California’s Drought is REAL… and its Time to Act Like It

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California is currently enduring one of the worst droughts on record. Why then, has water consumption in many areas increased?

Accountability for the drought has been fairly evenly distributed between residential and commercial consumers. For the first time, the state of California has voted to fine water-wasters up to $500, but with conflicting legislation (see this couple who were charged for not watering their lawn), and supposedly, only one cop on water-waste patrol, many question the effectiveness of the new policy. California’s vast agricultural economy is being hit hard as well; farmers are cutting back, losing crops or paying a premium to maintain sufficient irrigation. An article in the LA Times this weekend dampened spirits further by citing experts who say that this drought may eventually get better, but first its going to get a lot worse.

This isn’t a problem without solutions, but there is much work to be done before California can become a sustainable, glittering oasis once again. The Pacific Institute has put together an infographic outlining an effective, yet ambitious steps that can be taken to save California’s fresh water supply. ??????????????????????

 

With so much information readily available, and the effects of the drought being broadcast daily, it is still confounding that consumption has managed to a actually increase in the last few months. While many of us may be informed and simply know better, this problem can’t be solved simply with information and a small shift in behaviors. A large part of the problem is an attachment to our right to fresh, clean, drinkable water- and as much of it as we want.

Most Americans have been born into households already equipped with indoor plumbing. All we’ve ever had to do was to turn on the faucet, and out came a steady from of clean, clear liquid. After oxygen, water is the most important component of human survival, and this fact may even lead most of us to feel that water is a human right. Let’s say for arguments sake that water is, without question, a basic human right to which we are all equally entitled to, as much as we are entitled to oxygen. Then the question become not whether or not we should have access to it, but to how much.

Much of the discussion in California is comparatively superfluous when put in context with the global impact. Stories from California that pop up on a google search of the drought include the couple who was fined for having a shabby, brown lane, another on the rising price of produce and more on how people have been grumbling about having to close up their swimming pools or stop washing their cars.

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According to data360.org, there are countries in the world where the struggle is real; in Mozambique, for instance, people survive on an average of less than 10 liters per day (no much left after cooking and drinking). In United States, the average person will consume- either inadvertently (through purchases and wasted or directly- over 600 liters of water PER DAY.

There is a monumental difference between how much water a human needs to sustain life, and how much they need to sustain a certain lifestyle. While humans are all entitled to water, there are many who may be abusing the privilege for luxury or sport, and who may not be considering the consequences. More data can be found at the WHO’s website as well as the CIA fact book, and here are some more staggering facts from water info.org:

Amount of water it would take, per day, to support 4.7 billion people at the UN daily minimum: 2.5 billion gallons

Amount of water used, per day, to irrigate the world’s golf courses: 2.5 billion gallons

Amount of water used by 60,000 villagers in Thailand, on average, per day: 6,500 cubic meters

Amount of water used by one golf course in Thailand, on average, per day: 6,500 cubic meters

This article isn’t mean to discourage fun and games, it is only meant to inspire conscious action that might allow privileged individuals to enjoy sport, and not at the expense of other peoples’ lives and wellbeing. Go ahead and golf, but maybe think about taking your game to Hawaii (Mount Waialeale sees an average of more than 450 inches of rainfall every year!).

 

 

 

 

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Gurbaksh Chahal Sacked From RadiumOne… Justice Done?

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RadiumOne CEO Gurbaksh Chahal pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence and battery charges last week, dodging 45 felony counts for the videotaped 30-minute beating of his girlfriend.

Chahal, 31, faces no jail time. He was sentenced to three years’ probation, 52 weeks in a domestic violence training program and 25 hours of community service. The Internet mogul was arrested in August after police responded to a 911 domestic violence call at his San Francisco penthouse apartment.

His girlfriend told arriving officers that she was unable to breathe and that Chahal had told her four times, “I’m going to kill you,” San Francisco Officer Anh Nguyen told the San Francisco Business Times in March. “She stated she was in fear for her life.”

For the full story visit The Huffington Post.

