on your bodies has proven to do massive damage and decrease life expectancy Moving 30% more requires 30% more energy Obesity is Triple Health Care Wammy for Heart, Arthritis and Diabetes (reposted below) Obesity ‘fuelling cancer timebomb’ Some facts from CDC Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years.  The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 20% in 2008. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to 18% over the same period. In 2008, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.1,2 Overweight is defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors.3 Obesity is defined as having excess body fat.4 Overweight and obesity are the result of “caloric imbalance”—too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed—and are affected by various genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors.5,6 Find out more at:http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/obesity/facts.htm Prevalence of Obesity Among Adults with Arthritis
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Canadian agency orders sawdust removal in lumber mills after 2 catastrophic mill explosions in 3 months. #princegeorge #sawmills #worksafebc

April 27, 2012

In an unprecedented, precautionary crackdown, safety officials are ordering every sawmill in British Columbia to remove all accumulated sawdust from their premises, a factor cited as a possible trigger of “Sawmills are dusty places,” Ms. Ellis said, adding that dust must be cleared away and the air ventilated. Union leader Stephen Hunt said he is not aware of any previous safety order of such magnitude. “When there are still no definitive findings of what caused the first explosion, to come up with an order saying, ‘Get rid of all the dust,’ that’s erring on the side of safety, and we think it’s spectacular.” Please continue reading at: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/sawdust-ordered-removed-from-bc-mills/article2414398/
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Nothing to sneeze at: Allergies may be good for you?

April 27, 2012

Ah, glorious springtime. It brings flowers, warmer temperatures—and for many, incessant sneezes and sniffles. Everybody curses allergies as annoying at best, and some allergic reactions—such as anaphylaxis, which rapidly lowers blood pressure and closes the airways—can be fatal. But a handful of researchers now propose that allergies may actually have evolved to protect us. Runny noses, coughs and itchy rashes keep toxic chemicals out of our bodies, they argue, and persuade us to steer clear of dangerous environments. Most immunologists consider allergies to be misdirected immune reactions to innocuous substances such as pollen or peanuts. Viral and bacterial infections invoke what are called “type 1″ immune responses, whereas allergies involve “type 2″ responses, which are thought to have evolved to protect against large parasites. Type 1 responses directly kill the pathogens and the human cells they infect; type 2 works by strengthening the body’s protective barriers and promoting pest expulsion. The idea is that smaller pathogens can be offensively attacked and killed, but it’s smarter to fight larger ones defensively. Please continue reading at: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=nothing-to-sneeze-at-allergies-may-be-good-for-you
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Organic farming, carefully done, can be efficient.

April 27, 2012

Organic agriculture generally comes at a cost of smaller harvests compared with conventional agriculture, but that gap can be narrowed with careful selection of crop type, growing conditions and management techniques, according a new study. Please continue reading at: http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-organic-farming-20120426,0,896912.story
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Tighten your belts, scientists tell the rich “rebalancing” of global consumption to go hand-in-hand with attempts to curb rises in population.

April 27, 2012

The world’s wealthiest people must urgently reduce their consumption to save the Earth from a “vortex of economic, socio-political and environmental ills”, a major report by Britain’s leading scientific academy concludes. The Royal Society panel of 23 eminent academics from around the world in the fields of economics, population studies and conservation science, calls for a radical “rebalancing” of global consumption to go hand-in-hand with attempts to curb further rapid rises in population. It concludes that tackling global inequality is central to solving the problem of too many people exploiting dwindling natural resources. The global population, which has reached seven billion, is growing at about 80 million a year. Developing countries will need to build the equivalent of a city of a million people every five days for the next 40 years because of urban migration. The increased demands this will place on the Earth’s limited resources means that people living in rich countries will need to consume fewer natural resources so that poorer nations can consume more, the scientists say. “Human impact on the Earth raises serious concerns, and in the richest parts of the world per capita, material consumption is far above the level that can be sustained
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Happy flippin friday!

