Sunday, March 30, 2014

UN - climate impacts overwhelming

Flooded pavilion in China
Scientists fear a growing impact of global warming on humans

The impacts of global warming are likely to be "severe, pervasive and irreversible", a major report by the UN has warned.

Scientists and officials meeting in Japan say the document is the comprehensive assessment to date of the impacts of climate change on the world.

Members of the UN's climate panel say it provides overwhelming evidence of the scale of these effects.

Natural systems now bear the brunt, but a growing impact on humans is feared.

Our health, homes, food and safety are all likely to be threatened by rising temperatures, the summary says.

The report was agreed after almost a week of intense discussions here in Yokohama.

This is the second of a series from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) due out this year that outlines the causes, effects and solutions to global warming.

This latest Summary for Policymakers document highlights the fact that the amount of scientific evidence on the impacts of warming has almost doubled since the last report in 2007.

Be it the melting of glaciers or warming of permafrost, the summary highlights the fact that on all continents and across the oceans, changes in the climate have caused impacts on natural and human systems in recent decades.

In the words of the report, "increasing magnitudes of warming increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts".

IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri said the findings in the report were "profound"

"Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change,'' IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri told journalists at a news conference in Yokohama.

"Before this we thought we knew this was happening, but now we have overwhelming evidence that it is happening and it is real," said Dr Saleemul Huq, a convening lead author on one of the chapters.

Michel Jarraud, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization, said that, previously, people could have damaged the Earth's climate out of "ignorance".

"Now, ignorance is no longer a good excuse," he said.

The report details significant short-term impacts on natural systems in the next 20 to 30 years. It details five reasons for concern that would likely increase as a result of the warming the world is already committed to.

These include threats to unique systems such as Arctic sea ice and coral reefs, where risks are said to increase to "very high" with a 2C rise in temperatures.

The summary document outlines impacts on the seas and on freshwater systems as well. The oceans will become more acidic, threatening coral and the many species that they harbour.

Animals, plants and other species will begin to move towards higher ground or towards the poles as the mercury rises.

Humans, though, are also increasingly affected as the century goes on.


Food security is highlighted as an area of significant concern. Crop yields for maize, rice and wheat are all hit in the period up to 2050, with around a tenth of projections showing losses over 25%.

After 2050, the risk of more severe yield impacts increases, as boom-and-bust cycles affect many regions. All the while, the demand for food from a population estimated to be around nine billion will rise.

Many fish species, a critical food source for many, will also move because of warmer waters.

In some parts of the tropics and in Antarctica, potential catches could decline by more than 50%.

"This is a sobering assessment," said Prof Neil Adger from the University of Exeter, another IPCC author.

"Going into the future, the risks only increase, and these are about people, the impacts on crops, on the availability of water and particularly, the extreme events on people's lives and livelihoods."

People will be affected by flooding and heat related mortality. The report warns of new risks including the threat to those who work outside, such as farmers and construction workers. There are concerns raised over migration linked to climate change, as well as conflict and national security.

While the poorer countries are likely to suffer more in the short term, the rich won't escape.

"The rich are going to have to think about climate change, we're seeing that in the UK, with the floods we had a few months ago, and the storms we had in the US and the drought in California," said Dr Huq.

"These are multibillion dollar events that the rich are going to have to pay for, and there's a limit to what they can pay."

But it is not all bad news, as the co-chair of the working group that drew up the report points out.


"I think the really big breakthrough in this report is the new idea of thinking about managing climate change as a problem in managing risks," said Dr Chris Field.

"Climate change is really important but we have a lot of the tools for dealing effectively with it - we just need to be smart about it."

There is far greater emphasis to adapting to the impacts of climate in this new summary. The problem, as ever, is who foots the bill?

"It is not up to IPCC to define that," said Dr Jose Morengo, a Brazilian government official who attended the talks.

