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The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Dec 18th, 2011 at 11:54:39 AM EST
Manning being gay soldier is key to defense - USATODAY.com

FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) - Lawyers for the Army private charged in the biggest leak of classified information in U.S. history say he was influenced by his struggles with being a gay soldier as protesters rallied this weekend in his support on both coasts.

The military hearing continued Sunday to determine whether Pfc. Bradley Manning will stand trial at a court-martial for allegedly slipping a trove of government secrets to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks while working as an intelligence analyst in Iraq in 2009 and 2010. The release included Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, State Department cables and a military video of a 2007 American helicopter attack in Iraq that killed 11 men.

The Obama administration says the released information has threatened valuable military and diplomatic sources and strained America's relations with other governments. Manning's lawyers counter that much of the information that was classified by the Pentagon posed no risk.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Dec 18th, 2011 at 12:34:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Women's Response to Alcohol Suggests Need for Gender-Specific Treatment Programs: Scientific American

Alcohol abuse does its neurological damage more quickly in women than in men, new research suggests. The finding adds to a growing body of evidence that is prompting researchers to consider whether the time is ripe for single-gender treatment programs for alcohol-dependent women and men.

Over the past few decades scientists have observed a narrowing of the gender gap in alcohol dependence. In the 1980s the ratio of male to female alcohol dependence stood at roughly five males for every female, according to figures compiled by Shelly Greenfield, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. By 2002 the "dependence difference" had dropped to about 2.5 men for every woman. But although the gender gap in dependence may be closing, differences in the ways men and women respond to alcohol are emerging. Writing in the January 2012 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, principal investigator Claudia Fahlke from the Department of Psychology at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and her colleagues found that alcohol's ability to reduce serotonin neurotransmission, was "telescoped" in alcoholic women compared with their male counterparts. In other words, although the alcohol-dependent men and women in the study differed substantially in their mean duration of excessive drinking--four years for the women and 14 years for the men--both sexes showed similar patterns of reduced serotonin activity compared with controls. The researchers gauged serotonergic neurotransmission by measuring its response to citalopram, a drug that stalls serotonin molecules in the synaptic gap (as measured by the hormone prolactin's response to citalopram. This pattern of reduced serotonergic neurotransmission matters, because some of the alcohol-induced abnormalities were found in brain regions involved in judgment, self-control and emotional regulation.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Dec 18th, 2011 at 12:34:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Translating Calorie Counts into Exercise Equivalents Leads to Healthier Choices | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network

By mid-2012, coffee shops and burger joints across the country will be required to prominently display nutritional information about their food products. Many of the larger franchises are already doing this. But does knowing the number of calories in a caramel latte make you more likely to choose a fat-free coffee?

Unfortunately, no--most studies have found that caloric signage has little or no impact on the food choices that customers make. But that may be because people don't have a clear idea about what those calories mean, suggests Sara Bleich, a health policy expert at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

"When my husband eats junk food, he always says he'll burn it off later," Bleich says. "And I'm thinking, `No you won't, honey.' "

The 250 calories in a bottle of soda may not sound like much, but to work off those calories, a 15-year-old weighing 110 pounds would have to jog for 50 minutes, ride a bicycle for 73 minutes, or walk briskly for two hours. Adults would have to work even harder, to compensate for their slower metabolism. In a recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health, Bleich found that translating calories into a physical activity equivalent can help customers make healthier choices.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Dec 18th, 2011 at 12:34:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Malaria Deaths Falling Slowly, WHO Report Says | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network

In the long fight against malaria, progress finally seems to be coming, if incrementally. The number of people who died from malaria in 2010 fell 5 percent from the previous year and has dropped 26 percent from 2000 levels, according to a new World Health Organization (WHO) report.

The decline might seem modest given the $2 billion that has been given to fight the disease in the past year. But even this small most recent dip suggests that "investment in malaria control brings results," Margaret Chan, director-general of the WHO, said in a statement.

The parasitic disease killed approximately 655,000 people in 2010, most of whom were children under the age of 5. The preponderance of malaria cases is still in Africa, where people are also more likely to succumb to the disease.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Dec 18th, 2011 at 12:35:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Desertification has its upside apparently.
by Andhakari on Mon Dec 19th, 2011 at 03:56:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Meteorite shockwaves trigger dust avalanches on Mars

ScienceDaily (Dec. 16, 2011) -- Dust avalanches around impact craters on Mars appear to be the result of the shock wave preceding the actual impact, according to a study led by an undergraduate student at the University of Arizona.

