Sunday, April 30, 2006
Saturday, April 29, 2006
US NAVY DESTROYS ZANZIBAR TOURIST INDUSTRY
Hundreds of dead dolphins have been washed up along the shore of a popular tourist destination on Zanzibar's northern coast, and scientists have ruled out poisoning.Gee, it's no wonder lefties prefer good old dolphin-friendly al Qaeda to the US anti-terror effort. By the way, the whole sonar-kills-cetaceans thing is iffy.
It was not immediately clear what killed the 400 dolphins, whose carcasses were strewn along a four-kilometre stretch of Nungwi, said Narriman Jidawi, a marine biologist at the Institute of Marine Science in Zanzibar.
In the United States, experts were investigating the possibility that sonar from US submarines could have been responsible for a similar incident in Marathon, Florida, where 68 deep-water dolphins stranded themselves in March last year.
A US Navy taskforce patrols the East Africa coast as part of counter-terrorism operations.
The deaths are a blow to tourism in Zanzibar, where thousands of visitors go to watch and swim with dolphins.
Update: Reader fm advises, via submarine blog Make Your Depth, that the task force in question is CTF 150. CTF 150 isn't a US naval group, it's multinational:
American, French, German, British, Dutch, Australian, New Zealand, Canadian, Spanish, Italian, Turkish and Portuguese ships have participated in the force. Japan has provided logistical support to the effort.The task force, currently made up of naval forces from France, Germany, Italy, Pakistan, the UK and the US, is commanded by Pakistani Rear Adm. Shahid Iqbal, who replaced Royal Netherlands Navy Commodore Hank Ort. So, if the dolphins were indeed killed by sonar it was a group effort.
DETENTION CENTRE OR "OUT-OF-HOME CARE" HOSTEL?
The federal government is planning to house Aboriginal children removed from town camps in Alice Springs in demountable buildings which will be relocated from the now defunct Woomera immigration detention centre.These "out-of-home care" facilities will apparently be similar to the government's existing hostel-style immigration detention centres:
The children will be supervised in ‘hostel’-style accommodation by federal government appointed staff. The government is considering placing security fencing around the compounds and posting security guards on the premises.This will, of course, eventually give rise to the "out-of-home care" generation and lots of whining and lawsuits.
Friday, April 28, 2006
4WD ATTACKS CHILD
Reporting on a similarly unfortunate incident in Sydney, the Sydney Morning Herald gives us this:
4WD knocks down toddlerNow if the vehicle had been chasing the little fella through the bush or down the beach it would probably be relevant to mention it's a 4WD but in the context of this article it's nothing more than anti-SUV points scoring. Oh yeah, a four year-old isn't a toddler.
A four-year-old boy has suffered severe head injuries after he was hit by a 4WD in Sydney's west, police say.
The boy was crossing Delhi Street in Lidcombe just before 11.30am when he was struck by a 2001 Toyota Prada.
He lay unconscious on the road with blood coming from his mouth as onlookers dialled Triple-0, a spokeswoman for the NSW Ambulance Service said.
Editing note: For clarity, "imported car" was changed to "imported sedan".
SELLING OUT TO COKE
LEAVE YOUR BAGGAGE AT HOME
It would help to break down the sort of tribalism that the multicultural policy that's dominated immigration affairs for the past 30 years has instituted.
We've had a policy that's been telling people that they can retain all of their previous cultures and that not only includes cultures but all the previous grievances, their local hatreds of various nationalities in their old country and we've seen people bring a lot of that baggage to Australia.
Insisting that people kind of make a break with the past and accept Australian values is something that's not only being seen as important in Australia but in Holland, Denmark, other European countries where they've had a large Muslim population which has been until now encouraged to remain separate. People have realised that that's a problem and that an integrationist or assimilationist form of immigration policy is a good thing to do.
You gotta give the guy credit, he isn't afraid to call it like he sees it.
THE PRICE OF FUEL
Thursday, April 27, 2006
LATE BREAKING NEWS: RIGHT WING DDT BEASTS
C'mon all you right-wing types, donate: any amount US$5 and above will do. Here's a promise: if we reach US$1,000 I'll shut the fuck up about donating. So, please donate.
Update: If you'd like to donate but don't want your money going via a bunch of right-wing, DDT promoting Aussie lunatics, there's a list of fund raisers here.
Update: Anyone wanting to donate via PayPal can do so at Malaria Foundation International. Send me an email citing the PayPal receipt number plus amount donated and I'll mention your donation in an RWDB post. Email me at rwdb at budweiser.com .
NEW TITLE SOUGHT
ALL TOGETHER NOW, LET'S TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND TRY TO STAY CALM
BETTER BE CAREFUL
US interests around the world will be harmed if America launches an attack against Iran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said.Because if he is, you know, insane, he might do something drastic; it'll be damned hard to retaliate when the rubble that was Iran is blowing in the wind.
"The Iranian nation will respond to any blow with double the intensity," he added, in comments reported on TV.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
FRIENDLY FIRE FELLS FISK
TONY JONES, LATELINE PRESENTER: Well, Robert Fisk is Middle East correspondent for 'The Independent' newspaper and more than 30 years of reporting from the region makes him one of the most acute observers of the Arab world. To discuss the implications of the al-Zarqawi video, he joins us now from Beirut. Thanks for being there, Robert Fisk. Do you have any doubt at all that these really are images of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi?Tony Jones interrupts at this point and it's all downhill for Fisk from there. Read the whole thing.
ROBERT FISK, AUTHOR AND JOURNALIST: They do look like Zarqawi. I think it's pretty clear that he is alive, which I doubted for some time and that he, indeed, made this videotape. It clearly is a blow to the United States in the sense that they have several times claimed that they've killed him, which they obviously haven't done, and the tape is obviously new. But I think it is part of the bestialisation, if you like, of those people we want to hate, in the sense that I think individuals like Zarqawi or bin Laden don't actually matter. It's a bit like, you know, after you make a nuclear bomb, you go around arresting all the nuclear scientists and putting them in prison. It doesn't do any good. The nuclear bomb exists. Al-Qaeda exists. The organisation which bin Laden has created exists. So, the individuals per se don't actually matter anymore, but that's something which I think the Americans don't yet grasp.
TONY JONES: The last time we spoke, you did indeed think it very possible that he'd actually been killed and no-one knew where he was. So that's not so surprising.
ROBERT FISK: Yeah.
TONY JONES: You also thought he was a creature invented to fill the narrative gaps. In other words, a creature created, in a sense, by American propaganda. He's much more than that; isn't that evident from this video?
