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Posts Tagged ‘opinion’
 

 
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‘Like Handing Out Blankets Affected With Smallpox’: US Called to End Oil Exports to Thwart Climate Crisis

Posted January 28, 2020 by guest
Oil tanker at the Kinder Morgan pipeline terminal on the Houston Ship Channel

Read time: 3 mins

By Jake Johnson, Common Dreams. Originally published on Common Dreams under CC BYSA 3.0 US.

new report released Tuesday by Oil Change International and Greenpeace USA found that reinstating the U.S. crude oil export ban Congress lifted in 2015 would slash global carbon emissions by up to 181 million tons of CO2-equivalent each year — a reduction comparable to shuttering dozens of coal-fired power plants.

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The ‘Energy Worker’ Seen on Goop Has Implied That His Treatments Can Disappear Breast Cancer

Posted January 28, 2020 by Anonymous

Gwyneth Paltrow’s new show ‘The Goop Lab’ is also providing a large audience for John Amaral, a ‘somatic energy practitioner’ who has implied that he’s seen tumors disappear under his treatment.

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‘That Sounds Like Rape’: Weinstein Accuser’s Roommate Backs Up Story of Forced Oral Sex

Posted January 28, 2020 by Anonymous

“She still just seemed very distraught and was shaking and didn’t really want to pursue it or talk about it,” Mimi Haley’s ex-roommate testified.

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If Bernie Is Unelectable, So Is Joe Biden

Posted January 28, 2020 by Harry Cheadle

A whole lot of centrist pundits are freaking out about Bernie Sanders winning the nomination. They should relax.

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Trans Men Don’t Have to Choose Between Transitioning and Having Kids

Posted January 28, 2020 by Anonymous

A new study backs up what a lot of trans people already knew: Trans men have no more trouble getting pregnant via assisted reproductive technology than cis women do.

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The Fate of American Democracy Rests on a Bunch of Incredibly Horny Nerds

Posted January 28, 2020 by Anonymous

A recent Washington Post report offers a glimpse into the very active sex lives of presidential campaign staffers.

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A Disturbing Number of People Think Coronavirus Is Related to Corona Beer

Posted January 28, 2020 by Anonymous

Google search trends illustrate that we’re surrounded by very, very confused people when it comes to the rapidly spreading illness.

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It’s Increasingly Clear Stadia’s Launch Was an Expensive Beta Test

Posted January 28, 2020 by Anonymous

There are very few games to play, huge features still aren’t available, and there’s no indication of change.

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‘It’s Been Hell’: Inside the Town Where Trumpers Are Building a Private Wall

Posted January 28, 2020 by Anonymous

A sleepy South Texas town is facing environmental destruction as a citizen-funded wall gets erected.

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This 70-Layer Bean Dip Is the Most Vile Thing I’ve Ever Seen

Posted January 28, 2020 by Anonymous

Bush’s Beans broke the Guinness World Record for the “largest layered dip” with this 1,087-pound culinary perversion.

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This is What Iowans Really Care About Ahead of the Caucus

Posted January 28, 2020 by Anonymous

Listen to Episode 10 of “Uncommitted: Iowa 2020” to hear how three Iowans are making their choice for who will be the 2020 Democratic nominee.

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New Emails Show Trump Admin Exploited Wildfires to Help Logging Industry

Posted January 27, 2020 by guest
California Air National Guard clearing debris in Paradise after the deadly Camp Fire in 2018.

Read time: 4 mins

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup.

Earlier this month we discussed how during Australia’s devastating fires, conservatives tried to claim that it was green party forest management policies that were to blame. That is, of course, wrong. It throws us back to 2018 in the U.S., when Secretary Ryan Zinke and others wrongly blamed environmentalists for California’s wildfires and Trump wrongly blamed a lack of raking.

Now, new emails obtained by The Guardian show that messaging around forest management in 2018 was more than just a way to pin the blame on California and deny climate change. Like most other actions taken by this administration, it also helped prop up industry profits by embracing the industry’s propaganda.  

