Doing Advance Work

News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Club of Rome: We came up with the idea that the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like, would fit the bill-1991

1993 edition, "The First Global Revolution," A Report by the Council of the Club of Rome, Alexander King and Bertrand Schneider

page 75: "The common enemy of humanity is man"

"We came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like, would fit the bill....The real enemy then is humanity itself."...

9/3/1991, "The First Global Revolution: A Report by the Council of The Club of Rome Paperback – September 3, 1991, by Alexander King (Author), Bertrand Schneider (Author) 

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Prince Phillip praises Club of Rome in 1988 address to Conference delegates: 

p. xi, Quote from Prince Phillip, father of Prince Charles, address to Club of Rome Conference in 1988. From introduction to, "The First Global Revolution," A Report by the Council of the Club of Rome, Alexander King and Bertrand Schneider, 1991:   
















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From Amazon.com 

9/3/1991, "The First Global Revolution: A Report by the Council of The Club of Rome Paperback September 3, 1991, by Alexander King (Author), Bertrand Schneider (Author)

"In the 1970s, the Club of Rome launched the book, "The Limits to Growth". Essential reading for all those concerned about the future of the planet, the book was translated into 37 languages. Now, President Emeritus Alexander King and Secretary General Bertrand Schneider review global problems 20 years on, offering both a warning and an approach to a possible solution to world problems. Topics covered by this book include the need for the world to convert from a military to a civil economy, the recognition of the disastrous short-term effects of exploitation by First World countries of Third World poverty and need, and the containment of global warming: the need to reduce global emissions of carbon dioxide, to encourage reforestation, to conserve traditional forms of energy and develop alternatives."
 
 




Friday, December 19, 2014

Japan scientist quits after government lab is unable to replicate her results on stem cells-AP

12/19/14, "Japan scientist quits as cell research discredited," AP, Tokyo

"The Japanese researcher whose claim of a major breakthrough in stem cell research was discredited resigned after the government lab where she worked failed to replicate her results
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Haruko Obokata said in a statement Friday that she was leaving the Riken Center for Developmental Biology after the lab concluded the stem cells she said she had created probably never existed. The center said it had stopped trying to match Obokata's results.

"Now, I am just exhausted. For the results to end this way is just perplexing," she said.

Obokata initially was lauded for leading the research that raised hopes for a discovery of a simple way to grow replacement tissue. But questions about the validity of the research prompted Riken scientists, including Obokata, to retract two scientific papers.

The allegations of research misconduct prompted a shake-up at Riken." via Drudge




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'China Dream' was launched with yearlong spectacle of tearful corruption confessions but 'new normal' has yet to be born-BBC

12/19/14, "Has President Xi Jinping achieved his China Dream?" BBC, Carrie Gracie, China Editor

"A China year is never short of changes, but one things that stays the same is the leadership's love of a political slogan

2014 was a year with two: The China Dream and The New Normal.

The China Dream was not strictly a 2014 slogan but this year saw it put on weight. 

It's counter-intuitive to suggest that a dream should feature a succession of handcuffed middle-aged men weeping piteously in a courtroom, but the dream narrative could not possibly take hold amidst the greed, cynicism and depravity of the Party machine which Xi Jinping inherited from his predecessors

So his China Dream had to be launched on a tide of tearful corruption confessions

The fall of the once-mighty has been a yearlong spectacle only slightly less savage than the tumbrels and guillotines of the French Revolution and precisely designed to avoid China's Communist leadership going the same way as the French aristocracy. 

The key takedown was the former security chief Zhou Yongkang. 

China watchers spent much of the year arguing about whether President Xi had the political clout to grapple this "tiger" into court, and whether his objective was cleaning up the system or just clearing out political rivals

But by year-end, there were criminal charges against Zhou and a stream of sensational anti-corruption investigations in the top ranks of the People's Liberation Army, the state-owned enterprises, police, judiciary and media. 

President Xi's China Dream was about resuming a place at the forefront of the world and through purges, austerity and "rectification", he spent the political year trying to build the resilient authoritarianism to get China there
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Dreaming different? 
 
