Greenland ice sheet shrinking fast: NASA:
The vast sheet of ice that covers Greenland is shrinking fast, but still not as fast as previous research indicated, NASA scientists said on Thursday.
Greenland’s low coastal regions lost 155 gigatons (41 cubic miles) of ice each year between 2003 and 2005 from excess melting and icebergs, the scientists said in a statement.
Well, it’s about time it lived up to its name.
Long live the Greenland banana plantations!
Town cracks down on rowdy Mizzou parties:
Tired of off-campus parties that are anything but fun for nearby homeowners, officials in this university community have unanimously approved a new crackdown on rowdy party hosts — and the hosts’ landlords.
The ordinances were approved Monday. They include tougher punishments for loud or rowdy social gatherings of 10 or more people and define 16 different nuisance activities, from drug dealing and prostitution to littering and blocking traffic.
Violations can result in fines ranging from $500 to $4,000. In the case of repeated nuisance parties, the city could close the property for up to one year, the Columbia Missourian reported today.
100,000+ tends to rate as a city, unless you’re an AP headline writer confronting a location in the Midwest. No doubt, this bucolic little community has indoor plumbing, mostly, too.
Laclede asks to reduce rate:
Overwhelmed by higher prices to heat their homes and fill their gas tanks over the last few years, some area residents may get a reprieve.
Laclede Gas Co., which serves St. Louis and surrounding Missouri counties, has filed for a 13 percent reduction in fuel costs, reflecting lower wholesale prices for natural gas, which is used to heat most homes. Gas rates for Ameren Corp. customers in Missouri and Illinois already have been cut.
Who will be the first to blame the failed economic policies of the President? Hah, trick question, no one, because this is a transparent ploy on the part of Big Rotten Dinosaur to influence the election!
Also, it’s funny to note the following misprinting that’s probably due to a failure in the filling in of the Mad Libs template for utility stories:
Bills for Laclede residential customers would fall an average of almost $14 a month under the filings last week with the Missouri Public Service Commission. The increase is based on monthly usage of about 93 therms and “normal” temperatures, according to St. Louis-based Laclede.
Sticking it to the poor and using cheap prices to make them dependent on the heat. Or something.
I bet this made some troops’ days:
Corporals John W. Wright and Lazaro A. Castillo, intelligence specialists with Headquarters Company, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), and Cpl. Romel M. Estremadura, a member of the 1st MLG Personal Security Detachment, earned these bragging rights and their present rank during a special promotion ceremony here Nov. 2.
Gen. Robert Magnus, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, along with action stars Marshall Teague and Chuck Norris, joined a military formation of 20 service members to promote the three Marines.
How cool would that be? I mean, I’m just a QA guy, and I guess the equivalent would be for Loki to tell me, “Nice job.”
(Link seen on Ace of Spades HQ.)
When we looked for a new home last winter, our real estate agent mentioned that there were some really nice houses in the city of St. Louis. No thanks, I said; I already have to pay a city income tax for the luxury of getting to work there. I don’t need to suffer through what I pay for.
Unfortunately, this fellow cannot say the same:
I live and work in the City of St. Louis. There is no greater advocate for this community than I. St. Louis is a place blessed with a rich history and noble heritage, with beautiful buildings and vibrant communities, with art and science and a wonderful mix of small town charm and big city style.
However, the City of St. Louis itself is dying, thanks primarily to decades of liberal/Democrat control, which has done everything possible to drive out the upper and middle class citizens and ruined many blessings with which this once great city had been endowed. St. Louis is a classic example of what happens when Democrats and Liberals hold dominion unopposed over a community for a long period of time. It is a Democrat utopia.
It sucks, for sure. But it’s nothing a new soccer stadium for Dave Checketts wouldn’t cure.
Back when I was a kid, these were called “candy cigarettes”:
Of course, back when I was a kid, you could buy dried tobacco products ready-made. But that was before eager taxation proponents passed continual waves of legislation designed to raise money on a socially-unaccepted product. Waves of legislation that had unintended consequences.
Which is why we’ll buy dried tobacco in the produce section someday soon. Because dried tobacco isn’t cigarettes, you see.
Neither are “candy sticks”, but it’s good to see that all the candy cigarette machinery didn’t get rusty.
Originally, Sudoku was named Countdoku, but then the Lucasfilm attorneys sent a letter. The rest, they say, is numerology. Or history. Or what have you.
Not that you were asking, but this is no relation of mine:
A man from Illinois is accused of killing a man from Bland this week. The Phelps County Sheriff’s Department says Michael Noggle of Cahokia is charged with first-degree murder after the body of James Gaylord was found under a bridge northwest of Rolla Wednesday.
