Water’s fate in China mirrors problems across the world: fouled, pushed far from its natural origins, squandered and exploited.
In this week’s Science magazine, Jianguo “Jack” Liu, director of Michigan State University’s Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, and doctoral student Wu Yang look at lessons learned in China and management strategies that hold solutions for China â and across the world.
In their article “Water Sustainability for China and Beyond,” Liu and Yang outline China’s water crisis and recent leapfrog investment in water conservancy, and suggest addressing complex human-nature interactions for long-term water supply and quality.
China’s crisis is daunting, though not unique: Two-thirds of China’s 669 cities have water shortages, more than 40 percent of its rivers are severely polluted, 80 percent of its lakes suffer from eutrophication â an over abundance of nutrients — and about 300 million rural residents lack access to safe drinking water.
Water can unleash fury. Floods in Beijing on July 21 overwhelmed drainage systems, resulting in scores of deaths. Water shortages also may have contributed to recent massive power outages in India as rural farmers stressed a fragile grid by pumping water for irrigation during drought.
China has dedicated enormous resources â some $635 billion worth — which represents a quadrupling of investment in the next decade, mainly for engineering measures.
There needs to be, Liu and Yang say, a big picture view of water beyond engineering measures.
“There is an inescapable complexity with water,” Liu said. “When you generate energy, you need water; when you produce food, you need water. However, to provide more water, more energy and more land are needed, thus creating more challenges for energy and food production, which in turn use more water and pollute more water.
“In the end, goals are often contradictory to each other. Everybody wants something, but doesn’t take a systems approach that is essential for us to see the whole picture.”
Liu, who holds the Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability, is a pioneer in using a holistic approach to address complex human-environmental challenges. Solutions, he says, come from looking at issues from multiple points of view at the same time. That’s the way to avoid the unintended consequences that plague China’s water, and a way to prevent a water crisis from becoming a water catastrophe.
In their article, they give suggestions to make the grand investment more effective and efficient, strategies that apply not only to China, but resonate on a global level. For example:
At the core, they say, is the understanding of complex human-nature interactions. Such understanding is key to achieve water sustainability in China and the rest of the world.
Eighty-nine million Americans were without health insurance for at least one month during the period from 2004 to 2007, and 23 million lost coverage more than once during that time, according to researchers at Penn State and Harvard University.
“These findings call attention to the continuing instability and insecurity of health insurance in our country,” said Pamela Farley Short, professor of health policy and administration, Penn State. “With more than a third of all Americans under age 65 being uninsured at some point in a four-year period, it’s easy to see that the problem of being uninsured is a big one that affects lots of people.”
To do their analysis, the researchers used data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation, which collects information from the same individuals every four months over a four-year period. The team examined changes in insurance coverage among people ages 4 to 64 from 2004 to 2007, which is the most recent period for which four-year data are available.
The researchers found that, of the 89 million people who were uninsured during the period from 2004 to 2007, 12 million were continually uninsured; 11 million gained coverage at some point; 11.5 lost coverage; 14 million experienced a single gap in coverage; and 6 million had a temporary spell of coverage, but were otherwise uninsured. In addition, 23 million people lost health insurance more than once during the four-year period.
The results of the analysis appeared online in a recent issue of Medical Care Research and Review.
Read more HERE>
Shamelessly stolen from Miss Violet over at Traditions and Skills of Every Day Life
President Barack Obamaâs decision not to deport some arrested illegal immigrants has enabled a crime wave â but no American or immigrant victims have been publicly identified, and GOP politicians have mostly remained mute.
Illegal aliens who have been released from custody between 2008 and mid-2011 have been charged with 16,226 subsequent crimes, including 19 murders, 142 sex crimes and thousands of drunk-driving offenses, drug-crimes and felonies, according to a new report from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.
âRather than protect the American people he was elected to serve, President Obama has imposed a policy that allows thousands of illegal immigrants to be released into our communities,â said a statement from Rep. Lamar Smith, the chairman of the House judiciary committee.
