Friday, October 31, 2014

Egypt acts like Israel along Gaza

Egypt is acting like Israel. They want their border with Gaza to be secure, so they are doing something. They are creating a 500 meter buffer along the border to make it harder to smuggle weapons - both above ground and below it. This requires demolishing homes.

When Israel secures their borders the whole world, except the US, condemns them. How about Egypt? Is the UN preparing very strong words?

Also, the interests of Egypt and Israel certainly converge here.

The American Interest

Monday, October 27, 2014

Time Magazine questions tenure for teachers

Magazine questions tenure for teachers in a cover story.

And they get blasted. Horror at the thought that a teacher is not guaranteed a job for life. That there are firing offenses. Duh, we all say. But they don’t. “They”? People in the protected world of public employment have been trained that they have a job for life. 

But what if a teacher commits a crime? Union lawyers will rush to claim that stealing motorcycles (or whatever) does not affect the teacher’s classroom performance. Doesn’t it affect kids to be taught by a convicted felon? Again, duh.

Hot Air

The Time article is behind the locked gate.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Offshore oil rigs are great for sea life

Offshore oil rigs host diversity and quantity of sea life. Surprised? Yes, we are. But this is science.

Jonah Goldberg

In a 15-year study, researchers found that the ecosystems that build up around artificial rigs host 1,000 percent more fish and other sea life than natural habitats such as reefs and estuaries. The California rigs outstripped even famously rich ecosystems such as the coral reefs of French Polynesia.

Now, as a big fan of artificial reefs, I think this is exciting news. There are many who oppose the idea of improving on God's -- or, if you prefer, Gaia's -- design. This strikes me as crazy, given the fact that virtually all of the food we eat and the clothes we wear are the products of human innovation. When humans ran out of gazelles or bison to hunt, they had the great idea of catching a few and raising a renewable supply. When picking wild seeds and berries no longer fed the tribe, it dawned on humans to plant their own.

Fish pose a special problem, however, because many species are difficult to farm. And even when fish are adaptable to aquaculture, there are special risks and costs involved. As a result, the oceans are still being overfished, thanks in no small part to the tragedy of the commons. (Since no one owns the ocean, fishing fleets often grab as much as they can.)

According to Jeremy Claisse, the lead author of the study, the reason rigs are particularly beneficial stems from the fact they're so tall. A skyscraper from seafloor to surface apparently lends itself to a very rich ecosystem. The fact that it's an oil rig is, of course, irrelevant. ...

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

VP Biden's son kicked out of Navy

VP Biden’s son Hunter was kicked out of the Navy for failing a drug test for cocaine. Oh!!

But why was he allowed in? He was over 40 and so required a special dispensation. But he had no military background and was allowed to skip basic and officer training. Nepotism? Yes. Cronyism? Looks like it.

Will he lose his license to practice law?

Michelle Malkin follows tale of privilege.

The Hunter Biden Chronicles at Real Clear Politics.

The two sides of the Berlin wall

What difference does it make to live under a totalitarian government versus in a democracy where you are allowed to make most decisions for yourself? An “experiment” was performed in Germany and it instructs us. At the end of World War II the Allied powers agreed to split Germany and separately Berlin into four sections for a temporary transition. But the Soviet Union violated all agreements and put their portion of Germany and Berlin under the iron fist of Stalin.  So people who were all living in the same culture and under the same government were split into democracy West Germany and totalitarian East Germany. The people of East Germany lived in daily fear of the spies of the Stasi secret police. The West Germans were able to make most of their own decisions.

What difference did it make? A huge difference. The two Germanys were united starting when the Berlin wall was smashed down in 1989. After 20 years of unification the people who had lived under constant surveillance still distrusted each other. Economists Helmut Rainer and Thomas Siedler did an in-depth study.

National Review: The Corner - Sweet and Sour Krauts

… They looked at the results of a Germany-wide survey that had been administered twice a year since 1980: According to their analysis, East Germans were much less trusting toward other people than their counterparts.

