Beijing has targeted 22 major energy projects to assess their environmental impact.

As many as 22 major dams and power stations under construction in China, including a key power facility at the controversial Three Gorges Dam, have slowed or stopped work pending an environmental review.

In the first instance of its kind, top Chinese leaders appear to be throwing their clout behind laws requiring environmental-impact statements for large energy-related projects.

Even if the projects, which total more than $14 billion and span 13 provinces, soon go back online, Beijing's public support of the State Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), long considered a mere showpiece, seems an official nod to growing numbers of Chinese who support tougher policies to protect nature.

Energy-hungry China has embarked in recent years on a breakneck program of investment in power plants, adding to an already overheating economy. By enforcing policies requiring companies to account for environmental impact, the power sector may cool down a bit - one reason to allow SEPA to fine construction companies and demand they follow the law, according to an unusually frank South Metropolitan Daily editorial.

In the past decade, China's roaring double-digit growth, industrial output, and booming new-car sales have caused some of the worst air and water pollution in Asia.

So far, watchdogs like SEPA, despite being an arm of government, have not been given latitude to enforce any clean air and water laws.

Yet on Jan. 18, in a bit of savvy bureaucratic maneuvering, SEPA suddenly charged 30 construction projects with illegality, since they failed to submit impact statements.

Since then, most of the dams and hydroelectric projects have reportedly suspended work, according to the English-language China Daily.

Read the whole article here:
http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0210/p01s02-woap.html


just got back from Southeast Asia and have seen that there are already scams pertaining to tsunami relief donations.

Here is some advice on how to donate without getting scammed. feel free to pass this on:

THE BEST WAY TO ASSIST IN PROVIDING EMERGENCY RELIEF
TO THE EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI VICTIMS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA

The American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP) announces its top-rated list of charities currently offering relief services to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami that has devastated parts of Southeast Asia.

http://charitywatch.org/hottopics/tsunami_asia.html

 

and this one is from the FBI:

TSUNAMI DISASTER RELIEF FRAUD ALERT!
Don't be scammed.

01/05/05

Why should we be surprised? Criminals are using email and websites to siphon charitable contributions for tsunami victims into their own pockets.

What kind of schemes?

1. False websites have been established that pretend to be legitimate relief organizations asking for donations-one of which contains an imbedded Trojan exploit that can infect your computer with a virus if accessed.

2. Unsolicited incoming emails (SPAM) that offer, for a fee, to locate loved ones who may have been a disaster victim.

3. Unsolicited emails requesting that money be deposited in overseas banks to support the tsunami relief effort.

4. Unsolicited emails which seek personal or financial information in an effort to retrieve large amounts of inheritance funds tied up in relation to the tsunami disaster.

How do we know about these schemes?

Because they're being reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

What are we doing about it?

With our partners in industry and in domestic and international law enforcement, we are aggressively pursuing those attempting to victimize philanthropic individuals.

What can YOU do about it?

The IC3 has good advice, consistent with previous advice on incidents of Phishing/Spoofing and Identity Theft. If you're considering on-line options for providing funding to this relief effort:

*
Do not respond to any unsolicited (SPAM) incoming emails.
*
Be skeptical of individuals claiming to be surviving victims or foreign government officials asking for help in placing large sums of money in overseas bank accounts
*
To ensure that contributions to U.S. based non-profit organizations are used for intended purposes, go directly to recognized charities and aid organizations websites, as opposed to following a link to another site.
*
Try to verify the legitimacy of non-profit organizations (e.g., use Internet-based resources to help confirm the existence of the organization and its non-profit status).
*
Be leery of emails that claim to show pictures of the disaster areas in attached files, as the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders.

Several variations of this scam are currently in circulation. Anyone who has received an email referencing the above information or anyone who may have been a victim of this or a similar incident should notify the IC3 via the website, www.ic3.gov.

source:
http://www.fbi.gov/page2/jan05/tsunamiscam010505.htm


KC GlobeNews NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2003 Year End Special Vol.4, No.11-12

Current events, trends, travel, politics, eco and tech topics.


Contents
ASHCROFT VS. GREENPEACE
SPARE THE AIR
DISNEY SELF-DESTRUCT DVD
CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY LAW
DOW JONES SUSTAINABILITY INDEXES
CLICK FOR A CAUSE
OZONE HOLE UPDATE?
TWO YEARS OF WAR
WAR ON WEED
THE MEATRIX
ANCIENT ANATOMY 101
TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE #1

============
!!GLOBALERT!!
============
ASHCROFT VS. GREENPEACE
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In a move unprecedented in U.S. history, John Ashcroft's Justice Department has indicted an entire organization - Greenpeace! -- for the peaceful protest activities of its members.

For years, Greenpeace has worked to halt environmental destruction and human rights abuses by criminal enterprises in Brazil's Amazon rainforest. In 2002, miles off the coast of Florida, two Greenpeace activists boarded a ship that was carrying wood illegally exported from the Brazilian Amazon. Their goal was to hang a banner that said "President Bush: Stop Illegal Logging."

But instead of intercepting the contraband and prosecuting the smugglers, the federal government has charged Greenpeace with crimes for boarding the ship. This case poses a serious threat to citizens' right to free speech and to engage in peaceful dissent.

A trial is currently scheduled for December 2003. The original indictment included the claim that Greenpeace was wrong about the presence of contraband mahogany on the ship that was boarded. In a revealing move, the Justice Department revised its indictment of Greenpeace, deleting the claim that Greenpeace was wrong about the illegal cargo.

