Dog Trying To Be Friends With Boy With Down Syndrome Is The Ultimate Picker-Upper

Good News – The Huffington Post
Dog Trying To Be Friends With Boy With Down Syndrome Is The Ultimate Picker-Upper
This is a dog called Himalaya. She’s refusing to give up on a toddler who doesn’t want to play.

Little Hernán, from Buenos Aires, has Down Syndrome, which, according to comments posted by his mom Ana, causes him to shy away from physical contact.

But because Himalaya is so persistent and gentle, Hernán can’t help but give in and embrace his new best friend.

We’ve been watching it on repeat.

H/T: Jim Stenson

These Grandparents Prove There’s No Age Limit On Random Acts Of Kindness
These grandparents seem to have made their retirement a study in having a good time, while brightening the days of the lucky strangers they meet along the way.

Last Saturday, Riley and Hermi Combs spent the afternoon panhandling. But these Grandville, Mich. grandparents aren’t homeless, and they didn’t ask pedestrians for spare change.

Instead, the couple went to the intersection of Byron Center Avenue and 44th Street in nearby Wyoming, Mich., with a sign that read, “NO, I Am Not Homeless, I Am Not Hungry. Can I Give YOU A Dollar?” reported WOOD TV 8.

couple 2

Riley and Hermi also brought 100 $1 bills, which they handed out to delighted drivers.

The couple’s granddaughter told WOOD TV 8 that this isn’t the first time the couple has done a random act of kindness for strangers. They’re quite active in their Grand Rapids-area community and church.

“They also bought scads of 31-day bus passes and randomly handed them out while riding the Rapid so that people whose passes were expiring could have more, and for some to be able to see ArtPrize,” daughter Ami Walker told the news station. “They’re just awesome people. They do it for fun to get to know people.”

couple dollar

This fun-loving couple doesn’t just stop traffic — Riley is also known to make a scene on wheels. Watch this video of Riley roller-skating at a local church event in Grand Rapids, which Hermi posted on her YouTube account.

The Combs aren’t the only people who have flipped the script on panhandling, with delightful results. This subway rider got a lot of smiles for his panhandling prank.

Hat tip: WOOD TV 8

Chris Hadfield Tweets A Selfie In Space (PHOTO)
Chris Hadfield may have returned to Earth and retired his spacesuit but that doesn’t mean Canada’s most famous astronaut has stopped tweeting amazing photos.

Hadfield posted an awesome spacewalk selfie Monday, and if you look closely you can see the astronaut’s reflection in his helmet.

Good morning! Some selfies are more thought-provoking than others. Amazing what you can see in the reflection.

— Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) September 30, 2013

The photo has already been retweeted more than 1,000 times. Hadfield also answered a few questions from his fans.

“During a spacewalk you are constantly assaulted with the majesty of where you are, and what is happening. Distracting workplace,” he tweeted.

Also that giant light behind his shoulder? “That star is our Sun. With no atmosphere to diffuse the light, it looks like that.”


Green – The Huffington Post
The Planet’s Budget Crisis
As Congress focused on the federal budget and avoiding a possible government shutdown on Friday, the world’s leading climate scientists warned of another budget crisis. In its fifth comprehensive report on climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) announced that we have almost maxed out our carbon budget by burning fossil fuels and dumping carbon pollution into the ocean and atmosphere.

What is a carbon budget? There is a limit to the amount of fossil fuel we can burn before enough carbon pollution pushes our climate past a dangerous tipping point.

Like any budget, the carbon budget is finite. At our current pace, we have about 15 years left before we’d have to stop burning fossil fuels altogether to avoid dangerous consequences. The IPCC report is an urgent warning to the world that time is running out to save the planet from perilous climate change. Now it is time for Congress to listen and re-engage on this critical issue.

The scientists have spoken clearly. Decades of their observations and research confirm the basic chemistry and physics of dumping carbon pollution into our atmosphere and ocean. Our actions are changing the planet and harming people.

We’re seeing the impacts of climate change all over our planet. The last three decades have been the hottest since the Industrial Revolution, and likely the warmest in the last 1,400 years. Arctic sea ice and glaciers are melting, and there will be even greater sea level rise this century than what we’ve seen over the last 40 years. Extreme rainstorms and wildfires are increasing in the United States. The oceans are warming and becoming more acidic, driving fisheries north and threatening environmentally and economically critical species, such as oysters and lobster.

Climate change deniers in Congress have run out of excuses to support action. If senators truly followed the science in this report, we’d have more than 95 votes for action to match the more than 95 percent certainty that we are altering our planet for the worse.

