Why our living standards are now in China’s hands – The Drum (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

China has become a victim of its own incredible success. On paper, it remains an economic miracle, but the rapid transformation has come at a cost that could spell serious trouble for Australia, writes Ian Verrender.The air stings in Shanghai. On a normal day, great billowing clouds of it swirl through the city’s glass and steel canyons reducing visibility to less than 100 metres.

via Why our living standards are now in China’s hands – The Drum (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

Three days in a refuge – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Claire’s quiet apartment in the Chisolm refuge, a sanctuary for women escaping violent relationships, feels a world away from the chaotic household she describes.

“He’d pull me to the ground and strangle me, he’d get on top of me and strangle me. Olivia was standing there screaming, ‘stop daddy stop’…

“Before I met Jack, I thought ‘why do people stay, like just walk out’.”

Claire

“The first time where I went ‘something was wrong here’ was four or five months into the relationship,” she says.

“He just woke up, freaked out and smashed my phone, and then he put me on a phone plan under his name … but that was sort of another control. He put a bug on my phone, so he received every text message I got, every phone call he could listen in to.

via Three days in a refuge – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

Climate for change: Abbott’s cheap and nasty political zombie

The real-life zombie that returned to horrify Australians this week was not Labor’s carbon tax or even a triple-whammy version of the walking dead as Prime Minister Tony Abbott claimed. Rather it was the terrible spectre of cheap and nasty politics over good policy.

Not that politics over policy ever really died under the Abbott government, despite its early claims to be reformist and serious about tackling the nation’s pressing problems.

via Climate for change: Abbott’s cheap and nasty political zombie.

The five wacky home gadgets you never knew you needed until now

Move aside terracotta pots, there is a new planter in town.

GROWTH is an expanding pot that grows with your plant, saving you the hassle of repotting as the plant (hopefully) grows.

Designed by Studio Ayaskan​, the pot is based on the geometry of origami, and as the image below shows, unfolds to some pretty cool shapes.

via The five wacky home gadgets you never knew you needed until now.

The Icy Mountains of Pluto | NASA

Remarkable new details of Pluto’s largest moon Charon are revealed in this image from New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), taken late on July 13, 2015 from a distance of 289,000 miles (466,000 kilometers).

A swath of cliffs and troughs stretches about 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) from left to right, suggesting widespread fracturing of Charon’s crust, likely a result of internal processes. At upper right, along the moon’s curving edge, is a canyon estimated to be 4 to 6 miles (7 to 9 kilometers) deep.

Mission scientists are surprised by the apparent lack of craters on Charon. South of the moon’s equator, at the bottom of this image, terrain is lit by the slanting rays of the sun, creating shadows that make it easier to distinguish topography. Even here, however, relatively few craters are visible, indicating a relatively young surface that has been reshaped by geologic activity.

via The Icy Mountains of Pluto | NASA.

The Icy Mountains of Pluto | NASA

New close-up images of a region near Pluto’s equator reveal a giant surprise: a range of youthful mountains rising as high as 11,000 feet (3,500 meters) above the surface of the icy body.

The mountains likely formed no more than 100 million years ago — mere youngsters relative to the 4.56-billion-year age of the solar system — and may still be in the process of building, says Geology, Geophysics and Imaging (GGI) team leader Jeff Moore of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.. That suggests the close-up region, which covers less than one percent of Pluto’s surface, may still be geologically active today.

Moore and his colleagues base the youthful age estimate on the lack of craters in this scene. Like the rest of Pluto, this region would presumably have been pummeled by space debris for billions of years and would have once been heavily cratered — unless recent activity had given the region a facelift, erasing those pockmarks.

via The Icy Mountains of Pluto | NASA.

Iran nuclear deal secured after nearly two years of talks – World – The Boston Globe

The United States and five other world powers secured a deal with Iran on Tuesday morning to curtail its ability to build a nuclear weapon in return for lifting crippling economic sanctions, overcoming decades of distrust and concluding nearly two years of tense negotiations that were capped by a marathon diplomatic finale that lasted 18 days.The 109-page agreement aims to remove a threat to regional stability in the Middle East, seeking to solve one of the region’s most enduring problems by drawing Iran into greater international cooperation.

via Iran nuclear deal secured after nearly two years of talks – World – The Boston Globe.

30 years on from Rainbow Warrior bombing environment voices are still needed – Opinion – ABC Environment (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

IF A POLITICIAN were to suggest testing nuclear weapons in the Pacific today, they would rightly be thought to have lost their minds; be out of step with reality and the common good, and certainly at odds with the global mindset.

Thirty years ago, it was a different time and the exploding of nuclear bombs beneath the Pacific Ocean was routine. But it was even then not acceptable, and it did not go unchallenged.

On this day three decades ago, a dozen courageous people were preparing to sail from Auckland in the Greenpeace ship, Rainbow Warrior. They planned to put themselves in the test zone at Mororoa Atoll, in opposition to the planned detonation. They carried with them the hopes and voices of many more people from around the world.

via 30 years on from Rainbow Warrior bombing environment voices are still needed – Opinion – ABC Environment (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

Don’t be Fossil Fooled – It’s Time to Say Goodbye

Paul Gilding

It’s time to make the call – fossil fuels are finished. The rest is detail.

The detail is interesting and important, as I expand on below. But unless we recognise the central proposition: that the fossil fuel age is coming to an end, and within 15 to 30 years – not 50 to 100 – we risk making serious and damaging mistakes in climate and economic policy, in investment strategy and in geopolitics and defence.

I’ve written previously about 2015 being the year the “Dam of Denial” breaks, referring to the end of denial that climate change requires urgent, transformational economic change. While related, this is different. It is now becoming clear we’ve reached a tipping point where fossil fuels will enter terminal decline, independently of climate policy action.

Given climate policy action is also now accelerating, fossil fuels are double dead. To paraphrase Douglas Adams, “So long and…

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