Google Versus Environmentalists on Issue of Stray Cats

29 May 2018

As Google Feeds Cats, Owl Lovers Cry Foul – NY Times, 2018/05/26

Google never set out to threaten biodiversity in its front yard, of course. Like so many stories these days about Big Tech, this is a tale about how attempts to do good often produce unexpected consequences, and how even smart people (especially, perhaps, smart people) can be reluctant to rethink their convictions.

At Google, it is not so much that workers do not like birds as it is that they really love cats. There is an employee group called GCat Rescue that traps the cats around the so-called Googleplex. Kittens and friendly adults are put up for adoption. Less-friendly adult cats are neutered and released.

This is about how Google loves and feeds stray cats. However, the cats have been feasting on owls in the area.

“We lose the owls, we lose something else next, and then something else,” Ms. McLaughlin said. “We need biodiversity.”


Janet Alexander, a spokeswoman for the animal control group, said, “Google understands the cats are not supposed to cross the line into the park.”

The cats seem to have a different understanding.

I love the last part… the cats did not get the memo.

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Bioplastics in Cars Attracting Rodents for Dinner

8 May 2018

Rats can’t resist the wiring in newer cars: Here’s whyUSA Today, 2018/05/07

In 2016 in California, a class-action lawsuit against Toyota claimed the company should cover — under warranty — damage from rodents chewing through insulation for wiring that is now soy-based rather than petroleum-based.


“While advances in car construction can be beneficial to the environment, there may also be unforeseen consequences such as making your car more appetizing to rodents,” Tracy Noble, spokeswoman of AAA Mid-Atlantic, said in a 2016 press release.


The Los Angeles lawyer is involved in a class-action lawsuit on behalf of Albert Heber of Delphi, Ind., whose 2012 Tundra had its soy-based insulated wiring chewed through by rodents three times, the first in 2013. The costs of repair totaled about $1,500 — damage that Kabateck said Toyota wouldn’t cover under warranty.

“Our contention, why soy is certainly — it’s laudable — they’re trying to be more green, at the same time, it’s becoming a potential food product for rats,” Kabateck said. He believes rats find it “delicious.”

So I had to look up why car manufacturers are using soy based wiring.

 

Are Bioplastics In Cars Leading To More Rodent Damage? How To Prevent Rats from Eating Your Car Wires, 2017/05/29

In recent years, the auto industry has become very focused on the initiative to “go green” with a major shift to try and reduce reliance on petroleum based products. This has led to a whole variety of car parts being made from different organic substances such as soy, corn, sugar cane, recycled wood, castor beans, etc.

A large part of our cars are made from food. No wonder rats are pigging out. So they are focused on being more green – great. Seems as though they didn’t think of the rats. But there’s also this…

 

How Car Manufacturers Benefit From Soy Based WiringHow To Prevent Rats from Eating Your Car Wires, 2017/11/16

I’ll just hit the bullet points.

  • Dealerships Get More Business
  • Expensive, Labor Intensive Work
  • Insurance Requires Factory Made Parts
  • Honda’s Rodent Tape

 

So if this is an issue for you, you may want to ask some questions when purchasing that shiny new car.

Maybe there is an actual benefit to petroleum based products.


Bathroom Hot Air Dryers: Saves Paper, Spreads Germs Per Study

19 Apr 2018

Hot-air dryers suck in nasty bathroom bacteria and shoot them at your handsARS Technica, 2018/04/06

Hot-air dryers suck in bacteria and hardy bacterial spores loitering in the bathroom—perhaps launched into the air by whooshing toilet flushes—and fire them directly at your freshly cleaned hands, according to a study published in the April issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology. The authors of the study, led by researchers at the University of Connecticut, found that adding HEPA filters to the dryers can reduce germ-spewing four-fold. However, the data hints that places like infectious disease research facilities and healthcare settings may just want to ditch the dryers and turn to trusty towels.


The research findings largely square with other data showing that hot-air dryers and jet dryers can launch and disperse germs from hands into the air and onto surfaces—essentially setting off a very dirty bathroom bomb. But the new study clearly demonstrates that the less powerful hot-air dryers can also bathe hands with germs already swirling in the wash room.

The researchers speculated that “one reason hand dryers may disperse so many bacteria is the large amount of air that passes through hand dryers, 19,000 linear feet/min at the nozzle. The convection generated by high airflow below the hand dryer nozzles could also draw in room air.”

That does not give me the warm fuzzies… paper it is.


The Origin of the EPA and Secret Science

21 Mar 2018

Where did “Secret Science” start? Is this just Scott Pruitt doing the work of corporations? Is he just some outlaw who is unilaterally dismantling the EPA?

First of all – this is not solely a Scott Pruitt production. He is not some renegade outlaw who is here just overturning stuff to please corporations.

The House passed a bill on this Secret Science in 2015, that the Democrat Senate sat on.

Why did this get traction in the House? There was a Senate investigation done that resulted in a report.

Have you heard of John Beale? He was an EPA guy who falsely claimed to be a CIA agent… not just once – he faked the whole persona. He got thrown in prison for 32 months.

EPA’s fake spy gets prison sentence – Politico, 2013/12/18

John C. Beale, the former EPA official who convinced his bosses, friends and even his wife that he was a CIA spy, was sentenced to 32 months in prison Wednesday for defrauding the agency out of nearly $900,000 in unearned pay and bonuses.


At the hearing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Wednesday, Beale described his compulsion to lie as “something like an addiction,” but he added that he didn’t want it to sound like an excuse.

