Earth’s atmosphere recently crossed 400 ppm CO2 for the first time in millions of years and probably will not go back below that amount during any of our lifetimes. (http://tinyurl.com/bus4xpt). But did you know there’s something else changing in the atmosphere to go along with that CO2 rise?

It’s pictured in this graph. This gas is going down, decreasing in the atmosphere as CO2 goes up. That gas? Oxygen. Oxygen in the atmosphere is decreasing.

Be honest…did you just stop and take a deep breath? It really is kinda creepy to realize that the gas everyone is taught as a kid they need to survive is going down in the atmosphere.

Anyway, why is oxygen going down? The same reason that carbon is going up; burning of fossil fuels.

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“Differences? Sure, there are differences. Differences of costume. Differences of food. Differences of manner and custom and religious beliefs. Different attitudes towards women. Differences galore. But what of it? You aren’t going to Iraq to change the Iraqis. Just the opposite. We are fighting this war to preserve the principle of ‘live and let live.’ ”

With an emphasis on the “let live” part, I guess? This pocket guide combines practical Arabic phrases, advice to “keep away from mosques,” and strategic context for understanding the roundabout importance of Iraq in the fight against Hitler. As always, Iraq is “a hot spot in more way than one”:

  • land-bridge for Axis forces
  • Persian Gulf as a “back-door” for supplying Russian forces
  • and oil fields, naturally. 

United States. Department of War. (1943). A short guide to Iraq. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. Full text via the Internet Archive.

China suffers legal blow in South China Sea, U.S. urges caution

China risks violating international law if it continues to strike a defiant tone and ignores an arbitration court ruling that denies its claims in the South China Sea despite calls from the United States and the head of the United Nations for the peaceful resolution of disputes in the oil-rich waters.

In a case that was seen as a test of China’s rising power and its economic and strategic rivalry with the United States, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled on Tuesday that China had  breached the Philippines’ sovereign rights by endangering Philippine ships and fishing and oil projects.

The United States, which China has accused of fuelling tensions and militarizing the region with patrols and exercises, said the ruling should be treated as final and binding.

“We certainly would urge all parties not to use this as an opportunity to engage in escalatory or provocative action,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters in a briefing.

The ruling is significant as it is the first time that a legal challenge has been brought in the dispute, which covers some of the world’s most promising oil and gas fields and fishing areas.

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said Washington has seen signs in recent weeks of continued militarization by China in the South China Sea. President Barack Obama’s top Asia policy adviser, Daniel Kritenbrink, said the United States had no interest in stirring tensions in the South China Sea as a pretext for involvement in the region.

“We have an enduring interest in seeing territorial and maritime disputes in the Asia Pacific, including in the South China Sea, resolved peacefully, without coercion and in a manner that is consistent with international law,” Kritenbrink said at a forum of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.