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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

French surgeons operate under zero gravity

French physicians have announced that they plan to conduct an experiment to perfect surgical techniques in zero-gravity; however, neither patient or physician will have to risk the trip into orbit. Rather, they will simply have to stomach 20-30 gut wrenching, over the top roller coaster maneuvers strapped to the inside of a giant A300 Airbus dubbed “Zero-G”, which is owned and operated by the European Space Agency.

French surgeon Dominique Martin plans to remove surgically a cyst from the arm of patient Phillipe Sanchot during a three-hour operation. The routine operation will involve short periods of weightlessness as the Airbus arcs over the peak of a steep climb and free falls simulating a few moments of weightlessness. The sensation is what we feel when an automobile suddenly seems to leave the ground as it clears a small rise in the road.

For year’s NASA has used such a flight technique to condition its astronauts for functioning in zero gravity conditions prior to sending them into orbit. During these flight training sessions, astronauts typically float freely about the inside of the padded fuselage, learning to twist and turn their bodies under conditions approximating weightlessness.

For the surgeon and patient such free floating acrobatics will not work however. Strapped to the inside of the plane’s wall Dr. Martin will have to control his surgical tools and work to steady one instrument after another as the surgery progresses through a series of stops and starts. Sanchot, an extreme sports enthusiast was chosen for the experiment because he is an avid bungee jumper and is use to the sensation of freefall.

The team of surgeons will also learn how to control stray bits of material such as blood, serum or tissue typically released during surgery. Under normal circumstances, this loose material would be held by gravity inside the area of the surgical site until removed by a physician or physician’s attendant.

Space physicians and scientists hope that by conducting such experiments in zero-gravity surgery, they can to add to their body of knowledge regarding future possible surgery preformed by astronauts and or surgical robots during missions to the International Space Station.

For further reading on experiments with remote surgical techniques, called tele-surgery read our interview with NASA astronauts aboard the underwater sea lab NEEMO earlier this year.

Harlan Weikle
Greener Magazine

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1:38 PM

Monday, September 25, 2006

Dinosaurs' climate shifted too

Ancient rocks from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean suggest dramatic climate changes during the dinosaur-dominated Mesozoic Era, a time once thought to have been monotonously hot and humid.

In this month's Geology, scientists from Indiana University Bloomington and the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research present new evidence that ocean surface temperatures varied as much as 6 degrees Celsius (about 11 degrees Fahrenheit) during the Aptian Epoch of the Cretaceous Period 120 million years ago.

The finding is relevant to the ongoing IU climate change discussion, IUB geologist Simon Brassell says, because it portrays an ancient Earth whose temperatures shifted erratically due to changes in carbon cycling and did so without human input.

"Combined with data from the Atlantic, it appears clear that climate changes were taking place on a global scale during this time period," said Brassell, who led the study.

A previous study from an Atlantic Ocean site had suggested a changeable climate around the same time period. But it was not known whether the Atlantic data indicated regional climate change unique to the area or something grander.

"We had virtually no data from the middle of the largest ocean at that time period," Brassell said. "The data we collected suggest significant global fluctuations in temperature."

As part of the National Science Foundation's Ocean Drilling Project, the geoscientists voyaged in 2001 to Shatsky Rise, a study site 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) east of Japan and 3,100 meters below the ocean surface. Shatsky Rise is known to have formed at the end of the Jurassic Period immediately prior to the beginning of the Cretaceous, the last period of the Mesozoic Era.

The scientists' vessel, the JOIDES Resolution, is specially outfitted with a drill that can be lowered to the sea floor for the collection of rock samples.

