Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for July 7th, 2010

Trusting business: Wal-Mart edition (ctd)

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Pat Garofalo in ThinkProgress:

The New York Times reported today that Walmart is spending millions of dollars and thousands of man-hours fighting a $7,000 fine assessed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) after a Walmart employee was trampled to death by a crowd at a store on Long Island. Though the company has taken steps to address the problems that led to the unfortunate incident, it is continuing to resist the fine because it feels that “the government is improperly trying to define‘crowd trampling’ as an occupational hazard that retailers must take action to prevent”:

In contesting the penalty, Wal-Mart has filed 20 motions and responses totaling nearly 400 pages and has spent at least $2 million on legal fees, according to OSHA’s calculations. The dispute has become so heated — and Wal-Mart’s defense so vigorous — that officials at OSHA, an arm of the Labor Department, complain that they have had to devote huge numbers of staff time to the case, including 4,725 hours of work by employees in the legal office.

Walmart’s resistance to OSHA is part and parcel of a Big Business culture that abhors common sense safety regulations. For instance, Massey Energy, which owns the Upper Big Branch mine that exploded in April, killing dozens of miners, was part of “a surge in the number of challenges to mine safety citations [that] has clogged a federal appeals process, allowing 32 coal mines to avoid tougher enforcement measures.” And BP, the company that had a well explode and kill 11 workers, “spent years battling federal regulators over how many layers of safeguards would be needed” at such wells.

The Wonk Room has more.

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2010 at 6:53 pm

This video made me queasy

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So be warned. Thanks to TYD for passing along the link:

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2010 at 5:22 pm

BP now allowed to dump toxic industrial sludge into Lake Michigan

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The Republican state of Indiana shows its support of businesses and contempt for the environment. Michael Hawthorne reports in the Chicago Tribune:

The massive BP oil refinery in Whiting, Ind., is planning to dump significantly more ammonia and industrial sludge into Lake Michigan, running counter to years of efforts to clean up the Great Lakes.

Indiana regulators exempted BP from state environmental laws to clear the way for a $3.8 billion expansion that will allow the company to refine heavier Canadian crude oil. They justified the move in part by noting the project will create 80 new jobs.

Under BP’s new state water permit, the refinery — already one of the largest polluters along the Great Lakes — can release 54 percent more ammonia and 35 percent more sludge into Lake Michigan each day. Ammonia promotes algae blooms that can kill fish, while sludge is full of concentrated heavy metals.

The refinery will still meet federal water pollution guidelines. But federal and state officials acknowledge this marks the first time in years that a company has been allowed to dump more toxic waste into Lake Michigan.

BP, which aggressively markets itself as an environmentally friendly corporation, is investing heavily in Canadian crude oil to reduce its reliance on sources in the Middle East. Extracting petroleum from the thick goop is a dirtier process than conventional methods. It also requires more energy that could significantly increase greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

Environmental groups and dozens of neighbors pleaded with BP to install more effective pollution controls at the nation’s fourth-largest refinery, which rises above the lakeshore about 3 miles southeast of the Illinois-Indiana border.

“We’re not necessarily opposed to this project,” said Lee Botts, founder of the Alliance for the Great Lakes. “But if they are investing all of these billions, they surely can afford to spend some more to protect the lake.”

State and federal regulators, though, agreed last month with the London-based company that there isn’t enough room at the 1,400-acre site to upgrade the refinery’s water treatment plant.

The company will now be allowed to dump an average of 1,584 pounds of ammonia and 4,925 pounds of sludge into Lake Michigan every day. The additional sludge is the maximum allowed under federal guidelines…

Continue reading. Well, of course if there’s not enough room they can dump the toxic sludge into the lake. We certainly don’t want to stop a business from doing whatever it wants.

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2010 at 3:03 pm

How the modern media works hard to conceal the story from the public

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Just read this and be astonished/bummed/outraged (select two).

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2010 at 2:44 pm

Helping more people become vegetarians: Lab-grown meat

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Interesting idea. I don’t know whether vegetarians today would go for it—most seem to have lost the taste for meat—but non-vegetarians might find this an easy way to discontinue their support of animal slaughter. James McWilliams reports at the Atlantic:

Recent history has witnessed the exciting politicization of meat. Scores of recent books and articles (not to mention lively exchanges on the Atlantic Food Channel) have raised the profile of meat production to a mainstream environmental cause, illuminating the hazards that industrial meat—which is 99 percent of the meat we eat—poses to our soil, air, and water. The ethical dimensions of eating meat have also started to make meaningful inroads into public consciousness. Now more than ever, everyday meat eaters are considering the moral implications of raising billions of animals for food that our bodies can easily do without. ("We don’t need to eat it," Dr. Amy Lanou, senior nutrition scientist for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, says of meat.)

