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Tepco hid record-level radiation data last July

Tepco hid record-level radiation data last July | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Tokyo Electric Power Co. did not tell the public until recently that massively high levels of radiation were found in groundwater collected last July at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear ...
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The Vampire Squid Strikes Again: The Mega Banks' Most Devious Scam Yet | Politics News | Rolling Stone

Call it the loophole that destroyed the world. It's 1999, the tail end of the Clinton years. While the rest of America obsesses over Monica Lewinsky, Columbine and Mark McGwire's biceps, Congress is feverishly crafting what could yet prove to be one of the most transformative laws in the history of our economy – a law that would make possible a broader concentration of financial and industrial power than we've seen in more than a century.

 

But the crazy thing is, nobody at the time quite knew it. Most observers on the Hill thought the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 – also known as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act – was just the latest and boldest in a long line of deregulatory handouts to Wall Street that had begun in the Reagan years.

 

Wall Street had spent much of that era arguing that America's banks needed to become bigger and badder, in order to compete globally with the German and Japanese-style financial giants, which were supposedly about to swallow up all the world's banking business. So through legislative lackeys like red-faced Republican deregulatory enthusiast Phil Gramm, bank lobbyists were pushing a new law designed to wipe out 60-plus years of bedrock financial regulation. The key was repealing – or "modifying," as bill proponents put it – the famed Glass-Steagall Act separating bankers and brokers, which had been passed in 1933 to prevent conflicts of interest within the finance sector that had led to the Great Depression. Now, commercial banks would be allowed to merge with investment banks and insurance companies, creating financial megafirms potentially far more powerful than had ever existed in America.

  
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UAW and VW Seek Economic High Road, Anti-Union Pols Seek to Block It | The Nation

UAW and VW Seek Economic High Road, Anti-Union Pols Seek to Block It | The Nation | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

In a globalized economy, there are two paths that countries can take: a low road and a high road.

 

Too frequently in recent decades, the United States has taken the low road, embracing so-called “free-trade” agreements and encouraging domestic “competition” between the states that encourages a race to the bottom when it comes to wages, benefits, environmental rules and consumer protections. The evidence of the failure of this choice is evident nationwide, from the shuttered appliance plants of Iowa to the shuttered steel mills of Indiana to the shuttered textile mills of the Carolinas.

 

Other countries chose a different route: the high road. In Germany, for instance, a combination of industrial policies and innovative workplace agreements helped traditional industries to modernize and remain dominant players on the global stage. Indeed, as the Great Recession took hold, it was the strength and resilience of the German economy that provided a measure of stability for Europe.

 

One of the reasons why Germany has adapted with such agility to the changing economic and structural demands of the globalized economy is the respect that German corporations accord workers. The country has strong unions. And its factories also have “works councils,” elected bodies that represent the workers and help management make decisions on issues ranging from the hours a plant operates to the training workers might receive. “It is no accident that [German] workforces have a reputation for being highly skilled,” notes Thomas Geoghegan, the veteran labor lawyer and author.

 

Experts on “works councils,” such as University of Illinois law professor Matthew Finkin, a member of the governing board of the Institute for Labor Law and Labor Relations in the European Union in Trier, Germany, and Thomas A. Kochan, the co-director of the Institute for Work and Employment Research at the MIT Sloan School of Management, argue that they are “one of the best, most innovative features of Germany’s labor relations system.”

 

“They have been shown,” Finkin and Kochan note, “to enhance efficiency, adoptability and cooperation. By supporting the use of work sharing (agreeing to reduce everyone’s hours rather than laying some people off), for example, these councils helped Germany experience less unemployment during the Great Recession and a faster, more robust, recovery since then.”

 

Sounds like an idea that the United States might want to borrow, right?

 

Click headline to read more--

 


Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
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20 Teams to Compete in 2015 U.S. Solar Decathlon

20 Teams to Compete in 2015 U.S. Solar Decathlon | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

The U.S. Department of Energy has selected 20 collegiate teams to participate in the 2015 Solar Decathlon at Irvine, California’s Orange County Great Park. The eight returning teams will compete against 12 new teams, with partners from four international schools, to build “solar-powered, highly energy-efficient houses that combine affordability, innovation, and design excellence” within the allotted two-year period.

View the full list of competitors at the link.


