Our Future and the End of the Oil Age

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This slide presentation by Dmitry Orlov is a thought provoking look into a future without oil. The time wean ourselves of this dependency is now and not when a barrel of oil reaches $200 a barrel.
 

 



Lifting the A320 – New York Plane Crash – US Airways Airbus

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New York plane crash Airbus lifted from Hudson River by salvage teams.

The sunken Airbus jet that crashed into New York’s Hudson River apparently after hitting a flock of birds has been lifted out of the water by salvage teams.

The operation to lift the US Airways plane was hampered by swirling river currents and icy waters, but finally was completed overnight.

Lifting straps from a huge crane were placed around the submerged plane, which was moored to a Manhattan dock soon after ditching in the Hudson on Thursday.

Because the fuselage was flooded the lifting was conducted slowly, allowing water to drain.

All 150 passengers and five crew escaped alive from the plane, which ditched when both engines halted, apparently after birds, possibly geese, were sucked into the turbines minutes into the flight from LaGuardia Airport.

Investigators need to get into the plane to recover the black box flight recorders, a crucial piece of evidence as to what went wrong.

Launched in 1988, the A320 is one of the best-selling jet airliner families of all time.

There are currently 3,200 of the medium-range planes in operation for a range of carriers including British Airways, easyJet and Air France.

Each A320 holds 150 passengers and costs around £40 million. The are constructed by Airbus, formerly a conglomerate of European aerospace manufacturers but now French owned, at its factories in Toulouse and Hamburg.

comScore Media Metrix Ranks Top 50 U.S. Web Properties for September 2008

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RESTON, VA,  October 17, 2008 – comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today released its monthly analysis of U.S. consumer activity at the top online properties for September 2008 based on data from the comScore Media Metrix service. The tumultuous financial markets and the upcoming presidential elections were the main drivers of Internet traffic for the month. Training and education sites gained as the fall season prompted many students to prepare for the college application process and a gloomy economic outlook led some Americans to consider going back to school.

“As the financial crisis deepens, Americans have been anxiously following the latest news on the markets and carefully watching their personal financial accounts online,” commented Jack Flanagan, executive vice president of comScore Media Metrix. “The ability to track the market on a minute-by-minute basis and access banking and trading accounts quickly enables Americans to make financial decisions in real-time. Whether these decisions are sound or not is another story.”

Financial Crisis Causes Spike in Traffic to Online Trading and Financial News Sites

September proved to be a chaotic month for financial markets as several major banks crumbled and Congress raced to pass a $700 billion bailout plan to stabilize the financial markets. Consequently, visitation to business/finance – news/research and online trading sites soared with Americans keeping a watchful eye on the latest developments, as well as their personal finances.

Business/finance – news/research web sites saw a substantial increase in visitation in September, gaining 9 percent to more than 64 million visitors, while also increasing 16 percent in pages viewed and 29 percent in total time spent. These increases suggest that not only were more people visiting the sites in the category, but that they viewed more articles and content for longer periods of time on average.

Yahoo! Finance led the category with nearly 20 million visitors, a 30-percent jump from August. Several other sites experienced particularly strong growth amid the financial frenzy, including Russian financial site RBC.RU (up 155 percent to 1.2 million visitors), FoxBusiness.com (up 127 percent to 1.2 million visitors), and Google Finance (up 67 percent to 1.4 million visitors).

Top Gaining Sites in Business/Finance – News/Research Category

(Among sites with at least 1 million visitors)

September 2008 vs. August 2008

Total U.S. – Home, Work and University Locations

Source: comScore Media Metrix

Total Unique Visitors (000)

Aug-08

Sep-08

% Change

Total Internet : Total Audience

188,937

189,468

0

Business/Finance – News/Research

58,766

64,277

9

RBC.RU

466

1,190

155

FOXBUSINESS.COM

531

1,205

127

Google Finance

822

1,372

67

CNN Money

4,458

6,952

56

BLOOMBERG.COM

1,871

2,800

50

Yahoo! Finance

15,376

19,970

30

Bankrate.com Sites

2,902

3,742

29

Comcast.net Finance

1,309

1,571

20

CNBC.COM

1,270

1,524

20

Business Week Online

1,676

2,010

20

Online trading sites surged 10 percent to 12.6 million visitors in September, as investors kept watchful eyes on their dwindling portfolios and 401K’s. Fidelity Investments led the category with 3.5 million visitors, followed by ShareBuilder.com with 2 million visitors and Scottrade Sites with 1.7 million visitors. E-Trade Financial Network (up 26 percent to 1.6 million visitors), TD Ameritrade.com (up 30 percent to 1.4 million visitors) and Schwab.com (up 36 percent to 1.1 million visitors) each experienced double-digit growth.