Reactions to these concerns vary. Some have bolted to the fringes—with one extreme cohort going vegan or vegetarian while a more defensive group (mostly people in the business of meat production) has dug in its heels around the troubling justification that eating meat is a guiltless act because humans have always done it (as if history should rationalize contemporary behavior!). The quiet majority has fallen between the extremes, weighing the prevailing arguments and, to one extent or another, approaching the meat counter with a little more humility, if not a dose of carnivorous agnosticism. No matter our stance on meat, chances are good that we’re at least listening, thinking, and maybe even plotting a dietary change or two.

This product, which supporters promise will have comparable taste to conventional meat, has enormous potential to confront the environmental and ethical concerns that so many agnostic carnivores find troubling.

But one issue to which concerned consumers have generally turned a tin ear is "in-vitro meat." Although the cost is currently prohibitive, the technology is widely available to produce meat from the cultured cells of animals rather than the animals themselves. Also called "cultured meat" or "synthetic meat," this product, which supporters promise will have comparable taste to conventional meat, has enormous potential to confront the environmental and ethical concerns that so many agnostic carnivores find troubling. Speaking for the Humane Society of the United States, Paul Shapiro, senior director of the group’s Factory Farming Campaign, explained in an e-mail that "in vitro meat has the potential to prevent an enormous amount of suffering ."

Anyone who cares about animals and the environment must acknowledge Shapiro’s point. In so far as cultured meat would obviate the need to raise flesh for human consumption, it would arguably be the most pivotal development in 10,000 years of farming. An industry that currently generates substantial amounts of greenhouse gas (6 to 9 percent of U.S. totals, 18 to 51 percent globally), pollutes already endangered water supplies, consumes millions of acres of corn and soy (and of course the pesticides and fertilizers needed to grow them), uses the vast majority of antibiotics made, accounts for massive amounts of deforestation, and destroys riparian zones worldwide could be replaced by an industry with comparatively minimal environmental impact, zero dependence on agricultural chemicals or land, and, most critically, no need to kill a single animal in the quest to meet our insatiable demand for meat. Not one beast. It almost sounds too good to be true.

Unless, of course, you have an interest at stake. Agribusiness is hardly eager to see meat move from the feedlot to the laboratory, and it comes as no surprise that the National Cattleman’s Association has handled the idea of in vitro meat with all the finesse of a cattle prod. Interestingly enough, the meat industry is not alone. In one of the stranger cases of mortal enemies waking up as snug bedfellows, advocates of sustainable agriculture appear to agree with agribusiness that in vitro meat should be kept off the radar screen of our culinary future. Their reasons are revealing. And troubling.

Kate McMahon, who represents Friends of the Earth, complained to CNN that "At a time when hundreds of small-scale, sustainable farming operations are filing for bankruptcy every day, it is unethical to consider purchasing Petri dish meat." Unethical! Slow Food USA is skeptical for reasons that defy easy summation, but here’s president Josh Viertel‘s take on "test-tube flesh": "The problems with cruelty to animals are born of that gap [between producer and consumer]. I see [test tube flesh] as a solution that just increases that gap … This is a technology that’s just going to give more to companies and create a larger distance between us." [This sounds like carbonated bullshit to me. – LG]

Continue reading. I don’t really understand the objections from groups that one would expect to be thrilled at the news.

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2010 at 2:25 pm

Why police are against legalizing marijuana

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Because the police get a lot of money to fight marijuana so long as it’s illegal. Justin Scheck reports in the Wall Street Journal:

IGO, Calif.—Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko, his budget under pressure in a weak economy, has laid off staff, reduced patrols and even released jail inmates. But there’s one mission on which he’s spending more than in recent years: pot busts.

The reason is simple: If he steps up his pursuit of marijuana growers, his department is eligible for roughly half a million dollars a year in federal anti-drug funding, helping save some jobs. The majority of the funding would have to be used to fight pot. Marijuana may not be the county’s most pressing crime problem, the sheriff says, but "it’s where the money is."