"It provides the scientific basis to say this is the bill, somebody has to pay, and with the scientific grounds it is relatively easier now to go to the climate negotiations in the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) and start making deals about who will pay for adaptation."

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Top 10 -- Alex Preston "Story Of My Life" - AMERICAN IDOL SEASON - XIII - Alex takes 1D in a different direction

Top 10 -- Alex Preston "Story Of My Life" - AMERICAN IDOL SEASON - XIII - Alex takes 1D in a different direction

Top 10 -- Alex Preston "Story Of My Life" - AMERICAN IDOL SEASON - XIII - Alex takes 1D in a different direction

Japan Number 1 in men and women's ice skating with Hanyu and Mao Asada both taking gold!

Mao No 1 after long program (Julia No2, Carolina No 3) 

Feb 22, 2014; Sochi, RUSSIA; Mao Asada of Japan performs in the figure skating gala exhibition during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games at Iceberg Skating Palace. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports
Two-time world champion Mao Asada had a disappointing run in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, so she was hoping to bounce back in a big way during the World Figure Skating Championships being held at the Saitama Super Arena in her home country of Japan.
Asada did just that by bouncing back with an incredible short program that landed her in first place with a new world record score of 78.66, which topped the 78.50 set by Yuna Kim in the Vancouver Games.
Second-place after the short program went to Olympic bronze medalist Carolina Kostner with a 77.24, which was a new personal record by three points.
Kostner was the only Sochi medalist to compete in the ladies individual event after silver medalist Yuna Kim retired and gold medalist Adelina Sotnikova decided to pull out of the event last week to rest.
With Sotnikova out, all eyes from Russia were on 16-year-old sensation Yulia Lipnitskaya who came out in third-place.
Gracie Gold was the top finishing American in fifth-place. Ashley Wagner finished in seventh, while Polina Edmunds landed in 12th.
Here are the top seven finishers after the ladies short program on Thursday morning:
1. Mao ASADA JPN 78.66
2. Carolina KOSTNER ITA 77.24
3. Yulia LIPNITSKAYA RUS 74.54
4. Akiko SUZUKI JPN 71.02
5. Gracie GOLD USA 70.31
6. Anna POGORILAYA RUS 66.26
7. Ashley WAGNER USA

Hanyu delivers splendid free skate, overtakes Machida for world title

Sendai native becomes first man to earn Olympic and world titles in same year since 2002

