Filed under: Election 2010, Politics, Progressivism | Tags: Christine O'Donnell, Democrats, Monty Python
Windmill power, tyrannical government, keeping uppity women in their place with witch trials and scarlet letters — that’s what the left considers “progress” — a return to the 17th century.
Update: Great minds think alike. Althouse observes the same tactics, and points to Democrat attempts to smear a Republican candidate who is a history buff and historical reenactor as a “Nazi” as well, because his reenactment group does not purge the Nazis from the history of WWII.
Filed under: Developing Nations, History, Latin America, Politics, Religion | Tags: Better than Sparklers, Las Bolas de Fuego, Nejapa - San Salvador
I don’t know about your town, but in mine, fireworks are banned. No more fireworks stands, no more roman candles, whistling petes or anything else interesting. That isn’t to say that there are not explosions everywhere on the Fourth of July, but they are illegal explosions. There are formal fireworks displays. Anyone that misses the excitement should take off for Nejapa, San Salvador on the 31st of August.
There is a festival in Nejapa, called Las Bolas de Fuego. There are two stories about the festival. The historical story is about a local volcano called El Playon which errupted in November of 1658, which found the people in the old village and forced them to flee in terror to what is now the location of Nejapa.
Then there is the religious version, where you have San Jeronimo who was fighting the Devil with great balls of fire. I know, it looks like a riot, but look carefully— they’re all wearing protective gloves and having a wonderful time!
Filed under: Environment, News of the Weird, Science/Technology | Tags: Discovering New Species, The Biodiversity of Rain Forests, The Okapi is Not Extinct
The number of species that have become extinct has been vastly overestimated. A study has found that a third of all mammal species that have been declared extinct in the past few centuries have turned up alive and well. Some of the shyer creatures have managed to hide from sight for more than 80 years only to reappear within four years of being officially named extinct in the wild.
The okapi, or forest giraffe, was first discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1901, but had not been seen since 1959. They are shy animals of the giraffe family. Researchers found tracks five years ago. Google has plenty of pictures, but mostly of zoo animals. Their strange markings act as camouflage in dappled woodland light. Adults seem to be good sized animals with long giraffe tongues and adult males have horns like a giraffe.
Dr. Diana Fisher of the University of Queensland, Australia, compiled a list of all mammals declared extinct since the 16th century or which were formally declared missing in scientific papers. “We identified 187 mammal species that have been missing since 1500,” she wrote in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. “In the complete data–set, 67 species that were supposedly missing have been rediscovered.”
A survey of species in the Greater Mekong region of Thailand, has found 145 new species not before known. Dracula fish, a bald songbird and a 23 foot tall carnivorous plant (Little Shop of Horrors?) are among the unusual species. There is a frog that sounds like a cricket. The “Dracula minnow” is largely translucent, and has fangs at the front of each jaw — but at only 1.7 centimeters, not terminally scary.
In Papua, New Guinea, a survey of remote New Britain Island and the Southern Highlands ranges accessible only by a combination of small plane, dinghy, helicopter and foot found an exciting array of new mammals, amphibians, insects and plants. They found 200 new species, and 100 new species in the spider and insect orders alone.
These jungles are wild rainforest, with huge biodiversity, and much yet to be discovered. We don’t know as much as we think we do. There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Energy, Law | Tags: Nuclear Energy or Not?, West Virginia Coal, Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository
One of the things that bothers me most about the current administration is the consistent attempt to ignore existing statutes, regulations, custom and tradition. I don’t know whether this is just the Chicago way, or if Barack Obama believes himself above the law and free to do whatever he chooses.
The Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Gregory Jaczco, has ordered his staff to stop the review of the nuclear materials repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Aside from the potential harm this policy could do, the chairman seems to be moving forward without any authority to do so.
The President has made it clear that he supports terminating the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository. There is no scientific or technical evidence to support that decision. He also has no plan for just how the U.S. should manage its nuclear waste without that repository.
Mr. Obama has made many positive remarks about nuclear energy, and how nuclear energy should be an important part of our ongoing energy portfolio. However, the federal government is responsible for collecting and maintaining nuclear waste. According to the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA) of 1982, as amended (1) the federal government was obliged to begin collecting nuclear waste by 1998. According to the Yucca Mountain Development Act of 2002 (2)Yucca Mountain was to be the waste repository.
The federal government has collected over $30 billion in waste disposal fees from electricity ratepayers and has spent $10 billion on Yucca development, but no waste has been collected. Much remains in storage in various facilities around the country.
This puts the federal government in partial breach of contract even before the President decided to ignore existing statute and terminate the Yucca program. With over 60 lawsuits already filed, the federal government has paid out $214 million in settlements. Without Yucca Mountain or any backup plan, this taxpayer liability will amount to over $12.3 billion through 2020 and $500 million annually thereafter.
Chairman Jaczco, according to Nuclear Townhall, is deriving his authority based upon an interpretation of the 2011 budget. Congress has not passed the 2011 budget. Even if it were passed, it is unlikely to contain any authority to close Yucca for there is broad support for the repository in boththe House and Senate. Mr. Jaczco, however, was an aide to Senator Harry Reid who is in a pitched election battle with Sharon Angle. Which puts us back at the Chicago way.
Ninety Members of Congress have signed a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu urging DOE to halt plans to dismantle the repository and saying it has “ignored congressional intent without peer review or proper scientific documentation. A bipartisan House resolution shows further support for licensing Yucca Mountain. The Atomic Safety Licensing Board (ASLB) determined that the DOEs request to withdraw its application did not have scientific merit and was therefore not justified. My guess is that it will be resolved shortly after the election no matter whether Reid or Angle wins — but it’s just a guess.
There will be no new nuclear plants until a waste repository is opened. I don’t think that Mr. Obama has any intent to license nuclear plants. He is putting all of his bets on wind and solar energy and vast taxpayer dollars behind his misguided belief that they are viable sources of energy rather than just the proverbial gamblers’ rathole.
Other evidence is that Barack Obama vowed to “bankrupt” coal, and seems to be proceeding down that path. He is using the regulatory process to strangle surface coal mining. The administration is trying to keep their formal steps in this direction under wraps, even, once again, in violation of the law. West Virginia wants to see a copy of the EPA-recommended determination about surface mining. They specifically want to know if Obama has decided to shut down West Virginia’s economy. And Ohio’s as well. The EPA is violating the law by refusing to let anyone see the recommendation in the form of a Federal Register publication. You don’t believe that the administration would use federal regulation to influence election results, do you?