But this is still one man and one dream, both of them carefully wrapped in the national flag. Those of his fellow citizens who dared to dream a different dream in 2014 had a terrible year.

Political liberals, Christian pastors, Uighur academics, internet activists, even those inside the establishment who the state deemed too ready to share their opinions with foreigners - they all found themselves behind bars. 

It's no accident either that this was the year President Xi published a book on governance. 

His message was that due to its special history, culture and circumstances, China has always and will always follow a different path

In November, he told US President Barack Obama that "the gene of traditional Chinese culture is deeply planted in the mentality of modern Chinese". The Central Party School began teaching Confucius as well as Marxism Leninism.

There were some ironies in all of this. 

For example, in 2014 China celebrated its first Constitution Day, but its biggest search engine Baidu banned internet forums about the constitution

Similarly, the Communist Party Plenum in October focused on the theme of rule of law without mentioning that some of the country's most prominent lawyers are now behind bars. 

China, the world's biggest internet censor, held its first world internet conference

'When dictatorship becomes a fact, revolution becomes a duty'
 
But ironies are less glaring where there's only one point of view, and the central project of the China Dream is shaping the minds of its young citizens before they're exposed to alternative viewpoints
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On this score, the key lessons of 2014 were delivered not on the Chinese mainland but in Hong Kong. "When dictatorship becomes a fact, revolution becomes a duty", read the T-shirts of some of the young Occupy Central protestors, in a jarring challenge to the China Dream slogan

It must have been unsettling for Beijing to observe that the younger and better-educated citizens of Hong Kong, the more pessimistic they seemed about their future under Chinese rule. 

But as week followed week in the Occupy encampment, the Chinese government played its cards adroitly, making no concessions on the key electoral demands and letting local government take the heat. 

Crucially there was no major flare up of sympathy protest on the mainland, underlining the importance of the "patriotic education" campaign in schools and universities, an education which reminds young mainlanders of the humiliations of their history and the benefits of unity and political stability under the firm leadership of the Communist Party. 

To drive home that message, 2014 saw the introduction of two new national remembrance days, one to commemorate the defeat of Japan and the other the Nanjing massacre. 

And it was no surprise that Beijing used all the propaganda tools at its disposal to convince the wider mainland public that foreign hostile forces were behind Occupy Central.

But Beijing has no direct access to young minds in Hong Kong and 2014 demonstrated how limited Chinese soft power is without it. 

A lesson taught not just in Hong Kong, but also in Taiwan, which saw its own dramatic student protest in the late spring. 

Like Occupy Central, Taiwan's Sunflower Movement was also driven by distrust of Beijing and distrust of local politicians seen as advancing Chinese objectives against the interests of their own citizens. 

It was surely one of 2014's big China paradoxes that China was determined to paint these movements as the work of hostile powers, whereas in fact the opposite was true. Both the Occupy and Sunflower protests flourished despite an almost complete absence of international encouragement

Should Beijing be more worried that this generation of Chinese citizens had the political grit to do it for themselves? Or more satisfied that its swelling economic might allowed it to quell the unease of democratic governments? It's hard to judge.

'The new normal' 

 
But that brings me to economics and China's other big slogan of the year: the new normal. 

2014 was the year the International Monetary Fund declared that China's economy had overtaken the United States on one key measure of scale, purchasing power parity. 

Beijing pushed ahead energetically with plans for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific and the Silk Road Economic Belt, all fertile territory for the China Dream, projects designed to signal to the rest of the region where its future interests lie. 

And the Apec forum in Beijing in November provided the perfect stage for Xi Jinping to deliver that message, and to tone down a rivalry with Japan which was hurting business and diplomacy. 

But behind another year of mesmerisingly huge China numbers - from infrastructure investment to naval build-up and internet growth - is the most important economic story and the one that will decide the future of the China dream: economic reform.

The new normal is Beijing's signal that however painful, it intends to put economic reform before high speed growth. For three decades China has grown at an average of nearly 10% a year but pressure on the environment and the social fabric means that is no longer possible. 

President Xi has said 7% "is not scary" and Prime Minister Li Keqiang now says "reform will be the stimulus". 

