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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Cluster and Starforming Region Westerlund 2 

Located 20,000 light-years away in the constellation Carina, the young cluster and star-forming region Westerlund 2 fills this cosmic scene.

Captured with Hubble's cameras in near-infrared and visible light, the stunning image is a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope on April 24, 1990.

The cluster's dense concentration of luminous, massive stars is about 10 light-years across. Strong winds and radiation from those massive young stars have sculpted and shaped the region's gas and dust, into star-forming pillars that point back to the central cluster.

Red dots surrounding the bright stars are the cluster's faint newborn stars, still within their natal gas and dust cocoons. But brighter blue stars scattered around are likely not in the Westerlund 2 cluster and instead lie in the foreground of the Hubble anniversary field of view.


Job opportunity for Mike Chambers



AlterNet reports that StudentsFirst has found a new project. It is seeking people willing to flood social media with anti-union, anti-public school, “reform” views.

The new group is called “The Truth Campaign for Teachers.” The email that landed on AlterNet’s doorstep is targeted on New Mexico, but the writer assumes that other states may have the same campaign.

Here’s a copy of the email we received from a source who says it appeared over the summer:

The Truth Campaign for Teachers (TCT) is looking for:

·3-5 New Mexicans who are willing to blog at least twice/week on a variety of pro-reform issues

·3-5 New Mexicans who are willing to comment on/promote content on social media

Bloggers


Why not a Rhode Island company?

By DAVID SMITH/ecoRI News contributor
White Rock Dam - State Divide
Nature Conservancy photo. If not a Rhode Island company, why not one
from Connecticut? 

A contract to remove the 112-foot-wide concrete White Rock Dam on the Pawcatuck River was awarded to SumCo Eco-Contracting LLC of Salem, Mass., on April 23 for $710,869, according to Scott Comings, associate director of the Rhode Island Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.

The dam is on the border of Westerly, R.I., and Stonington, Conn. The contractor will have access to the dam on both sides of the river, but the main staging area will be from a piece of property on the Westerly side owned by Cherenzia & Associates.

The contractor is expected to begin bringing in equipment and supplies to the property adjacent to the dam in June. According to regulations, work on the river can’t begin until July 1.

“They know what they are doing,” Comings said about SumCo. “They have done a lot of these (dam removals).”


Charlestown pollen count in the Red Zone



From Pollen.com.

One of the downsides from all that open space. Continue to see what types of pollen is making your eyes water...

The Baltimore Uprising’s Backstory

Race riots, as we used to call them, are as American as baseball and apple pie.
 We've been here before. Baltimore - 1968
What started out as righteous protest over the death of a young black man in the hands of Baltimore cops (he had been accused of “making eye contact with a police officer”) quickly degenerated into a full-scale riot. 

By nightfall the city was on fire, its hopes for a better tomorrow in ruins.

City officials blamed “thugs” and “outsiders” for the disaster. But in another sense it was an uprising, a desperate act of defiance by young people who feel increasingly that they have nothing left to lose.

You’re going to arrest them? So what. Chances are you’re going to arrest them anyway, sooner or later. They know that. It’s what we do to black people in our society.

It’s not as though what happened in Baltimore was unique or even unusual in our nation’s history. Race riots, as we used to call them, are as American as baseball and apple pie.



Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Richmond sues Charlestown, Filippi goes on a media frenzy, District 33 fight gets interesting and lots more

Charlestown Tapas: for the discerning news reader
By Will Collette

Richmond claims its Constitutional rights have been violated

The Town of Richmond finally followed through on its threat to sue Charlestown and Hopkinton over what Richmond claims is its unconstitutional underrepresentation on the Chariho School Committee.

Under the Chariho Act, Charlestown and Hopkinton both hold four seats while Richmond has three.

Originally passed in 1958, the Chariho Act called for a nine-member committee, apportioned by population, which at the time meant that each town had three members. The law was amended in 1970 to increase the committee to eleven members. That resulted in the town with the lowest population getting one less seat than its peers. Richmond, by a margin of only 119 people, is the smallest of the three towns.

Richmond has been demanding cooperation from the other towns to change the Chariho Act to restore the size of the school committee to nine members, but the other two towns – especially Charlestown – have said “nah-uh.” Thus the suit. Read Cynthia Drummond’s Sun article for more detail.

