A Texas State Park police officer walked across the lake bed of O.C. Fisher Lake in San Angelo, Texas. A new scientific paper says that the drought and other recent extreme weather events have been caused by global warming.
The percentage of the earth’s land surface covered by extreme heat in the summer has soared in recent decades, from less than 1 percent in the years before 1980 to as much as 13 percent in recent years, according to a new scientific paper.
The change is so drastic, the paper says, that scientists can claim with near certainty that events like the Texas heat wave last year, the Russian heat wave of 2010 and the European heat wave of 2003 would not have happened without the planetary warming caused by the human release of greenhouse gases.
Those claims, which go beyond the established scientific consensus about the role of climate change in causing weather extremes, were advanced by James E. Hansen, a prominent NASA climate scientist, and two co-authors in a scientific paper published online on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“The main thing is just to look at the statistics and see that the change is too large to be natural,” Dr. Hansen said in an interview. The findings provoked an immediate split among his scientific colleagues, however.
Some experts said he had come up with a smart new way of understanding the magnitude of the heat extremes that people around the world are noticing. Others suggested that he had presented a weak statistical case for his boldest claims and that the rest of the paper contained little that had not been observed in the scientific literature for years.
The divide is characteristic of the strong reactions that Dr. Hansen has elicited playing dual roles in the debate over climate change and how to combat it. As the head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in Manhattan, he is one of NASA’s principal climate scientists and the primary custodian of its records of the earth’s temperature. Yet he has also become an activist who marches in protests to demand new government policies on energy and climate.
The latter role — he has been arrested four times at demonstrations, always while on leave from his government job — has made him a hero to the political left, and particularly to college students involved in climate activism. But it has discomfited some of his fellow researchers, who fear that his political activities may be sowing unnecessary doubts about his scientific findings and climate science in general.
Climate-change skeptics routinely accuse Dr. Hansen of manipulating the temperature record to make global warming seem more serious, although there is no proof that he has done so and the warming trend has repeatedly been confirmed by other researchers.
President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act on this day—August 6—in 1965. On the occasion he said:
…let me now say to every Negro in this country: You must register. You must vote. You must learn, so your choice advances your interest and the interest of our beloved Nation. Your future, and your children’s future, depend upon it, and I don’t believe that you are going to let them down. This act is not only a victory for Negro leadership. This act is a great challenge to that leadership. It is a challenge which cannot be met simply by protests and demonstrations. It means that dedicated leaders must work around the clock to teach people their rights and their responsibilities and to lead them to exercise those rights and to fulfill those responsibilities and those duties to their country. If you do this, then you will find, as others have found before you, that the vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.
BBC News: Country Profiles “Full profiles provide an instant guide to history, politics and economic background of countries and territories, and background on key institutions. They also include audio and video clips from BBC archives. Select a country, territory or international organization from the menus below.”
The first U.S. military decoration, the Purple Heart, was instituted by General George Washington in 1782 (Badge of Military Merit) and awarded for bravery in action. The records show that only three men received it during the American Revolutionary War, all of them noncommissioned officers. – Provided by Reference.com
For the really lazy people. Or those who can not figure out how to use a spoon?
15 Fairytale Villages of Faroe Islands
Buddhists Behaving Badly
McGowan provides a fascinating account of the war’s tragic, mounting equation, and he is doubtful that anything can save this country from its own internal flames.
In Sri Lanka last September, a Sinhalese mob led by some 100 Buddhist monks demolished a Muslim shrine in the ancient city of Anuradhapura. As the crowd waved Buddhist colors, gold and red, a monk set a green Muslim flag on fire. The monks claimed that the shrine was on land that had been given to the Sinhalese 2,000 years ago — an allusion to their proprietary right over the entire island nation, as inscribed in ancient religious texts.
The Anuradhapura attack was not the only recent incident of Buddhists behaving badly in Sri Lanka. In April, monks led nearly 2,000 Sinhalese Buddhists in a march against a mosque in Dambulla, a holy city where Sinhalese kings are believed to have taken refuge from southern Indian invaders in a vast network of caves almost two millennia ago. The highly charged — but largely symbolic — attack marked a “historic day,” a monk who led the assault told the crowd, “a victory for those who love the [Sinhala] race, have Sinhala blood, and are Buddhists.”
Auto Crrect Ths!
I MENTION a certain writer in an e-mail, and the reply comes back: “Comcast McCarthy??? Phoner novelist???” Did I really type “Comcast”? No. The great god Autocorrect has struck again.
It is an impish god. I try retyping the name on a different device. This time the letters reshuffle themselves into “Format McCarthy.” Welcome to the club, Format. Meet the Danish astronomer Touchpad Brahe and the Franco-American actress Natalie Portmanteau.
In the past, we were responsible for our own typographical errors. Now Autocorrect has taken charge. This is no small matter. It is a step in our evolution — the grafting of silicon into our formerly carbon-based species, in the name of collective intelligence. Or unintelligence as the case may be.
