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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 02:20 AM
Number of posts: 29,798

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5 Reasons Why Nuclear Energy Is A Dead End Technology, by Jeremy Rifkin

(Updated) Teacher who organised ferry trip kills himself as hopes fade for 300 children

Original information from here:
Teacher who organised ferry trip kills himself as hopes fade for 300 children
Behind subscription wall: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/asia/article4066907.ece

More information here:
Deputy head teacher rescued from South Korea ferry found hanged
Teacher found in apparent suicide next to gymnasium set up for survivors after rescue from ferry that sank with hundreds of his students trapped inside

By AFP10:30AM BST 18 Apr 2014

A deputy head teacher rescued from a sinking South Korean ferry that sank with hundreds of his pupils on board was found dead on Friday, in what media reports said was an apparent suicide.

Local police on Jindo island said the body of Kang Min-Kyu, 52, was found near the gymnasium where relatives of the 268 people still missing from the ferry disaster have been staying.

"The precise cause of death is still under investigation," one police official told AFP.

Yonhap news agency cited police as saying he was found hanging from a tree having apparently committed suicide.

Of the 475 people...


OpEd from NYT:

"“Evacuation dynamics,” a discipline at the intersection of physics, engineering, architecture and social psychology..."

Learning From Korea’s Disaster

PLAINSBORO, N.J. — With hope fading for the rescue of 271 passengers, most of them high school students, who remain missing after the South Korean ferry Sewol capsized and sank Wednesday, it is not too early to draw lessons from the disaster. South Korea’s early response was to point to “human error” and seek the arrest of the ferry’s captain, first mate and another crew member. But it’s worth keeping three points in mind as investigations proceed.

First, few great disasters have one single explanation. In some cases imagination fills in an incomplete story. The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 almost certainly wasn’t started by Mrs. O’Leary’s cow overturning a lantern. Folklore scholars have a word — sharpening — for the addition of detail after original information is lost. And the spark is often beside the point. Catastrophic loss of life and property usually signals a fateful conjunction of unlikely circumstances, none of which might have been fatal in itself. If Chicago hadn’t been a boomtown built mainly of wood; if there hadn’t been a prolonged drought; if the air had been calm instead of windy — etc., etc., etc.

This principle applies, too, in most of the great peacetime shipwrecks. Consider the Titanic. The flat sea and atmospheric conditions prevented lookouts from recognizing the iceberg before it was too late. The scraping of sea ice against the hull led to a failure of riveted plates. There were problems communicating with other ships. No matter how many levels of safety we devise, there are always a few cases in which the loopholes in each of them align. Perhaps the ferry experienced such a fatal conjunction.

Second, organizations may be more to blame for disasters than individuals. Agencies and corporations nominally committed to safety may ignore good engineering practice to meet what they consider urgent goals. In her study of the 1986 Challenger launch decision, the sociologist Diane Vaughan pointed to what she called the “normalization of deviance.” A culture like NASA’s that becomes overly concerned with budgets and timetables may no longer recognize that it is encouraging its members to take unacceptable risks to meet them. In the Sewol’s case we need to look beyond the captain to the rest of the officers and company procedures. Roll-on-roll-off vehicle decks like the one on the Sewol can make ships unstable if flooded. Was there special vigilance to protect against damage from loose equipment? The communications officer has said he had not participated in evacuation drills and didn’t have time to read the evacuation manual: Were he and other officers provided with pocket summary charts?

At the other extreme, excessively strict accountability can bite back....


That data has been completely discredited because the method of data collection doesn't work

This addresses it:

...we are all too familiar with the dog bite fatality report that was published in 2000 titled “Breeds of dogs involved in fatal human attacks in the United States between 1979 and 1998.” This data set has been used incessantly to support breed discriminatory laws, even though the authors of this report themselves have made several statements explaining why the report does NOT support these ineffective and costly laws. This data set was based mostly on unreliable media reports and its authors concluded that their research did not support the idea that one kind of dog was more likely to bite someone than another kind of dog. Nevertheless, proponents of discriminatory laws have pointed to this data set to support their positions.

This was the only study of its kind, until earlier this month when the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) published the “Co-occurrence of potentially preventable factors in 256 dog bite–related fatalities in the United States (2000–2009).” The objective of the study was to “examine potentially preventable factors in human dog bite-related fatalities (DBRFs) on the basis of data from sources that were more complete, verifiable, and accurate than media reports used in previous studies.” Instead of relying on news accounts like in the previous study, the researchers used reports by homicide detectives and animal control agencies, and interviews with investigators.

