Menu Bar

Home           Calendar           Topics          Just Charlestown          About Us
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Friday, September 22, 2017

We’re gonna need a bigger term

New climate risk classification created to account for potential 'existential' threats
University of California - San Diego

NASA space nasa storm hurricane GIFA new study evaluating models of future climate scenarios has led to the creation of the new risk categories "catastrophic" and "unknown" to characterize the range of threats posed by rapid global warming. 

Researchers propose that unknown risks imply existential threats to the survival of humanity.

These categories describe two low-probability but statistically significant scenarios that could play out by century's end, in a new study by Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a distinguished professor of climate and atmospheric sciences at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, and his former Scripps graduate student Yangyang Xu, now an assistant professor at Texas A&M University.

The risk assessment stems from the objective stated in the 2015 Paris Agreement regarding climate change that society keep average global temperatures "well below" a 2°C (3.6°F) increase from what they were before the Industrial Revolution.

Even if that objective is met, a global temperature increase of 1.5°C (2.7°F) is still categorized as "dangerous," meaning it could create substantial damage to human and natural systems. 

A temperature increase greater than 3°C (5.4°F) could lead to what the researchers term "catastrophic" effects, and an increase greater than 5°C (9°F) could lead to "unknown" consequences which they describe as beyond catastrophic including potentially existential threats. 

Everything you’d ever want to know about topiary and more

URI Landscape Architecture lectures kick off Oct. 5

Related imageTwenty-five years ago, the University of Rhode Island launched a lecture series featuring landscape architects from the region.

Back then, speakers talked mostly about community design projects. The profession has evolved over the years, and so have the lectures.

Themes today involve issues with global reach—climate change, urbanism, environmental degradation, habitat loss and sustainability. And speakers live and work throughout the world.

“The role of landscape architects has changed dramatically,” says William Green, creator of the series and a professor in URI’s Landscape Architecture Department. “Landscape architects are solving the world’s problems. They understand engineering, architecture and planning, and are skilled at working with social scientists. Now their projects are big and complex.”

The annual series will continue next month with a lecture Oct. 5 by Jared Sell, a 2012 URI graduate who will discuss how he helps design Walt Disney theme parks, including Avatar World and Star Wars.

Free and open to the public, “Walt Disney Imagineering: Bringing Designs to Life” will start at 7 p.m. in the Richard E. Beaupre Center for Chemical and Forensic Sciences Center, 140 Flagg Road on URI’s Kingston campus.

“The lecture series was a staple of my time at URI,” says Sell. “It has always been on the cutting edge, bringing in industry leaders and innovators. The series exposed me to the endless opportunities of landscape architecture. Having the chance now to be a part of the series allows alumni, such as myself, to show our pride and gratitude for URI.”

Inspired by lectures he attended at Harvard when he was living in Cambridge, Mass., Green says he started the URI series to expose students to creative ideas from renowned landscape architects and alumni who’ve made a mark in their profession.

“It’s critical,” says Green, “for students to see what is being planned and built by designers at the top of their field.”

In the beginning, speakers focused on topics like how to create a Japanese garden or what to plant along highways. As worries mounted about climate change, the environment and a population shift to cities, the topics took on greater urgency, focusing instead on the revival of urban landscapes, connecting people to nature and preserving historic landscapes.

Green says his list of speakers is a “who’s-who” of landscape architects.

Speakers, some from as far away as Mexico and South Africa, have included Charles Birnbaum, president of the Cultural Landscape Foundation; Brad McKee, editor of “Landscape Architecture Magazine;” Patricia O’Donnell, an expert in landscape preservation and founder and principal of Heritage Landscapes; Laurie Olin, whose Philadelphia firm designed the landscape at the Washington Monument; Julius Fabos, professor emeritus of the Landscape Architecture Department at the University of Massachusetts; and the late Ian McHarg, a world-famous landscape architect from Scotland.

URI alumni have given talks, and speakers from colleges—Cornell, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard, among others—have also shared their expertise.

Speakers have enlightened audience members about everything from green urbanism and rooftop gardens to storm water control and landscape designs in hospitals that promote healing.

One speaker talked about the aesthetics of wind farms; another about how to manage and preserve cultural landscapes like public parks, farms, historic sites and cemeteries.