The criminals âwere in the governmentâs custody, were identified as illegal immigrants and then let go because this administration has refused to request the resources to hold them and deport them,â said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies.
(Ynet) âÂ Saudi Arabia has informed Israel that it would intercept any Air Force aircraft crossing its airspace en route to Iran, Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Thursday.
The explicit message was transmitted via the United States, during talks with Obama administration officials in Jerusalem.
Senior Israeli officials have claimed that the Americans are leveraging the Saudi threat in an attempt to dissuade Israel from launching a unilateral offensive on Iranâs nuclear facilities. Some sources estimate that Saudi Arabia, which is equipped with American-made fighter jets, would have allowed Israel to cross its airspace if the latter would have coordinated its military operation with the White House.
Meanwhile, The New York Times has claimed that Israel will prefer to use a direct route that passes over Jordan and Iraq. Foreign commentators have estimated that the Jordanians will turn a blind eye, yet others have said that Amman might consider the act a breach of its peace accord with Israel. Two other possible routes are over Turkey and Syria, or a longer route along the Red Sea.
Last week, Yedioth Ahronoth reported that the US would only be prepared to carry out a strike against Iran in 18 month, when a âcritical thresholdâ was crossed, and was resolutely against an Israeli strike.
âThe happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts,â said Marcus Aurelius. If heâs right, the path to well-being is straightforward: Avoid low-quality thoughts!
Sadly, itâs far from clear that heâs right. Decades of research into the relationship between reasoning ability and well-being have failed to find a clear link. But now comes a ray of hope for high-quality thinkersâa study suggesting that Marcus Aurelius is right so long as you define âquality of thoughtâ carefully. And the study comes with a good pedigreeâit will be published in the prestigious Journal of Experimental Psychology and features the eminent psychologist Richard Nisbett among its co-authors.
Wisdom.JPG Whatâs correlated with well-being, say Nisbett, Igor Grossman, and three other authors, isnât reasoning ability in the abstract but rather âwise reasoningââreasoning that is âpragmatic,â helping us ânavigate important challenges in social life.â
So, for starters, how did the researchers measure wise reasoning? Subjects in this study read a series of accounts of social conflicts and Dear-Abby-like dilemmas and then, in oral interviews, were invited to discuss how the stories might unfold in the future. Their responses were rated along such dimensions as âconsidering the perspectives of people involved in the conflict,â ârecognizing uncertainty and the limits of knowledge,â and ârecognizing the importance of âŠ compromise between opposing viewpoints.â These ratings were the basis for a âwise reasoningâ score.
The high-stakes political battle between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has taken a new turn, and itâs as ugly as Jerry Sanduskyâs future.
The Urban Dictionary, an fast-evolving online lexicon that promotes itself as âthe dictionaryÂ you wrote,â has addedÂ a new definition of Reid that seems calculated to respond to the Nevada senatorâs recent claims about RomneyâsÂ allegedÂ federal income tax evasion.
âHarry Reid,â the dictionary now says, is defined as â[a]n unofficial rap sheet of alleged pederasty and sexual abuse of minors by anonymous sources that may not exist.â
The definition emerged, the dictionary notes, âafter an explosion of reports surfaced online and on the airwaves, that [Reid] is a serial pederast. The outlets reporting the allegations all protected the anonymity of their sources, and no one knows if the allegations are true, but theyâre out there. A spokesperson for Reid declined to deny them.â
Itâs unknown who submitted the definition. The Urban Dictionary employs a panel of moderators who approve of reject new definitions, many of which hinge on pop-culture references.
Reid attracted criticism from conservatives after he told The Huffington PostÂ on July 31 that an unnamed Bain Capital investor told him Romney âdidnât pay any taxes for 10 years.â
And speaking August 2 on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Reid doubled down. âThe word is out that [Romney] has not paid any taxes for 10 years,â Reid declared. âLet him prove he has paid taxes, because he has not.â
Republicansâ complaints have largely centered on the anonymity of Reidâs source, which makes his allegation impossible to prove. The same phenomenon apparently applies to The Urban Dictionaryâs anonymous, unsubstantiated claim â which is obviously false â that Reid himself is a âpederast,â or a man who has sexual relations with young boys.
