For those of you who thought progressives would be the first to suggest an absurd Swine Flu conspiracy theory; tough luck, the Umma got there first. You have to admit it was a fifty/fifty proposition given the level of science education we are talking about in both communities.
Indonesian Heath Minister Siti Fadilah Supari said on Tuesday the deadly swine flu virus could have been man-made, as she urged calm over its spread around the world. The controversial minister did not elaborate but in the past she has said Western governments could be making and spreading viruses in the developing world to boost pharmaceutical companies' profits.
Embedding has been disabled for Britain's Got Talent so you shall have to click through for Darth Jackson action (worth it for the correct pronunciation of "Birmingham"). Consider the following a place-holder video.
For two centuries they have stood in the heart of England, a landlocked tribute to the brilliance of Admiral Lord Nelson. Planted across three-quarters of a mile of Wiltshire countryside, a series of tree clumps mark the positions of British and French ships during the Battle of the Nile. But despite being one of the largest memorials of its kind in the world, the secret of the Nile Clumps has until now been known only to a few locals and military historians.
Portofino inspired stripes aside, a view of the Hollywood reservoir places the Castillo del Lago high on the list of Flea fantasy real estate purchases. Though I expect it is a bit of a hike to the corner store for milk and the like.
An implicit theme in the Batman chronicles, dating back to the earliest appearance of "Bat-Man" in a 1939 comic strip, is that any human could become the Dark Knight with enough physical training and a penchant for wearing tights.
Yet is it true that a mere mortal could train to become Batman?
Annie Clark has a whimsical way of saying "no comment". "Can I call my hypothetical therapist?" she asks, her eyebrows performing an elaborate little dance of amusement, when I ask whom the dark-edged lyrics from her latest album Actor are directed at.
I suspect if I did approach her fictional shrink for answers, I'd be asked to take a seat and wait in line. First there's her mother, maternal anxiety sharpened by the ambivalent relationship metaphors that pepper the 26-year-old's songs. "My mum often asks, 'Are you OK?' and I go, 'Yeah, I'm just fine,'" she says, though lines such as "I'm spending all my days in the garden-grey pallor of lines across your face" are probably not the best way of allaying parental concern.
We realized the universe is a symphony and the laws of physics are harmonies on a superstring
There was Eru, the One, Who in Arda (Earth) is called Illuvatar; and he made first the Ainur, the Holy Ones, that were the offspring of his thought, and they were with him before aught else was made. And he spoke to them, propounding to them themes of music; and they sang before him, and he was glad...the music and the echo of the music went out into the Void, and it was not void...But when they were come into the Void, Illuvatar said to them: "Behold your music!" And he showed them a vision, giving to them sight were before there was only hearing; and they saw a new World made visible before them, and it was globed amid the Void, and it was sustained therein.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Silmarillion, p. 15
The corsairs carry out their evil work because our Westphalian game of pretend gives them sanctuary. For example, we pretend there is a place called Somalia with borders and sovereignty. We pretend sending food and money ennobles us instead of impoverishing them. We pretend Christian charity will be greeted with thanks instead of rape and ransom.
There is another thing our game of pretend is wrong about. It leads us to a sin of omission.
Pirates are easy to spot on the streets of Garowe, the regional capital: their Toyota 4x4s cluster around equally new white-washed mansions on the edge of town. But to approach them, I am warned, is to invite kidnapping or robbery.
Also interesting is a comment on "second order effects" of a Russian occupation of Georgia left by Subotai Bahadur (if such is his real name) at the second post. The (old) European establishment may have something to gain by Russian aggression.
There is no doubt that, despite the pro-Russian posting on the thread about the other side of this coin, that independent Georgia will be gone within a couple of weeks of the commencement of hostilities. Neither Europe nor the United States will intervene in any way to aid Georgia.
