Must See: Pictures of Iowa Flooding

June 17, 2008

Pictures: Source: The Boston Globe

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The Best Farmland in the U.S. Is Flooded; Most Americans Are Too Stupid to Panic

The Sunspot Enigma: The Sun is “Dead”—What Does it Mean for Earth?

Dark spots, some as large as 50,000 miles in diameter, typically move across the surface of the sun, contracting and expanding as they go. These strange and powerful phenomena are known as sunspots, but now they are all gone. Not even solar physicists know why it’s happening and what this odd solar silence might be indicating for our future.

Although periods of inactivity are normal for the sun, this current period has gone on much longer than usual and scientists are starting to worry-at least a little bit. Recently 100 scientists from Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa and North America gathered to discuss the issue at an international solar conference at Montana State University. Today’s sun is as inactive as it was two years ago, and solar physicists don’t have a clue as to why.

“It continues to be dead,” said Saku Tsuneta with the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, program manager for the Hinode solar mission, noting that it is at least a little bit worrisome for scientists.

Dana Longcope, a solar physicist at MSU, said the sun usually operates on an 11-year cycle with maximum activity occurring in the middle of the cycle. The last cycle reached its peak in 2001 and is believed to be just ending now, Longcope said. The next cycle is just beginning and is expected to reach its peak sometime around 2012. But so far nothing is happening.

“It’s a dead face,” Tsuneta said of the sun’s appearance.

Tsuneta said solar physicists aren’t weather forecasters and they can’t predict the future. They do have the ability to observe, however, and they have observed a longer-than-normal period of solar inactivity. In the past, they observed that the sun once went 50 years without producing sunspots. That period coincided with a little ice age on Earth that lasted from 1650 to 1700. Coincidence? Some scientists say it was, but many worry that it wasn’t.

Geophysicist Phil Chapman, the first Australian to become an astronaut with NASA, said pictures from the US Solar and Heliospheric Observatory also show that there are currently no spots on the sun. He also noted that the world cooled quickly between January last year and January this year, by about 0.7C.

“This is the fastest temperature change in the instrumental record, and it puts us back to where we were in 1930,” Dr Chapman noted in The Australian recently.

If the world does face another mini Ice Age, it could come without warning. Evidence for abrupt climate change is readily found in ice cores taken from Greenland and Antarctica. One of the best known examples of such an event is the Younger Dryas cooling, which occurred about 12,000 years ago, named after the arctic wildflower found in northern European sediments. This event began and ended rather abruptly, and for its entire 1000 year duration the North Atlantic region was about 5°C colder. Could something like this happen again? There’s no way to tell, and because the changes can happen all within one decade-we might not even see it coming.

Read moreThe Sunspot Enigma: The Sun is “Dead”—What Does it Mean for Earth?

Water Restoration Act May Lead to Privatization of Water Supply

(NaturalNews) The fate of the nation’s water supply is under debate as hearings in the House and Senate begin on the Water Restoration Act of 2007. Opponents claim this Act threatens to greatly expand the Federal Government’s roll in water management. This Act would define waters of the U.S. as “all interstate and intrastate waters and their tributaries, including lakes, rivers, streams (including intermittent streams) mudflats, sand flats, wetlands, sloughs, prairie potholes, wet meadows, playa lakes, natural ponds, and all impoundments of the foregoing”. In other words, this bill will give the federal government total control of the most basic of all commodities necessary to life on this earth.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers currently have authority over all waters considered navigable in the U.S. The Code of Federal Regulations 33 CFR 329.4 defines navigable waters as “those waters that are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide and/or presently used, or have been used in the past, or may be susceptible for use to transport interstate or foreign commerce.”

The Water Restoration Act, a bipartisan bill lead/sponsored by Congressman Oberstar, is an amendment to the Federal Water Pollution Act, commonly known as the Clean Water Act. Since major amendments were enacted in 1977, the Clean Water Act protected all of the nation’s waters as Congress intended, until 2003, when the Bush administration gave in to pressure form corporate polluters and redefined the meaning of water. This happened through a bureaucratic device called a ‘guidance’, whereby the EPA instructed federal environmental law enforcers to back off from holding many polluters accountable.

Proponents of the Clean Water Restoration Act see it as restoring what was Congress’s original intent, that the Clean Water Act protect all of the nation’s waters. They see water quality and quantity issues as needing examination this spring, and believe now is the time for getting legislation to protect the water supply in order with the passage of this Act. They see the Act as offering needed protection from water pollution, from terrorists, and being in the interests of national security.