Perhaps discouragingly, their mistrust did not lift easily when the Stasi’s reign ended. When the researchers compared survey data collected not long after reunification to data collected in 2002, it was clear that living in a democracy for a decade had not made East Germans significantly more trusting of others.

Other studies have shown additional lasting differences. One found that, because in East Germany women were encouraged to work more than they were in the West, East Germans were significantly more likely to believe that men and women are equal. Another found that, because the East German regime ran official doping programs for athletes, East Berliners were much more accepting than West Berliners of performance-enhancing drugs 20 years after reunification.

Read about it at The Corner above, then at the original source: Boston Globe

Friday, October 17, 2014

Archeologists dig up sphinxes in California

Archeologists dug up two giant sphinxes in California. From a movie location! They were left at Guadalupe Dunes (southern California) after the 1923 filming of The Ten Commandments. They might be Hollywood  made, but the are large and weigh 5 tons!


Obama delaying decisions until after the election

Politicians usually hide what they don’t wan us voters/taxpayers to see. But not Obama. He is so confidant that he is not hiding that he is delaying some decisions for political reasons. Why else wait until after the 2014 election?

Even the Washington Post thinks it strange that he is so blatant in his political manipulations. No, it’s the Associated Press and not bylined. Here is their list.

Immigration Reform

Keystone XL Pipeline

New Attorney General

And, of course, Obamacare - another round of cancelled policies, “you can’t keep your doctor,” increased fees, increased cash deductibles and all around poorer health care choices.

Here is Washington Post’s Ed Rogers brining it to light. And he even asks: If we know Obama is hiding these decisions, what decisions are he hiding from us?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Why new ebola cases in Texas, not Atlanta, Nebraska or Maryland?

Why are there new ebola cases in Texas, but in not Atlanta, Nebraska or Maryland? Health-care workers with ebola were flown from Africa to hospitals there. What is the difference between those three and Dallas, Texas?

Special biocontamination units. There are only four hospitals in the US with these. A BC unit is a combination of equipment and training (and regular retraining) to safely handle dangerous infectious. And it’s no coincidence that the patients brought from Africa went where they went: to those hospitals that have the special biocontamination units. There is a fourth - St. Patricks Hospital in Missoula, Montana. Montana!!

Is Texas Presbyterian particularly bad for its ebola procedures? No. It is like in the ballpark of every other hospital in the country. The good news is bad news.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Columbus Day in Seattle

Christopher Columbus Pier 57 Seattle

Seattle is in the news because they fired Christopher Columbus.  Last week the City Council voted to replace his day by Indigenous Peoples Day.

But Seattle demoted Columbus years ago. The city installed this statue of Columbus facing Elliott Bay in 1978 in a prominent park along the much traveled waterfront. Notice the hole in his head. Yes, a hole. And the emptiest stare I ever recall seeing.

Roadside America calls it the ugliest statue of Columbus. Is there competition for the title? And it reports that local sculptor Douglas Bennett never got another commission for a statue. (Not verified.) Location: It is where Pier 58 would be, south of the Seattle Aquarium and north of Pier 57 and the giant wheel.

For his straight story:

The photo: screen capture from Panoramio.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Did Winston Churchill say that?

In many cases, no. It might be a delicious one-liner, but he didn’t say it.

When Nancy Astor, Britain's first female MP, told Sir Winston Churchill that: "If I were your wife I would put poison in your coffee," Churchill famously replied: "Nancy, if I were your husband I would drink it."

No. It was 40 years too early.

George Bernard Shaw sent him two tickets for the opening night of one of his plays with the message that he should "bring a friend, if you have one". Churchill is said to have replied that he could not make the first night, but would come on the second night "if there is one".

No. Both say it never happened. Too bad.

At a reception in Canada when Churchill was sitting next to a Methodist bishop, the two men were offered sherry by a waitress. Churchill took a glass, the but the bishop said: "Young lady, I would rather commit adultery than take an intoxicating beverage."
Churchill said to the waitress: "Come back lassie, I didn't know we had a choice!"


