Monday, January 31, 2011

The Morning Blog

Egypt has shut down the Cairo office of Al-Jazeera and taken steps to block their satellite signal coming into the country. Currently, they probably have more reporters on the ground than any other news agency, six of whom, are reportedly being held by authorities. This happens amidst speculation that Egyptian authorities are permitting widespread looting in order to justify a massive crackdown. A "March of Millions" has been called for Tuesday. It looks as if Nobel Prize winner, Mohamed ElBaradei may be emerging as some sort of consensus leader though it's far from clear how deep his support runs. It's clear what Egyptians do not want: Mubarak. However, I still don't understand what their specific demands are.

Photos from the protests are available here.

Remember, Iran had an uprising a little bit ago as well? You may recall that it turned ugly. Sadly, the ugliness continues: Iran has hung a woman who was involved in the protests. She had dual Dutch-Iranian citizenship prompting the Netherlands to sever all diplomatic ties with Iran.

Speaking of Al-Jazeera...They've become a sort of Arabic Wikileaks with the dissemination of the Palestine Papers. Foreign Policy takes a good look at what they mean for the Israel lobby in the United States here.

In more cheerful news, NASA is preparing to publish a list of 400 stars that present the best odds of having earth-like planets. Always nice to meet some new neighbors!

This is more than just an intellectual exercise, scientists say. Traditional religious images of ourselves as God’s creatures, or even of God, could be in for a rough time if we ever discover pond scum living by completely alien chemical rules on some moon or planet, let alone the Borg — the alien race ruled by a collective mind on “Star Trek” — inhabiting some distant realm. 

Moreover, as astronomers keep reminding us, humanity will eventually lose Earth as its home, whether because of global warming or the ultimate plague or a killer asteroid or the Sun’s inevitable demise. Before then, if we want the universe to remember us or even know we were here, we need to get away.

Speaking of space, here's a bit of Kacee Bait: Baby, let's go on vacation.

Speaking of new neighbors...

Protesters unite to ruin a vacation. C'mon guys! Even billionaires "scheming to do things against our democracy" deserve a break now and again! Especially if we're none too sure what those "things" are that they're scheming about!

This is an invitation I imagine I would decline...

Indonesia has sentenced a pop star to three years in prison over making a porno:

"As a public figure, the defendant should be aware that fans might imitate his behaviour," said Judge Singgih Budi Prakoso.

Indonesians are still planning on making babies, right?

How do you say C.H.U.D in French?

Looks like Silvio Berlusconi's less than decorous behavior has had profound consequences for one specific segment of the Italian economy.

I find this article to be slightly vague.

Is anything else interesting going on in the world? I'm not too sure...Huh. Here's a good way to end things:

Marilyn Monroe writes a letter about being committed to the Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic. She was found dead a year later.

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