Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Native American Woman May Have Made It to Europe 500 Years Before Columbus Was Born

 Five hundred years before Columbus sailed the ocean blue, a Native American woman may have voyaged to Europe with Vikings, according to a provocative new DNA study.

The first Native American to arrive in Europe may have been a woman brought to Iceland by the Vikings more than 1,000 years ago, a study by Spanish and Icelandic researchers suggests.

The findings boost widely-accepted theories, based on Icelandic medieval texts and a reputed Viking settlement in Newfoundland in Canada, that the Vikings reached the American continent several centuries before Christopher Columbus traveled to the “New World.”.

Spain’s CSIC scientific research institute said genetic analysis of around 80 people from a total of four families in Iceland showed they possess a type of DNA normally only found in Native Americans or East Asians. .

“It was thought at first that (the DNA) came from recently established Asian families in Iceland,” CSIC researcher Carles Lalueza-Fox was quoted as saying in a statement by the institute. “But when family genealogy was studied, it was discovered that the four families were descended from ancestors who lived between 1710 and 1740 from the same region of southern Iceland.” .

The lineage found, named C1e, is also mitochondrial, which means that the genes were introduced into Iceland by a woman.

“As the island was virtually isolated from the 10th century, the most likely hypothesis is that these genes corresponded to an Amerindian woman who was brought from America by the Vikings around the year 1000,” said Lalueza-Fox. .

The researchers used data from the Rejkjavik-based genomics company deCODE Genetics. .

He said the research team hopes to find more instances of the same Native American DNA in Iceland’s population, starting in the same region in the south of the country near the massive Vatnajokull glacier. .

The report, by scientists from the CSIC and the University of Iceland, was also published in the latest edition of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. .

The journal said 75 to 80 percent of contemporary Icelanders can trace their lineage to Scandinavia and the rest to Scotland and Ireland. .

But the C1e lineage is “one of a handful that was involved in the settlement of the Americas around 14,000 years ago. .

“Contrary to an initial assumption that this lineage was a recent arrival (in Iceland), preliminary genealogical analyses revealed that the C1 lineage was present in the Icelandic mitochondrial DNA pool at least 300 years ago” said the journal. “This raised the intriguing possibility that the Icelandic C1 lineage could be traced to Viking voyages to the Americas that commenced in the 10th century.” . (SOURCE)
Enhanced by Zemanta

Native American Woman May Have Made It to Europe 500 Years Before Columbus Was Born

Breaking News... Astroturf 'Ethical Oil' files CRA complaint against Sierra Club Canada Foundation]

Sierra Club Canada

Astroturf 'Ethical Oil' files CRA complaint against Sierra Club Canada Foundation

This time last year I told you about a storm gathering here in Ottawa that threatened to blow Sierra Club and other environmental groups out of existence. At the time I asked you to consider making a donation as it may be the last time you could do so and receive a tax receipt. I would have forgiven you for thinking I was overstating the seriousness of the situation at the time. Unfortunately, much of what I predicted came to pass in 2012.
You know all about Joe Oliver and Peter Kent calling us money-laundering radicals and anti-Canadian puppets of foreign billionaire socialists. You certainly know about the Omnibus Bills that gutted federal environmental protection – a regulatory and legal system that took 40 years to build.
Unfortunately, I nailed it when I wrote:

"In this context discrediting the environmental movement at every turn while attacking its sources of funding and ability to communicate is not only a necessary measure – it's key to their strategy. After all, once our ability to influence public opinion is destroyed they'll have a free-hand to build, dig, drill, dam and burn whatever, wherever and whenever they want."

