Showing posts from August 19, 2014

Seeing Purpose and Profit in Algae

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[Only a pilot plant at this stage, but this is a great idea! *RON*]

By Matthew L. Wald, New York Times, 18 August 2014

Entrepreneurs have been trying for years to get something valuable out of algae.

It has not been easy, and not just because algae are an unsightly nuisance (and sometimes dangerous, as is the Lake Erie bloom that has endangered drinking water this month).

Although algae grow prodigiously and contain potentially useful molecules — especially lipids, which can be turned into high-energy fuel and other products — extracting those molecules has proved complicated and expensive. So far, virtually the only marketable products based on algae have been high-end skin creams.

But a Nevada company, Algae Systems, has a pilot plant in Alabama that, it says, can turn a profit making diesel fuel from algae by simultaneously performing three other tasks: making clean water from municipal sewage (which it uses to fertilize the algae), using the car…

Bad news for Big Coal: Oregon rejects proposed export terminal

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[Who is still kissing Big Coal's butt? Naturally, the governments of BC and Canada. State Representative Carlyle states the obvious, “You can’t privatize benefits and socialize the costs,” while this is in fact the operating mantra of Christy Clark and Stephen Harper. *RON*]
By Joel Connelly, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 18 August 2014

Oregon has rejected Ambre Energy’s plan for barging coal down the Columbia River to be exported to China, the fourth Northwest shipment terminal project to bite the dust.

The denial of a dock permit by the Oregon Department of State Lands leaves just two proposals on the table, the Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point north of Bellingham, and the Millennium Terminal at Longview on the Columbia River.
“We’ve gone from six down to two, with the two biggest and baddest remaining,” said Eric de Place, research director at The Sightline Institute and a trenchant critic of environmental and economic impacts of the p…

Why Does The Economy Stink? Because America's Owners Are Greedier Now Than Ever Before

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[Corporatocracy in a nutshell. How can the economy suck when corporate profits are at all time highs? Gross income inequality caused by employers not creating jobs and squeezing existing employees for every dime they can get. "There's no law of capitalism that says that companies have to pay their employees as little as possible. There's no law of capitalism that says companies have to maximize short-term profits. That's just a story that America's owners made up to justify taking as much of the company's wealth as possible for themselves." See also AFTER WH MEETS WITH BIG BIZ, OBAMA MAY USE EXEC ACTIONS TO INCREASE GUEST-WORKER VISAS*RON*]
Henry Blodget, Business Insider, 19 August 2014

The U.S. economy is still sputtering. (See GDP growth chart above.)

Why is growth so slow and weak?

One reason is that average American consumers, who account for the vast majority of the spending in the economy, are still strapped…

City launches constitutional challenge: Pipeline company wants access to Burnaby Mountain

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[The latest fusillade in the ongoing battle between Kinder-Morgan and the city of Burnaby. *RON*]

By Jennifer Moreau, Burnaby Now, 11 August 2014 
The City of Burnaby is launching a constitutional challenge with the National Energy Board in the legal battle over Burnaby Mountain, while Kinder Morgan is arguing it has the right to work on the land, based on federal law.

The city’s lawyer, Gregory McDade, is calling for a fair hearing on the issue.

“The idea that in the 21st century that the federal government can just bulldoze through a community deserves some debate,” he told the NOW.

Kinder Morgan wants to survey Burnaby Mountain for a proposed route for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, but the city, which is opposed to the project, has not yet granted the company permission to do so. Kinder Morgan has two outstanding applications filed with the city, which is waiting on more information before making its decision.

Much of Burnaby Mountain …

In the name of 'free trade' our public health care system is forced to swallow another poison pill

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[This article does not state clearly or forcefully enough that CETA has not been put into effect and may well never get passed. However, there was one interesting statistic: "the changes to patent protection for pharmaceutical drugs will cost our public health care system anywhere between $800 million to $1.7 billion annually.... On the other hand, Canadian exporters are predicted to gain only about $226 million from the elimination of virtually all industrial tariffs once the deal comes into place." *RON*]
By Michael Butler,, 18 August 2014

There has been a substantial amount of discussion surrounding the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union (EU), but when it comes to the media one thing that seems to have slipped under the radar is the hugely detrimental affects this deal could have on our public health care system.

Last week we saw two leaks of full text for the Comprehensive Economic and Tra…

Canada Spies on Israel's Enemies

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[This has not been previously reported but there is nothing unexpected about this natural extension of Harper's love-affair with Benjamin Netanyahu. *RON*]

By Patrick McGuire, Vice Canada, Aug 18 2014

Earlier this month, Glenn Greenwald published a story on The Intercept called “Cash, Weapons and Surveillance: the U.S. is a Key Party to Every Israeli Attack,” but in the course of reporting on how America provides relief in the form of greenbacks, guns, and spying to the Israelis during their military campaigns—there’s mentions of Canada’s own surveillance agency, CSEC, scattered throughout his story.

Obviously, this indicates that when Israel heads into battle, there’s at the very least, some sort of intelligence from Canadian cyberspies assisting it to develop its military strategies. This was likely a new revelation to any Canadian who read the piece, but it didn’t receive much scrutiny or publication in the media, other than a small post on…

Transportation Safety Board to release report into Lac-Megantic tragedy

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[The Canadian tax-payer is on the hook for the entire bill for Lac-Megantic. See also Canada didn't audit railway adequately before disaster: report, and Lac-M├ęgantic: Government oversight, so to speak*RON*]
By The Canadian Press, Huffington Post, 19 August 2014

LAC-MEGANTIC,, - The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is to release its final report today on the catastrophic train derailment in Lac-Megantic in 2013.

The disaster claimed 47 lives, destroyed a swath of the community's downtown and spewed millions of litres of crude oil into the environment.

It was sparked when a runaway train owned by Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway careened into the town shortly after 1 a.m. and jumped the tracks, exploding into fireballs that were spotted by satellites in space.

People are still being treated for post-traumatic stress, while efforts to rebuild are still underway in the aftermath of what the safety board described as potentially t…