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aka 'The Spiritual Ecology of Allan Kardec' - & then another k-k-Canadian Taser death, this time a Métis teenager in Winnipeg.
"Se não dá para trazer o céu para terra, podemos aproximar."
Leonardo Boff, teólogo.
There is a certain subtlety y'unnerstan around a notion like 'The Spiritual Ecology of Allan Kardec' which might not appeal to a general audience, so attention must be drawn. Maybe it's not subtlety, maybe it's elegance, maybe it is just irony ... whatever.
On the other hand, I have not drawn attention (beyond supplying the material for consideration, and quoting Boff's saccharine whatnot) to the prominence of Lula and Christ in images of Minc & Messias, M&M? could that be Milo & Minderbinder?
... more to come on hand-drawn (and otherwise) spirals on the breasts of nubile young samba dancers ... (see below).
1. Angra-3 PWR Nuclear, Brazil, background information.
2. Apesar de ser contra energia nuclear, Minc não pretende rediscutir assunto, Nielmar de Oliveira (Agência Brasil), 21 de Maio.
3. Contrário à energia nuclear, Minc diz que aceitará construção de Angra 3 porque é 'governo', Luisa Belchior, 21 maio.
4. Minc anuncia licença para Angra 3 com 'exigências brutais', Fernando Exman, terça-feira, 22 de julho.
5. Minc anuncia licença para Angra 3 com 'exigências brutais', JB-Online, terça-feira, 22 julho.
6. Brazil vows tough environmental conditions for 3rd nuclear plant construction, AP, July 23.
7. Presidente do Ibama assina licença prévia de Angra 3, Leonardo Goy, 24 julho.
8. Contra usina, Minc impõe condições, Rivadavia Severo, 24 julho.
9. Método de estocagem dos resíduos é precário, avalia ministro, Rivadavia Severo, 24 julho.
A. Qual é a felicidade possível, Leonardo Boff, 21 julho.
B. A Natural Selection, Olivia Judson, July 22.
C. Winnipeg man dies after being tasered by police, Joe Friesen, July 22.
D. Health report to get 'low-profile' release, Bill Curry, July 23.
E. 'Damn machine' killed my son, Winnipeg mother says, Joe Friesen, July 23.
F. Tasered teen's father questions death, Joe Friesen, July 25.
So they are going ahead with Angra 3, ridiculous.
And the k-k-Canadian police, municipal police this time not the RCMP, have killed someone else with a Taser, while the k-k-Canadian Government obfuscates on Global Warming & Climate Change - Who cares about these reports anyway? 500 pages of bumph on anything but central issues just to keep themselves employed.
Then there is Olivia the biologist, pretty. She also happens to be associated with the C4 Director who did the Global Warming Swindle, so ... young moderns is what they are, not bad, just immoral and trying to stay interesting I guess.
DR. TATIANA'S SEX ADVICE TO ALL CREATION, and The Wild Side, Olivia Judson's New York Times Blog.
Angra-3 PWR Nuclear, Brazil, background information.
The 1,224MWe Angra-3 PWR nuclear reactor project is on again. The Brazilian government has announced plans to complete the reactor, which will work alongside the other two at Angra, which is between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Angra 3 has cost $750m already and is estimated to cost another $1,835m to complete (40% in Euros and 60% in Brazilian currency), to be paid back over 40 years.
Angra-3 was designed to be a twin of the four-loop Angra-2, but was halted in the mid 1980s after shortages of finance. Around 70% of equipment is already on site, but construction has still not begun.
Eletrobras (70% owned by the Brazilian government and the main shareholder in the Brazilian nuclear utility Eletronuclear) has been looking for the necessary $1.8bn from a private partner to complete the project, but there has also been some interest from the Russian government.
Angra-1 and Angra-2 are now producing 630 and 1,270MWe (net). Angra-1 had to be shut down early in its life after problems with its steam supply system.
The World Nuclear Association reports it had a load factor of only 25% over the first 15 years of operation, but has greatly improved since then. The Brazilian government has announced plans to build another four 1,000MWe reactors from 2015, with a total of up to 8GWe by 2030.
GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES GO-AHEAD FOR ANGRA-3
Brazil's electricity consumption has been growing strongly over the last 15 years. Hydroelectric provides over 80% of the total (although droughts have caused power shortages) with nuclear at less than 5%. Around 40% of the total is produced by Eletrobras.
The turnkey Angra-1 was built by Westinghouse, starting in 1971 and coming on stream in 1982. In 1976 the Brazilian government signed an agreement with West Germany for eight 1,300MWe nuclear units, to be built by 1990. Siemens-KWU built the first two plants, with a technology transfer agreement aiming to build the rest with 90% Brazilian content.
The projects were however suspended. Eletrobras took over responsibility for building Angra-2 and Angra-3, and in 1995 started construction at Angra-2 again. Eletrobra and German banks provided $1.3bn of new investment, and Angra-2 was completed in 2000.
Angra-3 is a PWR, so a second-generation reactor using high-pressure superheated water as coolant and neutron moderator. PWRs are the world's most-used type of reactor. The chain reaction in the nuclear fuel heats water in the primary to over 300ºC, with the hot water pumped into a steam generator (heat exchanger) to boil water in the secondary coolant loop. This drives a steam turbine. The primary and secondary coolant loops keep radioactive water in the first loop separate from that used to drive the steam generator.
SERVICED BY FRAMATOME
Framatome ANP performed service work at Angra 2 in March 2002, during the first of the annual refueling outages. Work was done on the reactor floor, fuel assemblies, valves, pumps and pump motors. Framatome also inspected the emergency diesel generating units, electrical and I&C systems, HVAC systems, and reactor coolant pumps.
The inspection work by over 1,000 engineers was done in less than 30 days with Eletrobràs Termonuclear (Eletronuclear) and German and Brazilian subcontractors.
OVER 5% OF WORLD’S TOTAL URANIUM DEPOSITS
Brazil has over 5% of the total world uranium deposits, with about 230,000t although only one mine is now working, INB's Lagoa Real Unit. The uranium is converted and enriched abroad and then used in Brazil but some of Angra's fuel is now produced by Brazilian centrifuges.