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Can Geo Talks: Spring 2020

Posted January 27, 2020 by Anonymous

Can Geo Talks presents Canada’s greatest explorers

Ottawa, Feb. 4

Join a panel of Canada’s top adventurers — including Royal Canadian Geographical Society Explorers-in-Residence George Kourounis, Adam Shoalts, and Johnny Issaluk — as they debate the nation’s greatest explorers. From Samuel de Champlain and Alexander Mackenzie to Roberta Bondar and James Cameron, this lively discussion among modern-day exploration experts is sure to entertain and inspire.

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If The Microbiome Is As All Important As We’re Led To Believe Isn’t That’s All The More Reason Not To Mess With Yours?

Posted January 27, 2020 by Yoni Freedhoff

There’s no denying the hype around the microbiome with buzz suggesting that it’s integral to anything and everything – from our immune systems, to obesity, to dementia.

So let’s for a moment agree that it is.

Even if we do, it’s difficult to imagine there would be one universal “best” mircobiome makeup spanning age, sex, race, diet, geography, comorbidities, etc. Meaning even if we had thoughts about what a “healthy” microbiome was, what’s healthy for one person might not be healthy for another.

But back to us agreeing they’re hugely important and implicated in everything.

If that’s the case, should you really be purposefully trying to mess with yours given we basically haven’t even begun to study the impact of messing with them over time?

Me?

I’ll stick to the basics.

        
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Groups Funded by Oil Industry Bash Plan to Reduce Northeast’s Dependence on Oil

Posted January 26, 2020 by Anonymous
traffic on a highway

Read time: 9 mins

Last month New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu announced the state would not be participating in the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), a regional cap-and-trade program aimed at reducing carbon emissions from vehicles. The program is still in early stages of development, but groups tied to petroleum interests and conservative networks funded by the Koch empire are already fighting it with opposition campaigns.

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Defying Climate Goals, New York Approves Rate Hike to Pay for New Natural Gas Infrastructure

Posted January 25, 2020 by Anonymous
New York City

Read time: 6 mins

One of the first tests of New York’s ambitious climate plan didn’t go well, as the New York Public Service Commission voted on January 16 to raise electricity rates on customers by $1.2 billion over the next three years to help Consolidated Edison, or Con Ed, pay for new natural gas pipelines and infrastructure.

New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) targets 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2040 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. To meet those goals, any new gas infrastructure constructed now and in the future would have to be retired well before the end of its useful life, becoming stranded assets.

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Judges Point Dismissed Youth Climate Plaintiffs to Political System Corrupted by Fossil Fuel Cash

Posted January 24, 2020 by Anonymous
Youth climate justice protest in Minnesota

Read time: 9 mins

When a pair of Ninth Circuit Court judges ordered dismissal of a landmark youth climate change lawsuit last week, they concluded that the U.S. government may be harming the nation’s youth through its fossil fuel-based energy policy, but that courts cannot stop that harm. “Rather, the plaintiffs’ impressive case for redress must be presented to the political branches of government,” Judge Andrew Hurwitz wrote in a split 2-1 decision dismissing Juliana v. United States.

The decision to dismiss Juliana without a trial raises troubling implications about the state of America’s constitutional democracy and the role that courts can play in harming, rather than protecting, the public interest, according to legal and scientific experts.

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Watch: Mysterious ice disc spins in B.C.’s South Thompson River

Posted January 24, 2020 by Anonymous

Ice disc South Thompson River 2020

A large, slowly spinning disc of ice appeared in the South Thompson River near Kamloops, B.C. this week, attracting attention from locals and scientists. (Photo: Ivan Petrov)

The South Thompson River in Kamloops B.C. has been attracting attention this week from scientists and curious passersby alike thanks to the appearance of a strange new feature: a large, slowly spinning disc of ice. 

Estimated to be about 40 metres in diameter, the ice disc, which was first spotted earlier this week, is thought to have been caused by a fateful collision of factors, including temperature and the fluid dynamics of the river itself. 

