Friday, July 29, 2005

Draining the Swamp

President Musharraf of Pakistan takes one step towards the clean up of the Aegean Stables. Many terrorists, including the 7/7 four embarked on the road to death & destruction thanks to the indoctrination they received at Pakistani madrassas. While it may not act to halt Pakistani born terrorists, it will reduce the supply of total terrorists. However, as the elimination of foreign students cuts off a significant source of income for the madrassas, it may serve to reduce the number of Pakistani born terrorists also.



Save the Trees, Kill the Humans

Could the Columbia tragedy have been caused by environmental regulations?

Considering how unprecedented the circumstances of the incident was, despite the long history of the space program, the possibility that the new eco-friendly measures lay at the root of the accident is hardly surprising. In many instances, environmental codes have resulted in products whose performance is far below that of the ones they replace. The low-flow toilets, which have forced many ordinary people to smuggle high flow models from Canada, is just one example.

Mike's Noise:

In 1997, NASA bent to pressure from environmental groups and began using a new type of foam on the main fuel tank.

Why all the fuss? Because the traditional foam insulation, the product that had been specified in the 1970 Shuttle designs, the product that was used up until 1997, was made by injecting polymer with chlorofluorocarbons -- "freon" -- compounds whose use was severely limited under the 1991 Montreal Protocol. With the adoption of this protocol by the U. S., the Environmental Protection Agency set target dates for major industries to phase out the use of freon.

After the new foam was used on Columbia mission STS-87 in November 1997, post-flight examination of the craft found that 308 of the special heat-absorbent ceramic tiles that cover the Shuttle's outer skin were damaged. The average number of damaged tiles for previous missions was 40. NASA engineers immediately suspected that the new insulating foam was breaking loose, but NASA supervisors were apparently more interested in impressive, successfully-completed missions than in adequate mission safety. The peeling foam was written off as a negligible risk.

As physicist Richard P. Feynman, a Noble laureate, said:
For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.

HAT TIP: SoxBlog, Kobayashi Maru

Update: I thought that the comments for this article were very interesting & am therefore posting them.

Regular Ron said...
Why does this not surprise me. Does this mean we can sue the shit out of the EPA, and the rest of the Environmental-nut-jobs for what happened to the Shuttle?RR
3:55 PM

Dan Trabue said...
Only if we environmental nut jobs can sue the gov't and others for damages done by unsustainable living.Let's see: How does one pay for the loss of 3,000,000-ish lives globally every year due to the personal auto and pollution? How does one pay for the fact that a huge number of streams in Kentucky are not safe to swim in? How does one pay for the damage done to the future by short-sighted policy now?
9:50 AM

docjim505 said...
You give some, you get some...How many people LIVE each year because the nasty ol' internal combustion engine used in ambulances and 'life flight' helicopters allow fast trips to the hospital?Does this mean that the government ought to take a laissez faire attitude when it comes to environmental protection? By no means. But there must be a decent (i.e. rational, logical, non-political) cost/benefits analysis applied. For example, IF the shuttle foam is breaking off and killing astronauts due to the manufacturing change, one ought to ask whether the lives of astronauts, the cost of the shuttle itself, and the 'lost benefits' of shuttle missions are worth a TINY bleed of CFCs into the atmosphere.
11:32 AM

Dan Trabue said...
Just a hunch, but I'd guess that fewer lives are saved by the internal combustion engine than are lost. And besides, I'm not saying NO cars. I'm saying we can't all drive. There are compromises.We could allow ambulances and fire engines, if we deem it wise. Further, we could allow small golf-cart sized electric cars for some folk who are not able to get around well due to health. But they don't need to travel above 25 mph. By doing these two measures, I'd guess we'd retain nearly all the benefits of cars with very very few of the negatives.I agree that there ought to be a decent cost/benefits analysis.One way of looking at it:What if there were no cars and it was announced that someone has invented one. The benefits are speed, comfort and convenience. The downsides are 4 million or so dead each year, millions more maimed, severe damage to the environment and trillions of $ in costs. Then it was put to a vote. Would you vote for it?
12:57 PM

NYgirl said...
Dan, how do you get at the 4 million dead a year number? Is that to car accidents?You should know that people die of horse related accidents too. Horse & buggy aren't cheap either.BTW, who's going to decide who gets to drive or not?
1:14 PM

