Wednesday, July 6, 2011
For more than 20 years, the U.S. Air Force had a world monopoly on radar-evading technology — and with it, a huge advantage over any rival. Several generations of stealth fighters and bombers, from the earliest F-117s to the 1990s-vintage B-2s and today’s F-22s, have helped win wars, take down regimes and exert U.S. influence across the globe.
Then something happened. In an eventful two years, the United States has apparently lost its stealth monopoly to Russia, China and several other countries that have already flown their own stealth-fighter prototypes — or might soon. U.S. stealth planes are still better and far more numerous than any other country’s, and will be for a long time. But they’re no longer alone.
The implications could be enormous, for the United States and the world.
Or not. There’s evidence that most countries are merely bluffing with their stealth-fighter plans. In that case, U.S. stealth dominance could continue … only slightly diminished.
Mercury Vapor Released from Broken Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs Can Exceed Safe Exposure Levels for Humans, Study Finds
ScienceDaily (July 6, 2011) — Once broken, a compact fluorescent light bulb continuously releases mercury vapor into the air for weeks to months, and the total amount can exceed safe human exposure levels in a poorly ventilated room, according to study results reported in Environmental Engineering Science, a peer-reviewed online only journal published monthly by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
Reconstruction of the Indo-Atlantic Ocean at 63 million years, during the time of the superfast motion of India which Scripps scientists attribute to the force of the Reunion plume head. The arrows show the relative convergence rate of Africa (black arrows) and India (dark blue) relative to Eurasia before, during and after (from left to right) the period of maximum plume head force. The jagged red and brown lines northeast of India show two possible positions of the trench (the subduction zone) between India and Eurasia depending on whether the India-Eurasia collision occurred at 52 million years or 43 million years. (Credit: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego)
The U.S. Supreme Court has until Thursday to intervene before Texas is scheduled to put to death a convicted murderer and rapist from Mexico of a 16 year old girl whose execution could place the U.S. in violation of a 38-year international treaty.
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles on Tuesday rejected Humberto Leal Garcia's bid for a 180-day stay of execution, leaving only Gov. Rick Perry and the high court standing in the way of his lethal injection at the Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville.
TILL MORE ON THAT ATF GUN-SMUGGLING OPERATION: Email Confirms ‘Gunwalker’ Known Throughout Justice Department: Attorney General Holder’s credibility takes another hit.
White House Staffers Got a Raise Last Year, And You Did Not
The White House released its annual salary report last week, and as usual, it's nice to work for Barack Obama: Most staffers who were there for more than a year got a salary bump. A bigger one than you did.
The last time we checked in on White House salaries, we found that an astonishing 75% of continuing staffers got raises from 2009 to 2010—a huge number given the fact that, according to compensation experts, most companies had skipped routine raises that year in reaction to the economic crisis that the White House was busy failing to solve. This time around—from 2010 to 2011—the ratio is a little less dramatic. Of the 270 White House staffers who have been there for more than a year, 146—or 54%—received raises. The average salary increase was 16%.
Imagine the tsunami of ink that would be spilled if Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin proclaimed that Abraham Lincoln built an intercontinental railroad during the Civil War.
Milton Friedman famously said that if you put Big Government in charge of the Sahara Desert, within five years there would be a shortage of sand. Put it in charge of the public restrooms at Coney Island and you get this:
The city is so hard up for cash that it's rationing toilet paper in women's public restrooms — to the point where bathroom attendants are doling out a few measly squares per patron — along the world-famous Coney Island boardwalk.
Congratulations to Atlanta public school educrats. They may have stumbled onto the holy grail : a means to equalize not opportunity, but achievement. The discovery was made while cheating on students' behalf .
Fifty-six schools were investigated, and cheating was found in 44, or nearly 80 percent, as CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann reports.
It's a scathing report: A decade of systemic cheating in Atlanta's school system by the adults. Dozens of educators erased wrong student answers on state standardized tests, and inserted the right ones.
In all, investigators accused 38 principals of cheating and said 82 of the 178 educators they identified as part of the scandal confessed.
At least one whistleblower has been fired for speaking up about the systemic cheating.
ATF GUNRUNNING SCANDAL UPDATE: Gunwalker: The ATF’s Kenneth Melson Blows the Whistle on the Justice Department. “In a blockbuster development in the Operation Fast & Furious gun-running scandal, Acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson secretly testified before House and Senate investigators on July 4 with his own personal lawyer present, former United States Attorney Richard Cullen, without the knowledge of the ATF or the Department of Justice. . . . Contrary to the Justice Department’s denials, according to Melson, ATF agents specifically witnessed transfers of weapons from straw purchasers to third parties without taking any further action.” Read the whole thing.