The drill bit was driven 566 meters into Shatsky Rise. Rocks freed by the drill were transported directly to the surface for analysis. The rocks corresponding to early Aptian time were extremely rich in organic material. By analyzing the carbon and nitrogen content of the samples, the geochemists found evidence for changes in carbon cycling and in nitrogen fixation by ocean biological communities associated with changing climate. A special analysis method targeting certain complex carbon-containing molecules provided values for a measurement called TEX86 that revealed mean temperature variations between 30 deg C (86 deg F) and 36 deg C (97 deg F) with two prominent cooling episodes of approximately 4 deg C (7 deg F) in tropical surface temperatures during the early Aptian. By comparison, today's tropical sea surface temperatures typically lie between 29 and 30 deg C.

Brassell says that findings of a changeable climate during the Cretaceous, a time period dominated by dinosaurs and noted for the spread of flowering plants, could influence the current climate change debate.

"One of the key challenges for us is trying to predict climate change," Brassell said. "If there are big, inherent fluctuations in the system, as paleoclimate studies are showing, it could make determining Earth's climatic future even harder than it is. We're learning our climate, throughout time, has been a wild beast."

IU Bloomington Geological Sciences graduate student Mirela Dumitrescu and Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research scientists Stefan Schouten, Ellen Hopmans and Jaap Sinninghe Damsté also contributed to the report. It was funded with grants from the Geological Society of America and the IU Bloomington Department of Geological Sciences, with ongoing research support from the National Science Foundation, the United States Science Advisory Committee, and the American Chemical Society. A related paper by Mirela Dumitrescu and Simon Brassell recently won the 2006 Best Paper Award from the Organic Geochemistry Division of the Geochemical Society.

More information about the Ocean Drilling Program can be found at http://www.oceandrilling.org/.

Greener Magazine

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3:18 PM

Monday, September 18, 2006

Darfur, atrocity in slow motion

UNITED NATIONS - President Bush will address world leaders at the United Nations on Tuesday amid controversy over the presence in New York of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad . Although the administration vows that there will be no official recognition of Ahmadinejad's visit that is not the only concern for this UN address.

The two year conflict in the Sudan, which threatens genocide by the government in Khartoum has prompted politicians and citizen groups to call on President Bush to demand an international effort directed at imposing economic sanctions combined with a UN peace keeping initiative to intercede on behalf of the Sudanese refugees.

Excerpt from the NY Times 10/5:: by Jeffrey Gettleman

The number of people killed in Sudan’s Darfur conflict has reached into the hundreds of thousands — not tens of thousands as has often been reported,

according to an article appearing Friday in the journal Science. By using scientific sampling techniques and data from camps for displaced persons, two researchers based in the United States estimated that as many as 255,000 people have died, though they believe the actual number may be much higher. “We could easily be talking about 400,000 deaths,” said John Hagan, a sociologist at Northwestern University and an author of the article, along with Alberto Palloni, a demographer at the University of Wisconsin. “And when you’re talking about genocide, it’s essential to properly identify the scale of death,” Dr. Hagan said in a telephone interview. The Sudanese government has not released comprehensive casualty figures, but health organizations working in Darfur have surveyed survivors at random about family members who were killed. In their article, “Death in Darfur,” Dr. Hagan and Dr. Palloni used seven of these surveys to build projections of the death toll, which ranged from 10,000 deaths per month in 2004 to around 5,000 per month more recently. These estimates include natural deaths, though Dr. Hagan said that number was only 10 percent to 15 percent of the total. He said part of his research was based on a rough ratio of one death per every 14 people living in a camp. “It’s an extremely challenging research environment,” he said. “But ultimately, you’ve got to come up with numbers.” Dr. Hagan attributed underreporting to the obvious difficulties of physically counting victims in a conflict as inaccessible as Darfur’s, as well as a general tendency by the news media to use conservative estimates about unverifiable casualty claims.

