Apr 30, 2014
Researchers at the Kaspersky Lab have uncovered a zero-day Adobe Flash vulnerability that affects Windows, OS X, and Linux. 'While the exploit Kaspersky observed attacked only computers running Microsoft Windows, the underlying flaw, which is formally categorized as CVE-2014-1776 and resides in a Flash component known as the Pixel Bender, is present in the Adobe application built for OS X and Linux machines as well.' Adobe has reportedly patched the bug for all platforms. Researchers first detected the bug from attacks performed on seven Syrian computers. The attacks seem to have been hosted on the Syrian Ministry of Justice website, which has led to speculation that these are state-sponsored vulnerability exploits. This speculation is further supported by evidence that one of the exploits was 'designed to target computers that have the Cisco Systems MeetingPlace Express Add-In version 5x0 installed. The app is used to view documents and images during Web conferences.'
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The most telling portion of this graphic is the manufacturing section, which shows us that our manufacturing sector is now collectively smaller than the number of jobs we have in government.
Since the recession started in December 2007:
- there are still 1.3 million fewer U.S. jobs than when the recession began.
- health care has added 1.5 million jobs.
- restaurants and bars have added roughly 700,000 jobs.
- the number of construction jobs has fallen by 1.6 million.
- the number of manufacturing jobs has fallen by 1.7 million.
- the number of government jobs has fallen by about 500,000.
Apr 29, 2014
The $2.4 million settlement will get Republic's attention, but the involvement in SVEP will get their attention even more.
A state regulator estimated that customers could expect to see their bills increase by more than $20 a month. Duke officials have countered with a cheaper option that would cost $2 billion to $2.5 billion and leave the coal ash in place at most sites. Under that option, "the coal ash would be air-dried, left in place and covered with a tarpaulin or membrane," Murwaski writes.
Chris Ayers, executive director of Public Staff, the state agency that represents the public in utility-rate cases, "noted that a North Carolina utility's environmental compliance costs are typically included in customers' rates. He said it was too early to tell if the Public Staff would challenge Duke's proposed costs, which the company would have to demonstrate are prudent and reasonable," Murawski writes. "Ayers told lawmakers that Duke could not be held to an environmental standard that did not exist when the pits were constructed a half-century ago."
"Under state law, Duke's coal ash remediation plan will require approval from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources," Murawski writes. "But the cost of that plan is in the hands of the N.C. Utilities Commission, which would review Duke's expenses after the company spent the money." (Read more)
Apr 28, 2014
Before the Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed in 1970, an estimated 14,000 workers were fatally injured on the job every year. Many more died from diseases caused by exposure to benzene, silica, asbestos and other serious health hazards. Today workplaces are much safer and healthier. But there is still much work to be done.
Unfortunately, the workplace hazards that you usually hear about are the ones you can see — trenches and grain silos, fall hazards and forklifts, electrical wiring and machines with moving parts. But many of the most serious hazards are the “silent killers” – the ones we can’t see, such as airborne chemicals and fine particles of dust.
American workers use tens of thousands of chemicals every day. While many of these chemicals are known or suspected of being harmful, we have workplace exposure standards for only a small fraction. Workers pay the price for lack of regulation – workplace chemical exposures that have already occurred are responsible for tens of thousands of worker deaths every year.
Some of these silent killers, like silica dust and asbestos, work slowly over years of continuous exposure. Other chemicals, like lead and formaldehyde, can have serious effects after relatively short exposures. Whether slow or fast, these tragedies can and must be prevented.
OSHA is very concerned about chemical exposures in the workplace. The American people rightly expect OSHA to have standards that protect workers from preventable death and illness. But there are countless chemicals and chemical mixtures for which we have no permissible exposure limits (PELS). And with few exceptions, the current OSHA PELS have not been updated since they were adopted in 1971, while scientific data clearly indicate that many of these exposure limits do not protect all workers from harm. This is why we have proposed a new standard to protect workers from exposure to crystalline silica dust.
FROM CDC - Workers' Memorial Day, observed on April 28, 2014, recognizes workers who died or suffered from exposures to hazards at work. In 2012, a total of 4,383 U.S. workers died from work-related injuries (1). Most fatalities from work-related illness are not captured by national surveillance systems, but an estimate for 2007 was 53,445 deaths (2).
