Monday, September 10, 2012
But it is fixed now....
Everyone please update your links! See the previous post or the header!
Thursday, August 23, 2012
You should not be surprised at the results. Home Invasion Ends In Gunfire.
The break-in took place around 1:30 this afternoon on the 100 block of Wickfield Drive on the south edge of town. The homeowner, who was in the house at the time, heard someone else inside, and confronted the intruder.
Confronted the intruder while armed, that is. The would-be bad-guy got shot once, and then he headed for the exit. Police are still looking for him.
Saturday, August 18, 2012
If you decide that you are going to divert half of a major food crop to produce fuel, you shouldn't be surprised when food and fuel prices go up in a drought. (You might be surprised if your closest approach to a farm is the produce section at Whole Foods.) Drought crop damage worsens, ethanol waiver urged - Chicago Tribune.
First look at the big picture.
In the most authoritative statement yet on how the drought is affecting crops, the USDA estimated that the corn harvest would drop 13 percent from last year, a bigger fall than forecast.People with no background in farming will say how "unanticipated" this is. They never purchased crop insurance. (And they don't remember the year that the Army Corps of Engineers closed the Mississippi River to navigation because lack of rain made the water levels too low. It was 1988. It was followed a few years later by the Great Mississippi and Missouri flood of 1993)
The difference today is that we don't just use corn to make breakfast cereal and to feed livestock. We burn a large amount of corn in our cars. Seems stupid to me, but I never worked in Washington.
Countries from Bangladesh, to China and Russia are making moves to secure their food supplies for the coming years. The UN (Doesn't our Dear Leader put a lot of stock in the Useless Nitwits?) isn't calling it a crisis yet, but are making noises in that direction. So, is it more important to feed people or gain the (questionable) advantage of ethanol in our fuel. I know the answer Arthur Daniel Midlands gives - they make more money on ethanol than they ever did before.
A fair question, since the UK has embarked on a massive wind-power build-up. Even when it means destroying national parks (mostly in Scotland, but who is paying attention to that?) The great wind delusion has hijacked our energy policy - Telegraph.
I love the statistics.
At one point last week, Britain’s 3,500 turbines were contributing 12 megawatts (MW) to the 38,000MW of electricity we were using. (The Neta website, which carries official electricity statistics, registered this as “0.0 per cent”).So after building thousands of wind turbines, the relatively small country that is the UK (small compared to the US that is) is producing very little in the way of energy.
And when the wind fails, bad things can happen.
Friday, August 17, 2012
Eleven police officers who claim they were removed from Mayor Rahm Emanuel's security detail so officers who worked on Emanuel's mayoral campaign could replace them have filed a federal lawsuit.Yes, the fact of corruption was so well established, that in 1983, not only did Chicago admit to assigning jobs based on political connections (clout), but they agreed to stop doing it. (Not many people believe that they actually did stop; they just weren't so blatantly obvious about it.)
In the suit filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, the officers allege the city violated the 1983 Shakman Decree, which bars city officials from making political considerations in the hiring process.
Meet the new
I forget... Is it 4 of the last 6 Illinois governors who were convicted of federal corruption charges?
They just can't seem to push this story to the "OMG!!! RADIATION!!!" level of hysteria. They sound almost disappointed. First study reports very low internal radioactivity after Fukushima disaster - The Washington Post.
It's like they keep hoping for a Chernobyl-like outcome. (While the Japanese were in denial at first, they were not in the same universe of denial as the Soviet Union was.)
Japanese researchers have found very low amounts of radioactivity in the bodies of about 10,000 people who lived near the Fukushima Daiichi power plant when it melted down. The first published study that measured the radiation within a large number of residents reassured health experts because the numbers reported imply only negligible health risks. The threat appeared to be considerably lower than in the aftermath of the Chernobyl accident, the experts agreed.
And unlike so many of the OMG!!! Radiation!!! stories, they actually give some hard data.
The study measured radiation in 8,066 adults and 1,432 children in the town of Minamisoma, about 14 miles north of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Researchers found an average radiation dose of well under 1 millisievert, which is considered a safe amount.
Since the global average for background radiation is 2.4 millisieverts per year, I would hope they consider it safe. (Some locations are much more radioactive than average....) I mean be fair, are they going to evacuate the planet because there is some radiation. You couldn't go anywhere that is free of radiation, since it rains down on us from space.
That thing about "detectible radiation"... we can detect absurdly small amounts of radiation. Bananas set off the radiation alarms in ports. Because bananas contain stupidly small amounts of radiation.
The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, (That is official Japanese name for the disaster) and the subsequent problems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant constitute a disaster and a tragedy. That doesn't mean we should make things worse through ignorance of radiation, its effects, and remediation. We certainly shouldn't set public policy based on fear and ignorance. That is of course exactly what we do.
The German electrical grid has been hit with a series of voltage drops. It has caused problems (havoc, is probably too strong a word at this juncture) with German industry.
