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  • ¿Cómo pensar como Sherlock Holmes? - Maria Konnikova July 27, 2017
    Ningún personaje de ficción es más conocido por sus poderes de intuición y observación que Sherlock Holmes. Pero, ¿es su inteligencia extraordinaria una invención de la ficción o podemos aprender a desarrollar estas habilidades, para mejorar nuestras vidas en el trabajo y en casa? A través de ¿ Cómo pensar como Sherlock Holmes? , la periodista y psicóloga Ma […]
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    Un recorrido asombroso a través de los próximos cien años de revolución científica. El futuro ya se está inventando en los laboratorios de los científicos más punteros de todo el mundo. Con toda probabilidad, en 2100 controlaremos los ordenadores a través de diminutos sensores cerebrales y podremos mover objetos con el poder de nuestras mentes, la inteligenc […]
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  • Breve historia de mi vida - Stephen Hawking July 27, 2017
    La mente maravillosa de Stephen Hawking ha deslumbrado al mundo entero revelando los misterios del universo. Ahora, por primera vez, el cosmólogo más brillante de nuestra era explora, con una mirada reveladora, su propia vida y evolución intelectual. Breve historia de mi vida cuenta el sorprendente viaje de Stephen Hawking desde su niñez […]
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  • Sobre la teoría de la relatividad especial y general - Albert Einstein July 27, 2017
    Entre el Electromagnetismo y la Mecánica newtoniana existe una fórmula de bisagra: la teoría de la relatividad especial y general. La importancia del nuevo marco planteado por Albert Einstein se entiende por lo siguiente: la percepción del tiempo y el espacio es relativa al observador. ¿Qué significa esto? Si usted viaja a una velocidad mayor que la de la lu […]
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Who’s begging Trump to stick with Paris? Ivanka and Exxon, for starters.

While running for the presidency, Donald Trump disparaged the Paris climate agreement as “one more bad trade deal” he would “cancel” once elected. But more than 100 days into his presidential term, Trump and his staff are still quibbling over whether to take the plunge. Many close to Trump — his daughter Ivanka and fossil fuel companies, for example — have pled for the country to stick with it.

So what’s an unsure president to do? Keep putting off the decision, apparently. On Tuesday, the administration postponed a scheduled meeting on the matter and pushed back the time frame on a verdict.

Some coal companies, along with advisers like Steve Bannon, have asked Trump to kick the Paris deal to the curb. But support for the pact comes from a broad set of groups, and it includes some surprises:

1. Huge fossil fuel companies

The country’s top oil, gas, and coal producers are standing up for Paris: Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, and Royal Dutch Shell, Cloud Peak Energy Inc., Arch Coal, and Peabody Energy Corp.

2. Jivanka

Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner — a top Trump adviser — are apparently pulling for the agreement behind the scenes. Based on the tug-of-war still underway, their sway may not be all it’s cracked up to be. (We’re waiting for the SNL parody on this one.)

3. Republican and Democratic politicians

Representatives from both parties have urged Trump to stay in the deal, including nine GOP reps who advised Trump stay in the pact but loosen U.S. commitments.

Twelve governors (all from blue states, mind you) wrote to the President last week, calling for global action on climate. Californian politicians are even considering whether the state could sign onto the agreement if the U.S. pulls out.

4. Techbros and big business

In full-page ads in some of the nation’s biggest newspapers, Apple, Adobe, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and other major companies asked Trump to consider the business risk presented by climate change. As tech-savvy countries like China and India forge ahead on climate action, businesses are worried the U.S. could lose its competitive edge if Paris progress stalls.

General Mills, DuPont, Unilever, and Walmart got in on the full-page ad, too. Even Tiffany & Co. defended the agreement on Facebook (much to the chagrin of some fans who would prefer the company “stick to creating beautiful, albeit ridiculously marked-up, jewelry”).

5. Environmentalists

Surprise! Green groups of all sizes are lobbying for Trump to reconsider his promise to “cancel” the agreement.

6. Lobbyists

In an interview with NPR, energy lobbyist Scott Segal took the same tack as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and said the U.S. should remain in the Paris Agreement to maintain better diplomatic relations. “The President is in a good position to exercise tremendous leverage from the United States to negotiate a better deal,” Segal told NPR.

7. Farmers

The National Farmers Union, an organization representing almost 200,000 farmers, ranchers, and fishermen, sent a letter to Trump in mid-April outlining the impacts of drought, flooding, and wildfires on agriculture.