The next thing to ponder is what the second order effects will be.
a) the effects on any dependent allies of the United States.
b) the effects on NATO.
c) the effects on the EU, given that Western Europe is dependent on Russian energy already.
d) an especial emphasis on the effects on the “near abroad”. How far are the former Warsaw Pact countries going to go in yielding sovereignty out of fear of Russia and knowing that there will be absolutely no help from the West.
e) economic effects. The EU has never been happy with the free market ways of the Eastern Europeans, viewing their work ethic and belief in less socialism and more capitalism a threat to the hegemony of the EU. Many in the EU would be glad to be rid of the competition. Further, since so much of the European banks’ problems are related to real estate deals in Eastern Europe, their loss to the West could be used to allow a ‘write down’ combined with government bailouts that would mitigate the EU’s problems.
Writing for The Australian, Hal Colebatch argues Britain is evolving into "the first modern soft totalitarian state." There is stiff competition in our civilization's race for the bottom, but even Canadian soft power/multi culti/bilingual-newthink is left in the dust by what was once England.
My Mum saw it first. She said the country was unrecognizable in its hysteria over the death of Diana. I was wrong. She was right.
There are no concentration camps or gulags but there are thought police with unprecedented powers to dictate ways of thinking and sniff out heresy, and there can be harsh punishments for dissent.
Nikolai Bukharin claimed one of the Bolshevik Revolution's principal tasks was "to alter people's actual psychology". Britain is not Bolshevik, but a campaign to alter people's psychology and create a new Homo britannicus is under way without even a fig leaf of disguise.
The Government is pushing ahead with legislation that will criminalise politically incorrect jokes, with a maximum punishment of up to seven years' prison. The House of Lords tried to insert a free-speech amendment, but Justice Secretary Jack Straw knocked it out. It was Straw who previously called for a redefinition of Englishness and suggested the "global baggage of empire" was linked to soccer violence by "racist and xenophobic white males". He claimed the English "propensity for violence" was used to subjugate Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and that the English as a race were "potentially very aggressive".
Jack Straw is right about that last bit. Let us pray the English remember it too. It truly is far better to face the bullets than to be killed at home by a bomb.
Gerald Warner recalls it: the day the police clashed with a bunch of wellie-wearing, tweed flat-capped country people and bashed in some heads.
Well, you see, these were people who were standing in the way of Tony's efforts to save the cute little furry woodland creatures from the nasty upper-class English who wanted to shoot them. But really, it was a message sent out to the bastions of traditional British culture. "It's over people. The Britain you knew is no more and this is what will happen to you if you try to bring it back."
Defending the proposition that computer games constitute a literary genre, Quin Parker argues video games are - amongst other things - a form of interactive literature. Scott Esposito (whence the link) elaborates.
It's a widely held belief that if Charles Dickens were alive today, he would be working in television. But quite possibly, he might also be writing cut scenes for adventure games.
Nobody's suggesting that people need degrees to write "thank you Mario, but our princess is in another castle". The truth is, games have become enormously complex compared to the days when all you did was jump on mushrooms, collect gold, and blow things up. Different demographics of people are playing computer games, and they don't just demand realistic graphics that push technological boundaries, they want whole worlds and coherent stories.
If anything, Parker is understating the case. Writing for video games is indeed about creating whole worlds and coherent stories, a proposition that goes well beyond a cut scene as the next level loads.
Follow the link for John Crace's counter-argument; he likes to blow things up.
The dragon. A mythological creature? No. It exists -- inside us.
Former Japanese Finance Minister, Shoichi Nakagawa is still on someone's payroll. The government needed someone reliable to float the mother of all balloons; a nuclear armed Japan.
Let us be gracious and assume the Japanese would take a couple days to piece together and deploy their arsenal. They have been sufficiently courteous to pretend they do not have one.
In a speech in Obihiro, Hokkaido, in reference to North Korea's rocket launch earlier this month that many believe was a ballistic missile test, the hawkish lawmaker said: "It is common sense worldwide that in pure military terms, nuclear counters nuclear. ... North Korea has taken a step toward a system whereby it can shoot without prior notice," he said. "We have to discuss countermeasures."
