Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Europe’s Toxic Air

In 1952 there was what was known as the GREAT SMOG OF LONDON

The Great Smog of 1952, sometimes called The Big Smoke,[1] was a severe air-pollution event that affected the British capital of London in December 1952. A period of cold weather, combined with an anticyclone and windless conditions, collected airborne pollutants – mostly arising from the use of coal – to form a thick layer of smog over the city. It lasted from Friday, 5 December to Tuesday, 9 December 1952 and then dispersed quickly when the weather changed.
It caused major disruption by reducing visibility and even penetrating indoor areas, far more severe than previous smog events experienced in the past, called "pea-soupers". Government medical reports in the following weeks, however, estimated that up until 8 December, 4,000 people had died as a direct result of the smog and 100,000 more were made ill by the smog's effects on the human respiratory tract. More recent research suggests that the total number of fatalities was considerably greater, about 12,000.[2]

I grew up in Los Angeles, CA when there was a lot of pollution due to automobiles, home trash incinerators etc. The city outlawed incinerators.
Eventually, the state began to regulate automobile emissions.

The regulation on automobile emissions are expensive, time consuming and can be just a big plain pain. That being said over the years population, automobiles increase and pollutions decreased.

Somehow we got over this, only to succumb to the logic of the genius's who claim to control the climate.

Amid smoggy days in London, growing calls to clean up Europe’s toxic air


 It’s Christmastime on Oxford Street. Brilliant displays of white lights rain from above. Decked-out shoppers dash from one gaudy sale to the next. And Johnny ­Conquest breathes in poison. 
“The air is horrible. The taxis stop right here, and when they take off, boom, you can taste it,” says the 67-year-old as the heavenly smell of the caramel peanuts he hawks from a humble street stall mingles with the sickly stench of diesel. “I’m on the worst corner in London.”
In at least one important respect, it may be the worst in the world. 
London has come a long way since the days when its infamous coal-fired pollution shrouded Sherlock in a permanent haze or struck at least 4,000 residents dead in less than a week.  
But the city’s overreliance on diesel-powered vehicles has given it a dubious distinction: a global leader in nitrogen dioxide, a particularly noxious pollutant that shortens the lives of thousands of Londoners a year. 
Here and in cities across environmentally minded Europe, NO2 levels are substantially higher than in North America, or even in Asian and African megacities whose names have become bywords for dirty air. And that is all because of decades of government incentives designed to spur the purchase of supposedly cleaner diesel cars and trucks.
“It’s a complete policy failure,” said Gary Fuller, who directs an air-quality-study centerat King’s College London. “No one could defend this.”

WASHINGTON POST  [FULL STORY]

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

ALEPPO'S WHITE HELMETS

It is a modern tragedy, the slaughter of innocent civilians in Aleppo, Syria.

The killer Putin leading his aircraft in support of the Assad regeim is a horror which will not reflect well on those who stand by and do nothing.

What is especially disturbing to me is the murders of the WHITE HELMETS as they go about saving lives.


Fighting for life in Syria's vicious civil war

“If there is meaning to the word courage,” said a Syrian journalist, “it is represented by the Civil Defense." Also known as the White Helmets, the trained force of 3,000 rescue workers offer Syrian civilians their only hope

The following is a script from “The White Helmets,” which aired on Dec. 18, 2016. Scott Pelley is the correspondent. Nicole Young, producer.
A great city that once held more than two million people is on the edge of surrender after five years of siege and starvation. Aleppo is the center of the rebellion against the Syrian dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad. And this past week, Assad and his Russian ally, intensified their air strikes against Aleppo’s dense neighborhoods. For civilians, under this bombardment, the greatest fear is to be buried alive -- to suffocate or bleed to death in the rubble of their own home. Their only hope is the Syrian Civil Defense, a self-appointed, all Syrian, volunteer force of rescue workers who call themselves the White Helmets.
The airstrikes, day and night, obliterate apartments and shatter the nerves. Often, the bombs are not aimed at military targets -- they’re not aimed at all -- just a barrel of shrapnel and TNT, heaved from a helicopter, onto any neighborhood the Assad dictatorship does not control.

Rami Jarrah: It’s to terrorize people in this area. It’s to tell these people that, “You’re not welcome here and we want you out.”
Rami Jarrah is a Syrian reporter who’s followed the White Helmets from their makeshift beginnings to today’s trained force of 3,000 rescue workers. 
Rami Jarrah: They provide some sort of security or safety or some sort of hope to civilians that live in this area that even if you are attacked, even if your building comes down, there is someone that’s going to come and save you.

“There’s a 50 percent chance in every operation that I’ll live and 50 percent chance that I’ll die. But in the end, I’ve left my mark. I’ve left children who are going to live and complete our future.”



Sunday, December 18, 2016

Another Stupid Trump Tweet

Donald Trumps constant ill thought out tweets are not only annoying but not very funny.

What does the Don think he accomplished with this last tweet? It is far beyond me what his message is and most likely to anybody else.

It is one thing to be new to the concept of diplomacy, but maybe he should consult somebody? Most anybody else would but not him as he has repeatedly bragged about being not only smart but knows everything. 

China said it would return a seized U.S. naval drone. Trump told them to ‘keep it.’

  
The Chinese government said Saturday it will return a U.S. naval drone seized last week in the South China Sea, a step toward defusing maritime tensions between the two Pacific powers. 
President-elect Donald Trump reacted to the news by telling them he doesn’t want it back. “We should tell China that we don’t want the drone they stole back.- let them keep it!” he tweeted Saturday evening.
The comment could prolong one of the most serious incidents between the U.S. and Chinese militaries in recent memory, potentially complicating ties ahead of Trump’s inauguration.
The latest spike in U.S.-Chinese maritime tensions occurred Thursday, when a Chinese submarine rescue ship close to the USNS Bowditch, an oceanographic survey vessel operating about 50 nautical miles northwest of Subic Bay in the Philippines, took possession of the U.S. drone.
The incident occurred within sight of the Bowditch, which tracks the drone as it collects unclassified data on water temperature, salinity and other factors that may affect U.S. naval operations. According to U.S. officials, the Chinese ship refused initial requests from the Bowditch to return the drone.

Song Zhongping, an expert on Chinese military affairs who works as a commenter for Hong Kong’s Phoenix TV, said the statement was an effort to warn the United States to not deploy this type of vessel in the South China Sea, “Otherwise, we will keep on picking them up whenever we see them,” he said. 
Despite sharp words on both sides, official statements from Washington and Beijing suggest that the two governments are eager to avoid further intensifying tensions at a moment of deep uncertainty in U.S.-Chinese relations after Trump’s election.
[full story]  WASHINGTON POST