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New insights from Canada’s deepest cave, Bisaro Anima

Posted January 24, 2020 by Anonymous

Matt Maddaloni, David Steele, and Adam Walker at the Dieppe Sump with the RCGS flag (Robin Munshaw/Pegleg Films)

Left to right: Matt Maddaloni, David Steele, and Adam Walker with the RCGS flag at the Dieppe Sump, the deepest known point of Bisaro Anima cave. (Photo: Robin Munshaw/Pegleg Films)

More than two years have passed since our landmark expedition that confirmed Bisaro Anima to be the deepest cave in Canada — and, in fact, north of Mexico. Subsequent expeditions in 2018 and 2019 discovered added length and slightly more depth, logging a new figure of 674 metres. And all starting from an insignificant slot entrance that could have been lost amongst the more than 150 sinks and holes and 14 caves we have found so far on the Bisaro Plateau. 

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Another poetry post

Posted January 23, 2020 by Anonymous

Darkest Hour was on, so I was able to watch this great scene again today:

Horatius  —Thomas Babington Macaulay

Then out spake brave Horatius,
The Captain of the gate:
“To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds
For the ashes of his fathers
And the temples of his gods.”
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This Problem With Fracked Oil and Gas Wells Is Occurring ‘at an Alarming Rate’

Posted January 23, 2020 by Anonymous
XTO well pad blowout in Belmont County, Ohio

Read time: 13 mins

On February 15, 2018, a fracked natural gas well owned by ExxonMobil’s XTO Energy and located in southeast Ohio experienced a well blowout, causing it to gush the potent greenhouse gas methane for nearly three weeks. The obscure accident ultimately resulted in one of the biggest methane leaks in U.S. history. The New York Times reported in December that new satellite data revealed that this single gas well leaked more methane in 20 days than an entire year’s worth of methane released by the oil and gas industries in countries like Norway and France.

The cause of this massive leak was a failure of the gas well’s casing, or internal lining. Well casing failures represent yet another significant but not widely discussed technical problem for an unprofitable fracking industry

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Great tweets of the day, animal edition

Posted January 22, 2020 by Anonymous

Here’s some tweets that I have been enjoying today:

An incorrectly assembled whippet. pic.twitter.com/CVAAOL3efV

— Jonathan Best (@jonnnybest) January 18, 2020

No matter the size, cats will be cats😂 pic.twitter.com/EXaVWGNGaa

— Akki (@akkitwts) January 16, 2020

— 41 Strange (@41Strange) January 17, 2020

There are 2 types of dogs… pic.twitter.com/mFIQE91JCu

— viralvideos (@BestVideosviral) January 22, 2020


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1982 American Petroleum Institute Report Warned Oil Workers Faced ‘Significant’ Risks from Radioactivity

Posted January 22, 2020 by Sharon Kelly
radiation warning sign at Union Carbide uranium mill in Rife, CO, in 1972

Read time: 10 mins

Back in April last year, the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency decided it was “not necessary” to update the rules for toxic waste from oil and gas wells. Torrents of wastewater flow daily from the nation’s 1.5 million active oil and gas wells and the agency’s own research has warned it may pose risks to the country’s drinking water supplies.

On Tuesday, a major new investigative report published by Rolling Stone and authored by reporter Justin Nobel delves deep into the risks that the oil and gas industry’s waste — much of it radioactive — poses to the industry’s own workers and to the public.

There is little public awareness of this enormous waste stream,” Nobel, who also reports for DeSmog, wrote, “the disposal of which could present dangers at every step — from being transported along America’s highways in unmarked trucks; handled by workers who are often misinformed and underprotected; leaked into waterways; and stored in dumps that are not equipped to contain the toxicity.”

Additional documents obtained by Nobel and shared with DeSmog show that a report prepared for the American Petroleum Institute (API), the nation’s largest oil and gas trade group, described the risks posed by the industry’s radioactive wastes to workers as “significant” in 1982 — long before the shale drilling rush unleashed new floods of wastewater from the industry — including waste from the Marcellus Shale, which can carry unusually high levels of radioactive contamination.

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Watch: Spotting a superior mirage in Airdrie, Alta.

Posted January 22, 2020 by Anonymous

A superior mirage near Airdrie, Alta. on Jan. 19, 2020. (Photo: Chris Ratzlaff)

“My very first thought was, where did that wall come from?” 

So says Chris Ratzlaff, an Alberta photographer and stormchaser, of the strange, shimmering apparition he saw on Jan. 19 from his home in Airdrie, Alta.

“I was just doing some work around the house when I looked out the window and saw a line across the horizon that certainly wasn’t there previously.” 

