Help – Ann Coulter Exploded My Mind


A few short months into my blog, well meaning conviction to keep politics and religion out of the mix met its match today. Please forgive my weakness – Ann Coulter appearing on CNN with Piers Morgan tore resolve into a thousand piece. My head exploded and I need help.

Grumpy to begin with, driving home  from work I heard that Meatloaf endorsed Romney. Asking myself what I cared about Meatloaf didn’t help, purely on principle I felt my mood darken.Walked in the door, flicked the television on, unprepared for Ann Coulter’s caustic jibber-jabber. She was defending her use of the word “retard”. Blood pressure rising, attempts to calm myself with thoughts of the upcoming Neil Young concert failed miserably. A brief solitary debate questioned the logic of my rage – not as a Canadian (despite the fact such nonsense would never air in Canada), but as a person grounded in inclusion, sensitivity and common sense, I screamed “you stupid bitch” at the TV screen.

Ann’s use of the “R” word comes from a tweet she made.” I highly approve of Romney’s decision to be kind and gentle to the retard ”

For starters Ann – you couldn’t have been more ignorant or abusive if you tried. In case you didn’t receive the bulletin – in 2010 the U.S. Congress made it law – the words “retard” and “retardation” to be replaced with “intellectual disability” in all health, labour, and education laws. Federal law aside, I ponder what kind of person would defend their position as venomously as you do over simple human decency and compassion. My goodness, what point are you trying to make?

Once upon a time I was able to take all this with a grain of salt. Now a creeping dread invades my world. I may be crazy but have to laugh knowing it was Ann Coulter who broke the camels back.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/the-hot-button/ann-coulters-retard-tweet-says-more-about-her-than-her-politics/article4635521/

Image hotlink - 'https://i1.wp.com/blog.francetvinfo.fr/elections-americaines-2012/files/2012/09/Ann-Coulter-2.jpg'

Frankenstorm


Frankenstorm is the name given to an impending weather event. As Hurricane Sandy chugs up the Atlantic seaboard, forecasters predict a collision with some nasty Arctic air resulting in one cold mega storm. Sandy is a late season hurricane that has already left 20 dead in the Caribbean.  As it moves north the unique prediction of snow associated with a hurricane seems to be the story if you happen to live in Eastern Ohio, Virginia, or Pennsylvania. For those in New York, New Jersey, and Atlantic Canada  – bundle up your trick or treaters, Frankenstorm means business.

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/us-east-coast-readies-for-frankenstorm-monster/article4678418/

As an admitted weather watcher, I delight in the name Frankenstorm. Kudos to you NOAA for that dub. Storm chasing enthusiasm aside lets hope this one doesn’t live up to its hype. Batten down the hatches Eastern America, Frankenstorm looks ominous.

Hurricane Sandy satellite image

Hurricane Sandy is being labelled a ‘Frankenstorm’ by forecasters, an unusual nasty mix of a hurricane and a winter storm.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/world/hurricane-sandy-kills-2-in-haiti-heads-to-bahamas/story-fnd134gw-1226503528157

Who Are These Stones Supposed To Guide?


1980, a hundred miles or so from Atlanta, Georgia a monolithic stone structure appeared. Built from over 100 tons of granite the structure is called the Georgia Guidestones.  Also known as America’s Stonehenge, the structure does share similarities with its ancient namesake. The massive stones are aligned with sun and stars in such a way that their position offers all that is needed to reproduce the calendar, clock, and compass.

The stones are inscribed with ten “rules” written in the eight most common languages.

1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
2. Guide reproduction wisely – improving fitness and diversity.
3. Unite humanity with a living new language.
4. Rule passion – faith – tradition – and all things with tempered reason.
5. Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
6. Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.
7. Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
8. Balance personal rights with social duties.
9. Prize truth – beauty – love – seeking harmony with the infinite.
10.Be not a cancer on the earth – Leave room for nature – Leave room for nature.