April 27, 2012


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BioLite CampStove – Awesome idea

April 26, 2012
biolite-campstove2

Our power was out all day yesterday and into the night because of a power pole going down. It got me thinking of having a backup source for cooking and power. Though  a little off topic I think this little stove is worth a look. I enjoy backpacking, although I admit I haven’t been doing it as often these days. When backpacking there is nothing like a hot drink in the morning and evening or a hot meal at the end of the day. A good backpacking stove is a must if you wish to enjoy this. I have been frustrated with the high cost of fuel for these types of stoves, the hassle of hauling it in and out, and so when I saw this little stove it caught my attention for several reasons. Lightweight. The BioLite CampStove is designed as a lightweight backpackers stove but does not require you to haul in fuel. You can gather it where ever you are. Charge your phone or LED lights. This you won’t find on most backpacking stoves. If you need to be contacted and need a charged phone or camera you can do it with the charger built into this
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US natgas hovers near 10-year low driving chemical industry boom #energy, #jobs

April 26, 2012

US natgas hovers near 10-year spot low under $2/mmBtu(Reuters) – U.S. natural gas futures were little changed in early trading Friday, hovering near Thursday’s 10-year spot chart low under $2 per million British thermal units as mild spring weather and record supplies hung over the market. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/20/markets-nymex-natgas-idUSL2E8FK33W20120420      Cheap natural gas feeds chemical industry boom The shale boom’s bounty of cheap natural gas is fueling an industrial renaissance on the Texas coast, one that was in full focus Thursday as Dow Chemical announced the latest piece of a $4 billion expansion of its chemical operations in Southeast Texas. The $1.7 billion plant Dow announced Thursday, one of four it plans to build or expand at its Freeport complex, is aimed at taking advantage of cheap natural gas produced from shale, which the company expects to be available for the long term. http://www.chron.com/business/article/Cheap-natural-gas-feeds-chemical-industry-boom-3496064.php  
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U.S. House Republicans attack Report on Carcinogens

April 26, 2012

Tomorrow (Wed) the U.S. House Committee on Science is hosting a hearing titled, “How the Report on Carcinogens Uses Science to Meet its Statutory Obligations, and its Impact on Small Business Jobs”. It is a thinly-veiled attack on the National Toxicology Program Report on Carcinogens by the chemical industry, that dominate the witness list. However, one witness will be a small business that makes safer chemicals to replace styrene and argues that less-toxic products is good for business. The event will be webcast. http://science.house.gov/hearing/committee-science-space-technology-subcommittee-investigations-oversight-and-committee-small   Please see source:http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/jsass/science_show_trial_house_repub.html
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China talks with Turkey about $20 billion nuclear project @nextbigfuture

April 26, 2012

The Turkish government recently signed a $20 billion project with Russia to build nuclear power facilities in Akkuyu, Turkey. Now the Turkish government has set its sights on constructing a nuclear plant in Sinop, Turkey. The Financial Times recently reported that China is the primary contender for this contract due to its ability to secure financing without requiring guarantees from the Turkish government. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited China last week, confirming reports of the deal when Energy Minister Tanir Yildiz held talks with Chinese authorities. At these meetings, Chinese Energy authority Liu Tienan pledged full financial guarantees for the $20 billion project. Not just financial guarantees – but half the price Starting from French reactors imported in the 1980s, Chinese engineers have developed their own large reactor systems to the point that exports appear possible from 2013. Having imported two 900 MWe pressurized water reactors for the Daya Bay nuclear power plant, CGNPC engineers embarked on a development program that led to the CPR-1000 design. The first of these began operation at Ling Ao Phase II in September, while 16 are under construction and many more planned. A domestic supply chain has been built up with each
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James Lovelock admits he, Al Gore and others over estimated the speed of climate change @nextbigfuture

April 26, 2012

MSNBC – James Lovelock, the maverick scientist who became a guru to the environmental movement with his “Gaia” theory of the Earth as a single organism, has admitted to being “alarmist” about climate change and says other environmental commentators, such as Al Gore, were too. Lovelock, 92, is writing a new book in which he will say climate change is still happening, but not as quickly as he once feared. He previously painted some of the direst visions of the effects of climate change. In 2006, in an article in the U.K.’s Independent newspaper, he wrote that “before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.” Read more at NBF
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Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012 could reduce direct spending by $24.7 billion

