Scientists Develop First Satellite Deforestation Tracker for Whole of Latin America


WOOD PILE

Scientists develop first satellite deforestation tracker for whole of Latin America
by Staff Writers
London UK (SPX) Jun 21, 2012


This shows deforestation around the dry Chaco of Paraguay from 2004-2011. Credit: http://www.terra-i.org/Karolina Argote/Louis Reymondin.

An international team of researchers in Colombia, the UK, USA and Switzerland have developed the first ever system to monitor deforestation across Latin America in near real-time using satellite data. Preliminary results from the new system reveal that in parts of Colombia, deforestation has increased by 340 per cent since 2004; and over a million hectares of forest have been lost in the Gran Chaco region of Paraguay.

The new satellite system, known as Terra-i, is being launched this week in time for the Rio+20 UN environment conference, and is soon to be expanded to cover all tropical regions. Although Brazil has had a sophisticated near real-time deforestation monitoring system in place since 2008, until now there has been no equivalent for the rest of Latin America.

Terra-i has been developed to monitor changes land cover every 16 days and for every 250 metres on the ground, in order to help national governments, conservation organisations and those implementing climate-related policy to assess recent trends in deforestation and emerging hotspots of change.

The system uses data supplied by NASA’s MODIS satellite sensorand is the result of collaboration between the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Colombia, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in the USA and South America, the School of Engineering and Management of Vaud (HEIG-VD) in Switzerland and King’s College London.

Deforestation can lead to widespread loss of biodiversity and also impacts the ‚ecosystem services‘ that foster a stable climate and secure freshwater supplies. However, in many parts of the world the scale and pattern of deforestation is infrequently and inconsistently monitored and this makes management of change very difficult.

Huge volumes of data need to be processed to detect land cover change at a 250m spatial resolution every 16 days. Moreover, separating real human-induced changes, such as deforestation, from changes brought about by natural seasonality and by droughts, floods or persistent cloud cover, has made the development of an operational monitoring system a real challenge.

The availability of MODIS imagery means that assessment of land cover change can be made in a geographically consistent manner between countries and also updated frequently.

The development of the Terra-i system was led Louis Reymondin, PhD student in the Department of Geography at King’s College London, supervised by Dr Mark Mulligan, in collaboration with CIAT and HEIG-VD and funded by TNC.

‚We developed a computational neural network and ‚trained‘ it with data from 2000-2004 to recognise the normal changes in vegetation greenness due to seasonal variation in rainfall in different areas,‘ said Dr Mulligan, who is attending the Rio+20 conference this week.

‚The network now recognises where and when greenness suddenly changes well beyond these normal limits as a result of deforestation. The system runs on data for every 250 square metres of land from Mexico to Argentina shortly after the data comes in from MODIS and highlights every 16 days the pixels that significantly change, writing these results to Google Maps for easy visualisation,‘ he said.

Preliminary data from Terra-i show that in Caqueta, Colombia for example, deforestation grew from around 4,880 hectares in 2004 to 21,440 in 2011, up by 340 per cent. Deforestation has grown significantly in the buffer zones of the Chiribiquete National Park where deforestation ratesincreased by 196 per cent from 2010 to 2011.

The Gran Chaco in Paraguay is the second largest forested area in South America. Terra-i found that between 2004 and 2010, over a million hectares of this area was deforested with a peak in 2009 of 454,700 hectares.

‚As we approach Rio+20 in which the world will define the targets that will guide us along the road to a more sustainable development, it is critical that we deploy the appropriate tools to carefully monitor and manage our landscapes,‘ said Dr Mulligan.

‚We need to ensure that we maintain enough farmland to feed the nine billion to come but we must also have protected natural landscapes that provide clean water, a stable climate, a refuge for biodiversity and space for increasingly urbanised populations to experience and appreciate the wonders of nature.

‚Achieving the right balance between intelligently intensive agriculture and protected natural environments across the world will be fundamental to achieving truly sustainable development and requires sophisticated, geographically detailed and timely tools such as Terra-i to support appropriate policy and decision-making‘.

