Archive | June, 2011

Why people become chickenhawks – U.S. Military | All about American forces, Afghanistan, Iraq – Salon.com

30 Jun

Chicken-hawkery thrives in a post-universal-draft world where elites and their progeny don’t have to face the prospect of front-line duty.

For years, chickenhawkery’s roots in this culture of unshared sacrifice have been a matter of theory — albeit a logical, well-grounded theory. But now, thanks to a comprehensive new study, we have concrete data underscoring the hypothesis. It suggests that many Americans’ aggressively pro-war ideology may fundamentally rely on their being physically shielded/disconnected from the human cost of war.

To document this connection, Columbia’s Robert Erikson and University of California at Berkeley’s Laura Stoker went back to the Vietnam War — the last time Americans faced wartime conscription. The researchers analyzed data from the Jennings-Niemi Political Socialization Study of college-bound high schoolers and subsequent interviews of those same high-schoolers from 1965 onward. In the process, they discovered that men holding low draft lottery numbers (and therefore more at risk of being drafted into combat) “became more anti-war, more liberal, and more Democratic in their voting compared to those whose high numbers protected them from the draft.” Importantly, for these men “lottery number was a stronger influence on their political outlook than their late-childhood party identification.” …
No doubt, the antiwar voices who have recently argued for the reinstatement of a draft will find fuel in this Berkeley/Columbia report. They argue that viscerally connecting the entire nation to the blood-and-guts consequences of war will make the nation less reflexively supportive of war — and the new data substantively supports that assertion. That’s why in the midst of (at least) three U.S. military occupations, this report is almost sure to be ignored by our chickenhawk-dominated political class — because it too explicitly exposes the selfish, self-centered and abhorrent roots of the chickenhawk ethos that now plays such an integral role in perpetuating a state of Endless War.

via Why people become chickenhawks – U.S. Military | All about American forces, Afghanistan, Iraq – Salon.com.

Lawmakers Seek Inquiry of Natural Gas Industry – NYTimes.com

29 Jun

WASHINGTON — Federal lawmakers called Tuesday on several agencies, including the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, the Energy Information Administration and the Government Accountability Office, to investigate whether the natural gas industry has provided an accurate picture to investors of the long-term profitability of their wells and the amount of gas these wells can produce.

via Lawmakers Seek Inquiry of Natural Gas Industry – NYTimes.com.

Winners and Losers in the Great Global Energy Struggle to Come | The Nation

28 Jun

Think of us today as embarking on a new Thirty Years’ War. It may not result in as much bloodshed as that of the 1600s, though bloodshed there will be, but it will prove no less momentous for the future of the planet. Over the coming decades, we will be embroiled at a global level in a succeed-or-perish contest among the major forms of energy, the corporations which supply them and the countries that run on them. The question will be: Which will dominate the world’s energy supply in the second half of the twenty-first century?

How will things shake out? We don’t know. But:

Were I to wager a guess, I might place my bet on energy systems that were decentralized, easy to make and install and required relatively modest levels of up-front investment. For an analogy, think of the laptop computer of 2011 versus the giant mainframes of the 1960s and 1970s. The closer that an energy supplier gets to the laptop model (or so I suspect), the more success will follow.

via Winners and Losers in the Great Global Energy Struggle to Come | The Nation.

As Floodwaters Approach, Two Nuclear Plants Get Ready – NYTimes.com

27 Jun

Fukushima’s already happened. Indian Point hasn’t blown yet, and may never go off. But right now two reactors in Nebraska are in danger of flooding.

BROWNVILLE, Neb. — Like inhabitants of a city preparing for a siege, operators of the nuclear reactor here have spent days working to defend it against the swollen Missouri River at its doorstep. On Sunday, eight days after the river rose high enough to require the operators to declare a low-level emergency, a swarm of plant officials got to show off their preparations to the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The reactor, Cooper Station, is one of two nuclear plants on the Missouri River that are threatened by flooding. The second reactor, Fort Calhoun, 85 miles north, came under increased pressure for a brief period on Sunday. Before dawn, a piece of heavy equipment nicked an eight-foot-high, 2,000-foot-long temporary rubber berm, and it deflated. Water also began to approach electrical equipment, which prompted operators to cut themselves off from the grid and start up diesel generators. (It returned to grid power later Sunday.) Both nuclear plants appeared prepared to weather the flooding, their operators and federal government regulators said.

via As Floodwaters Approach, Two Nuclear Plants Get Ready – NYTimes.com.

