Monday, August 18, 2008

Literary Warrant [35]

Tristram Shandy

"—No doubt, Sir—there is a whole chapter wanting here—and a chasm of ten pages made in the book by it—but the bookbinder is neither a fool, or a knave, or a puppy—but, on the contrary, the book is more perfect and complete by wanting the chapter, than having it...."

—Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, ch. XXV.

  • Kevin Brigden, Iryna Labunska, David Santillo & Paul Johnston, Greenpeace Research Laboratories, Chemical Contamination at E-waste Recycling and Disposal Sites in Accra and Korforidua, Ghana (Technical Note 10/2008) (August 2008)

    "This study, the first to investigate workplace contamination in areas in Ghana where e-waste recycling and disposal is carried out, focussed on the main centre for this type of work, at the Agbogbloshie scrap market in Ghana’s capital, Accra. One of the numerous similar, though far smaller, operations that take place throughout Ghana was
    also investigated, at the location of a scrap dealer in Korforidua, a smaller city to the north of Accra. At these workshops, e-waste is recycled in a crude way, primarily involving manual disassembly and open burning to isolate copper from plastics. Much of the work is carried out by children, commonly using only rudimentary tools and with no protective equipment."—Executive Summary.

  • Claudia Copeland, Specialist in Resource and Environmental Policy, Resources, Science, and Industry Division, Congressional Research Service (CRS), Terrorism and Security Issues Facing the Water Infrastructure Sector (CRS Report for Congress, Order Code RL32189) (Updated July 28, 2008)

    "Across the country, water infrastructure systems extend over vast areas, and ownership and operation responsibility are both public and private, but are overwhelmingly non-federal. Since the attacks, federal dam operators and local water and wastewater utilities have been under heightened security conditions and are evaluating security plans and measures. There are no federal standards or agreed upon industry practices within the water infrastructure sector to govern readiness, response to security incidents, and recovery. Efforts to develop protocols and tools are ongoing since the 2001 terrorist attacks. This report presents an overview of this large and diverse sector, describes security-related actions by the government and private sector since September 11, and discusses additional policy issues and responses, including congressional interest."—Summary.
Read the rest of this post . . .
  • Emerging Energy Research (EER), US Wind Markets Surge to New Heights (August 14, 2008)

    "On the back of three years of consistent growth, the US wind market is poised for a record-breaking surge with cumulative installed wind capacity to surpass 150 gigawatts (GW) by 2020, according to a recent market study from Emerging Energy Research, a leading research and advisory firm analyzing clean and renewable energy markets on a global basis."—Press release.

  • Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Wildlife 2060: What’s at Stake for Florida? (August 2008)

    "If Florida’s population doubles during the next five decades, as Florida 2060: A Population Distribution Scenario for the State of Florida predicts, about 7 million additional acres of land—equivalent to the state of Vermont—could be converted from rural and natural to urban uses. Nearly 3 million acres of existing agricultural lands and 2.7 million acres of native habitat will be claimed by roads, shopping malls and subdivisions."—Wildlife Need Wild Lands.

  • Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, New Orleans Three Years After the Storm: The Second Kaiser Post-Katrina Survey, 2008 (August 2008)

    "The results of the new survey—fielded in the spring of 2008—are sobering, suggesting that many New Orleans residents are disappointed by the pace of the recovery effort, that some perceive a lack of opportunity in the city, and that many feel forgotten by their nation and its leaders. The survey finds that the city’s population, while substantially reduced in size, is overwhelmingly made up of people who lived in New Orleans before the storm hit, with nine in ten reporting they are Katrina survivors. These residents knew the city pre-disaster, and not only have that pre-flood city as their baseline but may also have overly high expectations about the power of the rebuilding process to create a “new” New Orleans, one in which pre-existing social problems would be lessened or even erased. The survey provides a sense that these high expectations are not being matched by the reality on the ground. In many ways, in fact, the problems and challenges facing the city are as daunting as they were a year and a half ago, when we first surveyed the population at Katrina’s one-year anniversary. In at least one area—mental health challenges—they seem to have become even more visible."—Executive Summary.

  • Leon Kolankiewicz & Steven A. Camarota, Center for Immigration Studies, Immigration to the United States and World-Wide Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Backgrounder) (August 2008)

    "The findings of this study indicate that future levels of immigration will have a significant impact on efforts to reduce global CO2 emissions. Immigration to the United States significantly increases world-wide CO2 emissions because it transfers population from lower-polluting parts of the world to the United States, which is a higher polluting country. On average immigrants increase their emissions four-fold by coming to America."

  • National Wildlife Federation (NWF), Bush Administration to Launch Sneak Attack on Endangered Species Act: Proposed Regulations Would Gut Protections for America’s Imperiled Wildlife (Press release) (August 11, 2008)

    "The Bush Administration plans to rollback protections for America’s imperiled wildlife by re-writing the regulations of the Endangered Species Act. According to leaked documents obtained by the National Wildlife Federation, the proposed changes would weaken the safety net of habitat protections that have helped protect and recover endangered fish, wildlife and plants for the past 35 years." Includes leaked copy of proposed ESA changes.

  • Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (OSHA 3114-07R) (2008)

    "Because of the seriousness of the safety and health hazards related to hazardous waste operations and emergency response, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued its Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) standard, Title 29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Parts 1910.120 and 1926.65 (see 54 Federal Register 9294-9336, March 6, 1989) to protect employees in this environment and to help them handle hazardous substances safely and effectively....

