Source: Energy Information Administration
Algeria is the largest natural gas producer and second largest oil producer, after Nigeria, in Africa. It became a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 1969, shortly after it began oil production in 1958. Currently, the country is heavily reliant on its hydrocarbon sector, which accounted for almost 70 percent of government budget revenue and grants and about 98 percent of export earnings in 2011, according to the International Monetary Fund.
In recent years, crude oil production has been stagnant, while natural gas production has gradually declined, because new production and infrastructure projects have repeatedly been delayed. Additionally, in the last three licensing rounds there has been limited interest from investors to undertake new oil and gas projects under the government’s current terms. As a result, the Algerian parliament recently approved amendments to the current hydrocarbon law and introduced fiscal incentives to entice foreign companies to take on new ventures, particularly exploration in offshore areas and in areas onshore that contain shale resources.
The recent militant attack on the In Amenas gas facility prompted security concerns about operating in Algeria’s remote areas, particularly in the south. Any major disruption to Algeria’s hydrocarbon production would not only be detrimental to the local economy but, depending on the scale of lost production, could affect world oil prices. Also, since Algeria is the fourth largest natural gas supplier to Europe, unplanned cuts to natural gas output could affect some European countries. Natural gas and oil account for almost all of Algeria’s total energy consumption, and the country consumes very small amounts of hydro power, coal, and traditional biomass.
NOAA presented to the U.S. Coast Guard today a new report that finds that 36 sunken vessels scattered across the U.S. seafloor could pose an oil pollution threat to the nation’s coastal marine resources. Of those, 17 were recommended for further assessment and potential removal of both fuel oil and oil cargo.
The sunken vessels are a legacy of more than a century of U.S. commerce and warfare. They include a barge lost in rough seas in 1936; two motor-powered ships that sank in separate collisions in 1947 and 1952; and a tanker that exploded and sank in 1984. The remaining sites are 13 merchant marine ships lost during World War II, primarily along the Atlantic Seaboard and Gulf of Mexico. To see a list of the ships and their locations, visit: http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/protect/ppw/.
The report, part of NOAA’s Remediation of Underwater Legacy Environmental Threats (RULET) project, identifies the location and nature of potential sources of oil pollution from sunken vessels. Knowing where these vessels are helps oil response planning efforts and may help in the investigation of reported mystery spills–sightings of oil where a source is not immediately known or suspected.
Sequestering Meals on Wheels Could Cost the Nation $489 Million per Year
Source: Center for Effective Government
Sequestering Meals on Wheels funds could cost taxpayers far more than it saves. While across-the-board spending cuts that began March 1, called sequestration, are expected to reduce spending on Meals on Wheels programs this year by an estimated $10 million, these savings will be dwarfed by at least $489 million per year in increased spending on Medicaid, both this year and in each subsequent year that sequestration remains in place.
Outside of Washington, waiting lists for Meals on Wheels enrollees have received media attention, but the expected savings have remained largely unquestioned. In reality, cutting Meals on Wheels will very likely increase the federal deficit by increasing the overall cost burden and shifting it to Medicaid, local charities, and other programs.
Overall, Meals on Wheels saves the federal taxpayers money by helping participants live at home instead of living in comparatively expensive nursing homes. The average cost to Medicaid of nursing home care per patient is approximately $57,878 annually.
By contrast, the cost to Medicaid of home care is much lower, approximately $15,371 annually, or $42,507 less than nursing home care. Nationally, according to a survey by the Administration on Aging, as many as "92% [of enrollees] say Meals on Wheels means they can continue to live in their own home."
Based on these estimates, our analysis suggests that sequestering Meals on Wheels funds will actually cost the U.S. taxpayer $479 million dollars over the seven months it will be implemented during this federal fiscal year, which ends September 30 (see the appendix for details of this estimate). Moreover, because sequestration-related cuts are expected to increase in FY 2014 and beyond, if sequestration is not reversed, Medicaid-related costs will increase even more in those years.
Bird-Friendly Building Design (PDF)
Source: American Bird Conservancy
A unique publication that provides planners, architects designers, bird advocates, local authorities, and the general public with a clear understanding of the nature and magnitude of the threat glass poses to birds and solutions to eliminate the threat. This edition includes a review of the science behind bird collisions, real-world examples of solutions in action, and an investigation into what information is still needed.
Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race? 2012 Edition
Source: Pew Charitable Trusts
In less than a decade, clean energy transitioned from novelty products to the mainstream of world energy markets. The sector emerged not so much in a linear fashion as episodic—in fits and starts associated with the worldwide economic downturn, continent-wide debt crises, national policy uncertainty, and intense industry competition. Through it all, however, the clean energy sector moved inexorably forward, with overall investment in 2012 five times greater than it was in 2004.
This report examines key financial, investment and technological trends related to clean energy in the Group of Twenty (G-20), the world’s leading economies. It documents the continued growth and dynamism of clean energy investment in these economies. Countries that succeed in attracting investment can realize the economic, security and environmental benefits of the global race to harness clean, renewable energy sources.
Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race?Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race: 2012 Edition documents how the old order is changing technologically and geographically. Clean energy is gaining ground in the global energy mix. Even as several pioneering countries have stumbled, new markets have opened, and the center of gravity for clean energy investment has shifted from West to East.
Source: Energy Information Administration
The United Kingdom (UK) is the largest producer of oil and the second-largest producer of natural gas in the European Union (EU). Following years of exports of both fuels, the UK became a net importer of natural gas and crude oil in 2004 and 2005, respectively. Production from UK oil and natural gas fields peaked in the late 1990s and has declined steadily over the past several years, as the discovery of new reserves and new production have not kept pace with the maturation of existing fields.
The UK government, aware of the country’s increasing reliance on imported fuels, has developed key energy policies to address the domestic production declines. These include: using enhanced recovery from current and maturing oil and gas fields, promoting energy efficiency, decreasing the use of fossil fuels and thus reliance on imports, promoting energy trade cooperation with Norway, and decarbonizing the UK economy by investing heavily in renewable energy. However, for the UK to decarbonize its economy, huge investments in the energy infrastructure are needed.
Despite the expanding use of renewable energy, petroleum and natural gas will continue to account for the vast majority of UK’s energy consumption. In 2011, petroleum and natural gas accounted for 38 and 35 percent, respectively, of total energy consumption, with the renewable energy sources growing to 12 percent of the total. Renewable energy use, particularly in the electric power sector, has more than tripled between 2000 and 2011.
Energy use per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) in the UK is one of the lowest among western economies. The UK has seen total energy consumption decline by more than 15 percent between 2004 and 2011. This decline resulted from smaller contribution of energy-intensive industry to the economy, economic contraction, and improvements in energy efficiency.
Source: Institute of Medicine
From press release:
Recent studies that examine links between sodium consumption and health outcomes support recommendations to lower sodium intake from the very high levels some Americans consume now, but evidence from these studies does not support reduction in sodium intake to below 2,300 mg per day, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine.
Despite efforts over the past several decades to reduce dietary intake of sodium, a main component of table salt, the average American adult still consumes 3,400 mg or more of sodium a day – equivalent to about 1 ½ teaspoons of salt. The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans urge most people ages 14 to 50 to limit their sodium intake to 2,300 mg daily. People ages 51 or older, African Americans, and people with hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease – groups that together make up more than 50 percent of the U.S. population – are advised to follow an even stricter limit of 1,500 mg per day. These recommendations are based largely on a body of research that links higher sodium intakes to certain “surrogate markers” such as high blood pressure, an established risk factor for heart disease.
The expert committee that wrote the new report reviewed recent studies that in contrast examined how sodium consumption affects direct health outcomes like heart disease and death. “These new studies support previous findings that reducing sodium from very high intake levels to moderate levels improves health,” said committee chair Brian Strom, George S. Pepper Professor of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. “But they also suggest that lowering sodium intake too much may actually increase a person’s risk of some health problems.”
Exploring the Barriers and Opportunities for Independent Women Filmmakers (PDF)
Source: Sundance Institute
In our digital age, ideas and culture are increasingly shaped by the stories told with moving images. This context elevates film artists to an enormously influential role in determining how we see ourselves, one another, and the world around us. Yet the vast majority of films made and seen in the United States are written, directed and produced by male filmmakers whose stories tend to reflect dominant themes and reinforce the status quo. What might the future look like for both men and women given the full inclusion of a generation or two of truly empowered female perspectives in our media ecology?
