Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Diderot Effect: Why We Want Things We Don’t Need — And What to Do About It


[Medium] The famous French philosopher Denis Diderot lived nearly his entire life in poverty, but that all changed in 1765.
Diderot was 52 years old and his daughter was about to be married, but he could not afford to provide a dowry. Despite his lack of wealth, Diderot’s name was well-known because he was the co-founder and writer of Encyclop├ędie, one of the most comprehensive encyclopedias of the time.
When Catherine the Great, the emperor of Russia, heard of Diderot’s financial troubles she offered to buy his library from him for £1000 GBP, which is approximately $50,000 USD in 2015 dollars. Suddenly, Diderot had money to spare.[1]
Shortly after this lucky sale, Diderot acquired a new scarlet robe. That’s when everything went wrong.[2]
Diderot’s scarlet robe was beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, that he immediately noticed how out of place it seemed when surrounded by the rest of his common possessions. In his words, there was “no more coordination, no more unity, no more beauty” between his robe and the rest of his items. The philosopher soon felt the urge to buy some new things to match the beauty of his robe.[3]
He replaced his old rug with a new one from Damascus. He decorated his home with beautiful sculptures and a better kitchen table. He bought a new mirror to place above the mantle and his “straw chair was relegated to the antechamber by a leather chair.”
These reactive purchases have become known as the Diderot Effect.
The Diderot Effect states that obtaining a new possession often creates a spiral of consumption which leads you to acquire more new things. As a result, we end up buying things that our previous selves never needed to feel happy or fulfilled. Read More

Saturday, April 21, 2018

John Lennon Extols the Virtues of Transcendental Meditation in a Spirited Letter Written to a Beatles Fan (1968)

[Open Culture] An Indian guru travels to the West with teachings of enlightenment, world peace, and liberation from the soul-killing materialist grind. He attracts thousands of followers, some of them wealthy celebrities, and founds a commercial empire with his teachings. No, this isn’t the story of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, the head of the religious movement in Wild Wild Country. There was no miraculous city in the Oregon wilds or fleet of Learjets and Rolls Royces. No stockpile of automatic weapons, planned assassinations, or mass poisonings. Decades before those strange events, another teacher, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi inspired mass devotion among students around the world with the peaceful practice of Transcendental Meditation.
Rolling Stone’s Claire Hoffman—who grew up in a TM community—writes of the movement with ambivalence. For most of his disciples, he was a “Wizard of Oz-type character,” she says, distant and mysterious. But much of what we popularly know about TM comes from its most famous adherents, including Jerry Seinfeld, Katy Perry, David Lynch, the Beach Boys, and, of course, The Beatles, who famously traveled to India in 1968, meditated with Mia Farrow, Donovan, and Mike Love, and wrote some of their wildest, most inventive music after a creative slump following the huge success of Sgt. Pepper’s.
“They stayed in Rishikesh,” writes Maria Popova at Brain Pickings, “a small village in the foothills of the Himalayas, considered the capital of yoga. Immersed in this peaceful community and nurtured by an intensive daily meditation practice, the Fab Four underwent a creative growth spurt—the weeks at Rishikesh were among their most fertile songwriting and composing periods, producing many of the songs on The White Album and Abbey Road.” Unlike most of the Maharishi’s followers, The Beatles got a personal audience. The Indian spiritual teacher “helped them through the shock” of their manager Brian Epstein’s death, and helped them tap into cosmic consciousness without LSD.
They left on a sour note—there were allegations of impropriety, and Lennon, being Lennon, got a bit nasty, originally writing The White Album's “Sexy Sadie” with the lyrics “Maharishi—what have you done? You made a fool of everyone.” But before their falling out with TM’s founder, before even the trip to India, all four Beatles became devoted meditators, sitting for two twenty-minute sessions a day and finding genuine peace and happiness—or “energy,” as Lennon and Harrison describe it in a 1967 interview with David Frost. The next year, happily practicing, and feverishly writing, in India, Lennon received letters from fans, and responded with enthusiasm.
In answer to a letter from a fan named Beth, evidently a devout Christian and apparently threatened by TM and concerned for the bands' immortal souls, Lennon wrote the following (see his handwritten reply at the top):
Dear Beth:
Thank you for your letter and your kind thoughts. When you read that we are in India searching for peace, etc, it is not that we need faith in God or Jesus — we have full faith in them; it is only as if you went to stay with Billy Graham for a short time — it just so happens that our guru (teacher) is Indian — and what is more natural for us to come to India — his home. He also holds courses in Europe and America — and we will probably go to some of these as well — to learn — and to be near him. Read More