Is water a basic human right or a commodity?

Related article: UN rejects water as basic human right
Actually this should cause a global outrage and a revolution
. – The Infinite Unknown

Under the Public Trust doctrine, the government is prohibited from converting something such as water to the status of a commodity. Water is considered a basic human right that must remain in the public trust, meaning that it is so important to our survival that it should never be reclassified as a commodity. Many believe that the Water Restoration Act lays the foundation for removing water from the Public Trust and facilitating it to fall under the ownership and control of corporations as a commodity. This is similar to how seeds have fallen into corporate control when they were once viewed as part of the Public Trust under the assumption that all people have a right to seeds with which to grow food for themselves.

Commodity owning corporations can now sue the government if it acts in any way to prevent them from making profits they believe they are entitled to. This ability to sue for impaired profit making can be the result of environmental regulations, of Federal laws which may prevent the corporations from hiring illegal workers, or issues of eminent domain in which an individual’s land stands in the way of corporate earnings, and the courts have not acted to protect the interests of the corporation.

All the corporation has to do to supersede federal law is claim ‘trade illegal’ provisions of NAFTA and CAFTA. Federal laws and regulations are then put aside, along with property rights. CAFTA goes a long way in establishing the privatization of water supplies, including in-land navigated waters and the right to use and access the water supplies.

Federal control over all water may lead to its privatization

If the federal government is unable to gain total control of all water from whatever source, it is highly unlikely that water can be taken from the status of Public Trust and changed to that of commodity. If in fact the Water Restoration Act allows for the complete control of the federal government over all water in the country, as it opponents claim, water can loose its status as part of the Public Trust, and become a commodity available for corporate ownership.

The Water Restoration Act federalizes all inland and coastal waters from any source. This Act is needed to set the stage for the corporate privatization guaranteed under CAFTA, and would effectively convert the entire water supply from any source into the status of a commodity.

Read moreWater Restoration Act May Lead to Privatization of Water Supply

The Best Farmland in the U.S. Is Flooded; Most Americans Are Too Stupid to Panic

The best commentary I could offer is a link to a previous story:

World’s Largest Maker of Crop Nutrients: Famines May Occur Without Record Harvests

But I’ll ramble on a bit more about this, anyway.

As soon as I became aware of the flooding situation in the American Midwest, I posted the story with the EMERGENCY prefix on the title. Just so we’re clear, when I write EMERGENCY at the beginning of a post title, this is my way of indicating that the situation is as serious as it gets. It means that I feel as though everyone reading should consider taking immediate evasive action. All the jawboning about conspiracy, how things could have been, how things should be, etc. are behind us now. You know, EMERGENCY, act fast, eyes wide, nostrils flared, etc.

While the food supply situation has skated along a knife edge so far this year, with higher prices and many countries experiencing food riots, widespread famine did not take hold. In an incredible move, the Japanese quietly eased rice shortages by releasing portions of their imported rice stockpiles-from giant warehouses in Tokyo-into the system; a welcome but one off blip in the big picture. What happens next time?

Now, this growing season, when yields need to be at record levels to avert disaster, what do we find? Floods or droughts in several of the breadbaskets of the world.

Whatever your plans are, I hope that you’re ready to execute them (or, better yet, are executing them). I’m pretty sure that most people have done nothing, and I don’t know why this continues to amaze me.

How can so many people, even those who should know better, be content to hit the wall without doing anything at all to change course? This includes my own family, who lives in Southern California.

I view Southern California as one of the most dangerous death traps in the world. Since it’s such an important focus of economic activity, though, I like to keep tabs on herd activity there, just for my own situational awareness. I can’t get a meaningful response from my dad-who thinks that traffic jams everywhere in the region and at all times of the day and night represent ‘progress’-I emailed someone there who’s about to flee to a country in Northern Europe. I asked if there was even a subtle sense of panic setting in with regard to the food and fuel prices. Here is part of the response I received:

I have noticed that most people don’t even have instinct enough to panic and hoard, and they wouldn’t know *what* to hoard. They don’t cook, they don’t know what a ‘staple’ means. A young woman in my training last week brought animal crackers and cheese ruffles for breakfast, and a box of Cheezits and Coke Zero for lunch. I asked her mockingly if she’d tried fruit or vegetables, she said she couldn’t afford them. I once saw a woman behind me at Ralphs with food stamps, and she was buying cottage cheese, dry pinto beans, and wheat bread, and told her kid to put the Doritos back. If you don’t have that kind of sense to begin with, the current situation is not going to give it to you.

