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Humans: the real threat to life on Earth

© Getty
The global population is projected to pass 10 billion this century.
If population levels continue to rise at the current rate, our grandchildren will see the Earth plunged into an unprecedented environmental crisis, argues computational scientist Stephen Emmott in this extract from his book Ten Billion

Earth is home to millions of species. Just one dominates it. Us. Our cleverness, our inventiveness and our activities have modified almost every part of our planet. In fact, we are having a profound impact on it. Indeed, our cleverness, our inventiveness and our activities are now the drivers of every global problem we face. And every one of these problems is accelerating as we continue to grow towards a global population of 10 billion. In fact, I believe we can rightly call the situation we're in right now an emergency - an unprecedented planetary emergency.

We humans emerged as a species about 200,000 years ago. In geological time, that is really incredibly recent. Just 10,000 years ago, there were one million of us. By 1800, just over 200 years ago, there were 1 billion of us. By 1960, 50 years ago, there were 3 billion of us. There are now over 7 billion of us. By 2050, your children, or your children's children, will be living on a planet with at least 9 billion other people. Some time towards the end of this century, there will be at least 10 billion of us. Possibly more.

We got to where we are now through a number of civilisation- and society-shaping "events", most notably the agricultural revolution, the scientific revolution, the industrial revolution and - in the West - the public-health revolution. By 1980, there were 4 billion of us on the planet. Just 10 years later, in 1990, there were 5 billion of us. By this point initial signs of the consequences of our growth were starting to show. Not the least of these was on water. Our demand for water - not just the water we drank but the water we needed for food production and to make all the stuff we were consuming - was going through the roof. But something was starting to happen to water.

Comment: It's not all of humanity that is the real threat. It's psychopaths and their destructive actions on the rest of humanity and the world as a whole that is the real threat to survival.

Pistol

Whoops! Obama-ordered gun report reveals guns actually save lives

A gun report ordered in by Obama has ended up highlighting the fact that legal guns are actually saving lives and diffusing crime.

In a recent study orchestrated by the CDC and carried out by the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, it was found that individuals involved in violent crimes who defended themselves using techniques other than carrying a gun were more likely to be injured when compared to those who were carrying a concealed firearm.

All-in-all, the Obama ordered report ended up finding more pros than cons in regards to the right to an open or concealed weapon. The report also reminds us of the numerous causes of gun deaths, citing thatmost gun deaths are at the hands of those who used a gun for their suicide - not homicide. The report highlights the poor state of America's suffering mental health. The report states that suicide by guns outweighs the amount of deaths caused by violent crimes by 61%.

I recently conducted an interview with Representative Joe Carr from Tennessee on this very issue:

Question

Mysterious shapes cut into forest clearings near Eureka, Missouri


West St. Louis County - Strange circles and symbols are taking shape along interstate 44. It's enough to cause some phone calls from curios Google map users.

"We've had similar calls and we've explained that what you're seeing from the sky is some of our experimental treatments," says Tiffany Knight, PhD an Associate Professor of Biology with Washington University.

What some might suspect is from a UFO is really from a university, as in, Washington University at the Tyson Research Center.

That's a 2,000 acre outdoor laboratory for ecosystem studies.

"So you don't necessarily think of aloes as living in Missouri but they do," says Knight. "We have cacti living in there."

"Really?" asks Patrick Clark.

"We have those that are native to Missouri in our glades," adds Knight. "So we do get some of these almost desert like plant and animal species."
V

Egyptian activists hope for 'second revolution' a year after Morsi's election


Opposition plans large-scale demonstrations on Sunday, with some hoping army may step in to facilitate transition of power

Egypt is holding its breath for mass demonstrations to mark the first anniversary of President Mohamed Morsi's election on Sunday, amid speculation the army might intervene in the event of large-scale civil unrest.

Opposition activists claim an unverifiable 15 million Egyptians have signed a petition demanding Morsi's removal, and expect a significant proportion of that number to take to the streets on 30 June. There have already been outbreaks of fighting in two cities, where Morsi's still-sizeable support base has launched counter-protests. As a result, many opposition actors hope the army, who deployed armoured vehicles on Cairo's streets on Wednesday, will be forced to intervene and facilitate a transition of power.

A senior military source told the Guardian on Thursday that the army did not want to intervene. But they stated that if Sunday's protests were as widespread and prolonged as those that drove Egypt's 2011 uprising, and if serious fighting broke out between Morsi's supporters and his opponents, then the army may regard the protests as a more legitimate representation of the people's will than the elections that brought Morsi to office a year ago - and would step in to facilitate a transition of power to a technocratic caretaker government.

The eventual scale of the protests nevertheless remains uncertain, and could yet prove highly exaggerated. But some of Morsi's opponents are convinced 30 June will be as pivotal as the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.
Che Guevara

Truck drivers join mass protests in Brazil as country grinds to a halt

Unprecedented social turmoil continues in Brazil. Truck drivers have started three days of nationwide protests demanding lower fuel prices and exemption from road tolls.