It was 3 a.m. on a Wednesday when the machines suddenly ground to a halt at Hydro Aluminium in Hamburg. The rolling mill's highly sensitive monitor stopped production so abruptly that the aluminum belts snagged. They hit the machines and destroyed a piece of the mill. The reason: The voltage off the electricity grid weakened for just a millisecond.It isn't all doom and gloom of course - battery companies are tremendously profitable at this time.
Workers had to free half-finished aluminum rolls from the machines, and several hours passed before they could be restarted. The damage to the machines cost some €10,000 ($12,300).
In the following three weeks, the voltage weakened at the Hamburg factory two more times, each time for a fraction of second. Since the machines were on a production break both times, there was no damage. Still, the company invested €150,000 to set up its own emergency power supply, using batteries, to protect itself from future damages.
The problem is that wind and solar farms just don't deliver the same amount of continuous electricity compared with nuclear and gas-fired power plants. To match traditional energy sources, grid operators must be able to exactly predict how strong the wind will blow or the sun will shine.Freezing in the dark? Not yet. Watch this space.
But such an exact prediction is difficult. Even when grid operators are off by just a few percentage points, voltage in the grid slackens. That has no affect on normal household appliances, such as vacuum cleaners and coffee machines. But for high-performance computers, for example, outages lasting even just a millisecond can quickly trigger system failures.
(And for those skeptics, I will only point out that Der Spiegel is not generally considered a right-wing publication.)
The issue in question here isn't especially about the Sisters, but it is about gay groups using church halls for private events. Events that did feature some local drag performers as emcees. That was apparently too much for new parish leadership. (The old leadership put up with the insanity, because the Sister raise a fair amount of money for charity - mostly AIDS-related.)
Personally I think the Pastafarians have a better grasp on the absurd, but I do understand the position of the Sisters. And the election bid of "Sister Mary Boom Boom, Nun of the Above" to run for San Francisco City Council - she got 23,000 votes and almost won - was inspired. (Who hasn't wanted to vote for "none of the above" at some point?)
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Old folks enjoy generous retirements (though they may be feeling a squeeze, no one is throwing anyone into the street). Bailout bonds and deficits will be paid off by the young. Hardly seems fair. Commentary: Why the Euro Crisis Is Also a Generational Conflict - SPIEGEL ONLINE.
Bankers and politicians aren't the only ones responsible for the crisis, either. Many from the older generations were accomplices in the faltering system. Almost every family in Greece had a member who profited from the bloated state apparatus as a civil servant. Baby boomers in Spain took on mortgages en masse, pushing their country into the debt crisis. And in Italy, politicians like Silvio Berlusconi were re-elected repeatedly because their tricks were apparently met with great sympathy -- pensioners have been among the former prime minister's most important constituencies.
People say they love their children and grand children. Then why are those same descendants left holding a trillion dollar or euro debt?
Now I am not much for worrying about "income inequality," or the like, but the statistics are always interesting.
This gap is growing outside the euro zone, too. In the United States, household assets for those over 65 have increased by some 42 percent since 1984, according to the Pew Research Center. But those younger than 35 own 68 percent less than their peers did during the mid-1980s.
Even if you account for inflation, which this study doesn't seem to do (though it is really hard to tell given it is being viewed through the filter of "journalistic professionalism") it is not surprising that the young can't seem to get ahead.
Deferred gratification? Living within your means? Not things that were very popular in the early part of this century or in the 1990s. What role models do they have? Who started the craze for acres of granite in every kitchen? Add to that the crushing debt from college loans and it is hardly surprising that none of the young are saving.
Could they? Certainly. But how many are willing to drive a 10 year-old car, cook their own meals, quit smoking, drinking, whatever? How many people today would cancel their cable/satellite service to pay off the college debt early? High-speed internet? Cell phone? iPad? Whatever?
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
The Greeks can't keep their promises. The Greeks need more money. The Greeks are going to (or already have) asked the Germans for more money. The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, is out of options.
'There Can Be No Renegotiations'So talk of the Grexit - the Greek Exit from the Euro - is finally reached the European Halls of Power. (Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.)
This time, the head-shaking isn't just happening among the notorious euro-bailout rebels within the conservative block. "The government in Athens must fulfill its reform requirements," said Stefan Müller, the parliamentary secretary for the CSU's state group. For members of his party in the federal parliament, he said: "There can be no renegotiations of either the content or the time span. Each week of extension for achieving the deficit target costs taxpayers money." He also said it would be the "wrong message entirely" if concessions made to Greece then prompted other crisis-stricken countries to demand renegotiations of the terms of their own bailouts. Meanwhile, the FPD's general secretary, Patrick Döring, told the daily Die Welt: "The FDP will not allow itself to be a part of a loosening of a valid contract."