In 2006, Brazil opened a new centrifuge facility at the Resende nuclear plant, claimed to be 25 times more efficient than French and US facilities. The government said it hoped to meet all its nuclear energy needs within a decade. The centrifuges were subject of some discussions with the International Atomic Energy Agency, with safeguards to ensure there will be no links to weapons production.
Specifications - Angra-3 PWR Nuclear, Brazil
Construction start - 1971 (Angra-1) and 1976 (Angra-2 and Angra-3)
Start of operation - 1982 (Angra-1) and 2000 (Angra-2).
Output - 1,270MWe Angra-1, 630MWe Angra-2, 1,224MWe Angra-3 (to be constructed)
Plant type - PWR nuclear reactors
Location - Angra, between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil
Estimated investment - The power station will cost another $1,835m to complete
Plant owner - Eletrobras
Construction - Angra-1 was built by Westinghouse, Angra-2 by Siemens/KWU
Maintenance - Framatome ANP
Coolant and neutron moderator - High-pressure superheated water
Steam generators and turbines - Supplied by Westinghouse, Siemens
Fuel Enriched Uranium
Apesar de ser contra energia nuclear, Minc não pretende rediscutir assunto, Nielmar de Oliveira (Agência Brasil), 21 de Maio.
Rio de Janeiro - O novo ministro do Meio Ambiente, Carlos Minc, afirmou que, apesar de ser contra o uso da energia nuclear, vai acatar a decisão do Conselho Nacional de Política Energética (CNPE) favorável à conclusão das obras da Usina de Angra 3.
Segundo ele, se integrasse o CNPE, assim como fez a ex-ministra do Meio Ambiente Marina Silva, também teria votado contra a continuidade das obras de Angra 3 – e também teria sido derrotado.
“Eu sou um adversário conhecido do uso da energia nuclear, como a Marina [Silva] e o [Fernando] Gabeira. Agora eu sou do governo e este assunto foi votado no Conselho Nacional de Política Energética (CNPE). O processo já está em andamento, é um licenciamento técnico a cargo do Ibama [Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renovábeis] – que o concederá -, mas cumprindo o rigor da lei”, admitiu Minc.
Carlos Minc afirmou ter suas próprias convicções e lutar por elas e disse esperar que a maior parte de suas bandeiras venham a ser acatadas. Ele afirmou, entretanto, que não irá impor ao presidente (Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva), aos ministros ou aos conselhos existentes todas essas posições contrárias.
“Acho que o Brasil é a terra do sol, dos ventos e da biomassa. Mas este caso [a da construção de Angra 3] foi votado, mas tem que ser tratado com o rigor da lei.”
Contrário à energia nuclear, Minc diz que aceitará construção de Angra 3 porque é 'governo', Luisa Belchior, 21 maio.
O novo ministro do Meio Ambiente, Carlos Minc, disse nesta quarta-feira que não vai se opor à construção da usina nuclear de Angra 3, no sul do Estado do Rio, caso a licença ambiental seja aprovada pelo Ibama.
Minc, assim como a ex-ministra Marina Silva, é contrário à produção de energia nuclear e à reativação de Angra 3, mas disse hoje que agora "sou do governo".
Atualmente, o Ibama analisa a concessão de uma licença ambiental primária a Angra 3. "Sou um adversário do uso da energia nuclear, mas sou do governo. O processo [de licenciamento ambiental] está em andamento no Ibama, e vou ter que cumprir o que for determinado", declarou Minc, em entrevista coletiva nesta manhã, no Rio. "Não tenho a pretensão de ser o cara mimado que vai impor o tempo todo as convicções, acho que tenho que no máximo tratar com rigor o que for decidido."
Minc anunciou ainda a criação de um decreto determinando que indústrias que utilizam matrizes fósseis tenham que gerar algum tipo de energia renovável para compensar. O projeto também já tem o aval do presidente Lula, segundo o novo ministro. "Ele [Lula] adorou a idéia", afirmou.
Minc anuncia licença para Angra 3 com 'exigências brutais', Fernando Exman, terça-feira, 22 de julho.
BRASÍLIA - O ministro do Meio Ambiente, Carlos Minc, declaradamente contrário à energia nuclear, informou que a Licença de Instalação da terceira usina nuclear brasileira, Angra 3, no Rio de Janeiro, será liberada na quarta-feira.
"Sai amanhã, mas com exigências brutais", disse o ministro a jornalistas, após reunião do Conselho Nacional de Política Energética (CNPE) nesta terça-feira.
De acordo com Minc, a Eletronuclear, responsável pela construção da unidade, terá que encontrar uma solução definitiva para o lixo nuclear; contratar um monitoramento independente dos níveis da radiação; resolver o problema de saneamento em Angra dos Reis e na cidade vizinha Parati; e adotar o Parque Nacional da Serra da Boicana.
De acordo com especialistas, apenas encontrar uma solução definitiva para o lixo nuclear já é algo difícil.
Essas condições terão que ser cumpridas para que a empresa obtenha a Licença de Operação, segundo Minc.
Angra 3 terá a mesma capacidade de Angra 2, ou 1,3 mil megawatts, e a previsão é de que comece a operar em 2013.
Minc anuncia licença para Angra 3 com 'exigências brutais', JbOnline/Reuters, 22/07/2008.
BRASÍLIA - O ministro do Meio Ambiente, Carlos Minc, declaradamente contrário à energia nuclear, informou que a Licença de Instalação da terceira usina nuclear brasileira, Angra 3, no Rio de Janeiro, será liberada na quarta-feira. - Sai amanhã, mas com exigências brutais - disse o ministro a jornalistas, após reunião do Conselho Nacional de Política Energética (CNPE) nesta terça-feira. De acordo com Minc, a Eletronuclear, responsável pela construção da unidade, terá que encontrar uma solução definitiva para o lixo nuclear; contratar um monitoramento independente dos níveis da radiação; resolver o problema de saneamento em Angra dos Reis e na cidade vizinha Parati; e adotar o Parque Nacional da Serra da Boicana. De acordo com especialistas, apenas encontrar uma solução definitiva para o lixo nuclear já é algo difícil. Essas condições terão que ser cumpridas para que a empresa obtenha a Licença de Operação, segundo Minc. Angra 3 terá a mesma capacidade de Angra 2, ou 1,3 mil megawatts, e a previsão é de que comece a operar em 2013.