April 26, 2012

CBO estimates that enacting this proposal would reduce direct spending by $24.7 billion over the 2013-2022 period, relative to spending projected under CBO’s current baseline. Further details of that estimate are displayed in the three enclosed tables. Because the proposal would affect direct spending, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. CBO has not estimated the additional discretionary spending that would result from implementing the proposal; such spending would be subject to appropriation. (Enacting the proposed legislation would not affect federal revenues.) CBO also has not reviewed the proposal for intergovernmental or private-sector mandates. As posted on the Web site of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry on April 26, 2012. PDF Here
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Geothermal Heat Pump System Taps Sewage Instead of Bedrock

April 26, 2012

eutrophication&hypoxia/CC BY 2.0 Capturing heat from unconventional places is becoming more and more popular as we come to realize all of the many heat sources around us. One such source could provide buildings with a steady, uh, stream of heat: sewage. Philadelphia company NovaThermal Energy is pioneering a technology called sewage geothermal that can tap a city’s sewage lines to capture heat for heating and cooling buildings. The technology, which was developed in Tianjin, China by Jin Da Di Energy Engineering & Technology Co., uses pipes to connect into sewer lines and divert some wastewater flow into a heat exchanger. Wastewater gets its heat from the obvious warm biomatter it contains, but also from dishwashers, showers and industrial processes that send hot water down the drain. In Philadelphia, the wastewater stays at about 60 degrees in the winter and can reach 75 degrees in the summer, temperatures that can heat buildings in the winter and help cool them in the summer. The system avoids clogs by filtering the water of larger debris before it goes through the heat pump. A device called the “Anti-Block Machine” automatically sprays the water against a screen to prevent buildup of any filth material. You
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The Department of Labor is poised to put the finishing touches on a rule that would apply child-labor laws to children working on family farms, prohibiting them from performing a list of jobs on their own families’ land.

April 26, 2012

The Department of Labor is poised to put the finishing touches on a rule that would apply child-labor laws to children working on family farms, prohibiting them from performing a list of jobs on their own families’ land. Under the rules, children under 18 could no longer work “in the storing, marketing and transporting of farm product raw materials.” Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/04/25/rural-kids-parents-angry-about-labor-dept-rule-banning-farm-chores/#ixzz1t8jxwtzk
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Have we given our generation intellectual educations that do not translate to job skills? #DontDoubleMyRate

April 26, 2012

“The aim (of education) must bet the training of independently acting and thinking individuals who, however, see in the service to the community their highest life achievement.” “The school should always have as its aim that the young person leave it as a harmonious personality, not as a specialist.” “Otherwise, he – with his specialized knowledge – more closely resembles a well-trained dog than a harmoniously developed person.”- Albert Einstein: Interesting article at ZeroHedge “Has America Been Crippled By Intellectuals?“
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Destroy 4 hydroelectric dams that provide water and flood protection.. When own scientist questions the science – he gets fired.

April 26, 2012

The Department of Interior plans to destroy four dams on the Klamath River in Northern California so salmon can swim further than 180 miles up the river. But these dams provide water and flood protection to thousands of humans who also live along the river. Clean energy from these hydro dams supply electricity to 70,000 residents in the area. Despite a lack of scientific evidence that dam removal will help the fish, or any study on the human impact of dam removal, the DOI is pressing forward to have the dams destroyed. When their own scientist, Dr. Paul Houser, questions the science – he gets fired. Watch now :
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Nanocrystal-coated fibers show promise for harvesting waste heat @TechPurdue

April 26, 2012

Researchers at Purdue University in the U.S. have developed a new method of harvesting vast amounts of energy from waste heat. Using glass fibers dipped in a solution containing nanocrystals of lead telluride, the team led by Dr. Yue Wu is engineering a highly flexible thermoelectric system that generates electricity by gathering heat from water pipes and engine components… Continue Reading Nanocrystal-coated fibers show promise for harvesting waste heat
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Japan fears nuclear plant sits atop active geological fault.