Dan Trabue said...
1 million globally each year to car accidents. 3 million (going from memory, but I believe this is right) to air pollution which comes from many sources, not just autos.Yes people die from other sorts of accidents, but in these kinds of numbers? And when the activity in question is not a necessity? And when the person killed is not limited to the one involved (ie, innocent bystanders getting killed versus a speeder killing only himself)?As to who's going to decide who drives or not, flip that around: Who's going to decide that x number (hundreds of thousands, I'm sure) of asthmatics have to stay inside on smoggy days? That our streets aren't safe to bike on or walk across? It's not a matter of someone imposing their wishes on others. That's happening either way. There is definitely a conflict of rights here. I'd suggest it's a matter of which system is more just. In cases where you have a conflict of rights, I'd suggest the right to life and liberty outweigh the right of ease and speed.
1:46 PM

NYgirl said...
Liberty means the freedom to make our own choices & have them dictated to us by other people who claim to know what's best.If eveyone or 90% of us used horses, then the percentage of horse related accidents will rise sharply. What if the horse or his ridder tippes onto a pedestrian? Also, what if you don't have acess to a phone or your cell is broken or out of batteries & you ot somoone else is hurt. You won't be able to get them to the hospital, what about that?
2:20 PM

Kobayashi Maru said...
No responsible conservative is arguing for rampant pollution, even as some would love to continue bayoneting that strawman. What we're for is people having choices in how they live their lives - in case this wasn't utterly apparent by what we did in Iraq and Afghanistan while the UN dithered. That all the world's people may not make the same environmental choices as liberal elites in the first world are able to make due to our wealth does not make their opinions less worthy or give us a right to shove our choices down their throats. We may argue here about cars vs. not cars as an abstraction, but for billions around the world, the choice of getting their child to the doctor on time or being able to get a better job in the city is literally a matter of life and death. We have no moral standing to say, in effect, "wait while we debate space shuttles and hydrogen policy and we'll get back to you". Top down environmentalism (i.e., origin of the EPA) works to a point (i.e., big factories spewing from a pipe). Beyond that, it quickly grades into un-checked authoritarianism... which is where we conservatives get off the bus and back into our cars. :)
7:36 PM

Kobayashi Maru said...
P.S. thanks for the HT
7:38 PM

Dan Trabue said...
Kobayashi said:“That all the world's people may not make the same environmental choices as liberal elites in the first world are able to make due to our wealth does not make their opinions...”The poor, the sick, the elderly and the young are disproportionately harmed by unsustainable living practices, so don't you DARE try to make this about justice for the poor. Shame on you for trying!Having issued that rebuke, if you are indeed concerned about the poor then you should be commended. We ought to be. This for me is primarily a justice for the poor and dispossessed issue, as well as an environmental issue. It's just that many politicians (left, right, middle) tend to cynically wrap their corporate choices around the concept of “helping the poor and/or children” and I consider that blasphemous. Having said that, let me return to your comment (and I apologize for the length of the response, I'll try to quit after this):“What we're for is people having choices in how they live their lives...”That is exactly what I'm talking about as well, as I've already indicated. I'll speak specifically of my town (Louisville,KY) to address specific points:Someone is making the choice that it is okay to pollute our streams to the point that they're unsafe to wade in or fish from. Someone is making the choice that our air is unsafe to breathe (today in my town is an Ozone Action Day, meaning that asthmatics, the elderly, the young are to stay inside or risk their health due to the pollution of our air). Someone is making the choice that certain types of jobs are more important than the health of the poorer section of my town.Someone is making the choice that driving the way we do is worth the nearly a pedestrian a day who gets hit by cars (disproportionately children), worth the 80 or so people who get killed each year (higher than our murder rate), worth the thousands who are maimed, worth the millions that it costs our city.Someone is making the choice to use up resources that our children or grandchildren might also need.Choices ARE being made. And they're being made so that the costs are borne disproportionately by the poor, the sick, the elderly, the young, the unborn, and God's good creation.Choices ARE being made and liberties taken.All I'm saying is that we ought to revisit the choices we're already making and reconsider the costs. Reconsider if it's worth it.For what it's worth, I'm not for taking away all cars or anyone's precious “right” to drive (and I'm using the car as just one example of our unsustainable system). I'm advocating sensible use of technology in a way that doesn't unjust. I would assume we'd agree on that concept, yes?So, in order to do that I'd recommend:1.That residential speed limits be limited to 15-25mph. That's already the law most places. I'm just saying it should be enforced.2.That those who violate driving laws lose their license (driving's not a right, it's a privilege) for a time – 1 – 2 years first offense. It would take this sort of action to get people to respect speed limits and stop signs.3.That we create a system that encourages walking, biking, mass transit, wise proximity choices. We've already made the choice to create a system that encourages sprawl and cars, I'm just saying we change our priorities. You get the idea. This is not about limiting freedom any more or less than the current system is about limiting freedom. This IS about choices. Wise choices. Would you disagree? Look at it this way, if it were proven that by doing just the three steps listed above, we'd decrease the number of auto deaths and injuries by 50% and decrease the number of dangerously polluted days by 50% and the only costs would be the “liberty” to speed or run stop signs, the speed with which we get places, the “liberty” to live as far away as you want from where you work, worship and play... would you say those types of liberties are worth the lives impacted?Are we concerned about the poor and oppressed enough to change our ways or is the talk about concern for the poor just talk?
6:25 AM