Washington has long allocated funds to help localities fight crime, influencing their priorities in the process. Today’s local budget squeezes are enhancing this effect, and the result is particularly striking in California, where many residents take a benign view of pot but federal dollars help keep law-enforcement focused on it.

To make sure his office gets the federal funds, Sheriff Bosenko since last year has spent about $340,000 of his department’s shrinking resources, more than in past years, on a team that tramps through the woods looking for pot farms. Though the squad is mostly U.S.-funded, the federal grants don’t cover some of its needs, such as a team chief and certain equipment. So, Mr. Bosenko has to pay for those out of his regular budget.

He doesn’t doubt the value of pursuing pot farming, which he says is often the work of sophisticated Mexican gangs and leads to other crimes like assault. But other infractions, like drunken driving and robbery, may have a bigger direct impact on local residents than pot growing, he says.

The pot money is "$340,000 I could use somewhere else in my organization," he says. "That could fund three officers’ salaries and benefits, and we could have them out on our streets doing patrol." His overall budget this year is about $35 million.

The U.S. Justice Department is spending nearly $3.6 billion this year to augment budgets of state and local law-enforcement agencies. In addition, the federal government last year set aside close to $4 billion of the economic-stimulus package for law-enforcement grants for state and local agencies. The White House also is spending about $239 million this year to fund local drug-trafficking task forces.

Much of the federal money helps local agencies go after sophisticated criminal gangs and hard drugs like methamphetamine. Even staunch supporters of legal pot don’t dispute the value of that.

The Obama administration’s approach to federal anti-drug efforts is evolving….

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2010 at 2:19 pm

Finally, a torture investigation

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Nick Baumann in Mother Jones:

Good news for accountability advocates: The government will soon launch an investigation of claims that it was involved with the torture, abuse, and "rendition" of terrorism suspects.

The British government, that is.

Eighteen months into the Obama administration, there has been no movement towards a full, public investigation of America’s treatment of detainees. But on Tuesday afternoon in the UK, David Cameron, the new conservative prime minister, announced that his government will launch an inquiry into Britain’s role in alleged detainee abuse. "Our reputation as a country that believes in human rights, justice, fairness and the rule of law—indeed for much of what the [security and intelligence] services exist to protect—risks being tarnished," Cameron said. "The longer… questions [about potential abuse] remain unanswered, the bigger the stain on our reputation as a country that believes in freedom, fairness and human rights grows."

The commission is due to start its work this year, will take some public testimony, and will reach "an authoritative view" on what happened, Cameron told Parliament. The inquiry will be headed by a prominent judge, Peter Gibson, who is currently the commissioner of the UK’s intelligence services. It will also include two other experts: former London Times scribe Peter Riddell and Janet Paraskeva, who runs the government’s internal civil service watchdog.

The inquiry won’t be fully public, however: "Some of its hearings will be in public," Cameron said, but "information about sources, capabilities and partnerships" must be kept secret. Nor will the inquiry be "costly or open-ended," the prime minister vowed. How those restrictions work in practice—and how they interact with the mandate to reach an "authoritative view"—will greatly influence the scope and usefulness of the inquiry.

The Guardian‘s Patrick Wintour says "the torture issue" represents a big test for Cameron’s coalition with Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats. Investigating torture claims could also strain US-UK relations:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2010 at 2:15 pm

Maybe we should just sow the oceans with poison and get it over with

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I can’t believe how irresponsibly we’ve treated the Gulf—are we simply going to kill it off altogether? Jeff Donn and Mitch Weiss for AP:

More than 27,000 abandoned oil and gas wells lurk in the hard rock beneath the Gulf of Mexico, an environmental minefield that has been ignored for decades. No one — not industry, not government — is checking to see if they are leaking, an Associated Press investigation shows.

The oldest of these wells were abandoned in the late 1940s, raising the prospect that many deteriorating sealing jobs are already failing.

The AP investigation uncovered particular concern with 3,500 of the neglected wells — those characterized in federal government records as "temporarily abandoned."

Regulations for temporarily abandoned wells require oil companies to present plans to reuse or permanently plug such wells within a year, but the AP found that the rule is routinely circumvented, and that more than 1,000 wells have lingered in that unfinished condition for more than a decade.