Ethics complaint could sway special election

Next Tuesday, May 5, Democrats in House District 33 (South Kingstown and Narragansett) will vote in a primary to determine the party’s candidate in the June 9 special election to elect a successor to long-serving Rep. Donald Lally who abruptly resigned, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family (something he apparently forgot when he stood for re-election last November).


Bow down to the cat gods!


"It is not enough to condemn riots"

Who wrote "Double Falsehood?"

Shakespeare's plays reveal his psychological signature
By the Association for Psychological Science, Science Daily

Shakespeare is such a towering literary figure that any new insight into the man, or his work, tends to generate a jolt of excitement in academic and non-academic communities of Shakespeare aficionados. 

Applying psychological theory and text-analyzing software, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have discovered a unique psychological profile that characterizes Shakespeare's established works, and this profile strongly identifies Shakespeare as an author of the long-contested play Double Falsehood.

The findings are published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

"Research in psychology has shown that some of the core features of who a person is at their deepest level can be revealed based on how they use language. With our new study, we show that you can actually take a lot of this information and put it all together at once to understand an author like Shakespeare rather deeply," says researcher Ryan Boyd of the University of Texas at Austin.


Singing the virtues of fish piss. Seriously.

Fish type, body size can help predict nutrient recycling rates
North Carolina State University, Science Daily
Reminds me of something W.C. Fields once said...
The nutrients excreted by fish in their "pee" may be critical to the health of coastal ecosystems. But knowing whether generalizations can be made about how to predict these nutrient levels in various ecosystems has vexed researchers -- until now.

In a paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, North Carolina State University associate professor Craig Layman and colleagues show that ecologists can better predict the rates of how these chemical nutrients are transferred by fish if they know the various fish species living in an ecosystem, along with the body size of the fish.


13 Ways Republicans Have Declared War On Average Americans

So Why Do People Vote For Them?
If nine and out ten polls keep telling Congressional Republicans what their constituents want regarding the economy, it’s amazing that they not only do the complete opposite, but continue getting reelected.

One day someone is going to have to explain to me why certain people continue to vote the party line while the Republicans continue to raises taxes on already struggling lower wage earners, while they also propose in their nonsensical ridiculous budget, that is doomed to fail should it ever get passed, one that cuts taxes for the top 1.5 percent.

If gutting taxes for the super wealthy, screwing around with entitlement programs, forgetting about our ailing infrastructure, all but demanding a war, while doing nothing to help our economy is the aim of Republicans – then congratulations. The Republican proposed budget does all that and much more, all damaging to 99 percent of American Citizens.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

VIDEOS: Most Rhode Islanders want an end to prohibition

By Steve Ahlquist in Rhode Island’s Future


Jared Moffat, executive director of Regulate RI, a coalition favoring to make Rhode Island the first state in New England to embrace a plan similar to Colorado, said at a press conference that the poll shows “a clear majority” of Rhode Islanders agree that “prohibition is the worst possible policy” and support legislation to tax and regulate.

“The Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act creates a responsible alternative that proactively controls for public health concerns while allowing adults 21 and older the freedom to legally use marijuana if they choose,” said Moffat, “Taking the marijuana market above board will create taxpaying jobs and allow the state to tax the distribution and sale of marijuana.”

Moffat also introduced several new collation partners, including the Green Party, represented by RI Future contributor Greg Gerritt, and Jordan Seaberry representing the Univocal Legislative Minority Advisory Committee.

Today's reasons for building a fall-out shelter



URI to host 14th annual East Farm Spring Festival, May 9

Primo attraction for gardeners

IMG_0974_(2)KINGSTON, R.I. –The University of Rhode Island’s 14th annual East Farm Spring Festival, featuring plant sales, workshops and a wide variety of vendors, educational displays and exhibits, will be held Saturday, May 9 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at URI’s East Farm.

The event, started in 2002 by a group of URI Master Gardeners who volunteered at the farm, annually draws thousands of visitors to the 79-acre research facility. It is sponsored by the URI Outreach Center and the URI Master Gardeners.

“The sale of plants and other spring gardening products is what usually attracts most people to the event, but once they get there they also find lots of other useful products and information and plenty of food and entertainment,” said Kim Downes, the URI Master Gardener who serves as the festival coordinator.