The study found that the major factors in the fatalities studied include:
- the absence of an able-bodied person to intervene (87.1%),
- incidental or no familiar relationship of victims with dogs (85.2%),
- owner failure to neuter dogs (84.4%),
- compromised ability of victims to interact appropriately with dogs (77.4%),
- dogs kept isolated from regular positive human interactions versus family dogs (76.2%),
- owners’ prior mismanagement of dogs (37.5%),
- and owners’ history of abuse or neglect of dogs (21.1%).

Four or more of these factors were present in over 80% of the dog bite related deaths. Considering that over 75% of dog bite related deaths were caused by resident dogs (a dog not kept as a family pet, but isolated from positive human interactions and usually kept for protection and/or chained outside), reducing this practice is a huge factor in preventing dog bites, as is neutering male dogs.

Most dog bite related fatalities had the above preventable factors in common, but no where was breed found to be a factor. The authors of this new report found that breed could not be reliably identified in over 80% of the cases, as news reports often differed from each other or from animal control reports.


Link to the original study:

found here: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10024788018
post#7 by old guy

And there is also this summary blog post by another study's author:
A New Pit Bull Study
March 15, 2012

The author’s study shows pit bulls’ natural habitat is the bed and breed-specific behavior is cuddling

By Anna MacNeill


At my university, I visited campus libraries expecting to delve into a pool of pit bull literature. Instead, I found myself ankle deep in a mud puddle. There was nothing substantial!


What the Study Revealed

A new profile of pit bulls emerged from the study: They were not more aggressive than the other breeds. Pit bulls were more likely to sleep on the bed [62% vs. 16%, p<0.05], more likely to cuddle with their owners (p<0.05), and less likely to show aggression to their owners (p<0.10) – three things associated with strong human-animal bonds. Pit bulls were more likely to pull on the leash (p<0.05).

There was no difference in the number of dogs euthanized at the shelter due to aggression. Likewise, there was no significant difference between groups for aggression to strangers, other dogs, cats, children under 12, skateboarders/cyclists, joggers, over food, when stepped over, or when moved while sleeping.

There was, however, a trend for the other breeds group to be returned for aggression (p<0.02). For those still in the home, there was a slight trend for the other breeds group to show aggression to their guardians (p<0.10).

Seven bites were inflicted on people: one by a pit bull, which did not break the skin, and six by the other breed group, four breaking the skin.



Original post

Australian's For Coal 2014 - Resolving Cognitive Dissonance

The Solar Industry Has Been Waiting 60 Years For This To Happen

The Solar Industry Has Been Waiting 60 Years For This To Happen — And It Finally Just Did

It's now a question of how and where, not if, solar becomes a dominant force in energy markets.

AllianceBernstein's Michael Parker and Flora Chang published a note last week with the following chart showing how rapidly the cost of solar on a real-dollars-per-million-BTU equivalent basis has, in many instances, come to match that of conventional fuels.

Nothing else looks like this. And the title of the chart, Welcome to the Terrordome, reflects this almost violent decline in solar pricing.

The authors write:
Exhibit 2 is the chart the solar industry has been working towards for 60 years. Solar is now – in the right conditions – cheaper than oil and Asian LNG on an MMBTU basis. Yes, we are using utility- scale solar costs in developing markets with lots of sun. But that describes the growth markets for global energy today. For these markets solar is just cheap, clean, convenient, reliable energy. And since it is a technology, it will get even cheaper over time. Fossil fuel extraction costs will keep rising. There is a massive global market for cheap energy and that market is oblivious to policy changes at the NDRC, MITI, the EU or the CPUC.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/solar-price-terrordome-chart-2014-4

The Brutally Dishonest Attacks On Showtime’s Landmark Series On Climate Change

The Brutally Dishonest Attacks On Showtime’s Landmark Series On Climate Change

Percent of Americans Who Believe the Effects of Global Warming Have Already Begun to Happen, by Political Ideology, from McCright and Dunlap

The good news is the video of episode one of Showtime’s climate series, “Years Of Living Dangerously,” has been getting great reviews in the New York Times and elsewhere.

The bad news is the Times has published an error-riddled hit-job op-ed on the series that is filled with myths at odds with both the climate science and social science literature. For instance, the piece repeats the tired and baseless claim that Al Gore’s 2006 movie “An Inconvenient Truth” polarized the climate debate, when the peer-reviewed data says the polarization really jumped in 2009 (see chart above from “The Sociological Quarterly”).

As I said, “Years Of Living Dangerously” — the landmark 9-part Showtime docu-series produced by the legendary James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jerry Weintraub — has been getting great reviews. Andy Revkin, often a critic of climate messaging, wrote in the NY Times Monday:
… a compellingly fresh approach to showing the importance of climate hazards to human affairs, the role of greenhouse gases in raising the odds of some costly and dangerous outcomes and — perhaps most important — revealing the roots of the polarizing divisions in society over this issue….


