“Exxon Pegasus pipeline ruptures and spills Canadian bitumen”

Richard Mccallum reports on the pipeline rupture in the Mayflower neighborhood in Arkansas.  I’m not so sure these pipelines crossing the U.S. from top to bottom, carrying heavy, dirty crude is such a good idea.  Meanwhile the Tar sands pipeline is close to getting the go-ahead at the Federal level.

Mccallum writes:

Mayflower – Exxon-Mobil are mobilizing all of their resources to clean up a rupture in the Pegasus pipeline which has caused thousands of gallons of Canadian bitumen fuel to evacuate 22 homes in what the U.S. Environmental Agency has categorised as a “major spill”.

Exxon closed the pIpeline on Friday after discovering the leak.

The Pegasus pipeline carries a little over 90,000 barrels of crude oil fuel from Pakota, Illinois to Nederland, Texas.

An Exxon- Mobil spokesman has stated on the record that at the time of the rupture that Pegasus was carrying Canadian Wabesca heavy crude oil which had been diluted with lighter fuel in order to allow it to flow easily through the pipeline system.

The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association known as CEPA has sourced Wabesca Crude as “oil sands”.

The Pegasus pipeline was refurbished with “leak -proof technology” in 2009 when it was expanded to specifically transport Canadian oil sands bitumen from the U.S midwest to the Gulf Coast refining hub.

Exxon has confirmed that they are now responding to a spill which they estimate to be 10.000 gallons .

The spill occurred in a subdivision and as DJ goes to press the bitumen has not yet leaked into nearby Lake Conway.

They estimate that they have already cleaned up 4,500 gallons of the spill.

The event is the second spill of Canadian crude oil this week on American soil.A train shipping Canadian crude derailed in Minnesota on Wednesday spilling 15,000 gallons.

This video, linked by Mr. Mccallom shows where the rupture occurred on a map that also traces the route of all of the North to South pipelines, carrying Canadian crude to the Gulf Coast to be refined.

“Douglas Rushkoff and the Terror of Modern Time”

From the description:

Published on Mar 25, 2013

Douglas Rushkoff thinks you’re doing time wrong.

Over the course of 20 years, 15 books, and countless speeches and articles, the famed media theorist has established quite a following among technophiles. But while his past books warned about the perils and responsibilities of digital citizenship, his latest book — “Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now” — is all about time. More specifically, it’s about how people are ruining their lives by approaching time in unhealthy ways.

Sound a bit heady? Don’t worry. To slow things down a bit, we took Mr. Rushkoff to Sutton Clocks, a sales and repair shop for antique timepieces on the Upper East Side. There, amidst the ticks and tocks, Mr. Rushkoff told us how misunderstanding time can cripple a workforce and tempt you to make dumb decisions.

(Film produced, filmed, and edited by Abraham Riesman:http://abrahamriesman.com)

“Protecting the power grid from solar storms”

 

“Photo: Solar Dynamic Observatory/NASA STORM WATCH: A March 2012 solar flare looks impressive but caused no problems here on Earth.
” – Source: Spectrum.ieee.org

Jean Kumagai reports for Spectrum on the refurbished spacecraft that will “aid forecasts of space weather”.

From the article:

It can happen: Every so often the sun emits an explosive burst of charged particles that makes its way to Earth and, under just the right conditions, wreaks havoc on power grids. A powerful geomagnetic storm in March 1989 blacked out the entire province of Quebec, leaving millions of customers in the dark and damaging transformers as far south as New Jersey. Lately the question being debated in space weather circles is: Are we prepared for a repeat, or a storm 10 times worse—like the 1859 solar superstorm?

Thanks to two new satellites, we might be better prepared than ever. The Deep Space Climate Observatory [pdf], which will measure the solar wind at the Sun-Earth L1 Lagrange point, some 1.5 million kilometers from Earth, is set for launch next year. L1 is a gravitational sweet spot ideal for observing the sun because it’s never shadowed by the moon or Earth. Also slated for 2014 is an experimental solar-sail mission dubbed Sunjammer, which will fly
 more than a million kilometers closer to the sun than L1 and could become the basis for a space-weather early-warning system.

The Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) began life 15 years ago, as an Earth-observing satellite called Triana [pdf] that was championed by then vice president Al Gore. But the nearly complete satellite was grounded by politics and a change in administration. “So we just put it in a clean-room container, under nitrogen purge,” says Adam Szabo of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, who is project scientist for DSCOVR.