The Best Proof of Chemtrails, Geoengineering, and Weather Modification

Friday, April 20, 2018

Be Prepared For The Entire System To Go Dark For 2-3 Days:Jordan Sather

If extinction trends continue, cows may be the largest land animals left on Earth

[Mashable] Cows — simple-minded, prone to belching, and eager to eat — may be the planet's largest land animals in two or three centuries.
But it's not because they're getting any bigger.
Rather, these approximately 2,000-pound ungulates could be the largest land mammals left alive in the next few hundred years.
Ever since our human ancestors became interested in eating meat some 1.8 million years ago, the biggest animals have been expertly hunted, driving populations down.
In fact, spear-wielding hunters, not climate change, could be the defining reason for the steady demise of Earth's largest mammals, argue scientists in a study published Thursday in the journal Science.
The trend, they say, continues today.
"The only time being big is bad is when humans are involved," Felisa Smith, a professor of biology at the University of New Mexico and lead author of the study, said in an interview.
"We are efficient predators and have been for a really long time — so there's not a value judgment here — it's just what hominids did," said Smith.
There's an ingrained idea that being big, like a rhino or wooly mammoth, naturally predisposes a mammal to extinction, particularly during times when the climate substantially changes.
"But that's wrong," she said. "Shifts in climate influenced adaptions, but they didn’t drive extinction."
In the past, large mammals could avoid extinction by traveling elsewhere, to more suitable habitat. "They’ve dealt with climate before," Smith said. But with human development and the destruction of wilderness, that option has largely disappeared.
"Today the problem is we’ve cut off adaption," said Smith. "Big mammals are hemmed in by development and human influence."
Smith and her research team analyzed 65 million years of mammalian fossil data on each continent (excluding Antarctica), splitting this vast period into 1 million year intervals and assessing mammal diversity and extinctions at each time. Read More

Melting Permafrost Emits More Methane Than Scientists Thought

[EcoWatch] Methane emissions are the source of the greenhouse gas which, after carbon dioxide, probably causes climatologists more sleepless nights than any of the other gases. And now it appears they have quite a lot more to bother them than they had realized.
Methane is reckoned to be at least 30 times more powerful than CO2 at warming the earth, with some estimates putting its potency much higher still. The good news, research has suggested, is that there is far less methane than CO2 in the atmosphere to worry about.
The bad news, announced by an international research team, is that previous calculations may have been seriously wrong, and that thawing permafrost is likely to be producing appreciably more methane than anyone had thought.
The researchers were headed by Christian Knoblauch of the Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN) at the University of Hamburg, Germany. Their findings, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, make it possible to predict better how much of this significant gas may be released by the thawing of the Arctic permafrost.
Methane and carbon dioxide are both produced in thawing permafrost as dead animal and plant remains decompose. But methane is formed only in the absence of oxygen. Until now, scientists had also thought that more greenhouse gases were formed when the ground was dry and well aerated—in other words, when oxygen was available.
So they did not expect much methane to be produced by the thawing permafrost. What Dr. Knoblauch and his colleagues have now shown is that water-saturated permafrost soils without oxygen can be twice as harmful to the climate as dry soils—which means the role of methane has been greatly underestimated. Read More

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The world faces a future of floods, famine, and extreme heat — here's how we survive

[Business Insider] The warnings were plentiful. The limits were clearly defined.
We have long understood how to keep the Earth's average temperature from reaching dangerous levels. But as greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continue to trap more heat, we're now face-to-face with the volatile climate, intense heat waves, and large-scale storms scientists predicted decades ago.
Substantial damage is already locked in, even if emissions — the cause of the problem — are quickly cut. The question is no longer whether we can prevent a climate crisis. It's: Now what?
Scientists, planners, engineers, and entrepreneurs are developing solutions and adaptations to address this new reality. But surviving in an inevitably harsher environment will require fundamental changes to the way we eat, live, build, and power the world.
Business Insider reporters have spent months reporting on the changes we need to make and the people trying to make them for a series titled 'Saving Our World.' You can see the full series here.
The world faces a future of floods, famine, and extreme heat — here's what it'll take to bounce back: We are on the cusp of the greatest disaster-response effort in history. Here's how we can be resilient in the face of weather catastrophes and rising seas.
Miami is racing against time to keep up with sea-level rise: When the flooding is really bad, water doesn't just fill the streets outside Manolo Pedraza's house. It bubbles up through a shower drain. Miami is already struggling with flooding related to sea-level rise. This is how bad it could get, and what the city is doing to save itself.
Our buildings can't withstand extreme weather — these new structures could save lives: These new types of architecture are preparing us for a future when storms and other climate-related disasters become more common and severe.
The way Americans get electricity is one natural disaster away from decimation — but a resilient power grid is within our reach: America's energy infrastructure is crumbling, but the country has the opportunity to shift to a flexible, clean, resilient power grid. Several new energy projects are lighting the way. Read More

