Daily Archives: December 7, 2010

Ted Turner calls for global one-child policy like China’s

Lifesite | Dec 6, 2010

by Patrick B. Craine

CANCUN, Mexico, December 6, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Media billionaire Ted Turner called on world leaders Sunday to institute an international one-child policy akin to that being enforced in China.

The CNN founder said that under this scheme the world’s poor could sell their fertility rights and thereby profit from avoiding procreation, reports the Globe and Mail.

Radical solutions are needed, he said, because of the environmental crisis facing the planet.  “If we’re going to be here [as a species] 5,000 years from now, we’re not going to do it with seven billion people,” he explained.

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Ted Turner urges global one-child policy to save planet

China’s coercive approach to implementing their policy includes forced abortion, imprisonment, and fines many times greater than a family’s annual income. The policy has faced strong criticism from human rights organizations, such as the pro-abortion Amnesty International.

Turner, however, who is renowned in pro-life circles for using his massive wealth to promote abortion and population control, raised eyebrows last year when he claimed that China does not use “draconian steps” in enforcing the policy.

When the interviewer pointed out that in enforcing the policy China has “done more than encourage on several occasions,” the media mogul admitted he was “not intimately familiar with everything.”  He nevertheless did not retract the comments.

Turner was a featured speaker this past weekend at the World Climate Summit in Cancun, a conference for business leaders staged during the UN’s Climate Change Conference in the same city to ‘accelerate solutions to climate change.’

He made the comments during a luncheon on Sunday where economist Brian O’Neill of the U.S.’s National Center for Atmospheric Research presented his new study on the impact of demographic trends on greenhouse gas emissions.

O’Neill argued that promoting access to “family planning” could be a major boon to those seeking to reduce greenhouse emissions.  O’Neill, however, advocated voluntary approaches.

Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, said today that instead of China’s coercive brand of population control, Turner instead “wants to pursue a less populated world by bribing women into giving up their fertility.”

“There is … something despicable about offering a poor, hungry woman food, money, or clothing in exchange for her surrendering her fertility,” said Mosher, who has studied China’s one-child policy for over three decades.

Yet while Turner has not advocated coercion, Mosher explained that the population policy he is promoting will inevitably lead that way. Population control programs are all voluntary “until someone refuses to submit to the knife, at which time the pretense of ‘voluntarism’ is abandoned, threats start being made, and forced sterilizations follow,” he said.

Cancún climate change talks: Richard Branson calls for global carbon taxes


“[Carbon] taxes are fine if they are global.” Richard Branson in Cancún for the UN climate change conference. Photograph: Jenny Bates for the Guardian

Global industry should be able to remove 17bn tons of emissions by 2020, Virgin chief tells Cancún climate change summit

Guardian | Dec 6, 2010

If governments fail to reach agreement on tackling climate change, global industry should be able to remove 17bn tons of projected CO2e emissions by 2020 and stabilise the climate, Virgin chief Richard Branson has said at the UN climate talks in Cancún.

But he tempered his optimism that the world’s entrepreneurs could slash emissions better than states by saying that governments had to set the framework for business to go green.

“The ideas are out there. But if the worst came to the worst and governments did not get their act together, industry should be able to solve the problems themselves. If governments set a framework in which clean energy was not taxed and dirty energy was, then there is a chance. That’s what government has to do,” he said.

Branson, in Cancún to launch a web-based initiative to reduce shipping emissions by as much as 25% over the next 20 years, said taxes could be useful. “[Carbon] taxes are fine if they are global. Everyone must be in the same boat. We would welcome it if they were done equitably, across the board and as long as it’s not just airlines. Everyone must share the burden.”

UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon’s high-level finance committee, which includes Lord Nicholas Stern and energy secretary Chris Huhne, said last month that shipping and aviation taxes could raise $20bn to help poor countries adapt to climate change.

Branson said that Virgin planes could fly on biofuels within three to five years. “The biggest prize has to be clean fuel. We are investing 100% of our profits from aviation into fuel research. It looks like fuel derived from algae or isobutanal should be powering our aircraft. Both have got products going into test phases. We are perhaps three to five years away.”

He said Virgin had considered slowing planes down to save fuel. “But it actually uses more fuel,” he said.

