Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Morning Blog

It worries me that officials have been giving such conflicting reports regarding how bad the Fukushima meltdown is. The American position is that the situation is extraordinarily dire. Citizens within 50 miles of the plant have been urged to evacuate. The Japanese in comparison, have only told people within 12 miles to get out of the area.

China for one, would really like to know exactly what's going on.

Analysis of the lack of concrete details coming from the Japanese government and power company officials, here:

“We cannot confirm,” an official insisted. “It is impossible for me to say anything at this point,” another said. And as always, there was an effusive apology: “We are so sorry for causing you bother.”

Cirque du Soleil has joined the growing list of countries and corporations evacuating Japan. Which as I write this, makes me suddenly sad. I think that right now, the Japanese could really use some clowns.

Similar to Japan, the situation in Libya seems confused. I hesitate to trust any reports coming from the Libyan government though. I worry that they might have gotten their hands on some of that hallucinogenic Nescafe. The US is now backing not only a no-fly zone but also "all necessary measures to protect civilians". I still think it's all talk. I also don't think that I want to see the US embroiled in yet another Mid-East conflict.

Reuters analyzes various scenarios here.

The Pentagon warns that the US is unprepared to defend itself from cyberwarfare. Though I think that the threat to infrastructure from a cyber attack is serious, I think this comes across as a bit of fund raising. If defenses were so very weak, I have a hard time imagining that a general would announce them. I do however think that a general looking for a larger budget would definitely bemoan his limited resources.

Anyways, they have enough money to fund spam. If they've got the cash to buy software that creates fake Facebook profiles to disseminate propaganda, than quite frankly, they've got more cash than they need.

God, is there NO GOOD NEWS TODAY?!?!?! It's my day off. I deserve at least a glimmer of optimism!

Well, I guess this is sort of optimistic, if darkly so. I was browsing images of mushroom clouds for the links above concerning the situation in Japan. I decided ultimately, that that sort of picture really would just be a bit alarmist. However! Silver Lining: It turns out that mushroom clouds actually are rather pretty things. Terrible things of course. But I like the colors.

Oh good! Some legitimately good news: Some versions of the SAT recently included an essay question about reality television. And happily, many of the kids were stumped because they just don't watch that crap:

“This is one of those moments when I wish I actually watched TV,” one test-taker wrote on Saturday on the Web site College Confidential, under the user name “littlepenguin.” 

“I ended up talking about Jacob Riis and how any form of media cannot capture reality objectively,” he wrote, invoking the 19th-century social reformer. “I kinda want to cry right now.”

Republicans don't give a fork.

Interesting article about New York's Atlantic Yards housing project. They've decided to go with a prefabricated, modular method of construction that would cut costs considerably. And frankly....Well, I guess it's safe....I suppose. I'm pretty sure the city isn't building a death-trap. Probably. The idea of a high-rise being made of parts off site and then bolted together sounds...Well, it sounds a bit rickety doesn't it? Sounds like someone played with too many Legos.

And as long as you're living in the shadow of a great, teetering stack of bolted together steel boxes, you might as well grab a drink. Meh...Maybe not. These don't really seem like my kind of places. My ideal cocktail recipe is Jameson + glass. I'm not really a fan of anything else. Well, beer of course. Let's not get crazy here.

I don't really know what to say about this other than...Well, Bjork and Snoop Dogg. Together at last.

Glad he was able to clear things up: Your Headline of the Day.

Taxpayers in Prince George's Country, MD will be on the hook for $11.5 million due to a fatal police shooting:

The jury of five women and one man found that Jackson intentionally violated Espina’s constitutional rights, that he acted with malice, that he did not act in self-defense, and that he assaulted and battered Espina before wrongfully killing him. Jackson pepper-sprayed Espina and beat him with his fists and a metal police baton before shooting him, according to court testimony and evidence. Jurors deliberated for 31 / 2 days.

Unbelievably, the cop has not been charged as yet with any sort of criminal offense. Currently, he's dealing with nothing more than the inconvenience of administrative leave.

Vanity Fair profiles famous former felons. Can't wait for Ninja Dad to make it to the big screen.

Happy Birthday William Gibson! You should go read "Neuromancer" right now. In fact, you should read it twice. And Amazon should give me some money for that link, I think.

Interesting: The EU will enshrine a "right to be forgotten" into law. This would give people greater privacy online, not least of all the ability to completely erase any information that a company might hold on them. It's clearly aimed at Facebook which has been running afoul of European privacy laws for some time. Interesting point though: If Facebook is unable to gather and use information on their users, their ability to remain free by generating ad revenue could be at risk. What do you think? If Facebook was forced to charge, would you use it?

2012 Watch: I truly don't think that Palin will run. Running for President seems like hard work. Given her record with debates and press conferences, I really doubt that it's something that she's seriously entertaining. That doesn't mean that I don't think she might do it as a tie in with a book tour. It'd be excellent publicity. As to Bachmann... It's a bit more likely. And terribly, terribly sad.

Programming Note: Unfortunately, the Morning Blog is going to get an awful lot shorter in the coming weeks. The New York Times will begin charging for their web content. I have no problem with that. It's theirs to do with as they wish. However, I don't get paid to do this. And unfortunately, I'm not willing to pay to do it either. Beyond that, it wouldn't really serve any of my readers very well either. I don't see much point in offering links to sites that people can't view without making a financial commitment of their own. That said, there are still plenty of sources that I use for this thing. The New York Times just won't continue to be one of them.

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