Saturday, January 31, 2009

Climate Change : Past the Point of No Return

Whether climate change sceptics buy it or not, we seem to have reached and passed the so-called tipping point according to recent reports by the National Academy of Sciences. As reported in the Christian Science Monitor the most recent report suggests that even under best-case scenarios of limiting green-house gases it would take a century or more to undo the damage:

"Even if all the world’s smokestacks and tailpipes were to suddenly stop spewing CO2, if all the trees everywhere were to be left standing, and if all the remaining coal, oil, and gas were to stay in the ground, the planet would still feel the effects of global warming a millennium from now.

That’s the conclusion of a sobering new report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study found that, even as atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide decline, the oceans, which are slowing down global warming by absorbing heat, will seek equilibrium with the atmosphere by re-releasing it.

On the Horizons blog, the Monitor’s Pete Spotts quotes Susan Solomon, a senior researcher with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and the lead author of the study: “The same thing that is holding back climate change today will keep it going in the very long term, and that is the oceans.”

Combine this with the tendency for carbon dioxide to persist in the atmosphere for centuries, and global warming becomes a juggernaut that will take many, many generations to turn around.

“People have imagined that if we stopped emitting carbon dioxide the climate would go back to normal in 100 years, 200 years; that’s not true,” said Ms. Solomon, according to the Associated Press.

Solomon told the Washington Post that it’s better to think of climate change like nuclear waste, which can remain radioactive for centuries, instead of like acid rain, which disappears not long after the pollution causing it has stopped."

Even more disturbing is the association of climate change with mass extinctions.Peter Ward does an excellent, if not disturbing, job of explaining such events in the past in his book "Under a Green Sky"

For anyone who thinks in the long term, which excludes a considerable portion of the American populace, this is scary stuff. The Independent goes into more detail:

"Climate change could wipe out half of all species of animals and plants, according to a study that has found a link between past climate change and some of the greatest mass extinctions in the Earth's history.

Scientists said it was the first time they had established a close association between the Earth's climate over the past 520 years and mass extinctions. Future projections for rising temperatures are likely to trigger the same sort of events, said Professor Tim Benton of the University of Leeds.

In a study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Professor Benton and his colleagues show that four out of five mass extinctions can be linked to climate change.

"The long-term association has not been seen before, as previous studies have largely been confined to relatively short geological periods, limited geographical extents and few groups of organisms. But the evidence is striking," Professor Benton said.

The rises in temperatures expected to occur over coming centuries are within the same range seen in the past when many species became extinct, said Peter Mayhew, a population ecologist at Leeds.

"Our results provide the first clear evidence that global climate may explain substantial variation in the fossil record in a simple and consistent manner," Dr Mayhew said.

"If our results hold for current warming, the magnitude of which is comparable with the long-term fluctuations in the Earth's climate, they suggest that extinctions will increase," he added."

Is H5N1 On the Way?

While the U.S. dwells on the unprecedented failure of financialization of its economy another specter, a possible panademic seems to be looming. While largely ignored in American media reports out of Asia suggest that H5N1 influenza is showing signs of living up to its potential as a human to human communicable disease transmitted by asymptomatic bird populations. This disease, which has a reported mortality rate of 50-60%, has been seen in Chinese cases in which the vector seems to have been asymptomatic birds carrying the clade 7 version of the virus for which there is no current vaccine. As per recombinomics:

"The sequencing comments above are from the OIE report on the H5N1 from the Jiangsu outbreaks last month, and are followed by the most recent confirmed human case in China (see updated map), who died yesterday. The “virus variant” is clade 7, as seen in phylogenetic analysis of A/chicken Shanxi/02/2006 in the latest WHO on vaccine targets. On the same branch is A/Beijing/01/2003, which was isolated from the first H5N1 confirmed case in mainland China.

It is likely that the latest case was also infected by clade 7 H5N1, which is vaccine resistant, because most vaccines target clade 1 or 2, which are significantly different than clade 7.

The details of the Jiangsu outbreaks are unclear. Some local media reports suggested the outbreak was large, and involved dead poultry that was shipped to market. Other reports acknowledged the H5N1 infection, but noted that the infected birds were asymptomatic and identified through routine screening.