ROBERT FISK: Yeah. It is pretty clear. He does exist. He is still alive and that was him on the video. I don't think there's any doubt about that. I watched it several times over and am clearly of the mind that this is the man. What we do need to know, of course, is whether he has actually any real status over and above being a name al-Zarqawi. In other words, does he actually have any real status as a militant, as a resistant, as a rebel, whatever you like to use the word, terrorist, other than just being a person who is to be hated and to be bestialised in front of the television screens. The issue really is, I think, is this a person who is seriously an enemy of the "West" or is this just another person who is popping up on our screens to say this is the latest mad lunatic, the latest fanatic, the latest terrorist whom we have to be concerned about? That is the real issue, you see. Over and over again we've had this system where whereby we've had Ayatollah Khomeini and Gaddafi in Libya. We've had these extraordinary figures in the Middle East, like Nasser, for example, in Egypt in 1956 and people whom we are encouraged to loathe, encouraged to hate and who, ultimately, are just figureheads, who in the end are people who we just are encouraged to loathe, encouraged to hate. People who, at the end of the day, are not per se people who we need to worry about, people who, indeed --
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
TIM LAMBERT, DISSEMINATOR OF MISINFORMATION (PART 3)
Alicia Colon has written the usual rubbish about how Rachel Carson killed millions of people (see DDT ban myth bingo for corrections to the stuff she gets wrong). After claiming that DDT is banned she writes:Rather than tell us what's wrong with the article Lambert engages in a bit of self-promotion in directing readers to his bullshit bingo – he obviously thinks his little game is really neato because just about every DDT post links to it. Lambert then accuses Colon of wrongly claiming that DDT is banned: Colon clearly has this right because she specifically refers to the United States, where the non-emergency use of DDT is in fact banned. Even if Colon isn't talking about the U.S. she's right because there is an effective, general DDT ban.Within two years of starting DDT programs, South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, Madagascar, and Swaziland slashed their malaria rates by 75% or more.Apart from contradicting her claim that DDT is banned, this passage contains an interesting mistake. Mozambique has indeed slashed its malaria rate, but it hasn't used DDT. It seems that what is killing people in Africa is not restrictions on DDT, but lack of money for spraying and bed nets.
The DDT ban is similar to the ban on visiting certain websites on the computer network at my workplace. The system employs some sort of filtering that blocks access to sites deemed to have "inappropriate" content. Each blockage is accompanied by a notice that the user should see the system administrator if the blockage is felt to be unnecessary. Realistically, no one is willing to rock the boat, attract undue attention to himself or jump through the bureaucratic hoops necessary to have inappropriate blockages removed so even though access to certain sites isn't banned, it is. Of course, as with all bans, this ban on inappropriate sites isn't airtight; lots of inappropriate sites can still be accessed via the network.
Developing countries are naturally reluctant to use DDT when the US and EU ban it. This is complicated by the anti-DDT attitude of the World Health Organization, USAID, Roll Back Malaria and other international organizations. Even if a country does decide to use DDT as part of an anti-malaria campaign, there is a fearsome bureaucratic maze of notifications, registries and reporting to be navigated. These obstacles effectively prevent the use of DDT except in in a few cases: India and China, with their own DDT production facilities, being notable examples.
Right, back to Lambert and Colon. Colon does make a number of factual errors in her article. Referring to "The Silent Spring" instead of "Silent Spring" makes her look a bit silly but none of her errors negate the overall thrust of the article, that is, preventing African nations using DDT amounts to racism. Lambert somehow misses this, focussing instead on Colon's incorrect claim that Mozambique uses DDT.
Mozambique actually uses bendiocarb in its indoor residual spraying (IRS) program. Lambert fails to note, however, that bendiocarb is a poor substitute for DDT: it costs over 2 1/2 times as much as DDT; it must be applied much more often; and it's so toxic to animals and humans it was withdrawn from sale in the US – when used on interior walls it poses a particular hazard to children.
Lambert also fails to note that bendiocarb isn't the preferred IRS insecticide, DDT is. Why isn't DDT used? Simple, it's banned by the Mozambique Ministry of Health:
From the outset, pyrethroids were identified as the insecticide to be used in the spraying component of the LSDI. However, with the discovery of high levels of pyrethroid resistance in An. funestus, meetings were held with the RMCC, national and international experts to recommend an alternative to the use of this family of insecticides. Based on scientific data, it was unanimously agreed the best course of action would be to use DDT. In the light of Mozambique not agreeing to the use of DDT, an alternative recommendation was that a carbamate such as Bendiocarb be used. Ongoing research indicates levels of carbamate resistance outside the Zone 1 area and collections within the study area have been completed towards evaluating selection in this regard following spraying with a carbamate.Gee, maybe there's a shortage of anti-malaria money because the pressure's on to use expensive alternatives to cheap, reliable and nearly non-toxic to humans DDT.
Increasing levels of insecticide resistance and the limited number of available insecticides, restricts what can be used in the residual house spraying programme in southern Mozambique. Given the discovery of pyrethroid and possibly carbamate resistance in the LSDI area the only remaining group of insecticides are the organophosphates which have a high mammalian toxicity. Since the use of DDT alone has not been approved by Ministry of Health in Mozambique, a rotational method of spraying is proposed, using different insecticides, as the way forward. DDT would need to be one of the insecticides used during such a rotational insecticide spraying programme.
Lambert's mission is scoring political points, not disseminating accurate information. Odd for a science blog, no?
Update: In a post at his old site – copy and paste http://timlambert.org/2005/11/kmmn/ – Lambert notes the following in regard to Africa Fighting Malaria's petition for more effective expenditure of US anti-malaria funds:
This is an absolutely dreadful way to run an anti-malaria program. The goal should be to reduce malaria and you should let the experts figure out the best way to do this. It should not be to spray DDT.Well, experts decided that DDT is the best possible insecticide for Mozambique but can't use it because it's banned. DDT is banned because people like Lambert continually spread misinformation about its use. This is bound to have a negative impact on Africans.
Update II: A Google blog search shows this as the latest and most relevant DDT-malaria blog post. The post, titled "DDT Myths", sounded familiar because it is:
Tim Lambert has been covering this beat for a while, and most of my info on the subject comes by way of him. Anyone curious should read his full archives on the subject here.The incestuous nature of this post can be accounted for at least in part by the fact that it was written by one of Lambert's fellow Science Blog bloggers. Thus is misinformation spread.
Update III: As pointed out in comments, I didn't "read the fine print" and incorrectly attributed the link in Update II to a Science Blog blogger. Apparently this mistake means my credibility is questionable. (I'll leave the error in Update II intact so readers can decide if my point about spreading misinformation is valid or not.)
Update IV: The Wall Street Journal reports on a new anti-malaria initiative:
George Ayittey of the Free Africa Foundation recently joined with hedge fund manager Lance Laifer and other investors to create "malaria-free zones" in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania. "We held a fund raiser last September and by December -- two and a half months -- we had one village [Yawkoko, Ghana] up and running" with insecticide-treated bed nets and antimalarial drugs, says Mr. Ayittey. "We've been able to avoid the bureaucracy and move very, very quickly." By December, a second malaria-free zone was established in Nigeria, and a third village in Kenya followed last month. "We now have other private citizens in America interested in adopting villages," says Mr. Ayittey.Anyone wanting to contribute to the Laifer organized anti-malaria bed-net drive can do so here.
Note: The second of the three posts in this series is at the "bullshit bingo" link above. The first is here.
