The John James Newsletter 211
22 December 2017
I AM TAKING A BREAK.
ENJOY YOUR HOLIDAYS, YOUR FAMILIES AND YOUR FRIENDS
AND I WILL BE BACK NEXT YEAR.
We use 1.4 billion plastic bottles every single day, and only a fraction will ever be recycled, and once they get into the environment they take up to 1000 years to break down
Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all
Welcome To The New Arctic: The Region “We Once Knew Is No More”
Despite relatively cool summer temperatures, the region has reached a “new normal, characterised by long-term losses in the extent and thickness of the sea ice cover, the extent and duration of the winter snow cover and the mass of ice in the Greenland Ice Sheet and Arctic glaciers, and warming sea surface and permafrost temperature. This is not good news. The environment is changing so quickly in such a short amount of time that we can’t quite get a handle on what this new state is going to look like.
Indigenous groups unite to make Chevron pay
The 25-year struggle of indigenous communities in Ecuador to get justice from Chevron for oil pollution have already won a $9.5 billion judgement in the Ecuadorean courts, but Chevron has refused to pay. The communities are now trying to collect in Canada, in a case that dates back to between 1964 and 1992 when Texaco, later acquired by Chevron, dumped at least 16 billion gallons of toxic wastewater into the rivers and streams of Ecuador’s Amazon basin and abandoned some 900 toxic waste pits in the rainforest. Indigenous communities were left with poisoned land and drinking water, suffered a cancer epidemic and birth defects throughout a 20,000- hectare zone that locals call the “Amazon Chernobyl.”
How to kill fruit flies
Fruit flies are annoying. So here’s how we get rid of them in my lab: We build a trap. It’s not perfect, but it’s OK.
November temperature was +1.15°C relative to 1880-1920
AI can figure out a place’s politics by analysing cars on Google Street View
More pickups trucks or sedans in a given city. With a greater number of pickup trucks, the urban area had an 82 percent chance of voting Republican, and with more sedans, there was an 88 percent chance it voted Democrat.
Weak energy target threatens 27GW of renewable projects
27GW of large-scale renewable projects proposed, combined with the expected growth in rooftop solar, would mean just over half of Australia’s electricity supply could be met with renewables by 2030. Most of these projects will remain dormant until the government puts its long-term Paris agreement commitments into a legally enforceable policy.
Snowy Hydro 2.0 is viable but will cost billions more than predicted
The current estimate for the project is between $3.8bn and $4.5bn, more than the $2bn estimated by Turnbull when he promoted Snowy Hydro 2.0. It involves boring 27km of tunnels linking the Talbingo dam, at an elevation of 552 metres, to the Tantangara reservoir, at 1,233 metres, so energy can be generated by pumping water uphill to the higher reservoir when energy is cheap (say, in the middle of the night) and releasing it back downhill when energy is in high demand and prices are higher.
Tesla big battery outsmarts lumbering coal units
The Tesla big battery is having a big impact on Australia’s electricity market, far beyond the South Australia grid where it was expected to time shift a small amount of wind energy and provide network services and emergency back-up in case of a major problem. Last Thursday, one of the biggest coal units in Australia, Loy Yang A 3, tripped without warning at 1.59am, with the sudden loss of 560MW and causing a slump in frequency on the network. What happened next has stunned electricity industry insiders
Things Cruise Lines Never Tell You
Despite how the cruise pundits like to spin things, there are environmental costs to this controversial industry. The 16 major cruise lines generated over 1 billion gallons of sewage in 2014, much of it raw or poorly treated. One cruise ship can produce 13 million cars worth of CO2 in one day. Lax laws mean ships can dump sewage into international waters three miles offshore from the hot spots they promote as vacation destinations. These behemoth vessels often overwhelm small ports and undermine the very natural beauty and culture they’re trying to sell.
Guardian to fight legal action over Paradise Papers
Offshore firm at heart of story, Appleby, is seeking damages and has demanded Guardian and BBC hand over documents. Appleby has also demanded that the Guardian and the BBC disclose any of the 6m Appleby documents that informed their reporting for a project that provoked worldwide anger and debate over the tax dodges used by individuals and multinational companies.
What lies beneath the sea is very bizarre
From leafy sea dragons to monstrous worms, the world’s strangest sea creatures revealed. Many of these ocean-dwelling species have rarely been seen in the flesh by humans.
BHP Billiton, acknowledges climate change and quits Coal Group
It represents the latest example of a business that is largely built around traditional fossil fuels responding to investor and government concern over climate change – and it would spend $200 million to acquire a large stake in a solar power developer.
With enough cameras we can know who you are and who you spend time with
China has been building the world’s biggest camera surveillance network. 170 million CCTV cameras are already in place and an estimated 400 million new ones will be installed in the next three years. Many of the cameras are fitted with artificial intelligence, including facial recognition technology. The BBC’s John Sudworth has been given rare access to one of the new hi-tech police control rooms.
Ancient fossil microorganisms indicate that life in the universe is widespread
The microorganisms, from Western Australia, are 3.465 billion years old. Two of the species appear to have performed a primitive form of photosynthesis, another apparently produced methane gas, and two others appear to have consumed methane and used it to build their cell walls.
10 Indications the US is a dictatorship
Today we are entering a nebulous world where our “enemy” cannot be defined, has no particular allegiance to one country, and is able to adopt new leaders at will. Rather than encourage a sense of resilience and independence in its citizens, America has chosen to amplify the terror threat in order to concentrate power in the hands of the State. The very first signpost on this historically familiar road to tyranny is an atmosphere of hate, suspicion, and vindictiveness. It first begins as an outwardly directed aggression and then rather abruptly turns inward upon itself.
From the Sierra Club
America is being turned into a third-world country. Poverty is everywhere, poverty of people and of the earth itself, of its plants and animals. And the rich are moving out, assuming that money will save them from the dragon their greed has unleashed.