Controlling water quality during construction, designing landscapes for athletic facilities, helping small towns with sustainable design and smart growth, and preserving iconic cultural landscapes, like cemeteries, have also been popular.

Attendance has been excellent, says Green. Anywhere from 50 to 100 people—students, faculty and community members—have attended each session. Students and the speaker often meet for dinner before the talk, giving students a chance to share their ideas and projects.

“This has been a 25-year labor of love for me,” says Green. “The series has evolved to address the important issues of our time. Landscape architecture has become an environmental profession that is about protecting and visualizing the future, here and throughout the world.”

Other speakers in this year’s lecture series will be:

Oct. 26, John Amodeo, principal CRJA-IBI Group, Boston, Mass., on “The Christian Science Plaza: Bringing an Iconic Mid-Century Urban Plaza into the Present.”

Nov. 9, Eric Kramer, principal, Reed Hilderbrand, Watertown, Mass., on “Innovation and Tradition in an Increasingly Complex World.”

Nov. 30, Barbara Wilks, principal, W Architecture, New York, N.Y.

Dec. 7, Stephen Stimson, principal, Stimson Associates, Boston, Mass., on “Wildness.”

March 8, Peter Trowbridge, principal, TWM, Ithaca, N.Y.

April 5, Signe Nielsen, principal, Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, on “Waterproofing New York.”

April 19, Mario Schjetnan, principal, Grupo Urbano, Mexico City, on “World Trends and Landscape Architecture.”

April 26, Jamie Maslyn Larson, principal, Wagner Hodgson, Burlington, N.Y.

The series is co-sponsored by Bartlett Tree Experts, the Rhode Island chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Gaetano and Pasqualina Faella Endowment, URI College of Business Administration, and URI’s Department of Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design. 

Sell’s lecture is co-sponsored by URI’s Harrington School of Communication and Media, and Eric Kramer’s talk is co-sponsored by Victor Stanley, a landscape furnishing company.

For more information about the series, contact the URI Department of Landscape Architecture at 401-874-2983 or Professor Green at

Trump aides tried to peddle “nuclear weapons starter kit” to Arab government

Israel won't be happy about this
By Benjamin Locke

 explosion bomb nuclear nuke atomic bomb GIFTwo weeks before Donald Trump’s inauguration as president, three of his closet aides – Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner, and Michael Flynn – held a secret meeting with the king of Jordan in New York City where they discussed security concern, terrorism, ISIS – and Flynn pitched a for-profit plan to build a nuclear reactor in the Middle Eastern nation.

The idea of placing a nuclear reactor in the explosive middle east – part of a larger plan to place nuclear plants all over the region – is obviously a very dangerous idea considering that even a peaceful power plant could later become a  source of fuel for nuclear weapons in the volatile region.

Alexandra Bell, senior policy director at the nonprofit Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation told Buzzfeed it was “comparable to “providing a nuclear weapons starter kit.”

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The madness of Donald Trump

"A duty to warn" and the dangerous case of Donald Trump

EDITOR'S WARNING to those with only Twitter-length attention spans. This is a LONG article. It needs to be to cover the subject of the mental health of Donald Trump in depth. 

Image result for how trump sees himselfThere will not be a book published this fall more urgent, important, or controversial than The Dangerous Case of Donald Trumpthe work of 27 psychiatrists, psychologists and mental health experts to assess President Trump’s mental health. 

They had come together last March at a conference at Yale University to wrestle with two questions. One was on countless minds across the country: “What’s wrong with him?” The second was directed to their own code of ethics: “Does Professional Responsibility Include a Duty to Warn” if they conclude the president to be dangerously unfit?

As mental health professionals, these men and women respect the long-standing “Goldwater rule” which inhibits them from diagnosing public figures whom they have not personally examined.

At the same time, as explained by Dr. Bandy X Lee, who teaches law and psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, the rule does not have a countervailing rule that directs what to do when the risk of harm from remaining silent outweighs the damage that could result from speaking about a public figure — “which in this case, could even be the greatest possible harm.”

It is an old and difficult moral issue that requires a great exertion of conscience. Their decision: “We respect the rule, we deem it subordinate to the single most important principle that guides our professional conduct: that we hold our responsibility to human life and well-being as paramount.”
Hence, this profound, illuminating and discomforting book undertaken as “a duty to warn.”