Source:
http://www.greenpeaceusa.org/


SPARE THE AIR
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Spare the Air Days" are common in the San Francisco Bay Area. They are declared by the Bay Area Quality Management District to indicate that unhealthy air is building up in our neck of the woods. The densest urban areas experience unhealthy air, the kind that is bad for sensitive folks, kids, and seniors.

Tips To Spare The Air:
* Leave your car at home.
* Postpone painting jobs for a non-Spare the Air day.
* Don't use gasoline-powered garden and utility equipment.
* Barbecuing is a good idea on a hot summer day, as long as you don't start the coals with lighter fluid; use a chimney starter instead.
* Refuel vehicles after sundown. Despite filling station vapor recovery there is always some evaporation of volatile organics.
* Allow yourself a bad hair day -- don't touch the hairspray.
* Avoid using consumer products that come in aerosol spray cans.

SPARE THE AIR website:
http://www.sparetheair.org/

DISNEY SELF-DESTRUCT DVD
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Walt Disney Company's home video unit Buena Vista Home Entertainment is testing DVDs which allow as much viewing as desired as long as it is done within 48 hours of opening the package.

The disposable DVDs, seen as an alternative to renting, will be sold at grocery, convenience and other chain stores. The price will be competitive with a rental. The DVDs are made unreadable on exposure to oxygen over time.

The DVDs are intended to attract those desiring convenience and put off by return trips and late fees at movie rental stores. The technology is intended to stop illegal copying, increase the number of movies purchased and free Disney from Blockbuster-type movie rentals stores.

Flexplay Technologies licensed the technology and says it has options for recycling its EZ-D discs. Among these are mail-in to GreenDisk, a disk recycling company; free prepaid postage to GreenDisk by emailing the disc's UPC number to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., specified collection points at certain locations in the markets where the discs are sold and an incentive program ("Coming Soon").

Rental videos are better because they are reused many times. Working Assets is initiating an email campaign, "Tell Disney to send their disposable DVD plan to the dump!"

Flexplay Technologies:
http://flexplay.com/recycle.html

Working Assets: Disney, Send Disposable DVD Idea to the Dump.
http://www.workingforchange.com/activism/action.cfm?ItemId=15031&afccode=TES042

Source: http://www.nacsonline.com/NACS/News/nd0909037.htm

==============
THE GOOD NEWS
==============
CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY LAW
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Before the Governator terminated his term, outgoing California Gov. Gray Davis signed legislation to crack down on corporate fraud and establish a whistle-blower hot line.

The trio of bills are a major step in increasing corporate accountability in California and rebuilding public trust in the nation's financial markets, which have been rattled in recent years by a wave of corporate scandals.

Consumer advocates hailed the new laws. "This is the answer to the best line of defense to the next Enron and other state scandals," said Jamie Court, executive director of the Santa Monica-based Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights, sponsor of two of the bills carried by Sen. Martha Escutia, D-Whittier.

The 3 bills signed by Davis are:

1) SB 777 protects workers who alert authorities about illegal practices from employer retaliation. The measure also creates a whistle-blower hot line operated by the attorney general's office. Employers must post the hot line number and employees' rights under the whistle-blower laws.

2) SB 523 requires major corporations and publicly traded companies to quickly report to shareholders and authorities important false or misleading statements made by corporate officers. Companies could be fined up to $1 million for withholding the information.

3) AB 1031 give the state more enforcement tools: it (a) increases criminal penalties for securities fraud to $25 million, (b) makes it illegal to destroy documents during a securities fraud investigation, and (c) strengthens the state Department of Corporations' authority over stockbrokers and dealers and investment advisers.

Source: The Sacramento Bee, Sept. 23, 2003, Gilbert Chan
http://www.sacbee.com


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DOW JONES SUSTAINABILITY INDEXES
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes, a series of stock market indexes for companies which have adopted Sustainable Development (SD) strategies, provides some useful guidance on what it means for a large company to implement SD. Companies are evaluated for the indexes on three dimensions:
- Economic such as codes of conduct, corporate governance, financial robustness, and integration of sustainability in investor relations;

- Environmental such as environmental policy/management, eco-efficiency, and carbon intensity of product portfolio;

- Social such as human capital development, stakeholder engagement, labor practice indicators, and emerging markets/global sourcing.

One third of the points on which a company is assessed are given for each of these three dimensions, but sector specific criteria within the dimensions account for about 40% while 60% are general criteria that apply to all industries.

They are popular amongst people in the financial services sector who have an interest in Sustainable Development. But they are based to a significant extent on company self-reporting rather than on independent review of SD performance.

They include the large corporations whose SD practices are already well known to most SD experts, but do little to encourage companies that are not yet practicing SD to adopt SD practices. They do establish a practical SD benchmark that is useful in demonstrating the application of SD tools.

Source: http://www.sustainability-indexes.com/


==========
GLOBESITES
==========
CLICK FOR A CAUSE
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
There are now five related sites that let you do some real good with a simple click.

Their method is simple yet effective - sponsors of the site pay per hit.

All you do is go to the site (URL below) and click on the square in
the middle. It costs nothing and the site is safe and protected.

Unlike many other useless sites these really are worthwhile! Visit one and from there you can visit all the others.

1) The Breast Cancer Site provides free mammograms to underprivileged woman.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com

2) The Hunger Site provides free food for hungry people worldwide
http://www.thehungersite.com

3) The Child Health Site helps prevent life-threatening diseases, restores vision to blind children, and enables child amputees to walk.
http://www.thechildhealthsite.com

4) The Rainforest Site preserves endangered rainforest areas
http://www.therainforestsite.com

5) The Animal Rescue Site feeds and cares for rescued animals in animal shelters or sanctuaries
http://www.theanimalrescuesite.com


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=========
GlobeNews
=========
OZONE HOLE UPDATE?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Folks, it seems we were a bit premature when we reported that the ozone hole could be stabilizing.