Canada-Wide Arrest Warrant Issued for Suspect in Body Part Mailings


Authorities have issued a “Canada-wide arrest warrant” for Rocco Luka Magnotta, a suspect police have connected to a homicide and the mailings of two body parts. Magnotta, 29, also goes by the pseudonyms Eric Clinton Newman and Vladimir Romanov, according to the Montreal Police Department,…

viaCanada-Wide Arrest Warrant Issued for Suspect in Body Part Mailings.

Arundhati Roy :  Capitalism: A Ghost Story    : Information Clearing House


 

Arundhati Roy :  Capitalism: A Ghost Story    : Information Clearing House.

Here a little probe to read:

Rockefeller to Mandela, Vedanta to Anna Hazare…. How long can the cardinals of corporate gospel buy up our protests?

By Arundhati Roy

March 21, 2012 „
Outlook India“ – – Is it a house or a home? A temple to the new India, or a warehouse for its ghosts? Ever since Antilla arrived on Altamont Road in Mumbai, exuding mystery and quiet menace, things have not been the same. “Here we are,” the friend who took me there said, “Pay your respects to our new Ruler.”

Antilla belongs to India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani. I had read about this most expensive dwelling ever built, the twenty-seven floors, three helipads, nine lifts, hanging gardens, ballrooms, weather rooms, gymnasiums, six floors of parking, and the six hundred servants. Nothing had prepared me for the vertical lawn—a soaring, 27-storey-high wall of grass attached to a vast metal grid. The grass was dry in patches; bits had fallen off in neat rectangles. Clearly, Trickledown hadn’t workedBut Gush-Up certainly has. That’s why in a nation of 1.2 billion, India’s 100 richest people own assets equivalent to one-fourth of the GDP.

Please, read more there!

McDonalds forced to disclose all chemical ingredients on food sold in Russia


McDonalds forced to disclose all chemical ingredients on food sold in Russia viaMcDonalds forced to disclose all chemical ingredients on food sold in Russia.

Russian consumer rights‘ group recently filed a lawsuit against McDonald’s at Moscow’s Tverskoy Court. The consumer groups involved in the suit say that McDonald’s milkshakes are falsely named because they contain little milk.

McDonald’s shakes don’t deserve to be called milkshakes

Analysis of milkshakes sold at McDonald’s outlets in Russia revealed the beverages contained more vegetable oil than dairy product. Experts at the Institute of Laboratory of Nutrition, say that by Russian law these drinks can be called „milk-containing“ but cannot be labeled as „milk“. Consumer rights advocate Mikhail Anshakov, says that the „McMilkshake“ is falsely named, „They do not list the ingredients of their products which is a strict requirement for organizations of the type they are registered as in Russia. Moreover, their products contain excessive amounts of several ingredients, which is why the product name is insufficient.“

Representatives of the Consumer Rights Protection Society (CRPS) charge that by „concealing the content“ of its products McDonald’s misleads consumers. „You might be able to get away with this type of fraud in America, but not Russia“ said Yogi Protovokov of Moscow. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit do not seek any money from McDonald’s, but want the company to redesign the packaging of their products to reveal the ingredients in its menu items, rather than simply listing the calories, protein, fat and carbohydrates. Altering product packaging would entail a multi-million dollar expense to the fast food purveyor.

Taxes and ingredient lists

The current lawsuit hinges in part on another Russian court ruling last year. McDonald’s won its case against the Moscow territorial division of the Federal Tax Service. That case concluded with a judge determining that McDonald’s in Russia is not a restaurant but company which sells food products as a store. The result of the suit seemed favorable to McDonalds at the time, resulting in a 10 percent rather than 18 percent Value Added Tax.

However, by Russian law, a store which sells food products which it also manufactures must provide accurate information regarding the ingredients in its food, as well as any biologically active supplements and the presence of the GMOs, as well as the date and place of the food’s manufacturing. Russian law also stipulates that a food store must provide information on the product packaging about the potential effects of its food for people with conditions and certain diseases.