But there are good ones that are authentic:

n 1946 Churchill really did meet Bessie Braddock, a plump Labour MP and Tory-hater, who told him: "Winston, you are drunk."
"Madam," he replied, "you are ugly, and I will be sober in the morning."


Churchill was told, while he was in the lavatory, that the Lord Privy Seal had come to see him.
"Tell the Lord Privy Seal that I am sealed in the privy and can only deal with one s*** at a time," he bellowed.

True. And there are more...

Telegraph UK

And see London Mayor Boris Johnson’s new book: The Churchill Factor.

US Surgeon General quiet on ebola

Surgeon General Elders

Why isn't the US Surgeon General (nice uniform!) in the lead on Ebola? Because there isn’t one.

Harry Reid’s US Senate had hearings on nominee Dr. Vivek Murthy in March. But Majority Leader Reid has not scheduled a vote. Why?

Because President Obama nominated a person who says firearms is/are a health care issue. And Democrats in tight races don’t want the issue in plain view and don’t want to vote on him. So Honorable Harry Reid refuses to have a vote on Obama’s nominee.

Why doesn’t our president get this solved? He said he is a uniter. Again, Obama is leading from behind.

It’s in the Daily Mail UK. Not the Seattle Times. (They covered the story last March…)

The photo: Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders in the 1990s. We never figured out why Clinton kept her in office after she made outrageous statements, repeatedly.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Might ebola virus change to transmit airborne?

Might the ebola virus change to transmit while airborne? It might. The researchers don’t know. It has happened before.

Daily Mail UK

In September, Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, writing in the New York Times, said experts who believe that Ebola could become airborne are loathed to discuss their concerns in public, for fear of whipping up hysteria.

Discussing the possible future course of the current outbreak, he said: 'The second possibility is one that virologists are loath to discuss openly but are definitely considering in private: that an Ebola virus could mutate to become transmissible through the air.'

Dr Osterholm warns viruses similar to Ebola are notorious for replicating and reinventing themselves.

It means the virus that first broke out in Guinea in February may be very different to the one now invading other parts of West Africa.

Pointing to the example of the H1N1 influenza virus that saw bird flu sweep the globe in 2009, Dr Osterholm said: 'If certain mutations occurred, it would mean that just breathing would put one at risk of contracting Ebola.'

Dr Osterholm said public health officials, while discussing the possibility in private, are reluctant to air their concerns.

'They don't want to be accused of screaming "Fire!" in a crowded theater - as I'm sure some will accuse me of doing.

'But the risk is real, and until we consider it, the world will not be prepared to do what is necessary to end the epidemic.'

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Standoff in Hong Kong

NBC hong kong protests 9 28 2014

The people of Hong Kong are insisting that their elections not be controlled by the Communist government of China. Thousands of mostly young people have been in the streets of Central - the central business district on Hong Kong Island. Hong Kong has elections of local officials. However, Beijing picks the candidates. No independent nomination of candidates is being allowed.

How long will Xi Jinping allow the protesters to clog Hong Kong’s key central business district? How will he end it? Allow the free elections they want? The Army of China like in 1989?

Photo: Protesters running from tear gas. Note that many are wearing goggles! NBC News on 9/28/2014.

Taki’s Mag

… To allow students to block the city center and impede traffic shows weakness. Hong Kong’s reputation as a financial center and tourist attraction will suffer. And Beijing cannot permit this to go on too long without risking supportive protests erupting on the mainland.

Nor can the students be allowed to force Hong Kong to give up Beijing’s veto of candidates. To capitulate would expose President Xi Jinping as a leader who can be broken by street action. To permit that perception would imperil Xi’s standing with Beijing’s hard-liners, and potentially the regime itself.

Thus if the protesters do not vacate Hong Kong’s streets soon, they may have to be removed. And Beijing is not a regime to recoil from force if it has run out of other options.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Incredible mountain photos

RobertBesch Matterhorn lighted for Mammut

Robert Bosch has taken amazing photos - people in/on the mountains. These are not photoshops. Each photo was taken with live people arranged as in the photo.