About three-quarters of temporarily abandoned wells have been left in that status for more than a year, and many since the 1950s and 1960s — even though sealing procedures for temporary abandonment are not as stringent as those for permanent closures.

As a forceful reminder of the potential harm, the well beneath BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig was being sealed with cement for temporary abandonment when it blew April 20, leading to one of the worst environmental disasters in the nation’s history. BP alone has abandoned about 600 wells in the Gulf, according to government data.

There’s ample reason for worry about all permanently and temporarily abandoned wells — history shows that at least on land, they often leak. Wells are sealed underwater much as they are on land. And wells on land and in water face similar risk of failure. Plus, records reviewed by the AP show that some offshore wells have failed.

Experts say such wells can repressurize, much like a dormant volcano can awaken. And years of exposure to sea water and underground pressure can cause cementing and piping to corrode and weaken.

"You can have changing geological conditions where a well could be repressurized," said Andy Radford, a petroleum engineer for the American Petroleum Institute trade group.

Whether a well is permanently or temporarily abandoned, improperly applied or aging cement can crack or shrink, independent petroleum engineers say. "It ages, just like it does on buildings and highways," said Roger Anderson, a Columbia University petroleum geophysicist who has conducted research on commercial wells.

Despite the likelihood of leaks large and small, though, abandoned wells are typically not inspected by industry or government…

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2010 at 2:11 pm

More on BP’s police state down south

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Lance Rosenfield, a photojournalist, reports on his own interactions with the police and BP—they seem to be pretty much the same down there:

Freelance photographer Lance Rosenfield was working on assignment for ProPublica in Texas City, Texas, last week, when a BP security guard began following him. Rosenfield was later detained by police after taking photos for two ProPublica stories. One revealed that BP’s Texas City refinery had illegally emitted 538,000 pounds of toxic chemicals into the air in April and May. The other reported that the Texas City refinery continues to have serious safety violations five years after an explosion at the plant killed 15 workers.

What follows is Rosenfield’s account of what happened on Friday night after the police, accompanied by the BP security guard, stopped him at a local gas station.

I parked my car on the shoulder of Hwy. 197 near the Texas City sign that is in the pictures, on the south side of town and the refinery. I walked onto the median where the sign is and took the pictures. I walked back to my car and drove a couple of miles to a gas station that is on the way to my hotel. I noticed that what looked like a security truck, which had a light on the top, was following me, although he continued on when I pulled into the Valero gas station. I got out of my car to fill the tank and moments later two Texas City police cars pulled in next to my car, essentially blocking me in, although I wasn’t trying to go anywhere, I was trying to get gas.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2010 at 1:52 pm

2 lbs up

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My weight’s up a couple of pounds since Wednesday, and the diet counselor went over my food journal with a fine-toothed comb. Beef is now heavily de-emphasized, with more meals using chicken, fish, and cottage cheese or yogurt as the protein. Canned beans that I was eating are out (700 mg sodium in 1/2 cup), and I am to cut out all salt. She’s determined that the two pounds will be gone immediately.

I picked up a couple of cod fillets, and for lunch had poached chicken breast cut up in a salad, along with 1/2 c cooked whole-grain rye for the starch.

Doing the kettlebells was tough, but I did my whole routine. I’ll see the trainer Friday morning.

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2010 at 1:25 pm

Posted in Daily life, Fitness, Food

Trusting business: Health insurance company division

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Where is that guy who said that we can simply trust businesses to do the right thing—no need for regulation or oversight, presumably because the free market will fix any problems. Here’s a problem reported by Zaid Jilani at ThinkProgress:

One of the worst abuses of the private health insurance industry is the practice of denying claims to pay for necessary care or revoking the coverage of policyholders for frivolous reasons. The Colorado Springs Gazette reports that a leukemia patient — a single mother of two teenage boys — had her coverage revoked after her penny-pinching insurance company, Discover Benefits, claimed that she had underpaid her premium:

La Rosa Carrington has more than enough to worry about. She’s a single mother with two teenage daughters, she’s fighting a type of leukemia that requires five days of chemo a month for four months, and she lost her job in May. So the last thing she needed was news that her health insurance benefits would be terminated because she hadn’t paid her premium in full. The shortfall? One penny. […]

Under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, those who meet the eligibility requirements pay just 35 percent of the full COBRA premium. Because Carrington had not yet received a bill showing what her payment would be with the discount, she whipped out a calculator, figured out that she owed $165.15 a month and sent a check for that amount to Discovery Benefits.

