Friday, February 18, 2011
NEWPORT NEWS, Virginia — Walking into a control station at Jefferson Labs, Quentin Saulter started horsing around with his colleague, Carlos Hernandez. Saulter had spent the morning showing two reporters his baby: the laboratory version of the Navy’s death ray of the future, known as the Free Electron Laser. He asked Hernandez, the head of Injector and Electron Gun Systems for the project, to power a mock-up electron gun — the pressure-pumping heart of this energy weapon — to 500 kilovolts. No one has ever cranked the gun that high before.
Smiling through his glasses and goatee, Hernandez motioned for Saulter to click and drag a line on his computer terminal up to the 500 kV mark. He had actually been running the electron injector at that kilovoltage for the past eight hours. It’s a goal that eluded him for six years.
Say goodbye to an adversary’s anti-ship missiles; and prepare to fire bullets from 200 miles away, far from shoreline defenses. No wonder the Navy asked Congress to double its budget for directed energy weapons this week to $60 million, most of which will go to the Free Electron Laser.
It won’t be until the 2020s, Carr estimates, that a Free Electron Laser will be mounted onto a ship. (Same goes for the railgun.) Right now, the Free Electron Laser produces a 14-kilowatt beam. It needs to get to 100 kilowatts to be viable to defend a ship.
The Free Electron Laser is unique: it doesn’t use a medium, just supercharged electrons run through a racetrack of superconductors and magnets — an accelerator, to be technical — until it produces a beam that can operate on multiple wavelengths.
That means the beam from the Free Electron Laser won’t lose potency as it runs through all the crud in ocean air, since its operators will be able to adjust its wavelengths to compensate.
Currently, the Free Electron Laser project produces the powerful beam in the world, able to cut through 20 feet of steel per second. If it gets up to its ultimate goal, of generating a megawatt’s worth of laser power, it’ll be able to burn through 2000 feet of steel per second. Just add electrons.
The aftermath of a teachers union tantrum in Wisconsin:
Doctors took an X-ray of Fu’s skull, to find the source of his headaches, and that’s when they discovered a 4-inch knife blade that has been in his head for more than four years.
A 37-year-old Chinese man, who suffered from chronic migraines, finally has some relief after doctors removed a 4-inch knife blade that has been in his head for more than four years
Death Valley National Park contains many mysteries, including one of nature's strangest phenomena: In the remote, almost totally dry lakebed called Racetrack Playa, some of the rocks move themselves across the desert floor when people aren't watching.
This Bentley Continental Supersports convertible managed a record speed of 205.48mph on ice with Finland's four-time world rally champion, Juha Kankkunen, at the wheel
Kankunnen and the Supersports build up speed. The depth of the ice on the sea ice track is 70cm
If you want to understand the difference between this Congress and the last, read this. Not top down, but the members deciding. The members reading the bills. The members voting individually, not in blocks.
Congress Finally Earns Its Pay
Unlike years past, the budget debates in the House were vigorous and democratic, not stage-managed by the leadership of the majority party.
Remarkably, voters saw Republicans disagree vehemently with each other. Just as remarkably, the world did not stop spinning. To the contrary, these arguments helped flesh out differences and proved it is possible for gentlemen to have honest disagreements. Nowhere was this more clear than in this week's vote to defund a second (duplicative) engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The engine is being developed in a town near Mr. Boehner's Ohio district, and the speaker is a supporter. Yet 100 Republicans joined 123 Democrats (and Defense Secretary Robert Gates) to oppose the second engine and save taxpayers $450 million this year and $3 billion in the long-run.
Mr. Boehner didn't have to allow that vote. Mrs. Pelosi wouldn't have. But in opening the House, Mr. Boehner has done far more than put reform above his own priorities. This week's exercise forced members to read the underlying spending bill; to understand the implications of hundreds of amendments; to remain on the floor for debate; and to go on record with votes for which voters will hold them accountable.
Read the entire article from WSJ at: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704657704576150673159045188.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop
In this Feb. 9, 2011, file photo House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, center, with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va., right, and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of Calif., speaks to reporters outside the White House in Washington. (AP)
The House voted to defund President Obama's health care overhaul on Friday during a sustained burst of floor activity on amendments to a temporary spending bill that would keep the government lights on but impose deep cuts on domestic programs.
Among the other actions the House took was to reject a controversial plan to end the Pentagon's sponsorship of a NASCAR team and to vote for a ban on federal aid to Planned Parenthood.
The proposals were among more than 120 amendments remaining for the House to vote on as Republican leaders wind down a week of frenzied action on the spending bill.
A new study conducted by the Center for Equal Opportunity (CEO) claims Miami University and The Ohio State University discriminate based on race and ethnicity in the admissions process.
Released Monday, Feb. 7, the study claims Miami preferences African-American, Hispanic and Asian students over white students.
Wisconsin isn't the only place where attempts to pry the golden spoon out of the mouth of teachers unions has resulted in ugliness:
Gov. Butch Otter, longtime lawmakers and an Idaho professor say they've never seen political rancor boil into personal attacks like this in Idaho before.
