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bananas

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Member since: Tue Nov 9, 2004, 11:55 PM
Number of posts: 27,509

Journal Archives

Thanks for the Comet ISON avatar!

This one:

Maybe that's not what it originally was supposed to be, but it fits.

And as we know, evolution isn't really "survival of the fittest", it's "survival of what fits".

What happened to "Terms of Service" alerts?

I went to alert on a post for terms of service violations - they're a right-wing troll - but that choice seems to be missing:
Reason for your alert:
This discussion thread is off-topic, or violates the Statement of Purpose for this group
This post is disruptive, hurtful, rude, insensitive, over-the-top, or otherwise inappropriate.
This post includes a copyright violation.
This person's avatar image or signature line is inappropriate.


Iran Seizes Saudi Fishing Vessels in Persian Gulf

Source: Fars News Agency

Iran’s coast guards have seized two Saudi fishing vessels after they entered the Islamic Republic's territorial waters, a provincial official announced on Wednesday.

“Yesterday, the coast guards deployed in the country’s Southern waters came to spot two vessels in Iran’s protected waters in the South using electronic and optic tools and equipment,” Commander of Bushehr province Coast Guards Qalandar Lashkari said.

He said that the Iranian coast guards rushed to the scene and were faced with two vessels which were illegally fishing in the Iranian waters under the Saudi flag.

Noting that 9 sailors were arrested thereafter, Lashkari said further investigation showed that the 9 people are nationals of different countries.

<snip>

Read more: http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13920906001030

Scientists see unreported fish traps from space

Source: Christian Science Monitor

Not much can hide from Google Earth – including, it turns out, clandestine fishing traps along the Persian Gulf’s remotest stretches.

A team of University of British Columbia scientists has used Google Earth data on the Persian Gulf to report that fish traps called weirs could be catching up to six times more fish than the official reported number of weir trap catches in the region. Their research, part of the Sea Around Us Project and published in the ICES Journal of Marine Science, is the first to use satellite data to report on overfishing.

“These results, which speak to the unreliability of officially reported fisheries statistics, provide the first example of fisheries catch estimates from space,” write the authors, in the paper, “and point to the potential for remote-sensing approaches to validate catch statistics and fisheries operations in general.”

<snip>

Though the seven countries have legislated fishing in the gulf since 1960, poor oversight of the industry has let most fish stocks there to become depleted, and using satellite data to monitor weir fishing could help push for more sustainable practices in the Persian Gulf, the authors write in the paper.

<snip>

Read more: http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2013/1127/Scientists-see-unreported-fish-traps-from-space

The Census Bureau Made An App That Can Tell You Where to Live

http://nextcity.org/sharedcity/entry/where-the-census-bureau-thinks-you-should-live

The Census Bureau Made An App That Can Tell You Where to Live

11/27/2013 Nancy Scola | Next City

Noted app-maker the U.S. Census Bureau is out with its latest creation, called dwellr, a mobile tool for helping people figure out the best place in America’s vastness for them to live.

<snip>

The dwellr app rests on the premise that users have a rough understanding of the sort of environment that suits them, and simply need helping sorting through the data. Tap quickly through eleven screens — Are you male or female? Do you like small towns or big cities? What’s the educational level of the people with whom you tend to run? — and it comes up with the best places for you. (A small-scale user test: I got New York City; I live, happily, in Brooklyn.)

<snip>

There’s also the acknowledged fact that dwellr is proof of concept, and a way of building out the open-data-driven digital government push that the Obama administration has talked about making a priority. The census’ demography survey has, not without controversy, been around in some form for more than 150 years. But "what good are data," writes the bureau, "if nobody but the experts can easily access them?" And on that front, they want help:

Imagine if an app matched your preferences with restaurant reviews, places with museums or most visited parks. With the Census Bureau’s application programming interface, developers can take the same statistics found in dwellr and apply them to any app they can imagine. We are eager to see new applications of these American Community Survey statistics that help people learn more about their communities using the same information businesses use to plan investments and services.


Diving a bit more deeply on that point, the app is also an exploration of the belief whose popular origins can be traced to Nudge, the book co-authored by former Obama administration official Cass Sunstein that suggests that people can be gently, well, nudged toward making better decisions. It’s a concept that the White House has talked about as "Smart Disclosure" (that, that gets capitalized) and also informs projects like the new Location Affordability Portal, a joint venture of the U.S. Department of Transportation and HUD.

<snip>



At Fukushima hearing, all speakers criticize state secrets bill

Source: Asahi Shimbun

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party invited Namie Mayor Tamotsu Baba to speak about the state secrets protection bill, expecting support by a leader near the Fukushima nuclear disaster site to quell criticism against the legislation.