Free fishing this weekend

Freshwater Fishing Licenses Not Needed to Fish in RI Freshwaters During this Special Weekend
Anglers Can Catch a Golden Rainbow Trout and Win a Golden Trout Pin

PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management announces that Saturday, May 2 and Sunday, May 3 are free fishing days in Rhode Island. During those two days, all Rhode Islanders and visitors can fish in freshwaters without a fishing license or trout conservation stamp. The free fishing weekend does not apply to saltwater fishing or saltwater licenses.

"Free fishing days offer local residents and visitors a special incentive to get outdoors and try something new," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "I hope folks will take advantage of this opportunity to visit Rhode Island's ponds and lakes this coming weekend and catch a beautiful golden rainbow trout or the brook, brown and rainbow trout raised in DEM's hatcheries."

For the sixth year, DEM fish hatcheries are offering anglers the chance to catch a coveted golden rainbow trout. Over the past several years DEM's hatchery staff have been raising and stocking a strain of rainbow trout that is gold in color. In prior years, one pond was stocked and a free fishing event was held. 


Kitty of the Week

Meet Sushi!
Animal Rescue League of Southern RI

Hello, I am Sushi, a young female cat with a little swagger in my step. 

I like to play hard to get, but that doesn't mean I am not ready and willing to find the forever home I desperately need. 

If you don't mind a cat that is lively and little goofy, please look no further.  I'm still a little nervous in my cage, especially when hands are reached in, but that is just merely me being cautious. 

Given a day in my new home, I will be a social butterfly filling your life with joy.  Some might say I am a little sassy, but I like to think of myself much like good sushi at a restaurant, fresh! 


Blowing Past Political Turbulence

Dawdling lawmakers won’t snuff out the wind industry’s growth.
Clouds Wind animated GIFThe gaggle of workers in Montana’s Carbon County hacking at the barely thawed ground in late December were on a mission: Secure Mud Springs Wind Ranch’s eligibility for a green-energy incentive.

Why were they racing to catch a tax credit in that sparsely inhabited land? Congress.

While ambling across its latest do-nothing finish line, lawmakers approved a bill that extended five-dozen tax breaks. The last-minute move retroactively restored the Production Tax Credit, the wind industry’s primary source for federal support, with a catch: Only projects underway by the year’s end would qualify.



Monday, April 27, 2015

The Road to Ruin

The race for the White House delivers either Republican presidents who favor the rich or Democrats who also favor the rich, but not as much.
That harsh whine you hear in the background — like a buzzsaw getting ready for a log to come down the chute — is the vast right-wing conspiracy revving its engines.

America Rising, an opposition research Super PAC that lives to trash the Clintons, dashed off a press release challenging the notion that Hillary was going to “drive to Iowa” to start her campaign as she said she would. Hillary doesn’t drive, it said. Someone would have to drive her.

Not exactly the Teapot Dome on the scandal meter. But it’s a start.

Observers say that the main thrust of the Republican strategy will be an effort to make her into a Democratic Mitt Romney — rich, privileged, and clueless as to how real people live.



Gone fishing

The progressive cartoon about the overfishing of the world's oceans.

Nothing is free

Ads in free mobile apps have hidden costs for both users and developers
University of Southern California, Science Daily
There's no such thing as free -- especially with smartphone apps, according to a new study.

"Ads in 'free' apps drain your phone's battery faster, cause it to run slower, and use more data," said William Halfond, co-corresponding author of the study, which will be presented at the International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE) in Italy in May. Halfond collaborated with researchers at USC, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), and Queen's University in Canada.

When compared to apps without ads, the researchers found that:


Your teeth, your heart

How gum disease treatment can prevent heart disease
Forsyth Institute, Science Daily
A new study from the Forsyth Institute is helping to shed more light on the important connection between the mouth and heart. 

According to research recently published online by the American Heart Association, scientists at Forsyth and Boston University have demonstrated that using an oral topical remedy to reduce inflammation associated with periodontitis, more commonly known as gum disease, also results in the prevention of vascular inflammation and can lower the risk of heart attack.

This study is the first time researchers anywhere have demonstrated the ability of an oral treatment for gum disease to also reduce inflammation in the artery wall. 




If we have the political will….

100 Percent Renewable Energy is Within Reach
There are no technological or economic reasons why we cannot completely replace fossil fuels with renewable sources of energy. 

In addition to curbing climate change causing greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy also improves human health. 

Minimizing climate impacts and reducing health costs would generate trillions of dollars of cumulative savings.

