Monday, November 29, 2010

Thai court set to rule on fate of ruling party

Thai court set to rule on fate of ruling party
AP foreign, Monday November 29 2010

BANGKOK (AP) — "Judges from Thailand's Constitutional Court are deciding whether to disband the ruling party of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva over charges it misused government funds."

More instability in Southeast Asia. The troubles in Thailand have been going on for quite a while. Unfortunately, with the situation on the Korean peninsula being what it is, this will not help stabilize the region. It would behoove the Western nations to do more for the countries in the area. Not necessarily monetarily, but politically.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Trivial trivia for you

On November 22nd, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was killed. This is common knowledge the world over. What you might not have know is that, for three days after, there were no reported suicides in the US. That means that people resumed killing themselves on November 26th, 1963. Which reminds me... A happy birthday wish to my sister, who is 47 today.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Dark energy and flat Universe exposed by simple method

Dark energy and flat Universe exposed by simple method
By Jason Palmer
Science and technology reporter, BBC News | 24 November 2010 Last updated at 13:45 ET

"Researchers have developed a simple technique that adds evidence to the theory that the Universe is flat.

Moreover, the method - developed by revisiting a 30-year-old idea - confirms that "dark energy" makes up nearly three-quarters of the Universe.

The research, published in Nature, uses existing data and relies on fewer assumptions than current approaches."

The concepts of Dark Energy and Dark Matter are fascinating. Their implications make for exciting conceptual visions of reality.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Airport security and the American soul

Airport security and the American soul
By Kevin Connolly
BBC News, Washington | 24 November 2010 Last updated at 15:13 ET

"As Americans count the blessings which providence has showered over them this Thanksgiving holiday, a division has emerged over how they should view the security staff on duty at the nation's airports.

Should they acclaim the staff of the Transportation Safety Authority - who are, after all, working on a public holiday - for protecting them with their ceaseless vigilance?

Or should they find something sinister in the new full-body screening machines and pat-down procedures which are making air travel here an ever less joyful experience?

At the heart of the debate are conflicting impulses within the American soul towards state authority.
"

This is a very interesting take on the whole TSA "pat-down" issue. As a US citizen who spent the majority of his life growing up in Europe (17 of my first 25 years, including 12 straight from the age of 13 to 25) I think I have a unique perspective here. I can see both sides of the debate. This article should help those citizens who have no experience outside of the States see things from a different angle.

This issue is not as black and white as it might seem.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tensions high as North, South Korea trade shelling

Tensions high as North, South Korea trade shelling
By HYUNG-JIN KIM and KWANG-TAE KIM, Associated Press – Tue Nov 23, 5:49 pm ET

NCHEON, South Korea – "North and South Korea exchanged artillery fire Tuesday along their disputed frontier, raising tensions between the rivals to their highest level in more than a decade. The communist nation warned of more military strikes if the South encroaches on the maritime border by "even 0.001 millimeter.""

Heaven above! I really do not want WWIII to breakout in my lifetime. Nor in my sons.

I am serious, people. North Korea has nothing to lose by starting a war. Even the worst despots in the Middle East don't want an all out war.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Scientist: NKorea built uranium enriching facility

Scientist: NKorea built uranium enriching facility
By FOSTER KLUG, Associated Press - Sun Nov 21, 11:00 am ET

SEOUL, South Korea "North Korea's claim of a new, highly sophisticated uranium enrichment facility could be a ploy to win concessions in nuclear talks or an attempt to bolster leader Kim Jong Il's apparent heir.

But whatever the reason for the revelation, which a seasoned American nuclear scientist called "stunning," it provides a new set of worries for the Obama administration, which is sending its special envoy on North Korea for talks with officials in South Korea, Japan and China this week."

Maybe now others will see why I have been much more concerned about North Korea than anything happening in the Middle East or Asia. Al Qaeda is sending bombs in printer cartridges. North Korea has ICBMs with multi-warhead capable payloads.

Duck and cover? I don't think so.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Antimatter atoms produced and trapped at CERN

Antimatter atoms produced and trapped at CERN
PR22.10 | 17.11.2010

Geneva, 17 November 2010. "The ALPHA experiment at CERN1 has taken an important step forward in developing techniques to understand one of the Universe's open questions: is there a difference between matter and antimatter? In a paper published in Nature today, the collaboration shows that it has successfully produced and trapped atoms of antihydrogen. This development opens the path to new ways of making detailed measurements of antihydrogen, which will in turn allow scientists to compare matter and antimatter."

One step closer to warp drive.

Or total annihilation.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Proof of extra dimensions possible next year: CERN

Proof of extra dimensions possible next year: CERN
By Robert Evans
GENEVA | Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:03pm EST

(Reuters) - "Scientists at the CERN research center say their "Big Bang" project is going beyond all expectations and the first proof of the existence of dimensions beyond the known four could emerge next year."

This is very exciting news! I am so stoked to see if this comes to fruition. Imagine the possibilities.

Dog owner can't forgive Michael Vick

Dog owner can't forgive Michael Vick
November 16, 2010|Bill Plaschke

"While Michael Vick was screaming toward the sky, a black pit bull named Mel was standing quietly by a door.