Editing note: "maze of permissions" changed to "maze of notifications".
EUROPE'S CONTINUING ENERGY WORRIES
Russia should cut oil supplies to "overfed" Europe, the chief of Russian pipeline monopolist Transneft has said.Norway suggests that Europe look to the north:
Less than a week after Russia's state gas monopoly Gazprom threatened to shift gas supplies from the EU to North America or China, Transneft's president Semyon Vainshtok has now threatened Moscow could do the same with crude oil.
"We have overfed Europe with crude. And every single economic manual says that excessive supplies depress prices," Mr Vainshtok told the daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta on Monday (24 April) according to Reuters.
Increased extraction of oil and natural gas from the Barents Sea may provide Europe with its much needed energy, the Norwegian foreign minister Jonas Gahr Store has said.There's always oil rich whales.
Ahead of a meeting with his Swedish counterpart in Stockholm, the Norwegian minister in a letter published in Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet on Monday (24 April), sketched a European energy scenario focusing on the ice-packed northern parts of our planet.
TROPICAL CYCLONE MONICA
Tropical cyclone Monica's track and threat map (1100 ACST, Tuesday).
It appeared overnight that Monica would travel inland well to the south of Darwin. That has now changed:
At 10 am CST [8:30 am WST] TROPICAL CYCLONE Monica CATEGORY 1 was located over land about 60 kilometres east southeast of DARWIN and 65 kilometres northeast of BATCHELOR, and is moving west at 25 kilometres per hour. The cyclone is expected to continue moving west into the Timor Sea later this afternoon or evening. Monica is expected to re-intensify over water overnight and move southwest towards the north Kimberley coast during Wednesday.Thankfully maximum wind speeds are well down from the 350 kilometres per hour Monica packed when a category 5 storm.
GALES with gusts to 90 kilometres per hour are currently being experienced
within 50 kilometres of the centre. There is a possibility of GALES occurring
over the northwestern DARWIN-DALY district and the southern TIWI ISLANDS this afternoon or evening. GALES may extend southwards along the coast to the NT/WA BORDER overnight or on Wednesday morning if the cyclone takes a more southerly track.
Update: Monica has been downgraded to a tropical low. She is expected to intensify over the Timor Sea and move southwest toward the Kimberley coast:
At 1 pm CST [11:30 am WST] a TROPICAL LOW [EX-TROPICAL CYCLONE Monica] was located over land about 13 kilometres north northeast of DARWIN and 115 kilometres east southeast of CAPE FOURCROY, and is moving west northwest at 18 kilometres per hour. The low is expected to continue moving west into the Timor Sea for the remainder of the afternoon and evening. The low is expected to re-intensify over water overnight and move southwest towards the north Kimberley coast during Wednesday.The Darwin radar is here if you want to have a look.
LEFTY ACADEMICS, SILLY OR STUPID?
It's inaccurate to describe [Mark] Steyn as "gullible". He just doesn't care about the truth (or actively prefers lying, I'm not sure which). Long ago, I had a competition to nominate one of his columns that didn't contain either a lie or a gross distortion and no one could find one.Here's Quiggin announcing his Steyn competition – judge for yourself whether it was Quiggin or Steyn who got it right (take note of the date posted):
October 09, 2002Mark Steyn 1, lefty super-brains 0.
Mark Steyn tells his British audience that Australia is "on board" for a US invasion of Iraq without the authorisation of the UN. Writing in The Spectator he says
"Just as a matter of interest, how many countries does George W. Bush have to have on board before America ceases to be acting 'unilaterally'? So far, there's Australia, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic, Qatar, Turkey"
As far as I know, none of the countries listed by Steyn have made commitments to support an invasion, and certainly Australia hasn't. It's possible to weasel out of this by quibbling about the meaning of "on board". But the position and statements of the Australian government have been copied, almost word-for-word, from those of Tony Blair. So why doesn't Steyn list Britain as being "on board"? Because, of course, his readers would know that he was talking nonsense.
But just when I was getting really annoyed, I came across this piece of light relief ".... Romania has offered the use of its airspace to attack Iraq." Does Steyn think that Iraq is part of the former Yugoslavia?
I know I've been going on a bit about this guy. But he seems to me to be symptomatic of a lot of what's wrong with thinking on the pro-war side of the debate, and the enthusiasm with which our local warbloggers cite him only confirms this.
Anyway, I thought I'd liven things up by announcing a contest. If anyone can show me a Steyn column* that doesn't contain
(a) an unattributed or distorted quotation;
(b) a serious factual error; or
(c) a distortion of the truth comparable to that cited above,
I'll promise not to mention him for the rest of the year.
As is appropriate in a debate about unilateralism, I'll be judge and jury in my own case. I'll do my best to give at least an email response to everyone, and to post the results at an appropriate time.
* I have seen a few purely humorous columns from Steyn, which are actually not too bad. Its only when he comes into contact with facts that the trouble starts. So I'm confining the contest to "serious" pieces like the one I've cited here.
Update: The links from Mark Steyn and Tim Blair are very much appreciated.
Update II: I probably shouldn't link to him because he refuses to link to me but Quiggin has posted a very lame response.
The latest on Tim Lambert, aka Malaria Man, aka Fact-Check Boy, is here.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
MAKING BUCKS IN BAGHDAD
Twice in the past year, Muhammad Said has survived assassination attempts that left his car riddled with bullets. He works part-time as a bodyguard for his father, a Baghdad city councilman, and also helps a friend who has contracts with the American military. Both are very dangerous jobs.Entreprenuers are everywhere.
So last month, Said, a slim, baby-faced 23-year-old, did what a small but growing number of Iraqis are doing: He walked into the offices of the Iraq Insurance Co. and bought a terrorism insurance policy. It looked like an ordinary life insurance policy, but with a one-page rider adding coverage for “the following dangers: 1) explosions caused by weapons of war and car bombs; 2) assassinations; 3) terrorist attacks.”
It cost him 125,000 dinars, about $90. Said paid more than most people because of his risky occupation. The payout, if he dies, is 5 million dinars, around $3,500, or about what an Iraqi policeman earns in a year.
That guarantee appears to be the first off-the-shelf terrorism policy in the world, insurance experts say. In most countries, of course, there is no need for it: Death by terrorism is rare enough that it is usually covered by ordinary accident insurance. In Iraq it is not, partly because the state used to compensate the families of war victims directly. So the Iraq Insurance Co. began stepping into the gap about a year ago.
THEM EVIL JEWS
The cover of a 2005 Mexican edition of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion." More here.
Update: Many thanks to Tim Blair for the link. While my traffic is up I'll take the opportunity to remind readers that the Right Wing DDT Beasts are still raising money for the purchase of anti-malaria bed-nets. We've raised US$530.50 so far; if you have US$5 to spare and would like to donate, go here.
ME AND MY DOG
Kajongwe's Cobre Azul Tejon
It's funny what you find on the internet. On a whim I Googled the name of a Rhodesian Ridgeback I imported into Australia from the States in the early 1980s. Amazingly, this photo, of me holding the dog at the one and only dog show we ever attended, turned up. Even more amazing, the photo is at a Polish Ridgeback breeders site.
