Global warming’s impact on oceans will be severe, not only for marine life but also for all life on land.
By Tina Gerhardt
October 6, 2011
Global warming has often been discussed with regard to its effects for life on land: increased temperatures and heat waves, increased weather extremes, less but more intense rainfall, drought and forest fires.
Water, however, remains less considered. Even discussions of floods or rising sea levels, which focus on water, study mainly their consequences for land inhabitants.
Yet oceans, it is well known, cover three quarters of the earth’s surface. And oceans have absorbed about a quarter of all carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, one of four main greenhouse gases causing global warming. This absorption of CO2 is integrally related to the three major factors impacting the oceans: global warming, ocean acidification and decreasing amounts of oxygen. As a result, the current situation of the oceans is dire. And its impact will be severe not only for marine life but also for all life — plant, animal and human — on land.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) exists naturally in the air. But through the use of fossil fuels, in particular coal and oil, the amount of CO2 in the air has increased exponentially since the Industrial Revolution began.
As the oceans absorb carbon from the air, their chemistry changes. This process is known as ocean acidification, and it has brutal consequences for marine and land life.
Oceanographers estimate that before the use of fossil fuels, the ocean’s PH balance, which measures its acidity, had been relatively stable for the past 20 million years. During the last great extinction of marine life, which occurred 55 million years ago, 50 percent of some groups of deep sea animals were wiped out.
But the current levels of carbon being absorbed by the oceans is far higher than the levels being absorbed then.
By Peter G. Miller
October 3, 2011
Three years ago the most-powerful instutitions in America were the nation’s largest banks and brokerages, Wall Street for short. While millions of people were losing their homes, their jobs and their savings, the nation’s elite extracted a $700 billion line-of-credit from Uncle Sam.
Now Wall Street is our financial Vietnam. It’s broken. The old cures and postponements won’t work. Everyone knows it.
“High risk mortgage lending and shortcomings in consumer protections for mortgage borrowers were among the most important underlying causes of the housing bubble and the financial crisis that resulted,” according to Sheila Bair, past chairman of the FDIC. “Not only did the proliferation of high-risk subprime and nontraditional mortgage products help to push home prices up during the boom, but excessive reliance on foreclosure as a remedy to default have helped to push home prices down since the peak of the market over four years ago.”
No longer are huge financial corporations seen as too big to blame — nor as too big to fail. In fact, some have even embraced the idea of a voluntary bankruptcy.
By WILLIAM GRIMES
October 5, 2011
Bert Jansch, a guitarist whose blend of classical, jazz, blues and traditional British folk music inspired a long list of folk and rock guitarists in the 1960s and ’70s, including Donovan, Jimmy Page, Neil Young and Paul Simon, died on Wednesday in London. He was 67.
The cause was lung cancer, said John Barrow, Mr. Jansch’s booking agent.
Mr. Jansch caused an immediate sensation with his first album, “Bert Jansch,” released in 1965. He was a mostly self-taught musician. And his idiosyncratic style, with its intricate finger work and bent notes, as well as his bold reinterpretations of traditional material, exerted a powerful influence on a generation of young guitarists. A founder of the progressive British folk group Pentangle, he remains an almost talismanic figure for today’s young artists like Beth Orton and Devendra Banhart.
“With the release of his first album in 1965 he completely reinvented guitar playing and set a standard that is still unequaled today,” Johnny Marr, the former guitarist for the Smiths, wrote in a foreword to the paperback reissue of the 2000 book “Dazzling Stranger: Bert Jansch and the British Folk and Blues Revival,” by Colin Harper. “Without Bert Jansch, rock music as it developed in the ’60s and ’70s would have been very different.”
From The New York Times: www.nytimes.com/2011/10/07/opinion/krugman-confronting-the-malefactors.html
By PAUL KRUGMAN
October 6, 2011
There’s something happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear, but we may, at long last, be seeing the rise of a popular movement that, unlike the Tea Party, is angry at the right people.
When the Occupy Wall Street protests began three weeks ago, most news organizations were derisive if they deigned to mention the events at all. For example, nine days into the protests, National Public Radio had provided no coverage whatsoever.
It is, therefore, a testament to the passion of those involved that the protests not only continued but grew, eventually becoming too big to ignore. With unions and a growing number of Democrats now expressing at least qualified support for the protesters, Occupy Wall Street is starting to look like an important event that might even eventually be seen as a turning point.
What can we say about the protests? First things first: The protesters’ indictment of Wall Street as a destructive force, economically and politically, is completely right.
A weary cynicism, a belief that justice will never get served, has taken over much of our political debate — and, yes, I myself have sometimes succumbed. In the process, it has been easy to forget just how outrageous the story of our economic woes really is. So, in case you’ve forgotten, it was a play in three acts.
In the first act, bankers took advantage of deregulation to run wild (and pay themselves princely sums), inflating huge bubbles through reckless lending. In the second act, the bubbles burst — but bankers were bailed out by taxpayers, with remarkably few strings attached, even as ordinary workers continued to suffer the consequences of the bankers’ sins. And, in the third act, bankers showed their gratitude by turning on the people who had saved them, throwing their support — and the wealth they still possessed thanks to the bailouts — behind politicians who promised to keep their taxes low and dismantle the mild regulations erected in the aftermath of the crisis.
Given this history, how can you not applaud the protesters for finally taking a stand?
Continue reading at: www.nytimes.com/2011/10/07/opinion/krugman-confronting-the-malefactors.html