Brazil vows tough environmental conditions for 3rd nuclear plant construction, AP, July 23.
BRASILIA (Brazil) - THE Brazilian government says it is setting what it calls tough environmental terms for the construction of the country's third nuclear power plant.
Environment Minister Carlos Minc says his agency will issue a preliminary license Wednesday for construction of the Angra 3 plant.
But Mr Minc said on Tuesday that the license will include 'brutal demands' on waste treatment, independent monitoring of radiation levels and investments in environmental protection.
Brazil currently has two operating nuclear plants with an installed capacity of about 2,000 megawatts.
Construction on Angra 3 has been held up since the 1980s because of financing problems and environmental concerns. It will require an investment of US$3.7 billion (S$5.03 billion). -- AP
Qual é a felicidade possível, Leonardo Boff, 21 julho.
|A felicidade é um dos bens mais ansiados pelo ser humano. Mas não pode ser comprada nem no mercado, nem bolsa, nem nos bancos. Apesar disso, ao redor dela se criou toda uma indústria que vem sob o nome de auto-ajuda. Com cacos de ciência e de psicologia, procura-se oferecer uma fórmula infalível para alcançar "a vida que você sempre sonhou". Confrontada, entretanto, com o curso irrefragável das coisas, ela se mostra insustentável e falaciosa.||Happiness is one of the most sought after goods for human beings. But it cannot be bought at the mall, nor the stock market, nor the banks. In spite of this, the so-called self-help industry has grown up around happiness. With bits of science and psychology it tries to offer an infallible formula to achieve "the life you always dreamed of." Confronted, however, with the inevitable way of things, it proves to be insubstantial and false.|
|Curiosamente, a maioria dos que buscam a felicidade intui que não pode encontrá-la na ciência pura ou nalgum centro tecnológico. Vai a um pai ou mãe-de- santo ou a um centro espírita ou freqüenta um grupo carismático, consulta um guru ou lê o horóscopo ou estuda o I-Ching da felicidade. Tem consciência de que a produção da felicidade não está na razão analítica e calculatória, mas na razão sensível e na inteligência emocional e cordial. Isso porque a felicidade deve vir de dentro, do coração e da sensibilidade.||Curiously, most of those searching for happiness know intuitively that they cannot find it in pure science or in some technological centre. They come to a spiritual father or mother at a Spiritual Centre (Candomblé) or frequent a chsrismatic group, consult a guru or read their horoscope or study the I Ching for happiness. They know that the production of happiness is not through calculated analytic reason, but by sensitive reason and cordial emotional intelligence. This is because happiness must come from within, from the heart and sensibility.|
|Para dizer logo, sem outras mediações, não se pode ir direto à felicidade. Quem o faz, é quase sempre infeliz. A felicidade resulta de algo anterior: da essência do ser humano e de um sentido de justa medida em tudo.||To put it shortly, without other conditions you cannot go directly to happiness. Who tries this is almost always unhappy. Happiness comes from something previous: from the essence of a human being and from a sense of right fitting of everything.|
|A essência do ser humano reside na capacidade de relações. Ele é um nó de relações, uma espécie de rizoma, cujas raízes apontam para todas as direções. Só se realiza quando ativa continuamente sua panrelacionalidade, com o universo, com a natureza, com a sociedade, com as pessoas, com o seu próprio coração e com Deus. Essa relação com o diferente lhe permite a troca, o enriquecimento e a transformação. Deste jogo de relações, nasce a felicidade ou a infelicidade na proporção da qualidade destes relacionamentos. Fora da relação não há felicidade possível.||The essence of a human being is in the capacity for relationship. A human being is a knot of relations, a type of tuber, the roots of which go off in all directions. A human being is only realized when continually active in relationships with the universe, with nature, with society, with people, with his or her own heart and with God. This relation with different beings permits change, enrichment and transformation. In this game of relations is born happiness of unhappiness in proportion to the quality of the relationships. Without relation happiness is not possible.|
|Mas isso não basta. Importa viver um sentido profundo de justa medida no quadro da concreta condição humana. Esta é feita de realizações e de frustrações, de violência e de carinho, de monotonia do cotidiano e de emergências surpreeendentes, de saúde, de doença e, por fim, de morte.||But this is not enough. There must be a profound sense of right fitting in the area of concrete human condition. This is made of realizations and frustrations, violence and caring, the monotony of the day-to-day and of surprising emergencies, of health, of sickness, and in the end, of death.|
|Ser feliz é encontrar a justa medida em relação a estas polarizações. Daí nasce um equilíbrio criativo: sem ser pessimista demais porque vê as sombras, nem otimista demais porque percebe as luzes. Ser concretamente realista, assumindo criativamente a incompletude da vida humana, tentando, dia a dia, escrever direito por linhas tortas.||To be happy is to find right fitting in relation to these polarizations. From this is born a creative equilibrium: without being too pessimistic and seeing only shadows, nor too optimistic and seeing only light. To be concretely realistic, creatively taking on incomplete human life, trying each day to write between crooked lines.|
|A felicidade depende desta atitude, especialmente quando nos confrontamos com os limites incontornáveis, como, por exemplo, as frustrações e a morte. De nada adianta ser revoltado ou resignado. Mas tudo muda se formos criativos: fazer dos limites fontes de energia e de crescimento. É o que chamamos de resiliência: a arte de tirar vantagens das dificuldades e dos fracassos.||Happiness depends upon this attitude, especially when we are confronted by unavoidable limitations, for example, frustrations and death. Being upset or resigned is no help. But everything changes if we take a creative stance: turning limitations into sources of energy and growth. This is what we call resilience: the art of finding advantages in difficulties and failures.|
|Aqui tem seu lugar um sentido espiritual da vida, sem o qual a felicidade não se sustenta a médio e a longo prazo. Então aparece que a morte não é inimiga da vida, mas um salto rumo a uma outra ordem mais alta. Se nos sentimos na palma das mãos de Deus, serenamos. Morrer é mergulhar na Fonte. Desta forma, como diz Pedro Demo, um pensador que no Brasil melhor estudou a "Dialética da Felicidade" (em três volumes, pela Vozes): "Se não dá para trazer o céu para terra, pelo menos podemos aproximar o céu da terra". Eis a singela e possível felicidade que podemos penosamente conquistar como filhos e filhas de Adão e Eva decaídos.||Aqui tem seu lugar um sentido espiritual da vida, sem o qual a felicidade não se sustenta a médio e a longo prazo. Então aparece que a morte não é inimiga da vida, mas um salto rumo a uma outra ordem mais alta. Se nos sentimos na palma das mãos de Deus, serenamos. Morrer é mergulhar na Fonte. Desta forma, como diz Pedro Demo, um pensador que no Brasil melhor estudou a "Dialética da Felicidade" (em três volumes, pela Vozes): "Se não dá para trazer o céu para terra, pelo menos podemos aproximar o céu da terra". Eis a singela e possível felicidade que podemos penosamente conquistar como filhos e filhas de Adão e Eva decaídos.|
A Natural Selection, Olivia Judson, July 22.
