Friday 8 October 2010
From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor
'If the world does not phase out fossil fuels by 2015, then by 2025, the Arcticwill be eight to 10 degrees warmer and the world will lose most of its permafrost'
Researchers fear permafrost has passed the point of no return
5 October 2010 — The carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels have melted the Arctic sea ice to its lowest volume since before the rise of human civilisation, dangerously upsetting the energy balance of the entire planet, climate scientists are reporting.
"The Arctic sea ice has reached its four lowest summer extents (area covered) in the last four years," said Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in the US city of Boulder, Colorado.
The volume — extent and thickness — of ice left in the Arctic likely reached the lowest ever level this month, Serreze told IPS.
|Cartoon by John Sherffius, comics.com, 7 October 2010|
In the Spirit of Fair Play we run verbatim a second press release by the Cuban Embassy in Canada (in case you missed the first, please see last week's issue)
Here following the press release:
1 October 2010 — One of the most criminal laws designed to destroy the Cuban Revolution was signed when the US Congress approved Public Law 89-732, known as the Cuban Adjustment Act on November of 1965.
Valid since 1966, this legislation promotes destabilization, incitement to illegal migration, and other ways to discredit the Cuban government offering preferential treatment to those, with their action, that inflict damages to the image of the country.
Recently, we received an email from a reader complementing True North Perspective on its new and improved format and wondering what a "reasonable donation" in support of our experiment in news and opinion might be.
As I contemplated a reply, I realized that there is no easy answer to the question, especially for a web-based publication. Unlike an old-fashioned newspaper, with physical costs for printing and transportation, a website's mechanical costs are relatively low — which is why True North Perspective has survived for so long on so little. Our biggest expense is the time we and our growing team of writers put into creating this unique window on the world; the cost of hosting the bits of electronic data that is the physical aspect of True North Perspective can be done for far less money than it would cost to print a few thousand copies of the same production on paper.
On the other hand, it is easy to stamp an actual price on a newspaper, and easy enough to learn whether or not that price is something people are willing to pay. — Read the full story inside, 637 words.
|Our readers write|
Your article "Please, don't be a chicken" was much appreciated! Thank you! How many women are like Dee? Controlled and told what to do. Thank God, it's not my case but I sympathize! If this person has to take over some day, will she have the capacity and self-confidence to do so? After all, this is not a muslim world where women are not given much choice...
— Juliette Vinette, Ottawa, Ont.
Excellent message in Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair's article, "Don't be a chicken"! Women must learn how to fly on their own during their youth so they can avoid being controlled later. They must learn to be self-sufficent, to love and respect who they are are. Thank you for the love and concern you offer your readers!
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Col. Harold Wright was one of the earliest to sign on as a volunteer Contributing Editor to True North Perspective.
I was introduced to Col. Wright in 2007 at the Lansdowne Park Ottawa Independent Writers Book Fair by Randy Ray where the two were sharing a table.
Randy simply introduced him as Harold Wright. He had a forthright manner and that kind of smile that combines strength of character and encourages trust and friendship. — Read the full story inside, 315 words.
"News is what (certain) people want to keep hidden. Everything else is just publicity."
-- PBS journalist Bill Moyers.
Your support makes it possible for True North to clear the fog of "publicity" and keep you informed on what's really happening in the world today. Please send your donation to:
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Saskatoon aims for garlic self-sufficiency!
SASKATOON, Saskatchewan — On October 10th we will be planting our way to City Hall -- that's right, we're planting enough garlic to make Saskatoon garlic self-sufficient by 2012. The October 10th day of action will give us a huge head start in growing 100% safe, healthy, and delicious garlic locally instead of importing the bulk of it from half-way across the planet. Come join us for a really fun day outside . . . and, of course, there will be great food!
How to Get Involved Planning the Event: Please call WAM organiser Daniel McLaren at 306-262-5882 to get involved.