“I was hoping by now we would be towing planes to the end of the runways. But we’ve found there was stress on the front of the plane. Boeing is now looking at battery power to drag planes along the ground from the front wheels.

He said that a combination of ideas such as retrofitting planes with winglets, rationalising air traffic control in Europe to reduce planes’ waiting time to land and making planes lighter by using carbon fibre could reduce emissions significantly.

“The [Boeing] 787, to be launched next year, is 50% carbon fibre. It can save 15-20% on older planes. Winglets can save 12% of fuel,” he said.

Carbon War Room, the non-profit business group co-founded by Branson, aims to find ways for business to reduce emissions in 17 industries by one billion tonnes of CO2 each. After shipping, the group intends to generate ideas and seed money to reduce emissions in the IT industry, as well as islands and aviation.

He said there were dozens of ideas to reduce shipping emissions, ranging from coating hulls in ultra-slippery paint, using satellite navigation to avoid storms, blowing bubbles under hulls to reduce friction and using sails.

Yesterday the group officially launched a website shippingefficiency.org which shows the carbon intensity of the world’s 60,000 largest ships, allowing import and export companies to choose between sending goods in clean or dirty ships.

Branson also proposed that grant-making foundations risk money to support nascent clean energy. “They give away billions a year. If they took 20% and invested in, say, winglets for ships, they might lose it but that money could be greatly magnified and the foundation would get its money back. They would have given it away anyway,” he said.

Homeland Security “report suspicious behavior” messages coming to Walmart, hotels, malls

Raw Story | Dec 6, 2010

By Daniel Tencer

Shoppers at Walmart will soon have something other than glossy magazines and chewing gum to look at when in the checkout line: A “video message” from the Department of Homeland Security asking shoppers to look out for “suspicious” activity and report it immediately.

It’s part of a new Department of Homeland Security program that could see Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s face on video screens in malls, retail outlets and hotels across the United States.

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Homeland Security asks Walmart Shoppers to report Suspicious Behavior

The Walmart video, which will soon be launched at 230 locations nationwide and may eventually be expanded to nearly 600 locations in 27 states, features Napolitano thanking the retailer by name for participating in the program.

Napolitano then says: “If you see something suspicious in the parking lot or in the store, say something immediately. Report suspicious activity to your local police or sheriff. If you need help, ask a Walmart manager for assistance.”

The video, which doesn’t appear to offer any advice on what constitutes “suspicious” activity, is part of DHS’ “If You See Something, Say Something” program. It was launched originally in the New York City public transit system and, according to the DHS, is about to go nationwide.

Besides Walmart, the program has partnered with Mall of America in Minneapolis, the US’s largest mall, as well as the American Hotel and Lodging Association, rail operator Amtrak, and the Washington, DC, public transit system.

“In the coming months, the Department will continue to expand the ‘If You See Something, Say Something’ campaign nationally with public education materials and outreach tools designed to help America’s businesses, communities and citizens remain vigilant and play an active role in keeping the country safe,” DHS said in a statement.

The following video was posted to YouTube by the DHS.

TSA workers, experts worry about radiation exposure


TSA agents stand near a full-body scanner at Los Angeles International Airport on Nov. 22. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that the TSA takes steps to protect workers against excessive exposures to radiation.

USA TODAY | Dec 6, 2010

By Alison Young

When investigators with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s workplace safety team visited a dozen airports in 2003 and 2004, what they found was disturbing — at least to federal airport workers.

Although most radiation levels around baggage X-ray machines were low, six of 281 machines used to screen checked luggage violated federal radiation standards, some emitting two or three times the allowed limit, the CDC found.

Perhaps most troubling, the CDC had found what the Transportation Security Administration hadn’t noticed. The TSA and its contractors had failed to identify the machines that were emitting excessive radiation — a failure that continues to leave TSA workers and some lawmakers uneasy, especially as the agency continues to deploy hundreds of controversial radiation-emitting machines to help screen passengers.

Although the CDC report, finished in 2008, concluded that the radiation levels didn’t pose a “direct hazard” to TSA workers, it recommended that the TSA take steps to protect against excessive exposures. Health guidelines call for people to limit their exposure to radiation as much as reasonably possible.

