Alec Baldwin Joins Hilaria Baldwin In Yoga DVD (VIDEO)

Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
Alec Baldwin Joins Hilaria Baldwin In Yoga DVD (VIDEO)
Alec Baldwin is shamelessly proud of wife Hilaria Baldwin’s yoga routine and nutrition, so it’s no surprise that the 55-year-old actor now pops up in her new DVD release.

Among other things, Alec has thanked his young bride (and mother of his newborn daughter Carmen) for his health, weight loss, renewed energy and diet changes, among others. “I’m getting married to a woman who is very dedicated and very respected and admired in what she does,” he told the Hollywood Reporter in 2012. “She makes jokes that I’m not as good as she would like me to be. If I eat a cracker, she wants to get a rope and hang me.”

So how else has Alec embraced Hilaria’s zen lifestyle? The yoga instructor revealed to Vanity Fair this week that: “I did most of my yoga on my own, but he definitely helped me out. And part of the DVD is partner stretches. He would do the three we have on [the video] … We’re both very bossy people, and that day he let me boss.”

Very well, then. Watch Hilaria (then still-pregnant) and Alec perform a partner yoga exercise in a teaser clip below.

How I Stopped Rewriting History Through Photoshop
In October of 2011, my husband and I took a dream vacation to Europe. We’d spent years saving up and planning the stops we’d make because we knew it might be the last adventure for a while.

We indulged in everything we could, from pizza to gelato and from wine to beer. I loved every single bite and sip and can still taste those flavors if I close my eyes.

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Not only did we eat, drink and act merry, we walked. And hiked. And walked some more. I’d spent the months before our trip in the gym and on the road, trying to get in the best shape possible so I could soak up every moment in Europe seeing things and not huffing and puffing on the sidewalk. I made it up and down Cinque Terre’s hilly towns barely breaking a sweat and hauled luggage all over Italy.

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I took picture after picture — more than 900 in less than two weeks. I wanted to be able to look back in the years to come and to remember how much fun we’d had.

What I saw instead was how big I looked in those shots. I went straight to my love handles and wide arms and indulged in a lot of negative self-talk. I didn’t see the colors or the monuments… I didn’t see how big our smiles were… I just saw my flaws.

I even cropped some of the pictures to try and hide what made me unhappy.

That was Oct. 17, 2011. On Oct. 25, 2012, we took pictures of our brand new family of three. I was just 12 days postpartum, well above my pre-baby weight and certainly above my ideal weight. I had not worked out in weeks, was not sleeping much and was probably at my lowest level of fitness in years.

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The difference? When I got these pictures from our photographer, I looked straight at my daughter. Then at my smile. Then at my husband’s smile. Then at how happy and perfect we looked. Then at how small she was. I thought about the dreams I have for her and for us. I thought about how I hope she never looks at a picture and picks out her flaws. I thought about how malleable she is and how it will be up to me to instill confidence in her, for both her inner and outer beauty.

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And finally — last of all — I saw my belly. Still squishy from carrying my baby for 41 weeks and battered from a 24-hour labor and delivery. And I thought about how beautiful and strong I feel. Not ashamed or self-conscious. Not afraid to share the pictures with the world.

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I will never stop working to have the strongest, most fit body I can. It’s what will keep me alive and active for years to come, and I plan on sticking around to meet my grandchildren. I will never stop setting goals and being disappointed when I fall short. I will probably never stop seeing the parts of my body that are less than ideal. But I will stop rewriting history in pictures, as much as I can.

My daughter should know that happiness does not lie in how we look or what our weight is. She should never feel compelled to crop a picture to hide herself. I’m going to work every day to show her how amazing she is.

‘Masters Of Sex’ Review: Worth Watching, Even When Everyone Has Clothes On
masters of sex

Part of me wishes “Masters of Sex” could be a Netflix series.

It’s not; this good new drama debuts on Showtime 10 p.m. ET Sunday.

“Masters,” more than most shows, would benefit from viewers’ absorbing it in great big batches. The truth is, the first few episodes have some problem areas, but by the fifth and sixth hours, I was very much hooked and ready for more. This drama may take a little while to seduce you, but it’s worth the wait.

