Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sustainability news: linkspam leftovers from April


It's Saturday, which means it's time to for me to prepare an Overnight News Digest on Daily Kos. That also means that it's time to be a good environmentalist and recycle the stories from last weekend before I look at new ones for tonight's edition.

General Sustainability

Agence France Presse via New Yorkers bring fish farms to urban jungle
By Sebastian Smith
April 27, 2012
So you recycle, drive a small car, and try to eat organic. But what about running an eco-sustainable fish farm combined with a naturally fertilized vegetable patch in your kitchen?

Christopher Toole and Anya Pozdeeva, two former New York bankers who founded the Society for Aquaponic Values and Education (SAVE), are there to help.

"We call it 'beyond organic,'" Pozdeeva, 39, said.
As I've written before, the solutions to the continent's problems will be devised here in Detroit and then exported, including the bad ones. Fortunately, urban agriculture is one of the good solutions.

Environment, including science

University of Miami via Reef shark populations in steep decline: study
April 27, 2012
Many shark populations have plummeted in the past three decades as a result of excessive harvesting – for their fins, as an incidental catch of fisheries targeting other species, and in recreational fisheries. This is particularly true for oceanic species. However, until now, a lack of data prevented scientists from properly quantifying the status of Pacific reef sharks at a large geographic scale.

In a study published online April 27 in the journal Conservation Biology, an international team of marine scientists provide the first estimates of reef shark losses in the Pacific Ocean. Using underwater surveys conducted over the past decade across 46 U.S. Pacific islands and atolls, as part of NOAA's extensive Pacific Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program ( the team compared reef shark numbers at reefs spanning from heavily impacted ones to those among the world's most pristine.

The numbers are sobering

"We estimate that reef shark numbers have dropped substantially around populated islands, generally by more than 90 percent compared to those at the most untouched reefs", said Marc Nadon, lead author of the study and a scientist at the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research (JIMAR) located at the University of Hawaii, as well as a PhD candidate with Dr. Jerry Ault at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science. "In short, people and sharks don't mix."
Daily Kos: Lessons from 1491
by LeftOfYou

Daily Kos: The Daily Bucket - just sitting in the Forest
by bwren

Society, including culture and politics

Carolina Journal: State Threatens to Shut Down Nutrition Blogger
Nutrition board says he needs a license to advocate dietary approaches
By Sara Burrows
Apr. 23rd, 2012
North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition is threatening to send a blogger to jail for recounting publicly his battle against diabetes and encouraging others to follow his lifestyle.

Chapter 90, Article 25 of the North Carolina General Statutes makes it a misdemeanor to “practice dietetics or nutrition” without a license. According to the law, “practicing” nutrition includes “assessing the nutritional needs of individuals and groups” and “providing nutrition counseling.”

Steve Cooksey has learned that the definition, at least in the eyes of the state board, is expansive.

When he was hospitalized with diabetes in February 2009, he decided to avoid the fate of his grandmother, who eventually died of the disease. He embraced the low-carb, high-protein Paleo diet, also known as the “caveman” or “hunter-gatherer” diet. The diet, he said, made him drug- and insulin-free within 30 days. By May of that year, he had lost 45 pounds and decided to start a blog about his success.
As my wife said, he probably pissed someone off. That written, I'm not blaming him for his situation. I hope he has someone like the EFF to help him in what looks like an interesting freedom of speech issue.

Reuters: Exclusive: China mulls guarantees for ships carrying Iran oil
By Alison Leung
BEIJING | Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:33am EDT
China is considering sovereign guarantees for its ships to enable the world's second-biggest oil consumer to continue importing Iranian crude after new EU sanctions come into effect in July, the head of China's shipowners' association said.

Tough new European Union sanctions aimed at stopping Iran's oil exports to Europe also ban EU insurers and reinsurers from covering tankers carrying Iranian crude anywhere in the world. Around 90 percent of the world's tanker insurance is based in the West, so the measures threaten shipments to Iran's top Asian buyers China, India, Japan and South Korea.

Global crude oil prices have risen nearly 20 percent since October, partly on fears over supply disruptions from Iran.
Since this was posted Monday night, oil prices have since dropped. As Reuters reported yesterday, Oil dives 2.5 percent, biggest weekly drop since November. This is not necessarily good news.

Economy, including technology

Reuters: As America's waistline expands, costs soar
By Sharon Begley
NEW YORK | Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:46am EDT
U.S. hospitals are ripping out wall-mounted toilets and replacing them with floor models to better support obese patients. The Federal Transit Administration wants buses to be tested for the impact of heavier riders on steering and braking. Cars are burning nearly a billion gallons of gasoline more a year than if passengers weighed what they did in 1960.

The nation's rising rate of obesity has been well-chronicled. But businesses, governments and individuals are only now coming to grips with the costs of those extra pounds, many of which are even greater than believed only a few years ago: The additional medical spending due to obesity is double previous estimates and exceeds even those of smoking, a new study shows.

Many of those costs have dollar signs in front of them, such as the higher health insurance premiums everyone pays to cover those extra medical costs. Other changes, often cost-neutral, are coming to the built environment in the form of wider seats in public places from sports stadiums to bus stops.
I could have put this story up in General Sustainability, but I had no economics story. As it is placed here, it fits in perfectly with my usual M.O. of closing the circle and looping the topic back to the beginning.

Remember that in May the Fourth be with you, I warned readers to "Watch out tomorrow, for then it will be The Revenge of the 5ith." It looks like I have one final piece of Star Wars music to play. On their YouTube channel, DCI Fan Network featured one of the two drum and bugle corps I marched with, the 1978 North Star, as the corps for Star Wars Day. Unfortunately, I wasn't marching in North Star that year, but I was in the stands for this performance and I marched with them in 1979 and 1981.