Discovering my microbiome: “You, my friend, are a wonderland” | The Loom | Discover Magazine

27 Jun

Personal biodiversity. Each of us is an ecosystem unique to itself.

Some fragments of navel DNA precisely match the DNA of a known species of bacteria. In other cases, they’re close enough to a species for Hulcr and Lucky to assign them to a genus, a family, a class, or some higher unit of classification. In a few cases, the bacterial DNA is so exotic that all they can say for sure at this point is that it is bacteria.

Hulcr, Lucky, and Dunn had lots of questions about the things that dwell in the human omphalos. Are they different from the species that live in other parts of the skin? Do they differ from one person to the next? Is there a core set of species found in all navels? To address these kinds of questions, they tallied up the number of volunteers who carried each species, and investigated how each species makes a living.

via Discovering my microbiome: “You, my friend, are a wonderland” | The Loom | Discover Magazine.

JOURNAL: The Resilient Community Wiki – Global Guerrillas

27 Jun

Check it out, live cyber tools to help you make it happen:

The great part about starting out small, simple, and a little cheesy is that it can only get better from there. Using that logic, my friends and I have launched a wiki called Miiu (pronounced me-you). Miiu is a visual wiki. Essentially, a catalogue of things (products, tools, etc.) and places (homes, businesses, gov’t buildings, etc.).

via JOURNAL: The Resilient Community Wiki – Global Guerrillas.

Behind Veneer, Doubt on Future of Natural Gas

27 Jun

Sounds like the energy folks are placing too much faith in their own private Tinker Bell.

But not everyone in the Energy Information Administration agrees. In scores of internal e-mails and documents, officials within the Energy Information Administration, or E.I.A., voice skepticism about the shale gas industry.

One official says the shale industry may be “ set up for failure.” “It is quite likely that many of these companies will go bankrupt,” a senior adviser to the Energy Information Administration administrator predicts. Several officials echo concerns raised during previous bubbles, in housing and in technology stocks, for example, that ended in a bust.

via Behind Veneer, Doubt on Future of Natural Gas – NYTimes.com.

Insiders Sound an Alarm Amid a Natural Gas Rush – NYTimes.com

26 Jun

But the gas may not be as easy and cheap to extract from shale formations deep underground as the companies are saying, according to hundreds of industry e-mails and internal documents and an analysis of data from thousands of wells.

In the e-mails, energy executives, industry lawyers, state geologists and market analysts voice skepticism about lofty forecasts and question whether companies are intentionally, and even illegally, overstating the productivity of their wells and the size of their reserves. Many of these e-mails also suggest a view that is in stark contrast to more bullish public comments made by the industry, in much the same way that insiders have raised doubts about previous financial bubbles.

In other words, business as usual; self-deception, lying, and lBS.

via Insiders Sound an Alarm Amid a Natural Gas Rush – NYTimes.com.

Tradition: Band Shell in the Park

25 Jun

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Van Jones Returns, Launches Liberal Alternative to The Tea Party | The Nation

25 Jun

Another hat in the alternative party arena:

According to Jones and MoveOn, the driving forces behind the launch, “Rebuild The Dream” is the Left’s collective effort to use grassroots organizing and new media to challenge the rhetoric coming out of Washington and strengthen the middle class.

Jones is a natural fit to lead the effort. For many Democrats and liberals, he is viewed as a rare pol who can leverage authority, celebrity and purity. His professional and ideological credentials are in good order; he led up Green Jobs for the Obama administration, and was infamously run out of that job after a misleading and race-baiting campaign by Glenn Beck. Jones never sold out — he blew up. …

In Jones’ speech on Thursday, he argued that an active government was critical to building a healthy middle class, regulating responsible employers, and cultivating “good citizens.”  He warned the audience about three “lies” animating the conservative narrative:  America is broke; Taxing the wealthy is bad for the economy; and “Hating” on our government” is actually patriotic.

via Van Jones Returns, Launches Liberal Alternative to The Tea Party | The Nation.