Event Host: We Are Many (WAM) is an innovative, award-winning youth-run arts and environmental organisation with a focus on practical outcomes. Right now we're working on a tap water station for outdoor festivals, an urban agriculture co-op, and a world-record bike ride, among other (exciting!) things.
|25+5= 1,000. One-time Industry Minister Maxime Bernier.|
The former industry minister, now a Conservative backbencher, said in July of this year that he was blitzed by complaints when he oversaw the 2006 census as minister.
However, in a July 18 email found among documents obtained by CBC News through an access-to-information request, ministry employee Paul Halucha asked a high-ranking official at Statistics Canada whether the agency had any numbers to back up Bernier's statement.
Industry Canada's "internal survey of correspondence did not show anything close to a thousand a day," he wrote to Statistics Canada's Connie Graziadei, adding in brackets "we got a standard 25-30 a year."— Read the full story at CBC News, 753 words.
Four out of every five people aboard the Olympic Line streetcar last spring were not tourists but Metro Vancouver residents.
And many of those 550,000 passengers — about a third, during peak transit hours — rode the 60-day demonstration train not for amusement but as part of a daily commute to work or school.
|Somehow, citizens still survive the urban cesspool that is the city of Toronto.|
It is a bad time generally for cities in Ontario as municipal elections heat up, because in almost every city most of the candidates are running against the city where they want to be mayor or councillor. Cities are portrayed as serial failures, fiscal nightmares, administrative disaster zones, and places which fail citizens day after day.— Read the full article at Maytree.com, 431 words.
Thanksgiving is a universal celebration, albeit not at the same time for everybody. People throughout history have sensed a need to express gratitude particularly at harvest time. Sacrificing the first fruits of the land as well as livestock was a common and elaborate religious practice in many traditions. In the Hebrew faith which is of course the background for Christianity as well as Islam. Thanksgiving has been a most important harvest festival.
The Jewish feast of Succoth was celebrated on the 15th day of the month of Tishrei (late September to late October). It was also known as Festival of Booths or Ingathering, a time when the people moved out of their permanent homes into a simple dwelling with a roof of branches through which the sky can be seen. The purpose was to remind the people of the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness by their ancestors, a time when they lived very primitively and depended on what nature/god provided.— Read the full story inside, 1,183 words.
4 October 2010, OTTAWA — A medical marijuana user lit up a joint in the House of Commons Monday to draw attention to what he calls unfair rules set by Health Canada.
Samuel Mellace, who lives in Abbotsford, B.C., is a licensed pot user under the federal government's medical marijuana program. He started smoking a joint Monday afternoon while in the public gallery of the House of Commons as the daily question period came to an end. Mellace took a few drags on the joint before a security guard asked him to put it out and leave the gallery, which he did without incident.
At a news conference on Parliament Hill a short time later, Mellace said he didn't think it was wrong for him to take his medication in the House of Commons.
'Well, you know, I just — I was thinkin' that I'd just nip it in the bud. Before it gets worse. 'Cause they were talkin' in health class about how pregnancy can lead to ... an infant.'
|Catching up on ...|
Ellen Page in 2007 (image Wikipedia).
It's not giving much away to say that Juno MacGuff does not nip her pregnancy, "in the bud" or otherwise. Instead, after a brief flirtation with abortion, the 16 year-old opts to carry the foetus to term and give the baby up for adoption. Significantly, Juno is not punished for her transgression (except insofar as the pregnancy itself must be considered a punishment) persons seeking in the entrails of Juno any overt anti-abortion, pro-choice, pro- or anti-sex or other coded messages are in for a serious disappointment.
The movie's eponymous title gives the game away.
Juno is a story about (nearly) a year in the life of a teenage girl named "Juno". It is not an issue movie, or a cautionary tale, or a call to arms. The fact that Juno is about a pregnant 16 year-old girl does not mean it is "about" teenage pregnancy.
At its heart and despite its subject-matter, Juno is a romantic comedy. Where we might once have had Katherine Hepburn as a wise-cracking career-woman in a man's world, we now have Ellen Page as a wise-cracking teenager, who is every bit as independent as Hepburn ever was, if in a very different world. — Spoilers inside, but not many; this is a movie whose surprises are worth keeping. 868 words.