The Japanese are making a simple calculation: How reliable is President Bambi in the face of, for example, the real world? We have our answer.
"Earth-sized planet discovered in galaxy outside our solar system"
Science reporting at the Daily Mail. I wonder how many parsecs past light speed we would have to travel to get there quickly?
Scientists have discovered a planet close in size to Earth in a galaxy outside our solar system. As many as 300 so-called exoplanets - or planets outside our solar system - have been discovered, but most are much larger than Earth. Gliese 581 e is about twice the mass of our planet and orbits a star 20.5 light years away in the constellation Libra.
Now that fat has been blamed for global farting warming, expect all that self-esteem nonsense to be sent down the Memory Hole. Two legs good and all that.
‘When it comes to food consumption, moving about in a heavy body is like driving around in a gas guzzler. The heavier our bodies become the harder and more unpleasant it is to move about in them and the more dependent we become on our cars. Staying slim is good for health and for the environment. We need to be doing a lot more to reverse the global trend towards fatness, and recognise it as a key factor in the battle to reduce emissions and slow climate change.’
There is no point sitting in your armchair and shouting at the TV. The only way to get the message across is to take it to the streets. This is a chance to show the Poilce and the council the power of public opinion.
The entire country is behind us.
The next Protest will be held on Sunday 3rd May! Be there!
The Indian Ministry of Defence has eliminated the French Rafale from a $10b competition to produce 126 fighter aircraft for the Indian Air Force; something to do with a "failure to meet qualitative requirements of the contract.
My ass. That will teach you to French.*
The IAF has been maintaining that all six contenders — American F-18 and F-16, Eurofighter Typhoon, Russian MiG-35, Swedish Gripen NG and the Rafale — for the Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) contract have met technical requirements.
* See how I used French as a verb there? A verb is a "doing word".
The row follows Whitehall advice to local authorities telling them to display the patriotic flag on St George’s Day this week only if their town hall has more than one flagpole.
If the building has just a single pole, the Union Flag is supposed to be flown. But on St Andrew’s Day, the Scottish Saltire can be flown alone on a single flagpole in Scotland – and Welsh government buildings with only one pole can fly the Welsh Dragon on St David’s Day.
So what is the over/under on our elites figuring out anthropogenic climate change is utter nonsense at some point in the next decade. Recent trends indicate an increase in global stupiding.
East Antarctica is four times the size of west Antarctica and parts of it are cooling. The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research report prepared for last week's meeting of Antarctic Treaty nations in Washington noted the South Pole had shown "significant cooling in recent decades."
Australia Antarctic Division glaciology program head Ian Allison said sea ice losses in west Antarctica over the past 30 years had been more than offset by increases in the Ross Sea region, just one sector of east Antarctica.
As industrial and construction activity falters world wide, person-hole covers of Toronto are no longer vanishing into the aetheric plane we call China but the Chinese are still buying copper and much else besides.
Nobu Su, head of Taiwan's TMT group, which ships commodities to China, said Beijing is trying to extricate itself from dollar dependency as fast as it can.
"China has woken up. The West is a black hole with all this money being printed. The Chinese are buying raw materials because it is a much better way to use their $1.9 trillion of reserves. They get ten times the impact, and can cover their infrastructure for 50 years. The next industrial revolution is going to be led by hybrid cars, and that needs copper. You can see the subtle way that China is moving into 30 or 40 countries with resources," he said.
The SRB has also been accumulating aluminium, zinc, nickel, and rarer metals such as titanium, indium (thin-film technology), rhodium (catalytic converters) and praseodymium (glass).
Stop trying to get rid of those pennies. Your pocket change might be worth something.
Let's face facts: It was a boring show and given the choice between death by hot robots and death by an orc knife brandished by some 7th century dimwit I choose Summer Glau. Now at least she and Lena Headey can get on to their next projects. I can think of, like, fully half a dozen high concept shows off the top of my head (hat tip to Agent Bedhead).