The foreword is by one of America’s leading psychohistorians, Robert Jay Lifton. He is renowned for his studies of people under stress — for books such as Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima (1967), Home from the War: Vietnam Veterans — Neither Victims nor Executioners (1973), and The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide(1986). 

The Nazi Doctors was the first in-depth study of how medical professionals rationalized their participation in the Holocaust, from the early stages of the Hitler’s euthanasia project to extermination camps.

The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump will be published Oct. 3 by St. Martin’s Press.
Here is my interview with Robert Jay Lifton — Bill Moyers

All in the family

Image may contain: 2 people, text

From the Worm Ladies of Charlestown

Your best resource for everything vermiculture!

The Worm Ladies of Charlestown, Inc. 

Change your world!  

Worm Castings and the tea you can make with them are both high in nutrients and beneficial soil organisms that help plants thrive.

  • higher germination rates                
  • faster plant growth
  • higher yields
  • dosease and pest resistance
  • macro and micro nutrients
  • beneficial soil biology
  • organic
  • chemical free

How They're Made
Our castings are made by thousands of red wiggler composting worms at our worm farm where they feast on food scraps (mostly fuit and vegetable pulp) and other organics.  Once the worms, bacteria, and fungi have broken down the material, the worms naturally migrate towards fresh food, and the castings left behind are screened to 1/8 or 1/4 inch and ready to use.

How To Apply
Castings can be blended directly into garden soil or potting mix or used to top-dress the soil around the base of the stem before watering.  Castings can also be used to make aerated compost "tea" that can be directly applied to plants and soil, ideal for greenhouses and nurseries; applied as a foliar spray or injected through irrigation manifolds.

If you are interested in visiting our worm farm for demonstrations, give us a call at 401-742-5915 or visit

How They're Sold
The Worm Ladies have found that fresh castings make a world of difference.  We ensure our castings are fresh, are never dried out, or are put in air-tight containers.  We partner with local nurseries and garden supply retailers to offer fresh castings sold in 5 gal pails, 2lb bags, or from self-serve display containers.  We are also assisting retailers in setting up in-store worm tea brewers so that worm tea can be sold fresh to customers.   

If you are interested in setting up a castings or tea display in your nursery or store, please give us a call at 401-742-5915 or visit

North Carolina State's 18th Annual Vermiculture Conference  October 26-27, 2017
The James B. Hunt Jr. Library
Duke Energy Hall, 1070 Partners Way
   Raleigh, North Carolina 27606
Registration is now open.

Volunteers are needed to help with the worms and the castings as well as with social media.  Call 401-742-5915 or email

Ready to begin vermicomposting--let us help you.

Ready to begin making your own aerated compost tea--we are here to help.


The Worm Ladies are located in the fourth hoop house on the west side of the property 4W

161 East Beach Road Charlestown, Rhode Island 02813 


footer image

Three seals returned to the ocean from Blue Shutters Beach

Mystic Aquarium sends healed seals home

A kiss goodbye?

Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program was in full-bloom this morning as three rehabilitated Harbor seal pups were released in Charlestown, RI

After receiving compassionate and specialized care from Mystic Aquarium’s animal care professionals, Aster, Azalea and Ivy were released to the open ocean.

A large crowd of onlookers at Blue Shutters Beach helped the team at Mystic Aquarium give the trio a fond farewell. 

What was that they said about Hillary Clinton?

Trump’s voter fraud commission illegally uses private e-mail for official business.
Related imagePresident Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission came under fire earlier this month when a lawsuit and media reports revealed that the commissioners were using private emails to conduct public business. 

Commission co-chair Kris Kobach confirmed this week that most of them continue to do so.

Experts say the commission’s email practices do not appear to comport with federal law. “The statute here is clear,” said Jason Baron, a lawyer at Drinker Biddle and former director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration.

Essentially, Baron said, the commissioners have three options: 1. They can use a government email address; 2. They can use a private email address but copy every message to a government account; or 3. They can use a private email address and forward each message to a government account within 20 days. 

According to Baron, those are the requirements of the Presidential Records Act (PRA) of 1978, which the commission must comply with under its charter.