“Masters” is a period drama set in the late ’50s, and stars Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan as human sexuality researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson. Both actors are simply tremendous throughout, and they are the main reason to stick with the show, even when some of the supporting characters grate and parts of it feel like exposition-heavy excerpts from Thomas Maier’s book of the same name.

Sheen has the Cumberbatch-ian ability to convey the vast depths and strong emotions lurking beneath the surface of a man who values control above all things. Even when Masters is awful to others, what’s rumbling beneath the surface gives his dismissiveness a complexity, and his lurking attraction to Johnson gives their scenes together a jolt of electricity. “He’s the sex researcher who can’t master intimacy” is the short version of the character description, but Sheen makes Masters both tragic and vital, not a walking example of irony in action.

Caplan, who, like Sheen, has been around for a long time but has never gotten a chance to show this much of her impressive range, gives the best performance of her career in “Masters.” Her Virginia Johnson is punished, in ways big and small, for being a sexually adventurous, divorced and ambitious woman in the 1950s. When we meet her, she’s a struggling mother of two who recently gave up her career as a nightclub singer. Caplan allows each wound that the world has given her character to register, yet she also subtly conveys the hope and drive that has allowed her to put up with Masters’ arrogance and most of the world’s disgust or indifference in the face of their work.

During the key, early phases of their research, their world was Washington University in St. Louis (and as an alum, I appreciate the “Masters” making the case that WashU brought sexy back — or perhaps more accurately, realized sexy had been there the whole time). There are “Mad Men” parallels aplenty — Masters is a work-obsessed suit with a troubled past and a dissatisfied blonde wife — but “Masters” is not interested in anti-heroes or elliptical storytelling, and the repetition of predictable domestic dynamics at both the Masters and Johnson residences is the show’s weakest element.

Despite the sex, booze and simmering attractions, don’t expect a jaunt into Don Draper land. It slowly dawned on me that “Masters of Sex” actually has a lot in common with the higher tier of broadcast network shows: It’s forthright and occasionally obvious; many characters start out as broadly drawn types (and some stay there); and you’re rarely in doubt about the Theme or the Story of the hour.

But there are upsides to the show’s relatively square approach, and they become clearer as the season progresses. “Masters” most reminds me of a PBS import set in the same time frame, “Call the Midwife,” which takes place in a poor London neighborhood in the late ’50s. Don’t worry if you haven’t seen it; very few in the U.S. have (the good news: It’s on Netflix!).

Like “Masters,” “Midwife” can sometimes seem clunky and superficial, and neither show shies away from repeating itself or dialing back on ambiguity through occasionally ponderous dialogue. But I have stayed with “Midwife” — and have grown very fond of “Masters” — because almost no other shows bother exploring the areas into which they delve with such clear-sighted compassion and winning warmth.

TV depicts sex all the time, but what it rarely examines is the terror and confusion that intimacy and reproduction can bring to our lives. Unusually for a cable drama, “Masters of Sex” has an overt agenda, but a worthy one. It frequently conveys the idea, sometimes extraordinarily effectively, that sex and reproduction can be the scariest and most beautiful things in the world. That’s not an unusual theme, but this one is: “Masters” earnestly wants to remind us that those things are better experienced when the participants are not laboring under layers of shame, ignorance, fear and judgment.

Earnestness in a Showtime program full of naked bodies? It’s true. Believe it.

The show does display a welcome sense of humor; its wry directness about male-female working relationships recalls “The Hour,” yet another sexy show set in the same era (and like “Masters” and “Midwife,” created by a woman). But “Masters” is not flippant: Sexuality and reproduction can be life-or-death matters, then and now. And despite the strides that have been made in those realms, it’s not like we’ve figured out how to master matters of intimacy in the decades since Masters and Johnson opened their lab.

“Masters of Sex” brings us sex workers (gay and straight), repressed St. Louis matrons, closeted white-collar workers, blue-collar moms and entitled, arrogant doctors, and it slowly peels back their layers and allows us to feel compassion for what they don’t know and haven’t been taught. Like an exciting new wave of television I wrote about recently, “Masters of Sex” rejects many received ideas about Quality TV — especially the centrality of the troubled loner — in favor of honest, painful and even sweet stories about the difficulty and necessity of connection.

