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Gaythia Weis
Works at Analytical Chemist.
Lived in Bellingham WA


Gaythia Weis

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California Needs Sustainable Water Management

See also:   California Drought and Unsustainable Groundwater Use

Via +Brian Wolfe 
California Edging Closer to Regulating Groundwater for the First Time

Power players in California water policy seem to agree for once: It’s time to get serious about groundwater.

Learn more from KQED Science's Craig Miller.
Power players in California water policy seem to agree for once: It's time to get serious about groundwater.
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Gaythia Weis

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"Some might accuse the church of being reluctant to accept scientific findings that contradict dogma, but they are rank amateurs when compared with big business."
This week's episode of Cosmos tackles the Rock of Ages, the age of rocks and getting the lead out of our commitment to the environment. The episode takes the form of a fable, a cautionary tale about the dangers of letting any institution, but most especially science, fall into the clutches of the Argument From Authority and the ulterior motives of self-declared experts.
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I didn't mean the quote, I mean't the above paragraphs, sorry for the misunderstanding.
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Big Food Doesn't Like Food Labeling Regulation
and federal statutes regarding who regulates what need work.

"Pom first sued Coke in 2008 under the Lanham Act, which prohibits false and misleading statements about a product and can only be invoked by companies, not consumers."

The juice in question is almost entirely (99.4%) apple and grape juice.

Interestingly, POM also has it's own issues.  They are in dispute with the FTC regarding advertising claiming that their pomegranate juice and pills can treat or prevent heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction.  Areas that would seem to be better suited for evaluation by the FDA.
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Gaythia Weis

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Lyrids Meteor Shower

For those who live in places with clear skies.

Additional information:

A last quarter moon, rising in the middle of the night, intrudes on the Lyrid shower in 2014.  But some meteors should still be bright enough to be visible.  Best watching though, will come before or after moonrise.

See also;

Via +Marta Rauch 
Will you be watching the skies?

#Lyrids   #MeteorShower   #Space   #Stargazers  
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Gaythia Weis

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No more "whiter than white", "brighter than bright"?

The science of perceived whiter than whiteness:
"Visual perception of many manufactured white objects is driven by the concentration of fluorescent whitening agents (FWAs) that they contain. FWAs serve to increase overall whiteness perception by enhancing luminance and providing a chromatic blue shift."
"The blue shift is perceived as enhanced whiteness, thus producing a “whiter-than-white” effect."

Via +Ward Plunet 
LED lighting is great. The right bulb gives the same warm incandescent glow you love from a fraction of the energy. But there's a downside: while LEDs make cities look awesome, the most common type of LED lighting dims the ultraviolet trick laundry detergents use to make white clothes look whiter. The future is bright, but it's also kind of dingy.
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That can be true.  LEDs can also be made to be wavelength selective.  So for greenhouse operations for example, just the wavelength range most amenable to photosynthesis can be used.
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Gaythia Weis

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Earth Day, Civic Engagement and the Fossil [Fuel] Free Movement

It is important to note that this is part of a nationwide effort. 
To mark Earth Day and pegged to a meeting of the Board of Trustees at American University, students involved in the Fossil Free AU movement are sponsoring today (April 22) a class walk out and rally on the campus quad.

Several students involved in the movement have been active participants in my course this semester on "Communication, Culture and the Environment."

Below is a note that one student sent along offering background on today's events and their goals. See more at their Facebook page:

I support the Fossil Free AU movement as a process, though I am unsure of whether their goals of full divestment can be achieved or if they were, if the outcome would have a tangible impact on the decisions of fossil fuel companies. For more, see my discussion as part of this past Harvard Shorenstein paper I wrote on Bill McKibben:

Yet in my 10 + years of teaching about climate change, I have never witnessed students or a campus more engaged on climate change than in relation to this topic.

When people are engaged, that is when learning happens. My hope is that this process encourages the campus community to learn about civic engagement, negotiation and compromise in relation to climate change and that it sparks the types of conversations that lead to critical self-reflection on what climate change means for our future, how people can become involved, and what it means for our institutions.

Here is more background on today's events:
On Earth Day, April 22nd, AU students will be walking out of their 2:35 classes at 3:40, participating in a rally on the quad and heading to the Board of Trustees Spring Open Forum to demand a fossil-free American University. In preparation for our walk-out, the Fossil Free AU campaign wants to be sure that our professors--especially those who are experts in environmental, climate and social justice issues--understand our motivation and have opportunities to be involved in the action.

The Fossil Free AU campaign has been working for 18 months to pressure our Board of Trustees to divest the university’s $550 million endowment from holdings in coal, oil and gas companies. In a year and a half, we have seen a lot of progress: 80% of students voted in support of divestment in a referendum, the faculty senate endorsed the campaign, over 30 campus clubs have joined the Fossil Free coalition, members of our campaign have presented to the Board’s Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing and have met with President Kerwin.