What’s sensational about this story isn’t the way the evidence stacked up (or was thrown out), but how involved observers have become. Visit Tech Crunch and read Leena Rao’s letter to the board members of RadiumOne asking for the removal of Gurbaksh Chahal. Her letter is certainly not the only reason the board came to the decision they have, but it raises a lot of interesting questions about social media and power it has to influence all matter of things, and its ability to even deliver justice.

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Unlimited Vacation Policies? Cool Deal or Cruel Trick?

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It’s mid-August. Congress is in recess. The president is on Martha’s Vineyard. And judging by the pictures on Facebook, seemingly everyone is at the beach.

Except you. The two weeks of vacation you’re granted by the sticklers in H.R. have already been used–or reserved–for the kids’ spring break, a long weekend earlier this summer, the holidays, and doctors appointments or cable-guy emergencies. Right about now, those unlimited vacation policies sprouting up at more and more companies are starting to sound pretty good.

But are they? While some companies have offered such policies for years, a growing number of firms–particularly young tech outfits–have joined the club and are now offering unlimited vacation policies. Or put another way, no vacation policy at all. At companies such as Netflix, Hubspot and Evernote, employees can take what they want, when they want it–as long as they get their work done, get the time approved and get things covered while they’re away. In a sense, they’re treated like adults, trusted to take whatever time off they need if they’re able.

That all may sound like a paradise, but my guess is it won’t work just anywhere. Yes, there’s the chance that employees could abuse the policy and take too much. But just as worrisome, if not more, is that when there’s no clear guidance on how much time off is okay, people could actually end up taking less. Combine a sputtering economy that has people concerned about their jobs and any workaholic managers, and you could be left with a workforce uncertain enough about what’s acceptable that they leave even more time on the table than their peers who have traditional vacation policies.

Read more at the Washington Post.

How much time do you take off from work?

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Everest, Closed?

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The avalanche disaster on Mount Everest on April 18 left 13 dead (three are still missing) and several more injured, generating familiar-sounding headlines. But it’s not the latest version of the tragic farces we’ve come to expect from the world’s tallest peak.

For starters, those who lost their lives did not die trying for or returning from the summit. According to eyewitness reports, the avalanche was triggered by the collapse of a serac, or ice tower, near the top of the Khumbu Ice Field at about 19,000 feet (roughly 10,000 feet from the summit). Nor did they die because of a lapse in judgment as a storm approached, or as the result of the hubris of a rich amateur who headed up when he ought to have turned back. The Khumbu is understood to be the most hazardous part of the primary route up the southern (Nepalese) side of the mountain—for the very reason that the ice is unstable. Everyone spends as little time in the Khumbu as possible, because it’s Russian roulette in there.

No, Friday’s victims were not doing anything extraordinary in Everest terms; they were doing their jobs—carrying supplies from one camp to another for climbing teams expected to follow in the days and weeks ahead. It’s as much a labor story as a human tragedy: All of the deceased and injured are Sherpa, members of the 80,000-strong ethnic group based in Nepal who’ve long provided support to Westerners seeking to stand on the roof of the world. That so many should die in one accident for what is essentially a recreational pursuit for foreigners has been an occasion for sorrow and soul-searching—as it should be.

It’s also raised some complicated questions about what can be done to reduce the risks that the Sherpa face and to help their families. Bloomberg Business Week has a quick look at three.

Is there an easy way to help the families of the deceased?
There is. The American Alpine Club has set up a fund to help the families of those lost on Friday. Click here.

The Most Expensive Street in Europe…

… Most expensive at least as far as shopping goes!

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LONDON’s Old Bond Street is officially the most expensive street in Europe in terms of retail space. Despite not being much more that 500 feet long, the street – which is favoured by jewellers and the world’s biggest fashion labels – has seen rental prices reach £838 per square foot annually, way ahead of the continent’s other shopping capitals.

Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich came second with annual rents of £599 per square foot per year, followed by the Champs Elysées in Paris, Milan’s Via Monte Napoleone and Moscow’s Stoleshnikov Lane. Streets in Rome, Geneva, Vienna, Munich, Berlin and Stuttgart (the last two tied) rounded out the top 10.

Read more at VOGUE.com.

Which of the five most expensive streets would you most love to shop at?