Satellite readings and ground observations show for the first time that the dangerous rate of ozone loss is finally slowing.

CFCs last from 45 to 100 years in the atmosphere. So even if the rate of growth in the ozone holes continues slowing, it will take at least 40 or 50 years before all the ozone depletion stops and recovery begins.

Ozone hole 'could be stabilising'
http://www.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,4057,6835942%5E1702,00.html

Ozone hole 'set to shrink'
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/1050495.stm

Hints of ozone recovery spotted
http://www.nature.com/nsu/030728/030728-5.html


TWO YEARS OF WAR
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
By Dr. George Friedman, THE STRATFOR WEEKLY

Summary

Two years into the war that began on Sept. 11, 2001, the primary pressure is on al Qaeda to demonstrate its ability to achieve its goals. The events of Sept. 11 were primarily intended to change the internal dynamics of the Islamic world, but not a single regime fell as a result of the Sept. 11 attacks.

However, the United States -- unable to decline action -- has taken a huge risk in its response. The outcome of the battle is now in doubt: Washington still holds the resources card and can militarily outman al Qaeda, but the militant network's ability to pull off massive and unpleasant surprises should not be dismissed.

Analysis

Old military communiques used to read, "The battle has been joined but the outcome is in doubt." From Stratfor's viewpoint, that seems to be the best way to sum up the status of the war that began on Sept. 11, 2001, when al Qaeda operatives attacked U.S. political, military and economic targets.

Though the militants were devastatingly successful in destroying the World Trade Center and shutting down U.S. financial markets, al Qaeda did not achieve its primary goal: a massive uprising in the Islamic world. Its attack was a means toward an end and not an end in itself. Al Qaeda's primary goal was the radical transformation of the Islamic world as a preface for re-establishing the Caliphate -- a multinational Islamic empire that, at its height, stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans.

To achieve this end, al Qaeda knew that it had to first overthrow existing regimes in the Islamic world. These regimes were divided into two classes. One was made up of secular, socialist and military regimes, inspired by Gamel Abdul Nasser. This class included countries such as Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Libya. The second class comprised the formally Islamic states of the Arabian Peninsula, which Osama bin Laden referred to as "hypocrites" for policies that appeared Islamic but actually undermined the construction of the Caliphate. Finally, bin Laden had to deal with the problem of Shiite Iran, which had taken the lead in revolutionizing Islam but in which the Wahhabi and Sunni al Qaeda had little confidence.

Al Qaeda's political objective was to set into motion the process that would replace these governments with Islamist regimes. To achieve this, al Qaeda needed a popular uprising in at least some of these countries. But it reasoned that there could be no rising until the Islamic masses recognized that these governments were
simply collaborators and puppets of the Christians, Jews and Hindus. Even more important, al Qaeda had to demonstrate that the United States was both militarily impotent and an active enemy of the Islamic world. The attacks would serve to convince the masses that the United States could be defeated. An ongoing war between the United States and the Islamic world would serve to convince the masses that the United States had to be defeated.

Al Qaeda had to stage an operation that would achieve these ends:

1. It had to show that the United States was vulnerable.
2. Its action had to be sufficiently severe that the United States could not avoid a counterattack.
3. The counterattack had to be, in turn, countered by al Qaeda, reinforcing the perception of U.S. weakness.

The events of Sept. 11 were intended primarily to change the internal dynamics of the Islamic world. The attacks were designed so that their significance could not be minimized in the Islamic world or in the United States -- as had been the case with prior al Qaeda strikes against U.S. interests. Al Qaeda also had to strike symbols of American power -- symbols so obvious that their significance would be understandable to the simplest Muslim. Thus, operatives struck at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and -- in a failed attack -- Congress.

As expected, the attacks riveted global attention and forced the United States to strike back, first in Afghanistan and then in Iraq. The United States could not decline combat: If it did so, al Qaeda's representation of the United States as an essentially weak power would have been emphatically confirmed. That was not
an option. At the same time, optimal military targets were unavailable, so the United States was forced into suboptimal attacks.

The invasion of Afghanistan was the first of these. But the United States did not defeat the Taliban; Knowing it could not defeat U.S. troops in conventional combat -- the Taliban withdrew, dispersed and reorganized as a guerrilla force in the Afghan countryside. It is now carrying out counterattacks against entrenched U.S. and allied forces.

In Iraq, the Islamist forces appear to have followed a similar strategy within a much tighter time frame. Rather than continuing conventional resistance, the Iraqis essentially dispersed a small core of dedicated fighters -- joined by an international cadre of Islamists -- and transitioned into guerrilla warfare in a few short weeks after the cessation of major conventional combat operations.

However, al Qaeda did not achieve its primary mission -- Sept. 11 did not generate a mass uprising in the Islamic world. Not a single regime fell. To the contrary, the Taliban lost control of Afghanistan, and the regime of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein fell. Nevertheless, given its goals, al Qaeda was the net winner in this initial phase. First, the U.S. obsession about being attacked by al Qaeda constantly validated the militant network's power in the Islamic world and emphasized the vulnerability of the United States. Second, the United States threw itself into the Islamic world, adding credence to al Qaeda's claim that the country is the enemy of Islam. Finally, Washington drew a range of Islamic regimes into collaboration with its own war effort, demonstrating that these regimes -- from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan -- were in fact collaborating with the Christians rather than representing Islamic interests. Finally, by drawing the United States into the kind of war it is the least competent in waging --guerrilla war -- al Qaeda created the framework for a prolonged conflict that would work against the United States in the Islamic
world and at home.

