Getting ready for bad times, hoping for the best.
You don't have to be an insane survivalist living in the woods to be worried about the future. Someday "mountains will tumble, empires will crumble" but we need to know how to stay happy, healthy and productive if the world starts to fall apart around us–for at least a few weeks.

Sea Level Rise 'Locking In' Quickly, Cities Threatened | Climate Central

Measurements tell us that global average sea level is currently rising by about 1 inch per decade. But in an invisible shadow process, our long-term sea level rise commitment or "lock-in" — the sea level rise we don’t see now, but which carbon emissions and warming have locked in for later years — is growing 10 times faster, and this growth rate is accelerating.

[From Sea Level Rise 'Locking In' Quickly, Cities Threatened | Climate Central]

Antibiotic resistance: The last resort

As a rule, high-ranking public-health officials try to avoid apocalyptic descriptors. So it was worrying to hear Thomas Frieden and Sally Davies warn of a coming health “nightmare” and a “catastrophic threat” within a few days of each other in March.

[From Antibiotic resistance: The last resort : Nature News & Comment]

Worldometers - real time world statistics

This just presents the raw numbers. But looking at them is very very sobering. Real time, real world statistics.

New Virus More Deadly Than SARS

The too-smart city

The smart city has become a buzzword in urban planning and university engineering departments, and a topic of breathless coverage in science and business magazines. Although today the vision exists more in the realm of promise than reality, cities such as Boston have begun to invest time and chunks of their budget to laying the groundwork.

Privacy for the Other 5 Billion

This vigorous adoption of technologies for collecting, processing, tracking, profiling, and managing personal data—in short, surveillance technologies—risks centralizing an increasing amount of power in the hands of government authorities, often in places where democratic safeguards and civil society watchdogs are limited. While these initiatives may be justified in certain cases, rarely are they subject to a rigorous assessment of their effects on civil liberties or political dissent. On the contrary, they often seek to exploit the lack of scrutiny: Nilekani recommended in another recent speech that biometric proponents work “quickly and quietly” before opposition can form. The sensitivity of the information gathered in aid programs is not lost on intelligence agencies: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Mark Mazzetti recently revealed that the Pentagon funded a food aid program in Somalia for the express purpose of gathering details on the local population. Even legitimate aid programs now maintain massive databases of personal information, from household names and locations to biometric information.  

[From Privacy for the Other 5 Billion]

Drones Over America

Carbon Dioxide in Atmosphere at 400 PPM for First Time in Human History

In 1958, when scientists began measuring average carbon dioxide levels at an observatory on Mauna Loa in Hawaii, that figure was around 320 ppm. This week, for the first time, the sensors at Mauna Loa have measured a daily average of more than 400 ppm. The last time carbon dioxide levels were this high, Australopithecus was sharing the earth with mammoths and saber-tooth tigers.

Before the industrial revolution, the proportion of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere hovered around 280 parts per million. In 1958, when scientists began measuring average carbon dioxide levels at an observatory on Mauna Loa in Hawaii, that figure was around 320 ppm. This week, for the first time, the sensors at Mauna Loa have measured a daily average of more than 400 ppm. The last time carbon dioxide levels were this high, Australopithecus was sharing the earth with mammoths and saber-tooth tigers.

[From Carbon Dioxide in Atmosphere Hits 400 PPM for First Time in Human History]

Adapt or Die? Private Utilities and the Distributed Energy Juggernaut : Greentech Media

adaptORdie.jpg

Faced with the prospect of having their revenue streams from generation, transmission and distribution slowly leak away as more distributed renewable power joins the grid, it appears most of the IOUs would rather fight than switch.

PG&E, one of two California IOU monopolies, has a long record of fighting this trend even as it touts itself as a progressive utility. As I detailed in 2010, when Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) entities began to appear in response to residents' demands for more renewable power than their utilities would offer, PG&E fought them vigorously. First it sponsored a public relations campaign under the guise of a “Common Sense Coalition.” When that failed, it put $35 million into a ballot proposition disguised as an appeal to protect the voters’ "right to choose." The proposition would have foreclosed on the possibility of any further CCAs being created in the state, and prevented the one CCA that did exist from expanding its service area. It also failed.

[From Adapt or Die? Private Utilities and the Distributed Energy Juggernaut : Greentech Media]

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