Via Lauren Moss
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Lola Ripollés's curator insight, February 14, 2014 6:09 PM

Solar Decathlon vuelve a la carga!

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The Real Reason Why This Week’s Massive Ice Storm Is So Unusual

The Real Reason Why This Week’s Massive Ice Storm Is So Unusual | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
The real reason why Winter Storm Pax is so unusual is not its size, its ice, its gusts or its very real potential for disaster.
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Upcycle house: una casa interamente riciclata

Upcycle house: una casa interamente riciclata | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
La casa riciclata Upcycle House realizzata in Danimarca con due container dismessi e materiali di scarto che abbatte le emissioni di CO2 grazie a strategie passive e LCA.

Via F|Mattiuzzo
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Here's Why Foreign Investors Are Trying to Buy American Farmland

Here's Why Foreign Investors Are Trying to Buy American Farmland | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Land grabs by wealthy (often foreign) investors are on the increase in America’s heartland, and almost no one is talking about it.

Via Monica S Mcfeeters
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Monica S Mcfeeters's curator insight, February 13, 2014 12:43 AM

Here is some news I haven't been seeing lately.


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Des risques de malformations congénitales près des puits de gaz de schiste

Des risques de malformations congénitales près des puits de gaz de schiste | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Une étude menée au Colorado sur 125 000 naissances suggère un excès, autour des installations gazières, d'anomalies cardiaques chez les nouveau-nés.

Via Laurence Serfaty
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Flood crisis: dredging is a simplistic response to a complex problem

Flood crisis: dredging is a simplistic response to a complex problem | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

Paul Bates: In an effort to outmanoeuvre one another, our leaders are promising to enact a policy of dubious benefit


Via Sylvain Rotillon
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The 8 Smartest Cities In Latin America

The 8 Smartest Cities In Latin America | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Which cities in the region are leading the way toward becoming urban centers of innovation and using technology and civic policy to create better...

Via Ayona Datta
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New Video: Abrupt Climate Change, and the Expected Unexpected

New Video: Abrupt Climate Change, and the Expected Unexpected | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Especially pleased to include interviews with more scientists here from our AGU sessions in December.  Links with the unfolding dramas in California and the UK are obvious. Headphones suggested.
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China Holiday Travel Puts Spotlight on Transportation

China Holiday Travel Puts Spotlight on Transportation | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Lunar New Year means tens of millions of travelers in China, mostly by bus but increasingly by car, which is bad news for air quality. David Biello reports
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Global Warming Freezes Penguin Chicks

Global Warming Freezes Penguin Chicks | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
More rain related to a warming climate soaks Magellanic penguin chicks to the skin before their waterproof feathers grow in, killing them from hypothermia. Allie Wilkinson reports
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Vertical Turbines, Packed Tight, Boost Power | EarthTechling

Vertical Turbines, Packed Tight, Boost Power | EarthTechling | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

They're shorter and smaller, but vertical-axis wind turbines in a tight array are 10 times as efficient as traditional turbines, Caltech researchers say.

 

The trend in turbine design has been toward taller and bigger, as the wind power industry tries to maximize generating capacity. But researchers from Caltech suggest the developers might be going about it all wrong – they say much shorter vertical-axis turbines, placed in a tight array with each turbine turning in an opposite direction to its neighbors, can be at least 10 times as efficient at capturing the wind power in a given area.

 

John Dabiri, a Caltech professor of aeronautics and bioengineering, and his colleagues base their theory on work done at the university’s two-acre experimental wind farm in northern Los Angeles County, and describe their findings in detail in the July issue of the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy.

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Fiji leader invites climate-hit Kiribati residents to relocate

Fiji leader invites climate-hit Kiribati residents to relocate | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Fiji's president has invited residents of Kiribati to move to his country if rising seas caused by climate change swamp their Pacific homeland, reports said on Thursday.
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How Weather Forecasts Can Help Optimize Energy Usage

How Weather Forecasts Can Help Optimize Energy Usage | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

Researchers at the University of Adelaide have been exploring how using public weather forecast information can help deliver significant reductions in energy consumption.

 

Combining information from the Bureau of Meteorology with data from existing building management systems, the researchers have developed an intelligent model that remains one step ahead of the building’s temperature changes, automatically adjusting the heating and cooling supply accordingly.

Early experimental results have provided encouraging results, with at least 10 per cent energy savings shown to be possible.


