US population hits 300 million

Population graphThe US population has hit 300 million today, just 39 years after it reached 200 million, the US Census Bureau estimates. A “population clock” will recorded the milestone at 0746 (1146 GMT) — a timing based on calculations that factor birth and death rates and migration. The bureau’s maths suggests that the US gains one person every 11 seconds. But it is not possible to say if the 300-millionth American will be born, or cross one of the country’s borders.

A world without people


A fascinating scenario by Bob Holmes in New Scientist.

He writes:

Humans are undoubtedly the most dominant species the Earth has ever known. In just a few thousand years we have swallowed up more than a third of the planet’s land for our cities, farmland and pastures.

By some estimates, we now commandeer 40 per cent of all its productivity. And we’re leaving quite a mess behind: ploughed-up prairies, razed forests, drained aquifers, nuclear waste, chemical pollution, invasive species, mass extinctions and now the looming spectre of climate change. Continue reading “A world without people”

More Iraquis killed under US than under Saddam

The numbers might vary a little but the basic message is clear.

From the Washington Post:

A team of American and Iraqi epidemiologists estimates that 655,000 more people have died in Iraq since coalition forces arrived in March 2003 than would have died if the invasion had not occurred.

From the New York Times:

A team of American and Iraqi public health researchers has estimated that 600,000 civilians have died in violence across Iraq since the 2003 American invasion, the highest estimate ever for the toll of the war here.

At last count there were 340 comments on The Daily Kos blog discussing the death toll.

The Daily Kos also has more links to the story.

For and against — a Republican scorecard

We couldn’t resist republishing this list as blogged by Dori Smith at Backup Brain today.

Do visit, as we’re sure she’ll find more to add as time goes by:

Republicans today, in 2006, believe that the following are:


  • Pedophilia by Members of Congress
  • Conspiracy by Members of Congress to cover up pedophilia by Members of Congress
  • Torture of anyone the President wants
  • Wiretapping everyone, including American citizens, without a warrant
  • Huge and increasing deficits
  • Increases in the size of government
  • Starting wars on little, no, or trumped-up basis
  • War profiteering
  • Cherry-picking intelligence data and other subversions of national security
  • Outing undercover intelligence agents
  • Government interference in private lives, such as medical decisions (including contraception, abortion, and end-of-life issues)
  • Bribing journalists to produce government propaganda
  • Voter intimidation
  • Increased pollution
  • Decisions based on pseudo-science and religious faith


  • Habeas corpus
  • Congressional oversight of the Executive Branch
  • Judicial review of the Executive Branch
  • Immigration of alien workers without whom the economy would fall apart
  • Sex acts between certain consenting adults
  • Marriages between certain consenting adults
  • Abiding by America’s treaty obligations, including the Geneva Convention
  • Increasing the minimum wage
  • Health care that covers all Americans
  • Balanced budgets

And these people get votes… why?

Unplug Pedder

dancing melaleucas

Campaigns to reverse the damage done by indiscriminate damming of rivers are springing up everywhere, especially in the western USA, where many a project promoted as the wave of the future has led to silting and the ruin of of many a river ecosystem.

But possibly the first such campaign started as long ago as 1973 in Tasmania after an unsuccessful effort to stop the drowning of one of the world’s most beautiful lakes. Continue reading “Unplug Pedder”


“They rediscover bin Laden every two years right before the election. If you had a business strategy that worked all the time that was premised on scaring the living daylights out of people, you just keep doing it.”

Bill Clinton, in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s Political Capital with Al Hunt, about the Republican strategy for the midterm elections.

California sues carmakers

car exhaustABC News is reporting that California today sued six of the world’s largest automakers over global warming on Wednesday, charging that greenhouse gases from their vehicles have caused billions of dollars in damages. The lawsuit is the first of its kind to seek to hold manufacturers liable for the damages caused by their vehicles’ emissions, state Attorney General Bill Lockyer said. Continue reading “California sues carmakers”

Time is running out: Al Gore’s Speech at New York University

For weeks, the world has been aware of a damning speech about global warming to be given by Al Gore at New York University’s law faculty today.

It has prompted the spin doctors to leak stories that George W Bush is about to announce sweeping green initiatives as a pre-emptive strike. They might have to go back to the drawing board:

Over to Al Gore:

A few days ago, scientists announced alarming new evidence of the rapid melting of the perennial ice of the north polar cap, continuing a trend of the past several years that now confronts us with the prospect that human activities, if unchecked in the next decade, could destroy one of the earth’s principle mechanisms for cooling itself.
Continue reading “Time is running out: Al Gore’s Speech at New York University”

Whale Teriyake flops

Whale teriyaki? Even the Japanese don’t like it — The Japanese government says whale meat is a traditional part of its food culture.

Japanese journalist Harumi Hayakawa doesn’t agree.

Hear her debunk the dishonesty about Japan’s appetites and ‘scientific’ whaling in Perspective, a five-minute thinkpiece on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Radio National network, the home of opinions often contrary to conventional wisdom. Streaming audio, downloadable audio, podcast or RSS.