Commentary: Bankruptcy Is the Only Thing That Can Help Greece - SPIEGEL ONLINE
If it was ever the goal of Merkel and her allies to rescue Greece from bankruptcy, then they have failed. The only thing the drastic austerity measures have done is to exacerbate the economic crisis and push Greece's debts even higher. Nevertheless, the creditors have insisted on moving forward with their plan -- even though it already became clear long ago where it was heading.The Greeks were better off outside the Euro zone. Once the dust settles they will be in a better place than they are now, though given the state of things, that will take a very long time. Let's remind everyone that Greece LIED about the levels of their yearly budget deficit as well as the true size of their outstanding debt in order to get into the Euro, and have never met the minimum requirements for Euro membership. They should leave.
The end of this approach now appears to have been reached. Neither euro-zone countries nor the IMF can provide Greece with more aid without sacrificing their own credibility. Given these circumstances, there is only one option left: Greece must go broke.
I'm sure there is news from Spain if I look....
Friday, August 03, 2012
For her, a quiet Thursday morning nap turned quickly when she was woken by two men, attempting to break in to her Baton Rouge home. She quickly locked herself in the bathroom and called 911.The homeowner was shocked, but she still armed herself, and locked herself in the bathroom. The robbers got away with some cash. If you are reading this, you don't live in Pleasantville. Your address is somewhere in the Real World™. You know, that place where sometimes there is crime.
Thursday, August 02, 2012
The International Maritime Bureau attributed the sharp drop to "pre-emptive and disruptive counter piracy tactics" by international navies patrolling in seas off Somalia as well as increased vigilance by ships including hiring private armed personnel on board.While I'm sure that the navies of NATO et al like to think they have had some impact, the real change in the last year or 2 is the embarkation of armed mercenaries - security forces - on ships in the worst areas.
The bureau said the decline in Somali piracy was partially offset by intensified and violent attacks in the Gulf of Guinea off western Africa, where 32 cases including five hijackings were reported, up from 25 in the first half last year. Nigeria reported 17 cases, nearly triple the number from a year ago. Togo reported five attacks including the hijacking of a tanker, up from no incidents in the same time last year, it said.Several countries in West Africa are getting aid to beef up their navies, including Ghana, which picked up a couple of surplus German fast-attack-craft.
Ghana has been reviewing measures to safeguard its waters, most importantly to protect our oil installations from pirate attacks. Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea is not on the scale of that off Somalia, but analysts say an increase in scope and number of attacks in a region ill-equipped to counter the threat could affect shipping and investment.Sailing on the account, is an ancient (if not exactly time-honored) tradition. Keeping it in check means military might. That's what worked in the 1800s, and that is what is working (finally) in East Africa.
Wednesday, August 01, 2012
The homeowner told authorities he heard someone loudly banding on the door of his two-story townhouse in the early morning hours in the 2500 block of East Park Boulevard. The homeowner said he then heard the person attempt to break into his upstair's balcony and then heard the window on his front door get smashedThe would-be home-invader ran up the interior steps and got shot. This convinced him to leave. By car.
Authorities later found a vehicle matching the description in a residential neighborhood just east of the crime scene and discovered a wounded man inside.Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
First, "Lughnasadh" from Damh the Bard.
And, "Lughnasadh" by Omnia
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Way back in January, an un-named homeowner shot someone breaking into his house with a hammer. He shot the would-be-home-invader multiple times. That fact seems to have bothered some folks, because the prosecutor, Mark Roe, felt it was necessary to make a statement.
Roe says the number of shots fired has no bearing on whether a homicide was justifiable.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Just watched most (some?) of Starship Troopers. I guess I am going to have to revisit the original Heinlein story. The movie was awful.
The next Military-Sci-Fi flick (that I know of) is Ender's Gamebased on the Orson Scott Card novel of the same name. Given that the original story viewed military action through the lens of a video game - sort of - I don't hold out much hope for the movie. Add to that the fact that it has been through the Hollywood mill for about 4 years, which I'm sure means that the script has been rewritten by the suits at least once. (Think of "Daredevil" when you want to understand what the Hollywood system does to a screenplay, or better, think of "Waterworld" - an interesting premise, destroyed by cliche.)
That said, is it really too much to ask for a little military authenticity in a movie? Even a SciFi Movie? (The last movie I know of that had a hint of authenticity was Shooter. I liked it, but it didn't do too well at the box office.)
Saturday, July 21, 2012
The shock of having narrowly avoided the mass shooting that claimed 12 lives and left 59 people injured was compounded this morning, when [Leilannah] White discovered the suspect lived on her block.Before all this took place, Ms. White apparently 'felt safe.' She wasn't safe, but she felt safe. And in this modern age, feelings are so much more important than reality.
She woke at 6:30 a.m. to find portions of her street--the 1600 and 1700 north blocks of Paris Street--cordoned off by crime scene tape, police cruisers, and fire trucks. Some of her neighbors had been evacuated; so far, her building had not been. White's home is cattycorner to the apartment building where Aurora authorities say the suspect in the shootings, 24-year-old James Holmes, lives.