This is Showtime, so there are still hot, sweaty sexy-times; it’s not all terror in the delivery room or clinical coupling in the lab. But “Masters'” deep, sincere desire to illuminate the mental and physical barriers that keep people from being happy — and from being themselves — is laudable. The series gains strength and dramatic momentum as it progresses, finding individual and idiosyncratic ways to tell stories of self-denial, awakening and discovery.

Through it all, Sheen and Caplan do a fantastic job of conveying the burning curiosity and sense of discovery that drove Masters and Johnson. We all benefit from their strength of will and compassion, even now.

Note: HuffPost TV’s Maggie Furlong interviewed “Masters” star Lizzy Caplan about her role in the Showtime drama. And look for a Talking TV podcast on “Masters of Sex,” “Homeland” and the “Breaking Bad” series finale on Monday.

Green – The Huffington Post
Retired Military Dog Discovers His First Kitten (VIDEO)
This retired military working dog had never seen a kitten before.

See what happens when he meets his rambunctious new playmate for the first time. They may be opposites in terms of size, but we think they’re a match made in heaven.

For more adventures with tiny kitties and big dogs, check out this video of an itty bitty feline scaring the bejesus out of its Mastiff pal.

H/T: HooplaHa

Release of Fifth Assessment on Climate Change Underway
The first of the latest round of IPCC reports was released today in Stockholm.

Ever since 1990, when the first assessment was released, the science community, on a cycle of roughly every five years or so, goes through a huge collaborative effort to collectively agree on what we know about climate change and express this knowledge in a comprehensive assessment report that is reviewed and vetted by scientists and policymakers before being released to the public. All of this effort is overseen and coordinated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an international scientific body established by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization, and so it is referred to as the IPCC reports.

There have been four such assessments already completed: in 1990, 1995, 2001, 2007. As has been the practice, this latest fifth assessment will contain reports from three working groups, each looking at different aspects of the problem. The first of these reports, from Working Group 1, scheduled for release on September 30, “assesses the physical scientific aspects of the climate system and climate change.” Today the IPCC released the accompanying summary for policymakers [pdf].

As many of you have already read (for instance here, here, here or here), the report does not contain any bombshells. The topline message is consistent with what we’ve read in previous assessments: global warming is real, is largely due to human activities, and to avoid potentially dangerous climate change (e.g., an increase of 2 degrees Celsius in global temperatures above preindustrial levels), we as a global community will have to limit additional emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases, and the window to doing that is rapidly closing.

Here are some highlights of the report that I found interesting:

1. Precipitation change: The panel concluded with “high confidence” that precipitation over the mid-latitude land areas of the Northern Hemisphere has increased since 1951. And they predict that “[t]he contrast in precipitation between wet and dry regions and between wet and dry seasons will increase.”

This is something to take note of: incremental changes in temperature are one thing, but changes in precipitation (as we have learned from the recent wildfires and floods out west) can be life-threatening.

2. The “hiatus”: The rise in global temperatures seems to have slowed since the late 1990s; some even say the warming has stopped. The panel’s take on this — which is largely supported by recent papers such as “Distinctive climate signals in reanalysis of global ocean heat content” by Magdalena Balmaseda et al., “World ocean heat content and thermosteric sea level change (0-2000 m), 1955-2010” by Sydney Levitus et al., “Retrospective prediction of the global warming slowdown in the past decade” by Virginie Guemas et al., and “A review of global ocean temperature observations: Implications for ocean heat content estimates and climate change” by J.P. Abraham et al. — is that the warming has continued but has gone mostly into the ocean:

The observed reduction in surface warming trend over the period 1998-2012 as compared to the period 1951-2012, is due in roughly equal measure to a reduced trend in radiative forcing and a cooling contribution from internal variability, which includes a possible redistribution of heat within the ocean (medium confidence).

You’ll note the authors’ use of “internal variability” as the cause of the “redistribution of heat within the ocean.” Simple translation for “internal variability”: we don’t yet know what’s causing it. Nevertheless, since we’ve had similar hiatuses in the 20th century that ended with renewed warming (see for example the period in the ’50s and ’60s), there is every reason to believe that the current hiatus is also temporary and the warming trend will soon pick up steam (if you will pardon the pun).

It’s also important that the working group recognizes the existence of a warming slowdown but not a warming stoppage. For example, the current decade is the warmest in the modern record.