Sochi Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu came from behind in dramatic fashion to capture his first world championship on Friday night at Saitama Super Arena.
The 19-year-old Hanyu trailed compatriot Tatsuki Machida by nearly seven points following Wednesday’s short program, but summoned the energy and endurance to overturn the deficit and cap off an incredible season with a stunning free skate.
Hanyu skated to “Romeo and Juliet” and opened with a quadruple salchow, followed by a quad toe loop, then landed eight triple jumps to run up a huge score. It was the free skate he had hoped for last month in Sochi.
The victory made Hanyu the first man to win both the Olympic and world titles in the same year since Russia’s Alexei Yagudin in 2002.
Hanyu also claimed both the Grand Prix Final and Japan national crowns this season.
The Sendai native’s spins and step sequences were both excellent and helped make the difference, as he edged Machida for the gold by just .33 of a point. Hanyu’s total score was 282.59 points, while Machida tallied 282.26.
Hanyu bested Machida in both executed elements and program components in posting the victory.
Spain’s Javier Fernandez took the bronze with 275.93.
Skating in front of another impressive crowd of more than 18,000, Hanyu clinically moved through his routine knowing he could ill afford to make a single mistake. So exhausted was he at the end that he actually went to his knees and put his chest on the ice for several seconds.
“I’m so happy,” said Hanyu. “Even though I didn’t watch Tatsuki (who went two skaters before him), in my head, I had been thinking that he did a perfect program. That was very close.”
Machida competed to “Firebird” and was valiant in earning his first medal ever at a major international competition, while hitting two quads and seven triple jumps. The silver medal capped off a fine season for the 24-year-old, who won two Grand Prix events and finished second behind Hanyu at the Japan nationals.
Machida was fifth in Sochi after struggling in the short program, but gained redemption here in front of the home crowd. The Kanagawa Prefecture native has been under the radar for most of his career, competing in the shadow of skaters like Daisuke Takahashi and now Hanyu.
“I showed everything I have at this moment,” stated Machida. “I tried to perform without caring about the score or ranking, but it bothered me a lot and I had a really hard 4½ minutes. I have no regrets about my performance today.”
Hanyu, who was the bronze medalist at the 2012 worlds and finished fourth last year, had a lone deduction for taking off on the wrong edge on his triple flip, but received extra credit for highlight distribution on five jumps in the middle of his program.
Despite the triumph, Hanyu remains both ambitious and aware of the expectations he now faces each time he competes.
“I hope that I can become a skater who can always end with strong performances,” he said. “I felt the responsibility I have to win this event.”
Fernandez was less than two points behind Machida in second place entering the free skate, but was unable to capitalize on the opportunity. He did land three quads, but also botched a triple lutz/double toe loop combo that cost him dearly.
“I popped the triple lutz and didn’t do my quad salchow/triple toe loop combination, but still it was a good program,” commented Fernandez, who was third at the worlds for the second year in a row.
Russia’s Maxim Kovtun took fourth on 247.37.
Takahiko Kozuka performed to “Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso” and placed sixth with 238.02.
Italy’s Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte hold a narrow lead after the short dance over Canada’s Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje.
The Italian duo notched a score of 69.70, while the Canadians recorded 69.20. France’s Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat are in third with 68.20.
Cathy and Chris Reed (55.18) are 14th going into Saturday’s free dance.
Mao Asada leads heading into the women’s free skate on Saturday after setting a new world record in the short program on Thursday.
Italy’s Carolina Kostner is in second place, with Russia’s Julia Lipnitskaia in third.

Friday, March 28, 2014

30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself. #10 Is An Absolute Must.

30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself. #10 Is An Absolute Must.