Taming the Mighty Mississippi May Have Caused Bigger Floods

[Scientific American] When record rains mingled with spring snowmelt in the lower Mississippi River Basin in April 2011, liquid disaster flowed southward and forced some hard choices: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers blasted a hole in a levee in the river system to save the city of Cairo, Ill., from inundation—at the expense of more than 100,000 acres of farmland. Mandatory evacuations were ordered in Memphis, where floodwaters lapped at historic Beale Street. Officials opened two spillways in Louisiana to protect New Orleans and Baton Rouge, sacrificing farms and coastal oyster beds.
The crisis would ultimately cause $2.8 billion in damage, according to the Corps. And it is one of many recent examples of the way the restless river has pummeled surrounding communities. Unusual floods struck throughout the basin during winter 2015–16, and more swamped parts of Illinois, Arkansas and Missouri after torrential rains in 2017. Snowmelt swells the Mississippi every spring, but the river reached flood stage in Memphis a month earlier than usual in 2018 due to heavy February rains.
Now a new study raises the possibility much of the effort humans have put into trying to control the mighty river has paradoxically made its large floods more destructive. The magnitude of so-called 100-year floods—massive inundations defined as having a 1 percent chance of occurring in any given year—has increased 20 percent in the past five centuries on the lower Mississippi, researchers reported this month in Nature. The bulk of the increase has been in the last 150 years, when human engineering of the river has been most intense. “We’ve channelized the river, we’ve straightened it,” says Samuel Mu├▒oz, lead author of the new study and an assistant professor of marine and environmental sciences at Northeastern University. “We’ve made the gradient steeper, and we’ve encased the river in concrete mats and lined it with levees.” Read More

Your Organic Food Is Treated With Pesticides, Too

[Lifehacker] The Environmental Working Group has released their latest “Dirty Dozen” list of supposedly pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables. (This is a misleading list, as we’ve explained before.) You may be tempted to buy organic produce, as the EWG suggests, but guess what—organic produce is not pesticide-free.
Organic farmers may use pesticides, so long as they choose from a list of approved options. The USDA organic program does not disallow all pesticides, just “synthetic” ones. (By the way, the term “pesticides” includes both bug sprays and weed killers.)
So what remains on our vegetables? The USDA periodically tests produce for pesticide residues; this is the Pesticide Data Program. (The EWG repurposes this data to create their Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists.) But the USDA does not test for the presence of organic-allowed pesticides. So the EWG is reporting the stuff on conventional crops without considering what’s present on organic crops.
So, will you lower your pesticide exposure by switching to organic? We don’t know, but the answer may very well be no. Even looking at the synthetic, non-organic pesticides in the USDA’s tests, organic crops don’t always have the lowest amounts. Take strawberries, for example, the “dirtiest” item on the 2018 list: 75 percent of organic strawberries, and 76 percent of conventional strawberries, had pesticide levels that were under 5 percent of the allowable levels.
In other words, buying organic strawberries might expose you to more pesticide residues than buying conventional. We recommend ignoring the Dirty Dozen list entirely, and buying whichever fruits and veggies work for your diet and your budget.

As Mongolia Melts, Looters Close In On Priceless Artifacts

[Smithsonian] The history and archaeology of Mongolia, most famously the sites associated with the largest land empire in the history of the world under Ghengis Khan, are of global importance. But they’re facing unprecedented threats as climate change and looting impact ancient sites and collections.
Climate change and looting may seem to be unrelated issues. But deteriorating climate and environmental conditions result in decreased grazing potential and loss of profits for the region’s many nomadic herders. Paired with a general economic decline, herders and other Mongolians are having to supplement their incomes, turning to alternative ways of making money. For some, it’s searching for ancient treasures to sell on the illegal antiquities market.
The vast Mongolian landscape, whether it be plains, deserts or mountains, is dotted with man-made stone mounds marking the burials of ancient peoples. The practice started sometime in the neolithic period (roughly 6,000-8,000 years ago) with simple stone mounds the size of a kitchen table. These usually contain a human body and a few animal bones.
Over time, the burials became larger (some over 1300 feet long) and more complex, incorporating thousands of horse sacrifices, tools, chariots, tapestries, family complexes, and eventually treasure (such as gold, jewelry and gems).
For Mongolians, these remains are the lasting reminders of their ancient past and a physical tie to their priceless cultural heritage.
Mongolia has reasonably good laws regarding the protection of cultural heritage. But poor understanding of the laws, and the nearly impossible task of enforcing them in such a large space with relatively few people and meager budgets keep those laws from being effective. And laws can’t protect Mongolia’s cultural heritage from climate change. Read More