In this photo they commemorated the 150th anniversary of the first climb of the Matterhorn by illuminating the route. I count 46 lights/climbers. By my eyeball measurement at Google Earth, they are spread over 1,130 vertical meters, which is about 3,500 feet! Some of them had to wait a long time - at night - for this pic. And, as I understand it, the climbers were on the mountain all night for a second round of photos in the morning, due to clouds during the first set.

My Modern Met

A short video about making it. German with subtitles.


Monday, October 06, 2014

1991 Radioshack ad - almost all done by smart phone

Steve Cichon in Buffalo, NY found a 1991 ad for Radioshack. His IPhone can do what almost every product advertised does. His phone replaces 15 of 17 items advertised. Follow the link to see the ad and his list.

Trending Buffalo blog

Sunday, October 05, 2014

John Kerry's foreign policy

PL ISIS Climate Change

Secretary of State John Kerry (did you know he served in Vietnam?) has foreign policy so muddled  that - when you mix all the colors together you get brown. He says that climate change is the biggest foreign policy challenge we face. 

The cartoon shows where he is headed. Who is at risk because of his mulled thinking? You and me.

Correction: The cartoon shows where distinguished SoS Kerry already is - this week! CNS News:

During his opening remarks at the NYC Climate Week event on Monday, a summit coinciding with the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, Secretary of State John Kerry called climate change the “most serious challenge we face on the planet,” claiming the threat beats out other international concerns such as terrorism, poverty and weapons of mass destruction. He spoke just hours before the U.S. bombed Syria.

“And when you think about terrorism, which we think about a lot today; poverty, which is linked obviously to the levels of terror that we see in the world today; and, of course, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction – all of these are challenges that don’t know any borders,” Kerry told government leaders and representatives from around the world.

“And that’s exactly what climate change is,” he said. “Importantly, climate change, without being connected in that way to everybody’s daily thinking, in fact, ranks right up there with every single one of the rest of those challenges. You can make a powerful argument that it may be, in fact, the most serious challenge we face on the planet because it’s about the planet itself."

Kerry also deviated from calling climate change an “environmental challenge,” choosing instead to classify it as an “international security threat.”

Via: Powerline Blog.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Vertigo-inducing attractions

Jasper glacier skywalk

In the past few years around the world attractions are being designed and built so the paying public face experience vertigo - bridges with glass floors, etc. This is aside from bungee jumping and zip lines. These are places you walk! Here are a few:

Sochi, Russia - SkyBridge - The 439-metre-long SkyBridge lies 207 metres above the Krasnaya Polyana valley, and forms part of the Sochi SkyPark, located to the north-east of this year's Winter Olympic host city.

Telegraph UK

Southern Spain - Caminito del Rey - It’s one meter wide along a vertical cliff. It closed after fatalities in 1999 and 2000.

Telegraph UK

Pingjang, Hunan, China - glass floored swinging bridge.

Telegraph UK

Jasper National Park, Canada - Glacier Skywalk - 280 meters above the Sunwapta Valley. Glass floor juts out 30 meters.

Telegraph UK again

Chamonix, France - Step into the Void aka Pas dans la Vide. A glass box, not very big, that cantilevers over the sheer mountain cliff about 1,000 meters (3,100 feet) above the valley.

Telegraph UK encore

Grand Canyon, Arizona - Skywalk. This is the first of these I heard of. It is not in the national park, but in the Havasupai Reservation. They haul people there from Las Vegas. Their website.


And… There are more. Buildings in Chicago, Macau (next to Hong Kong), Melbourne, Australia, Singapore. Railroads. Gondolas. The mountains of Austria. The Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver, BC, Canada is not in the league with all the others.

See the photo gallery at - of course - Telegraph UK gallery

The photo: Glacier Skywalk at Jasper NP, Canada. Link

Friday, October 03, 2014

Win the Senate, then build our agenda

Charles Krauthamer says the Republicans don’t need a unified agenda to win control of the US Senate. That in an off-year election it is enough to be the party of “No.” Then, after the election we/they can build that agenda. It’s not necessary to have it before the election.

I hope he is right. (He cites examples.) Because that is what the Republicans in Congress are doing.

Washington Post