In 2012, nearly 3 million injuries to and illnesses in private industry workers and 793,000 to and in state and local government workers were reported by employers (3). In the same year, an estimated 2.8 million work-related injuries were treated in emergency departments, resulting in 140,000 hospitalizations (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, CDC, unpublished data, 2014). Several national surveillance systems report new cases of nonfatal work-related injuries and illnesses, although no system captures all cases. Based on methods that focus on medical costs and productivity losses, the societal cost of work-related fatalities, injuries, and illnesses was estimated at $250 billion in 2007 (2). Methods that include consideration of pain and suffering would result in a higher estimated societal cost (4). CDC is working to better describe the burden of fatalities, injuries, and illnesses suffered by workers; additional information is available at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/programs/econ/risks.html.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2012 preliminary results: Table 2. Washington, DC: US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics; 2013. Available at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cfoi.pdf .
- Leigh JP. Economic burden of occupational injury and illness in the United States. Millbank Q 2011;89:728–72.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employer-reported workplace injuries and illnesses in 2012. Table 2. Washington, DC: US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics; 2013. Available at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/osh.pdf .
- Haddix AC, Teutsch SM, Corso PS, eds. Prevention effectiveness: a guide to decision analysis and economic evaluation. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 2003:74.
Apr 27, 2014
Here's one way: harvest some of the energy from the water and use it for power. A team of researchers in South Korea have created a transducer that translates water motion—from toilets, raindrops, or other water-based uses—into electricity. The technical side is wonky, but essentially, by using the motion from a tiny droplet of water—30 microliters—the team was able to power a small green LED. It's a proof-of-concept demonstration, but scale up to a flushing toilet or a rainstorm, and you can see the appeal.
The design Daniel came up with includes using aluminum lithographic offset printing plates to catch the wind, which can be gotten very cheaply, and perhaps even for free from offset printing companies, along with a number of other scrap materials, such as a bicycle wheel. Daniel has made plans to build either a three or a six vane version of the turbine. The three vane version can sustain winds up to 80 km/h, while the six vane one can sustain winds of up to 105 km/h.
Most of the materials for building the wind turbine can be repurposed, while the three vane version of the turbine can be easily built by one person in about 6 hours. One of the key components of an energy harvesting wind turbine is an alternator to the rotor. Daniel's plans call for using a 50% efficient car alternator, as the most accessible and affordable option, which would be able to produce 158 watts of electricity in a 50 km/h winds, and 649 watts at 80 km/h winds.
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CNN: In 2010, Americans were prescribed 258 million courses of antibiotics, a rate of 833 per thousand people. Such massive usage, billions of doses, has been going on year after year.
We have few clues about the consequences of our cumulative exposures. We do know that widespread antibiotic treatments make us more susceptible to invaders by selecting for resistant bacteria.
These risks are now well-known, but I want to lay out a new concern: that antibiotic use over the years has been depleting the pool of our friendly bacteria — in each of us — and this is lowering our resistance to infections. In today's hyperconnected globe, that means that we are at high risk of future plagues that could spread without natural boundaries from person to person and that we could not stop. I call this "antibiotic winter."
To explain: In the early 1950′s, scientists conducted experiments to determine whether our resident microbes — the huge number of bacteria that live in and on our bodies, now called our "microbiome" — help in fending off invading bacteria. They fed mice a species of a typical invader, disease-causing salmonella. It took about 100,000 organisms to infect half of the normal mice.But when they first gave mice an antibiotic, which kills both good and bad bacteria, and then several days later gave them salmonella, it took only three organisms to infect them. This isn't a 10 or 20% difference; it's a 30,000-fold difference.
That was in mice, but what about humans? In 1985, Chicago faced a massive outbreak of salmonella. At least 160,000 people became ill and several died from drinking contaminated milk. The health department asked victims of the outbreak and unaffected persons, "Have you received antibiotics in the month prior to becoming ill?" People who said yes were five times more likely to become ill than those who drank the milk but hadn't recently received antibiotics.
People carry a small number of highly abundant bacterial species and a large number of much less common ones. For example, you may carry trillions of Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron in your colon and only a thousand cells, or fewer, belonging to many other species. We are not sure how many rare species any of us has. If you had only 50 cells of a particular type, it would be difficult to detect them against the background of trillions of others.
