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Thursday, February 28, 2008


I have my doubts!

Monsanto backs Utah's proposal on milk labels

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah officials want to control the labels on milk cartons.

Milk processors would be able to promote their product as being free of artificial hormones. But only if they also say there's no significant difference when compared to milk from cows that are treated with growth hormones.

The proposal ran into some opposition during a public hearing Tuesday.

The Utah Food Industry Association says the federal government should regulate labels, not states. The Dairy Foods Association, based in Washington, D.C., says there's no public outcry for label restrictions.

The maker of the artificial hormone, Creve Coeur-based Monsanto Co., says the Utah rule is a good idea.

Nowhere To Hide

clipped from news.yahoo.com

Study: Contaminent levels high in parks

By MATTHEW BROWN, Associated Press Writer
Wed Feb 27, 5:41 PM ET

The substances detected ranged from mercury produced by power plants and industrial chemicals such as PCBs to the banned insecticides dieldrin and DDT. Those can cause health problems in humans including nervous system damage, dampened immune system responses and lowered reproductive success.

Contaminants that accumulated in fish exceeded human consumption thresholds at the eight parks that researchers focussed on most: Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Mount Rainier, Olympic, Glacier, Rocky Mountain, Gates of the Arctic and Denali national parks and Alaska's Noatak National Preserve.

A parks advocacy group called the federal report "a wake-up call" that should mobilize Congress to take a tougher stance on air pollution.

The study also included researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Forest Service.

 blog it

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Contact your senators and representatives to get this bill passed by a large enough margin to over-ride a veto from Petroleums's biggest fan.
clipped from news.yahoo.com

Veto threat looms over oil taxes bill

By H. JOSEF HEBERT, Associated Press Writer
Tue Feb 26, 5:57 PM ET

If Congress passes legislation to roll back nearly $18 billion in tax breaks for large oil companies, advisers to President Bush will recommend a veto, the White House said Tuesday.

The revenues from oil companies would be used to pay for tax incentives for wind, solar and other renewable energy sources including for ethanol produced from feedstock other than corn, and tax breaks for energy efficiency programs.

While the oil companies have lobbied vigorously against the legislation, other energy companies, including the solar and wind energy industries, have campaigned for it on Capitol Hill.

The bill also would extend for two years energy efficiency tax breaks for homeowners, including a $300 consumer tax credit linked to energy efficiency improvements.

 blog it


Allegations Fly in FCC Hearing Aftermath
From Associated Press, February 26, 2008
By Mark Jewell

The organizer of a federal hearing at Harvard Law School on Comcast Corp.’s treatment of subscriber Internet traffic on Wednesday said “seat-warmers” apparently hired by the company prevented other attendees from getting in.

Comcast has acknowledged that it hired an unspecified number of people to fill seats, but said the seat-warmers gave up their spots when Boston area Comcast employees who were advised about the hearing arrived.

But Catherine Bracy, the administrative manager at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, said most of the three dozen seat-warmers who arrived hours before the Federal Communications Commission hearing’s start on Monday remained during the event’s opening hours, as many other members of the public were turned away.

Bracy said she saw a couple of the hired people dozing in the front row during opening remarks.

“I think it’s disingenuous to say they were holding spots for Comcast employees,” Bracy told The Associated Press, a day after advocacy groups that filed an FCC complaint over Comcast’s network management accused the firm of trying to stifle debate at the hearing.

Bracy said when she arrived at 7:15 a.m. as doors opened for the 11 a.m. hearing, none of the 35 to 40 people waiting to get in appeared to know what the hearing’s subject matter would be.

“No employees came in to take those seats when the event started,” Bracy said.

Comcast spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice said it hired seat-holders only after an advocacy group called Free Press urged its backers to attend.

“For the past week, the Free Press has engaged in a much more extensive campaign to lobby people to attend the hearing on its behalf,” Philadelphia-based Comcast said in a statement.

Fitzmaurice declined to comment further Wednesday in response to Bracy’s statements.

The event featured hearty applause — some in response to comments from a Comcast executive who testified before the FCC’s five commissioners, and some in response to Comcast critics’ testimony.

The practice of hiring people to fill seats in advance of public hearings isn’t unknown in Congress and other forums, but Comcast critics said this case was unique.

“First, Comcast was caught blocking the Internet. Now it has been caught blocking the public from the debate,” said Timothy Karr, director of an advocacy campaign backed by a coalition including Free Press. “The only people cheering Comcast are those paid to do so.”

FCC spokesman Robert Kenny declined to comment.

The hearing came in response to complaints before the FCC that Comcast, the nation’s largest cable company, hampered file-sharing traffic on its cable-modem service. The company has repeatedly said that its traffic management practices are necessary to keep other Internet traffic, like Web content, flowing smoothly.

During the hearing, FCC commissioners signaled that they were looking for greater openness from Internet providers about their traffic management practices, and were ready to step in to enforce the agency’s “open Internet” policies.

In addition to serving as the event host, Harvard’s Berkman Center has another tie to the controversy. A codirector at the center, Charles Nesson, is among the parties that signed a petition along with Free Press asking the FCC to find that such practices violate agency policies.

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Note from Chi: # Tell the FCC to stop Comcast Web blocking.
# Urge your representative to support the "Internet Freedom Preservation Act."
# Tell your friends to take action at SavetheInternet.com.

Monday, February 25, 2008

No More Windshield Wipers?

From Slashdot.com comes yet another link to a story about using nanotechnology to keep windshields clean. This comes during an online debate I have been having with an engineer friend about the possible uses of rain drop power with both nanotechnology and shape recalling deformable substrates that could produce tiny amounts of electric current with each deformation. Hmmm!

Nanotechnology-Powered Wiper-Less Windshield
Posted by ScuttleMonkey on Friday February 22, @09:28PM
from the plenty-of-room-at-the-bottom dept.
Technology Science
fab writes "Italian car designer Leonardo Fioravanti (who worked for Pininfarina for a number of years) has developed a car prototype without windshield wipers. This amazing technological feat is made possible thanks to the use of 4 layers of glass modified using nanotechnology. The first layer filters the sun and repels the water. The second layer, using 'nano-dust' is able to push dirt to the side. The third layer acts as a sensor that activates the second layer when it detects dirt, while the fourth layer is a conductor of electricity to power this complex mechanism. I haven't been able to find an English article, but there is always a google powered translation of the Italian article."

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Know your Congress: Fight Back

Check out this link to find out which of your senators and representatives are protecting the future or are more interested in short-term profits for themselves! Then vote accordingly.

About Me

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I live on the Pacific slopes of the Talamanca mountain range in southern Costa Rica. My adult children live in the United States. I have a Masters Degree in Gerontology but have worked as a migrant laborer, chicken egg collector, radio broadcaster, secretary, social worker, research director, bureaucrat, writer, editor, political organizer, publicist, telephone operator, and more. My hobby of photography has garnered some awards.

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