(The fourth part in a series celebrating Charles Darwin.)
Last week, I discussed how evolutionary biology has changed since 1859, the year Darwin first published “On the Origin of Species.” But the subject of evolution isn’t the only thing that’s changed since then. There’s been plenty of actual evolution, too. For although we tend to think of evolutionary change as being something that only takes place over the course of millions of years, it isn’t. It’s going on here, now, all around us. So, this week, I thought I’d round up some examples of recent evolutionary change in nature. (What do I mean by recent? Within the last 40 years.)
I’m not intending to be comprehensive — that would take a book or two. Instead, I want to sketch a few examples of natural selection that have caught my fancy, and through them consider different aspects of evolutionary change, and what it takes to show it.
Galápagos finches. No discussion of evolution in nature would be complete without mention of the evolution of beak size in finches in the Galápagos archipelago.
Every year since 1973, large numbers of medium ground finches (Geospiza fortis) living on the island of Daphne Major have been marked, weighed and measured, and so have their chicks. In these finches, survival largely depends on the ability to open seeds; this depends on beak size. Bigger beaks allow the opening of larger seeds. How many seeds there are depends on the weather; some years seeds of all sizes are abundant, and the finches thrive. In other years, most seeds are scarce, and many birds die. Large-scale death affects the genetic make-up of the population, because both beak size and body size has a large genetic component. If all the birds with smaller than average beaks die in a given year, they take their genes with them.
Over the course of 30 years, annual measurement of finches shows that both body size and beak size evolved significantly. But they didn’t do so in a smooth, consistent fashion. Instead, natural selection jittered about, often changing direction from one season to the next.
As the abundance of different seeds fluctuated, so too did the beak sizes. One year, larger beaks were more successful; then it was smaller beaks. Over time, the average shape of the beak kept shifting, but it did so in an unpredictable, erratic sort of way, like a drunk man staggering about. Thus, some of the most dramatic changes were later reversed, and if beaks had only been measured at the beginning and at the end of the thirty years, the total amount of evolutionary change would have been underestimated. (Beak size has continued to evolve: the arrival on the island of a competitor for large seeds has subsequently favored small beak sizes in Geospiza fortis. Many individuals with larger beaks starved to death.)
Field mustard. Between 2000 and 2004, southern California had a severe drought. For many plants, including field mustard (a scrawny annual plant with little yellow flowers), a drought means a shorter growing season. A shorter growing season means that plants that flower earlier are more likely to leave seeds than plants that flower later — which are in danger of dying before they’ve finished reproducing. Since flowering time has a large genetic component, a drought — by favoring plants that flower earlier — could cause an evolutionary shift towards early flowering.
Yes. The beauty of plants is that they make seeds — small packets of genes that can be stored for a period. This means that the genes of the past can, in principle, be compared directly with the genes of today. And an experiment in which field mustard plants grown from seeds collected in 1997 and in 2004 were planted together, under controlled conditions, showed clear differences in flowering times: the plants from 2004 flowered significantly earlier.
Moreover, in both years, seeds were collected from two sites, one where the soil is sandy and doesn’t hold water well, and the other where the soil stays wet for longer. As you’d expect, plants from the dry site showed a more dramatic shift than plants from the wet site. In the course of just 7 years, then, natural selection caused the plants to evolve an earlier flowering time.
Croatian lizards. In 1971, five pairs of adult wall lizards (Podarcis sicula) were brought to the tiny Croatian island of Pod Mrcaru from the nearby island of Pod Kopište. These five pairs have since given rise to a thriving lizard population — and one that has developed some interesting differences from the lizards that live on Kopište.
Lizards on Mrcaru now have larger heads and stronger bites than those living on Kopište, and they eat far more in the way of leaves and other plant material. Whereas the diet of native Kopište lizards is only about 7 percent plant matter, Mrcaru lizards are much more prone to a vegetarian habit. In spring, their diet is about 34 percent from plants; in summer that almost doubles, to 61 percent.
Plants are hard for animals to digest, and most plant-eaters rely on micro-organisms to help them. They also, typically, have complicated stomachs — think of the fermentation chambers in a cow, or the enlarged crop of that strange leaf-eating bird, the hoatzin. Intriguingly, the Mrcaru lizards appear to have evolved something similar. Their stomachs now have cecal valves, which divide the stomach into compartments, allowing for slower digestion and fermentation. Cecal valves are rare among lizards and snakes: fewer than 1 percent of species have them. At the same time, the Mrcaru lizards have acquired some novel micro-organisms in their guts (but whether these are helping break down plant fibers, or are some sort of sinister parasite, remains to be seen).
This study is one of the most intriguing I’ve come across. It suggests that arrival in a new environment can result in dramatic changes to an organism within fewer than 40 lifetimes. But so far, the basis of these various changes remains unknown: there’s an outside possibility that they are induced by leaf eating, and are thus due to the environment rather than genetics. (This seems unlikely — even lizards that are just hatched, and haven’t had a chance to do much eating, have the valves. But without doing the genetics, we can’t be sure; until that has been looked at, the changes cannot definitely be attributed to natural selection.) For now, natural selection for efficient plant-eating is the main suspect for this whole suite of changes, but the case is not yet closed.
