Watch the movies of the world at 1° – 6° temperature change: National Geographic
China has lost about one tenth of its forest resources to recent snow storms regarded as the most severe in half a century, state media reported Sunday.A total of 43 million acres of forest have been damaged across China as the result of three weeks of savage winter weather, the China Daily website said, citing the State Forestry Administration.
More than half the country’s provinces have been affected, and in the worst-hit regions, nearly 90 percent of forests have been destroyed, according to the paper.
The looming U.S. Navy attempt to shoot down a dying satellite could demonstrate an anti-satellite capability for its missile defense system.
A successful kill would mark the first time the United States uses a tactical missile to destroy a spacecraft – assuming that the ship-based missile defense system can handle the high closing speed of more than 22,000 mph.
“Everything becomes much more stressful at these large closing speeds,” said Geoffrey Forden, MIT physicist and space expert. “But if they do hit it, that’d be very impressive, and that’d be proof that it has ASAT [anti-satellite] capability.”
“I would tell audiences that we were facing not a bubble but a froth – lots of small, local bubbles that never grew to a scale that could threaten the health of the overall economy.” Alan Greenspan, The Age of Turbulence.
That used to be Mr Greenspan’s view of the US housing bubble. He was wrong, alas. So how bad might this downturn get? To answer this question we should ask a true bear. My favourite one is Nouriel Roubini of New York University’s Stern School of Business, founder of RGE monitor.
Recently, Professor Roubini’s scenarios have been dire enough to make the flesh creep. But his thinking deserves to be taken seriously. He first predicted a US recession in July 2006*. At that time, his view was extremely controversial. It is so no longer. Now he states that there is “a rising probability of a ‘catastrophic’ financial and economic outcome”**. The characteristics of this scenario are, he argues: “A vicious circle where a deep recession makes the financial losses more severe and where, in turn, large and growing financial losses and a financial meltdown make the recession even more severe.”
Prof Roubini is even fonder of lists than I am. Here are his 12 – yes, 12 – steps to financial disaster.
Children across Britain face being given a criminal record if they are caught holding a can of beer, under new plans being considered by the Government.The measure would mean any person under the age of 18 caught just holding an alcoholic beverage may be tarnished with a conviction, which would need to be declared to future employers.
The proposals follow recent warnings from Home Secretary Jacqui Smith that the police would be given greater powers to remove alcohol from youngsters.
Criminal record: Children caught holding a can of beer could face a conviction
But civil liberty campaigners and union bosses warned that such intrusive measures by the Home Office would destroy the relationship of trust between GPs and their patients or social workers and clients.
They would also put professionals at risk of reprisals if they are seen as police informers.
Opposition MPs said recent fiascos involving huge quantities of personal data lost or leaked by the Government raised grave doubts over plans for sharing and swapping private data.
The scheme, outlined in the Government’s latest Tackling Violence Action Plan, will mean redrafting the NHS’s strict privacy protection rules to encourage health staff to share patients’ confidential data as part of “public interest disclosures”.
The document sets out plans for identifying individuals who may not have committed any offences but are judged to be at risk of involvement in violence”.
Tell-tale signs of those ‘whose behaviour may be identified as risky’ include drug addicts or alcoholics, mental health patients and youngsters who join gangs or who have been the victims of violence either in the home or on the street.
In the Steven Spielberg film Minority Report crimes were prevented before they had even ocurred
…Not a single chemical has been tested…
…”In eleven years all that’s happened – all that’s happened, is the committee has come up with a list, a potential list of chemicals that should be tested. In eleven years,” said Prof. Tyrone Hayes….
… “If you are a male frog exposed to attrazine at very low ecologically relevant levels you become a hermaphrodite,” said Professor Hayes…
… “The current system of regulating chemicals is really broken,” said Bill Walker from the Environmental Working Group…
A recently unclassified report from the Pentagon from 1998 has revealed an investigation into using laser beams for a few intriguing potential methods of non-lethal torture. Some of the applications the report investigated include putting voices in people’s heads, using lasers to trigger uncontrolled neuron firing, and slowly heating the human body to a point of feverish confusion – all from hundreds of meters away.
A US citizen requested access to the document, entitled “Bioeffects of Selected Non-Lethal Weapons,” under the Freedom of Information Act a little over a year ago. There is no evidence that any of the technologies mentioned in the 10-year-old report have been developed since the time it was written. (Of course not!.)
US banks have been quietly borrowing massive amounts of money from the Federal Reserve in recent weeks by using a new measure the Fed introduced two months ago to help ease the credit crunch.
The use of the Fed’s Term Auction Facility, which allows banks to borrow at relatively attractive rates against a wider range of their assets than previously permitted, saw borrowing of nearly $50bn of one-month funds from the Fed by mid-February.
Source: Financial Times
By: Gillian Tett, Feb 18, 2008
Former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton are urging Americans to take steps to better prepare themselves, their families and businesses for emergencies.