University of California, Berkeley

In anticipation of this week’s Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, a group of 22 scientists from a variety of disciplines collaborated to complete a sobering—that is to say, terribly frightening—new study of the global ecosystem.

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I’m grateful for this opportunity to help populate Citizen Cohn with a few blog contributions while Jonathan is away. I’m especially grateful because I want to address some reactions to my last TNR article concerning the potential linkage between cell phones and cancer. I was gratified to see my column get some attention.

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Since the first Zipcars appeared in Boston in June 2000, the company has grown by leaps and bounds, expanding throughout the United States, and even into Canada and the United Kingdom. The company now has a fleet of over 8,000 cars, and over 560,000 members. Yesterday, Zipcar held its IPO, and saw its share price shoot up 56% on a volume of almost 10 million shares. Questions still remain, though, despite the strong IPO: can the price hold up even though Zipcar has never turned a profit?

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How They Did It

When the president and his closest advisers huddled in the Oval Office last August, they had every reason to panic. Their signature piece of legislation, comprehensive health care reform, was mired in the Senate Finance Committee and the public was souring on it. Unemployment was on the march, and all this talk about preexisting conditions and insurance exchanges barely registered above the Fox News pundits screaming, “Death panel!” Suddenly, health care reform was under attack everywhere—even in the West Wing. All week, the group had debated whether to scale back the reform effort.

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This is the first of a five-part series explaining, in remarkable detail, how Obama and the Democrats came to pass health care reform. Be sure to come back tomorrow for the second part, which reveals how Ted Kennedy wooed Max Baucus and what Rahm Emanuel promised the drug industry. When the president and his closest advisers huddled in the Oval Office last August, they had every reason to panic. Their signature piece of legislation, comprehensive health care reform, was mired in the Senate Finance Committee and the public was souring on it.

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Yesterday, NPR's Richard Harris had an important Gulf scoop—the oil spill may be much, much larger than both BP and the U.S. government have been saying. Here's Brad Johnson's follow-up: Based on “sophisticated scientific analysis of seafloor video made available Wednesday,” Steve Wereley, an associate professor at Purdue University, told NPR the actual spill rate of the BP oil disaster is about 3 million gallons a day — 15 times the official guess of BP and the federal government.

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It's Time to Act

February 26, 2010 President Barack Obama Senator Harry Reid Majority Leader Senator Max Baucus, Chairman, Committee on Finance Senator Tom Harkin Chairman, Committee on Health Education Labor and Pensions Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House of Representatives Congressman Charles Rangel Committee on Ways & Means Congressman Henry A. Waxman Committee on Energy and Commerce Congressman George Miller Committee on Education and Labor Dear Mr. President, Congressmen and Congresswomen Our health care system is in crisis.

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The northern California coast tends to get smothered with fog during the summer—it just sits there and won't go away. (I'm pretty sure I complained about it constantly when I lived in San Francisco.) But now it turns out that the fog has actually been dwindling over the decades, which could spell bad news for the region's redwood trees: A surprising new study finds that during the past century the frequency of fog along California's coast has declined by approximately three hours a day.

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Isaac Goldstein enrolled at San Francisco State University (SFSU) in part to get away from the anti-Semitism he experienced in the small Northern California town of St. Helena. "I got called a dirty Jew all the time and harassed," says Goldstein, who was one of only three Jews in his high school class of about 120 students. "I thought San Francisco was a liberal, open-minded city and people would accept all kinds of thought." It hasn't quite turned out that way.

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