Election Fever Drives Traffic to Politics Category

Politics reigned as the top-gaining category for the second consecutive month, experiencing a 43-percent increase to more than 20 million visitors, as interest in the Republican National Convention in early September and the first presidential debate later in the month generated heightened interest. BarackObama.com, one of the fastest-gaining properties of the month, led the category with 5.4 million visitors (up 37 percent versus August). JohnMcCain.com ranked second in the category with 3 million visitors, a 109-percent gain from August, with the Republican National Convention and interest in vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin helping drive visitors to the site.

College Application Season Prompts Growth at Training and Education Sites

The college search and admission process began in September as many high school students prepared their applications and a slumping economy left some professionals considering further education. Careers services and development – training and education sites experienced a 21-percent increase to nearly 12 million visitors during the month. College Board Property, which provides resources for college entrance exams, led the category with 2.6 million visitors (up 31 percent), followed by scholarship search provider Fastweb.com with 2.6 million visitors (up 44 percent), and EduPlace.com with 810,000 visitors (up 49 percent).

Education – information sites also gained during the month with September marking the first full month that most students were back in school across the country. The category grew 11 percent to more than 73 million visitors, led by Dictionary.com with 15 million visitors (up 39 percent), Pearson Education with 13.3 million visitors (up 34 percent), and Answers.com with nearly 11 million visitors (up 29 percent).

Top 50 Properties

Google Sites continued to lead as the most visited property in September with more than 144 million visitors, followed by Yahoo! Sites with 142 million visitors and Microsoft Sites with 122.3 million visitors. Wikimedia Foundation Sites, parent property of Wikipedia.org, climbed one place to capture the eighth position with 60.2 million visitors, while Glam Media moved up four spots to #10 with 52.3 million visitors. Strong interest in sports during the month of September, with Major League Baseball pennant races and the beginning of the NFL season, helped push ESPN up four spots to #32 with nearly 24 million visitors, while NFL Internet Group entered the ranking this month at #48 with nearly 18 million visitors.

Top 50 Ad Focus Ranking

Platform-A led the September Ad Focus ranking reaching 91 percent of the 189.5 million Americans online. Yahoo! Network reached 86 percent of the population followed by Google Ad Network with a reach of 83 percent. Traffic Marketplace entered the top 10 this month, capturing the ninth position and reaching 131.5 million visitors. 24/7 Real Media also experienced an increase, gaining three spots to #11 and reaching nearly 129 million visitors.

comScore Top 10 Gaining Properties by Percentage Change in Unique Visitors* (U.S.)

September 2008 vs. August 2008

Total U.S. – Home, Work and University Locations

Source: comScore Media Metrix

Total Unique Visitors (000)

Aug-08

Sep-08

% Change

Rank by Unique Visitors

Total Internet : Total Audience

188,937

189,468

0

N/A

Technorati Media

3,066

11,269

268

90

ABC.COM

5,089

12,627

148

76

MANIATV.COM

2,793

4,716

69

233

Fantasy Sports Ventures

4,253

6,312

48

173

MEGAVIDEO.COM

3,430

5,067

48

217

Encyclopaedia Britannica

6,697

9,688

45

108

HotChalk

6,239

9,009

44

116

Nintendo Co.

3,728

5,216

40

209

HUFFINGTONPOST.COM

3,293

4,545

38

238

BARACKOBAMA.COM

3,913

5,350

37

204

*Ranking based on the top 250 properties in September 2008

comScore Top 10 Gaining Categories by Percentage Change in Unique Visitors (U.S.)