I remain optimistic that the opportunities to create jobs through energy efficiency and clean energy will ultimately outweigh the anti-science attitudes of some of my colleagues. That’s why I will soon be introducing legislation to create a national renewable electricity standard and a national energy efficiency standard.

In the meantime, the measures undertaken by the Obama administration to cut carbon pollution from new cars, trucks, and power plants will demonstrate that America can still lead on climate change. And I will be fighting to turn back any attacks that Republicans bring to the Senate floor to try to stop the President’s Climate Action Plan.

We cannot afford a government shutdown and we cannot afford a climatic meltdown. We must not consign our children to a world of fire, flood, and drought by ignoring our carbon budget. The Senate passed a continuing resolution on the budget on Friday — let’s do the same for the planet.

Dog Trying To Be Friends With Boy With Down Syndrome Is The Ultimate Picker-Upper
This is a dog called Himalaya. She’s refusing to give up on a toddler who doesn’t want to play.

Little Hernán, from Buenos Aires, has Down Syndrome, which, according to comments posted by his mom Ana, causes him to shy away from physical contact.

But because Himalaya is so persistent and gentle, Hernán can’t help but give in and embrace his new best friend.

We’ve been watching it on repeat.

H/T: Jim Stenson

EPA Emissions Regulations Will Have Little Effect In Fight Against Climate Change
From Climate Central’s Bobby Magill:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rolled out restrictive new greenhouse gas emissions standards for new power plants at the end of September, but they are unlikely to have much of an impact on the nation’s overall climate change-fueling carbon emissions.

Part of the Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan, the EPA’s proposed new rules, if finalized, will govern only power plants that haven’t been built yet and affect primarily coal-fired power plants, few of which are likely to be constructed in the future.

The proposed rules are the first of two sets of power plant emissions standards the EPA is expected to roll out over the next year. The other set, expected to be announced in June 2014, is expected to govern carbon emissions from existing power plants — standards experts believe will go much farther to reduce emissions than the proposed rules governing new power plants.

Allowed under provisions of the Clean Air Act, the rules released in September cap carbon emissions at future coal-fired power plants to 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour and 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour for new natural gas power plants.

That won’t be difficult for natural gas power plants because the average gas-fired power plant emits about 800 pounds of CO2 per megawatt hour, the EPA estimates. The EPA expects coal fired-power plants to use existing carbon capture technology to ensure that new coal plants are dramatically cleaner than the average existing coal-fired power plant, which emits about 1,800 pounds of CO2 per megawatt hour. The technology the EPA expects new plants to install would be similar to carbon capture technology installed on coal-fired power plants across the country for more than a decade, capturing at least 50 percent of a power plant’s carbon emissions, according to the EPA’s proposal.

The proposed rules aren’t expected to apply to many power plants, however. The U.S., which ranks second in the world behind China for total coal consumption and production, had 36 coal-fired power plants in the planning or early construction stages by the end of 2012, though the status of some of those plants were unknown, according to a 2012 analysis by the World Resources Institute.

“There are only a small number of (coal-fired power) plants in construction,” said Dallas Burtraw, senior fellow at Resources for the Future, a Washington, D.C.-based nonpartisan, nonprofit natural resources policy think tank. “There is little expectation that many, if any, new plants would be built even absent the new rules. Our modeling shows that no new coal would be built for this decade even in the absence of this rule.”

When the EPA announced the new plant emissions standards last week, the coal industry claimed it was another volley in an ongoing attack on coal from the Obama administration.

Legal challenges to the EPA’s proposed rules are likely to draw out the fight between the coal industry and the Obama administration well into 2014, but Burtraw said the courts have upheld regulations enacted under the provisions of the Clean Air Act numerous times before, suggesting that the EPA’s emissions standards will also withstand any legal challenges from industry.

But it will be the rules governing existing plants that will have the greatest impact both on emissions and the power plants that release them, Burtraw said.

“The rules affecting existing plants will be the most important climate-related decision that any administration has had to make,” he said. “A realistic but affirmative rule for existing sources can lead to emissions reductions of several hundred tons per year.”

The effectiveness of the rules for new plants are dependent on the price of coal and natural gas, the economics of both suggest that little investment will be made in building new coal turbines in the coming years, said David Hawkins, director of climate programs for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“Under the price projections used by the DOE (Department of Energy) and EPA, almost no new coal plants are forecast to be built in the next 20 years,” he said. “Under this scenario, the EPA rule would prevent a new coal plant from being built without CO2 controls. If only a few coal plants are built, the impact of the new plant standard on total national emissions would be small.

