CARRI Announcement: New Organizational Home for CARRI with Meridian Institute

                                 

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A Way to Make Motor Fuel Out of Wood? Add Water

submitted by Samuel Bendett

The New York Times - by Matthew L. Wald - September 27, 2011

      

Technology from Renmatix obtained this sugar solution from wood pulp by applying very hot water at high pressure. The New York Times Company

A Georgia company says it has overcome a major roadblock in turning agricultural waste into vehicle fuel and other useful chemicals by experimenting with a technology that treats the waste with compressed water heated to very high temperatures.

The company, Renmatix, plans to cut the ribbon on a research and development center on Tuesday in King of Prussia, Pa., near the heart of the nation’s chemical and refining industry, to complete development of the process. The goal is to accomplish something that has eluded a dozen companies in recent years despite big government inducements: to commercialize a technology for making use of cellulosic biomass, or wood chips, switchgrass and the nonedible parts of crops.

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Jeremy Rifkin: The Third Industrial Revolution: Toward a New Economic Paradigm

 

Our industrial civilization is at a crossroads. Oil and the other fossil fuel energies that make up the industrial way of life are sunsetting, and the technologies made from and propelled by these energies are antiquated. The entire industrial infrastructure built off of fossil fuels is aging and in disrepair. The result is that unemployment is rising to dangerous levels all over the world. Governments, businesses and consumers are awash in debt and living standards are plummeting everywhere. A record one billion human beings--nearly one seventh of the human race--face hunger and starvation.

Research Brief: Is Submerged Deepwater Horizon Oil Degrading Offshore?

Research Brief: Is Submerged Deepwater Horizon Oil Degrading Offshore?

Comparison of the Chemical Signatures of Tar Mat Samples Deposited by Tropical Storm Lee in September 2011 with Oil Mousse Samples Collected in June 2010 (4 page .PDF report)

http://eng.auburn.edu/files/acad_depts/civil/oil-spill-research.pdf

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AP: BP Oil Not Degrading on Gulf Floor, Study Says

by Jay Reeves - Associated Press - September 20, 2011

      

Tar balls mix with seashells washed up near Pensacola Beach, Fla., on Sept. 14 - Melissa Nelson / AP

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Tar balls washed onto Gulf of Mexico beaches by Tropical Storm Lee earlier this month show that oil left over from last year's BP spill isn't breaking down as quickly as some scientists thought it would, university researchers said Tuesday.

Auburn University experts who studied tar samples at the request of coastal leaders said the latest wave of gooey orbs and chunks appeared relatively fresh, smelled strongly and were hardly changed chemically from the weathered oil that collected on Gulf beaches during the spill.

The study concluded that mats of oil — not weathered tar, which is harder and contains fewer hydrocarbons — are still submerged on the seabed and could pose a long-term risk to coastal ecosystems.

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Most Americans Unprepared for Disaster, Survey Finds

submitted by Samuel Bendett

Homeland Security Newswire - September 12, 2011

Most people still believe help will arrive within hours // Source: hsdl.org

A new survey finds that most Americans are unprepared for major disasters and that they maintain a false sense of security with regard to what will happen if a major disaster or a terrorist attack took place; contrary to reality, almost one-third of respondents believed that during a major disaster, calling 911 would bring help within an hour, while 30 percent said they believed help would come within several hours.

A new survey finds that most Americans are unprepared and maintain a false sense of security during a major disaster or terrorist attack.

The poll, conducted by the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, indicated that more than half of the families surveyed had no emergency plan in place for a major hurricane or earthquake. Even those with plans in place were lacking essential items like a flashlight, two days of food and water, key phone numbers, and extra batteries.

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Video - BOATLIFT, An Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilience (Narrated by Tom Hanks)

While the towers burned and collapsed on 9/11, a half million people were evacuated from Lower Manhattan by a civilian flotilla of ferries, tug boats and other vessels—the largest boatlift in history. Narrated by Tom Hanks, Produced and Directed by Eddie Rosenstein

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDOrzF7B2Kg

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Full Coverage: Southern California Blackout

submitted by Luis Kun

The Los Angeles Times - September 8, 2011

      

Diannyra Bolata, 25, and her son Diego, 2, rest on the floor in the terminal at San Diego's  Lindbergh Field after all outbound flights were canceled. Credit: Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times

Most power-stricken customers in San Diego County will be without electricity until the end of Friday, the president of utility serving the area said Thursday night.

San Diego Gas and Electricity President Michael Niggli said that power had been restored to three substations that service areas in southern Orange County. He also predicted that a "few more" areas would have electricity restored by midnight.

"After that," he told reporters at a news conference, "it's going to be a slow march throughout tomorrow" to restore power.