"I do not feel safe, to be honest," White, whose daughters are 2 years old and 3 months old, said. "That's scary to wake up to something like this." [My emphasis: Z-Deb]
I'm sure it was a shock. I'm sure it was scary. I am also very sure that she was not safe last week, no matter how she felt. Nor is she safe today, even with this guy behind bars. Because she does not live in a fantasy world, but in the Real World. And the Real World™ is characterized by crime and pain. Also joy, but you can't pretend the bitter doesn't exist along with the sweet. Well, you can pretend, it just doesn't do you any good.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Instead of running off, police said Carpenter came back and threatened the homeowner by shoving his gun through the dog door in the back of the house. The homeowner then shot the Carpenter six times, sending him to the intensive care unit of the hospital.
The wrinkle is the guy stole marijuana, for which the homeowner had medical license. He came back from more and got shot.And the neighbor?
"It's pretty disturbing," neighbor Jaynelle Romero said. "We all know things like this happen. It's just scary to know it's in your neighborhood."
Because things like this aren't supposed to happen in this neighborhood. They only happen in other kinds of neighborhoods. Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.
They are supposed to pay €3.8 billion on various loans in August. They received about €160 billion in March, when they promised all kinds of things.
Germany is finally getting tired of writing blank checks. But the powers that be, don't want to call it quits and exit as gracefully as possible.
You can thank Not Clauswitz, who got me started with "Give Me Back My Man," a favorite B-52's number that never seems to get the respect it deserves.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Not clear if this is self-defense. More to follow, probably.
“I have no idea what might of happened,” said Gilbert Hopkins. “I’m shocked to even hear that something did happen, and I’m just clueless.”Get clue, Mr. or Ms. Clueless. If you can read this, then you do not live in Pleasantville, You live in the Real World™. And in the real world, crime happens. It may happen where you live, to people you know. Crime isn't something that happens to "other kinds of people" in "other kinds of places." Crime is everywhere. Wake up.
Saturday, July 14, 2012
A man at the home told police that the suspect had tried to break into his house. The resident wasn't injured.Nothing gets a bunch of would-be tough-guys to run-like-rabbits better than a firearm.
Witnesses told police they saw other men fleeing from the scene.
Friday, July 13, 2012
It's a fairly long article that covers how those on the left hate the idea of armed self-defense. (That's what police are for, isn't it?) I will just give you the caption to the opening.
Texas Department of Public Safety data show that the fastest-growing group of concealed handgun owners in the state has been, for at least five years, black women.It is worth clicking through.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
But now it isn't just about Blogger. It is about Google. I use Yahoo! for a search engine most of the time. I use Bing News and Yahoo! News as much as Google these days. Google keeps showing me what it THINKS I want to see, instead of the average search results. More than annoying really.
Anthroblogogy has moved to Not Clauswitz. With some valid points.
Their steadfast determination to exclude anything firearm-related from Google Shopping while insanity is perfectly OK. (Warning: if you follow all the links to the end of that chain it is NOT SAFE FOR WORK. And you may never be able to get the images burned in your retinas to fade.) At some point you have to decide who your friends are, and who they are not.
So maybe it is time to dust off the Wordpress version of this blog I have been playing around with for going on 5 years, and move on. Love to hear your thoughts.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Machinery orders, an indicator of capital spending, fell 14.8 percent in May from the previous month, the Cabinet Office said, the biggest drop since 2001Pre-Fukushima, pre-earthquake, pre-financial-crisis badness.
Greek economy heading for 7 percent tumble | Reuters
Greece's crippled economy will fall a steeper-than-expected 6.9 percent this year, a think-tank formerly run by the new finance minister said on Monday, a tumble that will hamper efforts to cut the deficit and bring yet more pain to Greeks.And I don't think they have any plan for growing the economy, aside from government spending. With money they don't have. (As I've said before, more government spending is NOT equal to encouraging economic growth. How about a look at regulations and taxes stopping businesses?)
Such a decline would mean Greece's economy has shrink by a fifth since the end of 2007.
Spain on the brink as borrowing costs soar to unaffordable levels - International - Scotsman.com
The interest rate, or yield, on the country’s ten-year bonds rose 16 basis points to 7.03 per cent, a level that market-watchers consider is unaffordable for a country to raise money on the bond markets in the long term and the level at which Greece, Ireland and Portugal all sought an international bailout. Stocks on Madrid’s benchmark index fell 1.5 per cent.7 percent seems to the magic number, once yield hits 7 percent markets decide that the governments can't afford it. (Stupid really, since they can't afford half that much.)
And in case you aren't paying attention... 'Zombie' US economy scares sharemarket investors | The Australian
"Some are describing the US economy as the zombie economy - not quite dead, but not really alive either," said Cameron Peacock, a market analyst at IG MarketsGotta love the zombie reference.