Consumer watchdog groups in Russia say McDonald’s wants to have it both ways, gaining the tax benefits of being classified as a store, while not fulfilling the obligations such a status incurs according to Russian law. The CPRS website explained the need for the suit, saying „The McDonald’s restaurant chain deliberately violates the Russian consumer rights legislation, profiting twice from the privileged situation created by Moscow’s Arbitration Court decision.“

McDonald’s representatives claim not to have received notice of the lawsuit and it was also absent in the court’s database, according to an official statement sent to The Moscow News. But personnel at the Tverskoi court confirmed to the Russian business newspaper Vedomosti that the lawsuit has been filed. Some Russian legal experts say it will be difficult for the consumer group to win its case against McDonald’s, pointing out that the milkshakes in question are produced using a technology certified by the Russian branch of Europe’s biggest milk product manufacturer Ehrmann.

The new lawsuit comes on the heels of a year of both expansion and litigation for McDonald’s in Russia, where it has operated since 1990. In 2011, the company opened 40 new restaurants in Russia. They also faced lawsuits from customers. In one case, a man who won $50 damages plus the cost of his sandwich after getting food poisoning from consuming a Big Mac. In another suit, in which a St. Petersburg man received $3,500 to cover dental expenses for the broken tooth he got when the salad he ordered at McDonald’s contained a stone.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/034810_McDonalds_ingredients_Russia.html#ixzz1kvLYshKk

http://rt.com/business/news/mcrussia-milkshake-revelation-885/

SSRI Horrors Grow: Women Who Take Popular Antidepressants Risk Babies With Severe High Blood Pressur


Blood pressure and glucose screening form
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Friday, January 13, 2012 by: S. L. Baker, features writer

 

 

 

 
Although Big Pharma and mainstream medicine continue to push antidepressants, especially the type known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Paxil and Prozac, the documented risks and side effects of these drugs remain often ignored. While it’s true the FDA finally acknowledged SSRIs are linked to suicide and violence in adolescents, other
are rarely mentioned. Neither is the mounting evidence that SSRIs pose a serious threat to unborn babies.Take the Mayo Clinic’s official web site, for example, which claims: „depression is such a horrible disease that depression treatment during pregnancy is essential. If you have untreated depression, you might not have the energy to take good care of yourself. You might not seek optimal prenatal care or eat the healthy foods your baby needs to thrive. You might turn to smoking or drinking alcohol.“Notice all the „mights“ in that plug for antidepressant use during pregnancy. The web site states the risk of pregnant womentaking SSRIs causing drug-related harm to their babies is „low.“ What’s shocking is that this information is currently up on the Mayo website when evidence has accumulated over the past year that antidepressants can, in fact, cause very serious and potentially deadly birth defects.For example, a Finnish study published last July provided evidence that exposure to SSRIs in the first trimester of pregnancyincreases the risk for major congenital anomalies, particularly heart problems. In fact, the use of fluoxetine (the generic name for Prozac) in the first three months of a pregnancy was linked to a two-fold risk for isolated ventricular sepal defects; another SSRI, paroxetine (Paxil), was associated with more than a four-fold increased risk for right ventricular outflow tract defects in newborn hearts.If that’s not shocking and worrisome enough, especially when you consider the CDC reports at least one in ten Americans are now taking SSRIs, including countless numbers of pregnant women. News about birth defects linked to these antidepressants just got worse. A new study just published online by the British Medical Journalreveals that women who take SSRIs during pregnancy are more likely to give birth to children with a very dangerous and serious condition — persistent pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs).

SSRIs can be a serious threat to the health of babies

Persistent pulmonary hypertension is caused by an increase in blood pressure in the lungs. That, in turn, leads to shortness of breath and other breathing difficulties. This is no minor problem, either, but a severe disease with strong links to heart failure.

The new study, conducted by scientists at the Center for Pharmacoepidemiology at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, investigated 1.6 million births between 1996 and 2007 in five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. In all, a total of 1,618,255 single births were included in the study.

The researchers discovered that 11,000 of the mothers had filled prescriptions for anti-depressants in late pregnancy and approximately 17,000 more had taken the drugs in early pregnancy. An additional 54,184 mothers in the study were found to have previously been given a psychiatric diagnosis but these women did not take any antidepressant medication during their pregnancies.

