|Ken Novak's Weblog
Purpose of this blog: to retain annotated bookmarks for my future reference, and to offer others my filter technology and other news. Note that this blog is categorized. Use the category links to find items that match your interests.
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Tuesday, January 17, 2006
You're being watched ...
Some facts on increased surveillance powers. "In 2004, the General Accounting Office surveyed 128 federal departments and agencies to determine the extent of data mining. It found 199 operations, [only] 14 of which related to counterterrorism. ..
A University of Illinois study found that in the 12 months following 9/11, federal agents made at least 545 visits to libraries to obtain information about patrons. ..
The Patriot Act allows law enforcement officers to get "sneak and peek" warrants to search a home for any suspected crime — and to wait months or even years to tell the owner they were there. Last July, the Justice Department told the House Judiciary Committee that only 12% of the 153 "sneak and peek" warrants it received were related to terrorism investigations. ..
The FBI has used Patriot Act powers to break into a judge's chambers and to procure records from medical clinics. Documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union recently revealed that the FBI used other new powers to eavesdrop on environmental, political and religious organizations." 10:34:12 AM
War's stunning price tag:
Linda Bilmes, former assistant secretary of Commerce, now teaching at Harvard, and Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University and Nobel Prize winner in 2001. recently estimated the likely cost of the war in Iraq. "We suggested that the final bill will be much higher than previously reckoned — between $1 trillion and $2 trillion, depending primarily on how much longer our troops stay. ..
the full costs of the war are still largely hidden below the surface. Our calculations include not just the money for combat operations but also the costs the government will have to pay for years to come. These include lifetime healthcare and disability benefits for returning veterans .. We also count the increased cost of replacing military hardware because the war is using up equipment at three to five times the peacetime rate. In addition, the military must pay large reenlistment bonuses and offer higher benefits to reenlist reluctant soldiers. On top of this, because we finance the war by borrowing more money (mostly from abroad), there is a rising interest cost on the extra debt..." 9:20:28 AM
Architects Call for 50% Cut in Fossil Fuel use in Buildings by 2010:
With such a short time frame, there must be a lot of "low-hanging fruit" in new construction. "The American Institute of
Architects (AIA) has adopted position statements to promote
sustainable design and resource conservation to achieve a minimum
reduction of fifty percent of the current consumption level of
fossil fuels used to construct and operate buildings by the year
2010. .. “Buildings account for forty-eight percent of U.S. energy
consumption and generate far more greenhouse gas emissions than any
other sector,” said R.K. Stewart, FAIA, facilitator of the AIA
Sustainability Summit Task Force. .. Fundamental to helping ensure actual results, the AIA also supports
the development and use of rating systems and standards that
promote the design and construction of communities and buildings
that contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally conscious
future. According to the AIA, an undertaking of this magnitude will require
a sustained effort over the next ten to fifteen years,
especially in educating clients about their role in the success of
this effort." 8:27:22 AM
US GHG emissions in 2004
: Reference numbers. "Petroleum is the leading source of GHG emissions from energy and industry sources, according to the Department of Energy. Oil emitted 2,592 Mt [metric tonnes] in 2004, compared with 2,180 Mt in 1990.
Combustion of coal for energy applications emitted 2,090 Mt in 2004, compared with 1,784 Mt in 1990, while natural gas emitted 1,203 Mt of CO2 in 2004 compared with 1,027 Mt in 1990, notes the DOE report, "Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States 2004."
For all energy and industry sources, national GHG emissions in 2004 were 5,900 Mt, of which the residential sector emitted 1,212 Mt, the commercial sector 1,024 Mt, the industrial sector 1,730 Mt and the transportation sector was 1,934 Mt.
" 8:23:40 AM