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Love Your Planet

first_imgModern astronomy and space travel have given humans the ability to view the earth from a distance and ponder its significance.  Some astronomers expected the earth to be ordinary-looking.  In many respects, however, astronomy is teaching us otherwise.  Clara Moskowitz, staff writer for Space.com began an article by saying, “Earth is one special planet.”    What makes the earth special?  Let her count the ways:Liquid water in abundance – but not too much water to submerge the continents.Plate tectonics and active geology.A magnetic field that shelters it from harmful solar radiation.The only planet known to have life.The only planet known to have intelligent life.The only known planet hosting intelligent beings who have achieved space travel.An environment that has kept water liquid for a long time.A safe distance from its star.A carbon-silicate cycle that has operated for a long time.The right size to hold onto an atmosphere, yet have a habitable surface.A moon the right size and distance to stabilize earth’s tilt and rotation.A moon that circulates the ocean tides.Moskowitz entertained hopes that astronomers will find billions of earth-like planets eventually, but her list of unique features of the home planet is impressive.  No other planet or moon in the solar system comes close: not Venus, Mars, Jupiter, or Titan.  No other body is in the “Goldilocks” position of being just right.  And “So far,” she added, “we haven’t seen any planet outside the solar system come very close to Earth either.”  Of the extrasolar planets discovered so far (going on 300), many are “hot Jupiters” or gas giants as close in as Mercury to our sun, or even closer.  An earth-like planet could not compete in the habitable zone of such a system.    She quoted Donald Brownlee, co-author of Rare Earth (12/19/2000, 07/15/2002) and project scientist of the Stardust mission (01/02/2004, 01/25/2008), who said, “I doubt that in our galaxy typical stars have planets just like Earth around them.  I’m sure there are lots of planets in the galaxy that are somewhat similar to Earth, but the idea that this is a typical planet is nonsensical.”  See also the 04/04/2005 entry, where five astronomers on a panel agreed that our solar system is special.Brownlee appeared briefly in the DVD The Privileged Planet explaining his view about the uniqueness of earth.  The unique properties listed above and more are discussed in the film – along with a thought-provoking hypothesis about why these features point to intelligent design.  The production includes startling admissions by a variety of astronomers, some hostile to intelligent design but struck by the facts of nature.  If you haven’t yet seen this powerful and beautiful film, order a copy today.  It makes a nice loaner and conversation starter.(Visited 10 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Brand South Africa congratulates team South Africa for their achievements in their respective sporting fields

first_imgJohannesburg, Monday 16 July 2018 – As we commemorate Nelson Mandela’s Centenary this month, the country is reminded of some of Mandela’s passions that unify citizens and contribute towards building a better world for all, one of which is sport.In the words of the great statesman, “Sports have the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sports can create hope, where there was once only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers.” Brand South Africa congratulates our sports women and men for their sporting achievements over the weekend. Sport is a great way of building the image and reputation of the nation brand and its attractiveness on a global stage. It is with this notion that the importance of good performance in sport is acknowledged as a positive construct to position the nation brand for competitive advantage.“Thank you team South Africa, the country’s prowess in sport is and continues to reach great stature because of your dedication”, said Brand South Africa’s Chief Marketing Officer Mrs Linda Magapatona-Sangaret.Some of the weekend sporting achievements include;Record-breaking tennis playoffs by Kevin Anderson, Raven Klaasen and Kgothatso Montjane at WimbledonIn golf, Justin Harding carded a one-under-par 71 to secure his maiden Asian Tour victory at the Indonesia Open and Brandon Stone for winning the Scottish Open by four strokesA first-ever win in motorsport,for Brad Binder at the Moto2 race in Germany at the Sachsenring circuitCaster Semenya set a new South African record in Athletics at Rabat Diamond League in Morocco“It is truly fitting that our sports men and women did us proud during Mandela service month, when we are all urged to be the legacy. I believe there are many young people who have been encouraged to persevere and chase their dreams. Brand South Africa hails all South Africans who represented us across the globe, this past weekend” adds Mrs Magapatona-Sangaret.BrandSouthAfrica and @Brand_SATo set up interviews, please contact: Ntombi NtanziTel: 011 712 5071Email: [email protected]last_img read more

