Hot Stuff Out There

July 24, 2014

AB19089

This past June was the warmest ever recorded by scientists since record keeping began in the 19th century. The average surface temperature of the earth was 61.2 degrees Fahrenheit, up 1.3 degrees from the 20th century’s typical June.

May 2014 set a comparable new record. That month, too, the planet’s average surface temperature was about 1.3 degrees above the normal warmth of May.

It’s reasonable to expect that the whole year may end up with the warmest surface temperatures ever recorded—especially if El Niño, the periodic shifting of warm waters in the Pacific now thought to be incipient, develops robustly.

On the face of it, data like this, reported Monday by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, might seem powerful enough evidence that climate change has indeed arrived, as is widely accepted by mainstream scientists.

INSIDE CLIMATE NEWS
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Storm damage on Doc's street.

Storm damage on Doc’s street.


Bend Over Time

July 23, 2014
These clowns hafta be in there somewhere

These clowns hafta be in there somewhere

A panel of federal appeals court judges sitting in DC dealt a powerful blow to President Obama’s landmark Affordable Care Act on Tuesday in a ruling that, if allowed to stand, could remove federal health insurance subsidies from millions of Americans and threaten the very viability of the scheme.

The two-to-one ruling would effectively make insurance much more expensive for people who bought coverage through the exchanges that the federal government has set up under the 2010 “Obamacare” legislation to fill in the gaps left by largely Republican-controlled states that refused to establish their own exchanges. The judgment has potentially far-reaching ramifications across 36 states where federal exchanges have been created and could drastically impact almost 5 million Americans.

In the majority opinion, written by Judge Thomas Griffith with the support of Judge Arthur Randolph, the court took a literal view of the wording of the ACA, saying that when the law states that health insurance subsidies can only be given through an “exchange established by the State” it refers only to those marketplaces set up by states and cannot be taken to mean exchanges formed by the federal government.

@ THE GUARDIAN


Frack U

July 22, 2014

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California officials have ordered an emergency shut-down of 11 oil and gas waste injection sites and a review more than 100 others in the state’s drought-wracked Central Valley out of fear that companies may have been pumping fracking fluids and other toxic waste into drinking water aquifers there.

The state’s Division of Oil and Gas and Geothermal Resources on July 7 issued cease and desist orders to seven energy companies warning that they may be injecting their waste into aquifers that could be a source of drinking water, and stating that their waste disposal “poses danger to life, health, property, and natural resources.” The orders were first reported by the Bakersfield Californian, and the state has confirmed with ProPublica that its investigation is expanding to look at additional wells.

The action comes as California’s agriculture industry copes with a drought crisis that has emptied reservoirs and cost the state $2.2 billion this year alone. The lack of water has forced farmers across the state to supplement their water supply from underground aquifers, according to a study released this week by the University of California Davis.

@ PROPUBLICA


Get With It USA!

July 21, 2014

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Germany leads the world in harnessing the benefits of energy efficiency, followed by Italy, the European Union, China and France, according to a new ranking of the world’s 16 largest economies. The United States was near the bottom, placing 13th.

America’s poor showing is sobering for a nation accustomed to being a world leader, and it could have economic consequences. “How can the United States compete in a global economy if it continues to waste money and energy that other countries save and can reinvest?” said Rachel Young, the principal author of the energy efficiency report


Sunny Sunday

July 20, 2014

sunrise02

No one does hot rodding quite like the Americans, who pretty much invented it. But Ériver Hijano’s photos show the Australians come damn close.

The Brazilian photographer spent several days on the South Australian salt flat of Lake Gairdner, where speed demons gather for a celebration of high-powered cars and motorcycles. The scenes he captured are reminiscent of Speed Week, the annual festival of fast held at Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. The Australian races, also called Speed Week, draw a fraction of the 15,000 people who descend on the American desert each summer, but the event is, in its way, even crazier.

“People down in Australia tend to fully embrace any event they attend, even more than Americans,” Hijano says. “I’d say it almost felt cartoonish sometimes because they were so enthusiastic.”

One reason the crowd is so enthusiastic is because the event is wicked hard to get to. The nearest town, Port Augusta, is several hours away, and reaching the salt requires traversing miles and miles of dirt roads. If you make it to the Australian version of Speed Week, you really want to be there.

@ WIRED


Saturday Reading

July 19, 2014
A utility worker shuts off water to someones' home

A utility worker shuts off water to someones’ home

A single mother, living in the blighted Brightmoor neighborhood in northwest Detroit, keeps a jug of water by the toilet for flushing.

She takes a shower when she picks her daughter up at a relative’s home.

She heats up store-bought water in a microwave to wash her 6-year-old’s face and hands.

This Detroit mother chooses gas for her car over water.

The water shutoff situation in Detroit has reached a boiling point. For many low-income Detroiters, the city’s push for water shutoffs due to unpaid bills is creating a crisis.

@ THE FREEP

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This America people, not some third world country, a boxcar-load of compassion needed here and fast.

It sickens me to see this in America, land of the free, home of the brave, just no poor.


FRYDAY funnies

July 18, 2014

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