Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Why is our produce food being manipulated to be sweet?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Air America Radio's death a part of larger trend of declining radio revenues

Just perusing over half-year old news: Death of Air America.

The New York Times article quoted someone: the liberal radio network, Air America's death comes in context of declining radio revenues overall. Radio is an old medium; we're in economically troubled times. The marginal forms of media will suffer harder.

Brian Stelter, "Air America, the Talk Radio Network, Will Go Off the Air," New York Times, January 22, 2010. In that article Stelter noted that the network did serve as a launching pad for some personalities that went on to greater heights, most notably Rachel Maddow, who is now at MSNBC, the cable network.

But the same author gave an update that suggested that liberal radio still flourishes without the network: "Liberal Radio, Even Without Air America." Thom Hartmann is one prominent liberal host that still is broadcast on many radio stations.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Oil in the Gulf -PBS' widget

Oil in the Gulf
Click to the above link for US Department of Energy estimates of leakage, British Petroleum (BP) estimates of leakage and Experts' worst case scenarios of oil leakage amounts.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Want to help the BP-beleaguered Gulf of Mexico?

Well, there's buying British Petroleum gas (funds from which will make their way to BP's Gulf of Mexico clean-up and reimbursements). If you can't stomach that approach, there is donating to the Gulf counterpart to the Waterkeeper Alliance.

Click to Save Our Gulf at to support the Alliance's work on behalf of the Gulf of Mexico.

From their website: Save Our Gulf is an initiative by Waterkeeper Alliance to support the Gulf Waterkeepers fighting to protect the Gulf Coast’s communities and environment from the long-term devastating impacts of the BP oil disaster. We are your trustworthy source for updates from the front lines, transparent news and action.

You can click on the bottom of the site to donate via Twitter or via old-fashioned online methods at their site.

Lady Gaga and anime-inspired contact lenses a health threat

The Lady Gaga-inspired giant pupil contact lenses are dangerous,
the New York Times warns
and ABC TV News warns.

Potential to lose vision in 24 hours!!!

Ill-fitting lenses can negatively affect the cornea.

Hello!!! If you are buying the lenses off the Internet you are not having a medical professional, an optometrist, fit you for the lenses.

Girls and ladies, you only get one set of eyes in life. If you are thinking that funny-looking eyes are necessary to get "his" attention, then maybe "he" is not worth your attention.
(Anyway, Lady Gaga's doe-eyes in the "Bad Romance" video are believed to have been computer-generated.)

Study: Sprawling cities experience hotter summer temperatures

The multiple days-long heat trend in the East Coast of the United States get one thinking about what the larger trends are....

Samantha Cossick, June 24, 2010, in "USA Today":
The rate of increase in the number of very hot days in sprawling cities is more than double that of compact cities, a study published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal has found.

A team of Atlanta-based scientists studied the number of very hot days in 53 sprawling metropolitan regions between 1956 and 2005, each of which had different climate zones, population sizes and rates of growth.

The scientists found that the annual number of very hot days in sprawling cities increased by 14.8 days, but cities with the least sprawl increased by only 5.6 days.

Those cities with the highest increase in the number of very hot days include Atlanta, Greenville, Greensboro, Raleigh, Tampa and Grand Rapids, Brian Stone, lead author of the study and associate professor at Georgia Institute of Technology, said in an interview.

Two major principles contribute to hotter temperatures -- rising greenhouse gasses and urban heat island effect; however, Stone said greenhouse gas emissions would consistently raise temperatures across the nation, not in individual cities.

Urban heat island effect -- which includes cutting down trees and replacing them with parking lots, roads and buildings or putting dark shingles that absorb heat onto buildings -- has more of an impact on cities, he said.

"Urban heat island effect accounts for most of the warming we've seen in the past several years," Stone said. "All these things that are related with urban growth are making cities hotter."

Between 1992 and 2001, the rate of deforestation in sprawling cities was more than double that of compact cities, the study found.

Cities should try to cut greenhouse gasses as a long-term goal and look at immediate ways to reduce temperature increases, Stone said. Using materials that reflect light and increasing the forest cover are ways to do so, he adds.

The scientists used the sprawl index, which looks at population density, proximity of commercial and residential buildings and street network patterns, to categorize the regions. Those in the top 25% of the index had the most sprawl, while those in the bottom 25% had the least sprawl.

The team identified very hot days by using a city-specific heat stress index developed by the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), which measures the average apparent temperatures, counting temperature and humidity.

Very hot temperatures were those above the 85th percentile with the 100th percentile being the hottest temperature during the study period.

Heat-related deaths have been linked to temperatures over the 85th percentile in other studies and are a public concern, Stone said.

"The rising levels of very hot days are a significant public health threat," Stone said. "It's about public health. Residents need to be thinking about how to adapt to land-use patterns and sprawl."