Monday, June 25, 2012

The Lord Helps Those Who Help Themselves

Repost from A New World
By Bill Hewitt, author of A Newer World (UNH Press)
June 19, 2012

I wrote in April about Germany’s ambitious goal of deriving 100% of its electricity from renewables by 2050.  It seems to me that they’re going to get there a lot sooner than 2050.

Solar electricity world record: Germany cranks half its power with PV was the headline recently from SmartPlanet.  Germany hit a breathtaking 22.15 gigawatts of PV output on May 25th.  There are several astonishing things about that, one of which is that the US may get to 3 GW of installed capacity this year, a drop in the bucket compared to Germany’s herculean output.

Why is the US such a laggard?  For one thing, the renewable energy feed-in tariff that Germany pioneered, led by the renewable energy visionary Hermann Scheer, has enabled independent power producers there to build out this enormous capacity.  What’s another amazing aspect of all this?  It’s that the amount of PV available during the day – when power is in greatest demand – actually enables a lowering of peak prices.  That’s unheard of in the power business, but the Germans are doing it, as I pointed out in my post from April about 100% renewables.

As Reuters indicates in its article on Germany’s breakthrough, the 22+ GW of power provided about a third of the nation’s needs on a workday, Friday the 25th, but half the next day when offices and factories were closed.  With Germany’s 29 GW of installed capacity in wind – the largest amount in Europe – there’s really no stopping them from carbon-free power, or, as Hermann Scheer described it, a technology-driven energy economy.

Read Bill Hewitt's entire article "The Sun Shines on Germany"

Friday, June 22, 2012

"3rd year of Pop Warner, I was knocked unconscious" - George Visger

Reprinted from
Submitted by George Visger on Wed, 06/20/2012 - 18:45.

Long Term Effects of Concussions in Youth Sports

My football career began at age 11 playing Pee Wee Pop Warner for the West Stockton Bear Cubs.  During my 3rd year of Pop Warner, I was knocked unconscious in a meaningless "Bull In The Ring" drill and was hospitalized.   I went on to to play for the undefeated and nationally ranked Amos Alonzo Stagg High in Stockton, CA in 1975, and attended the University of Colorado on a football scholarship in 1976.

While at Colorado, I majored in Fisheries Biology, played in the 1977 Orange Bowl, and was a 3 year starter at defensive tackle.  The New York Jets selected me as a 6th round pick in the 1980 NFL draft, but I ended up playing the 1980 and 1981 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, who had picked me up before the 5th game of the 1980 season, a few days prior to the first Dallas game.  After two days of practice I was put in the game early in the first quarter and suffered a major concussion on my first play.  The trainers and doctors laughingly told me later that week (when my memory returned), that I went through over 20 smelling salts during the game to keep me on the field.  They would hand me a handful each time I came out, pop a couple to clear the cobwebs, and I would go back in.

"Steroid use is so 20th cen­tury" Roger I. Abrams

Law professor Roger Abrams, author of Sports Justice, (Northeastern University Press) analyzes the repercussions of baseball great Roger Clemens’ acquittal Monday of lying to Congress about steroid use. Photo by Mary Knox Merrill.

This entry was posted in Society & Culture and News@Northeastern
Interviews and written by Greg St. Martin
June 21, 2012

Q. What does the Clemens verdict mean for professional sports?

A.  The acquittal of Roger Clemens might someday be seen as the end of the steroid era in base­ball. While the crim­inal case was based on charges that Clemens lied to Con­gress, the case turned on his alleged behavior in using performance-​​enhancing drugs. Some com­men­ta­tors remained con­vinced that the “Rocket” was “dirty.”  Appar­ently, acquit­tals in a court of law do not always trans­late into acquit­tals in the court of public opinion. The most famous sports acquittal was of the eight ballplayers from the Chicago White Sox who threw the 1919 World Series. After they cel­e­brated their court vic­tory, base­ball com­mis­sioner Kenesaw Moun­tain Landis banned them from base­ball for life.

Q. Do you think that the Clemens case will also end the government's prosecution of sports figures for the use of illegal drugs?

A. One really has to ques­tion any fur­ther use of lim­ited public resources in this manner. Now that the Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens cases are over, we can begin to worry about the next gen­er­a­tion of performance-​​enhancers based on genetic engi­neering. Steroid use is so 20th cen­tury. The legit­i­macy of the sports we love depends upon our belief that the games are played on the level. That will remain a sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenge for the major sports in the years to come, although I would doubt that we would see much by way of crim­inal prosecutions.