But Discovery Benefits determined she owed $165.16, and last week, she received a letter from the company telling her she was short on her premium and her coverage could not be continued. The letter, however, did not tell her how much she owed. She called Discovery Benefits and was aghast when she heard the amount. “I said, ‘Are you kidding?’ How am I going to pay you a penny’”?

After Carrington threatened to go the media, Discover Benefits reviewed their records and determined that she had, in fact, paid the correct dollar amount for her premiums, and decided to reinstate her coverage. June Harryman, a supervisory benefits adviser for the federal Employee Benefits Security Administration regional office in Kansas City, told the paper that the practice of companies revoking coverage after customers allegedly underpaid their premiums by a penny is not uncommon. “We’ve seen it before,” she said. “It’s not the first, and it won’t be the last.”

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2010 at 1:21 pm

Greek Blackeyed-Pea Salad

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That looks delicious to me. And take a look at what’s in it:

  • 2 cups dry black-eyed peas [I assume that’s a one-pound package – LG]
  • Salt
  • 1 package of feta cheese, about 7 ounces
  • 1 jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil, about 8 ounces
  • 1 cup black olives, preferably Kalamata or oil-cured
  • 1 finely chopped green onion
  • 1 finely chopped garlic clove
  • 1 large bunch of spinach, about 1 pound, washed, chopped
  • Zest and juice of a lemon

I would definitely use pitted ripe olives, either Kalamata or Saracena.

Here’s the full recipe.

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2010 at 9:52 am

The FBI: Foiling its own plots since 2001

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Excellent article by Stephan Salisbury in Salon on the FBI practice of seeking out unhappy people and helping them get ready to launch a terrorist strike, then busting the case for kudos. The article begins:

Informers have by now become our first line of defense in our battles with the evildoers, the go-to guys in the never-ending domestic war on terror. They regularly do the dirty work — suggesting and encouraging the plots, laboring as bag men to move the money, fashioning the bombs, and eliciting the flamboyant dialogue, even while following the scripts of their handlers to the letter.  They have attended to all the little details that make for the successful and now familiar arrests, criminal complaints, trials, and (for the most part) convictions in the ever-distracting war against… what? Al-Qaeda? Terror? Muslims? The inept? The poor?

The Liberty City Seven, the Fort Dix Six, the Detroit Ummah Conspiracy, the Newburgh Four — each has had their fear-filled day in the sun.  None of these plots ever came close to happening.  How could they? All were bogus from the get-go: money to buy missiles or cell phones or shoes and fancy duds — provided by the authorities; plans for how to use the missiles and bombs and cell phones — provided by authorities; cars for transport and demolition — issued by the authorities; facilities for carrying out the transactions — leased by those same authorities. Played out on landscapes manufactured by federal imagineers, the climax of each drama was foreordained. The failure of the plots would then be touted as the success of the investigations and prosecutions.

A band of virtually homeless and penniless men in Florida, we were told, were planning to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago.  They just needed the right combat boots to pull it off, and a little free money.

A cell of New Jersey roofers, handymen, and cab drivers was scheming to use a laminated pizza delivery map to guide them through a devastating attack on Fort Dix, the enormous military base in Burlington County, south of Trenton.

Ex-cons in Detroit, mostly known for patronizing a weekly soup kitchen to stave off hunger, were also planning to set up their own country in Michigan under Islamic law.

And a band of Orange County New York parolees and former drug peddlers placed bombs at two Bronx synagogues and was preparing to launch missile attacks on military cargo planes at Stewart National Guard Air Base in Newburgh.

In the Liberty City Seven case, which revolved around two informants paid in excess of $130,000 for their services, the government tried the hapless defendants three times before finally wresting a conviction from a jury. One defendant was acquitted at the first trial, another in the third, and five were eventually convicted of at least some terrorism-related charges. In the Fort Dix case, jurors were shown horrific films said to be on a computer owned by one of the defendants, who claimed an FBI informant demanded more and more videos for viewing.

Another defendant actually called the Philadelphia police, mid-plot, and said he was being pressured to commit radical acts by what turned out to be an FBI informer. Prosecutors dismissed this as an obvious decoy maneuver. The key informer in that case — the FBI eventually paid two people to spy on the group — an Egyptian on probation, received $236,000 for his services.