AUSTRALIAN SOLDIER'S DEATH ELICITS PATHETIC REACTION
I wonder if the prime minister or his foreign minister will get, read and remember any cables about this. I wonder if they’ll recall the information in six months time.Dunlop could have described the circumstances and expressed condolences to the family. Instead he turns a sad event into an attack on the government. Pathetic.
My condolences to this young soldier's loved ones.
Update: This isn't the first time Dunlop has tried to score points from an unfortunate death. (The Dunlop LA Times link no longer works; the article is available here.)
Friday, April 21, 2006
Environmentalism is dead; long live the environment!Read the whole thing.
This pronouncement might seem a touch premature, especially to the 500 million people who will celebrate the 37th Earth Day this weekend—a collective “not dead yet” wheeze. However, these numbers mask the growing irrelevance of the environmentalist movement. Having lost its credibility with alarmist rhetoric and obsolete ideological ballast, the movement must develop a moderate discourse while challenging its previous assumptions and outdated theories.
The contemporary environmentalist movement faces a stark choice: change tactics or fade into irrelevance. Over the past decade, environmentalists have achieved few political victories and utterly failed to influence the general public. As indicated by a recent MIT study, the public knows little about environmental problems, and cares less. Out of 21 national and international issues, Americans ranked environmental problems 13th, well below terrorism, taxes, crime, and drugs.
Alarmism—the environmental movement’s basic strategy—has led to this dead end. Since Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” the movement has been dominated by doomsday scenarios. Even on the first Earth Day in 1970, biologist George Wald predicted that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken” while the New York Times warned that “man must stop pollution and conserve his resources…to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.” Fortunately, such apocalyptic forecasts have repeatedly proven to be wrong.
THE BIG ONE'S GOING TO BE COSTLY
Kircher said that unless thousands of buildings are upgraded to meet the newest earthquake standards, as many as 3,400 people could die if a magnitude 7.9 quake struck Northern California. That's more than twice the number of deaths caused by last year's hurricanes Katrina and Rita combined.There's only one thing to do, preemptively blame Bush.
There would be $1.5 trillion worth of damage to buildings and property — far more than the $125 billion estimated so far for the two hurricanes — and up to 13,000 people would require hospitalization, his study found.
MOUSSAOUI RADICALIZATION EXPLAINED
El-Wafi says the British government is partly to blame for what happened to her son. She claims he was a vulnerable man who was embittered by racism when he arrived in London and was indoctrinated by Abu Hamza and radical preachers at the Finsbury Park mosque.She's right, you know.
"I went to see Abu Hamza myself. I wanted to understand him, to understand what had gone on. He was a monster. I have never met anyone who preached such hatred. It is him that has destroyed the youth of Europe. The British sentenced him to seven years in prison, but how many children are dead or in prison now because of him? He was their master, he was their teacher. England must bear its part of the guilt because that country allowed Hamza to preach this hatred."
LEARNING TO LAND OPTIONAL
MUGABE'S PLANET KILLING MACHINE
Mugabe’s luxury Mercedes-Benz S600 Pullmann arrived in Zimbabwe via South Africa, after it was custom built to his specifications in Germany.Update: Bob's going to need some cash to pay for his Pullman and the fleet of lesser armoured vehicles for cronies so he's decided maybe white run farms aren't so bad after all:
Mugabe’s car’s floor, roof, windows and petrol tank have been specially reinforced, as the most vulnerable parts of the vehicle.
A quick calculation shows that the car - at 3 850kg - weighs more than double the weight of a large sedan.
According to the information on Cloer’s website, the car will do only 200km on a full tank, which means that Mugabe will have to take a petrol tanker along if he wants to travel long distance. Between 35 and 40 litre/100km means the car’s fuel consumption is twice that of a loaded, large 4×4 vehicle.
Zimbabwe's white farmers say they have been invited to apply for land - in an apparent U-turn by the government which has seized their land.Update II: An Earth Day obituary from Piotr C. Brzezinsk.
All but 300 of the 4,000 white farmers have been forced off their land since President Robert Mugabe started his "fast-track" land reform in 2000.
A farmers' leader says some 200 applications have already been made and more are coming in.
Critics say the reforms have devastated the economy and led to massive hunger.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
TIM LAMBERT, DISSEMINATOR OF MISINFORMATION (PART 2)
So, what say we do something different and play one of Lambert's favourite games, DDT ban myth bingo – http://timlambert.org/2005/12/ddt-ban-myth-bingo/. Rather than put up the link to each square on the card the squares will be addressed left to right, top to bottom – go to the copy and paste link above if you want to access the links on the bingo card.
The upper left myth on the bingo card is "Sri Lanka banned DDT in 1964". Lambert probably has this basically correct in that Sri Lanka stopped using DDT for anti-malaria spraying but it's agricultural use continued. This square to Lambert.
Next is "The world Bank doesn't fund DDT spraying". Lambert says the World Bank funds DDT use in India, Madagascar and the Solomon Islands. The World Bank does fund DDT use in India but since the Indian government produces it's own DDT through Hindustan Insecticides Ltd. the World Bank has to accept India's use of DDT or cut off support funds. And anyway, the World Bank would prefer India find an alternative. The link Lambert provides for the Solomon Islands only covers up to 1999 and says nothing about recent World Bank funding for DDT. The Madagascar link is dated 2000; it says that the World Bank and the national government agreed in 1998 to seek alternatives to DDT. On balance Lambert has failed to make his case so he loses this square.
Next is "USAID doesn’t support DDT spraying". On the one hand USAID claims it's supportive of DDT spraying programs but no examples are given and the GAO investigation of the US's anti-malaria efforts finds fault with past funding – $0 has been spent by USAID for DDT purchase. Lambert loses this square.
Next is "Rachel Carson killed more people than Hitler". This isn't worth arguing about. Lambert wins this square.
The second row starts with "Alternative insecticides cost four times as much". Even though there are some doubts about the efficacy of deltamethrin, Lambert can have this square.
Next is "DDT could eradicate malaria". There is no attribution for this claim and the link doesn't really address eradication. Lambert loses this square.
Next is "We have to choose between saving wildlife from DDT and people from malaria". The only anti-malaria use of DDT suggested by anyone with any sense is indoor residual spraying (IRS). IRS poses no threat to wildlife. Lambert loses this square.
Next is "The EU threatens trade sanctions on countries that use DDT". Not only does the UN threaten trade sanctions, the EU threatens sanctions by consumer organisations. Lambert loses this square.
The third row begins with "No mention that mosquitoes evolve resistance to DDT". Mosquitoes develop resistance to all chemical insecticides. Lambert loses this square.
Next is "Fake Wurster quote: 'People are the main cause of our problems…We need to get rid of some of them and this is as good a way as anything'". It is a fake quote. Lambert wins this one.