At least, I don’t think so.
Well, not exactly, but “backers” want to give police more excuses to stop people in cars: Missouri wants what Illinois has: a tougher seat belt law:
Backers of a tougher seat belt law in Missouri are holding a pep rally next week to get psyched up for the upcoming legislative battle in Jefferson City. They’re about to take another crack at a primary seat belt law.
Police in Missouri can write a ticket for not wearing a seat belt only if the motorist was pulled over for another violation. A primary seat belt law, which has failed in the legislature every year since 2000, gives police authority to pull people over solely for not buckling up.
As a former young man who rode in motor vehicles, I understand this really isn’t about giving police a pretext to stop you and check your story, since they’ll do that for license plate light infractions that aren’t, wow, look at that, infractious. This will, however, give them a reason to stop people and part them from some of their money.
To save a projected 90 lives a year. But that’s projected, whereas the loss of freedom and the loss of citizens’ money, will be real.
A centralized power grid with a single failure that affects numerous cities in numerous countries shows itself as an example of a needed solution. That solution, of course: more centralization.
One of the worst and most dramatic power failures in three decades plunged millions of Europeans into darkness over the weekend, halting trains, trapping dozens in lifts and prompting calls for a central European power authority.
The blackout, which originated in north-western Germany, also struck Paris and 15 French regions, and its effects were felt in Austria, Belgium, Italy and Spain. In Germany, around 100 trains were delayed, and in the French capital firemen responded to 40 calls from those trapped in lifts late on Saturday night.
The only thing that more centralization cannot solve, to some people, is the hunger for more consolidation of power into their hands.
At least, I think that’s the point he meanders to in his column today:
Medical care is already expensive. Without health insurance, the most expensive treatments are beyond the reach of even an affluent citizen. Consider bone marrow transplants. This is the most common adult stem cell therapy, and technology-wise, it’s horse-and-buggy stuff compared with what might be coming in the not-distant future. And what does this horse-and-buggy stuff cost? Approximately $100,000.
So what would we do? If the insurance companies have to foot the bill for the new technology, rates would have to rise, and maybe rise steeply.
This would compound the problem we already can barely ignore about health insurance. Millions of Americans don’t have any. We’re able to ignore this only because most middle-class people have at least some semblance of health insurance, but if rates go up, what then? Could we become a society in which some people — the most affluent — are able to get new organs while many go without even basic treatment?
More likely, we will have to make some very difficult decisions. Who will get the cutting-edge treatment and be allowed to cheat death? I think about a spiritual man in his mid-60s, a man who used to dress as a horse for Shakespeare in the Park. Would he make the cut?
Never mind how the free market would eventually balance this out by finding more cost-effective solutions so health care providers could make money by applying the cures to new people with smaller budgets. Nah, let’s just grab that precise moment of maximum suck, where it’s no longer impossible but remains prohibitively expensive, and extrapolate to indict…. I don’t know who McClellan’s trying to indict here. Health care? Researchers? Opponents of Amendment 2? All of the above?
Kate at Electric Venom needs your suggestions for the 50 Most Depressing Songs so she can build a playlist to help her in her NaNoMoWri or whatever that thing is efforts.
Man, I just recollected the old mixed tapes and playlists I created for myself to serve as backdrop music when I bled my passions to the page, and just remembering those depressing songs has kinda bummed me out. Well-played, maestros.
(Oh, yeah, I did list some in her comments, but I’m not going to recreate them for you here, gentle reader, because it would hurt just too much.)
In a sidebar to an article entitled “Whatever Happened To….” by Rose Madeline Mula, the Saturday Evening Post asks that question. Here’s the list, with the ones I remember in bold:
- Blackjack chewing gum (It and its cousins made a brief comeback in the 1980s.)
- Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water
- Candy cigarettes
- Soda-pop machines that dispensed bottles
- Coffee shops with tableside jukeboxes (Come on, some retro places still have these.)
- Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers
- Party lines (We had them in Jefferson County, Missouri, until 1987 or 1988.)
- Packards (But I do remember Packard Bells.)
- P.F. Flyers (But I do remember Radio Flyers. Metal Radio Flyers.)
- Butch wax
- Howdy Doody
- S&H Green Stamps (Not Eagle Stamps. See this post from April 2006.)
- Hi-fi systems
- Newsreels before the movie
- 45-RPM records…and 78-RPM records (I still own some 45s.)