Marc and Angel, two passionate writers, life-hackers and “admirers of the human spirit,” have come up with an amazing list of 30 things to stop doing to yourself. If you like their list, make sure you check out their site and sign up to their amazing newsletter.
#1. Stop spending time with the wrong people. – Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.  If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you.  You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot.  Never, ever insist yourself to someone who continuously overlooks your worth.  And remember, it’s not the people that stand by your side when you’re at your best, but the ones who stand beside you when you’re at your worst that are your true friends.
#2. Stop running from your problems. – Face them head on.  No, it won’t be easy.  There is no person in the world capable of flawlessly handling every punch thrown at them.  We aren’t supposed to be able to instantly solve problems.  That’s not how we’re made.  In fact, we’re made to get upset, sad, hurt, stumble and fall.  Because that’s the whole purpose of living – to face problems, learn, adapt, and solve them over the course of time.  This is what ultimately molds us into the person we become.
#3. Stop lying to yourself. – You can lie to anyone else in the world, but you can’t lie to yourself.  Our lives improve only when we take chances, and the first and most difficult chance we can take is to be honest with ourselves.
#4. Stop putting your own needs on the back burner. – The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.  Yes, help others; but help yourself too.  If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now.
#5. Stop trying to be someone you’re not. – One of the greatest challenges in life is being yourself in a world that’s trying to make you like everyone else.  Someone will always be prettier, someone will always be smarter, someone will always be younger, but they will never be you.  Don’t change so people will like you.  Be yourself and the right people will love the real you.
#6. Stop trying to hold onto the past. – You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading your last one.
Max Rossi / Reuters
Max Rossi / Reuters
#7. Stop being scared to make a mistake. – Doing something and getting it wrong is at least ten times more productive than doing nothing.  Every success has a trail of failures behind it, and every failure is leading towards success.  You end up regretting the things you did NOT do far more than the things you did.
#8. Stop berating yourself for old mistakes. – We may love the wrong person and cry about the wrong things, but no matter how things go wrong, one thing is for sure, mistakes help us find the person and things that are right for us.  We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past.  But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future.  Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come.
#9. Stop trying to buy happiness. – Many of the things we desire are expensive.  But the truth is, the things that really satisfy us are totally free – love, laughter and working on our passions.
#10. Stop exclusively looking to others for happiness. – If you’re not happy with who you are on the inside, you won’t be happy in a long-term relationship with anyone else either.  You have to create stability in your own life first before you can share it with someone else.
#11. Stop being idle. – Don’t think too much or you’ll create a problem that wasn’t even there in the first place.  Evaluate situations and take decisive action.  You cannot change what you refuse to confront.  Making progress involves risk.  Period!  You can’t make it to second base with your foot on first.
#12. Stop thinking you’re not ready. – Nobody ever feels 100% ready when an opportunity arises.  Because most great opportunities in life force us to grow beyond our comfort zones, which means we won’t feel totally comfortable at first.
#13. Stop getting involved in relationships for the wrong reasons. – Relationships must be chosen wisely.  It’s better to be alone than to be in bad company.  There’s no need to rush.  If something is meant to be, it will happen – in the right time, with the right person, and for the best reason. Fall in love when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely.
#14. Stop rejecting new relationships just because old ones didn’t work. – In life you’ll realize that there is a purpose for everyone you meet.  Some will test you, some will use you and some will teach you.  But most importantly, some will bring out the best in you.
#15. Stop trying to compete against everyone else. – Don’t worry about what others are doing better than you.  Concentrate on beating your own records every day.  Success is a battle between YOU and YOURSELF only.
#16. Stop being jealous of others. – Jealousy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own.  Ask yourself this:  “What’s something I have that everyone wants?”
#17. Stop complaining and feeling sorry for yourself. – Life’s curveballs are thrown for a reason – to shift your path in a direction that is meant for you.  You may not see or understand everything the moment it happens, and it may be tough.  But reflect back on those negative curveballs thrown at you in the past.  You’ll often see that eventually they led you to a better place, person, state of mind, or situation.  So smile!  Let everyone know that today you are a lot stronger than you were yesterday, and you will be.
#18. Stop holding grudges. – Don’t live your life with hate in your heart.  You will end up hurting yourself more than the people you hate.  Forgiveness is not saying, “What you did to me is okay.”  It is saying, “I’m not going to let what you did to me ruin my happiness forever.”  Forgiveness is the answer… let go, find peace, liberate yourself!  And remember, forgiveness is not just for other people, it’s for you too.  If you must, forgive yourself, move on and try to do better next time.
#19. Stop letting others bring you down to their level. – Refuse to lower your standards to accommodate those who refuse to raise theirs.
#20. Stop wasting time explaining yourself to others. – Your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe it anyway.  Just do what you know in your heart is right.
#21. Stop doing the same things over and over without taking a break. – The time to take a deep breath is when you don’t have time for it.  If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.  Sometimes you need to distance yourself to see things clearly.
#22. Stop overlooking the beauty of small moments. – Enjoy the little things, because one day you may look back and discover they were the big things.  The best portion of your life will be the small, nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you.
#23. Stop trying to make things perfect. – The real world doesn’t reward perfectionists, it rewards people who get things done.
#24. Stop following the path of least resistance. – Life is not easy, especially when you plan on achieving something worthwhile.  Don’t take the easy way out.  Do something extraordinary.
#25. Stop acting like everything is fine if it isn’t. – It’s okay to fall apart for a little while.  You don’t always have to pretend to be strong, and there is no need to constantly prove that everything is going well.  You shouldn’t be concerned with what other people are thinking either – cry if you need to – it’s healthy to shed your tears.  The sooner you do, the sooner you will be able to smile again.
#26. Stop blaming others for your troubles. – The extent to which you can achieve your dreams depends on the extent to which you take responsibility for your life.  When you blame others for what you’re going through, you deny responsibility – you give others power over that part of your life.
#27. Stop trying to be everything to everyone. – Doing so is impossible, and trying will only burn you out.  But making one person smile CAN change the world.  Maybe not the whole world, but their world.  So narrow your focus.
#28. Stop worrying so much. – Worry will not strip tomorrow of its burdens, it will strip today of its joy.  One way to check if something is worth mulling over is to ask yourself this question: “Will this matter in one year’s time?  Three years?  Five years?”  If not, then it’s not worth worrying about.
#29. Stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen. – Focus on what you do want to happen.  Positive thinking is at the forefront of every great success story.  If you awake every morning with the thought that something wonderful will happen in your life today, and you pay close attention, you’ll often find that you’re right.
#30. Stop being ungrateful. – No matter how good or bad you have it, wake up each day thankful for your life.  Someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs.  Instead of thinking about what you’re missing, try thinking about what you have that everyone else is missing.
This is such a beautiful list, and we all are guilty of some of these. The best thing to do is just remember each day to appreciate and reflect a bit, even if it's only a few minutes. Share this amazing list

