links for 2011-03-16

  • Republicans have added several ideologically charged provisions to their budget-cutting bill in an effort to cripple the new health care law, block new emissions rules, limit enforcement of last year’s Wall Street overhaul and to rein in the Obama White House in other ways.
    You have to wonder if the people who voted for this set of policies are completely insane.To believe that these goals are likely to be good for you or your country you have to be not only stupid but woefully and wilfully uninformed.
  • A Paddy’s Day editorial that is depressing in its dubious and forced-sounding optimism. With many caveats.
  • Letters to our patron saint.
  • The late Alan Coren famously published a collection of humorous pieces in book form, called Golfing for Cats. And he put a swastika on the front cover. He had noticed the most popular titles in Britain in those days were about cats, golf and Nazis.
  • There was a huge media fuss about five years ago about this very small boy (about four) who was running multiple marathon distances. The Indian government banned him from running those distances and there was a lot of criticism of his adoptive father and coach. This BBC reporter went to see what became of the kid… the article doesn’t really say except that he got a scholarship to a sports “hostel” which I presume is some kind of school. The programme was shown tonight (March 16th) on BBC4, so presumably will be available on the iPlayer shortly.
  • A very clear and detailed explanation of the possible reasons for reactor 4’s problems in Fukushima. You know, it occurs to be that in all the coverage about the threat of the ongoing problems at this nuclear power plant, not one report has mentioned the fact that the Japanese are the only people in the world to know first hand what the results of large-scale radiation poisoning is. I would think this is a major factor in the level of fear being shown
  • The unexpected result was a more than 80% chance that the last surface had been laid before the Roman invasion in AD43. Wood in the foundation was radiocarbon-dated to the second century BC, sealing the road’s pre-Roman origin. And Malim thinks a huge post that stood in 1500BC close to the crest of the hill was a trackway marker.
    A road long believed to have been built by the Romans now seems to pre-date their arrival. This would mean it was built by Iron age Britons. Good for them. 🙂
  • Of course it’d be good if members of British elites stopped hobnobbing with scum like Gaddafi’s son and the president of Azerbaijan, too. Arrest the rich war crminals as well as the poor ones.
  • Still, there are sparks of recognition that drive home the similarities, too — for example, the selflessness of the Japanese plant workers laboring in the radiation danger zone, described by my colleagues Keith Bradsher and Hiroko Tabuchi in Wednesday’s newspaper. I thought instantly of the firemen from the town of Pripyat, Ukraine, who took their hoses onto the roof and directed water into a hole that opened onto blazing fires and exposed fuel rods.
  • Really worth looking at. Penicillin was genuinely miraculous when it was first discovered – people on the very brink of death were cured. But now microbiotic resistance to many antibiotics, especially penicillin, has blunted its usefulness.
  • But an attempt to reunite the 92-year-old with the artefact has collapsed into a bitter dispute between museum officials and the owner of a house where it is thought to be buried.
    What a miserable petulant greedy person.
  • Absolutely astonishing. That so many perverts could combine forces to access child porn:
    The investigation exposed more than 50,000 members in the UK, US, New Zealand, Australia and Thailand, where some of the first arrests were made. A total of 230 children are said to have been taken out of danger, 60 of them in the UK. Worldwide, 184 suspects have been arrested, 121 of them in Britain.”
    Sick bastards. I think there is a very strong case for chemical castration of repeat sexual offenders against children.
  • It’s a rather catchy tagline – the “right to be forgotten”. The earliest reference I’ve found online to *me* – which is obviously the most important factor in this debate 😉 – is an article written by a lad called Kieran Coughlan in 1989 for a UCG newsletter that was published in some forgotten alternet board. I wouldn’t like to see it disappear, and in general I can’t think of a whole lot posted online that I feel the need to get rid of. Most of the embarrassing stuff was done in IRC chatrooms or private messages that someone would have to publish from log files. From a legal point of view I’m guessing that communications that were originally made in private (albeit via the web and its predecessors) would be entitled to an expectation of privacy. I think a lot of people who started out online as teenagers probably have more to hide. It’s a good thing for people to have a certain amount of control over what information is available online about them, but I also think that if you post/publish something in a public forum, it’s out there for good and you don’t have the right to demand that all copies of it be deleted just because you’ve sobered up in the morning.
  • Amazing stuff. Really incredible how a nation as wealthy and prepared as Japan is rendered helpless in the face of such force. I am always grateful to live in a place where nature is (relatively) very benign. In Ireland our average temperatures are in the range of about 6C (winter) to 16C (summer), and weather is never more severe than a cold snap or heavy rain.
  • He’s taking the moral high ground then. 🙂 “I would if I could but I can’t”….
  • In a statement, it said it agreed with him that the 50c prescription charge may be preventing many medical card holders from getting essential medication.
    I have been told by several pharmacists that they don’t think many people are actually not getting their medications because of the charge – however they said that more people are saying that they don’t need certain things this month (or whatever) because they have to pay this charge. I actually think it was probably a good idea, but people who are on a very tight budget like some pensioners should be excepted from it.
  • I can see how having a place to anonymously leave a baby must save some lives, but I hope that the mothers have some means of reclaiming the baby later if they change their minds – it’s certainly possible that a mother might leave a baby there while suffering post-natal depression and then later want to take it back.
  • Berlusconi uses prostitutes. Is this supposed to be a surprise??
  • The prize, voted for by the public in association with the Bafta Kids’ Vote, was chosen by children aged five to 15.
    It’s certainly the best of the Potter movies thus far, and possibly the best of the books as it moves away from the childhood aura of the first two, with the bad guys having a partial victory and a lack of neat conclusions.
  • Two big mistakes by organisers here: First, this terminology makes it look as though the thing was not tested before now, and second, they should have blamed saboteurs or terrorists!
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~ by Lynn Duffy on March 17, 2011.

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