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Violet Flame I AM: Candle Meditation and Ascension

[Violet Flame I AM] The Candle Meditation by El Morya is one of the first steps to experience the Divine Light within and calm the mind. Use a long tapered candle, not a jarred glass candle. For this exercise a white candle is preferred, but any color should work. Light the candle and establish a constant, stable flame.
First, sit comfortably; you may use a chair for back support if needed. Look and concentrate on the candle and give attention to the different layers of the light of the flame. You will notice these layers: the outer glow; the yellow-white layer of fire; the center of the wick; and the central inner glow, which sometimes contains a blue or violet hue at the base of the flame. Focus on the overall glow of the candle until you identify the layers of light. Breathe evenly and gently as you concentrate on the light.
As you observe the Flame of Light, continue your rhythmic breath as the light begins to expand and absorb the space between you and the flame. Continue this breathing until you have established a large ovoid of light, including the candle and yourself. Read More
Violet Flame and Sacrifice
The spiritual ideal that through giving selflessly, or taking a short-term loss, there is a greater long-term return for others created. The Hindu spiritual ceremony known as both puja and yagna is founded from this principle.
The ceremony is known as a form of “bloodless sacrifice” which is offered to appease certain Gods or planetary afflictions to change the course of events.
Allegedly the Violet Flame gained its momentum through the great avatars who sacrificed their human frailties through burning them ceremonially with a mental visualization of the Violet Fire. The sacrifice of duality inevitably creates unity, or entrance into Unity Consciousness, and our world is purified and made whole again.  Read More
Ascension
The Ascension Process, according to Saint Germain, gathers the energies of the individual chakras and expands their energy through the heart. The Law of Love calibrates the energy fields (aura) to Zero Point—a physical and philosophical viewpoint of neutrality. From there, the subtle and fine tuning of the light bodies is effectuated through the higher chakras, sequentially including the Throat Chakra, the Third Eye Chakra, and finally the Crown Chakra. Zero Point is key in this process and it is here that the energies of all past lives are brought to psychological and physical (karmic) balance. Then the initiate is able to withdraw their light bodies from the physical plane into the
Astral Light of the Fourth Dimension. The Ascension Process may take several lifetimes to complete and the beginning stages are defined through the arduous process of obtaining self-knowledge, the acceptance of the conscious immortality of the soul, and the use of Alchemy through the Violet Flame. Intermediate stages may manifest the anomalies of Dimensional Acceleration, Vibrational Shifting, Cellular Awakening and Acceleration, and contact with the Fourth Dimension. Read More

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Here's What Will Happen After a Huge Earthquake Inevitably Hits California

