Showing posts from July 2, 2015

BP reaches $18.7 billion settlement over deadly 2010 spill

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[I suppose, eventually, there will be follow-up reports to show how many if's and's and but's are built into the actual final payments due. Also, spread over 18 years? What happened to "Justice delayed is justice denied"? *RON*]
By Terry Wade and Kristen Hays, Reuters, 2 July 2015

BP Plc will pay up to $18.7 billion in penalties to the U.S. government and five states to resolve nearly all claims from its deadly Gulf of Mexico oil spill five years ago in the largest corporate settlement in U.S. history.

The agreement comes on top of the $43.8 billion that BP has already set aside for criminal and civil penalties and cleanup costs.

BP shares jumped more than 5 percent in New York trading as investors said the British company, often mentioned as a potential acquisition target, could now turn the page on one of the darkest chapters in its century-long history.

Under the agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice and the states,…

New study warns of dangerous climate change risks to the Earth’s oceans

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[Immediate, serious efforts to curb carbon pollution are needed to minimize ocean ecosystem changes. "In summary, the carbon that we emit today will change the Earth System irreversibly for many generations to come.... These irreversible changes increase with increasing emissions, underscoring the urgency of near-term carbon emission reduction if ocean warming and acidification are to be kept at moderate levels." *RON*]

Dana Nuccitelli, The Guardian, 2 July 2015
A new paper just published in Science summarizes the projected impacts of climate change on the world’s oceans, and consequently on humans and our economy. The study concludes that global warming beyond the international limit of 2°C above pre-industrial temperatures would pose serious threats to marine ecosystems and their millions of human dependents. It builds on theconsensus science published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last year. The study concludes,


The death throes of the Harper Conservatives

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[The list of legislation quickly rammed through in recent months is astonishing, both when you consider how it blatantly panders to the Conservative's electoral base and how likely it is that more or all of them will be overthrown by the Supreme Court as being anti-Constitutional. *RON*]
By J. Baglow,, 2 July 2015

An animal is most dangerous when it's wounded, they say, and the Conservative Party of Canada has been metaphorically bearing that out for months. Sinking steadily in the polls, it has sought to further impose its brand of sado-politics upon our long-suffering country, even against its own best interests.

In its dying days it has been showing its teeth, snapping and snarling: jamming the union-busting Bill C-377 through the Senate, tearing at the fabric of free collective bargaining with omnibus Bill C-59, spiking a transgender rights bill, and tabling legislation to forbid Muslim women from taking the oath of citizenshi…

Mount Polley Report Finds No Significant Risks Before Disaster

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[Therefore they were not lying; they're incompetent. *RON*]
By The Canadian Press, Huffington Post, 2 July 2015

VICTORIA - British Columbia's privacy commissioner says the province did not violate its duty to inform the public before last summer's tailings-pond breach at a gold and copper mine.

Elizabeth Denham says information the government had about the Mount Polley mine before the disaster was not urgent enough to require a public safety warning under the province's freedom of information and privacy laws.

Denham says she reviewed records dating from January 2009 to August 2014 and did not find anything indicating major risks at the mine in central B.C.

She says she uncovered two incidents involving a tension crack and water rising above permitted tailings-pond levels, but they did not pose a significant-enough risk.

Last January, an independent government-ordered report concluded that poor dam design caused the spill of 24 million…

Surprising results of metro Vancouver transit referendum released today

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[Opponents' winning vote by a generous majority sends a strong message to BC Liberals. Not unexpected, despite what Vancouver Observer thinks; there was a lot of division of opinion about this (I voted Yes and my wife voted No). Also not unexpected, the vote in Vancouver was split almost exactly 50/50; the further out the Valley you go, the higher the No vote percentage. The problem is, everyone wants more transit, but no one wants to pay for it. My guess is that the Liberals will create absolutely no new transit in response. *RON*]

Vancouver Observer, 2 July 2015

The ballots have been counted and the results are in. Voters have given a resounding 'no' to Metro Vancouver's Transportation and Transit Plebiscite, which proposed a 0.5 per cent tax increase to fund transportation improvements over the next 10 years.

The results have been posted on the Elections BC website, revealing 61.68 per cent of voters oppose to the tax hike, an…

Single-celled plankton evolves tiny, human-like eye

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[Via my friend Harry. Totally bizarre! The eye is so complex that researchers originally thought it had come from an animal that the plankton had eaten. So much for slow evolution in tiny steps - unless this is version 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 and it's just that no one has spotted any examples of this particular kind of plankton before... By the way, click here to see a clip of the Canada Day fireworks down the street from my place last night. *RON*]

By Sarah Knapton, The Telegraph, 01 Jul 2015

A single-celled marine plankton has evolved a miniature version of an eye to help see its prey better, researchers believe.

The tiny creature, which can only be seen under a microscope, it thought to use the complex structure to spot organisms which it can consume.

The single-cell plankton, a predatory microbe, bears a dark purple spot known as an ocelloid.