Tuesday 16th of July 2024

getting hot on the surface of the planet....

Record-breaking heat wave scorches millions across the US, fueling wildfires

A long-running heat wave is threatening roughly 130 million people across the US with record-breaking temperatures from coast to coast, setting the stage for more potential records in the coming days. The National Weather Service has extended excessive heat warnings, as cities like Ukiah, Livermore, Las Vegas, and Phoenix report dangerously high temperatures, and firefighters battle wildfires exacerbated by the extreme heat.

Roughly 130 million people were under threat over the weekend and into next week from a long-running heat wave that broke or tied records with dangerously high temperatures and is expected to shatter more from East Coast to West Coast, forecasters said.

Ukiah, north of San Francisco, hit 117 degrees Fahrenheit (47 degrees Celsius) on Saturday, breaking the city's record for the date and tying its all-time high. Livermore, east of San Francisco, hit 111 F (43.8 C), breaking the daily maximum temperature record of 109 F (42.7 C) set more than a century ago in 1905.

Las Vegas tied the record of 115 F (46 C), last reached in 2007, and Phoenix topped out at 114 F (45.5 C), just shy of the record of 116 F (46.7 C) dating to 1942.

The National Weather Service said it was extending the excessive heat warning for much of the Southwest through Friday.




Russian emergency officials said on Sunday that there had been 49 drowning incidents across the country over the space of just 24 hours, amid scorching heat affecting large parts of the country.

"A total of 65 incidents were registered on the country's water bodies over the past 24 hours — 49 people died," Russia's Ministry for Emergency Situations said on the Telegram messaging app.

Russian state news agency RIA reported that the figure was 10 more than the same period a year earlier.

Spike in drownings amid hot conditions

The country has been experiencing some of the warmest weather experienced in over a hundred years, with temperatures exceeding 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit), prompting people to try and cool off in waterways and reservoirs. Temperatures in Moscow broke a 1917 record.

The emergency ministry said that among the incidents reported, a 10-year-old girl drowned in the Volga River in the Nizhny Novgorod region and that divers were searching for her six-year-old sister who disappeared.

The ministry said that an 8-year-old child, who appears to have been without adult supervision, drowned in the Ayba River in the Sverdlovsk region.

Three drowned in the Bashkiria region, between the Volga River and the Ural Mountains, including a 16-year-old girl.

Russia's Service for Hydrometeorology on Friday said that abnormally hot conditions were expected across southern European parts of Russia over the weekend, with temperatures rising in some places above 40 degrees Celsius 104 Fahrenheit).




nothing new...


The “Invisible Doctrine” destroying our planet and controlling your life    By Bob Douglas


Best-selling British writers, George Monbiot and Peter Hutchison, have very recently published “The Invisible Doctrine”, which is a powerful critique of neoliberalism, and the role they believe it is playing in destroying our human future.

The authors say that the neoliberalism is the dominant ideology of our time, but many people do not know much about it. They claim that it has caused, or contributed to most of the crises that now confront us, including rising inequality, the slow degradation of healthcare, education and other public services, the crumbling of infrastructure, the 2008 financial crisis, as well as environmental disasters. They say it has also contributed to the rise of modern day demagogues like Donald Trump and others.

They add that neoliberalism is neither inevitable nor immutable. It was conceived and fostered as a deliberate means of passing power to “the invisible hand of the market”. And that the crises that it causes, are not perverse outcomes of the system. They are the system!

Neoliberalism is often described as “capitalism on steroids”. Capitalism is defined as an economic system, in which private actors own and control property in accord with their interests, and in response to the constraints of demand and supply. And the authors point out that very often, making a profit, involves making the world worse for other individuals or other communities or countries. They discuss the claim by John Locke in 1689 and his followers that “working a piece of land, enables humans to make the land their property.” And that once they own it, they are free to do what they will with it to raise money. But the authors also draw attention, to the colonial takeover of indigenous lands which had been “worked“ by indigenous people for many thousands of years.

The term neoliberalism was coined at a conference in Paris in 1938, and in 1948, Frederick Hayek published his book “The Road to Serfdom,” in which he explained the theory. He argued that the welfare state and social democracy were reducing the scope of individual action and would mutate into the sort of absolute control exercised by both Stalin and Hitler. The neoliberals therefore claimed the need for :”private equity funds” to exercise greater control of the system, and to minimise the role of governments.

Prior to the advent of neoliberalism, the global economy had been very significantly influenced by the writings of John Maynard Keynes, who had argued that governments should pursue full employment and that taxes should be high and public services well-funded, with inequality constrained. On these matters, the neoliberals were telling a very different story, and Keynesian economics began to run into various crises, with neoliberalism becoming increasingly popular and effective in taking control of public policy.

The neoliberal approach was adopted increasingly by American Presidents. In the United Kingdom, Margaret Thatcher became a neoliberal disciple and claimed that “There Is No Alternative (TINA)” to the new approach.

The book argues passionately for urgent system change, away from the control currently exercised by profit makers, and the need to strengthen governance and how the economy operates, though expanded participatory democracy. This is a well written, quite brief book that deserves a wide readership by those of us concerned about the many crises that now threaten our human future.

George Monbiot and Peter Hutchison, “The Invisible Doctrine. The secret life of neoliberalism and how it came to control your life”, Penguin, 2024, is available here.









rediscovering humanism....


the concept of conservation isn't new... here is a poem from 1584....