In late November, USA TODAY requested current inspection reports for the 4,080 X-ray machines used to examine checked and carry-on bags, and for the 221 new full-body X-ray scanners. The TSA insists that all have passed radiation inspections conducted by contractors but has thus far been unwilling to release the reports.

Members of Congress are now calling on the TSA to release radiation inspection records, and one lawmaker — Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass. — has asked for an investigation into the effectiveness of the TSA’s oversight of its X-ray machines.

The TSA’s lack of transparency troubles agency workers, according to the union that represents them.

“We don’t think the agency is sharing enough information,” said Milly Rodriguez, occupational health and safety specialist at the American Federation of Government Employees. “Radiation just invokes a lot of fear.”

Jill Segraves, director of TSA’s occupational safety office, said the problems identified by CDC were a result of the agency’s rapid creation in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. “We didn’t even have policies and procedures in place yet,” she said, noting TSA’s safety office wasn’t created until 2003.

“Now we have a much better educated workforce. They understand what to look for with these systems,” Segraves said. A different contractor now maintains the TSA’s airport equipment, she said, and every machine receives a radiation test at least annually, at installation and after maintenance issues.

TSA, Army inspect machines

Airport X-ray machines are exempt from the state radiation control inspections they would receive if installed at a local courthouse or in a non-federal office building.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t routinely inspect airport X-ray machines either because they are not medical devices, said FDA spokesman Dick Thompson.

That leaves the TSA responsible for inspecting its own devices.

Since 2008, the TSA has contracted with the U.S. Army Public Health Command to do additional radiation spot checks at 10-12 of the nation’s 450 commercial passenger airports each year. The added layer of scrutiny is supposed to act as a backstop to the regular inspections and monitoring done by maintenance contractors.

So far the Army radiation inspectors have checked 437 baggage X-ray machines at 34 airports selected by TSA; all had radiation emissions “well below” federal requirements, said Fran Szrom, a health physicist with the Army program.

Every year Americans are exposed to about 300 millirem of radiation from naturally occurring sources, from rocks and soil to cosmic rays, according to the Health Physics Society. The amounts of radiation emitted by properly working airport X-ray equipment is small, though some experts disagree how small.

Federal regulations require X-ray machines that screen bags to emit less than 0.5 millirem an hour. Currently, there are 221 backscatter X-ray machines to screen passengers at 39 airports. According to the TSA, each scan delivers a radiation dose of less than 0.01 millirem.

For the new backscatter X-ray full-body scanners, Army inspectors have taken radiation readings in and around 15 of the scanners at three airports: Cincinnati, Boston and Los Angeles. All of them met safety standards and delivered less than 0.005 millirem per screening, Szrom said.

Not all of the TSA’s new full-body scanners use X-rays to see through passengers’ clothing. Of 412 full-body scanners deployed so far, 191 at 30 airports use a different technology called millimeter wave, that uses electromagnetic waves instead of ionizing radiation.

Concerns remain

Despite assurances, some TSA workers don’t trust that the agency has fixed the kinds of maintenance and monitoring issues identified by the CDC, said union official Rodriguez.

Because TSA workers at airports in Boston and San Juan were troubled by what they saw as possible cancer clusters among colleagues, the TSA this year requested health hazard evaluations of their work areas to address radiation concerns, CDC records show. The CDC found nothing unusual about the number of cancer cases and determined they were likely unrelated to airport X-ray machines, the reports say.

And a TSA employee at an unidentified airport asked CDC in June to examine concerns about radiation exposures from standing near the new full-body X-ray scanners for hours a day. The CDC said it didn’t have authority to do a hazard assessment unless three or more current employees at one location made a joint request, according to a September letter from the CDC to the unnamed worker. The CDC provided the letter to USA TODAY.

Since April 2009, the Army team also has been studying the radiation doses received by TSA workers at six airports, Philadelphia, Baltimore, West Palm Beach, Memphis, Los Angeles, Portland, Ore. The report is not yet final, but Szrom said all the data shows radiation exposure is low — “well below” limits that would require workers to routinely wear radiation monitoring badges.