The idea that the world can be powered entirely by renewable energy is not new. In 2011, Stanford researcher Mark Z. Jacobson and UC-Davis researcher Mark A Delucci concluded that the world can be powered by clean and sustainable energy. 


Earth Day 2015: A Balancing Act between Hope and Despair

Whatever common political ground that existed on Earth Day 45 years ago has vanished
For most chroniclers of recent history, April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day, marks the beginning of the modern environmental movement. It was a different time in so many ways. 

Instead of SUVs and hybrids, muscle cars and big sedans dominated the roads, guzzling leaded gas at an average cost of 35 cents per gallon. The exhaust spewed out their tailpipes mixed with industrial emissions that buried many American cities under a blanket of smog.

The bipartisan birth of environmentalism

The first hints of a grassroots environmental consciousness arguably began with the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in 1962, warning of the dangers of the dangers of widespread use of the pesticide DDT.


Sunday, April 26, 2015

When your food bites back

New Health Department reports on local food establishments
By Will Collette

This is the latest in the on-going series in Progressive Charlestown covering food health and safety, drawing on inspections by the RI Department of Health. This article covers the first quarter of 2015, January through March. For coverage of earlier reports, click here. To check a food establishment yourself on the Health Department’s database, click here

The state just set up a new service where you can sign up for e-mail alerts to let you know when your favorite restaurants have been inspected. Click here.

There are around 7,300 food establishments in Rhode Island and 19 Health Department food inspectors. Two of those food inspectors are supposed to cover almost 600 restaurants and food stores just in the three towns of Charlestown (94) and neighboring Westerly (315) and South Kingstown (186).

Each of the 19 inspectors is expected to cover around 400 sites. According to the Department, they focus their efforts on “the highest-risk facilities.”


You are what you wear

VIDEO of baby goats because why not?

We all know how painful algorithmic attacks can be

Fighting the next generation of cyberattacks
University of Utah, Science Daily
The next generation of cyberattacks will be more sophisticated, more difficult to detect and more capable of wreaking untold damage on the nation's computer systems.

So the U.S. Department of Defense has given a $3 million grant to a team of computer scientists from the University of Utah and University of California, Irvine, to develop software that can hunt down a new kind of vulnerability that is nearly impossible to find with today's technology.


Odd Bedfellows, Lying Together

Supporters of a job-killing global pact are peddling hokey numbers and neon lies.
Fast Tracking the TPP, an OtherWords cartoon by Khalil Bendib
Fast Tracking the TPP, an OtherWords cartoon by Khalil Bendib
Come one, come all. Step right up and buy your ticket for a ride on the splendiferous, phantasmagoric, and miraculous Trans-Pacific Partnership!

The TPP isn’t some sort of futuristic flying machine. It’s just another global trade scam coming at us like a volcanic eruption straight out of hell.

This thing is a “partnership” of, by, and for global corporations — similar to NAFTA, only much, much bigger and far more destructive both to the middle class and to our people’s sovereignty.

After hammering out backroom deals in strict secrecy over the past seven years, a cabal of White House negotiators and corporate lobbyists are now ready to spring it on us. And its backers intend to ram it into law before We the People can get a whiff of its anti-democratic stench.

Indeed, to perfume it, they’ve already begun a PR campaign touting the TPP as a long-sought wonder cure for America’s downtrodden working class.


Stop shaming the poor

Americans, constantly in search of someone to hate, have landed lately on the poor. States are passing laws that tell poor people what they can and can’t eat and, at the same time, businesses resist raising the minimum wage to a level above where people need help to survive.

The poor are demonized. They are called lazy, useless and moochers. The poor, however, are some of the hardest working of all Americans.

One of the typical arguments by poor shamers is that the poor should get educations so they could get better jobs, but the truth is that the jobs that are done by the poor are absolutely vital to our country. Without them, there would be no country, and there would certainly be no rich people.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

The new plague of “just in time” scheduling

These days it’s not unusual for someone on the way to work to receive a text message from her employer saying she’s not needed right then.

Although she’s already found someone to pick up her kid from school and arranged for childcare, the work is no longer available and she won’t be paid for it.

Just-in-time scheduling like this is the latest new thing, designed to make retail outlets, restaurants, hotels, and other customer-driven businesses more nimble and keep costs to a minimum.