UPDATE: Reader Christopher Tolley writes: “My take is that the MSM will excoriate those viciously partisan, shoot-from-the-hip, renegade Republicans, Issa and Grassley, for obtaining Melson’s testimony in ‘secret’, and ignore the substance of what Melson actually said.”
Eggs' Antioxidant Properties May Help Prevent Heart Disease and Cancer, Study Suggests
ScienceDaily (July 5, 2011) — One of nature's most perfect foods may be even better for us than previously thought.
While eggs are well known to be an excellent source of proteins, lipids, vitamins and minerals, researchers at the University of Alberta recently discovered they also contain antioxidant properties, which helps in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
They found the yolks contained two amino acids, tryptophan and tyrosine, which have high antioxidant properties.
After analyzing the properties, the researchers determined that two egg yolks in their raw state have almost twice as many antioxidant properties as an apple and about the same as half a serving (25 grams) of cranberries.
However, when the eggs were fried or boiled, antioxidant properties were reduced by about half, and a little more than half if the eggs were cooked in a microwave.
"It's a big reduction but it still leaves eggs equal to apples in their antioxidant value," said Wu.
Whoa! Democrats Pass Strict Voter ID Law In Rhode Island
Opponents surprised by Chafee's signing of voter-ID bill
PROVIDENCE - The fight over Rhode Island's new voter identification law continued for three days after Governor Chafee quietly signed the legislation, with opponents saying they were led by the governor's office to believe they still had a fighting chance.
A week earlier, Democratic North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue vetoed a voter-ID bill passed by her state's Republican-controlled legislature, saying it would "unnecessarily and unfairly disenfranchise many eligible and legitimate voters."
But there was no such opposition from Chafee in Rhode Island, where Democrats overwhelmingly control the House and Senate. Democratic House Speaker Gordon D. Fox was one of the co-sponsors of the new voter-identification law, along with Democrat Jon Brien, of Woonsocket, and Republicans Joseph Trillo, of Warwick, and Doreen Costa, of North Kingstown.
A top labor union echoed Republicans in their question for President Obama ahead of his Twitter town hall on Wednesday afternoon.
"Where are the jobs?" the AFL-CIO asked Obama on its Twitter page, picking up on a refrain more typical of angry Republican lawmakers than labor groups.
New Technology Makes Textiles Permanently Germ-Free
Inventor Jason Locklin is surrounded by his project team; (left) Vikram Dhende, graduate student, and (right) Ian Hardin, a professor in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences
ScienceDaily (July 5, 2011) — A University of Georgia researcher has invented a new technology that can inexpensively render medical linens and clothing, face masks, paper towels -- and yes, even diapers, intimate apparel and athletic wear, including smelly socks -- permanently germ-free.
More than 1,400 state employees were paid in excess of $200,000 last year, according to compensation data made public for the first time Tuesday on Controller John Chiang's website.
Chiang, a Democrat who has received millions in campaign contributions from state employee unions, did not include workers' names even though that information is public and has been provided upon request for years.
In October, in response to the salary scandals in Bell, Chiang collected and published payroll information from California counties and cities. His staff left names out then because "it wasn't our data, [and] couldn't be verified or scrubbed for confidential information," said Jacob Roper, a spokesman for the controller.
Chiang followed the same template in posting the state payroll. Roper denied that the identities of employees were left out to avoid upsetting the politically powerful employee unions.
The doctor, whose name wasn’t released, had a salary range of $261,408 to $308,640 and collected a total of $838,706, according to data released by Controller John Chiang.
Forget playing the lottery--work for the state of California, the money is better.
Teachers and principals erased and corrected mistakes on students’ answer sheets.
Area superintendents silenced whistle-blowers and rewarded subordinates who met academic goals by any means possible.
Superintendent Beverly Hall and her top aides ignored, buried, destroyed or altered complaints about misconduct, claimed ignorance of wrongdoing and accused naysayers of failing to believe in poor children’s ability to learn.
The bill, passed on a party-line vote, adds lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people as well as people with disabilities to the list of groups that schools must include in the lessons. It also would prohibit material that reflects adversely on gays.
“This is monumental cinema, awash with gorgeous tones, and carrying an ultimate message that will resonate with every viewer, young or old: there is darkness in all of us, but we can overcome it. “
Angelina Jolie and Sarah Jessica Parker, with annual salaries of $30 million (£18.6 million) each, are the highest paid actresses in Hollywood, according to a new ranking
Angelina Jolie began her relationship with Brad Pitt in the year she turned 30 Photo: AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Actress Sarah Jessica Parker is one of the Hollywood identities named as members of President Barack Obama's Committee on Arts and the Humanities Photo: AP
Aniston has already run into controversy over the film, after she said that it demonstrated that men are no longer a necessary ingredient in forming a family
Snoops disagrees with some of the assertions in the July 4th signers’ story, which is is linked to as well.