Tuesday the pressure further escalated when a thick 65 page fax arrived from lawyers (JSS Barristers Jensen Shawa Solomon Duguid Hawkes LLP) representing Ethical Oil. It was a copy of a complaint Ethical Oil filed with the Canadian Revenue Agency the previous week alleging the Sierra Club Canada Foundation was in violation of tax rules.
I'm sure you remember Big Oil's 'Ethical Oil' – the ugly spawn of Ezra Levant. It's the organization that adamantly refuses to disclose where its funds come from, and has mysterious ties to the Prime Minister's office. Could this latest legal attack be raw vengeance for the shellacking they took on CBC's Power and Politics last winter? For the record it was largely Evan who did the ass-kicking. The show became an internet hit – that is, until it was mysteriously scrubbed from You Tube (after 70,000 views). We found a link in the CBC website archive for you here.
I know Ethical Oil was damaged after the show; their credibility really took a hit. I'd guess they privately (and wisely) vowed to never make that mistake again; No more shows with Sierra Club Canada. I know for a fact they refused at least one invitation to re-appear with me on Power and Politics (in spring 2012).
While not very believable, the folks at Ethical Oil aren't fools. They are afraid of Sierra Club Canada for good reason and would love nothing more to than remove us from the picture completely. A hundred years ago big industry sent thugs to smash printing presses. Today, it's lawyers, accountants and the petro-pundits - but the effect is the same.
Are we supposed to be afraid?
I am afraid of a lot of things. I'm afraid my grandson will live in a world of turmoil brought on by climate change or a nuclear disaster. I'm afraid one of my daughters will develop cancer from the toxic bath we're forced to swim in every day. But I'm not afraid of being jack-booted, be it by brown shirts or thugs in expensive suits (or dress suits).
There is nothing like the scepter of a CRA tax audit to put a chill in your Christmas Holiday plans. It's psychological warfare really. A Merry Christmas greeting from Big Oil! Ho Ho Ho.
Normally I wouldn't take notice; we've been audited before – I've seen that movie and have the t-shirt... But back to my prediction - look at Ethical Oil's complaint in the broader picture. Over the past twelve months we've seen the anti-environment Omnibus Bills, then a McCarthyian investigation by a Conservative-dominated senate committee and announcement of new (extra) funding to "investigate" charities. And now we receive this fax.
There is a word to describe when a government and powerful private interests suppress opposition through fear, censorship and other forms of oppression. When I wrote about my fears last year I correctly called what was happening for what it was: an attack on democracy and the environment.
Our society was founded on Freedom of Speech - it's guaranteed in the Charter. But now that freedom is fast becoming no longer "free". How can we "freely" share our words of concern when the bank account is empty and the power has been shut off?
Donations received by Sierra Club Canada and Sierra Club Canada Foundation are used to protect the environment, the air we breathe, the water we drink and the climate we depend on.
This December, I'm asking you to please consider making an anti-bullying donation. You have 2 options:
  1. If you want to support the Sierra Club Canada Foundation and its education and research initiatives (AND receive a charitable tax receipt) then do that! Good solutions always depend on knowledge and sound science.
  2. As always, if you want your gift unfettered by CRA tax rules then donate directly to Sierra Club Canada and support our advocacy work (I promise to make your voice loud and clear).
Let's show Ethical Oil the meaning of ethical.
I wish you and your loved ones a safe, happy and healthy holiday!
John Bennett, Executive Director
Sierra Club Canada
Follow John on Twitter
Read more from the Bennett Blog

P.S. -- Every donation is precious so please donate today.

Sierra Club Canada National Office
412-1 Nicholas St
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
To unsubscribe from these mailings, click here
To opt out of all Sierra Club Canada mailings click here
Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, December 16, 2012

LNG: Calais LNG drops lump of coal in Quoddy's Xmas Stocking!

The post below appeared 2 years ago. DLNG remains in the game this Christmas and concerned citizens need to stay engaged on this issue.

While groups and individuals around the Passamaquoddy Bay area, celebrate the withdrawal of State of Maine apl;lications, CLNG dropped a lump of coal into their Christmas Stockings by requesting the further indulgence of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. See the entire letter at:
Enhanced by Zemanta

BBC: “One of the most contaminated places on Earth” — Silence is deafening 10 miles from Fukushima plant — Nuclear power’s lie has been so tragically exposed

Think Bay of Fundy when you read this.