For more information on the effort to rescue the situation in Sudanese Darfur from further escalation please visit http://www.savedarfur.org/pages/weekly_action_network

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11:53 PM

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Border Stories: On the Frontlines of the Immigration Debate

Immigration reform is the hot button issue in the U.S. Talk to your
colleagues, friends or family, about it, and you¹re certain to spark a
debate about what should be done with the 12 million undocumented people
working and living in this country.
In fact, the U.S. Congress remains deadlocked over the issue, each side
unable to hammer out a compromise that makes sense. So why is there so much

On this edition, people who¹ve risked their lives to enter the U.S. undocumented share their personal stories of why they came, and what they hope for their futures and the future of immigrants in this country.

Greener Magazine


Alicia and Yvette, sisters and Mexican Immigrants from Oaxaca; Waffle and
Geoffrey Boyce, volunteers, No More Deaths; Debbie Weingarten, volunteer
coordinator, No More Deaths; Delmy, Mexican Immigrant from Yucatan; Gustavo
Soto, U.S. Border Patrol¹s Tucson Sector; Francisco Geronimo, Mexican
Immigrant from Puebla; Michelle, Brazilian immigrant; Assie Sampa, Cuban
immigrant; Blanca Lopez, Nicaraguan immigrant; Elka Goodin, Jamaican
immigrant; Ramon Martinez, Cuban refugee now U.S. citizen; Marleine Bastien,
founder/executive director, FANM Ayisyen Nan Miyami Inc. (Haitian Women of
Miami); Katiana Des Arnes, student.

Senior Producer/Host: Tena Rubio. Making Contact Intern Producer: Stefana
Petrova. Contributing Producers: Nancy Hand, Esther Manilla.

For more information:

National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights (NNIRR)
310 8th St., Ste. 303
Oakland, CA 94607
510-465-1984; Fax 510-465-1885

Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA)
2533 W. 3rd Street, Suite 101
Los Angeles, CA 90057

ACLU Immigrants¹ Rights Project
125 Broad Street, 18th Floor
New York, NY 10004

Institute for Policy Studies1112 16th Street NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20036
202-234-9382; Fax: 202-387-7915

No More Deaths 3809 E. 3rd Street
Tucson AZ, 85716

FANM Ayisyen Nan Miyami Inc./ Haitian Women of Miami
8325 NE 2nd Avenue, Suite 100
Miami, FL 33138

Human Rights Watch
350 Fifth Avenue, 34th Floor
New York, NY 10118-3299

National Immigrant Solidarity Network

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7:34 AM

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Attica Rebellion, 35 years out

September 9-13th, 2006 marks the 35th anniversary of the Attica Rebellion, a massive prison rebellion, massacre and cover-up in New York. The story of Attica is one of the most brutal and heroic chapters in United States history. After a five-day occupation, 45 people were killed, 150 were shot and hundreds were tortured. As one slogan from 1971 read, "Attica is all of us."

Currently, with more than 2 million people imprisoned in the U.S., the story of Attica needs to be told, and the origins of the current anti-prison movement discussed. On this edition, we present a documentary produced by the Freedom Archives.


Frank 'Big Black' Smith, Attica Brother and prison activist; L.D. Barkley, Attica Brother killed during the re-taking of the prison; Elizabeth Fink, attorney for the Attica Brothers; Michael Deutsch, attorney for the Attica Brothers; Historical recordings in Attica prison of guards and prisoners during the rebellion and the bloody retaking of the prison.

by NRP and
Greener Magazine

For more information:

The producers of the documentary:The Freedom Archives522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110415- 863-9977

Remembering Big Blackby Bo Brown on The Real Costs of Prisons Weblog
On July 31, 2004, Frank 'Big Black' Smith died.

Other helpful links:

All of Us or None
American Indian Prisoner Support
Barrios Unidos
Books Not Bars
California Coalition for Women Prisoners
Critical Resistance
Death Penalty Focus
Equal Justice USA
Ex-offenders Action Network
Family and Friends of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children
Jericho Movement for Political Prisoners
Innocence Project
Prison Activist Resource Center
Restorative Justice.org
Safe Streets/Strong Communities
Western Prison Project

Download 128k mp3 (broadcast quality)

Download 64k mp3 (faster download)

Download :59 promo (mp3)

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8:21 AM

Monday, September 04, 2006

Carnival of the Green

Carnival of the Green is on the street this week at La Green Living...read all the best environmental reports on the web in one place.

