150-years

Capitalism Could Kill All Life on Earth

Are we going to let capitalism destroy life on Earth?

According to 99 percent of climate scientists – we’ll know by the end of the century.

Scientists have agreed for three decades about what is causing atmospheric temperatures to rise – humans are burning Earth’s carbon resources to fuel economic activity.

But even before we knew what was causing the temperature to rise – scientists warned about the dire global impacts of a two degree increase in atmospheric temperatures.

Earth’s climate has been basically stable for hundreds of thousands of years.

But that changed during the industrial revolution - when Great Britain realized the potential of coal-powered steam engines.

Soon continental Europe and the US followed suit.

And more than 150 years later – coal, oil and natural gas dominate the global politics and economics: wars are fought over oil; communities are destroyed for coal; and increasingly scarce water supplies are poisoned by natural gas extraction.

The Earth has already warmed about one degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels - which means we have to change our energy system completely before the Earth warms another degree in order to avoid the catastrophic impacts of climate change.

Is it possible?

Scientists say “Yes!” - BUT it will require us to take bold and immediate steps towards a completely renewable energy system.

The technology exists – the shortfall is in investment.

According to the IMF – oil companies get $5.3 trillion in subsidies worldwide per year.

And the oil companies pay only a portion – if any – of the environmental costs of ripping fossil fuels from the ground and burning the CO2 into the atmosphere.

In other words, every living human being and government are paying for coal, oil, and gas companies to profit from the destruction our planet.

And that’s not a market failure – that’s how the market was set up.

Capitalism as we know it isn’t the solution – it’s the problem.

In a report in “Nature Climate Change” – scientists point out that we can keep temperatures below 1.5 degrees Celsius – if every country takes bold and immediate action to deploy current clean energy and limit the use of fossil fuels.

The biggest failure in our system is that there is no price on carbon.

Burning fossil fuels and releasing carbon into our atmosphere has very real costs that corporations aren’t paying for – costs that are being kicked down the road for future generations.

In the US, we’ve let the fossil fuel industry become so profitable that it relentlessly funds campaigns and lobbies to keep oil subsidies in place and weaken environmental regulations - all at the expense of our communities and our planet.

Our current oligarchs claim that renewable power isn’t efficient or cheap enough to be competitive or to reliably replace fossil fuels – but that’s just not true.

Solar, wind, and wave technology are all ready to be deployed at large scales – and Denmark, Germany, the UK and China, among others, are doing it right now.

Our transportation system is ready for renewables – solar roadways in the Netherlands are proving more effective than expected – and over two dozen models of electric cars are now out on the market.

Our households are ready for renewables: LED lightbulbs and high efficiency appliances mean that households use less energy – and affordable rooftop solar means that households can meet a lot their own energy needs.

We can make renewables competitive if we just cut subsidies to oil and coal companies and enforce our clean air and clean water regulations – but that means getting money out of politics so that legislation is written in the interest of communities and the planet - instead of corporations.

Capitalism is great at creating profits and products – but it doesn’t care about environmental justice.

Capitalism doesn’t care whether we restore our forests and soils so that the planet can begin to reabsorb the carbon we’ve dumped into the atmosphere.

Capitalism doesn’t care whether streams are poisoned or if the air is noxious – it doesn’t care if a river burns because of pollution – and it doesn’t care if another technology is ‘cleaner’ - unless the 'dirty’ option becomes unprofitable.

That’s why we need both more regulation of the fossil fuel industry - and public investments into clean energy like solar and wind.

Capitalism is to make money - but a government like our republic is put into place to protect the people from those whose quest for money harms society. We cannot replace democratic government with capitalism – and climate change proves this.

In fact - climate change challenges capitalism at its very root – is an economy really growing when all the costs are dumped on society while a handful of corporations and billionaires take all the profits?

Science says that we can keep global temperatures from rising another half degree – but it can’t be left to a private sector that makes its profits from leaving the costs to everybody else.

It’s time for a New Green Deal – we need to stop directly and indirectly subsidizing the fossil fuel industry and we need to invest in a large-scale deployment of current clean energy technologies – one that will create permanent, sustainable jobs, and protect the Earth for future generations.

Source:- http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/31000-capitalism-could-kill-all-life-on-earthhttp://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/31000-capitalism-could-kill-all-life-on-earth

Got bored last night, decided to doodle my main in Wakfu.

I’ve come up with all sorts of silly ideas for this guy. Like that he was named for his first words. He’s about 150 years old, and Enutrof hasn’t turned his hair grey yet because he’s got such a bad habit of giving things away.