Monday, July 09, 2012
A woman living in the 4600 block of Stone Ridge Trail in Sarasota called 911 just before 6:30 p.m. Saturday to report that a man had attempted to enter her home by breaking a glass door at the rear of the home. The woman said in the call that she fired her .38 caliber gun twice through the door. The suspect screamed, she said, got into his vehicle and fled the scene. It is not known whether the suspect was injured or not. "I'm by myself and I keep a gun just for security reasons, and he was stepping in when I came out," the woman says in the call. ... I was just so frightened by the noise."He screamed and ran like a rabbit. No one is in custody, but police are still looking. Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0.
Sunday, July 08, 2012
This is about developing a plane that can fly at Mach 20 (and if my math hasn't abandoned me, that is roughly 15,300 mile per hour). That causes all kinds of problems with control surfaces.
There are several serious risks to vehicles that achieve extreme hypersonic flight. A vehicle flying at Mach 20 will experience intense heat (more than 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit) and extreme pressure on the aeroshell. According to DARPA, 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit is hotter than a blast furnace that melts steel. The IH program hopes to discover more about what thermal protection materials and hot structures technologies are needed to withstand the intense temperatures created by hypersonic flight.The goal is to be anywhere in an hour. With the world's circumference being about 22,000 miles (depending on starting point and path followed, 15,000 mph gets you there with time to spare.)
Still the fact that NASA had a decades-long research program into SCRAM jet technology and shelved the project as soon as they were successful was probably a broad hint that this program existed. (NASA only got to about 5 to 7000 mph. And they still had problems.) But it just doesn't seem that a properly paranoid alphabet-soup-agency would let this kind of information be common knowledge. CIA, NSA, DIA, whatever. You would think they would want this kept low-key.
You see, the “other faiths you don’t like might benefit” scenario presented above is more a gambit than a true threat. In most cases the tyranny of the majority, once unconstrained by the law, proceeds to do its level best to silence all dissenting voices through threats, intimidation, violence, or simply peer pressure (and if you don’t believe that, you don’t remember high school). The real problem is that the coalition of groups working for the long-term shifts in how schools and the public square deal with religion, have to balance that with their fear-mongering that paints groups like Pagans, or more often Muslims, as a serious threat to their conception of a “Christian Nation.” If you delegitimize minority faith communities by saying they aren’t real religions, that the First Amendment doesn’t even apply to them, or that they are sleeper cells for terror, your constituents will be shocked when they learn they have equal access to the law.If you grant things to "religion" you grant those things to all religions, even the ones you don't like. Can you say, "unintended consequences?"
Tuesday, July 03, 2012
When police arrived, they found one suspect dead inside with the AK-47; another was lying outside, injured.If the guy who got shot survives his surgery, then all 3 will be charged with aggravated burglary.
Two other alleged accomplices were also arrested.
Good Guys 4, Bad Guys 0
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
I'm sure he reads at least one newspaper every day. 25 years ago I read 2 - almost every day. (The Wall Street Journal, and the San Jose Mercury News.) But there is no mystery as to why newspapers are cutting back - they can't afford to do anything else. The newspaper business is in trouble. [Click the image for a larger view, or click the link for more info - and not just on the newspaper business.]
Newspapers once got a substantial bit of revenue from want ads, classified ads, and the like. When I am looking for something or have something to sell, I think of Craigslist, eBay, or one of the more specialized sites. Not my local paper. And if they can't get people to but the paper, they can't collect advertising dollars for subscribers/readers. The only thing that surprises me is that it has taken this long for the problems with newspapers to become this large.
I haven't read a newspaper regularly in years. I didn't care for the politics of the paper where I was in Florida, and I don't care for it much where I am in Ohio. And since I don't need to get a lot propaganda delivered to my door everyday in order to feel informed, I don't bother supporting them.
That chart is interesting for 2 reasons. One is that in 1950 newspapers were in a good position. So if ad revenue is on a par with where they were in 1950, they should be doing OK. (Remember those are dollars adjusted for inflation.) But the downward trend is the kicker. And it is a problem.
Most of the stories reported by blogs come from news organizations. If those news organizations disappear, or are swallowed up by a few of the organizations whose politics offends me when it is masquerading as news, then everyone loses. Maybe the papers will figure out how to survive in the new model. Who knows? I do know I might have continued to support the paper in Florida, or the one here is Ohio, if they had been objective news organizations. But they had a mission. A desire to get folks to only see their point-of-view, which might have worked in the 50s, but fails miserably today.
So Warren Buffet is confused about the downfall of newspapers. Not surprising. Everyone has something from their youth they can't give up.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
From Estonia we get something that isn't too common in politics today, a reasoned exposition about the facts of (economic) life. Eventually, somebody has to pay the bill. I’ll Gladly Pay You Tuesday | Hoover Institution
I won't quote much, it is long, and most of it is good. Good enough to receive some of your time. But I will give you this.