Other examples. I don’t have space to go into other examples in detail, but to give a sense of what else is out there, here’s a partial list.
The fruit fly Drosophila subobscura has been evolving bigger wings in higher latitudes in North and South America; mosquitoes that live in pitcher plants hunker down for the winter later in the year than they used to; in a forest in southern England, great tits have been shrinking (great tits are songbirds).
Double the time frame to the past 80 years, and I’d have to add many more; of these, my favorite is the decline in head size of Australian frog-eating snakes in response to the arrival of poisonous toads in 1935 (a smaller head makes it harder to eat a deadly toad). And I haven’t even begun to mention the countless examples of pests that have evolved resistance to pesticides and bacteria that have evolved resistance to antibiotics, nor the thousands of laboratory experiments showing evolution in the simple environments of test tubes and petri dishes. Also omitted: several examples of new species that are in the process of forming (I want to look at these in a future column).
In short, evolution never takes a vacation: it’s going on all the time.
Yet we tend not to notice it. Why? The finches can help us here. That study tells us two things. First, from one year to the next, even the most dramatic changes are, to our eyes, small — which is to say, you have to measure them to detect them. The reason is that although birds differ from one another in their abilities to handle the various seeds, the differences are subtle. It’s not as if one bird has a beak 100 times mightier than another’s. When you add to this the tendency of natural selection to jerk around, it’s no surprise that we often don’t notice evolution as it happens. It also sheds light on why changes in the fossil record often appear to be slow: these studies show that change can be continual without really getting far from the starting point. Second, getting data as good as that is hard work. Most datasets are not so complete or robust.
At least one other lesson can be drawn from all these studies. Natural selection has its most dramatic effects when an organism’s environment is perturbed in some sustained way — prolonged droughts, the arrival of species that compete for food, warmer winters, the use of pesticides. If we humans continue to increase our impact on the globe, we’re likely to see lots more evolution. And soon.
For beak size in Galápagos finches, see Grant, P. R. and Grant, B. R. 2002. “Unpredictable evolution in a 30-year study of Darwin’s finches.” Science 296: 707-711 and Grant, P. R. and Grant, B. R. 2006. “Evolution of character displacement in Darwin’s finches.” Science 313: 224-226. For evolution of flowering time in field mustard, and for its genetic basis, see Franks, S. J., Sim, S. and Weis, A. E. 2007. “Rapid evolution of flowering time by an annual plant in response to a climate fluctuation.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 104: 1278-1282. For the evolution of cecal valves in Croatian lizards, see Herrel, A. et al 2008. “Rapid large-scale evolutionary divergence in morphology and performance associated with exploitation of a different dietary resource.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 105: 4792-4795.
For wing size in fruit flies, see Huey, R. B. et al 2000. “Rapid evolution of a geographic cline in size in an introduced fly.” Science 287: 308-309 and Gilchrist, G. W. et al 2004. “A time series of evolution in action: a latitudinal cline in wing size in South American Drosophila subobscura.” Evolution 58: 768-780. For hunkering down time in mosquitoes, see Bradshaw, W. E. and Holzapfel, C. M. 2001. “Genetic shift in photoperiodic response correlated with global warming.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 98: 14509-14511. For body size in great tits, see Garant, D. et al 2005. “Evolution driven by differential dispersal within a wild bird population.” Nature 433: 60-65. For head size in Australian snakes, see Phillips, B. L. and Shine, R. 2004. “Adapting to an invasive species: toxic cane toads induce morphological change in Australian snakes.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 101: 17150-17155.
Many thanks to Dan Haydon, Gideon Lichfield and Jonathan Swire for insights, comments and suggestions.
Winnipeg man dies after being tasered by police, Joe Friesen, July 22.
WINNIPEG — A man was killed in a confrontation with Winnipeg police yesterday after being hit with a taser stun gun, the first such incident in the city's history.
The incident began just before 4 p.m. when police officers confronted a man in a back alley adjacent to the grounds of the national microbiology laboratory in the city's downtown core.
They had been called to the area by a member of the public asking for help in a criminal matter, said police spokeswoman Constable Jacqueline Chaput.
“I'm not privy to the information surrounding that encounter, however it did result in the deployment of an electronic control device used by one of our officers against the male,” Constable Chaput said. “It is yet to be determined by the investigation whether the electronic control device had a hand in the fatality.”
The victim's name was not released last night, pending notification of next-of-kin.
Constable Chaput said this is the first time the use of a taser by Winnipeg police has resulted in death. She could not say how many times the victim was hit, nor could she say how many officers were involved. It's not known whether officers were threatened or if the man was carrying a weapon at the time of the confrontation.
All front-line uniform police officers in Winnipeg carry electronic control devices and are trained to use them only in specific circumstances, Constable Chaput said, although she would not elaborate on the rules governing their deployment.
An investigation has already been launched by the Winnipeg police homicide unit, and as is established protocol in Manitoba, their investigation will be referred to an outside police agency for review once it's complete.
Leoniza Duplon, whose William Ave. house stands just in front of the spot cordoned off by police investigators, said she stepped outside yesterday just after 4 p.m, to see officers and paramedics trying to revive a man lying flat on his back in they alley.
The man had his shirt off and wasn't moving, Ms. Duplon said.
“There was lots of police and paramedics pushing on his chest,” she added.
The use of tasers by police officers remains controversial in Canada following the death of Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver airport in October, 2007.
Health report to get 'low-profile' release, Bill Curry, July 23.
OTTAWA — The Conservative government is planning a quiet release for a major Health Canada report that warns of the harmful impact of climate change on the health of Canadians, particularly the young, elderly and aboriginals.
Should the department follow through with its communications plan, it will be the second time this year that the government has taken such an approach with a major climate-change study.
Those involved with the report were informed in a July 3 conference call that the government is preparing a "low-profile release" on the Health Canada website, rather than launching the report with major media fanfare, sources told The Globe and Mail.
The Health Canada report is called Human Health in a Changing Climate: A Canadian Assessment of Vulnerabilities and Adaptive Capacity. It is more than 500 pages long and has been ready for several months.