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German lifeboat Hermann Helms battling rough seas at winds of 9 Beaufort in the German Bight

150 years ago, on May 29, 1865, the Deutsche Gesellschaft zur Rettung Schiffbrüchiger (DGzRS, German Society for the Rescue of Shipwrecked) was founded after two disastrous strandings had happened in short succession, which had alerted the public.

Nowadays, the society, which entirely financed by membership fees, private donations and legycies, is the national maritime search and rescue organization of Germany. It operates 61 vessels at 54 stations in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.

Due to the dangerous nature of the North Sea with frequently occurring rough seas, a sturdy type of cruisers was developed in the 1950s, being capable of handling extreme sea and breakers. At the same time, the units have to be capable of operating in the shallow waters near the coast. To that end, the cruisers carry a daughter boat that can be deployed and taken up again within seconds. Most cruisers used to have an open helm to optimize vision and auditory inputs for the crew. This feature is being abandoned in the latest generation of cruisers for safety reasons.

There’s bound to be a lot of Star Wars posts today, but let me call your attention to another significant fact of May 4th. A careful reading of the text shows that Alice visited Wonderland on this day. And as the book was published in 1865, this would mark the 150th anniversary of a certain journey down the rabbit hole.

Try and make someone’s day a little weirder.

Evolution’s New Frontiers

by Tomoko Ohta

Recent breakthroughs in our understanding of molecular mechanisms have revolutionized many fields of biology, including cell biology and developmental biology. So it is no surprise that these advances are providing valuable insights into the field of evolutionary biology as well, including evidence supporting the nearly neutral theory of molecular evolution that I developed in 1973.

As is typical in science, each new discovery in evolutionary biology raises as many questions as it answers. Indeed, my field is now going through one of the most dynamic periods in its 150-year history.

For roughly a century after the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, scientists believed that genetic mutations were governed by a process similar to that described by the father of natural selection. The idea was that individuals with superior genetic variants would be more likely to survive, reproduce, and pass on their genes than those without them.

As a result, harmful mutations would quickly die out. Beneficial ones would spread until the entire species carried them. Evolutionary changes, including morphological ones, were thought to be the result of the accumulation and distribution of beneficial mutations, and the genetic makeup of populations was believed to be close to homogeneous, with only a few rare, random mutations creating differences between one individual and another.

That view was challenged by the discovery of DNA. As it became possible to analyze an individual’s genetic makeup, it become apparent that there was much more variation within populations than prevailing evolutionary theory predicted. Indeed, individuals could have similar traits but very different gene sequences. This appeared to contradict the principles of natural selection.

One of the first attempts to square the theory with the evidence was proposed by my late colleague Motoo Kimura, who posited the existence of neutral mutations – gene variants that are neither advantageous nor harmful to an individual, and therefore not influenced by natural selection. Kimura examined the rate of evolutionary change of proteins and proposed the neutral theory of molecular evolution in 1968. His theory – which held that evolutionary changes at the molecular level are caused not by natural selection, but by random genetic drift – provided a good explanation for the genetic variation that researchers had discovered.

Kimura’s theory was simple and elegant, but the classification of mutations into the distinct classes – beneficial, neutral, or harmful – seemed too simple to me. My own work showed that borderline mutations, those with very small positive or negative effects, could be very important in driving evolutionary changes. This insight was the basis of the nearly neutral theory of molecular evolution.

The explosion of data on genomes and population genetics in the twenty-first century has not only lent new support to my 42-year-old theory; it has also uncovered broad new areas of research. Our knowledge of the structure and function of proteins, for example, has been greatly expanded through the discovery of dynamic folding processes. These are thought to provide flexibility in how proteins function, in a way that may be connected to nearly-neutral mutations.

Among the most interesting challenges in evolutionary biology is the attempt to identify the molecular mechanisms of gene expression that drive morphological evolution. The field is in the process of gaining a better understanding of a host of complex systems within individual cells. These molecular-level systems are at the heart of epigenetics – the study of changes in genetic function that cannot be explained by differences in DNA sequences.

Epigenetics is crucial for comprehending the link between the genetic composition, or genotype, and the traits we can actually observe. In higher organisms – such as humans – epigenetic processes are controlled by chromatin, a complex of macromolecules inside cells consisting of DNA, protein, and RNA. The way chromatin works is, in turn, shaped by genetic and environmental factors, making their functioning difficult to grasp. These rapidly evolving, highly variable macromolecules are well worth studying, however, as they may be the cause of some human diseases.