Babies born to the women in the study were assessed after 231 days (33 weeks). The results? Taking SSRIs appeared to clearly raise the risk of pulmonary
persistent hypertension. In all, the new study found three babies with pulmonary persistent hypertension per 1000 women taking SSRIs in early pregnancy. That number doubled if the anti-depressants were taken in late pregnancy.

The risk was not enormous. Butpulmonary persistent hypertension in a baby is a very serious disease and any increase in cases at all is extremely worrisome, especially when it could be prevented. After all, aking SSRIs is not something a woman absolutely has to do. Exercise, sound nutrition, stress relief, yoga and a host of other natural approaches have been documented to help relieve depression.

In an accompanying editorial, researchers from the Motherisk Program Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and the School of Pharmacy at the University of Oslo concluded that mothers who take SSRIs in late pregnancy are more likely to give birth to children with persistent pulmonary hypertension.

In a media release about the new study, Christina Chambers, PhD, MPH, from the University of California, San Diego, who has also studied potential risks of SSRI use in pregnancy, said the paper confirms results of „several other papers showing small increased risks for selected specific birth defects, although not all previous studies have shown a risk.“

For more information:

http://www.bma.org.uk/

http://www.naturalnews.com/SSRIs.html

http://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Abstract/2011/07000/Selective_Serotonin_Reuptake_Inhibitors_and_Risk.16.aspx

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/antidepressants/DN00007

http://www.naturalnews.com/034638_SSRI_drugs_antidepressants_high_blood_pressure.html#ixzz1jKJDs5Xo

Children Go to Bed, Hungry


How Can the World’s Richest Country Let Children Go Hungry? 6 Tricks Corporate Elites Use to Hoard All the Wealth

Les Leopold
AlterNet
2011-12-21 05:51:00 sott.net

 

America is filthy rich, but the money is hidden away by the 1 percent while poverty rises all around.

„Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans, nearly 1 in 2, have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income.“

„Study: 1 in 5 American children lives in poverty.“

„In 2010, 17.2 million households, 14.5 percent of households (approximately one in seven), were food insecure, the highest number ever recorded in the United States.“

Every Single Tweet Being Turned Over To U.S. Government?


 

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Every single tweet being turned over to U.S. government

by J. D. Heyes

 They say there are billions of them, with more than 50 million added per day. But whatever the actual number, every single tweet ever sent since the beginning of Twitter-time is set to be turned over to Uncle Sam.

According to Federal News Radio earlier this week, Twitter has struck a deal (deal?) with the Library of Congress to archive every single tweet. Rather than treat them as free, protected speech, the billions of Tweets are being treated as historical documents and will archived as such, the report said.

„We have an agreement with Twitter where they have a bunch of servers with their historic archive of tweets, everything that was sent out and declared to be public,“ Bill Lefurgy, the digital initiatives program manager at the library’s national digital information infrastructure and preservation program, said on Federal News Radio.

„We were excited to be involved with acquiring the Twitter archives because it’s a unique record of our time,“ he added. „It’s also a unique way of communication. It’s not so much that people are going to be interested in what you or I had for lunch, which some people like to say on Twitter.“

Which begs the question: What, then, is the government „interested“ in? According to the report, the tweets will be made available to researchers who „could then data-mine for interesting information.“

„There have been studies involved with what are the moods of the public at various times of the day in reaction to certain kinds of news events,“ said Lefurgy. „There’s all these interesting kinds of mixing and matching that can be done using the tweets as a big set of data.“

The agreement, it turns out, has been in the works since last year.

Reportedly, no Tweets that users have „protected“ will be included in the data dump, but let’s ask the obvious question here: How many of us actually believe that private tweets aren’t somehow going to show up in this LOC tweet repository – for some researcher to „data-mine?“

So, the lesson here is this: If you think your tweets are just going to vanish into the unknown after you send them, think again. And be careful what you tweet; some „researcher“ may just „data-mine“ it some day, to your dismay.

In the electronic age, privacy is increasingly becoming a quaint concept of the past.

Sources:

http://content.usatoday.com/communi…

http://www.federalnewsradio.com/?ni…