On this night, like many other nights, Mel was waiting for his owners to take him outside, but he couldn't alert them with a bark. He doesn't bark. He won't bark. The bark has been beaten out of him.
"

Can there be any forgiveness for something like this? I have to honestly admit that I am torn in this case. On the one hand, this kind of cruelty is unspeakable. While not as horrendous as if the victims were human, it is but a small step down from there. On the other hand, he did "pay his debt to society" and does have the right to reclaim his life back. However, on the gripping hand, there is no way to tell what is in his heart regarding the actions and deeds he has done. How can we know if he has truly repented for his crimes?

I can't answer that question.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Is North Korea poised to revolutionize cyber warfare?

Is North Korea poised to revolutionize cyber warfare?
By Kevin Coleman
Nov 15, 2010

"A recent cyberattack on South Korean government websites that compromised classified documents shows the skill of the adversaries we face in the cyber realm. The event, allegedly carried out by the North Korean army's elite hacker unit, went all but unnoticed by the vast majority of cyber stakeholders. It is one of several recent cyberattacks of importance attributed to North Korea."

This is one of the reasons why I still fear North Korea more than Iraq, Iran or anywhere else in the Middle East. They have nothing to lose.

Life Won’t Be Same for MoH Recipient Giunta

Life Won’t Be Same for MoH Recipient Giunta
November 16, 2010
Stars and Stripes | by Leo Shane III

WASHINGTON -- "Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta has made no attempt to hide just how uncomfortable he is with the attention and accolades surrounding the Medal of Honor that he’ll formally receive on Tuesday."

I feel so proud of this kid. Like every other MoH or Silver Star recipient, he doesn't see himself as a hero. As he put it, “I’m a regular line Soldier".

There was an NCIS episode titles "Call of Silence" in which Charles Durning played a WWII MoH recipient. Durning actually did serve in the war and was awarded several decorations, including the Combat Infantryman's Badge, Silver Star Medal, Bronze Star Medal, and three Purple Hearts. He was also one of a few survivors of the infamous massacre of American POWs by German SS troops at Malmedy, Belgium. The character he played in this episode was very much like himself. And, like Sgt. Giunta, the expression of being nothing special and not really deserving of the accolades is part of the character makeup these kind of hero's exhibit.

They were just doing their job.

Monday, November 15, 2010

School's not out yet

Just finished a meeting with my sons teachers.  He's been having some difficulties in school lately. Well, more like always. It's a combination of him and the school system(s). Things should be much better going forward, though. I think his teachers actually listened to me this time. Hopefully he listened, too. Just a little more elbow grease on his part and he'll be kicking @$$ all over the place. This kid has got what it takes to really make something of his future.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Epic Event: CERN's Large Hadron Collider Generates a 'Mini-Big Bang'

Epic Event: CERN's Large Hadron Collider Generates a 'Mini-Big Bang'
November 09, 2010

"CERN's enormous Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, has successfully created a "mini-Big Bang" by smashing together lead ions instead of protons on 7 November, creating temperatures a million times hotter than the centre of the Sun. The LHC is housed in a 27km-long circular tunnel under the French-Swiss border near Geneva."

All I can say is...

AWESOME!

You really can't imagine how cool this stuff is for me.

New 'Call of Duty' blasts last year's sales record - Yahoo! News

New 'Call of Duty' blasts last year's sales record - Yahoo! News
By BARBARA ORTUTAY, AP Technology Writer

NEW YORK – ""Call of Duty: Black Ops" shattered entertainment records this week when it raked in $360 million in its first 24 hours on sale, once again proving that video games have cemented their place in our lives as mainstream entertainment on par with movies and music."

The previous record was MoH: MW2 with 4.7M copies. CoD: Black Ops pushed 5.6M copies. I haven't gotten either of these, yet, but they are on my "I Want This!" list.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Mother: 'My Son Is A Silent Hero'

Mother: 'My Son Is A Silent Hero'
Posted: 9:19 am EST November 7, 2010
Updated: 8:54 am EST November 9, 2010

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ga. -- "Four people charged with killing a teenager appeared before a Douglas County judge on Monday morning.

Quantez Devonta Mallory, Horace Damon Coleman, Emmanuel Benjamin Boykins and Tracen Lamar Franklin are accused of stomping, punching and kicking Bobby Tillman at a party, a beating Tillman's mother called unprovoked."

This is beyond senseless.  The boy was beaten and killed because he was "the next male that walked by."  I don't have words to describe my feelings on reading this.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Irena Sendler, Lifeline to Young Jews, Is Dead at 98

Irena Sendler, Lifeline to Young Jews, Is Dead at 98
By DENNIS HEVESI
Published: May 13, 2008

"Irena Sendler, a Roman Catholic who created a network of rescuers in Poland who smuggled about 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw ghetto in World War II, some of them in coffins, died Monday in Warsaw. She was 98."

This was an amazing woman.  If you don't know the story you should look it up.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Is it forest or trees, leaves or weeds

Every so often there is this feeling of total blueness that comes over me. I have mentioned before that it feels like the song "Man in the Wilderness" by Styx.  It has been slowly seeping into my bones for a little while now and finally gained a foothold.  Hopefully this won't last to long.  It has already played havoc with my schoolwork these last two weeks.  If I drop/fail any more classes I'll fall below some predefined limit and could get dropped from the school.  At least that is the worst case scenario.

As I type this there are thirteen minutes until the time switch.  And five more days until my next anniversarial day. Now there's only ten minutes.  Mum just stopped in to see how I'm doing.  I lied and said I'm ok.

Whatever.

I'm going to bed.  Someone wake me for New Years.