A man calling himself ” R.C. Christian” is said to have financed the project, his true identity remains a mystery.

http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/magazine/17-05/ff_guidestones?currentPage=all

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Sunspot AR 1598


In the past few days sunspot AR 1598 has burped a number of significant flares. The latest a strong X1, disrupted high latitudes over Asia and Australia and could result in radio blackouts.

Picture an X1 flare like a Category 3 0r 4 hurricane. Depending on whether or not it makes landfall it could be Katrina , or nothing more than a nuisance for sea going vessels.

The solar wind is a relatively calm 350 km/sec so it’s doubtful this solar outburst will give us any spectacular Auroras. There is however a 75% chance of  M class and 20% of X in the next 24 – 48 hours. In the next few days AR 1598 will be facing earth, and doesn’t appear ready to settle down any time soon.

The following link is to the official solar alerts and warnings site. Updated every 10 minutes it’s an eye opening window into the havoc flares can cause. Click on any of the icons for a description of potential hazards.

http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/alerts/warnings_timeline.html

Sunspot AR 1598 recorded by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, from spaceweather.com

Italian Earthquake Justice?


On April 6, 2009 a magnitude 6.9 earthquake destroyed the city of L’Aquila Italy. Striking at 3:32 AM most people were asleep. Hundreds were injured, 309 were killed, 65,000 buildings were damaged or reduced to rubble. For months leading up to this night low level tremors had plagued the region. On March 31, 2009 a meeting of the Great Risks Commission was called to discuss the growing number of tremors. Seven scientists in attendance went on record saying, historically the region was prone to seismic activity, there was no way to predict the “big one”, consequently no evacuation order was issued.

After the tragedy, it was on these points that prosecutors charged the 7 with manslaughter. Today Italian courts found them guilty. They were  sentenced to 6 years in prison, and banned for life from ever holding a government position.

They will of course appeal the decision.  The scientists had no crystal ball, there is no way to predict an earthquake  and ultimately the decision was not theirs. I suppose in hindsight the officials could have erred on the side of caution. To single them out and successfully convict them of manslaughter is mind boggling.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2012/10/22/italy-earthquake-scientists-trial.html

People walk past collapsed buildings near L'Aquila, Italy in after an deadly earthquake in April 2009. Seven scientists were found guilty of manslaughter Monday for failing to sufficiently warn residents of the quake.

Photo – Alessandra Tarantino AP

Smarten Up America


As the election for President of the United States looms I can’t help but ponder the astonishing amount of money spent by both parties. This election ranks as the most expensive in history, a reported 6 billion dollars. Money spent on TV ads in one month exceeded the total amount of money all Canadian political parties combined were allowed to spend for the entire election. The American political process is out of control It’s shameful.

I’m not an American therefore it’s from a position of common sense that I express disbelief. What is it going to take for Americans to smarten up and say –  enough.  Money has always secured power, politics beg for grandstanding and mud slinging, but America seems to have lost it’s mind.

As infrastructure crumbles, funding for education slides, unemployment rises, and personal debt runs rampant, I have to ask how you could sit back while billions were spent on “marketing”? I try to put it in perspective. After all in America it’s perfectly acceptable to be a lobbyist, trade carbon credits, and bail out the big boys when they run into a spot of trouble.

Maybe it’s the Canadian in me, but if I were an American I know I would be asking for caps on election spending. Smarten up America.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/30/us-usa-campaign-spending-idUSTRE77T3ZX20110830

Jim Young / Reuters

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) is So Cool


For eight years astronomers at an observatory in Apache Point, New Mexico have been mapping the sky. Using technology that was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physics, they have  produced the most extensive colour map of the universe. To date, 930,000 galaxies and 120,000 quasars. With a 2.5 meter telescope, a 120 mega pixel camera, fibre optics, and digital imaging they are able to “map” an area of the sky eight times larger than the area of the moon, in a single “observation”. Or roughly 600 galaxies and quasars in every glimpse.

Wrap your head around the vastness of the universe, if it doesn’t humble a pondering mind I don’t know what will. The picture below contains 1.2 billion pixels. Every yellow dot is a galaxy.

http://www.sdss.org/

Image Credit: Sloan Digital Sky Survey