In case you missed it ... and always worth repeating
— Winston Churchill
Let's say that news throughout human time has been free. Take that time when Ugh Wayne went over to the cave of Mugh Payne with news that the chief of his group had broken a leg while chasing his laughing wife around the fire. That news was given freely and received as such with much knowing smiles and smirks to say nothing of grunts of approval or disapproval. — 688 words.
China's best-known dissident probably unaware he has won prize
8 October 2010 — China's best-known dissident today won the prestigious Nobel peace prize from the prison cell where he is serving 11 years for incitement to subvert state power.
The Norwegian Nobel committee praised Liu Xiaobo for his "long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China. The ... committee has long believed that there is a close connection between human rights and peace."
As the news was announced, transmission of both BBC news and CNN television channels was interrupted in China.
Liu was detained at his Beijing home in December 2008 after co-authoring Charter 08, a call for democratic reforms in China.
The decision will infuriate the Chinese government. A foreign ministry spokeswoman said last week that awarding Liu the prize would contradict the aims of the award. The director of Norway's Nobel institute said a senior Chinese official had warned that Sino-Norwegian relations would be damaged if Liu won. — Read the full article at The Guardian, 503 words.
'China is now the largest importer of Middle Eastern oil and the largest exporter to the region, replacing the United States'
5 October 2010 — Of all the “threats” to world order, the most consistent is democracy, unless it is under imperial control, and more generally, the assertion of independence. These fears have guided imperial power throughout history.
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President Hugo Chavez’s party, PSUV, achieved a landslide victory this past Sunday, September 26 in the nation’s legislative elections, winning 98 seats out of 165 in the parliament. The coalition of opposition parties, grouped under the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), won 65 seats, while a third party, PPT, took two.
On a national level, the PSUV won in 56 out of 87 circuits, and 18 states out of 24, including the capital district, Caracas. PSUV also won 7 seats on the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino), while MUD took five. Out of the votes tallied nationally 5,422,040 went to PSUV and 5,320,175 were for MUD parties.
In all scenarios, PSUV won. It’s an impressive achievement for a political party formed just three years ago, and demonstrates PSUV is the primary political force in the country. — Read the full article inside, 1,426 words.
By John Cloud
31 August 2010 — One of the most contentious issues in the vast literature about alcohol consumption has been the consistent finding that those who don't drink tend to die sooner than those who do. The standard Alcoholics Anonymous explanation for this finding is that many of those who show up as abstainers in such research are actually former hard-core drunks who had already incurred health problems associated with drinking.
Study reporting on group now aged five says none suffered as a result of their mothers having an occasional drink while pregnant
6 October 2010 — Light drinking in pregnancy does babies no harm in the long run, according to a substantial new study which challenges the government's advice that women should abstain completely for nine months.
The study showed that the children of mothers who drank one or two units of alcohol a week during pregnancy have suffered no ill-effects by the time they are five. They do not have behavioural difficulties and nor are they behind in their intellectual development.
Inspired by army ants, Linux-controlled robot swarm communicates via wireless
27 September 2010 — The EPFL School of Engineering is developing swarms of flying robots that could be deployed in disaster areas to create communication networks for rescuers. The Swarming Micro Air Vehicle Network (SMAVNET) project comprises of robust, lightweight robots and software that allows the devices to wirelessly communicate with each other.
The flying robots were built out of expanded polypropylene with a single motor at the rear and two elevons (control surfaces that enable steering). The robots are equipped with autopilot to control altitude, airspeed and turn rate. A micro-controller operates using three sensors -- a gyroscope and two pressure sensors. The robots also have a GPS module to log flight journeys.
Solution to the mystery of missing bees?
Researchers, predominantly from the University of Montana, have identified three viruses — Varroa destructor-1, Kakugo and an invertebrate iridescent virus — in dead honeybees felled by what is known as colony collapse disorder. They also found these bees were infected with two fungi — Nosema apis and Nosema ceranae.