April 26, 2012

A nuclear plant in northwestern Japan may be sitting right on top of an active geological fault, the country’s nuclear watchdog found on Tuesday, raising the risk that the facility may never resume power generation for fear of an earthquake. Please read full and follow at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/25/us-japan-nuclear-idUSBRE83O06620120425
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Dow Solar rolls out Solar Shingles in California and Texas

April 26, 2012

Installing photovoltaic panels is certainly the most common method of generating solar power on a rooftop, and in fact many people might think it’s the only method. There is, however, an alternative – photovoltaic shingles. It makes sense, when you think about it … why install weatherproof shingles and solar panels separately, if you could get one thing that combined both? Although there aren’t many manufacturers offering such products just yet, this month Dow Solar made its POWERHOUSE Solar Shingles available to consumers in northern California and central Texas… Continue Reading Dow Solar rolls out Solar Shingles in California and Texas
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Skin cancer cases soar by 60% in a decade.

April 26, 2012

The sharp rise of 62.8 per cent in malignant melanoma cases was described as an “epidemic” by senior Scottish Labour MSP Ken Macintosh, who demanded easier access to lifesaving medicines for melanoma patients as well as improvements on early diagnosis. Please continue reading at: http://www.scotsman.com/the-scotsman/health/skin-cancer-cases-soar-by-60-in-a-decade-1-2253742
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Discovery of mad cow in California was stroke of luck.

April 26, 2012

The first new case of mad cow disease in the U.S. since 2006 has been discovered in California. The fact that the discovery was made at all was a stroke of luck. The cow had died at one of the region’s hundreds of dairies, but hadn’t exhibited outward symptoms of the disease. Please continue reading at: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=151339355
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EPA is pressed to ban chemicals that studies link to honeybees’ demise.

April 26, 2012

Approximately a third of U.S. bees have been dying in each of the last six winters. The cause of the decline remains unclear, but environmentalists – bolstered by several recent studies – have begun pointing fingers at pesticides. Please continue reading at: http://www.eenews.net/public/Greenwire/2012/04/24/3
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Mississippi approves coal-fired power plant pushing aside environmental objections

April 26, 2012

State regulators approved on partisan lines Tuesday a $2.4 billion coal-fired power plant in Kemper County, pushing aside environmental objections and opponents’ calls for a fresh look at the plant’s finances. Please continue reading at: http://www.nola.com/business/index.ssf/2012/04/mississippi_public_service_com.html
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Cheap, stable, printable liquid solar cells developed @gizmag

April 26, 2012

Scientists at the University of Southern California (USC) have developed technology to cheaply produce stable liquid solar cells that can be painted or printed onto clear surfaces. The technology relies on solar nanocrystals that are around four nanometers in size – meaning you could fit more than 250 billion on the head of a pin. Their size allows them to be suspended in a liquid solution so they could be printed like a newspaper. The downside, commercialization of this technology is still years away. .. Continue Reading Cheap, stable, printable liquid solar cells developed
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NINJA DEER

April 26, 2012
demotivational posters - NINJA DEER


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Urban Heat Drives Faster Tree Growth, 8 times more biomass than in the country

April 26, 2012

In a new study, researchers say native red oak seedlings planted in New York City grew far faster than in cooler rural settings. After planting seedlings in two city locations, including Central Park, and in separate locations in the Hudson River Valley and the foothills of the Catskill Mountains, researchers from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory found that the city trees produced eight times more biomass than those planted in the country. According to their study, published in the journal Tree Physiology, the city trees were exposed to maximum daily temperatures 4 degrees F warmer than the country trees, and minimum averages more than 8 degrees F warmer, driven largely by the well-known “urban heat island” effect. The warm city nights, in particular, allowed the seedlings to perform more of the chemical reactions needed for photosynthesis. Please continue reading at: http://e360.yale.edu/digest/urban_heat_effect_drives_faster_tree_growth_study_says/3435/
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Parents angry about Labor Dept. rule banning farm chores @PatrickRichar33

