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Walking out to protest gun violence? Robert De Niro just wrote a note to your principal.

On April 20, students from more than 2,500 schools nationwide will walk out of their classrooms to protest gun violence.

At 10 a.m. on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting, students across the country will drop what they’re doing and leave their classrooms behind as part of the National School Walkout.

The walkout is continuing an important national conversation that has begun in the wake of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. Teens are refusing to let the debate fade from public consciousness until gun laws change.

Students will participate in a variety of activities organized by the leaders of that school’s walkouts. While some may return to class —  several school districts have already issued statements saying that not doing so will result in disciplinary action — others will march on their local lawmakers’ offices, call on the government for widespread gun reform, and register people to vote.

Some will, in accordance with the wishes of the officials at Columbine, participate in a day of service.

The protests have received widespread support. But one actor went even further to stand in solidarity with America’s students.

Photo by Karim Sahid/AFP/Getty Images.

Robert De Niro, a vocal critic of the NRA and now ally to the #NeverAgain movement, has penned an absence note for anyone who’s planning to take part in the walkout.

Didn’t expect De Niro to be the one to get all those students out of class? He’s got compelling reasons.

The letter, shared by the National School Walkout’s official Twitteropens with an appeal to educators to understand that they and De Niro want “a safe nurturing environment for [student] education and growth.” Then, De Niro outlined all the reasons he’s asked educators to excuse his children in the past, making it clear how those reasons are relevant to the walkout.

“Gun violence is a devastating disease,” he wrote under the heading of “health.” De Niro goes on to make the case that the walkout is an example of good citizenship — “This is what good citizenship is all about” — and education.

“What an opportunity to teach these kids history by encouraging them to make history,” De Niro stated. “Let them learn about the American tradition of protest for change as they experience it.”

View image on Twitter

Would most principals accept this letter? No. But it’s an urgent reminder to stand with the students.

The walkout is important. There’s no argument about that.

But it’s not about just a call for change; it’s a demand that, as a country, we don’t become desensitized to gun violence. The walkout’s creator, high school sophomore Lane Murdock, lives just miles from Newtown, Connecticut, the site of the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting. She said the idea for the walkout came to her after she realized that her own reaction to the February 2018 shooting at Parkland wasn’t one of sadness or fear.

“I really felt quite numb to it. Our whole country is pretty desensitized to gun violence and once I realized I was, too, it really scared me,” she told USA Today. “I was no longer surprised that people were dying. That shouldn’t be the case.”

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Survivors of gun violence call for change at the March for our Lives rally in Washington, D.C. in March 2018. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

De Niro’s note is a good start, but here’s hoping that parents and adults see it and decide to write notes of their own — or, even better, also sit down with their teens to discuss what the walkout means and the impact that young people can have in the world.

“Keeping up the momentum is important,” said Murdock. “We saw that low after March for Our Lives, but students aren’t quitting on this. Our generation is demanding change and won’t be ignored or swept under the rug.”

Share image: Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty Ima
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Tiny Solar Thermal Power Plant Solves Gigantic Salt Problem

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We’ve been getting all excited about Ivanpah and Crescent Dunes, two new gigantic concentrating solar thermal projects in California and Nevada. Now let’s turn our attention to a third solar thermal plant at the Panoche Water and Drainage District in California.

This one, from a company called WaterFX, is different in terms of scale (miniature compared to the first two), solar energy collection (its concentrators are troughs, not flat panels), and thermal platform (it uses a form of mineral oil, not molten salt).

solar thermal desalination

Solar Power Desalination Solves Part Of the Problem…

The plant is actually a modular, integrated system that WaterFX calls the Aqua4™ Concentrated Solar Still, and it’s designed to solve a problem bedeviling the water desalination field: what to do with all the leftover salty brine after you’ve extracted all the fresh water?

That problem is bound to keep growing as already-stressed global water resources keep shrinking, forcing farmers and other users to tap formerly overlooked sources including seawater, brackish groundwater, and various forms of wastewater.

One key element in the problem is that advanced desalination typically uses a high-pressure process called reverse osmosis, which requires a tremendous amount of energy, adding to the global carbon burden aside from adding to costs.

The energy factor can be partly solved by using solar power for desalination, along with other forms of clean, renewable energy.