September 2008 vs. August 2008

Total U.S. – Home, Work and University Locations

Source: comScore Media Metrix

Total Unique Visitors (000)

Aug-08

Sep-08

% Change

Total Internet : Total Audience

188,937

189,468

0

Politics

14,040

20,081

43

Career Services and Development – Training and Education

9,576

11,588

21

Genealogy

7,929

9,067

14

Religion

20,423

22,895

12

Retail – Food

15,115

16,851

11

Education – Information

65,908

73,170

11

Retail – Computer Software

20,280

22,445

11

Online Trading

11,427

12,550

10

Business/Finance – News/Research

58,766

64,277

9

Technology – News

43,647

46,868

7

comScore Top 50 Properties (U.S.)

September 2008

Total U.S. – Home, Work and University Locations

Unique Visitors (000)

Source: comScore Media Metrix

Rank

Property

Unique Visitors

(000)

Rank

Property

Unique Visitors

(000)

Total Internet : Total Audience

189,468

1

Google Sites

144,293

26

Superpages.com Network

27,625

2

Yahoo! Sites

141,956

27

Verizon Communications Corporation

27,125

3

Microsoft Sites

122,338

28

United Online, Inc

25,301

4

AOL LLC

108,349

29

Gorilla Nation

25,024

5

Fox Interactive Media

87,414

30

Yellowpages.com Network

24,916

6

eBay

69,322

31

Bank of America

24,727

7

Ask Network

62,101

32

ESPN

23,869

8

Wikimedia Foundation Sites

60,200

33

WordPress

23,125

9

Amazon Sites

55,749

34

Monster Worldwide

23,104

10

Glam Media

52,292

35

Shopzilla.com Sites

22,702

11

CBS Corporation

52,050

36

CareerBuilder LLC

22,522

12

Apple Inc.

47,556

37

Weatherbug Property

22,427

13

New York Times Digital

47,146

38

Photobucket.com LLC

22,371

14

Turner Network

46,860

39

Demand Media

22,361

15

Viacom Digital

44,517

40

Answers.com Sites

22,253

16

FACEBOOK.COM

41,416

41

Gannett Sites

21,689

17

Weather Channel, The

37,916

42

Real.com Network

21,515

18

craigslist, inc.

35,258

43

Hearst Corporation

19,403

19

Adobe Sites

35,100

44

iVillage.com: The Womens Network

19,183

20

Time Warner – Excluding AOL

30,851

45

WorldNow – ABC Owned Sites

18,884

21

AT&T, Inc.

30,134

46

WhitePages

18,664

22

Wal-Mart

29,003

47

Expedia Inc

18,279

23

Comcast Corporation

28,700

48

NFL Internet Group

17,857

24

Disney Online

28,607

49

WebMD Health

17,263

25

Target Corporation

28,213

50

The Mozilla Organization

17,179

comScore Ad Focus Ranking (U.S.)

September 2008

Total U.S. – Home, Work and University Locations

Unique Visitors (000)

Source: comScore Media Metrix

Rank

Property

Unique Visitors (000)

Reach %

Rank

Property

Unique Visitors (000)

Reach %

Total Internet : Total Audience

189,468

100%

1

Platform-A**

171,692

91%

26

Centro – Potential Reach

83,921

44%

2

Yahoo! Network**

161,996

86%

27

AdBrite**

79,853

42%

3

Google Ad Network**

156,355

83%

28

YOUTUBE.COM

75,389

40%

4

Specific Media**

153,435

81%

29

NNN Total Newspapers: U.S.

73,880

39%

5

ValueClick Networks**

150,395

79%

30

Vibrant Media**

73,323

39%

6

Tribal Fusion**

141,850

75%

31

MYSPACE.COM*

73,035

39%

7

Yahoo!

