Author Archive | Good German

Were Siberia’s Mystery Craters Caused by Explosive Methane Releases?

Screen-Shot-2014-07-19-at-8.47.14-AM-640x381Uh oh…

Via News.co.au:

The end of the world could be starting right now — in a frozen Siberian wasteland known as Yamal. It translates as “The End of the Land”.

The first mysterious crater was spotted by oil workers earlier this month. It was an 80m wide cavern that reached deep into the earth.

Since then, the Siberian Times reports goatherds have found a further two enormous vents in the ground.

Russian researchers have returned from their investigation of the first find and taken water and soil samples to help resolve how the hole was formed. Some say aliens. Some say they’re “hellmouths” — gateways to the undead.

But scientists already have a pretty good idea.

Explosive vents of vast quantities of methane gas.

Now a new, ominous, name could be attached to them: Dragon’s mouths.

Here’s where a blog posted by American professor in glaciology Dr Jason Box at the weekend comes in: “The dragon breath hypothesis has me losing sleep.”

THE DRAGON’S BURP

Dr Box highlights signs of alarmingly huge spikes of methane being released into the atmosphere above Siberia.

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Chelsea Manning and the Power of Empathy

Chelsea Manning when she was known as Bradley Manning.

Chelsea Manning when she was known as Bradley Manning.

Can there be righteousness without compassion?

Nozomi Hayase writes at Common Dreams:

It is 3 am. Something in me is unsettled and I cannot sleep. Earlier today, the Israeli military intensified its assault on Gaza Strip as a kind of collective punishment of the Palestinians; those vulnerable and marginalized who have been locked up and denied their humanity. After more than 440 air strikes since the beginning of the week, I saw photos of injured and dead men, women and children by the dozens.

I hear a man walking on the street outside my window shouting loudly; “you are a liar, a liar”. In this explosion of anger, I feel his pain. Life does not have to be this way. We can live with dignity and treat each other with respect and kindness. We can do much better.

When we see suffering of others, it upsets and saddens and keeps many of us awake at night.

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Using TV, Videos or a Computer Game as a Stress Reducer after a Tough Day at Work Can Lead to Feelings of Guilt and Failure

I know TV is evil, but I thought video games were good.  Guess I was wrong again!

Via ScienceDaily:

It seems common practice: After a long day at work, most people sometimes just want to turn on the TV or play a video or computer game to calm down and relax. However, in a study recently published in the Journal of Communication researchers at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in Germany and VU University Amsterdam in the Netherlands found that people who were highly stressed after work did not feel relaxed or recovered when they watched TV or played computer or video games. Instead, they tended to show increased levels of guilt and feelings of failure.

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In a joint survey research project, Dr. Leonard Reinecke of the Department of Communication at Mainz University and Dr. Tilo Hartmann and Dr. Allison Eden of the Department of Communication Science at the University of Amsterdam asked a total of 471 study participants about their previous day, how they felt after work or school, and what media they turned to at the end of the day.

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Fecal Transplants Let Packrats Eat Poison

Neotoma_cinerea_(bushy_tailed_woodrat)

Bushy tailed North American woodrat.

Eating shit could literally save your life!*

Via ScienceDaily:

Woodrats lost their ability to eat toxic creosote bushes after antibiotics killed their gut microbes. Woodrats that never ate the plants were able to do so after receiving fecal transplants with microbes from creosote-eaters, University of Utah biologists found.

The new study confirms what biologists long have suspected: bacteria in the gut — and not just liver enzymes — are “crucial in allowing herbivores to feed on toxic plants,” says biologist Kevin Kohl, a postdoctoral researcher and first author of the paper published online today in the journal Ecology Letters.

The study of woodrats, also known as packrats, raises two concerns, according to Kohl and the study’s senior author, Denise Dearing, a professor and chair of biology:

  1. Endangered species may lose diversity of their gut microbes when they are bred in captivity. When they are released to the wild, does that leave them unable to consume toxic plants that once were on their menu?
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The Comforts of Blame

Vladimir_Putin_-_2006

Attribution: Kremlin.ru

Sure, Putin is a bad guy, but is he the head of the Illuminati, responsible for all the problems in the world – is any one person even capable of such?

