For about 300 years Jupiter's banded atmosphere has shown a remarkable feature to telescopic viewers, a large swirling storm system known as The Great Red Spot. In 2006, another red storm system appeared, actually seen to form as smaller whitish oval-shaped storms merged and then developed the curious reddish hue. Now, Jupiter has a third red spot, again produced from a smaller whitish storm. All three are seen in this image made from data recorded on May 9 and 10 with the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2. The spots extend above the surrounding clouds and their red color may be due to deeper material dredged up by the storms and exposed to ultraviolet light, but the exact chemical process is still unknown. For scale, the Great Red Spot has almost twice the diameter of planet Earth, making both new spots less than one Earth-diameter across. The newest red spot is on the far left (west), along the same band of clouds as the Great Red Spot and is drifting toward it. If the motion continues, the new spot will encounter the much larger storm system in August. Jupiter's recent outbreak of red spots is likely related to large scale climate change as the gas giant planet is getting warmer near the equator.
Global warming is an entirely natural phenomenon and its effects can even be beneficial, according to two leading researchers. Recent climate change is not caused by man-made pollution, but is instead part of a 1,500-year cycle of warming and cooling that has happened for the last million years, say the authors of a controversial study.
Dennis Avery, an environmental economist, and Professor Fred Singer, a physicist, have looked at the work of more than 500 scientists and concluded that it is very doubtful that man-made global warming exists. They also say that temperature increase is actually a good thing as in the past sudden cool periods have killed twice as many people as warm spells...
In contrast, they say there is evidence that wildlife is flourishing in the current warming cycle with corals, trees, birds, mammals and butterflies adapting well. In addition, sea-levels are not rising dramatically and storms and droughts have actually been less severe and frequent.
The authors claim that the change is not man-made because the most recent period of global warming took place between 1850 and 1940 when there were far less CO2 emissions than today. They claim to show strong historical evidence of an entirely natural cycle based on data of floods on the Nile going back 5,000 years. Evidence is citing showing records of Roman wine production in Britain in the first century AD.
Prof Singer, a specialist in atmospheric physics at the University of Virginia, said: "We have a greenhouse theory with no evidence to support it, except a moderate warming turned into a scare by computer models whose results have never been verified with real-world events. "The models only reflect the warming, not its cause." They also say that natural temperature change can be caused by fluctuations in the sun.
Well, duh and I told you so. It was just so obvious, wasn't it? And yet the chattering class of the entire world fell for it hook, line, and sinker. Maybe soon we'll be able to get to work on real environmental problems.
The Happy Wife was up in Nashville last week hob-nobbing with the stars of Country Music. she had a blast. See the new photo album, "Nashville!" Yes, that's Keith Urban.
My wife Dee Dee has completely lost it! Now she's sitting at the computer hitting the refresh button on this post because she wants her picture to come up when people Google Keith Urban's, instead of Nicole's. Sheesh, give me a break! She's going to be hopping mad when she sees this, but, hey! I'm the one who's getting dissed here dammit.
She's got really great teeth, doesn't she? And a lot of them, too.
If an Iraqi police captain by the name of Jamil Hussein exists, there is no convincing evidence of it - and that means the Associated Press has a journalistic scandal on its hands that will fester until the AP deals with it properly.
In statements, the AP insists Captain Hussein is real, insists he has been known to the AP and others for years, and insists the immolation episode occurred based on multiple eyewitnesses...
It is striking that no one has been able to find a family member, friend, or colleague of Captain Hussein. Nor has the AP told us who in the AP's ranks has actually spoken with Captain Hussein. Nor has the AP quoted Captain Hussein once since the story of the disputed episode...
To make matters worse, Captain Jamil Hussein was a key named source in more than 60 AP stories on at least 25 supposed violent incidents over eight months.
Paul refers to "the big lie"--the U.S. State Department's deliberate cover-up of the fact that Yaser Arafat personally ordered the murder of State's own overseas personnel, including an ambassador. This is indeed a very big lie....
Yet the State Department soldiers blindly on, committed to what must be the biggest lie in American foreign policy--the near-mystical belief that the Palestinian "peace process" holds the key to progress in the Middle East. So committed is State to this myth that it preferred to cover up the murder of its own personnel rather than confront the hollowness of its own policy.
It's tempting to play the "which is worse?" game. On the one hand, good Libertarians expect the government to be arrogant, screwed up, self serving, and incompetent. But an agency covering up the murder of its own ambassador to maintain its orthodoxy? Whoa! On the other hand, the old media has been lefty for, what, forty years now? And, sure, they've lost the bubble when it comes to Bush vs. Jihadis. But when did they become so cowardly that they fall for obvious terrorist stringer lies and refuse to come clean about it when confronted?
Really, these two institutions have committed and are committing the same sin: they will not betray their orthodoxy no matter what.
Life would be a lot better, and there would be a lot more people still alive today, if the AP and State could find it in their hearts to throw their shoulder to the damn wheel.