Therefore, on first reading it would appear that the war has thus far gone pretty much as al Qaeda hoped it would. That is true, except for the fact that al Qaeda has not achieved the goal toward which all of this was directed. It achieved the things that it saw as the means toward the end, and yet the end is nowhere in sight.

This is the most important fact of the war. Al Qaeda wins if the Islamic world transforms itself at least in part by establishing Islamist regimes. That simply hasn't happened, and there is no sign of it happening. Thus far, at least, whatever the stresses might have been in the Islamic world, existing regimes working in concert with the United States have managed to contain the threat quite effectively.

This might be simply a matter of time. However, after two years, the suspicion has to be raised that al Qaeda calculated everything perfectly -- except for the response. Given what has been said about the Islamic world's anger at the United States and its contempt for the corruption of many governments, the failure of a revolutionary movement to take hold anywhere raises the question of whether al Qaeda's core analysis of the Islamic world had any truth, or whether other factors are at play.

Now turn the question to the United States for a moment. The United States clearly understood al Qaeda's strategy. The government understood that al Qaeda was hoping for a massive counterattack in multiple countries and deep intrusions into other countries. Washington understood that it was playing into al Qaeda's plans; it nevertheless did so.

The U.S. analysis paralleled al Qaeda's analysis. Washington agreed that the issue was the Islamic perception of U.S. weakness. It understood, as President George W. Bush said in his Sept. 7 speech, that Beirut and Somalia -- as well as other events -- had persuaded the Islamic world that the country was indeed weak. Therefore, U.S. officials concluded that inaction would simply reinforce this perception and would hasten the unraveling of the region. Therefore, they realized that even if it played directly into al Qaeda's plan, the United States could not refuse to act.

Taking action carried with it a huge risk -- that of playing out al Qaeda's scenario. However, U.S. leaders made another bet: If an attack on the Islamic world could force or entice regimes in the area to act against al Qaeda inside their borders, then the threat could be turned around. Instead of al Qaeda trapping the United States, the United States could trap al Qaeda. The central U.S. bet was that Washington could move the regimes in question in a suitable direction -- without their disintegration. If it succeeded, the tables could be turned.

The invasion of Iraq was intended to achieve this, and to a great extent it did. The Saudis moved against al Qaeda domestically. Syria changed its behavior. Most importantly, the Iranians shifted their view and actions. None of these regimes fell in the process. None of these actions were as thorough as the United States wanted, either -- and certainly none were definitive. Nevertheless, collaboration increased, and no regime fell.

But at this point, the battle is in doubt:

1. The United States must craft strategies for keeping both the Afghan and Iraqi campaigns at manageable levels. In particular, it must contain guerrilla activities at a level that will not be perceived by the Islamic world as a significant victory.
2. The United States must continue to force or induce nations to collaborate without bringing down any governments.
3. Al Qaeda must, at some point, bring down a government to maintain its own credibility. At this point, merely surviving is not enough.

Both sides now are caught in a battle. The United States holds the resource card: Despite insufficient planning for manpower requirements over the course of the war, the United States is still in a position to bring substantial power to bear in multiple theaters of operation. For al Qaeda, the card is another massive attack on the United States. In the short run, the network cannot do more than sustain the level of combat currently achieved. This level is insufficient to trigger the political events for which it hopes. Therefore, it has to up the ante.

The next months will give some indication of the direction the war is going. Logic tells us that the United States will contain the war in Iraq and, to a lesser extent, in Afghanistan. Logic also tells us that al Qaeda will attempt another massive attack in the United States to try to break the logjam in the Islamic world. What al Qaeda needs is a series of uprisings from the Pacific to the Atlantic that would topple existing regimes. What the United States needs is to demonstrate that it has the will
and ability to contain the forces al Qaeda has unleashed.

At this moment, two years into the war, the primary pressure is on al Qaeda. It has not yet demonstrated its ability to achieve its goals; it has only achieved an ability to mobilize the means of doing so. That is not going to be enough. On the other hand, its ability to pull off massive and unpleasant surprises should not be underestimated.

http://www.stratfor.com


WAR ON WEED
~~~~~~~~~~~~
Marijuana Arrests For 2002 Near Record High Despite Feds' War On Terror

US Police arrested an estimated 697,082 persons for marijuana violations in 2002, according to the FBI annual Uniform Crime Report. The total is among the highest ever recorded and comprised nearly half of all drug arrests in the United States.

"These numbers belie the myth that police do not target and arrest minor marijuana offenders," said Keith Stroup, Executive Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), who noted that at current rates, a marijuana smoker is arrested every 45 seconds in America. "This effort is a tremendous waste of criminal justice resources that should be dedicated toward combating serious and violent crime."

88 % were charged with possession only. The remaining 12 % were charged with "sale/manufacture," a category that includes all cultivation offenses - even those where the marijuana was being grown for personal or medical use.

The total number of marijuana arrests far exceeded the total number of arrests for all violent crimes combined, including murder, manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault.

Since 1992, approximately six million Americans have been arrested on marijuana charges. 90 percent of these total arrests were for simple possession, not cultivation or sale. During much of this period arrests for cocaine and heroin have declined sharply, indicating that increased enforcement of marijuana laws is being achieved at the expense of enforcing laws against the possession and trafficking of more dangerous drugs.

"Marijuana legalization would remove this behemoth financial burden from the criminal justice system, freeing up criminal justice resources to target other more serious crimes, and allowing law enforcement to focus on the highest echelons of hard-drug trafficking enterprises rather than on minor marijuana offenders who present no threat to public safety," Stroup said.

Source: http://www.norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=5799


=============
FUTURE IS NOW
=============
THE MEATRIX
~~~~~~~~~~~~
By now everyone has either seen or heard about the scary futuristic vision of the MATRIX movies.As its name implies, the Meatrix spoofs the popular Matrix movies. It loads quickly and is quite creative and informative.

