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Oct. 9th, 2014

:-)

Hey ya'll, I'm taking a lil break from blogging this month and will continue updating my journal after the 25th. Have a great weekend everyone!

Kemo D. 7
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Oct. 7th, 2014

The Future of Renewable Energy

A future where electricity comes mostly from low-carbon sources is not only feasible in terms of material demand, but will significantly reduce air pollution, a study published in the today's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says. An international team led by Edgar Hertwich and Thomas Gibon from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology conducted the first-ever global comprehensive life cycle assessment of the long-term, wide-scale implementation of electricity generation from renewable resources.


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Evolution of the Brain

Humans appear to have evolved puny muscles even faster than they grew big brains, according to a new metabolic study that pitted people against chimps and monkeys in contests of strength. The upshot, says biologist Roland Roberts, is that "weak muscles may be the price we pay for the metabolic demands of our amazing cognitive powers." Scientists have long noted that the major difference between modern humans and other apes, like chimps, is our possession of an oversize, energy-hungry brain. It was the development of that brain that drove the evolution of our early human ancestors away from an apelike ancestor, starting roughly six million years ago.

But the question of just why and how we evolved such big brains, which consume 20 percent of our energy, has long bedeviled science. "A major difference in muscular strength between humans and nonhuman primates provide one possible explanation," suggests thenew study, led by Katarzyna Bozek of Germany's Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology. The study, published Tuesday in the journal PLoS Biology, looked at how rapidly the metabolic needs of various organs, ranging from our brains to our kidneys, have evolved. Some scientists have suggested that the rapidly evolving metabolism of the human gut, for example, drove the brain's evolution. Instead, the new study suggests that muscles and brains have essentially traded off their energy use.

 

The researchers found that in the last six million years, people have evolved weaker muscles much more rapidly—eight times faster—than the rest of our body changed.


Kemo D. 7

Oct. 2nd, 2014

#tbt

Me in 2005 :-)

"People spend too much time finding other people to blame, too much energy finding excuses for not being what they are capable of being, and not enough energy putting themselves on the line, growing out of the past, and getting on with their lives." -- J. Michael Straczynski

Oct. 1st, 2014

Other Worlds

A group of international astronomers and astrobiologists have published new research that assesses the possibility of complex life on other worlds. Their calculation in the Milky Way alone is staggering: 100 million worlds in our home galaxy may harbor complex alien life. One. Hundred. Million.


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Sep. 27th, 2014

Mysteries

All school children have memorized the old rhyme “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue” in order to help them remember the date and the name of the explorer who “found” America. But new evidence, including a map, indicates that there may need to be a different date and a different name. The incredible discovery of 14 documents kept in the trunk of an Italian immigrant who settled in San Jose, California, may change history.


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Sep. 26th, 2014

3 Key Takeaways From This Week's UN Climate Summit

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon convened the summit, which drew more than a hundred heads of state, to encourage countries to adopt more ambitious policies to combat climate change. He urged greater efforts in the 15 months before world leaders gather in Paris at a meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is slated to produce a new global strategy on the issue. This week's summit did yield important news going into next year's negotiations. Three key takeaways:

1. A movement to fight climate change has real people power. The most surprising development of the summit didn't unfold in the halls of the UN. It happened two days before the summit, when an upstart environmental group, 350.org, organized a march through Manhattan that attracted thousands of people (official crowd estimates for such marches are notoriously unreliable). Hundreds of smaller demonstrations were staged around the globe. The turnout, especially for the New York march, was far greater than anyone, even organizers, expected.

2. More companies are recognizing that halting deforestation is good PR. The biggest tangible result of the summit was a commitment by nearly 40 companies, including many big multinational corporations, to do their part to slow and eventually stop the loss of forests. The companies include Asia Pulp and Paper, Kellogg's, Nestle, Johnson & Johnson, Walmart, and Procter & Gamble. Forests store carbon dioxide, and deforestation is a major contributor to the concentration of heat-trapping gases in Earth's atmosphere. The companies, together with 32 countries, pledged to do their part to stop deforestation by 2030.

3. There's growing pressure to help the world's most vulnerable countries. One reason Ban convened the summit was to try to generate a competition among world leaders. He wants them to offer increasingly ambitious commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to helping poor countries adopt clean energy. French President Francois Hollande was one of the first to throw down. On Tuesday, he announced that his country will pour $1 billion (U.S.) into the so-called Green Climate Fund. He called on other nations to follow his example.

Five years ago, rich countries promised to assemble a big pot of money to help poor countries invest in clean energy and mitigate their risks from climate change. The idea was that rich countries created the problem of global warming by burning fossil fuels, and so are responsible for the resulting risks to poor countries. The Green Climate Fund is just starting to get organized. Germany has offered $1 billion, and in addition to France's pledge at this week's summit, South Korea promised to increase its contribution to $100 million. Denmark, Norway, Mexico, Luxembourg, and Indonesia also made pledges.