NYgirl said...
Kobayashi, the hat tip was well deserved.Dan, your right, choices are being made. What makes you think that you are qualified to make those choices for me?Since you're so concerned about the deaths of innocents, how do you feel about all the innocent babies who are killed every year? 11:14 AM

Dan Trabue said...
I'm against killing innocent babies. You?
12:48 PM

Dan Trabue said...
What makes me think I'm qualified to make your choices? What makes you think you're qualified to make my choices? By driving the way we do, we are telling all the asthmatics to stay home or die. We've been through this already.I'm saying we, as a society, ought to improve our decision-making process and enforce and improve our laws correspondingly.An example: We don't allow people the liberty of purchasing hand grenades. Maybe some folk would like to fish with grenades, but we as a society have decided that that is a freedom that we can live without.Does it impinge on the liberties of the one who'd like to fish with grenades? Yes. We've made that decision anyway because the risks and negatives outweigh the positives.I'm saying the risks and the negatives that I've fairly exhaustively listed of our current lifestyle outweigh the positives. Do you disagree?Tell me honestly, if someone said told you that we can save 20,000 lives a year in the US by simply rigidly enforcing the 25mph speed limit, would you agree to it or not?
12:53 PM

NYgirl said...
Glad to hear you don't believe in abortion :)But Dan, what makes you think that speed limits aren't being enforced? I don't know about KY, but around here they are, just look at the number of speeding tickets people rack up.Asthma existed well before cars came into existance. As you say, we should as a society decide the choices & most people have decided that the positives of technonolgy outweight the negatives. Many polls show that the public is not in favor of enforced use of public transportation & curbs on the freedom of movement.Motor vehical accidents are sad, but they are the fault of the person driving the car & the careless pedestrians who fail to obey the rules of the road, not the car it self.
2:23 PM

Kobayashi Maru said...
Dan, in one fell swoop you've told me that I cannot stand up for the poor and elderly and sick and young of the world (i.e., the majority of it), because... what? Because I'm a conservative? Because it's up to you to defend the weak on your terms and with your top-down father-knows-best policy prescriptions? And it's automatically blasphemy if 'corporate' interests (oooh! baaaad!) align with those of the dispossessed of the world a lot more than Mother Jones likes to admit? With that kind of *intro*, it's clear that we ain't coming to any great new meeting of the minds on this thread, I'm afraid.Look through the labels. Look at the actions. I see non-corporate institutions like the UN *chartered* with doing good and *assumed* to have pure motives doing abominable things to tens of thousands of young girls in Congo and I'm supposed to worry about what? A factory in India that provides jobs that the folks there *welcome*, while polluting more than you or I might tolerate here in the U.S. because they're still trying to scrape and scramble and move up the income ladder like our great grandfathers were 100 years ago? Is it up to you and me to make those choices for them now that we've got ours? They won't necessarily make the same choices we made, but they also won't be the silly strawmen (hand grenades for fishing) that you propose... c'mon.The fact is, there's a tipping point in national average income where countries start to make much more responsible choices environmentally. There is no environmental perfection. The myth of it - the yearning for it, is what blinds many to real, honest trade-offs to be made. Nuf said. Nice post, NYG.Later.
7:02 PM

Dan Trabue said...
You didn't answer my question: Would you or would you not trade a strict adherence to a 25mph or less speed limit for 20,000 lives?And no, here in KY, in IN, in TN... the 25 mph speed limit is routinely disregarded. Is it different there in NY?As to the rest of what you and Kobayashi have said on this issue, it appears we just profoundly disagree.Kobayashi, I'm not condemning your conservative-ness. I'd love for conservatives to truly embrace their own ideals. Personal responsibility, for one. When you abandon personal responsibility for endorsing corporate ways and means, then I'm condemning your lack of conservative thinking.Don't react to that, think about it. Surely you agree? Any conservative who'd abdicate personal responsibility is giving up part of their conservative identity, no?Anyway, thanks for the conversation, y'all. All I ask is that you keep an open mind to reason and, if you've a bent towards mystery, to God and God's creation. Listen to the wisdom of the world and I will try as well.Peace.
5:56 AM