The humorous short film brings up an important issue: factory farming. Huge, industrial farms have all but wiped out the family farm in America. Along the way, they are damaging our health, our environment and our communities (not to mention the lives of billions of animals).

The Meatrix stars Leo, a young pig who lives on a pleasant family farm ... he thinks. Leo is approached by a wise and mysterious cow, Moopheus, who shows Leo the truth about modern farming -- the truth about the Meatrix!

The Meatrix ends with an upbeat, meaningful way to fight the factory farming crisis -- the "Eat Well Guide", an online healthy-living resource that allows you to enter your zip code and find nearby family farms that produce organic, safe produce and meat.

Supporting family farmers is an effective way for us all to protect the environment, our health and animal rights. Now, enjoy the show:

THE MEATRIX
http://www.themeatrix.com

EAT WELL GUIDE
http://www.eatwellguide.org

 

======
NetTips
======
ANCIENT ANATOMY 101
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Book One of "On the Fabric of the Human Body," a new annotated translation of Andreas Vesalius' classic anatomy work De Humani Corporis Fabrica, is online!

This most detailed and best illustrated atlas of the human body was produced by Andreas at the age of 28 way back in 1543. It quickly became what The Oxford Medical Companion calls "probably the most influential of all medical works."

This illustrated text on the human body is available in Flash and No-Flash versions at:

http://vesalius.northwestern.edu/


Thanks to all who wrote in! And to everyone else, speak up!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
GlobeNews by Kahl Consultants
Visit us: http://www.kahl.net/globenews
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

THE PLUG
========
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Please pass it on! Remember, the best things in life are free.

THE PUNCH LINE
==============
TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE #1
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tim Radford from The Guardian selects his all-time favorite science scams. First in a series of revealed scams.

PILTDOWN MAN

The Piltdown fraud - exposed as a hoax 50 years ago next week - was neither the wickedest scientific fraud ever carried out nor the silliest, but to this day remains the one that everybody has heard about.

Eoanthropus dawsoni, or Piltdown man, was found in a gravel pit at Piltdown in Sussex in 1912 by Charles Dawson, and for 40 years Piltdown man, with his huge, humanlike braincase and apelike jaw, remained on display in what is now the Natural History Museum in London as an example of the notorious "missing link" between humanity and its primate ancestors.

On November 21, 1953, however, scientists pronounced it a crude forgery, the marriage of a modern human skull and an orangutan's jaw, and decided that the entire package of fossil fragments at Piltdown - which included a ludicrous prehistoric cricket bat - had been planted by someone.

The world of palaeontology went pink, and the conspiracy theorists went ape. There was no shortage of potentially guilty men to name, and for the next five decades, they named them.

The cast of plausible potential pranksters in this anthropological whodunit includes enthusiastic amateurs, passionate professionals and disinterested jokers.

Theorists have even pointed the finger at a Jesuit priest - Pere Teilhard de Chardin, who posthumously became a New Age guru - and the begetter of Sherlock Holmes himself, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who in 1912 composed his own palaeontological thriller, The Lost World.

"Piltdown matters for a number of reasons," says Chris Stringer, head of human origins at the Natural History Museum. "One is that it is still an unsolved mystery: we don't know for sure who did it, how they did it, why they did it. Those mysteries remain. I think we have gone a long way towards building up the true story, but we haven't got the whole story yet."

What is certain is that everything found in the gravel pit was fraudulently placed, and by an expert.

"When you do a dig anywhere, most of the stuff you find is little flakes of bones and you don't know what the hell it is and you can't identify it. In Piltdown, every single fossil was diagnostic of a species and they were all small, so they were all bits that would fit in someone's pocket, or trouser turnup or whatever. So someone had the knowledge to say: how much of a rhino tooth do I need to show it is a rhino?" says Stringer.

There have been several scandals involving planted evidence. Fossil fraud is a lucrative business.

"We get people coming into the museum with supposed Homo erectus skulls they have bought from a trader in Java. They are carved out of fossil elephant bones, and they are beautifully done. People carve them and sell them for $500 [£300], and we have to say: it is a fake, I am sorry."

 


KC GlobeNews SEPTEMBER 2003 BOTTLED WATER Special Vol.4, No.9

Current events, trends, travel, politics, eco and tech topics.


CONTENTS
BOTTLED WATER WOES
HEALTHY CITIES
CORPORATE ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERS
LANGUAGE DICTIONARIES
AMERICAN PSYCHO
OZONE HOLE UPDATE
LARGEST CORPORATE VIOLATION OF OZONE REGS
DO NOT CALL REGISTRY
THE BIG LIE OF JESSICA LYNCH

============
!!GLOBALERT!!
============
BOTTLED WATER WOES
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"You drink tap water? Are you crazy?" asks a 21-year-old radio producer from Chicago. I only drink bottled water. In a trendy nightclub in New York, the bartender tells guests they can only be served bottled water, which costs $5 for each tiny container. One outraged clubber is stopped by the restroom attendant as she tries to refill the bottle from the tap. You can't do that, says the attendant. New York's tap water isn't safe.