 

Kemo D. 7

Source: National Geographic

Sep. 23rd, 2014

#climate2014

UN Climate Summit 2014

Climate change is not a far-off problem. It is happening now and is having very real consequences on people’s lives. Climate change is disrupting national economies, costing us dearly today and even more tomorrow. But there is a growing recognition that affordable, scalable solutions are available now that will enable us all to leapfrog to cleaner, more resilient economies. There is a sense that change is in the air. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited world leaders, from government, finance, business, and civil society to Climate Summit 2014 today (Sept. 23rd) to galvanize and catalyze climate action. He has asked these leaders to bring bold announcements and actions to the Summit that will reduce emissions, strengthen climate resilience, and mobilize political will for a meaningful legal agreement in 2015.

 

Climate Summit 2014 provides a unique opportunity for leaders to champion an ambitious vision, anchored in action that will enable a meaningful global agreement in 2015.


Kemo D. 7

Why You Too Should Care

On Sunday, 400,000 people marched the streets of Manhattan to take a stand against climate change. Said to be the largest-ever demonstration against climate change, the People’s Climate March in New York City drew folks of all stripes: grandparents who said they were marching so their grandchildren might grow up on a healthy planet; young people who shouted chants against corporate power; farmers who wanted fracking to stop; a little girl named Ileana, who told The Huffington Post that she was there so orangutans would have a fighting chance at survival.


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Sep. 22nd, 2014

#FloodWallStreet

On the heels of the massive, largely peaceful People's Climate March, a smaller group of activists has gathered in Lower Manhattan this morning to participate in direct action civil disobedience. With the goal of "stopping capitalism" and "ending the climate crisis," protesters are expected to "Flood Wall Street" in the coming hours. "The economy of the 1% is destroying the planet, flooding our homes, and wrecking our communities," the protesters' website declares.

Sep. 21st, 2014

The People's Climate March

Under leaden skies, throngs of demonstrators stretching as far as the eye could see started to move through Midtown Manhattan late Sunday morning, chanting their demands for action on climate change. With drums and tubas, banners and floats, the People's Climate March turned Columbus Circle, where the march began just before 11:30 a.m., into a colorful tableau. The demonstrators represented a broad coalition of ages, races, geographic locales and interests, with union members, religious leaders, scientists, politicians and students joining the procession.

“I’m here because I really feel that every major social movement in this country has come when people get together,” said Carol Sutton of Norwalk, Conn., the president of a teachers' union. “It begins in the streets.” With world leaders gathering at the United Nations on Tuesday for a climate summit, marchers said the timing was right for the populist message in support of limits on carbon emissions. The U.N. summit this week is expected to create a framework for a potential global agreement on emissions late next year in Paris.

The timing of the march was also significant in another regard. Last week, meteorologists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that this summer — the months of June, July and August — was the hottest on record for the globe, and that 2014 was on track to break the record for the hottest year, set in 2010. “Climate change is no longer an environmental issue; it’s an everybody issue,” Sam Barratt, a campaign director for the online advocacy group Avaaz, which helped plan the march, said on Friday.

“The number of natural disasters has increased and the science is so much more clear,” he added. “This march has many messages, but the one that we’re seeing and hearing is the call for a renewable revolution.” Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York, whose administration announced this weekend a sweeping plan to overhaul energy efficiency standards in all city-owned buildings, was among the high-profile participants expected to join the march, including the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon; former Vice President Al Gore; the actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo; at least two United States senators; and one-third of the New York City Council.

 

Additionally, nearly 2,700 climate events were planned in more than 150 countries to coincide with the march, considered the centerpiece of the international protest.


Kemo D. 7

"Last Hours"

We have reached a milestone this year, exceeding a 400 parts per million level of carbon in the atmosphere. While it was reported, has the trajectory we are on been fully understood? In an era where we are still dealing with climate deniers amidst the biggest self-made global catastrophe facing humankind, it is time that the equivocating stop and the media move beyond climate denial. The reason is simple. The late Dr. Stephen Schneider often reminded us of that we buy insurance for a less than one percent chance that our house will burn down. And yet, we are waiting for 100 percent certainty on climate science even though the very life support system of our planet is at stake.

And the science is showing that Earth’s life support system may be truly at stake. Per Dr. Michael Mann and others, business-as-usual emissions could possibly threaten the whole web of life. It is our obligation to take every precaution in our power to prevent that calamity. The web of life has collapsed several times in the past, including the Permian Mass extinction, during which over 95 percent of all life on Earth perished. We are, with our accelerated burning of fossil fuels, creating conditions similar to those that triggered the Permian Mass extinction. The short film above, "Last Hours," explains why.