The backscatter machines have drawn criticism among some scientists and health experts who are concerned about subjecting thousands of travelers to even tiny doses of radiation.

Peter Rez, a physics professor at Arizona State University, also worries about the possibility of higher doses or even radiation burns if a machine malfunctions and the scanning beam stops on one part of the body. Rez, who has reviewed a patent application for the backscatter system, notes that the scanner has a fail-safe system that is supposed to shut down the X-ray beam if there’s a problem. “But we all learned this summer that fail-safe systems do fail,” Rez said, referring to the mechanical failures that resulted in the massive Gulf oil spill.

Rapiscan Systems, the company that makes the full-body backscatter X-ray scanners used by TSA, did not respond to interview requests.

The new full-body scanners have raised more concerns than the baggage X-ray machines, despite TSA and FDA assurances that they’re safe.

David Brenner, director of Columbia University’s center for radiological research, questions whether it’s good public policy to give millions of people the backscatter scans — even if the health risk is remote.

“The radiation dose is very, very low indeed,” Brenner said. “From most individuals’ point of view, I don’t think one should have much concern about walking through these scanners.”

But as millions of scans are performed on large populations of people, Brenner said “you can be reasonably convinced a certain number of people will end up with a cancer from the radiation exposure, despite the fact the risk to the individual is very low.” Skin cancer, is the primary risk, he said.

Brenner said a few people getting cancer might be acceptable in return for air security if there weren’t an alternative technology — the millimeter wave machines — that had no known health risk. “Why use a technology where the best estimate is there will be come cancers somewhere down the line?” he asked.

TSA spokesman Kimball said the TSA competitively bids for new technology and will deploy those that meet its threat detection and safety standards. Both millimeter wave and backscatter X-rays meet those standards, he said.

WikiLeaks And Claim Of Warmest Year On Record, Expose Climate Criminality

Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive!

– Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)

canadafreepress.com | Dec 6, 2010

By Dr. Tim Ball

Question; How and why can a year be claimed as the warmest on record two months before it is over? Answer: To help participants in Cancun Climate Conference desperate because the public don’t believe, funding and power is being lost, as their deceptions are exposed.

Most believe 2010 is the warmest year ever, which is what government weather agencies, proponents of anthropogenic global warming and their supporters want. What is actually claimed is that 2010 is on the way to being the warmest on record, but they know media headlines will distort and USA Today along with others obliges with; 2010: Warmest year on record

Distortion and deception became necessary to support the collapsing exploitation of climate science (Figure 1) faced by all enjoying the warmth of Cancun Mexico while attending the Conference of the Parties (COP) 16 climate meeting. The paradox of record cold wasn’t lost on the public.

Full Story

Unusually cold snowy weather stretches from upper Midwest to Virginia


Parts of Illinois got a weekend dose of winter weather. CNN

Throughout the East Coast, temperatures averaged about 5 to 15 degrees colder than normal.

CNN | Dec 5, 2010

(CNN) — Accompanied by unusually cold temperatures, snow fell late Saturday from Minnesota east to Virginia, prompting a series of warnings but few major headaches.

One major storm system affected communities from Chicago, Illinois, to Raleigh, North Carolina, as many residents spent the first part of their weekend dealing with the first significant snow of the season.

Throughout the East Coast, temperatures averaged about 5 to 15 degrees colder than normal, with freeze watches in effect as far south as Florida.

By 7:15 p.m., just over 5 inches of snow had fallen at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, breaking the 1964 record for December 4 of 4.6 inches. A winter weather advisory remained in effect in the Windy City through midnight.

More than 300 flights were canceled in and out of Chicago Saturday morning, the Chicago Department of Aviation said. The situation improved gradually over the course of the day, though O’Hare was still experiencing ground traffic delays — for the planes that touch down, but are slower getting to their gates — ranging from 16 to 30 minutes by early evening.

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The timing of the storm — coming after the Friday evening rush hour, with most snow falling while people slept — and the fact snow didn’t stick to most major roads helped keep auto accidents minimal.

“It’s Chicago, it’s great,” resident Casey Gorski told CNN affiliate WLS. “I’ve got no qualms about (the snow) at all.”

