Saturday, January 31, 2009

Hurricanes: human-induced climate change leading to stronger storms

Through their fury, they are in fact bringing balance to the planet's climate. - MSNBC
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Image: Hurricane Floyd

Just as a changing climate shapes the strength and frequency of hurricanes, the storms may have a huge effect on climate, leaving "footprints" in the atmosphere and ocean.

Hurricanes are infamous as harbingers of chaos — flooding cities, ripping houses to shreds, destroying beaches and even whole islands. And concerns are growing that human-induced climate change may lead to stronger storms whose intensity will wreak even more havoc on coastal communities around the world.

Scientists have known for years that hurricanes cause cool ocean waters to well up, but Hart was surprised at how long the atmosphere retained a "memory" of each storm.

That got him thinking: if one storm can have such a lasting impact, what does a whole season of storms do to Earth's climate? Would there be a difference in effect between an active hurricane season and a quiet one?

Through their fury, they are in fact bringing balance to the planet's climate.
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Valkyrie Movie Review - and how DID the good Germans elect Hitler?

The thing wrong with this flick is that we all know that Hitler was never assassinated (though few may realise there were around 20 unsuccessful attempts). Hitler took his own life in the comfort of his own bunker when the damage was fully unleashed and the Russian Red Army (Russia lost 20 million in WWII) were sniffing for him around the courtyards of Berlin.

Singer could have done a much better job. Many of the scenes looked rather too clean and empty to me. It was World War II after all.

I would have liked the same grit we see when Cruise/von Stauffenberg gets blown up in the beginning, when he plants the bomb. We should smell the chemical fuse eating through, see a bead of perspiration form on Cruise' immaculate forehead.

That said, this is a valuable flick, worth the watch, even if only to realise the sheer futility, the utter waste that war is. Entire fields of good men, bad men - all men - are laid to waste, cut down like wheat, because of the hubris of a few (mad) men. It seems we can never learn this lesson - that war is a bad, dumb, wasteful idea (ALWAYS) - enough. Every few years Presidents forget it anew, and we let them.

For more, read: How did the good Germans elect Hitler?
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There are no discernibly nasty Nazis in “Valkyrie,” though Hitler and Goebbels skulk about in a few scenes, shooting dark, ominous looks at the heroic German Army officer played by Tom Cruise. Perhaps they’re wondering what this Hollywood megastar is doing in their midst, a sentiment that you may come to share while watching Mr. Cruise — who gives a fine, typically energetic performance in a film that requires nothing more of him than a profile and vigor — strut about as one of history’s more enigmatic players.

It’s a war that offers moral absolutes (Nazis are evil) and narratives (Nazis are evil and should die) that seem easier to grasp than any current conflict. Truly, World War II has become the moviemaker’s gift that keeps on giving, whether you want it to or not.
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My Birthverse

Quite hectic!
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Jeremiah 1:19 NIV
They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you, declares the LORD.

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Is this the most fuel efficient car in the world?

iCrossing went crazy with the campaign, giving the iQ more YouTube, Flickr, and Twitter accounts than a twelve-year-old girl. "It’s a great project to be involved in," wrote iCrossing's Chris Eden.
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Toyota wants to show the world that the too-cute-for-words iQ city car is even thriftier than the window sticker suggests. In order to do so without running afoul of the government, Toyota dispatched two lads on an 18-city hypermiling road trip around England and told them to blog about it.


The iQ is pretty impressive out of the box, returning a Prius-beating 55 mpg — that would be 66 miles per Imperial gallon if you're on that side of the pond. But the guys managed to squeeze an amazing 504.2 miles out of an 8.5-gallon tank of petrol. Do the math and that comes out to 60 mpg (or 72 miles per Imperial gallon).


That's a 9 percent improvement. Pretty sweet, and they didn't even go nuts with the hypermiling.

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Cricket: SA Are World No: 1

QED and SA are now the new number one in one-day international cricket. Must say the South Africa side is completely transformed, so many new faces it is difficult to keep track, but nevertheless good to see the guys working as a unit and performing.