Housing Inefficiency’s Tenacious Companion: Climate Change

first_imgAt least three stories published this week home in on problems associated with climate change, with one story focused on the politics of climate change legislation, another aimed at challenges to limiting greenhouse gas emissions caused by home energy use, and the third on what the science community says will happen should we fail to significantly reduce emissions sooner rather than later.An article in Wednesday’s New York Times offered a sober assessment of the prospects for U.S. Senate adoption of a bill to combat global warming – a bill that almost certainly would be weaker than the American Clean Energy and Security Act, more commonly known as the Waxman-Markey bill, or H.R. 2454, passed by the House of Representatives in June.The House bill has a provision that would require a 17% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 (the original target was 20%) and an 83% reduction by 2050 from 2005 levels through a cap-and-trade system. The House bill also calls for the establishment and nationwide implementation of improved building energy code, a provision opposed by many industry groups, including the National Association of Home Builders. The national code would mandate a 30% increase in efficiency over 2006 IECC requirements upon enactment, a 50% increase by 2014, and a 75% increase by 2029.A Capitol Hill WorkaroundAs the Times story explains, Senator John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, and Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, have teamed up to try to create consensus on climate change legislation. But they are focusing more on a bill that, as Graham put it, would create jobs, whether by drilling for offshore oil or building wind turbines. The cap-and-trade option has, for this year at least, been nudged off the table and into the dumper.The two other stories, meanwhile, suggest that the more prudent long-term course of action for our Senate lawmakers would in fact be to hew very closely to H.R. 2454 rather than retreat from key measures such as cap-and-trade and national code.Dailyclimate.org, a division of nonprofit Environmental Health Services that provides overviews of news coverage related to climate change, on Monday posted a story highlighting challenges to improving the energy efficiency of housing in the U.S. The article cited an almost 5% increase since 2007 in the number of homes built to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star standard, but also noted that those homes accounted for only about 17% of the new inventory.Selling efficiency to homebuyersThe story cites comments by Sam Rashkin, the national director of the EPA’s Energy Star Homes program, that illuminate housing’s role in emissions. Home energy use, he says, accounts for 16% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. But he adds that even though 99% of its homes are poorly insulated and sealed, most could be made at least 30% more energy efficient with cost-effective improvements.Among the principal challenges are finding ways to help prospective homebuyers and current homeowners manage the costs and understand the benefits of energy efficiency. One priority: urge the mortgage industry to more prominently market “energy efficient” mortgages, which roll the cost of energy efficiency improvements into the mortgage. Marketing the benefits of energy efficiency in a convincing way may be the tougher challenge, but also the most expedient one, the story points out.“Consumers really, really need more information about efficient homes,” Aleisha Khan, executive director of the Building Codes Assistance Project, told Dailyclimate. “They just aren’t getting it.”Scientists reemphasize a pointAs if to remind everyone of the urgency of the situation, the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit advocacy group formed in 1969 by MIT faculty and students, posted a news release on Tuesday that reiterates climate scientists’ imperatives regarding greenhouse gas emissions.The UCS points out that a failure by the U.S. to pass a comprehensive climate bill in the coming months – including a provision that would require emissions cuts at least 80% below 2005 levels by 2050 – would lock in the worst consequences of climate change, most especially the trapping of heat by the earth’s atmosphere. The quickest and by far least expensive way to deal with the problem, the scientists say, is to act this year.Intended to fire up interest in the subject before President Obama’s State of the Union address on Wednesday, the group targets as in adequate the compromise proposal being floated in the Senate, and says it includes loopholes and exemptions that “would do less to promote renewable energy sources than state policies already in place.”H.R. 2454, on the other hand, would put a price on carbon emissions and offer a mix of market incentives compelling enough to make its carbon cap goals realistic, UCS says.“Economists agree that a carbon price is a critical, cost-effective way for the United States to reduce its emissions and transition to a clean energy economy,” UCS economist Rachel Cleetus says in the memo. “A strong cap would encourage investments in clean energy sources and energy efficiency and help ensure that U.S. companies capture a share of the growing global market in clean technologies. Green is the new red, white and blue.”last_img read more

Just not good enough to be in ICC Test Team

first_imgAfter successive 0-4 defeats in England and Australia, it is no surprise that no Indian player has made it to the latest ICC Test Team of the year. For those were not defeats, but debacles which exposed the inherent weaknesses of Indian players in overseas conditions like never before.In England, India managed 300 in just one of their eight innings, while Down Under, seven of their eight efforts fell short of 400. To make matters worse, the bowlers failed to put any kind of pressure on the opposition batsmen, resulting in four of the eight debacles being innings losses.The jury has clearly taken recent performances into consideration while finalising the team. That explains why South Africa, the new No.1 Test side, have five representatives in the 12. England, their immediate predecessors have three, while the West Indies, Pakistan, Australia and Sri Lanka provide a player each.India play mostly in familiar home conditions in the new seasons. This should help the team’s stock rise by the time the ICC comes up with its next dream team.last_img read more