The future of work


Cost of Gun violence, part 2

gun violence costs charts

Facebook users' wishful thinking

“Cyberbullying, depression won't happen to me”
Dartmouth College, Science Daily
 
Facebook users with so-called optimistic bias think they're less likely than other users to experience cyberbullying, depression and other negative social and psychological effects from using the site, a Dartmouth-Cornell study finds.

The study suggests that optimistic bias, or an intrinsic tendency to imagine future events in a favorable light that enhances positive self-regard -- in other words, wishful thinking -- leaves those Facebook users vulnerable to the negative realities of social media.


Arrrrrr, there be teachers at sea

Rhode Island educators invited to participate in expedition aboard URI ship Endeavor

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. –Rhode Island educators interested in marine science are invited to apply to participate in a three-day oceanographic expedition aboard the University of Rhode Island’s research vessel Endeavor in August. 

Up to 12 educators from kindergarten through college will live and work aboard the 185-foot ship from August 17 to 19 and learn various research techniques for studying the biology, physics, chemistry and geology of the sea.


Debt Collectors or Pick Pockets?

Predatory collection agencies are filing bogus lawsuits against hard-hit consumers.
Whenever a corporation issues a statement declaring that it’s committed to “treating consumers fairly and with respect,” chances are it’s not. Otherwise, there would be no need for a statement.

This particular claim came from Encore Capital, one of our country’s largest buyers of bad consumer debt. And it definitely hasn’t been playing nice with the people it browbeats to collect overdue credit card bills, car loans, and other expenses.



Friday, April 24, 2015

PRIVACY: Health hacks stuns millions

Health Data Breaches Sow Confusion, Frustration
by Charles Ornstein, ProPublica
This story was co-published with USA Today.

As the privacy officer for The Advisory Board Co., Rebecca Fayed knows a thing or two about privacy and what can happen when it's violated.

But when Fayed received a letter telling her that she, like nearly 80 million others, was the victim of a hacking attack on health insurer Anthem Inc., she couldn't figure out why. Anthem wasn't her insurance provider.

"I had no idea that Anthem even had my data," Fayed told a gathering of privacy professionals recently at the National HIPAA Summit in Washington, D.C. "I went running around the house, ‘Why does Anthem have my data?'"

Fayed soon figured out the connection: Her previous insurer, a Blue Cross plan, was affiliated with Anthem in some way. Whoever hacked Anthem's records accessed names, Social Security numbers, dates of births, addresses and more going back a decade.




Who doesn’t like baby animals?

URI’s Peckham Farm surprised by birth of baby guard donkey

KINGSTON, R.I. –When University of Rhode Island senior Kathryn Voelkner arrived at URI’s Peckham Farm to feed the animals Sunday morning, she noticed that one of the farm’s two donkeys, Jenny, was lying on the ground and breathing heavily. Then she noticed why.

The 3-year-old donkey had just given birth to her first foal.

“When I walked over to Jenny, I noticed that her attention was focused on something behind me,” said Voelkner, an animal science major from Clarks Summit, Pa. 

Rare success in the US House on an issue Langevin has been heavily involved

Langevin applauds House passage of two cybe-security bills
EDITOR'S NOTE: we received the following two announcements from Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) on the amazing feat of the Republican-dominated US House of Representatives passing two pieces of cyber-security legislation that he worked on. I have put both announcements into this article.

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), co-founder and co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, today offered his support for H.R. 1560, the Protecting Cyber Networks Act, which passed the House by a vote of 307-116.

“This legislation has been a long time coming. The Protecting Cyber Networks Act successfully strikes the delicate balance between strengthening cyber defenses and preserving privacy and civil liberties, and I am so proud to be a part of its passage,” said Langevin. “This bill is not perfect, but, when combined with the National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act we will consider tomorrow, it will represent a major step in the right direction and I look forward to continuing to craft this legislation to ensure it best serves our cybersecurity needs and the concerns of the American people.”



Difficult to break the soda habit?

Sugar-sweetened beverages suppress body's stress response
Endocrine Society, Science Daily
First Fat animated GIFDrinking sugar-sweetened beverages can suppress the hormone cortisol and stress responses in the brain, but diet beverages sweetened with aspartame do not have the same effect, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

"This is the first evidence that high sugar -- but not aspartame -- consumption may relieve stress in humans," said one of the study's authors, Kevin D. Laugero, PhD, of the University of California, Davis, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service. 