Observed globally averaged combined land and ocean surface temperature (1850-2012)
While the rise in global temperatures has seemingly slowed or even stopped since the late 1990s, the oceans have been heating up, meaning that the warming has continued despite a cold Sun and an economic slowdown that slowed greenhouse gas emissions. (Summary for Policymakers, IPCC, 2013)

3. Climate sensitivity: Much has been written in TheGreenGrok and elsewhere about the climate sensitivity — the amount the equilibrium temperature increases for a doubling of CO2. The reason: it is a useful metric for understanding how sensitive the climate is to the current and future emissions of greenhouse gas we continue to spew into the atmosphere. The previous IPCC report stated that sensitivity as ranging from 2 to 4.5 degrees Celsius. In response to a number of recent papers that concluded the climate sensitivity is lower (see here and here), the new report puts the range from 1.5 to 4.5 degrees Celsius, moving the lower limit to that sensitivity downward.

This is a significant change. Does it mean the climate skeptics were right all along? Hardly. CO2 still warms the atmosphere. And even if we get lucky and the lower limit proves correct, we still don’t get to emit carbon dioxide without limit. It would simply give us more time — perhaps a few decades — to rein in greenhouse gas emissions before things get dicey. And by the way, I do hope that proves to be the case.

4. Attribution of warming to human influences — from likely to very likely to extremely likely: The IPCC reports are consensus documents and therefore tend to err on the conservative side on their conclusions — that’s generally the best way to get universal buy-in. And so it is interesting that with each IPCC assessment, the consensus on the role of humans in driving climate change has grown stronger.

Beginning with the third assessment (AR3), the working group called out human activities as the primary cause of climate change*: “most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.” But by using the word “likely,” they were hedging their bets, indicating a significant degree of uncertainty.

The fourth assessment (AR4) on the issue was more definitive with its use of the term “very likely”:

“Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”

Now, in the most recent assessment, the group has upped the ante stating:

Human influence has been detected in warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, in changes in the global water cycle, in reductions in snow and ice, in global mean sea level rise, and in changes in some climate extremes. … This evidence for human influence has grown since AR4. It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.

5. Irreversible warming: The group paints a pretty stark picture of how far into the future people will have to contend with our generation’s greenhouse gas emissions:

A large fraction of anthropogenic climate change resulting from CO2 emissions is irreversible on a multi-century to millennial time scale, except in the case of a large net removal of CO2 from the atmosphere over a sustained period. Surface temperatures will remain approximately constant at elevated levels for many centuries after a complete cessation of net anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Due to the long time scales of heat transfer from the ocean surface to depth, ocean warming will continue for centuries. Sea level rise beyond 2100 ‘is virtually certain.’

6. Adaptation will be required: The projections for having just a greater than 50 percent chance of limiting warming to less than the 2 degree Celsius threshold — the threshold the international community has identified to avoid dangerous climate change [pdf] — “will require cumulative CO2 emissions from all anthropogenic sources to stay between … 0 and about 1210 [gigatons of carbon] GtC.”

That may sound like a lot of carbon emissions, but we have already emitted about half of this total, at current rates we could easily use up the remaining by mid-century, and the longer we wait the more expensive it’s going to get.

With the numbers seen this way, the odds of keeping warming below 2 degrees Celsius seem slim. The second report of AR5, from Working Group II due out in March 2014 on adaptation, should address some of the challenges we will face in trying to deal with that new normal.

All aboard the train for AR6?

Finally, it is interesting to note that the AR5 report of Working Group 1 was prepared by 259 authors from 39 countries who responded to 54,677 comments from reviewers.** And that’s just the report from Working Group 1. We all — meaning scientists, policymakers and even the public — depend upon and benefit from the IPCC assessments. I, for example, have used them as the basic source material in courses I’ve taught on the climate. But we’re also talking about a huge expenditure of energy and time by the scientific community. A process that requires hundreds of scientists to take time away from pursuing their research interests to gather information and carry out analyses required for the assessment. And even as the fifth assessment is being released, the IPCC is almost certainly beginning to gather resources and get scientists to commit to the next assessment — AR6.

Before the AR6 train leaves the station, perhaps we should be asking ourselves: Is it worth it? Or, with five assessments under our belt, have the costs of producing these comprehensive reports begun to outweigh the benefits?