Lonwabo Tsotsobe snapped up his ODI wicket in his first over and came back to finish with four on debut. Botha was, as he has been all series, hard to score off because he fired them in quick and flat. -

South Africa 288/6 (50 ov)
Australia 249 (49.0 ov)
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Hilarious Pets [VIDEOS]

5th ODI: Australia v South Africa at Perth, Jan 30, 2009 - LIVE ONLINE FEED

So far it's...
South Africa 288/6 (50 ov)
Australia 33/1 (6.4 ov)
Australia require another 255 runs with 9 wickets and 43.1 overs remaining.

Click on the link below for a live update.

South Africa 288/6 (50 ov)
Australia 32/1 (6.1 ov)

Australia RR 5.18
Last 5 ovs 30/1 RR 6.00
Required RR 5.86
South Africa RR 5.76
Full scorecard
M Morkel to Ponting, no run, beaten again! Morne invites the shot with a full delivery outside off stump that swings, Ponting throws the bat at it and fails to connect

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Quote of the Day

The link is also to an article well worth reading...
You know, we pretended we had a service economy, we pretended we had a digital economy, but what we really had was a housing-bubble economy, and what that was all about was building more of an infrastructure for a daily life with no future.
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50% off traffic fines ends tomorrow

The discount is valid on traffic fines issued since October 31 last year.
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Motorists with outstanding traffic fines are left with only today and tomorrow to take advantage of the 50percent reduction offer.

Since November last year, traffic law breakers in Gauteng had the opportunity to pay “only half” the price of their fines.

Johannesburg Metro Police’s Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said they have had to go an extra mile to accommodate people who are rushing to meet the deadline.

“People have been coming to our offices in large numbers since Monday. We have even turned one of our vehicles into a pay station just to add an extra hand, “said Minaar.

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US Army Suicide Rate highest since Vietnam War

I just watched Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket on TV. It shows a marine shooting his drill sargeant and then himself. When I was in the Air Force at least one guy killed himself. That's the risk of giving weapons to young men and then giving them killer assignments in shitholes.
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Graphic shows active duty Army suicides from 1990 to 2008; 1 c x 3 7/8 in; 46.5

WASHINGTON – Suicides among U.S. soldiers rose last year to the highest level in decades, the Army announced Thursday. At least 128 soldiers killed themselves in 2008. But the final count is likely to be considerably higher because 15 more suspicious deaths are still being investigated and could also turn out to be self-inflicted, the Army said.

A new training and prevention effort will start next week. And Col. Elspeth Ritchie, a psychiatric consultant to the Army surgeon general, made a plea for more U.S. mental health professionals to sign on to work for the military.

"We need to move quickly to do everything we can to reverse this disturbing ... number," Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli said.

Officials calculate the deaths at a rate of roughly 20.2 per 100,000 soldiers — which is higher than the adjusted civilian rate for the first time since the Vietnam War, officials told a Pentagon news conference.
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17 Strategies to Cool the Atmosphere

I advocate building atmosphere processors. Giant, industrial sized air-refrigerators...pricy but effective.

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"By 2050, only stratospheric aerosol injections or sunshades in space have the potential to
cool the climate back toward its pre-industrial state
," earth scientists Tim Lenton and Naomi Vaughan of East Anglia University in England write.

Many global cooling approaches have been floated. The broad range of the proposals — from injecting the upper atmosphere with sun-blocking particles to creating plankton blooms by feeding them extra iron to burying carbon-filled "biochar" in soil — has made comparing them very difficult. The new study provides the first useful comparisons of a wide variety of geoengineering ideas.

The study did not calculate the costs or environmental impacts of any of the techniques, but for most of the climate hacks, they could be large. For those reasons, the authors of the paper recommend reducing the amount of our emissions, not just banking on geoengineering to bail
us out.

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Climate Change = New Military Presence + Landgrap in the Arctic

"Several Arctic rim countries are strengthening their capabilities, and military activity in the High North region has been steadily increasing," de Hoop Scheffer told delegates.
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REYKJAVIK, Iceland – NATO will need a military presence in the Arctic as global warming melts frozen sea routes and major powers rush to lay claim to lucrative energy reserves, the military bloc's chief said Thursday.

NATO commanders and lawmakers meeting in Iceland's capital said the Arctic thaw is bringing the prospect of new standoffs between powerful nations.

