Hitler also had a few good ideas

Genghis Khan has been branded the greenest invader in history – after his murderous conquests killed so many people that huge swathes of cultivated land returned to forest.
The Mongol leader, who established a vast empire between the 13th and 14th centuries, helped remove nearly 700million tons of carbon from the atmosphere, claims a new study.
The deaths of 40million people meant that large areas of cultivated land grew thick once again with trees, which absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
And, although his methods may be difficult for environmentalists to accept, ecologists believe it may be the first ever case of successful manmade global cooling.


Metaphor's a hell of a drug

According to NPR's Morning Edition, the reason Michelle Bachman looked so crazy last night on CNN is that she was facing the right (as in to the right) camera instead of the left (as in correct for TV) camera.

The right camera was the webcam broadcasting to Tea Party nation over our beloved tubes. So to the Tea Party, she was eye to eye. To the rest of us, she was looking a little to her right.

Life, she is so sweet to offer us such as this to blog about.


Casual Violence

I don't know what the motive for the shooting in Arizona was.  Anyone that tells you that they do is either a liar or the shooter.  And I wont accept the easy scapegoats like Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck either.

But not knowing the specifics of that particular event won't change the grim reality that we have a problem with violence in this country.  A problem with casual violence.  Violence seen as a reasonable response to any of life's unpredictable twists and turns.   Casual violence permeates our language to the extent that I recently heard a man declare that he would 'kill for a cigarette.'  Not to take nicotine addiction lightly (I was a nicotine addict for 20+ years), but the fact that the individual in question wasn't actually killing at the time that he made that declaration was little comfort.

The common vernacular of sports holds that great players are 'warriors' even at a time when many of our young people have experienced the un-glamorous and terrifying truth that 'warrior' is something that no sane person would aspire to.  War, among all human endeavors, should be condemned out of hand.  War should be the bane of all sane and thinking people. The idea that the vocabulary of war is casually invoked in metaphor to describe something like a football game should be repugnant to anyone.

Likewise political speech should not require martial metaphors to be effective.  War is about killing people to achieve political ends.  War fighting, therefor, should be the last resort of civilized people to resolve any difference.  Casually evoking the language of warfare in political discourse must be rejected.  Those who use it must be held to account by all reasonable people.


Wikileaks saves the internet

While some of the companies that targeted Wikileaks were subject to direct political pressure from American politicians, others seem to have volunteered—a decision that must have been easy to make given all the Wikileaks-bashing in Congress. Wikileaks survived these betrayals; but the myth that today’s Internet is the best of all possible worlds didn’t.
That the Internet is heavily dominated by for-profit companies, and therefore subject to influence from governments, is not a ground-breaking discovery.... Until Cablegate, this situation, while theoretically problematic, was something that most geeks accepted as some kind of necessary evil inherent to capitalism. It seemed unlikely that Amazon or PayPal would bow down to pressure from the governments of Vietnam, Azerbaijan, or Tunisia...  Likewise, it seemed unlikely that democratic governments would want to bully the intermediaries rather than pursue their grievances via the legal system.
What Wikileaks has revealed is that that it doesn’t take all that much pressure (or even controversy) to force Internet intermediaries to drop clients that are not on Hillary Clinton’s Christmas card mailing list. Thus, one way to ensure that the next Wikileaks is not mistreated by its business partners is to minimize the power of intermediaries and, preferably, make them immune to political and financial pressure. This objective, as much as the desire to boost transparency and reduce government secrecy, is what presently unites many of Assange’s technology-savvy supporters. And such geeky efforts to remake the Internet are likely to pay off in the long run even if Wikileaks’s transparency drive falters.


Weather control is not just for Reichians and warlocks any more

Last June Metro Systems built five ionising sites each with 20 emitters which can send trillions of cloud-forming ions into the atmosphere.
Over four summer months the emitters were switched on when the required atmospheric level of humidity reached 30 per cent or more.
While the country's weather experts predicted no clouds or rain in the Al Ain region, rain fell on FIFTY-TWO occasions.
The project was monitored by the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, one of the world's major centres for atmospheric physics.
Professor Hartmut Grassl, a former institute director, said: There are many applications. One is getting water into a dry area.
'Maybe this is a most important point for mankind.' 
I wonder if this causes droughts downwind. BEGUN THIS WEATHER WAR HAS!

via img
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