There is a growing body of empirical research that documents how having a woman at the helm can affect the types of stories being told. First, female directors are more likely to feature girls and women on screen than male directors. This is true in both top-grossing films 1 and crit – ically acclaimed projects nominated for Best Picture Academy Awards over a 30-year period. 2 It is often as true for women producers as it is for women directors. Second, female producers and directors affect not only the prevalence of girls and women on screen, they also impact the very nature of a story, or the way in which a story is told. Examining more than 900 motion pictures, one study found that violence, guns/weapons, and blood/gore were less likely to be depicted when women were directing or producing, and thought-provoking topics were more likely to appear.
These patterns are not restricted to cinema. A recent content analysis 4 of war stories filed for news outlets during the first 100 days of three different international conflicts (Bosnia, Persian Gulf, Afghanistan) showed that female correspondents were more likely than their male counterparts to focus news stories on the victims of war, abuses to human rights and soldier profiles. Women put a human face on conflict reporting, just as they do in film.Together, the evidence is quite clear: gender of the storyteller matters.
Currently, the presence of women behind the camera in popular film is infrequent at best. Assessing 250 of the top-grossing U.S. movies of 2011, 5 one study found that only 5% of directors, 14% of writers, and 25% of producers were female. These statistics have fluctuated very little since 1998. This picture would seem to suggest that the traditional Hollywood economic model or power-structure is a leading impediment to access for women filmmakers.
Source: Energy Information Administration
Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions vary significantly across states (Figure 1), whether considered on an absolute or per capita basis. The overall size of a state, as well as the available fuels, types of businesses, climate, and population density, play a role in both total and per capita emissions. Additionally, each state’s energy system reflects circumstances specific to that state. For example, some states are located near abundant hydroelectric supplies, while others contain abundant coal resources.This paper presents a basic analysis of the factors that contribute to a state’s carbon dioxide profile. This analysis neither attempts to assess the effect of state policies on absolute emissions levels or on changes over time, nor does it intend to imply that certain policies would be appropriate for a particular state.
The term "energy-related carbon dioxide emissions" as used in this paper, includes emissions released at the location where fossil fuels are used. For feedstock application, carbon stored in products such as plastics are not included in reported emissions for the states where they are produced.
It is also important to recognize that the state-level carbon dioxide emissions data presented in this paper count emissions based on the location where the energy is consumed as a fuel. To the extent that fuels are used in one state to generate electricity that is consumed in another state, emissions are attributed to the former rather than the latter. An analysis that attributed "responsibility" for emissions with consumption rather than production of electricity, which is beyond the scope of the present paper, would yield different results.
New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office
1. Agricultural Research: Two USDA Agencies Can Enhance Safeguards against Project Duplication and Strengthen Collaborative Planning. GAO-13-255, April 12.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/653753.pdf
2. Management Report: Improvements Are Needed to Enhance the Internal Revenue Service’s Internal Controls. GAO-13-420R, May 13.
3. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief: Shift toward Partner-Country Treatment Programs Will Require Better Information on Results. GAO-13-460, April 12.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/653767.pdf
4. Defense Logistics: The Department of Defense’s Report on Strategic Seaports Addressed All Congressionally Directed Elements. GAO-13-511R, May 13.
Roxarsone, Inorganic Arsenic, and Other Arsenic Species in Chicken: A U.S.-Based Market Basket Sample
Source: Environmental Health Perspectives
Background: Arsenic-based drugs are permitted in poultry production. Inorganic arsenic (iAs) causes cancer and maybe other adverse health outcomes. The contribution of chicken consumption to iAs intake, however, is unknown.
Objectives: To characterize arsenic species profile in chicken meat and estimate bladder and lung cancer risk associated with consuming chicken produced with arsenic-based drugs.
Methods: Conventional, conventional antibiotic-free, and organic chicken samples were collected from grocery stores in ten US metropolitan areas from December 2010 to June 2011. 116 raw and 142 cooked samples were tested for total arsenic, and 78 samples ≥10µg/kg dry weight underwent speciation.