Earlier this year, the police in Hall County, Ga., locked down the West Hall schools for two hours after someone received a text message saying, “gunman be at west hall today.” The texter had typed “gunna,” but Autocorrect had a better idea.
Curiosity Lands on Martian Soil
After an 8-month, 352 million-mile (567 million-kilometer) journey, the multibillion-dollar Mars Science Laboratory, known as Curiosity, touched down on the surface of Mars early Monday morning. NASA scientists waited with bated breath through the challenging landing and rejoiced at the news that it was a success. A few minutes later, the rover transmitted its first pictures from the planet’s surface. Curiosity will spend the next couple of years studying the climate and geology of Mars, assessing the planet’s capacity to support life.
The Groundbreaking Camera That Captured Man’s First Steps on the MoonOn July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man on the moon. This unassuming, metal box was actually the Westinghouse Apollo Lunar Television Camera that broadcasted his momentous first steps to millions of viewers across the world.
The Apollo TV camera, with its Secondary Electron Conduction tube-based sensor, could only record 250 lines of of black and white TV data at a measly 10 frames per second-terrible compared to even the cheapest camera phones on the market today. But that was all that was needed to captivate all of humanity-which makes sense. After all, the best camera in the world (or in this case out of it) is the one you have with you.
Westinghouse employee Stan Lebar was chosen to manage the development of the camera. A task which, given the requirements that it had to be operable in temperatures of up to 250˚F and down to -250˚F while drawing only 6.25 watts of electricity, seemed nearly impossible at the time. That’s less than a single christmas light. But Lebar and his team pulled it off.
Famous, Infamous and Iconic Photos Madame Mao’s Trial
An influential trial in China will be a tendentious reminder of how much — and how little — China has changed in the last three decades.
A Trial Most Foul: The Gang of Four with Madame Mao rightmost
A popular saying, oft attributed to Marx , notes, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce”. Marx’s intellectual heirs in Beijing can take little solace in those words as they try Madame Gu Kailai for murder in coming weeks and months in a judicial event that recalls the trial of Mao Zedong’s widow in 1980.
Both Gu and her husband, Bo Xilai, were the party elites, having born into highflying Communist families; the duo were more Maoist and communist than their technocratic peers in Beijing, and in their home fiefdom of Chongqing, they oversaw retro-populist, Mao-nostalgic projects. Mr. Bo had been tipped to become a senior figure in the government reshuffle later this year, before internecine struggles led to his purge and revelations that Madame Gu arranged the murder of a family confidant and her rumored lover, a British businessman named Neil Heywood last year.
Over 30 years ago, an equally imperious woman found herself in dock. The Gang of Four, led by Mao Zedong’s wife Jiang Qing, was accused of an attempted coup and of the excesses during the Cultural Revolution. For all indictments, the grisly centrepiece of the case against Madame Mao came down to a single death — that of a State Council Member Zhang Linzhi. On December 14, 1966, she had denounced Zhang, then the Minister for Coal Industry; he was later beaten to death in prison on the orders of Madame Mao, the prosecutors alleged, projecting the photos of his mangled corpse inside the courtroom (see youTube below).
Federal Emergency Declared at Love Canal in New York (This day in 1978)
In the 1940s and 50s, an abandoned canal in Niagara Falls, New York, became a dumping ground for chemical waste. It was later filled in, and after the land was given to the city of Niagara Falls by the chemical company, houses and an elementary school were built there. By the late 1970s, toxic chemicals had risen to the surface, and residents were found to have a high incidence of chromosome damage. A federal emergency was declared in 1978, and residents were evacuated. What happened to them?
Today’s picture shows an Eskimo Family building an igloo. The picture was taken in 1924. I wonder if there are any Eskimo families who still live in igloos today, or if they have all moved to town? I can remember watching a documentary in the 1960′s were there were still some groups maintaining their traditional lifestyles.
Bloodlands is a history of the greatest moral and demographic calamity in modern Western history, the deliberate mass murder of 14 million human beings between Berlin and Moscow by the Nazi and Soviet regimes between 1933 and 1945, from the deliberate famine in Soviet Ukraine through the Holocaust of the European Jews. The essential point about its reception is this: Because this is transnational history, considering multiple regimes, states, atrocities, and peoples, it is uncomfortable to the national histories that most of us take for granted. While most readers and reviewers have accepted the emotional and intellectual challenge, others, such as David Mikics recently in Tablet magazine, have defended national history, some in more and some in less interesting ways.
As I say in the introduction to the book, national history has preserved knowledge about the Holocaust and other crimes, often intelligently and courageously. Where it is worrisome is in its methodological exclusivity, the assumption that all approaches to history must either be reduced to the national or ignored. The way national history defends itself against transnational history is to deny that transnational history is possible. Since a transnational history such as Bloodlands is uncomfortable to one national history, goes the national reasoning, it must therefore be comfortable to another national history. The author of a transnational history must be, despite appearances, serving some group or another.