Some environmental actions, like methane regulations on livestock, might be a challenge for farmers. But the union’s president, Roger Johnson, wrote that keeping the Paris commitments would “benefit rural economies and make American agriculture more resilient to extreme weather.”

8. Condoleezza Rice

The Wall Street Journal reports that Rice, who served as Secretary of State under George W. Bush, cautioned Trump about the “diplomatic backlash” that would occur if he bowed out.

9. Veterans

A group of former military officers sent letters to Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis imploring them to continue support for the agreement. The veterans cited concerns about national security and humanitarian disasters, such as dramatic flooding, pandemics, and increased risk of conflict.

10. Al Gore

Trump and the former vice president reportedly talked on the phone so that Gore could make “the case for why the U.S. should stay in the agreement and meet our commitments.” Imagine that conversation!

11. The rest of the world (literally)

At the Bonn talks, where delegates from countries around the world are sorting out the rules on Paris, people are pretty peeved at Trump. China — which has newly donned the position of climate leader — implied the U.S. could expect more bad deals in its future if Trump pulls out. Emmanuel Macron, president-elect of France, reportedly told Trump he would defend the agreement during their first phone call.

The only other countries not in the agreement are Nicaragua and Syria. According to leaders across the globe, turning its back on Paris would put the U.S. in a very sticky diplomatic situation.

This post has been updated.

[…]

Jetson is mainstreaming e-bikes with its Adventure bike

When e-bikes are available through Kohl’s and Walmart, perhaps they’ve become normalized. […]

Mexicans Launch Boycotts of U.S. Companies in Fury at Donald Trump

The digital image shows a clenched fist bathed in the red, white and green of Mexico’s flag and decorated with the nation’s emblematic eagle. “Consumers, to the Shout of War,” it says in Spanish above the fist. “Consume products made in country…Use your buying power to punish the companies that favor the politics of the new U.S. government.” #Opinión “¡Consumidores al grito de guerra!”, escribe Alejandro Calvillo de @elpoderdelc https://t.co/ozG6mcNP76 pic.twitter.com/ys0lWX9JZz — Sin Embargo (@SinEmbargoMX) January 25, 2017 Created by a Mexican food-activist group, the image is part of a slew of messages, memes and videos that have been spreading in Mexico in recent days as President Donald Trump pushes for a border wall, deportations and punishing new trade rules. Others messages call for specific boycotts of U.S. companies in Mexico, including McDonalds, Walmart and Coca-Cola. One of the most heavily trending hashtags is #AdiosStarbucks, or “Goodbye Starbucks,” referring to the Seattle company which has opened hundreds of coffee houses here. The boycotts illustrate the defiant mood brewing in Mexico in reaction to Trump’s tumultuous first week in the White House. President Enrique Pena Nieto canceled a bilateral meeting in Washington on Thursday after Trump insisted Mexico should pay for the border wall. The Mexican government and leading business lobbies have said the country should pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, rather than accept a bad rewrite. And opposition leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has called for a lawsuit in the United Nations against the planned border wall. If a trade war is brewing, it will not be fought on a level playing ground. Mexico has an economy that is only the tenth of the size of its northern neighbor and U.S. import tariffs and the deportation of millions of migrants could push it into recession. But however daunting the Trump White House is, Mexico looks like it won’t go down without a fight. “We need to stand up to Trump’s threats and his economic war,” says Enzzo Omar Sosa, part of a collective called Mexicanos Al Grito de Guerra, or “Mexicans to the Shout of War.” The group has social media accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers, in which it has been heralding the cries to boycott U.S. companies. “We need to support Mexican companies, which provide jobs and maintain our macro economy,” he said. Hitting U.S. companies could also make them pressure President Trump over his aggressive positions against Mexico, he said. It is as yet uncertain how much boycotts will affect the bottom line of U.S. businesses here, but they have gained prominence since Trump signed the executive order for the border wall on Wednesday. A shift manager at a Starbucks in the middle-class Roma neighborhood of Mexico City said Thursday he had already seen a slump of about 10 percent in customers at that particular outlet. “It’s bad because this is a franchise and it affects the jobs of Mexican workers,” said the manager, who asked his name not be used as he was not an authorized spokesman. Starbucks has not voiced any political support for Trump, and was itself the subject of a protest by Trump supporters in December. There have also been several demonstrations against Trump outside the U.S. embassy in Mexico City, where protesters have burned piñatas of the president. Protester Maria Garcia, of the Bi-National Coalition Against Trump, said the insistence that Mexico pays for the wall is the main contention. “They can build what they want in their territory. But pay for it themselves. The demand we pay for it is a weapon to beat us into submission. It is blackmail.” The White House has sent mixed messages on how it will actually get Mexico to foot the bill for a wall that could cost up to $15 billion. Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Thursday floated the idea of a 20% tax on Mexican imports, but then later said that was just “one idea.” During the campaign, Trump discussed a wall tax on the $25 billion in remittances sent home by Mexican migrants working in the United States every year. Either of those would, if enacted, have a catastrophic impact on Mexico’s economy. These positions and others have made Trump a despised figure in Mexico, with a poll in September finding fewer than 3% here had a positive opinion of him. Yet President Enrique Peña Nieto does not fare much better among his own people. A recent Reforma poll found his approval rating had plunged to 12 percent, the lowest among a Mexican president in recent history. Corruption scandals, violent crime and rising prices have all paid their toll on him. Diverting the anger to a foreign figure could provide Peña Nieto with some relief. But politics expert Maria Eugenia Valdez thinks he has failed to capitalize on it. “He has taken all the wrong steps. He should never have planned to meet Trump so early in his presidency. He is not offering a convincing leadership,” she said. Valdez thinks that the Mexico–U.S. relationship is likely headed for disaster, whatever people do. “NAFTA is already dead,” she said. “It is like a marriage is breaking up. But it is not going to be an easy divorce.” […]