McMaster University chemistry professor Brian McCarry, who chairs a group called Clean Air Hamilton, said the dangers of global warming and fossil fuels on human health deserve far more attention, not less.
"Certainly, the stance taken by this government has been to keep climate change in a low-profile format," he said. "Unfortunately, Canada and the U.S. are almost singular in the world now as being not quite climate-change deniers, but they're not putting much emphasis on [it.]"
Canadian scientists and climate experts worked for months on a similar major study last year for Natural Resources Canada called From Impacts to Adaptation, which warned of the specific impacts of climate change for each region of the country.
The release of that report was delayed for several months before being posted in a hard-to-find section of the Natural Resources Canada website. As a result, the report received little media coverage, frustrating many of the public servants, scientists and academics who worked on it.
Similar frustration is now beginning to surface over the government's handling of the Health Canada study.
Health Minister Tony Clement's press secretary, Laryssa Waler, issued a brief response yesterday to questions about the department's communications plan. "Health Canada is preparing the report for release. Once it's ready, it will be released," she said in an e-mail.
Peter Berry, Health Canada's senior policy analyst for climate change and health, who was on the July 3 conference call discussing the communications plan for releasing the report, offered an outline of the study during a February presentation to Clean Air Hamilton.
At that time, Dr. Berry said the report would be released in the spring. It is expected to warn of the health dangers of longer and hotter heat waves on the elderly and children, while saying that changing vegetation will affect the traditional ways of northern aboriginals.
Dr. Berry's presentation included a quotation about how society will only act to avoid the effects of climate change if it is aware of the possible negative consequences.
Environmentalist Dale Marshall of the David Suzuki Foundation, who has been critical of what he describes as the Conservative government's "weak" climate-change policies, offered an exasperated sigh yesterday when told of the government's plans.
"If this government cared about climate change," he said, "then it would highlight these reports and use them as a way of engaging Canadians on the importance of addressing the issue."
Natural Resources Canada - From Impacts to Adaptation:
Health Canada - Human Health in a Changing Climate: A Canadian Assessment of Vulnerabilities and Adaptive Capacity:
Presidente do Ibama assina licença prévia de Angra 3, Leonardo Goy, 24 julho.
O presidente do Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e Recursos Naturais Renováveis (Ibama), Roberto Messias, assinou na quarta-feira (23) a licença ambiental prévia da usina nuclear Angra 3, no Rio de Janeiro. Segundo o Ibama, o documento contém 60 exigências que terão de ser cumpridas pela estatal Eletronuclear, responsável pela obra, para a construção ser iniciada.
O ministro do Meio Ambiente, Carlos Minc, disse ontem, ao anunciar para na quarta-feira a concessão da licença prévia, que as exigências seriam "brutais". Mencionou, entre elas, a solução definitiva do tratamento do lixo nuclear, a criação de um sistema independente de monitoramento dos níveis de radiação, a realização de obras de saneamento básico dos municípios de Angra dos Reis e Paraty e a gestão do Parque Ecológico da Serra da Bocaina.
Além dessas quatro condicionantes, o Ibama está exigindo, entre outras medidas, implementação de programas de educação ambiental e assinatura de convênios para beneficiar postos de saúde da região.
A usina nuclear de Angra 3 exigirá investimentos de R$ 7,3 bilhões e terá capacidade para gerar 1.350 megawatts. O ministro de Minas e Energia, Edison Lobão, havia previsto para setembro o começo das obras, mas elas só podem ser iniciadas após a concessão da chamada licença de instalação, etapa posterior à licença prévia concedida hoje e condicionada ao cumprimento das exigências.
'Damn machine' killed my son, Winnipeg mother says, Joe Friesen, July 23.
WINNIPEG — Holding a photo of her son in her hand, Sharon Shymko bows her head and weeps.
She is confused and angry, she says, and she wants to know why her son is dead.
Seventeen-year-old Michael Langan died Tuesday after being hit with a police electronic stun gun, the 22nd person in Canada to die after being tasered.
“This damn machine, it killed my son,” she said. “He would've been here today.
“I think they should ban tasers. They should ban all that crap.”
Police say two civilians saw a man believed to be Mr. Langan breaking into a parked car outside a garment factory Tuesday afternoon, and followed him to an area close to Winnipeg's national microbiology laboratory. They flagged down a passing police car, and two officers took over the pursuit.
The police officers confronted Mr. Langan moments later in a back alley.
Police spokeswoman Constable Jacqueline Chaput said he was carrying a knife and refused to drop it, so he was shot with a taser stun gun that disables its target with a 50,000-volt electric shock.
“The suspect in this matter was armed with a knife and clearly refusing to comply with directions from the officers to disarm. That poses a threat to the officers, that poses a threat to other members of the public, and officers made the decision to deploy the electronic control device to ensure public safety,” Constable Chaput said.
Reports from the scene indicate Mr. Langan was bleeding from the head immediately after he was tasered. The official cause of death will not be known until after an autopsy is completed this week.
Ms. Shymko said her son, who was Métis, was young and healthy, although relatively small for his age.
“He was 5 foot 6, 145 pounds. He wasn't fat, he was in shape. And there's no damn way he could die right there after they tasered him,” she said.
She admits her son was no angel. He wasn't in school and didn't have a job. He liked to smoke marijuana and used to scour hotel parking lots for the butts of marijuana joints, but he wasn't involved with gangs, she said.
He carried a knife because he was small and feared for his safety in Winnipeg's rough core area, she added.
“He would carry a little knife, because you know what? That's what kids do. I didn't approve of it, but how are you going to stop that? Especially in this rotten city.”
Ms. Shymko said she and her children returned to Winnipeg only a month ago after trying unsuccessfully to build a new life in British Columbia. As she sat in a friend's backyard in Winnipeg's north end, a light rain began to fall, but she didn't care enough to go inside to avoid the raindrops.
What happens to a body when it's hit with a taser? she asked. She struggled to come to terms with her son's death.
“There's no reason for my son not to be here today. He's gone and he's gone because of that machine.”
She described a knock on the door that came at midnight on Tuesday, hours after she had seen reports that a young man died after being tasered by police.
They asked whether she had a picture of her son, or whether she could describe him. She hadn't seen him for two weeks, she said, because he had been staying with his father, who lives in a rooming house and gets his money panhandling on Main Street.