    "This booklet provides an overview of the HAZWOPER requirements for each type of work operation and explains each section separately to provide a clearer understanding of the standard. Having this understanding enables employers to protect the health and safety of their employees in these different environments."—Introduction.

  • Eileen Salinsky, Consultant, National Health Policy Forum, Strong as the Weakest Link: Medical Response to a Catastrophic Event (Background Paper No. 65) (August 8, 2008)

    "Natural disasters and acts of terrorism have placed a spotlight on the ability of health care providers to surge in response to catastrophic conditions. This paper reviews the status of efforts to develop the capacity and capabilities of the health care system to respond to disasters and other mass casualty events. Strategies for adapting routine medical practices and protocols to the demands posed by extraordinary circumstances and scarce resources are summarized. Existing federal roles, responsibilities, and assets relative to the contributions of state and local government and the private sector are described, including specific programmatic activities such as the Strategic National Stockpile, the National Disaster Medical System, and the Hospital Preparedness Program. Opportunities for federal policymakers seeking to strengthen and expedite preparations for medical disaster response are highlighted."—Overview.

  • Slashdot, Mimicking Photosynthesis To Split Water (August 17, 2008)

    "An international team of researchers led by Monash University has used chemicals found in plants to replicate a key process in photosynthesis, paving the way to a new approach that uses sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The breakthrough could revolutionize the renewable energy industry by making hydrogen—touted as the clean, green fuel of the future—cheaper and easier to produce on a commercial scale."—Press release.

  • Slashdot, World's Largest Solar Plants Planned In California (August 17, 2008)

    "Two photovoltaic solar power plants will be built in San Luis Obispo County in California, covering 12.5 square miles, that together will generate about 800 megawatts of power, the latest indication that solar energy is starting to achieve significant scale. 'If you're going to make a difference, you've got to do it big,' said Randy Goldstein, the chief executive of OptiSolar. OptiSolar will employ enough of its amorphous silicon thin-film solar panels at its Topaz Solar Farm project to generate 550 MW. Meanwhile, SunPower will install mechanical tracking for its more expensive 250 MW-worth of crystalline silicon photovoltaics at High Plains Ranch II in a bid to boost their efficiency by 30 percent from following the sun across the sky. The power will be sold to Pacific Gas & Electric, which is under a state mandate to get 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2010. The utility said that it expected the new plants to be competitive with other renewable energy sources, including wind turbines and solar thermal plants. 'These landmark agreements signal the arrival of utility-scale PV solar power that may be cost-competitive with solar thermal and wind energy,' said Jack Keenan, chief operating officer and senior vice president for PG&E." Includes links to New York Times and Scientific American articles.

  • Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), World Water Week (August 17-23, 2008)

    "The World Water Week in Stockholm is the leading annual global meeting place for capacity-building, partnership-building and follow-up on the implementation of international processes and programmes in water and development. The theme of the week is Progress and Prospects on Water: For a Clean and Healthy World with Special
    Focus on Sanitation."

  • Suburban Emergency Management Project (SEMP), DHS Rolls Out "Voluntary National Emergency Preparedness Accreditation Program" for Private Sector Entities (Biot no. 530) (July 30, 2008)

    "On July 30, 2008, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) signed an agreement with the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to establish and oversee the development and implementation of the accreditation and certification requirements for a new federal government program, currently titled the
    'Voluntary Private Sector Preparedness Accreditation and Certification Program.' The 9/11 Commission of 2007 recommended this program and the US Congress passed Public Law 110-53 (August 3, 2007) to implement this recommendation, among many others."

  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), Accra Climate Change Talks 2008

    "The next round of United Nations climate change negotiations will take place in Accra, Ghana, from 21-27 August. The Accra Climate Change Talks will take forward work on a strengthened and effective international climate change deal under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, as well as work on emission reduction rules and tools under the Kyoto Protocol. This is part of a negotiating process that will be concluded in Copenhagen at the end of 2009. Over a thousand participants are expected to attend the Accra meeting, which is the third major UNFCCC gathering this year."

  • United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), World Bank & the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery, Climate Resilient Cities: A Primer on
    Reducing Vulnerabilities to Climate Change Impacts and Strengthening Disaster Risk Management in East Asian Cities
    (June 2008)

    "The Primer addresses and answers the question “Why will cities be interested?”
    • They will understand the issues and importance of climate change in urban governance, especially in East Asia.
    • They will engage in identifying their vulnerabilities to potential climate change impacts.
    • They will learn about the 'why' and the 'how' of reducing vulnerabilities to climate changes and natural disasters through illustrative examples from other cities in East Asia and other parts of the world.
    • They will understand the requirements and process for moving from theory to practice in adapting sound practices to their particular contexts."

  • United States Department of Energy (DOE), Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for a Geologic Repository for the Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada (DOE/EIS-0250F-S1) (Final Repository SEIS) (June 2008)

    "DOE’s Proposed Action is to construct, operate, monitor, and eventually close a geologic repository at Yucca Mountain for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Under the Proposed Action, spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste in storage or projected to be generated at 72 commercial and 4 DOE sites would be shipped to the repository by rail (train), although some shipments would arrive at the repository by truck. The Repository SEIS evaluates (1) the potential environmental impacts from the construction, operations, monitoring, and eventual closure of the repository; (2) potential long-term impacts from the disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste; (3) potential impacts of transporting these materials nationally and in the State of Nevada; and (4) potential impacts of not proceeding with the Proposed Action (the No-Action Alternative)."—Abstract.


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