We’re now well into a phase where system maintenance depends on the inability of the herd to grasp the nature of the immanent threat. “Yes, Kevin,” you say. “Same as it ever was.”

I don’t think so. The food situation is far off the radar screens of Joe Average. It only becomes a problem after it’s too late to do anything substantive to ameliorate conditions. We’ve already seen food riots, armed escorts for grain deliveries, rationing, sharply higher prices. And still, I’m mostly noticing yawns and drugged gurgles from the herd. Meanwhile, the die is all but cast on this year’s lower crop yields.

If the herd had any idea of what was coming, this show would be over inside of 24 hours. You might be sick of reading this on Cryptogon, but, it’s worth repeating: Use your time wisely.

Via: Financial Times:

Consumers were warned to expect even sharper increases in global food prices after US officials said that some of the country’s best farmland was facing its worst flooding for 15 years.

Agriculture officials and traders said the damage could push up worldwide corn and soyabean prices, which have spiralled in recent days as floods have swamped crops in parts of Iowa, the US’s biggest corn-producing state.

The warning comes at a time when high food prices are already sparking protests across the developing world.

Corn futures in Chicago this week rose to record highs of more than $8 a bushel on fears that up to 5m acres of the crop could be lost, while soyabean prices hit a record of $15.93 a bushel.

Read moreThe Best Farmland in the U.S. Is Flooded; Most Americans Are Too Stupid to Panic

Mississippi overflows levees, crops threatened

The swollen Mississippi River ran over the top of at least 12 more levees on Wednesday, as floodwaters swallowed up more U.S. farmland, adding to billion-dollar losses and feeding global food inflation fears.

Volunteers and aid workers were piling sandbags up and down the most important U.S. inland waterway to try to protect more levees and thousands of acres of prime crop land threatened as the river’s crest moves south after last week’s torrential rains.

About 10 levees were breached earlier this week, bringing the total to 22 on Wednesday. The levee breaches lowered the river level by letting water spill onto the surrounding land.

“Their misfortune had been our fortune. I’d rather it hadn’t come at the expense of others. But it is what it is,” said Steve Cirinna of Iowa’s Lee County Emergency Management Agency.

Read moreMississippi overflows levees, crops threatened

Five million face hunger in Zimbabwe, UN says

The United Nations has warned that more than five million Zimbabweans could be threatened by hunger next year due to a steady drop in food production coupled with the world’s highest rate of inflation.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Food Program said in a joint report that an estimated two million people in Zimbabwe will not have enough to eat in the summer months.

That figure is projected to rise to 3.8 million people after September and to about 5.1 million between January and March 2009, as the impact of President Robert Mugabe’s seizure of land from commercial farmers continues to take its toll. The population is just over 12 million people.

The southern African nation is predicted to produce 575,000 tons of its main seasonal crop of maize, a drop of 28 per cent compared with last year, which was already some 44 per cent below 2006 government figures. Other crops are expected to be similarly dented.

“Poverty has increased for the tenth year in a row and there is an annual inflation estimated at 355,000 percent,” said Kisan Gunjal, an FAO food emergency officer who worked on the report. “That is different than any other period in the history of Zimbabwe.”

Read moreFive million face hunger in Zimbabwe, UN says

Vanishing Topsoil Threatens Sustainability of Human Life on Earth

(NaturalNews) Earth’s topsoil is vanishing at such a rapid rate that scientists worry about the future of human food production.

“Globally, it’s clear we are eroding soils at a rate much faster than they can form,” said John Reganold, a soils scientist from Washington State University. “It’s hard to get people to pay much attention to this because, frankly, most of us take soil for granted.”

The Earth is covered with an average of only three feet of topsoil, the layer of dirt that provides the nutrients for most of the planet’s land vegetation, and is critical for producing food from agriculture. Healthy topsoil is a home to billions of beneficial microorganisms per handful, in addition to nutrients, fungi and worms that are critical to healthy plant life. But it forms very slowly, at a rate of only an inch or two per several hundred years. And around the world, topsoil is vanishing much faster than it forms.

