Archive for September 1st, 2008
If the lessons being learned by scientists about the demise of the last great North American ice sheet are correct, estimates of global sea level rise from a melting Greenland ice sheet may be seriously underestimated. Writing this week (Aug. 31) in the journal Nature Geoscience, a team of researchers led by University of Wisconsin-Madison geologist Anders Carlson reports that sea level rise from greenhouse-induced warming of the Greenland ice sheet could be double or triple current estimates over the next century.
“We’re not talking about something catastrophic, but we could see a much bigger response in terms of sea level from the Greenland ice sheet over the next 100 years than what is currently predicted,” says Carlson, a UW-Madison professor of geology and geophysics. Carlson worked with an international team of researchers, including Allegra LeGrande from the NASA Center for Climate Systems at Columbia University, and colleagues at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the California Institute of Technology, University of British Columbia and University of New Hampshire.
Scientists have yet to agree on how much melting of the Greenland ice sheet — a terrestrial ice mass encompassing 1.7 million square kilometers — will contribute to changes in sea level. One reason, Carlson explains, is that in recorded history there is no precedent for the influence of climate change on a massive ice sheet.
“We’ve never seen an ice sheet disappear before, but here we have a record,” says Carlson of the new study that combined a powerful computer model with marine and terrestrial records to provide a snapshot of how fast ice sheets can melt and raise sea level in a warmer world.
The damage done to a person by being laid off has implications for the social and political health of the community. Here’s the finding:
The pain of downsizing extends far beyond laid off workers and the people who depend on their paychecks, according to a new UCLA-University of Michigan, Ann Arbor study. Even a single involuntary displacement has a lasting impact on a worker’s inclination to volunteer and participate in a whole range of social and community groups and organizations, found the study, which appears in the September issue of the international scholarly journal Social Forces.
“What we find is that even just one disruption in employment makes workers significantly less likely to participate in a whole range of social activities — from joining book clubs to participating in the PTA and supporting charities,” said Jennie E. Brand, a UCLA sociologist and the study’s lead author. “After being laid off or downsized, workers are less likely to give back to their community.”
The first study to look at the long-term impact of job displacement on social participation, the research found that workers who had experienced just one involuntary disruption in their employment status were 35% less likely to be involved in their communities than their counterparts who had never experienced a job loss due to layoff, downsizing or restructuring, or a business closing or relocating. Moreover, the exodus from community involvement continued not just through the spate of involuntary unemployment, but for the rest of the workers’ lives.
A wonderful post, which begins:
For an eight year old I was tiny. Walking in the front door of the Palm, at the time a venerable New York institution, I was immediately struck by the tight space and the casual atmosphere. The dusty wooden floor, dim lighting and cacophonous conversations immediately transported me to another world. I leaned into my aunt’s coat for protection as servers brusquely marched by with platters of food and trays of beverages while my uncle negotiated for a table. We followed the host down a narrow aisle to a table set for three in the downstairs seating area. I settled into my chair, taking in the various strange cartoons on the walls and the myriad display of glamorous and important looking patrons seated at the other tables.
I had waited a long time to go to the Palm. …
Via Word of the Day:
Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear. – Harry S Truman, 33rd US president (1884-1972)
The government doesn’t work well under the GOP because the GOP wants it to not work well. Krugman:
… Mr. Bush is playing Commander in Chief. On Sunday morning the White House Web site featured photos of the president talking to Gulf state governors about Hurricane Gustav while ostentatiously clutching a red folder labeled “Classified.” On Monday, instead of speaking at the convention, reports suggest that Mr. Bush will address the nation about the storm.
And a report on Politico.com suggested that John McCain might give a speech “from the devastation zone if the storm hits the U.S. coast with the ferocity feared by forecasters.”
What’s wrong with this picture?
Let’s start with that red folder. Assuming that the folder contained something other than scrap paper, is the planned response to a hurricane a state secret? Are we worried that tropical storm systems will discover our weak points? Are we fighting a Global War on Weather?