PUEBLO, Colo. â President Obama, while villifying Mitt Romney for opposing theÂ auto industry bailout, bragged about the success of his decision to provide government assistance and said he now wants to see every manufacturing industry come roaring back.
âI said, I believe in American workers, I believe in this this American industry, and now the American auto industry has come roaring back,â he said. âNow I want to do the same thing with manufacturing jobs, not just in the auto industry, but in every industry.
âI donât want those jobs taking root in places like China, I want those jobs taking root in places like Pueblo,â Obama told a crowd gathered for a campaign rally at the Palace of Agriculture at the Colorado State Fairgrounds here.
(OneNewsNow) âÂ An expert on Islam is concerned that some California politicians and city officials are ignoring the facts about sharia law.
A town hall meeting at the Islamic Society of Orange County earlier this year declared there is no conflict between sharia law, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Several lawmakers and officials in The Golden State â including Democratic U.S. Congresswomen Maxine Waters and Loretta Sanchez; Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Michael Downing; and Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca â urged support for sharia law. In several recently released videos from the event, officials said that sharia is not a threat to the United States.
Joe Carey, founder ofÂ Radical Truth, says that the statements made by the officials showed a lack of understanding the true nature of Sharia law.
âMichael Downing made this particular statement â he said, âThe influence of natural laws described by Cicero are the foundational building blocks of Jewish law, Christian law, and sharia law or Islamic law,ââ Carey tells OneNewsNow. âThat is just outlandish. Sharia law does not recognize natural law and does not recognize human rights. These statements by our officials are just reprehensible, and they ought to be held to account for them.â
Carey contends it is clear that officials have no knowledge of sharia or Islam, and he is concerned that national security officials hold a âblissfulâ approach towards sharia law.
One of the arguments deployed by proponents of taxing Internet sales is that such taxes would not be ânew.âÂ No one is paying the tax right now, so the observable real-world effect upon consumers would be a new tax bill, after state governments were given the authority to make online retailers collect and remit state and local sales taxes.Â The value of these new taxes has been estimated at roughly $125 per year for the average consumer.Â All together, itâs about $23 billion in new tax revenue, which is why state governments â including a growing number of Republicans â are so eager to collect it.
But the argument goes that these wouldnât really be ânewâ taxes, because Internet sales were not explicitly meant to be uniquely exempt from taxation.Â Things have worked out that way, because state governments cannot establish a Constitutionally-required ânexusâ for taxing online merchants.Â If an online retailer has no physical presence in a given state, the state cannot tax its sales, because the company derives no direct benefit from the state, and casts no votes in its elections.
Subverting this requirement would be a very literal exercise of âtaxation without representation.âÂ However, we are told that the taxes themselves wouldnât be ânew.âÂ It would be a matter of collecting existing taxes that are currently â and in the opinion of many brick-and-mortar retailers unfairly â avoided.
Deconstructing this argument reveals the troubling issue at the heart of Internet taxationâŠ because those who make the argument are completely wrong-headed about who is avoiding these taxes.Â Itâs not the Internet retailers, itâs theÂ consumers.
Every state has different tax laws, but many of them actuallyÂ do require consumers to total up the amount of tax-free interstate purchases they make, calculate state sales tax, and remit those taxes to the local authorities.Â This applies not only to Internet sales, but even to people who drive across the state border to shop in low-tax adjacent states.Â Of course, very few people actually do this.
Thus, if Internet tax enthusiasts really want to talk about collecting existing taxes, what theyshould be advocating is the enforcement of existing laws: force individual consumers to calculate state and local taxes on all of their remote purchases, and send a check to the appropriate government agencies every year, or every quarter.Â This would, of course, be extremely unpopular.Â I think the phrase âhowls of protestâ would not be hyperbolic to describe the reaction.