 

Kemo D. 7

Sep. 19th, 2014

Imagine A Unified World

It’s hard to imagine a more chaotic world than the world in which we find ourselves. The ongoing residual effects of the 2008 Wall Street meltdown, the current euro crisis, the international threat of terrorism, excessive population growth, extreme poverty, and climate change are all evidence of a world that is totally out of control. Political scientists and science fiction writers alike have long been taken with the idea that humans would one day form a global government. Yet few of us take this prospect very seriously, often dismissing it as an outright impossibility or very far off in the future. Given the rapid pace of globalization, however, it would seem that humanity is inexorably headed in this direction.

"We need world government for the same reason that we need government in general. There are a number of things — what we can agree are collective goods — that individuals, markets, voluntary organizations, and local governments aren't able to produce — and which can only be provided through the collective action of states," says sociologist James Hughes from Trinity College in Connecticut. Hughes, whose thinking was significantly influenced by the Star Trek vision of a global-scale liberal democracy, argues that there a number of things that only a world government is capable of doing — like ending nuclear proliferation, ensuring global security, intervening to end genocide, and defending human rights.

He also believes that it will take a global regime to finally deal with climate change, and that it's the best chance we have to launch civilization-scale projects, including the peaceful and controlled colonization of the solar system. The trick, he says, is to get there. But by all accounts, it appears that we're on our way. The ancient Greeks and Romans prophesied of a single common political authority for all of humanity, as did many philosophers of the European Enlightenment, especially Immanuel Kant. More recently, the urge has manifest in the form of international organizations like the League of Nations, which later re-emerged as the United Nations — efforts that were seen as a way to bind the international community together and prevent wars from occurring.

But today, cynicism rules. The great powers, countries like the United States, Russia, and China, feel they have the most to lose by deferring to a higher, more global-scale authority. It's for this and other reasons that the UN has been completely undermined. But as Hughes points out, opposition or not, the thrust of history certainly points to the achievement of a world government. It's obviously difficult to predict when a global government can be achieved given that there's no guarantee that it will ever happen. As noted, the great powers will be very reluctant to give up what they consider to be sovereignty rights. And in the case of China and other countries, there are other potential deal-breakers, such as the ongoing isolationist urge, xenophobia, and incompatible political/ideological beliefs.

 

But given the pace of accelerating change across virtually all human domains, it may happen sooner than we think.


Kemo D. 7

Sep. 18th, 2014

#tbt

One of my favorite M.J. songs!


Kemo D. 7

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Sep. 17th, 2014

One Earth Project

A new project aims to send a special message from Earth — a type of global "selfie" — into space, by uploading it to a spacecraft traveling through the cosmos on its way to Pluto. Led by Hawaii-based artist Jon Lomberg, the so-called One Earth project aims to beam pictures, sounds and other data representing the planet's inhabitants to NASA's New Horizons spacecraft. NASA's latest voyaging probe, the New Horizons spacecraft, will fly by Pluto in 2015, on its way out of the solar system. But unlike Voyager and Pioneer, the New Horizons probe is not carrying any information about Earth and its inhabitants. Lomberg dreamed up the idea of beaming a message to the spacecraft that could be carried out into the galaxy. But instead of the message being generated by only a few scientists and artists, Lomberg wanted this one to reflect people from around the world.

NASA accepted the proposal and has agreed to set aside 100MB for the crowd sourced content on the New Horizons probe, after the spacecraft finishes capturing images of Pluto. So now that the project has been approved, where do you start? Lomberg envisions having people from around the world, including kids, submit photos and other forms of media online. But he also wants to include contributions from people who don't have access to the Internet, such as tribes in the Kalahari Desert in Africa. Submissions could span a range of subjects, from humans to other animals to objects within the solar system. But Lomberg and his team also want to include images that reveal the dark side of Earth, such as pictures of famine or the atomic bomb.

 

To deny humanity's problems would create a dishonest picture of Earth, Lomberg said.


Kemo D. 7

Sep. 16th, 2014

What If...

Sep. 13th, 2014

Ancient Mysteries

What if everything you’ve been taught about the origins of civilization is wrong? Be it that certain pieces of our history have been intentionally hidden, or that we have yet to discover and realize the true story of our past, new archaeological and geological discoveries are revealing that sophisticated civilizations have likely existed in prehistoric times...


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Sep. 11th, 2014

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Sep. 10th, 2014

Game of the Month

From the Creators of Halo and the company that brought you Call of Duty. In Destiny you are a Guardian of the last city on Earth, able to wield incredible power. Explore the ancient ruins of our solar system, from the red dunes of Mars to the lush jungles of Venus. Defeat Earth’s enemies. Reclaim all that we have lost. Become legend...



Kemo D. 7

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