 PHOTOS: Blackout leaves millions without power

He said about 3 million people in the county were affected by the massive power outage.

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3 Dead as Remnants of Lee Trigger Historic Flooding Across Northeast

by Ashley Hayes - CNN - September 8, 2011

(Additional Photos in this Washington Post Article)

      

CNN iReporter Nick Bohacz of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, said flooded roads prevented him from getting to work.

(CNN) -- Thousands of people were told to evacuate their homes Thursday as the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee moved across already sodden portions of the Northeast, triggering near-historic flooding and leaving at least three people dead.

In Luzerne County, in the northeastern part of Pennsylvania, between 65,000 and 70,000 people were ordered to leave their homes by Thursday afternoon as the Susquehanna River rose above flood stage, according to Emergency Management Coordinator Stephen Bekanich.

The county, which earlier said 100,000 to 125,000 residents were being evacuated, did recalculations and revised the number downward.

While Wilkes-Barre, in Luzerne County, was spared flooding as of late Thursday afternoon because of a 17-mile levee system, other communities not protected by the system were not so fortunate.

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Texas Firefighters Face Stiff Challenge

by Rick Jervis - USA Today - September 7, 2011

      

A residential street is lined with homes destroyed by a wildfire in Bastrop.

BASTROP, Texas – Todd Jamison, a division chief for the Little Elm Fire Department near Dallas, has fought house fires and wildfires.

But when wildfires — such as the ones in this area 25 miles east of Austin — engulf homes and neighborhoods, his job becomes far more complex, he says.

On Wednesday, Jamison, one of hundreds of Texas firefighters helping fight a nasty blaze here, revisited one of the homes he and his team spent nearly two hours trying to save the day before. Now, it was a pile of smoldering cinderblocks. The only signs of what was once a home: a few charred lawn chairs and a melted toilet.

"This is a different beast for us," Jamison says of the ongoing firefight. "We're fighting to protect homes."

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Early Assessment of Cancer Outcomes in New York City Firefighters After the 9/11 Attacks: an Observational Cohort Study

                                   

September 3, 2011

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Controversial Study Shows Higher Cancer Risk in 9/11 Firefighters

CBS News - September 2, 2011

      

A firefighter breaks down after the World Trade Center buildings collapsed September 11, 2001 after two hijacked airplanes slammed into the twin towers in a terrorist attack.  (Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

(CBS) The 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City killed almost 3,000 people, but what about New Yorkers who were in the area at the time but survived? New studies show they face heightened risk for asthma, post-traumatic stress disorder, and cancer - but not all health experts agree the attacks are to blame for survivors' health problems.

For one study - published in the September 1 issue of The Lancet - Mount Sinai researchers evaluated more than 27,000 police officers, firefighters, construction workers, and office workers who were in or around ground zero over the nine years following 9/11. The researchers found more than one in five responders had multiple physical or mental health illnesses.

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Video - Mobile Phones Without Towers Coming Soon

The Sydney Morning Herald - September 1, 2011

A mobile phone communications system that doesn't need towers is being developed at Adelaide's Flinders University.

The Serval Project was inspired by the 2010 Haiti earthquake in which the phone network crashed as infrastructure went down.

Creator Paul Gardner-Stephen said the earthquake showed the lack of resilience in a communications system that relied on infrastructure.

"If the towers are knocked out, mobile phone handsets become useless lumps of plastic in our hands," he said.

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The Economics of Rapidly Emerging Cities

As the human populations of our small planet exceeds 7 billion on its way potentially to 9 million or 10 billion by the mid-21st Century, migrations of millions are becoming common place -- some out of desperation, others out of seeking opportunity and a better life.  According to a large percentage of climatologists and other scientists that are studying global change, the social ecologies of many large cities will become non-viable for their human populations and many other species due to climate change, the drying up of water supplies, the lose of food sources, natural disasters, wars, and other factors.  In other cases, new cities of opportunity or attractive culture will draws those seeking a better life and way of being.  

Tens of millions, and perhaps hundreds of millions will be forced to leave their homes in search of more viable communities.  Millions more will create new communities with intentionality, exploring new economic, social, and political models that improve health, human security, resilience and sustainability for the new citizens.  In some cases, simple shared principles will shape new, fast growing economies, and, in other cases, rules and conditions will be imposed on inhabitants of new communities and cities.

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H5N1 - Possible Bird Flu Resurgence

crofsblogs.typepad.com - August 29, 2011

More on the mutant H5N1 strain

Thanks to Sari Setiogi for tweeting the link to this article in Kompas.com: Indonesia Facing Biggest Problems of Possible Bird Flu Resurgence. First an excerpt, then a comment:

The United Nations warned of a possible major resurgence of bird flu and said a mutant strain of the H5N1 virus was spreading in Asia and elsewhere. 

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