The New York Times op-ed is from the founders of the Breakthrough Institute — the same group where political scientist Roger Pielke, Jr. is a Senior Fellow. It pushes the same argument that Pielke made in his fivethirtyeight piece — which was so widely criticized and debunked that Nate Silver himself admitted its myriad flaws and ran a debunking piece by an MIT climate scientist.

Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, two widely debunked eco-critics who run The Breakthrough Institute (TBI), begin by ...


Close Look: Walmart's Turbine Powered Hybrid Concept Truck

I'm not a fan of Walmart, but they are a force within the trucking sector that can change the offerings of the manufacturers. So it is good news that they've been working with energy efficiency experts to redesign our heavy transport vehicle fleet - they save money and their effort results in real, substantive carbon carbon emission reductions across the entire sector.

The Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience concept truck is the latest in their fleet efficiency program.

The one-of-a-kind prototype offers a whole package of firsts. The tractor has very advanced aerodynamics and is powered by a prototype advanced turbine-powered, range-extending series hybrid powertrain.

The trailer is made almost exclusively with carbon fiber, saving around 4,000 pounds which can then be used to carry more freight.


Sriracha hot sauce production declared public nuisance by California city

I'm more of a Louisiana Hot Sauce fan myself, but for those like my wife...

Sriracha hot sauce production declared public nuisance by California city

Rory Carroll in Los Angeles theguardian.com, Thursday 10 April 2014 07.34 EDT

Sriracha chili sauce bottles are produced at the Huy Fong Foods factory in Irwindale, California. Photograph: Nick Ut/AP

The hot sauce apocalypse looms again. Officials in California have declared the production of sriracha, the wildly popular chili sauce, a public nuisance because of the smell.

Irwindale's city council voted unanimously on Wednesday night to give the manufacturer an ultimatum to reduce the odour itself or have officials march in and do it themselves.


The council determined that the spicy odour had caused a problem for residents in the industrial town east of Los Angeles. Some have complained of headaches and sore throats and demanded the plant's closure. Air quality officials said they had received 69 complaints in recent months.

The company's attorney promised that Huy Fong Foods would have an action plan within 10 days and a system to control the smell operational by June, when it traditionally starts grinding chili peppers....


The craziness that is right wing logic - "Try thinking of yourself as a pea..."

Climate change is good for you, says ultra-conservative Heartland Institute
New study by thinktank funded by Koch brothers aims to debunk authoritative UN climate change report

Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent
theguardian.com, Wednesday 9 April 2014 15.51 EDT

Try thinking of yourself as a pea, instead of a human, the Heartland Institute suggests. Photograph: Alamy

For those concerned about climate change, the ultra-conservative Heartland Institute offers up a calming solution: try thinking of yourself as a pea, instead of a human. Peas in a lab sprouted faster with extreme concentrations of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas mainly responsible for climate change than under normal growing conditions, Heartland said.

“Which pea shoot would you rather be,” asked Craig Idso, the lead author of a new Heartland publication meant to debunk the authoritative new climate change report released by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

What's good for a pea pod isn't necessarily good for the planet, of course. Idso did not mention how rising temperatures and growing water scarcity might affect plant growth under climate change. It was just one of many lapses by what claimed to be a serious scientific examination of the threat of climate change from the thinktank funded by the Koch oil billionaires and anonymous donors.

The Heartland Institute has over the years published its own parallel-universe version of the blockbuster climate reports...

For the Heartland report, only a handful of reporters turned out, and Heartland complained its offerings were almost never noticed by the scientific press. The event broke up ahead of schedule because Heartland said members had to go meet members of Congress – whose identities the group refused to disclose.


du Pont heir didn't go to court-ordered clinic

Source: Wilmington News Journal

A du Pont heir who raped his daughter was supposed to complete an intensive treatment program at an inpatient psychiatric clinic in Massachusetts as a condition of a sentence that allowed him to avoid prison time.

But he never did, court records show.

Superior Court Judge Jan R. Jurden ordered probation for Robert H. Richards IV in February 2009, on the condition that he be accepted for treatment at the expensive McLean Hospital near Boston, according to a transcript of the sentencing. Jurden agreed to probation only after the prosecutor argued the state typically would demand prison time in such child abuse cases, but was willing to accept probation because of the therapy Richards would receive at the out-of-state clinic.

"If the court is not inclined to send him to the Massachusetts program, then the state would be asking for some period of jail that the court would feel would be appropriate under the circumstances," prosecutor Renee Hrivnak said during the Feb. 6, 2009 hearing.

More at link

Read more: http://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/local/2014/04/08/du-pont-heir-finish-treatment-records-show/7475045/

Looks like trouble is headed Mr. Richard's way...
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