"The concern is psychological or emotional stress could trigger the habitual overconsumption of sugar and amplify sugar's detrimental health effects, including obesity."


Get out your hankies!

Lotsa pollen in Charlestown
By Will Collette

For the next several days, pollen counts in Charlestown are going to be high, as we can see from these tables in Pollen.com:









Continue reading to see the types of pollen.


It’s Not Easy for Obama to Prove He’s Green

Hillary Clinton would probably stick with his counterproductive energy policies.
President Barack Obama’s spokesman, Josh Earnest, recently boasted that his boss will “go down in history as the greenest president we’ve ever had.”

Yes, cars, trucks, and buses will increasingly burn less fuel because of this White House. If the courts don’t spike the Clean Power Plan, our national electric grid will get cleaner. Solar panels are back on the White House roof, symbolizing the Obama administration’s faith in renewable energy.

But Earnest must be kidding. Just as cutting back from two packs of cigarettes a day to one pack won’t do away with your personally inflicted cancer risks, all Obama’s great steps toward a lower-carbon future won’t paint his legacy green.

Not when he’s also championed the construction of new nuclear reactors, supported heavy spending on failed so-called “clean” coal experiments, and embraced fracking for natural gas and oil. Along with wind and solar power, those dirty-energy mainstays form the core of Obama’s “all-of-the-above” policy.

Maybe you missed it with all the news about presidential campaign launches, but the Obama administration just formally began a 30-day review expected to greenlight Shell’s exploratory Arctic drilling north of Alaska. The government allotted merely 10 days for public comments, infuriating the Sierra Club and other environmentalists.



Thursday, April 23, 2015

Dill manages to find his way home

Mystic Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue returns healed seal to the sea
Words and photos By Will Collette
Waiting for Dill

Thursday morning at Blue Shutters Beach in Charlestown, it looked like I wasn’t the only one in town who got a head’s up about Mystic’s latest seal release. 

A good sized crowd where almost half were small children came out on a chilly, damp morning to watch the Marine Animal Rescue team help Dill, a one or two year old male harp seal, find his way home.

Dill have been found marooned at Cape Elizabeth on the Maine coast and was sent to Mystic where he was treated for dehydration and a stomach parasite.

Now fit and a healthy 80+ pounds, Dill was ready to be set free.

I’ve seen a number of Mystic’s seal releases and they never get old. The team knows what it’s doing and they efficiently set up the beach release site to allow an easy and safe path to the water for the animal, as well as safety and good viewing for the humans.



Think of the children!

The progressive cartoon about Republican hypocrisy.

Guns and young people

gun violence costs charts

It takes a village…and a plan

DEM offers some interesting planning guides

PROVIDENCE - The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management announces the release of Village Guidance: Tools and Techniques for Rhode Island Communities and the Rhode Island Transfer of Development Rights Manual.

To date, one-fifth of Rhode Island's land area has been protected for future generations to enjoy. Approximately three-fifths of our State is undeveloped and unprotected. Many of our important farms, drinking water supplies and habitats are on lands that can be developed, placing critical resources at risk.


While in the past unplanned growth has negatively impacted many of our natural areas, the goals of growing our economy and protecting our environment are not mutually exclusive. 


Did Slaves Catch Your Seafood?

Men who live in cages may have caught the shrimp at your supermarket.
tu 2
For more information, click here.

A few years ago, a friend promised Asorasak Thama a job in the Thai fishing industry. The job offered good pay for a few weeks of work.

Instead, he wound up trapped at sea for a year, working in terrible conditions for no pay at all. Thama had become a slave.

Authorities rescued Thama and his crewmembers when they stopped the boat he was trapped on for fishing illegally in Indonesian waters. A few years later, however — after a stranger drugged him at a bar in southern Thailand — Thama found himself enslaved again.

When his boat came into shore to get a fishing license from Malaysia, he waited until the captain had had a few drinks, then punched him and fled.

Despite these terrible ordeals, Thama is one of the lucky ones — he escaped. Filmmaker Shannon Service will share Thama’s ordeal and long road back home in an upcoming documentary called The Ghost Fleet.

There’s no official data on how many men are enslaved on fishing boats in Thailand. The Thai government estimates that up to 300,000 people work in its fishing industry, 90 percent of whom are migrants — and therefore vulnerable to being duped, trafficked, and exploited.