Ratzlaff tweeted a photo and a couple of videos of the phenomenon, which he identified as a fata morgana — also known as a superior mirage.

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Canada’s 90 Greatest Explorers: Charting the unknown

Posted January 22, 2020 by Anonymous

Samuel de Champlain

Samuel de Champlain
1567-1635 | New France 

By Adam Shoalts
RCGS Explorer-in-Residence 

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Should Statistically Significant But Clinically Meaningless Outcomes Still Be Reported As Significant?

Posted January 22, 2020 by Yoni Freedhoff

Rather than call out the specific paper that led to this blog post (I also don’t want to add to its Altmetrics), just a question.

If your systematic review findings demonstrate that a particular supplement/food/diet led to an average total weight loss of 0.7lbs is it appropriate to describe that effect as significant even if statistically you believe you’re able to make that claim?

Personally, I don’t think so.

Especially not when we’re discussing food, because as Kevin Klatt recently pointed out on his blog, there are no food placebos. and as John Ionnidis pointed out, we eat thousands of chemicals in millions of different daily combinations which markedly challenges our ability to conclusively opine about the impact of any one food.

Worse though, is the fact that the media (both traditional and social), won’t bother to qualify their enthusiasm when describing these findings and instead will report them as beneficial, significant, and important, as of course will PubMed warriors.

So how to fix this? Perhaps including a qualifying, “but not likely to have any clinical relevance” statement in the abstract might lead to more balanced media coverage (or less media coverage ) which in turn would be less likely to report significant but clinically meaningless outcomes as important, which ultimately would be good for science and scientific literacy.

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After a Decade of Fracking, Billions of Dollars Lost and a Climate in Crisis

Posted January 21, 2020 by Sharon Kelly
Partially destroyed house in New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy

Read time: 13 mins

As 2020 begins, the impacts of climate change have become increasingly clear around the world. The new year started amid devastating wildfires, tied to the worst droughts Australia has experienced in hundreds of years, which encircled much of the continent. So far, 29 people have been reported dead. A University of Sydney professor estimated the number of animals killed likely tops one billion.

Today’s climate impacts have been shaped heavily by actions taken during the last 10 years, particularly in the U.S., where the climate benefits of coal power plant retirements were undermined by the rise of natural gas. Global carbon emissions had leveled off in the middle of the last decade, but began to climb again in 2017, breaking records anew each year since.

Over the past decade, as the climate crisis worsened, hundreds of drilling rigs dotted both the Permian Basin’s desert expanses in Texas and the Marcellus Shale’s Appalachian hills, grinding through rock to reach oil and gas trapped in brittle shale deep underground. In that time, the U.S. smashed global records for the production of oil and gas — two of the three fossil fuels most responsible for the ongoing climate crisis.

And at the same time, the last decade’s rush to drill continued to prove spectacularly unprofitable. The year 2020 arrived amid tens of billions of dollars in new fiscal write-downs and losses for oil drillers and fracking firms. Moody’s observed that oil and gas debt defaults represented 91 percent of the country’s total corporate debt defaults during the next-to-last fiscal quarter of the decade.

As the new decade starts, it’s worth taking stock of the last decade’s rush to drill and frack for oil and gas and to consider what we now know about how the costs of climate change have begun piling up at increasing rates over the past 10 or so years.

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Canada’s 90 Greatest Explorers: Vital insights

Posted January 20, 2020 by Anonymous

Roberta Bondar on space shuttle discovery

Roberta Bondar inspired a new generation of explorers, who are able to communicate about our natural world through science and fine arts. (Photo: Roberta Bondar)

Roberta Bondar* (FRCGS)
1945- | Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

By Jill Heinerth
RCGS Explorer-in-Residence 

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On The Existence of Street Pianos In Toronto Community Centers

Posted January 18, 2020 by bigcitylib

I used to be totally against them.  It was always some no-talent eight year old plinking out a ghastly version of Chopsticks and you can’t tell them they suck or STFU! because their parents will get upset and report you to the facility staff becau…

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Activists Find Evidence of Formosa Plant in Texas Still Releasing Plastic Pollution Despite $50 Million Settlement

Posted January 18, 2020 by Julie Dermansky
Diane Wilson kayaking along the banks of Cox Creek near Formosa's Point Comfort, Texas plastics plant

Read time: 8 mins

On the afternoon of January 15, activist Diane Wilson kicked off a San Antonio Estuary Waterkeeper meeting on the side of the road across from a Formosa plastics manufacturing plant in Point Comfort, Texas. After Wilson and the waterkeeper successfully sued Formosa, the company agreed to no longer release even one of the tiny plastic pellets known as nurdles into the region’s waterways. The group of volunteers had assembled that day to check whether the plant was still discharging these raw materials of plastics manufacturing.   