Next is "Astroturf group Africa Fighting Malaria cited". Lambert can call AFM anything he chooses but that doesn't mean they're wrong any more often than he is. As he doesn't discredit AFM, Lambert loses this square.
Next is "The World Health Organization does not support DDT spraying". The WHO doesn't support DDT spraying. Lambert loses this square.
The bottom row starts with "Bed nets don’t work". Sure they work but a Lambert provided link says they don't work all that well unless coupled with DDT IRS. Lambert loses this square.
Next is "Reinstating DDT in South Africa caused a 95% decrease in deaths". Lambert's link is to one of his typically pathetic, obsessive, anti-Tim Blair rants. Lambert loses this square.
Next is "The article proposes DDT spraying where the mosquitoes are resistant to DDT". DDT is very effective at keeping mosquitoes out of sprayed dwellings even if the mosquitoes are resistant. Lambert loses this square.
Finally there's "DDT is banned." Lambert hasn't won enough squares to win the game so he can have this square uncontested.
Gee, Lambert can't even win when he's playing with himself. Now if Lambert or any of his toadies would like to prove me wrong...
Update: A non-bingo playing reader points out that he can't figure out what I'm trying to do in this post. A bingo game is won when a player wins all of the squares in line vertically, horizontally or diagonally. A win can also be achieved by winning the four corner squares. Lambert's bingo is a version of the game that isn't really meant to be won: it's meant to be a creative take on bingo to be used to find the supposed errors in DDT related written material. You're meant to use each "myth" square on Lambert's board to test the validity of this written material. (According to Lambert, the "myths" that describe each square are frequently occurring.)
In my post I look at the "myth" described by each square – if Lambert has the myth right he wins the sqaure; if he gets it wrong he loses the square. Mostly Lambert gets it wrong; if the game is played as traditional bingo he loses.
To be continued...
RUSSIA TELLS EU, GIVE US CONTROL OF GAS MARKET, OR ELSE
Russian state gas monopoly Gazprom has warned EU member states against blocking its ambitions to expand in Europe, threatening it could shift gas supplies to North America or China.Europe looks to have lost control of its destiny. Which is going to come first, Eurabia or the EUSSR?
The Russian company's warning followed press reports that the British government is considering a change in its merger rules to prevent the possible takeover of Centrica, the UK's major gas supplier, by Gazprom.
TIM LAMBERT, DISSEMINATOR OF MISINFORMATION
Weblogs are a growing global phenomenon with important consequences for science policy and communication. A survey of blogs on environmental topics shows that they vary greatly in accuracy, which indicates a need for participation by informed scientists.Apparently – I'm not a Science subscriber and don't have access to the article – one of the "excellent, informative sites" recommended is Science Blogs. Well, either Ashlin and Ladle haven't read Deltoid or they're endorsing Tim Lambert's continuing dissemination of misinformation.
Here's Lambert's description of his blogging mission (my bold):
I'm a computer scientist in the School of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. I don't blog about computer science very much but rather about areas of science with political implications such as global warming, the relationship between guns and crime and the use of DDT against malaria. Usually I'm inspired by reading an article and noticing something that doesn't seem to be correct. I then do a little bit of research and before you know it I have a blog post explaining what is wrong and why it is wrong.So, Deltoid isn't really a science blog, it's a political blog. That's just as well because Lambert gets plenty wrong, especially when it comes to DDT and the fight against malaria. Actually, Lambert doesn't so much get it wrong as he intentionally misinforms. A close look at his DDT-malaria posts makes this obvious.
Lambert's most recent reference to DDT is in a post critical of Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore for signing "a pro-DDT petition advocating policies that would cripple the United States' fight against malaria". The embedded link – Lambert continues to bounce my links to his old blog: copy and paste http://timlambert.org/2005/08/ddt11/ – leads to an earlier Lambert post titled "Petition to Kill African Children Now!" in which he observes:
The latest stunt from Africa Fighting Malaria is a petition advocating policies that would cripple the United States efforts against malaria... The goal should be to reduce malaria and you should let the experts figure out the best way to do this. It should not be to spray DDT.The overall goal of the petition is efficient deployment of resources, not mindless spraying of DDT:
Specifically direct such funds to the actual purchase and deployment of: (1) DDT, or any other proven, more cost-effective insecticide/repellant, for Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) in any given malarial locality; and (2) of ACTs, or other equally effective and durable drugs, for treatment of malaria patients and reduction in transmission rates.Lambert never bothers to explain how the petition would kill African children. In view of the findings of a 2005 GAO investigation into U.S. anti-malaria efforts the petition's emphasis is not unreasonable:
Objective 2: Key Challenges to ImplementationThe best I can work out, not only is USAID unsupportive of spraying programs, it has so far provided $0 for the purchase of DDT. Lambert and USAID are both a bit tricky when discussing USAID and DDT, noting correctly that USAID does not ban the indoor spraying of DDT. Tricky wording aside, it's obvious USAID is not supportive of DDT use. (Copy and paste http://timlambert.org/2005/11/usaid-isn’t-against-using-ddt-in-worldwide-malaria-battle/ to access the USAID post.)
Insufficient Financial Resources
Lack of funding for program implementation and donor support activities, including
•Updating of national prevention and treatment policies
•Establishment of monitoring, evaluation, and surveillance systems
•Capital investments—such as the purchase of equipment for IRS programs— needed to support effective policy implementation Examples of reported consequences
•Delays in implementation of updated prevention and treatment policies
• Limited capacity to expand a newly integrated policy involving the coupling of ITN use with IPT
•Inability of programs to purchase a sustainable supply of insecticides, spray equipment, and vehicles for mobilization of spray teams needed to effectively implement IRS programs
• Limited use of available research and monitoring and evaluation data to make program implementation more effective
Lambert also indicates that the World Health Organization supports DDT use by citing this from a WHO DDT FAQ brochure:
WHO recommends indoor residual spraying of DDT for malaria vector control.On the surface this appears to be a recommendation of DDT use when, in fact, it's merely recommending how DDT should be used if it's going to be used:
How is DDT used for malaria vector control?Did Lambert intentionally misinform his readers by citing that quote out of context or is he simply ignorant? I'm inclined to believe the former; either way it's hardly the quality one should expect from a science based blogger who's right into fact-checking. Anyway, the WHO brochure is hardly a glowing endorsement of DDT:
WHO recommends indoor residual spraying of DDT for malaria vector control.
Why is DDT use for malaria vector control so controversial?The main reason DDT is so controversial is because discussions like that above continue to emphasize the supposed hazards associated with DDT use. Tim Lambert's intentionally misleading posts just add to the confusion.
DDT is a persistent organic compound. This means that the compound can stay in the environment long after its initial application as an insecticide (up to 12 years). During this time, DDT and its breakdown products may enter the food chain and accumulate in fatty tissues (bioaccumulation). Harmful effects in the wildlife population have been linked to DDT, including the thinning of eggshells in birds exposed to the compound. There are also fears that DDT may have a long-term impact on human health. Although there is currently no direct link between DDT and any negative human health effect, there is growing evidence that it may disrupt reproductive and endocrine function. Opponents of DDT use for vector control argue that its use should be curtailed on these grounds.