Colony collapse disorder involves the sudden death of a large number of bees that leave the hive and disappear, reducing the colony to a handful of bees or no bees at all. The phenomenon has been occurring with increasing regularity since 2006, particularly in the U.S.— Read the full article at CBC News, words.
'Peak oil' is here - economically if not physically
6 October 2010 — As I head down to Washington to speak at the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas 2010 World Oil Conference this week, I can’t help but reflect on how far the peak oil movement has come over the last decade. It’s not too hard to figure out why. There is a very simple litmus test for the credibility of the movement’s central theory of depletion — the price of
Of course the world will never run out of oil in the literal sense. There are some 170 billion barrels of the stuff trapped in the Alberta oil sands, and over 500 billion barrels more in the Orinoco oil sands in Venezuela. And if we suck them dry, there are billions more barrels of oil in shale, just as there is natural
Bringing the Afghan war home (to Pakistan)
The Associated Press
2 October 2010 — The US military is secretly diverting aerial drones from Afghanistan to escalate a CIA-led campaign against militants in neighboring Pakistan, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.
The military has lent Predator and Reaper drones to Central Intelligence Agency operatives to target and bomb militants on the Afghan border, the report said, citing unnamed US officials.
CIA drone strikes in September in Pakistan rose to an average of five per week, up from an average of two or three per week, the Journal said. — Read the full story at RawStory.com, 306 words.
6 October 2010 — Gunmen torched more than two dozen tankers carrying fuel to NATO troops and killed a driver Wednesday, the sixth attack on convoys taking supplies to Afghanistan since Pakistan closed a key border crossing almost a week ago.
Report from Obama's America
1 October 2010 — This week, in a burst of stunning hypocrisy, President Barack Obama signed an executive order that imposes sanctions on Iran for human rights abuses and targets eight Iranian government and military officials who are blamed for the torture, abuse and murder of citizens who protested Iran’s 2009 presidential election.
“The United States is strongly committed to the promotion of human rights around the world, including in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the White House said in an accompanying news release. “As the President noted in his recent address to the United Nations General Assembly, human rights are a matter of moral and pragmatic necessity for the United States.”
'It seems very frightening that the FBI have placed a surveillance-tracking device on the car of a 20-year-old American citizen who has done nothing more than being half-Egyptian'
4 October 2010, CHICAGO — U.S. teens are not as reckless as some people might think when it comes to sex, and they are much more likely to use condoms than people over 40, according to a survey released on Monday that could help guide public health policy.
The study from sex researchers at Indiana University and paid for by Trojan condom maker Church & Dwight Co is the most comprehensive look at sex behaviors in the United States in the past 20 years.
Women appear dressed in black with their mouths taped shut in riposte to classmates' racy tribute to president
A day after 12 journalism students at Russia's most prestigious university released a racy calendar in honour of Putin's 58th birthday, six of their colleagues hit back with their own version, pointing to the murders and curbs on freedom under Putin.
"Who killed Anna Politkovskaya?" asks Yekaterina Ulianova, posing, like all the young women, in a sombre black outfit with yellow tape sealing her mouth shut. Politkovskaya, a journalist who was one of the Kremlin's toughest critics, was shot dead on Putin's birthday four years ago today.
The Old Man's Last Sauna
A collection of short stories by Carl Dow
An eclectic collection of short stories that will stir your sense of humour, warm your heart, outrage your sense of justice, and chill your extra sensory faculties in the spirit of Stephen King. The final short story, the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Sauna is a ground-breaking love story.
The series begins with Deo Volente (God Willing). Followed by The Quintessence of Mr. Flynn, Sharing Lies, Flying High, The Richest Bitch in the Country or Ginny I Hardly Knows Ya, One Lift Too Many, The Model A Ford, the out-of-body chiller, Room For One Only and O Ernie! ... What Have They Done To You! The series closes with the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Sauna, a groundbreaking love story. All stories may also be found in the True North Perspective Archives.