"It's done," maintains a source close to the show. "Everyone has pretty much known for a couple of weeks." Adds a network insider: "Consider it canceled."
Hoping takesies backsies are allowed on this one: Just watched the season finale and it rocked hardcore. More, please.
Last month, the Pentagon Warfare Analysis Laboratory hosted a two day, "first-of-its-kind" war game simulating economic attacks on the United States. Would you like to play a game?
Participants described the event as a series of simulated global calamities, including the collapse of North Korea, Russian manipulation of natural gas prices, and increasing tension between China and Taiwan. “They wanted to see who makes loans to help out, what does each team do to get the other countries involved, and who decides to simply let the North Koreans collapse,” said a participant.
There were five teams: The United States, Russia, China, East Asia and “all others.” They were overseen by a “White Cell” group that functioned as referees, who decided the impact of the moves made by each team as they struggled for economic dominance.
At the end of the two days, the Chinese team emerged as the victors of the overall game – largely because the Russian and American teams had made so many moves against each other that they damaged their own standing to the benefit of the Chinese.
Beijing may get more population reduction than they bargained for. Marriage and procreation have a civilizing effect on young men, one of the reasons why human society has valued marriage and long-term commitment. By making that unattainable to millions of their subjects, the Chinese autocracy has literally created millions of potential criminals and malcontents that will shortly find themselves launched into society and straitjacketed by a lack of choices.
In a way, it’s an echo of what we see in large societies with plural marriages. It has the same effect; when older men take on multiple wives, it denies many younger men the opportunity to marry and procreate, which gives them less investment in building a community. In those cases, it feeds either wars or radical behavior, as the men have to compete to have any chance at all for marriage and for stability, and some simply choose to opt out entirely.
The BBC somewhat belatedly discovers Let The Right One In, a remarkable film including what is perhaps the most convincing vampire ever to feature on the silver screen and soon to be released in the UK. Think J-horror meets Guillermo del Toro in the snow. Not that there is a lot of snow per se, just a lingering feeling of irritation that the shuddering bilingual edifice that is the Canadian film industry cannot produce something as simple and moving as this.
It tells the tale of Oskar, a lonely young boy living on a rundown estate on the outskirts of Stockholm. Bullied and outcast, his life takes a dramatic turn when a mysterious young girl, Eli - soon revealed to be a vampire - moves in next door.
The pair's fledgling relationship is central to the film, which is part arty Euro horror, part coming of age romance. It has picked up a slew of film awards and is already being held up as a masterpiece of the genre.
Which it is. Not to worry, there will soon be a piece of crap Hollywood remake.
Sheepdogs herding a flock may be a familiar farmyard scene, but it could soon be confined to the past if bosses at Tesco have their way. The supermarket chain has told its major supplier of lamb to stop using dogs, which it claims cause stress to the animals. It means shepherds at the farm may need to use methods such as beating the ground with sticks and waving their arms to control the flock.
A point of existential importance: This is exactly why the left opposes the military, the police and parental discipline.
We've strayed into a zone with a high magical index
Terry Pratchett was on hand to unveil a Discworld inspired housing development. Sadly, inspiration was limited to street names but slow and steady wins the race.
Wincanton was officially twinned in 2002 with the fictional city of Ankh-Morpork from the novels, becoming the first UK town to link with a fictional place. George Wimpey asked local residents to vote for their favourite road name from a shortlist of 14 suggested by Sir Terry.
Sir Terry said: 'I think it's a lovely idea, even though it makes my head spin to think of the books becoming a little closer to reality.And they are nice names, even though I say it myself. Personally, I'd pay good money to live somewhere called Treacle Mine Road.'
Agreed. Though I would prefer to live on Diagon Alley.