Another factor in the relationship between genetic composition and observable traits is the way that proteins can sometimes be modified. For example, protein enzymes can be turned on and off, thereby altering their function and activity. This process, like other forms of genetic expression, seems to be driven by a combination of innate and environmental factors.

No single mechanism, it seems, can be studied in isolation; at a very basic level, factors like selection, drift, and epigenetics work together and become inseparable. The deeper we dive into what we once thought were straight-forward evolutionary processes, the more wondrous and complex they are revealed to be.

Source:- http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/evolutionary-biology-genetic-expression-by-tomoko-ohta-2015-05

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St. Moritz

The concept of international winter tourism, so the story goes, started with a bet between gentlemen.
By the mid-19th century, the Swiss Alps were a popular summer destination for aristocratic visitors in search of clean air, but in 1864, Johannes Badrutt, the owner of St Moritz’s Kulm Hotel, was looking for ways to develop a winter season too. His solution was a wager with four departing British guests: come back for the winter, he told them, and they would find crisp sunny weather quite unlike the damp winters at home. If they weren’t able to sit on the hotel terrace in their shirt sleeves, he promised, he would personally pay all their travel expenses.
They duly returned shortly before Christmas and, delighted by what they found, stayed until Easter.
Soon word spread among the upper classes, Badrutt set about developing St Moritz as an all-year resort and Alpine winter tourism was born. This season St. Moritz is celebrating 150 years of tourism. 150 years of excellence.

Gentleman’s Essentials

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I’m honored to be in this video which doesn’t just showcase the last 10 years of online video, it showcases the last 150 years of moving picture technology. Pretty frikkin cool.

150 Years of the Tube

Tfl has released a new campaign to celebrate 150 years of the Tube. Created by its ad agency, M&C Saatchi, the poster and interactive moving images are to be rolled out across the underground network.

The campaign consists of passengers from different periods of time, throughout the tube’s history, travelling on escalators, which will be seen by the commuters of today.

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Franklin D. Roosevelt respected and admired President Abraham Lincoln, often invoking the former president’s legacy in rhetoric that addressed the defining battles of his own time. In commemorating  the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, FDR closed his 1938 speech with the following lines:

“It is another conflict, a conflict as fundamental as Lincoln’s, fought not with glint of steel, but with appeals to reason and justice on a thousand fronts—seeking to save for our common country opportunity and security for citizens in a free society. We are near to winning this battle. In its winning and through the years may we live by the wisdom and the humanity of the heart of Abraham Lincoln.”

Dr. John E. Washington, author of the book, They Knew Lincoln, a history of the President’s White House staff, gave this photograph of historic pieces to FDR in 1942. Fixed to the photo is a small “Lock of hair removed from Pres. Lincoln’s head by Wm. Slade his messenger while preparing the body for burial,” and a small “Piece of dress worn by Mrs. Lincoln the night of the assassination showing blood of Pres. Lincoln. Given by Mrs. Slade to her cousin Mrs. Brooks.”

Infographic: Preventing Childhood Obesity

Here are some ways to prevent childhood obesity:

  • Discourage sedentary activities by undoing the last 150 years of technological progress.
  • Make healthy tweaks to favorite dishes, cutting back on the salt, fat, and sugars that are the sole basis of their appeal.
  • Carefully cut open a bag of Doritos, replace the chips with chopped celery, and reseal the bag. If your child is confused, respond, “Huh, I guess they changed the Doritos formula.

Read more tips here

The American robin lent its name to a striking shade of blue, but the vivid hue may have been colouring eggs long before the bird evolved – perhaps long before any birds evolved. It may have appeared in the dinosaur ancestors of birds that lived 150 million years ago.

Continue Reading.

Grace Joel was born 150 years ago today

Grace Jane Joel (28 May 1865 – 6 March 1924), was New Zealand painter of British-Jewish descent.

Her biography at the Encyclopedia of New Zealand highlights the dilemma faced by many artists of European descent in her time: seek fame in Europe or establish oneself at home? Ultimately, she chose Europe, and departed in 1899 after studying art in New Zealand and Australia. She settled in London but also painted in France and the Netherlands. She exhibited at the Royal Academy of arts in London and at the Société des artistes français in Paris. She never married and had no children. Although she was never able “to impose her work in the European arena,” at the time of her death “she was able to bequeath £500 to endow a scholarship at the National Gallery School in Melbourne for painting from the nude.“

In honour of her birthday, I’ll be posting some of my favourite paintings by Grace Joel today and tomorrow.

(Photo via Jewish Online Museum)