It wasn’t forgotten, though. The United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is in charge of issuing space weather forecasts, had long sought a dedicated satellite for such work but lacked the funding. Triana seemed like an inexpensive solution: It was already built, it had instruments on board for measuring solar wind, and the Air Force agreed to pay for the launch, aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

Last fall NASA engineers began refurbishing the satellite. “We completely took it apart,” Szabo says. “Every bit was removed, every subsystem and component was checked.” Most were okay, he says, but a couple of parts were suspect. “Good thing we didn’t launch with those.” This spring, they’re reassembling the satellite, and then they’ll subject it to a battery of testing and verification. The earliest possible launch date is November 2014, he says, but the satellite has to be ready a year before that. Once it is on orbit, NASA will turn it over to NOAA.

To keep costs in check, no new instruments are being added to DSCOVR, despite the change in its job description. The satellite already had a flux-gate magnetometer and a Faraday cup. The cup scoops up protons and measures the particles’ velocity, temperature, and density. Meanwhile, the magnetometer determines the vector of the solar magnetic field.

Measurements from DSCOVR will be intercepted by ground stations and piped to NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colo. There, automated software will process the data within seconds and turn them into “actionable information,” Szabo says. “It cannot be more than 5 minutes between measurement on the spacecraft and when an operator in Boulder picks up the phone or sends out an e-mail warning. That’s a tall order.”

Also in the works is Sunjammer, being built by L’Garde, of Tustin, Calif., as a way to provide even earlier warnings. Named for the Arthur C. Clarke story of the same name, the spacecraft boasts a 0.1-hectare solar sail that’s designed to let the craft fly toward the sun using the inherent pressure of photons, explains Doug Biesecker, an astrophysicist at the Space Weather Prediction Center. Among other things, researchers hope to learn whether the giant sail will interfere with solar wind measurements.

Space weather experts agree that such projects are absolutely necessary—and not enough. At present, several of the key spacecraft NOAA relies on have exceeded their operational lifetimes, including the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory and the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE). DSCOVR will replace the 15-year-old ACE but won’t expand much on its capabilities. And Sunjammer is only a demonstration; no follow-ons have been funded.

In a perfect world, direct observations of the sun would translate into detailed alerts describing what the magnetic field will look like when it reaches Earth, where and when the storm will strike, and which grid components will be at most risk. That information would give grid operators several days to prepare. Today’s forecasts offer only about 30 to 45 minutes of lead time.

Space watchers will note that these spacecraft will launch well after the current solar cycle has peaked. But the next great geomagnetic event could happen at any time. “The size of a solar cycle does not determine the size of space weather storms, only the frequency,” says Biesecker. “So you could have fewer storms but just as severe, or more so.”

Right now, interest in this area is high, notes Rich Lordan of the Electric Power Research Institute, in Palo Alto, Calif., whose electric utility members fund about $2 million annually in geomagnetic storm research. “It tends to follow the solar cycle.” The trick, he says, is to keep the momentum going. “Let’s finish [the work], let’s not stop—as a gift to the people who will be running things 11 years from now.”

“Women in ancient Egypt were more than just mummies” – Professor Joann Fletcher

Queen Nefertiti Source: http://egyptmanchester.wordpress.com

Egyptologist and teaching fellow at the University of York Dr. Joann Fletcher writes for the Guardian, “As my TV series shows, with queens so powerful they were known as kings, women ‘eliminated gender hierarchy for a brief period in classical antiquity’.”

I recall a few queens from Egyptian history, namely Nefertiti and the Queen of Sheba, but according to Professor Fletcher, there were several more that have been left out for whatever reason.  She writes:

It is a little-known fact that ancient Egypt was populated almost entirely by men. Or at least, this is the impression one would gain from reading many of the publications about ancient Egypt in in which women appear as some sort of minority sub-group. Many works deal exclusively with a male elite of kings, priests and scribes.

Take the case of a married couple from around the 14th century BC whose intact tomb, discovered in Luxor by the Italians in 1906, still contained their mummified bodies and hundreds of personal belongings, now displayed in the superb Museo Egizio in Turin. From the title of the official tomb publication, La tomba intatta dell’architetto Kha nella necropoli di Tebe, (The Intact Tomb of the Architect Kha in the Necropolis of Thebes) you’d think that only the husband, Kha, had been buried there. His wife, Meryt, barely gets a look in.

So why does that matter? Because the way that Meryt has been rendered almost invisible is symptomatic of the way in which the status of women within ancient Egyptian society is still too often underplayed.