Actually, that’s not quite as funny as it sounds. Some observers have pointed out that daily briefings on preparations for Gustav, which should be coming from the Federal Emergency Management Agency — which is, you know, supposed to manage emergencies — have been coming, instead, from the U.S. military’s Northern Command.
It’s not hard to see why. Top positions at FEMA are no longer held by obviously unqualified political hacks and cronies. But a recent report by the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security said that the agency has made only “limited progress” in the area of “mission assignments” — that is, in its ability to coordinate the response to a crisis. So FEMA still isn’t up to carrying out its principal task.
That’s no accident. FEMA’s degradation, from one of the government’s most admired agencies to a laughingstock, wasn’t an isolated event; it was the result of the G.O.P.’s underlying philosophy. Simply put, when the government is run by a political party committed to the belief that government is always the problem, never the solution, that belief tends to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Key priorities are neglected; key functions are privatized; and key people, the competent public servants who make government work, either leave or are driven out.
The political cost of Katrina shocked the Bush administration into trying to undo some of the damage at FEMA, and it’s a good bet that the initial response to Gustav will be better (it could hardly be worse). But because the political philosophy responsible for FEMA’s decline hasn’t changed, the administration hasn’t been able to reverse the agency’s learned incompetence. Three years after Katrina, and a year past a Congressional deadline, FEMA still doesn’t have a strategy for housing disaster victims.
Which brings us back to the politics of the current storm.
Earlier this year Mr. McCain, as part of his strategy of distancing himself from the current administration, condemned Mr. Bush’s response to Katrina. If he’d been president at the time, he says, “I would’ve landed my airplane at the nearest Air Force base and come over personally.”
Um, that completely misses the point. The problem with the Bush administration’s response to Katrina wasn’t the president’s failure to show up promptly for his photo op. It was the failure of FEMA and other degraded agencies to show up promptly with food, water and first aid.
And let’s hope that Mr. McCain doesn’t jet into the disaster area in Gustav’s aftermath. …
More at the link.
Not in terms of the cruise ship itself, but in the lack of oversight and protection. Rob Hotakainen reports for McClatchy:
Laurie Dishman, a 37-year-old food services manager from Sacramento, said it was time to face her fears head-on, so she took a therapeutic trip to the Port of Miami last weekend.
It was the first time she’d gone near big ships since 2006, when she was raped on a cruise by one of the ship’s janitors. Back then, she was appalled when the crew responded by telling her that she needed to control her drinking. So on Sunday, at one of the busiest ports in the nation, she handed out more than 300 pamphlets to people as they began their vacations, warning them of danger.
“There are no laws out there,” Dishman said in an interview. “All kinds of things can happen on this floating city in the middle of the ocean, and there’s no security. There’s no protection. You think you have American rights when you board a ship, but you don’t.”
Later in the article:
Critics say that immediate changes are needed because under current law, cruise ships aren’t required to report even the most serious crimes that are committed in international waters.
Congress is considering legislation that would force cruise ships to maintain logs that record all deaths, missing individuals, alleged crimes and passenger complaints of theft, sexual harassment and assault. That information would be made available to the FBI and the Coast Guard, and the public would have access to it on the Internet.
The legislation also would require cruise ships to have security latches and peepholes on passengers’ stateroom doors. Ships also would be required to keep medication to prevent the transmission of disease after a sexual assault, along with equipment to perform exams to determine if a passenger had been raped.
More at the link, including this note:
Sen. Kerry became involved in the issue when Merrian Carver of Cambridge, Mass., disappeared on a cruise in 2004. Kerry said the case was shocking because employees didn’t tell the FBI she was missing until weeks later, when her family started asking questions.
Honeybee Spa’s Rosemary Mint shave stick this morning—and the mint in question seems to be peppermint. Refreshing lather, worked up with the Rooney Style 2, and since it was a two-day stubble, I called on the Mekur Slant Bar with its Treet Classic blade: extremely smooth and effortless shave. No polishing pass—but I did use the alum bar and, after a rinse and dry, Floïd aftershave. Ready for a new week.