Bottled water is so ubiquitous that people can hardly ask for water anywhere without being handed a bottle. But what is the cost to society and the environment?

Whether a consumer is shopping, working out, eating in a restaurant or grabbing a refreshment on the go, he or she will likely be tempted to buy bottled water. The product comes in a growing variety of sizes and shapes, including one bottle that looks like a drop of water with a golden cap. Some fine hotels now offer the services of "water sommeliers" to advise diners on which water to drink with different courses.

A widening spectrum of bottled water types are crowding the market, including spring, mineral, purified, distilled, carbonated, oxygenated, caffeinated and vitamin-enriched, as well as flavors and brands aimed at children. Bottled water bars have sprung up in the hipper districts, from Paris to Los Angeles.

How silly can it get? The K9 Water Company of Valencia, California sells beef, liver, chicken and lamb-flavored bottled waters for dogs. You can even get all four in a combo pack "so your dog can decide..."
It's really all about marketing. Advertisers have done an effective job persuading us that our tap water isn't safe. We're exhorted to buy the one liquid we can't live without from private companies who dress up bottles with pretty nature scenes that contradict the true environmental impact of their enterprises.

The message is clear: Bottled water is "good" water, as opposed to that nasty, unsafe stuff that comes out of the tap. But in most cases tap water adheres to stricter purity standards than bottled water, whose source - far from a mountain spring - can be wells underneath industrial facilities. Indeed, 40 percent of bottled water began life as, well, tap water.
Consumers associate bottled water with social status and healthy living. Their perceptions trump their objectivity, because even people who claim to have switched to bottled water "for the taste" can't tell the difference: Good Morning America conducted a taste test and New York City tap water was chosen as the heavy favorite over the oxygenated water 02, Poland Spring and Evian. Many of the "facts" that bottled water drinkers swear by are erroneous.

While much tap water is indeed risky, the NRDC found that there is no assurance that bottled water is any safer than tap water. University of Geneva scientists arrived at the same conclusion, and add that, in 50% of the cases studied, the only difference between tap and bottled water was that the latter contained added minerals and salts, "which do not mean the water is healthier." The FAO states bottled water does not have greater nutritional value than tap water. So why do so many people think otherwise?

The NRDC tested more than 1,000 bottles of 103 brands of bottled water. The group concluded, "Although most bottled water tested was of good quality, some brands' quality was spotty." A third of the brands were found to contain contaminants such as arsenic and carcinogenic compounds in some samples at levels exceeding state or industry standards.

Another area of potential concern is the fact that no agency calls for testing of bottled water after it leaves its initial packaging plant, leaving some to wonder what happens during months of storage and transport. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment tested 80 samples of bottled water from retail stores and manufacturers. All 80 of the samples had detectable levels of chlorine, fluoride and sodium.

As ABC News put it, "Ad campaigns touting spring-fed or glacier-born H2O are winning over a population increasingly skeptical of taps and willing to shell out big bucks for what they consider a purer, tastier and safer drink." Water bottlers use product names such as More Precious Than Gold, Ice Mountain, Desert Quench, Pure American, Utopia and Crystal Springs. The Environmental Law Foundation has sued eight bottlers on the basis that they used words like "pure" to market water containing bacteria, arsenic and chlorine breakdown products.

The number one (Aquafina) and two (Dasani) top-selling brands of bottled water in the U.S. both fall in the category of purified water. Dasani is sold by Coca-Cola, while Aquafina is a Pepsi product. As U.S. News & World Report explains, "Aquafina is municipal water from spots like Wichita, Kansas." The news magazine continues, "Coke's Dasani (with minerals added) is taken from the taps of Queens, New York, Jacksonville, Florida, and elsewhere." Everest bottled water originates from southern Texas, while Yosemite brand is drawn from the Los Angeles suburbs.

For the price of one bottle of Evian, a person can use 1,000 gallons of tap water in the home.

Environmentalists question the purpose of lugging those heavy, inefficient, polluting bottles all over the Earth. World Wide Fund for Nature argues that the product is a waste of money and is very environmentally unfriendly. Co-op America concludes: "By far the cheapest - and often the safest - option is to drink water from a tap. It's also the most environmentally friendly option." Friends of the Earth says, "We might as well drink water from the tap and save all this waste."

Distribution of bottled water requires substantially more fuel than delivering tap water. Over 22 million tons of the bottled liquid is transferred each year from country to country. Instead of relying on a mostly preexisting infrastructure of underground pipes and plumbing, delivering bottled water burns fossil fuels and results in the release of harmful emissions. Electricity is expended for refrigeration. Energy is likewise used in bottled water processing. In filtration, an estimated two gallons of water is wasted for every gallon purified.

When most people think of bottled water, they envision the single-serve plastic bottle, which is now available almost anywhere food products are sold. The WWF estimates that around 1.5 million tons of plastic are used globally each year in water bottles, leaving a sizable manufacturing footprint. Most water bottles are made of the oil-derived polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Manufacturing PET generates more than 100 times the toxic emissions compared to making the same amount of glass. Making plastic bottles requires almost the same energy input as making glass bottles, despite transport savings that stem from plastic's light weight.

The Container Recycling Institute says nine out of 10 plastic water bottles end up as either garbage or litter - at a rate of 30 million per day. When some plastic bottles are incinerated along with other trash, as is the practice in many municipalities, toxic chlorine (and potentially dioxin) is released into the air while heavy metals deposit in the ash. If plastics are buried in landfills, not only do they take up valuable space, but potentially toxic additives such as phthalates may leak into the groundwater. It's ironic that people drink bottled water because they are afraid of tap water, but then the bottles they discard can result in more polluted water.