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How One Utah Community Fought the Fracking Industry — and Won

Posted January 17, 2020 by guest
Red Knoll, Kanab, Utah

Read time: 14 mins

By Tara Lohan, The Revelator. Originally posted on The Revalator.

Kanab, a small Utah town that’s home to the famous Best Friends Animal Society, took an unconventional path to face down a frac sand mine that threatened the region’s aquifer.

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YouTube Still Monetizing, Promoting Climate Science Denial, Report Finds

Posted January 16, 2020 by Anonymous
Burning forests satellite view with play button for YouTube climate denial report by Avaaz

Read time: 8 mins

You don’t have to look far to find misinformation about climate science continuing to spread online through prominent social media channels like YouTube. That’s despite the overwhelming scientific consensus that humans are driving the climate crisis.

A new report by the global activist NGO Avaaz reveals that, despite YouTube’s pledge to combat misinformation, the popular video site owned by Google has failed to crack down on this problem when it comes to climate change. Videos containing false or misleading information on climate change continue to reach millions of users through YouTube’s recommendation algorithm. Furthermore, ads — including those from major brands and environmental groups — displayed on these videos provide a monetary incentive, not only to YouTube, but to the videos’ creators to keep promoting fringe theories contrary to scientific reality.

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Product Reformulation Means Sugar Taxes Work Even If People Don’t Buy Less As A Consequence

Posted January 15, 2020 by Yoni Freedhoff

Taxes work to decrease purchasing, and the higher the tax, the greater their impact. Period.

Which is why it’s always struck me as odd when people question whether or not sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) taxes would affect SSB purchases (and consequently consumption).

But let’s leave that odd debate aside for a moment. If the goal of SSB taxes is to decrease added sugar consumption (which it explicitly is, while it is explicitly not about weight loss as societal obesity is not singularly caused by SSB consumption, and decreasing SSB consumption is healthy at every weight), it would appear that SSB taxes will decrease sugar consumption even if they don’t decreasing purchasing.

How?

Because when SSB taxes are enacted, the beverage industry reformulates its products.

And at least according to this bulletin from the World Health Organization, they do so not insignificantly!

Of the 83 products they surveyed in both 2014 (before the SSB tax) and in 2018 (after the SSB tax), the mean sugar content decreased by 42% (from 9.1 g/100mL to 5.3 g/100m) while the mean energy content decreased by 40% (from 38 kcal/100mL to 23 kcal/100mL). Putting this into the context of a standard 355ml can – that would represent 2.45 fewer teaspoons of sugar and 53 fewer calories per can.

And this was in response to a fairly nominal tax. Presumably larger taxes would drive larger (or more expansive) reformulations which of course would also be coupled with decreased purchasing.

All this to say, this is yet another reason why if you’re living somewhere without an SSB tax, my bet is that it’s a matter of when, not if, you will be.

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Replacing Coal with Renewables Could Save Energy Customers $8 Billion a Year, Financial Analysts Find

Posted January 14, 2020 by guest
Wind turbines and coal power station in UK

Read time: 6 mins

By Joe Smyth, Energy and Policy Institute. This was originally posted on the Energy and Policy Institute.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley and Moody’s Investors Service expect that more electric utilities will accelerate their transition away from coal, with major financial benefits for both ratepayers and shareholders.