[Vice] California is the land of beaches, mountains, and all the legal marijuana you can stomach. It’s also, inconveniently, a dangerous minefield riddled with nasty fault lines that rupture without much warning, generating massive earthquakes that can level buildings, pulverize roads, and kill lots of people in the span of seconds.
The San Andreas is the most notorious of these faults. It runs roughly 800 miles long and produces quakes so catastrophic that there’s a 2015 action movie about it starring The Rock. The southern section of the fault generates earthquakes every 150 years on average, and considering some parts of it haven’t ruptured in more than 200 years, Southern California is overdue for a major shaking, otherwise known as “the Big One.”
“There is no fault that is more likely to break [in California] than the San Andreas Fault,” says Jonathan P. Stewart, professor and chair of UCLA’s Civil and Environmental Engineering department and an expert in earthquakes. “Small local earthquakes—the Northridge earthquake, the San Fernando earthquake—they can kill people in the dozens, they can have freeways coming down, they can affect dams, and all of that is bad,” he says. “But it doesn’t really pose an existential threat to our economy, our ability to live here.” A large earthquake on the San Andreas Fault, on the other hand, he says, could create a devastating threat to humanity, infrastructure, and the economy, with implications that extend nationally and even globally.
Scientists don’t know exactly where the Big One will hit or how large it will be when it does, but they do have some ideas: One of the most likely scenarios, according to a 2008 federal study, is a 7.8 magnitude earthquake starting at the Salton Sea and running up through Lake Hughes, on a 200 mile long section of the fault that, in parts, hasn't ruptured since 1680—almost two centuries before California became part of the United States and long before it had any major infrastructure.
The largest possible earthquake that can strike throughout most of the San Andreas is an 8.4 magnitude, according to Southern California Earthquake Center spokesperson Mark Benthien, who says the bigger the earthquake, the lower the probability of it striking. While the impact depends on a range of unknowable factors, here’s what experts say might happen in the moments, hours, and days immediately after the big one rattles California.
All earthquakes produce high frequency motions that have the potential to badly damage nearby structures, but “earthquakes of different magnitudes produce motions that are damaging to different types of structures,” says Stewart. “When we design tall buildings in downtown LA, we’re definitely thinking about the San Andreas fault. But for more typical structures, say a two-story apartment building, a house, the critical earthquake […] is going to be the smaller faults that are nearby.”
Unreinforced structures—typically made of bricks, cinderblocks, or adobe—unsurprisingly fare the worst. California banned construction of these buildings in 1933, but plenty of them still exist and would not fare well in a major earthquake. Buildings with wooden frames are a lot better off because the wood can withstand shaking, but not all of them are created equal: Apartments and condos with parking tucked underneath tend to collapse because they don’t have enough structural support. Steel towers, although they’re typically pretty sturdy, aren’t immune to destruction: the federal report predicts that five steel high-rises will collapse and 10 others will be red-tagged, or unsafe to enter, after the big one hits. Read More

Opioids Are Mind-Control Drugs – MKULTRA is Alive and Well

[Waking Times] Wikipedia: “[MKULTRA was] the code name given to a program of experiments on human subjects, at times illegal, designed and undertaken by the United States Central Intelligence Agency. Experiments on humans were intended to identify and develop drugs and procedures to be used in interrogations and torture in order to weaken the individual to force confessions through mind control…MKUltra used numerous methodologies to manipulate people’s mental states and alter brain functions, including the surreptitious administration of drugs (especially LSD) and other chemicals…”
A worldwide population enslaved to mind-control drugs—this is a dream that exceeds the fantasies of the old CIA MKULTRA warriors. And it’s here.
A few “adverse effects” of opioids: sedation, psychological dependence, physical addiction, hallucinations, delirium, brain fog, lowered level of consciousness, and thus, increased suggestibility.
Opioid effects may not be as overtly dramatic as those of MKULTRA LSD, but the overall impact on the mind is just as severe.
As I’ve shown in past articles, a major pipeline for opioids starts at the top of the food chain: pharma manufacturers like Purdue and Insys, who are traffickers. (note to reader: Opioid archive here.)
This follows the pattern of LSD, which in the 1960s was manufactured by Sandoz (and then obtained in large quantities by the CIA for MKULTRA). However, now, there is no need for the CIA. Huge shipments of opioids go directly to rogue pharmacies and pain clinics, who are lower level dealers, and then on to addicts.
Mind control has gone public in a huge way—far beyond the reach of LSD in the 1960s and 70s.
In fact, Congress and former President Barack Obama have played a major role in protection of the pharmaceutical traffickers. This assist occurred in April of 2016, when a new law was passed and signed by Obama: Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016.
The whole thrust of that law was to create a much higher barrier, blocking the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from freezing pharma’s huge opioid shipments to lower level traffickers.
The Washington Post, which did a long piece on that law, reached out to Obama and his then Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, but both of them declined to comment. Well, enablers of the raging opioid epidemic would opt for silence, wouldn’t they?
Member of Congress, who are now bloviating about the need to curtail opioid trafficking, voted for the heinous law. They would now need to repeal it—but the horse is out of the barn.
The Guardian reports that “More than 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses last year, most involving a prescription painkiller or an illicit opioid like heroin.”
Millions and millions of opioid addicts from every level of society are looking for their next fix in countries around the world. Read More