However, that still leaves the salt problem. According to WaterFX, typical reverse osmosis operations only recover about half their input in the form of freshwater. The other half is a saltwater brine that needs to be further processed or transported offsite for environmentally responsible disposal.

To get reverse osmosis from the 50 percent recovery rate to a more concentrated byproduct would help ease disposal costs but that would require more pressure, which requires more energy, making the whole system less cost-effective.

The resource recovery route also involves additional expense, since the highly diluted brine would have to undergo additional steps to achieve a concentration that makes extraction cost-effective.

…And Here’s A Solution For The Other Part

One Aqua4 module is designed to produce about 65,000 gallons of freshwater daily, with a relatively small footprint of just 160 x 40 feet.

The system basically consists of common off-the-shelf components including a 400 kW trough-shaped solar thermal collector that focuses energy on a pipe through which mineral oil runs.

The heated oil goes to a heat pump to ramp up efficiency, which goes to a distillation system that yields a freshwater condensate and a concentrated brine.

The system also includes a thermal energy storage component so it can continue to operate at night, but that’s not what caught our attention.

What did catch our eye is the potential for resource recovery from spent brine, helping to make the operation cost-effective.

Here’s how it works on the agricultural drainage water of Central Valley, which is typically discarded as an unsuable byproduct of irrigation. The salinity level for drainage water in that region can range higher than the content of seawater.

The solar power plant provides emission-free energy that can be cheaper than fossil fuels, helping to keep energy costs down.

The distillation part of the process achieves a recovery rate of more than 93 percent while working far more quickly than natural evaporation and simple stills.

The concentration of salt in this solution is more than 20 percent by weight, enabling a cost-effective solids extraction process. The idea is that since you’re dealing with far smaller volumes of brine, you don’t need the kind of high-volume equipment (and energy input) that would be required when the recovery rate is only 50 percent.

Now, About That Salt…

Right now the project is in phase one, with the equipment humming along nicely and plans afoot for expansion.

Phase 2 is where the rubber will hit the road in terms of resource recovery. Due for completion this fall, phase 2 is expected to demonstrate that resource recovery can from the brine can be managed with minimal environmental impacts, if any.

The recoverable products include gypsum and calcium compounds that are widely used in the building industry for drywall, plaster, and cement.

Also present in the brine from this particular drainage area are magnesium salts, which are used in the medical industry, selenium (a health supplement), nitrates (fertilizer), and boron, best known for its use in bleach and pyrotechnics among many other uses.

Boron is also coming into its own in high-efficiency electronics and cutting edge solar technology, and for the record, selenium is also used in electronics as well as glass making, so altogether the region could be looking at a new high-value, job-creating industry in tandem with its agriculture base.

WaterFX also points out that the re-use of local groundwater reduces carbon emissions related to long-distance transportation of freshwater supplies, and it could also help alleviatewater resource competition issues  that are sure to intensify unless more sustainable solutions are adopted.

 

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When a dog “hugs” you, they might just be trying to stay alive.

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A few weeks ago we noticed irregular breathing, and certain listlessness when our Lab puppy is playing.  I happen to suffer from an occasional bout of Atrial Fibrillation, ( a form of arrhythmia)   so was convinced that it might be the case in our pup.  My wife and I grew very concerned and had her “Lexie” checked out.  Nurse couldn’t hear anything.

Last night, we heard it again. Wife was freaked out, and I sat down and really listened.  “A-fib” is an almost random contraction of the Atria of a human heart and can yield some pretty wild syncopated rhythms .  That is not what I heard last night.  The beat was irregular, but it was ON beat.  What they call Serial in heart terms. I did some research and found this posting:

Q. My 1-year-old dog has an odd heart rhythm. It goes thump… thump, thump, thump…thump. I am so very worried. What should I do?

A. You have done an excellent job of recording your dog’s heart rhythm. Your description of the thumping almost perfectly describes a sinus arrhythmia, a normal heart rhythm which can sound alarming at first. During sinus arrhythmia, the heart rate increases when your dog breathes in, and then slows down while he is breathing out. As long as this variation is regular, it is completely normal. You may want to listen a little longer to make sure this is true.

Did you know that an EKG (heart rhythm test) will change if there is another heart within 10 inches of the one being measured? The energy put out by one heart will affect the energy of the other heart. This is the reason you should hug your loved ones often, human or dog. Let them feel your love.