MUBC, the most influential truckers union in Brazil, started a 72-hour strike on Monday. A spokeswoman for the MUBC trucking union headquarters in Rio de Janeiro said drivers were off the job in at least five states: Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Espíritu Santo and Mato Grosso.

The trucking union's demands include a subsidy for diesel fuel, exemption on highway toll payments for drivers and the creation of a new federal government department of cargo transportation.

Truckers protesting on the Anchieta highway that links Sao Paulo to Brazil's main Santos port triggered a 2-kilometer (1.4-mile) traffic jam, according to the highway operator Ecovias. Some other federal highways were blocked as well.
Apple Red

California teacher, 28, gave birth to baby fathered by student, 16, say police

Laura Whitehurst, 28, was arrested on Monday night for allegedly having sex with a 16-year-old student, who reportedly fathered her baby.

The teacher was questioned at her home in Redlands, California and then charged with unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, noted PE.com.

She was released after posting a $25,000 bail.

Whitehurst teaches 10th-grade English at Citrus Valley High School in Redlands, but is now on administrative leave.

According to the Redlands Police Department, her lover was 16 years old during their year-long relationship, which allegedly started last summer. The alleged victim is now 17 and recently graduated high school.
Dollar

Boston man arrested for making false $2M claim to Marathon bombing fund

Boston Bombing
© TheBusinessInsider
A man was arrested Tuesday and accused of making a false claim for over $2 million to a fund set up to aid victims of April's Boston Marathon bombings using his dead aunt's name.

MyFoxBoston.com reported that 22-year-old Branden Mattier was arrested outside his home in Boston's South End by a Massachusetts state trooper who had presented him with a simulated check for $2.195 million from One Fund Boston. He was charged with attempted larceny over $250 and identity theft.

The office of Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said that Mattier claimed that his deceased aunt, Onevia Bradley, suffered a double amputation in the April 15 bombings. Mattier allegedly sent an e-mail to The One Fund asking if his aunt could make a claim as a double amputee if the amputation was expected to be performed in the future. The One Fund later received a claim form from Mattier, along with a letter allegedly from the chief of trauma services at Boston Medical Center affirming Bradley as a double amputee.

However, hospital officials said Bradley never received treatment in connection with the bombings and the investigation revealed that Bradley had actually died more than a decade earlier.

Click for the full story from MyFoxBoston.com
Camcorder

Police State: Two New Jersey men use surveillance video to support police brutality allegations


Two northern New Jersey men are reportedly using footage from a surveillance camera to help support their allegations of police brutality in 2011. Alexis Aponte and Miguel Rivera claim that Paterson police used undue force against them when they were arrested, according to CBS New York.

The video appears to show Aponte being kicked by Paterson officers and then dragged down the street during a 2011 arrest.

A federal lawsuit filed Friday in Newark claims Aponte, of Paterson, and Rivera, of Prospect Park, were beaten while on the ground handcuffed. Aponte was a passenger in a truck driven by Rivera when police stopped them.

Their attorney, Darren Del Sardo, says the video was from a camera outside the Rivera family's home. It mostly captured what happened on the passenger side.

The lawsuit names Paterson police and specific officers.
People

Curfew considered after 400 teens street brawl in Greensboro


A massive fight in downtown Greensboro Saturday night has some city leaders taking a hard look at bringing back the teen curfew.

Nearly 400 people were involved in the several fights that happened along Elm Street.

Greensboro police arrested 11 people ranging in age from 16 to 20-years-old. Officers had to use pepper spray and a stun gun to try to get the crowd under control. Greensboro Police Department had to call UNCG Police and Guilford County for extra help.

Some officers minor injuries following the fights. As soon as one fight stopped another started.

The security cameras outside of Syn and Sky nightclub caught many of the brawls. The footage shows two groups of teens walking toward each other on Elm Street and several people running away into the streets.
Cell Phone

Girl, 15, faces child porn rap for iPhone pic

Cops: Young Floridian displayed illicit image to several classmates


A 15-year-old Florida girl was arrested yesterday on a child pornography charge for allegedly showing several classmates a photo on her iPhone depicting "two juveniles engaged in oral sex," police report.

The girl admitted to "taking the pornographic photo," according to a complaint affidavit filed by the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. The document, sworn by a detective, does not identify the juveniles in the photo, though a sheriff's spokesperson said that the teen herself is one of the minors depicted.

On May 21, the iPhone was seized from the girl "during class" by an employee of Wiregrass Ranch High School in Wesley Chapel who "observed a picture of two juveniles engaged in oral sex."

In subsequent interviews, "five witnesses" told a deputy that they "had been shown the child pornography by the defendant." The girl later reportedly copped to taking the photo and possessing it on her white iPhone.
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