You can do it for a while, but if you are a country like Estonia, where the gdp per capita is almost the same as Greece but where the average salary is lower than the Greek minimum wage and where the pensions and agricultural supports within an internal market are three times lower, it is a matter of time before our voters revolt. The government in my country and the opposition voted to support the European Financial Stability Facility to aid a country richer than us and profligate. Three quarters of the parliament voted in favor. But, note: 75 percent of the population was against.Esontian (and Germany and a few others) lived by the rules. Others did not, and now complain that the austerity they face - what Estonians saw as every-day life - is "unfair." But yet it is "fair" somehow to live beyond your means, borrow money you have no hope of paying back, make agreements in April that you disavow in May. Such is the world we live in.
[Hat Tip to On a Wing and Whim]
Monday, June 25, 2012
The heart of the matter is the way public debt allows the current generation of voters to live at the expense of those as yet too young to vote or as yet unborn. In this regard, the statistics commonly cited as government debt are themselves deeply misleading, for they encompass only the sums owed by governments in the form of bonds.People usually say that they love their children and their grandchildren, and yet the "greatest generation" created and next generation expanded a system that can only be seen as robbing the future to pay for today's party. Social Security goes to everyone, regardless of need. So poor youngsters pay into a system that writes checks to rich oldsters. A system that will go bankrupt long before any of them can hope to collect.
But the official debts in the form of bonds do not include the often far larger unfunded liabilities of welfare schemes like – to give the biggest American programmes – Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Political leaders would meet on Tuesday afternoon, a press release from the presidency said, shortly after ratings agency Fitch cut the island's sovereign debt to non-investment grade.And let's not forget the 800 pound gorilla in the room.... Spain.
Spain formally asks for 62 billion euros of bank aid - Jun. 25, 2012 Spain is not a small country - not on its own, and certainly not considered among the European Union countries. Bailing them out will be no small task.
The London Telegraph has a more direct take on European finances. The euro should now be put to the sword - Telegraph The imagery is due to the fact that the current EU Summit - there have been 18 since Greece became an issue - is in Rome.
Since Greece went into meltdown, triggering a crisis of confidence in the euro, there have been 18 EU summits. The format is wearyingly familiar: after 36 hours of unproductive haggling, a communiqué is issued, promising a united effort to boost growth, promote jobs and curb “speculators”.Celebrations ensue for a day or 2 (most recent "celebration" lasted about 11 hours) before the markets realize nothing has changed.
Sunday, June 24, 2012
I am trying to figure out why the VFH propagation is so poor around here, if you must know.)
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Any hopes Italy and Spain may have had that the Greek election result would ease pressure on their own debt crises were dashed early on Monday when financial markets reacted as if nothing had changedOK. The Greeks voted for the Status Quo. Nothing. Has. Changed.
And no matter what the Greeks did, no matter who they voted for, I am pretty sure that they wouldn't vote to take over all the Spanish or Italian debt. (I am still trying to figure out why the Germans and Scandinavians are willing to foot the bill, but that is another story.)
The cost of borrowing rose for both countries, the two big euro zone economies under fire for poor finances, widening the gap between what they have to pay and what Germany pays.That's Not Fair! Those EEEEVIL Bankers just like Germany because they have low unemployment, a balanced budget (almost) and realistic retirement benefits. It's discrimination! (Actually it is. They only want to lend money to people who have some chance of paying it back. Or weren't you paying attention to the housing collapse?)
And for the record, the phrase "pro-growth policies" is NOT synonymous with unbridled government spending. It might include things like fewer regulations for starting a company, hiring workers, etc. But out-of-control spending is how we got into this mess.
A Vermont prosecutor says an Essex homeowner who stabbed to death an intruder found in his home in the middle of the night acted in self-defense and no charges will be filed.The intruder had a knife; the homeowner grabbed a knife, and a struggle ensued. It ended with the intruder stabbed in the heart.
Police say a Tacoma, Wash., homeowner shot a would-be intruder in the face with a shotgun when the man tried to break in through a window.The guy was hurt pretty badly - as you can imagine - but he is expected to survive.
Police are calling self-defense, but the investigation continues.
Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0.
Monday, June 18, 2012
In 2000, in the city of Chicago, the average teachers salary was $50,411. In 2011 that had climbed to $64,978. In part, this is because teachers get paid more if they hold a Master's degree, and the percentage of Chicago school teachers with Master's degrees shot up from 45.7% in 2000 to 60.4% in 2011.
The union wants a 32% increase in pay, or they will strike in the fall.
For the full story, you might look at the Ink Well story on the subject.
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Liu will be one of three astronauts aboard the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft when it blasts off tomorrow ahead of the country’s first manned orbital docking with the Tiangong-1, or “Heavenly Palace” module, the Xinhua News Agency reported.Orbital rendezvous is one of the things Apollo had to master. Before heading for the moon. I wonder what the Chinese plans are.