When you take a broad-spectrum antibiotic, which is the kind most commonly prescribed, it may be that rare microbes occasionally get wiped out entirely. And once the population hits zero, there is no bouncing back. For your body, that species is now extinct. My worry is that some of these critical residential organisms — what I consider "contingency" species — may disappear altogether.
Please continue reading CNN
Apr 26, 2014
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Make no mistake about it, 24.4% is a big deal—if the price is right.
Trina Solar Press Release: Trina Solar Limited, a global leader in photovoltaic (PV) modules, solutions and services, today announced that its State Key Laboratory of PV Science and Technology has developed a new high-efficiency Honey Ultra solar module.
Trina Solar's Honey Ultra monocrystalline silicon module reached a new record of 326.3W, which has been independently certified by TUV Rheinland, a leading authoritative certification institution. This result sets a new world record for p-type monocrystalline silicon modules. The monocrystalline silicon module is composed of 60 high-efficiency Honey Ultra monocrystalline silicon cells of 156mm x 156mm, fabricated with a technology developed by Trina Solar and currently in pilot production.
This new Honey Ultra module marks a key milestone for Trina Solar's State Key Laboratory of PV Science and Technology since its accreditation in November 2013 and follows the Company's development of a new Interdigitated Back Contact ("IBC") cell capable of delivering an industry-leading efficiency of24.4%.
This demonstrates Trina Solar's world-class monocrystalline silicon module and that the technology behind these high-efficiency modules is suitable for rapid roll-out to large-scale production.
Apr 25, 2014
About 8 years ago, an electrical engineer and his counselor wife started throwing around an idea to replace asphalt on highways and byways throughout the US with electricity-producing solar panels that were tough enough to be driven upon. The idea blossomed into a project, where the panels featured built-in LEDs that could "paint the road" with markings and warnings, and could be heated to prevent snow and ice build up. The US Federal Highway Administration paid for the couple to produce a working prototype, which they did, and then again to expand the concept into an operational parking lot setup. As the latter contract comes to an end, the Solar Roadways project has released photos of the (almost) completed installation at its Idaho electronics lab. Now the team is dipping into crowd-funding waters with a campaign to raise funds for the move into commercial production... Continue Reading Solar Roadways installs energy harvesting parking lot
Panel Says U.S. Not Ready For Inevitable Arctic Oil Spill, no one has any idea how any spill cleanup techniques would work in the arctic environment.
Shortest version: no one has any idea how any spill cleanup techniques would work in the arctic environment.
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"This week marks the first time in the 15-year history of the USDM that 100 percent of California was in moderate to exceptional drought," writes NOAA's Richard Heim in a drought monitoring report.
It's gotten this bad, despite March's decent rains.
And the state's hydrological conditions might be worse than they look here.
Please read full and follow Alexis C. Madrigal : The Atlantic // visit site
AP: North Dakota confirmed Thursday the discovery of a new radioactive dump of waste from oil drilling, and separately a company hired to clean up waste found in February at another location said it removed double the amount of radioactive material originally estimated to be there.
The Canadian company hired to clean up the largest dump found so far, located at an abandoned gas station in Noonan, also said that it suspects the soil at the site is contaminated and that samples were being analyzed.
The twin disclosures highlight a growing problem from North Dakota's booming oil development — illegal disposal of oil filter socks, which are tubular nets that strain liquids during the oil production process and contain low amounts of radioactive material. Health officials have said that radioactive filter socks increasingly are being found along roadsides, in abandoned buildings or in commercial trash bins — sometimes those of competing oil companies.
Apr 24, 2014
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Bee Health: Issues for Congress, agricultural production is $16 billion annually, three-fourths is attributable to honey bees.
Bee Health: Background and Issues for Congress (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via National Agricultural Law Center)
Bees, both commercially managed honey bees and wild bees, play an important role in global food production. In the United States alone, the value of insect pollination to U.S. agricultural production is estimated at $16 billion annually, of which about three-fourths is attributable to honey bees. Worldwide, the contribution of bees and other insects to global crop production for human food is valued at about $190 billion. Given the importance of honey bees and other bee species to food production, many have expressed concern about whether a "pollinator crisis" has been occurring in recent decades.