Shop

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What No One Got Right About The VOGUE Domestic Violence Shoot

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Refinery 29’s Leeann Duggan does an excellent job of addressing the issue of Domestic Violence, and talking about the missteps that VOGUE has taken with its most recent editorial:

If you’ve been online this week, chances are you’ve heard about “Horror Story.” The currentVogue Italia cover story, photographed by Steven Meisel, is a domestic-violence-themed fashion shoot (editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani herself said that “[this shoot] underlines […] an important topic: the violence against women, especially occurring within the family”) — and if that phrase made you cock your head, that makes two of us. In it, women wearing glamorous designer clothes cower in fear, hide from, or lie dead as the result of knife-wielding men who glower in the background.

There’s no understanding the horror, both obvious and subtle, of these photos without describing them, so here it is. In one, a woman screams in front of a staircase smeared with blood while a faceless man approaches. In another, she cries, cradling a phone that the man has already disconnected. In the most widely circulated image, shown here, a woman in a red Moschino dress lies dead at the foot of a staircase with a broken neck, while her assailant sits in an armchair.

At the risk of sounding pearl-clutchy, I can honestly say that these photos caused such deep revulsion in me that I initially refused to write about them. I didn’t want to disseminate any further images that I truly believe to be degrading and damaging to women. And, I say this as a horror-movie fan, who’s neither squeamish nor unfamiliar with queasy tableaux centered on a woman’s fear. (Although, for me, the eventual triumph of the horror movie’s Final Girl is a powerful trope that helps make up for her prior victimization — and it’s important to note that there is no triumph in this photo shoot.) Just describing these photographs makes me feel like part of the problem, especially around this particular editorial, which has been discussed and analyzed quite a bit in the past few days. I wasn’t planning on joining the conversation at all, but I am, because I think there’s been something missing about all the chatter surrounding “Horror Story.”

For the full article visit Refinery 29.

 

Inspired, Interesting, Distasteful or just plain Disgusting? What’s your opinion?

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The Future of the United States Navy: It’s Pretty Impressive…

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(CNN) — Imagine ships that fire missiles at seven times the speed of sound without using explosives, or that use lasers to destroy threats at the cost of about a dollar a shot, and vessels making fuel from the very seawater in which they’re floating.

That’s the glimpse of the high-tech future the U.S. Navy gave this week. And these aren’t just ideas. They’ve all been shown to work to some degree.

Which new high-tech development do you think is the coolest?

High-Tech-Navy

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Game of Thrones Season 4 Premier: Stark with a Vengeance…

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Many of us were crushed by the events of last season’s Red Wedding (and quite frankly, still hadn’t fully recovered from Ned Stark’s beheading back in Season 1). But House Stark is anything but dead as long as Arya is still roaming Westeros. The final scene, featuring a successfully vengeful Arya checking off another name on her hit list, was indisputably the most badass moment of last night’s premier.

Who was YOUR favorite GOT character (and more to the point, does the show continue to impress)?

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The Power to Calm a Hurricane… Fact or Science Fiction?

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Hurricane season won’t begin in the Atlantic basin until June 1. But the South Pacific storm season is in full swing. At any point in time, in fact, it is the season for hurricanes, typhoons, or cyclones somewhere in the world. With winds up to an astounding 190 miles per hour, fierce storms can dump more than 2.4 trillion gallons of rain in a day.

At this point the world really has nothing to defend against nature’s fury. But a Stanford study says there may be something that could stand in a hurricane’s way. Quite literally. It’s not some brand new technology or hypothetical machine we are talking about. It’s wind turbines.

For the full story visit CNN.com or tune into Fareed Zakaria: GPS, Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN…

What’s your opinion: Fact or Science Fiction?

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Lululemon Pledge… Because the best pants are no pants at all!

Lululemon has created an online ad for spray-on yoga pants in a humorous embrace of a late-night comedy joke.

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Jimmy Kimmel aired a spoof commercial Thursday about the fake product, called “Lululemon Pledge,” while mocking the fact that some schools have banned yoga pants for being too tight.

“Lululemon Pledge — because the best pants are no pants at all,” a voice-over for the ad says.

Lululemon introduced its own version of the product on its website Friday, just in time for April Fool’s Day.

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