So the rule for military operations is not to face a high hill and not to oppose those with their backs to a hill. (Sun Tzu - The Art of War)
Friday, June 15, 2012
A high school kid (with some help from a local HAM radio club, and some parental financial support) sends an MIT Early Admittance Tube (get into MIT early, and don't just get a lame form letter) to 91,000 feet with a weather balloon.
If you don't appreciate 9 minutes (almost) of geekiness, you can see an abbreviated version of the video at www.ARRL.org. (That's the American Radio Relay League)
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
The homeowner and his girlfriend told authorities that they were in the house when a man broke down the door, walked inside, picked up an object and began assaulting them. The homeowner got a handgun and fired multiple times, police said. When officers arrived, Mitchell had died from multiple gunshot wounds.Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0.
A Newman Lake homeowner did nothing wrong when he shot his girlfriend’s ex to death after the irate man showed up at his house with loaded guns last month, according to prosecutors.The dead guy showed up at the home with multiple weapons and said that he was going to kill everyone there. And actually started firing a shotgun. The whole thing was recorded by 911. I should hope that warrants self-defense. But the attorneys work to their own pace.
Law enforcement said from the beginning that Snarski acted in self-defense and no charges were expected. “They made the comment that it was one of the easiest cases they ever had to do,” Snarski said Tuesday.
Monday, June 11, 2012
With the Greek bailouts, you usually saw one whole day of trading before markets realized this wasn't the end of the line. Not so much with the announcement of the recent Spanish bailout.
MADRID (AP) — Euphoria over a lifeline of up to €100 billion ($125 billion) to rescue Spain‘s hurting banks morphed into a financial markets rout in a matter of hours Monday, as investors digested the still-undefined plan and became concerned the country may be unable to repay the new loans.I still don't understand why Germany and the Scandinavian countries continue to provide funds for the south of Europe. Most of the "loans" won't be paid back in a timely fashion.
Greece holds elections this weekend, and there is still a chance that the anti-bailout-party will win. And Italy is waiting on the sidelines for its turn getting bailed-out. Like I said, I don't know what the Germans think they get out of this.
Thursday, June 07, 2012
We have leaders from all faiths — Protestants, Jews, Catholics — as well as faithful from different political parties.Yeah, that covers the spectrum - or that bit of the spectrum the Religious Right thinks matters.
Just for fun, here is a song from "The Waterboys."
[Hat tip to Small Dead Animals]
Ray Bradbury, one of the most recognizable and monumental science-fiction authors of all time, died Tuesday at the age of 91. He endeared himself with fans through his extensive work, which was full of imagination as well as dark but poignient social commentary‘Fahrenheit 451’ was more disturbing than Brave New World. Maybe I just saw how true to life it was. (People hated the folks in school who were smart. At least some of them did - hence the names: four eyes, nerd, etc. Which was the basis for part of the book, anyway.)
Have read a few of the obits, and no one seems to mention "I, Robot" even though it was made into a major motion picture. (Or part of it was, anyway) And no mention of The Foundation Trilogy. Which grew to more than 3 books if memory serves. Strange. I guess journalists don't actually read SciFi.
UPDATE: OK, apparently at 1:00 this afternoon I spaced on the difference between Bradbury and Asimov. That's fine. I feel the same way about both. Though I did like F-451. I didn't like Martian C, or Illustrated Man. (Also a motion picture... also not mentioned. And it was fair movie by the standards of 1960's SciFi.
I wonder if he is the reason that David Weber's character Honor Harrington always wears a fedora. (That is Sir Terry's trademark, a fedora and black shirt.)
He isn't afraid of death.
I can’t be bothered about death. I have made him so popular that he owes me one.What he is afraid of is "dying badly."
I had meant to pick up his new novel The Long Earth which is a collaboration with Stephen Baxter. Looks like it could have been the start of a new series. Lots of possibilities.
They burned a Starbucks, looted a number of shops and destroyed an historic cinema. Click through the link for a slide show.
Monday, June 04, 2012
Stockton police reports indicate the homeowner was awoken around 3:00 a.m. by strange noises at the property. Upon investigating, he saw 23-year-old Yobenrico Well coming in through his child's bedroom window.Well was caught by police and taken to the hospital.
Fearing for the safety of his family, the homeowner shot Well who fled on foot, according to police reports.
Evidence supports the home owner's version of events. Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0.
According to an energy industry source who declined to be named, DEPA has no cash to settle gas supply bills worth a total 120-million euros (US$148.4-million) with Italian gas firm Eni , Turkey’s Botas and Russia’s Gazprom, which fall due this month.The gas company can't pay the foreign suppliers because the electric utilities can't pay the gas company.
DEPA CEO Haris Sahinis declined to comment on the company’s cash position but told Reuters: “DEPA is taking every action to avoid owing anything to its suppliers.”
Lot's of reasons, but one of them is government interference into the marketplace.