An excellent source for your daily greens!

by Greener Mag

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8:43 AM

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Clinton, "The poverty trap"

The Clinton Global Initiative to end poverty

Beginning tonight at 8 PM eastern and continuing Sunday, CNN airs a special edition of "CNN Presents" titled "The Poverty Trap: A Conversation With President Clinton." The Turner press release is headlined "CNN and President Clinton Search for Solutions To Global Poverty."

To get a glimpse of the episode you can watch the short introduction here.

From Detroit, Michigan to Mexico and rural Arkansas to Rwanda, CNN explores poverty in communities around the world in places where the statistics are staggering and on the rise. In THE POVERTY TRAP: A CONVERSATION WITH PRESIDENT CLINTON, Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks to former President Bill Clinton about how these communities and others can break out of the poverty trap.

The World Bank says that more than one billion people around the world live on less than US$1.00 a day. Trillions have been spent on eradicating poverty over the past 50 years, but the evidence suggests that little progress has been made. President Clinton says that by tailoring projects to local needs and working to keep governments honest, it is more likely that monetary donations aimed at poverty will be used properly.

"Poverty does not discriminate against one’s nationality, religion, culture or skin colour. As a global network with access to the world’s leaders, this is the type of programme that CNN was created to offer audiences," said Rena Golden, Senior Vice President CNN International.

Dr. Gupta takes us to the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan, considered to be the poorest major city in the U.S. and introduces us to an inner-city program that is rebuilding rundown neighborhoods - one house at a time with the help of local teens.

CNN’s Jonathan Mann accompanies President Clinton to Rwanda this past July and finds out how hard it is for the villagers to live off the land when the skies won’t comply.

CNN’s Rusty Dornin travels to rural Arkansas, to observe Heifer International, an organization committed to helping small farmers who are being forced out by larger farming operations get back on their feet, and trains them to economically create a thriving cattle farm.

Greener Newsroom

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8:06 AM

Friday, September 01, 2006

Mammoth, $200 Million Wind Farm Proposed in Iowa

HAMPTON, Iowa — Northern Iowa could have one of the nation's largest wind farms by 2008. Iowa Winds LLC wants to build a 200- to 300-megawatt farm covering about 40,000 acres in Franklin County.

A county zoning board will consider approving permits for the $200 million project next month.

"It's something new and renewable," said Amber Schwarck, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Falls-based company. "It's great for national security, so we can start depending on ourselves and the wind."

Iowa ranks third in the nation in wind energy behind Texas and California, according to the American Wind Energy Association. The Franklin County Wind Farm would help Iowa keep pace with those states and create 30 to 40 technical jobs maintaining turbines, said Schwarck. A pay scale was unavailable.

Company officials said the farm could be the nation's largest -- depending on the permits and the county's power grid infrastructure. The project would be built near Bradford and involve 193 landowners in the townships of Grant, Hamilton, Ingham, Lee, Morgan, Oakland and Reeves.

If the county approves the project, construction would start next spring and take about a year, said Franklin County Supervisor Michael Nolte.

"It's not very often you have someone who wants to make a $200 million investment in the county," he said. "That's a huge investment. It's just a win-win for the county."

Schwarck said Iowa Winds has conducted meteorological studies in southern Franklin County since the company was formed in 2002. The project would be its first wind farm.

Iowa has nearly 900 wind turbines capable of producing 836 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 226,000 average homes, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Planned projects -- besides the Franklin County farm -- would add 120 turbines capable of generating an additional 249 megawatts of electricity, the group said.

Texas leads the nation with 2,400 megawatts of wind energy installed and California has 2,323 megawatts.

by Associated Press
Greener Newsroom

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10:39 PM