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Obama meets Pope Francis during Rome visit

Obama meets Pope Francis during Rome visit

The BBC's Alan Johnston describes the relaxed atmosphere at the meeting
US President Barack Obama says it was a "great honour" to meet Pope Francis for the first time during a European tour dominated by the crisis in Ukraine.
He flew into Rome after three days of talks with world leaders in the Netherlands and Brussels.
Tensions are high following Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
On Wednesday Mr Obama said the US and the EU were considering deeper sanctions against Moscow if there were any further incursions.
Pro-Russian forces seized Crimea - which has a Russian-speaking majority - this month.

Start Quote

The US president seemed to be preparing his audiences for a long struggle with Russia”
Moscow annexed the peninsula after it declared independence following a referendum that Ukraine and its Western allies consider illegal.
In other Ukraine developments:
  • Six Ukrainian military officers detained by Russian troops in Crimea have been released, but five remain in custody. Those released include Col Yuli Mamchur, the commander of Belbek base, which fell on Saturday
  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says it has agreed a loan deal with Ukraine worth $14bn to $18bn
  • Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk says the price Ukraine pays for Russian gas will increase by 79% from 1 April
A 90-second look-back at the Argentine Pope's first year in charge
'Brute force'
In a newspaper interview published before their meeting, Mr Obama described the Pope as a man who "lived the Christian Gospel".
US Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said President Obama has been inspired by Pope Francis' messages of inclusion and equality.
He said Mr Obama planned to express his appreciation for his leadership.
Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives for his general audience at St Peter's square on 26 March 26President Obama has praised the Pope for his compassion and his emphasis on helping the poor
The BBC's Alan Johnston in Rome says the two men have very different views on subjects such as abortion, contraception and gay marriage, but at this meeting they are likely to emphasise what they share.
After meeting the Pope, Mr Obama is due to meet both Italian President Giorgio Napolitano and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
President Obama is accompanied in Italy by US Secretary of State John Kerry.
US and EU 'united' over Russia
What do Americans have to say about Pope Francis?
On Wednesday, Mr Obama held talks with EU leaders in Brussels. Washington and the EU have already imposed targeted sanctions against Russian and Ukrainian individuals over the annexation of Crimea.
Later he said Russians would "recognise that they cannot achieve security, prosperity and status... through brute force".
"That's why, throughout this crisis, we will combine our substantial pressure on Russia with an open door for diplomacy," President Obama said.
Pro-Russian forces began seizing key sites in Crimea days after Ukraine's Moscow-leaning President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted.
He left power following months of bloody protests over his decision to seek greater ties with Moscow rather than the EU.
President Obama flew to Brussels following a nuclear security summit in the Netherlands.