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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 01:08 PM
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Journal Archives

Mr. Fish Toon: A Message From England

You just KNOW evil Dick is thinking this....

Toon: Unaffordable College Orientation

The Wacko Caucus: Tea Party Senator Ted Cruz Ties Syria To ObamaCare

In 2012 the Tea Party lost some of its key figures in congress. Allen West and Joe Walsh were rejected by voters. Michele Bachmann hung on by a thread, but is now so tainted by scandal that she announced her retirement shortly after the election. Folks like Sarah Palin and Donald Trump continue to be little more than comic relief.

Consequently, the second string of the Tea Party bench has had to step up their game. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is one of those vying for the role of Grand Teabagger. His latest attempt to distinguish himself from the pack is a monumentally perverse analysis of the crisis in Syria:

“Fundamentally, actually, these two issues, you look at Syria, you look at Obamacare. They’re tied together. They’re tied together by an arrogance of this administration, that they don’t believe they’re accountable to the American people, and they are going to jam their agenda down the throats of the American people.

And on both of them, the answer is the same as it was on guns; it’s the same as it is on stopping amnesty, which is the American people have to rise up and hold every elected official accountable, Democrat and Republican. Every one of us, including me.”

Syria and ObamaCare are tied together? I wonder why he didn’t also include Benghazi, the IRS, food stamps, and birth certificates. Bachmann would have. Cruz may not be up to this challenge.



What gives American factories their competitive edge: They’re easy to close

By Tim Fernholz

Yesterday’s pleasant surprise: The US economy grew much faster than we thought in the previous quarter: 2.5% on the year, thanks to robust exports.

Another pleasant surprise: That might continue. America’s great manufacturing renaissance continues to attract converts. Companies including Toyota, Honda, Siemens and Rolls Royce have all shifted production to the US in recent years. Boston Consulting Group, which advises companies on their supply chains, recently made an extended case that the United States is like the China of wealthy countries (awesome analogy!) because of how cheap it is to make stuff there.

Here’s BCG’s chart. What it shows is that labor and energy costs are a lot lower in the US than in Europe and Japan, and are no higher, combined, than in China. Overall, in 2015, manufacturing in the US will cost only about 5% more than in China.


Even if you doubt the bit about China, the notion that the US will comfortably beat out Europe and Japan makes sense. It has a more flexible labor market, and cheaper energy and plastics thanks to the oil fracking boom. The US also has the transit efficiencies that come with location. It costs more than twice as much to ship a container to Rotterdam from Yokohama as from New York City. And while shipping from the US west coast to Asia is comparably priced to shipping from Europe, it’s faster—and almost as cheap as shipping from Japan to China!



Toon- The world reacts to Syria

Navy: Training, testing may kill hundreds whales and dolphins

HONOLULU (AP) — Navy training and testing could inadvertently kill hundreds of whales and dolphins and injure thousands over the next five years, mostly as a result of detonating explosives underwater, according to two environmental impact statements released by the military Friday.

The Navy said that the studies focused on waters off the East Coast, the Gulf of Mexico, Southern California and Hawaii from 2014 through 2019, the main areas that the service branch tests equipment and trains sailors.

The studies were done ahead of the Navy applying to the National Marine Fisheries Service for permits for its activities. The Navy said that it if hadn't done so and was later found to have harmed marine mammals, it would be found in violation of federal environmental law and have to stop its training and testing.

Most of the deaths would come from explosives, though some might come from testing sonar or animals being hit by ships.


The last time a British prime minister was defeated by the Commons on a war motion was 1782

Spectre of Blair haunts Syria war

This morning the UK wakes up with the spectre of one man hanging over Westminster, the UK and the Anglo-American relationship.

The last time a British prime minister was defeated by the Commons on a war motion was 1782 when MPs refused to go on fighting – of all people – the restless Americans wishing for independence.

It’s taken Tony Blair, Iraq and the dodgy dossier to bring about such a historic moment again in our land.

