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June 10, 2014

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Posted: 10 Jun 2014 12:06 AM PDT

Shrinking Arctic Ice

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 11:51 AM PDT

When will we acknowledge what is happening, and do something about it?:

Shrinking Arctic Ice Prompts Drastic Change in National Geographic Atlas, by Christine Dell'Amore: The shrinking of the Arctic ice sheet in the upcoming 10th edition of the National Geographic Atlas of the World is one of the most striking changes in the publication's history, geographers say. ...
Ice loss is accelerated in the Arctic because of a phenomenon known as the feedback loop: Thin ice is less reflective than thick ice, allowing more sunlight to be absorbed by the ocean, which in turn weakens the ice and warms the ocean even more, NASA says.
Because thinner ice is flatter, it allows melt ponds to accumulate on the surface, reducing the reflectiveness of the ice and absorbing more heat....
"You hear reports all the time in the media about this," Vald├ęs said. "Until you have a hard-copy map in your hand, the message doesn't really hit home." ...

How the VCR Wiped out Movies and Television

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 11:43 AM PDT

Tim Taylor:

How the VCR Wiped out Movies and Television: Perhaps you don't quite remember this event. But back in 1982, the videocassette recorder was just about about to wipe out the movie industry, and probably also the television industry. We know this is true because of the April 12, 1982, Congressional testimony from Jack Valenti, then the President of the Motion Picture Association of America, given in hearings before the House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Courts, Civil Liberties, and the Administration of Justice.

Valenti was arguing in favor of a bill that would allow a charge to be imposed on all makers of VCRs and blank videotapes, most of which were at that time made by Japanese firms, with the proceeds to be distributed to the U.S. film and television industry. If you need a reminder to be skeptical when business leaders prophecy doom and gloom if their industry has to adapt to new technology, here's a sample of the rhetoric from Valenti. It's a minor classic in the genre of special interest pleading, in which an industry is about experience worse than a tidal wave, worse than an avalanche, but indeed a jungle, where it will hemorrhage and bleed and be strangled--but the industry's real concern, as we all know, is that it just wants to protect the old and the poor and the sick. ...

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