However, if the latest case was fatally infected by clade 7 from an asymptomatic duck, then the potential for additional cases is high, because the virus can travel and disperse undetected. Moreover, since clade 7 is resistant to the most common vaccines, it could be widespread.

Clade 7 was also reported in Vietnam in August, and a clade 7 target was recently identified by the WHO. There currently is no clade 7 pandemic vaccine, and the selected target is only proposed as a target, as indicated in the most recent WHO vaccine update. The earlier presence of clade 7 in Vietnam may be related to the recent confirmed human case in northern Vietnam, which was announced today."

The potential for for a larger epidemic will take some time to manifest itself but given the recent Chinese New Year holidays and travel one could expect more widespread diffuse outbreaks in the very near future.If this happens the Pandemic Information News offers a chilling scenario for the U.S. which, quite frankly, is in no position to deal with even a minor league catastrophe:

"The world is celebrating Barack Obama as President of the United States � while a new threat appears on the horizon: There are severe signs that the long expected pandemic avian influenza could be on its way to conquer the world. First deaths in Asia concern little children, which from virological point of view is a rather new aspect, and could be the evidence for a new spread. While scientists expect this pandemic to happen in the near future, the new President should also stay alert: A coming influenza pandemic would deteriorate the global economy even without financial crisis or recession......

"However, the situation in the United States is more alerting, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A new University of Colorado at Boulder study showed the resistance of the avian flu virus to a major class of antiviral drugs "is increasing through positive evolutionary selection, with researchers documenting the trend in more than 30 percent of the samples tested", as the scientists report. Even if the expected influenza pandemic did not start yet, there is no doubt about the comeback of the lethal virus: The first Pandemic Influenza occurred in three waves in the United States - exactly 90 years ago, between 1918 and 1919."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Who is Hamas? Who is Israel?

Who was and is being subjected to genocidal attacks in their modern history? Why do those of us who have no connection to the area's history outside of colonialism and Biblical nonesense put up with this bullshit? It's time to wake up.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Rogues Reality and Shame

The Angry Arab, As'ad Abukhalil makes the following observation regarding what defines a rogue nation:

"This brief review of Israel's record over the past four decades makes it difficult to resist the conclusion that it has become a rogue state with "an utterly unscrupulous set of leaders". A rogue state habitually violates international law, possesses weapons of mass destruction and practises terrorism - the use of violence against civilians for political purposes. Israel fulfils all of these three criteria; the cap fits and it must wear it. Israel's real aim is not peaceful coexistence with its Palestinian neighbours but military domination."

Meanwhile the U.S. Senate has unanimously passed a motion supporting Israeli aggresion. This inspite of the fact that the normally pro-Israeli American public is itself quite divided over the issue. As reported by the Rasmussen poll:

"Americans, while far more sympathetic to Israel than the Palestinians, are closely divided over whether the Jewish state should be taking military action against militants in the Gaza Strip.

Forty-four percent (44%) say Israel should have taken military action against the Palestinians, but 41% say it should have tried to find a diplomatic solution to the problems there, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Fifteen percent (15%) are undecided."

America is being dragged into complicity in genocide and evil and it's political leaders being so compromised by the likes of AIPAC and the pro-Zionist media can't even represent the opinions of it's own people and the country's real interests.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Gaza: What's An American to Do?

I for one have watched the developments in Gaza with a horrible sick feeling that my tax dollars are being used in a cynical episode of murder and ethnic genocide. It's time to turn off the tap. It's time to put the Israeli nation on notice that we regard them with the same loathing as Aparthied South Africa, China in Tibet, the Burmese military and numerous other international scum.
As a start it's time to use and fund The Real News, and Electronic Intifada for untainted news.

Another worthwhile group is The Palestinian Children's Relief Fund, donate, it's the very least we can do to counteract the evil being done in our name.

If you have Israeli business, professional, or educational links it's time to rethink the moral reprecussions. Sure there are enlightened Israelis but it's time to tell them that the deal is off until land theft, genocide, and racism is expunged from their land.