The travesty, the falsehoods went deep over Iraq. Last night we found out just how deep into the political psyche of the nation. After Iraq, if a PM said there are trees in the rainforest you’d need to send for proof.

Tony Blair’s intervention in this campaign-to-bomb undoubtedly was the worst nightmare for Cameron and Obama. Down there with any putative Dubya endorsement. A political misjudgement. A PR catastrophe.

- See more at: http://blogs.channel4.com/alex-thomsons-view/syria-blair-spectre-haunts-war-cameron-uk/

Ironic, isn't it?

Why Telemedical Abortions Are the Future

By Kelly Bourdet

The field of telemedicine—the act of “visiting” a doctor remotely using internet video conferencing—is an exciting development that could change the lives of individuals living in remote areas or without access to reliable transportation. The internet democratizes reasonably-priced health care. You don't have to travel to see a doctor you like; you don't need to take up as much of a doctor's expensive office hours if you’re simply Skyping her with a question.

While it’s likely that telemedicine will expand preventative health care and improve doctors’ efficiency by evaluating whether a patient needs a “hands-on” appointment, it also has important implications for women seeking medical abortions.

The Iowa state government is conducting hearings to evaluate the currently legal practice of telemedical abortion. Members of the Iowa Medical Board who oppose the practice are facing off against members of Planned Parenthood.

Telemedical abortion has been legal in Iowa since 2008. To undergo the procedure, a woman must undergo an ultrasound by a trained professional in her hometown. She receives standard information about medical abortion and signs a consent form. At this point, a physician teleconferences in via a secure line to answer any questions the woman may have, review her medical history, and determine whether she is a candidate for a medical abortion. After this, the doctor enters a passcode at her location that unlocks a drawer in the woman’s clinic containing mifepristone and misoprostol, medications that produce a medical abortion—sometimes referred to as the “abortion pill.”

The women then returns home where she essentially experiences an induced miscarriage. Prior to telemedical abortions, there were six clinics offering abortion services in Iowa. Now nine additional clinics provide telemedical abortion services, usually in rural and underserved areas. There is a low rate of complications with the abortion pill, so Planned Parenthood and other advocates of telemedical prescriptions argue that this type of prescription is just as safe as prescriptions where women are physically seen in a clinic.


Theoretical physics: The origins of space and time

Many researchers believe that physics will not be complete until it can explain not just the behaviour of space and time, but where these entities come from.

Zeeya Merali

“Imagine waking up one day and realizing that you actually live inside a computer game,” says Mark Van Raamsdonk, describing what sounds like a pitch for a science-fiction film. But for Van Raamsdonk, a physicist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, this scenario is a way to think about reality. If it is true, he says, “everything around us — the whole three-dimensional physical world — is an illusion born from information encoded elsewhere, on a two-dimensional chip”. That would make our Universe, with its three spatial dimensions, a kind of hologram, projected from a substrate that exists only in lower dimensions.

This 'holographic principle' is strange even by the usual standards of theoretical physics. But Van Raamsdonk is one of a small band of researchers who think that the usual ideas are not yet strange enough. If nothing else, they say, neither of the two great pillars of modern physics — general relativity, which describes gravity as a curvature of space and time, and quantum mechanics, which governs the atomic realm — gives any account for the existence of space and time. Neither does string theory, which describes elementary threads of energy.

Van Raamsdonk and his colleagues are convinced that physics will not be complete until it can explain how space and time emerge from something more fundamental — a project that will require concepts at least as audacious as holography. They argue that such a radical reconceptualization of reality is the only way to explain what happens when the infinitely dense 'singularity' at the core of a black hole distorts the fabric of space-time beyond all recognition, or how researchers can unify atomic-level quantum theory and planet-level general relativity — a project that has resisted theorists' efforts for generations.

“All our experiences tell us we shouldn't have two dramatically different conceptions of reality — there must be one huge overarching theory,” says Abhay Ashtekar, a physicist at Pennsylvania State University in University Park.

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