Sometimes it takes a while to prove there is no third way. Nor is there a second way. There is only Capitalism, and how well you do it. Apparently, Chinese Communists are not doing it well. If you've been looking for an investment opportunity, you are hereby strongly reminded investing in semi-reformed Communists is a bad idea:
According to Ernst & Young, the accounting firm, bad loans in the Chinese financial system have reached a staggering $US911 billion ($1.18 trillion), including $US225 billion in potential future NPLs in the four largest state-owned banks.
This equals 40 per cent of gross domestic product and China has already spent the equivalent of 25-30 per cent of GDP in previous bank bail-outs.
The revelation shows that half-hearted reforms have addressed merely the symptoms of China's financial fragility. Poor business practices are blamed for NPLs but the real source is political. As long as the communist party relies on state-controlled banks to maintain an unreformed core of a command economy, Chinese banks will make more bad loans.
Systemic economic waste, bank lending practices, political patronage and the survival of a one-party state are inseparably intertwined in China. ...
The World Bank estimated that in the 1990s about one-third of fixed investments made in China were wasted. The Chinese central bank reported that during 2000-01 politically directed lending accounted for 60 per cent of NPLs. Such disregard for economic efficiency has bred a culture of irresponsibility and unaccountability in Chinese banks....
Banking reform of the past few years has failed to address these flaws. Its five main features - write-off of NPLs, capital injection, flotation in Hong Kong, minority stakes for Western strategic investors and improvement of corporate governance at headquarters - do not alter the defining characteristics of China's capital allocation system.
Nearly all senior bank executives are appointed by the party, which maintains an extensive organisational network within the financial system. That is why an IMF study finds no evidence that these reforms have improved risk management and credit allocation by banks.
I sincerely hope you're not one of those Western strategic investors, but I bet I know one man who is. In the 80's he helped send a couple billion down "South of the Border" and after that tanked made eloquent arguments about why it was such a good idea. Yeah, AFTER it tanked he thought it was still smart. It's a cinch he thinks ChiCom's are golden.
Green Bay, WI - Like a pot of bratwurst left unattended at a Lambeau Field pregame party, simmering tensions in the strife-torn Midwest boiled over once again today as rioting mobs of green-and-gold clad youth and plump farm wives rampaged through Wisconsin Denny’s and IHOPs, burning Texas toast and demanding apologies and extra half-and-half.
The spark igniting the latest tailgate hibachi of unrest: a Texas newsletter's publication of caricatures of legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi.
Protestors demonstrated against the images throughout the Badger State yesterday, with violent egging and cow-tipping incidents reported in Oconomowac, Pewaukee, Sheboygan, Ozaukee, Antigo, Oshkosh, Waubeno, Wauwautosa, Waunewoc, Wyocena, Waubeka, and Washawonamowackapeepee.
Cavaco Silva finished well ahead of the two Socialist candidates in the Portuguese Presidential elections.
Portugal voters elect a reform-minded economist as President to help boost the stagnant economy, run by socialists. Cavaco Silva is the first center-right candidate voted into office since 1974. Silva becomes president of Western Europe's poorest country and understands he has no small task ahead of him:
The bad news is that in Portugal, the Presidency is largely symbolic.
Mr Cavaco Silva is the first centre-right politician to fill the largely ceremonial post of president since Portugal's 1974 revolution.
He told supporters after the results were announced: "The task before us is not small, the work will be long and demanding."
Mr Cavaco Silva vowed to work with the Socialist government, saying: "I know by my own experience the value of cooperation among government bodies."
Mr Soares - the Socialists' official candidate - told supporters: "The results went against my expectations. I accept this defeat with a feeling of mission accomplished." (emphasis added)
Huh? The defeated socialist accepts the defeat with a feeling of "mission accomplished"? WTF? I gueass he had to say something -- no law it had to make any sense.
It will be interesting to watch Canada & Portugal over the next decade. Both have had what is on the surface an astonishing about-face in voter policy. But both, on second glance, are quite conflicted and with very limited power. The sign of things to come or just a minor hitch in the socialist giddeeup? We'll see. World wide trends are, however, on the side of the angels (and against the socialists if you were wondering).
... At some point on that day [the very day the United States declared war on Germany and Italy], President Roosevelt told press adviser Stephen Early that the government needed to acquire one of the national radio networks. Now that America was at war, the government's requirement for unmediated and direct communication was essential...
Ultimately, the government did not assume control over NBC Blue, or any other private commercial radio network, during the war. Fly convinced Early that the networks would work closely with the Office of War Information to ensure access to the airwaves.
I didn't know that, but it's not too surprising given FDR's socialist tendencies. The urge to nationalize some of the radio network was obviously high on his list. The first day of war! Luckily, cooler heads prevailed.
Roosevelt's desire to control communication with the public is symbolic of a peculiarly American dilemma: how to speak directly to the American people in times of war, national emergency, and crisis. Journalists -- then as now -- interpret the government's actions and words....