140,200

74%

32

Gorilla Nation Media – Potential Reach

64,303

34%

8

Google

136,219

72%

33

Ask Network

62,101

33%

9

Traffic Marketplace**

131,458

69%

34

Kontera**

58,809

31%

10

YuMe Video Network – Potential Reach

130,238

69%

35

Pulse 360**

58,559

31%

11

24/7 Real Media**

128,775

68%

36

MSN.COM Home Page

57,457

30%

12

Casale Media – MediaNet**

128,585

68%

37

EBAY.COM

55,476

29%

13

Tremor Media – Potential Reach

128,060

68%

38

ITN National Broadband Networks – Potential Reach

54,905

29%

14

Adconion Media Group**

122,632

65%

39

Ybrant – Oridian – ADdynamix Network**

53,993

28%

15

interCLICK**

121,987

64%

40

IB Local Network

53,645

28%

16

Revenue Science**

120,899

64%

41

IAC Ad Solutions – Potential Reach

52,405

28%

17

DRIVEpm**

113,162

60%

42

NNN Top 25

51,222

27%

18

CPX Interactive**

111,847

59%

43

Intergi – Potential Reach

48,929

26%

19

ADSDAQ by ContextWeb**

109,570

58%

44

Business.com Network

47,174

25%

20

Collective Media**

109,489

58%

45

QuadrantONE – Potential Reach

46,403

24%

21

MSN-Windows Live

109,274

58%

46

AMAZON.COM

45,980

24%

22

AOL Media Network

108,349

57%

47

TattoMedia**

44,894

24%

23

Burst Media**

101,493

54%

48

MapQuest

44,588

24%

24

Turn, Inc**

101,462

54%

49

AdOn Network**

43,719

23%

25

Undertone Networks**

85,722

45%

50

NNN Top 10

42,032

22%

Reach % denotes the percentage of the total Internet population that viewed a particular entity at least once in September.  For instance, Yahoo! was seen by 74 percent of the 189 million Internet users in September.

* Entity has assigned some portion of traffic to other syndicated entities.

** Denotes an advertising network.

About comScore Media Metrix

comScore Media Metrix provides industry-leading Internet audience measurement services that report details of online media usage, visitor demographics and online buying power for the home, work and university audiences across local U.S. markets and across the globe. comScore Media Metrix reports are used by financial analysts, advertising agencies, publishers and marketers. comScore Media Metrix syndicated ratings are based on industry-sanctioned sampling methodologies.

About comScore
comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR) is a global leader in measuring the digital world and preferred source of digital marketing intelligence. For more information, please visit www.comscore.com/boilerplate
Contact:
Sarah Radwanick
Senior Analyst
comScore, Inc.
312-775-6538
press@comscore.com

Cheatsheet: Phthalates or Plasticizers

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Cheatsheet: Phthalates

Everything you need to know about phthalates

What is it?

Phthalates are a common industrial chemical used in PVC plastics, solvents, and synthetic fragrances. They’ve been around since the 1930’s, and now they’re pretty ubiquitous; when they tested 289 people in 2000, the CDC found phthalates in all of the subjects’ blood at surprisingly high levels. They’re often referred to as a plasticizer, which we think sounds rather like a kind of exercise to be done on the living-room floor in front of videos hosted by Jane Fonda. But we digress.

What are the possible health effects?

Phthalates are endocrine disruptors linked to problems of the reproductive system, including decreased sperm motility and concentration in men and genital abnormalities in baby boys. (Oh, and did you know that average sperm counts have decreased significantly since the 1940’s?) More recently they’ve also been linked to asthma and allergies.

How can I minimize my exposure?

Avoid these, and you’ll also be avoiding phthalates:

  1. Nail polish: Dibutyl phthalate is often used to make nail polish chip-resistant. Look for it on the ingredients list, where it may be shortened to DBP.
  2. Plastics in the kitchen: Take a critical eye to your cupboards. Phthalates may be more likely to leach out of plastic when it’s heated, so avoid cooking or microwaving in plastic.
  3. Vinyl toys: Phthalates are what make vinyl (PVC) toys soft, so don’t give them to children. Opt instead for wooden and other phthalate-free toys, especially during that age when they put everything in their mouths!
  4. Paint: Paints and other hobby products may contain phthalates as solvents, so be sure to use them in a well-ventilated space.
  5. Fragrance: Diethyl phthalate (DEP) is often used as part of the “fragrance” in some products. Since DEP won’t be listed separately, you’re better off choosing personal care products, detergents, and cleansers that don’t have the word “fragrance” on the ingredients list.
  6. Vinyl: Vinyl shows up in a lot of different products; lawn furniture, garden hoses, building materials, and items of clothing (like some raincoats) are often sources. Aside from carefully choosing materials when you’re making purchases, there is one easy change you can make: switch to a non-vinyl shower curtain. That “new shower curtain” smell (you know the one) is a result of chemical off-gassing, and it means your shower curtain is a source of phthalates in your home.
  7. Air Fresheners: Just like fragrances in personal care products, most air fresheners contain phthalates.