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning through 7 a.m. ET Sunday for Appalachian regions of northwest North Carolina, southwest Virginia and southeast West Virginia. While the accumulating snow was expected to be fairly minor, forecasters warned of icy roads and winds gusting as strong as 45 mph.

In addition, expected light snow prompted the agency to issue a winter weather advisory — effective until 1 a.m. ET — for parts of southern and central Virgina as well as northeast North Carolina.

Residents of southern and eastern Minnesota and Wisconsin already saw considerable snow. A foot fell in Hutchinson, Minnesota, about double that in Minneapolis some 60 miles to the east, according to the National Weather Service.

Madison, Wisconsin, got between 3 and 5 inches of snow Saturday, and some snow also fell in the southwest Ohio city of Cincinnati.

Indianapolis also was in the storm’s path. The National Weather Service reported 3 inches had fallen and it predicted flurries in the city through Tuesday. The most snow in Indiana — 7 inches — accumulated 70 miles to the west in Clinton.

Other cities in Indiana and Michigan are expected to be hit hard by snow in the coming days.

Five to 10 inches of lake-effect snow were forecast for Valparaiso, Indiana, located about 50 miles southeast of Chicago, with Gary, Indiana, also feeling the storm’s effect.

Other more eastern communities along Lake Michigan — such as Michigan City, Indiana, and St. Joseph and Buchanan across the border in Michigan — may get as much as 20 inches of snow by daybreak Tuesday. The National Weather Service has issued a warning for lake-effect snow for many of these areas from 8 p.m. Saturday through 6 a.m. Tuesday, predicting snow might fall at a rate of 1 to 3 inches an hour.

Earlier this week, the Buffalo, New York, area, was being buried by such sustained lake-effect snow.

That Wednesday through Friday storm dumped up to 3 feet of snow in a narrow band centered in Lancaster — though locations as little as 12 miles away only got 6 to 12 inches, if not less. Forecasters are also predicting more snow this week in the region.

What happened to the ‘warmest year on record’: The truth is global warming has halted


Winter’s icy grip: Drivers and pedestrians battle through blizzards in Kent last week

Daily Mail | Dec 5, 2010

By David Rose

A year ago tomorrow, just before the opening of the UN Copenhagen world climate summit, the British Meteorological Office issued a confident prediction. The mean world temperature for 2010, it announced, ‘is expected to be 14.58C, the warmest on record’ – a deeply worrying 0.58C above the 19611990 average.

World temperatures, it went on, were locked inexorably into an everrising trend: ‘Our experimental decadal forecast confirms previous indications that about half the years 2010-2019 will be warmer than the warmest year observed so far – 1998.’

Met Office officials openly boasted that they hoped by their statements to persuade the Copenhagen gathering to impose new and stringent carbon emission limits – an ambition that was not to be met.

Last week, halfway through yet another giant, 15,000delegate UN climate jamboree, being held this time in the tropical splendour of Cancun in Mexico, the Met Office was at it again.

Never mind that Britain, just as it was last winter and the winter before, was deep in the grip of a cold snap, which has seen some temperatures plummet to minus 20C, and that here 2010 has been the coolest year since 1996.

Globally, it insisted, 2010 was still on course to be the warmest or second warmest year since current records began.

But buried amid the details of those two Met Office statements 12 months apart lies a remarkable climbdown that has huge implications – not just for the Met Office, but for debate over climate change as a whole.

Read carefully with other official data, they conceal a truth that for some, to paraphrase former US VicePresident Al Gore, is really inconvenient: for the past 15 years, global warming has stopped.

This isn’t meant to be happening. Climate science orthodoxy, as promulgated by bodies such as the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit (CRU), says that temperatures have risen and will continue to rise in step with increasing CO2 in the atmosphere, and make no mistake, with the rapid industrialisation of China and India, CO2 levels have kept on going up.

According to the IPCC and its computer models, without enormous emission cuts the world is set to get between two and six degrees warmer during the 21st Century, with catastrophic consequences.

Last week at Cancun, in an attempt to influence richer countries to agree to give £20billion immediately to poorer ones to offset the results of warming, the US-based International Food Policy Research Institute warned that global temperatures would be 6.5 degrees higher by 2100, leading to rocketing food prices and a decline in production.

