Thursday, July 26, 2007
finance.google.com about how Apple's great results (73% rise in
profits versus last year) and rising stock price (up over 6 points
today) -- except for the second item "Sluggish iPhone launch hits
Apple stock". Seems oddly out of place. Where did that come from?
MSN Money. Thanks for the chuckle, Microsoft.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Although their placards identify the picketers as being with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council of Carpenters, they are not union members. They're hired feet, or, as the union calls them, temporary workers, paid $8 an hour to picket. Many were recruited from homeless shelters or transitional houses. Several have recently been released from prison. Others are between jobs.
Although their placards identify the picketers as being with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council of Carpenters, they are not union members.
They're hired feet, or, as the union calls them, temporary workers, paid $8 an hour to picket. Many were recruited from homeless shelters or transitional houses. Several have recently been released from prison. Others are between jobs.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
"The narrative was right, but the facts were wrong." This is reminiscent of the "fake but accurate" defense of CBS's Bush National Guard hoax. If Thomas were giving a plainer account of what happened, he would have said something like this: Our reporting was guided by our prejudices, and even though the story turned out to be false, we stand behind our prejudices.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
A quick glance at The Examiner Newspapers/Porkbusters.org Earmark Reform Index for the U.S. Senate helps explain why. Two-thirds of the senators are adamantly opposed to reforming their appropriations perks, no matter what the public says.
China on Tuesday executed the former head of its food and drug watchdog who had become a symbol of the country's wide-ranging problems on product safety.
Zheng Xiaoyu's execution was confirmed by state television and the official Xinhua News Agency.
"The few corrupt officials of the (State Food and Drug Administration) are the shame of the whole system and their scandals have revealed some very serious problems," SFDA spokeswoman Yan Jiangying said at a news conference held to highlight efforts to improve China's track record on food and drug safety.
"We should seriously reflect and learn lessons from these cases. We should step up our efforts to ensure food and drug safety, which is what we are doing now and what we will do in the future," Yan said about Zheng and a separate case involving Cao Wenzhuang, the administration's former pharmaceutical registration department director.
Zheng was sentenced to death in May for taking bribes to approve an antibiotic blamed for at least 10 deaths and other substandard medicines. Cao was given a death sentence last month with a two-year reprieve for accepting bribes and dereliction of duty.
Monday, July 09, 2007
The Democrats are hoping the president will break and run. They will not allow him a dignified retreat or welcome him with compromise. They will spring to finish him off completely. It doesn't matter what the president's motives are. Some of his advisers are trying to persuade him that he needs to go for a grand bargain now so as to build bipartisan support for his policies when he's gone. But the only way to do that is to hold firm now--and to counterattack. Those who try to convince him otherwise offer nothing but defeat, for the troops, for the mission, and for the president.
The Live Earth concert promoted by former Vice President Al Gore received plenty of media coverage and hype, but most Americans tuned out. . . .
Skepticism about the participants may have been a factor in creating this low level of interest. Most Americans (52%) believe the performers take part in such events because it is good for their image. Only 24% say the celebrities really believe in the cause while another 24% are not sure. One rock star who apparently shared that view is Matt Bellamy of the band Muse. Earlier in the week, he jokingly referred to Live Earth as "private jets for climate change."
Only 34% believe that events like Live Earth actually help the cause they are intended to serve. Forty-one percent (41%) disagree. Those figures include 10% who believe the events are Very Helpful and 20% who say they are Not at All Helfpul. Adding to the skepticism, an earlier survey found that just 24% of Americans consider Al Gore an expert on Global Warming.
Given a choice of four major issues before the United States today, 36% named the war in Iraq as most important. Twenty-five percent (25%) named immigration, 20% selected the economy and only 12% thought Global Warming was the top issue.
In 2007, a panel of experts established by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme issued its updated, Fourth Assessment Report, forecasts. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Working Group One Report predicts dramatic and harmful increases in average world temperatures over the next 92 years. We asked, are these forecasts a good basis for developing public policy? Our answer is "no".
Much research on forecasting has shown that experts' predictions are not useful. Rather, policies should be based on forecasts from scientific forecasting methods. We assessed the extent to which long-term forecasts of global average temperatures have been derived using evidence- based forecasting methods. We asked scientists and others involved in forecasting climate change to tell us which scientific articles presented the most credible forecasts. Most of the responses we received (30 out of 51) listed the IPCC Report as the best source. Given that the Report was commissioned at an enormous cost in order to provide policy recommendations to governments, the response should be reassuring. It is not. The forecasts in the Report were not the outcome of scientific procedures. In effect, they present the opinions of scientists transformed by mathematics and obscured by complex writing. We found no references to the primary sources of information on forecasting despite the fact these are easily available in books, articles, and websites. We conducted an audit of Chapter 8 of the IPCC's WG1 Report. We found enough information to make judgments on 89 out of the total of 140 principles. The forecasting procedures that were used violated 72 principles. Many of the violations were, by themselves, critical. We have been unable to identify any scientific forecasts to support global warming. Claims that the Earth will get warmer have no more credence than saying that it will get colder.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
A new type of a room-size battery, however, may be poised to store energy for the nation's vast electric grid almost as easily as a reservoir stockpiles water, transforming the way power is delivered to homes and businesses. Compared with other utility-scale batteries plagued by limited life spans or unwieldy bulk, the sodium-sulfur battery is compact, long-lasting and efficient.