Only five percent of plastic waste is currently recycled in America and much of that must be fortified with huge amounts of virgin plastic. One limitation is that recycling plastic causes it to lose strength and flexibility, meaning the process can only be done a few times with any given sample.

Different types of plastics are difficult to sort, even though they can't be recycled together. Plastic additives (phthalates or metal salts) can also thwart recycling efforts as can too high a ratio of colored bottles (such as Dasani's blue containers) to clear bottles. Because of the challenges, many recycling centers refuse to accept plastics. In fact, a fair amount of America's plastic recycling is done in Asia, where laxer environmental laws govern polluting factories and fuel is spent in international transport.

The California Department of Conservation (CDOC) says more than one billion water bottles are ending up in the state's trash each year - enough plastic to make 16 million sweaters. Only 16 percent of PET water bottles sold in California are being recycled, compared to much higher rates for aluminum and glass.

Franklin says one potential deterrent to recycling may be that water bottles are often used away from home, meaning they aren't likely to make it into curbside bins. Young advises people to ask for recycling bins in retail and public spaces.

Alternatives to bottled water - boiling and filtering - are cheaper and more sustainable in areas that have contaminated tap sources. Fill your own bottles to take with you on the go. Spring and other specialty waters can be purchased in bulk.

Cut back on bottled water and look to tap systems to provide daily needs. Incidents of chemical or microbial contamination in tap water are actually relatively rare. Reliable water is currently available to nearly all 270 million U.S. residents.

Tap water does face numerous threats, including possible contamination from the potentially harmful byproducts of chlorination, the specter of pollution and a lack of adequate funding. Governments should focus their limited energies on repairing current tap water infrastructures and on protecting watersheds from harmful farm, industry and urban pollutants. We certainly need to think twice before handing off the public water trust to private companies that put it in attractive bottles at a high price.

Read the entire article:
Message in a Bottle - Despite the Hype, Bottled Water is Neither CLEANER nor GREENER Than Tap Water
http://www.emagazine.com/september-october_2003/0903feat1.html

 

==============
THE GOOD NEWS
==============
HEALTHY CITIES
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Organic Style is a glossy magazine for the upscale organic consumer. It comes from Rodale Inc., the folks who also publish Organic Gardening.
In the Sept-Oct 2003 issue, the magazine asks How Healthy is Your City?

It ranks 125 US cities for environmental toxicity (what's in the air, water and soil and how bad it might be for health).

The article is not too technical and will give readers yet another dimension to consider when they choose where to live. And rankings such as this might inspire cities to consider environmental health when they plan economic development.

Top of the list: Santa Fe, New Mexico. Best in the Northeast: Ithaca, New York. Best in the Northwest: Bellingham, Washington.

Source: Organic Style:
http://www.organicstyle.com/thisissue/healthycities.html


CORPORATE ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERS
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Here's the 2003 list of the top 20 companies in the world identified as sustainable by SustainableBusiness.com. That is both financially strong AND leading in environmental performance.

Companies are chosen based on two categories:
1) they are committed to sound environmental practices
2) on the leading edge of products that support a sustainable society.

2003 SB20 alphabetically:
Ballard Power Systems
Chiquita
Electrolux
FuelCell Energy
Green Mountain Coffee
Henkel
Herman Miller
Horizon Organic Dairy
Itron
JM Inc.
Novo Nordisk
Novozymes
Power Integrations
STMicroelectronics
Swiss Re
Timberland
United Natural
Vestas
Wainwright Bank
Whole Foods

Sources: Corporate Social Responsibility Newswire Service.
http://www.csrwire.com/article.cgi/1980.html
Progressive Investor newsletter
http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/progressiveinvestor/

 

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Translations
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http://www.diccionarios.com/

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http://humanities.uchicago.edu/forms_unrest/FR-ENG.html
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http://qsilver.queensu.ca/german/business/dictionary/

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=========
GlobeNews
=========
AMERICAN PSYCHO
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A study funded by the US government has concluded that conservatism can be explained psychologically as a set of neuroses rooted in "fear and
aggression, dogmatism and the intolerance of ambiguity".

As if that was not enough to get Republican blood boiling, the report's four authors linked Hitler, Mussolini, Ronald Reagan and the right wing talk show host, Rush Limbaugh, arguing they all suffered from the same affliction.

All of them "preached a return to an idealised past and condoned inequality".

Republicans are demanding to know why the psychologists behind the report, Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition, received $1.2m in public funds for their research from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

The authors also peer into the psyche of President George Bush, who turns out to be a textbook case. The telltale signs are his preference for moral certainty and frequently expressed dislike of nuance.

"This intolerance of ambiguity can lead people to cling to the familiar, to arrive at premature conclusions, and to impose simplistic cliches and stereotypes," the authors argue in the Psychological Bulletin.

One of the psychologists behind the study, Jack Glaser, said the aversion to shades of grey and the need for "closure" could explain the fact that the Bush administration ignored intelligence that contradicted its beliefs about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

The authors, presumably aware of the outrage they were likely to trigger, added a disclaimer that their study "does not mean that conservatism is pathological or that conservative beliefs are necessarily false".

Another author, Arie Kruglanski, of the University of Maryland, said he had received hate mail since the article was published, but he insisted that the study "is not critical of conservatives at all". "The variables we talk about are general human dimensions," he said. "These are the same dimensions that contribute to loyalty and commitment to the group. Liberals might be less intolerant of ambiguity, but they may be less decisive, less committed, less loyal."

