Death by kitty

I never thought about it much besides it being a plot element in Trainspotting, but apparently toxoplasmosis could be a bigger influence in human behavior than people think.

Part thriller and part environmental snuff flick

If you want to see what millions of gallons of crude look like as they pour into the ocean, as well as what people with robots are trying to do about it, check out the live ROV monitoring of the damaged riser that is causing the leak of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Hosted by BP and featuring robots.

Well, that’s just his answer to everything.

South Korea has officially blamed North Korea for the sinking of the warship Cheonan, and now North Korea is mobilizing for war. So what would John Bolton do about it? WWJBD?

  1. Demand an aggressive restart to the six-party regional talks
  2. Bomb North Korea
  3. Bomb Iran
  4. Option 3 again.

This is of course a trick question as both 3 and 4 are correct. John Bolton would deal with North Korea by bombing Iran… or did he just dredge up an old Word doc and lazily change all mentions of “Iran” to “North Korea” except for that last one? It’s one thing to bomb another country out of malice or incompetence, and another to do so because you’re too lazy to double-check your own documents. Sometimes it seems to me that the only thing standing between John Bolton and an ICC tribunal for crimes against humanity is access to power. Good thing no one’s dumb enough to give this batshit-insane psycho any.

Another place to avoid as a vacation spot…

Imagine this scene — you’ve booked a week’s holiday and enjoyed a bit of Eastern Europe with its tall, leggy blondes and fine beer. You’re getting on a flight to get back to work. Unbeknownst to you Slovakian police have planted explosives in your bag to test their airport security systems, which fail to detect the suspect substance, and now you’re flying at 20,000 feet sitting on top of a bomb and towards arrest. Sounds unlikely? It happened just in the past week.

Feel safer when flying now? Didn’t think so.

When the going gets tough, gutless cowards cut and run

Yes it’s true, Stephen Harper has now suspended Canadian democracy for two months, for no reason except that he found himself unable to shove unacceptable bills down the nation’s throat. What a good way of starting 2010, under a right-wing dictatorship from Alberta. Eventually we will all see this Conservative government for the miserable, catastrophic blight on this country’s history that it is, but by then it just might be too late and Calgary’s neo-Texans might well have sold our future down the river already.

Of course Harper (whom I will never call either Right nor Honorable as I eschew lies) is not the sole person to blame here. A special mention goes to the most incompetent Governor-General in the country’s history, Michaelle Jean, who’s probably too busy jet-setting around the world to realize that the GG’s job is supposed to consist of doing more than just turning to Harper and asking “oh I don’t know, what do YOU think I should do?”.

Is the greenback collapsing?

Here’s something that’s relatively easy to miss in these hard economic times where importing things from the US had become a luxury once again — there has been a sharp but sustained drop in the value of the US dollar recently. It’s fairly dramatic, too — in the past 3 months the value of the Canadian dollar has gone from $.77 to$ .92 US. That’s almost a 20% rise in the space of a quarter.

There isn’t really anything currently going on in Canada to warrant this sort of price movement, and indeed much the same story is revealed when looking up the relative values of the Euro and the Pound; even the Japanese yen is appreciating despite the plethora of political and economic bad news coming from Tokyo.

Nope — this is not about other currencies appreciating. This is about the USD tanking, and a low dollar means that Americans will spend more for the imports on which their economy depends. This heralds the onset of inflation in the American market. If Americans think they’ve had it tough since October, they’re in for a rude awakening.

Words fail me…

Maybe I wasn’t following the news at the time because I really would have remembered this, but earlier in the 2000s it seems that German industrial giant Siemens had plans to use the name “Zyklon” for a range of products that was slated to include gas ovens, which is incredibly tasteless considering the history of the company. Think about that for a moment. Were they going to use the swastika as a logo for this brand?..

Are we about to witness life as a disaster-porn TV special?

Not that people should panic or anything, but there has recently been a large cluster of seismic activity around Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. And Yellowstone is already known to be a supervolcano which is overdue for an eruption by about 40,000 years.

The Paulson Trillion-Dollar Bonanza: What’s Not to Like, Part III

I’ve been giving some thought as to the actual value of continuing with this series, because a)over the weekends the bailout proposal has changed considerably, and as of the time of my writing this this newer agreement has already been turned down by the House of Representatives. Continue reading “The Paulson Trillion-Dollar Bonanza: What’s Not to Like, Part III”

The Paulson Trillion-Dollar Bonanza: What’s Not to Like, Part II

Yesterday I wrote at some length about how the US economy has gotten to the point where Paulson and Bernanke decided it would be worth spending 5 hours promising Congress gloom & doom unless they got a record-busting bailout measure passed. So, why not like this (theoretically) $700B plan to “save the markets”? There are a number of reasons, which I shall put forward here. For reference, here is the draft proposal for the bailout so you can follow along.

Continue reading “The Paulson Trillion-Dollar Bonanza: What’s Not to Like, Part II”