It would also impose immense enforcement costs upon the government, which would have to develop a method for tracking online purchases and auditing individual consumers.Â This would require quite a few new IRS agents, plus state and local personnel.Â Big Government types might relish this prospect, but in this era of wild deficit spending, fiscal collapse, and tight budgets, the American people probably wouldnât be eager to pay for it â especially since it would be a massive new government expense designed to make their lives more difficult.Â A lot of the money harvested from increased tax collection would be consumed by enforcement costs.
Rhett Miller was among the various musicians who came together to honor the late Johnny Cash April 20th in Austin, Texas, and with good reason: Miller named his band, the Old 97?s, after Cashâs version of the country classic âWreck of the Old 97.â In this video, filmed at the performance, Miller tears through the song with the house band.
HERE. Go and view/listen to the awesome video!
If thereâs one thing the unions excel at other than cracking skulls itâs astroturfing.
The Service Employees International Union staged âflash mobâ protests in the Washington, D.C., area on Thursday attacking Mitt Romneyâs business career and the companies in which Bain Capital, his former employer, have invested.
Billed under the Twitter hashtag #RomneyEconomy, the protests focused on the minimum wage and allegations of outsourcing, and vaguely accused Romney and a number of Bain investments of âdestroying the American Dream,â in the words of a flyer handed out by protesters (see above).
Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki acknowledged Thursday that the campaign was no longer pleading ignorance about the story of a man who has appeared in both a super PAC ad and a campaign ad.
“No one is denying he was in one of our campaign ads. He was on a conference call telling his story,” Psaki told reporters on Air Force One.
Missouri steelworker Joe Soptic starred in an Obama campaign adÂ and participated in a conference call with the campaign in May, as POLITICO reported Wednesday. He resurfaced this week in a Priorities USA Action super PAC ad, charging that his wife died of cancer after Mitt Romney’s former private equity firm laid him off.
Distancing themselves from the controversial ad, Obama campaign staffers initially denied knowledge of Soptic’s story â despite the fact that he was in an Obama campaign ad.
Adviser Robert Gibbs said he didnât know “specifics,” while deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said on CNN: âI donât know the facts about when Mr. Sopticâs wife got sick or the facts about his health insurance.”
And yesterday on Air Force One, Psaki said, “we donât have any knowledge of the story of the family.”
UPDATE: Amanda Henneberg, a spokesperson for the Romney campaign, said this in a statement: “President Obamaâs campaign has been caught lying about its knowledge concerning a vicious smear run by his Super PAC.Â And now, they have doubled down with another dishonorable and dishonest attack. In 2008, candidate Obama said âyou make a big election about small thingsâ when you donât have a record to run on.Â Since President Obama canât run on record unemployment, falling incomes, and massive debt, he has decided to run a dirty campaign that is an affront to everything he claims to stand for.”
The video speaks for itself. Obama supporters can’t answer one basic question: If you don’t believe government should be in the bedroom, why should the government pay for what goes on in the bedroom?
If you don’t want Uncle Sam in your bedroom, don’t ask him to pay for what happens there.
âThe purpose of this policy is to ensure that everyone in the Navy understands how I feel about diversity. I believe that diversity is the responsibility of every leader, both military and civilian. Each leader must set and live the example, as well as create an environment in our Navy where every individualâs contribution is valued and respected,â he said. âMost importantly, the Navy must reflect the face of the nation. When the nation looks at its Navy, it should see itself reflected back.â
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead, CNO Issues Navyâs Diversity Policy, by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Rebekah Blowers, Chief of Naval Operations Public Affairs
President Barack Obama brought the long political struggle over the militaryâs controversial âdonât ask, donât tellâ policy to a close Wednesday, signing legislation that will bring an end of the ban on openly gay men and women serving in the armed forces.
Obama signs repeal of âdonât ask, donât tellâ policy, CNN, December 22nd, 2010
âChaplain, if you canât get in line with this policy, resign your commission.â
Adm. Mike Mullen
Read it all and view the video Here.
To wake you up on a Thursday night: