Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time


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Digital TV 101

By now, everyone who is tech savvy enough to get online has at least heard about the switch to digital TV signals that will take place at midnight on 02/17/09.  At that time all TV transmissions will go exclusively digital, and your old TV will go exclusively to snow — unless you are on cable or satellite, or have a converter.

South Carolina ETV has an excellent online explanation of digital TV. It explains about screen resolution, HDTV v. digital, and covers all you need to know to help you purchase a new set, or get a $40 coupon to help pay for a converter for your old analog TV. 

Let’s be very clear about this: if you have cable or satellite now, you do not need a new TV or a converter.  If you use an outside or a “rabbit ears” antenna, you do need a converter or a new TV.

Digital TV 101 – South Carolina ETV


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Which religion has the best cell phone?

The phone offers steeply discounted per-minute charges when calling another kosher phone. But it will cost you a whopping $2.44 a minute for calls placed on the Sabbath. To the best of my knowledge, Mirs is the only wireless carrier in the world that uses its pricing structure to punish deviation from one of the Ten Commandments.

Elgan: Which religion has the best cell phone?


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From the Environment News Service


FUTUREGEN, WORLD’S CLEANEST COAL PLANT, SITED IN ILLINOIS

WASHINGTON, DC, December 18, 2007 (ENS)A consortium of some of
the world’s largest coal companies and electric utilities has selected
the small east-central Illinois town of Mattoon for FutureGen, a $1.4
billion coal-fueled power plant that is planned as the cleanest in the
world. The FutureGen Alliance today announced that Mattoon was chosen
over three other sites in Tuscola, Illinois; Jewett, Texas; and Odessa,
Texas.


http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/dec2007/2007-12-18-01.asp



TWO NEW MAMMALS FOUND IN REMOTE NEW GUINEA

ARLINGTON, Virginia, December 18, 2007 (ENS)A miniscule possum
and an enormous rat were recorded by scientists as probable new species
on a recent expedition to a remote and virtually unknown area of
Indonesia in the pristine wilderness of western New Guinea’s Foja
Mountains. “It’s comforting to know that there is a place on earth so
isolated that it remains the absolute realm of wild nature,” said
Conservation International Vice President Bruce Beehler, who led the
expedition.


http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/dec2007/2007-12-18-03.asp



SENATE PASSES FARM BILL STRONG ON BIOENERGY, CONSERVATION

WASHINGTON, DC, December 17, 2007 (ENS) – The U.S. Senate Friday
approved a $286 billion farm bill shepherded through by Senator Tom
Harkin of Iowa, who chairs the Agriculture Committee. The measure
improves farm income protection and makes investments for the future in
energy, conservation, nutrition and rural development initiatives. The
final vote count was 79-14, more than enough to turn back a veto threat
by President Bush.


http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/dec2007/2007-12-17-01.asp



COUNTRIES AGREE TO WRITE NEW CLIMATE ACTION PACT

NUSA DUA Bali, Indonesia, December 15, 2007 (ENS)Governments
meeting in Bali today agreed to launch negotiations towards a
strengthened international climate change pact as a successor to the
Kyoto Protocol, which expires at the end of 2012. “This is a real
breakthrough, a real opportunity for the international community to
successfully fight climate change,” said Indonesian Environment
Minister and President of the conference, Rachmat Witoelar.


http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/dec2007/2007-12-15-01.asp


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Pseudo-Science Debunked

Under the Bush administration, citizens have been told that climate change isn’t such a big deal, evolution doesn’t belong in the classroom, and there’s no use crying over extinct species.

It’s Francesca Grifo’s job to expose the manipulation of information that gives politicians cover for such claims. As the head of the scientific integrity program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, Grifo documents the government’s meddling in science and advocates for a return to public policy based on sound evidence. Grifo, a senior scientist at the nonprofit and an expert in biodiversity and environmental education, explains how citizens can distinguish scientific fact from political fiction for themselves. … Pseudo-Science Debunked


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Target Stores to Phase Out Vinyl Plastic Products

The retail chain is been persuaded by the arguments of the New York-based Center for Health, Environment and Justice and a coalition of health and environmental organizations that mounted an anti-PVC campaign in October 2006, complete with a blowup plastic yellow duck that is displayed at protest actions in front of stores

Testing has detected toxic lead and phthalates and in a broad range of PVC consumer products, including toys, lunchboxes, baby bibs, jewelry, garden hoses, mini blinds, Christmas trees, and electronics.