Q. Speaking of sports and steroid accusations, what is this new case against Lance Armstrong all about?

 A. The United States Anti-​​Doping Agency has made public some drug use alle­ga­tions about the cham­pion cyclist, which appar­ently will be sup­ported by state­ments made by his former team­mates. It is impor­tant to note that the USADA is not a gov­ern­ment agency, although it sounds like it is one. It is con­nected to the national and inter­na­tional pri­vate sports estab­lish­ment. The USADA and its sib­ling, the World Anti-​​Doping Agency, tend to act like anti-​​drug zealots. We will have to see how Arm­strong responds to these accu­sa­tions, but he has tri­umphed in the past much as he did in the moun­tains and val­leys of France, win­ning seven Tour de France races in a row.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Repost from Yahoo Sports > Rueters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The largest U.S. youth football program has instituted strict new regulations aimed at better protecting players from concussions and other head injuries, according the a report by NBC News on Tuesday.

Pop Warner, a nonprofit organization with football and cheerleading programs, is rolling out the new regulations amid growing concern about concussions at all levels of football. Some 2,000 former NFL players sued the league last week alleging it concealed the risk of brain injury from players.

Pop Warner's new rules would closely regulate contact during practice, which accounts for more head injuries than games, according the NBC's report.

It said most Pop Warner teams practice nine hours a week, and under the new guidelines only a third of that time could be spent in contact with another player. In addition, no head-to-head hits would be allowed and tackling could only be initiated within a three foot zone during practice.

NBC said there are more than 4 million concussions in sports and other recreational activities each year in the United States each year. Football accounts for more than half of those.

AHEAD OF THE GAME  by Rosemarie Scolaro Moser
A new look at understanding and preventing sports concussion in children and teens

Sports-related concussions, also known as mild traumatic brain injuries, have become a national epidemic. As many as 63 percent of high school students have already had at least one concussion, while another 500,000 children between the ages of ten and fourteen visit ERs for concussion annually. 

New research has shown that there is no such thing as a simple “bell-ringer,” and that sending a child back on the field too soon puts his or her physical and emotional health at risk. Yet it is all too easy to miss the warning signs of concussion, or to encourage kids to “walk off” a potentially devastating injury.

Ahead of the Game is the first book to give parents of school-aged athletes the tools they need to keep kids safe on the field, court, diamond, or rink. Rosemarie Scolaro explains how:

• Helmets and mouth guards, even when properly fitted, cannot prevent concussion
• Concussions may negatively affect a child’s GPA, school performance, and emotional behavior
• Girls are more vulnerable to concussion than boys
• State concussion laws may not be enough to keep kids safe

Ahead of the Game clearly lays out the basics of identification, management, and treatment of concussion in kids, and details the vital steps we can take to protect their most vital organ—the brain—before an injury occurs.

What Do Committed Couples REALLY Argue About?

Repost from 

It doesn't have to be sex; devoted couples can argue about soup. 
They bought a few bulbs to plant last fall, anticipating an early summer filled with bright colors and enviable floral arrangements. They worked the soil together, laughing and talking. Everything was perfect until The Wife mentioned that she really liked the forsythia at their friend’s house and suggested that they might consider some plantings along that line.

The Husband--gently, sweetly, thoughtfully--corrected her and pointed out that their friend’s house was bordered, not by forsythia, but by hydrangeas.

Laughing again, she--thoughtfully, sweetly--corrected his correction, and reminded him how much more she knew about landscaping. She read magazines; she, after all, had purchased books on the very topic. With a smile, she also reminded him that when it came to recalling the names of things, he wasn’t exactly first in line for the prize.

Gently, lovingly, with a husbandly concern for her well-being, he responded that, until fairly recently, she couldn’t tell a rose from a pair of pants, for all she knew about gardening, whereas he had grown up with a trowel in his hand, to which she replied that he better get ready to throw in the trowel because he couldn’t tell his pants from his----; oh, well, you know how the story ends.

Author Photo
GINA BARRECA has appeared on 20/20, 48 Hours, NPR, The Today Show, Joy Behar, and Oprah to discuss gender, power, politics, and humor. Her books, which have been translated into seven languages, include They Used to Call Me Snow White But I Drifted, Babes in Boyland, and It’s Not That I’m Bitter. She is a professor of English and feminist theory at the University of Connecticut.

Gina Barreca is author of  Make Mine a Double
Why Women Like Us Like to Drink (Or Not)
University Press of New England