Where can I learn more?

  1. Here’s a link to Phthalates in the Chemical Index.
  2. Phthalates were just one of the hormone-disrupting chemicals we found contaminating the San Francisco Bay.
  3. NRDC has the low-down on phthalates in air fresheners.
  4. EWG’s Jane Houlihan discusses phthalates in children’s personal care products.
  5. Olga explains a recent study linking phthalates to asthma and allergies.

Orginal photo by Felix63

Spain’s drought a glimpse of our future?

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The Independent (London), May 24, 2008 Saturday

Barcelona is a dry city. It is dry in a way that two days of showers can do nothing to alleviate. The Catalan capital’s weather can change from one day to the next, but its climate, like that of the whole Mediterranean region, is inexorably warming up and drying out. And in the process this most modern of cities is living through a crisis that offers a disturbing glimpse of metropolitan futures everywhere.

Its fountains and beach showers are dry, its ornamental lakes and private swimming pools drained and hosepipes banned. Children are now being taught how to save water as part of their school day. This iconic, avant-garde city is in the grip of the worst drought since records began and is bringing the climate crisis that has blighted cities in Australia and throughout the Third World to Europe. A resource that most Europeans have grown up taking for granted now dominates conversation. Nearly half of Catalans say water is the region’s main problem, more worrying than terrorism, economic slowdown or even the populists’ favourite – immigration.

The political battles now breaking out here could be a foretaste of the water wars that scientists and policymakers have warned us will be commonplace in the coming decades. The emergency water-saving measures Barcelona adopted after winter rains failed for a second year running have not been enough. The city has had to set up a “water bridge” and is shipping in water for the first time in the history of this great maritime city.

A tanker from Marseilles with 36 million litres of drinking water unloaded its first cargo this week, one of a mini-fleet contracted to bring water from the Rhone every few days for at least the next three months. So humbled was Barcelona when prolonged drought forced it to ship in domestic water from Tarragona, 50 miles south along the Catalan coast, 12 days ago, that city hall almost delayed shipment and considered an upbeat publicity campaign to lift morale and international prestige.

The whole country is suffering from its worst drought in 40 years and the shipments from Tarragona prompted an outcry from regions who insist they need it more. For now the clashes are being soothed by intervention from Madrid, and plans to ship water from desalination plants in parched Almeria in Andalusia are shelved until October. But there is little indication of a strategy to deal not just with an immediate emergency but an ongoing crisis. Buying water on an epic scale from France has given the controversy an international aspect as French environmentalists question whether such a scarce natural resource should be sold as a commodity to another country.

“It would be a mistake to consider this water bridge between Marseilles and Catalonia as simply an operation of solidarity,” said a group of ecologists calling themselves Robin des Bois (Robin Hood). They said the commercial deal struck between private contractors failed to consider the environmental impact on France. The organisation blamed Barcelona’s water shortage on “wasted resources and … lack of foresight by Catalan and Spanish authorities”.

What Barcelona authorities are fast discovering is that chronic water shortages are not a problem that money alone can solve.

Its 5.5 million inhabitants need a lot of the stuff: the 20 million litres/20,000 tonnes/five million gallons of water brought from Tarragona on 13 May were enough for barely 180,000 people and were consumed within minutes of being channelled through the city’s taps. Wednesday’s shipment from Marseilles was bigger, 36 million litres, but similarly short lived.

Barcelona has churned up a whirlpool of controversy over its handling of the water crisis, causing just the spray of negative publicity it hoped to avoid.

Even the arrival of rain has only made things worse. Catalonia’s regional environment minister, Francesc Baltasar, rushed to announce last week that the hosepipe ban and swimming pool restrictions imposed in February would be lifted. Tarragona – whose wells supply shipped-in water – protested furiously. “Barcelona fills its swimming pools with water from Tarragona,” local headlines screamed, and the water authority demanded a halt to pumping Tarragona’s water for the Catalan capital.

Jose Montilla, Catalonia’s regional prime minister, countermanded Mr Baltasar and insisted water-saving measures remain. “Obviously it makes little sense to lift certain measures when, if it stops raining, we’ll have to re-impose them in three weeks’ time,” he said. But Tarragona re-opened the tap only after Mr Montilla visited, and insisted that “this effort of solidarity will supply only our basic needs”.

Barcelona’s daily El Periodico called Mr Baltasar’s proposal to end unpopular water-saving measures “irresponsible and demagogic”, increasing resentments in regions supplying water to Barcelona. The shipments themselves came under fire. Importing water gives the city a “lamentable, depressing image” and spreads “alarmism”, Miguel Angel Fraile, secretary of the Catalan Trade Confederation, said.

With reservoirs now filled to 30 per cent, authorities should scrap the plan and ship in water only as a last resort, he said. But reservoirs remain two-thirds empty, half the national average and far lower than usual for May. These are dangerously low in anticipation of another dry summer, raising the ghastly prospect of water rationing – painful for residents and offputting for summer visitors.

Extreme short-term measures might have been averted had Barcelona mended leaky old pipes and filtered polluted aquifers, critics grumble. But Barcelona is among Europe’s most careful water users, better than Madrid, Milan or Paris, La Vanguardia newspaper argues. Residents adapt their loos to flush less, shower rather than bath and brush their teeth without the tap running, but such individual measures are swamped by industrial usage, and waste in the infrastructure. La Vanguardia urges an immediate public works programme to improve the creaking system.

“People are much more aware of the need to save water,” says Bridget King, a South African who settled in Barcelona 20 years ago to teach English. “We put a bucket under the shower to catch water before it heats up, and have stopped buying petunias that need a lot of watering. It’s a constant topic of conversation and we worry it’s a long-term thing. But as a South African I’m appalled to see people wash dishes under the running tap. I was brought up to be very careful with water. And although we feel relieved it’s started raining, everyone knows it’s only short term and probably not enough.”

Recent rains have sharpened conflicts, offering a foretaste of water wars to come. Aragon straddles the mighty Ebro river but is a parched desert, cultivable only by sophisticated irrigation systems managed by an Association of Irrigators. This ancient brotherhood agreed to sell the surplus from its irrigation quota, which usually flows back into the Ebro, to Barcelona as a short-term emergency measure. If rains lift reservoirs from their emergency levels, Aragon warns it will halt supplies. But Mr Montilla tweaked Catalona’s definition of “emergency” so it didn’t rely solely on reservoir levels. Then Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister, Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega, ordered Aragon to keep the water flowing “because conditions aren’t sufficient to guarantee Barcelona’s water supplies”.

Water is now Catalans’ principle worry: 43 per cent considered shortage the country’s main problem. Authorities promise the crisis will ease when a huge desalination plant comes on stream next year. But they say little about how to tackle the long-term problem of water shortage afflicting the whole Mediterranean region. Catalan winemakers recognise that the change is permanent; some are planting new vineyards further north as traditional terrain becomes hotter and dryer.

Other entrepreneurs, including swimming pool manufacturers, have less room for manoeuvre. “The authorities are criminalising us,” complained Josep Sadurni, of Catalonia’s association of swimming pool manufacturers, which predicts losses of up to Euro 200m (£160m) this year. “Who’ll buy a pool if they can’t fill it?” Mr Sadurni asked.

A striking image of the seriousness of the drought is provided by the emergence of a church from the waters of a drying reservoir. For 40 years, all you could see of the drowned village of Sant Roma was the belltower of its stone church, which peeped from time to time above the surface of the artificial lake in a valley flooded in the 1960s to supply Catalonia with water. This year falling water levels have revealed the 11th-century church in its entirety for the first time, attracting curious onlookers who walk round it on the reservoir’s dusty bed. Spain’s Socialist government recognises that climate change will intensify water shortages, and favours desalination plants. One such plant, among the biggest in Europe – and 75 per cent EU funded – is being built on the outskirts of Barcelona and will supply 20 per cent of the city’s water. But it will not be ready until next year.

“It was already very important when it was planned, but now with the urgent drought, it has become indispensable,” said Tomas Azurra, the chief engineer at the plant.

Ecologists warn that desalination plants are costly in energy use, and damage the environment with high CO2 emissions. But developed European regions can afford them, and they’re preferable to diverting water from rivers, which critics say is even more damaging.

More than 70 per cent of Spain’s water goes on agriculture, much of it wasted on antiquated irrigation systems and the cultivation of thirsty crops unsuitable for arid lands. But few politicians seek confrontation with farmers already struggling to scratch a living.

High-density tourist resorts sprinkled with swimming pools, patio showers and golf courses along Spain’s desertified southern coast, especially in Murcia where it rarely rains, are also unsustainable, ecologists say.

Spain needs to capture more rainwater, says Stephanie Blencker of the Stockholm International Water Institute, as climate change will produce alternating extremes of drought and heavy rain. “Rain is the biggest resource we have, and we can make it available all year round if we have sensible storage opportunities,” she said.

Since the 1992 Olympics, Barcelona has enjoyed the reputation of being both cutting edge and user friendly. But now, as climate change overwhelms a crumbling infrastructure, proud, autonomous Catalonia has to seek help from outside.

Dog Fur Jumpers (Sweaters)

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Hair of the dog: The animal lovers who turned their dead pets’ coats into woolly jumpers

Their beloved dogs may have gone to the great kennel in the sky, but for Beth and Brian Willis they will always be close. Because the couple have had his and hers jumpers knitted out of the hair moulted by the pedigree pets and spun into yarn.

And they insist the bizarre garments keep them warm and dry no matter how bad the winter weather gets.

Here is the before photo;

dog fur jumpers sweaters clothing

Beth and Brian Willis’ much loved pets: Swedish Lapphund Penny and white Samoyed Kara

And now here is the after photo;

dog fur jumpers sweaters clothing
Hair of the dog: Beth and Brian Willis in their his’n’hers jumpers made from their dead dogs’ hair

The idea to use the hair, which would otherwise have been vacuumed up and thrown out with the rubbish, came after dog breeders told the couple of the unusual use it could have.

The first jumper was knitted by 71-year-old Mrs Willis from hair from Kara, the couple’s white Samoyed, a Russian breed.

Mrs Willis said: “It is not actually a hair but a wool, which is why it is so good for clothes.

“It would just fall off the dogs and I would run a wet hand over the carpet and pick it up.

“We found out from the breeders we got the pups from that it was possible to use their coat for clothes.

“Apparently it is quite popular with lots of the people who breed long-haired dogs.”

That first jumper was made in 1990, while Kara was still alive.

Although she died 12 years ago, the jumper made from her hair is still going strong.

The Samoyed breed is native to northern Russia, where they were used to keep children warm. Its fur is almost waterproof and softer than alpaca.

By the time the Newcastle couple’s next dog, a Swedish Lapphund called Penny, died six years ago, Mrs Willis was already working on a new garment.

And the retired St John ambulance telephonist says that she even has enough left over to make another sweater.Mr Willis, 73, who worked for a removals firm for 27 years, wears his doggy jumper every Saturday into town to do the weekly shop.

He said: “They are extremely warm and pretty much waterproof. Unless it is banging it down, it is fine.

“I’ve always got a sweat on by the time I get from the bus to the shops.”

Mr and Mrs Willis send the hair to be spun by Malise Mcguire at her home in Derby.

Mrs Mcguire, 60, has been spinning dog wool since 1977.

She said: “It takes about 30oz to make a jumper, but you would need 40oz at the start as you lose some in the spinning.

“Brian and Beth have had more than 5lb spun, wrapped, pre-shrunk and ready to be knitted.”

Mr and Mrs Willis celebrated their golden wedding anniversary last year and have three children, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

But Mrs Willis said her next dog fur creation will have to wait.

She is too busy knitting jumpers for the youngsters – using wool.

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