Apr 23, 2014
Apr 22, 2014
Apr 21, 2014
Ethanol is bad for the environment overall and is increasing the cost of food for 500 million poor people
In 2000, over 90% of the U.S. corn crop went to feed people and livestock, many in undeveloped countries, with less than 5% used to produce ethanol. In 2013, however, 40% went to produce ethanol, 45% was used to feed livestock, and only 15% was used for food and beverage
Apr 20, 2014
The alarming trend can be tracked back three decades, Kutner writes. "The 1980s brought two droughts, a national economy in trouble and a government ban on grain exports to the Soviet Union. Farmers started defaulting on their loans, and by 1985, 250 farms closed every hour. That economic undertow sucked down farms and the people who put their lives into them. . . . Since that crisis, the suicide rate for male farmers has remained high: just under two times that of the general population."
The problem is a global one. Since 1995 more than 270,000 farmers in India have committed suicide, and the suicide rate among French farmers is one every two days, Kutner writes. "In China, farmers are killing themselves to protest the government's seizing of their land for urbanization. In Ireland, the number of suicides jumped following an unusually wet winter in 2012 that resulted in trouble growing hay for animal feed. In the U.K., the farmer suicide rate went up by 10 times during the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in 2001, when the government required farmers to slaughter their animals. And in Australia, the rate is at an all-time high following two years of drought."
Apr 19, 2014
Apr 18, 2014
Apr 17, 2014
Plants could be built in a shipyard, then towed to their destinations five to seven miles offshore, where they would be moored to the seafloor and connected to land by an underwater electric transmission line. The concept takes advantage of two mature technologies: light-water nuclear reactors and offshore oil and gas drilling platforms. Using established designs minimizes technological risks, says Buongiorno, an associate professor of nuclear science and engineering (NSE) at MIT.
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Apr 16, 2014
Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Approves Chemical Safety and Drinking Water Protection Act
- Includes a definition of a chemical
- Establishes criteria for exclusions for which a state may apply
- Narrows the scope of the bill to aboveground storage tanks rather than chemical storage facilities
- Adds annual inspections for “high hazard” tanks
- Allows pre-transfer inspections to be performed by third parties
- Encourages states to incorporate existing standards into state programs
- Requires EPA to issue guidance to states on implementation of state programs, and issue public notice and opportunity for comment on this guidance
Apr 14, 2014
- Current CCAI Members
- Family members or dependents of current Wisconsin CCAI Members
- Employees of Companies that are current Wisconsin CCAI Corporate Members
- 1 for James F. Wright
- 1 for David J. Wright
- 1 for James Steffes
Regulators suspect feed ingredient, made from the blood, as a cause in deaths of millions of pigs, but lack concrete proof
The Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Agriculture and pork-industry officials "are examining a range of feed ingredients and manufacturing processes as well as other possible pathways for the virus, like contaminated air or dust particles carried from farm to farm," Newman writes. "Though the evidence is inconclusive, some researchers say that porcine plasma could be spreading the virus from adult pigs that show few symptoms, or that some plasma may have been contaminated in transit."
While come cases of PED are being linked to plasma, it's still not clear if feed is the cause of the illness, Newman writes. Greg Stevenson, a veterinary pathologist at Iowa State University who has studied the virus, told Newman, "Many people think that feed is the most likely suspect. But practically speaking, we have no proof." (Read more)
"Leading enviro journo @Kenwardjr tells how he does it, advises would-be followers to work for newspapers
"It's always critical not to take the government's word for anything," Ward says, quoting muckraker I.F. Stone: "All governments lie." In covering the spill that fouled the water of 300,000 people, "It was especially important to have outside sources and independent experts," he says, including fellow SEJ members who knew experts he didn't.
Asked how he "cuts through emotion and rhetoric" on his Coal Tattoo blog, Ward says he's not sure he does, "and I would say there's absolutely nothing wrong with people being emotional about issues that affect both their health and safety and their ability to provide for their families. Journalists or government officials or industry lobbyists who pretend emotion has no place in these discussions are sending us down the wrong path in covering environmental stories."
Finally, asked for advice yo young journalists who want to cover environmental news, Ward warmed out hearts by saying, "Find a small, community-based and locally owned newspaper in your home state and work there. [He did that.] Avoid Washington and New York. Smaller communities need good journalism, and the stories you find will be much richer – so will your life. Think especially about reporting in and on the place you came from – a sense of place is all too rare in journalism these days. And try to stick around a while, so you can include a sense of history and context in your reporting." (Read more)