“You've got me all worried,” she told the police officers. “Is he dead?” The police said they couldn't give her any detailed information. She spent a sleepless night wondering what could have happened, and the officers returned Wednesday morning to tell her that her son was dead.
The medical examiner later asked Ms. Shymko over the phone whether her son used cocaine, because the drug has been cited as a factor in cases where suspects have died after being tasered. She was told her son had once been to hospital and said he had used crack, but Ms. Shymko doesn't know whether that's true.
In the wake of its first taser-related death, Winnipeg police said all front-line uniform officers will continue to carry tasers and no new restrictions have been placed on their use.
Constable Chaput said the two officers involved in this incident have been placed on paid leave pending an internal investigation. The case is being handled by the Winnipeg police homicide squad and once it's complete it will be reviewed by an external police agency.
City Councillor Gord Steeves, head of the public-safety committee, said the city re-examined its use of tasers in the wake of the death of Robert Dziekanski, who was tasered by the RCMP at Vancouver Airport in October of 2007.
He said the committee was unanimous in its belief that Winnipeg police, who fired their tasers 103 times in 2007 and 32 times up to the end of June, 2008, are using the device responsibly.
“There's nothing I've heard so far that would lead me to believe any policy has to be changed,” Mr. Steeves said.
Contra usina, Minc impõe condições, Rivadavia Severo, 24 julho.
Ibama impõe 60 condições para autorizar construção da terceira planta nuclear de Angra
O Ibama assinou ontem a licença prévia para a construção da usina nuclear de Angra 3, mas fez 60 exigências para a construção. Para tirar a planta do papel, depois de 22 anos, a Eletronuclear terá pouco tempo, já que a intenção do governo é começar a edificação da usina em setembro. A estatal precisará, por exemplo, dar uma solução definitiva para o lixo nuclear produzido na usina, contratar uma empresa independente para o monitoramento da radiação, a resolver problemas de saneamento básico da cidade de Angra dos Reis e Paraty (ambas no Rio), adotar o Parque Nacional da Serra da Bocaina (nos Estados do Rio e de São Paulo) e a aplicar programas ambientais.
O prazo foi dado pelo ministro de Minas e Energia, Edison Lobão, que conta com o começo das obras no segundo semestre, para que o empreendimento não atrase um ano, já que, se as obras não começarem antes do período de chuvas na região, teriam que ficar para 2009. Para isso é necessário que a Licença de Instalação seja concedida pelo Ibama até o mês que vem. É ela que autoriza o começo efetivo das obras.
O ministro do Meio Ambiente, Carlos Minc, oponente histórico da energia nuclear, disse que a questão dos prazos é de responsabilidade do empreendedor. E que, a ele e ao Ibama, cabe fiscalizar.
– Vamos ser rigorosos com o local onde será colocado esse lixo atômico – alerta. – O governo bateu o martelo no ano passado. Houve uma votação, assim como a Marina Silva, votou contra, se eu fosse ministro à época eu também votaria.
Alguns passos para agilizar o começo das obras já foram dados. Os estudos de impacto ambiental e as audiências públicas para discutir o projeto já foram feitas, mas ainda resta um longo caminho. A retomada do projeto nuclear brasileiro foi tomada no ano passado pelo Conselho Nacional de Política Energética (CNPE).
O próprio ministro Edison Lobão admite que a solução para o lixo tóxico ainda não foi encontrada no mundo inteiro. Ele disse, terça-feira que, a exemplo de Angra 1 e 2, o lixo nuclear de Angra 3 será armazenado até que os cientistas encontrem um destino para os resíduos.
Um dos empecilhos à obra é a postura contrária de ambientalistas. Dentro do próprio governo a retomada das usinas nucleares enfrentou resistências da ministra-chefe da Casa Civil, Dilma Rousseff, que acabou sendo convencida da necessidade da obra.
Quando Dilma foi titular da pasta de Minas e Energia, no primeiro mandato do presidente Lula, defendia a construção de hidrelétricas em vez de tocar adiante o programa nuclear, mas com as dificuldades de liberação ambiental para a construção das hidrelétricas, aliadas a elevação das tarifas de energia, fez com que a ministra mudasse de opinião. Além da ministra, os titulares da pasta do Meio Ambiente, a ex-ministra Marina Silva e o atual, Carlos Minc, também foram focos de resistência ao projeto. Marina foi a única a votar contra a decisão do CNPE de retomar Angra 3.
Ontem, o Greenpeace fez uma manifestação contra a licença ambiental para a usina, na porta do Ministério do Meio Ambiente, onde Minc a o presidente do Ibama, Roberto Messias, anunciavam a licença ambiental para a usina.
Angra 3 terá capacidade para produzir 1,3 mil megawatts (MW) e serão necessários investimentos de R$ 7 bilhões para concluir a usina. Parte dos equipamentos da usina já foi adquirido pelo país em 1999, ao custo de US$ 750 milhões.
A construtora Andrade e Gutierrez é quem vai tocar as obras de Angra 3 que completa o projeto nuclear na região. Hoje funcionam no litoral fluminense Angra 1 e Angra 2 que têm capacidade instalada para produzir 2.007 MW e respondem por 1,9% da matriz energética brasileira.
Método de estocagem dos resíduos é precário, avalia ministro, Rivadavia Severo, 24 julho.
Entre as 60 condições gerais e específicas apresentadas ontem para liberar a licença ambiental à usina nuclear de Angra 3, o Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis (Ibama) exigiu um depósito para os rejeitos radioativos diferente do destino dado atualmente ao lixo gerado pelas usinas de Angra 1 e 2. Esse depósito final deverá começar a ser construído até 2014 para que a nova usina nuclear comece a operar no prazo previsto pelo governo.
Ao anunciar as exigências feitas pelo órgão ambiental, Carlos Minc, ministro de Meio Ambiente, condenou a forma de acondicionamento dos rejeitos de alta radioatividade adotado pelas duas primeiras usinas nucleares.
– O método é precário e inadequado – avalia.
O combustível nuclear usado em Angra 1 e Angra 2 é substituído a cada ano e meio e acondicionado em piscinas de resfriamento no interior das usinas. Esses rejeitos emitem radiação por milhares de anos.
