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THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER
by Fran on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:19:05 PM EST
Experts ponder the hazards of using technology to save the planet - International Herald Tribune

Last year, a private company proposed "fertilizing" parts of the ocean with iron, in hopes of encouraging carbon-absorbing blooms of plankton. Meanwhile, researchers elsewhere are talking about injecting chemicals into the atmosphere, launching sun-reflecting mirrors into stationary orbit above the earth or taking other steps to reset the thermostat of a warming planet.

This technology might be useful, even life-saving. But it would inevitably produce environmental effects impossible to predict and impossible to undo. So a growing number of experts say it is time for broad discussion of how and by whom it should be used, or if it should be tried at all.

Similar questions are being raised about nanotechnology, robotics and other powerful emerging technologies. There are even those who suggest humanity should collectively decide to turn away from some new technologies as inherently dangerous.

"The complexity of newly engineered systems coupled with their potential impact on lives, the environment, etc., raise a set of ethical issues that engineers had not been thinking about," said William Wulf, a computer scientist who until last year headed the National Academy of Engineering. As one of his official last acts, he established the Center for Engineering, Ethics and Society there.

by Fran on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:23:39 PM EST
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Men roused into action over women-only sex toys - Times Online

Sweden is famous for breaking sexual taboos, so barely an eyebrow was raised when state-run pharmacies began to sell over-the-counter sex toys this summer, alongside the more conventional headache pills and hot water bottles.

Now the shops are being hauled before the Equal Opportunies Ombudsman, the government referee on sexual discrimination, after two men complained that the erotic toys - the bestselling are vibrators and vagina balls - discriminate against males.

The pharmacy chain, Apoteket, had a "misguided and untrue view of sexuality whereby a woman with a dildo is seen as liberated, strong and independent, while a man with a blow-up plastic vagina is viewed as disgusting and perverted", said one of the petitioners.

Apoteket has made a spirited defence. Eva Fernvall, its head of retailing, said it was simply a matter of maintaining standards.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:35:28 PM EST
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Honeybee deaths reaching crisis point threatening fruit and vegetable pollination | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Britain's honeybees have suffered catastrophic losses this year, according to a survey of the nation's beekeepers, contributing to a shortage of honey and putting at risk the pollination of fruits and vegetables.

The survey by the British Beekeepers' Association (BBKA) revealed that nearly one in three of the UK's 240,000 honeybee hives did not survive this winter and spring.

The losses are higher than the one in five colonies reported dead earlier this year by the government after 10% of hives had been inspected.

The BBKA president, Tim Lovett, said he was very concerned about the findings: "Average winter bee losses due to poor weather and disease vary from between 5% and 10%, so a 30% loss is deeply worrying. This spells serious trouble for pollination services and honey producers."

by Fran on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:58:47 PM EST
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"honeybees have suffered catastrophic losses this year"

This is how we will die. By "accidently" taking out the lower levels of the pyramid of life, we are killing ourselves...

by asdf on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 11:01:34 PM EST
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BBC NEWS | Politics | Northern cities 'beyond revival'

Cities in northern England such as Liverpool, Sunderland and Bradford are "beyond revival" and residents should move south, a think tank has argued.

Policy Exchange said current regeneration policies were "failing" the people they were supposed to help.

A mass migration to London, Cambridge and Oxford would stop them becoming "trapped" in poorer areas, it said.

One of the report authors acknowledged it may be seen as "barmy". A Liverpool MP called it "utter nonsense".

Policy Exchange is one of the most influential right-of-centre think tanks and it has been credited with much of the fresh thinking behind the revival of the Conservative Party under David Cameron.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 06:06:09 AM EST
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In other words 'barmy utter nonsense' has been 'credited with reviving the Conservative Party.'

Now there's a change for the history books.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 06:53:13 AM EST
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Seeing where right of centre happens to be in the UK at the moment, can the word "think" be applied to anything or anyone there?

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 07:47:28 AM EST
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forget the emotional stupidity, it's also an economically illiterate policy.

Moving millions of people will cost billions of pounds the economy doesn't have.

Where will these houses be built ? London and the South east is already in an accomodation crisis.

how will they move around when roads and railways are at saturation point ?

Where is the clean water coming from ? There is practically no spare capacity south of the Thames and next to bugger all north and east of london.

Move government to the north makes far more sense than cram more people in the south. But you won't hear that from the terminally idiotic sons of privilege.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 09:40:39 AM EST
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Who's talking about moving them?

They are economically unsound and therefore should move themselves on penalty of being made to drown. And if they don't find a house, well they should work more to earn more until they a)can move in after a repossession kicks someone out b) die of cold.

That would make so much more sense.

Actually, although it's largely unrelated, all this rightwards move (aka screw you) of the UK reminds me of a comparison I've been able to make since early afternoon (when I learnt of the UK costs).

Apparently some NHS hospitals will deliver one in vitro to couples who need it (and even for that you need to have tried naturally for a loooooong time), and after that you are left with private clinics charging £4000 to 6000.

Right. In France you get 4 chances for free (resetting to 4 allowed with every birth), then it's around 4000€ if you don't get an allowance for more (which happens relatively often when there are reasons to believe it may work).

The shame is that you have to be live close to the hospital or clinic so that, even though we will still be covered by Sécurité Sociale, we'll probably have to pay the damn £4000 to 6000. Because we're moving just too early.

How has everything got so expensive in the UK? Twice the price you pay in France in the rare occasions when you actually need to pay at all? Harsh.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 10:08:30 AM EST
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U.S. Retools Economy,  Curbing Thirst for Oil

The U.S. economy is starting to figure out how to curb its legendary appetite for energy.

Consumers are buying fewer sport-utility vehicles and more energy-saving washing machines. Some trucking companies have rejiggered their engines to max out at lower speeds. Gridlock is easing in California. Americans drove 9.66 billion fewer miles in May than they did a year earlier, a 3.7% decline, according to the Transportation Department.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 07:35:19 AM EST
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