The maths isn’t complicated. If the planet were going to be six degrees hotter by the century’s end, it should be getting warmer by 0.6 degrees each decade; if two degrees, then by 0.2 degrees every ten years. Fortunately, it isn’t.

Actually, with the exception of 1998 – a ‘blip’ year when temperatures spiked because of a strong ‘El Nino’ effect (the cyclical warming of the southern Pacific that affects weather around the world) – the data on the Met Office’s and CRU’s own websites show that global temperatures have been flat, not for ten, but for the past 15 years.

They go up a bit, then down a bit, but those small rises and falls amount to less than their measuring system’s acknowledged margin of error. They have no statistical significance and reveal no evidence of any trend at all.

When the Met Office issued its December 2009 preThere-diction, it was clearly expecting an even bigger El Nino spike than happened in 1998 – one so big that it would have dragged up the decade’s average.

But though it was still successfully trying to influence media headlines during Cancun last week by saying that 2010 might yet end up as the warmest year, the small print reveals the Met Office climbdown. Last year it predicted that the 2010 average would be 14.58C. Last week, this had been reduced to 14.52C.

That may not sound like much. But when one considers that by the Met Office’s own account, the total rise in world temperatures since the 1850s has been less than 0.8 degrees, it is quite a big deal. Above all, it means the trend stays flat.

Meanwhile, according to an analysis yesterday by David Whitehouse of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, 2010 had only two unusually warm months, March and April, when El Nino was at its peak.

The data from October to the end of the year suggests that when the final figure is computed, 2010 will not be the warmest year at all, but at most the third warmest, behind both 1998 and 2005.

There is no dispute that the world got a little warmer over some of the 20th Century. (Between 1940 and the early Seventies, temperatures actually fell.)

But little by little, the supposedly settled scientific ‘ consensus’ that the temperature rise is unprecedented, that it is set to continue to disastrous levels, and that it is all the fault of human beings, is starting to fray.

Earlier this year, a paper by Michael Mann – for years a leading light in the IPCC, and the author of the infamous ‘hockey stick graph’ showing flat temperatures for 2,000 years until the recent dizzying increase – made an extraordinary admission: that, as his critics had always claimed, there had indeed been a ‘ medieval warm period’ around 1000 AD, when the world may well have been hotter than it is now.

Other research is beginning to show that cyclical changes in water vapour – a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide – may account for much of the 20th Century warming.

Even Phil Jones, the CRU director at the centre of last year’s ‘Climategate’ leaked email scandal, was forced to admit in a littlenoticed BBC online interview that there has been ‘no statistically significant warming’ since 1995.

One of those leaked emails, dated October 2009, was from Kevin Trenberth, head of climate analysis at the US government’s National Centre for Atmospheric Research and the IPCC’s lead author on climate change science in its monumental 2002 and 2007 reports.

He wrote: ‘The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment, and it is a travesty that we can’t.’

After the leak, Trenberth claimed he still believed the world was warming because of CO2, and that the ‘travesty’ was not the ‘pause’ but science’s failure to explain it.

The question now emerging for climate scientists and policymakers alike is very simple. Just how long does a pause have to be before the thesis that the world is getting hotter because of human activity starts to collapse?

Scotland brought to its knees by arctic blizzard conditions

The Sun | Dec 6, 2010

By KENNY ANGOVE, THOMAS SMITH, ANNABELLE LOVE and NICK SHARP

SCOTLAND was closed for business yesterday as heavy snowfalls and blizzards brought the country to a total STANDSTILL.

More than four inches fell in just two hours yesterday – bringing massive disruption to airports, rail and the ENTIRE roads network.

Thousands of stranded motorists had to abandon their vehicles in nose-to-tail gridlock as motorways were turned into CARPARKS.

One plucky female driver even walked her DOG as the M74 virtually shut down to moving traffic.

A jack-knifed lorry forced the closure of the M8 motorway in both directions outside Edinburgh – while another accident closed the main artery near Glasgow.

The M77, the M80 and A80 were also at a virtual standstill – with fed-up drivers getting out of their motors to walk, while others remained stuck for EIGHT hours.