Writing for Armed Forces Journal, professor of operations at the Naval War College Joint Military Operations Department, Milan Vego argues a shortfall of nuclear-powered attack submarines can be mitigated with conventional submarines. Vego offers an outline - and alarming - history of the USN submarine order of battle from its high point under President Reagan to today's skeleton force.
More tellingly, Vego criticizes the Navy's current approach to determining the size of its submarine force: The USN is buying what it can afford rather than buying what it needs to protect the United States. Its projections reflect budgetary rather than military reality.
Determining the proper size and the composition of the Navy and each component of its battle force is not an exact science. Many assumptions regarding current and projected threats and the budgetary sources must be made many years out. In general, the broader framework set by national military and maritime strategy, and in the U.S. context its maritime theater strategies, should dictate the Navy’s size and composition, including its SSN force. However, the Navy first determines its SSN force level based essentially on the budgetary realities, then conducts SSN-force-level studies to validate that decision. This method of determining force level is deeply flawed. The budgetary restraints should come into play only after the desirable force level is determined from analysis of the current and projected military and maritime strategic situation. Budgetary realities almost always create a gap between the desired and affordable force levels. Any mismatch or disconnect should lead either to scaling down the ends or increasing the means; otherwise, the resultant SSN force level might be either too low (most likely) or too high relative to the Navy’s actual requirements.
f156: There are so many new designers pushing the boundaries of traditional menswear. Who are your favourites?
RK: Oh there are plenty! I admire the work of Sir Paul Smith, Ozwald Boetang and Hedi Slimane to name a few. London is a fantastic place to be a menswear designer today. There is a lot of talent around and you keep seeing innovative menswear everywhere.
Talking points and, God help us, facts for the first warmenist to spout off at you about the Wilkins Ice Shelf. From the linked comments, not the linked article, mind you. It would be too much to expect the press to know what they are talking about.
The Wilkins ice shelf has for a long time been a favourite of the climate alarmist. Why? Because this tiny bit of ice on the volcanically active Antarctic peninsula is part of the mere 2% of the continent that has actually warmed. This is almost certainly due to oceanic currents and the aforementioned volcanism since it is physically impossible to melt sea ice through atmospheric warming if the temperature remains below zero which it has. The fact that the Antarctic has seen record high levels of sea ice in the past two years (which, funnily enough, was never reported by the mainstream media) and yet we only hear about this speaks volumes about how desperate the warming fantasists are to save their dead theory.
No reason to suffer on my own. Plus you can help me imagine inventive assassination sequences for Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson as these two mouth breathing morons continue to rape the legacy of Dune. Plus I am now desperate for lunch at the Google cafeteria.
The explanation, such as it is. More panda fashion at the link.
A model presents a creation by Chinese designer Zhao Bandi during a fashion show "China, A Nation of Pandas" in Paris, March 20, 2009. Zhao, a controversial artist who's better known as "Panda Man", is criticized by many online for panda hype.
Niall Ferguson: Most people who read War and Peace don't read the coda at the end on determinism and contingency in history.
The movement of humanity, arising as it does from innumerable arbitrary human wills, is continuous. To understand the laws of this continuous movement is the aim of history. But to arrive at these laws, resulting from the sum of all those human wills, man's mind postulates arbitrary and disconnected units. The first method of history is to take an arbitrarily selected series of continuous events and examine it apart from others, though there is and can be no beginning to any event, for one event always flows uninterruptedly from another.
The second method is to consider the actions of some one man- a king or a commander- as equivalent to the sum of many individual wills; whereas the sum of individual wills is never expressed by the activity of a single historic personage.
Historical science in its endeavor to draw nearer to truth continually takes smaller and smaller units for examination. But however small the units it takes, we feel that to take any unit disconnected from others, or to assume a beginning of any phenomenon, or to say that the will of many men is expressed by the actions of any one historic personage, is in itself false.