So what is it about schools Superintendent Tom Luna's proposal for revamping Idaho education that brings emotions so close to the surface of the teacher’s union?
Luna's plan, which is still in the Senate Education Committee, would replace teacher tenure with rolling two-year contracts, force unions to prove they represent 50 percent of the teachers in a district, limit collective bargaining to salaries and benefits and not allow collective bargaining agreements to extend beyond the end of the state fiscal year.
On Saturday evening, Luna said, he encountered an angry man outside his mother's house in Nampa. The man reportedly identified himself as a teacher opposed to Luna's plans to increase class sizes and said he had planned to speak to Luna's mother. Luna reported the incident to Nampa police.
Late Monday or early Tuesday, someone slashed two tires on Luna's vehicle at his Nampa home and spray-painted the word "Luna" with an X through it on the white truck's passenger door. Nampa police are investigating.
After Luna reported the vandalism early Tuesday morning, he went to a Downtown Boise coffee shop for an appearance on live morning television. He was approached by a man who loudly called him "a liar and other choice words" before a police officer intervened and calmed the man down, Luna spokeswoman Melissa McGrath said.
What was it a famous community organizer said? "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun."
Short and brutal. “The Tea Party is doing what it can to hold our elected officials accountable to their election promises. Your people are doing their best to intimidate our elected officials into pretending last November never happened. . . . Anyway, yes, I suppose now is your time in the sun. It’s been quite the education for the country at large, I think.”
WHO’S BEEN “OVERREACHING?” In the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin slaps around E.J. Dionne. “Overreach would be choosing extra-legislative means (flight) to prevent the voters’ elected representatives from working their will. Overreach would be threatening Republican officials in their homes. Overreach would be a flurry of Hitlerian imagery (good for the National Jewish Democratic Council in denouncing the widespread signage, but where is the George Soros-backed Jewish Funds for Justice and the anti-Glenn Beck crowd when you need them?) Overreach would be a massive sick-out, in essence a dishonest strike. (The schools should dock pay for anyone not actually ill who didn’t show up.)”
New Mexico Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman is expected to announce his retirement today, according to a source close to the decision, a move that further complicates his party's efforts to hold their Senate majority in 2012.
Bingaman had been mulling whether to run for a sixth term for months and, if he had, would have almost certainly been re-elected.
Aviv says the next terrorist attack here in America is imminent and will involve suicide bombers and non-suicide bombers in places where large groups of people congregate. (I.e., Disneyland, Las Vegas casinos, big cities ( New York , San Francisco , Chicago , etc.) and that it will also include shopping malls, subways in rush hour, train stations, etc., as well as, rural America this time.. The interlands
( Wyoming , Montana , etc.).
The attack will be characterized by simultaneous detonations around the country (terrorists like big impact), involving at least 5-8 cities, including rural areas.
Aviv says terrorists won't need to use suicide bombers in many of the larger cities, because at places like the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, they can simply valet park a car loaded with explosives and walk away.
Aviv says all of the above is well known in intelligence circles, but that our U. S.. Government does not want to 'alarm American citizens' with the facts.
Ayn Rand’s classic novel, Atlas Shrugged, is set against the background of difficult economic times marked by collectivism and statism, not unlike the situation we see today. Large and small companies are failing and the government invokes the “too big to fail” and “national emergency” mantras and selects the winners in industry, not based on their merits but on the basis of political influence and “national interest”. One of the first industries to be deemed as such is the railroad network and the result was government intervention in the form of the creation of the Railroad Unification Plan.
One of the main antagonists is a man named Jim Taggart, president of Taggart Transcontinental Railroad. This railroad is one of the largest and serves many profitable areas of the country, specifically the oilfields of Colorado – yet due to poor management, it is in financial trouble. Taggart is under considerable competitive pressure from the Phoenix-Durango line simply because they provide better service and have invested in upgrading their rolling stock and rails. They are simply less costly, more efficient and better managed.
Taggart uses his political influence in Washington to convince a collectivist leaning government that this situation is unfair and it is really the “people” who are suffering and “something must be done” because it is a “crisis”. The result was the “Anti-Dog Eat Dog Act” preventing “destructive competition” and allowing the National Alliance of Railroads to ban competition in certain areas of the country. Taggart uses this Act to drive Phoenix-Durango out of Colorado and resume his poor service to the oilfields. As a result of the regional monopoly and poor service, the oil company can’t get its product to market and the oil industry in Colorado quickly collapses.
Sound like any administration that we know?
Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, confronted with thousands of protesters outside of the state capitol in Madison, says "it would be wise for the president" to stay out of his state's business.
"I think we're focused on balancing our budget," Walker said on Fox News Friday morning. "It would be wise for the president and others in Washington to focus on balancing their budget, which they are a long ways from doing."
WI GOV.: 'NOT GOING TO BE BULLIED, INTIMIDATED'...
Union Fight Heats Up...