EARTHQUAKE / 11.3.2011 - 14:45 (PT) / 9 MAGNITUDE
EARTHQUAKE / 11.3.2011 - 14:45 (PT) / 9 MAGNITUDE (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BBC: “One of the most contaminated places on Earth” — Silence is deafening 10 miles from Fukushima plant — Nuclear power’s lie has been so tragically exposed

Title: Why Japan’s ‘Fukushima 50′ remain unknown
Source: BBC News
Author: Rupert Wingfield-Hayes
Date: 13 December 2012
Entering the exclusion zone around the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant is an unnerving experience.
It is, strictly speaking, also illegal. It is an old cliché to say that radiation is invisible. But without a Geiger counter, it would be easy to forget that this is now one of the most contaminated places on Earth.
The small village of Tatsuno lies in a valley 15km (9.3 miles) from the plant. In the sunlight, the trees on the hillsides are a riot of yellow and gold. But then I realise the fields were once neat rice paddies. Now the grass and weeds tower over me.
On the village main street, the silence is deafening – not a person, car, bike or dog. At one house, washing still flaps in the breeze. And all around me, invisible, in the soil, on the trees, the radiation lingers. [...]
Back in the 1960s and 70s, getting rural Japanese communities to accept nuclear power plants was hard.
[...] they were promised that nuclear power was completely safe.
Now that the lie has been so tragically exposed, the feeling of betrayal is huge. [...]

Subscribe at
Enhanced by Zemanta

BUSINESS: Strategy vs Tactics: One of the best comparisons I've seen

Solar Marketing Strategy vs Tactics: Know the Difference and Shake 'Em Up Once a Year | UnThink Solar

Strategy. When I say have a solar marketing “strategy,” I’m talking about having a theoretical path to climb that marketing mountain goal. From the ground, you can see a lot of ways to the top. For example, “We’re going build brand trust and increase referrals through implementing dynamic social media” is one basic path. Or, “we’re going to build trust and referrals through massive public relations, media, and advertising” is another potential path. Most solar companies will (should) have strategies that use both paths.

Of course, the above are general and need to be refined to be more specific to your solar brand. So, if you’re going to take the social media strategy path, what’s the basic message that you’re going to use to build trust? And how are you going to convey that message? With humor? With authority? With a new branding/look that reflects your new message?

Similarly, to hone the above PR/media strategy, you need to decide what you’re going to be saying to the media and within your ads and videos. Which media outlets will you choose? How will you get the publications' attention? Will you make comparisons to solar competitors? Tout a new innovative solar product or service? Perhaps you’ll rely on the face and words of a CEO with some thought leadership. Lots of ways to go up that hill.

When you’ve figured out those things, then you’ve got the makings for a flesh and blood strategy. Now you’re going to need climbing tools or “tactics.”  

Tactics. “Tactics” are the tools that implement your strategy. In the case of social media, we’re typically talking about blogging, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, e-newsletters, etc, but there are many, many tools in the social media toolbox. In fact, there are tools withiin tools, such as Hootsuite for managing multiple social networks. Your fully fleshed out strategy will need to determine which ones are right for you and how you'll use them. For example, are your customers on Facebook? Probably. But do they want to be marketed to at home? If they’re residential customers, then Facebook is probably a good tactic. If they’re B-to-B solar customers, you’re better off carrying LinkedIn on your toolbelt instead.

So, you'll need to develop a micro-strategy for each tactic that you use in order to effectively use. Ask yourself, "How will I use this tool? When will I use it?" That micro-strategy should reflect the overall strategy. In the case of the above example, how will you use Twitter to build trust through CEO thought leadership?

