Daily Digest 1/20 - A Malian Quagmire, The Tar Sands' Long Shadow
Even with bright spots such as signs of strength in housing and an energy boom that’s lowering fuel costs for manufacturers, forecasters predict a slower expansion as federal tax increases and spending cuts crimp growth and demand for exports drops with a weakening global economy. While the U.S. economy advanced at a 3.1 percent rate in the third quarter, growth of just 2 percent is seen this year, according to the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
Obama at the same time faces united Republican opposition to his agenda and pressure to slash federal spending.
“It’s one of the darker sides of the Arab uprisings,” said Robert Malley, the Middle East and North Africa director at the International Crisis Group. “Their peaceful nature may have damaged Al Qaeda and its allies ideologically, but logistically, in terms of the new porousness of borders, the expansion of ungoverned areas, the proliferation of weapons, the disorganization of police and security services in all these countries — it’s been a real boon to jihadists.”
From a military standpoint, the French had to act. More than 8,000 French citizens live in Mali, many of them in Bamako. And last week militant groups were on the verge of seizing a militarily vital airfield in the town of Sevare. Had the field been overrun, it would have been enormously difficult for troops from France or a UN-mandated West African force to have moved into Mali.
What happened to all of Canada’s energy visionaries? (westcoastjan)
“We are in a market box and it takes a visionary leader to get the capital, the social permission and the economic drivers to break out of that box,” said a former industry executive who asked not to be named. “It’s at the root of why these problems aren’t going away and the obstacles are enormous. A good leadership should be able to shift the strategy so that the company continues to flourish. And that is what is missing. It’s the inability to see the changing environment.”
The politics of the issue do not divide neatly along party lines. Opponents include most state lawmakers from the region, all of whom are Republicans. A prominent supporter is the minority leader of the State Senate, Richard L. Saslaw, a Democrat, who lives in the northern suburbs. Asked about buried uranium tailings that remain a risk for hundreds of years, Mr. Saslaw, who is known for unguarded statements, said in a radio interview, “I’m not going to be here.”
The Tar Sands' Long Shadow (westcoastjan)
By pinning their hopes to an ever-expanding tar sands sector, Canada and Alberta are making a bet that the world won’t move to tackle climate change. In the process, they’re squandering Canada’s chance to be a leader in the clean energy economy: while other countries are investing in wind and solar, Canada is cutting funding to renewable power and subsidizing the tar sands. Even worse, our governments’ approach ignores the consequences of climate change itself, putting people inside and outside of Canada at risk of devastating impacts that include droughts, storms, floods, and the spread of disease.
Half a Million Plus Three to Five Years (jdargis)
Our procedure was to drill down 300 meters with a short hose and pause it there to create a cavity of water, which would then be pumped to the ice surface and used to supply water to the main hose, 3,400 meters in length. Once the cavity was established, the main hose was drilled to 300 meters and should have connected to the cavity. This is necessary as the pump in the short hose could then be used to regulate the pressure in the main borehole—vital prior to lake entry. The problem was that the main hose did not connect to the cavity. Our attempts to do this reduced our fuel supply to the point where we could no longer reach the lake even if we did connect to the cavity.
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