Republicans vow to cut spending in state capitols...
WI Dem Goes on TV from 'Undisclosed Location'...
WALKOUT: Milwaukee Schools closed; High number of absentee teachers...
Public Employee Union Protests Spread to Ohio...
Now Teachers protest in Michigan...
'Coming To Minnesota'...
STATE BUDGETS ON THE BRINK: CA, TX, IL, NY, NJ...
LIVE: Minute-by-minute coverage as Bahrain, Libya, Yemen, Jordan and Egypt face a day of protest.
Holland's Minister of Economic Affairs, Agriculture, and Innovation and Deputy Prime Minister can show you a consensus:
Christian Democrat leader Maxime Verhagen on Monday said the multicultural society has failed.
Verhagen noted that the Dutch no longer feel at home in their own country.
He follows his European colleagues in declaring multiculturalism a failure. German chancellor Angela Merkel, British prime minister David Cameron and French president Nicolas Sarkozy have all said the same…
This is what the union in Wisconsin was doing to balance the budget 5 months ago. They care for themselves first and last.
Despite Budget Cuts, Layoff Fears, Milwaukee Teachers Fight for Taxpayer-Funded Viagra
With the district in a financial crisis and hundreds of its members facing layoffs, the Milwaukee teachers union is taking a peculiar stand: fighting to get their taxpayer-funded Viagra back.
A common theme of the union demonstrators in Madison today was that Governor Walker is a “dictator.” This showed up on sign after sign. It sheds light, I think, on how public union members in particular, and liberals in general, think. What is going on here is that the voters of Wisconsin have elected a Republican Governor and–overwhelmingly–a Republican legislature, precisely so that they can get the state’s budget under control.
What the Democrats don’t like isn’t dictatorship, it is democracy. That is why the Democrats in the Wisconsin Senate fled the state en masse–they prevented a quorum, so that a vote they were going to lose couldn’t take place. Once again, it is democracy they are trying to frustrate, not dictatorship.
One could make the point more broadly about the organized labor movement. The unions’ top priority is to eliminate the secret ballot in union certification elections. Why?
The next Calvin Coolidge? “Coolidge became famous nationwide during the Boston Police Strike of 1919, when nearly three fourths of that force left work. Mobs roamed Boston, breaking windows and looting stores for two nights. The mayor managed to restore order with local militias. Then Coolidge called in the entire state militia, which broke the strikers’ will. Coolidge made a famous declaration: ‘There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time.’”
Here in Florida, we are in the middle of something that is happening in other states with Republican leadership. We are refusing federal money.
Newly elected governor, Rick Scott, refused $2.4B of money for a high speed train from Tampa to Orlando, a distance of 85 miles (a cost of $28.2 million per mile).
This might be different if rail wasn’t a loser in America. Reported in a study in the New York Post in 2009:
Taxpayers spent a whopping $32 per passenger subsidizing the cost of the typical Amtrak rider last year — about four times the rail operator’s own estimate, according to a private study released today.
If you have been worried about those Wisconsin Democratic state Senators who fled the jurisdiction so they wouldn't have to participate in the democratic process, you can breathe a sigh of relief. They have been located, and they are OK! They are hiding (or were hiding, anyway; their cover is blown now) at the Best Western Clock Tower Resort in Rockford, Illinois.
No word yet on whether they are ready to come home to face the music. But they have been hiding out in some comfort; the Clock Tower features, as noted sleuth Jim Geraghty figured out, a restaurant called the Tilted Kilt, which calls itself the "Best Looking Sports Pub You've Ever Seen," and features this promotional shot:
As the unions staged their productions in Madison this week, seeking to get the governor and supportive legislators in line, many of us turned to Patrick McIlheran's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel column to understand what was happening. I also called Pat to ask him how to follow events in Madison. He took my call on a busy day and patiently made several recommendations. I caught him on a busy day and I'm sure that left out a few observers whom he would have included on further reflection. In any event, here are his recommendations, in no particular order:
Right On (McIlheran's own Journal Sentinel blog)
No Runny Eggs (look for Steve Egg's posts)
Blaska Blog (it unfortunately appears to be suffering from a technical glitch at the moment)
I asked McIlheran if he thought Governor Walker had the spine to see the current crisis through. Pointing to Governor Walker's record as Milwaukee County Executive, Pat had no hesitation in saying that he thought he did. The Weekly Standard's Steve Hayes is a Wisconsin native. Steve also cites Governor Walker's record on this point.
Black bears show surprisingly large and previously unobserved decreases in their metabolism during and after hibernation.
Bears Uncouple Temperature and Metabolism for Hibernation, New Study Shows
ScienceDaily (Feb. 17, 2011) — Several American black bears, captured by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game after wandering a bit too close to human communities, have given researchers the opportunity to study hibernation in these large mammals like never before. Surprisingly, the new findings show that although black bears only reduce their body temperatures slightly during hibernation, their metabolic activity drops dramatically, slowing to about 25 percent of their normal, active rates.