And as long as that's done in good faith and with reasonable accuracy, all is well. But what about when it is neither in good faith nor accurate?
Too often we in the United States forget the radical, even revolutionary implications of our media system. It trusts an essentially indefinable group of people (''the press") to serve the public interest by interposing itself between political authority and the citizenry. The concept of a government pledged to protect independent reporting on its own behavior remains subversive to most authorities around the globe....
Now it is left to the new media, to bloggers and talk radio, an almost organic adaptation to fill an empty niche, truth, to subvert the media system.
Just as Roosevelt, in a 1942 fireside chat, inveighed against ''the typewriter strategists who expound their views in the press or on the radio," the Bush administration fumes over reporting it considers inaccurate, unrepresentative of reality, and antagonistic. The current administration continues to develop multiple strategies to connect directly with people -- whether in the United States, Iraq, or elsewhere....
For instance, on Saturday I heard the Democrat's response to the President's address (which I missed) given by a representative from Rhode Island. The Democrat said, as many Mainstream Media report, that "there is no plan for victory." That is false. There is a plan, and anyone can read it for themselves at www.whitehouse.gov . The MSM has been saying for years now that there is no plan -- a claim demonstrably false. They could say the plan stinks, they could say the plan won't work, but to say it doesn't exist is inaccurate and in bad faith. Then Socolow goes on to say:
This administration's recurrent attempts at direct communication demonstrate an intention to subvert the purpose of the First Amendment.
WTF? Talk about the arrogance of the anointed ruling class! So the administration's communicating directly with us subverts the First Amendment? !&$%*#*#$%&%^#&*#*#!!! I guess Mr. Socolow felt bound by the rules of his guild to throw a bone to the far left. He's not completely clueless:
But the government is not acting in a vacuum. It is reacting to a media environment marked by enormous hostility. Skepticism is healthy, but too many journalists practice reporting informed by a pessimistic cynicism. This corrosive attitude is damaging the news industry; newspaper circulation and TV news viewership continue to decline....
"Enormous hostility" yes, but that does not go far enough. The MSM is actively campaigning against the President to the point that they will aid the enemy in their attempt to harm the administration. The MSM does not care that their actions will prolong the war, or cost the lives of American troops and innocent Iraqis. Many on the right believe the MSM to go even further, to actively oppose America and to work for its defeat. Today being an odd numbered day, I don't believe they're actively treasonous, only accidentally. Tomorrow I'll believe they're a bunch of traitors. But given their recent body of work, I'd say the burden of proof is on them, odd day or even.
This corrosive attitude is damaging the news industry; newspaper circulation and TV news viewership continue to decline....
Who cares? Actually, it's only damaging to the Old Media; the New Media is thriving in the vacuum of truth and accuracy.
This is not to say that the press must abandon the critical skepticism that informs its watchdog role; nor that the government should stop promoting efforts to reach citizens directly. But the mutual antagonism has confused and angered the public. It's a troubling situation, bad for both democratic governance and the news industry. But the real loser is the constituency that both claim to be serving: the American people.
I don't think it's so much a "troubling situation" as a transitional one. The asteroid has struck, but there are still plenty of dinosaurs around. Given the Old Media's arrogance and monolithic liberalism, I don't give them much of a chance at reform. There just aren't any conservatives in most newsrooms who could speak out for good faith or accuracy, much less seize the reins. I've no doubt the deepest feeling of most of those at The Liberal Death Star New York Times is "better dead than not red", and so it shall be. As the Old Media withers, the New Media will grow.
The New Media will always be more diverse, less centralized, and more meritocratic than the Old, and those are all good things. The king is dead; long live the king!
Hummingbird Finally, my first hummingbirds. Saw them on a fire bush in Crystal Beach, FL. My rental's neighbor's yard is all xeriscaped, which is ugly to me but just fine with the little hummers. At first, I thought they were the biggest hornets I'd ever seen.
Flamingo! One of these dudes flew right over my house. I couldn't believe it. And please don't tell me it was a roseated spoonbill because it was a frickin' flamingo, dude! Huge and pink and right there above me. I was like so freaking out, you know?
Falcon! Don't see these guys too often. Wish we did. Bet the morning doves don't.
Black Skimmer These beauties are getting scarce, but one flew by yesterday at low tide on the hunt for minnows.
Dead sea turtle cool, but smelly
Reddish Egret These have been hanging out around the pool quite a bit lately. Must be a new group of adolesent birds -- the youngsters like to hunt where the water is clear, and it takes them a day to figure out there are not now and never will be fish in the swimming pool no matter how clear the water.
Brown Pelican I saw a flock of about 200 of these at Disappearing Island yesterday, just south of Anclote Island on the west coast of FL. Good to see such a large flock.
Wood Pecker They've developed a sudden interest in the orange tree, which just went into bloom.