Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sauce for the Goose

While commenting on the current conflict between Russia and Georgia, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said:
"I am deeply concerned by the notion . . . that Russia has a say or some control over a country outside of its border. This is a very worrisome development. I hope Russia will reconsider its actions."
The American Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said, "This is not 1968 and the invasion of Czechoslovakia, where Russia can threaten its neighbors, occupy a capital, overthrow a government, and get away with it."
The irony should be apparent to all.
But it won't be.

Michael Hall

I just heard this week that Mike Hall, editor of the Fort McMurray Today newspaper, member of the Gang of Four, and, more personally, a friend and mentor, passed away August 1st of a heart attack.

[photo from the Fort Record website]

Mike was a hell of a record collector, faned, and writer, and introduced me to a wide variety of progressive music in the 80's. He also gifted me with stacks of fanzines, plenty of chat, and suggested I might want to look into this internet thingie that was just springing up.
I'm not the one to write Mikes obit, there are many others who knew him better than I did, but he was a friend and, more importantly, a big influence on me during the 80s. He eventually found his way into journalism, becoming the managing editor of the Fort McMurray Today. And being a reporter wasn't enough; Mike blogged as well--his last post being only five days before his unexpected death.

Monday, August 11, 2008

John Will Love This...

Worse Faster Than Anyone Thought Possible

From The Guardian:

"[...]scientists say that the disappearance of sea ice at the North Pole
could exceed last year's record loss. More than a million square
kilometres melted over the summer of 2007 as global warming tightened
its grip on the Arctic. But such destruction could now be matched, or
even topped, this year."

Storms over the Beaufort Sea are sucking warm air north, accelerating melting. it is expected that the Northwest Passage will be ice free withing the next week or so for only the second time in recorded history. the first time was August of last year. Ice coverage in the Arctic reaches its minimum (normally--not a word we can reliably use about the north any more) in mid-September. It is expected that the loss of Arctic sea ice will cause related weather effects--such as increased storm activity in Britain. And, I assume, Canada.
This loss of ice creates a feedback loop, where loss of ice results in less solar radiation being bounced back into space, meaning more warming, meaning less radiation bounced back, etc. Climate change scientists are now talking about a 4°C rise in global temperature, meaning humans have to start thinking not about adapting to a new climate, but rather about significant die-back. There is no way the new world climate is going to allow for six billion humans. If we're lucky--and I mean really lucky on a cosmic scale--we might top out at a billion. worst case, this is a species wiping event. After all, that is the point of running a fever--the death of the infecting organisms, which are only designed to survive in a narrow range of temperatures. And Gaia is clearly running a fever. After all, new studies by Professor Wieslaw Maslowski of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California suggest there will be no ice left between mid-July and mid-September in the Arctic by--get this--2013.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

From HuffPo

Ron Suskind: The Forged Iraqi Letter: What Just Happened?
What just happened? Evidence. A secret that has been judiciously kept for five years just spilled out. All of what follows is new, never reported in any way:

The Iraq Intelligence Chief, Tahir Jalil Habbush -- a man still carrying a $1 million reward for capture, the Jack of Diamonds in Bush's famous deck of wanted men -- has been America's secret source on Iraq. Starting in January of 2003, with Blair and Bush watching, his secret reports began to flow to officials on both sides of the Atlantic, saying that there were no WMD and that Hussein was acting so odd because of fear that the Iranians would find out he was a toothless tiger. The U.S. deep-sixed the intelligence report in February, "resettled" Habbush to a safe house in Jordan during the invasion and then paid him $5 million in what could only be considered hush money.

In the fall of 2003, after the world learned there were no WMD -- as Habbush had foretold -- the White House ordered the CIA to carry out a deception. The mission: create a handwritten letter, dated July, 2001, from Habbush to Saddam saying that Atta trained in Iraq before the attacks and the Saddam was buying yellow cake for Niger with help from a "small team from the al Qaeda organization."

The mission was carried out, the letter was created, popped up in Baghdad, and roiled the global newcycles in December, 2003 (conning even venerable journalists like Tom Brokaw). The mission is a statutory violation of the charter of the CIA, and amendments added in 1991, prohibiting the CIA from conducting disinformation campaigns on U.S. soil.

Ron Susskind is the author of The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America's Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11

Friday, August 08, 2008

good reasons to not drink bottled water

Canadians wanting to do something about the environment can start by drinking tap water, environmentalist David Suzuki says.

I have purchased 3 stainless steel canteens to use for my water--filtered TAP water. One is for kayaking, one is for work and one is for using at the gym. I've given up spending money on bottled water not just because of the price of paying for what may be filtered tap water, but for the following reasons:

Bottled water generates up to 600 times more CO2 than tap water

Most plastic bottled water bottles are not recycled but end up in landfill

Drinking a bottle of water has the same impact on the enviroment as driving a car for a kilometer

A Swedish study calculated that the environmental impact of bottled water was 90 to 1,00 times greater than tap water and could be higher

Britons use 275,000 tons of platic bottles (includes drinks other than water) each year. 15 million a day in the UK, 3 billion litres of bottled water every year. The plastic bottles left over would fill the new Wembley Stadium three times over. Imagine how much Canadians produce in plastic bottle waste.

Bottled water costs more than gasoline per litre.

And just because I like this Canadian study statistic (and I have some university but certainly am not earning a ridiculously high salary plus I live in an apartment)

University-educated households were less likely to drink bottled water than households with a lower level of formal education. The lower rate of bottled water drinking among university-educated households, set against the higher rates seen in high income households, shows that behaviours associated with income are not necessarily also associated with level of education.

(full article at:

Friday, August 01, 2008

Another Find...& somewhere to live...

I think when the ocean levels rise I will go live in a tree. This doesn't look too bad. Might have to downsize a lot or one might be able to have more than one linked by rope bridges.

Or, try one for a romantic getaway.