Binoy Kampmark writes at CounterPunch:

Investigations tend to be called upon to do just that. Causes are identified; actors are located.  The investigation being demanded by all countries that lost citizens on Malaysian flight MH17 in Ukraine was a perfectly logical, and legal demand.  The language of pre-emption, however, was never far away, begging the question on whether an investigation was even needed.

From the start, the rhetoric surrounding the shooting down of MH17 has been scripted as a matter of moral urgency and outrage.  Culprits have been sought with zeal, and the language of a crime site used to explain the radius within which the remains of the aircraft fell.  Someone pulled the trigger, as much as that can be said.

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Epigenetic Tie to Neuropsychiatric Disorders Found

2D structure of neurotransmitter dopamine. Created with BKChem and Extensible SVG Optimiser

2D structure of neurotransmitter dopamine. Created with BKChem and Extensible SVG Optimiser

Could this discovery lead to the end of “treating” mental illness through the endless prescribing of psychiatric drugs?

Via ScienceDaily:

Dysfunction in dopamine signaling profoundly changes the activity level of about 2,000 genes in the brain’s prefrontal cortex and may be an underlying cause of certain complex neuropsychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, according to UC Irvine scientists.

This epigenetic alteration of gene activity in brain cells that receive this neurotransmitter showed for the first time that dopamine deficiencies can affect a variety of behavioral and physiological functions regulated in the prefrontal cortex.

The study, led by Emiliana Borrelli, a UCI professor of microbiology & molecular genetics, appears online in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

“Our work presents new leads to understanding neuropsychiatric disorders,” Borrelli said. “Genes previously linked to schizophrenia seem to be dependent on the controlled release of dopamine at specific locations in the brain.

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Free Markets and Capitalism Are Not the Same Thing

Photograph shows stock brokers working at the New York Stock Exchange. 1963

Photograph shows stock brokers working at the New York Stock Exchange. 1963

Roderick Long writes about the problems with conflating the two at Bleeding Heart Libertarians:

Left-libertarians differ from the (current) libertarian mainstream both in terms of what outcomes they regard as desirable, and in terms of what outcomes they think a freed market is likely to produce.

With regard to the latter issue, left-libertarians regard the current domination of the economic landscape by large hierarchical firms as the product not of free competition but of government intervention – including not only direct subsidies, grants of monopoly privilege, and barriers to entry, but also a regulatory framework that enables firms to socialise the scale costs associated with growth and the informational costs associated with hierarchy, while pocketing the benefits – and leaving employees and consumers with a straitened range of options. In the absence of government intervention, we maintain, firms could be expected to be smaller, flatter, and more numerous, with greater worker empowerment.

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Study Concludes Beef Is a Bigger Environmental Threat than Cars

USCA Choice standing rib roast (2 bone) by Michael C. Berch, aka MCB.

USCA Choice standing rib roast (2 bone) by Michael C. Berch, aka MCB.

Deforestation: It’s what’s for dinner!

Jon Queally writes at Common Dreams:

Eating meat is turning up the heat.

That’s the message from a team of international researchers whose just published study shows that the raising of livestock and consumption of meat—especially beef—is becoming an increasingly aggressive driver of planetary global warming and climate change.

Published this week in the journal Climatic Change and posted in the U.S. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the research reveals the alarming increase in global consumption of meat from raised livestock and discovered that beef cattle in particular are releasing more methane and nitrous oxide, both potent greenhouse gases, than previously thought.

Carbon dioxide is the most-prevalent gas when it comes to climate change. It is released by vehicles, industry, and forest removal and comprises the greatest portion of greenhouse gas totals.

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Thoughts of a Homeless Man

Homeless Veteran on the streets of Boston, MA

Homeless Veteran on the streets of Boston, MA

A fictional reflection on the realities of homelessness.

Meng-hu writes at hermit’s thatch:

Fictional, but based on an actual conversation, with the interlocutor here speaking.

I’ve been homeless for ten years. I made some mistakes and I paid for them, but I lost all my friends, and my family refused to ever see me again. Jobs are scarce; I have no skills of value to anyone. But like Siddhartha in the Hesse novel, I can think, I can wait, I can fast. Many days I go hungry. But I have infinite patience. And I can think, but usually think myself into a self-righteous and ethical stalemate.

I decided to give up trying to make it, you know, to give up trying to be a square peg — or is it round? It was just too hard: trying to pay rent or a mortgage, trying to pay insurance and debts, trying to guess what pleases people.

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