Target Stores to Phase Out Vinyl Plastic Products

There are even more cogent (although less compelling) arguments against PVC.


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Will Gore Get Arrested?

Fresh from winning the Nobel peace prize for his climate change evangelism, Al Gore is apparently considering an invitation from a prominent environmental group to engage in civil disobedience against the construction of new coal-fired power plants.

AlterNet: Blogs: PEEK: Will Gore Get Arrested?


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Surge in exports buoys U.S. economy

The largest US exports last year: nuclear power plants, followed by electrical machinery, vehicles, airplanes, and medical equipment. The trade situation has shifted so dramatically, Mr. Zandi says, that the US is now exporting lumber to Canada for the first time in 25 years. 

Why does this not strike me as a good thing, with the exception of the medical equipment?  The US, as usual, is on the cutting edge of despoiling the planet.

Surge in exports buoys U.S. economy | csmonitor.com


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YOU OWE YOUR LIFE TO THIS MAN…

Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov was duty officer at Serpukhov-15, the secret bunker outside Moscow that monitored the Soviet Union’s early-warning satellite system, when the alarm bells went off shortly after midnight [on September 26, 1983]. One of the satellites signaled Moscow that the United States had launched five ballistic missiles at Russia. . . .

Sept. 26, 1983: The Man Who Saved the World by Doing … Nothing


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Google plans new undersea cable across Pacific

Asked to comment on its hire of submarine cable
specialists, Google told Communications Day “It should come as no
surprise that Google is looking for qualified people to help secure
additional network capacity. In some parts of the world, these people
will work with submarine cables because there is a lot of ocean out
there.”

Google’s infrastructure ambitions are no secret.
The company has committed substantial expenditure on dark fibre and a
network of data centres across the United States, and also recently
indicated its interest in bidding for new 700MHz spectrum allocations
there.

Google plans new undersea cable across Pacific | CommsDay


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No War, No Warming, Rise Up!

The options before us are crystal clear. Down one road, the one we’re now on, lies a cascading series of oil and water wars, climate disasters and ecological devastation. Down the other lies a turn toward peaceful resolution of conflicts, energy conservation, efficiency and a clean energy revolution, and social and economic justice.

Another world is possible, but for it to come about another US is necessary…

Ted Glick | No War, No Warming, Rise Up!


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Florida-Size Arctic Ice Melts in Week

Currently, there are about 1.63 million square miles of Arctic ice, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo. That is well below the record of 2.05 million square miles set two summers ago and could drop lower before the final numbers are in.

ABC News: Florida-Size Arctic Ice Melts in Week


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Environmental News Service


APEC LEADERS READY TO SET MEASURABLE ENERGY EFFICIENCY GOAL

SYDNEY, Australia, September 8, 2007 (ENS) – A climate change
declaration setting a precise energy efficiency goal is expected to
come out of the two-day Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders
Summit that began here today. In an effort to address global warming,
the leaders are expected to agree to improve energy efficiency by at
least 25 percent above the 2005 level by 2030.


http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/sep2007/2007-09-08-01.asp




ISRAELI VIRUS LINKED TO DEVASTATING BEE DISEASE

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pennsylvania, September 7, 2007 (ENS) – Scientists
are homing in on a possible cause of the new bee disease known as
colony collapse disorder, linking it with a virus from Israel that may
have arrived in the United States via shipments of live bees from
Australia.


http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/sep2007/2007-09-07-02.asp




LOGGING CHEWS INTO CANADA’S LAST SPOTTED OWL HABITAT

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Canada, September 7, 2007 (ENS) – The
last habitat of Canada’s critically endangered Northern spotted owls is
being logged in a government approved operation, conservationists have
discovered. Canada’s largest membership-based wilderness preservation
organization, the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, is demanding
that the government of British Columbia follow its own owl management
policy and call a halt to the logging.


http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/sep2007/2007-09-07-04.asp