- Telephone numbers with a word prefix (e.g., Olive-6933)
- Metal ice trays with levers (See this post from March 2006)
- Mimeograph paper (And the glorious smell of the ink and the warmth of the fresh copies.)
- Blue flashbulbs
- Rollerskate keys
- Cork popguns
- Drive-in theatres
- Washtub wringers
That makes me 14 of 25, and I am not yet 35. So although this list shouldn’t make me feel old since its items are not older than the 1980s in many cases, I think the ery fact that I have a subscription to the Saturday Evening Post should suffice.
The evidence is clear; the Dow Jones average, widely reported in the media as a snapshot financial harbinger or at least simple box score of the nation, is trending downward the week before the election, from a high of almost 12,150 on Monday to about 12,020 at the close of business yesterday. This can mean only one thing:
Billionaire George Soros is manipulating the stock market to affect the election!
Because I understand that these days all portents and augury has something to do with stolen or rigged elections. I thought I would read some guts, too.
The problem: Overfishing and pollution are going to end seafood as we know it:
Clambakes, crabcakes, swordfish steaks and even humble fish sticks could be little more than a fond memory in a few decades. If current trends of overfishing and pollution continue, the populations of just about all seafood face collapse by 2048, a team of ecologists and economists warns in a report in Friday’s issue of the journal Science.
The MfBJN solution: Raise the earth’s temperature a few degrees! The rising temperatures will melt the ice caps, providing more ocean to dilute the pollution and will submerge coastal areas, providing rich new habitats for our tasty waterbound friends.
Now, to get a government grant to turn this pithy blog post into a couple years’ worth of easy living and a couple hundred pages of obscure, hesitant prose.
William Squire posted some ghostwritten jokes for John Kerry, who recently bombed with a "botched joke":
You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.
Whereas I do not think Mr. Squire was entirely ingenuous (or whatever the opposite of disingenuous is), I wholly sincerely offer up my own services as a humorist for Mr. Kerry. Here, then, are my sample jokes:
Why did the uneducated soldier fiddle with his car radio’s FM dial?
Because it was stuck on 96.7 Z-Rock, and he was looking for some of that hillbilly music they listen to in the Midwest.
Why did the firemen need the jaws of life for the uneducated soldier who was fiddling with his car radio’s FM dial?
Because he lost control of his vehicle, rolled it down an enbankment, and was stuck in his IROC.
Why didn’t the uneducated, not trying to be smart soldier give Senator Kerry the ascot the Massachussetan asked for?
The uneducated soldier didn’t know it was stuck on the tie rack!
See, I’m marginally more amusing than the senator’s current writers.
I’m available for low, low rates!
I know, what’s next, book reports on Dell mini mags? But I read this book and it’s 96 pages, so it’s thicker than some of the tracts I’ve covered here. It’s a tiny little octo or whatever you would call it with a number of crime-related puzzles. You’re supposed to figure them out and look up the answer in the back to see if you’re right. The book’s stories are split between logic puzzles, the kind you’re supposed to draw grids for and mark off the inferences from a finite number of statements of fact such as “One of the suspects is a liar,” and the more Encyclopedia Brownish spot-the-inconsistencies. I prefered the latter, mainly because I read this in bed often and didn’t have pen and paper to do the logic puzzles.
I paid a quarter for it at a book fair (Carondolet 2006? Oh, it’s so hard to tell). It’s worth it if you can get a cheap copy if you remember Encyclopedia Brown fondly.
Books mentioned in this review:
When you’re married, sometimes you let a little inference work for you. It’s not deception, exactly. For example:
I said: Should I take the leftover Halloween candy to work?
She inferred: To share with coworkers.
I really meant: For lunch.
Everyone’s happy. Except maybe my coworkers.
UPDATE: Number of SweeTarts that it takes until you begin to hallucinate: 597.
Small in stature, tribute band lives large in honor of Gene Simmons and company:
Almost exactly a decade ago, Joey Fatale had the idea for MiniKISS, the “littlest KISS tribute band in the world.”
He was moving and, in the process, going through his vinyl records when he came upon his copy of “Alive!” the 1975 live album that helped make KISS a legend.
“I thought it would be great to have a band of little people dressed up as KISS,” Fatale said. “I threw it together as a fluke.”
The only thing that could make it better is realizing it’s not the only one:
MiniKISS clicked with Comedy Central’s mock-news program “The Daily Show,” which recently did a broad parody involving the “rivalry” between MiniKISS and Tiny Kiss, another KISS tribute band with a little-people lineup. On the MiniKISS Web site, Fatale has more or less foreclosed on commenting on Tiny Kiss, but he’s taken marketing precautions.
Isn’t this country great?