"I would be the last one to expect military conflict — but there will be a military presence," NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told reporters. "It should be a military presence that is not overdone, and there is a need for political cooperation and economic cooperation."

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Now You Can Listen to music Underwater (or just in-the-water)

Pretty cool huh? Saw a guy in the gym who used this. Nice gizmo, but personally I love the sound of the in-utero-sounding nose of water sloshing about. It's the only soothing sound I hear all day. But I guess when one is swimming long distances (3km etc) and I will be soon, this might be handy...
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Waterproof Armbands and Cases
Waterproof Headphone System
Waterproof Headphones
Deep Dive Waterproof Cases
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Crisis Heralds Opportunity in US - the Time for Railway Development is Nigh The Obama administration has promised more rail and transit funding. Are we going to see things start to happen?

Dukakis: No question about it. This economic mess we're in has actually turned out to be a huge opportunity to invest in transit projects. Despite the concerns out there, I think this is a huge opportunity.

NVDL: This is very good to see, although the US is probably better served constructing ordinary railways. High speed trains need different tracks and it is a more expensive investment which the country is unlikely to afford on a countrywide scale. ordinarily railways more so (more affordable that is).
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The president's $825 billion economic stimulus package includes $30 billion for rail and mass transit projects; a Senate version specifically allocates $850 million for Amtrak and $2 billion for high-speed rail. It's significant, because Obama has long favored expanding passenger rail
service and has specifically called for a rail network linking
Chicago with the major cities of the Midwest.

Some aren't waiting for the feds to get with it. California voters recently authorized the legislature to issue almost $10 billion in bonds to begin construction of an 800-mile high-speed rail line linking San Francisco with Los Angeles. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has long argued California must lead the nation to a high-speed future. He and others say bolstering the nation's passenger rail system is faster, cheaper and easier than building more freeways or expanding an already overburdened air-travel system.

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Somali pirates hijack German gas tanker, 13 crew - 10 ships currently off the grid

If you want to become an instant millionaire, go to Somalia and become a pirate....
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This undated photo provided by the Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement in Hamburg on

NAIROBI, Kenya – Somali pirates hijacked a German tanker loaded with liquefied petroleum gas Thursday off the Horn of Africa. The ship's 13-man crew was reported safe even though gunshots were heard over the ship's radio.

The MV Longchamp is the third ship captured this month in the Gulf of Aden, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.

The Longchamp, registered in the Bahamas, is managed by the German firm Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, which said in a statement that seven pirates boarded the tanker early Thursday.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Kentucky - Thousands may face frigid, lightless nights

Notice how the weather/climate is the cause behind more and more power/system failures in America.
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A vehicle drives under a tree that is weighed down by ice on Old Wire Road as a

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – More than a million people stranded in darkness Thursday in the wake of an icy winter storm could face a lengthy wait for electricity to course through their frosty homes, even as federal help was promised to two states hit hardest by the blast.

Utility officials estimated more than 1.31 million homes and businesses across a wide swath of states were powerless early Thursday, and warned it could be mid-February before some customers had power. The storm has been blamed for at least 23 deaths so far.

Tony Cipolla managed to keep warm by building a fire at his powerless home near Seneca Park in Louisville, cooking a pot of soup over a gas stove. But there wasn't a long-term plan for Cipolla and his two children, ages 5 and 9, if electricity wasn't soon restored.

"If it'll be a couple days, then we'll be in trouble," Cipolla told The Courier-Journal in Louisville, where temperatures dipped into the 20s overnight.

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Wikipedia to become more like 'traditional media'?

Personally I hope not. Wiki have been a breath of fresh far.
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Wikipedia faces a revolt among thousands of its contributors over proposals to change the way the online encyclopaedia is run.

Until now, Wikipedia has allowed anybody to make instant changes to almost all of its 2,7-million entries, with only a handful of entries protected from being altered.

But under proposals put forward by the website's co-founder, Jimmy Wales, many future changes to the site would need to be approved by a group of editors before going live.

Wales argues the scheme will bring greater accuracy, particularly in articles referring to living people. But the possibility has caused a furore among Wikipedia users, since many see it as a fundamental change to the egalitarian nature of the site.

A user poll on the website suggests 60% are in favour of trials, which could take place within the next few weeks. But some think the split could ultimately threaten the future of the site.
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