Advocates of the continuing use of DDT as an insecticide for disease vector control base their argument on various factors: the unacceptably high levels of mortality and morbidity caused by malaria, the proven effectiveness of DDT in significantly reducing malaria transmission, the relatively low cost of DDT interventions, and the lack of any sustainable alternative in many endemic countries. They argue that the negative environmental and other effects associated with DDT use in the past reflect the massive uptake and bioaccumulation arising from the high amounts used as general agricultural pesticide. The amount of DDT used for disease vector control is negligible compared with that used in agriculture. The advocates also argue that when strictly used indoors, as recommended by WHO, DDT poses very little if any environmental threat.
Update: Here's another example of WHO's negative view of DDT, this from the WHO Expert Committee on Malaria 20th Report:
3.2.1Indoor residual spraying with insecticidesThe pressure was on back when this report was written, around the time the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organophosphate Pollutants (POPs) Treaty was being negotiated, to eliminate DDT from the anti-malaria arsenal. Tim Lambert often claims DDT has fallen into disfavour mostly because mosquitoes became resistant to it; the WHO report indicates that there were political and economic pressures but does not specifically mention DDT resistance as a factor.
In many programmes, mainly in the Americas and some countries in Asia, indoor residual spraying continues to be the main vector control measure implemented. There is, however, a tendency to reduce reliance on spraying, and there is also a marked decrease in the use of conventional residual insecticides, such as DDT, which have been replaced by new-generation insecticides, such as the pyrethroids, at considerable financial cost to the programmes. Improvement in local knowledge of malaria epidemiology (especially disease transmission), with refinement of surveillance mechanisms and proper use of collected data, could lead to the implementation of more selective vector control and further reduce reliance on indoor residual spraying.
8.1.1Indoor residual spraying
Non-selective coverage, as used for DDT and other insecticides in the past, is no longer a recommended strategy. Reduction of widespread coverage is still needed in the Americas, Asia and in some areas of Africa (where malaria transmission is focal and unstable, and in epidemic-prone areas). Given the financial and human resources involved, combined with the potential for vector resistance and environmental concerns, indoor residual spraying should be used only in well defined, high or special risk situations. DDT is being phased out because of its previous widespread use in the environment, and the resulting political and economic pressure.
To be continued...
BAGGAGE PROBLEM ENCOUNTERED
Jordan postponed a visit by the Palestinian Authority's foreign minister after finding weapons and explosives carried by members of the Hamas group, which leads the Palestinian government.Never can tell when you're going to need a rocket or some explosives, you know, when you visit the neighbours.
The discovery of the weapons is ``proof that the Hamas movement uses different double language in its behavior with Jordan,'' the official Petra news agency cited Nasser Judeh, Jordan's government spokesman, as saying yesterday.
Jordan affirms its strong relations with the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority, the government said in a later statement. The weapons seized included rockets, explosives and automatic rifles, Petra cited the statement as saying.
Via Clear and Present.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
(S+C) x (B+F)/T - V, which takes into account shape, circularity of buttocks, "bounce factor," firmness, texture of skin, and vertical ratio.No examples are given of the formula in action but there is this:
In a survey of 2,000 U.K. adults, Holmes found most women identified Jennifer Lopez's booty as perfectly balancing curves and athleticism. Men, on the other hand, were more apt to be aroused by Kylie Minogue's bum, which Holmes says has a "shape to match cartoon beauties you thought did not exist in the real world," and boasts a "perfect wobble and resilience factor" evident in her music videos.Kylie looks pretty damn good from any angle.
Monday, April 17, 2006
More than 12,000 rabbits have been culled in central Otago over the weekend during Alexandra's annual Great Easter Bunny Hunt.
The winning team, the Hare Raising Mutineers, bagged more than 1,400 rabbits over two days, beating last year's total by about 300.
Landowners in New Zealand's premier farming region of Canterbury have been given legal notice this season to cut rabbit numbers.
To drive that message home, bunny burgers and sausages were given away at a local agricultural show this weekend.
Sunday, April 16, 2006
MURDER MOST FOUL
Saturday, April 15, 2006
READING NOT RECOMMENDED
Friday, April 14, 2006
A Hail court handed down on Wednesday a sentence of 500 lashes and six months in jail to a youth on charges of falling prostrate before a dancer in a musical program held in a rest house in Hail seven months ago, Al-Watan newspaper reported yesterday.Iran is also cracking down on inappropriate behaviour:
The punishment will be given in front of two secondary schools and a mosque in the city. The prostration was recorded by a mobile phone camera and posted on a website. Several visitors to the site demanded the punishment for the youth who prostrated before the dancer.
Iranian police are poised to launch a fresh pre-summer crackdown on women disrespecting the Islamic dress code, a press report said yesterday.Boy, Aussie Sheilas could sure teach Iranian women a thing or two about skimpy dress.
“Unfortunately we see some immodestly and inappropriately dressed women who violate the rights of others,” the hardline Jomhuri Islami newspaper quoted Tehran’s police chief as saying.
Every post-pubescent female in Iran, regardless of her nationality or religion, is obliged to observe the Islamic dress code.
Police crackdowns on skimpy dressers are common every summer, when many women defy the rules by wearing three-quarter length trousers, sandals showing off painted toenails, lighter coats revealing their curves and headscarves that barely cover their hair.
CLIMATE MODEL RETHINK
The particles that carry the forests' olfactory assault also help to cool the planet by bouncing energy from the sun back into space. Now researchers have worked out that the forests produce enough microscopic particles to load the atmosphere around them with 1,000-2,000 particles per cubic centimetre.Is it just me or does it seem the more we know about climate change the more we need to know?
The discovery will help plug a big hole in climate change models and so help scientists to make more accurate predictions of global warming from greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane.
Hans-Christen Hansson of the Air Pollution Laboratory in Stockholm, Sweden, said airborne particles are a big unknown factor for climate scientists. "We are afraid we have totally misjudged the trend of climate change because the particles are not in the models in a comprehensive way."
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
ANTI-SEAL CULL ACTIVISTS DEACTIVATED
A team of activists in the region to document the hunt, along with a member of the European Parliament Carl Schlyter of Sweden, and several journalists were holed up in their hotel in the town of Blanc Sablon "under threat of physical violence," the group said in a statement.Rebecca Aldworth of the US Humane Society seems to think local police should offer limousine service:
"A growing mob estimated at nearly 60 people has gathered outside the hotel and is refusing to let the team leave," the US Humane Society said.
Earlier, a car with team members and four journalists headed to the local airport where helicopters had been chartered to fly over the sealers to film them was "run off the road into a ditch," the group said.
The vehicle was damaged but nobody was injured, they said.