When a meteorite careens toward the dusty surface of the Red Planet, it kicks up dust and can cause avalanching even before the rock from outer space hits the ground, a research team led by an undergraduate student at the University of Arizona has discovered.

"We expected that some of the streaks of dust that we see on slopes are caused by seismic shaking during impact," said Kaylan Burleigh, who led the research project. "We were surprised to find that it rather looks like shockwaves in the air trigger the avalanches even before the impact."

Because of Mars' thin atmosphere, which is 100 times less dense than Earth's, even small rocks that would burn up or break up before they could hit the ground here on Earth crash into the Martian surface relatively unimpeded.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Dec 18th, 2011 at 12:35:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
High-Altitude Nuclear Explosions Dangerous, but not for Reasons Gingrich Cites | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network

Newt Gingrich has been warning the nation of the danger of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP)--a burst of radiation created by a high-altitude nuclear explosion. This pulse would take down electrical systems over hundreds or thousands of miles, the argument goes, knocking the U.S. back to the 19th Century. "In theory, a relatively small device over Omaha would knock out about half the electricity generated in the United States," he was quoted as saying by the New York Times. In Gingrich's view, the threat of an EMP attack justifies actions such as pre-emptive strikes on the missile instillations of nations such as Iran and North Korea.

The threat of an EMP attack is real--assuming, of course, that a nation or organization develops not only nuclear weapons but intercontinental ballistic missiles and the will to deploy them. Yet the primary target of an EMP wouldn't be ground-based power systems. It would be satellites.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Dec 18th, 2011 at 12:38:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EMP is one of those elephants in the living room that nobody likes to take seriously. Sort of like the thousands of missiles armed with hydrogen bombs and still on alert that nobody talks about.
by asdf on Sun Dec 18th, 2011 at 07:59:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I always take the view that if somebody is gonna go to the trouble of creating EMP, you're already in bigger trouble with ground based explosions.

And fact is, it's far easier and less technologically challenging to put a bomb in a container and ship it to the US. Even if you restricted yourself to ship board detonation, you could still make a mess of several populous and strategic coastal cities.

The US is a techie country and is always guarding against hi-tech threats. Fact is, with the infrastructure in the state it is, you could probably cripple the US with one ton of C4 spread around the right places.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 19th, 2011 at 03:47:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Archdruid Report
One of the things that makes the predicament of industrial society so difficult for most people to notice, in fact, is that its effects are woven so deeply into the patterns of everyday life. Over the last decade, for example, crude oil prices have more than tripled; over the last decade, behind a froth of speculative booms and busts, the world's industrial economies have lurched deeper into depression. Peak oil researchers have pointed out for years that the former trend would bring about the latter, but long after events proved them right, the connection still remains unnoticed by most people.

To be fair, the way most people and nearly all economists think about economics makes this sort of blindness to the obvious hard to avoid. It's standard these days to treat the circulation of money--the tertiary economy, to use a term from my book The Wealth of Nature--as though it's all that matters, and to insist that the cycles of nature and the production of goods and services (the primary and secondary economies) will inevitably do whatever we want them to do, so long as there's enough money. This is why, for instance, you'll hear economists insisting that the soaring price of oil is good for the economy; after all, all the money being spent to buy oil is getting spent in turn on other things, right?

What this ignores, of course, is the fact that the price of oil is going up, in large part, because petroleum is getting steadily more difficult to extract as we exhaust the easily accessible sources, and so the cost of oil production is going up while the amount of oil being produced is not. As a growing fraction of industrial civilization's capacity to produce goods and services has to be diverted into oil extraction in order to keep the oil flowing, the amount of that capacity that can be used for anything else decreases accordingly. Notice, though, that this diversion isn't an obvious thing; it happens one transaction at a time, throughout the economy, as laborers, raw materials, capital, and a thousand other things go into oil production instead of some other economic sector.

screwed, blued, tattooed!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Dec 19th, 2011 at 03:14:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Right after this, Greer references the article

Growth, debt, and the World Bank
by Herman Daly

which is worth an LQD!

by das monde on Mon Dec 19th, 2011 at 05:35:01 AM EST
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