O governo estuda a criação de um depósito permanente para o lixo das usinas nucleares. Hoje, o presidente da Comissão Nacional de Energia Nuclear (CNEN), Odair Dias Gonçalves, disse que o destino final para os rejeitos depende da definição de quantas novas usinas serão construídas depois de Angra 3. Os planos oficiais prevêem a construção de pelo menos mais quatro usinas nos próximos anos.
– Os rejeitos de 20 usinas podem ser guardados num depósito subterrâneo do tamanho de um campo de futebol, com 5 m de profundidade – calcula. – Não estamos parados.
Numa análise preliminar, a Eletronuclear avalia que exigências do Ibama não representam obstáculo à obra. Segundo Luiz Messias, superintendente da estatal responsável pelo empreendimento, é possível começar a construir um depósito final para os rejeitos até o início de operação de Angra 3. A estatal tampouco resiste ao monitoramento ambiental independente determinado pelo Ibama. O superintendente prevê que a análise detalhada das condições lançadas pelo Ibama deve consumir até um mês e meio. Apesar da licença prévia fixe o prazo mínimo de 120 dias para a próxima etapa do licenciamento, o presidente do Ibama, Roberto Messias, disse que autorização para o início das obras poderá ser concedida num prazo menor.
Tasered teen's father questions death, Joe Friesen, July 25.
Winnipeg man thinks 17-year-old son may have been drunk or stoned, but asks why police did not try other means to disarm him.
WINNIPEG — The father of a 17-year-old who died after being tasered says police told him his son's heart stopped after he was hit in the chest with an electronic probe.
Brian Minchin said his son, Michael Langan, was as healthy as a horse, and used to walk four or five miles a day in pursuit of aluminum cans, trying to scrounge together enough money for some beer and marijuana.
He said his son may have been drunk or high on marijuana when he was confronted by two police officers in an alley close to the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg's downtown core. Police say they ordered Mr. Langan to drop a knife, and when he refused they were forced to taser him.
He was pronounced dead on arrival at a Winnipeg hospital on Tuesday. He is the 22nd person since 2003 to die in Canada after being tasered by police.
"He was asked to drop the knife or something and he didn't do it. I guess they asked him several times. Maybe he was drunk. He probably was drunk because he gets kind of crazy and brave when he's drunk," he said. "People think they're Superman when they're drunk, even adults."
Mr. Minchin wants to know why police didn't try to use means other than a taser to disarm his son.
"They're trained to disarm people. He doesn't have a gun. He's not 6 foot 5. He's a 5-foot-4 kid," he said. "They didn't have to tase him. Now I have no son. Seventeen years old!"
Mr. Minchin, who is Métis, said his son had a problem with authority figures of all types, and may have hesitated when told to drop a weapon. But he wonders why police could not have waited a little longer before shocking him with 50,000 volts.
"They said they tasered him once in the chest," he said. "Obviously the taser is the reason he had this heart attack or whatever. He had no heart problems. He was a perfectly healthy 17-year-old kid."
Mr. Langan had been living with his father in a Point Douglas rooming house for the past few weeks, ever since he and his mother returned to Winnipeg from British Columbia. They had gone west in search of a new start, but returned when things didn't turn out as planned. They were still in the process of finding a home in Winnipeg.
In the meantime, Mr. Langan spent a lot of time with his father, who panhandles in an area off Main Street near an old Canadian Pacific Railway station.
His father says somewhat sheepishly that their relationship wasn't perfect. They sometimes smoked marijuana together, and he recognizes his own substance-abuse problems. Hope for his son's future was all he had, Mr. Minchin said.
He said he doesn't have many memories of his son, but will always cherish the thought of the day they spent together when the Grey Cup was last in Winnipeg. Mr. Minchin scalped half a dozen tickets and then went into the stadium to watch the game with his son. They smoked joints and drank beers at halftime, he said.
When the police told him his son had died, he was heartbroken.
"I just started crying, 'No, no, he can't be dead.' "
An official cause of death has yet to be released by the provincial medical examiner. Reports from the scene suggested Mr. Langan was bleeding from the head, but Mr. Minchin believes it was his heart that failed.
It's strange, he said, because his son always used to say he would die young.
The incident began when two citizens saw someone police say was Mr. Langan breaking into a car outside a garment factory a few blocks from the spot where he died. The two men followed him for several minutes and flagged down a passing police car. The officers took over the chase and confronted Mr. Langan in a back alley adjacent to the grounds of the laboratory.
Minutes later, witnesses said, they were pounding on his chest trying to revive him with the help of paramedics.
Two officers have been placed on administrative leave while the incident is investigated by the Winnipeg police homicide unit. Once that investigation is complete, it will be sent to an outside police agency for review.
David Chartrand, president of the Manitoba Métis Federation, said yesterday that there are questions about whether racial profiling was a factor in the case. But at a news conference yesterday, Winnipeg Police Chief Keith McCaskill played down the racial angle, saying everyone must wait for the full investigation to unfold.
"Certainly if you look at the specifics that we can provide you, we had two citizens approach the police, direct them to a certain person and that's where [officers] went," Chief McCaskill said.
Mr. Minchin said he plans to sue the police.
With a report from The Canadian Press
a little present for reading to the end :-)
ok, spiral, is either left or right when viewed in plan, I like left-handed or right-handed in this particular case but some people say clockwise and counter-clockwise (which introduces a whole new level of imagery if you can visualize it :-)
so ... consider drawing a spiral on the two delightful breasts of a giggling young samba dancer, using, say, your finger dipped in paint, starting at the beautiful brown nipple of one and ending at the beautiful brown nipple of the other (possibly perkier by this time :-), but without lifting your finger ... will you get a left and a right? or will you get two with the same spin?
then consider Valéria Valenssa's costume, not painted ... sigh ... with a left on the left and a right on the right
this is all just ... 'geometric musing' eh? :-) there may be no royal road to geometry, but there definitely is a royal road to samba, being the same one used by the plebs (more-or-less), if you are interested in following this up, Google for images on "Valéria Valenssa Donner."
E finalmente uma pequena homenagem pra ela: