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Daily Archives: November 8, 2015

USDA cancels webinars on neonicotinoids and pesticide risks

News release: “Web-based training sessions about powerful new insecticides seeping into some of the continent’s most sensitive wetlands were cancelled by a senior U.S. Department of Agriculture official due to its subject matter, according to documents posted today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). PEER is characterizing the cancellation as another example of USDA interfering with the release of new science-based information about adverse effects flowing from neonicotinoid (“neonics”) pesticides. As a result, growing ecological risks posed by the most widely used insecticides in North America will likely not be considered in developing USDA policies, planning or management practices. On June 2, 2014, a nationally advertised webinar entitled “Pesticides and Potholes: Understanding the Risks of Neonicotinoid Insecticides to Aquatic Ecosystems in Prairie Canada and Beyond” was nixed on orders from Wayne Honeycutt, Deputy Chief for Science and Technology for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). A companion webinar on the efficacy of neonicotinoid seed treatments and practices to minimize adverse impacts on pollinators and other non-target organisms was also scrubbed. The cancelled webinars were part of a series addressing priority training needs identified by NRCS and partner biologists. Without elaborating, Honeycutt declared in an email that “these topics were not appropriate for an NRCS sponsored webinar. Extending across the upper Midwest into southern Canada, the prairie potholes are one of the world’s most important wetland regions, home to more than half of North American migratory waterfowl. NRCS devotes considerable resources to wetland restoration in the region. Yet, drainage from surrounding cropland carries increasing amounts of ultra-potent neonics that threaten the health of the region’s aquatic systems. “Neonics are apparently a taboo topic for USDA scientists to discuss,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, pointing to widespread complaints by USDA scientists of reprisal for research at odds with the agribusiness agenda. “This episode suggests political science essentially trumps biology, agronomy and every other discipline inside today’s USDA…”

An Exploratory Study of Financial Reporting Structures: A Graph Similarity Approach Using XBRL

Yang, Steve Y. and Liu, Fang-Chun and Zhu, Xiaodi, An Exploratory Study of Financial Reporting Structures: A Graph Similarity Approach Using XBRL (September 8, 2015). Available for download at SSRN: “Financial reporting information is crucial to both investors and regulators for their decision-making purposes as it reveals corporate financial position and performance over a… Continue Reading

UN 2015 Revision of World Population Prospects

“The 2015 Revision of World Population Prospects is the twenty-fourth round of official United Nations population estimates and projections that have been prepared by the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat. The main results are presented in a series of Excel files displaying key demographic indicators… Continue Reading

Bicycling and Walking to Work in US: 2008–2012

Modes Less Traveled—Bicycling and Walking to Work in the United States: 2008–2012 “Bicycling and walking make up a relatively small portion of commuting activity in the United States, but these nonmotorized travel modes play important roles within many of the nation’s local transportation systems. Infrastructure that supports bicycling and walking expands transportation options and may… Continue Reading

Shock Waves: Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on Poverty

World Bank:  Shock waves: managing the Impacts of climate change on poverty – “Ending poverty and stabilizing climate change are the two objectives of this report. It is discussed how the two objectives should be addressed together. Climate change has an impact on eradicating poverty. Climate related shocks (natural disasters, spike in food prices, waterborne… Continue Reading