The account went into deficit because its receipts have not matched the generous subsidies it pays out to renewable energy producers, particularly for solar panels.Don't get me wrong, I love solar panels. I have 2 on my boat. But I didn't get a subsidy for buying them. They solved a problem. I don't know why I should expect taxpayers to solve my problems. But apparently the socialists can't leave the market alone.
[Hat tip: Small Dead Animals]
You see in the not so distant past we measured inflation in a different way. And in the distant past there was still another way. Supposedly the way we track the statistics was changed to improve accuracy. But lately I feel like there is inflation, even when the .gov is telling me there isn't.
So you be the judge. Prior to 1980 the US had one method for tracking the Consumer Price Index (CPI), and it was changed again in 1990 (or there abouts). Is there inflation - at problematic levels - or not? (click the charts for better views, or click through the link above for more info.)
On a single day, the European Commission said monetary union was in danger of "disintegration" and the European Central Bank said it was "unsustainable" as constructed. Their plaintive cries may have fallen on deaf ears in Berlin, but they were heard all too clearly by investors across the world.For years, Europe has believed that the Greeks' financial woes were isolated, and manageable. Instead, it really is true that you can't live beyond your means forever. Eventually, you have to pay the piper. And it isn't only Greece that was in denial. Many countries are in denial. (It ain't just a river in Egypt after all.)
And the global economy, far from helping the Europeans is following them down. (I hope not to destruction.)
The window of opportunity offered by US recovery is slamming shut again. America’s dire jobs data for May - and the downward revision for April - confirm the fears of cycle specialists that the US economy has slipped below stall speed. America risks tanking back into recession as the "fiscal cliff" approaches late this year, unless the Fed comes to the rescue again soon.And so, whenever the Ugly Truth™ rears its head, I am reminded of Kipling, and "The Gods of the Copybook Headings."
Brazil wilted in the first quarter. India grew at the slowest pace in nine years. China’s HSBC manufacturing index fell further into contraction in May, with new orders dropping sharply and inventories rising.
We face the grim possibility that all key engines of the global system will sputter together, this time with interest rates already near zero in the West and average public debt in the OECD club already at a record 106pc of GDP.
AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.
We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.
We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
I have spent too much time looking for any meaningful information to be published on this story. I give up. Even though the reference is always like this...
The amount of radioactive cesium in the fish is not thought to be damaging to people if consumed, the researchers said in a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.I can't find the referenced article on the PNAS website. (I think you have to subscribe to get all the articles when they are current....)
What do we know? Tuna off the Pacific Coast of the US has been found with a 3 percent increase in its normal levels of radiation. In the form of Cesium 134. Which it is fair to associate with the Fuckushima Daiichi disaster after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, (That is official Japanese name for the disaster) since cesium 134 is only produced by atomic reactors or atomic bombs.
But it is that nebulous "3 percent" number that is insane. The amount of radiation we can detect is vanishingly small. And a lot of food is naturally radioactive. (See the Banana Equivalent Dose, for an example.)
Bluefin tuna typically have low levels of naturally occurring radioactive material, such as potassium 40, which was present in the world's oceans long before human beings walked the Earth.As I quoted in another post about radiation, “Jumping off a chair is no big deal; jumping off a cliff is really stupid.” 3% is only a meaningful number if we know the base. And the journalism profession - it seems - doesn't know this. Or they aren't telling. A 3 percent increase of a small number is still a small number.
But Americans refuse to understand this. And the media doesn't help. What do you expect from a bunch of folks with Journalism degrees. The last science class they took was high-school biology, they are proud of the fact they don't understand math (or by extension statistics), but they will scream about the perils of radiation. Even thought they don't know what they are.
The Christian Science Monitor did give us one other piece of information not supplied by any of the other articles I looked into. Half-life.
Cesium 134 decays quickly, with a half-life of two years. Bluefin tuna excrete it on a daily basis and it also gets diluted in their bodies as they grow.That is a fairly short half-life, as these things go. I guess they feel they need to get the hysteria in now, in a few more years, it won't be worth it.
Friday, May 25, 2012
Krauka is a Danish/Icelandic/Viking folk band. Odinn! is the title track to a CD. While Google Translate doesn't seem to handle Icelandic very well, what I can make out it that this is a list of some of Odin's names (or kennings - in the Old English way of looking at things).
(Is it just me? Or is it strange that they are singing about Odin standing in front of a statue of Thor?)
Thursday, May 24, 2012
In effect, the bill is an online stalker's dream. Of course, the most likely result of the bill's passage would just be the full-scale elimination of all comment systems everywhere, because the system is an unworkable burden on both the poster and the "web site administrators" who would need to respond to ludicrous take down requests at all times of the day.Yeah, that's a good idea. Back in the age of VHS tapes, we used to say that if you went to the house of someone like this, the clock on their video recorder would be blinking 12 o'clock, because they didn't have the faintest idea of how to program it. But that wouldn't stop them from telling you exactly how technology *SHOULD* work.