Showing posts from July 7, 2016

High Levels of Toxins Found in Bodies of People Living Near Fracking Sites

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[Harmful chemicals from natural gas operations are contaminating the bodies of residents of Pavillion, Wyoming at levels 10 times above national averages. Slowly but surely evidence continues to accumulate, eating away at the arguments of the corporations and denialists. But the standards of proof are being set insanely high. *RON*]
By Maureen Nandini MitraEarth Island Journal / AlterNet, 30 June 2016
Many of the toxic chemicals escaping from fracking and natural gas processing sites and storage facilities may be present in much higher concentrations in the bodies of people living or working near such sites, new research has shown.

In a first-of-its-kind study combining air-monitoring methods with new biomonitoring techniques, researchers detected volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released from natural gas operations in Pavillion, Wyoming in the bodies of nearby residents at levels that were as much as 10 times that of the national averages.


A Remote Pacific Nation, Threatened by Rising Seas

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[Climate change is threatening the livelihoods of the people of tiny Kiribati, and even the island nation’s existence. The government is making plans for the island’s demise. It's worth looking at the original article just to read the bizarre denialist comments. *RON*]

By Mike Ives, New York Times, 2 July 2016

TARAWA, Kiribati — One clear bright day last winter, a tidal surge swept over an ocean embankment here in the remote, low-lying island country of Kiribati, smashing through the doors and windows of Betio Hospital and spewing sand and debris across its maternity ward.

Beero Hosea, 37, a handyman, cut the power and helped carry frightened mothers through the rubble and water to a nearby school.

“If the next one is combined with a storm and stronger winds, that’s the end of us,” he said. “It’s going to cover this whole island.”

Mexico: Sexual violence routinely used as torture to secure “confessions” from women

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[Not much of a 'Three Amigos' vibe going on here. "Mexican authorities seem determined to keep this issue in the dark." *RON*]

News © Reuters, Amnesty International, 28 June 2016

An unprecedented Amnesty International investigation of 100 women arrested in Mexico reveals that they are routinely sexually abused by the security forces who want to secure confessions and boost figures in an attempt to show that they are tackling rampant organized crime.

All of the 100 women held in federal prisons who reported torture or other ill-treatment to Amnesty International said they had experienced some form of sexual harassment or psychological abuse during their arrest and interrogation by municipal, state or federal police officers or members of the Army and Navy. Seventy-two said they were sexually abused during their arrest or in the hours that followed. Thirty-three reported being raped.

Sixty-six of the women said they had reported the …

A Stark Nuclear Warning

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[A very real and very well-buried issue nowadays. It's interesting how what may well be the point of the article - a possible nuclear confrontation with Russia - gets buried in the final paragraphs. *RON*]

Jerry Brown, New York Review of Books, 14 July 2016 Issue

My Journey at the Nuclear Brink by William J. Perry, with a foreword by George P. Shultz. Stanford Security Studies, 234 pp., $85.00; $24.95 (paper)
I know of no person who understands the science and politics of modern weaponry better than William J. Perry, the US Secretary of Defense from 1994 to 1997. When a man of such unquestioned experience and intelligence issues the stark nuclear warning that is central to his recent memoir, we should take heed. Perry is forthright when he says: “Today, the danger of some sort of a nuclear catastrophe is greater than it was during the Cold War and most people are blissfully unaware of this danger.”1 He also tells us that the nuclear danger is …

A Better Kind of Happiness

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[I'm having big trouble getting Feedly to load this morning, so I may only post a couple of articles if things don't improve. Science favours Aristotle's eudaemonic (virtue-based) happiness over hedonic (I just want to feel good) happiness. *RON*]

By Will Storr, New Yorker, 7 July 2016

Nearly two and a half millennia ago, Aristotle triggered a revolution in happiness. At the time, Greek philosophers were trying hard to define precisely what this state of being was. Some contended that it sprang from hedonism, the pursuit of sensual pleasure. Others argued from the perspective of tragedy, believing happiness to be a goal, a final destination that made the drudge of life worthwhile. These ideas are still with us today, of course, in the decadence of Instagram and gourmet-burger culture or the Christian notion of heaven. But Aristotle proposed a third option. In his Nicomachean Ethics, he described the idea of eudaemonic happiness, which…

Canada Post Dispute: Justin Trudeau Not Considering Back-To-Work Legislation

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[Note that this is a lock-out by management, not a strike by workers. So what does Trudeau really mean when he says he is not into heavy-handed government interference, "unlike previous governments"? This is a lock-out by the same bunch of Harper appointees who still want to take away our door-to-door mail delivery. *RON*]
Canadian Press, Huffington Post, 5 July 2016

OTTAWA — The federal government is not considering back-to-work legislation if there is a work stoppage at Canada Post, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday.

Trudeau says his government believes in good-faith negotiations that happen around the bargaining table.