Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for December 26th, 2007

Playing with fire: the methane clathrate menace

Posted by Charles II on December 26, 2007

Shigeru Sato, Bloomberg:

Billions of tons of methane hydrate, frozen chunks of chemical-laced water buried in sediment some 3,000 feet under the Pacific Ocean floor, may help Japan win energy independence from the Middle East and Indonesia. Japanese engineers have found enough “flammable ice” to meet its gas use demands for 14 years. The trick is extracting it without damaging the environment.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in energy, environment, Japan | 12 Comments »

Doing Well By Doing Good

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 26, 2007

Global warming is really hurting the farmers of the Mindanao region in the Phillipines. Places that used to have three growing seasons a year in a very wet climate now find themselves beset by frequent droughts, which in turn lead to insect infestations of their rice crops.

But those farmers that are using organic methods — including organic pest control — to grow their crops are finding that they can succeed where synthetic oil-based farming is failing, and lower their carbon footprint at the same time:

One villager has decided to find a new way to survive in the face of a changing climate. He is Rasid Naim, 28 years old, from a family of farmers of rice and corn. In 2004, Rasid started to volunteer for Oxfam’s operational project and received training in organic farming techniques. He applied these techniques to his father’s hectare of land and soon found he was making huge savings by mixing his own pesticides and fertilizers instead of buying synthetic ones. He was able to pay his previous debts to traders and buy an additional 1.5 hectares of land, which is now an organic farm too.

At first, Rasid’s fellow farmers teased him that his new approaches would not withstand the threats from insects and pests. But they did, and his success in organic farming has convinced 18 more farmers to shift from chemical-dependent to natural and organic practices. His experience proves that his own rice field withstood not only rice farm pests, but also intense flash floods and recurring droughts. Now Rasid is experimenting with an organic pesticide against the deadly black bugs.

It is still early days, but Rasid’s work is just one of a myriad of grassroots adaptations to climate change that are already happening across the developing world. Rasid hopes for more support from the government for this kind of project.

“Organic farming frees us from poisonous substance from the chemicals found in the synthetic fertilisers and pesticides,” says Rasid. “Our land is more fertile, our bodies are healthier, and we are happier that even the next generation, our children and grandchildren, can benefit from it.”

Women’s groups have also been created to generate income. One of their activities is making organic soap. They sell it to their neighbors and use their income to buy ingredients needed to make organic fertilizers.

“We need to save mother Earth,” says Nor-aisa Iskak, one of the women fundraising to make organic fertilizers and pesticides.

Posted in climate change, doing the right thing, environment, global warming, Good Causes, Good Things, saving the earth | 1 Comment »

Boxing Day Local Blogging Roundup

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 26, 2007

xmas-cat-herding.jpg

Well, local for Minnesota, anyway:

— Jeff Fecke reports for Minnesota Monitor the CDC finding that you won’t see on the evening news: Teens that have actual sex education (yes, Virginia, this includes telling the little whippersnappers about scaaarrry things like condoms and sponges and the eeeevil Pill) have less sex than teens who don’t. As Fecke notes, this study could strengthen the hand of state Democratic officeholders, who have been pushing for more (and legitimate) sex education, not the bogus “abstinence education” that a growing number of states are rejecting even when Bush forces the feds to pay for it.

— Ollie Ox over at A Bluestem Prairie catches the StarTribune letting the NRCC edit its copy again, raising the bar for Tim Walz — the very same bar that they dropped into the Marianas Trench for Walz’ Republican predecessor Gil Gutknecht.

— Charlie over at Across the Great Divide brings us this Mellow Velo link to a NYT story on boom bikes.  As in bicycles.  With 5000-watt stereo systems.   Yeah, it freaks me out, too.  Though I imagine it’s excellent exercise hauling those things around.

— Spotty at The Cucking Stool tees off yet again on Our Miss Gulch, the Strib’s Katherine Kersten.

— And the Wege celebrates Christmas in an astonishingly mellow way, for him.

Posted in Just for fun, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

The Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 26, 2007

Things in Iraq are going swimmingly compared to under Saddam, if you ignore the constant suicide bombings, the abysmal fate of Iraq’s women, and the million-plus dead (that’s right, one million or more dead out of a pre-Bush-invasion population of around 27 million, but of course the surge-trumpeting US media won’t tell you that) and five-million-plus refugees.

Question:  If the surge really is working, why won’t Bush pull us out of Iraq?

Posted in Iraq war | 4 Comments »

Welcome Back To Another Edition Of “Things You’ll Never Hear Or See On The US Evening News”

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 26, 2007

This edition is courtesy of the UK’s Guardian (via Digby):

The US vice-president, Dick Cheney, was behind a controversial decision to block California’s attempt to impose tough emission limits on car manufacturers, according to insiders at the government Environmental Protection Agency.

Staff at the agency, which announced last week that California’s proposed limits were redundant, said the agency’s chief went against their expert advice after car executives met Cheney, and a Chrysler executive delivered a letter to the EPA saying why the state should not be allowed to regulate greenhouse gases.

Posted in Bush, Bush Family Evil Empire, BushCo malfeasance, Busheviks, capitalism as cancer, corruption, cronies, Dick Cheney, energy, environment, global warming, GOP bullying, media | 1 Comment »

 
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