Even if it underperforms on its 7.5% target for 2014, China's economy will still have seen a growth rate much higher than any developed country. 

But many of the structural economic reforms pledged at the end of 2013 had not taken place by the end of 2014, while growth was still relying on debt-funded investment, casting a darkening cloud over property and land prices. 

Without high land sales, local government revenues are in trouble, and the house of cards that is local government debt may jeopardise financial stability. 

Despite dire warnings that there will be no bailouts, Beijing has not made an example of any major state enterprise or local government, presumably for fear of both the immediate protest which might follow and the damage to confidence in the entire financial edifice. 

Which brings us back to the tearstained courtroom where we started: anti-corruption as the first act of the economic reform drama, removing the robber barons at the top of the state sector and then breaking up their monopolies so that a more innovative and entrepreneurial private sector can step into the gap to drive a new growth in consumer and service industries. 

In this brave new normal, local governments would have a secure fiscal base no longer dependent on land sales, and infrastructure and property investment would no longer be the addictions they are today. 

But building this new normal is a race against time. 

In 2014, Beijing managed to deftly paper over the contradictions of the old but the longer this economic rebirth takes, the more painful it promises to be. 

In short, the China Dream can't get much further until the new normal is born."






Fidel Castro blasted US biofuels policy as 'genocidal,' worsening global hunger by pushing up prices for food crops used to make ethanol-Reuters, 2008 article

2/11/2008, "Bloomberg slams U.S. energy law over corn ethanol" Reuters by Louis Charbonneau and Timothy Gardner
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"Cuban leader Fidel Castro blasted the Bush administration's biofuels policy as "genocidal" in a series of articles last year, saying they threatened to worsen global hunger by pushing up prices for food crops used to make ethanol....  
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A new U.S. energy law will cause an increase in global food prices and lead to starvation deaths worldwide because it continues to promote corn ethanol, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Monday.
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"People literally will starve to death in parts of the world, it always happens when food prices go up," Bloomberg told reporters after addressing a U.N. General Assembly debate on climate change.
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The new U.S. law, which came into force late last year, increased fivefold the required amount of blending of biofuels like corn ethanol -- creating higher demand for the grain that will push up corn prices."...









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Thursday, December 18, 2014

US almost CO2-free according to first images from NASA satellite presented at scientific conference in San Francisco. Scientists say some climate computer models "will have to be revised"-BBC

12/18/14, "Carbon dioxide satellite mission returns first global maps," BBC, Jonathan Amos







"Nasa's Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO-2) has returned its first global maps of the greenhouse gas CO2
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The satellite was sent up in July to help pinpoint the key locations on the Earth's surface where carbon dioxide is being emitted and absorbed.

This should help scientists better understand how human activities are influencing the climate.

The new maps contain only a few weeks of data in October and November, but demonstrate the promise of the mission.

Clearly evident within the charts is the banding effect that describes how emitted gases are mixed by winds along latitudes rather than across them.

Also apparent are the higher concentrations over South America and southern Africa. These are likely the result of biomass burning in these regions.

It is possible to see spikes, too, on the eastern seaboard of the US and over China. These probably include the additional emissions of CO2 that come from industrialisation.

"We're very early into the mission and collecting data, yet as we show, we can take five weeks of that information and give you a quick picture of global carbon dioxide," said deputy project scientist Annmarie Eldering.

"It really suggests to us that OCO-2 will be very useful for finding out about where carbon dioxide is coming from and being taken back up around the globe," she told BBC News.

The US space agency researcher presented the maps here at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco.

Sources and sinks
 
The satellite was launched this year as a replacement for an earlier venture that was destroyed in 2009 when its rocket failed soon after lift-off.

OCO-2's key objective is to trace the global geographic distribution of CO2 in the atmosphere - measuring its presence down through the column of air to the planet's surface.

Scientists want to know how exactly the greenhouse gas cycles through the Earth system - the carbon cycle.

Humans add something like 40 billion tonnes of the gas to the atmosphere every year, principally from the burning of fossil fuels.

But the ultimate destination of this carbon dioxide is uncertain. About half is thought to be absorbed into the oceans, with the rest pulled down into land "sinks". 