_________________

End Notes

* In the second assessment, the working group wrote [pdf]:

“Global mean surface temperature has increased by between about 0.3 and 0.6°C since the late 19th century, a change that is unlikely to be entirely natural in origin. The balance of evidence … suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.”

** And they all deserve our thanks and gratitude — the work was all done pro bono.

Crossposted with TheGreenGrok | Follow us on Facebook

Good News – The Huffington Post
These 8 Moments Restored Our Faith In Those Restoring Our Faith In Humanity
Clinton Global Initiative, Mashable Social Good Summit and, uh, that other major UN event, all collided this past week to tackle the world’s most pressing problems.

Check out eight moments below from CGI and Social Good Summit that restored our belief in the doyens of doing good.

1. When Bill Gates Called On Philanthropy To Get Sh*t Done.

bill gates

If problems that charities tackled were easy, business and government could step in and solve them, Bill Gates said at CGI. But, clearly that’s not happening, so “philanthropy should be taking much bigger risks than business,” the Microsoft co-founder explained during a panel at the conference.

2. When Malala Humbled The Crowd, As Per Usual.

malala

She was shot and nearly killed by the Taliban, but the indefatigable Malala Yousufza still considers herself to be the “most lucky girl,” she said at the Mashable Social Good Summit on Monday. Malala said that the overwhelming support she’s received throughout her recovery has helped to propel her forward in her campaign to bring education to every child, and for that –- she’s eternally grateful.

3. When Hillary Talked Major Dollars And Cold Hard Facts Like A Boss.

hillary clinton

Hillary Clinton announced three new commitments at CGI to help women in need, including a $1.5 billion effort over the next five years to help businesses owned by women, in partnership with Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart and Exxon Mobil. The Bill, Hillary And Chelsea Clinton Foundation also announced this week that it had helped more than 5 million people with AIDS access medication in 70 countries, helped 4,300 farmers feed 30,000 people, and helped plant 4.5 million trees in Rwanda and Malawi. Not too shabby.

4. When Bono Took On Big Oil And Wowed Us All.

bono cgi

Bono aired some serious complains with the oil and gas industry at a CGI panel. Really, all you need to know is that this quote from the U2 frontman wins: “As we know corruption is killing more kids than TB, AIDS, and malaria put together,” he said. “There is a vaccine … and it’s called transparency.”

5. When J.J. Abrams Made Us Realize That Hey, Maybe We Can Binge On Netflix And Feel OK About It.

jj abrams

J.J. Abrams was our hero when he declared at the Mashable Social Good Summit that films and television shows should both entertain viewers and inspire action. The acclaimed producer talked about how he used “Star Trek Into Darkness” to both honor veterans and raise awareness about the issues they face. He’s now also hoping to educate his “Revolution” fans about issues such as the harsh realities of refugee life and the atrocities committed by warlords.

6. When Bill Clinton And Bono Had That Moment.

clinton

It’s not always easy to find a reason to crack a smile while discussing how to end poverty, AIDS and bring education to the poorest countries. But Bono and Clinton showed us how — and that it’s something we should probably make a habit of. While waiting for Bill Clinton to come on stage at CGI, the U2 frontman decided to take the former president’s seat and do a little impersonation. The next day, Clinton reciprocated, though it was, uh, not quite as spot-on.

7. When We Realized Bill And Melinda Gates Are Actually Our New Hipster Role Models.

bill and melinda gates

Millennials were the oft-discussed topic on many panels at CGI and Social Good Summit. But we noticed that at these two gatherings, Bill and Melinda Gates themselves actually fashioned themselves into millennials. So ICYMI, we spliced together a pic for you above of Melinda’s hipster plaid shirt and Bill’s oversized glasses.

8. Oh, And When We Learned About Genius Solutions To Horrible Problems.

eating insects

World hunger is expected to worsen, up to 20 percent – according to Oxfam – a serious concern that has advocates hunting for innovative ways to feed those in need. But a group of MBA students from McGill University believes their plan, for which they won an award at CGI, to farm year-round access to nutritious insect food (including cricket-based chips and baking flour) could help solve the issue.

#alkalinity #alkalinitymovement #7.2 #sevenpointtwo

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