If you’re talking about utilizing a public relations strategy, then your tactics toolbox consists of things like press releases, media relationships, advertising, trade shows, webinars, and white papers, to name a few. And you're still going to need to figure out how you'll use these tools. Every solar marketer may use press releases, but what you say, when you release it, and how you utilize a PR platform is unique to you--or should be. Once again, you'll need a micro-strategy for this tactic.
Ultimately, you may successfully scale your marketing mountain many times. The problem develops when you wear a grooved path up to the 10% goal summit with the same strategies and tactics, over and over again. If it's working, then perhaps automatic pilot is fine, but I think that’s a mistake.
The problem is that competitors are always thinking about new ways to get up the mountain. If they're not and everyone is taking the same grooved path, then it’s going to get crowded, and it may be difficult for customers to tell one solar traveler from another. This may explain why solar booths at the last SPI were still huge, despite consolidation trends. The strategy was "Let's appear big and successful." But this strategy comes at a high cost. One wonders if brands could have had smaller, more innovative boths that stood out in another way beyond size. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

INBOX: Healthy Habitat Helps Create Healthy Fisheries

Sea Anemones and Kelp. Photo Art MacKay

From: Conservation Law Foundation

One of the fundamental concepts of marine ecology and modern fisheries management is that fish and other ocean wildlife need various types of habitat to feed, grow, and reproduce. Healthy ocean habitat is crucial to the well-being of ocean ecosystems and also provides spawning grounds for commercially important groundfish. New England’s ocean waters are home to several special places that deserve permanent protection.

Cashes Ledge, an underwater mountain range 80 miles off the coast of Maine, supports the largest and deepest kelp forest off the Northeastern United States and is home to an enormous diversity of ocean wildlife – from whales, Atlantic wolffish, and blue sharks, to fields of anemones and sponges. This kelp forest provides an important source of food and habitat for a vast array of ocean wildlife. Other places such as Jeffreys Ledge and Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary provide rich habitat for highly depleted cod and haddock, sea turtles, and four species of whales.
Most of these three areas in the Gulf of Maine currently benefit from fishing regulations which prohibit harmful bottom trawling, but these protections are temporary. Some of the largest commercial fishing trawlers in the region are pushing for changes in regulations to allow bottom trawling in Cashes Ledge, Jeffreys Ledge and the only protected portion of Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.

After the last cod crisis in the 1990s the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC), after a court decree spurred by a CLF legal action, designated Cashes Ledge and an area known as the “Western Gulf of Maine” which holds Jeffreys Ledge and 22% of Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, as “mortality closures.” The action restricted destructive trawling, but it allowed a wide array of other commercial fishing gear such as bottom gillnets, purse seines, hook and line and more the questionable practice of “mid-water trawls,” which despite their name, often catch groundfish. Recreational fishing and charter boats were not restricted.

This single protective measure restricting commercial bottom trawling helped to restore seriously depleted populations in these areas. Moreover, protecting areas like Cashes Ledge created the “spillover effect” where larger populations of fish migrate out of the boundaries of the protected area. This is why commercial fishing vessels often “fish the borders” of protected areas.
After a new stock assessment released one year ago showed that populations of cod, haddock and other groundfish were at all time lows, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) under pressure from some of the largest trawlers in the New England fleet started to hint that allowing bottom trawling in previously protected habitat areas – places like Cashes Ledge – might help to increase falling harvest amounts. At a time of the lowest recorded groundfish populations in history, how does it make sense to increase trawling in the best, remaining habitat areas?

This is why we must urge NOAA to keep our habitat protections in place.
Cashes Ledge is important not only to fish and ocean wildlife but also to scientists hoping to learn about the health and function of New England’s oceans. Many scientists believe that Cashes Ledge represents the best remaining example of an undisturbed Gulf of Maine ecosystem and have used Cashes Ledge as an underwater laboratory to which they have compared more degraded habitat in the Gulf of Maine.

The basic fact is that opening scarce protected habitat in the Gulf of Maine to bottom trawling at a time of historically low groundfish populations is among the worst ideas for recovering fish populations and the industry which depend upon them. But fisheries politics in New England remain.

