Daily Archives: May 7, 2014

Views from the Solar System (208)

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Earth’s Atmospheric Layers

NASA – International Space Station astronauts captured this photo of Earth’s atmospheric layers on July 31, 2011, revealing the troposphere (orange-red), stratosphere and above. Satellite instruments allow scientists to better understand the chemistry and dynamics occurring within and between these layers.

NASA monitors Earth’s vital signs from land, air and space with a fleet of satellites and ambitious and ground-based observation campaigns. NASA develops new ways to observe and study Earth’s interconnected natural systems with long-term data records and computer analysis tools to better see how our planet is changing. The agency shares this unique knowledge with the global community and works with institutions in the United States and around the world that contribute to understanding and protecting our home planet.

> National Climate Assessment

> Administrator’s Blog: NASA’s Role in Climate Assessment

> Earth Right Now

Image Credit: NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth

7 Reasons U.S. Infrastructure Projects Cost Way More Than They Should

By Scott Beyer – Here are some particularly costly ones:

1. Davis-Bacon Laws – Passed in 1931, the Davis-Bacon Act mandates that laborers for federal public works projects receive local prevailing wages. Meant to elevate the pay of carpenters and mechanics, the law today dubiously elevates costs.

The Labor Department determines these wages not through comprehensive Bureau of Labor Statistics data, but a special bureaucracy called the Wage and Hour Division. It is known for conducting byzantine local pay studies that delay construction, and favor union wage scales. more> http://tinyurl.com/lhw3m8l

The End of Food

By Lizzie Widdicombe – “You need amino acids and lipids, not milk itself,” Rob Rhinehart said.

“You need carbohydrates, not bread.” Fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals, but they’re “mostly water.”

He began to think that food was an inefficient way of getting what he needed to survive. What if he went straight to the raw chemical components?

He took a break from experimenting with software and studied textbooks on nutritional biochemistry and the Web sites of the F.D.A., the U.S.D.A., and the Institute of Medicine. Eventually, Rhinehart compiled a list of thirty-five nutrients required for survival. more> http://tinyurl.com/q4f9cs4

This Concrete-Eating Robot Can Recycle An Entire Building On The Spot

By Adele Peters – Knocking down a concrete building usually takes brute force: Wrecking balls, huge excavators, or explosives rip apart walls while fire hoses spray water to keep the clouds of dust down. It’s an energy-intensive process, and after everything’s been torn apart, the concrete often ends up in a landfill or has to be trucked to a recycling facility. But a new concrete-erasing robot may eventually transform the messy business of demolition.

The ERO (short for “erosion”) robot uses water to disassemble concrete and then sucks all of the separate components–cement, sand, and aggregate–neatly into different packages for reuse. more> http://tinyurl.com/n37c5rl

Good Report! Now, About That Climate

Bloomberg – If you still don’t believe in climate change, this report is unlikely to change your mind.

How to change those minds is a less pressing challenge than how to slow down climate change.

The basic answer is clear enough — release less carbon dioxide into the air — but making it happen is anything but. Broadly speaking, it will require changing incentives, laws and regulations in the U.S. as well as pushing for international agreements to do the same. The U.S. may not be able to stop climate change on its own, but it can lead by example. more> http://tinyurl.com/qhfkxkw

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CONGRESS WATCH Inviting Third District Students to Apply for U.S. Service Academies, US Congress Lucas Statement on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, US Congress Lucas Statement on H.R. 2575, the Save American Workers Act, US Congress

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CONGRESS WATCH Boehner to Establish Select Committee on Benghazi, speaker.gov H.R. 4007, the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) Authorization and Accountability Act of 2014, Committee on Homeland Security/US Congress House Passes Fiscal Year 2015 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Legislation, … Continue reading

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CONGRESS WATCH Congressmen Lee Terry and Jeff Fortenberry Support Nebraska Veterans Hospital, YouTube [VIDEO 11:31] Keystone XL: What More Will It Take? YouTube [VIDEO 1:49] Congressman Terry Responds to MSNBC’s Ed Show, YouTube [VIDEO 7:20] Is Keystone XL President Obama’s … Continue reading

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CONGRESS WATCH Sen. Paul Speaks in Support of Stand with Israel Act of 2014, US Senate Rand Paul Holds Economic Freedom Zones Roundtable in West Louisville, Phillip M. Bailey, wfpl.org Economic Freedom Zones (pdf), US Senate U.S. Sen. Rand Paul … Continue reading

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CONGRESS WATCH Sen. Toomey Supports Bill To Improve Fire Safety, US Senate Puddles, YouTube [VIDEO 0:49] Missing In America Project Toomey On Proposed Minimum Wage Hike: ‘A Half Million Americans Would Lose Their Jobs’, Chris Stigall, cbslocal.com