This explains lots.  When Lexie sleeps in our bed, she always nuzzles her back into my chest so that she can feel my heart.  In the morning , when I first sit down on my easy chair to begin working on my laptop, she will stand up on it and drape herself over me so that our chests are pressing against each other.  I never knew this, but she is feeling my heart beat.  The first time she  did that, I WAS in A-FIB and I swear she picked up on it.  That was the first time my wife noticed her irregular heart beat.

When i am “normal” or sinus, now, I think she uses my heart to help regulate her own, much like they do their mothers hearts when they are in the pack as little ones.  I wont be so quick to push her away because I am busy, or have to pee and she is standing on my bladder.  A little human time might just be what she needs to keep her heart healthy!

 

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Mount Everest avalanche leaves at least 12 Nepalese climbers dead

Three others injured and seven missing after avalanche caught work party as they prepared route for fee-paying western climbers
Everest base camp, with Buddhist prayer flags in the foreground

Everest base camp, with Buddhist prayer flags in the foreground. Police officials said the group was 25-strong and only three had so far been rescued from the mountain. Photograph: Laurence Tan/Reuters

An avalanche on Mount Everest early on Friday has killed at least 12 local climbers and left several others injured in what is likely to prove one of the most lethal accidents in recent history on the world’s highest peak.

Officials said 12 bodies had so far been recovered and ferried to base camp, while a further three injured climbers were being taken to Kathmandu. As many as four climbers are still thought to be missing.

An injured survivor told his relatives that the path up the mountain was unstable just before the avalanche. As soon as the avalanche hit, rescuers and climbers rushed to help.

Reports suggest a massive avalanche low on the 29,000ft (8,848m) mountain caught a work party of local sherpas as they prepared the classic South Col route – followed by the peak’s first ascensionists in 1953 – for fee-paying western climbers.

Sherpa guides had gone early in the morning to fix the ropes which will guide and safeguard hundreds of climbers, when the avalanche hit them. Reports said the accident had occurred between base camp and Camp 1 in the chaotic and extremely dangerous ice fall. The ice fall is composed of a steep glacier which fractures as it slides over cliffs, forming massive crevasses, and sherpas have to find and maintain a new route through every year.

Tourism ministry spokesman Mohan Krishna Sapkota said the climbers were all Nepalese and were preparing the route to the summit ahead of the summer climbing season which kicks off later this month.

“The sherpa guides were carrying up equipment and other necessities for climbers, when the disaster happened,” Sapkota said.

Base camp is currently crowded as peak climbing season on Everest approaches. A weather window in May allows the greatest chance of success on the mountain.

In recent years there has been growing controversy over the pay, conditions and safety of the local men hired for the risky job of securing the route on the mountain to allow largely western climbers on commercial expeditions charging up to $50,000 (£30,000) to reach the upper slopes of the mountain in relative security.

The Kathmandu-based climbing company Himalayan Climbing GuidesNepal confirmed that two of its guides were among the dead and four were missing.

“Six climbing guides from our company were taking up tents and supplies … two have been found dead and rescue teams are searching for the remaining four,” manager Umid Bhandari told AFP.

Eight people died on Everest last year, including one of the best-known and experienced local sherpa guides who was killed in the ice fall.

The accident will once again raise fears that the mountain is too crowded. Nepalese authorities have introduced a series of measures to reduce the number of climbers on the peak.

Last year more than 500 climbers reached the summit of Everest. On 19 May around 150 climbed the last 915m to the peak within hours of each other, causing lengthy delays as mountaineers queued to descend or ascend harder sections.

Officials have cut mountaineering fees for many other peaks while requiring each climber scaling Everest to bring back 8kg (17.6lbs) of rubbish in an attempt to clean up the “roof of the world”.

Last year officials floated the idea of installing a ladder on the famous Hillary Step, a crucial stretch of technical climbing at nearly 8,840m (29,000ft) on Everest, named after its first climber, Sir Edmund Hillary.

Though such innovations are anathema to many purist climbers, some sherpas welcome them. Entire communities in the otherwise poor Khumbu region of Nepal depend on the mountaineering industry for their livelihoods.

Relations between international climbers and sherpa guides working on the mountain are not always good. Authorities have also stationed soldiers and police at Everest base camp following a brawl between commercial climbers and Nepalese guides last year.