Why do I bring this guy up?

Because he is the one who spear-headed the effort of the legislation mentioned in the article that I just previously posted.  It mentions how costly the regulations are with regards to Ozone and Particulate Matter.

Here is the Senate Report.

EPA’s Playbook Unveiled: A Story of Fraud, Deceit and Secret Science – U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, 2014/03/19

Some of the findings in the report…

Brenner’s decision to hire Beale was based solely on their personal relationship and not on Beale’s qualifications. Beale himself admitted that he had no environmental experience. In the critical area of federal legislative experience, Beale’s supposed qualification was an unpaid undergraduate internship for Senator John Tunney (D-CA).


Beginning in 1995, Beale and Brenner took the lead on EPA’s internal process to set National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for Ozone and Particulate Matter (PM). The duo set in motion “EPA’s Playbook,” a strategy to game the system by compressing the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) review via a friendly sue-and-settle arrangement, relying on secret science, and inflating benefits while underestimating costs.


With these standards, EPA sought to regulate fine particulates (PM2.5) in addition to larger particles (PM10) for the first time under the NAAQS, despite a distinct lack of scientific understanding of the integrity of the underlying data.


The two studies EPA relied upon, known as the Harvard “Six Cities” and American Cancer Society (ACS II) studies, were and remain controversial. EPA’s own scientific advisors warned EPA that the Six Cities study was “not in the peer-reviewed literature” and emphasized that there were significant uncertainties with the data, meaning EPA’s decision to proceed with the standards was a pure “policy call.”


Both Administrator Carol Browner and AA Mary Nichols admitted that neither of them had actually read the studies. Rather, it appears that Browner and Nichols deferred to the “expertise” of EPA’s career staff — Beale and Brenner — to make this “policy call.”


Beale led EPA’s effort to suppress interagency criticism of the standards and issued the “Beale Memo,” threatening OIRA officials who dared to criticize EPA in a letter to Congress. EPA tried to hide the existence of the Beale Memo from Congress, but was undermined by a conscientious whistleblower who surreptitiously turned over the memo to Congressional staff.

 

So you have a confessed addicted liar with no environmental experience in the EPA making policy based on science that was questionable by the EPA’s own experts.

This is how the Secret Science got started.

This removal of hiding the science behind the regulation is about shining light on an agency that affects how private business operates. There is nothing wrong with that. Transparency is good.


EPA Chief Pruitt to End Use of “Secret Science”

21 Mar 2018

Scott Pruitt Will End EPA’s Use of ‘Secret Science’ to Justify Regulations – The Stream, 2018/03/20

Pruitt will reverse long-standing EPA policy allowing regulators to rely on non-public scientific data in crafting rules. Such studies have been used to justify tens of billions of dollars worth of regulations.

EPA regulators would only be allowed to consider scientific studies that make their data available for public scrutiny under Pruitt’s new policy. Also, EPA-funded studies would need to make all their data public.


Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith pushed legislation to end the use of what he calls “secret science” at EPA. Pruitt instituted another policy in 2017 backed by Smith against EPA-funded scientists serving on agency advisory boards.

“If we use a third party to engage in scientific review or inquiry, and that’s the basis of rulemaking, you and every American citizen across the country deserve to know what’s the data, what’s the methodology that was used to reach that conclusion that was the underpinning of what — rules that were adopted by this agency,” Pruitt explained.


Democrats and environmentalists have largely opposed attempts to require EPA rely on transparent scientific data. Said data would restrict the amount of studies EPA can use, but a major objection is making data public would reveal confidential patient data, opponents argue.

“A lot of the data that EPA uses to protect public health and ensure that we have clean air and clean water relies on data that cannot be publicly released,” Union of Concerned Scientists representative Yogin Kothari told E&E News.

“It really hamstrings the ability of the EPA to do anything, to fulfill its mission,” Kothari said.

I don’t see how this hamstrings anything. No one is asking for private data, but the methodology should be available for all – especially since government spending and private company compliance costs come into play with the EPA.


4.2 Earthquake in Oklahoma

5 Mar 2018

Damage reported after earthquakes in Oklahoma – Fox News, 2018/03/05

The U.S. Geological Survey reports the quakes hit Sunday evening near the town of Breckenridge, about 70 miles (113 kilometers) north of Oklahoma City.

Garfield County Emergency Management Director Mike Honigsberg says bricks were split or pulled from walls of homes and buildings, while cracks were reported in walls and ceilings. Smaller quakes were reported in the same area early Monday.

No injuries were reported.


Sewage Leaks From Mexico Sickening California Beachgoers

7 Nov 2017

2017/11/06 – US ‘doesn’t give a crap’ about Mexico sewage spills sickening Calif. beachgoers, critics say – Fox News

Up to 200 days a year, this otherwise pristine beach in Southern California is closed because of raw sewage and industrial waste from Mexico, a treaty violation for which Washington has shown little interest in enforcing.

“Unfortunately, the U.S. government seems to be in the mode that everything’s fine and don’t worry about it,” says Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina, who got sick last week after surfing in the contaminated water. “That doesn’t fly anymore.”


Besides a slow federal response, Harris blames the state of California, which is tough with corporate and individual polluters, but takes a velvet glove-approach with Mexico, despite emissions of toxic chemicals and metals like chromium, cadmium and lead that has burned the soles and laces of border agent boots.

California seems to prefer the cafeteria approach to when they want to apply federal and state government standards.