Using so-called NaS batteries, utilities could defer for years, and possibly even avoid, construction of new transmission lines, substations and power plants, says analyst Stow Walker of Cambridge Energy Research Associates. They make wind power — wildly popular but frustratingly intermittent — a more reliable resource. And they provide backup power in case of outages, such as the one that hit New York City last week.
Carbon-offsetting is, it turns out, how celebrities square green issues with their extravagant lifestyles and use of private jets.
Jon Bon Jovi has said: "We wrote a cheque, we took care of our footprint and raised awareness, blah blah blah."
When Gore - who himself spent eight years flying on Air Force Two - was asked if he had persuaded Madonna to stop using private jets, he said: 'Well, I appreciate and respect her as an artist and as a person, and there are many artists who are offsetting their role in contributing to the CO2 build-up, and I understand that.' A rather longwinded way of saying 'no'.
Madonna has, however, been given an instruction handbook on climate crisis by Live Earth.
John Rego, the environmental director of Live Earth, says he expects to purchase at least 3,000 tonnes of carbon credits to off-set the event. It is believed the organisers will spend in excess of £1million on carbon offsetting to counter criticism.
Rego explains: "All the events are carbon neutral. We have chosen a reforestation and reagricultural project in Mozambique. It is a credible certifiable carbon-diffused project. We are in the process of purchasing a carbon offset."
Dr Collins says: "Taking a flight and planting a tree does not add up. It does not make it all right. It is having your cake and eating it."
Dr John Barrett, from the Stockholm Environment Institute at the University of York, says: "There is a huge irony in flying halfway across the globe in a private jet, eating up fossil fuel.
"The idea that you can offset the pollution you cause is just ridiculous. What these people at Live Earth have done is defined their boundaries to suit themselves, but there is no sense in which this concert is carbon neutral.
"Planting trees or investing in renewable energy does not reverse the damage of releasing huge quantities of carbon dioxide into the environment.
"It is far better not to pollute in the first place. Carbon offsetting can be a removal of guilt, but it is not an effective one."
Live Earth is encouraging 'citizens of the world' to take small steps: share a car, plant a shrub, turn off a light or hang out washing rather than use a dryer.
But Dr Barrett says: "It would be far better for these celebrities to stay at home. Holding large concerts to highlight environmental concerns and cut carbon emissions just seems ridiculous. What planet do these people live on?"
Friday, July 06, 2007
The implications of some of the ideas in this article may seem immoral, contrary to our ideals, or offensive. We state them because they are true, supported by documented scientific evidence. Like it or not, human nature is simply not politically correct.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Gordon Brown has banned ministers from using the word "Muslim" in connection with the terrorism crisis.
The Prime Minister has also instructed his team – including new Home Secretary Jacqui Smith – that the phrase "war on terror" is to be dropped.
The shake-up is part of a fresh attempt to improve community relations and avoid offending Muslims, adopting a more "consensual" tone than existed under Tony Blair.
Monday, July 02, 2007
Last week a federal district judge found direct evidence that the political machine in Noxubee County, Miss., had discriminated against voters with the intent to infringe their rights and that "these abuses have been racially motivated."
Among the abuses catalogued by Judge Tom Lee were the paying of notaries public to visit voters and illegally mark their absentee ballots, manipulation of the registration rolls, importation of illegal candidates to run for county office, and publication of a list of voters, classified by race, who might have their ballots challenged. The judge criticized state political officials for being "remiss" in addressing the abuses. The U.S. Justice Department, which sued Noxubee officials under the Voting Rights Act, has called conditions there "the most extreme case of racial exclusion seen by the [department's] Voting Section in decades."
Explosive stuff, so why haven't you heard about it? Because the Noxubee case doesn't fit the media stereotype for voting rights abuses. The local political machine is run by Ike Brown, a twice-convicted felon. Mr. Brown is black, and the voters who were discriminated against were white.
Judge Lee concluded that Mr. Brown retained his power "by whatever means were necessary." According to the judge, Mr. Brown believed that "blacks, being the majority race in Noxubee County, should hold all elected offices, to the exclusion of whites." (Whites are 30% of the county's 12,500 people, but only two of the 26 elected county officials.) Judge Lee also criticized top officials of the state Democratic Party for "failing to take action to rectify [Mr. Brown's] abuses."
Sunday, July 01, 2007
Gore claims global warming is causing an expansion of African deserts. However, the Sept. 16, 2002, issue of New Scientist reports, "Africa's deserts are in 'spectacular' retreat . . . making farming viable again in what were some of the most arid parts of Africa."
Gore argues Greenland is in rapid meltdown, and that this threatens to raise sea levels by 20 feet. But according to a 2005 study in the Journal of Glaciology, "the Greenland ice sheet is thinning at the margins and growing inland, with a small overall mass gain." In late 2006, researchers at the Danish Meteorological Institute reported that the past two decades were the coldest for Greenland since the 1910s.
Gore claims the Antarctic ice sheet is melting because of global warming. Yet the Jan. 14, 2002, issue of Nature magazine reported Antarctica as a whole has been dramatically cooling for decades. More recently, scientists reported in the September 2006 issue of the British journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Series A: Mathematical, Physical, and Engineering Sciences, that satellite measurements of the Antarctic ice sheet showed significant growth between 1992 and 2003. And the U.N. Climate Change panel reported in February 2007 that Antarctica is unlikely to lose any ice mass during the remainder of the century.