April 26, 2012

The Department of Labor is poised to put the finishing touches on a rule that would apply child-labor laws to children working on family farms, prohibiting them from performing a list of jobs on their own families’ land. Under the rules, children under 18 could no longer work “in the storing, marketing and transporting of farm product raw materials.” Please continue reading at: http://dailycaller.com/2012/04/25/rural-kids-parents-angry-about-labor-dept-rule-banning-farm-chores/
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999Bottle tracks your mitigated environmental impact one water bottle at a time

April 25, 2012

We all know that using a stainless steel or polycarbonate water bottle is much more eco than using (and tossing) a disposable water bottle. It’s kind of the trendy thing right now. But do you really know just how much garbage and energy that you’re saving the Earth from? With the 999Bottle, it’s easy to find out… Continue Reading 999Bottle tracks your mitigated environmental impact one water bottle at a time
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Meat Consumption in China Now Double That in the United States

April 25, 2012

China’s annual meat consumption of 71 million tons is more than double that in the United States. http://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-agriculture/meat.html
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Breadfruit Trees are ‘Trees That Feed’ and Create Jobs in Jamaica

April 25, 2012

© Ramon Gonzalez Today Mary McLaughlin works and lives in Winnetka, Illinois, but she grew up in Spanish Town the capital of St. Catherine in the county of Middlesex, Jamaica. As a child, her family’s carbohydrate needs were served by a single breadfruit tree growing in their yard. One day while pondering the issue of food security she had a revelation. If she could plant massive amounts of breadfruit trees in her home country not only would it benefit the environment, but the trees would create micro-economies, combat hunger and lessen the need for expensive imported grains. The breadfruit, Artocarpus altilis, is a species of flowering tree in the mulberry family. “It tastes like bread,” she explained with a wry smile when I asked her a couple of years ago what breadfruit tasted like. This exotic fruit-which to me look like the dragon eggs on HBO’s “Game of Thrones”-is very versatile. It’s commonly referred to as “loaves of bread on trees.” Please continue reading at: http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/breadfruit-trees-are-trees-feed-and-create-jobs-jamaica.html
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Solar Powered Process Could Finally Make Concrete Greener : @TreeHugger

April 25, 2012

Concrete Forms/CC BY 2.0 Concrete is among the most common building materials in the world, and it has a massive carbon footprint. The 15% of concrete that is cement is behind five to six percent of all man made CO2, producing nine kilograms of carbon dioxide for every ten kilograms of cement. A new solar process may put a big dent in those numbers. Researchers at The George Washington University have developed a process called Solar Thermal Electrochemical Production (STEP) of CaO without CO2,reported Green Car Congress. As the name implies, it’s a way to produce the lime that goes into cement without yielding CO2. Please continue reading at: http://www.treehugger.com/solar-technology/solar-powered-process-could-make-concrete-greener-it-enough.html
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Fees and anger rise in California water war. @nytimes

April 24, 2012

In the nearly 80 years since the Arizona National Guard was called out to defend against dam-building, there has been little to rival the feud now under way between San Diego’s water agency and the consortium of municipalities that provides water to 19 million customers in Southern California. Please continue reading at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/24/us/san-diego-takes-water-fight-public.html
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Can heavy metal in foods, cosmetics spur breast cancer spread?

