Daily Blog 11/21/2011

  • Professor Iain Stewart explains how avalanches were intentionally triggered by troops fighting in the Alps during World War I.

    tags: avalanche WW1

  • The risk from extreme weather events is likely to increase if the world continues to warm, say scientists.

    A report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said it was “very likely” that emissions had led to an increase in daily maximum temperatures.

    It added that emissions had also led some regions experiencing longer and more intense droughts.

    tags: climate IPCC

  • The Send Equipment for National Defense Act, sponsored by Texas Representative Ted Poe, would “require that 10 percent of certain equipment returned from Iraq—like Humvees, night-vision equipment and unmanned aerial surveillance craft—be made available to state and local agencies for border-security operations.”

    Poe denies that this would militarize the border, as reported by the New York Times; but John Cook, mayor of the border city of El Paso, strongly disagrees, suggesting that only “a whole lot of ignorance” could inspire the plan. Cook points out that “moving war zone equipment to the border would send the wrong signal to Mexico and potentially damage the robust symbiotic economic relationship between the two countries.”

    tags: uav

  • This November may well mark the point at which the atmosphere of protest in Britain changed. Thursday’s conviction of the Fortnum & Mason protesters – for sitting down in an expensive food shop to protest tax avoidance – represents a moment which demonstrates that even the most reasonable act of protest can be steamrollered in the courts. It comes as scores of protesters are still awaiting trial on what could be more serious, jailable charges.

    Meanwhile, for the first time on the British mainland, the police pre-authorised plastic bullets on a demonstration – a student demonstration, which they knew would contain schoolchildren and whose route had been co-operatively negotiated in advance. This was not noted calmly but announced in the full glare of the press, without the knowledge of the organisers. The “total policing” of the demonstration itself saw the use of undercover snatch squads, the pre-emptive deployment of dogs and horses and the reduction of chunks of the march into a rolling kettle.

    tags: protest

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