 

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Forget Surfing or Eating Fish for the Next 6000 Years! Fukushima radiation hits San Francisco

By DNA | December 26, 2013

 

This shocking video was taken December 23rd 2013 with a quality Geiger Counter at Pacifica State Beach (Surfers Beach), California.

Location:

http://bit.ly/1g26Zjm

Geiger Counter used:

http://www.geigercounters.com/Inspector.htm

Background radiation is 30 CPM. Near the ocean it’s 150 CPM. The fine mist coming from the ocean waves seems to be what makes the Geiger Counter jump.

Fukushima radiation disaster info:

http://www.rense.com

Massive starfish deaths on West Coast:

http://www.naturalnews.com/

We all must come to the realization that swimming in the Pacific Ocean (let alone eating anything out of it) is a thing in the past. And it’s only going to get worse, as it’s unstoppable. This is by far the worst man-made disaster in human history, and our garbage media and government say nothing.

RELATED :

Fukushima is here: ‘ALL Bluefin Tuna Caught In California Are Radioactive’

 

 

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Acu-Link: The Perfect Weather Station for Monitoring Conditions Remotely

LAKE GENEVA, WIS – Nov. 15, 2012 – AcuRite, a leader in personal weather reporting instruments, today announced the release of its Acu-Link platform for remote monitoring of environmental conditions. Redefining how consumers stay connected with the places and things they care about, Acu-Link enables users to observe indoor and outdoor elements including temperature, humidity, wind, rainfall, water temperature, atmospheric pressure, the weather forecast and more. The Acu-Link platform records data using precision sensors positioned in your local environment, and then transmits your sensor’s data over the internet, where it can be viewed from a PC, laptop, smartphone, tablet and tabletop display.

Acu-Link data can be monitored privately, shared with family and neighbors, or be reported to online weather communities. The Acu-Link online portal and app feature a customizable dashboard and intuitive user interface, designed for easy trend observation, graphic charting, and historical data storage. Get notified of changing conditions by email or text message using Acu-Link’s programmable alerts, which can be triggered by events like excessive rainfall, oncoming storms, frost warning, high wind speed and more. Acu-Link is accessible at Acu-Link.com, and can be downloaded as a free app for Apple iOS and Android mobile devices.

How it works

The Acu-Link platform sets up easily and in minutes.

  • Acu-Link compatible sensors can be positioned outdoors or indoors in the location(s) you’d like to monitor conditions.
  • Once positioned, the sensor(s) wirelessly transmit data to the Acu-Link Internet Bridge.
  • The Acu-Link Internet Bridge plugs into your Internet router and reports your sensor data to “the cloud”, or Acu-Link servers.
  • Access Acu-Link from a mobile device by downloading the free app from the iPhone App Store or Google Play store.
  • Acu-Link can be accessed on a PC, laptop or tablet with a web browser by visiting http://www.acu-link.com.

The Acu-Link internet bridge can receive data for up to 3 AcuRite sensors simultaneously. A variety of Acu-Link compatible sensors are available, all featuring a 330 ft. wireless range, durable weather-resistant construction and strong signal penetration for transmission through walls and long distances. AcuRite’s proprietary 5-in-1 sensor incorporates 5 features into one sensor, including temperature, humidity, rainfall, wind speed and direction.

Acu-Link is positioned to be the largest knowledge network ever established using personal weather station sensors.

Pricing and Availability:

AcuRite’s Professional Weather Center with Acu-Link Remote Monitoring includes the bridge, 5-in-1 sensor and tabletop display, and retails for $199.99. The Acu-Link Internet Bridge retails for $79.99 with add-on sensors ranging from $7.50 to $65.00. Acu-Link products will be available through AcuRite.com in November 2012.

For more information, please visit: http://www.acurite.com/acu-link

About AcuRite
AcuRite is owned by the Chaney Instrument Company and has been producing the leading precision time, temperature and personal weather reporting and forecasting instruments since 1943.

From digital window thermometers to professional backyard weather forecasting stations, AcuRite’s easy-to-use weather products consistently deliver accurate and reliable information so you can plan your day with confidence. AcuRite weather products are tailored to every niche including gardeners and hobby farmers, food services, school science programs, outdoor enthusiasts, and homeowners seeking localized data. AcuRite offers top quality rain gauges, barometers, hygrometers, thermometers, pool thermometers, wireless weather instruments, weather stations and weather forecasters.

 

 

 

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