In a research report last month titled “The Second Wave of Clean Energy,” analysts at Morgan Stanley explained how “the surprisingly low cost of renewables” will drive utilities to close most of the remaining U.S. coal plants over the next decade. Replacing coal with cheaper renewable energy could save electricity customers as much as $8 billion each year, according to Morgan Stanley:

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I for one welcome our new Sussex Royal overlords

Posted January 14, 2020 by Anonymous

Many Canadians are giddy at the prospect that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle could be moving to Canada, injecting some razzle dazzle to the sprawling, bone-chillingly cold country. https://t.co/3HH575a6EK

— New York Times World (@nytimesworld) January 11, 2020

Well, I’m not exactly giddy, but I am excited.  I think it will be great if Harry and Meghan and little Archie moved to Canada.

Their webpage is beautiful, very well done, and explains their overall intentions.

Full Disclosure: I did meet the Queen once, when I was a reporter at a Victoria newspaper and I got to cover a Royal Visit there. And I attended a press reception on the Royal Yacht Britannia – which sort of dates me, doesn’t it, since the yacht has been decommissioned for 20 years.
Anyway, getting back to today’s news, I notice Canadian twitter is combining some pro-monarchy enthusiasm with some bitching about how expensive it would be for Canada to pay for RCMP protection.

For decades, if not a century+, Canada has provided protection for eminent persons visiting Canada. Ex-US Presidents, European royalty, etc. The political right either has amnesia or thinks Harry and Meghan are a great distraction from their boring leadership contest. #cdnpoli

— Diane Marie (@DianeMariePosts) January 13, 2020

Though actually, I think most of the “Canada is furious!” coverage is coming from the same British tabs that drove the Sussex Royals out in the first place, so they don’t have any credibility when they write about how angry we supposedly are.
My feeling is, we already pay for RCMP protection for a lot of other ceremonial positions — the Governor General and all the Lieutenant-Governors, not to mention the Canadian Senate – so what’s another Royal Highness or two between friends. I expect the Canadian government will work out a deal with the Brits sooner rather than later on this. Isn’t Mark Carney still running the Bank of England? Maybe he can cut us a cheque.
The thing that is really making me laugh is how angry the racist British tabloids are now about losing Megan as their target of bile — they’re already ramping up the criticism of William and Kate, but their hearts aren’t really in it. They really loved bashing every single thing that Meghan did or didn’t do. and they were salivating to start in on Archie as soon as they could start comparing him to angelic George and winsome Charlotte and adorable Louis.
Seeing how bad their Meghan-as-Monster coverage was, its no wonder Harry was furious – and the rest of the family should have spoken up in Meghan’s defense much louder and more vigorously – I suspect they other royals thought mere dignity would eventually deflect them (a mistake Trump opponents make all the time, too) or they were secretly relieved that she was the target rather than them. They could have demanded changes to that Royal Rota system years ago.
Now, the next time the Raptors are in the NBA finals, I suspect Harry will be joining Obama at the arena. Won’t that be fun?
But leave it to The Beaverton to have the last word:

— The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) January 13, 2020


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New Research Points to Effective Ways to Talk to Skeptical Conservatives about Climate Change

Posted January 13, 2020 by guest
Sign for the May 1, 2018 LBJ Library talk from climate scientist Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, an evangelical Christian, about how climate change is affecting Texas. 

Read time: 4 mins

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup.

Two new studies on denial came out last week. While they’re not exactly breaking new ground, confirmation is always nice.

The first is a literature review led by Stanford’s Gabrielle Wong-Parodi that examines psychological studies on climate denial in the U.S. and found four big lessons for appealing to conservatives. Although the press release is promisingly headlined as “pathways to changing the minds of climate deniers,” we remain skeptical that there’s any real way to change a denier’s mind. After all, if they were open to change, they wouldn’t be deniers!

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Fossil Fuel Interests Applaud Trump Admin’s Weakening of Major Environmental Law

Posted January 10, 2020 by Anonymous
Trump announcing NEPA rule change at White House

Read time: 7 mins

Industry groups including oil and gas trade associations were quick to pile on the praise following President Trump’s announcement Thursday, January 9 of major overhauls to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The 50-year-old bedrock environmental statute requires federal agencies to review the environmental impacts of major actions or projects, and has been a key tool for advocacy groups to challenge harmful infrastructure, from fossil fuel pipelines to chemical plants.

And in the Trump administration’s hasty efforts to assert “energy dominance,” judges have halted fossil fuel projects on grounds that the government did not adequately consider how those projects contribute to climate change.

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