Our campaign is an effort to mitigate the growing threat of climate change, the most critical issue facing our generation. The fossil fuel industry has over 2,765 gigatons of carbon in their reserves—roughly five times the amount that the UN says is safe to burn if we want to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change. In order to effectively address climate change, we must challenge the fossil fuel companies that continue to develop and operate in an unsustainable way that harms the natural systems on which we rely. The goal of the fossil fuel divestment movement is not to financially bankrupt fossil fuel corporations, but rather to politically stigmatize this industry in order to create a political context conducive to achieving meaningful climate action.

Fossil fuel divestment is rooted in the idea that American University’s investments should align with its values. AU has demonstrated its commitment to environmental sustainability through a variety of initiatives such as solar panel and green roof installations, the President’s Climate Commitment, the carbon neutrality 2020 plan and the purchase of wind-generated renewable energy credits equivalent to the university’s energy usage. We see divestment as a natural complement to these initiatives, the logical next step in AU’s path towards social and environmental responsibility.  
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Gaythia Weis

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Production Water in Foodstuffs

Research link: Arjen Y. Hoekstra and Mesfin M. Mekonnen, University of Twente, Enschede,The Netherlands    The green, blue and grey water footprint of crops and derived crop products

Via +Debashish Samaddar and +Able Lawrence 
Water "Embodied" in Fruits and Vegetables

There has been some rain and snow over the past month, but California's drought continues. California in the US's largest producer of many kinds of fruits, vegetables and nuts, meaning that the impacts of the drought on California agriculture has implications for food outside of California.  +Mother Jones has an interesting graphic illustrating how much water goes into producing different types of fruits and vegetables.

Here is the piece in +Mother Jones :

#climatechange   #globalwarming   #science   #sciencecommunication  
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+Tomáš Hluska The cutsy graphic is Mother Jones, the underlying data comes from Arjen Y. Hoekstra and Mesfin M. Mekonnen, University of Twente, Enschede,The Netherlands    The green, blue and grey water footprint of crops and derived crop products, as noted by +Zephyr López Cervilla above.  They have a more recent paper, The water footprint of humanity  here:  This was a quick re-share at a fairly busy moment on my part, but still, I should have added the research link to my lead in as I usually do, and have now done so.   Both here and at +Noah Diffenbaugh site, it has gathered an interesting comment thread.  And one that may inspire more engagement on the topic.
So perhaps you have a post on a related issue to share with us?
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"The Koch brothers and large utilities have allied to reverse state policies that favor renewable energy."

"The institute has warned power companies that profits could erode catastrophically if current policies and market trends continue. If electricity companies delay in taking political action, the group warned in a report, "it may be too late to repair the utility business model.""

As +Jens Rasmussen points out below, upcoming elections will be crucial. 
Conservatives want to stop the Solar Boom. Reason #53 to #vote  in all state & local #elections2014   #ft  
The Koch brothers and large utilities have allied to reverse state policies that favor renewable energy.
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Those villeins should put in JILL.
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Measles, vaccination, and non-polarizing communication methods.

In the research linked to below, +Dan Kahan gives an excellent summary of the science of risk communication as applied to vaccines.

I believe that it is interesting to notice that in a current, Vancouver, BC area cross-border measles outbreak, public health officials are taking a very accepting and conciliatory approach towards the religious group whose unvaccinated members are at the root of this outbreak.   That method has the effect of encouraging parents who are members of that group to quietly come in and have their children immunized.  The very thorough public health follow through of every place a known to be contagious person may have exposed others serves to educate the public and to emphasize the seriousness of this outbreak.  It is being made clear that anyone who was anyplace at nearly the same time as the contagious person may have been exposed.  That effort is also present on my (US) side of the border.

In my opinion, this underscores the importance of  immunization in a way that conveys the science without teaching the controversy.  "Antivaxxers" are not being mentioned, and the viewpoints of those who previously refused vaccinations is not being given "tell both sides" coverage by the media.

""My understanding is that this community feels that natural immunity is what God has intended and that vaccinations would interfere with that. We respect their beliefs, absolutely, but we still urge all others to get vaccinated and to get up to date on the vaccine in order to get protection against the virus.""

"Many people from the religious group have chosen to be vaccinated at clinics set up to increase vaccination rates, Mu [Dr. Lisa Mu, a medical health officer with Fraser Health] said."
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+Dan Kahan blogs on cultural cognition and science communication at:
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Gaythia Weis

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Wyoming Legislature Rejecting Science Standards
"Pretending that the consensus on global warming is wrong sends the message that Wyoming prefers ignorance."
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Analytical Chemist
I'm a chemist with a background in groundwater geochemistry, semiconductor industry quality assurance, Auger Electron Microscopy, and environmental monitoring.

My current passions are science policy, risk analysis and water resources.

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Bellingham WA
  • Analytical Chemist.
    Manager, present
  • InfoPteryx LLC