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Residents concerned about PCBs

December 7 2011

 by: Jason Evans


PICKENS COUNTY — Residents filled council chambers Thursday night to ask questions of EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials, regarding plans to study the Twelve Mile River for PCBs now that two dams have been removed and sediment is flowing into the river.

Project Manager Craig Zeller said the floodplains around the dam site as well as the river and Lake Hartwell will continue to be tested as his agency seeks to determine the risk to the public from the PCBs that remain in the river, the river bed and the surrounding soil.

Zeller said it is estimated that the Sangamo-Weston Plant released 400,000 pounds of PCBs into the Twelve Mile River between 1955-1977.

The original federal Superfund cleanup for the plant site, six satellite dump sites, the river and lake, started in the 1990s.

Schlumberger Technology Corp. acquired the site from Sangamo-Weston in 1975 and took responsibility for the cleanup.

Now that the dams are done, the study, or Supplemental Remedial Investigation, is needed because “the exposure situation has changed,” Zeller said.

“These were a series of small impoundments that were covered with water,” Zeller said, of the Woodside I and Woodside II. “At that point, the sediment wasn’t easily accessible.”

(Full Story...)



Death by Technology | The Environment

U.S. Postal Service proposes cuts that would slow mail delivery

December 6 2011

by: Melanie Mason and Stuart Pfeifer

A plan to save $2.1 billion a year and fend off possible bankruptcy would end almost all overnight delivery of first-class letters and postcards.



Reporting from Washington and Los Angeles— Snail mail may get even slower, starting this spring. The U.S. Postal Service said a plan to save $2.1 billion a year and fend off possible bankruptcy would effectively put an end to almost all overnight delivery of first-class letters and postcards. Delivery would take at least two to three business days.


The postal service's decision to relax delivery standards for first-class mail follows its determination in September to close 252 mail processing plants, about half its total. Altogether, about 28,000 employees would lose their jobs.


David Williams, a postal service vice president, said Monday that the agency has little choice but to take drastic steps to reduce operating costs by $20 billion by 2015 in a bid to become profitable. It doesn't receive taxpayer funding, though it is subject to federal regulations and oversight.

(Full Story...)




Deadly Politics | Death by Technology | Decline and Collapse

Two Big Decisions Loom on the Fate of Drinking Water for 15 Million People Living Near the Marcellus Shale

December 1 2011

by: Steven Wishnia


Decisions about whether to allow fracking in NY, PA, NJ and DE may be decided in just a few weeks.


The fate of fracking in the Northeast may be determined soon.


On Nov. 21, the Delaware River Basin Commission, comprising representatives from four states (New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware) and the federal government, will vote on whether to allow the intensive method of natural-gas drilling in the river's watershed. The watershed, which supplies drinking water for more than 15 million people, overlaps the eastern end of the Marcellus Shale, an underground geological formation touted as the "Saudi Arabia of natural gas."


The largest employer in the world attributed the decision for making the cuts to rising health care costs. Under the plan, new hires who work under 24 hours a week on average will not be eligible for company health coverage, while premiums for some existing plans may go up as much as 40 percent, along with other benefit reductions, The New York Times reported. Additionally, spouses of new hires who work less than 33 hours a week will no longer be covered.


The commission's rules, which will apply in the Delaware watershed, will overlap with state regulations. Pennsylvania already allows fracking. New York is in the process of developing regulations about where it might be allowed and under what conditions. The state Department of Environmental Conservation will hold public hearings in November, and says it will decide sometime next year. Many environmental activists believe Gov. Andrew Cuomo is fast-tracking the issue.

(Full Story...)



Death by Technology | The Environment

PhDs Becoming Worthless in America

November 26 2011

by: Georg4title


Death by Technology | Decline and Collapse

The Effects of Technology on Economics

November 19 2011

by: Harvey Birdman


Technology has dramatically changed the face of economics by reorienting the economy from industrial to service-oriented. Computer technology created the information sector, and the greater increased efficiency of transportation infrastructure has made labor arbitrage a viable tactic for even small businesses. Automated trading programs have allowed nonhuman actors to profit from market fluctuations so that capital can be accumulated 24/7 and finally, production costs are greatly lower due to the robotization of assembly lines.



Service Oriented Economy


The biggest change in economics caused by technology is the shift from a manufacturing-based economy to a service-oriented one. Before the invention of the Internet, services like accounting or writing had to be transmitted by mail, which resulted in significant time lag -- enough to make it uneconomical for some businesses. By having instantaneous information, service-based industries were able to expand to the entire country and grow rapidly. For example, investors can now contact trading firms via website instead of having to meet an actual broker.

(Full Story...)




Death by Technology

Is this the end of America's middle class?

November 19 2011

by: Mark Duell


Study warns families are either rich or poor in new 'two-tiered society' .



  • 44% families now live in middle income neighbourhoods

  • Down from 65% in 1970, Stanford University study says

  • Third of U.S. families live in either rich or poor areas



America’s middle class is disappearing as growing income inequality creates more families in areas either mostly rich or poor, a report says

Around 44 per cent of families live in middle-income neighbourhoods - down from 65 per cent in 1970, the Stanford University study shows.

Meanwhile a third of families in the U.S. now live in either rich or poor areas, which has more than doubled on the 1970 figure of 15 per cent.

(Full Story...)




Death by Technology | Decline and Collapse | The Economy

Ignore The Noise Of High Frequency Trading

November 16 2011

by: Ken Kamen


The daily triple-digit moves of the Dow Jones Industrial Average have kept the media scrambling to find new hyperboles to describe the action. Based on the news of the day, they report, investors and traders are routinely “whipped into frenzy” either “clamoring to buy” or “stampeding for the doors.”


However, the increasing volatility can’t be pinned on “investors” and “traders.”  In fact, the culprits behind these dizzying swings are not who, but what.  They are caused not by panicky human beings but by sophisticated (and unemotional) computer-generated algorithms that turn data into trades in milliseconds.


It is vital for human investors who are saving and planning for retirement to understand what is going on so they can act accordingly.


(Full Story...)




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