Another lorry crash forced the closure of the Forth Road Bridge southbound for five hours – while in Dundee another jack-knifed truck caused jams Kingsway.

Even at the Scottish Parliament at The Mound workers had to dig out a double decker after it was left stuck for an hour and a half.

Last night furious commuters complained they had not been properly informed of the carnage on its way – and had not seen any gritters or snowploughs.

BT account manager Tom Butt, 40, took five hours to move the length of THREE cars on the A725 Bellshill bypass – after getting stuck at 9.30am.

Tom, of Irvine Ayrshire, said: “Thank goodness I filled up on Sunday, before I set off – but I’m still worried about running out.

“I’m also worried about what happens once it gets dark.”

Tom said he checked Transport Scotland’s website and listened to radio reports before leaving – but insisted there had been no warning of what was to come.

He said: “I was travelling through to Edinburgh for two meetings, using the M77, the A725 and the M8.

“These are major roads, you’d expect them to be kept open. But they’ve been totally gridlocked.

“My whole day’s been ruined and I’ve no idea what time I will get home.”

Ben Biddall, of Blantyre, North Lanarkshire, said he’d been on the road for EIGHT hours – and was nowhere near his destination.

The bathroom fitter, 50, had left home at 8.30am to travel to Bellshill in his Mercedes Vito works van. He said: “Drivers were sliding everywhere and some were abandoning their cars.

“I went onto the M8, hoping to cut down to Larkhall, but ended up getting stuck there for three and a half hours.

“After that, I was stuck in East Kilbride for an hour and a half. It’s a total joke.”

He added: “I used to stay in Canada and there you could have six foot of snow on the pavements and the roads would be clear.”

Another driver David Shaw told how he had travelled nine miles in SEVEN hours on the M8 in Bathgate, West Lothian.

He said: “The outside lane is totally blocked by snow, it is so deep it is covering the traffic cones. Some people built snowmen at the side of the road.”

But last night Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson said: “More than 160 vehicles and almost 400 staff were working round the clock to keep the network moving.

He said: “Staff are working hard to clear the delays.

“In the past ten days an army of winter staff at Transport Scotland’s operating companies have clocked up around 30,000 man hours.

“They have travelled over 500,000 kilometres and spread approximately 50,000 tonnes of salt.”

The Met Office said the blizzard chaos saw up to 16ins of snow fall in central Scotland – with 13ins Edinburgh and 4ins in Glasgow.Last night the snow was moving south across Dumfries and Galloway and into the Borders.

But weather experts predicted more chaos – with plummeting temperatures making driving conditions treacherous.

The rail-network was also plunged into chaos – with services tto Paisley, Airdrie, Motherwell and Cumbernauld hit.

The Edinburgh to Glasgow service was down to half an hour.

And buses were replacing trains between Dundee and Edinburgh and Perth and Edinburgh. Even some subway stations in Glasgow fell victim to the snow, with many shutting early.

Transport expert Chris Milner said snow cancellations were “difficult to avoid” – but said: “We need a different approach.”

Meanwhile Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Inverness, Kirkwall, Wick and Campbeltown airports were all closed for at least part of the day.

An Ambulance Service spokesman said the conditions were some of the worst crews had ever seen, but added: “Full contingency measures are in operation.”

In Coatbridge a 72-year-old man died after collapsing in the snow. Strathclyde police said there were no suspicious circumstances.

And thousands of pupils were also affected, with schools right across the country closed or shutting early.

Meanwhile police have warned motorists to beware after a spate of car SNOW-jackings.

In one attack in Edinburgh on Friday youths ambushed a driver by pelting his car with snowballs.

When he got out they sped off in his motor. A police spokesman said: “Thieves will look to capitalise from any opportunity.”

Artificial ‘nano-food’ could soon show up at a store near you

Natural News | Dec 6, 2010

by Ethan A. Huff

(NaturalNews) The scientific community has once again caught food-tampering fever. Recent reports indicate that food scientists are busy developing nanoparticle-modified (NM) food that could one day end up on your dinner plate — and you may never even know about it. By shifting around nanoparticles, food scientists say that fat-free foods can taste like full-fat foods, and they can be programmed to digest more slowly–two changes that some say may help reverse the obesity epidemic.