On Dec. 20th the NEFMC may take action through a backdoor exemption process to allow bottom trawling in a large portion of Cashes Ledge and other areas. NOAA needs to keep current protections in place. CLF is committed to securing permanent protection to ensure the long-term health of this important and vulnerable ecosystem. Click here to urge NOAA to protect New England ocean habitat and help ensure a healthy future for New England’s ocean.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

University of South Carolina - Broad analysis of many radiation studies finds no exposure threshold that precludes harm to life

University of South Carolina - News

Even low-level radioactivity is damaging

Broad analysis of many radiation studies finds no exposure threshold that precludes harm to life
By Steven Powell,, 803-777-1923
Even the very lowest levels of radiation are harmful to life, scientists have concluded in the Cambridge Philosophical Society’s journal Biological Reviews. Reporting the results of a wide-ranging analysis of 46 peer-reviewed studies published over the past 40 years, researchers from the University of South Carolina and the University of Paris-Sud found that variation in low-level, natural background radiation had small, but highly statistically significant, negative effects on DNA as well as several measures of health.
The review is a meta-analysis of studies of locations around the globe that have very high natural background radiation as a result of the minerals in the ground there, including Ramsar, Iran, Mombasa, Kenya, Lodeve, France, and Yangjiang, China. These, and a few other geographic locations with natural background radiation that greatly exceeds normal amounts, have long drawn scientists intent on understanding the effects of radiation on life. Individual studies by themselves, however, have often only shown small effects on small populations from which conclusive statistical conclusions were difficult to draw.
“When you’re looking at such small effect sizes, the size of the population you need to study is huge,” said co-authorTimothy Mousseau, a biologist in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of South Carolina. “Pooling across multiple studies, in multiple areas, and in a rigorous statistical manner provides a tool to really get at these questions about low-level radiation.”
Mousseau and co-author Anders Møller of the University of Paris-Sud combed the scientific literature, examining more than 5,000 papers involving natural background radiation that were narrowed to 46 for quantitative comparison. The selected studies all examined both a control group and a more highly irradiated population and quantified the size of the radiation levels for each. Each paper also reported test statistics that allowed direct comparison between the studies.
The organisms studied included plants and animals, but had a large preponderance of human subjects. Each study examined one or more possible effects of radiation, such as DNA damage measured in the lab, prevalence of a disease such as Down’s Syndrome, or the sex ratio produced in offspring. For each effect, a statistical algorithm was used to generate a single value, the effect size, which could be compared across all the studies.
The scientists reported significant negative effects in a range of categories, including immunology, physiology, mutation and disease occurrence. The frequency of negative effects was beyond that of random chance.
“There’s been a sentiment in the community that because we don’t see obvious effects in some of these places, or that what we see tends to be small and localized, that maybe there aren’t any negative effects from low levels of radiation,” said Mousseau. “But when you do the meta-analysis, you do see significant negative effects.”
“It also provides evidence that there is no threshold below which there are no effects of radiation,” he added. “A theory that has been batted around a lot over the last couple of decades is the idea that is there a threshold of exposure below which there are no negative consequences. These data provide fairly strong evidence that there is no threshold – radiation effects are measurable as far down as you can go, given the statistical power you have at hand.”
Mousseau hopes their results, which are consistent with the “linear-no-threshold” model for radiation effects, will better inform the debate about exposure risks. “With the levels of contamination that we have seen as a result of nuclear power plants, especially in the past, and even as a result of Chernobyl and Fukushima and related accidents, there’s an attempt in the industry to downplay the doses that the populations are getting, because maybe it’s only one or two times beyond what is thought to be the natural background level,” he said. “But they’re assuming the natural background levels are fine.”
“And the truth is, if we see effects at these low levels, then we have to be thinking differently about how we develop regulations for exposures, and especially intentional exposures to populations, like the emissions from nuclear power plants, medical procedures, and even some x-ray machines at airports.”
News and Internal Communications