“The estimate is that we are now losing about 1 percent of our topsoil every year to erosion, most of this caused by agriculture,” said David Montgomery, a geologist at the University of Washington and the author of the book “Dirt.”

The National Academy of Sciences estimates that U.S. cropland is eroding at 10 times the rate that it forms, and the United Nations has warned that soil degradation is a global crisis.

Read moreVanishing Topsoil Threatens Sustainability of Human Life on Earth

Why Al Gore is a Hypocrite and a Fraud: Energy Guzzled by Al Gore’s Home in Past Year Could Power 232 US Homes for a Month

Gore’s personal electricity consumption up 10%, despite “energy-efficient” home renovations


Global warming is a scam and the world is cooling. – You’ll experience this very soon.

NASHVILLE – In the year since Al Gore took steps to make his home more energy-efficient, the former Vice President’s home energy use surged more than 10%, according to the Tennessee Center for Policy Research.

“A man’s commitment to his beliefs is best measured by what he does behind the closed doors of his own home,” said Drew Johnson, President of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research. “Al Gore is a hypocrite and a fraud when it comes to his commitment to the environment, judging by his home energy consumption.”

In the past year, Gore’s home burned through 213,210 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity, enough to power 232 average American households for a month.

In February 2007, An Inconvenient Truth, a film based on a climate change speech developed by Gore, won an Academy Award for best documentary feature. The next day, the Tennessee Center for Policy Research uncovered that Gore’s Nashville home guzzled 20 times more electricity than the average American household.

After the Tennessee Center for Policy Research exposed Gore’s massive home energy use, the former Vice President scurried to make his home more energy-efficient. Despite adding solar panels, installing a geothermal system, replacing existing light bulbs with more efficient models, and overhauling the home’s windows and ductwork, Gore now consumes more electricity than before the “green” overhaul.

Read moreWhy Al Gore is a Hypocrite and a Fraud: Energy Guzzled by Al Gore’s Home in Past Year Could Power 232 US Homes for a Month

Should Government Aircraft Spray Chemicals on Residential Areas?

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Note to the government: When you unilaterally send aircraft to spray unfamiliar chemicals over residential areas, the public will get very worried.

Environmental activists will pick through mounds of official documents in an attempt to make sense of what you are doing: Will it affect our health?

Since material safety data sheets can make even the most benign molecules sound terrifically dangerous, vigilant citizens will express their concern about rather innocuous substances — damaging their credibility with the scientists who should listen to their objections — and making it hard to sort out any real threats. In some cases, the wording of those documents is so alarming that it could give activists reason to believe that the spraying is part of a mind control program.

Excerpt from LBAMspray.com:

Check this MSDS from Dupont one of the 3 ingredients listed includes “1,2-BENZISOTHIAZOLIN-3-ONE” which is in LBAM-F. See Page 2 under “Potential Health Effects” “SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS EFFECTS OF ACUTE OVEREXPOSURE: High oral doses can cause apathy (lack of feeling or emotion).”

Even if you have the best intentions, to eradicate a tiny moth that could destroy dozens of fruit crops, be prepared to explain your plans, and seek the approval of the public, before getting started with such a controversial program.

Example

Read moreShould Government Aircraft Spray Chemicals on Residential Areas?

Russia: Weather Manipulation

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian air force planes dropped a 25-kg (55-lb) sack of cement on a suburban Moscow home last week while seeding clouds to prevent rain from spoiling a holiday, Russian media said on Tuesday.

“A pack of cement used in creating … good weather in the capital region … failed to pulverize completely at high altitude and fell on the roof of a house, making a hole about 80-100 cm (2.5-3 ft),” police in Naro-Fominsk told agency RIA-Novosti.

Ahead of major public holidays the Russian Air Force often dispatches up to 12 cargo planes carrying loads of silver iodide, liquid nitrogen and cement powder to seed clouds above Moscow and empty the skies of moisture.

A spokesman for the Russian Air Force refused to comment.

June 12 was Russia Day, a patriotic holiday celebrating the country’s independence after the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Weather specialists said the cement’s failure to turn to powder was the first hiccup in 20 years.

The homeowner was not injured, but refused an offer of 50,000 roubles ($2,100) from the air force, saying she would sue for damages and compensation for moral suffering, Interfax said.

Read moreRussia: Weather Manipulation