August 7, 2013 § Leave a comment
The sun’s magnetic field is expected to flip in the next three to four months and it could lead to changes in our climate, storms and disruption to satellites.
This solar event only happens once every 11 years and signals what physicists call the Solar Maximum – a time when the Sun’s solar activity is at its highest.
During this peak in activity the outbursts of solar energy can increase the amount of cosmic and UV rays coming towards Earth and this can interfere with radio communications, cause solar bursts of light – known as flares – and can affect the planet’s temperature.
via Mail Online.
No one tell Al Gore that it’s really the sun that affects the Earth’s temperature. Oh, let’s hope the “flip” is particularly violent, like it was in 1859.
On a cool September night in 1859, campers out in Colorado were roused from sleep by a “light so bright that one could easily read common print,” as one newspaper described it. Some of them, confused, got up and began making breakfast.
Farther east, thousands of New Yorkers ran out onto their sidewalks to watch the sky glow, ribboned in yellow, white and crimson. Few people had ever seen an aurora that far south — and this one lit up the whole city.
At the time, it was a dazzling display of nature. Yet if the same thing happened today, it would be an utter catastrophe.
The auroras of 1859, known as the “Carrington Event,” came after the sun unleashed a large coronal mass ejection, a burst of charged plasma aimed directly at the Earth. When the particles hit our magnetosphere, they triggered an especially fierce geomagnetic storm that lit up the sky and frazzled communication wires around the world. Telegraphs in Philadelphia were spitting out “fantastical and unreadable messages,” one paper reported, with some systems unusable for hours.
Today, electric utilities and the insurance industry are grappling with a scary possibility. A solar storm on the scale of that in 1859 would wreak havoc on power grids, pipelines and satellites. In the worst case, it could leave 20 million to 40 million people in the Northeast without power — possibly for years — as utilities struggled to replace thousands of fried transformers stretching from Washington to Boston. Chaos and riots might ensue.
via. Washington Post.
Wouldn’t that be interesting?
November 12, 2012 § 2 Comments
It’s Friday morning, and so far today, the Obama administration has posted 165 new regulations and notifications on its reguations.gov website.
In the past 90 days, it has posted 6,125 regulations and notices – an average of 68 a day.
Makes me think of the old Guns & Roses song Signs.
We’re no longer free. Very sad.
November 5, 2012 § Leave a comment
The Legatum Prosperity Index assessed and ranked the prosperity of 142 countries based on eight sub-categories: economy, entrepreneurship and opportunity, health, governance, education, safety and security, personal freedom, and social capital.
via Business Insider.
We are now 12th.
Embarrassing. No wonder people are leaving in droves.
October 30, 2012 § Leave a comment
After falling behind Asia and Europe in the great race, where success is measured in FLOPS floating-point operations per second, the US has struck back at the new high-tech Olympians with Titan: quite possibly the fastest supercomputer in the world. …
All of that might now change, as a new supercomputing giant hailing from the Smokey Mountains was unveiled by the US Department of Energy’s DOE on Monday. More than 10 times faster and five times more energy efficient than its predecessor Jaguar, Titan is the brainchild of the DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory ORNL, nestled in the Tennessee highlands. Titan’s theoretical peak is 20 petaflops – 20 quadrillion calculations per second – with 299,008 CPUs central processing units and 18,688 graphics processing units GPUs spinning at breakneck speeds to make to make scientific breakthroughs in record times.
Titan’s blistering computation speed will be the equivalent of “the world’s 7 billion people being able to carry out 3 million calculations per second,” ORNL says.
You all realize this is the Super Bowl of computers right?
October 21, 2012 § Leave a comment
The liberal Washington Post complains:
There’s a 7.5 percent federal tax on every airline ticket. The money goes into a fund that pays for the air transportation system: airports, capital improvements and the operation of the Federal Aviation Administration. …
When the airlines kept ticket prices down by shifting $12.8 billion to baggage fees, they also saved almost $964 million in federal taxes they would have owed if they had hiked ticket prices by that amount.
via The Washington Post.
First let’s take a look at the real story when it comes to airline taxes:
– September 11 Security Fee: A September 11 Security Fee of $2.50 USD applies per flight segment (maximum charge per trip — $5.00 USD one-way, $10.00 USD round-trip). A flight segment is defined as one takeoff and one landing.
– Passenger Facility Charges: Passenger Facility Charges (PFCs) of up to $18.00 USD may apply, depending upon the itinerary chosen.
– Federal Excise Tax: A 7.5% domestic tax is applied to the airline base fare. The tax may be pro-rated for flights to/from the 48 contiguous U.S. states and Alaska and Hawaii, and some international destinations. A Travel Facilities Tax of $8.40 USD per direction also applies to flights to/from Alaska and Hawaii and the 48 contiguous U.S. states or between Alaska and Hawaii.
– Federal Domestic Flight Segment Fee: A federal domestic flight segment fee of $3.80 USD applies per flight segment. A flight segment is defined as one takeoff and one landing.
Looks like the G is getting more than it’s fair share of the airline travelers’ dollar. The money collected — and wasted — by the TSA and FAA is staggering. It’s no wonder that back in March the Orlando Sanford Intl. Airport was choosing to opt-out of using the TSA for security screenings. Regardless of how they spend it, the government is taking plenty of money from the airline traveler.
Also, let’s take a look at the wording of the story. The newspaper writes, “When the airlines kept ticket prices down by shifting $12.8 billion to baggage fees, they also saved almost $964 million in federal taxes….” Wrong! The airlines didn’t save anything; the consumer saved. This sentence should be written, “By shifting $12.8 billion to baggage fees airline passengers saved nearly $1 billion in taxes that the federal government would have otherwise imposed.
The headline of this story should be, “Shifting fares to fees permitted $1 billion in extra air travel last year.” Air traveler the big winner.
Further, the baggage fees were NOT paid by everyone. If you travel light and didn’t check a bag you paid nothing. If you needed to check a bag, then you paid for the service you received.
The whole situation seems very fair to me. That the government is out the money is just icing on the cake.
October 18, 2012 § 1 Comment
It is after all the Chicago way.
The CTA has potentially inflated by up to $150 million the federal taxpayer money it received since as far back as 1982 by “fraudulently over-reporting” the number of miles CTA buses travel while in service, according to a new report by a little-known watchdog group.
In its report, titled “A bus tour of Chicago-style fraud,” Washington-based Cause of Action alleged that CTA officials reaped millions in extra federal money that the agency was not entitled to by improperly including “deadhead,” or out-of-service bus miles, along with funding-eligible revenue bus miles when applying for money from the Federal Transit Administration. …
But Cause of Action, which said it based its findings on “insider audit information” from six years ago, said the CTA likely continues to get away with its inaccurate mileage reporting, with the knowledge of the U.S. government, because of the transit agency’s political connections stretching from Chicago to Washington.
It cited the clout of Valerie Jarrett, who is senior adviser to President Barack Obama and also a former chairwoman of the CTA (1995 to 2003), and Robert Rivkin, general counsel at the U.S. Department of Transportation. From 2001 to 2004, Rivkin was general counsel at the CTA.
Officials at Cause of Action said they brought the matter to the attention of the U.S. Department of Transportation inspector general, the U.S. attorney general and Congress, but no action was taken.
via Chicago Tribune.
Surprise Surprise Surprise!!
The good citizens of Chicago are naturally shocked and appalled that Valerie Jarrett and other stooges of The Machine have engaged in taxpayer fraud. Shocked and appalled.
This sounds like a Qui Tam lawsuit in the making. Someone going to get on that?