"They could get us out of here if they wanted to, but they're refusing to take us in their police vans."Aldworth might as well stay in the hotel because the government has banned her from going anywhere near the sealers. Anyway, the anti-cull campaign is proving counterproductive in Canada:
Telegram reporter Barb Sweet says the media circus surrounding this year's hunt -- highlighted by Paul McCartney's Blubber Soul Tour of the ice floes last month -- has made Newfoundlanders so angry that even people who aren't "pro-hunt" are rallying behind the industry.If the socialist, elitist, ant-cull crowd had any sense it would shut the fuck up but they don't, so they won't. Hell, I'm a very passive person but these lefty busybodies have given me a hankering to club a seal.
"Whatever their views are, for or against the hunt or in between, people are impassioned about all the misinformation that's been spread about Newfoundland," Sweet said yesterday.
In other words, the shame campaign led by Sir Paul and the Humane Society of the United States has not only failed to change the minds of Islanders about the seal hunt, but has made them more stubbornly entrenched than ever.
But then, the activists don't care about local sensibilities -- their approach is to demand the federal government step in and impose a solution on all the little people. It's a typically socialist, elitist view.
COURT ORDERED GENOCIDE
"It's just another case of genocide really, you know, trying to remove us from doing our culture and our ceremonies."Mr Corowa is, however, keen to prevent non-Aborigines doing their cultural ceremonial thing:
A woman has told police she was threatened by a protester as she jogged through the Aboriginal camp site in Melbourne's King's Domain.That court order is a double edged sword.
Mr Corowa says he has a right to ask people to stay out of the camp site, which was largely dismantled yesterday after a deadline for the protesters to leave lapsed.
"I mean it's not a public place - it's a sacred site," he said.
"We've got a Supreme Court order ... to keep the fire, we're got 38 bones over there, it's a sacred site."
Thursday, April 13, 2006
BULLETS DELIVER POLITICAL MESSAGE
France has a military?
NON-EMOTIVE LEXICON FOR DISCUSSING RADICALISATION
Certainly 'Islamic terrorism' is something we will not use ... we talk about 'terrorists who abusively invoke Islam'," an EU official told Reuters.Let's just ignore the problem and hope it goes away.
The aim of the guidelines is to avoid the use of words that could unnecessarily offend Muslims and spark radicalisation.
The EU official indicated "You don't want to use terminology which would aggravate the problem."
"This is an attempt ... to be aware of the sensitivities implied by the use of certain language."
"Jihad" is another term under review, with the EU contact telling Reuters "Jihad means something for you and me, it means something else for a Muslim. Jihad is a perfectly positive concept of trying to fight evil within yourself."
RIGHT WING DDT BEASTS
Update: Joe Cambria just kicked in AU$100 to get things rolling. Way to go, Joe.
Update II: There have been a number of very generous donations, probably mostly from Tim Blair readers directed to the sponsorship page by his link. Thanks to all.
It is important to note that I'm well aware that one charity or another always seems to have its hand out wanting our hard earned cash. Hell, they even ring up at home trying to sell raffle tickets. It can get really annoying. This effort is a bit different; there is no pressure or guilt involved and 100% of proceeds go for the purchase of anti-malaria bed-nets. Any amount from US$5 up would be greatly appreciated but, if you'd rather not donate that's fine too because just by reading this you've become more aware that malaria continues to be a big problem. Thanks for your time.
Update III: We've just passed US$500 in donations. Fantastic!
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
NUDELESS PLAYBOY STILL TOO RISQUE
Several Indonesian policemen have been hurt as hundreds of radical Muslim demonstrators threw stones at the Jakarta offices of Playboy magazine.Maybe it's an anti-bunny thing.
The magazine published a sanitised Indonesian edition for the first time last week containing no nudes, but the demonstrators have vowed to continue their attacks until the office is closed down.
About 300 members of the Islamic Defenders Front smashed windows and a gate at the magazine's offices in South Jakarta demanding that it cease publication.
The dog biscuits are not for human consumption.Despite the warning I betcha there are gonna be some hippies with really clean teeth.
SINISTER WATERFALL BEGINS
"Iran's nuclear activities are like a waterfall which has begun to flow. It cannot be stopped."Obviously that unnamed Iranain offical isn't aware that waterfalls can indeed be stopped:
The flow over the American Falls was stopped completely for several months in 1969.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Paul Bickford and I have agreed to team up and fast for the day to raise some money for a good cause; we welcome any other RWDBs willing to give up food for 9 hours to join us. Drop me an email to sign up and later in the week I'll set up a donate page to link to. (Please give some thought to a name for the group and include it in your email.)
I was going to invite Malaria Man to join in but know how he feels about Dunk Malaria's links with the evil, baby killing Africa Fighting Malaria.
Update: Evil has joined the group.
Update II: CB is on board.
Update III: Rafe Champion has joined up.
STREET VIOLENCE ENDORSED
Congratulations to the students, young people and unions of France for soundly defeating the First Job Contract law. That is such a fantastic victory and shows what people can achieve when they are determined and do not back down. If only we had taken a similar approach (with, perhaps, less violence) here in Australia we might not have to deal with 'Workchoices' today.Cristy's nonchalant endorsement of leftist street violence isn't unexpected in light of her background:
Cristy is originally from Canberra, but has lived in Washington DC, Vancouver, Sydney, and now Vientiane, Lao PDR. She has a BA/LLB with honours from the ANU, a masters in international social development from UNSW, and is now wading through a PhD in human rights law at UNSW. She did try to work full time once (for a year in a commercial law firm) but it didn't work out, so she is now determined to remain at university for a long as possible.It's no wonder then that Cristy doesn't realize that the CPE's defeat could well doom France's unemployed youths to a future of unemployment, as some of the lefty commenters at LP acknowledge:
The proposed French law cannot be compared with WorkChoices. I strongly oppose WorkChoices but I think the French laws should have been given a chance.Yep, it's probably best if Cristy stays at school, where she can't do much damage.
We Lefties can blubber about social justice all we like but we need to acknowledge the way the market works. High youth unemployment is disastrous. It can lead to criminality, suicide, depression, social alienation, cynicism and so on. Concrete solutions, not slogans and platitudes are needed.
Besides, are we sure that all French youth opposed the reforms? How do we know the tyre burning rock throwers spoke for all French youth?
It is also worth noting that the most prominent student leader of the 1968 riots, who is now a Greens member of the European Parliament, supported the reforms.
Update: The Brussel Journal's Paul Belien isn't quite as optimistic about France's future as Cristy:
France is beyond remedy. The country is heading for collapse, and its fate will be well deserved.
Monday, April 10, 2006
GRAND THEFT AUTO
Sheriff's deputies have arrested the Swedish video game executive who crashed in a rare Ferrari in Malibu in February, alleging that he didn't own that car and others in his $3.5-million exotic car collection, authorities said Sunday.Eriksson is no stranger to jail, with a prior arrest for counterfeiting. The guy was always suspect; a Swede driving a Ferrari just ain't right.
Stefan Eriksson faces grand theft charges after detectives raided his gated Bel-Air estate Friday night, spent six hours searching it and then took him into custody Saturday night.
Los Angeles County sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said detectives concluded that the wrecked Ferrari, a red Enzo — as well as a rare Mercedes and a second, black Enzo — were owned by British financial institutions.