Greenpeace tackles destructive tuna fishing in the Indian Ocean

Fish Aggregating Devices are a serious driver of overfishing, which is why Greenpeace is on a mission to dismantle all the FADs it can find. […]

Two-thirds of food cans tested contain BPA, and the alternatives may not be much better

Toxic Food Cans shines a light on a dirty little secret of canned goods, which has little to do with the food itself, and everything to do with the ultra-thin coating on the can. […]

The Markets Have Spoken — America’s Clean Energy Economy Is Here to Stay

Much has been written about the Supreme Court putting a temporary hold on implementing the EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP). But arguably the bigger news — and harbinger of things to come — is the dominance that low-cost wind energy and other renewables have achieved in the new power marketplace, which is encouraging states and utilities to move forward with their clean power plans, despite the drama playing out in the courts. Which states proceed with plans to bring the abundance of clean, low-cost, domestic renewable energy to their constituents and ratepayers — and which risk being left behind — looks to be decided at least as much or more by the market forces of customer demand and cost, as by the courts. Indeed, the seismic shift towards clean energy being powered by the marketplace is quite extraordinary, and proof that America’s clean energy economy is here to stay. For the second straight year, wind energy in 2015 was the #1 source of newly-installed electric capacity in America, beating both solar and natural gas, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Bloomberg New Energy Finance and American Wind Energy Association. Together, wind and solar added 68 percent of new U.S. electric generating capacity last year, eclipsing fossil and other fuels by a more than 2 to 1 margin. Newly installed clean power was a remarkable 3,500 times greater than new coal. The markets have spoken, clearly. Smart money is investing in wind energy, including major companies such as Amazon, Apple, Google, IKEA, Microsoft and Walmart. Blackrock, the world’s largest asset manager, calls renewables a “fast river” for investing. Goldman Sachs tripled its renewables financing targets to $150 billion, saying clean energy “reached an inflection point” by topping conventional energy in new power. BNEF reports 2015 was a record year for global clean energy investing, attracting $329 billion for wind and solar power. The most important factor driving clean energy’s market momentum is price. Wind, in particular, has proven to be not only one of most effective, readily-available climate solutions – it’s also the cheapest. Since 2009, real costs for wind energy in the U.S. have dropped more than 60 percent. Across the central U.S. – from Texas to Iowa – wind is now cheaper than the coal and the other polluting fuels it is replacing. Wind power also offers customers and investors another valuable marketplace commodity – certainty. Most people think of wind as variable. But using smart data and forecasting from a worldwide fleet of wind turbines, we can now predict more than just which way the wind blows. We can predict how much clean electricity – and revenue – wind can generate, across the U.S. and much of the globe, for the next 20 years. Today, wind power can provide a combination of low-cost and long-term certainty unmatched by any other energy source – clean or fossil fuel. The return for consumers is just as promising – Americans will save almost $150 billion on their electric bills by 2050 in the switch to low-cost wind power, according to the Department of Energy’s Wind Vision report. In Oregon, the state’s House of Representatives voted to save the state’s ratepayers $2.3 billion in energy costs – by approving legislation that moves Oregon to 50% renewable energy by 2040. Other states, including California, Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, New York and a dozen more, are moving ahead with their own clean energy plans, and a commitment to embrace wind and other new energy technologies to drive economic growth and innovation, reduce dependence on foreign energy, and lower energy costs. Clean energy skeptics and climate change deniers can keep doubting. But the marketplace knows which way the wind is blowing – and has made its move. More and more customers are demanding, and we are supplying, low-cost clean wind power today. Corporations and consumers alike are choosing clean, domestic renewable energy – and they’re putting their money where the market is. Renewables have proven themselves as THE low-cost, competitive energy of choice. States and utilities are also making that choice – to move forward with leadership and momentum in the marketplace, or get left behind and risk the interests and ire of their ratepayers and citizens. Whatever the courts rule on the CPP, there’s no turning back or stopping this economic trend. Clean energy makes good sense for business, good sense for consumers, and good sense for the country. Chris Brown, President of Vestas-American Wind Technology, Vestas’ North American business unit. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. […]