Most recently, this duplicitous landscape of war-on-terror "success" has been illuminated yet again by the case of four alleged Newburgh, New York, conspirators — the Newburgh Four — and in the botched arrest and fatal shooting (a first for federal authorities) of an African American imam in Detroit, leader of the so-called Ummah Conspiracy.  As the details have slowly emerged, these two cases offer vivid examples of how government-scripted many of the terror plots "uncovered" in the U.S. in recent years have turned out to be.  Each case, in fact, offers a window onto a stark world in which nothing is what it seems to be…

Continue reading. There’s lots more.

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2010 at 9:45 am

Which cities will we save?

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It seems increasingly evident that no effective action will be mounted to reverse global warming, so the next step is to start planning for the changes we will be experiencing as the globe continues to heat and we continue to pour CO2 into the atmosphere. Thomas Rogers interviews Peter Ward in Salon:

By 2100, the world will probably be a very different place than it is now. It will be warmer, of course. It will also contain an awful lot more water. In recent years, scientists’ predictions of sea level rise have been growing considerably more dire, estimating an increase of up to 5 feet by the end of the century, along with widespread coastal flooding, hunger and population displacement. It’s rapidly becoming clear that humanity will have to make some difficult decisions over the next decades, most notably about which low-lying cities and landmarks are worth saving. In the flooded future, can we hope to preserve Venice? Or Amsterdam? Or even Miami? And if so, at what cost?

In his new book, The Flooded Earth: Our Future in a World Without Ice Caps, Peter D. Ward, a professor of biology and earth and space sciences at the University of Washington, takes a look at what the latest predictions in sea rise will mean for the future of human civilization. In the coming decades, he argues, vast swaths of agricultural land will be ruined by encroaching salt water; the increasingly ice-free lands of Greenland and Antarctica will become contested and ever-more valuable, and our coastal cities’ spiraling preservation costs will bleed our economies dry. The book is a beautifully written, thoroughly researched and relentlessly terrifying work, and a must-read for anybody with an interest in the environment or the future of our planet.

Salon spoke to Ward over the phone from Seattle about the world’s most threatened regions, the future of New York, and why the 21st century will belong to Canada.

Why is the rise in sea level really such a huge deal?

There are three big reasons. There are the economics, because sea level rise is going to cost us a whole lot of money. And then there’s food, because sea level rise is going to wipe out an unbelievably high percentage of the agricultural areas that we’re extremely dependent upon, deltas in particular — they are, by definition, at sea level and they produce the majority of the rice on the planet.

And then the third thing is people. A 3-foot sea level rise will cause a large part of Bangladesh, for example, to either disappear or be unfarmable, so you’re displacing millions of people physically. This becomes way worse when you couple it with the food part of the equation. The number of people on the planet is expected to be 9 billion by 2050 and steadying out at 9.5 or 10 billion by 2100, so you’ve got one-third more people and maybe 20 percent less food. You do the numbers.

What are the high and low estimates for sea rise by the end of the century? . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2010 at 9:39 am

The Vie-Long horsehair shaving brushes and the new iKon razor

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The two brushes shown are horsehair brushes, which I bought from Bullgoose Shaving: here and here. I tried them both this morning, just experimenting. Initially a strong odor from the knot, but that will fade in time. I tried both on soap, and both worked up a good lather in the test. I’ll have to actually use them to be sure, of course.

This morning I used the larger brush, which did a fine job with the Speick shaving cream: good lather and good capacity.

The two razors shown are both from iKon Razors. The one in front is the newer model, a Deluxe Classic High Polish. Greg sent it to me for the price of shipping, a kind gesture. I slapped in a previously used Swedish Gillette blade and gave it a go. Very nice—much smoother and kinder than the earlier model, which in the photo is behind the newer model. The old one was toward the harsh end of the spectrum (at least for me), and even the knurling was rather sharp. The new model is much more civilized and indeed I rather like it. You’ll note a slight change in head design, so that in the new one the blade doesn’t sit directly atop the comb. He adapted the “coat-hanger profile” quite well.

Three passes, no nicks or burn, and quite a smooth finish. A splash of the Speick aftershave, and I’m ready to tackle some kettlebells.

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2010 at 9:17 am

Posted in Daily life, Shaving

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