Results: Total arsenic geometric mean (GM) in cooked chicken meat samples was 3.0 µg/kg (95% CI: 2.5, 3.6). Among 78 cooked samples that were speciated, iAs concentrations were higher in conventional samples (GM = 1.8 µg/kg; 95% CI: 1.4, 2.3) than antibiotic-free (GM = 0.7 µg/kg; 95% CI: 0.5, 1.0) or organic (GM = 0.6 µg/kg; 95% CI: 0.5, 0.8) samples. Roxarsone was detected in 20 of 40 conventional samples, one of 13 antibiotic-free samples, and none of the 25 organic samples. iAs concentrations in roxarsone-positive samples (GM = 2.3 µg/kg; 95% CI: 1.7, 3.1) were significantly higher than in roxarsone-negative samples (GM = 0.8 µg/kg; 95% CI: 0.7, 1.0). Cooking increased iAs and decreased roxarsone concentrations. Compared to organic chicken consumers, we estimated that conventional chicken consumers would ingest an additional 0.11µg/day iAs (in an 82g serving). Assuming lifetime exposure and a proposed cancer slope factor of 25.7 (mg kgBW-1 day-1)-1, this could result in 3.7 extra lifetime bladder and lung cancer cases per 100,000 exposed-persons.
Conclusions: Conventional chicken meat had higher iAs concentrations than conventional antibiotic-free and organic chicken meat samples. Cessation of arsenical drug use could reduce exposure and the burden of arsenic-related disease in chicken consumers.
‘Globesization’: ecological evidence on the relationship between fast food outlets and obesity among 26 advanced economies
‘Globesization’: ecological evidence on the relationship between fast food outlets and obesity among 26 advanced economies
Source: Critical Public Health
The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between the density of fast food restaurants and the prevalence of obesity by gender across affluent nations. Data on Subway’s restaurants per 100,000 people and proportions of men and women aged 15 years or older with a body mass index higher or equal than 30 kg/m2 were obtained for 26 of 34 advanced economies. Countries with the highest density of Subway restaurants such as the USA (7.52 per 100,000) and Canada (7.43 per 100,000) also tend to have a higher prevalence of obesity in both men (31.3% and 23.2%, respectively) and women (33.2% and 22.9%, respectively). On the other hand, countries with a relatively low density of Subway restaurants such as Japan (0.13 per 100,000) and Norway (0.19 per 100,000) had a lower prevalence of obesity in both men (2.9% and 6.4%, respectively) and women (3.3% and 5.9%, respectively). Unadjusted linear regression models showed a significant correlation between the density of Subway’s outlets and the prevalence of adult obesity (β = 0.46; p = 0.02 in men and β = 0.48; p = 0.013 in women). When the data were weighted by population size, the associations became substantially stronger in both men and women (β = 0.85; p = 0.0001 and β = 0.84; p = 0.0001, respectively). Covariate adjustment did not reduce the size of the associations. Our study raises serious concerns about the diffusion of fast food outlets worldwide and calls for coordinated political actions to address what we term ‘globesization’, the ongoing globalization of the obesity epidemic.
Quality Employment for Women in the Green Economy: Industry, Occupation, and State-by-State Job Estimates
Source: Institute for Women’s Policy Research
This report provides the first-ever estimates of women’s employment in the green economy, state-by-state, by industry, and by occupation. The analysis draws on the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey; the Brookings-Battelle Clean Economy database; and the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics Green Goods and Services survey. The report examines women’s share of employment in the occupations predicted to see the highest growth in the green economy and includes two alternative state-by-state estimates for growth in green jobs. Focusing on investments in green buildings and retrofits, the report includes a state-by-state analysis of employment in key construction occupations by age, race, ethnicity, and gender. This report was funded by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation’s Sustainable Employment in a Green US Economy (SEGUE) Program. It is the first of a series of publications investigating strategies for improving women’s access to quality employment in the green economy; future reports will address good practices in workforce development for women in the green economy.