It is hoped OCO-2 can describe those draw-down locations in much more detail. Even with this snapshot, scientists can see that some of their existing models will have to be revised.

As part of its presentation, the observatory team showed off a special targeting mode that it can employ on OCO-2.

This involves swinging the satellite so that its spectrometer instrument can scan a restricted location in very high resolution.

Currently, these places are ones where the project has sophisticated ground equipment to gather measurements that can then validate OCO-2's observations from orbit. But ultimately, the lessons learned could allow the mission to make detailed surveys at other sites, such as megacities known be big emitters.

"I think the answer to that is 'yes', and there are discussions going on now as to whether we can increase the number of places that we can target to look at other interesting locations. 

"But more importantly, though, we are all hoping there will be a follow-on mission called OCO-3, which would directly provide that flexibility in operations."

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory has been spoken of as the forerunner of satellite missions that would seek to gain the information needed to patrol climate treaties, by helping to check that promises made by nations on carbon curbs were being kept."

Image: "The map contains 600,000 data points," BBC

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Comment: The map shows China with a pronounced dark patch similar to those in South America and Africa though not as large. The US has only a small, faint shadow. For whatever reason, the BBC reporter doesn't present China's result as similar to Africa and South America's. Instead, he groups China with the US "too," ie, "It's possible to see spikes, too, over the eastern US and China." Hopefully UN global warming police "patrolling climate treaties" (per article) will have better eyesight than Jonathan Amos and his UK government bosses.

 





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UN's Ban Ki-Moon is negligent on climate science, has ignored letters signed by hundreds of experts in 2007, 2009, and again in 2012, continues to enable a tragic misallocation of resources-Tom Harris, Int. Climate Science Coalition

12/16/14, "Ban Ki-Moon Negligent on Climate Science," Tom Harris, Executive Director of the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC), PJ Media 


But Ban does the opposite. He takes sides, choosing to only credit scientists who assert that dangerous climate change is being caused by human activity.

During the UN Climate Change Conferences in 2007 (Bali), 2009 (Copenhagen), and 2012 (Qatar), hundreds of climate experts endorsed open letters to Ban explaining where he was going wrong on the science. Among the scientific luminaries signing the letters were Dr. Antonio Zichichi, president of the World Federation of Scientists; Freeman J. Dyson of Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton; Dr. Zbigniew Jaworowski, professor of natural sciences, Warsaw; Dr. Richard S. Lindzen, professor of meteorology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Dr. Syun-Ichi Akasofu,  founding director, International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska; William Kininmonth, former head of Australia’s National Climate Centre; Dr. Gösta Walin, professor emeritus in oceanography, Göteborg University, Sweden; and Dr. Habibullo I. Abdussamatov, of the Pulkovo Observatory, Russian Academy of Sciences.

The secretary general did not even acknowledge receipt of the open letters, let alone address any of the scientists’ points. Yet Ban condemns Canada for not doing more on climate change, while neglecting his own failure to deal fairly with this difficult issue.

Signed by 134 experts, the 2012 open letter to the secretary general included the following text:
Current scientific knowledge does not substantiate your assertions…there has been no statistically significant global warming for almost 16 years [now over 18 years]. During this period, carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations rose by nearly 9%.…Global warming that has not occurred cannot have caused the extreme weather of the past few years. Whether, when and how atmospheric warming will resume is unknown. The science is unclear. Some scientists point out that near-term natural cooling, linked to variations in solar output, is also a distinct possibility. There is little evidence that dangerous weather-related events will occur more often in the future. The UN’s own Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says in its Special Report on Extreme Weather (2012) that there is “an absence of an attributable climate change signal” in trends in extreme weather losses to date.
There is no sound reason for the costly, restrictive public policy decisions proposed at the UN climate conference in Qatar. Rigorous analysis of unbiased observational data does not support the projections of future global warming predicted by computer models now proven to exaggerate warming and its effects.
[P]olicy actions by the UN…that aim to reduce CO2 emissions are unlikely to exercise any significant influence on future climate.