But most of this research is going on in secret because of fears over how the public will respond. Like genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), nano-modifying food involves literally changing its molecular properties, which has never been proven safe. So naturally, consumers are likely to reject NM food if given the choice.

“These particles could be hazardous and we need to know more about their effects both in the body and in the environment,” said Frans Kampers, coordinator of research on food nanotechnology at Wageningen and Research Center in the Netherlands. “Since these particles are very small, they can…enter cells or even the nucleus of a cell if they have the right characteristics.”

The stated goal of nanotechnology research in food is to create foods that behave differently than real ones in terms of digestion, assimilation, taste and nutritional value. By altering the “nano-structure” of food, so to speak, NM food can be programmed to make people feel fuller faster, for instance. And nutrients in food can also be nano-encapsulated to release at timed intervals to specific parts of the body.

Even though NM food has yet to see the light day, the European Union (EU) is already taking proactive steps to make sure that, if it does make it to consumers, NM food will at least be regulated and labeled. Thus, the EU has developed a research project called NanoLyse to address the “very limited knowledge [that is] available on the potential impact of engineered nanoparticles on consumers’ health.”

Study links cellphones to child misbehavior


Marko Calasan attends class at his elementary school in Skopje February 8, 2010. Credit: Reuters/Ognen Teofilovski

Children whose mothers used cellphones while pregnant and who also used the phones themselves were 50 percent more likely to have behavioral problems.

Experts at the U.S. National Institutes of Health had no immediate comment.

Reuters | Dec 6, 2010

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Researchers studying the health effects of cellphones say they have found evidence that when pregnant women use them regularly, their children are more likely to have behavioral problems.

The study, sure to renew controversy over the safety of mobile telephones, does not demonstrate that cellphone use causes the behavioral problems and does not suggest a possible way that they could.

But the researchers say their findings are worth checking out.

“It is hard to understand how such low exposures could be influential,” Dr. Leeka Kheifets, an epidemiologist at the University of California Los Angeles who led the study, said in a telephone interview.

“It is just something that needs to be pursued.”

Kheifets and her team looked at data from 28,000 7-year-olds and their mothers who took part in a large Danish study that has been tracking 100,000 women who were pregnant between 1996 and 2002.

The mothers of about 3 percent of the children said they had borderline behavioral problems, and 3 percent showed abnormal behavior, such as obedience or emotional issues.

The children whose mothers used cellphones while pregnant and who also used the phones themselves were 50 percent more likely to have behavioral problems, the researchers reported in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Children whose mothers used the phones but who did not themselves use mobile phones were 40 percent more likely to have behavioral problems, they found. They found the children were no more likely to have epilepsy or delays in development.

About 5 billion mobile phones are in use worldwide. The World Health Organization, the American Cancer Society and the National Institutes of Health have found no evidence that cellphone use can damage health.

INCONCLUSIVE STUDIES

Last May, experts who studied 13,000 cellphone users over 10 years hoping to find out whether they cause brain tumors found no clear answer.

International researchers launched the biggest study to date into mobile phones and health in April. [nLDE63L1UO]

Kheifets tried to account for other possible causes, such as whether women who used cellphones were different from women who did not, especially during the time of their pregnancies when cellphone use was less common than it is now.

“We looked at social status, we looked at the sex of the child, we looked at the mother’s history of behavioral problems, we looked at the mother’s age and stress during pregnancy and whether the child was breastfed or not,” she said.

“One thought was that it was it not cellphone use but mothers’ inattention that led to behavior problems. While it was important, it didn’t explain the association that we found.”

Nonetheless, some experts questioned the findings.

“I am skeptical of these results, even though they will get a lot of publicity,” said David Spiegelhalter, a professor of Biostatistics at Britain’s University of Cambridge.

“The authors suggest that precautionary measures may be warranted because they have ‘virtually no cost’, but they ignore the cost of giving intrusive health advice based on inadequate science.”

Experts at the U.S. National Institutes of Health had no immediate comment.

John Walls of the mobile telephone industry group CTIA noted that other studies have failed to show a health risk from cellphones. “We just don’t comment on any specific studies because we don’t have any expertise, frankly,” Walls said in a telephone interview.