Source: National Research Council
Over the course of several decades, copyright protection has been expanded and extended through legislative changes occasioned by national and international developments. The content and technology industries affected by copyright and its exceptions, and in some cases balancing the two, have become increasingly important as sources of economic growth, relatively high-paying jobs, and exports. Since the expansion of digital technology in the mid-1990s, they have undergone a technological revolution that has disrupted long-established modes of creating, distributing, and using works ranging from literature and news to film and music to scientific publications and computer software.
In the United States and internationally, these disruptive changes have given rise to a strident debate over copyright’s proper scope and terms and means of its enforcement–a debate between those who believe the digital revolution is progressively undermining the copyright protection essential to encourage the funding, creation, and distribution of new works and those who believe that enhancements to copyright are inhibiting technological innovation and free expression.
Copyright in the Digital Era: Building Evidence for Policy examines a range of questions regarding copyright policy by using a variety of methods, such as case studies, international and sectoral comparisons, and experiments and surveys. This report is especially critical in light of digital age developments that may, for example, change the incentive calculus for various actors in the copyright system, impact the costs of voluntary copyright transactions, pose new enforcement challenges, and change the optimal balance between copyright protection and exceptions.
Source: American Sociological Review
Contemporary scholarship has conceptualized modern fame as an open system in which people continually move in and out of celebrity status. This model stands in stark contrast to the traditional notion in the sociology of stratification that depicts stable hierarchies sustained through classic forces such as social structure and cumulative advantage. We investigate the mobility of fame using a unique data source containing daily records of references to person names in a large corpus of English-language media sources. These data reveal that only at the bottom of the public attention hierarchy do names exhibit fast turnover; at upper tiers, stable coverage persists around a fixed level and rank for decades. Fame exhibits strong continuity even in entertainment, on television, and on blogs, where it has been thought to be most ephemeral. We conclude that once a person’s name is decoupled from the initial event that lent it momentary attention, self-reinforcing processes, career structures, and commemorative practices perpetuate fame.
Source: PriceWaterhouse Coopers
The 2012 global multichannel retail consumer survey was completed by more than 11,000 respondents from 11 different countries. For PwC, this is our most comprehensive research to date on multichannel retailing. In order to truly understand the trends and spot the patterns in multichannel shopping, we surveyed only those consumers who self-identified as online shoppers.
The 11 countries covered in the survey were:
- United Kingdom
- United States
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Bakken Formation is an oil-producing shale formation underneath North Dakota, Montana, and parts of Canada. In recent years, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques, combined with higher prices for crude oil, have led to rapid increases in oil extraction from shale formations like the Bakken Formation. As of late 2011, North Dakota was the fourth largest oil-producing state, after Texas, Alaska, and California.1 The large increase in oil production has led to growth in employment and wages and has changed the industry profile of employment in the region.
OBJECTIVE: To examine food-related parenting practices (pressure-to-eat and food restriction) among mothers and fathers of adolescents and associations with adolescent weight status within a large population-based sample of racially/ethnically and socioeconomically diverse parent-adolescent pairs.
METHODS: Adolescents (N = 2231; 14.4 years old [SD = 2.0]) and their parents (N = 3431) participated in 2 coordinated population-based studies designed to examine factors associated with weight status and weight-related behaviors in adolescents. Adolescents completed anthropometric measurements and surveys at school. Parents (or other caregivers) completed questionnaires via mail or phone.
RESULTS: Findings suggest that the use of controlling food-related parenting practices, including pressure-to-eat and restriction, is common among parents of adolescents. Mean restriction levels were significantly higher among parents of overweight and obese adolescents compared with nonoverweight adolescents. However, levels of pressure-to-eat were significantly higher among nonoverweight adolescents. Results indicate that fathers are more likely than mothers to engage in pressure-to-eat behaviors and boys are more likely than girls to be on the receiving end of parental pressure-to-eat. Parental report of restriction did not differ significantly by parent or adolescent gender. No significant interactions by race/ethnicity or socioeconomic status were seen in the relationship between restriction or pressure-to-eat and adolescent weight status.
CONCLUSIONS: Given that there is accumulating evidence for the detrimental effects of controlling feeding practices on children’s ability to self-regulate energy intake, these findings suggest that parents should be educated and empowered through anticipatory guidance to encourage moderation rather than overconsumption and emphasize healthful food choices rather than restrictive eating patterns.