It needs no critical exertion to reduce utterly to dust any deductions drawn from history. It is merely necessary to select some larger or smaller unit as the subject of observation- as criticism has every right to do, seeing that whatever unit history observes must always be arbitrarily selected. Only by taking infinitesimally small units for observation (the differential of history, that is, the individual tendencies of men) and attaining to the art of integrating them (that is, finding the sum of these infinitesimals) can we hope to arrive at the laws of history.
Strategy Page argues alarm at the news of a Chinese anti-ship ballistic missile is unwarranted (hat tip to Mr. Salmon). Though I suspect the Chinese are more than capable of emulating a '70s era American missile guidance system so your mileage may vary.
In what has become an annual event over the last few years, there are another batch of rumors out of China that the DF-21 ballistic missile has been equipped with a high-explosive warhead and a guidance system that can find and hit a aircraft carrier at sea. ... The Chinese have long been rumored to have a system like this, but there have been no tests. If the Chinese do succeed in creating a "carrier killer" version of the DF-21, the U.S. Navy can modify its Aegis anti-missile system to protect carriers against such attacks. There are also electronic warfare options, to blind the DF-21 radar. Another problem the Chinese will have is getting a general idea of where the target carrier is before they launch the DF-21. This is not impossible, but can be difficult.
We don't live alone ......We are responsible for each other. And I tell you that the time will soon come when, if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish.
- J.B. Priestley
Afghanistan's two houses of parliament have passed a law limiting the rights of Shia women. The new law explicitly permits rape in marriage.
It denies Afghan Shia women the right to leave their homes except for ‘legitimate’ purposes; forbids them from working or receiving education without their husbands’ express permission; weakens mothers’ rights in the event of a divorce; and makes it impossible for wives to inherit houses and land from their husbands, even if husbands can inherit property from their wives.
It's rude, damaging, unfair and pernicious to say that women's history isn't important and interesting
So claims someone or other in light of David Starkey stating the obvious. And promoting his new television series.
Women historians have feminised history by focusing on the 'soap opera' of key figures' love lives rather than their achievements, David Starkey claims. The TV historian said his female counterparts concentrated on 'big box-office' subjects such as the six wives of Henry VIII instead of major political events of the time.
Dr Starkey, 54, said: 'One of the great problems has been that Henry, in a sense, has been absorbed by his wives. Which is bizarre. But it's what you expect from feminised history, the fact that so many of the writers who write about this are women and so much of their audience is a female audience. Unhappy marriages are big box-office.
And he added: 'If you are to do a proper history of Europe before the last five minutes, it is a history of white males because they were the power players, and to pretend anything else is to falsify.'
The number of foreigners seeking government help to find jobs has climbed in recent months to 11 times the previous year at more than 9,000 people, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
"The program is to respond to a growing social problem," said ministry official Hiroshi Yamashita
Nine thousand in a country of 130 million. It is difficult to imagine what they must make of Canada's thinking on the subject.
That a report translated by naval affairs blog Information Dissemination has got the attention of the U.S. Naval Institute suggests said report is cause for alarm. The Peoples Liberation Army Navy is said to have developed an operational anti-ship ballistic missile "kill system" intended to knock out United States aircraft carriers. If so, so much for American grand strategy and - by extension - Pax Americana.
The range of the modified Dong Feng 21 missile is significant in that it covers the areas that are likely hot zones for future confrontations between U.S. and Chinese surface forces. The size of the missile enables it to carry a warhead big enough to inflict significant damage on a large vessel, providing the Chinese the capability of destroying a U.S. supercarrier in one strike.
Because the missile employs a complex guidance system, low radar signature and a maneuverability that makes its flight path unpredictable, the odds that it can evade tracking systems to reach its target are increased. It is estimated that the missile can travel at mach 10 and reach its maximum range of 2000km in less than 12 minutes.
If operational as is believed, the system marks the first time a ballistic missile has been successfully developed to attack vessels at sea. Ships currently have no defense against a ballistic missile attack.
Lest this ruin anyone's breakfast, I hasten to remind everyone of China's proven anti-satellite capability. That should put a damper on your first cup of coffee as well.