Of course we are dealing with a huge chunk of time, but even in the fifth millennium BC, female graves were generally larger than those of men and tended to contain more objects of a wider variety of types. By 3000 BC, Egypt’s earliest queens were buried in tombs at least as large as those of male rulers, the pharaohs, presumably reflecting the fact that some not only controlled the royal treasury, but ruled as regents on behalf of underage sons. In the case of Merneith, her name appears in the ancient lists of kings, and only when archaeologists realised he was a she was her title amended to queen.

Yet some pharaohs were female. Unable to be swept under the academic carpet because of the amount of evidence produced during her 20-year reign, Hatshepsut ended up as the exception that proved the rule. Her stately images as traditional pharaoh with the standard tie-on false beard were reduced to the stuff of sniggering, school-boy humour, while many modern accounts of Hatshepsut’s reign also border on the farcical: this wicked woman masquerading in male clothing while seizing power from the rightful male heir.

Of course Hatshepsut only appears as some freakish anomaly if we ignore her female predecessors Merneith, Khentkawes, Neithikret and Sobekneferu, her successors Nefertiti and Tawosret, and the women of the later Ptolemaic dynasty, the great Cleopatra among them, who enjoyed “equal status with males in the eyes of their subjects” and “eliminated gender hierarchy for a brief period in classical antiquity”, according to Sarah Pomeroy, professor of classics and history at City University, New York.

Certainly the Egyptians did things rather differently when compared to the rest of the ancient world. The Greek historian Herodotus claimed: “The Egyptians themselves in their manners and customs seem to have reversed the ordinary practices of mankind” – although the Egyptians preferred the rather more inclusive term “humankind”, written with both a male and female determinative figure.

Now I’m not for one minute saying Egyptian women ran around doing exactly as they pleased, since most were wives and mothers and the most common female title was Lady of the House, meaning housewife. Yet they did also work in the public sphere alongside men at every level of society, in farming, brewing and baking, buying and selling, sitting on juries and even steering cargo ships.

In terms of high-profile jobs, the most common official title for women relates to temple employment, while others functioned as overseers. Others are known to have held the titles of governor, judge and magistrate, and three even achieved the post of prime minister.

As independent citizens equal to men under the law, Egyptian women could own their own property, buy and sell it, keep hold of it despite marriage, make wills and choose which of their children would inherit. Clearly enjoying at least some degree of financial independence, surviving accounts also reveal they received the same pay as male colleagues for undertaking the same work – something the UK has still to achieve despite 40 years of equal pay legislation.

This makes sense in light of the fact that the Egyptian civilization was able to work cooperatively to build such marvelous, long lasting structures.  It’s sad to see that so much of the story of ‘humankind’ has been omitted from written history.  For more information about the BBC 2 TV Series called, “Ancient Egypt – Life and Death in the Valley of the Kings” hosted by Professor Fletcher, click here.

I found a video from 2009 featuring the research by Dr. Fletcher on Queen Nefertiti in Egypt:

 

“Trails and Trilliums” 12th through 14th of April in Monteagle, TN.

TrailsnTrilliumse1364504736.44This years Trails and Trilliums by Friends of South Cumberland press release :

KEY EVENTS- 
Friday, April 12
6:00-8:30  “
Brush with Nature” Preview Party. Monteagle Assembly Dining Hall. First chance to purchase art, sculpture, native plants. Cocktail Buffet, wine and beer.
Saturday April 13
   8:30-3:00 – Hikes, Workshops, Cumberland Wild Forum, Art, Live Music, Vendors, Native Plant Sale.  Free- Children’s Activities 10-2:00 (Sat. only)
   5:00-7:00 – Wine & Wildflowers! Assembly Auditorium David Haskell’s Keynote Talk, Wine & Cheese, Friends of South Cumberland Awards
Sunday April 14
     10:00-2:00 – More Hikes & Workshops, Art, Vendors & Native Plant Sale continue. Fiery Gizzard with TN Naturalist Randy Hedgepath. New! VAN TOUR OF THE PARK.
See detailed schedule & native plant list.
Directions & Accommodations

On-line registration:
trailsandtrilliums.org

2013BannerThe plant sale will feature perennial wildflowers, trees and shrubs from Dancing Fern Nursery.  Also, Chattanooga Arboreum and Nature Center will provide an “assortment of native plants to sell”, along with Overhill Nursery.

