This is really the picture of the American economy. That bar that drops far below the midline? That's "piped gas" -- in other words, natural gas. To the far right, the highest increase was in medical services. Sounds about right.
The new rule limits soot, or fine particulate matter, which stems from activities ranging from burning wood to vehicle emissions, and which causes disease by entering the lungs and bloodstream. Fine particulate matter measuring less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, or one-thirtieth the width of a human hair, ranks as the country’s most widespread deadly pollutant.
Which is good news, of course! Don't want people dying. And the increase is due largely to improvements in public health programs and access to food. From The New York Times:
A sharp decline in deaths from malnutrition and infectious diseases like measles and tuberculosis has caused a shift in global mortality patterns over the past 20 years, according to a report published on Thursday, with far more of the world’s population now living into old age and dying from diseases mostly associated with rich countries, like cancer and heart disease.
The shift reflects improvements in sanitation, medical services and access to food throughout the developing world, as well as the success of broad public health efforts like vaccine programs. The results are striking: infant mortality declined by more than half from 1990 to 2010, and malnutrition, the No. 1 risk factor for death and years of life lost in 1990, has fallen to No. 8.
At the same time, chronic diseases like cancer now account for about two out of every three deaths worldwide, up from just over half in 1990. Eight million people died of cancer in 2010, 38 percent more than in 1990. Diabetes claimed 1.3 million lives in 2010, double the number in 1990.
As the Times notes, 33 percent of global deaths in 1990 were of people 70 or older. In 2010, that figure was 43 percent.
Next September, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will release its fifth report compiling the scientific evidence of climate change. But, if you're impatient, you can read it today, thanks to a buffoon associated with a buffoon-clogged website committed to undermining climate change. (We choose not to link to said site because fuck them.)
The fifth assessment report (AR5) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is not due to be published in full until September 2013, was uploaded onto [yet another buffoon-clogged website] on Thursday and has since been mirrored elsewhere on the internet. Several scientists who helped to write the report have confirmed that the draft is genuine.
A little-known US-based climate sceptic called Alex Rawls, who had been accepted by the IPCC to be one of the report's 800 expert reviewers, admitted to leaking the document.
As the Huffington Post puts it, this "raises questions about the process." Um, yeah. I'd say. Hey, U.N.? Here's a tip: Maybe don't give review copies of important, complex documents to dingbat deniers. Go ahead and write that down; I'll wait.
Having lived in a snowy region, I certainly understand that snowfall can be a pain in the ass. It's great while falling, to a point, and great when sitting in large drifts in the yard preventing egress to school and/or work, and then terrible when you have to shovel it or see it in dark, muddy piles by the side of the road or struggle out into it to go to school and/or work.
So this news is a mixed blessing: Cities across the Midwest are setting new records for the number of consecutive days without measurable snowfall.
One of the benefits of being an elected official in a bright blue state, a state so blue that it casts a pale blue glow over its neighbors, is that you can be pretty aggressively liberal. New York state has a proud tradition of such politicians (as well as some less aggressive ones) -- particularly those politicians ensconced as state attorney general.
Ten years ago, the state's attorney general was a gentleman named Eliot Spitzer. Spitzer basically created the role of the crusading AG, running hard against Wall Street, prostitution (ahem), and pollution. When he wasn't at the office, he was at home with his wife Silda, because he is a family man. Spitzer was succeeded in his role by Andrew Cuomo, who went after student loans and violations of privacy by police. In January 2011, when Cuomo became governor, the AG position was assumed by Eric Schneiderman -- who has taken up the activist tradition with gusto.
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, leading a coalition of seven states, today notified the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of his intent to sue the Agency for violating the Clean Air Act by failing to address methane emissions from the oil and natural gas industry. …
While that’s the lowest amount since at least 2000, the cost of collecting and disposing of the garbage has remained relatively constant, ranging from a low of about 70 cents [per person per day] in 2002 to a high of more than 80 cents in 2008. In 2012, the average cost per person daily was about 75 cents. The cost figures are all in 2012 dollars.
Refuse accounts for most of the garbage, but recycling, which is more expensive per pound, makes up nearly half the daily expenditure.
Cold temperatures have kept crabs out of Antarctic seas for 30 million years. But warm water from the ocean depths is now intruding onto the continental shelf, and seems to be changing the delicate ecological balance. An analysis by [marine ecologist Craig] Smith and his colleagues suggests that 1.5 million crabs already inhabit Palmer Deep, [a] sea-floor valley ... And native organisms have few ways of defending themselves. “There are no hard-shell-crushing predators in Antarctica,” says Smith. “When these come in they're going to wipe out a whole bunch of endemic species.”
Scientists are asking for volunteers to help stem the invasion; the research team will provide melted butter and nutcrackers.
The federal budget for 2013 is $3.8 trillion dollars -- $3,800,000,000,000. Last week, President Obama requested that some $60.4 billion be used to help the Northeast recover from Sandy. $60.4 billion is a lot of money, but it's a small percentage of what the government spends each year. It's under six days worth of spending -- going to rebuild infrastructure and restore the lives of those displaced by the storms.
But it's also an opportunity for assholes to grandstand, and God forbid they should let such an opportunity pass. From Reuters:
Republican Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona said on Tuesday that Obama's Sandy request was simply "too much."
"At $60 billion? In this time when we're trying to solve the deficit problem?" he told reporters.
The resistance could put the Sandy aid bill at risk of becoming a pawn in the tense negotiations over the year-end "fiscal cliff" of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts, although members of both parties have said it is essential for Congress to approve new disaster relief funds before the end of the year.
The federal government is stepping up its efforts to kick-start the offshore wind industry by awarding $28 million in grants to seven projects that are developing varying kinds of power-generation technology.
The Department of Energy said Wednesday that each developer would receive up to $4 million to complete the engineering, design and permitting phases of their projects in six states. Three of the seven will then be selected to receive up to $47 million over four years, subject to Congressional appropriations, for construction and installation, with the aim of having them begin commercial operation by 2017. So far, no offshore wind farm is operating in American waters.
The Department of Energy also has a surprisingly cool map of the grant recipients. (You may need to zoom out.)