How to Keep Companies Honest About Fighting Climate Change

Going green is the latest corporate trend—but it can be tough to separate the companies that are actually making major environmental commitments from those that are just giving lip service to the cause. Now that Walmart, Google, Goldman Sachs and other international corporations have pledged to cut their carbon footprint—commitments that would have been almost unimaginable a decade ago—climate leaders are turning their attention to the next challenge: ensuring that companies follow through on their promises. That’s the aim of a new effort spearheaded by the U.N.’s recently appointed climate champion, French climate change ambassador Laurence Tubiana. She hopes to build a system that measures corporate efforts to address climate change, with non-governmental organizations playing a role as fact checkers. “All sorts of institutions have registered their various commitments,” says Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group, an advocacy group that works with dozens of corporations. “Some of those were real commitments and some of those were high level ‘we’ll think about doing something.’ How do we find a common set of methodologies and monitoring, verification and reporting systems so things can be compared?” Tubiana, a key figure at the Paris climate conference in December, is still determining the form of the future transparency system, but here’s how climate policy experts say you should evaluate a corporate climate commitment: 1. Support from top executives Strong climate commitments should be approved at a company’s highest levels with consent of the board of directors. Such high-level commitment helps ensure that the company leadership sees addressing global warming as a key part of the corporate strategy and will be less likely to abandon commitments on a whim. 2. Concrete goals Companies should also make their goals concrete and offer a plausible path to meet them. That means an assessment of where across the supply chain—including in transportation and products purchased from outside vendors—carbon emissions come from and a plan to address those specific issues. And, while reasonable goals may only extend a decade or so into the future, companies should have a plan to reassess and strengthen them going forward. “Good environmental management is good business management,” says Tom Murray, who runs the corporate partnerships program at the Environmental Defense Fund. “A big part of that is setting big goals and delivering on that.” 3. Transparent reporting Perhaps most importantly, climate policy experts say companies should report on their progress transparently and offer a way for external experts to verify the information. In some ways, outside verification is easy. Top-tier accounting firms like Deloitte and KPMG have developed methods to audit companies’ sustainability efforts. But the audits come with a hefty price tag, and companies are often unwilling to add to their bottom line without a strong business incentive. Read More: Air Pollution Kills More Than 5 Million People Around the World Every Year Once a transparency system has been implemented, and companies begin to comply, policy experts will gain a sense of how much progress has been achieved by the private sector toward cutting greenhouse gas emissions. One estimate from the Climate Group suggests that a commitment from the world’s 1,000 biggest companies to go 100% renewable would result in a 15% global reduction in carbon emissions. Around 50 companies have signed up already, including a slew of household names like Johnson and Johnson, Starbucks and Microsoft. Just a decade ago, opposition to new regulation from corporate leaders made it difficult to address climate change. Some companies allegedly went as far as obscuring evidence supporting the existence of climate change. Today, corporations are more likely to take on carbon emissions as a serious issue. They’re partly motivated by the strong argument that climate change could wreak havoc on the global economy, destroying the markets that many companies need to sell their products and services. A 2015 report from financial services firm Citigroup found that keeping temperature rise to 2.7ºF (1.5ºC) instead of 8.1ºF (4.5ºC), the do-nothing scenario, in the coming decades would minimize global GDP loss by $50 trillion. Companies have also realized there’s a lot to be gained from switching to low-carbon technologies, including a long-term reduction in energy costs. “Right now we’re seeing companies step up and be supportive of climate policy in a way that I think is new and goes beyond what they’ve done before,” says Murray. “If you think about leadership being a curve, people are working their way up it.” […]