April 24, 2012

Prolonged exposure to low levels of the heavy metal cadmium may fuel the growth of some breast cancer cells and encourage them to spread, preliminary research indicates. Please continue reading at: http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=664026
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CRS — U.S. Trade Deficit and the Impact of Changing Oil Prices

April 24, 2012

Petroleum prices rose sharply between September 2010 and June 2011, at times reaching more than $112 per barrel of crude oil. Although this is still below the $140 per barrel price reached in 2008, the rising cost of energy was one factor that helped to dampen the rate of growth in the economy during the second half of 2011. While the price of oil was rising, the volume of oil imports, or the amount of oil imported, decreased slightly. Overall resistance by market demand to changes in oil prices reflects the unique nature of the demand for oil and an increase in economic activity that occurred following the worst part of the economic recession in 2009. Turmoil in the Middle East was an important factor causing petroleum prices to rise sharply in the first four months of 2011. Although prices for imported oil fluctuated somewhat throughout the year, they averaged 30% higher than in 2010 and added about $100 billion to the total U.S. trade deficit in 2011. The increase in energy import prices is pushing up the price of energy to consumers and could spur some elements of the public to pressure the 112th Congress to provide relief to
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Massive Methane Release In the Arctic Region – @Slashdot

April 24, 2012

“Arctic methane release is a well recorded phenomenon. Methane stored in both permafrost (which is melting) and methane hydrates (methane trapped in marine reservoirs) are vulnerable to being released into the atmosphere as the planet warms. However, researchers who are trying to map atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations on a global basis have discovered that the amount of methane emissions in the Arctic region do not total up. Further research revealed that significant amounts of methane releases came from the Arctic ocean (abstract) — as much as 2 milligrams of the gas is released per square meter of ocean, each day — presumably by marine bacteria surviving in low-nutrient environments.” Please continue reading at: http://science.slashdot.org/story/12/04/24/1852210/massive-methane-release-in-the-arctic-region
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Next-gen cargo ships could use 164-foot sails to lower fuel use by 30% @gizmag

April 24, 2012

Of the world’s nearly 45,000 cargo ships, many burn a low-grade bunker fuel in their engines and produce pollution equivalent to millions of automobiles. To help reduce that toxic load and keep the price of shipping freight reasonable, engineers at the University of Tokyo (UT) and a group of collaborators have designed a system of large, retractable sails measuring 64 feet (20 m) wide by 164 feet (50 m) high, which studies indicate can reduce annual fuel use on ships equipped with them by up to 30%… Continue Reading Next-gen cargo ships could use 164-foot sails to lower fuel use by 30%
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A clean, green power source that could potentially meet the needs of 520 million people.

April 24, 2012

@ecomagination – When people talk about an “all of the above” approach to energy they’re usually referring to the sources we know – gas, hydro, nuclear, solar and wind. But a steady stream of emerging alternatives promises to take advantage of natural processes to produce zero-carbon electricity for untold millions. The latest entrant in this sounds-too-good-to-be-true energy sweepstakes: pressure-retarded osmosis, a kind of reverse water desalination that kicks off energy instead of consuming it. Scientists at Yale University have recently published an analysis of the process in the American Chemical Society’s journal Environmental Science and Technology. They suggest that it could provide power for half a billion people just by taking advantage of the mixing of fresh river water as it flows into the salty sea at the river’s mouth. Osmosis: a refresher To understand this new energy source, you’ll need to recall high school science lessons on osmosis: if two solutions are divided by a semi-permeable membrane, the less concentrated liquid will move into the more concentrated liquid until the two form an equilibrium. This is how plants draw water from the soil, and why potatoes shrink when they are boiled in salt water. Power from pressure-retarded osmosis could
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It’s time to retire Earth Day…the day has long outlived its usefulness. From @garyglx5 at @GreatLakesEcho

April 24, 2012
Gary Wilson 2

Commentary on another Earth Day and you can put me in the camp that believes the day has long outlived its usefulness. Gary Wilson – Others are more blunt, as an I hate Earth Day Google search illustrates. Why spurn a day designed to put a spotlight on Earth’s environmental problems? It’s simple: Earth Day long ago devolved to the point where it reeks of symbolism over substance. Corporations use it as another selling opportunity. This year Walmart has an Earth Month Music Special featuring Alison Krauss. They’ve also featured items like recycled flip flops. There’s nothing inherently wrong with either product, but the giant retailer’s message is still consume, not conserve. Walmart exists to get us to consume mass quantities of its products and a little Earth Day window dressing won’t change that. But Walmart is an easy target. What about us? Are we any better than Walmart? Is our priority consuming or conserving? Are we honest with ourselves when we examine our habits? It’s always best to first look in your own backyard when you ask a question like that so I checked the Earth Day plans of my town, Oak Park, Ill. Regular readers may remember Oak Park from my commentary last year
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PodCast – New OSHA Initiatives, Mexico’s landmark climate legislation and more on EHS This Week @Intelex