1400 state employees make more than $200K.
George Will explains:
The 1977 Community Reinvestment Act pressured banks to relax lending standards to dispense mortgages more broadly across communities. In 1992, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston purported to identify racial discrimination in the application of traditional lending standards to those, Morgenson and Rosner write, “whose incomes, assets, or abilities to pay fell far below the traditional homeowner spectrum.”
In 1994, Bill Clinton proposed increasing homeownership through a “partnership” between government and the private sector, principally orchestrated by Fannie Mae, a “government-sponsored enterprise” (GSE). It became a perfect specimen of what such “partnerships” (e.g., General Motors) usually involve: Profits are private, losses are socialized.
There was a torrent of compassion-speak: “Special care should be taken to ensure that standards are appropriate to the economic culture of urban, lower-income, and nontraditional consumers.” “Lack of credit history should not be seen as a negative factor.” Government having decided to dictate behavior that markets discouraged, the traditional relationship between borrowers and lenders was revised. Lenders promoted reckless borrowing, knowing they could offload risk to purchasers of bundled loans, and especially to Fannie Mae. In 1994, subprime lending was $40 billion. In 1995, almost one in five mortgages was subprime. Four years later such lending totaled $160 billion.
India has been through many, many foreign invasions; the invaders often looted Hindu temples as their first order of business. This should help explain why:
Gold coins dating back to the era of the East India Company, sacks of diamonds and solid-gold idols are among the treasures that have been found in the sealed vaults of a 16th century Hindu temple, according to temple officials and news reports.
The treasure, which had been sealed for over a century, is estimated to be worth at least $22 billion – making Trivandrum’s Sree Padmanabhaswamy perhaps India’s richest temple.
A new record: Dead stop to 223 mph in one mile. (This car has gone 267 mph so this record will fall shortly)
This world speed record car went faster than a Space Shuttle
This heavily-modified street-legal Ford GT made history as the first car recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for standing-mile speed at 223 mph. Even cooler: they did it on the runway used for landing Space Shuttles.
The car itself is a monster, outfitted with a fully-built twin-turbo Ford GT motor running over 25 pounds of boost and producing 1,400 horsepower. The body uses a slippery aerodynamic sealant called "PerformaBond" and a custom suspension setup to squeeze every last mph out of the car, which is still technically street legal.
There's nothing triangular about the Mount Teide volcano. From its base, it's the third largest volcano in the world but is pretty flat on top. So why does its shadow look like a perfect ghost pyramid rising over the horizon?
Bree Boyce, a 22-year-old singer from South Carolina, is this year's surprise Miss America hopeful after she lost an incredible 110lbs to win her state contest. Stunning photographs chart her remarkable transformation - from an overweight and awkward teenager to a self-confident and charming young woman, with a body which looks toned and healthy rather than starved.
Oil Prices Climb Back to Pre-Reserve Release Levels. “Crude raced higher Tuesday as energy bulls pushed Nymex oil back toward the $100-a-barrel mark, prices last seen before world governments said they would release crude from their reserves last month.”
Note this take: “It would be like intervention in the currency markets in the 1980s. The intended purpose was to psychologically drive down prices and every time they intervened it almost expressed their desperation…it would be like putting gasoline on a burning fire.”
Nothing provokes a tantrum from the climate campaign quicker than pointing out that global temperatures flattened out after 1998, following a two-decade period of more or less steady increase of about 0.4 degrees Celsius.
Comes now the National Academy of Sciences, which yesterday published a new paper that sets out to explain “why global surface temperatures did not rise between 1998 and 2008.” Apparently the NAS didn’t get the memo from the Center for American Progress that we’re not supposed to acknowledge that global warming has not happened over the last decade.
But not to worry. The NAS has it covered. As the rest of the abstract explains:
We find that this hiatus in warming coincides with a period of little increase in the sum of anthropogenic and natural forcings. Declining solar insolation as part of a normal eleven-year cycle, and a cyclical change from an El Nino to a La Nina dominate our measure of anthropogenic effects because rapid growth in short-lived sulfur emissions partially offsets rising greenhouse gas concentrations. As such, we find that recent global temperature records are consistent with the existing understanding of the relationship among global surface temperature, internal variability, and radiative forcing, which includes anthropogenic factors with well known warming and cooling effects.
Translation: China is saving us with their soaring emissions from coal use (sulfur dioxide particles reflect solar radiation).
DailyBrisk breaks the 900,000th mark worldwide and is now in the top 250,000th websites in the US. Thank You. 14 months ago we were 7,500,000th.
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