The 2009 open letter to Ban, signed by 166 experts, said much the same, explaining:
Climate change science is in a period of “negative discovery” the more we learn about this exceptionally complex and rapidly evolving field the more we realize how little we know. Truly, the science is NOT settled.
The 2007 open letter to the secretary general, signed by 101 experts, was titled “UN climate conference taking the World in entirely the wrong direction.” In it the scientists asserted:
It is not possible to stop climate change, a natural phenomenon that has affected humanity through the ages. Geological, archaeological, oral, and written histories all attest to the dramatic challenges posed to past societies from unanticipated changes in temperature, precipitation, winds and other climatic variables. We therefore need to equip nations to become resilient to the full range of these natural phenomena by promoting economic growth and wealth generation....
Because attempts to cut emissions will slow development, the current UN approach of CO2 reduction is likely to increase human suffering from future climate change rather than to decrease it....
Attempts to prevent global climate change from occurring are ultimately futile, and constitute a tragic misallocation of resources that would be better spent on humanity’s real and pressing problems.
Having totally ignored these open letters from hundreds of experts, it is clearly the UN secretary general, not the Canadian government, that should be most criticized for dereliction of duty. If Ban’s approach is an indication of where international science-based policymaking is headed, then we’re in big trouble indeed."




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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

New study presented at AGU doubles earlier scientific estimate of hydrogen production in Earth's crust. Scientist says view up until now was "very wrong," hunt for life in deep crust now a priority-BBC

12/17/14, "Volume of world's oldest water estimated," BBC

"The world's oldest water, which is locked deep within the Earth's crust, is present at a far greater volume than was thought, scientists report.

The liquid, some of which is billions of years old, is found many kilometres beneath the ground. Researchers estimate there is about 11m cubic kilometres (2.5m cu miles) of it-more water than all the world's rivers, swamps, and lakes put together.

The study was presented at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting.

It has also been published in the journal Nature.

The team found that the water was reacting with the rock to release hydrogen: a potential food source. It means that great swathes of the deep crust could be harbouring life.
 
Prof Barbara Sherwood Lollar, from the University of Toronto, in Canada, said: "This is a vast quantity of rock that we've sometimes overlooked both in terms of its ability to tell us about past processes - the rocks are so ancient they contain records of fluid and the atmosphere from the earliest parts of Earth's history.

"But simultaneously, they also provide us with information about the chemistry that can support life.

"And that's why we refer to it as 'the sleeping giant' that has been rumbling away but hasn't really been characterised until this point."

The crust that forms the continents contains some of the oldest rocks on our planet.

But as scientists probe ever deeper - through boreholes and mines - they're discovering water that is almost as ancient.

The oldest water, discovered 2.4km down in a deep mine in Canada, has been dated to between one billion and 2.5bn years old.
 
Prof Chris Ballentine, from the University of Oxford, UK, said: "The biggest surprise for me was how old this water is. That water is down there is no surprise - water will percolate down into the rock porosity.

"But for it to be preserved and kept there for so long is a surprise.

"So when you think about what's down beneath your feet, it's more exciting than just some rock."

As well as the new estimates for the volume of the ancient water, the researchers used data from 19 different mine sites, studied as part of the Deep Carbon Observatory programme, to assess how much hydrogen was being produced through the underground chemical reactions.
 
Prof Ballentine said: "Until our most recent work, the hydrogen production in the continental crust was calculated to be negligible: close to zero

"This was very wrong and our work shows the hydrogen production in the continental crust to be the equal to that produced in the oceanic crust. This doubles the estimate of hydrogen produced on Earth."
 
Prof Sherwood Lollar said the hunt for life in the deep crust was now a priority.

"It gives us a quantum change in our understanding of how much of the Earth's crust might indeed be habitable and have enough energy to sustain subsurface life.

"We want to now follow this 'treasure map', to go to these sites to characterise just how broad this deep hydrosphere is, to characterise the extent of ages, and then to try to understand the differences in the kinds of life we might find in one fracture versus another.

"And even more exciting is if we can understand the limit to life, understand where we don't see life in the subsurface, and understand what it is about some of these fractures that makes them inhospitable for life.""






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