April 24, 2012

intelexf - My colleague JP Nadeau joined me for the latest EHS This Week Podcast, sitting in for our regular co-host, Kristy, who lost her voice earlier this week. JP brought us the biggest headlines in safety, including a host of exciting news on a variety of OSHA programs and initiatives. Additionally, we discussed significant climate legislation out of Mexico, as well as the latest data on U.S. GHG emissions. It was a great chat so don’t miss it! Let us know what EHS issues you want to hear about. Write us at paul@ehsthisweek.com or provide a comment below, and let us know if there are any industry leaders or experts you’d like to hear on our program.  APR 20.mp3 Tune in next week! http://blog.intelexf.com/post.aspx?id=cf6c4183-434f-4c18-a7b9-4252dc381890
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Americans want more and better environmental reporting; help us get some

April 24, 2012
Americans want more and better environmental reporting; help us get some

Advocating for improved reporting on the environment is central to my job at Michigan State University’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism. But apparently most of you agree that it’s a good idea. In fact, nearly 80 percent of Americans believe news coverage of the environment should be improved, according to a national poll commissioned by the Project for Improved Environmental Coverage. The Opinion Research Corp. conducted the poll April 14-15. And, full disclosure, I’m among a group of environmental journalism professionals who helped craft a vision for the organization that commissioned it. “This poll … Please continue reading at: http://greatlakesecho.org/2012/04/23/americans-want-more-and-better-environmental-reporting-help-us-get-some/
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CSB Releases New Safety Video on Fatal Hot Work Explosion at DuPont Facility in Buffalo; #HotWork

April 24, 2012

CSB Releases New Safety Video on Fatal Hot Work Explosion at DuPont Facility in Buffalo; “Hot Work: Hidden Hazards” Shows Danger of Inadequate Gas Monitoring Safety Video Follows Release of the CSB’s Investigative Report – Approved at a Public Meeting Yesterday Evening Please continue reading at: http://www.csb.gov/newsroom/detail.aspx?nid=415
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Long-term Medicare & SS deficit tops $63 trillion

April 24, 2012

Medicare and Social Security, the nation’s two largest programs, have long-term deficits of $63.3 trillion, according to annual reports from the programs’ trustees released today. The reports underscore the dire need to reform the programs if the nation wants to avert a fiscal crisis. Though most news reports will focus on the trust fund exhaustion date (2024 for Medicare and 2033 for Social Security) the reality is that the trust fund is a farce. The Social Security program is financed primarily by payroll taxes. Please continue reading by Philip Klein http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/long-term-medicare-ss-deficit-tops-63-trillion/497066
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EPA Releases List of Top 50 Green-Powered Organizations/ Intel, Kohl’s, Microsoft rank in top three

April 24, 2012

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released an updated list of the Top 50 Green Power Partnership organizations voluntarily using clean, renewable electricity from resources such as solar, wind, and low-impact hydropower. Intel Corporation tops the list as the largest single user of green power, followed by Kohl’s Department Stores and Microsoft Corporation. Combined, the Top 50 partners are using more than 15 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually Please continue reading at: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/2130CEC25FB8F73E852579E90058A8D1
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Water revolution would turn rooftops into catchments.

April 24, 2012

Melbournians face the biggest overhaul in the supply of household water in decades with a new plan to change the cost of water and where it comes from. Please continue reading at: http://www.smh.com.au/victoria/water-revolution-would-turn-rooftops-into-catchments-20120422-1xf73.html
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Hydropower ‘could supply Africa’s entire power needs.’