Via Lauren Moss
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La energía eólica española bate todos sus récords

La energía eólica española bate todos sus récords | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
En enero de 2014 el precio del mercado diario ha resultado un 47% inferior al precio de diciembre  (63,64€/MWh) y se ha situado un 37% por debajo del precio medio de enero de 2013 (50,50 €/MWh).

Via Ursula Sola de Hinestrosa
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Elegant + Eco-Friendly Appleton Residence in Venice, California

Elegant + Eco-Friendly Appleton Residence in Venice, California | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Appleton is an elegant eco-friendly residence located in California. It features an uncluttered interior, connecting the inhabitants with the courtyard.

The orientation of the house was thought out to maximize passive solar design and natural ventilation. Every room is connected to the courtyard, allowing inhabitants to move freely from inside to outside. The use of natural materials softens the contemporary lines of the overall design, highlighting the connection to the exterior.


Via Lauren Moss
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Tomgram: Michael Klare, In the Carbon Wars, Big Oil Is Winning | TomDispatch

Tomgram: Michael Klare, In the Carbon Wars, Big Oil Is Winning | TomDispatch | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
We now have an answer to why global temperatures have risen less quickly in recent years than predicted in climate change models. (It’s necessary to add immediately that the issue is only the rate of that rise, since the 10 hottest years on record have all occurred since 1998.)  Thanks to years of especially strong Pacific trade winds, according to a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change, much of the extra heat generated by global warming is being buried deep in ocean waters.  Though no one knows for sure, the increase in the power of those winds may itself have been set off by the warming of the Indian Ocean.  In other words, the full effects of the heating of the planet have been postponed, but are still building (and may also be affecting ocean ecology in unpredictable ways).  As Matthew England, the lead scientist in the study, points out, “Even if the [Pacific trade] winds accelerate... sooner or later the impact of greenhouse gases will overwhelm the effect.  And if the winds relax, the heat will come out quickly. As we go through the twenty-first century, we are less and less likely to have a cooler decade. Greenhouse gases will certainly win out in the end.”

Via Jocelyn Stoller
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Vandana Shiva on the Problem with Genetically Modified Seeds

Vandana Shiva on the Problem with Genetically Modified Seeds | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

Bill talks to scientist and philosopher Vandana Shiva, who’s become a rock star in the global battle over genetically modified seeds. These seeds — considered “intellectual property” by the big companies who own the patents — are globally marketed to monopolize food production and profits. Opponents challenge the safety of genetically modified seeds, claiming they also harm the environment, are more costly, and leave local farmers deep in debt as well as dependent on suppliers. Shiva, who founded a movement in India to promote native seeds, links genetic tinkering to problems in our ecology, economy, and humanity, and sees this as the latest battleground in the war on Planet Earth.

 

Vandana Shiva describes the latest battleground in the war on Planet Earth.

Via PIRatE Lab
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PIRatE Lab's curator insight, February 13, 2014 1:40 PM

Vandana Shiva describes the latest battleground in the war on Planet Earth.

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Fukushima fallout: sick US sailors file new $1bln lawsuit against Tepco

Fukushima fallout: sick US sailors file new $1bln lawsuit against Tepco | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
A total of 79 American sailors of the USS Ronald Reagan, which was stationed off Japanese coast at the time of the Fukushima disaster and took an active part in the relief operation, have filed a new

Via D'un Renard, Marian Locksley
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Vaisseau des abysses, arbre lumineux... : 5 projets fous financés par le "crowdfunding"

Vaisseau des abysses, arbre lumineux... : 5 projets fous financés par le "crowdfunding" | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
François Hollande a annoncé mercredi une "nouvelle impulsion" en faveur du financement participatif. Tour d'horizon des innovations françaises nées grâce à ce système.
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A Dawning Realization: Retreat from Coastlines Inevitable

A Dawning Realization: Retreat from Coastlines Inevitable | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
This year's "unusual" storms have put a fine point on it, but planners in coastal areas have begun to grapple with the idea that many vulnerable coastal communities are simply not sustainable.  The...
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If the Fuel Source Ain't Clean, Your Electric Car Ain't Green

If the Fuel Source Ain't Clean, Your Electric Car Ain't Green | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
A host of factors determine the role of electric and hybrid cars in reducing greenhouse gas pollution, such as whether coal is their ultimate fuel source. David Biello reports
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