But what drives the psychologists? George Will, a Washington Post columnist who has long suffered from ingrained conservatism, noted, tartly:
"The professors have ideas; the rest of us have emanations of our psychological needs and neuroses."

Source: Study of Bush's psyche touches a nerve, The Guardian. August 12 2003
http://www.guardian.co.uk

 

=============
FUTURE IS NOW
=============
OZONE HOLE UPDATE
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Folks, maybe we were a bit premature last month when we said that the ozone hole could be stabilizing.

Satellite readings and ground observations show for the first time that the dangerous rate of ozone loss is finally slowing.

CFCs last from 45 to 100 years in the atmosphere. So even if the rate of growth in the ozone holes continues slowing, it will take at least 40 or 50 years before all the ozone depletion stops and recovery begins.

Ozone hole 'could be stabilising'
http://www.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,4057,6835942%5E1702,00.html

Ozone hole 'set to shrink'
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/1050495.stm

Hints of ozone recovery spotted
http://www.nature.com/nsu/030728/030728-5.html


LARGEST CORPORATE VIOLATION OF OZONE REGS
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sara Lee (famous for their cheesecake) acquired Earthgrains, the 2nd largest bakery in the US, for US1.9 billion plus debt in 2001. But in 2000 the EPA had already been in touch with Earthgrains about its compliance, or lack thereof, with ozone depleting substances regulations. In its 2002 Annual Report, Sara Lee reported that it did not expect that any liability resulting from the EPA proceedings would have a significant adverse effect on its finances.

In July 2003 the EPA and the Justice Department announced that the settlement reached with Earthgrains will amount to at least US $10.25 million, $5.25 million as a civil penalty and over $5 million to convert all the company's industrial process refrigeration appliances so they do not release substances which deplete the ozone layer.

57 out of 67 facilities, with over 300 large appliance involved, leaked refrigerants at an excessive rate. Earthgrains had not made repairs to comply with the ozone depleting regulations. The US government regards the violation as having global impact in terms of public health and the environment.

So Sara Lee now has to fix the refrigeration systems under the intense scrutiny of regulators. With net sales for the fiscal year ending June 28, 2003 of $18.3 billion, they now have a dubious record. The US government said it has "committed the largest ever corporate-wide violations of stratospheric ozone protection regulations"
Sources:
http://www.shareholder.com/Common?Edgar/23666/950131-02-3636/02-00.pdf
US Environmental Protection Agency July 30th news release
http://www.epa.gov/ozone/enforce/


======
NetTips
======
DO NOT CALL REGISTRY
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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Thanks to all who wrote in! And to everyone else, speak up!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
GlobeNews by Kahl Consultants
Visit us: http://www.kahl.net/globenews
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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THE PUNCH LINE
==============
THE BIG LIE OF JESSICA LYNCH
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A $1 mil book deal, zero memory of any "rescue" and the worst book you'll read this year
Hey, remember that dramatic CNN footage of that big statue of Saddam Hussein being toppled by U.S. forces in that Baghdad square a few months back, during the "war"? Remember how powerfully symbolic it was supposed to be?

Remember, later, seeing the wide-angle shot on the Internet, the one of all the U.S. tanks surrounding the square and the whole bogus setup of how they staged the event, complete with a big crane and some strong cable and strategically positioned "citizens" cheering their "liberation" as the statue fell, as just off camera, a handful of genuine Iraqis loitered nearby, looking confused and bored?

Remember how you felt then? Like this little black worm had bored into your skin and was crawling around in your small intestine and you had the perpetual urge to go off into the corner and eat pie and slam double scotches and scream at the state of BushCo's nation?

The Jessica Lynch story is just like that, only much, much worse.

These are the things that make you wince and sigh. These are the things that put it all in perspective, make you realize what the Pentagon and the military hawks really value.

These are the things that make you realize, goddammit, here I am working every day and struggling to make ends meet in a BushCo-gutted economy and all I really needed to do all along to make a million bucks is stage some sort of bogus wartime heroics and sell it to a war-numbed American populace for $24.95 in hardback, and, boom, Range Rover City.

Jessica Lynch. You know the one. The sweet, American-pie 19-year-old soldier and kindergarten-teacher wanna-be whose army squad took a wrong turn in Iraq and was, apparently, ambushed.

And some of her comrades were killed and she was taken prisoner, full of stab wounds and bullet holes, and she was whisked off to a ragged Iraqi hospital and held for eight days by vicious Iraqi guards and ostensibly abused, and later supposedly "rescued" in the most daring and macho made-for-TV moment of the war by elite teams of hunky U.S. Army Rangers and U.S. Navy SEALs. Wow.

Except that it never really happened that way. Except that Lynch herself doesn't remember a single thing and all the nurses and doctors and eyewitnesses on the scene say the Iraqi fedayeen guards had fled the day before the "rescue," and there was no danger whatsoever, no resistance of any kind, the U.S. forces could just walk right in, and they knew it.

And the hospital doors were wide open, and the nurses and doctors had gone out of their way to provide decent care for our precious Jessica, considering the circumstances, and doctors even tried to return Lynch to U.S. forces themselves.

And despite U.S. claims, Lynch had no knife wounds or bullet holes at all, just a few broken bones, and the dramatic and violent "rescue" was really just inane and silly and entirely faked and yet America bought it, hook, line and Rumsfeld, because it was on TV...

Read the fully story:
Mark Morford, September 5, 2003 SF Gate
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/g/a/2003/09/05/notes090503.DTL