April 24, 2012

Hydropower could supply all of Africa’s electricity needs if cross-border cooperation was stepped up, according to a UN report launched last week at the World Water Forum in Marseilles, France. The report said African governments have begun to recognise the importance of cooperative hydropower projects. Please continue reading at: http://allafrica.com/stories/201203201407.html
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Tide turns in favour of wave power instead of wind farms.

April 24, 2012

Voters in Scotland appear to be turning away from wind farms, a new survey has shown, in a blow to the Scottish Government’s renewable ambitions. Please continue reading at: http://www.scotsman.com/the-scotsman/environment/tide-turns-in-favour-of-wave-power-instead-of-wind-farms-1-2250124
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Prenatal exposure to air pollution makes children fat.

April 24, 2012

Prenatal exposure to high levels of air pollution doubled the likelihood of children becoming obese in a new study by Colombia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Please continue reading at: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/20120423/prenatal-exposure-air-pollution-makes-children-fat.htm
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Mainstreaming biobased plastics.

April 24, 2012

Biobased feedstocks for traditional plastics are increasingly available and major consumer product organizations such as Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, and H.J. Heinz are pushing hard for biobased beverage, shampoo, and condiment bottles as part of their sustainability initiatives. Please continue reading at: http://cen.acs.org/articles/90/i17/Mainstreaming-Biobased-Plastics.html
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Report Says Chinese Textile Polluters Disregard Environmental Regulations

April 24, 2012

Bad news for the fashion industry – nearly 50 major apparel brands have links with factories that have been disregarding China’s environmental laws, according to Cleaning Up the Fashion Industry, a report by five grassroots organizations. While China has put regulations in place to prevent the severe water pollution that comes out of the textile industry, the mandates have insufficient enforcement.  Click ahead to check out which brands are causing the damage and how the industry can move forward with the environment in mind. READ MORE >
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New Research Links Phthalates to Type 2 Diabetes

April 24, 2012

Diabetic is doing a glucose – Image from Shutterstock Phthalates are a family of chemicals that are used in plastics, fragrances and a variety of other consumer products. Because they serve as endocrine disruptors, phthalates have some very dangerous properties, but they’ve gone largely unregulated in the US. Now, new research shows that phthalate metabolites may increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The study, published in the journal Diabetes Care, links phthalate metabolites to diabetes prevalence and shows that chemical exposure results in distinct markers of insulin secretion and resistance. READ MORE >
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“Photochemical upconversion” could allow conventional solar cells to break 40% efficiency

April 23, 2012

While the overall efficiency of conventional silicon solar cells has continued to improve in recent years, the technology faces a natural theoretical limit at around 33%. This is because the laws of physics prevent the cells from absorbing photons below a certain energy level, meaning that this low-energy light cannot be converted into electricity is simply lost. Now researchers have found a way join two energy-poor red photons to form a single energy-rich yellow photon, allowing the harvesting of this part of the spectrum currently unused by single p-n junction crystalline silicon solar cells, and potentially enabling a record-breaking efficiency of 40%… Continue Reading “Photochemical upconversion” could allow conventional solar cells to break 40% efficiency
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Worker fatality at OSHA VPP site

April 23, 2012

Beau Griffing remembers how proud his mom Kristine, 52, was of the work she did at the Eaton Corporation’s Kearney, Nebraska facility. He told a local reporter how she loved taking him and his siblings to the plant to show them where she worked. “She provided so much for us,” Beau Griffing said. “She wanted us to be able to be whatever we wanted to be,” added his brother, Christopher Griffing, 20. Not quite five months ago, Kristine Griffing was working on a Bliss 150 ton shear press at the Eaton Corp plant, making valves and gears for the auto companies. Neither the press itself nor the feeder tables were properly guarded. The made the nip points, rotating parts and pinch points a deadly hazard for workers operating them. Ms. Griffing, a 17-year employee of the plant, was working the night shift on December 7 when she was pinned by this equipment. She was gravely wounded and died 16 days later from her injuries. Read the rest of this post… 
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Gary Anderson’s Recycle symbol, 1971 won first prize… Where are we now?

April 23, 2012

Gary Anderson’s Recycle symbol, 1971
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