Microplastics are creeping into farms and oceans

[The Outline] Plastic is ubiquitous in nearly every product that people consume, and only recently have scientists realized that the microscopic beads, fibers, and strands that these bottles, bags, soaps, and clothes shed, or what are known as microplastics, are also ubiquitous.
Microplastics aren’t just in The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. They’re scattered throughout the ocean, distributed by the churning water to even places that humans have never physically visited. In fact, they’re in such large quantities that the fossil record of the ocean floor is building up a new layer of plastic.
For seafloor-swelling life forms like mussels as well as fish, this means that microplastic contamination unavoidable, and it will end up in the human food supply. In the case of sea life, when water is infested with microplastics laden with toxic chemicals, research shows the development of sea life is impaired and their ability to function is reduced.
According to a study published yesterday in Science Advances, the fact that microplastics end up in the food supply also means they end up in compost created from that food. Composting has been widely regarded as our best hope to replace artificial fertilizer, which sets off a series of events that makes climate change worse, particularly for the 815 million people on the planet who are already food-insecure.
It doesn’t matter how people compost their food—with or without oxygen, or with heat or without heat. Every method releases microplastics into to the environment, and there’s no indication that they’re in any rush to degrade.
A recent study… showed no appreciable degradation of [microplastics] over the investigation period of 500 days,” the Science Advances study reads. “It is therefore likely that these particles, once released, will accumulate in nature over time.”
The study also discounted microplastics smaller than one millimeter in length, citing uncertainty about the sophistication of the tools they use to measure particles that small. This means that the study likely underestimates the amount of microplastics found in the compost samples they studied.
The 8 billion people on this planet create a pretty massive demand for food, and farms are incentivized to use artificial fertilizer in extremely large quantities in order to keep up. In the long term, the soil becomes much less productive, meaning that farmers have to constantly replant their crops—a practice which releases carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas (agriculture in general contributes over a third of all emissions driving climate change).
Artificial fertilizer leaks toxic amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus into the soil, which eventually reaches rivers, estuaries, and oceans. This changes the chemical balance in the water and can create dead zones, or areas where fish suffocate because there’s not enough oxygen. Read More

Warming Climate Increases the Spreading of the Sahara

[TruthDig] The Sahara’s spread is now established. Its sands are on the march. The desert is growing, thanks to climate change.
In the last century the region of the Sahara technically defined as desert has increased by at least 10%. And the area that becomes technically desert – with less than 100mm [3.93 inches] of rain a year – has increased in summer, the wet season, over the same period by 16%.
And if climate change is at work in northern Africa, the same may hold true for some of the world’s other deserts as well, researchers warn.
US meteorologists report in the Journal of Climate that they looked at data from the years 1920 to 2013, to explore the annual trends.
Deserts are natural geographical features with no fixed boundaries: parts of them can bloom in rainier years, and support crops and even foraging animals, only to become extreme arid zones a year or two later.
Deserts exist because of the natural circulation of the atmosphere: air rises at the equator and descends in the subtropics to flow back to the equator nearer ground level to establish a pattern of low precipitation: weather experts call this phenomenon the Hadley circulation, after the 18th century British natural philosopher George Hadley.
“Climate change is likely to widen the Hadley circulation causing northward advance of the subtropical deserts,” said Sumant Nigam, a professor of atmospheric and oceanic science at the University of Maryland, one of the authors of the study. “The southward creep of the Sahara however suggests that additional mechanisms are at work as well.”
The other factors probably linked to the shifts in the Sahara sands include a natural climate cycle known to oceanographers and meteorologists as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. Read More

How UK cities could start suing over extreme weather

[New Statesman] "Send bread”, people in Ireland scrawled across their snowy windscreens and gardens last month, after Storm Emma sparked panic-buying in shops. The light-hearted phrase quickly became a meme and will live-on as part of the UK’s so-called “Blizzard spirit”. But along with the wry jokes and heart-warming acts of kindness, this winter’s extreme cold also brought painful costs.
Some of these costs are calculable. Analysts told the Guardian that the UK economy took a daily hit of a billion pounds during the storm. In London, 5,000 homes were left without water after pipes burst from the cold. Yet others are less easy to put a figure on, such as the death of the millions of sea-creatures washed up on Yorkshire’s beaches as temperatures plummeted.
Scientists warn that similarly extreme weather, from floods to heatwaves, may become more commonplace as the global climate continues to warm. But, if this is to be the case, who will pay the bill?
In America, there are demands for compensation from the fossil fuel industry itself. Several city and county governments have filed lawsuits against the world’s five most powerful oil companies: ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron, Conoco-Phillips and Shell.
They argue that these corporations knew of the negative effects that fossil fuels have on the global climate, yet continued to profit from their sale, and therefore must be held accountable for some of the adaptation costs – from building sea-walls to upgrading storm-water infrastructure. Read More