Bellefonte Efficiency and Sustainability Team PSA

Sequoyah Nuclear Plant near Chattanooga, TN
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
SCOPING SESSION

WS LEE Nuclear Power Plant
NPDES wastewater discharge permit
PUBLIC HEARING
April 3, 2013 – 2-4 p.m. or 6-8 p.m. – Soddy Daisy City Hall April 4, 2013 – 6 PM – Restoration Church in Gaffney, SC
TVA has applied to renew the operating license for its 32-year old Sequoyah Nuclear Plant near Chattanooga, Tennessee. On April 3, you have a chance to say what health, safety, cost, or environmental concerns you have. New Duke nuke would impact Broad River and drinking water.
Speak up for the Broad River and the health and safety of North and South Carolinians.
 
More Details: BREDL Action Alert | BREDL Fact Sheet

Source: MATRR.org(Mothers against Tn. river radiation)
Source: MATRR.org
(Mothers against Tn. river radiation)

Pond circles in Eden, New York

From the video description:

Peggy Gervase was looking out from the deck of her home at a nearby pond.

She spotted what appeared to be a series of concentric circles that had opened in the snow covering the pond. It almost resembled the unusual phenomena known as crop circles. But again this occurred on the surface of a pond.

“Police restrain crowd from taking food after supermarket eviction” – Augusta, Georgia

Source: WFXG.com

Mark Barber reports for Fox 54 News in Augusta(WFXG) on 27 March 2013:

Law enforcement officials pushed back hundreds of people who were crowding around a large pile of merchandise outside an Augusta grocery store Tuesday afternoon.

But the goods sitting in the parking lot of the Laney Supermarket didn’t make into anyone’s hands.

Instead, the food people hoped to take home was tossed into the trash.

“People have children out here that are hungry, thirsty, could be anything. Why throw it away when you could be issuing it out?” asked Robertstine Lambert.

The Marshal of Richmond County, Steve Smith, says the food wasn’t theirs to give away, so they had to trash it.

“We don’t have authority to take possession of the property; we just have to make sure that it’s handled, disposed of by law,” Smith, said.

SunTrust Bank in Atlanta owns the property and they’re sending the merchandise to the landfill after evicting the Chois, the owners of the grocery store.

The Chois didn’t want to speak on camera but they say they were kicked out by the bank because they owe them thousands of dollars.

They say they offered the food to a church, but members didn’t show up to claim it.

That’s when word that store products were abandoned spread through the community.

About 300 people came to take merchandise home, but they were held back by law enforcement.

“These are brand new items; we saw the potential for a riot was extremely high,” said Sheriff Richard Roundtree.

Jennifer Santiago was forced to leave empty handed and she says trashing the merchandise is truly a waste.

“For them to do this is a low blow. A lot of people are sad, a lot of people aren’t going to have food to put on their table; this is ridiculous,” she said.

The Chois say they were notified by the bank on Friday that they would be evicted on Tuesday.

They say they didn’t move out earlier because they wanted to work up to the last minute.

The following day, it was reported that the owner of the trucking company used to haul off Laney Supermarket food decided to donate some to the Harvest Food Bank instead.   Fox 54’s Mark Barber again reports:

Travis McNeal, the Executive Director for the Golden Harvest Food Bank sorts through to salvage usable goods. Source: wfxg.com

Travis McNeal, the Executive Director for the Golden Harvest Food Bank, sorted through piles of chips, drinks and canned foods that were recovered from the Laney Supermarket Wednesday.

“We’re looking at probably 4,000 to 5,000 pounds of food,” said McNeal.

McNeal says the food will feed over 4,000 people.

But it nearly went to waste when it was loaded into dumpsters Tuesday, after the Laney Supermarket was evicted because the owners couldn’t make a profit.

When people in the community heard a pile of goods was sitting outside the store they showed up to take the merchandise home.

Since SunTrust Bank in Atlanta owned the property, Marshals held the crowd back as fresh food was piled into dumpsters and shipped off to a landfill.

But there was a change in course when the company driving the trucks realized they were trashing perfectly fine food.

“We thought it would be a good thing to take the good material that was not going to perish, instead of just take it to the landfill that we would donate that material,” said the owner of Thompson Building Wrecking Company, Hiram Thompson.

Even though a lot of food was saved, there could have been much more.

Golden Harvest officials say when the food was trashed, cleaning supplies were put on top and they leaked onto most of the food.

But they salvaged what they could and they’re preparing to send it back into the community.

“Checking dates, contamination, tears and we’ll clean it up and check it,” McNeal, said.

When the food is shipped off to distribution centers Monday McNeal hopes they will turn what was a waste into help for the hungry.