Saturday, May 19, 2012

NATO: Beyond the Protests (Link Round-Up 5/19/12)

[via Ashlee Rezin of Time Out Chicago]

NATO to debate the future of the War in Afghanistan
By the time Obama sent 33,000 more troops to Afghanistan in December 2009, years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan had drained Western resources and sapped resolve to build a viable Afghan state, especially after the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in May 2011. 
President Bronislaw Komorowski of Poland, which has some 2,500 troops in Afghanistan, said Friday that those giving financial aid will face “tough decisions” over whether to spend on security or other civilian needs.
Pakistan to be confronted over supply truck "price-gouging" at NATO summit
Thousands of trucks a day carrying supplies would go through multiple border crossings from Pakistan to Afghanistan, making the fees a potentially massive source of revenue for the cash-strapped government in Islamabad.

The U.S. has shifted deliveries to different routes through Russia and other countries to Afghanistan's north. But the massive withdrawals of equipment due to unfold over the next 21/2 years as troops leave the country will be "significantly" more difficult if routes in Pakistan aren't used, the Pentagon acknowledged in a report last month.
The two upcoming Hollywood films on the Bin Laden raid (you didn't ask for)
Of course, while money can influence elections, so can films. And the release of Geronimo wouldn't be the first time a Weinstein film was unveiled with the intention to influencing American voters. Weinstein famously unveiled Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 ahead of the 2004 Bush-Kerry election and, at the time, Moore was openly claiming that his film " is the atomic bomb of this campaign." 
In the case of Geronimo, it's possible that releasing it could prompt Sony to move up the date of Zero Dark Thirty causing a pre-election Osama bin Laden extravaganza. As of now, Sony says it has no plans of changing the release date of its film but you've got to think the temptation is there. 
Why banning a military biofuel program is stupid in the long run
The military is very active in this realm, beyond the solar panels in Afghanistan—only sensible, given that the Defense Department spends over $16 billion a year on energy, nearly all of it fossil fuels. The Navy is in a joint project with the Departments of Agriculture and Energy to invest $510 million to convert old factories into bioprocessing plants. The Air Force is experimenting with fueling some of its fighter jets with biofuels.

But these plans will go bust if the House committee’s ban becomes law. Almost all new technologies cost more than existing ones at first. The cost drops—sometimes drastically, sometimes below the cost of the old technology—only after they develop, after there’s demand for the product; and in some cases the demand in early stages comes only from very large enterprises, in most cases an enterprise as large as a government.
Making electricity from virus pressure
The scientists tested their approach by creating a generator that produces enough current to operate a small liquid-crystal display. It works by tapping a finger on a postage stamp-sized electrode coated with specially engineered viruses. The viruses convert the force of the tap into an electric charge. 
Their generator is the first to produce electricity by harnessing the piezoelectric properties of a biological material. Piezoelectricity is the accumulation of a charge in a solid in response to mechanical stress. 
The history of tacos
The Spanish conquistadors looked down on Native foods and tried to bring European foods with them. One of the reasons for this was religion. Corn was associated with Native deities, and wheat was the grain used for the holy Eucharist.
90 Percent of corn seeds are covered with Bayer pesticides
As I've written before, Bayer's neonicotinoid pesticides, which now coat upwards of 90 percent of US corn seeds and seeds of increasing portions of other major crops like soy, have emerged as a likely trigger for colony collapse disorder. Watch this NBC News report from last week linking bee kills in Minnesota to Bayer's highly profitable product.
6 signs you're addicted to Facebook
  • You spend a lot of time thinking about Facebook or plan use of Facebook. 
  • You feel an urge to use Facebook more and more. 
  • You use Facebook in order to forget about personal problems. 
  • You have tried to cut down on the use of Facebook without success. 
  • You become restless or troubled if you are prohibited from using Facebook. 
  • You use Facebook so much that it has had a negative impact on your job/studies.
And a link I just found via Facebook...

The Loneliest Whale in the World
Because this one whale’s song is totally different than any other whale’s, it’s easy to track it and hear how its voice changes over time. So now we know, for instance, that a whale’s voice gets deeper as it ages. 


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