“Under a scenario where gas prices increase a lot, power companies would be encouraged to place more emphasis on low- or non-emitting alternatives like demand-side efficiency, renewables or nuclear and run existing coal plants harder where possible,” he said. “The last option points up the importance of having a combined package of standards for new and existing plants. Without good standards for existing plants, emissions from these plants would increase.”

The EPA announced the proposed rule for new plants at a time when natural gas power generation is at a high point, primarily because of low natural gas prices.

In April 2012, natural gas contributed an equal share of electricity generation with coal in the U.S. for the first time, an achievement made possible by the lowest spot prices for natural gas in a decade, according to an Energy Information Administration report published Wednesday.

Use of natural gas for power generation was down 14 percent in the first seven months of this year compared to the same period last year because of spiking natural gas prices relative to coal, according to the report. Though natural gas use for power varies by region across the country, its use for electricity remains higher overall than before 2012.

Though the EPA is proposing to place the standard for new power plant emissions high enough to make building new coal-fired power plants an expensive proposition, but something easily achievable for new natural gas turbines, the new rules may not give the already booming natural gas drilling and exploration industry much of an additional boost.

Regulations on coal plants are driving demand toward natural gas, but it won’t likely lift the natural gas industry in the long term because investors in natural gas fields are wary that similar federal emissions regulations will eventually be turned on natural gas power plants, said William Fleckenstein, petroleum engineering professor at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden.

He said he’s skeptical that carbon dioxide can be economically stripped from either coal or natural gas-fired power plant emissions.

“Once you go ahead and step up the regulations similar to what was done with coal, you’re going to have the same issue with natural gas,” Fleckenstein said. “That’s going to chill investment on anybody looking to try and put in plants.”

The EPA’s proposed emission standards for new power plants are available for public comment before the agency will begin finalizing them.

IPCC’s New Climate Change Report Recommends Fossil Fuels Stay Where They Are… in the Ground
The much anticipated Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) update was released yesterday. It points to unequivocal human impact on climate change — driven predominately by burning fossil fuels.

Most of us have already made peace with that part, and are ready to change — 60 percent of Americans agree clean renewable energy is the future. But our willingness to do the right thing for ourselves and the planet is being undermined by the slow response of our own Environmental Protection Agency.

Last week the EPA announced tough new limits on carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants. Which at first glance looks great, but these lower emissions only apply to new plants.

So while it may seem as though President Obama is making good on his promise to finally get serious about climate change. These tougher emission standards are not an example of the environmentally sustainable leap for all mankind we were led to believe. They’re more of a baby step, because there will only be two new power plants firing up this year, with another couple in the future.

Meanwhile the hundred biggest, dirtiest, oldest power plants get to keep doing what they do best — polluting our atmosphere as if it were their own private endless trash receptacle. There’s no charge for trash pick-up or storage, let alone adding the health costs of coal-fired pollution onto the tab. Almost 40 percent of U.S carbon emissions come from power plants, with half of that amount coming from these dirtiest 100.

Some climate scientists dub our dwindling store of fossil fuels unburnable carbon: carbon that should be left in the ground if we are to keep to the 2 degrees Celsius temperature increase most climate scientists agree we could cope with — sort of — if we acted now, and made sure we curbed all further emissions.

Last year was a record carbon dump with over 30 billion tons of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere. It puts us right in line with the IPCC finding that climate change is happening faster than anticipated.

So the EPA taking a small step in the right direction is all well and good, but these new standards seem like a tiny Band-Aid slapped onto a big gaping wound that keeps festering into our future. Short-term: Burning coal causes asthma in children, it releases mercury into the atmosphere to be absorbed by fish, eaten by us, and retard our unborn babies’ neural development. But long-term it could be damaging on a much larger scale than inhalers and learning difficulties.

Gina McCarthy, the new head of the EPA, will announce tougher emissions standards for older power plants next June. But already the coal industry and friends are screaming about a “war on coal.” They are running around like Chicken Little crying that the sky is falling. No it’s not falling, but it’s getting sick, and the truth is we cannot afford to keep emitting CO2 with such carte blanche. The facts are in, it’s time for everyone to make this new carbon reality their friend.

Of course, maybe none of climate change’s dreaded impacts will happen. I, for one, do not know the future. But the precautionary principle — the hot meme of 2001 — would be a good one to employ right about now. Even if you are not unequivocally convinced that all these scientists could be right, not taking action to ensure our future well being would be — well, idiotic.

I will not be here when the worst is supposed to happen, but my nine-year-old daughter will be. With her birth I became a major stakeholder in the planet’s future.

#alkalinity #alkalinitymovement #7.2 #sevenpointtwo

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