The party’s plan, however, backfired.

“I am afraid no clear bounds were established about what should be designated a state secret,” Baba told a hearing on the bill here on Nov. 25. He also said he cannot trust a government that tends to keep information under wraps.

In fact, all seven speakers at the hearing criticized the bill, saying its ambiguous wording leaves open the possibility of abuse and its harsh penalties could keep citizens in the dark about matters that directly affect their lives.

The ruling coalition, which railroaded the bill through ...

<snip>

Read more: http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/politics/AJ201311260068

Japan Secrecy Law Stirs Fear of Limits on Freedoms

Source: Associated Press

Japan's more powerful lower house of Parliament approved a state secrecy bill late Tuesday that imposes stiffer penalties on bureaucrats who leak secrets and journalists who seek them, despite criticism the government is making a heavy-handed effort to hide what it's doing and suppress press freedom.

The public is concerned because the government won't say exactly what becomes secret. Critics say the law could allow the government to withhold more information and ultimately undermine Japan's democracy.

The bill was approved after hours of delay due to protests by opposition lawmakers. The ruling block and its supporters hope the weaker upper house will pass the legislation next month.

The ruling party says the law is needed to encourage the United States and other allies to share national security information with Japan. With the creation of a U.S.-style National Security Council in his office, it is part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's efforts to strengthen Japan's role in global security and create a more authoritarian government at home.

<snip>

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/japan-secrecy-law-stirs-fear-limits-freedoms-21013309

Renewable Energy Barriers Fall With New Ferc Order on Energy Storage

http://cleantechnica.com/2013/11/25/energy-storage-barriers-fall-with-ferc-order-792/

Renewable Energy Barriers Fall With New Ferc Order

Energy storage fans are rejoicing all across the country on the heels of a new ruling by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which opens the floodgates to connecting more solar arrays and wind farms to the power grid. FERC adopted the new ruling, Order 792, in order to bring its existing rules for small generators up to speed with new developments in the energy storage field.

<snip>

In a nutshell, Rule 792 adds energy storage as a power source that is eligible to connect to the grid. It effectively puts energy storage in the same category as the existing Small Generator Interconnection Procedures and makes it eligible for the existing Fast Track process.

<snip>

The implications for renewable energy, namely wind and solar, are clear when you take a look back at Order 784, which FERC adopted just last July.

Order 784 opened up the ancillary services market to renewable energy storage sources, by requiring utilities to consider speed and precision when deciding on which source to buy (ancillary services refers to power sources that utility companies can tap into on an as-needed basis).

<snip>

Can Energy Storage Beat Gas And Coal?

Here’s where the rubber hits the road. Between Order 792 and Order 784, energy storage gets its own “box to check” when utilities are considering proposals for ancillary services. That puts it in a head-to-head matchup against gas and coal power plants, which utilities typically rely on for ancillary services.

<snip>

Aussie house sets record with 500,000 Christmas lights

Source: Associated Press

An Australian family has reclaimed their Guinness World Record by stringing up more than half a million Christmas lights around their suburban home.

Guinness World Records official Chris Sheedy confirmed Monday that the Richards family of Canberra set the record for Christmas lights on a residential property with 502,165 twinkling bulbs.

The family first entered the famous record book in 2001 with 331,038 multi-colored lights. But they were trumped last year by a family in LaGrangeville, New York, who illuminated their home with 346,283 lights.

<snip>

David Richards — husband of Janean and father of Aidan, 13, Caitlin, 10, and Madelyn, 6 — said most of his neighbors supported the display. But some hadn't spoken to him since the last record was set.

<snip>

Read more: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/11/24/australians-christmas-lights-record/3693383/



AP shouldn't have left this part out:
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/canberra-house-shatters-christmas-lights-record-20131125-2y4nj.html

<snip>

David Richards says he and his wife Janean and their three kids installed the 502,165 multicoloured streamers, icicles, candy canes, reindeer and other candescent decorations - some more exotic, some less - to raise funds for SIDS & Kids ACT.

"The charity is very close to our heart. We lost a child and SIDS looked after us many years ago," he said.

<snip>

But SIDS and Kids is the main reason he does the time-consuming task, to raise money for the work they do.

"It was very important for us," he said.

"Anyone who has been through that sort of loss will probably tell you the worst thing that can happen to you is losing a young child."

<snip>


Was Ollie North a lone nut, or was he part of a conspiracy?

His conviction was overturned, doesn't that mean he was innocent and there was no valid evidence of a conspiracy?

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