NYgirl said...
Dan, neither Kobayashi nor I are advocating the elimination of speed limits. Maybe every instance of speeding is not punished because the police cannot be everywhere all the time, but that does not mean that thet are noy being enforced in most places most of the time.It's good that you like to keep an open mind. As Kobayashi said, there is no objective standard for environmental perfection. Different people have different views of how much we should sacrifice in the name of environmentalism, & as we are a democracy, the majority view of the issue prevails.
1:10 PM


Bigfoot Did Not Walk By

A hair sample was reportedly plucked from a bush near Teslin in the Yukon at a spot where several people claimed they saw and heard a large, hairy creature making a late-night run through their community. They also reported seeing an unusually large footprint......but, a DNA test has confirmed that it was not Bigfoot roaming the Yukon earlier this month — it was just a bison.

All of a sudden, the neo-con conspiracy theorists are starting to look sane.


Racism. Available in a Variety of Colors

Looks like the Japanese are better than Americans at another thing: racism.

A similar problem is the famous foreign crime wave. If you’ve read an
English newspaper in the past year, you’ve probably heard about the government
white papers and police studies that cite increases in foreign crime as one of
the biggest threats to public safety. The police are saying that the number of
crimes increased from 19,671 in 1993 to 34,746 in 2002, an increase of 76.6%.
While this sounds rather scary, critics have two very valid arguments about why
these statistics are extremely misleading.

The first is that people who have overstayed their visas are included in the figures.
Overstaying a visa makes up more than a quarter of all crimes committed by
foreigners and it is disingenuous to count this crime along offences with like
murder and theft. The second reason is that the official statistics do not
mention that while the foreign crime rate was 1.39%, foreigners made up 1.5% of
the population and were therefore statistically less likely to commit crimes
than Japanese people. If we look at the numbers in terms of crime rates (rather
than real numbers), crime by Japanese is increasing while crime by foreigners is

Why have the police chosen to concentrate on the relatively insignificant problems of gun control and foreign crime? One important reason is that there isn’t much they can do about the increases in crime committed by Japanese people. A long recession and high unemployment are invariably accompanied by rising crime rates, and until the economy recovers, crime is probably going to continue increasing.

Blaming foreigners for crime is also a good excuse for police officials embarrassed by
the decline in arrest rates. It’s just so easy to say something like, “We can’t
catch those wily foreign criminals because they use such exotic methods and it’s
so easy for them to just escape back to their home countries.” Crime was a major
issue in last year’s general election, and there were few politicians who
weren’t talking about it. Prime Minister Koizumi’s Liberal Democratic Party
promised to cut the number of serious crimes in half by 2008, while Naoto Kan’s
Democratic Party promised to hire 30,000 new police officers in the next five
years and raise the arrest rate for serious crimes to

Politicians like Shintaro Ishihara, the governor of Tokyo, use
people’s fears to get publicity, increase budgets for police and military
spending, and most of all to get votes. When Ishihara gave a speech saying that
the Self-Defense Force would have to be careful of rioting foreigners in the
case of a major earthquake, he was criticized by many critics, foreigner’s
rights groups and newspapers, but Tokyo voters ate it up. Foreign crime is
also being used as an excuse to limit immigration, and the government is
currently becoming much stricter in their policies regarding students from
overseas and in their dealings with those who have overstayed their visas. It’s
easy for the government to play on the fears of its citizens because people here
are really scared. The Koizumi administration has launched a campaign to double
the number of tourists visiting Japan by 2010, but in a public opinion survey
conducted last year, 32.4% of Japanese people don’t want more visitors to come
to Japan, mainly because they are worried about crime.

Even among native Japanese, there is a preference toward "white" complexions. Those of lighter hue are considered more beautiful that those of darker hue.
Say the word ‘Akita bijin’ (an Akita beauty) to a Japanese male and watch his eyes light up. The idea that women from Akita are beautiful dates back to at least the Heian period, and women from this prefecture are famous for their pale white skin. Akita’s women have an average skin whiteness index of 29.6%, making them far paler than the average Japanese women, whose whiteness index is only 26.6%.

Heaven forbid, Jesse Jackson were to move to Japan, he would probably demand preferential treatment to those with a skin whiteness index of 26.6% or less & quotas to limit the number of those with higher index ratings.



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