The cars were purchased in Britain last year when Eriksson lived there. He apparently brought them to Los Angeles when he moved here. But financial institutions that held titles to the cars informed detectives that payments had lapsed, Whitmore said.
Eriksson was an executive with Gizmondo, a European video game company that filed for bankruptcy earlier this year with more than $200 million in debt.
102% OF AMERICAN MEN HAVE WEIGHT PROBLEM
The study of 104 adults, ages 45 to 64, showed that only 15 percent of people who fit the body type for obese correctly classified themselves that way.So, it's important for people to be aware of their discrete weight category – normal, overweight or obese. I mean, it's not enough for obese people to be aware they have a weight problem; they must known they're obese.
In contrast, 71 percent of normal-weight people and 73 percent of people classified as overweight were accurate in their self-assessments.
"I think part of the disconnect is just the overall image people have when you say 'obesity,'" said Truesdale, who presented her findings recently at conference in San Francisco. "They see someone who's 400 pounds, maybe morbidly obese. They don't think about the person who's 5-10 and you weigh 208, 209 pounds and you are technically obese. You can probably think of a lot of men who are 5-10 and over 200 pounds."
A 5-foot-10-inch adult — both male and female — is overweight at 174 pounds and obese at 209, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Anyway, the article eventually gives us a breakdown of the weight status of American men:
The CDC's latest survey reported 71 percent of men are overweight and 31 percent are obese.Do you think maybe the fatties ate the normals?
GOVERNMENT BY MOB
French President Jacques Chirac has announced that the new youth employment law that sparked weeks of protests will be scrapped.
He said the First Employment Contract - or CPE - would be replaced by other measures to tackle youth unemployment.
BLOGGING NO LABOUR OF LOVE FOR LEFTIES
But we appreciate support as well for the time spent in writing, editing and moderating the content and comments.Jeez, here I was thinking lefties blog for the love of it.
Sunday, April 09, 2006
BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN TOO EXPLICIT
A Massachusetts correctional officer is being disciplined for showing the gay cowboy movie "Brokeback Mountain" to inmates at the state's largest prison because his boss determined that the film includes content inappropriate for a prison setting.Surely there must be a blanket prison ban on R-rated movies.
Massachusetts Department of Correction spokeswoman Diane Wiffin said Saturday that the action was not related to the critically acclaimed film's plot involving a gay love affair.
"It was not the subject matter. It was the graphic nature of sexually explicit scenes," Wiffin said.
FAITH DOUBTS PROMPT JAILING
Saudi journalist Rabah Al-Quwayi, 24, has been detained by Hail authorities in connection with his writings posted on Internet forums, which they allege place his Islamic faith in doubt.Al-Quwayi was apparently dobbed in for postings to an internet forum.
“They asked me about topics I wrote on the Internet four years ago,” Al-Quwayi told Arab News from his detention center.
FACT-CHECK BOY DERIDES AGAIN
As accredited experts in climate and related scientific disciplines, we are writing to propose that balanced, comprehensive public-consultation sessions be held so as to examine the scientific foundation of the federal government's climate-change plans.All the letter asks for is open discussion of climate change. Lambert, obviously eager to prevent scrutiny of the scientific underpinnings of Global Warming, offers a multipoint attack on the letter:
- A Google search of "climate change is real" proves it is anthropogenic.
- Climate change must be anthropogenic because six Australian business leaders believe it is.
- The credibility of seventeen of the sixty scientists is questionable because they have made past errors of interpretation or fact.
- Most of the sixty are not climate scientists.
- The letter must be a crock because Tim Blair linked to it.
"Observational evidence does not support today's computer climate models, so there is little reason to trust model predictions of the future. ... Nevertheless, significant advances have been made since the protocol was created, many of which are taking us away from a concern about increasing greenhouse gases. If, back in the mid-1990s, we knew what we know today about climate, Kyoto would almost certainly not exist, because we would have concluded it was not necessary."Lambert observing:
Because in the mid-1990s those computer climate models predicted that it would get warmer and now we know that those predictions were correct. So we shouldn't trust them and Kyoto is unnecessary. Are these guys even trying to be credible?No, climate models shouldn't be trusted because they aren't accurate, or so says the British Antarctic Survey's Dr John Turner:
"Current climate model simulations don’t reproduce the observed warming, pointing to weaknesses in their ability to represent the Antarctic climate system. Our next step is to try to improve the models. "In any event, Lambert's anti-discussion position was anticipated in a 2003 letter from scientists to the prospective Prime Minister Paul Martin:
We strongly believe that important environmental policy should be based on a strong foundation of environmental science. Censoring credible science out of the debate because it does not conform to a pre-determined political agenda is clearly not a responsible course of action for any government.Maybe Lambert should stick to stuff he's actually good at like, you know, computer graphics.
ROBERT MUGABE, MIRACLE WORKER
Life in Zimbabwe is shorter than anywhere else in the world, with neither men nor women expected to live until 40, a new UN report says.Sadly, things are only going to get worse.
Zimbabwe's women have an average life expectancy of 34 years and men on average do not live past 37, it said.
Correspondents say poverty because of the crumbling economy and deaths from Aids are responsible for the decline.
Saturday, April 08, 2006
SAUDI TO BE LASHED FOR EMPLOYING WOMEN
THE BIGGEST LIE
Our culture demands, in its very language, that we accept a commonality of interest binding all of us to one another. We mustn’t talk about classes. Only Marxists do that, although James Madison, “Father of the Constitution,” said, thirty years before Marx was born that there was an inevitable conflict in society between those who had property and those who did not.Gee and here I was thinking the biggest lie is, "Sure, I'll still respect you". Silly me.
Our present leaders are not so candid. They bombard us with phrases like “national interest,” “national security,” and “national defense” as if all of these concepts applied equally to all of us, colored or white, rich or poor, as if General Motors and Halliburton have the same interests as the rest of us, as if George Bush has the same interest as the young man or woman he sends to war.
Surely, in the history of lies told to the population, this is the biggest lie. In the history of secrets, withheld from the American people, this is the biggest secret: that there are classes with different interests in this country. To ignore that—not to know that the history of our country is a history of slaveowner against slave, landlord against tenant, corporation against worker, rich against poor—is to render us helpless before all the lesser lies told to us by people in power.
"WHAT IF" REPORTED
STEPHEN McDONELL: In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, there were claims and counter-claims about the country's supposed weapons of mass destruction. In this environment, former US diplomat Joseph Wilson embarrassed the Bush Administration when he disputed his government's assertions about Iraq's attempts to acquire nuclear material for weapons. Later, his wife, Valerie Plame, was 'outed' in the press as an undercover CIA agent. Some interpreted this move as payback. President Bush vowed to find out who'd leaked Ms Plame's identity.Yeah, and what if Bush is really Kodos, or is it Kang?
GEORGE W BUSH, US PRESIDENT: If there's a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. Ah, and, ah, if the person has violated law, that person will be taken care of.
STEPHEN McDONELL: But what if that person is the President himself?